David Moyes: from Dunfermline to Manchester United
New Manchester United manager David Moyes has shed some light on why many believe he is the perfect man to take over from Sir Alex Ferguson, giving a fascinating insight into his early days of coaching that saw him gradually rise to where he is today.
Speaking to the Press Association, Moyes admitted that he asked the Professional Footballers Association for financial assistance to help him fund a trip to the 1998 World Cup in order to compile a series of facts and information about the latest coaching techniques.
At the time, Moyes was player/manager of Preston North End, having been given the role after he kept lists of managers he had worked with and their techniques, not to mention starting his coaching badges when he was just 22 years old.
The PFA did help him, although he still ended up spending some nights asleep in a hire car, such was his determination.
"I wasn't earning enough at the time but I was given some funding," said Moyes.
"I hired a small car. In the end I drove round and had to sleep in the car a few nights.
"But I wanted to try and learn. I watched Craig Brown. I sat in the stand and watched him taking the sessions for Scotland. When I was younger I went to see AC Milan train.
"That is the kind of thing I did to try and find some more knowledge."
The Milan trip would be remembered by then manager Carlo Ancelotti, who after seeing his Chelsea side lose at Goodison Park in 2011, was sacked before he had even left the ground.
"Carlo was in the corridor," recalled Moyes.
"I saw him and stood and talked to him. He said 'I have lost my job and David, I am going to come and watch you training now'.
"It showed me even he had recognised I had been at training at AC Milan at that time. I took what he said as a big compliment."
During his playing days at Dunfermline, he would drive to England to observe a match on his day off, to increase his tactical knowledge and information that would ready him for his 11-year spell in charge at Everton.
"I was always thinking about being involved in football," said Moyes of those early days.
Moyes' ascent has been a gradual one.
"Mine had to be a long, slow progression and, hopefully, improvement," he said.
His slow progression – and no doubt improvement – has taken him to arguably the biggest club job in the world, and in a time when sacking managers has become a trend, Moyes is hopeful that he is given time to succeed. United’s legendary right-back Gary Neville supported the claim, suggesting the appointment was a “result for sanity”.
"I hope there was a little bit of common-sense in the decision," said Moyes.
"Manchester United have always tended to choose slightly differently than other clubs. They always look for longevity and stability.
"They are not a club that chops and changes its manager regularly.
"For that reason, it was more pleasing when I got offered the job because you know they are a club that is looking for someone who tends to stay around for quite a while."
But under Ferguson, United consistently won silverware over a 26-year reign, and it’s easy to take a calm approach with that kind of success. Moyes will have to hit the ground running if he is to experience the same.
"If you win one game folk will think you are good. If you lose one folk will think you are rubbish," said Moyes.
"You hope there is a little bit of sense and people understand where you are going.
"It is a big job. It is a new job. It will take time, as it would for anybody else."
Despite his lack of transfer activity, which has some United fans questioning Moyes ability to draw the big names to the club, the 50-year-old insists that the name of Manchester United will always be enough to attract the biggest names, despite the emergence of cash-rich clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco and rivals Manchester City.
"That is not something Manchester United are frightened of," stressed Moyes.
"Manchester United are more than happy to compete with all of the teams. There has been a change in the dynamic because of PSG coming on the scene recently. That has altered things.
"But Manchester United will always compete. One thing it has got is the history. It has got the name. It has got the success.
"That is a big pull for any player."
Belfast Telegraph Digital