When I first heard the title of the book ‘A Season in the Red – Managing Man Utd in the shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson’ by Jamie Jackson, I assumed that it was a review of the 2013-14 Season for Manchester United. When I got the book, I found that it covered both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Seasons. By covering these two seasons, rather than just the 2013-14 it gives a real comparison between the two United managers Moyes and Van Gaal, plus Ryan Giggs’ temporary spell in charge of the team following Moyes’ departure.
The events of these two seasons are still very fresh in mind and I was fortunate to have been at most of the United matches from them. The author, Jamie Jackson, is the Manchester Correspondent for The Guardian newspaper and also writes for The Observer and he too, was at those matches, plus the important club Press Conferences and other important events over these two seasons. Reading through the book gives a very interesting insight into the life of a journalist covering Manchester United at this time and the way he interprets events especially the way in which the players and management go about their roles at United.
Starting with David Moyes, the author goes into detail how he set about his enormous challenge as the successor to the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United. Reading through the chapters on Moyes I found myself agreeing a lot with the author’s views on Moyes, especially with the type of words that Moyes used so much in interviews and Press Conferences which did not inspire confidence in him or his team. Many of his players did not seem to have confidence in him as the season wore on either. At the time, from a United supporters’ viewpoint the way he spoke at times certainly concerned me and this was without the benefit of hindsight now. As match going fans we really wanted him to succeed and also be given time. As we know, as the season progressed, things got worse and this is accurately covered by the author in detail in the book. Ultimately the challenge had become too much for Moyes and following a bad defeat away at Everton he was relieved of his duties.
Ryan Giggs’ temporary spell as Caretaker Manager is covered well in this book too, before leading into an impressive analysis of the character of Louis Van Gaal and the 2014-15 Season for Manchester United. The contrasts and differences in personality and character between Moyes and Van Gaal are quite significant. This is especially the case with the way in which they speak in interviews and press conferences. The 2014-15 season was clearly a challenge for Van Gaal too, like the previous one was for Moyes, but the different ways in which both managers faced those was quite significant. The challenges continue now for Van Gaal, but there were certainly more positives in his 1st season at United than there were for Moyes.
This book is a really good record of the events of 2 very challenging seasons at Manchester United, following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, especially looking at the managers who succeeded him. In years to come, it will also be good to look back at the events of those two seasons in this book.
It is an interesting book to read and I would certainly recommend reading it, even if we all have bad memories of some of the defeats during those 2 seasons.
Jamie Jackson’s book ‘A Season in the Red – Managing Man Utd in the shadow of Alex Ferguson’ is available to buy now from all leading book sellers.
Jamie Jackson’s Twitter account – @JamieJackson__