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COLUMNIST JIM HOURIGAN

A Sad Indictment

By Jim Hourigan :  22/12/2008 :  Comments (0) :
Since last Saturday, I have sat uneasily after our performance at City. The result was a good one and the performance, particularly in the first half, was also creditable. Something however felt wrong – yes I jumped for joy when the goal went in, and then was the meat in the sandwich between the rival sets of morons as the whistle went. But that was not why I was uneasy and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Then I watched Albion and City on the box yesterday – 2 teams in the bottom 3 and a realisation of how bad both teams were dawned. City, particularly at the back are hopeless, Dunne showing all the signs of why he left and Richards looking anything but an international.

However that’s not my point, realising how bad they were made me recognise how utterly negatively we approached the City game. Please don’t give me all that shit about injuries, even under the darkest days of Walter, when we seemed to play with 7 centre half’s, at least 2 were always deployed as forwards. Now we hear comments from Moyes and Round about our 4-6-0 formation and holding it up as some kind of badge of honour – we played a game with no forwards and won !!!!

Step back and re-read that – Everton FC, this great and proud club went into a match against a team at the bottom end of the table, having won 1 in 8, with no forwards on the pitch and then celebrated the fact. Is that what football means to Moyes? Is that what the School of Science means? Nil Satis Nisi Optimum?

And before you bang on about no other choices there are always other choices. The young lad Jutkiewicz , who has played in the first team both with us and at Swindon was an option, Agard was an option, even playing VDM, who has played as an out and out forward in his career was an option. Whilst none of the above are exactly palatable they are surely better options than going into a match with no forwards. People remember when Arsenal and Chelsea first fielded teams with no Englishmen, this team of Moyes’ will go down as the first Everton team (in my knowledge) to set out for a competitive match without a forward.

Tonight we play Chelsea and at this stage I have no idea if Vic or Saha are fit, what I do know however, is that if both are unfit and we approach this match with a 4-6-0 formation we will see a very different outcome – their back 4 will not sit back and defend, they will raid down the flanks and Terry will become a bully as he has no one to make him defend.

What the formation also does is mask the inefficiencies of the midfield. Yes Cahill worked his socks off and eventually got his first goal of the season, Osman was able to look neat in his passing, but neither are worth their salt in a 4 man midfield. Felliani, Arteta and Piennar need a defensive minded player but Moyes either has no faith in Castillo or can’t see it – strange that most of the crowd can !!!! The midfield is unbalanced and playing 5 or now 6 masks that problem – which is Moyes’ making and no one else’s.

Injuries are a part of sport and Everton are not immune to them like every other club. What is different from club to club is how you respond and the response from Moyes and Round has for me truly shown how negative, dour and totally uninspiring they are as a coaching pair. We might have won a game but what have we done to the spirit and history of Everton Football Club? Kirkby is being cited as an anathema to our traditions and history, surely what Moyes is doing is equally as unacceptable – the end does not always justify the means in my book, but then perhaps I have been brought up in the Everton tradition and not the Moyes tradition!

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