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The Moyes Conundrum

By Shaun Sparke :  29/12/2009 :  Comments (60) :
It has been reported on several occasions that the much vaunted but ultimately doomed ground move to Kirkby split the fan-base at our once great club right down the middle.

I was always against the move, and knew where I stood from the very start. I wasn’t taken in by a quote-filled glossy brochure extolling the virtues and the necessity of moving to a new ground outside the confines of the city where the club first came to prominence.

I felt proud that I could see through the hyperbole of the benefits of moving to a retail park in what has been described by more eloquent people than I as a disadvantaged and sadly neglected suburb of Liverpool. I voted with a resounding NO and was unashamedly delighted when the whole ill-conceived idea was defeated by government edict.

I consider myself to be moderately intelligent and quite capable of making my own mind up on matters when I am offered a choice. So to get to the point of my reason for penning this article, I am therefore perplexed as to why I can’t quite make my mind up whether to offer my undying gratitude to David Moyes for taking this club forward and away from the dark days of regular relegation battles... Or to scream at the man for his over-cautious often sterile brand of football which sometimes has me pulling my hair out when I see us play one up front at home to the likes of Wolves, Birmingham and Burnley.

I have been watching Everton regularly for close to 40 years; I have to admit that I don’t remember the first couple of those years as I was just a toddler, but I do count myself fortunate that I can recall Joe Royle and Alan Ball running around Goodison proudly wearing the blue kit.

I have been lucky enough to see us when we were bloody good (84-87) and can also recall many teams that were absolute dire. I have witnessed the demise of this club as being one of the wealthiest in the country to being Premier League paupers. Therefore, I fully understand that the game has changed along with our standing in it, and it is unfair to make direct comparisons of Moyes's achievements with that of past managers.

Moyes is operating to a different set of financial restrictions under reasons that are not going to be discussed in this article as their complexities would throw me off track. However, it would be reasonable to compare the style of play that Moyes employs with that of past Everton teams.

I have seldom been excited by any Everton performance during the reign of Moyes. Granted, there has been the odd moment of good football and several really good performances, but we are talking about a period of almost eight years here, and the football served up can be described as efficient at best.

I can almost hear the clattering of keyboards as defenders of Moyes spell out to me quite forcibly that if Moyes had money to spend then the style of play would be more pleasing on the eye. Yes, you do have a point, but you can neither prove this theory as much as I can disprove it, so we will have to agree to differ here, and this is where the conundrum lies...

What would become of Everton FC if either Bill Kenwright or David Moyes decided that enough was enough and Moyes went on his merry way?

Could we possibly get another manager who could sustain our place amongst the elite on a modest budget and possibly take us further so that we could actually challenge for one of the much coveted top four places on a regular basis? Or would we fold and crumble without Moyes’s guidance and witness the ultimate humiliation as we spiralled downwards towards championship football?

As I mentioned earlier, I sometimes want to scream at Moyes for his perceived tactical naivety and negative ways, I want him to take more chances and encourage more attacking football, but I am just a fan, and like all fans my opinion means very little.

Moyes has the big picture in his mind at all times, his very existence as the manager of this club probably relies on maintaining our Premier League place. He has definitely not been set a target of winning trophies!

Sadly for us, his remit is probably one of survival amongst the elite and rather worryingly this is currently viewed by many as success for this club. It shouldn’t be this way, but let’s face facts, this is the stark truth. European qualification is seen as a bonus, and a cup final win is the very best that we can now hope for.

So what incentive has Moyes got for wishing to play expansive football? He has got results by being cautious and knows what is needed to achieve this. Therefore we have to ask ourselves, what do we as fans really want?

Kenwright, in his somewhat sycophantic Christmas wish-list, alluded to the billionaire that we all crave. Only he knows how realistic this wish may come to fruition, but having been looking for 24/7 for the past ten years then I suspect that we will still be wishing this time next year.

So this leaves us with the question as to whether we keep on chanting the name of Davey Moyes from the terraces in the vain hope that we can get our best eleven fit and finally see the results of Moyes 10-year plan. Or do we turn against this sterile but efficient football and make our feelings known, demanding a new manager who may try to play a more entertaining game under the same financial shackles that Moyes has been operating within?

This is why I have called it the Moyes conundrum. I honestly don’t know what the answer is. I want us to play better football but I am also cautious about what the ramifications would be if we were to lose the man. I suspect that I am not alone in this viewpoint.

Reader Comments

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Tom Harries
1   Posted 29/12/2009 at 15:21:08

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The negative football, out-of-position players and delayed substitutions are the biggest strikes against his name, but with our debts and lack of certainty over the future, stadium-wise, I do not for a second believe we would actually get a manager who would get the squad we have playing better football, week in, week out (there are several who could produce a team that had the occasional great performance) and at the same time getting us into the same final league positions that we have achieved over the last 6, 7 years. How many times have Tottenham or Newcastle, with their love of good, attacking football finished above us over those years?

I have the same problem you seem to have. I have almost (almost) had enough of Moyes but I really fear the post-Moyes future (I for one am not counting on a billionaire owner or half a dozen world class academy kids any time soon)
David Booth
2   Posted 29/12/2009 at 15:07:25

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Despite being a great admirer of David Moyes, I can understand your feelings Shaun.

On a personal level I think he is a great ambassador for our club: honest, straight-talking, refreshingly dry-humoured and one who’ll stand up and be counted (not hide behind referees like so many of his counterparts).

Professionally he has taken us forward against all the odds: threatening (if not quite managing to seriously interrupt), the moneyed-dominance of the ’Sky four’, creating an enviable team on a petty cash budget and raising our expectations from avoiding relegation to regular European qualification.

However, as you rightly point out, we have not - yet - established a reptuation for flowing football.

HOWEVER, who has?

Chelsea certainly haven’t. They’re wonderfully efficient, but in a ruthless and relentless manner.

Manchester United, stripped of Ronaldo, are a one-man team over-reliant on Rooney.

Aston Villa, despite being the current joint media darlings, are the ultimate long ball/breakaway exponents.

Tottenham, who currently share the media’s sycophantic affection, flatter to deceive as always.

Liverpool are dreadful and a shadow of their former selves.

