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The Mail Bag

The table doesn't lie

Comments (35)

I've been looking at the league table this morning. With 36 games played, our position shows that we have won 15, drawn 12 and lost 9. We have a healthy goal difference of +14. It makes for fairly nice reading, especially when you consider we've kept the defeats down to single figures.

One thing that bugs me though, as it has done during the last couple of seasons, is the large amount of games we draw. While you can say that each draw is a point gained, it is also two points lost. While I am certainly not advocating that we become as cavalier as the Newcastle team of the ninties, I do sometimes wonder if Moyes actually looks at the league table at the end of the season.

With a bit more adventure we could end each season six or eight points better off. Instead of being 12 or 14 points a season behind the fourth place team at this stage of the season, we could be finding ourselves only four or five points behind with games still to play.

Now I know you can say that taking a chance during a game and losing can have a negative impact on a team, and a long sequence of games without a defeat is beneficial. But winning a game gives a team a lift, and a lot of the games we have drawn this season have been awful fare and it must give players the same frustration it gives us fans.

I do honestly think that we are making progress and, this season in particular, injuries have robbed us of our better players and options around tactics. But I just think that if we are serious about challenging the big four then we have to be prepared to be braver in games.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin     Posted 10/05/2009 at 06:41:30

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Michael Kenrick
"... a bit more adventure..." Not the style of our Mr Moyes, methinks.
Alan Codd
1   Posted 10/05/2009 at 17:55:23

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Anyone hear how the Ladies got on today?
Shaun McGee
2   Posted 10/05/2009 at 17:58:58

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Ladies got beat 1-0.
Paul Flaherty
3   Posted 10/05/2009 at 17:59:59

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Sadly lost 1-0.
Bert Murray
4   Posted 10/05/2009 at 18:10:21

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We draw so many games because Moyes never gets round to making stimulating changes until c 70 mins into a game. Mind you he?s been chewing over the possibilities with Round for the 20 mins before he takes action. That?s why we?ll come back from Wembley with our tails between our legs!
Jip Foster
5   Posted 10/05/2009 at 18:06:24

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How many of those draws we were originally losing, only to come back and get the draw? You could see it as ’our fighting spirit gets us 12 - 14 extra points’...
All depends on your point of view...
Joe McMahon
6   Posted 10/05/2009 at 18:28:16

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You raise a very valid point Kieran, one I was thinking yesterday midway through the 2nd half with James Vaughan on the bench. Is it too much to ask to see 2 strikers being played at a home game?
Martin Cutler
7   Posted 10/05/2009 at 18:01:19

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I?ve always looked at a draw as being two points lost, not one point gained.

And as fantastic as this season has been (and hopefully being topped off with a Cup Final win) I don?t think there?s any doubt that IF we had had a better start and less injuries then this season could have been much better ... maybe 4th was too much but an easy (or easier) 5th was definite within our grasp this season.

Yesterday being a prime example ... we should have won that game and that would have put us in the driving seat as far as 5th/6th & Villa were concerned.

Nevertheless... still a fantastic season.


Bob Turner
8   Posted 10/05/2009 at 18:29:52

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Of our 12 draws, 4 we recovered from losing positions (so you could argue a good recovery, as per Jip above), and 3 we gave leads away (so you could argue we should have done more to shut up shop). The other 5 were 0-0 draws. 2 of these were with Chelsea (what price a 3rd at Wembley??), and I’m not sure going for them wouldn’t have resulted in us conceding instead. The remaining 3 (Newcastle, Blackburn and Tottenham), for sure, could and should have been games we could have gone for, but that’s an extra 6 points maximum.

I’m more pissed off at the games we’ve lost, to be honest, particularly those at home (Blackburn, Portsmouth and Villa still piss me off, and the Shite for that matter!). Turn these 4 into wins and we’re in the CL places....
Nick Entwistle
9   Posted 10/05/2009 at 19:30:57

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Taking risks is what flair players do. You can?t really play risky football with the our limited squad... unless you make a point of giving the ball to Hibbert all the time... but we?ve only a limited amount of flair.

