Sports Mole team: Should Manchester United sack Moyes?

The Sports Mole team debates whether or not Manchester United should sack David Moyes if they are knocked out of the Champions League tonight.

David Moyes insisted yesterday afternoon that he did not fear the sack as Manchester United manager.

The Scot made the claim despite numerous press reports having suggested that in the wake of Sunday's 3-0 defeat to rivals Liverpool, the club's owners had started to harbour serious doubts over the 50-year-old's ability to continue the success of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Some speculation has even suggested that if United were to exit the Champions League at the hands of Olympiacos tonight, it could spell the end of Moyes's short tenure at the Old Trafford helm.

So, if United were knocked out by their Greek counterparts, considering that would end the club's chances of winning any silverware this season, is sacking Moyes the right thing to do? We asked the Sports Mole team for their thoughts.


Steven Toplis, Reporter: "David Moyes is under big pressure at Old Trafford after the defeat to Liverpool but I feel that he should remain as manager, even if United go out of the Champions League tonight.

"Moyes has taken on a difficult job in replacing Ferguson and should be given more time to stamp his authority on the team. Not all of the blame for United's season can be pinned on him. He inherited an ageing squad and, while he has added the likes of Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini, he needs to invest further to make United a force again. As it stands, the squad is not good enough to challenge for honours. Moyes deserves at least one more season in the job to prove that he can turn the club's fortunes around."

David Moyes manager of Manchester United looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns on March 8, 2014© Getty Images

Daniel Lewis, Reporter: "The plan was to give Moyes time at Old Trafford. There's no denying the fact that it has been a hugely disappointing season for Manchester United, but the bottom line is the former Everton manager needs at least another season at the helm.

"He may have inherited a Premier League-winning side, but after failing to truly strengthen last summer, lessons will have been learned. If Moyes is backed in the transfer window – and the right players are brought in – then he can succeed at the club in the long term, just like a certain Ferguson."

Giuseppe Labellarte, Reporter: "There is no doubting that David Moyes has had a dreadful first year in charge of Manchester United. But sacking him with the club out of the running for every competition and with less than two months of the season left isn't going to solve anything. It was never going to be easy for him, but it's not like the club is on the verge of relegation - next season will be a new, clean slate in the Premier League.

"Liverpool were in a similar position with the seemingly substandard Brendan Rodgers last season, but after a poor first year in charge, the Merseyside club have gone from strength to strength under his tutelage and are now challenging for the title. Who's to say Moyes that won't emulate the 41-year-old's trajectory and enjoy a successful second season?"

Manchester United's Scottish manager David Moyes leaves the field after the UEFA Champions League football match between Manchester United and Shakhtar Donetsk at Old Trafford on December 10, 2013© Getty Images

Jack Prescott, London Correspondent: "United being knocked out of the Champions League seems a very likely possibility, but I think it would be incredibly remiss of the club to sack David Moyes as a result. The Scot must be allowed to steer the team through at least one season, regardless of how choppy the waters are, to give him the opportunity to bring in players over the summer and show a bit of mettle and ambition in the transfer market.

"The big question for me is whether the powers that be keep hold of him for the entirety of the next campaign if results, and the general mood around Old Trafford, do not improve. It does not matter how long Moyes's contract is, he will know full well that a failure to turn things around in the next 8-12 months will see his job on the line."

Sian Cowper, Reporter: "I don't think Manchester United should, or will, sack Moyes if the team are knocked out of the Champions League this evening. Firstly, dismissing Ferguson's successor after less than a season in charge could put potential replacements off the job as they may fear that they won't be given time to turn the club's fortunes around. Furthermore, the team have only progressed to the quarter-finals twice since they last won Europe's top club competition in 2008, having exited in the round of 16 last year.

Man United manager David Moyes prior to kick-off against Newcastle on December 7, 2013© Getty Images

"Although it's a bit of a cliche, not being involved in Europe next season would allow the team to focus on the league. United look unlikely to secure Champions League football for next season at this point, but not having the distraction of European football has helped Rodgers turn around Liverpool's fortunes, transforming them from a team struggling to make the top six to title contenders in his second year with the team. Like Moyes, Rodgers had not been in charge of a top-four side prior to his appointment at Liverpool, but he has stepped up in his second season.

