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Moyes deserves loyalty
Mick Quirke points the finger squarely at the players while giving his backing to the manager...

2 December 2003

David Moyes: Get behind him

When Jorge Valdano was somewhat harshly sacked by Real Madrid as coach several years ago, the then chairman Lorenzo Sanz, was quoted as justifying the decision by saying that 'it was easier to get rid of one than of twenty-two', implying that he clearly considered the players to be responsible for the mess. In Everton's case, David Moyes transformed very average players into a top 7 team, by instilling good habits, hard work and fitness, and a clear game plan for every match. It makes me sick to hear Evertonians slag him off now, 'well it was only that 6 game run', 'his record's not that good really'.

The players are responsible, not Moyes. Most of them weren't Premiership standard when he got hold of them (and believe me, forget the propaganda, the top 3 apart, the Premiership is not very good), and they've been found out. Moyes wasn't allowed to build on the success in the summer transfer market, and the inevitable consequences are there for all to see. It's alright for people to say, 'Yeah, but Moyes doesn't know how to deal with seasoned professionals on big money etc.....'

The fact is they're only professionals insofar as they get paid for what they do, the problem is, most of them aren't particularly good at what they do for a living, i.e. play football. We're not talking about Ronaldo and Zidane here. It's not Moyesy's fault they're on ridiculous money. The majority of tham are at best average, he made them look good, and this is how they repay him, disgracing the club, its history and traditions and the famous blue jersey with the sort of abject, spineless surrender we've seen at Ewood and the Raebok.

The current team, player for player, is worse than any I can remember in more than 30 years of watching Everton. The 70's teams were poor, but we had quality players from time to time, Latchford, Thomas, King, Dobson, McKenzie, great players for short periods, Todd, Hartford. Is it Moyes' fault he's inherited the squad he's got. I would never accuse players like Unsworth, Linderoth, Naysmith, Carsley, Gemmill and Stubbs of not giving everything, but just analyse the 6 of them in terms of basic footballing skills -ball control, passing, taking an opponent on, speed, vision. Enough said I think.

Then you've got the group who think they can play a bit, probably more dangerous than those who recognize their limitations, we're talking about Gravesen in particular, Pistone, Campbell, Alexanderson, Ferguson of course. These players think they don't have to work at their game and fitness levels as much as the first group, they think they're better footballers. Just ask yourself why we wouldn't be able to get any of them the off the wage bill in January? - because no other Premiership club would take them, and they're hardly going to give up their inflated Everton salaries for Nationwide wages.

All the above players have been inherited by Moyes, do you seriously think he would have signed any of them? He's stuck with them however, and their wages are crippling the club, and Moyes' ability to improve the squad. Not only because no other decent manager in his right mind would come to Goodison should we stick with Moyes. We should stick with him because he's proved he's a potentially great manager, given some decent raw material. Currently he's got the likes of Rooney (who will come good again), Radzinski, Hibbert, Yobo, McFadden, Osman and Chadwick (with those 2 it's time for Moyesy to show a bit more faith), around whom a team can be built. Li Tie and Steve Watson are good squad players if perhaps not top-notch. Martin, in spite of Saturday's gaffe is still a quality keeper. If Wright doesn't regain his fitness, the boy Turner looks promising. A couple of shrewd bargain signings in January and we can still claw our way towards mid-table respectability.

Might not seem enough for us Evertonians with our ludicrous pre-season expectations, but ask yourself what manager could do more with the means at his disposal. Unless someone (clearly not Paul Gregg) comes in with a serious cash-injection, it has to be slow patient team-building around promising youngsters on realistic wages. Of course it makes your blood boil to see teams without our tradition or support outbidding us in the transfer market, but neither Moyes (nor Kenwright) are responsible for the scandalous mismanagement of the club since 1985 (and Peter Johnson is the only guilty party either!).

Evertonians have always prided ourselves on our loyalty, and it's clearly been stretched to unthinkable limits at the moment, but while the likes of Gravesen and Ferguson might not deserve it, David Moyes certainly does.

Mick Quirke

�2003 ToffeeWeb


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