I was going to post the week before the Utd game. Between laziness, and ultimately deciding to show some interest in the Utd game to see what kind of performance we gave, I didn't get around to posting the piece.
Well the Utd game came and went. The complete non-performance threw me so much that the article went out the window. Then the Wigan game came and went and this led to a me deciding to do a revision of the article.
I sat down on Monday and went through my usual routine of analysing the results and the league table. When I saw the positions of the three or four teams either side of us, and how we compared to them in terms of squad, finances and overall mindset of each club, I suddenly found the new point of my article. I don't need to worry about what might happen next season. The worst has already happened in terms of my expectations being lowered ? and we are already there.
When I looked at the teams in fourth, fifth and sixth, I realised that we are further away from these league placings than we have been in years. Over the last twelve months, we have fallen away financially, squad-wise and ? worst of all in my view ? mentality-wise. It's the psychology of the team and the club that has worried me the most over the last twelve months. If you look at the last two results in particular, I would find it hard to see how this squad can lift itself for next season. Liverpool were dead in the water in December. Now, they look like the don't want the season to end. You can't buy the mental strength that squad has shown.
Spurs may have to sell during the summer if they don't get Champion's League. Harry will do his usual wheeling and dealing with what is a squad chock-full of talent and they will be there or there abouts again next season. Spurs as a club will regroup and will push hard again next season for the invaluable fourth spot.
Man City, well they finally seem to be getting it together in terms of mentality and squad spirit... and can always just spend if they need to. Us? well, fingers crossed we sell five or six of our senior players over the summer for the price of one of our bank loans and then have second-rate freebies and a couple of young fellas for the first game of the season in August. And, from the way this season has gone, we will have the mentality of a mid-table team, not a team pushing for a top four spot.
Outside chance for fourth next season? Best of the rest in fifth? Sixth place at worst? Not a hope. That ship has long sailed and the expectations I once had are long gone. My expectations are long gone in terms of next season and in the context of what they were over the last five or six.
People have said that our remaining league games are now dead rubbers and that they can't wait for the season to just end. Well in my mind they are anything but dead rubbers. If you look at the three teams just below us, and how close they are to us on points and goal difference, these games are anything but dead rubbers. We are now competing over the last three games of the season with Stoke, Bolton and Fulham for anywhere from seventh to tenth place. But, we would also now seem to be competing with them financially as well as mentally: happy to be there; happy to be surviving; living from hand to mouth from season to season and glad just to have the chance.
A worrying feeling I'm getting from the club is that it is really starting to believe its own propaganda. "Surviving on a shoestring budget against the big boys... fifth place finishes with no money and a small squad... aren't we great?!" It no longer sounds like the rumblings of a big club down on it's luck ? more like a small club that can't believe it's lasted this long in the top flight. The mentality of winners? the mentality of the best of the rest?? ? don't make me laugh.
The conclusion I came to reading the sports section on Monday is that there is no need for me to worry about my expectations for next season. The worst has already happened, we are already there. We are this very moment competing with Stoke and Fulham and Bolton for a mid-table finish. Next season, we will start from where we left off this season.
With all of this in mind, I've stopped worrying about what might happen next season. Like I said, we are already there in my mind. We will be starting next season as a mid-table club. I will just wait to see what happens.
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1 Posted 06/05/2011 at 15:11:44
2 Posted 06/05/2011 at 15:18:28
Don't give up hope yet! At least save that for when Norwich get a plucky last minute winner in the opening game at Goodison!
3 Posted 06/05/2011 at 15:27:42
We have a decent defence, if Moyes doesn't try to keep his favourites happy and plays players on form. Midfield, player for player, we have one of the best, as long as Moyes stops trying to put his favourites in when other players are in form. Up front is where our problems lie on the pitch (I'll come to problems off the field later). We sign a new striker who needs games to get used to the Prem and Moyes doesn't use him till halfway through the season; Moyes sends two strikers on loan (about 3 or 4 seasons ago, Moyes complained about having a small squad). He goes and gives a new contract to a striker who can't give 100%, ends up wide and falls over a lot.
