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The Mail Bag

Summer Re-Think?

Comments (35)

Few people can doubt the giant strides we have taken in the David Moyes Era, even if it is still glaringly evident that there is still a giant chasm separating us from the Elite, of which we once belonged.

So how to progress then? How do we take it forward? Can we advance?

I'm not asking you all for a summer transfer wish list, I'm talking about managerial ambition, weighed against reality. Positive ethos, as opposed to negative pathos.

Moyes has forever been known for his dour pragmatism; initially it resonated well at the time of his arrival 6 years ago. We knew we were in the hole, and he didn't mince words. However, I distinctly recall him espousing the traditional ambitions of every Evertonian; namely to be a challenging force in English football, and indeed, we have begun to jockey the established order.

But can we step it up? With Moyes, I'm afraid I'm not convinced. Maybe it is his boney-arsed Glaswegian upbringing, but I don't see a positively-reinforcing clarion call to storm the citadel of the back-page 4. He seems limited in ambition.

He bangs on about how much Houillier/ Benitez have spent prior to every single derby game, which now seems to be his disclaimer, whilst relying solely on his outstanding coaching ability, which saw us 4th two years back, and today 5th.

Yet I don't know if even he thinks he can take us further now. I think he reckons that if we finish top 6 every season, that that will sate the hunger of Evertonians. It won't though.... will it?

So here's my question: Can Moyes painstakingly lead us back to the land of milk and honey? Will or can he become more ambitious? Or, like the example of say, Sevilla, could a better coach take over, and take it further to return this club to it's rightful platform and birthright ?

Answers on a postcard politely requested, minus the vitriol please...
Kevin Hudson, Stoneycroft     Posted 02/04/2008 at 23:56:57

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Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
1   Posted 03/04/2008 at 01:17:36

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"But can we step it up ? With Moyes, I’m afraid I’m not convinced."

We’ll never know unless he is given funds with which to buy the calibre of players needed to take us to the "next level."

I don’t believe for a second that Moyes lacks ambition; on the contrary, he seems to be extraordinarily driven, but his drive often appears to have been tempered by the pragmatism of which you speak, unfailing-to-the-point-of-lunacy loyalty to certain players, and now lack of capital.

He acknowledged after the Carling Cup defeat to Chelsea that money was the difference between us and the top four. He has shown with the likes of Yakubu, Pienaar, Lescott, Yobo and Arteta that he can fashion a side capable of finishing in the top four... but he needs a squad with greater depth of such quality in order to achieve it. I believe that had we been able to call on the kinds of reserves that the Sky 4 have at their disposal in the last couple of months then fourth place would be ours.

So, can we "step it up"? I don’t think so, but not because of Moyes in my opinion, because of a lack of serious money and investment.

Jason Lam
2   Posted 03/04/2008 at 02:29:04

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That coach from Sevilla brought Woodgate and Hutton in the January window, with one of them scoring the winner in the Carling Final. In return we picked up their reject center-back.

I wonder if Mourinho could coach our team to back-to-back champions?
Martin Cutler
3   Posted 03/04/2008 at 04:27:57

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Or put another way..........if it wasn’t for the TWENTY-SEVEN MILLION QUID that Rafa was able to spend on Torres......we would be 4th anyway...not just because he scored against us but because of the 21 Premiership goals he’s scored for the RS.

Aside from 1 or 2 games when we’ve had a fully-fit (and present) squad we’ve done fact one could even argue we really could be in the top three easily..........

If you take a look at these games:
Reading away....we played like shit, expected points 3, actual 0.
Blackburn home....we probably should have won this (had it been played a few weeks later we probably would have done), expected 3, actual 1.
Newcastle away, by all accounts a close game (I didn’t see it), expected 3, actual 0.

Liverpool home....even though one could argue this game spurred us on, expected 3, actual 0.

Spurs home, expected 3, actual 1.

Blackburn away, expected 3, actual 1 (we wuz robbed!).

Fulham away, expected 3, actual 0 (no comment).
West Ham home, expected 3, actual 1 (we were crap).

Now obviously not all of those games would have gone our way but had they.....that would be an additional 20 points and we’d be one point in front of Man Utd, which would make us, er, FIRST!!

