Football

David Moyes' reputation must be defended regardless of his recent failings

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Following his somewhat disastrous spell at Manchester United and equally mixed adventure in Spain with Real Sociedad, David Moyes appears to find himself in the doldrums of management.

No manager - no matter how strong their CV - can afford to have two bad spells within such a short space of time, which is exactly where the Scot finds himself. He has become a comic villain in recent times and is now being linked with vacancies that two years ago he would never have taken.

But have we already forgotten what Moyes is capable of?

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Moyes has assumed the role as United’s scapegoat far easier than in any other managerial role. He is largely blamed for the Red Devils' steady demise, but there's a feeling that the job undertaken was a poison chalice from the outset.

Could anyone realistically have prospered that season? Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp all have a case, but we can’t say with any certainty that these three could have successfully succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson.

Despite the fact United won the title in 2012/13 season, there is no doubt Ferguson managed to get the absolute best out of his team. If he hadn’t, he simply wouldn’t of left. Conversely, if he thought that team could challenge in Europe, he also would of stayed.

An inspired Robin van Persie and a subdued Manchester City as defending champions allowed the Scotsman to ride off into the sunset with another title to his name. However, poor showings in Europe showed the team’s weaknesses. Big money hadn’t been spent on an ageing team for too long and the club were reliant on players past their peak.

Whoever took on that job would have struggled, and unfortunately for Moyes, he was the one to inherit that burden. It was an opportunity most managers would struggle to say no to, of course, especially as a British manager - such opportunities come along once, maybe twice, in a career.

Take it and succeed and you become an elite manager; reject it and you may never get the chance again. The fact he was given the job, though, was a reflection of how highly rated he was in English football. He was chosen ahead of virtually every other young manager in the world.

There were some positives during his tenure, albeit small ones. He spent virtually no money compared to his successor, but his signing of Juan Mata has proved an inspiring one, the Spaniard developing into a key player at the Theatre of Dreams.

The emergence of Adnan Januzaj was also encouraging, although his rise to the top has now taken a different route via Borussia Dortmund. Players such as Ashley Young, who looked on his way out of United, found good form and David de Gea established himself as a top goalkeeper.

Furthermore, his own successor, Louis van Gaal spent £150 million in his first season yet similarly struggled and eventually finished just three places higher - a relatively meagre return. Moyes should be cut some slack for the job he done in Manchester.

Elsewhere, at Everton, Roberto Martinez is considered a very good, young Premier League manager. An FA Cup win and relegation with Wigan earned him the job at the Toffees, which has been characterised similarly with one very good season and one rather bad season.

Yet most people would agree Martinez has done a good job at Everton. A club which cannot financially challenge the big boys still managed to go toe-to-toe with them on occasion.

However, if the Spaniard has done a good job at Goodison and, as a result, can now be heralded an good manager, then Moyes did a great job.

Martinez may not have the same money at his disposal as Manchester City or Chelsea, but £28 million spent on Romelu Lukaku shows times have changed. Moyes’ record transfer, to put things in perspective, was £15 million on Marouane Fellaini in 2008; he was on a shoe-string budget and consistently performed above the club's expectations.

There were blips, of course, including the 2003/04 season when they finished 17th, but also there were great highs - highs which many other managers could never have achieved with the resources Moyes had.

Runners up in the FA Cup in 2009 was an excellent achievement under the circumstances. More impressive, though, was the 2004/05 season. Whilst that season belongs to the other half of Merseyside, it was Everton’s best season in recent memory.

They managed to break up the then-established 'big four' and qualify for the Champions League. Not many teams outside the top four can boast such an achievement.

Furthermore, he is also the man that gave debuts to Wayne Rooney, Ross Barkley and Jack Rodwell. He also got the best out of Premier League favourites such as Steven Pienaar, Thomas Gravesen, Tim Howard and Leighton Baines.

The Scot has an eye for talent and how to get the best out of it. As a result of his impressive impact, he received the LMA Manager of the Year award on three different occasions - a remarkable feat for a manager of Everton.

Ultimately, though, football can be a fickle game. The mantra of 'you're only good as your last match' may not be quite true, but it does feel close.

The evidence is undeniable: Moyes is an excellent manager. His achievements at Everton should not be overlooked and instead remembered and defended; it is his instead his risky managerial moves that have meant for his descent in European football.

He who dares wins - but not always.

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Topics:
Premier League
Everton
Manchester United
Football

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