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A Rock and a Hard place

By Christine Foster :  16/03/2011 :  Comments (32) :
I wrote a week or so ago that Kenwright's comments stating that David Moyes's would have a decision to make should an approach be made for him by Man Utd, as being the first cracks in the relationship between the dynamic (sic) duo. I felt at the time it was Kenwright opening the door slightly and offering Moyes to the world.

The reasoning would be clear in that, should David Moyes walk, then primarily the club would probably get a compensation figure from another club and not have to pay out the remaining period of his contract; either way, combined, probably several millions. That all helps with the banks.

Moyes himself must have recognised this for what it was ? a manipulation designed to offload him by Kenwright. The team hasn?t performed well, the troops are restless, and there is no money in the pot to rebuild the squad. Unless, of course, you sell the stars we have, clear the club debt, and pray that another, cheaper, manager can come in and work the magic with fresh (but largely unknown) faces for at least a year or two whilst the search to 'sell' (debatable word) the club continues.

Kenwright is looking for a way out of the dilemma he and the club is facing: how to ringfence his own return on selling up; and how to keep the club going ? the two are not necessarily mutually compatible. To achieve those aims may mean that alliances and friendships are sacrificed at the altar of wealth. We have seen it before; we will see it again.

Moyes has had a difficult road in the past 9 years: some highs and some lows... overall, no one can deny that he has been an improvement over what we had before and he has done well with the limited resources at his disposal. His ability to almost negate any transfer expenditure with player sales has been impressive and he has done his job commercially for the club with almost a net zero spend overall.

Tactically he is naturally conservative in his line-ups and has the tendency to revert to type (defensive) during a game, which leads to constant frustration of the fans and I suspect the players too. He has his shortcomings, as every manager does. He can be almost irrational in some of his tactical substitutions, but that?s another issue...

He has shown immense loyalty to the club and in particular to Bill Kenwright, steadfastly refusing to blame anyone but himself for the situation on the pitch but there comes a time when he must feel he is banging his head against a brick wall. He sees no transfer kitty, he sees the club in debt to its eyeballs, no movement on any new ownership, and players about to be sold from underneath him. He has a squad that needs selling and rebuilding once more but now, more importantly I suspect, he sees the chairman as giving the rug under his feet a gentle, but perceptible tug.

For the first time, we are seeing a different rhetoric from Moyes, implied confrontational statements in response. Privately, Moyes must be furious that Kenwright made the comments he did; if they were made without prior discussions, then it was certainly a signal to other clubs by Kenwright that Moyes's time at Everton is coming to an end.

If Moyes and Kenwright had already discussed this in private before any such statement, then it?s clear that the very act of discussion would mean that its likelihood has increased significantly. Once open, it?s very hard to repair the rift in a friendship or in a business relationship.

Both men are in difficult situations. Moyes has significant pride and the backing of supporters in general; there is no groundswell to remove him, despite the grumblings of many who believe the time is right for him to go. He wants Everton to succeed and in doing so it naturally improves his standing and worth in the game. That pride is I think the only thing keeping him at the club... but even that is being dented by the actions and words of BK.

His standing in the game is being damaged not only by having to manage with a threadbare squad, putting square pegs into round holes, but also the inability to put a squad together that?s not going to sell the best players every couple of years. No continuity is the result: inconsistency and frustration for all concerned. The circle has to be broken and Moyes cannot carry on without the resources to keep Everton in the Premier League. We are no longer improving but sliding, slowly, downwards. He knows it; we know it.

Kenwright has a similar dilemma in that he needs Everton to stay in the Premier League if he is to find a suitable investor / buyer. Otherwise it will be a fire sale, so Kenwright has to protect his interests and ensure the club is seen in a positive light. He needs Moyes to ensure that the club stays out of the relegation fight and is able to sell off one or two of its senior players to rake in some much needed cash.

But Moyes has heard the story before and the promises. It?s likely that Kenwright knows that he can?t fund Moyes's expectations, realistic as they may be, but Everton FC need to struggle on regardless.

That we find ourselves in this position is not a direct result of how well the team has played; the law of averages will always favour those with greater resources to call upon, it will always dictate that those who sail close to the wind will fall at some point.

The fact is, we have done extremely well so far with so little. But the cuts made to playing staff can no longer be ignored. With the entire midfield injured the results are plain to see. No-one on the bench to do a job; it has all the feel of a Sunday League side looking to make up the numbers. Now we hear the club is likely to sell the very stars we need to build the team around in order to survive.

