Club Focus – Everton – FA Cup replay with Chelsea perhaps pivotal to Moyes’ Toffees future

Watching from the sidelines as his Everton side floundered against Bolton Wanderers on Sunday, David Moyes was the picture of discontent. The manager, who admitted after the match that the defeat was the worst of his near-nine years at Goodison Park, was as lifeless as his team. As he also later acknowledged, the Toffees are fighting for their Premier League future, and to see such a robust character as Moyes so muted raised questions over his own future at the helm of Everton.

This is, of course, the same Everton manager who stalked after Roberto Mancini a year ago, when the Italian raised his ire, and the same Everton manager who went toe-to-toe with Sir Alex Ferguson in 2005 when the younger Scot felt his older compatriot had crossed the line during a 1-0 Everton win. Or at least, it looked like the same Everton manager. But with the exasperation he was clearly feeling coming across so vividly to everyone watching, the Moyes who sat and watched as Bolton passed rings around Everton appeared to have lost that fire. It may have been the shock of such an atrocious Everton performance that knocked the spark out of him for those 90 minutes, and the Moyes of old will be back patrolling the touchline when Everton meet Chelsea in an FA Cup fourth round replay on Saturday. But should Everton suffer another defeat at Stamford Bridge – and their record on Chelsea’s turf is so poor as to make that highly likely – Everton would have only survival to play for, and it may mark the beginning of the end of Moyes’ time on Merseyside.

Moyes has spoken regularly about his desire to bring a trophy to Everton. In July 2010 he said: “We have been a decent team in the Premier League for quite a few years now. If you know about the history of Everton – Everton have won championships and European competitions. The one thing me and Tim [Cahill] haven’t done is win anything yet.” In December 2010 he told an Everton DVD: “I don’t think I could be remembered for anything at the moment, because I haven’t won anything,” adding that same month: “I am not one for statistics, what I really want is a couple of trophies.” Elimination from the FA Cup on Saturday would close the door to trophy success for another year. With the side struggling in 13th, dangerously close to the relegation zone and lacking the money to finance real improvements to the squad come the summer, there may be little more Moyes can do at Everton, especially if the FA Cup is found out of reach again.

There is no doubt Moyes has been good for Everton, and Everton good for Moyes too. When he took over in 2002 the depression that has engulfed the club since Sunday was permanent, not an aberration, but the time eventually comes for every long-serving manager to leave the club they have nested at, and nine years is a long time in football. It is even longer without a trophy to sustain you through the hard times.

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