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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

By Alan Kirwin :  15/12/2009 :  Comments (63) :
I have been fairly candid in recent weeks with my own views on David Moyes. I'd summarise my view as follows:

1. He rescued Everton from ignominy when we most needed it. He inspired the fans (always a smart move) and invigorated the team. He espoused a philosophy that games are there to be won. He gave the club back some dignity and respect. We needed it and we should all be grateful.

2. During his tenure, we have achieved our best league performances for over two decades. Given our team budget and the monster that is the Sky 4, we have returned positions of 5, 5, 6, 11, 4, 17, 7. Only 4 teams have bettered it.

3. We have not only been re-introduced to European football but, unlike our brief Euro-jaunt in 1996, we have looked much more comfortable with the European game. I love seeing Everton in Europe. There's something fundamentally good, expansive and fulfilling about playing & beating strong international teams.

4. We have also had some of our worst performances and records in our history, including 6 and 7 goal thrashings by Arsenal, a record bad start to the league with just 1 goal in the first 9 league games (bad is an understatement) and an equally bad run at the end of his 2nd season to finish 17th. We have also suffered regular cup defeats at the hands of "minnows". We have almost always started a season badly. 2008-09 was shocking, all the more so because of Moyes's direct influence due to his non-signing of his contract. This season was equally unacceptable in its lack of readiness, fitness and cohesion.

5. We have often played a brand of football more usually seen from pub teams. Wasteful, ugly, unhelpful hoof-ball has lost us games, fans and goodwill. Conversely, and last season in particular, we have also played some excellent football, even out-footballing Arsenal for 45 mins before being hit with 4 lucky goals on the break...

6. Moyes often plays players out of position and seems to be arc-welded to the notion that 4-5-1 is the only way to play football. This has also cost us games and points. He bemoans our lack of wide players because of injuries etc, but then insists on playing central players out wide where they are ineffective, rather than adapt our formation and strategy to suit our players. I am astonished that he hasn't even tried the trendy 4-2-3-1. Seems to me it would serve several purposes: 1) protect our crap makeshift defence; 2) facilitate a more compact and joined-up team; and 3) eradicate hoofball and the waste of 50-yard passes to a lone striker with nobody within 20 yards of him.

7. This is half-empty/half-full depending on your view of the world. But despite a relatively good overall performance in the league over his 7 years, there are arguments to suggest that he has directly held us back from achieving even more. When one considers the compound effect of losing initiative and, ultimately, games through poor football intelligence and tactics, a generally defensive approach to most games (who plays 4-5-1 at home to Wolves?), and a, now, regular lack of preparedness and cohesion at the start of every season, I've no doubt some feel we have probably thrown away at least 10 - 15 points in each of the last 2 or 3 seasons.

8. Last season, over his contract, and this season as a result of our injury crisis, Moyes has often looked almost peripheral, moody, even depressed... as though he isn't, or can't, or won't make the decisions that are needed to resolve problems. This kind of leads me into the views that I'm looking for regarding Moyes. I'll expand below.

I've little doubt we will pick up this season and finish reasonably. My argument is not, like some, that we SHOULD be finishing top 4 or whatever, it is that whatever we actually do on the pitch often seems to be in spite of rather than because of David Moyes. I haven't got a clue what goes on at Finch Farm or behind the scenes, but when our best team goes out there we are a match for almost anyone. This despite Moyes demanding only one forward rather than two. And when, like this season, we have been really stretched, he has not really done anything interesting or radical to help. In fact he has retreated more and more into his shell.

I am still massively grateful for what he's done for EFC since he arrived. But top level professional sport, like business (which it also is) has no room for sentimentality or loss of focus. Most things have useful life spans and I firmly believe David Moyes has reached the natural end of his with Everton.

With no disrespect to him, I don't see him having the personality, innovative instincts or, rather importantly, silverware, to go any higher. My conclusion is simply that he has nothing more to offer Everton.

I don't think his contribution will give us much from hereon in. The return of our best players will undoubtedly see us rise in the table, and he bought them so credit where due, but I don't see any vision for going any further.

I have lost confidence in him taking us higher. Far too often I don't think he believes it's possible, and that's not what we need. I think he's been incredibly lucky on occasions too. Finishing 4th was almost bizarre with that team and when you can barely win a game after Xmas and boast a negative goal difference...

Overall, it's been good and he deserves much credit and a good send off. But I have no doubt whatsoever that, almost without any changes of personnel (except perhaps Distin & Yobo) this team cam achieve even more if it believes.

I believe we are now at the point where Moyes is more of a negative effect than a positive one. We need freshening up, new ideas, smiles on faces and good football that players enjoy. I'd like to see our players let off the leash to play.

So, after careful consideration, I'm for Moyes going. I have two names so far. In order of preference, Ralf Rangnick (Hoffenheim), or Roberto Di Matteo. Both have the credentials and personality and footballing philosophy that we would benefit from.


Reader Comments

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Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
1   Posted 15/12/2009 at 23:23:34

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Wow! I was cruising along with you all the way there, Alan... right up until you reached the seemingly inevitable conclusion.

He drives me to despair on far too many occasions now... but changing manager is a HUGE distraction that can either work wonders or set progress back four years...

Oh hang on: Moyes has already achieved that this season, setting us back 6 to 8 years in terms of league position. But I can’t see him going anywhere anytime soon; he could leave in the summer I guess but my feeling is he will be with Everton for at least 10 years in total.

Brave man, though, coming out with such a well-constructed case. You almost had me convinced...
Lori Fekete
2   Posted 16/12/2009 at 00:04:22

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Some valid arguments, but without a pot to piss in I still believe he’s the best man for the job. Even though some of his decisions still infuriate me at times.

Everytime this comes up I just get this horrible vision we’ll do a Charlton. I’m sure there were some Charlton fans saying exactly the same about Curbishley. I know our expectations are a whole lot different to Charlton but, given the total lack of investment over the last two decades, we should be realsitic. By rights we should be in an annual relegation scrap (I know we’re not far from one now, but I’m sure we’ll be fine).

Plus we can’t really judge him this year because of the injuries, unless of course you believe its his fault as well.
David Booth
3   Posted 16/12/2009 at 01:26:08

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Well reasoned ,Alan, but like Lori, although I share your frustrations, I feel that with Arteta, Jagielka and Neville back plus some more of his usually quite inspired transfer dealings in Jaunary, this season still has a lot to offer.

