With the final game of the David Moyes era at Everton done and dusted, a 2-1 defeat against Chelsea on Sunday, the Toffees can really begin the hard task of appointing a successor to the departing, Manchester United bound manager.
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright said he
In the absence of any concrete information regarding the next manager, though, speculation has inevitably filled the void. All manner of names have been linked to the post, some possible, some fanciful. The sheer breadth of rumoured contenders illustrates what a difficult task Kenwright and his fellow board members have in identifying the right man to carry on Moyes’ work.
Kenwright, ever the populist, would be well-advised to forget trying to find a manager who pleases the majority of supporters. There isn’t one – or rather there is, but he’s about to move to Old Trafford. There isn’t a Moyes clone out there, either.
Trying to replace Moyes as directly as that puts Kenwright on a hiding to nothing, although at the same time, plumping for a manager diametrically opposed to Moyes could usher in years of rebuilding work that isn’t actually needed, as the new boss tries to put his stamp on the side.
There must be a common ground candidate, one who can pick up where Moyes left off but slowly integrate his own ideas, using the majority of the players currently in the squad, turning to talented youngsters coming through the academy, and picking up rough diamonds from elsewhere. That’s essentially what Moyes did when he replaced Walter Smith in 2002.
Moyes didn’t cast aside players signed by his predecessor; he got more out of them than Smith ever did, with Thomas Gravesen in particular reborn when the managerial reins passed from one Scot to another. Tomasz Radzinski, too, looked far more dangerous under Moyes than under Smith, and Moyes gave opportunities to the likes of Nick Chadwick that had been denied by the ex-Rangers boss.
Everton under Moyes developed slowly – there is a clear progression in the various teams that he built, holdovers from one stage to the next – and Moyes found Everton at a far lower ebb than at which he leaves. Everton in March 2002 were in a relegation battle. In May 2013 they’re one of the top six sides in the top flight.
For every positive quality any one of the names linked to the imminent vacancy possesses, it’s possible to find two or three negatives in reply. The same could have been said of Moyes when he was appointed – he was young, hungry and ambitious, but he had little playing experience outside the lower leagues of England, had never managed past the second tier, was only slightly older than some of the players he inherited; the list goes on.
Kenwright looked passed the doubts and the naysayers and appointed Moyes, who was quickly proven to be the right man for the job. The owner has to do it again, with a job far more attractive, but perhaps far more difficult too.
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