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2009-10 — Our Last Chance

By Mike Oates :  13/04/2009 :  Comments (0) :
I think next season is crucial for Everton — why? because if we don’t qualify for the CL then I think Moyes will be off to Man Utd.

What has this season taught Moyes?

Moyes knows he screwed up this year will the dilly-dallying back in July to August when we lost our direction with not only our transfer policy but also allowing ourselves to be in the position of having only 4-5 fit first teamers in the month of August. Did he ever have the money available? Was he stuck with the problem of quality vs quantity? Whatever went wrong left him with only 4 first teamers available in July and early August, and a selection of Academy players, and goodnight Vienna to ever getting into the Top 4.

Moyes has also realised after Saturday’s game with Villa that for us or anyone else to enter that Top 4 elite it needs big big bucks, Villa’s £40m wasn’t enough and our £15m was paltry in comparison. I think its fair to say that Everton and Villa had already the nucleus of a good squads and the extra cash was to supplement those squads or slightly improve them. To break into the Top 4 needs big monies up front, enough to have a 1st team squad of at least 25 players, all capable of coming in and doing a steady Premier League job.

The monies need to be spent wisely on a good foundation — and therefore we can still say bye-bye to Man City, Spurs, West Ham, or whoever else might get a sugar daddy. What Villa faced this season was too many games (Premier League, FA Cup, Uefa Cup) with too few Premier League quality players — hence they hit the brick wall 2-3 months ago and the drop from a certain 4th place into a probable 5 or 6th — and that’s with £40m spent!!

We now in all probability face next year with a fixture list as long or longer with the new Europa Cup format as Villa’s this year BUT with the necessity to get and stay in the Top 4.

Moyes will realise also now that he faces the same problems as of last pre-season. He will be down by at least 12 players for the “normal” early July start – 7 of our players are playing World Cup qualifiers or in the case of Pienaar —– the Confed Cup up to mid June. The England U21s will also be in a tornament until late June (Vaughan?, Rodwell). We will almost certainly will be without Arteta, Yakubu and possibly Anichebe through injury, and no doubt someone else from the remaining games.

Once again, we’ll have a first-team pool of Hibbert, Neville, Osman and Gosling turning up on 1 July or whatever. So what is Moyes going to do, quality or quantity with his £15m?

Perhaps the biggest obstacles Moyes will face are:-

(i) How do you attract quality when we don’t pay quality wages? — even Robert Ecclestone recently said that the Top 4 are paying out £90m in wages against turnovers of £150 – 200m, whilst Everton are paying £40m against a turnover of £75m. (ii) The learning curve for Europe — we need to reach the last 4 in the Europa Cup and we also need to reach the last 8 in the CL (if we ever get there) to get the big monies and attract the big players. It's no coincidence that the last 8 teams in competition over the last few years come from a total of about 10 clubs. They know how to play and they keep the monies. We still have to learn...

How do Everton or Villa or whoever bridge the gap. The clubs will struggle but the better managers (Moyes, O’Neill) might get the chance through managing one of the current Top 4 clubs. I suspect both of them will give it another good shot next year but will be ready to move on if they fail to get a Top 4 place, they are both very ambitious and want to pit their wits against Europe’s best managers.

If Moyes goes — who next? Don’t know but he will start this whole 5- to 7-year cycle again building “his” new squad.

BIG season next year... Kirkby and all!!

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