The narrative now reads: spent a long time at one club, won nothing. Oh how quickly we’ve managed to rewrite history.
Of course, highlighting certain weaknesses and overlooking the positives of David Moyes’ time at Everton helps with the agenda of undermining him in his current job. He never won a trophy at Goodison Park, doesn’t know how to win a trophy, so what good is he at a club like Manchester United, despite Moyes’ predecessor labelling him a natural winner?
Taking away the good that Moyes did also helps to amplify the good that Roberto Martinez has brought to Everton following Moyes’ departure. Ok, the Catalan won the FA Cup, but he consistently had Wigan flirting with relegation, only to lose that battle days after beating Manchester City at Wembley in the final. But he’s doing fairly well now, playing enterprising football; we can overlook those past failings.
The fundamental factor in this attack on Moyes is time, in that collectively the football world seems intolerant of such a concept. From first and champions last season to seventh in the league now, complete with an FA Cup third round exit and a deficit going into the League Cup second leg semi-final against Sunderland.
Moyes has shown himself – at least from the only relevant evidence we have – to be a manager who looks long term. There was a steady build about what he did at Everton. You feel, though, that he had to adapt himself to work within the financial parameters of the club. Arguably the club’s financial restrictions dictated how he would go about his managerial job, but he nevertheless took the club on an upward trajectory and kept them there.
It’s not entirely his fault that there was an obvious glass ceiling preventing him from taking that next step into the Champions League. Moyes won’t be helped by that terrible record at the home grounds of the traditional powers of the Premier League, but he made Everton a regular challengers for the top six. Couldn’t it be said they were punching above their weight, even with the defeats laid on to some of the bigger clubs when welcoming them to Goodison Park?
We’re forgetting that now, though. Importantly, we’re choosing to do so. The pressure is different now for Moyes, added to by the expectation everyone outside Manchester United has and the winning tradition cemented in the club by Ferguson.
Far from saying Moyes looks more comfortable in his current job than he was at the start of the campaign, considering recent results, he does appear to have a better grasp of what’s required. The awe of the place and subsequent careful treading isn’t as obvious.
Moyes will need to take on a new mentality, dismissing the underdog tactics used at Everton and brought to United. He isn’t a winner in tangible terms, but relatively speaking, he has brought success. Martinez is doing well at Everton now, but it would be wrong to suggest it’s all of his own doing.
Moyes has had to deal with changes being made at United, both in terms of the playing personnel and the backroom staff. We like to paint the picture that Moyes failed in the summer transfer window, when it should be labelled as negligence from the club’s hierarchy to entrust two newcomers – Moyes and Ed Woodward – with overseeing a successful transfer window.
A better summer could have made Moyes’ life easier, but he’d still have to deal with the same problems. The problems of an ageing squad in need of a drastic overhaul, as well as those who simply aren’t pulling their weight needing to be shipped out.