With Everton’s demise at the hands of Wigan in their FA Cup Quarter Final, the future of David Moyes has been cast into doubt. During his long and successful tenure at Goodison Park, the Scot has been lauded as an exemplary manager who consistently compelled teams to overachieve in spite of a modest budget.
However, this success has been juxtaposed against a stark lack of results when it comes to the final hurdle.
During his reign, the Toffees stumbled against a good Villarreal team during the 2005-06 Champions League Qualifiers, fell in the 2009 FA Cup Final and, despite a great start to a relatively-open season, look like missing out on a top-four position this term. (It must be said, however, that Everton owner Bill Kenwright is almost certainly stoked with Moyes’ ability to generate top-third finishes.)
Moyes’ name has been linked with jobs as high profile and varied as Tottenham Hotspur, Scotland and even Manchester United. However, opportunities to “progress” to a club with a larger budget are intrinsically linked with quantifiable success (ie. Trophies and Champions’ League berths), which means there are now pundits questioning whether Everton’s rather staid tactics are actually suited to success in one-off, crucial matches.
Managerial hiring is now trending towards younger, more adventurous managers. Liverpool took a punt last year on Brendan Rodgers (perhaps after missing out on Roberto Martinez, a man constantly in demand despite Wigan Athletic’s constantly underwhelming league position) and Moyes was reportedly considered for the Spurs position before they opted for a younger, sexier look with André Villas-Boas. Ugly-but-effective Young Thing Paul Lambert was snaffled quickly by a club with pretentions.
Though effective, Moyes’ methods are now distinctly unfashionable, limiting British-based positions.
The Everton manager has become typecast. He is Tom Baker, Raymond Burr, a beardless Chuck Norris; pigeonholed as someone who achieves much with … not much. With a record such as his, would Daniel Levy, the Glazers or Stan Kroenke trust him with acquiring bright young things to advance their teams?
But there’s a certain job security that comes with inertia. There’s no sense in Moyes moving on at this point in time: his straightforward style and more straightforward manner might make management opportunities scarce at wealthier teams. He succeeds at Everton with less money spent than at clubs like Stoke City or Queens Park Rangers, and in so doing shepherds his men closer to success than might otherwise be possible. Both manager and club have continued to find new ways of filling a leaky bucket – almost, but not quite, to the brim. A Toffee flirtation with a PYT probably wouldn’t be to their best advantage (remember the Owen-Coyle-to-Arsenal malarkey?), considering Kenwright seeks success without expense.
He – and Everton – are both victim/beneficiaries of success lacking the ultimate prize.
It’s doubtful that there is reciprocal interest between Moyes and outside clubs. Any real suitor would need more standing and disposable dosh than he already has at his disposal (narrowing the field substantially), while - like so many shallow beauties - so-called “glamour clubs” demand a partner as sexy as they think they are (removing most of the others).
David Moyes may be many things, but sexy isn’t one of them. He is well suited to Goodison Park, Liverpool in general, and to Everton. Man and club are a match for the job at hand.