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Time to Raise the Bar

By Tom Martin :  29/11/2009 :  Comments (24) :
I just got back from the Liverpool game. Our players gave their all and deserved much more.

When players give their utmost but we still lose (in other words their best isn't good enough), we the fans, generally speaking don't complain. By the same token, professional footballers are extremely well paid, so they can't complain, if and when, because their best isn't good enough, they lose their place in the team and are possibly moved on.

Sometimes, a player joins a club that's struggling at the foot of the table. He works hard along with his team mates and, through their joint efforts, the team climbs the table and increases its aspirations. It approaches another level... Better-quality players are required to take the club to that next level. That player needs replacing by a better one!

It's not that he's too old. The fans love him and are deeply grateful for all he's done for them. But the bar has been raised, and it's time for him to move on.

Surely the same applies to Club Managers. I believe that's where we are now with David Moyes.

When Davey came, he was a breath of fresh air. And his achievements, under difficult circumstances, have been magnificent. But sadly, I believe that he's taken us as far as he is able. If we are going to break into the top 4 we need a better quality manager.

Just as a mediocre footballer's limitations are exposed when he comes up against top class opposition, so it is with Davey!

When he confronts the best managers, his weaknesses are exposed. How often do we start well, but then at half time the opposing manager "tweaks" his team, possibly makes 2 or 3 substitutions early to mid second half, and Davey just seems to "freeze". He doesn't seem to be able to react to any changes on the pitch.. He's indecisive, and over-cautious.

I believe that cost us the game today. And what's more, it happens regularly.

Our substitutions are always too late, and usually too little! Today was a typical example. He had set the team up for a 0-0 draw with a chance we might nick a winner. After 10 minutes we were 1-0 down. We eventually got around to having 2 strikers on the pitch with about 15 minutes left. Too cautious, too indecisive, tactically naive.

I'm no fan of Benitez, but he put on two attack-minded midfielders midway through the second half, when they were still only 1-0 up. And it paid off! Can we imagine Davey having the awareness to do that in his position? No!

Thanks, Davey, for all you've done, but thanks to you we need a much better manager now than we did 8 years ago. Someone to take us to that next level where Everton and the fans belong. So come on BK. You were courageous and decisive with Walter Smith. It's time to "Raise the bar" once again.

Reader Comments

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Ian Tunstead
1   Posted 30/11/2009 at 02:15:57

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Every season without fail, I hear the same old record being played

’’David Moyes has taken us as far as he is able’’; ’’The bar has been raised’’.

Then David Moyes and his team go on to defy all odds and, apart from 1 or 2 blip seasons, they continue to progress on the previous season and Moyes goes on to win Manager of the Year.

As far as I am concerned, it is still quite early in the season and there aren't many points separating 5th to 15th. 2 or 3 wins on the trot and a team can shoot up the table by a number of places.

On the other hand, this season could be a blip like the seasons we finished 11th and 17th, which is understandable considering the amount of injuries. But what happened the season after we finished 17th...? We finished 4th!

’’Just as a mediocre footballer’s limitations are exposed when he comes up against top class opposition, so it is with Davey!’’

Of course David Moyes is going to struggle against the best managers, because the best manager usually manage a top 4 side with the most money, the biggest squads and the best players. It's nothing unique to Moyes that he struggles against the top 4 clubs or ’’the best managers’’. All managers outside the top 4 struggle against top 4 sides because they have the best of everything. It is not his weaknesses that are exposed, it is his players weaknesses.

You talk about if we want to break the top 4 we need a better quality manager, but you seem to forget that it was Moyes and a very poor Everton side that were the last ones to break into the top 4.

You talk about Moyes being too cautious by not playing two up front but, from what I have seen, we play better and have a more balanced side playing one up front, the team has played the formation for 5 or 6 years and the players know the system, which has worked well for us over that time.

You praise Rafa at the end for putting attacking players on, but all I hear from my red friends is how negative and cautious he is. Moyes's way of play is dictated to him by the amount of injuries he has to deal with, for all we know Yakubu and Saha might have been nursing injuries as well.
Derek Thomas
2   Posted 30/11/2009 at 03:53:07

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Tom, well reasoned piece, which sums up what people like me really mean when we lose it and rant Taxi for Moyes.

You apply it quite correctly to the players, this has always been done and if ( big if ) the player replaceing is better than the replacee after the shock horror of getting rid of ....fill in Icon of your choice here, the said Icon is duly consigned to the ever perfect touchy feelie misty eyed Valhalla of if you know yer ’istory, job done.

The best time, as most of us admit is to do the improving at the top of the cycle not the trough, therefore it could be argued that this replace as you go / need is valid for most things, The pies aka catering in general, the ticketing, the toilets, the ground, the chairman and the board.

So why not the manager, why not indeed??

Things change and while the bar may not be always raised, for a good, better, best, improvement as per the motto, what the bar covers under what is now accepted as the norm changes, the goal post mover, people are used to more than a manky pie and bovril.

You can apply the that was then and this is now to a lot of things, Lennon wrote about places and people being gone, changed and had the nouse to add and not for better and some remain etc etc.

3 things seem to annoy most of the people most of the time.

1)The Ground,

2) The results ( cups and the lack of them )

3) The way we get or don’t get what results we do get...It’s the old ’ It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it ’

If we lost every game I would much rather watch us lose in the Derby manner than the Hull manner.
Brendan O'Doherty
3   Posted 30/11/2009 at 04:29:16

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I thought you were talking about Tim Cahill in the first bit of your post.... Moyes doesn’t have ’two attack-minded midfielders’ on the bench to bring on (if only).

Forget breaking into the ’Top 4’ (5, 6, ?) this season as we are now officially in a relegation battle. Hopefully we’ll come good in the second half of the season but no Jags until February and Arteta won’t be back until March at the earliest. You can’t talk about changing the manager until our best team is out there and it is not performing.
John Andrews
4   Posted 30/11/2009 at 07:56:10

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Ian, Moyes winning Manager of the Year means absolutely nothing!Our next two games are against AEK and Spurs and I don’t hold out much hope of either being successful.

I agree with Tom. There is a time when enough really is enough and I believe that time has come. Tom very accurately sums up all that is wrong with our club.

We have a skint Chairman who is unable to provide funds for Moyes. Then there is Moyes himself. We continually play 4-5-1 against teams we should be murdering! The likes of Hull, Stoke, Wolves et al should not be able to live with our team. But they do!

The negativity of the manager speaks volumes. It is always the same old story — try and nick a goal and then hang on.

Marc Williams
5   Posted 30/11/2009 at 09:58:39

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I’ve totally had it with the Moyes's ’Brand’ of football BUT it’s pointless discussing a change while Kenright is in charge, as he couldn’t afford to sack him even if he wanted too. He’s got nearly 4 years left at £3 million per year so it just ain't going to happen.
Colin Potter
6   Posted 30/11/2009 at 10:02:18

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What will it take before you see Moyes’s incapabilities, Ian? Relegation??
Alan Kirwin
7   Posted 30/11/2009 at 10:03:10

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Agree with just about everything Tom. Spot on.

Ian, your notion that we play better and have a more balanced team with 4-5-1 is fantasy. If we actually played some football it wouldn’t matter as much, but our football is shocking, wasteful and downright amateurish, as accurately observed on MotD2 last night.

Moyes is always lagging when it comes to tactics and subs. When was the last time that Moyes changed the pattern of a game with different tactics or substitutions? He is conservative, much too negative & regardless of the crippling injuries, there is no acceptable reason why someone being paid £2m a year should not be capable of controlling and passing a ball or moving around a bit.

There are other ways to get the best out of a depleted team. A manager with more vision and confidence in his players would not keep banging the same old zzzzz 4-5-1 drum. By it’s own nature it encourages long balls to a lone forward.

I have defended Moyes on countless occasions. But our current adversity has shown up his limitations; if you can't see this then it’s unfortunate. But not only can we not pass the ball, or move intelligently, or play as a team, but we also can't defend. That last point is Moyes’s signature on a team. We now ship almost 3 goals a game against crap teams.

And this point should not be lost: Yesterday Liverpool were utter shite & there for the taking. Gerrard was invisible, they were clueless for almost the entire game. And yet we still lost 2-0. Go figure that.

Bily’s missed sitter was simply unacceptable. As indeed were the stream of long balls to Jo who only had 3 defenders up his arse.

I have no doubt that a Fulham, or a Birmingham or even dare I say it a Hull City would have beaten Liverpool yesterday. That we lost is confirmation of just how poor, disjointed and wasteful we really are, if proof were needed.

Alan Kirwin
8   Posted 30/11/2009 at 10:43:18

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Marc W - you’re analysis is correct, and more’s the pity.

