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Shattered Dreams

By Tony Marsh :  25/01/2008 :  Comments (86) :
I decided to let the dust settle on Wednesday night's showing before posting. The result was bad enough without me making it worse with my rants...

I did say weeks ago that the tie was dead and buried the moment we decided to defend a 1-1 scoreline at Stamford Bridge and conceded late on. Some of you knew better though and thought we were still in it. I mean I did warn you this would happen unless we had a major about turn in the way we set our stall out.

I must admit that the gulf between Chelsea and ourselves is not as big as I used to think it was, only we have a manager who does not possess the killer instinct and that's why I think we lost this semi-final. Yes, I know we are in 4th spot in the league and it's the best squad we have had for years but as always with Moyes I get a feeling that we could and should be doing a lot better in all of the games we surrender.

The minute I saw the team sheet on Wednesday, I knew we were in trouble. The lone striker at home in a cup tie in which we needed to score goals sent out all the wrong signals for me. I would much sooner we go out on our shield having a go at the opposition with all guns blazing than the feeble "let's lump it forward and see what happens" scenario. The whole of Goodison Park could see AJ needed help up there on his own... so why didn't Moyes?

Once we concede, DM sends on the strikers when the game is over. Brilliant tactics that. 20 minutes too late.

Please can some one explain to me what use Leon Osman is as a top-flight professional footballer? Moyes has given this lad another 5-year contract. FFS, Why? No pace, can't tackle, no upper-body strength, no height... and always goes missing against the big boys. Osman must be like Lionel Messi in training because he sure does fuck all on match days.

What I am trying to say is that the club will never make the final push and regain its place at the top of the pecking order while the manager continues to make basic errors.

  • Poor tactics: hoofball was back on Wednesday night with a lone striker. WHY?
  • Poor team selection: A useless Leon Osman who is not match-fit playing a full 90 minutes in our most important game in years with Manny taken off. Why?
  • Not being able to shrug off the defensive saftey first cautious approach which has cost us a day out at Wembley. Why?
Until Moyes learns to have a bit more bottle and have a go at teams, even if they are one of the Big Four, then I am afraid it's more heartache that awaits us. All the good managers know instinctively when to go for the jugular vien. If Moyes was a vampire he would starve to death!

Someone said to me that the gulf in class between Chelsea and ourselves was too big for us to bridge in a cup tie. I said to them, which is the bigge: gulf in class: the one between Chelsea and ourselves or the one between Oldham and ourselves? You go figure it out...

"Look at the squad we now have under Moyes," they say. "Look how far we have come in the last 6 years." Do you know what the fans of Aston Villa, Pompey, Spurs, Man City, Reading, Blackburn are all saying the same thing. It's not just Everton who have improved, it's virtually the whole league. FFS, Moyes has out-spent Arsene Wenger over the past 3 seasons and which team looks more likely to pick up a trophy? Go figure that one out as well...

So where are we now? Out of both domestic cups but still the Uefa Cup. I can't see us winning that one somehow. Then there is the 4th place finish. Well, what do you think will happen to us playing the way we do in the Champions League if we did make it? I don't want to think about it in all honesty.

The time has come for DM to throw off the shackles of defensive, safety-first mediocrity and start letting the quality players we have do their thing. It's OK smashing shite out of the bottom feeders like Derby and Sunderland but we havent beaten a top-4 side all season.

It's just not good enough if your ambitions for the club reach as high as mine. Maybe I am a fool and those ambitions will never be realised but I would sure like to find out what this side can really do when let off the leash.

Come on, Moyes, throw away the blueprint to this miserable defensive approach and let's have more of a Gung Ho attitude. I mean 6 years of your normal game plans have given us what exactly in terms of succsess?

Then again you could blame your old buddy Alan Irvine for the past few years. Have you seen your old club Preston lately? Not a pretty sight... Boy, am I glad he's gone!

Reader Comments

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Kevin Sparke
1   Posted 25/01/2008 at 21:02:04

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?Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."

J K Galbraith

Your piece is neither an accurate reflection of what happened on Wednesday night nor is it a coherent critique of Moyes as a manager.

Your position is based upon the cast iron presumption that Moyes is a bad manager and all of your scribblings are merely your attempt to justify your already decided position.

Any evidence to the contrary is discarded anything that doesn’t back up your flimsy logic is ignored...

At least in this post you’ve had the good grace not to threaten anyone or accuse anyone who doesn’t agree with you of being deleuded sheep and for that I thank you.

3/10 - more substance to your arguments please... less rhetoric
David Barks
2   Posted 25/01/2008 at 21:12:10

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Pathetic, absolutely pathetic. This whole time I was hoping that the reason you had not popped in with this bullshit "I told you we?d lose" was because this site had made the correct decision of not publishing this garbage. But I guess I was wrong. You are everything that is wrong with football supporters, you really are.

David Barks: nice one... that gets you banned from this forum for gross intolerance of other contributors. Grow up!

Steve Guy
3   Posted 25/01/2008 at 21:04:50

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Good grief I find myself agreeing with quite a lot of what TM says ! For once your article didn’t rant and I found it quite positive.

Our best periods of the game were when we kept it on the ground and passed the ball to feet (most of the time). AJ is at his most effective when the opposition play high up the pitch allowing him time to run onto the ball and play off the shoulder of the last defender. He had virtually no opportunity to do this on Wednesday because Chelsea played very deep.

The alternative would have been to play wide and get plenty of crosses in for Cahill and others to run on to. Again we did this sporadically but all down the Arteta / Neville side of the pitch. How we miss Pienaar ! AJ could have played that wide role, or Osman and I agree that he (Osman)was ineffective on Wednesday against a very solid Chelsea midfield. However, I don’t agree that he is effectively useless; I just don’t think he was fully fit and they were very good.

Chelsea pressed Everton the way we normally press other teams and as someone said elsewhere, the irony of being beaten (again) by a long ball didn’t escape me; however good the finish was.

It’s all if’s, but’s and maybe’s now but I do believe that our strongest side would have made it through, The trouble was 3 of them were a couple of thousand miles away. (I also wish Mrs. Cech had kept herself in labour a bit longer and then hubby wouldn’t have been there to make those saves !)

There has been plenty of talk since the match from Davie Moyes and some of the team about "the next level". I’m not actually sure what that is. I know what they mean......mixing it with the Chelski’s and the Manure and actually beating them as regularly as they beat us (with the implication of regular Champions League Footie and a chase for the title). However, on the evidence of Wednesday I think this is still well beyond our current means. Even the RS are now struggling to keep up. Chelski have Drogba missing for a few weeks and just go out and splash £15M as cover. I can’t see us doing that in even the medium term.

For the here and now, I agree with Tony, Davie should take more chances against these teams. I would rather we had played 4-4-2 from the start or played a more adventurous 5 in midfield and got beaten than huff and puff for long periods to little effect and STILL get beat !

Great atmosphere on Wednesday and I would say we did our bit magnificently. Oh, and to the ’gentleman’ who tried to pick a fight with me at the final whistle cos he thought I pushed him on the stairwell getting out...hope you’ve calmed down now. : - )
Robbie Skinley
4   Posted 25/01/2008 at 21:23:16

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Just wondering about this defensive approach Tony is going on about as we?re one of the top scoring sides in the league this season and have played some great football. Don?t remember him posting about one striker being negative when we were on a great run since October, but then you never hear off Tony when things are going well, he only seems to be interested when he can slag off Moyes. I accept Moyes has made mistakes over the years but think he?s improved a lot this season. Personally don?t think you can criticise him for the selection on Wednesday, we were simply beaten by a better side who outclassed us.

And as for that nonsense about Osman, hes been integral to the great standard of play we?ve seen at times this season. Wish Tony could be objective. Was Manny match fit FFS?! Personally thought he was off the pace and only played through lack of decent midfield options.

Charlie Skinley
5   Posted 25/01/2008 at 21:40:39

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You also said at the time that the season was dead.... but we are now fourth.

You are a total disgrace Tony, you never say ’well done’ when we are winning, you just crawl from under your horrible stone when we get beat.

You are pathetic, totally pathetic and I dont care any more that you have protection from Michael Kendrick, your pathetic!
Alex Baker
6   Posted 25/01/2008 at 21:58:50

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Other than bring on Anichebe or Vaughan 10 mins earlier, Moyes did exactly what I would have done. Tony, you say we haven?t beaten a top 4 side all season, but we can?t beat ourselves!
Brian Waring
7   Posted 25/01/2008 at 21:55:39

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Tony is spot on about one part of the game the other night, that being the return of hoofball. Why did we continue to twat it up to a 5? 8" striker, who was up against 2 huge defenders. The one up-front works best for us when it is the Yak. Also, I actually feel sorry for AJ because we don?t play to his strengths. Surely you play him right down the middle, playing balls through, so he can use his pace? Not twat it, and say there you go AJ, get your head on that.
Alan Ryder
8   Posted 25/01/2008 at 22:05:23

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Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
9   Posted 25/01/2008 at 22:08:17

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While I agree that the switch to 4-4-2 should have come earlier than it did — hindsight, of course, has perfect vision because had either Neville or Jagielka’s efforts just before the goal gone in and we’d ground out a 1-0 win after extra time, Moyes would have been vindicated — I understand why he went with the formation he did. I even predicted it in my Preview.

