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The Pinnacle of Despair

By Christine Foster :  23/10/2009 :  Comments (30) :

Last night I got up at 3am to witness the most embarrassing spectacle I have seen for nearly 30 years, and I have seen a few. It was the culmination of all that is wrong with the club, the team and yes, the manager. In one night we paid the price for bad financial management, a threadbare squad, poor transfer selections, poor tactical management and coaching and rank bad team management.

It was the pinnacle of despair for fans of this club.

For too long we have gotten away with it, rabbits pulled out of hats, grinding results out with uninspiring play. The oft bits of brilliance against clubs such as Bolton last year are but a distant memory. The one in a hundred.

Last night the team selection forced on Moyes because of injuries gave little hope, but the use of that team and the lack of change (not substitutions) even when the team were getting taken to the cleaners was unforgivable. No captain to lead, take charge and move the right players to nullify a threat, no.. he is your problem not mine..
Even the substitutions, taking Bily off to put on Saha… lord help us.. he was our best hope going forward. So Moyes takes him off! No one stood up to be counted last night, no one covered Gosling, but whatever (shades of FA Cup Final). The game for me personified all that is wrong at the club. I can’t take ANY solace out of ANYTHING last night.

Devoid of hope, lacking in basic ability, no leadership on or off the pitch, no passion, no pride, where was the manager, the senior players, who the hell got stuck in?

Moyes and Kenwright have nowhere to go with this club anymore. Make no mistake the shortcomings of the running of the club were seriously exposed last night, they didn’t get out of jail for once. The team is so depleted of spirit, leadership and tactics that they are rudderless in the premiership and sinking in Europe. Even with players coming back from serious injury we are only likely to see them get back to real form next season now or at best towards the end of the season if we are lucky.

Last night was a night when all the birds came home to roost, when Moyes was exposed and embarrassed tactically, when experienced players went missing, when the lack of a squad exposed the financial mismanagement of the club, when the isolation and sale of Lescott left us with Hibbert in the middle of defence, when Moyes gave up.

So if you ever read these pages, DM, go look in the mirror and remember Walter Smith. You can’t rest on you laurels and all the good you did before counts for little when such a soulless performance gives us the fans no hope or pride. Learn quickly or move on. Your Choice.

For Kenwright, where is he now? Backing the manager? Condemning the performance? Left wondering if the fallout will fall on him? The silence as always is deafening.

You can almost imagine the conversation between the two this morning:

BK: Hard luck lad, you did your best.

DM: I thought we played well in the first half but just unlucky in the second

BK: The youngsters will make the grade, don’t worry.

DM: Yes its all we have to hope for

BK: Oh its not too bad when we get the rest of the squad back we will be fine

DM: But it might be too late by then

BK: What do you mean too late?

DM: Well, we have had an easy run in the league so far and its not gone well, I think we have to be realistic

BK: What do you mean realistic? We can make the top six ok

DM: Er.. no I think we will be lucky to keep out of the bottom six actually

BK: What? That’s not what I want to hear, you know we need to attract investment and if your team is not doing well then its down to you and no one else

DM: Hang on a sec, I have backed you when you sold the legs out from under me, you made promises you haven’t kept and now you tell me its all down to me? You gave me no money so what do you expect?

BK: Of course I back you, as long as you're winning.

DM, exit stage left. Leaving BK centre stage holding the baby... as the bulldozers enter Goodison Park.

What’s left for the dynamic duo? A trail of despair and destruction on the road to yet another pinnacle of Despair, Kirkby?
That’s not homing pigeons coming home to roost, it’s the vultures who are looking for blood.

Reader Comments

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Phil Welsby
1   Posted 23/10/2009 at 15:10:06

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Touch melodramatic for me.

