Conservatism, Conspiracies and Counter-intuition

Paul Tran 04/07/2021 47comments  |  Jump to last
Farhad's come up with another one, hasn't he? Like a gambler on a long losing streak, big-priced bets followed by odds-on shots, with one thing in common: torn-up betting slips.

To be fair to Moshiri, most gamblers keep swinging until things change, but that's often because their strategy works in the long run. Farhad is clearly a patient man... without an apparent strategy.

I didn't have a strong view on the candidates. I don't know enough about most of them to have a strong view and, frankly, I'm punch drunk after so many managers in recent times. This appointment is right out of left field. Let's try and explore the workings of Moshiri's mind.

This is, ultimately, a conservative appointment. After the Hollywood manager got a better offer, Moshiri's reactive pendulum was likely to swing this way. Any 'up-and -coming' manager would take one look at our recent history and set-up, negotiate hard and price or clause himself out of it.

I wonder if those financing the stadium were 'expecting' a 'reassuring' appointment? In business terms, we have a renowned manager with a proven (albeit historical) track record, one who is less likely to get a better offer, one who won't cost us a fee, one who knows and loves the area.

This is the 'risk free' appointment that takes us to Bramley-Moore Dock, whereupon he is replaced by a more attractive manager seduced by the new stadium. Or Benitez does so well, he gets offered a new contract?

Of course, there's so much more to football than business. He managed them, said nasty things about us, clearly isn't 'the best football option' around. And the low-key announcement and video was catnip to the conspiracy theorists.

For me, his 'small club' comments were those of a manager appealing to his supporter base, distracting them from the real issues. Klopp & Mourinho are particularly good at this, too. If Benitez does this for us, I suspect some will quite like it.

As for the announcements, maybe the club toned them down, because they know our thoughts on Benitez and also know they've made so many recruitment errors, maybe it's not a good look to shout the odds this time.

I'm a bit indifferent to this one. He certainly wasn't on my list, but I can see why he was chosen in business terms, even if I don't agree with it. And if I turn my optimist dial up to the max, maybe a hard taskmaster with players and a stubborn fighter in the boardroom might turn out to be a counter-intuitive success?

I wouldn't put a penny on it, but it will be interesting to watch things unfold, probably more interesting than the football on offer. Talking of the football, it can't be worse than under the previous few mangers, can it?

No, I wouldn't put a penny on that, either.

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Reader Comments (47)

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Dave Abrahams
1 Posted 05/07/2021 at 12:56:02
Lots of common sense there Paul, and like every other manager who was interviewed for the position they would have had their bad points and brought no guarantees with them, same as Benitez, I thought Benitez was as good as any other of the prospective candidates and better than most, his past history with Blues didn’t register with me, just fighting his corner in a two team city.

He knows the position he is in at Everton and with the fans, he still came, wanted the job, called back for three or four interviews, he must have been presenting a good, strong case for his appointment, got the job, let’s see him fight as hard to keep the position as he did to get it.

I’d have a bet that he gets another contract, if he does I think it means we’ll all benefit, Paul do you want to go half with me on the bet?

Paul Tran
2 Posted 05/07/2021 at 13:04:52
I wouldn't put a penny on it, Dave, but it wouldn't surprise me if he got another contract. We badly need some cold, hard competence and it's about time we hired someone who does that. In some respects, the fact that many don't have any love for him may make it easier for him to get on with it.

It's all about the results he gets.

Bill Watson
3 Posted 05/07/2021 at 13:42:51
According to ex players there's no argument or discussion with players. What he says goes. In other words he's a twat to work under.

Just what our underperforming bunch of misfits must fear most. That'll do for me!

Barry Rathbone
4 Posted 05/07/2021 at 13:46:07
I normally find the idea of strong leaders having the courage to go against the grain a good thing after all sheep don't do innovation but Moshiri does appear to simply be taking a risk averse route to Bramley-Moore Dock with Benitez.

None of us know how it's going to pan out but one thing is certain: as far as fan opinion goes, Moshiri has effectively said "bollocks to them" which possibly is not a bad thing.

Well, maybe it is as most of us know a lot more about togger than he does.

Bill Watson
5 Posted 05/07/2021 at 15:00:42
Barry #4

Togger? I haven't heard that word since the 1960s lol

I've no idea how the word came to be used to describe football, have you? Was it a Scouse thing or widely used? Do kids still say it?

Mike Gaynes
6 Posted 05/07/2021 at 15:39:45
Good article and a fair take, Paul.
Danny O’Neill
7 Posted 05/07/2021 at 17:06:24
All of the candidates in the frame underwhelmed me. Benitez probably concerned me more than he underwhelmed, but personally my opinion and view on where we should have been looking was far removed from Benitez and the apparent shortlist the club had in mind.

