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Signs of an Era ending...

By Mark Henderson :  21/09/2010 :  Comments (26) :
So there's been a lot of frustration after the latest debacle on the pitch.  Having read all of it from start to finish ? all ToffeeWeb mailbag items and fan articles, and responses ? I wanted to share some stories that you may not know about... stories that may cast events and our management and playing staff in a different light.

Some of these conversations where with people who work in the football media; some work in football as agents (not all are bad eggs); other clubs... and some are friends of people who work for Everton FC.  Their names aren't important but if you're one of those who demands names of sources, then stop reading now.  This is all conjecture, in case any Lawyers are reading...

In April last year (so this is an old story), I was working with some people in live music events, and there was a gig going on with a top indie / rock band from Leeds.  The particular lads I was with were not working on this gig, but a mate of mine who's a sound engineer from Liverpool was, and he'd called me up to say to drop by the venue and collect him, and we'd go for a pint.  Anyway, we got there and they were having a problem with some software for the lights, and one of our guys managed to get software dropped off within 10 minutes that meant they were finished (rather than looking like they'd need to work through the night for the next day's show), and so pretty much the whole crew and a couple of the band decided to come for a pint.

After putting a few beers away, and putting the music business to rights, the conversation turned to football.  The band were mad Leeds fans... then it came onto the team I follow.  The Liverpool-based engineer told me that his house on the Wirral, which he rarely stays at as he's always touring, happens to be next door to someone who works on the coaching / fitness side at Everton.  Now this lad wasn't particularly a fan of football, but if he had to follow a side, he'd be a red due to his family, but he told me that this neighbour of his told him that our manager was not popular with the players at all.  Moody, kept his distance etc. (I've always believed a manager should keep a professional distance as he has to make the hard choices, but I digress).

So I got to thinking why things have been going downhill over the last 3-4 seasons.  We have well known team spirit that people in the media often refer to.  And I realised that, whilst the players may like each other, and some of the staff, it doesn't necessarily mean they like the manager.  (Some of you older heads will remember some of the disastrous team-bonding attempts with previous managers, Chinese restaurants in Southport, etc.)

So also spoke to some people from the TV side I know and met at an event.  One of the pundits said that they were always tipping us as the "surprise package", and usually ending up with egg on their faces come the season end.  There has to be something wrong.  So here's a number of theories and then over to you for your opinions:
  • We all know we're skint, and the manager is annoyed at not having the money to spend to take the team to the fabled "next level".  With the major outgoing transfers in recent history, only two were demanded by the players ? Rooney and Lescott  ? and we got decent money for them, some of which went back into the team. Most others were sales sanctioned by the manager to raise funds (we did get what we thought was good money for players like AJ for instance, who most definitely did not want to leave).
  • Moyes had his contract impasse, which was done to try to force the Board to get investment in.  He gets himself a top wage out of it, and almost certainly amongst the top managerial earners in the Premier League (for a team that isn't amongst the top teams and doesn't have any cash).
  • At the same time, he makes what I thought was a mistake, where he admitted publicly he considered leaving.  That probably further put a strain on his relationship with the Board, and the dressing room.  As part of that, he admits that one day he would like a crack at managing a top side, as he didn't think Everton would be a financial force in his remaining career.  So begins the media speculation about him being lined up as Ferguson's successor (he won't be ? most decent Man U fans wouldn't put up with his brand of football).
  • So now he's painted himself into a corner. A few years ago, as the "best of the rest", we were probably the pinnacle of his career.  But now, under his stewardship, we're slipping into mid-table obscurity (er, hopefully no worse than that!).  He's still painted as a "bright young manager" ? he's been here for 8½ years now!  Benitez I think is actually slightly younger than our manager, and yet has still won European trophies...
  • So now his stock is waning, after EFC's decline in form.  And who will he blame for that?  The Chairman.  Some on here have pointed out he's unsackable ? we couldn't afford to pay him off.  If he were to go to another club, they'd have to pay compensation to EFC.  And probably that was the deal-breaker if he really was Villa's first choice. (Villa, like Man City, and Spurs etc. were all teams we finished above when we had the 4th-, 5th- & 7th-place finishes, but how many of us really expect to finish above them now?) If he was to resign, and unwilling to pay EFC that compensation himself, EFC would be within their rights to put him on gardening leave for the remainder of his deal, as they would still be obliged to pay him.
  • So our Chairman probably now realises that, giving him that 5-year deal, but not being able to deliver on his 24/7 investment quest  has come back to bite him in the arse... alongside other let-downs like Destination Kirkby, following on from Kings Dock etc.  If football financing really is on the slide, as many commentators would have us believe, then once again, Everton have missed the boat.
  • But, even worse: a lot of our "top" players are all on long-term, big-money deals.  I think if they were being honest, most would admit that as a top 6 / borderline top 4 club, Everton was about as good as they were going to get.  So they got their best deal possible at what for a lot of them will be the last major deal they earn as players.  (But we don't feel sorry for them, do wee?). But now, if EFC can't arrest this slide, we won't be that top 6 club anymore, and some of them may be regretting signing such long deals.  But don't worry, because if the Arab money, or the Russian money does come calling, we'll get a decent transfer salary, so our Chairman can keep the "debt manageable" and we have to keep unearthing the "next Rooney, or Rodwell".
My prediction: for Moyes, I think this will be his last season.  He may take time out for a year or so, and see if anything comes up.  He did have a modicum of success in his early years; he did stabalise the team to some degree and bring in some good players.  But, he's admitted as much himself, he did set a lot of unwanted records / firsts in our history as well.  And a lot of you pay good money to watch football that drives you mad.