I do take issue, though, with singling out Leon Osman for such unbridled criticism (is he going to be the new boo-boy when Hibbert’s not playing and there’s no more McFadden?). Ossie was as much a vital component in that 13-game unbeaten run as anyone in the midfield and without his goal in the Quarter Final, we might not have even got to the semis against Chelsea.

He had an off day after making a decent return from injury against Wigan — and for the record, Fernandes was taken off because he too was unfit to play the full 90 — but so did Cahill, Carsley and Fernandes.
Keith Glazzard
10   Posted 25/01/2008 at 22:03:28

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Shattered Dreams?

If the league cup is the dream, god help us all. If building year on year leads to where we want to be, that’s a different matter.

Yes, I have read the article, and everyone’s entitled to their opinion - for that’s what it is. And if I’d heard this one in the corner of a friendly pub late on a Friday night I hope I’d have walked away from it, rather than get involved.

It might just be interesting to ponder who it might have been to get us to where we are now if it hadn’t have been David Moyes. Without trying to go to the archives, I wonder who the likes of our correspondent wanted way back then. And how much money they thought we should spend on the playing staff.

And the Arse spend less? Well lets go and sign an Italian manager - sorry, coach - and bring in every young Italian prospect, at a price, that will come to the City of Culture, and and make us a great club again. I look forward to the chants of catenaccio ringing around the ground.

Gavin Ramejkis
11   Posted 25/01/2008 at 22:19:40

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Guys dont get so critical over TM’s viewpoint, after all when Chelski went down to ten men at their place we started attacking and they were on the back foot and couldn’t string two passes, the second we sat back to defend the draw it handed them the incentive and they played as any team should do in a cup game for that killer winning goal. This week, and yes I was there having driven down from work in Scotland, we started brightly with 451 but it quickly became apparent it wasn’t working so surely it’s not beyond comprehension to consider a 442 especially with two strikers on the bench that can put themselves about rather than hoofing a ball to the diminutive AJ and hoping for the best. We played straight into Chelski’s defensive hands and they again sought the winning goal and got it.

To be critical of TM’s interpretation of what he saw of the game smacks of spitting dummies out, especially given his conservative choice of phraseology.
John Tee
12   Posted 25/01/2008 at 22:51:35

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Moyes has assembled a good squadwith great team spirit, but the weakest part of his game, is and always has been tactics
Stuart Duncan
13   Posted 25/01/2008 at 22:43:12

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I’m a self-confessed Moyes fan - always have been. But if all your posts are as sensible as this, I’ll live with it. I don’t understand why Moyes isn’t prepared to take more risks at times.

Don’t agree completely about Osman, he’s a good squad player, but we need better front line to go to the next level.
John Spoonly
14   Posted 25/01/2008 at 22:49:04

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Michael, why do you allow TM to write such crap. His remarks are unbelieveable!! We are SUPPORTERS so why does he never offer support. Instead he only sees our failings. This is the best team to play in blue in years and I believe they can grow into a very good side capable of challenging for trophies at home and in Europe. FFS he should be SUPPORTING the team not continually slagging them off.

Another one who seems to have trouble with this "Open Forum" concept, eh, John? Come back when you can post without slagging off your fellow Evertonians. That is NOT what this forum is for.. Thanks.

Jeff Leahey
15   Posted 25/01/2008 at 21:37:13

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Tony, thanks for the "if Moyes was a vampire" gag ? I pissed myself laughing at that one, I understand your sentiments. However, I thought Chelsea were fantasic on Wednesday, they didn't break sweat and swept us aside with a fair amount of contempt and arrogance. It reminded me a bit of the Mayweather - Hatton fight. No amount of hardwork and bravery was ever going to be enough the other night. Mayweather was described before the fight as too big, too strong, and too clever.

Chelsea were all three on Wednesday. We can play two up front all we like, but until we replace Jagielka, Carsley, Velente, Hibbert, Osman, and Neville, with sixty to seventy million for "that magic ingredient" we?ll have to rely on a lot of luck and a punchers chance when it comes to the big games. We must all remember that there's very few clubs in the world who can match Chelsea when it comes to finance.

Brian Richardson
16   Posted 25/01/2008 at 22:48:56

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"I decided to let the dust settle on Wednesday night’s showing before posting. The result was bad enough without me making it worse with my rants... "

Tony, don’t flatter yourself. Most people couldn’t give a monkey’s what you say. Our lives as Evertonians do not rest on your weekly proclamations. We alll know you are unwaveringly negative. We all know you have set your stall out to attack Moyes.

Prompting agitated responses on here does not make you a celebrity so get off your high horse.

Michael and Lyndon have exchanged a few words on here over the last couple of days, and I can’t help feeling Lyndon has got to the bottom of a long-standing debate.

The bizarrely negative Moyes-haters have been desperate to position themselves as "the norm". They deny ANYBODY the right to explain why Everton are on the right tracks. Those who do so are considered "Moyes apologists".

Michael told us all yesterday that we are welcome to assess Moyes’ quality, but that we should do so without referencing any of his achievements or the tools he has worked with. What a bizarre way to assess a person’s qualities!

D.Moyes has proved himself to be not only an honourable man but also a quality manager we can be proud of. Ignoring his achievements and ignoring the limited responses he has worked with is ridiculous.

As for the comment on Leon Osman, Lyndon is spot on again. Leon has played a huge role in our revival over the last few years, scoring a hell of a lot of goals and being one of our most creative players. He has quick feet, an astonishing first touch and a rare understanding of the game. Marsh’s self-aggrandising comments help nobody other than himself,

Leon is a gifted footballer- who gives everything to the club - and I would not swap him for any other player.

Let’s respond in the right way on Wednesday - COYB
Bob Turner
17   Posted 25/01/2008 at 23:23:38

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Quelle surprise! Everton lose, and here he is again!

Others have, in previous posts, demonstrated the inadequacy of this article, so I won?t waste any more time adding to the pile.

Yawn - time for bed, methinks

You'll be away quite a bit longer than just tonight, methinks, Bob. If this is all you can contribute, don't bother.

Mike Whittaker
18   Posted 25/01/2008 at 23:01:21

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I too have to agree with Tony on Leon Osman. Nothing against the kid but he just doesn't possess the size, strength or pace to hold his own against the very best Premier League sides or CL teams. Up against powerful midfielders he becomes non existent. A bit like Jimmy McFadden, Leon would be a very good player in the SPL where the pace of the game is that little bit slower and you have a second more thinking time on the ball.
I dont think its a case of him being the new target of the boo boys ? its just plain to see, when you watch games like Wednesday night, he looks out of his depth.
Steve Carter
19   Posted 25/01/2008 at 23:21:47

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Perception is reality, I guess. I didn?t see us sitting back in the second half at Stamford Bridge; rather, I thought Chelsea dug deep, resolved to keep the ball off us ? and did ? and came at us hard, with all their several hundred millions worth of playing resources, forcing us to defend on the realisation that 1-1 at home was too dangerous an outcome to finish the first leg with.

Do the naysayers really think it was a matter Chelsea saying to themselves, "Oh dear, we?re a man down, we?d better sit back and hold on to 1-1... wait a minute, that?s what they?re doing. How strange. Oh well, I guess we could attack them after all. Yes, let?s do that then"?

Paul Quinn
20   Posted 25/01/2008 at 23:40:36

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"Have I missed the mark, or, like true archer, do I strike my quarry? Or am I prophet of lies, a babbler from door to door?"

TM perhaps you see yourself as ToffeeWeb?s Cassandra - the Trojan seeress who uttered true prophecies, but lacking the power of persuasion, was never believed:

Close shave there, Paul... but I'll let this one pass ? for classy content! Talk about Everton in future, please!
Rob Jones
21   Posted 25/01/2008 at 23:46:00

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How about we sign a petition and put it on the mailbag, along the lines that MK Stops protecting TM and stops putting up his mailbag comments and Articles unless they are positive or constructive.

No petition needed to determine your immediate future on here, Rob. Tony Marsh talks about Everton ? why can't you do that?

Ant Hill
22   Posted 25/01/2008 at 23:54:42

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Osman is a good player against most teams but struggles against the top three because he lacks that extra yard of pace and he lacks strength to compete with the best. I don?t think it?s fair to criticise him, he?s only just come back from injury and is clearly not 100% fit and shouldn?t have stayed on for the whole chelsea game.

I think Moyes was right not to go gung-ho because it would have left us more exposed to conceding away goals at the back, although he coulld have brought Anichebe on early in the second half when the clock was starting to tick away for us to get a goal. I also feel Vaughan should have come on for Johnson, who wasn?t in the game at all, instead of bringing off Fernandes and only having three in midfield.

Nevertheless, Wednesday night just went to show that when we are missing key players (Yobo and especially Pienaar and the Yak) it really shows against the big teams. We lacked the usual pacy threat of Pienaar down the left and the Yak to hold the ball up in attack. We are slowly improving, but I bet Moyes regrets fielding an understrength team against Oldham now as we?re out of both domestic cups.

