Moyes Now Begins Uneasy Path To Redemption

Despite a successful 11-year tenure at Everton, David Moyes' ten months at Old Trafford will now taint his career. That seems unfair to Daniel Storey. Doesn't everyone fail?

Last Updated: 29/04/14 at 19:12 Post Comment

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Football managers must expect to lose their jobs - it's a statement so obvious that it is barely deserving of mention. It may be difficult to feel much sympathy for those consistently rewarded for their failure, but football management is an industry with very little job security. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and walk off into the sunset with your pay-off in hand is the obvious advice, and said with no little jealousy.

Even the best are not immune to failure. Brian Clough had his occupatio horribilis at Brighton and then again at Leeds, Marcelo Lippi was sacked by Inter after a terrible spell, Helenio Herrera failed at Roma following incredible success at Inter and Barcelona and Fabio Capello won just 11 league games at Milan following his move from Real Madrid. A record of 23 league titles and six European Cups between them seem to indicate such disappointment does not alter their standing.

With that in mind, it would seem logical for sackings to be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt, such is their regularity. 'Never mind old chap, it just wasn't meant to be,' could be the reasonable response. We are not a reasonable bunch, it seems.

English football's adage remains that a manager is only as good as his last job, particularly regarding failure at high-profile clubs. Past achievement is forgotten all too quickly, a reputation destroyed by one false move or period of under-performance. It is a trait of British sport itself: build them up to knock them down, gaining a warped sense of enjoyment over the latter. The higher they climb, the further they fall.

Never has this been more evident than in the case of David Moyes. This was a man railroaded into a job that he couldn't refuse by his predecessor, and unsurprisingly found to be alarmingly out of his depth. He predictably failed, and was soon cast aside despite the clich├ęd claims from Old Trafford that patience would be afforded. Even the self-proclaimed biggest club in the world is not immune to the inevitability of managerial failure and, whether it was right place, wrong time or simply wrong place at any time, it became almost immediately evident that Moyes was not right for the role.

There is nothing reprehensible or shameful in that, and yet Moyes is now treated as something of a pariah. Oliver Holt in the Daily Mirror wrote that 'he will always be remembered as the guy who got his shot at the big one and blew it. He has lost the immortal part of himself. He has lost his reputation'. Way to kick a man whilst he's down.

Everything about Moyes at United screamed Everton and yet, despite his success at Goodison, he is now a failure, forced to stoop lower than that previous level in order to gain redemption. Despite having little recent experience managing in the lower half of the Premier League, it may well be here that he is next trusted. It's an odd dichotomy.

Given that the entire fabric of his 11-year tenure at Everton was attempting to break into the top four under a limited budget, would Moyes really be an underwhelming appointment at, say, White Hart Lane this summer? Spurs fans singing "We don't want David Moyes" during their victory over Stoke last weekend would vehemently disagree, it seems. As I said, this is now a man cast in the role of damaged goods.

With that Spurs rejection in mind, just how far has Moyes' stock fallen, and where can he hope to resurface? Newcastle is the favourite according to the odds, supporters desperate to free the club from the tedium they feel has encapsulated them under the ownership of Mike Ashley, with Alan Pardew seen as the puppet. But, with low investment and a potentially volatile owner, would Moyes really want the job? More pertinently, can he look such a gift horse in the mouth?

Aston Villa are another option, with Paul Lambert under increasing pressure from a home support that have seen their side take 16 Premier League points since early December. However, with Randy Lerner recently giving little away regarding rumours of selling the club in the summer, it would be a risk for Moyes. In any case, he has to be invited into the job first. Football chairmen know the dangers of appointing a tainted man.

There seems little doubt that Moyes' stock has fallen further in England than abroad, where they are typically far more instantly forgiving of managerial failure, so a move to the continent could a be a route to redemption.

Moyes has previously admitted the attractiveness of the Bundesliga, in December 2012 saying: "I always had the hope of being a coach abroad. If I had the choice, I would probably go to Germany, in part because of the mentality, which is similar to mine. I'm also fascinated by what happens in German football." There were reports of interest from Schalke last April, and Wolfsburg are amongst the favourites for Moyes' next location, with second tier-bound Hamburg also discussed.

The comparison between Moyes and Steve McClaren is obvious. Both impressed significantly at comparatively unfashionable outfits, then promoted beyond their expertise into a position that they could not reasonably refuse - the label of 'bottler' would have been forthcoming had they done so. Both were proven to be out of their depth in the limelight, but then castigated to the point that moving abroad seemed the only route to regain employment at a level deserving of their ability.

Wherever Moyes ends up, there is a certain despondency attached to his next career move. Despite demonstrating that he is an accomplished manager over an 11-year period at Everton, it is his ten-month failure at Old Trafford that may now taint him for the rest of his career - the 'guy that blew it'.

A long hard road to redemption now begins.

Daniel Storey - Follow him on Twitter.

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