"Fergie? We're not close" Ã¢ÂÂ when FFT met Moyes
In November 2009, FourFourTwo featured an exclusive interview with Everton manager David Moyes. He told us about his route to the top, living with his dad, almost signing Michael Essien Ã¢ÂÂ and if he could succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
The red hair is starting to fade and the deepening lines across his face tell their own story. But David Moyes Ã¢ÂÂ the fourth-longest serving manager in England Ã¢ÂÂ remains as intent on returning Everton to their former glories as he was the day that he swept into Goodison Park seven and a half years ago, shaking the old stadium to its very foundations.
Such longevity in so hazardous an occupation is remarkable in itself, but the way in which Moyes has transformed Everton is stunning, justifiably earning him a reputation as one of the Premier LeagueÃ¢ÂÂs best managers. So high has the ScotÃ¢ÂÂs stock risen in fact, that heÃ¢ÂÂs now reputed to be Sir Alex FergusonÃ¢ÂÂs preferred heir to the throne at Old Trafford
FFT has been warned that Moyes can be awkward with journalists and highly sensitive to questions on issues Ã¢ÂÂ such as Joleon LescottÃ¢ÂÂs transfer to Manchester City Ã¢ÂÂ where his managerial authority has been breached.
But today Moyes is relaxed and genial, expansive when asked about supposedly Ã¢ÂÂforbiddenÃ¢ÂÂ subjects. He seems ebullient after Ã¢ÂÂ¨a productive training session earlier in the day. Bumping into Sylvain Distin on the way in, EvertonÃ¢ÂÂs new defender jokes how he wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt be staying for voluntary training in the afternoons Ã¢ÂÂ as he did at former club Portsmouth Ã¢ÂÂ because the morning sessions here are Ã¢ÂÂexhausting enoughÃ¢ÂÂ.
Moyes, the archetypal tracksuit manager, clearly thrives when pushing his players through their paces and is pleased after a good workout. Still dressed in his training kit, he folds his right leg up against his chest, sprawling his other leg across a chair in Finch FarmÃ¢ÂÂs media suite, and chats with the ease of a man at home in these surroundings.
Ã¢ÂÂWeÃ¢ÂÂre quite proud at Everton. We think weÃ¢ÂÂve built up a decent team at Everton and Joleon was part of that and we wanted him to stay,Ã¢ÂÂ says Moyes of the transfer saga that so disrupted EvertonÃ¢ÂÂs pre-season.
"I felt that Joleon had been here three years and the group that weÃ¢ÂÂd got together Ã¢ÂÂ weÃ¢ÂÂd finished fifth and got to a cup final Ã¢ÂÂ could have warranted a bit longer.Ã¢ÂÂ
What Moyes found particularly hard was the way Lescott made it clear he no longer wanted to play for him. Ã¢ÂÂJoleon is in the main a decent lad, but in the end didnÃ¢ÂÂt act that way,Ã¢ÂÂ he says. Moyes is not one to dwell on the past, however, and refers to the matter as a Ã¢ÂÂclosed chapterÃ¢ÂÂ.
At EvertonÃ¢ÂÂs Friday press conference shortly before we meet, Moyes belatedly unveiled two new signings, Dutch defender Johnny Heitinga and the Russia midfielder, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. ItÃ¢ÂÂs mid-September, a month after the start of the new season, but for the first time Moyes has had a full squad available for a training session.
His message is that the season starts here. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂIf IÃ¢ÂÂd had these players six weeks ago, IÃ¢ÂÂd have been ecstatic,Ã¢ÂÂ he says, looking pleased anyway.
Ã¢ÂÂ¨Two influences dominate David MoyesÃ¢ÂÂs ascent to being the most outstanding British manager of his generation: his Glasgow childhood and his experiences as a journeyman player.
"GlasgowÃ¢ÂÂs my home and football was what you done,Ã¢ÂÂ he says, as if it were as elemental as eating and sleeping. His father coached Drumchapel Amateurs, a junior club with an incredible record of transforming young players into professionals, including Kenny Dalglish and Alex Ferguson. Moyes credits his father, who now lives with him and does some scouting for Everton, as being a crucial influence. Ã¢ÂÂI used to help him get the strips ready and see him makes arrangements,Ã¢ÂÂ he recalls. Because of this, the ethos of management Ã¢ÂÂhas probably been within meÃ¢ÂÂ since childhood.
After representing Scotland at schoolboy and youth level, Moyes broke into the Celtic team as a teenage centre-half, winning the SPL title in 1981-82. But despite the promising start, he was unable to make a first-team place his own. Desperate for regular action, he sought a move to England and after a transfer to Arsenal fell through, joined Cambridge United in 1983. Besides a spell with Dunfermline in the early-1990s, he never again played in the top flight.
