United show Moyes no mercy
Manchester United have ruthlessly brought the axe down on David Moyes' reign just 10 months into his six-year contract.
Moyes slipped into United's training base unnoticed early on Tuesday morning and met with United vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
Just after 8am, Woodward informed the Scot he had been sacked.
United issued a statement soon after which read: "Manchester United has announced that David Moyes has left the club.
"The club would like to place on record its thanks for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role."
The club confirmed veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs had been placed in charge "until a permanent appointment can be made".
Neither 40-year-old Giggs, nor any of the other United playing squad, stopped to speak to the media who had gathered outside United's training ground in anticipation of Moyes' sacking.
An Everton fan dressed up as the Grim Reaper mocked Moyes from behind the Goodison Park dugout on Sunday, And United's 11th defeat of the campaign proved enough for the club's owners, the Glazer family, who had previously stood by their man despite his woeful debut campaign.
Moyes' departure came a year to the day after United won a record 20th title.
Now they sit seventh in the Barclays Premier League, some 23 points behind leaders Liverpool.
Succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson, who won 13 league titles during his 26 years at the club, was always going to be difficult, but few expected Moyes to have done so badly.
The list of unwanted records broken by Moyes is as embarrassing as it is long. United are guaranteed to end the season with their worst points total in Premier League history, they have failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in almost two decades, while Moyes' home record is the worst of any United boss since 1978 when Dave Sexton was in charge.
That is why the Scot, who won 27, drew nine and lost 15 of his 51 games, is now the third shortest-serving manager in the club's history, behind Walter Crickmer (1931-32) and Lal Hilditch (1926-27).
Moyes had enjoyed 11 critically acclaimed years at Everton, leading the club to five top-six finishes. The Toffees were set to play in the Champions League for the first time in 2005 until they lost in the qualifying stages of the competition, and Moyes also took the Merseyside club to the FA Cup final in 2009.
But all those achievements were small fry compared to what Sir Alex Ferguson achieved.
The enormity of the task in hand seemed to overwhelm Moyes from day one.
Moyes upset some within the club by bringing in his own coaching staff, while the likes of Rene Meulensteen, Eric Steele, and Mike Phelan departed.
The futures of the men he brought in - Steve Round, Jimmy Lumsden, Chris Woods and Phil Neville - remains unclear.
Moyes' reputation took its first hit when he botched his first transfer window as United boss. The Scot pursued Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas when the midfielder had no intention of leaving the Spanish giants.
Thiago Alcantara joined Bayern Munich ahead of United, while the club made a real hash of their attempts to sign Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines on the cheap.
United's bid of £28million for the pair was branded "derisory and insulting" by Everton.
Baines stayed and United ended up buying Fellaini for £27.5million when they could have bought him for £4million less had they acted quicker.
There will be no shortage of interest when it comes to seeking a successor for Moyes, who turns 51 on Friday.
Louis van Gaal is the bookmakers' favourite. The former Barcelona manager has an impressive CV and will be available this summer when he leaves his post as Holland coach after the World Cup.
Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has ruled himself out of the running.
Diego Simeone is a highly-regarded figure in European football after taking Atletico Madrid to the top of the Spanish league and into the semi-finals of the Champions League.
However, many fans would like to see Giggs take the post on a long-term basis, despite his lack of managerial experience.
For the meantime, United hope Giggs will restore some passion and unity in a season which has been tainted by rumours of disharmony in the dressing room.
In December, Rio Ferdinand questioned Moyes' policy of naming his starting XI on the day of the game, claiming it turned him into a "madman" wondering whether he was to be selected.
Shortly after United's embarrassing 2-0 defeat at Olympiacos, Robin van Persie complained about his team-mates running into his space on the pitch.
Moyes always denied he had any problems with his playing staff.
But the shock news that Danny Welbeck, an academy graduate born in Manchester, wanted to leave the club, did not go down well with the United hierarchy.
Moyes' reputation was tarnished when he oversaw the exit of highly-respected club captain Nemanja Vidic, who will leave for Inter Milan in the summer.
Another senior figure and dressing room stalwart in Patrice Evra may follow the Serbian out the door when his contract expires.
Moyes succeeded where Ferguson failed in tying Wayne Rooney down to a long-term contract.
Goalkeeper David de Gea and Adnan Januzaj also developed well during Moyes' reign, but that cannot be said for the rest of the squad and many supporters became disenchanted with the slow and methodical style of play on show at Old Trafford this season.
The United players started leaving Carrington at around 1.30pm, but there was no sign of Moyes, who was suspected to have left the site via a back exit away from the cameras.
Coach Nicky Butt, who is expected to form part of Giggs' interim backroom staff, left via the main exit shortly after 2pm.