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Great Expectations

By Dave Wilson :  23/03/2010 :  Comments (28) :
If that cracking thread on TW last night proved anything at all, its that after eight seasons in the hot seat, the jury is STILL out as far as our manager is concerned.

Davey Moyes has his appreciation society alright, they loudly applaud his achievements, they'll point to the way he has restored our dignity, the stability, the improvement in our style of play, and the fact that he has assembled the youngest and most talented squad seen at GP for 20 years...

That, you may think, should be that... but many blues are far from satisfied; they accuse Moyes of being too cautious, too regimented, tactically inept, he does not learn from his mistakes.

Moyes needs to win something; the not-so-easily pleased will not be content until there is silverware in the cabinet... without winning a trophy, he will never get the credit many people believe he already deserves.

So what are his chances?

If Davey is to deliver a trophy, he has to first nail the claim that he doesn't learn from his mistakes. He will never get a better oppportunity than the one that will present itself this coming season. Unlike his rivals most of his key players will be resting up this summer: Arteta, Fellaini, Rodwell, Osman, Bily and Distin will not spend half of next season trying to recover from an exhausting World Cup campaign.

When the Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard etc are running themselves into the ground, people like Baines, Jags and Anichebe will be at best fringe players and no disrespect to our overseas fans, but you would expect Pienaar, Cahill and Howard back early too. From the Everton contingent, only Johnny Heitinga has a realistic chance of seeing out the whole tournament.

So... when other prem players are tired and stale, we really should be good to go!!!

Moyes came through the ranks a Celtic man but, if he`s going to succeed, he and his staff need to adopt and adhere to the Motto of Glasgow's other great club. David Moyes quite simply must be Ready; his players have to be Ready; his chairman has got to be Ready.

Any repeat of our now customary shambolic start would be inexcusable, unforgiveable. I don't want to see Moyes anywhere near a television studio during the World Cup. He should be working his arse off preparing his team.

I don't want to hear any shite from Kenwright either — if we are to sell players, then do it early. Just make sure it's the right players — Yobo; Yakubu? — you decide.

We know we've seen the best of Saha and Yakubu so, even if we keep them, we need a striker and we know we need a right back... So let's do it, let's get our men early — why wait for the Sky cheque to hit the mat? We know it's coming, let's not go "Wow!" or spend the summer "watching this space"... let's fucken go. A little less conversation — a little more action!

Kick these futile meaningless pre-season friendlies at places like Coventry or Blackpool into touch; prepare the team properly against decent European opposition.

Somebody wrote recently "Everton don't do dynasties" — he was right... although it had never occurred to me before. I`ll tell you what else we don't do: we don't warn people we are coming. None of the traditional 2-3 near misses before lifting a trophy for Everton. With the exception of '87, we tend to come from nowhere out of the pack.

I've hated some of the fayre Moyes's teams have served up over the years, but he's surprised me this year. He seems to have shed his own inferiority complex... sure, we lost our way in Europe, but we were doomed from the start in that competition — we were never able to field a decent back four; no team can overcome that.

Losing the Anfield street fight was a bitter disappointment too, but we`ll know next time. Moyes has slowly assembled a classy confident group of players, one that has proved a match in footballing terms for the EPL's finest. Don't be surprised if, by the end of the season, we have the best record in the Prem for 2010 . . but can we do it over a full season? ... or even long enough to lift a cup?

Well we have`nt managed it so far, but this time there is no excuse for not hitting the ground running.

I'm not saying we will be Champions next season, but when some poor unsuspecting bookie offers around 66/1 for us to do it (about 16/1 each way) I will be relieving him of his hand...

You will never have a better opportunity, Davey lad...

FFS be Ready.

Reader Comments

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Liam Reilly
1   Posted 24/03/2010 at 03:49:42

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Optimistic Dave.
I'd say, most importantly, we must hold onto our best and up-and-coming players.

We also must have a pacey winger, left back cover and take a gamble on an up and coming young striker (don't read Beckford here). If we meet these requirements, then for sure, 'll be putting some cash on us breaking into those top 4 positions 4 next season.
Mike McLean
2   Posted 24/03/2010 at 06:05:18

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Without going into a history rant, the reason we don't do dynasty is because we don't do vision.

