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Not For the Faint-Hearted

By Michael Evans :  23/10/2008 :  Comments (33) :

I have found myself reflecting on two recent comments from E J Ruane (a very skilled writer) and Michael Kenrick

Firstly, E J, quite rightly IMO, pointed out that there may be a dichotomy in the perception of David Moyes and the team between younger fans and a 40-something. In many ways there is some middle ground between us. As a 40-something, I agree to an extent with the view put forward by many that Moyes has brought some stability back to the club after the rollercoaster years of the perpetual threat of the relegation abyss. It is also easy to agree with the concensus view that players such as Arteta, Yakubu etc are of a greater quality than the Brett Angels of previous years

When DM arrived at the club after limited managerial success and experience at Preston, I felt he was a breath of fresh air and exactly what we needed at that time. He was hungry for the challenge that being a Premiership manager presented and refused to accept excuses for the mediocrity of the fayre that was being offered to the long-suffering faithful.

In the best traditions of "Oliver" we demanded more and DM delivered. With his wild eyes and gritty Scottish demeanour the Moyes legend was born: the Moysiah had arrived and IMWT threatened to replace NSNO in the hearts and minds of the fans

However, those of us whose birth certificates dictated that we had seen a far better team, players and quality of football were slightly more cautious and reserved our judgement. We realised that merely steading the Everton ship was not enough. The real test for Moyes would be, if he was given the time, could he build a team that could play expansive, entertaining football in the best NSNO tradition.

That leads me to Michael Kenrick's recent reply to a post about what would happen, Heaven forbid, if David Moyes left. In essence, Michael said he felt that Moyes was a "confidence trickster" and that after 6½ years at the club he should have built an ethos of passing football and not hoofball. He also alluded to DM having become on a national level a media darling whilst Evertonians have to cope with the negative, percentage, mind-numbing football. As with E J Ruane's views, I also found myself agreeing with Michael Kenrick.

So, at what point exactly did my view on Moyes change? Chelsea 2nd leg Carling Cup.

Let me briefly turn the the clock back to the mid 80s and the title winning team of Reid, Southall, Gray et al. We Evertonians are often accused of living in the past on former glories but I believe that history has much to teach us. What made that team so great ? Well, of course hyperbolic superlatives could be applied: internationals, skilful/great players etc etc etc. And their manager? Well he had already proved himself as as a successful player (unlike Moyes).

Kendall had shown the mental strength needed to win. His players knew that and they respected his judgement. I had the privilege of being at the Bayern game at Goodison. The players followed Kendal's lead on mental strength and were able to overcome setbacks and prevail. That's what a winner's mentality does.

The Chelsea game you may recall was shown live and as the game was about to kick off the cameras panned the Everton bench. At that moment I saw the apprehension on David Moyes's face. This was a defining moment for DM and the club, an opportunity for the Manager to lead by example and show that winning mentality, In my view, he failed. Coincidence or not, the players have frequently shown a lack of mental strength, capitulating far too easily on too many occasions and have been in freefall since Fiorentina. Is Moyes negativity commuting through the team? I think so. The players seem paralysed by fear. Would Moyes have had the courage that Wenger showed by allowing his young players to so fearlessly express themselves in the hostile environment of Fenerbache away ? I think not. Would Reid, Southall or Gray have accepted a manager who so readily holds up the white flag with his negative 4-5-1 tactics. No, because they wanted to win and had the courage to do so.

There is an inconvenient truth here: football is not for the faint hearted.

Reader Comments

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Clyde McPhat
1   Posted 24/10/2008 at 05:04:03

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There are any number of matches in the last couple of years where you could safely say we played as though we knew what was to happen. And none of it was good.

For me, the high point in DM?s tenure was a sweet free from Arteta headed in by Dunc against the Mancs on a Wednesday Night in April. There was joy that night, and I haven?t been that happy since that night. We took the game to them, and beat them with a determination that sadly we now long for.

Michael Kendrick?s point is well taken. Unfortunately like the mortgage crisis consuming the world, we have taken out a sub prime coaching mortgage and the value of the contract far outstrips the value of man.
Michael Hunt
2   Posted 24/10/2008 at 06:29:03

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Quote of the Week:
"Defeat is not defeat unless accepted as a reality ? in your own mind?
Bruce Lee
Christine Foster
3   Posted 24/10/2008 at 07:55:30

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Michael, there is a thought playing around in my mind for the past couple of months and I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on it.

