Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In Sign Up
Text:  A  A  A

Fans Comment
James Matthews

Reasons to be cheerful
11 November 2005

So, another international break (is it me or do they seem to come along every fortnight these days?) and a chance to breath and take stock.  Although this break finds us in a far healthier position than the last two, where are we in real terms and how much hope should we have for the remainder of the season?

Before we get too much further I should throw my hat firmly into the Pro-Moyes camp.  If thats going to irritate you I suggest you stop reading now. But as you do, just remember that being a fan is, like life, all about varying opinions.  If you never listen to anyone elses with an open mind, how are you to judge whether yours are correct or whether you need to shift your stance somewhat?

The position we find ourselves in at the moment is a miserable one, there is no escaping that.  So what, if any, are the reasons for optimism?  Well, let me deal with that in two specific areas:

The Management of the club

This goes right from the top down. Now, we may not have the richest, or the most adept Chairman in the league but something I have seen from Bill Kenwright over the last year or so is the realisation of his own weaknesses and therefore those that exist within the organisation.  In any business you need to identify the areas that are weak and employ the people with the relevant desire and knowledge that can put those problems right.  In the appointment of Wyness (and Birch before him, ill-fated as it may have been) Kenwright has acknowledged the need for others who are better qualified to steer the Everton ship in the right direction.

I am fully aware that this grand old club is still a long way short of being a viable business in many, many ways.  But we need to remember where we were just a few short years ago after Peter Johnsons tenure.  We were close to going bankrupt, in a crumbling old stadium with a playing squad that was worth very little and produced results on the pitch that reflected that.  To add insult to injury, a lot of these players were earning astronomical wages which were dragging the club further and further into the financial quagmire.  More on the state of the squad later.

Now dont get me wrong, I am fully aware of Kenwrights faults his unwavering loyalty to Walter Smith for far too long; his penchant for inappropriate soundbites and love of the media spotlight.  I would love to hear nothing but succinct, business-orientated proclamations from our Chairman for the next few months. But that isnt what you get with Bill, so we have to accept it.  We must also remember that Blue Bill was the one to take a gamble on David Moyes when few others thought much of his pedigree and at a time when the old boys network of Premiership managers was in full swing.  I, for one, think that this was the best decision Bill has ever taken.  Which brings me nicely onto the second point.

The Manager

There is no denying that we are in a poor position right now. A quick glance at the league table will tell you that. But let us take a broader view of the achievements of the Moyessiah.  As previously stated (by me and many others on this site) the squad Moyes inherited was appalling, in terms of ability, age, desire, fitness, morale, almost anything you care to mention.  What he has done has been a slow process, but without funds (until this summer); it has had to be this way.  He has had to scour unusual places for players with the relevant talent and desire to play for Everton, at the right price.  Contrast if you will the signing of Gascoigne and Ginola by Smith last throws of the dice that smacked of desperation and, more importantly, laziness and of Cahill and Krldrup by Moyes young, hungry, talented players who were bought at a price Everton can afford. Granted, we are yet to see what Krldrup has to offer but, having watched him for both Denmark and Udinese, I am excited about seeing him in an Everton shirt.

Those of you who would have it that David Moyes is detrimental to the Everton cause with his transfer dealing (whether by dithering or by bolstering the wrong positions) need to look at the market he is currently operating in.  There are few proven goalscorers around at the moment, let alone those who are available. Owen is the only one that springs to mind as one who changed hands in the summer, but he was out of our price range, both in terms of transfer fees and wages.  Darren Bent has been a roaring success at Charlton, but who among us could have predicted that with any certainty in the summer?  Other forwards who moved have not exactly set the world alight Crouch, Forssell anyone?  The one player I think maybe we missed a trick on is Darius Vassell: pacy, cheap, something to prove, and a decent finisher.  I for one am desperately hoping we will get Robbie Keane in January as I think he is an extremely talented player who would be a good foil for Beattie.

But the most important factor for me in the Moyes revolution is not the players he has been able to buy; it is in the improvement he has been able to make in the players he has at his disposal.  Coaching is an art that seems to have been forgotten in an age when the media obsesses over tactical formations and the loathsome mind games of managers.  The biggest single asset David Moyes has is the ability to get the best out of his players by coaching and cajoling them on the training ground.  The improvement in players like Hibbert, Weir, Kilbane, Arteta, Bent, Cahill and Pistone (when he can be bothered) is astounding.  That is something you cannot put a price on, particularly as a club that cannot buy success through the transfer market.  It is something that we should be incredibly grateful for, and something that Im sure Alan Irvine takes no small credit for.

So I, for one, look to the next few months with optimism.  Not blind, unquestioning faith but a feeling and a belief that we have the right people at the club, both management and players, to improve vastly on where we find ourselves.  There is no doubting that the defeats to Villarreal and Bucharest hit the players hard and sapped a lot of the vital confidence away.  Playing in the Premiership these days is all about minute differences, the confidence to make a run or to put the ball in the back of the net. Without that confidence it is easy to get into a rut which further drains your belief a self-perpetuating circle.  But that belief is slowly coming back to the players and I think that with a much better playing squad than last season we now have the chance to kick on and target a place in the top half of the table as a minimum.

James Matthews


On the whole I agree with you James, and I share your optimism for the coming months, but would like to add a couple of comments to your article:

First, for all the talk of a need of a good striker, I don't remember ever hearing anyone mention Yakubu this summer (the editor will probably prove me wrong), the second highest goalscorer in the premiership over the past two seasons.  McClaren may be an annoying knobhead but he has snapped up a proven goalscorer for a not extortionate price and I would have liked to see Moyesy give that one a try.

Second, Robbie Keane just doesn't do it for me.  For the last year or so the fan sites have devoted insane amounts of coverage to this possible signing, but I just can't get excited about it.  Yes, he would provide us with an amusing celebration if he ever scored a goal, but he's too often hugely anonymous in games.  Maybe I'll be proved wrong in the not too distant future, but he's an undoubtedly inconsistent player. 

Finally, not directly relevant I admit, but I have faith in Moyesey's signing of Beattie.  Remember when Moysey asked Strachan's advice and he had said that if you get a 100% fit Beattie then you have a great striker... well, I think that's starting to happen.  I had a flutter on Beattie and 1-0 for the Boro game and at 28-1 had a tasty return on it.  I think we're starting to see what he can do, and with the improvements happening in other parts of the team, as I said before, I'm optimistic.

ps:  Keep Neville at left-back... is it a coincidence that since he's played there we haven't conceded a goal?
Martin Tilly (11/11/05)

"Fans Comment" articles are submitted by outside contributors to ToffeeWeb. The views contained therein may not correspond with those of the site owners. Editorial policy

©2005 ToffeeWeb


We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.