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Moyes & Everton deserve glory

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Phil McNulty | 00:29 UK time, Monday, 20 April 2009

Habitually portrayed as the archetypal dour Scot, Everton manager David Moyes was sporting a smile so fixed that even a surgeon's scalpel might not have successfully guaranteed its removal.

And why not after the finest day of his career and tangible reward for seven years of toil and sound footballing practice in the shape of an FA Cup final appearance against Chelsea on 30 May?

Moyes carried a cup as well as a beaming grin into his post-match Wembley briefing - and if it contained something bubbly after Everton had secured their first final in 14 years with Sunday's penalty shoot-out win over Manchester United, he was entitled to his moment of celebration.

Yes, this was another awful match played out on Wembley's heavily criticised surface but when Phil Jagielka calmy slotted home Everton's decisive spot-kick, Moyes' already glowing reputation was given another layer of gloss.

Moyes has built an Everton team in his own image and likeness - hungry, driven, focused, honest, hard-working and talented - and you can add streetwise nous to that list.

In the build-up to the semi-final, Everton's manager chose to debate the appointment of Mike Riley as referee, even openly discussing speculation that the official was a Manchester United fan.

Only Riley can tell you if he felt Moyes' piercing gaze burning into him or could hear his critical words whispering in his ears when he somehow decided the obviously felling of Danny Welbeck by Jagielka was not a penalty in the 68th minute.

It was as stonewall as it gets. Yet something put the seed of doubt in Riley's mind when there should have been none and Everton escaped.

Moyes was all wide-eyed innocence when asked if his words were premeditated and produced a dramatic desired effect, insisting: "Us managers don't do that." The only sound to be heard might just have been Moyes' tongue drilling a hole in his cheek.

Ferguson loses his cool after United's penalty claims are turned down

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, an old master Moyes is only too happy to take tips from, may have had his suspicions, but he was surprisingly sanguine and philosophical as everyone awaited comments as incendiary as his initial reaction to the decision had proved.

If anyone had doubted Ferguson's desire to win the FA Cup and suggested his line-up showed a lack of respect to the great, old tournament, a furious, arm-flapping war dance, which prompted fears the great man's head might actually explode, answered those questions.

But dare we even suggest that the master of mind games had been outflanked by one of his star pupils?

Ferguson faced further questions about his weakened team but this was a day for Moyes and Everton - who have been fielding an understrength team of their own for some time after the loss of Yakubu, their most reliable goalscorer, and Mikel Arteta, their most creative force.

It has been Moyes' marshalling of those depleted resources - and the response of his players - that makes a current sixth place in the Premier League and an FA Cup final appearance such an impressive return so far this season.

The days when Moyes was being questioned after a troubled summer in the transfer market and there was uncertainty over his own future before signing a new, long-term contract seemed an age away as he joined in the celebrations at Wembley.

And when Everton's players had not been at their best during the game, a seething wall of sound produced by their supporters stepped in to provide the missing inspiration.

Everton's fans have fashioned pessimism and long-suffering into a fine art but the wild scenes among those in royal blue at the final whistle suggested the long wait to grace a showpiece final had been worthwhile.

The coaches streamed back to Merseyside from London festooned in flags, scarves and smiles, with the supporters on board anticipating the chance to pursue greater glory at the end of May. They have waited all this time for a Wembley appearance and two come along at once.

Everton fans cheer on their team at Wembley

At the heart of it all was Moyes, who knew he needed this victory, and now preferably some silverware, to demonstrate that he will not bang his head on a glass ceiling at Everton forever. The opportunity to win the FA Cup will only fuel the desires of both manager and players.

Moyes has not been able to wield a giant chequebook, relying instead on the occasional big-money buys and sound, carefully researched captures from the Championship, exemplified by Tim Cahill, Jagielka and Joleon Lescott, who was an outstanding figure at Wembley.

Moyes racks up the air miles abroad and punishes his car at home searching out more like that trio - something he must continue to do unless chairman Bill Kenwright can attract an investor.

One thing is certain, Kenwright's manager, players and supporters can all be used as star selling points to potential purchasers.

Moyes has encouraged young talent such as Jack Rodwell, who made a composed appearance as substitute, and James Vaughan, who swept aside the cobwebs of months out of action to show steely nerve in the penalty shoot-out.

Emerging talent, in the absence of the sort of cash available to United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham, will gets its chance at Everton. Indeed, the work of Moyes must be regarded as the gold standard for any club unable to exert serious financial muscle on the Premier League's elite group.

Everton owner Kenwright threw his arms out wide and shouted to the heavens at the moment of triumph on Sunday, while Moyes calmly sought out Ferguson and added United to a list of FA Cup victims that already includes Liverpool and Aston Villa.

I asked Moyes how significant this victory was as a sign of progress both for him and Everton, a demonstration that there is a next level for both manager and club to move on to together.

He said: "I think it is very important, not for me but for Everton as a football club. I said I thought we needed European football, and we have begun to get better at getting into that. Then I said we needed runs in cups, and we have started to get that.

"I said this game was preparation for the final. Hopefully it has helped us prepare again for what we have to do in a month's time."

And what Moyes and Everton have to do in a month's time is find a way to outmanouevre Chelsea's outstanding coach Guus Hiddink to win their first trophy since the 1995 FA Cup triumph against United.

Moyes was still smiling as he made his Wembley exit - ready for a Cup final dress rehearsal at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday and relishing the prospect of eclipsing the biggest win of managerial career.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Good blog Phil, I agreed with most of your comments.

    Everton deserved the 3-points on the day and for the first time, I was backing them as a LIverpool supporter! Berbatov's penalty was absolutely shocking in my opinion although Vidic had an excellent game.

  • Comment number 2.

    Congratulations to Everton and all that. I would really like to see what Moyes could do with more resources available to him. Although somehow I suspect he's someone that works better under stricter restrictions.

    Something really needs to be done about the Wembley pitch. It's more than just sour grapes, both Wenger and Ferguson didn't use it as an excuse for the loss. As far as I recall pretty much every game played there has been relatively dire.

  • Comment number 3.

    Moyes has been doing a great job for years. Need to agree about the mindgames. Moyes played it beautifully and Fergie had no answer to that. Battles are on the pitch are won off the pitch sometimes and that was the perfect example.

    Considering the number of losses Everton have suffered this season (ask cahill, how long he had to work as a midfielder cum striker), moyes has done a brilliant job. Tim Howard was at his best in the tie breaker and a decent performance overall...

  • Comment number 4.

    I thought it was a decent game. As a cricket fan as well, sometimes it's not the big 100's wicket taking days that are the most rewarding, sometimes the dogged battles, the tactical jousting are just as entertaining. It was an exhibition of 2 excellent defences, for which both teams excelled. There was no shame in a 0-0 when you defend that well.

