Moyes sacked by Man Utd, Van Gaal tipped to take over
Announcement on Old Trafford manager's future could come before the New York Stock Exchange opens
Update, 10.20am: Ryan Giggs has been confirmed as Man Utd's interim manager after David Moyes was sacked this morning. At 8.30am, a tweet from the official Manchester Utd Twitter account confirmed Moyes's departure and said "the club would like to place on record its thanks for all the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role".
MANCHESTER UNITED are preparing to sack manager David Moyes and bring to an end what The Times describes as a "calamitous" season in charge at Old Trafford.
Though the United board appeared ready to stick by the 51-year-old Scot just a few weeks ago, despite embarrassing league defeats to Liverpool, Manchester City and others, Sunday's 2-0 loss to Everton – ironically the club Moyes abandoned for United last summer – seems to have tipped the Glazers over the edge.
Not only are United seventh in the table, 23 points adrift of Liverpool, but the Old Trafford faithful won't be treated to Champions League football next season for the first time in 18 years. They might not even make the Europa League, a chastening experience for a club that once viewed the tournament with thinly-disguised contempt.
The Times says that Moyes "could learn his fate this afternoon" with the Glazer family, United's owners, allegedly eager to draw a line under the affair and move on after ten months of Moyes in charge.
It won't be cheap for the Glazers. When Moyes was appointed Alex Ferguson's successor last summer he signed a six-year contract with the then Premier League champions. The Times says that "under the terms of the deal he will be entitled to 12 months' severance pay, worth about £4.5m".
With English football the way it now is, all eyes will be on the New York Stock Exchange and its opening bell on Wall Street at 2.30pm (BST). United, who partially floated in 2012, must inform the Exchange of any managerial decision in line with US Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.
The Guardian agrees with the Times that a decision is imminent and says it won't be "impetuous or shocking". The brutal truth is that "Moyes is out of his comfort zone" and Ferguson is the one to blame. It was he who instructed the United board to appoint Moyes after he retired last summer. "It was a serious lapse of judgment that might have put United back years", says the Guardian, adding that it will be at least 17 months "before United are a Champions League club again".
As for who might be hired to replace Moyes, there appears to be agreement that the favourite for the job is 62-year-old Louis Van Gaal. The Daily Mirror claims that United have "already sounded out" the coach of the Dutch national team and he is "expected to meet with the club's hierarchy this week". Currently relaxing at his holiday villa in the Algarve, Van Gaal will be available at the end of the World Cup.
The Sun also fingers Van Gaal as the most likely successor to Moyes, quoting a source close to the Dutchman as saying: "Louis would love the United job if it becomes available. Manchester United is his No 1 choice."
But the paper adds there are plenty of other ambitious coaches eager for a chance to manage United, among them Borussia Dortmund's Jurgen Klopp, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti and Aetico Madrid boss Diego Simeone. In the short-term it is expected that United's player-coach Ryan Giggs will take charge for the final four games of the season.
Moyes will be back, predicts the Guardian, at a club more suited to his skill-set, but wherever he goes and whatever he achieves, he will be haunted by his traumatic ten months at Old Trafford. "He will always be remembered as the man who took over from Ferguson and blew it," says the paper.