Early Doors

‘You’re trying to get me the sack!’: The best stories of the David Moyes era

Early Doors

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David Moyes

Now that the drama of David Moyes's sacking as Manchester United manager has died down, we get to the fun bit: the drip-feed of stories leaked to the media by disgruntled players telling the best tales of the Scot's appalling stint at Old Trafford.

Thursday's papers are all on the case, with The Sun getting stuck right in by revealing that Moyes first lost his rag with his highly-paid stars back in September, when United were 2-0 down to Manchester City at half-time in the derby.

"This is not even men against boys — this is men against girls," Moyes apparently fumed.

The players' response? They conceded twice in the first five minutes of the second half, and went on to lose the match 4-1.

Rumours of the players having lost faith with the manager emerged consistently as the club's poor season progressed - but it seems that the feeling was mutual.

In January, Moyes apparently screamed at his players that, "you are trying to get me the sack!" after their penalty shoot-out defeat by Sunderland in the League Cup semi-final.

In fairness, the players were probably doing no such thing at that point - but Moyes might have put an idea in to their heads, because just a few weeks later they put in what was perhaps their worst performance of the season as they lost 2-0 at Olympiacos in the Champions League.

At that match, the Daily Mail reports that one of the substitutes apparently shouted, "send him off - we would be better off without him," as Moyes argued with the fourth official on the touchline.

The paper describes the moment as: "A clear act of insubordination [that] astonished those who heard it — but it was not an isolated incident."

On the flight home from Greece, the Mail's piece adds that the players spotted Moyes reading a self-help book called "Good to Great" - something which prompted open sneering among the players.

"We are the Premier League champions," the paper's mole inside the dressing room said. "Why on earth did our manager need to read a book to learn how to manage us?"

Towards the end of the stint, the Mail's report continued, things began to get bad that, "three unused players sat in the stand at one game and began to place bets on just how long their beleaguered manager would survive."

On another occasion, Shinji Kagawa was so late for the trip to Munich for the Champions League second leg that he almost missed the plane - yet reportedly smirked and sniggered his way on board as United club staff desperately pulled strings with airport officials in order to get the Japanese star on board in time.

The Mail's piece suggests that it is exactly the sort of behaviour that Alex Ferguson used to treat with a zero tolerance policy, but that "under Moyes, the niggles just continued to niggle."

Even at training the players apparently lost interest on a regular basis, finding the sessions "boring" and nicknaming one of Moyes's coaching staff 'F*** off [name]', because "that was what some players felt like saying when he started talking."

Most of the names of the players involved in these examples are yet to be revealed - no doubt they'll all come out in an explosive book at some point.

But among those who Moyes is said to have alienated are Robin van Persie and Rio Ferdinand, who apparently heard on the grapevine how Moyes had bad-mouthed both superstars to a fellow Premier League manager following a match.

As the Mail's article concludes, "your employees can make you or break you. Somewhere in Moyes’s big red self-help manual, there is probably a paragraph about that."

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