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Where did it all break down?

By David Booth :  27/04/2011 :  Comments (48) :
This season, I genuinely thought that, with my envisaged first eleven team sheet of:

Coleman, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines
Arteta, Fellaini, Rodwell, Pienaar
Cahill, Saha

...with a subs bench comprising Mucha, Hibbert, Neville, Distin, Osman, Bilyaletdinov & Beckford ... that we would be genuine outside title contenders. Even now, I believe we SHOULD have been.

But the die was cast from the Blackburn opener, wasn't it? I was assured, as I was when I got my first season ticket as a college kid, that we'd genuinely coast to at least a 3-0 victory and apart from a hiccup or two against the 'top' sides, would be by far the best of the rest.

The reality was that, if one or two key results had gone the wrong way at the wrong time, we would have been locked in the bottom three ? and real relegation prospects.

But just as disappointing as the way our season has panned out is the over-zealous ? and to my mind hugely inappropriate ? criticism of David Moyes. Many on here are convinced it has been his fault and no-one else's.

True, he is culpable thanks to bouts of stupefying stubbornness: persisting with a hopelessly out-of-form Arteta, sticking doggedly to a 4-5-1 formation, persistently playing people such as Heitinga & Bilyaletdinov out of position and ignoring obvious changes that everyone but him could see needed urgently making.

However, I think he has done a great job on limited resources and is steadily learning, improving and building a consistently better team. Progress is not as rapid as some might wish, but we are a club not to be taken lightly now ?something we haven't been (apart from a glorious few months under Joe Royle), for 25 years. That, surely, is worthy of our admiration?

Where I think the problem lies is amongst the players.

True, we can scrap for 90 minutes, play some neat passing football and have some impressive names on a full-strength team sheet. However, there is still a painful lack of movement when we get the ball around the opposition box. Old Trafford was a painful example. But we CAN pass and move in match-winning style, as demonstrated by all three goals at Wolves.

Equally importantly, there's no real fight ? or fighters ? in the team. Like I said earlier, we're far too 'nice'. We lack aggression and arrogance, which is why players like Heitinga are so important. And alongside those qualities, we have got to develop greater consistency and a collective winning confidence.

Our current Jekyll and Hyde nature is so frustrating. And that's where the players have got to meet Moyes half way and give him back what he puts in.

It's been commonly reported in here ? and was much in evidence in Saturday's game ? that Moyes constantly urges the team forward. Is it THEY, not him, that hesitate, pass sideways, back pedal and fail to deliver.

Manchester United are never to be underrated, but our players showed them far too much respect: Osman constantly allowing himself to be bundled over; Coleman was anonymously ineffective by playing almost in centre midfield; there was no support or proper service for Beckford; Bilyaletdinov looked as if he was playing with his boots on the wrong feet; and Rodwell stolled around at jogging pace like a Sunday football Zidane.

They have got to have a long, hard look at themselves and realise how badly they have failed to deliver this season, despite partially redeeming themselves recently.

Reader Comments

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Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 27/04/2011 at 06:28:34

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Good post, David. I don't agree with the main thrust... but good post all the same... which is why I pulled it out from the tail-end of that other thread and made it an article in its own right. I think this is a point worth further debate.

The thing is this: the team is an assemblage of players who are the manifestation of the manager. They become an expression of his personality: if he is good and strong, full of guile and generally inspiring, then the team will respond to that and show similar qualities. After all, who gets all the praise when the team actually performs? That's right... the manager.

So, quite rightly, the manager deserves all the scorn when they fail to perform. When they are negative, over-cautious, lacking in confidence because they are played out of position, playing for a manager who each week sets the tone by fawning over the achievements of his opponents and their manager in his nice-as-pie pre-match interviews to the suck-up media. So our players go out nice as pie, never appealing for clear penalties, or getting in the ref's face when a corner is given for a goal-kick, because that's exactly how their manager is: Mr Church Mouse who turns the other cheek in his holier-than-thou piety and spirit of Christian charity that simply invites us to be downtrodden and walked all over...

The players need strong inspiring leadership with a will and conviction to win... leadership with some balls and guts and drive and desire. The reason we don't see that is not down to the players in my view ? it is down to Moyes. It's not that players should get an easy ride: plenty of people call then out on here when individuals fail to perform... and open themselves up to others bleating on about scapegoating, victimization, and all the other ridiculous jibes. But at the end of the day, it's a TEAM game, and the man responsible for bringing the best, the very best from the team ? is the manger.
Stephen Kenny
2   Posted 27/04/2011 at 06:54:14

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I like you, was genuinely optimistic this season. I felt that we had enough about us to make a real challenge for the top 4 places.

