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Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

Final Fling of the Old Guard?

 34 Comments: First  |  Last

The average age of yesterday's team was 30 years, 10 months and 21 days.

That beats the record for the oldest team we sent out in the last 15 years (my records don't go back longer than that ? but it means it does cover the Walter Smith era) by over 6 months.

So for the Moyes bashers, thought I would give you some more ammunition ? but what I will say is that with Rodwell, Fellaini and Coleman all injured ? experience or inexperience? Suspect inexperience (Barkley, Gueye & Bily for Cahill, Neville & Heitinga or Distin) would have not got the point we did.

Blue touchpaper lit. Now standing back.

Phil Roberts, Kelsall     Posted 27/12/2011 at 11:43:14

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George McKane
1   Posted 27/12/2011 at 14:30:32

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How do we know? The problem is of course that "necessity is the mother of invention".

As well as being a fanatic Evertonian, I also love movies and art and theatre. The people who changed the face of the arts, in my opinion, are those who took massive gambles, mainly because they had to, usually because they had no money (in their early days). The Beatles did there stuff in Hamburg and The Cavern because they had no contract, they were then from an unfashionable background - it revolutionized music. In art, Van Gogh did so many self portraits and paintings of workers in the fields because he could not afford a studio or models. Alfred Jarry in theatre wanted to breakdown the "old guard" so he did Pere Ubu, now regarded as a masterpiece. Similar with cinema, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari ? a ground breaking film made on a showstring, still amazing 90 years later, Artaud and Grotowski working in theatre...

The point is, in my opinion, you need a few things, not always money, and two of those things are courage and a belief of your convictions and a total commitment and desire for change. Do we have these?

I say go for the young players, give them a chance. I have Season Ticket and try to see every away game but I am bored most of the time with the style of play. Let's see something different.
Al Reddish
2   Posted 27/12/2011 at 14:51:51

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I say start with the young guns, a midfield of Gueye, Barkley, Rodwell, Fellaini and Drenthe should be able to create enough chances even for our Carthorse forwards. Play Bily behind Vellios maybe, and if it starts going tits up, then bring on Saha, Ozzie and Tim as impact subs. But please keep Neville away from the first team!!!!!!!
Denis Richardson
3   Posted 27/12/2011 at 14:53:01

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George, am afraid you're probably not going to see that if there is no change in manager. Our 'style' of play has been pretty defensive and boring for a number of years, (yes even when we had the likes of arteta, pienaar, lescott etc). The only main difference is that the average player quallity was (slightly) better. Moyes is and has always been a defence first manager, whether this is good or bad is not up for debate, its simply fact and his way.

I dont believe I will be able to see Everton play on a regular basis and actually come away feeling like I've watched proper footballing team, until a new manager with a more attacking mindset comes along.

Before the Moyes supporters start, I am simply talking about being entertained. Personally, I would rather finish around 14th and see the team having a go attacking wise on a regular basis and have something positive to talk about (i.e. enjoy some games if not all) than finish 11th playing 6-7 defenders trying to 'nick' a point (i.e. being board shitless every game). But then thats just me. Even last year arteta played a number of games in the defensive midfielder role, fuck knows why. And this year, he just wont get rid of Cahill even though he currently brings nothing to the team.

We are now pretty much at the half way point of the season and I think we have played awful football in pretty much every single game. This is just about understandable if the team had been swithed around and new things tried. However, as mentioned many times before, despite the crap on display, the tactics never really seem to change. Think this is the main reason many fans are getting disillusioned. The youngsters may not turn out to be the answer but how will we ever know if they are not given a proper crack? had luck not been on our side this season we could easily have 7-8 points less, leaving us in the drop zone. Our luck is not going to go on forever.

