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COLUMNIST JIM HOURIGAN

Fundamental Flaws

By Jim Hourigan :  16/08/2009 :  Comments (11) :

Others will no doubt talk in more detail about yesterday's shameful and pathetic performance but let me talk about three issues that I believe are as disturbing as yesterday's disgrace.

Firstly, the paucity of the squad in two key areas. Defensively we have entered the new Premier League season with NO defensive cover (apart from Neville). David Moyes has allowed both back-up full backs to leave and with Jagielka out until probably Christmas... no central defensive cover either.

Yesterday’s pathetic performance from all of the back four might have been a catastrophic ‘blip’ but the general body language of Lescott and his mates was worrying. I don’t want him to leave but, after yesterday’s performance, Hughes will be licking his lips. Moyes cannot allow that to happen again so talk of the price increasing might actually have backfired. But whoever we get to replace him will be at top dollar and probably nowhere near as good.

Midfield is equally bereft and lacking quality in depth. Apart from Pienaar, none of yesterday's starting players showed the ability to match what was effectively the poorest Arsenal midfield in years. We have no genuine width and little if any creativity. Arteta will return (soon I hope), but to place all out attacking and creative options on a player coming back from a serious injury is both folly and reckless.

We all see the problems with Osman and Neville and their inability to play in midfield against all but the poorest of oppositions, but there are problems with Cahill and Fellaini too in different ways. We may have some options with Rodwell and Gosling but are they genuinely the type of back up for a long hard season?

Secondly the tactics. Yesterday we adopted the usual defensive 4-5-1 set up, at home, for the first game of the season, with only one real tactic – hit it long and high to Fellaini or Jo and hope for a flick-on. Or put another way, defend and wait for a set piece and see if we can pinch a goal. Where is the tactical nous in that? Moyes and his tactics are no further on than they were 4 years ago.

And then his substitutions – why wait until we are 4 or 5 goals down to make a change? And then all he did was change the players and not the tactics. Yes the game was lost by half-time, so what did he achieve by sending out the same players playing in the same way for the second half? I assume he wanted more fight and spirit out of them – well that really worked!!!

Tactically, we were inept and once more, for me, we saw the very limited and one-dimensional thinking that is a trademark of David Moyes. He is clearly aware that Osman and Hibbert are not good enough — he substituted both in the Cup Final and again yesterday, so he knows they can’t hack it against all but the weakest sides — so why does he persist in playing them and why has he not got any replacements? How can he expect the right hand side of the team to function when it is made up of two of the poorest players? What are his tactics down the right? Does he have any or does he rely on Baines and Pienaar down the left and chooses to ‘ignore’ the right hand side?

Thirdly, the future. Yesterday’s result will send us in one of two directions: a season of struggle and grief, knocked out of the Cups early, and making little progress in the league; or it will rally the troops and we will see a different attitude. I genuinely suspect (and pray) it will be the latter but that will only mask the frailties of our future.

If its true that we lost the lads from Sheffield Utd because we refused to pay up-front, as opposed to Spurs who were willing to do so, then that does not bode well. If all we can look forward to is Bosmans and loans, that that is also worrying. If we can only buy once Lescott has been sold, then that is disgraceful.

The Board and the Chairman are so far out of their depth financially that we are in great danger of falling behind the ‘also-rans’ like Sunderland and Fulham — let alone Villa, Spurs and others. Staying at Goodiosn Park will patently not improve that situation and moving to Kirkby might not either, but that is not my point.

Kenwright does not want to sell the club; he wants somebody to invest their millions but allow him to continue running it. How many morons are there in the world that would do that? And does Kenwright seriously think he can find one!

We all know the club is financially strapped but allowing BK and his cronies to stay in charge might ensure we don’t go to the wall but it will not take us forward and we will fall further and further behind. For all his protestations and his genuine love of Everton, Kenwright is no longer able or capable of taking us forward.

With him at the helm we may get some sympathetic other supporters who applaud his love of Everton, but deep down we all know we’d rather have someone with less of a blue heart but the money to allow us to genuinely compete.

David Moyes will not rock the boat either; he might make the odd cryptic comment about the lack of funds but in reality he’s on one hell of a good screw and he knows it. Even if we begin to go backwards, he knows he can: a) point to the lack of investment; b) get one hell of a payoff if he’s ever sacked; and c) will get another job because of his work in getting us to 5th on a shoestring.

All this from one game, some might say. For me, yesterday was merely symptomatic of the problems that exist. We have stood still once again, as we did when we came 4th; this summer was the opportunity to make amends for the accepted failure that year... and we have just repeated our errors.

