COMMENTARY | What was the worst-kept secret in all of world football was confirmed on Thursday afternoon local time. Manchester United have named the man who will replace Sir Alex Ferguson, and their choice shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody who has been following the news over the past 24 hours.
One day after Ferguson announced that he was retiring as United manager at the conclusion of this season, the club announced via their official website that current Everton boss David Moyes will be coming in as Fergie's replacement. Moyes received a six-year deal from United, and he will begin his new job on July 1. Ferguson had nothing but good things to say about his successor, giving the following quotes to the MUFC website:
"When we discussed the candidates that we felt had the right attributes we unanimously agreed on David Moyes. David is a man of great integrity with a strong work ethic. I've admired his work for a long time and approached him as far back as 1998 to discuss the position of Assistant Manager here. He was a young man then at the start of his career and has since gone on to do a magnificent job at Everton. There is no question he has all the qualities we expect of a manager at this Club."
Despite not being able to compete financially with the likes of United, Manchester City and Chelsea, Moyes once again has Everton flirting with European football. It is still mathematically possible that Everton could finish this season as high as fifth in the Premier League table, and it is practically a lock that they will end the campaign ahead of local rivals Liverpool. It had been reported last spring that Moyes was a favorite to replace Harry Redknapp at Tottenham Hotspur after Redknapp was sacked by Spurs. Moyes remained loyal to Everton for one more season, however, possibly knowing that a more desirable position would soon be available.
Three things stick out to me regarding Thursday's news. First is the wording in the United announcement, which goes out of the way to point out that Moyes is Ferguson's first and only choice. The statement begins: "Manchester United Board unanimously approves the recommendation of Sir Alex Ferguson." Many United fans calling into talkSPORT or posting about this matter on social media websites over the past day had voiced their concerns about Moyes taking over for the living legend. United's press release, which includes such high praise from Ferguson, does all it can to ease those concerns.
I also can't help but wonder if Moyes will actually see out all six years of his first United contract. It took Ferguson several seasons to hoist his first trophy as manager of the club. That United, however, does not in any way compare to the United squad and, perhaps more importantly, the United brand that now exist. Moyes will be expected to lead United to league glory AND also have the club competing in Champions League (just getting out of the group stage of that tournament won't cut it) starting next fall.
Last but certainly not least, Everton still have two games left to play this season. They could, if they beat West Ham on May 12 and Spurs lose to Stoke City on that same day, still be fighting for a Europa League berth on Survival Sunday. Even if those results don't occur, Everton could still have a say in the European football discussion. They'll be away to Chelsea, who could still need a win in order to guarantee themselves Champions League, on May 19.
Moyes has been regarded by a plethora of intelligent people throughout the football community as being a brilliant manager who simply never had the money to invest in what would be his true first-choice squad. That will no longer be the case starting on the first day of July. A new manager lasting six entire seasons at a massive club is a rarity these days. Moyes has the goods to buck that trend.
United fans will demand that he do just that right off the bat.
For more: Ferguson retires
Zac has been covering Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer, New York Red Bulls, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sir Alex Ferguson
- Manchester United
- David Moyes