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Great Expectations!?!

By Ian  Ankers :  27/01/2008 :  Comments (25) :
I've read a few posts lately stating that it is now time for Moyes to take the 'Next step' or 'He has taken us a far as he can'. Well I'm just wondering what you guys think the 'Next step' actually is?

Is it a quick nudge up to winning trophies and being Premier League champions? Is it keeping ourselves in the top 4-6 in the league for two or three seasons?

For me, the next step is to stablize the club in the top 6 of the Prem for a season or two and basically continue doing what we have been doing without another slump along the way. It would also involve all our top players signing long deals (which some or most already have... come on Lescott!), and adding one or two pieces of quality along the way each season. It would also involve getting rid of the deadwood (Andy van der Meyde springs to mind).

If we were to finish with 65 points this season, then it would be nice to look to beat that total the following season and not finish short of it under any circumstances! It would also involve seeing our football improve slightly, slowly and surely. A good cup run would be nice ? which cup? ... I'm not fussed; any 'll do.

So for me that is the next step and is a big enough ask for now! Hopefully, if we can achieve this then the trophies and genuine success will follow and in a year or three when we are talking about 'the next step', maybe then it will be to challenge for honours!

So my post is basically just to ask the question: "Realistically, what do you think Moyes has to achieve over the next two or three years to be deemed a success"? This one goes out especially to those who are not great fans of Moyes, what would he have to do next season and the season after, to change your opinions?

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Dan
1   Posted 27/01/2008 at 17:08:31

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3 seasons:

Two euro qual, and one of them in the Champions league.

Taking Everton into the Champions league group phase once,

Two cup finals (any cups), and a victory in one of them!

Michael Hunt
2   Posted 27/01/2008 at 18:29:04

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CL group stages this year and the next two years after too. That would give us the cash and profile to properly give us the ability to get our feet under the top table (rather than scratching around for the scraps left overs of those currently getting a belly full). Huge task, but we can do it.
Jay Harris
3   Posted 27/01/2008 at 18:53:34

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I think the next step is to improve the quality and flexibility of the squad.
When I look at the comparison with the 80s team there are a number of deficiencies that spring out.
The back four are probably almost up to that standard.
The GK IMO definitely isn't.
The midfield with first choice Arteta (Cahill) Fernandes Osman And pienaar is just below that standard in almost every case.
Strikers bear pretty favourable comparison too.
So I believe if we can get a top class GK and a box to box ball carrier in MF we are on our way.
Lee Spargo
4   Posted 27/01/2008 at 19:01:32

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’a good cup run would be nice..’

erm, am I missing something here?
Gavin Ramejkis
5   Posted 27/01/2008 at 19:23:29

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I’ve talked to plenty of work colleagues about this up the road in Scotland and they explained that after Keith Wyness’ involvement in the SPL Sky deal went pear shaped both Rangers and Celtic rely heavily on Champions League money to keep up, their Sky deal is worth £1m a year which makes Derby County’s deal seem phenominal. Qualifying for the Champions League and surviving through to the Group Stages is worth a packet, the RS have survived for years splurging fat wads on players that never quite set the world alight but are saved from massive losses due to their CL campaigns.

If we were to join the "chosen few" in regular CL football the whole nonsense of being potless would be the last thing on the club’s mind. Throw in domestic cup(s) and you would have happy faces all round. Maybe we cant currently compete with the big spenders but a football game is 90 minutes long where anything could happen; just watch those two Havant goals and tell me they were not well earned. You win you are on the up, you lose you are chip wrappers; old news.
Lue Glover
6   Posted 27/01/2008 at 20:48:02

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DM will only move on if we are able to build on the platform we already have. There’s only so many times he can raid the Championship or Bundeslige to pick up players like Lescott, Cahill and Pienaar. He has been excellent so far but the next step is to be able to buy at Harrods rather than Asda’s. DM can only do so much with the money he has available. He’s a damn good manager but he can only work with what he’s got.
Connor Rohrer
7   Posted 27/01/2008 at 21:46:59

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I?d be happy with anything better than 6th this season. If we finish 4th or 5th its progress and we also have had cup runs in the League cup and hopefully the Uefa cup which I quite fancy us to go far in.

