Humiliated, back stabbed, sacked and the laughing stock of English football. David Moyes’ Manchester United dream turned into a nightmare quicker than he ever could have anticipated. ‘The Chosen One’ quickly became the ‘Unemployed One’, so Moyes took a step few expected him to by taking over at struggling Real Sociedad in Spain.
Four months into his La Liga adventure we look at how the former Everton man is adjusting to life in sunny Spain…
Real Sociedad, like their new manager, were in an extremely low position when the two linked up. Sociedad, who only months previously were playing in the Champions League, found themselves in a relegation battle.
Almost immediately Moyes made the Basque outfit difficult to beat, losing only one of his first six league matches in charge. Okay, they were struggling to win, but arresting the slide in terms of defeats was progress.
The first task for the man in charge was to increase the fitness of his side. A side which would consistently fade in the second halves of matches. A shambolic pre-season had left the Sociedad players desperately unfit. Although the changes are clear to see, he still feels there is more to come as his team’s fitness increases.
“It’s not something you can change in the middle of a campaign. People will notice the difference in the coming months and definitely next season.”
Their form at home has been central to the resurgence of Moyes’ new team, only once have they tasted defeat at the Anoeta Stadium in the four months that the Scot has been in charge.
The Anoeta was also the scene for his best result thus far in Spain. Barcelona came to town, but left frustrated after succumbing to defeat by a solitary goal, a performance almost identical in image to that of their manager. Determined and passionate with a real refusal to give in.
They find themselves too far away to make a serious case for European football next year, but the Basque outfit are now comfortable in mid table and can certainly have aspirations of a top half finish.
The reaction to Moyes’ struggles was one of the most disappointing things to come out of the whole of last season. A thoroughly talented, proactive manager who felt his reputation was in tatters. He made a brave decision to completely change not only the culture of his own life, but the footballing culture he now works in.
He has recently been linked with Premier League roles at clubs such as West Ham, but one hopes the Scot can stick out this Spanish expedition and really achieve something long term in the Basque country. The club and the man in charge seem a perfect fit and if they can continue to progress, he may return to England in the future with a much better standing in the game than he left with.
Just like many players in England, managers do not tend to take the risk to go abroad in their prime as Moyes has done. Not only should he be respected, but he should be admired.
His first four months have been steady if not spectacular, but he is building the foundations for a long and successful spell in arguably the best league in the world.