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The Turning Tide

By Lyndon Lloyd :  02/01/2011 :  Comments (96) :
"In the summer, some misguided folk thought we might qualify for the Champions League."

That was the opening line of the first comment in response to Michael's match summary of the West Brom defeat. [This article has been a long time in the making!] I mention it because I was one of those "misguided" folk who approached this season with a greater sense of optimism than perhaps at any time since the late 1980s.

In retrospect, it was obviously badly misplaced optimism but there had been plenty since the turn of the year to support it. Between December 2009 and the end of the season in May 2010, Everton had lost just twice in the Premier League and put together a run of form that would, if extrapolated over the entire season, had made them not only Champions League qualifiers but league title contenders as well.

A campaign that had been wrecked by a catalogue of injuries to key personnel reached its nadir at the KC Stadium in Hull in late November and was then transformed when those players turned it into a platform on which David Moyes's side could rightly be considered genuine contenders to break the top four in 2010/11.

I retread that old ground because the issue of TW's repuation for negativity has been raised again in recent weeks, with Mike McLean observing: "BBC 606, Grand Old Team... posters from sites left, right and centre are having a pop at ToffeeWeb".

Now, ToffeeWeb has long carried a reputation for negativity, for being critical for the sake of it, for being rabidly anti-Establishment (where the Establishment is, obviously, the Board) and for generally "having an agenda", particularly against Bill Kenwright and David Moyes.

Accusations of a selective (read: biased) editorial stance, censorship and unwavering criticism of Moyes have been leveled at this site for years ? if I were to try and pinpoint the origins, I'd say it was around the time when Colm Kavanagh, once of this parish, ran a series of no-holds-barred articles loaded with unrelenting criticism of the Chairman and then CEO, Keith Wyness ? their momentum sustained during the Schism caused by Destination Kirkby and given further fuel by Michael's withering attack on the manager after February's triumph over Manchester United, one that understandably caused much consternation among readers, mostly for the article's tone and timing rather than it's overriding message.

More recently, a poster on the People's Forum (a community that still to this day is confused by some as being run by or connected with this site but whose most popular posters now vehemently distance themselves from the "parody" that is ToffeeWeb) opined after our locquacious match reports of the 3-3 draw with Manchester United that, "They just like the sound of their own keyboards... Wouldn't be so bad but they're just trying to justify their agenda, which since as long as I can remember has been anti-Moyes," an accusation, of course, that ignores my fairly consistent support of Moyes over the past few seasons, encapsulated as succinctly as you can get in the title of my response to Michael's afore-mentioned critique of the manager in February, "Still Backing the Boss".

Indeed, when I look back, there can perhaps be only one or two occasions when I was sufficiently disillusioned with him that I genuinely believed we'd be better off without him. Certainly the infamous home game against Tottenham a few seasons ago when he threw on Tony Hibbert instead of going out to win the game and we lost was one such instance and there may have been another earlier in Moyes's tenure at Goodison. For the most part, there has been a big difference between being critical of the manager and wanting him to go.

Given the cross section of opinion that abounds on this site and the occasional disagreements between its owners, it's disappointing that ToffeeWeb's detractors so often choose to frame the site around one mode of thinking and assume that there is an agenda driving everything we do. I understand, of course, that that perception is given oxygen when the lines between editorial opinion and news reportage are blurred ? i.e. where our own feelings as fans bleed into the news articles running on the homepage ? something that I personally try to restrain myself from doing. But we're human and, above all, passionate Evertonians and we only ever call things as we see them, whether the opinion is popular or not.

As Winston Churchill, the master of hittings nails on the head, once said:

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things".

If you assume for a minute that this website has any real effect on Moyes, his players or the running of Everton, then ToffeeWeb is performing that function of calling out what we perceive to be the "unhealthy state of things," whether it concerns what's happening on the pitch or off it. Blind or unconditional support isn't in our makeup but, by the same token ? with the exception of the Kirkby debacle, my opposition to which I was never coy about ? we've never pushed an agenda.

I provide the context above because, frankly, my faith in Moyes and my belief that he can manage Everton to a top-four finish has evaporated. Neither the hammering at the hands of West Bromwich Albion, the saddening decision to play Cahill as the lone striker at West Ham while three strikers sat on the bench nor the limp defeat to Stoke were the catalyst ? truth be told, the realization dawned with Everton's awful start to this most promising of seasons and the manager's depressing inability to do anything about it.

Still a comparatively young manager, Moyes's time at Goodison has, naturally, been a period of growth and learning but, after almost nine years in charge, having assembled the best Everton team in two decades, seen the proof in the second half of last season that it could compete with the best, and got his best players back fit, this was to be the season where all that groundwork paid off.

Instead, of course, it all came off the rails at the outset and through his stubborn refusal to alter his tactics, the general rigidity of his thinking, and the slow pace at which he does enact any changes, the team only arrested its slide in October only to resume it in November... all while the races for everything from the title to the Europa League places have opened up in what feels like unprecedented fashion.

It's worth establishing at this point some further context to my views on Moyes's tenure at Goodison. Since arriving in March 2002, he has achieved some remarkable things. He unquestionably saved Everton from relegation that year, instilling a demoralised team with instant self-belief, the first fruit of his motivational style arriving in the first minute of his first match in charge with a goal by David Unsworth that set the Blues on their way to a 2-1 win over Fulham.

In his second third full season in charge, he guided the club to a fourth-place finish and a Champions League qualifier that, but for a controversial decision by Pierluigi Collina, one that burns in the gut to this day, might have yielded a place in the group stages and changed the Club's recent history. The disappointing 2005/06 campaign aside, Everton have finished in the top half in every season since, twice finishing fifth to qualify for the Europa League and competed in both a Carling Cup semi-final and an FA Cup final.

On that basis, comparisons with his predecessors and trumpeting Moyes's achievement in stabilizing the Everton ship are vital in assessing his significant contribution to the Blues' modern history but are moot when it comes to analyzing the Everton team of today. Moyes set his own benchmark with that Premier League record-high fourth-place finish in 2004/05 and, as the League has changed around him since, it's taken him another six years to assemble a side capable of repeating that feat.

On the way, he has transformed the way his team plays, shrugging off the dour long-ball approach that was so prevalent earlier in his tenure and replacing it, for the most part, with a more eye-catching passing style, one that drew comparisons with Arsenal last season and helped produce what really was a superb run of form over the second 19 league games last season.

He had, basically, completed many steps of a patient evolution at Everton and this season was, supposedly, the one where he got the big payoff. Of course, instead of emulating Tottenham's gate-crashing of the exclusive Champions League club, the threat of relegation is once again lingering in the background, very few of his best players are performing, the team has won just four times in 20 matches and that passing approach play has become an over-elaborate dead end for much of the campaign.

The lack of funds is clearly a factor. Where last season the core unit of players appeared settled and in sync they now bear all the hallmarks of stagnation and indifference and the manager has very few options when it comes to bringing in fresh blood. Over the past couple of seasons, the Club has a net spend of close to zero and there were rumours in August that there was no budget left for even one more loan player's wages after the latest round of new contracts for existing players had been inked.

But to blame it all on the lack of options in the transfer market is to overlook the fact that in his attempts to get this season back on track Moyes has barely tried anything new or radical to change his conservative and rigid style. Nothing enterprising, dynamic, exciting or positive anyway ? using a midfielder as the lone striker when you have three natural strikers on the bench was a retrograde step that smacked of extremely limited thinking.

Despite the fact that many of his peers ? Harry Redknapp with Crouch, Defoe and Pavlyuchenko; Owen Coyle with Davies and Elmander; Steve Bruce with Bent and Welbeck; Carlo Ancelotti with Drogba and Anelka; yesterday's conqueror Tony Pulis with Jones and Fuller; even Roy Hodgson with David N'Gog and Fernando Torres ? have ditched the lone striker system and adopted formations spearheaded by two strikers, not once has he started with a 4-4-2 line-up.

Instead, he has rotated Saha, Yakubu and Beckford in and out of the team, not allowed any one of them a run of games to get settled, castigated himself for pitching Beckford in too soon, later singled out the same player for missing chances and has recently resorted to putting the blame on all three for not taking their opportunities... despite the fact that, like a long line of Everton strikers, they've had almost no service on which to score the goals required.

Even if you accept the wisdom of the 4-4-1-1 system and the need for it created by Cahill's phenomenal success scoring goals from within it, history appears to have shown that none of the Yak, Saha or Beckford are suited to the role but when Yakubu showed that he was arguably the best candidate with a barnstorming display against Liiverpool and a goal in the reverse fixture against Stoke, Moyes promptly dropped him for reasons only known to him.

