As an Everton supporter, it’s a peculiar feeling knowing that the next time David Moyes sets foot in Goodison Park, he will make his way to the opposition dugout.
Even then, despite the fact he will sporting a red tie, Moyes will be welcomed back to Goodison Park. For his reign will certainly be looked back upon fondly. Granted, his 11 years at the club have not been trophy-laden, but the Toffees have certainly progressed on his watch. For many supporters, he has reinstated a sense of pride. Evertonians will always be eternally grateful for that.
Under Moyes, Everton have always been comfortable; Despite a few frights, the club has never been threatened by relegation. The manager has transformed them into regular European challengers. In soccer, as in any other walk of life, familiarity breeds a sense of reassurance. Reassurance that has been welcome to a set of fans who had endured relegation scraps under previous managers Howard Kendall and Walter Smith.
In the aftermath of a typically classy Goodison Park farewell to their long-term gaffer, the focus now shifts towards the future of this grand old Merseyside club. A future which the majority of Evertonians are greeting with a tinge of understandable apprehension.
Nobody knows what is going to happen without Moyes and as of yet, nobody knows who is going to step into his shoes. The time has come for Everton to tip toe away from that comfort zone.
But anyone lucky enough to watch Everton against West Ham would probably enquire as to where this hesitancy derives from, as the team served up a feast of attacking football. So much so, that if it were not for the heroics of James Collins and Jussi Jaaskelainen, David Moyes could have been celebrating his biggest ever win as Everton manager.
To echo the words of the departing boss, Everton didn’t just play like a top-six team, they played like a top, top team. Make no mistake, this side is not far away from getting in amongst those top four places. Solid at the back, composed in midfield and forceful in attack; Everton will give anyone a game on their day.
Despite reports suggesting otherwise, this isn’t just down to a couple of players. There has been plenty said about the potential summer departures of Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, most notably the detrimental effect this would have on the side. But the influence of others has been enormously understated, especially as neither of the aforementioned stars have really flourished in recent weeks.
New club-captain Phil Jagielka is the Premier League’s in-form defender, whereas Seamus Coleman has emerged as one of the countries most dynamic full-backs. Darron Gibson offers an unnerving, unflappable presence in the middle of the park and he is flanked by Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas who provide a major threat in wide areas.
If Baines and Fellaini do walk away, then so be it. They will command hefty transfer fees and plenty of quality will remain. It would not be unreasonable to say that if Everton were to sell one of their prized assets, it could well be a blessing in disguise for the new manager, who would then have money to spend in stamping his own mark on the squad.
But the players should be willing to stay because Everton are a great team capable of challenging for honors. Any new manager coming in should not view this as a repair job, otherwise the hard work done by Moyes will have been for nothing.
As will be the case at Manchester United, the Everton job represents a real opportunity for somebody new to come in and build on some solid foundations put in place by the previous regime.
And what an opportunity. The backdrop the fans provided for their players and manager only further established exactly why Everton are such a special club. The supporters wholeheartedly voiced their appreciation and thanks towards Moyes, but the sporadic baiting of his new side was a quiet reminder that while managers are temporary, the supporters and the football club remain a constant.
There is no point understating the significance this summer holds for Everton; it represents a new chapter in the clubs decorated history. A new manager, a new captain and a flurry of transfer activity surely await Toffees supporters. But despite many outsiders proclaiming the world is about to come crashing down around Everton, there is much for the supporters to be positive and excited about.
Perhaps most importantly of all, that whatever happens, they remain supporters of a truly great football club.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter: @MattJFootball