Manchester City are, are all huff, puff and two minutes of Tevez.

Which (if you discount the supporting cast), means that only Arsenal really catch the eye consistently.

So in an age where the hype far exceeds the reality at pitch level, are we so bad?

I would wager not, and in the last seven games with Pienaar back in the side, we’ve played some decent stuff.

Only when we get Jagielka back to make the defence more of a barrier and Arteta to help direct the ball forward can we really assess our - and Moyes’ - true value.

Don’t forget, he’s still a young man by managerial standards and knows full well the value of putting sound foundations in place.

He also has few peers when it comes to the transfer market. Again only Arsenal, through Wenger, could claim to do it better.

Mind you, if he buys Hutton in January, even I might join the ’Moyes out ’ brigade!

In conclusion, I think that given the new parameters within which the modern game exists, we’re doing OK right now. Not as well as we might wish perhaps, but it could be a lot (lot), worse.

Dour Scotsmen generally do quite well in the managerial stakes and I fancy him to follow in that tradition.

It may take a little longer than some, but he’s no fool and his performance graph shows a consistent upward line.

Contemplating replacing him is pure folly. Who could possibly do, or have done, a better job under the circumstances?

Kenny Lloyd
3   Posted 29/12/2009 at 15:57:56

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Shaun – a decent article & poses some interesting questions.

For me, I’m firmly in the keep David Moyes camp – an unashamed fan of his. For sure we’d all like to see free flowing attacking football in the mold of the way Arsenal play for example. While we are no where near that level, IMO we are getting better. People would probably question me saying that but I believe we now have some technically gifted footballers on our books which with time will gel into quite formidable unit.

There’s no way players like Pienaar, Arteta, Fellaini, Bily & Rodwell want to play hoofball. People mention Moyes tactics & playing hoofball but if you look at our creative flair players – Moyes bought the majority of them! I think that tells us that he also wants to play attractive football when he can. It’s not as often as a lot of people on here would seem to want but we are getting better and our potential for good football is definitely there.

We have produced some great football during Moyes reign (Villa away a few years ago for example) and of course we have produced some pretty dire stuff. For me though, our road to good football and being a top team is obviously a slow burner. The same old funding argument crops up again but with the Premier League being such a money driven, cash cow these days, it’s hard not to keep falling back to that argument that without the funds to compete, we have to build really slowly.

I would agree that his remit at the moment definitely isn’t winning trophies but that doesn’t mean he’s not ambitious and doesn’t want to win them! The reason it’s not his remit is that BK knew what a bad state we were in when he took over and knows he can’t currently give the manager the funds required to make that his remit!

I would fear the worst should Moyes go and a new manager come in. The reason being that, I think it’s safe to assume that any new manager would have to operate under the same financial restraints as Moyes has had to do. A new manager would probably then want to / have to generate funds to revamp the squad in the manner he would like. The real nightmare scenario is our saleable assets such as Rodwell, Arteta, Pienaar could all be sacrificed to fund the squad changes. While Moyes has proven his ability to spot players and turn them into top notch ones, would a new manager be able to do the same?? I have a hard time believing we could strike it as lucky again in that respect.

As for the names of any potential new managers who could do a better job?? The list would seem to be a short one! Roy Hodgson occasionally gets championed and while he is proven to be a very good capable manager, could we get him to Goodison? Given that he and Moyes are friends, I doubt very much he would take the job out of loyalty should it be offered and given the fact that he arguably has access to more funds at Fulham. He’s about the only one for me who would make a decent candidate but other than that, who is there??

I genuinely believe that we have to support David Moyes and pray that we can get our best 11 out on the pitch at some point soon. Our best 11 is good enough to compete with the best this league has to offer (our squad depth is another matter). Moyes is not stupid whatever some people on here may say and I believe that he is the right man for the job and that we will see more attractive football come our way soon enough – the seeds have already started to be sown on this front in the last few games. Surely this can only improve as Bily settles in more, Fellaini is utilised properly more, Arteta returns etc.

Let’s accept that no manager is perfect and Moyes make his mistakes in the same way SAF, Wenger and the rest do but for me he gets a lot more right than he gets wrong & we should definitely stick with.
Craig Wilson
4   Posted 29/12/2009 at 16:04:27

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I think this is the best squad of players we have had under Moyes so far, but as we all know injurys have robbed us of the chance to see how good they really are.

When the majority are fit maybe then we will see a better level of football, only time will tell.......
Amit Vithlani
5   Posted 29/12/2009 at 16:32:28

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I agree with many of your points, notably around the ambition of the club and its retention of Moyes as a manager.

Kenwright explicitly refers to Moyes in the latest annual report as the main man at the club - with resources being marshalled to support him. There are very few clubs (Manure, Arse aside) where the owners of the club are so open in their subservience towards the manager.

Moyes is unsackable whilst Kenwright & co are in charge. They lack the financial means to attract top talent and therefore need a man like Moyes to produce results which keep the side amongst the top 7-8 in the country without having to invest - there has been little money invested in the squad beyond what Moyes has generated from player sales.

Whilst some of our performances have been really poor this season, and the quality of football less than enthralling under Moyes, I suspect I am not alone when I say that on balance the club needs Moyes, especially now that Kirkby has fallen through.

The club needs stability in what is undoubtedly going to be a tumultuous period - the revival of Spurs, Villa and Man City has pushed us down the pecking order and, in the absence of new owners or an expanded stadium we seemed to be hopelessly marooned.

If the ambitious and more talented players within the squad decide to move on, as Lescott did, then more change will be on the way and this will only strengthen Moyes’ position as Kenwright tries to stabilise a sinking ship.

The only hope of returning to the glory years is through serious investment. That will mean that the club’s ambitions will have to match those of the fans. There will be no hiding place for Moyes at that point.
Keith Glazzard
6   Posted 29/12/2009 at 16:44:39

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Shaun -

Its difficult to argue with someone who doesn’t know what he thinks. ’Should he stay or should he go?’ Answer yes or no, or more probably don’t know.

Your credentials are excellent - and your heart is certainly in the right place - but you have to know your history.

Shaun,"the likes of Wolves, Birmingham and Burnley" are proud football clubs with their own histories. They have fought tooth and nail to be playing against us. They haven’t come here to lie down and say thanks for the privilege.