Just one point though — Billy was taken off due to an injury. I very much doubt that would have been Moyes’s ideal substitution either.
Anthony Newell
2   Posted 23/10/2009 at 15:04:54

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I said on here the other day that I felt a Bucharest coming on. That was not difficult to predict given that we have have little cratft in our whole squad. They had oodles of it. Bucharest is quite apt because I thought it was after that shocker that Moyes was meant to learn. The plain facts are these:

1) Moyes has had plenty of time to learn. How much longer do you need?

2) Moyes puts out the side and schools them in his brand of dour/defensive, negative shit. It drains the lifeblood out of everyone;

3) Moyes is responsible for transfers and has spunked a load of it on duffers in the past. Fellaini looks like joining this list. Moyes loves signing defensive minded players;

4) Whatever success we do achieve is eeked out on percentage football with little craft or ingenuity. Percentage football and hoofball just doesn’t cut it against the quality sides;

5) Moyes takes an eternity to adapt when everyone else is pointing out the damned obvious. Tactically, he’s about as dynamic as a double-decker bus doing a U-turn

6) We're stuck with Moyes and Kenwright. The best we can hope for is a white knight investor with a new broom.

To make matters worse, Moyes’s body language seems to be of someone who plainly isn’t bothered anymore and is happy to pick up the pay cheque. His general apathy following the Wolves & Stoke games and most recently last night is not compatible with a side of our tradition and stature.

I know season ticket holders who are wishing they hadn’t renewed. As I say, he’s draining the lifeblood out of everyone.

Jay Harris
3   Posted 23/10/2009 at 15:41:46

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Christine, eloquent as always and some very succint points.

I felt our future turned when for the second successive season we failed to generate funds after a fairly successful season.

Ultimately the need to sell to buy for what has been a threadbare squad for too many seasons is now proving to be our watershed.

Why when we had two Wembley appearances and a 5th place finish were the likes of Hull (who only just missed relegation) and Stoke able to fund purchases at the beginning of the transfer market and we weren't?

I get the feeling that Moyes has had enough of the BS from Billy and his buddies and is now trotting out reasons for failure rather than success.

I hate to say it but, if DK gets the nod, I feel that will be the final nail in EFC’s coffin.
Christine Foster
4   Posted 23/10/2009 at 15:52:42

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Alas Phil, I wrote the piece before it was known that Billy had come off injured, but it is scant consideration for the rest of the night and my comments are quite justified. Melodramatic? no, just angry.

Jay, last night for me said it all about the club, the future and the fact that we are playing like a second rate championship side. I hold grave fears that unless fingers are pulled we could be in a mess. The prospect of that and Kirkby is just too much.
David Bryant
5   Posted 23/10/2009 at 16:02:14

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I can of course, understand disappointment — even some anger as an immediate reaction — but please get real.

Just reflect on the patched up team and give some credit to Benfica, who have flair and goals in their 1st eleven. On reflection it was no great surprise that we struggled to compete. The scoreline was embarrassing but when we have to send out a combination of youthful inexperience and play the only few seniors players in unfamilar roles/positions it is not althogether surprising that heads go down after a wretched 7 minutes of Keystone defending.

Christine — I think you’re over reacting and in the quiet light of day perhaps your anger will moderate. How will you feel when we do the business at GP? Will your observations still be valid.

What if we go on to top Group I? Will you share the pride in a good team performance?

My only concerns are :-

1. The defeat will effect team morale and resurface at the Reebok.

2. We still won’t have anything like our best eleven ready for Bonfire Night.

Right now EFC needs "supporters" to really get behind the manager and squad.

Christine — leave the vitriol to the usual suspects who pose so eloquently as "FANS".
Dave Richman
6   Posted 23/10/2009 at 16:10:27

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Christine..... well said (apart from the Bily thing but never mind that).

Prepare for the backlash from the apologists though!
Brian Noble
7   Posted 23/10/2009 at 16:25:57

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I spent a bit of time this morning drafting a piece on such similar lines to this that it would seem pure repetition to submit it!

Suffice to say that the chickens are coming home to roost, indeed. For all that Moyes is portrayed as a victim in this situation, he is by no means blameless. He takes his money and is prepared to go along with the way the chairman plays it. Only when it looked like he might be denied his obscene salary demands did he get a bit hissy.