    I thought United's youngsters were also excellent, and for long periods dominated proceedings. The De Silva brothers look like they could great full backs, while Gibson looked mobile, confident, and shielded the defence with authority. United were a little shot-shy, and clearly Wellbeck needs to work on his left foot.

    But overall there was no disrespect by Fergie or the United team, which edged the game on possession and chances, and of course should have had a stone wall penalty. Everton played well though, and you have to accept they play with great heart and commitment, and deserve their chance at the cup.

    I think it is also worth applauding both sets of fans for singing 'stand up for the 96' in unison. 2 bitter rivals of Liverpool in solidarity over that awful tragedy. Perhaps our rivalries can become more good natured in years to come. I hope so.

  • Comment number 5.

    I wonder if Im the only one around who would prefer Moyes as the next united manager.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm not going to lie, we got through and we were fortunate. It was a penalty and everyone knows it. Moyes had the good grace to say as much about the decision.

    I'll also admit that three years in I thought he had gone as far as he could take us then we reached 4th place and then faltered spectacularly the following year.

    We need to win a trophy for the club and for Moyes, it will encourage him to stay should something big become appealling. I thought last year the Uefa cup would be it. Moyes is, what he is: a pragmastist, he now needs to add flair.

    One last point tha tneeds to be emphasised, I'm sure the man has his detractors but Phil Neville stepped out of the shaddow of both his brother and his former club. He led the side well and had the bottle to stick a pen away. Everton is his club and if he wins a trophy with us I'm sure it will mean more just because the way the victory has been achieved

    It's a good day to be a Toffee

  • Comment number 7.

    Good blog Phil. Another interesting fact was the number of English players that were on the pitch for Everton at the final whistle:

    Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Rodwell, Neville, Osman & Vaughan

    and with Gosling on the bench to make it 9.

    Take note Capello.

  • Comment number 8.

    Are any other Everton fans terrifed (but also equally excited) by the prospect of an Everton victory on May 30.

    Look what happened to Redknapp after his FA Cup triumph - he was held in high enough esteeem by a so-called 'bigger club' to be brought in, leaving the players and staff with whom he had achieved FA Cup glory.

    I just Moyes hopes that FA Cup victory is something you build on, not a guaranteed way to the Managerial Hall of Fame and a job at a 'bigger' club. don't get any bigger than Everton.

  • Comment number 9.

    Congrats to Chelsea and Everton for making the final. I hope it is a good final.

    As for the pitch, both sides playedd on it. As for Ferguson's complaints about the pitch I'm surprised as I regarded him as one for taking responsibility. He simply did not field his strongest team and paid for it with defeat it is as simple as that.

    If he had won, would he have complained as much about the pitch? I doubt it!

    Take responsibility like you normally do Mr Ferguson or do you just take responsibility for the vitories and balme anything but yourself for the defeats?

  • Comment number 10.

    SAF's team selection showed complete arrogance and disrespect for both the FA cup and for Everton. Him and Utd got what they deserved!
    Well done Moyes and Everton.

  • Comment number 11.

    No wonderboySA

    Your`e not the only one who would like to see Moyes as the next United manager. I`ve been saying to Everton fans all season and I think it will happen.

  • Comment number 12.

    Delighted for Everton, although it should be considered that they have spent considerably more over the past few years than similar (small!) clubs such as Middlesboro, Portsmouth, Blackburn, Fulham etc and are not exactly the impoverish club Phil is making out..

    Phil makes it seem that Moyes has worked some kind of miracle here with a team constructed on a shoestring budget. Lets be clear that this is not the case, Moyes’s desperate attempts to spend a significant transfer budget last summer was embarrassing for Everton and for football as he threw big money about and was turned down by everyone except the spectacularly average Fellaini. If Phil really wants to congratulate someone who has achieved against the odds this season, on a shoestring budget sourcing players from the championship and beyond, he should look to Tony Pulis at Stoke who seems to have quietly slipped into mid - table premiership safety. Compared to Stoke, it could be argued that Everton has been as wasteful and extravagant as a Man City this season.

  • Comment number 13.

    Ferguson enters pitch row?!

    Everton played on a different surface did they Fergie?!

    Talking about Rafa before a massive game, then showing Everton utter contempt with his team selection and then losing the game, makes me think Fergie may be.. wait for it.. cracking up!

  • Comment number 14.

    Wel done Everton, I'm sure they will go on to lift the trophy and it will be fully deserved, they've had a fiarly tough run to the final.

    The semis have to be moved from Wembley, the venue seems to lend the games a final-like mentality especially in the first half.

    Everton had a bit of luck over the penalty but all teams get some luck like that.

    And Phil, the Master of Mindgames as you call him in the usual journalistic sycophantic way, is a very worried man, who was totally out of order saying Benitez is arogant and a simple hand signal, (to Alonso) was beyond the pail. When are you lot going to grow a spine and pull him up about it?

  • Comment number 15.

    I wonder why only the two losing managers complained so much about the pitch? To my knowledge Moyes made no such complaint and Hiddink even complimented its condition, saying that it's better than many in Europe.

  • Comment number 16.

    Full credit to Everton, but I'll say this much. If you're gonna force people to play on a pitch like that, then the little clubs (no disrespect) will have to give up on the FA Cup in order to focus on the league. A pitch like that tires players out, and given the FA already cram too many games to mention, including unnecessary England internationals, clubs fighting against relegation or chasing promotion in the Championship can ill-afford to lose players due to fatigue.

    What was once the romantic tournament of the British sporting calander has been turned into a money grabbing rip-off by the very people who were meant to keep that tradition running. The finalists don't even get a fair allocation of tickets!

    It's disgusting really.

  • Comment number 17.

    There's no excusing Ferguson's terrible team selection. Play your second string in an FA Cup semi-final and you'll get what you deserve. There's no point whingeing about the bad luck the team suffered -- a better team would have put the match beyond the vicissitudes of luck.

  • Comment number 18.

    Another good blog there Phil. I wonder when the last time 4 Englishmen stepped up and slotted home a penalty actually ocurred? jot to mention we had eight on the pitch and anothjer on the bench.

    Well in lads!


  • Comment number 19.

    Dreadful game illuminated by the demonstration, once again, that cup football is about nerve as much as skill, commitment as much as artistry and fortitude as much as fluidity. Everton deserved to win if only for the way they managed the penalty shoot-out, if not the game itself. It's surprising that an experienced manager like Ferguson got caught between two stools in his team selection and his whining about the pitch, as with Wenger on the previous day, did neither of them any credit. If Hiddink was ever inclined to underestimate the challenge Everton represent, then he won't now!

