History a cruel mistress for Moyes: he is same boss as he was at Preston

Moyes was never a Manchester United manager - he was barely even an Everton manager…

For Manchester United, it was always going to be about the man that followed the man - and so it looks set to prove.

Were it not for the behest of the man that transformed them into a global powerhouse, a higher calibre of candidate would have been anointed Sir Alex Ferguson's immediate successor long before David Moyes was ever placed under serious consideration.

Even before he first stood in the United dugout, Moyes' doomed nine-month tenure contained a strong overtone of fallacy. The club's PR overdrive - not least 'The Chosen One' banner that hung from the Stretford End - merely highlighted that he was a poor imitation appointment.

The saturated 'Welcome Moyes' content that adorned United's official website is now conspicuous by its absence. Like Roy Hodgson's blundering stay at Liverpool, he has been swiftly airbrushed from Old Trafford's history.

He stopped short of declaring United's performance in last weekend's humiliating defeat to Everton as 'utopia', as Hodgson infamously did following Liverpool's 2-0 reversal to Goodison Park in 2010, but his post-match autopsy during last weekend's unhappy homecoming was not short of similar gaffes.

Throughout the game he was mocked mercilessly, with chants about being 'sacked in the morning' from the home crowd almost as prophetic as the supporter bedecked as the Grim Reaper, a publicity stunt by a high-street bookmaker. that stood behind the opposing dugout in the first half.

Had an Everton official not prevented him from inadvertently exiting the press room via a packed corporate lounge, the return to his former stomping ground would have taken on a fresh degree of slapstick.

That death knell to his United career will have taken on a particular soreness but it was already a painful reminder for Moyes that the grass isn't necessarily always greener. After Ferguson, United required a change and his replacement had to change with the new role.

Moyes may have traded up stakes and stature in moving to United, but the Preston mentality that was prevalent up to his final days at Everton remained. To listen to him talk about his side's performances and standing, many could be forgiven for mistaking him to be the manager of an FA Cup giant-killer.

He embraced defeatism and the underdog status, even when Everton were outstanding favourites, like in their FA Cup semi-final clash with Liverpool. It rarely stood him in good stead, as has been the case at Old Trafford.

At the time of his leaving, a quote from Duncan Ferguson, a tireless servant to the Everton cause, hung from Goodison's rafters: "Stay at this club as long as you can, there is only one way after leaving, and that is down."

Moyes himself said words to that effect, four years ago, when he declared: "If anybody wanted to leave, they'd be poorer for it. Most people that have left here, it's not tended to work out for them." History is proving a cruel mistress to the 50-year-old.

Last summer, he accused Everton of holding back the respective careers of Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines by refusing them to join the ranks at United. He may have been granted his wish with the former, but the reality was that the only one holding anyone back was Moyes himself.

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