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Some Encouraging Signs...

By Michael Kidd :  16/08/2008 :  Comments (11) :
I watched only the second half of the Blackburn defeat because I was watching the Springboks get shut out by the All Blacks while the first half was going on, so understandably I'm not a happy camper this evening. Predictably, most of the comment on Toffeeweb this evening is doom and gloom, and there is some justification for this and obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Everyone agrees that the squad needs strengthening and we did not have much depth today, but I thought (bearing in mind I only saw the second half) that the kids did alright today. Overall, although there were too many long balls, there was some very pleasing passing and movement down the flanks, which led to a great goal, at least one other that ought to have been a goal (bad miss by the Yak) and several others where the final pass went astray. Jagielka and Neville (often the target of the boo-boys for their non-creativity) were both involved in some of these promising moves.

The second half performance from an attacking point of view was reasonably good, as far as I'm concerned. At the other end of the park, two schoolboy errors gifted the game to Blackburn. Leave aside that Blackburn did not deserve to lose, that is often the case and Everton could have closed out the game if the defence (one area of the team that does not - on paper - need strengthening by new signings) had done its job. If I were Moyes I would be fuming with Lescott in particular, but conceding that goal at the death was also mickey-mouse.

It was disconcerting to hear loud boos at the end of the match, because I certainly don't think that the team as a whole deserved that. The players don't know who the booing is aimed at if it is meant for the chairman or the manager or one or two of the men on the field ? booing of that sort is completely non-discriminating.

I am the first to agree with 99% of the other contributors to this site that we need to strengthen the squad but it is also important that the players' spirit is maintained. I've long had the theory that, apart from the top three or four teams and the bottom two, often the difference between the rest is not so much talent and skill, but spirit, will to win and self-belief. Teams that get on a roll often maintain that roll, even though they may appear weaker on paper than their close competitors, and the opposite seems to be the case as well (Newcastle is a consistent case in point).

The point has been made often that Everton in recent seasons have been punching above their weight and I think a major reason for that is that the team has believed that they are capable of being top five and have good team spirit. Moyes, whatever faults he may have, must take a lot of credit for that. That is why we need to get off the players' backs and give them all the support they deserve (for goodness sake - they don't seem to be getting it from the club administration). When the fans were in full voice this afternoon, the team was doing very nicely. However upset we are with the chairman, board, manager etc - none of that is the fault of the team on the park.

At the end of the day, I think today should be put down to a bad day at the office. This is not excusable and one hopes Moyes points a few fingers where they should be pointed. But there were certainly encouraging signs today that we can perform as we have in recent seasons, if a few new faces come in, and we still have some time for that.

A term that is often bandied about by Evertonians is 'if you know your history'. Well, if you know your history you will be aware of the fact that the title-winning team of 1985 lost the first game of the season 1-4 to Tottenham, followed by a 0-1 loss to West Brom in the second. I'm going to be grumpy tonight but am certainly not pencilling 2008-09 down as a failure just yet.

Reader Comments

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Richard Murray
1   Posted 16/08/2008 at 23:15:28

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’I watched only the second half of the Blackburn defeat because I was watching the Springboks get shut out by the All Blacks while the first half was going on’

Steve Carter
2   Posted 17/08/2008 at 00:39:09

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It means, Richard, that Michael appreciated a game, albeit in another code, in which the players, in comparison to what we observed at Goodison from our lot, actually did exhibit toughness, physical and mental committment, will to win and a never say die attitude’.
Richard Murray
3   Posted 17/08/2008 at 01:06:36

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Well, Steve, according to Michael we did alright today!
That said, he didn’t see the first forty-five minutes when we couldn’t get the ball out of our own half.

Ian McDowell
4   Posted 17/08/2008 at 02:54:44

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I only managed to see the game on MOTD but I could not see many encouraging signs, particularly in the first half with better finishing Blackburn could have put the game to bed. God knows what Lescott was thinking for the second goal, I don?t know what Moyes is going to do in the midfield because better players than Dunn, Reid and Mokoena will have a field day. Defeat next week to West Brom will be unthinkable and this size of squad can no where near compete in Europe and domestically. If we don?t get 3,4 or even 5 players in we might as well forget about the cups and concentrate on the league.
stephen stuart
5   Posted 17/08/2008 at 04:51:04

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No encouraging signs of any reality amongst everton fans after reading this!

What’s the point?
Rich Williams
6   Posted 16/08/2008 at 21:17:27

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Ok so the doom and gloom merchants are out in force and I am usually one of them but to be honest I don't think it is as bad as all that. Get Cahill, Vaughan, Anichebe, and Peanut back we will be better. Why not let the young lads have a go? For me Rodwell, Baxter, Lukas, Gosling can be a part of the squad, that is why we bought young and have an academy isn't it? I admit this might lower our hopes from top 5 to top 10 for a season but bring these players through and the future is bright. I guarantee this squad is way too good to go down.

The main worry today was the defensive frailties, particularly of Lescott and my god Neville is rubbish but I have resigned myself to that now. Get Jags back alongside Yobo, Lescott left and slot Mikky into the middle of the park, stop booting it long, play some football and we'll win a cup and finish top 8, you heard it here first.

A message to all Toffee's - Get behind the boys and the manager, do not let our frustrations with the board's uselessness affect our positive support of the team. Here's looking forward to the next game, it will get better.

Jay Campbell
7   Posted 17/08/2008 at 07:05:45

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Blair Johnson
8   Posted 17/08/2008 at 09:26:35

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Can’t blame him for watching the All Blacks... our (All Blacks) defence was SUPERB... more than can be said for Lescott’s.

Add M’Bia to the midfield, get Cahill, Pienaar and Anichebe (for the bench) and we may just scrape a top 10 finish... about the best we can hope for I’d say...

It didn’t look good... MIkky aside.
Mark Pendleton
9   Posted 17/08/2008 at 11:21:07

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Was very worrying that we conceded 3 yesterday. Jagz is not a midfielder and the likes of Rodwell are too inexperienced (although i think he has all the ingredients to become very good).

We NEED at least 5 players. At the moment only Arteta and Ossie should be starters in midfield until we have Pienaar and Cahill fit. And if Yak gets injured we’ve had it, there will also be teams where we can play 4-4-2 so another quality fit striker is a necessity.

I’m also concerned that we’ve gone from being on the brink of signing Moutinho to trying to snatch Tiago (who i never particularly rated) to now being rumoured to offering 3m for Bullard!

We could do a lot worse than help our neighbours get Barry by taking Alonso off their hands. I think he’d link up well with Arteta, is a good ball player and is only just approaching 27. I’d forgive him if he joined us.

And as for Villa testing the water with a 10m bid for Joe Cole if that happened i’d be infuriated we didn’t step in there for that price.
Mick Gallagher
10   Posted 17/08/2008 at 16:34:33

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Be happy that you never had to watch the first half... We should have been at least 3-1 down due to the fact are midfield was pass through to fucking easy.
Rob Burns
11   Posted 17/08/2008 at 18:45:05

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Michael Kidd ? or is that kidding? stick to Rugby Union kidder, cos if you cant see that this season is already a right off, you obviously havent got a scooby. We must be odds on for relegation, this team will not get a single point away from Goodison and will get a hiding against the better teams home or away.

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