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Where’s the Commitment, Lads?

By Adam Cunliffe :  22/11/2009 :  Comments (21) :
Look, this is my first article in a while and I suppose it could be taken as a knee-jerk reaction to a poor result in our last game. I didn’t expect Everton to get anything at Man United. I never do when we play a top 4 team, especially away from home. For me, a draw is a good result. Yesterday, it was the performance that really annoyed me. To watch Everton lose is hard enough but to watch them get hammered without us putting up even a shred of resistance was disgusting.

I’m sorry but the lads need a fucking backbone. Yes, we have injuries but for Christ sake, if you go to Old Trafford playing one up front, you’re screwed from the start. I feel sorry for Louis because he runs his bollocks of every game but as he has no one up with him he just doesn’t get any breaks. Luckily when he gets one he tends to score but it’s so damn frustrating to see him running round without the ball. James Beattie did the same though he wasn’t as good a finisher as Louis, as did Andy Johnson and Yakubu looks like it would kill him to run around for a bit. If he’s not fit enough to put the effort in, take him out the squad and put on a young lad who would at least be willing to run himself into the ground for the team.

It got to the point last night watching the game that for the first time in my life I can actually understand why the likes of Wayne Rooney and Joleon Lescott have left Everton. Rooney wouldn’t have stood a chance upfront on his own and Lescott is now playing in a team that have a chance of achieving something, albeit 'til the bubble inevitably bursts. We’ve been shat on so many times by players with a similar ilk to the ones mentioned above but seriously, playing like we did against United smacks of putting out a team who have no expectations of getting anything out of the game. Yes, you can’t go into games against United expecting to win, but we, the fans at least deserve of seeing our team have a chance of winning, albeit a small one.

15 years ago when I became an Evertonian little did I realise what exactly I was signing up to. I’ve been through a lot of shit as an Everton fan, as has every other Evertonian. I suppose it must be worse for the older Everton fans as they’ve seen just how good it can get. My Grandad has seen us be the best in the 60s and the 80s so only god knows what he must have thought about last nights game. I don’t expect Everton to beat United at Old Trafford, I don’t even expect us to draw but I expect us to at least have a chance of getting a result and we didn’t yesterday.

I hate it when we don’t have a go at teams. Burnley are going out, getting results against teams with better players all because there having a go. I couldn’t give a shit about the style of play we use to get the results. If we hit it long and score great, if we pass it on the floor and win, even better. But at the minute were doing neither. Stoke are committed to how they play, they go out and kick the shit out any opposition and it bloody works. They all give 100% and all play for the cause. For me, it’s not the style you play, its how much effort you put in.

If the Old Dogs of War had played last night, we’d still probably have been beaten but Big Dunk would have at least kicked the living shite out of half the United team in the process. I’m not asking for us to become dirty (even though I do think we are too nice) just committed. We lack bottle, leadership and we have a manager who lacks the tactical knowledge for us to become anything more than a Europa League team. Benfica found us out twice but at least we gave it our best shot. However, I can’t say that about yesterday’s game.

Would Arteta have made a difference yesterday? Probably. But not 3 goals difference. That’s why the injury argument doesn’t hold up for me. If I played yesterday instead of Fellaini, I wouldn’t have had anywhere near the same quality as him but Christ I can honestly say I’d have given everything I had for that royal blue jersey. That’s what I think were missing, the passion and the drive. There was none of that yesterday apart from in a few players. The majority of the team were resigned to defeat before the game and that’s unacceptable, but it won’t go unpunished because Moyes expected us to loose too. The sense of defeat against top opposition will not go away for as long as he’s in charge. I’m not calling for his head by any means but he needs to realise that 4-5-1 doesn’t work against the top teams.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry can see that it just invites pressure back onto us. We get the ball up to Saha and he just runs into four brick walls with no blue shirt within 20 yards of him. However, all this will be forgot if we can beat Liverpool next week.