This last weekend, I watched the game with some mates who support other teams, and they all asked the same thing ? how can you play that bad with a decent squad?  Then the substitutions happened ? I can't remember who the summariser was on the feed we had, but I think it may have been Mark Bright, an ex-pro ? going mental that we were chasing the game, after our worst start in Premier League history, and still playing with one up front!

I have read how some of you, suffering under the credit crunch, have stopped going.  I made a tough decision to move abroad 6½ and a half years ago.  I'm now finding it hard to even watch us on TV.  Fans of other teams used to hate playing us, cos we were always capable of winning on their ground.  Now they hate playing us cos they think we drag their teams down.  I've had some media people admit they hate being rostered to cover our games now for the same reason ? they're not entertained and have talk up the game!

Players and managers come and go.  EFC will always be there. Football goes in cycles... Maybe we will get back some time in the future.

Reader Comments

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Nick Entwistle
1   Posted 21/09/2010 at 17:21:26

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I was all excited for some big exposé there Mark, and it turns out if true, that the players don't get on with Moyes DUN DUN DAHHHHH!

The rest can be found throughout the TW pages and is just personal opinion on 'how things are'.

Spend all afternoon on that did you?
David Price
2   Posted 21/09/2010 at 17:12:47

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I know a girl who is a receptionist in a doctors surgery in Manchester. Two days a week a certain doctor called Gary O'Driscoll (brother of Brian the Irish Rugby player) attends there.
He is also the club doctor for Arsenal, she asked him what Wenger was like, he said he was a bastard to his players and constantly shouts at them and nothing is ever good enough. Basically a perfectionist who only eats Pasta washed down with wine.
So our Manager is distant a liitle with the players, any Manager in any business has to be like this.
We now have to hope he can make clear and concise decisions to stop this slide.
We still some of the best players in the premiership, it's about right people, right place right time.
As for teams who think we drag them down, WFT? they sit back and we can't handle it.
Need to stick up for the team a bit more whilst being an Englishman abroad mate..
John Maxwell
3   Posted 22/09/2010 at 02:44:43

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Was it Robbie Keane's brother ??

So lets debate a conversation held in a pub, nice one.

A manager is not there to be liked, he's there for make sure his players and staff perform...

Brian Clough wasn't popular with his players, but he got the results, I'm sure SAF isnt the nicest guy in the world...

Next !!
Jay Harris
4   Posted 22/09/2010 at 03:10:16

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I am so relieved.

I thought you were going to give a big expose on how Moyes was Osman's secret lover.

For the record Jimmy Gabriel's sister used to work for me and she told me he hated Catterick (one of our most successful magagers if you can cast your mind that far back) because he used to make the players play even if they had Knocks and as others have said it is healthy to keep a distance from the players.

Your suggestion also doesnt explain why the same players who played so well last season are playing lousy this season or why people like Landon Donovan say they would love to return to the club.
Alan Ross
5   Posted 22/09/2010 at 03:22:24

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A lot of wind but no storm.
Sean Patton
6   Posted 22/09/2010 at 03:33:48

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I can't believe this article passed censure it is clearly bollocks.

I ask you... a top indie band from Leeds? there's no such thing!
Rob Hamilton
7   Posted 22/09/2010 at 07:24:36

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All gong, no dinner.
Mike Green
8   Posted 22/09/2010 at 07:43:02

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"All gong, no dinner"

Nice one Rob :D
Jay Connolly
9   Posted 22/09/2010 at 09:47:02

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"Signs of an Era ending", get a grip you massive idiots.
Alan Clarke
10   Posted 22/09/2010 at 10:06:56

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I think what you're saying Mark is things are far too comfortable now inside Goodison. The players have reached their pinnacle and are all on long term highly paid contracts. The manager also and the chairman has a manager who seems happy to work under him.

After so many years of shit under different managers and the slight hope Moyes offered at different points of his 8 years, the fans are lethargic. Apart from a majority on this web site most fans seem happy to still accept Moyes' brand of football and mismanagement. I just feel we're stuck with nowhere to go.
Nick Entwistle
11   Posted 22/09/2010 at 10:35:29

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All moo and no milk?
Charles King
12   Posted 22/09/2010 at 10:51:01

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Mark Henderson, they'll slice your balls off on here unless you name names or at least have video evidence.

