Wednesday, April 23, 2014

LONDON — Manchester United soccer club abruptly fired its manager, David Moyes, 10 months after he replaced the team's most winning coach ever, Sir Alex Ferguson, in one of the most closely watched managerial successions in global soccer.
"The club would like to place on record its thanks for the hard work, honesty and integrity he (Moyes) brought to the role," Manchester United said in a brief statement on Tuesday morning. The dismissal followed a meeting with Ed Woodward, the club's executive vice chairman, at the side's training ground outside Manchester.
Veteran player-coach Ryan Giggs was named interim manager until the end of the season or until a permanent replacement has been found, Manchester United said.
The club, one of the biggest and most high profile global sports franchises, previously refused to be drawn into commenting on reports in the British press that Moyes, 50, would be forced out before the end of the Premier League season.
Manchester United is currently in seventh place after having won the league last season and for the first time in 19 years, has failed to qualify for next year's Champions League competition. The club was named by Forbes as the world's second-most valuable sports team at $3.2 billion behind only Spanish team Real Madrid.
The team's current stars include England's Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie of the Netherlands. David Beckham, perhaps the world's most famous soccer star of recent times, made his name playing for Manchester United.
PHOTOS: United's miserable season under David Moyes

Fellow Scot Ferguson retired from the club last year after spending 26 years in charge, during which he won 40 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles. As a manager Ferguson was known as a strict disciplinarian firmly in control of the locker room.
Moyes was handpicked by Ferguson to be his replacement after the former spent 11 years at Everton soccer club, where he was praised for fostering an attacking style of play and where he brought success to the club despite a relative lack of funds to attract top players.
Moyes was given a six-year contract when he took over from Ferguson in July but frustration by supporters of the club has been growing for months with Manchester United on track to see its lowest ever points tally in the Premier League.
American Landon Donovan played for Everton in 2010 and 2012 while Moyes was in charge, and Tuesday spoke out on Manchester United's dismissal of his former boss.
"It's hard to see him treated in this way. He's a great manager, but he's also a great person, he's a good human being. I think we sometimes forget that," Donovan said. "People in the public eye, you hammer them in a way that you wouldn't if you knew them as a human being.
"That's the way football is. You can't get rid of all of the players, so you have to do something. It's unfortunate. He's had a tough time, he would admit that, but I hope it all works out for him that's for sure."
The poor results notwithstanding, soccer pundits have pointed out concerns over whether Moyes would be the right man to lead Manchester United in the summer transfer market, when the club is expected to spend as much as $350 million on new signings.
Others say that following Ferguson's reign the bar was raised impossibly high and that Moyes should have been given more time to make his mark.
"Any successor to our current manager may not be as successful," the Glazer family, the club's majority share owners, warned potential investors in 2012, a year before Ferguson's retirement.
Manchester United is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the announcement was made before the market opened on Tuesday. Shares in MANU traded 1.4% higher following the news.
"This has been a long time coming. For any company that performs badly and is listed on the stock exchange, shareholders would be screaming for change at the executive level," says Joshua Raymond, chief market strategist at City Index, a U.K.-based online broker.
"This is what (Manchester United) now has to get used to as a publicly traded company after a disastrous year which sees the club miss out on the highly lucrative Champions League," Raymond says.
Following Moyes' appointment last year, Manchester United said: "His appointment is a victory for common sense and stability. United are in safe hands."
It is not immediately clear who may be on the list of candidates to be Moyes' long-term replacement, although one name that has been floated by the British soccer press is the Netherlands national team coach, Louis van Gaal.
VIDEO: Manchester United fires Moyes

Moyes didn't even last a full season with the storied club after taking over for Sir Alex Ferguson Newslook