Kenwright and his band of egos are where they want to be and are only looking for investors, not takeovers as they don't want to lose the power ? similar to the North African dictators and look thats happening to them! Don't think we can get Nato to help, but people power we have...
They are looking for a new ground ? why can't we go for Stanley Park? It's had all the plans and planning permission done by they other lot.
I have joined Everton for Change where like-minded supporters are... those who still remember who we are. Do the same and maybe we can resume our place as one of the big 4 or 5.
4 Posted 06/05/2011 at 15:22:21
We no longer do the things that got us to the top in the first place. Sure we can still take care of the bums, but even that is getting harder. Title fights are a distant memory.
We are on the ropes, but we have the belief and the knowledge that we still have what it takes to get back up there. If only we can find another mentor to put us back on the right track.
We have to keep fighting. We dare not hit the canvas.
5 Posted 06/05/2011 at 16:35:10
As long as one or two decent players are brought in over the summer and they can be acquired without spending huge fees, we can still get to where a club our size and one with (most of) our supporters' trophy-winning mentality should be.
6 Posted 06/05/2011 at 16:33:32
Sadly, a whole generation of Blues now feel 5th is winning something and believe plucky little Everton, who have no money, through no fault of their own, can't therefore do anything but survive.
7 Posted 06/05/2011 at 17:08:04
Revenues would probably drop and cheaper players would be needed to maintain an already small squad.
I don't understand how so many proper Evertonains are happy for us to sit on our hands.
8 Posted 06/05/2011 at 17:03:13
So, while I'll go into next season expecting a top-10 finish, I know that there's a chance to win a cup or get into the Champions League. There's even a slim hope that Moyes learns from past mistakes and tries more aggressive tactics!
The problem with this past season was that expectations were high (probably too high) and so we're left disappointed. One other point I'd like to make is that the great history of Everton is just that: history. We can't use it to buy new players, fund a stadium, or get our current players to score more goals.
9 Posted 06/05/2011 at 17:16:11
We are in transition but do not have the tools... that's why, when the injury fairy hit us again and we reverted to type, hoofball footy, we beat the likes of Wolves. Whereas, at the start of the season, we couldn't break down the parked bus defence with our mind numbingly slow approach play and blunt forward line.
We need to remember how to beat the clogger teams as well as playing better against the more open play of the Spurs ilk.
10 Posted 06/05/2011 at 17:29:51
11 Posted 06/05/2011 at 17:29:59
What worries me is the apparent poverty of your aspiration. God forbid that that virus should spread any further amomgst Evertonians, because that is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Do you like Leonard Cohen's "Songs to chop your arm off to"?
12 Posted 06/05/2011 at 17:07:21
Like a sulking child I feel like getting rid of almost everything. Board, Manager, half the squad, coaches, scouts... Maybe even the canteen ladies. Start again, rebuild and do it right.
Obviously it probably wouldn't work (especially given our current funds) and is probably a shortcut to complete and utter self-destruction. But that's how I feel, almost anyways.
13 Posted 06/05/2011 at 18:04:05
She even saw a Stoke top on one poor lad. The point is we cannot compete money-wise, fan-wise, media-wise or credibility-wise with any of the big 6.
Anyone who remembers the 80's glory days will probably never see the like again. FA Cup runner-up if lucky one year, hold Man Utd at home if we are lucky...
Time to be a realist me thinks and accept our lot... 7th is not bad when you have none of the above.
14 Posted 06/05/2011 at 17:55:51
It is "death by a thousand cuts"... the only point I'd raise is for many it's been evident for years, and I'm talking pre-Smith and Moyes.
Dreadful slide to witness and most worrying is this season's acceleration of the demise ? no serious chance of challenging for anything with just Premier League survival on the table as a sop and little regard as to how it's done.
I agree with your point about the dwindling aspirations of many ? already those of a mind are beginning to "spin" the 7th/8th position as a statistic to support Moyes and Co.
"Fiddling while Rome burns" comes to mind.
