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The Mail Bag

The Gap is Widening

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The season is drawing to a close and we're still not assured of coming fifth even though we've got the highest amount of points we've ever had at this stage of the season in all our seasons in the Premier League. When we came fourth a few seasons ago, it was a great achievement all round but a lot of the time we were relying on Liverpool dropping points in crucial matches.

Many ToffeeWeb users are complaining about Moyes, which is understandable considering some of the bilge that we've been served up over the past few weeks; however, even if we did sack Moyes and get a different manager and started playing a different style of football, do you really think that that would get us into the top four? The only team who have a realistic chance next season of achieving this feat are Spurs for the simple reason that they have money to spend.

Liverpool are only going to spend even more to try and get closer to the top three. They won't win the Premier League next year but they will get closer as they spend more money. My point is that you don't need to play a certain brand of football or have a manager who plays attractive football to get into the top four. Money is what you need and unfortunately we (apparently) have none.

We can get rid of Moyes and get Mourinho but still we would get no closer to breaking in, and staying in the top four until we can spend as much as Spurs and Liverpool who will, I believe be the main challengers to that fourth and final Champions League qualifying position. For Goodness sake, Boro will probably spend more than us. Alves cost them a packet.

So by all means sack Moyes and lets start playing football like Brazil, but don't be disappointed when we don't get fourth spot. And by the way I'm not in the Moyessiah club, I just don't think that by getting rid of him we would do any better than we currently are when we have an inept board who are supposedly strapped for cash.
Adam Cunliffe, St helens     Posted 07/05/2008 at 16:59:34

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Anj Stam
1   Posted 08/05/2008 at 05:58:33

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Spurs spent an abundance of money last season too, and besides winning the MickeyMouse cup,reaching the same stage as us in Uefa Cup, they have gone backwards in regards to the league. Luckypool will again (for the 19th time) be optimistic at the start of the season and will fade out as the season progresses (as-per-usual). Rafat is only good for Europe not English-league.

As for teams around us, City has suddenly become a joke, Villa will lose a few good players which may affect there progress, Pompey are a good squad but like Villa, they too will lose a few good players which might affect them as well. Not even gonna bother with the big-spending-on-rejects Barcodes. Still not convinced about Rovers, although very similar too us, they seem too inconsistent every season.

Difference is we are no longer a feeder club as Moyesy will keep hold of most of our players (bar the hangers-on) and just needs a good right-hand-man by his side, a couple of quality MF signings, a few bargain players with potential, better luck with injuries/wayward decisions and our next campaign will defo be even brighter.

COYB... IMWT....

Gavin Harris
2   Posted 08/05/2008 at 07:59:57

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I find it funny how people say "and besides winning the MickeyMouse cup" because I would hardly call it MickeyMouse when every supporter outside the top three would give their right arm to win it becuase its silverware and they can get into Europe.
Mick Wrende
3   Posted 08/05/2008 at 08:07:11

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You make a lot of assumptions there Adam and state them as fact. 2 years ago we finished 4th and there was loads of money sloshing around the big four then. It was our failure to make progress under Moyes then that has really cost us. And if you are right that it is impossible to finish in the top four unless we have a lot of money, then why are we desperately trying to do so? Why dont we concentrate on winning some cups.

Why did Moyes not bother with the FA cup this season and why did he take such a negative approach in Florence? Because he is obsessed with trying to get 4th place, which you say cant be done. There is no glory in finishing 5th ? the best of the rest who wants that? You may be correct in saying that Moyes is the best we can get but he still has a lot to answer for.

Chris Fisher
4   Posted 08/05/2008 at 08:32:14

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That's right, Gavin! The only people who call the League Cup the "Mickey Mouse Cup" are people whose team didn't win it!!! If their team wins it, it's the best cup in the world! I for one would love to see us lift that cup every year!!!

Anj is right about Spurs though; they spent loads and struggled in the league! We?re still the only team that has any kind of chance of breaking in to the top 4. We do need a few new players (big centre mid player please!) but apart form that we aint that far behind!

Dan McKie
5   Posted 08/05/2008 at 09:02:10

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People talk about teams like Spurs and Newcastle about to be great, but they never are! We have a really good side that just needs a few quality additions (however we get them, if its loans then so be it). As for Boro? spending a packet on Alves? I think you?ll find that it may have had something to do with the £11 mil we gave them for Yakubu or even the £8 mil they got for Woodgate! They spent nothing!
Rob Hollis
6   Posted 08/05/2008 at 09:46:10

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Mourinho spent a load of cash and developed the most boring team ever to win anything.

