MOYES OUT! This Easter there was a lot to shout about

David_Moyes_MUFC_2013ON EASTER Monday The Daily Telegraph’s Northern Football Correspondent Mark Ogden broke the story that David Moyes’ tenuous and turbulent reign at Old Trafford was to come to an end inside the next 24 hours. Ryan Giggs was swiftly appointed as the interim man for the job as the Manchester United hierarchy search for only their second manager in 27 years. Louis Van Gaal is the overwhelming favourite to take over from the sacked Scotsman, with positive talks already mooted to have taken place. He should remember that the players he inherits are the same players that lost the last man his job.

Meanwhile in the blue half of Manchester, City have claimed a second Premier League title in three years, capitalizing on a slump by closest rivals Liverpool to secure the league title. City have been excellent all season and credit must be given to Manuel Pellegrini for delivering the league in his first season in charge of the club.

In the World of cricket, both Talbot Road Clubs have experienced staffing changes over the Easter period. Peter Moores has been given a chance to coach England once again after the Pietersen debacle lost him his job in 2008. Moores has always kept his own council over the affair, getting down to the job at hand at Lancashire County Cricket Club. He will be remembered fondly by all associated with the Red Rose County for the job he did to bring home Lancashire’s first County Championship in 77 years in 2011. Widely regarded as the finest coach of his generation, he has been charged with the task of rebuilding English cricket after their dismantling by Australia in the winter.

In Rugby Union, the teams competing in the final of the Heineken Cup have been decided decisively as Saracens despatched Clermont Auvergne 46-6 and reigning champions Toulon beat 2006 and 2008 winners Munster 24-16 at the newly renovated Stade Velodrome in Marseille. Chris Ashton’s performances in the final edition of the Heineken Cup have earned him a place on the shortlist for European Player of The Year. His fellow countryman Jonny Wilkinson won the award last year.

In Rugby League St. Helen’s early season form came to an abrupt halt as they were beaten 33-14 in the traditional Good Friday game versus rivals and “Double” Winners Wigan at Langtree Park, and were knocked out of The Challenge Cup at the Round of Sixteen. Leeds Rhinos look to be the early season favourites, enjoying their best start to a season since 2009.

Cycling is winding up for the Giro d’Italia, which will go a long way to telling the hoards of British cycling enthusiasts if Mark Cavendish’s lead out train at Omega Pharma Quickstep will be enough to close the gap between him and the great Eddy Merckx on the all-time Tour de France stage wins list. Cavendish already has the most for races beginning with a mass start. Tour de France Winner Chris Froome continues his preparations for the world’s biggest bike race as he tries to retain his yellow jersey at The Tour of Romandie. In bigger news in the world of the round wheel, Sir David Brailsford has announced he has stepped down from the head job at British Cycling as he looks to the future of operations at Sky Cycling.

Two years on from his gold medal win in London, Greg Rutherford has set a new British long jump record of 8.51m. The former record holder Chris Tomlinson has tried to claim that the record was “not legitimate” after photographs were published which appeared to show the Olympic Champion had overstepped, making his attempt a “No Jump”. USA Track and Field, who officiated at the event in San Diego, have rebuffed Tomlinson’s protests.

In the Barcelona Open, World Number One Rafael Nadal lost for the first time in eleven years and 41 matches in Barcelona. He was beaten by world number 65 Santiago Giraldo, who went on to become runner up. Japan’s Kei Nishikori won the first claycourt title of his career with a straight-sets victory over Colombian Santiago Giraldo in the final.

Nishikori, returning to action at this event after almost a month out with a groin injury, prevailed 6-2, 6-2 in an hour and 13 minutes to become the first non-Spaniard to win the tournament since 2002. In women’s tennis Ana Ivanovic lost to Maria Sharapova despite winning the first set in Stuttgart. It is the third consecutive Stuttgart title for the Russian from Sochi.

The most decorated Olympian in history returned to competition in the last fortnight. Michael Phelps’ weight gain was his self-confessed reason for coming back into the swimming spotlight after announcing his retirement after the London Olympic Games. On his return he finished second to Ryan Lochte in the 100m butterfly in 52.13 seconds, a time that is still the fourth fastest in the discipline this year. Whether he extends his return as far as Rio in 2016 remains to be seen.