Conservative? Most definitely. Initially I thought more of the same. A continuation of an apparent strategy of a big name manager with a proven track record of winning trophies, albeit in the past.

But the Observer article and thread give food for thought. Yes, the obvious parallels are there. Yesterday's man, apparent boring football and if anything, Benitez is a lesser model than Ancelotti based on past achievements.

But they are parallels, not complete similarities. There are also differences. The main one being Benitez has achieved success at big clubs sitting just below the elite club threshold. He has broken the glass ceiling, so to speak, Even Liverpool. At the time, they had the name, but that was an average Liverpool team and squad.

I feel dirty saying it, but maybe this was the appointment Moshiri and his backer should have made instead of Ancelotti if this is the path they have chosen to lead us to Bramley Moore Dock and the 10th title that will allow me to rest eternally?

I sometimes think my relationship with Everton is like when I was a dumb teenager who had fallen for the wrong girl. No matter how badly she treated me, I couldn't walk away and could only see the good side, regardless of what my sisters told me. To hate, you have to love. I can't even hate Everton, no matter what they do to me, my emotions and my poor suffering wife and dogs.

Jerome Shields
8 Posted 05/07/2021 at 17:13:31
Good article. Agree with the well-thought-out reasons. Will be interesting to see how it unfolds. Wise not to bet on it. It's anybody's guess how it will work out. The counter argument could work, as you say.


Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 05/07/2021 at 17:30:29
A lot of good points, Paul, but it's like all roads lead to Bramley-Moore Dock, and if any ground in the country deserves to go out with a bang, then it's got to be Goodison for me.

Paul Tran
10 Posted 05/07/2021 at 17:33:52
Maybe it will, Tony?!
Barry Rathbone
11 Posted 05/07/2021 at 17:38:15
Bill Watson 5

I can't be absolutely sure but I think "togger" is a scouse term and, like you, my first hearings date from the 60s. Haven't heard it elsewhere on my travels.

Phil Bellis
12 Posted 05/07/2021 at 17:47:11
"Coming to Sefo for a game of togger, la?"

The "la" rather than the North end "lad" shows its roots, I presume.

Danny O’Neill
13 Posted 05/07/2021 at 17:56:17
Goodison deserves a send off.

It's season 2023-24, the last season at Goodison Park. Everton go on an amazing run to secure an impressive league position and once again, European qualification. They are waved farewell at an appreciative yet emotional Goodison Park on their very last game on the hallowed ground before they head to Wembley for the FA Cup final.

One week later, and 40 years on from 1984, Everton win the FA Cup. Optimism is high, the club is on an up and there is a feel good factor.

Season 2024-25. Everton continue their impressive form from the previous season and romp to the elusive 10th league title that has alluded them for 40 years since they were last crowned champions of England. They parade the trophy around their new iconic stadium on the banks of the Mersey with the Royal Liver Building basking in blue light in the distance.

I may have been partly dreaming as I wrote that. But if you can't dream and hope?

I should wake up soon.

John Raftery
14 Posted 05/07/2021 at 17:56:20
Bill (5) and Barry (11).

I remember ‘Togger' being used in playgrounds across Merseyside and beyond in the early sixties. I always thought it was a corruption of ‘soccer' denoting that we used our toes to kick the ball.

‘Rugger' was used for rugby. In that era, some rugby playing schools were keen to draw a clear distinction between ‘Association Football' and ‘Rugby Football' by referring to the former as ‘soccer'.

Ken Kneale
15 Posted 05/07/2021 at 18:01:22
Paul - a good article summing up the situation

Dave @1 - excellent comments - I too have a feeling after initial reservations that we have secured the best available and that his combative style with those above and below is what we need to provide a secure foundation to move forward.

Add in a few competent and willing players and a bit of pace, as Tony suggests on another thread, and we have the basis to at least move forward with a supportive crowd which in my view will be an essential requirement at Goodison this season more than ever.

Danny O’Neill
16 Posted 05/07/2021 at 18:02:40
I never realised the "la" or "lar" thing was south end, Phil. I personally hate it and never used it, preferring "lad", but I'm from the south of the city. Kind of makes sense now you mention it though.
Phil Bellis
17 Posted 05/07/2021 at 18:20:28
Danny (16) When I went back to Peter Kavanagh's and the Cracke after a few years' absence it was "Alright la? How's it going?" etc.

Couple of years ago, I was in Kazimier Garden and four lads sitting nearby, wearing what I presume was the latest street gear, had a conversation consisting of "lad" nearly every other word, eg, "Straight, lad, so I says lad, eh lad, no worra mean lad, and he goes like lad..." Magic!

Barry Rathbone
18 Posted 05/07/2021 at 18:41:41
John 14

Very plausible and difficult to offer an alternative.

