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View from the Blue
ToffeeWeb Webmaster, Lyndon Lloyd continues his personal view on Everton column for 2005-06

Full-Length Articles

Just the ticket {1 Jun}
So Where Does the Blame Lie? {30 Nov}
Falling Short {1 Sep}
WANTED: Goalscorer, urgently {28 Aug}
Opportunity knocked {3 Aug}
Best laid plans... {1 Jul}
A nasty bite from reality {12 May}
Previously this season {Date}

No, no, Nuno

thumbnail imageWhile his misgivings about Everton's lack of ambition may be fairly understandable ? a topic for a column on another day ? blabbing about it in the press will do Nuno Valente's standing with the Goodison faithful no good at all.

And coming on the back of Joseph Yobo's contract stonewalling and Andy van der Meyde's public declaration that he regrets coming to Everton, it doesn't do much for David Moyes's reputation for dealing with foreign talent.

Still, I'm sure a 30+ Portuguese international coming from Porto is on hefty wages so if we can recoup the 1.5m we paid for him and get a disgruntled player off the books, we should probably do it... and splash some cash on that Ivorian lad, Boka from Strasbourg!

Oh, but he's foreign, isn't he...? Ah, well.

*** Update: Nuno has since refuted the claims that he is looking to move, making most of the above moot.***

Now that's comedy!

thumbnail imageThis from the Echo website letters page:

With the money Everton were going to use for Michael Owen or Dirk Kuyt in the last transfer window, why don't we go for Ruud Van Nistelrooy?

Let's hope his tongue is firmly in cheek and he doesn't really believe that a) Van Nistelrooy would join us and b) that we have 10m sloshing around in our bank account!

Boring, boring Everton

thumbnail imageIn the latest move to thrill the fans and really get those season tickets selling like hot-cakes, Everton are believed to be preparing to offload Andy van der Meyde after he "failed to impress" during his first season. Not that he really had a chance to establish himself in the side between injury, suspension and the manager's substitution policy.

Ferrari gone, old cloggers like Alan Stubbs offered new deals... what's that they say about David Moyes's dislike for or inability to manage flair players?

For me, the hope of Andy van der Meyde regaining his fitness and getting a chance to cement his place in the side was all that was keeping me going at times this past season.

At 1.8m, you would think a player of his talent would be worth holding onto for at least another season to see if he can't give you some sort of return on what is a minimal outlay for a player whose value was 4.5m just 2 years ago.

There may be more to it behind the scenes but this is just yet more evidence that Moyes shuns flair and lacks the charisma to deal with players of this calibre. Add the Kroldrup debacle to this latest bombshell and you have little to inspire confidence for the coming summer transfer merry-go-round.

Cut it out. Now.

thumbnail imageWith almost every Evertonian reeling from the latest kick in the nuts in this disastrous season in the form of Per Kroldrup's sale to Fiorentina at a reported 2m loss, the utterly infuriating and downright embarrassing antics of the club on its Official Site just add more salt to the wounds.

"New Striker for Blues" screamed the desperately misleading headline about David Moyes's decision to push Tim Cahill up front alongside James Beattie in the absence of any ability on the part of the club to bring in a striker in the past year.

And now, in reference to the return to fitness of the abysmal Gary Naysmith and technically limited Lee Carsley: "Duo Like Two New Signings."

Do they think we are stupid? Do they think that this all this positive spin-doctoring is going to alleviate the fans' fears that this club is spiralling back to the depths plumbed under Walter Smith, a man who David Moyes is resembling more and more every day?

Yes, the club has a marketing job to do. They have to keep the content on the site fresh at a time when good news is thin on the ground. But stories like the above — when coupled with the site's new news service chronicling the transfer successes of other Premiership clubs — are embarrassing, fool no one and, ultimately, only serve to ratchet up the anger and frustration among a fanbase whose patience is close to breaking point.

'Va va voom?' FFS

thumbnail imageThe latest Everton FC newsletter invites you to "Give Your Business the Va Va Voom" by signing up for corporate hospitality for the Arsenal home game.

Quite apart from the perplexing premise (I see no Renault sponsorship, nor do I see the point in touting the abilities of a certain opposition French striker to whom the subject line is no doubt referring), I am sorely tempted to send the e-mail back to the club telling them to follow their own advice and get a little "va va voom" into the lowest-scoring team in the country.

Too subtle for you, Billy and Davie?

We need a striker with pace and goalscoring ability. NOW!

