DAVID Moyes arrives at St Mary’s with Everton tonight just a few weeks away from celebrating 11 years as manager at Goodison Park, writes SIMON CARTER.
During the Scot’s tenure at the Toffees, which began in March 2002, Saints have had 11 different permanent managers (or head coaches).
They are Gordon Strachan, Paul Sturrock, Steve Wigley, Harry Redknapp, George Burley, Nigel Pearson, Jan Poortvliet, Mark Wotte, Alan Pardew, Nigel Adkins and now Mauricio Pochettino.
It could all have been so different.
That’s because David Moyes was interviewed for the job as Saints manager in the summer of 2001, shortly after caretaker boss Stuart Gray and assistant Dennis Rofe had ended the 2000/01 season in temporary charge.
Then chairman Rupert Lowe had held a fans’ forum at The Dell in early May 2001 when he told supporters one of two things would happen in the summer.
Either, a new manager would be appointed who would be told to include Gray and Rofe in their backroom team in order to promote continuity.
Or Gray and Rofe’s positions would be made permanent.
Moyes was interviewed by Lowe, only for Gray to be appointed permanent boss a few weeks later.
Lowe has since told friends that any deal for Moyes, who was then manager of Preston North End, collapsed for financial reasons.
Moyes came to Lowe’s attention after he had taken Preston to the play off final of what is now the Championship, just 12 months after winning promotion from the third tier.
Moyes had done well at Preston due to his impressive man-management skills.
When Steve Basham went to Deepdale, initially on loan from The Dell, he found Moyes “so enthusiastic” that he signed for him permanently.
As for Gray, his promotion to permanent manager was not that permanent. He was sacked after just eight league games of the 2001/02 season, Saints’ first at St Mary’s.
What if Lowe and his board had made Moyes an offer he couldn’t refuse?