15 Posted 06/05/2011 at 18:37:58
16 Posted 06/05/2011 at 18:28:54
Ian Tod, I did think when writing the article about how Moyes had gotten players in before, such as Jags and Lescott, on the cheap, and about how they turned out to be gems. It's just that again we lack the resources that we did a couple of seasons ago. I just find it hard to see that Moyes will be given enough money to work his magic again. I think we may end up with players that we would not have looked at previously because they are cheap.
Overall, I think one of the points of writing the article was to give myself a little bit of perspective on the consequences of how this season had panned out. I just think that we will start next season from the position of a mid-table team.
17 Posted 06/05/2011 at 19:00:55
Don't get me wrong. I hate the way we play at times. My favourite player is Ronaldinho, so that probably gives you an idea of the gap between where we are and my aspirations.
I don't get to Goodison much these days. It's just that when I do, the excitement builds just before the kick of, Z-Cars plays, and I'm all excited again, and I think back to Ball, Kendall, Harvey...
18 Posted 06/05/2011 at 18:59:07
SAF will have announced his retirement as Man Utd win the PL and the CL.
New Chelsea manager Pep Gladioli will recuit solely from the Italia Conti stage school.
Man City will be disrupted once again by their owners foisting another unwanted, high-profile diva signing on them; with Cheryl Cole signed up to X-Factor USA, it'll be Rhianna or Beyonce.
Twitchy McBung will be banged up leaving Levy to dismantle Spurs' squad and hope new man Warnock can do his usual low-budget magic.
Villa will be shite as ever...
So it's a straight fight between us and the Dark Side for next season's title.
19 Posted 06/05/2011 at 19:47:07
20 Posted 06/05/2011 at 20:35:46
21 Posted 06/05/2011 at 20:39:44
22 Posted 06/05/2011 at 20:45:35
23 Posted 06/05/2011 at 20:50:43
We kick the board out, then what? That's the dilemma we face.
We only have BK's word no-one is interested and no doubt there must be some form of privacy protection while any potential negotiation is ongoing, so that names and information are not divulged to the press, like exclusivity? I really don't know or understand how these things happen.
We have to act in the best interest of Everton FC; right now, the only course of action we can take is to get the current dictators out of the boardroom or we will end right back at the Walter Smith days of trying to survive in a league that's too big financially for us.
24 Posted 06/05/2011 at 21:36:19
25 Posted 06/05/2011 at 21:41:50
With the season already a few weeks old, Moyes on the OS stated that the squad would be hitting its straps in another six weeks. That was an admission of his sheer bloody incompetence. That terrible start was compounded by his defeatist tactics when we were at home to teams we might ordinarily expect to beat. In game after game the incompetence of our coaching panel is also clearly evident.
Under another heading, I have listed our squad and their basic technical faults. The average supporter could easily write out the same kind of list. It is maddening in game after game to see the same players making the same mistakes. In not a single case can I point to any improvement.
It is even more sad that youngsters like Victor, Jack and Seamus have seen their development hit the wall. I strongly believe that much of the blame lies in the quality of coaching.
The point I am trying to make Kieran is that money or the lack of it is not the sole reason we are where we are. In fact, it is a miracle that we are where we are.
26 Posted 07/05/2011 at 00:38:24
I'd have to agree with you on the coaching point you make there. I also feel Moyes needs to shoulder a lot of the blame for his bumper contracts handed out to star players. We need to get back to an affordable level of wage cap. It's obvious that £70k a week for Mikey is far too much.
We should have a ceiling of £50k and, if players don't want to renew, then ship them out and bring in newer hungrier ones. Moyes fucked this season up sticking his heels in the mud demanding we hold onto current "stars" rather than buy the striker we really needed or a winger with pace. These increased contracts probably cost us a few million which may have made it possible to buy some speed.
I hope he learns his lesson this summer and does a serious refresh of the squad, if he has to sell assets to that end so be it.
27 Posted 07/05/2011 at 03:13:58
Given Dave Wilson #4 boxing post, it ocurs to me that the Footballing Obituary of both Moyes and Kenwright can be summed up thus...
' You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody...'
I left out the last line in deference to Moyes, who, while no Ali, is not actually a bum, unlike his boss.
28 Posted 07/05/2011 at 06:04:35
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