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The Great Moyes Debate


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Having been a season ticket holder for the last 20 years (8 of which have been in the Park end), I have seen my club go through some good but mostly bad times. I think that this puts me in a good position to comment upon the Here and Now of Everton FC and the state that I think it is in.


I start on a fairly cold evening back in the 1994/1995 season. It was a Wednesday night and we where playing West Ham at home. We hadn’t won a game in the league and things were looking very desperate. We were propping up the league, singing ‘the premier league is upside down’ at every game and ‘things can only get better’ was often the full time song after another dismal performance.

Our attendance was somewhere in the high 20,000’s (~28,000) and our Manager was Mike Walker. The game itself was scrappy. West Ham were not a great side and we only had 3 points to our name going into the game(and yes, we had all endured months of Redshite abuse regarding the difference between us and a square…). If I recollect correctly, this was our ‘unlucky’ 13th game of the season (not sure if that includes any cup games!). The game was decided down at the park end when an unlikely diving header from Gary Ablett secured our first three points of the season. It turned out to be a fantastic evening and I remember the Radio city commentator on the way home describing the atmosphere as if we were on a title chasing run.

But that aside, the harsh reality remained. We were still bottom and still facing a long season, fighting for every point that was available.

Then a strange thing happened – Mike Walker was sacked and Joe Royle was appointed – during an International break, at the end of which we were to face our high flying neighbours. I don’t need to comment upon the result but it was the game that created the all too familiar ‘duncan, Duncan ferguson’ chant.

That season was highlighted by two main things. 1. Staying in the league 2. Winning the FA cup.

We then started to pick up. We were in Europe (CWC) and we had a fantastic winger in Kanchelskis. End of the season we just missed out on Europe to Arsenal who managed a draw on the final day of the season to finish above us on goal difference (again, if I remember correctly). Heartbreaking, unlucky even but nevertheless the club seemed to be going in the right direction.

Then the horrific happened. Joe Royle and Peter Johnson got crossed wires and we were manager less – Kanchelskis had also given us the long goodbye and flitted to Italy for the money.


The next years are thankfully a blur. Not because I can’t remember them but because I don’t want to remember them. Lots of money was spent, lots of dire players purchased and a hell of a lot of disgraceful management was witnessed - from board room to pitch level.

Peter Johnson crucified us – and part of me can understand why. He spent a lot of money and got nothing in return. So why not take us for every penny? I may well have done the same.


We ended up penniless, relegation battlers with a negative array of managers and some of the worst players to ever have stepped on the Goodison turf. You may have been forgiven for thinking that some of the kids at half time participating in the cross bar challenge had more talent than some of the then squad.


What I am getting at in this blog is that, back then, my expectations were low. The club, if it where an alcoholic, would be described as being at its rock bottom. I expected the nail biting games, the sickness in my stomach and the occasional tear of fear. We were nothing better than 15th place – and that was because Boro had points deducted one season.


We seemed to nurture class players and then let them leave for buttons. Our squad didn’t want to know and loyalty from all sides was at an all time low.


Then came a ray of hope – a new, fresh, young manager who had dealt with not having money and changing an average side into a good side (Preston).

David Moyes arrived and immediately got the fans on his side by declaring us the people’s club ‘the people on the streets of Liverpool support Everton’ – just not sure what he meant by ‘on the streets!’.

We finished 7th. He found players in the ranks that were capable of doing a good job, signed some quality with little funds and he chopped out the dead wood.


Since then my expectations have raised. Unfortunately they got a little too high when we finished 4th. I thought we had found our new Peter Reid in Cahill and our new Sheedy in Osman but they are, in reality, way off the pace.

The season that followed brought me back to Earth with a bump. We didn’t even finish top half, which was disappointing. Looking back, things just didn’t go our way. Moyes was being named ‘dithering dave’ for his ramblings in the transfer market and the performances were just not good enough.


This season, the same people have called for Moyes head as they had the season before, claiming that he is an awful tactician, negative and indecisive. And as a Manager of a Great, massive football club, its simply not good enough.


I have to disagree. He makes mistakes but then so does every manager. The season we finished 4th, had Liverpool’s manager not underestimated the derby and dropped his prised asset against teams like Crystal Palace, we may not have finished in a Champions League qualifying spot. Mistakes are made and you have to take them on the chin and learn from them. I believe that Moyes does this well. He made a terrible decision against Spurs this season when he held out for a draw. He made up for it and showed that he learnt from it by playing very positive football the following Saturday against Watford.


