Manchester United: Bookies Slash Odds on David Moyes Becoming Ferguson Assistant

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterMay 6, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20:  Everton manager David Moyes with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on February 20, 2010 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Sometimes it only takes a bookmakers' odds to start a sweeping rumour across football, but no turf accountant slashes their offers without hearing something on the grapevine.

Paddy Power have cut their odds on David Moyes becoming the next Manchester United manager from 7/2 to 1/2 (, while Victor Chandler has dropped their offer on the Everton boss joining the Old Trafford club as assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson this summer from 20/1 to 6/4.

The former bookmakers cite "a flood of overnight bets" for their reasoning, but there would be little surprise if Moyes was to make the short trip along the M62 to succeed Ferguson.

The two Glaswegians remain close friends, and the current United manager has previously tipped Moyes as his preferred option to replace him when he retires (Daily Express).

Ferguson even discussed the possibility of Moyes becoming his assistant in 1999, when the former Celtic defender was in charge at Preston North End (Sky Sports), before giving the job to Steve McClaren.

Instead, Moyes joined Everton in March 2002 and recently celebrated his 11th year in charge at Goodison Park.

What the Scot has achieved with the Blues is little short of remarkable considering the paucity of finances involved.

Everton have not finished outside of the top eight in the Premier League and are on the verge of finishing above Liverpool for the second successive season, a feat not achieved since the days of Harry Catterick's Goodison reign 50 years ago.

The Merseysiders broke the monopoly of the then Big Four in 2005 by finishing fourth in the league behind United, Chelsea and Arsenal and ahead of Liverpool.

Everton reached the FA Cup Final in 2009, where interim manager Guus Hiddink inspired Chelsea to a 2-1 victory at Wembley.

The lack of finances available at Goodison Park have not hindered Moyes from progressing a team which was facing a relegation battle when he arrived to one chasing the top four for much of this season.

As Daniel Taylor of The Observer pointed out in this Sunday's edition:

Everton's average net spend per season in the Moyes years comes in at a mere £803,000. Compare that with Aston Villa's average of £10.8m over the past decade, Stoke's £7.8m and Sunderland £7.6m and their corresponding league positions: Everton pushing for a Champions League place until recently; Villa, Stoke and Sunderland fighting relegation.

Liverpool, the team Everton always measure themselves against, have spent an average £17.7m, yet the Merseyside derby will kick off on Sunday with the side from Goodison five points better off and an outstanding chance they will finish ahead of their neighbours for a second successive year.

It is a point which will not be lost on Ferguson and United in considering a successor for the 71-year-old.

A greater point of note for United, though, is Moyes' commitment to Everton. Despite having comparatively little to spend, the Scot has remained loyal to the Merseyside club and has consistently rebuilt his team through the last 11 years.

Ferguson has created a remarkable dynasty at Old Trafford, and while the possibility of a manager of the calibre of Jose Mourinho would be welcome, it may not guarantee a long-standing appointment.

Moyes has stalled on his new contract this season and says he will wait until the end of the season before deciding on whether to stay at Goodison (ESPN).

Recent indications pointed to Moyes remaining at the club (Sunday People), with the manager preparing his wish-list of players for next season, but good club bosses do not sit back and wait without exceptional reason.

Obviously, only one man really knows the answer, and trusting bookmakers is never a convincing way forward, as many found when the odds were slashed on Moyes joining Aston Villa in 2010 (Betting Directory).

But the lure of Manchester United must be a huge one for any ambitious manager. Watch this space...