The Co$t of Winning – United and Moyes the cost of failure


November 6th 1986 was the last day Manchester United sacked their manager until 22nd April 2014. David Moyes has been sacked by Manchester United less than 10 months after taking charge following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. The 2013/14 season has been universally acknowledged as a sporting failure, following up Ferguson’s final season where he won the title, with a League Cup semi-final defeat to Sunderland, a third round FA Cup defeat to Swansea, a likely 7th place finish in the Premier League and a Champions League quarter final defeat to Bayern Munich. To fans this seems a long way off from the Ferguson years and caused unrest on the terraces, and after Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Moyes’ former club Everton it finally became an unacceptable situation for the United board and Moyes was sent packing.

The cost of failure this season has implications for both Manchester United and David Moyes. Both will have to count the cost and assess how to progress.

Manchester United will be hit hard in the pockets as a result of the team’s failures this season. The consequences of not qualifying for the Champions League go beyond the £40+million in TV and prize money that can be expected from a good run in the competition, it will have an adverse effect on transfer business this summer. The Champions League is the world’s premier football competition and the top players want to be playing in it, and Manchester United are going to have to give them an incentive to take at least one year out of the competition. That incentive is likely to have to be a financial one and, with the type of players United would want to attract not being cheap in the first place, wages could be very expensive at Old Trafford next season.

United also have to endure the costs associated with changing the management team. David Moyes signed a six year contract at the start of his reign and while the reported £5 million payoff does represent a discount as to what is remaining on that contract it is not exactly loose change either. Then you will have to add payoffs for any backroom staff Moyes brought in who will not be staying on for the new regime. This brings us on to another potential cost – the new regime. Whoever takes up the challenge of becoming Manchester United manager is likely to bring with him a winning record and a big reputation, this will in turn bring with it a big salary demand. To add to the new manager and his support staff’s wages, should they be currently employed by another club compensation will also be due, and given the calibre of manager United will be targeting, not cheap.

The Glazers will also be counting the cost in the boardroom as not playing in the Champions League will affect sponsorship deals as sponsors want to be seen on the biggest stage, to maximise the number of people who see their brands. Another consequence could be an adverse effect on United’s share price, due to the club being out of European competition, I also think that the reason Moyes was sacked this week and not at the end of the season was due to a drop in share price caused by the uncertainty of reports that came out over the Easter weekend that Moyes would be sacked at the end of the season, leading the club’s board to act faster than they had originally intended to curb this fall.

David Moyes will be counting his own costs after this seasons events have unfolded. Besides the loss of money from a significantly lower pay-out than was left on his contract, Moyes may have to deal with lingering affects to his reputation. David Moyes is a good and successful manager who turned Everton in to a good side from one that was fighting relegation when he took over. He qualified for the Champions League and reached an FA Cup final during his reign. However his reputation will now be clouded by the way the 2013/14 season has gone at Old Trafford, much like the way Steve McClaren’s reputation is still haunted by his spell in charge of England despite his success with Middlesbrough before and FC Twente after. It could effect Moyes ability to get a job in this country and might benefit him to take a job abroad and rebuild his reputation on the continent much like McLaren did following his sacking by England.

Both Moyes and Manchester United have plenty to look back on and rue after this season and will know that it has cost them both this year and potentially in years to come. Both will be very cautious in their next moves, United in appointing their new manager and Moyes taking his next appointment, both knowing another failure could have substantially greater costs than this one.


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