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Turning Point

By Mike Oates :  12/12/2009 :  Comments (11) :
We all keep harping on about “Turning Point”, the Wigan, the Man Utd games etc in the past, and then soon we’ll be flying up the league etc. But what happens if you look on the other side of the coin and actually this season is the negative turning point for the club.

I’ll restrict the article to on-the-pitch affairs as I could write a book on the problems off the field.

I feel distinctively negative about the current seriously injured players, Arteta, Jags, Anichebe, Vaughan and possibly Neville ever reaching the true potential again. What is clear is that we will probably not get to that level of performance this season that they reached last year and here I’m specifically relating to Arteta, Jags and Anichebe. Vaughan I’m afraid has missed it completely and I think if and when he returns it wont be with us, but probably Derby or Bolton or whoever else will take him.

I don’t think that the other 4 players will be back until February/March and it will take 2-3 months to get fit and playing at an effective level again – just look at Yakubu at the moment.

Taking this into account and also noting that we will be loosing Yobo and Yakubu to the ANC (and to be fair this is no great loss the way they are playing at the moment but they are bodies we will not be able to call upon as subs or whatever in Jan/Feb), means that we will be relying on effectively about 13 seniors and 4-5 kids again for the next 2-3 months plus any loans or transfers Moyes can call upon in January.

This scenario doesn’t actually give any sort of optimistic future but gives the future of toil and strife and survival, and the constant worry that over-playing the seniors will give rise to further injuries. If we are still struggling at the bottom would you want to use unfit lads? Yobo vs Spurs! Distin vs Athens!

We could certainly end up in a Catch 22 position where we know we need to get our better players match fit but cant actually afford to use all of them due to the need to get results. Depending on how we are at the time Moyes might even call it time on the players for this season and just make sure they are fit and ready for the 2010-11 season.

I believe that two key players, Pinnear and Saha wont commit themselves to the club at the moment – they wont leave in January due to forthcoming World Cup. They wont want the upheaval, but they will wait to see how the season pans out and what type of squad we have in May next year. Pienaar might even have the World at his feet come July and could easily select a CL club for his next few years.

What Moyes has done since he has been here is to slowly but slowly build his squad up to a very competent level, one certainly capable of cementing a European slot and with a few more quality additions one which might even challenge the Top 4, but for whatever reasons/bad luck the injuries we have sustained this year to our top performers could possibly be leaving Moyes’s squad decimated for the following season. Players not returning at the level required or by players leaving by choice knowing that the dream of trophies, CL football wont be attained at Everton over the next few seaons.

Reader Comments

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Richard Murray
1   Posted 12/12/2009 at 17:09:07

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Funny enough, it seems a bit like the first half against Hull may be a turning point this season.

We’ve looked much more gritty and determined since then. With a good fixture run over Christmas and the cavalry arriving in the new year, this season can still be saved!
Gavin Ramejkis
2   Posted 12/12/2009 at 17:04:54

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We’ve definitely got a "turning point" in the defence this season, keystone cops special again today, fortunately so did Chelski. Whilst I am happy with a point today, we need to start getting three at a time and climbing away from the foot of the table. More lockouts and the spirit they showed today, but every week not just the odd game or two.
Keith Glazzard
3   Posted 12/12/2009 at 18:10:50

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Mike - you speak as if you had just realised these things as if someone on the EFC coaching staff, possibly even the manager if he wasn’t so busy being an A list celebrity parading his WAG for Hello magazine.

Speaking of which, the two Coles who play for Roubles FC (is one of them married to an X factor pundit?) were shite (and cheating in the case of Joe today).

The manager of EFC (and the legal/financial folk who keep the club going) have never thought of these things? Clearly, they gave up surviving in the world of football six or seven years ago.

Give me strength.

Chelsea 6 Everton 0 today? Not quite. Close though.

Peter Laverty
4   Posted 12/12/2009 at 18:35:57

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6 goals Keith, but not that close. The glass is half-full for some.
Keith Glazzard
5   Posted 12/12/2009 at 18:29:23

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Excuse me - this has nothing to do with football.

I believe that I may have been disrespectful to Ashley Cole, and immediately wish to withdraw the remark. The Sun and other reliable sources have suggested that he was unfaithful to his wife.

Joe Cole, on the other hand, was cheating on the field today by claiming that he had been fouled when he wasn’t (and shouting into the face of a ref who might have booked him for that alone... Respect?)

Ashley, unfortunately, sat on his arse for most of the day. Joe was substituted.
Steve Jones
6   Posted 12/12/2009 at 23:23:21

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The element missing for so many weeks, robbed by the injuries to vital components of team, has been the spirit and will to play for each other that has been a key factor in the past three seasons or so.

That's back now. Has been since the derby. Shared injustice can be a great leveller and, the the case of that defeat, I think it has been. The lads saw that they had the measure of a ’top-4’ outfit and there was no need to show the fear that we had at Old Trafford.

A good result in Athens and a good scrap against a Spurs team that are still just a bit more style than substance and the momentum has had chance to build. The lack of a defense-first option in the squad may have tipped Moyes’s hand today, but, the attacking intent of the team is the net result of the belief that is returning.

We’ve got a few winnable games heading in now. Treat BATE as a training match and keep the attacking intent alive for Birmingham and we shouldn't have much to fear until we go to the Emirates in the New Year when hopefully we’ll have a couple more players back.