Transfer double-speak

thumbnail imageThe Official site couches David Moyes's admission that there will be little in the way of transfer activity when the transfer window as the manager "being honest" with the fans over transfers.

To these eyes, though, it all reads as double-speak and an infuriating confirmation that the club will have next to nothing in the way of funds for new players when the window that we have all been dying for opens on 1st January.

From what one can deduce from the article, Moyes and his scouting network (such that it is ? if the summer transfer debacle proved anything it's that Everton's scouting network isn't up to much) have been on the look-out for players, have identified them but have been quoted unrealistic prices beyond his meagre budget.

Moyes will likely find himself saddled with the same problem he bemoaned a year ago; that there are few players available and their clubs are reluctant to part with them midway through the season. All the more reason, therefore, to get that all-important striker in the summer, especially when you can offer European football and at least the promise of challenging for European places again the following season.

The manager admits that he will be focused on the loan market "and see if there is anyone out there who we could bring in to help us." Again,, it sounds a lot like just "making do" rather than putting a plan in place whereby he can continue the team building job he set out to accomplish.

The most contradictory statement, however, concerns what the article asserts is the myth that Moyes must sell before he can buy. He says that he doesn't have to sell to buy because "we have some finances"... even though he says he has to work the loan market because he hasn't got the money to buy the players he wants.

Granted, what he is saying is that he doesn't have the budget to pay over the odds for players, but the argument could be made that he could if he got rid of some of his existing dead wood. In other words, don't stand in Duncan Ferguson's way if he wants to retire, bite off the hand of anyone willing to pay 1.5m for Marcus Bent, and start shopping around for 3m players like that Lucarelli fellah Tottenham almost bought instead of the hideously expensive Beatties and Keanes of the world.

Bottom line: Expect very little from this transfer window. Not because Moyes is cunningly setting expectations low so that he can surprise us all when he pulls a cracker out of the hat, but because past evidence shows that when Moyes says he doesn't expect any major signings, he means it.

Erm... Happy New Year.

It's not you who needs to apologise, Mikel

thumbnail imageIt's nice to hear Mikel Arteta apologising to the fans for the latest humiliation they were forced to endure, but he is arguably the last player who should be saying sorry.

Along with Joseph Yobo, Arteta has, for the most part, been magnificent this season, and a joy to watch in a Blue shirt. Despite the rumours that he took so long to sign on permanently over the summer because he was holding out hope of signing for Liverpool, he is the one I feel sorry for.

Not that he was playing regular first-team football at Real Sociedad, but he must be wondering what the hell he has got himself into after Everton's pitiful first half of the season.

We have to hope that the club can attract the right sort of striker in January to make the midfield's job of creating chances easier. Certainly, there doesn't seem to be a combination of the ponderous James Beattie, the erratic James McFadden and the half-arsed Marcus Bent that is going to solve this problem.

Do these journos even watch the game?

thumbnail image

The first half was a drab affair, even dreadful at times with neither side playing anything that you could describe as football.

That's how Graeme Bailey of Sky Sports described the first 45 minutes of Everton's drubbing at the hands of Bolton on Sunday.

Did he actually watch the game or, as we've heard from witnesses in the past, do they just spend their time eating pies, drinking tea and gabbing to each other, not bothering to pay any attention to what's going on on the pitch below?

Everton may have been fist-thumpingly impotent in the final third, but they played some nice passing football for much of the game. Arteta was magnificent at times and produced the footballing highlight of the half with a beautiful piece of skill. It would be nice if Mr Bailey could, at least, have given the Blues their dues for their build-up play.

You've no complaints that the better team won?

thumbnail imageIn his post-match comments, David Moyes said that he had "no complaints" about last night's depressing home defeat by West Ham... but then admits that the better team won on the night. [Yes,, the better team won, not the "best". Good grief!]

So, the manager has no complaints that a newly-promoted team missing two of its more influential players but without any real star players beat his own on their own turf with such ease? What does that say of his ambitions for this season?

I confess that I don't actually know what to think of David Moyes at the moment. I'm not convinced he's the man to lead us back to a position of being consistently regarded as one of the three or four best sides in the Premiership. At the same time, I don't think he should be sacked because of the immediate danger to our top-flight survival.

So, I'm left in a kind of apathetic limbo, being wounded less and less deeply with each defeat and increasingly less excited by each victory's ability to get this frustrating campaign back on the rails because you know that the next disjointed defeat is around the corner.