Birmingham are a bit different to the other two. This is the best they’ve ever been. Why? Scots manager who learnt how to do it from - guess who? Sir Alex - get lost.

David Moyes.
Brian Noble
7   Posted 29/12/2009 at 16:44:34

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Thank you, Shaun, for expressing all the thoughts I have on Moyes. As you say, he has no brief to win things — only to keep us in a safe position — and given the paucity of funds at his disposal, he’s certainly done a good job of that.

Were he, by some magic, to be put in the position Mark Hughes was at Man City, I firmly believe he wouldn’t lasted five minutes. To start with he’d be like a kid in a toy shop and then, without the alibi of ’limited funds ’would find himself exposed as a tactical illiterate.

With or without investment, Everton will NEVER win anything under this manager but as we’re not likely to attract a wealthy benefactor any time soon, I guess the club is better left in his safe (boring and unimaginative) hands than entrusted to one of the Johnny Come Latelies who inhabit his profession.

Phil Hamer
8   Posted 29/12/2009 at 16:57:24

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Haven’t you been watching the games recently? Our style of play has been improving rapidly, we are keeping it on the floor and moving it around very nicely. We will start to look more penetrative as the players settle into their roles within the team and get used to each others movement.

The ’Moyes plays hoofball’ argument is becoming redundant.
Jay Harris
9   Posted 29/12/2009 at 17:08:22

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Some really well thought out posts on here and mainly in line with my thoughts.

Moyes is a good but not brilliant manager who is absolutely right for EFC at this moment in time.

This season is not out yet but seems to be heading for one of our worst finishes under Moyes and, with 10 regular first teamers unavailable at any time, who can lay the blame at his door?

However in previous seasons he has outperformed O’Neill, Hodgson,’Appy ’Arry, Mark Hughes, Sam Allardyce and Benitez (for 1 season) despite the fact they all had far more spending power.

In addition, we couldn't ask for a more principled, dignified, honest and "proper" man to represent our club.

We can't be certain but I feel if he had been supported following our 4th, 5th and last years 5th place with proper money, instead of having to sell to buy, we would be looking at possible trophies.
Jamie Southern
10   Posted 29/12/2009 at 17:28:33

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Like Jay say’s, it’s pleasing to see so many well thought out posts.

There can’t be an Evertonian out there who doesn’t crave consistent success from a team that plays with style, flair, skill, power and pace - all in equal quantity. I do. And I honestly think Moyes does too. But he simply can’t achieve this short term. He can’t even achieve this medium term. So he has embarked on the long term rebuilding of the team, improving the squad (quality and depth) season after season. He has laid strong foundations and is building on them. To my mind, I just can’t see how anyone could do a better job than Moyes.

As for his tactics (and which player he brings on at any given stage of the match), I feel many on here take a far too simplistic view. Against Burnley, there have been various calls for a more attacking team and that Vaughan should have replaced Cahill, not Neville. On the face of it, I would agree. But how do we know that was the best decision? We don’t. Moyes has so much more information to hand than any of us do, so how can people so unequivocally state that Moyes got it wrong? It baffles me!

No manager is perfect. Moyes isn’t perfect. But, in my opinion, with our club in its current state, there is no better man for the job.
David Hallwood
11   Posted 29/12/2009 at 17:57:23

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It’s all about the money. The fact is that David Moyes hasn’t had the money of the Sky 4, it is unfair to judge his record by thier standards.

However, is this all about to change, and has the credit crunch finally injected some reality into the la-la financial world of football? With Fergie talking about only buying if there is ’value’ and Ancelotti running naked in the snow, are they having financial constraints put on them where none existed before?

The world and his mother know that this Man U is the most ordinary incarnation in 20 years and need significant investment if they are to compete with the Spanish giants, whereas if Chelsea lose Drogba & Anelka they’re down to kids.

Who knows maybe by default we will end up having the same financial clout as the sky4 in a post apocalyptic financial climate.

Howard Don
12   Posted 29/12/2009 at 19:00:49

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A superb article Shaun, well balanced and thought through.

Like Kenny Lloyd I’m an unashamed Moyes supporter, not because I think he gets everything right, of course he doesn’t, and not because the football is wonderful, although at times it’s been very good. It’s because the guy’s hard working, pragmatic and honest approach is exactly right for Everton at this difficult point in our history. That’s not to say I don’t think he could hack it if we suddenly had billions to play with, I’d like to see him given the chance. But the fact is we haven’t a pot to piss in, a scenario unlikely to change, and I belive there is just no-one around who could do a better job in our situation.

Like you, I’ve been watching Everton for a long time (first season ticket Championship Year 1961-62). I’ve seen them all since then and even the greats like Kendall and Catterick took their fair share of abuse when things got difficult because, yes, even their teams were capable of producing dross on occasions and they had much greater financial clout than Moyes to rectify things with.
James Boden
13   Posted 29/12/2009 at 21:30:15

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I can see both sides of the fence. What annoys me from Moyes is that the quality of football on the whole has been crap. He is also too loyal to undeserving players — in particular, Osman. And he lets Kenwright get off scot free. Also, his substitutions are reactive rather than pro-active.

However, in his defense, under difficult circumstances, you would probably have to say he has delivered on the whole, even if he hasn’t delivered a trophy — and I was very angered about his decision to stick to the same tactics despite scoring in record time in the Cup Final.

But Moyes has steadied the ship and improved us — certainly in league standings. We are now respected amongst most... or at least were before this season.

The problem with Moyes is I for one do not trust him with money. His better buys have been the bargains: Cahill, Martyn and even Saha.

As much as it pains me to admit, I think the guy deserves just a little longer.

Steven Jones
14   Posted 29/12/2009 at 22:53:20

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You guys are all under valuing DM

The record number of manager awards says something ...

Before Kenwright made the appointment, we were in danger of going very far south with a squad that have 8 centre halves and a geriatric midfield etc etc etc.

Look at DM’s buys and his ambition to play attractive football and not not not hoofball!

