David Moyes did a brilliant job for Everton. He took over a football club which had been on its knees for over a decade, struggling towards the wrong end of the league and in a pitiful state financially. He turned the club round, he made us proud to be Blues again and he ensured that Evertonians were no longer worrying about survival. He took over a club that had an aging side, a team that was happy to sign Paul Gascoigne and David Ginola in the twilights of their careers and transformed the playing squad, signing fabulous players that embodied Everton. Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines will be long remembered as fantastic players for Everton, Moyes signed them all.
I personally held him on a pedestal. I was convinced, as were many others that Moyes was up there with the best. If he had the financial resources, or the even playing field afforded to previous Everton managers, then the club and its supporters would have been celebrating years of trophy success. But I wasn’t the only one.
Because David Moyes was doing such a fabulous job, the Evertonians, the media and the general football public believed every word he said. He (and we) lost all sense of positivity, instead focusing on enhancing Everton’s reputation as the plucky underdog, a tag that all Evertonians despise. We were no longer playing for first, we were playing for fifth, six and seventh. All would be recognised and celebrated as fantastic achievements. But as Roberto Martinez has been quick to point out, a team of Everton’s stature should not be aiming for anything less than first place. David Moyes claimed Everton were fighting an impossible battle against the financial superpowers of English football, he certainly had a point, but as he is very quickly proving at Manchester United, all the financial riches in the world do not necessarily equal guaranteed success.
Under David Moyes talk of the clubs glorious past was banned. This suited the clubs management, who would rather be compared against failed eras of Mike Walker and Walter Smith, rather than the fabulously successful trophy laden 1980s. Everton’s most successful manager of all time, Howard Kendall wasn’t even invited to the clubs new training complex at Finch Farm. Thankfully his has already been corrected by the new regime, with Kendall invited down within weeks of Martinez’ appointment. Martinez was hungry to learn of Everton’s history and what better man to explain it all than Kendall who enjoyed success as both a player and manager. Pictures of successful teams now adorn the walls around the training ground, with past success used as motivation for the current crop fortunate to wear Everton blue.
Since the arrival of Roberto Martinez Everton have produced a string of fabulous results and the club is one again proud of its heritage. The School of Science is back, with the Toffees playing glorious free-flowing football that has the football purists purring. Even Arsenal, held aloft by many as the best footballing side in the country were out passed and outplayed. The clubs target for this season? Champions League football as a minimum!!! Everton are aiming for top spot. The club, players and management are not shouting it from the rooftops, but the aim is to be the best. To put Everton back where they belong, fighting Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea to become Champions of England once again.
David Moyes was the greatest con artist of them all. His sleight of hand kept us in the dark, his well-timed quip, aimed perfectly for maximum effect kept Evertonians on side. He played the press expertly, better than almost any manager of the last 20 years, and that includes Alex Ferguson. No one dared to question him, he was held on a pedestal, he was the British manager fighting an almost loan battle against the growing tide of continental coaches. It wasn’t just the press who fell for it, we all did. When he announced his departure to Manchester United there was a huge outpouring of grief. It was hard to believe Everton would survive without him. But it wasn’t Everton who were about to be uncovered and revealed as a fraud, it was the man at the helm, David Moyes.