I see where you?re coming from, but we?re going to need a few more additions before we can start going for teams with this approach... anyone fancy a transfer bid for Tevez who wants to leave? Or would that really make us Man Utd Reserves?

Matthew Morgan
10   Posted 10/05/2009 at 19:48:19

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Bert, I really hope you're not going to Wembley, because the team and the fans really don?t need people with that attitude.
Alan Clarke
11   Posted 10/05/2009 at 19:45:15

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This is not an anti-Moyes post but I would like to question him on yesterday's tactics. Did anyone notice Jo playing yesterday? An example of Moyes?s indecisiveness when it comes to making changes was not bringing Vaughan on.

Moyes said pre-match that we?re chasing 5th yet he seemed perfectly happy with the point yesterday. Why didn?t he go all out for the win? At the start of the game, 6th was pretty much guaranteed so what did he have to lose by trying to attack Tottenham more especially in the 2nd half? Vaughan needs vital game time before the Cup Final to get his match sharpness back and all we see is a like for like swap with Jo off for Saha and Gosling off for Osman. Why not bring on Vaughan as well? Why not switch to 4-4-2 for the final 30 minutes and have a go at Spurs? 5 man defence?

Like I said before, what did Moyes have to lose yesterday? A point didn?t get us into 5th but a win would have done.
Tony Dooves
12   Posted 10/05/2009 at 20:22:01

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Thanks, Bert for that cheery comment... was there really any need for that..... there is a big clue in the word SUPPORTer....

It's from the latin SUPPORTICUS ? which means believe, believe, believe and stop being so bloody miserable for god's sake.

We will succeed COYB!!!!
Gareth Hughes
13   Posted 10/05/2009 at 20:18:27

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Totally agree with Alan Clarke. Vaughan needs some action now! If he is on the bench he is fit and if Moyes is holding him back because of previous misdemeanours, it is pathetic.

Jo, thank God, will be unavailable for the Cup Final so it's either Vaughan or the increasingly anonymous Saha (now there's a half-hearted waster for you...) ? unless of course Moyes plays two midfielders up front in Cahill and Fellaini.... Can anyone imagine the sheer awfulness of that prospect? How embarrassing would it be to see our team such a negative approach in a showcase game played before hundreds of millions of people.

I want to see us start Saha and Vaughan against West Ham and have an unoffical contest to see who is best equipped for the final. One of them should then play in the final with Cahill supporting. Jo should be dropped now. He has served his purpose and won?t be here next season. Personally I would not play Fellaini either and have Neville and Castillo in centre mid come Wembley.

Will Moyes drop Jo on Saturday and give Vaughan a chance? Will he drop his £15 mill white elephant? No. And that is why I, along with many other fans, will always find it difficult to warm to David Moyes.

Gerard Harkin
14   Posted 10/05/2009 at 20:40:09

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I?m fed up of this Moyes bashing stuff, re Gareth above, in fairness to you, Gareth, Moyes is not the most cavalier or adventurous of managers ? but then would you be with our current squad? And if you were, would you now be in 6th place and the Cup Final?

Drop Fellaini in favour of Neville and Castillo? Neville WILL start so tha'ts that one sorted; Castillo looks half decent but then I/we don?t see them both day-in, day-out so I?m gonna assume here that Castillo is not as good as Fellaini in Moyes?s opinion.

As for playing Saha and Vaughan for the last six games of the season before our biggest match in 14 years, can anyone name the last time either Saha or Vaughan played 90 mins x 6 in a row without hopping off the park? Surely there must be an element of Moyes protecting these two? It's not as if they are ever gonna set a new prem record for consecetive games played!

And on the subject of Vaughan, I?m rapidly running out of patience with him and all on here pinning our hopes on someone who still doesn't have 20 senior goals to his name!

Derek Thomas
15   Posted 11/05/2009 at 01:43:04

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So the table doesn?t lie?? Well, not out-right... but it can flatter to deceive. Pardon me while I digress...