Anyway, on another note, it really does show how crap the premiership is in that we can play this badly (with a large dose of luck) and be mid table. Top league in the world my arse.
Alan Clarke
4   Posted 27/12/2011 at 15:19:59

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Playing Vellios instead of Saha would have brought the age of the team down. Saha offers nothing now so I really don't see the point in playing him. I would much rather Vellios or Gueye be played up top just at least to give the opposing defenders some shit. I'd love to be a defender against Saha, it would be the easiest game of the season.
Trevor Lynes
5   Posted 27/12/2011 at 15:19:14

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If you just take a look at other premier league sides you will see them often 'blood' teenagers.... some do well and some don't! However, I reckon that DM does keep ours under wraps for too long and if a player is good enough, he is old enough.

Barkley showed some flashes of ability when tried and he should be one of the bench warmers to come on when we are struggling before the likes of McFadden... bringing Mac on was an insult to Bily and Barkley who are both on contract. I am appalled that McFadden was brought back.

For the life of me, I cannot understand the business acumen of this board who allow our best players to leave without replacements. We have the worst squad in the league and how the hell we are scrambling points with God awful displays beggars belief. The only decent players left at the club are defenders; our best forward is a loanee.

Saha had real class but we got him much too late and he can only really be used as an impact sub; the rest are substandard. Phil Neville should follow his brother into retirement and it's time for Cahill too, I'm afraid.
Peter Fearon
6   Posted 27/12/2011 at 15:43:01

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I like Saha but I have to agree that he is just not geting it done anymore. That free header on the far post which went wide spoke volumes. Even he was shaking his head and couldn't believe how ineffective he has become. Keeping him on until the last seven minutes was baffling. I did not truly realize until I read this post just how old the squad has really become. The biggest trouble is that we have no reliable, creative, experienced player, preferably in midfield, to take a leadership role and who we can build a new young team around.
Joey Brown
7   Posted 27/12/2011 at 15:53:15

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Cahill Neville and Saha for me were the only 3 we need not have... Take your pick with who fills in but I'd go:

Hibbo Jags Distin Baines
Barkley Osman Drenthe

But, in all honesty, by the looks of it Vellios and Gueye don't look the part and who's to say Ross is. But I'd still rather play someone ho can improve over someone who's playing to stay relevant. The fact is Moyes is right about one thing: we need a striker... hell, we need two.
Gavin Ramejkis
8   Posted 27/12/2011 at 16:19:40

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At some point, Moyes is going to have to play the youngsters, he has no money to buy replacements and we have players who are at the end of their useful careers...

Trouble is, will he stick to his tried and tested stubborn ways despite it clearly not working... or will he admit defeat and go for it? He only plays the youngsters when injuries have forced the changes on him. What will he do when retirements force his hand?
Alex Kociuba
9   Posted 27/12/2011 at 16:21:31

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Joey, Fellaini doesn't get a game?
Brian Waring
10   Posted 27/12/2011 at 16:22:10

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Joey, it wouldn't matter if we got another striker or two in jan. The first thing Moyes would do is show them a picture of a corner flag, and a picture of a headless chicken, and then say "That's your job."
Sam Hoare
11   Posted 27/12/2011 at 16:28:17

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I was at Fulham when he got his only league start and he was pretty woeful. Moyes watches these youngsters day in and day out and if he genuinely thought they had a better chance of getting us points then the old guard then they would be playing. The fact that they are not suggests only that they are not ready or that they are not that good.

Having said that if i have to watch Cahill and Saha start one more match as our strikeforce... they have one league goal between them this season!!! How much worse could Vellios and McAleny/Gueye be?
Tony Marsh
12   Posted 27/12/2011 at 16:36:52

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The people on here slaughtering Saha and Cahill have missed the real point here. Saha, if he left for another Prem club, would no doubt do a Yakubu and go on a goal fest.
Cahill is an Everton legend and has rescued this club on numerous occasions in the past.

Cahill is being asked by the clown of a manager to run himself into the ground. Defend play in midfield and get in the box and nick goals... FFS, he is running the Grand National every week and is fucked. A 20-year-old player would struggle to do Tim's job, never mind a 30 something... Use Tim Cahill properly and he will do the buisness. Saha also.

