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

Moyes to step up ? again?

By Greg Murphy :  24/01/2008 :  Comments (63) :
There?s no question now that, six years into his tenure, David Moyes has finally learned how to outwit every Premier League manager ? other than those right at the top of the pile.

When he arrived from Preston, much vaunted though he was, it was obvious that, with no prior Premiership experience, he would need to be given the time (from the Board) and patience (from the fans) to get to grips with a far stiffer test than the ones he?d been used to in Division One (as was). Straight away it was clear that he was already a cannier operator than most of his managerial peers that held Premiership posts back in 2002 (eg, the likes of John Gregory).

Yet, by the same token, it was obvious, as the next few seasons unfolded, that he had some way to go in order to regularly match the guile of even the second tier of ?also ran? Premiership managers and it was perhaps his occasional shortcomings against some of the lesser managers that led to accusations of Moyes being tactically naive (for there?s no question about it, he has made some very curious decisions in many, many games over the last six years, particularly concerning his substitutions).

I?ve always seen these ?deficiencies? as part of Moyes?s learning curve, both as a manager and indeed a man ? he?s still a relatively young bloke when all?s said and done ? and anyway the screw-ups that he has overseen in the last six years have been more than offset by the things that he?s got right and, of course, the bigger picture has undeniably been one of progress ? certainly compared to the Walter years.

Slowly and surely, though, Moyes has worked through the gears as a Premiership manager these last six years and he?s picked-off the majority of his contemporaries to the point where he now seems to have the edge on 75% of them. But, to use a boxing analogy, Moyes has now reached a point where he?s operating as something of a catchweight. For he?s indisputably the leading contender amongst the lesser competitors (for example, he?s a far better manager than the likes of Steve Bruce, in my opinion; a man who I regard as pretty decent at his job but one who?s enjoyed the benefit of many more years in a management than Moyes).

However, David Moyes is not yet a heavyweight.

And the Chelsea tie has just highlighted not only that the club in general, and of course the players, need to take a step-up but also that David Moyes personally does. Because, make no mistake, we effectively blew that tie in the last two minutes at Stamford Bridge. That Lescott own-goal (it was an outrageous foul and should never have stood ? but I?m staying on topic) changed the whole aspect of the second leg. And we should never have allowed ourselves to be in that position. Because, for the second time in recent seasons in an away fixture against one of the ?so-called top four?, Moyes has received a gift from the gods in the shape of a red card being shown to a pivotal midfield opponent.

The first time it happened was at Anfield in 2006 when, at 0-0 after 20 minutes, in a game in which we were shaping up quite well, things suddenly looked very rosy when Steven Gerrard contrived to get himself dismissed.

We had a perfect opportunity to go for Liverpool?s throat that day. Instead, Moyes opted to sit back, play it cautious and (regardless of Phil Neville?s calamitous own goal) simply invited Liverpool onto the front foot and we ended up losing that game 3-1 (and it had nothing to do with the fact that we later ended up with 10 men ourselves). Moyes blew it that day and I think he knew it.

We had pretty much the same scenario at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago when, much later on and with us trailing, Mikel was sent off. Thankfully, unlike at Anfield, Moyes this time sensed there was an opportunity and he duly seized it as Everton stepped up the tempo and we got our equaliser.

Having done so, though, he then let his old cautionary fears creep back into his thinking and he again opted to sit back, which invited Chelsea onto the front foot and hence we were in a backs-to-the-wall situation when SWP barged into Lescott.

And I believe that Moyes, in these situations, is far too mindful of the fact that he is playing a ?big four? club. I?m not saying he?s fazed but I am saying that he seems to be overly conscious of who we?re up against.

Of course, Moyes has had some register of success in outwitting Wenger and Benitez on some very notable occasions... but generally speaking he?s still coming up short more often than not against the likes of Ferguson, Wenger, Mourinho and now Grant (hardly a damning indictment, though).

But, like Moyes finally got the measure of all the other Premiership bosses, I genuinely believe that he will eventually start to chip away at the perceived invincibility of the true managerial heavyweights. He just needs to make that step-up and I think he knows it now. And he?s probably also mindful of the fact that, with Sven, Ramos and Martin O?Neill in the mix, there are a few other managers now that are steadying themselves to leap forward in the next few seasons.

To a large extent, Moyes is not master of his own destiny on this one because it inevitably comes down to resources and personnel (and I believe we had better start bracing ourselves for a hell of a fight this summer to keep Joleon Lescott in a Royal Blue Everton shirt). But there are still some glitches that only Moyes himself can iron out, particularly in key moments like the Gerrard and Mikel examples given above.

I?m confident, though, that Moyes can and will step-up ? for every time he?s needed to do so before in his career he?s achieved his aims, eventually. And he?s unquestionably the right man for the job.

Reader Comments

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 24/01/2008 at 20:47:42

Report abuse

That strikes me as a very accurate assessment, Greg. And I believe your focus is right ? not on the money gulf others are so quick to point up. We all know there?s money gulf, but we are all competing in the same league and the quality of a manger shines through in what he can achieve with the players he has at his disposal ? how he trains and inspires them. That?s what I look to Moyes to do.

Okay, to head off the usual tirade form the Moyes fans who have trouble with this kind of "criticism", please, I beg you, look at this way: it?s a mid-term performance assessment. How well is Moyes doing at his job, and what does he perhaps need to do differently to step us up, as Greg says?

We all know exactly what he has achieved so far, so please avoid repeating all that. We all know abouit the disparities in investment and available money, so let?s not dwell on that either, at least in this thread. And we all know Chelsea nad teh other Big Four sides have better players than we do, so please let?s move beyond that.

Greg has done a good job of kicking this off... please only contribute if you can do so in kind, without spouting abuse or sounding off about "Moyes haters" and any other statements of intolerance. Thank you.
Tony Williams
2   Posted 24/01/2008 at 21:24:52

Report abuse

Michael and Gregg, couldn?t agree more. he can be defensive but I supose that is inbuilt to a professional footballer defender.

He is getting a good C+ so far from me and we and, more importantly, HE knows he can improve and because more adventurous at times, however he is a cautious man and if he goes gung ho on some occasions and we get tonked I can imagine what the papers and moaners would say.

Michael I know there are plenty of Moyes fans who don?t want to hear a bad thing about their manager but you closing statement may be misconstrued by the "Moyes Haters" as a free reign to fill this post with their bile without repercussions.

I am savy enough to know what you meant but others may not. It is a sad state of affairs but we have to be careful with words on an anonymous forum with the invisible hard men lurking at every corner.

Great article Gregg and a balanced one at that.... makes a change from some of the decidedly dodgy ones, for and against, we have had in the last 24 hours.
Sam Morrison
3   Posted 24/01/2008 at 21:20:04

Report abuse

Really, Michael you leave me with nothing to say!

Seriously, I agree this is an excellent piece. In fairness I don?t think anyone has ever said Moyes was perfect, but Greg has distilled exactly how he can get better. What frustrates me sometimes about the criticism is that it seems as if we should win every single game and anything else elicits a string of withering sarcasm about the manager - but Greg has written a thoughtful measured piece I think even the most one-eyed Moyes supporters (and detractors) can agree with.
Michael Kenrick
4   Posted 24/01/2008 at 21:35:12

Report abuse

Thanks for that clarification, Tony, but I have to disagree with your last comments where you seem to value only a very narrow spectrum of opinion on here that meets your apporaval. I think on the whole that the responses in the last 24 hours have neen remarkably sensible (apart form the TV-noise confusion, which has probably sidetracked a lot of the discussion). But most have been prepared to talk about their view of the game, which is what I want to see on here. Whereas you, I?m afraid, are one of the ones who just has to have a go at other contributors in one way or another. I really do wish you?d pack it in.
Paul Price
5   Posted 24/01/2008 at 21:22:55

Report abuse

Very accurately put Greg. I see no sense in these ’Moyes haters’ as Michael says. I, like Greg, forsee a time when Moyes will be breaking through the glass ceiling, so to speak, and really starting to worry the title leaders. And yes it is a question of resources, Will Mikel stay? Will Joleon stay? Will Yak stay?

We’ve already seen Moyes worry Man U twice this season by unfortunately conceding a late goal/penalty. Sir Alex regards him as a top manager in the prem so we as Evertonians should also grant him that same respect.

However, the focus has to remain on the current situation, it’s tight from 4th to 7th and we need every win we can get, with Cahill out for Spurs let’s hope the team will have put last night’s defeat behind them.
David Barks
6   Posted 24/01/2008 at 21:16:20

Report abuse

I think that was a very fair assessment. He’s not the terrible manager some make him out to be, and he is not the perfect manager that others try to say he is. The only way you learn how to win things is by getting the experience. We reached the semi-final and were still in it the entire time, well until 70 minutes into the second leg at least. Spurs went out and got Juande Ramos, a manager who is a proven Cup winner, twice winning the UEFA Cup and twice winning the domestic cup in Spain, because they had the massive amount of money that it takes to get a manager like him. We are trying to do it by giving our manager time to learn how to win things and profit from that patience. But the early exits to teams like Oldham have got to stop after this season. We have been very successful in three out of the four competitions we have entered this season, 4th in the league so far, Semi-Final in Carling Cup, and still in the UEFA Cup last 32. Lets see if he can learn quickly and apply those lessons to the UEFA Cup now.
Sean Rico
7   Posted 24/01/2008 at 21:25:00

Report abuse

Moyes has done a very good job with are club, yes he has made some mistakes and in the future he will make some more. From the team we had last night moyes was very limited with what he could do from the bench, 2 young strikers a 36 year old defender not a great deal.

Michael, how can you say dont speak about money and investment??? sorry to say it mate but only good coaching can take you so far, you have to spead big money to get top players at the club if we really want to bridge that gap thats a FACT.

I thought we really missed the Yak last night, we played well but AJ is just not good enough at linking up, Lescott was top notch again and I have to say jags was outstanding!!
ps: Michael the top four spend more in one season on players than we do in 4 years!!! they are up there for a reason. coyb!!
Kevin Sparke
8   Posted 24/01/2008 at 21:28:43

Report abuse

Wow, you set tight parameters Micheal...

So to defend Moyes you don’t want us to talk about what he as achieved since taking over from Walter Smith... you don’t want a comparative analysis in terms of cash disparity and you don’t want us to mention the fact that the richer the team the better quality the player and the fact we are competing on a very uneaven playing field....

Just on Moyes the manager.... He’s got us playing half decent football for half of the time... a tad cautious at times... tactically astute at times... at times not so.

On balance and bearing in mind we’re still in Europe and won quite a lot of games this season, the team’s playing better football than it has for a long time, we’re starting to develop strength in depth.... and we’ve done it on a tight budget, there is a fantastic team spirit...

On the negative side Sunderland apart we don’t go at team’s throats enough and this season we’ve not got the measure of the top 3 (we should have murdered Liverpool, so i’ll not count them

On balance he’ll do for me

Peter Bourke
9   Posted 24/01/2008 at 21:28:11

Report abuse

I tend to agree.
I like Moyes and i believe he is the best man for the job. he brings stability to our club when those around us are faltering. like all of us, i?m sure there are areas of our working and personal lives that can be improved upon. I?m sure he knows the areas he can improve on. My honest assessment of DM at this stage of the season is that he is doing better than i expected and he has so far been the victim of his own and his supporters high standards. 8 out of 10 IMO at this stage and if we win UEFA that will certainly become 10 out of 10 regardless of where we finish in the premiership. I feel we are on the verge of something special and i believe we are heading in the right direction under the stewardship of DM.
But as the saying goes;
"even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there"
Keep moving Davey, you are on the right track.
Neil Pearse
10   Posted 24/01/2008 at 21:34:18

Report abuse

Very fair assessment, and good comments from Michael and Tony. Moyes is by no means the finished article, but I do think now that he is only consistently ’failing’ against the very top teams.

Two things are true of the top teams that Moyes does not seem yet to know how to crack. The first is that the top teams make VERY few defensive mistakes. The second that they break out of defence VERY quickly and can always get you on the counter-attack. I think Moyes knows that he really needs to commit more offensive players to break down the top clubs; but he is rightly worried about them hitting us on the break.

Personally I think that Moyes does err on the side of too much caution, though I think that the claim that these teams are sometimes ’there for the taking’ and we should ’just go for it’ is generally pretty wide of the mark. We can never know that if Moyes was less cautious we wouldn’t be losing more heavily.

I wish I knew the answer! My guess would be that it lies in having a super fit, super talented midfield who provide both creativity and defensive solidity. In Manny, Arteta, and Pienaar we may now at last have three players of that quality. I think we need at least one more who particularly has very strong defensive qualities (Carsley is good enough against most sides, but not the top three; and frankly Osman and Cahill are luxuries against sides of the calibre of Chelsea).
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
11   Posted 24/01/2008 at 22:14:01

Report abuse

Sorry to go against my esteemed colleague but in order to discuss our current situation and where we go from here, you have to talk about the disparity in resources because that, ultimately, is the glass what the celiling is made of.

Moyes may reach the peak of his managerial power at some point sooner or later but he?ll only ever be able to go as far as the personnel at his disposal allow. If, for example, there is no one capable of opening up the opposition when Mikel Arteta is marked out the game or if the only way the 4-1-4-1 formation works is when someone of Pienaar?s energy and ability is in the side, then you don?t have the players to challenge week in, week out.

In the likes of Wright-Phillips, Kalou, Cole, and Malouda, Chelsea have four of the kind of players who could immediately give us real alternatives ? particularly speed ? going forward. Clearly, we?ve started playing better football this season but only in fits and starts but you need players who are comfortable enough on the ball and quick enough in thought to make a rapid passing game work. As industrious and commendable for their spirit as Neville, Hibbert, Carsley, etc are, they?re not in that category. And to get players who are to provide the depth of squad we need would cost much more money than we have right now. That, for me, is the crux of it and I don?t see how you can expand on Greg?s analysis without focusing on the financial side.

David Barks
12   Posted 24/01/2008 at 22:36:26

Report abuse

Well said Lyndon, I completely agree with you. Take the greatest chef in the world and give him spoiled ingredients and he will not be able to make a world class dish. Finances are a huge part of the game, you can’t just eliminate it from the discussion. The "Big 4" are the 4 teams who spend the most on players, it’s no coincidence. The fact that we have the chance to break into the Champions League for the second time in 4 years with our resources, with the much higher level of competition in the league, says a massive amount about what Moyes is doing right. But then he makes mistakes and we lose games like we did against Oldham, that also says something about Moyes. But the positives far outweigh the negatives in the case of Moyes as manager of Everton Football Club.
Michael Kenrick
13   Posted 24/01/2008 at 22:16:14

Report abuse

Sean & Lyndon, the money situation is what it is, no question. But if you were Moyes, would you be bleating about it every day? Or would you accept (as he has) that we don?t have the money others might but we do have a set of players he has chosen, and he has taken on the task of challenging the top teams with the players who are now at the club.

So I?m empathising with Moyes here; How does he step it up? It is not going to be with more money, so please just forget that whole thing. And if it really is so big for you that you can?t get it out of prime focus, then I really have to ask, what is the point of playing the games? If you go into them telling yourselves that they are all better players, they all have more money...etc... please tell me, what is the point? On the 1 in 10 off-chance that you might beat them this time?

Is that really what we are reduced to??? NO! I believe it?s about training, motivating and inspiring the players you have.

And that?s where I believe the emphasis on defence has now run its course. Moyes has to embrace better forms of attack if we are to step up to the next level. That means training the current players to use the ball better, move it forward with pace and accuracy.

A big ask, I know, after years of defensive bloody hoofball... But don?t tell me these players can?t do it because I know they can. I?ve seen ?em do it. And if Moyes really is a wonderful manager, then he is the one who can make ?em do it consistently. Money does not come into it.
Greg Murphy
14   Posted 24/01/2008 at 22:40:35

Report abuse

Developing that last point of Lyndon’s: well it’s like the old argument concerning Mourinho/Abramovich/ Chelsea "buying" the league. On one hand it is true that Abramovich bank-rolled a title winning team. But at the same time, no matter how much money he spent or how many players he bought, Mourinho still had to manage them and know how to knit it all together. Consider, for example, how much money Newcastle have lashed up the wall in the last decade but have still just ended up with an aimless mish-mash of previously proven talents.

Indeed there’s also a manager not too far from here who’s had mountains more cash to spend than Moyes but, even having recruited undoubtedly supreme talents like Torres (sorry, but he is class) the clown still hasn’t any idea of his best formation.

So yeah, Moyes does obviously require finance in order to step-up. At the same time, though, he’s got to move up a gear in his own personal development.

