Changing The Culture Of Everton FC
Ten years ago, the completion of an historic treble by Manchester United seemed the stuff of magic or miracle. This weekend, the winning of a third PremieLeague trophy in a row, with the possibility of a Double-Double to come, barely raises an eyebrow.
Fans of football have become blasé about United?s success. It seems easy. What is forgotten is that the scale of United's success is the fruition of an undying ambition to succeed, allied to ceaseless endeavour and a will to win. What is also forgotten is that their success is built now on a solid foundation and tradition of success, of winning over and over and over again until the heart and soul of the team is imbued with the spirit of winning, an irresistible spirit.
I?m not stating this simply in some wayward spirit of admiration... no way. I'm stating this because at Everton these are qualities that we must foster and develop to begin to succeed at the level we all dream of as fans of Everton.
A little over 20 years ago, while this current Man Utd side were not even a blip on the radar, Everton were one of the strongest teams in Europe. But in the years in which United and also Arsenal and Chelsea rose without contention to dominate the Premier League, Everton fell from the heady heights and successes of the 1980s to become perennial strugglers and relegation fodder. Until lately that is? Until David Moyes.
Under successive managers, the Everton that emerged from the post-Heysel meltdown was an Everton without ambition, forgetful of its great traditions and content, it often seemed to occupy a position of mediocrity while playing graceless embattled football. While some of them were and remain Everton heroes, and rightly so, the years of sorry tutelage by Harvey, the revolving door of Kendall?s comings and goings, the awful interim of Mike Walker?s sojourn at the club, the bitter battles of Joe Royle?s Dogs of Wwar years, and the relentless dire awfulness of Walter Smith?s reign, constituted almost 15 years of head-in-the-hands despair for Everton fans.
Each season seemed a war of attrition just to hang on by the fingertips to our status as a Premier League club. Each Spring saw us struggling with broken wings to remain Top Flight. We were a team depending on other teams to be worse than we were. There lay our best hope at survival.
Where, we wondered and asked again and again, over and over, until it hurt our brains as much as our hearts, was the ambition, desire, and will to remake Everton into the image so often presented by past successes? It seemed we no longer had the ?right stuff? to be a big successful club and a big successful team. And then we got lucky.
He has had his detractors and many of them, but most Everton fans recognised in David Moyes the answer to our prayers. He was not dubbed the ?Moyesiah? for nothing. What he has achieved since coming to the club has simply transformed the culture of the club. True, the hoofball he inherited from the days of Joe Royle and others persisted in adversity; and true, there was a flirtation or two with relegation, but Moyes from the very beginning offered evidence of bringing the ?right stuff? back to Everton. He brought it with him. It is ?in? him.
Moyes told Bill Kenwright he wanted ?to win? and that in itself was a revitalisation of a desire to win within the heart of the club. But, more than this, Moyes brought a true ambition and a ?will? to win to Everton, which fed a desire to always improve, to always do better at the heart of the club, where it matters, in the team. At the core of this ?will to win? is a rare ethos of hard work that Moyes practices and inculcates and a belief that if you work hard and harder still your time will come. The players have responded to that. And that time is upon us!
For those of us who believed in Moyes from the beginning, there were incredible signs and portents. There was the initial rescue from relegation when he took over from Smith. And then there was the incredible 4th place in the League with much lesser players and resources than he has in his current team. I, for one, always saw that 4th place finish by that team as a magical signpost to what Moyes was ultimately capable of with a team of his own choosing.
Now he has that team, or very nearly. It is amazing to think that in this current Everton team there are 6 or 7 players who could be chosen as Player of the Season. A tremendous team spirit and work rate has been grafted on to rare ability. In Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Cahill, Pienaar, and maybe, just maybe, Fellaini, we have players who can compete on any stage against anyone. And there are others waiting in the wings: Rodwell, Baxter, Gosling, Anichebe, Vaughan?
