And so, the future: who to replace David Moyes?
Well, we know who in the interim: Ryan Giggs, though his tenure will likely be to ensure some embers of goodwill remain between club and supporters over a lost season whose effects will only be felt next season with United out of Europe.
As for the long-term pick, this is one moment where United being United will help a lot. If it were any other club, the pool of available managers would arguably be much smaler.
Manchester United, after all, are a club that leaked details on the sacked managers not only to the press but the players, before giving Moyes himself official word on the matter. United are a club some believe deliberately let Moyes parade himself in the dugout for months until last Sunday’s defeat to Everton, which triggered a performance club allowing a smaller payout. United are a club that made Wayne Rooney the highest paid player on the squad to an age well beyond sense, which failed to achieve its transfer targets last summer, a club without European football, and in need of an overhaul that one transfer window may not be enough to fix. This does not seem an enticing option at the moment.
The right people will apply, no doubt. But Man United will need to be careful in offering certain assurances—say, a better press strategy, less leverage for underperforming and overrated players—without offering too much. They might also take this opportunity to seek a director of football, but one that isn’t there simply because they know all the right agents.
What United should not do is let themselves get sucked into being guided in their search by the wrong question, namely: Who is the Next Ferguson?
There isn’t one. The club must do the leg work to ensure they will be successful for years to come without him.