Arthur jones
15   Posted 24/01/2008 at 22:38:14

Report abuse

All I can add , for all it’s worth , is I think David Moyes and Everton both came around for each other at the right time , Everton were in need of a boss who in the short term could halt the slide into the championship and long term was young enough and clever enough to know what was needed to rebuild a " sleeping giant " without the massive financial backing available to the ’ top 4 ’ . In return , Everton gave him the time and support rarely offered to current managers and eventually some money to spend (Rooney?) and ultimately they are now signing his better players on long term contracts which is a major benefit . As has been said , this is a work in progress and I honestly think that no other manager would have or could have revived Everton to the extent that David Moyes has .
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
16   Posted 24/01/2008 at 22:47:51

Report abuse

Michael: How does he step it up? ...If [the money issue] really is so big for you that you can?t get it out of prime focus, then I really have to ask, what is the point of playing the games?

I must admit that in the pain of last night?s game I did find myself asking, "what?s the fucking point?" I mean if it?s got to the point where a team accurately described by Martin Samuel as "pound-for-pound" the best team in the top flight is so easily stopped by a team with such resources at its disposal that the loss of seven top-class players hasn?t stopped them winning 7 games on the bounce, then you wonder at some point what the solution is other than money.

Having said that, I do take your point about being more attack-minded and I believe we have been when we?ve had our best XI ? or very close to it ? on the pitch. If you look at the likes of Boro who regularly seem to beat the top four sides at home or Bolton who took the game to Manchester United at Old Trafford and won (whenever that was, two seasons ago?) then there?s something to be said for going out and giving it a right go.

The problem from where I sit is that kind of plucky, motivation- and spirit-fuelled attitude can?t be sustained across a full season and can?t always be relied upon to get you past the best teams. You need genuine quality throughout the ranks and in more depth than we currently have. As David Barks points out, it is no coincidence that the top teams finish in the top positions year in, year out because they have the most money. Put Avram Grant in charge at Goodison and let?s see where his team ends up, eh?

Greg: "Consider, for example, how much money Newcastle have lashed up the wall in the last decade but have still just ended up with an aimless mish-mash of previously proven talents."

And that's where I think we have the leg up. We have David Moyes who has developed a keen eye for a good signing, has now proven his status as a good manager, will continue to improve, although his powers will be finite, and will, I hope, continue to refine the playing style of his team. I just fear that his best won't be enough to compete with clubs who can splash £20m-odd on a world-class player without blinking.

Tony Williams
17   Posted 24/01/2008 at 22:45:21

Report abuse

Sorry Michael you have lost me there. How am I having a go at Greg by saying "Great article Greg and a balanced one at that" ? or agreeing with the first two posts?

Granted I may seem intolerent to certain viewpoints, mainly the "Moyes is crap, has no bottle etc etc" and I am entitled to my view the same as everyone else, free speech and all that or am I wrong in that thought.

I thought it was great piece but then you suggest that we have parameters to which we can use to discuss Moyes, as a whole. I haven’t noted such restraints on the anti-Moyes threads.

I see that some others agree with me aswell, even in ths thread, so I am afraid I can’t "pack in" my views.
Kevin Mitchell
18   Posted 24/01/2008 at 22:43:16

Report abuse

I believe were 2 maybe 3 players short of challenging the top three, but 2 of these need to be quality midfielders.
Most games are won in midfield but we just don’t have the players in there.
I can’t fault the efforts of Carsley and osman but we need something more in quality. I know this might not go down well but I thought cahill should have come off for vaughne or anichabie as he is not effective enough in a four man midfield. I wish Moysie would be braver at times like last night.
Tony Williams
19   Posted 24/01/2008 at 23:11:14

Report abuse

Completely agree Kevin, the problem now is sorting out the midfield and getting the best combination in there and the right players.

Moyes has a difficult dilema in that Cahill is such a good influence in the team and scores goals that it must be so easy to say, "Fook it, lets keep with the 4-5-1, as it is working" but if we are to "step up" we really need to get a stronger midfield that is able to play a 4-4-2 against the "Sky $" without having to worry about them being overrun.

I haven’t the first clue who could fill that 4 in the middle successfully, thank God I am not a manager.
Peter Bourke
20   Posted 24/01/2008 at 22:59:24

Report abuse

I agree Lyndon.
Especially with your last comment on Avram Grant.
We just have to be patient and continue to improve as we are.
Tony Williams
21   Posted 24/01/2008 at 23:19:23

Report abuse

That was one of the gutting thing about this semi-final saga.

They lose their best striker to the ACoN, like us but they then just go and spend £15m on a possible reserve replacement for him.
Paul McCann
22   Posted 24/01/2008 at 23:24:59

Report abuse

Excellent article Greg, really well balanced.

It?s pretty obvious [to me anyway] that we are not far away from taking points off the Top 3 on a regular basis. I think that it is a matter of time, and belief [from both Moyes and the players]. The problem may be how much time. As Greg aluded to in his post, the clubs sucess will attracts those with deeper pockets than ourselves, who will try and prise away out best players. I think that we may have a problem keeping several of our better players in the summer, particularly Lescott, Arteta and Yakubu [assuming he keeps scoring]. It is therefore imperitive that we claim that fouth spot, as the promise of European Cup football should be enough to keep those vultures at bay. My fear would be that if we fail to finish fourth, some of those vital palyers may choose to leave. I hope they aren?t faced with that choice.

By the way Michael and Lyndon, when can we start the great stadium debate again?

Only joking.
Dick Fearon
23   Posted 24/01/2008 at 23:47:38

Report abuse

I partly am in agreement with every contributor on this subject and congratulate everyone upon their obvious concern and thoughts.
All my befuddled scattered thoughts are encapsulated in the sum total input.
Karl Masters
24   Posted 24/01/2008 at 23:31:06

Report abuse

I like David Moyes and believe in him. However, nobody in any job should ever believe they cannot improve. I’m sure Moyesie has learnt an incredible amount i the last 6 years, but there is still room for more improvement.


Tactics. He nearly got it right last night. He didn’t go mad and looked for the 1-0, but at half time it clearly needed ramping up with another forward. Vic was warming up when Cole scored so it was too late by the time he was on. Timing of substitutions and tactical changes needs sharpening up.

Forward play. As a former defender himself I truly believe that Moyes will believe that this is the most important part of the team. And, of course, a sound defence is the basis of success. Over the last 2 or 3 seasons we have stopped grinding out 1-0’s and begun winning games decisively as witnessed by our big improvement in goal difference. However, I think that we need some specialist coaching in forward play. Ilook at Spurs and their fluid forwards and I also see Mr 49 goals in a season ( 86/7 ) Clve Allen is part of the Coaching staff.Is this just coincidence? I doubt it. Now Irvine has left, I believe that void should be filled by a coach with expertise in forward play. I’ve mentioned Peter Beardsley in the past for this role, but with KK back in the North East he’ll now be unavailable. However, I’d wager that there’s somebody like this on the continent, probably Dutch or maybe Spanish who could come in. Can Moyesie embrace somebody like this?

Finally, I love our midget gems in midfield, but I firmly believe an Enforcer, box to box athlete who can dominate games is required. Somebody who will be adept at breaking from defence and counter attacking with pace and power.No easy task to find one, but find one we must and again I’d look abroad with perhaps an Argentine or African being the answer.

Moyesie gets an 8 out of 10 so far, and considering what he inherited he’s done wonders. However, he said it himself that we have o take another step up. I believe he will do it. IMWT
Paul Coldock
25   Posted 25/01/2008 at 02:33:23

Report abuse

I think it is a sign of how much we have progressed latley that we are having these ?progressing to the next step? discussions.

I also think that, given the current climate, money is going to be crucial to any future Everton sucess. If Everton fail to qualify for Europe and bring in income, we are unable to buy new (quality) players. We therefore stagnate.

Sorry, getting back to the original post; I believe that Moyes is the right person to take us forward. I think that the key now is for Moyes to recruit a capable Assistant Manager that can not only help the club, but himself move forward.

Moyes has come far, but he still has much further to go. I think that some squad depth would also go along way. With both Hibbert and Cahill suspended for our next match, where is the cover going to come from?

