David Moyes is the man charged with following Sir Alex Ferguson’s 26-and-a-half-year tenancy as manager of Manchester United.
Announced as Sir Alex’s successor on 9 May 2013, Moyes led Everton in the 11 years prior to his appointment at Old Trafford and officially took the Reds’ reins on 1 July 2013. Moyes, a Glaswegian who enjoyed a 19-year playing career before devoting himself solely to management, never steered the Toffees to silverware but won plenty of admirers for his ability to consistently over-achieve with limited resource. In fact, Moyes has won the League Managers’ Association’s Manager of the Year award – voted for by his fellow football bosses – on three occasions: in 2003, 2005 and 2009. Sir Alex (four awards) is the only man to have collected the honour as many times. As Sir Alex once said admiringly: “David has had to contend with not having a strong financial structure. He has had to get the best out of the players he has had available and he has done an amazing job.” Over the years, Moyes locked horns with Ferguson on 24 occasions and, like most managers who took on Sir Alex, lost more often than he won. In fact, the Toffees boss triumphed just three times after 90 minutes (and once at Wembley on penalties in the 2009 FA Cup semi-final). However, he did mastermind one of the greatest comebacks achieved by an away team at Old Trafford in recent years when Everton rallied from 4-2 down with seven minutes remaining to draw 4-4 in April 2012. There was a similar outcome at Goodison Park in September 2010 when Moyes’ men, seemingly beaten by United with the score at 3-1 going into injury time, grabbed two last-gasp goals to draw 3-3. This ability to eke out every last drop of effort from his players, until well beyond the 90th minute, should stand him in good stead at a club where dramatic late triumphs are part of the fabric. It was at Preston North End, the last of seven clubs in Moyes’ playing career, where he first dipped his toes into management, as player-manager at the age of 35. At that point, in January 1998, the Lancashire club were in danger of dropping down to the fourth tier of English football. Barely two years later, Moyes guided North End to the 1999/2000 Division Two title, clear of regional rivals Burnley by seven points. The following season, with almost the same squad, Moyes’ Preston came within a whisker of promotion to the Premier League. That attracted Everton’s attention and Moyes moved to Merseyside in March 2002. Well-organised and disciplined, Moyes’ teams tend to echo his own traits. He also boats an excellent record against the “modern” Manchester City, having won seven and drawn one of his 10 meetings with them since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover in early 2008/09. This sequence includes two doubles – victories at home and away in the same season – and four consecutive wins at Goodison Park. The last of these, 2-0 on 16 March 2013, helped United go 15 points clear in the title race as the Reds defeated Reading 1-0 later that day. There’s no question Moyes has huge shoes to fill at Old Trafford. But in an era when everybody in football seems to crave quick wins, his appointment is a victory for common sense and stability. United are in safe hands.