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Time to start again

By Thomas James :  02/02/2011 :  Comments (19) :
Seeing the way Arsenal scored their goals to get them back into the game just shouldn?t have happened ? it would not have happened with the Lescott & Jags central defence ? we could keep cleansheets with ease....

A couple of seasons ago, I went on holiday with my brother and we had an argument because Howard had just beaten Southall?s record for cleansheets, I was making the point that Howard is not Southall?s equal in my mind and that it was possible because of Jags & Lescott. I think they said in the commentary against Arsenal that Everton are without a clean sheet in 12 games!!!!! What a contrast...

As a collective unit, we have taken a step backwards and are now closer to where we started with Moyes 9 years ago; granted, the football is now of a better standard, but we are on the brink of a relegation battle. This squad's slow demise started when Lescott left.

Although I think Lescott?s personal performances for Everton did not makes us a better team, he scored goals... that was his real value. (Since his departure, his own career has gone downhill, when everyone is fit at City he doesn?t start, and City don't use a formation to allow him to score.) Fundamentally, something happened to the ethos of our team that we have never recovered from, we don?t carry the invincible belief that we will win and we can hold out.

Perhaps Moyes realised he could not protect his squad and compete with the lure of the £££, and, that perhaps his squad didn't all share his own personal ambitions and as such the determination from top to bottom has dropped. We seem to be trying to cope and not carry on moving. Before Lescott left, we kept hearing about building teams and getting better and about adding players... Not the case right now.

Without doubt, Moyes is in trouble and he has no money to spend his way out of this. To some extent, he is still the master of our destiny, he just needs to realise this. While we all wait for direction as fans, his squad will be starting to look over their shoulders and possibly engineer exits in the summer. As the season roles on our optimistic outlook (to deliver a top 4 finish) now seems like a joke and the reality of the season is more a relegation dog-fight. We have been struggling to win all season, and the further we get into the season the clearer it becomes in my mind that we are in the need for a revolution ? not the French kind! I don?t think it is in our interest to remove Moyes, he knows Everton.

Referring to Moyes in his blog, Rory Smith indicates his job here is far from done ... "How will he ever fulfil his potential? Such questions are valid, but they miss the point. Moyes, that long-term contender for a prestigious seat at one of the Premier League?s most revered institutions, now faces the sort of test that will determine whether he is cut out for Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge or the Emirates. After eight careful years building his team, he must break it up and start again."

David Moyes is no idiot; he has gone into the past two seasons knowing we have no cash and he can only spend what he brings in, minus a few pay rises! In a recent interview he said ?I am at a brilliant football club and this is our situation. Plenty of other managers don't have any money, so my job is to get the best out of the players I send out to play for Everton.?

He knows he has no money so this is not an excuse, sure it doesn?t help either and restricts him somewhat ? but these are the tools and he accepted the job. Moreover, if Moyes leaves now, then I for one will say his time here was largely wasted, he built a decent team, won nothing, then left when that team proved inadequate because he could not build a new team.

I support the notion offered by Rory Smith, a new team is required ? but I think this for a different reason, the current team has run its course. Moyes has to break the team apart and largely start over and improve through youth. We have no money, he accepts this, and therefore cannot spend his way out of trouble like Chelsea or City do ? plus this type of behaviour is unsustainable.

So where would he start? I believe, hand on heart, the following candidates have reached their useful life at Everton:

? Neville,
? Heitinga,
? Arteta,
? Osman,
? Bilyaletdinov,
? Beckford,
? Anichebe,
? Cahill,
? Saha,
? Yobo,
? Yakubu,
? Vaughan

The building blocks, Howard, Baines, Coleman, Rodwell and Fellaini but they have about 5 / 6 seasons (injuries pending) in them and all have real quality.... As a reference point we need to look no further than Tuesday night's opposition Arsenal: they did it and are now in the title race. This should offer Moyes with a new project, new direction and hopefully get his MoJo back and start talking about Everton positively. We are building something...

