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Reviewing the Situation Created by the Club Since June

By Jason Tooley :  06/10/2008 :  Comments (8) :

Firstly in review of yesterday's game, I thought the team gave their best 45 minute performance of the season so far and then their worst 45 minutes immediately after. Two soft goals conceded against the run of play, a second goal given away 1 minute into the second half when the Manager must have emphasised the need to protect the lead for the first 15 minutes and take any hopes Newcastle had of getting back into the game away from them, I haven't seen an Everton team with such fragile confidence as yesterday snce the last 5 games of 2003. Players who last season were strong, positive and confident seem t obe shrinking away and the lack of vocal leadership and direction on the pitch was alarming.

Positives yesterday for me where Pienaar's first 45 showed what a good player he is and Fellaini seemed to improve from last week although he has a long way to go. Baines was good going forward and Jags was our best player as has been the case in any game this season where he has been at centre half.

So I think it is important to assess how we have gone from all being positive in June to where we find ourself now.

Blame can be attached throughout the club from Board to Manager to Players of that there is no doubt. To start with the Board, it is clear that Moyes didn't have access to funds in the transfer window until late. It is difficult to understand why perhaps the credit crunch was already biting as we are reliant on accomodating banks probably as much if not more than any PL team. The Manager clearly wanted to sign players early as usual and bed them into his system during the pre season. This he wasn't able to do partly due to the Euros and their timing and partly due, I believe, to a lack of available funding from the Board. This also caused the Manager to stall on the signing of his new contract (of which more later).

At this point, I do not believe that their were any potential buyers on the scene but clearly Kirkby was at the front of mind for the Board and potentially money was being preserved for the Kirkby situation. The Board aso had the ludicrous situation of the sale of Bellfield and the problems with getting the applications for building through Liverpool City Council which are a disgrace. Kenwright's misjudged appearance on Sky Sports News and his promises that have seriously alienated the fans were badly handled. Wyness' departure — nobody knows what went on or how much this affected us in the Summer. Finally in not resolving Moyes' contract earlier, the Board and Moyes need to take some blame. This has been an unwelcome distraction and given the players an excuse for their performances.

So the Manager was working in a very difficult situation but he made some decisions that have hurt the club very badly in the very short term. As many of the decisions are linked, in signing and selling players, and the overall result is determined by the final outcome of the cohesion and makeup of the team, let's review the transfer window as a whole.

Timings of decisions and some market precedents clearly went very badly for Moyes or you could say he misjudged the situations — Take your pick! His pursuit of Moutinho, Topal and M'Bia were actions to clearly significantly improve the team however as soon as the Ronaldo and Barry sagas demonstrated a new strength in selling clubs to resist the buying bigger club and also more importantly to ignore the player's attempting to manipulate a move. This market situation put Moyes in a weaker position and more importantly made Sporting, Galatasary and Rennes decided they could be strong and avoid selling their players.

Moyes and the Board thought they would cave in as in previous years — the simple fact is they didn't and Moyes remained fixated in getting his targets for too long. Clearly blame here can fall onto the negotiators with the clubs, Zahavi (in Moutinho case) and Moyes. Whatever Moutinho says now, he wanted to join Everton and openly said this but Sporting didn't want to let him go unless the release clause value was reached and more importantly for Everton, unless the money was upfront. To a lesser extent, Moyes also clearly wanted Smith but the problems at Newcastle and maybe the player's injury scuppered that one when again the player wanted the move and the club wouldn't budge.

Moyes clearly was frustrated by his attempted to sign loans as well. Milito and Tiago's clubs both agreed to the loans but the players didn't want to come, Wagner Love deal was done but the agent forgot to discuss it with CSKA Moscow. Obinna loan collapsed due to work permit problems. These errors are inexcusable in my opinion and Moyes and the Board must shoulder this.

In releasing players, Carsley was a major loss (perhaps more than any of us expected). In hindsight, everybody would be offering him the 2 year deal that he wanted. The fact that he went early in the transfer window when our transfer plans hadn't had the chance to fall apart by then was a real problem that Moyes hadn't invisaged. Looking at the situation now, Fellaini (only 20 years old) clearly needs a Carsley alongside him to teach him the Premier League rough and tumble and the team needs his direction, experience and vocal leadership from the middle of the park.

The Andy Johnson sale was clearly one that Moyes didn't want but AJ did more and more as the transfer window progressed. Did we need the funds to try to buy Moutinho ? Was AJ that desparate to leave us for Fulham ? I am sure the Manager said that he wouldn't leave until we had a replacement signed (which didn't happen). The medical fiasco just extended the situation by another week, upfront money was reduced and the Manager's hands were presumably tied for another week

So at the last minutes, we brought in players that were clearly not the Manager's first choices. Jacobsen, Castillo, Saha (may end up being better than AJ) and Fellaini. On Fellaini, we clearly overpaid. However the kid is only 20 years old, doesn't speak English, clearly isn't up to speed with the Premier League and will take time ot settle. It doesn't help when the fans are all over him from day one (understandable with what went on in the transfer window) but we cannot take the summer frustrations out on him alone. We will destroy him if we are not careful. A case could be made that Moyes and Everton cannot afford to spend big money on a relatively unproven youngster and we could have spend 50% of the fee to get Fernandes who at least has some background success. This is a big risk taken by Moyes and it could come back to really bite him.

