So, what a season it's been. Did anyone seriously fear relegation on the treks back from Liege (a very long trek) or Blackburn (comparatively short, but nonetheless miserable)? I know I did. I thought that the Moyes effect, as I like to call it, was done and dusted ? all the optimism built up over the preceding seasons fading to a crescendo of media fervour over the prospect of the once mighty Blues being relegated to the Championship.
I know we were short on players. (Remember our first away game, against West Brom, where two of the starting line up and all 6 outfield subs were under 20?) But our defence, that same defence which had conceded less than 40 goals for the first time ever in the 06-07 season (36 conceded), and bettered that with just 33 the following year, was leaking goals like a sieve.
I worried, especially over the form of Joleon Lescott, a player who had looked untouchable just 4 months previous. But something changed, and looking back, it's hard to pick up on exactly when that was. Was it the 1-1 draw with the Mancs in October following THAT Neville challenge?
We did go on an unbeaten run of sorts following that game, achieving our first two clean sheets of the season, and winning 3 of 4. But then came the horrible defeat at Wigan, the narrow (and now customary) win at Spurs ? on a side note, will we now win at Craven Cottage every year? ? and that defeat to Villa... the day I stopped wishing them luck in their quest to break the top 4, after that smarmy bastard O'Neill tried to claim they were the better team (bollocks).
Since then though, we have lost just 3 times in 22 games, which would equate to 5 or 6 defeats over a season, and taken 41 points from 22 games, keeping a further 14 clean sheets. Clearly, our form since that game has been excellent, and would most probably equate to a top 4 position over the season, and that is where our season changed as far as I'm concerned.
We conceded just 13 goals in 22 games, which is a phenomenal record, given that we have faced the rest of the 'Top 6' 6 times since then. Add to that the losses of Hibbert and Jagielka as those 22 games have progressed, and it makes that record seem even better. Add to that our scoring record ? just 22 in those first 16 games, yet 33 in the remaining 22 games, and it seems our season only really started at the start of December (despite losing Yakubu, Saha, Anichebe and Arteta in the attacking department from that period).
Now many will say that the contract situation re Moyes was a major player ? and I would have to agree. Why was that? I don't think we will ever know for sure. The important thing is; will that be a factor again? Well, the man has signed for 5 years. So, in the short term, no. But before he gets to the end of that 5 years, DM will want to have 'achieved'. What does that mean?
Does an FA Cup cut it? Quite simply, in my opinion, no. The man has 'winning' running through him, and did in his time at Preston. And let's not ignore the facts ? in 7 full seasons at Everton (figures out of total of 17 seasons for Everton in PL), David Moyes has led us to 5 top half finishes out of 6 in the PL's history, with less than 40 goals conceded in each of the last 3 seasons (previous lowest was 44 in 1995-96), 50+ goals scored each season of the last 3 (only done 3 times in the previous 14 seasons), a new Premier League record of just 9 defeats this season, our first ever single figures number for defeats in the PL's history, as well as a new clean sheets record of 17, and a win rate of 41% over his 7 full seasons.
Not to mention 4 qualifications for Europe through the league ? we have not qualified for Europe through a league placing under any other manager in the PL. I think it's safe to assume that DM is our best manager since Howard Kendall ? the HK that lead us to our glory days of the 80s that is.
So what will DM want to achieve? A trophy is required, and the FA Cup provides the perfect opportunity. Apart from that, Champions League football is the answer, for the time being at least, and season 09-10 is the time.
Targets for next season need to be 20 wins (we've never done that before in the PL), less than 30 goals conceded (again, we've never done it in the PL before) and at least a 4th place finish ? whilst done before, most of us would agree that we were not ready for CL football in 2005, whereas our European experience of the last few seasons would have us better prepared (who doubts we would have beaten Standard Liege with form and confidence prominent?).
Do we need much to achieve that? Honestly, no. We have a squad of 20 players who are all good enough to compete at that end of the PL, and 3 or 4 additions of good enough quality should give us at least a chance of hitting these targets. In the past, it was a bad finish to the season that let us down. Last season, it was a bad start.