Reader Comments

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Mark McDonald
1   Posted 03/02/2011 at 07:15:32

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Hey great article and well written and well thought out. I agree with a lot of what you said. We cannot forget the past ("If you know your history etc") but we have to move on. It is to the future now and we are basically skint. Moyes, I question sometimes his formation and tactics and as a fan we our all entitled to our opinion. I feel sorry for Moyes having to deal with the current status of the club and the frustration of not being able to buy new players to improve the squad. It looks like he has been, possibly forced, to go with signing young, inexperinced players. I think too we need a clear out and I would like to see Moyes built a new squad. This shall test him as a manager. I understand the frustation of the fans but lets be honest we are not the force we once were. I have supported EVerton since I was 5 and I am almost 50. We have experinced a lot of highs and lows in that time. We are just in another transitional period at the moment and as long as we maintain our premiership status I would like to see Moyes at Everton next season in the hope of building a new side and clearing out the dead wood.
Dick Fearon
2   Posted 03/02/2011 at 07:47:35

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All Moyes had to do was make sure the team was properly prepared fitness wise for the start of season. After that it was just a case of playing players in their proper position and then proper and timely use of subs.Now thats not hard to do eh'.
His tactics could have been a bit more adventurous and finally he should sort out his strange obsession about Osman.
None of the above costs a cracker and Blue Bill would not need to find investment.
Colin Potter
3   Posted 03/02/2011 at 09:38:21

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What you want then Thomas is, another 9 years of dour defensive crap off a manager who is clueless with tactics and subsitutions is it?
If he really thinks a lot of thhis club, he would walk, and save us paying him any compensation.
Howard Don
4   Posted 03/02/2011 at 10:00:14

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An excellent analysis Thomas, calm and measured, which is more than can be said for a lot of the comments appearing here lately. Initially I was going to take issue with your comment that Moyes's time at Everton would have been wasted if he left now, in many ways he has turned the club around. However, thinking about it, you do have a point because it will have been a wasted opportunity in that he is so nearly there with this squad and even a relatively modest outlay, by current standards, of say £20 million on a decent, fit striker and wideman (Donovan??) could have made this a squad step up a level.

That brings me to my main difference with your view in that my break up of the current squad wouldn't be as ruthless as yours. I believe there is still quality there, evidence the past two performances against top sides in Chelsea and Arsenal. There's no doubt though you are right, without investment, we are going to have to sell to freshen things up and achieve a better balance. The only questions are, who and how many, and is Moyes up for it or getting to disillusioned now for one more push?
Eric Myles
5   Posted 03/02/2011 at 10:11:36

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I think the defensive decline started not when Lescott left, but when Hibbert was dropped.
Martin Mason
6   Posted 03/02/2011 at 11:37:25

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I agree that our defence suffered badly when Lescott left and Jags may not ever recover his form. The problem now is that as good as Jags , Heinga and Distin are individually they are losing men in the box who are scoring. Distin is particularly weak when man against man like he was against the lady boy. Howard makes great saves but seems easily beaten from distance
Richard Parker
7   Posted 03/02/2011 at 11:20:15

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I agree completely Thomas - it's the only model that fits our finances.

Moyes did this once on the back of the sale of Rooney, plus a little investment from the board. It looks like investment will no longer be lending a helping hand in getting decent players in, so he's already got a tougher job on his hands this time around.

Sadly, I think Moyes is going to go sooner rather than later. I think he'll honour his contract and leave at the end of it. With the current situation at the club, I don't think we can ask much more than that.

Everton will surely suffer as a consequence, should he walk. There is no proven successor who I think can adequately replace him. We'll need another young, hungry manager from the Championship, maybe along the lines of Chris Hughton. But it will be a gamble.

I honestly believe that Moyes will be successful, but it won't be at Everton. Without investment we can hope for a cup every so often, maybe the odd European adventure, but we'll never trouble the Premiership title.

In my opinion, Moyes has done all he can and I doubt there are many managers that could have done better within the parameters of the job.
Anthony Hawkins
8   Posted 03/02/2011 at 12:54:54

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Whilst I agree with much of what has been written, I can not agree that three players have reached their useful life:

1. Heitinga
2. Arteta
3. Cahill
4. Beckford

Heitinga and Arteta have the ability but, for one reason or another, have failed to capture the form promised. I think they should be given one more season with Heitinga played at CB.

