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Blue Deja Vu

By Scott Campbell :  18/08/2009 :  Comments (18) :

For many Evertonians, this week will feel like a huge hangover — not just because of Saturday but because we're entering the final couple of weeks of yet another counter-productive summer! Having been promised that we'd never have another summer like that of 2008, and what with all the promises from the likes of Robert Elstone about improving the squad, I write this article with a distinct feeling of deja vu!

The fact is, Saturday's hefty humiliation against Arsenal was a long time coming. Unfortunately for us, we were playing Arsenal, and not Blackburn Rovers or Portsmouth who, at this stage last season, both scored three at Goodison! Had we have opened against Arsenal or Manchester United last season, a beating along the lines of Saturday would have no doubt been administered! The reason for this is quite simple, a number of the players in our starting eleven are just not good enough.

Players like Tony Hibbert and Leon Osman should be nothing more than fringe players at Goodison Park. However, they start each and every week that they are available. They are, for me, two of the worst players I have ever had the misfortune of seeing in an Everton shirt, and furthermore, are a massive hindrance to the rest of the team for, to be slightly cliched, it is like playing with nine men! Tony Hibbert should have been replaced with a matter of urgency after his pitiful performance against Florent Malouda in the FA Cup Final. Likewise, Leon Osman should be nothing more than a substitute at best. For Osman starts games looking like he's in the latter stages of extra time, such is his lack of pace and energy.

The right-hand side needs to be priority number one for David Moyes. He needs to address both the right back and right hand side of midfield as soon as possible. The debate is open as to whether Moyes sees this, the known pursuit of two right-sided players in Naughton and Elm suggests so. There is a distinct need for a right-back who can offer something out wide, a la Leighton Baines, as well as the key defensive attributes. In the same regard, the right wing is crying out for a player with pace and creativity who can actually beat a man.

Of secondary, but nonetheless, key importance is the need for a new centre midfielder to play alongside Mikel Arteta upon his return and cover for centre half. For the last couple of seasons, we have been excited at the prospect touted in the rumour columns of various national newspapers of Joao Moutinho joining from Sporting Lisbon, similarly Juan Roman Riquelme was linked with us in 2007. Now we're told a deal for Ever Banega is close, some sources claim we're in for Guti and others Gago! Who knows?

But whether it be a playmaker or a more all round midfielder, the need for a creative touch from a classy footballer in the middle of the park is unquestionable. With regards centre half, we're all still wondering what the outcome of the whole Lescott affair will be? A return for Richard Dunne? Senderos and Taylor coming in to replace him? Again, we really don't know.

A word on the Board of Directors who, for me, are the greatest hindrance Everton Football Club face! I am in complete agreement with those calling for Kenwright and his cronies in the shadows to go. This, I believe, would be for the good of the club! The poor management of Everton FC, exemplified by the complete failure to get investment, should have Kenwright hanging his head in shame!

We are the only club in the Premier League where the term "financial constraints" is almost always used when the money question crops us. Every time he is interviewed, Bill Kenwright comes out with the most cringeworthy nonsense! He offers nothing more than propaganda, pulling the wool over a fair few of the supporters' eyes, making them believe that Kenwright is always acting with Everton's interests at heart. He can't help himself.

Somewhere along the line, the Boys Pen always gets mentioned and the question diverted by a response like, "I'm an Evertonian like you!" Well, that doesn't give him the right to be Chairman of Everton Football Club. He never offers us any answers to the questions that matter.

I'm a believer in the strong rumours that Keith Wyness left the club because of a row with Kenwright over Kenwright's refusal to talk with serious potential backers that Wyness had brought to the table. I'd like at some point for the truth regarding all this to come out but, for now, Kenwright should walk away and relinquish control at the next available opportunity because he offers nothing whatsoever with regards taking the club forward.

We cannot go on with him in control of our football club. The man is a joke, and it really is quite clear, as a friend put it to me when Kenwright finally got control of the club, "now Kenwright has got a hold of Everton, he'll never let it go!"

From Bill Kenwright to David Moyes. I'm not questioning David Moyes per se — I am a huge Moyes fan. I believe him to be an extremely honest, capable, dignified football manager, which is refreshing amongst some of the other managers out there. However, I do wonder sometimes if Moyes is the cause of his own problems. We all know he dithers.

