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How Unsworth Helped Moyes Start With A Bang

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Watch Video How Unsworth Helped Moyes Start With A Bang

David Unsworth’s hero status was already secured by the time a trademark left-foot hammer blow launched a youthful David Moyes on his way to a place alongside him in Everton folklore.

Famous for his clean striking of the ball, nerveless spot-kicks, bullish charges down the flank and the 1995 FA Cup, Unsworth would now also be remembered as the man who kick-started a Blues managerial dynasty.

With the Club embroiled in a rancid relegation scrap, Goodison heaved at the seams as Moyes arrived to messianic acclaim ahead of his first match in charge.

And barely had the pre-game bluster subsided when Unsworth’s chopping half-volley produced a maiden goal – a mere 27 seconds into the Glaswegian’s reign.


“We came out and David came out to an absolutely rapturous applause,” Unsworth told evertontv. “The roof nearly came off at Goodison.

“It was outstanding, the reception he got from a full house against Fulham. What a start.

“I was playing left midfield if I remember rightly. We got a throw-in straight away, it was flicked on and then got laid back to me - I just hit it and it was a great start.

“I think Big Dunc got the second but then Tommy Gravesen got sent off. They got one back and it was a real backs-against-the-wall second half. We were defending for more or less the whole of it. We managed to hang on and get the 2-1 win, which was a massive win not just for David with it being his first game but for the club and securing Premier League safety.”

It was the first of three wins in Moyes' opening four games – a run that ultimately staved off the very real threat of relegation.

Unsworth and Ferguson in Moyes' first game

The period before his arrival had been grim. The supporters had lost confidence in predecessor Walter Smith and a particularly bleak FA Cup loss at Middlesbrough proved one defeat too many.

Bill Kenwright identified a 38-year-old Moyes as the man to lift the Club from the doldrums and to Unsworth it was clear right from the start that the new man meant business.

“We were really struggling at the time,” he explained. “Walter was under a bit of pressure, we weren't in the best of form, we lost a few games and unfortunately we heard one night that Walter had lost his job.

“We were as interested as anyone as to who the new manager might be but also as kept in the dark. A lot of the players were fans of the football club as well, so we were all dying to find out who was coming in.

“Walter being Walter he left with great dignity and great pride and I think a lot of Evertonians appreciated that. But then David Moyes came in and it just took off from there.

“I remember coming that first day and everything was organised, all the kit was out, training all completely sorted. It was extremely professional and it was clear David was for real.

“And when we were going into games, I felt that I was probably as prepared as I'd ever been as a player going into games as I did under David Moyes.

I was probably as prepared as I'd ever been as a player going into games as I did under David Moyes
- David Moyes

“The Friday morning preparation on the opposition was as detailed as I'd ever seen and still is to this day.

"Being on the other side of the fence now, the managers that I've worked under from a coaching point of view, David Moyes' preparation was still so detailed and so focused that he left no stone unturned at all.

“He was always on the field, always on the training pitch. He sets the standard and his standards are so high.

“And I am sure he takes training as meticulously and as enthusiastically as he always has done. Training was really enjoyable, but you had to be at it.

“If you weren't at it, you were told. Without a shadow of a doubt, if you weren't at it from Monday to Friday, he didn't believe there were players that could turn it on like a switch on a Saturday.

He didn't believe there were players that could turn it on like a switch on a Saturday
- David Unsworth

“That was his main thing. You knew you had to be at your best, even in training, because then you were as prepared as ever come Saturday.”

It didn’t take long for that meticulous approach to pay dividends as his first full season in charge culminated in a 7th place finish – the club’s highest since 1996.

Such had been his success that the following season’s drift to 17th place seemed even more inexplicable, but 2004/05 saw the Blues back to their steely best as Moyes smashed through the cash fortifications of the ‘big four’ to qualify for the Champions League.

As it turned out, Unsworth left the club just before the start of that season, but while disappointed he wasn’t there to experience it, he was able to enjoy the success as a supporter.

We're There - Champions League 2004/05'We're there' - Everton make the Champions League

“I saw a lot of the games and the team was absolutely flying,” he said. “And it was fully deserved. What David and Alan Irvine did that year, from a coaching point of view, to get the best out of the team consistently was fantastic and it was great for every Evertonian that it happened.”

Unsworth himself is now carving out a career in coaching. The much-loved former full-back recently left his post as first-team coach at Preston following Graham Westley’s appointment as manager.

In his two-and-a-bit years on the coaching staff at Deepdale he had seen Rob Kelly, Darren Ferguson and Phil Brown all come and go while he had also spent two spells as caretaker manager of the historic Lancastrian club.

And Unsworth added: “In this day and age managers lose their jobs in weeks and months.

“So to consistently perform and achieve what David has done in this current climate is an achievement in itself.

“I know he won't like me saying that because I'm sure he wants to win a lot of things here at Everton, but to be at a club for 10 years is absolutely fantastic.”

Moyes and Unsworth

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