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Losing the faith
Nick Armitage ain't mincing words this time...

1 December 2003

Moyes: Lost the players?

The display at Bolton was the latest installment in the long running series of displays that have become simply pathetic.  People seem to think that the big games are against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea.  Theyre not and any unlikely points taken against the top sides must surely be considered a bonus.

Our big games are against the likes of Bolton, Spurs and Blackburn.  These are the games that we have a reasonable chance of winning and these are the games that we need to pick up points from if we are to finish above them in the league.  For some reason, these are the games that we are at our most inept.

We have been well beaten too many times this season and its not been due to sparkling performances by the opposition.  More often than not, our defeats are due to us being plain woeful.  When we are bad, we are as bad as any other team in the league and we are bad with alarming frequency.

I have played in junior teams that have strung more passes together than Everton have done in games this season.  I reckon Bolton Wanderers the same Bolton Wanderers that finished two points above the relegation zone last season would have had a harder game against our reserves.

The current Everton team has no impetus and no desire.  Its unimaginative, spineless and frankly embarrassing to watch.  The games won column reads three and those three games were against teams that looked as if they had turned up expecting to participate in a game of netball, not a football match in the Premiership.

The post-match interviews with Moyes now are sounding frighteningly similar to the disappointed monologue that Walter Smith rolled out with depressing regularity.  If you really look at Moyess record since his arrival its not that good.  A few snappy sound bites and a seven-game run do not justify the Messiah status he has enjoyed.  The seventh place finish last season says more about the standard of the Premiership, than it says about the strides that Moyes made with a team composed mainly of yard dogs.  Radzinski and Yobo carried us last season and they cant be expected to repeat it.

Nobody anticipated an easy season, but did anyone seriously think that we would capitulate time and time again to teams that, on paper, are inferior to us?  The most worrying thing is that we are steadily getting worse, not better.

If Leeds werent in the mess they are in then it would be us taking up column inches on the back pages.  We have fallen further than Leeds have fallen this season.  Leeds United are being torn apart on and off the field.  Almost every player worth having has gone and the club is in utter chaos.  Compared to them, we are in a fortunate position: we have stability both on and off the pitch.  If that is the case then why do we regularly perform as badly as them?

There are rumours circulating that Moyes has lost the faith of many of the players.  If thats the case then it certainly does explain a hell of a lot of what is going on.  Look at how Everton players perform for other managers on international duty.  Contrast those international performances with those performances that Moyes presides over.  And then tell me it's not the manager's fault.

If you scratch under the surface of Moyess reluctance to comment on the Ferguson bust up, it speaks volumes.  The PFA dont normally comment in the manner that they did so one can only assume it was a right ding-dong.  In addition to this, the confrontation was leaked to the media by the club for a reason.  Did Ferguson back Moyes into a corner?  Perhaps what Ferguson said was right and the only way the management could get back at him was to demonize him via the press knowing there could be no retaliation.  Whether Ferguson deserved this treatment or not will probably never be known by the likes of us, but the word is that the confrontation was about Moyess management methods.

Look at our recent record; we have shown relegation form for all of this season and the back end of last season.  Moyes looks a beaten man and a pale imitation of the fiery character we had at the helm a year ago.  The players appear unmotivated and far worse than lacklustre.

According to Kenwright, Moyes is the best asset the club possesses.  Well, if that is the case, Moyes needs to start showing us why Kenwright has this belief in him.  Whatever is going on at the club, it needs sorting and needs sorting fast.  We are getting into deep, deep trouble and every man and his dog assumes well just step up a gear and cruise up the table.  Remember Ipswich?

Kenwright is wrong. The best assets at the club are those of us who turn up to watch Everton week in week out.  The best assets the club has have put up with shite on a grand scale on and off the pitch for long enough.  The best assets the club has have kept a dignified silence in the hope that things will turn around. 

But I havent witnessed anything that is making me believe that things will turn around.  A blind man can see that if things dont change theres a good chance we could go down.

Nick Armitage

2003 ToffeeWeb


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