Matt Butler: Goodbye Mr Moyes... It's what happens when the chips are down, David

It was a foolish move to ban the dish at Manchester United, especially for a man who comes from the country that brought us the deep-fried pizza and Mars bar

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The Independent Football

Now we know why David Moyes did not last at Manchester United: he was following the managerial tenets of Glenn Roeder.

Roeder brought in at West Ham 12 years ago the sort of draconian regime that Moyes followed last season, in banning chips. It didn’t work for him – he was sacked – and it didn’t work for Moyes.

Moyes said in an interview in Four Four Two: “Yes, I did ban chips. It was because a couple of players were overweight and I didn’t think chips were good for their diet.”

Foolish man. Nothing good comes from denying people chips. Chips are the glue to bind disparate cultures. Everybody likes them, whether they call them French fries, patatas fritas or friet. They are a gastronomic lingua franca that would unite any dressing room. Shinji Kagawa may have had his fermented soy bean gloop called natto, Nemanja Vidic his meat patty national dish known as pljeskavica and Ryan Giggs his, erm, Welsh rarebit, but they all would have gone for chips.

Sure, there would be the odd argument over which condiments are best to add to them. Vinegar? Ketchup? Gravy, for the local lads? But the dish itself would be a universal hit.

Apart from anything else, it seems a bit rich for Moyes, a man who hails from a country whose delights include deep-fried pizzas and Mars bars, that he should throw oily spuds off the menu.

All right, so he did say chips made his players a little pudgy. Anderson’s girth springs to mind – although his lack of game-time and general air of can’t-be-botheredness may have had something to do with it – and Wayne Rooney seldom looked like a lean, mean footballing machine, but the rest did not look overly lardy. That includes the Dutchman Robin van Persie, whose compatriots think nothing of spooning mayonnaise over their chippy treats.

And apparently chips at Carrington was a tradition adhered to throughout the Alex Ferguson era – an epoch that, if memory serves us correctly, was rather successful, if not known for the proliferation of gutbucket players.

Was Moyes that desperate to be a new broom in the house that he outlawed chips? Or was it designed as a move towards a 21st-century club philosophy, one that valued statistical algorithms and finely-tuned dietary instructions over gut instinct – in the literal sense of the phrase?

Or was the ban an attempt to revive Roeder’s teachings? If it was, then Moyes deserved everything he got.

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