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Apologies from an ?Apologist?

By Chris Keher :  16/12/2007 :  Comments (8) :
Not so long ago there were a lot of people asking for Moyse's head on this website. I am a "Moyes Apologist" (for which I apologise) but I always thought he would steer us in the right direction.

I freely admit that I expected us to do well this season but never in a million years did I expect us to play the kind of football we have played of late. When I say ?in a million years? I mean this season anyway. I expected us to grind out results as I didn?t think there was enough guile and craft amongst the squad to turn it on consistently.

Even as an ardent Moyes man, I am surprised. And if I am honest I think that we have all been lucky (including Moyes) that Pienaar has been so good and offered real balance on the left wing to Arteta?s right (but then Moyes did this and who am I to say he?s lucky?)

I always thought that he was a good manager. Good in the transfer market (even now under-rated), good financially, kept players happy (Rooney and a couple of no hopers aside, but not in the case of Stubbs which did concern me), very professional, developed the youth side of things and all this within the straight-jacket of Everton's finances. Not to mention the excellent team spirit and hard-working ethos that is the bed-rock of Moyes?s blues.

However, I wasn?t blind (in my opinion) to his shortcomings. My main gripe was that he wasn't great tactically but I "apologised" for this because he was young, he was learning his trade and in my opinion he was setting up our team with the options available to him and had no options on the bench to change the game due to the finances.

But even then I knew that there were changes that could be made (in games or before them) that would have made us play better or limited the opposition more to turn games in our favour or never let them get out of our control in the first place. There have been a few instances where you and I have pulled our respective hair out during Moyes?s tenure over tactics, let's make no mistake.

The other main fault, in my opinion, was that he kept faith with players when it clearly wasn't working but anyway, as an "Apologist" I always thought I could see what he was trying to do.

And I am also aware that injuries and possibly the African Nations Cup could curtail the current optimism pretty quickly. But I am an optimist and whilst we may be playing possibly our best team now I think we could probably handle a few people going missing and it is the quality of our football that would suffer more than the results for I feel there is some depth to the squad.

But in my opinion, earlier this season/end of last season the anti-Moyes lobby were gaining real momentum and I truly feared that he may not last the year if this ill-feeling kept going apace. I, however, still thought that the man had other strings to his bow that outweighed these problems. I still thought he was boss. And I still do.

I could always see what the anti-Moyes boys were on about but couldn?t believe how short-sighted they were and frankly thought they were stupid. The pros clearly outweighed the cons.

But reading the posts and arguments on this, and other, websites the anti-Moyes boys were in full voice and I believe that they were moderately close to turning the tide irreparably against the man. Your average Evertonian in the pub listened to the anti-Moyes men and I think that this was the in-vogue position amongst the fans.

Cutting to the chase my reason for writing this post is to ask :

Is there still a division amongst Evertonians? Between the so called "apologists" and those that want to see the back of Moyes? Or has he had that period now where he has convinced us all and everyone gets and stays behind him?

I'm not talking about following him blindly forever but say he loses a few will any of the anti-Moyes crew seize upon the opportunity and slate him again?

Were you once a staunch anti-Moyes man but now believe he might be the right man for the job? Or do you think the current success will be short-lived or not even good enough? Do you now trust the man with our money or still feel he is not good enough to spend ?a ten pound note? (in the words of one fan to me at the end of last season)?

Personally I think he is the best manager we have had in my lifetime (I say that but can?t really remember the ?80s Kendall because I was less than 10 at the time) but that's very easy for me to say on here now we are winning and let's face it there hasn?t been much to sing about!

I just don?t want our fans to be like the ones that follow Newcastle (or to a lesser degree Liverpool) where we turn from fans that one minute go overboard one way after winning a few games and then overboard the other way after we lose a few.

In the short term we all need to keep a grip. We are playing really well and winning and I genuinely can?t see this run ending anytime soon (even against the Mancs away if we keep our heads and believe we can win) but it will have to end at some time.

And just for the record, we should genuinely be looking at some serious accomplishments this season.

Reader Comments

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Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 17/12/2007 at 21:59:33

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Ah.. pro-Moyes, anti-Moyes... in many ways I wish we could move beyond that but I guess it’s hard. I became very anti-Moyes... but I didn’t really want him to leave, and I never believed he would leave. What I wanted was for him to change.

To change the awful way we were playing football. To acknowledge and utilize the skills of the players he had at his disposal and to get them playing the better, more positive football it was obvious they were capable of. So for me, in your fairly well balanced analysis, the paragraph in bold holds the key.

Yes, there are plenty coming out of the woodwork now who claim they understood what Moyes was doing and how we needed patience, patience,,, patience... but FIVE YEARS! Come on!

And look how suddenly the change came, when it finally did come. After a bright start we sank back into some dreadful stuff this season. Until Cahill returned. (or was it Irvine leaving...???)

So is Cahill really the key? I find that hard to comprehend as he does really so little to affect games... other than where it really matters, scoring goals! (I know that sounds stupid but watch him in the middle of the park...)

No, this football manager malarkey is a strange beast. Moyes shows you can struggle for years with a host of different problems, and have very little success. And then, all of a sudden, it all falls into place and we’re off to the races.

People will no doubt blather on about "fickle fans" but football is played game to game and we as fans are fully entitled to judge each game on its merits. And that means the feelgood factor is always just one game away from blowing up in our faces.
joe mcparland
2   Posted 18/12/2007 at 00:14:54

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In Moyes we trust.COYB
Richard Parker
3   Posted 18/12/2007 at 06:50:05

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Pieces of the puzzle fell into place, that’s pretty much it. We had a decent starting XI last season and Moyes has used his transfer kitty in the summer very shrewdly (easy to say with hindsight). I was a bit unsure and somewhat surprised to see £11M+ go on Yakubu, but that appears to be money well spent, if things continue.

