Last week saw the ninth anniversary of David Moyes' appointment as Everton manager, it was quite apt that it was Fulham who were this weekend’s opponents, and the match finished 2-1 with Everton taking a 2 goal lead, just as it had been in March 2002. Looking back through records I can see that Will Young was number 1 with "Evergreen" that week, which is also quite an apt description of Moyes, considering what the man at the helm of Everton's resurgence in the better part of the last decade has been through and his constraints whilst in his job.
Tony Hibbert is the sole remaining representative in both matches, although Alan Stubbs is now part of the coaching team and Louis Saha did take to the field as a Cottager. The contrast between the Everton side of nine years ago and that of the one that regularly starts currently could not be starker. The team Moyes inherited were a group of "honest pro's" with most approaching the twilight stage of their careers, compared to the 18 man squad available to him on Saturday, a solid mix of experience, youth and internationals, although granted the names he can choose from has been somewhat weakened since the end of January.
I have read an interview with Moyes today, which makes me question what would have or could have happened to Everton had our paths not crossed, he says a couple of years earlier he was pursued by an unnamed Premier League club to take up their managerial vacancy, believed to have been Sheffield Wednesday, he spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson who dissuaded him from accepting, citing the lack of strength in depth of their personnel as too much of a concern, so Moyes remained with Preston, their loss was our gain.
In nine years Moyes' has been awarded LMA Manager of the Year on three occasions, which is more than any other of his peers in that time period. Only Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex have sustained a longer tenure, in the respective positions, than Goodison Park's flame haired maestro from Partick. Many believe his strengths to be in recruitment on a budget, looking at his signings as a whole I would have to agree, Everton today have a wonderful scouting network, working throughout the lower leagues and across the globe looking for the next Wayne Rooney or Jack Rodwell. He has successfully gambled on players possibly dismissed by others, Tim Cahill, Marcus Bent and Phil Neville spring immediately to mind, and they have repaid that confidence shown in them. There of course is the occasional blip, Per Kroldrup and Andy Van der Meyde, I feel unfair to mention Bilyaletdinov amongst those names but am still yet to be convinced by him, are the obvious selections here (I must also make a personal special mention regarding, deciding not to permanently sign Swedish international and Champions League Winner Jesper Blomqvist on a permanent Bosman deal, believing Idan Tal to be a better option, I would imagine that to have been the lowest moment of Jesper's career). There has also been the plain outright bizarre, home sick Egyptian defender Ibrahim Said and crocked Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo would be my pick of that particular bunch.
If we also look at what he has built on the pitch, Everton are now deemed a strong, effective team who play attractive passing football, competing for honours more regularly than during the whole of the 90s and start of the new Millennium. We have a manager striving to improve not only those what he has at his disposal but himself as well, he appears determined to win something with Everton sooner rather than later, he was and will not be content with making finals, and refuses to listen to those who continually await his Goodison bubble to burst. If i were to offer David an area of improvement for next season, it would be in his use of substitutions, as an amateur student of the game I can see neither method nor purpose in many of his tactical replacements, but maybe that's why I'm the amateur and he's the professional?
So far Everton have come under Moyes, anything less than a European placing at the end of a season is seen as a disappointment to the fans who have restored levels of expectancy.
Thanks again for reading.
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