Why do people highlight that tosser as a bastion of good management?
Brian Donnelly
7   Posted 08/05/2008 at 09:25:35

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The majority of supporters don?t want to sack Moyes, they just want to see a little more football played. The biggest failing by Moyes is the failure at the start of the season to get a half-decent midfield player. Why we spent so much money getting Baines in when we were already well covered (Valente, Lescott, Neville) at left back and didn?t get a midfield player is beyond me.

Whenever one midfielder is injured we end up with Neville & Carsley in the centre of midfield. No wonder we create very little ? Neville gives the ball away too often but at least wants it, whereas to Carsley it?s like a hot potato. In fact, at Birmingham Jags passed the ball to Carsley who was in 10yds of space and he immediately passed back to Jags and then Carsley had a go at Jags for passing the ball to him!

That?s why it often ends up getting hoofed and hence the criticism of Moyes.
Carl Wright
8   Posted 08/05/2008 at 11:19:05

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Got to agree with Brian on this one. I'd be much happier with the progress we have made if we consistently played better football. I can understand playng the precentages against the top team but we lack the killer instinct or creativity through the central midfield. And don't give me the Cahill and Arteta excuse, they have both missed half the season with injury or loss or form.

And the comment on Carsley is spot on. First touch is a bad one, second touch is a tackle. That's why he doesn't want the ball!!
Michael Brien
9   Posted 08/05/2008 at 12:37:01

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If Carsley and Neville are as poor as some of you suggest- how come we are so high up in the table? The usual response from some people when we have a bad run - slag off the team/manager/individual players/chairman/board. It?s just the order that changes !!

Wake up to reality some of you - just as in Scotland where 2 clubs dominate - so now in England we have 4 clubs that dominate.
There are 2 basic ways to challenge the "Sky 4"
1) Mega investment
2) Shrewd signings and developing our own talent.
Clearly we have gone for option 2. Now I have to say I would probably be in the pro-Moyes camp. That does NOT mean I think every decision he makes is brilliant, every signing a good one. But I think he gets it right more often than he gets it wrong.
Look at some of his signings in the last couple of years ? Lescott, Johnson, Yakubu, Pienaar, Jagielka ? not bad .Compare with some of the dealings of the "Special One" ? Shevchenko, Malouda, Bellotti or Benitez ? Voronin !!!!

Now I have an idea of some players I think would do well at Goodison ? Arashavin from Zenit St Petersburg for example. However, I have to admit that in the summer of 2004 I wasn?t thinking ? " I hope we get Tim Cahill from Millwall". Nor did I think in 2006 we really need Lescott from Wolves. And last summer, Steven Pienaar wasn?t really someone I had in my Everton wish-list.

The point being lets cut Moyes a bit of slack here ? yes there have been some duff signings e.g. Krøldrup. But they have been easily outnumbered by the good ones. He has got a quite good record in bringing in good players ? let's have a bit more faith in him.

Tony Williams
10   Posted 08/05/2008 at 13:20:09

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"And dont give me the Cahill and Arteta excuse, they have both missed half the season with injury or loss or form"

Why not? It is a perfectly legitimate point.

One is a free scoring midfielder who seems to give everyone a lift and the moment he came back into our side we went on a fantastic unbeaten run and the other is our most skillful and usually productive player.

You can compain all you want about Moyes, the way the team plays, the hoofball but you can’t then say people can’t give an explanation of why we have had a bad turn of results with the loss of our most influential players in the next sentence.

It is no coincidence that we are a better team when Cahill is playing, as he seems to be the linchpin of our side so of course this will be offered up as a reason why we are not playing aswell as we did in the first 2/3rds of the season
Carl Wright
11   Posted 08/05/2008 at 14:14:22

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Maybe "excuse" was the wrong word, what i mean was when people on here talk about playing good quality football or there the lack of, the first reaction is to bring Cahill or Arteta in to it. And the fact of the matter it that they have either been injured or average this season.

Absolutely agree with you Tony, we?re a better side with Cahill in the team but most of the time over the last 2 seasons he hasnt been available to be in the team!!! And theres no-one else to pick up the slack when hes not there!!

