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As good at it will get?

By James Boden :  25/03/2009 :  Comments (85) :

So having seen Saturday?s performance and the reaction from people on here, I thought it would perhaps be time for me to give my opinion of our manager, David Moyes, in detail.

Now for the first few years I will openly admit I quite liked Moyes. He seemed to be heading us in the right direction. Ok, he had several problems to deal with. Quite big to say the least. For a start, he took us over in 2001-02 when we were struggling to stay in the League. He managed to keep us in the Premier League.

Then, during Season 2002-03, he brought up a certain Wayne Rooney onto the big stage and was rewarded when the then 16-year-old scored a marvelous goal to end the original unbeaten run of that glorious Arsenal side. And we were so close to booking a European place in his first full season until it was cruelly snatched away from us by Blackburn Rovers in the final game that season. But there could be no denying Moyes's impact. And he was a deserved winner of the Manager of the Year.

However the next season, 2003-04, was to be far different. An over reliance on Rooney, together with the fact that we lost our final 4 games meant that we finished 17th. Was the previous season was just a fluke? I believe this was also when Moyes first made a major mistake ? transfer dithering. If memory serves me right, up until Deadline Day he had signed just one player before quickly moving to seal the signings of a few others...

One of which was Nigel Martyn who not only is one of Moyes's successes but perhaps his best signing, possibly with the exception of a certain Tim Cahill. But more on Cahill later. The consistency of Martyn that season probably kept us afloat in the Premiership. However Moyes was about to face his toughest test.

That summer was to be dominated by boardroom unrest and the future of Wayne Rooney. Rooney?s breathtaking performances at Euro 2004 made us all feel so proud to be an Evertonian and he gave us some hope in an otherwise dire situation. That was until he kicked us right in the bullocks and handed in a transfer request with just days left of the transfer window before sealing a move to Manchester United on deadline day.

However, incredibly against all the odds, we finished 4th in the next season (2004-05), which included momentous wins over Liverpool, Man United and then Newcastle United, which sealed 4th spot and a position in the Champions League. While it must be said that the win over Man Utd was our best performance, the victory over Liverpool was our most satisfying. Our previous summer signing Tim Cahill had made a vital impact. He is still showing his quality to this day. Perhaps the biggest compliment of all that season though was that Real Madrid thought so highly of Thomas Gravesen?s performances that they signed him half-way through the season.

However the first few months of the next season (2005-06) were terrible and this is what put Moyes in my bad books. While he could be forgiven for the consequences that cost us a place in the European Cup group stages, the way we were humiliated in Bucharest was more than unacceptable ? it was disgraceful. Couple that with the fact that we were bottom of the table come mid-October having won just once with just 1 goal, leaving us in a terrible situation.

Although we got out of this predicament and eventually finished 11th this was also our worst ever goal return with a pitfall 34. Andy Johnson was bought to solve this problem and if I am being brutally honest was not a massive success although he put himself in Everton folklore with 2 goals the day we beat Liverpool 3-0, the 2nd of which was a fitting way to humiliate them Gobshites on this glorious day. And indeed 2006-07 was to be a positive season as we finished 6th and James Vaughan seemed set to be our next great hope. However, injuries and Moyes's reluctance to play him has meant he still has unfulfilled potential.

The next season (2007-08) was to produce some exciting moments as we went on a great European run of 7 successive wins and threatened to finish 4th. However our penalty knockout to Fiorentina smashed us to pieces and the final 2 months were a power struggle to cement 5th spot. While we had done well we ultimately weren?t good enough in the end.

The bad thing was this struggle would be a sign of things to come in 2008-09. We had a tormentor?s first couple of months to this season as we didn?t sign anyone until almost the end of August and had to pack the bench full of kids. This while Moyes had a cobb on and was arsing about over a new contract while we were conceding goals left, right and centre and getting knocked out of two cup competitions at the first hurdle.

And just when it seemed things couldn?t possibly get worse... they did as we blew a 2-goal lead against the Geordie boys who were in an even worse state than us. At this I really feared that we were in for a serious struggle to stay in this league. Clueless tactics, crap football, no organisation, nothing positive at all.

And even though it might sound silly considering they are the reigning Kings of Europe, but never did I dread a game more than when we play United at Goodison. I thought this would destroy us for good. Thankfully a marvellous 2nd half turn-around got us a point. But, despite that performance, it wouldn?t convince Moyes to change his negative safety-first approach.

However, an awful performance at Wigan finally woke him up and the next game at Spurs was the start of a fantastic 3 months when we played the best football we have played in his 7 years in charge, which included fantastic cup wins over Liverpool and Aston Villa. However, that fatal injury to Arteta has wrecked our season I can assure you. As soon as the only player who could trap a ball got injured Moyes, resorted back to his usual. How many players in his time as manager have actually been good technically? I struggle to think of many at all.

And therein lies a problem, he in my opinion is far too negative and on three occasions in the summer, his dithering has almost cost us dear. Well actually it did ? a 17th place finish, and 5 cup knockouts at 1st attempt out of 5 in the other 2 times proves that.

His loyalty towards certain players is so fucking irritating. That he hasn?t seen what a liability Osman is shows to me this is not a manager capable of taking us on to the next level. I?m sorry ? say what you want about how he has stabilized the club with limited funds and got us into Europe for several years now... and while I can?t argue with some of his work, his tactics and negativity are certainly questionable.

Seven years... No trophies. And we're in just our second semi-final. Two out of three ventures into the Uefa Cup have ended at the 1st attempt and indeed on 8 occasions we have gone out of cup competitions at the 1st hurdle.

So is the guy really a genius? Some of you appear to throw tantrums if anyone should have the audacity to point out a fault in Moyes. In fact one person is even proclaiming us who agree with Tony Marsh as Marshites. Wonderful! I?m sure Tony must be so happy to have an unofficial fan club. I?m sorry to say but I think that if we don?t move forward next season then it may be time for Moyes to go.

Reader Comments

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Paul Daly
1   Posted 26/03/2009 at 04:54:03

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Accepting for the sake of reasoned discussion and arguement that Moyes can?t take us any further (I don?t accept that but then in blue circles I?m an optimist), that is back to winning Championships and cup runs every year. This then raises the question who would the writer suggest, given the financial constraints, given that a new manager would presumably want to make changes in personnel which we have no money for, given that none of that is likely to change in the foreseeable future ? just who would the writer suggest would take the job, let alone be able to do what we all want?

Allardyce??? Strachan??? Hughes??? Some other unremarkable jobsworth plugged in to the old boy network???? A McClaren or an effing Souness maybe????

Who in the name St Alan Ball of Goodison would the writer suggest, that would or could do the job???? And a caution here ? we all love Everton, that doesn?t mean that a Mourinho or a Mancini or a Rikjaard see our old club as we do. So don?t insult our intelligence by even mentioning them......
Love Moyes or Loathe him we are joined at the hip to him for the foreseeable future.

Michael Kenrick
2   Posted 26/03/2009 at 05:55:47

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I must say I pretty much agree with your synopsis, James. Negativity and caution will be the keynotes I take away from Moyes?s reign. And I?ve got a strange feeling this could be his last season. After all, what has actually changed since he got his cobb on last summer? Ambition?? Investment??? Nothing...

The difference, perhaps, is that all and sundry beyond this forum are signing his praises and lining him up for Manager of the Year. What better time than this summer to hawk himself to the highest bidder? With Kenwright?s blessing as well because the bumper contract has been sealed, and the compensation due will be massive.

His lovers bleat on at us about improvement and progress since the Smith days of depressing disappointment, and I too had thought it had been progressive, but in actual fact, as you remind us, he set the bar early on by finishing 7th, and since then, all he?s done really is consolidated. 7th; 17th 4th; 11th; 6th; 5th; 6th... Average: 8th. Says it all for me.

We?ll miss him when he?s gone, especially if he goes somewhere where he feels he can be less cautious and starts overseeing the more expansive football that we have seen all too briefly.
Santosh Benjamin
3   Posted 26/03/2009 at 06:34:54

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Moyes has established us a a force to be reckoned with. Teams with much more money than us seem to envy our position most years. He may not be all flair like many other managers (however short their time at the job is) but he is a great manager and if he does go, we will be a worse team for it. Not everyone may agree with me and I am expecting some conflicting views but that's what makes this a great site.
Mat Rawlinson
4   Posted 26/03/2009 at 08:35:05

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"... that fatal injury to Arteta."

Shit! I thought he?d just done his knee in!
Neil Pearse
5   Posted 26/03/2009 at 08:35:06

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Michael: he set the bar early on and then all he?s done really is consolidated....

Oh, for such ?consolidation? every other club outside the big four would give the world and their mothers!! And here it is dismissed as if nothing. Michael! You don?t think you might be missing the point?

Now, results are certainly not everything, and I would not disagree (who could?) that Moyes has been a pretty cautious and defensive-minded manager at Everton. But when Moyes is assessed ? aren?t results at least something to be taken into account?
Danny Militwitch
6   Posted 26/03/2009 at 09:11:24

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For me, something Moyes deserves a lot of credit for often gets overlooked. David Moyes never only brought stability or "consolidation" if you must label it that. David Moyes has changed this club inside and out and has given us a fighting chance of a future. For 7 years he has cleverly blended youth development with experienced pros when so many club managers down the years filled their squads with gutless money hungry mercenaries.

Judging him on ?success? is always a question that many blues should consider carefully. It is an economy of scale. Just because we have enjoyed glorious eras in the past means fuck all in this day and age. We have been back to square one since the late eighties. Rome was in ruins ? it is not now.

For me, the one crucial benefit of having David Moyes at the helm is that he has given me and thousands of other Evertonians EXPECTATION. Gone are the days of HOPING.

We have a squad of players that other teams in the league envy. Our players WANT to play for Everton, they take PRIDE in the fact that they perform for Everton. Tim Cahill?s recent quotes said all that needed to be said on this point. Many other managers have said they wanted him at the time, as they have also said about Jags, Lescott, Yobo, Arteta. But it was David Moyes who took the plunge and brought them together to form the basis of a team to take great pride in.

He is a man on a mission to pull us into the right direction. The problem as I see it is that the mission he is on takes more than one man.

The post above illustrates exactly what Moyes has (not )achieved.... Can I suggest starting a list of Bill Kenwrights achievements?
Mike Green
7   Posted 26/03/2009 at 09:43:04

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James - if you read your own article back I’ll pick out a few words you’ve used in describing Moyes’ reign so far....

"problems to deal with"
"keep us in Premier League"
"marvelous"
"European place"
"deserved winner of Manager of the Year"
"consistency"
"4th"
"momentous wins"
"victory"
"quality to this day"
"Real Madrid....Graveson"
"beat Liverpool 3-0"
"great European run"
"fantastic cup wins"
"loyalty"
"limited funds"
"Europe for several years now"


"Moyes to go...."

Listen to Paul Daly and be careful what you wish for.
Gordon Blair
8   Posted 26/03/2009 at 10:14:26

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No, Paul’s quite right, far from playing safety first football and building from a solid base at the back with hard workers rather than flair players, Moyes should instead have used the billions at his disposal to buy Ronaldo, Henry, Messi and Kaka to give us the football we deserve.

Or maybe he should have spunked the money on the likes of Owen, Duff, Jenas and Barton, after all - the Barcodes are flying.

Good Grief people are complaining that we’ve averaged 8th since he joined... from a state of not knowing whether we’d be a Prem Club next season or not, that’s not too bad a return.

We’ve got to the stage where we’re actually disappointed if we’re not at least putting in a Challenge for the CL spots, hands up anyone who thought we’d get near to that in the heady days of Ginola and Gazza?

On an absolute shoestring (comparitively speaking) we’re now pretty much regularly the best of the rest. We’re also in far better shape as a club (youth set up, average age of squad etc) than we we’re for over a decade before Moyes’ arrival.

I’ve never really considered myself a Moyes apologist, sometimes the style of play does grate, but when you consider what he’s achieved, and what he’s had to achieve it with then maybe you have to give him credit.

It’s all very well wanting pretty football, West Brom play some lovely stuff, but I bet anyone of their fans would swap their footie for our league position.

He’s the best available for a club in our financial circumstances, and I certainly wouldn’t want anybody else for the forseeable future.
Tony Williams
9   Posted 26/03/2009 at 10:31:22

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Gordon you have beaten me to it.

My overidding thought when I think of Moyes is that he, within 5 years, has made me go from a person worrying about relegation to a person who is pissed off if we don’t get into Europe.

Not too shoddy a job if you ask me. You will always have the FM enthusiasts who think we can just buy these big players or make the ones we have somehow world beaters. I try to be realistic and consider the limits of our squad, others want to ignore reality and blame everything on Moyes, we lose because of him and win in spite of him.

I will no doubt be called a Moyes apologist even though I know he still has his limitations but I honestly don’t care what people call me, I have been called many things in my lifetime worse that an apologist, especially by ex girlfriends
John Barnes
10   Posted 26/03/2009 at 10:18:13

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The question of whether Moyes can take us to the ?next level? is immaterial, unless funds were available. The only club(s) who I think can ask that question legitimately are Man City, and Spurs and Villa to a much lesser extent.

Moyes and Everton are a good fit, given his level of performance and the club?s spending power. Both could do a lot worse if they were separated. For that reason I would prefer Moyes stays. If the financial situation changed, as at City, then his methods, tactics etc really need closer scrutiny.

The irritating thing for me is that, given the solidity that Moyes has brought and a top 6, 7, or 8 finish almost a ?given?, and great credit to him for that, he doesn't send teams out to play a more expansive game, nor does he look for that type of player. Even the move of Arteta into the middle was a reluctant one. And he hasn't looked to even try replace him with a paler version already on the books.

Aidan Wade
11   Posted 26/03/2009 at 10:35:26

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Am I in a twilight zone?

Moyes took over a club battling relegation year on year, and after several up and down seasons as he built a team, and lets face it, learnt how to manage a PL side the hard way, he has left Everton looking at a 3rd consecutive season in the top 6 with essentially zero net spend.

I think Moyes himself has improved ten fold as a manager since his early seasons, he can be stubborn but he does admit, and more importantly he learns from, his mistakes.

Look at the team that, lets face it, bodged their way to the 4th spot and tell me how many of them would get in our first team today? Marcus Bent? Kevin Kilbane? Richard Wright? Our team has improved at a measured steady stride if not leaps and bounds that some people demand.

It is not defeatist to be happy where we are, looking up and forward to next season on the back of a season that has seen us lose two of our best and most important players and still sees us travelling to Wembley to play a semi final and (barring disaster) qualifying for the UEFA cup again.

If Moyes leaves it will because somebody made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and I think it will be the death of our CL hopes for good and all as managers of his calibres are not often found so easy.
Nick Entwistle
12   Posted 26/03/2009 at 10:55:59

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I don?t go for this ?Moyes hasn?t won anything in 7 years? argument.
The Prem title is fought on a two-tier system, and who other than the top four have won the domestic cups in that time? Portsmouth in the FA Cup; Spurs, ?Boro and Blackburn in the LC.

I think this same article could be changed very easily by concentrating on the positive (which he has noted) and gave slight reference in the same way to the negative.
Phil Martin
13   Posted 26/03/2009 at 11:10:59

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I read before Xmas when we were struggling that someone was touting Phil Brown to replace Moyes: "look at what he?s done with Hull".

Some judge Moyes by comparing him to SAF or Wenger, and say, "Well, Moyes hasn't won a trophy and we don't play dazzling football." I can pretty much guarantee neither of those two mentioned could do a better job at Everton (even if they wanted to ? which they wouldn't).

A lifelong blue of a chairman but totally inept in producing the funds Moyes needs to make us a true force again! An old ground which needs renovation, and an ageing fanbase that is suffering from a generation of under-achievement and under-investment.

You want EFC to be the strongest it can, well you start at the top (the very top) and work down. That begins with the chairman, the board, the CEO, the people who make strategic decisions about the club's financial and marketing goals. You start with those and you get them in order. You can get them punching above their weight as Moyes and our players do. Then when THEY can find Moyes remotely acceptable transfer funds, and us a new home, then we can look at Moyes and his team, and ask them questions.

Tell me James, how many PL managers over the last 7 years have put together a first 11 costing less then £40M (built from nothing) AND finished in the top 4 AND qualified for Europe 3 (soon to be 4 times)?

Get real everyone, we need investment; in players, in a new stadium, in our marketing department (starting with a FUCKING club shop in the city centre). In fact, don't bother with a city centre shop ? we?removing to Kirkby anyway so what's the point?

The best we?re gonna get... you're probably right! But that isnt Moyes? fault...

Wayne Smyth
14   Posted 26/03/2009 at 10:00:51

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I think what has been achieved these last 7 years is not to be treated lightly....even though we are trophyless under Moyes.

When he took over, we had an ageing squad with highly paid journeymen like Ginola and Gascogine, no team spirit with players like Radzinski rocking the boat, and were perennial flirters with relegation.

Nothing has changed off the field - we have had no new investment - yet Moyes has built a squad with hungry, loyal, mostly english, players in the prime of their footballing careers, and we have a fantastic team spirit.

We have a youth setup which is the envy of most clubs and rather than fearing each season, wondering if this will be the year we go down, most of us are wondering if which of the european places we will achieve.

Our history counts for nothing and we have no divine right to be where we are considering the amounts spent by teams around us in comparison. The injuries to key players this season and the pre-season fiasco over our transfer kitty, will probably rob us of a chance of finishing 4th. As has been seen with clubs with much larger squads and bigger budgets(RS/arsenal), when key players are missing results suffer. We do not have the luxury to do without the likes of Arteta and Yakubu.

I think the criticism of him playing osman out of loyalty is not valid. Put simply, we have no-one any better in midfield at the moment. Osman at least provides some creativity going forward and keeps the ball on the deck, and will always give 100%. Its easy to criticise, but who should he be playing there?

I honestly can’t think of anyone better who could have got us where we are, from where we started, on the same budget.
Daniel Cremin
15   Posted 26/03/2009 at 11:05:32

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I think that Everton?s transformation from a team that yo-yo?ed between the odd stint as battling over-achievers and perennial premiership strugglers to a club with real quality and self-belief is seriously under-appreciated.

Walter Smith who?s far from a poor manager given his brilliant past record at Rangers struggled in a role that Moyes made his own within months of arriving.

Success breeds over-confidence, complacency and dulled sensitivity to acute reality - but it's not Moyes and his team but a section of the fan base that are guilty of this charge.

Moyes isn?t Everton incarnate, no one reasonable is pretending this is the case, but he?s brought a philosophy, a strong training regime, a youth development programme and an effective long-term approach to transfer strategy that the club lacked sorely in the 1990s.