Martin Cutler; A FANTASTIC SEASON?? More to you later.

Where was I? Oh yes flattering to deceive.

No, sorry, it is anything but deceiving, if you (especially you, Martin) take off the Blue-tinted specs you will see we are 20 something points off United (yes, I know that the rs are actually top, but we don?t care what they say or do, do we??) and we are 20 something points off WBA.

This has turned into yet another of Moyes's 50% seasons. The classic being 04-05 half good and half bad.

This one, and there have been plenty of others like it, had a bad starting quarter, a good middle and a tapering off last quarter ? how many of them have we had?

Yes, we know all the usual suspects will give all the usual excuses, some of them not unfounded. I was going to mention the words, "... through no fault of his own..." but then thought of the pre-season fiasco and the contract fiasco and the "watch this space" fiasco, the Blackburn fiasco and the Portsmouth fiasco. All down to Moyes... with an assist or 2 from Blue Bill.

Just how many fiascos to the fuck up ? what's the exchange rate??

Yes, we again punched above our weight, we found in the good mid-50% more by accident than design a system that worked (ish).

Yes we played some good stuff, well Jags, Baines (the same Baines that couldn?t get a game for love nor money until there was no choice) Pienaar, and Cahill and (God love him) Capt Pip, kicking the diving Portuguese seemed to kickstart his and our season (well, the 50 % of it) in the middle.

Too many people who publicly (so fair play to you, Martin, for saying so... but you?re wrong) and privately think that 6th = a fantastic season, whereas in real terms any where between 16th and 5th might mean a bit more cash the higher up you go and the higher up you go the more confidence you play with so that us the punters have a little more joined-up footy to watch.

It?s still an average, not bad, a bit samey NEARLEY-OCRE but not quite mediocre cake, with a few more cherries, 1-0 RS, cup final cherries on the top.

More Flair and adventure?? Dream on.

Fantastic??... nah... quietly adequate.

But even an adequate cake will taste a lot better for a large measure of CUP WINNING BRANDY ALL OVER IT!!!
John Wells
16   Posted 11/05/2009 at 03:50:04

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The reality is guys that is has been a bloody good season. Talk about us being 20 off United, we are and put United in any League in Europe and the 5th and 6th will be that off them. Look at Arsenal, one the Big Sky 4, they are not, they are hanging in limbo and in danger of making it a Sky 3 and joining us and Villa as the also rans. This is a club with access to more money and way more attractive to investors.

Look at the teams we beat for the final berth we all craved, fucking hell, lads, those games were massive. We started the red shite's poor streak, we beat them in the cup... then Villa... and United. Hand on heart if you were asked at the beginning of the season in 5th place (which I still think we will get) and an FA Cup final appearance, are you saying you would not have grabbed it?

Fact of the matter is, we will not finish in the top 4 again until an investor comes in, buys us 2-3 top notch players and 3 very solid squad players. That's a fact.

We will struggle to get 5th next season. Villa will have learned from this year and will buy, Harry has done a monster job at Spurs and you can bet that those rich fuckers will spend big. I think Hughes will be out at City and imagine Rikaard (spelling?) in there with all that cash and his contacts. We will be more than happy this time next year with 5th believe me and everyone knows it. Bring in whatever manager you want and that will be the case unless cash comes.

To be honest I am still miffed that we have not been seriously looked at by a big investor. We would be serious with a few new and devoted faces. I would love to have Tevez as the little fucker just loves playing the game... and sure, at the end of the day, that's what it's all about!!!

Dan Brierley
17   Posted 10/05/2009 at 23:45:37

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Let me start, by saying I am happy with the way our club is run, and I have faith in the management that our club is going in the right direction. For me, it seems only some modest (by PL standards anyway) investment is needed to strengthen the squad, and give us a bit more attacking threat and depth.

The main point for my post, is very simple. I am still bewildered by some of the negativtity directed at the management. I cant work out given the constraints of what Moyes has to work with, how the expectation reasonably deserves to be much higher?