It seems to take us near an eternity to sign players when we do. The Kyle Naughton deal became drawn out and protracted and one can't help but think maybe he'd be in an Everton shirt if Moyes was a little more decisive. Similarly the Senderos negotiations are still going on, and no doubt will be subsequently hijacked any time soon! I'd like to see a little more ruthlessness when it comes to Moyes and the transfer market.

Secondly, I feel that Moyes plays one of our more productive players, Tim Cahill, way out of position. For me, Cahill is not a centre midfielder. He is just not good enough to be in the middle of the park, he is more a forward than a midfielder. He is deadly when he arrives late in the opponent box and for him to do this, he absolutely needs to be the man supporting the lone striker.

Jo certainly looked isolated and somewhat frustrated with the lack of support against Arsenal. By playing Cahill as a simple centre midfielder we are removing a huge threat which won us so many points last season as well as selling ourselves short in the middle of the pitch. Should this elusive new midfielder ever arrive then Cahill needs to be behind the front man causing the problems we all know he can cause.

We won so many points last year thanks to the odd goal, usually from Cahill, luck certainly played an important part in these late surges. We cannot become over reliant on gaining points in this way because at some point that luck will abandon us. We need to actually go out and beat teams. We never seem to actually go out and outplay a team. I know that a win is a win but my point is that, if and when these new faces arrive, then they need to be a part of a team that sprints home rather than limping over the finishing line!

So, as this article heads towards the final whistle, everything on the transfer front has gone disturbingly quiet! One can only hope for a Tim Cahill-like finale for Everton in the transfer market...

Reader Comments

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John Carter
1   Posted 18/08/2009 at 17:41:18

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Hibbert seems to have lost it. I disagree with your assesment of him as he had a very good couple of seasons, but since his last injury he seems broken mentaly and physically.

What you say about Osman though is way off the mark. He’s started so many games because he deserved to. He’s been a great player for us, scored and created many match-winning goals and is useful all accross the middle. He is not, and neither he nor Moyes would dissagree, a right winger and he’s had to play there for too long. Of course with better RB support he is more useful.

Wart in an Everton shirt? Over the top much?
Luke Berry
2   Posted 18/08/2009 at 17:51:33

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It doesn't take a genius to see that all those tossers in charge spouted a pile of bollocks to get the season ticket sales up, it goes with out question. What gets up my nose is that we all take it... EVERY YEAR!!

We might as well face it, we won't get rid of Kenwright ’til we revolt as fans and hit the club where it hurts. He now believes he has carte blanche to take the piss whenever and however he wants... Out with Blue Bill and his cronie retail cartel.

Our club is in dire straits at the moment and don't for a second think we are not... as someone else said, it happened to Newcastle it could easily happen to us.
Chris Otway
3   Posted 18/08/2009 at 18:19:29

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I have spent the last three days feeling angry humiliated and embarrassed. Someone started the thread of NFI and I really feel the same. The most recent claptrap being "signing two players in the next two days" that was four days ago now.

Until that socialist luvvy goes nothing will change. I now hope DK is stopped by the Minister as that then may force Kenwright to sell up.

John Martin
4   Posted 18/08/2009 at 18:32:13

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I’m just waiting for next seasons ticket renewal to come. BK took the piss out of us this year so he may as well do it again next year as we fall for it. We’ll probably get renewal forms in December this year and more promisses of early transfers. We’ll lap it up and beleive him as we did for last 2 years. He must be laughing his socks off every night how he pulls the wool over 26,000 fans.
John Brennan
5   Posted 18/08/2009 at 18:12:14

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Scott, I am no expert on the machinations behind the scenes, but it seems pretty obvious BB does not have the money to be a serious player in a "top" Premier League club. He should sell up and concentrate on putting on quality shows on the London stage, a la "Watch this Space" starring Peter Mandelson and the mortgage dodgers, and "24/7" with Gordon Brown's gurners fresh from their YouTube triumph.

As far as the team is concerned, I have posted before, it is pretty gormless tactics to stick Jo up front on his own. He isn't that type of player. Whatever your limitations, you don't get to win more than 1 cap for Brazil if you can't control or pass a ball. I accept the jury is still out on this guy, but give him a chance by providing some support, which I hope will be forthcoming when Yakubu returns.