I think what the last few years have shown us is just how far we had slipped in the previous few years and what we as a club are now prepared to accept as success.

Your quite right about those of us with longer memories who have tasted that success being more sceptical, we have a right to be.

Truth of the matter is when the whistle blows its 11 vs 11 ( well depending on the ref you have) all with two feet, one head and many with oversized ego’s adn inflated wage packets.

The thing is FIFA / EPL / FA changed the rules, literally.. so we saw the end of the physical challenge, and with it the ability to compete.

Ask George Best, ask Pele..they both came up against hard players who countered skill with graft. Thats what made the gain even more exciting a contest. Thats not to say that thuggery is ok.. it isn;t. But when ypu see a player of Big Dunc being unable to challenge without "offending" then that is wrong too.

Yes times have changed and so has football, but a desire to win, to out perform a player of superior class means that the personal battles on a pitch are worth seeing.

The current Everton side is about as passionate as a wet paper bag and not as strong. There is a need for mental aggression to pyhsically compete,m, but there are no rocks in the team, just men with feet of clay who crumble in the rain.

On another thread we bemoan the lack of a Peter Reid, A Bracewell or someone with steel. I could not agree more.

Thou shall’t not pass should not mean hoofball but letting the opposition get past you. Someone should tell the midfield., We need the quality plauers but we need the ball more than we have it these days to allow them to play. We need a few dogs of war to enable the quality to shine through. They provide the platform on which a good team becomes great.

we need playmakers but we also need play stoppers. We need winners and we need to be hungry for a fight. We need a few good men to stand up adn take responsibility. Ask that in the Everton changing room and listen to the wind blow..
Harry Meek
4   Posted 24/10/2008 at 09:18:26

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Moyes is so keen to tell the world ’We know we can’t compete etc.etc.’, that it gives the players a built-in excuse for failure.’We don’t complain about referees/injuries but......’is another Moyes classic and how anybody can any longer hold him up as an inspirational figure is beyond me.
Joe Mercer once wrote,’After five years they’ve heard it all so often they don’t believe a bloody word...’.I think that now applies to most Evertonians as well as the team we support!
Jerome Payne
5   Posted 24/10/2008 at 11:22:05

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This is a great post, I agree with pretty much everything you say. I too was lucky enough to be at the Bayern game in 1985, and I think it was the sheer will to win that allowed us to come back from being a goal down at half time and go on to win the cup. That, as well as the talent of what were some of the best players in Europe.

This current Everton team is led by a dour, spineless man that wouldn’t be able to inspire a team of 12-year olds, let alone international footballers. His body language, choice of words and facial expressions communicate loud and clear to all that he goes into games against the ’big-3’ and Liverpool thinking we haven’t a cat in hell’s chance of winning. Hang on for 90 minutes, try to stifle them with negative tactics and a five-man midfield, and hope something turns up. It hasn’t worked for three years now and it isn’t going to work in the future, but Moyes lacks the flexibility to try anything new.

And then that joke Kenright goes and gives him a five-year contract! Five bloody years? Who gest a five-year contract in football (other than some teenage wunderkid) if you expect to motivate them to succeed?

Guess what - there’s unsold tickets for tomorrow’s game with the Mancs even now on general sale. I wonder why?
Gareth Lewis
6   Posted 24/10/2008 at 11:30:32

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Without getting into Moyes? positive and negative attributes, one point is continually made that is wrong.

4-5-1 is not exclusively negative. Ignoring us, Chelsea play this and are not negative. For the most part of last season Utd played this and were not negative.

In fact even including us. We played 4-5-1 for most of October to March which saw the best football that we have consistently seen for 20 years.
Jerome Payne
7   Posted 24/10/2008 at 11:51:06

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Hi Gareth

I agree, there is nothing wrong with a 4-5-1 formation per se, particularly if it is one of a range of possible formations that the manager understands how and when to use. My point is more to do with Moyes’ overwhelming negativeness, and that I agree with (both) Michaels and Harry that this negativeness is communicating itself to the players and supporters both before and during the game.

