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Plus Ca Change, Plus C?est la Meme Old Crap

By Peter Fearon :  14/12/2010 :  Comments (11) :

I read some of the recent posts about David Moyes?s future with Everton, about his lack of transfer funds, about how he has worked miracles, about how it would be an error to sack him, how there is no-one any good to replace him, and so on, with a distinct sense of Déjà Vu.

Turn the clock back to January 2002. We are staring at relegation ? again ? just a couple of points above the drop zone and goals hard to come by. Sounds familiar.

Walter Smith had looked as if he was making progress for a while, but fans are calling for Smith?s head on a plate. Sounds familiar...

And Smith?s supporters and apologists are in full voice too.

"It amazes me that some Everton fans think simply sacking Walter Smith would improve the team,? wrote one fan to the Echo.

?Any new manager would have the same financial constraints Smith has had to put up with,? wrote another.

?He is definitely the right man for the job,? another one wrote that week. ?We are lucky to have Walter in charge.?

And even if we were to sack Smith, another refrain went, no-one would want the job - especially not that up-and-coming David Moyes. ?David Moyes has already turned down a couple of jobs recently, ? said one post. ?Would he think that Everton is any more suitable? Would any ambitious, young manager want to risk his reputation at Everton??

George Graham, whose name had also been mentioned as a possible successor to Smith, defended him. ?They are at the wrong end of the table, but I don't think it is anything to do with the manager. I think Walter is excellent,? he said.

And Neville Southall chimed in: "Walter Smith should get a knighthood, not the sack. It's laughable that they're criticising Walter.?

Gary Stevens similarly rushed to defend Smith. ?Everton have been unlucky. Someone has to galvanize the players and Walter is a man motivator.?

Ken Rogers in the Echo described Smith as, ?The quiet hero? of Goodison, working on a shoestring budget while, ?Leeds United has spent £90M in the transfer market. The phrase is: 'speculate to accumulate'." Right. Worked for them.

You see almost word for word posts every day ? inserting Davey Moyes name for Smith. The similarity is really startling. The fact is that all those claims on Walter Smith?s behalf back in January 2002 were wrong. Does anybody really wish today that we had never unloaded him? And all those fans defending Davey today are also wrong. His time has come.
All respect to David Moyes, but we need new leadership, a fresh perspective and a reinvigorating new start.

Reader Comments

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Gerry Morrison
1   Posted 15/12/2010 at 04:49:16

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Take a look at the players we had in 2002. Would you really swap them for the team we have now? I think that the comparison between Smith and Moyes breaks down once you leave the Echo reader's page.
(By the way, are you the Peter Fearon who used to live in New York?)
Eugene Ruane
2   Posted 15/12/2010 at 07:38:00

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Disagree Gerry - I think it's very fair comparison and imo it kind of pisses over the 'arguments' "Would anyone else do any better with little or no funds? or "Well who do you replace him with?"

Answer: Er..David Moyes (or A David Moyes...sort of)
As for all the recommendations from the great and the good for Walter (and DM), this in actually an area were we (supporters) ARE the ones looking at things coldly and rationally.

The 'meeja' are constantly portraying supporters as being 'unrealistic' and being too emotional, but we simply look at results and performances and say 'good enough' or 'not good enough'.

Can DM's pals in football and the media HONESTLY say that's how they come to THEIR conclusions?

His pals are (understandably and naturally) going to say he's the man for the Job and the press will 'big up' (one for the teenagers there) anyone who makes sure they're fed and 'watered' for free.

Hoist by his own petard (kind my opinion)
Dennis Stevens
3   Posted 15/12/2010 at 08:19:41

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Gerry, on the basis that our current squad is much improved on the one we had back in 2002, & let's not forget Moyes has had over 9 yearsto assemble it, then one could claim that makes Moyes all the more culpable for our current malaise. We were frustrated with Smith despite the poor squad he had to work with, the frustration with Moyes is all the greater because we, & Moyes, know the squad is better & capable of so much more.
David Bridge
4   Posted 15/12/2010 at 10:08:56

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Smith and Moyes are exactly the same with their boring negative tactics trying to grind out 1-0 wins and only being prepared to slightly change anything when their casio alarms hit 76mins and we are 2 goals down!

As for the 2002 squad it wasnt a lot worse than this current lot with the exceptions of Baines, Jags, Pienaar, Coleman and Cahill. Oh yes, there was a striker we refused to use that year as well they didnt think he was ready for the Premisership!

Tony J Williams
5   Posted 15/12/2010 at 13:37:53

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I don't remember in 2002, just before the season started many fans (granted deluded fans) harping on about how we should be pushing for a Champions League place.

I don't remember thinking, "If we don't get Europe this year I will be rightly pissed off". I remember thinking, "Fuck, hope we don't go down"

I am nowhere near that kind of fear, so for me the comparison doesn'r fit.
Charles King
6   Posted 15/12/2010 at 13:39:11

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That is a very well researched piece, well done.

Unfortunately, it'll be like giving strawberries to donkeys for those who can't see the parallels, really excellent work.
KPR Williams
7   Posted 15/12/2010 at 16:07:12

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How could fans say we should be pushing for Champions league places when Walter had a record of 13th, 14th and 16th?

Consistently bad I'd say.

Moyes has raised the bar a little I'd say.
KPR Williams
8   Posted 15/12/2010 at 16:10:29

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Apologies Tony... read that again..
Lee Courtliff
9   Posted 15/12/2010 at 18:32:06

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Moyes has pissed me off big time this season but Walter was an awful manager. "He kept us up with no money" some people say. Yeah, so Bakayoko, Collins, Dacourt and Matterazzi all came on Bosman's did they? Moyes spent less in his first season and got us into 7th place. I understand the comparison but Ii have no time for Walter and I do, just still, for Moyes.

Although i am starting to wonder what if he does go? I say stick with him for this season at least, he seems a decent man and he's earned the chance to turn it around. Smith never took us anywhere near the Top 4. In fact, he never took us into the top HALF! I was glad when he went!!

Marcus Kendall
10   Posted 16/12/2010 at 23:12:54

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Spot on Lee! Walter Smith was a terrible appointment, I remember he was going to take the Sheff Wed job and we pipped them to get him. I was gutted coz I knew he wasn't upto it.

And you're right, he was backed early in his reign and he bought good players too. He was as poor as Walker in my eyes.
David Israel
11   Posted 16/12/2010 at 23:50:37

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Oh, Marcus, I had managed to erase completely from my memory that former goalkeeper from East Anglia, but you had to bring all that dreadful stuff back to mind!;-) Compared to him, even old WS was another Jose Mourinho!;-)

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