Humiliation Far Beyond Simply The Failed Manager

David Moyes may well be feeling low, but his sentiments will be shared by predecessor and club vice-chairman. It's also another blow to the reputation of British managers.

Last Updated: 22/04/14 at 20:13 Post Comment

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The Glazers' shares were down sharply on Monday morning - no bank holiday for Americans - after the defeat to Everton. It will be another grisly statistic for David Moyes as the stock rises simply because he is no longer at Manchester United, a cruel financial chant of "Anyone but Moyes".

John Nicholson can rightly claim to have predicted failure from the beginning; all I could claim is scepticism. John is certainly correct to call out much of the media for forcefully backing Moyes long past the point at which the balance of probabilities had tilted in favour of the doubters. The price for it all will be paid beyond Old Trafford, though, and not for the most part by journalists who will barely dust themselves down and will carry on as if nothing has happened.

It is a personal disaster for the former manager, who will have to return - at best - to snapping at the heels of the leading powers. The height of his managerial ambition must now be to become a slightly higher-powered and marginally more bitter version of post-Newcastle Sam Allardyce. It makes it worse for Moyes that his legacy at Everton has proved so fruitful in the hands of another and that so few around Goodison have a kind word for him now.

Still, he may find a temporary home elsewhere on Merseyside: Brendan Rodgers recently said that he made a point of calling all sacked managers and inviting them to the training ground, to reassure them they still have a place in football, a result of his sense of exclusion following his sacking at Reading. Perhaps the Liverpool manager will feel that such an invitation would be unwelcome in these circumstances but, if one is offered, one wonders how Moyes will feel about having the chance to be a supplicant at Melwood.

It is a multiple humiliation for Sir Alex Ferguson. As was argued here a couple of weeks back, he seems to have stayed on too long at Old Trafford, leaving any successor with a team strong enough to withstand the inevitable turbulence caused by his departure. Worse, the anointed proved an unsustainable choice.

It is a blow to Ed Woodward, who looked out of his depth in two transfer windows and will surely need to succeed with Moyes's long-term successor to avoid being irrevocably tarnished. And for the Glazers the loss is more than financial, even if they must feel vindicated and relieved to have stuck by Ferguson during the trickiest, earliest years of the scheme to make United pay for their takeover. Their choice in executives and their faith in Fergie's judgment have proved highly suspect.

It is a dark day for others outside United, though. As argued here a year ago, by committing to one British manager United were offering hope to plenty of others: if Moyes passed his audition then it was more likely that when other major jobs fell vacant that a candidate from these shores would get a shot. Liverpool's appointments of Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish and Rodgers were all signs of weakness rather than strength; the last of these is at least offering a surprisingly decent endorsement of UK managers' potential.

But when Arsene Wenger jumps or is pushed, when Manuel Pellegrini is deemed to have fallen too far short of perfection, when Jose Mourinho spontaneously combusts of misplaced righteous indignation, Moyes's failure means that the leading clubs will inevitably turn abroad (assuming they do not try, and succeed in such efforts, to prise Rodgers out of Anfield if his achievements there prove more than fleeting). Ryan Giggs has the interim job but that will surely be as close as a British backside gets to the hot seat.

Richard Scudamore, albeit in passing, recently mourned the financial effect on income from fair-weather fans around the world of a Manchester United in the doldrums. The Premier League itself and the leading clubs (plus Cardiff and Hull) regard themselves as worldwide businesses. Moyes's appointment, an arrangement between two Glaswegians in the north-west corner of England, was a parochial one out of kilter with what is now a global business. We shall not see its like again.

Philip Cornwall

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