Last updated at 10:51, Saturday 11th August 2012
Everton manager David Moyes at Morecambe's Globe Arena

Moyes divides but can conquer


Henry Milward

David Moyes has come in for criticism in some quarters but the seasoned Toffees boss can mastermind more progress this term…

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EVERTON

Stability ****

When does stability become stagnation? There are those Evertonians who insist that boss David Moyes is past his sell-by date, while for others he remains the best man to lead the Toffees closer to the top four. But though not all are in agreement over Moyes, and the lack of significant investment in the club continues to rankle, it is a relatively settled ship at Goodison Park. Through prudence, faith in a handful of key men and canny acquisitions, Everton are admirably consistent, if rarely spectacular.

Control ****

Despite reservations from some sections of the fanbase, within the club Moyes is very much the boss. After a decade in the job the even-tempered Scot has assumed overarching control of the footballing operation at Goodison Park. Most of the boardroom concerns during his time in charge have not surrounded the manager’s progress, rather the future of the off-field operation.

Often linked with other Premier League positions, the 49-year-old has remained loyal to the Toffees and even with another of his side’s customary slow starts he is unlikely to come under any real pressure from above. However, after six consecutive top-eight finishes, anything less would prompt a few difficult questions both from the board and the terraces.

Mood ****

Summers in the blue portion of Merseyside have taken on a familiar feel. Ambition is healthy but restrained; the squad tends to be considered to have potential but one or two players short, the takeover never arrives. But following April’s FA Cup semi-final disappointment there is a feeling that the Toffees have a certain amount of making up to do.

And while there is broad trust in Moyes, many are demanding he dispense with his occasionally-introverted brand of football. His side have proven down the years just how effective they can be in short, sharp bursts and it is an approach which the support would welcome on a more regular basis.

Development ****

It is difficult to know quite what the end game is for Everton and Moyes. Or indeed if there is one. Having ascended to the infinitely creditable no-man’s land of the top half of the top division, finishing 6th, 5th, 5th, 8th, 7th, 7th, where next? Without the investment after which the supporters continue to hanker, the Toffees don’t appear to have the means to consistently, or even occasionally, challenge for the Champions League places. In that there is no shame. But for now the club must settle for measured progress, interspersed with cup runs and memorable league scalps.

Arrivals:

Steven Naismith (Rangers)

Departures:

Adam Forshaw (Brentford), James Wallace (Tranmere), James McFadden, Marcus Hahnemann (both released)

Back Everton to finish in the Premier League top six at 5/1


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