Everton’s fan reaction a par of the course in football

The ire of the Everton fans was understandable, their subsequent taunting of David Moyes at Old Trafford a result of his own mishandling of a transfer situation in the summer. And, of course, it’s part and parcel of the game.

There’s nothing disgraceful in what can be seen as generally harmless taunting of a now rival manager. There are far worse things said in a football ground than “you’re getting sacked in the morning.” But such is the nature of football that it would be a little thoughtless and inconsistent to say the Everton fans should continue to show Moyes unwavering adulation for his contributions at the club.

Their appreciation was clear at the end of last season. Moyes received an appropriate send off and a general feeling of well wishes for his journey at the top of English football. Though it may be inaccurate to say Moyes has burnt his bridges at Goodison Park, it is fair to say the Everton fans have a right to feel aggrieved over the approaches for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini during the summer.

If Moyes was still manager at Everton, would he have so willingly let two of his best players go simply so they could further themselves in the game, while at the same time paying little notice of a transfer bid that could rightly be seen as derisory? Despite what he says, of course he wouldn’t. If Moyes adopted an underdog mentality when playing away at one of the big clubs, why would he not use the same principles when dealing with one of the big clubs in the market? The fact that Manchester United ended up signing Fellaini alone for £28 million shows just how insulting the bid was for the duo.

There is always ill feeling when a departed manager returns to his old club with a stronger financial backing and attempts to cherry pick the best in the squad. The situation is made even graver when insults of inferiority are so thinly veiled. Following that episode, Moyes should have known what was coming.

Moyes’ new position in football also, arguably, gave him some ammunition in patronising Roberto Martinez’s work since joining Everton in the summer.

Everton have only lost once in the league this season and they’re five points clear of United. But Moyes commented that Martinez was doing a good job at “keeping it going.” That, in a way, is fair. Martinez has built on the solid defence that he’s inherited at Goodison Park, but he’s also greatly improved their attacking play, with increased passing numbers and chances created. Above all, he’s looked to develop a fearless attitude when playing in high-profile matches away from home. Hardly the effect of simply keeping it going.

In hindsight, there would certainly not be any regret from Everton supporters at swapping Moyes for Martinez. The Spaniard may even bring some tangible success like he did at his previous club. On the whole, there is nothing but positive things said about the former Wigan manager and his application.

At the same time, the appreciation for what was achieved under Moyes will not be lost. The chants at Old Trafford, something not at all uncommon, don’t change that.

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