Photo credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty

It’s hard not to look at the picture above, taken during Sunderland’s loss to Middlesbrough last month that all but sealed the Black Cats’ relegation, and not see in David Moyes’s pained, crinkled face a man wondering where it all went wrong. It was only three seasons ago when Moyes landed his dream job as coach of Manchester United. Four years, two unceremonious sackings, and one relegation later, and Moyes is once again out of a job after resigning as manager of Sunderland today.

In the press room following the Middlesbrough loss upon which Moyes’s forlorn eyes gazed in the photo up top, Moyes had this to say when a reporter asked for his response to fans’ calls for Moyes to leave the club:

“When you are the manager of the bottom of the league club, fans’ unhappiness has to be expected,” he shrugged. “But let me tell you it is the first time it has ever happened at a club I’ve been at – I’m used to winning, I’m not used to losing.

“I’m not going anywhere, I’m here, I’m the manager and I take it on the chin because no one wants to win more than me ...”

Indeed, it seemed clear when Moyes took over for the overextended, under-talented Black Cats that his very signing with the club meant he was there for the long haul, Sunderland’s likely relegation be damned. Instead, Moyes decided to step down today. Judging by the statement of Sunderland’s chairman on the news, this was more Moyes’s decision to part ways than the club’s:

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“I pursued the services of David Moyes for a considerable period prior to his appointment last summer, which makes the announcement of his departure difficult for everyone concerned.

“Having worked tirelessly throughout the campaign to avoid relegation from the Premier League, David has chosen to leave the club without compensation, which is testament to his character.”

The disconnect between what he once said and his decision to quit now is probably that Moyes did not feel he would get the financial backing in the transfer market required in order to meet his ambitions of an immediate promotion back to the EPL, and thus decided to call it quits now. However, judging by the look on his face during losses like the one above, and his curiously defeatist remarks to the media, and the continued erosion of what was once one of the most respected careers in England, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was just fed up with it all and decided to step away from the game for good.

Regardless of the true reason for his resignation, it’s hard to see where Moyes goes from here if he wants to manage again. If there’s one place he shouldn’t go, though, it’s to any local wine bars. It’s three years to the date when news broke that he’d allegedly assaulted a man in a bar not long after losing the United gig.

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[SAFC.com]