We now have the FA Cup Final to look forward to, yet another measure of the strides taken under Moyes. Win or lose, we must start next season as we have started this, and the Moyes effect will be sure to continue for much longer.
Can we do this? The noises coming from the Club, whilst not the 'unlimited' budget that I suppose we crave, and other teams have, is better than I can remember in previous seasons; the effect post contract signing was noticeable, and will not be a factor this time around; and, most importantly of all, we are now playing with a confidence that I have rarely seen in my 20 years as a fan (I have my step-father, the one and only Tony Fenerty to thank for converting me as a young boy to an Evertonian from a PNE fan at 6 years old).
Add to that that the hoofball that so many have associated with DM (a legacy from the days of Duncan Ferguson and even before that) seems to be disappearing week by week, and the future looks bright for our great Club.
But most important of all is the MOYES EFFECT. No matter who we sign in the summer, I know we will get more out of them than any other Club would, in much the same way as Jags, Lescott, Cahill, Arteta, Pienaar, etc. Champions League football is there for the taking next season. And I think there might just be an FA Cup to parade before what is possibly the most important season in Everton's history.
Whatever happens, we, the best fans in the World, will be there to watch, and then talk about it on the World's greatest independent website. With a baby on the way, and my chances of matching my 46 out of 48 attendance record next season slim, I will be here looking for the facts, in the straightforward way that ToffeeWeb gives them.
I'd like to finish with a congratulations to Burnley FC - yet another North West club in the PL (making it 9 in total), and a nice short trip down the M65 for a relatively easy 3 points next season! NSNO
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 26/05/2009 at 17:50:50
I don’t count Stoke City as being in the NW - anywhere South of Crewe / outside Cheshire is in the Midlands as far as I’m concerned
2 Posted 26/05/2009 at 18:01:14
What I?m worried about next season though, is, whoever we sign, and no matter how well we do, I just don?t think Arsenal will fuck up again next season. The signing of Arshavin has indicated, to me anyway, that Wenger realises that they need experienced signings, and just two or three signings can make them into a major force in the title race next season. I reckon Chelsea have a bigger chance to fuck up, because they might pick the wrong man to be their new manager, but will they fuck up enough to drop out of the top 4? I really do doubt it.
The reality is Everton need to play exceptional, and one of the top 4 has to play badly, and that?s the only way we can get to the top 4 without major investment so we can compete with these clubs financially.
But I strongly believe that, if any team can do it, we?re the first on the list, as we are unique, because if you look some of the squads against us, like the Villa's, City's and Spurs', they look better on paper. They also have much more finances than we do. But even so, we always get the job done in beating them in the league, and that?s down to the "Moyes effect", and I still don?t know how he does it. I?m telling ya... if Moyes somehow leaves, we will not get into the top 4.
3 Posted 26/05/2009 at 18:40:42
Decent enough article though, like many others you seem satisfied with the season, but you're definitely not in the "let's be grateful for what we?ve got" camp, you want/ expect progress, fair play to you.
We have stayed strong to the end this season and I believe that was helped by playing lesser games. Next season, we have the Europa Cup and, if we carry on our FA Cup form, we could easily be playing anything up to 20 more games next season than we have this.... that has to take its toll.
We are in this Europa Cup whether some of us ? me ? like it or not, so we have to go flat out to win it; unfortunately the longer we are in it, the less likely we are to claim a CL place.
The trouble with this Cup is, if you don't actually lift it, it becomes an unprofitable handicap; I?m afraid if we dont find another Liege in the early stages, we can kiss goodbye to any hope of CL football.
4 Posted 26/05/2009 at 21:56:13
I just want to stick to the theme of getting concerned about players. A number of times this season I have posted on here expressing concern about players form and on occasion ability.
1) This season I have called for Lescott and Arteta to be dropped when both were below par. Moyes stuck with them and they both played themselves back into form, albeit after both being put into different positions after being played at left back and right mid respectivley.
2) I have critiqued Phil Neville for being limited in possession and useless in midfield. I have been pleasently surpised by his improved ball usage and solid if unspectacular positional play in midfield.
3) Osman. Amongst others, I have bashed this lad on a few occasions this season. I?d love to say he has completely made me eat my words as with the above, but not quite. Saturday was a timely reminder of his qualities. As was the Wigan game. However, consistency is the key. Go on Ossie, prove me wrong (again!).