As The Great Man Ferguson said...CONSISTENCY is the key.....we ain’t got it, not with this me this has been a brilliant season.......the sheer excitement, the goals, the expectancy (it’s a good thing, not a bad thing!), Moyes has done a fantastic job on a shoestring.......we repeat that, he said it himself but it’s true............a small fortune on one player has saved Liverpool’s season.............I think it’s a cheap shot to say Moyes has reached his limit...............FFS........somebody give him the money and wouldn’t that then be an even better season when we have the excitement, the expectancy (is that an actual word???), and the depth of squad (and a decent midfield and attacking right back) to be CONSISTENT.

Come on Lads....lets finish on a high note!’re my hero no matter what!!!!
Tony Williams
4   Posted 03/04/2008 at 08:50:04

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Back to the mythical "Next Step" reasoning again.

One word, Money.

Simple really, Moyes knows it and we know it. Why do you think he mentions how much the Fat Spanish Waiter has spent? To give a warning to the board.

Also you talk about his dour pragmatism, it is clear that you never read that interesting article about him changing his couching techniques, as he realised he was being too strict and too black and white, mentioning a falling out with Big Dunc and having a word in his shell like to lighten up by the players.

In regards to his sound bites, I am made up we have someone with class and dignity not like that big mouthed prick from over the park.
Neil Summers
5   Posted 03/04/2008 at 08:58:34

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For crissake get real,will youse? Moyes has to work miracles for us to be in the top six year on year. Only a Boardroom revolution that brings mega-bucks into the kitty will see us break the Sky cartel. And it just ain?t gonna happen! Ask Blue Bill.
Richard Parker
6   Posted 03/04/2008 at 08:57:58

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Gotta disagree Kevin, Moyes is as ambitious as you’re gonna get.

I think he’ll be the first to say when the time comes that he can’t go any further with Everton. He seems to genuinely want to win things at Everton. If he doesn’t get the resources to continue the current improvement, he’ll be off..... and I think that next season will be decisive.

If, god forbid, we miss out on European qualification this season, that could precipitate his departure. If we’re not pushing for a top-4 spot next season, that may well be the end of it for Moyes at Everton.
Paul Lenehan
7   Posted 03/04/2008 at 09:07:54

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I really do believe Moyes is the man to take us to the next level. But as Lyndon already stated he needs financial backing. We spent the guts of 20 million last summer. If we were to spend a similar amount on that midfield general we all are crying out for with a few other additions (a right back and winger?) then I feel we will close the gap further. I know the rest will be spending but really how much more can chelsea and utd improve? Im not saying we will close the gap but we willl get closer. The question is will it be enough to clinch fourth and win some silverware?
Dave Dawson
8   Posted 03/04/2008 at 09:00:34

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How do we progress? Keep Moyes and give him as much money to spend as Chelsea, Liverpool, Man U and the likes of Spurs, Portsmouth, Man City etc.

How do we take it forward? Keep Moyes and give him money.

Can we advance? Yes, if we keep Moyes and give him money.

Everton will not attract a better manager than Moyes. His commitment, ambition, effort and love for Everton is top draw and, of recent premiership managers, I only rate Wenger, Ferguson and Mourinho higher - all of which would not want to manage Everton in our present condition!

You’re confusing Moyes realism with a lack of ambition, if you think Everton can challenge the best in the world with our limited cash resource then you’re living in cloud cookoo land!

In progressing Moyes isn’t the stumbling block, it’s our lack of money! In fact Moyes is over achieving wth the resources made available to him.
Anthony Osullivan
9   Posted 03/04/2008 at 09:28:29

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I think next year should still be a holding year if we have a season like this one it will be great if we add 5 players and if 3 of them turn out to be gems like Pienaar did this season.if we hold 5th comfortably and have a good cup run. then the following year add a few more and set our sights on the top 4.

Moyes is in a no win situtation if he says we want to be top 4 and doesnt get it the moaners are out saying he shouldnt raise expectations if he says we want a top 6 finish again the moaners say he lacks ambition.
Tony Waverleas
10   Posted 03/04/2008 at 09:36:13

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I remember years ago hearing Len Capeling, (where is he now, by the way?), say on Radio Merseyside that he had been told by an unnamed Everton director as long as we didn’t get relegated the board were happy.

I belived him then but I’m happy to say I believe that these days no such attitude exists in the boardroom.

