David Moyes: The manager, the myths and what's next for Everton

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

David Moyes dugout Everton v WiganPA PhotosDavid Moyes transformed Everton's fortunes

This was always the danger. With a new contract unsigned and the club slipping from the European places, Everton were one attractive vulture from losing David Moyes. As the contract ticked toward expiration, the manager was adamant that any decision on his future would arrive at the end of the season.

Unfortunately, like Don Corleone in "The Godfather," Manchester United made Moyes an offer he couldn't refuse -- the chance to step into the shoes of Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford. With Moyes out of contract, the move is straightforward.

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As he considers moving to a club capable of matching his own fervent ambitions, few can begrudge the decision to join the Premier League champions. Averaging an annual net spend of around £800,000, the determined Scot has worked miracles since March 14, 2002, when he walked through the doors of a club with a one-way ticket to the Football League.

The despairing '90s were a stark contrast from the '80s glory days and provide a gruesome reminder of life before Moyes. Everton spent the '90s hampered by boardroom squabbles, poor managerial selections and general ineptness; this was a club needing a comprehensive rebuild, and Moyes provided that.

Some will rejoice at the end of this reign, as the same flaws have prevailed throughout Moyes' tenure. That said, although every manager has infuriating tendencies, the positives far outweigh the negatives with Moyes. His endeavours take on greater significance after a glance back to the '90s; Mike Walker, Howard Kendall (in his third spell) and Walter Smith boast three of the worst managerial records in Everton history.

A shrewd operator in the transfer market, Moyes unearthed several gems over the years. Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill and Steven Pienaar arrived for less than £6 million, and the recent acquisitions of Seamus Coleman and Darron Gibson are further testament to his ability to find quality on a meagre budget.

However, despite the bargain buys, doubts continue to linger over Moyes on the monetary front. Marouane Fellaini cost £15 million, money well spent, but other big-money buys have floundered, including Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, James Beattie, Yakubu and Andy Johnson. Of course, transfer talk would not be complete without mentioning Per Kroldrup (the less said about that one, the better).

Moyes will have the resources to dispel those doubts with United next season, allowing time to work on those infuriating traits referenced earlier; United fans are unlikely to welcome the surrender of possession from kickoff or every player back to defend a set piece.

In addition, when moving to a stronger team with greater depth, greater faith in the squad is required. Everton lack depth, but the unwillingness of Moyes to rotate and trust other squad members has led to a side running on empty.

This lack of faith links to the notion that Moyes bloods younger players. During his 11 years at the club, Wayne Rooney aside, youngsters featured only as a last resort. The immediate success of Rooney gave birth to this myth about Moyes and youth; Rooney was the exception, not the rule.

Overall, in spite of the obvious question marks over certain aspects of his management, Moyes has restored pride to Everton, and supporters should remember him fondly. After the relegation-threatened '90s, this determined foot soldier transformed Everton from relegation favourites to European hopefuls.

Fiercely ambitious, with a tremendous work ethic and a hunger to improve, Moyes displays many traits seemingly lacking within the Everton boardroom. As a result, the club hierarchy is what faces any potential supporter backlash.

The club, after failing to back its manager, counting the cost of the abortive January transfer window, when it was unable to strengthen the squad. After a month spent imitating the Keystone Cops, the chance to secure the bargaining chip of Champions League football slowly ebbed away.

Moving forward, the Everton board faces a monumental task. Several names are in the frame, but it is imperative that the right man is appointed. Of those linked, Michael Laudrup appears the best option. (Whether Everton can afford him is another matter.)

Displaying a similar eye for a bargain and astute knowledge of the European game, Laudrup is a popular choice among supporters. Another interesting name linked is Vitor Pereira, the Porto boss who will be out of contract in the summer, and reports suggest he has ambitions of managing in the Premier League.

Elsewhere, the other names linked fail to inspire the same level of confidence. Names such as Phil Neville, Mark Hughes, Roberto Martinez and Neil Lennon generate a wide range of views among the fan base, mostly negative.

Faced with their biggest decision in 11 years, those club bigwigs, the same ones who have continually failed to back the best Everton manager since the '80s, must ensure they get this appointment right. After all, this is a decision likely to shape the future of one of the biggest clubs in England.

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