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.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower