Rene Meulensteen: Ryan Giggs should have succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson instead of David Moyes

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United assistant Rene Meulensteen believes Ryan Giggs should have succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson instead of David Moyes.

Ferguson handpicked Moyes to fill the Old Trafford hot-seat in the summer of 2013 and the former Everton boss decided to take his own backroom staff with him.

It was a decision which immediately backfired as United, a shell of what they once were, became the laughing stock of the football world and finished seventh in the Premier League, with Moyes losing his job in April.

Reflecting on that awful year in the club’s history, Meulensteen insisted that placing Giggs in the hot-seat while keeping the backroom staff the same would have facilitated a smoother transition.

“If (chief executive) David Gill had not quit, too, then maybe Giggsy would have been appointed manager, with Ferguson in the background taking care of certain aspects, and the machine room – the coaching staff – would have remained the same,” he said.

“Five years on, I still think it was an unbelievable opportunity for David, which he misjudged. He misread the difference between Everton and Manchester United, which is like going from a yacht to a cruise ship.

“He will never admit that, though.”

United may have had an ageing squad at the time of Ferguson’s departure, which was always going to have a deflationary impact, but the winning analytic – that intuitive understanding between players and staff – was still there and could have continued to a certain extent.

But instead Moyes brought in his men, his staff, and along with the arrival of Ed Woodward to replace David Gill gave the club a form of shock therapy from which it is still struggling to emerge four years on.

‘Misjudged’ is a nice way of putting it. Those ten months in charge were nothing short of calamitous from start to finish.

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