17th May – Leon Osman

Leon Osman was one of those players that proved that consistent performances will eventually lead to England caps and others should look to his example in the coming season.

With the squad for the 2018 World Cup announced there will be a lot of disappointed players that missed out and throughout his career Osman would have looked at some squads and thought he should be in there. Eventually, at the age of 31, he made his England debut against Sweden and would add one more cap against San Marino.

Osman England

Osman started his career at Everton where he would stay for his whole career. However, he made his first team debut for Carlisle United after joining them on loan in October 2002. In his short spell he played 12 times in the league and scored once in a draw against Macclesfield Town. On his return to Goodison Park he made his Premier League debut in a defeat to Tottenham Hotspur and would go on to make one more substitute appearance before the end of the season.

Despite being given a contract extension he failed to break into the team and was loaned out, this time to Derby County, and played a key role in helping them avoid relegation. Again on his return he was given an opportunity at his parent club and managed to score his first goal against Wolves.

Osman Derby

Finally during the 2004-05 season the midfielder became a first team regular and never looked back after this and was rarely out of the side. He finished his first season as a regular with seven goals in 35 games. Up until his final season he remained first choice for the majority of the time and played a key role in the club during their time in the Europa League and also scored two goals on the final day of the 2008-09 season against Fulham to secure a 5th place finish.

In March 2013, Osman made his 300th start for Everton in a game against Manchester City and scored his 50th goal for the club and would later go on to break David Unsworth’s Everton Premier League appearance record.

Osman Everton

Some outsiders thought that Osman was only getting picked as he was one of David Moyes’ favourites rather than on ability but he proved this was not the case as he was only player to feature in every league match in new manager Roberto Martinez’s first season. He was rewarded with a contract extension soon after but afterwards his appearances started to slow down.

At the end of the 2015-16 season with 433 games and 57 goals to his name for Everton he was released and despite interest from other clubs he decided to retire.

The final word can go to his former manager David Moyes. “We sent Leon out on loan as a kid to develop the physical side. He made himself a career by being very combative and tough. If he had to mix it, he wouldn’t shy away from that.”

16th October – David Unsworth

It is an unwritten rule in football that when a player goes back to their old club they either score or have a fantastic game but David Unsworth took this to a whole new level in 2007.

The defender is now 41 and had a good career and was always a very consistent player. Although he played left back or centre back he wasn’t afraid of going forward and did have a decent goalscoring record, scoring over 50 times in his career. In 1995 he got one England cap which must have been a great moment for him and he would have been disappointed that he didn’t add to this tally.

Unsworth started his career at the club he is probably best known for, Everton, and made his debut in the 1991-92 season. But he had to wait until the 1994-95 season to become a regular and he had instant success as a first choice player as he helped his side win the FA Cup. While at Everton he was impressive and was definitely a fan favourite which is why it was surprising that after 133 games for the club he was transferred to West Ham in the 1997-98 season.
Unsworth WH
On the 23rd August 1997 he made his debut against his former club Everton and received a warm welcome from the fans, however his new team were defeated 2-1. Although his performances were very good, after just one season and 41 games he decided to leave because he and his family failed to settle in London and wanted to move back to the North West.

This is why it was surprising that he joined Aston Villa for £3 million but he decided he could make the commute, however after just one month he realised that this was a bad decision and could not continue. Fortunately Everton came to his rescue and also signed him for £3 million. He was just as consistent as he was in his first spell and made the left back position his own for the next six seasons. This time around though he became more of a goalscorer and chipped in with some vital goals from set pieces, particularly from the penalty spot. After a further 216 games for the club he once again left at the end of the 2003-04 season.
Unsworth Everton
Portsmouth signed him on the 12th July 2004 and scored on his debut from the penalty spot in a draw with Birmingham City. Later in the season he scored a penalty against Manchester United in a famous 2-0 win but after Harry Redknapp resigned, he lost his place and spent the second half of the season on loan at Ipswich Town, where he played 16 times and scored against Sheffield United on his debut.

At the start of the next season he signed for Sheffield United and was part of the team that were promoted to the Premier League. But he fell out of favour in the Premier League and Neil Warnock placed him on the transfer list.On the 5th January 2007 Unsworth signed for Wigan Athletic to help them battle against relegation and on the last day of the season, in a twist of fate, Wigan faced Sheffield United at Bramall Lane and Unsworth would go onto score the penalty that sent his former employers back to the Championship. This would be one of his last kicks for Wigan as he was released at the end of the season.
Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Sheffield United v Wigan Athletic - Bramall Lane
He would sign for Burnley but after just one season he also left them and had a short spell at Huddersfield Town in the following campaign but this only lasted four games and he decided to retire.

The final word can go to Neil Warnock. “I’m delighted to have David as part of my squad. His experience will be invaluable to the squad, as will the fact that he can play in a number of different positions.”

25th April – David Moyes

He may not have been able to celebrate a single birthday as manager of Manchester United but that doesn’t mean he has had a bad career and will surely be successful once again.

David Moyes turns 51 today and his dream of managing one of the biggest clubs in the world turned into a nightmare pretty quickly. But even getting this far is an achievement for someone that started his playing career at Icelandic club IBV Vestmannaeyjar. He spent half a season in their youth team before transferring to Celtic where he won the title after playing 24 games.
Moyes Celtic
Moyes made over 550 club appearances for many clubs including Cambridge United, Bristol City, Shrewsbury Town, Dunfermline Athletic, Hamilton Academical and finally Preston North End.

After retiring he became a coach at Preston but in January 1998 after Gary Peters was sacked and the club were struggling in Division Two, Moyes was given the task of keeping the club in the league. He completely turned the club around by keeping them in the league and then getting to the playoffs the next season. However they were defeated by Gillingham in the semi finals. But this did not stop Moyes as he won the title the next season but even more remarkably in their first season in Division One they reached the playoffs but lost to Bolton Wanderers 3-0 in the final. After the season ended he signed a new five year contract with their Chief Executive Tony Scholes saying: “We believe David is the best young manager in the game. He is the man to push Preston into the Premier League.” He had a phenomenal record at the club winning 113 of his 243 matches in charge, only losing 63.

Unfortunately for Preston Moyes left the club in March 2002 to take over at Everton. He could not have got off to a better start with David Unsworth scoring 30 seconds into his first match in charge, they went on to win the game 2-1. He guided them to safety and then the next season he won the LMA Manager of the Year after leading them to a 7th place finish. It looked as though the good times were coming back but the 2003-04 season was not so easy as they struggled and finished the season with their lowest points tally and finished just above the relegation zone in 17th.
Moyes Everton
After having a difficult summer in which Wayne Rooney was sold to Manchester United his side were expected to struggle but the signing of midfielder Tim Cahill proved a stroke of genius from Moyes as they finished the season in fourth place and qualified for the Champions League.

The rest of his time at Everton was largely successful although he could not win a trophy it will still be seen as one of the best times in recent history. He would not have left to take over at many other clubs but to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor at Old Trafford was just too good to turn down. Ferguson said: “When we discussed the candidates that we felt had the right attributes we unanimously agreed on David Moyes.”
Moyes Man United
Moyes broke a lot of records while in charge at Old Trafford unfortunately for him and everyone involved with the club they were all negative ones and the club will most likely not qualify for Europe. He was not given the chance to turn it around and was sacked. The last word can go to Gary Neville who was disappointed with the team’s performances this season but did not understand why Moyes was not given more time. “The idea of giving people three or four or six year contracts and then getting rid of them after 10 months is something that is foreign to me.”