I don’t share Marshy’s view that he’s a hopeless manager — the facts show that he has his merits — but he is one-dimensional, obsessed with defence, and is totally devoid of the tactical acumen to win one-off games and/or spring surprises against the ’big boys’.

Last night was just waiting to happen and with 9,10 or was it 11 players unavailable we could hardly have expected a win. But his approach to the game stank and the performances of Fellaini, Jo and Gosling in particular showed how lacking in quality we really are.

No doubt the man’s apologists will blame it all on Kenwright. Like Christine, I feel the blame should be aportioned between them.

Damian Kelly
8   Posted 23/10/2009 at 16:41:44

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Nicely written article but I take issue with one of your early statements

"It was the pinnacle of despair for fans of this club"

Speak for yourself rather than fans of the club. For me it was just the "foothills of irritation" - it doesn't even register compared to how I felt when we were 2-0 down to Wimbledon...
Brian Waring
9   Posted 23/10/2009 at 17:20:02

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David " The only few senior players " Would that be the 8 senior players David?
Howard, Hibbert, Cahill, Fellaini, Jo, the yak, Distin, Bily, you could throw Saha in as well. Hardly a few.
Also, Rodwell and Gosling have had some premiership experience, and aren’t they supposed to be part of the ’ best squad in years ’ ?

The way some of you are going on, you would think Moyes only had the reserve and youth teams to pick from.

There is one thing I find quite sad in this hammering, is that we have so many fans who are just willing to sweep it under the carpet, and put it down to, just one of those things.

Phil Bellis
10   Posted 23/10/2009 at 17:28:59

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Ah well....which ex-Blue said that after leaving Everton "losing still hurt, but it didn’t hurt as much"?
Are some of us beginning to feel that way, now? Inured to the awful style of play and the way some fans appear to accept it ’cos we used to be worse’?
The sad thing, for me, is I’ve seen the team play really good stuff on occasion; what or who stops them expressing themselves as we know they can? I fully agree with Tony Marsh that you you don’t need £25 million or "investment’ to pass to a team-mate

As for tactics, I’ve never played in or watched any team that had everyone in their own area when defending a corner When I played, we stood our fastest man ready on half-way waiting for the clearance; always, this made the opposition leave at least 1 defender to mark him.
I know in the big scheme of the way Everton play, this is a niggle but what do I know?
Is it just me? have tactics evolved beyond the bleedin’ obvious? but why does Moyesey pull them all back?
Ajay Timothy
11   Posted 23/10/2009 at 17:57:02

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It really is a sad state of affairs when the 5 - 0 scoreline doesnt affect me the way the 3 - 0 against Tranmere, 5 - 1 against Bucharest, 7 -0 and 6 - 1 against Arsenal, has in the past..

I am looking at the Spurs game in particular with trepidation as I feel we will be even more exposed in that game.

Once in awhile the Blues do surprise us for the better. Those days however are becoming few and far between.
Mick Gallagher
12   Posted 23/10/2009 at 19:03:28

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What does my head in is the midfield and forwards should have created more. There was only one player without 1st team experience, so all this about a makeshift team is utter crap.
David Bryant
13   Posted 23/10/2009 at 18:57:49

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Brian Waring
It is ofcourse, a game of opinions but........... given the pick of a full, fit squad (some day soon maybe) only Howard, Distin, Cahill and Yak would make it to the starting eleven. Rodwell will make it soon but only a sub this season.

With the starting 11 last night it would be unreasonable to expect even the so called "senior" players to perform upto their best with less able players around them.

Even the greatest players of yesteryear always needed good players around them.

The unprecedented injury crisis is certainly the worst I can recall in 40 years of following the blues.

Moyes has assembled a decent squad (with limited resources) and has made precious few errors in the transfer market. It really sickens me to read of all the negative comments.

"A Moyes Apologist" Yes, maybe but the manner in which that comment is levelled at supporters like me suggests it’s some sort of unpleasant disease.

I want the best for EFC just like everyone else and I happen to believe that we now have as good a manager as we’re ever likely to get.

Careful what you wish for guys.
Richard Osborne
14   Posted 23/10/2009 at 19:42:36

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Christine - A well written article but I agree with the other guys who say it is a little melodramatic. Believe me, we are nowhere near the ’pinnacle’ of despair....yet!

David Bryant - Completely agree mate, although I also agree that David Moyes will not be able to hide behind the injured players/ team in transition/ no money to spend, excuses forever.

It is true that without so many first-teamers, the game was always going to be difficult. However, as far as I can see, the only creative players we were missing were Arteta and Pienaar.

Moyes has to take criticism for the fact that these two are the ONLY creative players at the club. The rest, Cahill and Fellaini included are desperately off form. Fellaini in particular needs to leave the club. I know he’s only 21 and shouldn’t take the brunt of the blame but the guy simply is not a footballer, he doesn’t move like one, he doesn’t look like one and he certainly does not perform like one! 21 or not, he is nowhere near good enough.

Moyes HAS had money. However, he chose to buy a (as far as I can see) carbon copy of Tony Hibbert, in Heitinga and a winger with no pace. Go figure.

Hopefully I will be proved wrong but not many of Moyes signings have been ’leopards changing their spots’. They have either started well and continued to be successful or they have been awful and continued that way. Jagielka may be the exception.

I agree, Moyes is the best we can get at the moment and I wopuld not even contemplate replacing him but if Moyes is as self critical as he suggests, he must be regretting the day he ever laid eyes on the likes of Fellaini and he simply must put our limited resources to better use.
Alan Kirwin
15   Posted 23/10/2009 at 19:52:27

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This is, unarguably, the best squad we have had for 25 years. Possibly even longer, given how thin squads were back in the 80’s.

But that counts for nothing when a whole team of the buggers are unavailable. The idea that this utterly preposterous misfortune had nothing to do with last night’s result is fatuous at best.

Eloquence does not equal accurate or even reasonable. Nobody likes to get tanked. But given the full context, and the fact that we will almost certainly qualify from this group, makes Christine’s article melodramatic in the extreme.

I’m gobsmacked at the number of misguided souls who are posting today with claims of "wrst night of my life", "biggest embarassment in our history" and other such melodramatic claptrap. Have these people forgotten our countless flirts with relegation in many years prior to Moyes’ arrival.

I can just imagine the conversation 10 years ago when we dreamt of 40 points (by May!!) and the idea of getting pissed off because we’d just lost our first game in 8 and 1st European game out of 5, with 11 first teamers missing. It would have been fantasy because we were shite!!

I can still vividly recall how I felt in the Bullens Rd paddock against Wimbledon in May 1994. We were going down, some say deservedly.

Most embarassing spectacle for 30 years? Yeah, sure. Take me back to the pre Moyes years, and even the pre Kenwright years. Now they really were halcyon days, wouldn’t you agree?

Dream on.

Paul Conatzer
16   Posted 23/10/2009 at 20:35:39

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Yesterday was bad and to be honest, we haven’t played well the past four of outings. However, the worst for me, has to be that 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Rush and those SOBs at Goodison. I was there for every agonizing minute of it. Has there been a player we wanted to forget quicker than Glen Keeley?
Ray Kelly
17   Posted 23/10/2009 at 20:12:41

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Got home this afternoon from Benfica, what a humiliation.

Christine, you're spot on, there was no leadership on or off the pitch. The senior players should've lead by example but they were the biggest culprits. Not once during the game did I see captain Cahill try and rally his players, he slunk around feeling sorry for himself and had a nightmare, leaving Gosling to get slaughtered down that wing.

