Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In  |  Sign Up
The Mail Bag

Dogs of War Again?

Comments (25)

Great team spirit ? something that money can't buy... well, well if that?s all we can do against the bigger boys then I?ve had enough. I want to watch Everton play football, get quality balls into the box, have quality forwards turn ¼-chances into goals, exite us by dominating teams with quality football.

I know we are about £50M short to get what I want, but frankly I don?t want us to go back to the ?Dogs of War? game we played back in the 90s. This type of football ? with its huge workrate, determination, focus, high energy ? isn?t sustainable over any length of time and is a million miles away from the type of football required at the highest levels of the game... and it doesn?t stand a chance of succeeding against the best Europe has to offer.

Moyes seems to take great delight when we physically destroy a team, not by thuggery but by sheer effort, followed by inevitably the long punt or obtaining a set piece. I know teams like Barcelona harry and chase but, when they get the ball, they retain it and play good football on the deck.

The dilemma as I see it, besides Moyes?s love for it, is the crowd?s love of it. Goodison has been like a morgue this season but, on the number of occasions we revert to ?Dogs of War?, the crowd goes ballistic, noisy, supportive ? What is it!?! I mean, even I felt on top of the world at 5pm on Saturday and I?ve had numerous texts from mates who support other teams, stating that we were great, we threw it up them, etc etc... but it's still not want I want from Everton.

Maybe it's just me; even though we lost, the game against Villa at their place way back in August was absolutely fantastic. We played them off the park with great controlled football, creating numerous chances, and we actually got the plaudits our game deserved from the press and TV boys ? if only we had a 20-goal-a-season forward.
Mike Oates, West Sussex     Posted 10/05/2011 at 23:02:29

back Return to the Mail Bag


Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Andy Crooks
1   Posted 11/05/2011 at 00:08:29

Report abuse

Mike, no one would opt for Dogs of War by choice. However, there are varying degrees of good football. Arsenal play the best football in the Premier League but were totally out-footballed by Barcelona. Blackpool and Wigan also play good football but not at the required level. Our finances dictate that we need a Dogs of War mentality. Man Utd have the balance pretty much right. That is what we need to look at. Pass it around but get nasty when necessary.
Aiden Doyle
2   Posted 11/05/2011 at 00:17:03

Report abuse

Can't disagree with anything Andy said.
Dick Fearon
3   Posted 11/05/2011 at 00:02:20

Report abuse

Since his arrival as manager of the RS, Dalglish has instilled a Dogs of War mentality into his players with remarkable success. From start to finish, they tore into Fulham and the Hatters joined a list of their opponents to suffer from that Gung Ho attitude.

In the second half against City, we had a small sample of DoW and it got me thinking about all those times when we played defensive, negative, patter-cake, "after you, Claude" rubbish.

Jamie Crowley
4   Posted 11/05/2011 at 01:55:06

Report abuse

See Andy's comment.

I too, Mike, loved the Villa game. I remember folks posting - pissed as hell - at no end product. But I remember coming away from that game thinking we played beautifully and the goals surely will come.

Flip to Saturday... I loved watching that game as well - second half that is. We showed real fight and determination. Guts and desire.

Andy's 100% accurate and dare I say reading so many of his posts he's never hit the nail on the head like he just did: the best football can offer is somewhere in between IMO. Flowing, pass and move with a bit of blood, guts and vinegar mixed in.
Chris Bannantyne
5   Posted 11/05/2011 at 02:46:57

Report abuse

Yep. Andy is a nail head hitter
Steve Carter
6   Posted 11/05/2011 at 04:36:45

Report abuse

'I know teams like Barcelona harry and chase but, when they get the ball, they retain it and play good football on the deck.'

True, Mike: on the 'good football' side of the ledger they have 11+ of the best players in the World whose passing accuracy and ball control skills are second to none; we have Phil Neville, Jermaine Beckford, Tony Hibbert, et al.

Chris Matheson
7   Posted 11/05/2011 at 07:45:47

Report abuse

Mike, I reckon part of the issue the amount of effort the players put in. It isn't necessarily wanting a Dogs of War approach but more that the players look at least like they're trying to win.

Plus what Andy said, of course!
Declan O'Shaughnessy
8   Posted 11/05/2011 at 08:53:43

Report abuse

Good post and good comments (which can't always be said of debates on Toffeeweb!). I think as well as what Andy said in his response, Chris at post #7 makes a very valid point: in the absence of controlled, skillful, attacking football, fans will happily accept aggression and effort and commitment. It's when players / teams display nothing but seeming apathy that fans react worst.

