After an eventful few months as Manchester United manager during which his competency and suitably for the role was constantly being questioned, David Moyes has now opted for the task of continuing his career at Real Sociedad in the northern Spanish Basque city of San Sebastian. Although he will not be expected to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor and win the Spanish title, the local supporters will expect an improvement on their current league position.
Real Sociedad are currently languishing in 15th position in La Liga and were lower last week until a 2-1 home win against Atletico Madrid elevated them from the relegation zone. Only two league wins have been recorded all season and Real Madrid were the other victims which emphasises a strange campaign to date for the Basque club.
Only two seasons previously, Sociedad qualified for the Champions League by finishing fourth under the management of Frenchman Philippe Montanier. His subsequent departure to Ligue 1 team Rennes allowed his assistant Jagoba Arrasate to assuming head coaching duties but he could not continue that success. A seventh placing last season has been followed by the disappointments of the current term and the eventual termination of his contract.
Scoring goals has been the main problem at the club this term following the sale of Antoine Griezmann during the summer and his replacement Alfred Finnbogason has yet to score a league goal after an injury plagued beginning despite being leading striker in the Dutch Eredivisie last season. Carlos Vela and Agirretxe have also failed to show the goal prowess of previous campaigns and coaxing more belief into the attack will be one of the foremost priorities of David Moyes.
Moyes will also soon realise that the local Basque people speak their own language which is different from Spanish and that he will need to refer to the city as Donostia rather than San Sebastian to command initial respect. Fortunately, Real Sociedad do not now abide by the policy of neighbours Athletic Bilbao in recruiting only Basque players and this will strengthen his position in the upcoming January transfer window.
The surprising weekend victory against Atletico Madrid will buy Moyes some time as he attempts to guide Sociedad to a much healthier position in La Liga table but his first real test will be the Basque derby against Bilbao at home on Sunday evening December 14th. It is being televised from as the prime Spanish match that weekend and all eyes will be on the new Sociedad manager.
Real Sociedad have not lost to their neighbours in the latest four league encounters and have won 2-0 in the previous two meetings at the Anoeta Stadium.
It will be a passionate derby occasion and David Moyes will be declared a hero if he can secure a victory. However, the cost of failure could awaken memories of his troubled reign at Manchester United as the local fans contemplate an outsider at the club.