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The Flawed Defence of Desperate Dave

By Peter Fearon :  29/11/2010 :  Comments (29) :

Those who defend David Moyes often do so by counter-attacking Bill Kenwright. The argument is usually framed as Kenwright?s having ?closed the cheque book? or ?failed to find investors.? Moyes is often said to have been ?deprived? of a transfer kitty, or sometimes Moyes has ?failed to insist on being given more cash to spend.?

This argument reflects a commonly held view that Everton is run on the cheap, that Moyes is actually a great manager but he has been prevented by lack of funds from signing all the top players he wishes he could sign. The underlying assumption is that if he did have enough money, he would sign the top class players he really wants and everything would be fine.

On the surface, it would appear to be true. The current squad was assembled with players most of whom by any standard have to be viewed as bargains. Tim Howard was signed for just £3M, Leighton Baines for £6M, Steve Pienaar and Tim Cahill just £2M or so each, Mikel Arteta £3M. The whole squad, in fact, was assembled for about £73M in transfer fees.

However, if you look closer, you find that David Moyes HAS been given significant funds and when he has, he has not spent well. Nearly half of the money spent on the current squad was spent buying three players: Yakubu, (£11M) Bilyaletdinov, (£9M) and Fellaini, (£13M). No-one can say any of those players have really justified those price tags. Some would add Heitinga (£6M) to that list. What if that almost £40M had been spent on one or two world class players who really can get the job done?

The fact is that there?s no point having big money to spend if you don?t know how to spend big money.

Moyes has a pattern in the marketplace. He?s very, very, very good at discovering undervalued talent like Cahill and Pienaar. He?s much less effective at the other end of the market. You only have to go to Andy Johnson (£8.6M) James Beattie (£6.5M) and Per Krøldrup (£5M) ? those figures were much more impressive at the time the deals were made ? to see that Moyes?s judgment seems to become weaker as the price gets higher. I'm not going to diagnose it but it is his potentially fatal flaw.

I would add to that a poor record at developing young talent at the club. I think Dan Gosling?s career was mishandled. I think James Vaughan?s development is being stalled, and not just by his injuries. Victor Anichebe has not developed as he should. I worry that the potential of Seamus Coleman, Jack Rodwell and Jose Baxter may not be realized under David Moyes?s stewardship.

Now obviously, any manager, Moyes included, who can potentially buy himself out of trouble the way someone like Mancini can is in a much better position than someone working on a tighter budget. But to put David Moyes's failures down almost exclusively to lack of cash as some do, is to obscure what is really happening. He has hit a brick wall and much more important, so has his team. When players start to want away, as Pienaar and Heitinga do, when others grasp at opportunities to leave with both hands, as Lescott, Yobo and Gosling did, and others suffer inexplicable lapses in form, it says to me that there are serious hidden tensions within the club.

Add to that Moyes's own apparent forlorn lack of answers to what is going down ? he keeps moving the pieces around the board but nothing seems to work ? and you have a real crisis of management that goes well beyond a transfer budget.

There?s no quick fix here. There?s no patient waiting out a lapse in form. We are in a spiral that only radical changes can solve. Even if there were to be good results from some very difficult upcoming fixtures ? Chelsea, a relegation six pointer with Wigan (it?s an indictment even to have to write that phrase) and Manchester City ? the underlying crisis would still remain. IMWT? No. DMMG.

Reader Comments

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Guy Hastings
1   Posted 29/11/2010 at 07:22:35

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I'm intrigued by the Rodwell situation. If he's as good as the reputation that precedes him, why keep him on the bench? Given the hype surrounding him, surely he should be inked in as an automatic starter (injuries permitting) and putting his stamp on the game. If you're good enough, you're old enough. Or is it the case that BK and others are fuelling a subtle media campaign around him as The Next Big Thing in order to squeeze as much from potential buyers as possible? Moyes needs to give him a run to clarify whether he's 'good' or 'that good'.
Dick Fearon
2   Posted 29/11/2010 at 07:46:50

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Peter, I endorse most but not all your points; my few quibbles include your suggestion that Moyes has retarded the development of our youngsters. Another quibble is that you do not take account of how Moyes balanced the books somewhat with outgoing transfers. I think you would find there is not much difference on either side of the ledger.

