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Political Parallels

By Steve Hogan :  09/05/2008 :  Comments (17) :
The recent article in the Independent on the current manager of our team led me to cast my mind back twenty years or more when one Neil Kinnock was leader of a tired old Labour Party seemingly out of touch with it's members and the electorate. He had some painful decisions to make at the time including the famous stand-off with Derek Hatton at the annual Labour Party Conference in which Degsy ended up walking out in disgust, and the the embryonic New Labour was formed shortly afterwards.

OK, before I get accused of being on the 'funny stuff' prior to writing this article, the parallel I am trying to draw was I wonder whether during Moyes current reign at Everton he may end up as the 'nearly man'?

I still believe it's a big ask for Everton to win a trophy next season given the respective spending powers of not only the Sky 4, but the clutch of clubs below them with far more wealthier owners than we have. I for one believe that if we don't land a trophy of some sort in the next two season's then Moyes will walk away, where to I don't know. This is of course, if he actually signs a new contract at all in the next few weeks. I stiil believe it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that with the funds offered to him during the close season, he may say enough is enough.

So, if he goes, what will be his legacy? His supporters will point to the fact that he inherited an ageing side full of players well past their sell by dates and has slowly turned things round (with a few set-backs along the way) to build a side with maybe half a dozen genuine class players, amongst them Lescott, Arteta, Howard, Yobo, Yakubu and Cahill. They may also point out that only financial restraints have stopped him developing the squad more quickly than most of us would have liked.

Certainly, the dark days of six years ago when April/May each season were never great months for Evertonian's to look forward to as each of us would eye the remaining fixtures, and second guess where the next points were coming from, seemed to have vanished.

Indeed, we have had some fantastic European nights both home and away in the much maligned UEFA cup this season. However, his detractors will once again bemoan the fact that apart, from a brief spell this season, the brand of football played under Moyes has been at times, painful to watch. The emphasis on the long ball simply plays into our opponents hands and doesn't utilise the skills of Johnson, who must despair at having to jump against a 6'5' centre half with his back to goal! Also, there seems to be little or no attempt to simply 'play football', with our mid-field (Arteta apart) unable to pick out a pass and actually control the game.

We simply must move on from the 'high intensity', high workrate ethos that seems to come first in his coaching doctrine simply because it is impossibe to maintain over a season now involving over 50 games. In his defence, perhaps he simply did not have the financial clout to bring in top class mid-fielders capable of this function. But whilst other areas of the team, mostly in defence, have been repeatedly strenthened over the last few years, midfield seems to have been ignored.

So, I guess only time will tell just exactly what the Moyes legacy will be, one of providing a solid bedrock in which the club's fortunes were truly turned around, and ultimately a platform for others to build upon? Or one where a brand of fairly undistinguished 'hoofball' was the norm with brief flashes of brilliance?

Oh, by the way, they both have red hair!

Reader Comments

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Derek Thomas
1   Posted 10/05/2008 at 07:28:20

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Fair points,

Going back as far as Moses there have been people who did the ground work but never made it to the ’ promised land ’ So why should Moyes be any different??

Shankly and Paisley

Carey and Catterick... to name but 2, or is that 4?

But and there is always a but, there are plenty of managers who have been handed a decent set up, well to all intents and purposes, a seemingly decent set up and fucked it up, though just how much was their fault is open to debate

We have had more than our share as we all well know.

Catterick, Bingham. Bingham, Lee.

Don Revie, everybody else, for Leeds.

Ramsey, the list is endless.

If Moyes was to jump or get pushed there is no cert that the next mug would be any better, or worse for that matter.

As for the Moyes legacy, up to now for me anyway,


anything else is in the lap of the Gods, financial and football
Dick Fearon
2   Posted 10/05/2008 at 09:07:56

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Derek, I am not at all sure exactly what point you are making in reply to Steve Hogan.
As I understand it, Steve's letter was about managers, Moyes in particular, that do the groundwork yet fail to capitalise on it.
Most if not all the managers you mention did achieve success at the highest level.
Tony Williams
3   Posted 10/05/2008 at 11:11:03

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Good post but comparisons with managers of times gone by is a little off kilter, as we all know back then there were more than 3 teams each season who could win the title.

