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An embarrassing defeat. An 11th season under David Moyes without a trophy. A contract offer gathering dust on the negotiation table. Everton's campaign is unravelling at an increasing pace, with the uncertainty over the manager's future mirrored by the team's nervy display against Wigan in front of frustrated home supporters.
The boos that rang around Goodison Park at half and full time should remind Moyes of his immediate responsibilities with the manager seemingly stalling over a new deal to wait for a bigger and better challenge in the summer. It's a challenge that is unlikely to come should Everton's form continue to crumble in the final ten matches of the season.
We saw a similar situation unfold at Spurs last year as Harry Redknapp delayed putting pen to paper to avoid spoiling his chance to become England manager. The England call never came and neither did a place in the Champions League as Spurs' startling collapse allowed Arsenal to snatch third place. Redknapp is now fighting fires at the wrong end of the table with QPR; a bird in the hand is always worth two in the bush.
It's unlikely that Bill Kenwright would show the same ruthlessness as Daniel Levy should Moyes continue his delaying tactic, but the chairman will have noted the fans' fury against Wigan that resembled the recent atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. Moyes may have worked wonders on a shoestring budget, as we are repeatedly told, but that hasn't prevented his reign from beginning to feel stale and the supporters' anger was understandable considering such a pathetic performance in the Toffees' biggest match of the season.
No-one likes to be made to feel second-best, but that's exactly how Moyes has made supporters feel by suggesting he would prefer to stretch his wings in the summer. There is nothing wrong with a manager having ambition, but should the fans be expected to welcome a change of mind with open arms? Not if it was only brought about by potential suitors turning their attention elsewhere following a collapse in form and doubts over the manager's credentials.
Of course, the uncertainty over Moyes' future is not the only negative influence currently threatening to make a damp squib of Everton's season. Boos were also reserved for Marouane Fellaini's performance against Wigan with the midfielder's wandering eyes another concern for Kenwright and the fans. Neither is the chairman beyond reproach, after contributing to the club's mystifying January business. If there was £8million available to spend on Leroy Fer, why wasn't it made readily available at the start of the transfer window to strengthen the team for their best shot at snatching a top-four spot since 2005?
It would have taken an incredible effort for Everton to finish fourth but targets change as the season progresses and, after an unusually impressive start to the campaign, the Toffees should have set their sights higher for the run-in. Instead, Moyes and Fellaini are the only two making eyes up the table as Everton look set to slip in the opposite direction.
Perhaps Moyes will still be given the chance to test himself at a higher level in the summer but if poor results ensure Kenwright's contract offer is the best he'll get, there won't be many Everton fans holding out pens for him to sign.
Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.
I really hope he is offered the Chelsea job in the summer, he can fail there (and he will) rather than ruin Ferguson's legacy at United. The logic for him getting the United job seems to be that he's Scottish and half decent, but that's the problem, he's only half decent. Just because a manager does OK on a small budget does not mean they'd do well with a larger one, it's the logic of saying 'Usain Bolt is quick over 100m, he'd be amazing over a marathon'.- solskjaer99