For what its worth I would'nt be surprised if the players tolerate him realising he at least provides stability, though 2 more shit results and he's gone.

(my neighbour knows BK's gardener etc etc)
Mike Rourke
13   Posted 22/09/2010 at 11:43:09

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Colin McBride
14   Posted 22/09/2010 at 12:00:56

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Is this article for real? I can't believe I spent my time reading this crap.
John Keating
15   Posted 22/09/2010 at 12:32:58

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Waste of space
Scott Robinson
16   Posted 22/09/2010 at 13:57:30

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Arteta would've left if he didn't like the manager. Same with Cahill, Jagielka etc... Even Yobo signed a 5 year deal not long ago.

As in cricket where bowlers win you matches, the retirement of Warne, MCGrath, Flintoff etc.. hailed the end of an era for great sides..

In EFC's case, the lack of scoring prowess throughout the side is the current cause of this current era ending... It only takes for that malaise to cure itself and then the era will be back be reborn.

4-5-1, 4-4-2 is irrelevant.. Every member of a football team, bar the keeper should be capable of scoring goals. Sadly we aren't capable of just that at the moment. Hopefully a new era will arise.
James McGlone
17   Posted 22/09/2010 at 14:22:55

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That's why all of them rush for the exit every season.

Fuck me..

Apparently Gosling didn't like him and now there's a revolt..
Mike McLean
18   Posted 22/09/2010 at 15:03:02

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The exhausted brains of the apologists are reduced to the rather tiresome question, "Who would you replace him with?" I'm tempted to say either Sooty or Sweep as neither could be doing a worse job. In the interests of sane debate, however, let me mention Jol, Hoddle or Sven.

Frankly, my dog could do an equally good / bad job as His Overpaid Nibbs.

Peter Fearon
19   Posted 22/09/2010 at 15:03:59

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The Time has come for David Moyes to go. Frankly, any manager who is so committed to a failing strategy that he stays with it even in the face of repeated failure should go. That counts for any business or profession. The question now is, who can replace David Moyes?

If I were running things I would be talking to Slaven Bilic, who would love the challenge of Premiership football, to Jurgen Klinsmann, who made errors at Bayern Munich but is at least committed to attacking entertaining football, and "Big Phil" Scolari, who is managing a club side in Brazil again and would probably jump at a Premiership club.

I wouldn't rule out O'Neill. His argument about transfer funds was really about how much of the sale of Milner would be available to him, not how rich or otherwise the club is. Incidentally, it is so obvious that Yakubu is playing for a cheap transfer it's a disgrace but he will certainly get his way. He's so overweight he looks like a sumo wrestler. Make him train with the academy and see who wants him when his contract is up - no-one. That will make other players think twice about similar tactics.

Chris Perry
20   Posted 22/09/2010 at 15:07:39

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Oh well another crap performance by Everton, never mind though, the fans still pay £35 ticket, Moyes still get £3million a year and the players still earn more in a week than the average man.

One excellent quote from today's papers: "I knew after 20 minutes it would not be our night". So why the fuck did you leave it so late to try and change things????

Moyes tries to deflect the attention we played wank, but I still get paid and so do they. "Someone threw a bottle at the fans" How disgusting! Something must happen to them. "Is the attention on me???"

Then to make matters worse, shite players like Neville want the players to stand up and be counted.

Moyes is going to get "tough"... What a load of bullshit.

When you have players liike Osman, Distin, Neville then you know you are going to struggle. I actually think Moyes is worse that Rafa the fat spanish waiter. Championship here we come!! with Moyes strongest squad yet!!

Alex Kociuba
21   Posted 22/09/2010 at 15:18:32

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Robbie Keane's brother ;-)
Nick Armitage
22   Posted 22/09/2010 at 17:49:59

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I have just been to a funeral where I got talking to a friend of a friend. His cousin got married to AC DC front man, Brian Johnson's daughter.

Apparently the wedding was amazing but nobody talked about Everton.

However I do reckon all the players fucking hate Moyes, because everyone else in football thinks he is prick.
David Thomas
23   Posted 22/09/2010 at 18:52:48

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I really am my own worst enemy sometimes. Mark actually told people "stop reading now" but instead I read the whole article and now wish I had not bothered. Why every couple of weeks does someone have to come on and say my mate said this and he knows so and so etc etc?
Kevin Hudson
24   Posted 22/09/2010 at 20:43:04

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Thanks for suckering me in by a tantalising hint of a potential name-drop, which didn't materialise, along with anything we haven't heard before.
David Hallwood
25   Posted 22/09/2010 at 21:50:35

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Sean Patton #6
I ask you... a top indie band from Leeds? there's no such thing!

I predict a riot!
Neil Steele
26   Posted 23/09/2010 at 20:31:45

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I enjoyed he build up...I was on the edge of my seat...and then, plop!!!

In the words of Al Pacino's character in the film 'Heat'... Well I am... over-fuckin' whelmed. What d'you want for that, a junior g-man badge?

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