So, although things aren’t as we would wish right now on some fronts, all this in/out speculation needs to wait at least until the end of the season for those who persist with it.

Clichéd as it is, I too think the ’Curbishley effect’ must serve as a warning...

And whilst suggesting people like Di Matteo sounds exciting, I would counter with Paul Ince and Mike Walker. They did a good job when promoted way above their station didn’t they?
Ian Tunstead
4   Posted 16/12/2009 at 02:28:01

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I feel it would just be change for the sake of change. Apart from Chelsea the teams that swap and change managers never seem to fare too well.

I think of Harry Rednapp stabilising Portsmouth to a top 10 side. He left and look what happens. I think of Newcastle getting too big for their boots when Sir Bobby Robson made them a top 5 side, look where they ended up. I think of Big sam stabalising Bolton and making them a top 10 side. Once he left they were never the same.

As others have mentioned, I think of the Charlton situation. Bruce also seemed to stabilise Wigan but now they appear to be struggling. You mention people like Di Matteo but it doesn't seem to be any different to when people were saying we should have got Martinez before Wigan and then a week later they conceded 9.

Overall, Moyes has slowly progressed the club but the club has progressed at a faster rate then every other club in the league bar the odd blip.

To add to the cliche post from the other day, I will add these 4 gems
"The grass is always greener on the other side"; "Rome wasn't built in a day"; "Better the devil you know"; and "Be careful what you wish for".

Christine Foster
5   Posted 16/12/2009 at 03:14:55

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It's a rare day when I agree with Alan, in almost all details too. But it's a realistic assessment of where we are and what should happen. The problem is it won’t happen because any new manager will want to restructure the team and bring in new people and that needs money. Either of which we haven’t got and not likely to have until (if) we have new owners.

It's at that point the question should be asked of Moyes. Worth remembering to that Moyes himself may well be tempted away before a new owner arrives...

David Johnson
6   Posted 16/12/2009 at 04:31:45

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Alan, are you sure your not just fed up with the lack of a meaningful transfer budget and direction from the top.I think the Kirkby result and subsequent lack of culpability from the board coupled with loans only in January has left us all including Moyes a little flat.

Another thing: Kenwright wouldn't part with that sort of compensation in a million years. Besides, who else could make a nylon purse out of a sow’s ear?

Eric Myles
7   Posted 16/12/2009 at 05:25:07

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David J, I think the Kirkby result has left the majority of the fans a bit elated.
Alan Clarke
8   Posted 16/12/2009 at 06:25:28

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When was your tipping point Alan? Not so long ago you were very accepting of the old injury excuse rather than blaming Moyes.

I really don’t see the point in discussing Moyes going or staying because he’s not going anywhere. My hope now is he miraculously learns how to manage a side to play attacking football. We are now only 1 point above relegation so Moyes has to start trying to win games.
Dave Wilson
9   Posted 16/12/2009 at 06:49:27

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Terrific stuff
I’d have given this article a 10/10, if you could just have resisted the temptation to come down on either side, perfect balance until then.

The game has a history of long serving managers leaving seemingly steady —- if not flamboyant — ships, only for the ships to sink without trace almost immediately.

We have picked up recently, but only a fool would claim we have turned the corner, this is still a backs-to-the-wall situation and although a lot of our problems stem from our manager's indecision, he is ironically the best backs-to-the-wall manager around.

Moyes can't go yet, it would be far too much of a gamble, a gamble I suspect even DM’s biggest critics would not be prepared to take.

"Judge him at the end of the season". One of those annoying cliches we spoke about the other day, but how else can you judge a manager? This time last year many people were advocating Phil Brown for a very top job.

I suspect you are right Alan, Moyes may well have already done his best work for us... but, like everything in life, it's all about timing.
Kevin Sparke
10   Posted 16/12/2009 at 07:30:13

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I’ve a feeling Moyes will walk before he is pushed; probably within the next two years; probably to Celtic; a job he has admitted he has always hankered for.

Unless the next manager is adept at working within the confines of a minuscule budget; can find players from the lower leagues and inspire them to play above their level or get them to fulfil their initial potential — then we will be fucked.

I remember watching in the sad-arse days of Walter Smith with his crop of geriatrics... thinking that this is the start of the slide to Championship ignominy; Moyes stopped that rot, bought young and made my club competitive again... for that I’ll always be grateful.

It’s frustrating beyond belief to be in the position we are now after all the hard graft buying in players of the calibre of Arteta, Pienaar, Jagielka, Lescott, Fellaini, Cahill, Howard... and injury has played a major part in our slide from the top half of the table position that Moyes made our natural hunting ground.

I’ve a feeling that the second half of this season is going to be much better than the first half as our legion of walking wounded return to the fold... and next season — barring another unprecedented injury crisis — we should be back up there and, if we can start playing the football we were before the ’St James Park Massacre’ last season, we may even be in the running to grab a Champions League spot.

Personally, I feel that Moyes, who is regularly outspent by his rivals, is being asked by Kenwright to manage Everton effectively with one hand behind his back and has still managed five top-half-of-the-table finishes.

Remember, the whinging Benitez across the park has effectively told his owners he needs more money to compete with the likes of Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal after spending £250 Million on players!

I truly believe that the only thing that can make Everton a team that can possibly win the Premier League is a massive injection of cash brought about by new ownership — that doesn’t seem to be about to happen. Until then, Moyes has my backing; as a manager who has consistently been overspent by his rivals (Spurs, Villa, Newcastle) but has equally consistently secured a higher league placement.

However, if some rich and dumb Arab buys the club and cash becomes no problem — I want ’The Special One’ to manage our team.

Bob Parrington
11   Posted 16/12/2009 at 09:16:13

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I was rather disappointed with this posting of yours. This is not because of the David Moyes thing alone but because of attitudes to coaches in general.

Some of my view comes from two coaching experiences I had over a 10-year period mostly in the 90s. One was with an Old Scholars team and the other with a Hungarian-based team.

Usually, a new coach isn’t appointed unless there’s a problem within a club. Sometimes it’s the previous coach but often it’s the Board, sometimes the players... whatever.

With the Old Scholars team we took 2 years to lick it into shape and then didn’t lose a game for 3 seasons. The Board and a few of the players then tried to interfere with selection — "mates" etc... arrogance had slipped in. I resigned.

