WAS it really any surprise that Manchester United opted to sack David Moyes?

The writing has been on the wall for most of the season with the Scot's credentials constantly under scrutiny.

Once failure to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in nearly two decades was mathematically confirmed, the Old Trafford powers-that-be were faced with a straight choice - back Moyes or cut their losses.

Had United proceeded with the former Everton boss into the summer and beyond, they would have had no choice but to give him funds to strengthen a squad that patently needs it.

There would have been no point in doing that and then sacking him before Christmas if things didn't improve.

Sticking with him would have been a show of faith but no guarantee of success.

It doesn't really matter if people think Moyes was given enough time or not. Loyalty or the fact Sir Alex Ferguson helped choose him as successor doesn't come into it.

Neither, even though it should, does the players' lack of enthusiasm to do their jobs, which has been a major factor in United's fall from grace.

Top level football is a cut-throat business and the manager always carries the can.

United not at Europe's top table is financially damaging for the club. The possibility of that pattern continuing was a risk they were not prepared to take.

Whoever the club bring in as a permanent replacement will have to rectify that situation or it will be a long road back.