The manager, chairman and board are culpable once again but it's us, the fans, who will suffer.

Reader Comments

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Ciarán McGlone
1   Posted 16/08/2009 at 15:37:31

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At least Osman was substituted yesterday - Last season he was rarely removed during one of his trademark brutal performances...in a way, that’s progress?

His replacement however, wasn’t much better..and that’s the problem - our first teams laks so much quality that Osman, Cahill and Neville our automatic picks. And Moyes despite his claim of being ’demented’ has so far done sweet FA about it...apart from tell us all how wonderful Bill is...

No davey, he’s not wonderful - he’s a vey naughty boy..
David Hallwood
2   Posted 16/08/2009 at 15:55:20

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DM got the tactics wrong and all the players had a mare. From what I could see, the tactic was hoof it to Jo & Fellani and the other midfielders to win the 2nd ball, if it went to an arse player, then we press them to get the ball back because we all know to quote Cpl Jones, the Arse don’t like it up ’em.

Except it was the Arse that was closing the ball down and when they got it using it, now our Davey must’ve seen what was happening and still persevered untill it was too late. Was it Wellington that said "They came at us in the same old way, and we beat them in the same old way."

Neil Vaughan
3   Posted 16/08/2009 at 16:30:32

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Totally agree about Hibbert & Osman and have been saying so for a long time...What does the manager see in these two that 38000 others dont...please tell me.

...and whilst we’re talking of SHITE can somebody please explain what that Jo is all about...Centre forward my fucking arse....he is fucking hopeless
Midway in the first half yesterday he was faced with a one on one with their centre back about 15yrds outside the area...what did this fool do...run toward the corner flag away from the goal...that’s what...FUCKIN GARBAGE....Man Shitteh have taken the piss out of us on more than one occassion this summer by off-loading this useless twat on us...His nickname with the Shitteh fans last season was JOKE...!! well he more than lived up to it yesterday ( and not for the first time).

It’s time for alot of people on this site to wake up and smell the coffee and it’s time for Bill KENWRONG to put up or FUCK OFF...we need quality additions and we need them now.

How a team which finshes 4 of the last 5 seasons in the top six, 3 of which in the top 5 can still have no money is beyond me...but there are still people who defend his total management of our beloved club.

To fail to capitalise on improvement once (2005) could be called naivity...to do it twice (2008) is crass stupidity but to do it three times (2009) is downright NEGLECT.

Would love to see that list of transfer targets that made him go "...WOW..."...you all saw and heard him just before the FA Cup Final....well where the fuck are they....??

Everyone is slagging Lescott but dont kid yourselves... if we fail to improve on last season this time around then it wont belong before Arteta, Yakubu, Cahill & Piennar etc are shipping out..and who could blame them.They (the team) have pulled their tripes out for the last 5 seasons only to be let down every pre-season by an incompetant Chairman and Board of Directors.

I really felt for Moyes yesterday ( and I have never been his biggest fan) but you could see the pain of that display in his face...but not on mine because I knew it was going to happen...as I told everyone who sits around me when asked for a prediction on the game...my reply..." We’ll get twatted..." and so it came to be....If I can see it why cant they ??

It’s not that he can’t sell the club...HE JUST DOESN’T WANT TOO...and if you believe otherwise then you are seriously deluded...Even Notts County can find investment but not Billy Bullshit...no wonder he’s been like the invisible man since May...must have mislaid the "wow" list eh Bill...

I’m fed up at being let down by Kenwong and his cronies year after year and then people making pitiful excuses for them..the time has come for them all to deliver or FUCK OFF ...and take Hibbert, Osman & Jo with them !!
Ciarán McGlone
4   Posted 16/08/2009 at 16:34:40

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Interesting cover on the official site... Osman in the pink top... with the strap line — ’Flash Of Brilliance’

Wrong on so many levels.
John Brennan
5   Posted 16/08/2009 at 18:15:23

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Neil
Just a point about Jo — he isn't a lone striker but Moyes frequently asks him to play up on his own. I am hoping that when Yakubu comes back, he will play with him and we might see a bit more from him. Perhaps he just isnt suited to English football but Moyes deploys him in a futile position and he barely figures in a game.

As usual, Moyes seemed scared of Arsenal and was too defensive minded, fat lot of good that did. As others often say, he is no tactician. I don't think much of Gosling either he seems pretty ordinary, much like Osman and Hibbert. Let Lescott go and do some spending on the usual positions that have already been highlighted many times by posters on here.

James Boden
6   Posted 16/08/2009 at 18:22:03

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Spot on Jim with everything. Enough said!
David Woolrich
7   Posted 16/08/2009 at 20:46:44

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Let’s be realistic. Kenwright appointed Moyes and everyone agrees that he has done a great job. One hiding does not mean we should panic.

Kenwright did not come up with the Premier League or the Champions League — these are the competitions which are ruining our great game. How do you compete with four clubs making £30 million quid more than you every year?

Where we are hopeless is in negotiating for players. Moyes is a ditherer in the transfer market. Would Hunt, who signed for Hull, improve our team? YES! Would Ryan Taylor improve our right back spot? YES! Can we have a season with four competitions and do well with about fourteen good players and a few kids? NO!

We need to speculate to accumulate and buy some players.

Gareth Atkinson
8   Posted 16/08/2009 at 22:06:29

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Great shout by Neil Vaughan, I remember the Jo incident you mention, I nearly fucking walked out when he gave it away in that position, for there 4th goal Van Persie had it in exactly the same position and we know what happened next, the difference in class was embarrassing as it was in the cup final.

Break into the top four? don’t make me laugh, if these two previous games are anything to go by, we're light-years away from them and if lovey Bill doesn’t fuck off or put up some money (preferably fuck off) then we will never get near them, not only that but let other clubs overtake us as well.

Paul Joy
9   Posted 17/08/2009 at 12:18:25

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Spot on Jim - 100% agreement
Paul Newham
10   Posted 18/08/2009 at 10:23:28

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The usual reactionary garbage. One bad defeat and we’re suddenly a stagnant, under-ambitious club with a squad full of donkeys and a clueless manager. i’m guessing you have probably just cut and pasted more or less the same article you posted after the opening day defeat to Arsenal in 04-05, after the Bucharest debacle, after last season’s opener to Blackburn and after the Euro exit to Liege?

I get so, so bored of hearing Everton fans whinge like spoilt brats at every set back. You say we’re a club that has failed to progress — I’m sorry, but what more do you want, ten years ago we were fighting relegation every season, now we are in Europe every season and, Saturday’s nightmare notwithstanding, are getting better every season. You also effectively say you would rather trade the last seven years in to become the next Man City, meaning you put more stock in hype and cash being splashed about than you do in pride, passion and commitment, the things I love about our football club.

I’m as angry as anyone about Saturday’s result, I also know that our squad isn’t the finished article by a long shot and our finances are an ongoing concern. But I expect a response and another good season — how long before ’papering over the cracks’ actually becomes achievement in your book?
Alan Kirwin
11   Posted 19/08/2009 at 21:31:13

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We seem to have set a pattern under DM for starting the season poorly. However well we have tended to pick up in recent years, that’s no excuse for what happened on Saturday, or indeed in 6 of the last 8 seasons if I’m not mistaken.

It does always seem that we’re never quite ready for the season. We have the obvious lack of transfer activity until some money comes in a week before teh window closes, but whilst I’m pleased to defend Moyes overall stewardship based on what he has to work with, this doesn’t exclude his (short) list of failings, one being obduracy & inflexibility.

Given the complete pasting that our right side took at Wembley before 500 million people, it’s surprising that he simply persisted with Osman & Hibbert when he could have been more forward thinking. We do have players that hold their own against most of the EPL & these 2 are amongst them. But they have both been at the head of the queue for unsuitability against top, good or clever teams. Sure, keep them in the squad, and use them against Stoke, Hull etc. But keep a perspective.

Saturday can’t be a watershed because, in all honesty, we have little choice but to carry on as we are. if we turn things around immediately and hit a winning run then Saturday can be quickly forgotten. But somehow I fear that may not happen. To be fair, it’s a long long time since I witnessed an Evertin side so utterly abject in every way. Pass & move gave way to welly & watch. It should be pointed out that Arsenal were a) missing a lot of players and b) didn’t really play as well as they can. They were 3rd gear at most. We really were that bad.

The platform for all our success under Moyes, defense, is now potentially our undoing. What was last season the 2d best central defense in the EPL (ar worst) is now done asunder. Jagielka out till Xmas, Lescott off and Yobo off in January to that stupid ANC nonsense (along with Pienaar). Fuck only knows how we’ll move on from there. If I saw Gary Cahill’s name being linked then we’d have reasons to be cheerful. But somehow I don’t expect it.

We will pick up, of that there’s no doubt. But I hope the self analysis hits home with DM too. His personal behaviour screwed us at the start of last season. He now has two things to put right. One is the team spirit and indomitable spirit of which we are renowned. Second is a move towards a more expansive, attractive and, ultimately, more successful way of playing.

Shit happens. The weak get all pissy wissy and start throwing blame around. The strong re-focus and, after a brief fist fight, fix it and get back to work.

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