Mr P is lovely right now: Arteta, Johnny Heitinga, Leon — the fastest feet I have seen & the best goal for Everton I have seen — including Catterick and Kendall teams; his love of youth and giving it a chance. The Yak is very intricate and subtle - and the delicate and sophisticated skills of Bily — reminds me of the "School of Science" tag we once had; the control and presence and interplay and calmness of Felli is not hoof ball ... neither is Jo, or the progressive Gosling, or the future centre midfield and england Captain.

So I have a healthy disregard of re-gurgitated cliches on how dour and hoofball DM is.

My vote is even more positive than keep ... Honour and rejoice at the potential we now have in front of us and, as a very insightful poster above pointed out, the financial balance is about to change and we are well placed to do very well in 2010-11.

John Andrews
15   Posted 29/12/2009 at 23:34:16

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Jesus Christ, Steven, are you on drugs!
Paul Conatzer
16   Posted 30/12/2009 at 00:42:17

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I’m not going to comment about Moyes, but to compare what his teams produce to those golden days of Bally, et al...just doesn’t work.

Check this out....
Brendan O'Doherty
17   Posted 30/12/2009 at 00:51:20

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Excellent article Shaun - you’ve hit the nail right on the head in speculating about what would happen in a post-Moyes scenario.

Regarding the style of football, I always remember one particular game which sums us up. It was the penultimate game of the 06/07 season against Portsmouth when we needed the 3 points to guarantee European football for the next season. First half included a lot of long balls from Yobo & Co and it was 0-0 at the break. There were a lot of groans from the crowd. Second half, presumably after a rollicking from the manager, we came out and played some great stuff on the floor, with Arteta and Fernandes linking up brilliantly, and we ripped them apart winning 3-0. It just about summed up the 2 styles of our play.

I agree with most of the comments posted above. I would add that when Moyes signed Fellaini he told us he was a developing talent. Like most people, I couldn’t believe the ungainly gait and the amount of mis-timed tackles etc. this time last year. I think we can now see that this lad is becoming a very good all-round player indeed.

In Moyes we trust.
David Hallwood
18   Posted 30/12/2009 at 01:35:49

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Thanks for the link Paul, it should be required viewing for all Evertonians. A couple of observations; the pace of the game, they had more pace than we have now! So much for superfit modern footballers. Alex Young playing as a box-to-box midfielder (scored a great goal as well), the Boys Pen in full song and of course tonking the reigning Champions Man U 3-1. Oh and there was a bit of hoofball as well. On second thoughts maybe we shouldn’t watch it.
Brendan O'Doherty
19   Posted 30/12/2009 at 03:20:37

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Paul Conatzer, that was absolutely fantastic - thanks for the link. End to end stuff. Loved the bit where Bally ran back and nicked it off Bestie. Great stuff.
Mike McLean
20   Posted 30/12/2009 at 05:23:36

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Apologies for being pedantic but I think that early ’60s championship side was 62 - 63.

And Paul Conatzer, thanks for the wonderful link.
Howard Don
21   Posted 30/12/2009 at 10:40:18

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Quite right Mike, I stand corrected.
David Booth
22   Posted 30/12/2009 at 15:53:46

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Great to see the overwhelming majority of Evertonians are still right behind David Moyes. Just shows what an emerging run of decent results does.

Imagine if he’d gone, as one or two vocal detractors on here had suggested, and his successor had come in after the Liverpool game (where we outplayed them as comprehensively as I’ve seen any Everton team do over the last 35 years)?

He’d have presided over a six game unbeaten run, during which time we’ve:

Drawn with an in-form Tottenham side, coming back from 2-0 down when all seemed dead and lost.

Won away, in Athens, with half a team, to secure progress to the next round of the Europa Cup.

Taken a point from Chelsea on their own ground, having been behind twice and scoring three goals in the process.

Proved ourselves better — in terms of possession, chances and relative disappointment with a draw — than two of the most combative and up-and-coming teams in the division (Birmingham and Sunderland).

Beaten a dogged and underrated Burnley to move up to 11th place and get a foothold on the top half of the table at last.

I’ll wager that if a new manager had come in and achieved that, he’d be hailed as a messiah. All of which proves we have the right man in place already. It is so shortsighted, with less than half the season gone and more than half a team out injured, to question Moyes’s management — especially after what he has achieved over the last seven YEARS.

So time to stop this ridiculous ‘get rid’ rhetoric and let’s see what the rest of the season brings… starting this weekend with a good win against Carlisle on the road back to Wembley?
Brian Waring
23   Posted 30/12/2009 at 17:41:08

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David, how do you come to the conclusion that "The overwhelming majority of Evertonians are still right behind David Moyes"?
David Booth
24   Posted 30/12/2009 at 19:53:57

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By reading the posts in this thread Brian and talking to other Evertonians. I also fervently believe it is a genuinely true and accurate statement to make.

Are you suggesting otherwise?

If so — although there are, and always will be some dissenting voices out there (and on here) — his detractors are neither overwhelming nor the majority...
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
25   Posted 30/12/2009 at 20:08:04

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David Booth, people make such unprovable statements as yours for one purpose only: to denigrate and devalue the opinions of others they do not like or cannot accept.

I have cautioned Richard Dodd for talking a similar approach in discussions on here and I shall caution you too: I’m not arguing the point, I’m reasserting that this is a forum for individuals to post their personal views, and in doing so to, speak for themselves, and not for others.
Nigel McKergan
26   Posted 30/12/2009 at 19:27:25

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Good article sums up the more questions than answers debate.
On the plus side if you think back to the situation and team he took over free falling to relegation back in March 2002 to what he has achieved since by regular top six finishes, European qualification, reaching the cup final last year against most expectations and as of this season still the last club to break into the Champions League places back in 2005.

There can be no doubt that he has stabilised the club and raised the expectation levels each season, which perhaps means he is a victim of his own success.

I also like the way he leads our club with pride and dignity unlike the team over the park. No-one can doubt that he loves Everton and this comes through at all times when you hear him talk about Everton.

The squad he has at present and when he can field his best eleven will be a match for any other Premier League side. For that reason, and given the terrible run of injuries we have suffered, I think we should better judge him when that side has had a good run to the end of the season. It may even take to next season to see how it performs and wether they get the freedom to play to their potential.

