Everton fans should steel themselves for David Moyes’ departure
David Moyes has repeatedly batted away any questions about his Everton future over the past year, setting future deadlines for talks that then never materialise. But with the end of the season – and of his contract – now in sight, speculation is growing as to his future at the club.
The Scot has worked wonders during his 11 years on Merseyside, turning an aging side regularly battling against relegation into a club competing at the top end of the table, all on a shoestring budget, often having to sell his best players.
He has always carried with him sky-high ambitions and is determined to achieve those with the Toffees, but the board has consistently failed to back him with the funds required to build on any progress he has made.
The one factor that has kept Moyes at the club is the fact he has complete control of first-team affairs, something many top managers don’t get nowadays in this age of egotistical billionaire owners.
But the benefit of that control must soon be outweighed by the financial straitjacket imposed on him, and the limits to his ambitions that it brings.
We all fear the day will come where he will say: “I can take Everton no further.”
That time could well be this summer, after he confirmed he would not be holding talks over a new contract until the end of the season in order to focus on the club’s FA Cup run and challenge for a top four place. In doing so he has also issued a thinly-veiled final threat to the board, challenging them to come up with the funds he needs to maintain Everton’s progress one last time or he will be forced to move on.
With no take-over on the horizon it looks likely Moyes will jump ship – after all, when he signed his present deal in 2008, he stated a desire to end the disruptive speculation over his future, recognising it was having a negative impact on performances. In not doing so now, even with the disruption it brings, it seems he is not intending on signing a new deal at all.
The big question remains though: where will he go? Well, for the first time in a while it looks as though the managerial positions at the top four clubs may well be in jeopardy.
Roberto Mancini and Arsene Wenger have been forced to deny rumours about their future in recent months, while Rafa Benitez looks certain to be cast off by the ruthless Roman Abramovich at the end of the season. Even Sir Alex Ferguson knows his time in charge of Manchester United is coming to end; who can rule out a shock retirement announcement from the 71-year-old?
Either way, Everton fans should prepare themselves for a change in management. It would certainly be a hammer blow, but Moyes would at least leave the club in a relatively stable state with a talented (if small) first team and a crop of extremely promising youngsters. The pressure will, however, be on the board to get the next appointment right and ensure any transition does not involve a slide down the table.
The identity of any possible replacement remains a mystery, though Roberto Martinez’s wry smile when Wigan were drawn against Everton or Oldham in the FA Cup suggests the answer may not be too far away.