Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Calming the nerves

Martin Samuel has written a few good articles about Everton, here's the latest :

"The title of pound-for-pound champion is a peculiar thing. There is no belt or crown awarded to the holder, no tangible financial benefit. There are no bragging rights, either, considering all the experts in the world could never produce a standard formula for measuring who would come out on top if every boxer on the planet was shrunk or inflated to the same size and weight and then judged purely on ability.

Yet the designation of the pound-for-pound champion is taken seriously enough by The Ring, the respected boxing magazine, for there to be a permanent list in existence. The most recent, published on January 14, had Floyd Mayweather Jr, the welterweight conqueror of Ricky Hatton, at No 1, unsurprisingly considering his record of 39 undefeated contests and six world crowns at five weights.

Joe Calzaghe, Britain’s own super-middleweight, is fifth, his record of 44 unbeaten contests the most impressive of any boxer in the top ten. It could be argued that he deserved to be higher, which is perhaps the beauty of the pound-for-pound rankings. Because they are unquantifiable, all are subject to opinion. Nobody is right, nobody is wrong, but welcome to the debate nonetheless.

In reality, Mayweather would get his clock cleaned by Wladimir Klitschko, a heavyweight champion, because of his 100lb weight, 10.6inch height and 12.6inch reach advantage, but that is only an accident of birth. The Ring’s pound-for-pound table is there to give an idea of who would be best were boxing handicapped, like horse racing. There is no equivalent of this in football, but if there were the Mayweather position could well go to Everton.

Is there a better run, better managed, better value-for-money team in the Barclays Premier League? Is there a group of players giving more bang per buck, a team who could correlate their financial outlay and status with recent success and claim to be offering a superior return? Everton have not won anything of late, but who, beyond the elite four, has?"

Everton, pound for pound champions

And here's one about Moyes :

"Last week David Moyes marked 10 years in management. 'Ten unbroken years,' he said. 'And 28 in football. Since I signed for Celtic at 16 there's not been a day when I've been out of work.'

It is a remarkable record. A modern manager who has never been sacked. After four successful years at Preston and six at Everton, he is now the third longest-serving manager in the Barclays Premier League, although for reasons best known to the men with more money than sense, keeps being ignored when certain jobs become available.

Mike Ashley clearly suffered a short circuit in his brain when he turned to Kevin Keegan this week and Daniel Levy, the cowardly chairman of Tottenham, has proved something of a Euro-snob.

But Sir Alex Ferguson recognises the obvious qualities in someone he once considered for the post of his deputy and said as much recently.

In his Manchester United programme notes he suggested that Everton were the club most likely to break into the top four. And why? Because they have a group of gifted young players who will continue to grow together and one of the finest young managers in the game.

Moyes is far too modest to respond as he enjoys lunch in a Lancashire hotel.

'I'm not someone who seeks recognition,' he said. 'I just let people judge me on my work.'

His work at Goodison has been impressive. He was seventh in his first full season, 17th after that, but then fourth, 11th and sixth. Today his team are fifth and on the same number of points as Liverpool, in the latter stages of the UEFA Cup and in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup. And here's the really amazing bit. After six years he is close to breaking even in the transfer market. No wonder his contemporaries at the League Managers' Association have twice voted him Manager of the Year."

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