And now, a magical 7 years into Moyes?s management, we have a team competing until the last game of the season to reach its best level within the Premier League. Now we have a team playing to finish 5th for the second year running. A team, on the eve of an FA Cup Final, which seems to improve with nearly every performance. A team playing to its strengths, developing in confidence, beginning to reveal itself as a worth successor to past Everton teams, able to beat anyone and afraid of no-one. This is so unwonted it is very nearly intoxicating.
Moyes came to Everton with an especially important attribute: a sense of destiny. He picked Everton. Moyes saw and understood that Everton were the one team outside the so-called Big 4 who did have the tradition, the fanbase, and most importantly the potential to become great, to be a vehicle for his ambition and will to win. The ?sense of destiny? must also have foretold great things. That?s what a sense of destiny does! It says so on the tin! Well, let?s take off the lid...
I hope we finish 5th in the League and I believe we can win the Cup. I have seen enough this season to make me believe this Everton side, maybe with the addition of another hard-working and skilled midfielder, and certainly with the addition of a proper prolific striker, can add miracles and wonders to its growing CV. Why not?
A lot of people say, "Oh, you need to spend £200M to compete"? I think Man City will disprove that next season. You need more than money to build a successful team. The success of Manchester United did not begin solely with money. It began with the ambition, the drive, and the work ethic of a tireless manager. It began with building a team to play as a team, a team of skilled and dogged players, working hard, bonded, spirited, striving to be always bigger and better than itself, to achieve more, to win things, and to go on to win even more things. And maybe in there somewhere in the mix there was more than a little ?sense of destiny?.
With or without money, we are very nearly there... very nearly the finished article. And without the £100s of millions the other clubs have, we will attract the myriad fans who have become sceptical about modern football, who are looking for an alternative. Everton can be that alternative. We must be. Outside the walls of Wembley on May 30th we have new generations of fans waiting right across the world. Let the Harvest begin!
Whether we win or lose at Wembley, David Moyes has given us the best possible foundation to achieve something in seasons to come. I believe the horizon is clear and limitless. I believe the first goal is to keep Moyes, for a decade, or two decades, and more, for long enough to allow him to emulate one of his models, perhaps his foremost one: Sir Alex.
After nearly 20 years of deepening doldrums, David Moyes has succeeded in changing the culture of Everton FC. We no longer fight dismally to survive by the skin of our tattered teeth. We stand toe to toe and compete equally with the best teams in Europe. We consistently play good, exciting football with a determination to win games and trophies. This culture has to be developed and deepened. It will bring us back to where we were when we were at our best. I'm not saying it won't take a little more time... We will continue to need patience!
We have got not just to aim but be determined to improve all the time on what we now have. We have to be determined not just to mix it with the best but to be better than they, to be the best. We have to have the will to win and the desire to be great embedded in our hearts and souls. And, with a sense of destiny between our teeth, who knows where the winds of change that are currently blowing will take us. We can look without jaundice at United lifting their trophies and think one day before very long ?that could be us!?
The winds of change are blowing, the times they are a-changing, and there is Blue Magic in the air, and a Blue Revolution on the way, who knows? Royal Blue of Course, Everton Blue, True Blue? Beneath the flags that fly over David?s Royal Blue City? his Everton citadel!...
Thanks to David Moyes. ?We Are Everton? once again... Let?s keep it that way! For once, and for Ever... For Ever Everton!
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1 Posted 19/05/2009 at 07:52:35
2 Posted 19/05/2009 at 08:05:44
I feel certain we could challenge for 4th place with the right signings next season. Unfortunately, I feel equally as certain that we won?t have the money to make those signings.
3 Posted 19/05/2009 at 08:13:33
4 Posted 19/05/2009 at 08:47:29
Basically you summed up my feelings about everton to perfection. I know we may be highly optimistic but i don’t want to hear about challenging for 4th.......I think next year with a bit of luck we can challenge for the title. "Dreaming" i hear everyone say, but if you don’t dream they will never come true.