Now, with the Nigerian having only played once in over a month, it looks as though he is headed for the exit door which for me is a massive shame. He may not be the player he was before he ruptured his Achilles just months after becoming the first forward since Peter Beardsley to score 20+ goals in a season for Everton but if a desperate Moyes were looking around the League for a goalscorer on the cheap, Yakubu would probably be at the top of his list. You've got to assume there's a personality issue at play here because it doesn't make any sense otherwise.

In terms of players already on the books, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, a player who chipped in with seven goals last season ? one of them, the second goal in the 3-1 win over Manchester United was voted Everton's goal of the season ? has barely figured. Again, he's a player who has really struggled to settle into life at Goodison but he has an abundance of talent that is not being teased out of him by an attentive man manager. Instead he's been frozen out of the first team and been given mere minutes of action as a late sub.

And what of Magaye Gueye, a player whose pre-season was so promising he was dubbed on the Club's Official website as Moyes's "secret weapon". To date, he has figured just once, against Brentford in the Carling Cup and despite providing some decent service from the left flank in that match has not been given a single minute in the Premier League.

It's been argued that the manager sees the players in training and therefore knows their strengths but it took him forever to bow to pressure and give Leighton Baines the left-back slot over Joleon Lescott and an age to utilize Seamus Coleman's attacking exuberance by putting him in the starting line-up in some capacity on the right side. In an atmosphere where the side is clicking and the wins are stacking up, you don't question the manager but with Everton so clearly stuck in a rut right now, you have to wonder why Moyes refuses so doggedly to mix anything up.

Interestingly, he will be forced to make a key decision about his first team line-up with Cahill's absence during the Asia Cup which could be as long as six weeks, an eternity to be without the player who is far and away your highest goalscorer. The predictable, conservative choice for Moyes would be push Marouane Fellaini into Cahill's role ? he's done it before with mixed success and it's hard to see how that would change anything ? but, in actual fact, Cahill's absence provides Moyes with a ready-made excuse and ideal opportunity to really mix things up and try a more attacking formation with different players. I don't hold out much hope he will grasp that opportunity; having observed him for the past eight years, I'd bet he keeps hammering away with the same system hoping it all comes right again.

After so long in the job and with so few options available to freshen up his squad, Moyes seems to have become stale in the Everton post and, in an ideal world, you'd admit that the time has come for a change. The problem comes when you actually contemplate making that change and who would replace a man who has carried the flag for this club for the best part of a decade, through the dark days of Destination Kirkby, where you could read between the lines and see he wasn't in favour of it, and through years of miserly transfer budgets.

He has performed miracles with players whose careers looked to have stalled, groomed Championship players like Cahill and Phil Jagielka into highly coveted stars, and, until last season, kept a squad widely acknowledged to be punching above its weight in the top five of the toughest top flight league in the world in an era of unprecedented lunacy in transfer fees. The playing field had never been more uneven but Moyes had kept the Blues on the brink of smashing through the glass ceiling... only to fail just when he was best placed to do it.

Assuming he walks of his volition, who that is realistically available do you bring in to replace him? There's a litany of medicore and uninspiring candidates out there ? Martin O'Neill, Gary Megson, Martin Jol, Gordon Strachan, Sven Goran Eriksson, Sam Allardyce (Heaven help us), Roy Keane, Alan Curbishley... none of them you'd want anywhere near the revered Goodison hotseat ? and a smattering of mildly interesting options ? Slaven Bilic, Glenn Hoddle, Owen Coyle, none of whom really have the kind of experience that would make you comfortable bringing them in ? but few you'd think, on paper, could do a much better job than Moyes.

Certainly you'd feel more confident in Moyes if it came down to a relegation dogfight but the feeling that someone with more imagination or more willingness to push the boundaries is required if we're to make the breakthrough at the other end of the table is gaining momentum. Even then it would feel like casting off a life-jacket in the middle of a tempest, toeing a high wire without a safety net... pick your metaphor... and you only have to look at the likes of Liverpool and Aston Villa for examples where managerial changes have not gone at all according to hopes and expectations this season. And if you believe that the departure of PIenaar will mark the beginning of the unraveling of the "best squad since the 1980s golden era" but there won't be any money to replace them, wouldn't Moyes be one of the better candidates to rebuild from the market of loan rangers and cast-offs... just like he's done once already?

None of this is easy to write. There have been times over the past few seasons, particularly where transfer window tensions have given rise to rumours that the manager had walked out in frustration, that the thought of losing David Moyes terrified me. For so long it felt like he was holding the club together and I'm a big believer in the fact that he has done more to prop up the Bill Kenwright administration through the team's on-field exploits than anyone else at the Club.

But he is now in the slow process of undermining the faith that birthed the IMWT acronym that has proliferated on our article pages for years and easing himself out of Evertonian hearts with every passing week of intransigence and dogged refusal to change. Where before his press interviews sounded all the right notes of pragmatism, humility and modesty, now they're just infuriating in their obliviousness to the need for change.

It wasn't supposed to be this way, of course; "The Moyessiah" was supposed to lead us to the promised land of the Champions League but I've got to be honest and admit that looking at things as they currently are, I don't think it's going to happen. Nothing would make me happier than to be proved wrong, though, and there is scope for Moyes to take some bold action, in terms of both his current players and shifting some of his under-performing stars in favour of replacements of equal value.

Does he have the stomach and the vision for it? With little chance of him moving on any time soon, we're about to find out...

Reader Comments

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Roman Sidey
1   Posted 02/01/2011 at 07:32:40

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Great article. As much as some of us have been calling for Moyes to step aside for months now, this coming month of January should really be his deciding battle. If we come out of January without a League victory and lower in the league than we are now, he MUST leave. I am only still online because I feel that an announcement is imminent.
For the record, I want Roy Keane.
Alan Clarke
2   Posted 02/01/2011 at 08:31:52

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I don't think Moyes has ever changed his thinking. He has stuck with the same old tired system throughout his tenure. He has always had the lone striker running their arse off up front chasing lost causes.

Another interesting stat is the amount of injuries our strikers have all suffered over the years ? far more than any other position in the team. Anyone with half a brain can realise it's more than coincidence. Ferguson, McFadden, Johnson, Vaughan, Beattie, Saha, Yakubu and Anichebe all have awful injury records. Some, you might pass off as sick notes but the way they've all been asked to play places a lot more strain on their bodies, week-in, week-out.

The criticism Moyes has taken over the years on this website has been pretty consistent. It's the same criticism now as it was 3 years ago, it's just more people now are dishing it out. Moyes won't change because he never has. It's been the same tactics and formation week after week. It's been the same lack of Plan B and too-little, too-late substitutions every game. If we lose 1-0, Moyes does not look at our lack of goals; instead he focusses on the goal we concede because all we do is come out more defensive in the next game.

If all we do is hope he'll wake up and change things one day, then we really are in trouble. Evertonians need to wake up and realise there is only one direction Moyes is taking us.

Dick Fearon
3   Posted 02/01/2011 at 07:16:00

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Congratulations, Lyndon, your article was a tour de force on the strengths and weaknesses that make up David Moyes. Your praise and criticism was dispensed in a rational and unbiased way.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Moyes and he has earned a lasting place in the history of our venerable club. That though is as far as it should go. The prolonged haggling over his contract showed he was no less mercenary than players. Except for Kirkby, a move I was in favour of, I found myself in complete agreement with your views.

Sadly it seems a change of direction is not on the cards. In a post Stoke interview, Davy said he was happy at the players' commitment and he himself would carry on as before doing the same things. To say that immediately after this latest dire performance was arrogant and stupid... or could it be that Moyes is using our club as some kind of macabre experiment?

What he is doing is providing an insight on his efforts at training aimed at solving our goal shortage. I am not advocating his sacking because he would make a very good Championship manager, 4-5-1 notwithstanding.

Alan Rooney
4   Posted 02/01/2011 at 08:33:20

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Fantastic article, Lyndon ? you have put into words exactly how I feel. I don't want to see Moyes go, but I do want to see him change his ways.
David Holroyd
5   Posted 02/01/2011 at 08:55:59

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Great article, Lyndon. Every post match interview we hear the same comments: played well, lots of possession, didn't put chances away...

Davie, goals is the name of the game; with Tim Cahill away, we have to play two strikers alongside each other, Saha and Beckford would be my choice. Squeaky bum time, it's the FA Cup at Scunthorpe... remember our other journeys to lower league teams in the Cup? ? we need a win to get some confidence.

Kunal Desai
6   Posted 02/01/2011 at 09:36:09

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I think there are some names you mentioned that could possibly do a better job than Moyes with the players that are currently there. Remember, no-one knew what Moyes was about when we took him from Preston nine years ago. He got given a chance so it's not to say there are one or two others that would do better than Moyes.