Moyes is and will always be the "nearly man", as I do not believe that the Premier League in it?s current format will ever change and it will be the top 3 fighting it out for the title each year unless you get a team that wins every other game against the teams below them, statisically tou can still win the league by not beating any of the top 3 teams.

This could all be a moot point if Moyes doesn?t sign a new contract and does one to wherever he goes to and then we will see if he was good for us or not.

Jay Harris
4   Posted 10/05/2008 at 12:44:41

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If you look at Walter Smith, outstanding for Rangers and Scotland, rubbish for us.

Without the millstone that is EFC?s board of directors, it just shows what can be achieved.
Tony Williams
5   Posted 10/05/2008 at 13:22:02

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You can’t compare the two/three jobs Smith has undertaken Jay, one was a struggling side with not much money and we were nearly relegated and out of the other two one was the National side where transfers and money don’t ever come into it and the other was a team that has a 50/50 chance of winning the league title at the start of the season.

I mean even John Barnes nearly won that league
Jay Harris
6   Posted 10/05/2008 at 14:36:56

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I understand what you?re saying Tony but there?s many a manager been in the same position and not done as well.
Albert Dock
7   Posted 10/05/2008 at 16:54:23

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I think perhaps you might have been better using the late John Smith for your analogy but nevertheless interesting.

At least Neil Kinnock (and his missus) managed to get into Europe on a permanent basis which is more than can be said for us.

God be thanked you didn’t mention Roy Hattersley and the ’dream team’.

Jay Campbell
8   Posted 11/05/2008 at 07:47:06

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Moyes has done a good job and is a steady manager but I believe he will never win a trophy for us because quite frankly he doesn’t have the bottle to go for it.

This is about as good as it’s gonna get with him as manager.
Tony Williams
9   Posted 11/05/2008 at 11:02:35

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Jay, Moyes doesn’t have the "bottle"...or perhaps the "team" to go for it?, one word altered but a world of difference.
Steve Williams
10   Posted 11/05/2008 at 12:11:07

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I’m sorry but I completely draw the line there - there’s no way Kinnock should be our next manager! :)
Brian Thomas
11   Posted 11/05/2008 at 12:22:51

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I?m a little confused here. I read three ?quality? papers yesterday and ? as has been the case since we qualified for the Champions League a couple of seasons ago ? all their lead football writers sang the praises of Moyes ?the best manager outside the top 4? and yet I consistently read on various EFC messageboards that Moyes is nothing more than ok - ?he steadied the ship? being the latest flowing praise.

I?ve followed Everton since 1965 and believe Moyes is easily one of our best managers ? albeit comparisons now are so difficult due the financial constraints Moyes has operated under compared to the top 4. Am I totally out of step with the rest of our supporters?

I would be delighted if Moyes stayed for another 5 years. With money from the board he will be succesful ie a trophy. If he does leave in the summer, watch the queue of clubs who will be after him.

Jay Harris
12   Posted 11/05/2008 at 20:37:14

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For the record

Moyes has achieved 4th 5th and 6th over the last 3 seasons with scraps for funding. Anyone(including me at one time) who says he?s not good enough wants their head testing.

People rave about Martin O'Neill and Harry Redknapp. Who was the manager who held his head during the run-in despite a number of injuries to key players?

Moyes has instilled a real team spirit and winning mentality in this club and with a decent amount of backing this summer will add the quality players we need.
Arthur Jones
13   Posted 12/05/2008 at 09:07:42

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This is part of an interview given by David Moyes to Brian Viner of the Independant last week, IMO, very well said:

I was surprised the way things were here when I arrived. I knew Wayne [Rooney] was about to come through, but there was very little value on the pitch, and the team was near the bottom of the league. I?ve turned that on its head. We do have value on the pitch now, and the team is near the top. But it means we?re fishing in a different pond. There aren?t many £1.5m players, like Tim Cahill, who would improve Everton now. Now those players are £10m-plus. Things have changed. I had a five-year plan, which I?ve torn up, and last September I wrote down the strategy for the next five years, which means European football most seasons and, hopefully, the Champions League. If we?re going to move to a new stadium, we want it filled."

