David Moyes sacked: Signs that Moyes was close to breaking point at Manchester United were so obvious it became unpleasant to watch

Moyes was sacked as United manager on Tuesday morning after a dismal season that has proved painful viewing for those close to Scot

The sense of man being close to breaking point has been there all along and it has been very unpleasant to behold at times. In a back corridor of The Hawthorns six weeks ago, David Moyes gave full force to his temper when expressing his displeasure at the characterisation of one of his regular written communiques to fans as an 'open letter.' Venom has always been one of his components.

Manchester United sack manager David Moyes

There have been attempts to rein in his ire and his sometimes bare contempt for those who question him: the Easter eggs on offer before his last pre-match press conference on Good Friday felt like a choreographed softening. But beyond that, Moyes has not felt the need to alter his formula. He has agonised over the results of the last 348 days - defeats have always affected him deeply -  but his broad message has been that "I have the experience" - as he put it after the eviscerating home defeat to Manchester City which foretold what this season had in store. 

Unfortunately for him, it was the wrong kind of experience. Building a team to defy the best, as his Everton were for so long, would never be enough. There was a rare admission that a journalist was right, when he admitted in late March that a lack of pace in the team was a problem - "I'll try to improve that," he said - but it was a forlorn hope . Gary Neville boiled it all down as United's ponderous midfield entered the the last half of Sunday's unravelling at Everton and Martin Tyler said they might as well through everything at it.  They (ital)are(close) throwing everything at it, Neville replied.

 

It has been Moyes' misfortune that 2013/14 was the season when bold, tactically ambitious managers like Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers flourished. Rodgers' recasting of Steven Gerrard as a regista has been admiringly noticed by the Old Trafford board at a time when Moyes seemed unable to discern how and where his players might work best.

Read more: Giggs set to take over as caretaker manager
Decision to sack Moyes was made in February

Danny Welbeck and Adnan Januzaj have played a mere 13 Premier League games in a season when Anfield and Goodison have radiated to the sights of young managers investing faith in young players like Daniel Sturridge, Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson, Seamus Coleman.

Whilst hyper-analysing how to re-capture this season's longest winning run (six games, in December) Moyes flip-flopped between two contradictory messages: that his inheritance was not all it was cracked up to be and - lest that offend the kingmaker Sir Alex Ferguson - that these players knew what winning looked like. The lengths to which United went to preserve Wayne Rooney at the club from which Ferguson had virtually expunged him - showing him the transfer targets as well as the record salary - were almost unhealthy.

But when evidence of the rapprochement between striker and club materialised in early February, just as Juan Mata was signed, it felt like the sun might be about to come out. United promptly lost - dismally so - at Stoke.

Read more: Who's next? United can't afford to get it wrong again
Could Moyes end up at Tottenham?

A season out of the Champions League is manageable for United and the sales pitch to players and supporters is already well honed. It is that 2014/15 was a 'once in a lifetime' season for a club who will be back with a venom in 2015/16: the 'comeback season.' The talk at board level in recent months has been along the lines of it not being so much 'if' but 'when' United will re-claim the Premier League title next season. With Moyes that became a very forlorn prospect, though the club's problem now is the acute lack of certainty that comes attached to any of the candidates.

Louis van Gaal's arrival would involve acclimatisation to a difficult force of nature. There is no certainty that Jurgen Klopp can replicate his Borussia Dortmund achievements at a club three or four times the size and with proportionately greater expectations. Roberto Martinez would  constitute less of a risk but Bill Kenwright would be lynched if he let him go.

It is the scenario United dreaded all through the years that they half-imagined a landscape beyond Sir Alex Ferguson and, intoxicated by the taste of success, did so little to prepare for it.

Read more: Five crushing lows that cost Moyes his job
How this season turned so sour
Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project