This is not (certainly on my part) some big anti-Moyes slagfest. I’ve supported & defended him countless times, because we often get it right in the end. But I’ve come to one or two almost unarguable conclusions.

Firstly, there is no doubt whatsoever that, with our full strength first team, we can give most teams a good going over and play some good stuff in the process. But the fact that without Arteta & Pienaar in particular, our game just dissolves into a fog of stupid long high balls, wasted passes, lack of movement and lack of any leadership is surely a commentary on the management & coaching.

It appears to suggest that we don’t really have a "style" as a team, we don’t espouse the game of pass & move at all times, supported by strong defence. It seems that how we play owes absolutely everything to who’s in the team, other than the fact it will be 4-5-1. When our best players are on the park they have their own intelligence that enables them to mix it up a little to suit them.

The other thing that is almost unarguable is that Moyes has lost power and respect from at least some members of the squad. They just don’t do it for him anymore. Cahill, for example, has been a passenger all season, partly because he is played out of position, but I think there’s more to it.

I’m sure we all recall the start of the 08-09 season, when Moyes’s contract dragged on and his public appearances (what few there were) bordered on the morose. This unsettled the squad and badly impacted our pre-season (another big issue for me, and another thread). His demeanour now is not a million miles from then and I have no doubt the squad is not being helped by it.

It’s quite simply for me now. I do not think David Moyes is contributing much if anything to the team. In fact he’s probably making it worse. I do not see this improving anytime soon & Moyes (& Kenwright) could rescue much goodwill and gravitas for each other if Moyes was to go by mutual consent with a modest pay off.

I know it’s not Kenwright’s style, so it probably won’t happen. But it should. And if it did we should acknowledge what we need and who & where we currently are. No talk of Hiddink & Capello. We need inspiration, innovation, confidence and a team that plays the right way and enjoys doing so.

I see two candidates that can fulfill our needs and who would be affordable. In order of preference, Jan Schindelmeiser (Hoffenheim) and Roberto di Matteo. Forget Davey Jones and Owen Coyle. Schindelmeiser is a genius, fluent English, Hoff play great footy and love beating the big boys (which they do a lot). Matteo is on an upward curve and will go to the top.

It would be terrific if there were some way Evertonians could pay tribute and thanks to David Moyes for doing what he’s done. He did rescue the club from ignominy and gave us back our respect. He moved us on under difficult circumstances. It doesn’t make him a failure, but each of us have our limitations and David Moyes has his.

IMHO most Evertonians feel that the club needs freshening up. We need some style back and some enjoyment... everyone is suffering right now and it can’t go on. Moyes looks like he’s suffering the most, which is why a change is right for both parties.
Chris Butler
9   Posted 30/11/2009 at 16:13:53

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I can see a long hard two months for Everton. We don’t have any quality, anyone that can score... we can only hope for lucky wins and boring football. Yesterday was the players' fault. Yobo and Distin we yet again vulnerable when Liverpool attacked. Both goals were stupid to concede. But also if we have that many chances and can’t score, it's worrying.

I no longer look at games believing we can win or even score. Moyes has done his best with poor finances. The last 2 seasons we’ve have bought poor players. When City were offering 4 times Lescott wage if was hard for him to say no. If Moyes knew that he would leave, which most blues did, we should've bought earlier.

All 3 players we’ve bought have been dissapointing. Jo played well yesterday but needs to try and go for the ball more. I can’t blame Moyes for anything except his signings. He cannot change tactics as we’ve got too many players who do similar jobs and have similar traits.

Also on another point, when about 3,000 stood in the Street End and sang their hearts out, the players responded. We need to give them this vocal encouragement both home and away as it clearly works. Just look at Celtic's home record and Liverpool's until recently when there fans stand up and push their team that extra bit.

Ian Tunstead
10   Posted 30/11/2009 at 17:09:38

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Colin, I know Moyes’s incapabilities and limitations, but I also know his stregnths and that his strengths far out way his weaknesses — and those of most other managers in the league for that matter. It's not his fault he has had the worst injury crisis that I can remember. I learn from my History not to over react and I look at the bigger picture which you obviously fail to do.
Tony Dove
11   Posted 30/11/2009 at 16:44:20

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Over the years, Moyes has unearthed a few cut-price gems in the transfer market. However, in the last two pre-season transfer windows he’s basically wasted £35 million.That sort of money could have gone someway to improving GP.