His Transfer dealings have, to be blunt, been excellent. Look at objectively, Cahill £2.2m, Arteta £2.5m, Neville £3.5m, Lescott £5m, Howard £undislcosed, Osman Free, Hibbert free, Vaughan Free, Anichebe free. And yes he’s had some bad buys – Kroldrup, Davies, van Der Meyde. So what? Every manager has had bad buys – lets look at our neighbours. Nunez, Cisse etc.etc.


Things work, things fail. That’s football and that’s what keeps us watching, chanting, singing, smiling, crying, moaning and groaning. I am not making excuses for Moyes instead I am attempting to justify my point of view.


We are currently mid-table, sitting in the top half of the league with a decent prospect of finishing in a European place. Apart from Reading, the teams around us spend (Or have spent) a lot more money and can afford bigger wages, attracting the best players. (Yes, even Bolton seem to be able to afford a bigger wage bill….Anelka, Campo).


So in relative terms – sitting in between the likes of Spurs, Bolton, Portsmouth (small club – big budget!) and Newcastle is a fair improvement on the situation I described at the start of this blog.


If finances rule the game (which Chelsea sort of prove that they do) then we should be sitting below the teams mentioned. The reality is that we are not and this can only be down to the decisions made that effect the game directly – players bought, tactics, team talks, team selection, training etc.


So my point is this. Moyes makes mistakes but he really isn’t a bad alternative to what we have experienced almost year in year out before his arrival. I am not settling for mid table mediocrity – far from it. I want continual improvement. I want to be regular qualifiers for European competition. I want to improve so much that we are considered a top four team. I want the league and every other competition. But for the moment, I can settle with knowing that my finger nails will remain in tact and I wont get that sickly anxiety feeling that turns the stomach as each opposition shot skims the post or each pass goes astray. Now a misplaced pass is disappointing, then it was a crucial mistake.


I feel as though Moyes has taken us as far as he can…with the current resource that he has. I don’t think that he can get anymore out of his squad than he is already getting but I don’t think anybody else would either. Unless we get a serious injection of available wealth, the team will always sit within the ‘oh yeah, I’d forgotten about them’ bracket of the league. If he doesn’t get the cash then we will always watch a constant difficult battle to attract the odd new face with enough quality to maintain the status quo.


I am not asking for a Roman or Randy but I am hoping for a decent enough investor to sort out a nice £50m for Moyes to invest in where it matters most – the team.

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Good post. I beleive Moyes has gone a good job for us and if you look at the positives they outweigh his negatives for me. The season we finished fourth was incredible because my attitude had changed from hoping we'd pick up a win to almost expecting a win, I'm especially greatful to Moyes for this but just feel that he wouldnt spend the transfer budget as wisely as he should if he were to get a huge sum. The alternative for me at the minute would be Billy Davies although he may end up with the same problem as Moyes.

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Back in the 90's we were calling for stability. Under Moyes we have achieved this BUT now it is time for EVERTON to push on and win trophies (or at least compete beyond the first couple of rounds). When I was growing up, Everton were always expected to have good cup runs (and quite often we did). David Moyes' cup record is abysmal. Why is this?


For now though, MOYES is about as good as we can get (unless we get an injection of cash from someone).


Some people think Hughes should be our next manager, but would he leave Blackburn???? The only other options would be Managers from the lower divsions such as David Jones, but would they be any better than MOYES? Probably not.

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I have to agree with the underlying theme of replies - if Moyes was to go (be it be choice or not) then who would we be able to replace him with and would they be any better.


Hughes is not that great in the transfer market and he has absolutely no time for defence (which is the opposite to what we have got now!)


Dave Jones is dire - his track record speaks for itself.


Billy Davies is David Moyes in disguise - so there would be no point.


We wont get a top european manager because there simply aren't any. they all do a mediocre job to be fair (Rikaard, Lippi etc. they never product fantastic teams - they inherit them - and still dont take the world by storm). If I was to take over at Chelsea tomorrow - would I do a worse job?

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I agree with what your saying Rowlo, Moyes just infuriates me sometimes and I have jumped the gun In thinking that we should get rid. I suppose it's jelousy on my part because I have only seen us win the FA cup and be shit for the majority of the time, whereas there are Everton fans who seen us when we were the best. It just saddens me.

