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A Season to Learn From

By Tony Cheek :  30/01/2010 :  Comments (23) :
What a strange season this has been so far. It started off the same as those previous with indecision in the transfer market, pre-season friendlies with little meaning or quality, excuses from Bill Kenwright about funds and selling to a good bidder, and this time we had the added bonus of the Lescott sale, which happened too late, much too late!

Most of the first half of the season has been really frustrating for the fans, who really thought we were going to push on from last season and challenge for a Champions League place. That looks very unlikely now..

But, slowly and surely, players have come back from injury and every now and then we deliver a game of real quality (v Arsenal; v City), which makes us take a step back and admire what David Moyes is really doing at Everton, building a very good squad from, lets face it... peanuts!

Then we played Birmingham in the cup, delivered real crap, and we were all back to facing the fact that we are never going to win silverware with David Moyes at the helm...

So... ok, we may get a good run in the Europa League and climb to a respectable position in the Premier League, but are we going to make the same mistakes at the start of every season? If players like Saha or Pienaar (god forbid) are going to leave, then offload them early and get moving to replace.

Pre-season friendlies should be carefully planned, not just seen as profit making fixtures. It must be possible to get into a four-club tournament against class opponents somewhere.

This cock-up of a season (so far) is something we must surely learn from. If the same mistakes are made again, then there is something very wrong at the club.

I am really looking forward to February and the challenges it brings, and I feel it will bring out the best in the squad, but again that nagging doubt is with me that David Moyes might just go back to his negative formations again... I hope not, as I fear we might get some drubbings. again......COYB !

Reader Comments

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Keith Glazzard
1   Posted 30/01/2010 at 21:48:03

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Oh Dear Tony.

That ’negative’ tag you attach to the manager who has not only brought us from the brink, but close to the monied, who themselves are looking a little more fragile, is too simple.

The great Brazilians, who some of us saw at GP in 66, had fabulous defenders. Did that make them negative? Did they attack and win? Not against Hungary they didn’t.

It's never as simple as that.
Andy Crooks
2   Posted 30/01/2010 at 21:59:25

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Some good points, Tony. We never play quality football on a consistent basis and I don’t understand why. David Moyes wants European football yet against Birmingham the team appeared to be totally demotivated. Surely this close season he will earn his huge salary and prepare his squad properly. If we must sell to buy then do it early.
Mark Reid
3   Posted 30/01/2010 at 22:37:16

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So Andy Crooks believes Moyes didn’t prepare the squad properly?
  • No Yak. No Arteta. No Anicebe. No Jagielka.
  • The Lescott version of "the Ides of March" on Moyes.
  • Fellaini with a virus that made him lose two stone (I went to the majority of preseason games, he was awful and it is obvious why - illness).
  • And the bedding in of players after Lescott was kicked out.
I believe he did his best in the circumstances. This "must learn" bit. Moyes does his bit. Others at the club do theirs.

You expect that things go perfectly, when the above proves they never go perfectly. He has to try and manage the situation.

Moyes has proven his huge salary. His purchases alone have saved the club millions. Fellaini. He was called on that. Arsenal, Man City, Sunderland he’s shown his use.

Moyes I know for a fact is a great motivator. I know for a fact they know he’s the best. And it was written on Moyes face how shocked he was about Birmingham.

One statistic you might want to bear in mind that over the past 4 years the number of back-to-back defeats under Moyes is in the low digits. We went over 48 games in the previous season(s) without one.

You say lack of preparation. I say he’s doing what he thinks is best long term. Not just for the summer.
Eric Myles
4   Posted 30/01/2010 at 23:36:23

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"But are we going to make the same mistakes at the start of every season?"

"This cock-up of a season (so far) is something we must surely learn from. If the same mistakes are made again, then there is something very wrong at the club."

The Club has been making these same mistakes and cock-ups for the last 3 seasons. Do YOU think that they’ve learnt from them yet? I don’t. Expect more of the same in the next summer.
Andy Crooks
5   Posted 31/01/2010 at 01:16:51

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Mark, "I know for a fact they know he’s the best". How do you know this? I believe that David Moyes has been a magnificent motivator but, there comes a time when things grow stale and I think that has been the case many times this season.
Dave Wilson
6   Posted 31/01/2010 at 06:16:19

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I think it's Moyse’s stubborness rather than his inability to learn, he’s obviously nobody’s fool, but why didn't he just name his price for Lescott? That issue could and should have been resolved much earlier.