Rich Grisdale
23   Posted 26/01/2008 at 00:04:14

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You have to wonder if TM knows anything about football after asking what moyes has achived in his 6 years. That question answers itself. I said to my mate who I go the games with, that I go the game now expecting to win every game, except the ?big 3? of course. TW was this the case 6 years ago? We might not be where everyone wants/expects us to be (i.e cup finals etc), but progression is blatant...
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
24   Posted 26/01/2008 at 00:15:16

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"Osman is a good player against most teams but struggles against the top three because he lacks that extra yard of pace and he lacks strength to compete with the best."

That may be and if a player of better quality is signed for his role, I?d be the first to say Ossie should stand aside and act as decent cover but Tony asked, "what use Leon Osman is as a top-flight professional footballer?" I think he has shown plenty this season to show that he is plenty of use as a top-flight footballer; he just probably isn?t top-three quality but then neither are a few others in our squad.
James Martin
25   Posted 26/01/2008 at 00:26:00

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Paul Quinn. I always thought Cassandra wasn’t believed because she only had the power to see negative future events. Tony only has the power to see negative past events. Oh yeah, he did say there was no chance we’d beat Chelsea after losing the first leg, and his prophesy came true. But let’s face it, 2-1 down against the biggest spending club in the world, I mean, I don’t think any bookies have gone bust on that one.
Harold Kumar
26   Posted 26/01/2008 at 01:07:08

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Thinking back to pre-Moyes, I can remember the awful sqaud he took on and what he has achieved since then!! Ok we got beat by Chelsea, come on they must of spent about £200 million last five years compared to us who have pretty much broke even, did you expect to win!! How the hell Moyes has turned us into a top 6 club with less money than others I don't know!!

Maybe the football we play isn?t up to Top Four standard but 5-10 years ago, when we were fighting releagation every year, could you imagine the position we are in now!!! I think if Moyes gets another five years and hopefully financial backing, who knows were we can be!!! Can't believe people slate him after all he's done!!!!

Barry Sullivan
27   Posted 26/01/2008 at 01:01:31

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I've no idea why TM?s opinion is indulged in the manner it is on this website. Everybody is entitled to their opinion which is fine and I enjoy reading diverse opinions, but really we should as Evertonians be treating his posts as a leg-pull surely?!
I personally (in the late 20s bracket), along with every other Evertonian I know, have never been more positive about the future of the club on the playing side at least, it's a real pleasure to go the game again at present and I believe it's a matter of time, experience and prudent investment by Moyes that will give us plenty more big games/nights and success in the future.

Barry, perhaps it's because we value the analysis of anyone and everyone who has the courage of their convcitions and states their views on recent games and on things Everton without resorting to insults and abuse of other contributors who they might disagree with. Think about it.

Kieran Doyle
28   Posted 26/01/2008 at 04:52:23

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Pretty much agree with what Tony says apart from the bit about Osman. We do need to have more belief in ourselves and go for it alot more against some teams, especially the so called Top 4. I know DM relies on Cahill for a lot of our goals but vs Chelsea he should have had two strikers up top. AJ with Vaughan would have been my choice. Overall, though, I'm happy with how we are going but DM does seem to give the Top 4 too much respect at times.
Dick Fearon
29   Posted 26/01/2008 at 05:17:20

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Welcome aboard, Tony; two years ago I said the same things about Osman and was bawled out by one and all.
Probably by the same ones who would not recognise a decent central striker if they fell over one.
The praise or is it sympathy for AJ staggers me. I cannot see a single attribute of his that puts him within a megspeck of earlier Everton strikers.
As a target man he is rubbish. Anything above waist height is a gift to defenders
I could go on and on listing his shortcomings but all I ask is for my critics to judge him as a central striker. Or at least compare him with just about every other central striker in the prem.
Mike Kennedy
30   Posted 26/01/2008 at 05:58:28

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I enjoy reading Tony?s comments. I agree with some of his remarks. In my darker moments agree with a lot of what he says. It is then I enjoy reading the counter arguements because they lift me out of my doom and gloom I?m thinking about about Everton...
Jarod Avila
31   Posted 26/01/2008 at 06:39:45

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MK, there is an unbecoming inconsistency in you steadfastly defending Tony?s right to his rants and then editorially slamming (and banning) others for expressing their own views that TM is talking nonsense.

A bit of consistency, please....

You seem to be missing something, Jarod. I don't mind people disagreeing with other posters if they talk about Everton. Look above; that's what this forum is for. What I will not tolerate is poeple denying the right for other posters to contribute to this forum. By doing so they are abusing the fundamental priviledge of this forum (not to mention its Conditions of Use), and they themselves therefore lose the right to use the forum. So... if it's consistency you want... are you asking to be banned as well? TALK ABOUT EVERTON!!!

James Byrne
32   Posted 26/01/2008 at 06:49:40

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Good article TM and once again the usual flurry of excitement when you pop up with a round up of a previous loss or a demonstration of poor DM tactics.

I have just returned from a desert location in the Middle East so didn?t get to see anything of the Chelsea game; all I did get was the write up the next day of how the game went and it sounded like Chelsea were excellent at the back and throughout.

One thing I am surprised by TM is the lack of mention in your article of the loss of three of our best players to the African Nations, Yobo, Pienaar & Yakubu. I strongly feel that the loss of the option of these three players contributed to us going out in this particular game; I am also surprised that no other responder to your article has mentioned this.

I did get to see the Wigan and Man City games prior and though we done well to get six valuable points we didn?t play that well against, IMO, crap opposition.

I don?t agree with the comments on Osman as this season he has played really well; his toe injury no doubt being a major setback that may have had a dent in his fitness level and confidence; I was surprised to hear that Manny got a game as this was totally the wrong type of game and team to play against for his game.

One thing we do know is DM has always had some issues with his tactics but over this season he has made huge improvements especially in Europe; it is obvious he is still learning. The other area that needs to be looked at is the addition of a couple of quality players to challenge the likes of Hibbert, Neville & Valente.
Steven Mills
33   Posted 26/01/2008 at 07:46:14

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Who would you have played in Osman’s place then on Wednesday if you think he shouldnt have started?
Have we got a spare left-sided player sitting on the bench doing nothing or should we have moved Cahill out there and brought in Tommy Graveson to shake his fists at the crowd?

Maybe we could have played 4-4-2 but who would have been in centre mid? Cahill and Carsley perhaps? Everyone knows Cahill’s threat is practically nullified in a 4-4-2 because he can’t get forward as often? Or should we have played Fernandes in there with Carsley - yes that would be better wouldnt it? A player who has started about 2 matches since August would offer good protection to Chelsea’s speed on the counter attack wouldnt it?

I’m sorry but in my opinion he played the correct team given the players available!
What I will agree with is that the approach was wrong! Why so many long balls when their Centre Halfs and Keeper are all about 7 foot tall?

It looked as though we tried to break them down playing football but the way they closed us down left no space to play in and we resorted to long balls!

Rather than slag our own team let’s give credit to Chelsea who came to do a job and did it perfectly!
Kieran Fitzgerald
34   Posted 26/01/2008 at 07:36:12

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Tony, while I think your comments are a little on the overly dramatic side, I do think that they come from the same frustrations that we all feel. And right now the number one frustration for me is, as you say, that lack of a killer instinct. No one is asking Moyes to be Kevin Keegan, heaven forbid, but the man finally has the quality in the squad to really bring the game to the opposing team in situations like Wednesday. He didn?t.

However, he has made a silk purse out of a sow?s ear, and, until we make the most of another couple of transfer windows, we are always going to feel the loss of first team players more than any of the so-called bigger teams.

Still though Tony, keep posting. Your articles are well written, insightful and at the very least provoke some proper thought and responses.
Jonathan Morgan
35   Posted 26/01/2008 at 08:42:46

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I totally agree with you 100% Tony.

I've said it before, the way in which Moyes sends the team out to play is all down to him and that is the biggest reason we looked so far away from Chelsea on Wednesday. I feel he is trying to get the team to play with a bit more invention these days, mainly due to Europe, but I don't think he has the skills to tactically take the team to the next level.

Phases of play are poor, simple movements don't happen, even when we don't have the ball, you have players running back towards their own goal etc ? like schoolboys. On the other hand, when Chelsea lost the ball, everyone was back into position ready to ask the questions of us. No huff and puff about their play, even without some of the world's best players.

Theres just too much wrong with our play; it's unbelievable. Irrespective of players, patterns of play, shape etc come from the training field over seasons, and this is what I dont think is happening or happened over the last few years. This is the area with hardly no improvement. Moyes carries that can.

Like Tony said, we beat the bottom teams then, when we have to crack a Chelsea, where straight balls ain't enough, we are found out, due to the coaching ideas or lack of them from the boss. Wigan and bloody Boro have passed the ball better than us in recent weeks.

I also totally agree regarding Leon Osman; he tries, yes, but has too many touches, takes too many wrong options for me. He is an average Premier League player.

Moyes can say all he wants about magic ingredients ? HE is just not good enough for the next level he is talking about. I think the players are capable of it. Everyone should start to realise that.

