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The Mail Bag

The difference between Champions League and Uefa Cup candidates

Comments (28)

Obvious midfield deficiencies aside, the difference between our challenge for European qualification and that of Liverpool's was never more blatantly summed up for me by the two respective chances that befell the strikers yesterday in the Arsenal v Everton game and the Liverpool v City game later on.

Johnson fluffs a one-on-one with the keeper (not for the first time) whereas Torres finds the back of the net.

Please don't tell me that financial clout has no bearing on a club's success. Our £8.6M (which is admittedly a lot of money) gets you a hit-and-miss forward whose main atrribute is pace but who has no real natural striking ability; their £20+M secures the finished article.

I'm not sure how we progress without significant investment. Meanwhile Moyes does a reasonable job with limited resources but where do we go from here?
Ray  Robinson, Warrington     Posted 05/05/2008 at 14:17:56

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Ian Tunny
1   Posted 05/05/2008 at 14:44:33

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We carry on as we have done an keep progressing at the rate we have done since Moyes arrived. We have progressed a lot more than Liverpool over the last 6 years to the point we are their nearest rivals for for 4th spot when we used to be closer to relegation.
David Mathieson
2   Posted 05/05/2008 at 15:12:35

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If I hear anyhting more about "progress", I believe I will go crazy.

Ian Tunny, Spurs and Pompey have made progress this year, not Everton; TROPHYS ARE WHAT MATTERS and I know Pompey need to win their final, I will take a bet. Will we finsh 5th next year? No chance, so really this progress you speak of has not really happend.

Biggest challnngers to Liverpool my arse. Will we finsh 5th this season? I doubt it. David Moyes is a loser... FACT! ? look at his track record in any big games as a player or manager and it is a disgrace. Spurs destoyed Arsenal in their semi, this is because they did not start with one forward and change to two when they went one goal down... sound familair?

Open your eyes, it has happend so often over the past 7 years ? how can people accept this? I fear that my blue brothers have no eyes or are just plain stupid to see what is going on. Kirkby points towards this also. This season was a massive chance to crack the Sky Four ? we didn?t give it a real go which disapoints me most.

With no money for players in the January window... look at Pompey: Defo in; Spurs got Woodgate plus their summer signings Europe to offer... oh, and medals which players want!!!!!! Will potential signings sign for Everton? Or for them? Not only this, they have these players strengthened and beded in for next season. They will ad further to this also leaving us behind them, never mind Liverpool.

Where is the money for Manny ? £12mil and £6mil for Faddy ? that's £18 mil that should've been there in January. Okay, round it down to say £10 mil with say £8mil wasted on Kirkby and other such purposes. Where is this £10 million Moyes should have had in January? Plus a minimum of £35 mil he should have to spend next year ? can you see this happening?

That's £25 mil budget for next year plus £10 mil from this year with 8 disappeared. Is £25 mil unreasonable to ask for a top 6 Premier League club transfer budget? If so why?

Chance gone now; roll on next year... I hope I am wrong and we claim the Uefa Cup with a proper captain lifting the trophy. If you think I am wrong, be on here one year from today ? I will unhappily tell you told you so! Let me guess, a yes voter? Not to sound funny, just curious...

Andrew Flanagan
3   Posted 05/05/2008 at 16:17:56

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There are some valid points in there somewere I?m sure, David, but I don?t know were you got some of these figures from. 12 million for Manny, were has that come from????
Steve Templeton
4   Posted 05/05/2008 at 17:06:09

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You need to keep taking those tablets lad otherwise your head is going to explode.

You start off by attacking Moyes and end up answering your own question by detailing the spending of our closet rivals.

I’ll say this word to you just in case you miss where I am coming from:-


This means finishing higher in the league than the year before and progressing further in the cup competitions. Have we achieved both these aims this season? Errr, barring an absolute disaster on Sunday then yes we have.

You say that we are not making progress because we will not finish fifth next season, how the fucking hell do you know where we are going to finish next season?

Before you start spouting off mate you may want to think through your arguments a bit more thoroughly.
Brian Williams
5   Posted 05/05/2008 at 17:40:44

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Evertonians must have the shortest memories in the world. It wasn’t that long ago that we were dancing around and going absolutely mad at escaping relegation on the last weekend of the season.
Is that the sort of celebration we want again?
Some of us just have to face up to the fact that it’s been along time since we were the "Mersey millionaires".
The world’s changed, and so has football. Can money guarantee you success? It’s ONLY money that can give that guarantee.
Unfortunately the four teams above us have a huge amount more than us, as do the teams around us.
Face the facts instead of wishing on a star! Moyes has done a tremendous job with the resources he’s had available. Why doesn’t he tell the team to go out and play like Arsenal week in week out? Because he hasn’t had the money to buy enough (any?) of that standard of player.
If Moyeses tactics were "Right lads go out there and try to outclass the opposition because the Goodison faithful would rather you go out every week and get "tanked" and end up at the bottom of the table having had a go, than playing a system that while not Brazillike is effective and can get us the success (or near to it) that might make players want to come here......Hmmm I wonder if the anti Moyes brigade would be happy then?????
GET REAL, BE REALISTIC...We’re the best (or thereabouts) of the rest and that IS at the moment as good as it CAN get. Disagree? Go out and try’n buy a five bed detatched in Formby for the price of a semi in Croxteth
mick wrende
6   Posted 05/05/2008 at 18:14:13