Maybe the time has come for a gamble?

Ted Smeethes
7   Posted 02/01/2011 at 09:54:40

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We will beat Spurs on Wednesday, batter Liverpool and thrash West Ham 4-0. Also be in the 5th Round of the FA Cup come February. I have no doubt this will be our month and Moyes's next Manager of the Month award.

Where would we be without Moyes? Relegated several seasons ago. As my wife constantly tells me, "You can't win every time" and "at least you did'nt lose" (following a draw).

Michael Evans
8   Posted 02/01/2011 at 10:23:57

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Fabulous piece of writing.
Ted Smeethes
9   Posted 02/01/2011 at 10:26:36

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Thank you, Michael.
Johnny Darkhouse
10   Posted 02/01/2011 at 09:42:16

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Good well balanced article. Having had a lot of experience running major companies as well as creating and selling smaller companies, I can see that Moyes is in a hole. With the small resources he has at his disposal he has competently and prudently amassed a large percentage of the building blocks that were necessary to complete at a level that Evertonians aspired to. In my opinion, this was an amazing feat!!!!!

But, like a small percentage of well crafted great plans, this one has unravelled and I suggest that a turning point has been reached. This is the time when Moyes really needs a helping hand from the board. His backroom team are of no use to him at the moment. A signal of intent if you like. Support to bring in two players of true calibre. If not, the company is in danger of floundering and ending up on the rocks.

As a season ticket holder and supporter since I was three, I have made my decision. I will travel the 400 miles to offer him and my team his support on Wednesday. I will shout from the kick off (almost feeling embarssed) in the morgue that Goodison has become. Hoping that the board back him, because I truely feel that the greater danger lies in replacing him.

But I ask fans to make your decision before the game, not after the result, and stick with it. Either give the team and the manager the vocal support it so desperately needs... or not.

I hope to hear Goodison rocking on Wednesday night. COYB

Graham Holliday
11   Posted 02/01/2011 at 10:19:27

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I had half written this article after yesterdays match. Only two things to add:

1. The problem is clearly Moyes's negativity. This has become such an issue because PL football has progressed where managers have realised it's worth going out to get 3 points and risk losing, because it's better to win one and lose one than to draw two. In this sense, Moyes has been left behind. Also, with an average set of players, Moyes has done well to get the best out of them. This is now a good set of players, and he doesn't know how to set a team up to dominate and win games, this is clear.

2. I think that this dip will continue and that the time may well have come. However, I don't see Moyes quitting and we can't afford to get rid of him so we will continue to dive. Also, even if he did walk ? which manager would want to take us on? Good managers want to know they will be coming to a club that has a good future. With our ageing stadium and sparse resources, we seem to be the complete opposite.

A sad state of affairs, one that I think will lead to many more days like yesterday. He'd better see the light soon, or else this could get worse.
Christine Foster
12   Posted 02/01/2011 at 10:31:47

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Fantastic, accurate and balanced perspective Lyndon, one to which I concur in almost every facet.

You're correct in stating that, contrary to the opinion of some, TW is a mouthpiece for the supporters with no agenda promoted by yourself or Michael.

I posted last week an article that was immediately condemned by Michael for its negativity, but it laid out points I stand by and with the performance against West Ham and Stoke, they have done nothing but to underline that we need to sell to buy and that the manager needs to change and if he doesn't then should go.

My stance on Kenwright has never and will never change. As Chairman and a Director of the club he is responsible for the massive debt, the inability to afford anything or anyone.

I have long supported Moyes in the job he has done, giving praise when deserved (as it has been on many occassion) but criticism when due too. You hope he would learn, realise that the club and the team needs him to improve if it is too improve. But all that happens indicates nothing has changed.

Against Stoke, he played Saha up front. He tried. He really did. But frankly no striker currently would survive on one chance in a game. Poor tactics and team selection (Big Vic and Osman as subs, both did absolutely NOTHING). It's all getting too much.

The lack of width and pace leaves strikers chasing high balls or non-existent deliveries. Play it wide, get behind the full back and deliver. Never have we done that .... certainly not of late.

Coleman can't use his right foot to cross... check it out, always comes inside ? he is not a winger or even a midfielder.

It says something when our ONLY attacking force are two full backs: one who is brilliant, the other spends his time running blindly into the channels and alleys and fails to deliver when he gets there.

So, the game is up, Mr Moyes. Sadly. Your options are limited, but then that's what you get paid so well for. Please find a solution ? for all of us.
Stephen Kenny
13   Posted 02/01/2011 at 11:18:07

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We need David Moyes!

But we need the one we got 9yrs ago, this one has doesn't have the vision to instill a new way of thinking.

The areas he made up for this motivation ? eye for detail, defensive solidity etc ? have all disappeared as the grind of working with Kenwright have worn him down personally, you can see it written all over his face.
Rob Teo
14   Posted 02/01/2011 at 11:10:53

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A superb article, Lyndon. Kudos to you.

I think it's safe to say that the majority of ToffeeWeb readers (if not, Everton supporters) agree that the current situation cannot persist and that something needs to change ? and soon!

Certainly, the factors which have contributed to our current malaise that you've identified need to be addressed. Whether this results in the departure of Kenwright and/or Moyes, or a radical rethinking of tactics, team selection, etc, on Moyes's part, remains to be seen. It's also something that, I feel, is ultimately out of our (ie. the fans') control.

Nonetheless, what is within our control is to let the Goodison hierarchy know that enough is enough ? that we will not put up with the footballing shit that is dished up to us anymore. One thing that has always troubled me (and which you've highlighted) is how Moyes, in every post-match interview, seems oblivious to the fact that his tactics are as much (if not more!) to blame for our poor results as the inability of his players to deliver. Well, if Moyes is unable to comprehend this simple fact, then perhaps it's time we as supporters ensure that he does in the most vocal manner possible.

How is it that the red shite supporters across the park are able to let the Anfield hierarchy (and the world) know that Hodgson is not delivering the goods after only 6 months, while we are still seemingly unable to convince Moyes to have a go at 4-4-2, let alone that results aren't good enough?

Much as I hate to say it, perhaps we should take a leaf from the old enemy's book and organise an online petition, bombard the Goodison switchboad or fill Goodison with banners ? anything!! ? that lets Moyes and Co know that something needs to change ? and soon! Otherwise, I fear it'll be a long hard slog for all of us till May with nothing to show for it except a plethora of posts that reinforce our despair and not much else. WE NEED TO TAKE BACK OUR CLUB!!!
Ray Robinson
15   Posted 02/01/2011 at 11:41:21

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Fantastic article, Lyndon. I agree with everything you say but would like to add one small note. Despite the great run at the end of last season, could we honestly say that there weren't any signs of what was to come?

Inability to score at Wolves despite dominating; 0-0 at Stoke when we needed to win; a wonder goal from Bily to rescue us against Pompey. Dreadful performances against West Ham and Fulham at home (last minute penalty to win the latter); total domination of Villa away but only a 2-2 draw; insipid performance at Anfield... etc

No, the signs were there. It needed only a few decent signings over Summer to oil the machine but these didn't happen and the engine has stalled. But to me, it's not totally unexpected ? the alarm bells were ringing last season and the "great run" wasn't as good as we thought.
Mike Allison
16   Posted 02/01/2011 at 12:01:31

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Another outstanding contribution from Lyndon, it always feels like he's written what I would have said if I'd set the time and energy aside. Point by point, I can't really disagree with a single thing you've said.

I've mentioned recently that Moyes still deserved our support because, although he wasn't doing well at the moment, he'd built up enough credit in the past that we should be patient and allow him time to put things right.

However, Lyndon's headline sums up the feeling of many of us I think, and in my own analogy Moyes has used up most of his credit through the sheer number and consistency of poor decisions he's made this season. This has been astoundingly so in the past week, and I think its no exaggeration to argue that he very directly cost us five points through those poor decisions.

He needs to do things very differently very soon, but he doesn't seem to have the appetite to do that. I've reached my tipping point, and I sit in the balance. Another gutless failure to attack like the Stoke or West Ham games, and Moyes will have lost this supporter.
Michael Evans
17   Posted 02/01/2011 at 12:05:12

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Ted Smeethes @9 ? You're most welcome! I always enjoy what you write.

Lyndon's article wasn't bad either.

Chris Halliday
18   Posted 02/01/2011 at 11:40:53

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Great article, but not much mention of Moyes's record in cup competitions ? which is shocking.

Watching the blues now is so predictable, I bet Lyndon could write the match report before we even take to the field.
John Ford
19   Posted 02/01/2011 at 12:16:50

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Lyndon, in my view, an anti-Moyes 'feel' still persists on TW. In saying this, I'm not talking about people's comments on threads which are of course personal views, I'm referring, as an example, to what has recently been posted as news ? two articles, one suggesting Moyes takes over at Preston; the other was a more sarcastic view, something about 'everything's alright with the Moyesiah'. Neither were actually news, they were just opportunities for TW to have a cheap go at Moyes. I complained about these via the threads ? for TW to use it's own news section to have a cheap dig at Moyes just wasn't on ? however my posts and objections were deleted.

To me, it isn't the job of TW use its main pages for cheap jibes. Fair enough if they are stated as views of individuals or are in the articles/comments sections but not on 'proper' TW news/rumours articles. If you do this you (TW) are then in no position to defend yourself against these accusations.
David Gallant
20   Posted 02/01/2011 at 12:10:12

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Lyndon, a truly compelling piece of writing. I've always sided more with your (or my perception of 'your') views as opposed to Michael Kenrick's, probably because they've been more akin to my own!

Your summation of Moyes's tenure to date, his strengths and weaknesses, is exactly how I view the situation. I hate the fact that support for Moyes has been labelled 'apologist' when I've always considered it balanced and fair, and taking into account what he had done in the past.

However, I too, like you just can't see him turning it round now and the writing I fear is well and truly on the wall. I have this lingering feeling that a more adventurous manager could do better with this squad, and now it comes to this, there's only one way to find out.

It pains me to say it, but the Moyesiah's number may be up. How dearly I wish I'm wrong, but as I say, the feeling lingers.

The financial thing is a huge factor, but despite this I feel he could have tried to get Beckford's confidence up at the very least. The issue with the Yak is another thing (have a feeling the Nigerian players perceive Moyes to be intolerant ? see Yobo's departure as well) that galls, since he proved in the derby that he can still be up for it (and showed what a cutting edge up front can do for this team).
Graham Holliday
21   Posted 02/01/2011 at 12:27:47

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Mike Allison - well-said. His poor decisions are now week-in, week-out and it's simply astonishing that he doesn't see it.

The inability, no the unwillingness to attack teams that are worse than us is simply unacceptable.

As I say, I don't think he will change, so I foresee bad times ahead.

This is the most negative I've felt about Moyes, I might add. I have been a long-term 'apologist' (though I'd say supporter) of Moyes. But this season has seen him and us go backwards by standing still.
Mike Allison
22   Posted 02/01/2011 at 12:17:26

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Having read all the comments I've just got a few things to add:

Roman (1), I wouldn't let Roy Keane near Goodison Park to clean the toilets. He's not a even a decent manager let alone a good one, failed to do anything at Sunderland despite spending millions, currently sits 19th in the Championship, and I get the feeling he's borderline mentally ill (I'm not being flippant). I have a name in mind for who I'd like, and would come, but I don't really want to play the game of replacing Moyes while he's still here.

Graham (11), I remember writing about your point #1 at the start of, or early in the season. We need to win games, and consider a draw anywhere a failure (with the possible exception of away against the very best). Like you say, simple maths dictates that winning half (actually slightly less) and losing half is better than drawing all your games. If Moyes fails to realise this, then on this point alone I could justify his removal.

Rob (14), Your online petition, banners etc, what do you have in mind? All I want is for us to attack. I mentioned the other day we used to chant "attack, attack, attack-attack-attack" while Smith was picking 6 or 7 defenders, I think we're in a similar position now. I would accept the need for your campaign, but not to change the personnel, to get a message through to them that they need to change their mindset.

And Ray (16), I'm not sure I agree the signs were there in the games you mentioned, I think it's just the nature of football that things don't always go your way.

With the players we've got a the club right now, we could be attacking far more and have and extra ten points this season. It's not all doom and gloom, this could all change tomorrow if only the people in charge (essentially Moyes) realise what needs to be done. If he can't, he needs to go.
Ian Corky
23   Posted 02/01/2011 at 12:24:10

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On BK, It is noticable he is very visible when things are ok (after derby wins etc), but in reality he is no more to Everton FC than me. I have supported Everton passionately since I could talk. I go to every home game, and until having children every away game too.

I would argue our corner 24/7... BUT ? and this is the point ? I am fucking skint and cannot do anything to influence the future of the club.

Cue Mr Kenwright, if he doesn't sell up in the next 6 months, we will end up with what we have, a Championship ground, Championship manager, Championship finances and a Championship squad.

Marcus Kendall
24   Posted 02/01/2011 at 12:40:27

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Mike, whilst I agree with your assertion that Roy Keane is a poor manager, to suggest he's borderline mentally ill is quite simply wrong. He has and always speaks his mind, you can't fault that in anyone.

As for this season, I expected the top 5 to be untouchable (Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham) but reallly fancied our chances of being best of the rest or to have Liverpool and Villa giving us a fight for 6th. Us, Villa and Liverpool are having poor seasons and we all have the same thing in common (poor managers).

Gus Poyet for me!
Chris Matheson
25   Posted 02/01/2011 at 12:59:57

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Lyndon, another forensic masterpiece that puts me in mind of the demolition job you did on Destination Kirkby. Congratulations.

That the article does not really have a definite conclusion is indicative of the dilemma we are in. It demonstrates that the real culprit is BK (see Ian at 24) and the board, but that for all the problems he (BK) causes or fails to rectify, it is still Moyes picking the team and playing tactics that look flowery but deliver nothing.

Short of a megabucks buy-out, I just don't know what is for the best, as none of the alternatives are appealing either.

So maybe we just keep treading water and keep our fingers crossed that something, anything, might come along. Let's face it, that is Bill Kenwright's strategy.

One thing is for sure. I used to have hope that we would win something, a cup maybe. I don't have any hope now, save that we don't get relegated.
Tom Harries
26   Posted 02/01/2011 at 13:00:27

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"In retrospect, it was obviously badly misplaced optimism"

The sad thing is, I think it's the other way round. I thought it was badly misplaced optimism before the start of the season, as everyone else looked like they were improving and I always thought we'd struggle (not this badly!).

In retrospect, to me the optimism looks justified because everyone else has been so bloody inconsistent. If Everton had been consistent, had taken our chances or shown more a bit imagination and creativity, we would now be around 5th or 6th.

But we just haven't stepped up to the plate.
Mike Allison
27   Posted 02/01/2011 at 13:17:23

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Marcus (25), maybe it is wrong, but there's a lot more to my speculation than that 'he speaks his mind'. I'm prepared to drop the point totally, as it's more a feeling from watching him and what you hear about the way he interacts with other people, and I'm not sure there's much tangible I can back it up with, but I mean it and I'm not saying it to be nasty or out a personal dislike of him. I suppose you'd have to look over some key incidents in his career and interpret them how you see fit.

My main point is that I would rather have a random contributor to this site as the manager than Roy Keane. It's never really become an age old adage, but it should have done, that good players rarely make good managers. Thoughtful and intelligent players make good managers, and the best or most talented players often didn't have to think about their game at all as it came naturally to them, which means they don't really know how to manage or coach other players.

Tom (27), we're still only a good month of results away from being 6th, that's the crazy thing. As I say, its not all doom and gloom, but that good month simply won't happen without an important change in playing philosophy that it looks like Moyes isn't keen to implement.
Ian Smitham
28   Posted 02/01/2011 at 14:07:11

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Lyndon, in my time on here, I have never seen a better more balanced write up. Excellent in all aspects and very fair. As another poster has pointed out, there is no real conclusion which by the nature of the article is quite right too.

I have started to have doubts and thank Corky for his input last night.

Can I also note the high quality debate in the immediate responses. Thank you. Contributions 17 and 21 sum up how I feel.

As for Contribution 20, and as at writing John's comments are still there, I also agree with you. I have noticed and commented on articles (Ken's match report last week) going missing. If the site is a forum, then it should hold itself up in that way, and though I have questioned that abuse be allowed, and Lyndon is expressly excluded from this, I have noted from elsewhere that as long as it sits with editorial comment against Mr Moyes, it seems allowed.

Sorry, rant over, super article and I for one trust that this response and no doubt others contributions will do it justice.

Ian Corky
29   Posted 02/01/2011 at 14:26:54

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I had this dream last night that Moyes was just winding us all up and does have money. In my dream, he brings in: Wheater, Wright-Phillips, Ireland and Crouch.... sheeesh, I really need a vodka detox. ,
Phil Rodgers
30   Posted 02/01/2011 at 14:22:46

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Excellent article. Yesterday was the first time I ever experienced such an empty feeling. I am normally furious when we lose such games but I felt nothing. It's a really tough time to be a Blue. It sounds a bit cheesy but I worry about who will be supporting Everton in 20 years. Will our children follow this club as blindly as we do?
Marcus Kendall
31   Posted 02/01/2011 at 14:52:11

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Why do people rate Stephen Ireland?

I've never worked that one out...
Ian Corky
32   Posted 02/01/2011 at 14:57:35

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Marcus, I don't think he become a bad player overnite, he was outstanding for City and went to Villa kicking and screaming. As a result, he has never settled; he must be worth a punt ? even on loan.
Marcus Kendall
33   Posted 02/01/2011 at 15:17:43

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I thought he was overrated at City to be honest, don't see what he offers in truth.
Gavin Ramejkis
34   Posted 02/01/2011 at 11:21:15

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A well balanced and thought out article Lyndon. I've never hidden my colours when it comes to BK or his failings. I've also enjoyed this website way above and beyond any other for its open nature to all points of the compass from Marshy to Doddy and have crossed words on my keyboard with many contributors but I'm still here as are they.

It troubles me that there are still supporters that have faith when the failures are growing and putting the club at such risk but that's what you get with your own opinion.

My opinion on a replacement manager would be to go for the likes of Lambert or abroad, either option would be cheaper than DM ? and don't forget, DM was an unknown quantity to many.
Charles King
35   Posted 02/01/2011 at 15:28:55

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"The tide is turning" says the title, no it's not, the tide ebbed for Moyes years ago.

There's too much introspection at present, people donning the hair shirt repenting their own sins of hope over reality, what on earth is the point?

Moyes is a football manager ? that's all, his time is overdue and we'll survive when he goes. He's done the minimum since he came here, inheriting a set up on its knees with supporters traumatised by fear accepting anything ? he hasn't won a bean.

As for TW.... it is what it is, don't give it a second thought,

Dave Richman
36   Posted 02/01/2011 at 15:39:10

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Christine #12

'We lack pace and width' ..... something I said on Facebook today and was slaughtered for!

Apparently we have plenty of wingers (Bily, Pienaar, Coleman & Gueye) and they are 'all excellent crossers of the ball' and 'Pienaar sets up most of our goals' (ONE in total this season, but why let facts get in the way of a good myth). The fact that three of them are definitely not natural wide players, and the fourth (our secret weapon) has never been seen in the league, seems to be irrelevant, so what the hell do I know?

Also we have the best left side in the country ? which is a new one...... even by the lofty standards of the IMWT brigade.

Brilliant article Lyndon.
Tom Fearon
37   Posted 02/01/2011 at 15:55:58

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As many previous posters have commented, this is a constructive and thoughtfully analytical contribution. I had given up hope of seeing such a piece in TW where many contributions are not only negative, they are destructive. At times it seems that TW is not merely a site for Evertonians, it is a place where people compete with eachother to display their contempt, or even hatred of Moyes/ Kenwright. Unfortunately, the personal criticism seems to be encouraged by Michael Kenrick and it is little wonder that like minded supporters use such vicious language in their posts.< >Criticism is both essential and inevitable amongst the committed, as we all are. But I have to confess that when the adverse comments are constantly sneering, or abusive I dismiss them.

Lyndon has shown how it should be done. He has offered constrictive criticism. I do not agree with some of his points but then I was not as optimistic as he was at the start of the season. But my agreement is neither here nor there. He has made me and others think in a cool, clear way. Many thanks for a great piece at this difficult time for all Evertonians.

Joe Rourke
38   Posted 02/01/2011 at 15:38:14

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You made at least one obvious big factual mistake in this article. About 15 paragraphs you state about Moyes:

"In his second full season in charge, he guided the club to a fourth-place finish..."

It was his third season. In 2002-03, Everton finished 7th; in 2003-04 we finished 17th.

Actually you missed mentioning that extremely depressing 2003-04 season at all. 2004-05 was Moyes's third full season.

Also, you say he saved Everton from relegation in 2001-02? From what I remember, we weren't in the relegation zone when he joined and we had quite a lot of matches at home against bottom 10 sides yet to come when he joined. He did well but it wasn't the biggest Houdini act by a manager in recent history.

Actually, for me, the two problems with Moyes have been the yo-yo nature of Everton's form (long stints of crap play followed by long stints of good play) under Moyes and the slow pace of the transformation of the squad (1-2 signings per year while we lose the almost same amount of players in transfers out or to injury).

Lyndon, I'd question too your comments on Lescott. I thought it was an injury to Joey Yobo that forced Moyes's hand on moving Lescott inside. Baines then had a proper chance to establish himself. This was despite Lescott being identified (openly) and targeted as a weak link the team while playing at left back. (I remember Standard Liege's manager talking about after they had got through on the back of this stupidity.) We lost a lot of points due to Moyes blind spot on this.
Joe Rourke
39   Posted 02/01/2011 at 16:30:20

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Marcus @ 31,

Stephen Ireland can be on the ground what Cahill has been in the air for Everton. But with a more cultured foot and better range of passing. And I have lots of time for Timmy ability on the ground.

There are lots of pundits, with excellent football records ? Johnny Giles and Liam Brady would be two ? who have extremely high opinions of Ireland. The lad's attitude, however, may be a problem.

Marcus Kendall
40   Posted 02/01/2011 at 16:55:24

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Their opinions could have a tinge of Irish bias perhaps?
Richard Dodd
41   Posted 02/01/2011 at 16:30:42

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No lesser judge than Gary Lineker opines today that Everton will finish in 9th position this season. Personally, I'm confident of our doing better than that but one thing is certain and that is the replacement of chairman, manager, chief exec and all the others Toffeewebbers love to hate would be no guarantee of greater success than we have enjoyed in recent seasons.

Let`s get real, the club we love is ? and has been for much of its history ? a top league mid-table outfit and there`s NO shame in that, believe me! Just ask the followers of Leeds, Nottm Forest and the Sheffield clubs. True, Moyes has built the hope that we could be better than that but he`s found it just ain`t feasible ? but don`t blame him and Bill for that, because it`s where we belong and it ain`t a bad place to be!

Brian Waring
42   Posted 02/01/2011 at 17:09:50

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Wow!!! Lineker said that we would finish in 9th place??? Well that makes it okay then, and here's me worrying.
Dave Richman
43   Posted 02/01/2011 at 17:13:17

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Fantastic news!!!! I'm gonna have my own little 9th place party tonight then.

Doddy, do us a favour and find out whether Gareth Southgate reckons we will win the cup please mate.

And while you're at it, can you find out next week's lottery numbers from Alan Shearer please?
Marc Williams
44   Posted 02/01/2011 at 17:13:32

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If any of you think the absense of Cahill will force Moyes to change, then prepare to be disappointed.

In yesterday's Daily Telegraph, there was a piece where he was asked what he'd do with Cahill away. His response was to muse on putting Felli or even Pienaar in that position. He has completely lost the plot & for everyone's sake, including his own, needs to go asap.

As to replacements, would the managers who had Villarreal or Standard Liege 'punching above their weight' in recent seasons, be available for £65k per week?
Brian Denton
45   Posted 02/01/2011 at 17:12:31

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Doddy, we've won as many titles than those four put together (Leeds 3, Sheff Wed 4, Forest and Sheff U 1 each).

Just a thought.
James Stewart
46   Posted 02/01/2011 at 17:21:26

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Great article.
Marc Williams
47   Posted 02/01/2011 at 17:34:25

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Richard Dodd 41#

I see your New Years resolution for 2011 to ...." Stop talking utter shite on Toffeeweb" didn't make it past January 2nd.

Better luck in 2012 eh fella !
Tony Christian
48   Posted 02/01/2011 at 17:26:48

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Two facts worth noting:

1: Apart from last season's 2-1 victory over Fulham last season, Moyes has never turned a half time deficit into three points

2: Moyes has failed to win any of his 40 (yes, 40) away games at Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea & Liverpool.

He is the most over-rated, over-hyped coach in the history of football. Get rid now because, if anybody can relegate Everton, it's this clown.
David Holroyd
49   Posted 02/01/2011 at 17:25:35

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We don't have any wide men except Gueye. Pienaar & Bily don't play wide for their countries, they are in midfield; Pienaar never gets to the by-line and crosses. The squad was and still is unbalanced and slow... we have got got to speed the play up and support the front man.
Lyndon Lloyd
50   Posted 02/01/2011 at 17:25:34

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Thanks, all, for the responses and the well-reasoned discussion that has ensued so far. Some follow-up comments of my own...

Ray (15): Despite the great run at the end of last season, could we honestly say that there weren't any signs of what was to come?

No, the signs were there but, at the time, I put it down to the loss of Landon Donovan and hoped that Moyes would at least be able to add a couple of targeted acquisitions to fill that void. It didn't happen, but after a summer of preparation and an excellent pre-season, I was mightily encouraged that we'd give it a damn good go.

John Ford (19): for TW to use its own news section to have a cheap dig at Moyes just wasn't on ? however, my posts and objections were deleted. If you do this, you (TW) are then in no position to defend yourself against these accusations.

