David Moyes sacked: Manchester United decision to dismiss Moyes was made in February

United have announce manager’s departure after failure to qualify for Champions League triggers one-year pay-off

Manchester United today announced David Moyes had been relieved of his duties as manager, having concluded long before Sunday’s punishing defeat at Everton that he cannot be trusted with the potential £150m war chest intended to meet the club’s aim of reclaiming the Premier League title next season.

The Glazer family, who will be in Manchester next week to help oversee a managerial recruitment process in which Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp is a front-runner, appear to have sanctioned the removal of Moyes as far back as the Champions League defeat at Olympiakos on 25 February. The decision to get rid of the 50-year-old was discussed and possibly ratified at a recent United board meeting but there is a financial motive behind delaying removing him until now. 

The mathematical impossibility of United finishing in the top four this season, following their 11th Premier League defeat of the season at Goodison Park on Sunday, means that United need only give Moyes a one-year pay-off under the terms of his five-year deal, rather than honour the full four years left on that contract. Ryan Giggs could then take over as caretaker manager for the final four games of the season

Initially, it had been thought that the Scot's departure might be a graceful one after United's Premier League season ends at Southampton on 11 May. But chief executive Ed Woodward has been urgently seeking to tie up transfer business in Germany and Spain before the World Cup starts, in 52 days' time. The prospect of securing players such as Southampton's Luke Shaw and Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos would be even more challenging if United were under the leadership of a lame-duck manager, as well as unable to offering such recruits Champions League football next season.


Klopp is instinctively reluctant to break his contract at Dortmund but United are understood to have approached him, with the Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal also high on the list of possible replacements. The process of sounding managers out may have under way for as long as four weeks. The prospect of a return to Old Trafford for Laurent Blanc, currently Paris Saint-Germain coach, cannot be ruled out. The job done at Atletico Madrid by Diego Simeone also makes him another outside contender. The idea of Moyes' successor at Everton, Roberto Martinez, taking over the reins would be appealing to many, though that is thought to be an unthinkable prospect for the Merseyside club.

Read more: Who's next? United cannot afford to get it wrong again
The damning statistics that tell the tale of Moyes' woe
How Moyes paid for failure in the transfer market

United's need to move quickly is also born of the deep worries about season-ticket renewals, with the narrative they are trying to establish of leaping straight back into serious title contention after a ";once in a lifetime" transition season being one that many supporters are just not swallowing. By delaying on any action until 11 May, the club also face a repeat of the problem they encountered last summer - attempting to sign players from a standing start in June.


Though Danny Welbeck became the first to let it be know, at the weekend, that he is frustrated by his lack of opportunities at United, the manager's reaction behind closed doors to the 2-0 defeat at Everton left others convinced he is in a sense of denial at the club's problems. Moyes arrived in the away dressing room to tell the players that they had played well and had been unlucky - to the astonishment of experienced players who always knew that Sir Alex Ferguson's public defence of them would be followed by a private dressing down after such a dismal performance.

The club also have the issue of a deeply disaffected old guard to consider. The silence from Giggs in recent weeks - with the exception of one very uneasy press conference appearance alongside Moyes last month - creates the prospect of him simply drifting away from Old Trafford at the end of next month. He has started only four games this calendar year, the last of which saw his illustrious Champions League career appear to end with an ignominious half-time substitution against Bayern Munich. The presence at United of Giggs and his former team-mate Paul Scholes - who is understood to have felt Moyes' attempts to call on his experience extremely half-hearted - could potentially be a major draw to prospective signings. Losing Giggs would be another break with the past.

Read more: Could Ferguson return?
Moyes on want-away striker Danny Welbeck
United passed the ball 'brilliantly' against Everton - Moyes

The Glazers arrive in Manchester at a time when they are under pressure to make a first major decision relating to the club, at last. Having enjoyed the luxury of Ferguson and former chief executive David Gill running the club for them, they then allowed Ferguson to drive the flawed decision about who should succeed him. He was initially adamant that Moyes should be given the time that he was allowed, when Ferguson took United through some very dark days in the late 1980s. But he seems to have harboured personal misgivings about Moyes during a plummet which has called into question Ferguson's own judgement.

Moyes is understood to have known after the desperate 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool on 16 March that he was skating on extremely thin ice and several sources suggest he might have made a half-hearted offer to quit at that stage. But the board told him that they were willing to let him tough things out.

It has been Moyes' misfortune that 2013-14 was the season when bold, tactically ambitious managers like Martinez and Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool have flourished, revealing literally how far off the pace Moyes' football has been, and exposing his absence of a core philosophy. Welbeck's pace - a quality United have lacked - has been used just 13 times in the Premier League. Phil Jones has drifted around the team, too often in a central midfield combination where his lack of mobility has been exposed. There has also been a baffling reluctance to use Adnan Januzaj. The 19-year-old has also started a mere 13 Premier League games despite causing consistent problems to defences.

Though Moyes' fate was set by the Olympiakos defeat - which Rooney said was United's worst European performance in his time - the real concern came on 1 February when Moyes was able to deploy Rooney and Robin van Persie together for the first time in three months and also call upon new signing Juan Mata. United lost 2-1 at Stoke.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own