Everton v Manchester United: David Moyes’ messy exit means his Goodison Park legacy is undervalued

Martinez has lifted the Merseysiders to greater heights already, but still owes his predecessor a considerable debt

The real brutality of the Premier League fixture schedule has resided in the timing of David Moyes’ return to Goodison Park, rather than Manchester United’s opening fixtures, which left him muttering darkly about conspiracy theories last summer.

Moyes goes back to his old place five days after his successor, Roberto Martinez, delivered a speech of captivating quality at Anfield’s 25th anniversary commemoration of Hillsborough and promptly walked back across Stanley Park to Goodison - to the astonishment of those Liverpool fans with whom he was willing to stop and engage. “That a man walks across a park in daylight seems such a small thing but tell me this: where else would this happen,” said one writer who observed that moment.

The small things are what Martinez excels at. He shares his predecessor's obsession with football matches, reeling off last Tuesday morning the names of the Everton youngsters who had performed in the previous night's 'mini-derby which was  one of three matches he'd watched that evening. Yet he is absorbed by the subtle psychological impact that a manager can have, too. "Coming from Spain played a part in that for me," he said that morning. "I saw how easy I could be lost in a dressing room because I could be misunderstood or I couldn't understand the way they expected me to understand the game."

Moyes always played his part in Liverpool's acts of commemoration, too, and willingly attended the memorials for the city's soldiers - many of them Evertonians - who died in Iraq. But he does not possess the psychological subtleties of Martinez. By every available account, it always seems to have been hard to get him to listen to those who had a more intuitive sense of Everton than him. 


He was rewarded when he did listen. When he first arrived and asked others to explain Everton to him and was told that it was 'The People's Club', he duly communicated that notion at his first press conference - and a part of his own legend was born. When he privately suggested, soon afterwards, that  the Z-cars anthem might be changed for something more modern, others were able to talk him out of the idea. But four of his 11 years there had elapsed before he really felt he knew the club. Some of those who observed him across those years will tell you that was because he could not lower the drawbridge in the way that his successor has done.

A sense of the collegiate is everything to Martinez, an individual so socially integrated that an Everton member of staff felt able to confide in him before Christmas some frustration with a colleague's negativity. "Ignore it. Never let negativity win, " Martinez replied. Yet for his own part, Moyes always remained a far harder man to know at Everton: comfortable in an intense football conversation but uncomfortable in territory removed from it; less willing to delegate and determined to do it his own way. Neither was he a manager to be messed with. He was an individual to be feared at times because with him there was no comfort zone and because he has a fearful temper. Some say there were periods when he softened, in reaction to indications that the players were simply not responding to what felt relentless work to some like. But his instinct was just not for psychological nuance.

Duncan Ferguson heads the winner for Everton against Manchester United in 2005 Duncan Ferguson heads the winner for Everton against Manchester United in 2005 (Getty Images) And yet for all that, his accomplishments were extraordinary. Martinez is characterised as the man who has taken Everton on spiritually and psychologically, as a team playing with "arrogance" as the Spaniard always likes to say, yet Moyes' team's matches against United alone reveal the way he allowed them to go toe-to-toe with consistently the best team in the land. When he arrived they had been in the wilderness, top ten finishers just once in the first decade of the Premier League.

Moyes could yesterday allow himself to remember the events of nine years ago tomorrow - when Everton earned their first league win over United in 10 years, a monumental 1-0 victory under the Goodison lights with a Duncan Ferguson header which saw them to Champions League qualification. David Weir, one of Moyes' lions that night, recalls in his autobiography  that Ferguson “pulverised Rio Ferdinand.” that night. This blow and others was delivered by a young unknown from Preston who arrived to a face addressing room populated by big beats like Ferguson, Paul Gascoigne and David Ginola. His task was certainly more challenging than his successor's

There was more help for Moyes in the discovery of young talent than the established historical narrative sometimes acknowledges. He had  Ray Hall, Everton's Academy director of 20 years' standing to thank for so many of them. Moyes' instinctive caution, written through so much of his work, made him less willing to unleash them as continually Martinez has already been. But there certainly was no manager better and going into the transfer market for the £2m and £3m buys when the Everton's need to sell created a need to replenish.

Moyes v Martinez is a fascinating contrast of philosophies - in many ways old school v new school - and the carefully choreographed press conferences both men gave yesterday showed each man distinctly wanting to claim some of Everton's achievement this season for himself. Moyes pointedly observed that Everton had finished above Liverpool in the past two seasons. Martinez held out significantly little of his customary warmth for a man who is "Manchester United manager now," as he put it. He, too, was telling us that this Everton is his Everton.

It is a shame that Moyes' decision to go back so publicly to Everton for Leighton Baines will earn him the wrath of the club's supporters tomorrow. To have done so was a strategic mistake after his years of railing against big game poachers. It has antagonised supporters more than the sense - argued most emphatically by some at the club but denied categorically by Moyes - that he knew United wanted him as early  February last year and procrastinated on a new contract, thus denying Everton £3m in compensation. Many feel Moyes' United contract could not conceivably have been tied up in a few weeks.

It feels like Everton have not done so badly, after all. They feel like a club being opened up once more. The players' pleasure at being asked to create, rather more than survive, has been unmistakable. And in a season when Everton's points tally has surpassed anything Moyes has found, the Spaniard's way feels like the right way.

The wounds created had been too raw to let his predecessor so much as cross the Goodison threshold until last Saturday - and that will have hurt. Only in time, when they have healed, will Everton acknowledge the debt they owe Moyes for putting them in the place from which Martinez can push on.

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 pictured in 2011.
musicBassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker say Tom Delonge is 'disrespectful and ungrateful'
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'
tvBroadchurch series 2, episode 4, review - contains spoilers
Sport
cyclingDisgraced cycling star says people will soon forgive his actions
News
Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
music
News
i100
News
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
people
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea