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As good at it will get?

By James Boden :  25/03/2009 :  Comments (0) :

So having seen Saturday’s performance and the reaction from people on here, I thought it would perhaps be time for me to give my opinion of our manager, David Moyes, in detail.

Now for the first few years I will openly admit I quite liked Moyes. He seemed to be heading us in the right direction. Ok, he had several problems to deal with. Quite big to say the least. For a start, he took us over in 2001-02 when we were struggling to stay in the League. He managed to keep us in the Premier League.

Then, during Season 2002-03, he brought up a certain Wayne Rooney onto the big stage and was rewarded when the then 16-year-old scored a marvelous goal to end the original unbeaten run of that glorious Arsenal side. And we were so close to booking a European place in his first full season until it was cruelly snatched away from us by Blackburn Rovers in the final game that season. But there could be no denying Moyes's impact. And he was a deserved winner of the Manager of the Year.

However the next season, 2003-04, was to be far different. An over reliance on Rooney, together with the fact that we lost our final 4 games meant that we finished 17th. Was the previous season was just a fluke? I believe this was also when Moyes first made a major mistake — transfer dithering. If memory serves me right, up until Deadline Day he had signed just one player before quickly moving to seal the signings of a few others...

One of which was Nigel Martyn who not only is one of Moyes's successes but perhaps his best signing, possibly with the exception of a certain Tim Cahill. But more on Cahill later. The consistency of Martyn that season probably kept us afloat in the Premiership. However Moyes was about to face his toughest test.

That summer was to be dominated by boardroom unrest and the future of Wayne Rooney. Rooney’s breathtaking performances at Euro 2004 made us all feel so proud to be an Evertonian and he gave us some hope in an otherwise dire situation. That was until he kicked us right in the bullocks and handed in a transfer request with just days left of the transfer window before sealing a move to Manchester United on deadline day.

However, incredibly against all the odds, we finished 4th in the next season (2004-05), which included momentous wins over Liverpool, Man United and then Newcastle United, which sealed 4th spot and a position in the Champions League. While it must be said that the win over Man Utd was our best performance, the victory over Liverpool was our most satisfying. Our previous summer signing Tim Cahill had made a vital impact. He is still showing his quality to this day. Perhaps the biggest compliment of all that season though was that Real Madrid thought so highly of Thomas Gravesen’s performances that they signed him half-way through the season.

However the first few months of the next season (2005-06) were terrible and this is what put Moyes in my bad books. While he could be forgiven for the consequences that cost us a place in the European Cup group stages, the way we were humiliated in Bucharest was more than unacceptable — it was disgraceful. Couple that with the fact that we were bottom of the table come mid-October having won just once with just 1 goal, leaving us in a terrible situation.

Although we got out of this predicament and eventually finished 11th this was also our worst ever goal return with a pitfall 34. Andy Johnson was bought to solve this problem and if I am being brutally honest was not a massive success although he put himself in Everton folklore with 2 goals the day we beat Liverpool 3-0, the 2nd of which was a fitting way to humiliate them Gobshites on this glorious day. And indeed 2006-07 was to be a positive season as we finished 6th and James Vaughan seemed set to be our next great hope. However, injuries and Moyes's reluctance to play him has meant he still has unfulfilled potential.

The next season (2007-08) was to produce some exciting moments as we went on a great European run of 7 successive wins and threatened to finish 4th. However our penalty knockout to Fiorentina smashed us to pieces and the final 2 months were a power struggle to cement 5th spot. While we had done well we ultimately weren’t good enough in the end.

The bad thing was this struggle would be a sign of things to come in 2008-09. We had a tormentor’s first couple of months to this season as we didn’t sign anyone until almost the end of August and had to pack the bench full of kids. This while Moyes had a cobb on and was arsing about over a new contract while we were conceding goals left, right and centre and getting knocked out of two cup competitions at the first hurdle.

And just when it seemed things couldn’t possibly get worse... they did as we blew a 2-goal lead against the Geordie boys who were in an even worse state than us. At this I really feared that we were in for a serious struggle to stay in this league. Clueless tactics, crap football, no organisation, nothing positive at all.

And even though it might sound silly considering they are the reigning Kings of Europe, but never did I dread a game more than when we play United at Goodison. I thought this would destroy us for good. Thankfully a marvellous 2nd half turn-around got us a point. But, despite that performance, it wouldn’t convince Moyes to change his negative safety-first approach.

However, an awful performance at Wigan finally woke him up and the next game at Spurs was the start of a fantastic 3 months when we played the best football we have played in his 7 years in charge, which included fantastic cup wins over Liverpool and Aston Villa. However, that fatal injury to Arteta has wrecked our season I can assure you. As soon as the only player who could trap a ball got injured Moyes, resorted back to his usual. How many players in his time as manager have actually been good technically? I struggle to think of many at all.

And therein lies a problem, he in my opinion is far too negative and on three occasions in the summer, his dithering has almost cost us dear. Well actually it did — a 17th place finish, and 5 cup knockouts at 1st attempt out of 5 in the other 2 times proves that.

His loyalty towards certain players is so fucking irritating. That he hasn’t seen what a liability Osman is shows to me this is not a manager capable of taking us on to the next level. I’m sorry — say what you want about how he has stabilized the club with limited funds and got us into Europe for several years now... and while I can’t argue with some of his work, his tactics and negativity are certainly questionable.

Seven years... No trophies. And we're in just our second semi-final. Two out of three ventures into the Uefa Cup have ended at the 1st attempt and indeed on 8 occasions we have gone out of cup competitions at the 1st hurdle.

So is the guy really a genius? Some of you appear to throw tantrums if anyone should have the audacity to point out a fault in Moyes. In fact one person is even proclaiming us who agree with Tony Marsh as Marshites. Wonderful! I’m sure Tony must be so happy to have an unofficial fan club. I’m sorry to say but I think that if we don’t move forward next season then it may be time for Moyes to go.

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