I’ve been reading a lot of damning reports of David Moyes’ performance as Sunderland Manager in recent weeks. That is not surprising, considering the Wearsiders haven’t won a game in the last two months. They haven’t even scored a goal in ten of their last twelve games.
However, there is something that you and don’t know about David Moyes which does excuse all of this. When David Moyes was just a young, even whiter faced seven year old, he fell down a old forgotten well at parents country estate, breaking his tiny, vitamin-d deficient, arm.
Lying there in the darkness at the well’s pit, little Davey Moyes, slowly came to. He felt strangely calm in its surroundings. A moment of serenity down there in the empty blackness.
Then suddenly he began to hear a faint noise. At first a light echoing patter in the furthest depths of some chasm below. But it grew quickly, rushing up towards his limp, immovable body like a coursing river, and at once was upon him. Not water, no. The boyish Scotsman was surrounded by a sea of attacking footballers who wanted to play the ball forward. They were coming at him from every angle. Running over his face and through his hair. Passing the ball to each other effectively, snapping at his legs and scoring goals in an entertaining and effective manner. A swarm of creative playmakers and goalscorers swarming his frame in a tumultuous fever.
Then, as quick as they came, they were gone, off upwards spiralling together towards the circle of bright daylight above David Moyes’ head.
Some weeks later, David Moyes was at the theatre with his family. They were watching a dramatisation of Eric Cantona’s life story. A work of incredible prescience in the late 1960s. The audience were wrapped. The performance was full of creative moves, high-line pressing, getting forward in numbers and quick successful counter attacks, how could they not be? That sort of thing is the reason that people part with their hard earned cash.
But due to young Davey’s run in with good innovative players in the nebulous gloom some weeks previously, he felt afraid. He asked his parents to leave. Once they had, in the alley behind the theatre, they were both slain in extremely cold Scottish blood.
David Moyes, The Super Hero
From that day on, he vowed to spend each and every night disguised as the one thing he feared most in the world. Thus, that foggy evening, a new superhero was born, ‘Passing-it-Forwards-even-a-bit Man’
This particular hero’s costume is always the same. A black suit with a little black v-neck jumper, a red and white tie, a drop of cloudy yellow food colouring in each eye, and a confusing smatter of hair which is…ginger? Actually, is it? (Side question: Is David Moyes’ hair Ginger? It looks like the ghost of hay).
Today, forty years on, ‘Passing-it-Forwards-even-a-bit Man’ stalks the touchlines of Sunderland every match day. Attempting to rid the world of any player who can see the movement of a single team mate, find space in front of the opposition’s back four, or spread play to either wing. He has dedicated his life to defeating these people. Despite unsuccessful spells at Everton and Preston North End, the win ratios at his last three jobs imply he’s getting closer every day.
Ruining clubs, one at a time
David Moyes knows he’ll never be able to do that with every team, sure. What one man could come into a competition and entirely suck all the joy out of it? He’s not Greg Dyke with the Checkatrade Trophy. No, David Moyes has decided to do this one team at a time!
Why else would Sunderland have started Adnan Januzaj for almost the entirety of this season? A footballer so devoid of passion or desire, that I often use his performances when I’m in moments of intimacy to prolong the experience.
Why else would he insist on playing Jason Denayer, a Belgian centre half with legs as floppy as his hair, in a midfield three with Jack ‘ten years of potential’ Rodwell, and a marble statue that has the words ‘Darron Gibson’ chiseled into the base at its feet?
Moyes’ powers seemingly know no bounds. Even Jermaine Defoe, a player with such innate goalscoring prowess that he’s not only been recently recalled to the England team but scored in his first appearance in three years, has been neutralised by the pure ‘Moyesyness’ of Sunderland’s tactics.
The key to the buzz-kill in chief’s modus operandi was that he’s very much said one thing and done the other. Consistently banging on about wanting to build a young team, with young exciting players, and then signing the likes of Joleon Lescott, Steven Pienaar, and Former Prime Minister David Lloyd George. Alright one of those isn’t true, but at this point I struggle to remember which one.
Sunderland have struggled with central midfielders this year. Elegant German Jan Kirchhoff and 1980’s nostalgia footballer Lee Cattermole have both been consistently injured this season. They also missed out on signing Yann M’Vila from Rubin Kazan. Yet Moyes has decided to play a 4-3-3 regardless. Keeping an out of form Sebastian Larsson behind an alternating Borini/Januzaj in successive games despite having £13m Didier Ndong and Wahbi Kazhri on the bench.
This would all seem like the movements and ideas of a sociopath who’s managed to lose the dressing room, along with the plot. Thank goodness for the fact that he is ‘Passing-it-Forwards-even-a-bit Man’.
Hurry up and put me out of my misery
Sunderland’s last three games have been a 0-0 draw at home to Burnley, a 1-0 capitulation to Watford, and a 2-0 slump to rejuvenated Leicester. As a fan I find it hard to say a good thing about any of them.
Jordan Pickford is a great player? True! It’s a shame he doesn’t get more clean sheets. This is due to the absolutely shocking nine players in front of him (Defoe excluded).
On a serious note I’m close to trying to block out the rest of this campaign, I’ll go along still, sure, but I’m not going to open myself up to it any more. I get the feeling that my compatriots at Sunderland feel the same. We’re no longer screaming ‘HAWAY YA BASTARDS’ at the top of our lungs. Instead we’re cowed, silenced, all together yet somehow alone. Its really strange for a club synonymous with the Roker Roar to be so muted. The expectations are now rock bottom.
We’re going down and we deserve it. Not the fans, but the team, and Moyes. Especially Moyes.
Mission accomplished for our grey crusader, although he might want to worry a little that his secret identity has been exposed. At the last home game I watched a bloke in his mid-forties, frustrated and disappointed, about five seats down from me release a stifled shout from his exasperated, broken lips, he said ‘Why not try passing it forward even a bit, man’.