In sum, I think every time I slate a player, they raise their game, much to my and many other Blue?s delight. Hmm, Cup Final on the horizon. BLUE BOYS, YOU ARE ALL PLAYING LIKE SHITE AND DESERVE TO BE DROPPED! With any luck they?ll play like demons if my ?curse? strikes....
5 Posted 26/05/2009 at 23:27:04
Here?s a question for you.. If we had finished outside of the European places and winning the FA Cup meant we had to play in Europe next season, would you want us to win the cup?!
6 Posted 26/05/2009 at 23:59:49
I appreciate the arguments of others about squad size, although I believe they have their priorities skewed. I think our biggest issue in this regard is arguably one of David Moyes?S few remaining flaws, namely that he finds rotation difficult, both tactically and viscerally.
When we get our injured players back our squad don't look that bad at all. For sure, we still need 1 or 2 more in midfield, and I?d love Glen Johnson at RB. But we also have a fabulous crop of youngsters, and I include JV and Anichebe in that. I don?t think Villa, or City or Sours for that matter have as talented & committed a squad as we do.
So I would use the easier or "dead" Europa games to give experience to the squad players and youngsters. I would also do a complete Arsenal and play the kids and squad players in the 2nd rate domestic cup (stupid competition).
I don?t think Europa advancement will be detrimental to our league chase at all. In fact quite the opposite. And you only need to look at last season?s Uefa Cup exploits to find the evidence. It?s about momentum and confidence. Martin O?Neill made a fatal mistake this season. It?s a mistake Moyes would never make and one of many reasons why O?Neill is an inferior manager. He spends more but gets much less of his players. Going almost 3 months without a win at the crucial stage of the season is taking the piss.
I believe our motto for next season and beyond is quite simply "who dares wins". Moyes has found the ability to dare this season. The future is bright, very bright indeed.
7 Posted 27/05/2009 at 02:17:03
"Can we do this? The noises coming from the Club, whilst not the ’unlimited’ budget that I suppose we crave, and other teams have, is better than I can remember in previous seasons;"
I am not sure what noises you have heard. But in past seasons we have been told that we have had money to spend and we have in fact broken our transfer record in three consecutive seasons. At least ths noises coming from the club now reflect reality better. Unfortunately the truth is (and was) that we did not have any money and we had to over borrow to buy the likes of Beattie, AJ, Yakubu and Fellaini. Elstone has already said that we will not be making a Fellaini like transfer this year. The club does not make an operating profit to speak of, Kenwright is not putting in any fresh cash, the banks will not lend any more (and the debt level is already a worry) so there is no cash. So yes we have to pleased with what we have.
We should aim for winning the Europa League and the FA Cup and finishing 5th. There will be no "kick on" to the next level. We have hit our current glass ceiling. I am very optimistic that we can retain this level of performance, and I am delighted with it. But those who ask for or expect more are likely to be disappointed.
Of course If one of the big 4 has a meltdown or we sustain our run since December over a whole season then we may get a chance to play in the Champions Legaue - but that alone will not "break" the big 4.
8 Posted 27/05/2009 at 03:22:35
Eric ? fair do?s, I work in Crewe, and Stoke is just down the road, but it is in Staffordshire, so can we agree it?s North West-ish?
Ben ? Moyes won?t leave ? don?t be negative!! I can see your point re Arsenal, but not all 4 can get 75+ points, so we need to strive for 70 points plus, and if that?s not good enough, then so be it ? progress will still have been made.
Dave ? I am in the camp of winning breeds confidence ? look at what a 61-game season has done for Burnley?s 23 players this season (I know, calm it with the stats!). But your point is valid, and that is why we need to add 3 or 4 players.
Andy ? I would agree with Osman, but not Neville, and I nearly cried when he kissed the badge as he walked past us on Sunday. But from Osman, and I?m sure there will be a lot who?ll agree, the consistency of his performances (or rather lack of) needs to be corrected next season, when there will be no potential excuse of an injury to call upon, as it is so frustrating to see him go missing in games when we then see what he is capable of on Sunday.
