Louis Van Gaal's brand is not a market leader
Nowhere is perception and illusion more important than in the English Premier League.
Bald facts and statistics, however, cannot be argued against. Like the astonishing fact flashed up on Match of the Day illustrating that, out of the first 21 Premier League games Manchester United played under Louis Van Gaal and David Moyes, they have the same number of points.
Surprised? It certainly shocked me.
But then, Van Gaal is a much more compelling figure and it would appear that doughty Moyes was a soft target for sections of the media.
After having been the brand leaders for so long, the practise of laughing at Manchester United was so novel and enjoyable for many, that Moyes was the figurehead of ridicule.
After a European game last year, RTÉ analyst Richard Sadlier, usually an astute judge, questioned what Moyes' 'brand' was? Almost a year on, Phil Thompson was defending Van Gaal, citing his football 'philosophy' and how the full-backs are pushing up, and midfield joining the attack, and all sorts of trimmings.
Still, they failed to get a single shot on goal against Southampton. Even after Van Gaal's spending of almost £300 million, we have a scenario where Radamel Falcao and Adnan Januzaj cannot get a look in.
Van Gaal's 'philosophy', it would appear, is to send on Marouane Fellaini and ping long balls up towards the big man. Brand. Philosophy. Approach. All vague concepts. None of them put points on the board.
Meanwhile, Moyes looked like a man who had shed years from himself on January 4, when he led Real Sociedad to victory over Barcelona.