Last week, just two days before Everton’s fifth-round F.A. Cup tie with Oldham, David Moyes dropped the biggest hint yet that he may be nearing the Goodison exit. The Scotsman said that he wants to wait until the end of the season to make his mind up, which could suggest that he will decide if Everton manage to win the F.A. Cup, or qualify for the Champions League from an unlikely position of six points behind Tottenham Hotspur.
As an avid Evertonian myself, as soon as I watched Moyes’ press conference last week pre-Oldham, it immediately implied to me that he intends to leave the club and that his ambitions no longer match ours. If he was really 100% committed to Everton, as any manager should be to their club, he would’ve signed a long time ago. Before Christmas, Moyes said that he would wait until the new year to make his decision, and now having extended his ‘deadline’ further, hints at the fact that he is either waiting for another club to make an offer to him, or for the right time to leave.
If he does happen to leave, it would be with best wishes upon him from the vast majority of Everton fans. Moyes has performed miracles, especially with the lack of funding he has been given over the years. Since his appointment almost eleven years ago, he has spent around £130 million; whilst neighbours Liverpool have splashed out £300 million more. The fact that he guided us to a 7th place finish last season, above the Reds, is astonishing, especially as Everton only spent £7 million. Furthermore, we were the first team to break the so-called ‘big-four’ back in 2005, qualifying for the Champions’ League, and finishing above Liverpool for the first time in the Premier League era in the process.
The change in the club before Moyes took over to now is quite astronomical. Previously, we were consistently finishing in the bottom half, including a couple of ‘great-escapes’ from relegation. In Moyes’ tenure, we’ve ended the season in the top half on 8 occasions, and finished in the top 7 in all but one of those campaigns. So, it is fairly obvious to anyone with even the smallest interest in football the proportion of the incredible job that he’s done at Everton.
However, it says a lot about Moyes that he now feels that he can keep Evertonians waiting until the end of the season to discover his fate. A phrase that I hear all the time, particularly during the Joleon Lescott saga, is that “no man is bigger than the club”; so why does Moyes think he can call the shots? Everton was around before him, and it will be around after him, and it is completely disrespectful to the fans and the players to put it off until he is satisfied that we can give him what he wants.
If Moyes needed any persuading to stay, which he certainly shouldn’t, it is the feeling of the club. There’s nothing quite like it. From Alan Ball’s famous quote that “Once Everton has touched you, nothing will be the same”, to Moyes branding us “The People’s Club”, it all shows that this club is special. Again you have to ask, why would you want to leave? He’s on good money, in fact he’s one of, if not the only manager to be paid more than his players in the Premier League, and is respected by everyone at the club. Would he be treated like this anywhere else? Of course not.
He can’t claim to be getting bored, either. My own Everton story is typified by my first two games, back in 2001. The first, after a very poor run which saw us lose 3-1 at home to Liverpool and knocked out of the Worthington Cup by Crystal Palace, was a stunning 5-0 win against West Ham. It was amazing: it was like watching the Galacticos of Real Madrid. The second, though, was a 3-0 defeat at home to Charlton Athletic. The contrast, in hindsight, is excellent; it’s exciting to be involved with the club. Why would you want to leave that?
As much as I’d love David Moyes to remain as Everton manager, if his heart’s not in it then it’d be better for both parties if he did leave. It would be nice to think, though, that he does want to stay. As he has said in the past on many occasions, “the grass isn’t always greener”.