With the Hungarian-based team, they were languishing in the 4th Division, close to the bottom. First year we stepped quite well up the league. The next three years we built the side and went up each year, eventually to Div 1. Guess what? Several players became so arrogant they didn’t need a coach!! I told them where to go! Over the next three years they went back to Div 4.

I’m not telling this to pat myself on the back because there’s been some ordinary times, too. I use it to make the point than most people don’t see a lot of the hard work that goes on within a successful club by the manager. it’s not just managing players but the whole gambit including the Board, and even the supporters. Add the money shortage to what would be a long list of issues and I have to say that David Moyes has done and is doing an incredible job!

We’re just really hungry fans because we know we’ve always been up there before the EPL started. It’s good that we are because that’s one part of the pressure applied to the club to keep improving.

Keep on posting. You’ve had some good responses.

Gareth Humphreys
12   Posted 16/12/2009 at 09:34:33

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Michael Kenrick - how on earth has he taken the club back 6-8 years? The season isn’t even half over so league position at the moment can’t be classed as the same as it did at the turn of the century.
Ciarán McGlone
13   Posted 16/12/2009 at 09:27:50

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A relatively accurate article, however I can’t say I agree with the premise... Moyes needs to be given the chance to see all his players on the pitch.

I’ve always contended that we now have a squad that could play expansive football — but we’ve yet to see the players who will allow each other to play that game on the pitch together.

Oh and one obvious correction regarding the 4-2-3-1 — we ’ve played that formation quite a few times in the last few seasons, with two defensive midfielders and 3 offensive midfielders. It didn’t work because the quality of our players was not up to scratch.

However, I agree with the majority of your criticisms of him... players in the wrong position, bad tactics, slow to react, not dropping his ’luvvies’. Probably the most annoying thing about these bad traits is the repetition... he never seems to learn a lesson and usually has a decent formation or first eleven thrust upon him by some outside influence...

But, I think he deserves the chance to see the team he’s assembled... and I don’t think we’ll be dissappointed.

ps: You often use the line ’It could be worse’ in respect of your ’sentimentality’ towards Kenwright; I would suggest that given our financial constraints that changing our manager is more likely to result in a worse scenario...
Ciarán McGlone
14   Posted 16/12/2009 at 09:43:50

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Oh and by the way Alan...

As I’ve asked before... Where will we get the money to allow the Hoffenheim guy to do what he is doing in Germany?

Because, as you will well know, even when Hoffenheim were in the Second division, they were the second top spenders to Bayern...

You think Moyes is the glass ceiling, I think Finances is the real glass ceiling... And that will apply to any manager who comes here under Mr Kenwright.
Kevin Gillen
15   Posted 16/12/2009 at 10:24:22

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I like to see a well constructed argument. The opening part of your argument constructs a compelling case for the continuation of Moyes’s reign. Your conclusion is bizarre really.

The second part of your argument introduces lots of other factors but there seems to me no sense of proportion or examination of other pertinent parameters (eg, injuries or amount of investment).

The other issue missing appears to me to be an analysis of the risks involved in changing managers and the potential costs involved with appointing a new manager. A promising approach to your essay, better examination of the evidence would have garnered further marks: C–.

Phil Martin
16   Posted 16/12/2009 at 11:09:01

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"You think Moyes is the glass ceiling... I think Finances is the real glass ceiling. And that will apply to any manager who comes here under Mr Kenwright"

Summarises our Club perfectly! Neither SAF or Jose Mourinho would beat a 4, 5, 5, 6, 7 set of finishes given the financial constraints at our club. Nor would they (or any top coach) even dream of managing a club like us (no money/ no ambition)!

Gary Megson on the other hand...

Larry Boner
17   Posted 16/12/2009 at 11:01:41

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Ten things that, for me, are down to the coaching staff to improve in the Everton performance.

1- Goalkeeper not coming for crosses even in 6-yd box.
2- Everyone back to defend a corner, even then only having one man on the post??
3- On the odd occasion when a full back overlaps, the ball passed to his feet or behind him, witness the Bily ball to Coleman for the 1st goal v Spurs (I exclude Pienaar from this).
4 - From the kick-off, immediately giving possesion away by launching it asap.
5 - No pace in the team, so breakaway football out of the question.
6 - Goalkeeper almost never throws the ball out, nor is attack-minded with his kicking (watch Reina)
7 - No midfield players break past the forwards (don't say Cahill does, he merely gets on the end of crosses).
8 - Central defenders incapable of passing ball around to keep possession, hoof it asap.
9 - No shooting from distance, with exception of Saha, what has happened to Rodwell's attempts on goal ??
10 - Take free kicks and throw-ins with urgency and from the right place. We must be the only team that doesn't steal yardage from throw-ins and takes free kicks from further away than where offence happened.

These are my pet hates; do they need addressing, well for me yes, but I suppose everyone has issues with the way the team sets up and plays.

I think Moyes has done an incredible job with no support from the Board (witness what a little support at the right time can do with the likes of Villa). Maybe all the things we criticise of Moyes and his tactics would be magnified 10x if he wasn't here — Rafa £¼ billion on players!!!!

At times, we have played some good football, but we need more players like Arteta and Pienaar to maintain this and we won't get this while we have a "sell to buy" policy by the Board.

Dan Brierley
18   Posted 16/12/2009 at 12:56:05

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is it possible to do a ’points per pound’ analysis of football managers? I think Moyes would be right up there. I too think he will leave within 2 or 3 years unless he gets a chance at spending some decent money. He must also be thinking "it can't be done on this income" by now.

Will he move on to greatness? Possibly. But if I am honest, I think he is the best of the managers operating on low budgets. His tactics would certainly get more questioned when he has spent a lot more. As we don't have any money to spend, he is still the right man for the job. Should we come into big money, I would be happy with someone with the experience of playing flowing football come in.

Selby Wells
19   Posted 16/12/2009 at 13:28:15

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Like most managers Moyes has his good & bad points. But in my opinion the thing that stands out is how he has managed with a meagre transfer budget. How a manager uses his transfer funds & increases the value of the players tells us alot about his judgement, etc. In this is head & shoulders above his peers.

Apart from our injury crisis, Moyes would have been hard pressed to maintain our recent finishes considering the amount other clubs have lavished on their squads in the last year. For example, Redknapp has spent almost £100m in a year at Spurs!!!

With this in mind, who would come to a club with no funds if Moyes were to go???