A bit of stability would be nice. The most frustrating thing about Moyes?s reign is that we have been a yo-yo team.

European Football is a must if we want to keep hold of players like Arteta, Fernandes and Lescott so whether its the Uefa cup or the Champions League I don?t mind. I feel the Uefa cup is best for us at the moment. We're still new to European Football and I feel the Champions League would be a big step up. We?d have to change our team dramatically if we got to the Champions League and get rid of players like Neville, Hibbert and Carsley who are simply not up to that level. If we can just have a season or two more in the Uefa cup, bring in a few more quality players each year and gain experience then we?ll be ready for the Champions League.

Keith Glazzard
8   Posted 27/01/2008 at 21:56:42

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Personally, I have spent too many Augusts thinking ’we haven’t got a point on the board yet, how are we going to do this year?’

Not this year, nor the next I suspect. So here we are - where next? Moyes needs to be replaced, some say, because he can’t take us up to the next level. So we bring in - who? - an Italian we’ve never heard of to .... be a winner? (If we can afford his wages and his spending spree).

If anyone out there has ever taken part in a sporting competition of any kind - running, cycling, swimming, or possibly playing football - they might remember that there was only one winner. Cup competitions are designed to produce only one winner. They are not fair judgements of quality.

The league is, and five years on we are thereabouts. Europe next year in any form will be real progress. A European challenge in the next three years will put us on the map in world terms (in the city of Liverpool or wherever).

That will be progress.
Jim Hourigan
9   Posted 27/01/2008 at 20:46:31

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What an enticing trap ? Is progress winning the Premiership or the Cup or regular european football? Well progress for me will not just be winning trophies and can be measured in a number of ways:

Firstly his tactics have to become more flexible and I do not mean throwing forwards on when we are losing. We have to move from the defensive mindset and a 5 man midfield to a formation that looks to get at teams including the top 3. Substitutions rarely change our formation they just replace personnel and we go like for like. We have not won a match having gone behind for 2 YEARS, that suggest his tactics have to improve. IMO the use of Cahill in this formation hampers all other selections and systems and this needs to be reappraised - its 1 dimensional football!

Secondly, this year apart, he has never got close to a Cup, why not? because he basically does not set teams up to win matches. I was told by Stubbs that it is not unusual for the team to train for hours on defending with little time spent on creation and creativity. DM needs to learn how to prepare a side to win a game not avoid defeat. He needs to adopt a forward’s thinking and not always a centre half’s. So he needs to win at least 1 cup in the next 2 years.

Thirdly he must ensure we become regulars in Europe through a place in the top 4. Third place is realistically up for grabs. The RS have as bad a record against the top 3 as everyone else, but what they have done better than others is beat the rest consistently. If he can do that for the next 2 years we will be in the Champions league. 2 consecutive years will attract money and players and then we can begin to think about the Premiership, so some leeway on that but the stepping stone has to be consecutive CL places.
Michael Kenrick
10   Posted 27/01/2008 at 22:55:44

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Jim,

"I was told by Stubbs that it is not unusual for the team to train for hours on defending with little time spent on creation and creativity. DM needs to learn how to prepare a side to win a game not avoid defeat. He needs to adopt a forward?s thinking and not always a centre half?s."

I have always suspected that was the case, and I believe that is the underlying problem. Either he changes and we continue to improve. Or he can?t change (leopard, spots) and we have potentially reached a plateau.

Tony Williams
11   Posted 27/01/2008 at 23:12:42

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"We have not won a match having gone behind for 2 YEARS"

Ermmm, What about the quarter final against West Ham?