DM has known about the ANC for along time, and has had the power to do somthing about it. These next two months (or however long the tournement lasts) are going to be a testing time for him.
Clyde McPhatter
26   Posted 25/01/2008 at 02:47:28

Report abuse

I haven?t a lot of time tonight and I only scanned the responses, but the intial article has a sentence in it that is my GREATEST fear....what happens to Everton when someone (and it doesnt even have to be someone above us in the table right now) comes to get our best players? Lescott is having a fantastic year. He is not invisible to the other clubs. How about Mikey, Pinnear, etc. Yobo too. We are very vulnerable to that occuring, and we can?t stop it. That will stop the progress we have made under Moyes. Everything goes right out the front door if we can?t keep the players who are important to us. Someone will come for Lescott this summer. Don?t know who it will be, but let?s not be surprised.
Ash Passmore
27   Posted 25/01/2008 at 04:00:38

Report abuse

I have been in NZ for a time now and don’t get to see much of the football here so I can’t honestly comment on the style of football that is being played under DM. What I do know is that for the past couple of seasons instead of trying to work out who we had beat and who had to lose for Everton to be safe for one more season, I am now trying to work out how we get to the CL places.

How long did it take Alex Ferguson to turn MU around with the finacial backing he had. I am not sure but I am sure that we are going the right way about thing - shrewd buys with the odd donkey, a new ground, cash! We may not agree with the playing style on occaisions or the players that are involved but the results keep coming and we move on. He can’t have been lucky with all the good buys or the results so he must have some skill and the advantage we have on most is that he is younger, motivated to learn and committed to best interests of the club.

I like most when he came to the club wondered whether this unknown was the right choice, now I am really glad that the board had the bottle to bring him. It can only get better.

One last thing - don’t get anoyed by what these foriegn managers say about us they just don’t know any better.
Michael Hunt
28   Posted 25/01/2008 at 05:22:50

Report abuse

FANTASTIC debate! Right on the money. I believe you have identified a key ’problem’ and I believe I have the solution! Most importantly though I believe Moyes knows the solution too.
Basically; at times in games Moyes is too defensive both in mindset and tactics on the field, which has been our undoing against the big three/four. This is partly down to his personnel and success in season 2004/5 playing 5 in the middle. 4-4-2 gives more attacking ammunition (and as ManU prove, attack can be best form of defence because it puts the opposition on the defensive themselves). Problem is, our first team is missing one key powerful, dynamic, all action key player in centre midfield. The solution is to buy one. Carsley is not going to go on forever and his aging legs work best as anchor in a 5 man midfield. If the money is not there, Moyes will have to make hard decisions to raise it. Personally, as I see Cahill is best in a five and believe AJ inferior to Yak and Vaughan (but way more vaulable than Vic). Accordingly I would sell AJ or Cahill (or both) and get in someone in the mould of Appiah (even a very cheeky and ambitious bid for Steven Gerrard may prove worthwhile while turmoil reigns across the park!) plus other quality squad depth. The likes of Arshavin would do me too. If Moyes can unearth a young gem for reasonable money e.g. arising from AFCoN as the key central midfield addition then even better. This way, we could have the new guy (who’d need to be VERY good of course) and Fernandes in the centre, with Pienaar and Arteta on the left and right of midfield. My first team (with all fit) would be:


Arteta--(e.g. Appiah)-Fernandes---Pienaar


I believe such a line up would be naturally more attacking and even the big four would not pin us back as there is too much ball playing skill, movement, physical presence and pace, ower and just QUALITY and knowhow all over the park.
sean condon
29   Posted 25/01/2008 at 05:51:45

Report abuse

I would imagine that a majority of Blues would agree that Moyes cocked it up tactically last night. I certainly thought so.
And somebody mentioned the derby when Gerrard got sent off and PN scored one of the most inept own goals you’ll ever see (he did that last year against Utd -hold on, that one was much worse...). I remember screaming at Moyes through the tv that morning. So what.
He is also prone to a particular passivity with regards to substitutions, especially in asshole clenchers like last night or, really, any match against the big three. Spurs, home, last season springs rapidly to mind, as well.

I don’t care. I’m not his assistant. What I do care about, however, is the amount of pleasure EFC have given me over the past five years. A sense of restored pride in our great, if at times,utterly goddamned clueless (board and pitch) club. And genuine reason for optimism that the best is yet to come.
I believe that the serious upturn in fortune is almost completely down to one bug-eyed Scot. Yeah, ’Tactically Naive" may be in danger of becoming his nickname, but he’s got an awful lot spot on in his time at GP.

You cannot have a big 3 (+ Pinkies) vs Everton (or the rest) argument without bringing $$$ into it. The disparity in relative operating budgets is so fucking grotesque that some of Everton/Moyes’ (modest) achievements clearly label the man as head and shoulders above the vast majority of his peers.
Jason Lam
30   Posted 25/01/2008 at 06:15:31

Report abuse

We were seperated by a goal of Joe Cole’s class. We were stopped from scoring by Petr Cech’s class.

Can anyone name a current Everton player that can reproduce the above by training and fitness alone? I can’t.
Erik Dols
31   Posted 25/01/2008 at 06:19:54

Report abuse

Even if it takes Moyes another five years to step up to the next level, I hope he will get the time to do so. Why? Because I don’t believe we would be able to get a better manager than him.

Certainly in the light of the events at Spurs earlier this season (although Ramos seems to be a great replacement of Jol) and the events at Newcastle every year or so, I think we can be glad our board gives the current staff time to build and time to learn. I do not agree with Kenwright and certainly not with Wyness on a lot of points, but cheers to them for believing in Davey!

As long as I have the idea that Moyes keeps improving, how slowly it may be, and as long as he seems to have the will, the craftsmanship to challenge for better football and silverware, I’d rather have him than a new manager each season.
Tommy Jones
32   Posted 25/01/2008 at 06:14:55

Report abuse

Hi Guys. I met Davey Moyes and the rest of the team when they were in Salt Lake City last July and it was a pleasure to talk with him and the lads.

I don?t think we can compare any manager to another without looking at the resources they have at hand and in this respect Davey Moyes is dealing with a major disadvantage namely The Dosh-A-Mundos (Sorry Mike) compared to the proverbial top four clubs.

There is no question in my mind that David Moyes is an outstanding leader and builder of synergy between players. Just look at the performances he is getting out of the squad these days. In my mind he has made a silk purse out of a sows ear?and he?s not done yet!

He?s made some cracking signings and has been able to foster that Je ne sais quoi and get the most out of what we have and he is the best thing to happen to us in ages.

I can?t say enough about the man.

Yet on Wednesday, in business terms, we watched our 250 million play against their bazillion quid.

Remember, they went out and signed Anelka for 15 mil just before the semi while we signed?erm?nobody but crafty Dave got Fernandez on loan?on the cheap like.

Imagine what he could do if he had the cash that Chelski has.

Your thoughts?
Jason Lam
33   Posted 25/01/2008 at 06:57:34

Report abuse

Hold on, my bad, we’re supposed to discuss ways in which Moyes can improve the current squad without adding to it. To be fair, can someone name a leading example to which Moyes should look up to, in the history of club football? Sir Alex had his bunch of babes but they didn’t become champions without one certain Eric Cantona. Back in the 80s a certain Maradona did lead a bunch of buffoons to the championship at Napoli. But there was a world record transfer (at that time) to do it. It’s about buying the quality players. What is the chance that a single academy at a single snap-shot in time will produce 11 players at 11 different positions and good enough to win the Premier League, by training, fitness and motivation alone?

Ok, let’s add in -some- money. Any chance Moyes will manifest in the next 5 years into Wenger where he can pick up gems and turn them into multi-million profits? And win the championship along the way?

As long as we’re on this level of funds, yes, Moyes is the man. I think Wenger is happy at Arse. But 4th and semi-finals are as far as we’ll get. A winner in the 2nd tier league (esp with the likes of RS, Toon, Spurs, Villa).
David Chait
34   Posted 25/01/2008 at 06:57:27

Report abuse

The question at hand really is what can Moyes do to bridge the gap without winning the investor lotto....

Many have mentioned it and I want to reinforce it: It was staring at us and shown to the world on Wednsday night. The Everton that pitched up on Wednesday was the Everton of the last few seasons - trying to beat Chelsea whilst chasing a game - using the dogs of war tactic. In this Lyndon nailed it. I ws tearing my hair out watching the midfiield (except Manual and Mikel) and backline pushing the ball a foot, looking up for a pass, pushing it again, looking up, basically shrugging and then hooofing it to AJ to outhead Alex or make him charge for the corner. It was without invention and very pedestrian.

That is not the football that will make the top teams uncomfortable at all. the argument is we had players missing - yes but Pienaar was the only one in midfield where the passing has been great and he was replaced by the needle threading abilities of Fernandes. So if we need to change tactics do we have the players. In the main I believe yes, but for all their good work some were found out badly.