Meantime, Moyes sat in the dugout in his nice suit and did nothing as Benfica sent everything down that wing... how he couldn't see that he needed to move Rodwell back to centre-back and push Hibbert out to full back just drives me mad. DM didn't get out to his technical area and shout any instructions, he just sat there and watched us crumble and didn't know how to react.He obviously wrote the game off before we started, but to make no attempt to address the leak down our right was dereliction of duty.

Fellaini was abysmal,what a waste of €15 million, Tim Howard was also culpable, he makes too many mistakes for me. How anyone can come on here and try to make excuses for that shambles makes me want to weep. Yes, we were decimated by injuries but for DM to sit there and do nothing as goal after goal is conceded from attacks through the same area is disgraceful. Another record low to add to Moyes list of club worst-evers.

Dave Jeanrenaud
18   Posted 23/10/2009 at 20:53:53

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Well said Alan Kirwin. Thank christ there are some Evertonians out there with a tad of common sense.

The knee-jerking from some on here is frankly pathetic. Yes we got stuffed 5-0 and no that is not acceptable. Understandable however? You bet.

What did you really expect when we took to the field with a backline of Gosling, Hibbert, Distin and Coleman. A clean sheet? Get real. Quality opposition will expose a makeshift back line like that time after time.

By my reckoning through injury or ineligibilty we were shorn of Neill, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines, Anichebe, Neville, Arteta, Osman, Pienaar and Vaughan. That’s a whole team near enough right there and at least 5 would be in any of your first choice XI.

It is bloody frustrating watching Everton at the moment but there are reasons for our poor form and the absence of at least one of Arteta and Pienaar is paramount.

Some of you need to get a grip.
Martin Mason
19   Posted 23/10/2009 at 21:11:00

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Today's squad may laughably be better than we’ve had for 25 years which includes a period when we won 2 championships and squads weren’t invented but the team is a parody of the best we’ve had in 25 years. I disagree that the current team is any better than anything we saw in the bad days of Walker and Smith.

For me they are equally devoid of talent but simply harder working and better organised. I believe that the problem is not just that Everton are shite but that modern Premier League football is shite.

Christine Foster
20   Posted 23/10/2009 at 23:17:27

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I am sure there are many amongst us who just see this result as unfortunate but given the circumstances, to be expected. It appalls me to hear those who say, "get real", "get a grip", "Dream on"

Wake up and look what's in front of you. It wasn’t JUST a poor display. It was a display devoid of leadership on and off the pitch. A night when Moyes limited tactical ability as a manager was exposed yet again. A night when you looked at the subs bench and understood that he really is short of 5 or 6 players for the squad (his words, not mine) at the beginning of the season. No money from investment or anyone else ( but ringfenced money for Kirkby) so the team becomes an embarrassment.

The article is critical of both the management of the club financially and as a result now on the feild too. The resignation and acceptance of the defeat is an embarrassment to see and hear, but then I am not real am I and I need to get a grip, stop being melodramatic.

I might when I stop being so angry at the acceptance of the manager and some of the fans that its all ok and when we get all our players back everything will be ok. It won’t be this season

I wrote an article on here a year or so back entitled "Be careful what you wish for"... Right now I wish I had a broom and a manager with a vision!

So I will finish with this:

Was it acceptable the manner of that defeat?

Were the tacticis used good but just poorly executed?

Was there leadership on and off the pitch?

I will dream on, Mr Kirwin, for hope is better to have than paucity of what is served to us as being acceptable to this club.

To simply state that this is were we are is defeatist and things will never change. It's not realism to accept being done and not to demand change. Under the present leadership, on and off the pitch, the club has now ground to a halt. They have reached a pinnacle of their expectation. Thats why its despair in my view.
Phil Bellis
21   Posted 24/10/2009 at 00:54:27

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Alan Kirwin,
Like you, I’d love to be taken back to the pre Moyes years - how far back would you like to go?
FIFA World Team of The Year, 1985?
"What a fantastic goal from Graeme Sharp"
"Bracewell, oh my word, he’s picked out Trevor Steven"
"Labone, Wilson, to Ball, on to Kendall, out to Morrissey, now Harvey, through to Husband....goal!!!!, number 4"
Fully agree Alan, halycon days indeed
Stephen Graham
22   Posted 24/10/2009 at 03:27:17

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Spot on, Christine. I raised my similar concerns regarding leadership on and off the field in another thread only to be mocked.

