On the day that a plane flew over Old Trafford with a not so subtle message to Manchester United’s board and manager David Moyes, Michael Owen wrote an interesting article on the state of his former club in his column for the Telegraph.
The one-time United striker has been vocal all season about a whole range of clubs and issues therein. But on Saturday he turned his attention to the goings on at Old Trafford. And of everything he said, one sentence stood out.
Speaking about the departure of Rene Meulensteen, Mike Phelan and Eric Steele, Owen wrote, “I was surprised when the backroom trio was asked to leave and in retrospect it upset the dynamic at the club even more than Sir Alex’s departure.”
That is a bold statement, given the importance and influence of the former United boss during his historic tenure.
But can it in fact be that the wholesale coaching changes affected the club’s season even more than the exit of their legendary former boss?
“The support staff are often underestimated but I can assure you, for the players, they are as important as the manager and Sir Alex recognised this better than anyone,” Owen added.
And he should know, having worked under Ferguson as his playing career came to an end.
The decision to bring in his own men was Moyes’s to make. And if you hand someone the reigns of a club, he cannot then be criticised for making the changes that he sees as right, bringing in the men he trusts to work alongside.
But when we look back on the former Everton manager’s first season in charge at Old Trafford, it would be interesting to know what would have happened had Ferguson's trusted lieutenants remained at the club.
But we never will, leaving only one reality, the one Moyes has to stamp his authority on to turn this United team into the one he knows it has the potential to be.