Four years on: What went wrong for David Moyes? (Quays News)

Four years on: What went wrong for David Moyes? (Quays News)

9th May 2013 marked the day that Scotsman David MThis article was originally uploaded to Quays Newsoyes was handpicked by the outgoing Manchester United Legend Sir Alex Ferguson to replace him at Premier League giants Manchester United in a move many considered to be a solid appointment.

Now, exactly four years to the day since his appointment at United the one time “Chosen One” David Moyes finds himself rooted to the bottom of the premier league table with his current club Sunderland, doomed to manage in the second division of English football for the first time since joining Everton in 2002.

It needs to be considered where did it all go wrong for a man once considered the most under-rated, dependable manager in the premier league after his commendable job at Everton.

Transfer window failings

All things considered the writing was on the wall when Moyes couldn’t land any of his major transfer targets in the summer of his appointment, with the exception of Marouane Fellaini from former club Everton, moves for Ander Herrera (who did later join under Moyes’ successor), Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Leighton Baines and Sami Khedira all fell through for various reasons.

United had seemingly gone backwards where their rivals had all strengthened, Arsenal shattered their transfer budget to bring in Talented German midfielder Mezut Ozil and Chelsea brought in Brazilian winger Willian from Russia.

Results unspectacular

A tough start in the fixture list won’t have endeared Moyes to the United faithful either, a goalless draw with Chelsea and losses to great rivals Liverpool and Manchester City in September made Moyes’ job to retain the Premier League title difficult from the off.

In United’s humiliating 4-1 beating at the hands of Man City, the scale of Moyes’ task was clear to see, his midfield was played off the park and the defense found themselves dismantled and outmaneuvered with ease by a Sergio Aguero lead City attack. Having finished 11 points above their rivals the season before United now looked to have entirely switched roles with the blues.

Speaking in his autobiography #2Sides, Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand said regarding Moyes’ time in charge “Sometimes our main tactic was the long, high, diagonal cross. It was embarrassing. In one home game against Fulham we had 81 crosses! I was thinking, why are we doing this? Andy Carroll doesn’t play for us!


In years gone by under Ferguson Old Trafford was deemed a fortress, United had often won games at home before the opposition team had even arrived.

United lost just three home games in the nine seasons preceding Moyes’ appointment, by the end of the season United had fallen to seven defeats at their Salford home including first ever home defeat to Swansea and Newcastle’s first Old Trafford win since 1972, as well as crushing 3-0 losses to Liverpool and Man’ City.

This season marked the first time in the Premier League era that both Liverpool and City had beaten United home and away.   

European Run petered out

An aspect of Moyes’ tenure that was once considered to be a positive was his European run, following an unbeaten group stage including crushing wins’ home and away against German side Bayer Leverkusen.

However, in February Greek side Olympiacos comfortably beat Moyes’ side 2-0 in Athens, claims at the time were that United were daunted by the atmosphere and outplayed by the weakest side in the draw.Manchester United Moyes

Despite a Robin Van Persie hat-trick overturning the deficit of the first leg the damage was done, after that night in Greece United fans were beginning to turn on the man they once christened “The Chosen One” with a banner in The Stretford End.

It was after this night that fans started to turn against Moyes, even though a Robin van Persie hat-trick turned the tie around in the second leg at Old Trafford.

In the next round United went out 4-2 on aggregate against German Giants Bayern Munich, ending the most significant European run of Moyes’ career and signalling the beginning of the end for his time in the North West.

Stephen Howson of Manchester United fan YouTube channel Full Time Devils said “We got quite far in the Champions League and you could argue that we got kind of unlucky against a really strong Bayern Munich side, but how much of that was the players and how much were the tactics of the manager.”


A 2-0 defeat at home against his former side Everton left United out of the champions league for the first time in just under 20 years. Days later club executives held a press conference announcing the parting of ways between Moyes and Manchester.

In his autobiography former United manager of 26-year Sir Alex Ferguson was sure that Moyes found the step up from Everton too big, he wrote: “He hadn’t realised just how big United is as a club.”

Since his time at United Moyes endured a disastrous spell in Spain at Real Sociedad before moving on to premier league side Sunderland who were relegated to the championship for the first time in 10 years less than 12 months into his tenure at The Black Cats.

Stephen Howson believes Moyes was simply not up to the United job. “I think he was maybe the perfect fit for his job at Everton with the resources but his career since leaving United probably illustrates that he was massively out of his depth for the job at hand.”

Manchester United however found some success since Moyes’ enigmatic Dutchman Lois Van Gaal came in with a rich European pedigree and won an FA-cup as well as getting United back into the Champions League, after his sacking United chose to appoint the man many considered to be the true heir to Sir Alex’s Manchester United throne, two time Champions League and three-time Premier League winner the controversial Portuguese Jose Mourinho.

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