Everton feel pinch of Moyes departure
Once lauded as 'The Bank of England Club', Everton had to wave goodbye to manager David Moyes as they were no longer able to satisfy the ambitions of a man restrained by the Merseysiders' financial straitjacket.
The Goodison Park side, founder members of the Football League and nine-time champions, were once one of the English game's superpowers, both on and off the field.
But the Premier League of the 21st century, with its global stars and mind-boggling television deals, is a different beast from the cosy old First Division.
Despite being unable to compete with the foreign-injected cash reserves of Manchester United, his new employers, as well as Manchester City and Chelsea, the 50-year-old Moyes was widely praised for his 11-year Everton career.
He guided them to the top eight every season since 2006.
But with Everton only once reaching the Champions League – a brief, painful flirtation in 2005, which started and ended in the qualifying rounds – Moyes knew that he would never have the finance that will be freely on tap at Old Trafford.
Everton were dubbed 'The School of Science' in the championship-winning seasons of 1962-63 and 1969-70, and one of the Big Five in 1984-85 and 1986-87, when they won the last two of their titles.
Back then, they would have expected a financial windfall from two European Cup campaigns.
However, the 1985 Heysel disaster, which sparked a six-year ban on English clubs playing in Europe, also led to the break-up of that Howard Kendall-coached squad.
With the exception of an FA Cup triumph in 1995, honours have been impossible to come by ever since.
At the start of the 2011-12 season, chairman Bill Kenwright revealed the brutal state of finances at the club.
The sale of their Bellefield training base in the city raised £9 million, which went – along with revenue from player sales – immediately to the bankers in an effort to reduce debts of £45 million.
In a leaked document, Kenwright admitted he had even received three death threats during his tenure, despite his drive to find new investment.
His search for backers was not helped by the club's long-drawn out saga of attempting to find a new home away from their ageing Goodison Park ground.
"There has to be a reason nobody is buying Everton. There is a reason –there's no money in the world, there's no point in me being replaced, we need someone with money," Kenwright told a fans' forum.
The club has since battled to cling onto some of their most high-profile playing assets.
However, there has already been speculation that the likes of Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini may be targeted to follow Moyes to Old Trafford.
If Moyes has the impossible task of matching Ferguson's achievements at Old Trafford, his successor at Goodison Park will have an equally imposing job of keeping Everton in the chasing pack.