"was told by Stubbs that it is not unusual for the team to train for hours on defending with little time spent on creation and creativity"

Forgive me if I do not automatically take your word for it.

"Thirdly he must ensure we become regulars in Europe through a place in the top 4."

Completely agree, we need to push on from this season (if it doesn’t fall apart) and continually be in Europe, especially the CL where the real monry is. The Wafer cup is not a money maker at all.
Connor Rohrer
12   Posted 27/01/2008 at 23:02:04

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Jim, I think the way you get the best out of a group of players is by playing to there strengths. 4-5-1 is obviously the best formation for this current team. Its been proven many times. We have experimented with the 4-4-2 formation and it obviously just doesn’t work and the players do not play to there full potential. We are usually overrun in midfield and fail to retain possession.

Is the 4-5-1 formation negative? If Neville and Carsley are playing in the middle yes but if the midfield contains 4 attacking midfielders its hardly defensive or negative. Its actually alot more expansive than a 4-4-2 formation as it can change into many different formations like 4-4-1-1, 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. Lots of team adopt the formation. The likes of Chelsea, Barcelona, Arsenal and Bolton all use it and have all been successful in there own ways.

Cahill doesn’t play as a midfielder he plays as a second striker. How does he hamper anything we do? If he’s fit he plays which is fair enough because we win more when he is playing and the goals he scores are valuable. 9 goals in 18 games is a very good return and he also scored 7 in 19 starts last season before he was injured. Despite not being the most naturally gifted Footballer in the world he is a very important player for us in our best and most effective formation.

When Moyes’s subs a player it is usually a midfielder and we go 4-4-2 with either Victor Anichebe or James Vaughan coming on to give us more of a target to hit. Is this not changing the formation? 4-4-1-1 to 4-4-2 or 4-4-2 to 4-4-1-1 is in my eyes.

"I was told by Stubbs that it is not unusual for the team to train for hours on defending with little time spent on creation and creativity. DM needs to learn how to prepare a side to win a game not avoid defeat."

Somehow I very much doubt that. I’ve seen open training sessions and I can tell you it had a mixture of both defensive and attacking training. If he concentrated just on defense then I doubt players like Arteta, Fernandes, Pienaar, Osman, Cahill and Yakubu would want to play under him.

"We have not won a match having gone behind for 2 YEARS".

Did we not beat Metalist Kharkiv 3-2 after going 1-0 and 2-1 down?
Anthony Lamb
13   Posted 27/01/2008 at 23:12:05

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Ian’s point is a good one. Surely progress for Everton will first of all be measured by how consistently they are able to finish in the top six of the division? Much as everyone wants the club and the team to progress there has to be realism and at the moment Everton’s hold on any top six place starting with this this season is fragile. Three or four consecutive draws, defeats etc together with other competitors picking up points and you are suddenly looking to keep in the top half. The game on Wednesday against Tottenham for instance will be a very big test for the team. A developing Tottenham team with some truly outstanding attacking players will perhaps be one of THE crucial games of the season. Get something from this game and in light of the absence of our ANC trio it will reflect the kind of result we need to achieve regularly against the kind of opposition who have precisely the same targets as ourselves and in the same process of constructing a team. If Cahill is not playing it will also illustrate some of the points already raised about Cahill/team formation etc and how this is dealt with - disaster or opportunity?. No ANC trio, no Cahill is just the kind of situation we have to deal with successfully in order to maintain a top six place. Beating Tottenham will be a brilliant result in the circumstances but if they don’t we do not want people getting on the manager/teams back because we are just not strong enough yet to take everything in our stride a la Chelsea. How we deal with these next few weeks is precisely the kind of tests we need to get through relatively unscathed if we ARE to make progress as genuine top six contenders. Then we have just got to keep doing it!
Tony Williams
14   Posted 27/01/2008 at 23:46:26

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Wednesday is certainly going to be a huge test, especially as we are without Pienarr, Yakubu, Yobo, Cahill and Hibbert, 4 maybe 5 of the starting XI are missing and I can?t recall if the Spuds have any missing, probably not.

