Moyes burns Everton bridges with clumsy player pursuit
Despite running his contract down in order to smooth a long-planned switch to Old Trafford, David Moyes was given a huge ovation from the Everton fans on his final match in charge in May; the supporters grateful for what he had achieved over the previous 11 years, and perhaps grudgingly accepting that he deserved a crack at the highest level.
August 28th, 2013
That goodwill is rapidly running out, however, due to his fudged attempts at signing Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines.
Moyes often voiced his frustration and dissatisfaction at the tactics of rival clubs when they were trying to sign his best players; the most infamous case being when Manchester City snared Joleon Lescott for £24million in 2009.
Moyes was furious with then-City boss Mark Hughes for his very public pursuit of the England defender, which lasted right up until the final weeks of the transfer window.
Moyes later stressed Everton’s position on transfers, saying that the Toffees do “not sell cheap”.
But that makes his pursuit of Baines and Fellaini even more puzzling and infuriating. He is perfectly entitled to come back to his former side and try to buy some of their stars, but his handling of the saga has angered Evertonians both inside and outside the club.
United’s £28million offer – lodged just two days before the start of the new season – valued Baines at £12million, the same amount that was turned down earlier this summer. That meant Fellaini was valued at £16million, £1.5million LESS than Everton eventually bought him for from Standard Liege.
That offer was dismissed as “derisory and insulting” by Everton, stunned by the behaviour of their former boss. Moyes must have known that the bid would be rejected, meaning it wasn’t made to be accepted, it was made to unsettle the players and make them agitate for a move. That would switch all the power to the buying club, meaning United could force the transfer fee down.
It is those kinds of underhand, bully boy tactics so that so infuriated Moyes during his time at Goodison and in response he continually preached the need to do things ‘the right way’. His words now seem hollow and you could understand if people no longer trust what he says.
There is an argument that Moyes doesn’t owe Everton anything and he is merely emphasising United’s place in football’s food chain and getting the best deal for the club.
But his behaviour, in the context of his previous comments and beliefs, is hugely contradictory and disrespectful to his former club.
He has soured relations between himself and the supporters who roared his name from the terraces, as well as his former employers who paid him handsomely and gave him the platform to become manager of the biggest side in the world.
He has also guaranteed himself a hot reception when he returns to Goodison, which given what he did for the club and the relationship he developed with them is a great shame, but something entirely of his own making.