The cobwebs of my mind has a hint of a derivation from "soccer" (the corruption of association football) but I know not how. Perhaps the simple impish joy of playing with official language caught on after all someone must have said "go 'ead" (go ahead) one day and it caught on.

Tis an odd one

Colin Glassar
19 Posted 05/07/2021 at 18:46:13
'La' or 'lar' is a general term with no specific geographical origin, as far as I know.

"Orrice lar?" is pure scouse. I prefer 'mate'. 'Togger' is fucking medieval!

Don Wright
20 Posted 05/07/2021 at 18:47:22
The big question is: Did anyone play Togger in the Jigger?
Chris Williams
21 Posted 05/07/2021 at 18:52:05
Does anyone remember an old girl asking “are you alright queen?”
Andrew Ellams
22 Posted 05/07/2021 at 18:55:35
If anybody wants a run through of the Scouse vernacular in a really strong accent look up the comedian Paul Smith from the Hot Water Comedy Club on Youtube.

Some of his stuff is pure stereotype. He's very funny with it though.

Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 05/07/2021 at 18:58:06
Sometimes someone says something and it takes me right to certain songs.

Your dream took me to Aviici, Danny, and wake me up when it’s all over, and certain lyrics which remind me of Evertonians, and I DIDN’T KNOW WE WAS LOST!

John Keating
24 Posted 05/07/2021 at 19:04:05
Colin,

I'm with you. Never used 'la' or 'lad', always 'mate'. I can't think of anyone in my family or mates that's ever used 'la'?

Regarding the thread. I'm still ambivalent about Benitez, as long as he gets stuck in to the lazy gets when they show no effort or fight, which has been far too often the last few years.

John McFarlane Snr
25 Posted 05/07/2021 at 19:40:46
Hi Bill [5] Barry [11 & 18] and John [14] as I understand it the word 'Togger' was derived from the fact that we used to refer to our football kit as 'Togs' at least we in the Everton district did, and I'm going back to the 1940s.
Darren Hind
26 Posted 05/07/2021 at 19:57:51
Measured and clever, Paul.

I've learned down the years to sit up and take notice when you say "wouldnt put a penny on it", but I sincerely hope our football's better than last season.

Paul Tran
27 Posted 05/07/2021 at 20:09:28
Could it be any worse, Darren? At least in the early 70s I could only go when me arl fella had Saturdays off (no telly/streams in those days for younger readers!).
Barry Rathbone
28 Posted 05/07/2021 at 20:09:28
John 25

Another very plausible explanation I still say "putting me togs on"

Joe McMahon
29 Posted 05/07/2021 at 21:02:10
Paul & Darren, infact everyone. The home performances last season were some of the worst I've seen by Everton, and of course that includes anything under Moyes, Walter and Howard Kendall's 3rd term (yes unfortunately).

I remember one good performance last season, first game away at Spurs. We won at Anfield the same season Burnley, Brighton and Fulham did, and of course they still finished in the top 4. (For any fans of the Fast Show, "Bugger!")

Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 05/07/2021 at 22:19:58
You got me thinking there Joe. I was fortunate enough to witness the glorious 80s period first hand, mostly from the Gwladys Street. Although, before we hit gold, there were some dodgy performances as Howard played around to eventually find his winning formula. Let's not mention the Ian Rush 5 - 0; okay I just have.

Sadly since then I've witnessed many poor performances by Everton teams. Regular posters know my background and move away from Liverpool, so I'll stick to matches I've attended since then. I'm not sure why these ones stick out as particularly depressing, but they do, and not just because of the result:

Arsenal home during Colin Harvey's tenure (I think). I can't even remember the year but the last match I attended with my Dad. We lost 3 - 1 and you could visibly see the frustration in Martin Keown, who was clearly a good player in a declining team. I don't think he stuck around too long after that season.

Sheffield Wednesday home in the 90s. Joe Royle was manager? We actually went 1 - 0 up courtesy of a trademark Duncan Ferguson header. Lost 4 - 1. It was a dreary winter day, which added to the depressing feeling.

Hull home during Martinez's first season. We won 2 - 1. My son was at Uni in Liverpool and had season ticket. I travelled up from London to meet him. Despite the general consensus the football was great that season, he warned me I would need to be patient watching them. I remember noting that the four Everton players who touched the ball the most seemed to be Howard, Jagielka, Distin and Barry playing one touch in a diamond on that the edge of our box. A dreary affair.

There have been so many. In terms of absolute capitulation and white flag defeatism, some of those FA Cup defeats such as Wigan, Tranmere and Middlesborough (the straw that broke the Walter Smith back) take some beating.

Anyway, look forward as always. Optimism and hope that not only do we win, but we are entertained more than not. We could equally reminisce on the best performances we've seen and fortunately we've all seen many of those too. Onwards.

