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DAVID McDONNELL: Moyes feared a hostile reception but indifference was even worse

Date Posted,December 25, 2016

He arrived as Manchester United boss hailed as ‘The Chosen One’ but left under a cloud as ‘The Chastened One’.

Much had been made of the return of David Moyes to United for the first time since his sacking in April 2014 after an ill-fated 10-month spell in charge.

Having succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson, who rode off into the sunset with his 13th championship title, Moyes dragged the champions down to seventh, their worst-ever Premier League finish.

If Moyes had feared a hostile reaction from United fans, the reception he was afforded – one of complete indifference – was far more humiliating for the visiting Sunderland boss.

It was as if Moyes had never been at United, the response of the 70,000-plus home fans at Old Trafford amounting to an airbrushing of the Scot from their illustrious history.

Moyes watched his Sunderland side lose 3-1 (Photo: REUTERS)

There was a bear hug from United mascot Fred the Red, which showed that Moyes retained some friends at the Theatre of Dreams, despite presiding over the club’s dramatic fall from grace.

Moyes did not help his cause, ahead of his return, by accusing United of betraying their tradition of appointing British managers by employing Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho after him.

The 53-year-old Scot also claimed United had targeted Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas and Toni Kroos, but effectively failed him by not landing any of those marquee names.

Manchester United mascot Fred the Red and Sunderland manager David Moyes
Manchester United mascot Fred the Red greets Moyes (Photo: X01095)

Indeed, the only player signed under Moyes – until the £37m capture of Juan Mata in January 2014 – was Marouane Fellaini, who became a symbol of United’s demise under his old Everton boss.

United may have begun the encounter just a place above where they were when Moyes was sacked, but the football has been infinitely more enterprising and effective under Mourinho.

And in the self-styled Special One they have a serial winner, a manager comfortable with the weight of expectation at a club the size of United, unlike Moyes, who always seemed in awe of the job.

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