Oh, and didn't we come third in '69?
Gareth Humphreys
3   Posted 24/03/2010 at 07:18:14

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Some good points Dave, I am one who actually won't be too unhappy with us missing out on Europe next season — as long as it means we can have a good crack at the top 4 next year. I don't think its beyond us providing we can escape an injury crisis like has hit us in the last 2 seasons.

Mucha, Hibbert, Yobo, Duffy, Distin, Billy, Gosling, Rodwell, Osman, Anichebe and Vaughan is not bad as cover for the first XI and tells you that we are not far off even without buying anyone else. If as DM says that this season's pot will go on securing everyone on long-term contracts, then so be it.

Brian Noble
4   Posted 24/03/2010 at 09:28:21

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I followed Doddy`s advice and had a good wedge on us finishing 8th. Moyes/Kenwright will be happy with that and we can expect a similar ambition for next season. Not what we wish for, I agree, but have no expectation of anything better in my lifetime.
PS I`m 63!
Ciarán McGlone
5   Posted 24/03/2010 at 09:27:39

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I'd love to argue with that... but I can't.

Spot on...

The team Davey has assembled was always capable of playing proper football... Players like Fellaini simply need the cushion of better players to bring out their best... and with the addition of Donovan we seen what a bit of balance can do.

However the problems are still there in flashes. Moyes does himself no favours at times... For instance, the Cahill saga:I don't think anyone can doubt that this has been his poorest season so far. In my opinion, Bily will prosper in that supporting striker role... But does Moyes bite the bullet and either bench Cahill? No, he plods on in fruitless expectation.

Moyes's greatest problem is not being dynamic... he's usually as predictable as Irish rain. This applies to his team selections and tactics... and of course, as Dave rightly points out — learning from these mistakes.

However, no-one can deny the team he has assembled are starting to provide what Goodison and the Armchairs crave — a passing game.

I honestly believe we are 3 players away from actually challenging for the league... Time to step up to the plate.
Dick Fearon
6   Posted 24/03/2010 at 09:37:27

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Brian, Hang in there lad, I can give you 11 years yet still I live in hope.
Nick Entwistle
7   Posted 24/03/2010 at 10:04:40

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Lay off the Yak and Saha... grrrrrr
Mike Elbey
8   Posted 24/03/2010 at 10:34:30

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Very good article David.

We must make sure we hit the ground running next season - there can be no excuses.

We need to tie Pienaar down to a long contract. If he wont sign I would personally keep him and let him go on a free next year as I believe with him we have a greater chance next season than the value of his fee would be in compensation.

We need to sign Donovan permanently or sign another pacy right sided attacker.

As you say we need a proper pre season preparation - proper friendlies against proper opposition.

Put all that in place and yopu never know.... Whats all this about us winning the League every 24 years ? That is probably beyond us but top 4 definately not.
Alan Kirwin
9   Posted 24/03/2010 at 10:32:00

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Great article Dave. Disagree a little about Saha & Yakubu. I think this season is a stepping stone for Yak. His injury is one of the worst to come back from, mentally and physically. I think both these players will prosper even further in a good footballing side (which we definitely are becoming).

Things are levelling. The financial straight jackets are having (in my opinion) an excellent effect from a sporting perspective. Even now, with our first choice team (Incl Fellaini) I'd take us against just about anybody in the EPL.

Losing to Sporting pissed me off massively. I look at Fulham and feel incredibly envious. I also wish them the best. Not concerned about the RB position. We do need a forward. I do think Anichebe will come good, very good in fact.

And I still hvaen't rued out the improbable possibility of finishig top 6, or higher. We play City & Villa, Spurs play the top 3 & have injuries, L'Pool play Chelsea and have pissed off players, Villa have the cup distraction. Could be a fascinating end to the season.

Again, good piece.
Geoff Edwards
10   Posted 24/03/2010 at 10:46:59

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Good article Dave, pretty much spot on. I would just say that, whilst our squad currently (when fully fit) looks capable of mounting a top4 challenge, I worry about what some of the other top sides (namely Chelsea, Man C and Man U) will do to strengthen in the summer. I can't see them being as weak next season as this.
Mark Murphy
11   Posted 24/03/2010 at 11:34:41

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Well, in Davey's programme notes on Saturday he wrote the following:

“…and during the summer I will be looking to make additions to the squad which will hopefully try to get us in and around the top teams and make sure that football, and not injuries, is the main Everton talking point.”


