Like all managers in limbo, David Moyes is open to ‘uncertainty surrounding his contract situation’ jibes, unwittingly offering himself up as protagonist for a narrative of failure. Speaking as an Evertonian on the back of our fourth Premier League win in five games after comfortably beating doomed QPR 2-0, I can categorically deny the current validity of that jibe. Everton approach Tuesday’s cataclysmic clash with Arsenal in such fine fettle that the cloud over Moyes’ future has been lifted, or at least temporarily hidden by the footballing equivalent of blanketing sunshine.
One irresistible aspect of the whole saga is the temptation to analyse every suggestion with the forensic intensity of a cold case detective, and having done that, I reckon Moyes will stay. Naturally, I’d expect you to demand all manner of reasons to back up such a claim and to that end, here is a list of 10.
1. ‘The Door’s Open’ to Phil Neville
“If he wants to be part of my staff here, he is more than welcome“. Moyes’ words in light of Neville’s decision to depart. If you’d shown the sort of loyalty that befits 11-year Premier League tenures, and then decided to leave, would you be handing out coaching roles knowing a new man would be coming in?
2. Phil is dead, long live the Phil
Similarly, Moyes wouldn’t effectively appoint someone else’s new captain. Such a weighty decision cannot be thrust upon an incumbent to possibly facilitate the new man immediately stripping a fan favourite captain and selecting somebody else.
3. Moyes the man-manager
The miraculous transformations of Seamus Coleman and Victor Anichebe represent comprehensive accomplishments of man-management for Moyes. Not only has he moulded a perfectly a competent right-sided counter-balance to Leighton Baines, but he’s also improved the attitude and imparted the self-belief to forge a terrifically effective striker from a thoroughly wasteful cry-baby.
And let’s not forget Kevin Mirallas, the jewel in the crown of Moyes’ scouting network. The manager has singled out Mirallas for what some call criticism, what I call ‘Glaswegian praise’ of late purely because the Belgian quite simply has more potential than any other play he’d had at his disposal.
4. Midweek breaks
Spurs’ equaliser seemed to dangle the Champions League carrot an unattainable distance from Everton’s’ grasp but victory over Arsenal on Tuesday will give them a huge boost in the chase for fifth. The extra burden of European fixtures may well offer Moyes an invaluable bargaining chip if his delay is considered an elaborate request to the board. Plus, the Europa League would represent a realistic chance for Everton to compete for silverware.
5. Marouane’s Millions
If anything’s more inevitable than Moyes’ sunburn this summer, it’s Marouane Fellaini’s exit, which should (in theory) boost the Everton coffers by approximately £25m. Most Evertonians would consider Leroy Fer a more than adequate replacement not least as he would leave at least £15m to spend on other players.
6. Silly money
BT’s £738m, Sky’s £2.2bn TV rights investment for 2013/14 could realistically make jacuzzis, pina colodas and Fabergé eggs central facets of the football experience next season. Sporting Intelligence predict Everton will pocket between £69m and £89m next year and Moyes, whose backing from the board over the years has amounted to little more than Bill Kenwright pointing towards the Premier League pawn shop, must surely fancy a crack at the big boys with a few more million quid in his pocket.
7. Any takers?
In February, I said Moyes was neither successful enough for a top job nor foolish enough to move sideways. There was nowhere for him to go. Other than AVB’s slight dwindling, nothing much has changed. Trophyless with Everton as Moyes is, his next move has to be the right one. The problem being the right move seems unavaiable.
8. The kids are alright
Everton’s thin resources somehow stretched to a young left-back Bryan Oviedo and an even younger right-back John Stones this summer. The pair have figured in Everton’s first team about as much as Abraham Lincoln this year, and would represent odd transfer market swansongs for Moyes if ultimately his last signings.
In conjunction with Ross Barkley, Shane Duffy, Apostollos Vellios and Conor McAleny, Oviedo and Stones represent half a team-worth of solution to Everton’s problem with age. Then of course there is George Green, rated highly enough for Moyes to pay up to £2m for him as a 15-year-0ld . Tantalisingly, Green turns 18 next season.
9. Blink and you’ll miss it
This is a pure psychoanalytic whim but when Moyes fended off Gary Lineker’s question about his future, his stare remained Scottishly steadfast when speaking of the players, but blinked awkwardly when he mentioned the “club”. That suggested Moyes has no guilt towards the players – which he surely would if he was imminently off – but has some negative concept in mind regarding the board. To crack that simple code, you just need to glance at Moyes’ words on Friday:
“We have not invested an awful lot over the last five or six years so we have to now be looking to see how we do that”.
10. Never had it so good
The combination of all of these factors – better and improved players, more money, and more promising set of youngsters than at any other point in Moyes’ reign – makes this best time the Scot has had to be Everton manager. If he were to walk away from that, I’d imagine he’d do so with an unbearable sense of ‘what could have been?’
By Chris Smith
Follow Chris on Twitter @cdsmith789 and click here to visit his blog The Russian Linesman.