Ã¢ÂÂI donÃ¢ÂÂt regret it because it gave me an opportunity to see football in a different way,Ã¢ÂÂ he says. Ã¢ÂÂI was at Cambridge, at Bristol City, Ã¢ÂÂ¨I went to Shrewsbury Ã¢ÂÂ itÃ¢ÂÂs not an illustrious route, but I tell you what, the background I had from Celtic stuck with me. You were required to win, and if you could win with style that was the way you should do it. But if not, you should win.Ã¢ÂÂ
He describes losing regularly at these clubs, having been at Celtic, as a Ã¢ÂÂcomplete shockÃ¢ÂÂ. Ã¢ÂÂAll that losing is probably the reason IÃ¢ÂÂm a miserable bugger today,Ã¢ÂÂ he laughs, but one senses that those days still live with him, and make him so intensely motivated now.
In 1993, Moyes joined Preston, where he spent nearly a decade. He always possessed the natural authority that set him out as managerial material. Ã¢ÂÂHe had that little bit of a commanding personality about him,Ã¢ÂÂ says the Hull midfielder Kevin Kilbane, who played with Moyes at Preston and was later managed by him at Everton. Ã¢ÂÂHe was a character within the club who you used to respect, but he had a bit Ã¢ÂÂ¨of fear factor around him too.Ã¢ÂÂ
In January 1998, with Preston threatened by relegation to Division Three, Moyes became player-manager. By May 1999 heÃ¢ÂÂd guided Preston to the Division Two title, and for the next three years they were in the hunt for promotion to the Premier League. Suddenly he was hot property.
He remained at Deepdale until March 2002 when the call came from Everton Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂthe first real big club to come in for me.Ã¢ÂÂ Although he won over Evertonians immediately, in particular by referring to theirÃ¢ÂÂs as Ã¢ÂÂthe PeopleÃ¢ÂÂs ClubÃ¢ÂÂ, he faced a harder task in the dressing room. For years Everton had been chronically mismanaged and MoyesÃ¢ÂÂs predecessor Walter Smith had accumulated a squad of ageing, underperforming players, many on lucrative long-term contracts. A culture of complacency permeated onto the pitch, where Everton were perennial strugglers. It was a club, Moyes recalls, where finishing 13th was considered Ã¢ÂÂa good seasonÃ¢ÂÂ.
At Deepdale his squad Ã¢ÂÂwouldÃ¢ÂÂve done anything you saidÃ¢ÂÂ, but things were different at Goodison. He says that it was Ã¢ÂÂa fightÃ¢ÂÂ just to establish himself. Ã¢ÂÂI had to change it from a club that was just surviving,Ã¢ÂÂ he says. He wanted Ã¢ÂÂa younger football club, a fresher football clubÃ¢ÂÂ.
For the first year, Moyes seemed to revitalise Everton through sheer force of personality. Abetted by the emergence of a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney, Everton finished seventh in 2002-03, having occupied a Champions League spot for most of the season. Two years later, without Rooney and with minimal spending, he defied all expectations and took Everton to fourth place. He is still the only manager to crack the top four since Bobby RobsonÃ¢ÂÂs Newcastle in 2002.
"A lot of that early time was led by me: driven, motivated, a great desire to succeed. As it still is today Ã¢ÂÂ I donÃ¢ÂÂt think itÃ¢ÂÂs changed,Ã¢ÂÂ he says. But he believes that his managerial style has evolved. As he has assembled his own players he no longer has the daily battles with the inertia he first found at Goodison. EvertonÃ¢ÂÂs squad is now younger, fitter, hungrier and prepared to run through walls for him.Ã¢ÂÂ¨
Moyes has completely altered perceptions of Everton, who are now an established top-six force, missing out on European qualification just once in five years. But while he takes justifiable pride in his achievements, there is Ã¢ÂÂ¨a sense of unfinished business; that he needs silverware to consider himself a true success.
Ã¢ÂÂPeople say Ã¢ÂÂDavid Moyes needs to win somethingÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ and I do,Ã¢ÂÂ he says. Ã¢ÂÂBut if I win one trophy IÃ¢ÂÂll want to win another one. My ambition is to have the football club say Ã¢ÂÂWe want to finish first in the Premier League, not fifth.Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂ
Although he wonÃ¢ÂÂt admit it, lack of money holds Everton back. For the second year, MoyesÃ¢ÂÂ net spend is nil; over seven years it averages out at around ÃÂ£3.3million per year.
