Why do we do it? We don't like it, the players don't like it, the media don't like it, even our manager claims he doesn't like it. So why on earth do we do it?
It could be argued that there are a number of reasons our players continue with the almost logic-defying habit of aimlessly booting the ball into opposition territory.
The speed of the game in the EPL, the quality or the intelligence of the player, desperately poor coaching. These can all be offered as contributory factors, but they are issues that should all have been overcome over a period of time. I believe our problem is much deeper rooted and can be summed up in one word... Fear.
Our club is in the grip of fear from top to bottom. Everton have played more top-flight football than any other team in England, and we are all incredibly proud of our record. This was clearly demonstrated by the level of terror we felt when our top flight status was threatened during the early nineties.
Bill Kenwright remembers the early nineties, he's still haunted by them... and his worst nightmare would be for EFC to be relegated on his watch. He knows that, given our financial circumstances, if we were to be relegated there would probably be no way back; so he plays safe, he guards his investment, he sticks with a man who will not be relegated.
Davey Moyes could easily have been ditched this summer and Blue Bill could have attracted a far more flamboyant manager with the wages he was paying, but it was never going to happen.
Moyes is steady, he's reliable, he'll settle for the mild success he's had and the respect he receives from his peers for running such a steady ship. He'd love to play the swashbuckling football he so admires when played by teams like Arsenal or Man United, but that would mean taking risks and Moyes is not one for taking risks. The percentage football DM insists his players adhere to would suggest he is far more comfortable when the odds are stacked in his favour.
Moyes will not gamble with his reputation, It has taken him a long time to build it and the fact that he can almost guarantee over 50 points a season has earned him a lucrative contract.
There can be little doubt that the ultra cautious approach from the powers that be at EFC has rubbed off on the players, they too are gripped by fear, even when we are on a winning run, we generally need to go a couple of goals up before the players relax and start demanding the ball. Playing consistently good fotball requires movement and courage; really good players like Fabregas and ? dare I say it ? Rooney are fearless, they will still demand the ball even when an opponent is shirt tight.
Our midfield, on the other hand, are often reluctant to even show for the ball unless it's in the opposition's half. Our defenders become isolated in possession and are invariably faced with Hobson's: If the try to play their way out and come unstuck, they risk the wrath of the manager... but if they put their foot through it, they invite the now inevitable abuse from the crowd.
Is it any wonder they look like rabbits caught in headlights when they have the ball?
Then there's us, the fans. We'd had a bad summer and we didn't exactly hit the ground running at the start of the season, but who outside Goodison could have understood the hysteria that swept through our ranks? "We're going down" was the cry as panic set in.
The club is in the grip of fear, it trickles down from the top; until we get a bolder, braver Chairman who will sweep the place clean and instill belief into the troops, we will just have to grin and bear it.
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1 Posted 12/11/2008 at 06:55:15
No, we don?t ? I don?t go anymore. I don?t want to watch such rubbish; I don?t want to pay so much money; I don?t go along with the celebrity status; I don?t have to be taken for a ride by a club that?s not interested and has no respect.
There?s more to life than football, especially crap football played by a crap team with a crap manager.
2 Posted 12/11/2008 at 07:15:15
The standard of football is woeful and so is the business side of the club.
3 Posted 12/11/2008 at 07:31:27
Moyes has found a system which has us up in the top half of the table, regularly qualifying for Europe. I’m not saying that I like it, or think it’s good enough, but it has been effective. Now it’s time for the next step.
For me personally, Moyes has until the end of next season to show that he can transform the side he has qualified 3 out of 4 seasons for Europe, to one which can press the top-4. Money would help, but if a lack of it is the challenge of managing Everton, then a solution needs to be found within those constraints.
Despite his limitations and whatever opinions people may have of him and his work, your assertions that Moyes is happy ticking along are way, way wide of the mark.
4 Posted 12/11/2008 at 08:31:48
How sad it is your not prepared to watch the blues any longer, we might not be playing great football but, other than maybe 3 teams, who is? We still have a very good chance of breaking into the top 4 this season which 2 weeks ago would've seemed impossible but that?s football for you.
Agree with the reasons for hoofball, it really is down to confidence and having some balls to have a go. I have constantly defended our back 4 who inevitably get the blame but it's the midfield who continually pass the ball back to them instead of going forward.
