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Reality Check - No 1 (2008-09)

By Mike Oates :  19/10/2008 :  Comments (17) :
I did 3 articles last year titled "Reality Check"; I thought it was time to review what my thoughts are this year. <>P> For me, this season went acutely wrong from Jul 2nd when only 4 first teamers reported back for training: Lescott, Jagielka, Neville and Valente, and we stayed this way for almost 3 weeks when the African contingent, Howard and some of the injured lads got back. So 2 weeks before the season we have only 10-11 first teamers in action. The whole of the pre-season was a disaster. This must have sent major signals to the players that in fact Moyes and Kenwright had failed to deliver the promises they made back in May.

Aug 15th ? the Premier League officially starts and we had only 10 first teamers available and 7 kids. We still haven?t recovered today, especially with a late pre and deadline day scramble to get 1 quality / potential quality signing plus 3-4 free?s. Once again a message to the first teamers that Everton aren?t going to provide the platform for them to progress, domestically, nor internationally.

The effects are there for all to see, a defence which has been transformed from being the 5th best to now the worst in the Premiership. A midfield which is lightweight, changing every game, unbalanced and struggling to find the type of football they are capable of. A forward line which is living on scraps. All in all a team so lacking in confidence in itself that they have reached a point where there is no trust at all between them to try and get out of this rut.

The defenders, Howard, Lescott and Yobo are completely off key, look very sluggish and aren?t working as a unit. They with Hibbert are ball watching all the time, look at how many times opposing forwards are getting in round the back of our line, time and time again ? no communication at all. Its not all the defenders fault though, again look at the number of times are midfielders or forwards are loosing possession in key areas and next thing it?s a goal against us ? Arteta vs Liverpool , Yak vs Newcastle , Yak vs Arsenal. Felliani will take time to settle ? we must understand that. The Yak is being asked to do a role which I think he?s uncomfortable with and we are not extracting the best value he can offer which basically is give him a decent ball to feet in the box and he?ll score. The Cup draws weren?t kind to us with the state we were in with the team, I?m absolutely sure if we played both ties again but back-dated to last season we would have won both comfortably.

What?s next ? well I think we will not cope with Man Utd next week, we?ll put up some token resistance but ultimately their class will tell and I?m expecting a 2-3 goal defeat with our friend Rooney popping a few in.

The period after Man U is crucial to this season being one of getting somewhere reasonable ? which I believe to be 7th ish or fighting all season around the 14 to 20 positions. We have a run of games against mediocre teams ie Bolton, West Ham, Fulham, Middlesborough, Spurs, Wigan ? we MUST take big points off this lot ? I?d guess at least 12 points. If we can, this will give us the springboard to kick off this season, it will also raise confidence to a good level and hopefully give the lads the team trust in each other required to play good football.

I also believe that if we can get well clear of the bottom positions, Moyes will use the rest of the season to try the likes of Rodwell, Gosling, Vaughan, Anichebe, and maybe even Baxter. I do believe he will shed some big names at the end of season if we haven?t performed and try to use the cash to bring in fresh young blood. He will not be able to attract the Moutinho?s etc without LC qualification even if we have been bought out buy the Royal Dubai Family and have the cash.

Reader Comments

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Anthony Dyer
1   Posted 19/10/2008 at 22:43:39

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Mike the reality is we have taken 17 points from 17 league games and conceding 27 goals, since the Fliorentina game.

Only Spurs have taken less points not counting the promoted and relegated clubs. In fact Hull have gained 17 points in 8 games.

Whatever has happened since the UEFA cup exit has to be sorted and sorted soon.

At the moment all those ’easy’ games you refer to are not going to be as easy as we would like. Every team in the PL must fancy facing us at the moment, not just the big guns.

Maybe the rumours of being unable to pay the salaries were true, maybe not.

