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ToffeeWeb MailBag
Letters from our readers — February 2006

ToffeeWeb Letters from January 2006

ToffeeWeb Letters from March 2006

Three burning issues
First issue is Neville and Hibbert not playing for England, I'm just amazed supporters are suprised? Neville had it easy at Man Utd and when he is asked to perform week-in, week-out, old Uncle Fester can't do it! "Jack of all trades; master of none." my boss would say.

In Hibbert's case, it's simple because he is at Everton! Personally, I adopt the Man Utd stance of not giving a toss about England and only caring for my club. Like Michael said, I hope he never plays for England — as Neville will obviously not.

Second is Dave Allen's article:

OUT: Wright, Weir, Pistone, Davies, and Cahill. Total: £8.5M.

You're having a laugh if you think Moyes would sell our second best player! You're mad and very mad for expecting a penny for the rest of them raggy dolls! But they must go — that's granted!

IN: Westerveld, Ferrari, Webster, Lovenkrands, Da Silva, Andy Johnson, and either Nugent or Jerome. Total:£12.5M. Webster? Is that Kevin Webster from Corrie? Da Silva is free, injured but a possibility. Moyes can't spend £10M on Johnson as he hasn't got £10M to spend, and, well, I'm hoping as you are the rest will come as they are good cheap players.... except Jerome!

Thirdly its good to see AvdM back in training — I just hope that he'll play ten games before he breaks down again! Fantastic signing if he stays fit! Tearing down the wing while Kilbane sits on the bench wondering why he isn't playing. Ohhh... I can't wait!!!
Luq Yus, London  (28/2/06)

Van der Bluddy Who?
Wow! So Van der Man is about to restart training `in preparation for the run in to the end of the season. `Big bloody deal. Not bad that, is it? 6 games only so far as we go into March - but then, we got him on the cheap, only £1.8 million!

And, do you know, if Moyes and his medics read ToffeeWeb they would have known he was serially unfit because, as soon as VdM`s name came up, a Dutch guy wrote in and told us all his history! I just looked it up - as they should have done: less than 160 starts in a nine-year career, so I guess we`re doing ok from him so far.

But then, as one of your writers said today, he`s got flair!
Stan  Rhodes, Waterloo  (28/2/06)

Hey, watch it, fella... I thought I was Chief Cynic! — Michael

NavAl Gazing?
Perhaps John Prior really is looking out to sea if he is so satisfied with Team Everton at present! That enables him to overlook what goes on before his eyes and to focus on things us mere mortals must be missing.

I`m totally with Rick Tarleton and John Curtis in the belief that what has been on offer quality-wise under Kenwright & Moyes has plumbed the depths. And don`t tell me it`s no better at the likes of Charlton — I don`t pay them huge amounts of `Hard earned` — so they are of no interest to me. (Although, having said that, who wouldn`t rather have Darren Bent as second striker over Jimmy Mac?) Anyway, all the `other` teams have scored more than 19 goals this season so their fans MUST have had a bit more excitement, mustn`t they?

No, the Moyes method sets out to strangle the opposition and in so doing manages to strangle every vistage of entertainment from the game. Like the other correspondents, I`m voting with my wallet from now on —Anybody want two together in The Main Stand?
Linley Simpson, Hightown  (29/2/06)

Life on Mars
Having watched the last episode of the excellent Life on Mars last night, I've just realised what has happened in the last year.

Last summer, we had qualified foir the Champions League qualifier through hard work and battling and were about to reap the rewards by strengthening on and off the pitch.

I fell asleep and since then we have strengthened the defence on paper yet done nothing about one of the least productive forward lines in the league. After seeing a few forwards failing medicals, we bought a quality flair player... with an injury-prone reputation. We have a £6M striker who is reduced to a running workhorse, doing everything for the team except the main task of scoring goals.

Our manager keeps talking about a lack of quality up front, yet does nothing to add to that quality. We keep being told that we're the 18th richest club in Europe, yet we never seem to have any money to spend on improving the squad. Worst of all, people like me are being slated for having the optimism to think that Everton can play attractive, winning football, if the management really wanted to.

I'm sick of the mediocrity of the last two years being dressed up as genius. Are Evertonians really genuinely happy with a mid-table team with one striker, no strategy and no entertainment?

Am I mad? Am I in a coma? Can someone help me to wake up? Isn't there more to Everton than this, or is 'y' history' just a line in a song?
Paul Tran, Kendal  (28/2/06)

Even if we're short of cash
At the beginning of the season, we tried to play attractive attacking football, but we have been undone by injuries and poor form. Moyes wisely decided to dig in early and avoid the end-of-season relegation dog-fight. The need for strikers and pace is obvious to us all.

With little money to spend, here is my recommendation:

OUT: Wright, Weir, Pistone, Davies, and Cahill, yes Cahill (to raise cash). Total: approximately £8.5M.

IN: Westerveld, Ferrari, Webster, Lovenkrands, Da Silva, Andy Johnson, and either Nugent or Jerome. Total: approximately £12.5M.

With a net outlay of just £4M we could increase the squad size, introduce pace allround, and reduce the average age. A forward group of Beattie, Johnson, Vaughan, Nugent, gives us power, pace, potential and HOPE. COYB
Dave Kelly, Leyland  (28/2/06)

You had me worried from this line: "Moyes wisely decided to dig in early and avoid the end-of-season relegation dog-fight." Yea, I remember. Losing eight out of nine in the league and crashing out of two high-profile European dreams is "digging in"??? I began to wonder what planet you might be on...

Then I saw the Championship Manger bit. Yes, okay, the key to this is "HOPE", I suppose. You need to have something to cling on to give you hope. But seriously, stand back and think about it: You're dreaming. You're living in a fantasy land. Why torture yourself — you know it ain't gonna happen. — Michael

Neville exposed
The reason Phil Neville is not in the England squad is that he IS playing for Everton rather than being merely an Everton player. When he was warming the bench at Old Trafford, he was perceived as a good player; now he actually gets his boots dirty, he can be seen as merely average — a hundred miles away from International level.

Personally, I don`t give a tuppenny fuck that Sven doesn`t pick Hibbert because, if he got in with that lot, he`d be gone from Goodison in no time. Look what happenned to Rooney!
Ken  Moule, Wavertree  (28/2/06)

Wish List
Apart from the bleeding obvious (a pacy striker), we are still short in a few positions to be a genuine top-4 force. The following is just a personal wish list in the order of importance:

  • - A genuine and experienced right wing. Davies has been a failure so far and Osman, Arteta have been more successful in the center. I have heard Van der Meyde can play there; he needs to be fit and he might need to also cover left wing. Both 4-5-1 and 4-4-2 require a genuine threat from both wings, however the ineffectiveness of the right wing was the most obvious in the Newcastle game.
  • - A young, up-and-coming right back. No Hibbert and no Neville equals big problems... so we need a youngster with recognised potential to fill in when these two are not playing.
  • - Yet another center back? A young up-and-coming center back. Only required for depth when Yobo and Ferrari are not playing (surely Weir and Stubbs won't be such a regular feature next year ?)
I wonder if we will have any money to spend this year? In a way I hope we don't!! Moyes'sd best signings have all been from the bargain bin.
BSD Lover, Sydney, Australia  (28/2/06)

When half-time came on Saturday, how many people were thinking: "We're going to pay for those missed chances..." It was astonishing the change in mentality in the second half — and annoying. I actually believe that Moyes is doing the best job he can with the resorces available. Does anyone seriously believe he spent £5M on Krøldrup? I can remember us signing Stephen Hughes for £4.5M from Arsenal; at the end of the season, it turned out he was on loan. As has been well documented. All are shortcomings from Bill Kenwright, the problem is he's got more smoke screens than BATMAN and he knows just when to use them. Let's start letting them know they can't keep kidding us. Would United let their people get away with this?
Blue Fella, Deeside  (27/2/06)

Errr... oh nevermind. I'll keep quiet.

Right on ther Nail
I must agree 100% with Jim Hourigan in his article 'Decisions, Decisions'. Jim highlights all that is wrong with our current tactics and should make appropriate bedtime reading for Messrs KW and DM. Great site, lads - keep it up. Let's put right what's wrong with the club not with each other.
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (27/2/06)

Sven's Logic!
When Phil Neville was nothing more then a bit-part squad member at Man Utd, he won over 50 England caps and was named in every squad for the best part of a decade. He joins Everton, becomes an important first-team player involved in every game, and then gets dropped by England.

No wonder budding internationals like Jeffers, Ball, Barmby & Rooney were convinced to leave Everton.

In the past, Everton have been burned when players finally do make the international scene but I still want to see Hibbert (maybe even Osman) pull on an England shirt. Internationals raise the profile of the club and are something to be proud of. If Tony Hibbert had been a Man Utd player, he would have been an England International for a number of years by now.
Dutch Schaeffer, Liverpool  (27/2/06)

No matter how bad we were in the 90s, West Ham always seemed to be our 5-0 whipping boys. Can't see it in the next game but 2 or 3 goals (plus winning) would be a welcome break.
Daniel Parker, New York, US  (27/2/06)

re: Naval gazing
What exactly is Rick Tarleton's point, other than to re-tread ground about Kenwright? We all know his failings, and as pointed out repeatedly by the Ed, there's not a lot we can do about it! What I don't understand is his logic regarding Moyes, the team and the fans! I quote...

'Kenwright is a useless Chairman who cannot finance the club he professes to love. Moyes is therefore inadequate (there are other reasons for his inadequacy), and his team lacks enterprise and flair.'

How is moyes inadequate as a result of 'a useless chairman lacking finance' I don't see how one flows into the other?(He does say 'therefore'!)

Of course the team lacks enterprise and flair, compared to the top 4, but what about the rest of the Premiership? Do we really compare so badly to the likes of West Ham, Man City, Charlton, etc? I suggest some people watch other teams in and around us and not keep watching Everton with those shit-tinted glasses on!

I know to compare us to these teams is hardly befitting of our motto, but I have seen some good football occasionally break-out and some flair too! The key is to keep improving the squad, as we are, and not replacing like-for-like.

I don't think Davey is averse to buying flair when it becomes available (and in our price range). Arteta and Van der Meyde would be described as flair players by some, and Ossie is capable of flashes of magic. But there is a time and a place for flair, and the only teams in my mind that maintain flair players outside the top 5 never break into the top 5 — 7 just look at West Ham a few years ago.
John Prior, Liverpool  (27/2/06)

Playing for England.....
It is obvious that if you don't play for one of the "in" teams you don't get picked for England.... the "in" teams being Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Man Utd.

It was inevitable that Phil Neville would no longer be picked, as it is inevitable that, if Hibbo is every given a chance, pigs will fly. Think I'm kidding? Whatever happened to Emile Heskey who used to get in the England squad time after time... oh yes, he signed for Birmingham!!
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (27/2/06)

And on the rare occasions now that Everton players do get selected for England, they tend to get ideas above their station. Personally, I'd be glad if Tony Hibbert was never picked for England. — Michael

I have to agree with Ajay
I don't want to know about Rooney. My interest is Everton Football Club and that is why I visit the sites for supporters of EFC. I want to know what is going on regarding EFC and the players here now. Of our past players, I like to read about the likes of Alan Ball, Brian Labone and Mike Lyons. Players who had the club at heart and not at ransom.

Rooney's sale did not keep the club afloat. If he had stayed a season or two longer, the club profile may have improved worldwide with his help as shirt sales and other things would have made the club better off. Man Utd are getting these benefits now and have well had their money back on him. If you want to remind us all of past players then keep up with careers of Barmby and Jeffers. They are all the same to me.
Dave Charles, Liverpool  (27/2/06)

Oh dear, how wrong you can be in one simple statement. It is pretty widely accepted that Rooney's sale DID keep the club afloat — not that that is the reason for our continued interest. The comment on the homepage reflects similar points made on a number of different Everton forums. It is therefore of interest to some Evertonians. We will keep tabs on him when it has a direct relevance to Everton, as explained below. — Michael

Unfair England
England have been without a home for a number of years now. During that time they have played at a number of different stadiums, including Old Trafford, Anfield, Stadium Of Light etc... But not once can I remember them playing at Goodison Park. England even played at Ipswich's Portman Road!!! How unfair is that??? Why haven't they played at Goodison?

I know it's not the best stadium in the country but it's still as big as a lot of others England have played in. We could use the financial and profile-raising boost of an International at Goodison. This week England play another friendly and guess which stadium they are at... Anfield, again. Does this bother anyone else?
Dutch Schaeffer, Liverpool  (27/2/06)

Insert bad Ferrari pun here
Two points:

  1. With, let’s face it, not much to play for in the remainder of this season (fending off Boro for the Intertoto berth will surely be the selling point on the front of the season-review DVD. “I Should ‘Toto’” — it'll be called). I hope that Moyes is going to use the games to give Ferrari an extended trial in the first team. He was recovering from injury at the weekend, so fair enough to leave him out; but what value in playing Stubbs/Weir when we can get a proper look at a player who has said he likes it here and on whom we have a transfer option?
  2. I strongly dislike the post-match comments that we’ve heard more than once this year: “whoever scored first was going to win it, today”. Used too often, is that not counter-productive? After all, I can’t remember us coming back from behind to win once this term, but I’ve seen plenty of heads drop after conceding first.

Ted Turner, Nottingham  (27/2/06)

Derby Tickets
I am a member of the People's Club lounge — better known as the Legends Bar. Yes, I do get a ticket if I want to go to away matches and I have been to many. I was also one of the unfortunate ones left at John Lennon Airport for the Bucharest game. I am not rich — never have been — and unless my numbers come up on the Lotto, I am never likely to be.

Yes, I sit in the lounge seats does that make me any less an Evertonian? And, no, I do not plan on going across the park to be spat upon and have coins rain down on me to watch the club I have supported since I drew breath. Why do supporters who sit elsewhere in the ground assume that people who sit in the lounges are any less a fan than them??

I used to sit in the paddock but decided a change would be nice. Sorry if this offends, sorry if I can afford to pay over a thousand pounds for my season ticket... I work bloody hard for it all year.
Sheila Whyte, South Liverpool  (27/2/06)

Good points, Sheila

Get over it
Can we please stop references to Wayne Rooney on your website. He does not play for us and never will again. Get over it and move on.
Ajay Timothy, Carmarthen  (27/2/06)

Sorry if it offends you, Ajay. We maintain an interest in all ex-Everton players — have you looked at our impressive list of Past Players that covers the last 10 years? Or perhaps you have no interest in them either.

Rooney merits further attention from us because of the financial package assembled as part of the "best deal" that could be obtained for his services at the time. That guarantees our interest in his future success, because it means more income for the club... with the notable exception of the Carling Cup — that was not made part of the deal. I hope you can understand. — Michael

The art of not scoring goals
Joe McMahon-Bates asked what the fewest goals scored in a season was, well:

The fewest League goal scored in a season is 35 in the first league season in 1888-89. However, this was over 22 matches. The lowest ever goals scored in a longer season is 37 in 1971-72 - an average of 0.9 goals per game. Out of the 42 games played that season, Everton failed to score in 19 of them. They scored just 1 goal in a further 15 games, meaning that in the remaining 8 games, Everton scored more than 1. One of these games was an 8-0 victory over Southampton!!

Including the recent Newcastle game, we have scored 19 goals, and need to score another 19 in the remaining 11 games to beat this record. If we score another 15 goals in the remaining 11 games then we will have managed a better goals per game average than the 1971 season.

The fewest goals scored at home in a League season is just 21 in the 1983-84 season. The 21 matches at Goodison Park that season saw 7 games where Everton failed to score, 10 games where they scored just 1 goal and the remaing 4 games seeing mor than 1 Everton goal. Everton have currently scored 11 goals from their 13 home games this season, so a return of 11 goals from the remaining 6 will see this record remain intact also.

However, Everton should manage to beat the record for the fewest away goals in a season which is currently held by the 1948-49 team, which managed to score just 8 goals in 21 away matches. 14 of these saw Everton failing to score, and just 1 goal was scored in another 6 games. The only time Everton scored more than once was a 3-2 defeat at Derby County. In this season, the first eight away games saw a record of played 8, lost 8, goals for 0, goals against 23! The next game at Aston Villa saw Everton register a 1-0 victory, before another run of 5 games without an Everton goal - that's 14 away games and just 1 goal!
Steve Flanagan  (27/02/06)

Many thanks, Steve!

In response to Ronan Hanly's question, I believe the answer is quite straight-forward. Although we have had a decent run which abviously has boosted confidence, in none of those games had we fallen behind. When we go a goal up, the whole team tends to drop deeper. This stops most teams getting into many dangerous positions.

Stubbs & Weir are generally excellent at dogged rearguard actions when they have the full support of the midlielders. They know their limits and don't take risks. When we go a goal down, however, those same midfielders have to push up more to support our obviously poor attack. Any kind of pace will always cause them problems in these cicumstances.

I believe David Moyes is of a naturally defensive mentality. He may try to to sign more strikers and creative midfielders in the summer. He may change the line-up to incorporate Andy van der Meyde — if and when he's fit. This may make things click for Beattie. If he does start scoring more freely, opposing defenders will obviously be more afraid and leave spaces for Cahill & Osman to feed off.

Goal threat plus solid defence is obviously a great combination and we all know which part of the equation is missing. I don't think Beattie is Bob Latchford waiting for a Dave Thomas, but he is an old-fashioned No 9 and he needs service.

Don't, however, expect Moyes to play a 3-4- 3 formation. He might be tempted to play two strikers at home against Sunderland, but it will always be one up front away from home and at Goodison against the biggies. I suspect that even with an unlimited budget, our playing style would be more similar to Chelsea's than Barcelona's.
James Martin, Alicante, Spain  (27/02/06)

Derby Tickets
I’ve just been on the Official Website as a friend of mine told me that the Derby tickets are on sale this week. 18 away vouchers needed, I have 17 (couldn’t afford to go to Bucharest), so I thought ah well never mind. But then I read on and saw that if you are a shareholder or sit in one of the posh parts of the ground you can get a ticket.

So, if you’ve never been to an away game in your life but rich enough to sit in a lounge then you can get a ticket – is it just me or is that plain wrong? From next season I might stop going away and the money I save I’ll buy a ticket in a lounge, get myself one share and hey presto – I’m guaranteed a ticket for the biggest away game of the season even though I haven’t been to one!
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (27/2/05)

A number of shareholder's priveleges have been re-established after a long period of eroosion — and rightly so in my mmind... but hey, I'm a shareholder! :)

As for the corporate jollies, the club sees that as one of the prime ways to increase revenue — rather than bump up your ticket prices even higher. Mr Wyness has a much sharper focus on the bottom line, and is not looking at this from the perspective of the loyal travelling fan. It's that kind of thinking that has us at No 18 on the D&T Top Twenty Rich List, after all!!! How can you call that "wrong"? — Michael

Beattie getting carried away
Am I alone in thinking James Beattie is getting a bit carried away with his achievements for us so far? Last week we heard he would be disappointed if Sven didn`t consider him as a World Cup possibility and today the Club website features more of his `I`m in great form` boasting. By my reckoning, Saturday marked his 40th appearance in an Everton shirt and he failed to add to his 10 goals — 2 of them from penalties. Hardly the second coming of Bob Latchford, I`m afraid, but Moyes will be happy as he`s got him running round like a dervish.

So, whilst one goal every four matches is prolific from a forward in this dreadful Moyes era, I would suggest that Master Beattie cuts down on the self-hype and puts a bit more time in on goal-scoring practice.
Malcolm Senter, Walton  (27/2/06)

Sorry, cheerless mess
Rick Tarleton is right — it is about time we took some action! Over the weekend both my son and I have decided that Everton will have to do without our 500 quids in advance of next season. We will choose our matches — I don`t anticipate too many lock-outs! Putting it crudely, we are pissed off with the present regime — and I include Kenwright, Moyes and Wyness in that statement together with all the other inefficient jobsworths they employ — players included.

Our treatment at John Lennon Airport last August should have been the last straw but with our money committed, we`ve hung in there up to now for what must rank as the most boring, unentertaining season in the great Club`s history. As a custodian of the Club, Kenwright is a joke — an archetypal luvvie who waxes lyrical at the slightest provocation but totally fails to address the underlying problem of the Club — underfunding.

Moyes is the ideal foil. A miserable, indecisive curmudgeon who has taken the beauty out of the beautiful game. A manager who despises flair players because he totally lacked that quality himself. What need of a goalscorer when we can finish fourth with a negative goal difference?

I`ll leave comment on Wyness and his crew to others who have suffered at their shortcomings but, all in all, it`s a sorry, cheerless mess which has long since failed to provide what we pay for — entertainment!

Once a Blue, always a Blue... but I ain`t keeping this lot in cigars and champagne. No, sir!
Tom Curtis, Wem  (26/2/06)

Navel Gazing
For the past two/three years, I and many others have been making the same point. Namely that Kenwright is a useless Chairman who cannot finance the club he professes to love. Moyes is therefore inadequate (there are other reasons for his inadequacy), and his team lacks enterprise and flair.

Apart from the odd comment about Tony Marsh's letters, it's almost as if every correspondent wants to re-invent the wheel. There are, I admit, one or two idiots who think we (Kenwright, Moyes, the team, the club) are doing fine. Let's dismiss them: they are cock-eyed optimists who can't see that our goal-difference and inability to score two goals in a match is a real indicator of fundamental inadequacy.

Evertonians, don't let's repeat the same point. Let's combine and say Enough is Enough: Kenwright is the problem and the other problems stem from his lies and inadequacy.

No further comment is necessary.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (26/2/06)

... but some action is. When will we see it? Could the fans be coralled into voicing this as a concerted and concerned opinion? Or would that be a fultile exercise in herding so many cats??? Answers on a postcard. — Michael

Best Deal Possible
Q. What was the one trophy which wasn't included in providing a pay-off to Everton FC in the 'best possible deal' negotiated by Bill Kenwright in selling Rooney?

A. The Carling Cup

Q. Which is the only trophy won by Man Utd since that historic transfer?

A. The Carling Cup.

You couldn't make it up !
Rob Williamson, Sheffield  (26/02/06)

Who needs stars?
Peter Grainger (26/2/06) shouldn`t lose any sleep about David Moyes`s dour demeanour putting off `star` signings —he doesn`t go for that sort normally — although when they do fetch up at Everton (usually because he hasn`t met them) they either shape up or get shipped out. Ask Per Krøldrup, an undoubted star in Italy — both before and since his ill-fated Everton experience. He couldn`t or wouldn`t change his cultured defender approach so he had to go.

Then look at James Beattie. The Southampton and England sharp-shooter listened to the Moystro and has now been successfully transformed into a Marcus Bent clone: he runs all day and snatches at chances which successfully reach Row Z!

No, with Moysey it`s all about discipline and work rate —just like it always was at Cambridge, Shrewsbury and Preston. "Get rid, son, and you up front: start chasing your arse!" So, dear Peter, forget signing stars and look forward to a summer full of Davieses, Kilbanes, and — if we`re really lucky — the odd Phil Neville. Who needs stars?
Harry Meek, Worcester  (26/2/06)

Bill Dean is in good company...
Follow the link:Look For The Ability and scroll down.
Dean Paton, Birkenhead  (26/2/06)

If WR Dean qualifies due to having a steel plate in his head (which, if anything, improved his ability to head the ball), am I to presume that Issac Newton was disabled when an apple fell on his nogin? And how exactly did society attempt to deny Slyvester Stalone access to fundamental human rights? By stopping him from making any more atrocious films? No doubt someone will enlighten me... — Michael

The Youth System
I have to admit it is worrying when the first team is so short of players and the current youth players still cant get near making a first team appearance. Victor Anichebe, Patrick Boyle, Bjarni Vidarsson, Paul Hopkins and even John Ruddy seem to be taking their time to impress Moyes.

I think the problem is that Moyes views every single game as vital and can't afford to take a chance of the youngsters. Maybe they are just not good enough. I remember when people used to shout about giving Chadwick and Jevons a chance but they have hardly go on to great careers, have they?
Dutch Schaeffer , Liverpool  (26/02/06)

There are very, very few players Everton have released from the top of the Academy who have gone on to do anything at all worthy of note. David Carney, who has now played as a full international for Australia, could be a possible exception to this rule, which would seem to reinforce the accuracy of those at EFC who make the ultimate decisions about these promising young players. — Michael

Don't lose heart yet
A few observations from last night's game: Joseph Yobo is better than that. I don't know whether it was rust from lack of Premiership games for a month or whether he is just not that good at right back; however, we need to put him in the centre back role ASAP. But we couldn't really have done anything else last night because any other right back was unavailable.

Nuno Valente was OUTSTANDING. Everton MotM for me. But I can't believe that Kilbane was that awful at the same time... maybe he needs a rest? Davies was nowhere to be seen either... I don't think he is the sort of player suited to the 4-5-1.

Apart from that, everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong. We couldn,t score from so many clear-cut opportunities. Wier had a good game (despite being the culprit for the first goal). He could have easily had a goal to his name. Life is not fair I suppose.

Hibbert and Neville back will make a big difference next week. COYB
BSD Lover, Sydney, Australia  (26/2/06)

What chance have we got?
We bumped into a group of Leeds players in a pub at Wetherby on our way back from Newcastle. One of them told us that Aaron Lennon had the chance to come to Everton last summer but `everyone in football knows Moyes is a miserable sod` so he opted for Spurs. If that is the widespread perception of our manager what chance have we got of signing stars in the summer, even if Blue Bill comes up with the cash?
Tony Grainger, Knowsley  (26/2/06)

It's one of those rumours no-one can verify, so it will remain a contributor to the pot of conspiracy theories we rely on to figure out what might really be going on. If you look back at the difficulty Moyes has completing the deal for so many players he wanted, that would indeed seem to be explanation enough. And, as I have mentioned before, I'm sure this factor alone was a massive part of what "turned" Wayne Rooney, and why he truly believes he made the right decison to leave Everton. — Michael

Miami Flip-Flops
Back from the game and my mood is one of disappointment. That break in the sun seems to have been the last thing the players needed for they lost that grit and doggedness that had been with them previously.

We seemed to flatter to deceive all through the game with some good passing and movement floundering when anywhere near thirty yards out. The words power and pace kept going through my mind.

Yobo looked ill at ease in the right back position; Kilbane had a day when he couldn't do right from wrong and I have just checked the morning paper to see if Davies was playing.

Being so deficient in three positions is always going to make it an uphill task and so it proved. Our lone attacker, Beattie, was not given any service whatsoever due to this imbalance. The return of the suspended players, especially Hibbert, will help as this game proved conclusively our need for a deeper squad. No matter what the manager may have done with what we had, nothing would have made much difference.

MotM was difficult last night: I would go with Arteta on the basis that he gave the ball away least. Heres to a more injury-free run in for we still need a couple more wins.

Off to see Eastenders live now. See you Saturday --- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (26/2/06)

Our 'Welsh Wizard'
what on earth is Simon Davies doing on that pitch? He is an absoloute joke! £3.5M for him and he either sits on the bench or goes un-noticed on the pitch. He is the only player that actually does nothing! He doesn't tackle, he doesn't pass, he doesn't score, he doesn't contribute to play one bit. Fair enough, he has a good engine on him but that counts for nothing when you're not involved in the game!

And don't get me started on Barry 'sit on the fence' Horne in the Offical match commentary. Several times this season, he as praised Davies and called him the best player on the pitch! I've even heard him on the radio calling him our "Welsh Wizard" and "Simon Davies was out of this world again today!" — yea he was out of this world — that's why no one fucking noticed him!

Spurs must be laughing their heads off at £3.5M... and guess what? They replaced him with Aaron Lennon for just £1M. That's Everton all over: we could so easily have had him instead!

Next season, we want some young hungry players with a bit of pace, please! Oh and while you're there, Davey, is it possible we buy not one striker, not two strikers, but threee strikers to make up for each transfer window you failed to sign one!
Jon Spellman, Bootle  (26/2/06)

I know we are all aware - but it's awfull 19 goals!!!

I thought several months ago that a few strikers will out-score the whole of the Everton team by the end of the season. Christ, what a laughing stock we have become.

Out of interest, does anyone know what the lowest Everton goals in a season is?

Ah well, at least we can all stop up to midnight on 31st August to find out that we didn't get that striker after all... Or, if we did, it's total class in the name of Nugent or Trundle.
Joe McMahon-Bates, Rossendale  (26/2/06)

How can a team that has been doing so well of late have such fragile confidence? As soon as they conceded, heads dropped and the result was inevitable.

I assume Weir is on the pitch for his experience and leadership qualities because it can't be for his tackling(another Cisse moment for the first goal today). If he's not going to bring either, maybe it's time to sit him down. You can complain about Moyes all you want but someone on the field has to be able to light a fire under the players as well and I don't think Weir is the man.
Ronan Hanly, Boston, USA  (25/2/06)

Weir is on the pitch for one reason only: because David Moyes chooses him as probably the first name on the teamsheet every week. By questioning Weir's presence, you are complaining about Moyes yourself! Weir is Moyes's choice as the man who implicitly should be providing what you say. Is there really not a better choice for captain in our squad? — Michael

Performance; back to sqaure one
Praise to the team & coach for the unbeaten run; a true fighting spirit shown & hard to beat. But tonight all the old failings came back to roost. No coherence whatsoever in the final third; the longer the game went on, the poorer the passing became; a real lack of quality.

The clincher is this - can any true Evertonian, hand on heart, believe that we don`t have two or three reserves deserving of a place in the team more than Davies, McFadden and Cahill on this season`s performances? And if not why not?

Good luck to the lads at West Ham but there where far too many shades of West Brom & Villa there tonight for me to feel comfortable. Toothless.
Mark Manns, London  (25/2/06)

I think I can categorically state that we do not... with the possible exception of the forgotten man, Li Tie, who is injured again. But the rest of the so-called 'Reserves' — and aplogies because I've made this point before — are nothing other than the top rung of a very young and totally inexperienced Youth Academy. Yes, a couple of them — currently Paul Hopkins and Lawrence Wilson — are out on loan at lower-league clubs with the express intention of gaining first-team experience. But what does that really do for them? Supposedly the path to stardom because Beckham was once loaned out to Preston as part of his 'develpment' ... but in reality it is a precurssor to these players being sold off to lower-league clubs, or simply released.

Despite a massive slew of injuries to his first-team squad this season, and despite naming ten Academy Players (I think we'll boycott the term 'Reserves' as some sort of futile protest) in the squad list near the back of every matchday programme, David Moyes has shown little intention of giving these kids a chance: 2 mins for Anichebe. Err... that's it.

What you see now is what you are going to get every week, for the rest of the season. Better get used to it! — Michael

Sandra - (I know it's spelt wrong)!!
I have to say that Sandra had a half-decent game between the sticks. I'd luv to find fault with him for the two goals but no, I can't! So, taking a deep breath, aherm, aherm... welcome to Goodison, Sander. I hope you enjoy your stay in Scouseland, again, only this time take a look at who is around you!

Oh Yes... I forgot to mention.... ONCE A BLUE, ALWAYS A BLUE!
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (25/2/06)

Hehe... nice one. Even if that gem has somewhat lost its meaning.... — Michael

It is stupid and unfair to blame Beattie for the lack of punch up front against Newcastle. He gets no service and little support from any of his teammates apart from Osman, who doesn't have the pace or power to trouble Premiership centre-halves.

The real blame lies with the two negative Scots on the touchline; we never get numbers in the box when we attack because he is to scared of getting caught on the break — because he has bought no players with pace. The stats don't lie: we have now played 36 competitive matches in all competitions and have failed to score more than 1 goal in 34 of those — in other words, if the opposition score then we don't win. Our 19 league goals so far is on course to be the lowest in our history which was 37 in the early seventies and even that season we managed to win a game 8-0.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (25/2/06)

Not all bad!
On Thursday when I phoned Abbey National, I was speaking to a Liverpool lass on the other end. When I asked her where her footballing loyalities lie, I was pleased to hear she supported the People's Club. The point of this? I actually defended Moyes and the boys during our blues disscusion for once... and today I'll defend Moyes and the boys again after a great performance and unfortunate defeat.

Everyone performed really well today (except Kilbane, Davies and Beattie). Westerveld was excellent and I really think Moyes should think about signing him up as a reserve for Martyn and shipping out Wright after today's performance.

Overall it was the same old chestnut, the lack of strike power, that did us. I won't gun the strikers too much but we must have the poorest strikers in the league and today it shows with Beattie missing another golden chance. But well done lads for at least playing football (or trying to) in an attacking manner.

But I must have a moan about Davies. I'll keep it simple... he is USELESS! Is it blind hatred from me or does everyone else think this also? Roll on West Ham next week!!!
Luq Yus, London  (25/2/06)

Yee, it really is hard to figure out what if anything Simon Davies contributes to the proceedings. I have to admit, he is useless. — Michael

Just unlucky
I think before fans start slating the boys for today's performance, they need to remember, only for two great goal-line clearances, the save by Given from Arteta, and the chance where Kilbane is coming in at the back post only to be thwarted by Elliott — they could have walked away with the three points. Newcastle were not much better than us, and at the end of the day it took 2 goals of quality to beat us. I'm still not sure about Moyes yet, but his comments today after the game were spot on.
Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (25/2/06)

You may be pleased, David, but...
I have mostly backed David Moyes but he must have watched a different game from the one I watched. In his post match comments he said: “I think the players played well, with a lot of confidence and self-belief. Overall I was pleased." Someone should tell him that we lost 2-0.

I saw Everton have three clear-cut chances to score in the first half and dominate for a solid period but could not put one away. That’s primarily because we don’t have any teeth to speak of up front. I saw us become increasingly negative as the match went on, presumably on his instructions. I saw an aging central defence that had a harder and harder time dealing with the pace of Newcastle as the second half minutes went by.

And I saw Beattie, yet again, and Davies and Kilbane, having no impact on the game whatever. What won this match for Newcastle was their willingness to attack in numbers and with fluid pace with players who gave themselves numerous options. We had two ideas: (1) punt ahead to Beattie and pray, usually too far ahead for someone that slow and cumbersome; and (2), cross to a defender from a set piece.

Just as upsetting, we completely gave up on this game almost from the moment they scored their first and we had given up on getting more than a 0-0 draw even before that. That’s the match I saw. I certainly didn’t see a game in which “the players played well.”