Also on the plus side, his transfer dealings are in the main very astute, whilst some may take time to bear full fruition, ie, Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov,& Heitinga.

When you consider Lescott's performances for Man City, where he has been exposed for the over-rated player he is, Moyes has spent that kitty money wisely. (Also think of Saha, Arteta, Pienaar, Cahill,and Jagielka — all bought fairly cheaply.)

On the negative side:

We are too negative at home. We need to be more positive and play 4-4-2 at home, injuries permitting; it sends out the wrong message to the away sides who can soak up what we throw at them and before long we end up with the hoofball again. We are playing much better football again and hopefully the cutting edge will return also. The 4-5-1 works well away from home dependent on the opposition.

Another negative is possibly too much loyalty to the senior players (think back to Alf Ramsey). This will be tested when we have everybody fit as Cahill, Yobo, Hibbert, and Osman would probaly start on the bench if picking our best team with Fellaini as the box-to-box holding midfielder. All the great managers have been ruthless when it comes to selecting their best eleven and this will now be a test for David Moyes as his years of service grow.

The other negative is the use of subs. As someone mentioned before, why is it left to the final 10-15 mins before things get changed... and why defenders for attackers when we need to win games?

I still believe in David Moyes as the right manager for this club. The next 18 months will however be crucial to his tenure here. I hope for us all he makes it.

David Booth
27   Posted 30/12/2009 at 21:17:22

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Michael, as usual you seem to have it in for me. It is clear you have no time for Moyes and an equal amount of patience with the views of those, like me, who have.

However, to accuse me of denigration and devaluing the views of others is so wide of the mark. I ALWAYS try to offer a reasoned argument, supported by as much logic as possible and presented in a polite manner.

Out of 20 posters on here, 14 came out in support of Moyes, five left no discernible decision either way (indeed, two got completely sidetracked by the Alan Ball link) and only one, Brian, apparently disagrees.

By my reckoning, that gives the pro-Moyes lobby a majority of between 75 - 93.3%, depending on how you choose to interpret the statistics.

How overwhelming does a majority have to be before you consider it proven?

Were the Goodison crowd baying for Moyes’s head or radio phone-ins being swamped with disaffected Evertonians things would be very different. But they’re not.

So is my personal view (which was never intended to be anything but that), not a true reflection of grass roots feelings?

If it isn’t, please tell me why and show me the evidence.
Brian Waring
28   Posted 30/12/2009 at 22:13:57

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"Although there are, and always will be some dissenting voices out there (and on here) - his detractors are neither overwhelming nor the majority" So have you come to this conclusion then David, because you have spoke to a few people, and because 14 people out of 20 on this thread backed Moyes?
Laurie Hartley
29   Posted 31/12/2009 at 01:22:53

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I have really enjoyed reading this post and all the responses to it. I’ve got to say that I started off feeling totally in tune with Shaun’s comments - and the question he posed. However, David Booth’s comments have influenced my opinion. If I was asked the question should we stick with David Moyes I would definitely answer “yes” but “can David Moyes lead the club back to the sort of glory days that I enjoyed when I was first taken to Goodison by my father in the early 60’s”. A columnist on “another well know Everton site” believes this is all down to a question of money – I don’t. There is another “more excellent way” – the way that Sir Alf Ramsay, Brian Clough, Sir Alex Ferguson and dare I say it, Bill Shankly, took. These great managers had a number of things in common:-

They believed in their own ability
They made their players believe in themselves (quite an achievement for Bill Shankly)
They had a vision.
They were were bold.

I too have felt extremely frustrated with David Moyes team selections and tactics in recent months. I tried to post an article entitled “FFS have a go” but it never made the board. I thought it made sense to play 442 when we had 3 fit strikers and a devastated midfield.

As Keith Glazzard has said on another post “vision will still beat money”. So for me the Moyes conundrum is “can he make the leap from being a very good manager to a great leader”. I hope so. I believe boldness is the key.

All the best for the New Year to all Evertonians throughout the world.
Brian Waring
30   Posted 31/12/2009 at 09:07:38

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The problem is though Laurie, Moyes has had 7 years to show if he could make the leap to a great leader, and in my opinion, he has nowhere near.
David Booth
31   Posted 31/12/2009 at 09:30:40

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Er, yes Brian, I do!

It’s a representative slice of public opinion on the matter which, by the way, has just moved on to 15/21 thanks to Laurie’s post.

It would certainly appear that on here (as well as at the match), the majority ARE behind David Moyes.
Brian Waring
32   Posted 31/12/2009 at 10:50:38

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David there are loads who contribute to Toffeeweb, not just the few on this post, so unless you know all their views on Moyes, you cannot say that the majority on here back Moyes, also, unless you know the views of maybe 37,000 other fans who go the game, you cannot state that the majority ’out there’ back Moyes as an accurate statement.

Now, unless you can poll every contributor to ToffeeWeb, and the 37,000 or so match going fans, what Michael says is spot on, that the statement you make is unprovable.
David Booth
33   Posted 31/12/2009 at 13:02:48

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By definition, that would render virtually every statement made on here invalid though Brian.

However, in a thread dedicated to the ’Moyes Conundrum’, seven out of ten cats clearly prefer him to another brand.

And you know yourself that, although we’re not tearing up any trees right now, the general concensus is that he’s doing OK.
Jamie Southern
34   Posted 31/12/2009 at 13:18:11

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Reading my post above would tell you that I agree with David’s interpretation of this post. My own observations from attending matches and speaking with fellow blues in the "real world" also backs this up. But I also understand that what Brian and Michael are saying is correct.

So Brian, would you be kind enough to clarify a couple of things?

Are you only unhappy with what David has said because it is inaccurate/can’t be proved? Or are you also unhappy with Moyes to the extent that you believe the majority of Evertonians do not back him?
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
35   Posted 31/12/2009 at 20:37:14

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Let’s just get a few things straight here as David Booth doesn’t seem to be getting the message:

This is a forum for individuals posting as individuals; whether your viewpoint coincides with that of majority or a minority of Evertonians is neither here nor there and should not be a consideration.

David Booth has played this ’majority’ card as a blatant mechanism for discounting dissenting views, which runs counter to the spirit and intent of this website. That is what I have an issue with.