Coupled with Moyes’ tactical inflexibility, his pig-headed refusal to try anything new, his 70th minute substitutions that bolt the door after the horse has bolted and his stupidly-long contract, this all adds up to games that are lost before the referee has even blown the whistle to kick the first half off.

I have nothing personal against Moyes, I believe that he has got it in him to be a great manager. He has many excellent attributes that I respect and admire him for. He could change and improve, but at present he is choosing not to.

And that breaks my heart when it damages my Everton in the process.
Damian Kelly
8   Posted 24/10/2008 at 11:36:50

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re Jerome - Moyes did have the flexibility to try something new in that he was the first manager to really make 4-5-1 work (which many teams then copied).

However there is a great quote from a former CEO of HP "the strategies that have made us successful in the past will guarantee our failure in the future".

Therefore where I agree with you is that I dont believe he is capable of coming up with a new strategy and an alternative to 4-5-1 - without one we will fail.

I actually think that most managers are one trick ponys who have one way of managing and setting their side out - even successful managers like Wenger and Mourinho generally only play one way.

Some tricks are more successful than others and the odd truly great manager is able to reinvent themselves. Moyes trick has had its time.

By the way - refer to Moyes body language and dourness by all means but using words like "spineless" I think cheapens your point and is objectionable - he’s a decent man with limitations
Paul Niklas
9   Posted 24/10/2008 at 11:57:32

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Gareth 4-5-1 works with the right players at times. Yakubu loan striker it never will. Neville in the 5 never will. Cahil getting forward but not tracking back never will. Rodwell in midfield never will. Osman as the optional second striker never will.

Basically with the right players it could. Based on what we have at the moment we could do this:

Neville Yobo Jags Lescott
Arteta Fellini Cahill Pienaar
Jerome Payne
10   Posted 24/10/2008 at 12:08:12

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Fair point. I guess I’m just angry and disillusioned at the moment.

I’m happy to withdraw the ’spineless’ word.
Damian Kelly
11   Posted 24/10/2008 at 12:16:50

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100% with you there Jerome!
Robbie Muldoon
12   Posted 24/10/2008 at 12:52:37

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I?m 23 and I think Moyes is shite.
Clyde McPhat
13   Posted 24/10/2008 at 12:52:50

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Christine... I usually totally agree with what you write and are a pleasure to read. But, your assertion that somehow the players are not allowed to play anymore is total crap.

The players of this generation are bigger, faster, fitter, stronger, and more "colorful". It is impossible to compare the run Maradona made through all those defenders 20+ years ago with the way Ronaldo works today. Firstly, Maradona would have been hacked down about a third of the way into the run, and the game would have come to a halt for a free.

I know we all love Big Dunc, but he was a bit clumsy and the defenders he went up against were simply better than in years past. Plus, if you go back even further, there were no foreign players or players of color in the league, and if you say it was better then than now... well, that simply isn?t true.

I?m not saying the FOOTBALL is better, but the players are better. But the money corrupts and the team concept suffers. If you really believe the rules have changed to protect the players and the players respond to it, then tell that to that forward who had his leg shattered last year for Arsenal.

Richard Dodd
14   Posted 24/10/2008 at 12:56:42

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If being negative turns you on,enjoy it. But I bet you will all have to eat your words ere long! David Moyes has forgotten more about football tactics than you lot combined have ever known. That?s why he?s deservedly one of the best paid managers in the game.

How many times have you all written him - and Everton - off only to be confounded by a string of victories which puts us back near the top? I think you will get a surprise tomorrow but even if the Mancs do manage to beat us, we shall turn the corner soon. Trouble is, you?re all so miserable you?ll hate that too!

Shaun Sparke
15   Posted 24/10/2008 at 13:25:14

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Richard, If being concerned about the plight of this once great club is deemed by you as being negative. Then thank goodness for negativity. Some of us are really worried about the lack of imagination and fight being displayed by both our team and manager. How dare you have the nerve to class these fans as miserable.