Bill Watson
31 Posted 05/07/2021 at 22:22:27
John #25

Thanks, John, I think you've nailed it. We also called them togs in West Derby!

Joe McMahon
32 Posted 05/07/2021 at 22:30:31
Thanks for reminding me of the Everton 0 Rush 5 Danny. I'd fortunately forgotten all about it. In more recent times, Tranmere, Wigan and Oldham in the FA Cup all winning at Goodison, and Shrewsbury beating Everton the year they were relegated to the conference (another Moyes classic). Christ we have lived through some shite.
Christy Ring
33 Posted 05/07/2021 at 22:31:17
A good honest and fair assessment, Paul. I think Ancelotti really took the wind out of Moshiri's sails, and literally stabbed him in the back, so he was going to be very cautious with his appointment.

Benitez's appointment was controversial, but there was no great choice available, and Moshiri and Rafa know he's under pressure to get it right from the off, which could be a good thing. I hope it works.

Brent Stephens
34 Posted 05/07/2021 at 22:36:21
Christy "Ancelotti really took the wind out of Moshiri's sails, and literally stabbed him in the back,"

Literally?! Did he survive the knife attack?

Shane Corcoran
35 Posted 05/07/2021 at 23:17:20
Brent, unfortunately if enough people say the same thing incorrectly for long enough, the “wrong” definition wins and enters the dictionary.

'Literally' can now be used to express emphasis.

Phil Bellis
36 Posted 05/07/2021 at 23:38:33
Don (20), I played with a tennie in the jigger when I was a young un then in my teens went up the jigger for a knee-trembler... around town, lately, fella seems to be the standard acknowledgment on meeting strangers.
Danny O’Neill
37 Posted 05/07/2021 at 23:53:21
You can't "fella" people Phil. Bad form!!
Dennis Stevens
38 Posted 06/07/2021 at 00:13:45
Danny #13 - if we have to wait until the 40th anniversary of our last League title then you're a bit premature, that'd be 2027!
Danny O’Neill
39 Posted 06/07/2021 at 00:18:00
Doh!! Told you I was dreaming.

I always default back to the 84-85 team. I suppose the plus is that it will only have been 38 years?!!

I wouldn't mind, but I was at Carrow Road that day. What a trip home that was!

Good call out Dennis.

Phil Bellis
40 Posted 06/07/2021 at 00:18:54
Thanks Danny...not used it, will make sure I never do..When a young un I asked my dad were all males he knew (shops, bus etc) called "Jim".He said nope, but, now and again, you get it right👌
Derek Thomas
41 Posted 06/07/2021 at 01:18:02
The Everton rollercoaster slowly starts to trundle along and we're all, like it or not, on board.
Trouble is this rollercoaster always seems to have more flats and descents that thrills and highs.
But we can't get off, we can only wait and see...and scream and moan, probably not in a good way either.
Who knows - it might get exciting, I doubt it will be uneventful.
Alan J Thompson
42 Posted 06/07/2021 at 09:00:34
Was Benitez the best man for the job? To answer that, I'd need to know who the other applicants and approached parties were, given that Benitez is reported to have had several interviews, which implies that others also may have done.

Although why would you need more than two unless it became a matter of what would be acceptable in the contract. Is anyone aware of anyone other than Benitez, Nuno and Dunc actually being approached? One report seemed to indicate that many applications were received.

Martin Mason
43 Posted 06/07/2021 at 09:26:45
According to the dictionary 'togger' is a North of England term for soccer, origin: Australia for Aussie Rules Football. I remember it from Mid-Cheshire.
Derek Taylor
44 Posted 06/07/2021 at 10:02:50
Has anyone heard whether the likes of Baines, Unsey et al are to stay under Benitez?
Kenwright seems to have fixed it for Dunc - Blood Brothers now Dave H. has passed !
Peter Mills
45 Posted 06/07/2021 at 10:17:51
Paul, you’ve just about summed up my feelings around the situation.

I’ve never been a fan of Snr Benitez, but then again one of the reasons I loved Tim Cahill was that supporters of other teams, especially the rs, hated him. He upset them.

I fear that Benitez has come to top up his pension at a location convenient to him, and that Moshiri has had his pants pulled down once again. But I have no evidence to support that concern, and I desperately want to be wrong.

I am going to be as optimistic as an Evertonian can be. As Ken#15 says, the crowd needs to be supportive and patient. But I wouldn’t bet the farm on that either.

Christy Ring
46 Posted 06/07/2021 at 17:25:14
Brent #34, Shane #35,

I apologise for incorrectly using the word 'Literally', I only noticed it after your response. I wish we were all as clever and as smart as you both.

Bill Watson
47 Posted 06/07/2021 at 19:05:24
Christy #46

We can but aspire to be perfect!


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