David Moyes closing in on Everton manager record as he prepares for Rafa Benitez test
Back in 2007, when Rafa Benitez made his infamous “small club” remark about Everton, could would have envisaged that some 14 years later, the Spaniard would be taking charge of the home side at Goodison Park with his old rival David Moyes in the opposition dugout?
If anyone claims to have predicted it, they’re probably not reading this piece because they’ll be too busy spending their winnings from this week’s EuroMillions jackpot.
Talking of European competitions, Benitez contested that year’s Champions League final against Carlo Ancelotti – what price back then on him succeeding the Italian as Blues boss?
Former managers returning to Goodison are a rare phenomenon but despite his lengthy 11-year tenure in charge of Everton, Moyes has subsequently made a habit of it.
This season, the Scot is on course to equal Johnny Carey’s record that has stood for over 50 years of being an opposition manager in 12 matches against Everton after leaving his post in charge of the Blues.
Dubliner Carey was infamously sacked by John Moores in 1961 while riding in a taxi with the Blues chairman on the way to a meeting in London.
After that, he faced Everton on a dozen occasions – the most of any opponent during his managerial career – winning five, drawing one and losing six games.
The first two matches were with Leyton Orient, losing 3-0 away and then winning 3-0 at home in the space of a week in September 1962 while the rest came with Nottingham Forest.
So far, Moyes has faced the Blues six times as West Ham United boss, picking up his only two wins against them, drawing once and losing three times.
Prior to that he didn’t so much as see his side score a goal as take a point in home and away reversals with both Sunderland and Manchester United.
Before taking the reins at Goodison, the Scot also faced Everton in an FA Cup tie while with Preston North End, losing 2-0 in the fifth round in 2000.
Indeed, Moyes is currently tied with another former Preston boss on 10 games against Everton after being in charge of the Blues.
Cliff Britton, who’d also been part of Everton’s 1933 FA Cup-winning side as a player, faced his ex-employers 10 times while in charge of PNE, with his record reading an impressive W5 D3 L2.
Sam Allardyce holds the record among Blues bosses as the most games as an opposition manager (P29 W8 D5 L16), accumulated with Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion.
However, only one of these matches – a 1-0 defeat at the Hawthorns with the Baggies on March 4 this year – came after his spell at Goodison Park.
A couple of trophy-winning Everton legends who also represented the club as players have faced the Blues twice apiece as opposition bosses.
Howard Kendall’s Manchester City played at a goalless draw at Goodison on December 17, 1989 – just 10 days after he took over at Maine Road – before he defeated his former side 1-0 in the reverse fixture on April 21, 1990.
Joe Royle, who had previously faced Everton 10 times with Oldham Athletic prior to him taking the Blues job, with a record of W2 D4 L4, then came up against them twice more with his newly-promoted Manchester City side.
They hammered Walter Smith’s Everton 5-0 at Maine Road on December 9, 2000 but lost 3-1 at Goodison Park on April 8, 2001 despite taking the lead.