Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past month, you'll know that our manager is set to leave in order to take up the vacant England manager's post. Though nothing yet has been confirmed it is expected that once compensation has been agreed, Sam Allardyce will leave and be replaced by former Everton boss David Moyes.
According to multiple sources, the club have already approached Moyes, briefing him on the situation so that he is ready to take over the reins as soon as possible.
With that in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to have a look under Moyes’ wispy, ginger bonnet (now that’s an image you can’t get out of your head) and find out what makes our future manager tick.
Who better to speak to about Moyes than our friends at Royal Blue Mersey?
Moyes spent eleven years at Everton, guiding them to fourth in 04/05 despite working on a shoe-string budget, and most Everton fans look back on his time at the club fondly. We spoke to Tom over at Royal Blue Mersey to discover more about the soon to be Sunderland gaffer.
Hi Tom - what do you think are David Moyes’ biggest strengths as a manager?
Organisation, commitment and work ethic. Moyes is fastidiously detailed in his tactical preparation and scouting of players. His teams are extremely well drilled, fit and organised and so as a result are difficult to beat. He knows how to get the best out of supposedly limited players, cultivating a strong team spirit and loyalty in the process.
And on the flip side to that, what do you think are Moyes’ biggest weaknesses as a manager?
He is often accused of being too cautious and playing percentages rather than taking a risk. Moyes famously never won a game at Stamford Bridge, Emirates, Anfield or Old Trafford during his 11 years in charge at Goodison Park, approaching those games hoping not to lose rather than trying to win. That was fine in his early years but as the team improved in quality Moyes failed to alter his approach, with some sections of frustrated support accusing him of lacking ambition.
What can Sunderland fans expect from David Moyes in terms of his match tactics, should he get the gig?
Moyes favoured a 4-5-1 formation at Everton, making them very tough to break down. He would also make sure they were one of the fittest teams in the league and well organized at set pieces.
He would vary his attacking approach and would encourage his teams to play good football when it suited, but he also wasn’t afraid to get the ball forward quickly into wide areas, utilising attacking full-backs to provide width. I thought Allardyce was the ideal man for Sunderland last year after a couple of lucky escapes from the drop and I feel Moyes would be a natural continuation should Allardyce take the England job. It wouldn’t be freeflowing attacking football but he would make the team solid, tough to beat and keep you well away from the relegation zone.
We gave up on our failing Director of Football system last year which means our manager will have final say on transfers in and out of the club. How would you rate Moyes’ performance in the transfer market at Everton?
Moyes had a superb record in the transfer market during a time where Everton where one of the poorest clubs in the division. Tim Cahill (£1.5m) Mikel Arteta (£6m), Phil Jagielka (£4m), Joleon Lescott (£5m) and Seamus Coleman (£60,000) are just some examples of the players he brought in for relatively cheap. Then there are aging players like Nigel Martyn and Louis Saha who enjoyed a renaissance in their careers under Moyes’ stewardship. We were regularly outspent by every team in the division but Moyes kept us competitive. As mentioned in my previous answer he was fastidious in his scouting of players and appears more comfortable in a set up where he has total control over transfers.
Jack Rodwell has been an overwhelming disappointment at Sunderland after starting his career so promisingly in your youth teams. Do you think Moyes can help Rodwell reach his potential at Sunderland or do you think he is a lost cause?
When Jack Rodwell first burst onto the scene I was convinced he would go on to become England captain. It’s a great shame to see him suffer from so many injuries and struggle to live up to his early potential. I’m not sure Moyes’ arrival would necessarily revive Rodwell’s fortunes, I don’t think it will do any harm though.
Do you think Moyes’ struggles at Sociedad and Manchester United are worth taking into account ahead of his likely move to Sunderland?
His reputation has certainly been damaged but looking back it is clear both clubs were the wrong ones for Moyes at this stage in his career. If anything he may be more determined to prove people wrong after his recent struggles so I don’t think it should be a concern.
Why do you think Moyes struggled at United?
The club was just too big for him. From day one the players did not look convinced by his methods and the lack of trophies on his CV meant they quickly downed tools, meaning he was a dead man walking for months before he was eventually put out of his misery. That says as much about the modern player as is does Moyes though.
How similar do you think Moyes is to Big Sam? Should we expect a "rip it up and start again" approach or will Moyes build on the foundations Big Sam put in place?
In many ways they are very similar, placing a focus on defensive solidity and organisation. They also have an innovative approach off the field when it comes to sports science and analytics (something Allardyce never gets any credit for). However, I would say Moyes plays slightly better football with less of an emphasis on set pieces to score goals. He would certainly build on the foundations Big Sam has put in place though and offer a sense of continuity.
How do you rate Moyes against your previous manager, Roberto Martinez, a man also linked to the managerial position at Sunderland since the Allardyce speculation began?
Martinez was a breath of fresh air when he arrived into Goodison Park given the final years of the Moyes era had become stale. The style of football we played in his first season was utterly breathtaking and the supporters were desperate for him to succeed. Sadly, things began to unravel and once sides learnt how to play against us Martinez failed to come up with a plan B. The team’s defending, so solid under Moyes, became utterly shambolic. Martinez’s endless positivity in the midst of this chaos quickly began to grate. It was a welcome relief when he was sacked.
I really, really wanted it to work and Martinez is a decent, honourable man, but it just wasn’t to be. For similar reasons I don’t think Sunderland would be the right club for him at the moment.
Lastly (and most importantly), do you think Moyes would be a success at Sunderland?
As you can probably tell I am a big Moyes fan and remain grateful for what he did at Everton, though plenty of fans would argue against me and highlight his limitations and failings. I do feel though Sunderland would be the perfect club at the perfect time in Moyes’ career. They should do all they can to appoint him.