Bily is a waste of space. He won’t beat a man in the Premier League if he plays for another 10 years. Worse than that, to keep him in the team, DM has broken up the successful partnership of Baines and Pienaar.

Heitinga may be a centre-back (probably too small) or a full back (probably too slow) but just because he resembles Lee Carsley does not mean he’s a defensive midfielder. Someone may prove me wrong but I doubt whether he played in that position for Atlético or Holland.

Distin was really only bought as cover but he’s not looking great value at the moment.

The purchase of Fellaini will probably remain one of Football’s great mysteries... Defensive midfielder? No. Any other sort of midfielder?Probably not. If anything he could be turned into a reasonable target man and be worth £3 or 4 million.

The bottom line is that, when you don’t want the manager to be trusted with money for new players, it’s time for that manager to go.

Ian Tunstead
12   Posted 30/11/2009 at 17:15:10

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Alan, when was the last time Moyes was able to change a game with substitutions that weren't untried kids or injured players?

MOTD talk bollocks Martin Keown said what a great game Gerrard had, that says it all for me. Every Liverpool fan I spoke to said it was the worst game they had seen Gerrard play. The only analysis they got right was saying we missed Arteta. But that is just stating the obvious.

Yes we have played crap this season playing 4-5-1, but the games have been close, when we have gone more attacking we get torn apart and concede 2s and 3s.
Ian Tunstead
13   Posted 30/11/2009 at 17:37:29

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Tony, David Moyes said all along we were buying potential with Fellaini, he will probably not peak for few years but he is still doing ok. I'm willing to bet that in 5 years time we will think £15m was a bargain.
Colin Potter
14   Posted 30/11/2009 at 17:37:53

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Ian, The only strength Moyes has as far as I’m concerned is, when we have had a bad first half, he sometimes gees them, and we get a spirited 2nd half. You bring the injuries into again, which is silly. A professional footballer should be capable of passing the ball on the deck, Moyes’s team seem incapable of doing so.
John Brennan
15   Posted 30/11/2009 at 17:53:45

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Alan Kirwin

I agree with you — a very fair and balanced post, with no rancour, just honesty!

For some considerable time, I have watched us (always on TV I admit), but Moyes simply lacks acumen and tactical know how. I don't believe, even if he were managing Man U or Barcelona that he would be a winner.

He is too cautious, plays players out of position (even when most of the squad are fit), relies too much on nicking a goal and protecting what we have, and as a consequence lacks the killer instinct. I have always believed that if you go one up, you should go for another, don't sit back in protectionist mode.

His substitutions are too little, too late... especially when we have gone behind. How often have we conceded, sometimes quite early in a game, only for things to stay the same for far too long??!!

After games we have lost, he says in press conferences how we need to change things, need to freshen things up etc, but the next game things just remain the same!!

We need a decent skilful midfielder (as well as Arteta and Pienaar) but this should have been addressed before the season started (yes, I would have loved to have got Banega as well) but why didn't we get someone else? If we are out of our depth at that level, let's look in the Championship.

Don't know anything about the Hoffenheim guy, but a good knowledge of English is an excellent start if they want to work in England. That is what knacked Big Phil Scolari at Chelsea, he just couldn't handle English.

With all due respect, and thanks for what he has done, Moyes has reached his ceiling. He will never be a top manager, no matter where he works, or how much money he is given. Go now, with our good wishes and sincere thanks.

Ian Tunstead
16   Posted 30/11/2009 at 18:07:39

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Colin

Anyone who thinks a team hit by injuries will not be affected is being silly. There are proffesional footballers in the 3rd division who can pass a ball on the deck, but if you play them at the highest level they will be found out because of the speed of the game their touch, control, speed, passing accurracy are just not at the level they need to be at.

That is not to say Moyes has bought 3rd division players but instead because of injuries he is forced to play defenders in midfield who are Prem standard when in defence but when playing in midfield they are found out. They do not have the skill or speed of a pienar or the passing, vision and awarness of an Arteta but Moyes is forced into it becuse of injuries.

It's common sense; better footballers play better football. Against Liverpool, we had the closet thing to our strongest team in a long time and that is why we out-played Liverpool for large parts of the game. But they got a lucky deflection early on whch left us open to counter attacks.
Thomas Williams
17   Posted 01/12/2009 at 05:30:19

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I’m sick of all this blaming the manager, wake up you idiots. Until we get a Board that gives the manager some funds to play with, this is what we are stuck with.

