Following in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to be a tough ask for the next Manchester United manager.
The Scot spent 26 years in charge at Old Trafford, guiding the club to 38 trophies during his reign.
His decision to step down as manager arrived at the end of the 2012/13 season as the club prepared to take a new direction under a new leader.
David Moyes was chosen as the man to fill the vacancy, having impressed during his long stay at Everton.
A fourth-placed finish in the 2004/05 season was a significant achievement during Moyes’ tenure with the Toffees as he helped the club to compete at the top end of the table on a consistent basis.
But many questioned whether or not United would be too big of a job for the Scot, whose only previous managerial experience aside from Everton was at Preston North End.
Ferguson is believed to have suggested Moyes as a suitable successor to take the reins at Old Trafford, a move that the club would live to regret.
Speaking four years prior to Moyes’ appointment, however, Ferguson delivered a statement that contradicted his referral of the then Everton boss.
“I am glad it is not my decision,” he told CNN in 2009 regarding who the next manager at United could be.
“But whoever it is, it needs to be someone with experience. Manchester United is a massive club. The club I joined in 1986 is nothing like the one it is today.”
“I like Jose Mourinho,” said Ferguson. “He is a good guy and someone I get on very well with. But people forget how quickly the game changes. The job of a football manager is a pretty fragile one. You can be on the very top of the world and then after two defeats you are the worst team ever.
“Hopefully I will be here for another two or three years. Who knows what will have happened in that time. Thinking about Jose Mourinho or [Arsenal’s] Arsene Wenger or whoever is going to be impossible.
“I am 67 now. At the moment I am still healthy and enjoying my job. If that was different I would quit immediately. But winning a specific trophy does not come into it.”
Moyes did not have the top-level experience when entering this role and found himself out of his depth within weeks of taking charge.
He signed a six-year contract at the club, but was dismissed after only eight months at the helm.
Ferguson revealed the reasons for recommending Moyes in his book released in 2015 book named ‘Leading’, as he reflected on the brief tenure that followed his lengthy reign.
“We chose David Moyes. He had been consistent in his job at Everton, had a good spell there – 11 years – and showed appetite,” said Ferguson.
“Unfortunately, somehow it didn’t work out for David. The process was perfect. It was a good process.
“I’m sure there are things that David would do differently if he had the opportunity to relive his time at Old Trafford.
“Such as keeping Mick Phelan [Ferguson’s assistant], who would have been the invaluable guide to the many layers of the club.
“There is no point suddenly changing routines players are comfortable with. It’s counterproductive, saps morale and immediately provokes players to question the new man’s motives.”
Ferguson was adamant that he was leaving Moyes in a position to succeed, passing on a set of players that had just lifted the Premier League title.
The United icon predicted a future of success, unaware of the events that were to follow.
“It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so,” he said at the time of his retirement.
“The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level whilst the structure of the youth set-up will ensure that the long-term future of the club remains a bright one.”
Moyes endured a wretched start in charge, losing three of his opening six league games, which was an early sign of things to come.
The Red Devils crashed out of all cup competitions during the course of the campaign and ended the season in seventh place, with Moyes’ former side finishing two places higher in fifth.
United’s points tally of 64 marked their worst-ever return in a Premier League season, which sparked a downward spiral that future managers Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho were both unable to halt.