Be very careful what you wish for......
David Johnson
20   Posted 16/12/2009 at 13:49:42

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Eric Myles, none more elated than me mate. It’s just the lack of taking responsibility from the board coupled with noises about stadium sharing that Liverpool don't want together with the usual transfer kitty of £0 tends to wear us all down.
Rob Dolby
21   Posted 16/12/2009 at 11:57:14

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Gone are the days of Brian Clough cobbling a rag tag team together to win the league and European Cup, Football just isn’t like that anymore. Money talks louder than ever. Comparative to other PL managers Moyes has done a very good job with limited resources.

My issues are that he appears to dither too much in the transfer market, has an awful record against the top 4 sides and has a pretty poor cup record.

His league record for us is nothing short of incredible; with a fully fit squad we can play proper football against all comers though when we are missing our talented players we resort to Route 1. Winning papers over the cracks and we'd better start winning sooner than later as I don’t see too many of the current squad willing to fight through a relegation battle.

As for him staying or going I think that it will be him who forces the issue eventually. Even BK with his track record wouldn’t be so stupid as to sack him... would he?

Paul Foster
22   Posted 16/12/2009 at 14:00:58

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4th, 11th, 6th, 5th, 5th, two brilliant European adventures and an FA Cup Final. To me, the idea of Moyes leaving is utterly ludicrous (much like Michael’s assertion that Moyes has set us back 8 years ... I thought you always said judge managers and teams at the end of the season, Michael?).

As an aside, the idea that Roberto di Mateo — a man with 13 months’ managerial experience — is the man to replace Moyes is laughable.
Liam Reilly
23   Posted 16/12/2009 at 13:57:11

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Should Moyes decide to leave (because Bill couldn’t afford to sack him even if he wanted to), then we would be searching through the lower leagues or through average continental sides for his replacement.

Simply put, the salary is attractive, but the budget isn’t... and Moyes, love him or hate him, has proven that he can get positive results in trying circumstances. I can’t think of anyone else, since the conception of the Premier League that can boast his relative (consistent) success, hence his undoubted respect from his peers.
Jay Harris
24   Posted 16/12/2009 at 14:27:05

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As other teams have stepped up their spending and built squads to challenge the top 4, Moyes, through squad reduction (i.e. selling players off) and injuries, has performed MIRACLES.

In the meantime The Luvvie and his buddies have been the worst performing board in the history of EFC with continuous operating losses, record debts and poor support for the manager and players.

I would suggest you rewrite your article based on whether Kenwright should go.
Brian Waring
25   Posted 16/12/2009 at 15:22:11

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Good piece Alan. Also, I reckon with a wagon load of cash, Moyes wouldn’t be able to move us onto the next level,for me, he just doesn’t have the tactical ability to do it.

Bill Goodall
26   Posted 16/12/2009 at 15:21:42

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I have to say, good article. Balanced and with a bit of opinion at the end.

Moyes has done a good job in my opinion, even with the many and varied faults as manager, he has managed to become one of the longest serving managers in Europe.

There are plenty of excuses or reasons, injuries, money, new stadium, managerial shortcomings. All of these have some validity.

I for one think Moyes has done a good job, but is a limited manager. I think some of his success with lower league signings could be to do with his time as a lower league manager, as in he knew the payers he was managing against. The other "gems" picked up at a cheap price could be pot luck; after all, we all know he has no money to spend. Very few managers could stay in the Premier League, let alone the top ten, with his budget.

As much as I admit his limitations I find it hard to find a manager that I think would do a better job in the same situation. Maybe what we need is a dour ex-centre back to keep things tight.

I look at the rest of the Premier League, the Championship and to Europe and I for one cannot see a manager who I think could with the same resources do a better job, sad but true.
Tony Waverleas
27   Posted 16/12/2009 at 15:50:37

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Alan, this squad is as good as it’s been for years and, in my opinion, all that’s hampered us this year playing-wise is:

1) long-term injuries to key personnel;
2) new signings not being allowed to integrate properly, ie, slowly but surely both to the Prem and to what DM expects of them in his Everton team.

If you think DM at times this year looks moody & depressed then I wouldn’t blame him for looking suicidal or homicidal or both simultaneously. Look at the league table, Alan, and come back & tell me we’re not streets ahead of the dross we temporarily find ourselves surrounded by.

Furthermore, tell me we’re not as good if not better than O’Neill’s typically muscular brand of kick-and-rush Villa. Because we are. This season doesn’t finish for the best part of another six months so maybe you should postpone the obituaries & the wrist-slitting for a while longer.

And, Michael, your claim that DM (has) this year set ”us back 6 to 8 years in terms of league position” is jaw-droppingly mind-boggling. Let me get this straight. Are you really claiming that we are now doomed to possibly 8 years of mid-table obscurity (if we’re lucky) all because we are currently 15th & on 17 points in a season which has almost half a year left to run?

Do you actually what you believe what you wrote? Or have I misinterpreted your attempts at being satirical?

James Stewart
28   Posted 16/12/2009 at 16:14:51

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I actually agree with Alan’s conclusion on this one. I think we are now treading water at best under Moyes.

I also don’t think Moyes would be deserving of a big cash injection. Money is not the glass ceiling as far as I can see.

László Bölöni or indeed Ralf Rangnick would be excellent choices. I can’t see Moyes leaving anytime soon though...

Mike Allison
29   Posted 16/12/2009 at 16:24:52

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James I’m always impressed that you can get all the accents onto that guy’s name.

Alan, nice piece, and I was with you most of the way (points 1-5), and won’t do the full detailed analysis, but have a couple of points:

You suggest playing 4-2-3-1 instead of 4-5-1, I’m not convinced there’s a difference. Much of the time we’ve practically played 4-4-2 as Cahill pushes right on and bears more relation to a striker who chases back than a midfielder. The ’numbers game’ with formations is often misleading so if there’s something different you want the midfielders to do you need to be more explicit. This relates to your complaint about playing 4-5-1 at home to Wolves, if the full backs and at least 4 of the midfielders attack, then it doesn’t matter what the ’formation’ is, its the attitude and aggressiveness that matter.

As for throwing away 10-15 points etc. You could probably point out the game’s where you think that’s the case, but its not seriously quantifiable. Moyes may have earned 30-35 points over the same period with the same tactics, I’m not saying I definitely think he has, but there’s no real way of knowing.