One thing is for certain that we have key elements in the squad. We have a decent keeper, we have the makings of a decent defence, we have the makings of a creative and powerful midfield. In Saha, as we’ve seen, we have a striker who is the equal of most in Europe and the Yak to come back to fitness.

There is plenty of reason for optimism and a lot of justification to respect Moyes for the squad he has been able to assemble for little money and on, relatively, a very modest wage bill.

As to Saha or Pienaar leaving... there is no point worrying about it. If they want money or Champions League football (despite little chance of a winners medal) they’ll leave.

We can not compete with that. Both know that they are loved here, both know that they are respected here and both know that a fully fit first team, as we have it now, is capable of great things in the Prem and ultimately Europe. If that's not enough then, you would hope, they will at least make sure they get themselves sold for a good wedge more than we got them in for to give Moyesie some options.
Bob Parrington
7   Posted 13/12/2009 at 11:28:32

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How do I start this? There are the negative people and then there are the positive people. Then there are the two bob each way people. Well, I’ve heard a lot of negative stuff in my 56 years as an Evertonian but it is good to hear Steve Jones after Keith Glazzard.

Any true Evertonian would have noticed a massive change during the last 3 weeks. The guys have been playing with true spirit and, hey, they’ve bee playing some damn good football, too.

OK, we had a bit of luck against Chelski but we had crap luck against the Red Shite.

I reckon every player put in well against the Russian Crowd. Lucas Neill is starting to look like the class player he is, Heitinga looked sound against Diddler Dobgearer (OK, he’s a star turn!!).

Question: Anybody out there see a change since the decision on Kirkby?? Or is this just a coincidence?
Keith Glazzard
8   Posted 13/12/2009 at 13:46:17

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First off - apologies to anyone who read the rubbish I posted up there. I can only blame the adrenalin, and possibly a can of weak lager or two. Sorry.

But Mike: you really can’t think that Moyes won’t do everything in his power to keep Pienaar and Saha, can you? Both of these players have been rescued by Moyes and EFC. The same for Mikel Arteta. We have the Lescott and Rooney bitter tastes in our mouths, but you seem to be going back to a Barmby scenario when we made that little shit into a player. Saha isn’t like him, and I would be very surprised if Pienaar is.

Bob — in the cold light of day I’m still a positive person, I hope. But only if there is genuine reason to expect improvement, and like you, I see it happening. Heitinga is becoming a PL player of stature (which he wanted to be) and Neill is finding his feet with his new pals.

Put Pele at his best in Chester, or Tranmere now and he would look like a decent player with potential. Good players have to play with good players (C McGlone, I know, agrees) to make a good team. And they need to know each other well, particularly on the field, but off the field helps too.

Incidentally, I agree with anyone who thinks that long-term injuries have nothing to with our league position (as ill-informed tv and radio people might sometimes say in our defence). Arteta and Jagielka have been so far out of the frame for so long, and for all their potential qualities, we know that Victor and James don’t really come into it. The loss of Pip Neville as an on-field manager has been more important, in my view, because we became disorganised.

I think Heitinga’s voice is being heard more each game. I hope so. To me, he looks like he already has Everton Football Club flowing through his arteries. I sincerely hope he has a glorious next five years or more.
James Stewart
9   Posted 13/12/2009 at 14:51:44

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How many turning points have there been now! Maybe when we win it will be more of a turning point!
Colin Wainwright
10   Posted 13/12/2009 at 20:17:47

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Keith, totally agree with you on Heitinga man. Fuckin superb yesterday. Potential Reidy in the making. I certainly hope so.
Steve Jones
11   Posted 13/12/2009 at 20:38:18

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"You really can’t think that Moyes won’t do everything in his power to keep Pienaar and Saha, can you? Both of these players have been rescued by Moyes and EFC."

Moyes, I haven’t the slightest of doubt, will do everything he can to keep Saha and Pienaar in the fold. He turned down £8M for Saha close season and that was for a guy we got in for nowt. I’m convinced that Pienaar tipped Moyes off to Heitinga and, at least partially, the reason that Moyes went as far as he did with the wage demands for Johnny was to give Pienaar that one extra reason to stay.

My point is though that if those players want something that the club just can't give them there is little point getting worked up about it.

I’m certain we’ve offered to bump up salaries a bit, but, we have to keep a very close eye on the wage bill. It's over 60% of revenue already and increased wage settlements have a way of perculating through a team. Such that a steady stream of knocks on the managers door tend to happen shortly after the first couple of increases go through!.

Pienaar and Saha have both been round the block enough times that they know this — my suspicion is that Pienaar is holding off to see what options he has after the World Cup and to see how we pick up in the Prem. If we do claw our way back up he knows that there will be a bit more in the pot and he can ask for a bit more on the strength of it.

Saha is a riddle. He’s a the biggest example of a ’confidence player’ in professional football. He knows he can only play when things are ’right’ for him and he’s settled in his mind. He has that with us and Moyes seemingly has a way of reaching the lad. If a really big offer comes in for him from a top CL side I can see him leaving, I held nothing against Gravesen for doing the same, but other than that kind of offer I think he’ll be tempted to stay a while and see what happens.

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