David Moyes Has No Reason to Fear for His Job at Manchester United Yet

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David Moyes Has No Reason to Fear for His Job at Manchester United Yet
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images Sport

"You're getting sacked in the morning."

It's not a new phenomenon to hear it sung at Old Trafford, but it's usually roaring out of the Stretford End directed at some poor, bedraggled manager whose team is halfway through a thumping.

It's not normally a barb heard from the visiting fans at Old Trafford. That is, until this season. It's only January, and already David Moyes has heard it from supporters of West Bromwich Albion, Everton, Newcastle and Tottenham.

Old Trafford holds 76,000, but it can be an awfully lonely place when you're stood on the touchline watching United lose, being bated by 3,000 opposing fans.

But as catchy as the tune is, United didn't give Moyes a six-year contract to sack him after six months. Not after six league defeats or even a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League.

United are aware of how missing out on the Champions League would affect the club. The brochure issued when the club was floated on the New York Stock Exchange said it would impact everything from signings to attracting sponsors.

Failure to qualify for any European competition, particularly for consecutive seasons, would negatively affect our ability to attract or retain talented players and coaching staff, as well as supporters and sponsors.

Only the Glazer Family know where they'll draw the line. Whether failing to qualify for the Champions League in "consecutive seasons" would be the point when they would consider sacking Moyes or whether he'd be given more time to turn it around.

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United have developed a reputation for giving their managers time. But this is new territory for the Glazers. When they bought the club in 2005, they inherited a manager who could not be sacked. 

Ferguson had already earned the right to decide when to leave, and United's continued success meant the Glazers never had a decision to make.

But they haven't been afraid to make big decisions during their time in charge of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They've sacked five head coaches in 18 years including Greg Schiano, who was axed this week, after just two seasons.

United won't be allowed to descend into mediocrity for the the duration of Moyes' six-year contract. But six years is still a statement. It's a declaration of intent to stick by Moyes when the going gets tough. And it's tough right now.

The handover after Ferguson's retirement was always going to be difficult. He left Moyes with plenty of problems—an ageing group of key players and practically no midfield—but responsibility for United's struggles this season lies with the new manager.

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It was only last season that the same squad of players won the Premier League by 11 points.

Finishing outside the top four and failing to win a trophy represents the worst-case scenario this season. Moyes won't say it himself, but sat seventh in the table and given the unpredictable nature of cup competitions, it's a scenario he's facing heading into the second half of the season.

There's still time for Moyes to turn things around. The title might be out of reach, but the gap between Liverpool in fourth place is still only five points. They've got the chance to win the the Capital One Cup, and they will expect to beat Olympiacos in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Moyes can be safe in the knowledge that given United's commitment to their new manager in the summer, he won't be getting "sacked in the morning" this season or even next.

But United and the Glazers won't settle for failure for long. And the clock is ticking.

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