As for replacing him, certainly not during the season, and the replacement must have something clear and tangible to offer that would lead us to think he is an improvement. There is no way this is true of Di Matteo, and as I stated elsewhere, Rangnick would be a significant risk (think Venglos, Gross, Ramos et al) not by any means guaranteed to repeat his Hoffenheim success.

There’s a lot more to say actually, but I don’t want to ramble on (too late?!), suffice to say I would certainly stick with Moyes, who’s major weakness seems to be in buying the right kind of attacking creative players rather than anything else, (and as is pointed out, this may not be his fault) we need more Arteta’s and Pienaar’s and fewer defence/midfield utility players. Here’s hoping Bily develops into one.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
30   Posted 16/12/2009 at 16:37:04

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You’re right, Tony Waverleas, I mis-spoke. It was just 5 years ago that, come mid-December, we were languishing in 15th place — with almost half a year of the season still to go...

And we finished 17th. My bad.

Everyone is of course hoping that we will ascend the table some time real soon... but the past sadly shows that ain’t necessarily guaranteed, even under Moyes the Miracle Man. But I can’t quite grasp where you see me predicting 8 years of mid-table mediocrity... I don’t do predictions.

Or is that what you think we’ve effectively had under Moyes (average position: 8th)? Mid-table mediocrity... jaw-droppingly mind-boggling indeed that people think he's such a wonderful manager: he's not.
Julie Naybour
31   Posted 16/12/2009 at 16:34:34

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You know Alan - I despise what your article says. I find it typical and utterly depressing. The first half gives reasons to be grateful to David Moyes and the second half is about why you would like him to go. And that, in my opinion, is what summarises the ingratitude and shortsightedness of the loud minority that seem to be screaming form this website and mainly this website alone!

For goodness sake — we all know (and not least of all David Moyes knows) that we have not achieved what we would like but patience is not only a virtue but it is virtually unseen in this game and given our lack of finance, it is all we have. During his tenure, we have grown in the right direction and as you say, ’given the club back some dignity’.

Please don’t succomb to impatience and giving up on the best thing we have to save us from despair. Faith and support is what will take this team forward. His time with us may be a long time in Football years but that is the problem with football. If the fans just give him the chance, I KNOW he will reward.

James Stewart
32   Posted 16/12/2009 at 16:48:19

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Why thank you Mike! You make a fair point. Any new appointment of a manager is a risk and is in no way guaranteed to replicate his previous successes. I don’t think you can really bracket Ramos as a failure. He wasn’t really given enough time.

Moyes on the other hand has certainly had time. I have called for his head a fair few times on here so it may surprise you to hear that I do actually understand the argument for sticking with him. Certainly during a season. The problem I have is that I think the coming summer will be another fiasco.

Pienaar and Saha contracts to be sorted out. No doubt this will drag out and I can see a few departures. Thus causing replacements to be brought in on deadline day etc etc. If I thought Moyes had a clear plan and would not allow any of this to happen, I would be happy to stick by him.

Karl Masters
33   Posted 16/12/2009 at 17:01:44

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Good summary of our current position, Alan.

However, I don’t agree with your conclusion purely because Moyes is our best bet with limited finances. If that ever changes and he gets some serious money to spend, then it’s a whole new ball game.

Thus far, his ’big purchases’ have been a mixed bag ( Yak a success, Beattie a flop, Johnson a bit of both, Fellaini jury out, but looking good at present and Bily too early to say ) whilst bargain buys like Cahill, Pienaar, Arteta, Neville, Howard, Martyn, Kilbane have by and large been very good. Even mid range buys like Jags, Yobo, Lescott, Baines have all been good. Only utter failures have been VDM, Wright, Kroldrup so you have to say we won’t find anybody much better to spend a limited budget whilst almost always selling players at a big profit.

So, until there is a change at the top, I can’t agree with your conclusions. Of course, there are some Managers out there who can spend relatively little and achieve a lot like Wenger or Pellegrini when he was at Villarreal, but thse people are scarce to say the least and I don’t see di Matteo as being one of them. Like Mowbray before him at West Brom, if a real big club short of money ( like us ) took him on ( like Mowbray at Celtic or Zola at West Ham ) I can’t see him having the fire to get 100% out of his players like Moyes generally has done.
Rob Hope
34   Posted 16/12/2009 at 17:34:45

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Undoubtablly Moyes has done a decent job and in my opinion it is the lowering the age of the squad that is his best achievement.

Think back to Gazza, Ginola, Weir, Ferguson and Campbell amongst Steve Watson, Pistone, Stubbs and Carsley. Now we got good service from some of these players but I don't think we got a penny back in transfers. It wouldn’t be unfair to say we had no value in the team, yet Moyes utilised these players and assembled new younger internationals around them whilst they were becoming natural wastage.

Now Moyes infuriates me at times and I question his future but really you have to look at the bigger picture. I hate the excuse but injuries when you are missing 12 players including your best two, well any side would suffer. Frustrating but true, let's judge Moyes when his team are playing, then I think there will be no hiding.

And I honestly don't think he’ll need to hide.

Ian Tunstead
35   Posted 16/12/2009 at 18:26:59

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’’You wont know what you’ve got untill you’ve lost it’’
Roberto Birquet
36   Posted 16/12/2009 at 19:09:46

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First Michael Kenrick rates the article as accurate, then says Moyes has given us mid-table mediocrity. However, the article claims Everton have been outdone by only four teams over the Moyes period.

Four teams that is with literally hundreds of millions to spend. Everton can’t get a whipround for £5 million a season. When was the last calendar year we nett spent that much? Yeah, Michael, Everton have gone backwards under Moyes.

The article itself gave facts - best league positions in 2 years, some terrible results) that largely spell success - mixed with opinion (4-5-1 has cost us games and points).

On the facts, I’d take losing 7-0 to Arsenal if we get 4th in the league, or even 6-1, if you also mention that are previous game is an FA Cup Final, we have worst injury crisis in a decade and our CB does not want to play - (because riches are on offer elsewhere).

On opinions, we all have ’em, and i think 4-5-1 can work, but it needs fit and quality players. Truth is our squad has the quality players, but only if near-injuryless. The lack of acknowledgemnt of the latter is baffling. Give us Arteta, Pienaar, Jags and Saha, and we’ll be up there with Villa. On half the money.