The main reasons I thought that were;

- The form of Arteta in the games at the end of the last season. At the top of his game he's up there with anyone for me.

- A fully fit Fellaini with another year of Premiership experience. Another who on his day can completely dominate games and dictate play.

- The squad coming through the transition from a hard working, dogged team to a footballing side, one of few it has to be said in this league. This I thought was a gradual transistion that would take a year or two and come to fruition this season. Sadly our movement, passing into space and moving the ball out of defence is as poor as it's ever been.

- A fully fit Yak. I had hoped that least season Moyes was nursing him back to fitness. Still more than capable of scoring 20 a season IMO.

For a number of reasons nothing went to plan. Arteta has been woeful, it's certainly not Moyes fault but perservering with him for almost a full season bang out of form has to be a mistake.

Big Mo is a combative midfieler and as such is always likely to pick up knocks. Hardly Moyes fault again.

The main factor for the poor season IMO is the lack of progression in our play. We still stand still when we have the ball, we still pass slowly and to feet instead of space and we still go sidewidays instead of forward. Put this with the other maddening things that Moyes persist's with such as all back for corners etc. and we have a recipe for mediocrity.

I was optimistic he would learn from his mistakes and we would progress as a team, this hasn't happened and we are IMO a worse side than the one he built 3-4 years ago. The main reason being that side knew exactly what it was good at and followed it's plan to the letter.

Without calling him names, and without denying the things he has done for us, I think it's time for a change for both parties. I don't think he's a winner and I don't think we would struggle in this league, with this squad under any number of manager's who have proven themselves more than capable in this league. Those shouting about how we would go down, It'll be Megson etc. need to have a look where we are now, the assets we have within our squad which would give a new man room for manouvre and ask themselves if we have won nothing in a decade, what's going to change in the next decade with a manager who's most common personality trait is stubborness and hard work?
Ian Tunstead
3   Posted 27/04/2011 at 07:17:47

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So Michael, you want to see our players hound the referee for every decision and play for penalties? It sounds a little too much like the behaviour of Man Utd and Chelsea to me which is most of what I hate in football.

If that is what it takes to be successeful then no thank you, I might as well get myself a season ticket with the rest of the glory seekers who will shamelessly carry out any dirty deed to win.
Peter O'Connor
4   Posted 27/04/2011 at 07:21:06

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David's views mirror my own thoughts on our season and there are times when I go home and tell the missus that Moyes has to go for all of the reasons mentioned by David.

However, in the cold light of day I do not believe that to get rid of Moyes would be the best thing for Everton Football Club at this moment in time as I do not think that there is a manager out there that can do better with what Moyes has to work with.

I would be interested if anyone else has any suggestions. I just wish Moyes would learn more from his past mistakes such as formation and motivation, ie, we are going to beat the opposition rather than not lose. Having said that, he has improved significantly on his previous dithering substitutions.

At the fans conference last week, I went home completely dispirited as there really is no sign of any new money coming into the club and that is the only thing that will change what we have witnessed this season. Sadly, without some real money coming into the club, I can see EFC slipping slowly but surely down the table and becoming a team that fights against relegation season after season ? until the invitable happens!

Of course, the question is that, if we do ever get some real money to spend, does Moyes not deserve the chance to spend it?
Eugene Ruane
5   Posted 27/04/2011 at 07:42:29

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Two things, David.

1) Re Moyes, you say he is "improving and building a consistently better team" ? this is simply not true. A 'consistently better team' would (surely!) get 'better' each season. League positions tell us the opposite is true.

2) Re the players, you say "Is it THEY, not him, that hesitate, pass sideways, back pedal and fail to deliver". True... and it is HIM who buys them 'trains' them and selects them (and selects them over and over and over and fucking over and..).

Stephen Kenny (#2), in his final paragraph, nails it for me.
Derek Thomas
6   Posted 27/04/2011 at 07:58:57

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All fair enough up to a point... the point being, or IMO, not being: Moyes is still learning.

1) 10 years, ffs

2) All he seems to be learning, is what works to survive, what works not to get beat, not very effectively either some games.

3) He has yet to learn just what his best 11 actually is OR how to play them to the best of their ability.

4) Nor has he learned the difference between square pegs and round holes

5) The ruthlessness required to drop loyal servants.

Have I missed anything else he hasn't learned yet, no doubt some will fill in the blanks.

