Life as a manager in the Barclays Premier League does not last too long these days but today Everton manager David Moyes celebrates his 10th anniversary in charge of the Toffees.
Here, Into The Top Corner looks at his ten achievements and five defining matches as Everton boss.
1. Instant Impact
Only goal difference separated Everton from the bottom three in the Premier League when Moyes took charge. But after winning three of their first four matches under the Scot, the Toffees ended the season in 15th place and seven points above the relegation zone. The most crucial game came only nine days into his tenure, when Everton secured a thrilling 4-3 victory over relegation Derby at Pride Park.
2. Breaking Into The Top Four
Having finished just one place above the drop zone and picking up their lowest Premier League tally the previous – very few expected Everton to finish in the top half of the table going into the 2004/05 campaign. But an incredible season saw Moyes’ team defy all odds and finish fourth and gained a play-off place in the Champions League despite only signing Marcus Bent, Tim Cahill and James Beattie. Fans also took satisfaction over finishing above rivals Liverpool too.
3. 2009 FA Cup Final
In his ten years at Goodison Park, Moyes has yet to win a silverware but he came very close to doing so in 2009. Everton reached the FA Cup final in 2009 against Chelsea after an impressive cup run, knocking out Premier League rivals Liverpool, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Manchester United. They went on to lose 2-1 at Wembley but made history as Louis Saha’s opening goal inside 25 seconds marked the quickest ever Cup final goal.
4. European Adventures
A controversial defeat to Villarreal in the play-offs denied Everton a chance to compete in the Champions League in 2005 but Moyes and his Everton team enjoyed Europa League (UEFA CUp) runs in three of the four seasons that followed. Their best European campaign came in 2007/08, when after sailing through the group stages with a 100% record, they defeated Brann 8-1 on aggregate to set up a last 16 clash with Fiorentina. But despite winning 2-0 at Goodison Park, the tie finished 2-2 on aggregate and the Toffees were eliminated on penalties.
5. Bouncing back from poor campaigns
In today’s climate, managers are sacked for even making poor starts to the season with excuses like lack of fan support or losing the dressing room. But it’s not the same case with Moyes, as even through his darkest days as boss he has maintained the support of the fans and most importantly the players through some very sticky periods and recovered from them. This included guiding Everton to their worst Premier League season, a year after finishing 7th. A year later they were in the Champions League play-offs.
6. Unleashing Rooney and other youngsters
Not much was known of Wayne Rooney outside Merseyside when the 16-year-old made his debut against Tottenham on the opening day of the 2002/03 season. But a wonder strike against Arsenal in October soon had a host of clubs chasing his signature. Manchester United paid £20m for him in the summer of 2004 but he is not the only youngster given a chance to impress in the Premier League by Moyes. Tony Hibbert and Leon Osman became regulars under the Scot while fellow graduates from the academy have Jack Rodwell, Victor Anichebe, James Vaughan and Ross Barkley.
7. Astute Signings
The funds have dried up at Everton in the recent season but when Moyes does bring in players they rarely fail. In midfield Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar have been influential over the last few years. While in the defence, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Phil Neville and Joleon Lescott have also proven successful. In goal Tim Howard has proven to be a reliable stopper, while full-back Sheamus Coleman now looks a steal after being signed for just £150,000 from Irish side Sligo Rovers.
8. Seventh Heaven
Everton ran riot against Sunderland in November 2007 when they dispatched Roy Keane’s recently promoted side 7-1 at Goodison Park. It was the Toffees’ biggest winning margin under the 48-year-old. Braces from Yakubu and Cahill as well as strikes from Pienaar, Andrew Johnson and Osman capped a performance that saw Arteta tear the visitors apart with his creativity in the midfield. The result came during the middle of a 13-match unbeaten run for Everton and Moyes described it as ‘probably the best performance’ he had seen from his side.
9. Making Everton competitive again
Everton were seen as one of the big five alongside Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham when the Premier League was formed in 1992. But just one top 10 finish in the next 10 years proved otherwise. Since the arrival of Moyes, only twice they have failed to break into the top-half of the table. Moyes has spent very little during the last six seasons so it is a remarkable achievement that every season the Toffees are challenging to finish in a European spot on what has been a shoestring budget.
10. Club loyalty
Of the 92 football league managers, only Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have longer tenures at their current club. Moyes has little success to show for in the form of silverware with te team but his contributions to Everton have not gone unrecognised, having won the LMA manager of the year award in 2003, 2005 and 2009. The average tenure of a manager in the top flight doesn’t stretch to four seasons in an era of happy chairman, so far Moyes to still be at Everton after a decade is not only a fair reflection of his ability but also his loyalty to the club.
Five Defining Matches
Everton 2-1 Arsenal, October 2002
The game a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney announced his arrival on the English game with a stunning goal in a 2-1 win over Arsenal. Moyes saw the potential to give the youngster an early debut and he benefited for two seasons.
Everton 3-0 Liverpool, September 2006
Moyes has won only four of 21 Merseyside derbies but the victory at Goodison Park will be long-remembered by fans. Andrew Johnson scored twice after Tim Cahill had opened the scoring.
Everton 2-0 Fiorentina, March 2008
Trailing 2-0 from their UEFA Cup last-16 first leg, Everton produced a stirring comeback to level the tie on aggregate only to lose on penalties.
Manchester United 0-0 Everton, April 2009
A rare victory over Manchester United was enjoyed more by virtue of it being an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Goalless after extra-time, the Toffees won the penalty shoot-out.
Everton 7-1 Sunderland, November 2007
A performance Moyes rated as one of the best of his reign, Ayegbeni Yakubu and Tim Cahill both scored twice with Steven Pienaar, Andrew Johnson and Leon Osman also on the scoresheet.