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If Only...

By Luke O'Farrell :  25/04/2011 :  Comments (46) :
This season has been, in all honesty, a major let-down. The talk before the season was of how this would be ?our? season, the one when we break through that glass ceiling that has hampered us for many a year. The season began with a Howard howler leading to a poor start against a very ordinary Blackburn team; look where they are now.

There were also games where we just had no luck at all, and combined with the lack of a decent, reliable striker meant points where given away all too readily. Villa away, probably the most one-sided game in a long while, and yet we somehow contrived to lose it. The annual poor start was well and truly in motion and, with each passing game, the hope and excitement evident in August had now well and truly evaporated.

It seems the fans that purchase half-season tickets have the right idea; the Christmas period tends to coincide with our yearly up-turn in fortunes. There are numerous reasons offered as to why we are so bad and then so good each and every season. The season began with poor results but at least an attempt was made to pass the ball and not descend into the Stokes, Boltons, Blackburns, and Birminghams of this world.

Recently, with a large part of our first team missing, we have seen a 7-game unbeaten run. This was ended in a rather depressing manner by Man Utd on Saturday. The 7 previous games had seen 5 wins and 2 draws; in all honesty, we could have won all 7. However, this was achieved by a more direct method as this culminated in a period were our pass completion was at its lowest of the season. This raises the point of style or substance? Outlines the argument of results vs good football? I firmly believe we are capable of both ? good football and good results.

Who is to blame though? For the past three or four seasons we have been well below par till November/December time, results-wise. A record of 6 wins in the first 26 games this season tells us all we need to know. Then we have picked up results as the season progresses, often ending the season as THE form team or at least one of them. Do we blame the manager? Is it the board's fault? The chairman must shoulder some blame? The players ? do they do enough?

I do not blame Moyes for anything relating to the size of the squad or transfer etc; this is down to Kenwright and the directors. Although we have directors who are all worth a pretty penny, I have yet to account any of them investing or contributing towards the transfer budget of the manager. I think it is in everyone?s best interests that a buyer is found as soon as possible and the major shareholders follow Bill out of the car park, in their undeserved expensive vehicles.

On the pitch, I see it as a different matter. The blame falls squarely at the door of Moyes and his assembled playing squad. I think the mindset of the current squad/ managerial staff seems to be one of ?play to not lose? instead of ?play to win?; mostly against the ?Top 4?. This was especially evident in the surrender witnessed recently at Old Trafford. People may say ?but he had no options?. I agree, at the moment the team more or less picks itself; if you?re fit to play you're probably going to get a game. Many people have put forward the point that Moyes was telling the team to push out and get up the pitch. So on that point, it isn?t Moyes fault. Surely though it's Moyes's fault that for every single one of their 13 corners we brought everybody back, inviting them to build another attack as all our clearances would end up back at their feet???

The options at present are very limited, although I do believe that Moyes could have still adopted a more adventurous approach. Most of the ways and means of how Moyes could have changed it or made us more attack-minded have been done to death, with opinions equally different and disagreeing.

I also believe that the players have to take much more responsibility. Neville may be a fantastic captain and I do not dispute that for one moment; I believe as a leader, he is one of the best at getting the players going. Playing-wise, he needs to do much, much more. Yes, we all know his limitations but, in the centre of midfield, he has to take on the role of a central midfielder. This means that he can?t back off players the way he does when at right back; doing this whilst in the middle is a much more dangerous tactic.

In my opinion, the main responsibility of a player, playing centre-mid or anywhere for that matter, is that they have to want and show for the ball. I could probably count on one hand the number of times Neville and Rodwell showed for the ball at the weekend. Whilst they are employed as central midfielders, surely it is expected that they should at least be a marginal representation of a midfielder? Granted this central midfield partnership is forced on Moyes and I don?t believe that it is either of their best positions; I don?t know what Rodwell's best position is but it seems that it is not centre-mid. They should however try and play as central midfielders to the best of their capabilities. For the record, Rodwell is clearly not the player we thought and I don?t think he will ever be a dominant central midfielder the way Fellaini is. Should Fergie come waving his chequebook then I would gratefully accept anything upwards of £15million.

There is a feeling of ?small mindedness? that seems to linger over our club, especially against the bigger teams. I feel this also contributes to our poor starts as we don?t seem able to handle the pressure of expectation. We always play better when there is no expectation on the squad; namely after Christmas, when all hope of success has faded. The recent surrender at Old Trafford and other performances against the bigger teams smack of a ?make sure we don?t lose? attitude.

This is the partially manager's fault as even when we have a fully fit team we seem to turn up and be overawed and just retreat onto our own 18 yard line and hope for the best. I believe that it falls on Moyes to get them out of this mentality and instil some belief and confidence in the team. I don?t recall too many occasions we have played with them two this season. Yes, on occasions ? Spurs at home, Liverpool at home, City away ? we have done this. For a club like ours, these two factors in our play should be the norm... not the exception that they seem to be currently.

As I said in the previous paragraph, though, it is only partially Moyes's fault with this seemingly inferior mentality. A large portion of the blame falls with the players; they seem to have this ?effort is enough? approach ingrained into their minds. A quick look through the recent press comments of some of the team from Saturday highlights this:

Hibbert: "Coming here it wasn?t that we were going to defend for our lives, we came here to win. It might have looked like we had to have 10 men back; we actually had a game plan to win. As it pans out it looked like we were defending all the time, but we wanted the points."

