LONDON (AFP) – Leading British bookmakers stopped taking bets on David Moyes being sacked as Manchester United manager Monday after several national newspapers said Moyes was about to be fired.
Sky Bet cut their odds on Moyes leaving United before the end of May to 1/4 from 9/4 before suspending betting.
Ladbrokes installed United great Ryan Giggs, currently a player/coach at Old Trafford, as the 5/1 favourite to replace Moyes before they too suspended betting on their “next manager to leave” market.
Speculation about Moyes’s future intensified following Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Everton — the Scot’s former club — which condemned reigning champions United to their 11th defeat of the season and meant they could not qualify for the Champions League.
Moyes was the chosen successor of former United boss Alex Ferguson — British football’s most successful manager — following his retirement at the end of last season.
But Moyes has endured a torrid first season at Old Trafford and United will only secure a place in next term’s Europa League, European football’s second-tier competition, if they overhaul a six-point gap between themselves and Tottenham.
United’s owners, the US-based Glazer family, have so far been supportive. But doubts have now surfaced over whether they will allow Moyes to oversee the club’s final four matches of the season, against Norwich, Sunderland, Hull and Southampton.
Earlier Monday, Moyes — who clearly believes he still has a future at Old Trafford — told MUTV, United’s in-house television station: “We need to end the season on a high.
“We want to finish by winning all of our games. We’ll do everything we possibly can to make that happen.”
Moyes received backing from Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, who said the home fans at Goodison had been wrong to boo the club’s former boss when he emerged from the tunnel on Sunday and jeer him throughout the game.
“We have brilliant fans, but that was unfair on him,” Howard said of Moyes, who spent 11 years as Everton manager.
- ‘Brilliant manager’ -
“He was the second coming, the messiah 12 months ago, and I don’t think as Evertonians we should ever forget that.
“I love David Moyes. I think he is a brilliant manager,” said the American, who spent four years at United.
There was fresh uncertainty at United after reports emerged that forward Danny Welbeck is considering his future at the club following a lack of game time this season.
Meanwhile Juan Mata, United’s club record £37.1 million ($61.2m, 44.8m euros) signing, apologised to fans for the team’s performance at Goodison Park by writing on his personal blog: “I feel very disappointed.
“This is how you feel when you spend two weeks waiting for a game, getting ready for it, and then things don’t go the way you wanted. It happened in Goodison Park and the truth is this is not the first time, as you know.
“I hate this feeling.
“What the Premiership table shows now is something that neither the club nor the fans deserve.
“I hope the next game comes as soon as possible because, as you can imagine, this bad taste makes me mad.”
After Sunday’s match, Moyes said “rank” and “rotten” defending had led to Everton’s two goals, a penalty converted by Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas’s shot from a tight angle.
It was a point emphasised by United’s former Everton striker Wayne Rooney.
“We conceded two really sloppy goals which we need to cut out because we’re making it hard for ourselves to get back into games,” Rooney said.
“For the second one, we should have stopped the counter-attack. They ran in behind us. It’s not good enough.”