The Blog

Easter Sacrifice - Moyes Died For Fergie's Sins

And just like that, it is finished. It's been a nightmarish and arduous 10 months in the Old Trafford hot seat for David Moyes, and, having served up a feast of failure during his time in Manchester, it is perhaps fitting that the all-powerful United deities chose Easter weekend to publicly sacrifice their 'chosen one'.

And just like that, it is finished.

It's been a nightmarish and arduous 10 months in the Old Trafford hot seat for David Moyes, and, having served up a feast of failure during his time in Manchester, it is perhaps fitting that the all-powerful United deities chose Easter weekend to publicly sacrifice their 'chosen one'.

The last supper came during a hellish return to Goodison Park, his former stomping ground. Even for his Reds side, so often outplayed and outfought this campaign, the 2-0 loss to a rampant Everton represented an embarrassing new low.

And as he solemnly trudged down the touchline with the look of a condemned man, Moyes' face suggested that the weight upon his shoulders was beginning to play heavy - but little did we know that the end was nigh for the United boss.

In truth, his execution was a long time coming. Hamstrung by an ageing squad, a host of under performing Prima Donnas, and a pair of transfer window failures on a biblical scale, Moyes was hailed as the Messiah, but was always faced with something of a thankless task.

When he began his tenure on the 1 July last year, he was expected to continue the dominance attained during the glorious reign of Sir Alex Ferguson; in retrospect, this was akin to performing miracles - a crown of thorns.

After all, for all of his burgeoning reputation, lest we forget that he was essentially trophy-less during his stint at Goodison Park, and before his arrival in Manchester, his Champions League experience amounted to nothing more than a brief foray into one early qualifying round.

On top of that, Ferguson left a squad brimming with ego and lacking in quality - a fact that is often overlooked. It could even be said that Moyes was ultimately sacrificed for the sins of his predecessor.

Upon his arrival at Old Trafford, a series of blundering decisions and poor results, including losing double to both Merseyside clubs for the first time in history, meant that he very quickly parted the Red sea - causing divisions and fractures between United fans which made his eventual departure inevitable.

Indeed, one could argue that the festering doubt from the Old Trafford fan base, combined with an element of betrayal from those above him, left Moyes brutally exposed; a lamb to the slaughter.

Luck was not on his side during his tenure in Manchester, either. Despite putting together an attacking triumvirate of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and £42million capture Juan Mata - a strikeforce heralded as the 'holy trinity' - the goals have not flowed for the Reds, and too often they have looked toothless, sluggish and cumbersome in the final third.

At times, it appeared that there may be light at the end of the tunnel. The odd win here, a rare result there.

A 1-1 draw with Bavarian giants Bayern Munich was arguably one of the highlights of his stint, which speaks volumes about just how poor things have been this season.

But as he took his side to Germany for the reverse fixture hoping for European salvation, his prayers were not answered - and United crashed to a 3-1 defeat.

Ultimately, last weekend's loss to the Toffees was nothing new, or groundbreaking. But more than anything, it underlined that United, once supreme, were never going to be resurrected under the guidance of Moyes - and the Scot was doomed.

So, with a new dawn on the horizon at Old Trafford, who can United fans expect to see take the reins in the north west?

As the rumour mill clicks into overdrive, a host of Europe's top names are already being linked with the vacancy at the Theatre of Dreams, from the likes of up-and-comers Jurgen Klopp, Laurent Blanc and Diego Simeone, to wiley old heads such as Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti.

Of the first three, Klopp, the Borussia Dortmund manager, is certainly a real character, and has made no secret of his desire to work in the Premier League at some point in his career.

Having built a focused and well-drilled unit at the Westfalenstadion, the young boss is developing an excellent reputation within the game, and even though his rivals Bayern Munich seem intent on cherry-picking his best talents, his side have managed to compete both domestically and on the continent.

Meanwhile in Spain, Diego Simeone has built an exciting and fast-flowing Atletico Madrid side which looks set to secure the Primera Division title for the first time in 24 years next month - in the process, splitting Barcelona and Real Madrid's top two domination for the first time since 2007/8.

The Argentinian is one of the brightest prospects on the continent at the moment, and will surely be linked with every managerial vacancy around over the next year or so - but as a legend down at the Vicente Calderon Stadium, would he really want to leave his current employers as they are on the cusp of their biggest achievement in nearly three decades?

Across the Channel, Laurent Blanc has seen his Paris Saint Germain side sweep all before them - leading the Ligue 1 title race for most of the campaign, and scooping the Coupe de la Ligue after beating Lyon 2-1 last week.

The ex-centre half, who enjoyed a brief tenure at Old Trafford during the twilight of his career, has many fans in Manchester - they affectionately dubbed him 'Larry White' during his time at the Theatre of Dreams - and, despite no experience of coaching in the Premier League, that could give him an edge on other potential candidates.

And with Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti having already agreed to commit their futures to the Dutch national team and Real Madrid respectively, they appear out of reach.

But ultimately, all of that speculation is exactly that - speculation - and, actually, could turn out to be rather academic.

I have it on good authority that United are already in advanced negotiations with current Holland boss, Louis van Gaal, who is set to leave his post as Oranje manager after this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Having plied his trade at the likes of Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, the Dutchman certainly has a weighty CV which will turn heads at Old Trafford - and, at 62 years old, he has bags of top-level managerial experience to call upon.

In my opinion, his appointment could only be a positive one for the Red Devils. Yes, it is hardly a progressive choice for the future, but at this stage, United desperately need a pair of safe hands to take the helm.

Van Gaal is exactly the kind of old head who will steady what is currently a sinking ship, get the club back onto an even keel, and leave a solid legacy intact for the next long-term choice to build upon.

WIth United currently lagging behind the European elite, it will take a experienced and confident personality to be able to build a new side capable of hitting those heights once again.

Either way, the next man into the Old Trafford throne is certainly set for a baptism of fire.

The hunt for a worthy successor to Sir Alex continues. Louis van Gaal might not be the second coming, but he's as close as they'll get.

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