The mailbox is very much split between Arsenal fans saying 'f*** you, we got through' and the doom merchants. We also have a mails on Chamakh for Chelsea and...
More on the great Keano debate this afternoon, and who is and who is not bitter and so forth. Plus, a footballer who became a WWE wrestler, and Gaius Julius Caesar...
You know what to do if you have anything to say on any subject. Mail: email@example.com
Moyes Back? No Thanks
As a quick response to the question posed to Everton fans in this morning's mailbox: no thanks.
Don't get me wrong, Moyes took us from relegation fodder to the Champions League, then to general best of the rest also-rans. That I'm grateful for, but for last two or three seasons though, it was dire, mostly because:
- His tactics were often baffling, he played Phil Neville in the middle for three seasons too long ( I'm convinced the lesser fortunate Nev brother has something on DM).
- he has no idea how to change games, often he would wait until the 85th minute to replace Hibbert with Heitinga, hoping this would change the game.
- his general demeanour, moaning that Everton never had the quality to break the top four, he's already done this with UTD, it won't be long until he starts saying he needs players to keep them in league contention, making it look like he's doing a good job keeping them within five points of fourth.
- He refused to play Barkley, our best player this season, and a future England star. Granted he was only 18, but to play Neville or Heitinga in the middle instead is a sackable offence.
- He moaned constantly about the lack of finances, and how we couldn't compete. Martinez has bought in Barry and Lukaku in for free (loans I know, but still...). I couldn't have seen DM do this.
Everton might now get some credit for bring a decent side, not just an a average side with a good manager. Week after week of watching us on MOTD followed by Shearer and Hansen saying what a miracle it was that we are still fighting for sixth on a shoestring budget, what a job the manager is doing...etc. the overall mood around the club seems better, Moyes never struck me as a people's person, Martinez does.
Thanks must go to Utd for making us aware of life beyond Moyes, the question in pre-season was how would Everton cope without DM, the question now must be if Moyes was holding us back all this time?
Euros (German hipsters are loving this Everton team) Rees
...In response to Nikolai V's email this morning about Evertonians' feelings towards Martinez. For me, I was a little skeptical when Martinez was appointed. I always felt he was a little bit like the Emperors New Clothes, he is however slowly but surely changing my opinion of him. The change in atmosphere around the club, the level of enjoyment and the switch in style in such a short space of time has been remarkable. Martinez is displaying qualities that Moyes always lacked. He isn't afraid to make quick changes (see double half-time substitution that turned the game against West Ham) and he is dynamic in his tactical approach (see the tactical switch to move Mirallas centrally against Chelsea once they had moved to a three at the back).
I was never part of the vociferous 'Moyes Out' clan, but I did feel it was time that he moved on from the club. About half-way through last season I was quietly vocal to my close friends that despite all that Moyes had done for the club it was time to freshen things up as it had all become a bit stale, especially the football being served up and the idiotic managerial mistakes made year after year. So when Moyes left I was worried (who wouldn't be after having a long-serving manager depart), but I was also genuinely excited about what the future may hold.
Martinez has been making all the right noises off the pitch and has got the team performing superbly on the pitch. Added to this a positive transfer window for the first time in years (United's lack of activity under Moyes is no shock to me). Of course it could all go tits up but I'm enjoying our football more than I have for years. I wouldn't want Moyes back, and this is the biggest indicator as to how quickly I've warmed to Roberto.
Was Moyes Holding Everton Back?
I've seen the bandwagon rolling through town regarding a certain D. Moyes, so thought I'd jump on board! My somewhat tongue-in-cheek question to the mailbox is, rather than helping Everton 'over-perform on a shoestring budget', has he actually been holding them back with his style of play?
The team I saw last night was full of free-flowing attacking play, with an interchangeable front 4/5/6 that looked a revelation compared to anything Moyes ever managed - clearly helped by Lukaku and Barry, but still a very different performance.
I guess time will tell.
Chris W (LFC)
Moyes Back? Yes Please
Yes. Any day. We had many, many performances like this under Moyes. Had he been able to call upon someone like Lukaku, we'd have been quite a prospect.
One swallow, etc.
Yours, reserving judgement on Martinez until he has more than half a dozen games under his belt,
Andy P. Gentlemen don't do brackets.
Barkley: No Chance Under Moyes
Is there anyone in England who thinks that Ross Barkley would be near the Everton first team if Moyes was still in charge?
As a Liverpool fan, watching last night's game was difficult. On the one hand, my natural inclination to find it greatly amusing when Everton struggle, or at least play the mind-numbingly dull football they often resorted to under Moyes. But on the other hand, I really like Martinez, think his teams play good football, and so far this season have enjoyed watching Everton. They seem to have a lot of good players who are generally more likeable than your average player, so as a football fan I suppose I should want them to do better than others.