As for replacing Moyes in the summer with the huge contract for a flair manager that could never happen as things stand as we would then need a rather large transfer kitty to build a flair side and with no investment on the horizon that ain?t happening anytime soon. But, no matter what type of football we play or where we play it, I will be there to see it!!!
5 Posted 12/11/2008 at 09:05:52
Secondly, as far as Moyes is concerned, we?ve got 10 points in 12. It's not been fantastic, and we?ve lost some very winnable games this year. We?ve had a total loss of confidence, injuries, and yeah, some bad tactics including long ball at times.
Would you bring in a flair manager to replace Moyes? I agree with Craig Wilson (not citing the fact that Moyes has just signed a 5-year contract and it's not going to happen anyway!) but a new mananger is not the solution. In the Premier League, it would probably cost in the region of £10m to replace backroom staff inc the manager, and then the new manager would probably require £15m at least for players, to make the team his own. £25m (rough estimate I admit, but looking at Tottenham and what Harry Redknapp is likely to do, I think that's low).
Moyes is here for at least a few year years. The simple facts in my mind are that he has this contract. Hopefully, he?ll be given some support as the ground move is on a backburner for 18 months. If, during the life of this contract, he can break into the top 4, that?d be an outstanding success. That is the next step, if he doesn?t, then its time for the next man. During these next few years it's Moyes, we know that, and we must support him and Everton.
6 Posted 12/11/2008 at 09:36:12
Like Craig said, it is very sad.
7 Posted 12/11/2008 at 09:52:41
Our players, and particularly our defensive players - are simply not good enough to play the ball on the ground...
8 Posted 12/11/2008 at 09:45:50
Dave makes a good point about not showing for the ball. We don?t really have a players who?s willing to drop into deeper positions and start attacks off. For me this is key but only certain players do it. We had one last season but we let him go.
Osman and Fellaini don?t shy away from the ball by any means but they like playing further up the pitch and they're not comfortable in deeper positions. Arteta could do it given a run in the middle but he?s stuck outwide.
We also don?t have a gifted centre half, none are brilliant at bringing the ball out of defence. They usually panic, pass it sideways or hoof it to the corner flag.
Would I would blame Moyes on is the system, this supposed 4-5-1 we are playing. I just isn?t 4-5-1, it?s 4-4-2 with Cahill pretending to be a centre forward. Watch him when he plays there, he basically plays right up alongside Yakubu and it doesn?t suit him.
Cahill is a good player if used correctly, for me that?s between the lines in the attacking midfield/deep lying striker role. Not as a centre midfielder and not as a centre forward which is what he seems to be play at the moment.
4-5-1 is a good formation if it?s used correctly, you can dominate the middle of the park and hopefully control possession. At the moment we are basically playing 4-4-2 and pretending Cahill is playing the support role when he?s actually not. If where going to play like that then play Saha and Yakubu together.
It?s definitely a collective thing for me, there are a number of reasons why we are playing dire football. At the end of the day though this is Moyes's team, it?s up to him to work on our weaknesses and get us playing to our strengths. Hopefully he will.
9 Posted 12/11/2008 at 10:03:02
Moyes would be apoplectic if our kids played like that! Hoof-ball will rule at EFC for five more years, believe me!
10 Posted 12/11/2008 at 10:40:16
Arsenal?s young bucks did that last night without playing a defensive centre midfielder either, they just charged forward and the football was mesmerising at times. And still beat a strong Wigan team 3-0.
11 Posted 12/11/2008 at 11:39:59
12 Posted 12/11/2008 at 12:47:08
Jesus do you remember the 90s?! This is as good as it can get with this board.
13 Posted 12/11/2008 at 12:48:09
That?s why I would have been happy to see DM go and someone new and flamboyant given a chance. Surely now that we have moved up the league some risks will be taken. At home to Middlesborough seems an ideal time to start.
14 Posted 12/11/2008 at 13:07:12
Arteta for CM!!!
15 Posted 12/11/2008 at 12:56:30
16 Posted 12/11/2008 at 13:30:36
We don't play to our strengths which erodes the players confidence, most players are happy to play even in roles that they are not equipped for. No grit in midfield, too lightweight, and tactically a manager who is so defensive that even when players legs are gone he will not make a sub. We only ever seem to make a substitution when we go behind...
The manager lost it in the summer, took his eye off the ball and everyone suffered. The crap over his contract left players rudderless wondering what was going to happen.
