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1, 2, 3, Another one bites the dust

By Peter Fearon :  29/07/2008 :  Comments (32) :
I know I should just take this as a good piece of business ? a tidy profit on an under-performing and unsettled striker - but for me the Andrew Johnson saga has underscored some of David Moyes's weaknesses as a manager. His judgement is often way, way, way off on both man and method.
  • He bought James McFadden because he was the Scottish Rooney, a world class star of the future.
  • He bought James Beattie because he was going to build a world class team around his supposedly incomparable goal]scoring skills.
  • He bought Andy Johnson, originally, to partner Beattie.
We all know how these plans worked out, especially the one about Johnson partnering Beattie. M

Now, I accept that players are primarily responsible for their own performances, but in these cases I think Moyes is partially responsible for their fate. Johnson has too often been alone up front or shoved too far out to the right. McFadden never managed the form for Everton that he showed for Scotland, primarily because he was rarely used in a striking role. Beattie, who never had adequate service, has recovered tremendous form, albeit in the greener pastures of the Championship.

I suspect we will see a goal-scoring resurgence by Johnson with Fulham. It?s telling that DM has had personal issues with each of these men, as he did, years back, with Rooney and Radzinski. He does not seem as comfortable working with strikers, who tend to have bigger egos, more idiosyncrasies and are more high maintenance than defenders, who Moyes instinctively relates to. He has already had problems with Yakubu and you have to wonder how long it will be before there are more.

Until a solid strike partnership is allowed to flourish we will not accomplish our Champions League aspirations. It?s an issue DM just has not dealt with and he must address it.

Reader Comments

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Robert Taylor
1   Posted 29/07/2008 at 19:31:51

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He picked McFadden up for a million and sold at a big profit. You simply cannot compare Beattie’s strike rate in the premiership with his in the championship - it’s like comparing apples with shrivelled up little prunes.

AJ started well but never truly delivered the way Yak did last season.

Moyes has basically upgraded the quality of the team on a continuous basis. Now we’re going to cash in AJ for Moutinho (fingers crossed). Moyes has done pretty well given the constraints the Board puts him under.

And he handled the Yak pretty well last season when he came back late.
Eamonn McConnaghgey
2   Posted 29/07/2008 at 19:34:59

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What a load of tripe Peter if you don?t mind me saying. Fact is Moyes has to bargain at basement level every season and in the last four has finished 4th, 11th, 6th and 5th. AJ may have been sold for various reasons but he will never be a failure in my eyes. Moyes on virtually nothing a nett £3.5 million per season has delivered results and still you will have a pop at the bloke. Johnson will score goals for Fulham no doubt. We don?t know why he has been sold but you are already on the case of Moyes. I suppose the referees had no bearing on Johnson's confidence?!
Steve Green
3   Posted 29/07/2008 at 19:33:02

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I don?t recall Moyes having any issues with AJ until the recent Preston game. Moyes also went out of his way to defend AJ against the "diving" allegations of Wenger et al, and though you could say he had to to defend the club, I honestly think he liked AJ and wouldn?t have gone to the extent he did, making that video compilation to show Hackett, if he had issues with AJ.

To me, Johnson?s dip in goal-scoring form was mainly due to two things -- his injury problems (which cost him a step or two in pace as well as some confidence, IMO) and injuries in midfield that limited (especially with Carsley in the holding role in a 4-4-2) our creative abilities. We didn?t have anyone really capable of playing that through ball up the middle for him to run onto. And our lack of playmaking ability in midfield often resulted in the defenders hoofing it upfield or toward the corner flag, and everyone knows Johnson isn?t a target man.
Yakubu?s style of play almost necessitates a second striker play a little wider so as not to get in his way. By default, that?s what was asked of AJ.

Gareth Humphreys
4   Posted 29/07/2008 at 19:50:43

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No confidence, average since his first 4 months, losing pace, appaling first touch & a poor goals return.
£10m+ - great bit of business.
Micky Norman
5   Posted 29/07/2008 at 20:08:08

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Faddy, Beattie and AJ will all score shed loads of goals now that they?ve left Goodison - in the Championship, where they will all be the season after next. Nuff said.
Jon Parkinson
6   Posted 29/07/2008 at 20:14:11

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A sound piece of business selling AJ for a profit. I agree with Steve Greens comment on AJ?s dip in form but the man responsible for spoiling AJ?s career is definitely Wenger. Before his statements to the press alleging diving defenders treated him with trepidation after Wengers accusations he was kicked all over the park or bullied into wider positions.
Without the protection of referees AJ is a spent force.
In Moyse we trust.
Ray Robinson
7   Posted 29/07/2008 at 20:27:03

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Now without criticising Moyes unduly because he has done a great job, it is fair to say that he does seem to have his problems with attackers.

