As I write this, I am a happy Evertonian. We are in fifth with one game to go, qualified for the Europa League and I have a ticket for the FA Cup Final on the 30th. For an Evertonian, I?m not sure I can ask for more (although I do). If I remember back to the 90s, where we are now seems a million miles away and at this point I would like to take my hat off to Dave Hickson. Dave told me (when Mike Walker was in charge) to not worry. He said ?this is Everton, we?ll always be the best?. At the time, I thought he was raving mad but he was right.
So on to the season?s overall performance ? both on and off the field.
After a shaky start against the likes of Blackburn, I wasn?t too bothered because I thought that quality football was being played. The goal that Arteta and Yakabu put together against Blackburn was probably one of the best pieces of football I?ve seen all season. So I wasn?t concerned. Annoyed but not concerned.
The bad run continued for a bit and many pointed the finger at Moyes and his delayed contract signing. Quite what the delay was really about remains a mystery. It surely wasn?t due to transfer funds because he still hasn?t got any. Some blamed the bad start on the side not gelling due to late signings and foreign languages. Whatever the reason, the football in my opinion still wasn?t bad. We were never going to struggle.
Although home form did not improve greatly, our away form was nothing short of brilliant and the side started to look like it had its bite back. The season continued a bit on the damp side but for one vital moment?
Phil Neville became an Evertonian.
No doubt Jagielka was the player of the season. His performances in defence were easily of an international standard and most definitely inspired the others around him. They brought out the best in Lescott and more noticeably, Leighton Baines. But for me, Phil Neville has been the unsung hero. He has commanded the team and put his heart and soul into our club. Regardless of result, he is the first Everton player on the pitch and always the last to leave, applauding the fans for their support. Although not the most technical player we have in the squad, his professionalism oozes class. He deserves that armband and I believe he feels it an honour to wear it.
Another contributing factor to this season?s success was the return of Mikel Arteta to the middle of the park (where he originally started for Everton). Class, creativity and composure. We looked a different team when he was running that midfield. The FA Cup replay against ?that lot? proves my point.
I can go on praising players all day. Tim Cahill, Tim Howard, Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman ? all have had good seasons and dug in when it mattered. For me, we have just had a good, professional season.
This year we have seen the introduction of several youngsters. Gosling, Rodwell, Baxter, Kissock spring to mind. And I for one have been over the moon to see more academy talent (with the exception of Gosling) make it into the first team. Moyes gambled and it paid off. We look as though we have some real talent in our ranks, waiting eagerly for their chance to shine (I am looking forward to seeing it).
I also think that Moyes?s policy on young players raises the profile of the club. Many young players, with bags of potential, are sitting in the darkness at top clubs all over Europe. They can now see a back-to-back European club offering them chances and opportunities. That can only be a good thing and is probably the only way we can bolster our squad with top quality players. We may have to nurture them but the reward will hopefully outweigh the effort. It would be nice to attract the next Ronaldinho?(okay, maybe not... but at least we could attract the best of British!).
On now to the off-field affairs:
Moyes is often criticised for his transfer policy. I have always felt that criticism to be harsh. Apart from Shandy and Krøldrup, I cannot really recall him signing a player that wasn?t at least ?useful?. Moyes has probably got the best transfer policy in the Premier League. He keeps his cards close to his chest and he checks, checks and checks again before signing a player. He knows his dressing room and he knows what works.
He only seems to sign players that (a) can play good football (b) are not lazy (the Yak being an exception) and (c) can fit in with the other players. I can imagine our dressing room to be full of banter and wind-ups. Probably more so than any other club (Band of Brothers and all that!). If you still doubt Moyes in the transfer market, ask yourself one question: "What is our ?pound per point? performance?" You don?t even have to compare this to the top four. Compare us to Villa, Tottenham and City...
Moving on ? The new CEO
Mr Elstone has given Evertonians a sense of relief. Wyness has gone and we no longer seem to be getting as much lip service. Elstone a mouthpiece for the Board? I don?t think so. He is honest, open and determined. Determined to do his best for our club. Whenever there is an announcement to be made, he makes it. His presentation at the EGM was well put across and informative. His comments over the FA Cup Wembley games have been well received and his decision-making is always backed up by sound reasoning.
Mr Kenwright made a good decision in promoting Elstone.
As for Mr Kenwright, I leave opinion to each and every Evertonian. We haven?t heard much from him this year (other than on the Stadium debate) but I still believe that he is a True Blue and wants the best for our club. Sadly, he is the right man but it?s the wrong time. He simply doesn?t have the money and is honest about that.
To say that he should sell up is an argument that I agree with but I like his policy on not selling to just anyone. I prefer that he vets potential investors before opening up talks. He learnt his lesson after the Fortress Sports Fund and I think he is cautious about approaches from foreigners. Man City, Chelsea etc worry me. It surely is only a matter of time before the ?endless pot of gold? bubble actually bursts and ruins the game? Make your own mind up.
Well that?s about as much as I want to write. There's more of course but no doubt it's been covered in some of the superb articles that are sent to this site. Let's hope that the FA Cup Final puts a shine on our already great season!
Oh? and Dan Gosling thanks ? for that goal!!!
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1 Posted 19/05/2009 at 14:36:57
IF Moyes is backed this summer ? just relatively well with say £15-20m, then I think the next stage in league terms can be achieved. Despite Bill?s passion though, I don?t believe he has the ££££s....
2 Posted 19/05/2009 at 15:46:42
3 Posted 19/05/2009 at 16:09:50
4 Posted 19/05/2009 at 16:32:30
Great article and I agree with all your points, particualrly about the young kids coming through. It makes us feel confident that what’s happening at the moment isnt just an overnight fad but a strong solid foundation for us to build upon for the next 10 years. All credit to Moyes and onwards and upwards to Wembley (where I also have a ticket!)
Proud to be Blue
5 Posted 19/05/2009 at 16:52:42
6 Posted 19/05/2009 at 16:40:29
7 Posted 19/05/2009 at 17:19:47
Oh, and Shandy was useful once at least - he put the cross in for ’that’ goal!!
8 Posted 19/05/2009 at 18:59:03
Now I happen to like Fellaini and think he will be a major player in time, but there is nothing clever in spending so much on a player only to realise he is not the type we actually thought we were getting.
I don't mean to be cynical in these times of smiles, I just wish he would keep his trap shut as he talks utter shite.
9 Posted 19/05/2009 at 20:43:59
For me, the most heartening aspect of this season has been that - slowly but inexorably - we seem to be turning into a side that plays football the way it ought to be played.
10 Posted 19/05/2009 at 20:51:18
There’ll be 11 evertonians (young and old) crowded round my TV here in a little Oxfordshire town on the 30th hoping for the perfect end to a memorable season. I’m really starting to believe now that Moysey’s onto something. IMWT, COYB, FTRS, IYKYHIETMYHGOOOO... and other such acronyms.
11 Posted 19/05/2009 at 21:52:36
Lets give our boys the best vocal support ever on the 30th.
12 Posted 19/05/2009 at 22:20:09
However, Osman has had a shocker of a season. We were playing gash football at the start of the season. Some truly abysmal displays. Indeed, we have put some in over the whole of the season, but the early games were poor. To say we were playing quality football glosses over the problems we have with squad depth and our lack of adequate preperation.
Has the season met my expectations? No. It has actually surpassed them because I was not hopeful at the start of the season. So that is a positive!
But as we all know, the season is a topsy turvey beast. It looks ok from this end of the season as we have finished OK. But don?t omit the lessons to be learned ? prepare properly, we need a board who won?t shit us over the ground move / will fund players, and Moyes needs to not fanny around be it on transfers (if he has cash) or on his own future.
13 Posted 19/05/2009 at 23:11:04
Well done Andy, you just lived up to your namesake. Maybe next season we’ll win every game 12-0 and do the quadruple - maybe then the boys will be worth a pat on the back.
14 Posted 20/05/2009 at 00:13:52
I am happy to admit that I was wrong. He has done a fine job and is becoming a better manager. However, this close season is his biggest test. Let?s not be making signings five minutes before the window closes. Let?s have a proper pre-season with a squad, even if there is no money to spend, assembled as soon as possible.
It's time for DM to show he is the man to move us on and that he is more than a crisis manager. Early in the season, he played his part in creating a crisis and I hope he can prove that he is not an adversity manager in the Sam Allardyce mode.
15 Posted 20/05/2009 at 09:39:28
16 Posted 20/05/2009 at 10:15:24
Apologies for the confusion!
17 Posted 20/05/2009 at 10:19:52
I may gloss over what was a poor start ? but I did genuinely think that it was nothing to worry about. Our footballing talent was still there, it was just a matter of time. We were playing Castillo ? then Fellaini in the most important position in football ? centre mid. It takes time to gel in a team that doesn?t know you! Enough said...?
On the other points that I have ?glossed? over. Nobody thinks Villa have had a bad season ? yet they haven?t won a game for ages but because they had a tremendous start, everyone thinks that they are having a great time. Not so true.
As far as the boo boys go, I can only put that down to one factor ? they weren?t season ticket holders during the Mike Walker, Howard Kendall (Part III) and Walter Smith years... when we were, to put it mildly, SHITE.
Osman ? for me, he has done well. He gets the flack - but I personally feel that is because he gets the ball more than anyone... and nobody moans about Pienaar when he keeps hold of the ball then ?dribbles? too long (like most South African footballers). Osman has certainly tired as the season has gone on but nobody can call into question his playing ability. He?s just the scapegoat this season because Hibbert has been injured a lot! But that's my opinion!
18 Posted 20/05/2009 at 10:48:32
I’m not saying the boys don’t deserve a pat on the back. I just think we sometimes lose a bit of perspective at times. It is either all doom and gloom or oh happy days. Ok, granted football is an emotive and in many respects irrational hobby horse, but is it wrong to provide a bit of reflective inquest? I am merely suggesting that we need to learn from our mistakes.
Jamie Rowland - I do think Villa have had a shite end to their season. Much to my delight! I have many Villa fan buddies and they inform me on a daily basis how poor their season has ended up to be.
Let us just hope that come the 30th we do over Chelsea and we’ll all be in oh happy happy joy joy mode!
19 Posted 20/05/2009 at 12:35:03
Funny link... If only Moyes had that kind of cash to BLOW! Makes you realise just how good is in the transfer market.
20 Posted 20/05/2009 at 12:47:26
This summer will be crucial as a number of people have mentioned, Surely Moyes must have learned something from the previous one.
One other thing, how sweet was it to pass Villa at the weekend after all the crap about them being the challengers to the Sky4 this season. A flukey run of results either side of Xmas is what got them noticed and now they’re back where they belong - below us! I’m gonna stick my neck out here and say that I think both Villa and the boys will lose this Sunday, so 5th and the cup it is!
21 Posted 20/05/2009 at 15:06:55
Cut back on your consumption or you’ll end up hitting the buffers.
22 Posted 20/05/2009 at 16:17:07
I think one thing Moyes’ll have learned from last summer and recent pronouncements is not to expect to be provided with cash early on
Will we see another 10 to midnight Fellaini?
Mind you, I suppose Bill could be deliberately pleading poverty to keep purchase prices down - or he could be lying?