Debts threaten to undo a decade of Moyes' work

Everton 0 Queen's Park Rangers 1
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The Independent Football

Sir Alex Ferguson is not the only gritty Glaswegian expecting to celebrate the passing of a remarkable landmark this season. While the imperious Manchester United manager marches triumphantly on towards his silver jubilee at Old Trafford, his younger compatriot David Moyes is homing in on a highly creditable 10th anniversary at Goodison Park.

With each of those passing years, Moyes has enhanced his managerial reputation to the point that his name is frequently mentioned on an exclusive shortlist of potential successors to the formidable Ferguson.

That reputation, though, is now in danger of being tarnished, maybe even shattered, by Everton's fragile position among the elite of the English game.

Moyes is swimming desperately against a Merseyside tidal wave of rising debt and is resigned to the fact that his outstanding decade's work could end with the club surrendering their long-standing top tier-status.

After seeing a difficult opening-day fixture at Tottenham postponed due to the London riots, Moyes and his players were expecting a safe lift-off to their campaign at the expense of a Queen's Park Rangers team whose promotion euphoria was swiftly doused after losing 4-0 at home to Bolton Wanderers.

Perhaps that should have been the outcome here as well, such was Everton's territorial dominance of a disappointing encounter which provided decent chances for Leighton Baines, Tim Cahill, Jack Rodwell and the promising teenage debutant Ross Barkley.

The home side were punished, however, for their alarming inadequacies in the opposing penalty area and eventually fell to an opportunist sucker-punch from Rangers veteran Tommy Smith – a neat side-footed finish to one of only two chances his team created.

The unexpected victory left Rangers manager Neil Warnock in raptures – a timely boost as he looks forward to spending some of the cash promised to him by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes in the wake of last week's Loftus Road takeover.

While Moyes has to make the best of disturbingly limited playing resources – he may even be forced to offload a couple of his key men – Warnock is planning to give his squad a significant infusion of new talent before this month's transfer window closes.

The recruits are unlikely to be big names because Warnock is talking about "four or five" but the manager is experienced enough to know how to spend his kitty wisely to give last season's Championship winners every chance of survival in the higher grade.

Only a week into the new season, their prospects look brighter than those of Everton.

Substitutes:

Everton Arteta 6 (Rodwell, 54), Fellaini 7 (Beckford, 63), Saha 5 (Heitinga, 74).

QPR Bothroyd 6 (Agyemang, 55), Ephraim 6 (Smith, 66).

Booked: Everton Osman. QPR Hall.

Man of the match Smith.

Referee K Friend (Leicestershire).

Attendance 35,008.

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