Moyes and Ferguson are two bookends, at utterly separate stages of their career, but they are the two shining lights of Scottish management. Whereas Sir Alex has managed five clubs; East Stirlingshire, St Mirren Aberdeen, Scotland, and Manchester United – Moyes has managed just two Preston North End and Everton – and at both clubs he has been on the precipice of success – nearly taking Preston North End up to the Premier League, and nearly ushering Everton into the Champions League but falling to Villarreal in the Champions League qualifying stage. On the other hand we have Sir Alex Ferguson, a treble winner with Manchester United who also can boast 9 league championships, and the unique facts that he is the only manager to win three successive league titles with the same club (98-99,99-00,00-01), as well as being the only manager to win the FA Cup five times. This man literally has trophies coming out of every orifice.
There is one thing that the two men share, they are both fierce Scots. In his first(!) managerial role at East Stirlingshire, Bobby McCulley said that he’d: “never been afraid of anyone before but Ferguson was a frightening bastard from the start.”, and Moyes also has this pant-wetting intensity.
Moyes was acclaimed as the greatest ‘pound-for-pound’ manager in the top flight by Times writer Martin Samuel, but is a comparison with Ferguson fair? Is it possible to compare someone who pulled United’s socks up in the early 90’s with someone who is attempting to do the same with Everton fifteen years later – with the super-rich Big Four Oligarchy sitting in his way?
Surely a comparison with the earlier Alex Ferguson (sans ‘Sir’), the tough manager of Aberdeen, trying to break another oligarchy, that of the Old Firm and their choke hold on Scottish Football is a better one. Even there though, Moyes falters, the one thing missing from his time at Everton is a trophy. He has done magnificently, and been recognised by the LMA as manager of the year in 02-03, and again in 04-05, when his “People’s Club” finished a heady fourth. For Evertonian’s “The Moyesiah” has been distilled brilliance, Toffee fans have for so long been snow-blind by constant relegation scrapes, and Moyes has washed away all those worries – but Everton are still work in progress, still grasping for a trophy. When Alex Ferguson won the European Cup Winners’ Cup with Aberdeen he said that he now felt that “he’d done something worthwhile with his life” – how long before David feels the same?