What next for David Moyes after his year at the Damned United?

A football dynasty ends. The defining figure in a club’s history moves on. It is the time for the country’s brightest managerial talent. He assumes control of the reigning league champions. Uncertainty permeates a successful, but ageing squad, "A side," the new manager will reflect "on its last legs."

The team embarks on a series of disastrous results. Supporters are restive. Dressing room unhappiness leaks to the press. Floundering in the league, the board cut their losses and prematurely sack the new manager. It was, recalls the veteran sportswriter James Lawton, "without doubt one of the most dramatic of sporting tales."

"Little did I realise," reflects the departed man, "The extent of the dislike and resentment – if not downright hatred – waiting for me." Forty years on, Brian Clough’s 44-day reign as Leeds United manager remains a salutatory tale, worth revisiting yet again. Immortalised in a best-selling novel and movie, the bare bones of the story have seemingly been played out once more, this time on the other side of the Pennines where David Moyes has been sacked as Manchester United manager. He lasted 252 days longer than Clough as Don Revie’s successor, but one suspects we’ll also be talking about his ill-fated reign 40 years from now.

Just 42 weeks passed between Moyes’s first and last day in charge of Manchester United. In that time the reputation of the most outstanding British manager of his generation has been universally trashed. After Sunday’s defeat to Everton, Jamie Carragher, recalling his own Liverpool playing days, announced scathingly: "I wish I played against a Manchester United team like that." On social media supporters and journalists united in a mocking phalanx to describe Moyes as ‘clueless’, ‘terrible’, ‘inflexible’, ‘out of his depth’, ‘the biggest fool in Manchester’.

No one would have been more conscious of David Moyes’s shortcomings as Manchester United manager than Moyes himself. But Goodison is not Old Trafford, where trophies are demanded annually.

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