Monsieur Salut writes: Genius in adversity or just Pete Sixsmith in tip-top form yet again? Read his terrific report from the Stoke City game and make up your own mind. And here’s another excellent piece, this time from Rob Hutchison, who argues passionately against yet more upheaval …
Days out with my daughter are to be cherished. She’s 18 now so pays for her own tickets, and I pay for the food and petrol. She’s not missed an away game all season. We had a wonderful Saturday this weekend, apart from the two hours mid afternoon, barely a smile, barely a song, barely a laugh.
The Victor Anichebe song was the highlight of the afternoon. “I bet he falls over before he touches the ball,” I wagered.
Reasons to be cheerful? Hitting the M6 southbound and getting away from the place as quickly as possible. Only hundred quid out of pocket, bargain. It was pretty much up there with miserable away days under Bruce, O’Neill, Poyet, and Mad Paolo at WBA, not a chink of light anywhere, none, nul, zilch.
We’re in traditional Ellis hatchet territory right now, the time of the mackem managerial cull so when will it happen, after Southampton? After West Ham? After Arsenal?
Not this time is my reply. It has to stop. Right now.
When David Moyes arrived in the summer, the situation was catastrophic, Sam fiddled about until the FA finally decided to go native. With a four-year contact under his belt and the perceived assurance that he’d be given time, Moyes stood strong and ripped up Sam’s wish-list and decided to do it his way, with youth and potential rather than overpaying on bloated quick fixes to buy his way out of trouble.
His press conferences were dour, honest and pulled no punches. All the intimations were that it’s going to get worse before it gets better, and that was before the injury crisis deepened.
And that’s precisely where we are now, slithering down the slope, unable to grab a foothold to stabilise the slide. He got it bang on did our David.
Ideally the youth was to be blended in with the experienced pros gradually to get stability at this level. Thanks to the injuries that’s been impossible. Mannone, Cattermole, Kirchhoff, Larsson, Kone, Borini, PVA, Denayer. Chuck in just a handful of those and the team becomes unrecognisable. Kaboul’s loss has been huge, but if a player ask to leave for personal family circumstances, them the club has done the right thing by him. Hey ho.
That’s not to say DM can be absolved from blame. The window was catastrophic, in the manner it all fell apart, peripheral signings arrived (yes McNair & Love were meant to be peripheral) but you feel just one key target (N’dong) was landed when three or four were required.
Letting Lens go without replacing him seemed madness, and not signing a striker went beyond the pale. Kone was beaten at his own game which made me smile at least. But it really is time to play the long game now. The wage bill is in a different place to twelve months ago, and it’s plain that as at Everton youth and development will be the Moyes model aimed at being the solution and bringing stability and progress, and that will take time.
It’s a massive gamble, given where we are and what we have to work with, but the belief in planting seeds now will give us oak trees in the future gives us more of a plan than we ever had under Poyet, Advocaat, Di Canio and the like. Sam was the exception, was meant to be fixer and I firmly believe that if he were still at the club without the summer debacle over his position we would now be up the table in something of a comfort zone. B
ut that didn’t happen, so we have to get on with it.
Unfortunate? Very. Predictably Sunderland? Absolutely.
So yes Stoke was wretched, West Ham will probably be worse still, and Southampton, and Arsenal, but if they are, so be it.
It’s time for patience, tolerance and belief that given time David Moyes may bring us the stability that had been missing for the last decade.