"United need to give Moyes a similar amount of time to adjust before deciding whether they need to make a change. Replacing Moyes so close to the end of the season may also be a stretch, as clubs involved in title, promotion or relegation battles, as well as those still involved in cup competition, wouldn't be happy letting their manager leave, as it may ruin their chances of success this year. If there is going to be a change, it's more likely to happen during the summer, or in time for the January transfer window."

Christopher Dodd, Reporter: "Time is something Moyes is in need of and it's a commodity he'll probably get from United for another year at least. However, the manner in which United have played over the course of the season is a subject of increasing frustration for fans.

"Losses would be easier bullets to bite if it were more apparent that the Scot was attempting to implement a progressive strategy, but the current 4-4-2-setup is resulting in a side that appears to be playing its football in the immediate post-war years. I'd say give Moyes a settled summer transfer window and allow him to indicate in what direction he plans to lead his own group of players."

A new era - Fletcher begins training under the guidance of David Moyes in October of this year.© Getty Images

Joe Fish, Reporter: "How does that phrase go? 'You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time?' This season, David Moyes and Manchester United have pleased nobody, except overexcited Liverpool fans desperate to return two decades of mockery.

"It's a write off. It United go out of the Champions League at the last 16, it isn't the defining moment of a poor campaign which started with a disastrous summer transfer window. It's just another thing that United's fans would need to forgive and forget as Moyes continues his steep learning curve.

"Europe is irrelevant in this case, anyway. It's their surprisingly disappointing Premier League performances and results which have led to questions over his future and, yes, Moyes has fallen way short of expectations thus far, but give the man a second chance, a blank cheque or five and let him start afresh at the end of the season. If United are in the same position at this stage next year, sack him. How does that other phrase (kind of) go? 'Fail me once, shame on you. Fail me twice, bye, bye, Moysey.'"


Danielle Joynson, Staff Reporter: "If United get knocked out of the Champions League then yes, Moyes should be sacked. When people call for the manager's head during his first season in charge at a club, I always see it as a knee-jerk reaction. When things started going wrong under Moyes earlier in the campaign, my initial thought was that United supporters were just moaning and couldn't handle the fact that they weren't dominating week in and week out.

Manchester United Manager David Moyes heads for the dressing room at half-time during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 16, 2014© Getty Images

"As the season has progressed, in my opinion, it's become more evident that the players do not believe in Moyes. Keep in mind that the majority of the current team won the league under Ferguson last season. When it gets to the point where the players are not trying for you, questions need to be asked.

"It was never going to be easy taking over from a manager who comes along once in a lifetime, and while the club stuck with Ferguson in the early days, football has moved on, and a club of United's stature should have a proven coach at the helm. Saying that, I don't believe that a change in manager will suddenly turn things around for United - they've dominated for over 20 years, maybe it's their turn for a slump."

Darren Plant, Reporter: "Going into the clash with Olympiacos, it could already be inevitable that Moyes will depart Old Trafford at some stage over the coming months and progression past the Greek side could just prolong the agony for all involved.

"The board at Manchester United have consistently indicated that Moyes would be given time at the club, but the defeat to Liverpool - Moyes's 12th in 43 games since taking control in the summer - was a bitter pill to take, and the manner of the loss will leave the dressing room deflated ahead of their final nine games of the season.

Manchester Uniteds Scottish manager David Moyes reacts during a League Cup semi-final first leg match between Sunderland and Manchester United on January 7, 2014© Getty Images

"The adulation that would follow a United win on Wednesday night could be followed by despair against one of Europe's in-form teams, which would only lead to more question marks over Moyes's future. If United don't plan to start the next campaign with Moyes, which is looking more likely with each defeat, the time for change is now."

Barney Corkhill, Reporter: "Taking over from Ferguson was always going to be a poisoned chalice, but I'm sure even in his worst nightmares Moyes never envisioned things going quite so badly. To think that they had never finished outside the top three in the Premier League before this season makes their demise even more startling, as they are now just three points clear of eighth-placed Southampton.

"However, I also believe that succeeding Fergie is the only thing still keeping Moyes in the job. There is no doubt that any other manager at any other top team in the world would have been sacked by now with a similar set of results, but because Ferguson became the greatest manager of all time having had a shaky start himself - and because United's patience paid off in that instance - I think Moyes is experiencing a stay of execution.

