A testament to the Glaswegian who has consistently overachieved in financially adverse circumstances with the People’s Club
When the manager of the year awards comes around at seasons climax, they usually go to the likely suspects. Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed his fair share for a glittering and unmatched career at the helm of Manchester United winning LMA manager of the year award, which spans the highest four English divisions, three times.
Arsene Wenger too has been recognised for his achievements with Arsenal, easily being the most influential and successful manager from outside the United Kingdom or Ireland to ply their trade in the English top flight. Steve Coppell too has been recognised for guiding Reading into the Premier League, whilst in recent times Roy Hodgson was voted LMA manager of the year in 2010 as reward for juggling the trials and tribulations of the Premier League along with navigating a route to the Europa League final of that year, only to be defeated by Atletico Madrid.
Arguably the most impressive of all these figures, however, is not a manager who has presided over a successful cup-winning side or a team that has won three league titles on the trot. For me, it is David Moyes and what he has achieved whilst at the helm of Everton Football Club. Granted, Moyes has achieved comparatively little in terms of silverware for Everton, except for a round of FA Cup runners-up medals in 2009, but what he has achieved in terms of longevity at his club and becoming the blueprint for those who wish to remain a permanent fixture in the Barclays Premier League is almost unparalleled.
The important and defining feature that sets Moyes apart from Ferguson, Wenger et al is something that effects all clubs: money. Put simply, Everton don’t really have any to speak of. In only August of this year, beleaguered chairman Bill Kenwright was begging with the banks Everton owe money to not “kill us this season” (Source: Daily Telegraph website). With a debt last clocked at £44.9 million as of May 2010, Moyes has thus had his hands tied in the transfer market, essentially being told what all managers must dread, that they must sell in order to buy. Indeed, the £27 million sale of Wayne Rooney to Manchester United in 2004 was done purely to balance the books.
Similarly, the £3 million received from Tottenham Hotspur in January of this year for Steven Pienaar went straight into the bank. This is where all the money Everton receives in transfer fees eventually ends up. £27 million for Rooney, £26 million for Joleon Lescott, and £10 million for Mikel Arteta just this summer all went to service the clubs debt. In spite of this, Moyes has achieved several respectable top half finishes at the helm of Everton, including qualifying for the Champions League through the much-coveted fourth place in 2004-05.
The irony of this being that football for that season on Merseyside will almost always be remembered for Liverpool securing their fifth European Cup in a quite remarkable and dramatic final in Istanbul against AC Milan. Through circumstances outside of his control, Moyes has had to sell those who the club deemed to be surplus to requirements to and gained extraordinarily respectable fees for them. Rooney was sold for a fee that made him one of the most expensive teenagers ever to be signed, Lescott eventually became a liability to the club after his head was turned by Manchester City, and the £10 million received from Arsenal for Mikel Arteta was a good return on a player that was almost 30. In order to not overspend, Moyes has used both the loan system and the Everton youth academy to great effect.
Only recently, it was announced that Landon Donavan will be returning for a second loan spell with the blue half of Merseyside in January 2012 for two months during the MLS off-season whilst Roysten Drenthe, way down the pecking order at Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid, has arguably been Everton’s best player so far this season. As far as the youth system is concerned, Moyes has nurtured and utilised a production line that includes Ross Barkley, a highly rated midfield talent that is spoken of very highly within the inner sanctum of Goodison Park, whilst Jack Rodwell has been tipped to one day follow in Wayne Rooney’s footsteps and join Manchester United - thus solving the Reds central midfield shortcomings – and no doubt for a large transfer fee. Moyes has had to buy astutely in the transfer market too, bringing in talent on a pittance of a budget to say the least.
The list of names is not exhaustive, but to mention but a few include Tim Cahill (£1.5 million), Arteta (£2 million), England centre-half Phil Jagielka (£4 million), left-back Leighton Baines (£6 million), World Cup finalist John Heitinga (£6.2 million) as a replacement for the departed Lescott, Manchester United flop Tim Howard (believed to be around £3 million) who has developed into a solid goalkeeper, and surplus to requirements Manchester United utility man Phil Neville (£3.5 million) who has gone onto become Moyes’ captain. Of course, forays into the transfer market have not always been successful. A club like Everton, with its present level of finances, simply cannot afford large forays into the transfer market like those made from across Stanley Park in the past year or the signings made by the two clubs 30 miles down the East Lancs Road. Furthermore, if they do, they cannot afford for the signing in question to an unmitigated failure.
Unfortunately, this has all too often been the case for Moyes with players such as Andy Johnson (£8.6 million) and Yakubu (£11.25 million) in not hitting the heights that their transfer fees commanded of them, whilst club record signing (£15 million) Marouane Fellaini’s career in English football has been sporadic thus far. In his time as Everton boss, Moyes has had to deal with almost every scenario that a manager can at a football club.
The fact that he is the third longest serving manager in the Premier League, behind Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, is testament to his tenacity and skill in managing this club in the face of so many hurdles and pitfalls, in a city that is well known for having immense pride in its football. The fact that he has kept Everton competitive in the Premier League for such a long time with such a lack of financial support is nothing short of a miracle.
Transfer fees quoted from Wikipedia