In hindsight, everything went south in the transfer window for Everton. Call it bad luck, misjudgement of the market or lack of money but the result is that when we had a chance to significantly improve, the Board and Moyes plus a number of agents failed the club badly.

Finally on to the Players. As I said earlier, the confidence is shot throughout the whole team. Jagielka is the only player currently playing well out of around 20 players in the squad. Injuries and necessary returns for Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar, Saha, Hibbert without match practice or in some cases, even much training hasn't helped to improve the confidence, This situation and losing Carsley plus trying to put Fellaini into this midfield mix has accentuated the problems and his settling in smoothly during the season. The Manager has to also figure out how to get the best out of Cahill positionally, same for Ossie (must play inside not wide) and how to get Arteta back to some form.

In defence, Lescott's request to move to centre half and his poor form there and at left back wasn't expected, and Yobo needs direction and bullying from his centre half partner as seen with Weir and Stubbs (Lescott wasn't able to or didn't want to do this). Jagielka should have been at centre half from day one and Lescott made to stay at left back by Moyes. Baines clearly needs a run of games and is suffering from a lack of consistency. Hibbo was injured and Howard's confidence is down. Howard's situation could be the most worrying as when this happened to him at Man Utd, he couldn't get back to the level that he was at before and had to be sold.

Up front, we are effectively a player down with both McFadden and AJ leaving, Vaughan and Saha coming back from injury, Anichebe missing much of pre-season due to the Olympics and the Yak misfiring.

The team lacks cohesion between the defence-midfield and attachers (they are all playing as individual units today). Introducing Steve Round late in the pre-season maybe didn't help but he and Moyes have to fix this team structure, organisation, leadership and confidence problems. That is why we got Round in and why Moyes has a new contract to sign.

Will Everton be bought by a Billionaire ?? Who knows (on one hand I hope so as I think we can compete if we get more funding, on the other hand, I would hate us to get to a situation such as Liverpool or earlier Man City found themselves in). If Moyes signing his contract this week, is a sign that a buyer is on hand then I think that will be a good thing. The Board's mistakes this summer have hurt us badly and I still have confidence in the Manager to take us forward.

In summary, I don't think anyone could believe that we could find a situtaion in October as today. Everybody has to put the past 3 months behind us and knuckle down (Moyes included) to what will be a tough season. If we end up with a buyer before January as I expect, then who knows we may find Moutinho in blue come 2009 which may be the start of better things to come.

Until then the hard work and graft will be a yardstick of Moyes and the players' ability and character to pull us out of a nightmare.

Reader Comments

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Dave Wilson
1   Posted 07/10/2008 at 06:30:56

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Not sure Moyes signing a new deal would do anything in terms of attracting a buyer.
If I?m going to pay £200 million for a club, I want my own manager, I don't want to have to pay £15 million compensation to get rid of the current one before I even start

Its a bit like this "we need Kirkby to attract a new owner" bollocks. Any potential new owner will want a say in where his new club is based.

The Moyes contract and the pursuit of DK should be ditched, both may well be construed as major drawbacks to any potential buyers.

For £200 million, would?nt you want a blank canvas?

Kevin Gillen
2   Posted 07/10/2008 at 09:15:16

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Good sober appraisal of the situation. None of the tripe from the fantasy football fans.
David Edwards
3   Posted 07/10/2008 at 10:16:44

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A well-written, thoughtful article, Jason. It’s knuckle-down time and Moyes needs to sign up ASAP so he and the team can focus on the real issues on the park.
norman merrill
4   Posted 07/10/2008 at 10:29:24

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Jason, a good assessment of our problems, on and off the field.
And you have done very well in not being too cynical about those who are

A good enjoyable read.
norman merrill
5   Posted 07/10/2008 at 10:29:24

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Jason, a good assessment of our problems, on and off the field.
And you have done very well in not being too cynical about those who are

A good enjoyable read.
Mike Evans
6   Posted 07/10/2008 at 11:15:46

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To coin a phrase you have resisted the temptation to add heat but instead introduced light on our current situation. A well-thought out informative piece of writing. I feel there is now a clear choice. Play the blame game - take your pick from BK, DM, the Players, Round etc OR we can focus on the "here and now", smell the mess we’re in and do something about it.
Andy Crooks
7   Posted 07/10/2008 at 12:48:19

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An excellent analysis Jason.
I think the personal relationship between DM and BK is having an effect on the club.It’s a matter of loyalty.Bk ,rightly,stayed loyal to David Moyes when a different chairman might have sacked him. Moyes feels he owes him and therefore has to a large extent gone along with the failings of the summer.
I have been very critical of BK but have always respected this loyalty up until now.David Moyes did a great job for Everton but he has not earned himself a job for life.He might walk away but BK will never fire him.I know many Evertonians will disagree with this but I believe that this is now a problem.
Gareth Newman
8   Posted 07/10/2008 at 18:26:07

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Spot on, nail hit squarley on the head.

Brilliant appraisal, maybe you should be running the club. It strikes me somone worse is probably in control. Thanks for summing everything up without the old over-mungering of doom.

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