David Moyes knows there is no 'Fergie time' if he struggles at Manchester United

Sir Alex was allowed to begin with a rocky three years, but the new boss must start winning fast

He may have signed a six-year contract to manage Manchester United but David Moyes has few illusions that the club will show him the kind of patience they had with Sir Alex Ferguson if things go wrong.

The theme of his presentation as United's first new manager since 1986 was continuity; underlined by the fact he was Ferguson's emphatic choice. However, should Moyes stumble, as Ferguson stumbled through his first three seasons, he is unlikely to receive the same backing.

"Probably not," said Moyes in the wake of an accomplished first press conference in the room at Old Trafford where Ferguson held court before Champions League games.

"In this day and age you would not get that. I don't think you can ever ask for time now. All you can ask is to be judged on how it goes. Time is something managers do not get now and it is a tough start." Three of United's first five games pitch them against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.

"I have met the Glazers – Joel and Avi – both here and in New York and they have given me a lot of confidence to get on with the job," said Moyes, who at Preston and Everton enjoyed a deeply personal relationship with his chairmen.

"Their message was to take your time and do things the way you want to do it. There are no great expectations on how I do the job. They are not owners who interfere."

The Glazers appear to have given Ferguson free rein to anoint his successor. Manchester United's former chief executive, David Gill, has a stock answer to questions on the succession: that Ferguson would "play a part" in choosing his replacement. However, few anticipated the role would be a one-man show.

Only one of English football's great managers – Sir Matt Busby – has chosen his successor, and Wilf McGuinness's tortured 18 months at Old Trafford is not an inspiring template. However, the call, when it came, induced feelings of panic in Moyes, principally over the way he was dressed.

"It was the Thursday before we played Liverpool (2 May) and I was with my wife in Altrincham. I had turned 50 the week before and she had bought me a watch as a present but I needed to get a link taken out.

"The phone rang and it was Sir Alex. I had no idea why he would want to phone me. He said: 'Could you drop over to the house for some lunch?'

"I told my wife that he must want me to take one of his players on loan or that he wanted to buy one of my players. I had my jeans and a T-shirt on and I felt I had to go home and get changed. I would never ever go to a meeting with Sir Alex wearing jeans."

Altrincham is a few miles from Ferguson's house in Wilmslow but it is a good hour's drive from Moyes's home near Preston. Pamela Moyes was left in a nearby shopping centre while Moyes went home in search of a suit.

"I had no inkling," he said. "He took me up the stairs, made me a cup of tea and spoke the words I will never forget. They were: 'I am retiring and you are the next manager of Manchester United'.

"I went back to pick her up and Pamela must have wondered where the hell I had been. I told her: 'I am the next Manchester United manager'. I cannot repeat what she said back."

Moyes is aware of the theory that to succeed Ferguson is to be handed a beautiful, inlaid cup of poison. Manchester United have not been serious contenders in Europe for two seasons now. The iconic presence of Jose Mourinho has returned to Stamford Bridge. Manchester City will keep spending until they break through once more. United may be champions but it means the only way is down.

"I have heard so many people say that you don't want to follow Sir Alex," said Moyes. "A lot of good managers have said that you don't want to take on that job. But he has left me a really good team and right now I feel fortunate."

Suggested Topics
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Robyn Lawley
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine