Organiser, loyal and leader are just some of the compliments fired in new Manchester United boss David Moyes’ direction during his 11 years at Everton.
Added to that is overachiever, as the 50-year-old gathered a whole army of admirers among his peers, fans across the country and within the media.
Many predicted he would ultimately take the top job in British football and replace Sir Alex Ferguson, but he himself must have feared the worse as his own star waned during Everton’s increasingly weaker efforts to gate-crash the Champions League.
But now the move has come, and Moyes has arrived at Old Trafford with the most glowing reference he can receive – from Sir Alex himself – but what can Manchester United fans expect from the Glaswegian?
Moyes often complained – in fairness, lamented is more appropriate – about the inability to go out and buy a number of £10million players to improve his side at Goodison Park, in the same way his rivals could, and, much to his bitterness, teams below Everton i.e. Stoke City, Sunderland and Newcastle could.
However, Moyes has spent at Everton, breaking the transfer record four times while in charge, from £6.5million for James Beattie to the £15million investment in Marouane Fellaini, while he acquired a number of £6-7million players – some succeeded, others, such as Per Kroldrup, failed.
But any thoughts about having the keys to the sweetshop when presented with his Manchester United budget are far from the reality for Moyes, and it is this prudence and buying correctly that may have attracted him to the money-men of the Old Trafford board and the Glazers.
The difference will simply be that if he wants to add players that he can improve the team with, it’ll be for £20million, though the rumoured return of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid would surely leave a sizable hole in his wallet.
One footnote about Moyes in the transfer marker was the unfortunate moniker of ‘Dithering Davie’, a tag which grossly offended him, and with relatively similar restrictions on him at United, he may find this very hard to shake off as he plots to improve a team of champions.
As for outgoings, Moyes is presented with a similar problem as when he first started in Premier League management – Wayne Rooney.
Moyes gave the forward his professional debut before the relationship turned sour, leading to Rooney’s departure in the summer of 2004, but the pair has since made friends again.
The Scot would surely love to be reunited with his former teenage prodigy, but if Rooney is as desperate to leave as many suggest, Moyes will ensure United get as good a deal as they can…just like he did in 2004.
Many United fans seem dead against Moyes, instead wanting the guaranteed success but short-termism of Jose Mourinho.
Moyes will have to work hard to win over, dare I say it, the fickle Old Trafford faithful, and while at times his Everton teams have played some outstandingly good football, the stigma of being defensively-organised might prove too much to shake off.
He does like attacking players, and likes his teams to play at a quick tempo when getting up the pitch, with a number of goals crafted from overlapping full-backs – Steven Pienaar’s sublime finish against Fulham a few weeks ago a prime example.
But he also has thrashings associated with him – 7-0 against Arsenal in 2005, 5-1 in Bucharest six months later, 6-2 against Newcastle in 2003 and 5-1 against Manchester City the following year.
It’s also interesting to see how Robin van Persie and the like react to this coach/manager, one who will be on the touchline permanently barking instructions from the side.
Moyes has mellowed, so those close to him say, and he may be ready to embark on the trophy-laden part of his career, which has so far, much to his own disappointment, evaded at Everton.
But United fans need to be ready to watch defensive football and see the 1-0 scoreline he so dearly loves emblazoned across the Old Trafford scoreboard.
He will win trophies – the squad is too good to not – but the division among fans about his appointment will still be in place in years to come.
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