If that performance pleases David Moyes, I’m worried. Incidentally, Beattie’s standard performance made the midweek talk about an England call-up absolutely laughable. He has the same chance of an England place as I do. Zero. Which coincidentally, is also his value to Everton.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (25/2/06)

I refer the honourable correspondent to the comments I made some moment ago, down below. — Michael

Newcastle game
I've just got back from watching the match on the tele, and, although we lost, I felt that we more than matched an in-form Newcastle side. Davie Weir was unlucky not to score on two occasions and if they had gone in who knows what would have happened? If only we didn't have a Kopite in goal ...
Mark Langley, Nottingham  (25/2/06)

I despair
Thought I`d save Richard Dodd the bother of writing. `I was very pleased with our performance tonight, the lads were on top for long periods — we just failed to take our chances. We have to concentrate on the positives of the last seven or eight games and get back on the good run we`re having`.

Not my words but those of our very satisfied manager, totally ignoring the stat put to him that when Everton go a goal behind, we always lose! Talk about no Plan B, he doesn`t even see the need for one. When we concede,w e`re fucked — so what, there`s always next week. I despair.
Peter Jones, Southport  (25/2/06)

For once (and this is rare), I'm with David Moyes in this case. Under very difficult circumstances (Okay, partly of his own making), the team of players he put out played pretty well (exceptions: Kilbane and Yobo). Yet again, we failed to finish critical chances (not for want of trying) that would have won the game for us. In the end, we were undone by two superbly executed goals. I can fully understand Moyes's comments: I think his assessment is exactly correct. — Michael

Different planet?
Help! I just woke up from a terrible dream... or at least thought I had.

We've been North of the Artic Circle all week and went to a bar in Helsinki to watch the blues only to find us playing a bleedin red nose in goal — and a crap one at that! Why the hell him, please send him back to which ever stone they found him under.

Stick with the keepers, if they are our reserves then stick by them. What is the point in having reserves if you never play them?
Pat Ahern, Helsinki  (25/2/06)

Take your "I hate Liverpool" specs off for a moment and look at what Westerveld did. Did he make some key saves? Yes — one was absolutely superb. Did he cover his area well and generally do a good job? Yes. Could he really have done anything for the gaols? No.

What more could you ask for in the circumstances? Yes, I would have prefered to see John Ruddy in there myself, but your reaction to Westerveld is childish and stupid, in my humble opinion! — Michael

Newcastle Game
The match has just finished and a few things must be said. Firstly Newcastle United are an absolutely terrible team but yet we get beaten 2-0. No real surprise to the manner of the defeat either: play well in first half but can't score, play well at beginning of 2nd half but can't score. Other team score we are beat. By the end of the game we are struggling to keep the score down.

Why? Why are we still suffering this same problem — why can we not score when clearly superior? I admire Moyes for having the bottle not to sign the striker our pitifully weak squad demanded but, surely to Christ, even he can see the desperate need for someone to play up with Beattie???

The thing I worry about most is no strikers signing this summer and, for the third season in a row, we end up frantically searching for deadline-day signings. Of course we will have blown all our cash on defenders so we end up with Jeffers or some rubbish like that.
Stephen Burton, Belfast  (25/2/06)

After a certain style.....
I absolutely love reading the ToffeeWeb mailbag. If anything it shows that Evertonians views are mostly widespread and intelligent. Not too many mindless ramblings but people with an opinion, rightly or wrongly, as to how to improve that for which they have a passion.

I disagree with some points of view. Rooney isn't the greatest product of our junior ranks, that honour remains with Colin Harvey. Those who saw Harvey could tell you that he is exactly what we need now; Rooney would just be an accoutrement, Pavorotti to Puchini.

I have no personal dislike for Bill Kenwright but I remember when he was putting together a consortium to buy out Peter Johnson (for £50M... finally for £25M) that he stated that a few years previous he could have bought it outright for £5M. That told me he had neither the vision nor the competence to run this football club efficiently. Perhaps it's age, perhaps clouded memory but I would love to see an Everton playing good football again and Harvey, Ball and Kendall saying that it was better than anything they could remember.

Let's hope it doesn't become something beyond the memory or hope of most Evertonians.
Thommo Bigpond  (25/2/06)

Deception in the Boardroom
No good can come from a situation in which you have a chairman of a football club who has to invent elaborate investment schemes to overcome his business and leadership shortcomings.

A chairman who has to mislead his fellow shareholders and board members is straying into very dangerous territory. It takes a lot of energy and time to construct such a scheme that also involves feeding the local hacks with soft-ball PR stories and finding time to make international calls to Europe while fighting over his main stand seat with his fellow director.

It takes a lot of guts to stand in front of your shareholders at your AGM meetings to perpetuate a charade with serious consequences.

So.... was all this time and energy committed in an effort to find real investment? NO! was done so that a chairman could keep his hands on the trainset. That is that most damning indictment of all, that a chairman who is aware of his own shortcomings would be prepared to do us over in an ugly squabble to keep his trainset.

There is no going back for this chairman. Once the perception of a lie is inside the minds of the fans, it is just a matter of time before the general apathy of the fans will turn to the ferocious roar. I for one hope the end will come quick because I see a chairman who is prepared to manage long-term debt rather than turn over the club to a chairman who has the vision, leadership and the business skills to show the fans that we can be so much more than we are under this leadership in the boardroom.

I leave you with this thought, not once have I ever heard from this chairman's mouth to the fans the yearly goals for the club both on and off the pitch. Why? ... because to set goals you have to have the vision and consummate leadership skills to ensure that you will meet the goals. Instead, we hear of shifting deadlines and whispers to the local press of what could be or what may not be.

This chairman said that his separation from the club would be horrific... I beg to differ: his involvement has been horrific for 6 years. Time's Up!
Bebe Bunter, Dublin, USA  (25/2/06)

Taken to the Cleaners
Will people please get off this 'money laundering Russians' line? Laundering, as it implies, is cleaning of money that is put through a company - ie, the owner of said dirty money gets it back.

What the Oligarch is doing at Chelsea is more akin to squandering — but he's got so much of it that by the time he does decide to move on, it'll just amount to the interest he would have earned anyway.

To invest in a football club anywhere is to merely be a benefactor. Very few brands... sorry, football teams, offer real commercial returns. You also have to remember that the land that Goodison is on is worth peanuts, and any commercial planning application would be difficult.

So if Terry Leahy, Paul McCartney or Freddie Bloody Starr are Evertonians but don't want to throw their money away then so be it.

Like a number of people on this site, I know Bill has Everton in his blood, but I don't think he's the man to take us to another level. Some people think he's obstructing investment, I just don't think it's out there.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (25/02/06)

No offence to those injured in the line of duty but Westerveld has always been class. Hopefully there is a chance to keep him for some time. A sharper guy at the back could help keep the momentum going. Good luck. From a land doown under.
Mario Campanallei, New Zealand  (25/2/06)

Er..., Mario: his contract is for 28 days. He's an emergency stop-gap step-in as cover while we have a problem due to injuries/suspensions. I can't imagine that he would be retained any longer... unless we still have some goalkepeer problem in late March. And how do you reckon that Portsmouth's fourth-choice goalkeeper is still "class"? — Michael

Stand Up if you wanna Sit Down
I was interested in reading the Stand Up Sit Down article, and was going to leave it at that until I read Steve Guy's missive. I fully understand Steve's arguments, which I felt were quite eloquently constructed, but I can't agree with his view.

Like a lot of others on this site, I too was at Villa Park that awful day - in fact, I got a bloody great bruise on my side after a surge when Pat Nevin scored the winner, but I think Steve (and even those who responded) have missed the real point - design and operations. I appreciate it's still an emotive subject in Merseyside (and beyond) still, but ultimately the bad design of the Leppings Lane End and the failure of crowd control on the day were significant contributory factors.

L Without wishing to bore you, accident investigation is a remarkably straightforward procedure. There's a theory called "root and branch" where you look at all of the contributory factors, and how in combination it led to disaster. That's why planes have been downed because a cleaner forgot to remove some sticky tape, to quote just one example.

I think what Steve is forgetting is that people are not campaigning for a return to terraces on four sides of the ground, with 50-60% of stadium capacity being standing. What people are asking for is SAFE standing. The stadia in Germany that have standing areas have been designed with that in mind - normally they are located in the corners, and it's also normally about 10-15% of stadium capacity.

I've not been in the Gladwys Street lower stand for about 8 years now, but it's terrible. To simply concrete over the old terracing and put seats in was not the answer.

Anyway, just my view. Personally, seeing as I'm about to turn 35 I'd prefer to sit. But I'd still like to see the opportunity to get some limited standing back in, in a properly designed and managed way. Who knows — might bring a bit more atmosphere back? (Rather than depending on refs like Peter Walton to create it!!)

But I won't lose sleep if it doesn't happen. Like I said, Steve's opinion is valid, and on this one it's time to "agree to disagree" and move on.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (25/2/06)

A bitter-sweet symphony
Regarding the latest comments on the sale of Wayne Rooney, may I please draw to the attention of contributors the following quote which most will undoubtedly have seen:

"I love the club, I love the fans. And even if I could go back in time I'd make the same decision 10 out of 10 times. I think the move to United really has improved me as a player, this has been a difficult season watching Chelsea do so well, but I believe there's a great future ahead at United. That's what you play for, to win trophies. We've a chance of winning the Carling Cup and the FA Cup this season, and we want both. I think the last trophy I won was playing for the Under 12s" — Daily Mirror, 18/2/06

I have highlighted this statement to allow for some balanced perspective on his transfer and that of the persecuted complex that some hold in believing that he really didn't want to leave.

I personally feel that the sale of Rooney was the biggest travesty to happen to the Club since Heysel, its magnitude was such that it felt like the death knell of the club. The club made a tidy profit on its protege and the banks / board may have been appeased, but facts are facts — Rooney made his intentions known, his agent sniped and weaseled through his cohorts in the media and press and the deal was done.

Once a blue always a blue, my dream is to captain Everton and score the winner against Liverpool in a derby, Real Madrid, AC Milan, no I love Everton, quotes he made when signing his first contract with the club. I can't remember any of those moments, do I have a poor memory or Alzhiemers? Who knows? ... maybe he would have become a better player with Everton, a lot can and should be attributed to maturity and games under the belt.

Conspiracy theories will always exist, Stretford had the audacity to question the integrity of the club and demanded to see the books and financial affairs of the club.

It will be interesting to see if Rooney is the star of Germany '06 as he was Portugal '04. Everton are the poorer for his loss, but no player is bigger than the club.
Peter Laing, West Derby  (24/2/06)

There is no doubt that Wayne Rooney is happy where is now, and there is no doubt that he wanted to leave... but at some point prior to that, he was a young Blue, with a slogan on his shirt. He was a joyous teenager who had just scored a fantastic last-minute winning goal to end a massive unbeaten run for Champions Arsenal... At that point in his career, I believe he had no intention of leaving Everton.

Soemthing — I believe many thinks — changed for Rooney, especially through that singularly dreadful Season 2003-04, when we racked up our lowest-ever points total. My personal belief is that one factor was he had a serious falling out with Moyes, probably over many issues, not least the fact that he wanted to play a lot more games, wanted be used as an out-and-out striker... discipline, sponsorships, you name it.

But it's all guesswork really. But at the time Rooney signed his 3-year prrofessional contract with Everton in January 2003, he was already with Stretford and I'm sure the long-term strategy was being carefully put into place. He was kept well away from the press after the gum-chewing incident but the assurances were there for all to read:

"Wayne Rooney has constantly made it clear that he is an Evertonian first and a footballer second," added the Everton spokesman. "He does not want to play for any other club and we confidently expect a deal to be struck in the not too distant future."

What is certain is that his move was engineered by various parties, all of whom benefitted from it — some personally to the tune of millions of pounds. The ultimate losers were the Everton fans; we lost the greatest talent we will ever see come through our ranks. That is the biggest indictment of all. — Michael

Give it a rest!
Why are some Evertonians never happy unless they are moaning? Now that Moysey has got the team on a roll, it`s the Chairman`s turn to get the flack. How bizarre and unfair is that? I didn`t hear of too many `lifelong Evertonians` lining up to mortgage their property to prise the Club from the hands of the dreaded Johnson - and just where have all these weathy would-be investors been since? Bill Kenwright has been a magnificent Chairman of a club which was in decline when he took over and has held on to top-flight status when the like of Man City, Sunderland and Bolton have all had spells lower down. And what about his identification of the unknown David Moyes as a young manager of genius who has given us all back our self-respect?

Kenwright has backed Moyes to the tune of £45 million when other chairmen have expected their managers to make do and mend and given today`s news I reckon, if truth be told, our finances are in as good a state as the club over the road!

So give it a rest, will you? Let`s enjoy the good times we`re having and focus on the climb up the table towards another excellent season-end position!

ps: For Tom Collie`s benefit, I am not a Kenwright placeman, but a humble council clerk who just likes to see credit where credit`s due!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (24/2/06)

Well, as the saying goes, you can fool some of the people all of the time. For starters, it was Wally Smith who "identified" David Moyes. And Billy boy needed rather a lot of help from his friends at the time of Johnson's departure — friends like Paul Gregg, whom he then turned on. The list of Blue Bill's wrongdoings is long; it might help your credibility as a witness if you could bring yourself to acknowledge a few of them. —

They are all at it!
Whilst it is not customary to refer to Liverpool FC issues in your columns, I beg leave to mention this morning`s Post report of our neighbour`s AGM. There we see that although the `official` net debt is shown as £17.1 million, the CEO was not prepared to disagree with shareholder Steve Morgan`s assertion that the `real` figure was in the order of £73 million!

Now I mention this not to gloat but to indicate that the crap we are fed in Annual Reports is just that! Even Billy Liar would be hard pressed to come up with a whopper of those proportions, so those currently screaming for his head would be wise to accept that he is not alone in his incompetence - they are all at it!
David Hall, Taunton  (24/2/06)

You are right: this is an Everton forum. That one barely scrapes in... Does the fiduciary duty of company directors not extend to refraining from deception of their shareholders? — Michael

Another thing learned from the European matches on TV this week is that a good team needs pace (something Everton severely lacks) and does not need Gravesen playing a 'holding' role just in front of your back four.

Watching him play for Madrid brought back memories of how he used to play when Wally Smith was in charge... shiite! He's OK if you give him some freedom though!
A plank of wood with a nail in it, UK  (24/2/06)

Does anybody else find it intriguing how the eloquent and highly articulate Dutch Schaeffer so passioniate and frequent in his defence of Bullshit Billy, should suddenly disappear only to be replaced by Peter Laing, an equally eloquent and passionate supporter of Bullshit Billy?

Professional journos and PR merchants spring to mind, employed by the club... the same person? Surely not???
Tom Collie, Maghull  (24/2/06)

Let's hold this one....

Damned if you do... damned if you don't..
Like Andy Veitch (and many other fans out there as well) I would also liked to have seen Moyes give Ruddy or Turner an extended run in the side.

However, while DM may have been able to use inexperience as a legitimate reason, had either of our young keepers let in a few too many, I can't see a certain section of our fans calmly accepting that.

If we'd have had another WBA debacle with Turner or Ruddy between the sticks there would have been howls of outrage about Moyes erring again by not bringing in an experienced keeper.

Damned if he did... damned if he didn't.

The other issue with playing kids at the end of the season is it's just not (to a club in our poor financial state) a real option anymore.

Also, with each placing in the League worth an additional half a million pounds, a drop of 2, 3 or 4 spots is no longer tolerable.

Makes me thankful I'm not a manager.
Paul Kish, Australia  (24/2/06)

Careful what you wish for!
Am I the only one who really isn't interested in qualifying for Europe unless its the Champions league? It seems to me that no-one is really interested; crap crowds, limited money and no real prestige but it depletes and stretches a squad to the limit. A small squad like ours could well be strained to the major detriment of our Premiership position.

I would hope that we can eventually become an attractive, competitive, upper-echelon Premiership team. If you look at attendances, the Premiership is what matters to most of us. Even the domestic cups are becoming more and more irrelevant and tend to overstretch the smaller clubs. I really hope that we secure our safety, progress to playing some attractive attacking football but miss out on the inevitable humiliation of low grade Eurotrash football.

Attractive and Moyes in the same sentence.... I'm not holding my breath!
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (24/2/06)

Eurotrash football! Well said, Mike! — Michael

Sit down
During my recent trip home, I went to every Everton game (damn that break for international fixtures). At most venues I enjoyed an excellent view of the game. The handbags Derby at Anfield was a different story. From half way up the stand, my wife and I had a good view but every time the ball was played into our half the front row of spectators would jump to their feet forcing those behind to do the same. I ended up holding on to a roof frame standing on a seat at the back of the stand. From that precarious position I managed to see part of the game. My wife saw practically none. There was a constant stream of abuse from those of us at the rear toward the idiots at the front who had no need to stand up. I am not sure where all this fits into a debate about standing or sitting areas but that was our only dissapointment on an otherwise brilliant night.
Dick Fearon, Australia  (24/2/06)

Can anyone tell me why we have panicked and upped our wage bill for the coming month by bringing in a goalie on loan? Ok, I know we only have one keeper available for Saturday but how many times have we had to use two keepers in a match? Not many.

Turner's back after Saturday so then we are back to two keepers. Yes, they are both young but, in a season where we are not going to get relegated or qualify for Europe, now's the time for these young lads to gain the experience required.

Let's not just stop with the keepers let's blood some more youngsters. You only gain experience by actually playing in the top flight games.
Andy Veitch, Oxon  (23/2/06)

You're preaching to the choir there, Andy. But it's a case of true colours for me as far as Moyes is concerned. Proof, if every it was needed, that he is very uncomfortable giving the lads a try, deferring to age and experience whenever possible. An opportunity missed... like so many before. — Michael

Back to work
After all the serious debate on the website over the last couple of weeks, thank god there is a match breaking out on Saturday! Red Sander in goal... although the romantic in me says it should be Ruddy, and who knows what the rest of the line up will be.

For most regulars on this site, the result will determine further the views they alresdy hold. For me, it will determine only my mood as I have long since learned that, no matter who is in charge, no matter how much money they have, the actual 90 minutes we observe will be unique and have no bearing on previous or future matches.

Enjoy the match, lads; hope we win, cheer them on and —whatever the result — live it for a week and then contemplate the next one for it is sure to be different. Following the Blues encompasses all views expressed on the site, but only on a game-by-game basis.

See you Sat. --- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (24/2/06)

One game at a time. I like it, Ken. — Michael

Steve Guy is spot on with his comments on standing at grounds. I have been watching Everton for nearly 50 years and one of the most significant changes has been the introduction of all-seater stadiums. How anyone who experienced the days of standing can want to go back does amaze me.
John Kernaghan, Maidenhead  (23/2/06)

Lots of submissions stating Kenwright Out but what about Paul and Anita Gregg? They have the controlling interest in the club and pumped zero in over the last few years. If Kenwright left, Gregg still pretty much owns the place. Before any of them go anywhere, we need decent replacements...

I heard a guy named Bilic who amassed a fortune in the 90s had an interest in buying the club.
Dan Parker, New York, US  (23/2/06)

It is doubtful that the Gregg holdings still constitute a blok since Paul and Anita are now divorced. There is no reason or rationale for either of them to invest more (throwing good money after bad?) than the massive sums they have invested already for TBH (now EFC) shares — to the tune of around £7M each.

"Before any of them go anywhere, we need decent replacements..." Firstly the existing major shareholderes would go away only if they could sell their shares... that means there would have to be replacement buyers, decent or not. The problem for us mere fans is we don't get to to do the vetting beforehand! And if we did, we'd probably drive them off by asking them pertinent questions, like: "Who scored the winning goal...." — Michael

A few points to add to the latest mailbag battlefield.

As quite rightly put in anothger posting but sadly missing from others, the whole lack of financial input to Everton has always rested on the controlling interest factor, even the fabled Fortress Sports Fund bullshit mentioned the percentages. Bill Kenwright and his henchmen have sought money for little return deals where investors' cash would gain them very little say in how that money would be invested; hence, anyone with any sense has steered well clear.

The second from another posting is the example of Liverpool and their lack of finding suitable funding. As a former resident of Jersey I am fully aware of Steve Morgan's value even after his former wife Pamela's well deserved divorce settlement. Some supposition admittedly but again this investment opportunity appears to have dropped when the powers at that club refused to allow Mr Morgan to get his money's worth and gain control.

Do you honestly believe anyone with the capability and acumen to acrue significant wealth in business would then hand over the cash to another party for no return? Get real and allow this to be added to the debate as to why investment isn't happening.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (23/2/06)

It is good to reiterate the reasons why no investment has been forthcoming in EFC, despite all the spin and counter-spin. Your summary should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in this impasse. — Michael

I wonder if......
A few season's ago, Everton were well placed to challenge for a European qualifying position but fell away towards the end and missed out. Last season they sustained the run of results and finished 4th. I wonder if it was due to lessons learned from before?

The season before last Everton got embroiled in a relegation battle and couldn't get out of it until the last moment. This year they have got out of trouble emphatically and early. I wonder if it was due to lessons learned from before.

This year's European campaigns were a disaster but I wonder if the lessons learned from them will lead to a more successful sortie next time (a win at the weekend would leave them 7 points off 4th).

I would agree with anyone who argues that, as a top-flight manager, Moyes is not the finished article and I agree that the football played by his current Everton side is less than awesome. But I wonder if Moyes is learning how to make Everton an effective footballing side.

As Bill Shankley once said - if you want entertainment then go to the circus.
Tony Horne, Kettering  (23/2/06)

Kenwright here to stay
Take it from me, Bill Kenwright is going nowhere. Not because he wouldn`t relinquish the reins if somebody with serious money came in and he could trouser a nice profit —but because such animals don`t exist! Forget the Russians — they are only in it for the money-laundering and take a look at Hearts - what a bloody joke they`ve become.

As several correspondents pointed out a while ago, even Aston Villa with no debt and a model stadium cannot attract a serious buyer... so what price Everton? Deep in the red and a grumbling mausoleum for a ground?

Like many Evertonians, I`ve lost all respect for Kenwright, basically because he tells so many lies; and Moyes leaves a lot to be desired, particularly in the transfer market. But they are about as good as it gets or is going to get, I`m afraid. So, like it or lump it, neither are going anywhere — believe me!
Paul Denham, Hale  (23/2/06)

Having repeatedly cited that mantra for Moyes, I have to concede that I am pretty sure you are probably right. — Michael

Sander wisdom?
If I was John Ruddy, I would be gutted at the decision to sign Westerveld. Westerveld is actually a half decent keeper, and is certainly good enough to have as a back-up keeper, but how must Ruddy feel? He now can't even get a game when all of the other keepers are unavailable. Even if the worst had happened and he had let a few in and made mistakes, Moyes could have spared his blushes by saying that he still believes he'll be a top-class keeper, and that he wouldn't be anywhere near the first team if it wasn't for injuries and suspensions. The flip-side is that he could have come in and had a blinder. Let's hope Westerveld plays well at Newcastle, or I'm sure this decision will be looked at...
Danny Broderick, London  (23/2/06)

"Or will he continue to smack down anyone else who wants a turn at the controls of his trainset?"

I was just wondering who, apart from Gregg, has asked for a turn with Bill's trainset?
Tom Bennett, Coventry  (23/02/06)

Well, it's all rumours and whispered side conversations in smoke-filled rooms, of course — nothing that can be attributable. But I'll see if one of our more informed sources is interested in providing any kind of summary.... — Michael

Kenwrong Out
Couldn't agree more with Mr Randles - Billy Bullshit has gotta go. The club is now "stabilised". It's time to step aside and let someone with some resources and nous in.

Instead, we get Fortress Sports Funds and lorryloads of bullshit to prop up the regime. It's interesting that Paul Gregg has basically been silent since Billy Liar announced the {of course totally non-existent} Fortress Sports Fund. I think Mr Gregg is well aware that "our Bill" has scammed him good and proper, and he ain't getting his cash back anytime soon.

Being a Blue is a good attribute, but I'd really prefer someone honest, more open, better resourced, with a bit of commercial sense in charge. They're more relevant qualities than having grown up watching us play!
David Caldwell, Liverpool  (23//2/06)

Whilst I appreciate that Mr Kenwright loves our beloved Club as much as I do, as my son would say "you can't have a Rolls Royce when you can only afford a Mini"!! and I think that says it all.
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (23/2/06)

Once a blue always....
In response to David Randle's lambasting of Bill Kenwright, I feel that he should take up his suggestion and visit his Doctor for that prescription of Prozac. Bill Kenwright has gone on record on numerous occasions to state that if there are potential investors willing to pump prime investment into the club, be they blue-blooded Evertonians or otherwise then he will listen to offers. However, regardless of the constant speculation and whisperings of such suitors á la Terry Leahy, Bill Hargreaves (Matalan), Mike McComb (ex Carphone Warehouse) — the harsh reality is that the football business is not an attractive one.

Little return can be guaranteed for investment other than possible success on the field, there are massive overheads off it, and running a football club is like a poruous jug that leeches money. Jack Walker was a custodian and benefactor of Blackburn Rovers, he invested heavily in the team and stadium and was repayed with success. Yet, a couple of years later, relegation happened and since his death Blackburn have operated a more prudent approach.

The situation with Leeds United is a shining example of what happens with a policy of speculation. And regardless of Chelsea's success, they have recorded huge losses in this financial year and continue to rely on their benefactor Abramovich who continues to launder his dirty cash but may become bored and walk away at any time.

In respect of Rooney, did we really have any other choice? His latest comments in the press and media would suggest his personal intent and that of his agent / family to engineer a move to Man Utd, with the possible sum total of a Carling Cup medal to show for two seasons of football.

In respect of Everton being a top club in terms of financial power, we would need to go back to the days of John Moores and the Mersey Millionaires tag for that to be true. Even during the successful period of the 80s, we should be considered as a selling club: Lineker, Steven and Stevens... Philip Carter — and his handling of the club during this period — is to blame as much as anyone for our subsequent demise.

The 90's were subsequently riddled with the shady dealings of agent Johnson. OK, Kenwright is not the long-term answer, but in the last 3-4 years under David Moyes we have made undoubted progress with limited resources / funding and in the face of adversity. The only genuine solution at present would be to continue as we are or hope that a consortium of rich Evertonians put an investment package together to take the club forward. What this does not take into account is ego's working relationships etc which would prevent this from happening. There is always the other option - is Paul McCartney really an Evertonian? (Don't make me laugh!)
Peter Laing, West Derby  (23/2/06)

You explain exactly why this is something that Bill himself must pull off — in the interests of the Club. He has done as much as he can. He needs to be looking to pass on his custodianship to his successors. Will he do that now, with an intention of stepping down? Or will he continue to smack down anyone else who wants a turn at the controls of his trainset? — Michael

Smelling Salts Please
I neither support nor loathe Blue Bill, but a sense of perspective please.

Cast your minds back to the time when Peter Johnson wanted out (and his money back): err... don't remember the stampede to buy into the financial disaster called Everton FC?

So ask yourselves the next question, and be brutally honest, would you re-mortgage your home to raise the finance to purchase your beloved football club? I certainly wouldn't, not if I knew the local bank was looking to call in the heavy mob because of the level of debt that the club was carrying.

Also let's dispell a few myths surrounding the Rooney deal, the £20M was just about the best we could hope for once the little shit decided to hold a gun to the club's head two weeks before the end of the transfer window, plus there was only United willing to pay that price as seemingly Chelsea, Arsenal and Real Madrid were not interested, we were also not helped by the fact that it was plainly obvious (and common knowledge in the city) that Rooney was going to United and nowhere else. Thanks Mr Stretford.

Sure, Kenwright has made a number of PR gaffs, The Kings Dock, the Fortress fiasco, but he also had the balls to take over an ailing club who had long lost the mantle of being one of the 'top-5' elite in the country.

In terms of not being able to attract outside investment, wake up and smell the coffee! Just have a look across the park at our neighbors, the current Champions of Europe, who have a massive worldwide reputation. They have done the hard part and obtained the neccesary planning persmission for a new ground — what do you think is stopping them going ahead?

You guessed it, 'not being able to attract outside investment', so where does that leave Everton in the eyes of these mythical money men with dollars to burn?

Abramovich apart, they simply do not exist, people bandy names about like Terry Leahy, the Tesco Chief Executive —have you seen him at Goodison this season? Perhaps he was in the Lower Bullens counting his cash.

OK, have a go at Kenwright, but until you can come up with a realistic alternative willing to sink £100M into the club, get real.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (23/2/06)

Nice history lesson, Steve (although you are way wrong on Rooney — see below). But you are missing the point. Yes, Bill did a wonderful thing when there was no-one else interested (or so we are told). However, we're talking here and now. They have spun this crap about searching for investment for FIVE years. Perhaps there is another problem in the way.... like the obvious fact that no-one in their right mind would give Bill a penny of their money. And it is not up to us to come up with someone who is interested. It's up to Bill to recognize his limitations and to do something about them. — Michael

Kenwright Out
I totally agree with Dave Randles. Why the hell is Kenwright still in charge of our club? The bastard won't let go — I have had this view for a long time.

He has lied consistently to the fans ("Rooney — he is going no-where, EFC are not I repeat Not a selling club."). Everyone knows the move was being planned 12 months before, to give Everton some money to make the accounts look good. He is no good for EFC.

Everton are bigger than Portsmouth... how come they can get a mega-rich Russian to pump in milllions? Because they allow the people with the money to control their investments. Kenwright hasn't got a pot to piss in — in comparison to the needs of a Premier league club. Why can't he see that and resign as Chairman? Anyone can get a mortgasge and buy a fucking big house but if you have got no money, it will crumble around you. Kenwright will allow Everton FC to crumble before he will resign then it will be too late. Why? Why will the shit not resign and allow someone anyone with investment to take over?

It will be interesting to see which massive sponsor takes over from Chang — no doubt one of Bullshit Billy's major potential investors? — don't make me laugh!

A message from supporters: Bill, we know you love the club but if you do, then FUCK OF OUT OF IT NOW!!!
Steve Sweeney, Liverpool  (23/2/06)

Well said
Well said, Dave Randles.

The thing that is holding us back in the last few seasons and will continue to hold us back in the future is lack of money. Kenwright hasn't got any and nobody will give him any so he should make way for someone who is prepared to invest in the Club.
Eric Myles, Seoul, Korea  (23/2/06)

Kenwright's Wrongs
Pretty much everyone has an opinion on the merits or otherwise of David Moyes as our manager. I’m with the 'he’s going nowhere so get used to it' brigade.

That’s all well and good and I must admit to being amazed at the relatively little anti-Kenwright feeling displayed on this board. Looking at the problems associated with our club on a holistic basis as opposed to the reactionary rants that we are all prone to, surely our anger at the lack of any real long-term progress should be vented at the Chairman?

When you look at the big sides (I remember when we could genuinely call ourselves one of those!!!) and the massive financial investments they make on a perpetual basis, it makes our odd £5-10M spends pale to insignificance. Given the money we haven’t spent over the long-term, it’s small wonder we aren’t firmly entrenched in the Championship á la Coventry City, never mind moaning that we aren’t high enough up the Premier League.

Anyhow, that brings me to my point, WTF has Bill Kenwright actually done for the club? He hasn’t brought in any notable investment. He’s sold the world’s best young talent to the world’s richest club for cherrybobs on an interest-free loan. He lied constantly on the King’s Dock business. He’s failed to provide the Youth Academy. (Have you seen those Portakabins??? Ashville Reserves in the West Cheshire League have a better set-up!) He’s lied through his back teeth with regard to the Fortress Sports Fund nonsense. He’s failed to progress the new ground (what new ground?) beyond the occasional bit of Echo spin AND, most importantly, he failed to support the manager last summer when it REALLY could have made a difference.

We are surviving and that’s all we’ll ever do with him in charge. We are a selling club and always will be until we find some investment. Perhaps a change of Chairman would be a better option than a change of Manager??? He’s clearly skint so would we not be better off with a skint business brain as opposed to a skint megalomaniac?

Gimme the Prozac…
Dave Randles, Ellesmere Port  (22/2/06)

That is one fucking great letter, David, if you'll pardon my French. Nail on head. We have been through spates of "Bill-bashing" as his many supporters call it, only to have them beat us around the head metaphorically with large Welsh vegatables and the like. Many simply will not tolerate a bad word being said about the man who is after all, "one of us" — a blue through and through.

Before the onslaught begins again, let me sum up ToffeeWeb's position: we do not question for one second Bill's credentials as an Evertonian or his love for the club... but he should look long and hard in that mirror and ask himself if he really is the right man for the job. What he does well is staging musicals. What I do well is bullshitting about groundwater....

What Everton need is a real fan who also has lots of mullah but, more importantly the kind of business brain needed to run a football club. There have to be at least a handful of successful businessmen who are Evertonians and who would relish the challenge (Sir Terrence; Paul Collyer? Paul Tollet!!!). What would it take to make Bill listen to a proposal from them and stand down — in the interests of the Club.

Something he has always said he would do.

Whoosh... MORE SPIN! — Michael

What about the future?
Now that we've establisahed we can all have opinions on Everton without being called idiots, tossers or manic depressives, perhaps it's a good time to think of the future of our club.

Whatever your views on Moyes's record and his style of football, it's clear that for the last year or so, the club and team have seemed to exist on a week-to-week basis. Hanging on heroically and desperately for 4th place, throwing all the Rooney money into one financial year to make us look rich and this season 4-0 hammering to 4-0 hammering followed by 1-0 win to 1-0 win.

I'm really pleased that we've moved from relegation fears to mid-table. I'd be even more pleased when I'm told about the club's future strategy on and off the field. Are we going to find and buy players who help us win games rather than avoid defeat? If we carry on with the current tactics, will any skillful players actually want to come and play for us? More to the point, will anyone want to invest in us?

I'm not demanding the mid-80s all over again. I want us to build on whatever improvements Moyes has made. It's a big club waiting to take off again and I don't think shouting 'In Moyes we trust' will be enough on its own. All successful businesses and sports teams constantly question their work and look for improvement — why should Everton be any different?
Paul Tran, Kendal  (22/2/06)

It's a good forward-looking gesture, Paul. But the cynic in me says (going on past performance) that we will continue to be fed palliatives like "We are constantly on the lookout for players from any country, any continent, who will improve our squad," and nonsense like "Bill Kenwright is looking for new investment 24/7, eight days a week."

At the end of the day, such platitudes mean nothing, while the club continues to muddle along, always a hostage to fortune on the field of play, with one eye open for pushing through our own young homegrown talent, who can be sold on to feed the gaping Goodison coffers. [Jeez... I'm already starting to miss Tony Marsh!] — Michael

Moyes — Mid-Term Grade for 2005-06: C-
Under the current management of David Moyes in 2005-06, we are OUT of 4 cups in six months and we sit in mid-table. The football product on the pitch has truly reflected our progress to date this season. Moyes has made multi-million pound mistakes in the transfer market and when the team results go downhill we hear the old "we need to rebuild" cliché.