You all had a go at Walter Smith for exactly the same rubbish football etc but he was operating under the same restraints as DM, if you buy cast-offs, injury-prone gambles and Championship players, you have a generally poor team.

Go and look at transferleague.co.uk and see how much Everton have spent since the Prem began, £3M net per season!! 1992-2010, we have spent £31M less than Benitez has spent in the last 5 years!! It’s pathetic. How do you expect any manager to compete with figures like that, the only people mainly responsible for our plight is YOU, the fans for putting up with it.

Everyone blames PJ but we bought top players with him and yes we had debts but nowhere near the level we have now, why is that?

You could bring Mourinho is as next manager, but if you are managing without the proper resources, you don’t stand a chance. Sunday was your opportunity to start on BK, if the current situation happened in the 70s there would have been demonstrations outside the ground a long time ago, WAKE UP FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!!

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
18   Posted 01/12/2009 at 07:17:23

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Ah, Thomas Williams, you’ve returned to blame the fans once again?

Surprising you didn’t pipe up in the aftermath of the DK decision, to explain to us how BK had ring-fenced all the missing money that had been squirreled away to finance DK — money he is now going to use for his retirement fund. But since he’s just a stooge, wouldn’t he have known all along that DK was never going to happen...

Gosh, it’s all so confusing...
Colin Potter
19   Posted 01/12/2009 at 09:34:40

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Ian,
I know injuries can effect the team, especially i f you rely on a certain player, but we are talking about moyes’s ability to get the players to pass the ball on the floor and to each other. Against Hull there were 9 full internationals, and what were they like ?
Ciarán McGlone
20   Posted 01/12/2009 at 09:52:10

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Will Schindelmeiser be bringing his own money with him?

Because he has been second top spender to Bayern over the last few seasons...even when they were in the league below..

But, you will of course know that Alan!
Ian Tunstead
21   Posted 01/12/2009 at 16:43:01

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Colin
I saw the Hull game and i noticed that there wasnt much hoofball, the players tried to pass the ball but they kept passing to the opposition, even the better footballers in the side were giving it away. Infact Piennar and Baines who have had a fantastic partnership on the left hand side were 2 of the worst culprits for giving the ball away cheaply.

Some times on the day it just doesnt happen for you, thats football, perhaps piennar was rusty as it was his 1st game back in a while, i dont know what baines excuse was. The point is they are not machines, they can not play well every game but they did at least attempt to play football which Moyes will have instructed them to do. It didnt work and hasnt worked because at the moment other teams have better footballers than us. So if you cant outplay a team sometimes it is best to resort to Bolton tactics to get results by missing out the midfield and getting it to Saha as quickly as possible and hope he gets 1 chance and that he takes the chance like he normaly does.
Sean Patton
22   Posted 01/12/2009 at 19:57:22

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Wigan
Hull
Stoke
Burnley
Fulham
Sunderland
Aston Villa
Tottenham
Man City

Each one of them has beaten at least one of the Top 4 in the league since Everton last did in 2007.
Walter Smith also managed to win away at a top 4 club at beat Chelsea something Moyes has failed to do in his tenure which is almost twice as long as Smith’s.

The pathetic capitulation Everton display against the better teams time and time again is shameful even promoted teams with teams full of journeymen can do what Moyes can’t.
Thomas Williams
23   Posted 02/12/2009 at 01:38:04

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Yes Michael, good spot, the fans are to blame, if you where at Goodison in the 70’s (not sure on your age) would the fans of that era put up with what we are experiencing now? Apathy is a dangerous game to play, then one day it all dawns on you, but it’s too late, I am trying to make the fans realise we are being shafted, lied to and in general being led a merry dance, by BK and the rest of the board.

Where has the extra prize money estimate £65-75M over the last 2 years gone? Only £5m on wages before you blame that, we made a £2m profit on transfer dealing this summer, when we needed to spend £20m to kick on, everytime we look like we can challenge, BK closes the check book... coincidence? I personally think not.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
24   Posted 02/12/2009 at 03:19:03

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So Thomas, here’s the thing: if money is being removed from the club, then it would show up as a big negative in the accounts, right? Now, the accounts have just been published... should be a doozy to ID just where the missing money should be or where it’s gone from, yes? C’mon, tell us exactly where the books are being cooked.

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