at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Manchester United’s patience with manager David Moyes is being driven by an increasing belief that he was handed a questionable behind-the-scenes legacy by his predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson.
One club source said post-Ferguson, ‘it was like looking behind the curtain of the Wizard of Oz and seeing there was nothing there to work with¹.
United fans have grown increasingly disillusioned with Moyes in recent days as a disappointing season got a lot worse with 3-0 home defeats by Liverpool and Manchester City.
The United board and in particular the owners the Glazer family will only stand so many dreadful performances on the field and next week¹s daunting Champions League tie against Bayern Munich may prove decisive in terms of Moyes¹s future.
However, Sportsmail understands that one reason why chief executive Ed Woodward and fellow board members are giving Moyes so much time and patience is that they feel he inherited a set-up from Ferguson that was not fit for purpose at Barclays Premier League level.
Nobody at the club wants publicly to sully Ferguson¹s legacy, given that his 27-year reign lifted United from oblivion to the summit of European football. He also left Moyes a squad that had just won the league by 11 points.
But it has since emerged that he ran United¹s football operation in such a closed-off way that the board believe the task of restructuring required to bring it up to speed with the rest of Europe¹s top clubs is much harder than expected.
Moyes has begun the process, especially in terms of scouting and recruitment, but Woodward believes the job of doing this has influenced the dismal events on the field. This is why the club wants, if at all possible. to give Moyes the summer to put his own plans into action and recruit his own players.
United know this strategy is not without risk and further bad results may force their hand. They plan to spend up to £200million on new players and nobody can blame recent bad performances on anyone but the man in charge.
Nevertheless, the United source said: ‘Sir Alex had such a hold on the club that he was left to get on with it. His methods worked for him.
‘It was always known that David would have things to address behind the scenes but there has been much, much more and it has taken longer than was anticipated.’
Moyes had a three-hour meeting with Woodward last week, the day after United beat Olympiacos 3-0 in the Champions League to set up next week¹s clash with old foes Bayern.
A sign of growing divisions among supporters is that one group have raised £840 to fly a plane over Old Trafford during the match with Aston Villa tomorrow with the banner:’Wrong One - Moyes Out’.
This is a direct challenge to the Stretford End Flags group, who have refused to take down their ‘Chosen One’ banner inside the ground.
If Moyes survives the turbulent days ahead, he has a list of players he wishes to move out of the club. These include midfielders Anderson, Nani and Wilfried Zaha and defender Alexander Buttner.
Moyes will also listen to good offers for Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez.
Meanwhile, he expects to lose Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs to retirement and Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra to Serie A in Italy. - Daily Mail