Tommy ? yes! I can?t wait, quite literally!
Alan ? agree with your entire comment. Another reason why I wanted Villa to fail after the shambolic treatment of not only the competition, but mainly their fans ? I think we all know that EFC would not treat its fans with such disdain. I would have thrown my ?free? meal in O?Neill?s smug face.
David ? I suppose I should have said ?lack of noise?. Before January, all I heard was that we had no money ? yet now we are hearing of the manager ?waiting to hear how much he will have to spend?. As I said, not the unlimited pot we may crave, but perhaps a better situation. In addition, we made an operating profit of around £7 mill up to May 08 (not including player transfers).
Whilst we have not played in Europe as far this year (to May 09), the FA Cup run has made us a fair bit. Then there is the new deal with Kitbag and Le Coq, which will have an impact. There won?t be money to call on, per say, but we will have greater lending power (in my very amateur opinion).
The year before, we made an operating loss of around £10 mill and still signed the Yak, so if we have managed to make around a £10 mill profit this year (seems a realistic-ish figure), there could well be some euros to spend. It?s a moot point though as we?ll find out for sure sometime soon. I have to also agree that it would take far more than 1 good season to break the top 4, but doing it once is the start, and IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
9 Posted 27/05/2009 at 04:12:22
It wasn?t a whinge lad, it was a statement of fact. I?m an Evertonian and as I said, now we are in this cup I want us to win it, but if you believe qualifying for this competition wont be detrimental to our chances of finishing top four, then you lack all understanding of the demands of the modern game.
Ask yourself why nobody ever manages to do it? I?ll tell you why... Villa this season, us last season and Spurs before us, have all lost seemingly unassailable leads over the 4th placed team because this competition has drained us. We?ve simply ran out of good enough players.
The answer to your question is a very definite yes, I?m as desperate for silverware as any other blue.
Here?s one for you - and Alan and Stewart - Do you think Moyes, Hughes, Redknap, or MON would want to be in this competition if it was optional ?
I?m a great believer in what the yanks call "The Big Mo" - momentum, but your argument that MON?s decision to rest players as the reason Villa lost theirs, is a little out of sync, you?ve been on Villa alert all season and you will know the distress signals had been coming from Villa Park prior to the European disaster.
Someone yesterday - I think it was Phil Bellis - amusingly dubbed Villa "Wimbledon with speedy Gonzales" an accurate description, but speedy had been running on empty long before MON decided to rest players, in fact several of his players were, that?s why he did it.
Harry Redknap saw this competition for what it really was, a luxury he couldn?t afford. He took the same decision as MON and his team went from being real relegation candidates to comfortably top half.
The Uefa Cup has all the demands of the Champions League without having anywhere near the kudos, the glamour, or the financial rewards. The final took place last week and it barely caused a ripple throughout the football world.
Stewart, Yes hats off to Burnley, a magnificent effort, but the physical and mental demands of the Prem are far greater than in the Championship, if 38 of those 61 games had been in the Prem, don?t you think their players would have ran out of gas some time ago?
10 Posted 27/05/2009 at 08:45:56
Do the piece again when he brings the Cup back from Wembley.
I don’t think so!
11 Posted 27/05/2009 at 10:53:29
I even remember Cahill getting stick. What short memories you all have...
12 Posted 27/05/2009 at 10:51:54
Come on son, put the bottle down and break a smile!!!
13 Posted 27/05/2009 at 11:02:23
14 Posted 27/05/2009 at 12:43:51
Potter... there must be half-a-dozen clubs with better squads than ours especially the RS, Arsenal and Chelski who can?t take the title off the Mancs, so tell me again why we should only play League games and not try winning any trophy other than the league while we?re still building a squad to challenge for the title?
Have you forgotten the despair we feel whenever the RS fluke a trophy, as they continually do whilst STILL building a squad to challenge the Mancs? Like the Mancs themselves did while waiting 23/24 yrs for a league title. (WIlson, you remember that little spat we had don?t ya where I rammed the cups they'd won down yer throat)...
And now to Wilson... nah, no need to bother with you sunshine, coz like Marsh you sit behind your computer and type utter shite just to annoy people.. I have to believe that because I can?t believe you are for real!