But don't be too hard on him, cut him a bit of slack, he's nowt but a lad, I mean he's only had TEN FUCKING YEARS !
Martin Mason
7   Posted 27/04/2011 at 08:14:42

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I watched Man United last night; they have developed into a phenomenal team and I'd put my house on them to win the CL. Don't judge our performance against them in any other way than as a very good and spirited rearguard action. Surely not even the most optimistic amongst us could have expected better?
Dave Wilson
8   Posted 27/04/2011 at 07:43:19

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I think Michael has put this up there because he has picked up on a point to nail Moyes for what IMO is his biggest failing. I have to admit he`s is absolutely spot on.

Moyes`s play nice, be humble, mustn't fucken grumble attitude drives me bananas and it really is reflected in his team: we are sickeningly "Nice".

Our captain must be the only player in the league who always pleads with referees not to book opposing players.

Our goalie would be twice the keeper he is if he dropped the "Tim, nice but Dim" routine and started clearing house.

Our defenders must be a dream to play against ? if they cant win it fairly, they don't want to win it.

Our midfield are paragons of fair play. Can there be two less competetive players than Bily And Rodders ?

Our attackers may not be top notch but they could dramatically improve overnight, simply by baring their teeth, but they don't have an aggressive bone between them.

Even our so called Hardman is a complete Mary Ann...

When Big Vic came on on Saturday, the first thing he did was deck Fabio... I was out of my seat shaking me fist shouting "Get in there Vic lad, take no prisoners!" At last, I thought, he`s using his bulk to intimidate... Then the twat walked over, picked him up, and spent the next 10 minutes apologizing! Can you imagine Sharpie or Gray doing that?

Talking of Vic; remember that tackle from Nolan? Moyes and our players did nothing, we`d been kicked to fuck all over the park and retaliated like we always do, by accepting it.

I often think back at that shithouse tackle Marwood did on Inchy. Reid failed ? just ? in his attempt to cut Marwood in two, but his retribution was painful and almost instant... we were winners and nobody fucked with us.

I used to secretly hope the opposition would get a one-on-one situation against Big Nev, I didn't feel the afternoon's entertainment was complete without seeing a striker turn the colour of boiled shite at the sight of him flying out of his goal. We weren't just a good team, we were a hard team; nobody liked us and I loved it.

Moyes is too nice, his team are too nice, our entire club is too fucken nice. Go inside GP changing rooms, you`ll see no menacing signs to intimidate opposition when they get here, merely a welcome.

I remember we were EVERTON, we were the team who "do what we want" ? no generous praise for the opposition, just a "fuck you" from Howard Kendall when the Munich coach started whining about our "competitive nature"...
Andrew Laird
9   Posted 27/04/2011 at 09:29:10

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Martin, Man Utd are a good team. They are by no means phenomenal. Shalke currently lie mid-table in the Bundesliga with arguably the best keeper in the league and two of the worst professional centre-backs I have ever witnessed.

Raul was washed up a couple of years ago and Edu is Shalke's Anichebe.

I will gladly accept your house when they get stuffed by either Spanish side in the final.
David S Shaw
10   Posted 27/04/2011 at 09:36:50

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Outside title contenders?

Our fans are deluded.
Graham Holliday
11   Posted 27/04/2011 at 09:25:09

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I agree, this is a good post.

I think that the elephant in the room (and this is the case with a lot of teams seen to be 'underperforming'), is balance.

We are capable of both excellent pass and move football (at times), and dogged defensive displays. This should have given us a good basis from which to have a strong season, this year and next.

But the one thing you have to admire Ferguson and United for is that he is consistently able to match the two, and get the balance of his side right depending on the nature of the game, the stage of the season, the opposition ? everything.

This is something I think Moyes fails at. Undoubtedly a significant factor is that he has to make do with the resources at his disposal. With funding, he'd have been able to buy Landon Donovan which would have extended the options available to him.

But there are still too many occasions when Moyes blunders through a game, not able to see what needs changing to beat a side, or get us back into a game.

For what it is worth, I think Moyes has done a tremendous job with the resources at his disposal... but he has his failings, his limitations.

It's not black or white... Moyes Out or In Moyes We Trust.... he has done well. Better than most managers would. But, crikey, I wish he'd learn his lessons sometimes.

Even with the limitations imposed by our financial situation, I still feel that we have the capacity to have a successful season next year. But he really needs to get things right that he's shown consistently he doesn't quite see. Namely, getting the balance of the side right on a consistent basis... if not always from the start of a match, then at least seeing what needs changing early and acting to get us the points.
Ray Robinson
12   Posted 27/04/2011 at 09:27:04

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Dave, can appreciate a lot of what you are saying about us being too nice but today's football is worlds apart from that of the 80s. I watched the Bayern Munich home game again recently and was amazed at some of the hard (cynical) tackles that we put in that night. If that match were to be played today, we'd finish with 8 men! Besides, I don't think we're that nice really when you look at some of the sly tackles that Neville makes each game (ever noticed the trailing foot?) or the constant irritation that Cahill causes (not that far removed from Savage really!).