He?s got financial limitiations that other top-10 sides don?t have to deal with and to compete with the Top 4 consistently we need new ownership as we all agree.

Moyes is not God, he?s human just like everyone else and he gets downbeat like any fan would when Everton, who have over-achieved on a tight budget and gotten themselves within striking distance of establishing themselves as top 4 contenders on a regular basis, only to see a lack of funds and squad cover de-rail us.

Kenwright, Moyes and the Everton backroom staff are easy targets for abuse but, while we all despair at the drift and inertia that characterised the club in the 2008 summer window, we have to understand the internal conditions.

Moyes has stabilised Everton and moved us forward over successive seasons ? given the amount of spending by the would be Everton clubs like Tottenham, Portsmouth, Villa and Sunderland in recent seasons, we?ve done well not to fall back on a council of despair. A 6th place finish this season may be slightly disappointing to some but if looked at dispassionately is a real marker that Moyes has fashioned a club that can come through adversity because it's built to last.

One of the big 4 will come unstuck financially in the next 2-3 years in my view and, if we?ve continued to invest in quality players and found a genuinely committed new owner, we?ll be well placed under Moyes to nip in and get regular Champions League football.
Paul Mackie
16   Posted 26/03/2009 at 12:02:37

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I honestly don’t understand how people can say we aren’t progressing. The last 2 seasons alone have seen us reach 2 semi-finals in cups and become a team that people now expect to finish in the top 6 every year. Sure, Moyes hasn’t won anything but I honestly believe that given time he will.

Had key players (namely Arteta) not gotten injured (and perhaps if we’d had a slightly better start to the season) then I don’t think it’s too outrageous to say that we’d be in the top 4 and you wouldn’t bet against us to make it to the FA cup final. Are you seriously telling me that isn’t progress?

Yes, our squad is tiny. Yes, we could do with massive investment. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the summer. A bit more squad depth coupled with a better start and next season it’ll be Everton that pundits will be tipping to break into the Sky 4 again, not Villa.
James Boden
17   Posted 26/03/2009 at 12:06:22

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Mike Green, yes I do know what I wrote and I did give some credit to Moyes. It seems however that you are oblivious to his faults.

A great European run? ... urm, we got knocked out in the 4th round out of 7, that isn?t great. Yes, I gave credit for the run of wins but what did that come to? And when we were struggling in Fiorentina, common sense would have said to close down the game. You?d have thought he learnt from Bucharest. But he didn?t and that cost us.

And also his dreadful attitude in the summer would have been punished at any other club but at this he is let off the hook. I?m not denying he has done a good job but I wish Moyes apologists would once in a while accept criticism that goes his way.

And as for that same "all you are living in a football manager world" nonsense ? no! We just have realistic ambitions. No-one is expecting our football to be as glorious as Frank Sinatra?s voice but it would be nice to see an improvement and given how much progress we made early in this year playing free flowing football does that not suggest that it?s a far better option than hoofball?

David Booth
18   Posted 26/03/2009 at 12:24:38

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Personally, I’m a big fan of David Moyes.

Tempting as it is to wax lyrical about the reasons why, I’ll instead ask one simple question to anyone who is dissatisfied with him:

Who would you have replace him (and make it feasible, not fantasy please)?
John Power
19   Posted 26/03/2009 at 12:16:56

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I seem to remember Charlton fans wanting Curbishley out as they wanted a manager to ’take them to the next level’. And Sunderland fans wanting Reid out to get someone better in.

Moyes isn’t perfect but I think he’s is the best we could hope for and I hate this phrase but im gonna say it anyway:

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!!!!
Andrew Fair
20   Posted 26/03/2009 at 12:36:24

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Michael, His lovers bleat on about his achievements because he?s a very very good manager. Get your head out of the clowds, we cannot compete economically with at least 7 or 8 teams in the prem but Moyes consistently finishes above the likes of Spurs, Villa, Sunderland, Newcastle and the reason because he is a very good manager.

James Boden, if we don't move forward soon? We have moved forward very impressively over the Moyes years!, I'm 24 and I know this is the greatest period for me as an Evertonian that I can remember apart from the '95 Cup Final, but that was a one-off. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise that all pundits', managers', players' and other teams' fans praise for Moyes is because he is extremely talented and one of the best in the business.

I will agree that he can be negative but I?d rather that than the Gung-ho approach of perhaps a Keegan and the whole club fall apart around him. We are in great hands: last night in fact there was Baxter, Rodwell, Gosling and Wallace on England duty ? add to this the 3 lads in the first team and everyone of them will tell you that they owe something to Moyesy. The future is very blue indeed as long as Moyes is at the helm ? if not, I fear we will never get a better manager.

Phillip Mosley
21   Posted 26/03/2009 at 12:47:15

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Moyes is not unsackable, but you better make damned sure to have a replacement ready to take over the poisoned chalice with no illusions about the constraints he would be facing.
Kevin Tully
22   Posted 26/03/2009 at 12:55:47

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James, the football played under Moyes has been dire at times, there is no denying this fact.

A question I would put to every blue on here is: are Everton now established as a top-six Pemier League side?
I would say 90% would answer yes to that question. We will not finish 17th in the Prem again; FFS, we have just had three of our back four called up for England duty.

If we have a bit of luck next year with injuries, and a good pre-season, I fully expect us to challenge for 4th spot next year.

Some may say this is not good enough for EFC. I say they haven?t got a clue about modern football. You will also be eating your words if we lift the FA Cup.
Si Kirwan
23   Posted 26/03/2009 at 13:11:45

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Everton and Moyes just need 2 or 3 players, all with the potential and technical ability of Arteta. Plyers like these are what win games.

Spanish, brazilian Portugese players that are calm and technical on the ball.

Go get em Moyesy
Dan Johnson
24   Posted 26/03/2009 at 13:18:45

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Just a few words such as: Charlton Athletic and Alan Curbishley. Fans who got bored of mid-table Prem finishes and now look at them.
Chris Green
25   Posted 26/03/2009 at 13:12:46

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I agree with alot of the comments on here. Sometimes the football does frustrate, but when you base a virtual £0 NET spend against the likes of Liverpool, who NET spend about £20m every year......when you consider we finished just behind them now for several seasons. That Moyes did that from a crap situation when he took over, and that everyone is comparing him now to Wenger and Ferguson and asking why he hasn’t won anything....?

Jeez guys...... I am happy we have a stable club, not bought by some foreigner who will get bored, we have a team with a spirit and drive to do what they can for the supporters, that we are challenging for a CL and UEFA place, and the FA cup against a Man Utd side that is worth about 10 times the cost of ours.... I think he has done well.

We need investment to get better players to improve, that is true.. but I love the side we have, the unity, the passion they have for the club and I wouldn’t swap that for a money grabbing Robinho any day!
Tony Carey
26   Posted 26/03/2009 at 13:38:04

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Charlton Athletic, Sheffield wed/Utd, Notts Forest, Leeds Utd etc etc all wanted to make that next step- be careful at what you wish for.
I’ll go and watch everton FC regardless of ability or division, but i’d much rather be going to places like wembley or Nuremberg. I can’t see James Boden watching everton if they fail to make that next step and eventually fall into the lower divisions if he is disgrunttled now.
Gareth Hughes
27   Posted 26/03/2009 at 13:44:13

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Until Kenwright lets go of the train set we will continue to be a solid top 10 club at best. He is the man who has held Everton back and don’t ever make the mistake of criticising Moyes before him. This summer will follow the same depressing pattern - very little money, no signings til late August and no chance of progress.
Rob Nunn
28   Posted 26/03/2009 at 13:29:42

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Having waded down every post, all I can say is Pip to lift the cup with DM not far behind.
David Alexander
29   Posted 26/03/2009 at 13:38:11

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I cant belive some of the tripe writen above. Moyes is the best thing to happen to everton football club since kendal went to spain. and that was over two decades ago. we have stability which every club below us in the league would give an arm and a leg to have, we have a talented squad young and hungry and moyes has to take the credit.

Many Many other managers have had the opertunity to get their clubs to do the same and get close to the "big four" lots of them with plenty more cash. The only manager to get close was Sir bobby robson and knowone needs telling how good a manager he was.

Moyes he has proved himself as one of the best managers in the country and unless Sir Alex, jose or wenger want the job then there is knowone else worth thinking about (and even then I would keep the man we have).

Give this man another five years and we will win trophies.
James Boden
30   Posted 26/03/2009 at 14:56:11

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David Alexander, you moan that people complain about Moyes then you go and say you?d have him over Alex Ferguson. Is that meant to amuse us? This is the same Alex Ferguson who took a nothing club in Aberdeen to the top of Scotland and winning European trophies too.

This is also the same alex Ferguson who had such a tight grip with United?s youth system that they couldn?t help but sign professional with United. This the same man who took a gamble by replacing senior pro?s with kids who he was responsible for coming to the club ? and look what happened? League and Cup double and they haven?t looked back.

If that?s not blindness towards Moyes's ability then nothing is. How you could choose him over someone who has seen and done the lot, from bottom right to the top is beyond me.

James Boden
31   Posted 26/03/2009 at 15:03:20

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Tony Carey, by the sound of your tone, getting relegated wouldn?t be a terrible thing. I moan because I would like to see this football club show some ambition. If the likes of you want it to stay where it is then fine, so be it. But I for one will not be happy with all this "all he needs is another 5 years" crap.

And please do not bring up this "well if you aren?t happy support, Man United" shite. That?s just petty for goodness sake. So say I was to have been to every game for the last 20 years but I slagged off the manager ? would that mean I am not a real fan? Get a grip and accept that I would like to see my club progress onto the next level and if I do not think it?s with Darling Davie then I will say so.