Carsley and Osman are superb players -for a top 8 team. Carsley has been magnificant in breaking up attacks, but then as shown v Chelsea that is where it ended. The step up requires good distribution from the back and Carsley is effectively a 5th defender. I feel it is time to trust the back 4 a bit more and allow a Fernandes to take that role. What you get in terms of distribution more than covers the 20% you losing in covering abilty.

The game is much about possession against the top 3 and we spent the whole game giving it away. We need to trust more the players that can give us those traits - we have them already.
Christine Foster
35   Posted 25/01/2008 at 07:06:11

Report abuse

I think it was an excellent analysis and a good rider made by Lyndon. Money can buy quality players but Moyes must pick the right calibre of player to make a team.
That said, he is shrewd but definitely operating in the realm of up and coming rather than well established stars. For every top quality player we have, Chelsea, MU Liverpool and Arsenal have 3. We consistently have to have all our players on top form to compete well. Its to Moyes credit that so far this season we have played well more times than not with a better squad than past season but still short of depth and quality in comparison to above. If injuries and suspensions hit us we struggle. Whereas the others manage.

But one other point is the psychology of the game. Lot at approaches, Keegan ( who will never make a great manager btw) was a forward and his thinking has always been to attack. That was a hallmark of his managerial methods. Moyes was a centre half. Risk averse. Cautious Scot. He gambles with his head and not his heart. Sometimes your gut tells you that to win you have to take chances and risk We aren’t good enough to sit back against top teams but we are good enough to cause them problems going forward. There have been times this season when we have buckled under pressure when change (subs) may have relieved the pressure. Its a flaw that David needs to come to terms with and remember that its hard to attack when you have to defend.

36   Posted 25/01/2008 at 07:12:50

Report abuse

Great article Greg, agreed with everything you said, i slightly diversivy a bit, i think the recent statements being attributed to Mr Moyes ( i intend to make Everton into a regular top 4 side) excites me. Now to do this will take a monumental effort, on his behalf,, because as we well know we have the main protaganists and we also have Aston V, Spurs, Man C, and proberly Newcastle. all coming up on the rails, and ironically all with sack loads of cash. this brings me to the point of the article, Money, because for me and a lot of Evertonians that is what will bring Moyes onto the next level. So back to his statement, as i see it. this puts the board under a lot of pressure, pressure i agree they should be under. Because he is basically stating that we are nearly there, but have to take the next step and STAY THEIR. He has good managerial skills what he needs is money, but money on a regular bases, we have seen in in our past when we have reached the pinicle we have capitulated spectacally, Cattricks side Kendalls side, because it appeared that the club would not keep investing in the playing staff, as all succesfull clubs do, so i wait with intrepidation to see which way the club wants to move, stay a neat and tidy team, placed respectadly in anything from 7th to 12th, or decide we have the manager we have the fans lets take the next step and go for it,......sorrry for side tracking Greg.
Chris James
37   Posted 25/01/2008 at 07:51:25

Report abuse

I have to say whilst I fully admit the pro and anti-Moyes remarks are both far too polarised, the whole generalised concept about not knowing how to take on the big 4 is fundamentally flawed.
If we’re going to have this discussion, let’s talk specifics, eh.

This season in the league we have quite frankly been robbed by Liverpool and Clattenburg in a game we deserved a least a draw. We held Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, only very narrowly lost to Man Utd on two occasions due to player error (i.e. didn’t pick up Vidic for corner and then Pienaar’s moment of madness in the box) and were in control against Arsenal until our defence went to sleep 3 times and threw it away.

The absolute clearest difference between the sides in virtually all of those games was one of player quality.

Man Utd’s attack is an expensively assembled who’s who of world class playmakers and finishers masterfully merged into a championship winning defensive nucleus that has been honed over many years. Their players are not among the very best in their positions, they also have the experience of winning, are in red hot form and have a genuinely world class manager (which I will admit Moyes is nowhere near yet).
If anyone here really believes that we should do anything but play a very tight game against them to hold out for a draw or nick a goal on the counter ten quite frankly they’ve been playing too much FM. Personally I think Moyes tactics were spot on, certainly in the second game.

Much of the above goes for Arsenal too, although I believe they have far more weaknesses in defence, have fewer world class attacking players that can win on their own and can be frustrated. To his credit I think Moyes did send the team out to have a go at Goodison.
We had a go and were in control, then then they started playing route one in slippery conditions, got a couple of lucky breaks and our defence capitulated. What would a better managed than Moyes do there?

Chelsea is obviously the most poinient and probably controversial one here as I genuinely did think we had a chance against them considering the players out/at ANC. However it can’t be forgotten that their squad was built on the premise of at least 2 world class players in every position, so they had arguably the world’s best keeper behind a team of top class professionals most of whom have won trophies and the ones that aren’t regular starters in the team that recently won the league twice are playing for their place.
The other thing about Chelsea is that unlike the Arse, they are scrappers and grind out results by main themselves difficult t beat. In many ways their style is very similar to how we’ve played, chasing down every ball, strong focus on defence and crowding midfield, etc, albeit with a roster of players that is at least 1 tier above many of our own. The fact we are looking to sign their fourth choice holding midfielder (and I agree Sidwell would be a good signing) speaks volumes.
The reason we came away from Stamford Bridge without a result (and a draw would have been a good result) wasn’t tactical failings in my eyes it was a last minute defensive fuck up. At home we were without this season’s talismanic scorer, with a midfield that was coming back together (Fernandes not played for x months, Osman only just easing in, no Pieenar, etc) and lacking our best striker (whilst I love the way AJ runs his socks off for the club and think he deserves a run in the side, as an instinctive finisher he’s not in the same class as a the Yak). Admittedly Chelsea were missing Drog too, but unlike them we can’t go out and spend £15M on another world class striker in the window. Is that Moyes fault?

I’m not even going to start with Liverpool here as I think we can/could have beat them and have every chance of doing so again (despite the fact they have spent about the same or more than Man Utd every year for the last 5), but the point I’m trying to make is that you simply can’t ignore issues about player quality in these discussions. Where the playing field is more even (and even then it’s often tilted against us financially) we’ve done exceptionally well, but against Chelsea, Man U and Arsenal we (together with the rest of the league) have to face the fact that right now we’re constantly running up hill and simply do not have the resources to outplay them.
Jason Lam
38   Posted 25/01/2008 at 08:51:42

Report abuse

Bloody hell this thread is amazing.

I’ll just luv it, I mean really luv it, if the RS fucks themselves up and loses their God-given top 4 place. It’ll be great if Everton takes it (no guarantee, still loads of points to play for) but even for City, Villa, Blackburn, Pompey it’ll be great for the Premiership. I hope it deals a fatal blow to the RS (not because I hate them) for the overall health of this league. Their amount of spending should have cemented 4th (at least) by now and I must admit (opening myself to stoning here) that the 4th is possible to us all due to their vulnerability, well, cock up.

Then, we’ll have the top3 to contend with. I’ll just luv it, no, really really luv it, if Abramovich gets fed up, the Glazers fuck up, or the Emirates blow up. Then we’ll be able to win the championship. Well..
Mark Murphy
39   Posted 25/01/2008 at 08:45:40

Report abuse

I believe Moyes IS the man to BUILD us a title challenging team regardless of the money available or not and is THE reason that right now I am more proud of Everton than I would be if we had a sudden injection of cash from a foreign speculator.
Much is said about the ability of the "big clubs" to be able to buy these high priced big names but these players were not born £20m players. They learned their trade moving up the ladder. Moyes is getting together a team of players that will all individually in the near future be attracting these "big clubs" and Moyes problem will be in keeping hold of them, but nevertheless, big players they will be so why would we need to have millions to go and buy others? I concede on Hibbert, Neville & Carsley but most of the team that played Chelski the other night would fit into any other prem side and I truly believe that Cahill, Arteta, Yobo, Lescott & possibly AJ ,Yakubu & Baines, would all get into any of the top four teams. Added to these potentials like Vaughan, Anichebe, Rodwell, Gosling & Baxter and I really think that Moyes is by a country mile the best challenger to the money club and as long as we have him we have a realistic chance of winning some silverware soon.
Aplogies if I missed out some names above, but I?m not sure yet of Fernandes & though I think Pienaar is great I cant really see him playing for a "better" team than us.