Perhaps it is about time Mr Kenwright made some sort of public statement to calm the waters because panic on the pitch is begining to cause panic on the terraces.
David Foster
2   Posted 19/10/2008 at 23:23:49

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Everyone is very fickle right now. Alright, we are not in the greatest of situations at the moment. Moysie?s tactics baffle me at times but you have to remember he took us to fourth a few years ago. He also got us to sixth and a Carling cup semi-final ? people forget these things. What I'm saying is let's just knuckle down from here on, get about four or five wins under our belt. So we can turn this shaby start to the season around, starting against the Mancs next week. COYB
Paul Hardcastle
3   Posted 19/10/2008 at 23:37:19

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David Foster, are you clinically insane? How could any Evertonian forget those things? People like you come on this site daily to remind us of stuff we all know, and they think it is some great revelation ? "Hey, bet you you’d forgotten David Moyes took Everton to 4th... and 6th" ? wait a minute! 6th? You dolt!!! We finished FIFTH last season. See, ? even you’ve forgotten... which proves your point, I guess.

Hmmm... Where was I? Oh I can’t even care any more. "Just knuckle down"... you must be an admirer of the Collected Works of Phil Neville, courtesy of the Liverpool Echo. Give Me Strength!

Mike McLean
4   Posted 20/10/2008 at 05:34:41

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Anthony, "Perhaps it is time Mr Kenwright made some sort of publi statement ... " And who exactly would believe the first thing he said?

"Beginning to cause panic on the terraces ... " More like apathy.

Once all the cant about family, tradition etc. is spouted, it?s an entertainment business. This lot are as entertaining as the clap and my guess is that it will be a lot harder to treat.
Richard Dodd
5   Posted 20/10/2008 at 09:10:59

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My thanks to David Foster for pointing out some home truths. I was beginning to think I was the sole voice of ?reasonableness?! We have had these spells of disappointing results in the past and my pleas for patience and understanding have fallen on deaf ears. But Davey has ALWAYS brought us out of the trough ? that?s why all the experts regard him as a great manager. Believe me, he will do it again. It won't take long for him to sort it out!
Martin Hughes
6   Posted 20/10/2008 at 09:25:35

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The predicament that EFC find?s itself is purley down to the pre-season which was complete disater. Moyes had his targets, unfortunatley the money was not made available for some reason or another (Kirkby possibly).

I can't understand what has gone wrong ? Moyes is telling us that there are players who are not switched on at the moment, and possibly a few big names will go at the end of the season (he is talking like this and it?s only October!).

Moyes should never have sold AJ, he could have done with his hard working, defend from the front attitude.

Players he should sell:-

Arteta use the money to buy 2/3 players
>Hibbert - he?s only a championship player at best
Jagielka - not sure what he does / I dont think he knows!

and the biggest transfer out of all:-
KENWRIGHT, he has done everything that he can possibly do (we must salute for that), get somebody with the dosh in, gives Moyes a chance with £50 million, if he fucks that up get KEEGAN in (yep I?m being sarky).
Colin Potter
7   Posted 20/10/2008 at 10:19:09

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David Foster,
Moyes also took us to 17th, it may be even worse this season.
give Moyes £50m? I wouldn?t trust him with £50!
Ciarán McGlone
8   Posted 20/10/2008 at 10:53:46

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Underwhelming, doesn’t even come close.
Alan Willo
9   Posted 20/10/2008 at 13:12:53

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Why do people say the money wasnt available in the summer? The reason is clear why we are in this position: it's becuase Moyes wanted to jump ship, the problem was no job bigger than EFC was around. He admitted this last week, he thought it was time to move on. How can a Manager buy players early if he wasn't sure he was going to stay himself??? The delay is down the the gaffer not BK or the board but the man himself MOYES!!

I?m not a Fan of the Manager but again I am not ready to shout for his head just yet either. Last week when he signed his contract it was a massive anti-climax, non-event. That sums up my feelings for the current situation; new owner or not, he still hasn't the balls to attack the top 4, just sit back a take a goal, same old shit for 6 years!!

Paul Bassett
10   Posted 20/10/2008 at 13:38:39

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Mike - An optimistic reality check. there is very little difference between 6th and 15th in the Prem. A good run of form and you?d fancy Everton to beat anyone.

However, I must take you to task on your opinion that although it looks as though this season will be a wreckage moyes will use the remainder once we get to the "magic" 40 point mark to blood youngsters....

When has he ever given young players a chance? Unless unavoidable he?ll play the guys who have let him down badly this season.

The repercussions of such a bad start and lack of competition could escalate if we do not get a few results very soon.

