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Tuesday 13 March 2012

David Moyes: Ten unforgettable years

One of the game's most respected figures celebrates a decade in charge at Goodison Park

David Moyes marks 10 years as manager of Everton on 14th March

Most managers can only dream of taking charge of a club at the highest level - and the few that do so rarely get to experience a whole decade at the top.

But Everton manager David Moyes reaches that extraordinary milestone on Wednesday.

On the eve of the 48-year-old's anniversary, he took his side to Anfield to face Merseyside rivals Liverpool, Moyes watching on as Everton lost their first match in the League since 11 January.

Despite defeat, the plaudits will be still rightly showered on a manager regarded as one of the very best in the game. Here we tell the story of the David Moyes years at Everton in 10 chapters.

Chapter 1 - The back story

"If anyone can keep Everton in the Premier League, David Moyes can"
- Preston legend Sir Tom Finney in 2002

A dependable defender, Moyes made more than 550 league appearances for several clubs, but his longest spell was at Preston, where he became player-manager in January 1998.

He took them up to Division One (now the Championship) in 2000 and to the play-off final in 2001 where they lost to Bolton.

Moyes was on the rise, but Everton were seemingly heading the opposite way. He left Preston to join a side which had won only one of its previous 13 League matches.

Chapter 2 - Arrival

It is easy to forget that when Moyes took over from Walter Smith on March 14th 2002, Everton were one of the perennial strugglers in the top flight.

The Toffees are one of only seven clubs to compete in every Premier League season since it was formed in 1992/93.

But their first 10 seasons were tough, with just one top 10 finish (sixth in 1995/96) - and they regularly flirted with relegation, surviving on goal difference alone in 1997/98.

When Moyes arrived with nine matches of the 2001/02 season remaining, Everton were above the drop zone on goal difference - but he won three of his first four matches in charge as they secured 15th place and safety.

Chapter 3 - Building work

"I don't think I could overstate his importance - what he has achieved is remarkable"
- Landon Donovan

In 2002/03, Moyes guided Everton to seventh and their second-highest Premier League points tally to date.

That won him his first League Managers Association Manager of the Year award, after a season which also saw the emergence of a promising 16-year-old called Wayne Rooney - who announced his arrival with a fantastic last-minute winner against Arsenal in a 2-1 victory in October.

But the following campaign was a struggle and Everton finished 17th. Rooney then left for Manchester United in a big-money move in summer 2004, leaving Moyes with a rebuilding job on his hands.

Chapter 4 - Stability and success

The fans need not have worried.

For the 2004/05 campaign the astute Moyes signed Tim Cahill and Everton enjoyed their best Premier League season, ultimately finishing fourth, qualifying for the Champions League and earning the manager his second LMA award.

Although the 2005/06 season saw a slight dip, with the Toffees finishing 11th, Moyes was starting to successfully banish the memories of Goodison Park relegation battles.

Chapter 5 – A top 10 team

"Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t scare me particularly. Who’s got the worst temper? Our gaffer is second to none...You don’t want to make him mad!"
- Tim Howard

From 2006 to the present day, Everton have not finished outside the top eight, qualified for Europe three times, reached the League Cup semi-final and were beaten finalists in the 2009 FA Cup.

The 2008/09 season saw Moyes scoop his third LMA award – beating fellow Scot Sir Alex Ferguson to that landmark in the process.

Prior to Moyes joining (and including the 2001/02 season, in which he took over towards the end of the campaign) Everton’s average Premier League finish was 12.5.

Since the Scot took charge, the average finishing position has been 7.8.

Chapter 6 - Super signings

Moyes has made some excellent acquisitions in the transfer market.

As well as Cahill – who has made more than 200 Barclays Premier League appearances for the club – he has brought in a number of star players including Mikel Arteta, Phil Neville, Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Steven Pienaar and Louis Saha.

The sale of Joleon Lescott to Manchester City saw a big profit for Everton, while Moyes has astutely recruited USA international Landon Donovan for two loan spells.

Chapter 7 - Stickability

"His determination has kept me motivated for the last seven years"
- Phil Neville

In the whole of English football, only Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger have been at their club longer than Moyes.

He is fourth on the all-time list of most experienced Premier League managers behind Ferguson (762 matches), Harry Redknapp (584) and Wenger (563).

After Tuesday's match, Moyes has now been in charge for 379 matches over 10 years - this is more then two-and-a-half times the average duration for a Premier League manager according to the League Managers Association.

Chapter 8 - Next generation

Moyes has made a name for himself by nurturing some of the brightest talent in the country, with Rooney being the most famous example, making his Everton debut at 16 years and 297 days.

But he also gave a debut to the youngest ever Evertonian - Jose Baxter, who played against Blackburn aged 16 yrs and 191 days in August 2008.

And Jack Rodwell became the youngest Everton player in Europe when he played against AZ Alkmaar at only 16 years and 284 days old.

Chapter 9 - Up to date

"I'm probably not as mad as I was... That's not always good. Some players react better to a good, old-fashioned rollicking!"
- David Moyes

Once again Everton find themselves in the top 10 going into the business end of the season.

Although the Toffees' form has been patchy at times, Saturday's win over Tottenham took their unbeaten Barclays Premier League run to seven matches, a run that was ended at Anfield on Tuesday.

Chelsea and Manchester City have both been recent scalps - and Moyes' decision to rest six players at Liverpool was perhaps a nod to their FA Cup quarter-final at Sunderland on Saturday.

Chapter 10 - Moyes on Moyes

"It means a great deal to me. It means I am really privileged to be at a club that has given me a chance to manage for such a length of time.

"I certainly don’t feel 10 years older than when I first came in. I still feel the same, have the same enthusiasm and the same hunger for success I had when I first came in. I always try to be ambitious and do well.

"Folk probably think that I am a bit moody and look a bit angry but it is just my mannerisms. I am driven to succeed.

"I am probably much mellower now and not as mad as I was! I have to say that inside I am probably just as angry at times but I have probably learned to keep a lid on it.

"Sometimes that is not always a good thing. Sometimes the players react better to a good, old-fashioned rollicking!"

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Key Points

  • David Moyes marks 10 years as Everton manager on March 14th
  • Toffees have been regular top 10 finishers since he took charge
  • Led Toffees to fourth place finish in 2005 and 2009 FA Cup final