EPL: With Moyes Gone, What Next for Everton FC?

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EPL: With Moyes Gone, What Next for Everton FC?
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The final nail hovers above the coffin, as all that appears left of David Moyes' Everton career is the expected announcement of his departure for Manchester United.

Moyes is the favourite to replace one of the greatest managers in the history of sport, as Sir Alex Ferguson heads to the boardroom at the tender age of 71.

It appears likely that Moyes will remain in charge for Everton's final fixtures of the season (as will Ferguson) but come the summer, the Toffees will be searching for a new manager.

Perhaps the biggest kick in the teeth is the fact that Moyes' contract runs out in six weeks, meaning Everton will likely miss out on the financial windfall of releasing their manager for pastures new...funds Everton direly need.

So, what next for the Blue half of Merseyside?

While Moyes has been a faithful servant for over a decade, the club must move onwards and hopefully upwards with the selection of a new manager.

Wigan Athletic's Roberto Martinez appears to be the early favourite. The Spaniard has been lauded for his attacking style of play whilst with the always relegation-threatened Wigan. This attacking prowess was clearly on display when his Wigan side dismantled Everton 3-0 in the FA Cup earlier this season.

Other names have also been mentioned (Michael Laudrup of Swansea, Slaven Bilic of Lokomotiv Moscow, the usual suspects of Premier League vacancies Mark Hughes and Martin O'Neill) but whoever takes the helm after Moyes will have a tough act to follow.

Moyes has demonstrated an ability to juggle finances and footballing quality like no other Premier League manager. He has been rightly praised for his transfers (Tim Cahill, Nigel Martyn and Leighton Baines, to name but three) and his ability to develop youth, but he had misses as well as hits.

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He hasn't always had that transfer window Midas touch (remember Per Kroldrup?), he has been accused of being one-dimensional with his lone striker-attacking midfield combination, the 17th-place finish of 2003/4, and his personal trophy cabinet contains the old Division Two championship and nothing else.

The Scotsman's inability to win a trophy during his time with Everton will be the telling mark on an otherwise exceptional time with the Blues, but lest we forget the days before his arrival. Yearly relegation battles, waiting for the last day of the season to see if Premier League football was coming to Goodison Park next season and a squad devoid of international talent.

Moyes has steered Everton through a remarkable turn-around and whomever takes over will have to deal with the consequences. People are quick to point out that under Moyes, Everton have continued to punch above their weight and the next man in the hot seat will have to guide Everton to similar heights. 

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European football was an outlandish dream for a generation of  Evertonians and Moyes steered a side including Marcus Bent, Alesandro Pistone and Kevin Kilbane to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League and Champions League football arrived at Goodison Park.

It was a brief affair, unfairly dumped out of the competition by Spanish side Villarreal and referee Pierluigi Collina, but Evertonians had that taste of Europe and they wanted more.

Will the departure of Moyes see Everton drop back into the mid-table ranks of the Premier League?

It will be hard to answer that question until we know the successor and we know if Moyes wants any of his old boys at Old Trafford. Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini may top his wish list, and he will be at a club that can match his ambition with finances.

In the end, no one is bigger than a football club and Evertonians knew this day was coming, but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Not in terms of ill will towards Moyes, but in the uncertainty of the future.

The continuity of Moyes' reign has weathered Everton through many storms, and whoever the new manager is needs to build up that trust with the Everton faithful and keep the Toffees in European contention.

All this may be hypothetical. Moyes is still under contract with Everton, Manchester United may look elsewhere for their manager, but it is highly doubtful.

So, what is next for Everton? The only thing we can be certain of is uncertainty.

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