A lack of trophies will not ruffle David William Moyes on his unveiling as the manager of Manchester United. He represents the astute option in attempting to keep Sir Alex Ferguson's impossible succession as seamless as possible.
The Everton manager offers loyalty, continuity, an eye for a player and a playing style more attractive than he is given credit for at Goodison, where it depends on the resources he has available.
That is a net spend of roughly £800,000 per season over the past five years. Ferguson the former shop steward will have appreciated many other traits in Moyes's long journey through the ranks aside from an interest in golf and horses.
A fierce work ethic is one. The then 38-year-old was driving from Preston to Bristol to scout the Rovers striker Nathan Ellington on Wednesday, 13 March, 2002 when he took a call from Everton's chairman, Bill Kenwright, asking if he was interested in replacing Walter Smith.
Moyes continued to the game, drove from Bristol to London, convinced Kenwright he was the man in talks lasting until 5am, then headed back to take training with Preston North End on Thursday morning. That Thursday night he breezed into Goodison Park, christened Everton the people's club on Merseyside – to the immediate irritation of Liverpool – and began the process of restoring pride to a forlorn institution.
His industry has not diminished over 11 years. Goodison looks no different, which shows the board has failed to match their manager's drive. But Moyes has rebuilt Everton from within, lowering the average age of the squad, replenishing it on modest means and helping to establish a youth system that flourishes despite Liverpool, United and Manchester City spending millions to entice players away. On Wednesday he finished training at Finch Farm, Everton's £8m training complex with the youth academy on-site, a Moyes instruction, before being driven by his brother and agent, Kenny, to London to watch Chelsea versus Tottenham, Chelsea being Everton's opponents on the final day of the season and not another job opportunity.
An emphasis on youth development and playing youngsters – though there is often no other choice at Everton – will add to the appeal for United. So too Moyes's prudent, considered transfer acumen. At his first board meeting as Everton's manager, Moyes told directors they had erred with an aged transfer policy and needed to start again.
He inherited a squad including David Ginola and Paul Gascoigne, who was gone within the week, although Moyes delayed the transfer to Burnley until after his old club Preston had played them. Fortunately, Everton had Wayne Rooney exploding through. His sale to United sickened Everton yet stabilised its finances and though Moyes went to court over allegations in Rooney's autobiography, since retracted, the pair made their peace several years ago.
Everton's standing in the Premier League is light years away from what Moyes inherited 11 years ago. In the 10 seasons before Moyes's first full campaign, in charge Everton finished 13th, 17th, 15th, sixth, 15th, 17th, 14th, 13th, 16th and 15th. In the 10 years since they have finished seventh, 17th, fourth, 11th, sixth, fifth, fifth, eighth, seventh and sixth, providing Everton remain where they are – above Liverpool for the second successive season – over the final two matches of the campaign.
Moyes insisted after Sunday's Merseyside derby that the parochial spat with Liverpool counted for nothing and that only European football mattered. His body language suggested otherwise. To remain above the wealthier neighbours, who have spent almost £50m under Brendan Rodgers alone, does constitute achievement for Everton. Moyes has detractors at Goodison, no doubt, and the FA Cup quarter-final humbling by Wigan appeared a breaking point for many after a trophy-less reign and 45 visits to United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea without a win.
The following week, in typical Everton style, champions Manchester City were beaten with 10 men. Moyes punched the air towards the Gwladys Street stand on the final whistle. It may not have been entirely celebratory given the Wigan fallout.
The Everton manager is progressive and analytical. The football his team played in the first half of this season was arguably the finest witnessed at Goodison since the 1980s, before his pre-season warning over a lack of depth proved prescient. He is also one of the last "old-school" managers, who values the traditions of a club, keeps a protective arm over old players in trouble and is far from the gruff Scot he can often appear in television interviews.
"I'm quite embarrassed," Moyes told a few journalists he took out for a 10-year anniversary dinner last year. "I'm not coming in here with a couple of trophies to show people but I hope people have seen a good level of progression and improvement. It is very hard to be a manager of Arsenal or Manchester United for 10 years but they have chances of trophies which keep that going. To be at a club like Everton for 10 years is quite a tough thing to do. I don't feel under-rated. I just feel that, in life, if you do your job well people will say 'come on'. You get what you deserve."
He deserves the opportunity, and the resources, to answer doubts about his trophy-winning potential. It is to Everton's detriment it will not be with them.