Moyes, the alchemist handed a pot of gold

New United boss cut from Ferguson's cloth, but lacks experience of Europe and big budgets

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 May, 2013, 5:49am


In selecting David Moyes to succeed Alex Ferguson, Manchester United have chosen a man hewn from the same stone.

Moyes, 50, is a fellow Glaswegian, and has built his reputation on a fierce will to win and a knack for finding transfer bargains in unexpected locations.

Moyes had been the third longest-serving head coach in the Premier League, trailing only Ferguson and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

He spent 11 years at Everton, and although he leaves without having won a trophy, he kept the club in the upper reaches on a shoestring budget.

"Evertonians owe everything to David Moyes. He took on our club when it was on its knees," Everton chairman Bill Kenwright said in 2009. "I worship the man. He is the greatest manager in the world."

Since arriving from his first managerial role at Preston North End in 2002, Moyes has rarely had much money, but has proved adept at signing and developing lower league players.

Australian Tim Cahill, a £2.5-million (HK$50 million) signing from Millwall in 2004, became one of the most accomplished goalscoring midfielders in the top flight, while defenders Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka went on to play for England after signing from second-tier sides.

Moyes also handed Wayne Rooney his professional debut at the age of just 16, before he joined United in 2004 for £27 million.

Defeat by Chelsea in the 2009 FA Cup final was the closest Moyes came to lifting any silverware, but Everton have not finished outside the top eight since 2006 and he has been named the League Managers' Association Manager of the Year three times.

A modern manager who utilised the services of three performance data analysts, he also possesses Ferguson's iron will and ferocious hunger for success. Ex-United captain Steve Bruce said he was "cut from the same cloth".

United have never had a manager from outside the British Isles, and in many ways Moyes represents a traditional appointment, but his lack of European experience is glaring.

Like Ferguson, Moyes spent time at one of Scotland's Old Firm clubs, but after coming through the youth ranks at Celtic, he played in England and Scotland's lower leagues.

Having started studying for his coaching badges at the age of just 22, he worked his way up Preston's coaching structure before becoming manager in 1998.

He won the Second Division in his third year and then took the club to the brink of the Premier League, only for them to lose in the 2001 play-off final.

Within a year, he was at Everton, where he quickly endeared himself to fans by describing their team as "the people's club".

His willingness to work to tight financial constraints made him perfect for Everton, but at Old Trafford he will discover a vastly different set of priorities.

"I congratulate him and feel sorry for him," said former United manager Tommy Docherty before the announcement. "How can you follow the impossible?"