Honest Moyes

By Richard Jolly

Honesty is not always the best policy. Not according to Premier League managers, anyway. They inhabit a world where self-interest reigns, where siege mentalities are constructed and responsibility rejected by blaming outsiders.

They see everything when officials' mistakes favour opponents and nothing when they are the beneficiaries. They believe in their own form of omerta, refusing to criticise their own players. That might harm team spirit or alienate a highly-paid footballer.

Then there is the David Moyes way. Rather than demonstrating the myopia that Arsene Wenger, tongue sometimes wedged in cheek, has taken to extremes, Everton's all-seeing manager saw the goal Stoke City's Kenwyne Jones scored against his side in Saturday's 1-1 draw and argued, not for the first time this season, that his goalkeeper Tim Howard could have done better.

Unlike the referee Mark Halsey, he also saw Marouane Fellaini butt the Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross. Given his intimidating demeanour, questions are often put tentatively to Moyes.

There was a get-out clause if the Everton manager had chosen to exercise it. He did not.

The Scot openly condemned his best player, the man Everton are desperate to keep at Goodison Park.
He had witnessed the assault, did not pretend otherwise and did not make excuses. Fellaini issued an apology, to Shawcross, teammates and supporters alike, on the club's website on Saturday night. It will not be enough to spare the Belgian punishment - a minimum of a three-match ban - and nor was there any attempt to suggest it should.
Rather it was required because Fellaini let down Moyes. A demanding character has a bracing honesty; he wants Everton to be truthful with both themselves and others. Excuses are neither tolerated nor offered.

And that, Moyes believes, is the route to success. It is why, too, that praise can be tempered. If Moyes believes his charges can do better, he does not scatter superlatives around liberally.

Respect is earned because of the fairness of his approach. No exception was made for Fellaini, simply because of his exalted status.

Nor should it be: because of his excellence - were a player-of-the-year shortlist to be compiled now, the Belgian could be on it - Everton will be affected by his absence. The Premier League's most idiosyncratically effective target man is almost certain to miss the matches against West Ham United, Wigan Athletic and Chelsea. Everton's challenge for a Uefa Champions League place could be derailed. A small squad has no substitute for Fellaini, and not just because he is a unique player.

And when Moyes condemned his outstanding footballer, he proved himself a manager apart.

Last week, albeit in very different circumstances, Lord Ouseley said there was a moral vacuum at top clubs. The chairman of the Kick It Out anti-racism campaign was referring, in particular, to Liverpool and Chelsea when Luis Suarez and John Terry were accused, and later found guilty by English Football Association panels, of racially abusing opponents, but backed wholeheartedly by their then managers, Kenny Dalglish and Andre Villas-Boas. Neither appeared willing to risk losing the support of one of his premier players; both sought to ensure they were not suspended.
"Big clubs look after their players as assets," said Ouseley. Moyes treats his as people; sometimes fantastic, sometimes flawed.

In the process, Moyes has brought some morality to Everton. The lesson is that no one is above the law. The proof was supplied in October when, in a moment of unwitting comedy, his captain and first lieutenant Phil Neville dived in the Merseyside derby and was duly booked.

It was a deeply unconvincing tumble and meant the veteran was castigated by his manager, privately at half time and publicly after the final whistle.

Moyes's rather different attitude means he has more credibility when he does complain about refereeing mistakes, as he did when Everton endured an unlucky spell earlier in the season.

It was the sort of incident others would have played down or pretended they had not witnessed. Such moments conveniently escape the memory of managers who indulge in cynical attempt to undermine officials.

It is why it is worth listening to him when he argues results have not reflected Everton's performance level or on the occasions when he does praise his players. They are the truthful views of a manager who speaks directly.

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/sport/football/honest-david-moyes-should-be-applauded#ixzz2FNOFCLu3 
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook


Amir Hamzah said…
I back Moyesie all the way. This is what the People's club is all about!

Popular Posts