The problem may be that with this style of play - which tends to be keep it tight and don?t expose yourself too much, the flair type of player such as McFadden are not encouraged to express themselves too much.

In a system that demands that the team is greater than the parts in Moyes?s eye, there is no place for the virtuoso performer (unless he also works hard) or the player who contributes little despite his best efforts - i.e. Johnson - who by virtue of his poor touch, control and finishing, had become, let?s be honest, a bit of a waste of space.
Dave Wilson
8   Posted 29/07/2008 at 20:29:30

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AJ was never top draw, but I can't think of a single striker who would have done better with the appalling service he got. A good honest pro, who will always be able to make a living in the top flight without setting it on fire

My worries lie elsewhere in the team, we have FIVE regular first teamers whose distribution is about as bad as I?ve ever witnessed. Their limitations will be exposed far more regularly now that they haven't got a mug working tirelessly to turn their sow's ear passing ability, into an almost silk-ish purse

Oh and please, stop this "good business" shite. It?ll only be good business if the money is used to bring in a better player.
I still don't see him.

Andrew James
9   Posted 29/07/2008 at 20:43:40

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To some extent Moyes has disposed of his strikers rather a lot (Bent, Beattie, Johnson being the best examples) but that is widespread throughout the game. Look how many strikers our adorable neighbours have got through under Beneathus (Crouch, Bellamy, Fowler MKII, Traore, Kewell). Forwards have big egos and command the greatest wages but they are more disposable than midfielders or centre backs. Like racehorses you get the best out of them and move them on if the timing seems right. They are also interchangeable to some extent.

Johnson was a good professional but couldn’t cut it at the top end of the Premiership. His pace might have terrified defenders in the Championship but Premiership defenders started working out that if the ball’s into his feet then, unless it gets played in behind you with plenty of space, you just need to step in and he’d either go down or be pick pocketed. (The former was something the referees had little sympathy with)

Finally, he suited a counter attacking outfit, not a team who are comfortable with sides defending deep as they have players like Arteta, Pienaar, Osman and Cahill who start threading the short passes about in the final third.

In conclusion, we’ve lost a great impact player from the bench who can hurt teams trying to chase an equaliser (like the game at Upton Park last season for example). But for £12 million, we just had to let him go.
Dave Lynch
10   Posted 29/07/2008 at 21:20:20

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Do some of you people, namely Robert and Eamonn actualy bother to read what the post is trying to say ?
Try this. You don’t buy players to sell them on at a profit. You buy them to play for you and do the job they where intended for.
Eamonn you state that Moyes has to shop in the. ’Bargain basement’.
Johnson was not a bargain basement player, neither was Beattie.
We payed top money for those two and in my opinion both where used wrongly due to Moyes and his at times awfull tactics.
He may well have got the odd bargain here and there. But his big signings have all failed.
whether you like it or not strikers are a different breed and need to be scoring goals, if they feel they are not playing to there strenghths and are not scoring they sulk. FACT ! Moyes has a poor track record with strikers and time will only tell if the Yak has the same problem.
I will repeat. As a manager you should not see a player as a monatory assett, you see him as part of a team you are trying to build.
Dan Brierley
11   Posted 29/07/2008 at 21:50:30

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I am sure Moyes would agree that Beattie was a failure as a signing. But in the current formation that Moyes seems to prefer, AJ is going to sit on the bench when the first team are fit. Iam sure you would agree with that Dave.

Now looking at Moutinho as a possible target, and knowing Moyes wants other players also, does it make goo managerial sense to let 12 million sit on the bench when you need it to strengthen the first team? AJ had become a luxury, whereas strengthening the first eleven is a necessity. With that in mind, I have to disagree that AJ leaving is a poor managerial decision. To me, it makes perfect sense. But more importantly, I find hard to believe that our Manager is being criticised, when he hasnt even shown his hand yet. There is still a month of transfer activity, let him make his acquistions before passing judgement. The only real FACT I see, is that this squad is improving year on year. Until that stops, I dont see a real need for complaining.
Gary Leonard
12   Posted 29/07/2008 at 22:03:19

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Selling AJ will be a good deal. He started well, but once defenders sussed him out, his effectiveness really dropped.