Pienaar & Yakubu have been key to the success, the final pieces in the current puzzle. We have 2 midfielders in Pienaar and Arteta who can beat opposition players, hold the ball in the midst of 3 opponents and stretch defenses, they have that bit extra, that spark that makes things happen. Along with Cahill and Yakubu’s scoring prowess, that’s quite a combination. Yakubu has that wonderful innate talent of finding space around the box, which by rights shouldn’t be there. And with Cahill arriving from deep, which is so hard to defend, meaning a midfielder either has to drop deep and track him, or a centre-half has to push on to pick him up, this creates space in and around the box. Something that we weren’t doing well at all until the last 12 games.

At the start of this season, up to the derby, Yakubu & Pienaar hadn’t found their feet, AJ wasn’t firing, Cahill was injured and we had Neville deputising in midfield, with Hibbo at right back. Moyes also appeared to be finding his best XI. All of a sudden, Yakubu starts finding the net, as does Cahill. Pienaar and Arteta start pulling the opposition all over the place and our defence settled. It just seemed to click.

I think what we’re seeing is the culmination of Moyes’ 5 year plan. Upon his appointment, if we had been offered a deal whereby we were the only team to break into the top-4, had a crack at Champions League football, a cup semi final and to be in 4 competitions at xmas, we would have wholeheartedly grabbed that deal.

There is still work, remember Nil Satis Nisi Optimum, but we have reached that point where we have the squad to play to a level we expect. Now the hard part beings, the next 5 year plan, we have our basis for a winning team, but there will be pieces of the puzzle to replace, to upgrade and improve. The pieces to fit in those places are not going to be easy to find. I am really looking forward to the 2nd half of this season, we have everything to play for, including 3 cups and the top-4 still attainable.

The real measure will come on Sunday. The result, in a way, is academic. If we go to Old Trafford and offer too much respect to United, I will see that as a failure. If we go there and play as we have against West Ham, Sunderland, Nurenburg, etc, even if we get beat, I think we have proved that we’re ready to try and go up against the big boys. I can’t wait!!
Steve Lyth
4   Posted 18/12/2007 at 13:15:49

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The only person I have apologised to for my anti Moyes stance is to the man himself.
As I said last week, he has finally assembled a team capable of playing attractive football, unlikely to be really turned over and one that does not give up.
This has happened in the last 3 months,
almost Fergiesque, lets hope he can go on to be half as successful.
We are a long way short of playing the assured football of the 80s team but it is the best squad we have had in twenty years. As long as he can maintain current standards I dont see how anyone can have a gripe.
Credit where its due and its finally due to David Moyes.
David London
5   Posted 18/12/2007 at 13:54:38

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It has not taken "five years" or "three months".Thats two simple.When Moyes came to us we had a poor squad,no money to change ,no togetherness.It takes time,yes its like a jigsaw,one final peics makes the whole.Which is why Osmans injury is a blow.
Ben Howard
6   Posted 17/12/2007 at 15:45:13

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The year that we blagged 4th (sorry that was a bit harsh) we suffered an inevitable blip and had a miserable second half to the season. I believe that we were to some extent ?found out?. I was there at Highbury as we were thumped for 7.

This year we?ve already done that to a team ourselves (something I couldn?t ever see us do!). What makes me more excited than ever is that we seem to be able to mix our play up so well at the moment! We?ve passed teams off the park (Sunderland, West Ham), mixed it physically (Chelsea, Portsmouth), and been beautifully fluid and direct (Fulham).

Best wishes to all my blue brethren. It is indeed a great time to be a Toffee!

Robbie Shields
7   Posted 18/12/2007 at 13:52:56

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Completely agree with Michael Kenricks assessment. I’d had enough of Moyes after spending a small fortune travelling to games watching the dreaded hoofball, no midfield to speak of, only Arteta who could pass to someone in a blue shirt and no real prospect of winning a trophy. Since the derby defeat the results have obviously improved and gradually the performances have. Whilst I could see we weren’t making any progress and hated the hootfall football on show I was very anti Moyes. I’m now more than happy for him to continue as we are still improving, and not just the results, but more importantly for me the style of play, far less hoofball and far more genuine attacking play through midfield.

I still think we’ll come unstuck against the REALLY good teams with STRONG midfields that take their chances, i.e. United, and so this weekends game will answer a lot of questions for me. If we can go there and restrict United to only a few efforts and get a result then I’ll know Moyes really is onto something. The big question for me though is whether or not Moyes can get genuinely the final piece of the jigsaw which I feel will make all the difference. Someone in the mold of Stevie G La across the park, if Moyes gets someone like that to take over from Carsley then I reckon we’ll be serious top 4 contenders for years to come, but these aren’t easy to get!

In summary, was very anti Moyes, now seeing great improvements and can see things getting even better but think Moyes needs to get the missing link in January in order to sustain the current success in the longer term. As long as we don’t revert back to hoofball and continue improving then Moyes will have my support (Even if we get beat a few times).
Pete Gunby
8   Posted 19/12/2007 at 05:43:48

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Things are going well and we’ve been taking full advantage of every opportunity-a sign of a good team. Losing Osman hurts because it means Moyes will probably put Hibbo at rb and push Neville into the midfield. Neville has proven himself as a valuable player in the back but is still a liability in the middle. To be fair to Moyes i’m not sure who else we have who will pick up the load agaisnt the manure. We may end up fielding a 5-4-1.My guess is it will be Tim, Roger, Joey, Jags, Hibbo, Nev,Cars, Peanut, Tiny, Tater and the Yak. Bring in Anichebe late to pressure the manure and don’t let the diving cheat-Ronaldo -get into the box. COYB

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