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A year of two halves -- David Moyes' 2014

It will be the year the Scot is most remembered for, but he’d prefer it not to be.

A managerial reign summed up.
A managerial reign summed up.
Image: Anthony Devlin

FRANK O’FARRELL, the only Irishman ever to manage Manchester United, famously remarked on the day of his sacking that it was “a nice day for an execution.” Though it possible seems an exaggeration, an execution is probably the most apt way to describe modern-day managerial sackings.

It is one of the harshest industries in the world. As a manager in the Premier League every result is scrutinised by hundreds of media outlets and millions of fans around the world. It’s a job that is constantly ‘on’, seven days a week, 365 days of the year.

And then, when you are the manager of the biggest football club in the world all of those factors multiply by a hundred.

David Moyes was out of his depth at Manchester United, he was not ready for it. He probably never will be ready for it, only a handful of managers in the world really are.

It was admirable that United stuck with tradition and didn’t and ‘buy’ a top name manager that would possibly take the club away from the manner in which it has operated since it was founded in 1878.

Admirable is not good enough however, and that was soon realised. Manchester United is a bus that waits for no one, the club simply couldn’t afford (in monetary terms as well as success terms) to wait for Moyes to turn it around.

While there is no doubt that the Scot inherited a title-winning team that was one of the weaker ones the Premier League had seen, the fact still remains that he inherited what had been the best team in the league the previous season.

Top four would have been just about acceptable, mid-table simply wasn’t. Were he at Chelsea, Manchester City or any of the top teams around Europe he wouldn’t have lasted even into 2014.

Soccer - David Moyes File photo Out of his depth. Source: Martin Rickett

Alex Ferguson’s choice of David Moyes also has to be questioned. Ferguson made a poor error of judgement that may have set United back years. He has since tried to distance himself from it but you only have to go back to his farewell speech on the pitch at Old Trafford to confirm that he thought Moyes was the right man for the job: “All my staff stood by me, the players stood by me, you stood by me, and your job now is to stand by our new manager. That is important.”

It is easy to say that Moyes was harshly done by and should have been given more time. That risk, however, is something that the Glazers could not afford to take. Football is a business. Like it or not money drives the game and it is the primary concern of super-rich tycoons like the Glazers.

A story recently emerged that Louis van Gaal would be given the resources to go into the transfer market with no limitations. Players such as Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, even Lionel Messi would not be out of reach.

The reason? The Glazers want success. The reason the Glazers want success? So that they can make a healthy profit on the club when they choose to sell it on in years to come.

That is the driving factor. David Moyes would not have brought about that success and therefore the financial aspirations would not have been possible.

And so the 51-year-old was shown the door, forever to be remembered as the man who failed as Alex Ferguson’s successor.

Job offers from Premier League clubs were apparently on the table but it was to the Basque Region of Spain that Moyes decided to venture.

It was an impressive decision, going into a foreign country with a different footballing culture, not to mention the need to learn a new language and the fact that Real Sociedad were floundering in the relegation zone.

Spain Soccer Real Sociedad Moyes A fresh start. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Two wins, four draws and a loss into his reign he has dragged Sociedad up to 15th and advanced to the next round of the Copa Del Rey. It’s been a positive start and not many would begrudge Moyes success in Spain.

On taking over he said the job was the biggest challenge of his career. This is certainly not the case. The expectations at Real Sociedad are significantly less than at Manchester United, the media scrutiny is down and the worldwide appeal of the club is minuscule when compared to United. And that will suit David Moyes just fine.

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