Jagielka: ?We had a couple of decent spells of possession, Jack Rodwell came close and we had a few corners.?

Referring to Hibbert?s statement, it worries me that apparently we had a plan to win the game ? given that, after about 15 minutes, it was clear that we had nothing on our minds other than defending. I don?t doubt that we had a game plan, but what worries me is how easily it died off. The responsibility of the manager is to ingrain this plan into the players and the players? job is to carry it out. Too many times this season, our plans have failed to work and we look lost or one-dimensional. Even more worrying to me is Jagielka and how he takes the ?positives? as a bit of possession, ONE shot and a few corners!!! Made even worse by the fact that, in fact, we only had ONE corner ? not a few.

People may claim that it was only Vidic missing. That holds no water: Fabio, O?Shea, Gibson and Anderson are not first choice... and to say they are is naive. The United team was missing Evra, Giggs, Berbatov, Scholes, Rafael and Carrick. We were also missing numerous players, but how refreshing would it have been to go there and have a right good go? The match had an unerring inevitability about it throughout; we seemed to just be waiting till they scored. Given that we haven?t won there in 19 years, it would be much better to go down fighting than the heroic, yet ultimately failed defending. On MotD2 last night, Moyes made reference to how he enjoys golf in the summer break; when he tees off, do you think he drives the ball backwards? No, is the obvious answer. Yet, metaphorically speaking, we do exactly that when confronted with the bigger teams.

If only we had a bit more belief and confidence within the club and the players. I haven?t written this as an anti-Moyes article as he has done an unbelievable job for this club; I just think he could be more ambitious. The players are equally to blame and I just hope that they can work together to try and remove this ?play to avoid defeat? mentality. I firmly believe we can go places if we keep this squad together.

We are just a few good additions, mainly a proven striker, away from being much better off as a team. The team and manager have shown at times that we are capable of rising above the better teams through a combination of good football and endeavour. This has to be achieved more often though if we are to progress. We also need to put away the ?lesser? teams at home; that has cost us big time.

Hopefully, Bill can find some funds for Moyes and if we can ship out a few of the loaned players. Given a more ambitious mentality and a lack of fear when playing teams, we might just be able to have a whole season when games such as Spurs at home and the Goodison derby become common place. Come August, we may just have that flying start that we all pray and wish for, well maybe, just maybe...

Reader Comments

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Trevor Mackie
1   Posted 25/04/2011 at 22:09:54

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Luke, this is too long and you are having a go at Moyes but then pulling back, why? If you feel he's to blame say it.

The point about Moyes is you either believe there is nothing more anyone could have done in these 10 years or you don't. Personally I think he drifts ? without vision ? but provides Prem survival... and, if we're honest, the majority have bought in to it. I rail against it because I don't believe any club should have that attitude ? let alone my beloved Everton, it makes cautious cowardly football acceptable and I despise it, particularly the killing off of creative players.

I always feel Wenger couldn't believe his luck when he walked in on English football. He took one look and realised the English game was festooned with managerial sheep, inept people, mostly ex-defenders whose nemesis through their careers had been skill. They had no understanding of it, so all he had to do was bring in some athletic players from abroad, where mastery of footballing basics still prevailed, and he was quids in ? it really was that simple.

Of course we're so insular, why should we learn from jonny foreigner? Compare Arsenal and Everton historically ? both institutions ? along with Villa, perhaps the greatest pedigrees of any English clubs but post-Wenger we've disappeared off the footballing map by comparison.

It is the difference one man with vision and ability can make, and before the boots go in, of course he's not perfect, his stubbornness in copying Barca hasn't worked, but I'd prefer to be in and around the top 4, challenging, playing decent stuff, than watch the brain-numbing rubbish that passes for football under Moyes... and, before that, Smith and many other sheep who masquerade as managers.

Michael Kenrick
2   Posted 25/04/2011 at 22:49:51

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It was rather long... but Luke does write nicely. I think he said before that he wanted to become a writer, so I want to encourage him. I've got some pointers that I'll send him off line.

This succinct bit from you, though, Trevor says it all:

Personally I think he drifts ? without vision ? but provides Prem survival... and, if we're honest, the majority have bought in to it. I rail against it because I don't believe any club should have that attitude ? let alone my beloved Everton, it makes cautious cowardly football acceptable and I despise it, particularly the killing off of creative players.

I've started reading Soccernomics... it's too obviously written for the American market, which is a pity... or did they write another version for the UK market? But if you haven't read it, I think you'll see some resonance with your Wenger theories.
Luke O'Farrell
3   Posted 25/04/2011 at 22:59:04

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Trevor

It probably is a bit too long but its just that this season has been so frustrating and I could go on for hours.

Also I know I blame Moyes but as I have said; it is not all his fault, some blame rests with the players as well. I believe our poor starts and this mentality stem from both manager and players.

I tried to steer away from solely blaming Moyes as I risk the wrath of his blinded followers who will not accept his faults.
Trevor Lynes
4   Posted 25/04/2011 at 23:09:32

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If you take a considered look at the players available then you cannot blame anyone for the loss of this particular game. If you take an overall considered opinion, then you MUST blame the board and the continued lack of support financially to the manager. DM can only aim at survival in the Premier League as an acceptable degree of success... it keeps us (EFC) afloat and protects his job!!

I have said throughout that I think our long haul pre-seasons are a waste of money and the team generally start slowly probably due to the lack of decent opposition and the 'holiday' atmosphere.

I hate the loan system with a passion as we tend to use it to reduce our costs and I cannot accept the reasons given by our board/management that it provides game time for our fringe players. They could get that in the reserves and then they would be available to US in the case of injuries and/or suspensions. Why do we miss out on taking loan players like Sturridge or other decent standard premiership players?

Another example of mismanagement is allowing players like Gosling to leave for free and Pienaar to leave for peanuts (pardon my pun). It's not a coincidence that our star players this season have been defenders... we truly have the worst bunch of supposed strikers available in the Premier League. DM is the Mother Hubbard of the Premier League, it's incredible that we have emerged from this season safely!!

David Hallwood
5   Posted 26/04/2011 at 00:17:03

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According to Hibbert, we were trying to win the game.... mmmmm, I lost count of the number of hoofs that Howard punted to Beckford, he didn't win one of them, but if he had there wasn't an Everton player within 20 yards of him. All-in-all, a weird attacking game plan.
Robbie Shields
6   Posted 26/04/2011 at 00:21:22

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Trevor #1, your post is the single best post I've ever read on ToffeeWeb, congratulations. It sums up perfectly my own personal viewpoint of the Moyes era. With hindsight, I think Moyes fulfilled his remit after we had qualified for the Champions League (very very fortunately IMHO), but no-one in their right mind would have sacked Moyes and got another manager in, although I do recall being amazed when Arsenal brought in a certain unknown Mr Wenger from the Japanese League to replace Rioch.

I would urge everyone who reads this to have a good long open-minded read of Trevor's post, this is what we have become under Moyes and will continue to be. Moyes's 5-year plan was completed: make sure we don't get into a relegation scrap every year ? now is the time to move FORWARD with a man of vision and true footballing beliefs and standards.
Derek Thomas
7   Posted 26/04/2011 at 04:01:28

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Now is the time to move... where?, with a man of... what?, and true footballing... thingies and doodahs.

Can somebody translate or explain what these, and I use the term loosly, words mean.

I mean, now, in this modern day and age.

I know what they USED to mean and so did the Club, you know back in the day when a Brazilian meant some one like Pele, not.........
Brian Williams
8   Posted 26/04/2011 at 05:59:30

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You can wax lyrical all you want... you could have JC himself as manager... but, if you've got no money, you've got no chance!

End of! Accept it!
Robbie Shields
9   Posted 26/04/2011 at 05:52:15

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Derek, they mean exactly the same now as they did back in the days to which you refer, no difference whatsoever. I fail to see why a vision, strategy and belief in the way football should be played has changed over the years; granted, football has evolved... but these basic principles still apply.

I can even give you an example of where this has worked. Last season, Brisbane Roar were abysmal. I went to see them play and it is 2 hours of my life I will never get back. In the summer, they changed coaches and brought in a guy called Ange Postecoglou (never heard of him).

I went to see Everton vs Roar in the close season and they were still crap, but were trying to play decent footy. Once the season started they were still pretty poor, but getting better, and better, and better. The same players playing a completely different brand of football, my kind of football: pass and move, remember that?

They then went on a run of 28 games unbeaten, playing great stuff. Got to the A-League final and were 2 goals down with 1 minute to go in extra time. Still carried on playing great footy and ultimately scored 2 great late goals and then went on to win on penalties.

OK, this was done in Australia, but I, and many others believe it can still be done in England, I'd like to see someone with the balls and belief give it a go, for me that would be someone 'like' Glen Hoddle. A great attacking flair midfielder in his time who I was fortunate enough to see on a number of occasions, and who turned Swindon, Southampton, Spurs and England into very good footballing teams.

Please note that I said 'like Glen Hoddle', I don't want his name to be used by everyone saying things like 'what did he ever win', and 'not that spiritual nutter' because that is missing the point, it is the vision and principles he had that I am referring too, like those Ange Postecoglou has used so effectively here in a short amount of time.

Amit Balaggan
10   Posted 26/04/2011 at 06:07:56

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I agree with Luke to a great extent. DM has had a defensive stance for a long time and that has not helped in keeping clean sheets either. We have played with a lone striker against the likes of Stoke, Blackburn etc when we could have been much more adventurous.

Watching the game in India and whatever I get to read here, I have a feeling that some of the players have been too overrated by the club... Heitinga and Bily have to go, one has shown no commitment and other is just not good enough for English football and DM's fascination with them means that youngesters will not get their chance. Anichebe has been good in the few games he has started yet he is left to warm the benches while Bily starts.

Also, I feel the club will have to take a good long view on Arteta and Cahill. Arteta's deliveries have been ordainary at best and pathetic at worst, with the kind of wages he gets, a lot better is expected. Cahill is 32 and will not get any better.

I haven't seen the quality in Rodwell who has been too hyped up. I agree that if we get a decent amount then take that and buy a decent striker
Dave Wilson
11   Posted 26/04/2011 at 06:04:07

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Luke

You do indeed write a good article, mate... but it's pure fiction.

NOBODY has a better record against the top boys than us over the past couple of seasons, NOBODY.

Ask yourself why Spurs needed a Howard howler to gain a single point against us, or why Liverpool needed a dodgy penalty to get their solitary point, Ask yourself when was the last time we didn't beat City, or why Ancelotti can't beat Moyes. Yes we did lose at Arsenal, but only a couple of late individual errors prevented us from gaining a deserved win.

And let's put this nonsense of Man U playing a weakend team to bed.

Giggs did play, but is knocking on and SAF does a wonderful job of preserving him by using him sparingly, introducing him in the second half is hardly a new idea.

O'Shea has played 30 games ? some reserve ? Fabio 20.

Carrick and Evra were not rested they were dropped, they have had Westons recently ? Carrick costing them the semi against City ? and SAF is in the enviable position of being able to adapt a zero tolerence policy.

Berbatov was also dropped because a certain Mr Rooney had finished his ban.

With Valencia fit, Ferguson was able to attack us with Nanny, the little Mexican, Rooney and Valencia himself. The formation many United fans believe to be their most powerful attacking option.
Scholes was banned... ONLY Viddic was rested ? maybe because he too was begining to show signs of tiredness.

Alex Ferguson has 25 top class players, he has to keep them all happy and here's the thing; he can only play 11 of them at the same time.

Anyone inside OT on Saturday would have witnessed the tension inside the ground. the Manic touchline antics of SAF and his staff, the sheer joy and relief of anyone connected with them when they finally scored and they would have known that Man United had treated this as their most important game of the season so far.
Dave Lynch
12   Posted 26/04/2011 at 09:24:43

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"Particularly the killing off of creative players".

This has always incensed me about Moyes. He will not allow players to play their natural game, he stifles them and attempts to fit them into a system that obviousley and glaringly does not suit.
Peter Davis
13   Posted 26/04/2011 at 09:30:45

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The problem is simple to solve! Put at least two strikers out from the start of each game and try to win ? even if we ship a goal or two at the other end, it would be better than defending for a draw until we are at least one goal down and then putting on forwards to try and catch-up!

Good god, even Moyes must see this eventually. How many lesser teams have won games against the so-called top teams using a more adventurous approach?

BUT, please don't put all the blame on Beckford etc as the strikers are as good as many others in the Premier League. You know, Man U etc are only a team of individuals who need their confidence denting by attack and not over inflated by continual defence.

Paul Gladwell
14   Posted 26/04/2011 at 09:09:53

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You have got to look at Moyes... how come we can raise ourselves when Goodison is bouncing and not against shite like Reading? That lies with the manger to sort out.

He has also got to stop his moaning mentality of crying over us not spending much before a ball is being kicked at the start of the season, as this is an excuse the players could use in the back of their minds; raise expectations and put some pressure on them.

This is the worst league for decades, with what will be the worst champions for years; if it was not for lacklustre displays against teams who have far less quality than us, we would have been up there... So there is no excuse for crying about spending little when most of our failures have been against these such teams who have spent less than us.

Lastly, let's say bollocks to giving all this respect when going to places like Utd. When Ferguson gives all this praise about little old Everton doing so well, take it as a patronising insult, as that's what it is. He only praises teams who he has no fear of, the shite have been shite for how long but go there with an attitude that we should use, they have so many players of a standard of mediocre, yet our Manger still goes there with an attitude as if they still have Cantona and Keane. We got beat, we were shite and he bleats on about what a great performance from Jagielka.

If your leader is pessimistic and gloomy, then that is only going to rub off on the troops, the hard work and change need to start from Moyes firstly.

Martin Mason
15   Posted 26/04/2011 at 09:42:41

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We are forgetting one little unfortunate fact and that is that Moyes has flirted with what for him would be called total foottball and found we lost most of the games when we did it. Some talk as though there is something wrong in football with a resource strapped club like Everton playing to its strengths, even if we pick up points by drawing rather than winning.

Barcelona can win playing pretty, it just might be that Everton would be ripped apart every game by trying to do the same with its technically limited squad. We are weak as an attacking force and relatively strong in defence. We surely have to play to our strengths if we do it well?

David S Shaw
16   Posted 26/04/2011 at 10:09:09

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The talk before the season was that it was to be 'our' season???

Was it?? Maybe amongst the Echo reading and believing fans who fall for Prentice's shite about Arteta being a new signing in an attempt to cover up Kenwright's ineptness.

But everyone else knew it was a disastrous summer and that our squad knew that too and so lacked the necessary excelled motivation.
Steve Harris
17   Posted 26/04/2011 at 07:02:55

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Robbie,

Unfortunately it's chicken and egg time ? hypothetically, let's say that all the masses agreed with you and forced the board into action! What do you think would happen while Kenwright is in charge? ? I feel we'd undoubtedly end up with another managerial sheep! Using Trevor's expression.

I personally think Moyes should be given a chance with just a little money and a wage cap comparable to the top 6 (even the Arse); then judge him.

But while the elusive Kenwright clings onto power like so many other unwanted dictators, we are left with another summer of selling to buy and Moyes having to steady a sinking ship.
Luke O'Farrell
18   Posted 26/04/2011 at 10:34:12

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#11 Dave Wilson

I am not suggesting that it was a 'weak' Man Utd side on Saturday, but surely you can agree it was definetly not their strongest.

Yes, our recent record against the top sides is fairly decent, but most of the results are at home; where the fans would seen let the players know if they resorted to the same negative mind set.

Our last win at Anfield: September 1999.

Our last win at Old Trafford: August 1992.

Our last win at Stamford Bridge: November 1994.

Our last win at Highbury/Emirates: January 1996.

Now that is pretty grim from my viewpoint. Other results this season make some of these stats even more depressing.

Liverpool 1 Blackpool 2, Man Utd 2 West Brom 2, Chelsea 0 Sunderland 3, Arsenal 0 Newcastle 1

Now, if teams of this nature can beat the bigger sides away from home, most have less resources and worse sides, given we are placed higher than all of them.

Moyes hasn't won away at a Top 4 side in his whole reign... well, not in normal time anyway. We were unlucky a few seasons back against Arsenal when it ended 2-2 but other than that we haven't even come close most times.

Admittedly we got a good point at Spurs, our recent record against them is impressive and we seem to have a bit of a hoodoo over City. The difference between these and the other big sides though, is in defence. They all have much better defences and aren't as easy 'to get at'. Also these have only recently become much better teams; I don't think we have the same mentality embedded in our game when visiting these grounds.
Richard Dodd
19   Posted 26/04/2011 at 10:43:44

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Perhaps Luke and others would prefer Moyes to have the Ian Holloway view of how to survive in the top sphere of our game? Given the limitations of the players at his disposal last Saturday, I think his team did well to hold out for so long. I tend to accept Hibbo`s explanation ? we went there to win but soon found United were too strong for us and were FORCED into defensive mode.

Totally agree we should have destroyed some of the lesser teams Luke mentions... but United? Do me a favour.

Mike Gwyer
20   Posted 26/04/2011 at 11:29:32

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I would like to know who all these gifted players are that Moyes is somehow fucking up.

Pienaar has long gone, leaving us with Arteta, Osman, Bily & Coleman, we had better include Gueye & Baines otherwise our attacking options begin to resemble a League 1 team.

Really, it is extremely frightening that Moyes now has Coleman & Gueye as his primary wide options (a spend of about £200k). EPL teams know what we do, they know how we do it. They also know that we defend well & primarily break through Baines, so does it not make you laugh that, when we go to Old Trafford, fellow blues are expecting us to go and win this game ? with fucking who or what exactly?
Dave Wilson
21   Posted 26/04/2011 at 12:10:25

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Luke

I like your stuff, so I won't be too critical, but you suggested that those who thought only Vidic was rested were being naive; I don't agree... in fact, I take it further: I think those who believe this have actually given it more thought than you have. Vidic is showing signs of weariness, the ease with which Toure went past him last week was evidence of this; I have listed why others didn't play.

If you're asking, "Did SAF select what he believed was the strongest side available to him at that moment in time?" ? then I would say the answer would have to be an emphatic Yes.

BTW, some of your dates go back long before Moyes was on board, but even if you went back 20 years you`ll find our records at these grounds are still appalling. Moyes hardly created the problem. Surely you would agree that despite the widening gap in wealth, Moyes has considerably improved our record against the big boys over the past couple of seasons.
Trevor Mackie
22   Posted 26/04/2011 at 12:23:00

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Mike

I'm not expecting us to win at OT because over the years Moyes has developed his squad to exist in the Prem ? not challenge; throw in his mindset of timid containment and it just won't happen.

The anger comes from not wanting to believe that, after all this time, we are so poor, so removed from clubs in our division that it's pre-ordained; yet, every year, it is.
Luke O'Farrell
23   Posted 26/04/2011 at 12:30:31

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Dave

I see your point on their team when put like that. Although I'm sure when you saw the team sheet and they had a central midfield of Anderson / Gibson that we had a great chance to at least attempt to get a foot hold in midfield.

Plus O'Shea may be versatile but is never a left back and Evans is appalling to be honest; he is lucky to even be considered by SAF. I just think we could have had a right good go, considering we lost anyway.

I agree Moyes has changed us for the better and recently our results have picked up against the bigger sides, especially at home. The problem has also been evident for years I agree with that, but it falls on the current manager and the players to try and alter this surely.

I just feel he has to now try and get them playing away against the big teams without this lack of belief. We don't have it at home against these teams anymore so why should we when we're away?

I'm just bitterly disappointed with the performance and a few others away to the bigger teams. We keep drawing at Chelsea, not to be frowned at I know; but we seem to only wake up after half time. This season in the league, when we were awful for 45, we then dominated the rest of the game.
Tony J Williams
24   Posted 26/04/2011 at 12:30:20

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"Put at least two strikers out from the start of each game and try to win; even if we ship a goal or two at the other end, it would be better than defending for a draw until we are at least one goal down and then putting on forwards to try and catch-up."

Absolutely fantastic tactics, ship a couple of goals and then put on?? Hang on, we already have our two forwards on and the 4-4-2 failed, now what? 4-3-3, brilliant. Don't worry that we are playing catch up, let's ship more goals whilst going for a consolation goal.

It is simple this managing lark, Good God it's so easy to see.

At least with a 4-5-1 we can change it to 4-4-2 with an extra forward to try and get the one goal back. The ease of how Man U went through our midfield, do you think weakening the midfield and adding an extra forward would have helped?

Many of Man Utd's attacks came on the break, how can they break if we were supposedly camped in our half?
Trevor Lynes
25   Posted 26/04/2011 at 12:45:07

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Just look at our bench and compare it to United's ? If that does not answer the critics then nothing will...

If people on this site think that our strikers are up to standard then they must be absolutely mad.

We have an ageing and injury-prone discard from Man Utd as our best striker!! He was the last striker to get MotM when he scored four against Blackpool....

We have Beckford who is nowhere near as good as most of the other strikers or forward players in the division... it's not just about scoring goals ? it's his all-around play that gets him dragged off!!

We have big Victor who has not scored for ages and is still raw even though he has lots of experience.

Get onto Vellios who is very young, inexperienced and really untested!! Name me another side with such a paucity of front men??? (Don't count Yak or Vaughan as they are sliding down the divisions where they belong...)

Get the BLUE TINTED specs off and try to get real! Distin has almost completed a season without injury and always consistent compared to any of the above and he is 33 years old. The defence are carrying us with the present team on the field. Ozzie has been the only midfielder/front man with any form at all of late and I am constantly amazed (and relieved) that we have been able to gain safety with the players available.

Tony J Williams
26   Posted 26/04/2011 at 12:51:35

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"Although I'm sure when you saw the team sheet and they had a central midfield of Anderson / Gibson that we had a great chance to at least attempt to get a foothold in midfield."

Luke, you would think so... until you saw our midfield of Neville and Osman.
Luke O'Farrell
27   Posted 26/04/2011 at 12:58:43

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Tony

Even though our midfield is limiited at the moment;,Saturday just wasn't good enough.

You would expect Rodwell and Neville to get stuck in against them two; they backed off and gave them the freedom of the midfield.

We gave them two players far too much respect.
Tony J Williams
28   Posted 26/04/2011 at 13:09:26

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I agree Luke, Saturday wasn't good enough, not good enough from the players, not good enough from the manager and definitely not good enough from the board.
Dave Wilson
29   Posted 26/04/2011 at 12:55:44

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To be honest, Luke, I didn't know how United would line up until they were actually on the pitch. Of course I would have liked to have seen Seamus doing better against O'Shea, Bily against Fabio, and Beckford against Ferdinand, but we lost all three of those match-ups comprehensively and, with Rodwell and Cahill contributing very little, we were always facing an uphill struggle.

I`m also dissapointed so many have ignored our good results against the rich clubs, but have latched onto this defeat and lambasted Moyes for being negative; it seems some had been waiting for weeks to do so.

Anyway, keep those articles coming.

I shudder to think of their reaction if City or Chelsea finally break the pattern and manage to beat us.
Erik Dols
30   Posted 26/04/2011 at 13:45:30

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Brian Williams (#8): "You can wax lyrical all you want... you could have JC himself as manager... but if you've got no money you've got no chance!"

I was thinking about Johan Cruyff as our manager before I understood who you really meant... Talk about football influencing the brain!
Peter Warren
31   Posted 26/04/2011 at 13:53:55

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Depressing on Sat, United simply outclassed us and have far superior players.

Everybody has said how well we did defensively and to be honest, I tend to agree and thought we'd hang on for a draw.

However, we didn't try and dominate United and I thought, despite some heroic defending, we lacked fight. United put in a few nasty tackles, always whinging, always fouling, going through players, pulling shirts, moaning to ref ? all horrible stuff.

We have two big problems: firstly, we lack a striker; secondly, our team is far too nice. Why can't we have some horrible nasty bastards in the team? Second half, Rooney was blatantly close to spitting his dummy out big time, why don't we have anybody who gives him a good kicking? United had O'Shea, Evans, Ferdinand, Rooney, Hernandez, Valencia, Anderson ? all who did dirty sly fouls; we had nobody except perhaps Hibbert ? who had a lack of support I thought and was exposed several times.
Tony J Williams
32   Posted 26/04/2011 at 15:48:39

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Peter, I mentioned this too. Why do we get up so quickly from a foul? Feck it, play them at their own game. Stay down clutching somewhere ? it works for them.

What about Horse Face picking Cahill up by his shirt? Imagine Hibbert doing that to Nani, he would act like he had been set upon by the Boston Strangler!
Mike Allison
33   Posted 26/04/2011 at 17:44:30

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"I tried to steer away from solely blaming Moyes as I risk the wrath of his blinded followers who will not accept his faults."

This is where you step into the nonsense. It's a complete myth among the massive whingers that these 'blinded followers' exist. People who defend David Moyes on this site do so not because they can see no faults, but because they accept the faults as part of a 'total package' that is more good than bad.

Any reference to 'blinded followers who will not accept his faults' or anything similar are insulting, dishonest and should have no place on this website. It's effectively a strawman argument, putting up a weak or untenable point of view so that you can swipe it down.

Here's a challenge: find me one example, one post, where somebody claims that Moyes has no faults, anywhere in the entire archive of this website. You won't do it. These people don't exist. The fact that they disagree with you in their overall assessment of David Moyes does not make them idiots, nor do they hold the ridiculous absolutist position you want to foist on them so that you can show its wrong. Argue with what people actually say, don't make stuff up.
Andy Crooks
34   Posted 26/04/2011 at 18:14:42

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Luke, I've been reading this thread and have been waiting for someone to hit you with your "blinded followers" reference. Mike Alison has done it and, frankly, he is right. You have written a good article but you seem to be dithering a little. You aspire to write and you certainly can. Do yourself a favour and read Mike's post. I never agree with much he says but here he is right.

I think you aspire, and I'm sure Michael can assist you here, to broadsheet. In my view, if you want to start a debate, if you want to create interest, think tabloid. This site is read by a lot of people and loads of them will disagree with you. Tell it straight. Good luck.

Roman Sidey
35   Posted 26/04/2011 at 18:44:23

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Dave:

"Ask yourself why Spurs needed a Howard howler to gain a single point against us, or why Liverpool needed a dodgy penalty to get their solitary point, Ask yourself when was the last time we didn't beat City, or why Ancelotti can't beat Moyes. Yes, we did lose at Arsenal, but only a couple of late individual errors prevented us from gaining a deserved win."

Ask yourself why we scored first and very early against Spurs and then sat back and let them have the opportunity to score from a Howard howler, or how we could come out from half-time at Anfield, score two quick goals, only to let Liverpool play back at us and allow them anywhere near the penalty area where they have been awarded countless penalties against us. I hope we keep beating those City scumbags at any cost, but Moyes has only beaten Ancelotti (or Chelsea for that matter) once outright. And why would we play so well every time we play Arsenal, currently the mentally weakest side in the history of sport, but then fuck it up towards the end?

Robbie Shields:

Good spot on the Roar mate. When Ange first got the job, everyone hated him, but they stuck with him for a season then look what he did. The weren't even getting 10,000 bums at Suncorp until he came along. I salute you, even though, every time I look at your name, I think of that wanker Robbie Slater.
Roman Sidey
36   Posted 26/04/2011 at 21:18:13

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Tony, I like what you're saying there at #32... (Sometimes we agree?! Fark.)

We cry about not getting awarded penalties but we're either never in the area for them, or we are too honest for it, which is only a little bit of bollocks.

Your second bit says it all. What that game against United needed for us was what we were discussing a few weeks ago. A mental, boss type player who could have put Nani in his place. I can't actually believe that he hasn't been broken yet.
Luke O'Farrell
37   Posted 26/04/2011 at 21:45:00

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Mike

I may have used the wrong choice of wording for that point. I do stick to that point to a degree though.

There are fans on here who seem to defend Moyes to the hilt and will try and justify almost any decision/tactic/mistake that he carries out. It is almost a blind faith in the manager.

Although you say "it does not make them idiots", in reference to me disagreeing with people; I made no such point calling anybody an idiot and said nothing that could be deemed as an insult.
Trevor Mackie
38   Posted 26/04/2011 at 21:53:07

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Mike.

I object to the "massive whingers" remark.

I'm not a small man by any means but any reference to 'massive whingers" or anything similar are insulting, dishonest and should have no place on this website.

Here's a challenge: find me one example, one post, where somebody claims that Moyes has nothing but faults, anywhere in the entire archive of this website. You won't do it. These people don't exist. The fact that they disagree with you in their overall assessment of David Moyes does not make them idiots.

HARRUMPH!
Dave Wilson
39   Posted 26/04/2011 at 21:46:32

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Roman

Moyes`s team have beaten Ancelotti`s team in the cup and the league, but after 5 attempts, they havent beaten us... and "why did we didn't sit back and allow Spurs the opportunity to score from a Howard howler" what? We didn't, he just gifted them it from a nothing situation.

And "Why did we allow Liverpool near our penalty area"? What are you talking about? These are fabulously wealthy clubs with world class players in their ranks... they WILL have their moments.

Like I say, nobody can better our record against these teams in the past couple of seasons but, rather than acknowledge that, you want to pick holes in it and complain about the few goals we have conceded.

You guys then call MOYES negative???

Un-be-liev-able!
Roman Sidey
40   Posted 27/04/2011 at 02:39:33

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No, no, no, no, no. You missed the entire point, Dave. I did say we'd only beaten Ancelotti's Chelsea once "outright", as the FA Cup game still is recorded as 1-1, before the penalty shootout.

Also, in games where we've scored early, like the Tottenham game for instance, as well as the Man City game, we get a lead and sit back and let the pressure build (by the way I know we scored two against City, but after 20 mins we gave them all the ball). We should never have been in the position we were in to give them the chance at White Hart Lane.

The Liverpool side with tremendous wealth that got a late equaliser against us after we'd pounded them for the start of the second half: Kelly, Spearing, Lucas, Shelvey. Yep, really proud of the boys in blue for hanging in there and getting a draw at a ground that Wolves and Blackpool have both won at this season.