And the statistics (yes I know) state that we've committed the most fouls of any team in the PL.

If we played foul-free a la Barcelona, I wouldn't be complaining.

The real reason for me why we don't get as many penalties as we should is because we're too static in the opposition box. If we had wingers or front men with pace, I think you'd see the number of penalties increasing. It's too easy for the ref not to give a penalty when the play is almost stationary.
Gavin Ramejkis
13   Posted 27/04/2011 at 09:45:56

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Have to agree with Dave Wilson, the world is made up of winners and losers, winners will do what it takes and the rest sit back and take it. All this 'respect' campaign is utters bollocks and I too would rather have a team of winners willing to do what it takes rather than this 'play nice' shit. Other teams know they can do what they like and take the piss, even an implied element of don't fuck with us would be better than what Moyes has done to the players.

For all the LMA awards it isn't translating to winning enough games and grinding out results against all comers. Teams used to be scared to come to Fortress Goodison; nowadays, even the promoted teams are rubbing their hands. If a team comes out yard-dog style against Everton, we back off and roll over for the prostate exam ? we should be scaring the fuck out of opposition teams.
Dick Fearon
14   Posted 27/04/2011 at 08:52:22

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I agree with bits and pieces to each of the above summaries yet most of all I agree with Michael K #1.

From Xmas onwards, other managers with similar financial constraints find themselves in a relegation battle. For Moyes, that battle starts from the first kick off. It continues in that vein until the safety of 40 points is achieved.

Think back to this season's early games when it was every man to the pumps at the slightest sign of danger. Even our lone striker could be seen charging back to bolster the defence. Stopping goals was much more important than scoring them. All that was going on against sides we should reasonably expect to hammer, particularly at home. The motto was to play it safe and hope for a winning goal in a low-scoring game.

Think back also to the numerous times when much needed substitutions came far too late and then it was often with the wrong players. Then we saw all those games when the team displayed a total lack of attacking creativity. We begged to no avail for a specialist attacking coach be added to a coaching panel over-stocked with ex-defenders. In this week's interview, he said he had no idea why we were so far off the pace at the start of each season. If he really has no idea why that should be, he should hang his head in shame.

Mark Murphy
15   Posted 27/04/2011 at 10:18:26

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Martin, where do you live, amigo?
I need to pre-book the removals van.

!Forca Barca!
Shaun Sparke
16   Posted 27/04/2011 at 10:31:51

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Good post, David, and I agree with most of the things that you say. We did show Man Utd far too much respect, is that down to the players or the manager? Some would argue that the manager sends the team out, and what you see is on the pitch is an expression of his personality. I am not so sure that it is as simple as that though.

By the way, you have to give great credit to that man Alex Ferguson. The audacity of the man is incredible. He had the nerve to put out six, yes that is six reserves out last night in a champions league semi final. Is this man crazy or what. At least I think they are reserves as six of the team that started last night started against us on Saturday.
Tony J Williams
17   Posted 27/04/2011 at 10:50:42

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"Our Goalie would be twice the keeper he is if he dropped the Tim nice but Dim routine and started clearing house" - One of my biggest gripes about Howard, he is a great shot stopper but when the ball is in the air he should be wiping out the attacker and his own defender. No wonder he doesn't get injured often, he hardly puts himself about or in a position to get hurt.

Neville and Cahill are the "best" professional foulers we have, the Spurs game at White Hart Lane stands out in my mind, when Neville did a number on Crouch with his sly little pushes and falling over. Now if he would stop trying to get the referee to not give out cards...
Kevin Gillen
18   Posted 27/04/2011 at 10:31:14

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I'm sorry. I've never seen so much rubbish written in all my life. Dave Booth's article is, in my opinion, right. The players take the field and they take the plaudits when we win and the brickbats when we lose.

Without Moyes we would have been relegated in the last few years. The fact we currently sit 7th in the league is a bloody miracle given the complete lack of investment. Most football managers in the Premier League cannot exist without continual horsetrading of players and madcap signings that rarely come off.

In the Summer of last year, I counted ten players out and four in. In the Winter, we added nobody and lost another two significant players. Our three most attack-minded players and another with swagger (Heitinga) are injured and all of a sudden, according to Michael Kenrick, we are a team of shithouses.

