Everton: A sleeping giant that needs to awake quickly

Look back to the 80′s and football fans used to refer to the ‘big 5′, five teams that were the ‘top 4′ of an era, teams that had a magic about them and dominated league, cup and European competition. Since the Premier League started only two of this ’5′ have been unable to emulate past success in the Premier League years; Spurs and Everton. Everton in the 1980′s were unbelievable, they won a string of trophies that ranged from the First Division title to the European Cup Winners Cup and were one of the most exciting teams in the land. The success in the 1980′s sparked a generation of new fans, but fast forward to modern day and the same fans have grown frustrated with the uncertainty that surrounds the club financially.

It is amazing to think that other clubs have secured investment and takeovers when they are in a worse financial position. Aston Villa are a prime example of this; they recently released their figures for 2010/11 financial year and it wasn’t good reading. Villa’s net debt as of May 2011 was nearly double that of Everton’s and when you look around the rest of the Premier League, Everton’s finances on paper do not look as bad as some others. Similarly to Spurs, Everton need to look at a serious stadium upgrade to give this historically great side a home that will take the team in to a new era.

David Moyes has performed miracles on a shoestring budget, which is easily one of the lowest in the Premier League. He has managed to keep Everton competitive and at the same time play an exciting brand of football. Moyes has had his critics, but Everton fans are knowledgeable and understand the job he has done at their club is nothing short of remarkable. David Moyes has become one of the most sort-after managers in English football after his achievements at Everton, but Moyes remains totally committed even though he doesn’t get the luxuries other managers in the league get.

Without the riches of other clubs, Moyes has had to be an extremely shrewd operator in the transfer market. If you look at the last three seasons of transfer activity it shows you just how shrewd he has been. He has taken big decisions to move players on to help ease the clubs financial problems as much as possible and not always had a lot in return. Moyes managed to get big earners like Louis Saha, Joseph Yobo and Lucas Neill off the wage bill.

He has managed to sign bargains and good quality free transfers over the years like Tim Howard, Phil Neville, Lucas Neill, Tim Cahill, Darren Gibson, Phil Jagielka and Jermaine Beckford who have contributed to the team or been moved on to contribute to the clubs finances. Even his latest ‘big’ signing, Nikica Jelavić, will turn out to be extremely good value if he can transfer his goal scoring prowess in Scotland to the Premier League having cost just £5.5million. Moyes has also been wily in the loan market adding quality with the likes of Landon Donovan, Royston Drenthe, Denis Stracqualursi and the return of Steven Pienaar.

Moyes’ main ‘pièce de resistance’ has come with his transfer dealings for younger players, whilst giving youth academy graduations the chance to shine at the club. Moyes has complimented the likes of Jack Rodwell, Leon Osman, Victor Anichebe and now Ross Barkley with Shamus Coleman, Shane Duffy, Apostolos Vellios and Magaye Gueye to give this Everton side serious longevity and unity. Moyes has built something from nothing at Everton and he should take the plaudits for it.

But I worry that trouble looms for Everton. They don’t want to become a club at the mercy of the big boys who do have the financial clout and turn Everton in to a club that has to sell when it is not on their terms. As members of this side keep performing, interest in those players’ services intensifies and Everton do not want to get into a situation where players have to be sold on the cheap. The arrival of Jelavic shows exactly how this can happen; Rangers wanted big money for their top scorer with figures of £7-£10million floating around, but in the end he signed for just £5.5million as they were desperate. Clubs will come calling for the likes of Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Ross Barkley, Marouane Fellaini and Jack Rodwell probably as early as this summer and how long they can hold on to such stars is anyone’s guess having already seen Arteta sold to Arsenal.

The other key point as well as the quality of the playing squad is Moyes himself. How long can Everton hold off the advances of others clubs for their manager? Many of the big clubs will be changing manager in the next few years with Moyes already touted as a possible successor at both Manchester United and Spurs. With the club constantly defying the odds in the league, a great squad of talented players, a top class manager and finances that are restrained, but not awful, Everton will never be a more appealing proposition than now. Investment simply has to come if this giant club is to fully awaken.

