Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch (Episode 5)

david moyes2

david moyes2David Moyes is sitting at his desk when there’s a knock on the door and in walks Ed Woodward.

Ed Woodward: Morning Dave! How are you today?

[Ed Woodward stops as he sees David Moyes who is playing with an old Subbuteo set on his desk, mumbling to himself as his twitching hands jerkily manipulate the pieces across the ‘pitch’]

EW: Dave?

[David Moyes looks up and shakes his head as if to gather himself]

David Moyes: Oh, hi Ed! I was just trying to work out what went wrong against Fulham the other night. I’m baffled. We put in more crosses than any team ever in the history of football and we still only managed a draw. It doesn’t make any sense. What more could we have done?

EW: I know, Dave. Listen, don’t worry about it. It’s gone now. Fulham were a tough nut to crack. Arsenal should be easier, right? Anyway, that’s kind of why I’m here today, Dave. I’ve got some really good news for you.

DM: [perks up a little] Good news? I haven’t had any of that for a while. What is it?

EW: Well Dave. We’ve been watching your erm… progress… since arriving here at Manchester United and we feel that perhaps you didn’t fully appreciate the size of the job before you came. It has certainly been an eye-opener for us, too. We didn’t realise just how much Sir Alex had to deal with when we appointed you. It’s a whole different ball game to … where were you before?

DM: Everton.

EW: Yes, Everton… of course. Yes, much bigger here at United. More demands on the manager. More expectation. We feel that you perhaps need a bit of a helping hand. Someone to take some of the load and let you concentrate fully on those things you do best. So… we’ve appointed a Director of Football! He’s here now, should I call him in? [Without waiting for Moyes to respond, Ed Woodwards calls out…] Alex!

[Alex Ferguson bounds into the room sporting a huge smile]

Sir Alex Ferguson: Daaaviiiiddd!!! How are you old son?

DM: Err… hiya Alex. What…?

SAF: Dave, remember I always said that I’d be here if you need me? Well, here I am!

EW: [Cutting in] We just want to stress that you’re still the manager, Alex will just be helping out with some of your duties.

DM: Such as?

EW: Well, initially, it will be restricted to things like player recruitment, tactical direction and first team selection… that kind of thing.

DM: Uh? Who will be coaching the team?

SAF: Oh, don’t worry about that. You’ll still be involved in the coaching. I thought you could take the session every Monday.

DM: Every Mon…!!?? Wait a minute! We don’t even have a session on Mondays, that’s the players’ day off!

SAF: Yes but if you could put the cones out and stuff, that would be a massive help for us coming in on Tuesday.

DM: I don’t know… something doesn’t seem right about this… I just can’t seem to put my finger on what it is.

SAF: It’s for the best Dave. It’ll all work out. Just you wait and see. Oh, Dave, can you do me a favour? I left my briefcase outside, could you get it for me? My hip’s playing up a bit today.

DM: [still in a slight state of shock and confusion nods weakly, gets up and walks out of the room to retrieve SAF’s briefcase. When he comes back in the room, SAF is sitting behind the desk] What the?

SAF: Ahh. That feels better. I love this chair. Does wonders for my old back.

EW: I think we’ll just leave Alex to it eh, Dave? Come on, we’ll go and have a spot of lunch. I wanted to talk to you a bit about Press Conferences. I find your technique fascinating…

Back At The Ranch (Episode 4)


David-Moyes_2David Moyes is sitting in his office, reading the morning papers when there’s a knock at the door and Sir Alex Ferguson walks in.

David Moyes [wearing his biggest smile]: Morning, Alex!

Sir Alex: Morning, Dave. I must say that you’re looking very chipper this morning.

DM: Well, it’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the birds are singing. What’s there to be miserable about?

SAF: That’s one of the things I’ve always liked about you David. Your indistinguishable optimism. It’s remarkable. But surely you must have some concerns after yesterday’s result?

DM: Not at all, Alex. Everything’s falling into place, the plan is working and I’m absolutely 100% confident that, by the end of the season, people will look at the table and say, “Moyesey’s done it again!”

SAF: Done what again, exactly?

DM: Well… finished seventh, of course!

SAF [looking a bit puzzled]: David, I just want to check that we’re on the same page here. You do realise that seventh is not what is expected of you here?

DM: Yes but I do have my standards and eighth would be completely unacceptable to me.