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Here we go again - same old same old. Progress - dont make me laugh. Knocked out of the FA cup in Round 3 by a first division club - yes that is real progress! Knocked out of the UEFA cup by a team that has succumbed to Glasgow Rangers. 5th in the league but wait a sec didnt we finish 4th 2 years ago so that is progress? And please dont say we are pleased to be not fighting relegation. We are Everton not Fulham.
Ray Robinson
7   Posted 05/05/2008 at 18:37:25

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Agree with Brian Williams - From a league position point of view it’s probably as good as it can get without significant investment. Of course that’s a major step forward compared with annual relegation fights but a little depressing nonetheless - like being told that there’s no more promotion in a job because you’ve gone as far as you can in the organisation.

Tony Connor
8   Posted 05/05/2008 at 18:25:51

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Dave M..what in the name of Goodison Park are you on?

£12M for Manny? So we collected £12M for a player that was on loan to us did we? Shit hot business by Moyes that one!

McFadden went for £4.8 if I remember rightly so you?re already £13.2M down on your calculation... can you feel the realism bighting now you fool? Where the Hell does this £8M wasted on Kirkby shit come from?...references please.

Spurs and Pompey have made progress and we haven?t? So they?ve got to Cup Finals... that?s great, and an achievement, but as we?ve all seen on numerous occasions with The RS, get the right draw, a couple of decisions go your way and it can make the difference between a good cup run and none at all.

The only way to truly measure progress is the league. So here we go:

Spurs 5th 60 points
Everton 6th 58 points
Pompey 9th 54 points


Everton 5th/6th 62/65 points
Pompey 8th 57/60 points
Spurs 11th 46/49 points

So Everton have made solid progress (whilst sustaining the additional burden of a European run); Pompey have progressed slightly; Spurs, despite having one of the costliest squads in the Premier League, have gone backwards at an alarming rate. But hey...never let the facts get in the way of a great big girls blouse of a rant eh? I hope I?m not stood next to you for the Barcodes game.
Richard Murray
9   Posted 05/05/2008 at 19:14:46

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Terrible example..
AJ didn?t do much wrong with his chance yesterday.. Torres missed a few clear opportunities in the semi-final of the CL.. I just watched Ballack sky an easy chance against Newcastle.. Yak has missed a few sitters this year.. Ronaldo missing a penalty against Baraca.. even the TOP players miss on a fairly regular basis.

I?d say midfield deficiencies, as you say, is where the problem really lies. If we could provide the forwards with more than one half chance a game, we would, obviously, win more games.

Gareth Humphreys
10   Posted 05/05/2008 at 19:36:42

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Anyone who can?t see that this season has been about progress is looking at a different football club to me.

David Mathieson could you enlighten us all as to why this season was a massive chance to break into the top 4?
Ray Robinson
11   Posted 05/05/2008 at 19:46:42

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Richard, AJ?s conversion rate with one-on-one?s is not good at all - not just a case of yesterday.
Jay Harris
12   Posted 05/05/2008 at 19:49:56

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Andrew Flanagan.
David is spot on. It's a point I made after January?s no show in the transfer window. We were apparently(according to him with the smoke and mirrors) signing Fernandes for £12 miilion last August and we got £6 million for Faddy. That makes £18 million plus £35 million extra Sky money less the £2 million for Pienaar less say £2 million for operating losses leaves £51 million.
I wonder where that will go??
Richard Murray
13   Posted 05/05/2008 at 20:17:29

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Ray, that may be so, but with regards to yesterday he didn’t do much wrong.

This said, my point is we need to create more opportunities. We’ve been averaging about one or two a game.
Mike Whittaker
14   Posted 05/05/2008 at 20:26:22

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Do you think a Spurs fan would swop our season for their?s?
Answer - Not a chance.
1)They won a cup, dismantling their arch rivals with a performance we could only dream about in the semi?s.
2) They got rid of a manager that was good but had limitations and replaced him with one that has won major trophies consistently
3)Had a glaring weakness in the first part of the season and rectified it in the transfer market in January. This player scored the winner in the cup final.
4) Have already bought a top class player this summer in preperation for next season.

