December 18, 2014
Moyes axed by Man Utd after disastrous season
Manchester United's plans for life after Alex Ferguson were left in tatters when manager David Moyes was sacked after 10 troubled months of failure and frustration at a club used to seamless success.
Moyes, appointed with a six-year contract on the direction of retiring fellow-Scot Ferguson last July after 11 years at Everton, did not even get to complete his first season as the club's American owners, the Glazer family, ran out of patience.
Announcing his departure in a terse, two-line statement, United thanked Moyes for "the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role" at Old Trafford but his spell in charge will be remembered more for dire performances, humiliating defeats and a failure to qualify for the all-important Champions League for the first time since 1995/96.
United have lost six home league games, won only one match in 12 against the Premier League's top six and will finish outside the top four for the first time since 1991.
Midfielder Ryan Giggs, 40, was appointed to take interim charge of the team for the final four games of the season with United mired in seventh place, 23 points behind league leaders Liverpool.
Speculation immediately turned to who might take over at Old Trafford, with the club's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward leading the recruitment process.
A decision on Moyes's successor will be taken by the board as a whole but senior figures, including Ferguson, will be consulted.
Dutchman Louis van Gaal was installed as the bookmakers' favourite.
The former Barcelona, Ajax Amsterdam and Bayern Munich boss is coach of the Netherlands but has already said he will stand down after the World Cup in Brazil and has talked of a move to the Premier League.
Other leading coaches distanced themselves from the role, with Jurgen Klopp saying he was happy to stay with Borussia Dortmund and Pep Guardiola also indicating he had no desire to walk away from a Bayern Munich side he has forged into probably the best in world football.