However, it is obvious to everyone, most of all David Moyes, that there are financial constraints surrounding the club.

So, I think to keep resurrecting the old chestnut, "Has David Moyes taken us as far as he can?" is to miss the point.
The question Kevin Hudson et al should really be asking is, "Will the board allow David Moyes to take us as far as he can?"
Chris Leyland
11   Posted 03/04/2008 at 09:51:00

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Word on the street is that Moyes is off to Celtic in the summer. Hence no contract extension. He feels he can’t progress any further with us without serious investment. He is a Celtic man and he gets guarenteed European football every year up there.

So all those Moyes doubters will get there chance to see what a new manager can do on a similar budget that Moyes has had.
John Lloyd
12   Posted 03/04/2008 at 10:09:40

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Here we go again, without the details didnt we have all this last summer??

* He Cant take us any further?

* Glass Ceiling blah blah

* He’s off to celtic/rangers/scotland/united.

*small club mentality...

FFS lads!! (an lasses) we all said we agreed with him when his objectives last summer where to maintain our european place and push on in league which we are on course to, have a good go in europe which we did, and a go at one of the cups which again we did!!!!

He has already or is on course to hit all his & our targets for this season, so how about we get the season finished (as strong as possible hopefully) and see where we are, it may be 5th, it could still be 4th the way the fixtures are panned out and take on board what we know now and what we’ll learn and set new improved targets for next year.

I already know what I think our target should be and a rough idea of how or what we need to achieve that but I shall wait till season end before I share that with you’s......
Anthony Horabin
13   Posted 03/04/2008 at 10:22:25

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Moyes needs more cash to buy us a more attacking midfield. Also he need to get himself an assistant coach too. Just a second opinion to bounce tactics off.

I have also been thinking whether the money from the premier league will be spent on improving the squad or will it just disappear like the transfer money seem too.

Moyes needs our support and also the boards too.
Ant Mill
14   Posted 03/04/2008 at 10:54:03

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We can become Uefa Cup regulars, but to really progress we need financial support unless we could nick 4th place now and bring in funds that way, but thats seems unlikely at the moment. There?s not much point in getting rid of Moyes, because who would be the man who could take Everton that further step forward with limited cash available?
Jimmy Digney
15   Posted 03/04/2008 at 10:48:31

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Put it simply: we believe that we are a big club, a club with history, a club with great support. A club that should be challenging for trophies every season. Now the facts, we have not been close to a trophy for 20 yrs, until Moyes came we were a complete mess yeah a mess, with no future, no money, no hope... Do you all remember our skirmishes with relagation? Well I do and you know what so did the rest of the football public not just the RS fans. What he has brought us, is nothing short of a miracle, with the limited resorces, a limited squad with limited ability, we have grown out of all proportion over the last 5 seasons, were we are actually getting blase about were we should be at the end of a season.

I ask the doubters to take an objective view and ask yourselves, we are knocking on the door for the champions league again? (I believe we will get it)? Have not spent anywhere near the money of the other top teams? And in my opinion have had a marvelous season, compared to 14 other wannerbees. Use your heads and think of his progress just give him the money and watch AGAIN the improvement. COYB

Tony Williams
16   Posted 03/04/2008 at 11:20:29

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That’s the problem though Jimmy, all our expectations have risen.

Loads of us expect to be challenging the shite for 4th place, not only 5 years ago we were relegation worriers now we are nearly there CL wannabees, yet Moyes isn’t the man to take us to the next step as he is "spineless"....doh!!
David Edwards
17   Posted 03/04/2008 at 10:56:23

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Have to agree with the sentiments put forward by Tony Williams, Dave Dawson and others. Davey Moyes is ambitious, he has grown into a more skilled manager over the years (through his mistakes and successes), and his occasional pragmatism is based more on an honesty about our current squad (improving but still not complete yet).

Give him the money this summer and judge him on next season’s results, in my view. We know midfield (centre, wings?) and right-back is where he needs to add the class (which means moving out of the lower division bargain basement he’s done so well in over the last few years). I also think an assistant to bounce his tactical ideas off is required (and will do him good as well).

Don’t worry about Davey’s ambition - it’s the board’s ambition which will decide if he stays around (I really think he wants to as I do think he’s become a real true blue and has that scottish work ethic to see the job through).