15 Posted 27/05/2009 at 15:19:51
Hibbo ... Hibbo ... Hibbo!
Everton to win 1-0, Hibbo 1st goal is 400/1 on sportingbet. Get a quid on it. Mark my words :-)
16 Posted 27/05/2009 at 15:37:31
I’m on it
17 Posted 27/05/2009 at 17:41:56
18 Posted 27/05/2009 at 18:19:09
19 Posted 27/05/2009 at 19:05:21
Exactly how ambitious is it to overlook the 2nd most important international club tournament in the world, and put all your eggs in one basket, and an incredibly difficult basket at that.
As Tommy Gibbons points out, just getting into the CL involves the small matter of getting ahead of 4 very rich, very resourceful & (let’s be honest) very good football clubs.
We all want to do it. It’s just that some of us choose to live in the real world whilst doing it. There are important achievements to be won outside of the CL. Would you seriously rather fall in the groups or last 16 of the CL than actually win the Europa Cup? Is it just about the money, or can we not opt for that quaint old fashioned concept of glory.
20 Posted 27/05/2009 at 19:33:14
But MON decided to place all his eggs in one basket, thinking (misguidedly) that Villa had enough to make the CL. He miscalculated badly in my view. Sport is about competing & winning. The reaction of Villa’s loyal fans tells you all you need to know.
The 2nd rate domestic cup is a waste of time, unless you use it to blood youngsters and squad players. The Europa league could offer similar opportunities if we do well enough to secure "dead" games at the end of the group stages. It serves two excellent purposes, firstly giving the squad increasing exposure to European football & tactics, and secondly the chance to actually give our squad some games which they may not otherwise get.
The argument about stretching the squad is fair. But I think it’s become disproportional due to our incredible bad luck this season with injuries. There will be the odd dodgy game in Ukraine or Albania, but overall I see only good in this competition.
And I take great satisfaction knowing that our manager and, it seems , our players, share that philosophy. It’s arguably the 2nd most important international club trophy in the world. The only objective that ranks above it for me is qualifying & winning the CL.
Rather than be threatened by going after the Europa, I think (barring a cataclysmic injury crisis) that we will only benefit as a team & a club from playing good teams from Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland & France. And if such an objective would stretch Everton’s resources, what do you imagine it will do to teams with lesser resources in the first place?
21 Posted 27/05/2009 at 19:18:06
Yes I remember our disagreement - unfortunately for you
You made a complete prat of yourself by claiming Man United won countless minor trophies in the seventies. I replied that United had only won the FA cup in the 70’S and that was hardly a minor trophy, I challenged you to name anything else they’d won, I also pointed out that the second division title didnt count,
Contrary to ramming the list down anyones throat , you Tommy, despite two invitations to back up your gobby claims, were humiliated into silence.
I’ll give you another chance to redeem yourself though . . .name the countless Minor trophies you claimed Man U won in the seventies.
Qualifying for the Champions league has proved beyond us for the past few years, so to has a real assault on the Uefa cup do you really believe tackling both together will improve our chances ? . . . .
I’ll give you this though Tommy, you provide an excellent insight into the mentality and the intelligence of the people in your camp.
Fair play to you
22 Posted 27/05/2009 at 22:50:47
Thank Christ that early season form was averted. The closer the final gets, the more nervous I become. On the upside, though, no Winners medal for Judas as United were totally outplayed.
23 Posted 27/05/2009 at 22:54:52
Now as to the other point.. as you readily disregarded the point I was making about Man U i.e.: refusing in your smugness to see that during the 26 years it took for them to win a league championship they won: European cup 1968, FA cup 1977, 1983, 1985, 1990, European Cup Winners cup 1991, League cup 1992 and (though they?re not proper trophies 4 charity shields and a European super cup, oh and I?m sure they lost a couple of finals in those 26 years too!!
I also mentioned, but you never argued against it, Liverpool?s current run of 19 years that they have also won a number of trophies whilst waiting to win the league title (but I ain't gonna list them on here unless you need me to spell it out for you)?
