David Moyes enjoyed a 2-0 victory in his last game in charge at Goodison Park as Everton defeated West Ham with two goals by Kevin Mirallas. His eleven-year reign will officially end after the final game of the season at Chelsea. Moyes will then take up his new position as the successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
He leaves the club in excellent health with their victory ensuring that they finish above Merseyside rivals Liverpool for the second successive season, the first time they have achieved that in successive years since 1937. Although much has been made of the fact that Moyes failed to win a single trophy during his stay at Goodison, he kept the club in the top ten with limited means at his disposal. The funds were never in place for the Scot to match the spending power of the likes of Manchester City or Chelsea but his shrewd management won him plenty of admirers, including Sir Alex Ferguson. His name had long been in the frame for the job at Old Trafford and it was no surprise to learn that Ferguson had personally recommended him prior to his retirement.
The spirit in which Moyes ran the club is something that Everton Chairman Bill Kenright is anxious to see continue. He has already stated that the input of the fans is important in finding the right man to replace Moyes, something that would not even occur to the likes of Roman Abramovich at Chelsea. Whilst the frenzied gossip columns go into overdrive preparing for the managerial merry-go-round that is now a summer tradition, Kenright will take his time to canvass opinions and make the best decision for Everton Football Club. Moyes had been discussing plans for next season and it seems safe to say that only Manchester United could have enticed him away from Goodison.
Early speculation has Wigan’s Roberto Martinez as the favourite to take over following his side’s victory over City in the FA Cup final. There will certainly be no decision on his future until the end of the season with Wigan facing the prospect of relegation to the Championship. Wigan will do everything in their power to keep Martinez who was courted by Liverpool last season before the appointment of Brendan Rodgers. Martinez has a similar work ethic to Moyes and has also earned respect for his ability to get the best out of his players. Although he is currently denying any interest in a move away from Wigan, it may be difficult for him to resist the prospect of a top six Premiership side if he finds his team in the Championship next season.
Other candidates that have been mentioned include Neil Lennon of Celtic and Michael Laudrup of Swansea. Malky Mackay, Martin O’Neill and Roberto Di Matteo have also been linked with the job. Everton’s last home game also saw the departure of club captain Phil Neville who announced his retirement recently. He was given a guard of honour by the entire Everton squad but the biggest cheer of the afternoon was reserved to the departing Moyes. There is no love lost between Everton and Manchester United and it says a lot for Moyes that he can make such a move without anything other than the best wishes of the club’s supporters. He may be facing a difficult task following Ferguson at Old Trafford but his own successor has been left no easy task. The club is well established on the heels of the big five and the new incumbent will be expected to take the club forward. Silverware will be the first priority along with the prospect of challenging for a Champions League place. Whilst they are sad to see Moyes leave, Everton are looking forwards and not backwards.