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Great Expectatons

Comments (27)

What does Bill Kenwright hope for next season? The same again, I would suggest. He has survived another season and has seen his manager roundly applauded at the last match. Everton still in the premier league, best of the rest and the media endorsing the viewpoint of a loyal chairman supporting a loyal coach.

Frankly, I believe that Mr Kenwright will accept 7th for ever; so will many Evertonians. I believe that our expectations should be higher. Here's why:

  • David Moyes has demonstrated that he has the ability to set up a side capable of beating any side in the Premier League.
  • He has shown that he can produce a side capable of playing passing flowing football.
  • He has, unfortunately, shown that he is capable of producing a side bereft of ideas against the likes of West Brom.
  • Also he has shown that he can produce a side lacking in steel, edge and the ability to be dogs of war when required.
Our hand has been dealt and we have Kenwright and Moyes. Let's have a proper pre-season. Let us moderately and realistically strengthen the squad. Let us treat any team below 7th with contempt and football them off the pitch. Let us deal with the others as though it is a war. Let us treat the cup competitions as though it was the Champions League. Let us raise our expectations and let us fear no-one.
Andy Crooks, Belfast     Posted 28/05/2011 at 00:39:08

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Rob Teo
1   Posted 28/05/2011 at 02:25:27

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I share your sentiments, Andy. But your first two paragraphs basically nailed it for me, and as such I don't think our expectations will be realised.

It's precisely because Kenwright and many Evertonians are happy to settle for 7th that I don't think our expectations will be met. For sure they should be higher and for sure we should demand more ? but I simply can't see them becoming reality under Kenwright's watch.
Derek Thomas
2   Posted 28/05/2011 at 04:01:16

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England expects, said Nelson...

Trouble is too many Evertonians don't.

If you've never known anything better, some cannot grasp the concept that there could be.

We've all become Evertonian / Footballing Raymond Babbit's.

We know our 'Istory (counting 5 decks of cards) but want to stay in our own little Best of the Rest rubber room, going through our own endless routine. Park here, walk down this street, go in this pub, sit in this seat, go through this 'lucky' turnstile, buy this pie.

And worst of all, more often than not...

WATCH THE SAME OLE SHITE... and come back for more, there's a word for it.

Chris Bannantyne
3   Posted 28/05/2011 at 05:49:34

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Ah yeah... It's tragic.
David Barks
4   Posted 28/05/2011 at 06:19:09

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Every side has the ability to beat a team above them. It's the ability to do it consistently and keep the side fresh and able to deal with injuries that requires the big money, which Everton doesn't have. Otherwise, what I'm guessing you're inferring is that Moyes has demonstrated the ability to set out a side capable of beating anyone, so therefore should be able to win the league. Well, extrapolating this logic out over every side in the league would mean that the team finishing 20th would have won no games. And the side finishing 19th should only be able to beat the side who finished 20th. And the side finishing 18th only should beat 19th and 20th, and so on and so on.

But that's not the way it works, even though so many want it to be just that simple. Every week brings a different challenge, a different team in different form with different motivation and with both teams dealing with a variety of issues. Blackpool demonstrated the ability to beat Liverpool, and many other sides. But they finished 19th. Is that so far off of what they really were? Should they have really finished 6th since they showed they could beat Liverpool? And so what that we lost to West Brom. So did Arsenal if I'm not mistaken.

I'm just so sick to death of these overly simplistic analyses of Everton and football in general. And the constant dismissal of the role that money plays in the league. You just can't deny it, as much as the likes of Michael Kenrick and others want to any time we happen to beat Chelsea of City. The fact is that Manchester City were down toward the bottom of the league. Then they got bought and were able to buy anyone they wanted. Suddenly with only a couple of seasons they've won the FA Cup, finished 3rd and automatically qualified for the Champions League, and will be top contenders for the league next season.

