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Fans Comment
Rick Tarleton

Moyes's Report
9 April 2006

Let me first of all declare my viewpoint: I'm old. I saw my first Everton game in 1955, I'm of the David Hall and Harry Meek vintage and so I've seen great Everton teams and truly wonderful players: Collins, Young, Vernon, Harvey, Wilson, Labone, Royle, Latchford, McKenzie, Steven, Sharp, Sheedy, Ratcliffe, Southall, Rooney, Arteta and Yobo spring to mind. I've seen Everton win everything including a European trophy.

So, I tend to have a mental image of my team that bears little resemblance to the reality of the modern Everton. I do know that Young and Vernon for example might appear slow, ponderous and unfit in comparison to modern players. But then again the great William Ralph Dean would never have scored 60 goals in a season nowadays. But he would have scored 25+ a season and Young, Vernon, Harvey etc would have been great players in any era. The greats are as good as their times, conditions and fashions allow. My vision of Everton is of a team and club that lives up to its proud motto: "Nil satis nisi optimum".

Everton today are a typical mid-table team, managed by a man whose attitude is typical of most of today's pragmatic managers and coaches. Catterick and Kendall produced teams that had steel, and flair. They were solid in defence, imaginative in mid-field and gifted in attack. They were also well-balanced teams who were aware of what they could each do.

Anyhow back to Moyes and the present team. Moyes is essentially defensive and lacks vision. He prefers defenders who tackle hard and get rid. He knows Yobo is a great player, but in his heart he doesn't trust his approach, because it can give the odd goal away. Krldrup and Yobo might have been the best central defensive pairing since Lawrenson and Hansen, but they weren't for Davey. Stubbs and Weir are more to his taste. I watched Krldrup on the Bravo Channel last week against Roma. He oozed class and Moyes got rid, just as he'll get rid of Yobo with a "manufactured" dispute about wage demands.

As for young players, how many of today's managers are willing to give young players a fair crack of the whip? Wenger and .....Wenger; and that's it. Part of the problem with Rooney seemed to stem from Moyes's reluctance to play the most exciting talent to emerge for the last twenty years for only alternate games or as a sub. At United, Ferguson made sure that Rooney was the first name on his teamsheet.

Our goal-keeping problem is serious. Wright is a fine shot-stopper, but he's positionally weak and he panics, not unlike David James. Martyn's probably reached the end of his career and we have two young keepers who may or may not be good. Moyes won't give them a chance.

Defensively, we aren't bad: Yobo, and Ferrari are good and one of them at least ought to play in every game, Hibbert's certainly up to standard and Valente is good when not under too much pressure. Stubbs has been a whole-hearted player and Weir's done sterling service in the past. That Stubbs and Weir are Moyes's preferred pairing tells us more about his attitude than their possible superiority over Yobo and Ferrari.

The midfield is average to above-average for a mid-table side.

  • Arteta's a joy, but can get distracted into making silly tackles;
  • Osman's a useful attacking support, but lightweight in tough games;
  • Neville's a good defensive midfielder and I am mystified by the constant carping about him.
  • Kilbane's good to his mum, but not up to scratch.
  • Cahill's a good player when not being petulant; his skill like Martin Peters's or Terry McDermott's is not so much what he does with the ball, but his intelligence in ghosting into the box and finishing off moves. I'm not fully convinced that he and Osman don't duplicate each other, but that's a minor quibble.
  • Van der Meyde's as good for us as he was for Internationale where he played 26 games in three seasons
  • Carsley's a fine cover.

Up front, Beattie's had some great games, but he needs real support, preferably from someone with a bit of pace. Again the continued use of Ferguson tells us more about Moyes's football vision than it does about Ferguson's use to the team. I hope Vaughan can come back and I hope he's given his chance.

Mid-table's about right; except for the obvious four and possibly Tottenham, the other clubs are fairly equal and their results depend on form, injuries, the referee and sheer luck.

As a manager Moyes is unimaginative and unwilling to experiment. He knows the kind of players he likes: Weir, Stubbs, Hibbert, Neville, Cahill, Beattie and Ferguson. He's not sure about "fancy dans" and young players are not for him. His transfer dealing has been hit and miss he nearly missed Arteta, but thank God he didn't. His man management seems to be, if rumours are to be listened to, poor. But to be honest, I'd have preferred him to go earlier in the season and I don't see him as anything more than competent, but I don't see anyone much better who'd be available to a club with our resources.

The Chairman is useless as I've written in many an article. Like his counterpart across Stanley Park, he's a liability who actually is more likely to alienate new investment than attract it.

Am I optimistic for next season? Not particularly! I suspect Yobo's on his way out. I fear Beattie and Arteta could attract other bigger clubs and I see us depending on luck, referees etc in order to make our way in the bottom half of the Premiership. I hope I'm wrong. I just don't see the great club that oldies like myself, Mr Meek and Mr Hall still see in our mind's eye, re-emerging while the present Board and the present coaching and management are in place.

Rick Tarleton


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