Kevin Sparke
36   Posted 26/01/2008 at 09:23:48

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I think it is a bit rich castigating supporters for having a pop at Tony Marsh when most of his rants do exactly that ? yet somehow escape the editor?s blue pen. Why is it that I wonder? Congruent views? Scarred he?ll duff you up? He?s your bastard love child, the product of celebrating 1966 too enthusiastically?

Talking about the football, which is what we?re surely about and not a focal point for hate filled ranting about a manager he?s already decided is crap ? despite any evidence to the contrary. (Perhaps this is also your own position?)

On Wednesday night, Tony saw capitulation and a defensive 4-5-1 performance, I saw tight man marking of our midfield threats (Cahill and Arteta)

Tony saw a substitution appearing too late to change anything ? I saw plan ?B? being put into action at about the half way point ? if we?d have equalised the game would have gone to 120 minutes and Anichibe was getting changed before the Cole goal. If Moyes would have chucked a forward on at 45 and we?d sustained an injury after that, would Marsh have used this as evidence that Moyes ?blew the game? because Moyes lost his bottle?

Tony saw fault in some of the Everton players ? I saw the brilliance of Cole, SWP and the Chelsea goalkeeper as being the difference between the two teams? and what a performance of excellence from Makalele? this guy was really special and I?d love to see a player of his calibre grace Goodison again.

All this talk of petitions banning Marsh is petty minded nonsense of the sort that usually emanates from his keyboard ? but how about some parity hey ed?

How many times has he slagged fans off for having a different opinion to his own?? we?re all ?deluded fools? ?Darling Davey Lovers? ?Moyes Apologists etc Seems to me like a lot of people share the same opinion and are heartily fed up with his bile.

This is supposed to be Toffee Web? not the Tony Marsh show.

It's not the Kevin Sparke show either and some of your infantile comments do not do you proud. I am taking a stronger line in editing Tony's articles, part of the problem last time being that Lyndon posted his Oldham diatribe unedited.

I like your counterpoint to Tony's observations ? that's what this forum should be about ? not Tony Marsh. He really is just another contributor. The kind of generalized labeling you are refering to I have let pass becasue it is not personally directed. I don't see that is the same light as people being directly abusive or requesting that others be banned. To me, the message those people are conveying is that they themselves have no place on this forum.

Neil Pearse
37   Posted 26/01/2008 at 09:16:55

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Just getting to this, and I want to put in my words of support for Tony and his right to post on this site. I am surprised and a bit disappointed by the hostility of the reactions this time to Tony.

I think as Michael says that Tony was sticking mainly to reasonable Everton football matters - that Moyes is too negative, that we returned to hoofball, that the subs came on too late, that Osman is not good enough... Matters to agree or disagree about, but hardly to get so outraged about when Tony is clearly making an effort to moderate his tone here.

So keep posting Tony, especially when they are a bit more like this one (I posted that I thought your last one was almost a ’Tony parody’). I think you are way too hard on Moyes, by the way, but that’s what having different opinions is all about. I don’t think you do yourself a service when you nearly always pop up after the ’bad’ results, so you might think of responding more to our success (I know you did one post more like that recently).

So Tony, keep up the posting, and keep up the more moderate tone. From a consistently Pro Kirkby, generally Pro Moyes Evertonian!
Chris Leyland
38   Posted 26/01/2008 at 10:12:49

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"Yes, I know we are in 4th spot in the league and it’s the best squad we have had for years but as always with Moyes I get a feeling that we could and should be doing a lot better in all of the games we surrender."

Tony, I’d welcome your views on the vast majority of the other games this season which we haven’t "surrendered" because we’ve won them rather than just your views on the handful of games we’ve lost. As it is Moyes fault everytime we lose who gets the credit for the fact that we’ve won so many games this season?
Jonathan Morgan
39   Posted 26/01/2008 at 10:59:21

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Chris, We have not beaten ANY of the top sides, this is what Tony is saying. We have won games but I dont see Moyes having the ability to take us to the next level our squad is capable of. And we have been lucky to win a few of what we have especially in recent weeks, along with getting knocked out of the cup by an average League 1 side. So don't give me this "Moyes should take the credit from won games."
Jonathan Morgan
40   Posted 26/01/2008 at 11:19:12

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I'm giving Moyes credit for what he has done since he has been at the club... But the next level? I don't think he has the coaching ability or ideas to take us to that next level, with the proof being in the standard of basic play week-in, week-out. He won't take us any further than this: top 10 team consistently and trying to get to the odd cup final.
Stefan Tosev
41   Posted 26/01/2008 at 10:08:54

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Yet again Marsh you are rooted in your ?dislike? towards Moyes making bold unsustainable statements. Let start:

?The lone striker at home in a cup-tie in which we needed to score goals sent out all the wrong signals for me? ? what?s wrong with the lone forward Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona, Milan are playing it, why is this negative. What were the chances of going 4-4-2 gung-ho being caught on the break and conceding 2 goals early in the first half; ending up 2-3 - 0 for Chelsea? Your post would have been ?Another humiliation/capitulation?. We played our best attacking line up with Cahill effectively as a second striker.

?Once we concede, DM sends on the strikers when the game is over. Brilliant tactics that. 20 minutes too late? ? again wrong ? Anichebe was he on the touch line ready to come on before Cole scored, see the replays,

?Osman must be like Lionel Messi in training because he sure does fuck all on match days.? ? our third most creative and attacking midfielder ? he scores, he gives assists, covers a lot of ground, never hoofs the ball ? yet you don?t give even suggestion, who should have replaced him, is there abundance of fit midfielders on the bench?

?Poor team selection: A useless Leon Osman who is not match-fit playing a full 90 minutes in our most important game in years with Manny taken off. Why?? ? maybe because Manny was match unfit and giving the ball away in dangerous areas, I lost count of his misplaced passes.

?Not being able to shrug off the defensive safetey first cautious approach which has cost us a day out at Wembley. Why?? ? I cant agree at all ? Chelsea were having 10 men behind the ball, even when they had a corner ?they had 5-6 players on the half way line. We were having possession, shots, set-pieces but were unable to break them ? it wasn?t negative ? we were taught first class defensive lesson.

"Look how far we have come in the last 6 years." Do you know what the fans of Aston Villa, Pompey, Spurs, Man City, Reading, Blackburn are all saying the same thing.? ? Again bold statement without any analysis ? how did Aston Villa, Pompey, Spurs, Man City improved ? via squad build up or via vast investments, which unfortunately we cant afford now. Reading are 20p behind us, Blackburn are also behind us ? out of UEFA and FA CUP in the first round, never reached semi-finals of Carling. However Blackburn situation is nearest to ours in terms of cash and yet we are out-performing them.

?Moyes has out-spent Arsene Wenger over the past 3 seasons and which team looks more likely to pick up a trophy?? ? same shit different year ? again you are forgetting that Wenger had his established team, he is not starting from the scrap, he is adding to what he had. You never mentions that Wenger is able to throw 10-12m GBP on flops like Wallcot and Jeffers, you never mentions the lure that is London comparing it with Liverpool, you never mentions how much more attractive the brand ?Arsenal? compared with ?Everton? is, you fail to mention the media exposure ?Arsenal? gets and their world wide profile helping them to recruit the best youngsters around the globe.

?Well, what do you think will happen to us playing the way we do in the Champions League if we did make it?? ? well see your hilarious predictions pre-season and come up with something better this time

?but we havent beaten a top-4 side all season.? ? wrong again ? we beat Man City to move into fourth.

?It’s just not good enough if your ambitions for the club reach as high as mine.? - No Marsh you are making bold statements ? I want success regardless of the playing field and the restrictions we work under, Moyes is crap so sack him ? this is not ambition its demagogue

?Maybe I am a fool? ? maybe?
Gerry Western
42   Posted 26/01/2008 at 09:55:51

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Tony, had anyone else written that piece I suspect it would not have generated such a hostile response which is disappointing as the focus appears to be on the author rather than the content. I have to say that the views expressed echo my post match analysis.

I?ve spoken to many neutrals since the game and they?re all of the opinion that our game plan and tactics were completely sterile. No anti-Moyes/Everton agenda just an honest appraisal. I have to say I found it incredibly frustrating to watch after the first twenty minutes.

Osman was a huge disappointment with Chelsea doubling up on Arteta and Cahill effectively he was given the freedom of the city but simply ran around aimlessly apart from the occasional contribution he was totally anonymous. Whilst some may cite his injury layoff, I?m afraid he does have a tendency to go AWOL against the physically stronger sides. Possibly more disappointing is the fact that Moyes fails to recognize this and is reluctant to haul him off.

As for the ?hoof ball? approach to Johnson, I?m staggered that anyone would try to defend the criticism aimed at Moyes in this respect. The TV pundits were highly critical of this approach long before the half-time break. The fact that it continued throughout the game made it all the more agonizing to watch.

On the whole a well-balanced assessment and timely reminder to us all that some of the frailties that have dogged us in recent seasons still need to be addressed.
Peter Corcoran
43   Posted 26/01/2008 at 11:10:33

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Tony - you do make some valid comments but spoil it all by not offering anything whatsoever constructive.

If DM is so bad what does that make Sven, O’Neill, Benitez, Redknapp because it may have escaped your notice but we are above them in the league and also not doing too badly in Europe? Who do you offer in their place - nobody except a ridculous comparison with Wenger. I’ll have a half pint of what you’ve been drinking because it must be strong stuff.