I completely agree, John. As I mentioned in the article above, keeping a lid on the temptation to let our own biases out of the news portions of the site is hard as fellow fans but it's something we need to do. The Rumour Mill is, deliberately, a more irreverent section of the site but, as you say, should not be an avenue for "cheap jibes."

On the issue of the censorship of comments, there's a delicate line we tread with an editorial policy designed to preserve the very quality of discussion that followed this article.

We have a deliberate policy of removing posts that directly attack the author without a supporting argument or the website just for the sake of it, and it's for that reason that critical posts are taken down. I can't speak for Michael but I offer you a cast-iron guarantee that no posts are removed just because they disagree with my views. The decision is always made to keep the debate on track and to preserve the character of what I believe is an unmatched forum for Evertonians.

I'll be the first to admit, though, that the policy is enforced inconsistently because, at the end of the day, there are just two of us here balancing this enormous site with day-jobs and family commitments. It's impossible to track every comment or apply our ambitious editorial policies evenly, but we do our best.

Admittedly, I'm more tolerant of allowing the community's criticisms of the site to stand if they are civil but if they're thrown into an unrelated article, you run the risk of the debate thread descending into arguments over ToffeeWeb and ruining the flow of the discussion.

Joe R (38): You made at least one obvious big factual mistake in this article.
It was his third season. In 2002-03, Everton finished 7th, in 2003-04 we finished 17th.
Actually you missed mentioning that extremely depressing 2003-04 season at all. 2004-05 was Moyes third full season.

Thanks, Joe, and I've corrected the error in the article.

I didn't mention that season as it was early on in his tenure and before my own personal benchmark for him, the 2004-05 campaign. There were assertions back then that he'd "lost the dressing room" that season and I fear that some of that could be creeping in again now so maybe that season is more relevant than I'd like to admit.

Gavin Ramejkis
51   Posted 02/01/2011 at 17:56:32

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Doddy, you've outdone your usual bullshit with your latest, "throughout its history" claim. This season alone, you've admitted to knowing fuck all about football pre-Sky, damned any Everton player pre Sky as shite and unworthy of any mention and now you claim our history ? which you have admitted both not knowing and denouncing ? is that of mid-table mediocrity.

Take your head out of Kenshite's arse once and for all and at least try to post some consistency, when you hang up on Ian Ross or Kenshite or whoever is feeding you this Pravda bollocks, tell them we ain't listening.

Alan Clarke
52   Posted 02/01/2011 at 18:34:45

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Tom Fearon, what crap.

What irks me most about this website are the people who think they offer a balanced view by basically not offering a point of view. You just sit on the fence. There seems to be this group of posters who believe they have a higher intelligence because they don't want to actually see what's going on and face up to it. They are then condescending to everyone else who actually has an opinion. It's not intelligent, it's possibly the polar opposite because you ignore all the actual facts to convince yourself everything is rosey.

This attitude amongst what seems to be a large section of fans is the worst because these are the fans who are willling to let the club rot. These are the fans who can only defend Moyes by offering smart arse remarks like "who else would do a better job?" then dismiss anyone's alternative suggestions. These are the fans who don't want foreign owners so we should just stick with Kenwright. Moyes had done nothing to qualify for the Everton job so why is the bar any higher now? ? we're as shit as we've ever been.

I honestly can't feel positive about anything at Everton right now. I feel a new manager would at least give us something better to watch, some belief back but he would have no better chance of success than Moyes without significant funding. With Kenwright at the helm that will never happen so we are completely stuck. So how can the criticism aimed at both Moyes and Kenwright be classed as destructive? The majority of posters on this site who've recognised Moyes is out of his depth and Kenwright is leading us into oblivion are the only fans that recognise the mess we're in.

Colin Malone
53   Posted 02/01/2011 at 18:07:22

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Lyndon. Martin O'Neill, Gary Megson, Martin Jol, Gordon Strachan, Sven Goran Eriksson, Sam Allardyce (Heaven help us), Roy Keane, Alan Curbishley... none of them you'd want anywhere near the revered Goodison hotseat???

I'd have Martin O`Neill tomorrow, look at the form book. Explain why not Lyndon. O'Neill has done more in a year than Moyes has done in nine.
Charles King
54   Posted 02/01/2011 at 18:17:42

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Can see how Moyes has lasted so long reading this and some of the responses, didn't know misery was so addictive.

It's a confessional for those who couldn't see beyond the Moyes media myth.

For all who were wrong about Moyes.... get over yourselves.
Lyndon Lloyd
55   Posted 02/01/2011 at 18:53:43

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Colin M (53): I'd have Martin O'Neill tomorrow, look at the form book. Explain why not Lyndon. O'Neill has done more in a year than Moyes has done in nine.

I'll admit that of that list, O'Neill is the one I'd take over the others but I wasn't impressed by his record at Villa at all. If you compare Everton's league positions, record in Europe, and cup performance (both lost at Wembley) over the same period, I think Moyes edges it with less funding behind him.

O'Neill arguably bought better players and placed a far higher emphasis on having pace and width in the side, but he cocked up their Europa Cup campaign two seasons ago with a short-sighted plan to prioritise the league (and failed on both counts) and generally failed to get the best out of a decent squad.

I don't see him as a good enough manager to lead us where we need to go. For me, he's all bluster and passion with not enough consistent end product, but if Moyes walked and we couldn't attract anyone better, he'd be a safe enough choice to preserve the status quo, I suppose.

Kevin Tully
56   Posted 02/01/2011 at 18:58:46

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Tony # 48,

I have defended Moyes and his tactics in seasons gone by. I'm afraid I can no longer put up a defence for that stat. Not beating the old "big four" in forty attempts should sum up our manager. He is safety first and defensive. Don't mention money, Blackpool have a ten grand a week wagecap, and are playing three up front and winning.

I don't think I can even go through our current starting eleven and name someone with a great shot as part of their game. Who have we got who can go on a mazy run and welly it into the net ?

A tough fixture list in January will either make or break this season, Lose to Scunthorpe in the cup, and we could see the last of Moyes. A decent man, who was very well paid for actually just keeping us in the Premier League. I will not fear what will happen post-Moyes, we have good players who can bring at least a cup back to Goodison.
Sam Morrison
57   Posted 02/01/2011 at 19:09:51

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Not read the comments as yet but fully in concord on the article regarding Moyes, Lyndon, I stated as much recently (albeit not nearly as well) in my 'worm as turned' post/article.

Re: "supposed" negativity. I think the perception is more because of Michael's editorial tone, rather than his actual views.
Gavin Ramejkis
58   Posted 02/01/2011 at 19:06:55

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For all the bluster some change has to be made. BK and his cronies must know that a relegated Everton are worth a whole lot less than an EPL one. BK must realise that any decision on DM would deflect (yet again) the spotlight on his shortcomings.

The realism is that there simply aren't many games left where Everton can afford not to take at least at point from if not all three to guarantee EPL membership. Should we drop, it'll be some time before we come back as the Chamionship is a whole different ball game to the EPL with hard battling footballing sides, don't forget our recent history against lower league sides.
Colin Malone
59   Posted 02/01/2011 at 19:08:34

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Lyndon. The Villa job was a job in progress, but left, through interference from the boardroom, which I have great admiration for.

What he done at a small club at Leicester was outstanding and then Celtic.
Michael Evans
60   Posted 02/01/2011 at 18:59:52

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Tom Fearon@37 - "Unfortunately, the personal criticism seems to be encouraged..."

For me, that's the usual trite argument that's put forward by some if anyone on TW dares to question the competency of DM or BK.

TW = Inglorious, moaning basterds etc etc blah blah

There is criticism of the professional competency of both men. Hardly surprising given the present situation the Club is in. However, there is balance to this ... Richard Dodd for one!

Personal criticism? When does that get encouraged? Is there a "try to call DM a ginger ... " in the instructions before you press "SUBMIT COMMENT". If so, I've clearly missed it.

Jon Cox
61   Posted 02/01/2011 at 17:39:41

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Enjoyed that Lyndon. A piece of journalism to shame the pros.

I've often thought that the way a team plays is an image of the managers disposition. A case in point this season would be Holloway with his "devil may care attitude" and attack at all costs because what have we got to lose.

Coupled with man management, shrewd tactics and guile, it is a managers personality imprinted on his team that really tells us the kind of person he is.

A couple of things struck me this season about Moyes. Firstly, prior to the start of the season, with little to worry about with regards injuries as in other seasons, DM would have been very upbeat. In this state, this attitude would and should have been transmitted through to the players. I would say that, having seen the game against Villa, this attitude was very noticeable and we all know we were very unlucky not to thrash them.

