Everton must let Moyes splash the cash or face losing him
22:28 GMT, 30 December 2012
There was a theory doing the rounds yesterday that Everton have to secure a place in the Champions League to keep David Moyes at Goodison Park beyond this season.
If so, anxiety levels in and around Goodison are likely to rise sharply between now and May, as Moyes monitors Everton’s position in the Barclays Premier League and ponders his future.
There is a way of cutting short the waiting time, though, and ensuring the unthinkable is not allowed to happen.
Cold feet Everton manager David Moyes could be tempted by a move away from Goodison Park if he doesn't get a decent transfer kitty in January
A simple pledge of transfer funds for next month’s window ought to do it. Easier said than done, of course, given Everton’s modest resources but Bill Kenwright has found ways of delivering for his manager in the past and must pull out all the stops to do so again.
Fortunately for all concerned, the Everton chairman doubles up as a fan, as devoted as they come, and will, it is safe to assume, hand over every penny he can lay his hands on.
As a fan who sits on the front row of the directors’ box and kicks every ball, Kenwright will also appreciate why facilitating his manager’s wishes next month is so crucial to a project that has been a decade in the making.
Everton have flirted with the Champions League before, only to falter at the qualifying stage, but a breakthrough is surely closer than ever.
So close: Nikica Jelavic rues a late missed chance as Everton pushed for an equaliser in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea
It is tantalisingly close, as was evident in an epic battle with Chelsea that eloquently argued the case for and against their prospects of finishing in the top four.
It was gripping stuff, a classic Premier League encounter that both illustrated how Everton’s strongest starting XI can be a match for anyone and exposed their need for greater strength in depth.
Moyes (right) wants to address the latter as a matter of urgency and needs no reminding of the perils of relying on a wafer-thin squad.
Injuries to the likes of Phil Neville, Seamus Coleman and Darron Gibson and a suspension for Marouane Fellaini — by no means an uncommon roll call at this stage of the season — left him glancing over his shoulder at a bench containing the likes of Bryan Oviedo, Apostolos Vellios and untried 18-year-old Tyias Browning.
Ill timed: An injury to captain Phil Neville didn't help Moyes in the Chelsea game
Everton still ran rejuvenated Chelsea close, despite the telling absence of the influential Fellaini, yet, as limbs tired and managers looked for reinforcements, the two camps were shown to be poles apart.
While Everton’s replacements had the look of reserves about them, Rafa Benitez was able to choose between Oscar and Victor Moses for an injection of attacking impetus, or Paulo Ferreira to lend an experienced steadying hand at the back.
Little wonder that Everton’s challenge ultimately ran out of steam, and Moyes was left venting his frustration on referee Howard Webb’s failure to spot an added-time foul on the edge of the area that denied his side the chance of an equaliser.
However, Moyes did give the much-maligned Respect campaign’s tarnished image a welcome shot in the arm by apologising for a post-match rant at Webb, making amends immediately with a show of remorse that may spare him any disciplinary action.
Frustration: Moyes was annoyed that referee Howard Webb missed a foul on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area in injury time
‘I did have words with the referee when I was coming off,’ said Moyes, whose side missed the opportunity to move into the top four.
‘I was wrong to do so and I apologised about it to him afterwards. I just thought there was a foul by Frank Lampard on Leon Osman on the edge of the box in the 92nd minute but he didn’t give it.
‘The way the game went, the players deserved to get something out of it because they played ever so well. It was harsh on us.’
There will doubtless be words with Kenwright, too, in the coming days, and the answers Moyes gets could determine whether one of the Premier League’s most enduring and fruitful partnerships continues to thrive into a second decade.