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Excellent post Rowlo, well said. I've said similar things in bits. It's about time the doom merchants and 'moyes out' brigade took a big reality check. The finger should be pointing firmly at 'zero investment' Bill Kenwright if we want to see improvement on a top 6-8 finish. We are at the limit of our capability with the current squad, its there to see when we pick up a couple of injuries.

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Agree, think Moyes has and will continue to be a very good manager for us - Why


- I have done some sums in 'what next for Everton' topic. I would say up to now his overall transfer activity has been second to none in the Prem - Our squad is worth a lot more than money paid.

- He has had to buy players on a strick transfer budget and wage structure, as well as attract player to lets say a not so fashionable club. A huge disadvantage in my opinion

- He has been voted 'manager of the year' twice in five years by his piers for what he is doing at Everton (no other none title winning managers has managed this). At totally unbias assessment of what he is acheiving at this club, by people who really understand the difficulty and constraints of football management.

- He has a huge committment to Everton. He not just using Everton as a stepping stone, other clubs have tried to turn his head (and I would guess ones with bigger budgets) and he has not flinched. I has a goal at Everton, and my guess he's still on his way to acheiving it. He's not going to give up a squad he worked so hard to bring together for somebody else to build on.

- Have seen a more positive tactic last summer in the transfer market, now that the squad is stabilising. If this continues next summer, we will continue to move forward.


Anybody calling for Moyes's head is out of order in my opinion. I really can't be doing with this 'he can't take us to the next level' rubbish - How on earth do you know he can't take us to the next level, he has brought us so far - He at least deserves a decent chance to have a crack at the next level.


To much negative football - so what - results and points on the board are what matters most to me at this time in Evertons development - and we are doing as well under Moyes as at anytime in the Prem. Fisrt of all you become hard to beat, then you worry about sticking the ball in the oppositions next


Replacement managers, what a joke - Moyes is second to none working with the budget he has had so far, why on earth get some other lune of a manager in to maybe take us to finacial ruin. He has proved enough to me that he's as good as anybody with the constraines he has at Everton. Things are not broke so what are we trying to fix.


Why on earth look at promising young managers in the lower divisions to take his place - Moyes is still a promising young manager - your Fergusons ans Wengers have 20 year + on him. You are just as likley to end up with the second coming of Mike Walker as err the next David Moyes!!

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Rob - couldn't really agree more.


Whats the point of bringing in a new, fresh, talented, young, upcoming manager - didn't we do that with Moyes?


Moyes has done a terrific job and has, in the main, had his hands tied. apart from the season after we finished 4th, Moyes has had little in the way of available investment.


Its great to sit at Goodison and say 'he's got £15m this year to spend' - but at Everton there is always a catch and thats simply that our transfer budget has to spread across new players fees, wages AND Current players CONTRACT EXTENSIONS/PAY RISES.


So the year after we finished 4th. Moyes gave Cahill a pay rise, signed Arteta, signed Neville, signed Kroldrup, signed VDM, signed Davies, signed Ferrari and although some of them didn't cost much - it did dent the budget as he had to pay the wages.


I think that he has done a superb job and thats that. Until he is given some serious cash (like £50m) then he is never going to be able to take us to that 'next level'. He may, on occasion push us into the next level (yo-yo in an out of european places) but nothing more. ANd in my (humble) opinion, no other manager could do any better with out funding.


Moyes is doing a fantastic job when you consider the pieces he had to pick up and the utter crap he was left from the Smith era.


I say that we rally around him and give him the chance he more than deserves.

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Moyes has done a fantastic job,We are no longer part of the big 5.But I still see us as a sleeping giant.The likes of bolton have done fantastic but if you look at thier squad its mostly journeymen and ageing veterans.,and thier bubble will burst .We have a a small but loyal young squad with a fair amount of quality,there is no quick fix in football,and its no good pretending we are what we are not.give moyesy some funds and few more years and I´m positive he will deliver.

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I must admit that I did call for his head when we were battered at home by Bolton (me - too many stellas and generally pissed off mood).


Overall though he has taken us from relegation material to stability, yes he does dither and yes his tactics can be somewhat negative but overall he is the right man. To sack him would be foolish.


We've been battered by some shit teams and good ones, lowest points, lowest goals etc etc - at the end of the day we have also been in Europe and beaten the Galacticos of the permier league.


We are (I am gonna get slagged for this) a smaller club than we think we are, before everyone has a pop I was in the Gwlady and saw us grace the land and europe. We need investment and there doesn't seem any without Tesco Terry. So in the meantime if you ask yourself are you happy with Moyes overall? I'd say yes.

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