I am as disappointed as the next person in our performance on Saturday. Clearly Beckford, Bilyaletdinov and Anichebe aren't up to the Everton standard. They are sadly what we can afford. I ask you Michael Kenrick, who do you have in mind for Everton manager? And what would possess them to come to Everton without a pot to pee in?

Also I object to sportsmanship and respect for opponents to be seen as a form of weakness. When I coach my lads at Healing U-14s, it is essential they have these attributes and we have won just about everything before us. Dangerous tackles and overt retribution doesn't make you a winning team, otherwise we would have Joey Barton as captain and be where Newcastle are and have been.

Mike Bates
19   Posted 27/04/2011 at 11:04:22

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Or you could have Roy Keane as captain and be where Manchester Utd are... and have been.
Kevin Gillen
20   Posted 27/04/2011 at 11:30:34

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Roy Keane had Giggs, Cantona, Schmeichel etc. He didn't do so well when he had the equivalent of Anichebe et al at Notts Forest. My point is I didn't see us bottle any tackles on Saturday, we were just crap getting forward. From what I saw of the manager, he was urging us to go for all three points.
Declan Brown
21   Posted 27/04/2011 at 11:47:56

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Dave Wilson #8 ? that post made the hairs on my neck stand up ? brilliantly put, I couldn't have put it any better myself. By far "Post of the Year" to date.
Luke O'Farrell
22   Posted 27/04/2011 at 11:52:26

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Dave, I know we don't often agree but that is so very true.

I've lost count of the number of times we've got forward in good postions and other teams will take our players out. They take the booking for the team and the danger is often cleared from the free kick.

I think I saw Rodwell do a similar thing in our last home game; that must be the first time we have done that though.

Rather than take someone out, our team seem to want to win the ball fairly or not at all. Annoys the hell out of me.

Fellaini seems one of the few who gets stuck in but he has a tendency to go too far sometimes plus the refs seem to target him.

Wish a few others would show his willingness to fight for the ball back though.

The Victor point is the most bewildering, he must be 6' and at least 15 stone. He should be making mincemeat of centre halves; instead he makes Heskey look like John Hartson.
Stephen Kenny
23   Posted 27/04/2011 at 12:09:55

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Are you seriously suggesting that Moyes is the difference between relegation and challenging for Europe?
Alan Clarke
24   Posted 27/04/2011 at 12:22:37

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Dave Wilson, I agree completely with what you've said (perhaps you did watch the game).

I think collectively the disappointment of this season is the fault of the board, the manager, and the players.

The board have created total apathy. The chronic lack of money demoralises everyone. When players leave and no-one replaces them or only cheaper players with less quality are brought in, it fucks everyone off. During or straight after the transfer window shuts, the mood amongst the fans and the players seems very low.

The manager has rested on his laurels too much. His pre-season preparations were shit. His persistence with 4-5-1 at home to the likes of Wolves meant we dropped important points. His persistence with players out of form means he's not blameless. We shouldn't berate him for the Man U game but losing 4-1 at home to West Brom is inexcusable.

The players need to look at themselves. If you're out of form and things aren't going for you but you put the work in, then fine. Too many games have seen our better players not putting the work in and that is not good enough. They're paid too much and it seems a lot of them don't give a shit about the shirt.

Nothing will change. This pattern will repeat itself every season unless something at the very top changes. Without investment, this is the best manager and these are the best players we can hope for.
Andrew Laird
25   Posted 27/04/2011 at 12:09:26

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Kudos to MK's post #1 and DW's post #8, both excellent.

It took a while for Dave's post to sink in but you know what? I cannot disagree with a single word he has written. I remember Marwood's tackle and Reid's impromptu retribution. Psychological winners, every one of that team... depressing thinking about our lot now.
Amit Vithlani
26   Posted 27/04/2011 at 13:07:05

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Dave (#8) ? not only post of the season but the line: "I used to secretly hope the opposition would get a one-on-one situation against Big Nev, I didn't feel the afternoon's entertainment was complete without seeing a striker turn the colour of boiled shite at the sight of him flying out of his goal."

Best line ever, the imagery had me in stitches.

On this point, I completely concur. Premier League footballers in general have become a bunch of pampered, over-paid wankers. The derision directed at Big Vic is not at his lack of talent but his failure to put himself about.

It cannot be a coincidence that, the last time we won anything, we had lads who took no prisoners: Waggy, Big Nev, Big Dunc. Unfortunately, we had a few too many artisans in that era and not enough artists, and a lasting foundation was never built.

The 80s team had a wonderful blend of steel and silk. Reidy's arrival galvanised what was already a talented squad, and we knew no one would fuck with us, even if it was a cold Tuesday night in Stoke. Those were the games I loved best.