I had high hopes for McFadden and Beattie, but in the end, they were not really Premiership players.

It’s all very well to criticize Moyes’ tactics, but we don’t always know what constraints he faces (players’ injuries, limitations etc).
Terry Smith
13   Posted 29/07/2008 at 22:27:03

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At least Moyes can point out that they may of been shite buys but at least he has got rid for either a profit or close to what we got them for.At the same time he has bought some bargains.Cahill,Lescott,Arteta,Howard,Jagielka,Yobo, need i say more.The top 4 have made worser signings at much more inflated prices ie Shevchenko,Juan Veron,Kuyt etc etc..You just need to look at the facts and what we have been acheiving and a very average budget per year.
John Andrews
14   Posted 29/07/2008 at 22:35:30

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Well said Dave Lynch !
Connor Rohrer
15   Posted 29/07/2008 at 23:15:31

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Dave Lynch, what happens if your strikers can’t control a ball? How are you supposed to play to the strengths when they have none?

AJ was an braindead pace merchant with no intelligence, Beattie was a finisher with nothing else to his game. You need more than that to succeed in the Prem.

Yakubu will not fail here, I guarantee it. He’ll score 15-25 goals given a full season every year. He has genuine quality, inteligence and he can finish.

Beattie and AJ where one dimensional, that’s why they failed.
Jay Harris
16   Posted 29/07/2008 at 23:14:42

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I dont think Moyes had many issues with Aj apart from his poor scoring rate.

He was a model pro hardworking and fitted right into the team ethic.

I heard the problem was with Wyness who said that the transfer kitty was only 15 million plus what he could get for AJ and that angered Moyes and upset AJ who then angered Moyes further by refusing to play at Preston.

How true any of that is we’ll never know because EFC will never put the truth out
Eric Myles
17   Posted 30/07/2008 at 02:16:21

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Everyone says what a great bit of business selling Aj for 10-12 mill is but have you all forgotten that last year the Hammers were supposedly offering 16 mill for him?

More a case of too little too late.
Nabey Kidd
18   Posted 30/07/2008 at 03:54:12

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Dave Lynch: Your players are bought to play for you, not monetary assets.

What a load of bollocks!!!!!! Yes, of course the primary aim of your players should be to play for your team, but don?t tell me that you would like to purchase top strikers that can?t be sold off eventually? Or sold at a lost? That is the biggest horse shite someones tried to spew on this site.

I would say that the sale of AJ is one of the best bits of business done by EFC in recent times.
Alisdair Denny
19   Posted 30/07/2008 at 05:19:13

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I understand your thinking Peter, and partly agree with you. Moyes is definitely more adept at getting the best out of his defensive players rather than the forwards. However, if we look at all the forwards he has signed I think it paints a slightly different picture to the one you are painting.

Bent - bought for 450K, sold for 2.5M
McFadden - bought for 1M, sold for 5.5M
Beattie - bought for 6M, sold for 4M
AJ - Bought for 8.5M, sold for 12M
Yakubu ? bought for 11M, worth a lot more now

You could probably also add Cahill into this list as he has been turned into a support striker by Moyes rather than the attacking midfielder he was before.
As mentioned before, we shouldn?t judge the forwards by the profit made, but rather their impact on the team, however, I would suggest that as these players are mainly increasing in value (Bent and Mcfadden both by 500%), it would mean that Moyes is in fact getting the best out of them.
One other thing to consider ? how many of those players will in the future go for fees higher than that received by Everton? This also suggests that Moyes knows the right time to let the players go.
Dave Lynch
20   Posted 30/07/2008 at 08:38:20

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Don?t you think that Moyes should have done his homework befor buying the players you mention. If, as you state. ?AJ was a brain dead pace merchant with no intelligence.? And both him and Beattie where. ?One dimensional?. Why in gods name did he buy them in the first place?

Buying record signings on the assumption that "you" are correct in your assessment does not speak much for his talent spotting prowess. Then again. "You" may be wrong in "your" assessment and Moyes may have alienated them with his tactics.

Mark Stone
21   Posted 30/07/2008 at 11:05:31

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My opinion is that each year we have improved and have become too good for our strikers.