It would seem that unless Moyes uses Johnson as a winger then we simply have no option but to play a 4-4-2, as we do not have any more midfielders unless you bring Vidarsson in, which I doubt he will do for such a big game.
Keith Park
15   Posted 28/01/2008 at 00:01:22

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Our expectations and ambitions for the next 3 seasons need to be simple and achievable.

My hopes would be:

1. To play less of a high ball/long ball game, keep the passing short and on the deck and and use the undoubted talents and ball skills of the four class midfileders we now have in the squad.

2. For the manager to make more decisive and effective substitutions and display a greater tactical awareness, particularly against the better teams. He who dares wins should sometimes apply.

3. To win one trophy.

4. To finish in the top six in successive seasons and in the top four at least once.

5. To finish on more than 60 points in 3 successive seasons.

6. To reach the group stages of the CL once and the Uefa Cup once.

And finally,

7. To get 12 points against the Big Four in two of those 3 seasons. Currently, it is our inability to cope with games agaisnt them and other teams doing well. Note that our record so far against the top NINE is:
P9 W1 D3 L5 F6 A13 Pts 6 - no prizes for guessing what that spells.

So the real progress to aim for is consistency against the top half.

I am delighted with progress this season, but will be looking at the next two games againt Spurs and Blackburn as real tests. And hoping that DM does not repeat his disastrous managerial performance of last Feb against Spurs. Hopefully, he will have learnt from that one. Anything less than 3 points from those two games will be evidence that we have not really made the progress that we are telling ourselves we have and that perhaps (with the exception of Man C and Spurs) we have only beaten crap in the league this season.

Is any of the above NOT achievable? I don?t think so.
Keith Glazzard
16   Posted 28/01/2008 at 00:21:02

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And I thought Alan Stubbs might make a possible choice for a man to come through the ranks to be a possible assistant. Silly me. Someone says he thinks we spend too much time making sure we don’t let goals in.

I’d like to hear Mr Stubbs’ thoughts on the matter.

Perhaps he, or his confidant, would like us to adopt the Newky answer - bring in Super King "if they score six we’ll score seven" whatsisname - to be our saviour.

Absolute crap.

Name any successful team in history that wasn’t built on solid foundations. Then ask yourself why we are bothering bringing players like AJ, Yakubu, Cahill, Arteta, Pienaar and Fernandes into the club. To defend? They all, even the Yak, do their duties as any team player should.

Perhaps we should employ a ’creative’ coach, to put the boys through their goal scoring routines twice a week. I’m surprised that nobody’s thought of this before. Perhaps when Newky sack that bloke in a week or two we might want him to come to work for us.
Chris Brown
17   Posted 28/01/2008 at 01:12:11

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Over the next 3 years:
If we can consistently stay in the top 6 (without dropping out) and crack the top 4 once, I’d be quite happy as a blue.

I think the best thing for the Blues is to cement ourselves in the top 6. A few straight years of Europe (UEFA or CL) will help us both financially as well as recruiting players to "help us get to the next level".
Jason Broome
18   Posted 28/01/2008 at 02:21:56

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Agreed!
Christine Foster
19   Posted 28/01/2008 at 02:15:40

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Win something.. Cup or league to show people we can and stuff it right up Alan Green and Sky
Team Consistency: Stability: Quality. The ability to attract players to EFC
Strength in Squad although its the best we have had for a number of years
Managerial progress; Moyes is learning but its still a question of not just resources but the tactics and self belief.
Resolution of where we play. Financial investment in the club sorted. Too much energy is lost making too many fuck ups at board level regarding stadium A B or C we must be up to plan H now.
So, progress? yes .. as we keep the above as milestones, with a very last one.. stay above Liverpool in the league, Thats got to be worths some pain lol
Chris Briddon
20   Posted 28/01/2008 at 09:08:24

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Progress - Consistent top 8 finishes with a UEFA cup place an expected rather than a hoped for goal.

