Looking back at Remi Moses’ career you can’t help but think ‘what could have been?’ The feisty midfielder played a lot of his career in the shadow of his more famous colleagues and was the man in your team who would be given the unenviable task of doing ‘the ugly stuff.’ Despite his low-key status, Moses had the ability to become Mr. Dependable. So, what happened?
Lady luck certainly wasn’t looking favourably on Moses, that’s for sure. Injuries plagued his career and he was forced into retirement at a premature age of 28. More frustratingly for Manchester United fans and more so himself, probably, was Alex Ferguson’s admission in his autobiography that Moses ‘could have played an important part of the re-building of Manchester United.’
Moses started out as an academy player at West Brom but soon made it into first team action. Between himself and Bryan Robson, the pair managed to boss most games in midfield and such performances lead the Baggies to three top four finishes in 4 seasons and subsequently a place in the UEFA Cup.
Along with Robson, Moses followed West Brom’s manager Ron Atkinson to Old Trafford in 1981, by which time he was already a permanent fixture in England’s U21 set up. His transfer was over-shadowed by the potential signing of Robson, but this was something he would have to become used to.
His job at United was simple. Win the ball and give it to Robbo. Many fans believed that the only reason he was plying his trade at the Theatre of Dreams was to make sure the Robson deal went through.
It’s worth noting at this point that Moses has more to remember from his game than a tackle. His goal against Middlesbrough in October of 81 wasn’t just his first for the club, but the first scored for Manchester United by a black player. Furthermore, his performances in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983/84 really proved his worth. Not content with being the ‘unsung hero’ against Barcelona, where United came from 2-0 down to win 3-2, (which included a brace from Robson) his performance in the next round against the giants of Juventus was something else.
Playing without the suspended Robson in centre midfield, he stuck to Michel Platini like glue and dominated the midfield.
The next two years saw Moses playing some his best football and he was a regular fixture at the heart of United’s midfield. In 1985, he was even rewarded with a call up to the full England squad.
Sadly, this is as good as it got. At his most popular with the fans, injury ruled Moses out of England’s game in February against Northern Ireland right through to the end of the season, which included the FA Cup final success over Everton. Moses never did play for England.
During the 86 Charity Shield, chants of “Remi’s back” could be heard around Wembley but this proved to premature. Another injury suffered against Liverpool, this time to the ankle, kept him out for 11 months and signalled the beginning of the end.
For the next two seasons, Moses was ‘on the comeback trail’ but it never materialised. In the summer of ‘88 a knee injury was the final nail in the coffin. At 28, Remi Moses hung up his boots.
Retirement has seen Moses branch out from football and into some unusual hobbies. As well as buying and selling property, the former United hard-man helps coach the Manchester Warriors U20 inline skating side, which has since won the Great Britain inline Hockey League.
As with many former Old Trafford favourites, Moses still has close links to the club and can be found occasionally coaching Old Trafford FC as part of the ‘unity in the community.’
As he approaches his 50th birthday, Remi Moses can’t grumble about his career. But with injury cutting his playing days horribly short, he could be forgiven for sometimes thinking; ‘what could have been?’