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Uncomfortably Numb

By Chris Rudd :  02/03/2011 :  Comments (25) :
We've all seen bad performances at Goodison before ? unfortunately, a lot of them by Everton. I've witnessed way too many to list over the last 4 decades and felt anger and frustration, often in equal measure. But after last night's abject surrender I'm finding it hard to sum up the way I feel.

It took me almost two and a half hours to drive from work in Manchester to Walton and my son and I arrived well after the match had kicked off ? yes thanks for that early kick-off, ESPN! After a lung bursting 'run' to the ground we arrived in our seats having missed the first 22 minutes of the game ? which were, apparently our best.

So you can see we were unlikely to be in the best of moods, before we'd even seen anyone kick a ball. The obvious reaction to what unfolded before our eyes was "Why do we bother?" After all, most of the players performed as if they didn't give a shit... so why should we?

Well, therein lies the rub. We can't help it. This is a lifelong addiction in which we blindly invest our time, our money, our passion, our hopes and dreams. And you know what they say, you can take the disappointment, it's the hope that kills you. And we did have hopes for this season's FA Cup after last week's surprising penalty shoot out.

So why can't the overpaid shower (Baines excepted ? at least he looked bothered) wearing those famous blue shirts share that passion or at the very least show some pride in themselves, if not the club they represent? We all know the board's shortcomings, but even given a limited squad, why can't the manager outwit an inexperienced lower league opponent?

There are hundreds of posts on here where fans are venting their spleen and attacking all and sundry and with good cause. We've put up with some dire stuff at times over the last couple of seasons and although I prefer to think that everything doesn't have to be seen as black or white, the time has come for change. Kenwright was seen as a saving grace when he 'rescued' the club from Agent Johnson but, in these days of mega money in the Sky dominated game, he simply hasn't got the wherewithal to compete ? and I for one am fairly sure he's being grossly disingenuous with his use of the word 'investor' as opposed to the word 'buyer'.

Likewise, it'd be a pretty uncompromising supporter who'd deny that Moyes has, over the first 6 or 7 years of his tenure at Goodison, improved the squad, raised our expectations and on occasion given us a team of which we could be very proud. But the man sitting forlornly in the rain at Bolton looked totally bereft of drive or ideas. In fact he looked like I felt at about 9:20 last night. And that's not his job ? it's ours. His job is to inspire and cajole every last ounce of effort out of his players, no matter what the circumstances, and to never give up. That's the least, that we, as fans, deserve. But whatever the reason, the brightness has gone out of that thousand yard stare and he no longer seems capable of lifting his team ? certainly not with any consistency. The fire appears to have gone out.

So, the best I think we can hope for this season is survival, perhaps limping along to mid-table mediocrity. Come the summer, there has to be a collective will to change things from the top down. We need a new board, a new direction... a plan for god's sake! Some people will say Moyes has done enough for us to deserve a spell under a new regime, with money to spend... but I'm not so sure. Nine years is more than enough to at least get the best out of the squad we have and he clearly isn't doing that at present. The dressing room needs a breath of fresh air too. A bunch of new players, a new leader and a winning mentality.

Various fan collectives are starting to form to help drive change. Will they have any effect? I can only hope so. Will Kenwright accept his own shortcomings and do the decent thing? I'm not holding my breath. If he did, would the rest of the board wake up from their endless torpor or just bugger off with him? Who knows? And will Moyes ever walk out on his very well paid gig? Because his present boss is very unlikely to call for his head?

All I know is that presently we're stumbling blindly towards the Championship. It may not be this time but, unless something fairly significant happens, it is becoming almost inevitable as season after season more and more clubs outstrip us in the spending stakes and we sell more and more of our fast dwindling stock of family silver. For last year's City and Spurs, now read Birmingham, Stoke, Villa etc etc. And if monied clubs like QPR get promotion...?

Last night was a shambles but it wasn't an isolated incident. How many more false dawns do we have to live through before something positive happens? Has anyone got any answers? I'll be sitting, swaying silently in my seat until you do...

Reader Comments

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Larry Boner
1   Posted 02/03/2011 at 15:42:28

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I have for some time asked myself the million-dollar question: "Why do we perform so well against the top sides and pathetically against the lower ranked teams?"

Last night it dawned on me, the answer: The club, its Chairman, Board, Manager, coaching staff, players both junior and senior, accept that this club is (in their mind) over-achieving by just staying in the PL and when the lower teams appear on the other side of the pitch, they cannot motivate themselves to take the game to them. The other team DO see Everton as a big club and play accordingly.

When the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd, Spurs, Man City turn up, the Everton players see it as a chance to prove they are better than they think they are, it's their "Cup Final" ? the classic small club mentality that motivates lesser players. think Mr Moyes sees these games as a chance to prove he can compete against Ferguson, Ancelloti, Redknapp etc.

When we play the lower sides his sides become scared and one dimensional, as if he is afraid to lose his hard earned reputation. The Chairman and Board are happy to stay where we are, are not prepared to even improve the ground and facilities, to just give the impression that this is a top club moving forward, Mr Moyes is also happy to see out his contract with the status quo, keep his heroic reputation then move on to bigger and better things.

Mr Moyes is in a no-lose situation, 3 years left on his contract and even if the club are relegated (I don't think we will be) he will come out of it squeaky clean, lack of funds cited as the reason for the clubs demise.

I don't include the supporters in this small mentality syndrome, in fact the complete opposite: we quite rightly see Everton as one of the most innovative and famous clubs, stuck now in a 15-year time warp, hoping for some passing billionaire to drag us into the 21st century.

Steve Leary
2   Posted 02/03/2011 at 16:01:18

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Agree totally with you, Chris mate, it was that bad; I couldn't make it to the game last night (thankfully) but I'm supposed to be going against Brum next Wednesday. Should I bother? I don't know...

I sat watching the game last night on telly and felt like you, Chris, numb frustrated thinking why bother, we had an opportunity to win that competition, an even better one I feel than last time around.

For me, I woke and thought "Moyes, just go now, please, take Pip with you, and drop him off at White Hart Lane. I think, short term, Alan Stubbs could take control of first team affairs. I know he hasn't exactly pulled up trumps in the reserve league but we basically play our youth players in those games, and I feel he could inspire as he did as skipper to see us through to a mid-table finish come May.

Then the big question is can we be sold in the summer? I used to be a Kenwright believer but now, after all his lies and bullshit, I want him out ASAP. There is no way the Blackburns and Citehs of this world could be taken over with Everton not being seriously looked at.

My dream would be, come August, we will have a new owner and board with fresh ideas and forward thinking plans. An attacking manager like Owen Coyle in charge and a starting 11 after a summer of recruiting of:

Howard, Coleman, Jags, Gary Cahill, Bainsey, Donovan, Fellaini, Defour, Arteta, Cahill, Gyan. Bench of, Distin, Garbutt, Barkley, Eagles, Saha, Obinna, Wickham.

Sell the rest and try to aim for a top 6 finish and with money available and an attacking manager of Coyle's ability we could really push and kick on back to were we belong.

Thanks for all you have done, Moyes, but time's up my friend.


Brian Lloyd
3   Posted 02/03/2011 at 16:24:42

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Excellent article, Chris, your comments re Moyes's body language are spot on. Without him, we would most likely have been playing in the championship in recent years; unfortunately, we look like we may get there with him some time soon.

These truly are desperate times for the club in general, what worries me most is that many long suffering blues (self included) are in just as big a rut as the board, manager and players. We know something needs to give and surely it will, but will it be too late?

Jim Hourigan
4   Posted 02/03/2011 at 16:40:40

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Larry, you articulate the despair I feel extremely well. Solutions are few and far between and sadly revolve around our chairman and his inability to find a buyer and / or move aside, linked to a manager who has lost the plot. Will either walk without a push? I think we all realise that neither is likely to fall on their sword so the only solution I can offer is a vocal campaign to remove both. Quite how I'm not sure but its the only solution I can see.

Unlike others I am petrified about the next 10 games or so. I genuinely cannot see a win against anyone without Fellaini's presence and the lack of creativity and goal threat we possess. Added to that Distin and jagielka were woeful last night, constantly beaten in the air and on the ground by 2 average Championship players. Each year a team in the middle of the Premiership plummets like a stone and loses game after game to become deeply embroiled in the relegation battle ? please God it's not us but I have a deep sense of foreboding...
Jim Hourigan
5   Posted 02/03/2011 at 16:49:23

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Brian, I had your article on screen as I typed and copied Larry so like you my apologies, I too meant Chris.
Larry Boner
6   Posted 02/03/2011 at 17:19:49

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Oh well, Shakespeare and Archer never wrote any of their stuff either!
Trevor Lynes
7   Posted 02/03/2011 at 17:10:38

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Since the start of this season, I have been bleating that this is NOT the best squad we have had for years... we are THREADBARE with no decent cover for the supposed first team.

We trot off to the USA or Oz and start every season as if we are still jet-lagged. No-one is at home taking care of business because DM and his coaching assistants trot off with the rest of them. It;s a damn waste of money that we cannot afford.

The useless management then proceeded to waste assets by allowing Gosling to go free and instead of paying Pienaar the same as Arteta and Co, we allow him to go for peanuts (pardon the pun). We have absolutely no cover for Baines, Arteta and Fellaini... Saha is coming to the end of his days, which leaves us with Anichebe and Beckford up front.

I am not the slightest surprised that Reading beat us because we fail umpteen times against supposed lesser sides. Whether we drift into a relegation battle or not does not disguise the total ineptitude of our Board of Directors. DM is now more or less the voice of the boardroom and, since his new contract was signed, he has become the club apologist.

I really fear that we may lose some of our better players at the season end and I hate the thought of relegation as I suffered through it as a teenager in the very early 50s... I only hope that EFC do not go down again during my life time!!!

Chris Kelly
8   Posted 02/03/2011 at 17:35:26

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Chris, I agree with your sentiments. Something has to change. I know it's always a rollercoaster being a blue, from a Baines last-minute free kick, penalties and elation last week. What do we do this week? We throw it away with barely a fight.

I am still on the fence re Moyes and Kenwright. Not all bad, some major screw ups, but better than others. I still think we are hopeless at attacking and need some extra coaching in that area. Clearly we are broke and this is my point. Until football fixes the wage issue, then we are screwed.

Not too long ago, I understand we had a cap of £40k then Arteta got £75k and it's all gone tits up, others want the same or more, they leave and we can not replace them, or even get loan players in because we cannot afford it.

IArteta is not even an international, has no pace, struggles at set pieces and doesn't score a raft of goals. If I was paying the money, I would want more than the odd nice touch for my money.

In my view, we have the only sensible strategy we follow until football sorts itself out, or we find our own sugar daddy, is we go back to paying £40k max, we develop young talent and sell. We attempt to stay in the PL and try for a good cup run. Others less than us have won cups e.g. Portsmouth and Birmingham.

We need realistic targets and winning the Champions League or Premier League is not achievable at the moment. I know some wil say Nil Satis et al but, unless someone knows a billionaire, then we haven't the finance to compete in this increasingly broken game.

I want to see blues playing for the shirt, young talent and lots of energy ? not overpaid prima donnas or injured has-beens. We have awesome fans and we deserve better.

Andy Riley
9   Posted 02/03/2011 at 18:03:36

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This was arguably up to this point the club's most important game of the season ? the chairman can't be arsed attending and the preparation for the game by both the team manager and the club administration is so poor that no suitable arrangements were put in place to ensure that the in form striker arrived in time to play. The silence from the club is deafening which says it all really. There is a good saying that failing to plan is planning to fail and that sums up BK's tenure completely.
Eugene Ruane
10   Posted 02/03/2011 at 18:04:43

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Chris you say..

"I am still on the fence re Moyes and Kenwright. Not all bad, some major screw ups, but better than others"

Question (and I'm genuinely curious, I don't mean this sarcastically): What WOULD it take for you to think 'the sooner them two fuck off the better'?

Charles King
11   Posted 02/03/2011 at 17:56:06

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One of the myths I'd like to shoot down is we play well against the top teams ? we don't. We get the odd result.

We were poor against Chelsea and went through on pens; we were annihilated by Man U at Goodison bar the last 10 mins... and Man City away we had more jam than Hartleys.

I suspect we have the potential to do better but we'll never know under Moyes. As it stands, we're crap and getting worse.

Andy Crooks
12   Posted 02/03/2011 at 18:45:51

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Brian, you say "without him we would most likely be playing in the Championship" ? Why on earth would you say that? I can just as easily say without him we could be playing in the Champions League.

In my view, David Moyes did a good job for a few years, no more than that. There is a feeling among many Evertonians that we owe David Moyes a debt of gratitude for keeping us in the Premier League. He earns a huge salary;, he,somehow, has the respect of his peers and the media. He has won nothing and has produced some truly woeful football. I say he owes us.

Dick Fearon
13   Posted 02/03/2011 at 18:32:52

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Hands on heart everyone, your opinions please. Has Rodwell, Coleman, Anichebe, Bily, Heitinga, Osman, Hibbert or Beckford shown any kind of improvement since they first arrived on the scene or as in the case of Rodders and Seamus have they gone backward? In my opinion, whatever it was that gave rise to optimism on their part has all but disappeared.

Osman and Bily would have to be the slowest weakest midfielders in the Prem. Hibbert's crosses are as bad as they ever were. Anichebe is bereft of a single attribute. Even his moaning whinging attititude is all wrong. In Beckford's case, I can't say he has gone backward simply because he never was good enough.

Heitinga is a shadow of the aggressive 'get stuck in' merchant he used to be. I put that down to him being told to drop off his man where he used to get right into him.

Number 1 disappointment is Rodwell who appears to be shackled by an overcautious system and not playing with the freedom of movement that made us think we had another Beckenbaur in the making.

Then there is Coleman whose off-the-ball movement has become predictable. His head down runs desperately call for a bit more imagination.

I could have added Arteta to the list if only because he would have to be the worst free kick taker possibly in the whole of English football.

Finally, I pose the question, is there still hope for all of them or has their progress hit a brick wall???

Chris Kelly
14   Posted 02/03/2011 at 19:12:15

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Eugene 10 ? In terms of managers if you look at the last few years ? Rafa, Houlier, Big Sam, any of the Man City lot, Hughes, Keegan, Shearer, Megson, O'Neill ? wouldn't fancy any of them; Wenger, Mourinho, Ferguson ? out of our league; Coyle, David Jones ? worth a look maybe.

Owners ? any of the Man City lot, Glazers, David Gold, rich playboys from the middle east, Gillette and Hicks ? none of them for me either. Not saying there are not better managers or owners, just not that many when you really think about it.

Look at how Man Utd fans are ripped off on season tickets, where they get automatically charged for all cups... or Newcastle and the bond... or even Chelsea and a grand for a season tickets.

Overall I would say Arsenal are the only club you would really want to emulate off and on the pitch. Saying that, Sunderland seem to be doing okay with a little investment... changing my mind even while typing!
Peter Laing
15   Posted 02/03/2011 at 20:33:21

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Dick, I feel that you are being a little disingenious to Tony Hibbert. The guy has his limitations no doubt about it but he has not played for god knows how many games, and like Leighton Baines would have been kicking and screaming regarding the effort of those around him last night.

Hibbert may not be everybody's cup of tea but you cannot question his effort and endeavour, he never hides, shits-out or ducks a tackle, I saw quite a bit of that lark last night against Reading.

Brian Lloyd
16   Posted 02/03/2011 at 20:26:55

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Andy 12 ? I am not a Moyes supporter, I think he has overstayed his welcome. The point I was trying to make was that, if Moyes had not replaced Walter Smith at the time he did, I'm certain we would have gone down, and would therefore have gone into the Championship... and you are right, he owes us big time and I think he knows it.
Joe McMahon
17   Posted 02/03/2011 at 20:47:38

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I agree with you Chris and everyone else on here. Since following the blues from the late 70s I've never felt so bad about it all (that's even including the Smith years... that's Walter not Morrisey and Co).

But Moyes's body language at West Ham, Sunderland and at Bolton speaks volumes, how can that inspire anyone? I truely want Kenwright out, but we also need Moyes to go too. His negative ways have had a rippling effect and it's spread.

Looking back, we missed our big chance when we finished 4th, even and extra £10 million on a midfielder and a striker would have opened the door for Everton. But instead, we kicked off against Villarreal with Beattie, Kilbane and Marcus Bent. Thanks Bill ? you have taken us back in years, right back to the 50s.
Joe McMahon
18   Posted 02/03/2011 at 20:55:44

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Sorry for the typos, but Chris I didn't call you Larry.
Jon Cox
19   Posted 02/03/2011 at 21:16:59

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It's simple. Fuck BK off and then get Bilic and get him to get some great comfortable ball-playing eastern European footballers into our club.