  • Comment number 20.

    I was very disappointed to hear Ferguson burbling on about the pitch; it was the same for both teams. Everton were a little timid - I felt - considering the disdainful selection policy of Man U, but I am very pleased they got through. Ferguson's 'rants' - though great for the media - make me think he's a big sixty something kid and contribute massively to the negative feelings about United among supporters of other teams.

    While not wishing to major on schadenfreude, as a Spurs fan, Berbatov's lame,arrogant and pathetic penalty - not to mention his feeble justification post match - was a joy to behold.

  • Comment number 21.

    # 10

    Everyone can visibly see that Man Utd have been looking tired in the last couple of weeks... (exception possibly Rooney and Tevez) Ferguson has come out and explained his decision to play younger players.. Lets not get on the high horse here and look for drama when there is none.. Both managers have been excellent in defeat/victory and for once there is something more like the spirit in the game that football used to have.

  • Comment number 22.

    Slur Ferguson thought he was recruiting his new batch of (you can win anything with kids) yes doing that was disrespectful to both the FA Cup and Everton but from my view, the best team won and that was Everton beating ManU. Well done to Everton and best of luck in the final and a thanks to all the fans remembering the 96. Its only a game.

  • Comment number 23.

    when david moyes talked to itv after the game he said he thought it was a penalty. jagielka talked to the guardian and said he shoved wellbeck, "i was a bit lucky i think". the ref has talked to nowone because he knew he got the crucial decision wrong. had he not cracked under the pressure this article would be about the talent of united's young crop. i'm not angry because we got bigger fish to fry but could the ref just come out and appologise

  • Comment number 24.

    I think you're being a bit kind to Everton. The game was dire and very equal. Id hardly say Everton were outstanding, they were average at best. The winner on the day was the pitch. Every game I watch at wembley is dull. Ball doesnt travel, game is played at a snails pace. In a way though Fergie got what he deserved. To say I was surprised at his team was an understatement

  • Comment number 25.

    i just cant believe our kids took them to penalties, an letting Vida an Rio take pens, what was they thinking lol should have let our kids take them seen as though they did well agaimst a good team, ow well.

  • Comment number 26.

    Congrats to Moyes and Everton since SAF decided to give you a spot to the finals of the FA Cup by fielding a weakened side instead of using our first team. What were you thinking of Fergie??? It is also not fair for us Manutd fans around the world with every Liverpool, Arsenal etc fans making us a laughing stoke.
    If this cup was not important to you, for your information it is important to us the fans.
    You have really hurt us this time SAF and I wish you just resign for everyones sake. This was not the time for you to decided to test the youngsters. We wanted a win not a fast but unexperienced players. What were you upto???? Have respect for Manchester United and the Fans. Manutd is not only about you, so you should have taken this decision seriously and fielded our first team.
    i'm sorry SAF but your decision has dented Manutd Pride further.

  • Comment number 27.


    Clearly you do not know you history, the clubs you compare Everton haven't won in total what Everton has as a single club. I agree we've spent more than most think and for Phil to euligise otherwise is over egging the pudding a bit........

    The point, ahem I think Phil it trying to make is that the money spent has been in context much less than the others such as Newcastle, Villa, Spurs and Man City. These clubs are much more comparable to Everton in stature, history and size. Take Newcastle and Spurs specifically, clubs who have spent much more than Everton and are models of instability, give than cash to Moyes...just maybe

    Cpmoaring Everton to the clubs you chose doesn't make it it contextual

  • Comment number 28.


    Shakapara - What a complete load of tosh. I remember the same rubbish spouted by so called fans, after Becks, Butt, Scholes, Neville etc. took a pasting at Villa. You clearly trolling for a reaction as there is no way you are a United fan.

    As a United fan it is brilliant and rewarding to see we have a set of young players that can sustain our challenge at the top for many years to come without dipping into our pockets. The De Silva brothers look to be quality, Gibson is growing in stature, and I really think Macheda has something about him to make it.

    As for not respecting the cup, we went out on penalties, it was 0-0 after 120mins with a stone wall penalty not given. We dominated large portions of the game, and were a whisker away from the final - how is that disrespecting the competition?

    All the other clubs in the league complain about the domination of the big 4, and yet when we play what is still a decent team we get slated for it for not respecting the cup?

    Everton are there and well done to them, but ManUtd still have 2 trophies to go for as well as 2 already in the cabinet. Well done SAF, it was great to see the kids given a run (The Busby way), and hopefully the rest will deliver 6 points over the next week!

  • Comment number 29.

    It is easy to say Fergie and Wenger were moaning about the pitch because they lost. But the truth is that it should be much better for a showpiece stadium, which has been purpose built to showcase the very best in domestic and international football.

    Hiddink is just the consummate diplomat, (opposite of Jose), so he won't criticise unless absolutely neccessary.

    Anyway, yes Moyes is an excellent manager and Everton may struggle to keep hold of him indefinately.

    Everton have been now beaten Liverpool, Villa and Man U to get to the final, a fantastic achievement, but I just hope Chelsea can be a bridge too far, but it will be a tight and close final I am certainly now counting my chickens.

  • Comment number 30.

    Neither SAF nor Wenger have invoked the state of the pitch as an excuse for losing their respective matches. Those of you drivelling on about such are just woefully poor, searching for any negative straw to grasp in denouncing your "mortal enemies".

    I agree with them both-- the Wembley pitch is dire and humiliating for a national venue. I'd be aghast if my back garden cut up like that.... FA, please sort it out at once. Send your blokes over to the Emirates or even WHL if they need a lesson on pitch care. Dire, truly dire....

  • Comment number 31.

    Congratulations to everton, fingers crossed you can go forth and do Chelsea in the final (and on wednesday for that matter!!!)

    But a point to all those claiming Sir Alex is disrespecting the cup with his team selection, it is a policy he has employed with relative success for a while and has beaten Spurs and fulham with a team weaker than that! He played a keeper that some claim should be ours and Englands 1st choice (I disagree), he played the best centreback pairing in the world, Rafael who is pretty much first choice and Fabio who could be first choice with Evra's recent woeful performances. He played Park, 1 of our most underrated players this season, Anderson who was probably our best player against Porto. Ok Gibson and Welbeck are not good enough for the first team but it was a good opportunity to get big match experience. Up front you had Tevez who would walk in to most premier teams and Macheda who is the only player that can score for us right now. This so called weakened team would destroy any team outtside the top 6, and on a better day would have beaten Everton. Hardly disrespectful!!!