It's not a coincidence that City and Chelsea and United finish at the top, the three richest clubs, and the likes of Blackpool get relegated. It's money, simple as that. And anyone who isn't blind can see that Everton and Moyes have done a damn good job to finish where we do each season. Of course there are disappointing results during the season and inconsistency. Name me a side who doesn't have these issues. Chelsea had them, so did United and so did City and so did Arsenal and Spurs and Liverpool. Stop having tunnel vision and look at the league as a whole and you'll see this isn't a Moyes problem. Every manager and every team has them. But funnily enough the teams with the most money are able to pull out of the funk quicker because they have more resources when it comes to their squad. Be objective and see nobody is settling and therefore costing Everton glory. It's just reality, as sad as it is. We are 7th in England right now and we need money to enable us to be more.
Brian Lawlor
5   Posted 28/05/2011 at 06:47:22

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David Barks ? nail well and truly on head.
Tony Cheek
6   Posted 28/05/2011 at 08:08:37

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"Let us treat any team below 7th with contempt and football them off the pitch. Let us deal with the others as though it is a war. Let us treat the cup competitions as though it was the Champions League. Let us raise our expectations and let us fear no-one."
Great Andy... forget Nil Satis Nisi Optimum, this is our new motto! It should be written in the tunnel so the players see it before they represent Everton Football Club. I would change just one word though, 7th should read US! Could be misleading if we are above 7th... someday!
And maybe this could be added: Let us play 4-4-2! Let us buy a strker of credit!
Dave Wilson
7   Posted 28/05/2011 at 07:59:23

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A fair and balanced piece Andy, but I do need to take issue with one point.

Many Evertonians see this as one of the darker periods in our history, not being able to compete in the transfer market is a completely new experience for us and while you may have a point about Kenwright being prepared to accept 7th forever, I am yet to meet the Evertonian who is prepared to do the same.

Loved the comment about being prepared to adopt a Dogs of War attitude when things aren't going right.

Next season, I want to see the players the manager and the Chairman feeling the same pain as us when we don't win. A draw seems to get more respectable with each passing season. The team is crying out for a leader, a Reid-like character, he needn't be world class, just somebody who won't let a little matter like having no strikers dampen his desire to win.
Trevor Lynes
8   Posted 28/05/2011 at 08:23:59

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As I have said for some time, the Premier League has become like the Scottish ? only a couple of teams have a realistic chance of winning the league and the rest seem to accept it!!

For me, winning the Premier League has become devalued and does not compare with the old First Division when winning the league meant beating off a whole division of teams with equal chances. I used to bet on EFC in both cup and league competitions with a reasonable chance of winning something.... now it's a total waste of money so I don't!!!

Teams like Chelsea, Man City and even Man Utd were no competition and all the teams consisted of home grown British players. We competed in Europe then with varied success as both Liverpool and Man Utd won top honours and other sides including us won silverware.

Nowadays, it's just a money game and I am gradually losing interest as the rich clubs just grab all the best players and sit a lot of them on the bench so that they cannot play for other teams. Having a subs bench of 7 players has played into their hands and also spiralling transfer fees and salaries.

When a side won the old First Division, it was more difficult and title winners came from all over thye country... that is why I reluctantly praise Liverpool for their domination without the benefit of foreign players and vast amounts of transfer money; that's why Shankly and Paisley were far better managers than SAF in my opinion.

Man Utd have always been the darlings of the media because that is where the papers were produced. BUT EFC regularly stuffed 'em in the First Division, even when they were the celebrated Busby Babes and later when Best, Law and Charlton played. Chelsea were a joke team and so were Man City.

With an equal playing field we would be higher than 7th every season!!

Rob Teo
9   Posted 28/05/2011 at 08:48:32

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David #4, I can sort of see where you're coming from. But I have to disagree with you on several of your points as well as the overall thrust of your arguments. Here's why:

1. I don't think anyone is inferring that just because we've shown we're capable of beating some of the "top" teams that we'll win the league as such. You're definitely right in saying that consistency is a huge factor and that the ability to deal with injuries, suspensions, etc, over the course of a season determines largely where you'll end up in the table. But I also think that self-belief, positive play and tactical nous are huge factors as well, and that if you set out your team to give a right proper go at winning all the games you play in, then the ability that is inherent in the team will, in the main, usually translate into points.

We may have a small squad that could do with more players which would require money to purchase. By the same token, though, we also have a very talented squad full of established internationals that I believe is truly capable of taking on any team in the land and playing them off the park on our day. The problem is that, more often than not, our approach has been based on negativity and one-dimensional play, and marked by tactical naivety and short-sightedness.