So, with this in mind I want to know who is the man that can take us to the promised land, if it is not Moyes? Again, my feeling is that Moyes is the right man for the job. I am just inerested to know the opinion of those who disgaree with that.

Nick Wall
18   Posted 11/05/2009 at 07:51:42

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A far more telling statistic IMO is the fact that in the last 15 minutes of matches this season we have scored 15 goals and conceded 5: This is the best we?ve ever done in the Premier League, and tells the story of how Moyes has created a team with the strength and the character to kill games off or rescue games at the death.

There?ll always be the odd 0-0 draw where we can?t find the winning goal, but it would be wrong not to acknowledge just how often Everton have been able to turn it around this season in the latter part of games, and the contribution that Moyes?s tactics have made to this.

Mike Jovic
19   Posted 11/05/2009 at 08:33:05

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Derek Thomas,

Your negativity is un-believable.

When Moyes goes and is replaced by manager after manager who struggle to finish in the top half of the table and then refer to the lack of transfer funds as the reason you may finally realise what an excellent manager Moyes is.

How you can compare us to Manchester United when they spend more money on one player than Moyes has spent in 7 years is beyond me.

I assume you wont be at Wembley ? after all, what's the point of you wasting your time going all that way to support a team you don't rate managed by a manager you don't want?
Tony Lynch
20   Posted 11/05/2009 at 08:27:55

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Funny reading all this anti-Moyes nonsense just because we only drew with Tottenham. Everyone seemed to have their eyes on the final on Saturday, players, fans and Moyes. Perhaps we should have done more to win the game but as at least there are no new injuries. Plus if the fans had got behind the team more and generated a decent atmosphere then things might have been different.

It?s far too easy to blame Moyes's tactics and selections. The fans should be gearing up for the final and getting 100% behind the team, not taking swipes at Moyes because of game that didn?t mean much.

Tim Wardrop
21   Posted 11/05/2009 at 09:32:36

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To anyone who thinks Fellaini should be dropped for the final - you are mad! He’s our main goal threat!
Derek Wadeson
22   Posted 11/05/2009 at 10:47:03

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Gentlemen, David Moyes will never go gung-ho in a football match unless we are 2-0 down in a important cup match with 10 minutes to go. Hopefully we won?t see this plan come into action later this month.

What I cannot understand is why people on this site are being so negative towards him. He has turned the benchmark at Everton Football Club from hopefully reaching 40 points in a season to a now expected 60 points plus.

Every week his team selections and tactics are pulled to pieces by our so-called experts on Toffeeweb and yet the professionals within the game openly admit to him being one of the best and most talented young coaches around.

I am old enough (55 yrs) to have seen some of the most swashbuckling, imaginative and creative Everton teams of the last 50 years and do I put this current crop up there with them? The answer sadly is no. But what I will say is that, if my life depended on Everton getting a result, the current squad would be up there with the best in delivering the goods.

If David Moyes picks Osman and Hibbert there is a reason, among them being he has faith in their ability and the squad has faith in his selections.

I will never be happy until we are delivering trophies on a regular basis and feel that with both Moyes and Bill Kenwright we have a far better chance than without. Hopefully at the end of May part one of that instalment wil be forthcoming.
Mike Jovic
23   Posted 11/05/2009 at 11:52:12

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That is a superb and in my opinion very accurate posting.

You certainly sum up my feelings very well.
Alan Clarke
24   Posted 11/05/2009 at 11:46:14

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I think it is fair to question some of Moyes?s tactics without being negative. For the majority of this season, Moyes has got it right. He can?t be blamed for everything when we don?t win ? for instance, Pienaar not holding the ball up in the corner in the dying minutes against Arsenal or Arteta?s stupid foul against Man U gifting them a pen.