I agree, if we have to lose players, let's name our price and do it early. One thing DM has to accept is when a player wants to go, it's time to let him go.
Tony Cheek
7   Posted 31/01/2010 at 06:34:25

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I’m still on the fence when it comes to DM... Yes, he has worked miracles at building up a quality squad from limited resources . But sorry, Mark and Andy, I really do have to disagree that he is a great motivator.

Surely a great motivator is a manager that can turn games around. DM can not!!! In fact, you would be amazed how far you have to go back to find a game we won when we were trailing at half-time. It just does not happen anymore. (I need help here, when exactly was it? Anybody know?) This is not a sign of a great motivator; if he motivates, then it's before the game starts, not at half-time when we are losing!

Colin Potter
8   Posted 31/01/2010 at 09:03:27

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Tony, There has been something very wrong at this club of ours, ever since Kenwright joined it.
Mike Elbey
9   Posted 31/01/2010 at 10:22:22

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For me, the pre-season preparation is two-fold and we consistently get both wrong:

Firstly, we have our transfer policy which is clearly dictated by the board due to lack of finance. Every window, our business is generally done at the last minute and as such the players cannot be properly prepared for the season which has already started. This is not Moyes's fault as his hands are tied by the board although I accept that this season he should have accepted Lescott was going to leave earlier.

The more relevant point to me regarding our pre-season preparation is where we go and who we play. This year, whilst Spurs were playing the likes of Barcelona and Ajax, we were playing Blackpool and Salt Lake City (or some other 10th-rate American team). We are just not properly preparing against top-class opposition. Moyes often complains about us being inexperienced playing European opponents and yet we never test ourselves against them in the relaxed environment of prestigious pre-season tournaments.

Also, by going to USA every year, our manager is miles away at a crucial time in the transfer market — the more you think about it, it is just ludicrous.

The transfer policy we can do little about until we win the lottery and get a billionaire owner. The pre-season games and tours we go on is in our control and MUST be addressed.

Tony Williams
10   Posted 31/01/2010 at 13:22:13

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"In fact, you would be amazed how far you have to go back to find a game we won when we were trailing at half time. It just does not happen anymore (I need help here, when exactly was it? Anybody know?)"

Bate, 1 October 2009, losing 1-0 at half time, won 2-1. Not that long ago really...
Brian Waring
11   Posted 31/01/2010 at 13:56:21

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Mark, whilst you can state the injuries as Moyes not being prepared for the season, he knew as we all did, that we would be without Arteta, Yak and Jags for a good while. Also, it’s seems to be every pre-season that we don’t seem prepared for the start, not just this.
Simon Kirwan
12   Posted 31/01/2010 at 14:28:18

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Tony Williams, I can't remember where I was reading it this week (maybe Sky Sports) but we lie 7th in the table this season for coming back from losing positions. Not sure about losing at half-time and winning though.
Tony Cheek
13   Posted 31/01/2010 at 15:05:09

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Oops, thanks Tony.... before that then!!!
Jay Harris
14   Posted 31/01/2010 at 15:08:11

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Why is everyone holding Moyes responsible for the close-season shenanigans of the last few years?

Kenwright has run out of things to sell off or mortgage to the extent we can't even afford to buy a cheap Norwegian full back now and have to take other teams' cast-offs on loan.

Kenwright has to go soon before the downward spiral starts.
Roberto Birquet
15   Posted 31/01/2010 at 15:30:02

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Mike Elbey: "Firstly, we have our transfer policy which is clearly dictated by the board due to lack of finance."
Mike, the transfer policy is not dictated by the board cos of lack of finance; it is dictated by lack of finance, end of.

And frankly... Lots of deals for many clubs go thru last minute, because of player power: they are waiting for better offers or better clubs, preferably — from their perspective — both.

Some clubs get in early (Spurs) because they are rich. They had more money for Naughton, simple as. We cannot compete financially with Spurs, which shows the amazing job Moyes has done. We usually finish above 'em.