We all know how crap the right-hand side is, and I am afraid for modern day football, Hibbert and Osman simply don't have the pace. Hibbert can be a decent tackler if he isn't having to chase back after a pacy winger and then throwing himself clumsily at him from behind and then giving away a free kick in a dangerous area or a penalty. Perhaps if Osman were replaced by a quicker right-sided player, Hibbert wouldn't have to do so much chasing back.

I also agree Cahill should be pushed further forward, he is an attacking midfielder, not a guy who hangs around in front of the back four not knowing whether to stay or go forward. He doesn't seem to have too much trouble scoring for Australia.

I am pleased also to note from recent posters that the fans' spotlight is beginning to turn on Yobo. I have never been his greatest fan because he panics when the defence is under pressure and simply whacks the ball anywhere, usually straight back to the opposition.

Bring in Rodwell and let's start developing our attacks by passing the ball out from the back, via midfield, Arteta and another playmaker, then lets see how Jo comes in together with another ballplayer, Saha, and there is always Yakubu to get rough if necessary!!!

Keep the ball on the ground Mr Moyes, and if Fellaini cant do that, then get rid along with Lescott.

Gerry Western
6   Posted 18/08/2009 at 21:07:50

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I’d go along with most of that, though I think Fellaini is a much better player than many might think. Personally I’d prefer to see him in a Gravesen type role, primarily in central midfield but with license to roam. However if you play him in that role there has got to be a quality holding player alongside him and I’m afraid Neville simply isn’t that player.

Of course your right about Cahill he is a truly a fabulous player sitting just behind the striker and showed a great understanding with Jo last season. For me the jury’s still out on Jo he’s not had any real support. Hibbert did look promising some years ago, sadly following his injury he’s never quite been the same player.

Osman never was Premier League quality and never will be and goes missing all too often — he’s a passenger whom we can no longer afford to carry. Others seek to defend him by claiming he’s played out wide rather that in a preferred central position. My observation however is that although he’s selected to play wide he’ll quickly drift into a central position for possibly 80 of the 90 minutes and Hibbert gets totally shafted.

Finally, BK I believe has only one interest and that is to hang on to his trainset. I’ve defended him in the past but I have to say I’ve had to swallow one cup of bullshit too many. His plans to move to Kirkby would suggest he’d gladly see the club brought to ruin than relinquish control.
Tony Williams
7   Posted 18/08/2009 at 21:44:50

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"He must be laughing his socks off every night how he pulls the wool over 26000 fans"

John, I was renewing my season ticket no matter who we bought or to be correct who we didn’t buy.

He never pulled the wool over a lot of people’s eyes simply because they were renewing anyway. I don’t wait to see who we are in for before considering renewing.
John Martin
8   Posted 18/08/2009 at 21:56:55

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Tony, the pulling the wool over our eyes is why we now renew in April and during this time are told we want new signings in early. I was always going to renew mine but, due to current economic climate, there will always be people unsure or not sure they can afford too. The promise of new players would encourage people to pay up. It wasn't that long ago like most other clubs we got our season renewal forms around the last game of the season.
Marco Buonfiglio
9   Posted 18/08/2009 at 23:29:17

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I hate to come the old soldier, but while I agree that Tony Hibbert and Leon Osman are not the brightest stars to light up the Everon constellation, I am old enough to remember a time when both (yes, both) were mooted as England possibles (apparently implausible, I know, but let’s remember that England have spent time clutching at straws in living memory).

Meanwhile, when people talk about these two being the worst players to pull on an Everton jersey, I can only assume that I’m the only person on this site over the age of twenty. Danny Williamson, anyone? Carl Tiler? Mich Ward? Tony Towers? Moyes’s judgment isn’t infallible: Krøldrup and AvdM prove that. But his shipping out of the former proves he can learn. The persistence of the latter ... well ... £30k a week buys you a good lawyer.
Stewart Littler
10   Posted 18/08/2009 at 23:56:40

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What puzzles me is that no matter how bad any others have played, it’s always TH & LO who get the blame. Now I’m in absolute agreement that this is the area of our first XI which is weakest. But on Saturday, responsibility for the goals were:

1. Baines skinned, Fellaini & Neville ball-watching.
2. Yobo lost his man at set piece.
3. Fellaini lost his man at set piece.
4. Yobo & Lescott both went to same man, leaving gaping hole in middle.
5. No challenge from midfield (Neville, Cahill, Fellaini)
6. Yobo beaten, Baines not tracking runner for rebound.
There is no need to blame these 2 EVERY time we lose FFS!!