The validity of all reasonably held views, whether supporting or dissenting, majority or minority, needs to be something you acknowledge as a participant on this forum. That expressly means not invoking meaningly constructs like this that can be neither proved nor disproved and are in any case irrelevant to the discussion.

None of the threads on this website are posted with the intention of discerning a majority view, and even our most prolific threads come nowhere near close to representing a statistically valid cross-section of Everton family, as diverse as it is.

So let’s please simply not invoke this kind of blanket claim in a vain effort to bolster your position. If you have a viewpoint, post it: don’t try and big it up by claiming that you represent more than just yourself.
Laurie Hartley
36   Posted 31/12/2009 at 21:25:59

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Brian - I take your point about the 7-year period but I’d have to say that often, in times of hardship and danger, leaders emerge. The outcome of the current situation will reveal if he can be what I for one hope he can be. Cometh the moment, cometh the man.
Roger Domal
37   Posted 01/01/2010 at 00:50:26

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There are days that I absolutely detest his style and there are days that I love the man for what he has brought us.

There was a Spurs home match two seasons ago where I wish he would fade away.
Brendan McLaughlin
38   Posted 01/01/2010 at 12:14:30

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There was a Spurs home match two seasons ago where I wish he would fade away.
Says it all really!
Mike Allison
39   Posted 01/01/2010 at 20:23:30

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Michael, your treatment of David Booth is bizarre. Are you saying we’re not allowed to talk about the majority view as evidenced by posts on here, speaking to fellow fans and, let's say, callers to local phone-ins? Why not?

Why shouldn’t it be a consideration? Whether or not the majority of fans back Moyes is absolutely relevant to the discussion, and to accuse him of doing anything counter to the ’spirit and intent of this website’ seems massively over the top. He’s ’acknowledged the validity of all reasonable held views’ and made no attempt to denigrate anyone. He certainly hasn’t ’played the majority card as a blatant mechanism for discounting dissenting views’, he’s ’played it’ as a way to disagree with them. You may not think it's a particularly good argument or that there isn’t enough evidence for it to be used, but isn’t that something everyone reading this can decide for themselves?

He seems to have been perfectly rational and reasonable, when challenged to provide evidence has done so, and has offered the opinion that the majority of Evertonians back David Moyes. I can’t see anything wrong with what he’s said and I’m afraid that it looks absolutely that you’re being difficult with him simply because he disagrees with you about something.

It's a shame because, for a while there, this thread was a rare outbreak of considered and balanced opinion, with most posters expressing reservations and frustrations but in general backing Moyes’s ’total package’ even with its flaws.
Brian Waring
40   Posted 01/01/2010 at 20:15:01

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Jamie, David says, "His detractors are neither overwhelming nor the majority."

Also, "The overwhelming majority are still right behind Moyes."

"General consensus is that he’s doing ok"

"Genuinely true and accurate statement to make."

He seems to have used this thread and speaking to some Evertonians, as his basis that the majority of fans are behind Moyes; the problem for David, is that he can’t prove that.

Whilst the majority on this thread back Moyes. He can’t say things like ’on here’ (ToffeeWeb) and ’out there’ the majority back Moyes. And then say "Genuinely true and accurate statement to make" — Where is his proof? It’s laughable to use this thread and speaking to some Evertonians, to come to his conclusion. It seems that David has elected himself as spokesperson for all the other fans on here and out there, and he has come to the opinion, that because he backs Moyes, then so must everyone else.

I think Moyes is a decent manager, but statements like ’Genius’ and the ’Moyesiah’ are (in my opinion) OTT. I read a post the other day on here, that Moyes could be forgiven if we don’t do well this season... why?
Jamie Southern
41   Posted 01/01/2010 at 23:42:14

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Fair enough, Brian. Appreciate your responding. And you’re right, David can’t prove that the "overwhelming majority are still right behind Moyes."

Going on the replies posted in this thread, however, it does suggest that Moyes has more supporters than not.

Perhaps the next TW poll could be a "Moyes — thumbs up or thumbs down"?!

With reference to your final point — why could Moyes be forgiven if we don’t do well this season? It depends on the definition of "well".

And that pretty much takes us back to square one!!! Is Moyes doing well? What is well? That’s the conundrum!!!

I assume whoever said that was referring to the unbelievable bad luck we’ve had with injuries. Based on this, and Moyes’s overall record over the last 7 or 8 years, I’m willing to give the guy some slack.
Mike Allison
42   Posted 02/01/2010 at 11:24:43

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Taking the four statements one by one:

"(Moyes’) detractors are neither overwhelming nor the majority" Surely we can all accept that this is true? What grounds could we have for not? When the manager is not backed by the fans you know about it, witness Megson at Bolton. There are no boos, no chants and what was perceived as negative substitution (Neville for Cahill - it had me whingeing) didn’t even create much of a murmur as everyone was too busy clapping Neville back onto the pitch. I would suggest if the fans didn’t back Moyes that would have been a focal point for dissent.

"The overwhelming majority are still right behind Moyes" This seems to be the one that has annoyed people the most. I happen to agree with it personally, but of course, it is not a scientific or statistically valid statement, it is based on anecdotal evidence. It seems true to me, from phone ins, websites and the behaviour of the crowd in the stadium. Maybe we should have a Toffeeweb poll- "Should David Moyes be replaced as Everton manager?"

"General consensus is that he’s is doing okay" This is such a mild, bland and inoffensive statement that I find it hard to understand why anyone is annoyed about it. It barely says anything its so vague, but again, there is an awful lot of anecdotal evidence to support it as stated above and stretching out to pundits and the views of fans of other clubs about where Everton are.

"Genuinely true and accurate statements to make" This would become a philosophy lesson to analyse this one properly, it depends on your threshold of ’true’ and ’accurate’ . All that can really be said is that from David’s point of view they obviously appear as such. They do from mine as well. If they don’t from yours, then so be it.

On a general point, to insist on ’proof’ for things becomes pointless (especially on a website that thrives on opinion), as you’ll basically start having to rule out everything. Does he have ’reasonable evidence’ for his point of view? That’s the question, and I think the answer is ’yes’. You may not, and the onus is then on you to provide counter-evidence, but he’s not wrong because he can’t ’prove’ it.

