Season Preview 2002/03
The Real New Dawn?
2002/03 Season Preview
It has been 15 years since Everton last won the League Championship.
What was supposed to be another title on the way to a dynasty of the
like that Manchester United enjoyed in the 1990s was followed instead
by a decade and a half of decline, punctuated by more false dawns
than any Evertonian might have thought possible.
With the departure of Howard Kendall in 1993 came the opportunity
to break the inward-looking "blue blood" policy with the
assumption of the Goodison helm by Peter Johnson and the appointment
of Mike Walker as manager. When Walker's regime spectacularly imploded,
Everton resorted once again to one of their own with Joe Royle. When
he too looked to have failed so shortly after winning the FA Cup in
his first season and guiding the Blues to within a hair's breadth
of qualification for the UEFA in his second year in charge, the cry
went up once again for a man with no ties to Everton and, if possible,
no ties to England.
Plainly illustrative of the depths to which Everton had sunk, only
Howard Kendall showed any committed desire to take on the job and
his ill-advised third spell at Goodison came within a whisker of ending
in relegation to the Nationwide League. Johnson promptly replaced
him with Walter Smith and his arrival seemed to finally herald the
introduction of a top class manager who would return the Toffees to
the big time. The memories of Smith's four years in charge are all
too fresh in the memory, as are the events of March this year that
saw Bill Kenwright take the brave decision to remove the former Rangers
boss from the hotseat and install the highly-regarded David Moyes
in his place.
This time, as Everton prepare for Moyes's first season in charge,
there is an inescapable feeling that the club has finally found the
right man to lead the Blues out of the shadows and back into the national
consciousness for reasons other than a managerial revolving door and
close calls with relegation. Thanks to Moyes, there is infectious
energy, optimism and hope for the coming campaign that by far transcends
the usual pre-season football fever.
First of all, Moyes's drive to increase the players' level of fitness
is an immediate improvement on the ancien regime under which
many of the players suffered an inordiate amount of injuries and tended
to fade towards the end of matches. Sending the squad for individual
fitness assessments this summer is just one example of how Moyes is
bring a whole new approach to a club that has been rooted in the past
for far too long.
Secondly, there are the astute signings the manahger
Predicted Premiership Standings 2001/2002
1. Manchester United
4. Leeds Utd
6. Tottenham Hotspur
8. Ipswich Town
11. Aston Villa
12. Leicester City
13. Blackburn Rovers
14. Charlton Athletic
16. Newcastle United
17. West Ham Utd
18. Derby County
19. Bolton Wanderers
©2001 ToffeeWeb, 6 August 2001