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DAVID MOYES has been hailed a managerial “great” – by former England boss and title-winning manager Howard Wilkinson.
Moyes celebrated the 10th anniversary of his appointment as Everton FC manager yesterday.
And even though the Blues boss was taunted by Liverpool fans during Tuesday night’s derby, with Kopites urging Evertonians to “Wipe away your tears, no trophy for 17 years,” Wilkinson, chairman of the League Managers’ Association, insists that managerial “greatness” is not defined purely by silverware.
In a statement issued by the LMA to congratulate Moyes on his decade in charge, Wilkinson declared: “For me his records, first at Preston and now at Everton, put him right up there with current managerial greats and prove the point that winning trophies can never be the only definition of being a ‘Winner.’ ”
Wilkinson added: “David is one of those rare players who decided at a very early age that he was going to be a manager, a good manager and then a great manager.
“From that point he devoted all his time and energy to that cause.
“What we see now are the fruits of his obsessive passion and commitment to that journey.
“In his 10 years at Everton he has worked miracles with the resources at his disposal and at the same time he has managed to turn a football club into an institution. If he were to leave tomorrow, his successor would discover David’s blood running through every brick and piece of turf both at Goodison and at Finch Farm.
“There can be no greater accolade than the admiration of your peers.
“David has been voted LMA Manager of the Year a record three times, proving the esteem the game has for him and the job he has done. His chairman, Bill Kenwright, an Evertonian through and through, must wake up every morning with a smile on his face knowing that David is manager of the club he loves.”
LMA chief executive Richard Bevan said Moyes’ achievements showed the benefits of stability and continuity at a football club.
He added: “The success that David Moyes has enjoyed at Everton sets a great example to the game and clearly demonstrates what can be accomplished with continuity at a football club.
“In an industry that sees such frequent turnover of managers, the achievements of this stable partnership between club and manager cannot be underestimated.
“At just 48, David can still be considered a relatively young manager and to already have over 14 years experience in football management, during which time he has managed very nearly 700 games with a superb win ratio of 44%, is an outstanding feat.”
A TUESDAY morning fry-up in a city centre cafe brought home to Don Hutchison just how much a derby victory means to football fans on Merseyside.
And for a man who was on the winning side for both Everton and Liverpool in a Merseyside derby, that bizarre derby celebration confirmed that David Moyes got his team selection wrong on Tuesday night.
Hutchison was in the last Everton FC side to triumph at Anfield 13 years ago and after the Blues’ latest unsuccessful attempt to reverse that trend he rapped: “Are Evertonians right to be unhappy with the team selection? 100 per cent.
“I watched the game with Peter Reid, who is a massive Evertonian and we couldn’t believe it. When you have gone seven games unbeaten in the league and you make six changes for a derby ... you leave Drenthe, Osman, Cahill, Jelavic and Neville all on the bench in the biggest game of the season ...
“Yeah you can say there’s a big FA Cup game at the weekend but the derby is about bragging rights.
“I was in the Everton side that last won at Anfield in 1999 and when we won we went into work the next day at Everton and Walter Smith took us on a coach into the middle of the city centre and made us walk into town for a fry-up in our Everton kit. It was all about the bragging rights.
“All the Liverpool fans were giving us pelters, but the Everton fans were absolutely loving it and that’s what it’s all about. It’s bragging rights.”
Moyes admitted he had one eye on Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final when he made six changes to Tuesday’s starting line-up, but Hutchison believes that even FA Cup glory would still leave Evertonians wondering what might have been.
“Everton are not massive spenders,” added Hutchison. “They have not got the finance, but if they win the FA Cup this year and finish just behind Liverpool, yes they will say what a terrific season, but they will have in the back of their minds what might have been.
“They could have gone above Liverpool on Tuesday night. That’s what hurts them the most. With the right personnel they could have given it a right go and gone above Liverpool.
“But the bigger picture is if they can win a trophy that means a lot – especially to Everton. It was bizarre the line up they made and the personnel they went with.
“Sunderland will be a tough one but the six players who were on the bench on Tuesday, I bet they will start.
“I will never knock David Moyes. I think David Moyes has done a phenomenal job in the 10 years he has been there. I know Everton fans are a little bit raw and they are not seeing the bigger picture which is fair enough because it’s a massive game, but if you can get to a cup final it might ease the pain a little bit.
“As an Evertonian I think winning the cup makes up for it.”
SYLVAIN DISTIN admits Everton are already daring to dream about a possible Wembley appearance – as the Blues bid to instantly erase the grim memory of Tuesday’s derby defeat.
An FA Cup semi-final appearance is the reward for the winners of Saturday’s sell-out clash with Sunderland at Goodison Park and DIstin, an FA Cup winner with Portsmouth four years ago, says the prospect if so close now the players can almost touch it.
“You start to believe it now,” he said. “You are only two games before the final. It is only two games. It seems so close you can almost touch it.
“We definitely want to get there, two big games which we’ll take step by step, and first up is Sunderland which won’t be an easy game at all.
“But when it is this close you can’t help but start believing and thinking about it, it seems real.
“At some point you always have to play good teams and the Sunderland are a good team, but it is just two games, two wins and the final. It doesn’t matter who we play.
“It won’t be easy, but when things are difficult you see the strength of this club.”
Mikel Arteta has said that there will be no reason for Everton fans to abuse him when he returns to Goodison Park next week, despite the manner of his move to Arsenal last summer.
The Spanish midfielder ended six and a half years as an Everton player this season, when he submitted a transfer request an hour before the August window closed. The lateness of the move prevented Everton from reinvesting the £10m they got for their star player until the turn of the year. But Arteta hopes Everton's fans will forgive and forget next Wednesday and focus instead on all that he gave to the club while he played for them.
He said: "I really can't wait to go there, and I hope I'll get a good reception because I gave Everton everything I had in my time there and I love the club. Everyone there was great to me and, even though I left, hopefully people understood. There's no reason for any of us to be unhappy with each other."
The 29-year-old told Arsenal's website: "Visiting Everton next week will be really special for me. It's going to be weird to sit in the other changing room, warming up in the opposite half of the pitch and having the crowd against us. I just want to enjoy it."
MIKEL ARTETA can't see any reason why Everton fans would abuse him when he returns to Goodison Park next week.
The Arsenal midfielder ended 6½ years as a Toffees player in the summer when he slapped in a transfer request an hour before the August window closed.
The lateness of the move prevented Everton from reinvesting the £10million they got for their star player until the turn of the year — something that may not have gone down well with some supporters.
But Arteta hopes they will forgive and forget next Wednesday and focus instead on all he gave to the club while there.
He said: "I really can't wait to go there, and I hope I'll get a good reception because I gave Everton everything I had in my time there and I love the club.
"Everyone there was great to me and, even though I left, hopefully people understood.
"There's no reason for any of us to be unhappy with each other."
Arteta, 29, is relishing running out at Goodison again, but admitted it would be strange to do so for a rival club.
The Spaniard added: "Visiting Everton next week will be really special for me.
"It's going to be weird to sit in the other changing room, warming up in the opposite half of the pitch and having the crowd against us.
"I just want to enjoy it."