As for Moyes being forgiven if this season doesn’t go well, I’ve never known us go so long missing so many important players through injury, that has to be taken into consideration. Some consider this to be ’making excuses’ but I just can’t understand that point of view. Are you supposed to be just as good missing 6-10 important players as you are at full strength? If so, why bother having those 6-10 players if you don’t need them?
David Booth
43   Posted 02/01/2010 at 11:52:56

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Whoah, whoah, whoah: this is all getting completely out-of-hand and out-of-context.

I am not suggesting I speak for anyone other than myself. This over-analysis and dissection of isolated quoted sentences is both irreverant and irrelevant.

We are all Evertonians, but that does not mean we all share the same point of view. Indeed, everyone one of us on here would probably select a totally different starting eleven. It’s a wonderful diversity.

However, I am surely entitled to an opinion and will always attempt to substantiate it as best I can.

And that’s all it is. MY opinion.

I am not trying to force it upon people. It’s there for discussion and debate.

Having said that, it’s easy to snipe at and some people on here have got into the habit of just doing that; offering no alternative or counter argument apart from basically saying: "you’re wrong and I don’t agree..."

If everything on here has to be scientifically proven, then the forum cannot serve as a platform for open debate.

Yet here we are veering off topic again instead of focusing on the subject heading: ’the Moyes conundrum’.

As stated above, I believe (and have tried to explain why), he has a good deal more supporters than critics. If someone can prove me wrong, then please do so. But simply saying I’m wrong without any evidential justification is unfair and ought not to be exempt from the same sort of ticking off that I have received from Michael, twice!

So please, those of you who think Moyes is not supported by the majority of Evertonians, tell us why, instead of just sniping at me for thinking he’s doing OK.

Kenny Lloyd
44   Posted 02/01/2010 at 17:23:04

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Apologies for the off-topic post but...........

Michael - you don’t want to posters on here speaking for the masses and simply want them to put their own viewpoint across which is fair enough and yet the very thing, you are warning David about, you have done yourself in another thread.

On the "Work Harder Donkey" thread, the very first response to it was from you and said "Great piece, Chris. Not something the acolytes are going to want to hear, and calling him ‘Donkey’ just blinds them to the truth in what you write"

As you don’t seem to be an "acolyte" how do you know what they are going to want to hear or what blinds them!

I’m probably missing something but there seems to be some double standards here.
Howard Don
45   Posted 02/01/2010 at 17:19:37

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Michael Kenrick, I have to say I agree with Mike Allison, your treatment of David Booth is bizarre. I re-read his post several times to try and see what on earth you had got so heated about, and there’s nothing, absolutley nothing out of the ordinary there. Except of course that his perfectly reasonably expressed opinion does not chime with yours.

Michael this is becoming a constant theme, anyone who doesn’t agree with your views gets slated while turgid, repetitive stuff which takes your anti-Moyes line gets rave comments from you. The tortured logic you use on this thread to hammer David was laughable as all the reasoning and criticism you mount against him could easily be used in spades against all the anti Moyes brigade (who ARE a minority in any group of Evertonians I talk to) posts that you so readily praise to the skies.

I know cutting and pasting gets frowned upon but perhaps the following sentence from the site’s commitment aims may be worth quoting "We call it how we see it and we encourage you to do the same. We are as quick to laud the players, manager or Board when they do well as we are to offer criticism when they fail to live up to Everton’s famous old motto. We aim to be nothing but honest in that respect."

Frankly Michael these days you are giving precious little encouragement to anyone to call it how they see it (unless they agree with you of course) and your aiming to be honest in that respect is failing dismally.
David Cornmell
46   Posted 02/01/2010 at 18:26:52

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Essentially Shaun, you’re asking "Could we do better?"

Almost certainly not.
Tim Lloyd
47   Posted 02/01/2010 at 18:57:06

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To me, David Moyes is not a great risk taker. I put that down to the position he played when a centre back with Celtic.

I confess I like the lad but like many, wished at times he had the outlook of an attacking midfielder. Alec Ferguson was such a Manager, so was Howard Kendall, they saw clearly that scoring goals wins games not just preventing one’s opponents from doing so.

If one takes Man Utd., to me they play along the lines of the great Brazilian National sides. No matter how many goals their opponents score, they will always score at least one more.

We have always been a bit light in the great strikers department. In Rooney, we had such a player but regrettably he was attracted by the type of football on offer and almost certainly by the wages on offer. Replacements we have managed to buy are OK, Yakubu scored quite well in his first season but now appears to have gone off the boil.

Money for such players is an obvious problem. I consider Saha the best striker we have had for quite a time but, of course, he is very injury-prone and volunteered I understand to be paid if he played. Watching his goals is so often a delight.

Beattie, who had been prolific in his days with Southampton, never displayed such abundances to us and people like Cahill and Fellaini are not primarily strikers at all.

Now can we put that down simply to a question of money or could it be that a Manager, a good defender in his playing days, tends to be more conscious of that aspect of the game than out-and-out attacking?
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
48   Posted 02/01/2010 at 18:57:26

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I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised: like any of our threads, some people geddit, some people don’t.

Yes, that’s a generalization based on the responses posted since I cautioned David Booth, and yes, it puts them into two groups... The point being it is clearly and only about respondents to the thread. If David had limited his original comment accordingly, I would have had no issue with it. He didn’t.

As I stated originally, I have observed a trend for certain people to invoke the "majority of Evertonians" as a pillar to support their agenda — Richard Dodd being the one who springs to mind.

I consider the approach of invoking the majority in the smug and triumphal manner that David Booth did was unhelpful to the overall discussion. It has the effect of negating the breadth of discussion present in the other well thought-out and balanced responses, which reflected the contemplative intent of the original post, and instead polarized the discussion around one unprovable contention. It is that (and that alone) which I have an issue with.

Howard, yes, we call it as we see it. Invoking the "overwhelming majority of Evertonians" on any issue is simply a divisive and non-constructive contribution to a discussion among Evertonians that was until that point, elucidating a wide diversity of opinions and viewpoints, and on that basis, should be avoided.