If I was Moyes, I’d rip into the lads and tell them just how big this game is. Gosling’s goal sent Goodison crazy last year and we need some one to do the same. I’d tell Johnny Heitinga to go out there and snap the fuck out of anything that moves. I don’t expect us to win, but for us to at least put up a fight. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum means only the best is good enough. If we try our best and loose I’m not bothered in the slightest, but when we don’t I hate it. If Liverpool trounce us but we can at least say we’ve put everything into it I honestly wouldn’t mind too much but if we do what we did vs United and roll over before the game then questions need to be asked.

4-4-2 vs Liverpool and 100% effort is all I want. If we do that we’ll have a very good chance but I just can’t see it happening. The players and manager need to start taking responsibility and earning their money. The way we played last night was terrible, the effort was even worse. We’re fucking Everton Football Club and we are better than that.

I’ll follow Everton in the 10th division if that’s were we ended up but as long as the team were giving their all I could not complain. Anyhow... Let's go out there next game and twat the fuck out of the Red Shite and completely end any hopes of them winning the league and if we loose? Let’s at least bruise a few legs in the process. COYB

Reader Comments

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Laurie Hartley
1   Posted 22/11/2009 at 07:35:05

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During the week I was talking to a Manc at work and said our only hope on Saturday would be to go 4-4-2 otherwise we would get smacked. Now I am no footballing genius but surely if your midfield is wrecked and you have got two of the best strikers in the league AND another recognise striker available you play to your strengths.

I watched the whole game on the box. That United side would not have beaten us by 3 goals if Saha and Yakubu had started the game.

While I am at it — why didn't Tony Hibbert start the game? Yes I did say that. Evra was the man of the match; he wouldn't have been if Hibbert had started.

Chris Butler
2   Posted 22/11/2009 at 16:56:06

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Well the problem lies in our midfield. In my opinion, three stupid goals to concede. Fletcher got a lot of credit for his performance but our midfield just stood back failed to get in the face of the United players.

Our problem lies in our midfield. The players fail to understand their role. Cahill should've been taken off the teamsheet as what can he do against Evra who managed to keep Messi subdued?

The signing of Fellaini still causes me much pain. He was a panic buy in my opnion because he seems to have no pace. Also, I think he is a 4-5-1 player behind the striker as he did well there last season.

Chris Butler
3   Posted 22/11/2009 at 20:15:07

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Yet again it appears we're going after Alan Hutton, another defender. The problem is we have to many players that are similar.

Heitenga is a better-paid Phil Neville. Cahill and Fellaini are both 'men behind the frontmen' players. Silvian Distin and Yobo have been poor. Yobo Is not a capable defender as he is a reaction defender, he cannot make decsions. Rodwell is slighly different but too often he's used a playmaker.

Let's accept we need the 3 points against Hull but more importantly against Liverpool. I think we should rough their defenders up bring Cahill back to his original role.

4-5-1 is not negative. 4-4-2 is stupid at Old Trafford as they would of still won. The derby hopefully will be great. Hopefully Torres and Gerrard or Babel play. I think we’ll draw with Hull but win the derby.

Declan Brown
4   Posted 22/11/2009 at 20:17:04

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Great article, Adam. I was going to write something very similar to this during the coming week, you beat me to the punch and probably put it nicer than I would.

I’m dreading this Derby coming up on Sunday. I pine for a manager with the Joe Royle "Dogs Of War" mentality when facing so called superior teams.

Moyes should re-run the videos of Lee Carsley's Derby goals, the 3-0 at Goodison and Dan Gosling’s winner last season and make them watch the reaction of Goodison to these goals to let the players see and know how much this game means to the fans. I know everytime I see them, over and over again, it still puts tears in my eyes and sends a magnificent shiver up my spine.

