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The Everton Way

By Steve Hogan :  05/11/2009 :  Comments (6) :
It's probably not the best time to write an article when you have just watched your side being dismantled by a pretty ordinary Benfica side, but here goes...

Time and time again, we are being told by various contributors on this site we have moved moved forward as a football club since the dark days of Walter Smith et al. But, whilst results have improved, from a pure football perspective we have gone backwards.

The current swashbuckling, up-and-at-'em style simply does not cut the mustard anymore in the modern game. In fact, it's plain prehistoric and does the present crop of players no good at all. Players neither develop into better individuals and the team suffers as a result.

In stark contrast, Arsenal — from it's youth team up — seem to have it drilled into them to pass, pass, pass. They may not always get the results their play deserves, but I unashamedly drool when I watch them play; if only I could witness my own team attempt to play like that just for fifteen minutes each game?

I watched in despair as the whole of the Everton backline (bar Baines, who I thought had a great game) repeatedly 'hoof' it upfield to a waiting Benefica player who calmly fashioned an opening in midfield, always looking for the killer pass.

Before I get accused of being another 'dreamer', I don't think it's about money or the lack of it, it's about having the right ethos to play the game in a more intelligent way. The days of the long ball up to the centre forward with his back to goal are long gone, particularly in Europe. Although not the force they once were a couple of years ago, Villarreal (average gate around 18,000) were a good example of what can be achieved with a 'progressive' type manager and a small budget. Even when our main source of creativity is fit again, Arteta, don't expect too much to change. Despite our current manager having ALL the Uefa coaching badges under the sun, the team still struggle to string together more than a couple of passes at any one time. In fact, they look rather ill at ease whenever they do attempt it. The reason being, that they don't play that way in training. Moyes always strikes me as an intelligent individual; if so, doesn't he realise that you simply cannot sustain this high-pressure, close-'em-down-quickly style of play over the long period? Players become knackered or disallusioned or both, just look at Cahill — he looks worn out.

I AM grateful to Moyes for improving the overall position of the club in league terms, but has his own ability improved with it? When we are in a position to buy players, particularly with the recent Lescott windfall, we never buy players who can put their foot on the ball or dictate play. It always seems to be ordinary defensive types who can 'sit in front of the back four' and break things up.

I can't believe there is a dearth of players in Europe who couldn't fill this role? The £9M spent on Bily looks at best dubious for a player with no pace who can't tackle. I have to agree with many fans who simply don't get too excited about going the game anymore.

Reader Comments

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Ray Kelly
1   Posted 06/11/2009 at 00:15:12

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Totally agree with everything you’ve said, I've heard so many people say they’ve had enough including two members of my own family. I too am close to the edge.
James Stewart
2   Posted 06/11/2009 at 00:50:26

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You're quite right it's about an ethos and the way the game should be played. Moyes does not offer the right ethos.

Tonight’s hoofball was shocking and Moyes must approve of it otherwise the same players wouldn’t do it time and time again. I would tell Yobo in particular if you do that again you are coming off!

Peter Griffin
3   Posted 06/11/2009 at 06:53:58

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I agree with you Steve. It’s embarrassing watching us in Europe playing long balls up to a lone striker, hoping to win the second ball. First half last night Benfica sat back expecting us to come at them early doors, but we never? We were poor to watch as usual and I’m sick of it. As usual we played not to lose. At home.
Brian Noble
4   Posted 06/11/2009 at 09:55:34

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Pre-match,Moyes was on Sky giving it the usual ’We must keep it tight and hope to nick one’ speech-gawd only knows what he says to the players! Afterwards, his comments to camers were focussed on the inability of the defence to ’shut them out’and no mention of the total failure of the midfield to provide amunition for Yak and Cahill.I am beginning to suspect that our only ’attacking’ strategy is based on scoring from dead balls!
Geoff Edwards
5   Posted 06/11/2009 at 11:04:17

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I read an article last season by Guillem Balague. He said he had spoken to Moyes and Moyes said he believed playing hoofball or whatever you want to call it is the worst way to play, beacuse you go long periods without the ball which means you rely a lot more on luck in matches, and therefore possession football is the way forward.

He went on to say that Moyes didn’t believe Everton could get the results against the big 4 playing possession football because they do it better, so he goes for this defensive style. So that would indicate that the style Everton play is basically down to how much confidence he has in the players. Interesting.

David Bodian
6   Posted 06/11/2009 at 13:07:53

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Steve, an excellent article which I am sure expresses the sentiments of many Everton supporters. I too dream of the day when our side can move the ball around like the players at Arsenal. I’ve said this on a previous occasion, but I cannot understand what goes wrong between the ages of 14 to say 20 with young footballers. I regularly watch youth football and I have seen better one touch passing from players who train with or play against my son than some of the senior players at EFC! What has happened to all the talent that abounds? Perhaps it is languishing somewhere in non-league football since too many in the EPL have other ideas? Keep broadcasting your thoughts, Steve.

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