It’s almost a year to the day since David Moyes was appointed Coach of Real Sociedad, tasked with steadying the ship, rocked by the tenure of predecessor Jagoba Arrasate. Twelve months on, however, and the Scot has been thrown overboard after a dismal start to the season, which sees La Real battling relegation for the second time in as many years.
Defending the former Manchester United boss is hard as the facts make for pretty damn reading, having only won two of their opening 11 La Liga games this season, of which the Basques have lost six times. He has taken charge of 38 League games, effectively a full season, during which he has amassed 46 points. With only 12 victories in all competitions, he has recorded a pitiful win rate of just 29 percent.
The numbers aside, looking at Moyes’ tenure in a pure footballing sense only seems to further harm his case. His side’s performances were devoid of flair or attacking intent, reaffirming his reputation as a pragmatist, with individual performances too often digging them out of trouble.
Regardless of his side’s poor start, the club stuck with him, but Saturday’s loss against newly-promoted Las Palmas seems to have been the last straw for fans and board members alike.
La Real fans haven’t suffered in silence and made their discontent known on social media, pushing trending hashtags on Twitter such as #MoyesDimision [Moyes resign], #MoyesVeteYa [Moyes go now] and #MoyesKanpora [Moyes out].
It must be difficult for fans to grasp just how far the team they love have fallen. It’s easy to forget that La Real were a Champions League club just two seasons ago and coincidentally drawn in the same group as Moyes’ Manchester United.
At the rate of their current decline, they could be playing second-tier football next season. Change wasn’t really choice, but a necessity.
First-season mishaps were excusable, given it was his first foray into Spanish football, and he was thrown into the deep end, with little knowledge of his players or the language. He took over a team in 16th and guided them to 12th in the hope of building for the following campaign.
But there is little excuse for such a dismal start this time around. There was an eerie sense of déjà vu as they were once again forced to watch their side toil for wins.
Backed by the board, he was able to recruit players of his choosing. €15m of that went towards bringing Asier Illaramendi back to the club from Real Madrid, while a further €7m was spent on striker Jonathas.
Neither have made a profound impact as Moyes instead had to turn to the inspired performances of Imanol Agirretxe for results. Without the forward’s eight goals this season, the outlook may have been far bleaker.
The fans weren’t the only ones to lose faith as there was much talk of an impending mutiny among the players. Loanee Bruma recently came out in support of his Coach, however Zurutuza has been critical of his tactics in the past. Furthermore, Carlos Vela admitted earlier in the season he was considering leaving the club and is unlikely to have changed his mind as his team’s poor has form continued.
Moyes had time and again insisted he hadn’t feared the sack. However his predecessor Arrasate was dismissed with exactly the same poor record, so Moyes’ performance is certainly grounds for termination in the eyes of chairman Jokin Aperribay.
After an underwhelming time at United, as well as a winless stint at in Spain, his stock will have fallen quite considerably. Moyes’ short Spanish adventure is over. And unfortunately, he will not be missed.