You are, like the rest of us, entitled to your opinion but why don’t you try making realistic suggestions on improvements instead of whingeing on about what has gone wrong?

As for your comments about Osman - I know he not everyone’s cup of tea as he can be easily knocked off the ball on occasions, although not against Edgar David v Spurs when he was instrumental in setting up a goal - no complaints were offered about Leon then were they?

Whether you agree or not, this is probably the best squad Everton have had for over 20 years and that is largely down to David Moyes stewardship (and I have had many moments criticising him myself so no I am not an ardent DM fan, but he is winning me round). However, if you would rather get rid of him then give us a realistic suggestion as to his replacement, if it’s ging ho you wnat then we are too late for Keegan I’m afraid. Will that replacement guarantee better than what we have now? By the way, apart from Keegan can you name a manager in the Premiership that has his team playing gung ho football and if so where are they in the league?

I want us to win as much as anyone and I definitely do not accept a defeat in the semis as a success, although it is an achievement, but you have to have a serious does of reality because on our budget we cannot do much better than we have done. Changing tactics to a more attacking way of playing may well have beaten Chelsea but it could also have resulted in us losing to eithr or both of Luton (remember how unlucky they were against LFC?) and West Ham so we would not have got to the semis!

Tony, asking you to be realistic is like asking DM to be gung ho, it ain’t going to happen.
Micheal Hunt
44   Posted 26/01/2008 at 11:10:25

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I feel TM is overly pessimistic in this article. I guess we’ll never know for sure, but I reckon Moyes would have been more adventurous if he had the pack of Joey Yobo at the back, the extra invention of Pienaar in the midfield and the extra everything (apart from tireless running, much of which ia totally fruitless) of Yak (compared to AJ) upfront. I agree Moyes ideally would have ’gone for it’ more, but I feel he lacked confidence in the players available on the night to pull it off (esp. with Osman and Manny not match fit or sharp due to lack of match practice of late). Sadly, Moyes may have been correct. AS HK suggested though, I’d like to see Cahill tried on the left (tucked in a touch of course) in a four man midfield, allowing Vaughan to get on as part of a pair up top.
Neil McKinney
45   Posted 26/01/2008 at 11:45:27

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I agree with the title. My dreams were shattered. Thing is, I?lll get over it.

So you think Ossie was crap? Yeh, cos Manny was fucking brilliant wasn?t he? I lost count of the times he passed to a luminous yellow shirt!

The first post above really hits the nail on the head for me. I love coming on here to read TM?s stuff and long may it continue. I usually disagree with every word of it and love to counter argue. This article is no different.

However, I am very concerned by the running comments on a lot of the posts who disagree. I don?t know whether it?s Lyndon or Michael or whoever, but IMHO that is bang out of order. Tony has come on here with much more scathing comments and personal abuse than any of the posts above and never have I seen this level of pompous censoring. Tony does this because he wants the rise out of the guys above and now you see fit to comment on every other post. You talk about open forum? I think you have lost sight of what that is.

My dream of going to Wembley WAS shattered the other night! So on that point I agree with TM. I am also willing to accept that Moyes is not strong on tactics, but I do take issue with TM?s snarling negativity and knee jerk attitude and I feel I should be able to come on here and say so.

I will say it again. I am a fan of TM?s articles, if only for the laughable crap that he comes out with. However, I feel that he there should be no protection of him as above, and if you want to write a snide little comment after my post then so be it, but I feel it is my right on an "open forum" to challenge him.


Neil, I have to say it again on your thread because you are another one who seemingly cannot read: it's not about people disagreeing. Read the posts above that have no admonitions attached. Plenty of disagreement getting through, is there not? Attention is directed specifically at those who are hurling abuse and/or asking for Tony to be banned. I will not tolerate that and this is their final warning.

John Maxwell
46   Posted 26/01/2008 at 11:51:59

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On our day with a full strength team we can beat anyone..

Without major players.. yakubu, yobo, pienaar and a half fit osman and fernandez.. Did we really expect to win..?

Chelsea were tactically supreme... arteta and cahill had two players on them when they either had the ball or were going to get it..

Their wall of 4 and 5 in front would be hard to break down for any side.

We didnt have the cutting edge to do it..

We will need to find a way through to progress into the latter stages of the UEFA Cup if we beat Brann..

That will be the next test.

And of course we should have a strong team by then.. And maybe another addition before the end of the month.

Cant wait..

The race for 4th is gonna be great too..
Colin Malone
47   Posted 26/01/2008 at 11:32:18

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Tony, i disagree with you over Leon Osman. Leon was playing well before he got injured, Where was he playing before the injury? center mid. Where did he play against Chelsea and the times he,s been getting stick? Right side of midfield or winger, not Leon's position. What we needed against Chelsea was an attacking center midfielder which I thought Manny was. But was informed on another thread that he is a holding player...?. So we have Lee Carsley and Manny playing the holding role, who gets up at the edge of the box supporting the front man?.

You can see the same problem over the park, Sissoko gets told to play along side Maschereno, what ever his name is, supporters give him stick, but he's playing in a position were he is not comfortable, the same with lee carsley when asked to play in the role he is not suited to, he gets stick. Leon is not a joe cole. If you are going to play leon on the right side of mid then he needs support and he aint going to get it with no attacking center midfielder.

48   Posted 26/01/2008 at 12:59:11

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Have to say i can see through some of the meandering and do think tony has some valid points from a certain point of view. In hindsight sure, it looks like the choice to play ossie was a bad one, he wasnt in the game at all due to the fact he wasnt fit, aj up front on his own didnt work either. Obviously moyes wanted to keep this tight and must have thought our best chance of winning this was to nick a goal and win 1-0. Cant blame him for that and only for some inpired goalkeeping from cech we could have won this 1-0, but at the same time it would have been nice to throw caution to the wind and have big vic on from the start and just bloody go for it, being a cup tie and given the circumsatnces us needing a goal etc. Really i cant critisize the manager i think the team did reasonably well, however what really disappointed me was how much the heads dropped when they scored, arteta especially was very poor, we just didnt have a go after that. All said and done we are moving in the right direction, im happy anyway with our progress, can only speak for meself coyb
Chris James
49   Posted 26/01/2008 at 12:55:40

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Heck let’s just change the name of the forum to Tony Web and be done with it, eh!

Considering the volume of replies (and associated traffic), I full understand why the site’s owners indulge and defend Mr Marsh’s persistent attention seeking.

Although if they do keep chastising and banning all who oppose his views, (somewhat bemusingly in the name of freedom of speech), they might not have much of a forum left!
Peter Corcoran
50   Posted 26/01/2008 at 13:24:36

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Tony has only given his opinions, which I reckon many of us can empathise with.

If Tony made the same points but looked a little more on the positive side (glass half full rather than half empty) I am sure more would agree with his comments.

But Tony does not want to do that do you Tony?
Ottar Gadid
51   Posted 26/01/2008 at 13:21:17

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Although I didn*t believe it at the time, the Chelsea clash was lost when Wright-Phillips shoved Joleon’s face into the ball at Stamford Bridge. There are better teams than Everton which will not be able to break down a 4-5-1 with Carvalho, Alex and Makelele (not to mention Cech!!) when they are defending a lead. This has nothing to do with surrender or bottle or anything else of the sort. This is a set-up which constitutes one of the best defensive units in the world. Period.

Perhaps Moyes was a tad too defensive, and although we dominated the field, we got few proper chances (although I find myself wishing that AJ had passed to Osman instead of shooting in the first half). That much I’ll grant you, Tony.

But the "shackles of defensive, safety-first mediocrity" is nonsense. You cannot overturn a first-game deficit by going for broke from the first moment, because the opponent will break away and score. Moyes preached patience, which made complete sense, and was preparing to send Victor on as they scored.

So you tend to disagree with me a lot, Tony, which is cool, as they say. The annoying part is that you seemingly never read the arguments put forward by others and harp on about the cowardice and surrender of Moyes. Which games did we surrender this year? ManU at Old Trafford? If we’d taken the game to them they’d have killed us. Arsenal at Goodison? Perhaps, although we were a wee bit unlucky too, and playing them off the field in the first half. Against the Shite? Bollocks, their best player was Clattenburg. And since we got our key players back (Cars and Cahill) those are the games we’ve lost. Winning playing well, winning playing poorly, due to proper tactics from Moyes. Without a defensive platform you cannot attack, the top three combine a good offensive capability with a great back four. The shite are crap at the back, that’s the main reason for them struggling. And our defense is up there with the best of them.