As I said, privately I’m dreading the Derby’s outcome, it has a sense of inevitability again...
Iain Love
5   Posted 22/11/2009 at 20:21:16

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Waited 24hrs before posting to cool off... I know Man Utd are a good team but, fuck me, have a go at them! I thought we had bollocks?!?!
Mike Thompson
6   Posted 22/11/2009 at 20:43:57

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I have to agree! The lack of commitment is really worrying. However, the biggest worry to me is that recently whatever game we are in we seem over reliant on Route One. Even more frustrating is that, in the odd movement we pass the ball (like top sides do), we don’t look half bad. The problem is we don’t do it enough!!!
John Andrews
7   Posted 22/11/2009 at 23:02:52

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As if the match wasn’t bad enough I have now discovered that we are 14th in the Premier league and below the likes of Birmingham City !
This cannot be good enough surely ?
Glen Whelan
8   Posted 22/11/2009 at 23:30:28

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Sunderland showed just how we should be, proper effort against a top four side, rewarded for team work.
Dick Fearon
9   Posted 22/11/2009 at 23:58:36

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I am convinced that our biggest problem is not the injury list, it is a lack of anyone in the back room staff with any experience in the attacking side of the game. The whole bloomin lot of em’ are old school ex-defenders with not a shred of inventiveness or initiative between them.

It is patently clear that their basic approach to the game is a blackboard mentality with too much emphasis on the defensive half of the pitch. The attacking half is a foreign country to Moyes and his staff and they don’t speak its language.

I believe that Moyes is a devotee of Leeds Mgr Don Revies management style. The Don’s oft quoted words were, ’If they don’t score, you can’t lose.’ Granted, Leeds enjoyed some success under that credo but sadly it directly led to an era of mind numbing 0-0 or 1-0 games. That led to a nationwide drop in crowd numbers and resulted in the FA changing the points system from two to 3 points for a win. A big increase in 0-0 draws saw the football pools start giving priority to score draws.

In the millenia since Revie left the scene football has introduced massive improvements in entertainment, excitement, presentation and customer service. Sadly, it seems that Everton is regressing back to the Revie years.

The unchanged dilapidated environs of the old lady sits perfectly with our outdated brain-dead football. Or am I being just a tad to critical.

Dick Fearon
10   Posted 23/11/2009 at 01:32:50

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Further to my earlier input about Moyes negativity.

I know 9-1 is beyond the realms of fantasy for us, but just suppose for a minute what Moyes would have done had been in Appy Arry’s place. At what stage would he have put the shutters up? 0-0, 1-0, 2-0???
Dave Wilson
11   Posted 23/11/2009 at 06:59:46

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Commitment? Didn't you know that's not enough Adam?

People have been screaming for a different right side to our team because the one we had, could ONLY offer commitment. NINE crosses came in from our right on Saturday, how can you go to OT and cope with that ?

Gosling was invisisble and the way our right back turned his back on Giggsy’s cross — after being caught in a coma in the first placed — showed you all you need to know about our commitment.
Iain Love
12   Posted 23/11/2009 at 08:09:56

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It’s said "the best form of defence is attack" unfortunately with the exception of Saha atm our best offensive players aren’t available, I know when Bily and Pienaar are back that things will improve add our Captain to that for his leadership rather than his talent and we will start to get there.

The Cahill / Fellaini dilemma needs sorting I don't believe they can play together unless it’s Cahill up front with Fellaini behind , but with Saha’s form that is unthinkable. For me I tend to go with Fellaini as Timmy doesn’t seem at the races at present, I wouldn’t argue much if it where the other way round but I feel something needs doing.

Just for the record why haven’t we tried Rodwell wide, left or right he has to be better than Gosling or Cahill there ?

Andy Crooks
13   Posted 23/11/2009 at 08:32:42

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Good article, Adam. Saturday's performance was totally spineless. On paper, man for man, our team was better than the side Sunderland put out at Old Trafford. However, Sunderland played with passion and adventure; we went,as usual to, keep the score down. I was going to say we got what we deserved, we actually didn’t, what that performance warranted was something like what Wigan got yesterday.