Tony Williams
32   Posted 26/03/2009 at 15:48:14

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"I moan because I would like to see this football club show some ambition."

I would say that you moan because you are as frustrated as all the other fans that we have not won anything in 14 years; however, whereas some fans just grumble about lack of money, some like to pick out individual players ? you have seen fit to lay the blame at Moyes's doorstep.

League positioning wise it has been our most successful since the highs of the 80s yet somehow you relate that to lack of ambition.

I have said before in other posts, our team is nowhere as good as we like to think it is and in that sense it is down to Moyes, as he manages to get that extra out of ordinary players, FFS just look at Kilbane, Bent, Naysmith etc.

You moan because you are a moaner, as are most of us when things don?t go they way we like; however, a lot of other people try and find positives whilst fans like you want to blame someone.

You have fallen into the trap of using the degrading "Moyes lovers / apologists" comment because the fans who see some good in Moyes somehow upset you; however, if fans use derogatory terms against people who dislike Moyes, they get warned for calling them moaners.
Billy Dean
33   Posted 26/03/2009 at 16:46:17

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"This is the same Alex Ferguson who took a nothing club in Aberdeen to the top of Scotland and winning European trophies too."

Back in the early 80s, when any club could compete at the top solely through sound management and good coaching.

"This is also the same Alex Ferguson who had such a tight grip with United?s youth system that they couldn?t help but sign professional with United. This the same man who took a gamble by replacing senior pro?s with kids who he was responsible for coming to the club ? and look what happened? League and Cup double and they haven?t looked back."

That was an exceptional crop of kids that came through all at the same time. Almost once in a lifetime.

Now, if Ferguson wants a reserve he shells out £15 million quid. If he was in charge here, with practically nothing to spend, he wouldn?t do much better than where we are at the moment.
Scott Robinson
34   Posted 26/03/2009 at 15:58:08

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James, fair play: - everyone has a right to moan but what I?m sure most people object to is the timing of your piece which is completely understandable. It's only one single loss on an away game with the majority of our best players injured!

I must admit, after the Wigan game, I was fuming, but we have turned it around since then. What your piece rings off is an underlying feeling of discontent and bitterness against Moyes, which, no matter how well the team is doing, one single loss is enough to signal the Moyes out brigade, or Marshites as someone described it. Please, if Moyes is not the one to deliver, please put forward suitable suggestions.

Mike Green
35   Posted 26/03/2009 at 16:09:51

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James (Boden) - "great European run" were your words not mine.

The bottom line is some people look for the light, others for the shade. If we win the FA Cup this year (or any year for that matter) some will be singing from the rooftops ? others will find something to whine about regardless ? "can?t believe we didn?t keep a clean sheet...", "it?s not the League though is it...", "doesn?t get us a Champions League place....", "it?s not as good as the old Wembley is it..."

It?s horses for courses. Some people are just never satisfied. Must be down to being spoilt as children.
David Booth
36   Posted 26/03/2009 at 17:30:19

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James Boden’s whole argument is pointless. Criticism of david Moyes, without an alternative solution, is cheap and all-too-easy.

So I’ll ask the question again: if Moyes is not good enough, who is (and please be realistic)?
Paul Daly
37   Posted 26/03/2009 at 17:31:35

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So James Boden, twelve hours after your original post I remain curious- who do you think should replace David Moyes? Just for the record.....
James Boden
38   Posted 26/03/2009 at 17:28:21

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These same fans who upset me for defending Moyes are the exact same things who get upset when anyone says a bad word against him. I pointed out positives in my article about Moyes because he does have good things about him. And no I do not blame him for lack of funds. However I do blame him for negativity. Yes he’s stabilized the club which I am grateful for but let’s not be oblivious to his weaknesses.
Let’s just say we still have this limited budget- can Moyes really take us onto the next level with it? He is going to have to take 1 or 2 risks and I honestly cannot see that happening. Let’s look at our previously rock solida defence we had. That just fell into place through injuries, not because Moyes did anything exceptional himself. Jagielka and Lescott was working a treat but then once Yobo got fit again he was back into the team. So no right back you may say. So then you either shift Yobo there or Neville back to Right Back. You do not break up the 2nd best defensive parternship in the league. Also despite what anyone may think of Andy Van Der Meyde if Leon Osman is a better football than him then we might as well pack it in. When Andy has actually been allowed to show his ability he has delivered. Osman on the other hand has been incredibly poor for months on end but for some baffling reason is still in the team every week. Another undroppable player is Yakubu. Now say what you will about his goals but already in his time with us he has had 2 woeful spells where he went 10 games without scoring. Now while I totally agree that this running the channels stuff is bullshit but he can at least make an effort rather than expecting everything to be played to feet. But then again he’s so assured of his place in the team that he might as well not bother trying. Infact I will go so far as to saying that when everyone is fit next season our team will be:
Howard
Neville- Yobo- Jagielka- Lescott
Osman- Fellaini- Cahill- Arteta- Pienaar
Yakubu
If I am wrong then I will be the 1st to admit my mystake but given his stubborness and loyalty towards players I do not expect it to be any different to that line up.
Paul Daly
39   Posted 26/03/2009 at 17:52:57

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So who is this someone who will need to, in your words Mr. Boden, take the "one or two risks" that you can’t see Moyes taking on a "limited budget"? Who would be brave enough, ballsy enough, daredevil enough? You are really making us wait Mr. Boden, ’cause I just know after such a detailed analysis you just must have a shortlist of potential canditates for the Everton hotseat.......
James Boden
40   Posted 26/03/2009 at 17:54:14

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What people don’t seem to understand is I never said Moyes out. I said if we fail to progress next season then perhaps it’s time we move on. If Moyes was to go we could do far worse than Hughes. At Blackburn he took over when they were bottom of the league and he too had to work with limited funds. During his 4 years with Blackburn he took them to 3 Semi Finals, 2 top 7 finishes, A season in Europe. And this is at a smaller club than Everton with a far smaller fan base. Despite these shortcomings at that football club he still managed to take them forward and playing a decent mix of football. While Moyes has rightly been lauded for finding certain players for cheap prices, Hughes has also been a success in this department. So should the financial situation stay how it is and Moyes goes I would take Hughes.
Kevin Tully
41   Posted 26/03/2009 at 18:02:44

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Baines will be first choice left back.
Paul Daly
42   Posted 26/03/2009 at 18:14:59

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Thank you Mr. Boden, you’re a good sport for naming names.
That is the rock that all arguements about Moyes’ tenure ending flounder on- who would replace him. My opinion is there is no reasonable alternative to Moyes, given Everton’s financial constraints. Doesn’t matter whether you are of the Moyes Out mob or the Moyessiah sect- he’s not going anywhere.
And speaking for myself and only myself, I would far rather have Moyes than Mark Hughes. I don’t see how that is a step up. In fact I reckon it would be a step backwards.
Ste Kenny
43   Posted 26/03/2009 at 17:58:37

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James

You say you want us to play better football then complain cos a 20-goal-a-season striker won't run the channels and wants the ball to feet???

You also say that Moyes upset the 2nd best defence in the league when he brought Yobo back in ? how many did we concede when Yobo played? How many did we concede when he went back out the team?

I think you are right that Moyes has made mistakes tactically and has at time been unduly negative, Spurs at home springs to mind. But every single manager in the league has been accused of this from time to time. Even SAF who went to Barcelona and his team didn't cross the halfway line.

As a club we should stop being so negative but I can't see a great deal to be positive about other than the group of players we have and the spirit amongst them! And we both know who is responsible for that.

PS. Can you imagine the effect on team spirit and morale if Shandy was to start before the likes of Osman who, while a poor player, gives his all every match and has played with injuries on more than a few occassions. Something that is alien to a useless pile of shite like AvdM.
John Power
44   Posted 26/03/2009 at 18:21:52

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James you seem to forget that Hughes is currently at the richest club in the world.

Sod it why dont we just go for Mourinho...

Or we could just keep the best manager we’ve had in a generation.

Ask City fans if they would swap us Hughes for Moyes and i think it would be a resounding YES MAATE MAD FORIT!
James Boden
45   Posted 26/03/2009 at 18:26:45

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Or possibly Ruud Gullit, Harry Redknapp or Slaven Billic. However, I can agree with you on one thing. Moyes will not be going anywhere.

But let?s look at this. Say it?s 2012 and coming towards the final year on his contract and we have stlll failed to win anything or break into that top 4. Should we extend his contract further? Or should we realise that he cannot take us any further?

I don?t hate Moyes, I just do not like his negativity and I find some of his tactics questionable. I also do not believe he has learnt from his mistakes as was proved what happens when you dither in the transfer market.

In 2006 we had a poor season so Moyes reacted straight away to rectify this by signing a forward, centre half and 'keeper ? all by the 1st July. That showed some savy and common sense. So why can?t he move this swiftly every summer?

If next season he plays that line-up that I predicted he will, then he would have learnt nothing. But if he drops previously untouchables then it will show to me that maybe this guy has some backbone and will be willing to make a change for the benefit.

And if we do win the FA Cup then I will eat my words. And personally I hope I am eating my words.

