MANCHESTER — David Moyes didn’t get off to a winning start in his first game in charge of Manchester United at Old Trafford.
And quite frankly, his team never really looked like getting it done.
Moyes has a lot of work to do to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, he probably knew that already. But although he got a good reception from United’s fans when he strolled onto the pitch before the game, the 50-year-old Scotsman waved off the warm applause he received.
“I want to earn the reception I got in the future,” Moyes said. “I want the claps to be because I’ve won things and I’ve got a good team here. I want to be getting the plaudits because of what I’ve done in the future.”
But throughout the game, there were no real chants of adulation towards the stoic Scot from the famous Stretford End behind the goal. True, United’s fans didn’t have much to sing about. But when they did open up their lungs to sing loud and proud into the warm late-August air, they chanted about Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and their beloved United.
There was no mention of Moyes.
Of course, all that will come with time but first impressions count for a lot in the soccer community. Moyes’ first audition in front of the Old Trafford crowd wasn’t a resounding success but it wasn’t a disaster. The noise from the terraces, or lack there of it, showed concerns from United’s fans that their side won’t be playing the swashbuckling soccer they’ve come to expect from 28 years of Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm.
Moyes is his own man and his own manager, Ferguson’s shadow will hang over him until he brings repeated success. A first major trophy should get the fans on his side, but playing attractive soccer may do it faster. At Everton his sides weren’t known for being too adventurous in attack but on Monday night Moyes’ team certainly were the more offensive side, as Chelsea lined up without a recognized striker and settled for a point. Yet United never got in behind Chelsea’s defense and never really forced the issue.
United’s new manager praised his sides application and felt on another day, his team would have taken all three points.
“I think we we were going for it from the opening period. We tried to win the game,” Moyes said. “I said from the start, we just maybe lacked a real good pass through or a top cross that might have made the difference tonight. It may have been an individual moment of brilliance that win games like that, which we’ve seen in the past. We just couldn’t quite get there.”
But as silence reigned down on Old Trafford during a dour second half and chants of “Rooney, Rooney” filled the air… no chants for Moyes emanated from the 75,000 plus Mancunians packed in the stands soaring to the skies.
Quietly watching over Moyes from the grand structure that has risen from the illustrious past and success of Moyes’ predecessor Ferguson, United’s fans remained silent.
Judgement hasn’t yet been passed in the Premier League’s supreme court (Old Trafford). However fans of Manchester United warmly welcomed Moyes into the family in his opening home game.
Now it’s time for him to make them scream and shout his name in adulation. Moyes knows only too well, that’s the hard bit.