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No time for quitting

By Henry Watson :  14/03/2010 :  Comments (17) :
I'm starting to become a little bit disillusioned with life amongst some Evertonians. I signed on here and 606 today, having got back from the match, and to my dismay it appears once again our club is in tatters. (And please this is not an attack on anybody who could be defined as gutted by today's collapse. We all were. This is for the real pessimists.)

One week, we win and therefore WILL be enjoying the Champions League next season and the following week, we draw and therefore there is no longer any point in playing the rest of the season. Beside the fact that the Premier League frowns upon clubs quitting the league mid season, I want to explain why I believe the remaining nine games are so important to the club. (And it's not to qualify for the Europa League or to try overtake Liverpool.)

In fact, the main reason was staring at us today. We admittedly completely outclassed Birmingham in many ways; however, like so many times this season, we showed no real grit and determination. Something that the Birmingham players are being fed on.

I first encountered Alex McLeish at Motherwell in the early 1990s whilst playing as a "youth" there. Motherwell never had any "gifted" players, but Eck always made sure the team had a bit of bite and punched above its weight. In truth, this was always his model, even when he took over Scotland and now Birmingham.

It's also something Everton always have had under Moyes. Even when the squad had no skill or talent in his early seasons, they made up for it through commitment and endeavour. Over the last few years we have acquired players of fantastic capabilities and our squad, let alone 1st XI, is starting to look as strong as anybody's. However, rather remarkably, it's that grit and determination that we are starting to miss and which we need to regain.

So the season's run-in is ridiculously important. The team need to get back there fighting for games, even if they seem to bear no real importance. And it also follows that us supporters do too. Look at the positives, learn from mistakes, move on, stand up.

If Everton can play as well as they can with the ball, and fight for it when they don't, well then we really can start to dream. If Moyes can teach his new class the lessons of his old ones, then I for one believe that we are strong enough to take on the whole fucking lot of them.

Reader Comments

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Michael Evans
1   Posted 14/03/2010 at 03:06:04

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A successful side is one that has that balance - artisans and "water-carriers".
Vincent Steele
2   Posted 14/03/2010 at 07:18:03

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My complaint about yesterday is that, after we played Fulham in Moyes’s first game in charge, where we let them score after being 2-0 up, Moyes came out with a soundbite along the lines of ’great going 2-0 up but my teams will need to learn how to hang on to a 2-0 lead.’

Yesterday we didn’t do that... and if that was Moyes’s initial concern, 8 years down the line, you’d think he’d have taught them how to hold a 2-0 lead.
Andy Crooks
3   Posted 14/03/2010 at 07:53:55

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It is likely that Birmingham will spend significantly in the summer. It is pretty certain that we won’t. Another club will therefore move ahead of us.

At our best, we can beat anyone; however, too often we are capable of losing to anyone.

I believe that we have the most talented squad for some time but our inconsistency comes from lack of mental toughness. It’s up to the coach to change that. Every player in the team should fear for his place.

Gary Hegarty
4   Posted 14/03/2010 at 08:15:27

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Lets put this a different way. Spurs are widely recognised as one of the most likely to finish 4th having spent an incredible amount of money. I do recollect though that they were also 2 up and coasting in a match earlier this season and ended up drawing. It happens!

Don't get me wrong — I say yesterday as an essential 3 points and we shouldn't have got anything less but three mistakes I believe from Jags cost us. This isn't a dig as we have rushed him back and there is bound to be rustiness! I would be more concerned if we were on the back foot and hanging on which isnt happening.

Dan Brierley
5   Posted 14/03/2010 at 09:18:07

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Vince, if Moyes could teach a team how to ensure victory after going ahead, he would be the greatest manager in the history of mankind. I wouldn't take things so literally, his comments seemed like more of a dig at the players, as opposed to working on a secret formula that ensures the team never loses once in front.

Andy, what makes you think Birmingham have lots of money to throw around? I wouldn't say I am particularly concerned about Birmingham pushing for a CL spot next season with the squad they have. But if as you say they are going to spend big money, then it's surely possible.
David McKee
6   Posted 14/03/2010 at 10:27:58

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I am looking forward to next season and will renew my ST ASAP. Even without money to buy new players, I believe we have the most talented squad we have had for years thanks to DM shrewd bargain buys and barring any more injuries we should be able to compete with the big boys next year.

