David Moyes Never Had Much of a Chance at Manchester United

Glenn HoddleFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2014

Getty Images

I have every sympathy for David Moyes. Not just because he has been sacked, as Manchester United announced Tuesday, but because I am not sure he had much of a chance at Old Trafford from day one.

I’m not being wise after the event, but if you look back at my preseason predictions I was sure that whoever took over from Sir Alex Ferguson would struggle to make an impact at Old Trafford.

In fact, I stuck my neck out and suggested that Manchester United would fail to qualify for the Champions League. Now that prediction has already come true, and it's not even the end of the season.

Who would have thought, with Sir Alex leaving the Old Trafford hot seat with a title that Liverpool hadn’t won since 1990, that United would surrender their place at the top of the English game to none other than their fiercest rivals from Anfield?

Jon Super

I can imagine that the fans and the board might have stomached the present dip, might even have swallowed a season out of the Champions League, but the fact that Liverpool have surged from just about nowhere to be within touching distance of the title after so long losing their dominance to Manchester United might just be too much to take.

That won’t be the reason United give for parting company with Moyes. Instead, it will be all the obvious reasons that the club have dipped far more than could be anticipated, even after such a huge transitional stage with the departure of Sir Alex.

That was my main reason for feeling that whoever took the reins from Sir Alex would have struggled. Just like the way managers did in the wake of Sir Matt Busby’s departure, history has repeated itself.

But the sight of Liverpool running away with the title has taken everyone at Old Trafford by surprise.

The realisation is that it doesn’t matter if United have a £200 million budget to buy a new team—and believe me, they need six new players. The board must have felt that Moyes was not the right man to buy the right playersthat might have been the overriding factor here.

Liverpool have emerged as likely champions on a much tighter budget than Manchester United, and it must be a shock to the system of Manchester City and Chelsea to see that even their huge financial muscle has not been able to bring the title to them.

The Internet rumour mill must be driving clubs crazy. They might be angry, but there is little they can do about it. Last week it was Tim Sherwood who was supposed to be sacked. This week it’s David Moyes.  

Jon Super

Hardly a week goes by without a rumour spreading like wildfire on the Internet.

I recently advocated giving David Moyes more time, at least another season where he’s had the chance to buy his own players, but time and patience is in short supply in football. Manchester United stuck with Sir Alex in the first four up-and-down seasons, then gave Moyes a six-year contract, but times have changed, there are too many pressures, too much money, too much stress.

Sir Alex got out at the right time. His timing has always been impeccable. He knew when Fergie Time was up.

As it happened, the rumour about Sherwood wasn’t true. The club obviously let the newspapers know, and the papers didn’t carry the story. However, there was obviously more truth to the story about Moyes, and now someone else will be buying the players this summer.

Whether that someone else is the current Holland boss Louis van Gaal, whose contract with the Dutch ends after the World Cup, is a fascinating one, as it has been widely rumoured that he will start next season as Spurs manager. But the vibes have been that he might see the bigger option being Old Trafford, with this report from the Mirror's Simon Mullock suggesting Van Gaal has taken himself out of the running to replace Sherwood.

I am in no rush to return to the dugout, and the lack of stability in the game is one of the reasons I am not missing it all that much at the moment. But you can never say never!


Glenn Hoddle is technical director of Football 30, where 80 of the greatest legends from Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and West Ham are taking part in the Elite Legends Cup at Brisbane Road on May 18.

Paolo Di Canio, Iain Dowie, Alan Devonshire, Teddy Sheringham, Ossie Ardiles, Ricky Villa, Danny Murphy, Darren Anderton, Franco Zola, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Martin Keown, Nail Quinn, Paul Merson, Alan Smith, John Jensen, Kenny Sansom and Ian Wright are among the multitude of top stars participating.