david moyesSo unless you have been living under a rock or perhaps you hate soccer football so much that you close your ears every time you hear the words GOOALLLL … then you would have probably heard the phrase “The Chosen One” in reference to David Moyes the now ex-Manchester United coach who got fired after just 10 months on the job.

What’s more troubling is the fact that he was handpicked by arguably (from a Liverpool fan’s perspective) the greatest Manager in English Premier League History Bill Shankly Alex Ferguson. Who selected David Moyes specifically to continue his Manchester United legacy of greatness. Who would object to such a recommendation coming from such a prominent figure? Nobody. That’s why Moyes was signed to a staggering £36m six-year deal!

But from tales of arguments on the training ground with players, to fans turning against the new coach and a string of abysmal record breaking defeats … Moyes was fired after less than a year on the job. A firing that occurred against the back drop of a banner draped in the Manchester United stadium that read THE CHOSEN ONE.

Perhaps the plan was for the banner to hang for 6 years but it barely lasted 10 months. In fact the banner was one of many things that went wrong in the whole David Moyes saga and is actually #1 in my list of The 4 Ways To Avoid Becoming A David Moyes At Work…

1. Do not hang a banner in your office declaring yourself “The chosen one” and don’t let anyone hang it for you either.

A saying that I love goes

“Understand what is expected of you and exceed those expectations.”

I add my own spin to it and say

“Understand what is expected of you and exceed those expectations except if the expectation is too high in which case you should lower the expectation as much as possible.”

And having a banner that reads the chosen one definitely does not help lower expectations. Instantly fans, investors, players, owners are expecting the chosen one to continue in the way of the super one (Alex Ferguson). It does not matter if the chosen one has not done anything meaningful yet, or won any titles, he is just somehow called the chosen one, raising expectations.

The moment that banner went up, David Moyes should have held a press conference or meeting and told them to take it down. And if that did not work, he should have snuck into Old Trafford at night and torn the banner down and burnt it. And then after the ashes have been safely discarded on all 4 corners of Manchester he should have held a press conference and told people…this job might take sometime, be patient with me, things might be tough but we will push through.

But nothing, it was just this high high and unrealistic expectation from everybody and soon the axe came down.

At work it is easy to call yourself the chosen one, to talk about what illustrious school you came from, and how you are the best at this and that, to have certificates dripped around your desk. But when you have not delivered anything at work, that is dangerous. And you are setting up yourself for failure.

Lower your expectations, tell people that you would work your hardest and do your best, but that you will need time to get shit done.

That’s a solid company secret that can keep you from getting David Moyed and having your chosen one banner torn down. Lower expectations.

2. Not all promotions go to heaven, some actually lead to hell

You get called up to manage a team that has had the same coach for over 25 years and has achieved so much success over the years, he has an aging team, the expectations for success are high, the club culture and expectations are completely different from what you are used to. But then they offer you mad money and the chance to be known as one of very few Manchester United coaches. And you accept it?

Ah your wahala don start! Because not all promotions lead to heaven, there are sometimes that it is okay to turn down those big offers. There is a reason why several coaches will turn down the prospect of a Chelsea job no matter the money paid. And it is because of their rich history of breaking long term contracts and firing coaches.

In the case of United the job was a tough job because the squad was aging, people were already used to the Fergie style and to make matters worse no rael money was set out to recruit new players.

For United the perfect hire should have been someone from within the club, someone used to the United system. The planning should have happened years ago but it didn’t. It was like Alex Ferguson woke up one day and said I am retiring and I think David Moyes should replace me THE END. And because of the luster of the promotion, a lot of issues were disguised.

So when you get a promotion at work, don’t get all caught up in the cash or the money alone, figure out what exactly you will be doing, who you will be replacing the history of that department before you sign the dotted line. Because your promotion might just turn out to be a 10 month human sacrifice to the gods of your company so that another person can come in and clean up your mess and look like a hero.