We are the ones who actually care, hence the postings on here. Remove your blinkers man, all is not rosey in the garden, if we all buried our head in the sand and pretended that all will be well as you seem to advocate then its hardly suprising that we are getting are arses kicked week after week.
Lewis Austin
16   Posted 24/10/2008 at 13:25:03

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Agreed with Paul Niklas until he chose Castillo over Rodwell. Even at 17 he is a better player than castillo and will only get better. Castillo runs around like a headless chicken chasing the ball then getting it passed around him. Rodwell holds his position, is calm on the ball, a very good passer and most importantly actually looks like he wants to be playing and giving 100% unlike some other players.
Steve Syder
17   Posted 24/10/2008 at 13:40:18

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Has Moyes shit his pants over tomorrow yet (Dodd probably knows) or will that only happen when SAF walks into Goodison?

It will certainly be well before the KO and he’ll communicate that to the team, who will take to the pitch terrified.
Anthony Dyer
18   Posted 24/10/2008 at 14:19:44

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Richard Dodd, if the Mighty Moyes’ knows so much about the game why would he even suggest ommitting Yakaubu from the starting line-up for tomorrows match. Centre-Forwards are bought and paid to score goals not run around like lunatics chasing the ball.

Come January Yak will move on and become yet another ’Record’ buy and striker who moves on.

That will leave Everton with Saha and the the two youngsters to rescue a season which is becoming more intolerable by the day.

Perhaps with all your inside info you could inform us idiots as to the real situation regarding the club.

Do the club get greater Govt grants towards a ground move if we go into the championship?

It won’t be long before attendances fall to under 20,000 if the club and manager continue to operate as they are doing.
Gareth Lewis
19   Posted 24/10/2008 at 14:52:29

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The question isn’t if you are negative are you not concerned.

The point is, is the questioning, moaning etc more detrimental to the team than people got behind them. Particularly during the match.

Obviously people voicing their opinions here has no effect on the team and is the right place to do it.

But people not turning up, or when they do booing our own players seems to me to have a negative impact as you can see the players’ confidence go.

Especially now that Moyes has signed his new deal, he’s not going to get sacked. Therefore the most helpful thing people could do is support the team and try and help drag them out of this rut.

Although maybe people feel they can’t and that is why they are staying away?
Richard Dodd
20   Posted 24/10/2008 at 15:37:16

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If - and I say if - the Yak is unhappy and moves on, I am sure Davey will make adequate arrangements to replace him. The manager will continue to search for a blend of players who will not only carry out his instructions but are capable of moments of great initiative and individual skill. Players who, in some games may in some games frustrate us, but are generally capable of understanding and playing to his prescribed pattern of play which has brought us considerable success in recent seasons,remember. No individual is greater than the team - or bigger than the manager. If they believe they are they must be replaced.
Brian Waring
21   Posted 24/10/2008 at 15:54:37

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Doddy, " No individual is greater than the team- or bigger than the manager. If they believe they are, they must be replaced "
I just wish to add one more point to your quote Doddy.
No manager is bigger than the club, if they believe they are, they must be replaced.
John Andrews
22   Posted 24/10/2008 at 16:05:37

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Dodd, Do you mean as he did when AJ left ?
Jerome Payne
23   Posted 24/10/2008 at 17:16:34

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Richard Dodd

A couple of points.

i) If you actually took the time and effort to read my posts, you would see that I have not ’written Moyes off’ or anything of the sort. I am worried and angry about his lack of imagination and lack of flexibility. I do believe he has it in him to be great - but only if he is willing to admit (to himself, in private) that he is in the wrong about the way he is currently approaching his job and that he needs to try new ways of playing. Your response to the thread of comments on here proves to me that you are more concerned with knee-jerk responses of blind support to Moyes and Kenwright than with genuinely interacting with other fans who are voicing genuine opinions.

ii) Believe me, nothing would give me more pleasure tomorrow than a win for the Toffees against those horrible Man U gits. I take no pleasure whatsoever from Everton’s current plight, no matter what you might think or say.

iii) As Shaun Sparke says, you should remove your blinkers and actually think about our current situation. You might see that perhaps if more people were questioning Moyes and his (failing, predictable) tactics, team selections and substitutions, this might force the pig-headed man to think again and try something else.
Richard Dodd
24   Posted 24/10/2008 at 17:57:22

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Mr Payne: continue to believe that David Moyes has NOTHING to learn from contributors to these columns.
Michael Kenrick
25   Posted 24/10/2008 at 18:16:28

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Richard Dodd, these forums are provided for Evertonians to air and share their opinions on all things related to EFC. One thing I do not appreciate is people who come on here to diss the forum itself, and you are coming mighty close to that.
Michael Evans
26   Posted 24/10/2008 at 19:16:46