We have the makings of a good side, Dave, but and it is missing a spark. In 2003, I thought we had found it in Rooney... but alas...
Jay Harris
27   Posted 27/04/2011 at 13:52:14

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Alan Clarke ? a really good point.

I know how despondent it makes the fans feel and it's so obvious that Moyes spits his dummy out for a while but it is his job as manager to motivate the squad and he needs to get over it or resign on principle.
Ray Said
28   Posted 27/04/2011 at 13:52:39

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Dave Wilson (#8) ? great post, mate.

Reminds me of a great quote 'the meek shall inherit... whatever is left after the winners have taken what they want'. We are too deferential to referees, opponents and media ? especially Moyes. I am not asking the team to give other players a good kicking and acquire red cards all over the place but I expect some strength of will and a bit of muscle and energy. I expect our players to tussle for the ball and get stuck in. If an opposing player lands on his arse then great ? don't go helping him up and make a cringing apology.

Scott Goin
29   Posted 27/04/2011 at 13:32:17

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I agree with Graham @11. The Moyes situation isn't black and white. He's not our saint and savior but he's also a long, long ways away from being a terrible manager. He's a good manager with obvious flaws who doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes as often as I would like.

There's something to be said for change when the status quo is not producing results. There's also something to be said for stability and realistic expectations. We don't have the players or the finances to compete with the big boys on a regular basis but, given a good and extended run of form, I feel that great things could happen.
Mark Stone
30   Posted 27/04/2011 at 14:13:54

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"1) Re Moyes, you say he is "improving and building a consistently better team" ? this is simply not true. A 'consistently better team' would (surely!) get 'better' each season. League positions tell us the opposite is true"

You can't really judge it like that though can you, as that assumes that other teams stand still. The reality is that two teams have overtaken us in terms of league placings ?namely Man City and Spurs.

Even though we have improved, other teams have also improved, and to a greater extent. And they've both done it by spending an arm and a leg.
Dean Adams
31   Posted 27/04/2011 at 15:51:23

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For a while there, I thought I was on the wrong site. It sounded like a bunch of Gunners moaning about not moving forward and winning the league.

The problems we have is that we are led by the media, they influence the referees and also paint a false picture. Man Utd are not a great team, but because Sky want them to win everything, then the rules are manipulated in thier favour. If you cant see that now, then you probably never will and will spend eternity not knowing why we will never be successful in this current climate.

I can't blame Moyes for wanting to rise above this shit that we have to endure, but I would love to see him be a bit more aggressive in his attempt to force us into contention.

This season could have been a great one, if the Yak had recovered fully. I believe if he had come back to his old form we would have been the team pushing for the top. The Yak looks quite fit now compared to the start of the season and has been scoring goals from outside the box, looking strong and seemingly wanting to re-establish himself. Who knows what he wants or if he is now good enough, I just know that with a fully functioning Yak, this season could have been so different.

Michael Kenrick
32   Posted 27/04/2011 at 15:21:15

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Ian (#3) ? not quite what I said. Kicking up a stink when a bad decision has gone against you, when you believe you have a case... that to me is justified. Outright cheating is not... but I agree, it's a fine line.

Dave (#8) ? that was not my intention but if I'd known it would draw such a great post from you... "Tim, nice but Dim" ? what a zinger!

Kevin (#18) ? sorry we disagree, but I don't understand why you keep asking these lame-ass boring pointless questions about the manager. Moyes IS the Everton manager; he is NOT going anywhere anytime soon; in my opinion, to dream of other managers is therefore completely pointless; if he WAS to leave (which he WON'T ? no matter how BAD the finances are), then I also know that I would not play any part in appointing his successor... so again, in my opinion, for me to dream of other managers is an exercise in futility; however, rest assured that, if he was to leave, there would be many managers more than willing to step into his shoes.... for that salary ? are you seriously suggesting many would realistically turn that down? And for the incredible honour of being manager of Everton Football Club!! One of the greatest management positions in English footballl!!! Have you no inkling of what means???

Would they be any good? You don't know, I don't know,... nobody knows!!!

But what I do know is how Moyes manages Everton. I hear repeatedly that he is doing a fantastic job. But I just don't see it. Back to futility for a moment ? given this reality: can we except anything better from our manager?

I'll just leave it there...
Martin Mason
33   Posted 27/04/2011 at 18:27:23

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Andrew/Mark, I meant the outhouse :-). Seriously though, they were very good last night.