I thought Marcus Bent was one of our best players his first season, but the following year he was no longer able to do justice to the new players around him. Beattie came in and contrary to popular opinion he had a good first season. He was touted for a place in England?s World Cup squad and many were shocked at Crouch?s inclusion ahead of his. The following year, Beattie was clearly out of his depth in another improved Everton side and in came Johnson - who was revolutionary in his first season and in my opinion marked our entrance as a true European contenders.

However a year later, Everton yet again much improved and AJ?s constant running and menace were no longer enough to mask his inadaquecies in front of goal. A true (world class?) striker who could guarantee 20 goals a season was needed to do justice to our team. With the quality of Yakubu, I think we have found this striker and it is likely to be time for a bit of stability up front and improved strength in depth for the overall squad.

In conclusion, rather than this demonstrating Moyes shortcomings, I am of the opinion that it highlights how we have improved as a football club every year siunce since Moyes has been in charge.

Shaun Kinnair
22   Posted 30/07/2008 at 12:11:50

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I?ve heard a rumor going around that Man United are too approach Everton on speaking to Moyes about taking the role of assistant manager...

Has anyone close the club heard this??

Connor Rohrer
23   Posted 30/07/2008 at 12:29:12

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Dave Lynch, I do think Moyes got it wrong on AJ and Beattie, I wanted neither and didn?t think they?d do well here. So yes Moyes was wrong but I don?t think it had anything to do with our tactics why they failed here.

Shaun Kinnair, why would Moyes want to be an assistant manager? He?s aready a manager, it woud be a bad step back in his career. It won?t happen, not a chance.
Trevor Thompson
24   Posted 30/07/2008 at 12:41:16

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Diego Forlan, Djemba-Djemba, quinton fortune. Even Alex Ferguson as made some bad transfers.
Bradley Nolan
25   Posted 30/07/2008 at 12:52:03

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No official word from Fulham (supposed to be announced yesterday according to their own website). If AJ failed a medical that would be a huge setback. A disaster. Or perhaps personal terms not agreed?
I didn?t want him to go but the important thing now is that it is wrapped up quickly.
Dave Lynch
26   Posted 30/07/2008 at 12:53:06

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With all due respect mate. What you, me or any other fan want for the club counts for nothing.
My origional point was that. Buying a player and selling him on for a profit because he is not up to the job is not good footballing management.
Buying him and making him work effectively within the team is !
Regardless of the price paid.
Moyes may go to Man Utd by the way to gain experience as to how the club is run. Before taking the helm in a season or two.
Frightening prospect i know.
But a real possibility considering we are Man Utd’s lap dogs. If you get my drift.
Richard Harris
27   Posted 30/07/2008 at 12:58:13

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Trevor Thompson wrote " Diego Forlan, Djemba-Djemba, quinton fortune. Even Alex Ferguson as made some bad transfers".

Add to that list : Juan Sebastián Verón, Liam Miller, Kleberson, Louis Saha, Karel Poborsky, Jordi Cruyff, Massimo Taibi......
Connor Rohrer
28   Posted 30/07/2008 at 13:05:51

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Dave Lynch, fair enough mate, I get what your saying.

On the Moyes to Man Utd issue, I don?t think he would step down to assistant manager and he doesn?t need any experience. Just my opinion like, his future is here for the time being.
Dave Lynch
29   Posted 30/07/2008 at 13:27:27

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Cheers Connor.
I hope your’e right on the Moyes thing. The last thing we need is to lose the manager.
Ste Kenny
30   Posted 30/07/2008 at 15:38:22

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I appreciate the point your trying to make with the article, but we haven't changed the way we play to accomodate the Yak, he?s came into our system and scored goals ? something the previous 3 didn't do for whatever reason. The fact that the combined transfer fees of those 3 shows a healthy profit is IMO very good football management.
Nick Armitage
31   Posted 30/07/2008 at 18:14:43

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The only strikers who have delivered under Moyes are strikers who have big shoulders and a fuck you atttitude. Think Rooney, think Yakubu, think Duncan.

Shrinking violets who shit themselves on the big stage when they aren’t cutting the mustard need to be sold. When Wenger makes money on a player he is called a genius, yet when Moyes sells up for a profit his managerial credentials are questioned.

You can’t have it both ways, if a player doesn’t suit the managerial style of Moyes or the pressure of the fanbase then there is no point keeping them. For fucks sake what would you like him to do?
jeff spiers
32   Posted 30/07/2008 at 18:36:31

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Nick. Spot on mate.

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