Is this the football we want to see in the years to come? No thanks. But it's ok because, as long as we finished 4th, there are no problems... aside from the fact we have not won a trophy in nearly 10 years.

Apathy is so vogue
Bebe Bunter, Dublin, USA  (21/2/06)

I believe that the Intertoto will give us a little more experience of European football, which we desperately need. We aren't likely to gain a European place as a Cup Winner (we havent made a semi-final in over a decade). So the best we can hope for is the regular jostling for the last few European places via the League standings. To consistently get in the top 5-8 of the league over a long span would be a vast improvement given our situation.

We currently have a squad and a manager good enough to accomplish these goals in a league low on quality teams. To have a sustained campaign in three competitions is a realistic target for next season (look at Middlesbrough). Without more European nights at Goodison, even against no-name opposition, we risk reverting back to a bottom-half-of-the-table team trying to avoid the drop. To challenge for these dubious goals is the only way ahead for a team and a club at a crossroads.
Jerome Esterhazy, Adelaide, Australia  (21/2/06)

Beautiful Football
It seems to me that the biggest criticism of Moyes is the attractiveness of the football played. Can I just reconfirm this as the BIGGEST not the only criticism of Moyes.

I have only the Championship-winning seasons of 84-85 and 86-87, but I agree the 84-85 winning team won for fun by the odd 3 or 4 goals and it was fantastic to watch. Practically the same team of 86-87 was rather dogged in fact downright shite, but we were the Champions and too look back we automatically think of the fanatastic games of that season whilst forgetting the shit ones — of which there were quite a few.

We have been playing shit football by and large (apart from the odd match here and there) for 20+ years. Is that all Moyes's fault? I dont think so. To change 20 years of shit in just 4... are we being too critical? Yeah, thought so.
Jason McClure, Liverpool  (20/2/06)

Put It To Bed
It's great that the mailbag allows people of all opinions to express their views, highlighting as it does all the various 'takes' we Evertonians have on our club. And Jesus, aren't they various!

In the main, people express their views without trying to ram them down everybody else's throats - this makes for good debate. But haven't we reached the stage now where our friend Tony Marsh has well and truly made his point about David Moyes? Yes, Tony, we do understand everything you've said - and said - and said again - and again - well, you get the idea.

Reading your latest post ('As much as I try, I just don't seem to be able to get my message across to some fans on this website') it's clear that, not content with expressing an opinion, you want to ram that opinion down our necks until everybody says that you were right about Moyes all along.

Yes, you HAVE got your message across — believe me you have... but give us a break and stop trying to beat us all into submission. Maybe some people just disagree with you. We know you think Moyes is a clown and we know you have the inside track on all things Everton. We also know that as a manager Moyes has many failings, because most of us understand the game without a daily 'What Davey Fucked Up Next' posting. He's going nowhere — unless you know different — so it's a case of living with it, whatever your view. It's not all about 'for' and 'against' Moyes, the club is far bigger than that. Have a go at me by all means, it's only my opinion.

Maybe it's time to move on and talk about something else in case you're in danger of 'losing the mailbag' in the way that Moyes — allegedly — lost the dressing room. (Although he seemed to find it again by the Blackburn game). Come on Tony, point made, put it to bed now.
Kevin Latham, Liverpool  (20/2/06)

Thank you for saying that, Kevin. I don't like to curtail debate but you summed up the feeling I got when I read that last submission.... Enough already! — Michael

I told Tony Marsh a couple of months ago that football was like a rollweer-caster... I think his carriage is stuck at the bottom!

From Carey to Moyes, I have put up with them all: so enjoy, Tony. Pay your money and wattch the atch... or not!
Bob Patterson, Liverpool  (20/2/06)

I have often heard about our tradition of playing with style. The fact is, the stories of our tradition captured my imagination when I was a child far more than the success enjoyed by Liverpool.

In August 1977, as I attended my first match, Everton were a very big club in every sense. An enviable history (that hasn't changed), big fan base (ditto), the ability to compete with anyone in the transfer market, and one of the best stadia in the country. The media treated us with a certain respect. We were one of the 'big five', a 'fashionable club'.

Almost 30 years have passed and a lot has happened since then. We've hit the highs and the lows — in a results sense and an aesthetic sense. We are no longer the Mersey Millionaires and the School of Science was closed down a long time ago. Goodison is outdated and a lot of players seem to find Blackburn, Birmingham, Bolton and Middlesbro a more attractive prospect than EFC. Yes, part of our tradition seems to have disappeared...

However, I feel that an integral part remains intact. Namely, a chronic inability to sustain success. Bad luck has been mentioned as a factor and with some justification. I mean it is a little inconsiderate to start a World War just when we're getting into the groove... TWICE!

Then there was the European ban. Yes, we could harp on about conspiracies and curses from here to eternity (well, I could anyway), but there are other examples of going to extremes. We were relegated in 1930, two years after winning the league. We came straight back up and won the league and cup in successive years. FFS, we even have a chronic inability to sustain failure!

To conclude, when we look at Moyes's record of successive finishes: 7th, 17th, 4th and ?th — we can clearly see that he's a manager in the true Everton tradition... the key factor being the ?th place finish....
James Martin, Alicante, Spain  (20/2/06)

Thanks for that, James.

Thanks, Steve....
...for your reply and once again my appreciation. Your body of work is a reference point for all football historians. Cheers,
Dick Fearon, Australia  (20/2/06)

Polarisation (my arse!)
I can’t remember the theorist but there is definitely a theory suggesting that binary opposite views create tension. For example; I love Moyes (sic); Tony hates Moyes… waddya get… tension.

Tension equals debate and discussion and polarized views… Who’s for… who’s against and it unfortunately leads to rigid, staid and ultimately stalemated argument as each side becomes firmly entrenched within the bastions of ther own particular viewpoint.

There is just one slight flaw to this theory… and that is in the real world it is complete and utter bollocks!

The reason, you see Gavin, is I’m really not that convinced by Moyes, in fact I’m deeply critical of quite a few things that he has been a party to, including: team selection, tactics, buying and selling players etc… if you’d read my posts instead of merely spouting generalisations you’d know this.

So, what have you got?

A black and ‘dark grey’ argument, which equals no polarisation, no binary opposite viewpoints, no simplistic moralising about who is right and who is wrong, no dialectic battleground… unless you want to invent one, (which you seem to have done very nicely and then informed us of just how bored you are with your own creation!?!)

Let me repeat this again for your benefit in case you didn’t quite get it: I am deeply critical of Mr Moyes. I want to see Everton play football that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, I want to see players that do justice to our motto and history, I want to see flowing attacking football and I want to see it every week and I want to see it now. Moyes is not delivering this lofty ideal, therefore I’m critical, but critical with a purpose… Given the other circumstances surrounding the club (financial position of the club and of the game in general, injuries to key players, dickheads getting themselves sent off for acting the ‘hard man’ when needed most), I’m invited to wonder sometimes… could anyone else do a better job? z

And let's give credit where credit is due: in the Premier League we are on a winning streak and have had some excellent victories since the New Year. If Mr Moyes takes the flack when we get beat, surely he should take some of the credit when we win. To deny him this would be churlish and a signifier that your arguments are based upon prejudice and not upon reason and observation.

One final point; Michael recently asked one of the contributors to this site ‘how do you feel when Everton win?’ In my final contribution to this debate and site, I’ll sum up how I feel… fuckin' marvellous!

Now let me qualify this, I view football primarily as an aesthetic activity, it’s not called the beautiful game for nothing you know, and in my time I’ve witnessed some beauty not always wearing the blue of Everton. I’ve seen some great players do some great things with the ball and been at Goodison for some of the great occasions.

Last week we beat Blackburn Rovers against all of the odds… there was not much beauty on display but oh the tension, the fighting spirit and the will to win. If you never enjoyed that you’re in the wrong ball park, get yourself to a heart transplant unit at once, ask them to remove the block of granite and replace it with something that beats.

IMIT (In Moyes I Theorise) Ta ra
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (20/2/05)

In defence of Tony Marsh
Michael I personally feel you are a tad harsh with your response to Tony's latest very gentle posting.

This has got to be one of his most subtle postings yet and you still feel the need to admonish his views, he didn't discard the Blackburn result he was happy as every other supporter and fan was. He merely stated what he has stated so many times before that given the money spent and the players available the club could have been so much better off than it currently is and he believes that David Moyes is not the man to do that job.

I think we have all had enough of the polarised battles between Tony Marsh and Kev Sparke and Richard Dodd, this is a site that should be rightly proud of its ability to show all views. Yes, have comments by all means — it's your site — but accept the submissions as they are posted; an individual's perspective.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (19/2/06)

I saw no hint of happiness in Tony's description of how he felt after the Blackburn result, Gavin — only another downside. And that was the only point I wished to make.

I agree with you that we have probably all heard enough of this particular debate: David Moyes is going nowhere and the transfer window is closed for the remainder of the season, so let's just get on with finishing as high as we can in the table.

And we comment selectively to submissions as we see fit — most are accepted and posted with minimal editting, and reflect the individual's prespective. That perspective is not changed by our comments. — Michael

The list is endless!
In response to Mark Joseph and his comments on James McFadden, he is not Alan Shearer but he is not the worst either. He is showing glimpses of what he is capable of; I feel he will continue to improve and, given a decent run in the team, I feel the contract is justified.

Here is a list of players who have pulled on the Everton blue and are not fit to lace McFaddens boots: Mick Ferguson, Alan Biley, Brett Angell, Mikael Madar, Paul Wilkinson, Marcus Bent and many more.
Frank Burrage, Northwich  (19/2/06)

Lowering The Bar
As much as I try, I just don't seem to be able to get my message across to some fans on this website. Some of us are not as easily pleased as others. Some of us want more than we are seeing at the moment. We are still a team fighting in the wrong half of the table after four years of Moyes and his way of doing things. That no one can dispute.

Now, if we were in this position with no money spent, then I wouldn't really have a problem. The thing is, Moyes has spent a right lump of money in the past twelve months and we are not much better off than when he first came here.

I know all managers make mistakes in the transfer market — we are often reminded on this site how Ferguson and Wenger make mistakes etc. But they are bringing in young kids from abroad who just don't handle the Premier League. Moyes buys other teams' crabs from within the Premier league — [players that no one else wants.

But his biggest failing is the players he doesnt sign. Every time Darren Bent slots another quality goal for Charlton, I feel like crying. Imagine him in a blue shirt. Ee had first refusal on him at the end of last season and Moyes didn't want to know. Why? The kid is now one of the top strikers in the country and we could have got him for £3M. He is now a £10M player — easy.

Instead, we got Andy van der Meyde and Simon Davies.... Tell me it's not true! Add Dean Ashton to the list of players who wanted to come here but Dave didn't want.... it's criminal! Scotland's National side are ranked lower than Tonga and New Zealand but they all manage to get a game for us.

I despair when I read things like "Don't you think beating Blackburn with ten men was a great achievement?" Yes, it was... but sadly that is going to be the highlight of a season that should have and could have been so much better.

As many times as we win one nil this season, I will never be in the Moyes camp. David Moyes will always do his best for us but his best will never be good enough.
Tony  Marsh, Liverppol  (19/2/06)

I thought it was a bit too quiet to last... but thanks for answering my question... sort of. So you have successfully turned around the highlight of our season so far — a moment that, for so many fans, captured and epitomized Everton's perennial stuggle against all the forces that are arranged against us — and you cast it as yet another sign of this season's abject failures. Well done, mate. Don't bother answering Part 2: I can just see the sullen expression on your face when we score our solitary goal per game. That is sad. — Michael

I've been an Evertonian since birth in 1960. I've seen the BEST and the WORST of Everton Football Club since 1960 (as a babe in arms). Forgive me,... I have yet to see a player, in all that time, as poor as James McFadden. James McFadden is of the same quality as my mam. Now, I love my mam to bits, but, she has the same skill factor as McFadden and as much as I try, I do not love him to bits! FFS, what are we doing offering him an extra contract?? He is SHITE!
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (19/2/06)

You're being a bit daft; he's better than your mam and you know it. But probably not by much. Still, he is at least at the club, whereas all the other strikers you crave for are not. Furthermore, David Moyes obviously must see something or he wouldn't have signed the lad, and he wouldn't be playing the lad. And I definitely saw something the other week, when he rose, ghost-like, to nod a nice clean header past the best team in the land. Come on now, Mark, admit it: he is better than your mam. — Michael

Thanks to Steve Flanagan
Thanks Steve for a very full, if disappointing, answer. Of course we can always argue that Scottish Leagues don't count!

Is it true that neither Celtic Rangers or Hearts have ever been relegated?
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (18/2/06)

Actually, Brian, no it's not true! It is true that Celtic and Rangers have never been relegated, but I'm afraid Hearts have been relegated on three separate occasions. The first was at the end of the 1976-77 season, after which Hearts immediately came back up! However, the joy was curtailed as Hearts immediately went back down again at the end of the 1978-79 season. Again, Hearts spent just one season out of the top-flight, and were duly rewarded with promotion at the end of the 1979-80 season. However, yet again, they played just one season in the top-flight before being relegated for a third time at the end of 1980-81!! Hearts then spent two years in the "wilderness" before their final promotion was secured in 1982-83. So, as we can see, Hearts have spent the same length of time outside the top-flight as Everton, 4 seasons. — Steve

Switch chaos
I'm amazed no one has shouted out about the complete and utter shambles building a new ground at Switch Island would be.

For God's sake even before the current roadworks which have dragged on for years, the whole traffic system is a complete dogs dinner where most people ignore the box junctions and traffic lights so it's hit and miss whether you can proceed across one of the many junctions because they are blocked or because some idiot is still flying past from your right. If a ground got built there, then I am certain the same blinkered town planner would think of some other hare-brained scheme to introduce a few more lanes and traffic lights, which — going by what they are trying now — would take at least a year to complete if not more.

Do you honestly believe forty thousand football fans plus the regular traffic over the space of say one to two hours max at this junction from hell would be a clever idea????
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (18/2/06)

Bottoms up...
... to Stephen Flanagan for producing those statistics. As someone who spends many hours maintaining a much less detailed statistical database for our local junior association, I fully appreciate the enormous effort you put in. You will no doubt discover as I have that there is always some bloody fool (Damn their hides) who wants more.

Having said that I am sorry Stephen to take on that role by asking, when you speak of years in the Top Flight did you allow for there existing a lower or lesser Flight? Cheers and once again many thanks.
Dick Fearon, Australia  (18/2/06)

Dick, many thanks for the appreciation regarding the statsistics we have produced on here. I'm sure the other Everton statto's fully understand how difficult it is to get some various facts and figures together sometimes. For example, our recent Sky Sports piece has taken, so far, 2 years to collate!! Indeed, Toffeeweb is the first site, as far as I am aware, to carry this kind of analysis for the matches on Sky.

I have also encountered a similar problem when trying to accumulate top flight information, amazing as it may seem. In fact, did you know that, at present, there is no actual official definition of what constitutes a first-class football match? Individual statisticians are required to make their own judgements! It is this kind of basic problem that compounds itself when trying to ascertain things such as which teams have spent the longest time in the top-flight. I agree that getting this kind of information should be easy, but, the majority of countries do not consider amateur leagues in their official statistics, even though the majority of teams in an amateur league may have been involved in the first "top-flight" professional divisions.

An example in point can be seen in Argentina. According to the Argentinian FA, the first ever "league champions" ( i.e. top-flight winners) were Boca Juniors in 1931, however, the best amateur league was first contested in 1891 - 40 years earlier! So, when collating top-flight information I have also included wins in what the majority of local football historians have agreed to be the best "league" in the country concerned. As to whether teams in lesser flights have spent as long, then this will take a very long time to collate! I would expect the answer to be a very low number, seeing as there have been so few leagues in the entire world which have yet to reach 100 seasons themselves, let alone one team in that league! — Steve

Keep Everton In Liverpool
I really hope Everton do not move to outside the city's boundaries (Switch Island) and either redevelop Goodison Park or move to a site preferably somewhere within a short distance of the city centre, such as a dockside location.

Coming from Wallasey, and using public transport like many other fans to watch Everton home and away, the current location is perfect in terms of how long it takes to get there and the price. A lot of grounds, such as the Reebok Stadium, are being built with corporate facilities and good access for people coming to the match in their cars; I am unable to come by car and rely on public transport.

Ultimately, leaving the city's boundaries could leave us the poor relation in the future in terms of investment from the local council and Liverpool FC could have rule of the roost of the city of Liverpool.

Personally, I would like to see us move to a location in the heart of the city instead of moving to another Pride Park and becoming Liverpool's poor relation.
Steven Jones, England  (17/2/06)

A Bit hard, Michael
I think you are a bit hard on Tony Marsh in your comments after his letter. Of course he wants us to win 1-0 rather than lose or draw. But in his own cack-handed way what Mr Marsh is doing is protesting about the meagre diet we're getting. Moyes is tactically able to make us a dificult-to-beat team. He seems totally unable to make us exciting. A win with a goal off Weir's knee is better than losing, but in essence, to quote Danny Blanchflower, the game is about glory.

We (Tony Marsh and I... and I suspect most Evertonians) want to see the present Everton team win in style. Like Tony Marsh, I cannot see the present squad and the present manager delivering much glory — and like him I resent that. Maybe it is an age thing, but what Everton represents to me is winning with style. They have that as a tradition and while I admit Moyes has turned the season round, I don't admire or thrill to the excitement of the present team. Yes, they fought magnificently against Blackburn and I was proud of them, but don't let's kid ourselves that this is a team to challenge the best... or one that is capable of playing in Europe.

Is it wrong of romantics like Tony Marsh to dream of us outplaying another team and scoring three goals in a game?
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (17/2 06)

It's one thing to wish the team would win the odd game by three clear goals.... it's quite another in my book to call the manager a tosser, to call all the players tossers, and to proclaim that idiocy rules at every level of the club. Now... which description best fits the tirades of Mr Marsh? — Michael

Longest ever in the Top Flight
Brian Denton asked the question as to whether Everton have spent more season in the top-flight of their national football league than any other team in the world. I have actually researched this previously and have managed to find an answer, of sorts, in my archives.

Firstly, let's get one fact straight, in that the English league is the oldest league in world football. Plus, as at the end of this season, second place in the English all-time table, in terms of seasons in the top-flight is held by Aston Villa who are currently enjoying their 95th top-flight season. In other words, no other English club will reach 100 top-flight seasons until 2010-11 at the earliest!!

From what I have found on the internet, the following is the small list of clubs who have spent 100 season or more in top-flight football in their respective countries (including the current season):

  • Celtic (Scotland) 109 seasons
  • Rangers (Scotland) 109 seasons
  • Heart of Midlothian (Scotland) 105 seasons
  • Everton (England) 103 seasons
One thing that must be remembered is that the Scottish league was continued during World War I – meaning that if the English league had also continued for these 4 seasons, then Everton would have, in all liklehood, spent 107 seasons in the top-flight – and, therefore, been third on the list. Some people may argue that Everton were not guaranteed to have been in the top flight for these four years, but we must remember that when English league football was halted during the First World War, Everton were League Champions at the time.

Also, from this research I have found that Everton have been in the English top-flight longer than most countries have had professional leagues - and I'm talking about at least 95% of leagues in the World!! This has also taken into account the question posed by Brian, in how long top-flight league have been going. When doing this research, it was taken into account that a number of countries do not count leagues as being top-flight until professionalism was introduced. However, in order to better quantify our lofty position, I have taken into account seasons played by various top-flight teams in what local historians define as their strongest league at the time.
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (17/2/06)

Who is in denial?
I think it mistaken to accuse those who are pleased with a good run of games and who think favourably of Moyes to be "in denial."

Rather I think it may be exactly those who level that charge who are in denial. They still think we are a huge club and one of the automatic top 6. We are still the School of Science, we still smash transer records and build huge new main stands.

Well that's not been the case for a long time and to see a gradual, if small, improvement after years of decline is encouraging to those of us who have seen the real picture over the last 20-odd years.

There is a classic pyschological game played by the depressed that keeps them firmly buried in their depression called: "Why don't you?...... Yes but....". Some contributors are fine players of this.

Imagine if we got an investor with significant wealth.

"Isn't it brilliant?"
"Yes but..."
"We've bought a new stadium!"
"Yes but..."
... etc etc.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (17/2/06)

Response to Brian Denton's hypothesis
I used to be a fairly keen statto but have slowed down considerably on that front in recent years. I'm fairly sure all the continental leagues started in the early years of the 20th century, similarly in South America. The only one I'm sure about is the Spanish league which started as late as 1928-29 season. The civil war curtailed the activity during 3 seasons, so the 3 ever presents, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, are currently competing in their 75th top flight season.

I'm, again, fairly sure the German and Italian leagues, for example, started earlier in the century. They were, however, equally affected by the two world wars. In conclusion, I think, as the editor says, any threat to our claim to being the team with most years of 'top flight' football will come from north of the border. I agree that it is worth proving and, once proven, shouted from the roof tops. I'll be back.
Jimmy Martin, Alicante, Spain  (17/2/06)

We did get a reply on this from the man himself, Steve Flanagan. See above — Michael

Middle of the road
In reply to Tony Marsh (sorry, I really do promise this is the very last time), I have never stated I am perfectly happy wth the way this season has gone. My own personal views lie somewhere in the middle in relation to Moyes. Yes, he has made mistakes but he also deserves credit for what he has achieved. Some people would appear to go way over the top in either direction and Tony Marsh is one of them.

Waving your credentials around (age, amount of games etc) whilst complaining that everyone associated with the club is a 'tosser' or Moyes the messiah isn't exactly meaningful. I suspect the vast majority of blues currently inhabit this middle ground and not the cloud cuckoo land of some corresondents on here who think Moyes should be shot or given the freedom of the city.
Steve  Connor, Liverpool  (16/2/06)

Ok, I've always given him the benefit of the doubt but....

Rooney told the Daily Mirror: "I've no regrets whatsoever about joining United. I love the club, I love the fans. And even if I could go back in time, I'd make the same decision 10 out of 10 times."

Now he can go fuck himself! That hurts... at least the money has helped us!
Michael Parrington, Melbourne, Australia  (17/2/06)

Confessions of an Everton fan
Was just reading Tony Marsh's confessional piece and in one way I'm dissappointed he finally tried to be a bit conciliatory but I know where he's coming from :)

Michael asked what his thoughts are when Everton do actually win. Well, I suspect it goes someting along the lines of, 'Thank fuck for that! Another terrible match to watch but we've got 3 points and I don't have to worry about relgation so much, nor getting the piss taken outta me at work.'

Which, as you have probably guessed, is remarkably similar to how I feel when we win. I don't actually get much satisfaction out of the performances, just relief... which I think is pretty sad considering how much money Moyes has spent (and yes I know it's not a lot compared to Chelsea, but there are still a lot of managers who would like to waste the same amount).

Yes, you could say I'm expecting too much and I'm lucky to have seen decent teams in the past but I still expect a bit more thought being put into how we play.

(ps: Mr Marsh didn't pay me to write this)
Aplankofwood Withanailinit, UK  (17/2/06)

Meet in the middle?
I think now that we are 'somewhere in the middle' between our initial aspirations and our final expectations for this season, then Kev Sparke and Tony Marsh should agree to disagree on most issues.

Maybe they could meet up at Richard Dodd's birthday party and have a drink. It's bound to be a brilliantly sunny day and all the glasses will be full to brimming!!
Neil Scott  (17/2/06)

Shock as TM admits Moyes is great!!!
"After the final whistle had blown on last season's games, I — like every other Evertonian — thought, THIS IS IT: WE ARE ON THE MARCH; THE TEAM, THE CLUB... IT'S GREAT! I can't wait for next season and Champions League football..."

Remind me again... who was in charge of the team when you felt so uplifted? Admit it, you just don't like him because he's got red hair...

Personally, I felt a bit worried about Everton's prospects after the Arsenal result... But you felt...

"THIS IS IT: WE ARE ON THE MARCH; THE TEAM, THE CLUB... IT'S GREAT! I can't wait for next season and Champions League football..."

So... just who is the over-optimist Tony?
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (16/2/06)

First of all, hats off to Steve Flanagan. A terrific piece of work that must have taken some doing. Yes, the results can be analysed in a number of different ways..which could render it as inconclusive. However, in an age where TV revenue has become key, I viewed the appearances with equal interest.

It goes to show that, in spite of how they purport themselves to be the purveyors of world class entertainment, Sky's only true achievement is to have made the strong stronger and broadened the gulf between the haves and the have-nots.

Probably explains why the league, in competition terms, has merely become a southern version of the SPL.
James McPherson, Liverpool  (16/2/06)

Sad but true.

In A Nutshell
How hard is it to get through to some people on this site? Take Ste Summers and Steve Connor for instance. What is it that has made these two so happy this season? After the final whistle had blown on last season's games, I — like every other Evertonian — thought, this is it: we are on the march; the team, the club... it's great! I cant wait for next season and Champions League football; loads of new signings, a new striker, etc etc etc.

< If you are happy with what has followed since then you are both in serious denial. We don't even make the CL group stages and get bombed out of the Uefa cup by some Romanian peg sellers at the first hurdle!!!

Moyes, being the genius that he is, doesn't sign any players with genuine pace or goal-scoring ability and as for the new striker... Ha, Ha!! — don't make me laugh.

It's now mid-February and we are out of both domestic cups in the early rounds and in the bottom half of the league with a goal difference that would look great on a Tiger Woods score card: -15. Surely you don't think that this season we have showed signs of being a club moving forward?

David Moyes is at fault for all our problems. He had the money and wasted it. He didnt have the foresight to see what would be required to compete at the highest levels in club football. He did not or could not attract the players that were required at the time and foolishly thought that the team which limped across the finishing line the previous season would be good enough. Our one shot at the big time came and went so quickly — and the whole of the country just laughed at us.

As for most Evertonians, we just carried on going to the game, all our hopes and dreams destroyed. What good did a fourth-place finish do us in the end? We didn't capitalise on the opportunities that were before us — and I blame Moyes.

I am no longer going to get into the "Moyes is crap"; "Moyes is great" arguements — what's the point? ... facts dont lie. At least there are two Evertonians with smiles on their faces out there saying, "Nice one, Davey; what a great job you have done."

Me, I will make my way to St James's Park next week to watch a mid-table nothing game, like the gobshite I am, thinking to myself: "Moyes, YOU TOSSER! Where's our season gone???"

As for talk of Europe again this season... PLEASE, STOP IT! What do you think would happen this time around? The way Moyes sets his stall out, we would be fodder for any half-decent side. No pace, no strikers, no tactics... nah, I dont wanna go through all that again.

My opinions on Moyes are my own and I am not asking anyone to share them — I am just airing them on a website so don't take it personally, lads. Maybe you are just like those moths who fly in to the flame... they always get burned.
Tony  Marsh, Liverppol  (16/2/06)

I'd have trouble disagreeing with you over anything you've said about Moyes and his failings. And yet I can begin to understand where the like of Pat Beesely and others are coming from: You're a manic depressive. How you could possibly derive any pleasure from going to watch the tosser and his team of tossers really does beggar belief.

Rather than delivering to us yet another Moyes tirade (I had to laugh when I read this bit: 'I am no longer going to get into the "Moyes is crap"; "Moyes is great" arguements — what's the point?'), why not regail us with a detailed description of how you react when one of our players actually manages to score a goal, how it makes you feel when we actually manage to win a game in which all the odds are stacked against us. Go, on, do us a favour and tell us exactly how you feel about Everton (Not about Moyes) at times like that. — Michael

Go for it!
Who gives a shit whether a new Everton stadium is technically outside the Liverpool City boundary — at least we won`t have to keep mentioning that word when telling European opponents where we`re from!

If there is a real chance of us getting a new home at such a readilly accessable venue, then let`s go for it and not be such Luddites as we have been in the past. And, by the way, being in Salford hasn`t exactly done much to harm Manchester United`s image has it?
Don Mason, Aintree  (16/2/02)

Hmmm... I see the Switich Island site is very close to, er... Aintree!!! I wonder if perhaps your view is tainted by just a modicum of self-interest! — Michael

Rich list, poor reality
After reading Keith Wyness's comments on how well run the club is, I'm tempted to believe him and be sure of Everton Football Club's future. The reality, though, is a lot harsher. An aging ground, a paper-thin squad and a small transfer budget suggests that things are not so rosy despite being 18th on the rich list! Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics!!!
Luq Yus, London  (16/02/06)

Sky Perceptions
Very interesting work from Mr Flanagan. I know I have had the perception that we always lose whenever we're on Sky. It must've taken a lot of work collating all those stats!

Unfortunately I can't help feeling the stats are a bit meaningless as they are. Yes, they show we've performed poorly in front of the Sky cameras, but we've performed poorly in general since Sky invented football.

If you look at our overall Premiership record, using a similar analysis to Stephen, we have a "success" of 45.96% (compared to 42.31% in front of the cameras). Similarly our overall home "success" is 55.82% (compared to 50.00%) and away it is 36.09% (compared to 35.37%).

So, it would suggest we perform slighlty worse in front of the cameras that we have done in general Premiership matches. This could be explained if most of our televised games are against clubs who have out-performed us since the start of the Premiership, like Manchester United and Liverpool. That is, more of our televised games are against top-of-the-table sides, who we are less likely to beat anyway. I don't have Stephen's commitment to look into this, though.
Iwan Evans  (16/2/06)

Well, the perception that "we always lose whenever we're on Sky" was wrong in a literal sense from our first win, but I think your point is accurate. The figures do demonstrae a propensity for us to be shown losing... but the difference is actually pretty slim.

And steve adds this regarding your comment: "Unfortunately I can't help feeling the stats are a bit meaningless as they are." — The spin in the intro piece, was entirely mine, by the way. — Michael

True, but my main reason for collating the stats was in terms of general interest for Evertonians. I was not attempting to say that we perform worse in Sky matches than in non-Sky matches - if I did then my apologies, it was not meant to be that way.

Once I've collated everything (hopefully soon), I will look at putting together an article showing our reords against individual teams in live matches and in all Premier League matches. This may show that we perform better in live matches against "lower" teams but worse against "top" teams - but obvisouly I won't know this until the analysis is done. — Steve

Statto Question
Hypothesis: Everton have spent more seasons in the top flight than any other club in the world.

If this is true, we need to go about proving it.

  • Step 1: find out how long the top flights (reasonable definition required) have been running around the world.
  • Step 2: consider only those which have been running longer than Everton's top flight total.
  • Step 3: establish what the top flight club record is in the handful of leagues left over.
It's not going to be easy...but the prize could be great. We could perhaps even proclaim it in our publicity - you never know!
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (16/2/06)

Since the Football League (and its successors) constitute the oldest league in the world, and Everton are just four shy in terms of top-flight presence, it shouldn't be that hard.... should it? I'd be worried about Rangers or Celtic and a few other Scottish clubs though... — Michael

Great to be an Evertonian
What a great time to be an Evertonian! We`re enjoying a fabulous run on the pitch and now news of our elevation to Football`s Rich List. As one of the many who have ABSOLUTE faith in Kenwright, Wyness and Moyes to move us on to new levels, I hope that soon the grudging praise the trio get via your site will soon change to deserved acclaim.

And before you start aiming your tasteless dementia accusations at yet another of the correspondents who keep you in business, may I add that I celebrate my 30th birthday on Sunday!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (16/2/06)

"Keep us in business"? That would imply we make any money! Anyway, a quick point of order here, Richard so that we maintain some perspective. While billed informally as football's "Rich List", the Deloitte Top 20 is ranked by turnover (i.e. gross revenue). Everton may have pulled in £60m last year, but the net profit was a meagre £100K. We still have significant long-term debt (the amount secured againts gate receipts probably still stands at something like £25m alone) and are anything but "rich". Lyndon

Grey Power
Hey there Garry you young whipper Snipper, lighten up a bit on us old codgers or I'll come over and box your ears with a didgeriedoo.
Dick Fearon, Australia  (16/2/06)

That's not how you spell 'didgeridoo', ya daft old bugger :) -- Michael

Fair enough but don't blow too hard! You're not as young as you were! :P -- Garry

Out of Town Blues
Let's hope the more recent Echo story is also the more accurate. The thought of leaving our rightful home in the City of Liverpool is alarming enough, but the prospect of further destroying precious green belt to make way for an all new "Matalan Theatre of Affordable Dreams" style stadium is simply too awful to countenance. Have you visited one of these out of town stadia? However comfortable, they're depressingly bland and characterless. It's like going for a date at one of those wretched multiplex cinemas, or a romantic overnight stop at a Travel Lodge. (Apologies to all who did just that last night.)

A drive-through burger, a swift pint at a chain pub, then off to the ground for some choreographed chanting, a la Nuremburg.

Hail the future!
Steve Rooney, Leicester  (15/2/06)

I'll agree that Bolton's Reebok Stadium is a classic example of what you just described; however, Old Trafford has evolved into an almost 'Out of Town' stadium too, so these things can work when done correctly!

Being a fairly regular matchgoer though, I'd love to have somewhere safe to park my car and not have to wait in a traffic jam for an hour and a half to go 50 yards down a narrow street with parked cars either side just to get onto the main road. Let's hope the club can find something in-between. -- Garry

I've looked at a few views about which defensive lineup we should go for with Yobo being back. It's a difficult point, and both points of view have merit.

The traditionalists would say 'don't change a winning team' and would pick Weir and Stubbs, however, the futurists would say 'what about the future' and pick Yobo and Ferrari.

I think it really depends on who we play and what Everton want to achieve this year. Do we want to challenge for Europe or do we want to build for the future?

Whatever, I'm sure Moyes is mindful of the long term future as he's brought in a much younger squad than he inherited. I'm quite sure that he's also mindful of the immediate future and what a European place would mean to Everton Football Club.

For the future I'm quite sure it will be Yobo and Ferrari, but in the short term that might not suit the Club and managers aspirations.
Michael Parrington, Melbourne, Australia  (15/2/06)

Intertoto cup
I just don't see the logic putting our name into the hat for this competition. We have got a small squad and I can't see many players being added in the summer. So when the players should be winding down, we could be playing extra games.
Brian  Waring, Shrewsbury  (15/2/06)

I happen to agree Brian. It's a bit much for an already small squad (currently) containing Valente, Pistone, Weir, Stubbs and Ferguson to add another month to their season. With that said, the format for the competition has apparently changed, meaning fewer games. -- Garry

Have your say on Everton's Intertoto Application in our Forum.