So Tony, please try to come with some new arguments every once in a while, try to counter some of the arguments against you, and stop giving us the feeling that the failure of Moyes is more important to you than the fortune of our Royal blues.
Ged Dwyer
52   Posted 26/01/2008 at 13:29:29

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Great article Tony. You have summed up exactly how I feel. The only thing I would add is that when Moyes would like to be more positive in a game he doesn’t really know how to, as he’s proved time and time again. But criticism IS A GOOD THING. Just look at how we improved after the crowd booed Moyes at the Spurs game last season. And criticism of the manager doesn’t make you a bad Evertonian. On the contrary it shows you care about the club and want to see it do better.
Mark Wynne
53   Posted 26/01/2008 at 14:05:05

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Spot on Ged.
Neil McKinney
54   Posted 26/01/2008 at 14:18:55

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Spot on Ottar!
Dave Wilson
55   Posted 26/01/2008 at 14:23:31

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Wheres all this hostility coming from ?
TM is merely calling it the way he saw it, unfortunately the truth hurts, we were’nt positive enough, 4-5-1 when you trailing against the best defence in the UK, of course he’s right !
GP was ready to explode on Wed, but DMs team selection and formation made sure the lid stayed on.

Stll all to play for

Paul Gladwell
56   Posted 26/01/2008 at 14:47:24

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We do not have good enough players to play 4-4-2 against the better sides.
I have been a Moyes boo boy in the past but he appears to be learning a bit to me.

Sometimes you have to say we are just not good enough yet , but we are getting there and you have to admit they were superb in what they did.
Paul Lenehan
57   Posted 26/01/2008 at 15:14:46

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Over the two legs I feel the gulf in class was more than evident . As I have mentioned in a previous thread I welcome the fact that TM has not given us his normal diatribe of personal attacks. He has his views and has posted them in a manner that we can all debate, unlike his post after the first Chelsea game. On this occasion I was accused by Michael Kenrick of not respecting TM opinions. I think you will see I do respect other opinions when they are communicated a constructive way.

During the game I was calling for an earlier change as we needed a big man up front. But at the end we had all our forwards on plus Joleon up front and we still couldn’t create anything from open play. Would earlier substitutions have made any difference?

Im sure Moyes will look back on the two games and see things he could have done differently but I really believe we were beaten by a better team. That just my opinion of course.
Robbie Shields
58   Posted 26/01/2008 at 15:04:45

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I’ve got to agree with TM.

Substitutions - As always, too little, too late (Exactly the same as at Stamford Bridge). The goal was coming from Chelsea, we had been warned in the very first minute of the second half.

Osman - Too lightweight, only plays well when the whole team is playing well and he has lots of time and space. He can’t tackle, has no pace and can’t win anything in the air, squad player at best.

Tactics - To go 4-5-1 at home in the second leg of a semi-final against a quality team was hopeless from the start. 4-5-1 NEVER works against the best teams, we end up reverting to hoofball with only 1 midget up front, genius that.

Finally, I’m not a Moyes hater, he’s done an absolutely superb job and the difference between the squad he inherited and the one he has now is unrecognisable. BUT Moyes is not perfect and he blew it big time as he has done against the best teams far too often. He is not a master tactician by any stretch of the imagination, he is too defensive and can’t see what is happenning on the pitch quickly enough. I think he needs to sit up in the stands and get a better view of what is happenning on the pitch because he obviously can’t be seeing it from the sidelines.

I’m gutted because we are emmigrating to Australia this year, therefore this was my one and only chance of seeing Everton at the new Wembley, I feel very let down because we didn’t go for it twice, once at Stamford Bridge when they went down to 10 men and then again at Goodison with 36,000 screaming Evertonians, and I’m afraid to say both experiences were exactly what I was expecting from David Moyes.

I just hope Moyes learns from this shattered dream AGAIN, and doesn’t make the same mistakes in the UEFA cup, but if I’m honest, I don’t think he will. He keeps making the same mistakes too often.
Robert Carney
59   Posted 26/01/2008 at 16:19:25

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Once again, the main thrust is against a home-grown player. It is these players who build the passion and spirit on the training days that make our squad one of the closest in the Premeir League.

Just look at the other home grown talent now and again on the bench. They are twitching and moving with every pass. I have said in an earlier mail, just like the eighties mabye the next number two can be the link we require to improve tactics. Harvey done it so well for Kendall. Remember his muscle man.
Tony Williams
60   Posted 26/01/2008 at 16:31:56

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I can?t add much to this debate/argument, as I have come to it very late and all the points about why we lost against Chelsea have already been mentioned in other threads aswell as this.

I would be interested as to why Tony Marsh only ever posts an article directly after a defeat and is anonymous when we are doing well? It would be also nice to see other Article or Mail Bag thread starters the same kind of protection TM gets, as I have seen numerous personal attacks in the dreaded Kirkby issue go unpunished.

To ban people because they diagaree with the man is unbelieveable, as in essence his whole existence on this forum is to be contraversial and to elicit many contradictory responses, as a spectacle, a TM post in not to be missed.

I better mention something about Everton, or I may also get banned.

Ermmmmmm.... we play in Royal Blue

Tony, you?re running very close to the line. You can?t stop yourself from offering up these snide little digs instead of sensibly talking about Everton and I am rapidly tiring of this nonsense. I have made it abundantly clear what is and is not acceptable. Abuse of other contributors and askling for them to be banned is not acceptable. Next thing to be banned will be people going on and on endlessly about the posters with whom they disagree, instead of engaging in meaningful discussion about what they actually say. In future, anyone who responds to Tony Marsh (or to anyone else for that matter) in this way without discussing Everton Football will be banned and will have their posts removed. ? MK

Kevin Sparke
61   Posted 26/01/2008 at 19:01:52

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Sorry Michael, but your comment re the equal editing of personal digs at contributors comes across as disingenuous - I?ve a long memory and can recall countless posts by Marsh that have been aimed at slagging his fellow supporters, quite often by name; a casual search of your archives will confirm this.

A conspiracy theorist would see it as obvious why Tony gets away with so much as he seems to hold exactly the same views as you... why, even the language you use is the same! (?Darling Davey? etc Match Report 23/01/08)

In my view, you reap what you sow, and if you sow blind hate with little attempt at coherent analysis ? don?t be too surprised if you get some back.

I?ll lay off challenging TM personally... would it be too much trouble for you to ask him to do the same?

William Dean
62   Posted 26/01/2008 at 19:19:59

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David Moyes is doing a great job at Everton and I wouldn?t want anyone else as manager of our club. Long may he continue as our manager.

Wednesday was not the end of our season by any means and was a sign of how far we have progressed. I was very happy with the tactics and team selection employed on Wednesday night. Hibbert was dropped, Neville was at right back, a start for Manny Fernandes, Osman back in the mix, and in the absence of Yakubu, our next best, most attacking formation of Cahill playing behind Johnson.

Contrary to others? opinion, it is not ?one up front? and it is not any less attacking than having two up front. Cahill gets forward a lot, and also allows the likes of Lescott to come forward too. Chelsea are a very good side and we just didn?t take our chances. There is no shame in getting beat by a better team and that?s the be all and end all of it.

Everton have improved greatly over the past 6 years. If other teams are saying they?ve improved, then good for them. That really is something I couldn?t care less about. I?m only concerned with Everton, and yes, we have greatly improved. From a pitiful, moribund, aged, ragged team of journeymen and has beens destined for the Championship, we are on the cusp of CL qualification for the 2nd time in 4 years. The Uefa Cup and 4th place are great targets to aim for and there is simply no reason why this season can?t end in glory.

The idea that Moyes has a ?defensive blueprint? is laughable, when you consider we?re the 5th highest scorers in the league, have scored more goals than both Chelsea and Liverpool, achieved our biggest league win in 11 years this season, and have a goal difference of +17.

Oh, and special mention to Alan Irvine ? great result at Derby today, and in the hat for the FA Cup 5th round. He?s also has taken them off the bottom of the Championship and given them a fighting chance of staying up. Always knew he was a good coach at Everton and now he?s proving it as a manager in difficult circumstances.

John Welsby
63   Posted 26/01/2008 at 21:00:28

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Moyes is a superb manager that is learning

The problem is that he isn?t a ?cup? manager. Why?

He sets his teams out not to lose. That works in the league BUT to win a cup, you need to decide how you?re going to win numerous games and Moyes is (at the moment) too conservative for that.

Hopefully he?ll make the leap up again because he deserves the opportunity.

Yes we missed a GREAT chance on Wednesday. We missed the chance to ?have a go?. I?d sooner have lost 3-0 with seeing us having a go with two strikers up there than going out so woefully 1-0. Where?s the pride in that?

C?mon Moysie, I?m your biggest fan but let?s start having a go at the top 4 whether it be in cup or league. Let?s have a go and if we get tonked (which we won?t) you can revert back to (defensive) type.

Mr Marsh, your comments on Osman are harsh and unfair. I reognise your fantastic role on this site is to spark controversy and debate (similar to Talksport) but let?s recognise a man's contribution to our success as well as failures and you may earm a bit more good will (not that the love of your fellow Evertonians appears worth much to you).
Dutch Schaffaer
64   Posted 26/01/2008 at 22:01:51

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Post removed ? off-topic. A reminder, Dutch: people are free to post or not post, as is their wim. Now, if you want to talk about the football....
Ian Ankers
65   Posted 26/01/2008 at 19:22:49

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I've become increasingly dismayed with all the personal jibes, insults and snide remarks that are being all too often thrown around between us Evertonians on this forum lately! Come on lads and lasses, we're starting to sound like kopites! Can we not all just agree to disagree and by all means debate the football, but remember that we are ALL Evertonians and we all want the same thing (success), however you think it should be achieved! Lets respect ALL Evertonians points of view, no matter how different from your own and lets get back to the football eh? Can we??? Maybe??? Please???
Chris Leyland
66   Posted 26/01/2008 at 23:06:07

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I think people need to get a sense of perspective and dare I say realism as to where and who we are as a club.

