Feature

Why Moyes manages to keep his job when he should be sacked

An anachronistic view of football that permeates through many English clubs is allowing managers like Sunderland’s David Moyes to keep their jobs, when by reasonable measures they should be sacked.

Moyes should be sacked for the sexist intimidation of a journalist, but even before that he should have been sacked for his team’s performances.

What he said to the journalist is inexcusable. It was sexist. The latent meaning to his response was: how dare a woman ask me a technical question? He would never have said that to a male journalist.

Whether it was in jest or not is beside the point. It was meant as intimidation.

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But it should never have happened, because Moyes should have been sacked well before this incident took place.

Sunderland are rubbish. Their football is garbage, their results are a manifestation of that. There is no sign of improvement. In fact, you could argue that performances are worsening.

From his comments throughout the campaign, Moyes seems clueless to this fact. He appears to be embracing the post-truth world.

The great question is, how does he keep his job?



All the relegation battlers have called time on their managers, Crystal Palace, Hull City, Swansea and the latest Middlesbrough.

Whatever the reasons for a lack of results, ultimate responsibility lies with the manager. If there are no signs of improvement, the club has every right to sack him.

Yet Sunderland haven’t. The reason is the same reason Moyes wasn’t sacked for his sexist intimidation - a traditionalist view of football and the world.

Traditionalists, like Donald Trump's top advisor Steve Bannon, believe the world has been corrupted by progress and should return to an earlier time, one where women weren’t asking football coaches questions.

It’s important to note that while football is still seen as a ‘working class’ game in Britain, it has always been administered by the upper classes. It’s no surprise they hold a conservative, traditionalist view.

Things changed for several of these clubs with the commercialisation of the game in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Arsenal and Manchester United led the way with a more corporate emphasis that paved the way for a more modern approach to football administration and many others followed.

But for the English FA and clubs lower down, including Sunderland, and that has allowed an anachronistic culture in coaching to flourish.

The word ‘change’ is so scary to them that the England FA is unwilling to use it in its coach education strategy.

To this group, coaching is mostly about team selection and motivation. If the team fails, it’s the players’ fault, not theirs.



By no means is this applicable to all British coaches. Tony Pulis, Eddie Howe and Brendan Rodgers, despite their differing approaches, are not of this mind-set. It’s evident in their teams’ structures and their post-match comments where they rarely blame players.

Yet an anachronistic culture does exist and a boys' club has developed in the lower levels of the English game. Whenever a coaching job becomes available the same names come up like a merry-go-around.

It’s how incapable coaches like Steve McLaren keep getting work and why

Eventually these administrators are forced to change if they want to succeed, but until then the likes of David Moyes will continue to infuriate on and off the field.

As former FA Chairman Greg Dyke recently told the BBC, "you shouldn't underestimate the old men of English football”.


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4 min read
Published 7 April 2017 at 12:05pm
By Vitor Sobral