When Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement as manager of Man United on 8th May, he confirmed the end of the longest running era in British football. Appointed on 6th November 1986, Ferguson has nurtured a reputation as arguably the finest football manager of all time.
His replacement at Old Trafford will be fellow Scotsman David Moyes, a man who himself has retained one managerial position for the last 11 years, and was the third longest serving current Premier League manager whilst at Everton behind Ferguson and Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.
But despite Moyes’ clear record of tenure and pretty evident success – especially when considered alongside the fact that he did not manage one of the “top” Premier League clubs – he is filling surely some of the biggest boots in the history of football.
His man management appears to have gone down pretty well through the years at Goodison Park, despite having been a participant in a very public rift with a man he finds himself re-united with at Old Trafford, Wayne Rooney.
His discipline and no-nonsense attitude on the touchline have made him a popular manager at the Toffees, and previous reports indicate that Ferguson himself handpicked Moyes to join him at Old Trafford before the younger Scosman even entered the managerial scene at Preston.
One question that will be asked is whether or not Moyes is likely to enjoy similar patience from the Glazer family as Sir Alex himself experienced during the early days of his reign at the Red Devils? In a day and age when managerial merry-go-rounds are as much a part and parcel of the game as the ball and the net, will Moyes be granted similar amnesty when it comes to the time it takes to shape his new club in his own image? Or is he likely to be treated in much the same way as other managers in similar positions?
Granted, Arsene Wenger has enjoyed a massive tenure at Arsenal, but other than that clubs around the top of the league seem to swap managers on an almost season-by-season basis. Chelsea and Man City head into the new season, like United, with new managers, while Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers and Tottenham gaffer Andre Villas-Boas are ready for only their second full season at their respective clubs.
With the transition at Old Trafford next season set to hit levels not seen at the club for almost the past 30 years, Arsenal must surely be looking at those clubs around them and rubbing their palms together in anticipation. Whether they can take full advantage of the pretty unique situation – or indeed whether there is really a situation to take advantage of – remains to be seen, but Moyes is surely the manager with the most eyes on him going in to the new season.
Manuel Pellegrini has a new crowd to please, Jose Mourinho needs to prove he can recapture the magic of his first reign at Stamford Bridge, Wenger is comfortable in his Emirates seat – but Moyes has it all to prove – he has everything to do. He will be surely be given as much as the fans can offer, but he will not want to rest on his laurels when he finally officially takes over at Old Trafford on Monday. His first tasks? Keep Rooney, strengthen the squad and win United’s 21st Premier League title by the end of the season. Not a massive ask at all really then……