And all the while, players like Joseph Yobo get another year older and closer to the end of their contracts, and the whole build-a-young-team-for-the-future strategy seems like a big wasted effort if we're not going to ever assemble a full squad of talented players of the right age.

Could just be the post-defeat blues talking here, but the manager's rhetoric since the final whistle last night does not inspire confidence...

Bitter. Me? Not really, actually.

thumbnail imageThis weekend will mark Wayne Rooney's first match against his boyhood Blues on the home turf of his new club, Manchester United. It's probably the last of such landmark fixtures, Rooney having already played and scored against Everton at Goodison Park, and with each game the animosity felt towards him by a good many Blues ebbs a little more.

For me, his departure from Everton was a massive blow; he was, after all, one of us. Arguably our best home-grown product, he was gone before his 19th birthday. We feared we would lose him one day, but before he'd turned 21? Before he'd scored in a Merseyside derby or got into double figures for a season?

But I don't hate him for leaving. In my opinion, there were just too many factors behind his sale for anyone of us to make such a black and white judgement: his immaturity; the enormous and malignant influence of Paul Stretford; the displinary stance of David Moyes; and, not least, the role of the Board in forcing him to leave because of the club's alleged proximity to administration last year.

Salvation lies on the treatment table

thumbnail imageThere is a player who epitomises everything Everton aren't at the moment ? if we're honest, a couple of performances last season aside, everything Everton haven't ever been for many years. Pace, flair, creativity, purpose, entertainment, a desire to only go forward, and an eye for goal.

His name is Andy van der Meyde and if ? and, let's face it, we're Everton so it's a big if ? he can recover fully from the groin problems that have kept him on the sidelines watching his new team collapse and rediscover the peak of the form he displayed at Inter Milan, then he could very well be the key to the Blues' salvation this season.

Alongside some increasingly urgent question marks over the defensive partnership of Weir and Yobo and two glaring problems in both full back positions, Everton's biggest problem is that they have no outlet going forward.

Van der Meyde's trickery, pace and ability to beat a man are everything we don't have at the moment and his return from injury could very well save David Moyes's skin this season. It will mask all sorts of underlying concerns over the manager's tactical acumen and strategic nouse, but it could keep the Blues in the Premiership, and that has now become paramount.

As a taster of what could be in store, take a look at a video compilation of some of AvdM's brightest moments for Inter. [18MB Windows Media format download]

Want to torture yourself?

thumbnail imageWatch Robbie Keane's wonderful goal for Tottenham against Aston Villa and cry in your beer over what might have been...

In fact the whole game, between two teams that we eclipsed last season, has been a wonderful exhibition of attacking football. Granted, neither are world beaters but both teams like to get forward and know how to do it. That is in stark contrast to Everton...

It's Deadline Daaaaay

thumbnail imagePunchdatelly Phil, the renowned Walton groundhog, emerged from his burrow today, saw his shadow and predicted another four months of grey skies at Goodison brought on by an excessively weak front accompanied by torrential long balls and a continuing goal drought. Local residents are urged to bunker down and settle in for some less than favourable times between now and January.

Relax. Here's what I really think.

Welcome, Nuno Valente

thumbnail imageI think Michael was being a little harsh with his response on the homepage to the arrival of Nuno Valente. He may be 30 years old but for 1.5m we're getting a Portguese international not far past the peak of his powers who can only be several shades better than what we currently have. Not only that, he comes highly recommended by Jose Mourhinho, his old boss at Porto.

A player of Valente's pedigree should be able to give us three years of excellent service and more than justify the small outlay.

David Moyes has come in for valid criticism for his transfer strategy where strikers are concerned, but credit should be given where it is due to the manager for assembling a very good-looking squad in the other two outfield areas.

Friday, August 5, 2005
I suppose it's natural after the "summer of snubs" that many frustrated Blues have gone off the deep end about Tim Cahill and his decision to reject the first contract offer from the club, but I think branding him as greedy is going a little too far.

It was obvious what Everton were trying to do; by offering him an extended contract on modestly increased wages couched as a "reward" for his efforts last season, they could tie him to the club for five years for less money.

Cahill, however, still had three years left of his current deal and had he waited another two years and improved on his current level of contribution to the Blues' success, he could, as one of the club's best players, justifiably demand £30,000 a week or more.

As it stands, the agreement that has apparently now been reached is a nice compromise between what Everton wanted to offer him and the £30k a week the player would have liked to be on by the end of his original four-year deal.

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