Remembering David Moyes’ doomed spell as Manchester United manager

On this day six years ago Moyes was sacked by United

Wednesday 22 April 2020 08:24
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David Moyes did not last long at Manchester United
David Moyes did not last long at Manchester United

David Moyes was handed a six-year contract when he was appointed Manchester United manager in the summer of 2013, but less than 10 months into the job he was shown the door on April 22, 2014.

Succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson was never going to be an easy job for anyone – as those who have followed Moyes have learned themselves – but where did things go wrong?

Here we take a look at Moyes’ brief reign at Old Trafford.

‘The Chosen One’

After 26 years and 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles, Ferguson announced his retirement for a second and final time in May 2013.

Remaining at the club as a director and ambassador, Ferguson handpicked Moyes as his successor, seeing something of himself in his fellow Scot.

Sir Alex Ferguson departed in 2013

During more than a decade at Everton, Moyes had operated well on an often limited budget, securing European qualification a number of times while nurturing a number of youngsters.

Ferguson said he had once sought to appoint Moyes as his assistant and said “there is no question he has all the qualities we expect of a manager at this club”.

Teething troubles

Moyes was able to enjoy the first couple of weeks of the season as United beat Wigan to lift the FA Community Shield before thrashing Swansea 4-1 on the opening day of the Premier League season, but things quickly went downhill.

United made an encouraging start

After a 4-1 defeat to local rivals Manchester City and a 2-1 home defeat to West Brom, the pressure mounted as United endured their worst start to a season since 1989.

Growing discontent

United suffered back-to-back home league defeats for the first time since 2001-02 when Everton and Newcastle picked up victories at Old Trafford in December, while in January Swansea knocked them out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle.

After 3-0 home defeats to both Manchester City and Liverpool, fans organised a flypast as a banner read “Wrong One – Moyes Out”

The final straw

With a spectator dressed as the Grim Reaper taunting him from beside the dugout, Moyes watched his United side limp to a 2-0 defeat against his old club Everton on April 20 – a defeat which ensured United would miss out on a Champions League place for the first time since 1995-96.

In order to avoid a drawn-out period of speculation over his future, United announced his departure on the morning of the 22nd, with Ryan Giggs taking over on an interim basis. Moyes left having won 27 of his 51 games in charge, but with United’s worst home record since 1978.

Moyes did not survive the season

What came next

Giggs remained in charge for the rest of the season, with a brief return of the feel-good factor at United, before Louis Van Gaal took the job in the summer.

The Dutchman would lift the FA Cup but with a win percentage of 52.43 barely higher than Moyes, he left after two seasons to be replaced by Jose Mourinho.

The ‘Special One’ did better than the ‘Chosen One’, winning the Europa League and the League Cup while finishing second in the Premier League in 2018, but he departed early in the 2018-19 season after winning only seven of their opening 17 games.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived, initially on an interim basis, but won the job permanently with some strong results.

Moyes moved abroad with Real Sociedad but survived only one season in Spain before heading to Sunderland and then West Ham. Having seen out a short-term deal with the Hammers in 2018, he returned on a permanent basis in December last year. PA

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