There are many onfield problems that Moyes does not seem able to fix. To mention just a few, our slow and predictable setting up; throw-ins; Howard's over use of long clearances, although in fairness he often has no alternative when none of your team mates make themselves available for short balls; our reliance on a packed defence that only encourages opponents to bring extra men forward making it impossible to keep track of them all, ecspecially late arrivals into the danger zone.

Those things and others can or should be solved at Finch Farm but the most important problem is our totally useless central strikers and there is nothing short of shooting them that Moyes can do about them.

I don't know much about our reserves but surely one of them has a pair of shooting boots.

Alan Clarke
3   Posted 29/11/2010 at 09:03:28

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Dick, whether he balances the books or not, it doesn't excuse spending £9 million on a complete dudd. In fact it strengthens Peter's point more.

I think when Moyes came to Everton he had a better knowledge of the bargain basement. He could find these gems like Cahill and Lescott. Now, he seems to have lost this ability. I've been saying it for a while that Moyes is no longer willing to operate in the situation he's in. If he has to sell to buy then that is what he should have done in the summer. Everyone goes on about the money 'Arry has had to spend but he did raise £50 million one summer selling Berbatov and Keane.

When we had Distin, Yobo, Heitinga, Jagielka, Rodwell and Duffy as well as Neville who could play centre half and Arsenal were bidding £14 million for Jagielka, did it make sense to let Yobo go pretty much for free but keep Jagielka?

If Moyes has this ability to find cheaper talent could he not have sold Jagielka and bought a cheaper but potentially better centre half from lower down the divisions? Moyes would then have had a spare £9 million to buy a striker.

It's all very well pointing the finger at Kenwright but Moyes knows the situation. Instead of crying poverty he should have worked the transfer market better. I have no time for Kenwright but us being 2 points off relegation with only 3 wins going into December is all Moyes' fault.
Colin Potter
4   Posted 29/11/2010 at 09:20:27

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The thing is, you don't need cash to play players in their right positions, or to drop your favourite players when they are off form.

Moyes s time is up, and the decent thing to do is to resign, to save us paying out compo, he's been on a nice little earner since coming here, considering he hasn't won us anything

Dick Fearon
5   Posted 29/11/2010 at 09:52:24

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Alan #3, and Colin #4, All I was trying to do was put a bit of balance into the debate.
Peter covered the downside of Moyes to which I mostly agreed with. I merely pointed out there also was an upside.
Trevor Lynes
6   Posted 29/11/2010 at 09:55:44

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Since DM's new contract he has toed the party line... no money etc. You look at Blackpool and even WBA who have a set of very cheap players and their managers get the very best out of them and they both play attractive attacking football who are well worth paying to watch.

What we have is a mediocre bunch of players who sometimes play well but on not enough occasions and must be one of the least consistent outfits in the league. I reckon our tactics are suited to away games and not to home games where we are expected to attack and entertain the fans.

We are resilient and hard working normally but lack guile and real ability going forward. This reflects DM's demeanour as a dour, boring type of person who is difficult to fathom.

Walter Smith was another quiet, boring, defensive type. Both managers are best described as survivors and that relects our ambitions I'm afraid.

Eric Myles
7   Posted 29/11/2010 at 10:05:58

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The problem with spending transfer fees of £40 million on one or two world class players is that they would also want world class salaries which would be harder for the club to fund in the long term.

But yes, you're right, it's not down to funds. After all... this is the same team that swept all before them in the second half of last season. What has changed since then?

Scott Robinson
8   Posted 29/11/2010 at 10:22:07

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I think it is an unfair criticism that Moyes cannot handle big money players. Only Koldrup did not work AT ALL at Goodison. Johnson, Beattie (wasn't he our top goal scorer for one of the seasons he was at Everton?), Yakubu have all been hits at one time during their career at Everton. Arguably, Johnson was sold to balance the books. Fellani is at times acknowledged as one of the best in the Prem. Unfortunately Billy hasn't settled (but has shown potential), but how many players have the likes of Ferguson, Wenger and Mourniho etc.. bought big players who haven't coped with the PL.

The fact of the matter is simple. Bowlers win you cricket matches, strikers win you football matches. The strikers ain't scoring and well, what else can the man do from the sidelines. Some would say that is down to management, and perhaps Beckford is out of his depth in the PL, but he is a typical Moyes buy, plucked out of the Championship.

