Late nights in Dubai, expletive nicknames for the coaching staff, arriving at an airport late for a Champions League quarter-final with a smile on your face and a self-management help guide. These are the deciding factors behind David Moyes getting the sack as Manchester United’s season fell apart.
According to the Daily Mail, all of these occurred under Moyes’ 10-month reign at Old Trafford, which also included substitutes making bets on how long the Scot would last as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor and calling for him to be sent off because United would be “better without him”.
Upon first reading, it’s no surprise that Moyes was sacked on Tuesday morning. But, as reported by The Independent, the decision to make do with Moyes was made back on February following the comprehensive 2-0 defeat to Olympiakos in the Champions League.
While United were able to overturn that result, further defeat to rival Manchester City and Liverpool could not be tolerated, and the final defeat to Everton last weekend proved to be Moyes’ final act in charge as ‘The Chosen One’.
On the flight home from Athens, Moyes was seen by the players reading a self-help guide titled Good to Great, with the Daily Mail claiming one member on the flight thought at the time “We are the Premier League champions,why on earth did our manager need to read a book to learn how to manage us?”
Having flown to Dubai in January for a training break, Moyes allowed the squad to enjoy a night out after a tough festive period, yet some of the players returned at 5am, waking up other guests in the hotel upon their early-morning arrival.
And when the squad were scheduled to fly to Germany for the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich, Shinji Kagawa was nowhere to be seen. The Japanese midfielder is said to have arrived so late for the flight that United’s security staff had to fast-track him through departures just to make the flight, with the 25-year-old reportedly smiling to himself the entire time.
More recently, three unused substitutes were said to have mocked Moyes from the bench by placing bets on when the axe would fall, with Tuesday 22 April proving to be the deciding date in his 316-day reign of the Red Devils.
It would not be the only time that discontent came from the reserves bench. In Athens, a call of “Send him off, we would be better off without him” is believed to have been aimed in Moyes direction as the 50-year-old argued with the fourth official. This is not believed to be an isolated incident. One of Moyes' coaching staff was even nicknamed 'F*** off (surname)' given the players animosity for his coaching technique.
In the end, broken relationships and mistrust paved the way for the end of Moyes. The continuous leaks from the dressing room have revealed a deep and poisonous problem within the club that the next manager, whether it’s the authoritarian Louis van Gaal or the experienced Carlo Ancelotti or anyone else for that matter, will have to deal with before the club can harbour any hopes of a return to the top.
Questions over his relationships with players Rio Ferdinand and Robin van Persie, as well as player-coach Ryan Giggs, were never properly answered by Moyes, and when further leaks revealed that the Scot had openly criticised the players in question, negativity was going to be the only outcome between the manager and his senor players. Giggs is now in temporary control at United, and although he is not being considered for the permanent role at the end of the season due to his lack of first-team management experience, he is being lined up for the job in the future.
Moyes will hopefully bounce back. The question people want answered now is can United?