The other point that I touched on was the state of things at the club. There is something going on with Moyes that I can’t quite nail, not surrendered but something in that direction as if he is saying to himself "Let the cards fall where they will ...".

I became more suspicious of his mindset on reading Lescott’s article in which he talks of his isolation at the club once Moyes had decided his attitude was bad. Now, I’m not defending Lescott, but we know it must be fairly accurate since Moyes isn’t suing him. Consider the outcome of that escapade for the other players, not only seeing your friend and colleague humiliated in front of the whole club but wondering if (when?) it could happen to someone else. Moyes may have made an example of Lescott but did he gain or lose the support of the rest? He may be ’respected’ but is he liked? I’m betting some players were less than impressed and that has to affect form.

Then there are always the sycophants.
John Andrews
23   Posted 24/10/2009 at 09:48:39

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I agree with Ray Kelly. It was as plain as the nose on your face that something was amiss from the outset. Hibbert at centre back FFS! From the moment I saw the team, I knew we were in for a hammering.

Ray is absolutely correct. We should have moved Rodwell to centre-back and put Hibbert to right-back. I now despair of even getting into the top 10 let alone the top four!

Steve Pugh
24   Posted 24/10/2009 at 09:52:34

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Stephen, with the whole Lescott thing, didn’t he have problems with teammates, the flair-up with Hibbo as an example, before he was isolated by Moyes. Somehow he forgot to mention that in his interview.
Brian Waring
25   Posted 24/10/2009 at 09:49:00

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Christine, some on here just can’t see past the end of their nose. I can see, along with many others, the point your trying to get accross, but these fans can’t, and never will.

One thing I won’t accept is a 5 - 0 hammering, we still had a mainly experienced team out there, but it was as if Moyes and the players had already chalked this one down to a defeat before the game had even started, sad really.

I’m just glad there is still plenty of us around who won’t hide behind excuses for a gutless and totally inept display from an Everton manager, and team.
Tony Williams
26   Posted 24/10/2009 at 11:33:09

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"Christine, some on here just can’t see past the end of their nose. I can see, along with many others the point your trying to get accross, but these fans can’t, and never will."

Oh the irony of that statement is just so unbelievable.
Damian Kelly
27   Posted 24/10/2009 at 11:48:20

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Was it acceptable the manner of that defeat? Absolutely not.

Were the tactics used good but just poorly executed? Hard to tell what the underlying tactics were, the execution was so poor.

Was there leadership on and off the pitch? Didn't appear to be any evidence of it.

Perfectly valid questions well articulated — see, we’re really not that far apart.

I’m not a "sycophant" or unable to "see the end of my nose". I just don't accept your starting premise that this is the pinnacle of despair. The fact that I reject your hyperbole and absolutes doesn't on any level imply that I am resigned to or accepting of mediocrity.
Stephen Graham
28   Posted 24/10/2009 at 16:29:34

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For the sake of clarity I wouldn’t call ANY Everton supporter a sycophant, ever (in the context of supporting the Blues). I was referring, rather more loosely, to those players who always find favour with Moyes.
Damian Kelly
29   Posted 24/10/2009 at 16:57:50

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Stephen - thanks for correcting me - I’d forgotten the context but the word had stuck in my mind - sorry
Christine Foster
30   Posted 25/10/2009 at 11:25:15

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Just a little followup to a comment on another thread thats really important to remember.
its accepted that approx 7000 made the journey to Lisbon. Airfares, tickets, accommodation, food etc.. roughly 250 quid per head gets close to 2 Million Pounds.

Thats a heck of a price topay for what was served up. The club should repay every penny..

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