But a couple of overwhelming thoughts kept springing to mind throughout the game: is there anyone who thinks Ross Barkley would be in the first team if Moyes was still in charge? Having heard Everton fans bleating on about him for a couple of years and getting annoyed with Moyes not giving him a chance, I wonder if anything would have changed this season.
Also, is there anyone who thinks that Moyes' reaction this summer to the chronic lack of firepower would have been to go after Lukaku, a raw, inconsistent but potentially great striker, as opposed to playing Anichebe a bit more and shoving Fellaini up front?
If I were an Everton fan, I'd have a very quick answer to the person who asked whether they'd want Moyes back over Martinez in this morning's mailbox.
From A Leeds Fan
Ross Barkley: quality. Neil Warnock: idiot.
City MIssing Barry Already
I enjoyed the '10 best decisions' article. Especially the part about Gareth Barry (you missed out Premier League Winner, by the way.)
Barry is a player that I was more than gutted to lose and I'm not so sure that Fernandinho has added more than we lost in letting Barry go - if that was the choice presented in the summer, as I assume. Don't get me wrong, as he settles in, I'm sure the Brazilian will show his qualities more and more, however, we've lost some solidity from our side, without a shadow. Having Garcia and Rodwell as our two midfield back-ups worries me acutely; if Toure gets an injury we are pretty much f***ed.
In my view, City's poor away form can be entirely accounted for in us not having Barry in the side. We've lost a big part of our solid spine from the past few seasons there, and it will cost us in the league, although we may be more exciting to watch now, and perhaps better suited to the less robust Champions League style of football. Barry is not as key in Europe as he would have been away at Villa, for example.
I get the sense that Barry has a bit of an ego, underneath that quiet exterior. When he chose us over Liverpool, I reckon the ignominy of Liverpool flirting with him but not actually getting their finger out and signing him the season before had a lot to do with it...
I'd say he likely felt a bit unappreciated by City after we bought Fernandinho and learned the managers' preferred formation didn't have him in it, so drove the transfer to Everton through himself. Pellegrini has made a huge mistake if that was the case, as Barry should have been given assurances about his place in our first team.
Everton, in signing Barry and Lukaku, have profited hugely from two new managers looking to impose themselves on their new teams, who in doing so, have seriously damaged their respective side's chances of success.
At least Moyes kept Rooney, give him that.
The False Economy Of The Loan System
DISCLAIMER: Yes I am aware Newcastle have a loan player and a good one at that. Yes I am aware Newcastle got bug***d last night. Yes I wished we had the brains to go in for Lukaku.
Notwithstanding the fact that Pardew does not have the ability to motivate a slightly overweight chap to eat a bag on Monster Munch when famished, Everton were the worthy winners of an entertaining match last night. It was a nice to see them pass the ball rather than lump it forward in the Moyes era.
However, for all their 'superiorit'" in the first half, I stood there in the away end (my £33 ticket view of the pitch wonderfully obscured by a large metal pillar but that's an email for another day) at half-time feeling like I have just had my dinner money stolen.
Romelu Lukaku is an awesome player isn't he? An absolute man mountain of a player, with pace, power, skill and an eye for goal. He is going to go to the World Cup and be an absolute star for Belgium and his value will probably be double the £16 million of whatever Chelsea paid for him to sit on their bench/go on loan to Everton/West Brom.
Lukaku terrorised us last night, he was the best player on the pitch by a mile, Barkley fed off him like a seasoned pro and looked every bit the player that people are saying he is going to be. However, without Lukaku playing up front Everton would have had to play Nikica (second touch is a throw-in) Jelaviã and as a betting man I would give you good odds that Everton's attacking style would have been limp and without the dynamism displayed in the second half.
Lukaku was the difference between huff and puff to blowing your house down - everything that was potent about Everton's attack went through him, he is a Champions League player playing for a mid-upper Premier League team. If he wasn't playing (Barry another loan player was also more than decent in centre mid) it would have been an entirely different game, one of which Newcastle probably still wouldn't have won (we are still Newcastle after all), but one where they would have been in the game with something to play for. It's not a coincidence that when he visibly went off the pace in the second half Everton didn't look half the team that they did in the first.
For Everton this year read West Brom last. The question is are Everton fans happy with this false economy? They can't afford him and he wouldn't sign for a non Champions lLague club even if they could - so what happens next season? Back to Jelavic and relative mid-table mediocrity? Everton are a team that Newcastle should be competing with by any reasonable measure but Everton murdered us in the first half last night largely due to playing a player they didn't even own - how is this fair (cue three-year-old-style tantrum)? Where is the level playing field of competition?
I have nothing against Everton (nor is this a criticism of their transfer policy per se) trying to better themselves and pushing for Champions League but I honestly have to wonder what is the point of the Premier League? Why bother playing that game last night when the odds at the start of the game favour the home team because of a player they don't own? How is it right that Chelsea et al can buy the best players in the world, not play them, loan them out to other Premier League teams for experience so they reap the profits of that in a few years, but in the meantime stifle any competition for teams below the top six?