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Richard Dodd, whilst I do not share your views, I have always respected you for having the courage of your convictions to post comments that so many on this forum disagree with. However, your last comment does you no favours and is totally disrespectful. You seem to believe that BK and David Moyes ARE Everton and therefore deserve our blind, unquestioning, sycophantic loyalty. Everton existed long before they arrived and hopefully will carry on long after they are gone. The Evertonians who post on here are the HEART and SOUL of the club. David Moyes has EVERYTHING to learn from listening to our views.
Stephen Graham
27   Posted 24/10/2008 at 18:10:03

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Then, as an absolute minimum, he would be blind to the continuing frustration and despair expressed by the very people who pay his wages: Evertonians!

That, as an absolute minimum, should ask the question of whether he is the right man for the job.
Richard Dodd
28   Posted 24/10/2008 at 20:09:01

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My most humble apologies. I will, in future, attempt to confine my comments to criticisms of Bill Kenwright, David Moyes, Richard Elstone and all things Everton FC. In that way I will not offend your editorial policy or the sensitivities of your readers. We should not, in any way, attempt to provide any support for our club, should we?
Shaun Sparke
29   Posted 24/10/2008 at 20:32:33

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Richard, Grow up! This is a great place to air your views. But comments like the one above show you up as an over sensitive fool.
John Milligan
30   Posted 24/10/2008 at 21:32:09

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Just an observation really. No doubt the 80s team were great, look at everything they did achieve, and could have and should have achieved. Not really a household name, superstar amongst them. A team brought in on a shoestring really.

I not only followed them home and away during those heady days but I was also one of the 15,000 or so on a crap Saturday when we drew with Coventry 0-0. I was one of many shouting for Kendall to be sacked, the team lacked everything.

Actually it reminds me very much of todays team. Never forget you are only one game away from transformation.

Alan Ross
31   Posted 24/10/2008 at 21:53:57

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.......even verbalises like Ken Dodd
Christine Foster
32   Posted 24/10/2008 at 23:29:56

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Clyde, Thanks for the comments, it wasn?t my intent and I don't think I actually meant that players aren?t allowed to play anymore, just that the rules have eliminated almost all forms of pyhsical contact. Tackles are almost always called for a foul these days. You're absolutely right when you say players are bigger, fitter, faster these days but in terms of being able to compete, they are still 11 vs 11.. except of course those with money can buy the fittest, fastest and most skillful.

My point being that the game in comparison is sanitised from what it used to be and I believe the pendulum has swung too far in favour of protection and as a result you have 11 less skillful players playing against 11 more expensive ones.. who's going to win? In the past we have had people who would throw themselves into a tackle for the team in an effort to win. Not now when they get a yellow card for their first tackle after three minutes for intent...

If we can?t afford the skill we use what we can, what alternative do we have? I am not saying that we need to return to the way it was in the 60s or 70s but it is a contact sport. Imagine Rugby if your couldn?t tackle, rather pointless really.

Michael Murphy
33   Posted 25/10/2008 at 23:15:25

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Hello to you all, I am a first-time writer and have just viewed your many comments. I am an Everton supporter through and through! Firstly can I say, in many ways I agree with you all in one way or another, I have been supporting this club for nearly 40 years and I have lived through the good and the bad days.

I am a supporter of David Moyes, very much so; I am glad he has signed a new contract ? what I want the man to do is realise that we aren't up there with the big money boys and to shake himself into being the inspirator that we know he can be ? and he knows he can be. He seems to have lost his drive and vigour to fight and inspire!

We all know deep down that it must be hard for him seeing the money clubs buying all the talent in the world and buying success, and having such big squads to choose from. I firmly believe DM has got to look at himself first and foremost and realise he is more than capable of greater achievements regardless of our lack of the big lolly. I don't know wether you read these comments, DM, I hope you do!

Just a word about today's game, regarding a certain Mr "No Brains" Rooney. I was brought up in the same area of Liverpool as him, and I was absolutely appalled to see what he did today. He went off my Xmas list a long time ago anyway. As far as I'm concerned, he is the greatest traitor of all, he is not worthy of mention in any genre ? in my mind, he is a nonentity!!!

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