How many games have Everton played this season (and the seasons before) where Moyes has set up shop just to nick a point and/or played with 7 defenders and 1 striker? With a more adventurous approach play and some tactical nous, I really believe that many of the "magnificent draws" that we ground out could have and should have been 3 points in the bag. Unfortunately, they weren't and, in some cases, we ended up losing the game because there wasn't a Plan B once we fell behind.

It's not just that we lost to West Brom or Man Utd away from home again that is the issue, but that we had set out hoping not to lose to them and/or without a viable Plan B that is the issue. And these results weren't just due to the lack of money or ability, but to the team and tactics that Moyes comes up with on matchday and who, as such, is ultimately responsible for them.

2. Where does money come in, then? And how can money not be a factor when, as you've rightly pointed out, "it's not a coincidence that City and Chelsea and United finish at the top"?

It's interesting that you should suggest that people who think that just because Everton has the ability to beat the bigger teams should therefore win the league is engaging in "overly simplistic analyses". Yet, isn't it also overly simplistic to think that the club with/that spends the most money will win the league? I mean, if it's all down to "money, simple as that", shouldn't Spurs or Liverpool be in 4th place and not Arsenal? And shouldn't we be in 16th or 17th place instead of the lofty heights of 7th?

To be fair, though, I don't think anyone disagrees that money plays a part in determining where you end up in the table ? except that it only plays a part; it's not the be-all-and-end-all factor in determining league placing.

As I said above, with more money, we could've had a bigger squad to cope with the injuries we've had this season or the problem of misfiring strikers. But the point is (which you've already pointed out), even without the massive resources of our neighbours or Man City, we did cope. Even without a £50million signing, we ended up finishing 7th, which is all credit to Moyes and the team (negative tactics notwithstanding).

3. So, where is the argument? If we're coping so darn well without money, and if we're still capable of beating bigger, richer teams in spite of the negative tactics and formation that Moyes puts out each week, what is the problem?

The problem is, as Andy has suggested in his original posting, we lack the great expectations that befit our club's history and standing to give a right proper go at not settling for 7th but for a higher league position, better football, cup wins, etc. Unfortunately, year after year, season after season, it seems that we are simply settling for mid-table obscurity and/or best-of-the-rest placing, plus perhaps a cup run or two. You are right in saying that, being realistic about the present financial circumstances of the club and all, "Everton and Moyes have done a damn good job to finish where we do each season".

But I also think that, it's not just money that determines league placing, but footballing talent (which we have), tactical nous (which we don't have), belief (which we don't have when playing against the bigger teams away from home), and a bigger squad to cope with injuries (which we don't have) as well. In other words, if we want to be honestly realistic about what some of the factors are that determine our results on the field, we need to recognise that money is not the only one ? nor should we constantly use the lack of money as an excuse to explain a mediocre league placing. I think that's where a lot of supporters will feel disappointment with this season, in that, even though we were fully aware of our financial limitations, we also thought that we could do much better than 7th, especially with more adventurous play and positive tactics.

4. Which brings me back to the point of Andy's original post again.

For sure, it's a sad reality that we don't have a rich chairman and will probably have to sell first in order to survive. I don't think anyone's disputing that or blaming Kenwright for simply being an East End millionaire instead of a Middle East billionaire. Where, I believe, a lot of the dissatisfaction with Kenwright lies is in the fact that he's failed to match the on-field returns (ie, high league placing from low outlays) with off-field investment returns.

Is this because he lacks "great expectations"? I would say, Yes. Could he and his management team have better capitalised on our high league placings over the years, our high profile foreign national team player-icons (i.e. Cahill, Pienaar, Donovan, Howard, etc), our fanatical fan-base, our history, to secure greater investment and/or marketing exposure for the club? Difficult question to answer, but overall, yes. Could he and his management team have come up with better-researched, more viable investment plans over the years to generate steady income for the club instead of the many costly and failed proposals over the years that they seem to churn out with unerring regularity, one after another? Undoubtedly, yes.

