It has not been the best of seasons so far for Everton and the previous week has been one of the worst. A 3-2 loss to Hull and the news that the Kirkby stadium plans had been rejected were then followed by defeat in the 212th Merseyside derby – a match that the Toffees dominated and were very unlucky to lose. There has been an air of uncertainty around Goodison Park recently with several futures remaining unclear. Yet Everton fans have been offered some positive news, a shining light in what has been a terrible week for the Merseysiders.
Manager David Moyes yesterday reiterated his commitment to the club. The Scot has claimed that he has no intention of leaving Everton and is determined to lead them out of the bad spell of form they are currently in. Moyes has arguably been the best manager that Everton have had since the formation of the Premier League, transforming Everton into a side once again capable of challenging for silverware. The Scot was bought in by Chairman Bill Kenwright in March 2002 and he proved to be an instant success, guiding the Toffees to safety when relegation looked a genuine possibility. In the following seasons Moyes boosted both his reputation as a manager and his popularity with the Everton faithful, with a highlight being a 4th place finish in the 2004-05 season. It is a feat that is often overshadowed by all the talk of the ‘big four’ and will have been sweeter as it was rivals Liverpool that were forced out the Champions League places. It was a huge achievement and one that epitomizes the abilities of Moyes.
Chairman Bill Kenwright has also confirmed his backing of Moyes and the stability of these two long serving members will no doubt benefit Everton as they attempt to turn the tide. Moyes has stated “I’ve said all along that this is a great job, I really enjoy it and I intend to see it through until the very end.” Everton are no strangers to a slow start and it should be noted that they have not been helped by events on and off the field. The treatment room must be the busiest place at Goodison Park and if things continue the way they are, before long there will be a waiting list for it. Everton will get stronger, this is something I am sure of, they just need to find a run of form and fans will be hoping news of Moyes’ commitment will be the spark needed to see results improve.
Having said this, Moyes will have to do this with minimal financial backing. Recent results showed the clubs turnover rose by £4 million to a record £79.7 million, yet due to increasing wage bills the club still had an overall operating loss of £6.7 million. This means that Moyes with have to continue to be shrewd in the transfer market if Everton are to challenge for a top 4, or top 6 position this season. Toffees will take heart from the fact that Moyes has shown his ability to do this in the past, bringing in the likes of Tim Cahill for £1.5 million and Steven Pienaar for £2 million.
Everton and Moyes will look to take this positive news into tonight’s Europa League tie with AEK Athens, one that if Everton can win they may qualify for the knockout stages. Progression in the tournament will act as both a confidence boost for a side struggling to find league form and as a sign of the success that Moyes has brought to the club.