Seriously, if you can be positive at all at this stage in the season, you really must be the happiest bloke getting around in life.
Dave Wilson
41   Posted 27/04/2011 at 06:30:19

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Roman,

The biggest thing in Moyes`s favour is the quality of the criticism leveled at him. When it's weak and ill-informed, it strengthens his case far more than anything he does. You my friend are doing a terrific job.

Liverpool under Kenny Dalgliesh have been transformed, they have wiped the floor with both Manchester clubs and are a million miles from the team that were threatened by relegation. We faced Dalglish`s Liverpool, for you to criticise Spearing, Kelly and Lucas to make Everton ? the team you support ? look bad shows you have no knowledge of these players. Lucas is a Brazilian international, Kelly and Spearing are two very promising youngsters, standing out in an area that has a big reputation for producing top footballers.

You don't seem to know how Spurs scored either, or you wouldn't keep repeating this silly claim that we should have let them be there. It was a cross from nowhere that was going out of play until Howard somehow contrived to throw it back into the goalmouth... Tottenham offered nothing ? WE DID NOT SIT BACK.

You also don't seem to realise that we had a man sent of at City, but if you do, are you seriously suggesting we shouldn't have come under a bit of pressure?

Your arguments are frankly either untrue or unrealistic and like many others offers much more to the case for the defence than it does for the prosicution.

And please dont make the classic TW error, just because I refuse to try to conjure up all sorts of things in and attempt to discredit some very creditable results doesn't mean I`m happy. I`ve seen great Everton sides mate and wont be happy until I see another.

But Hey, each to their own; if you to paint things a darker shade of black and spend time to picking holes in a magnificent FA Cup win at Chelsea and wins at City then go ahead knock yourself out.

When Blackpool and Wolves bite the dust, at least you`ll be able to take great comfort from their superb displays against Woy`s Liverpool...
Robbie Shields
42   Posted 27/04/2011 at 07:18:59

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Roman, I'm afraid you are wasting your time with Dave, I've had the same lame patronising assertions that my points are weak and ill informed levelled at me, he doesn't and never will get it.

Dave, if Liverpool have been transformed by a certain Mr Dalgliesh in your own words, then maybe, just maybe the same could happen to us and we could wipe the floor with United given new direction.

Since Torres left, the Liverpool players they have now are far worse than they were under Woy, and IMHO are far worse than the players Moyes has had at his disposal this year, once again you have shot yourself in the foot inadvertently, keep it coming, it's apologists (Ooops, can't say that you be offended) like you that make it fun coming onto ToffeeWeb for a laugh.

And your absolutely right, when Blackpool and Wolves bite the dust we can be really proud of another year of mediocrity, knocked out of both cups meekly playing shit football. It's great being compared to the Wolves and Blackpool's of this world isn't it.

'Nil Satis Nisi Optimum', does that mean anything to you, or perhaps we should change it to 'Mediocrity Forever'.
Dave Wilson
43   Posted 27/04/2011 at 09:12:27

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Robbie

Appologist? I've said far more damning things of David Moyes than you ever have. Only I save my criticisms for valid points, I don't make shit up ? like "comparing us to Wolves and Blackpool" (it was only you who did that)... oh and never make excuses for an Everton win.

I suspect Moyes would be delighted with the stuff you and Roman are coming up with, because if that's the best you can muster... he`s here for life!
Roman Sidey
44   Posted 27/04/2011 at 23:11:14

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David, it's gotten out of hand, and all I was trying to do was show that the paragraph of positives you wrote could also be seen as negatives. I for one felt bitterly dissappointed after draws at Spurs and Liverpool, maybe even Stamford bridge (1-1 to a Chelsea penalty, not the first time in recent history).

I will never say Moyes doesn't have qualities. In fact, I've said them plenty of times. I think he'd make a great (read: GREAT/FANTASTIC/WORLD BEATING) assistant coach at a massive club, or maybe a World Cup winning defensive coach, but I don't think, and haven't seen evidence that he can manage a big club or a big budget.

Think about it. If you were paying his (overpriced) wage, and he was on a rolling contract and not set in for another two seasons, would you be keeping him going on what he's on, giving him a payrise/paycut, or saying thanks for the memories and let know how you fare somewhere else?

For me, it'd be a (massive) paycut, or "Catch ya later, Davey. Thanks for nine boring years."
Luke O'Farrell
45   Posted 27/04/2011 at 23:51:57

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Roman

I fully understand your frustrations with the manager; some of his decisions just don't make any sense.

Although you'd happily get rid of him?? That is just plain madness.

I don't think you'll find another manager anywhere who would come to Everton given our money situation. (At least not one good enough for the job.)

I also firmly believe there is not another manager who could work with the lack of budget that Moyes has to deal with.

I would take Moyes and all his faults over the massive punt of sacking him!
James Flynn
46   Posted 30/04/2011 at 01:28:27

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Robbie (42) - "Roman, I'm afraid you are wasting your time with Dave, I've had the same lame patronising assertions".

Not bad yourself, "lame patronising assertions"-wise.

And we're NOT mediocre. We're just outside contention due to a lack of a genuine, opposing manager-frightening, predator. Nothing else.

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