Not that often that I agree Ciaran, but it’s dosh that is the glass ceiling. The fear is that Moyes can’t take us any further, but I reckon if he leaves it’ll be him getting top 4, not us. Man City, Spurs, even Newcastle. Can you name me a team getting top 4 without money? I can name only one.

We are no longer a top 4 club. We punch above our weight. Don’t believe me? Check out delloite Touche, or even Spurs financials. For all their spending, they run at a profit. For all our success, we run at a loss. Says it all. Or is it Moyes’ fault we can’t sell tickets at the prices that The Richest fans (Spurs) in the UK can?
John Andrews
37   Posted 16/12/2009 at 19:28:51

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For once Alan I agree with you wholeheartedly!
We should be murdering teams like Wolves but instead it is the same old 4-5-1 with the result exactly as a few of us guessed it would be. Last year we went to Fulham and mullered them. I was there. This year we, unbelievably, lost. 4-5-1 again?

I honestly believe that Moyes has taken us as far as possible and I for one will not be sorry to see him go.

Will everybody please stop talking about our massive injury list. This happens, granted not to the degree that we have suffered. But was it not Moyes's job to get players in EARLY in the summer to combat this. Instead we, as usual, wait until the last knockings and then we rush out and buy a few players.

Roberto Birquet
38   Posted 16/12/2009 at 19:57:40

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Yes, evereyone gets injuries, but only one senior fit striker at the time of Wolves. I don’t remember many teams having 11 of 23 senior players out including best CB. CF and CM (best player allround at that) out for most of first half of season.

On getting in the players early. Two problems not necessarily Moyes fault. Money, again (re, the Kyle Naughton saga), and an interview I listened to with Alan Irvine this summer, commenting on transfer situation at Preston. The players you want always will leave it till the end of the window, as they are always leaving you waiting for hope of a better offer elswhere.

It would seem we're doomed to it. But posts on going as far as we can go need to give positive ideas — not someone who has gone as far as he can. Who will come in and why would he?

Never mind Charlton. It reminds me of Parma in the 90s and calls for the taxi for coach, Scala. Taken us as far as he can, he can’t get us the League, he brought promotion, Coppa Italia, Uefa Cup. They wanted more, so got rid. What happened next?

Dave Wilson
39   Posted 16/12/2009 at 20:15:29

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I dont know Robert . . .but I have this feeling you are going to tell us
Gareth Humphreys
40   Posted 16/12/2009 at 20:15:13

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Michael Kenrick, David Moyes's reputation in and around the English game is absolutely top notch. You, and a few other moaners on here think differently.

I don’t think it is too unreasonable too say it could be argued that he has done as good a job as Howard Kendall in view of the constraints he has had to deal with and what he has been competing against.

I'm not saying he is as good as him but you could have a reasonable argument for it. Alternatively you could say he’s shite and Hibbert and Osman are as well.

Roberto Birquet
41   Posted 16/12/2009 at 21:23:49

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Exactly Dave... and it’s Roberto.
Martin Mason
42   Posted 16/12/2009 at 21:25:32

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While DM exasperates me he has generally taken us forward., bought well within obvious restrictions and all fit we have a good squad. DM is what we have and I believe that we have to let his tenure run naturally without destabilisation. We’ve played well recently and it could be the green shoots of recovery. We have a crop of good home bred youngsters coming through and if we can keep Pienar and Saha there’s no reason why we can’t challenge the Sky4, the dividing line between us is thin. Look at how well Villa are doing now with a hard working squad like we can have. I’ll criticise Moyes on a match by match basis but I think ongoing campaigns to get rid of DM on the basis that we may improve as a result are ultra-negative given the situation we are in. DM is an honest and loyal servant to the club and has achieved a lot, we do him a disservice.
Karl Masters
43   Posted 16/12/2009 at 22:01:16

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Conscencus so far seems to be ...... that Moyes has done a good job overall and as we are not going to get rich soon, he is the best man to continue, even though he is not perfect, but then again who is?

Any comments, Alan?
Ciarán McGlone
44   Posted 16/12/2009 at 22:06:45

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I’d contest the point that Moyes does not deserve a larger transfer kitty..

Now, I’m not a massive fan of Moyes Transfers..Personaly I think he does himself no favours by concentrating on utility players and defenders..But he does deserve the chance to have a go with a reasonable bit of money...

Some of the players we have genuinely lost throughlack of cash - would certainly have put us in contentention for competing with the top four...Moutinho, Fernandes, Banega, ramsey - and keeping the likes of Lescott and rooney would have put us right up there...

Instead we are left to try and get excited about the likes of Landon Donovan....

The team we could have had under Moyes with not a great deal of inpuit from the owners...has me salivating..therefore I think he deserves that chance.

He’s not likely to get it though.
Dennis Stevens
45   Posted 16/12/2009 at 22:12:04

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That’s probably not far wide of the mark, Karl. If, in the wake of the Kirkby fiasco, we are to experience any upheaval at Board level then I certainly wouldn’t want a change of manger to add to any instability within the club. Of course, the situation may become quite different should such changes occur regarding the major shareholders & any decision to replace Moyes at that stage may well depend on whether he’s seen as the man to take the club forward under a different regime.
Neil Pearse
46   Posted 16/12/2009 at 23:09:19

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Don’t agree on this one Alan. The glass ceiling is not Moyes, it is our fundamentally, structurally weak financial position which — unless a sugardaddy shows up from nowhere — is not going to change anytime soon.

Personally, if finances are as tight as they are for us, I think Moyes as a manager is about as good as it gets. There is no one I would swap him for now to get us out of the relegation mire. And he’s proven that he can get us higher when our too thin squad is not utterly decimated by injury.

Rather than get rid of Moyes, the most likely scenario is that — failing the sugardaddy — at some point soon, probably next summer, Moyes is going to get rid of us. And there will be plenty of takers. And we will get someone but — with no transfer kitty to speak of — I woulddn’t hold your breath.

Finally, there is a lot of hogwash on here about our hoofball and 4-5-1 etc etc. Moyes is an extremely cautious manager and, given our resources, it is this defensive-first scrapping and organisation which has enabled us to outperform year on year. When all his players are fit, a Moyes team does play a lot better. But God forbid he should suddenly decide that the way forward is to start trying to play like West Brom or West Ham. That way disaster truly lies. Notice who’s third at the moment? Think they got there by playing attractive football? Hmmm....
John Roberts
47   Posted 17/12/2009 at 02:33:05

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All I want to say is that Billy Liar must be laughing his socks off behind his London desk planning his next show!!

