Football: United break with tradition in Moyes sacking

Football: United break with tradition in Moyes sacking

By sacking David Moyes as manager after less than a season in charge, Manchester United contravened the principles explicitly laid out by his illustrious predecessor Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson was granted a three-and-a-half-year grace period before winning the first of his 38 trophies as United manager, in 1990, and he expected his successor, who he hand-picked himself, to be shown the same patience.

His instruction to United's fans to "get behind our new manager" on a rain-lashed day at Old Trafford last May was intended as a rallying cry, but instead it became a millstone around the club's neck.

As Moyes lurched from disaster to disaster, seemingly incapable of preventing the club from sinking into crisis, the one constant in his favour was the consensus that sacking managers was 'not the United way'.

After initially showing support, however, the board decided that it could no longer stand by and watch Ferguson's empire crumble, regardless of the instructions he had left behind.

Had Moyes seen out his six-year contract, he would have become United's third longest-serving post-war manager, behind only Ferguson and United's other great Scottish figurehead, Matt Busby.

Instead, he became the club's third shortest-serving manager, after Walter Crickmer (1931-32) and Lal Hilditch (1926-27), overseeing only 51 matches, of which he won just 27.

The club's decision to dismiss him reflected the huge differences between the football landscape that provided the backdrop for Ferguson's appointment and the terrain that greeted Moyes on his arrival last year.

Whereas United had not lifted the English title for 18 years when Ferguson was appointed in November 1986, Moyes's job was to take command of the juggernaut that his predecessor had built.

Ferguson hoped the structures he had put in place would allow Moyes -- who failed to win a trophy in his 11 years at Everton -- to slot seamlessly into place, thereby enabling United to maintain a tradition of appointing promising, hungry, British managers.

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