Moyes takes high ground above trenches

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David Moyes wobbled for around 24 hours but then, to the great relief of his many admirers, he returned to the best of himself. He stepped back from a quite amazing defence of his £6m signing James Beattie, who delivered to the back of William Gallas's head a Glasgow Kiss so explicit it could not have been missed in the fog of Hogmanay.

Yes, said Moyes, he would be punishing a player who had behaved with stunning irresponsibility, who so soon after costing his club a record fee had ruled himself out of Saturday's FA Cup tie with Manchester United and two Premiership games which could just decide Everton's unlikely ambition of gaining a place in the Champions' League.

Moyes said that his final verdict came after giving himself the chance to study the video. Just as likely is that he benefited from the time it takes an intensely ambitious young manager to reflect for a few moments beyond the trenches.

In his first difficult months at Goodison Park, Moyes delivered a slashing attack on the iconic Duncan Ferguson, after the highly paid veteran had once again responded to a swirl of red mist. Moyes said that he would not tolerate such indiscipline from any member of his staff.

It was the kind of dispassionate judgement for which football now surely craves. This last weekend Moyes retrieved some of the ground he lost so bizarrely when his blood was still running hot.

One of these days we may see a similar example from the men who occupy the high ground so desired by every young manager in the land. Men like Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger. But then perhaps no one should set a date.

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