Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup quarterfinal represented a watershed moment for Everton Football Club and David Moyes.
When the pressure was on in an important game, Everton crumbled. Again. They were absolutely trounced by Wigan.
After Moyes' predecessor Walter Smith was also sacked in 2001 following a 3-0 FA Cup quarterfinal defeat, Everton look to have come full circle under David Moyes.
Moyes is now into his 11th year at the club. Eleven years which have unquestionably brought steady improvement and stability, but no silverware.
As a football supporter, you become accustomed to certain feelings that come with the game. Saturday, to me, was the beginning of the David Moyes era drawing to its conclusion. As some have already said, Moyes has looked to have hit the glass ceiling with this Everton squad.
The Wigan side that came to Goodison played with no fear or shackles, and with a vibrancy and purpose that Everton supporters have yet to witness in a high-pressure encounter under Moyes. Everton in contrast, looked absolutely petrified.
And not for the first time under Moyes.
Despite all of his good work, Moyes has never managed to ingrain that winning mentality into his players. They seem to recoil and hide in big games, clearly carrying a millstone around their neck from past failings in semifinals, finals and European competitions. Not to mention trips to Anfield, Old Trafford, The Emirates and Stamford Bridge, venues where Everton have failed to notch one solitary victory under David Moyes.
Everything about the club seems stale. I suppose that this is one of the downsides of the stability Everton have seen. Moyes has built up a core group of players who are his go-to men, players like Phil Neville, Sylvain Distin, Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka, Leon Osman and Leighton Baines.
Of course, this longevity and loyalty is something to be admired, but aside from Baines, all of the aforementioned players are over 30 years of age. And yet they still make up the core of the first team squad.
With no real sell-on value for the vast majority of the playing staff and only two on-pitch big-money assets in Marouane Fellaini and Baines, the future doesn’t look all too bright for the Toffees. Especially when you consider the lack of funds available to go out and strengthen the squad.
Even young players like Ross Barkley and particularly Shane Duffy had promising spells in the first team last season, but have only had a minuscule amount of playing time this campaign.
Duffy came into the side last season for a short spell and was largely excellent. But despite Everton’s atrocious defensive record, the young Irishman hasn’t had a sniff of first-team football. Moyes has persisted with the erratic John Heitinga, who continues to get opportunity after opportunity despite a catalogue of errors this season.
It's a worry what kind of message this sends out to the aspiring first-team players.
But what's done is done. So in keeping with the forward-thinking attitude of the modern football club, what’s next for Everton?
Well, Fellaini has to be sacrificed. There is nothing for him at Everton now, especially following the vitriol levelled at him against Wigan, such was the inept and lazy nature of the Belgian’s performance.
To be honest, this has been coming to Fellaini for a while now. Fans have really begun to question his commitment to the cause. He has been constantly talking himself up in the media, adding fuel to the fire in respect of the rumours surrounding his potential move away from the club.
If Everton can recoup a figure in the region of £20 million, he’ll be on his merry way. I’m pretty sure of that. He needs to go, and Everton need to reinvest a large chunk of his transfer fee in a squad seriously lacking in youth and numbers.
To compound all of this, the club's biggest asset, David Moyes, could walk away from the club for nothing at the end of the season. According to a club official (answering Stan Collymore’s questions on English radio station Talksport) Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has said Moyes has earned the right to take as much time as he needs when deciding his future.
I’m sorry, but for me this just doesn’t add up. What kind of business acumen is the chairman showing here? Sure, Moyes has done a great job, and you have to respect the fact that he and Kenwright have built up a solid relationship. But this is a decision driven by sentiment, not by business, and not with the best interests of the club at heart.
The whole debacle generates more questions than it provides answers! How can Everton plan for the season ahead amongst this uncertainty? How can they cite transfer targets? Why should the players be fully committed to a cause when the manager clearly isn’t?
It gives off the impression that David Moyes is bigger than Everton FC. He isn’t. Everton can go on without Moyes. If the Scotsman does choose to walk away from Everton this summer, what will he actually leave behind?
A squad of players who on their day are capable of beating anyone. Not to mention a side that will undoubtedly be battling at the right end of the table, as opposed to scrapping in the relegation dogfights his predecessors endured.
But what if we look a little closer? Moyes will leaving behind the oldest squad in the division, promising young players who have little or no first-team experience and a side who clearly have deep-rooted issues when it comes to performing under pressure.
Say what you want about a lack of funds, but this is Moyes’ squad, which he has had 11 years to build. If he walks away from Everton, the short-term future doesn't look particularly promising.
Perhaps a fresh start, a manager with a new ideology and about £20 million to rebuild the squad is exactly what Everton need at the moment.
What do you think about Everton and their current plight? Is Moyes still the right man? Or do Everton need to start a fresh?
Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter @MattJFootball.