A cup would be nice , but I won’t put this in my expectations as Cups are part down to ability and part down to luck, so if we don’t win one it won’t be a complete disaster - although a fw more cup runs like the Carling Cup this season would be better.

People talk of finishing 4th - well isn’t this the problem SPurs got themselves into -by finishing 5th a couple of seasons and deciding it’s not good enough. 4th would be great but at present isn’t down to us achieving more the under achievement of Liverpool / Arsenal / Chelsea / Man Uid.
Peter Corcoran
21   Posted 28/01/2008 at 11:20:41

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Let us wait and see what tactics are adopted when the ACON players return and Fernandes is anything like match fit.

Would a midfield of Arteta, Cahill. Pienaar, Osman and Fernandes be to your liking - it would still be 4-5-1. Would it be defensive enough?
Paul McCann
22   Posted 28/01/2008 at 13:41:33

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I think that some of the above contributors are not being ambitious enough. I actually think that if nobody goes down with a season ending injury, we should finish in fourth place. I believe that we are the fourth best team in the league, and anything below fourth place would be underachievement.

So finishing fourth, and qualifying for the CL group stages, would be success in the short term. After that, who knows...
Graham Nolan
23   Posted 28/01/2008 at 10:03:09

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Our performance against Chelsea has highlighted the fact that Everton are so near yet so far from "The Big 3". To me it seems obvious what we lack. We need a player who can dictate a game. Someone we can give the ball to and be confident that possession will be retained. Arteta rarely loses possession but is not this player. He needs other quality players around him. Pienaar the same. We need a player who is going to take the pressure off the likes of Arteta and takes the responsibility himself. Our next siging has to be this type of player and I don't think it is Fernandes either.
Jim Hourigan
24   Posted 28/01/2008 at 15:05:07

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Sorry, I should have qualified my statement to read in the Premiership, I acknowledge the games mentioned.

I can’t prove the conversation and can only ask that you accept it as I stated. It took place during a Football Evening , Alan Stubbs went into great detail because of the pride they had in not conceeding goals, and in his own manner took the mickey out of the forwards and midfield. However he stressed that the focus was on defending, which in itself is no bad thing, but to the total exclusion of working with the forwards and midfield ?. He stressed how they ’got on with it’ whilst the defenders were constantly being coached.

I used the information not to undermine good defending but rather to identify the imbalance in the preparation.
Terry Maddock
25   Posted 28/01/2008 at 16:49:07

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I don't claim to be a footballing genius... but like to think that after having played and watched the game (best level I played at was Berkshire premier league..and the best I watched was EFC 1985... ) at a fair level since about 1969 (my 1st game) that my opinion on how the team I suport are progressing may carry some credence with "my peers"...and I understand that we don't all see things the same..

But I do think that if somebody like Dave Watson has a comment to make on EFC then its worth listening to. So when He says:
?Of course it will be exciting if it?s another battle with Liverpool for that Champions League spot but one or two people are getting carried away. We?ve had a bit of success in recent years but some expectation levels need to be checked.

?It?s ridiculous to hear some people taking about how we should be challenging to win the league next season as we?ve come a long way in a short space of time.?

I say to myself, "Yes, that's fair comment..." And on that note I believe we should realise that "Nothing but the best" does not always equate to a trophy, it simply means doing the best with what you have, trying your best, giving your all. If every player at our disposal does that ? plays to there very best ? we could and would in all probability end up 4th with no cups to parade... simply because if Man utd, Chelsea and Arsenal do the same then 4th best is where we will be.

The record books show this to be true..

So when people start baying for blood, abusing the players, and campaigning for the manager to be sacked, perhaps they need to get a grip on reality.

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