One thing though is this not playing Vaughan. Re Gerard Harkin. Protecting Vaughan seems silly, the guy needs match practice before our biggest game in 14 years. Saha has shown he?s not up to it so who the hell else have we got to pin our hopes to? We know when Vaughan is fit and firing on all cylinders, he can be a real handful for the opposition defenders but he?s nowhere near firing on all cylinders whilst he?s being left on the bench.

I?m full of praise this year for Moyes, he?s doing what he said he?d do and that is maintain our league form whilst competing more in the cups. He never said we were going to win the league. But it always seems his own negativity is shown up in the home game against Tottenham for some reason. 2 seasons ago he got booed for it, last season was a drab 0-0 and that was repeated this season when he failed to attack a very defensive Spurs side. I hope Moyes realises we have to win the cup rather than just not lose it.
Tony Williams
25   Posted 11/05/2009 at 12:17:14

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Alan, not sure you can actually call a 3-5-2 that defensive. Once we worked out how to play against it after about 30 mins we were the better side, it?s just a pity that Baines had Hibbert?s boots on when crossing or the free kicks.
Mike Allison
26   Posted 11/05/2009 at 12:17:42

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Derek Wadeson, an excellent post sir, well said.

Derek Thomas, please try to enjoy yourself.
Terry Owen
27   Posted 11/05/2009 at 12:11:02

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Re Derek Thomas.

You must be ace to have a pint with.

A few things.

1) How is Kenwright responsible for the defeats to Blackburn and Portsmouth? Was he picking the team earlier on the season.?

2) Regardless of who was available at the time is complete and utter rubbish. Leighton Baines is clearly the best English left-back right now.

3) 20 points off United? Don’t know if you’ve noticed but we have a smallish squad which has lost key players throughout the season. United have a big squad and haven’t lost key players throughout the season.

4) Please don’t bother going to Wembley. Your incessant moaning will only ruin it for those nearby.

Nick Dommett
28   Posted 11/05/2009 at 12:57:24

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We are a good team. Not great but good, who on their day can be a match for anyone. This season I think has shown a number of positive and negatives things about the team, and Moyes as a manager.

For a start you can’t deny that under Moyes we have made progress: from being perennial relegation candidates we are now an established top 6 team. This season we have given the Sky 4 a run for their money in each and every game: the cup run is testimony to that. And the team spirit is second to none.

However Moyes still frustrates in many areas. His treatment of Baines, now one of the best performers, typifies this: out of the team until forced to play him and lo and behold Baines is great. His treatment of Osman needs no introduction here (although having seen Gosling in the last couple of matchs it starts to look a bit more understandable) as does his rather conservative tactics and tendency to go for ’hoofball’.

The basic fact is that over a long season we do not have the resources to compete especially when we lose the Yak (and Vaughan and Anichebe and Saha) and Arteta for large parts of the season. I think it is testimony to the club and the quality of the players that we are still 6th (with a shout of 5th) and in the cup final. If we win the cup then I would call this a great season: if we don’t then a slightly above one.
Terry Owen
29   Posted 11/05/2009 at 13:18:48

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Nick, what do you mean by ?his treatment of Baines??

Prior to nailing down his place in the starting XI this season, Baines had been either inconsistent or injured or both, meaning it made sense to have lescott at left-back as he?d already done a fine job there.

Moyes has now given an injury free Baines his chance and he?s been fantastic. It?s all about picking the right players for the right positions at the right time.
Steve Connor
30   Posted 11/05/2009 at 13:31:58

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On the subject of a sizeable proportion of evertonians being whingers and moaners (or expressing an alternative view as the powers that be on here would call it) the two arl fellas who sit next to me in the park end (pure Stadler & Waldorf) had a field day against Spurs. They did so much moaning that they actually ran out of things to complain about and turned their attentions to Yakubu’s lack of running!!! When it was pointed out to them that he was injured in November and has therefore not played for six months they were unrepentant. ’Good...he is a lazy bastard".

One of them then declared he had given up his season ticket for next year and wouldn’t be coming anymore. Priceless!!
Nick Dommett
31   Posted 11/05/2009 at 18:32:42

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Terry, what I mean is that Baines only go his chance because of an injury to Yobo forced Lescott inside and Baines to play at left-back. Yes I agree he had injuries but he was champing at the bit to play at that time, but didn?t. Now why was that?