Neil McKinney
46   Posted 26/03/2009 at 20:03:06

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Well done for naming some possible replacements James, you have done more than most who question Moyes’ continued tenure at the club. However, Ruud Gullit???? Please tell me what that guy has ever really achieved as a manager. He was a great player, but a shit manager, and I also think he’s a bit of a cock as well. Ask the barcodes how good they think he is. Or maybe the MLS outfit that he apparently managed for about two seconds. As for ’Arry, I’ve lost a lot of respect for that guy. What he did between Portsmouth and Southampton was bad enough, then he jumps ship to Tottenham after proclaiming "why would I want to leave Portsmouth?". Add to that him blaming the players for Spurs poor form and slagging off his own player Darren Bent when speaking to sky after he missed a sitter. Behind closed doors is the place for that. I don’t expect him to make excuses for the lad (it was a terrible miss) but criticising him to the media straight after the game was unprofessional IMO. Not sure about Slaven, maybe he could do it. I haven’t really studied his managerial career, but he has done ok with Croatia and he was a blue once.

Despite my opinions of your suggestions, I once again praise you for bothering to offer up alternatives. The worst thing a club can do is decide they’ve outgrown a manager, get rid, then realise they’ve no idea who they’re going to get in to do a better job. I give you Newcastle again.
Neil McKinney
47   Posted 26/03/2009 at 20:15:12

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Sorry James, didn’t see your earlier post suggesting Hughes.

Decent young manager who has done ok at Blackburn with limited resources. Now at Man City with money and struggling. Exactly how will that be better than Moyes. Between Moyes and Hughes it’s a no brainer for me, Moyes every time. Even if you have issues with us not doing any better than the best of the rest, surely at best you’d still pick Moyes as "better the devil you know".

Like many have said above and on previous posts questioning Moyes, who would be BETTER than Moyes and would want to come to Everton. I could name plenty of managers as possible replacements, but I would struggle to justify why they would be better than what we’ve got. Anybody who plays a more attractive brand of football will want to spend loads of cash, paying up to £8 to 9 million on squad players.
Neil Pearse
48   Posted 26/03/2009 at 20:32:09

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James, trying to take the argument seriously, but then... Mark Hughes!! Did worse at Blackburn than Moyes did on a limited budget with us, was a very negative manager (and his teams were nasty with it), and now he is screwing up royally at Man City. Ridiculous!

The thing that those against don’t seem to grasp is that the so-called ’cautious negativity’ unfortunately really does have something to do with our ’consolidation’ as the best of the rest. If Moyes took all the ’risks’ that you would like him to take, there is a pretty good chance that we would start slipping down the table fairly sharpish. Maybe some of you would prefer that (at least we wouldn’t be ’negative’). But some of us wouldn’t.
Tony Marsh
49   Posted 26/03/2009 at 21:09:30

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Great article james.It does appear as though the groundhog day sccenario is about to repeat its self once again this end of season.Is it the fault of Moyes or the board or both?

One of the big problems I have with Moyes is he seems to go along with Kenwrights bulshit without a murmour.If I was a manager in DMs position I wouldnt put up with all this no money bollocks.

Show me the money or I walk is all Moyes has to say.Then BK can be exposed for what he really is or BK can deliver.Simple really.If there is money available then it down to Moyes for dithering all the time.

Its one of the two but I cant figure out which.
Neil Pearse
50   Posted 26/03/2009 at 21:16:43

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So Tony, how is this supposed to work?

Moyesie goes up to BK (knowing he can’t deliver) and says: "£30M for transfers this summer or I’m out of here". BK says: "Sorry Davie, don’t have £30M". Where does this get us? We have no more money than we did before, and now we don’t have a manager either.

I suppose if your strategy is, as the Marxists say, to ’sharpen the contradictions’, then there is a good chance that Moyes walking out will perhaps make BK’s position impossible too. So now we have no more money, no manager, and an ownership crisis.

You’re right. Sure beats being a stable club sixth in the league and in the semis of the FA Cup...
Ryan Holroyd
51   Posted 26/03/2009 at 21:19:48

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James - ’In 2006 we had a poor season so Moyes reacted straight away to rectify this by signing a forward, centre half and Keeper all by the 1st July. That showed some savy and common sense. So why can?t he move this swift every summer?’

Probably because Everton didn’t have the money to buy anyone this year until players were sold, ie AJ and/or received the sky money.

How can you buy players when you have no money to do so?
Nick Marsh
52   Posted 26/03/2009 at 21:54:18

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Tony Marsh

One of the big problems I have with Moyes is he seems to go along with Kenwrights bulshit without a murmour.If I was a manager in DMs position I wouldnt put up with all this no money bollocks

Let me get this right... are you suggesting Moyes should maybe make a stand? I mean thats what I thought he did in the summer with the procrastination of his contract, I honestly thought he was making a stand to Kenwright. Im also quite sure that Moyes got quite alot of stick for doing so and maybe even from you!

Some of the things Moyes does baffles me but maybe this guy is more tactically astute then we give him credit for. Is it not true that the majority of goals in the prem are scored from set pieces? Therefore does it not make tactical sense to put Jags at right back to incorporate Yobo? Extra height defending and attacking set pieces.

I think the biggest problem with Moyes on this site is that after a few good games he is called a god and after a few bad ones he is called allsorts! But thats our fault not Moyes!
Nick Marsh
53   Posted 26/03/2009 at 21:54:18

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Tony Marsh

One of the big problems I have with Moyes is he seems to go along with Kenwrights bulshit without a murmour. If I was a manager in DM's position I wouldn't put up with all this 'no money' bollocks

Let me get this right... are you suggesting Moyes should maybe make a stand? I mean that's what I thought he did in the summer with the procrastination of his contract, I honestly thought he was making a stand to Kenwright. I'm also quite sure that Moyes got quite a lot of stick for doing so and maybe even from you!

Some of the things Moyes does baffles me but maybe this guy is more tactically astute than we give him credit for. Is it not true that the majority of goals in the prem are scored from set pieces? Therefore, does it not make tactical sense to put Jags at right back to incorporate Yobo? Extra height defending and attacking set pieces...

I think the biggest problem with Moyes on this site is that after a few good games he is called a god and after a few bad ones he is called all sorts! But that's our fault ? not Moyes's!
James Boden
54   Posted 26/03/2009 at 22:06:06

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Thanks for the compliments Tony most appreciated. And like you I am expecting groundhog day scenario again this summer. That’s a good idea what you said and what I have been thinking for a while. If Moyes was to threaten to walk out Kenwright would shit himself. Seriously he would never expect Moyes to do that. And it might loosen the strings abit. However if that isn’t the case the Moyes is to blame for dithering. I wouldn’t be suprised if both are cohorts over it tbh.
Tony Williams
55   Posted 26/03/2009 at 22:54:02

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So, Tony and James, if Moyes threatened to leave and Bill "shit himself".... then what? Moyes will get the magical invisible money that Bill has been squirrelling away for decades? Or they will fall out, Moyes jumps ship and we are left managerless without a pot to piss in and all the players that rave about Moyes will probably follow... fucking great idea that one!!
Ian Dickson
56   Posted 26/03/2009 at 22:30:31

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At the very top of this article Michael as usual laid into Moyes and I respect James for naming Hughes as a replacement for Moyes, but what I really want and I suspect most of TW posters do as well is, Who do you suggest could do a better job with similar constraints???
Peter Williams
57   Posted 26/03/2009 at 23:15:04

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"If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he?d have put grass up there." Hoofball is the reason some of us have concerns as to whether Moyes can take us to the next level. Seven long, long years of hoofball...

Arteta wasted on the wing for years when many of us were saying he should be in the middle; Baines sitting on the bench for half the season... only injuries forcing his hand to make the necessary changes.

Moyes has certainly got the drive and energy, but has he got the tactical ability? There are signs that he is learning but my God he?s a slow learner. After seven years, it's clear, however, that he?s no Brian Clough.

Michael Kenrick
58   Posted 27/03/2009 at 04:30:35

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Ian Dickson, and others: here we go again with this stupid FM question: "Who do you suggest could do a better job with similar constraints?"

When will you guys ever understand this? The manager of Everton is David Moyes. He is the one who needs to do a better job with exactly the same constraints. Those constraints don’t excuse hoofball, and they don’t excuse a really really poor approach to substitutions, playing favourites who are performing well below par, playing people out of position... etc etc.

Please don’t ask this stupid question: there is no-one else... for the simple reason that no-one else is the manager of Everton FC. (And when that changes, then it will become the new manager’s job to do it right.) All his failings (and there have been legion covered ad nauseam on these pages) provide at least a starting place for this process of improvement.

Supposedly he learns his lessons... but we are still reverting to god-awful hoofball. The fact remains: these are professional footballers, the least we could ask of them is that they (a) show for the ball when we are in possession, and (b) pass the ball to a blue shirt. Some of us (thankfully) cannot tolerate such shoddy workmanship. There are those of us who do, and that’s your prerogative... just try please to be a bit more understanding of those of us who don’t!
Jamie Crowley
59   Posted 27/03/2009 at 04:26:08

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Consolidation of top 6 from relegation battlers ? extreme progress. End of story.<->To take the next step we need health and I?d argue only 1 to 2 more signings. Maybe I?m being overly optimistic, but I truly believe that.
This year alone you take out last second nightmares against Villa and the Arse and toss in one (pick it) positive result against the likes of Blackburn, Portsmouth, or Wigan and we?re top 4. Considering the massive amount of injury woes we?ve had, is that NOT a job well done, and does it NOT mean Hope springs eternal?

A youth program second to none, a consolidation of top 6 finishing, and I?d argue a fairly bright outlook when overall health returns is, under the economic circumstances, pretty damn good.