I think Davey’s already made it clear to Blue Bill and the rest what he expects this summer in the transfer kitty to support his plans - which I think might be more contentious than personal contract terms etc.)

It is well-reported that Fergie rates Davey highly and if the Manure do lift the Champions League Trophy in the next few months, I think talk of a successor will not be without some substance. If anything, Davey’s lack of experience in having to deal with expensive foreign imports is likely to hold him back.

However, Celtic is a real possibility for this summer, if the board don’t support Davey with a realistic kitty. Strachan has never been popular and the fans know his success has tended to be down to the likes of the Gers under-performing (and the Tarts imploding) in recent years, rather than any O’Neill brilliance. I’m biased, but if I was on the Celtic board I would be giving Davey a good long look-over if the board procrastinate over the new contract.

In actual fact I think the board will back Moyes for at least £20M and there’ll be no changes at Old Trafford or Celtic Park either.

Give Davey the money and judge him then. Maybe Lyndon will be proved right, but I’m on side of the fence that tends to think moving to that next level next year is not beyond us with a better, bigger and fitter squad. COYBs

Mark Pendleton
18   Posted 03/04/2008 at 11:20:42

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I don?t believe that Moyes is off in the summer, I firmly believe that he will sit down with BK and agree a new plan of action and sign a deal. I?ve seen quotes from BK that he will find the money that Moyes requires in the summer, which he has done in previous summers. Moyes is ambitious but realistic. I don?t think he says "i need £30M here, £50M there". He?ll likely say that he needs X midfielder in the physical "good engine" category for about £8-12M and maybe a defender (right back) for about £6-8M and maybe another midfielder, perhaps a bit younger from lower leagues to develop, for about £4-6M.

And for anyone saying that we?ve underachieved this season, even IF we finish 6th then I think the league position, cup run in both the UEFA and Carling cups show we?re making big strides. It?s not long since successive top half finishes were the aim. Ambition needs to be matched to realism and i think we?re doing very well. And we?re doing it without some investor with a shady image. It makes me proud. Imagine what we?ll achieve if we start getting correct penalty decisions and avoid horrendously wrong offside decisions?
Martin Berry
19   Posted 03/04/2008 at 12:14:15

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No pleasing some people, you think anyone can do any better under the circumstances? I am pleased we have a canny manager, who is shrewd, dignified, does not waste limited resources and is trouble free with his dealings with the press and a credit to the club.

Let me ask you this, when Sir Alex retires who do you think will be in the frame to take over? That is how much our manager is respected in the game, does anyone doubt Sir Alex?s record and do you think if he was at Everton that he would done any better?

A few additions in midfield during the summer will help our progress, and bearing in mind the Premier League has 4 teams in the last eight of the Champions League should make everyone understand how difficult this next level is. Good post for a lively debate.

Michael Brien
20   Posted 03/04/2008 at 12:16:49

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Kevin - you made a comparison with Sevilla - yes they have won the UEFA Cup twice but in terms of La Liga - One Spanish Championship back in 1945-6 and 4 times runners up. I don?t think it is a good comparison!!

I think DM is the manager who can lead Everton back into challenging consistently for a top 4 place and cup success at home and hopefully in Europe. However without the financial resources of the so called " big 4" we have to be both realistic and patient.

I think DM made a good point at the AGM when he mentioned about building up the scouting network. Bringing on and developing good young talented players is how Ajax and Monaco( though they are currently struggling I believe) for example have managed to challenge Europe?s elite clubs.

We may not have "unearthed another Rooney" yet but I think Anichebe and Vaughan promise a great deal for the future. Ironically one of the biggest hinderences to us is out of our control i.e. the Reserve League is not as good as it used to be or as good as it should be. They only play 18 games - far too few in my opinion and I think this goes against preparing players for the first team.

And whilst I could come up with a transfer wish list - as I am sure we all could - DM has had more successes than failures in the transfer market. And some of our best signings have been players that perhaps most of us would not have had on our "lists". I didn?t think to myself during the summer of 2006 - I hope we sign Lescott from Wolves and nor did I think back in 2004 I hope we sign that Tim Cahill from Millwall.