Its taken me two days to get back to optimistic mode as the other night I saw the stark facts that, as Moyes rightly said,we are just missing that extra something to cross the top three thresh-hold. In the 80?s that extra something was Peter Reid (with apologies to Andy Gray) and while I dont think its that easy this time round I dont think we will need to splash millions of rubles, dinar or euros to get there.
We are truly, in my opinion, an established top six side at last. Top 3 is on the horizon.

And this from an - until recently - Moyes sceptic!

I love being a Blue!
mick hoban
40   Posted 25/01/2008 at 08:55:55

Report abuse

I’m 44, have been going to Goodison since 1980 and Moyes is doing ok by me. Everyone would like progress quicker but I understand the constraints he has to work to so I’m prepared to cut him a little slack.
However there’s 3 things he could do for me which would stop me being so frustrated at times and they’re not major things.
Firstly, fine every player who fires a ball up front to AJs head. I was made up to hear Erikson say after our game with City that he wondered why his team had resorted to the long ball as it was banned in training. When will players get it through their thick skulls that these balls NEVER work ? AJ can’t compete in the air and jumps only to try and put off the 6+ footer behind him. It’s all pointless and gifts possesion back to the opposition. The semi-final this week was awful for this.
Secondly, and linked to the first, ban Howard from passing to AJ, ever. For the same reasons as above but it’s even more noticeable when the Yak is playing alongside AJ, the bastard still fires it to AJs head and not the Yak’s.
Lastly, and most importantly - Stop bringing everybody back for a corner !!! My biggest single gripe. Yes, bring the big lads back but, come on, what are Ossie and AJ going to achieve ? Leave them on the half way line for the booted clearance, which at the moment comes straight back.
Not huge things. I’m no coach but I believe the above points to be valid. They’d stop me grinding my teeth anyway !
Here’s to a successful second half of the league and a trip to Eastlands in May. COYB.
Mark Mccann
41   Posted 25/01/2008 at 09:17:25

Report abuse

To the boys who dont want Moyes.
Let me ask you this...
who else? If not Moyes .... simple i know.. but an answer would be nice..
Brian Noble
42   Posted 25/01/2008 at 09:02:40

Report abuse

Sorry to invade the Moyes Kissing Club but Greg’s article is factually incorrect.It claims that Steve Bruce’has many more years of experience as a manager’and paints Moyes as a kind of apprentice at the job.In fact,he started his managial role at Preston in January 1998-six months before Bruce got his first top job at Sheffield Unt.In all he has managed 498 games to Bruce’s 425!
I have no doubt that Everton have benefited by giving the Scot time and he is obviously a far better manager now than when he arrived.But is that not to be expected?A ten year learning curve is pedestrian to say the least-who amongst us has been given that length of time to perfect our job?
It is the pace at which the man learns-or more accurately doesn’t- that upsets me.In contest with the so called ’Big Boys’,he constantly paints his team as the underdogs thus subscribing to the much hated Rafa’s view that we are a small club.
Secondly, I see NO evidence that his tactical acumen in these matches has improved at all.Love him or hate him,’The Special One’(with far shorter experience) would not hesitate to tweak the Chelsea personnel within the first half hour whilst Moyes seems to hold the 70th minute sacred!It’s as though he’s afraid to say I got it wrong rather that moving quickly to put it right.
Now, don’t get me wrong-I do think the man is probably as good as we are going to get given the rubbish employed by most Premier clubs.But what I don’t see is any prospect of us breaking into the big time with Moyes.He’s still a rabbit caught in the headlights when playing Man U.,Chelsea,Arsenal and RS.Perhaps we should accept that as a fact of life and just enjoy beating the Sunderlands and Derbys for fun!
Greg Murphy
43   Posted 25/01/2008 at 09:38:49

Report abuse

Brian Noble - quite right, should have checked that before I submitted. It just seems that Bruce has been around longer (probably more a reflection on the ship-jumping nature of his early managerial career).

In truth I just plucked Bruce out randomly but could easily have said Curbishley, Coppell or Redknapp all of whom are great bosses. Just that Moyes is better and provably so in my view.

In fact, though, your correct assertion that Bruce is actually a direct contemporary of Moyes only serves to further underline the substantive point I was making: that our man has run a better race over the last decade given that they both heard the starting pistol within six months of each other.

Similarly, the disparity in terms of games managed is also testimony to Moyes’ steadier progression over the last decade in which he has been fully employed for the whole of that time, whereas Bruce has had a meaty spell of several months out of the game (and other spells lasting a few weeks here and there whilst he was club-hopping around early doors).

As I said, though, I do rate Bruce highly as a manager. But would I ever want him at Everton? Not a chance.
Michael Hunt
44   Posted 25/01/2008 at 09:53:03

Report abuse

Brian, Your comment re Moyes appearing like a rabbit in the headlights when facing top3/4 is unfair and incorrect in my view. He went for it against Arsenal in December and it was working until rare individual errors threw the match for us. Stuffing Liverpool 3-0 last season is another example (though there are others). To add weight to my point, I think we have to understand reality i.e. we lack the required strength to go like for like in playing 4 (not 5) across the midfield. This problem means we play five which, against the top teams, means we are on the back foot effectively trying to nick the game rather than comprehensively outplay them. To go toe to toe with them I feel we are missing an Appiah/Gerrard type midfielder. With that I think Moyes would have the ammunition to match them, and then beat them. However, given the lack of physical strength if we play 4 in midfield Moyes knows we are likely to be outmuscled and possibly overrun. Manny needs to step up to be the 90 minute all action midfield dynamo he promises to be. Pienaar and Arteta are good enough, but I fear Cahill is too old to improve enough in his tackling and distribution. Ossie, Cars etc. give depth to the squad but we probably need more strength and depth to really mix it with those currently ahead of us in the table on a sustainable basis (especially when injuries bite).
Paul Lenehan
45   Posted 25/01/2008 at 10:16:28

Report abuse

Excellant article Gregg. I think this is proof that the majority of people don’t have a problem with crticism of Moyes when it is constructive and reasoned and not the diatribe we were subjected to after the first Chelsea game.

There is no doubt Moyes will look back on this season and see mistakes made. But I am confident that at the end of the season he will have got an awful lot more right than wrong. I think the experiences to date can only help Moyes and the players to improve further. It is foolish to try and compare Moyes with Ferguson or Wenger as they are top of the tree and Moyes is still clearly learning (he’s only 44).

My worry is that even with the best manager in world at Goodison the financial gulf between us and the top is so great we will always be facing an uphill battle. We missed Yak big time, Chelsea missed Drogba big time and so bought Anelka and while tactical naivety from Moyes may well have played a role in our cup exit, im convinced the biggest factor in causing the gulf is finances. Although I accept it may not be the only factor.
Alan Codd
46   Posted 25/01/2008 at 10:58:25

Report abuse

Couldnt agree more
I find that as a team for a long time we have always failed to go for the jugular in games and like that ruthless streak(sunderland aside)
Part of our game plan always seems to score a goal and then camp out on our 18 yrd line and invite pressure upon ourselves.
The spurs game we lost at home was a prime example
Mark Perry
47   Posted 25/01/2008 at 11:04:32

Report abuse

Moyes, like Everton is a work in progress. When DM came in to Everton his initial task was to move us to stability in mid-table, change the squad that was dire and build a foundation for the future. He had little money to accomplish this, but he was successful. Within 2 years Everton were a midtable side, the squad had been changed and a foundation was there.

His next task was to get us challanging for europe on a regular basis, and again he has improved the squad and changed the way we play football. This again has been achieved.

Now we are trying to establish ourselves as part of the "Big 5" (as you will never get rid of the RS allas". Which is still in progress. We have players like Pinnaer, Yak and hopefully Fernandes and we have generaly played more attacking attractive football.

Each objective has required a change in personel and tactics which I believe we are seeing here. Moys is still a bit to defensive at times such as the game against Spurs at home, Chelski away etc, but that is something that will come in time.

We were very succesful playing dour 451 when we finished 4th, and it takes time to evolve that which given our recent performances is changing.

I think Moyes will continue to adapt and evolve the football we play, and I get the impression that he feels he has taken the squad to its limits playing cautiously, and that we nay well have a exciting player with us in the summer who can unlock defences - dont know who but woill be interesting to see.
Bill Jones
48   Posted 25/01/2008 at 12:18:42

Report abuse

Just wanted to put a few points

1) on other clubs taking our players this summer - one of the key things I think moyes is trying to do is get the players to feel they are stakeholders in the project to make EFC a top side. It is only if this works properly that we have a hope. Think about it The top teams can pick off any of our players even if they don’t want them just to stop our progress and for no other reason - to keep us in our place.

