David Moyes was sacked a year ago today after a 10-month nightmare at Old Trafford – so how has Louis van Gaal turned it around?
COMMENT By Greg Stobart Follow on Twitter
At 7.40am a year ago today, David Moyes walked into Ed Woodward’s office at Manchester United’s training ground to officially receive the news that the whole world knew was coming.
Just as Moyes woke up that morning knowing that he would lose his job, Louis van Gaal, in his penthouse in the Dutch seaside resort of Noordwijk, was by then well aware that he would be the next manager at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal had first been sounded out over the possible vacancy at United that February and contact had continued to the extent that most aspects of his three-year contract were already agreed by the time the axe fell on Moyes.
Following the 33-word statement thanking Moyes for his honesty and integrity, United immediately set about repairing the damage of a 10-month spell that had taken the club from runaway title winners to seventh in the Premier League table.
A year on, United sit third in the league with 65 points – one more than they managed in the whole of the last season – and a return to the Champions League next season is all but mathematically certain.
Moyes continues to insist that all he needed was time, having been backed with a six-year contract when he took on the unenviable task of replacing Sir Alex Ferguson after a 27-year reign of unparalleled success.
But there will be no regrets in the United boardroom.
The ‘Chosen One’ Ryan Giggs was handed the job until the end of the season having been sounded out several weeks earlier. He was assisted by Class of ’92 contemporaries Phil Neville, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes.
Four weeks after Moyes’s dismissal, Van Gaal’s appointment was confirmed. The one sticking point in contract negotiations had been in the make-up of his backroom staff but most importantly the Dutchman was given carte blanche for the summer overhaul that, for various reasons, Moyes had been unable to implement a year earlier.
A summer investment of £150 million in transfer fees saw the arrival of six new players in Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and a loan move for Radamel Falcao. Moyes had planned a similar level of spending but there was a lack of trust in his judgement after Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata had struggled to adapt at Old Trafford.