Season Review: May
Moyes and Neville bid their Everton farewells.
May was a month of farewells and celebration as not only did Everton bring the curtain down on another successful Premier League season - they also said goodbye to long-serving manager David Moyes and captain Phil Neville.
After the 220th Merseyside derby had finished goalless over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend – a game in which Sylvain Distin’s seemingly legitimate second-half header was controversially ruled out despite no obvious offence – a strong rumour began to gather pace in the media about Sir Alex Ferguson’s planned retirement and David Moyes being installed as the next Manchester United manager.
Indeed, it was confirmed on Wednesday 8 May that Ferguson would step down from the Old Trafford hotseat after a 27-year tenure and, a day later, Everton announced that Moyes would be leaving Goodison Park. His appointment as Ferguson’s successor was confirmed the same afternoon.
This set the scene for an emotional send off at Goodison Park the following Sunday as Moyes took to the home dugout for the final time for the visit of West Ham United.
A sell-out crowd saw Kevin Mirallas bag a brace to complete the double over the Hammers. It was a performance full of verve, class and purpose – the scoreboard showed 2-0 but the margin of victory could easily have been in double figures.
After the full-time whistle, Moyes lapped up the adulation as all four sides of Goodison showed their appreciation for the outgoing manager and his 11 years of service.
Skipper Neville – another departing Merseyside - also received a similar reception, as did former Blue Tim Cahill, who had jetted in from New York.
Despite the goodbye waves, work was still to be done as the Blues looked to end on a high by beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the last day of the campaign a week later.
A sixth-placed finish was already assured but the commitment could not be questioned as Steven Naismith cancelled out an early Juan Mata strike. Everton were eventually edged out, however, as Fernando Torres netted late on to secure a 2-1 win for the freshly-crowned Europa League champions.
Off the field, Leighton Baines was crowned Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season at the Club’s annual awards evening, and Leon Osman extended his stay with the Blues by penning a new two-year deal.