    On the penalties Berbatov was shocking, I hope that lazy penalty is the beginning of the end of his Utd career, we are top of the league inspite of him and definatley not because of him. But why were Ferdinand and Vidic on the next 2 pens? Surely Tevez and Scholes should have stepped up! Fair play to Anderson, he should be our number 1 pen taker now....get a few goals next to his name at last!

    Also a sidenote, I said we would get denied a penalty after moyes rant, no suprise there. Fair play to Moyes,he knew what he was doing, but it just provides further proof Riley should not be officiating at the top level.

  • Comment number 32.

    Although gutted by the result I would just like to say Well done to Everton and your supporters, and all the best for the final.

    You have had your fair share of injuries this season, but have just got on with things.

    Chelsea will obviously be a difficult match, but if you can show the same spirit as you have done these last few months, I think you can go into the match with confidence.

    Once again, best wishes for the final.

  • Comment number 33.

    #2 Never been a decent game at Wembley?

    Did you watch the JPT final, that was one of the best games I've seen in a long while.

    If Luton and Scunthorpe can play out such fantastic football at Wembley why not Manchester united.

  • Comment number 34.

    i must admit i was annoyed we put the kids out, thats what we have reserve matches for an the carling cup, although they did well against everton,an lets get it right the pitch was awful whether we won or not i thought it was awful watching chelsea and arsenal.

    anyway we put the kids out an paid the price, if we would have got the penalty we deserved it looks as though we would have missed it anyway lol fancy letting Vida and Rio take a penalty......aaaanyhoo on we march

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    Ha ha ha ha, here we go again, it was the Ref, it was the pitch, lol, lol, lol!!!!

    Will you people EVER be able to lose graciously????? I suspect not!


  • Comment number 37.

    I have to say the I think most have it cxompletely wrong....
    Everton played averagely at best yesterday and this is coming from a die hard.

    But Why I hear you cry. Well the credut I believe goes to SAF. I think he has had this team in hishead for weeks. He gave the plaudits to Everton and Moyes, softening them up for Sunday. Nice! We went into hee game as underdogs, however he changed the side that dramatically before kick off that it made Everton many times have they been in that position against United. I think the performace was hesitiant and demonstrated Everton were'nt comfortable as favourites and din't know whether to defend or attack, in the end we got neither. I believe SAF nearly puled off a complete master stroke......

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    Forget the FA cup and concentrate on the bigger trophy...Champions League.

    We have have bigger fish to fry and whilst I'm still unhappy with blubby Berba I keep my focus on the more meaningful trophies and defending our European cup.

  • Comment number 40.

    I am in two minds as to if you could call the Man Utd Team a weakened team. Everyone on the field had a winners medal in some competition or other I think. So weakened I don't really hold with, inexperienced, possibly.
    I think Man Utd have become something I always dreaded, a team expert at the 0:0 or 1:0. The flair has gone. The have become a grinding team. Everton won yesterday not because the were the better team, not because Rielly didn't give the peno, but simply because 2 Man Utd players missed their spot kicks, 30million for Berbatov to take an awful penalty, is really looking like bad business, and I am all for captins leading but when you are already one down, you dont ask the defender to do a strikers job do you? In short, wrong personel for the penalty kicks, and Berbatov can go back to Spurs for all I care.
    But thank god the 5 nonsense is finally over

  • Comment number 41.

    RE: sjb1909 (post 36)

    "Will you people EVER be able to lose graciously????? I suspect not!"

    Well you suspect wrong then don't you? please read post 32!

  • Comment number 42.

    37....... I hope your right mate lol

  • Comment number 43.

    I think Fergie played the selection right. Wembley has always looked like a big pitch to me - I don't know whether that's just how it appears both old and new. The present pitch is awful for Wembley. I think on the balance of what would happen, that is physicaly demanding conditions played on what was always going to be a tight match whoever Fergie played he got it right.

    You have to admire Everton as a team though not their peformance that was woeful, I don't think Moyes could have picked a better United team for Everton - yet they hardly offered anything and often it was the United kids who looked like the ones with the experience. What United lacked was penetration and there was not a lot for the forwards so I would have had Rooney, Ronaldo and Giggs on the bench, brought at least one of them on in the last 30 mins and we'd have had that penetration.

    It will be interesting how the other teams in the semis play in midweek. The priority is clearly the league and the champions league so in the main i thought Fergie got his selection right, on another day like in the Carling Cup final we'd have won that game.

  • Comment number 44.


    Clearly you do not know your history - if you want me to make the comparison contextual from a simple historical achievements perspective, as you state, why don’t I throw in teams like Wolves, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield and Burnley – they've all won the cup and league a fair few times in past - but that would not work well in the modern Premiership setting. I think you’ll find that my comparison to Blackburn. Portsmouth and Middlesboro particularly appropriate as they have arguably won and achieved more in their premiership years than Everton have…but spent less cash....discuss

  • Comment number 45.

    Shame we're still to see a half decent game at the new Wembley, but the best two teams (performance wise) made it to the final.

    It should be a worry though that it seems impossible to play good, attacking football on this pitch.

  • Comment number 46.

    So that's now Wenger, Mourinho, Benitez & Moyes who have all got the better of the 'Master' of the mind games !

    As for Ferguson's reaction to the penalty being turned down ? Disrepectful to the point of being beyond the pale, i'd say.

    Good luck to Everton in the final but if they play like that again Chelsea will hammer them.

  • Comment number 47.

    I'm not sure about all this 'we put the kids out' stuff.

    Foster has played a number of first team games this season and can hardly be classed as a kid when he is being touted as the best England keeper available.

    The centre backs' were your strongest possible pairing, responsible for all those 1-0 wins earlier in the season. Rafael, whilst young, has played a number of games this season and benefitted from the experience.
    Also Evra came on with half hour to go, another first team player.

    In midfield, Anderson and Park have been in the first team for most of the season. Park in particular. Again Scholes came on with over 20 minutes left, plenty of time to make an impact.

    Tevez has been one of your better strikers all season and is no doubt a first team player.

    So discounting substitutes, I would say you used four players that wouldn't normally get into the first team. Also taking into consideration Everton had key players missing through injury and not just manager's choice, I think the comments of we took them to penalties just with our kids is misleading.

    Everton held out against Utd and deserved to go through. Best of luck to them in the final.

  • Comment number 48.

    Well done Everton, the toffees is my second team, and obviously losing too the best side from Merseyside, is never hard to swallow. My only gripe about the toffees, is that whenever they take on United, there is always that extra they put in, I would like to see the same when they play the so-called lesser teams. While David Moyes can celebrate this, I am sure breaking into the top four, would his best achievement, therefore consistency is needed. Also is there anyone out there who knows who would get the preference of the blue kit at the final.

  • Comment number 49.