Subsequent games there after Moyes's Heart began to sink as he looked in vane for the answers to put things right. That sinking feeling would now have started to permeate through the players like a bad dose of bubonica.

A downward trend was now under way and we found ourselves for a time in the bottom three.

Secondly, at about this time moves were being made to get Donovan back in the side come January. Hey presto, Moyes's upbeat mood is transmitted to the team and we go on a mini-run and the "corner" appears to be "turned" culminating in a march up the table.

But now we hear Donovan isn't coming and it's back down we go. Before anyone says the slide started before Dono said he wasn't coming, don't forget, Moyes will have heard it far earlier than we did.

And yes, it was down to putting square pegs in round holes such as my favourite, Rodwell at right wing verses Villa, and many more besides and this smacked of desperation ? AGAIN transmitted via the leader through to the troops.

No wonder our season has been from a players point of view, a bag of shite with the shackles firmly in place and not an ounce of creativity to go with it.

We are of course between a rock and a hard place as what to do. He wont walk, the club can't get rid. One thing though, the good thing about a new manager is that at the beginning there would be no favourites and you play to your best form or else you can do one.

For me, I'd give Bilic a shot. I just get the impression that he's a mean son of a bitch and takes no prisoners. You either do it his way or you are toast.

I thought that this was the season. I thought that this was going to be the zenith of the last nine years. I feel so so let down, so so depressed.

Mike Allison
62   Posted 02/01/2011 at 19:08:37

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Charles King, it's not that people 'were wrong about Moyes' ? it's that situations, circumstances and our performances change.

People were right to back Moyes in the past and right to be seriously questioning him now. Those that have always criticised no matter what can be compared to broken clocks where the time has come round to what they've always said even when it was wrong.

Which Martin O'Neill do people want? The Leicester one, where its all big men, set pieces, hoofball and no quality, the Celtic one, where who can judge whether he was good or not because he was managing in Scotland, or the Villa one, where he actually spent a lot of money, ultimately achieved nothing then walked out leaving them in the lurch on the eve of a new season?
Dave Wilson
63   Posted 02/01/2011 at 18:23:14

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Fantastic article, Mr Lloyd.

You say,"none of this is easy to write"

I'm glad you took the trouble.
Tom Fearon
64   Posted 02/01/2011 at 19:11:49

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Alan Clarke, what crap.

I actually said that criticism is vital and I praised Lyndon's piece which is critical of Moyes but in a balanced way. My arguement was about comments that decend into personal abuse. I did not say that everything is rosey. If you do not like a balanced approach then attack Lyndon directly. But try to avoid pomposity.

Guy Hastings
65   Posted 02/01/2011 at 19:27:02

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Which Martin O'Neill do I want? The one that won't come within 50 miles of Goodison???
Charles King
66   Posted 02/01/2011 at 19:25:41

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No, Mike, he got to 4th, in my opinion by default rather than design, then his luck ran out/got sussed out, take your pick.

The signs have always been there ? you just couldn't see them.
Colin Malone
67   Posted 02/01/2011 at 19:27:47

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Mike, 62.
Which Martin O'Neill do people want? The Leicester one, where its all big men, set pieces, hoofball and no quality, the Celtic one, where who can judge whether he was good or not because he was managing in Scotland.

Both. The manager who took a small club to three League Cup finals, winning two.

The manager who took over from the clueless John Barnes and the famous Kenny Dalglish and won the domestic treble, not won since 1969.

YES, that's the Martin O`Neill I want at Everton.

Sam Morrison
68   Posted 02/01/2011 at 19:50:41

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Considering O'Neill walked out of Villa over lack of funding, whether or not anyone wants him at Goodison is kind of a moot point...
David Hallwood
69   Posted 02/01/2011 at 20:46:39

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Which Martin O'Neill would I want? There's only one MON, and he's a long-ball merchant par excellance. He always sets his teams out like that ? big target man, lots of pace on the wings, with very little in the way of midfield artistry... and it will get only get a team so far, but will ultimately fail, as all long ball teams do.

O'Neill for Everton? Do me a favour!
Ian Corky
70   Posted 02/01/2011 at 21:33:45

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Fraid I totally agree, I would take O'Neill to replace Moyes tomorrow, he has character, charisma and passion. Moyes has... ???
Christopher McCullough
71   Posted 02/01/2011 at 21:42:16

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Charles King "The signs have always been there you just couldn't see them" ? self-gratifying.

Most contributors have been willing to accept Moyes' deficiencies because his contribution to EFC has overwhelmed those drawbacks.

Lyndon is arguing here that this balance has shifted.

For anyone who believes that fans have any impact on their football club, this is a well timed point about criticism. Criticism can be constructive or malevolent depending on the timing and tone. Up until this season, for many of us (King excluded), an upward qualitative trajectory, a momentum, could be discerned from all the obstacles and contradictions that comprise EFC (from our perspective on the outside).

One thing the main stream media get right is that clubs that give thier manager a sustained amount af time to develop are generally more successful than those that chop and change.

Moyes's team selections this season have been heartbreaking. That's his fault. He needs to modify his footballing weltanshauung, or leave.

A final point on fans' criticism. It's ineffective unless all of the different opinions and internal contradictions spiral up like a tornado into a few definite points.

"Kenwright out", is the obvious one.
Steve Smith
72   Posted 02/01/2011 at 20:57:06

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A great read and some decent comments to follow, even if some of them do get a bit anal about TW bias or otherwise.

Before Moyes came to the club, the best we could expect for the previous few season was an embarrasing end of season pitch invasion for actually managing to stay in the league, and although the progress has been slow, the expectation has grew more or less season upon season during the Moyes era. This culminated in the belief (for a lot of us at least) that we could really achieve something this season; that hasn't happened sadly but, to the end of this season, I am still backing Moyes. Don't forget that he was the man that created the expectation in the first place and deserves some credit for doing so.

If we finish out of the top six then Moyes should do the decent thing and resign.

Gavin Ramejkis
73   Posted 02/01/2011 at 22:28:15

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Steve, what if DM takes the club to the bottom three, what's your response then? Is a response then too late? Respect is given when it's due and brickbats when they are. Over the majority of games this season the paucity on offer would have seen other managers booted out of the door. How long do you give it before you call it too late?
Peter Tyson
74   Posted 02/01/2011 at 22:37:22

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A great read, and a an astute synopsis of Moyes tenure so far.

I have been a devout follower of the IMWT brigade until the past 2 months where some of his team selections (West Ham case in point) have left me bemused and frustrated. I hope for his sake he can see the writing on the wall and change his tactics whilst he's still able (latest odds on him being sacked would suggest otherwise).

If he did go, I'd give serious consideration to Di Matteo, young relatively successful at lower league level, and has done wonders with a West Brom team who play attractive attacking football without any household names.

Steve Smith
75   Posted 02/01/2011 at 23:55:07

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I don't believe that he will take us into the bottom three, or should I say he won't get us relegated? I believe that our position at the end of the season will be closer to the top than the bottom. The difference between ourselves and others on about the same points as us is there to see. If you take the Wigan home game as an example, that game could quite easily have finished with us putting seven or eight past them, and there have been quite a few others this season that we should have won at a stroll.

I know we haven't done so and things need to improve on the goalscoring front, you could say it would be just as much of a gamble getting rid of Moyes mid-season as it is keeping him, I'm a better the devil you know person, so I'm prepared to stick with him until May at least.

David Edwards
76   Posted 03/01/2011 at 01:30:59

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A comprehensive and thoughtful article, Lyndon. Like many who have posted comments on ToffeeWeb over the last few weeks, my disillusionment with Moyes has been steadily building up since the summer, but has taken a giant leap over the last month or so. I've never been a Moyes apologist, but I've been closer to the IMWT line in previous seasons. However, change has got to come in some form very soon if we are not to get into the relegation battle I fear we may get dragged into.

Elsewhere, I've suggested that if Moyes can't find that spirit and vision of old or make the tactical changes necessary, then he needs to hold his hand up and walk. Yet, despite the growing evidence to the contrary, many of us would love him to have a 'Road to Damacus' conversion and really shake things up for the better.

The reason many of us spend our time on the keyboard is in the naive hope that our opinions can reach the ears of those in power and that change can take place in time to rescue this season. It's a watershed moment for the club and doing nothing is no longer an option.

Over to you Mr Moyes ? you hold your future in your own hands by the action you'll take on or off the field in the next month or so. Let's hope it's the right choice for the club!

Paul Conatzer
77   Posted 03/01/2011 at 06:03:23

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I can no longer trust Moyes. The club's best run came with Yakubu playing up front.
Charles King
78   Posted 03/01/2011 at 10:31:55

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Christopher @ 71

If length of managerial tenure was as important as the press state we'd be third and Chelsea would be relegated.
The paucity of your piece is matched only by your previous judgement on Moyes, the saving grace is you've changed your mind.