Ciaran Duff
21   Posted 03/04/2008 at 11:00:41

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If you want to see what we (and Moyes) are up against when trying to compete with the Sky 4 then check out the top 50 salary table below. I thought the transfer price for top players was bad enough but look how much they cost per year. Don?t know about everyone else but I think the salaries these guys get are sickening.
Martin Cutler
22   Posted 03/04/2008 at 14:27:12

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To Freddy and Seamus....nice reply Freddy.....appreciate point was that this season has been a success in my eyes (providing we stay at least 5th).
Moyes has truly performed a miracle and has had less money than most clubs at the top or close to the top.
I wasn’t trying to state the obvious that if we won the games we lost or tied then we’d be higher (only morons would read it that way)......I was attempting to point out that some of the games (actually quite a few) should have been won...we expected to win, or the ref scewed it for us, whatever......but had things gone more in our favour then YES we would be higher.
Everybody bemoans the points lost at Blackburn and Spurs and the infamous home game against The RS.......I just took that fact one step further.
I could have said we should have beaten Man Utd but didn’t (or Villa away...the game I was present at and I couldn’t believe just how bad we were!!!) that would be taking it too far.
Michael Hunt
23   Posted 03/04/2008 at 16:14:05

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Martin, I agree. However, the fact remains that given our resources we are currently overachieving. Moyes MUST be backed with serious CASH FOR TRANSFERS if we are to keep up nevermind break into the top 4 cartel.
Injuries will always bite in the end so the bigger and better squad additions are a must this summer if we are to sustain our level and progress further.
Martin Cutler
24   Posted 03/04/2008 at 16:31:45

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Thanks Michael! A sane response, lol!
You’re right and I agree......Moyes needs money!

We don’t want debt...who does? But extra cash and as a result qualification for The Champions League and better progress in the cups would make it all worthwhile.

We are that close!!!
Michael Kenrick
25   Posted 03/04/2008 at 16:37:04

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I sense a change in Moyes this season, and to be honest, it saddens me. Up until now, I was convinced that he did see his mission as getting Everton back to the top WITHOUT shedloads of cash. I looked for hints in what he was saying all through and including last season, and I believe he was convinced he could do "the impossible". I am convinced he believed it could be done through good coaching of the right bright young players.

For me, the sad thing now is that he appears to have given up on that dream. The capitulations against the top teams, the references to them having better resources... the veiled murmours about his new contract... basically he is finally buying in to the mantra that 90% of ToffeeWeb readers seem to believe ? that you cannot get to the top without shelling out massively on really good players.

I think that’s a terribel pity, and I believe it signals a watershed in his Everton career. I think we may have seen the peak of his achievements at Everton because I really don’t see the Board finding the kind of cash people say we need. And because it now removes the incredible drive and impetus behind his achievements so far. I could see it in all the games post-Fiorentina; everyone could see it in the derby.

We still have a Uefa Cup place to qualify for... do we have enough left in the tank to achieve that? Ask me again next month...
Martin Cutler
26   Posted 03/04/2008 at 17:31:27

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You make a very, valid observation there Michael.
I can’t say I’ve noticed that in Moyes (1. being over here I don’t get as much coverage and 2. I wasn’t looking for it) but I do sense a certain amount of frustration from him that he can’t keep competing at the levels his reached without additional (quality) players.
That only backs up the notion that he’s done well to get where he has, extremely well.....but as that link above from Ciaran proves...the money out there is monopoly money.....we can’t compete with that.......injuries and that stupid ANC thing have also hit us big time this season.

Although I will say we don’t need 50 billion on a platter.....he really only needs a few players and a bit more luck (you can’t buy luck....i.e. PK’s, bad refs/decisions).
Plus I would add that more players need to come through the ranks to give us more depth.....(and remain off the injured list).....he should be using the likes of Vidarsson, Rodwell, Gosling etc.....get them up to speed quickly and provide more coverage that way without having to lay out cash!!!
Tony Williams
27   Posted 03/04/2008 at 18:59:44

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Good point Michael and it is saddening but the fact remains that this league is and always has been about money.

Money for the greedy bastards Sky and mo money for the greedy bastard players and the scumbag agents.

Moyes probably thought after the 4th place with a shoestring budget team he would be able to do wonders with a few bob but unfortunately the few bob turned into small change with the rocketing player prices.