Rory Slingo
11   Posted 19/08/2009 at 05:28:33

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Stewart, it doesn’t matter how many goals you let in. If you score 1 more than they can, you win. Osman and Hibbert give us absolutely no width or options up front. They actually work against us!

How many times have we seen great runs and overlaps down the left side, only for the cross in to completely miss everyone in the box? Osman then scoops it up, passes back to Hibbert who tries to cross it back in but it ends up with the opposition who come straight back at us on the break, resulting either in a goal, or a desperate response from our defence, giving away a free kick, from which the other team will score!

Colin Potter
12   Posted 19/08/2009 at 10:00:13

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I don’t think much of Hibbert or Osman, but I must agree with Stewart, they are not to blame all the time. One man who hasn’t been mentioned is Howard, he should've been out to either collect or punch out the second and third goals. He is one of the worst goalies I’ve seen for staying on his line. It’s not as if he is a titch of a goalie. I think he needs a lot of coaching with this aspect of his game.
Dave Richman
13   Posted 19/08/2009 at 10:41:34

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Well thank you Colin Potter!!!!!!

I’ve been reading all the reaction to Saturday, and this is the first mention of Tim Howard...... and I thought it was just me!

Almunia (sporting the kind of ’do’ that there really should be a law against) came off his line and caught everything..... all game long.

Sure, the marking was risible for the two set-piece goals, but surely Tim could have come for both? I don’t think he even commands the 6 yard box, let alone the penalty area.

Oh and Stewart Littler, yep there was a huge gap up the middle when Fabregas got the 4th, but it stemmed from Hibbert fannying around with the ball about 5 yards outside the Arsenal box, and he lost possession..... 5 seconds later it was in our net.
Tony Williams
14   Posted 19/08/2009 at 11:02:25

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Stewart and Colin, spot on. No matter what happens, it is always Hibbert's or Osman's fault, not the rest of the defence.

I have been saying the same about Howard ever since the first leg of the Carling Cup Semi-Final against Chelski when the minscule SWP out-jumped Lescott and headed in. Howard should be ploughing through all players to get those type of balls.
John Barnes
15   Posted 19/08/2009 at 11:08:12

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And Howard is beaten by almost every shot on target from outside the box. OK a decent strike for the 1st on Saturday, but it happens almost all of the time.
Phil Hoyle
16   Posted 20/08/2009 at 01:01:04

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There is lots of sense talked here (i.e. Hibbert and Osman not good enough) but there is also a load of bollocks also.

We all love our club but stop the negativity just because we have a really embarrassing, piss poor result. Yes, we fall short in so many areas but in terms of Moyes look at his record - it is FUCKING BRILLIANT on limited resources.

I do not want to become a Man City and be a club who has no respect, no honour, no soul - we are better than that!!! We are earning respect from other football fans of other clubs and David Moyes is doing that - that makes me proud to be an Evertonian!!!!

Yes - Saturday was shit; yes our football is sometimes shit but over the last 7 years Kenwright/Moyes have bought stability and made us the best of the rest. We are now a constant and yes, I am frustrated that if we could buy 2, 3, 4 quality players we could threaten further. But, how do you think Moyes feels??? If we get on his back why should he stay — he is destined for Man Utd anyway but the guy has a sense of greatness about him.

The way he has handled the Lescott situation to me has re-enforced our position as the People’s Club but this time it’s not only about Liverpool but about the country — we are respected by football fans from different clubs and that is down to him. He for me is doing our great club proud.
Matthew Mackey
17   Posted 20/08/2009 at 09:28:14

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On a slightly different thread, did anyone watch the Hull City v Tottenham game last night. (1-5). Kyle Naughton was nowhere to be seen.

Is this the start of yet another case of a young British player with loads of potential becoming yet another victim of the Tottenham graveyard for right backs? Kyle, you have been badly advised mate!
Scott Campbell
18   Posted 20/08/2009 at 13:49:18

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I’d agree on the Howard front. I’ve never been a massive fan of him to be honest and he does stay on his line far too much!

You’re spot on about Naughton Matthew — badly advised!

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