For me a leading contender for manager of the year is none other than Everton’s David Moyes. The steps he has taken with Everton, comfortably 6th in the Premier League, an F.A Cup final to look forward to and although lacklustre during the first few months, Moyes has brought the Toffees forward, only to occupy that all to familiar area just below the big four. But I ask, when will the Scot get the credit he fully deserves?
Since taking over from Walter Smith in 2002, Moyes has led the blue half of Liverpool on a fantastic journey, one with more highs than lows, but not any silverware. Regularly finishing in the top half of the Premier League, also leading the Toffees to their highest ever placing in the Premier League by beating Liverpool into fourth spot. Regular European outings have followed, but success abroad is yet to come.
Despite having little money to spend, any funds available have been spent very well. Take Tim Cahill, Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka arriving for nominal fees. His record signing Marouane Fellaini did not seem to justify the £15 million fee. However, he has gone on to cement his place in the Toffees midfield and become a Premiership behemoth, despite being labelled as a ‘dirty’ player by some sections of the media. His presence alone is unsettling for defenders, and he can produce the odd piece of nice footwork.
Moyes can also raise a player’s game and add to the abilities players have. Lets not forget, it was he, who played a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney and kept him out of the limelight somewhat allowing him to develop is talent. Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta have become well respected and sought after Premier League assets, one taken from the Championship and the other plucked from Real Sociedad, where he failed to secure a first team spot.
After a slow start to the season Everton have gone from strength to strength. Yet, all the success this season has been without a recognised striker, for the most part anyway. Yakubu out for the season, James Vaughn also injured, Louis Saha isn’t nicknamed ‘Mr Glass’ for no reason. So, up stepped Cahill and Felliani, Everton’s joint top scorers with 9 goals each. In addition, Moyes has reshuffled and brought in Jo from Manchester City, then turned him into a dangerous weapon for the Toffees, 5 goals on 10 games is not a bad return for the young Brazilian, deemed a flop by so many.
Moyes must also be commended for placing his trust in Everton’s youth products, having given a fair number of them first team action over the past few months. Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell have made massive impacts when given the chance. But with the big boys circling, who knows how long they will stay at the club.
Coupled with some solid form in the League, Everton have been a revelation in the F.A. Cup. After dispatching Macclesfield in the 3rd round, city rivals Liverpool awaited and a mammoth tie was about to unfold. Lescott gave Everton a deserved lead that was later equalled by Steven Gerrard, and thus, a replay was to ensue. In the end it was to be Everton’s day, young Dan Gosling scored the winner deep into extra time. Then came Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, who were swept aside by Moyes’ men. This led to an encounter with quintuple chasers Manchester United, and after a dull afternoons play, it was Everton who won the day. Albeit on the lottery of penalties.
An omen for you all, over the last 4 years the team that has knocked out Manchester United has gone on to win the F.A.Cup. Chelsea beware.
David Moyes has done a great job over the years, taking Everton from the brink of relegation to a genuine top 6 side. All this done on limited funds and with a chairman actively looking to sell the club. Surely he has put himself in the shop window … a potential successor to Sir Alex Ferguson maybe?