at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Sir Alex Ferguson, among David Moyes’s most fervent backers in the Old Trafford boardroom, will play no part in deciding his successor’s future as Manchester United manager.
Sources close to Sir Alex indicate he strongly believes that Moyes, who signed a six-year contract when he moved from Everton last summer, will be in the job for the long haul.
But Moyes, under enormous pressure despite yesterday’s 4-1 thumping of Aston Villa, knows his fate will lie squarely in the hands of United’s American owners the Glazer family, with Ferguson exerting minimal influence.
That could be bad news for Moyes, who needs all the allies he can get at these troubled times. Failure to beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League – the first leg of the quarter-final against the holders is on Tuesday – is bound to see more pressure piled on the United boss.
Yesterday, disgruntled fans took to the skies to register their disapproval of Moyes, with a plane trailing a banner which read ‘Wrong One – Moyes out’.
But inside Old Trafford, a defiant Moyes was given a standing ovation as he walked to the dug-out ahead of his team before kick-off, just minutes before the plane appeared overhead.
“I just wanted everyone to know that I’m manager of the club and you know where I am,” he said.
“I’ll be standing on the side of the pitch every week and that is my job. The support inside Old Trafford has been terrific and if there was ever a show of support for the football club and the team it was in this game.”
Yesterday’s victory, inspired by two goals from Wayne Rooney and with Sir Alex watching from the directors’ box, overshadowed that protest. But Moyes knows there will be more if results do not pick up.
United, who went into the season as champions, lie seventh in the table with no chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League – unless they win the competition.
Ferguson is said to be confident that the fellow Glaswegian he recommended to take over at the club he turned back into a world football power will confound his critics. He is equally sure Moyes will be given the time and opportunity to prove the team’s disappointing results this season are a blip during a transition following his 27 fabulously successful years in charge.
Although Ferguson rarely misses a United match in his new joint role as a club director and ambassador, it is believed he has little or no contact with the Glazers.
Moyes will also have been pleased to hear Rooney backing him yesterday. The England striker, who moved to fourth place in the all-time Premier League scoring charts yesterday with 171 goals, said: “We didn’t make anything of the protest,” he said.
“We know the support the manager has got from the players and from the fans and that’s what matters. The support he got from the fans was incredible again today.” - Mail on Sunday