And here it is – the day you never thought would come. Yes, a fiery Scot with a short temper and a piercing stare will be in the dugout, but for the first time in 26-and-a-half years a man other than Sir Alex Ferguson will pick a Manchester United starting 11 and against all the odds, that man is former Everton manager David Moyes.
I say against all the odds, as this time last year it was hard to imagine this scenario. Firstly, Ferguson needed to hang up his referee’s watch and even at the grand old age of 70 there was little sign of that happening – even if in hindsight the signing of Robin van Persie was an indication that Fergie was looking to the short-term in an attempt to enjoy one last swansong before bowing out.
But even after Ferguson decided to take up drinking red wine full time, Moyes was not the obvious shout. Without as much as a Champions League match under his belt, never mind a major trophy, the appointment of the former Preston boss is a risk for a club of United’s standing and the 50-year-old hasn’t had the smoothest of starts.
The issue of Wayne Rooney’s future continues to hang over Moyes, while he looks set to miss out on his number one transfer target with Barcelona starlet Thiago on his way to Bayern Munich rather than Old Trafford.
Add a nightmare fixture list that sees United face Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in their first five games and Moyes’ inauguration could have gone better so far.
Regardless, his first assignment is hardly the most taxing he will face against a Singha All Star XI (which may be a contradiction in terms) and the odds are as you expect: United 3/25, with the draw at 6/1 and Singha at 12/1 and Moyes can get off to a winning start.
United have taken a strong squad over to the Far East and even if they are missing Rooney (who has gone home injured) Nemanja Vidic, Nani, Chris Smalling and Ashley Young, Moyes’ Boys will have too much and look a safe bet here, even at the short odds, for their first game back.