2) On the issue of finances I thought we could make money in the CL (if we get there) this will help.

3) Perhaps the biggest worry we could have is not that moyesie isn’t good enough but that he might jack it in and move on feeling he can’t get any further without big spondoolics. thats why its so heartening when you read things about his commitment to everton. Long may it continue. I truly feel that he may turn out to be a top top manager. He is still learning as he says so himself but the thing about him is that he can learn and does. Look at how much he has come on since he arrived.

4) Several people have said about how a few more players of the right kind will take us to another level. There should be a kind of exponential development. The better we do the higher the profile the more good players we attract. We have to steal a march on the others who are looking to compete with us (Villa etc) but have a lot more resources. Our secret weapon is the team spirit they have developed. That thing I was talking about before, the sense of ownership the players have which is suggested by things like a Mikkel Arteta interview I read recently where he talked about "the everton project" and Cahill saying Moyesie sees a goal and makes them see it too and they all feel part of it.

I feel it is particularly important for us to take advantage of the situation which has come about this season wiht the RS on their wobble. We need to steal that 4th spot, however we get the points don’t matter, play as ugly as you like but get ther ahead of the rest and get the dosh to invest.


Steve Ashton
49   Posted 25/01/2008 at 13:04:19

Report abuse

I’ve thought for most of this season that our big problem is that we are actually better than we think we are. Given the opportunity and the encouragement we play really good atractive football.

I don’t think that anyone would argue that for long periods we have competed with the top 3 this season.

Arsenal at Goodison, should have been out of sight at half time

MU at Goodison, better team for large parts of the game, succumed to sucker punch late on.

MU at OT, didn’t see this one live but by all accounts very unlucky not to get a point.

Chelski, played 3 times never been embarassed once, could have won the first leg at SB.

I think the step up DM needs to take is one of confidence in his own ability and in the ability of the team he has created.

We are just one, maybe two players away from a really good team we just need to believe we are that good.

Finally it may be herasy in some quarters but we should cash in on AJ, he’s not as good as our other options and we look disjointed when he plays, he’s not going to get quicker and we could put £10m-£12m to much more profitable use elsewhere in the team.

50   Posted 25/01/2008 at 14:14:56

Report abuse

it appeares that we all agree that we have the right manager but the original point i made was do we have the right board to see this through to the end, the end is simply a top 4 spot every year as the current top 4 have accepted as their god forgiven right.again it;s money, wheather we like or not money WILL make the difference Moysey has moved us onto another level ( no one should doubt that) but quite cleverly he is sending out messages that we must pick up on, if we want to maintain this, and more importantly move forward we do need that BIT OF SPECIAL QUALITY ( as Moysey observed after the Chelsea defeat). that money will buy. think big and it will happen under Moysey, i promise.
Brian Richardson
51   Posted 25/01/2008 at 15:39:56

Report abuse

I think the notion of discussing Moyes’ merits as a manager without discussing what he has achieved and without mentioning the budget he is working with is absolutely ludicrous!

How on earth are you meant to assess a manager otherwise?

David Moyes is an astute manager because his team have qualified for European football twice in the last few years, he regularly outperforms his peers and he does so on a very modest budget.

How else do you assess somebody’s quality, other than by reflecting on their achievements and the adversity they had to overcome along the way?
Jay Campbell
52   Posted 25/01/2008 at 16:45:43

Report abuse

Moyes has even admitted himself that we are missing that vital ingredient. He knows we need a truly top class footballer in the midfield.

I wouldn’t hold my breath though on his good work being rewarded by the board with the 15 million + that will be needed to aquire a footballer of this stature.

It’s pointless exercise now in the situation we are in buying 4-5 million pound players and hoping they come good.

We need a proven, top class footballer now.
Steve Ashton
53   Posted 25/01/2008 at 17:43:50

Report abuse

As I said sell AJ now and invest in a top class midfielder.
Kieran Fitzgerald
54   Posted 25/01/2008 at 17:33:17

Report abuse

There was a high profile change of manager at Chelsea at the very early in the season. The was a drop in results for a short period of time and then it was back to business. It would seem that there has been consistancy, that there hasn?t been an issue of a new manager sweeping all clean. Even during the transfer window there haven?t been wholesale comings and goings with Grant keeping faith with the players that Morinho brought in. You can see the results of all this with Chelsea at the moment. They are on a real charge.

If Moyes was replaced, regardless who by, there is no guarantee that what has happened with Chelsea would happen with us. It could possibly set us hugely. Now, when you look at what Moyes has achieved this season, coupled with how City, Spurs, Villa and to an extent have come on, and the serious competition they provide us with, you realise how well he has done, and how it would be madness to replace him.

The problem with money is that it could well be the deciding factor between us and the other teams mentioned above. At the moment we can offer European football, they can?t, and that is the big thing for us. Come the summer if both ourselves and Spurs and City can offer European football next season, but they have that extra million where will the player and his agent go?
Andy MacFarlane
55   Posted 25/01/2008 at 19:05:24

Report abuse

Great thread here, Lads. I do believe, though, that there are more signs of a more adventurous attacking approach from Moyes than maybe some fear. OK, putting Carsley / Neville or Carsley / Jags in centre mid doea not support that view, but if Moyes settles around a midfield including Arteta, Piennar, and Fenandes, with either Cahill packing the midfield for away matches, or two up front, that really would signal a shift. The connundrum is how does he replace Carsley, the confidence in whom I believe is at the core of Moyes?s more attack-minded ambitions? Is Fernandes up to the demands of the Premier League in that role? Can he be "coached" up to that standard without taking all the attacking adventure out of him? OR do we need (to coin a horrible hackneyed press phrase) "one more piece of the jigsaw puzzle"?
Alan Kirwin
56   Posted 25/01/2008 at 19:26:22

Report abuse

Possibly the most interesting, mature and relevant thread I’ve ever seen on TW. Great work everyone.

In brief, I’m pro-Moyes and we are lucky to have both DM and BK because they bring (on the whole) intelligence, commitment and loyalty to a very difficult occupation. You won’t find too much of any of that in the game these days. Martin Samuels article was one of several recent missives from intelligent football watchers on the quiet revolution taking place at Goodison.

As regards Wednesday, first I thought Chelsea played excellent and their team was much more expensively assembled than ours. They were strong, professional and committed. Credit where it’s due.

Second, and this is the one and possibly only area where I think our excellent manager lets himself down (occasionally), is his reluctance to change the game and tactics by changing the team. It’s already been noted by many how utterly ineffective Johnson and Cahill were on Wed. Not helped of course by the hoofballs by-passing our 5-man midfield. But after 30 mins it was obvious we needed some strength and sticking power up-front (Victor).

At half-time he should, in my humble opinion, have put Cahill and Johnson out of their misery (and thereby showing his own strength) by replacing them with Victor & Vaughney. AJ’s performance worried me. He did look like a man amongst boys. It’s been sugggested elsewhere that we should cash in. The thought has never occurred to me but, based on what I’ve seen recently, I’d consider it.

AJ would probably fetch £12 - 15m? more than enough to get Arshavin (true class) and with the £5m from JM’s sale we could pick up another (Kenwyne Jones has impressed me big style).

When the boys are back from the ANC tournament our first 11 is nigh-on superb. So I’m not too worried. We’ve lost out this season to the Big-3 and Los Bandidos in the main due to bad luck or tiny lapses of concentration. Giving David Moyes a C+ is taking the piss to bizarre levels. I think he’s an A- at worst. The truth is most football fans outside of the Big-3 (and Geordies at present) would love to be in our boots.

We’re closer now to the top than at any stage since 1987. Alex Ferguson thinks so and he’s not that bad a judge. A bit more courage when it counts from DM, or perhaps a sparky attack-minded assistant who’ll challenge on such things, and we’re fine.

Again, great thread boys. It’s warming to see so much intelligence, warmth and real thought rather than some of the belligerence that has reared it’s head on one or two recent topics...:)

Mark Pendleton
57   Posted 25/01/2008 at 20:58:56

Report abuse

Some interesting comments here. I must admit, i’m firmly in the pro-Moyes camp. I feel that given the financial limitations of the club what we’ve achieved is by far in excess of anything we’ve any right to achieve. See Newcastle as an example as by what they’ve spent they should be challenging near the top.

