Everton: Groundhog Day For Moyes Again?

Ten seasons and counting for David Moyes, who has probably seen his chances of getting a really big job disappear. So he'll just keep on trucking at Everton...

Last Updated: 16/08/12 at 15:14 Post Comment

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Last season:

Premier League Seventh; FA Cup Semi-finals; Carling Cup Fourth round

Manager David Moyes (since March 2002) Odds on being first out of his job 25-1 (joint 12th)

Transfers in Steven Naismith (Rangers), Steven Pienaar (Spurs, from loan)

Transfers out Jack Rodwell (Manchester City), Joseph Yobo (Fenernahce, from loan), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls),

It is ten seasons and counting for David Moyes, the Bill Murray of the Premier League who endures groundhog years. With the sale of Jack Rodwell to Manchester City, the Scot may have reached the stage where he feels the need to kidnap the club mascot and drive his car into a quarry, only to find when he wakes that he is still manager of Everton.

Okay, so there are worse jobs in life, and maybe in the right light Bill Kenwright resembles Andie MacDowell. But the frustration of perpetually lacking the cash needed to take the next step or to keep the top prospects must be wearing.

The chances of Moyes making a step up are receding, his best hope perhaps being a disastrous performance by whoever succeeds Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger, but time is running out for that. He was linked with the suddenly vacant Tottenham job but that went to a far younger man. Perhaps Moyes, still only 49, is resigned to his lot and is busy taking piano lessons.

It remains unlikely that Everton can crack the top four again, as Moyes did in 2004-05, but there is a chance to be best of the rest. They got the better of Liverpool despite two defeats to the Reds and they could edge out Newcastle, given Alan Pardew's propensity to save the best for first, and Spurs, if Andre Villas-Boas repeats his Chelsea experience.

For all the promise now lost to Eastlands, Rodwell played only 14 times in the league last season and just twice after January 4; it will be interesting to see how his hamstrings fare at City. Tim Cahill racked up twice as many cards (five) as goals (two) and was due his move to the MLS retirement home. If Nikica Jelavic, a crucial addition in January, maintains his scoring form then he would be a 25-goal striker across a full season. With a couple of weeks to go till the transfer window closes, the bulk of the squad that finished fifth in the second half of the season remain, with the chance for a crack at having that record across an entire campaign. Even better, Moyes is in the process of signing the Belgian Kevin Mirallas, who was top scorer in the Greek top flight with Olympiakos.

On the other hand, an offer Kenwright does not refuse could come in for Leighton Baines or some other key figure before the end of the month.

Everton have come close in the FA Cup in recent seasons - with Wembley defeats to Chelsea (final) and Liverpool (semi-final) - and certainly there is always the chance of going a step or two better. The problem with the League Cup is that the traditional slow start can include an exit.

There is no doubting the difficulty of the opening day, Manchester United coming to Goodison looking for a measure of revenge for the 4-4 title-costing game in the spring. Trips to Aston Villa and West Brom follow, with September completed by Newcastle and Southampton (home) and Swansea (away).

Moyes will be hoping that it is not deja vu all over again.

Philip Cornwall

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