The football we have seen so far this season has, apart from mere glimpses been awful. No, disgraceful.
Last week WHU were first to every ball, just about every pass we made was behind the player... I know we won, but there are teams who will play far better than WHU and frankly I am starting to dread watching each game.
For all the crap behind the scenes David Moyes kept his focus. Until this summer when he lost his and the teams confidence. That's not down to BK.. That's David Moyes.
17 Posted 12/11/2008 at 13:51:01
I totally disagree that the players are scared, though the way some Evertonians get on their backs (far too quickly) it's no wonder they feel anxious if they make a mistake.
All this moaning on here about how we play is fair enough, and if you don't like it then don't go to the games ? personally if we win, I couldn't care less if we play the dullest game in history as long as we win. If we finish in a decent position and only ever win 1-nil I?ll be happy with that.
If you want entertainment every game I?m afraid the only answer is to support Arsenal or Man Utd ? you?re just not gonna get that with a club/team like Everton.
18 Posted 12/11/2008 at 14:04:56
I guess i’ll go support Arsenal then...simple as that.
19 Posted 12/11/2008 at 14:25:43
The will to win is most important and our manager and players have that drive. And I’d take that any day over pretty but spineless football.
20 Posted 12/11/2008 at 16:06:41
I, like many others, have been to Goodison when there was only 11,000 plus in the old first division and I asked myself what the hell I was doing there spending hard earned money and standing watching rubbish on a freezing night. I can fully understand anyone who is frustrated by what's going on and if they decide they have had enough then it is fully understandable.
If the football is not bad enought to drive people away, DK will .
21 Posted 12/11/2008 at 16:38:26
We don't play great football but in Moyes's time here we have continually improved and as a result moved up the league. We have gone from being relegation fodder to being the so called best of the rest. I can't see how we can go any further than this without being able to compete with the teams above us financially.
I think only Arsenal of the teams above us spend a comparable amount in transfer fee?s but even they spend a lot more and who knows how much their scouting network cost the club? And it looks as though of the top 4 they are now the most likely to drop out in the next few seasons.
People who say it?s not about money, ask yourself this: if we had an extra £15-20 mil this summer we would have one of Europe?s top CMs playin in centre-mid instead of an untried 17-year-old playing out of position. If you dont think that makes any odds, you're delusional.
22 Posted 12/11/2008 at 19:01:43
Where are our scouts?? If we have no money then we should concentrate on bringing decent kids in who know how to control the ball and win. There is no way that Wenger will fail in the future because he has the RIGHT philosophy and his kids will be tomorrow's stars...
I love EFC as much as any other supporter out there BUT I am not biased because that is just stupid... I admire Arsenal's style of play and if we could turn out teams who could play like they do then the crowds would flood back and the roars would lift the roof. The only thing Arsenal lack is the killer instinct and in some games in the English Premier League it is needed.
23 Posted 12/11/2008 at 19:02:43
Ian Short, yes, Zola is a flair manager but really what chance has he at West Ham?
James, why should Evertonians not aspire to good football? I understand what you mean about winning; it makes up for a lot. But... look at the second half against Man utd. That has not been repeated. Why not?
24 Posted 12/11/2008 at 21:16:29
Maybe I’m resigned to (what I believe) is a fact, but we ARE a better team now than we have been for years, and our league positions reflect that.
At times this team has played some lovely stuff - remember the UEFA cup games last year? Even this season they’ve tried to play well at times, and with confidence getting better I reckon the football will too.
Jus to sum up - Evertonians have every right to want to watch good football, but the reality is that there are probably only 2 or 3 clubs that can claim to play great football every time they step on the park.
25 Posted 12/11/2008 at 21:24:07
We can?t expect Everton to play good football...
Everton played good football last season...
Everton are not one of the 2 or 3 clubs capable of playing good football this season.
Did I miss anything? Is the logic train too simple or can you not see a certain non-sequitur in the middle there somewhere???
26 Posted 12/11/2008 at 21:33:44
You often attack views that don?t suit you right up front in blue headlines. Editorial privilege, ok., you work and we read so you deserve it.
But when you get an article with no substance like this from Dave Wilson, you hold back until somone makes a relatively moderate response like James, then launch into a frenzied attack on his logic.
I have enjoyed this site as being more thoughtful than most, and want to continue to respect your efforts but you are making it difficult.
