Ex-Everton boss David Moyes on how he aims to turn around Sunderland's fortunes
A great deal has changed since the last time Sunderland hosted Everton at the Stadium of Light.
On that dramatic night in early May, Patrick van Aanholt’s strike and a Lamine Kone brace secured Premier League football – and relegated Newcastle United in the process.
Everton were awful, and Roberto Martinez sacked days later.
A jubilant Sam Allardyce rejoiced with Sunderland fans on the Black Cats’ “lap of appreciation” before England came calling.
With David Moyes and Ronald Koeman now in charge, the respective squads have had big overhauls too – with Sunderland bringing in 10 new players this summer.
Everton, backed by their new billionaire owners, have spent big this summer – it is a far cry from the 11 years Moyes spent in charge at Goodison Park.
Money was far tighter back then, but Moyes was a huge success on Merseyside.
The 53-year-old Scot was in charge of the Toffees for 427 Premier League games between 2002 and 2013 – the third longest spell of the any manager in the Premier League era behind Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.
He transformed Everton into a top-half team, occasionally challenging for the top four, and they were renowned for being difficult to beat.
Having turned around their fortunes, Moyes’ Everton side also qualified for Europe.
Now he is in charge of Sunderland, who have become embroiled in an annual cycle of relegation battles over the past four years – a cycle Moyes is desperate to break.
He sees strong similarities between Everton and Sunderland – but is keen to stress it will take time if he is to emulate the success he enjoyed in the North West.
“I look back and think great times, but I don’t want to be talking about Everton all of the time,” said Moyes.
“I can only use my time there as a reflection to say this is what I would like to happen at Sunderland.
“I’d like to try a similar route.
“I see it as a way we can progress and I want to give the Sunderland supporters an idea of the direction we would like to go in.
“It is a similar journey I can see here. The big word is journey.
“Unfortunately, these things don’t get mended in a short time.”
Both Sunderland and Everton have strong, loyal and passionate fan bases and Moyes identified that as one of the key similarities before taking charge.
“One of the things I looked at was the supporter base,” added Moyes.
“The away support at Everton was terrific and it is the same here.
“Whatever happened with the club or the team, the supporters stuck with the club because it was ingrained in them. You can see it.
“This club has a great history. We need to try and give the Sunderland fans a little bit of hope, something that will come in the future.
“Whether it be the Dads who want their kids to see a good Sunderland team or their Grandads talking about the real great teams; we have to give them more.
“It was very much the same at Everton. When I took the job there, they were only getting 28,000 or 29,000.
“One of the biggest things to show the success of a manager is to get a full stadium.
“Everton, by the end, were getting a full stadium just about every week.”
The likes of Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Darron Gibson, Kevin Mirallas, Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman are still at Everton from Moyes’ time in charge.
“There are a lot of players still there, but time moves on. It is evolution in football,” said Moyes.
“That happens at every club.
“The difference now is the billionaire owners who are willing to throw lots of money at changing it and giving them a chance of competing right at the top end.”
He added: “I am looking forward to seeing a lot of people from Everton, I had a great time when I was there.
“I believe we had built up a really good side from one that had slipped away a bit and was low down in the league and avoiding relegation.
“I believe we did a very good job in getting Everton back to where they used to be on a limited budget, it was not big money.
“From that point of view, we had great times with the players we brought in and I had a great working relationship with the owners.
“For a manager, that is always helpful if you have people who are there to help and guide you because you want to use the experience these people have.”