Everton and Moyes running out of options
By James Illingworth
Sympathy for the plight of their rivals may be kept to an absolute minimum by the red and blue halves of Liverpool but even the staunchest of Kopites should spare a thought for David Moyes.
Having seen his side claim partial revenge for their 2009 FA Cup final defeat by knocking Chelsea out on penalties last month, Moyes could not prevent first division Reading ending Everton’s cup run in the fifth round on Tuesday.
Forced to operate a sell-before-you-buy policy and with the club failing to attract investment, the 47-year-old Scot is beginning to cut an increasingly frustrated figure.
“We let the supporters down tonight, we didn’t play well enough and we got what we deserved,” Moyes told Everton’s website. “We didn’t have enough, enough craft, enough guile to break them down. I thought we did try to take the initiative but we weren’t good enough.”
Without star performers Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellani, whose ankle injury will keep him out for the rest of the season, the Blues’ limited squad was exposed against Reading.
They remain a team capable of matching any side on their day, but without significant investment, Everton will surely stay on the fringes of the Premier League’s top teams.
Few would criticise Moyes for viewing Liverpool’s activities during the January transfer window with envious eyes.
While Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez were arriving at the red side of Stanley Park, Everton were restricted to loan signings and strengthening their youth team.
And after nine years of unrealised potential under Moyes at Goodison Park, losing to Villarreal in the Champions League qualifying stages in 2005 and Chelsea in the FA Cup the most prominent near misses, Everton fans will be worried that their manager could be tempted elsewhere.
If their financial struggle continues and the club are forced to cash in on young star Jack Rodwell — with rumours suggesting he might follow Wayne Rooney to Manchester United — Moyes’s patience may be tried one too many times.
While it is hard to find a manager who has done a better job with limited resources, with another trophy-less season at Goodison Park it is even harder to imagine that Moyes will allow his tenure of near misses to go on much longer.
PHOTO: Everton’s manager David Moyes gestures during their FA Cup soccer match earlier in the season at Scunthorpe United, January 8, 2011. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis