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Will it be better next year?

By Harry  Meek :  05/05/2008 :  Comments (36) :
We are constanly told in these columns that we should be grateful for what we have at Everton. A stable Board, a manager who has delivered us from the annual spectre of relegation and, this year, a team that has done well in Europe and the Carling Cup and is fifth in the Prem with one game to go. On the face of it, not a bad season.

On the other hand, there are those who point to the shite football in game after game, the failure to beat Oldham in the FA Cup, the disasterous record in games against the Big Boys, the manager`s penchant for negative tactics/unimaginative substitutions and, most alarmingly, the total fall-off in form during the run-in.

Of course, both perspectives have merit and I can never recall a time when Evertonians are so split on which scenario best reflects the state of our club. It`s a pity, really that to take either of these views marks you down as either a Moyes apologist or a `non-believer!`. So, in an effort to move on, I`ve already begun to look forward to next season.

It`s pretty certain that, one way or another we shall again be competing against the `bloody foreigners`. This means that for the second season running the manager will have to balance his priorities between seeking Euro glory and Premiership consolidation. And given our limited resouces, how can that be done?

Certainly, he will need to step up the number of `performers of real quality` from the present five ? Arteta, Cahill, Howard, Lescott and Yakubu (when he can be arsed!) ? to seven or eight and, if the squad is to remain on the small side, eliminate the non-playing element typified by the likes of VdM, Gravesen, Gardner and ,dare I say it, Baines! Also, the inclusion of four goalkeepers would seem a luxury particularly as three of them are so desperately limited.

How the manager moves to address this imbalance of his squad and how well the Board back him to do so will determine not only whether Everton has a bright future but also whether Moyes has one with us. Place your bets!

Reader Comments

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Trevor Wyatt
1   Posted 05/05/2008 at 14:38:21

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Thank God for a balanced view last! Totally agree that with only five real quality players you can hardly expect the team to perform when two of them are constanly absent. We hear a lot about ?upping the numbers? but numbers alone will not see us to success so QUALITY rather than quantity is the priority. On second thoughts, a bit of both wouldn?t go amiss!
Vic Whittingham
2   Posted 05/05/2008 at 14:43:34

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Don?t disagree with your assessment, Harry, but suspect only Lescott would command a place in a Top four team. Both Arteta and Cahill are injury-prone whilst Howard was found wanting at OT and Yakubu blows hot and cold. Too many of our squad are just ?bloody ordinary? ie. Hibbert, Neville, Jagielka, Carsley, Osman that when the ?stars? are missing they run out of ideas and resort to the big boot.
Quality is definitely the priority.
Keith Pendle
3   Posted 05/05/2008 at 15:18:01

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I want to see Wyness ?pushing his envelope? big time this summer with the priority being TWO quality midfielders (not Manny!) one of which should be a genuine wide player. I?d start with a back four of Gosling, Yobo, Lescott, Baines with Neville in the ?Carsley role?. Jags could step in for any of these. Up front it?s anybody?s guess!
Keith Menzies
4   Posted 05/05/2008 at 15:43:24

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The only enveolope I want Wyness to push is a letter of resignation under the chairman?s door.
Connor Rohrer
5   Posted 05/05/2008 at 15:45:33

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Keith Pendle, Neville in the "Carsley role"? Please don’t say that. Neville at right back or on the bench next season.
Malcom Battle
6   Posted 05/05/2008 at 16:14:27

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I?m just hoping that the quality of Moyes?s close-season signings will ensure that the likes of Neville and Carsley are consigned to the subs bench. Love to see Yak and Vaughan getting a run together up front.
Mark Pendleton
7   Posted 05/05/2008 at 16:30:02

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When Moyes has had almost his full squad to pick from he?s made some good substitutions and that was durig our excellent run. Two or three quality signings to add to what we have should hopefully rectify this. Carsley has another good season in him at least if he is able to play in the holding role behind the midfield, something that a lack of numbers has meant he has rarely been able to do of late. Yak?s poor form has really also coincided with a heavily disrupted midfield supply line.

We?ve gone from having a smallish squad with only a few quality players to a smallish squad with a lot of quality players. We haven?t had the cash to change the situation overnight, but we are finally in a position where a few quality additions could make such a big difference.

Stan Wooding
8   Posted 05/05/2008 at 16:58:04

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Think you are over-egging the pudding, Mark,by saying we have a lot of quality players. We?ve gone off the boil because we rely too much on two of the five (?) we have!
Pat Snelling
9   Posted 05/05/2008 at 17:01:55

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I totally agree with Harry?s list of our five quality players. We were bound to struggle if deprived of any two of their number for any length of time. All the rest of the squad are interchangeable journeymen. David MUST bring in more quality if we are to stay best of the rest next seaso,n let alone improve on that.
Tony Hawkins
10   Posted 05/05/2008 at 17:55:03

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I want to know what’s up with Baines?? He’s hardly played all season and is supposed to be a quality left back....
Michael Hunt
11   Posted 05/05/2008 at 17:46:05

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Baines is another very high quality player and therefore so ironic Moyes chose to spend big on him then not play him! He was not out injured for long and Moyes knew his height before we splashed 6mill on him!
If he wanted taller alternative we should have tried to get Michael Ball back (way cheaper too).
Key playing staff priorities for me are getting all the key players fully fit for the new season and adding a truly excellent box to box midfield powerhouse. This would complement and help the ’midget gems’ as I fear they are in danger of becoming ’dwarf duffers’, ’gnome no-marks’ etc!
PS. Any ideas who Moyes’ new No.2 will be?
Den Masters
12   Posted 05/05/2008 at 18:14:35

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I’ve heard he’s waiting for Robert Kelly,currently asssistant to Irvine at PNE to finish his contract at end of season.Apparently Davey didn’t want to upset his old mate by stealing his staff midway through the season.Announcement due next Monday.
David Flanagan
13   Posted 05/05/2008 at 18:37:26

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The defence for me is relatively good... Lescott and Yobo have both had good seasons and they should be the centre half pairing for next season. Baines should then be given a run at left back. The right back berth is more of a problem as both Hibbert and Neville have the same flaws. Gosling could be the answer but know very little about him. Up front the Yak will be the main man supported by a new signing. The midfield needs a complete overhaul which should mean the end for Carsley and bit part roles for Osman. Arteta seriously needs to improve his form to keep his place. Pienaar will improve next year so he will be a real asset.

The dead wood of Gravesen, Fernandes, VDM will hopefully be history with the additions of a quick box-to-box player. The problem for me is where to accomodate Cahill as he sets the tempo for our performances as well as being the 2nd best goalscorer. It is obvious how are season has gone up and down when he has been playing or absent.

For me, nothing much has changed in recent years as the midfield is slow and contributes little to the team..

Colin Tunstall
14   Posted 05/05/2008 at 18:43:04

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I’ve heard the same name but please tell me thet’re taking the piss...please!
Harry Meek
15   Posted 05/05/2008 at 19:14:33

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Going back to my original post, I have to say I am more concerned about getting some quality into our midfield than who acts as Moyes?s ?Nodding Dog? on match days. The man should know who he can work with and it?s not as though his No 2 will be allowed much influence is it?

ps: have you noticed that Andy Holden no longer holds the manager?s hand in the dug-out and that the job now goes to Jimmy Lummox?

Jay Harris
16   Posted 05/05/2008 at 21:36:18

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I cant see much wrong with this squad to start next season
Howard (+quality deputy) Wessels to go

Gosling (If you?re good enough, you?re old enough) Yobo Lescott Baines (Jags, Neville, Hibbo, Valente as cover)
Carsley replacement (Cars, Rodwell as cover)
Arteta, Fernandes, Cahill/Pienaar +New Wide player (with Osman and another new player as cover)
Yakubu (Johnson, Vaughan, Anichebe as cover)
Ciaran Duff
17   Posted 06/05/2008 at 00:53:44

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Apart from signing a couple of new players (which I hope we do), I really hope that 3 key players can play next year relatively injury free - Cahill, Arteta and Vaughan. Cahill has been badly missed as we all know. Its obvious now that Arteta has not been 100% for a while (eg his dead ball ability). His niggling injury is a real worry for me. I hope that can be cleared up properly in the summer.

I also hope Vaghan comes back fully fit and has a good run without injury. I had great hopes for him at the end of last season and personally think that he is a great player and will add a lot to the squad. He has both speed, work rate and an eye for goal. I think he could form a good partnership with the Yak.
Above could give us a big boost for next season.
Jack Keeling
18   Posted 06/05/2008 at 07:58:12

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The general feeling seems to be that everything is AOK as long as we get a couple of new midfield players in and everyone stays fit. How illogical is that!
Every team loses key men throughout the season and the likes of Cahil,Arteta and Vaughan seem particularly succeptible to lengthy absences-so why should that change?To stand any chance of repeating this season’s exploits,we shall need a minimum of six new boys -at least three of which should be real quality.
Mike Oates
19   Posted 06/05/2008 at 08:30:34

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We all know we are in desperate need for 3 quality players and I’d also say 3 back up players as we’ll also loose 3-4 at least.

To me as important as the centre midfield dynamo we all want - but cant find !! is the need for a player with pace and the ability to go past people . We have NO PACE at the moment and must be the only team who never ever score counter attacking goals (Larissa apart - best goal of the season).

I do think that with this "new " player and with Baines and Vaughan in the team we will have the pace required to get into the Top 4.

Danny Fleming
20   Posted 06/05/2008 at 09:27:07

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Would love to see Leighton Baines get more of a prominent role next season,with Jags dropping to the bench and Lescott moving to the center.
Carsley replacement definatily required maybe Sidwell on the cheap and a good box to box midfielder that lad Michael Bradley from Heerenveen looks like a real gem and has already stated that he would like to come to everton.

James Vaughan would effectively be a new buy as would Baines and Gosling as for a wessels replacement whats happening with this so called future england international (Moyes quotation) John Ruddy or even Iain Turner we have some quality youngsters at our disposal and a couple of quality buys and a few more rotational buys ( hopefully not in a VdM, Tommy G and Anthony " Thanks for paying my wages whilst im not playing" Gardner mould) and I think that we could really push on and make us a firm fixture in europe

Carl Wright
21   Posted 06/05/2008 at 11:10:05

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Lets be honest and brutal about this.

First of all, are we all confident Fernandes is the answer? Im not, he?s overated and at that price is a huge risk. Considering he is meant to playing for a contract he has been disappointing. Although i put my hands up and admit the football we have played hasnt really suited him.

Arteta isnt going to be here at the start of the next season. He wants to go and will be sacrificed for extra funds. And again (injured or not) has been largely disappointing this season.

Gosling wont get a regular place next season either. Its Neville or Hibbert at right back.

Moyes is going to buy 2 or 3 midifelders. Its likely to be "Moyes" players too. This Braddley looks like a good bet, there will also be another, player with average qualities and high work rates.

I hope I'm wrong but past transfer business looks like I won't be...
Dan Norledge
22   Posted 06/05/2008 at 12:47:20

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?Will it be better next year?? Can?t see it myself. The way the team has imploded over last eight games, I think we?ve seen the best of this lot and only a real clear out will shake the buggers up. Moyes is carrying a load of dross ? ie, VdM, Gravesen, Gardner, Wessels, Hibbert, Neville, Turner. And Fernandes is a shadow of his former self.Back to midtable unless he acts!
Scott Montgomery
23   Posted 06/05/2008 at 13:34:45

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The Everton team this season is unrecognisable from the one put out under Walter Smith only a few short years back..... remember Ginola, Gazza, Radzinski, Alexandersson and a back four with a combined age greater than the Rolling Stones? Moyes deserves a massive vote of thanks (not scorn, or argument about his tactics, percieved negativity or nous in substitutions - like he has a lot to choose from!!) from all Toffees for developing our first XI into a young team with a bright future and whilst doing so only spending a gross figure of approx £25million**.

In the off season, he needs to have money to spend but I don't think it is inconcievable that just 3-4 additions would make the necessary difference to begin taking points off the big four. One top class striker with pace and finishing ability, one tall commanding central midfielder to add bulk and steel to the midfield, and a winger with genuine pace, guile and crossing ability.

Our defence leaked only 32 goals this season (5th best in league and only 1 more than Arsenal)) and is adequate for next year. Getting rid of Gravesen, Fernandes, VdM, Gardner etc will not bring in too much cash so a net spend of £25-30M may be required. This does not seem unreasonable considering our relatively high league finish and Uefa Cup run.

I would love to see that extra bit of quality come in and make us competitive with any Prem team in any match. If it takes Moyes and the board another few years to achieve it, I for one am happy to wait. I remember the days when Duncan Ferguson was sold to keep the club solvent, I get the feeling that too many supporters expect too much too soon and cannot see the great strides taken so far under DM.

**Figure off the top of my head. Willing to be proved wrong about it!! :)

Harry Meek
24   Posted 06/05/2008 at 18:57:36

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Bit off the pace there,Scott.If you count Rooney’s sale as the £30M published ’ins’ and ’outs ’are about the same figure ie.£70M.The truth is anybody’s guess!
Simon Gemine
25   Posted 06/05/2008 at 20:11:06

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Heard today that Zoltan Gera will probably leave West Brom in the Summer. I know his name has been bandied about before, but for a free transfer he could be a great squad member for next season. I have seen him a few times on tv this season and he has looked a class above everything else in that division. And he plays on the right side of midfield which would give Arteta the opportunity to play in the middle.
Sean McKenna
26   Posted 06/05/2008 at 21:13:21

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Sorry Simon we dont need anymore half decent squad players!! We need top qualitiy first teamers in the summer.
Dave Jeanrenaud
27   Posted 06/05/2008 at 21:39:34

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Andy Holden got sent to the stands in a recent reserve match and is therefore serving a touchline ban. Hence his absence from the dug out for the last couple of games.

Peter Bradshaw
28   Posted 07/05/2008 at 02:57:53

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It has been stated that Manny will not be back next year as they still want £12 million for him; good ? I feel we have a better deal in Bradley who is 6-foot odd at £4.5 million. The back four is Baines, Lescott, Yobo & Neville, Midfield, if we have any balls to go for it, Sidwell as your box-to-box midfielder Arteta, Pienaar, Bradley, Cahill and up front Yak, that's two quality signings at approximately £12 million.

If we are really pushing the boat out and I have said this when he was at Chelski but Glen Johnson real class is our weakest position.
Squad players, I think Gera from West Brom, Joe Ledley from Cardiff or Brian Howard from Barnsley, Gera for free and one of the other two will command about 5 million.
Hopefully we have moved on from the normal Jason Koumas, Sean Davis bids as they are just not good enough.

Thats four and with Johnson five players in, with whats going out that really in numbers is standing still but in quality, we have the possiblities to challenge Liverpool again for number 4.
I Know I will get slated because of the normal " wages structure bullshit" but to go to the next level we have to do something. And just as a question how do we as supporters know we have a structure, do you know what Cahill and Arteta are on because they never mentioned it

Dave Dawson
29   Posted 07/05/2008 at 12:09:48

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I truly believe that many Everton fans overrate Arteta, Yakubu and Howard and underrate Jagielka, Pienaar, Osman, Carsley and Neville.
Of our current squad only Lescott and Cahill regularly perform to a level that would suggest they could figure week in week out in one of Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool.
Alex Ferguson deemed Howard not good enough for Man U and I have to agree that, although he does a reasonable job for us, he is not a top class keeper.
Arteta?s delivery from set pieces has been dissapointing this season; he lacks pace, is poor defensively, makes poor decisions and is far too inconsistent in showing his quality on the ball in open play and making that quality count. I really don?t believe he is particularly effective for Everton and that Osamn and Pienaar contribute more to the side.

Yakubu scores goals at a reasonable rate but that is literally all he offers the team and in order to break into the top four I don?t think we can afford to carry him and Arteta to such an extent. His hold up play, link up play, ability in the air and decision making are below average for the Premier League.
Trudy Boston
30   Posted 07/05/2008 at 15:53:20

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As it stands, we do have a good, balanced side with some exciting young players such as Anichebe and Vaughan to name but two.

Add to that a young manager who has worked miracles with limited resources since his arrival from Preston North End in 2002.

However, the club needs to free itself of some of the dead wood currently at the club. I will not name names, but I, along with other supporters should be aware of the individuals.

As for better next year, who knows? While it?s not impossible to get into the top four, with some new faces and additions to the club during the close season, and with players who are surplus to requirement moving on, then a top six finish is more than achieveable, and we may even get another fourth place finish, let?s not forget that Benitez?s future is by no means secure and if he goes then that may upset the applecart a little across the park, but it?s all just assumption at this moment in time.

To state the obvious, nobody, as with most teams, can see into the future and knows for sure what the following season could bring. A piece of silverware has been long overdue and thirteen years, or what will be fourteen by the time the end of season honours are handed out next May, without a trophy is simply not good enough for a club the size of Everton. I have no qualms about David being in charge, I personally like the man as a person, even if at times his methods and tactical knowledge leaves a lot to be desired. The Tottenham game last season at Goodison is one such example.

I?m going to put my head on the block and say that we can finish Fourth next season. People will argue of course, but why not? I am an optomist, and we have done it once before, with I add, lesser players than we already have.

As mentioned previously, with some additions we really could be going places, we have the right manager, a chairman who cares deeply about the club and some good exciting players who can only improve. Fourth place once more is not implausable, but we will just have to wait to see what happens.
Tony Hawkins
31   Posted 07/05/2008 at 19:11:48

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Following on from this season, with a few well chosen transfers, there is no reason why Everton should not be pushing for 4th next season. We messed it up for ourselves this year when it was ours for the taking so next year we should be aiming for at least 4th...
Trevor Lynes
32   Posted 07/05/2008 at 19:05:53

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After a decent start we have lapsed and its obvious that the team has performed to the utmost of its ability and is now utterly spent and fading badly. DM has had his hands tied moneywise and strangely enough he doesn?t appear too frustrated.If we get any sort oif result and play badly, he states that his team played well and deserved to win!! He has done wonders and continues to amaze me by the way he seems to get the maximum effort from a mediocre side....