We need to ban Premier League teams from loaning players to other Premier League teams. It supposed to be a league that is built on healthy completion but teams with the tradition of Everton are being turned into prima facie feeder clubs for Chelsea et al whilst distorting the competition of the league itself. Everton, West Brom and Chelsea have used the rules to their advantage, as Newcastle have done with Remy - nothing wrong with that. It's the rules that need to change.
If we are not careful then we will end up in a situation like the Spanish league where teams exist purely for the benefit of the top teams in the league and it will be the end of the Premier League as we know it.
Davy, I love a bit of over exaggeration, NUFC
Best Loan Signing Ever?
A question for the mailboxers, following on from the Lukaku love-in this morning's mailbox.
Who is the best loan signing ever?
Lukaku must be up there I agree that it looks like a bad decision from Chelsea but how much better will Lukaku be after two full seasons playing Premiership football rather than two seasons sitting on the bench? If Eto'o starts scoring and Torres finds form he wouldn't be getting much playing time so let him bang in some goals ready for next season, it has been great progression for a youngster from West Brom (mid-table side) to Everton (top-half side) to Chelsea (top-four side). I'm all for loaning players so they get playing time and confidence especially at such a young age, Wilshere, Cleverley, Barkley to name a few England players who have all benefited.
People have talked about the B team system in Spain which works well but they aren't playing at a good enough standard.
Henry (Chelsea hoping Lukaku wins some games for Everton against the big teams is genius!) M
Moyes: A Man In Need Of A Plan
I am finding it very hard to remain balanced and resist the urge to call for the head of El Gingero at my beloved United. The following is my effort to remain calm and composed.
There is no doubt that Moyes has made some massive mistakes very early in his reign that he will have to put right. His first port of call for me would be to stop making defeatist points in the media about the club. Utd have an image to protect and he needs to be declaring his discomfort about the squad to the boardroom and not to the media and subsequently our rivals.
His second initiative needs to be addressing the problems we are having out wide right NOW. I am speaking specifically from now to Christmas. One way or another he needs to either get his wide men firing or change formations to a side that play without natural wingers. If that means reverting to a Christmas tree formation with Fellaini, Carrick and Cleverley sitting in front of the back four with Wayne and Shinji behind Van Persie and significantly tucked in, then so be it. He can use Rafael and Evra for width and one of the three DMs can tuck in and cover when the full-backs get forward. Just a suggestion - would like to hear what fellow mail-boxers think of that or any solution they might have to our wide players problems. For me if our wingers are not scoring, or assisting, then the only thing they can be doing is giving the ball away.
In January he needs to get out of the transfer blocks flying!! I predict (probably hopelessly optimistically) a huge investment in the squad in the region of £100m. I would like to see him sign Reus or Di Maria (contributors offensively) and get rid of Young and Anderson at the very least. I think we have enough cover at CB at least until the summer so he should focus only on the immediate problems. Baines should be a certainty only if we fail to sign a proper winger. His creativity would make up for that. If we get a very good left-sided winger then forget about Baines or anyone else again until the summer. Evra and Buttner can hold the fort till then.
Centre midfield he needs a genuine star. Who he gets is going to depend on how much he is willing to spend. For me it has to be Modric. I would go out and just get him!!! He is young, knows the league and is not making waves at Madrid enough to predict they won't be interested in selling him.
I believe he will also have a big job on his hands convincing Rooney to sign an extension, so that shouldn't be overlooked either. I really hope no-one bids for him in January because him going would be a total nightmare. I am watching Benzema every week hoping he rips it up just to keep Real's beady eyes off Rooney.
United's board (with the likes of Fergie, Charlton and Gill on it) will give Moyes time and a lot of it. What I want from Moyes now is the confidence to not just show the board he deserves that time but also that he deserves the financial firepower to really reshape the team. If he doesn't show them some fight then time is the only thing he will get. They won't give him the proper investment he really needs and will hold back some for a plan B. That is my biggest fear. If we half-invest in the squad under Moyes will be only get half the results.
One last point on his publicly slating the quality in the side - players have huge egos at clubs like United. That tightrope he is walking has often ended in a player -ed revolt and a manager being turfed from his position. Case in point recently Chelsea and Sunderland. If the whole team go to the board to complain about Moyes it will not go ignored. Stop biting that hand that feeds you and all that.
We United fans best get used to Moyes in the hotseat. He is going nowhere for a considerable time whether we like it or not. Likewise he better get used to seeing our faces and the discontented looks he is responsible for after the start to his reign. It is time he starts crapping or gets off the crapper...
Samuel Langhorn Chimmins
We've Been Waiting For Chris...
