There has been much talk about the legacy David Moyes would leave at Everton if he was to walk away this summer. Some say Everton should be thankful for the manner in which he has established them in the Premier League. The more ambitious say he will leave Everton with an aging squad bereft of a winning mentality.
But regardless of your opinion of Moyes and the job he has done at Everton, in amongst the current trend of chopping and changing your manager, eleven years at one club is a momentous achievement. But now, with Moyes stalling on the renewal of his contract (which expires this summer), it has lead to discussions about the future of a manager who is held in such high regard by those within the game.
His excellent reputation, it has to be said, has been well earnt. In his eleven years on Merseyside, Everton have gone from relegation candidates to Champions League hopefuls.
The manner in which he has established the club in the upper reaches of the Premier League is admirable too. Throughout his tenure, players like Wayne Rooney, Joleon Lescott, and Mikel Arteta have pinched by the rich and the illustrious.
But with the incoming monies, the Scot has spent wisely. The signings of Tim Cahill, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and a few more remain testament to that.
This season, potentially the last of the Moyes reign, has been one full of frustration for the Everton manager. A respectable sixth place finish looks likely, but at one point, the Toffees had fourth place and the FA Cup in their sights. They have come up short in both of their pursuits.
Herein lies the biggest criticism of Moyes. For all the steadying and growing that Everton have done under his watch, not once have they performed in a high pressure encounter. “Bottler” is a strong term, but one that has often been banded about by those of a red persuasion when talk turns to Moyes.
This season in many respects has been a microcosm of that. Everton were torn to bits by Wigan in the FA Cup quarterfinal, whereas they were unable to secure victories against fellow Champions League challengers Tottenham and Arsenal. A win in any of these games would have given the season a completely feel.
Everton have had the talent amongst their ranks to have won something in the decade under Moyes. But for some reason, on the biggest stage, they freeze.