5. To summarise, I agree that our hand has indeed been dealt, and we have to live with Kenwright and Moyes, who, for all their limitations, at least aren't Abrahmovich and Benitez. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't aim high. What's disappointing for me is that there seems to be a mentality pervading the club where the idea of aiming high is, well, "unrealistic".

For Moyes, it's unrealistic to play with swagger and put out an attacking line-up week-in, week-out. It's unrealistic to aim to win a game at Old Trafford or any of the other (former) big 4's home ground. So, even though it's been shown over the years that we CAN outplay some of the bigger teams, because of the lack of great expectations, we aim low ? aim to nick a goal against Man Utd, aim for a draw away at WBA, aim to not lose with 4-5-1.

For Kenwright, it's unrealistic to come up with viable marketing plans to tap into the potential fan-bases in South Africa, USA, Australia, China, even though we had readymade high-profile ambassadors for each those countries in our team at some point. It's unrealistic that we'll ever compete properly against the bigger teams or be able to get into the Champions League where the big money is ? even though we've shown over the years that we can finish in the upper reaches of the league table consistently and that we can hold our own in Europe against some of the teams there. So, because of the lack of great expectations, we aim low ? come up with quick-fix development and investment solutions that end up costing more money, instead of coming up with viable, well-researched LONG-TERM investment and management plans that allow us to compete properly on the playing field.

For some fans, it's unrealistic that Everton will ever be able to compete properly with the big boys in this financial climate, where success is due only to money and money alone. (By the way, the core of Barcelona's team? Mainly from their youth system.) So, even though it's been shown over the years that the lack of money hasn't prevented us from finishing above many other teams that have spent more than us, we prefer to focus on the teams that have spent more and finished above us, and use that as justification that the lack of money means we should not have any great expectations. That is, we aim low ? see finishing 7th as a miracle in spite of the lack of finances, instead of seeing that we've only finished 7th in spite of the team's footballing ability and that with a bit more adventure, gutsy formations and smart tactics, we could've finished 1st or 2nd. Great expectations? Yes, and proudly so.

Gavin Ramejkis
10   Posted 28/05/2011 at 08:16:29

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David it's complacency and defeatist not to see that the setup in the second half against Man City or the home game against Chelsea as examples show that Moyes has the players capable of achieving and games like those against West Brom home and away and West Ham away that he can also put out sides containing many of the same players with a game plan of not conceding goals instead of playing attacking football. The frustrations arise when you have the entertainment of games such as second half against City or our gameplay against Chelsea tempered by those "incredible draws" or piss poor losses against technically inferior teams.

Moyes deserves the plaudits when his tactics succeed but equally he deserves brickbats when his tactics are atrociously poor and riddled with mistakes he has repeated ad nauseum for years. It's realistic to believe he could play far more games with an attacking intent. He can only play the cards he has been dealt, but many of those players have shown what they are capable of. The money argument is pertinent but one thing has been highlighted this last season and that consistency is far more important, the majority of teams have had poor games this season and anyone that went on a good run of results would climb the table.

I'm fed up with over cautious football knowing what the team can do and would like a little more verve and swagger in our gameplay, if you play not to concede but are shipping goals you will more than likely still ship goals, if you attack and go ahead in a game first you have the choice to park the bus or seek more goals against a team which will be stretched trying to attack to get back into a game.
Dean Smith
11   Posted 28/05/2011 at 10:34:58

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Do fans honestly believe Everton should be finishing above the 6 teams above and 'deserve' to do so? What on earth is this crazy notion based on? History? Quality of players? Fanbase? Manager? Trophies won? Finances?

All the clubs above us are superior in at least four or five of these areas, some in all six. As I said, crazy.
Dave Wilson
12   Posted 28/05/2011 at 10:48:44

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So Gavin, you think Moyes sent his team out to win against Chelsea and City... but not to lose against West Brom and West Ham??

What utter utter bollox, Moyes is often accused of not being prepared to change ? rightly so ? yet every time the players don't perform, you think that's exactly what he`s done... Words fail.

We don't have a single player who has performed consistently all season, but you continue to regurgitate your tiresome and depressingly predictable claim that the managers tactics are to blame every time we don't win?

