Five key thoughts about David Moyes’ tenure at Manchester United

After a torrid ten months in charge of Manchester United, David Moyes was dismissed as manager of the outgoing Premier League champions yesterday.

The Scottish boss endured a baptism of fire during his high-profile stint as ‘The Chose One’, with not many disagreeing that the time had come for Moyes to be given his marching orders.

Although it has been a terrible season for the Old Trafford club, some things should be clarified in regards to Moyes’ tenure at the club.

Players to blame, not Sir Alex

Many have lamented Sir Alex Ferguson and blamed the former boss for some of this season’s failures – which is completely unjustified.

The fact that the legendary retired Scot led United to the title last term with virtually the same team that sits seventh this year is a testimony to his ability, not Moyes’ lack of it.

Given that the playing personnel are virtually unchanged, those that have taken to the pitch this term must harbour the brunt of the responsibility for the dip in fortunes.

Although Moyes has paid the price for the unsuccessful campaign with his job, the playing squad will also be assessed this summer – with some following their now-dismissed boss out the door.

Added to diminished performances on the pitch, ill-discipline off it has compounded issues. In two late-night incidents, Chris Smalling and then Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley have been spied on the streets of Manchester after an ill-timed night out on the tiles.

This behaviour would not have been accepted by Ferguson, and the players’ behaviour in those instances showed Moyes’ lack of authority and belittled his position.

Incompetency in the transfer market not his fault

United have been shrewd operators in the transfer market over the years, with plenty of superb signings adding to the home-grown base of the Old Trafford side.

However, the inability to land high-profile targets last summer and the subsequent embarrassment was the beginning of the end for Moyes at United.

Ed Woodward should be held responsible for the recruitment bungles, not Moyes, but the fact that key players could not be added to the squad had many questioning the Scot’s position before a ball had even been kicked in anger.

If Moyes is held responsible for a lack of results on the pitch and subsequently sacked, Woodward should suffer a similar fate for failures in the transfer market.

Team selection and issues with consistency

David MoyesAlthough Moyes was left with an ageing squad that was not bolstered sufficiently ahead of the campaign, one of the striking facets of his time in charge of United was his ever-changing team selection.

Squad rotation is now a prominent part of English football that every Premier League manager now adheres to.

However, Moyes was a chief protagonist of change in his selections, with a different starting XI taking to the pitch for virtually every game during his reign.

This constant switching of personnel could be understood in the early days of his tenure as he tried to find his best side, but his constant rotating of players must be accredited as a major reason for the lack of consistency in United’s results this term.

Moyes is still a good Premier League manager

Despite a period with very few moral (or actual) victories, Moyes should not be totally written off. He may not have set the world alight at United or lived up to the reputation of his predecessor – but finding someone who will be able to hold a candle to Ferguson will be quite the task.

The fact that Moyes’ fate was sealed by a 2-0 defeat at his old stomping ground Goodison Park is something of a cruel irony – especially given his dedication and exceeding of expectations over 11 years at the Merseyside club.

Everton fans may well be jubilant by the work undertaken by Roberto Martínez this term, but they should not forget that the groundwork was laid by Moyes.

Football fans can have a short memory, but it is important to realise that the former Everton boss consistently had his team over perform during his time at Goodison.

Although his reputation has taken a significant blow through failure at United, do not be surprised if the Scot is in charge of another Premier League side soon – and is successful.

His Evertonian fight escaped him

Although by the end of his time at the club Moyes seemed to have lost the commitment of the players, the fact that he was sacked without a whimper of defiance is the saddest thing about the situation.

The Glaswegian was known for his passion and will to win while in charge of Everton, with his team’s attitude of fighting for every ball an embodiment of their manager.

However, Moyes toed the straight and narrow while at Old Trafford and did not look like the ambitious, stubborn and bold manager that exuded a dominant figure from the Everton bench.

Calling Liverpool favourites upon their relatively recent trip to Old Trafford showed just how much his confidence had diminished.

Moyes would have been wise to have stuck with the natural instincts from his Everton days, with his predecessor’s hairdryer treatment necessary this season but not forthcoming.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo,, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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