It is you Mr Wilson and those who think like you who are the prats who continually show your lack of knowledge and grasp of reality? so?thank you for the entertainment.. and btw, coz I feel I do have to spell it out for you, unless you gain the experience by pitting your wits against different opponents and trying different strategies where do you get the experience from to be able to beat them?
Hope your not choking on those trophies... haa haaaaa like Manure did tonight!!
24 Posted 28/05/2009 at 04:47:41
When I answer your question as a "very definite yes" you construe that as being a no . . . . hmm
And United?s two major cups in the 80 constitute the countless list of trophy?s of minor trophies you claim they won in the 70s?
Just admit you were talking bollocks lad, going by your own list it was the 90s before United won what could be described as a minor trophy but by then they were winning everything else too. You?ve demolished your own argument . . . whatever it was.
25 Posted 28/05/2009 at 05:20:12
You're right when you point out this trophy certainly isn't without its merits, but the second best club competition in the world?
I said earlier, that now we are in it, I want to win it, but I see this Trophy and a top four place as two very welcoming stools and I?m really concerned that our most talented squad for 20 years will waste this wonderful opportunity by continually falling between them.
I like a little flutter and early elimination from this competition would have me racing to the bookies to get the odds on us Qualifying for CL... Progression in it will guarentee my money stays in me pocket.
Hand on heart, I truely hope on this occasion your right and I?m wrong. You're right, harmonious disagreement does make a pleasant change ? you?d think we?d got to the Cup Final or something.
Normal service next week?
26 Posted 28/05/2009 at 09:28:31
Monkey Gibbon, is that too hard for you to understand?
27 Posted 28/05/2009 at 11:18:43
You really do have no intelligence and you do sit behind your computer spouting nonesense..
28 Posted 28/05/2009 at 13:06:36
Colin Potter, you do Monkeys a grave injustice.
29 Posted 28/05/2009 at 13:31:40
30 Posted 28/05/2009 at 15:49:32
I thank you and goodnight!
31 Posted 28/05/2009 at 16:23:49
Heres to another good season, hope you?ll still be able to join the "Taxi Club Blues" on tour. For some anyway, realise your impending arrival will have a lot of say in that!
Whether we win the cup or not, it still has been a good season, could?ve been a whole lt better, indifferent home form at start of season etc. But a good season nevertheless.
As someone who was going the match in the 1970?s watchthing the soccer gods of John Connelly, Gary Jones and Jim Pearson. Trust me this has been a good season.
Stewart, see you saturday at the arch, twin towers was so much better! Dont be late or your ticket goes on sale!!
32 Posted 29/05/2009 at 01:49:27
The article was written to point out the progression we have made under Moyes. 5 years ago, we were nobodies* in this league. Now we’re arguing about whether we should try to win the Europa League (who cares if it’s 2nd or 10th most important!) or get out early and finish 4th (or higher!)! Let’s spell out the meaning of progression. It’s taking a football club, with a history laden with honours, but a recent history filled with near despair and heart-stopping moments galore, and transforming them into an established top 6 team. Building a younger squad in the process. Into a team, and squad of players who we ALL believe can make further progress in some way. Can we not be happy about that? Can we not be happy at getting to the FA Cup Final? Can we not all hold that hope that we will return victorious, and perhaps kick-start a fantastic awakening for our Great Club? I was just 1 when we won it in 84, but I know we had been nobodies* then for some time, living in the shadow of our neighbours.
So I will hold hope. And hope that, no matter what, we continue our progression, from 6th place in 07, to 5th, semis of lge cup and k/o of uefa in 08, to 5th and FA Cup final in 09 - the win is craved by us all, including, importantly, the players - to who knows what in 2010? I’d love to win the Europa League. I’d love to qualify for the CL, the real thing. Can we do both? Who knows. We may well not do either. If we hit the targets I mentioned in the article, we will achieve success, I am sure of that. Did anyone who reads this HONESTLY think we’d even be talking about this when, say, Rooney, left? 4 or 5 years ago, when the first number we thought of was 40? Thought not. So have hope that even better is just around the corner, after all, what harm can it do?
See ya’s all at Wembley, tell me ma, me ma...
*to the outside footballing world, we have, of course never been real nobodies, like newcastle (sorry, couldn’t resist)