    Here's hoping that the Toffees brings the FA Cup back to Merseyside. Moyes definitely deserves some silverware for all the good work he's done and I think I might be the only Liverpool supporter cheering Everton on!

  • Comment number 50.

    Oh dear, so now it's the pitch's fault and not Ferguson's incompetents and arrogance for fielding a team of boys....His after match whinging is as certain as the sun setting. Time he retired, in my view.

  • Comment number 51.

    Well played Everton,I think pretty much every Liverpool fan was on thier side as well, which is a happy oddity. The big two domestic trophies for the city this year hopefully, it'll be like the late eighties all over again... sort of.

    Also, it's funny how its only the two losing managers complaining about the pitch isn't it? Still its not as if thier known for being sore losers (ha!).

  • Comment number 52.

    50........what a nugget

  • Comment number 53.

    Oh dear, Everton win a penalty shooy-out and suddenly they played well??

    I was obviously watching a different game as the game exposed Moyes complete lack of tactical nous. He has a Plan A against the better teams which is to sit back and hopefully nick something from a set piece (Small Team mentality I believe someone once called it??). SAFs team selection threw him there as that made Everton 'favourites' and they had no idea how to force the game so they just still sat back. 1st half they were appalling. How many times did they work Van Der Sar in the whole 120 mins. Don't get me wrong they did have to put up with a terrible ref who (apart from the controversial decision) gave them absolutely nothing particularly Fellani who wasn't allowed to touch Ferdinand or Vidic so as Everton's main tactic was to hit Fellani it rather curtailed their game plan and as they hadn't got another!!

    It was a poor game all round so how you give either team any credit is beyond me but the only team showing any signs of scoring from open play was ManU.

    Does Phil actually think they have the slightest chance against Chelsea? (We'll see an Wednesday?). Everton will just have too hope the pitch is even worse so its a battle of set pieces although with Terry/Alex et al and I can't see them winning that. Maybe they can hang on for penalties again and Moyes can be proclaimed a tactical genius again!!

  • Comment number 54.

    OMG why would the winning managers complain about the pitch they will just be happy they won, no one is stupid we can all see the pitch was awful!!!! whether it was a factor is something else!!!

  • Comment number 55.

    The best comment of the weekend came from 'Wee Andy Townsend' on ITV. He said 'It was definitely a penalty because there was a 'slight brush against the thigh' !' That sounds like a line from erotic fiction not about a football match, God I remember when football was a man's game. I can't remember Chopper Harris, Tommy Smith, Norman Hunter or Nobby Stiles ever 'slightly brushing another players thigh !

  • Comment number 56.

    48. At 10:00am on 20 Apr 2009, fergies99redbaloons wrote:
    My only gripe about the toffees, is that whenever they take on United, there is always that extra they put in

    eh? they've only beaten them once (until yesterday) since the 1995 FA Cup Final. If anything they lay down for Man Utd and to be fair they were pretty woeful again yesterday.

  • Comment number 57.

    It will be great seeing an all blues final

  • Comment number 58.

    billy athletic - How many times did Everton test Van Der Sar?

    Well none actually, he was at home watching the poor ITV coverage, but I know what you mean so il let you off!

  • Comment number 59.

    I wonder why only the two losing managers complained so much about the pitch? To my knowledge Moyes made no such complaint and Hiddink even complimented its condition, saying that it's better than many in Europe

    It always humours me when people start to look far too much in to ulterior motives. Can it not be conceivable that the two winning managers simply didn't care about the state of the pitch because they are through so couldn't care less. As for Hiddink complimenting it, yeah he's right there are a lot worse but then my back garden's worse lets compare it to that. For an international pitch in a brand new stadium that cost so much money it was very obvious the pitch was cutting up and was simply not good enough with so much at stake for all clubs. However, the best two teams went through. It's just a shame neither match was up to much & I think the pitch probably played a big part in it.

  • Comment number 60.


    Context is about the whole thing, Everton have been in the Prem (Top division) un broken for years won consistently throughout all eras, all the clubs you mention have won somethings not consistently across all decades...
    As for spending money, until the last last couple of years Everton have been hamstrung. The 90's saw us spend very little! Come on Claus Thomson for peanuts etc Middlesboro have consistently spent every season under much do you think Juninho, Emerson, Ravenelli, Merson etc cost?
    Blackburn bought their title and again until recent were happy to spend on players, Fulham had Al Fayed bank rolling haevily for three or four seasons

    So argueably as you put it, no the comparison is not valid as the point was about funds available to you. Given the amount available to the clubs you mention it should have been enough to keep them all in the Prem for the duration, or achieve regular top six finishes, it hasn't. Both Fulham, Portsmouth and Blackburn bought their way into the division, Everton by comparison have stayed there through good and bad times.....a much better measure of sucess and the resources available to them

  • Comment number 61.

    Champions of Carling!
    Champions of Carling!

    Champions of Carling!
    Champions of Carling!

  • Comment number 62.


    Good work Billy, yours views are as mypopic as your actual sight, Van der sar wasn't even at the ground let alone the pitch....LOL!

    I don't see a lot of post saying Everton played well, but I do see a lot of posts saying well done Everton, can you manage a touch of good grace?

    But then again you do have dodgy sight......

  • Comment number 63.

    That's consecutive seasons we have been denied a blatant penalty in the FA Cup but good luck to Everton as they are now the only Merseyside team in with a realistic shout for a trophy.

  • Comment number 64.

    Asides the sitting capacity i would like to know what makes this stadium england's heritage

  • Comment number 65.

    Why has none of the press picked up on the heart felt rendition of 'stand up for the 96' by both sets of supporters yesterday? Were the journalists in the stadium? Do they not realise the significance of this? Why are only bad things reported about fans behaviour? Fantastic I thought, and hopefully a way forward to end all the bitterness.

  • Comment number 66.

    63. At 10:25am on 20 Apr 2009, OldRedBren wrote:

    That's consecutive seasons we have been denied a blatant penalty in the FA Cup but good luck to Everton as they are now the only Merseyside team in with a realistic shout for a trophy.


    We'll be the champions, champions of England!
    You'll be the champions, champions of Carling!

    We'll be the champions, champions of England!
    You'll be the champions, champions of Carling!

  • Comment number 67.


    What is this arrogance of SAF?

    There was no way he was going to field the same XI that took part in that intense game against Porto in midweek for one reason or another. Rooney & Carrick carrying slight knocks and were not going to be risked, Rooney in particular. Ronaldo who could have started on the bench – SAF decided to give him a rest given the upcoming fixtures it may be a good thing. The team that he fielded nearly won the game, it wasn’t as if they were dominated and beaten in 90 minutes then SAF could be called arrogant for thinking he could throw random youngsters together in belief they could win. SAF should be proud of the players especially the younger ones yesterday going toe to toe with Everton’s seasoned pros – after the game SAF: “I know that in whatever games we’ve got in the run-in, we can play the likes of Macheda, Welbeck and Rafael without any question at all.”

    In fact the back four that finished the game probably at one stage of the season was the first choice back four. Anderson and Gibson have played in most of the Cup games this season and may have earned SAF faith to play in another the same goes for Wellbeck. The only two that haven’t played much for the team this season were Fabio and Macheda (Fabio who has been injured much of the season only previous appearance I believe was against Spurs in the 4th round and Macheda after his recent heroics may have deserved a start – again this is SAF prerogative).

    If you look at Manchester Uniteds upcoming fixture list (3 games in 7 days with equal importance) you can't blame SAF for prioritising.

  • Comment number 68.

    Re Billy Athletic - scoring against United can be difficult, scoring against a goalkeeper 200 miles away is even more difficult!

    Not a great game, criticising Moyes for lack of plan B saps of sour grapes as our starting 11 yesterday is already about plan D due to injuries to Yak and Mikky.

  • Comment number 69.

    In the blog, I state Everton did not play well and the game itself was poor - but this is an attempt to place the achievements of David Moyes and his team in a wider context.

    And when I wrote about restricted budgets, again I made it clear that this was in comparison to the top four, and indeed a couple outside when you mention Aston Villa and Spurs. This is relevant because it is the territory Everton are operating in.

    Moyes has marshalled this smaller budget and a squad depleted by injuries, especially two very serious ones for Mikel Arteta and Yakubu, superbly. It was also evident that he has fostered a superb spirit among his players.

    I don't think Sir Alex Ferguson can be accused of being a sore loser by complaining about the pitch, because Moyes was also asked about it and expressed similar reservations.

    And as for the final, Chelsea will certainly be favourites but only a fool would dismiss Everton's chances. They have felt a force was with them since knocking Liverpool out in the fourth round - and they will feel they have a real chance.

    Yes, they will have to improve on Sunday's performance, but Moyes himself believes Everton will be better for having experienced Wembley in the semi-final. Do not dismiss them.

    And on another point - yes, indeed four English players (Baines, Neville, Vaughan and Jagielka)scoring from the spot in a high stakes penalty shoot-out.

    See, it is possible.

  • Comment number 70.

    61.... you nugget

  • Comment number 71.

    All Liverpool fans will be cheering on (though with a quiet cheer) Everton in the Cup final. I don't think anyone likes Chelsea.

  • Comment number 72.

    You would normally expect a football reporter who is present at a game, let alone a 'Chief' one (sic) to apply his football knowledge and give us an insight.

    Above all, to provide a detailed analysis of the performances, player-by-player. Who played well and who didn't, a bit of tactics, where a game was or was not decided.

    It's ok to concentrate on the losers as they have many more followers (friends and enemies). Therefore you could tell us why Welbeck was hitting row Z all the time; or why United had a passing accuracy of circa 50% (random figure); why Berbatov cost 30m and where does he really rank among other strikers in the world; or why they have to start looking for a new keeper before too long.

    Or which particular youngsters can be offloaded and to which PL or Championship clubs, or where in the European market they should be looking at to improve and in which positions, and whether their supermassive black holes allow them to, as it was all too clear that at the moment they are at round about the level of FC Porto or worse.

    To let people know that, with 5 regular starters, 8 in the ET half hour, they were unable to take the upper hand against a team with no real world class players in their ranks, and their 2 best players missing.

    Just like they did against Tottenham. Then they had the 'spirit of champions' which for some unknown supernatural reason evaded them yesterday.

    That towards the end when their bench 'supesrtars' (sic) came on they were playing time out for penalties and Scholes was trying not to get sent off.

    That a team that trumpets itself and is trumpeted by guys like you as one of the best in the world has managed to dominate only 2 (two) games in an entire season, which must be unprecedented.

    But nah, that's all too much to ask. Let's talk about the managers again shall we? Like we've done in the last 10 blogs if fact. We've talked about Rafa, Fergie, Hiddink, o'Neil, Shearer, now it's time for Moyes. Great managers huh? They are the ones who go out and perform on the pitch. In fact you could have written your article without even watching the game, let alone going to it. All easy to serve and digest, and besides doesn't harm yourselves or anyone else.


  • Comment number 73.

    Oh Well...

    Better luck with the quintuple next time Fergie.

  • Comment number 74.

    A very poor FA cup weekend. Why I sat through both games is beyond me. I guess I was hoping that something exciting would finally happen... Fat chance!!!
    The pitch is very poor and doesn't inspire quality football. The 2 passing teams on display (Arsenal and Man utd) were certainly hampered by it. This really needs to be rectified. Wembley should encourage open flowing football not dour stalemates. Ditch the concerts!!!
    Everton were the biggest dissapointment of the whole weekend. There performance against Man Utd's reserve team (almost) underlined for me the problem with the premier league. After the euphoria of 3 teams making the CL semi's and the media immediatly once again branding the EPL the best in the world. We see the truth that undoubtedly the top 4 are the elite of the big teams in europes leagues but the rest of the league is extremely poor!!! I found it hard to comprehend how Everton, who on current form are presently the 5th best team in England, could be out played by one of the big 4's reserve sides!! To think that a lot of the bloggers here believe Moyes deserves praise for needing a dodgy penalty decision and then penalties to brush aside a reserve team, beggars belief.

  • Comment number 75.

    Congratulations to Everton but let's have less of the nonsense about Moyes outwitting Ferguson etc. The FA Cup is well down United's list of priorities and that showed in the team selection. Everton are without a couple of important players through injury but they were up against a 50% youth team and their inability to win the game in 120 minutes wasn't impressive.

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm sick of all this crowing about weakened sides.

    Vidic, Ferdinand, Park, Tevez, Macheda the 'Special Talent'.

    Substitutes consisting of Berbatov, Scholes and Evra.

    Manchester United got beaten yesterday. Everton can only play what's put in front of them. To get to the final they've had to beat Villa, Liverpool and Man United. All teams that are above them in the league.

    They deserve to be where they are.

    Credit where it's due!

  • Comment number 77.

    Congratulations to Everton, good luck in the final.
    David Moyes is a credit to his club and to Managers at this level.
    I am not sure he would be right for United, I think in today's elite League's and competitions, the need for instant success demands previous form ie Hiddink, Capella, Mourhino, and spending BIG cash isn't easy either...
    As a Man United supporter, I was happy with my teams play and these very young lads with a probable average age of 21 pushed the Everton side to the limit.
    It WAS a penalty, but some you get others you don't.
    Sorry to see the weakness of Berbatov's game on show again. He is supposed to be a striker / goalscorer and penalty's should be meat and veg to him, frankly his was rubbish.
    Only 2 trophy chances left for United, one will do for me, aint bothered which.

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    As a neutral I agree with just about every thing Kevthered (#31)said.

    The penalty was interesting, I agree most refs would have given it, but interestingly the super close up showed him tripping over his own feet, but then again would he have done that if he hadn't been off balance.
    Another point to take into account was the nailed on penalty that Chelsea were denied the day before, which makes you wonder if the refs had been briefed about not giving penalties unless they were 100% certain and after looking at the replays neither of the commentators believed it was a penalty.

    I don't like Fergie or Wenger, but in the interviews I heard with the managers both criticised the pitch, which was fair enough, but neither used it as an excuse for the defeats.

    I thought the young twins were excellent and given Evra's alarming dip in form since the Carling cup final, you could argue that they were first choice picks on current form. United were still chasing 3 trophies and have been looking jaded in the past month. I wonder what the people who are moaning about his weakened side would be saying if United conceded a couple of late goals against Pompey on Tuesday through tirdness, if he had picked a full strength side yesterday.

    Congrats to Everton, who shaded it on the day but it's 21 games since they last beat Chelsea, then again anything can happen in a one off game.

  • Comment number 80.

    Congrats to Chelsea and Everton to getting into the final. Both the games this weekend were pretty dull to watch - possibly due to the pitch as a better pitch would allow Man U / Arsenal to play their passing game without unexpected bobbles on the pitch ect.

    Also Phil - 'Emerging talent, in the absence of the sort of cash available to United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham, will gets its chance at Everton.'

    I realy do not like Arsenal being included in the big spenders list as compared to those other clubs mentioned we have spend fairly little over the past few years.

  • Comment number 81.

    For those who suggest that Everton have spent more than many other Premiership clubs such as Boro, maybe this season yes, but how much have Boro and other clubs spent in the last ten years? Many, many times more than Everton, who have been relatively strapped for cash since they lost the Moore's money to Liverpool in the 80s (they were still £20 million in debt even after their FA Cup win against Man U in 1995). And why does no one ever consider that Everton's so-called disasterous attempts at Champions' League qualification saw them go out to the up and coming Villarreal? Who at the time were a pretty unknown quantity, but everyone knows who they are now.

  • Comment number 82.

    What the hell are Liverpool fans doing here? For you shallow-headed lot, this blog is about two teams who actually have a chance of winning something this year. I suggest you get back to your umpteenth re-run of "Glory days of LFC - the 80's" DVD. Oh, and before that, please get down on your knees and bow to the champions one more time. Thank you.

  • Comment number 83.

    At 10:36am on 20 Apr 2009, JAGOMUFC wrote:

    61.... you nugget


    You can forgive arrogance but you can't forgive contempt, and that's what Alex Ferguson showed today towards David Moyes and Everton with him team selection today.

    I don't think David Moyes deserve that, a guy who's worked hard with the LMA and working hard with youngsters, he didn't deserve that - playing in an FA Cup Semi Final.. and to get that kind of contempt.. it was.. I don't think any other Manchester Utd manager would have done that, but he's beyond the pale.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    #68 Ok, yes I wasn't thinking and it was Foster in goal for ManU but I stand by my other comments.

    Tell me how many time they worked Foster. Vidic got MoM because he spent all day heading away poor Everton crosses in a penalty area with no Everton players in it. Name me one occasion where you can say an Everton player 'should have scored'?? Sorry but if Moyes is the tactical genius with street nous Phil McNulty is making him out to be you should have something to hand your hat on in the game!!

    Before the game I actually thought Everton had a chance against ManU 1st team as they are playing so poorly but again Moyes's negativity shone through even against a ManU 3rd team. Injuries are a poor excuse as Everton's best run of results this season came once Moyes's lost his strikers and the team picked itself. When Moyes had all his players available Everton were relegation fodder.

    Call me what you like but I've had issues with the whole Moyes is a great manager nonsense for years and yesterday simply backed it up for me. Everton are in the final, great, fantastic, I hope you have a great day but do you really think you have a chance against Chelsea?

    Sorry but to me Moyes is a classic 'Emperor's New Clothes' manager as put in charge of a top team he would be badly exposed.

  • Comment number 86.

    75. At 10:50am on 20 Apr 2009, Osqui_T wrote:
    Congratulations to Everton but let's have less of the nonsense about Moyes outwitting Ferguson etc. The FA Cup is well down United's list of priorities and that showed in the team selection. Everton are without a couple of important players through injury but they were up against a 50% youth team and their inability to win the game in 120 minutes wasn't impressive.

    As stated earlier there were only 4 players that have not featured at least semi-regularly for Utd this season. Also in extra time that was reduced to 1. Everton did well and deserved to go through.

    I don't agree with the priorites argument either. Perhaps Ferguson does want the league more, however, this would have been the last game played in the cup until after the season is over. The final is played after the last Premiership game. So it can hardly be argued that they know have a less congested fixture list.

  • Comment number 87.

    Leach1977 it was clearly a weakend side an no one is taking credit from Everton but they should have done better considering who we put out, an lets get it right Chelsea is going to leather them if they play how they played yesturday! dont get me wrong i want the NICE scousers to win.

  • Comment number 88.

    I speak as a rabid Liverpool fan residing in Australia. However, I am absolutely delighted that Everton are in the FA Cup final. I think it is a just reward for a manager and a club that has extremely limited resources. Everton are a proud club with proud supporters and I can't think of anyone more deserving of silverware than David Moyes, especially considering the efforts he goes to for the blue half of Merseyside. The cliches will be everywhere if they succeed against Chelsea, and I truly hope they do.

  • Comment number 89.

    82. At 11:01am on 20 Apr 2009, poltergeist23 wrote:
    What the hell are Liverpool fans doing here? For you shallow-headed lot, this blog is about two teams who actually have a chance of winning something this year. I suggest you get back to your umpteenth re-run of "Glory days of LFC - the 80's" DVD. Oh, and before that, please get down on your knees and bow to the champions one more time. Thank you.


  • Comment number 90.

    It's funny how Ferguson's selection that showed "contempt" and "disrespect" was still the better team.

    Still, delighted to see Moyes on his way to potentially getting some silverware because he thoroughly deserves it. I'd love to see them beat Chelsea in the final, but Hiddink will be going for it, especially if Chelsea aren't in the Champions League final, so Everton will need to defend as well as they did against United and then some.

  • Comment number 91.