I do think there's a wider point about fans in England preferring blood and thunder style football to what Barcelona (for example) do. Personally, these days I'd rather want Spanish football simply for the skill levels and fewer stupid tackles (albeit with raised histrionics), but that's just me.

I also think there's an interesting question around what you can do with your resources, and what you should do for "purist" reasons. The original post asserts that "Dogs of War" can't compete with Europe's best, but I'd actually argue it can. I think this mentality is essentially what Mourinho has done with Inter and Real (and to an extent Chelsea, especially after his first season). He's been pragmatic, moulded players to his system, insisted on things being done his way, and been largely successful at it. Granted he's doing it with better players, but his teams are awful (generally) to watch. They're based on hard work, effort, rigid system, sitting deep and counter-attacking for the most part.

Certainly Real have come a cropper against Barcelona this season, but Mourinho has done the same thing at 3 (or 4 if you count Porto) clubs now, and had success at all (if you count a Copa del Rey as success for Real). I would always prefer to watch Barca over Real, but my question is: could Guardiola do what he's done at another club? He's inherited (and worked with them as kids) an incredibly talented group of players "schooled" in the modern Barca philosophy. And he's stuck to his own principles on how football should be played. But could he replicate the model at another club? I don't mean Everton, but could he even do it at Real?

So, for Everton then (finally back on subject!), what can we do? Do we adopt the Barca model and wait patiently for at least 10 years to produce really talented kids who play to a set model and are comfortable with the ball. Or do we look for a more affordable Mourinho clone (assuming Moyes is never going to reach that level) who can perhaps deliver "ugly" success. Is football entertainment or sport? Answers on a postcard please!
Tony J Williams
9   Posted 11/05/2011 at 09:06:24

Report abuse

Let me guess, if you don't get what you want you will not renew yadda yadda yadda.

Nothing wrong with a "Dogs of War" mentality, I wish we had it at the start of the season and we may have turned some losses into draws or even wins.

Only Arsenal play "pretty" football but they haven't won a thing in 6/7 seasons ? do you know why? (apart from trying to walk the ball in with every attack). They do not have their Vierra anymore. They need a nutjob in the middle bossing people about and kicking lumps out of forwards/midfielders if needs be.

We do not have the staff to play like Arsenal, hence the Arsenal Lite comments earlier in the season.

I know it's petty but look at what happened when Pienaar left, we started to get stuck in and win games and look at Spuds record, old Awwry has been stuck on 49 wins for about 12 games now.
Colin Prendergast
10   Posted 11/05/2011 at 08:48:40

Report abuse

*Insert Andy's comments plus pace and width at a cheap price
Paul Olsen
11   Posted 11/05/2011 at 09:48:34

Report abuse

It's not really a matter of "going back" to Dogs of War mentality.

Under David Moyes we have always had and will always have that kind of mentality. Not a bad thing, but attitude CAN be sprinkled with flair, just look at Barcelona.
Dave Wilson
12   Posted 11/05/2011 at 10:27:11

Report abuse

We were getting battered by City and we needed to get a foothold. Once we got about them, we started to get on top of them, we won comfortably in the end.

Any team have to earn the right to play?
Tom Harries
13   Posted 11/05/2011 at 11:13:58

Report abuse

I pretty much agree with both the OP and Andy. I don't like Dogs of War but what choice have we got?

What jumps out at me is: 'if only we had a 20-goal-a-season forward'

We've drawn 15 games this season, the same as (I think) Fulham, Birmingham and Wigan, and look where they are. A 20-goal-a-season forward gives us a chance of the Champions League places; 1 extra goal in 6 of those games puts us 2 points behind City in 4th.

Unfortunately, that's why we can't afford one!
Fran Mitchell
14   Posted 11/05/2011 at 13:51:02

Report abuse

'Dogs of War' or however you phrase it is the only way forward for this club. However, this does not mean long balls up to a Big Dunc type player and everyone else fouling the opposition.

No, it means two central midfielders putting constant pressure on the ball-players of the opposition, giving them no space, no time and the occasional 'mis-timed' tackle. For this, read Fellaini and the old Arteta (if he shall ever return).

These players then release the ball to two wingers (or attackers), whose non-stop running never lets the opposition full-back/winger space and time to put in accurate crosses, while also beating a man at the other end. This we lack; Coleman has potential, but I do see that, in the long-term, as a full back.

Then there is the 'never stop running' player, putting pressure on the defenders but also linking up play between midfield and attack. For this we have Osman; hopefully we can turn Bily into this type too, or even Rodwell.

