The Manchester Evening News says its David Moyes’ excuse generator generated 557,000 page views in just one day.

Launched just after Manchester United’s defeat to their noisy neighbours, the excuse generator was used on both the MEN site and Liverpool Echo.

It asks readers to put in a situation and the programme picks one of the excuses that Moyes has used this season to explain United’s various defeats.

It all came about on a staff training course at the University of Central Lancashire, where 15 journalists were given 2 days to create digital content focussed on mobile and social audiences.

The game was made by MEN’s mobile editor Andrew Stuart, alongside the Echo’s deputy head of content, David Bartlett; Chester Chronicle’s digital editor, Jo Henwood; and North East online content writer, Richard Fletcher.

The journalists worked alongside UCLan journalism lecturer Andy Dickinson, to create the game using open source code tool, Codepen.

“The ‘Art of the Possible’ session at UCLan produced some cracking ideas, of which the Moyes excuse generator is the first to go live,” said Alison Gow, editor, digital innovations at Trinity Mirror.

“It was terrific to see the teams working on really creative, engaging content ideas, and the massive audience response to this MEN offering shows the value of play-and-learn time.

“The excuse generator led our analytics and there was a huge amount of social sharing activity plus lots of media discussion.”

A word of warning to Alan Pardew, depending on the result against Southampton this weekend, a Newcastle United version is being considered.