I?m like most supporters who have no big attitude, pro or against anything (Moyes, Kenwright, Kenrick, whatever), except that we ARE Everton supporters and want us to do well, whatever. Reading you, I have to wonder: do you still want us to succeed, or have you become so committed to your negative views that you would prefer to see us fail under the current regime?
Please show me quietly that I am wrong to think this way.
27 Posted 12/11/2008 at 21:54:43
I never said we cant expect Everton to play good football - read it again.
We did play better last season - fact.
Everton are not one of the 2 or 3 clubs capable of playing good football every game - I stand by this.
Your sarcastic tone isn’t overly welcome in my house.
28 Posted 12/11/2008 at 21:52:37
In my opinion, we are still feeling our way back after Carsley going ? trying to get Fellaini/Castillo/Rodwell to take that vital role... he is the only real difference from last year when at times these same players played some really great stuff...
See you there Sunday!
29 Posted 12/11/2008 at 22:42:16
Everton are going through a bad spell at the minute and are still a few points off 4th place. Let's give them a chance to start playing well like they did last season. All those who dont agree its simple... DONT GO!!!!!!
30 Posted 13/11/2008 at 04:38:17
31 Posted 13/11/2008 at 04:51:33
As it was stated at the EGM Everton at the moment don’t have an investor so are perusing the concept of being a facility run club. That?s a bit flawed if we struggle to get fans to attend Goodison.
The style of play is more about the mentality of the manager than the quality of player. You could have the current Spain national team available and have them hoof the ball if that?s what the manager wants. Yes we struggle to pass and often resort to a good hoof but it happens far to regularly to be put on the players. If Moyes didn?t like that style of play then he would get his players to play in an alternative style. We hoof it because as ugly as it is it seems to grind out results. We are not Real Madrid who will sack a manager based on the entertainment value he can provide. If Moyes gets results that?s all that counts to the board. Change needs to come from the top down not the bottom up.
32 Posted 13/11/2008 at 06:57:10
I do find some of your criticisms far too harsh. I know the West Ham game was pretty awful 'til the last ten mins but what a last ten minutes!!! I was ecstatic, on a high for days and top drawer goals that made up for the lacklustre play earlier in my book. Remember, the Hammers put us under a lot of pressure and were at home and played really well for 70 mins then wore themselves out and we got back into the game with panache, resilience and considerable style!
Give the lads some slack please, although of course I would like to see us play like we did in the last ten all through the game but it?s prob not going to happen but hopefully some of the time!
What?s happened to Joe Baxter? I thought he showed some great touches in the summer?
33 Posted 13/11/2008 at 09:25:41
Also when Stevens and Pat VDH had the ball they had wide players in Tricky and Sheeds in front of them who wanted to stay wide so they had a simple option forward if required. The likes of Osman, Pienaar, Arteta for all of their qualities are essentially central midfielders who instinctively drift in and therefore it becomes more congested and hoofball under pressure becomes more likely.
Moyes has done a good job with a small squad by buying "flexible" players who can cover across positions. Unfortunately this also creates limitations that won't be resolved until we buy more "specialists".
34 Posted 13/11/2008 at 09:46:39
The thing is it does not cost anything to play the game on the floor and to pass the to a man in the same coloured shirt as himself. It is down to the manager to instill this into his team, and if there is a player who won?t or can?t do this, get rid!
With the players we have, and if we played good football, we would still be up near the top, we would be respected as a team who play the game as it should be played, I am sure we would then attract the so-called much better player. If we had the manager with the will to do it, and with our support behind the team, we would soon transcend to the dizzy heights where we all want to be.
35 Posted 13/11/2008 at 13:14:36
I was watching Everton long before Moyes came along, I fully intend to continue when he?s gone, why should I stop going because I don't agree with hoofball?
It's a bit rich when people like you who don't go to the games, start telling the people that do not to go.
If everyone who doesn't approve hoofball took your advice, GP would be empty and Everton would be out of business.
This debate is about why we aimlessly boot the ball up field, not for you to dish out what you consider advice.
36 Posted 13/11/2008 at 13:43:10
I don't agree that the hoofball phenomenom even exists, but that's just my opinion.
If people don't like something on TV, they don't watch ? if you don't like something on the radio, you switch over ? now tell me, whats the difference?
37 Posted 13/11/2008 at 13:46:32
38 Posted 13/11/2008 at 14:11:12
I didn't imply anything at all, I only know you don't go to the games because I sometimes read threads that had been running during the games, you always seem to stand out, you're always bickering.