Then we need a quick, strong forward who can put away at least 1-3 of his chances. Add to this two dirty, strong, never-give-up central defenders (Heitinga & Jags have this potential) and two quick, never-say-die full backs (Baines & Coleman) then we are good to challenge... until we get tired.

We are a minimum of three players away from this first 11, and then need another five or six squad players. But this is the only style I see us having potential to challenge with.

Neat, fancy passing doesn't even work with the best in the world, you need that Dogs of War energy, football is more about that than it is about fancy tricks and sideways passing.

Tommy Gourlay
15   Posted 11/05/2011 at 14:19:16

Report abuse

And Fran's description also seems to matche what the 'Dogs of War' were in my recollection.

Did we not have Limpar (oh wow, when he was on form, wow.....) Stuart, and (in its latter form) Kanchelskis providing the flair and creativity out wide to go with the Horne & Parkinson (and/or Ebbrell if fit) meat.

I am maybe looking at it with rose-tinted glasses though.... :) (I do know Hinchcliffe often took one of the wide spots to add extra bite when Ablett took 'Hinchcliffe's regular spot' at left-back.)
Paddy Francis
16   Posted 11/05/2011 at 16:21:50

Report abuse

I'm not sure that it's not as simple as just saying if we had a Darren Bent we'd finish higher up the table.

The whole Moyes philosophy is that everyone puts a shift in. If it has to be 4-6-0 at times, then he doesn't care. That may explain the number of draws, but it also explains the resilience of the team to finish the season on a relative high.

I would love us to be more expansive and to be able to "carry" a couple of players who add the cutting edge, but we over-achieve at present (hard as it is to admit) and changing our ethos to accomodate such players could be a mixed blessing.
Brendan O'Doherty
17   Posted 11/05/2011 at 20:01:55

Report abuse

Andy Crooks in 'sensible post' shocker...

Mike Allison
18   Posted 11/05/2011 at 21:34:48

Report abuse

Dogs of War should be one of the many different ways we can play, and they should include quality passing football, and whatever else a particular game or situation requires.

Arsenal don't win anything because they have only one way of playing, and if you can stop that they can't or won't try anything else. As Andy mentioned, Man United can mix it up and try different things, that's why they win.
James Flynn
19   Posted 11/05/2011 at 21:50:31

Report abuse

All Championship teams have a DoW attitude. It's why they win. We're missing finishers,that's all.

By the way, as much as I enjoy watching Barca play, let them leave that minor league and do what they do there in the EPL. Then I'll genuflect. Not before.
Col Noon
20   Posted 11/05/2011 at 23:50:39

Report abuse

Paul Olsen ? 11 "attitude CAN be sprinkled with flair, just look at Barcelona."

I am gonna see that and raise you this. "Just look at Barcelona's players."

Just a thought.
Fran Mitchell
21   Posted 12/05/2011 at 01:42:39

Report abuse

James Flynn #19
"By the way, as much as I enjoy watching Barca play, let them leave that minor league and do what they do there in the EPL. Then I'll genuflect. Not before."

Not more of this "rainy day against Stoke" shit.

The PL is way, way over-rated. Bolton are 8th, an awful Everton are 7th, the worst Liverpool in 4 generations+ are 5th. Don't believe the Sky-hype; football is quite good in some other countries y'know.

Adam Fenlon
22   Posted 12/05/2011 at 02:28:01

Report abuse

I can't even remember bloody Villa away ? must be getting old!
Adam Fenlon
23   Posted 12/05/2011 at 02:32:39

Report abuse

And dont forget our lousy performances against teams from Italy, Spain and Portugal in Europe in recent seasons when bigging up the overrated Premier League!
Mike Allison
24   Posted 12/05/2011 at 11:29:30

Report abuse

Yeah the Premier League is massively overrated, that's why our teams never do anything in the Champions League...

Oh maybe, the top teams are good, but there's no depth, that's why you'll never see a Fulham or a Middlesbrough get anywhere in the UEFA Cup/Europa League...

Stop hating yourself. Our league is as good as any other. Probably equal with Spain in terms of depth and ahead of everyone else, making it the joint best league in the entire world.
James Flynn
25   Posted 14/05/2011 at 00:28:10

Report abuse

Fran (21) - Over-rated where? Far and away the most watched league on earth.

La Minor Liga is Barca, Real Madrid, and a bunch of other teams. I like Barca and RM. Would just like to see them play an English schedule in England to see if they'd get the same results as in LML. That's all.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment to the MailBag, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.

© ToffeeWeb

Latest News

Subscribe to The Athletic, Get 40% off

Online Football Betting with Betway

Bet on Everton and get a deposit bonus with bet365 at

Recent Articles

Talking Points & General Forum

Pinned Links


We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.