I can't believe the stick they are both taking at present yet carthorses like Osman escape. Age is irrelevant if the manager is a tosser like Moyes. Every skillful flair player gets treated like shit in favour of the crabs that Moyes favours.

FFS, open your eyes. Moyes is the root of all evil at this club and it's no wonder players are disinterested in what he is trying to do... Wouldn't you be?
Denis Richardson
13   Posted 27/12/2011 at 17:25:20

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Sam, whenever Vellios has started he has had to play on his own so its a bit harsh to judge him on that. Fact is he is our top scorer and would play better if there was another recognised striker next to him - same goes for Saha and pretty much every other striker we've had.

Our strikers get grief for not scoring enough but our tactics don't exactly help them - especially with an off form Cahill next to them.

Dont want to get into a formation discussion but at least people agree that carrying on with Cahill/Saha as the attacking force has long since gone past being ridiculous. So question remains, why will the manager not change what is obviously not workiing? Any one of Barkely, Billy, Gueye, Vellios, Osman would be an improvement on Cahill at the moment, next to Saha.
Sam Hoare
14   Posted 27/12/2011 at 17:50:57

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Denis, I'm aware of those difficulties for a lone striker but apart from that, his movement was poor, his touch average and for a big lad he was disposssed very quickly when he had the ball. he also missed a sitter from about 8 yards out.

Maybe he's not ready to start? And better used as an impact sub?
Chris Smith
15   Posted 27/12/2011 at 18:31:02

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Sadly I don't think Saha and Cahill will ever be regular goalscorers again. Obviously I hope I am wrong. Vellios has not looked the part when he has started but might be better in a 4-4-2. We need a forward or two in January. We will then comfortably be a top ten side. Not that this makes us great you understand...
Declan Brown
16   Posted 27/12/2011 at 18:55:49

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I think Tony Marsh has hit the nail right on the head with this one.

Yakubu has hit double figures already for Blackburn this season. Don't know anything about Beckford this season, but i've never been that impressed with Moyes' record with centre forwards, our attacking play is dire to say the least.

Moyes needs to get an attacking minded coach in as soon as possible, someone who can get the players to pass, move and create chances for our forwards.

Been watching Everton for over 25 years now, we're very hard on the eyes as we say over here in Belfast!!!
Joey Brown
17   Posted 27/12/2011 at 19:09:46

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Alex I knew I was forgetting people, Rodwell too, too much merry and cheer over Christmas...swap Gueye and Distin and put Johnny in the back and bring in the two i forgot
Alan Clarke
18   Posted 27/12/2011 at 19:05:21

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Can't agree with Tony on this one. Why has Cahill flourished under Moyes previously but now Moyes is the one killing him? Cahill has lost that yard of pace that allowed him to arrive on those late runs into the box and he's lost that extra spring that meant he could out jump defenders twice his size.

Saha is now just decrepid. The supposed best manager in the land couldn't keep him fit so if he moved on elsewhere he'll just be keeping the physios busy at his new club. As for Osman, he's most likely to finish our top scorer this season.
Al Reddish
19   Posted 27/12/2011 at 19:22:44

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Tony, Cahiil's and Saha's main problem is age has caugh up with them. All those injuries have taken their toll and as they have performed under Moyes' guidance before, it can't really be him destroying them. Also that 'carthorse' Osman has one more goal than Cahill and Saha put together this season!
Steve Pugh
20   Posted 27/12/2011 at 19:24:11

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I have been asking around friends from other clubs recently and there is a definite majority agreement that Timmy needs to used more sparingly, Saha is past it and Leon Osman is the second best midfielder that we have got, behind Drenthe.
Andy Crooks
21   Posted 27/12/2011 at 19:46:01

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Tony, I could name you a dozen Everton legends who have rescued this club in the past. Tim Cahill is fit to join them ; he has been brilliant for us but he looks done. He sn't fit and his best days are behind him.
Denis Richardson
22   Posted 27/12/2011 at 19:33:50

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On another note, won't satisfy those who want Moyes/Kenwright to go but for those blaming our plight solely on lack of cash and hence no chance of signing decent players, simply looking up in google shows that there are 129 active premiership players whos contracts run out summer 2012!