This is bullish stuff, yet Moyes is not without his critics among Evertonians. On some of the unofficial websites there has been plenty of carping these past few weeks, with some impressively deluded individuals even calling for change at the helm. "I?m not aware of that," he says, when I bring it up. "If people are dissatisfied, I find that strange. This season we didn?t look out of place at any stage in the Uefa Cup [which Everton exited in a last-16 penalty shoot-out against Fiorentina] and our style of play has improved no end. It sounds to me like those people need educating. If we do qualify for Europe, it will be three out of four years. I?m not sure that happened prior to my arrival, not for a long, long time."

On the other hand, he has no critic sterner than himself. Sometimes, indeed, it is almost possible to see the self-flagellation on the touchline. "I?m trying to be calmer," he says. "Sometimes when we play the top teams I have to accept that they have better players and if they play well they?ll win, but I do find that very difficult to accept. I take it a little bit personally. I go home afterwards and shut the curtains ... my family know what I?m like. This job lives with you every minute of every day."

Roll on next season !!!!

Chris Jones (Tallinn)
14   Posted 12/05/2008 at 11:18:10

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4th, 5th and 6th and Everton’s highest ever points total in the Premiership, and yet some can offer no praise beyond "He steadied the ship". Goodness me, stingy or what?!

These days there seems to be as big a shortage of gratitude among supporters as there is a paucity of good sportsmanship on the field.
Dave Styles
15   Posted 12/05/2008 at 15:09:17

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This was gonna be a long reply/ rebuke of the above article, but server went down, just like Derby, so can?t be bothered to re-do it.

I?ve watched EFC for 45 years, & I can think of very few better squads & managers ? Catterick, maybe ? in that time. Get off DM?s case, the carping is crazy, thank heavens he (apparently) never reads this site, otherwise he?d despair & leave. Ask fans of virtually any other club & they would welcome him with open arms. If he is given money, we will move to your "next level"- the one that has seen Liverpool not come close to winning the League for 2 decades & AFC not close recently. Sadly, I fear that he might not get sufficient funds, but bloody hell lads, cheer up, we?re 5th, in the Uefa Cup & those of us who remember the 60s remember that we only won the Cup once & the League twice... & nowt at all in the next 15yrs. Who exactly would improve matters more than DM?

Jer Bir
16   Posted 12/05/2008 at 15:25:41

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I live in Scotland, and all the Celts I know would welcome Moyes back with open arms. The way they see it Rangers have Smith who was found out in the Premiership and they could get Moyes who has more than prooved himself in the Premiership.

Face it, he?s a class act who has got us into Europe again. I?m no fan of Bill's, but he has shown some balls keeping Moyes through the hard times, and we, the fans, deserve a pat on the back for not calling for his head when thnigs weren?t so good.

Moyes has made 4th once before... with some cash he?ll do it again.

Over to you Bill.
Mark Dunford
17   Posted 12/05/2008 at 16:09:21

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Not sure I agree with this comparison. Kinnock was a good speaker and certainly helped reinvent the Labour party. He fought two general elections and lost against the second against the dire Major - who by common consent is one of the most inept Prime Minsters ever.

In contrast Moyes’s campaigns have got stronger and stronger. The team has improved and the football they play is far better. The teams above us are mostly resourced to the hilt. We’re building a side and it takes time if you don’t have the money. A series of gradual imrovements rather than a sudden leap.

More importantly, even those with money to spend struggle without the right leadership. Moyes record in transfer market is far better than average; only one or two complete misses (Kroldrup being the most obvious), a number of partial succeses and a series of gems. Cahill, Lescott and Arteta were all Moyes signings and are the last four recipeints of the Player of the Year Award. Yakabu, Jagielka Johnson and Howard are excellent signings. Even players like Kilbane, a good honest pro, and Gravesen played their best football for Moyes before being sold for a profit. Young players have been signed to mature in the reseves or out on loan. ruddy has received excellent reviews for Stockport and it wouldn’t surprise me if he becomes Howards deputy.

Our squad is probably about the right size but we are light in midfield and need to add some attacking width. Sign Fernandes on loan with a view to a permanent move, add another midfielder and bring in a decent winger. I wouldn’t expect much more activity than this and it should be taken as a good thing. A positive sign that the right foundations have been laid and that we’re building on them.

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