Since David Moyes took over from Walter Smith at Everton in 2002, he has gone on to become one of the most highly regarded managers in English football. In an era where managerial sackings seem to be the norm, Moyes’ has made his position at Everton almost untouchable.
So how has Moyes achieved such a status at Everton? After all, the club haven’t won any competitions since he took over. Yet he has won the LMA Manager of the Year award on three occasions and is tipped by many to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor at Manchester United when the great man decides to retire. In fact, it has been rumoured that Ferguson himself wants Moyes to succeed him at Old Trafford.
Moyes has built his reputation by being in charge of an Everton side which has overachieved in several campaigns. Last year was the first time the club hadn’t qualified for Europe in four seasons having finished 6th, 5th and 5th in the three previous seasons. However, his most memorable campaign was in 2004/05 when he guided Everton to fourth spot ahead of bitter rivals Liverpool. These achievements become remarkable when you consider the lack of financial backing he has had during his reign. People often counter this by pointing out that he has broken the club’s record transfer fee three times but when you look at the how much other teams competing with Everton for European qualification have spent on players, you begin to realise that Moyes is somewhat of a miracle worker.
This season however sees the club embroiled in a relegation battle. Following last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Bolton, the Merseyside club lie in 13th place in the Premier League table but just three points above the relegation zone. The fact that the bottom half of the table are separated by only nine points means that even Everton captain Phil Neville admits that the side are in a ‘dogfight.’
It hasn’t helped matters that Moyes has been given virtually no money to spend this season by Chairman Bill Kenwright. The only notable signing has been Jermaine Beckford on a free transfer from Leeds in a year where Moyes has had to resort to investing in youth. The first team squad needed strengthening in January following the departure of Steven Pienaar to Tottenham and Moyes admitted his disappointment of not being able to bring anyone in.
When you look at Everton’s position, the fact that no one dares to suggest that Moyes position is at risk emphasises how secure his job is. In all probability Everton will stay up and if Moyes is given money to spend in the summer, then the club could well be challenging for Europe again next season.