UK & World News
Keeping Moyes 'A Bigger Gamble Than Hiring Him'
David Moyes lost the faith of Manchester United's owners the Glazer family, and with it his job, because sticking with him represented a bigger gamble than hiring him in the first place.
Moyes was hired, exclusively on the advice of his compatriot Sir Alex Ferguson, with what now looks like negligent haste. The Glazer family chose to ignore the claims of other candidates, including Jose Mourinho, to give Ferguson's protege a six-year contract.
If that was a risk it was as a calculated one. Moyes' 10 years at Everton did not yield a trophy but they did merit respect, and a chance to prove he could step up to the very highest level.
The answer, after nine months and two transfer windows, was a resounding "no".
Moyes is a fine manager and a decent man but he seemed overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge. Where once he was certain, he second-guessed. Having run Everton in his own image, at United he could not escape his predecessor's shadow.
It left the Glazers with an even bigger decision than the one they faced last summer.
It is beyond question that United's squad needs a fundamental overhaul. It is a £150m project that will set the foundations for the next three to five years.
So the question for Old Trafford's Floridian absentee landlords was whether to trust it to a man struggling with the demands of the job, amid growing hostility from some players and colleagues.
Friction with senior figures including Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, and disaffection from players such as Danny Welbeck offered them little comfort, and humiliating defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City chipped away at Moyes' credibility.
Despite this the Glazers were still looking hard for evidence that he could be trusted with the club's future on and off the field. They appear to have found none.
There is simply too much risk for owners who need success to drive the commercial performance that pays the interest on the loans with which they bought the club. Ferguson guaranteed that. The only guarantee with Moyes is uncertainty.
So after nine years of stability under Sir Alex, the Glazers are searching for their second manager in nine months. They can ill-afford to get it wrong again. Expect the new man to have Champions League experience and an international profile.
The new coach will also mark a new era.
When Ferguson recommended Moyes he was promoting a principle as well as a pal. In his fellow Glaswegian he saw a man who would maintain the values he instilled, the commitment to the long-term and developing their own talent.
That idea of United as a special club, one that does not panic, sack its manager and buy its way out of trouble, may die with Moyes' departure.