What will be the next chapter in the David Moyes story?
David Moyes’ tenure as Manchester United manager came to an abrupt end last Tuesday after only 10 months in charge. While everybody realised that the task of taking over the dynasty left by Sir Alex Ferguson would not be an easy one, very few could have predicted the events of the last year. Fergie’s parting words to the Old Trafford crowd after their final game of last season were to “stand by your new manager”. Greeted with a roar, it seemed as though this was a genuine reaction. At the time this was probably true. Soon afterwards, it was announced to the media that David Moyes would be Sir Alex’s successor, with the legendary Scot himself having played a large part in the decision. Having this valuable recommendation behind him must have been hugely encouraging for Moyes, and this campaign began with a newly erected sign at Old Trafford to symbolise this; ‘The Chosen One’.
As United’s form stuttered from week to week and confidence began to plummet, this sign became an easy target for the mockery from other fans. Visible pressure from outside the club began to grow in strength ever since the Christmas period, though there were murmurings of discontent even before this. Despite; to their credit, the continued backing of the fans on a matchday, morale and form dropped to such a low level that the Manchester United board decided enough was enough. Moyes had lasted only 10 months of a 4 year contract. But now we ask, what is next for him?
The first thing to note, is that despite what can only be described as an abject failure at Man United, the job he carried out for 11 years at Everton was tremendous. He demonstrated an almost unparalleled ability to work on a shoe-string budget and still make the team competitive. It was under his stewardship of course that Everton qualified for the Champions League for the first time. They were knocked out before the group stages but the achievement of finishing in the top four was an impressive one regardless. Furthermore, he showed that he had an eye for a bargain when it came to player recruitment. Some of his most successful purchases include Tim Cahill for £1.5 million from Millwall; widely considered Everton’s best ever buy, Tim Howard, who has gone on to rack up nearly 350 appearances for the club, and Leighton Baines who has matured to become one of the best full-backs in Europe.
These traits mentioned above are highly desired by the owners and board of a club, especially those who are looking to push on from a position in mid-table towards the European places. Therefore, it is for these reasons that I believe 3 clubs in particular will be after David Moyes’ services over the summer, and we may well see his decision made before the World Cup.
The first club is Tottenham Hotspur, where a season never seems to go by without a change of leadership. Chief Exec Daniel Levy is no stranger to the notion of hiring and firing when it comes to managers, even when it seems as though he has the right option already; Harry Redknapp for example. Fairly well substantiated rumours have been circulating for several weeks that Tim Sherwood is living on borrowed time, and will be gone at the end of the season. Not many believed that his 18 month contract was entirely valid at the time anyway, so it will be no surprise to see him leave after just 6.
Ironically, it is Moyes’ own departure that means another manager would even be considered for the Spurs’ job. Louis van Gaal had been mooted as the favoured successor of Sherwood for some time and was odds-on favourite with every betting syndicate. Famously, the bookies are rarely wrong, but a spanner was thrown in the works when Moyes was relieved of his duties as Man United now seemingly lead the race for his signature.
This leaves a route open to North London for Moyes and I certainly do not feel he would be a bad appointment. After a brief flirtation with the Champions League a few years ago, more recently Spurs have been the club to just miss out on Europe’s elite competition. They look likely to finish slightly further off the pace this season though and so may look to Moyes to do a similar job to his time at Everton. Levy may not wish to spend a great deal of money this summer since the £100 million plus spree last year did not exactly work as planned. This could be seen as a perfect opportunity for David Moyes: Spurs are a big club for sure with Champions League aspirations, he could have a completely fresh start in London, and there are not too many egos to deal with amongst the players. All in all, a very realistic option.
A second option that may be open to Moyes is Newcastle United. Though current manager Alan Pardew is in the middle of an 8 year contract, his position is hardly secure. Under Mike Ashley of course, nothing would ever surprise you on Tyneside. To make matters worse for Pardew, his team has been on a shocking run of form ever since 2014 began. A shocking statistic that has to be seen to be believed is that Sunderland have scored more goals at Saint James’ Park than Newcastle this calendar year.
They had been on a less than pleasing streak for a while and Alan Pardew was having to deal with a few disgruntled fans, however the serious calls for his head grew in volume sharply when he was caught head-butting David Meyler. While the Hull City midfielder was not entirely innocent, Pardew took the brunt of the blame and his position has been under serious question ever since. Many believe that his behaviour has made his job untenable and will give Mike Ashley legal grounds to pay much less in compensation should he cancel his contract early.
If this is the case, then David Moyes would have to be on his radar as a candidate to replace Alan Pardew. Ashley is a top class businessman, and as such, does not throw his money around. This is much to the dismay of Newcastle fans, but would not be a new scenario for Moyes to deal with having coped so successfully for many years at Everton. He could be just the sort of man that the Chairman wants, and could get an extra level out of the Toon players so that they have something to compete for at this stage of next season.
West Ham United are the final club of the trio that I believe harbour a realistic hope of securing David Moyes’ signature, should they require it. Of course. Sam Allardyce is still well and truly at the helm at Upton Park and in contrast to the previous 2 clubs, possess owners who are very loyal to their managers. West Ham were going through a really low point during the middle of the season, as consecutive defeats in the league and both domestic cups threatened their entire season. It seemed almost impossible that Allardyce could keep his job, but stand by him they did despite the objections of the fans.
Although their form has seen an upturn recently, unrest is still prevalent among the Upton Park faithful because of the style of play they are being forced to watch every other week. Having reached Premier League security, they wish to see the club progress. While Moyes may seem a viable option for the board, I am not convinced that the football he brings would be entirely what the fans have in mind. He certainly puts out teams whose sum is greater than the individual parts, but they are known more for effort and endeavour than a quality passing game. In addition, and no disrespect to West Ham, but Moyes may view them as too much of a step down. However, he may have to take this sort of option if the demand for his signature is not as heavy as he would like.
In my opinion, I think the best option for David Moyes is the managerial seat at White Hart Lane, assuming it becomes available. He would be working at the sort of level and with the calibre of player that we know he can manage well, and could prove a stepping stone to a higher level job. These opportunities may well not come about in the Premier League, as I cannot see any of the current top four ever looking to him as an option. However, an impressive showing at Spurs could open up the door to management in mainland Europe or even as Scotland’s national manager.
Where do you think David Moyes will turn up next, and will he get a new job over summer? Let us know in the comments below.
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