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  1. John Smith says:

    Since the Premier League started only two of this ’5′ have been unable to emulate past success in the Premier League years; Spurs and Everton.

    Were Liverpool not part of that top 5? They’ve done nothing in the EPL since its inception.

  2. Macca says:

    The “Big Five” was a media construct that was coined in the mid-eighties and fizzled out a couple of years later. The five clubs it included all happened to be doing well circa 1986-87. All pretty shallow really and certainly not based on history – if it was Villa would have been part of it for starters.

    Yet another example of cockney media money men putting pound signs before the integrity of the game.

  3. Jonesy says:

    Couple of points.

    1) Jelavic wasnt cheap owing to Rangers desperation to sell. Rangers still owed Everton about a mil and a half from the transfer of Michael Ball. They settled that debt with the Jelavic transfer so you could say that they still got £7mn for their player.

    2) Moyes is still inexperienced at the highest level of the game. His detractors, and there is a distinct core of dissatisfaction with him amongst the Evertonian ranks, point to an overly defensive/negative mindset. That is too simplistic and Moyes has brought the club up to a pinnacle where some really good passing football was on display. Injuries and losses from the squad have seen that consigned to the past now, but, it is his very deliberate, strategic, system of building the squad to that pinnacle which is the problem Moyes has now and would face at a bigger club.

    Moyes values team spirit and a hard work ethic above all else. He’s on record as saying that he prefers a player with the right mindset over a player with glorious silky skills. In many ways the difficulty of his relationship with Royston Drenthe illustrates this. He builds his squad, very similar to Wenger, slowly with the intent of bringing them to a peak as a unit so that when they hit that peak they stay at or near the top of the pile for a period of time….not just to win the odd trophy.

    Villas-Boas at Chelsea is right now trying to do the same thing the same way and is backed up to the edge of the chasm for it. Moyes, to be a success at a regular Champs League side, would need a good three seasons, probably more like four, to shape the squad as he would like it….with the right mix of personalities and skills.

    Given that time and a good warchest he would blend an awesome footballing force, but, which top clubs board is going to accept three seasons of rebuilding?. Arsenal maybe?. The Glazers wont. AVB will tell us whether Abrahmovitch has the stomach for the long road…but its not looking likely. Mansour?. Levy?. Not likely as they need to keep up their momentum from their current campaigns. A bigger club doesnt look likely for Moyes until he has the credentials of a Hiddink or Mourinho to buy him the time to work.

  4. Joe McP says:

    There is no bigger club, so why would he move?

  5. Andrew Gordon Strauss says:

    “Everton: A sleeping giant that needs to awake quickly”

    you should blame David Moyes for that – his brand of football is dire, mainly because he has no talent – and, no, Moyes is not a role model that others should/ will aspire to. He’s a joke.

    Kenwright, on the other hand is a professional – joke – that is.

    Actually I’m very fed up with this debate and don’t feel like carrying on. I’m sure there ‘s many, too many, Everton luvvies who could spout on about how great everything is given that we have won two games in a row – Europe here we come!

    It’s all rubbish – this club is dying.

  6. Matt Robinson says:

    Are you having a laugh, Strauss?

    A sleeping giant because we play boring football under Moyes?

    Whose fucking fault was 1992-2002 then you bellend?

    All these thick as shite Evertonians moaning about Moyes ‘niaeve tactics’ haven’t got a clue. How can they be niaeve if they work? The mans job is to get as many points as possible between Aug-May. He has consistently done that better than any other manager outside the sky darlings for the last decade. Consistently. For ten years. It is because of our style of football that we have spent the latter half of the last decade pressing the top four and qualifying for Europe with a mediocre/mid table squad, not in spite of.

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