Some of these are obviously never going to come to us (Berbatov, Drogba, G.Cahill, Kalou etc) but there are a lot who would be viable targets IMO. E.g. the likes of;

Rodallega, Figueroa, Hoillet, Klasnic, Steven Reid, Cueller, Bendtner, Danny Gibson....etc

Some of the above are not world beaters but they would at least be better than the likes of Neville, Saha, Vellios, Hibbert...... Also we could sell eg Hetinga and replace him with someone like Cueller.

Either way, given so many players will be free in the summer, I feel the club (especially in these times) should be doing more to try to sign some of these BEFORE the end of the season, before they are taken by other clubs. For the last couple of years the has been constant moaning of having no money yet there are so many players who are on frees at the end of the season and we dont seem to make that much of an effort to sign them, (except for Neill and at leats we got 1m for him a hear later which covered his wages so he costs nothing in the end).

As usual, am not holding my breath and this dosen't solve the kenwright/moyes issue.
Brian Waring
23   Posted 27/12/2011 at 20:42:10

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Maybe one of the reasons Cahill isn't scoring, is because he is being asked be more defensive?

I remember Arteta being interviewed, and him saying he was being asked to play a lot deeper by Moyes than he normally would, at times it looked like he was a sweeper.
Richard Dodd
24   Posted 27/12/2011 at 20:50:50

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People constantly lambast Moyes for selling Arteta, Beckford, Vaughan and the Yak at the same time. Has it ever ocurred to them that at a time when money HAD to be brought in, these were the only players who both could be sold and were prepared to go?

Whilst Moyes and Yakubu were no longer on the same wavelength, in an ideal world he certainly wouldn`t have chosen to release Arteta and Beckford ? the latter still being considered as work in progress.

Vaughan is often mentioned as `one who got away`but memory tells me that his injury record made his sale seem a good dea to us all. Also let`s not forget that previously, Pienaar had departed because he had been `got at` and was demanding wages that the bank would simply not authorise.

Whilst it may be wrong to record the second half of last season as `fire sale` time, the outside pressures undoubtedly dictated that people had to be let go.

Given that all of the foregoing is already in the public domain, it is as churlish to constantly chide Moyes for `leaving the cupboard` bare as it is to aim bombs at Kenwright for doing what had to be done to keep the club in being.

Putting it simply, neither had any alternative to the action they took and thus should be praised for the strength they continue to show in the face of non-too-friendly fire!
James Martin
25   Posted 27/12/2011 at 21:42:39

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How is Osman a carthorse? In a dire team he's singlehandedly rescued us 5 points from the last 3 games. Cahill would still be useful if he played in his right position that is as part of a central midfield 3 with one holding player behind him and another attacking midfielder like Gravesen next to him. He used to arrive LATE into the box to get on the end of flowing moves. He never scored a hatful from attempting to out leap centrebacks for flick ons from goal kicks. He is neither tall enough nor equick enough to be real centre halves. He used to evade them because they didn't pick up midfield runners. Cahill is impotent now because he's playing in the number 10 role without any of the technique or pace that a modern number 10 like Rooney or Silva has. Put him back into midfield instead of defenders like Neville and Heitinga and let Saha play that role as a 10. He has the shooting accuracy and technique to play there and has looked the part as a creator whenever we have played 4-4-2 (the odd rare occasion, Tottenham at home springs to mind). Stick a target man like Vellios or a pace man like Mcaleny up top and the strikers would finally have a bit more space to play rather than constantly being surrounded by 3 defenders.
Vic Flange
26   Posted 27/12/2011 at 23:58:48

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Alan (#18) ? Don't think Cahill flourished under Moyes, rather, in spite of Moyes. He's scored so many late goals in past seasons that got us results we didn't warrant. He seems to be a proud, stand-up guy who'll never admit defeat, but looks to be running in treacle lately; can Moyes not see he's struggling? Give him a rest ffs.