Kenny, in the unrelated example you quote, I was providing my opinion about how Moyes acolytes who may read it would probably respond on that thread, and especially to what I have observed to be a ’blinding’ effect when people use emotive terms, such as ’Donkey’ in that kind of context. That comment of mine is so far removed from the topic here of invoking "the overwhelming majority of Evertonains" as to be totally and utterly off the point. If you can’t see a difference there, I can’t help you any further.
Brian Waring
49   Posted 02/01/2010 at 21:00:22

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Michael, you hit the nail on the head, when you say some just don’t get it. It’s like banging your head against a brick wall, in the end,I thought it was a good idea to just give up.
Brendan McLaughlin
50   Posted 02/01/2010 at 21:07:59

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Sorry Brian but reading your contributions you clearly didn’t get Michael's point either!
Brian Waring
51   Posted 02/01/2010 at 21:16:53

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Err, how do you work that out Brendan?
Brian Waring
52   Posted 02/01/2010 at 21:18:13

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Come to think of it Brendan, don’t answer that. It would probalby only lead to another labouring thread.
David Booth
53   Posted 02/01/2010 at 21:33:33

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Michael: you ought to have know I was referring to opinion within this thread (or at least had the experience as a moderator to give me, as a contributor, some brevity).

Out of 27 posters so far, not one has said Moyes should go.

Some have not expressed a definitive opinion and only yourself and Brian have taken issue - even then you have not called for his dismissal or been able to prove a case for the defence (or should that be the attack?).

In future, to avoid any confusion, I will preface every contribution of mine with a non-prejudicial phrase such as: ’in my opinion, or ’as is indicated in this thread’. This, hopefully, will avoid any confusion and make me a perfect Toffeeweb citizen.

However, I would naturally expect anyone else who dares leave something open to conjecture to be publicly reprimanded as I have been (and not for the first time).

But the facts of the matter are that no-one in this thread which is dedicated to David Moyes’ tenure has wanted him to go.

May I also SUGGEST that that is fairly well reflected in the pubs, in the ground, in the papers and on the radio?

But please, if I am wide of the mark: where’s the evidence to the contrary?

If there is none, then why am I being vilified by just yourself and Brian?
Brendan McLaughlin
54   Posted 02/01/2010 at 22:06:26

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Because Brian/David it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans whether your view is supported by 90% or 10% of Evertonians. All that matters is that you hold it, air it and defend it with intelligent debate & reasoned arguement.
Mike Allison
55   Posted 02/01/2010 at 22:34:55

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I suppose its just a matter of opinion but I really wouldn’t agree with the assessment that David Booth wrote in a ’smug and triumphal manner’, I also don’t think he negated anything.

Michael and Brian you seem to have a problem with Richard Dodd rather than David. I also suggest there’s been an element of ’projection’ here, as you’ve read things into his statements that I certainly haven’t, and I have no idea if they were intended. I think its always going to be relevant to a debate if you think you are in the majority or minority, so while I would agree that waving a perceived majority in an argument in a ’smug or triumphal way’ can be considered a bad thing, its certainly no crime to mention it.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
56   Posted 02/01/2010 at 23:03:58

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David: "you ought to have know I was referring to opinion within this thread"

It’s reading shit like this that just confirms my first inclination, which would be to have deleted your post and avoided what is now becoming a ridiculous discussion.

When you use the phrase "overwhelming majority of Evertonians" — what exactly do you think that comes across as?

I’ll tell you: it comes across exactly as it reads... and THAT was the entire problem. Still, you don’t admit your usage was inadvisable, to say the least. But the fact that you have changed your tune perhaps shows a little light is getting in there.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
57   Posted 02/01/2010 at 23:16:03

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Mike Allison, I think you are completely wrong, and this is why: because if representation of a majority view becomes the issue of discussion, as David keeps trying to make it on this thread, then it simply becomes a meaningless pissing match about whether or not that view represents "the majority", and devalues whatever thoughtful, comparative responses had gone before. I have no interest whatsover in such discussions.

Since David now admits that what he wrote was not actually what he meant, that just confirms that I should have deleted the nonsense when it first came to my attention.
Brendan McLaughlin
58   Posted 02/01/2010 at 23:21:21

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Jesus Michael. Your customer care skills need a helll of improvement!
David Booth
59   Posted 03/01/2010 at 10:59:22

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Michael, I thought I had made a relevant assertion - based on my honest belief - within a thread about David Moyes’ position.

No-one in here has disagreed with me. Indeed, several have subsequently supported it.

However, your tone as a moderator seems to be that one may have an opinion on here, as long as it co-incides with yours.

Having asked a few times, I had hoped you may have taken the opportunity to express an alternative opinion, ie: why you think David Moyes is not the people’s choice.

Instead, all I’ve got is a most recent riposte featuring the wholly inappropriate use of a less-than-choice four letter word. Perhaps a good scrap on Goodison Road is the only way to sort this...

I’m still waiting for some form of reasoned answer, as clearly you disagree so strongly with most of the views in here. But all I’ve received so far is an increasing hail of sticks and stones.

I’ve clearly stated my view and backed it up with at least some supporting evidence when asked.

What and where is yours?
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
60   Posted 03/01/2010 at 17:35:16

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David, are you being deliberately obtuse? I have made it abundantly clear why using the phrase "overwhelming majority of Evertonians" in a thread on here is not only unhelpful; it is divisive and non-constructive.

Address that issue, if you can, but your reversion to previous statements after admitting that "overwhelming majority of Evertonians" was NOT actually what you meant merely takes us backwards.

I have given you a reasoned answer, but as it obviously does not coincide with your preconceived and seriously mistaken understanding of this issue, then we are clearly not making any progress.

And be very careful what you write about my opinions. I take a very dim view of being mis-represented. Don't make unsubstantiated assumptions about my position on any issue unless I actually address and offer up a counterpoint to an opinion posted. If you look carefully on this thread, I have only addressed the inappropriate aspect of your contribution.

David, As you can probably tell, I've had enough of this thread, mainly because of your inability to focus on the side issue you triggered. Make sure your next contribution actually addresses your inappropriate use of the phrase "overwhelming majority of Evertonians" or it will not be published.

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