The good news for me is two-fold. Other clubs living beyond their means seems to be coming to an end, making us more competitive in getting players; two, the pre-contract of a keeper (Mucha), and reportedly of Beckford gives me hope. that actions are coming early.

The signings I want in the summer are new deals for Pienaar and Saha, but we may not afford them. if that’s the case, sell Pienaar early after WC and get a replacement asap. The squad we have - fully fit and including Donovan — is good enough for me, and can mix it with Spurs, Villa and Liverpool. If you want more — find a sugar daddy. Sad fact of modern football.
Alan Clarke
16   Posted 31/01/2010 at 20:16:28

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Eric Myles is spot on. Every summer and every start of the season will be the same. The only thing that will change is (hopefully) the transfer market collapses and these astronomically high prices for very average players stop. Maybe we’ll have a chance then.

For all of our recent resurgence, how many games have we actually played well in? Possibly Sunderland away, definitely Arsenal away and Man City home. The rest have been shit performances of a low standard of football. Now Moyes is getting his best players back why are we not maintaining the standards of the Arsenal and City games? I really can’t work this out if our squad is as good as some people are making out.
Mike Elbey
17   Posted 31/01/2010 at 20:43:27

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Roberto, maybe you missed my point regarding transfers. I agree totally that the policy is dictated by a lack of finance but is that not the boards responsibility? Anyway my main point regarding tranfers was that Moyes cannot be blamed. I think we actually are in agreement so I will leave it at that...

My main concern regarding preparing for seasons is the dreadfully poor standard of opposition we always play and the ridiculous situation of us being thousands of miles away during a crucial part of the transfer window.
Dan Brierley
18   Posted 31/01/2010 at 19:02:55

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Some great suggestions here. Sell early, and get £18 million, instead of holding out for £24 million. Very clever.
Tony Cheek
19   Posted 01/02/2010 at 15:54:49

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Of course, that is a good point, Dan... which would have happened had we sold Lescott at an early stage of negotiations. But then again we would have had more time to buy some one we REALLY needed...

I like Bily and think he will do OK. But was he really worth the money we payed for him? It seemed to be a panic buy because of the transfer deadline and he was at least £6 million over what we should have payed for him... and there's your profit out the window!!! But, then again, everytime we take our time in getting pen to paper, other richer clubs come in and steal them from under our noses. So maybe you are right... I just don't know!!!

Tony Williams
20   Posted 02/02/2010 at 11:27:22

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Tony, most people were saying the same about Fellaini, Yakubu, Andrew Johnson but they turned out alright and we actually sold AJ for a profit.

The moral of most stories is that you have to give players time before jumping on the "They’re shite, end of" bandwagon. Bilyaletdinov hasn’t had a break in footy for a year and has come to the fastest and most competitive league in the world. Felliaini looked dodgy when he first came here and Jags looked absolutely gash, and he was an established Premier League player.

The player does not choose how much a club pays for him so to use that as a stick to beat him with is ridiculous. The usual "He should be able to do x or y because he is worth £x million" is a load of bull, just look at Jo if you don’t believe me.
Tony Cheek
21   Posted 02/02/2010 at 15:00:15

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Dont get me wrong, Tony... as I said, I like Bily and in fact hope he will be playing Saturday instead of Osman. It's just that I would really have liked to have seen someone who could skin a full back. I know it takes time to adjust to Premier League pace, but he is not going to get faster. Think he will fit in well though and I can't really understand why he is already a bench warmer.
Mike Allison
22   Posted 04/02/2010 at 15:17:35

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Definitely do the business early. Leaving it late has drastically affected us the last two seasons, as well as making it look like we don’t know what we’re doing.

Come April, we’ll be on here reflecting on the season and debating where we need to strengthen and which are the right players to do it. If we can think that far ahead, why can’t anyone at the club?

The ideal pre-season sees four quality players come in on July 1st and no late scrabbling around for players at inflated prices. I realise this may not be possible, but we don’t even aim for it, let alone get close to achieving it. I could name three right wingers right now we should try to sign (four if you count Donovan) but that’s been true most summers and we still never sort it out.

Dennis Stevens
23   Posted 05/02/2010 at 18:45:20

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You’d think lessons would be learnt : try & complete transfers earlier, get the new signings bedded into the squad & fully fit, oh yeah - eligible for eurpoe too!

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