There has been mutterings for some time now about David Moyes’ unsigned Everton contract. Not too many Evertonians would dispute the fact that their manager has done an excellent job when you compare the club’s current expectations to those they had when he took over. He has built up the club and seems to be settled, so why doesn’t he sign his new contract?
The issue has been raked up again following the Toffees UEFA Cup exit against Standard Liege, perhaps a little unnecessarily. The new line is that the Everton players are becoming unsettled by the apparent lack of commitment from their manager and this is affecting their performances on the field. Whether that is true or not, defeat to Standard Liege is no great shame. They are a very good side who came close to upsetting Liverpool.
The reasons for Moyes’ delay in signing the contract are not clear. He always maintains publicly – including another assertion today – that he wants to stay at the club. At first it seemed that Moyes was simply not in a rush. He had no intention of going anywhere, so what was the hurry? Then it emerged that the details and figures were agreed – all the hard work and negotiations had been done – and it was simply a case of popping the old D Moyes at the bottom. But still no signature.
One theory is that he thinks he is earning a decent enough wage and doesn’t want to take a pay increase from the club while his contract is still running. A noble gesture if it is true, but it is sounding more and more unlikely. There is certainly more to the situation than meets the eye. It has got to the stage now where the manager’s contract situation is not only a distraction away from on-pitch issues, but also being used as an excuse for the team’s failings. Surely if Moyes has any intention of signing his new contract then now is the perfect time. Why let the rumours and distractions carry on if the terms and conditions have already been agreed?
“I want to stay,” he says. Well you know where the pen is.