Perhaps David Moyes realizes that part of the problem last August was a lack of European experience. We certainly came over as a bunch of neophytes on a stage that was too big for us. Perhaps the revamped Intertoto culd be more our size? — Michael

Sorry Yobo
I see the great debate of the moment centres on Everton's ideal central defensive pairing. No doubt the statto merchants can disprove it but my recollection is that we are always most vulnerable when Yobo is present. Although he has many positive qualities and undoubtedly has pace, his presence seems to have a negative effect on every other partner he plays with. Prone to horrendous lapses in concentration, Weir, Stubbs and Ferrari have all tended to look after his arse when paired with him.

Perhaps someone could do the figures over last and this season to see if I am right at least as far as results are concerned.
Howard Belling, Whiston  (15/2/06)

It'd be an interesting article if we could get the stats on this but I'm inclined to think that Yobo's mistakes are more noticable because he's always around when they're made ... rather than 10 or 15 yards behind the play like our other defenders -- Garry

Don't Patronise 2
Dear Mr Editor, your response to my previous posting shows that you are as intolerant as the correspondent to whom I referred. I was not seeking to use my age as a weapon, only to respond in context to Mr Corneille's suggestion that all who do not see Moyes as the second coming should 'grow up.'

Given that, like him, you can do without the opinions of us older folk whom you indicate may be on the threshold of dementia, I shall, in future, resist all urge to contribute to your site which I guess will please you and your columnist very well!

And to think you refer so easily to free speech and China!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (15/02/06)

Given that you're supposedly of advancing years I think you've just spat your dummy out quite spectacularly. I think any article contributed to this site has to be read through the same eyes as one would read the latest Jeremy Clarkson column in the Daily Mail - water off a duck's back. Taking personal offence at comments made by professional or amateur journalists is, you'll forgive me for saying, a bit childish? -- Garry

Van der Meyde
As great a player as this guy looks on paper, I don't believe he will play enough games in a row to actually make an impact we all would hope for. Injuries follow some players and ruin their career. I believe the money spent on him would have been better spent on an up and coming young talent.
Jerome Esterhazy, Adelaide, Australia  (15/2/06)

Yet Duncan Ferguson will go down an Everton legend... -- Garry

I took umbrage with what I thought was an overly smug summation of recent events in the mailbag recently. Imagine my reaction when I read Laurent Corneiles piece! Thankfully Harry Meek has saved me having to write another letter pointing out distorted statements and opinion passed as fact.

I do have one point to make though. Why do both the MOB & IMWT camps lay claim to an inherent majority? I think it's far more likely that both camps are actually in the minority! Like a general election, both extremes have a hard core of support but its the people in the middle that decide who keeps a job and who loses theirs. FYI Laurent & Tony Marsh - I think the "silent majority" lie in an entirely different camp altogether. The "jury is still out on Moyes" camp.

Moyes has done well at some times, poorly in others. I reckon most Evertonians are still making their mind up whether Moyes is the second coming of Howard Mk I or the second coming of Howard Mk III. I really can't decide which he is, nor do I have a clue as to what he might eventually turn out to be. Things are very seldom black and white, it's usually shades of grey, and our esteemed manager is a textbook case. Things aren't as polarised as they appear to either camp, thats my point.

BTW - I think Alex Ferguson enjoyed success because he inherited one of the most talented groups of youngsters to come together in the English game. {And was canny/fortunate/lucky enough to hold onto them} The slow departure of aforementioned generation seems to have coincided with a fall in the fortunes of ManUre. I feel it had little or nothing to do with the fact he had been there for four years. Moyes doesn't have a similiar group coming through, so I wouldn't expect an upturn in fortunes because of his length of service.
David Caldwell, Wrexham  (15/2/06)

Man Utd
I don't normally write stuff on here, just chuckle at the rest of the messages... but didn't Alex Ferguson nearly get relegated and sacked before his amazing run of titles etc, and I'm sure it took him 4 years...
Lee Howard, Napier, New Zealand  (15/2/06)

Does that mean every manager has the potential to do a 'Ferguson'... if only you can get them over the four-year hump? Hmmm... I suspect there may just be more to it that that. — Michael

Don`t patronise me, Laurent!
Why are so many Evertonians intolerant of fellow supporters`s views if they do not co-incide exactly with their own? Your fan commentator, Laurent Corneille, invites all who continue to have reservations about David Moyes — in spite of recent results — to `Grow up`. How patronising of one`s fellows can you be?

As one who has criticised Moyes in the past — and will no doubt do so again unless his performance in the transfer market improves 100% — I am happy to hand out the plaudits to all who contribute to performances like last Saturday`s but I do not subscibe to the now widely held view that everything is AOK with `Team Everton`.

One glance at our `goals for` record continues to show that little or nothing has been done to address a crying deficiency in that department — and we can scream blue murder all season about reffing decisions that go against us but all other teams constantly regard themselves as victims in the same way!

Anybody who pays the entrance money to watch the Blues has the right to make judgements on Moyes and his team and to express them sensibly and forcibly in or on any forum available to them. OK, so a few go over the top, but so what? I don`t expect they cause Moyes & co to lose much sleep and where would the game be if it didn`t provoke arguement?

So, for the record, Mr Corneille, I grew up many years ago — almost certainly before you did — and I am still not convinced by Mr Moyes. So is Rainhill, or possibly the Tower, your next step for me?
Harry  Meek, Worcester  (14/2/06)

Nice one, Harry... I was with you until you started pulling that ageist shit at the end. I am sorely tempted to ban any ageism stuff from the mailbag altogether as I think it detracts from the point people are making — their age can cloud the issue. And using your advanced age as some way of invoking added wisdom or authority ain't gonna cut it either, I'm afraid. This is not China, and we know all about senile dementia! — Michael

National Bramley Apple Week!!!!
Someone asked about Andy van der Meyde's whereabouts in the mailbag recently... for those unlucky few (million) that don't buy the match programme, here's an extract from Saturday's...

"Everton's Andy van der Meyde and ladies first team players, Amy McCann and Danielle Hill joined local schoolchildren this week to take part in celebrating National Bramley Apple Week"....the article went on to include a "great recipe for Oatey Bramley Crumble"...

What the fuck! This raises many questions; is it April 1st? Why the hell do I buy the programme? Isn't there more productive ways for our £25k a week salary to be spent? Hasn't van der (ginerbread) man already had one too many apple crumble's for our liking anyway? Am i trivialising the pages of ToffeeWeb's mail bag?

Thank fuck Saturday's match was good otherwise I would have been tempted to read the whole article.... anyhow this got me thinking - what other weeks/occasions our hero's will be celebrating, all for the sake of filling up the match programme...(these are all real events by the way):

  • May - Be Nice to Nettles week, hosted by Duncan Ferguson
  • July - International Bog Day, James McFadden
  • September - Red Squirrel Week, David Moyes
  • October - Feed the Birds Day, probably half the youth team in town on a Saturday night
  • October - Make A Difference Day, Richard Wright (usually doesn't)
  • December, Festival of Winter Walks, Alessandro Pistone (I'd wish he'd take one)

James Ford, London  (14/2/06)

Spot on, James. I used to be an avid Programme reader but the drivel that now fills those glossy pages is seriously lacking in substance. I finally weaned myself off The Evertonian and I think I'm better for it. When the amount of real information in the Matchday Programme finally reaches zero, I should be able to cancel that too. As one example, the day whem the programme would carry full match details, teamsheets, results, tables and player features for the reserves and academy players are long gone.... perhaps in recognition of the shrinking importance this vital section of the club once was — at least as a nice little earner on the side... — Michael

As a 40-year-old Evertonian, I am used to the downs and ups of following the Blues. This is the first time I've written to any any publication (electronic or print), but I felt the time was right.

I've lived in Spain for 13 years now but keep abreast of all things Everton. The fact is, a month ago, every Evertonian would have been made up with West Ham's win against Birmingham last night. Today, however, how many of us can say we're not disappointed that Birmingham didn't get a result?

I'm not saying we're in with a realistic chance of Europe, and I'm not particularly happy about the football we play, but everything is relative. The (realistic) prospect of a top-10 finish doesn't fill me with elation but it does satisfy me. Three out of four seasons in the top half would be progress when you compare it to our recent past. Obviously if we continually compare it to the great teams of Kendall and harp on about the School of Science, of course it's not good enough. But if you know your history, you should know that it is history and be aware of footballing present.
Jimmy Martin, Alicante, Spain  (14/2/06)

Mart Poom; good experienced keeper; excellent a few years back, when we were linked with him permanently, although he has looked dodgy in the Arsenal reserve highlights I have seen this year. I suppose his inability to remove Lehman and Almunia from No 1 and No 2 says a lot, however beggars can't be choosers.

With regards to the central defensive question, which is a good one by the way: I can't believe I am saying this but it has to be Weir and Stubbs (Moyes will agree too); Yobo and Ferrari definitely for next season. Also with Hibbert out who will play right back at Newcastle? Options.... Yobo, Ferrari, Neville (with Carsley coming in to centre mid, he likes a free kick up there). Interesting one...
Richard Williams, York  (14/2/06)

Moving goalposts
Nice to see Tony Marsh hasn't let anything as problematic as unbeaten runs and decent results cloud his judegement. I have long since taken to ignoring his postings in the same way I avoid the gaze of drunken tramps on the bus back from town. However, you know the deal.... sometimes you just can't help a sneaky look and bam...eye contact is made, you're stuck listening to a a cycle of soul destroying, repetitive garbage until you have to get off four stops early. I will give Tony his due, though: he avoids being too repetitive by simply shifting the goalposts of his arguments everytime fact or others opinions get in his way.

Earlier in the season he was telling us all that relegation was an absolulutely certain, that Moyes had lost the dressing room etc. No mention of this now of course. Instead it's dissasfaction wih our style of victory, claims that finishing fourth is a waste of time and the absolutely absurd implication that Walter Smith was in some way responsible for this success anyway.

He tops it all off with a new line of argument, namely that managers such as Jewell and Pardew are light years ahead of Moyes and all without spending any money! How does Tony think Wigan have steamrolleed their way into the Premier League? It is a well-known fact they have had plenty of money to spend over the last five years. Oh, and that Paul Jewell has led two of the teams he managed to relegation.

As for Pardew, he finished sixth in the Championship, something Moyes has done twice before. He was also the victim of a concerted campaign to have him sacked as West Ham manager for most of last year, before his success in the play-offs. Oh and he has just spent £7M on one player, beating Everton's transfer record in the process.

Tony complains that all he wants is to express his opinion. Fair enough, but it is because the stuff he writes in is ill-informed, ill-conceived and tainted with biasthat he gets criticised, not because he has an opinion.
Steve Connor, Liverpool  (14/02/06)

I'm interested to know at point an opinion you disagree with becomes "ill-informed, ill-conceived and tainted with bias"... I think we've proved that this whole thing is highly subjective depending on one's viewpoint. Condemning the opposing viewpoint with objective terms like this may sound high-brow and give you an air of superioriy but it would be more honest if both camps would simply admit they hold different opinions, and will never see eye to eye. End. — Michael

Turners Red Card
Maybe we didn't appeal against the decision so we could get an emergency goalkeeper in with more experience for a month, by which time Nigel Martyn should be back.... Moyes playing the system maybe??

And no, I'm not saying Turner got sent off on his orders.....
Daniel Ford, Newcastle Upon Tyne  (14/2/06)

Future Centre-rocks
I really think the partnership in central defence has to Yobo and Ferrari for this season — and for the forseeable future! It's tough on Stubbsy in particular as he has been outstanding but eventually we have to look towards the future and the future is the Yo and the Ferrari sports!!! Weir is finished as far as I'm concerned and Moyes really has to sign Ferrari asap. Especially with Roma flying at the moment and a European adverture with them might tempt him back as opposed to mid-table slumber.

And a little note to Moyes and the boys; Well done, lads and Moyes. Although I hate Moyes's style of play and mad team selections, when you get the team to graft like that, it makes me proud to be an Evertonian!
Luq Yus, London  (14/2/06)

Admitting your mistakes
A few thoughts regarding the Krøldrup affair. Of course it's bad management to spend a fortune on a player who turns out to be something less than the real deal. Selling him back to Italy so quickly for less than the original fee doesn't seem good business. However, one of the signs of true greatness in a manager is to admit when you were wrong. In this respect DM has shown that by biting the bullet quickly he has at least got guts.

Compare this to Souness at the barcodes. Having paid greatly over the odds for Boumsong he must have realised ages ago that the lad was a duffer — and a lazy one at that. Souness stuck with him to the end when everyone could see that he was out of his depth. By admitting his mistake DM has shown everyone that he can take decisions — he may be ultra-cautious but not stupid.

Bringing Stubbs back to replace PK must have been an equally bold decision but it had to be done and has for now paid off. We will still need to replace Weir and Stubbs of course — but then that's what DM gets paid for.

On the other hand, when Dunc makes a mistake (or maybe getting a six-week holiday isn't one) we don't hear even a whisper from the big man. This business of not talking to the press is ridiculous for a grown man. He owes the supporters and the club an apology for his latest stupidity and should look to Beattie as an example of how a professional not only admits mistakes but learns from them.
Mick Nolan, Lincolnshire  (14/2/06)

Five Straight Games
Regardless of injury and suspensions getting in the way, I would love to see the following team line-up for Everton for 5 consecutive matches:

  • Martyn in goal - what a fantastic buy, hope our next keeper is as good.
  • Hibbert at Right Back - consistent and the best we've got.
  • Yobo & Ferrari centre backs - so much potential - got to give them a chance to develop an understanding.
  • Valente at left back - proved himself and gives us european experience.
  • Van der Meyde on the left - that's why Moyes bought him.
  • Cahill and Arteta in the middle - a great balance of styles and talent between the two.
  • Davies on the right - isn't that why Moyes bought him?
  • Depending on who we are playing I believe in either, Osman - pushing forward as an attacking option, OR Carsley - gives us a solid and reliable defensive option.
  • Beattie upfront - has done enough to warrant a place infront of a plethora of EFC strikers (no sarcasm intended).

On the bench a choice of Neville, Vaughan, McFadden and Kilbane and insert backup goalie here. Whilst I understand this team does not guarantee a level of chemistry or fight needed to be successful, I still feel that they have the potential to play good football and win games.
Jerome Esterhazy, Adelaide, Australia  (14/2/06)

Welcome to Championship Manager!

Centre backs
The difference between August-December form & January-February form can only be explained by conspiracy theory. Why did the mid-field suddenly start tackling again, Cahill scoring again? But think about the solidity introduced by Weir/Stubbs/Ferrari. I seem to remember that, two seasons ago, injuries in the centre-back positions stalled progress. Shouldn't Yobo be in front of the back four until he's mature enough to be like Lucas Radebe? With Phil Neville and him floating aroung midfield, plus Carsley if he can regain his old form, that gives plenty of scope for those moving forward from midfield.
Dave Tootill, Johannesburg, South Africa  (13/2/06)

Turner Red Card
Can someone please explain why Everton failed to lodge an appeal against Turner's red card before the noon deadline today?

The law is clear on this, as covered on both MOTD and the EFC web site. Unless the goalie denied a clear goalscoring opportunity, he did not have to be sent off.

Mr Moyes's current paranoia regarding the FA should not have prevented the club from appealing.
Paul Johnson, Oxton  (13/2/06)

Central Defenders!
Yobo is back but does he go straight back into the side? Ferrari has been showing some form lately but it's Weir and Stubbs who keep out goals. What is Everton's best central-defender partnership? Here's how I see it:-

Not the most fashionable partnership and certainly lacking pace but somehow it works. Last season it was the rock upon which Champions League football was gained. Since being reunited, the older duo have only conceded one goal in four games. For some reason Weir seems to look more comfitable when partnered with Stubbs. Maybe this is cause the duo are of the same age, pace and experience?

This was the partnership used for most of this season. In fairness it hasn't really worked. Three 4-0 defeats and relegation form speak volumes. Yobo (apart from a couple of mistakes) has looked outstanding but for some reason Weir never looks comfitable and is regulary exposed for his lack of pace alongside Yobo, something which isn't so obvious when Weir is alongside his old pal Stubbs.

Out of the four central defenders I would say Yobo and Stubbs are the best individual players but their partnership has never really been given much of a run. Personally I feel they have the most potential as a partnership. Stubbs hopefully wouldn't be made to look bad playing next to Yobo, something which Weir has suffered frequently.

Many of the fans would argue that this duo would be the better partnership. Certainly they have pace which the vetrans lack and it could be a team which could last for seasons to come but the partnership is so far untested. Considering the form Everton are in I doubt Moyes would be willing to drop the experience of both Stubbs and Weir.

Not likely considering Yobo is Everton's best defender and Weir is the Captain. Its a shame because Ferrari has been showing potential but if he spends the rest of the season on the bench his Everton career will expire along with his loan date.

Chelsea 4-1 Everton. Nuff said.

So what do the rest of you think should be Everton's Central Defence team?
Dutch Schaeffer  (13/2/06)

Whilst I welcome talk of a new ground, let's not give the shower the right to call themselves the only team in Liverpool.
Andy Hegan, Liverpool  (13/2/06)

Tough decisions needed
A very welcome change in fortunes but it now presents Moyes with a dilemma. The recent reverse was initiated by his decision to partner Yobo with Ferrari who incidentally was outstanding together with Hibbert against Chelsea. Circumstances since have dictated a return to the old rear guard. However the visit to the Geordies presents us with a very different game. Personally I believe we must go with youth although injuries and suspensions will almost certainly dictate that Ferrari plays at right back assuming he is fit. Moyes I hope will make the decision to partner Yobo with either Weir or Stubbs
Gerry Western, London  (13/2/06)

The Enlightening Kev Morris
Some patronising comments in there {"Davey Boy", "I think even you know the answer."} but I will ignore that. Because on the whole, your letter was an enormous improvement over the last one!

It's always more interesting reading Evertonians views of Everton, rather than Evertonians views of other Evertonians. Your first message seemed to be a smug "fuck you" to anyone who doesn't share your opinion of Moyes. Your last effort concentrated on why you have a positive opinion of Moyes.

That was what made your letter interesting and enlightening. As it happens I agree with a few of your points. {We'll have to agree to disagree regarding JR though}.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your contributions and opinions on the Blues - if they're in the same vein as your last effort that is.
David Caldwell  (13/2/06)

Goals scored.....almost!
It's obvious that the god(s) of football are against us this season but can someone tell me how many goals we have had disallowed? I'm beginning to think it's probably more than Chelsea have scored in all competitions!
Brian McIver, Australia  (14/2/06)

The club should receive special dispensation to loan a keeper when injuries/suspensions have hit. Whether Moyes blew it with his measured comments regarding the FA will remain to be seen.

Wright and Turner are definitely out; sounds like Martyn will be struggling (he must be pretty bad). I think he should start with Ruddy and have an experienced loan keeper on the bench (not Russel Hoult but someone of that ilk). I may be wrong but who remembers Espen Baardsen? I do — I was there unfortunately!
Richard Williams, York  (13/2/06)

Crystal Balls 2
The reason I put forward the point about Joseph Yobo is because he will only have 1 year left on his contract at the end of the season.

He will still have some transfer value and no doubt he could command a higher rate of pay via a transfer to a club that CAN and DO pay more than Everton. Most significamtly we cannot afford to allow him to let his contract run down.

Do any of us expect loyalty from footballers, managers or those in the boardroom? Look forward to the summer and "enjoy" the spin.

Of course I hope I am wrong.
MIke Dunne, Toxteth  (13 /2/06)

If ever there was a sign that James McFadden is not good enough for the Premiership, it was watching him blast that ball against the crossbar. It's a shame because you get the feeling McFadden has the potential to be a good player but is his own worst enemy.

It's a similar situation with Dickie Wright, could be a decent player but falling out of lofts and tripping over signs are a clear indication that he's just never gonna make it at Everton.

I wonder how Iain Turner feels? Joy at making his Everton debut but despair at conceding four goals against Chelsea, Joy at making his Premiership debut but despair at being sent off 9 minutes into it. Has he had a good week or a shitty week?

One thing's for sure: a 19-year-old called John has had a Ruddy good week.
Ducth Schaeffer  (13/2/06)

Moyes is a promising young manager
First of all I am an Everton fan, I am chuffed that we've put together a great winning run and after four years I have doubts about Moyes's ability to take us further than being dour 1-0 battlers. See, it can be said and done, it is possible!

The reason why I look at this site is precisely because it isn't full of idiots telling people to go and support another club, just because you dare to criticise Moyes. I think we're all entitled to our opinions and still be 'true' Evertonians.

An interesting table in last Saturday's independent showed that out of all the British managers in the Premiership, only Ferguson and the three promoted managers had a bigger average points tally than Moyes.

My consistent view has been that Moyes is a promising young manager, learning the job. He is neither the genius that some claim him to be, nor the idiot others claim him to be. The interesting fact is that — while his detractors point out the dull football, the inability to buy strikers, the flip-flop transfer policy, the inability to deal with going a goal down, the near-paranoia regarding playing young players — his supporters seem to drone on about 'finishing seventh and fourth, he's brilliant, he's God, he's the best cos he is', etc. Let's hear some rational, long-term, forward thinking pro-Moyes arguments, please!

Right now I think Moyes is among the best of the British managers who can cobble together a reasonably organised side that doesn't give much away and can pinch a few wins. God knows there's plenty of 'em! So if we're going to carry on in our skint state, let's stick with him for the sake of stability. Of course in an ideal world, we'd get some serious investment and find someone from abroad who can actually get the team playing real Everton football. Over to you Blue Bill!

By the way, am I the only Evertonian who would gladly take an FA Cup win over an artless struggle to finish fourth, two CL qualifying games and then humiliation in the Uefa Cup?
Paul Tran, Kendal  (13/2/06)

I don't think I have ever witnessed a performance as bad a the referee's on Saturday afternoon. His assistant on the Bullens Road side was just as bad. It wasn't docuented in the press (besides the NoTW who called his display "shocking" — thanks.) because we won. Had we been called Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea the twat would have been up before the FA this week.

The game has gone now and it will all be forgotten but I feel it needs pointing out that these two men should never referee at this level, or any level for that matter, ever again. Games, at this point of the season, can often decide fates. Its fortunate for us we aren't still in the relegation mire, but this man was so unashamed in his decisions it defied belief.

I would love for the FA to do the right thing for once and sit for 90 (PLUS 4??) minutes and watch Saturdays game in its entirety. They should then hang the referee and his assistant by their bollocks.
Phil Burkert, Liverpool  (13/2/05)

Chelsea v Everton II
Yup, I should have cheked my facts before. Chelsea have played us 3 times this year. You know what though, Chelsea have never won the game after playing Everton. The following is from the Soccernet site:

Sun 23 Everton 1 - 1 Chelsea 36,042 Premiership
Wed 26 Chelsea 1 - 1 Charlton 42,198 Carling Cup

Sat 28 Everton 1 - 1 Chelsea 29,742 FA Cup
Wed 1 Aston Villa 1 - 1 Chelsea 38,562 Premiership

Wed 8 Chelsea 4 - 1 Everton 39,301 FA Cup
Sat 11 Middlesbrough 3 - 0 Chelsea 31,037 Premiership

Coincidence ??
bsd lover, Sydney,Australia  (13/2/06)

My Mate Dave
I must say, I was surprised to get a response to my support of Moyes. In answer to some of your comments on why we have turned the corner, it's that due to Moyes using the 4-5-1 system that best imbodies the work ethic he is instilled in the club, we don't have any Henrys or Lampards, so we must use a system that gets the best out of our current crop of players. It also allows Neville, Cahill and Arteta to all play in their favoured positions; it also reinforces the foundation for any side, defence.

Another reason for our current run, is the consistency of Arteta (our only true class player) and the improvement in Beattie, they were bought by Moyes were'nt they? For you Davey boy to compare Moyes to Royle, please. Don't get me wrong: the FA Cup win was great but the highest he finished in the league was 7th, compared to Moyes's 4th, and I don't seem to recall Royle winning the Manager of the Year award either.

Ask any team in the league, would they rather win the FA Cup or partipate in the Champions League I think even you know the answer, so that is the reason he is the best manger we have had since Saint Howard. Saying the 4-5-1 leaves little room for error did entertain me, all I can say is welcome to the premier league! Any side can beat any other despite the ('workmanlike') formation on there day, and if you don't like the so-called negative football or 1-0 win it provides then save your presious 30 quid and stay home, but be sure to remember to ride the gravey train when it brings you European football again.

I must say again we will not turn from a bottom of the table club to entertaining world beaters overnight.
Kevin Morris, Sydney, Australia  (13/2/06)

His contract runs until either the winter or summer of 2007 does it not? I just can't see the club letting one of our mose sellable assets leave for nothing, especially after spending £4M. I reckon they will sign him on another contract with a minimum release fee.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (13/2/06)

Sorry, my error. See below. — Michael

Top Gear
‘Why? Well, unlike Kev Sparke, I don't remember any letters defending "the best manager since Saint Howard" when we were getting tonked by such mighty teams as WBA and Villa.’

Neither do I fella; What a strange thing to attribute to me?

I see your point Michael re good strikers instinctively knowing where the net is. I was referring in part to McFadden’s snap shot that hit the bar yesterday; but more generally to another aspect of his game during attacking moves, which is to take the wrong option more often than not.

When I watch McFadden I really can see the potential the lad has. The best footballers can not only run at speed, they can think at speed and when their legs desert them as they drift into their thirties, the quick brain often compensates for a while. Zidane, the best attacking midfielder I ever saw (live) could think at lightning speed, Rooney’s also got this quality.

With McFadden it’s like having a Ferrari with the carburettor from a black cab… all the bits look stylish and the engine sounds great, until you ask it to do anything.

I’m not knocking him, I think if he can find that missing cerebral piece to his game he can be one of the best.

I hope so.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (12/2/06)

Yobo's not out of contract
Read in your mailbag a letter about Yobo potentially going to Newcastle in the summer. Your editoral response stated that he was out of contract in the summer which is incorrect, it runs till June 2007, as your own website states on its 'First Team Squad' page.
Chris Skelton, Wigan  (12/2/06)

Oops... thanks... I thought perhaps I should have checked that. I could have sworn I read it somewhere... I should have more faith in our info! — Michael

Goalkeeper debacle
Fantastic win by the lads yesterday. Guts, determination, spirit, guile and skill (in certain areas) that made it a extremely enjoyable game to watch. I only wish I was there at Goodison as the atmosphere seemed superb.

I am concerned though as to our goalkeepers. I heard on Sky that Moyes is looking for an emergency keeper on loan!! Can we do that? I didnt think that it was allowed? Don't we have to look at our U18's keeper?

Surely the FA will say 'its your problem not ours, should have signed someone in the window'.

Any ideas???
Steven Bibby, Kent  (12/2/06)

You seem to be a bit out of touch. Firstly, David Moyes doesn't even know the name of the Academy goalie (it's Jamie Jones) — wo is under 16 and not registered with the League; and four goalkeepers would normally be considered ample, which is why the FA usually allows clubs to make emergency loan arrangments in these circumstances (outside the transfer window). But Moyes has probably cooked that goose with his pointed comments (re suspensions awarded for Cahill and Ferguson by the Compliance Committee) that he expects no favorurs from the FA. — Michael

Watching football
Sorry, have I missed a meeting? I honestly thought watching the game was a big part of being a supporter.

Yesterday was a truly heroic day and a day to be proud of being an Evertonian. Yet it hardly seems to have punctuated the pointless and repetitive toing and froing on the letters page. The debate is totally polarised for most contributors and the cat-calling and sniping between the IMWT and MO camps has simply cemented people's positions, making the debate pretty pointless most of the time.

Maybe I've missed something but I thought we were all supposed to be Evertonians and how any Blue who was at the game yesterday (or was able to watch it all from sunnier climes on some jarg Norwegian channel) could have their feeling of pride and well-being fade so quickly is beyond me.

Sometimes it is not just about the manager or the chairman but the here and now and this weekend is a time to feel very proud to be a Blue after overcoming the odds so deservedly.

Maybe, just this once, it would have been right just to praise the players for their efforts and leave the war of attrition until, say, Monday?

Just a thought.
Rob Fox, Bootle, Merseyside  (12/02/06)

In Moyes We Trust
There has been a lot said about the rollercoaster that has been this season. Whilst I was never one of the "Moyes Out" camp I was annoyed more by his team selections than his transfer dealings; all managers make mistakes 'tho.

As for the arguments that seem to circle the Moyes debate, what kind of person takes satisfaction from saying "I told you so"? So what if someone was cynical about the manager? Or if they have an overwhelming sense of optimism?

If my viewpoint was one of cynicism I certainly wouldn't push it in the face of those optimists (who also happen to be paying Blues) in some kind of bizarre satisfaction that we're as crap as I'd predicted.

At the same time it seems a tad arrogant and self-righteous of optimists to say "I told you so" to pessimists, as if those pessimists (or are they realists?) aren't real fans because they don't walk with their heads in the clouds all of the time. That just winds people up and is unfair. People praise 'cos they love something but also criticise for the same reason.

My personal feelings on the state of our team are that Moyes is the right man for the job and will sort it out but I don't chant his name willy-nilly anymore 'cos I think it's something he still has to earn after our start to the season. However, I do understand the affections of those who worship him! I am regularly without voice due to singing my lungs out every home match and I am chuffed at any win we have but think we need badly to sign some players with pace (& I mean badly).

I'm off to dream my life away on the back of the Blackburn game, let's hope I'm not bought back down to earth on the 25th! It wouldn't be the first time this season...
John  McCabe, Liverpool  (12/2/06)

Still going upwards
Tony Marsh signalling out players who performed so poorly under Smith yet seem rejuvenated under Moyes, surely points to excellent man-management skills and ability to have players performing above expectations. Is this not the sign of a good manager?

Everton now lie 5 points behind Arsenal... is that the performance of a manager operating a league above his ability, in charge of a club to big for him? To deride the team for finishing 4th in the league last season is frankly, well am almost lost for words. At 37 years old I can safely say I’ve seen much worse teams than this one.

Brought up in a household of three brothers and my dad (all reds, as they say you don’t become a Blue you are born one) I have had to defend Everton against ridicule for a lifetime so I can understand constructive criticism of Everton.

I’d like to say well done to Bill Kenwright for sticking to his guns and not sacking Moyes when certain sections were calling for his head. There have, and will be, good times and bad times under Moyes but I firmly believe with him in charge we are heading in the right direction. Arteta, Yobo, Cahill, and Valente are starting to look good; Hibbert looking the part; Beattie showing his worth, Osman hopefully starting to do it consistently; Ferrari and Van der Meyde we’ll have to wait and see. All players of the right age, I think we are a couple of players off from being a strong team. Moyes is correct to take his time with the funds available to get the right players in.

Expectations are higher around Goodison than they have been for a while which in turn may bring its own problems.
Ste Summers, Liverpool  (12/2/06)

Smug and Self Satisfied
Before I commence my rant, I should explain my own point of view: First off, I'm not in the Moyes Out camp, or the IMWT brigade either. The baffling inconsistency we have seen under him means I reserve my judgment. I also have no intention or desire to start a mailbag war either - Messrs Sparke & Marsh do that very well already, without an undercard for them.

That said, it's been a long time since I've read such a smug self satisfied letter as Kev Morris's: it pissed me off no end!

Why? Well, unlike Kev Sparke, I don't remember any letters defending "the best manager since Saint Howard" when we were getting tonked by such mighty teams as WBA and Villa. A quick search of the mailbag archives for the last three months confirms my memory. It's a bit rich pointing out the Moyes Out brigades silence when Kev Morris has only now stuck his head above the parapet - after a seven game unbeaten streak in the league. I'd find Kev's support for Moyes more credible if he'd written when we were getting slaughtered by some very average teams.

It doesn't end there though. "But really can we all deny the fact he is not the best manager we have had since Saint Howard?" Ummm... yes. Remember a bloke named Joe Royle? Royle's and Moyes's achievements are comparable - but under Joe we actually won something. I don't recall 5-1 tonkings at the hands of Romanian journeymen in our ECWC run of 96 either.

"Another point I wish to raise are those who dare to critise the 4-5-1 formation or the 1-0 win. Sure it's not pretty at times, and it doesn't keep the football Gods breathless with excitment but at long as it get's 3 point's then what's the problem?"

The problem is there is a fine margin for error playing with such a negative system. The problem is that Everton are totally incapable of chasing a game due to their reliance on this system. The problem is that when it doesn't get us 3 points, you've got thirty thousand plus people who've handed over 30 quid {74.76 Aussie Dollars} to watch football at its most depressing. The problem is it looks workmanlike when we win, fucking awful when we lose. You don't get any extra points for style - but you don't lose any for having it either.

"Any other point of view is either childish or ignorant..." No comment required here.

"To the Moyes Out club, I'll hear from your 'glass is half-empty' and 'doom and gloom' point of view, when we lose, shock horror, two games in a row!!!" And I suppose we can expect to next hear from you when we win 7 games in a row in the league again right?

"In the meantime, have a chat to Mr Souness I think you'll find you'll have a lot in common..." Funnily enough, I've just read that Souness is thinking of a move to Australia, if he isn't offered the Rangers job. So perhaps you could have a chat to him for all of us?

I'm not trying to start an argument, but I had to address this particular letter. Debate on Moyes's merits is fine - letters that patronise a significant proportion of Evertonians are not.

Next time you write Kev, how about telling us why {IYHO} we've turned it around, or why Moyes is the best manager we've had since Saint Howard {Mk I, II, or III?}? I'd find that a lot more interesting and enlightening than this effort.
David Caldwell, Liverpool  (12/2/06)

Excellent response, David. That's the sort of thing really what I wanted to say to our antipodean friend but felt I tend to be too harsh on some people, and backed off. Nice job! — Michael

Andy van der Meyde
What on earth happened to him? Looked like a classy left-sider for one & a half games. Cost how many millions?
Dave Tootill, Joburg, SA  (12/02/06)

Hey, don't rock the boat: we are on a roll here... (he's STILL injured). While your asking, what ever happened to Li Tie? Good enough to play at International level for China but not good enough to play for Everton. Very bizarre. — Michael

Moyes and Beattie out!?!
You ToffeeWeb editors repeatedly state that every fan is entitled to his or hers opinion about Moyes, the Board, Kenwright, Beattie etc. And of course they are. In any civilized society everyone should have freedom of speach. But I find some people's opinion a little hard to stomach because some people are so quick to pull the trigger when things aren't going too well. And yes the first half of the season was very very poor indeed, but what about now? What amazes me is how fast someone can write off a season, a player or a manager. And even though they have the right to think so, I think that is silly.

Everton are currently 1-3 points behind some teams that have been considered European qualifiers the entire season, and 5 points behind Arsenal. Teams like Blackburn, Man City, Wigan have had very good seasons in many people's view. (I know we are a bigger club, but is that view on merit if you look at our club over the last 15 years?) Still, Everton are currently equal to them and with a much better league form. I am therefore confident that we will finish above Wigan, West Ham and Man City, at least.

A season should be evaluated after 38 games, not after 12-14. And "The fat, incompetent, lazy, goal-shy" James Beattie is playing some of the best football of his life, scores goals regularly and is currently one goal behind "the saviour" that we so desperately needed, Robbie Keane, and close behind stars like Rooney and Crespo.

Beattie has one thing in common with other, more expensive players like Drogba and Defoe, and that is their goal-total in the Premier League. My question is whether some still will consider this season a failure if Everton qualify, or come really close to qualifying for Europe, and Beattie scores say 12-13 goals in the league?

I find it truly, truly amazing that some fans advocate the view that players should be jugded after one or two games (ie, that Greek fellow on Man City who has played less than a full match in the PL) and that managers ahould be sacked everytime the team hits some poor form. As a fan, I am entitled to my view, and that is that thank God some of the impatient ones are not on the Board of Everton and hereby would have sacked Moyes ages ago, and thank God that none of them is the manager of Everton and would have sold Beattie because he played a few poor games and didn't score for 6-7 games.

It is clear to see that progress is being made, but the season is long and Everton have been in a very poor condition for more than a decade. That takes time to rectify. Keep the faith!
Jens Hansen, Norway  (12/2/06)

There is a certain inevitability about the cycle of football that does start to become tiresome. Teams go through a bad patch and the manager, then the Board, then various aspects of the entire club and the history over the past 20 years are brought into sharp critical focus, dissected and analyzed ad nauseam.

Conversely, the team goes through a good patch, and all these people come out of the woodwork saying, "See, you silly doom-mongerers, I told you so; there is nothing wrong. Everything will be alright." — and all the age-old issues that became so pressing when we were utter crap get swept magically under the carpet again.

Last season, there was barely a word said against the Goodison heirarchy as we rode our luck from 2nd to a nail-biting 4th-place finish. Yet it was the very same heirarchy, from Blue Bill down to Moyes and most of his boys, in place who oversaw the worst depths endured during the dismal first half of this season.

People will always be prone to taking the current form and extrapolating it. In October, we were doomed to relegation; by February we are talking (equally foolishly, IMHO) of European places. It may be the biggest cliché in the game but it is one of the few that I cling to, and that is: one game at a time, win, lose or draw. That means not trying to prdict or bank on the season's future results based on past or current performances, but focusing on what is needed to achieve the required win from the next game, and only the next game. — Michael

Moyes Out?
What a difference a few Premiership points make. As a life-long Evertonian, I was pretty much disgusted by the now 'silent' voices that wanted the present Manger of the Month at the the end of the unemployment line at the start of the season. I'm not immune to the nightmare that was our European adventure or Moyes's lack of transfer know how to bring a (at least 10-goal-a-season) striker to our our limited numbers. But really can we all deny the fact he is not the best manager we have had since Saint Howard?

I really question the loyalty the 'People's Club' have towards the man who brought us Europeon football when we were living a relegation life throughout most of the 90s! Another point I wish to raise are those who dare to critise the 4-5-1 formation or the 1-0 win. Sure it's not pretty at times, and it doesn't keep the football Gods breathless with excitment but at long as it get's 3 point's the was the problem?

We need to be realistic, we're not going to become relegation fighters, hammering sides 3-0, week in week out, over night. Any other point of view is either childish or ignorant when it comes to modern football. Realistically were not rich, we haven't won anything for 11 years, so we must build a foundation, and that is what Moyes is doing.

To the Moyes Out club, I'll hear from your 'glass is half-empty' and 'doom and gloom' point of view, when we lose, shock horror, two games in a row!!! In the meantime, have a chat to Mr Souness I think you'll find you'll have a lot in common. Moyes Out? I think not.
Kevin Morris, Sydney, Australia  (12/2/06)

While your support for the manager is admirable, I cannot help feeling some empathy for the opinions of those who, while exstatic with the recent run of good form David Moyes has overseen, will not be letting this blind them to the manager's obvious (to them) shortcomings. I agree with those who said Moyes is still a young promising manager. He's growing and developing his art with us, and he's making a lot of mistakes along the way. He say's he's learning from them. He still has a long way to go. I sincerely hope he goes that way with us. — Michael

Crystall balls
So our next game up is Newcastle.... I cannot predict but I wonder: Will Joseph Yobo play?

We know that Newcastle have a dodgy defence. Joseph has impressed the tasteless humbugs in the past. Consider Joseph plays, plays well. Come the summer and an offer for Jospeh arrives on Bully's desk.

Yobo to Newcastle.... "a move that suits all parties".

Stranger things have happened, or have they?
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (12/2/06)

I was tempted to dismiss such worries but he is out of contract in the summer; he is able to talk to other clubs since January; was there not some story a few months back suggesting he might not be staying; and there has been no word from Goodison about negoatiating an extension. 2 + 2 = the inevitable :( — — Michael

Decisions, Decisions .........
What an enjoyable afternoon and a sense of pride to see the squad perform as they did yesterday against Blackburn!!!!. The levels of commitment and effort put into the match by all the players points to a strong collective purpose that is light-years away from the performances against Villa, Bolton and WBA. Simple things like seeing Faddy out at half time with the rest of the subs is a good sign for the future which leads me to my point.

David Moyes spoke in his aftermatch interviews in a very frank (brutal!) way about goalkeepers and the need for experience in their decision-making — no reference however to Stubbs's decision to head the ball back when the lad was clearly setting himself to clear the ball downfield!

What then about David Moyes and his decision-making? The team have clearly put themselves in the frame for a shout at Europe for next season, but are the decisions DM takes in the next two months going to be short-term or long-term?

He constantly goes on about a long-term plan for the club, well here is his dilemma. The long-term future at goalkeeper and centre-half does not rest with Martyn, Wright or Weir and Stubbs. The future will rest with Turner (Ruddy), Yobo and Ferrari and any new signings he might bring in. Is DM willing to really look to the future and give these players an opportunity to bed in this season, possibly at the expense of Europe?

In my opinion, if he does not he runs the risk of Yobo and Ferrari leaving in frustration. If Turner is not given a chance, accepting he will make mistakes but cannot learn any other way, then when he is called on (perhaps if we are struggling), what experiences can he draw upon?

Martyn, Wier and Stubbs have all been stalwarts in different ways but are not the future. So, David, is it short-term results with aging players that next year will be between 36 and 41 in age? Or younger players with a future, who have been allowed to gain experience through trust and belief in their ability?

Decisions, decisions, decisions ....
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (16/04/05)

Since David Moyes tends to use younger players only when absolutely forced to, and since his stated desire is to win every game, I guess we know the answer already... — Michael

Thanks a bunch!
Because I criticised two very pessimistic contributors in a previous letter, I am disgusting, offensive etc. Thanks a bunch! I don't see any letter from them since yesterday's game praising the lads for the efforts they put in against Blackburn. Quite frankly, we had 11 heroes out there yesterday and we should be glad that they put their heart and soul into the game. Praise where praise is due.
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (12/2/06)

Don't twist my words, lady. What is disgusting, especially after yesterday's performance in which the crowd played such a fantastic part, is the tendency some Evertonians have to suggest that other Evertonians whom they disagree with should be go and support a different club. I find that disgusting. And I still do. —

Culture club?
Voltaire, Latin and now Keats (Rick Tarlton quote)

Blimey, there's not been as much culture associated with Everton FC since Kevin Sheedy's left foot! Though, I thought Beattie’s goal yesterday was sublime and it took me right back to 1978 and ‘Big’ Bob Latchford.

I agree that we don’t play an awful lot of ‘sexy’ football, we don’t really have the players with enough talent to be able to achieve this lofty ideal right now. However, I’m quite convinced that we do have players in midfield who, when they all get their acts together at the same time, are quite capable of getting damn close to the aesthetic pleasure of winning with style. Winning with grit, determination and a ‘thou shall not pass’ attitude will do - for now.

One last point and a word of advice to James McFadden; learn to ‘look up’ son. You’re nine tenths on the way to being a very good footballer. If you can find that split second in your game where the ‘footballing brain’ resides, the place where the correct decision is made, you’ll probably achieve greatness. Zola had it, so did Sheedy and Steven, so does Lampard and Giggs. You’ve got the skill, you’ve got the bravery, you’ve got the pace and balance… you lack judgement… which then affects your confidence; if you can develop the cerebral part of your game, I believe that your name will not look out of place amongst the greats… it’s up to you.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (12/2/06)

What puzzles me is that Giggs didn't look up when he smashed the ball on to the Portsmouth crossbar yesterday. Does a good striker not rely more on an innate knowledge of exactly where the goal is, so that he doesn't need to ‘look up’ and therefore can focus entirely on the path and bounce of the ball? — Michael

Southall School of Goalkeeping
While I enjoy the information I receive on your site, it's hard to find a lot of information here in the States. My questions is, do you know how to contact Neville Southall these days? Last I knew he was coaching at Hastings United. I am wondering if he has a goalkeeping school anywhere during the summer in the UK? We have two outstanding young keepers who train and workout daily, according to his coaching video. If there is an e.mail or site to contact him to see if he is running a goalkeeping school, I would greatly appreciate knowing how to contact him or his camp.
Tom  Joseph, Bigtown, USA  (12/2/06)

'Four-nil to the Everton'
In Ian Taylor's otherwise excellent report on the Blackburn match he says incorrectly that we were singing 'One-nil to the Everton'. We were in fact singing 'Four-nil to the Everton', so doubling the chant as a celebration and a criticism of the referee for disallowing the other three... Typical Everton crowd wit.
David Kenrick, Stockport  (12/2/06)

Thank you for that clarification, brother David!

Chelsea v Everton
First of all well done to the boys. Outsdanding premiership form. Just a slight observation, the last 2 times that Chelsea have actually lost this season, they have played Everton in the game before that. Coincidence ?
Bsd Lover, Sydney, Australia  (12/2/05)

You might be on to something, Sherlock... except for the annoying wrinkle that we have played them not twice but three times...

Ruddy Hell — my glass is full
Back from the game and another three points toward either Europe or safety. We won and that fills my glass but what an extraordinary game. Two keepers making their debuts on the same day, three goals dissallowed and, if you include stoppage time, we won 1-0 with ten men over 90 mins. Our goal came with ten men rather than building on an earlier strike with 11 on the field which says a lot for the spirit throughout the team.

The game from my seat was one that caught the passion of most Evertonians in the ground who in turn transmitted the extra man to the minds of the players. In truth, Blackburn were a ghost of previous achievements and the determination, passion and dammed hard work of our players left them rueing a bad day at the office — that is mighty Goodison on days like this.

My matchday was more about the day rather than dwelling on shortcommings that may prove to be pertinent to whoever whenever. Today was one off those days that makes saving up the season ticket money worthwhile and definately worth celebrating.

Nominating a MotM is difficult considering the effort and skill put about around the pitch by all the players — and even a rusty Carsley added that little bit at the right time. But overall, as I observed at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, Tony Hibbert is in England form and if he continues in this vein after he serves his five-card ban then Sven should consider him.

Anyone who can't take a positive all round after today's performance and celebrate the result against all odds whilst still keeping a perspective on what can be improved and built upon should join Tony Marsh and his few at their next meeting in the telephone box on County Road.

See you St James-- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (12/2/06)

Nous devons cultiver notre jardin
I'm with Kevin Sparke. Tony Marsh is for me essentially right, but two things frighten me: I believe we can dispute and assert but whisper results to our neighbour — not original I know, but you'll have to source the quote — and secondly I don't like his style of language or argument.

Moyes has produced a team that has guts and resilience, but Disraeli was wrong, there are lies, damn lies, but statistics don't lie. Look at our goals scored, no other team outside of the awful bottom two has scored less goals. Look at the goals difference, it's dire!

Can anyone remind me of the last good Everton goal? The one scored with a great strike from out of the box, the wonderful volley to complete a flowing move, the superb dribble to beat a man. They all seem to be like Weir's against Man.City.

Incidentally, Mr Marsh, I'm older than you, I've been watching them since Hickson and Co — over 750 matches and counting and I'm with you in that, Arteta and Yobo excepted, this is the least footballing team I've ever seen in the shirt of "Nil satis nisi optimum"

Mediocritas is the correct Latin word that sums up the present club, but for me Moyes is only part of the problem; Kenwright and his sycophants are the real problem.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (11/2/06)

The Goalkeeping Crises
With Nige Martyn, Dickie Wright out injured and now Iain Turner suspended John Ruddy is the only goalie we have available for the next month.What can Moyes do? Can we sign an out-of-contract goalie as cover? Can coach Chris Woods be registered as a player?

I have complete faith that Moyes will sort it out, as he does everything else. In Moyes we trust.
Dutch Schaeffer  (11/2/06)

I can't imaine Turner being suspended for anything other than one game... which is technically "the rest of the month" as we only have one more game ... how melodramatic is that! Or are you just being silly?— Michael

Please please respond
Oh Tony.

"Argue with that"

What's the point.

"In 35 years as a blah, blah, blah, I have never seen a blah blah blah."

1-0 today.




What football is about?

Or perhaps I'm not expert?

Still, at least you drove me to respond and you will be happy about that.

You're forever blowing bubbles.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (11/2/06)

Cliches and praise
First things first lets roll out the cliches.

Today's referee and assistants were shocking, the decisions for countless decisions would have tested the patience of a saint and I don't mean the sending off, countless bad tackles unanswered and ridiculous bookings and free kicks for blatant dives or none at all. If the FA wants to weild the sword of video evidence then today there is a fine example of plenty of video evidence for some downright terrible decisions by so called professionals, three guesses if they will ever choose to weild this sword on their own.

Finally, but my most important posting is that it would be impossible to single out a man of the match performance today as every last player deserved it, even more so when you add the extra time actually played equating to the fact that Everton played for ninety minutes with ten men and still won. Tonight I'm proud to be a blue even more so than normal, I'll be watching Match of the Day tonight to see if at least two of our disallowed goals really were out of order too.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (11/2/06)

Is there a Mrs Marsh?
..cos God help her living with a miserable sod like you. The first line of your post made me laugh out loud "Big deal, we finished fourth last season with Moyes in charge. What good did it do apart from making us the laughing stock of the world?"

Erm.. what would you have preferred — 4th from bottom? What does it take to make you happy? If you have a look at today's table you'll see we're 3 points off 6th place. Walter Smith anyone?
Michael O'Neil, Burnley  (11/2/06)

And I think to myself.....
It's half time, we're leading 1-0, BBC World tells me Stubbs seems to have managed to have had one young goalkeeper sent off, the cheap white wine has run out and I smoked my last cigar two hours ago. So I took the opportunity to read through the ToffeeWeb Mailbag.

I was amazed at the number of contributors who think every other (if not more) contributor is negative. May I take a liberty and ask how many of you have seen Everton play good football? If the answer is "NEVER" then what do you think good football is?

To me it is Brazil of the '70s. Never seen Everton do that? Now you may have some idea how we older Evertonians feel. It wasn't invented by Arsenal (as told by the Full Monty) but they are the English team that most reminds me of the best Everton teams that I have seen. If you think 1-0 crap is what it is all about then we really have reached a new low.

What should be done about that?
Thommo Bigpond  (11/02/06)

Michael, there have been (unfair) racist accusations against Duncan Ferguson made previous. This is what I was referring to.

Regardless of this, being tried for the same crime twice is pathetic. The referee sent him off without even seeing the Chimbonda incident. Therefore he is off the field of play, he shouldn't receive an additional punishment on top of this.

Adding a seventh and extra game on for apprently, his failed appeal, is insult to injury.
Steven Astley, Wigan  (11/2/06)

Personally, I think he deserves everything he gets and then some. He is a disgrace to football, he is a disgrace to Everton Football Club. There is no justification whatsoever for striking players on the football field. People pipe up with this mitigating billshit, talk of victimization, and now the lastest one from you: racism and political correctness....... none of it would be heard if the stupid twat could restrain from physically assaulting his fellow professionals. — Michael

I just want to say I have been in agreement with all Tony Marsh contributions to mail bag.

I am tired of the pathetic excuses from Moyes that players are not available, the players did not perform, etc, etc. It is about time Moyes held his hand up and accepted responsibility. It is fine to win by grinding out 1-0 wins and I won't complain about them but even the most diehard Moyes fan must admit the football is dire and their have been cockups in the transfer market.

As a parting shot, we now have Moyes blaming the European adventure for our poor start to the season. I take then for the future under no circumstances should we qualify for Europe as we cannot cope. On no account is it his failure in the transfer market, tactics, strategy, management, oh no anything but!

Davey get a life.
Robert Jarvis, Burnley  (11/2/06)

Very amusing perhaps, or more likely rather a silly misinterpretation. It was the the losing and the manner of it which was so soul-destroying — not qualifying to be there. — Michael

Opinions for all
I think that all Evertonians are entitled to their views, be it Mr Dodd (Glass totally full) or Mr Marsh (Glass empty and in need of a refill). The facts don't lie, neither does the Premiership table.

We are currently a mid-table side who are capable of playing effective if not pretty football (the School of Science ideology has well and truly been done away with by dour Davie).

The fact is that Davie has presided over more drubbings than I can ever remember of any other Everton Manager. His transfer policy is bizzare and we have some important games coming up so of course we need to get behind the players.

My biggest porblem is that we seem to have to do this almost every year and we never seem to learn. This year, if we have suspensions (as all clubs do) and our fair share of injuries then we will start to plummet again. We have no cover and in all honesty, I fear for us at times. A loss to Balckburn today will destroy our frail confidence and then it is in the lap of the gods.
Tom Mot, Wirral  (11/2/06)

Er... Suspensions, injuries.. nothing new there. But we won today so your scenario is toast. :) — Michael

Who's fault is it anyway

  1. Everton have been dismal for years.
  2. We are no longer a big five club.
  3. Off the field it's run like a joke.
  4. We have won fuck all for over ten years and have not looked like it either.
This list could go on and on but is this all David Moyes fault? I have been critical of him when it's been right to do so. However I can see his long-term aims and I can see he does not want to repeat mistakes of the recent past (Ginola, Gazza, Linderoth, Blomqvist, Degn, Tal, etc etc). His big mistake was Koughdrop yet he was big enough and man enough to admit it (though it was some gaffe) and didn't have him hanging around collecting his dough like Bogart at Chelsea.

I would hate to go to Everton and hope we lose so I can have a go at the manager. Yeah when he cocks-up have a pop, but when things go our way then tip your hat in his direction.
Mark Lyth, Netherton  (11/2/06)

In support of 'Toxic Tony' and ToffeeWeb
I think it was Voltaire who said ‘I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.’ This oft quoted (and misquoted) couple of lines sums up the classic liberal’s position on free speech.

Personally, I want to be able to read Mr Marsh’s overly pessimistic opinions and be given the opportunity to expose just how silly some of them are. This excellent forum provides a space where most views can be aired and what’s more it is vital that are; because you’ll not find this level of debate on any official site or forum.

I’m quite sure that in a very real sense Mr Marsh is also a first class supporter, a far better supporter then me. He puts his money where his mouth is and travels the length and breadth of the country following his beloved blues. I, on the other hand, gave up my season ticket when ‘Spuddie’ owned the club and I pick my games; I won’t buy expensive replica kits, presumably made by nine year old girls in Far East sweat shops and I won’t pay for an official e-season ticket to listen to the Blues when I’m not in attendance. (I can get that for free here!)

The fact that Mr Marsh seems to get no joy in following Everton is neither here nor there; who are we to determine how a man feels? He’s going to tell us ad nauseam in any case. Nevertheless, a lesser known quote by Voltaire suggests we should ‘Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers’ — and it is at this point where me and Mr Marsh part company.

Tony doesn’t ask questions because he already has decided upon the answers and it seems that anyone who does not agree with him is not only wrong but deluded. Tony has regularly misquoted, misconstrued, misinterpreted and misattributed me in order to get his points across. I try not to do that and I respect other contributors who follow the same line. The pity of it is that there is a great deal of validity in much of what Tony says, just that his method of saying it fucks up his message (to get all technical).

Finally, I wish David Moyes all the best in winning the ‘Manager of the Month’ trophy for the third time; it was well-deserved using results as the criteria… I wish you’d found a striker though, my instincts tell me that all the good work you’ve done in the back two thirds of the field will continue to not reap its rewards due to the lack of a cutting edge.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (11/2/05)

Thanks for those klind words, Kevin. You seem to know this Volataire bloke a lot better than me! — Michael

Please, all you experts on football who keep having a go at me on this site, open your eyes. Big deal, we finished fourth last season with Moyes in charge. What good did it do apart from making us the laughing stock of the world?

Ste Summers your beloved Davey was not up to the job when it came to bringing in the men we needed to compete in Europe's top competitions — and that's a fact. The team that played most of the successful part of last season constited mainly of Walter Smith signings: Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Hibbert, Carsley Gravesen, Ferguson. Once Graveson left Moyes never had a clue what to do — and that's another fact.

As for this season, I have never in 35 years of watching Everton seen a team in blue so clueless and easy to sweep aside as this shower. Every time we concede first, we get totally destroyed — even by crap sides. Is this my fault as well? No, it's not; it's because Moyes is managing a league above his capabilities and Everton and the Premier League are too big for him.

When was the last time a David Moyes side came back from going behind? As for money being spent, he has had more than most this past year. Next time you feel the need to rant and rave defending Moyes, take a look at Wigan and West Ham. Lovely footballing sides with very little spent compared to us. Both came from the league below and their managers are light-years ahead of your boy Davey.

Argue with that!
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (11/2/06)

Award's Curse
Without wishing to begrudge David Moyes his Manager of the Month award, I just so wish he hadn't won it! We all know the recipients of these prizes are cursed so that's goodbye to the points tomorrow and the end of a great run!
Richard Manton, Ainsdale  (11/2/06)

Apparently that's a negative attitude and we are underming the manager... did I get that right? — Michael

Loadsa Money!
After receiving a text from a smug Chelsea fan, telling me how we had been trounced, I replied admitting that we had been beaten by a better team. His smugness made me add a little rider on the end of the text, saying that it must feel like a hollow victory seeing as they had spent hundreds of millions to buy their success.

It made me feel better for a while. But it is a simple fact of modern day football that you need to have the biggest 'wad' if you are going to be successful. Many might not agree with me, but I don't want some Albanian billionaire (are there any?) to come and buy the club and spend tens of millions on players. Chelsea SHOULD win every game they play for the money that they have spent, but is that what it should be all about?

There is too much money in the game for anything to change short-term, but I think that it would be a more interesting league if the teams were playing on a level playing field - it's becoming as boring as the Ferrari dominance was in F1.

Anyway, we haven't got enough money, there are no Albanian billionaires (I've just checked), and we've got what we've got for a while to come I suspect, so there you are. My glass is half-empty, but I am optimistically off to fill it up.

Uncle Day, North Wales  (11/2/06)

FA Punishment
Sorry if I offend anybody by saying this, but, I do believe that a racial / political correctness element has had a slight bearing on the decision taken by the FA on Duncan's actions towards Chimbonda. It stinks.
Steven Astley, Wigan  (11/2/06)

WTF?? Are you saying he has been given a greater penalty because one of the two blokes he twated happened to have black skin??? First off, that is so ridiculous, it doesn't merit any space whatsoever. And secondly, even thinking along those lines reflects very poorly on you.

Thank fuck DNA has proven we all come from the same stock Out of Africa ~70,000 years ago. Perhaps people could eventually just stop noticing that it constitutes a difference and get on with worrying about more importnat things in life. This racism bullshit gets right up my nose. — Michael

So Big Dunc has been given a seven-match suspension. Is this a pertinent time to ask what the FA will do about Robben? Actually thinking about it, if Dunc had hit him instead of that effete Red goalie, he would have been out for the rest of the season !
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (11/2/06)

The so-called authorities will claim that Ferguson's ban is some sort of accumulation of past offenses and that striking two players within a couple of minutes warrants the size of the penalty they've imposed, but it's one rule for one and another rule for the rest if you ask me. Duncan's card has been marked for years but he only has himself to blame. He has punched, elbowed and butted his way through his career and he — and, of course, Everton — are paying for it. My sympathy rests with the fans who continue to idolise him. Lyndon

Negative Attitudes
I visit the site fairly regularly and am astounded at the constantly negative stance that the site takes.

Today, our manager has been named Manager of the Month. Instead of wholeheartedly congratulating him, there has to be a snidey dig at Richard Wrights idiotic injury and the Chelsea result.

Cheer up. Things aren't all bad, Moyes is doing well and the players seem fitter and hungrier. Just enjoy the good times and analyse the bad times. The site is good but it puts me on a downer too often. IYKYH.
Richard Osborne, Birmingham  (11/2/06)

It does seem a strange one but, as the subtitle says, it's an ominous award! However, I'm sure those responsible for the sly dig will take your comments to heart -- Garry

Or not! Richard Wright and Chelsea are not our doing; we merely observe and comment. If there were no negative events, we wouldn't have been able to make the connection. — Michael

Why don't Mike Price and Tony Marsh go and support another Club? They are the most pessimistic pair of sods I have ever come across. We are supposed to support our Club not run it down at every opportunity. I trust no-one is doing it to them in their chosen line of work or perhaps we are supporting them!
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (11/2/06)

I don't necessarily agree with much of what Mike Price or Tony Marsh say about Everton, but I recognize their views are not that unusual in the broader Evertonian world out there. The bigger problem to my mind are fans whose blinkered outlook prevents them from accepting or even acknowledging that there are other Evertonian viewpoints out there besiodes thier own, and that such views do not make holders of them lesser Evertonians. That's why I find this innocent-looking little "go off and support another club" jibe so insidiously offensive and quite frankly disgusting. — Michael

Kiss of Death?
So Davey is Manager of the Month for January - well done but is this the 'Kiss of Death' as so often happens? God, I hope not!
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (11/2/06)

I think our writer responsible for the news item takes the same view -- Garry

Re: Smug Bastard
Tony Marsh. Fair doos mate, you don't like Moyes, you don't rate Moyes and you probably think Graeme Souness could do a better job but what pissed me off about you're letter - smug bastard - was how fucking hypocritical it was.

First you say...

"Slagging off Everton fans and calling them Whingers and Bellyachers because they are not living in the clouds with Kev and others like him. These supporters waste there hard earned money to go and watch this shite and are entitled to their opinions just like you Kev."
Then you go onto say.......
"Please, please Kev and all you others out there who write in thinking they are being clever defending Moyes and his policies, stop it. You will only make fools of yourselves in the end."
We pay the money too. We're entitled to our opinion just like you said, so don't patronise us just because we don't jump on the 'Moyes out' toffee bandwagon when things arn't going great.

I find the level of animosity towards Moyes pathetic and frankly embarrising. Our fans supposedly have a reputation for being canny and having a good understanding of the game. As far as I'm concerned that's all been pissed down the toilet over the last couple of months because people think they're being clever by undermining the management of our club.
Patrick Marks  (11/2/06)

Tony Marsh may be obnoxious in his dislike of Moyes, but you claim critics are "undermining the management"... is that really the best you could come up with??? — Michael

Preparation H
Following on from some of the letters about Wednesday night, and I know it's time to move on, but when you think that — but for Mr Collina — those two teams could have been facing each other in this year's Champions League, it's a farce. Disregarding the enormous financial gulf that separates the clubs, did Moyes and Irvine really feel their job was done as they sailed through the second transfer window with messrs Weir, Kilbane and Beattie in their first eleven line-up?

For the management I'd suggest the preparation for next season starts now, and that should include a style of play and a future that messrs Arteta, Ferrari, Yobo, Cahill, etc still want to buy into. I only hope they communicate their plans and aspirations better to the players than they do to us, or we'll really be in the shit in September.

That said, we have surely learnt the lessons of last year and a new team of scouts will be now in place, scouring the globe and marking out fresh young (inexpensive) talent to bolster our ageing and threadbare squad... aren't they??!!
Neil Scott, Southport  (10/2/06)

I think you've quite adequately summed up what most Evertonians are thinking, no matter how good our current form is. You did raise an interesting point when you mentioned Arteta, Ferrari, Yobo and Cahill. They make up a good (and young) backbone. Couple them with a striker of equal quality and hope that Turner/Ruddy develops as is hoped and I wouldn't think we're too far away from being a formidable team. Moyes knows this and is building a side accordingly.

Well I'm not in the least surprised we lost down at the Bridge. What really gets me - and not for the first time - is our seeming inability to master the basics. If you can't pass a ball, control a ball and retain possession, you'll never get anywhere. So what's happening on the training ground? We should also remember that without money no team is going to make a sustained challenge to the Chelskis of this world. It's a bloody shame but it's a fact. There's too much money and we don't have enough of it!
Tony Waring, Frogmore, UK  (10/02/06)

And if you can pass a ball, control a ball and retain possession then you win the league. Wednesday night wasn't pretty but I'm sure we're doing something right - our league form says so anyway. -- Garry

Onwards and upwards
First defeat in 2006 and — suprise, suprise — Tony Marsh comes crawling out from back under his rock. Spouting his usual vitriol, "Moyes is shit, worse team ever, lost the dressing room" (he knows you know, because people in high places, first port of call is the high and mighty Marsh's table).

Firstly, I persume you either slept through the 90s or were too busy moaning to notice that Everton (that's the team you support and in your case I use the term 'support' loosely) were lucky to finish 4th from BOTTOM, not the top.

Secondly, if you can't see that Moyes is trying to build a team from scratch in "Europe's top league" whilst still managing to finish 7th and 4th (that's from the TOP), winning two Manager of the Year awards (recognition from his peers of the feats he has achieved), and all this on limited funds.

His work in the transfer market has been reasonable; some good, some bad. Unfortunatley his bad ones seem to be highlighted.

Liverpool ( Diao, Diouf, Cherou, Cissy)
Man Utd (Djemba, Smith, Veron)
Newcastle (far too many to mention)

Total that little lot up then tell me how bad Moyes is again. I could go through every team in the Premiership and point out expensive mistakes in the transfer market. I believe Moyes has once again raised expectations around Goodison and long may his reign continue.

Now seeing Everton winning has the added bonus of keeping whingeing, miserable bastards like yourself away message boards like this. Finally ToffeeWeb seems to pride itself on its objectiveness, unfortunately I have to disagree its reputation now seems to be one of negativity, which appears to be encouraged and welcomed by the writers of this site.
Ste Summers, Liverppol  (10/2/06)

Sorry, Ste. We publish what we receive. If the overall tone is negative it's either because most people aren't optimistic about the current state of the club or it's that the doom-mongers are more vocal. You'll notice that there has been a noticeable shift in opinion on some other sites that used to riducule ToffeeWeb becausde we don't view everything through blue-tinted spectacles. I just think that a lot of people have been discouraged by the fall from last season's grace and the lack of new faces in key areas of the squad (for whatever reason). Lyndon

Mick Stanley
The best Fans Comment article I have read on this site in a long time. 'Goals, Goals, give me Goals' uses a tool completely lacking in many opinions in the Mailbag - FACTS. Having those facts summarised makes the situation at EFC so clear that the pattern of play for the rest of the season has already been set. Score first and we may witness moments of decent football and a victory. Concede first and the best chance we have is through hope and prayer (neither works). So well done Mick, you should be praised for your insightful views backed up by the cold harsh facts.

Just a quick note on Man City recruit, Mr Samaras. After some of his touches in our last game I'm glad we didn't buy him, he looks awful.
Jerome Esterhazy, adelaide  (10/2/06)

So did Nuno Valente when he first arrived at Everton. Same for David Weir. Time will tell, I'm sure. Lyndon

Why wasn't young Victor given a chance for the last 15 mins when we were 4-1 down?

Instead Moyes was putting Carsley on [another defender] WHY!!! we had nothing to protect. That changed because Osman was injured and Carsley who will be eased along gently introduced.

There was nothing left to lose and it was something different. Just as well Wright got injured or we would never have seen what Turner was like.

Give the substitutions some thought.
Jim Feeney, Liverpool  (10/2/06)

Nice thought, Jim. Just not Moyes's style, I'm afraid. Get used to it...

Keepers galore
Mystic Moyes, thats why he bought all those keepers!!
Rich Williams, York  (10/2/06)

The Turner Prize
Back from the game and another one to forget. Some light relief when it turned out that Wrighty had forgotten to pack his reading glasses which gave us the chance to run the rule over the six foot four of goalkeeper that is Ian Turner. The lad did well in the circumstances but I wished the boys in front of him had got on with their game instead of worrying about his.

I thought we started brightly and for five minutes I thought we were going to give them a game,then Chelsea put a couple of balls past us and ran after them, at that moment both myself and the Chelsea players saw we were less than confident when dealing with direct running and duely built up a 3-0 h/t scoreline. Looking around our outfield lads only Hibbert and Ferrari seemed to be at it.

The second half saw Beattie replaced by McFaddon who seems to have loads of talent and promise but just drives me mad by giving the ball away during our sporadic attacking moves. My man Valente was taken off for his own good as much as ours. We drew the second half and looked better but I won't let that kid me. Its always embarrasing to lose by four but you got the impression as the game wore on it could have been another seven.

Looking for a M-O-M was easy as Tony Hibbert was the only Blue who Jose would give a second glance at. Still a new game starts Saturday and we are at home against a team from our own league so I hope I have something to cheer.

See you Sat -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (10/2/06)

John Ruddy
Do we now call John Ruddy back from loan? Wherever he may be?!
Steven Astley, Wigan  (10/2/06)

Hmmmm... now there's a thought!

Italian Football Commentary
Could those contributors to the mailbag who seem intent upon updating the rest of us as to the performances of Mr Kroldrup since his return to Italy, please stop.

It is of absolutely no interest to me and (I hope) other Evertonians as to what he is doing now. Or, if this is to become a trend on ToffeeWeb, then perhaps whilst your at it, you could be more comprehensive in your reporting on EX players. Update us on the whereabouts and match form of such luminaries, as Nick Barmby and Don Hutchison; or any number of players who thought they were somehow not appreciated at Goodison.

If the mailings are some attempt to show poor judgement by Moyes, then they miss the mark. Kroldrup playing well in Italy and Moyes decision to ditch him fits very nicely into an argument that seeks to question the latter's judgement, but smacks too much of glorious hindsight. Would you still have written in, if he'd scored three own goals in four matches and got sent off twice (praising Moyes' acumen into the bargain)? I doubt it.

Face it, Kroldrup got off to a injury troubled start and sat brooding about Italy and all he had left behind, to sit in cold, damp Merseyside and pay regular visits to the treatment room. When he was finally fit, he saw his backside about not being put straight into the team (with some justification, no doubt, given our form at the time). However, instead of buckling down and waiting his chance he did a moody and for the sake of the rest of the squad (morale wise) Moyes got shut of both him and Bent (the other major bottom lip trembler) asap. It's no coincidence to me that our form improved once they were gone.

My only memory of this "maestro" was his poor display in our pre Christmas hammering by Villa (of all teams).

If he is playing well for his new team, back in his comfort zone, then good luck to him. Just pack in the Bravo channel commentary; if I ever want to know how he's doing (which I don't), then fear not, as I subscribe to SKY and can find out for myself. Thanks.
Steve Guy, Harrrogate  (10/2/06)

Sorry, Steve, but that's the sort of thing I want to know. However much you may rationalize it away to yourself, the basic facts remain: Moyes fucked up BigTime. And the scuttlebutt put about was a total fabrication. — Michael

The 'Moan' Ranger
I was intending to write a scathing and devastatingly astute rebuttal of Mr ‘Angry of Huyton’s’ bellicose, witless and worse still, inaccurate, stream of drivel… I really was; but I decided it would be like shooting fish in a Barrel so I won’t bother.

(No doubt Mr Angry will be employing one of his many nom-de-plumes to back up his rant - Yes Tony,… we all know you do it...)

I was under the impression that our war of words had been curtailed by the Toffeweb ‘ref’… ‘no names no pack drill’ but it seems that hostilities have recommenced.

Ok I surrender.

You win Tony, we’re shite and the fact we’re unbeaten in the Premier League in 2006 is down to luck.

We never nearly beat Chelsea in the cup at Goodison Park, we made them look bad because we were so pitiful and they could have stuffed us any time they wanted, they just didn’t feel like. We are still fighting relegation instead of being a mere 5 points between us and a European qualifying place. Arteta, Cahill and Osman are not looking better every game.

Our defence has not improved immeasurably. (Last night excepted… but could anyone have stopped Wright Phillips and Robben?) We’ve got billions in the bank and can afford any player we want. The reason we don’t buy players is because our manager is such a tosser.

It’s always raining and the pies are fucking horrible!

Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (10/2/06)

Careful lads!
Had an unavoidable commitment last night so set the DVD recorder, avoided the score a la Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads, and sat down at 11.30pm looking forward to a hoped for narrow victory (actually I was hoping for a flukey big victory!).

So imagine my disappointment at 1.30am...

But just one thing to add to that old glass half-full/half-empty stuff. Did you know that there is growing scientific proof that optimists live longer than pessimists? And do you think that it might be even worse for a pessimistic Evertonian? I would shift into positive mode asap if I were you boys!

Oh, also congrats Michael on getting posts on so quickly - you must work through the night!
Chris Winslet, Egham  (10/2/06)

Per Showpony
Stuff Per Kofdrop - he`s a show pony who wanted everyone else to play it his way whilst he was here! Moyes never rated him and knew he had three great centre halves in Weir, Yobo and Ferrari. Plus the signing of Stubbsy for nowt was the shrewdest deal done in the window. Last night`s defeat means nothing, we were never going to win the FA Cup and the great priority is continuing to climb the League table.

Moyes has shown that with proper organisation, commitment and a bit of luck you don`t need to be banging them in every match - `we start with a point, so take the bugger off us!`

Can`t wait till Saturday to see Nev, Tiny and Co sort Lily out once and for all. COYB!
Alan Newall, Walton  (10/2/06)

Now that's what we call DENIAL!

Moyes is clearly deluded, that's his problem and so it's also our problem.

We finished 4th last season and he thought we were a top team that players would love to sign for; one that would be 'aiming for the top 3' this season. The reality was, we were lucky, played ugly football, and ever since he switched a pacy striker for Beattie as a lone striker, have been completely ineffective. Most people and potential signings realised this, but Moyes thought it would be easy to attract players and thought the limited players of last season really were top quality; we all know what a mistake that was.

So after blowing our 'good fortune position of strength' in the summer, we string together another run of ugly but necessary, ground-out results which has pulled us away from, but not out of, the relegation scrap. Suddenly we start hearing about how our quality players are only just getting over our European disasters and that we're really good after all. NO we're not.... and we never will be without some pace in the team, particularly in attack. And the icing on this particular delusional cake is, Beattie for England!!! Either he's really lost it, or he's talking him up so that he can sell the useless tart at the end of the season.

The only thing left for us this season is to hope our luck doesn't change, we dont get 'found out' and we can scramble together another 10 points. How sad is that? .... Thanks a lot, Davey.
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (10/2/06)

The end is nigh
This mailbag is unbelievable - lose a game to one of the best teams in the world and all of a sudden the sky is falling on our heads. We’re 12th in the table which is tremendous progress considering where we were months ago. Go on, carry on moaning, groaning and feeling depressed with everything – you’ll always feel like that no matter how well we’re doing. Isn’t a mid-table finish the stability we’ve been looking for the last 10 years? Oh no, we didn’t sign Forsell, Darren Bent, moan moan – they’re doing well at the moment aren’t they!!
Daniel Parker, New York, US  (9/2/06)

I am gob-smacked. I have just read on the official site Moyes stating that Carsley is weeks away from match fitness! Then what in god's name is he doing bringing him on at Chelsea??? Talk about flying the white flag! The negative gobshite! Why didn't he at least try and salvage something from the game which was a lost cause from the minute they scored the first goal?

How long are we going to have to put up with scrappy backs-to-the-wall games (and thats when were leading) and then have the gobshite make totally inept substitutions, giving us no chance at all of retrieving the game or, at the very least, giving the young strikers a bit of much needed experience — because believe me we are going to need them before the season is out.

As for the second-half performance, I'm sorry Davey boy but the game was already lost and they took their foot off the gas, in fact they never got out of second gear all night, you tosser.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (9/2/06)

Tony Marsh
Never get anywhere? Finishing 4th after everyone tipped us for relegation is a momumental achievement in the modern game. Football is no longer the same. Money talks and, like it or not, we have none. You ask the fans of virtually every Premiership club and they would find it amazing Moyes is getting the amount of stick he is getting from the likes of you.

I was very disappointed we didn't sign anyone in the window but the amount of crap we have bought in the past - Tony Thomas, John Spencer, Claus Thomsen, Brett Angell are just a few examples that buying isn't always the answer, just look at Pompey. I would rather muddle through with what we have than buy similar standard players to them.

I am a huge supporter of moyes and won't hide that but I admit he has made mistakes. Getting Everton back to where we all know we belong will take either lots of money or patience in the right man, I think David Moyes is that right man.

The quality of the squad is far greater than when he took over and he hasn't really spent a great deal. Losing to Chelsea was disappointing but remember they were able to bring in a player worth more than our 11 on the pitch in transfer fee terms (SWP).

Let's get some prespective in terms of money we have spent because sadly that is what the sham of the Premiership is based on nowadays.

Daniel Ford, Newcastle Upon Tyne  (9/2/06)

'Dickie' Wright
Sorry, Dickie, but you deserve all you get. To get yourself crocked on a sign that clearly warned you not to use that goalnet.... what a fuckwit!
Tom  Edwards, York  (9/2/06)

I also taped the Violas v Inter last night and I must agree with Martin Burrows. Per was just so cool and classy on the ball, nothing much got past him. Something bad must have happened between him and Moyes. He can't have been shipped back to Italy because he was a shit defender, or he was a crap header of the ball. He has looked fine heading the ball the couple of games I've seen him in. Maybe Per thought to himself, "What the fuck am I doing here? These are shite!"
Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (9/2/06)

Premiership - 25 games and 18 goals
Domestic Cups - 5 games and 4 goals
Europe - 4 games and 4 goals.
Speaks for itself.
Lee Spargo, Merseyside  (09/02/2006)

Smug Bastard
Where did you find Kev Sparke, lads? please tell me he is not real. Having fans like him around is one of the main reasons Kenwright and Co keep getting away with murder.

You know the type: a couple of flukey wins and they are shouting there mouths off about how great a side we are. What a great job the managers doing, BLAH BLAH BLAH. After last nights pitifull display I wonder how smug Kev feels now.

The last few months have seen results change but the displays are pretty much the same. Negative crap. Any of the games we have picked up points in could easily have gone the other way its lucky for us that our luck changed. Portsmouth away we won thanks to an own goal. Wigan away another own goal earns us a point. Man City last Saturday, the ball hits Wiers hip and bobbles in, etc etc.

Take a look at our league position: bottom half having scored fewer goals than Birmingham and only one goal more than Sunderland — who are the worst Premier side ever.

Slagging off Everton fans and calling them Whingers and Bellyachers because they are not living in the clouds with Kev and others like him. These supporters waste there hard earned money to go and watch this shite and are entitled to their opinions just like you Kev.

Your standards are set so low, I am starting to think you are a Hartlepool supporter trapped in an Evertonian's body. Your gushing praise for Moyes his team and his tactics make me want to spew up.

As long as fans are prepared to put up with the abysmal way the team and club are run then more of the same will be served up. Maybe that's the problem we have become so shite that even mediocrity is enough for some now. Please, please Kev and all you others out there who write in thinking they are being clever defending Moyes and his policies, stop it. You will only make fools of yourselves in the end.

Moyes is out his depth and we will never get anywhere with him or his sidekick Irvine in charge — and you can take that to the bank.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (9 Feb 06)

Now, noqw, Tony. Don't be starting the internicine wars... — Michael

Mud, mud, glorious mud!!
I am as disappointed as any Evertonian that our team are out of the FA Cup. Why, oh why, did they not use the same tatics against Chelsea as they did when they played them at Goodison i.e. hustle them, don't give them a chance to settle on the ball, and why didn't David Moyes start McFadden? I used to think he was useless but the lad is quickly proving me wrong and I have had to admire his enthusiasm and bravery these last games. Beattie seems to have one "howling miss", such as the one last night, every game he plays.

In the interview after the game, David Moyes gave an honest opinion and assessment on his players' performance and that's what I like about the man... he is honest, says what he thinks and calls "a spade a spade". Compare him to whingeing Benitez after their game against Chelsea.

As for Chelsea, having spent all their roubles on the world's best players, they obviously haven't any left for a decent pitch. My God, what a state, even the pitches in the local parks are better than that. You would think with all their money they could afford to employ the best groundsmen around. Didn't they have a similar problem with their pitch a few seasons back - no one but Chelsea could win there as it was so bad, but of course, that was before they had millions to spend on world class players.

Well I for one, wish Colchester luck, that pitch just might suit them and I hope they pull off a draw so they get them back to their own ground, make some money, and hopefully wipe that arrogant look off Mourinho's face.
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (9/2/06)

TV Hell
Has anyone worked out statistics of the results of our telvised games? As a Blue in absentia, no matter how well we are otherwise doing, watching Everton on the tele over the last few years has often been a thoroughly miserable experience: Bucharest, Villareal, Liverpool, Villa, Chelsea, Blackburn, etc etc etc
Michael Callaghan, Glasgow  (09/02/06)

Progress indeed!
I suppose compared to 4-0 v Villa, 4-0 at home to Bolton, 4-0 v West Brom, 5-1 v Bucharest, 7-0 v Arsenal, 5-1 v Spurs, last night was a good result. And if our £6M wonder striker had put away our only chance it could have been 4-2.

Progress indeed. And with all the extra TV money we've earned from last night, I can't wait for the striker we'll sign in the summer... or maybe the next January window... or the next summer. And if he's as good and as clinical as Beattie, wow! If Newcastle come in for Moyes though I think it would be unfair to stand in his way!
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (09/2/06)

At least it wasnt 5
Although I admire how a lot of contributors post positive reflections on yet another national humiliation on this site, I am beginning to wonder if they just do it be prove that they are a better Evertonian than the rest of us.

I'm personally sick of this... It's gone on long enough and is embaressing. We've just come to the end of a 9 match unbeaten run but I can't honestly remember any vivid moments of this 'glorius' run (except perhaps Beattie scoring against Arsenal).

I'm finally gonna bite the bullet and say....get rid of Moyes. I'm never gonna enjoy watching his teams play even if they do finish 4th; I'm never going to respect the type of players he likes to ; I'm never going to respect how he is 'developing' our youth structure.

Who should replace him? Tony Marsh? Mike Price? Well, I'm not going to kid myself: Everton is not a good place to come to to further your managerial career at the moment so we are gonna have to have to give another chance to a young manager. Mike Newell seems ok and I know he played for us but he was still a Red. Aidy Boothroyd is doing a good job at Watford — but will either want to ruin a promising start to their managerial careeers?

One last thing... why do some fans always say get a young coach in and Bobby Robson as an experienced old hand to guide him along? I've never understood this as Howard Kendall won a damn site more league championships than him and is a blue, was good at balancing the books and knows whats it's like to run Everton on a shoestring budget.

Another option I suppose is to just say, 'stuff it' and go bankrupt and start from scratch again... we might even have a chance of beating the likes of Rochdale ;)
A plank of wood With a nail init, UK  (9/2/06)

It's tempting to say "knee-jerk" and tell you "Moyes ain't leaving" ... but the reality of football under him is there for all to see. And the Robson thing is totally daft IMHO. — Michael

Attacking Football
I admit to posting on here mainly when things don't go our way which is probably wrong. However, my point this time is not to criticise David Moyse as such. I am beginning to think that there are few, if any, who could do what he is doing on his budget and/or with such a Board as ours. But, when it comes to a game which basically is a winner-takes-all and keeps your season alive, I am astonished at Moyse's blatant obstinacy in his tactics (if you can call them that) and game plan.

The way we set our stall out is so transparent it is untrue. We must have the most tedious manager in the Premier League, if not the whole football league!

There are no excuses for not wanting to play attacking football, I won't accept any argument against that as that is what football is all about. You score, you don't concede... you win. You play a game of complete and utter defending and more often than not you will be on the receiving end of a beating, as we were last night. Out-played and out-classed, which is understandable... a shocking inability to put your opponent under any sort of remote pressure is offensive.

I am happy that we have put together a good run of late, of course I am. Similarly, I am not one of those people waiting for Moyes to fall flat on his arse. I am though, sick to death of our dire, sometimes appalling game play. As someone else said further down the page, Colchester will give Chelsea a better game next week, and why? Because, they haven't got a submissive, negative manager like we have. They will go there with nothing to lose in defeat and play open, attacking, attractive football....just as we should have.

The emphasis this morning is on the ankle of a goalkeeper who nobody really wants at the club, and not on the humiliation in crashing out of yet another cup with a spinless performance. Roll on Blackburn and another backs to the wall, one nil'er. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum?
Phil Burkert, Liverpool  (9/2/06)

While we were not losing, it was possible to put a brave face on the attacking quality thing, but last night it reared it's ugly head with a vengance. I fundemenatally agree with everything you say. Sad, init? — Michael

Per class
Have just watched the recording I made last night of the Fiorentina v Inter Milan game (Bravo) and can now understand why Moyes did not rate Krøldrup. In short, he was just too bloody classy! Imperious in the air — as befits a man of his size — he wasted not a single ball and his ability to take on players and beat them would not have endeared him to a manager schooled on the defensive qualities of Cambridge, Shrewsbury and Preston! Apparently, `The Viola`s` 2-1 victory sees them go four games without defeat since Krøldrup arrived with only one goal conceded and I tell you this is a quality defender. But how Moyes could ever have seen him before he signed is beyond me — just not his style — no way!
Martin Burrows, Keele  (9/2/06)

A highly pertinent footnote to a very dismal affair. Perhaps Moyes thought he could beat that foofee stylish football out of him using Alan Irvine's baseball bat? Oh sorry, wrong allusion... — Michael

The FA Cup
Michael, sorry to disagree with you but the FA Cup is no longer the great prize it once was. There was a time of romance when teams like Wimbledon and Coventry could win the Cup but in today's game that's almost impossible. When was the last time the FA Cup was won by team outside the big four? It was when Everton upset the odds and won it over a decade ago! Since then the FA Cup has been the exclusive property of the big four, Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool. No wonder attendances are down and most teams use FA Cup games as a chance for reserve players; they all know there's no chance of winning it so why bother taking it seriously? Will a team outside the Top Four ever win the FA Cup again?
Dutch Schaeffer , Liverpool  (9/2/06)

You may have a point... but I think it has been like that for a lot longer than you imagine, if you apply that to the "current" top four or five at the time. I don't have the stats to hand, sorry. —

History = Mystery
Michael, your reply to my last post underlined the point I was trying to make which was the unfathomable nature of the game and the futility of ascribing definite and over emotional causal statements to slumps and revivals.

As fans we merely ‘spectate’ and then we speculate; history will be written by the record books and interpreted by those who were there. (I and a few like me find hope… where others see and indeed look for despair.)

You’ve made the point on a few occasions that irony does not travel well down the Ethernet cable especially when it is poorly written (like wot mine wus). I think this proves it.

As to our exit from the cup: if you put a flyweight against a heavyweight, nine times out of ten the mismatch will only go one way. At Goodison, Amir Khan nearly KO’d George Forman with a sucker punch… last night Forman hit back. (Ouch!) However, Khan went down fighting instead of rope-a-doping like we’ve done so often in the past.

I see the knees are jerking already re Turner. Get real people, Southall in his prime probably would have got nowhere near two out of the 3 out-field goals (I won’t count the penalty). I think the lad shows promise.

Now onwards to Blackburn… we owe them one!
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (9/2/06)

Okay, I think I geddit now....

Reaagrding the lad Turner, I've heard nothing but praise for him. He handles himself very well in the cirmstances. — Michael

Vision for future development
I was just like to make a point about last night's game. When is the right time to bring a new young talent into a game? The reason I ask this is Victor Anichebe has been warming the bench in the last half-dozen Premiership games at least and only played maybe 3 minutes all up.

Last night, we were 4-1 down against the Champions with no chance of coming back and there is only 10 minutes to go, so what does DM do? He brings on a defensive midfielder instead of giving the young lad a chance against the likes of Terry and Huth as a career development path.

What was Carsley going to do? 10 minutes against a team coasting isn't going to get him fit, his only real contribution (albeit because he is so far out of synch with the game he can't get his thinking boots on) was to nearly chop Essien's feet off with a ridiculous tackle.

If I were Anichebe, I would be thoroughly disillusioned by now. What does this kid have to do to get even a tenth of a game? Does his face not fit? Is he not good enough? Then if so, don't put the kid on the bench when he has no chance of a game!!!!

Getting changed every Saturday just to watch the game is soul distroying for the lad. I bet now if Carsley is on the bench Saturday that Anichebe wont be, this will be last straw for me as DM will positively display a total lack of vision for the development of the youth in EFC.
Paul Cowig, Australia  (9/2/06)

Absolutely agree with you, but 'twas ever thus. That's how The Boy himself was blooded. Did he like it? Well, that's a whole all-too-similar story... — Michael

Everton Star in Hollywood Link
Following the release of the new Pink Panther movie, is there any truth in the rumours that our talented reserve keeper is being lined up to replace Michael Crawford in a feature length version of "Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em".
James Ford, London  (9/2/06)

So, err? Hmmm... err... well... err?... hmmmm... So anyway, when does next season start?
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (9/2/06)

Careful! I know what you're thinking... You nearly said it, didn't you???

No knee-jerk; we are shite!
I told you we needed a striker and last night's embrassing display proves three things; 1) Moyes shows too much loyality to shit players 2) we badly need a striker and all that Trust Moyes bullshit — well, look for yourselves, a national tv bullying 3) we are an average to poor side who's style of football killing us!

Why oh why is uncle fester (Neville) playing in centre mid when he is the best left-back we got? Why is Simon (one good season in seven) Davies even in an Everton shirt? How can fans even say they trust that fool Moyes when arteta swings ball after ball into the box and NOBODY was there! BOLLOCKS!

Yes, Chelsea are the second best team in Europe... but our lack of quality is embarrassing. The only praise is for young Iain Turner who was confident and a presence (unlike Wright EVER); Ferrari who must be signed as he is the only other quality centre-back; Hibbert and Arteta who was again class. Oh yeah, and good old Lee Carsley who must come back to play the holding role as Neville can't do it!

Playing such negative football isn't to our advantage as Beattie needs support. He can't lead the line as he has no control and is too slow! It's not knee-jerk; it's the truth... and the only reason Everton are 12th is because the Premiership is a poor league! And the reality hurts! Moyes and his love children (Weir and Davies) out!!!
Luq Yus, London, England  (9/2/06)

Another Reason To Remain Calm!
One thing I do worry about is how much Everton seemed to miss Duncan Ferguson. Robert Huth looked smug as he easily brushed Beattie, Osman and McFadden aside. I would have loved to see Big Dunc take on Huth; Duncan has a physical presence that even Huth would have felt. We are going to miss Dunc's physical presence when he retires.

It's true that Chelsea outclassed us and deserved the 4-1 win but when you consider the entire starting Everton eleven was purchased for only £16 million, the same price as Chelsea paid for Hernan Crespo alone, well is it any surprise we can't compete? Three points this weekend is more important anyway.
Dutch Schaeffer  (9/2/06)

One thing I always hate when we go out of the FA Cup is people reationalizing it away in terms of our "more important" League campaign. It's bogus. The Cup at most is six games, plus replays. It is NOT a diostraction. It is a golden glittering prize... well, okay... it used to be. — Michael

Just watched the Chelsea game and I am completely baffled by Moyes's tactics.

I know we were unbeaten in 9 matches or so prior to this game, but for fuck's sake show some attacking flair in the line up! Playing a 4-5-1 formation is SO NEGATIVE!! We have tried this twice this season and drawn both times AT HOME. Does Moyes really think that we can hold them and nick it 0-1 at Stamford Bridge!!! Chelsea have not been beaten at home in 3 years!!! Its the FA Cup; anything can happen... why not try 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 and attack them? We created something like five shots all game, this is utter shite.

Why couldn't he put on the young lad (Anichebe) with Osman and Beattie up front? Or when the substitutions came on, why play Carsley? He's not fit; give the youngster a run out for 10 mins, the game was lost anyway. I am just baffled.
Steven Bibby, Kent  (9/2/06)

Davie just doesn't think like you or I, Steve. And some would say that's why he's the manager and not us! But all good questions... although we have tanked badly when we have tried to play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. Apparently, we sinply don't have the personnel to play those games. Still puzzles me, though. It's the FA Cup; our last chance. Why not go all out and do something really daring in a bold attempt to win the game? Nothing ventured... — Michael

Men Against Mediocrities
Our recent run of league form has been encouraging but I did expect a little more than immediate, complete and abject unconditional surrender at Stamford Bridge. Once again, Beattie showed there is not the slightest remote justification for the unshakeable confidence David Moyes clearly has in him. What put the little darling off his game this time? Constipation? Socks too tight? Lace snapped? I don’t believe he will ever be anything but an unfunny parody of an Everton striker.

When you have nothing up front (as we have), there is no way to relieve the pressure on the back, which is why we so often find ourselves under the cosh, even when playing relatively well. In effect, our formation has become 4-5-0. Surely, at some point, David Moyes has got to realize that, to achieve success as opposed to simply avoiding disaster, we need to attack in numbers and we need to score. That suggests playing two able strikers up front.

There is no shame to going out to a team like Chelsea, but it is shameful to go out showing the opposition and fight of a Conference XI. Colchester will give them a tougher time. I was worried some of Chelsea’s players were going to fall asleep.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (9/2/06)

Athough I too am capabale of scathing criticsm, I think you are perhaps being a little unfair. Ignoring the scoreline for a moment, the Everton players didn't look too bad for much of the game; it's just the lack of guile, invention, and skill going into the opposition box where we really looked insipid. Couple that with some determinede attacking and the occaisonal flashes of inevitable skill and class that tore us apart... Such a pity we didn't go for th jugular when we had them on the rack at Goodison... — Michael

Why so negative
Why are all Everton fans becoming negative? I've been a blue all my life and this is the best I've seen Everton in a while. For one postive, we are no longer a team that are routed to the bottom of the table. We have very good young players: Hibbert, Osman, Turner and Vaughan.

Too many fans are thinking we should perform like last season. The only way that will happen is if Moyes is given the funds to bring in the talent he can. Look at his buys so far: Yobo — a brillant centre-back; Nigel Martyn — our best goalkeeper since Big nev; James Beattie, starting to find his feet and gettiing the goals; Tim Cahill, Arteta....

Moyes is the man to bring this club too the standard of the world's top clubs... so give him time and get off his back.
James McCourt, Liverpool  (8/2/06)

I'll just restrict myself to one comment: Beattie? BEATTIE??!?! Did you see what he managed to contrive tonight? Out of nothing!

You may have been an Evertonian all you life, and good on ya, but I fear you haven't seen very many decent Everton teams... or centr-forwards, come to that. — Michael

Zola??? I ask you!
Being an Evertonian has always been good for a laugh but the present levels of euphoria have never been surpassed for the comic content of some of your correspondence. Yesterday`s gem was some prat comparing Osman to `a young Zola` — all on the evidence of two goals and a near-miss in Christ knows how long!

Another classic is the frequent references to Beattie `emerging as a striker of genuine class`. The bugger`s taken a year to get himself fit and scored just FOUR bloody goals in open play all season — class, my arse!

Now, like everyone else, I`m delighted that Moyes is extracting us out of the shit (of his own making) but please, let`s keep a sense of proportion here. Almost any of the recent one-nillers could have gone either way and then the same idiots who hail Moyes like the second coming would have been screaming for his bollocks!

Let`s face it, just like nearly all the teams in the Premiership, our quality of football is dire. Outside the top five, anybody can beat anybody on the day - so let`s just keep counting off the points till we reach the magic 40, shall we? Then we`ll allow ourselves to relax and have a minor celebration.

Until then let`s go easy on the superlatives... Zola, I bloody ask you!
Eddie Nelson, Runcorn  (8/2/06)

God, yu sound just like me on a bad day! — Welcome to ToffeeWeb! — Michael

A tale of two tribes
Two clear tribes of Evertonians materialised during the early miserable start to this season. The ‘in Moyes we trust’ and ‘Moyes out’ tribes had very different views of the past and future of the Everton team under David Moyes's management. However, one thing remained the same: each tribe's view on the present. Back in Nov/Dec, this view was that the current team was a very poor side struggling to survive. The facts were there for all to see when glancing at the league table.

The current upturn in fortune has led to a shifting in these tribes, re-branding themselves as the ‘glass half-empty’ and ‘glass half-full’ tribes. However, now there is a shift in the view on the present. Surely a nine-match undefeated run would satisfy the ‘glass half-empty’ supporters, but apparently not.

Perhaps this says a lot about us Evertonians — not so much that we will accept nothing but the best (á la - Nil Satis Nisi Optimum) but that, unlike the rest of society, we are no longer content with a quick fix. We want a more sustained run of success than has been maintained under David Moyes.

That is quite commendable in a way but, given that we all know Moyes is not going anywhere for the rest of this season and that we will have the same group of players on the pitch, maybe now is the time for a more positive attitude from both tribes. If long-term success can’t be achieved under Moyes & Kenwright, surely everyone would take the quick fix of a top-half finish or Uefa Cup spot in the meantime.
Terry  McManus , Geneva, Switzerland  (8/2/06)

Err... I think you're smarter than me. I have no meanigful response... [wanders off stage left, humming "When Two Tribes Go to War..."]

Your guess is as good as mine
Can I suggest a poll that you might like to run?

Who is responsible for Everton’s recent excellent run of results?

  1. Our tactically naïve, dithering and clueless manager?
  2. Our passionless, over-the-hill, lacking in basic footballing skills players?
  3. Our greedy, grasping, overpaid but penniless board?
  4. Our whinging, bellyaching, knee-jerking, ‘I told you we are shit, let’s slag someone off’ supporters?
  5. Or is it all down to the fact that under the direction of David Moyes, we’re once again developing into a tight and compact little unit, with a bunch of players willing to play and run for each other, with a fair dusting of flair and talent emerging in midfield; grit and determination in the back four… and we’ve almost got a fully functioning striker… almost?
Answers on a postcard to:

‘Smug Bastard

c/o Hope it lasts (whatever it is!)
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (8/2/06)

... which would need you to also explain, for the sake of history, like, just why the same ingredients tanked so abysmally in the first half of the season. See , it works both ways, dunit?

Okay, I'll give you some help: "There is no rhyme or reason in football sometimes, what confidence and self-belief can achieve is remarkable. Half a dozen of the players have now clicked back into form, which is something they were not doing in the first half of the season. And luck has helped. We scored a winner in the 93rd minute at Sunderland after being out-played for a long spell and we have not looked back since." — David Moyes

Its Scary
Reading this mailbag is a bit like delving into an eerie world of fortune tellers, psychics and mind-readers with a bit of the gory stuff thrown in for good measure. It seems that many scribes can read David Moyes's mind better than the man himself. Some are half-full or half-empty; others like me, not knowing what the hell is going on behind closed doors, just hope for the best. I dreamt we beat Chelsea by two goals. If that dosn't work I will give the occult away and rely once again on simple plain facts as they unfold.

On another topic, I see that Per Krøldrup is doing OK at his new club. Just maybe he didn't fill the bill at Everton — a bit like Stubbs at Sunderland, eh?
Dick Fearon, Australia  (8/2/06)

So now the latest scandal is the outsourcing of merchandising to 'that lot from Wigan'. Are these the same people who have been berating the club shop in the past? From personal experience they couldn't run a stall on Stanley Market.

Outsourcing doesn't mean paying someone to do something for you. It means bringing in someone who is better than you at that operation — a specialist if you like (not to be confused with franchising a la McDonalds). You can rest assured that JJB will be on a load of KPIs and incentives — but the bottom line (for that is what it's all about) is that net revenue to EFC should increase. Catering is outsourced at Goodison. Betting is licensed (with a commission going to the club).

One last thing about 'that lot from Wigan' and EFC. One is a successful well run business that has generated massive surpluses down the years (even if the Chairman is a despicable so and so the way he treats the working classes etc). Which one?
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (8/2/06)

Steve Guy is right
From being someone very depressed about this season and fearful of what injuries and illness may do to our team and our chances of relegation, I have to say that since, being reminded of what being an Evertonian was like during the 90's, and what Moyes has brought to the club since his appointment, I'm feeling a helluva fucking lot better. The reason? We're not top 5 anymore, and probably won't ever be, but let's enjoy days better than 14th places and being happy for that.

Money hasn't bought McClaren or Bruce success — but I doubt neither of those two garners the support like Moysesy. We're a special club, with special support. I think we've got a special manager who fits us — difficult, underachieving, proud, but ... fuck me, talks the talk and (occasionally) walks the walk.
James Welford, London  (8/2/06)

So Unfair!
I get the impression that there are so-called fans who have it in for David Moyes regardless: we finish 4th and qualify for the Champions League and some so-called fans call for his head when the following season gets off to a bad start. Here we are in the best form for years and I get the impression there are a bunch of so-called fans waiting and almost hoping for the run to end so they can once more shout 'I told you so' and slag off Moyes again. How about we stop all this moaning and get behind the team? Why not judge Moyes at the end of the season?
Dutch Schaeffer, Liverpool  (8/2/06)

I don't agree with that... We need the letters to keep coming in! And in reality, few are doing what you claim anyway. Most intelligent fans can see we are on a knife-edge. This snide bollocks about "getting behind the team" carries the offensive implication that intelligent analysis and supporting Everton do not go hand in hand. That is plain wrong. — Michael

RE: Closing the deal
With a little foresight, I think we should have some consideration that up to five of the current first team squad could / should need replacing at the end of the season due to their age, contract or loan status... so in theory we may need five new signings just to maintain the already depleted status quo.

Even in the unlikely event that Moyes had £10 million to splash, it would not have been prudent to buy an overpriced striker for around half that money (i.e Nugent, Samaras) — even if it was there — particularly as he may need to go and buy three centre-halves, a keeper and a testosterone fuelled maniac come July. And we all know that 5 million pounds doesn't buy a 5 million pound player :-)

Oh and if Davey does need to supplement the threadbare squad with some free transfers, there will be a few more of them around at the end of the season because a few player contracts end around then if I'm not mistaken?

Anyway, there is the small matter of a little cup tie to play today ... with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work our boys could pull a rabbit out of a hat and beat them! Now winning that game would be 'entertainment' ... and I don't care how we do it! COYB!!!
Matt  Willey, Rushden, Northants  (8/2/06)

Closing the Deal
The split of opinion on Moyes and the current state of our beloved club as shown in the postings here is obvious. I have to admit to being in the Half Empty camp. Although current results have shown we are good enough to avoid relegation this season (I thought that was taken for granted after last season), there's no doubt that the quality of the football is nowhere near the "optimum" we aspire to.

I'm sure I will get pelters for raising this again but one thing is still really bugging me, the Moyes e.mail to fans last week explaining the lack of transfer activity in January. In particular the statement he makes:

'Bill Kenwright and the Board of Directors at Everton ensured money was available to spend plus there was the added funds from the sales of Marcus Bent and Per Krøldrup.'
So there was money already AND then there were the ADDED FUNDS (not the profit on Bent netted out by the loss on PK) from the two sales. That has to make at least £5M. And yet there was nobody, not a single player, that could be found to improve our squad in spite of us having a long list of targets and the whole month to deal in.

Some of the target players had doubled in price, apparently. That's when you need to be able to negotiate — something which we seem unable to do, AND that's when you need to sell the club and its ambitions/history/style of football to the target player — something else we can't do.

Really that's at the heart of why my cup's Half Empty. Firstly, we don't have anyone (BK/KW?) to do the negotiating, their combined commercial acumen has now led us to outsourcing the retail operation to JJB for God's sake. Assuming BK/KW can't do it, we should hire a professional negotiator with sound commercial experience (should really be the CEO but never mind) to close the deals for the players we want. Too often our interest is telegraphed, we get out-manoeuvred or we reveal our hand too soon.

Secondly, Davey obviously struggles to sell the club and himself to the target players. Like it or not he has a reputation for not being the best man-manager, and our style of football is not going to attract the sort of flair/attack-minded/goalscoring talent we lack so clearly. That we couldn't attract anyone at the "right price" when we were storming up the table makes it even worse. Maybe there should be an additional answer in the New Poll to go with Dithering Dave and No Money Available that is Couldn't Close the Deal.
Rodger Armstrong, London  (7/2/06)

I'll try not to pelt too hard, but I am amazed at your detailed internal knowledge of the goings on in Everton's transfer negotitations. No-one has ever come forward with the intimate knowledge you show of the shambles that is Everton at the negotiating table. Truely impressive... or is that all merely conjecture? With no basis in fact whatsoever??? Just thought I'd ask...

For me, the personality, objectives, and demonstrated limitations of David Moyes are sufficient to explain his lack of significant activity in the transfer window. He got rid of two players who were bad for morale, team spirit and performance, bring back a player who he knew could do the business. And he refused to gamble on any other player, however much the fans may have convinced themselves that we absolutely had to have new striking blood AT ALL COSTS.

The commonly-held perception seems to be that, because our need was so dire, and because we heard so many rumours, Davie must have been keen to sign someone, but was denied through lack of funds. Yet the people involded all say it was more Dave's inability to find players suitable (to him) at the right price who wanted to come.

Moyes told us he didn't like the January window; Moyes warned us there may be no significant incomings: how did this whole pantomime turn into such a devasting shock for so many Evertonians? — Michael

I was reminded the other day that, off the back of keeping us up and finishing 7th, Moyes was offered a substantial bonus by Billy Liar (pre-Biffa obviously as he would surely have slapped Bill's wrists for making such an offer!). Moyes refused it on the basis he hadn't actually won a bean.

I'd forgotten this, as had no doubt many others.

When Moyes came to Everton, he was feted as one of the most promising managerial talents in British football; but this was tempered by the word 'promising'. Moyes has since been on a steep learning curve, which has seen Everton's fortunes veer between near relegation and Champions League qualification. Even this season has been a learning curve, with his recent admission, that the early exit from Europe affected the players more deeply than even we had imagined. It has taken him half a season to get them back to something like the form of 2004-05.

Moyes has his own way of doing things, whether it be training, transfers or team bonding. We should know by now he won't change fundamentals, but he is continually adapting.

The thing I like most, is that he tells it like it is (or at least how he thinks it is). Ferguson ?? — 'too right he should have been sent off, he let us all down' — but complemented by a very black and white view of the FA compliance committee and possible victimisation of Dunc for his reputatation. Transfers?? — answered with an unexpected open letter to fans. You can pick as many holes as you like in that statement's content, but you also have to accept that Moyes didn't need to say anything.

I'm still not brimming over with excitement at the football we are playing, but it isn't that bad either. We are now six points off the European places (as much because of the inconsistency of the teams around us as our recent excellent run). In December I couldn't see where the next point was coming from, but I'm now looking at the remaining fixtures with confidence. Both of these conflicting scenarios are down to Moyes.

I now fancy Everton to finish well this season and that the learning curve is now far less steep than it once was. Proof of this will be how Moyes handles transfers in the summer and how we start next season.

So, as a recent contributor stated, my cup is definitely half-full — and Moyes is the man who has made it that way.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (7/2/06)

Firstly thanks for having another look at the New Poll, which is now showing fairer options. Shows you do actually read and take note of your 'Public'!!

Moving on, Radio Merseyside this morning are linking us with a move for Steffen Iversen, the 29-year-old ex-Spurs player who is out of contract having just left some Spanish club?!

If, and it's a big if, he did turn up, where would that leave Moyes's speech? No short term measures? No quick fixes?
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (07/02/2006)

Moyes denies the possibility on the Official Website. Does that therefore prove he was actually telling the truth? — Michael

Retail Sell-Out
So Wyness has turned over Everton`s retail arm to the experts from Wigan? No doubt it will improve what has often been an abysmal operation but it will also free up more time for him to concentrate on his personal businesses!

At a time when most clubs are working hard to cut out the middle-man and bring everything `in house`, it is typical of Everton to go in the oposite direction. But you can`t be expected to do everything for a paltry £170,000 a year, can you?
Keith Dowling, Wavertree  (7/2/06)

Whilst looking through ‘mailbag’ and the forums, it amazes me the different opinions about our manager from the same set of fans.

After repeatedly defending David Moyes on the forums earlier in the season, it is nice to see an about-turn from rational thinking fans, yet the start to the season seems to have left a permanent stain on the manager's ability in many fans eyes. We will always see different opinions through any cross-section of people, even those with common interests, especially if that interest spawns passion. But how can the same person be hailed as the best man for the job in one quarter (awarded twice by his peers) and be labelled an amateur lower-league manager incapable of tactical guile and transfer market ruthlessness just as staunchly in another?

We all watch the same players/games and see the same things. So what makes our opinions differ so much? We all interpret things differently; it's human nature... but why we interpret things differently is usually down to a combination of factors, experience being the main one. And our ability to place experience into perspective, by our awareness of relevant context.

I myself for instance have experience of being an Evertonian in the eighties: I was ten in ’85, I was not going the match at that time, but followed the club passionately on TV and radio. I cried for hours after Whiteside scored in the FA Cup Final. And it’s still as tangible to me, as Beattie’s recent goal in the Arsenal game. As is ‘THE’ Wimbledon game, when Graeme Stuart made us realise how far we had fallen, and saved us falling further!

I experienced the whole of the 90’s as we slipped further down the pecking order, and clutched at every false dawn. And every season made me realise what it is like to support a team with little hope. And while hope should be the least any club should afford its fanbase, there was many an October when we all sighed, resignedly. I believed all the detractors were merely suffering from a lack of patience during our dismal spell, but those who are pre-determined to judge on current form alone should surely be back in the pro-Moyes camp. Yet there are still those who interpret Moyes’s ability as substandard

I believe these people to be just as intelligent as those who disagree, but our own personal experiences, and which of those are subconsciously tangible to us individually as Evertonians, shapes our opinion. How many of those who truly do not believe in David Moyes can say they truly experienced the ‘90s?

I can honestly say I have had all hope restored as an Evertonian, and that’ll do for me, for now...
John Prior, Liverpool  (7/2/06)

That's a good letter, John. And an interesting topic. I think there might be more than experience involved. There is also a predisposition to being accepting (and gullible?) or being critical and doubting. Tell one person a rumour and they will believe it. Tell another person the same rumour and they'll dismiss it out of hand. Neither of them have any substantiation. What do they go on? Essentially their own feelings. What do they feel to be true? Isn't that an important factor when it comes to assessing David Moyes? — Michael

The glass is half empty
I'm not sure if Mark Langley (The glass is half full 6/2/06) is watching the same team as me. If he thinks that a win against an underperforming City team proves that everything is well in the blue camp, he is mistaken. Once again, Moyes has shown his inability in the transfer market and, while you cannot fault the effort of most of the team in recent weeks, we still have a sad lack of creativity and a desparate need for a decent striker. Ferguson could not give a toss about the service he gets from the left as long as he can pick up his pay for doing as little as possible. I agree that we should get behind the Blues; however, it would be easier to do this if they gave us something to shout about.
Dave Langley, Wirral  (06/02/06)

And an unbeaten run of nine games, top of the Premiership form league with five wins out of six, is cleary not worth shouting about, eh? — Michael

Great start for Krødrup
All Evertonians will be glad to know (or not!) that Per Krøldrup has made excellent return to Serie A. On Sunday he was star defender in 1-0 victory over Lecce following impressive display one week before in 2-0 win against Messina. His pass completion figure is so far over 70%, brilliant for central defender and three sports papers give him vote for most impressive `window` signing throughout League.

Just a pity that Moyes could not have done big swop with the Viola - Krøldrup for Lucca Toni, ace scorer who was rumoured to be on way to England.
Gianni Morrello, Southport  (6/2/06)

You seem confused. Per Krøldrup cannot head the ball (supposedly) and he cannot play football the Premiership way (supposedly). Maybe he is being mistaken for another Danish defender...??? — Michael

Lets hear it for the girls!!
I read the Mail bag most days and have noted that I seem to be the only Blue lady who contributes. I also note that no mention was made on the official website or the Toffeeweb that our Ladies Team beat the Chelsea Ladies 2 - 1 yesterday. Let's hope the men do as well on Wednesday night.

I have always been a staunch supporter [my Dad would be proud of me!] having seen my first game at the age of 6 sitting on his shoulders. My first senior solo game was in 1956 to see Jimmy Greaves make his debut for Chelsea and we beat them 3-0 that day. What a long time ago but once a blue, always a blue.
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (6/2/06)

Nice one, Pat. We've been looking for a correspondent who would follow the ladies for us and send in regular updates... but no-one seems interested. — Michael

Big Dunc
Cynic that I am, I'm sure the big man is no 'thug' — he just wants a few weeks off now and again.
Eddy Gibbs, Brecon  (06/02/06)

Derek Wadeson Analysis
Would just like to congratulate Derek Wadeson on his optimistic analysis: "Did we win or lose?" It filled me with optimism on a grim Monday morning. You made perfect sense and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!
Steven Astley, Wigan  (6/2/06)

Just Hoof It Per! Hoof It!!!
Bearing in mind the saying 'if you have nothing good to say, then say nothing at all', I have been hesitant to contribute to the mailbag during this very good period of results. Of course I have had a good laugh at a lot of the blind Moyes-supporters' rants towards the likes of Tony Marsh but the fact is diverse opinions are a good thing and people who bring things to the table are of a lot more use then the 'sheep'.

I am made up with the fact that we are out of the shit, relegation wise; however, I refuse to jump on the Europe here we come bandwagon (let's just see what happens, aye!). Most of the criticism Moyes has come in for this season has been completely just and I am not even gonna go into it.

Looking forward to the summer, though, I still wonder how Moyes is going to improve on this team because everytime he tries to take us in a different direction he seems to fuck up. We will never play attractive football and score bags of goals under Moyes because he likes his teams to play just like he did, a dogged defender and that is why, I believe, Per Krøldrup must have been sacked off. I really can picture Moyes and Co giving him loads for trying to play it out of defence! Thats why he doesn't give a shit we have no strikers because you only need one jammy goal and a clean sheet to get three points.

I just believe that this is a classic case of taking a team as far as they can. Whilst some people seem to be content with mid-table mediocrity and shite footy I for one am not.
Robbie Muldoon, Huyton  (6/2/06)

Alan Stubbs
Last season we finished a quite magnificent 4th in the Premiership with Alan Stubbs at the heart of our defence. Unfortunately due to Moyes rightly being cautious with contracts for older players Stubbs departed for Sunderland and Everton encountered their worst form ever. A few months later, Stubbs returns to the heart of the Everton defence and we encounter our best form in a number of years. Relegation looks a distance memory and Europe again is the target. Is this coincedence or is Stubbs more important then we think?
Dutch Schaeffer  (6/2/06)

Osman Club Fine?
Is there any truth in the rumour that Leon Osman is to be fined two weeks wages for his unforgiveable outburst of skill on Saturday when he picked up the ball on the halfway line and ran directly at the City defence, gliding past Dunne as if he wasn't there and rifling a fantastic shot against the crossbar with James stranded? DM is said to be furious at this outbreak of flowing attractive football which is not what his teams are supposed to play. And in the first two minutes of the match too! The School of Science is now the School of Slog and Scrap.

Thankfully the balance was redressed later when Davey Weir scored the winner without knowing it as the ball cannoned off his knee and ended up in the net thus bringing our goal difference up to the dizzy heights of minus 14! Whatever next? A striker scoring a hat-trick?

Don't write in to reply guys, my tongue's firmly in my cheek. Martyn and Wright can score as long as we win.
Dean Peamum, Valetta, Malta  (6/2/06)

Half empty, more like!
Call me a miserable bugger if you will but the Everton glass is always half empty when we can only manage 18 goals from 25 games. Fortunately, the run since Christmas has seen us safe for another season but I am far from convinced that this team is capable of anymore than scratching out flukey wins and draws without providing any form of entertainment.

Your writer dreams of Van der Meyde (who he?) sending over a stream of crosses for Big Dunc to nod in — some hope, I say! Unless I`ve missed something, the useless lump hasn`t found the net since last April and I for one shall be glad if we`ve seen the last of him.

Like many Evertonians, I am far from convinced about Moyes`s ability to bring much more than the boom and bust sequences we`ve seen from him so far. How anyone can get enthused by the crap we`ve seen this season — and I include much during the present `success` —is beyond me... but each to their own, I guess.
Bernie Delport, Rainhill  (6/2/06)

Was there a spell in the first half against Manc City in which Everton actually played some decent football? It's not anyw where near enough... but perhaps it's a start? — Michael

New Poll
Bit naughty fellas for grouping the first option on the New Poll isn't it? Would it not have been a little better to keep Moyes's dithering and the cash question as seperate options? Just an observation.
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (5/2/06)

I think Lyndon was merely providing additional information for what is ultimately just a simple Yes/No question: "Are the fans right to be angry about the failure to sign a striker?"

The alternative would be more of a mulitple choice, with a list of possible answers for the question "Why did David Moyes fail to sign a striker?" That would be more diffciult for a poll because there are multiple overlapping reasons that have been bandied around, and fans would likely be angry with us for limiting their choice to just one! — Michael

The Man City game highlighted Moyes's transfer market impotence. An unfit Beattie replaced by an incapable McFadden. Are we to believe that there is no striker anywhere in Europe who wants first team football with the world cup coming up, that we couldn't have taken on loan? Moyes says he won't go for a quick fix. What was the Stubbs signing then? Anyone who watched Brentford in the cup last week would have said that DJ Campbell was worth a gamble. Good luck to Steve Bruce for having the bottle.
Arthur Hegan, Liverpool  (5/2/06)

Oh for fuck's sake... are you STILL on that? Surely it's time to move on? The transfer window is CLOSED. Stubbs and Weir make an excellent defensive partnership. The team is Moyes's team. They are unbeaten in NINE games. And now, there is the rest of the season to play out. For God's sake just let it go. How many times did Moyes say there were unlikely to be any incoming? Please, let's MOVE ON! — Michael

Technical Krøldrup
Per Krøldrup's latest outburst since his move back to Italy: "I still believe I could have done well in The Premiership but, in Italy, there is more emphasis on technical skills,"

What's that then Mr. Kroldrup? The technical skill of heading a ball?! After 3 everybody..... 1...2...3... WHAT A WANKER!
Steven Astley, Wigan  (5/2/06)

Ah, the well-known and highy recognizable Evertonian trait of re-writing history to ensure continued vilification of those who have departed.

Sorry, Steven, but you don't get to be a Danish International and a key defender for a top Italian side by being rubbish at football. What he said had the ring of truth for me: I can see them now, beating up the poor lad for trying to pass the ball out of defence — as any decent defender should — rather than lumping it skyward. Not the Everton way, init? — Michael

RE: Empty Seats
Has anyone noticed that, after we play Blackburn next week, we will have played five of the last six games at home. Football can be an expensive hobby.
Mark Lyth, Netherton  (5/2/06)

Lee aka Moyes
Recent mention of Gordon Lee got me thinking of the similarities between him and the present incumbent. Whilst Lee came to us from Newcastle, he had, like Moyes, cut his teeth in the lower leagues and did a splendid job until they gave him money to spend! Then he blew it on the likes of Ross, Kidd, Todd and Hartford who had all seen their best days elsewhere. And whilst, admitedly, Moyes has invested in younger players, no one will ever convince me that £20M expended on Wright, Beattie, Krøldrup and Davies represents anything like value for money!

In common with all Evertonians, I am delighted with the present run of results, but I am reminded that under Lee we once went a record 19 games without defeat and still won nowt! The final similarity, if my maths are right, is that as of last night the two have identical winning ratios of a smidgeon under 40%!

Where the similarity ends, however, is that under Lee we did score goals for fun (Latchford, Sharp et al) and Duncan Makenzie alone was always worth the gate money.
Harry  Meek, Worcester  (5/2/06)

Empty Seats
Great article by Peter Moore, though I have to raise the point that you can be the most passionate Evertonian and still constructively criticise the management. I think the main reasons why there were empty seats at the Chelsea game is that for £30, some people want to be entertained, they want to see some flair and skill. If I was only interested in watching battlers, I'd go and watch a pub team for nothing!

Great to see the team at its peak again ø it proves that Moyes is great at putting together a well-organised low-risk side. Let's hope that the progression we waited for last summer is with us this year. After all, maybe you could argue that last season may have taken us too far too soon?
Paul Tran, Kendal  (05/02/2006)

Patience is a virtue.
Votes, polls, fans forums, have your say etc., I must have read a thousand articles from disgruntled Evertonians unhappy with what is happening at Goodison HQ... WHY?! We have at the present the best manager we have had since Kendall in the 1980s. Sure he made a mistake with Krøldrup, but one mistake? Give him a break! Compare that with Alex Fergusons and it pales into insignificance.

The difference is Ferguson can get his cheque book out and try again; we can't afford that luxury. So reflecting on Moyes's decision not to be cohersed or blackmailed by clubs who knew we were desperate for a forward, can you not understand his reluctance to buy a shit Johnny foreigner, just for the sake of it? Moyes will sort it out — we're not doing badly at the present, are we?

Just remember this, patience is a virtue.
Sinclair Wood, Plymouth  (5/2/06)

The Morning After
Firstly, being a black Everton fan, I am disgusted with some of the chants of some of the fans who don't see the shirt or colours of the team you support, but only the colour of a player's skin. Personally, I haven't thankfully been victim of such abuse but I heard of a horrible tale yesterday. Let's put racism in the last century and move forward as a footballing community to stamp this ignorance out!

Back to the game yesterday, Everton are back to their jammy best. Nick a goal and hold on for dear life. Don't get me wrong; I'll always take a win — no matter how fortunate — but the second half Everton were awful and I would like to see a bit more adverture in our play to 'kill' off teams as we won't always be that fortunate (remember the start of the season?).

It's no fluke either that we are winning with Osman in the team and Davies out of it. Osman brings attacking flair and skill to Everton's midfield; Davies brings a mop of hair! Davies must improve or sell him to buy a geniue winger like Simao.

Lastly, if money isn't a problem at Goodison, then secure the signing of Matteo Ferrari now! I've seen enough to know he will be an excellent centre-half, so we nust get him to avoid losing him to bigger fish (like we almost did with Arteta). Are you listening, Mr Moyes???
Luq Yus, London, England  (4/2/06)

The Pendulum Swings
Watched the game last night, tho sadly my Man City mate had to cry off with a bad back (having fallen off a bar stool the previous night). Anyway I digress.

I won't dissect the game as others will do that better than me, but what has been noticeable is that our luck has definitely changed. Earlier this season (admittedly the football was dire) we were suffering all sorts of bad luck - referees, woodwork, fluke goals against. Whilst we had the better of posession than Citeh, at least this time we are starting to benefit from the luck.

Maybe 2005 was just Moyes's annus horribilus?

Finally - re the comment from Tom Sharpe. Yes it's easy to say we're the best fans in the world etc. But my (recent) memories of away games often includes incidents of extreme bad behaviour from the 'no visible means of income' lot we attract. Every club has them, and we're no different, sad to say. Glad to say that at many away games I'd meet up with friends from opposing teams, who would often say that the best supporters they ever saw were Blues. Hope springs eternal... let's hope it extends to Wednesday!!
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (5/2/06)

Moyes for Newcastle United?
Has anyone considered the odds of the Moyes/Irvine team joining Newcastle United? I mean... nearly all of Moyes's transfer targets ended up there. Irvine is from the northeast and Moyes is a man with ambition stuck at a club with one hand tied behind is back due to financial mismanagement, incompetence, limited playing staff, etc — and has a no-nonsense attitude to his star players... What would the man do if Freddy came knocking???
Scott Robinson, London  (5/2/06)

Er... "David Moyes is going Nowhere!" — Michael

Stupid fans!
I am writing in disgust at the 'sick' chants from mainly the Gwladys Street End towards Joey Barton. I actually know the lad and, believe it or not he is a normal and sound lad — and he is a blue! He is not a murderer, he is not a racist, and he is not a kopite!

Why is it that sometimes our fans have to take it too far! Against Liverpool two seasons ago, he had writing on a vest under his shirt 'Once a blue, always a blue' and if he scored he was going to take his shirt off! He was at Everton as a kid but they let him go because they said he was too small! What happened in Thailand with Richard Dunne was about Joey arguing with an Everton fan (Danny Murray) over who was a bigger blue! Murrary is a good blue but he is a little shit and kicked Joey up the arse first!

Joey Barton has done nothing to Everton whatsoever! So does he really deserve to be called a murderer or a 'scruffy racist bastard' or get taunts like 'your brother's gettin' bummed in the showers'? We have got good support but our fans let us down sometimes with sick chants! It was embarrassing today!
Tom Sharpe, Huyton  (4/2/06)

Is that what used to pass as scouse humour? Does sound a bit sick though. I can't grasp this tendency to pick on our own and beat the shit out of them on some dubious pretext that, in these tiny minds, outweighs the Evertonian inside the target of their mindless abuse. Kids, eh? — Michael

Thanks to David Hall
Thanks for the information on Gordon Lee. He suffered by being just a bit too near to Everton's great sides of the sixties. Admittedly we were mostly shite from 1970 to 1977, but we still expected to be the best. Things are a bit different now!

Still, Gordon Lee's Everton did have some big highs for me — knocking Liverpool out of the cup, scoring goals galore in 1977-78, etc. He was also unfortunate in that he managed us at a time when Liverpool dominated English football to the extent Chelsea do today.
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (04/02/06)

Not so Dicky any more?
15th March 2003. The last time Dickie Wright started a Premiership Match and came off at the end having not conceeded a goal.

Hope the next one comes a bit quicker... and the one after that... and the one after that.

Confidence breeds confidence breeds good players.
Phil Roberts, Kelsall, Cheshire  (4/2/06)

Good call, Phil. That is a real achievement by Richard Wright!

Moyes safe
Back from the game and another three points that ensures we can stop speculating on the manager's position and almost feel the certainty of survival whilst sensing a possibility of Europe... and while we are at it, is our name on the cup?

Today's game typified the Blues for me. A positive start that saw Osman put in a high class performance, his move to single-handily shred the City defence and shave the bar got everyone going. We continued in that vein and got a somewhat fortuitous goal via Wier's thigh but the lead nontheless. All this in the space of six minuets.

A number of us thought we would continue in this vein and get a goal fest; sadly we were wrong as Osman became less of a threat; so did the rest of the attacking play. The Blues, as though programmed, seemed to say to City: "We have got our goal now; it is up to you to break us down." They could not do that, which made the encounter mesmerising from the 6th minute until the 94th minute — just in case they did.

It was no wonder when considering MotM I was left with choosing anyone of the back four. My shout went to Valente but could easily have been any of the other three. Does anyone else think that Valente is the best left back we have seen since Ray Wilson?

I have had many a moan re Moyes but I do believe that, whilst not the best manager in the country, he is certainly the best manager AVAILABLE to this club. I really hope that both manager and club can build on what is becoming a good second half to the season and, with some inspired buys in the summer window ,allow us fans some hope for a whole season's worth of results.

To the Moyes detractors, I would say you have a point but let him continue learning at this level as I feel he really wants to make a mark with us, which can only be good in the long run.

I enjoyed my matchday today because we won but I do feel a sense of more to come due to a bloody-minded approach by the manager to anything other than he sees necessary. Many may see my thoughts as merely papering over cracks but as I have no other information regarding the Board, manager or CEO. I can only express my feelings based on what I see from my seat in the stands.

Today I cheered and next week I hope for more of the same. Next up: the Cup... and who knows!
See you Wednesday. -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (4/2/06)

Like the name of my famous scouse red indian friend, that's the first word that popped into my head when reading some of the letters on this web site. Some even suggesting that because we have failed to sign anyone, most notably a striker, that our season is over.

However, we are on a 10-game unbeaten run where most of the games have been won by scrappy single goals.

I'm awfully sorry, but isn't that just what we did for the whole of last season? Grind out the results? Was the football fantastic last season? Was the squad brilliant? Did we have more than one decent striker in the squad?

The answer to all these questions is... NO!!!

Now, was it good enough to get us a fourth position finish? Was it good enough to get our manager the Manager of the Year award? Was it good enough to get us a Champions League qualifying place?


This season hasn't been the best, but we are slowly getting back to ours, which is, ashamedly, scrappy battling football. It's what we do, and it's good enough for me.
Paul Gittens, Runcorn  (4/2/06)

You are far too sensible, Paul. Please go away and think about your response. Then come back when you can moan and bellyache about the missed opportunity of the transfer window... ad nauseam — like the rest of 'em. :) — Michael

Now the moaning has to stop!
Forget the bloody transfer window, let's get real and concentrate on the here and now. If Moyes thinks that he has the resources to see us through to the end of the season, I for one am prepared to trust his judgement. Today`s result, however fortuitous the goal, shows that he has got the team back to the level of play which got us to fourth place last year.

Like most Evertonians, I couldn`t give a stuff about whether Kenwright owns the Club or some other faceless prat, and I couldn`t care less about the bank balance — all I`m interested in is a winning team — so please, all you knockers do us a favour and shut up!
Dudley Price, Freshfield  (4/2/06)

Boring Football
Do Newcastle fans put up with anything? — No, they make themselves known.

How many strikers have West Ham, West Brom, Birmingham, Blackburn, Man City, Liverpool, even Reading (the list is endless) all got compared to the mighty Everton!!!

We have become used to boring, negative football with one upfront — and for over £30 a game.

Who else would want shite like Kilbane, Davies, Naysmith and, yes, Duncan Ferguson. Come to think of it, who else would want David Moyes?
Joe McMahon-Bates, Roswendale  (4/2/06)

Oh for God's sake stop moaning and accept the unacceptable... coz it ain't gonna change. And guess what: Everton under David Moyes are unbeaten in nine games, strikers or no strikers. If you don't like it, DON'T GO! — Michael

Get in there
16 points from 18 and the best run since 1998! QUALITY. Let's put the Moyes bashing to rest for now...
Daniel Parker, New York, US  (4/2/06)

Gordon Lee
Re Brian Denton`s enquiry about Gordon Lee, I can confirm that after leaving Goodison he managed Preston North End and Leicester City before working extensively abroad and finally scouting for Sheffield Wednesday. For years, Lee has been much derided although his record bears comparison with most Everton managers apart from Kendall Mark I.

Like most, he started well and fell away. His successive `finishing` positions were 3rd, 4th, 19th & 15th. He was a thoroughly nice man and although his Black Country accent never endeared him to Evertonians, he was as straight-forward and honest as any of our managers, before or since.

His full managerial record follows:-

Port Vale  P258 W94 36.4%
Blackburn P68 W28 41.2%
Newcastle P74 W28 37.8%
EVERTON  P234 W92 39.3%
Preston    P93 W32 34.4%
Leicester  P20 W7 35.0%
Total        P747 W281 37.6%

That, I submit,is the career record of a very competent manager and his record for Everton is far superior to that of many who followed him!
David Hall, Taunton  (4/2/06)

Let's say DM had £5M or so in January. He looks around and concludes that he'd only get a nice headline, stop some serial moaners for 10 minutes and welcome a player he didn't really want.

At the same time, market analysts (Deloite or something like that) are predicting a slump in transfer activity next summer. Also at the same time the current team is doing well and spirit is high.

I think I would be tempted to see this season through with current squad with hopefully some additional income from a top 10 place, and then be in a position to get a decent player or two in the summer.

Many will say "Not good enough". Well... probably not, but makes sense to me rather than disrupt team and spitit now (how many transfer-window additions really change a team's fortunes?) and be broke in the summer.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (4/2/06)

An eminently sensible alternative analysis, Ged. People seem to forget the serious difficulty that exists when it comess to David Moyes actually securing a player he wants — for whatever reason. They look at all the other transfers going on and say "why not us?" but Moyes has shown he is extremely picky on the one hand, and likely to put players off on the other. Bringing in new players was never, ever going to be as simple or straight-forward as the fams allowed themselves to believe. — Michael

Is there to be no let up?
Had Moyes said he tried to sign X, Y & Z, our Super Cynics would say he was telling Porkies. He said the opposite and the same folk say he is telling Porkies. I guess they also support the view that he 'lost' the dressing room. I am not suggesting that all is perfect yet but let's give the bloke a fair go.

The anti-Moyes brigade think they can fool most of the people some of the time etc... yet they don't fool me. I recognise the fact that, on the field and economically, our cherished club is battling to survive. There is no billionaire sugar-daddy waiting in the wings. Given our past histoy of mis-management, we are making a damn good fist of it and much of the credit is due to Moyes.
Dick Fearon, Australia  (04/02/06)

Quote of the day!
Goes to... Jalil Noor from Singapore... 'This aint a democracy'. Well done that man! People have been hung for less. Okay, I'll get me coat - see you in Blighty soon lads! COYB!!
Matt Traynor, Er.. somewhere else  (4/2/06)

Time To Support!
9 wins and only 5 losses in the last 18 games is pretty good form. We are unbeaten in 8 games and steadily climbing the league. We have got rid of some deadwood and we have some money to strengthen the squad during the summer. Finally, after an awful start, things are looking better... so why are the so-called fans continuing to moan about two-time Manager of the Year, David Moyes?
Dutch Schaeffer  (03/02/06)

Does anyone in the club know what they're doing?
Sir: I am a director or two companies, and attend regular network events which are important to business development. I contacted Everton this week and enquired into the 'Blue Business' service which has a section of the website. The receptionist didn't know about it but passed me to ticketing. Ticketing passed me to marketing and marketing didn't even know it existed.

I'd love to be putting money into Blue companies such as my own, but the club don't seem to be interested in getting businesses involved with Everton. Is there any wonder they can't attract an investor? Football clubs need to be run like a business these days, but we seem to have one foot in the past.

This is not a moaning letter, but perhaps an opportunity for ToffeeWeb to capitalise on the club's failings and perhaps arrange a networking event of its own.
Dean Paton, Birkenhead  (3/2/06)

It's a pity when we hear stories like this. Perhaps by publicising them, we can hope that exposure will increase sensitivity and cause change for the better within the club.

Unfortunately, when it comes to networking, we're pretty stretched ourselves on the ground. We barely have enough resources to keep the website updated, so I'm afraid extra-curicular ventures are out of the question for us. Nice idea, though. — Michael

What can we do???
What else??? Get behind the club and support it all the way till the end of the season. Show the players they still have our support no matter what.

For those against Kenwright and Wyness and Moyes: simple, get your banners out, display them home and away, organise a protest, sit in, hunger strike, e.mail them, ask for Q and A, whatever. Get the shareholders to petition to oust them, find investments for Everton on your own and present them to the Board or better still, form a conglomerate of buyers and buy the club.

Fact is we will never know what goes on up there (within the Boardroom and the club offices) 'til we are up there ourselves. We will never know the true situation of debts or profits or transfer kitty or wages 'til we are part of them. It's easier to shoot our mouth without really knowing what the true situation is — and we will never know, will we? All we can do is speculate and have hypotheses or conspiracy theories. This ain't a democracy! This is a business company and its called Everton Football Club Co Ltd.

In a business, customers (in this case, the fans) always have a choice to continue to be patrons or to walk away. But we will find it hard to walk away from EFC cos it's not just a club, it's our club: all of us are born blues and we have blueblood in us. It may be a love-hate relationship to some but admit it: you can't walk away, can you??

It's just frustration to see or rather not see what we want come to fruition and its our nature to always question those in charge. Hey, it's just like the company you work for where you have a bunch of knobheads running it and you always think you can run it better. No matter how many times people at the top are changed, they are always knobheads and we always will think we can run it better. They could be salvation one minute and the devil another.

We have no new players, no new investment coming in, no apparent changes to the management team or Board... so stop griping about it! What we have is what we have and thats a fact!!! Sure, you have an option to voice your say and gripe and moan and praise and flatter... but since all we gripe about aint changing anytime soon, why don't we just transfer all that energy into doing what we do best. And that is getting behind the club and the players.

I don't like the way things are now either but complaining won't change a thing and it just raise your blood pressure, stress and needless worrying — all for something that won't change anytime soon. I would rather channel it into supporting the club cos honestly what can I do to change things??? Nothing!!! For those who can, then Do Something instead of just griping coz actions talk louder than words!!

ps: I'm gonna get a lot of stick for this, methinks...
Jalil Noor, Singapore  (4/2/06)

Fed up of getting laughed at....
What a time to send season ticket holders the letter regarding misprints in the season ticket book. Just as I was opening my mail, my kopite workmate turned up for a lift, and was most amused by the letter sent to me by EFC regards printing the wrong numbers in my book.

He was also at the derby game to laugh at the "beat Nev in goal, oh no, the teams are coming back out" half time fiasco....

Just as well we don't care what the red shite say! :)
Wayne Francis, N Wales  (3/2/06)

... but obviously you do care!

RE: Gorden Lee
I know he had a spell with Sheff Wed after Everton. I met Gordon, his son and grandson in the car park after one game last season. His grandson in full kit and flag. As I was only around nine when Gordon was manager, I did attend all the games, I couldn't comment on his managerial skills but I remember being the right end of the league. It was nice to talk with him though.

Well said, Gavin, your contributions are balanced and truthful and represent how many of us feel.
Mark Lyth, Netherton  (03/02/06)

"January was not the month we wished it to be" Err, it was for me - we won a string of games for a change and we got rid of two sh1te players. I've heard people whining in the past about giving youth a chance - maybe that's the plan. Yeah, I would have liked to sign some players but I also wanted not to be hanging above the bottom three.
Daniel Parker, New York, US  (3/2/06)

Money it's a hit, don't give me that!!!!
We'd all like more players but, the way EFC play, strikers are not too important. We only go for a goal a game and it's rare for the striker to get it. Let's save the money for the summer; DM knows the football has to become more attractive next season. Or it will be his last. I hope he gets it right.

What's this big debate going on about the amount of money EFC spend on transfers? If we take out the big four, there can be very few teams in Britain who have spent more than us in the last 10 years. We have done that with low league positions, no cup runs, and fans amongst the lowerst spenders (on club merchandise) per head in the Premiership.

Why not belive the figures? It's not the CIA... I also think BK owns the club because he's the only one who as ever shown an intrest in buying it. By the way, I along with others have been invited to an Q&A session (Evertonia) at the club on February 13th. Any suggestions?
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (3/2/06)

Stating the clouded obvious, I hope...
As I start this I have to admit that I don't know if I've had too much to drink or not enough. Welcome back, Michael, your jollies obviously show you less acerbic but the contributions as prolific as ever. But I digress....

