An ill wind blows between Manchester United and Everton

Relations between Manchester United and Everton, who meet on Sunday at Old Trafford, are not at their strongest and has little to do with the two defeats that Everton handed to United last season.

Manchester United’s relationship with Everton soured after David Moyes, centre, joined United and later attempted to poach Marouanne Fellaini and Leighton Baines with what Everton said was an insulting fee. Peter Powell / EPA
Powered by automated translation

Relations between Manchester United and Everton, who meet today at Old Trafford, are not at their strongest and has little to do with the two defeats that Everton handed to United last season.

United are on positive terms with Everton's neighbours Liverpool, even though Liverpool have been United's main rivals over the past three decades.

The fact United and Liverpool have not traded players for 50 years helps, as it gives fewer reasons for clubs to fall out.

United and their neighbours, City, used to have a more positive relationship, though there have been moments of strain since 2008 when City started competing for the same players.

While United and Everton are reluctant to criticise each other publicly, relations soured after United contacted David Moyes in February 2013, which resulted in the Goodison club losing their manager of 11 years and many of their back-room staff.

Everton fans have been satisfied with how matters have worked out under Moyes’s replacement, Roberto Martinez, but their club were furious in July 2013 when Moyes was viewed as the face of a £28 million (Dh164.3m) United offer for two of their best players: Leighton Baines and Marouanne Fellaini.

Everton considered the offer "derisory and insulting" and, with the 2013/14 season underway, and said that United were disrupting their preparations, issuing a terse statement that said: "Those bids were immediately rejected out of hand."

Undeterred, United went back two weeks later with a further bid of £36m for the pair.

Again, Everton rejected it.

Everton fans called United’s new manager a hypocrite.

It was Moyes who four years earlier had objected to the similar manner with which Manchester City had pursued Joleon Lescott, accusing City of turning the player’s head.

Now United were being accused of turning heads.

Moyes then said that Everton should consider what the players want – suggesting that they should not block moves.

He also said: “I know how things work at Everton.”

Everton did not appreciate being patronised, but United’s line was that it was Everton who had made a private bid public.

Moyes did not want to upset his former club and spoke to his former chairman Bill Kenwright on a regular basis.

Moyes said: “The thing I have to get in here is that Everton are the club I have just left. They are a great club, I respect them greatly.

“Of course, taking a player is going to affect them, but I’m doing what I have to do in my job.”

But his actions were unwelcome and Everton fans turned against him.

When they visited Old Trafford in December, the United manager was surprised at the level of vitriol from the 3,000 away fans.

Moyes said that that United could have handled that situation much better, and that the price to pay has been his relationship with many Evertonians.

Fellaini joined United in the closing minutes of transfer deadline day in September 2013.

The money allowed Martinez to bring in Gareth Barry, James McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku, and they finished eight points above United last season – the first time they have finished above the Manchester side since 1990.

Their two wins over United helped, the latter one at Goodison Park also seeing to the departure of Moyes as it confirmed that United would not play Uefa Champions League football.

Friction resurfaced in August when Everton tried to sign Tom Cleverley.

The midfielder preferred to join Martinez, whom he had played under at Wigan Athletic, but United were not keen for him to go to Everton.

Martinez suggested that was because United consider Everton rivals on the field, but ill-feeling stuff persists.

Cleverley was about to join Aston Villa when Martinez called him as he was driving to Birmingham.

The player and his agent made a U-turn and headed towards Liverpool, where they waited in a lay-by close to Everton’s Finch Farm training ground.

United were willing to sell the player to Villa, not loan him to Everton, but Cleverley wanted to join Everton.

With United unwilling to do business, the Everton deal fell through and Cleverley apologised to Villa manager Paul Lambert and asked for a second chance.

Lambert’s assistant Roy Keane, who had met Cleverley in person, was not impressed, but the matter was soon put to one side as Cleverley joined Villa — on exactly the type of loan deal that United had refused to do with Everton.

sports@thenational.ae

Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE