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Moving in the right direction?


Filed: Friday, 20th April 2018
By: Paul Walker


No such thing as a quiet week in downtown Stratford, is there? Is David Moyes going to be employed by us next season, will he even consider working with a director of football, or is it all a nasty myth?

Is David Sullivan trying to pull the wool over a lot of eyes again, he has form. And of course none of us really understand the murky intricacies of the transfers market, do we,silly me, so Sully has put us right again.

And of course there is the on-going debate on whether our fan base really want Moyes at all…and Arsene Wenger is now available. Seems like we will be walking into a farewell party at the Emirates on Sunday, not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing for our brittle darlings.

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OK, first things first. We scramble a draw with Stoke, Andy Carroll comes up trumps, if only he could stay fit, keep off the booze and burgers and play a complete season. Some hopes. I missed the goal, I was already on the train home from Stratford International, and before I get the usual dogs abuse, I have no choice really for 8.00pm kick offs or I miss my last train back to the frozen north from Euston.

Such is the lot of the long distance fan, with the joys of a bus transfers from Stoke I was not home until 3am.

We should have won, were much the better side and despite all the brain-dead rubbish about Cheikhou Kouyate, I felt he had a pretty good game, working his socks off.

Right, so Moyes picked a conservative side (nothing to do with Lady Brady's politics) with the clear intent of not allowing Stoke to get any closer to us. You could see the pain in Peter Crouch’s face to know that the Potters were gutted. Carroll was all smiles.

With the amount of injuries and the glaring fluctuations of form, maybe Moyes doesn’t trust the inadequate squad he inherited to show any level of consistency. We are not safe from relegation by a long way, so his policy can only be judged when all the action has finally stopped.

Southampton’s draw at Leicester means they need two wins and a draw from four games to overtake us. Stoke, with an inferior goal difference, need to win three of four. What could go wrong?

Since then it has all been about Moyes, who if you have been paying attention, has been quietly but firmly getting his feet under the table. New scouting network, constant viewing of targets by himself and Alan Irvine, and serious planning for next season.

Then we hear there will be no director of football, that Moyes will have compete control of the transfer budget and that they will just replace the sacked Tony Henry with a recruitment director, no doubt of Moyes’ choosing. That all came from a Times exclusive by Matt Hughes, neither are prone to invention.

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Predictably, those who doubt every word Sullivan says (I wonder why) reckoned that was going back on previous promises. Actually it does not bother me that much, directors of football are not that common in the Premier League, not really our style. Wenger famously last season asked what exactly directing football meant, seemingly something he and most British managers think they can do very well on their own, thank you.

Now I know I have rattled on here previously about the need for a D of F, not because I much like the expensive dilution of power and decision making, but because it was the only way I could see to get Sullivan well away from all that transfer stuff he thinks he does well, but we all think is a basket case.

Frankly, anything to get Sullivan away from all that. So we are told Moyes has laid down the law, no D of F but a recruitment director instead, in effect the replacement for Henry.

I don’t know about you, but I always find the day after an exclusive very amusing. Everyone else is trying to knock it down, while the club call it all a myth and suggest no talks have taken place. If you believe that then you also believe Everton fans will give big Sam a 10 out of 10 vote of confidence.

Of course there have been talks, of course Moyes has laid out his plans for scrutiny. It would be amazing, surely, if Moyes’ representatives had not had some sort of discussion with West Ham. Not sure who though these days, Moyes has been represented by his agent brother Kenny, who certainly brokering the deal that took him to Manchester United.

Since then Kenny has been banned for five years from being a company director after losing a £300m tax fraud case with HMRC. (shut up at the back, the person suggesting Sullivan and Kenny Moyes could have an interesting chat about HMRC.)

Moyes, though, probably feels his actions have done the talking for him. We were relegation dead meat on nine points when he took over a Slaven Bilic side that had not the faintest idea how to defend. Moyes has, in my view, overcome and united a squad riddled by injuries and ill-discipline.

They do have horror shows just around the corner. Brighton, Burnley, Wigan, Swansea spring easily to mind, so it’s been a struggle. But having been told, we are led to believe, that if he keeps us in the Premier League he will get an extended contract, it would be disingenuous of our board to backtrack on that.

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The sort of players, the best in the Championship, Moyes seems to be scouting is just the sort of player we should be looking at. Moyes had a good reputation for such buys at Everton, and maybe we could do with some consistency, some structure, some common sense in the transfer market. I know some disagree, but Moyes deserves that chance and maybe Sullivan needs a quiet life with a sensible, organised manager at the helm.

And as for a director of football, they come these days with differing names - at Chelsea it’s a technical director, at Southampton an executive director of football. Elsewhere the titles differ, so let’s just appoint someone to work with Moyes and see how it goes regardless of the label on the tin.

Sullivan, of course, has seen fit to have another pop about the transfer dealings, he always seems to me to be a little annoyed that he is doubted and that he does not get the gratitude he feels he deserves from the mass ranks. He should be so lucky.

This time he has tried to explain away the suggestions that the net spend on transfers is not what it seems, that we have spent so, so much more. The little tirade in Monday’s programme informed us all that when there are free transfers, Bosmans and the like, then there is shed loads of cash that go the way of agents, players, hangers on etc. Well you don’t say!

What Sullivan doesn’t get is that the fans’ beef with him is that the club do not spend enough, do not make the right choices and end up with a squad that looks like it has been assembled from the back of a fag packet.

When Sullivan said he would step aside, he maintained that there would be considerable money made available to boost our technical side, research and analysis of players and transfer targets. As if this was something new to him.

Well that’s just up Moyes’ street. There’s an interesting book by Michael Calvin, “The Nowhere Men: the unknown story of footballs’ true talent spotters” which came out in 2013 just as Moyes was about to join Manchester United.

There was an interesting section on Everton, and the four rooms at their Finch Farm training ground occupied by IT experts, with walls covered from top to bottom with charts and lists of thousands of players worldwide. It was Moyes’ forte, and I doubt something we have ever invested in properly.

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Our analysis seems to revolve around Sullivan’s kitchen table and the chats he has with his two sons. My view is pretty obvious by now, let's give a serious, experienced manager his head.

Yes, he may be boring and conservative in his approach, and there have been some bad moments since he left Everton, but you can hardly blame Sunderland on him, they were a shambles long before he arrived. Manchester United was just too big to handle after Fergie left and Real Sociadad is a complex, difficult club to manage.

So, as long as we stay up, our board should give him a crack, give him the money and let him revamp the squad. Few doubt it is needed.
 
* Elsewhere I see the ICF old timers have kissed and made up. I'm sure we are all gratified by that, but that hasn't stopped the social media stick handed out by some sections of our fan base. Some things never change.


Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.







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