I wonder if you have ever played or been involved in the game at any level at all... Read what you`ve just written.

Your believe that you are continually right and a Premier League manager is continually wrong is laughable.

No tactics can ever overcome poor performances. If it were that simple, we could all get a game and you could be chief tactician... providing anyone listens to you.
Steve Brown
13   Posted 28/05/2011 at 11:37:53

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Five top 8 finishes on the spin, the best since the golden periods of the 60s and 80s. All on the back of having no money to spend unless we sell a senior player or 3 or 4 periphery players, no forward who scores regularly and a set of players (and I mean players) who don't turn up till November. In my book, that makes Moyes in the circumstances a decent manager ? I just wish he'd stop setting his team up so defensively for home games.
Gavin Ramejkis
14   Posted 28/05/2011 at 14:22:52

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Dave #9 my response above was for Dave Barks but seeing as you've chipped in:

Yes I've played as a winger then as a right back then as a coach of under 15s. I don't need to re-read what I've written as I stand by it.

Are you genuinely saying the team selection against West Ham away with two strikers on the bench and none on the pitch was a game plan to win not looking more likely for a draw? Have you ever played the game at any level, Dave? You regurgitate some right old shite yourself at times, it's called opinion ? pity you aren't capable of seeing other people having one different to your own. Words don't fail you, Dave, you just repeat tired lines yourself.

I believe I'm entitled to an opinion Dave, your reaction smacks of hypocrisy in that you simply can't abide someone having an opinion which differs from yours as if it's gospel. A game plan which sets out to defend will predominantly do just that and it's not rocket science to see that having no recognised strikers on a pitch or a single striker with little or no support or one who hasn't scored all season isn't the right decision, yet Moyes has done this several times this season with predictable results.
Trevor Mackie
15   Posted 28/05/2011 at 15:23:53

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I'm with Derek @ 2 on this, the angst expressed by many about finances being the top and bottom of it is compelling if you've only seen the Premier League.

Trouble is, if you're old enough to recall other eras, you're hit with "ah, it's so different now".

The only difference I see is a production line of identikit managers talking, walking, operating the same way; consequently the only variable ? money ? becomes the difference.

Even if it's not us, I hope somewhere in the English game a young fella comes along and revisits Busby, Shankly, Clough, Revie and others who even fleetingly have shown some courage and bucked the trend.
Brian Waring
16   Posted 28/05/2011 at 17:06:03

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If only there was a Brian Clough, Shankly type of manager in today's game Trevor.
Brian Waring
17   Posted 28/05/2011 at 17:08:18

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Also meant to say, is it just me, or is nearly every manager in the prem a dour miserable fucker?
Gary Carter
18   Posted 28/05/2011 at 17:05:12

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Correct if I'm not wrong but didn't nearly every blue, David Moyes, and most of our players talk about how this was our best chance to finish in the top 4 or even have a crack at challenging the league at the start of the season??? I know that I certainly harboured thoughts of a challenge. So I fail to see how we can raise expectations above this and to say the fans, team, manager, chairman simply settle for 7th is just plain bollocks!
Andy Crooks
19   Posted 28/05/2011 at 18:09:14

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Gary, if Kenwright could be guaranteed 7th place next year without spending any money, he'd grab it. Chairman of a top-half Premier League club on the cheap, lauded by the press, admired by the manager and tolerated by the supporters... why wouldn't he?

I thought the talk last summer of us being title contenders was, putting it politely, misguided. I was roundly criticised for saying so.

What I'm suggesting is having realistic achievable targets that take into account our financial limitations. We must be better prepared, more motivated and tougher than those with loads of money. At the end of next season I would like to be able to say that we have done as much as possible. I didn't feel that at the end of this season.

Jay Harris
20   Posted 28/05/2011 at 18:11:02

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There is a major difference between Hope and Expectation.

My expectation if we continue with Kenwright and Moyes is that we will consistently be mid-table and below the top six.

My hope is that Kenwright and cronies will sell up and we'll get someone with ambition and a long-term plan for the club.

My hope is also that David Moyes, for all his strengths, will occasionally do an Ian Holloway and go all out for a win against the "lesser" teams instead of playing safe.

I also have a hope that, even if Kenwright is not ousted, we will sign Demba Ba and build a team around him and Beckford with MF players that can defend and score goals.
Trevor Mackie
21   Posted 28/05/2011 at 19:28:11

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Brian @ 13


Considering they only have to do a year in the Prem and they become millionaires it beggars belief.

Of course therein lies the problem ? they know there's no other gravy train like it so risk taking with fancy dan skilful players is a no no.

I see potential in Martinez though, a horrendous season saw no sulking or misery ? thankfully he got rewarded.
Tim Kells
22   Posted 28/05/2011 at 21:51:47

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Commendable views, Andy. We lack consistency, and the only way we can become more consistent is by having a larger more talented squad. For that we need more money, and for that we need to get rid of Kenwright. But for that to happen, we'd all have to work together and protest etc. Sadly, most Evertonians don't seem to want that, otherwise it would have happened already.
Derek Thomas
23   Posted 29/05/2011 at 02:27:17

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We can play decent pass-and-move footy when the mood is upon us, (sometimes too much)... just not all the time. FFD, shoot when you get to the edge of the box and there's space, have a pop... just not all the time.

We can do the Dogs of War when we have to... (just not all the time). FFS, put your foot on it once in a while and look up.

That's about how you set the team out to play. It has nothing to do with what the player cost in the past.

It's about balance, like boxers, some are fighters some are boxers, the true greats can do both AND know when to switch it.

Who ever said we should not expect to go to Old Trafford, needs their head looking at ? WHY NOT! They have no divine right to anything.

The apathy that runs trough some of the support stops us aspiring for more. Trouble is... they call it 'realism'.
Michael Kenrick
24   Posted 29/05/2011 at 15:27:11

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Excellent post, Rob (#9) ? the perfect response to the sickening defeatism proffered by the likes of David Barks (#4)... and more importantly by our manager himself.
Dave Wilson
25   Posted 29/05/2011 at 15:57:05

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If Tim Howard makes a mistake and we lose, you think it's Moyes's tactics.

If we miss open goals, you think it's Moyes's tactics.

If Heitinga shits out of a tackle, or Distin is left for dead, you think it's Moyes's tactics.

When Jagielka has a momentary lapse of reason, Hibbo a nightmare, or we are just plain beaten by a better team... you STILL think it's Moyes's tactics.

How do I know this? Because you come on here every time we don't win and you say so.

You are Still going on about West Ham away six months later but if you actually saw the game you will know Cahill played up front and he played up front because our strikers had been dropped and our strikers had been dropped because they had been dogshite.

What you fail to mention is Beckford, Yakubu AND Saha had been dropped at Eastlands too; you also fail to mention we only failed to win at West Ham ? making it six points from two away games ? because of a defensive howler... and the reason you fail to mention it is because you STILL think everything is down to Moyes's tactics.

I have no problem with other people's opinion ? I actually enjoy hearing them ? but when an individual tries to point the finger in the same direction every time we don't win, I suspect it's more to do with that person's feeling towards the manager than an opinion about the game.

If you really believe we didn't play anyone up top in the game you are still harping on about months later, then quite simply, you didn't see it.
Anthony Hawkins
26   Posted 30/05/2011 at 11:36:48

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My expectations for next season are:

1. We simply HAVE to buy at least THREE new players. A quality, continually fit striker and two wide midfielders.

2. Finish at least 7th preferrably 5th if not higher. They CAN DO IT!!

3. Moyes HAS to chose between Fellaini and Arteta. He cannot play both together in central midfield.

4. Bily has to go.

5. A choice has to be made over Heitinga. Either play him where he's best or let him go!! My preferrence would be a CB pairing of Jagielka and Heitinga.

6. Kenwright HAS to make some allowances and either sell part of his holdings or all of it. He has taken the club as far as he can with the money he has/had.
Richard Dodd
27   Posted 31/05/2011 at 16:54:21

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Too many Evertonians believe that it will only take a new owner (and maybe a new manager)to guarantee a Champions League place for Everton.In reality it could mean disaste!.That`s why I`m backing the present incumbents to keep us in the top half with always a chance that we may do better.

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