MOYES, THE BOSS WHO BANNED CHEESE! As Everton chief prepares to take on his GRATE-est challenge...Rankine's sure his old gaffer will make his mark at United; EXCLUSIVE.
DAVID MOYES was just 34 when he accepted his first managerial job at Preston North End in 1998.
But he marked himself out as a future great from the word go - by taking the cheese off his players' lasagne, flogging them with double training sessions and embracing the influence of the club's greatest player, Sir Tom Finney.
Mark Rankine, a midfielder who served Moyes throughout his four years in charge of Preston, insists Moyes will seek to run the football side of Manchester United "from top to bottom" just as he did at Deepdale.
Moyes took Preston to the old Second Division title and to within one match of the Premier League.
Rankine said: "He ran Preston from top to bottom, then went to Everton and he ran them from top to bottom, too.
"He will want to do the same at Manchester United. He will want to succeed or fail by doing things his way.
"People say he's never won silverware, but we won the old Second Division title at Preston in 2000 not because we had the biggest budget, but because David made us the fittest team in the league by a mile.
"He stepped up from player-coach and changed things overnight. He was strict and he was demanding. rom nged strict "There were double training sessions and we were in on a Sunday, which would have been a day off, if we were playing midweek.
"This was a very professional and far-sighted approach for a ach for a third-tier club going back 14 ack 14 years When we e stayed at a hotel beforor or or ore st tayed or o e tayed at a hotel beforor o e years. When we stayed at a hotel before an away match, the players would laugh at him ordering hotel staff to take the cheese off our lasagnes or ordering a specific weight of broccoli.
"I don't know how much difference it would have actually made if we'd had cheese on our lasagne - but, psychologically, I think it helped us. We knew we were being more professional than any other team in the league."
And Rankine claims Moyes was a brilliant tactician, who never allowed his players to rest on their laurels.
He said: "When we won promotion to what is now the Championship, I remember a match at Fulham - who had spent a shed-load under Jean Tigana for top players like Louis Saha and John Collins and won the league with 100-odd points - but we went there and beat them 1-0 because David had a meticulous game plan. He was tactically outstanding.
"There were real characters in that side, our captain and centre-half Sean Gregan for one, but David used his manmanagement abilities on him - and he didn't get much trouble from us because he brought nothing but success."
Former Wolves star Rankine, now a leading agent, believes the new Manchester United boss will enjoy the influence of Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton, just as he leant on the great Sir Tom Finney at Preston.
"He used Preston's proud history as a motivational tool and enjoyed the fact that Tom Finney was always around the club, as players he made sure we knew him and knew all about him."
CHARACTER: Sean Gregan
DO IT MY WAY: Moyes makes a point to Mark Rankine at Preston - where cheese was off the menu!