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The Crime of the Century

By Rupert Sullivan :  05/05/2008 :  Comments (24) :
Having read many articles and mailbag postings on Toffeeweb recently, I have come to the conclusion that David Moyes has one major fault ? that is the fault of raising the fans? ambitions to a level just beyond that which the team can fulfil.

This season has shown us just what Everton can do ? both at the top of their game, and at the bottom, a position exemplified by the two legs against Fiorentina; a drab away display that left Everton with a hard fight back, and a thumping return leg where they were outplayed in every way except one ? penalties.

Now I am not a Moyes ?apologist?, although I do admit to thinking that he has done a very good job at the club. I admire his tenacity and the patience he has shown with the club and the resources provided. At the same time, I too am disappointed by the approach he shows in games against Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal, and the match today against Arsenal shows up weakness like that quite well. The club motto of Nil Satis Nisi Optimum probably does not mean to suggest that Everton should win every game, rather that Everton should play the best that they can every game. Having watched the Arsenal match in the pub today I thought Everton played very positively ? I too thought that Everton went out playing for a draw, and that neither side looked like scoring, but Everton kept the ball, passed it around on the deck, built up slowly, showed patience and defended well.

Now I can appreciate that those of you who are disappointed in the result (and I am one) have complaints ? but how many of the postings criticising Moyes?s approach would have been made had Everton secured the point needed? How many ?negative tactics?, how many ?no ambition?, how many ?no desire? posts would there have been in comparison to say the potential ?back in Europe?, or the ?two years on the bounce? comments?

David Moyes has made the grave mistake of raising the ambitions of the fans to the point that in the season in which Everton score their highest points tally ever in the Premiership, the fans are not satisfied! In a league which is becoming ever more disparate in terms of money and clout, in a league where only a few clubs ever receive press coverage ? Everton are capable of competing. We as fans now believe that Everton are capable of going to Arsenal and beating them; going to anyone and beating them; and well we should. As wonderful as that belief is however, perhaps we should also accept that at times, they will lose: especially in a season which saw both Liverpool and Chelsea knocked out of the FA cup by Barnsley ? teams (whether we like it or not) with vastly greater resources than at Everton?s disposal.

DM made a tactical error in my view; playing for a draw was not a good idea ? but Everton played well and what disappoints me the most is that this is reflected less in the fan?s responses than factors which are less positive. Now I?m not suggesting that it is OK to play for a draw in a match where there is nothing to lose except goal difference. Yes I want Everton to win every game, yes I hate it when DM sends out a team to get a draw, yes I don?t like to lose ? and Yes, I am glad that all fans? views can be expressed on this forum?

?but surely we as fans are capable of a little perspective?

Reader Comments

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Jay Campbell
1   Posted 05/05/2008 at 08:27:05

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Moyes needs to buck his ideas up.

That was fuckn shite today again.
Eric Cranford
2   Posted 05/05/2008 at 08:49:54

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Very good article. Moyes has taken us from annual bottom 6 candidates to ?the best of the rest? outside the ?money 4?.

Yet despite our best points return, and playing some superb stuff in the early/middle parts of the season and nigh on securing a Uefa Cup spot for the second season running, some still have it down as a ?wasted season?.

The next step will be the hardest, and won?t happen without money, but even if it does, it?s clear that the new wave of ardent sky fans still won?t be satisfied.
Damien Kennedy
3   Posted 05/05/2008 at 08:56:24

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Jay, why don't you take a serious look at your self and if coming out with two word expletives is the best you can manage keep it to yourself, you are obviously a blinkered individual. Tactically, Moyes got it dead right against the Arsenal. Understrength or not (as were we!!), we controlled that game. played some great one touch football. We have had a good season, suffered at the end by a lack of depth in the squad, but played some much better football this term. We will find it hard breaking the top 4, so that aside we have done as well as we could have expected. Not as we all want. but what can you do without money!!
Carl Wright
4   Posted 05/05/2008 at 08:59:53

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Sorry Ruppert old chap, that is bollocks I'm afraid....

We have always had high expectations, our history has raised these not Moyes. We do though expect the ball to be played on the floor and the team to make a game of it.

Too many times this season we have laid down and rolled over aganst the Sky 4 (yesterday, however, I thought we played ok), and thats' down to how Moyes sets the team up.

