Fergie gave Chosen One hospital pass by forcing him into impossible job
'Your job now is to stand by our new manager" – the famous words of Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford during his self-indulgent farewell speech last May. Eleven months later, and Manchester United have followed the lead of the club's fans in doing anything but standing by David Moyes.
Was this the plan all along? Anyone with eyes could see replacing Ferguson was an impossible job. United's own history told us as much. Perhaps a short-term failure was needed to save themselves from years in the wilderness. Whoever comes in now will compare favourably to Moyes, and Ferguson will be more of a distant, fond memory.
Could it be that Moyes was just a patsy, set up to be the fall guy for the United transition?
The team he inherited won the title by 11 points, but was on the way out. Ryan Giggs was turning 40, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra were spent forces, and Wayne Rooney was on the transfer list.
He may have known it too. We heard he was told he was the new United manager by his old friend Ferguson, not offered the job.
He was the Chosen One. It never seemed like he had much of a choice or that he even wanted it.
From day one, Moyes seemed ill at ease with the role, always defensive with the press, always praising a squad that it was overwhelmingly obvious didn't deserve it. There was no authority there.
And there could never be, just weeks after the real 'Boss' had departed.
Now he has been sacked, his reputation ruined forever.
United will move on and a new, world-class manager will spend £200m this summer. Moyes will be paid off for his trouble and live with the regret of failing in football's biggest job for the rest of his life.
Thanks Sir Alex. With friends like these ...