    82. At 11:01am on 20 Apr 2009, poltergeist23 wrote:

    What the hell are Liverpool fans doing here? For you shallow-headed lot, this blog is about two teams who actually have a chance of winning something this year. I suggest you get back to your umpteenth re-run of "Glory days of LFC - the 80's" DVD. Oh, and before that, please get down on your knees and bow to the champions one more time. Thank you.


    The Champions of Carling?

    Champions of Carling, champions of Carling!
    Champions of Carling, champions of Carling!

  • Comment number 92.

    Fergie never used the pitch as an excuse, both him and Moyes both said the pitch was awful SAF well aware that Everton played on the same pitch so was not blaming the pitch. Def was a penalty for Welbeck but the reason Utd lost is they seem to be reluctant to shoot at goal. they always want to walk it in or take that extra touch. I don't think there was one lay off to a team mate where they could shoot on goal without having to take an extra touch. Anderson looks as though he could be a great player but his final ball/shot needs to improve dramatically.

    As for disrespecting the cup by fielding a weakened side can I ask what people expect. i think that Utd had played 15 more games than Everton yesterday and if they want to win CL/Premiership they have potentially another ten games to go compared to Liverpools 6. Before the start of teh match yesterday if Utd were to win FA, League. CL they were due to play DOUBLE the amount of games that Liverpool have to by the end of the season. Which is just over a month away so either people have to get used to the fact that sometimes clubs going for multiple honours have to change their teams radically in order to rest players or a rule should come in insisting that a team doesn't have to play for a week after they have played, in Utd's case this could mean the season goes on to August!!! Disrespecting the cup??? Please grow up and realise these are choices forced on managers, Utd are already a game behind Liverpool because they had to play the final of the Carling Cup. And would anyone be talking about it being disrespectful if we had got the Welbeck penalty, albeit as long as Berbatov didn't take it!!!! Absolute awful penalty attempt from him.

  • Comment number 93.

    Good blog Phil, some good points made.

    But I feel like I'm going completely mad - I'm sorry, but that was not a penalty. I've no doubt that from every corner of the ground it looked like a cert (can everyone stop using stonewall please, it makes no sense at all) but having watched the replay over and over again, the contact was absolutely minimal. What caused Wellbeck to fall over was tripping over his own foot - that's a fact. Yes Jagielka made contact, but not enough to send him over.

  • Comment number 94.

    Welcome to the world of Arsenal Man U Fans. At least you play the majority of your matches through a season with more experienced players on the pitch, we have to play the whole season with the U23's.

    Although its nice to have a team of promising talent pushing more experienced teams to the wire there is a reason why you had Vidic and Rio taking penalties so early on, do young guns necessarily have the confidence to take penalties in the semis of big cup competitions? Obviously not, although I suppose you could argue the point that Berbatov's pen was useless and he's not young.

    It must be nice to claim that competition priority was the reason to the field such an in-experienced team and because that is all you have.

    As for Everton fair play and I can't think of a more deserving manager to get his chance to manage a final, the number of English players is also highly impressive. I really hope that they can go all the way.

    As for us we shot ourselves in the foot against Chelsea, again. Wenger worred to much about suring up the midfield thus giving nothing for Chelsea to worry about. Surely sticking to what we do best and playing Arshavin or Nasri from the start and just attacking would have been the better option. Wasn't a spectacular game but we didn't do enough to win it although neither did Chelsea really, yes apart from putting the ball in the net twice.

    As for the pitch what are you going to do? Both teams play on it and i can't thing of an incident where it really affected the game like a missed shot due to bobble for instance.

    Roll on the rest of the season its going to be a classic last few weeks then it's to a summer of Champ manager and Pro Evo for our football fixes, lovely.

  • Comment number 95.

    Whilst I think alot of the blog is weak, it is some of the comments both here and elsewhere that I don't understand.

    Did Ferguson show disrepsect with his team selection? Well, this can be looked at in different ways. Do people think that Ferguson went out to lose the match? The team may have not been as strong as if he'd picked more of the players that played in Porto, but, does that in itself make it a weak team? I don't think so.

    And what does it matter anyway? Everton won so it either shows that Man U's non first 11 aren't as good as people would like or simply that Everton were better. It's not like there were a whole host of chances created by either team and but for some poor penalty taking, Man U could still have got through. Would that have then prompted so eulogy about Fergie and his wonderful kids?

    As for the pitch, the BBC use the phrase 'chorous of disapproval' in another article. What 'chorous' is this then. I get somewhat peeved about the perception that Man U and Arsenal are such wonderful passers of the ball. Perhaps they should show more variety. I would be interested to see stats showing how many passes are attempted and how many are successful in the average game for these two. Do people really think that Chelsea and Everton don't pass the ball? It may be that although Chelsea's goals came from longer, non-grass based passes that they actually did alot of passes on the pitch that didn't work, hence the need (and the flexibility, to try something else. Checkout Lampard's two goals on Tuesday for examples of how Chelsea work the ball on the ground.

    Do Everton 'deserve' to be in the final? Well, they won the semi didn't they. I think Moyes has done a good job at Everton and his combination of higher price, proven players, purchasing players from the lower leagues AND playing players brought through the ranks are all attributes that the likes of Bobby Charlton was getting at when he supposedly spoke out about Mourinho going to Old Trafford.

    Everton may not be quite as apparently skillful as Man U because they can't afford the players that are quite that cut but is that Moyes' fault?

    Man U and their fans will be having a good winge this morning but that's only to be expected because they are not used to losing and therefore there must be reasons for the loss. C'est la vie though.

    Good luck to Everton in the final.

  • Comment number 96.

    Lots of whining about Man U not being given a penalty but no mention of the equally blatant penalty not awarded for the push on Pienaar.

  • Comment number 97.


    Should of scored.......
    1. Saha 1st half, Foster mistake fortunate bounce
    2. Cahill 25 yarder beginning of 2nd half, pretty decent save for VDS! (sic) foster
    3. Cahill cross shot beginning of extra time, Foster saved with his feet
    4. Vaughan miscue 2nd half extra time

  • Comment number 98.

    As expected, lots of people going on about Ferguson blaming the pitch, last time I checked he didn't blame the pitch for losing. Just the fact that it's awful to play on.

    Not everyone needs to be a player to understand football but surely it's obvious that a decent playing surface makes it more enjoyable.

    Thanks also to pundits, newspapers and the media at large for making people think about the 'mind games' more than the actual football.

  • Comment number 99.

    I have never known such a sore bunch of losers as Man United fans. Ever. We beat Liverpool and they say well done. Hope you win. Beat United and it's 'We should have had this' 'We should have had a penalty' 'We played a weakened team' 'The pitch was awful' Excuse after excuse after excuse.

    You lost!!! We'd have won whatever team Alex Ferguson put out.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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