One of the biggest games his tenure next week and one in which he will be remebered for if it all goes tits up.
Jason Lam
5   Posted 05/05/2008 at 08:50:24

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This article is a bit contradictive in that firstly it speaks about had we secured the point needed for UEFA we would’ve generally agreed with Moyes’ tactics, yet there’s the suggestion playing for a draw was the wrong tactic altogether. Hypothetically we could’ve given Arsenal’s reserves arces of space as we went for 3 points and been cut to shreads. If only all tactics went to plan hey? They don’t, we lost to a very good header. We noticed the result of the Villa game the previous day and knew a point is all that’s necessary for UEFA next season. Had we got it, we can pussy footie around to our hearts content at Goodison against Newcastle and we’ll be slating off Lescott, Jags, Yobo, Howard for their lack of concentration/professionalism/pride for letting Owen and co. pick us off, as Carsley, Osman, Manny, Pienaar start playing like Brazil. We don’t play like that and whether you like it or not, we are in a prime position for UEFA Cup next season (I personally don’t rate this pussy cup if the top4 of England, Spain and Italy are not playing) by playing dour crap. If you want high scoring games watch Spurs, Newcastle or Basketball. It’s the results after 38 games that count.

What was it about perspective again?
Christine Foster
6   Posted 05/05/2008 at 09:43:43

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I confess I groaned when I saw the line up, Neville in midfield and Johnson on his own up fromt. Well aware that we only needed a point I can understand why Moyes fell back on his defensive roots. Defensively it was a solid performance and the one bit of class Arsenal showed resulted in the goal. I guess what was evident again was Moyes reluctance to tactically use substitutes at the right moments. After about an hour we were on top and Arsenal looked well off their form and the game cried out for the boys to raise the game and pressure by attacking. Changing Johnson and hibbert for Yak and Anichibe would have placed Arsenal under great presure. Who knows if it would have paid off. But playing the last 30mins in your own half and conceding possesion just invites trouble and sooner than later the inevitable happens.

Personally I would like to see a more positive approach (best form of defence is attack, they can?t score goals when the ball is in their half etc..) I just felt as I have done especially against the Sky 4 that for large chunks of the games we had the measure of the opposition but we sat on it and didn't drive it home.

I for one never expected a point from Arsenal, its one of those clubs where we just don?t perform against. A little more courage from our Scot would be good to see sometimes.

Peter Bourke
7   Posted 05/05/2008 at 09:55:42

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I think this is a good post and Rupert deserves a bit of credit for a balanced and sensible view.
I have just finished reading EVERTON, "The School of Science" and these people that quote "History demands it" (expectations) must have read only 2 chapters of the book and conveniently forgotten the rest.

Rupert is spot on and any arguements against will not be able to be substantiated with fact. BUT each is entitled to their opinion but the facts speak for themselves.

Roger Hampson
8   Posted 05/05/2008 at 09:57:39

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In general, I agree with Rupert?s article. I think the real thing it proves it that you cannot compete in the Premier League and Europe with a small squad such as Everton?s. The big clubs can rest or rotate certain players whereas we have to play our top players midweek in Europe a weekends in Premier League. This results in niggles and injuries towards the end of a long season i.e. Cahill, Arteta, Pienaar etc.

I think DM has done a fantastic job with resources available but will need significant funds from the Board to achieve this. Assuming the Kirkby project goes ahead, we?ll have a good stadium with relatively little debt versus other clubs such as Liverpool. I?m sure this will then make us a more attractive investment opportunity and new funds will allow DM to take us to the next level. Roll on Newcastle!!

Michael Hunt
9   Posted 05/05/2008 at 10:20:57

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What dissapointed me most was that in the last 10 minutes their was insufficient passion desire and urgency in Everton?s play. Given the changes he?d made, surely Moyes would have told his players to get players and crosses into the box. Also to get the midfield to get shots of from around the box whenever possible. There was scant evidence of this though and when injury time was nearly up I was dismayed that Yak laid the ball back into deep midfield (rather than look to whip a dangerous cross in to big Vic and runners) from a promising wide position. The pausity of our ?attacks? was pitiful.

Truthfully, if we play as we have for the last 8 games, we deserve to get pasted by the Geordies and enter the Intertoto instead. Though I suspect my hope that such a ?lesson? would teach Moyes to insist on more positive and creative style would prove to be forlorn.

Football certainly is not entertaining under Moyes of late and that is sickening given our earlier performances showed much more promise. I realise we have key players out but the way the team has approached the last 8 games has shown that the intent to play ugly ?anti-football? to secure points is not only deeply unattractive to watch it is also very unsuccessful in it?s aim. For a Champions League chasing team to only scrape a single win against the current abysmal Derby County side in that run is a deep embarrassment.

Here?s hoping Moyes gets the appointment of an appropriate number 2 right this summer to speed up Moyes?s learning curve. Sadly, currently it is a case of, "School of ARSE!"


Joe Ludden
10   Posted 05/05/2008 at 10:37:58

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Moyes? tactics are like that of an amoeba - stimulus response only. If you poke him, he will move, but what he can't do, is move if you?re about to poke him.

Yet again yesterday, 75mins gone and not a change from Moyes to beef / freshen things up for the last 15mins. 76mins - we go 1 down. 80mins he makes 2 substitutions. Brilliant.