As I've said in another post, you were wrong get over it.
Mick MacManus
79   Posted 03/01/2011 at 13:35:36

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Excellent article Lyndon, I generally agree with your analyses and share most of your thoughts on the issue. I have supported him since he was appointed, believing his strengths as a manager have always outweighed any weaknesses, in the context of the well known constraints he has had to work within.

For me, this was to be the defining season on which to judge his abilities in taking us to a level where we all want the team to be. I will reserve my own conclusive judgment of Moyes until the final stages of this season, but most importantly it will be how he responds tactically in the next few games to turn around this disappointing season. Can he adapt his approach? Will he finally realise that his overly conservative team set-up just isn?t working.

Only time will tell as you say Lyndon.
With Cahill now away, he has the ideal opportunity to get rid of the 4-5-1 set-up and put two dedicated strikers up front, Beckford must be one of the two options with either the Saha, Vic or maybe give Vaughan a final chance. He must give the pairing a consistent run of games to build their form. Beckford has shown he has knack of being in the right place at the right time, he just has finish his a proportion of these goal scoring chances (ever notice Bily is the same?). He has had no time to prove himself which is very disappointing (hmm, as has Bily).

4-4-2 should help alleviate our main problems when going forward this season, i.e. a slow, methodical build-up, over-playing the ball back and forth in a laterally passing midfield, which as a consequence allows the opposition ample time to set up what seems to be impenetrable defensive wall every time we try to attack, thus we look like we have no creativity or guile going forward. 4-4-2 should facilitate more pacy forward play and more effective counter-attacking and give the opposition defence more to deal with.
Christopher McCullough
80   Posted 03/01/2011 at 17:26:59

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Off-topic spat removed
Charles King
81   Posted 03/01/2011 at 18:17:06

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Off-topic spat removed
Christopher McCullough
82   Posted 03/01/2011 at 18:32:01

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Off-topic spat removed
Charles King
83   Posted 03/01/2011 at 18:42:09

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off-topic spat removed
Christopher McCullough
84   Posted 03/01/2011 at 18:49:20

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Off-topic spat removed
Andy Crooks
85   Posted 03/01/2011 at 18:59:52

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The best news I could have to start the new year would be the appointment of Glenn Hoddle as our manager.Imaginative, attacking and experienced. Contacts throughout Europe and a direct line to good young talent. His personal beliefs are his own concern.
There is life after Moyes.
Mike Allison
86   Posted 03/01/2011 at 19:29:12

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Andy, that was the name I had in mind when I said I wouldn't join in the game. Oops, guess I just did.
Ian Corky
87   Posted 03/01/2011 at 19:40:27

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Cmon guys, leave the arguements behind, we have the most disrepectful, disloyal, fly by night to grace a dug out since Ron Atkinson at goodison on Wednesday ( hairy Rednees) lets raise the roof and leave him twitching for the post match press conference and knock that twatty gormless look off his face CUM ON YOU BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS
Steve Smith
88   Posted 03/01/2011 at 19:55:40

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Andy 85.

Surely you're not serious?
Peter Hall
89   Posted 03/01/2011 at 20:50:50

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IMHO ToffeeWeb has an earned reputation for 'negativity' - though not you personally. So when TW calls 'wolf' now - should we disregard it?

Definitely not. The most devoted Moyesian (and I am a Moyes 8/10 man until this season) can see that something has gone very wrong on the pitch ? and probably off it.

We are now a team that is useful everywhere except in both penalty boxes, where we are hopeless.

I realised something had changed watching the Sunderland match. OK, we got back to 2-2 and the result was maybe ok. And we missed a sitter for a 3-2 win. But I saw Everton players of the top notch not fighting for the cause ? the one thing we have been able to cling to through the darkest years.

Heitinga? You tell me. I watched it again just to observe him closely. He professionally avoided getting involved at all ? I think he was booked? - but not for a determined challenge, but for sticking his leg out as an afterthought. I'd take a fiver for him in the transfer window. Get rid ? bad apple.

Saha? You tell me again. What can you say?

And then finally we come to the best Everton player of the decade by a mile (the young Rooney apart). He scores the equaliser fluking a hopelessly weak shot deflected in. Almost his only significant touch of the game. And so for each appearance since. Watching Everton now is about 'where the fuck is Arteta?'. For 5 years no-one could get the ball off him ? now he gives it away with ease ? on the few occasions he gets it. Anyone can lose form ? but fight as well? And still he takes the dead ball situations ? embarrassing.

More is going on than I can understand. I said to my other half on the night of the Sunderland game that I thought Moyesy could be on his way soon. 'Sacked' is maningless ? he'd have his pick of the non top-4 jobs if he went. I just think he's too proud to stand in front of these performances ? whoever's fault it is.

I really hope that he sorts something out in the January window, especially getting rid of players who don't care about the royal blue jersey. I think our results would improve even with no signings. Moyes is a fighter and I don't think he can cope with players who aren't.

But I wouldn't put my shirt on him staying ? look at him towards the and of West Brom ? ?you shout at them Roundy ? I've had enough? was his body language.

All good things come to an end. I'd be surprised if ? losing him by choice or not ? our future will be better.

TW still says for its 10-11 Season intro:

?Surely a massive opportunity beckons for the Blues to finally crack the top four, and fulfill Everton's mystical 24-year rule... ?

I wish I felt this way about next season!

All the best for the New Year and COYB!! Prove me wrong!!
Ian Smitham
90   Posted 03/01/2011 at 23:48:00

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Mr Hall, how passionate, well said Sir
Dave Bruce
91   Posted 04/01/2011 at 14:14:19

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Moyes has to go!!!

He has achieved absolutley nothing at this Club, we finished 4th in a particularly poor Premiership the same season Villa fell apart at the last min, Bolton (YES, Bolton) nearly pipped us, and Liverpool were too busy winning the Champions League.

Let's get real here, he is a poor judge of a player (he wanted Jô for £18M) his stubborness costs us dear (Lescott), and his inability to give anyone a chance is ridiculous (Rooney/Baines/Coleman/Beckford).

If Beckford and Gueye are NOT Premier League class then why did Moyes sign them then??? ..... Let's have an answer ? their wages would have helped us keep Pienaar.
Nick Armitage
92   Posted 04/01/2011 at 13:19:18

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Christopher McCullough 71

?One thing the main stream media get right is that clubs that give their manager a sustained amount of time to develop are generally more successful than those that chop and change.?

The media do band about this assertion but it is simply not true. If you look at the 3 clubs in the Premiership who have had these sustained periods of managerial stability, they are United, Arsenal and Everton. The reason the United and Arsenal managers have been in post for so long is because they are, have been or will be successful.

This is clearly not the case with Moyes, who has yet to yield any tangible success (ie silverware). Moyes is still in place because he can keep the bailiffs from Kenwright?s door, not because Kenwright is allowing Moyes to nurture the squad.

The way to get success is recruit good management and support them. Persisting with a manager for the sake of it will not increase the likelihood of success - far from it.

I am not advocating the removal of Moyes, but something drastic needs to change. I sincerely hope this is the end of Kenwright & Co but based on past experience, they will carry on regardless.
Mike Rourke
93   Posted 04/01/2011 at 15:19:26

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Wow. This article is a shoe-in for 'Article of the Season' ( Were such a prize to exist ) for not only smacking the nail on the head but for stimulating it's g-spot too.

I can only hope that somehow Lyndon's words arrive on DM's desk and that he seriously takes note.
Christopher McCullough
94   Posted 04/01/2011 at 18:55:47

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Gerry Western
95   Posted 04/01/2011 at 22:33:41

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A belated comment, the best article I think I've ever read here on TW.
Jamie Crowley
96   Posted 04/01/2011 at 22:52:42

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Lyndon -

I realize this is belated but - this article is superb and you're to be commended for your efforts.

Would someone pls forward this to 606? I've heard 2-3 callers the last few weeks just get lamblasted for criticizing Moyes. The criticisms, pointed out in this article beautifully, are intelligent, factual, and as real as the nose on your face.

Why does it seem the entire universe outside TW thinks Moyes is Jesus Christ when he continually repeats the same inexplicable things? Again mentioned perfectly in this article, counter-balanced perfectly with his massive contributions to Everton while managing the Club.

One more time for effect: counter-balanced perfectly with his massive contributions to Everton while managing the Club. Anyone not grateful for Moyes or not recognizing his importance to Everton is grumpy and living in a bubble.

But he's not changing, and the opportunity is lost. And he's to blame because it's his decisions that are ultimately hurting the Club the last 6-9 months.

Lyndon, bravo!

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