The David Moyes era is a dark time for anyone associated with Manchester United.
He was earmarked as the most natural successor to Sir Alex Ferguson after being carefully handpicked by the man himself following his retirement at the end of the 2012/13 season.
But what proceeded remains United’s worst Premier League season in history and established a period of chaos and instability after so many years of success.
And the warning signs were there from day one.
Across their entire pre-season building up to the 2013/14 campaign, Moyes oversaw three defeats from their seven games in total against, aside from Sevilla, what can only be described as glorified farmers.
So who did they actually play?
In their seven pre-season friendlies across that summer, the Red Devils came up against a Thai All-Star XI, the A League All Stars, Yokohama F. Marinos, Cerezo Osaka, Kitchee, AIK and Sevilla.
The Spanish side were by far and away the strongest opposition they faced – and this was a still a few years away from the outfit that retained the Europa League.
So what actually happened?
DEFEAT TO A THAI ALL-STAR XI
Moyes’ reign started with a whimper in mid July when their Asian tour began with an embarrassing loss to the Singha All-Star side.
He was missing Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney but certainly had enough in reserve to win comfortably.
Moyes said afterwards: “Was it a bad sign – no. If I am going to lose any games these are the ones to lose.
“Don’t get me wrong I don’t like losing games but in relative terms it’s not of the biggest importance at this stage of the season.”
He went onto lose a lot more than just this one.
DEFEAT TO YOKOHAMA MARINOS
It didn’t get much better for Moyes ten days later when United suffered the humiliation of a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the mighty Yokohama Marinos.
A young Jesse Lingard was on target, but most of the fuss was around new signing Shinjia Kagawa’s return to his beloved Japan.
ONGOING FEUD WITH WAYNE ROONEY
Rooney’s future was thrown into doubt at the end of Ferguson’s tenure when he supposedly made it verbally clear he wanted to leave.
Moyes’ handling of the situation didn’t help.
Rooney’s discontent exacerbated when his former Everton boss indicated he would have to play second fiddle to Van Persie.
Hardly textbook man management.
DEFEAT IN RIO FERDINAND’S TESTIMONIAL
To round it all off, United were completely outplayed in front of their own fans as Ferdinand marked a decade of service at Old Trafford.
Rooney failed to appear altogether and Vitolo, Marko Marin and co. probably should have had more than the three they got.
The likes of Fabio, Alex Buttner and Angelo Henriquez all started which can’t have helped Moyes, but the result really was in keeping with the torrid set of results before it.