Manchester United could fire manager David Moyes within 24 hours with Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal already in place to succeed him, according to reports. Moyes, who replaced fellow Scot Sir Alex Ferguson in May 2013, has had a terrible time at the Old Trafford club since taking over from the English game’s most successful manager.
United currently sits in seventh place in the Premier League and are set to miss out on playing in the Champions League for the first time in close to 20 years when the draw is made later this year. The club, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, lost 2 percent on the share price. Moyes has come in for the lion’s share of the blame.
The Glazer family, the owners of United, are said to have finally run out of patience and plan to cut their losses before the end of the season. United have not failed to qualify for European football in over 30 years, and so the American bosses want to avoid the fans turning on both them and the board. That is why the decision to let Moyes go could come sooner rather than later.
Moyes has presided over a number of shock defeats, mainly at home, against teams which have been unable to win at Old Trafford in years, even decades. They include Newcastle United, his former club Everton and Stoke City. Swansea City also won at Old Trafford in the FA Cup. However, it was not just results that irked United fans. Being comprehensively beaten home and away by their biggest rivals Liverpool – the champions elect – and Manchester City proved United were no longer capable of competing at the top. The away defeat to Everton yesterday is arguably the most significant of all.
Although nothing has been confirmed, veteran van Gaal is expected to take on the manager’s role come the new season with United player Ryan Giggs expected to take on the caretaker manager’s role in the next 24 hours. If Moyes does go, which is looking increasingly likely, United will have to pay off his six-year deal. However, it is understood the Glazer family inserted a clause in the contract which he can be fired for a lot less if certain targets were missed – notably Champions League football.
The reports will also come as some embarrassment to the club as Ferguson was allowed to choose his own successor. It is understood that Chelsea boss José Mourinho was offered the post before he returned to London from Real Madrid. United’s failure to land him meant Ferguson was told he had authority to choose his man. Now it looks like Moyes could be fired in less than 24 hours.
If United have got the successor in place, in the form of van Gaal, it will mean they will be without a manager for most of the summer as van Gaal bids to win the World Cup in Brazil with the Netherlands national team. Nevertheless, a transfer kitty to the tune of £150 million plus will mean van Gaal, or whoever comes in, will be in a good position to rebuild. Until then it is all speculation, but the reports that “The Chosen One” is about to exit United after less than a season in the job are mounting fast. United declined to comment on the reports that Moyes could be fired but the world is expecting a major announcement in 24 hours or less.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd