2 years is a long time in football.
In the summer of 2013, David Moyes was taking the reins at arguably the world’s biggest football club. Anointed as ‘The Chosen One’ by the Manchester United faithful, the Scotsman looked to follow in the footsteps of the most successful club manager of all time; a fellow countryman who had delivered 38 trophies in 26 years with the Red Devils.
Fast-forward 30 months, and Moyes is looking to rebuild his reputation.
An ill-fated reign at Old Trafford (which lasted less than a year) was followed by an ineffective year in Spain with Real Sociedad. Despite steering Sociedad to safety last season, a poor start to the 2015/16 season saw Moyes dismissed after just 11 La Liga games; his conviction that his team ‘would finish in a strong position by the end of the season’ all too hollow.
A man who spent over a decade crafting a reputation as someone who could achieve a lot with very little (taking Everton to the Champions League on a shoe-string budget is not to be sniffed at), Moyes is now trying to find somewhere new to hang his hat. So… where next?
With Garry Monk out of the hot-seat at the Liberty, it’s no surprise to see Moyes linked with the Swansea job. A club with a strong identity, a belief in its youth system, and a long-term perspective seem the right fit for a manager trying to restore his right to sit at English football’s top table. Indeed, Swansea’s profile in the Premier League is not dissimilar to Everton’s, the club where Moyes enjoyed most of his success. Given the opportunity, he would no doubt succeed at Swansea, who are struggling to make the transition to genuine candidates for European football stick.
However, reports suggest that Moyes does not favour the move, and with many other managers with Premier League experience being mentioned – Brendan Rogers and Gus Poyet to name two – it would not be surprising to see him look elsewhere for his route back into the England.
Yes – it’s not a current vacancy, but if Newcastle continue their downward spiral then Steve McClaren cannot be long for the job. And it is a job that would undoubtedly suit Moyes…
Fervent support, high expectations and a club desperate for a trophy – the job seems tailor-made for Moyes to rebuild his reputation and give the Geordie faithful what they have been waiting for since 1955 – a major trophy (let’s not count the 2006 Intertoto Cup…). A demanding boss in Mike Ashley would be nothing new; though cut from a different cloth from Bill Kenwright (the Everton chairman under whom Moyes operated), Moyes has experience working with the billionaire Glazer family, so would not be phased by the pressure that this brings. What’s more, he would only be a short trip from his family (who are still based in Scotland) if he were to move to Tyneside. A very real possibility.
If Moyes was after a new job posting closer to home, then he might as well look on his front doorstep.
Having started his playing career with Celtic in 1980, Moyes retains his affection for the club where he won the league title in 1982 despite being raised as a Rangers fan. Current boss Ronny Deila has flattered to deceive during his reign, and with the club finishing dead last in their Europa League group, Celtic fans have little else to look forward to than the traditional romp to the Scottish title. Gone are the days of slaying European giants (Barcelona in 2012 springs to mind), the club is on a downward curve, and Moyes could be the answer to reinvigorating the side. Domestically it’s an easy role, but with Rangers a season away from an almost-certain return to the top flight, the Moyes factor would bring added spice to the new wave of Old Firm derbies…
Where Moyes ends up next is not clear. There’s no doubt that the offers will come his way (he claims that he has turned down more than a handful of roles over the past 12 months), and the lure of some well-paid, stress-free punditry work might be too good to ignore in the short-term, but there is no doubt that Moyes will be back in the Premier League at some point. The Swansea job looks a month or two too soon, and Celtic are likely to persist with Deila so long as he keeps winning the league uncontested. Moyes on Tyneside, though? Don’t rule it out…