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Now is the time, for Moyes’s Boys

By Matthew Lovekin :  13/03/2010 :  Comments (10) :
On 14 March 2010, David Moyes will have been in charge of Everton for exactly eight years. There have been ups and downs. The positives include Champions League qualification, trips abroad in Europe, two Wembley appearances including a Cup Final and Semi-Finals against Chelsea, transfer records broken and numerous managerial awards. These are pitted against a couple of relegation scrapes, still no trophies for 15 years and the disappointment of star players leaving for so-called bigger and better things.

The comparative upturn in fortunes under Moyes, since the leadership of Colin Harvey and including Mike Walker and Walter Smith, has been achieved with a relative small budget compared not just to the big 4 but other clubs like Newcastle, Tottenham and even Sunderland to name a few. There has also been the stadium debate rumbling on in the background as well as Moyes’s own contract disputes not helping the team and the injury problems over the last couple of seasons.

Moyes’s eight years will be remembered as positive, steady progress but hardly a success due to lack of trophies, but football is a different game now, than it was in Kendall’s first spell or Catterick’s School of Science. Football used to be about tactics, managerial ability and individual players, now it’s mainly about money. The teams with the most income can pack their squads with more players and afford a Krøldrup or Beattie signing for every Cahill or Pienaar, Moyes has not been able to do this.

For every bad signing Moyes has made, there have been three or four successes. Moyes has spent approximately £118m in his eight years, but recouped £85.5m in player sales, which totals a net spend of only £32.5m in his time in charge. This figure of £32.5m divided over eight years works out just over £4m made available for him to spend per season, or £2m per transfer window! How many other top managers are given only £2m per transfer window and get the level of success Moyes has done at Everton?

Moyes’s philosophy has always been to buy young and reduce the average age of the squad. This has worked. A young twenty-something can give you ten years service and therefore value for money. Walter Smith’s signings included the likes of Ginola and Gascoigne, high wages and small amount of games.

Moyes’s signings have now matured, they are in their prime. Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Yobo, Jagielka, Pienaar, Arteta, Osman, Cahill and Yakubu are all supposed to be in the peak of their careers. Add the youthful balance of Baines, Fellaini, Rodwell, Gosling, Bily, Vaughan and Anichebe and the experienced heads of Neville, Distin and Saha, and you have a squad capable of challenging for trophies in the most difficult league in the world.

Now that all Moyes’s signings have matured and at their peak, this is now the time to deliver. This season is virtually over. Next season is the big one. This is now Moyes’s team and next season will determine whether his tenure has been a success or failure. Roll on season 2011-12 and Moyes will need to start planning his next generation — life without Yobo, Cahill, etc.

I’m not saying Everton should be winning the league or anything next season, but they now need to justify the ability within the squad. Moyes has done extremely well to get this squad together, now is the time to deliver with results on the pitch. There will be fierce competition next season, but the squad is still good enough to finish in the top 4 in the Premier League and/or a cup win. The 24-year itch is up in 2011... let’s deliver.

Reader Comments

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Kiern Moran
1   Posted 13/03/2010 at 12:45:09

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I thought Hibbert & Osman came through the youth side? And I thought Michael Kenrick warned people off using the "It's all to do with money" point. But then im just bitter as Villa drew and we were two nil up. I think Joe Hart would be a very good next signing.
Nick Entwistle
2   Posted 13/03/2010 at 13:23:28

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I think he warned people off saying money is what makes you play attractive football... well, here’s to another year without CL football.
Then again they’ll win their next three and have me hoping again.
Michael Kenrick
3   Posted 13/03/2010 at 13:45:59

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What I don’t like to hear all the time is the excuse that we can’t play what I call ’proper football’ (you know... like the stuff we played against Arsenal... Chelsea... Man Utd... Hull City...) because we are skint, can’t afford decent players, etc.

We all know the money argument and it gets rolled out far too much as an excuse for continuing mediocrity and perennial failure of Moyes and his boys to really press on. Again, sadly, today was a prime example, where 2-0 must have gone straight to their heads...

I only got to listen to the Radio Merseyside commentary today but it struck me that Ronnie Goodlass sees a lot of the same things I see (yea, we must both be idiots...): squandering possession, defending too deep, etc etc. I wasn’t gonna comment much any more this season as it is pretty much a dead loss now.

Yea, 27 more points to play for... but moaning forever that we have a small/thin/threadbare squad then deciding you can lend out key players like Vaughan and Coleman (rather than giving them playing time instead of his senior favourites) just sucks the spirit out of it for me.

Sorry I spoke up, but you did rattle my cage... I’ll try to be a good little boy now and not say anything that might spoil this fabulous 8th anniversary love-in.
Geoff Edwards
4   Posted 13/03/2010 at 15:11:13

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I was reading yesterday that there was some research done showing that there was a 92% correlation between league positions and wage bills. So, whether we like or not, money does play a part.
Kieran Fitzgerald
5   Posted 13/03/2010 at 15:34:20

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I’m with you on this one Michael. Money definitely isn’t everything. Look at Real Madrid. Their spending over the last ten to twelve must run to hundreds of millions yet with all the talent they’ve bought with it they’re a running joke to a large extent.

At this stage of Moyes’ tenure the one thing that should be there is consistancy over the course of a season and an ability to adapt when needed. Instead we play two great games, including ball to feet, imaginative tactics and timely substitutions, and then three or four awful ones, irrespective of the five or six teams we play over that period.

I’m sick of how we never seem to get things right for a whole season. Yes, injuries have taken the piss to some degree but we don’t just have a blip and and a little bad luck over the course of a season like everyone else. It almost feels like we deliberately go out of our way to fuck things up for ourselves. We laughed at how Spurs, Villa and City have constantly shot themselves in the foot over the last four or five seasons. We do it, and the majority of fans blithely stick their heads in the sand and blame everything else. It’s our lack of money, biased referees, injuries, the fact that Moyes is still only learning, Sky Sports and their big four, the recession, Bill Kenwright, Tony Marsh, Michael Kenrick and this website in general telepathically robbing the players of all their confidence because it’s apparently so negative.

As Matthew rightly points out in his second last paragraph, next season will be Moyes’ defining one. For now, I wouldn’t hold my breath that we’ll get a good one.

Mike Green
6   Posted 13/03/2010 at 17:14:10

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When I was a boy growing up I remember my old man telling me,

Money isn’t everything. But it helps.

Here endeth the lesson, Michael Kenrick.
Martin Mason
7   Posted 13/03/2010 at 19:33:23

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But early this season the concept of being 2-0 up against very good side unbeaten at home for 6 months would have been laughed at. We are almost there and whilst I applaud Moyes for many things he is also part of the problem with what I see as negativity.
Andy Crooks
8   Posted 14/03/2010 at 08:02:17

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Matthew, have you not thought that next season will be our year for the last couple of summers? It is the annual summer mismanagement that holds the club back. It now seems to be an Everton tradition that we give our rivals a start. Will this year be any different?
Matthew Lovekin
9   Posted 15/03/2010 at 13:09:40

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Andy, No I haven’t thought the last couple of summers could make it our year. This is because for the last couple of summers we have needed to buy to improve. This year I don’t think we need to. Ideally a pacy winger is still on the agenda and a creative forward would be nice, but I genuinely think we currently have a squad which can challenge now, injuries permitting of course!
Keith Slinger
10   Posted 12/05/2010 at 22:39:26

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I have read that BK is still looking for investment 24/7, yet on the BBC sport website they are reporting that Liverpool are set for a £100 million investment from a US based consortium, just think what we could do with that kind of investment?

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