SAF: No. I think you misunderstand. You’re not at Everton anymore. Everton is a fine club with great traditions, family atmosphere cliché cliché etc etc but at Manchester United we expect to be challenging at the top of the table every season.

DM: Oh, for feck’s sake! Now you tell me! Bloody hell. I wish you’d all made that clear when I came. “We love what you’ve done at Everton and we want you to bring that to Manchester United”, you said. Well, I’ve brought it all to Manchester United and now you’re telling me that that wasn’t what you wanted at all! Do you realise how hard I’ve had to try to turn last season’s champions into also-rans this season? Some of the decisions I’ve had to make have been so crazy that “inspired” is about the only word I can use to describe them, even if I do say so myself. It hasn’t been easy explaining them to the press week after week, either.

SAF [slumps forward on the desk and groans]

DM: So… what do I do now?

SAF: Well, you need to get us up that table. Top three is looking impossible but fourth gives us a chance of Champions League football next season. That has to be your absolute minimum target now. Let’s have a think… Robin Van Persie?

DM: What about him?

SAF: How’s the injury?

DM: Oh, he’s not injured. He’s fine but I couldn’t have him playing and knocking in goals all over the place, not if I was to finish seventh.

SAF [sitting open-mouthed]: … Rooney’s not injured either, is he?

DM: Of course not! He’s another! He was playing far too well so I told him to go away on holiday with the wife and kids. Not sure Egypt was such a good idea though, he burns terrible doesn’t he?

SAF: Right, well you need to put them back in the side immediately. How are the transfer dealings going?

DM: Well, in light of what you’ve just told me, I’ll probably have to rethink the whole thing. It’s a good job Woodward’s terrible at his job or we’d have Baines, Osman and Pienarr signed by now.

SAF: OK. Are we all clear now, Dave? You know what you’ve got to do?

DM: Absolutely. No problemo. Ah, one more thing. Where do we stand on the Capital One Cup thing?

SAF: Well, we try to win it.

DM: Well, it’s a good job we had this discussion. I’ve been trying to work out how the hell I can go out against Sunderland without it looking too obvious. Right. Leave me to it. Now you’ve made your mind up what it is that you want from me, I’ll get right onto it. Do you still have Phelan’s number knocking around anywhere, by the way?

The Ranch (Episode 3)

It’s Tuesday, 3rd September 2013. The morning after the transfer window has closed. David Moyes is sat at his desk reading a tabloid when his door bursts open, Ed Woodward comes bounding in, jumps on Moyes’ desk and starts gyrating his hips whilst smacking his own backside.

Ed Woodward: Who’s your daddy!? Who’s your daddy, Dave? Who’s your daddy!?

[David Moyes remains seated with a puzzled look on his face]

David Moyes: Morning Ed. Are you feeling alright?

[Ed Woodward jumps off the desk and throws himself into a chair opposite David Moyes]

EW: Oh, I’m sorry about that Dave but I’m still buzzing from last night. I’m completely knackered because I had to stay up well past bedtime but I haven’t experienced a rush like that since we wrapped up the deal with DHL.

DM: You feel you’re getting into your new role, then?

EW: Oh yes! I know a few people doubted my credentials but I think it was humble pie for breakfast for them after my performance last night.

[David Moyes hurriedly folds up the newspaper he was reading and throws it into his desk drawer]

DM: You enjoyed the cut and thrust of the transfer window, then?

EW: Absolutely Dave! When can we do it again?

DM: Well, the window opens again in January.

EW: Awesome! But I don’t think we’ll be quite as busy in January, will we?

[Moyes stares at Woodward in disbelief for a brief moment before gathering himself again]

DM: Well, there are one or two situations I’m monitoring but we’ve got a few months before we need to concern ourselves with that. I’ve been thinking though… perhaps next time we should get our business done a bit earlier in the window rather than leave it until the last minute? Everyone will be expecting us to wait until the last minute so it will completely throw everyone if we go in early.

EW: I like the way you think Dave… keep one step ahead of the competition and all that but I don’t know… wheeling and dealing against the clock was rather exhilarating.

DM: But wasn’t your mother worried when you got home so late?

EW: Well… yes, she did ring me a couple of times to inquire as to my whereabouts.

DM: Well, there you go then. There’s really no need to do all this stuff at the very last minute. If it makes you feel better about it, I’ll have all the clocks in the building put forward by six hours so you’ll think the deadline is getting close.

EW: [Smiling like a loon] Brilliant!