I accept everybody's frustration but how is it possible to be a winning side with journeymen players in a lot of positions? Surely you need good players as well which we don't have. United are good because they have good players and they work very hard. They have good players because they have money. The best we can hope for are good honest performances and, to be fair, we've had a good run, losing only to United. Is it not possible that we are in fact doing better than can be expected given our squad? That is what everybody except Evertonians believe.
Kevin Gillen
34   Posted 27/04/2011 at 18:41:03

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With respect to you, Michael, because I know you want the best for Everton, as I do, but asking who might do better than Moyes is a pertinent question.

I was struck last night watching Rooney waltz around Schalke as if they were 5-year-olds ? how we might have done if the board had the bollocks to keep him all those years ago rather than horse trade him. The truth is that, everything being equal we don't have it within our powers to break in to the top four. Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Unt, are all global brands and Man City and Tottenham are extraordinarily well funded clubs. The lack of investment this year in the club has been shameful. You've seen what it buys, untried youngsters.

Moyes has been best of the rest nearly every year outside of the Sky 4 and he doesn't deserve the derision of fans in the cutthroat business that is Premier League football. The loss of Pienaar to Spurs demonstrated we haven't got a penny.

I'm hoping for the day when United and City and Chelsea and Liverpool and all these bloated clubs with global debts go tits up. In the meantime I take great pleasure in being a proud Evertonian and seeing the excellent work of Moyes, against the odds, doing a remarkable job right throughout the club, as the youth team result demonstrates, with one hand tied behind his back.

With respect to Steven on post 23 too, I honestly believe without Moyes's stewardship, we would have been relegated in the past 8 years. Moyes halted a decline that had been continuing for 10 years. Walter Smith was a good manager and has proved himself again but he couldn't cope with the constraints imposed at Everton.

Mike Allison
35   Posted 27/04/2011 at 22:15:19

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I think we still are pretty much the best of the rest, its just that the elite group has got bigger, and now includes Tottenham and Man City as well as the previous Sky 4. Only Bolton are challenging us from the rest of the league.
Roman Sidey
36   Posted 28/04/2011 at 01:11:06

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Hey!!!!! Dave Wilson!!!! Who woulda thunk after our little back and forward on the other post that we'd have exactly the same opinions on this one. Well in, mate. That was fuckin spot on!!!

I know football and rugby are two different games, but when our 1st XV are about to run onto the field home or away, the last thing that the captain tells us is this: "Get some cunt into you!" Which translates to: "Whatever you go up against you can beat physically and aggressively, and I won't accept anything less."

We need this. I got put down so many times for suggesting this, but this is why someone like Roy Keane would do wonders! "Arteta? why did you tie your shoes like that, you twat? You're dropped!"

Who remembers West Ham in December? Moyes said he played that formation because they were his best 11 players available, regardless of position. So by that logic, why didn't Carlo Cudicini play alongside Cech for Chelsea during the Mourinho years? Maybe it's because Mourinho is a good manager.
Neil McKinney
37   Posted 28/04/2011 at 11:04:27

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Roman #36

So you want Roy Keane as manager? If that is what you're suggesting then the fact that he's a nasty bastard must be the sole factor because his record so far as a manager hardly shines.

And "why didn't Carlo Cudicini play alongside Cech for Chelsea during the Mourinho years?"

Two goal keepers? Now that's a revolutionary tactic.
David Booth
38   Posted 28/04/2011 at 12:22:46

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Just a little footnote to clarify: when I originally suggested I thought our players were a litle too nice for their own good, I wasn't advocating we metamorphosise into a team of despicable, snarling Barton-esque bulldogs.

Personally I would find that completely unaceptable as an Evertonian.

Harranging the referee Man Utd or Liverpool style is also something I would be most unhappy about.

All I was suggesting was that we are missing some instinctive aggression, confidence and self-belief to take us to the next level. Vital qualities which I feel are conspicuously missing at the moment.

Despite the fact their trophy cabinet is as bare as ours nowadays, the Gobshites still have it ? and it often wins them matches they don't deserve to.

But I want us to be admired, not reviled.

Our fabulous team of the mid-eighties embodied everything you could wish for: great technique and matching 'inner strength' too ? without being in any way nasty.

They could take care of themselves ? individually and collectively ? but were respected as a footballing team.

I think we're getting the footballing side right, but are still lacking that vital resilience.

Incorporating it will be worth another 10/12 points a season ? and enable us to begin fulfilling our potential and expectations?
Roman Sidey
39   Posted 28/04/2011 at 13:07:39

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Neil, you missed the point completely. I don't even know why I'm bothering continuing. I said someone like Roy Keane, not him specifically, but hey, even if it was him, at least he'd show the players they have to work for their position, and not be automatic selections week-in, week-out.

