10 Years On From His Sacking, David Moyes Has Recovered Even If Man Utd Haven't

The Scot was shown the door by United on April 22, 2014
10:54, 22 Apr 2024

It was Easter Monday. The sun was out, the Bank Holiday atmosphere was lively. These are the days everyone in the UK can get behind. But Sir Alex Ferguson was not answering his phone, and David Moyes knew this wasn’t going to be a day he’d remember for positive reasons.

April 22, 2014 was the day that Moyes’ dream role was taken from him, just 10 months into a six-year contract as Manchester United manager.

The previous day, United had been beaten 2-0 at Everton, confirming the club’s long-since inevitable failure to reach the Champions League qualification spots. The supposed ‘Chosen One’ had lost whatever magic United’s decision-makers had identified when handing him the honour of succeeding Ferguson.

Home defeats to West Bromwich Albion, Everton, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Manchester City – the latter pair in chastening back-to-back Old Trafford fixtures – had helped to turn the Theatre of Dreams from a fortress into a near-guarantee of success.

Moyes looked like a deer caught in headlights, and by the time he was put out of his misery there was absolutely no other decision to be made. The man himself had heard from media figures that the rumour was he was going to be fired, and when he tried calling Sir Alex to get things straightened out there was no answer from his legendary predecessor. That was when he knew the rumours had substance.

The whys and wherefores have been discussed in plenty of detail since. He changed too much. His mentality was too small-time. His treatment of players was far too rigid in comparison to Sir Alex. What works at Everton doesn’t work at Manchester United.

But in the 10 years since his departure, Moyes has arguably recovered far better than have United. Yes, the Red Devils have won a European trophy since then under Jose Mourinho, a couple of League Cups and an FA Cup have come too. But they’re still a million miles away from the status they held when Moyes first walked into Carrington in the summer of 2013.

Conversely, the 60-year-old has used his second spell at West Ham United to rebuild his reputation to a great extent. Failures at Real Sociedad, Sunderland and initially with the Hammers didn’t cause lasting damage, and his return to the London Stadium has seen him record the sort of Premier League finishes he’d recorded at Everton.

Chuck in their first major continental silverware in 58 years when they lifted the Europa Conference League title last season, and it’s fair to say that Moyes’ redemption has been completed even if United’s hasn’t. Yes, they were stopped in their tracks by the Bayer Leverkusen juggernaut when gunning for back-to-back European trophies this season, but what a ride the last couple of seasons have been.

Ten years ago, Moyes was a laughing stock. He was the man who in just 10 months had torn apart the work Ferguson had spent 26 years building up. He’d have a stilted Spanish experience, a doomed run in Sunderland and at one point appeared to be on the verge of the knackers yard. But he’s now the guy who overcame the most public of failures and made his name all over again. United, though, have still to recover.

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