I would almost say Tim is beyond criticism, for the effort he's put in for us. A real Everton legend on the wane... and I don't use the term 'legend' in the throw away manner of today's lazy media.
Peter Fearon
27   Posted 28/12/2011 at 04:50:30

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Tony Marsh, I too believed that Saha was simply not getting the service or that he was being placed in too isolated a position, but you only have to look at what he does with the ball at his feet in the penalty area to see that it isn't enough. He got plenty of service Monday and just wasn't up to it. Would he do a Yakubu if he he left? Perhaps. But Yakubu was overweight and out of condition and playing for a move. I don't think Saha is doing that.
Christine Foster
28   Posted 28/12/2011 at 07:01:22

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Richard, really would like to understand your perspective on what got us into the present state we are in, was it Moyes or was it Kenwright?

Who takes the responsibility for the state of our finances that caused us to be in a situation where players are sold and not replaced.

Who carries the can?
Dave Wilson
29   Posted 28/12/2011 at 07:47:05

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Cahill had been playing in the lower divisions for a while, every other club had checked him out, but only Moyes was prepared to give him his opportunity.

Saha was finished, SAF had kicked him to the curb, everyone knew he was available, he was even offering to play for nothing.

Davey Moyes -You know, That guy who cant work with forwards - has managed to get an amazing tune out of these two for a combined total of around 14 years.

But NOW they are getting to the stage ALL footballers reach . . . the system and the roles they play within that system is "to blame" for their drop in form . . . unbelievable

Another of Moysie`s faults, The twat cant even stop his players getting old.

Cahill has, on more than one occasion, stated that he would "run through a brick wall" for Moyes and although I agree he should be used more sparingly, I dont think he`s ready to hang his boots up just yet, I dream he still has an Anfield winner in him. It would be brilliant to see him battering fuck out of the corner flag that joins the Kop to the Main Stand before he bows out.

Dave Wilson
30   Posted 28/12/2011 at 08:50:50

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Davey Moyes was faced with a choice;

He could have released players like Yakubu, Arteta and Beckford - combined age of around 90 - thus freeing up funds to pay the long term contracts of Barkley, Rodwell and Fellaini - combined age of 60- OR he could keep the players approaching the end of their playing days (two of them against their will ) and let richer clubs come in and take our future away free of charge..

Now most Evertonians are well aware of this. They know we are not in a positon to keep all six players. They know Moyes was faced with an either /or . . and if they know all this, why do some insist on blaming the fella who had to deal with the situation, rather than the fella who created it ?

Ray Roche
31   Posted 28/12/2011 at 09:07:45

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Someone had said we should start with young guns and that idea has been refarded as starting with inexperience.

Fellaini is 24 and a Belgium international. Drenthe has played for Real Madrd. Rodwell is 20 and a current England international. Not exactly completely lacking in experience, I mean, they've not just come from Alsop Old Boys have they?
Eric Myles
32   Posted 28/12/2011 at 15:09:19

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Denis #13, Velios may be our top score but he's only scored 3 (and as a sub).

I reckon me Mam could have scored that many in that team.
Eric Myles
33   Posted 28/12/2011 at 15:15:18

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Richard #24, with Pienaar they could have done the same as they are doing with Fellainin now, give him payrise and move himm on for a higher fee in 6 months time to pay back some debt to the bank.
Peter Hall
34   Posted 28/12/2011 at 15:41:36

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Well spotted Phil, amazing that Moyes has put out an older team than Smith did.

But to be fair, they didn't look older! .

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