Money talks and always will in this league
Anthony Newell
28   Posted 03/04/2008 at 20:12:03

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If ever serious money and investment did come along to EFC it would appear inevitable that the new custodians would want to improve the manager, just as the manager seeks to improve his players - there is always someone better. Vialli at Chelsea, Rioch at Arsenal, they got the shove even though they weren’t doing too bad a job because the owners simpy wanted brighter and better things and demanded their respective clubs pushed on. Until that happens we just have to hope that Moyes gets enough to improve the midfield substantially and he spends it wisely. I’ve a feeling some players may need to be offloaded. Make no mistake, a vast overhaul/shot in the arm is required in the Summer if were to go into the big games next season with any sense of belief. There seems to be a malaise at managerial and board level that were doing the best we can and we should be grateful to just be knocking on the door. The people responsible for cultivating this mentality are the board. I can’t help feeling that this settle for second best attitude permeates onto the pitch on occasions. It’s time for the board to stump up the readies and the manager to start winning those big games. If neither are up for the fight, they should hand over the baton. Another 5 years sounds like a chronic case of expectations management. Sod 5 years
Chris Dottie
29   Posted 03/04/2008 at 20:22:44

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When we have someone who has worked absolute miracles should we really be spending our time worrying about whether he will still be working his miracles next year? Or enjoy it while he’s doing it.

Who do you think is better exactly?

If some us realise that progress takes time does that mean that the ones who are spending the journey moaning "Are we nearly there yet?" can claim to want success more than we do?

And finally can we please ban the phrases "The word on the street is..." and "SIR Alex". I feel like throwing up just typing it.
Anthony Newell
30   Posted 03/04/2008 at 20:57:36

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So if I’m understanding you correctly Chris you are saying that Moyes has said it will take another 5 years and we should be happy and grateful with that? Christ, I’m watching Rangers in the UEFA as the last remaining British club and thinking what the fuck?
Chris Dottie
31   Posted 03/04/2008 at 21:54:49

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I don’t know if Moyes has said it will take another 5 years, but if that’s what it takes I can wait. Anyone who can’t wait can support Rangers, the Mancs or whoever they want.

If I’m understanding you correctly Anthony you want the board to "stump up the readies" that they patently haven’t got or get out of the way for the non-existent queue of people behind them desperate ot invest in Everton.

What is this malaise you are talking about ? We are making progress year on year and are currently having our best season in 20 years (we will get more points than 3 years ago, on top of a UEFA Cup run). When Moyes took over there were 15 teams better than us in the top flight and with less investment than Spurs, Newcastle, City, Villa etc there are now only 4 of them. And we are getting closer.

Yes the next step is to start beating them, and yes we will all be disappointed if that doesn’t happen. But I don’t understand the policy of vowing to be miserable until we are the best team in the world. We had to get away from relegation fights, then get into the top half and then get into fighting for Europe and then win some games in Europe and then fight for the Champions League spots BEFORE we get into the top 4, challenge for the Premiership and win it. It’s like Moyes is a hurdler and he’s cleared the first 7 without a problem, leading the field, and some people are saying "How can you be happy, he hasn’t cleared the last 3 fences yet and I’m not sure he’s capable"...

Let’s let him put the cart before the horse, you don’t go from the bottom to the top without passing through the middle, and all the signs of of progress.
Anthony Newell
32   Posted 03/04/2008 at 23:24:39

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Thanks Chris, thats where we differ - another five years is not acceptable to me
Chris Dottie
33   Posted 04/04/2008 at 08:35:40

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Anthony, I don’t think a smug answer implying you’re a better Blue than me because you have less patience is the way to go here. There is a serious point to be made. The very reason we are making progress is that we haven’t been swapping ships mid-stream because we aren’t successful fast enough like other clubs. Demanding instant success rather than constant progress will get us into the situation of Newcastle, starting again every couple of seasons and never actually arriving. I also don’t see what evidence you have that makes you think a short-term timescale is possible. So if 5 years is not acceptable to you but no manager could achieve it in less (and there is no reason to believe that this is not the case), what are you going to do?
Steve Robert
34   Posted 04/04/2008 at 10:44:30

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Chris, you’ve said exactly what I was thinking mate, I’m a true blue and have been all my life and i’m (generally) happy with the direction we’re taking - which is clearly upwards. It doesn’t happen overnight but we’re on our way to the top and i honestly believe we’ll get there.
Anthony Newell
35   Posted 04/04/2008 at 20:57:03

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Lump it

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