About the Cudicini call, well, if you want to be pedantic and literal about everything, yes, two goalkeepers on the field would be a revolutionary tactic ? almost as revolutionary as having no strikers on the field!
David Booth
40   Posted 28/04/2011 at 13:19:32

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'Roman', two interesting anagrams for you:

I am nosy red


Moyes nadir

Hope you have some good Everton credentials!
Brian Waring
41   Posted 28/04/2011 at 20:54:51

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Can't believe I'm saying this... right, here goes, deep breath: Spot on Dave Wilson!
Neil McKinney
42   Posted 28/04/2011 at 21:01:08

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Roman #39 ? "someone like Roy Keane, not him specifically". So what you're saying is you want someone with the best bits of Roy Keane and leave out the bad bits. Shall we add the choice skills of Mourinho and Sir Alex while we're at it. If only we could construct the perfect manager, that would be great.

I too like to see passion and aggression from the team, and Roy Keane certainly had that, but he was also a thug and we often saw the worst side of him too. Football has changed a lot and there's a fine line between being passionate and aggressive and just being labelled dirty or bullies.

Sorry for being "pedantic and literal" it was not my intention, but what exactly did you mean with the Cudicini-Cech bit then? I'm confused. I agree that playing West Ham with no strikers was a strange and frustrating "tactic".
Roman Sidey
43   Posted 28/04/2011 at 23:06:11

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Neil, the Cudicini pun was aimed at the fact that Moyes defended his XI against West Ham with no striker as "the best XI available regardless of position."

On the Roy Keane thing, yes, he was a thug of a player, but did any of the teams he managed have that reputation? While we're at it, a lot of people said, look at what happened to the teams he's managed and say he didn't do well.

The thing is, Moyes is at a club with much more money than the teams that Keane was managing, and not doing much else. How many trophies has Moyes won as a manager again?

Tony J Williams
44   Posted 29/04/2011 at 01:32:53

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Much more money????? 2006-07 Season, transfers in = £11M; 2007-08 season transfers in = £44.5M!!! Then goes to a lower league club 2009-10 season transfers in = £6.5M; this season, quite low but still more than us £1.7M.
Roman Sidey
45   Posted 29/04/2011 at 02:33:29

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Fair enough I didn't know he'd had that much to spend on players. I just think Moyes is too soft, nice and shit to manage us to any success. Beckford's late to a game and still plays? Keane wouldn't have that. Neither would Di Matteo, Kean, or Holloway...
Neil McKinney
46   Posted 29/04/2011 at 08:34:45

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Roman, we all know you don't like Moyes, every post you put on here makes that very clear. The problem is you will use almost any old shit to push your agenda.

I have said before on other threads, I can't argue with the criticism of his tactics, late substitutions and safety first negativity but I feel the need to counter the arguments which I think are baseless.

You say that he still plays Beckford after he's late for a game, but also criticise him for playing West Ham with no strikers on the field. Was he not forced to play Beckford for lack of alternatives?

As for the money argument, thank you Tony for pointing out that Roy Keane had plenty of cash to splash. This is my point Roman, in your quest to slag off Moyes at every opportunity you can't even be bothered to research your argument, consequently I feel the need to challenge it, but I guess I'm just being pedantic again.

Di Matteo, Holloway and Kean? You have clearly reached the point where you think literally anybody would be better than Moyes.
David Booth
47   Posted 29/04/2011 at 10:07:26

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Roman: you clearly just hate Moyes... full stop ? and nothing he has, can, or will ever do is going to make any difference.

However, if I'm reading your post number 45 correctly, are you suggesting Keane, Kean, Holloway and Di Matteo are all better choices? No further comment is necessary.

No further argument is necesary...
Roman Sidey
48   Posted 30/04/2011 at 05:57:34

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No I wasn't suggesting those guys would be good for us, but those are the names that have been thrown around throughout the season, and have been refuted time and time again, only for all three of them to actually come undone. I was being ironic, or extreme. I wouldn't want any three of them.

I don't hate Moyes. I just think, what he's shown us he's capable of, he can't take us any further and it's time for a new manager. He might do well with another club, he might not. With the current approach he has, I honestly don't believe any amount of money would fix his trophyless record, but hypotheticals aren't worth the webspace they're sprayed on.

Seriously, if you ask my mates, who are mostly Redhsites or QPR supporters (poor blokes, fuck), I was the biggest Moyes supporter a couple years back when it looked like his plan was working. Now, I realise his plan has succeeded, and it was very different to the one we thought he was building towards.

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