No need to panic overall if you are a fan who is happy with a semi final in the Carling Cup every 5 years and staying in the Prem but for some fans like myself it must be a serious worry that we are still not develpoing as a side over time. We are still hanging on to a goal advantage rather than putting a game to bed.

Hull are a credit to themselves for having a go at every team, including Arsenal. Vastly inferior players on paper and ability wise yet the manager sets them up to have a go. Can we honestly say moyes is the same? I dont think so.

Arteta is a case in point. Has he suddenly become bad overnight? No. has he suddenly stopped performing? Yes. Why? Because we are not getting it down treating possession as utmost and therefore he has visibly become disheartened.

I worry greatly for the club if we cannot get taken over in the near future as for me Moyes and Kenwright are a bleak way forward.
EJ Ruane
11   Posted 20/10/2008 at 14:03:00

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We have all given our views on the Kirkby thing over the last few months, we all know who thinks what, so this is NOT to start that issue again.

My point is simply, given the start we’ve had, the timing (18th Nov) of the enquiry (whatever your opinion) could not be worse.

More eye-off-the-ball, non actual football stuff to distract, upset, divides, anger etc.

In other words, exactly what’s NOT needed right now.

I could fuckin’ weep.
Martin Hughes
12   Posted 20/10/2008 at 14:48:32

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To Allan Willo:-

You are quite right about Moyes; the more I think of it, maybe he did not want to be around anymore, but why has he changed his mind? Does he realise that he is not bigger than EFC!

But then again who else would you want as manager?
Richard Harris
13   Posted 20/10/2008 at 15:33:49

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If we were one point from a Champions League qualifying place and playing well with a positive goal difference, then we would be rightly praising David Moyes and applauding his new contract. However, we are one point from a relegation place and playing badly with the most goals conceded of any Premier League team.

We have not kept a clean sheet since the game against Derby (one of the worst Premier League teams ever!) and the pre-season preparation and lack of signings was predicted as a problem but ignored by many. We have not yet won at home in the league. Manchester United is the next home game - is that enough reality?

The only positives? We are lucky that Manchester City were bought by the massively rich investors to take the summer headlines; Newcastle are in self destruct mode after Keegan leaving and Ashley wanting to sell; and Tottenham are struggling at the foot of the table. If those distractions hadn?t been occupying the press then our situation would have been under much greater scrutiny......

Paul Bassett
14   Posted 20/10/2008 at 16:36:46

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Spot on Richard harris! Spot on.

We are not too far away from really struggling.

Excuses are all too ready overall too.

You want to see improvement not hear about why it hasn?t happened. End of.
Martin Hughes
15   Posted 20/10/2008 at 21:47:06

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Richard Harris

Spot on mate, spot on

Excuses? I think it?s far to late - future actions rather words should now be the way forward

Up the Blues.
Andy Crooks
16   Posted 21/10/2008 at 00:38:41

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A very astute comment, Richard. Spurs will turn it round, their squad has quality. Joe Kinnear will keep Newcastle safe. That leaves Everton as the other big club who will be "okay". Well I don?t know. I think one of Spurs, Newcastle or Everton will go down. I honestly hate being negative but I have absolutely no faith in Moyes or Kenwright; our players are totally shot of confidence and I put that down to the greed and incompetence of the coach.
Andy Willox
17   Posted 22/10/2008 at 14:15:47

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In regards to relegation, the question has to be asked, ?if you look through the team and squad, how many of the players do you see who have the stomach for the fight??

I?m not necessarily talking dogs of war here but players who would roll their sleeves up and put in a shift and a half. Only Jagielka is obvious because he has been there before with Sheffield Utd, Hibbert at a push. Other than that I am struggling.

If we are sucked into a battle I fear for us this year, and I?m not being too pessimistic here, just facing facts.

As has been mentioned we have the inquiry looming, and I am a firm believer that the call in during the summer was what put a complete spanner in the works, despite what Ross et al said at the club, the transfer funds and therefore policy were dependent on Kirkby being passed.

If the call-in succeeds, which is looking more and more likely each day as more and more documents are released, then I believe Kenwright will oversee the club implode.

But, as people keep saying at the moment, "Look on the bright side, we?re not Spurs". No we?re not, and that doesn?t help.

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