English Premiership

Moyes appointment defended

2014-10-21 21:05
David Moyes (AFP)

London - Alex Ferguson has insisted Manchester United went about appointing David Moyes in the right way when they chose his fellow Scot to replace him as manager of the English giants.

The widespread view leading up to the former Everton manager's appointment at Old Trafford following Ferguson's retirement in 2013 was that he was the hand-picked successor of British football's most successful manager of all time.

Indeed Moyes was nicknamed 'The Chosen One' by some United fans in recognition of what they thought was Ferguson's key role in the decision to bring him from Liverpool-based Everton to Manchester.

However, the cheers quickly turned to jeers and just months after his appointment, in April this year, Moyes was sacked after it became impossible for United to qualify for the Champions League.

Some pundits questioned the wisdom of allowing Ferguson to have, as they saw it such a big influence in the choice of his successor but in extracts from his updated autobiography, published in the Guardian on Tuesday, Ferguson insisted hiring Moyes had been a decision taken by the whole of the Old Trafford hierarchy.

"There appears to be an accepted view out there that there was no process. Nonsense," Ferguson wrote.

"We feel we did everything the right way: quietly, thoroughly, professionally."

Ferguson added he felt the "walls squeezing in" upon Moyes, whose struggles reminded him of his own early problems at Old Trafford following his arrival from Aberdeen in 1986 prior to United winning the 1990 FA Cup.

"As the results deteriorated, each defeat was a hammer blow to him," Ferguson recalled.

"I could see that in his demeanour. In January we bought Juan Mata and that gave everyone a lift but I could see the walls squeezing in, leaving David with less and less room to breathe. I know that feeling from 1989, when we went through a terrible spell.

"You feel you are being crushed. The results gnawed away at David. Nobody could dispute how disappointing the season was. And it cost a man his job."

Ferguson also said Moyes "had not realised just how big United is as a club" and said his successor got the team to play at a much slower tempo than the one which had brought United so much success in recent decades.

"The reason for playing at speed was that United players had been accustomed to operating that way," Ferguson wrote.

"If the tempo slowed for any reason, I would be into them at half-time. 'This is not us,' I would say. Playing with speed never hindered our results. It was our way: energy and determination in the last third of the pitch."

As well as Moyes's tactics, Ferguson questioned his decision to dispense with many of United's long-serving backroom staff, including assistant manager Mike Phelan and bring his loyal lieutenants with him from Everton.

"Maybe David felt that at such a massive club he had to be sure that all corners were covered in terms of his support system. I felt that network was already there, with plenty of great people already in important slots," Ferguson said.

Many observers believe Moyes was not helped by the fact he inherited an ageing squad and general infrastructure from Ferguson.

But Ferguson countered by writing in his book: "Antiquated was a bizarre description of the structure I left behind at Manchester United. Have you seen our new training ground?"

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