So many column inches will be filled in the coming days debating what kind of legacy Sir Alex Ferguson will leave in his wake following his shock announcement he will be retiring at the end of the season. We shouldn’t forget another certain long-serving Scotsman plying his trade in the Premier League, who saw his odds of replacing Sir Alex Ferguson slashed recently to become one of the hot contenders to replace the outgoing United living legend.
David Moyes, the third longest serving manager in the Premier League, is the joint record three time winner of the LMA Manager of the Year Award in 2002-03; 2004-05; 2008-09 and was the winner of the Premier League Manager of the Month a staggering ten times. His time at Everton since 2002 has been progressive, praised, criticized and starved of real financial spending power to truly realize his potential and compete for a regular Champions League berth. Although his side did manage to gatecrash the top four back in the 2004-2005 campaign.
His individual honors list makes for impressive reading yet his failure to win a major honor as a collective has continuously been used as a stick to beat him with. So, if Moyes was to leave this summer as looks likely with his current contract expiring in the summer, just as Ferguson will retire at Manchester United, what kind of legacy will Moyes leave behind at Everton?
Looking at the current squad, there’s a good blend of youth and experience going forward. In Everton’s 25 man Premier League squad, 18 are classed as ‘senior players’ over the age of 21. The likes of Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley and Shane Duffy are all up-and-coming players that could cement their position in Everton’s starting XI in the coming seasons.
Moyes has also done a tremenous job ensuring his current starters are tied down to long-term contracts. Tim Howard, Darren Gibson, Steven Pienaar, Marouane Fellaini and Kevin Mirallas are all tied to the club until 2016. The likes of Nikica Jelavic and Phil Jagielka are both committed for an extra season beyond that. Some of these will see their full contracts out, others won’t — such is the nature of modern football. Crucially, however, Moyes has ensured Everton are the side holding all the cards in future negotiations with long-term contracts ensuring potential suitors need to cough up that extra bit of money to land their man.
Beyond the first team, Everton boast a highly rated academy that Moyes has been such an influence upon that in recent times has produced the likes of Wayne Rooney and Jack Rodwell. These players (including Francis Jeffers, pre-Moyes) alone have raised an estimated £45.5 million for the club. With six senior members of the current squad all classed as home-grown stars, the academy looks set to keep churning out Premier League class talents for Everton.
Manager aside, there has also been continuity on the coaching staff as well as the playing staff. Current assistant manager Steve Round has been employed by the club since July 2008 and remains one of the most highly-rated assistant managers of the Premier League. First team coach Jimmy Lumsden was appointed by Moyes in the summer of 2002, goalkeeping coach Chris Woods in his job since 1998 and coach Andy Holden seemingly an ever-present figure at Goodison Park. Former players David Weir, coach, and Alan Stubbs, reserve team coach, are also long standing figures with strong ties to the Toffees.
This continuity on and off the pitch will inevitably ensure a prospective manager will be in good hands, working alongside those that have analyzed and supported David Moyes’ coaching techniques and methods, which will ensure a smoother transition. Perhaps this suggests a young and hungry manager who could manage the side for a number of years in the mould of Roberto Martinez, will be perfect in order to re-establish a sense of stability should Moyes leave this summer. This will allow the manager to instill his own values and principles into the fabric of the club whilst being guided by essential experienced heads surrounding him.
One final noteworthy piece of information is that Moyes would seemingly leave Everton in a very strong position. At the time of writing Everton are currently sixth in the table and look set to finish above bitter rivals Liverpool. Financially speaking, the club’s budget may be modest compared to those above them, but the club has a solid foundation to build from.
David Moyes has created a fine lasting legacy should he pack his bags and move to Manchester United. Everton oozes stability and continuity and a change of manager could combine a set of new, fresh ideas with the old to take the club to the next level. Sir Alex Ferguson may be twenty-one years his senior but it looks like he’s not the only Scottish manager looking to leave on his terms whilst ensuring success rather than chaos follows in his wake.
That only question that now remains: Is David Moyes set to trade in one legacy for another?
Follow me on Twitter @tomllew
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