We should have strengthened the midfield, as when Arteta is off form, or Cahill is injured we have no Plan B, no players to pick up the mantle.

I am not in either the pro- or anti-Moyes camps, but I am a realist. And there are clear improvments that can be made. Why settle for the shite that's been served up the second half this season?
Trudy Boston
12   Posted 08/05/2008 at 16:17:36

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In all seriousness, if you take the top four out of the equation, each season, then more often than not we would be champions of England. It pains me to say it but I don’t think I will ever see Everton as League champions again in my lifetime, except of course the worst case scenario happens and we get relegated and win the Championship.

1985 and 1987 in truth was not all that long ago but it seems like a lifetime since we saw Rats parade the League championship trophy around Goodison. And let’s face it, since then we have never even come close. Everton have never even finished inside the top three since 1987 unless I’m mistaken.

I may have stated previously on here that I have no idea who will be brought in during the close season, a lot of names have been mentioned, but until new faces arrive at Goodison it’s hard to know who David will bring in. I agree with most supporters that the need for a exciting, no frills quicksilver midfielder is a priority as well as a stiker who can deliver. Sorry, Mister Johnson,you may be fast and hardworking but your goalscoring exploits leave me somewhat dismayed even though at eight million pounds it was not exactly the worst signing ever seen at the club. The two goals at Goodison in the 3-0 route of you know who was a bit of a false dawn, and I for one have not been satisfied with his productivity.

Another one is Yakubu, who has remained hitherto, a danger to opposition defences this season, but apart from a purple patch pre Christmas, has been nothing short of a disappointment, but I would not want him to leave as 11 million pounds is a hell of a sum of money to pay. I would give him another season at least to pull his socks up.

The defence for me, is satisfactory, Lescott, the players choice as man of the season, I will not argue, is a top man and has weighed in nine goals, an impressive tally.

What is a sore point is the forward line, not since the days of Sharp and Lineker has Everton had a formidable strike force, and and while Vaughan and Anichebe may deliver next season, another striker (or two?) is a neccesity if we are to maintain our European ambitions.

Doubtless there will be those of you who will beg to differ, but that’s how I feel about it anyway.
Brian Donnelly
13   Posted 08/05/2008 at 16:20:20

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Micheal Brien, I happen to think that Moyes has done a great job to get us where we are. That doesn?t mean I can?t be critical about the lack of quality in centre of midfield.

The main reasons we have been so successful are:
1) Yakubu scored virtually every chance he had until the last month or so.
2) Cahill had a good run of scoring earlier in the season.
3) Lescott has been unbelievable from a scoring point of view.
4) The defence has been magnificent.
5) The whole team runs its socks off.

Even against Derby their midfield looked more comfortable on the ball than we did. Goals change games and we have won some games comfortably after looking 2nd best until we scored.

Carsley & Neville in the centre midfield are a poor pairing from a creative point of view ? whether you like Moyes or not.
Michael Brien
14   Posted 08/05/2008 at 17:26:24

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Brian ? I take your point, and I have no problems regarding your right to be critical. What dismays me is the way some people rubbish the team. There is a difference after all between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. And I don?t really reckon Moyes would have the Neville ? Carsley midfield combination as one of his first choices!! Both players though I think can do a good job for us. But do you recall how early season we had Neville and Jags together in central midfield? Again I think that was due to injuries to others.

Personally I think our biggest problem is that we haven?t got the strength in depth to cope with a big injury crisis such as we have had this season. I have been reading Graeme Sharp?s excellent book "Sharpy" ? can you recall the injuries we had in 1985-6 season? And indeed the following season ? thankfully there was no transfer window in those days, so that when we were short of an experienced left back in Nov ?85 due to injuries, Howard Kendall was able to go out and sign Neil Pointon.

They say that luck evens itself out over the course of a season. Personally I think it?s more like over the course of 2 or 3 seasons!! No penalties all season in the league!!? Unbelievable!!
I am convinced that some of our players have been playing carrying injuries and should have been rested e.g. Cahill against West Ham. Arteta has not looked at his best ? but I think that is mainly due to injury problems.

Basically I just wanted to make the point that we should have faith in Moyes ? I reckon he can be relied on to bring in some good ?uns during the summer. He has done so in the past.

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