“I have a squad big enough now where under-performers will find themselves out of the side and the players have been made fully aware of this.”

So he seems to be on top of it and a very interesting season looms!

24 years and all that! I’ll be putting a few quid on us!
Mike Allison
12   Posted 24/03/2010 at 12:38:43

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A great article but I disagree with your specific points on team building. I don't think we need a striker, we've got two very good ones battling for one position. I also think we don't need a right back, we've got three.

What we don't have is a genuine threat down the right wing. If we only make one transfer this summer that's where I'd make it. The next one would be a support striker to replace Cahill's industry and commitment with some genuine class and creativity. If I still had money/room on the wage bill for a third it'd be a back-up left back, a Bosman free would probably be enough. A new striker and a better right back can wait, I don't see them as improving the starting XI immediately.

Your general point, about being ready, is spot on though, we've messed up pre-season almost every year for the last five. Early transfers, quality pre-season opposition, it's the only way.
Peter Warren
13   Posted 24/03/2010 at 12:57:54

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Fantastic Article and I agree entirely with the sentiments. Striker and RB are most pressing. However, I do believe we also need a right side midfielder with pace and an eye for goal - SWP fits the bill in my book.
James Stewart
14   Posted 24/03/2010 at 13:25:35

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We have a Rb. Coleman.
Larry Boner
15   Posted 24/03/2010 at 14:55:34

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Sean Wright Philips, what a waste of a good pair of footy boots. He went to Chelsea sat on his arse for 3 years and did fuck all on a monstrous wage, has gone back to City and done even less and is demanding a pay rise to £75000/wk !!!
I would rather have Osman, at least the lad is a tryer and has Everton at heart, never heard a complaint out of the lad, Mr Wright Philips gets his dad to do all his crying for him, what a package that would be.
We have a really close knit set of players, at one with the supporters (read Donovans comments) and dont need overpaid idiots like SWP to upset the apple cart.
I like the look of Kevin Doyle who had a stormer last night for Wolves and I would be happy with him and all players fit for the new season.
Left back appears a clear weakness, cover wise, but Distin has played there, anyway left sided players come at a premium.
Ciarán McGlone
16   Posted 24/03/2010 at 15:26:57

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Kevin Doyle is at the level he belongs..bottom of the prem.
Fran Mitchell
17   Posted 24/03/2010 at 16:30:54

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I think we have a good chance next season, but I agree, we must get it right this pre-season.

Lets play some Euopean teams, I dont want any pointless trip to China or Thailand to try and sell a few shirts, but I would like a few games against Porto, Ajax, Atletico etc.

However we should not focus our attentions on a striker and a right back. King Louis has another season left in him, we also have the Yak to return. I wouldn't sell him as we would get 6mil or so, and for that we could not replace him. I'd rather hope a full pre-season will see him come back as the Yak we know. It'd be nice to have an extra striker, but they are costly, and I would rather keep what we have than sell in the hope a striker comes good.

Also, I would like to think Coleman will make his way into the first team next season, Even Moyes cant consider playing a 34 year old Neville 40-50 times...can he?

A right sided midfielder with pace is obviously what we need, Landon proved this. Will it be him, well for the 6mil he will apparently cost he's in our budget. But there are other out there, i'll allow Moyes to try and find them.

I think we also need another centre back, Distin hasn't impressed me, Senderos is shite and it looks like the end of Yobo's impressive Everton career.

I dont think we need wholesale changes however, we just need to keep this squad intact. Keep Rodwell and Pienaar should be top of the agenda. Pienaar is a 15million pound player and if were not careful we could lose him for half of that, he needs a new contract ASAP.

Rodwell is a future world class player, a championship winning player. Rodwell, Fellaini and Arteta...What a midfield. 20 million now would be a loss in the long run. We must keep him.