Whatever we all think of Davie Moyes, the buck to me must stop with so called Blue BILLY and his cronies. For last two pre-seasons, he's let Moyes down and us fans! Yet still we all go, "He's one of us!!" Bollocks!! The man's a fraud! I believe another pre season like the last two and Davie will be off! And we all might wake up and smell Billy Bullshit!

A what-if question: "Where do you think we would be now if Lescott hadn't been sold?" With the present injury crisis... I shudder to think!! Wonder who will sell in January??

Dave Wilson
48   Posted 17/12/2009 at 06:12:34

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Roberto of course, my apologies.
John Andrews
49   Posted 17/12/2009 at 09:37:20

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Neil, May I ask who the "Plenty of takers" will comprise of? I suspect that there may well be interest from Celtic but other than that?

The problem is clearly a lack of finance and Billy Bullshit has a lot to answer for! He keeps on talking about "Investment" as opposed to selling the club. Therein lies the problem.

Tony Waverleas
50   Posted 17/12/2009 at 11:47:49

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“…But I can’t quite grasp where you see me predicting 8 years of mid-table mediocrity... I don’t do predictions…” (Michael Kenrick)

“..Moyes has already achieved that (set progress back four years) this season, setting us back 6 to 8 years in terms of league position…” (Michael Kenrick)

Just for clarity, Michael, can you explain how with 6 months of this season remaining DM has already guaranteed how we will fare in the league for the next “6 to 8 years”.

And if you “don’t do predictions” can you please explain how you’ve stated a belief that something will happen in the future particularly when that very belief of yours is based, I assume, on current events?

And yes, Michael, the bit about mid-table obscurity was my line; it was me who said it not you. However, as I’m struggling to grasp what you mean in what you’ve posted in this thread so far you’ll perhaps forgive my misinterpretation.

So, can you clarify what you mean, please? That is, how you’ve managed to predict something will happen when you don’t make predictions.
Chad Schofield
51   Posted 17/12/2009 at 11:47:52

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Some really interesting points to a very good article.

Frankly though, dismissing the injury situation is ridiculous.

Although Moyes does frustrate at times, ultimately until Kenwright finds his pot of gold or fucks off and allows us to move on, we’ll continue to tread water at best. Next season will ultimately be a truer test (unless we’re cursed again)... it might not be enough for some though, and Pienaar, for one might fancy his chances elsewhere. I think it would be harsh of any of the players who’ve been injured (except Vaughan) to leave... especialy as their values will be rock bottom — but expect some "cheeky" bids.

Sadly though, without money in place, no matter who replaced Moyes, he would only be able to offer a Kevin Keegan-style boost which would soon wear off, with our best players looking to clamour off.

We need change; Moyes needs change and so do the players — but unless that change happens at Board level, it won’t be the fans or the club that benefits.

I appreciate that I sound like I hate Kenwright. This hasn’t always been the case, but with each year that passes the house of card wobbles more, and it seems that it is his inabilities rather than DM’s that keep us firmly below the increasinly pressurised glass ceiling.
James Stewart
52   Posted 17/12/2009 at 13:50:06

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Ciaran, you make an interesting point with bringing up the team we could have had. Do you think the reason for all those players you mentioned not joining was purely financial? I’m not sure really. It would certainly be a factor but with players like Ramsey (who I think has massive potential) once teams like Arsenal come in he is never going to come here.

Let's face it, if I were an up-and-coming young player, I would want to play at Arsenal under Wenger. Interesting point though and the possible Everton Xl does make for good reading with the likes of Banega!

Alan Kirwin
53   Posted 17/12/2009 at 13:26:06

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An interesting array of opinions. Thanks.

I don’t feel that ending with my own opinion undermines the premise or presentation. He obviously has done good (he wouldn’t be here for 7 years of he hadn’t). But IMHO there are too many things to doubt now, including the shocking, almost unprofessional way that we seem to start almost every season.

We can argue the toss over the importance of formations. But to me, 4-2-3-1 is fundamentally different from a 4-5-1 as it purports to protect the defence more and encourage a more compact formation and thus more sucessful passing and ball retention. You don't send a team out as 4-5-1 with instructions to stay wide etc etc and then assume they will instinctively play compact, joined-up football. Again, opinions.

Bob P. - a most eloquent defense of the art of coaching. You appear to be an accomplished master of it and thanks for your post, Bob. I think we’re actually in agreement because I am firmly of the view that good coaching can transform teams and mentalities. Hoffenheim are a good example of this.

It is arrogant to advise on the real premise of someone else’s article. The premise of my article was simply that, full squad or not, Moyes's influence on how we play and what we achieve is much diminished from what others think it to be. I also think he’s been quick to receive acclaim (even when we’ve been lucky) and less quick to deal with the difficulties. His behaviour last season over his contract had a direct impact on the team. This season he has looked depressed and lost amid our injury problems.

I’m not that interested in dancing on a pin-head over how much certain German teams have spent. I happen to have followed Hoffenheim’s exploits for a little while and also know a fair bit about Dietmar Hopp and his company (SAP) who I have worked with. Hoff’s expenditure throughout Hopp’s stewardship has been almost entirely on infrastructure, training complex, academy, coaching infrastructure and finally a new 30,000-capacity stadium. Hoffenheim have a buy & develop policy and only really spent money on a player very recently (even that was modest). They do not compete with Hamburg or Leverkusen or Werder Bremen or Wolfsburg, and certainly not Bayern (technically the world’s net richest club).

I guess the reality is that Moyes will still be here for a while. I would have dismissed him last year over the contract debacle. I’d certainly demand to know why we spend our pre-season playing Blackpool and Rochdale whilst even lowly EPL teams play senior European teams. There’s plenty more and, as I say, he should be thanked for his achievements but I just see him as being wrong on too many things now and have no sense that he can take us further.

Of course I would love to be wrong, but there have been plenty of chances spurned.

I don’t think he has the personality, or technical acumen, or footballing philosophy, or coaching ability, to take over a bigger club with bigger expectations.
Steve Jones
54   Posted 17/12/2009 at 17:17:22

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To my mind the article misses a very key quality that Moyes has brought with him. The value of teamwork. He has inspired that by building the team in a very specific fashion. It is something he seldom gets credit for as well.