Let's not hear more nonsense about injuries. Even with a full squad available does anyone believe we would have started with an attacking lineup? For example, Pienaar, Arteta, Rodwell and Bily in midfield with two strikers up front. No, it would be the usual safety-first let’s sneak a goal crap. Confidence has ebbed from the squad I really think David Moyes has nothing left to offer Everton.

Dave Lynch
14   Posted 23/11/2009 at 11:43:55

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With you 100% Dick. We are woefull and it doesn’t look like changing soon.

What got me was, when Utd attacked they had players up in numbers supporting the front players. When we attacked... Well, you know the scenario. No support from midfield and no options for the strikers.

You are so right when you say injuries are no longer an excuse. The way we play is unadventerous and predictable, it really is painful to watch.

Alan Clarke
15   Posted 23/11/2009 at 13:00:47

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People always comment on who could replace Moyes as some kind of shit defence for him.

Owen Coyle anyone? His team play attacking football and he’s assembled a team that cost a lot less than ours.
Michael Brien
16   Posted 23/11/2009 at 14:11:28

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Firstly — David Moyes did a great job in turning things around and changing us from a situation of an almost annual relegation struggle to challenging for the top four and actually reaching that high point in 2004-05 against all the odds.

However ,that does not mean we should start erecting statues to him and according him messianic status. The tactics used at Old Trafford were down to David Moyes. Yes, 4-5-1 has worked well for us in the past, but Moyes has become virtually obssessed with playing the same formation. If we got drawn against a non-League team in the Cup I think he would still play that way!!

I don’t think you have to be a tactical genius to know that if you play exactly the same way in every match — then your oppponents will very soon work out ways to counter your tactics. If I play my mate at chess and I open with the same moves every match — then he’s going to work out very soon my tactics and how to beat me.

Yes, but what about the injuries? True enough we have been unlucky with injuries and that is the understatement of the season !! However consider these facts

a) It was known back in May, at the end of last season that Arteta, Anichebe, Yakubu and Jagielka had long-term injuries and wouldn’t be ready for the start of the season. Indeed it was doubtful that all of them would be back before Christmas.

b) We released Jacobsen, Valente and Castillo at the end of last season.

The result being going into the close season we knew that just in order to maintain "squad numbers" we would need to bring in 7 players.

The Close Season... what happened? For the second year running virtually nothing. Lack of money, lack of money, Moyes hasn’t got the transfer funds I hear the cry. Yes but there were plenty of loan players available and players out of contract.

The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona,Inter Milan etc have surely got very promising young players who are kept out by big money, big name signings. They would be more than happy tp loan out these sorts of players. Often with the big Spanish clubs, the Club President rather than the coach will have sanctioned big money moves and the "star signing" will be played regardless of form, making it difficult for the up and coming players to establish themselves.

I believe that Patrick Viera was an Inter Milan Reserve when Arsenal signed him. How much did Wenger pay, I wonder? Probably at the time it was a transfer that made very few headlines. There were "bargains out there - whilst Moyes was trying to stop Lescott moving.

And which genius was it that decided to play Tony Hibbert in central defence against Benfica? He moans about the fact thet we were forced to play 3 games in 6 days — and plays virtually the same 11 players in all the games!!! Why on earth couldn’t he have given 3 or 4 youngsters a go against Spurs?
He then refuses to give TV interviews after that Spurs game? A protest or is he just warming up for the United job and doing a SAF job on the media ?

I hear that after the United game he was quoted as saying that "you can only undertand the tactics if you are a manager"! Perhaps he should pass on those ideas to Obama and Brown. Could you see either of them saying "You can’t criticise our tactics in Afghanistan — you got to be President/Prime Minister to fully understand the tactics"? No — I couldn’t either. It’s time David Moyes started to take responsibility — he’s paid enough for goodness sake.