I have been a fan for more than 55 years and have been lucky enough to watch Everton teams who could really play, so I tend to feel sorry for the very loyal fans who support the side so well and display great glee when we play poorly and get a draw or win. I really hope DM can continue to get results..but I am very sceptical of our present board ever giving him enough money to make a ?real? difference against the top teams.

Darren Robinson-Cooke
33   Posted 07/05/2008 at 20:25:12

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It looks like DM plans to bolster our lightweight midfield are already shot to shit as two if his transfer targets namely Bradley and Sidwell look as if they are going elswhere. Bradwell has stated that he wants to play in the Bundesliga (lacks of ambition if you ask me) and Sidwell is going to go where the best wages are offered probably Boro, Villa or the Barcodes. But I'm not so much arsed about him anyway, over-rated if you ask me. I'm dissappointed over Bradley though as he is the type of player our midfield is crying out for.

I would also like to see Hunt from Reading as he has a good engine and looks to shoot and can score goals, drives his team forward for 90 minutes and is strong in the tackle; him or Huddlestone would be great signings for the Blues.

I would also like to see a more prolific goalscorer to partner the Yak as Vaughan is the only decent cover, with both Vic and AJ just not looking like cutting the mustard for me up front. Realistically we need around six new faces in: two big strong midfielders, another midfield playmaker, a winger, a striker, and possibly a pacy right-back unless Gosling gets a look-in.

I hate to be negative though but i just don't see DM being able to do this with the meagre transfer fund he will more than likely get; the board is a fucking joke and need sacking!!!! COYB...

Jason Broome
34   Posted 08/05/2008 at 09:36:24

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Darren Robinson-Cooke... Huddlestone, Hunt, Sidwell? Tell me your kidding mate. At this rate we WILL crack the top 4... of the Championship!

As for Bradley, this guy is seriously over-rated. He is light-weight and would be to slow over here. Moyes only rates him at £2.5M which says alot about his ability.

DM only needs £20M up front and the proceeds from an AJ sale to transform the side.

Why shop in Iceland when you can shop in Waitrose... Bring on Silly Season!
Tim Lloyd
35   Posted 09/05/2008 at 09:15:29

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I really enjoy reading the comments on this forum. Many of the scribes can be described as people with their glass half full. Unsurprisingly, the others are of the half empty brigade.

How would I describe myself?

I believe I am of the former. I do not see the club making the rapid progress some people feel we should. I have noticed that we have acquired two, sometimes three, goodish players each close season.

In Joleon Lescott, we have unearthed a gem. Of others we have signed, I would class as good Premier League standard: Yobo, Cahill, Arteta, Pienaar & Yakubu. Johnson, Hibbert, Jagielka and Osman are adequate squad players but if we could get top class replacements we would obviously improve our position..

Leighton Baines, for me, has yet to have a good run at left back. So would be classed as unproven though his reputation from his efforts at his last club give us reason for optimism.

Carsley is an enigma really. Clearly, now suffering from the effects of anno domini, his performances today allowing for age, would suggest he was a real star when 5/6 years younger. Don?t appear to recall that was the case.

Tim Howard ?keeps? really very well but is subject to the odd lapse, maybe in concentration. Yet his record with clean sheets must be to his credit, albeit being fortunate to play behind a really strong back four.

Considering the foregoing, I think we may well pick up one, maybe two, good Premier League signings this close season but we need four to five. Therefore we will not achieve the ?golden fleece? of a top four position next year but hopefully the year after,

Who to sign? That?s difficult because we also need to know who would come. I would try for Huddlestone and I think Arshavin. The latter is skilful, quick and can score. Scoring is a definite requirement because I am unhappy with our strikers. Yakubu is OK. Vaughan? Great if we could be sure he could play most of the season, Anichebe and Johnson OK as backups or to come on for the last 20/30 minuts but not for 90mins. Maybe next year we could try for a quality striker if Vaughany fails again with another injury.
Andy Crooks
36   Posted 09/05/2008 at 16:52:20

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Jimmy Bullard is a box to box midfielder who would be a star for us. What would he cost? £7 million would be a bargain. Fernandes isn?t good enough and is over valued. Arshavin won?t come to Everton. Bradley might; isn?t he a mate of Tim Howard. So, here?s a starting eleven good enough for the Champions League:
In reserve we?d have Turner, Ruddy, Neville Hibbert, Valente, Jagielka, Carsley, Osman, Pienaar, Anichebe, Johnson. That?s a squad that can compete.

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