The self-help secrets of failed Man United boss

After 10 troubled months of failure, David Moyes was finally sacked from his position as Manchester United boss on Tuesday and since, a rigorous post-mortem of when exactly it was that Moyes’ position became untenable has been conducted by journalists far and wide.

There is no doubt that the terminable fate of David Moyes has been in the running for months now, with failings evident not only domestically, with the club sitting 7th in the league (their worst Premier League campaign in 24 years), but also on the continental stage as well.

And it was United’s dismal 2-0 defeat to Olympiakos in the Champions League last-16 first leg that signalled the beginning of the end for the Scot.

Indeed, the result was poor, being torn apart by a team that rank 33 places below Manchester United in the UEFA Club Rankings (Manchester United – 5th, Olympiakos- 38) is embarrassing enough, but it was the flight home that laid the setting for his gravest error yet: for he was caught by his players reading a management self-help guide “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins. 

They would surely have wondered why the manager of the Premier League champions, who was chosen to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson by the great man himself no less, needed such tutoring.

Nevertheless, upon reading  the book, it does go a long way in explaining, at least partly, why Moyes has failed to maintain the tradition of success at Manchester United: some of the advice is…strange, to say the least.

Here are some choice excerpts from the apparent bestseller:

  • ‘Keep it simple – be a hedgehog, not a fox’ 
  • ‘Achieve BHAGs – big hairy audacious goals.’
  • ‘Create alignment by results, not hoopla.’
  • ‘Avoid the Doom Loop.’
  • ‘Manage for the quarter century.’
  • ‘In building greatness, there is no miracle moment.’ 

For the manager of the most famous sports club on the planet to be reading a self-help book is bad enough. And for it to be one as comically useless as this, makes it even worse.

All the same, the lifesaving manual also reads: ‘We hold our leaders accountable for the success of their successors.’

So we may as well just blame Sir Alex…


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