As the dust begins to settle following David Moyes' departure from Manchester United, reports have surfaced suggesting that senior players at the club had a key role in his departure.
Moyes was sacked on Tuesday after an abysmal 10 months in charge at Old Trafford. According to Dave Kidd of the Mirror, players at the club had told friends that the die was cast for Moyes' removal prior to United's 2-0 defeat to Everton, suggesting the Scot would be out of the Old Trafford door "within days."
Kidd also claims sources close to the United dressing room revealed that Moyes himself may have known his fate was sealed before his team's trip to Merseyside.
Elsewhere, Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail claims that United players even visited the home of former boss Sir Alex Ferguson in a desperate attempt to shift the former Toffees boss from the hot seat.
United's campaign was punctured with Tony Dawber of the Mirror reporting that Moyes had lost the backing of senior players. These latest stories paint the picture of a volatile, divided dressing room.
In his piece, Wheeler suggests enough was enough for a host of the players, which prompted them into taking drastic action:
Tales emerged of senior Manchester United players beating a path to the door of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Cheshire home to urge their old manager to push for change.
The message was clear: they no longer stood by Moyes and neither should United if the empire Ferguson built was not going to continue crumbling, brick by brick.
Filling the shoes of a figure as significant as Ferguson was always going to be a perilously difficult task for Moyes, and it seems as though the players were never quite on board with his appointment—even while he had the backing of his predecessor and the majority of match-going supporters.
Many, including Oliver Kay of the Times, feel as though the players let Moyes down during his brief tenure:
Feel sorry for Moyes, but he's been drowning for months, let down by players who have hidden behind regime change— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) April 21, 2014
Given Ferguson's rallying call after his final game at Old Trafford to "stand by" the new manager, the majority of those supporters inside Old Trafford initially heeded the words of their former boss with some unyielding displays of support for Moyes.
But as results deteriorated, it became apparent that angst was growing amongst the supporters too, most notably when a plane was flown over Old Trafford pushing for Moyes' dismissal.
If the players have rallied against Moyes, it is little surprise that the United owners have decided to terminate his six-year deal after just 10 months in charge.
After the departure of a figure as important as Ferguson, it is the responsibility of everyone at the club to unite behind a similar cause.
Aside from a minority, the Old Trafford faithful gave Moyes their full backing. If the players had done the same, things might have turned out a little differently for the now-former Manchester United boss.