My Sporting Week: New manager syndrome an unfamiliar feeling for United fans

New Manchester United manager David Moyes
New Manchester United manager David Moyes
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Sympathy is not an emotion often felt by the footballing community towards supporters of Manchester United.

Afficonados of the Old Trafford club are, it’s fair to say, viewed with thinly-veiled contempt by many.

The list of charges regularly pinned against United fans range from the persistent, but unfounded, myth that a tiny minority of them actually stay in Manchester to the belief that they are mainly pampered day trippers with little knowledge of the finer points of the game; such as what a corner kick is or why the goalkeeper is allowed to use his hands.

I could carry on, but making jokes about United fans is like using a piano leg to strike the bonnet of a Ford Transit - it’s easy to do but leaves you with little in the way of satisfaction.

Regardless, it’s difficult to stifle a chuckle at Man Yoo diehards who are breaking into cold sweats this month at the prospect of a football season in which their club is led by someone that isn’t Sir Alex Ferguson becoming cold reality.

For the first time in more than a quarter of a century, there’s a new man in the Old Trafford hotseat.

Fergie’s announcement that he was retiring - and thereby proving that he is mortal after all - was well-timed and brilliantly executed. It allowed him to receive a proper send-off, but not distract his players from the business of winning football matches.

At the time, United fans even seemed reasonably happy that his replacement would be David Moyes.

But now that the new season is fast approaching they have to deal with a strange, unfamiliar feeling that quacks call New Manager Syndrome (NMS).

It’s symptoms are well-known to fans of every club, except United. It involves sudden waves of paranoia that perhaps the new man in charge - who seemed like the obvious appointment just a few weeks ago - is actually out of his depth/doesn’t know what he’s doing/tactically naive/a space invader from another planet - delete as appropriate.

NBS can be aggravated greatly if the new coach subsequently leads your team to three or more consecutive losses when the campaign begins.

The only cure is a consistent run of results. Otherwise, NMS can be fatal - to the career of football managers, that is.

David Moyes, I’m sure, is up to the task. But are United fans strong enough to wait to find out?