The seeds for this situation were planted all around Goodison in the past decade and before. The club has been slow to grasp the opportunities of the Premier League and even slower to improve its standing, image and bricks and mortar. We are now playing catch-up when there is no money to be had. For this, the board and previous management must take full responsibility. We have plodded on from season to season, building up debt and hoping that someone, somewhere will eventually pay it. The banks now want their pound-and-a-half of flesh. Time is up.

Both men are between a rock and a hard place. Neither one has any easy decisions to make: the likelihood is that both will leave the club sooner rather than later, at least for one it will probably be much sooner than the other. If Moyes does depart at the end of the season, one hopes it?s with dignity and his held high, as it should be. He deserves that... but we deserve better from a club that created the situation in the first place.

Reader Comments

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Chris Bannantyne
1   Posted 16/03/2011 at 04:32:00

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Top article, you've summed up the situation succinctly, articulating what I, and probably many other Evertonians, have come to realise about the old Moyes-Kenwright relationship.

I think you should email the whole thing to a bunch of newspapers, it's interesting reading, whether you are an Evertonian or just a fan of the Premier League in general.

It's a sad situation we find ourselves in; I don't believe in God, so I've been praying to Dixie Dean that BK and his crew get the hell out of here soon, and we secure a reasonable takeover.
Frank Key
2   Posted 16/03/2011 at 04:47:44

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In my opinion, Kenwright's strategy will be to let Moyes leave for another club in the summer (possibly a big German side), sell Rodwell and one other high profile name, then give £15 million to someone like Alan Curbishley for new players to keep us trundling along mid-table... depressing times indeed.
Dave Wilson
3   Posted 16/03/2011 at 04:59:47

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I believe this will be Moyes`s last season too, Christine, but compensation?

Moyes has put his heart and soul into this club and when the time comes to go I believe he will simply walk. He`ll be roundly and sympathetically applauded by all within the game. He`ll take a sabbatical, watch a bit of racing, appear on Goals on Sunday... and wait.

Kenwright will go in search of a replacement, but any potential replacement will be aware of what Moyesie earned and will know "the going rate". Everton Football Club is unique, we have Champions League standard fans, with Champions League expectations and any manager worth his salt will want paying a lot of money to take that on, especially when he knows he will be asked to operate on a Div 1 budget.

Moyes in the meantime will ready himself for when Gerrard Houlier, Pardue or Bruce fuck up, he`ll then be welcomed into a club that will pay him a very nice wage and give him money to spend, a club whose fans have nowhere near the level of expectation of Evertonians.
Christine Foster
4   Posted 16/03/2011 at 06:02:57

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David, by 'compensation', I think, should another club come in for Moyes, then EFC will seek compensation from them for loss of their manager. I cannot see Moyes being sacked as that will mean the club has to pay Moyes the compensation for his contract. If Moyes is to go then it will be best if a club comes in for him and pays compensation as a result.

Your other point regarding any new manager knowing the going rate means that we will not get a "name" ? we willl get a new wannabe in his place. Cheaper and unaware of the realities of working in the club.

Finally, I don't actually believe our future expectations are unrealistic. Given the way the club is run and the situation, it's going to be a difficult turnaround, but it's about time someone set out the ambition of the club for all to see. Survival for another decade is not enough.
Dave Wilson
5   Posted 16/03/2011 at 06:34:24

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Sorry Christine, I should have made myself clearer, I understood your point about compensation, but I just don't see Moyes leaving for another club; it may smack a little of disloyalty, is that his style?

I`m with you, I too believe in their recent statements Moyes and Kenwright were kinda preparing for the divorce and it will happen, but take a look at Moyes, he looks about 10-15 years older than he did a couple of seasons ago. I can easily envisage him quitting Everton, but not for another club. I expect a kind of "mutual consent" thing. Moyes has had a difficult year and will want to relax for a while, recharge the batteries.

I also agree with you when you say we won't see a "name" come in, but as Moyes proved, if an up-and-coming manager is a success, he will want the big bucks soon enough, we none of us want to even think of the cost if he`s a failure.

A rock and a hard place indeed.
Dick Fearon
6   Posted 16/03/2011 at 08:51:36

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Compensation could pay a lump off the wages another top coach would expect.
Peter Laing
7   Posted 16/03/2011 at 09:21:05

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Another example of the manipulative manouverings of the one and only William Kenwright.
Richard Dodd
8   Posted 16/03/2011 at 10:18:31

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More codswallop from this conspiracy freak who seems to enjoy destabilizing our fan base. The truth is that over the last nine years, only three players of any great worth have been sold and all of those went at their own request. If Rodwell follows suit, the money will come in useful but the move will be for the same reason as the others, believe me.

Losing David Moyes is the last thing BB will want to do and his continued faith in the man is evidenced by the massive contract the two entered into in 2009. Yes, this season has been a disappointment but by no means the disaster the writer would have us believe. Just look at the Prem table, ma`am, for evidence of that fact.

Or, perhaps, you`d like to write on Aston Villa who`ve already been `saved` by Randy Lerner!

Stephen Kenny
9   Posted 16/03/2011 at 10:33:04

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Funnily enough, Moyes is in the local papers again today backing Bill to the hilt.

I find their relationship a bit too comfortable, with neither willing to push the other or set any kind of demands on them. Not a good position for chasing success and improvements.

Moyes is doggedly loyal and I don't think he can see that Bill would gladly set him up for a fall if it meant he could keep his toy.

I actually hope that Bill sets Moyes up, or at least lets Moyes go to another club and tries his usual smear routine in the Echo as only the most Dodd-like Evertonians would fall for it after the amount of times it's happened. One thing the vast majority of Evertonians agree about is that Moyes is not a sneaky man, he's been as honest as he can when he can, for me that would finally see the masses turn on the blue Pol Pot.
Brian Denton
10   Posted 16/03/2011 at 10:43:37

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Hmm Doddy, I must confess I'd never thought of Christine as a 'conspiracy freak' and I think even she would admit that she (or any other Toffeeweb contributor) would be hard-pressed to 'destabilise our fan base'. I doubt if Michael himself would claim that TW is so powerful!
Christine Foster
11   Posted 16/03/2011 at 13:07:52

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Mr Dodd, Yet again you fail to grasp a point of view and decend into personal attack. Your patronising and sycophantic responses are the joy of many. But it is your failure to respond with anything other than blind faith that stands you alone, literally.

It's neither a conspiracy theory, nor fact, merely a point of view. We are all entitled to and as such open to those who differ to respond.

So from one "conspiracy freak" to another... give it your best shot. Write an article rather than take cheap sniping shots (again). Time and time again, I believe I have been closer to fact than your fiction has ever been.

You are welcome to your view of reality and I respect you for having it, but it's not mine and sadly you have no respect for those who dare not to toe the party line.

At least I ask the questions. Not even our shareholders can. So please... put your money where your mouth is and write your article in defence of all that is great about Everton Football Club, address those concerns that so many of us have. Perhaps then you will see that there is more than one view of events.

There are many truths, each with their own perspective. So put up or shut up.

KPR Williams
12   Posted 16/03/2011 at 13:40:52

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Celebrity deathmatch...
Christine Foster
13   Posted 16/03/2011 at 13:38:47

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Oh and by the way... just what is the conspiracy your talking about?? That would imply that there is a concerted effort by a group of people in the club to remove Moyes. I would doubt that is the case at all. That would need Kenwright to conspire with someone else... can't see that happening either. So it's not a conspiracy is it? Just a relationship that has its cracks and a view of how it looks.

Destabilising our fan base? Don't make me laugh... this is from the club that brought you Kirkby, stuffed up Kings Dock and banned AGMs, threatened to gag supporters and finally has banned the local press?? And you accuse ME of destabilising the fan base? I think that's a little rich even for you...

View of the table? points wise we are closer to relegation than we are to Europe... 6 point off a relegation battle and 14 points off a European place ? go figure!

I have not and never have expressed the view that this season has been a disaster. Anywhere. It will only be a disaster in my view if we are relegated, something I don't believe will happen.

But to ignore the view that financially we are struggling, that we have limited options to rebuild a team, and that Moyes will think twice before doing it again under such circumstances is maddness. You conveniently have ignored players who have been put out on loan allegedly to reduce our wage bill, reducing our squad size and strength, and you have not told any of us exactly how we will generate enough cash to keep the wolves from the door OTHER than selling one or two players? That's not my speculation btw, that's the media and Moyes! Do tell... we await...
Chris McLaughlin
14   Posted 16/03/2011 at 15:15:48

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Christine Foster, you rock my world!

Come on, Doddsy... we're waiting!

Stephen Leary
15   Posted 16/03/2011 at 15:42:02

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I find it funny that some people think Moyes could get the Man Utd job, yeah right! This is the best job he will ever have and the biggest club he will ever have managed.

I can just see it now: Redknapp takes the England job, Moyes at Spurs... first three months, he turns an attacking team into a "let's not get beat" side, their fans grow restless and he's fired. I genuinely feel that could easily happen and would be most likely to happen.

Ideally, Kenwright sells up and a new owner gives Moyes a chance with £100M to spend, then we see what he is made off... Though thinking off all the failed expensive forwards he has acquired and the likes of Bilyaletdinov and Krøldrup, I wouldn't be too sure he could do it.

He is the type of manager who will have a few surprising seasons now and again, will never win nothing and never relegate a side. A Newcastle or West Ham manager.

And Doddy, are you Kenwright? Really though, are you? COYB!!

David Holroyd
16   Posted 16/03/2011 at 15:37:49

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The board never say anything, there is no direction. The game against Fulham is going to be very interesting, crowd-wise.

What planet is Doddy on? Conspiracy Theory?

John Audsley
17   Posted 16/03/2011 at 17:06:56

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Good speech, Bill/Richard.

Christine has deffo destabilized the fanbase alrite.

Jesus H Corbett, you are Bill aren't you?? Or Woods or even Elstone... or all of them..........

Thats a conspiracry alright...
Andrew Clare
18   Posted 16/03/2011 at 17:29:47

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BK is as big an Evertonian as anyone. He can remember the great days and knows all about the illustrious history of our great club. It must be sad for him as well as the rest of us to know that we can no longer compete at the highest level. Isn't it possible that no one is interested in buying Everton and that we will continue to decline?

Maybe BK is doing all he can to find a buyer/investor. Having said that, is it possible that someone is interested and that is why the club are not speaking about our current situation? Who knows?
Surely there must be a billionaire Evertonian in the world somewhere!

Tony Wilson
19   Posted 16/03/2011 at 17:54:27

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Many if not most fans believe that the club needs a new board sooner rather than later. You have your following already.

Rather than constantly sniping at Kenwright and overanalysing news paper articles, put your intelligence to good use and spend some time helping to increase fan power at the club. It is surely the only way to really have an impact?

Anthony Hawkins
20   Posted 16/03/2011 at 18:31:44

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#19 Tony Wilson

The theory is sound right up until the point where BK and the rest of the board completely ignore the attempts.

The only true power that any fan has is in a mass protest which may or may not currently be reaching a climax.
Mike Williams
21   Posted 16/03/2011 at 19:05:09

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@Andrew Clare #18.
"BK is as big an Evertonian as anyone. He can remember the great days and knows all about the illustrious history of our great club."

Is this the same BK who was out watching the sodding Wizard of Oz as we were getting knocked out of the FA Cup?

Bill Kenwright claims he is an Evertonian and stood in the boys pen when he was a kid, but then again Bill Kenwright says a lot of things. Most of which turn out to be complete and utter bollocks.
Nick Armitage
22   Posted 16/03/2011 at 19:58:18

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Christine, if I wasn't married I would get down on one knee now.
Kevin Tully
23   Posted 16/03/2011 at 19:56:57

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I actually used to defend Kenwright until he was unmasked as a con man.

He has overseen the richest period in Everton's history and we still have the exact same ground as when he took over.

Oh, sorry, I forgot about the tent in the car park as an extension to our corporate facilities. He will be remembered as a joker who got lucky, and he is completely out of his depth running a P.L. football club.

He has sat back hoping we will be bought by someone foolish enough to believe his bullshit.

Kenwright and the rest of the board should be ashamed of themselves, look at where we are now.

Dan Brierley
24   Posted 16/03/2011 at 19:52:46

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I am not sure how you have come to these conclusions Christine. All Kenwright said was:

"I know the stories about Manchester United," he said to Sky Sports News.

"If that day ever came then he would have to make a decision, but I also know how committed he is to the cause of this football club."

I don't really know how from those couple of sentences, you managed to write a huge article, suggesting that Kenwright is trying to pave the way for Moyes to leave.

"Moyes himself must have recognised this for what it was ? a manipulation designed to offload him by Kenwright."

Absolutely unbelievable statement. This is why some people have the perception that you are a conspiracy theorist. Moving Moyes on to pay the banks off? Kenwright has only stated a fact that the world knows. If Man U came calling, it would be down to Moyes if he went or not. Nothing could be done to stop him resigning from EFC and taking the job. I don't see the need for the sensationalism behind that statement, unless you happen to be someone that reads into things far too deeply, without actually having any inside knowledge of the facts that surround the subject. Its like the nosy neighbour peering through the curtains, swearing blind she knows everything about the people she sees in the street.

Yes, Moyes does look pissed off lately. I am not surprised, it must be hugely frustrating to try and understand why your team can win at Stamford Bridge, then lose at home to a Championship side. It definitely annoys the hell out of me, and I am not responsible for how that team plays! Moyes knows this could have been a big season for us, as the rest of the league has been pretty inconsistent. Thats where the frustration lies, because we have not capitalised on that inconsistency, by being....ahem....inconsistent.
Michael Kenrick
25   Posted 16/03/2011 at 20:25:24

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We don't often agree, Dan, but words of sanity indeed. This whole thing about Moyes and Kenwright seems to have been blown miles out of proportion.

Moyes could go in the summer... on the other hand, if he sticks to his contract, he's going to be the Everton manager for another three years, as we know there is no way Bill would even dream of sacking him.

And the tight fiscal model for Everton FC has been in place and operating now for at least three years (it was us who were all a bit slow to pick up on it). But there is no reason I'm aware of that will prevent it from continuing to bumble along as it has done for at least the next three years.
Dave Wilson
26   Posted 16/03/2011 at 21:00:27

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I disagree.

When Moyes says, "I will see if what they are talking about is workable", I think he is making it clear that the current strategy/non-strategy isn't working and if they ? The Board ? dont come up with a better one (transfer funds)... I`m off.

Michael Kenrick
27   Posted 16/03/2011 at 21:08:58

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Really? This is David Moyes you're talking about. Mr Loyalty.

Perhaps the next sentences reads: "And if it does not appear to be workable, we'd put our heads together and come up with something that is workable under the existing financial constraints, so I can carry on with my task here."

See, we can all read between the lines, Mr Wilson.
Christine Foster
28   Posted 16/03/2011 at 21:11:50

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Interesting views from all and most fair in comment. I'd like to pick up on a couple of points.

The comments regarding Bill not standing in the way of Moyes should Man U come in for him where actually taken from an editorial here in TW, the response from Moyes regarding a workable solution from the Guardian, both much reported and indeed both speculated that the signs pointed towards a rift or even a possible parting of the ways. So I did not conjure this "theory" out of mid air.

I have been around long enough to read between the lines and be a student of human nature. My views are my interpretation of what I see and hear, just as others have different perspectives.

Michael, I don't think we can bumble along for another three years using because I don't think Moyes will be around for it, I think he has too much pride to become a caretaker for another manager who has money at some point. If he can't build a team because players have to be sold to meet the bank payments then, sooner or later, he will go.
Christine Foster
29   Posted 16/03/2011 at 21:43:50

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Tony Wilson #19, you may like to review an article I wrote exactly on the guidelines you suggested here on TW last month. Titled; An Alternative Strategy required.
Roman Sidey
30   Posted 17/03/2011 at 00:08:35

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Christine, really well written article.

What I think a lot of people are missing when they say you're (we're, many others're) blowing a few comments out of proportion, is context. I don't know so am asking, in what context were Bill's comments made?

If they were, and they do seem to be, out of the blue (no pun intended), why would he bring it up? It's been years since anyone mentioned that Moyes could take over SAF if and when he spits the chewing gum out at Old Trafford.

That Bill Kenwright even entertains the idea that Moyes has a chance of the United job now means that he is so out of touch with the club and football that he doesn't actually see how Moyes has performed over the last couple of years.

I've not been a fan of Moyes since just before the Lescott saga, but even if I was a fan, I would have to think that Everton is as big a club as he's going to get to manage in the near future.
Jim Lloyd
31   Posted 17/03/2011 at 23:25:44

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I suppose we shouldn't get exasperated but, when Christine writes a really incisive article, it isn't challenged with counter arguments, it's just challenged by the likes of someone I'm not certain is being serious.

One thing is abundantly clear to me. David Moyes has said he will want to talk to Kenwright in the Summer about strategies, ambition and god knows what else. We'll, in my humble opinion, that's bollocks. By the "Summer" if we haven't already decided upon our strategy for taking the club forward, it will be TOO LATE!! We'll be fucked.

Thank you Christine for such a bloody good article

Colin Wainwright
32   Posted 18/03/2011 at 13:53:52

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Come on Mr Dodd, answer the question.

Mr Dodd.



There's a fuckin surprise.

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