BTW if people choose to turn off the TV or Radio, it's their choice, understand? They dont need you to tell them
Hoofball doesn't exist eh ? . . . . . ok enough said, have a nice day.
39 Posted 13/11/2008 at 16:07:35
40 Posted 13/11/2008 at 16:42:17
West Brom, play good football, and before you start with the "But look where they are in the league," I know where they are, but they play decent football, and have they got loads of money? No, so the point that you need loads of money to play football, well.....
41 Posted 13/11/2008 at 16:33:10
Thankfully Phil N?s tackle and the beech ball act turned it all round. Since confidence has started to recover and i am sure will return to the short passing game we are capable of. The idea that Manager wants us to play hoofball is a myth created by the illogical Moyes haters. I am starting to think these sites are a bit like alcahol they highten the feeling that we already have, and we would be all better off not logging on so we don?t have to witness such negative rubbish.
42 Posted 13/11/2008 at 17:17:32
43 Posted 13/11/2008 at 19:09:41
We need a manager who has more belief that we can actually win games rather than one who is completely gripped by the fear of losing. I’m really struggling with this idea from fellow blues who say we should just accept it.
44 Posted 14/11/2008 at 07:23:08
I?d have liked to have seen any of the following: Lorik Cana, Moutinho, Diaby, Alonso or Diarra but that doesn?t make any difference because the only one we were after is Moutinho and we failed.
The point I?m trying to make is that if you want CL football then you need to buy players who are at least as good as the players the teams above you have. In all honesty, can you see Steven Davis getting a game for any of the teams above us? I think we all know the answer to that one.
I didn't want us to replace Carsley anyway, I wanted to see our style of play evolve to either a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 depending on who we were playing and where, sadly we didn?t have the money to go and get the players we would need to play either system effectively.
Time and again this season, teams have run us straight through the middle because the people in there at the minute are nowhere near good enough and I include Rodwell in that, although he has shown glimpses of the player he will be in a few years.
A bit of money would have changed all that but there's a lot of clubs who could say that. IMO there is only two ways of getting better players and thus better football: buy them or develop them ? it seems we are doing OK with the latter so I can't complain because we haven?t got the money to do the former!!
45 Posted 14/11/2008 at 08:12:35
46 Posted 14/11/2008 at 09:43:30
For all those people saying we should get another manager to ?take us to the next level?, you are mental if you think we can hope to break the top four with out any money what-so-ever. With the board we?ve got we should be grateful if we?re 4th from bottom. Sad but true.
47 Posted 14/11/2008 at 16:20:31
we broke into the top four a few years ago without money!
48 Posted 15/11/2008 at 23:26:13
49 Posted 17/11/2008 at 09:39:30
That was with Dave Moyes wasn?t it?
50 Posted 18/11/2008 at 11:06:01
Arteta keeps the ball very well but he really never makes the defence splitting pass. The last two seasons has seen his ability to cross well disappear into thin air. Obviously, he will still make the occasional good cross but they are the exception rather than the norm. Defensively, no one would call him strong.
Peanuts is a great little worker, has some really entertaining flicks, back heels etc but is no strong defensive player, has no great shot. He is a good player but not great and he is very small.
Much the same applies to Ossie. His lack of inches and muscularity affect him more than the other two because, in many ways he is a more constructive player. In addition he has a really good shot.
Only Fellaini is distinctively different. He is stronger, controls the ball well, makes passes across the field, along the ground and accurate, has size on his side and can be dangerous around the oppositions penalty area with head and feet. The same cannot be said of the other three incumbents.
I would like to see Castillo get a decent run out. He seems to have been condemned to watch from the sidelines yet, in my brief introduction to the player, after he had been a member of the team for less than a week, given only two games, no previous practices, unused to the premier league and not speaking the language, was that he definitely had something to offer.
The back four is OK as it has been constituted for the last two/three games though I would like to see Baines introduced at left back when the opposition seems to allow. His skills as an attacking left sided defender are being overlooked at present. Moysie would have to permutate the central defensive players from those three very good players, Lescott, Yobo and Jagielka.
Finally, like many others I?ve heard comment here and elsewhere, I feel Moyes should give James Vaughan a much longer run out than the last few minutes of the game. He is 20 now, as old as Fellaini and I still think has the same potential as he ever had as a 17-year-old.