THE statement was dignified, decent and diplomatic, but David Moyes thanked pretty much everyone at Manchester United bar his former players when he spoke publicly about his dismissal for the first time yesterday.
While the Scot wished the Old Trafford club “all the best for the future”, United came under fire from the League Managers Association (LMA), who criticised the way they handled Moyes’ sacking just 10 months into a six-year contract, which was confirmed on Tuesday.
During his short but turbulent tenure, Moyes repeatedly insisted that he enjoyed a good relationship with his players despite rumours to the contrary. Yet those players who regularly post on social-networking sites have remained mysteriously quiet since Moyes left – even though the Glaswegian stayed at Carrington on Tuesday for a few hours after his dismissal to say goodbye to them.
In a statement released through the LMA, Moyes thanked his predecessor, Sir Alex Ferguson, for appointing him and there was also a mention for the United fans.
Moyes said: “During this period of transition, performances and results have not been what Manchester United and its fans are used to or expect, and I both understand and share their frustration. I remain proud to have led the team to the quarter-finals of this year’s Champions League and I remain grateful to Sir Alex Ferguson for believing in my ability and giving me the chance to manage Manchester United.
“The scale of the manager’s job at United is immense, but I have never stepped away from hard work and the same applies to my coaching staff. I thank them for their dedication and loyalty throughout the last season. I would like to thank the United staff for making me feel so welcome and part of the United family from my first day. And of course thank you to those fans who have supported me throughout the season. I wish you and the club all the best for the future.”
Reports exploded on to social media on Monday afternoon that Moyes was set to be axed – 16 hours before he was informed at a meeting with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward on Tuesday morning that his contract was being terminated.
LMA chief executive Richard Bevan said: “The LMA is very disappointed with the nature of David’s departure from Manchester United and to read extensive reports in the press, confirming David’s sacking, before David himself had been spoken to officially by the club.
“Throughout his time at United, David, as he always does, has conducted himself with integrity and professionalism, values that he believes in and that have been strongly associated with the club and its rich tradition.
“It is therefore sad to see the end of David’s tenure at United being handled in an unprofessional manner.”
United, however, insisted they had acted professionally and responsibly. A spokesman said: “We do not accept that it was handled in an unprofessional manner. The decision was not taken until late Monday night and was communicated face-to-face first thing on Tuesday morning. When reports started emerging on internet news sites on Monday afternoon, no decision had been taken at that time.”
Senior player Ryan Giggs will take charge of the first team until a new manager is found, with Louis van Gaal, Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone mentioned as possible candidates.
It has emerged that former United midfielder Paul Scholes is now back coaching at the club – Moyes tried and failed to persuade him to join his backroom staff at the start of the season.
“It’s great to see Paul Scholes here at the Aon Training Complex today, assisting Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville,” read a post on Manchester United’s official Twitter feed.