Go ahead, can Moyes, throw the Club into upheaval, and watch what happens.

This isn?t a week to week analytical brew-ha-ha. It?s a marathon. And seven years later we?re WAY better off than when they shipped that moron up to Rangers.

Want negative football and no future? Ask a Rangers fan. That?s how you?ll figure out Moyes is an improvement, he has improved the Club and we have made progess, and the future is bright.

The arguement that Moyes should go is laughable. Be VERY careful what you wish for! It borders on insane. Have some degree of realistic vision FFS.
Moyes can piss you off, be frustrating, et al. Is he perfect? Is he Jesus? No. But he?s a good manager who?s done wonders with very little money, instilled a great attutude in the Club, and has brought us out off looking at the abyss. Our viewpoint now is how do we get to the Top 4, not "Holy shit, are we gonna fall into Hell." FFS, we?re going to qualify for UEFA Cup / Europa and we?re bitching!

And that is progress. Maybe not as much as some would like, but we?ll get there.The fact this post generates debate is evidence Moyes has, in his 7 years, increased our expectations. Good on him and I hope 2 to 3 years from now we?re bitching he can?t do enough to get us a title! Seems to be the trend...
Paul Daly
60   Posted 27/03/2009 at 05:30:24

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Mr Kenrick, My reason for asking who would replace Moyes, as I?m sure with other posters here, was to highlight the whole tenuous note the original article ended on. Many of us know there is no alternative to Moyes and wanted to highlight that. The arguement circles back on itself because of that and is empty. Any discussion that suggests Moyes should be replaced needs to answer the question who would replace him.

You, in the second post of the thread heartily endorsed the article. Now I suspect that on a site that feeds on user generated content, you saw the opportunity for a lengthy back and forth, a good discussion and some constant traffic to the site. You got that.

You must have known, after your big thumbs up at the top of the thread that the logical question would be asked of you. To then 24 hours later dismiss people who posed the question to you as asking a stupid question when it is clearly to illicit the answer "there is no-one" smacks of petulance on your part and came perilously close to calling your fellow Evertonians, the people who generate the best content here, stupid. That would be against your own rules wouldn?t it?

You also are rather smug about setting yourself apart as being one of a few who can see the flaws in David Moyes?s Everton. Pretty much everyone on this thread agreed with the original assessment of the Moyes years ? we are well aware of his problems with tactics, substitutions, team selection. It doesn?t make us stupid to ask people who talk of ending the Moyes reign where we would get the money to change now, who would fill Moyes seat. We know the answer to those questions ? the original post which you endorsed didn?t address that. Kudos to M Boden for following through and expressing an opinion. Boo to you for giving the question a body-swerve.

Andy McNabb
61   Posted 27/03/2009 at 07:38:39

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Incredible!
He could sell his children to the Hun on behalf of the Club and some of you would still moan at him.
It beggars belief - it really does.
Tony Williams
62   Posted 27/03/2009 at 09:56:21

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"Ian Dickson, and others: here we go again with this stupid FM question: "Who do you suggest could do a better job with similar constraints?" "

"Please don?t ask this stupid question: there is no-one else"

With all due respect Michael it is not a stupid question at all, many posters on here want Moyes to go and consistently remind us of his flaws and their feeling to them, so to ask who it is they want to replace him is entirely relevant, nothing FM about it.

As Paul says in his post you are doing exactly what you tell others not to do, you call people who are asking a straight forward question stupid because it is a question you don’t agree with or as most know makes little difference in the grand scheme of things as he is going nowhere, but it is still a valid question to the posters who want Moyes to go on his merry way.

Yes it is a repatative question and no-one to date has give a decent enough answer butalso repative are all the threads extolling the flaws of Moyes.
Neil Pearse
63   Posted 27/03/2009 at 11:36:34

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James, Michael, Tony and others - we would all in an ideal world like to see less hoofball. But it’s not quite as simple as that is it?

Michael, you yourself have identified some weeks ago pretty much what is going on here. Moyes’s first priority is to make sure that we don’t concede. Therefore I am sure that he tells players ’when in doubt, get rid’. As you nicely put it, he "makes sure that we keep our defensive shape". And he does not encourage us to play fancy passing moves in our own half, and with players (Hibbert, Jagielka, Yobo, Neville, Osman...) who for one reason or another are not up to it.

There is pretty clear evidence that Moyes encourages more passing (a) in the opposition’s half, naturally, and (b) amongst players who can more reliably keep the ball and find another blue shirt (Lescott, Arteta, Fellaini, Baines...).

Painful this all may be, but it is what is going on. Calls simply to ’end the hoofball’ are actually naive and risky. If the team that played at Portsmouth last week had tried to play a more expansive passing game, it is quite likely that we would have gone down to a more serious defeat.

Consider this. The only teams in recent years that have gone anywhere near to the top four - us, Villa, Bolton, Blackburn - have done so by playing pretty unattractive defensive first football. Coincidence? I don’t think so. West Brom are one of the best passing teams in the Prem and they are going down. Not a coincidence either.

When our top team is available, we can play pretty good football. And we do. When it isn’t, we can’t, and we don’t. It really isn’t rocket science.
Dave WIlson
64   Posted 27/03/2009 at 11:27:38

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Cant have that Tony

You know the score, the second Moyse signed on the dotted he knew he was there to be shot at, Evertonians pay his wage’s and are now entitled to praise / critisise to their hearts content and are under no obligation to come up with a "better alternative"
Moyes has had his fair share of praise this year, but performances are dipping for a variety of reasons and its now time for him to don the tin hat.
Yes your right, some of the flak is unfair, even untrue, but They all get it - even SAF and Wenger -
it comes with the territory, thats why they get paid a sight more than you or I
David Alexander
65   Posted 27/03/2009 at 12:18:59

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James;

I?d choose Moyes over Ferguson because Moyes is 45 and the future and Ferguson is nearly 70 and won't be in the game for long. Moyes is the future, I just hope he's our future and not United's.
Neil McKinney
66   Posted 27/03/2009 at 12:23:04

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Dave Wilson - I agree with what you say about not being obligated to come up with a better alternative. However, the people asking them to come up with an alternative, have every right to ask! James has given some answers which has then triggered further debate. That’s what we want isn’t it? Discussion?

I totally agree with Tony above. You can’t have your cake and eat it. Criticise the manager by all means, many have accepted the criticism as being valid, but if we’ve established that Moyes is deeply flawed and he can’t take us any further, then surely the natural progression is who can replace him. How is that FM? Sorry but I think this is a habit of MK and I for one don’t like it. Fair debate is fair debate and above there have been arguments on both sides. No personal attacks or over zealous language, just debate. But MK sees fit to rubbish the side of the argument he doesn’t agree with. That is what Tony takes issue with.

How can you say it’s a repetative question? Of course it is, because it’s the natural follow-up question to all the criticism that Moyes gets on this site. Tactically naive, defensive, conservative etc etc. Yes it is repetative. Maybe true, maybe not, but repetative all the same, hence the repetative response.

Sorry MK but I think that comment was unnecessary and once again clearly shows which side of the argument you fall on. Fans have the right to criticise Moyes and fans have the right to ask them to justify their criticism. It’s called debate and discussion. Nobody is obligated to respond to any call for an alternative, but if Moyes does go, the club will have to find one.
Christopher Mowll
67   Posted 27/03/2009 at 13:18:53

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Can I live in your ?real? world please James? You see, I live in a fantasy world that sees us punching above our weight year in year out, even after 15 years of miss management, trying to compete in a Sky corrupted league, and looking forward to a semi final where our entire team will cost less than one of the Manc?s centre forwards.

In my fantasy world we have no money, a paper thin squad, mountains of debt, a core team of players who love playing for us and a manager who bleeds blue. In my fantasy world I now have the optimism that we can challenge any team in the league, no matter how much they cost. In my fantasy world no one ever mentions ?40 points? or ?safety? any more.

I prefer your world where we have that £100 million investment, a fictitious manager who can blow the lot and still not win anything, and then he buggers off when he is told he only has £1.5 million to spend to buy a midfield player from Millwall instead of Figo or Zidane.

Let?s all move to James? La La land. My world sucks.
Anthony Lamb
68   Posted 27/03/2009 at 13:31:43

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Perhaps one of the issues that bedevils some people?s appreciation of David Moyes is in our not truly coming to terms with the fact that Everton are simply no longer one of the "big clubs" of the English game.

I have supported the club for 55 years so it is perhaps more difficult for me to come to terms with that than many others for I have seen the great teams of the 60s, 70s and 80s. However, most people are fully aware of the stranglehold that today?s Premier League structure has created and its resulting "top four" obsession.

This current clamour from many people for "Champions League" qualification in the current circumstances is perhaps indeed an illusion. Suppose David Moyes got his current squad (after some minor additions) into the Champions League ? does anyone really think it would progress much beyond the group stages, if at all, and at what cost?

It is no coincidence that the so-called English big-four, having swallowed all the riches bestowed by Sky etc and having beaten the FA authorities into craven submission on all fronts, are dominating the European League such is their stranglehold, over many years, on the finances necessary to keep you there.

Does anybody really want a Russian oligarch or such like to come in and throw his often ill-gotten monies at the club? Or should we not rather support the club and its currrent manager, whatever his faults, but with his many gifts and enjoy seeing us develop significant numbers of our own young players; (admittedly trying to play a more attractive style of football than has often been the case!) but nevertheless keeping our support within a realistic perspective.

