David Moyes ready to occupy biggest seat in league at Manchester United - Premier League - Football - The Independent

David Moyes ready to occupy biggest seat in league at Manchester United

New manager admits things ‘will never be as good’ as under his predecessor

Northern Football Correspondent

The black leather seat is an inordinately big one to fill – so big, in fact, that David Moyes needed to check he was alone before trying it out. The new Manchester United manager’s story of taking over Sir Alex Ferguson’s Carrington office, which he has told ahead of his historic first competitive game at the helm of the Premier League champions at Swansea today, is expressive of the space he finds himself occupying.

“Sitting in the chair for the first time felt odd,” Moyes said. “I did it myself with nobody looking. I thought I would have to see how it feels in case anybody thought I looked stupid.” And it has still not quite struck home that the club is his own now. “I still go into the office and feel... look, Sir Alex is still here and he will be…”

It is hard to feel that Moyes’ talk of seeking Ferguson’s counsel is anything other than genuine, and he revealed that he visited him recently as the 71-year-old recovers at home from a hip operation, the latest of a dozen talks the two men have had.

“I think it is just taking over from someone... It is going to be very hard for anybody to get close,” Moyes said. “I don’t think I have gone there for any advice. I have gone there and said, ‘This is how things are going. What are you thinking?’ He is going to be someone who is around. I want him to be around. On the first day I met him we had discussions about the team within an hour. Within the first 10 minutes of talking, and him telling me I was getting the job, we had already had discussions about the team and what would have to be done and what was expected, like sponsors, media, all the things that come from a big club. There were no airs and graces. He didn’t feather it. He told me straight what it was going to be like. He would expect me to get on and do the job myself.”

Ferguson said in 1992 that it had taken him three or four years to understand the job Moyes has taken. “I knew all about the history of Manchester United and was fascinated by the prospects of taking charge there, but I had no real inkling about the demands. I repeat, no manager is prepared for the job at Old Trafford.” Moyes said he could change things at Old Trafford in 18 months to two years, though defending an English title someone else has won brings rare challenges. Joe Fagan successfully defended Bob Paisley’s Liverpool 1982-83 title, but the last man to try it before that, Brian Clough at Leeds in 1974, lasted 44 days.

“I think the challenges are that quite often you would never take over a job when the team is so good,” Moyes said. “Usually you take over because a manager has been sacked or the team isn’t doing well. This is completely different because I am taking over a team that’s been successful. I have no doubt that there will be a lot of progress and change that I will implement. The previous manager has left things in place that are really important and the most important and impressive thing he has left is the winning mentality. They have won the league and now it’s: ‘Let’s win the next one’. That kind of quality is difficult to put into words. But when you are in there you see it and you feel it. The players and their spirit and attitude have really made me stand up and realise and see the difference. I can see the players and the edge and spirit of competitiveness they have.”

One player Moyes will have at his disposal is Wayne Rooney, who trained with the first team squad yesterday before travelling to South Wales, but is likely to be on the bench for today’s match.

He has not spoken to Wilf McGuinness, whose succession to Sir Matt Busby as United manager in 1969 lasted just 18 months. “I have to take over from someone who... I will not be better than,” Moyes said. “It will not get better than Sir Alex Ferguson. It just won’t. But what has to happen is the club has to keep moving forward and progressing. I do think that I am ready for the job. Because of that I have worked for a long time to get myself in a position where maybe I would be fortunate enough to land one of the big jobs. In my mind I have landed the biggest job. Yes, I am a rookie at Manchester United but I am not a rookie overall. I hope I am able to show that as the seasons progress.”

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week