For reference, Moyes was behind the ghost of Triggs in my shortlist to replace Fergie, and little that he's done suggests he's anything more than a cipher by which the Glazers can Arsenalise United, and turn them into a top-four club whose priority is profit generation rather than trophies. I still don't give a flying f**k whether he has Fergie's blessing or not; Fergie's judgement, throughout his career, could be deeply flawed in many areas (Jaap Stam, Rock of Gibraltar, Roy Keane, Pogba etc.). And, fundamentally, it's absolutely no concern of his. Managers should be appointed on the basis of their suitability for the club, its strategy, and its circumstances, not because a septagenarian Glaswegian with a Don Corleone complex sees something of himself in a manager who has never won a trophy of any importance.
Where United go is hugely difficult. Generally, to succeed in football, a team needs to out-spend, out-think, or out-motivate their opponents. Fergie, pre-Abramovich and pre-Glazer, could out-spend every team domestically. Latterly, he tactically out-thought opponents (with Quieroz and Meulensteen), and excelled at motivating players for decades. City and Chelsea have spent their way to the top three, and will remain formidable in the short term. Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs all look very strong (and have spent heavily). United have a squad which is short on elite players, ageing, and forces them to play fairly regressive football. Vidic, Evra and Ferdinand are all within a few years of dotage, Carrick not far behind, Rooney a liability, van Persie over thirty, and many of the younger members of the squad are mediocre at best.
United need to overhaul the squad fundamentally, replacing ageing players, increasing the overall quality, purging deadwood (bye bye Ashley), and adding star quality. They need a modern, intelligent, attractive system and philosophy, played across the club, like Ajax, Barca, and Saatchi's Milan. And to oversee this, they need a manager with the positive, strategic vision to alter the club institutionally, while succeeding on the pitch, and a Director of Football to compliment them. Spurs have shown the benefits of a Director of Football this summer, ditto City, Zorc complements Klopp well at Dortmund, and the model works phenomenally well at Barca, Bayern and Ajax.
Moyes' failings are being highlighted because United's structure places their manager at the centre of everything. Fergie did the job extraordinarily well, but realistically, he was probably the last of omnipotent managers. Football is too complex, and too competitive, for that model to work.
A Reassuring Thought
Just to reassure all the Man Utd fans worrying about their form under Mr Moyes - if they continue to accrue points at their current rate they will finish on 44 points, which should be enough to avoid relegation.
Ollie McGlinchey, Ireland
For the love of all that is holy in the world, can we find something else to discuss other than David fricking Moyes? Utd played on Saturday and half the mailbox is still dedicated to him. I hear that Breaking Bad programme is quite good.
Patrick Dalton, AFC
Sticking Up for MOTD
I read Mediawatch with interest and today is no exception. Notwithstanding the excitement of discovering the latest crushed testicles/penis cut-off story, I enjoy the commentary usually. Today though I find myself defending (quite apt given the tone of the article) Gary Lineker and his interview with the Guardian re MOTD.
I like MOTD. I like the format of highlights and I like the low-level post-match analysis. I generally like the guests they have on too, irrespective of the LFC bias regarding former employers. The thing is, I watch MOTD for the highlights. I want to see goals and a bit of discussion after the game. I'm happy with that. If there was in-depth analysis after every game, the programme would need to be an hour longer than it currently is and that just wouldn't work. Also and I mean absolutely no disrespect to Stoke or Norwich (as an example), but I have to ask myself if I'd enjoy 20 minutes discussion about this weekend's fixture after watching a pretty dour 0-1 score line. The answer is a resounding 'no'. Every week there are at least three or four games that just wouldn't create the interest, no matter how clever or in-depth the analysis.
Sometimes less is more and with MOTD (in my opinion) they get the balance right.
Chris Wilkinson MUFC (it's only my opinion but it is the one that matters most to me)
...Today's Mediawatch wonders if Match Of The Day's viewing figures are 'to be entirely expected considering Match of the Day is still the only free-to-air Premier League highlights programme in a country with a population of 54 million'.
I live in Ireland. As such, prior to this season I had the option of MOTD or the offering of our own national broadcaster (RTE). You're probably sick of receiving mails from Irish fans about how much better RTE's pundits are compared to those on English TV. RTE are aware of this perception, and so they tried to pack as much insightful comment into their highlights programme as they could.
I can only speak for myself, but the thing is: I don't care. When there's no actual football to be shown (the hour before a game, half-time, and afterwards), it's great to have some insightful guys telling me interesting things I didn't already know (which is why watching live footy on ITV is so horrible). But for a highlights show I just want to see the football. I would much prefer to see more of the actual game itself and make up my own mind rather than have John Giles or Alan Shearer trying to tell me what I should think.
So on a Saturday night in my house, MOTD always won out. Simply because they showed more actual football.
Dave Lillis, Dublin