David Moyes and Louis van Gaal could have gone on to become Manchester United legends if they had been afforded the same time as Sir Alex Ferguson was at the start of his reign, claims Gary Neville.
Moyes was fired less than a year into his tenure at Old Trafford after taking over from Ferguson, while Dutchman Van Gaal grew in unpopularity and his reign was ended after two years in charge, despite bringing Champions League football and the FA Cup to the club.
And Neville reckons United were always going to struggle to fill the massive void left by Ferguson after his departure in 2013.
“Part of me thinks it was always going to happen. It’s hard for them,” said Neville, speaking at the Oxford Union on Monday.
“The best description I’ve heard with respect to Sir Alex Ferguson leaving is that it is like when the father moves out of the family home, the step-father moves in and they don’t really listen to him.
“Sir Alex knew everyone’s name, everyone was treated equally and when he left and then David Gill left at the same moment, the void was huge.
“Sir Alex was the person who everyone looked up to and he was gone. When you step away from those levels, even two per cent, three per cent or four per cent, it’s not good enough.
“Last week was 30 years since he was appointed, in the first three years he won nothing. It took seven years to win his first title, 13 years for his first European trophy and the treble. For all we know, David Moyes or Louis van Gaal could have been great Manchester United managers, but that patience is never going to happen again.
“If you want immediate success, it can become like a hit job and begin to spiral out of control. At times it has felt with United like every £100m spent creates another £100m of problems.”