Beckford should be given another season purely on the basis it often takes one season to get into the swing of things and may be, just may be he'll come good. Think Fellaini in his first season.

Cahill is a different kettle of fish. Whilst I am the first person to say he breaks up the team play and doesn't provide the right fit for the options etc. I would say that he does provide pivotal goals and should be used as a sub to change the game. It would be wrong to sell him based on team impact alone. However, if Cahill has peaked and likely to drop in quality over the next 2 or three years then sell him as we've had his best years.

I see the building blocks and core of the future team as:

GK Howard
CB Jagielka
CB Heitinga
LB Baines
RM Coleman
CM Rodwell
CM Fellaini

Cahill shouldn't be in the starting 11 and Arteta may not feature either but should be used as interchangeable with Fellaini or Rodwell. NOT all three at once.
Richard Parker
9   Posted 03/02/2011 at 13:22:16

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I'd get rid of Heitinga now, whilst he's still relatively young and worth something, I'd keep Distin another year or 2 instead, as he can't be worth much at the age he is.

I'm gonna get all Championship Manager... so personally, I'd consider this as our 1st XI next year: -

GK Howard
RB Pip
CB Jagielka
CB Distin
LB Baines
RM Coleman
CM Rodwell
CM Fellaini
LM new player
F new player
S new player / Saha

Bench from - Mucha, Hibbo, Duffy, Yobo, New Young LB, New Young CM, Ossie, Beckford, Saha

Getting rid of Cahill, Arteta, Anichebe, Bily, Heitinga, Yakubu - should bring in ~£30M for 7 or 8 new young players and a couple of experienced frees.

We're not gonna trouble the European spots with that line-up, but we should be able to finish mid-table and give experience to our promising youngsters.

Of course it's not gonna happen, but it's an idea......
Lee Courtliff
10   Posted 03/02/2011 at 13:42:49

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I've been wondering these last few days if maybe we are going back to the first 4 seasons under Moyes? Remember how we would have a good season (7th) then a bad one (17th) then a good one (4th) then bad one (11th)...I mean, if we keep the bulk of the squad together with a couple of cheap additions, we could do fine next year.

If you look at the amount of games we have dominated and failed to win, it shows that we do have some quality. Beckford has scored five goals in limited games in his first season in the Prem, maybe next year he will do even better, if given the chance. Maybe we are just having one of those seasons.

Or maybe I am just trying to be optimistic. We are not that bad, Moyes just needs to learn from his mistakes... Maybe I am just talking shit hoping to find a silver lining?

Ian Tunstead
11   Posted 03/02/2011 at 13:57:33

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I think you are half right Thomas, the combination of Lescott and Jaggs was formidible and we would never have conceded a corner from a team as poor from set pieces as Arsenal. if we did concede from a set piece it would be against some body like Crouch, Carew or Drogba who were the bigger strikers in the league.

The other reason that needs to be considered is why do we look so vulnerable from counter attacks? I believe the reason for this is because we have never really replaced Carsley. Fellaini is doing a terriffic job but he is playing a slightly different role to Carsley. The combination of Jaggs Lescott and Carsley was almost unbreakable. I felt Heitinger could have come in and done the job but i am not fully decided yet.

We need some one to be the spare man and do all the dirty work, some one who will double team with the full backs in closing down and preventing crosses coming in, some one who will prevent long range shots or cut out dangerous passes from just out side the box. Carsely was the master of this, although not the complete footballer by any means he had an old head on his shoulders and read the game well, he new were to be at the right time.

Rodwell doesn't seem to know where he is playing, Arteta goes in and out of games. Osman i dont even want to talk about. Fellaini is the only midfielder who seems to have a role and know what it is he is supposed to do.
Roman Sidey
12   Posted 03/02/2011 at 14:24:03

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Richard Parker, fair 11 for next season. With all respect to our skipper though, if Moyes doesn't find a decent RB this summer (which should have been his priority since 05 and never was) then it will signal that we are going backwards at a rate, and have no ambition. Neville does a job, but will be 34 this year, and not a great RB anyway. I'm happy for Coleman to revert back there, but only if we a) bring in a fast right winger, and b) another RB anyway to provide competition and cover - Hibbo should be sold for whatever we can get for him.
Brian Waring
13   Posted 03/02/2011 at 15:33:53

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Thomas, I don't think it is about starting again. It's all about having a manager who has tactical nous, and a manager whose first priority is not to get beat, something that Moyes doesn't seem able to shake off.