PS: The best time to take a United job is now, expectations are now realistic and who ever the next coach is (even David Moyes brother) will have a way better chance of success.

3. At the end of the day and also at the beginning…cash rules

The firing of David Moyes in April of 2014 was very odd. Everyone knew it was going to happen probably before he even knew about it. But reports say that by February of 2014 the decision to fire David Moyes had already been made. So why didn’t the announcement happen till April? I will tell you why.

David Moyes last game was at Everton which ironically was his former club. In that game Manchester United lost 2-0. It was the first time in 44 years that Everton had done the double over United (slang for saying they had beaten Manchester United twice that season) but that was not why he got fired, the media reported that that Everton defeat was the worst performance that they had ever seen for a Manchester United team (yeah right) but that still was not why he was fired.

Moyes was fired because the loss against Everton meant that Manchester United were mathematically out of contention for the Champions League. But what does this have to do with the price of one HEALTH football? According to

David Moyes was today counting the cost of failure at Manchester United after his payoff was capped at less than £5 million out of his £30 million deal.

He lost out on far more generous compensation through an “ ejector seat” clause in his six-year contract limiting his money to 12 months’ salary if the club failed to qualify for the Champions League.

In simple English … United did not fire Moyes until after the Everton game because that was when it became mathematically impossible for them to qualify for the Champions League. At the end of the day it was all about money.

The reason you are at your job today is not because you know somebody … okay okay there are people that are connected like that, but for us average people that have jobs without connection …. Understand this, the only reason you are at that company is because of the value you bring to the company. The moment that value drops where your presence becomes a financial loss … your ass is out.

That’s why it is important to understand your value at work, understand what you bring to the table, compare your input to others, become invaluable. Because at the end of the day despite the yearly team building, the free lunches, the perks and the other nice stuff …cash rules and will always rule.

4. Fake it Until you orgasm or make it

When David Moyes first got hired, he kept talking about how excited he was to be chosen by Manchester United to be their new boss, he talked about how lucky he felt.

It seemed to the world and to the press that he (David Moyes) was shocked that he actually got selected to be coach. “Like wow my resume ain’t that solid but look they chose me!” And soon people started believing that maybe just maybe this man was not ready for such a big job …

I have worked for Fortune 500 companies for 10+ years of my life and one thing I can tell you is that it is like a big soap opera, more like Hollywood. The good actors get the good stuff the oscar awards the sweet gigs while the average actors get their names on the bottom of the credits in some obscure theater.

Back to work … you get a raise and you jump up and down like they just told you that you are going to heaven, the manager sees that and says gosh she/he is content.

But others (the actors) get the same raise or even more, inside they are jumping up and down but on the outside, poker face, Oscar winning award poker face, unimpressed face. The Manager is confused, do they want more he thinks. Yes they reply without even hearing the question. And the next week, or month or year they get a huge raise, crazy raise with a big car, maybe a Ferrari but again they look unimpressed… the acting continues.

That’s the secret. Don’t lose yourself at work and make them believe that you are so excited to be here, that you cannot believe they are paying you so much money, that if they fire you you will be devastated. Because if you do that they will prey on that ish and soon you will become David Moyed out of work.

Simply act as if you deserve to be there, even though you have your doubts on the inside hide it. Act like a manager and you might be surprised they might actually believe it.


All in all did David Moyes deserve to get fired? The answer is an emphatic YES. His string of embarrassing results were too great to be ignored. But I don’t think he ever had a chance, because the expectations were unrealistic and the tools to salvage the situation were unavailable. So what ended up happening was that a good manager ended up looking like a hopeless AND terrible manager.

But that is life on the job, it’s not nice, it does not cuddle people, it’s harsh and we have to battle it daily, but we can be smart about that battle. And set up things and systems to ensure our success before signing the dotted line so that we don’t end up like David Moyes … good manager gone bad.



Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: