We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk

News & Comment

David Moyes sacked: How Manchester United defied the advice of Sir Alex Ferguson

The most successful manager in the club's history was the driving force behind appointing Moyes

During his 26 years as manager of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson made mistakes, some even by his own admission such as the sale of Jaap Stam and failure to sign Edwin van der Sar sooner.

But for the most part he did right - that's why United won 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League titles under his stewardship. It's also why the club listened to his advice when seeking his replacement.

But the announcement today that his successor David Moyes had been sacked told the world that the hierarchy at Manchester United felt his final decision, his choice of successor, had been the wrong one.

Ferguson was the driving force behind the appointment of David Moyes - the latter told the story of how he was invited to Ferguson's house to be told not that he was being offered the job, but quite simply "you're the next Manchester United manager". Few ever dared to argue with Ferguson and Moyes wasn't about to start.

"We unanimously agreed on David Moyes," Ferguson said in a statement to announce the appointment of his successor.

It continued: "David is a man of great integrity with a strong work ethic. I've admired his work for a long time and approached him as far back as 1998 to discuss the position of assistant manager here.

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


Since the appointment of Moyes numerous ex-players, existing employees and pundits have spoken of the merits of appointing the Scot. Rio Ferdinand said on the day it was announced that Moyes was succeeding Ferguson: "I'm sure he is the right man to take us forward."

David Beckham spoke of Moyes needing time to get through the "transitional period", Eric Cantona said he was "strong enough to handle the pressure" and even Roy Keane offered his backing: "I think United will be all right and David Moyes will get plenty of time," said the club's former captain last month. "The man deserves it. He’s got vast experience, but his staff and a couple of senior players, they have to step up to the plate."

David Moyes at his unveiling


Whether Ferguson was involved in anyway in the decision to sack Moyes less than 10 months after he took the job is unclear but it seems unlikely. The most pertinent words Ferguson had to say about his successor were those made in a speech to the Old Trafford crowd after his last home match in charge.

"I'd also like to remind you that when we had bad times here the club stood by me, all my staff stood by me, the players stood by me - your job now is to stand by our new manager. That is important."

It was advice that with a brief announcement on Twitter was ignored.