Ask yourself this — Could another manager get more out of these players? I believe the answer to that is YES. Cahill can’t play in 4-4-2? Do Australia play 4-5-1? Fellaini and Pienaar both play in different roles for their national team. I think Moyes has stifled some of our players. Perhaps DM is starting to believe his own publicity.

Steve Higham
17   Posted 23/11/2009 at 16:49:21

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Fully agree with you Adam. What worries me is that where not even doing the basic things now passing and moving,closing teams down to mention a couple. I know we have injuries but a lack of commitment and pride in the shirt is unacceptable. Going to Hull on Wednesday and will be hoping to see a an Everton win but please lads lets start playing like team with some pride and guts.
Chris Butler
18   Posted 23/11/2009 at 22:00:36

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Well hopefully Pienaar back for Hull. Really without Arteta or Pienaar we’re going to struggle. In my opnion we can’t get rid of Moyes I think we need to get in a assistant mangers who knows more about the game.
Michael Brien
19   Posted 24/11/2009 at 07:17:06

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Chris - why blame the assistant manager ? It’s the Manager who decides the tactics, decides which players to recruit/buy. If we have a good run it’s David Moyes who will get the "Manager of The Month award", it’s the manager and not his assistant who will get all the kudos. As a famous President of the USA once said - " The Buck stops here".I am not advocating giving Moyes the boot - but I think it’s time that he "upped his game". He is more than ready to accept all the praise when things are going well - when things aren’t HE should accept his responsibility.
I stick by what I said - I fear that Moyes is starting to believe his publicity. And that he thinks that he is "fireproof".He is not, he is not bigger than Everton Football Club and I think it’s about time that he realised that and gone on with justifying his salary.
What was going on in the summer ? When other managers were strenghening their squads - all we got was speculation. And the Lescott affair !!! Words fail me. He let it drag on for weeks and then moans that we had less than 2 weeks to bring in a replacement !!!!If you want to make accusations of lack of commitment and pride then they should be directed at the Manager as much as at certain players.
Cahill can play in a 4 man midfield - he does that for Australia. Felani was clearly unfit at the start of the season - having been ill and lost a stone or so in weight. Yet Moyes picked him as he often picks players who clearly are carrying injuries e.g. Cahill v West ham at Goodison - when he lasted about 10 minutes.
It’s about time Moyes stopped hiding behind blaming the players and took a long hard look at his own performance.
Rory Slingo
20   Posted 24/11/2009 at 07:08:41

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just read this gem from Heitinga on the OS:

"We created some chances and, if you’re lucky, you’ll score one of them. But after that they made it 2-0 and the game was over."

i guess that says it all about the team attitude at the moment. since when was it over just coz you’re 2-0 down?? the Dogs of War would never have given up just coz they were 2-0 down! they would’ve given it they’re all right up to the 94th min, just for pride! Hull were 2 down to West Ham and fought back to draw 3-3. it really sickens me the lack of fight and pride in this current first team. Moyes is right some of them really do need to wake the fuck up, the amount of money they’re earning! if you give anything less than 100% every minute you’re on that pitch then you’re not worthy to wear the royal blue shirt!
Michael Brien
21   Posted 24/11/2009 at 13:35:35

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Rory : I think most Evertonians felt that playing 4-5-1 was defeatist especially when you consider that Sunderland went there and played 2 strikers and came very close to winning. Who decided on that formation ? David Moyes. Who was it who did did naff all this summer - just as he did in the summer of 2008 - whilst other managers were busy strenthening their squads ? You query the effort and commitment of some of the players - I query the effort and commitment of the manager. How long did it take him to negotiate his contract last season ? Peace treaties have taken less time to negotiate. Responsibility for tactics, signing players etc lies fairly and squarely with the manager. The buck stops with him. It’s about time David Moyes took responsibility for things and stopped passing the buck.

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