In the build-up to Everton’s FA Cup quarter-final clash with Wigan last weekend, pundits, punters and pub landlords up and down the country were once again praising the genius of David Moyes.
This apparent saint of the English game, who somehow miraculously keeps afloat poor little Everton despite the frugal, conservative financial restrictions of their owner, ranks among one of the biggest sob stories of the modern game.
Moyes himself is tipped for greatness in future seasons. People keep saying he has outgrown Everton and is set for a major job in European football very soon, with Manchester United still the favourite destination over at Betfair.
Yet why would United appoint a man who hasn’t won a trophy in 11 years at the club?
Moyes proved on Saturday afternoon he is not a manager capable of handling expectations, for this quarter-final clash was huge. Everton are not a relegation threatened side any more and without a trophy in over a decade the fans crave their successful return to a bygone age.
Plenty of pundits, including the writer of this Everton v Wigan preview, suggested the game would be tighter than many people had predicted, but the Toffees simply collapsed in the face of minimal resistance from Roberto Martinez’s well drilled – if wildly unpredictable – Wigan outfit.
Fans may argue he got Everton to Wembley in ‘09 – well Harry Redknapp won the Cup with Portsmouth while Tony Pulis, Dave Jones, Dennis Wise and Gordon Strachan have all reached the final during Moyes’ tenure. None of that quintet are managing elite European clubs.
For some reason there appears to be this belief that Moyes deserves to win a cup as reward for all his hard work on Merseyside. Well, he will be the first to say that is not how football works and Everton’s two cup exits this season proves he is incapable of steering them to a domestic trophy.
Their meek performance against Wigan was worse than that versus Leeds United in the Capital One Cup, where the Toffees limped out 2-1 at Elland Road. Everton had a real chance of winning this trophy – especially with a number of big guns already out the competition – but failed tactically and inspirationally when it really mattered.
It might sound cold and of course it would be nice if Everton did win something for once, but praising Moyes as this managerial mogul without much to prove for it is just nonsense.