It is the issue of funding i’d like to mention. Yes, there is no doubt that GENERALLY the clubs who spend more on a consistent basis will finish towards the top of the pile and we all know that the now soon to be defunct (if only officially) G14 was there to promote and protect self-interest.

Aside from Arsenal however, most of the top clubs are paying top money for their players. Arsenal have pretty much been alone in identifying cheap players who have gone on to be worth a fortune. Largely these clubs spend a fortune on players that other clubs have identified or developed. In the process they weaken the clubs who have found these "gems". It is also quite unfortunate that if these clubs buy failures they can usually rely on a club lower down the food chain taking a chance for a healthy sum.

The point that i am making here is that when it comes down to it, the ability of a manager and his scouting network is key to success. Moyes has said he is extending his network but largely our best players have been relatively inexpensive and we’ve managed to develop and hold on to them. Hence our success (tactical debates aside). Yes, Moyes has made some errors that have cost us money (Wright, Beattie, Kroldrup) but largely he has identified inexpensive gems.

The likes of Newcastle continue to pay for expensive flops, Harry Redknapp (who i still admire) will continue to buy quantity in the hope of unearthing quality and the rest of the league, well, many of them pay a fortune for the expensive mistakes from the "top 4" clubs.

So, in summary, whilst we are not a club who can pay a fortune for readily identified class players, affording to take the few million loss as we unload failures to other aspiring clubs, i’m happy for us to be at the front of the pack who are fortunate enough to be identifying and holding on to the gems.

I know for certain that we’re slowly moving in the right direction.

In Moyes We Trust.
Mark Manns
58   Posted 25/01/2008 at 22:07:13

Report abuse

Lyndon Lloyd - you hit the nail square on the head. As soon as I read the original post that thought screamed out at me. It’s far more likely that Moyes will get the better of the other top managers eventually, although probably more likely to be as a manager of one of them with big mone to spend.
David Chait
59   Posted 25/01/2008 at 09:36:55

Report abuse

It was plain to see that, if we go by Wednsday's performance, we are miles away from the Top 3 (4) and even chances to win silverware in England (the Uefa Cup is another story). Assuming no invest or sugar daddy on the horizon: Should we accept this and enjoy being the best of the rest or is there something we can do to break the mould?

My opinion is that if we don't think there is a point then we should all jsut quit and I don't believe that is the case.. not even close. There are 2 areas to look at - the manager and the players:

Players: Firstly I believe more than half the team could make one of the top 4 teams on a regular basis. Howard, Lescott, Yobo, Arteta, Pienaar and Yak I believe would not let any of the top 4 down and would show how good they are with quality players around them. Baines and Fernandes if they fulfill their potential are easily top 4 quality. I'm uncertain as to Cahill - he seems to have more admirers outside of our fanbase than in it. Mostly cos when he scores he is MOM.. when not he is insignificant.

The rest are very good top 8 players... but top 4 side - nope none would crack them at this stage (saying this tough as I have a soft spot for Jags and he is the reason I say at this stage)

So that is a massive section of the side that I believe are good enough. So whats missing from the players right now to succeed? IMO - belief and the the right tactics.... which leads me onto Management:

Is Moyes good enough to break the mould?

He is easily good enough to be the 5th best team manager - but hasn't figured out the top teams yet. Plain and simple the tactics against Chelsea were wrong and would never pressure them. The plan to chase the game was hopefully to score off a set piece. There was not other real open play that would have scored. I believe he has shown glimpses of the right way.. in fact he has been showing it all season against the rest.

Does he change tactics against the top 4... yes he goes back to the old ways.... except against Arsenal this year... and forget the result we outplayed them completely in terms of the beautiful game. 1-0 up a half time and some defensive lapses that on another day would not have happened. So Moyes got it right on that day only for the players at the back to fail - due to self belief and nerves I put to you.

Taking all this... I believe we are close chaps. Money aside - it can be done and all we need is belief!

Nick Heady
60   Posted 26/01/2008 at 16:32:01

Report abuse

I know the money thing is obviously an issue,but correct me if im wrong (I'm sure you will) ? Doesn't Arsene Wenger mostly buy young unknown players? OK mixed with some hugely expensive renowned players, but on the whole he buys youngsters. I think that is fact. So how does he manage to get team after team after team playing passing/attractive/attacking football? It's got to be something to do with coaching, surely?
Ian Ankers
61   Posted 26/01/2008 at 18:29:51

Report abuse

I don?t think its as black and white as "How does Moyes step it up?" I don?t think its a case of "Training the players to be more attacking" or anything like.
Its a very slow upward progression that Moyes, the squad and the board are making and I don?t think you will see any major rise to the next level quickly. To get where we are has taken time. I for one don?t think there will be any ?step up to the next level?.

If we were to be more attacking minded, would we then leak goals and would it all go pear shaped? Who knows?...hopefully Moyes! He?s still learning with us and the team is still growing. In five years time, maybe we will have seen a slow increase in our fortunes, but without an Abramovich (sorry, but money is so relevant in football that you just cannot help, but mention it somewhere in this debate) willing to come in and buy an instant success I really don?t think its possible to leap from where we are now to where we dream of being and I think thats said weather we have David Moyes, Alex Ferguson, Mourinhio or God himself as our manager! I?m as hungry and impatient as the next Evertonian for success, but I am also realistic enough to know that it is probably still a long way off.

It's no mystery why the league title has only been shared between 3 teams for so long! It's such a difficult task and one that takes years of slow progression to acheive (barring the Abramovich effect) if you achieve it at all! It's tough enough to get from relegation fodder to where we are now, but I?m sure Moyes will agree, while that's a massive acheivement, going from where we are now to the very top will be a lot more difficult and who knows, in the current climate, maybe impossible?

We can live in hope, and I do have genuine hope. Trophies or no trophies, I?m enjoying being a blue a lot more at the moment than I have for a long time and I?m willing to be patient! I think these "step up?s to the next level" are occuring at Everton and will continue to do so. They just take so long to happen that they can go unnoticed at times.

I honestly don?t think that we?ve stopped progressing, I think we still are doing so. Yes we may get knocked out of the FA Cup by Oldham and we may get things wrong tacticly from time to time, but the knock-backs won?t stop the overall progression. I think over the next five years if you stop to analyse you will see us improving much further still under Moyes as we undoubtably have over the last 5 years... and who knows, we may even get right to the very top!

Joe Ludden
62   Posted 27/01/2008 at 10:19:54

Report abuse

I have never been a particular Moyes fan. Whilst his tenure has seen improvements, fans fail to admit the vast amount of money spent and the failures we have suffered. Our worst league finsh since the 1800?s a few seasons ago for example. I judge Moyes on what we bring home, and so far, zero trophies, and nothing but embarassment from the rewards of our 4th place finish.

I know it is not fair to, but since so many fans believe Moyes to be some sort of Messiah, we should judge him against the best managers we have had. Kendall had become our most successful manager, and left, in the time Moyes has had so far at the helm.

Moyes's downfall is his tactical know-how. He cannot change a game once it is underway. His substitutions are poor and often too late in the game. Take Chelsea last week as an example. AJ and Osman had done nothing most the game, and looked tired. Instead of replacing them and going 4-4-2, Moyes removes the 2 holding midfielders so we have no ball winners on the park. Net result: not a chance on goal after we went 1 down. It's not just the Chelsea game, go back to Bucharest when the game was in the balance... Moyes did nothing until we were 3-1 down and out.

I?ll get behind the manager and the team, no question... but Moyes is far from being one of our great managers ? not until he brings home some silver. Of course things are better than the Smith days, but then so is the money in the game...

Mark Perry
63   Posted 29/01/2008 at 09:48:56

Report abuse

Jo, I dont know where to begin with your post. Since the Kendell days Everton have been out muscled by the likes of Pomply, Man City and Spurs. The leauge is alot different then the 80’s glory days. Colin Harvey wasted millions during his tenure, Smith saw us as his retirement plan and our previous chairman screwed us so bad we still cant sit down!

Since DM has taken over we have moved up and progressed, and I believe we will continue to do so. DM is not perfect, yes he makes mistakes, but he is improving and will be one of our great managers. Financialy we are also making progress.

To challange the top 4 takes time, at the moment I will be happy for us to cement our position in europe over the next 2 seasons and move on the top 4 after that. I prefer steady sustainable growth to the boom and very big bust of the LEEDS UTD of this world.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment to Column articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.

© 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.