"The fans have adhered to Fergie's final wishes as manager and supported Moyes thus far, but their patience is understandably waning. I don't think elimination from the Champions League will be the straw that breaks the camel's back as many fans will already be resigned to going out following the first leg result. However, if they suffer a similar embarrassment at home to Manchester City on March 25 as they did to Liverpool at the weekend, then the Scot could well be a dead man walking."

Manchester United manager David Moyes shouts instructions on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Manchester United at KC Stadium on December 26, 2013© Getty Images

Sam Hughes, Reporter: "You've got to give credit to the fans - they tried. Underwhelmed from the very beginning, but, despite that, Moyes has had unequivocal backing. They sang his name and supported him, all while many were waiting for them to turn. Defeats, paired with turgid, unimaginative football, soon followed and, other than a few murmurs, Moyes got away with it. Excuses - some of which were quite legitimate - were rolled out on a regular basis.

"Every club has its limits, though - it's just that United's is far further down the line due to the psychological hold that remains from Ferguson's reign. There's plenty of other factors, of course, and Moyes isn't a bad manager by any means - he's just not a Manchester United manager.

"It seems like it's only a matter of time now, but the final decision needs to be made. Now or at the end of the season? The second rebuilding process within a year needs to be taken into consideration - do it now and there's time to plan. He should go."

Man United manager David Moyes on the touchline during his team's Premier League match against Chelsea on January 19, 2014© AFP

Matt Law, La Liga Correspondent: "Regardless of tonight's result, Moyes simply has to go. Watching your team fall from grace in such incredible fashion is difficult enough without having a manager that is entirely devoid of a clear game-plan or tactics at the helm.

"'Moyes needs time' has been regularly said, but there is a difference between needing something and deserving it. In truth, I feel for him, but it just isn't working and it's time for a change. United should do all they can to poach Jurgen Klopp from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, hand him a £150m budget and end Moyes's misery before more long-term damage is done."

Paul Gorst, Reporter: "After the dismal 3-0 home to defeat to their fiercest rivals on Sunday, redemption for David Moyes looked light years away. The manner in the way they were ruthlessly swept aside by a title-chasing Reds was surely the biggest eye-opener for all concerned.

Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on prior to kick-off against Olympiakos in their Champions League match on February 25, 2014© Getty Images

"United have made a point of doing things a certain way and handling the situation with decorum, but sooner or later they're going to have to bite the bullet and accept Moyes simply isn't up to the job. He has spent £60m on a title-winning squad and managed to leave them marooned out in seventh with a mixture of archaic tactics and a baffling inferiority complex unbecoming of the 20-times English league champions. You could write a book on the topic, but to put it succinctly, the Red Devils should give Moyes his P45 and start a fresh in the summer."

Liam Apicella, Features Editor: "I wrote this article in May just before Moyes was confirmed as Ferguson's successor and nothing that I've seen since then has altered my viewpoint. If anything, my opinion has been strengthened over the course of the last few months.

"I accept that Moyes has not been in the job long and as a Man United supporter, the last thing I want the club to become is like Chelsea, who chop and change managers like it's going out of fashion. Sadly, though, with the exception of promoting Adnan Januzaj and signing Mata, Moyes has done very little to suggest that he is the right man to take United forward.

"Although United were not setting the pulses racing towards the end of Ferguson's time in charge, they were at least winning. The two main worrying aspects for me is the general look of confusion among the players in terms of tactics and the lack of fight that was displayed against Liverpool. That said to me that the squad does not have enough respect for Moyes and once that becomes apparent, he cannot continue. In modern football, the players, right or wrongly, hold the majority of the power. A large number of the team have not pulled their weight and shouldn't escape criticism, but it appears that they are not being inspired by Moyes and his coaching team and never have been."

Manchester United manager David Moyes reacts with Phil Neville to the sending off of Marouane Fellainiduring the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Real Sociedad and Manchester United at Estadio Anoeta on November 5, 2013© Getty Images

Manchester Uniteds Scottish manager David Moyes reacts during a League Cup semi-final first leg match between Sunderland and Manchester United on January 7, 2014
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