The end is near, but nobody knows quite when David Moyes’ miserable reign as Manchester United manager will be brought to a close.
In circumstances befitting a club in chaos since Sir Alex Ferguson announced his decision to retire last summer, stories emerged on Monday afternoon across the mainstream British media that the struggling Scot will soon be sacked.
With United refusing the opportunity to deny the stories, and instead seemingly hiding behind unnnamed sources, there seems no prospect of Moyes stumbling into a second season.
In line with the amateurish way business is now handled at the record 20-time league champions, no definite date was included.
Will United legend Ryan Giggs become player-coach until the end of a painful campaign? Or will Moyes be granted a stay of execution until the final match at Southampton on May 11?
The Scot has been left in limbo by the well-placed leaks from the top. Where is the final statement, the authoritative voice announcing the inevitable? Instead, the club’s despised owners the Glazers have kept their counsel.
Moyes is now a dead man walking, completely undermined by a side which is washing their hands of him in public after a disastrous debut campaign.
But, has this been engineered to test the waters? To force a resignation and deny the 50-year-old much of the lucrative compensation the termination of his six-year contract would lavish on him?
No serious side, determined to compete once again at the top table in world football would do this. Moyes would already be clearing his desk before the media were given any inclination of his fate.
Neither would a truly elite club allow one man, no matter how great, to decide on a candidate so woefully under-qualified.
When Ferguson made the call to pass on control at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ to Moyes, he was employing someone without a major honour to his name during a respectable 11-year spell at Everton.
This was the equivalent of Bill Gates allowing a regional electronics store manager to guide Microsoft. That error was compounded by allowing David Gill, the brightest and best-connected executive in the sport, to step aside.
Into the power vacuum followed Ed Woodward, the former banker who helped arrange the scandalous financing deals that granted the Glazers control while with JP Morgan.
Unsurprisingly, last summer was a disaster in the transfer market. The embarassment has continued throughout the season, as the awkward defeats mounted and pressure built to an intolerable level.
United should have moved for someone at the pinnacle of the sport a year ago, a person who would not sink under the weight of 26 trophy-laden years under Ferguson.
Now, those same managers, will be watching Moyes being treated wretchedly by the bumbling decision makers that erred in ever selecting him. If you were Jurgen Klopp, Louis van Gaal or Diego Simeone would you want to work for those same employers?