Realistic success may well lie of course in performing creditably in the league itself and accruing the necessary funding from place finishes etc but also perhaps in the cup competitions where there is at least the lottery of chance and a somewhat more level playing field.

When one considers it, this is a strange age where getting into the "top four" is the goal! We are no longer one of the big clubs of the English game precisely because we are incapable of winning the Premier League itself and this is what needs coming to terms with. Not with having to give up the dream but the current structures appear to make this dream unrealisable at present.

Thus, in this climate, is winning the Premier League such a big deal today? Worthy of praise? Who could you "praise" from the usual suspects? Never Liverpool of course! Coming to terms with this could then perhaps help us to see that THE praiseworthy achievement may well lie much closer to home in what David Moyes (in spite of all our frustrations) has actually done.

All empires ultimately fall, and this current structure of the English game will inevitable implode because it is fundamentally corrupt. The longer Everton can "stay out of it" but continue to perform creditably then perhaps we will remain a truly "big" club but not according to the often farcical criteria that dominate this ludicrous Premier League.

Anthony Dyer
69   Posted 27/03/2009 at 15:26:11

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I think you have it about right Anthony Lamb, I don?t expect Everton in their current economic situation to romp to the PL Title or even gain entry to CL year on year.
What I do expect is that we formulate a system whereby the defensive attributes are retained but when we have possession of the football we have the skills to pose a real threat to the opponents goal.

The problem, and it's an understandable one, is that DM doesn?t like his team to lose its shape at any point in a game, for fear that we will concede goals.

That in my opinion is his greatest flaw, he believes that the best way to defend is not to attack, whilst I think the best form of defence is to attack with purpose.

Stopping goals, although not easy, is in itself easier than scoring them. If the injuries to our key players had have been to our defensive players rather than to the forwards, how well would the season have panned out?
Neil Pearse
70   Posted 27/03/2009 at 16:31:30

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Easy to say Anthony Dyer (attack is the best form of defence) - but is it actually true? And stopping goals is easier than scoring them? Not sure about that one either.

Another point of view is that playing more offensively and creatively will almost by definition put you under greater risks of conceding. Unless you are lucky enough to have world class resources in both attack and defence.

I’m sure Moyes would smile a little if he came on here and read that he should maintain our fabulous defensive solidity and clean sheets AND be offensively attractive and creative and score more goals. "Sure, you try it!" would be a reasonable response. "Especially with the players I’ve been able to afford..."
Scott Robinson
71   Posted 27/03/2009 at 17:46:11

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Well put, Anthony Lamb. Clearly Everton have succeeded and made progressed since Moyes has arrived. The PL table never lies... The better approach then in my view is to enjoy each season for what is, enjoying the special moments and putting behind us the awful performances. The Liverpool and Villa wins in the FA Cup being some and the games lost again Wigan and last weekend being another...

Let us not forget that football is a season by season game and when it comes down it, just another form of entertainment for the public. It also has an awful lot of luck and chance, injuries to key players being an example.

The fact that we can sleep well at night thanks to Moyes and his team and not having to worry about relegation is comforting and makes me proud to be a blue.

For me I am satisfied; I know a lot of other Evertonians including the author of the original piece are not, but when it comes to the big picture, football is really about the moments and the glory at that point in time, not necessarily about dreaming about the future since as Anthony eloquently put it, the future is bound to fail in any case.

Hugo Myatt
72   Posted 27/03/2009 at 19:17:47

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I see a lot of replies from our great supporters, but can only glimpse through as I am pressed for time, but I have no lime with Moyes as manager. I know the frustrations of others at our lack of success in recent times, if a week is a long time in politics, then what do you get for fourteen years in football? Maybe under Walker and Walter, times were so bleak that any change in management (taking Royle out of the equation) was going to see an upturn in fortunes.

I don?t know what will happen in the remainder of the season, whether or not we will lift the FA Cup in May... it would be foolish to say we can win it, but by the same token, foolish to say we cannot get past a dithering United in the semi-final encounter. Moyes lives each kick whilst on the touchline, is candid with post macth interviews and clearly wants the team to succeed and of course, win silverware. Whether that comes to pass, this season or not, remains to be seen.

[Editorial Query: "no lime with Moyes as manager"... is that something from the Urban Dictionary I am not aware of? Or did you mean something like "no qualms with Moyes as manager"?? Or is it the complete opposite: "no time for Moyes as manager???]

Stewart Littler
73   Posted 28/03/2009 at 04:20:50

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I think we should get Walter Smith back - after all, all the anti Moyes brigade moan he?s not won a trophy in seven years whilst Walter?s won plenty!! FFS, ANYONE who thinks David Moyes is not right for our football club really needs to wake up and smell the fresh air.

James, I quote you: "I?m sorry to say but I think that if we don?t move forward next season then it may be time for Moyes to go" ? what do you class as moving forward? You see, whilst we are trying to improve, the Sky 4 are all trying to do the same, only they have far more money than everybody else as we all know. Then we have Villa spending loads, along with Spurs, Sunderland, City. So if I assume that in moving forward, you mean finishing in the top 4, then I hope I?ve illustrated how hard that is going to be.

And that is without considering that we will probably have little or no money to spend again ? and this leads to the criticism of Kenwright ? maybe he?s not done enough in the past to bring investment in, but think about the mess some clubs are in following ?investment? ? Newcastle (Mike Ashley), City (first Shinawatra now the Sheikhs), Pompey (Guydamarak), the Shite (the Yanks - not in a football sense but the club is still in turmoil). The fact that we will finish in the top 6 again for the third season running (bar a disaster) is nothing short of a minor miracle.

And once UEFA change the rules again (which they will be forced to do by the rest of Europe due to England?s (the Sky 4?s) domination of European football, we actually look in pretty good shape ? if they go for minimum number of English players, we have a squad packed full of them ? Nev, Jags, Lescott, Baines, Ossie, Arteta (would qualify as citizen), Anichebe (ditto), Vaughan, Rodwell, Gosling, Baxter ? while if they go for ?living within your means (i.e. wage bills, etc), I reckon we?re OK on that front.

The single worst thing that could happen to EFC over the next couple of years is that SAF retires or dies and they move for Moyes ? cos he would go, and we?d be fecked!

Neil Pearse
74   Posted 28/03/2009 at 07:08:34

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I suppose the ultimate irony would be that we do eventually lose Moyes ? to Manchester United. Not at all impossible, and very much wanted by quite a few United supporters I know.

So then it would turn out for James and Michael and others that Moyes was not good enough for us ? but was good enough for the richest most successful team on the planet. Makes you think, no?
Michael Kenrick
75   Posted 28/03/2009 at 07:07:45

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Mr Daly, I thought in the original article that Mr Boden had done a good job of summarizing the Moyes era. That was the only reason for my "hearty endorsement" of the piece. Consequently I find the other suggestions you list highly disingenuous.

As to the main trust of your comment, what you describe as a logical question is anything but in my mind, and was certainly the last thing I was thinking about; I assure you it never even crossed my mind. That makes you wrong on my motives and wrong on what I was thinking about.

As I have explained, it is a stupid question; however, that doesn’t make those who are asking it stupid. The stupidity of the question is that Moyes is going nowhere. I’m far more concerned that, while he stays in the job, he should be improving, learning from his mistakes, and doing better justice to the massive crust he earns. You talk of my smugness in being along to recognize Moyes’s failings... You do many of our contributors a serious disservice there by ignoring their far more enlightening contributions in that regard.

If he were to leave, his replacement would be chosen not by me but by Bill Kenwright (or his successor). That’s how it works in the real world.

Some people find Fantasy Football absorbing; personally I have no time for it. Same with discussions about which players we should bring in. I’m far more interested in who we’ve got, how they’re playing, and how we can get the best out of them.
Garry Martin
76   Posted 28/03/2009 at 09:54:10

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For me it's simple....

EFC + DM + No money = Good side
or
EFC + AN Other + No money = Relegation

The man has done wonders for us, my big concern is that Manure will soon take him!!
Paul Connell
77   Posted 28/03/2009 at 12:18:14

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?Some people find Fantasy Football absorbing; personally I have no time for it. Same with discussions about which players we should bring in. ?

Michael, I respect the fact that are you are more ?absorbed? by discussing the here an now. I know its a big part of this site to analyise current players and performances and stategy, and so should be.

However taking an interest in Everton?s future also comes hand in hand with this doesn?t it? Why is it ?fantasy football? to discuss playing additions that could take the team foward. While IMO we have genuine quality in the squad, 2 or 3 additions of the right type of player could take us to the next level. Like it or not discussion about who these players should be generates massive interest amonst most Evertonians. In addition I also think the manager is going no where. However to repeatley ask "Who can replace him?", is pertenant considering his detractors also repeatly document the same critisism over and over.

I dont know if you created this site Michael but it is a credit to whoever facilitates it. What makes it so good is a variety of opinion and discussion IMO. If you try censor some of this or even sit in judgement of some topics or replies it will lose its appeal IMO.
Paul Daly
78   Posted 28/03/2009 at 16:19:17

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Mr Kenrick ? I?ve no wish to get into a pissing contest with you or any other Evertonian. Two things though: I said you came in my view "perilously close" to calling Evertonians stupid when dismissing their comments as such. My comment was valid. We can agree to disagree about the merits of the question. Many people on here seemed to think it relevant and far from stupid.