Football is fickle and at the moment, our forward line is simply not producing the goods. End of. Whether this is down to Moyes or not is debatable, but 2 goals from our forward line heading into December is simply not good enough. Management can only go so far, either you motivate them to perform or ship them out and replace them. We will see.
Brian Waring
9   Posted 29/11/2010 at 10:51:47

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Scott " What else can the man do from the sidelines "

We all can see that JH is not a midfielder. He could have started with Rodwell.

Instead of playing a striker, who has just come back from injury on the right wing, he could have played Coleman, who was just starting to look decent.

Saha and the Yak have been woeful, he could have started with Beckford, who has missed a few I know, but at least he is getting in positions to be missing them. He needs a run of games to build up his confidence, and I bet you he starts putting them away.

He could of played Arteta further forward, instead of having him playing so deep.

He could stop being so negative, and playing defensively.

Hows that for starters Scott?
Matthew Mackey
10   Posted 29/11/2010 at 10:55:04

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I have totally lost confidence in the manager. For a long time I have always been in the DM camp, supporting him and Bill, but the disaster that hit us on Saturday afternoon, and the managers after match interview (on Sky & BBC) and body language says it all to me. David Moyes has taken the club as far as he can, he has nothing more ton offer and he knows it. It's like watching a dead man walking.
We can debate on here until the cows come home what players should play where and what formation the team should take, - i'm sorry, the time is up. It's time for a change and a fresh manager to try and salvage this club, this team before it's too late.

It's so disappointing but I have to agree 100% with the original authors comments.
Gavin Ramejkis
11   Posted 29/11/2010 at 10:52:46

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Scott, DM mismanaged Johnson who was left looking destroyed after being left to chase aimless hoofball into the corners week after week, his first season the ball was played to his feet in the middle of the park and he had a great season. DM mismanaged Biffa Bacon Beattie - if your striker is a fat useless cunt, drop him or sell him, he didn't.

Bily will never be a winger whilst he has an arsehole, has DM ever scouted a player or does he know what youtube is? Bily's best performances/goals have never come from the wing, wonder why? Beckford has something we don't have throughout the team with the possible exception of Rodwell and Coleman and thats pace and a willing to run at and past players ? why else do we try and walk the ball into the net?

Larry Boner
12   Posted 29/11/2010 at 10:53:04

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Wheeling and dealing, Mr Moyes decided to forego a transfer fee for Pienaar last season in order to prove a point keeping him here til the end of his contract.

In almost any other business this would have been seen as gross mismanagement of a company asset and the manager sacked.

We could possibly have got £8-10m for Peinaar, a massive amount for this club, instead he will walk away from the club for zilch, unless someone makes a derisory offer in January.

N'Zogbia was available last summer, was on the point of joining Birmingham, but wanted £50k/wk, less than we have offered Pienaar, I think, he would have been a real asset for us, strong, fast and scores goals against all types of defences.

There were and still are several potential deals that could have been done to raise revenue (Heitinga, Anichebe, Vaughan, dare I say it, Arteta, Jagielka, but most certainly Saha and Yakubu) but we did nothing as usual.

I have always thought that Joe Royle was a good wheeler dealer and could have been a great help to Mr Moyes in an advisory capacity regarding transfers, swaps, trades etc.

The guy who took over at Liverpool, Mr Hodgson, completed several ins and outs in just a few short weeks, we don't seem to have the nouse required to do any trading or revenue generating deals, except when a big deal such as the Lescott situation happens, then we leave it too late to bring in players with the cash.

Scott Robinson
13   Posted 29/11/2010 at 11:18:35

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Gavin, Brian, you make fair points and you probably get to see more of Everton than me due to my London base but let's face it ? if the players can't put the ball into the back of the net when even a brothel is more of an easier target, then what can one do?

I don't think necessarily slamming an under performing player in the media is the right solution but he is never the less, spot on.

Btw Brian, he tried starting with Beckford and look what that got him.

Gavin, I do recall that Beattie was toast once Johnson arrived. Before long, he was on his way..
Alan Clarke
14   Posted 29/11/2010 at 11:40:40

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Scott, this is Moyes's team and it's his squad. It's his responsibility that we went into the season with strikers we all knew weren't good enough. Yak looked garbage in the World Cup, he came back fat and completely unfit. Saha has not scored since February and we know what his injury record is like.

