Moyes says that last April he was out shopping with his wife, Pamela, when his phone rang.
“Where are you?” said Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I’m out with my wife,” said Moyes.
“Can you drop over to the house?” said Sir Alex.
Moyes, the longtime manager for Everton, wondered what Ferguson wanted. He told Pamela: “It’s either he wants me to take somebody on loan, or he’s come to buy one of my players.”
Moyes left Pamela at a local shopping center and drove to Sir Alex Ferguson’s mansion. He was nervous because he was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. “I’d never ever go to a meeting with Sir Alex with a pair of jeans on. ... I can’t do this!” he remembers thinking.
Sir Alex ignored Moyes’ casual outfit and got straight to business: “I’m retiring. Next week. You’re the next Man United manager.”
“So I didn’t get the chance to say yes or no,” Moyes later said. “As you can imagine, the blood drained from my face.”
Two things strike you about Moyes’ story: At no point was he in control of what was happening. And when he sought to describe his feelings when he learned he had been handed the biggest job in English football, he reached for a cliché that signifies terror.