David Bryant
18   Posted 24/03/2010 at 19:35:27

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Type or paste your comment here. No txt-speak, please try to use proper grammar, all-lowercase posts are likely to be deleted
David Bryant
19   Posted 24/03/2010 at 19:35:48

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Dave Wilson - what a complete load of twaddle.
Footy is, we accept, " a game of opinions" and you have the right to have one, even if you appear to abuse the privilege.
We Evertonians are a very lucky band of brothers/sisters. We follow a great club which displays exceptional morale standards and ethics way above most other clubs. We have a fantastic squad who play for the club - e.g. YOU.
All this is not an accident. It is by design determined by management. DM is possibly THE manager above all others that 95% on EPL clubs would bust a gut to sign - and their fans would be delighted. So why, oh why must we suffer post after post of negative comment regarding our leadership?

Dave - you and the other moaning bunch of contributors to this site really need to take some "happy" pills and look at the positives that abound within EFC.

"Dump Yak/Saha" You're nuts!!!

Not worthy of further comment.
Peter Warren
20   Posted 24/03/2010 at 23:40:45

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"displays EXCEPTIONAL moral standards and ETHICS WAY ABOVE most other clubs".

I love everton but who's talking twaddle ?

Also, management of the club is a shambles in my opinion.

I'm the most optimistic I'e been for years about everton but nothing wrong about striving to improve
Andy Crooks
21   Posted 25/03/2010 at 18:21:42

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Dave, an excellent article. However, it's not the one you've been promising to write for some time.
Andy Crooks
22   Posted 25/03/2010 at 18:23:59

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Ciaran, you say we are three players away from success. How do we get them? I was castigated for suggesting that selling Rodwell was the answer. How do you think it should be done?Also, I think you are harsh on Doyle. Did you not have similar views on Donovan?
Mike Green
23   Posted 26/03/2010 at 00:43:55

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Its been a diificult season.

We are in a proper fight now and it just goes to show the wisdom of certain fans (i.e CMCGlone about J.Heittinger) that we should stick in there! Most of us knew, others were, if I'm honest left wanting.
Ciarán McGlone
24   Posted 26/03/2010 at 09:30:16

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His name is 'Heitinga' ..and my predictions were based on his stint in Spain and the national side. Unfortunately, unlike you, I do not possess the ability to see into the future and can only base my current opinion of a player on what I've seen in the past.

I'm glad I was wrong... and may I continue to be wrong whenever I make a caustic prediction on an Everton player.
Dave Wilson
25   Posted 26/03/2010 at 13:50:56

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David Bryant

I`m not advocating dumping anyone, but Saha is in his thirties and fuck knows how old the Yak is - I`m sure he was in our class.
The point is we have played far too many games without a striker in recent years, if you want that to continue thats fair enough, but you will be in a minority of one.


Dying to write the article your talking about, I`ve actually had a couple of goes, but its a really contentious issue and I`m not sure my writing skills are up to it, havent yet been able to put together anything that would get past Michael so far.


That is good news, so when can we expect a retraction of your "Ossie should`nt be let near the first team" comment
Ciarán McGlone
26   Posted 26/03/2010 at 15:15:09

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Again i'll repeat... that statement was made on the basis of us having better players who I'd rather have seen in the first team — and I stand by it... I don't know why you keep bringing this up, as you admitted to agreeing with me.

Ossie's been outstanding lately... and I don't think he deserved to be benched. Again, he's upped his game... but that still doesn't affect a statement I made about him six months ago when he was stinking the place out... as you often put it. Nor does it change my mind that on any given day we've better players ahead of him.
Mike Green
27   Posted 26/03/2010 at 14:51:29

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Ciaran - fair play.

If I'm honest I didn't know that much about him before he came, just went on gut feeling really. To my mind though if the home end hold up a huge mosaic of your profile when you leave the club there's got to be something about you, which there appears to be about him - and then some.

So - I genuinely appreciate you putting your hands up and also for picking me up on my spelling! Apparently it's "difficult", not "diificult" also.....

As for next year, I cant see us finishing outside of the Top 4, end of.
Brian Lawlor
28   Posted 27/03/2010 at 11:39:18

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I agree with this article 100%.

We could easily have made 4th in the last 2 seasons if it wasn't for us being shambolic, disorganised and not bring in players prior to the season starting!!

The growing feeling is that this squad is on the brink of achieving something significant.

Any more sh*te from Kenwright or if the close season is anything like the previous two, he was to be ousted.

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