In the past 11 seasons we have finished in the top 6 twice. In the other 9 of these, apart from one when we were 7th, we haven?t even been in the top half of the table. During that time Man Utd have never finished outside the top 3. Arsenal have finished in the top 4 every year. Chelsea have always finished top 6 during this period. Even Liverpool have only finished outside the top 6 once during that time. All 11 FA cups during this period have been won by one of these 4 clubs. The Carling Cup (well down traditionally on these clubs' priorities) has been won 6 times by these 4 clubs in this period. All these clubs have had regular European football, with a monopoly on Champions League places (aside from these 4 teams only Newcastle have played in the League stages of the Champions League during these 11 years) . They get all the money that flows from the above and all the better players want to join them.

My point? ? we need to get real. Yes, I want to be challenging for the title and winning cups (btw Chelsea was our first semi during the same 11 year period) but we have to appreciate the fact that we are challenging for a top 4 place IS progress and that Moyes has moved us forward. The expectation now is that we will be challenging for a top 6 place and not seeing how many games are left before we are safe from relegation.

One more stat. For the previous 2 seasons our average attendance was 7th best in the Premier League. This year we are 9th. In terms of filling to capacity we fill 91% this year. This places us 12th in the league. We also are still one of the cheapest grounds in the top flight. As such, we don?t even generate match-day income to compete in the top 6.

Michael Kenrick
67   Posted 26/01/2008 at 23:52:58

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Chris, Talking of "getting real", when will you and other Evertonians with the same perceptions move with the times and get beyond this relegation mindset? I have; plenty of others have, but some seem to be stuck in a Walter Smith timewarp that the rest of us left thankfully SIX YEARS AGO, FFS!!!

Talking of "getting real", do you really think people don’t already know all these top four stats? How many times a day do we have to see it repeated on here by how many people? We all follow football, we all know those statistics, we all know they suck.

To me, the relevance to the discussion is that this is where Moyes is trying to take Everton. Getting behind him and pointing up the issues that face him as a manager and Everton as a club aspiring to gain entry to that elite group should be viewed as something constructive and forwaard-looking. Instead we seem mired in this "woe is me, we are not good enough" mindset that will never see us progress any further. Is that really your point?

Chris Leyland
68   Posted 27/01/2008 at 00:12:44

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Michael ? my points were anything but "woe is me we aren?t good enough." I am stating facts and the fact is we are punching above our weight. You can say "statistics suck" but what I outlined were actually facts, which highlight the challenges faced by the club. As such, I for one am pleased with how we are performing and how I feel about the direction we are going in.

My point is that Moyes has changed our mindset. We are actually competing with the elite group by being in the top four. We do this despite everything I pointed out in my last email, wich are the reality of "the issues that face him as a manager."

So, I ask you, what are your expectaions? Do you think we should be challenging for the title? If so, on what basis do you form this expectation? If not, where do you expect us to be in the league? Have we not made progress? Is our first semi since 1995 not signs that things are moving in the right direction?, despite all our disapoinment at the result?

I apologise in advance for being pro-Moyes and for being optimistic as to where we are heading, as I appreciate this isn?t actually the party-line of ToffeeWeb. But what the heck, I?ll say it anyway we are 4th in the league and we are making pogress.
Barry Sullivan
69   Posted 27/01/2008 at 00:47:18

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Maybe you're playing devils advocate, as is your role, but I don't understand your position on Moyes. In one sense you endorse his aspirations (see previous post) but on the other hand support the notion that he is primarily at fault for us not currently taking the game to and turning over the best sides in the Premier League, nay Europe!

A common thread is our failure against the top sides this season but, as Arteta and Neville have said, as players who have won things with other clubs, it is the small margins by which you win and lose such games ? ie, elementary mistakes at crucial times, naivety or poor tactics.

It's too simplistic to point the finger for this at Moyes and say its his fault, but the core of the squad is made up of lads who have stepped up to the plate so to speak from lesser clubs and Moyes himself is very much a self-made manager without prior top-level playing experience, nor having played under a so-called top manager. In short, we're learning all the time and slowly but surely finding a way to compete at the hightest level. Let's be honest, Liverpool are scared shitless that were gonna usurp them for 4th spot this year, but I don't see ours or Moyes? ambitions resting at such a point.

I for one am proud to have Moyes as the figurehead of the club, who relates to the supporters and harbours ambition for us to actually win the league eventually (as reiterated on BBC today amongst the usual glass ceiling attitude of Lineker, Hansen, etc) and is plotting a path to do that very thing I believe.

The fact that it's taking so much blood, sweat and tears to get there will only add to the satisfaction when we stick it up the arses of the rich kids, which I undoubtedly think we will in time.
Let's just hope were still at GP when that elusive trophy finally comes home, althought that's another debate entirely...
Michael Kenrick
70   Posted 27/01/2008 at 04:16:11

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Okay... against my better judgement...

"Punching above our weight"? what the fuck is that really supposed to mean? The league table doesn?t lie. And it?s based on points ? not bank balances. We are fourth based on our results so far this season. But there you go again, telling everyone what we already know. We are fourth, we are 4th, wi R forth... how many times do we have to repeat it?

My expectations are really simple: That Moyes plays the best team he has (cf Oldham (H))that he has them to play "total football" (I suppose that dates me!), that we take each game as it comes, one game at a time, and that as a team we do our best to WIN that game. Not draw.... not sit on a lucky one-goal lead... not cower in fear at the prospect of playing the bigger clubs.

Of course getting to a semi is progress.... but losing a semi due to the same old formula is definitely NOT progress ? it?s stagnation... even a backward step to be homest.

As for your stupid jibe about there being a party-line... there is no party line. I have my personal opinion; Lyndon has his; Colm has his. The sooner fans like you figure out that each Evertonian has his own opinion and that they are not all the same ? and that they do not need to be all the same for Everton to prosper ? the better for all concerned.

I just don?t understand why you have to keep repeating that "we are 4th and we are making progress". The issue some of us are concerned with is continuing to make progress by taking the next step ? not sitting on our laurels and basking in the false glory of David Moyes: 4th-best manager in the country.

I?m not satisfied with that. I want him to be the best if he is going to continue as Everton manager. Whereas you seem over the moon that he?s fourth!

Yes inded... it is all about expectations.
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
71   Posted 27/01/2008 at 05:56:56

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Michael: "The issue some of us are concerned with is continuing to make progress by taking the next step ? not sitting on our laurels and basking in the false glory of David Moyes: 4th-best manager in the country. "

Here?s the thing though, Michael, do you honestly believe he can make the step up with the calibre of squad at his disposal? Can a team with the likes of Hibbert, Neville and Carsley ? hard-working but technically limited ? in their ranks make the step up into the top three and then on to title contenders? Because unless I?m reading you and your request not to discuss the money angle wrong, that seems to be your expectation.

For me, if Moyes can get the team he currently has to finish in 4th place and then qualify for the Champions League group stages then he is not the "4th-best manager in the Premier League". He is arguably better than that ? and his two prior League Managers Association nods would back me up on that.

I want him to adopt a more attacking outlook ? I?ve always favoured the "attack as best form of defence" model to be preferable but, as Keegan found out a decade ago, it doesn?t always work ? but I also agree with his attempt to rotate players out when it?s prudent to do so. Any team he?d picked from the senior squad should have been able to beat Oldham comfortably.

I also want him to throw away this apparent contentment with the players he has (it may be a line to preserve morale or he may not have any cash) and strengthen this team before the end of the month so that we have a better shot at achieving that 4th-place finish in the face of competition from Liverpool, Villa Blackburn and City. (Something tells me, though, that with the days ticking away, he either can?t or won?t.)

Because I think that even a great manager can only achieve so much with the players at his disposal. It's analogous to Formula 1 where only the teams with the best cars can hope to win the title.
Eddy Bundell
72   Posted 27/01/2008 at 06:50:52

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Time to boast again for LL.
Jay Campbell
73   Posted 27/01/2008 at 08:32:46

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Lyndon how the hell have the RS won so many honours with the likes of Joey fuckin Jones and Kevin MacDonald playing for them?? I have never seen so many galutes pick up(rob) so many major honours in all my life.

Belief has surely got to be a factor coz Hibbert, Carsley etc look like Brazilians next to some of the twats that have won honours for them.

I’m not talking about them anymore they bring on a billious attack.

Stefan Tosev
74   Posted 27/01/2008 at 12:49:16

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"In future, anyone who responds to Tony Marsh (or anyone else for that matter) will be banned and will have their posts removed."


Could you explain please the meaning of that sentence?
Ian Ankers
75   Posted 27/01/2008 at 12:58:34

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I seem to be starting most of my posts lately with this line but......