But please tell me why he took Johnny Heitenger out of the back four? He should be in there with either Jags or Joey and Jack Rodwell should have replaced Ossie in midfield. We ship goals too easily lately we can score against anybody but its no use having a lead and then letting in silly goals.
Tony Rice
7   Posted 14/03/2010 at 14:20:10

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We are too fragile in the back.....
How many different CB pairings have we had this season due to injury ?
Howard is a good but not great keeper. We have leaked too many easy goals this season. Untill we get a set back four playing consistantly we will remain mid table at best.

?? - Jags( when fit) - Johnny - Baines

This season we seem to lose confidence as soon as we score !
Andy Crooks
8   Posted 14/03/2010 at 17:25:25

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Dan,Birminhams majority shareholder Carson Yeung has ,according to Alex McLeish,discussed the summer budget with him and they have some targets in mind.Nothing like Man City of course ,but significantly more than we will have.It would be nice to think that Bill Kenwright and David Moyes were having similar talks no matter how limited the budget
Karl Masters
9   Posted 14/03/2010 at 17:52:26

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It’s blindingly obvious that the Defence is the issue now. We have concedded 5 goals to Birmingham this season and all of them have been soft ones.

We have hardly kept a clean sheet all season, whereas the the last 2 seasons we have broken records for doing that and as a result racked up loads of away wins which again we have not done this time around.

Distin is not as good as Lescott. Heitinga, however is so Jags, Heitinga, Baines and Hibbert/Neville is our best, most robust back line. That said, the midfield cover for defence has not been brilliant either so a lot of work on the Training ground is required.

Interesting today to see McLeish being linked with Liverpool in the Summer as apparently FSW is ’at the end of his tether’ !! Mind you it was the News Of The World who printed that!
Andy Crooks
10   Posted 14/03/2010 at 19:35:23

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Karl.I really can’t see McLeish going to Liverpool.Apparently he will have £40 million to spend in the summer.I think that this is exaggerated as Birmingham will post losses of roughly £20 million.Still ,,Liverpool really is a poisoned chalice.Long may Benitez reign there.
Mike Green
11   Posted 14/03/2010 at 19:47:07

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Last season we arguably had the best, if not second best, centre half partnership in the league.

1 gets crocked for 12 months, the other gets lured away by an ambitious local competitor, our left back has just settled in and our right backs "polarise" support.

Jags is back, we have Distin and Heitinger to play alongside, Baines is completely settled in now and right back is what it always was. The issues we have in defence is - if we get a quality right back what do we do with captain Pip and do we play JH with Jags or as DM and stick Distin in.

Next season we’ll have one of the top 3 defences in the league - the problem we have to fix is right midfield and new, young, injury free, quick, goals goals goals centre forward. Do that and it’s done.
Martin Mason
12   Posted 14/03/2010 at 22:03:18

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I watched Chelsea versus West Ham yesterday and I’d love to see Scott Parker at Everton. He plays central though and what we need is a good RHS player (like Donovan)
Tony Williams
13   Posted 15/03/2010 at 05:17:12

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Martin, we have been after Parker for a while but he also goes for the money, being the normal greedt footballer and unfortunately we do not have the money to tempt him away.

He would be a welcome addition if we could though.
Peter Warren
14   Posted 15/03/2010 at 09:10:16

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Andy, I think you’re unduly pessimistic, Moyes has got a great squad now. I don’t for a mniute consider Birmingham will be better than us next season. I suspect we will invest with a pacy forward, right midfielder and right back.

Even if we don’t but manage to keep hold of everybody, I am extremely positive about our chances of getting into that elusive 4th spot next season. There’s no deja-vu for me, unlike some in past 2-3 seasons who though we may stand a chance, i didn’t but we have a real good team now and will compete well next season.
Peter Warren
15   Posted 15/03/2010 at 09:15:31

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Mike I agree mostly. I suspect Moyes may have around £10m perhaps £15m if we sells some "squad players" such as Yobo / Vaughan.

I think we should be able to afford Wright Philips, Beckford and Samba and I’d be made up if we got those 3.
Andy Fletcher
16   Posted 15/03/2010 at 11:36:18

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The reason why Jags and Heitinga cant play together is that neither is a favoured left footed centre half, why dont people understand that. Distin is which is why he is first choice for the left CB position, you can see now why Moyes didnt want Lescott to go.

We are missing Felliani no question but I think Moyes will find a left footed CB better than Distin and a striker capable of 20 + goals.
Tony I'Anson
17   Posted 15/03/2010 at 16:16:15

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Henry, I could not agree more with the last paragraph of your article.

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