(Reuters) - David Moyes could probably quote a list of excuses explaining why he failed at Manchester United but ultimately it was a series of self-inflicted blunders that led to his dismissal after less than 10 months in charge of the outgoing English champions.
Having been hand-picked by Alex Ferguson, the first thing Moyes did when he arrived at Old Trafford was to remove his fellow Glaswegian's entire backroom staff, men who represented the mortar between the bricks in an unprecedented haul of silverware.
United made a promising start, winning 4-1 at Swansea on the opening day of the Premier League season after a 2-0 Community Shield win over Wigan, before Moyes soon promoted Ryan Giggs to an assistant coaching role after the poor run that followed.
His first major signing was Marouane Fellaini, a faithful servant from his Everton days, for 27.5 million pounds ($46.21 million) and the towering Belgian turned out to be a complete misfit in a fading midfield screaming out for a playmaker rather than yet another enforcer.
Mindful that Moyes was given a huge pair of boots to fill and a squad in dire need of an overhaul, the board and most fans were still behind him at the turn of the year, despite giving up on any realistic chance of winning domestic silverware.
Successive defeats to Tottenham Hotspur in the league, Swansea in the FA Cup and Sunderland in the League Cup left United facing their worst season in decades, but it was the humiliating home losses to Liverpool and Manchester City in March that turned the fans against him.
Many were unhappy in the manner in which he tamely accepted a 4-2 aggregate defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals and Sunday's 2-0 reverse at his former club Everton was the final straw in a tormenting nine-month and 22 day spell for a manager who was simply out of his depth.
Seemingly overconfident when he rode in to replace Ferguson, Moyes soon struck an uncomfortable and confused-looking figure when he admitted that the job was much harder than he thought it would be.
Reports that his coaching methods, coupled with a defensive strategy in big games unfamiliar to a side accustomed to an expansive style, appeared to alienate some of the senior players in the dressing room.
This disharmony and continued run of mediocre results pushed the corridors of power at Old Trafford over the brink and they finally lost their patience, deciding a change was needed with four games still remaining in the season.
The painful Everton defeat also acted as the catalyst that ended the support of the last remaining sections of hardcore fans, who still defended him when others charted a plane to carry a banner saying "The Wrong One - Moyes Out" during last month's 4-1 home win over Aston Villa.
The Old Trafford faithful will now hope that the next in line will quickly stop the rot and get the rebuilding process on the right track.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by John O'Brien)