You have to wonder where has it all gone wrong for David Moyes? The move to the sunshine of Spain was meant to rejuvenate his managerial career but instead it has dented it even further. David Moyes apparent failure to ignite Real Sociedad’s fire has led to his sacking yesterday almost a year to the day that he took over. Despite rescuing Soceidad on his arrival last season, Moyes could not find the winning formula in this campaign and leaves the club dangling just above the relegation zone after only two wins in their first eleven games. With the international break now upon us, the timing makes a lot of sense and Sociedad have wasted no time in appointing its new manager, former Barcelona B boss Eusbeio Sacristan. As Moyes and his assistant Billy McKinley took their leave, the former Everton boss must have been wondering what went wrong and what is next.
His last challenge lasted less than a year too when he replaced Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. But his time at Old Trafford was always destined for failure. Replacing arguably the greatest manager the world has ever seen at a club whose fans expectations were at an all time high made the task daunting to the best of managers. Like a rebound girlfriend, longevity was never on the cards and before Moyes could complete his transitional season, he was sacked. Once viewed as the darling of the Premier League, Moyes reputation was in tatters. All of the hard work and good credibility generated through his time at Goodison had gone with many in the media clambering to question his managerial abilities. The job at United seemed to be too big for the Scotsman, a miscalculated leap that ended up being a canyon rather than a babbling brook. Battered and bruised, Moyes searched for a plausible return to management. Despite his disastrous spell at United, there were various offers on the table, some more appealing than others. Moyes knew that jumping back in to another Premier League job would not relieve him of the media glare that had hounded him so badly at United. The solution was a move abroad and in particular to Spain with Real Sociedad. Similar to Everton in their frugal yet calculated approach, Sociedad appeared to be offering Moyes exactly what he needed – time. Despite being ambitious to the last, the Sociedad board were realistic about the next few years and saw Moyes as the man to lead their transformation from relegation candidates to La Liga challengers much like he had done at Everton. But his failure to assimilate was his downfall, his lack of understanding of the Spanish language his boundary and his tough no nonsense approach to coaching the ever tightening noose around his neck.
The question is where next for David Moyes? A return to the Premier League would be the more sensible approach given Moyes comfort and understanding of that league. But at present there are no jobs on offer. He was in the running for both Aston Villa and Sunderland managerial vacancies but turned them both down in favour of continuing his Spanish adventure. On reflection, it wasn’t perhaps the best decision but hindsight is a wonderful thing and to be fair to Moyes neither job looked more attractive than the one he current had. Moyes can financially afford to wait and see especially given the volatile nature that managers in the Premier League are forced to live under. It may be that come January there have been other sackings, the most likely candidates being Steve McLaren at Newcastle, Garry Monk at Swansea and Alex Neill at Norwich. The Newcastle job may appeal more than the other two but Moyes will face stiff competition from Ajax boss Frank De Boer who has publicly lauded over that job.
If he doesn’t go back to England then continuing his European journey is another route. A return to Scotland with boyhood club Celtic could be appealing especially if they finally end the less than impressive tenure of current boss Ronny Deila or perhaps a move to Holland or Germany which has proven to have mixed results for British managers throughout the years. The last option would be a move into international football, much like Claudio Ranieri did with Greece or Guus Hiddink has done on several occasions. The job he would want in this space is currently filled by Gordon Strachan and is unlikely to be vacated anytime soon especially now that the Scotland manager has renewed his contract for the World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign. Taking charge of a foreign national team is also highly risky (again see Claudio Ranieri and Guus Hiddink) with a language barrier still a major factor in achieving success. Moyes will know that his next move needs to be the right one, not just the most convenient one. He needs to find another Everton, a place where he will be given the time, love and support he needs to transform an ugly duckling into a golden swan. Whether there is another Everton out there though is still to be seen.