Perhaps because of these constraints, Moyes has a reputation for signing outstanding players at rock bottom prices. Tim Cahill cost just ÃÂ£1.5m, Mikel Arteta ÃÂ£2m. Lescott was signed for ÃÂ£5m and sold for ÃÂ£22m. Others Ã¢ÂÂ such as Michael Essien, who Moyes tells FFT he tried to sign from Bastia in 2003 Ã¢ÂÂ have got away. But Moyes admits that the transfer market is now harder and big money is needed, even for an unknown.
He says it rankles when he sees Everton outspent not only by rivals, such as Spurs and Aston Villa, but also by clubs like Sunderland. Yet his response is typically pragmatic: Ã¢ÂÂIf you donÃ¢ÂÂt have it, then you canÃ¢ÂÂt spend it.
Ã¢ÂÂWhen youÃ¢ÂÂre finishing fifth and wanting to be pushing, and ambitious, and wanting to show your players youÃ¢ÂÂre ambitious, thatÃ¢ÂÂs where I feel sometimes that I let the players down because I canÃ¢ÂÂt really give them more,Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ¨he admits. Ã¢ÂÂThatÃ¢ÂÂs where sometimes I feel disappointed IÃ¢ÂÂm not able to do that.Ã¢ÂÂ
It says much about his inherent sense of responsibility that he accepts a burden that rests with the chairman, Bill Kenwright. He has earned huge prize money Ã¢ÂÂ ÃÂ£15m last year Ã¢ÂÂ but had virtually none of it to spend. Kenwright frequently espouses a Ã¢ÂÂ24/7Ã¢ÂÂ search for investment, but after five years of looking has found none Ã¢ÂÂ despite many other clubs doing so.
Kenwright describes Moyes as his Ã¢ÂÂbest friend in footballÃ¢ÂÂ. When Moyes is asked about his relationship with him there is genuine warmth. He says that Kenwright is Ã¢ÂÂone of the reasonsÃ¢ÂÂ heÃ¢ÂÂs been at Everton so long. Indeed, one senses that despite limited financial resources, Moyes prefers to work with Kenwright Ã¢ÂÂ who gives him free rein in the running of the club Ã¢ÂÂ than he would a chairman with deep pockets but a penchant for meddling in his affairs.
Yet what happens when there are no more bargains or prodigies that can compensate for the boardÃ¢ÂÂs parsimony? Moyes bats the question away, saying that he wants Kenwright to think Everton can win the Premier League. Ã¢ÂÂObviously we need the tools to try and win the Premier League,Ã¢ÂÂ he says. Ã¢ÂÂI want us to be driven together and him not accepting finishing fifth Ã¢ÂÂ¨in the same way that seven years ago we were accepting not finishing outside the bottom five."
An announcement is due soon in the public inquiry investigating EvertonÃ¢ÂÂs controversial move to a new stadium outside the city limits. Moyes hints that this might resolve EvertonÃ¢ÂÂs parlous financial state.
Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂd like to think by two or three years time that the club would have a new input in some way, whether it be a new stadium or new investment,Ã¢ÂÂ he says. Ã¢ÂÂWeÃ¢ÂÂre going to be building on a position of fifth in the Premier League rather than fifth from bottom. If thatÃ¢ÂÂs the case itÃ¢ÂÂll still be a big jump... but I think weÃ¢ÂÂll enjoy that jump more than the one weÃ¢ÂÂve had to take over the years.Ã¢ÂÂ
Until that time he will wheel and deal in the transfer market, and rely on EvertonÃ¢ÂÂs Academy. Six players, most notably Wayne Rooney, have progressed to be first-team regulars during MoyesÃ¢ÂÂ time at Goodison. This season Jack Rodwell, an 18-year-old midfielder with the swagger of a young Steven Gerrard, looks set to make a first-team shirt his own.
Ã¢ÂÂHeÃ¢ÂÂs an elegant midfielder. He can run, heÃ¢ÂÂs quick, heÃ¢ÂÂs good on the ball. What he needs is time; maturity will come with that,Ã¢ÂÂ says Moyes. Ã¢ÂÂIt wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt be unrealistic after this World Cup for Jack to force his way into the England squad.Ã¢ÂÂ
Despite spending half his life in England, he still regards Scotland as his home and may go back one day. The Scotland or Celtic managerÃ¢ÂÂs job might be attractive then, but says itÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂnot on my agenda nowÃ¢ÂÂ.