That is progress in my mind. We have just trod water this season. Ok, we have beaten and bullied the teams we should do but our results and performances against the top 4 sides have been disgraceful. We seem further away from them than ever. And before people start talking about finances ? money doesnt determine the tactics and style of play on a Saturday afternoon.
John Martin
15   Posted 05/05/2008 at 20:39:49

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The main reason we finished 4th a few years back and had a chance this year was because Liverpool played/were playing shite, as soon as Liverpool upped their form this season we couldn't match them. Its a sad fact but they are better than us, as are Chelsea/Arsenal/Man Utd.

We?ve had our best ever points total and possibly could have had more but every team will be saying them same right now about decisions gone against them or missed chances. Yet we are still a long way behind them. We are progressing and I?ll take that for now.

Like everyone else, I long for us to be title challengers but without massive investment its not going to happen. We will finish 5th and that is an improvement on last season and ralistically all we can get for now and unless we get money I can't see changing the manager making any difference and in some cases as proven it would get worse.

Steve Templeton
16   Posted 05/05/2008 at 21:33:16

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Mike W,

You have given four examples of why Spurs have progressed (and implicitly why we have not) two of which concern buying players in January and in preparation for next season. You then ask us to ignore finances which flies in the face of two of your own points!

Sam Allardyce on Sky Sports said after the Chelsea match this afternoon that Spurs had spent £67 million since finishing fifth last season, please explain where we are going to find that kind of money and why you do not believe that it would make a difference to where we will finish in the league?
John Andrews
17   Posted 06/05/2008 at 00:38:33

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I don’t know how many times I will have to come on here and defend AJ. All the time you have Hoofball experts, like Jagielka, then AJ will not score.
As soon as everybody realises that you have to PASS THE BALL TO HIM ON THE FLOOR so that he can utilise his speed then the better it will be for everyone.
He will never be the greatest striker but he is far better than he is being made to look by our Hoofball tactics.
Michael Kenrick
18   Posted 06/05/2008 at 01:49:09

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So help me out here. Steve Templeton, as you’re allways the one who seems to know it all. (1) Spurs spent £67M since finishing fifth last season... (2) Money makes a difference to where you finish in the league. (3) Spurs will finish 10th or 11th this season, after spending all that money.

Have I got that right or am I missing something?
Matthew Salem
19   Posted 06/05/2008 at 00:57:01

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Great posts Brian Williams and Tony Connor. I have read every single post on this thread and still cannot understand how we may have "failed" this season (unless we piss away the Barcodes game and finish 6th). Although I do support David Moyes, I know he is not perfect. And the Arsenal game was shite indeed, we should have been way more offense-minded. But some of you here seem to be living in la-la land. A 5th place finish IS progress. We gave the shite a run for their money for 4th, but they always were favourites. Once they got their shit together after Barnsley they have been pretty incredible and we have been going downhill since Fiorentina. It?s been said a million times but yes, we don?t have the money to do better than 5th. We are not Chelsea, AC Milan or Real Madrid as some of you seem to think.

Bill Goodall
20   Posted 06/05/2008 at 06:54:03

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Money allows a manager to buy skillful players who can win games against the top 4. Our recoed signinging is a striker for 11m. The "Big 4" spend that on a 17 year old, because they can afford to lose the money if it goes wrong, we cant. The same people who bag the manager for not buying "quality players" need to realise he has limited funds given to him to spend on transfers and wages and as a result signs players of the quality that the money he has allows.
Our club is where it is because the manager has instilled a spirit in the players that no other club has.
Jason Lam
21   Posted 06/05/2008 at 07:43:35

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Depends on where your starting point was with regards to ’progress’. To be fair to our manager, it was not 1985, it was where he took over from Walter Smith. So in the space of 6 years, we have progressed very well. Whether he could’ve ’progressed’ further in the space of 6 years that’s debatable. Whatever happened after Florentina and missed opportunity for 4th, lads, it’s in the past now. Done with. Let it (and your sore bollocks) go.

However, there is always a destination for ’progress’. And a deadline. We can’t have projects running endlessly without time constraints and certainly without a target end-product in mind. We’ll get fed up. So the question is: what’s our target? 5th every season? For me (personally), it is silverware. At the moment, any will do (I mean the proper ones, not pre-season friendlies in south-east Asia). There’s 3 on offer every season, 4 if you’re in Europe.

Last time I checked, Chelsea were going for the quadruple. Bearing in mind how pissed John Terry was in the Carling Final I believe there’s still at it, trying to win EVERYTHING. Moyes record against top4 sides anyone?

As for the FA Cup, Man Utd still have vested interest in it, as long as Sir Alex is manager. But this is winnable I believe.

Premiership, Champions League - no comment.

UEFA Cup - the Best of the Rest Cup, European Version. This is probably our best chance of winning silverware, as we don’t have to face any of the top4 from the strongest leagues (sad eh?). If they do appear in the UEFA Cup (Bayern Munich) they’re probably crap anyway. Issue is whether we can play European style with European refs.

