The fall of Moyes

Published Monday, 21 April 2014
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"We unanimously agreed on David Moyes, I've admired his work for a long time and approached him as far back as 1998 to discuss the position of assistant manager.

"There is no question he has all the qualities we expect of a manager at this club."

Those were the words proclaimed by out-going Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson just 11 months ago as he brought the curtain down on his glorious Old Trafford reign and crowned his successor.

Fast-forward less than a year later and the 2013/14 season lies in abject ruins for Manchester United.

The Champions League? Ended unceremoniously by Bayern Munich.

The FA Cup? Over at the first hurdle at Old Trafford by Swansea City.

The Capital One League Cup? Collapsed at the semi-final stage at home by a Sunderland side who have scrapped all season for their Premier League lives.

And the biggest thorn in the side of all is that with four matches of the Premier League season left, United have no hope of Champions League football, let alone the title they won for a record-increasing 20th time last season as they lie 23 points off leaders Liverpool.

Now it seems Moyes' managerial head is simply awaiting the axe to fall if reports on Monday are to be believed.

The national Press say United will dump the Scot following that season of toil.

Reports say he's lost the support of the club owners, the Glazer family and Moyes' six year contract could be nearing its end just 10 months in.

Many agree the current United squad is one in need of renovation with new players, however, how do you necessarily attract the best, if you're not in that coveted Champions League?

As Leeds, Liverpool and others have found over the last decade, it is quite difficult.

There were not many who expected United to win the league this season.

However, this is the same side which won the league title by 11 points last season and to sit seventh with four games of this campaign to go, is not good enough by far at Old Trafford.

Another thing that has not helped Moyes is the apparent divisions between him, his players and even his management backroom team.

When midfielder Anderson left to join Italian's Fiorentina on loan in January, he was quoted as saying other United players wanted out.

He also has not been helped by a failure of his two marquee signings this season to settle.

Marouane Fellaini came with him for a lot of money from Everton and, although he has not had the best luck with injury, has been a huge failure in the first season at least.

Juan Mata's arrival in January lifted the mood.

While a superbly gifted player but what United's midfield has been crying out for is a ball-winning box-to-box type not seen since Roy Keane graced Old Trafford.

In defence of Moyes the fact that Ferguson left in the summer along with chief executive David Gill did not help.

After being in-situ since 1986 the post-Ferguson days would always be a huge change at the club, but to let the top man go as well, left United on a sticky wicket from the start, and whilst many will point out the failings of Moyes, he is not alone - Ed Woodward, Gill's successor - must also take plenty of the flack.

United set out grand plans to lure top players to the club last summer, not least a chase of Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas that was doomed from day one.

In the end their dealings smacked off last-minute and desperation and plenty would argue resulted in them paying well over the odds for Fellaini.

So if, as seems certain now, Moyes does go, who is next?

Jurgen Klopp is one who has impressed at Borussia Dortmund, taking them to a German league title and the Champions League Final.

However, with the financial muscle of their domestic rivals Bayern Munich, might he feel he's taken Dortmund as far as he can and now cash in when his stock is high?

Jose Mourinho is another who has been linked with the Old Trafford top job for many years.

Short-term at least it seems club legend Ryan Giggs could fill the void.

In terms of the current Old Trafford playing and coaching staff, there is no one that can command greater respect the winger, still playing in his 40s, who since making his United debut in 1991, has won it all.

Dutchman Louis van Gaal is one with strong credentials.

The Holland manager is leaving after the national team's job after the World Cup and he would appear to have a key ally in the Old Trafford playing staff in Robin van Persie, one of several player's in the United team who reportedly have a frosty relationship with Moyes.

However, although he could, whilst continuing his coaching qualifications, play a part in the future management of the club, Giggs will not be the next permanent United manager.

The manner of Sunday's defeat at Everton was clinical. United were toothless in attack.

It was made worse in light of the fact Moyes said in his pre-match interviews, United still had "an outside chance" of making Champions League qualifications - that despite the fact United trailing 13 points (and three clubs) off that mark - was downright deluded.

United are expected to spend around the £150m on new players this summer and it seems the board are frightened of entrusting Moyes with that amount of money, doubting whether he can turn things around after an abysmal first season.

If United do dispense with the Scot, and it is still if, the next choice will be fascinating.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
pablo in Belfast wrote (279 days ago):
Of the 14 players who played in the 2-0 defeat at Everton, Fergie signed or brought through 13, yes 13!!! of these. These players don't know the meaning of the word 'professional'. Not only did they failed to play for Moyes but they failed to play for themselves, their employer, their fans and, what irks me, their hugely inflated wages. They threw their toys out of the pram when they didn't take to the new regime. They should have sacked the players rather than the manager but off course they are in so much debt, Moyes wasbthe cheaper option. No doubt Moyes didn't get the results, but you can't physically make a player perform for you and he was never given the chance. How long did it take Fergie to be sucessfull? 4years, not 10 months. I hope Giggs and the old boys are given the job full time and fail miserably.
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Chris Brennan
Chris Brennan

Chris Brennan is a cross-platform sports journalist with UTV.

As well as featuring on UTV Live and contributing to, Chris can be heard regularly on U105, fronting the station's sports coverage.

Chris started his career part-time, whilst still at school, with the Down Recorder newspaper in Downpatrick and then began freelancing when at college and university.

It was at this stage that he moved into broadcasting and began freelancing for UTV in 2004.

Chris is a graduate of Queen's University Belfast, where he graduated in Modern History and Politics.

Apart from his huge appetite for all sport - but especially football - his other interests include history and travel.

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