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Fans Comment
Duncan Lennard

Going schizo
24 November 2005

Passionate, predictable; spirited, static; fearless, feeble; hardworking, half-arsed; 4th, 17th; gritty, shitty.

You can apply all of those descriptors to Davie Moyess Everton. No wonder were all turning into raving schizos, ready to embrace every win as The Turning Point and every defeat as a disaster. So far weve seen our team outclass the likes of Man Utd and Villarreal with displays of passion, intent and intensity in spells. But more often weve looked abject; four goals scored in 1,080 minutes is one every four and half hours!!! I still cant get my head around how crap that is. Champions League or Championship? We dont know. And as a result, Moyes goes from messiah to pariah. Often during the game.

Theres been a lot of talk about whether Davie should go maybe too much talk. Personally, I am convinced he should stay and adamant he should leave. As viewpoints go, it is at least even-handed; and being a schizo, I dont see anything wrong with it.

But why this constant yo-yo-ing? To my eyes Moyes keeps getting the balance of the squad wrong. Let me explain.

Every team needs a blend of guts and guile, and I actually think we werent far off during Moyess first season when we finished 7th. I recall an away match at Villa. We may have lost 3-2 but I remember thinking it was one of the best Everton performances Id seen in ages. We were fluent and inventive and much better than them and should have won.

We finish 7th. Maybe Davie thinks its easy, cos soon we have six strikers (Ferguson, Campbell, Rooney, McFadden, Jeffers, Radzinski) and are playing 4-3-3. It almost got us relegated. In my view Davie got his fingers burned here. So he then goes completely the other way. With Rooney off, he stocks his team up with gap-pluggers and goes 4-5-1. Suddenly we are defensive and hard to beat, sneak a load of games and finish 4th. If you were manager, what would you think?

In this context its understandable why Moyes has filled us up with defenders and defensive midfielders. But in my view Moyes has looked too hard at results and not enough at performances. We got lucky. A lot. At the Newcastle home game in April, God only knows how we werent three down before Weir scored. But in Moyess eyes we were earning that luck through hard work. Werent we? But how many games can you remember when we have been comfortable? Or even better?

So the yo-yo bobbed. Now our qualities are defensive, involving guts and graft, work ethics and good old-fashioned team spirit. All our negatives are based around attack: skill, flair, pace, the unexpected. And basic footballing intelligence. We have a clear picture of the current Moyes faves: kind of players he likes Phil Neville and Tony Hibbert, Kevin Kilbane and Davie Weir, guys who put the team first, muck in. The trouble is, we have a whole team who wants to do the dirty work. We are pretty good at winning the ball back and useless at knowing what to do with it then.

Moyes no longer seems to trust flair players. Weve seen the creative sharpness of players like Osman and McFadden blunted by the need for organisation and covering. Its happening to Simon Davies now, in front of our very eyes. Arteta next, methinks.

If you ask me, this explains why we can hold on to leads but fall apart when behind. If we sneak a goal, all our plus points come to the fore. We scramble like mad to hold on to our precious lead with all the pride and passion you could ask for. If we concede one, the team knows we dont really have the flair to get back on terms. We can work our tits off for half an hour, playing half decently but without coming even close to scoring a goal. At Bucharest away they never got a kick until the one they scored with. So heads go down.

The current Moyes approach is summed up by Marcus Bent. The guy runs his stockings off every match, defends from the front and pressures the whole of the back four even when hes up front alone. Great commitment and hard work, and we love it. But no energy left for when we have the ball.

So for me, the yo-yo is because for Moyes it seems to be either attack or defence, and not a blend of the two. Ironically our good times have come during the transition period between the two. I love the commitment out team usually shows, but theres got to be more; the Premiership has got better you cant just set up a team to grind the opposition down because they will tend to score against you before that hour of attrition is up.

I want Moyes to stay, but only if he can get the balance right in the squad and give us that mix of tenacity and creativity. Then, and only then, will I be able to stop my brain bickering with itself.

Duncan Lennard


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