Everton received bids for both Yakubu and Saha during the summer but the stubborn cunt Moyes didn't want to sell them to prove a point that other clubs didn't match his valuation. Can anyone seriously say they wouldn't accept a bid now for Yakubu for £6 million? Also, I think most of us would say Saha could go on a free just to free up his spot on the wage bill.

It is not just the tactics that demonstrate Moyes's ineptitude. He runs the club like a non-league outfit.
Chris Perry
15   Posted 29/11/2010 at 12:37:20

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What pissess me off is the fact that Moyes and Arteta do less for the team than Steven Pienaar, yet both get paid more than him.

Yes, Bily has been ineffective, but how many chances has he been given to play in his favored position? Not as many as muppet Hibbert, or waste of space Osman.

As for Beckford, don't even get me started, you get what you pay for in this modern world we paid fuck all and have got back fuck all.
Kevin Tully
16   Posted 29/11/2010 at 13:21:10

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Peter, no-one can deny that Moyes seems to be on a downward spiral this season. I just think it is a little simplistic to look at transfer fees as an indicator of where we are. These values work both ways, as you rightly point out. If you have £10 mill. to spend, it doesn't mean you will get the player you want, and a lot of managers will have to settle for their third or even fourth choice.

I remember a lot of posters said we should snap up Arshavin, there was absolutely no chance we could have signed him, he wanted £80k a week and CL football, as well as playing for a great team.

We have to face facts that we are not really an attractive proposition. We have a shite ground, a ridgid wage structure, and Liverpool as a location is not as attractive as say London or Manchester.

History means nothing to the majority of players today. Agents will inevitebly encourage their clients to go for the best wage, that's why they exist. We can't even hold on to Pienaar, so forget about any superstars pulling on the blue shirt.

Jimmy Hacking
17   Posted 29/11/2010 at 14:28:51

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David Moyes' manouverings in the transfer market over the last 8 and a half years have been better than those of any other manager on the planet.

or can any of you lot name a manager who has done better? Cahill, Pienaar and Arteta cost less than £7 million COLLECTIVELY for fucks sake.

Its a rather tired point but EVERY manager buys their fair share of duffers. this isn't championship-manager, its real life. get a bloody grip!
Peter Fearon
18   Posted 29/11/2010 at 15:12:02

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Jimmy Hacking, I fully acknowledged that David Moyes has made brilliant bargain basement deals for very good players. My point is that one reason we are impotent upfront is that we made poor signings in those positions, not just once but repeatedly. We even made loan deals in those positions and they didn't work.

If David Moyes's transfer deals really were the best on the planet, we would have at least one striker by now who scores goals better than just rarely ? and we would hardly be in the position we are in right now.

Leon Perrin
19   Posted 29/11/2010 at 18:26:04

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A great post.
Scott Robinson
20   Posted 29/11/2010 at 19:04:38

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Jimmy - exactly. QED.
John Ford
21   Posted 29/11/2010 at 18:47:43

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We know that Liverpool, Arsenal, United and Chelsea have spent much more than us which is fundamentally why they've been more successful.

I wonder what Tottenham or Villa have spent in the past six or seven years? They are the only teams who have a comparable Premier League record in that period. So have they got similar value for money as Moyes? We know Spurs have started to spend big, I'm not sure about Villa over recent years.

You can't criticise Moyes for his spending without comparing like with like. What has Moyes achieved with his cash as compared to those others outside of the Sky four? He's actually done better than anyone else in the Premier League.

I don't see the problem being Moyes out of his depth, he's already proven he can compete. He now needs to start again, like everyone he expected us to just continue from the end of last season ? good form, nice football. In reality, he needed to sell Yak (a big mistake not doing so) and Saha who even on form had games where he did less than nothing. He's cut his nose off, and now we're skint.

There's no question, however, that he has difficulty learning from his mistakes. Johnny H is out of position, full stop. It was worth a try and persevering for a time but how many more games and poor performance do we need before he is either dropped or preferably returned to centre half.

No-one can blame him for Arteta's performances. We're all at a loss there, but I can't understand the idiocy of some fans who are already calling Moyes for paying him £70 grand. Talk about being wise after the event. Arteta's lack of form combined with with a non-existent forward line are the main reasons we're where we are. But this can be put right.