I also said I had an impression that you saw yourself as "one of a few who can see the flaws in David Moyes?s Everton." I then followed that up by saying "Pretty much everyone on this thread agreed with the original assessment of the Moyes years ? we are well aware of his problems with tactics, substitutions, team selection." Does that really seem like I?m knocking the contributions of other people here? That I?m blind to the opinions expressed? Indeed, they are my own opinions.

Agree or disagree with the opinions expressed, it is the users comment that set this site apart from the Pravda-like pronouncements of the official site or the less serious albeit enjoyable atmosphere of other Everton sites. And like you, many of us have questioned tactics, substitution, ambition etc.. I have no monopoly on truth ? my observation was that sometimes you come across as if you do. I would put it down to the limitations of the internet, where nuance, emphasis, emotion can be very easily misconstrued.

Peace.....

Paul Daly
79   Posted 28/03/2009 at 16:51:26

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...as an aside- Football Manager- is that a video game???? Seriously.....
Michael Kenrick
80   Posted 28/03/2009 at 16:35:27

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You?re right to an extent, Paul Connell, the line where reality crosses into fantasy football is a broad grey fuzzy one. Discussion of weaknesses in the team, the limitations of a threadbare squad (which I think everyone would agree is "real"), naturally progresses to thoughts of who could come in to provide replacements or improvements. That process has more than a semblance of reality, at least during the transfer windows, when we all expect and hope for new blood coming in.

So, for at least four months of the year, speculation regarding specific players coming in, and what they could do for us, is understandable, although my inclination for a long time was to limit such discussions to those who were actually linked to us in the press/internet. My reasoning there was at least there is some prospect for that to actually happen. (Do you really want to read every internet Johnny piping up about how X player, their fave, with Y club could do a job for us??? I certainly don't.)

This is getting off the point a little, but the events of the last few years in terms of player speculation has gotten totally out of hand, with the result that last summer, we were "linked" to everyone and his mother ? literally at least one new player every day ? while the players who actually joined us ? Fellaini, Nash, Saha ? slipped in completely under the radar. But at least new players do come in now and again... it's something that actually happens!

So finally back to the point. How often do Everton change their manager? Answer: not very often... the current one being under contract for the next four years (although that means little other than securing compensation in the event he is ?poached?). What merit then is there in speculating about who might replace him? None whatsoever!!!

If there are problems with the current manager, what needs to happen is not REPLACEMENT but IMPROVEMENT. Replacement is largely unrealistic ? "he?s going nowhere..."; improvement is at least possible, and some claim is actually happening ("Moyes learns from his mistakes"...). What me and his other critics are saying is there needs to be MORE improvement.

Regarding the issue of discussion limitation (or ?censorship?), we have striven to ensure the discussions on these webpages are relatively sensible, and do not descend into the typical childish internet flame-war mudslinging (although we often seem to invite the "Scouse Wedding" syndrome... love that expression!). We are selective about what we publish, but most people who write in know this, understand the parameters, and hopefully support that general principle.

There are of course a few who think we are too restrictive: this affects those who mainly wish to make their point using sarcasm or abuse. We can all do sarcasm ? some better than others ? but it rarely if ever works on the internet. Nine time out of ten, you just come over as a twat, while half your audience take it literally and respond in kind, grabbing the wrong end of the sick... As for abuse, we have zero tolerance.

Judging by the overall level of contributions, which I think are generally excellent ? and I thank our regulars for that ? it's a formula that I believe works for the interests of the many.

Unfortunately there are a handful who continue to object to our editorial policy, and do their utmost to subvert it, with limited success. And there are times when we bend our own rules: normally I would not sanction the current debate about Michael Owen (not linked; out of transfer season... aged, injury-prone, so a pretty ridiculous idea anyway...) but I let it go because it's a quiet non-football weekend, and because I was pretty sure most people would respond (as they have) with varying levels of derision.

Michael Kenrick
81   Posted 28/03/2009 at 18:03:18

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Mr Daly, Ironically I responded to your first post mainly because of the way you came across on this here internet ? presumptuous (regarding what I was thinking), unreasonably insistent (that I answer a question which is stupid, for the reasons I have outlined) and offensive ("You also are rather smug about setting yourself apart as being one of a few who can see the flaws in David Moyes?s Everton.")

If I have an opinion, which I hold with what seems to me to be a reasonable degree of conviction, I am tempted to express that. Perhaps it comes across strongly; I guess that?s a reflection of the manner in which I write, which may appear to you as smug, conceited, arrogant, whatever... and for that I apologise... I guess I could try and change (improve!) but I doubt that I can at this stage!

I?m tempted to suggest you perhaps focussed on this because fundamentally we disagree on the issue of ?the question?. I think from your last post you have recognized that now and so we can "both agree to disagree"... although ya know, when I read that on an internet discussion, it sounds kinda hollow and meaningless...

... Just kidding!

ps: Football Manager

Paul Daly
82   Posted 28/03/2009 at 18:27:29

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Straight off ? I apologize if I was offensive ? without reservation. I value the discussions here and I think as someone once said "it?s never wrong to question any fucking thing in a democracy".
"Agree to disagree" means "I have one opinion you have another, I acknowledge that".

re: Football Manager ? Subbuteo it ain?t!!!!!
Tony Duvall
83   Posted 29/03/2009 at 08:56:03

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I honestly can't believe people think there is a better alternative to Moyes today. I believe if you look at the performance of the team in the context of the constraints he has been given it could be argued that he is the best football manager in the Premier League today. Look at the two main constraints

1) Lack of funds ? is this his fault?
2) Unbelievable run of bad luck with injuries ? is this his fault?

What have Everton and Moyes achieved under these constraints?

1) Consistent success
Someone on this discussion above stated that an average position of 8th since his arrival was a sign of his failure. Honestly I think this is nonsense and a closer delve into the statistics show
An average in the last 3 years of 5th position (if you take 5th or 6th this season) EFC achieved an average position in the PL of 14th before his arrival

2) Team Ethic
What other team could have survived with the level of injuries Everton have faced this year. Why have we been able to do this? I believe it is because of the unbelievable team spirit and work ethic Moyes has instilled in the team since his arrival. There is no bitching and back-biting between the players, there are no huge stars or huge egos ? only workmen going about their job in the way the gaffer asks

3) European Football
Before Moyes Everton team players didn?t even need passports ? need I say more on this topic? Of course people will say it's not the CL and we haven?t won but compared to previous years I am happy to have a beer to celebrate a European game win than to be only watching and ?supporting? other British teams on the road.

4) Solid financial base
Probably Leeds is an over-used warning now to teams but it probably holds up now more than ever. Liverpool have debts of £350m+, Man United have debts of £600m+, Abramovich even apparently is feeling the pinch (I think he is down to his last few billion!!). Everton don?t have the rosiest of balance sheets but we are nowhere near as bad as some teams in the face of the biggest financial and banking crisis ever ? who knows who will go next? No-one is certain and it is clear no-one is safe but Everton are more safe than most.

5) Some world class players now and in the future: Cahill, Jagielka, Arteta? and Gosling, Rodwell? for the future

People complain of Moyes?s indecisiveness in the transfer windows but which one of us doesn?t act in the same way when the cash is short. I am sure all of us take a bit longer to decide what to buy when we are a skint. So why shouldn?t he? For me it makes sense to try and make sure that who he buys fits in with the squad and gives the ?most bang for his buck?. I accept he doesn?t always get it right but I would say for every Krøldrup there?s an Arteta or a Cahill. For example, when was the last time Everton had three in the England squad?? all Moyes buys.

This is underpinned by a strong and successful youth system with clear talent coming through. Thank god for Gosling and Rodwell against Liverpool the other week...

In summary, Moyes and Everton have turned themselves into a team despite laughably limited resources who can consistently challenge the top 4, expect to be in Europe and who have dramatically overturned their failing years and given supporters confidence and some pride back.
It is a team that laughed in the face of Liverpool and the FSW in the FA Cup with a decimated team. Do you think the Man U all-stars are viewing the FA Semi as a pushover? I doubt it, maybe a few years ago but not now.

So for me the only limited thing about Moyes is his wallet not his ability to take us to the next level ? I am confident with a few more quid Moyes could take us to become a dominant force like Man U over the coming years. My biggest fear is who could do the same with the resources we have if he decides to go and take Man U to the next level himself in the next few years?

Damian Wilde
84   Posted 30/03/2009 at 12:55:24

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James, Michael, you?re not happy with finishing in the top 5, being in Europe, semi?s of cups, etc. I am desperate for us to win a trophy too. Hopefully we will this year. But if we don?t I won?t be slagging of Moyes left, right and centre. What are your expectations? Do you honestly believe with the resources we have we should be lifting the league title? The Champions League? Dothe double every year? Be better than Man U? Unless you didn?t notice, the top 4 win virtually everything and it is extremely difficult to get into Europe, to a cup final, let alone win something.

Michael, you think it?s silly that people ask you who you would replace Moyes with. Valid question seeing as though you think he?s a pile of shit and doesn?t do a good job. You bang on about Moyes being negative... pot, kettle, black, etc.

Neil, it isn?t rocket science, but some people don?t always take all of the factors into account.
Vijay Nair
85   Posted 03/04/2009 at 13:04:40

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Despite all the negative vibes from our own fans, we have made progress. We now have a reputation as a team to be reckoned with, and we don’t lie down for anyone. Note a recent quote from Gabriel Agbonlahor about the last time we played United...

’’Too many teams go to Old Trafford and just give up without even trying. But teams like Everton, who went there with a positive attitude, almost got something."

So clearly we’re doing something right!


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