DM: Ok. That’s sorted then. Now if you’ll excuse me Ed, I have to get on with some paperwork.

EW: Of course Dave. I know you’re busy. I’ve got to speak to a supplier about some Fellaini wigs for the Megastore, anyway. We have no business calling ourselves a football club if we don’t cash in on that barnet if you ask me. Would you like me to bring you one up when they arrive?

DM: I don’t think so, thanks. Catch you later Ed.

[David Moyes waits until Woodward leaves the room before calling his secretary]

DM: Hi. Have the 2014 calendars arrived for the offices yet? They have? Ok. Can you do me a favour and rip out the first two weeks in every one of them? We’re starting 2014 and the 15th January. Don’t ask, long story.

The Ranch (Episode 2)

A little spoof piece I wrote last week seems to have gone down quite well with a few people so I thought I’d have a bash at another. Hope you like it.

[David Moyes is sat at his desk when his door is suddenly thrown open and Ed Woodward comes bounding in.]

Ed Woodward: Great news, Dave! They’ve signed!!!

David Moyes [smiling]: Who have? Baines and Fellaini?

EW: Eh? No. Federal Tyres. They’re now our Official Tyre Manufacturer in Russia and Taiwan!

[Moyes cannot hide the frown that has now covered his face]

EW: Hmm… I thought you’d be as excited as I am about it. You don’t seem too impressed. Did you have a different tyre manufacturer in mind?

DM: Oh, it’s great news Ed. I’m really pleased. The absence of an Official Tyre Manufacturer for Russia & Taiwan has been bothering me for quite some time now and I was hoping you’d address the glaring omission soon but I was also hoping that you’d have some news for me on the player transfer situation.

EW: What do you want to know, Dave? You should know me by now – openness and honesty are just two of my middle names.

DM: Well, where are we up to with the bids and whatnot?

EW: What bids?

DM: Well, last week, you’d put in a few derisory and insulting bids so I presumed you’d go back with improved offers?

EW: Eh?

DM: Well, I thought those first bids were just “testing the water” so to speak and you’d go back again with more realistic bids.

EW: Well, bugger me, I didn’t think of that! I can see why Fergie spoke so highly of you now, Dave. You’re one smart cookie. I’m going to write that down for future reference…

[Ed Woodward takes out a pad and pen and makes a quick note]

DM: Are you saying that there has been no progress or even activity on the transfer front since last week?

EW: Well… it just didn’t occur to me. Given that the bids we put in for those first few players were deemed unrealistic, I thought perhaps you’d get a bit more realistic with your targets and come back to me with some different players to try for.

DM: Ed, this is Manchester United. We’re amongst the elite clubs in world football. We’re the reigning Premier League Champions. We have to act like it and get the best players in even if they cost a few quid. Have you even been reading the papers recently?

EW: Of course I have! Well… the Financial Times… does that count?

DM: Any time now Real Madrid are going to sign Gareth Bale for around £86 million.

EW [whistles]: Phew! He must be pretty good… or extremely marketable. Is he good looking?

DM: Eh? Err… I suppose he looks a bit better since Real Madrid suggested he get his ears pinned back – he can run twice as fast as a result, too – aerodynamics and all that … [Shakes his head as if to get his thoughts back on track] Look. That’s not the point. Most of our domestic rivals have spent around £90 million this summer. We’ve spent about £1.5 million on Varela. It just doesn’t send out the right message.

EW: You think £1.5 million was too much?

DM: It’s not enough! We should be out there competing with them for these players not watching them go and then scratching around for the leftovers come deadline day.

EW: But we work hard to bring in these commercial sponsors and it just seems a bit of a waste of time if you’re going to go out and spend all the money on players.

[Moyes stares at Woodward with mouth open in disbelief]

EW: OK! OK! I get it! [Now walking towards the door] I’ll go back with some improved offers for those players. Don’t worry, you’ll have some new toys before the deadline. Wish I hadn’t bothered to come and give you the good news now. [Exiting the room] Bloody ingrate.

[Heads off down the corridor mumbling something about his kids having beans on toast for tea that evening]

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

David Moyes and Ed Woodward are in David’s office, having an early morning cup of coffee.

David Moyes: So, Ed. How are you getting on with that list of players I’ve asked you to bring in for me?

Ed Woodward: It’s going great, Dave. We’ve already had six derisory bids rejected and last night, I emailed another. I’m expecting a text any minute now.

