Manchester United officials must be admired for the speed in which David Moyes was appointed manager following Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement this month.
The quick turnaround prevented gossip and media speculation from overshadowing the side's final couple of games and casting an uncertain cloud over the summer.
But it left some baffled—had Moyes always been the club's No. 1 choice for the job? What about Jose Mourinho, the man who had long seemed like the natural successor to Fergie?
According to The Guardian, in December last year, Sir Alex himself said that Mourinho had the credentials to one day coach the Red Devils.
"You get the feeling that he is on the point of leaving Madrid, so the speculation has started. England wants him back."
So why was he overlooked? Why would Sir Alex say "When we discussed the candidates that we felt had the right attributes we unanimously agreed on David?" (via The Mirror).
Here are the two most likely reasons:
A Transient Presence
Jose Mourinho has managed six clubs in his managerial career. He has never spent more than three full seasons in one place.
He is a man who likes a challenge. When he achieved Champions League glory with Inter Milan in 2010, his mind immediately went to the next obstacle.
Part of what made Sir Alex the greatest of all time was his loyalty and devotion to United.
He rebuilt countless teams, adapting and transitioning with the new tactical eras. His will to win did not diminish in his 26-year stint at Old Trafford.
When searching for his replacement, club officials weren't interested in someone who would stick around for a couple of years, win a couple of trophies then move on.
The longevity of Sir Alex's reign will not be replicated for some time, but Moyes has been hired for the long term.
The club must avoid falling into the trap that Chelsea have—of hiring and firing with a ruthless whim.
Upon Moyes' appointment, Sir Bobby Charlton said via The Mirror, "In David we have someone who understands the things that make this such a special club. We have secured a man committed to the long term who will build teams for the future as well as now. Stability breeds success."
Charlton's words are telling—he would have played a key role in determining Sir Alex's successor.
Moyes has been a manager for two more years than Mourinho and has managed four fewer clubs.
Jose Mourinho's career has been littered with mini-feuds and controversies.
Most recently, his time at Real Madrid seemed to come to an end under a cloud of unease.
In a post-match interview in April, he hinted at quitting Los Blancos, saying, "I want to be where I love to be, where people love me to be..." though was interrupted and not allowed to finish.
Former Real club president Ramon Calderon said this week via The Telegraph that Mourinho should never have been hired in the first place.
He cited Mourinho's confrontational nature, saying, "All those things are incompatible with Real Madrid history, in my opinion."
It is understandable that officials at Manchester United would want to distance themselves from such controversy.
This week, ESPN reported that a potential reason for Mourinho being overlooked for the United job was the "instability" he would have brought with him to Old Trafford.
He is loved at Chelsea for his brashness and narcissism, but these characteristics would not suit a manager of the Red Devils.
Who Should Have Been Hired to Replace Sir Alex?
The landscape of the Premier League will be dramatically altered from next season.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City will all have new managers. With Sir Alex out of the picture, the Red Devils' rivals will feel they have a better shot at claiming domestic glory.
Jose Mourinho will likely end up back at Stamford Bridge, rivaling David Moyes in the other dugout.
Many thought he was destined for Old Trafford, but when you stop and think about it, it makes sense that he didn't.
Why do you think Mourinho was overlooked for the United job? Should he have been?
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