The first job he had to do when he came in was to stop us getting beaten. You either do that by scoring stupid numbers of goals a match or by stopping shipping them. The former is nice to do but a big gamble when you dont have the ability to bring in Messi and Ronaldo etc. The second is somewhat more realistic.

Not having the ability to bring in huge name players at will Moyes has, gradually, added attacking quality to the base of a solid defensive unit. Bilyaletdinov is, potentially, one of the last pieces of that attacking puzzle that he started building with Cahill, what, 5 seasons ago.

The bottom line is that today we have, when fit, quality all over the pitch. We have a squad that is easily comparable with Villa, Spurs and Liverpool on an annual budget a fraction of theirs. How anyone can criticise that achievement beggars belief in my opinion.

I cannot understand any Evertonian saying that we have gone backwards this season when we haven’t been able to field even a full second string team for most of it.

Some are critical of the amount of cover we have in the squad, but, how many Arteta’s are we expected to keep on the bench when everyone actually is fit. Where is the money coming from for all of these players?.

Can Moyes take us futher?. Who knows at this point. No-one can. We have a team that, when fit, can challenge for a Champions League spot. That much is evident. The quality is there and the teamwork ethic, when not crippled by too many vital members of the team missing, is there. We saw that against Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea. Can Moyes do enough tactically when he has skill and options at his disposal?. We’ll see when the injuries clear. Until then it seems harsh to judge him when we haven’t seen if he can deliver or not.

There’s a wonderful line from Monty Python’s Life of Brian - John Cleese asks ’What have the Romans ever done for us’.

Situation is the same here ’what has David Moyes done for us?’!.
Ciarán McGlone
55   Posted 17/12/2009 at 21:15:37

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I didn’t advise you on the premise of your article Alan...I said I disagreed with it...Can’t see that can in any way be contrued as arrogant.

Maybe you should check Hoffenheims transfer spending before they got to the top league - it was far bigger than anyone in their division...
Ciarán McGlone
56   Posted 17/12/2009 at 21:26:22

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Just so you can familiarise yourself with Hoffenheim Alan....

The software billionaire has invested close to $200 million since taking over Hoffenheim in 1990, when the club was still an amateur side competing in the eighth tier of German soccer.

"Slowly but surely, the club fought its way up the ladder and earned promotion to Germany’s second division in 2007. Once there, Hopp reached into his deep pockets and spent big, splashing millions on new players, including over $30 million on Senegalese striker Demba Ba and Brazilian prospect Carlos Eduardo.

The German second division had never seen such astronomical sums of cash, and it was hardly a surprise when Hoffenheim finished the 2007-08 season in second place, earning promotion to the Bundesliga at the first time of asking."

It’s amazing what you can do with money eh
John Andrews
57   Posted 18/12/2009 at 00:41:58

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Steve Jones, I do understand/realise the value of teamwork.

You also ask if Moyes can take us further my answer to that would be an emphatic NO! I know full well with his coaching skills he has reached the end of the road.

I believe that Alan summed it up very nicely by stating that we play Blackpool and Rochdale whilst most other Premier League teams seek out tougher opposition.

I must also add that in 15/16 years of the Premier LEague we have only reached the qualifying stages of the European Cup on one occasion. And I don’t think that anybody will want to talk about that fiasco!

Gary Hughes
58   Posted 18/12/2009 at 01:06:59

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Alan Kirwin has done a great job of summing up the Moyes era at Everton. It would be plain stupid to just slate Moyes without acknowleding the good things he’s done for us but I have to agree that enough is enough. At what point does stability & continuity become stale & depressing? The biggest compliment I can give to DM is that he’s a decent manager who’s done a decent job but he certainly isn’t the be all & end all.
Steve Jones
59   Posted 18/12/2009 at 11:45:00

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At what point does stability and continuity become undesireable?. If our financial situation is to improve it has to be on a foundation of stability and Moyes has the best record I can think of in the Prem for assembling talent ’on the cheap’.

We can all name managers who may be able to bring dazzling pass and move football to Goodison. How many of them could do it on a wage bill of £49mn a year though?.

List gets a wee bit shorter doesnt it?.
Gary Hughes
60   Posted 19/12/2009 at 02:43:21

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Sorry Steve but I have to disagree. The budget arguement is now the standard get out of jail response to anyone who dares to question darlig Davey. In the last 18 months I have seen us dismantled by Standard Liege & Benfica. Now while I don’t actually have the figures to hand I would be willing to bet that both of these teams cost a fraction of our outlay & both are managed by men earning a fraction of Moyes’ salary. You don’t need to spend millions upon millions to coach a team to do the basics.
Steve Jones
61   Posted 19/12/2009 at 08:52:01

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Get out of jail? You mean accurate don’t you.

Look at the team that was dismantled by Benfica — does it bear any relation whatsoever to our first team? All we learnt over those matches was that, if you are going to play a top class European side, you need your first team out and in form! As epiphanies go... that's not a big one really is it!

Comparing our squad to those on the continent is apples to oranges. They don't get the tax attention that we do. Consequently they get more out of their wage bill than we do.

The only valid comparison is with other Prem teams and all you have to do is look around. £49M is £10M UNDER the average Prem wages from two seasons ago!!!

You don't need to spend millions to do the basics. I’m sure Stoke get by with less. I’m guessing you don't want to see Stoke's brand of football as the best possible we can hope for at Goodison though? I certainly don't.

When we have our skill players back, we won't see dour football. We can hope for better. I’m sure Moyes is thinking the same — after all he has been building the squad for five years and he is now within spitting distance of the payoff.

Watch the vidclip on the BBC of Moyes talking about Landon Donovan. He talks about going to Sporting with a full squad and he has no fear on his face whatsoever. There is absolutely no discomfort in the man talking about us taking on Sporting Lisbon at their gaff. On £49M that is an immense achievement.

Excuse? Hardly!
James McGlone
62   Posted 20/12/2009 at 14:18:11

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The seems that you have filled with pro-Moyes facts, and anti-Moyes opinion. The pub team comment is bullshit, the comments about his mood have absolutely no foundation. Then I read your last paragraph - wtf are you on about?

The best bit though is from Michael Kenrick:

"Moyes has already achieved that this season, setting us back 6 to 8 years in terms of league position"

Fucking excellent. Do any of you loons ever listen to yourself?
Art Tosh
63   Posted 21/12/2009 at 19:37:17

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James McGlone - correct 100%.

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