With David Moyes settling into Spanish life since his appointment for Real Sociedad last week, the question still remains will he succeed and how much will the Manchester United debacle of last season affect him?
Moyes at Everton was known as a surly, hard nosed, no-nonsense Scot who had full control of his team. Unfortunately, the same could not be said when he was coming to the end of his tenure at Old Trafford.
The Scot was clearly mentally and physically drained after a string of poor results, poor performances and losing the dressing room. Moyes still maintains that he was not given enough time at Manchester United to determine if he was a success or a failure at Old Trafford, having been sacked less than a year into his six year contract.
Moyes has become the fourth British manager to take charge of Real Sociedad following the likes of Chris Coleman, John Toshack (twice) and Harry Lowe. The Scot will be hoping the language barrier will not be a problem, insisting: “I think a lot of my style comes with my body language and my conversation. I don’t want to lose that so to begin with the translation will be important. It’s important it’s well translated.
“I’ll start (Spanish) lessons on Monday. I’ll be looking to do an hour every day. Let’s hope a Scottish boy can grasp it ... but I’m already worried I’m speaking English in a Spanish accent.”
Moyes is obviously a very hands on coach and that will play a factor in how his time at Sociedad will play out. When he arrived at Manchester United he arrived at a club who were more used to the assistant manager taking the training sessions, whether it be Carlos Queiroz being told on his first day he was taking the full sessions or Mike Phelan claiming he was the manager for the last few years in Sir Alex's reign. Manchester United were just not used to it.
The year of transition turned into the year of disaster as Moyes failed to connect to the egos of the senior players. Sociedad will be a different matter for Moyes as he plans to keep most staff and look to bring in some more familiar faces to the club in the coming weeks, as he in desperate not to create a British-Spanish divide.
The new Everton?
Moyes will be working at a level similar to the level that of his successful spell at Everton, as Sociedad have built their way up La Liga since their promotion from Liga Adelente in the 2009-2010 season. In the past four seasons Real Sociedad finished 15th, 12th, 4th and 7th. Compare this with David Moyes' first four seasons the results are quite similar with Everton finishing 7th, 17th, 4th and 11th but then managing to finish 5th, 5th and 6th to secure European football.
This must have been evidently clear to the Sociedad hierarchy that Moyes can build a solid club. Sociedad will be wondering if he can take them to the next level and challenge the giants of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
The former Everton and Preston man is a well respected manager in the footballing world and he has received much support from the footballing world for accepting the Real Sociedad job. Alan Irvine and Sam Allardyce have both spoke about the appointment of Moyes. Moyes' former assistant Irvine claims he will be able to rebuild his reputation:
Irvine said: “He told me a number of years ago that he would like the challenge of managing abroad at some point during his career.
“It’s probably come a bit earlier than he was hoping for, especially having got the Manchester United job, but I think he will do really well. He is a top manager and he will very quickly work out what is needed in Spain.”
Manager's club rally round for Moyes
Sam Allardyce shares the same sentiment as Alan Irvine and believes Moyes is right to escape the country: "I think it's a good move from him to get out of this country for a while," the West Ham manager said.
"To get back into the groove of managing at that level in Spain, and testing yourself at that level. As long as it's a sustainable football club that supports him in what he wants to try and do."
That is a pressing concern for David Moyes, will the Sociedad hierarchy support him?
Stick or Twist
Since David started 12 years ago at Everton, Real Sociedad have had 11 years managers. This fact may strike fear into Moyes, but he will want to avoid a second sacking like the black plague. Sociedad hierarchy have informed him that they want what Moyes created at Everton. Moyes will have to go one further at Sociedad than he did at Everton and actually win a trophy. This was always something that frustrated the Toffees fans as they failed to win a trophy under Moyes despite finishing runners up in the F.A Cup in 2009.
So will he succeed? At this stage Moyes can succeed, certainly. Moyes has the chance to rebuild his reputation that was left in tatters after the season at Manchester United. Moyes can bring stability to Real Sociedad who seem far too trigger happy and Moyes can use his experience creating a club with a good stature. This question needs to be asked come the end of the season but it seems hugely unlikely that Real Sociedad will still be 17th and even more unlikely that Real Sociedad will be lower.
Bienvenido a La Liga Senior Moyes.