5 Posted 19/05/2009 at 09:41:59
6 Posted 19/05/2009 at 10:04:46
7 Posted 19/05/2009 at 10:58:03
8 Posted 19/05/2009 at 11:21:26
You should get a job preaching on one of those American cable TV networks as the above is a fine sermon !
Its made me feel as if I need to confess : Forgive me brother for I was weak & doubted the ’Moyesiah’ as a greedy false prophet & mistook ’Brother Bill’ for the ’Dark Lord’ last August. But now I’ve seen the light once more HALLELUJAH
Let us pray :
Our father who art Bill Kenright & Davy Boy , Hallowed be his name
Give us this May a Silver trophy and deliver our summer transfer targets
So we may once more feel the power & the Glory Amen
Oh and Yes:
Please Lord continue to Smite the Shite
9 Posted 19/05/2009 at 11:45:35
I then started thinking about some of the Liverpool teams that have won trophies over the last ten years or so, and you wonder how on earth they managed it. Was it all down to luck or is it something deeper?
If it something else, which I beleve it is, then Moyes's biggest achievement could be instilling a permanent, long-lasting winning attitude within the club. If he does, I believe trophies will follow as a matter of course.
10 Posted 19/05/2009 at 13:34:40
Please god let us win the cup and finally have something solid to show for the last seven years of progress. Maybe then the negativity that rears up occasionally will stop and people will have a little faith.
11 Posted 19/05/2009 at 18:04:16
Just a couple of slight disagreements.
You say we don’t need money, but yet cite the fact that we need a hard working but skillful midfielder and a truly prolific striker.
Unfortunately these cost huge fees, unless you are very lucky by either one coming through your ranks or by unearthing a very rough diamond.
Many critics say Moyes has hit a glass ceiling with Everton.
My fear is that he has, but it is not his glass ceiling but the club’s.
12 Posted 19/05/2009 at 19:15:08
13 Posted 19/05/2009 at 21:19:28
14 Posted 20/05/2009 at 04:51:01
15 Posted 20/05/2009 at 13:43:11
Boundless optimism for sure but isn’t it awesome how our collective thoughts are shifting more and more in this direction?!
I’m as happier an Everton fan as I can ever remember being and I can’t wait to see what the next few seasons have in store.
Bring it on. BRING IT ON!!!
16 Posted 20/05/2009 at 14:53:32
Nice riposte too, from Marc Williams. Made me laugh - from far away India, I can really appreciate the wry British humour that so many TW posters write with here.
Steve Ryan, I really do agree that we are 2-3 quality signings away from a Top 4 finish (of course, we need Lady Luck to also favour us with fewer injuries than we had this season).
Looking forward to May 30th ! (Hopefully it is on TV in this country)
17 Posted 20/05/2009 at 19:52:29
Given the circumstances, he has done a good job but until we win a trophy there will be a fault. However, even the pessimist I am feels better about Everton than I have in my life time. Let?s just hope it is a day to remember, then we may be back to the top. COYB FTRS
18 Posted 22/05/2009 at 00:20:47
I truly believe that time and not money is our best resource. Patience and trust will bring us success.
19 Posted 22/05/2009 at 00:31:04
To Steve Ryan, what you say is true you do need a strong squad to win championships. But money is not the only way.
Man Utd’s success actually started from a strong youth team, Beckham, Scholes, Butt, The Neville brothers, Ryan Giggs and others all players who were the backbone of the team in their early successes.
Perhaps what’s missing is a Cantona, maybe Arteta is still to really shine who knows.
I believe we are a lot closer than many think to starting to challenge the top 4. ( only my opinion).
20 Posted 22/05/2009 at 03:46:46
21 Posted 22/05/2009 at 09:14:35
I think the 2-3 quality signings away from a top 4 finish is not a pipe dream. In fact it fits into a three part strategy:
1) Keep hold of the players we have now. Hopefully it is true that Yobo has agreed to sign a new contract and we can tell other clubs to get lost.