Now I?m not saying 1-0 at the Emirates is the worst result, I?m just saying yet again Moyes failed to react until after the damage was done.

Thanks to the Villa?s massive cock up v Wigan (I bet Bruce loved that!) we should still take 5th spot, which is of course contrary to my criticisms of Moyes as it represents a remarkable result from, minus one or two, and let?s be honest, a fairly unremarkable squad.

And with that in mind? over to the handsomely paid CEO to do what CEO?s are supposed to do ? find the financial package that will provide the manager with the cash required to fend off the army of overspending clubs that will no doubt provide a sustained challenge to the 4th / 5th spot race next season. Should the CEO fail to do that (no doubt describing it as ?undeliverable? in the process), then the question must remain ? what the hell does he do for £400,000 a year?

Phil Bellis
11   Posted 05/05/2008 at 13:42:32

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Jay C is right.
Moyes should never wear a Blue shirt again; he’s the worst player we’ve had since Mike Walker. Oh, hang on.....
John Steadman
12   Posted 05/05/2008 at 14:09:39

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I totally disagree with what Rupert says, I would very happily have taken 5/6th place in the league, semi final of the Mickey Mouse Cup and last 16 of the Uefa Cup. When you have had a season ticket for well over 30 years and seen some of the dross served up in that time, this season is a pleasure. Okay, sometimes Moyes gets his tactics wrong, but with the thin squad we have you can only play a certain way when you get injuries. I bet you was not complaining two months ago, when we were playing the best football seen at Goodison for donkeys years.
If you didn?t have Moyes WHO WOULD YOU HAVE?
Rupert Sullivan
13   Posted 05/05/2008 at 14:50:34

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John Steadman - that is exactly my point. This season has been in the main a pleasure, and I cannot understand why so many people are happy to pull holes in everything.
Matt Malecki
14   Posted 06/05/2008 at 01:25:07

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Also, consider that next year will not have an African Cup of Nations. The effects of that may not have shown right away, but a few more guys for a few more weeks means loads to a squad our size.

In a 160 year history, taking five years to build a solid base, then five more to try to achieve the impossible seems, to me, to be a fair allowance.

At the beginning of the season I had one success/failure criteria for the team: stop the yo-yo. Six last year, five this year (COYB). Good season. Plus some cup success, which is the other thing that Moyes has lacked in the past. I have a feeling that if Moyes looked like he was interested in leaving, club representatives from around the Premier League and all over Europe would line up on his doorstep.

If we make the same gains in his second five-year plan as in his first, I will start to see some more legitimate Blue kits over here in The States.
Arthur jones
15   Posted 06/05/2008 at 08:30:49

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Earlier in the season we were playing some of the best football seen at Goodison for 21 years , we were exciting , scoring for fun an one defiig game for me was the home game versus Arsenal , we were beaten 4 1 but in the 1st half we outplayed the Arse at their own game and only when Eduardo scored a flukey handballed goal to equalise then a dubius 2nd did we capitulate with Fabregas getting Arteta sent off for an accidental challenge , never a 4 - 1 true result . Then came the ACON , which we lost players at an important time , then the injuries kicked in , the most disatrous being Cahill . Since then Moyes has had to cut his cloth according to his means , .. and by which i also mean he wasn’t given the say so to do what Spurs did and buy Woodgate and the Rangers full back , or harry Rednapp’s Defoe and Diarra , S DM wa left with getting an unfit / injured Fernades on loan who ony now is starting to regain some of the obvious abilities we know he has , Sice our slump in form , one aspect of our game that has remained fairly stable is our defence , the strongest outside the sky 4 , So DM is not that stupid to try to disrupt this , we have reached a stage of the season now where results count , due to our excellent early season form , we only now need 1 point to guarentee 5th place , the tactics for the weekend game v the Arse were spot on , strong defensively good in possession and created chances including one cleared off the line and yet another penalty claim turned down , but then Wylie disallows perfectly good goals so getting a penalty ???? no chance . I for one am happy with our progress and more than happy with David Moyes , We’ve gone from being a bottom half dozen team to a european contender in 6 years with relatively little expenditure , but we are now the team that the " rest of the premiership " aspire to copy , If anyone is to break that glass ceiling , we are the most likely !!!
Chris Briddon
16   Posted 06/05/2008 at 10:39:28

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Joe Ludden - but why should he change things all the time. At 0-0 after 76 mins we were comfortable and looked like claiming the point we needed and on balance deserved. What would be the point of making changes for the sake of it.
Then Arsenal conjured a goal from nowhere, we were 1-0 down and had to attack cos we needed to score to get anything so you bring on 2 forwards.