David Hallwood
22   Posted 29/11/2010 at 21:20:54

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Peter, name me a manager that hasn't got it wrong in the transfer market. All the homework on a player will never take the hit & miss nature of transfers as there are so many factors to be taken into consideration. New club, new area, sometimes new country, culture & language, it's surprising how well transfers usually go.

Take David Bentley, looked a class act at Blackburn, then this London boy gets a transfer to Spurs and has sunk without a trace. And you could set up a website listing transfers that didn't work out.

I think at the moment we have two highly priced, well paid strikers, with good track records who for one reason or another are not playing to their potential, either because old father time has caught up with them or they've fallen out of love with the game.

You cam blame DM for many things but players not putting a shift in ? surely those players must look at themselves.
Eric Myles
23   Posted 30/11/2010 at 01:18:52

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"I wonder what Tottenham or Villa have spent in the past six or seven years?"

Check it out by team, season or manager.

For some reason, our Davie is not on the list though?
Jamie Crowley
24   Posted 30/11/2010 at 02:31:53

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Moyes didn't spend in the summer because he believed then, as did I, that the squad he had was sufficient enough to challenge for a CL spot. I don't necessarily think he did the wrong thing. We were flying high second half of last season. Keeping the squad intact and moving forward would have appeared the way to some big things.

But Moyes's problem is his inability to adjust. His formation and much more importantly his team selections hurt the Club. As so many have pointed out ? ineffectual Arteta, Howard with no competition behind him (apparently), Osman out wide, Heitinga in the CDM role, Beckford up top alone as an introduction to the PL, Coleman sitting ? then starting finally adding much needed pace ? then inexplicably sitting again, Bily out wide, starting ineffectual Saha, the Yak yo-yoing in and out of the line up, etc, etc. All Moyes decisions that are putting square pegs into round holes.

He has to be bold and make some severe changes and play the boys in their natural positions.

Does anyone feel like he'll shake it up and stray from his donkey-like approach? No.

And therein lies the problem of David Moyes.

I like the man and I hope he finds his nuggets and makes some bold, and dare I say pretty obvious changes.

He won't. And that is exactly why no one who calls for him to move on should be slated.
Gavin Ramejkis
25   Posted 30/11/2010 at 11:53:51

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Jamie, DM didn't spend in the summer as he had fuck all to spend.
Tony J Williams
26   Posted 30/11/2010 at 13:51:26

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You are wrong, Gavin, we had some spare change from the Lucas Neill transfer to enable us to get a new striker, right winger, replacement for Pienaar, back up left back etc ... I tell you what though, a million pounds doesn't go very far these days does it?
Jamie Crowley
27   Posted 01/12/2010 at 02:45:01

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Gavin -

Yeah, you're right. But I'd still maintain his focus was on keeping the squad intact because he believed he'd assembled a team that could challenge for a top 4 spot. Hence, keeping his current players and increasing wages to hold them was his priority, not signing new ones.

If you have fuck all to spend, and what little you do have goes to increased wages... well I'm no economics guru but I'd think that blows the wad ? hence no posibility of signing a soul in the summer.

I just want a damn answer to how we ended up at this point.
Tim Keen
28   Posted 02/12/2010 at 13:15:59

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Another terrible attack-dog article on a manager who has been maginificent for this club.

I am getting bored of spelling out the facts but here goes AGAIN:

Over David Moyes's time in charge only 4 clubs have won more points than us in the league, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. Collectively these clubs have spent an additional £2 billion over that period on wages and fees.

Only 5 clubs have scored more goals than us over the last 4 years ? the previous 4 plus Tottenham.

Tottenham by the way average less than 3 goals more than Everton per season over that time period.

Our goal difference over the last 4 years is +67. Tottenhams is +34 and Villa +41.

In the time Moyes has been in charge we have the 15th highest net spend on transfers.

In Moyes' time in charge we have averaged the 11th biggest wage bill.

What more do people expect?
Michael Kenrick
29   Posted 02/12/2010 at 15:38:48

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Here and now, Tim. Here and now.

I'm bored of reading the statistics of Moyes's reign as justification for the dreadful state we are in now... with the best squad assembled for at least 20 years. And you pull the classic statisticians trick of mixing and matching to suit ? is it the full 8½ years or just the last 4 years ? be consistent!

In fact, a much more meaningful analysis, relevant to the here and now, would be to take the wonderful parameters you cite and calculate them for this season. That should bring it home to you just how far we have sunk under this wonderful manager.

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