2) Sign young, up-and-coming players. The guy from Hamburg, the American dude and the Irishman signed this season all fit into this bracket. The publicity around Rodwell (and to a lesser extent Gosling) shows that young players can make it here... and that can only be good news for Everton.
3) Those pesky quality signings. Personally I think there will only be one big signing due to a serious shortage of cash but the right one can make the team.
Given luck on injuries plus the kids coming through and not only pushing but also taking some of the load from the first team, next season could be the breakthrough. And with the three ’new’ signings, why not?
22 Posted 22/05/2009 at 14:24:09
If Moyes read it, I think he?d come over, give you a cup of strong coffee, tuck you up and tell you to sleep whatever you?ve been taking off.
I love the unbridled optimism but have to ask ? was this post MDMA induced...?
23 Posted 22/05/2009 at 14:37:10
We?ve got quite a bit further to go to breeze through the Uefa Cup or get into the Champions League group stages and hold our own. However, the fact that we are talking in these terms confirms the thrust of the earlier parts of the article, that being that Moyes has brought a culture change and is ?preparing us for success? ? amen to that.
24 Posted 23/05/2009 at 08:50:15
It reminded me of a business-related book I read a while ago called ?Good to Great? by Jim Collins. Bear with me for two minutes here. This guy discussed why some companies did okay whilst others went from this acceptable state to perform exceptionally, and what did they do to achieve this.
One of the concepts raised was called, ?Rinsing your Cottage Cheese?. I?ve just googled the following bit which helps to explain with this means:
?A world-class athlete named Dave Scott won the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon six times. In training, Scott would ride his bike 75 miles, swim 20,000 meters, and run 17 miles ? on average, every single day. Dave Scott did not have a weight problem! Yet he believed that a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet would give him an extra edge. So, Dave Scott ? a man who burned at least 5,000 calories a day in training ? would literally rinse his cottage cheese to get the extra fat off. Now there is no proof that he needed to rinse his cottage cheese to win the Ironman; that is not the point to the story. The point is that rinsing his cottage cheese was simply one more, small step that he believed would make him just that much better. One small step added to the other small steps to create a consistent program for achievement and progress. He had a plan and he stuck to it.?
Does this sound familiar? This is how I think we have been heading in the last few years. I know most business books are pretty nerdy but I do think Davey may have been down his local Waterstones to pick up a copy of this. Well worth a read.
One final point; on an article which is 100% focused on Everton, can we stop adding puerile acronyms such as FTRS. I think it makes us look very small. This is about us, not them.
25 Posted 23/05/2009 at 18:53:13
Please do not relate our great team to some weird American Idiocy!
Your support for EFC is appreciated. Promotion of complete wank is not!
26 Posted 23/05/2009 at 21:06:13
27 Posted 23/05/2009 at 21:09:13
28 Posted 23/05/2009 at 21:16:35
Something wrong with your math .... dude!
29 Posted 24/05/2009 at 08:47:45
Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Cahill, Arteta, Pienaar and possibly soon Fellaini.
However, the position that we are missing is a top quality forward. A creative and goalscoring player that links the midfield and strikers. I hate to say it but a Rooney like player, or nicely put a player in the Sheringham mould. Hopefully Baxter can fulfil this positon, he looks capable and would save us millions, but I still think he is a couple of years away yet from that level.
Yakubu is a top goalscorer but whether he comes back as good after his injury is yet to be seen and Yakubu is a poacher and that’s it.
We have the defence to stop teams. We almost have the midfield (right winger needed) to support and create. We have Yakubu to score if he gets back to his best. I feel that we are just this one player away from being a top side.
30 Posted 24/05/2009 at 20:59:16
31 Posted 25/05/2009 at 10:00:34
And thanks for your permission to continue supporting EFC - very much appreciated.
32 Posted 25/05/2009 at 18:00:19