I fear with ’progress’ whether Moyes has squeezed the last drop from the limited (compare to top4) resources. Moyes has been very very efficient with getting us top6 in recent seasons, no doubt about it. But it may take -substantial- about of investment as there is a diminishing rate of return towards the far end of the success spectrum. That is, the odd 20m each season will get you 5th (if you can manage your resources and lucky) but for 4th you may need 50m+ each season, plus suffer the odd blip (as Spurs have shown, yet never managed 4th).

Moyes does hold one card that he’s perfectly entitled to: I have no resources. This is fair, how can Moyes win Silverware when the competition has far more resources then him?

As for the project deadline - how long are we willing to wait?
Dave Whitwell
22   Posted 06/05/2008 at 09:10:42

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Ray, couldn’t disagree with you more, whilst I agree that Torres is an excellant player and without doubt better than Yak & Johnson, the key differences this year are Cahill/Gerrard. Both key goalscoring midfield players for there clubs, one of which has been fit most of the season and the other has missed two large chunks. Secondly referring decisions, we can’t bang on about this forever as nothing we change and who knows maybe decisions will go our way next year, but there is no doubt the between the two clubs the RS have had the better decisions.
Steve Templeton
23   Posted 06/05/2008 at 09:30:03

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That’s avery mature opening sentence from you Michael . You ask posters to refrain from childish abuse and yet you are one of the worst offenders!

You appear to have been unable to understand my post so I will explain it to you v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

Mike W suggested Spurs were making progress and made four points to qualify his viewpoint. Two of these points concerned signing new players in January and for next season (they have spent over £30 million). He then suggests that we should ignore finances when taking progress into consideration despite the fact that 50% of the basis of his own argument was that Spurs had progressed because they had been flashing the cash.

It’s not rocket science is it?
Chris Fisher
24   Posted 06/05/2008 at 13:28:48

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Terrible example, just watched both chances, different angles different pressure from defender, and I've just looked at AJ's one-on-one conversion rate for this season: out of 3 one-on-one chances vs Wigan (A), vs West Ham (A), and vs Sunderland(H), he scored all of them. I think maybe we need to give him more one-on-one chances!!! By the way, one-on-one is just the striker and the goalkeeper ? not striker goalkeeper and defender in contact with you ? so even the Sunderland one shouldnt really be called a ?one-on-one!
Michael Kenrick
25   Posted 06/05/2008 at 14:59:34

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Ah, thanks, Steve. So I was missing something.

The key quote from Mike Whittaker is this:

"And before people start talking about finances ? money doesn’t determine the tactics and style of play on a Saturday afternoon."

And your point was that finances dictate where you finish in the league.

And my point was that finances don’t seem to have helped Spurs in that regard; when you compare them with us, our budget, and where we will finish in the league, there is a serious disconnect.

So,if you’re still following this (which I doubt somehow) you will see that finances do not dictate where you finish in the league. Pretty simple really.
Ray Robinson
26   Posted 06/05/2008 at 20:06:11

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And what about the one on one against Tottenham that even I could have put in! Anyway, by using Johnson as an example, who I don’t think has got the bottle to be a real top striker by the way, I sort of deflected away from the main argument that without the money to buy real top class players (and I accept Gerrard as a perfect example of the quality player that we need) how are we ever going to progress above fifth place?

I don’t know where the investment is coming from, hence the slighly downbeat message which was "How do we get any better?"

Hard work only takes you so far.
Steve Templeton
27   Posted 06/05/2008 at 21:17:24

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So Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool spend all that money just for the hell of it and not to maintain their position at the top of the league?
Will Leaf
28   Posted 07/05/2008 at 08:08:56

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The difference between Champions League and Uefa Cup candidates:

For the emerging markets, Indonesia, China, Thailand we simply do not exist unless we are playing one of the Sky 4. In these lands what percentage of the fans "support" a team outside the dictatorship? The Premier League went global at precisely our worst nadir since playing in the old Second Division.

The coffers of the Big 4 swell and swell, and our big news is that Nuno Valente is hanging about for another year. The Sky 4 now have an irresistable grip on the major financial stream. There aren?t four Champions League spots because of the Sky 4, there is a Sky 4 because there are four Champions League spots, year after year after year. And those four will spend like mad for fear of falling out of this elite bracket... essentially relegation for them.

This is the reality, and no amount of blaming Moyes for the sky being blue will reverse it. Are the four best managers in the Premier working for MU/Ch/Ars/Liv? Me bollocks. I could keep any of those teams in the top four:

"Ah, here is the list I drew up you asked for sir. Yes, that?s right, the top twenty players in the world. I think we can afford 3 or 4 for the January window... which shall we buy, sir?"

Now that is not rocket science...

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