David Moyes celebrates 10 years in charge at Everton next week. On a day where the footballing world comes to terms with the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea, it is perhaps poignant to reflect on the overwhelming, yet under-hyped success of the Toffees boss.
The latest Stamford Bridge development only further highlights the crazy, cut-throat environment in today’s game, proving that there is no such thing as a long-term managerial appointment anymore.
The Premier League is a results-driven business, accelerated by the hunger and drive of mega-rich owners, whose wealth and riches make for a lethal cocktail that is driving out any form of sustainability in the modern era.
Moyes is one of the few remaining success stories. When he arrived at Goodison Park from Preston in 2002, the unassuming coach launched a 'project' of his own. He was given the time to instill a brand of football he strongly believes in, also building a squad capable of holding their own in England's top-flight, with an emphasis placed on youth development to help change the complete ethos of the football club.
For the record, Everton had finished in the top half of the Premier League only once prior to Moyes' appointment. Since then, the Scot has led them to seven top ten finishes, often against the odds, and is on for another this season, though he admits it has been the hardest yet.
"My ambition is as strong as ever, but this has been the toughest year," he explained in his post-match interview after Saturday's 1-1 draw with QPR. "We weren't able to do any business in the summer while teams around us were able to buy.
"But I was never promised anything when I took the job. You don't moan about it. You work with the goods you've got. We had a good January and it's galvanised us a bit."
The word 'club' appears to have been replaced with 'project' in the vocabulary of many ambitious young football managers - a subtle plea for time to oversee the necessary changes they have been tasked with. It’s also a word that has become synonymous with the Villas-Boas era in west London.
The Portuguese tactician signed a three-year contract at Stamford Bridge last summer, and was charged with overseeing a process of change, both in terms of personnel and playing style at Chelsea.
What was first construed as an extraordinary risk by the powers that be, was later justified as the start of a revolution - a club looking to the long-term future after putting faith in one of the brightest young coaches in Europe, despite having only 21 months of managerial experience on a CV that boasted a quadruple-winning season with Porto.
Eight months later, and Villas-Boas has gone. Chelsea are back to square one, and the notion that long-term appointments in football are anything but a fictional fantasy in today's modern-day game is more apparent than ever.
All the more reason then, to celebrate Moyes and Everton's achievement.
"They tell me I've mellowed [over the years]," added the Toffees boss. "I don't know if that's a good thing, if I'm not shouting at them as much in training, making it too easy."
One of Moyes' hardest tasks in his early days on Merseyside was the management of a young Wayne Rooney - a player whom he admires for his maturity – and claims that the principles applied for his, and other young players’ development should be exactly the same for a manager.
"When young players come on the scene, people like Wayne, they make mistakes," he concluded. "But look at him now.
"It's the same with young managers. They need to be given a chance to make mistakes. You mature as you get older."
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