Asked about the speculation that heÃ¢ÂÂs FergieÃ¢ÂÂs preferred successor, Moyes is dismissive. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂI think last year it was Roy Keane,Ã¢ÂÂ he says. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂI think the year before that it was Mark Hughes. The year before it was Steve Bruce. Ã¢ÂÂ¨I just get on and try and not let it affect me if Ã¢ÂÂ¨I can. I donÃ¢ÂÂt think it does affect me in any way.Ã¢ÂÂ
He is full of admiration for Ferguson, though, describing him as the Ã¢ÂÂbest manager in the worldÃ¢ÂÂ, but says their relationship is exaggerated. Ã¢ÂÂFolk think that because weÃ¢ÂÂre Scottish we must be really, really close, but I wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt say thatÃ¢ÂÂs the case,Ã¢ÂÂ says Moyes.
Like Ferguson, Moyes is a workaholic: intense, driven, ambitious, motivated by fear of losing. He admits that there is little balance between his private and football life. Ã¢ÂÂMy wife understands me,Ã¢ÂÂ he says.
Ã¢ÂÂHeÃ¢ÂÂs very hands on and runs Everton from top to bottom,Ã¢ÂÂ says Kevin Kilbane. Ã¢ÂÂHeÃ¢ÂÂs a very good coach, very much an organiser. HeÃ¢ÂÂll make sure heÃ¢ÂÂs the main voice on the training ground. He leaves no stone unturned and makes sure he covers every area. His attention to detail is brilliant.Ã¢ÂÂ
At one point during our interview, FFT asks Moyes if he Ã¢ÂÂused toÃ¢ÂÂ work 16-hour days when establishing himself as Everton manager. For the only time his eyes fix into an icy stare. Ã¢ÂÂI do,Ã¢ÂÂ he interrupts, not liking the implication that he is slacking. Ã¢ÂÂI do every day... If I donÃ¢ÂÂt then somebody else will be overtaking me. Someone else will be taking my job. I have to work every day, every week as if itÃ¢ÂÂs my last.Ã¢ÂÂ
What does he put being English footballÃ¢ÂÂs fourth-longest-serving manager down to? Moyes puffs his cheeks. Ã¢ÂÂHaving good players. A bit of luck. I work hard. I donÃ¢ÂÂt take [my job] for granted. I try to make myself better Ã¢ÂÂ¨as often as I can by seeing whatÃ¢ÂÂs new.Ã¢ÂÂ
But itÃ¢ÂÂs Everton, and bringing success Ã¢ÂÂ¨to Goodison, that remains his obsession.
Ã¢ÂÂI canÃ¢ÂÂt lose my drive and my desire,Ã¢ÂÂ he says. Ã¢ÂÂFootballÃ¢ÂÂs got to keep driving me on. Ã¢ÂÂ¨I think thatÃ¢ÂÂs why IÃ¢ÂÂm probably still here.Ã¢ÂÂ
THE MOYES GUIDE TO MANAGEMENT
Coaching badges will only teach you so much
IÃ¢ÂÂd done my coaching badges but what they donÃ¢ÂÂt teach you is what happens when you walk into the dressing room on the first morning and you have David Ginola, Tommy Gravesen, Paul Gascoigne, Duncan Ferguson sitting in front of you, looking at you to take the lead.Ã¢ÂÂ
Have a good chairman
What managers need and want is chairmen who want to work with them and help them, arenÃ¢ÂÂt wanting to be the centre of attraction, donÃ¢ÂÂt want to make the decisions and will leave it to the manager Ã¢ÂÂ and if things arenÃ¢ÂÂt going well, will support him. I think everybody knows Bill KenwrightÃ¢ÂÂs done that for me.Ã¢ÂÂ
Fear is a great motivator
Ã¢ÂÂIf I donÃ¢ÂÂt work that hard then somebody else will be overtaking me. Someone else will be taking my job. I have to work every day, every week as if itÃ¢ÂÂs my last.Ã¢ÂÂ
Find yourself a schoolboy prodigy
Ã¢ÂÂI remember another manager saying, Ã¢ÂÂHow lucky is David Moyes, taking over at Everton and having a player like Wayne Rooney?Ã¢ÂÂ And I was Ã¢ÂÂ I really was lucky to have a talent like that on my doorstep. We put him in the team and everybody knows where heÃ¢ÂÂs gone, so good luck to him.Ã¢ÂÂ
Give kids a chance
Ã¢ÂÂThe academy has played a major part for us, and we rely on it here because weÃ¢ÂÂve not been able to go out and spend lots of money. I do say to many people, Ã¢ÂÂIf I was a parent [of a young footballer], Everton is a club that gives your kids a chance.Ã¢ÂÂ We donÃ¢ÂÂt have loads of players and thereÃ¢ÂÂs not a blockage to get to the first team. If youÃ¢ÂÂre good enough, I think youÃ¢ÂÂve got a real chance here.Ã¢ÂÂ