The former Everton and Manchester United boss has been given a second chance as Sam Allardyce’s replacement but how important is it for him to be successful?
Moyes was once a respected Premier League manager during his time at Goodison Park and he spent 11 years with the Blues, developing, shaping and guiding Everton to a top-ten finish in the league every season. He was renowned for his ability to bring the best out of quite average players and was happy to give youngsters an opportunity to shine. Moyes had faith in the club’s academy and he’d grown to respect the club’s fans and their needs and delivered consistency throughout his tenure.
He displayed traits which made up the nucleus of Sir Alex Ferguson’s football philosophy and in some ways it was no surprise the former Manchester United manager turned to Moyes as his successor. It came as a shock to some though, to see a fellow Premier League manager take over United when there were options from all round the world but to many, it seemed like a shrewd appointment and one which was going to be largely led by Ferguson despite his resignation. However, Moyes found he was overwhelmed and out of his depth due to a number of reasons – not all of which were faults of his own.
Moyes’ time at Manchester United was described as a failure and there were very little positives to draw from his tenure with the club. After winning the league title the year before, during Fergie’s last season, Manchester United stooped to a new low and after a string of poor performances, Moyes was sacked after just ten months in the job. Many argued he’d inherited an ageing squad and a lot of United’s senior players chose to leave rather than help with the transition and these were major factors in Moyes’ management failures.
Not only was Moyes under a huge amount of pressure to emulate the vast achievements of Ferguson, he was treading into new territory. Everton were rarely in European competition and although they were often involved in strong cup runs, expectations to win trophies were never on a scale that could be compared to that of which Manchester United sat. Moyes had to deal with squad rotation in Europe, pressure to deliver titles, an expansive fan base, increased media attention and a wider transfer budget. He became overwhelmed and it was clear, despite proving he could deliver consistency in the Premier League with Everton, Manchester United were a club too big.
With his managerial reputation tarnished, Moyes had no choice but to take time out and after returning to the game for a brief, unsuccessful year with Real Sociedad, he’s not yet proved he is capable of delivering at other clubs. The Sunderland job could be Moyes’ opportunity to turn things around and the bottom-table club could be just the platform for him to do so. Allardyce was a manager who could grind out results, keep clubs in the top flight and get the best out of an average side. Moyes has some of those qualities and with focus purely on the Premier League, he’ll be back in his comfort zone once more.
It could be argued that Moyes’ Manchester United failure wasn’t as bad as initially thought, with even Louis Van Gaal proving incapable. There were clearly limitations in the squad, a lack of experience and leadership available and a group of youths who weren’t quite at the level needed to compete in the first team. However, at Sunderland, Moyes inherits a squad consisting of proven Premier League players, experience and youth and he’ll be given more patience as manager of a club simply hoping to see progression.
Progression is what Moyes’ philosophy is all about too. He aims to develop youngsters, evolve the squad into a consistent team and sets achievable targets which can help his side gradually improve. Sunderland is the perfect place to redeem his managerial prowess and its crucial Moyes does so. After failing to make an impression in Spain, the Sunderland job could be his final chance and if he doesn’t take advantage, it could be a while before Moyes is seen coaching in the Premier League again.
He was left rejected, untrusted and mistreated by Manchester United but he’s now been given a chance to prove to the Premier League that he can deliver and for the sake of Sunderland, fans will be hoping he does.