Much has been written about David Moyes’ decision to replace Sir Alex Ferguson’s coaching staff with his own. But one man he reportedly tried and failed to keep was Manchester United’s former first-team coach Rene Meulensteen.
To call the Dutchman’s loss a mistake may be an exaggeration. But an interview Meulensteen gave to the Telegraph back in August suggests otherwise.
“It saddened me leaving,” he said. “I had the best job in the world there.
“I felt very strongly that the picture painted to us (by the club) was not the one that came out in meetings with David Moyes.
“I said to him, ‘David, with all due respect, you’ve done a fantastic job in the Premier League with Everton but do you realise you are going from a yacht to a cruise ship?’ Ferguson, the captain, had a good crew with coaches like me.”
Whatever his ultimate reason for leaving – be it Moyes’ coaching style – as suggested in the press – his failure to have the same influence as he did under Ferguson, or simply the Scot’s decision to bring in his own men, there is no doubt the former Everton boss would have benefited from Meulensteen’s help in the midst of what is rightly or wrongly being called a crisis.
Instead, the former United man is now in charge of Fulham, and is being tipped to reunite with one-time United player Ravel Morrison.
Goal is reporting that the England under-21 international is keen to leave West Ham for Craven Cottage, and that the Cottagers have offered £5million plus add-ons – a fee considerably lower than his reported £18million release-clause.
If things had worked out differently, Morrison could still be at Old Trafford. And while his reasons for leaving have been well-documented, and his transfer to West Ham may have saved his career, as he begins to fulfil his potential United fans may question the wisdom in selling a player who could have shone at Old Trafford for the next decade.
Perhaps neither decision was a mistake. Perhaps they were simply footballing decisions or, in the case of Morrison, the best decision possible. But as Moyes and his men continue to struggle, there is little doubt that both coach and player (in his current mind-set) could have made things that little bit easier, both on the pitch and off it.
image: © Tom Cuppens