It was only an injury that forced a move that has demonstratively improved our defensive and offensive play, not an inspired choice by Moyes.

Tbh I think this shows the pluses and minuses of Moyes approach: incredibly loyal to the guys in possession of the shirt (so probably helping create the wonderful team spirit we see) but extremely unwilling to make changes that would IMHO make the team better.
Derek Thomas
32   Posted 12/05/2009 at 00:13:29

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Mike Jovic et al: Nowhere did I say Moyes wasn?t the person for the job and as more rumours from the reliable scource Re Untd come out, I KNOW It will be very hard to replace him.

I said the poor start was alll down to him not helped by Blue Bill?s spoutings.

So for some to call it A FANTASTIC SEASON or even a very good season is way off the mark.

It will only be a Very Good Season WHEN the Cup is driving down Queens Drive.

If that for some reason does not come to pass, and I think it will, then all it will be is a fair to good season, some nice results along the way, some played in an entertaining manner, one in the eye for the rs and 2 days out at Wembley.

Moyes does well with what he has to work with, but that's his job, for which he is well paid.

As someone else said, If Moyes was given City?s money. We still wouldn?t get Henry?s Arsenal at their peak, we would get the Chelsea Mean Machine. Now thats ?good? 3rd is good, CL semi is ?good?.

But we?re all a bit schizo ? we want the result AND the School of Science to go with it.

I?ve seen just how good ?good? can be and I KNOW that 6th is still good(ish).

Too many people think deep down that 4th is beyond us and thus 5th or 6th is fine. It?s only good compared to 7th or 17th.

Good, Better, BEST; 3rd, 2nd, 1ST!
Steve Jones
33   Posted 12/05/2009 at 06:20:45

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Is it that you cannot see the leadership Moyes has put in to build a squad that can cope with losing its 20-goal striker in November and then its principal creative midfield talent a few short months later?.

Do you have any ability to look beyond immediate silverware-this-season-or-else and realise that, other than Man U, any other team in the land would be seriously dented if not crippled by the losses, in key positions, that we have endured and overcome.

Did you not notice the considerable dips in form suffered by Arsenal when they lost Fabregas or Chelsea when Essien was out etc?.

With a paucity of resource compared to those teams we have kept pace, more or less, with our performance last season. Win our last two matches and were back in the mid 60’s ish. Regardless of how the FA Cup final goes the effort the lads have put in has been nothing short of magnificent.

....and you want to label that commitment and strength as just merely acceptable?. After all they are paid, and paid well, to do their jobs aren’t they. Just like you say Moyes is!.

You may admire nothing short of relentless success and demand we strive on for higher and shinier bits of tin if you want. For me I’ll be just as proud of the lads, and cheer them on every bit as much, for the commitment they give to the club and each other.

Derek Thomas
34   Posted 13/05/2009 at 06:23:19

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One more time from the top, Nowhere did I bag Moyes, except to say that this is turning into another of his (and our) 50% seasons, but the fault this time was all his due to the fannying around pre-season, not like the others where the circumstances were mostly out of his control.

My main problem was with those who think 6th is FANTASTIC or GREAT or even VERY GOOD. 6th will only be good if it is topped off with a Cup Final win.

6th on it?s own is break even, no more.

Everybodys points Re Moyes are mostly true, not saying anything different. Forget that it?s Apples Vs Oranges.

6th is fair to good and nobody should be going over the top on it. End of.
Derek Thomas
35   Posted 13/05/2009 at 06:38:10

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I?ve just seem the post a couple up ?The next level?...

We are losing less against the top4 than we used to and if you include Villa in a top 5 we have actually WON 2 cup games against a top 5 team... This is a GREAT season, this is a truely FANTASTIC season, one for the ages, I am totally overcome with the scale of the triumph.

And the answer to your question is... yes I am.

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