Against Arsenal, first half, we were excellent, there only looked like there was going to be one winner, us, but instead of Moyes just saying to the lads, more of the same, we came out and looked like we had once again become negatively defensive, and less said about the substitutions the better.

Moyes has had 9yrs now, he's not entitled to start again, and have another 9.
Denis Richardson
14   Posted 03/02/2011 at 20:11:32

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Nice article, Thomas, but I have to disagree with the level of the cull. You are suggesting we get rid of over half our 1st team squad in one summer. Any side doing that is asking to be relegated, even with money, let alone being skint. Continuity is important.

I think Heitinga, Arteta, Beckford, Cahill are all still important and still have something to give (although if a good offer came in, we would have to look at it). A fire sale would not bring in much cash as everyone knows we are skint.

I would say the following positions are most important to look at: RB, LW and ST (although need cover for LB as well). Neville will play out his carreer with us and I'd like to keep Coleman at RW as he's looked good there (and I don't trust him at RB).

I still don't understand why Gueye has not played; young, hungry, actually as pace ? surely a few 10 mins, here 15 mins there sub appearances should have happended by now. He's on the bench every game but never gets on!

I think there will be a big shake up one way or another this summer if DM is given no money again. Just hope we are still in the PL!
Thomas James
15   Posted 03/02/2011 at 21:38:42

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Ian ? good point: Carsley is a miss, but him moving on has allowed a more fluid CM which got us to a Cup Final.

Denis ? 100%, why have we not seen Gueye in the first 11? This is it, we've nothing to lose, this season is over so let's see him.

Richard ? good team, I've like to see Gueye in your formation.

Brian ? It is certainly time for change. As I believe a lot of the our current team need to be moved on, either because they are not showing hunger, valuable assets (horrible term) or about to end their careers. I think continuity from in keeping Moyes is best ? after all, he is too expensive to push!
Kieran Carr
16   Posted 03/02/2011 at 23:32:44

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I have two quick points regarding all this.

1. If Moyes does go, who will be interested in replacing him? No cash, a major rebuild etc etc. We will get Moyes Mk 2 ........ Oh good news Alan Irvine's available!!

2. It's a bit presumptive that the likes of Felli and Rodwell will stay around as part of a "project". So the core of midfield goes along with Arteta et al!

We are stuck with what we have got and I see only the Yak (permanently); Hietinga, Bily as players who will go and bring in any kind of cash. £10m - £15m. We can then maybe think about Hibbert and Osman another £2 - 4 million.

No idea what that will get us!!!
Roman Sidey
17   Posted 03/02/2011 at 23:58:24

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Kieran, we should definitely be offloading Hibbert and (number 21), but I don't think we'd be getting £2-4mil for them collectively. I reckon both would only get picked up by Championship teams, and at 30, neither would get more than £400-600k each. Having said that, I'd take that money, and invest it, along with the £1½-2mil we'd save on their wages.

I kind of feel bad about (number 21), as a couple of seasons ago he was a reliable squad player who could come in and do the odd job. People defended him until the past few months, but now he's been found out to be beyond his potential. Regarding Hibbo, has there ever been a cult figure that was SO bad at his job. He was the highest actim rated RB the year we came 4th, but I never saw it. Just look at his Toffeeweb picture and you get the full story of his football ability.
Leon Perrin
18   Posted 04/02/2011 at 11:23:24

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When Moyes goes, the queue to get the job will go twice round Stanley Park, whatever the circumstance.
Liam Reilly
19   Posted 04/02/2011 at 17:31:05

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What chance of Fellaini, Rodwell or Baines sticking around if you get shot of most of the first team?

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