[A rendition of Abba’s Money, Money, Money is heard coming from Ed Woodward’s pocket]

EW: Hang on, Dave. This’ll be it…

[Takes out mobile phone, presses a few buttons, furrows brow]

EW: Hmm. That’s strange. What does “LOL” mean?

[David Moyes rolls his eyes]

DM: I think it means that they think that your latest offer is “derisory”, too.

EW: Bloody hell Dave. We’re talking about blokes who kick a bag of air about an area of grass. How hard is that? Just how much do these buggers cost these days?

DM: Some can be very expensive. Who’s that message from?

EW: Everton.

DM: Ahh. Which player? Fellaini or Baines?

EQ: Fellaini.

DM: How much did you bid?

EW: £20 million!

DM: Hmm. Problem is, I bought Fellaini while I was at Everton for £15million. He had a clause in his contract which allowed him to go to a club which was in the Champions League if they bid £23million but that ran out at the end of July. That’s kind of why I gave you that list as soon as I arrived at the beginning of July. He’s a decent player, one of the most important for Everton. There’s no way they’ll let him go for less than that £23million we put in his contract when we signed him.

EW: So, what you’re saying is that we should offer MORE than £23million? But that’s stupid Dave when we could have had him for £23million just a few weeks ago.

DM: Yes. It is very stupid. As I say, that’s why I gave you that list almost two months ago.

EW: Heyyyy! I hope you’re not blaming me for this! If you remember, I was out making derisory and insulting offers for Fabregas for most of July. There’s no way you can blame me for this one! I only have one pair of hands you know.

DM: Sure Ed. Have we heard anything more from Chelsea about Wayne?

EW: Rooney, you mean?

DM: Yes. Wayne Rooney.

EW: Ahh… That explains that, then. Someone asked me the other day if we were selling Wayne. I thought he had a speech impediment and I remember thinking “Selling rain!?? Bloody good idea!!! The Glazers are onto it right now but er… no. Last we heard was they offered £25million or something… I can’t remember now but I liked the cut of Everton’s jib so I told them that it was derisory and insulting. I was checking the books and we bought that player for more than £25million. They must think we’re stupid if we’d sell him for less, isn’t that right Dave?

DM: He’s not for sale at any price, ok?

EW: Now, now Dave. Let’s not be hasty! They could come back with £30million any minute now and that’s not to be sniffed at. Just think how many more derisory and insulting offers I could make with an extra £30million in the bank!

DM: Look. There’s only a couple of weeks to go before the transfer window closes. Last season, we had a player called Paul Scholes retire. Are you familiar with Paul Scholes?

[Woodward screws up his face in concentration, staring off into the distance]

EW: Pauuuullll…. Schoooooles…. hmm.. nope, can’t say that I am. Was he good?

DM: Er… yeah. He was pretty useful. He could certainly kick that bag of air around that area of grass better than most.

EW: Cool!

DM: We need to replace him. It won’t be easy and it won’t be cheap.

EW: Ha-ah! I just remembered. Take a look at this [hands Moyes a photo]. Young kid, Juventus signed him on a free last season. Had a decent season by all accounts, I reckon we could get him for about five mill.

DM: That’s Paul Pogba.

EW: You know him!? Hmm… I thought this was a bit of a coup.

[David Moyes slumps forward and hits his head on his desk]

DM: Just keep working through that list and let me know if you come to a player called Bobby Charlton.

EW: OK, Dave. Will do. Great meeting. Very productive. Catch you later. Have to dash. Am in the middle of tying up a sponsorship deal with a very well known soft drinks company but SHHHHweppes… mum’s the word… if you know what I mean [winks and laughs]. Haha, I made a funny… haha.

Oh, by the way, that reminds me. We’ve had some feedback from a few of our sponsors. You know how when Fergie retired, we were looking for another dour Scotsman?

DM: You were?

EW: Yes. Anyway. Our Sponsor Feedback Department says that they find you a bit too dour. Do you think you could try to be a little less dour?

DM: I’ll tell you what. Get me Fabregas and I’ll be Ronald Mcf*ckingDonald for the rest of the season, how’s that?

EW: Haha! I like it! You drive a hard bargain but I like that, Dave. You and I are going to have a really good working relationship, I can feel it. Leave it with me.

[Woodward exits the office]

[Moyes picks up phone, calls his secretary]

DM: Can you get me David Gill on the line?

[Moments later, Moyes’ phone rings]

DM: Hi Dave. Are you busy?