Spanish eyes are on Moyes

David Moyes after being appointed as PNE boss
David Moyes after being appointed as PNE boss
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David Moyes’ managerial journey – one which started at Preston nearly 17 years ago – has now steered a course to the Basque region of Spain.

La Liga side Real Sociedad have confirmed the Scotsman as their new boss and he will be the fourth British manager to do the job.

From Deepdale to Anoeta, with Goodison Park and Old Trafford in between.

The focus will be on Moyes as he returns to management after his 10 months in charge of Manchester United.

Some will say his reputation took a battering in that time with the Red Devils as he tried – unsuccessfully – to step into the shoes of Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, his win record of 53% in charge of United bettered the 48% he had when in charge of North End and the 42% at Everton.

The win percentage bossing PNE saw Moyes clinch his one trophy in management, the Second Division title in the 1999/2000 campaign.

His home is in Preston and the 51-year-old still enjoys strong support from the Deepdale faithful who remember what he did here.

Not only was there the title victory but he also took PNE to within 90 minutes of the Premier League in May 2001.

When a rookie Moyes took the North End job in January 1998, would anyone have foreseen his career path in the management world?

His first few weeks having succeeded Gary Peters were tough, the only wins coming in the Auto Windscreens Shield.

In terms of the league, Moyes’ first victory came at the eighth time of asking, a 2-0 win at Bournemouth.

He had a dressing room bust-up between Habib Sissoko and Lee Ashcroft to sort out, which would have been a testing early challenge to say the least. Moyes’ first full season at the helm ended in defeat to Gillingham at the play-off semi-final stage.

From that disappointment he built the title-winning side, one which – with a minor tweak or two – reached the play-off final against Bolton at the Millennium Stadium 12 months later.

In March 2002, the lure of the Premier League saw him move to Everton, an 11-year stay on Merseyside giving way to his much shorter spell with United, which ended at Easter.

Once Moyes had recharged the batteries, a move abroad was always a logical next step.

In this country he might have fallen between a two stools in terms of the size of club which would appeal.

He had done the business at Everton but the United job was a step too far, too big for him in many people’s eyes.

Managing in Germany is believed to have appealed to him, while he was linked with Turkish side Galatasaray in the summer.

Sociedad have turned to Moyes as they look to climb away from relegation danger.

They are 15th in La Liga, only escaping the bottom four on Sunday after a 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid – that done with their B team coach Asier Santana in charge.

Those to have filled their hotseat in the past included Welshmen John Toshack and Chris Coleman – Toshack had three spells in charge.

Further back in history, Cheshire-born Harry Lowe managed Sociedad between 1930 and 1935.

Moyes has agreed an 18-month contract.