Last year saw David Moyes reach a decade in charge at Everton, an incredible feat for anyone in an era where coaches are sacked at the drop of a hat and teams can have as many as three different managers over the course of a single season.
Of course, this owes much to the loyalty and vision of chairman Bill Kenwright, not just in going for Moyes in the first place but by sticking by him when things haven’t been going quite so well.
Moyes is on a contract that will expire at the end of the season, and while he will be a much sought-after commodity come the summer, Everton should do everything in their power to make sure he stays with them. Sam Wallace of The Independent puts it simply, saying that Moyes has "created a good side when all the usual indicators that we use to measure the likelihood of success in modern football are weighted against him."
Were he to leave, the success they’ve had during his tenure would prove difficult to maintain, and Everton could find themselves in a position where they are wishing they had done more to get him to sign a new deal.
Injuries can often play such a huge part over the course of a season in the Premier League that it can eventually cause a manager to lose his job.
At Everton, Moyes has regularly had to deal with this and in fact, it’s difficult to remember a season where Moyes didn’t have to deal with at least one lengthy absence from a significant player.
Yet Moyes differs from other managers in this regard in that despite such obvious setbacks, he has managed to pull through and maintain a high level of performance.
Much of this comes from the flexibility of his players. Marouane Fellaini, normally a central midfielder, has more than capably deputised as a centre-forward on a number of occasions.
Phil Neville has played all over the place: in centre midfield, at right-back, at left-back and even centre-back.
These are just two examples.
Without the luxury of a massive squad filled with players able to step in when called upon, Moyes has needed this from his players, and has managed to deal with injuries that might have proved a far greater challenge for other, lesser managers.
What separates the very best managers from the rest is often their ability to get the best out of players.
David Moyes more than meets this description.
Various players have come to Everton either from obscurity or after having fallen out of favour elsewhere, and Moyes has managed to turn them into top-class players.
Did anyone really think when Tim Howard was sitting on the bench for Manchester United that he would one day end up as one of the best keepers in the Premier League?
Did anyone think Tim Cahill would develop into such a quality player when he was with Millwall?
Leighton Baines when he was with Wigan?
Did anyone think Moyes would be able to sell Joleon Lescott for roughly seven times what he paid Wolves for him in the first place?
Time and again he’s gotten more out of players than anyone would really have expected, and there’s no reason to see why he won’t continue to do the same.
While we’ve already covered how Everton have been rewarded for their good faith in holding onto David Moyes, it’s just as well pointing out how loyal Moyes has been during his time with the club.
Never have you got the feeling that Moyes would be happier elsewhere or that he was anything less than content at Goodison.
Naturally he must have found it frustrating that he’s had so little in the way of money, but rather than gripe about it and complain how he’d be capable of doing so much more if they had the resources, Moyes has used it as an inspiration.
He could have left for another job, but he’s stayed loyal to Everton, and Everton should reward that loyalty now by doing everything they possibly can to make him stay.
It’s difficult to believe any other manager could have achieved what Moyes has over these past 10 years, and it’s even more difficult to believe how any manager could step in to continue where Moyes has left off.
Much has been made of the lack of funds that Moyes has had at his disposal during his time with Everton, but it bears repeating once more.
While sides who’ve ended up finishing lower down in the table have had access to greater transfer budgets that have allowed them to sign high quality players, Moyes has had to make do with far more meagre resources.
Of course, it’s important not to exaggerate.
While Moyes hasn’t always had the most money to spend, he has always had decent backing from the chairman to go out and get the players he feels are needed in order to succeed.
But at the same time, when you look at some of the players he’s brought in and the small fees which were paid in order to get them—Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines and Tim Howard in the current squad, Joleon Lescott and Tim Cahill going further back—you begin to appreciate just how well he’s done.
As anyone will tell you, you can talk all you want about what a manager does and how he goes about his business, but one thing will always be the most important and that's results.
Moyes’s record at Everton stands up to scrutiny.
Since coming to the helm, Moyes has finished outside of the top half just twice in 10 seasons, finishing 17th in 2003/2004 and 11th in 2005/2006.
The rest of the time Everton have been remarkably consistent, finishing fourth in 2004/2005, fifth in 2007/2008 and 2008/2009, sixth in 2006/2007, eighth in 2009/2010 and seventh the past two seasons.
Whether or not Moyes can push on and lead Everton to a fourth-place finish this season remains to be seen, but either way his record is highly impressive.
Even the 11th-place finish in 2005/2006 can largely be put down to the difficulties they faced in trying to repeat what they'd achieved the previous season, their best finish in years.