"I?m a Moyes fan", but I am however going to defend Tony Marsh on this occasion! His ?Shattered Dreams? thread is to the point and valid. Some of us look for the good in everything Moyes does and some of us look for the bad and I for one cannot say who is right or wrong! As a Moyes fan I could probably (as some of you have) answer most of Tony Marsh?s points and turn it around in Moyes?s favour. Or like in most things, you can decide to go the other way! It's his choice, right or wrong. He?s not abusing anyone and I do believe all his views are genuine and most of the time they are at least interesting to read and can often spark an enjoyable debate! So while I disagree with most of what Tony says, who am I to in no uncertain terms suggest that I am right to do so! Keep em? coming Tony! If we all wanted or believed the same thing, this forum would not exsist.
Michael Kenrick
76   Posted 27/01/2008 at 15:48:17

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Sorry, Stefan, I have amended it so that it follows the context of the previous sentence, and people going on and on endlessly about the posters with whom they disagree, instead of engaging in meaningful discussion about what they actually say. In future, anyone who responds to Tony Marsh (or to anyone else for that matter) in this way without discussing Everton Football will be banned and will have their posts removed. ? That’s what I meant to say.
Michael Kenrick
77   Posted 27/01/2008 at 15:39:07

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Lyndon, I know you always look forward excitedly to the transfer windows, being the opportunity for the club to step up and provide Moyes with the funds he needs to get the new players he wants, bringing the hope that they will be the key ones who will take us on to the next level. Big Money: Big Players: Big improvement.

Looking back over the years, I think what follows on after each transfer window is far more important. What Moyes does ? not just with the new players he brings in (if any!) ? but how he moulds the players he has, and how he uses the rare opportunities he has to change games while they’re in progress.

For whatever reason (and it must be lack of money), Moyes more often than not has failed to bring in the players most people believe are needed. And that’s part of the reason why I don’t get too excited about rumours and even transfers anymore.

Moyes has said more than once he has a good squad, and that he will challenge the elite by working with them. So if Moyes thinks he can do it without the pots of money everyone is screaming for... who are we to doubt him?
John Welsby
78   Posted 27/01/2008 at 16:02:04

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With all due respect, I feel that Chris Leyland was making a relevant point that despite having been made before, is still relevant.

Essentially, on this thread Tony Marsh is correct - we didn?t have a go at Chelsea and instead reverted into ?they?re better than us, let?s not have a go at them in case we get twatted, let?s defend well & hope to nick one?.

However, over the last 12 months, this site has generally become polarised between ?pro Moyes? and ?anti-Moyes?. By not understanding that nor repsecting that, you?re missing the context from which many of your conributors are posting: the ?pro Moyes? camp cannot believe that people are not appreciating or understanding that in 6 years Moyes has turned this club around. However the ?anti-Moyes? camp seem to believe it is our ?right? to be comepeting on all fronts regularly.

For ages now the site has been unchecked - I applaud your efforts to turn this around to banning personal comments & encouraging Everton debate.

But Chris Leyland?s comments are fair, relevant & legitimate: prior to Moyes we were SHIT: Walter Smith, Mike Walker etc: neither the football nor results improved. Moyes has changed 1 area (results) and is trying to change the other. Sometimes we need to remeber where we have come from and where we are at: that?s all Chris was doing
Kevin Sparke
79   Posted 27/01/2008 at 16:32:33

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John, we didn?t look to have a go at Chelsea because they man-marked and soaked up the pressure in the middle third of the field.

Our attacking threats were snuffed out at a very early stage before they became dangerous by closing players down in midfield leaving the big hoof up to Johnson as the only option left to mount attacks.

We couldn?t go wide because our wide players never had the skill nor the pace to get the ball where it hurts.... Areta started to make inroads and his reward was to be double marked and roughed up a bit.

We never had a real attacking go at Chelsea because they did a job on us... in fact you could even argue they did an Everton on us (Negate attacking football by spoiling, man-marking, closing down and controling the pace of the game).

BTW I?m neither pro nor anti Moyes... I?m an Evertonian who see?s evidence that we?re improving... is this down to Moyes?

Who else?
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
80   Posted 27/01/2008 at 16:56:44

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Michael, you’re right that I do look to the transfer windows for us to improve because... well because that’s where we get to improve and build the squad. How else did we get the likes of Arteta, Lescott, Yakubu, Pienaar, etc in the first place?

"So if Moyes thinks he can do it without the pots of money everyone is screaming for... who are we to doubt him?"

Does he, though? He has to say that, doesn’t he? Whether he actually believes it is another matter. His seemingly off-hand comment at the end of his post-Chelsea interview where he said of the missing ingredient "maybe it’s money, who knows?" was highly pertinent to me.
John Welsby
81   Posted 27/01/2008 at 17:23:18

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Sorry Kevin but I totally disagree.

We play 2 up front - we have more opportunities to score - it?s that simple.

Anichebe could eaily have rouged up their defenders as he did so last season when we lost 3-2. Yes we may have lost BUT we?d have at least ?had a go?. But we didn?t. We played 1 up top with Cahil as the auxillery striker and we never really peppered their goal.

Obviously I know that by playing 2 up front we could have been exposed to conceding but in the event we lost anyway.

We might as well have played 2 up top and made a fight of it. That we didn?t was very disappointing.

Remember, we always knew we needed AT LEAST 1 goal. Even only 1 goal would have meant needing to shut them out for 2 hours so really we needed 2 goals and 1 up top was never going to get 2 goals against Chelsea.

I also think Howard could have done a bit better on their goal. He just isn?t impressing me at the moment.
Stefan Tosev
82   Posted 27/01/2008 at 18:15:17

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Cheers Karneet Chowdhury,

You made my day:

"We play 2 up front - we have more opportunities to score - it?s that simple. " - next time I suggest Everton should go 1-6-4 - after all with 6 midfielders and 4 strikers we will score -its that simple :)))))))))))))))))))))))))
Keith Glazzard
83   Posted 28/01/2008 at 00:55:28

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Well, there you are then.

Way up there somewhere I said that if this one started in the corner of a friendly pub on a Friday night, I’d walk away.

And I would have been right.

You lot would probably have had blood all over your noses by now.

And if this is taken as an unjustified criticism of some poster (a two dimensional effigy, in my book), then let the editorial board censor me.
Steve Pugh
84   Posted 27/01/2008 at 21:48:08

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I wish to start by saying I disagree with a lot of what Tony Marsh has said in the past, and especially more recently. I have also, at times participated in some of this retaliatory threads that have overly criticised him, and for this Tony I humbly apologise.

Because I am a sad old git I was reading through some old threads and what I read surprised me to the point I felt the need to write this apology. I think that maybe some of the Tony haters out there should read these quotes and think carefully before they accuse him of always slating everything Moyes, because if I am honest Tony has shown himself to be very fair in the past, and if he is becoming frustrated now it is undoubtedly because of the unfair criticism being thrown at him from certain quarters.

From the Writing of Tony Marsh:

?This brings me on to Yakubu. Not since the days of Bob Latchford have Everton had such a lethal predator in front of goal. Once again on Saturday the Yak was on the score sheet at Upton Park, putting Everton on the road to a second victory over West Ham in the space of 3 days.?

?This season just gets better and better and long may it continue. Now if only we can find a new Dave Thomas to partner the Yak ? that would be something?

?WOW, the past few months of this season have been nothing short of miraculous in terms of results and the change in playing style. What's happened to us? I can't believe it's the same squad and manager. Sometimes I have to pinch myself in case I am dreaming but it's a great feeling all the same.?

?I must also eat a large dollop of humble pie myself as I have been Moyes's biggest critic over the years and wanted him out on several occasions but maybe he is getting it right after all. I hope so because all I have ever wanted is a team we can be proud of and a team we enjoy watching. That's what we now have so its a big thanks to Moyes and the lads for giving us some pride back and making it all worth while for a change.?

To Tony, for some reason I could remember all those times you annoyed the crap out of me but not the times when you said things I agree with. I guess when everyone is saying the same thing you start to misremember what you know to fit in with what they say. There are no excuses and again I apologise.

This doesn?t mean I?m not going to argue with you in future, because I will.

To everyone else. Before you start insulting anyone on this site make sure you are right. As I hope to have proved whilst many people claim Tony only posts when times are bad this is simply not the case. He was big enough to eat humble pie over the gaffer, maybe some of us should eat humble pie over the way we treat Tony.

John Lloyd
85   Posted 28/01/2008 at 09:26:50

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Anyway, back to the discussion.

I hope that Moyes is laying foundations, we need to get a team and a mindset of beating teams beneath & around us in league, hopefully the next step is increasing the quality and size of squad so we can then compete with the teams above us whilst still beating teams beneath us. Hopefully that is Moyes plan & if our continued improvement continues then I?m happy as I think he is the man for the job.

He is more defence minded, that would come from being a defender and his first priority was to stop losing, he is now addressing that by looking to bring in players with more quality (Fernandes, yakubu etc) and as I say if that continues......I?m happy
Anthony Newell
86   Posted 28/01/2008 at 19:37:59

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Tony, your fourth and fifth paragraph sum it up perfectly for me

Anyone who thinks that Moyes did not waste a good opportunity to progress through his adopting of negative tactics at home and rendering Johnson completely useless for most of the game is severely deluded

Yes, Moyes has been doing well of late but he fucked that one up - end of story. I wonder how complacently going about Oldham feels now

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