DAVID MOYES is not a man prone to jealousy – but he readily admits there was a time he coveted at least two of Liverpool’s squad for today’s Merseyside derby.
The Toffees manager was unsuccessful in his pursuit of both Charlie Adam, whose agent is Moyes’ bother Kenny, and Craig Bellamy.
In both cases Everton’s paucity of finances made deals impossible, with Adam eventually making the switch from Blackpool to the red half of Liverpool, and Bellamy swapping the bench at Manchester City’s for the bench at Anfield.
The transfers, warns Moyes, are examples of why the shared glory days of Merseyside football when both clubs duelled for the title, are unlikely to return anytime soon.
But while Liverpool have progressed since those halcyon days, if not quite back to winning titles at least to winning trophies, Everton have also made quieter progress, not least their move to a training ground in Halewood which is the envy of the Premier League.
It is from that base on the outskirts of the city, that Moyes feels his men can prepare for derbies in a more relaxed way than in days gone by at Bellefield.
“I quite enjoy it. When you’re in there (Bellefield) you’re in the heart of it, people pouring over the fences. But it’s much calmer out here,” he says ahead of his latest in nearly 10 years worth of all-Merseyside clashes.
“It’s always been a tough game for us because we’re up against good opposition, and Liverpool have always had a level of finance which has allowed them to buy a different level of player than us.
“Over the years we’ve tried to be competitive, tried to get as close to them as we can.
“We know it’s a big rivalry in the city, and I’m aware of that, but most people are aware there have been differences over the years between Liverpool and Everton, and all of it has been financial.”
The situation does not move Moyes to look longingly across the park. “I don’t think I look with envy,” he says. “I’m just stating facts. It has never been any different here.
“We have always worked within our means, and in many seasons the same things have happened and we’ve still always found a way of getting there, so hopefully we can do that again this year.
“It has been hard to get above Liverpool in the league table, and we have done everything we can to win as many derby games as we can, which has been tough.
“We’ve tried to be competitive against them, tried to hang onto their shirt tails, and at times try to get above them, but as I say, it’s not been easy.”
In spite of the challenge posed by the reds and forthcoming games against Chelsea and Fulham, Moyes has been relaxed this week.
“I think in many ways the mentality comes from the manager,” he says. “The players notice how I am – I could be more stressed than normal or more relaxed than normal – they pick up on the vibes.
“But we have been quite happy. We were pleased with what we did at Man City last week – I know we did not get the result – but we did a lot of things right and we have had a relaxed week. The eyes have popped out a few times but no more than normal!”