I really don’t see any justification in your criticism for this game or many others.

at home to Pompey we scored early but then Pompey equalised. We bought AJ on and played 442 changing the game and winning 3-1.
Over the last few weeks subs have been few and far between due to having no options available to change the game due to limited numbers. There is no point in making changes for changes sake just so a couple of fickle supporters think you are doing something!
Ron Leith
17   Posted 06/05/2008 at 19:07:49

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As far as I can see we will only know how good Moyes is when he leaves and goes to a bigger club that matches his ambition. Moyes has not got mega bucks like Benitez and if we chase a player that one of the big four or Newcastle, Machesyter City, Portsmouth or Aston Villa want to buy they won?t be coming to EFC. Its a double whammy, Moyes has to buy players that these other clubs don?t fancy. If you think about Arsenal they have got quality all over the park and we lost by one paultry goal. In Zimbabwe that would mean a recount because it was not a clear victory. Plus Willey did for us again as he turned a blind eye to Gallas?s blatant trip on AJ and his back pass. So to loose to Arsenal and the referee was not such a disaster.
Mark Pendleton
18   Posted 07/05/2008 at 09:17:07

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Largely I think this is a good article. In my opinion we played for a draw, passed the ball around well and were unlucky firstly not to get a goal, but secondly to have one lapse result in conceding one. In my opinion, had we gone to attack and win the game this may well have played into Arsenal?s hands and ended up in us getting a bit run ragged and conceding a few.
Colin Grierson
19   Posted 07/05/2008 at 09:45:46

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Most of us if we’re honest were expecting to get beat by Arsenal. I expect Moyes in his heart of hearts thought so too. I’d rather get beat going for the win than sitting back for the draw. If we had have gone after it who knows? A lack of ambition from Davey. Excellent season but record points hauls dont necessarily get you into Europe! If we fail then it will be down to tactics in my opinion.
Martin Hughes
20   Posted 07/05/2008 at 15:27:47

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I think Moyes is the best manager in the PL and I?m sure if he is given the reported £20 million he will buy players who will take the club in to the top four no problem
Norman Merrill
21   Posted 08/05/2008 at 06:35:22

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Chris Briddon, You state that Arsenal scored a goal from nowwhere, but that was after Wenger made a sustitution, bringing on Traore, and that changed the game, A sustitute to change things, not to chase the game. Big difference.
Adam Payne
22   Posted 08/05/2008 at 20:40:44

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What pisses me off the most with Moyes is that there appears to be this acceptance that a 0-1 defeat against the big boys is an acceptable result.

?We ran them close?, ?we did as best we could' ,'we have less money? blah blah....

He goes into these games set up for a draw and when they score there is no plan b. God I would rather lose 3-0 trying to give it a go than meekly laying down and accepting it.

We need a far more positive attitude to team selection and substitutions in these games if we are ever going to challenge (1 pt from 24 is simply a joke!).

Peter Mitchell
23   Posted 08/05/2008 at 22:47:35

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Carl Wright - I’m afraid it is you that speak double orchid, dear heart. Let’s face it, we have hardly had the best of luck against the Sky 4 this season. With a few (cast iron) penalty and other decisions going our way we would have had many more points against them this season. I fully expect us to get more points against them next season, as we have under Moyes before. the only one we can’t seem to beat is Chelsea.

Do you really want Moyes to leave? Who will we get to replace him who will do better with the resources at hand?
John Hall
24   Posted 12/05/2008 at 07:06:20

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I have watched many live Everton games this season albeit from afar living and working in Asia. Sure, there have been some poor performances over the course of the season as has been the case with all of the other clubs involved. Even the elite members of Sky 4 have struggled at times so we are no different to anyone else. Stop dwelling on the poor games and remember the accumulation of our best ever points haul in the PL and give credit to DM and the squad.

The red shite came on strong over the last 10 games which was probably due to the rotation policy of the fat waiter, having had resources much bigger and better than ours in terms of player quality and numbers. What else do we expect on limited resources and lack of finance? I for one am very pleased to see what we have achieved on the field these past few years and am happy that we have finished "best of the rest" for the time being. Moysey makes no more tactical errors than anyone else and must get absolutely pissed off when reading some of the criticism he receives on this forum. Cast some thoughts back to what he inherited when he first took over the reins of the club and compare it to what we have now cos I know which one I prefer.

Well done to everyone connected with the club and long may they continue to strive to make us a force again. God help us should Newcastle, Aston Villa or any other club aspiring to achieve what we have achieved come knocking on the door and entice Davey away. We would probably end up with one of their ex managers and a return to the relegation battles of a few years ago. Stop knocking the manager and certain players and accept that it will take a few more years of the hard work and dedication as has been shown over these past five years. The Sky 4 can become the Sky 5 if we continually keep knocking on the door as we have shown in recent seasons.

Next season will see us once again banging on the door and should BK and KW back DM with increased resources and Keith Hacket removes the bias he obviously holds against us, who knows what we may achieve. Everyone can now relax and enjoy the close season; let Moysey strengthen the squad and we can all look forward to the next campaign.

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