These players will rejoice at earning £30k a week so that they can feed their (not there) families and give them a better life. Imagine at least eight Croats on the Goodison pitch with all the pace and skill of Kinkladze, Modric, etc. These guys are the footballers that have overtaken the Brazilians of the 70s.

These players will not cost a fortune but as all people that are willing to travel and work abroad, will play and work to their optimum.

Get Bilic, I say, and let's get finished with this chapter of our illustrious club. Because, if we don't, we will be the next Leeds or the next Portsmouth. AND THAT IS NOT AN OPTION.
Jon Cox
20   Posted 02/03/2011 at 22:24:16

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By the way Chris Rudd, I'm a Floyd man myself. And as I would say to BK, "Careful with that club, Eugene".
Roman Sidey
21   Posted 03/03/2011 at 00:47:00

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Jon Cox, I like it. It's no secret the Eastern Bloc has been rising from its sleep the last few years. Personally, if we insist on always having a small squad, it means we have plenty of spaces to sort out the home grown/foriegn debacle. The great thing that would come out of it too, is that they would be fairly accustomed to playing football the same way, having grown in similar areas and circumstances, unlike the players we have now who mostly come from Western Europe, where the style of football changes as often as the accent. I think the East is the new Africa, as, sadly, a lot of the blokes from Africa who were the duck's guts 5 years ago, just aren't cutting the mustard anymore.

Trevor, you said: "DM is now more or less the voice of the boardroom and since his new contract was signed he has become the club apologist."

I haven't seen or heard this before, but it is certainly an accurate summary. Most managers are the antithesis of this.

Chris Kelly, I understand that you may not rate anyone off those lists for Everton (Mourinho though? Really? I'd have him), but this is the problem. People think that a replacement for Moyes (or the owners for that) has to come from someone we know and is in the Premier League. Bollocks. As I've said a hundred times this year, who the hell knew of David Moyes when they were crying for Walter Smith to do one?

Matt Traynor
22   Posted 03/03/2011 at 11:55:59

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Roman (#21), Chris was saying that Mourihno (and Ferguson & Wenger) were out of our league - not that he didn't rate them.

I got Roman and Mourihno in the same sentence in response to a post on an article about our ownership and management.

Beat that!
Steve Webster
23   Posted 03/03/2011 at 13:29:36

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I'll keep this short. A change in tactics is needed.

We have no width, while Baines is our most attacking player ? yet needs to also defend. I like Phil Neville, but attacking is not his game. If we adopt a wing-back approach, I could see Coleman operating on the right with licence to go forward, while Neville could slot in as a 3rd centre-half ? a job he can do.

A 5-3-2 is worth a gamble ? we've nothing to lose.

Back 3: Neville, Jags, Distin

Mid 5: Coleman, Rodwell, Arteta, Cahill, Baines

Front 2: Saha & Beckford

Benefits: we still have the extra man in midfield holding ? Rodwell ? in the absence of Fellaini. Baines can bomb on knowing that a centre-half will cover. We play with two strikers up front and actually pose a threat.

We have to work with what we've got until the end of the season. The 4-5-1 is too predictable and devoid of invention. It might work if we were to bring L Donavon back in the summer, but right now, we have no pace or width and subsequently do not get in behind defences at all.
Roman Sidey
24   Posted 04/03/2011 at 00:47:54

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Steve, good idea. I've been a fan of the 3 centre-halves for a few years now, since Australia played it around the time of the 2006 World Cup. I think Neville would do the job as holding midfielder now that Fellaini's gone for the season (How much you reckon we'll get for him now?), with the side, in my hopes and dreams, looking like this:

Heitinga, Jags, Distin.
Coleman, Arteta, Bilyaletdinov, Baines
Saha/Beckford (whoever is fit/in form)

I honestly think, with our available squad, this is our best formation.

Eugene Ruane
25   Posted 04/03/2011 at 09:53:04

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Jon Cox - I'm getting a mental image of you seeing Ricky Gervais in the street and shouting "Oi Brent!". Then laughing to yourself. Seriously though, congratulations, you are the 1,000,000th 'careful with that..' poster on TW.

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