He joined a club fresh from a humiliation in the FA Cup the previous weekend, with an ageing squad and the spectre of relegation looming large. Don’t forget previous to the 2001/2002 campaign Everton had spent pretty much the whole of last decade battling to avoid the drop and a top ten finish, let alone European qualification, seemed a long long way off.
But despite those negative factors enveloping the club the flame-haired Scotsman was not to be deterred battling to avoid the drop and a top ten finish, let alone European qualification, seemed a long long way off.But despite those negative factors enveloping the club the flame haired Scotsman was not to be deterred and for that, Evertonians have a lot to be thankful for.
Moyes shipped out the old heads and replaced them with young talented players with enormous potential. Relegation scraps were replaced with European challenges and although an elusive trophy has yet to be won, everyone around Goodison is an agreement that things are a lot better than they were.
So to wish Mr Moyes a happy anniversary I thought I would have look at my top ten moments during his tenure:
10) David Unsworth’s goal v Fulham March 2002
Moyes had only been Everton manager 48 before he was thrown deep into a relegation dogfight and a must-win encounter against Fulham. Coach Andy Holden had picked the side but with Moyes on the touchline the players and crowd had a new level of self-belief. So much so that just 27 seconds into the game David Unsworth volleyed the blues in front. Starts to a managerial career don’t get much better than that.
9) Everton 2-1 Southampton February 2003
Barely 12 months on and Moyes had swapped a relegation scrap for a battle for European qualification when Southampton arrived at Goodison for an early kick-off in February. A James Beattie lob had put the Saints in front and that looked to be enough before Wayne Rooney headed the Blues level with nine minutes left. It got even better when in the final few seconds Radzinski drove forward before unleashing an unstoppable right-foot shot into Antti Niemi’s top corner. The points were ours and Goodison went into raptures.
8) Nuremberg 0-2 Everton November 2007
Evertonians had waited a long time for European football to return so they were going to make the most of it when it did finally comeback in 2007. Arteta and Anichebe sealed the points for Moyes’ men but it was the fans celebrations both before, during and after this game that made it so memorable.
7) Everton 7-1 Sunderland November 2007
The day where it all clicked into place. Everton attacking play simply blew Sunderland apart with the likes of Yakubu, Cahill, Pienaar and Arteta all on scintillating form. My favourite goal was perhaps the last one, when Leon Osman danced and jigged his way though the heart of the Black Cats defence before calmly chipping the ball past Gordon to seal Everton’s biggest win since beating Southampton by a similar score line back in 1996.
6) James Mcfadden v Charlton April 2007
European qualification was slipping out Everton’s grasp when doomed Charlton came to Goodison one hot sunny day in April 2007. After 80 minutes of toil Joleon Lescott looked to have sealed the points late on but Darren Bent stunned Goodison with a last minute equaliser. Cue James McFadden to control the ball on the edge of the area, lift it over a defender before volleying low into the corner. Goodison went bananas and McFadden celebrated his most memorable moment in a Blue shirt.
5) Everton 2-1 Arsenal October 2002
Though he soured things somewhat by leaving the club on less than amicable terms, Wayne Rooney’s winner against Arsenal will still live long in the memory. Arsenal boasted a 30 game unbeaten league record when they took on the Blues and went ahead early on through Freddie Ljungberg. Radzinski swept home an equaliser 15 minutes later before a then 16-year-0ld Rooney, in the 90th minute, controlled a high ball before elegantly curling a howitzer past David Seaman and into the top corner. Cue bedlam in Goodison. The boy done good, though he would do bad a few years later......
4) Everton 1-0 Man United 0 April 2005
The return of a certain Mr Rooney provided the backdrop to this encounter, so vital to Everton’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League. But it was to be the Gwladys Street’s first love Duncan Ferguson who would be the hero once again. Just as he did 10 years previously, the big Scot headed home the winning goal to seal a memorable victory and set the blues on their way to fourth place
3) Everton 3-0 Liverpool September 2006
Will forever be known as the ‘Johnson derby’ Liverpool were blown away by a spirited Blues side. Cahill slid Moyes’ men in front before a Carragher mistake allowed Johnson to nip and give Everton a comfortable half time lead. The Blues survived a second half barrage from Liverpool before a Jose Reina’s mistake allowed Johnson to head home his second and seal a spectacular victory.
2) Dan Gosling’s Derby Everton 1-0 Liverpool (aet)
The two clubs were sick of the sight each other by the time Liverpool came to Goodison for a FA Cup fourth round replay, Afte Anfield 1-1 draws in the league and cup both sides again couldn’t be separated and extra time was needed after the game finished 0-0. I personally have never felt so tense as both sides slugged it out and laboured towards penalties, and an almost certain Everton defeat (Liverpool are like the Germans - they never lose on penalties) But just when spot-kicks looked inevitable Andy Van Der Meyde's cross was met by young sub Dan Gosling who cut inside three Liverpool defenders and curled the ball into the corner. I have never seen the crowd go so mad as the tension that bottled up over the whole 120 minutes was released in one blast of euphoria. A moment Blues will never forget.
1) Champions League Qualification 2005
The summer of 2004 was one of the most turbulent in the clubs history. Boardroom wrangles cast a shadow across the whole club and the selling of key players, including a certain Wayne Rooney on deadline day, left the club once again staring at relegation. But one traits of Moyes’ reign has been strength and spirit in the face of adversity. The Blues simply rolled up their sleeves and got on with the job, quickly establishing themselves in the top three. Lee Carsley settled the Goodison Derby in early December as the Blues established a healthy lead over their Mersey rivals. That form would continue and when Tim Cahill slammed home the second against Newcastle in May 2005, fourth place, and a spot in the Champions League qualifiers was there’s.