MANCHESTER United yesterday ruthlessly brought the axe down on David Moyes’ reign just ten months into his six-year contract – a move which made headline news worldwide.
The Scottish manager slipped into United’s training base unnoticed early yesterday morning and met with vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Just after 8am, Mr Woodward informed Moyes he had been sacked.
It has been speculated he could receive a £10 million pay-off following his dismissal.
United issued a statement soon after which read: “Manchester United has announced that David Moyes has left the club. The club would like to place on record its thanks for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role.”
The club confirmed veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs had been placed in charge “until a permanent appointment can be made”.
Neither Giggs, 40, nor any of the other United playing squad stopped to speak to the media who had gathered outside the club’s training ground in anticipation of Moyes’ sacking.
The move came just two days after an Everton fan dressed as the Grim Reaper mocked Moyes from behind the Goodison Park dugout on Sunday when United suffered an 11th defeat of the campaign – something which proved too much for owners, the Glazer family.
Moyes, 50, was chosen by fellow Scot Alex Ferguson to succeed him when he retired last summer. He had implored United fans to stand by Moyes when he addressed them following his last game in charge at Old Trafford last season, which ended with his 13th league title in a trophy-laden 27-year reign.
United shares, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange, were up more than 6.5 per cent last night signalling investor relief at the decision to sack Moyes.
The official tweet from Manchester United confirming the news has been shared almost 100,000 times within hours of the announcement being made – with the decision making headline news around the world. By last night, Moyes’ names had been mentioned in more than 1.5 million tweets.
Current and previous footballers took to social networking sites to comment on the sacking, which had been expected.
Former United and England striker Michael Owen said on Twitter: “Evidently they didn’t have the confidence in him . . . Now the big question is who’s next?”
And Gary Neville, former United defender, said he thought his old club’s performances had been deteriorating. He said: “I’ve not enjoyed watching it. The performances have got worse and worse.”
Former England striker and BBC presenter Gary Linekar said: “It was bad enough losing Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of last season and appointing a new manager. This season we don’t even know if they’re going to be in European football yet. It’s crisis point.”
But Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said: “I feel sorry for David Moyes. But that is the life of a coach, when things don’t go well they fire you.”
There were also some more light-hearted comments, including one from former England cricket captain Kevin Pietersen, who was also sacked, who Tweeted: “Anyone got #DavidMoyes details pls? Myself & @piersmorgan want to compare notes & see where we all have gone wrong this year!”
Under Moyes, they have lost six league games at home, been beaten in the FA Cup by Swansea at Old Trafford and were unable to prevent Sunderland defeating them in the Capital One Cup semi-finals.
In March, some fans chartered a plane to fly overhead during their game against Aston Villa trailing a banner with the words “Wrong One – Moyes Out”, a reference to the banner at Old Trafford that proclaimed Moyes to be the “Chosen One”.