Manchester United Flop David Moyes Must Earn Second Champions League Shot

Stuart Howard-CofieldFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2014

Manchester United's manager David Moyes speaks during a press conference at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Monday, March 31, 2014. Manchester United will play Bayern Munich in a Champions League quarter final first leg soccer match on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Despite an ignominious end to his short time in charge of Manchester United, David Moyes believes that he is ready for another shot at the UEFA Champions League.

Moyes told Daniel Taylor of The Guardian that he has had a couple of job offers already since leaving Old Trafford. However, he has turned those down as he waits for the right opportunity to present itself. Ever ambitious, the 51-year-old Scot has his eyes on Europe’s top club competition.

The irony of such comments won’t be lost on United fans, who have had to come to terms with facing the first season in 25 years without European football.

A transitional period was widely expected in the wake of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, but no one would have predicted a finish as low as seventh in the English Premier League under Moyes.

And yet Moyes’ record in the Champions League with United was much better than their EPL form would suggest. A newcomer to the competition—his Everton side failed to progress from a controversial qualifying match in 2005—one of many questions on his appointment as Ferguson’s successor was his lack of European experience.

It is true that the draw in the UCL group stages was kind: Shakhtar Donetsk, Real Sociedad and Bayer Leverkusen were not the stiffest tests with which United could have been presented. However, some of the Red Devils’ performances in Europe were very far removed from those witnessed domestically, the home and away matches against Bayer Leverkusen being the most notable successes. 

Under the circumstances, defeat to Bayern Munich in the quarter-final stage constitutes a decent run in the competition.

Jon Super/Associated Press

United’s progress in the tournament probably gave Moyes a stay of execution for a few weeks, but on the 22 April 2014 his dismissal was announced by Manchester United. The “chosen one” had failed to inspire a squad of champions, and there were few signs of him finding the answers why.

Contrary to the views of many, David Moyes still feels that he needed more time at the club to “implement changes and modernise certain aspects,” as told to The Sunday Post. A break from the game has given him the chance to take stock and look forward to a new challenge, as he told Taylor:

I got my real first taste of the Champions League this year and I thought I showed I can manage at that level. I would like somewhere that would give me a chance of being in the Champions League or a club that has ambitions of being in the Champions League.

The Scot also commented that he might look to broaden his horizons by working abroad. He believes he will be a much wiser and more knowledgeable coach. Even though the cloud of notoriety from his time at Old Trafford will still be present, whichever club he manages next will surely benefit from his experiences there. It remains to be seen whether that club will be in a position to help him realise his ambitions.

There can be little doubt that Moyes is a capable manager—his record with Everton was commendable. Clearly though, the juggernaut that is Manchester United was just too large a vehicle for him to take the wheel.

With no Champions League football to enjoy at Old Trafford next season, United fans are still bemoaning the fact that he took his driving lessons with them.