If I was running a busines like Everton FC and it was up to its neck in debt, I wouldn't tell anyone either. This wouldn't put off any investors as they will know the truth through "due diligence". Besides, if they can't see that they are buying something undervalued or with potential they won't be interested anyway.

What I do notice is that whenever things look so dire it is best if public pronouncements are left to somebody like David Moyes who, at least, has the camp split in terms of support. His latest pronouncement was going well until he said that he thought it was better that Krøldrup continue his career in Italy. Why, I ask myself, does the Manager think he can play better elsewhere particularly a league known for its defensive capabilities?

So what is the problem? Did we sell the Banks a dummy on the basis that our overdraft could be extended until after a successful European run, in either competition, and the position would be reviewd at the end of the year? You know what they say: if you owe the Bank a million you are in trouble, but if you owe them £100M then the Bank is in trouble. But if the deal was to settle/review at the end of the year then it makes sense that you follow previous solutions and sell to reduce the borrowings, overdraft or whatever. Krøldrup to reduce future payments and Bent to reduce the overdraft. And when would you have to declare this, the next AGM?

It is all supposition but few of us would deny that the truth, for whatever reason, has been clouded and less than forthcoming.

The Fortress Sports Fund was nothing more than a Boardroom squabble to prevent Gregg from recovering his £7M. If you have prospective £12M investors then you are hardly likely to be wound up for the lesser amount. But again, I am no expert in these matters and stand to be corrected. The problem could be put down to the spin that takes a while to be identified but in the end is seen as not the whole truth.

Why am I so concerned?

This not like running ICI: it is a business based on public support, tribal or otherwise. However, how would someone like Kenwright rise to such a position of ascendency but we all feel that it is the family business of being an Evertonian?

I do feel this is incomplete but as I've moved from the grain to the grape it would not be wise to progress this. Pick holes where you will but this Evertonian of more than 50 years thinks we should be getting more than we now are. Strangely, this seems to have been the Everton way, with the exception of the Moores years, but like most others, all will be forgiven when we start playing winning and stylish1 football.

After all isn't that all that we want?
Thommo   (3/2/06)

Some interesting conspiracy theory stuff there, Thommo. Many believe that money was the real problem during the transfer window, but it is also very convincing to rationalize the removeal of Bent and Krøldrup from the morale/teamspirit perspective as well... So once again, it really is a choice in terms of what we as Evertonians choose to believe.

No matter how good a player Krøldrup may be in Italy, David Moyes made the determination that he wasn't "right" for the Premiership. An attitude problem would certainly help to explain this bizarre saga, and was definitely evident in Bent's play the moment he stepped on the field. Sufficient reason to get rid, in my mind.

Does that mean money problems were not a factor? Really hard to say beacuse, as you rightly point out, no-one is going to be brutally honest about any internal money problems. But DM did say that lack of funds was not an issue. Was he threfore lying?

I get the feeling that a lot of vociferous fans still believe he was lying... because to accept what he was saying would imply there were/are no money problems — and they simply cannot believe that. — Michael

Moyes speaks out
Having like so many of us just got the personal letter from Davey, explaining what went on (or more accurately didn't go on) in the Transfer Window, I have to side with Roger Keogh. The letter from Moyes makes no sense whatsoever. In spite of having money available PLUS the proceeds of Bent and Krøldrup (at least £5M) Davey could find nobody who would improve the quality of our squad. How daft does that make our manager look?

It's clear that Moyes has been told to write this by Bill and Wyness to try to appease the fans, but I trust we will see through it.

What it comes down to is we now have a weaker squad, but more money in the bank. The only people who can be happy with this outcome is BK and his sidekick Wyness. The fans, and I hope, the manager want a better, stronger squad. To be told we couldn't achieve this with £5M+ that was available either means we have an incompetent Manager or BK wouldn't let him spend it. Or both?
Rodger Armstrong, London  (3/2/06)

I think you are allowing your own perceptions to cloud some pertinent facts. Firstly, Moyes is a very, very picky manager when it comes to bringing in new players. If he says there is no-one available (at the right price) that he fancies, I have to believe him. That is true to form for Moyes all the while he has been at Everton. Why start disbelieving him now?

Secondly, your assumptions about the £5M profit are surely well wide of the mark. We may have netted £2M on Bent but that merely covered the apparent loss on Krøldrup. Personally, I don't believe any of the sterling figures bandied about — just look at the Rooney transfer as an example. £30M says everyone... yet the published facts are that we have only seen £20M so far. Truth in Transfers is very hard to come by... — Michael

'We're NOT skint,' says Moyes
Now I am a big supporter of DM and I understand his reasons for not buying just for the sake of spending money — however, considering our striker crisis he doesn't address why we could not have taken the 'try-and-buy' approach and taken a player(s)on loan... Look at Arteta as a good example; OK, so you have to pick up the wages, but you have to do that if you purchase a player (so I don't subscribe to a wage budget shortage either). I fear the crisis will continue – luckily we are close enough to the safety zone this season to get away with it; roll-on the summer transfer window!
Colin Evans, Berkshire  (3/2/06)

And the winner is....
I wonder how many tickets Kenwright has bought for the EuroMillions tonight?

If I win tonight, I'm going to make old Billy Boy an offer he can't refuse (how much do you get for 1 number?). This time next week chaps, I'll be running this club..... Well I can dream, can't I?
Steve Boileau, Liverpool  (3/2/06)

Gordon Lee
This may seem a simple request, but can anyone give a brief potted history of what happened to Gordon Lee after he left Everton? He wasn't that old but did he go back into management? If so, I've no idea where.
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (3/2/06)

Er... no. Not off the top of my head. Maybe someone esle can help. Have you tried Wikepedia? — Michael

Response : Our level of debt
I couldn't agree more with this post - it is clear to me and some other realists that we are in debt and the banks have or will ask for some payment to be made. The selling of Bent and Kroldrup only emphasises this further. The fact that Moyes makes a statement Er... "The failure to bring anybody in was certainly not for the lack of trying nor was it due to a lack of funds." does not mean it is the truth. Or do the staff at ToffeeWeb believe everything Mr Moyes says?
Bleached  Blonde, Brentwood  (3/2/06)

If it's not the truth, then it's a lie. Stand up and tell him. "The Manger is a Liar. We are being told a pack of Lies. I don't believe a word of it." Go on, you do it. Beacuse I'm not going to. (BTW, your roots are showing!)

Whatever conjecture you may put forward, you have no proof. You cannot use a percieved level of debt as your eveidence because this club has managed and survived much higher levels of debt than current estimates. You can choose to continue to disbelieve him — that is your prerogative. It is not something I would advocate, however. — Michael

Toffeeweb Car Sales
Michael, who is going to want to buy a motor with a plate that says "F*** EFC" from a bloke in Manchester? I ask ya, what is it with these Mancs?
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (3/2/06)


Why Krøldrup leaving is a positive sign
Krøldrup's gone, which means Moyes has dealt with the situation rather than let a player who is unhappy ruin the morale, team spirit, and work ethic. He's done what a brave manager should do, he's managed the situation. Mistakes happen, bad managers stick by their guns and keep playing expensive flops a la Souness with Boumsong. Good managers just get on with it. If you want a manager to run the club without making any mistakes, you're not living in the real world.

Incidentally, look at how long El Hadji Diouf was allowed to arrogantly strut around and put in bad performances, poisoning the morale of the Liverpool camp, a few years ago (and bringing the club into disrepute - spitting at fans etc.) because the manager didn't want to lose face on such an expensive signing.

Not at Everton, thank you Moyes.
Leon Ashley, Manchester  (3/2/06)

So David Moyes feels that not signing a striker in the last window was done in the best interests of Everton Football Club. Well, with Beattie out injured and the 'Barlinie Nutter' facing a possible 6-match ban, I only hope Mr Moyes is thinking the same way after we fail to win any of our next two home games and are dumped out of the FA Cup because we didn't have a recognised striker to stick the ball in the net.

For a club the size and stuture of Everton, this is an absolute disgrace, and is further evidence of the gross mismanagement of the club from top to bottom. Any lay person with even a basic understanding of football would recognise that you can't expect a football club to move forward when, arguably, in the most important area on the pitch, all it has at its disposal is an ageing and often volatile individual, along with another who's injury record is comparable to that of Darren 'Sicknote' Anderton. I only hope that after we have thrashed both Man City and Blackburn, and turned over Chelski in the cup, fellow blues will be on here to slag me off. However, without trying to sound too blase, I somehow can't really see that happening.
Paul Cappalo, Liverpool  (3/2/06)

Eight games unbeaten with a shrinking squad. Tell me, who is the manager again? I can't grasp the sense of making an atrgument predicated on us losing our next few games... — Michael

Reality Check
In respect of the recent press statement from David Moyes concerning the lack of transfer activity, I hope the reasons he cited will be taken on Board by the fans and respected. The fact of the matter is that unless you have a pot of cash at your disposal to recruit a proven goalscorer playing at the highest level, pay his huge wage demands and have the acumen to persuade him to sign, then a cautious approach is the only other option.

Signing players with potential is an obvious key to future success, but I for one was pleased to see Robert Earnshaw drop down a divison to a league in which his talents will flourish; he wasn't good enough for WBA or the Premier League and £3M for him was good business. The same logic should apply to Lee Trundle (too old) and David Nugent (unproven), with West Ham paying well over the odds for Dean Ashton at £7M.

Stikers, yes are a necessity, but their availability and ability to score goals at the top level are a rarity. This fact has been proven by Liverpool's recapture of Robbie Fowler (and no he wouldn't have joined Everton), Chelsea's reliance on Frank Lampard and others to score goals from midfield, and the habitual topping of goals charts by Henry and Van Nistelrooy.

Stop-gap signings are a costly and risky business; our form has improved considerably since we have reverted back to the 4-5-1 type system employed last season, and ok the football is not pretty with little room for error and lack of goals evident but, unless there is a knight in shining armour with £100M+ to pump into the club, a large dose of reality medicine is what is needed.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (3/2/06)

Very sensible commenmts indeed, Peter. At least Moyes's statment seems to have calmed the baying mob, who would have to accuse him of lying if they were to persist, but you know they haven't changed the way they feel inside... — Michael

Wrong, Michael
Quote - You could not be more wrong, and the proof is simple. It hasn't happened. Stop dreaming. Portsmouth were more attractive than Everton — FACT! Wyness is your "good businessman", according to the sales blurb. Get used to it, because it ain't gonna change anytime soon. — Michael

Michael, this reply is in regards to getting rid of Bill Kenwright as is the ever increasing thoughts of the fanbase. I think you are very wrong in your "get used to it stance". Of the last 20 Chairmen to have parted company with their respective clubs, how many were down to the sheer voice of the fans? I don't know the answer, but as a betting manager I would stake high on that outcome being the vast majority. I think you have forgotten that THIS IS EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB, and love it or not, if there was enough support behind ousting him, it would happen. Believe me.

We shouldn't have to stand for secong best as we have for so long. The club crest highlights how the ckub should be ran. It's not, plain and simple. BK isn't good enough, I reserve judgement on Wyness because I happen to think he would excel should someone be on board that can attract heavy investment. I for one do not want to put up with this mediocrity for the next two decades and maybe it will take a united front in demanding Bill make way for someone more ambitious to drag this club out of the doldrums. It doesn't belong there and with him at the helm we will remain in this mess for a very, very long time.
Phil Burkert, Liverpool  (3/2/06)

Is there any real sign of a backlash against Blue Bill from the thousands of fans who believe that having a fan like him leading the club has to be a good thing? Are they changing their tune? Beacuse until that happens in the form of a long, painfall and very unpleasent campaign to oust Kenwright, nothing is going to change. — Michael

Butter wouldn't melt?
Okay, I admit to being a Duncan Ferguson fan and I am not condoning his attack on Paul Scharner in the game against Wigan but it gets up my nose that Scharner was portraying himself in the media yesterday as being "Whiter than white". He was already on a yellow card and did anyone else see him quite badly elbow Duncan before the latter reacted. Surely for the elbowing incident Scharner should have received a second yellow card thereby being sent off himself.

Dunc should not have reacted the way he did with his bully-boy tactics but isn't the one thing we all love about him is that he could come on the pitch, with his commanding presence, and the players of the opposing side are worried by his presence.

Okay he has had 8 red cards in the last 11 seasons but I am convinced that if his name had been something other than Duncan Ferguson he would only have had four of those red cards, likewise people like Veira, Cantona etc. It's unfortunate that one's reputation preceeds any incident.
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (3/2/06)

I find your comments reprehensible. The gormless idiot clearly punches a guy in the stomach. No excuses, please!His presence on the field is nothing other than a massive liability. Fortunatly, I don't believe we will miss him for six games because he does virtually nothing to enchance our prospects anyway. — Michael

Dear Old Dutch
Dear old Dutch seems to have been transformed into Richard Dodd all of a sudden! All the manager`s touching `honesty` has got to him — as it was meant to. Wise up, Dutch, Moyes was pushed out to make his `confession` of responsibility for his total ineptitude in the transfer market by the boys upstairs. `Not me`, said both Bill and Buster, `there was £3M for you to spend and you fucked up yet again — so you stick your hand up and take the flack`.

Honesty my arse, they are getting wise to The Ditherer — just like most Evertonians — But at least it fooled The Dutchman!
Roger Keogh, Colne  (3/2/06)

Let's sack Moyes...
... now that Mr Souness is available. Considering he is not "out of his depth" in the transfer market having attracted the likes of Michael Owen, Parker, Emre etc. right from under the nose of David Moyes. He would have had us in the top four in the premiership and also in the knockout stages of the Champions League in this season that has been "ruined" now.

On a more serious note, I fail to understand what exactly would satisfy some of the mailbag posters here.

If you repeat a lie often enough, it starts sounding like the truth. I am getting a bit sick of pretty much the same posts being published here again and again and again. Balanced opinions I can understand; however how about being a little bit more constructive ?
Bsd Lover, Sydney,Australia  (3/2/06)

Go right ahead. Construct away... We're at your beck and call. Just ring the bell when you come up with something. — Michael

Chirpy Finch / Transfers (or lack of them)
So our friend Cliff, staunch Evertonian that he is, gets a free advert in the Echo to offload his shares - is something not rotten in Denmark? The same Finch who claims to be all lovey with Joe Royle gave a speech at ESCLA's AGM in London over 10 years back stating that "Joe lost the plot with the local media". Incidentally, Johnson who was supposed to be addressing the fans had to “pull out at the last minute”

Isn't this the same Finch who fucked up on the Brazil v Japan tickets at Goodison, not to mention a few other abortions? FA Cup tickets 95 anyone? So if the Echo would like to pontificate on where we would be now with Finch's continued involvement I can give them a straight answer - somewhere in the lower divisions and long forgotten – up shit creek without a paddle, no less.

Unfortunately, Everton & disappointment go hand in hand so it was no great surprise to see sod all happen in the transfer window yet again. Unfortunately when you have been hurt and disappointed so many times you develop a second skin and that is the sadness about being an Evertonian. Any success is always tempered with a feeling of what next disappointment could be around the corner.

Given the financial climate which dominates the modern game the only way things will change for the better at Goodison is if the operation is radically overhauled from top to bottom. As Mr Marsh rightly points out, things are organised better at a church tombola stall. I won’t stop supporting cos you're chosen, you don’t choose. Maybe explains my fruitless clicking of refresh on the BBC football transfer update right up until midnight...

My negativity syndrome regarding the club has taken a tighter grip since I started reading this site so maybe for sanity reasons I should withdraw completely and just be another one of the unquestioning lemmings. After all, isn’t that what football support is all about in the modern era?
Anthony Newell  (3/2/06)

Why The Fuss?
Why the fuss? Do we need any strikers at all? At our very best, all we do is pinch an early goal and then hang on for the 1-0 win. This is brilliant against Arsenal and Chelsea, but what if we go a goal down and we need a plan B?

Why the fuss about relegation? There's at least three teams worse than us, we'll muddle on to the end of the season, then the cycle of mediocrity will start again.

I think the real debate is: What sort of team do we actually want? I want to see Everton playing with pace, passing the ball to feet, with exciting players and strikers who score goals. Am I on my own, here?

I don't care who the manager is, as long as he serves up decent football. It scares me that an increasing number of Evertonians seem to revel in the fact that we battle and scrap our way from game to game. As a club we seem to be drifting away from our tradition of skill and flair.

Fair play to Moyes for his statement on the website re transfers. I don't doubt his honesty, integrity or commitment, but I'd love to hear him tell us about his long-term strategy for the team, what kind of football he wants to produce. He's been here four years, he appears untouchable. What would he have to lose by speaking out a bit more?

My blind faith is restricted to supporting Everton. I need hard evidence to support the manager. If the best his cheerleaders can come up with is: 'He got us to fourth last year.' 'IMWT' 'Who else can we get?' and 'Shut up and support the team'... etc, then maybe it is time he told us himself about any strategy he has — if he has one! So, what kind of team do we want?
Paul Tran, Kendal  (3/2/06)

We're not Skint.......???
I think Dithering Dave had better prove this statement when it comes to the end of the season, put his money where his mouth is. I trust in the summer he will spend big, and get some real quality into our squad. If he doesn't, he will look a right prick for this latest outburst...

The proof is in the pudding....

Fair play for making this statement though, it takes balls! I would much rather he save money and us be mediocre for a while, rather than spend £50M, be shit anyway and then sack the manager... vacant Newcastle job anybody???
Paul Cooke, Runcorn  (3/2/06)

So don't pussy-foot around, lad: is he telling lies or what? Tough to face him down, init? — Michael

Our level of debt
Just a quickie for Danny Broderick in his praise of the outstanding job Bill Kenwright has done to bring down the 'massive debt'.

Danny, that figure was as at 31st May 2005. Since then we have bought and sold Krøldrup and bought and not yet sold Arteta, Davies, Valente, Van der Meyde, Neville as well as taken Ferrari on loan. Now I can't imagine us paying anything like the quoted fees for them but we are still looking at £12-14M extra that we didn't pay out last season in our record-breaking £100k profit season. We also have a bigger squad than last season although I'm sure if the transfer window had stretched to the end of February we may have tried to reduce it further!

If we finish in our current position of 12th (of which that isn't certain) we will be £4M. Believe me, without the sales of Kroldrup and Bent we'd be looking at a debt of £45M and even now a debt of £40M come end of May won't be out of the question.

Now see why we didn't strengthen in January?
Jez Clein, Childwall  (3/2/06)

Er... "The failure to bring anybody in was certainly not for the lack of trying nor was it due to a lack of funds."

I can't stand these fans who tell us stop holding your breath and investment will never come. Ok realisticly we are in deep doo-doo, but that's due to Del Boy managament, under-ambition and blinkered vision from the top down. A set of jungle monkeys would have more ideas than Wyness, Kenwright and Co (well more hair on top at least). But aren't dreams what makes us put up with this shite, hoping one day things will change?!

Fuck Villa; Chelsea three seasons ago almost went under and along came a Russian sugardaddy. Likewise Portsmouth, even though they're still crap. And nobody can tell me that Portsmouth are a more attractive club than Everton so if they can get investment why can't the toffs? WHY? Because the top wigs are intent in running Everton into the ground due their love of the club. Yeah.... but the point is even if Kenwright goes, Wyness walks and we don't get investment, AT LEAST get good businessmen in to prepare and take the club forward. Is that too much to ask all those loyal Kenwright followers who's visions only extend to their beer bellies! It's the Peoples Club and without us Everton would die. Right or wrong? Kenwright out!!!
Luq Yus, London, England  (3/2/06)

You could not be more wrong, and the proof is simple. It hasn't happened. Stop dreaming. Portsmouth were more attractive than Everton — FACT! Wyness is your "good businessman", according to the sales blurb. Get used to it, because it ain't gonna change anytime soon. — Michael

David Moyes!
I just wanted to make a point of thanking David Moyes for his letter to the fans explaining the transfers situation during January.

Personally I felt Moyes had no need to explain his decision; it's his team — let him sell and purchase whoever he wants — but Moyes felt it necessary to address the situation because he knew some of the fans were upset. His letter makes perfect sense and his decisions are completely understandable.

It's his honesty with the fans that I most appreciate. Not only does he recognise that the fans are upset; he chooses to address them in a honest and frank manner. No spin, no bullshit. I am so proud of our manager and hope he continues his excellent work for many years to come.

Keep your hands off, Newcastle; Moyes belongs to the People's Club.
Dutch Schaeffer  (2/2/06)

Michael, in your response to Gavin Ramejkis’ piece ‘More worried thoughts’ You ask a very pertinent question: ‘What if an asteroid collided with Goodison Park?’ I’ll tell you what would happen...

Bill Kenwright: would proclaim his love for the club and engage in a bout of nostalgic reminiscences telling everyone he used to stand right where the epicentre of the crater was. Then he’d curse the state of the modern game announcing that ‘Everton means much more to me than you can ever imagine… I wish I had the cash to rebuild the pitch… but have you seen the price of turf?’

Keith Wyness: Would deny that the asteroid had actually hit Goodison, but had in fact landed in the Park End car park, where it had struck a subterranean oil field releasing enough revenue to push us into the top ten clubs. He’d then announce a sale of shards of the asteroid on a ‘first come first served basis’… and neglect to inform the season ticket holders till 20 minutes before the sale was due to commence.

David Moyes: Would announce that ‘We looked at the asteroid but it was just not our sort of asteroid’ then after some musing he’d add ‘It probably would have failed the medical in any case… I think… probably… what was his name again?’

Duncan Ferguson: Would have twatted it before it fell

James Beattie: Would have regretted missing the asteroid… but wait till he’s fit… he’ll hit 30 a season.

David Weir and Alan Stubbs: Would still be chasing the asteroid as it beat our offside trap…

The Liverpool Echo Would repeat Wyness’ and Kenwright’s line about the asteroid… word for word. Announcing ‘Everton’s season starts here’

ToffeeWeb: Would publish a series of letters from a prolific contributor proclaiming that the asteroid ‘Was all Moyes’s fault… and only he saw it coming… he’d heard it straight from a source at the training ground… but did we listen?... did we fuck’

… and I’d probably spend a 1000 words pontificating between the difference between an asteroid, comet and a meteorite finally reaching a conclusion that it was clearly down to the ludicrous way that the game was financed and asteroid hits were obviously the fault of the nabobs who run FA Premier League!
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (3/2/06)

I suppose I asked for that!

Faddy is the Daddy!
This is a call for all Evertonians to get behnd James McFadden as our only fit striker.

The number of times I have seen and heard Everton fans calling him shite, saying they want rid of him every season is unbeleivable. In my eyes, he is one of our better, more exciting players. Every season he seems to be set for a strong run in the team to prove himself, yet Moyes seems very apprehensive to give him that run he needs to build his confidence and to keep scoring goals. He's a fantastic player, very elusive and now hopefully after Big Dunc's knockout blow on Tuesday night, he might get the opportunity to really show what he could mean to the club.

I think a bit of optimism is needed; give guys a chance instead of labelling them shite, lazy, etc... and then maybe it might actually rub off!
Will Yung, Brokeback Mountain  (2/2/2006)

Players don't get such derogatory labels without earming them. McFadden has been shite for an awful long time. But at least he has finally started scoring a few goals. Let's hope he goes on to fulfill your support. — Michael

Never mind
Isn't it about time we put to bed all of the 'if only' and 'why didn't we' comments?

The club are obviously looking financially to the future as we are not going to have the prize money of last year's proportions to look forward to. By missing the boat of the Champions League we are now suffering; £20M does not go that far these days.

David Moyes has now been labelled as dithering but if he knows what he's got to spend and has burnt his fingers once or twice already, he is going to be cautious. In my opinion, Moyes is a good manager and with a realistic transfer budget each year can take Everton on, though maybe not as far as us fans would want. Kenwright is going with his heart when he needs to use his head. Given the right pitch, Everton will attract the correct sort of investment, but in today's world we are unlikely to see it come from a lifelong blue.

As hard as it sounds to the fans who turn up to each home game, it is clearly time to let a business-minded person to take us on. We have the fanbase, the history, the nucleus of a good team and now we need to push on and move away from the also rans that we have been since the Premier League was formed. Wishful thinking maybe, but the Everton empolyees must read this site (— what true Evertonion doesn't?). In the meantime let's stay behind this team who are working their socks off at the moment. I for one want more good Saturday nights!
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (2/2/06)

It would be nice to draw a line... but them what would we talk about? And what basis do you have for stating that Everton will attract any investment, let alone "the correct sort" (uh? money is money...). The current custodians have demonstrated that is palably not true. And what makes you think that Everton employees are Evertonians? Oh dear... are you in for a shock! — Michael

Playground politics
Personally I can't stand people who like to dish it out but can't take it when they get a bit back. So when a player is getting abused by a crowd and gives a bit back, I think that's fair enough, I'd give it back too. However, if that same player was good, which the 'abused' usually are, I would welcome them with open arms if we could get them to sign for us. Now I'm sure that the management at Everton wouldn't hold petty grudges against players and so to not sign Fowler, if he was offered to us, would be typical of Moyes but a clear error. No downside, even if he didn't do much; if he scored a few and took some pressure off our depleted squad and pissed off our friends across the park, then that would have been the very likely upside.

As an aside, I hope that one day Rooney may come back. I'm sure it would be in his latter years, but if he's still a useful addition to our squad, I'd be pleased to have him. No matter what people may say about sell-outs, traitors etc... remember, he was a manipulated teenager who basically saved our club and has had nothing but abuse spewed at him by Evertonians since, even though he and his family are clearly Blues.

The fact that Moyes didn't sign anybody was no surprise to me. He sold our one striker with any pace, but after his mis-management of Bent then that was probably inevitable. Our season is basically over... assuming we can stay out of the 'still too close relegation battle' that is. Thanks for blowing our best chance in generations to move this club forward and for taking away so much hope.

The reasons Moyes blew it are many and have been discussed at length, but he really did cock it up in spectacular fashion and, whether he stays or goes, he will always be the one that lost the lottery ticket.
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (2/2/06)

Did I blink? A few weeks ago, we were reliably informed that "the season starts now" and here you are telling us it's over already??? Can't any of you count to 38? — Michael

Registration plate EFC for sale
I have a black Audi 100 with the registration F*** EFC for sale. The car has 12 months MOT and is in good condition all round with no rust. It has electric windows, power steering and has recently had 4 new tyres and a new battery. I am looking for about £500 for both – would not like to separate them. Or would you give me an idea of what their value might be to an Everton fan?
Simon Morris, Mnchester  (2/2/06)

And we will only charge a mere £50 advertising fee and commission. Cheap at the price. — Michael

Save your breath
Mention of Deadly Doug by your correspondent Melanie Downing reminds me that Villa fans have been chanting `Ellis Out` for as long as we have been going to Villa Park. Sometime last Autumn it looked like they were about to get their wish when Doug announced that, due to failing health, he was putting the club on the market. Now Villa are a club with a beautifully re-developed stadium, absolutely no debt and a team playing off a similar par to Everton. I think I am right in saying that the market value of their shares is in the order of £64M — of which Ellis owns about half.

So were there any takers for this bargain outfit? Just two: one who offered about half the value and another who Ellis agreed terms with but can`t come up with the cash! I mention all this to illustrate that when, in frustration, Evertonians scream for the removal of Kenwright & Co they are whistling in the wind. There would just be no takers so just save your breath, please!
David Hall, Taunton  (2/2/06)

word of sanity amidst the madness. Well said, David. Kenwright isn't going anywhere, but that won't stop fans from pipe-dreaming for a Cheslea/Portsmouth scenario revamping the Everton Boardroom and injecting untold millions.... Dream On! — Michael

Well done boys
Eight games unbeaten in all comp's and no reason why we can't go on to make it ten with confidence so high. There have been some gritty fighting perfomances but there has also been some class as well. I am starting to get the same feeling I had last season again, when you now expect a win and are not dreading the defeat. It's just a shame that whenever we're on the crest of something good we don't take advantage of it. There were plenty of players out there who fitted the mould of what we needed, I just feel we can't have tried hard enough if a player like Earnshaw was willing to drop a division just so he can play.
Scott Graham, Carlisle  (2/2/06)

Patrick Marks
Can't believe he thinks that Wiltord, Reyes, Drogba and Del Horno are turkeys. Only wish we had such shite in our team.
Paul Capollo, Liverpool  (2/2/06)

The CEO says......
"Its been an eventful month" Says Keith "Six-Chins" Wyness. Well if you wanna call a transfer window passing without us signing the striker we so desperately need "eventful" then I disagree. Get out of Billy Liar's pocket and start telling the truth about this club's finances, instead of using David Moyes as a puppet. No suitable players, my arse!!! Here's a list off the top of my head

  • - Rob Earnshaw
  • - David Bentley (Hat trick Hero)
  • - David Nugent
  • - Peter Lovenkrands
  • - Leroy Lita
  • - Sinama-Pongolle
  • - Jeremie Alliadierre
The common factors with all these players?? Young, quick strikers, who would all have something to prove in the top flight and would all cost less than £3.5M.

So Mr Wyness, please don't spout utter drivel like "There was no-one suitable available" Get a grip man, either start telling the truth because all you and the Everton Board are doing is heaping more misery and embarrasment on your loyal supporters.

And a message for Billy Bullshit, who is more likely to be prancing around a stage than wanting to know what his fellow "True Blues" think: You may own Everton FC in the role of major shareholder, but just remember, this club just as much belongs to the fans who offer unconditional support to their club through thick and thin. So, in the best interests of our club and its supporters, step aside and let some real business men with the proper vision and investment try and repair the damaged reputation of this club, to which you have undoubtedly contributed.

Being only 20 years old, the only success I've experienced is the FA Cup win of '95 and last season's 4th place finish, and I know enough about our history to realise that this is not enough for Everton Football Club and its "True Blue" fans.
Ryan Jones, Preston  (2/2/06)

Er... We'll put you down in the "Bullshit: we don't have a pot to piss in" column, then? But seriously, you won't do anyone any favours by pretending that the fans own the club: they do not — they are merely the paying customers. And of them, some (very few) own shares. — Michael

Is it me?
We now know from the CEO's January piece that it wasn't the Board's fault we didn't sign anyone in the window — it was down to Dave who couldn't find anyone better than we have already. Is it me or do I see a fall guy being set up to make sure no adverse criticism comes the way of the Board if the season falls apart due to a small squad —surely not?

The rest of Wyness's piece is surely meant to amuse us -our customers come first, other Companies copy us! This from a man with a track record second to none of cock-ups and a total disregard for customers unless he can throw them out of their seats to make way for empty corporate boxes. A CEO who hasn't secured a penny of lnvestment. Sure I bet Tesco and Shell etc wait with bated breath to see what Wyness is going to do next...
George Carroll, Bramhall  (2/2/06)

2 and 2
The statement by the Editor that Brian from Wirral has hit the nail on the head has got me thinking. If it is true that Moyes is toeing the line and saying what he's told too, then surely he is also part of the conspiracy. You would have thought that he has more integrity than this, and would have come out and stated so seeing as he coined the phrase "the People's Club". I do not blame the Board for EFCs position and lack of players — I blame Moyes, his transfer record is not good reading.

But we all make mistakes and life so let's hope he learns, but if he is part of the smokescreen that many people believe is prominent at the club then his statement that we are the People's Club is probably the most condecending lie ever told to Everton fans in our history and for that he should be hung, drawn and quatered with his ashes spread over the other side of the park as a warning to all those who take liberties with our undying support. COME THE REVOLUTION ! and all that.
Dave Lynch, merseyside  (02/02/06)

The train of logic applied by Everton fans sometimes blows my mind. DM said his 'People's Club' thing nearly FOUR YEARS AGO! At the time, it had tremendous resonance, don't forget. Now, it is a totally different ballgame. The marketing group at EFC since glommed on to it and it has indeed become a hollow and meaningless saying. But don't blame Davey for that. — Michael

Moyes the Magpie??!
I wonder if Moyes would be tempted by new vacancy at Newcastle - at least then he'd finally get to manage all the players he's tried to sign over the last 12 months!!!!
Andy Norbury, Chester  (2/2/06)

It's not Bill's fault we haven't signed a striker
I get quite annoyed when I read some postings about the fact that we haven't signed a striker being down to the Everton Board. Please, can anyone justify this argument? The blame lies squarely with Moyes - he opted against it. I am actually quite pro - Moyes, but on this issue it is blatantly obvious that he decided aginst buying a new striker. The facts are that he was quoted a few months ago as saying the Board are good at backing him when there is cash available. Well, we've just got at least £2M from Charlton for Bent. And Moyes was again quoted as saying he spent the last few days of the window trying to get players in.

I believe it is a mistake on his part not to get anyone in. Fergy and Beattie have been injury prone for us, and that's being kind to Duncan by not bringing up his disciplinary record. McFadden needs a partner really to play up front.

A lot of people criticise Bill for not bringing investment into the club, but it is hardly a secret that Everton could be bought. The fact of the matter is that business people aren't interested in buying us. If anyone was really interested, they would have bought us by now. Who is going to invest upwards of £30M to buy a company that would need a new stadium (an extra £100M), and a team that will need to be improved too (an extra £30M?). If you did all this then sold the club, you wouldn't get £160M back to cover your outlay.

Our only hope is that a fan buys the club, but the problem is that we are a working-class club and always will be. We don't have a rich fanbase; most of our fans live within 5 miles of the stadium, and are working class. This is the reality that the Board face.

I think Kenwright has done a decent enough job for us. He backed Moyes with over £20M last summer, and he has got rid of our massive debt, which was dragging us down every year. OK, he sold Rooney to do it, but the club would have eventually folded if we hadn't got rid. Think back to the 90s, we sold the crown jewels how many times (Ferguson, Speed, Jeffers, Ball, Kanchelskis, Barmby etc) and we were still £30M in debt. All of those sales just paid off interest, and we were still in debt until Rooney went. Kenwright isn't perfect, but the reality is there is no alternative. Just like Moyes as manager I suppose.
Danny Broderick, London  (2/2/06)

Just a word on this debt thing... well two words: Bear-Stearns. £27M — mortgaged against future season-ticket sales. Don't say the big debt has gone. It hasn't. And it needs feeding at the rate of £2.3M each year in interest. But that's okay because we're in the D&T Top Twenty — no worries! — Michael

The shadow of Deadly Doug
The truth` in the great `window` debate no doubt lies somewhere between the extreme views of Richard Dodd and Tony Marsh. Whilst Richard appears to worship the ground Moyes walks on, to Tony he is the devil incarnate! Richard`s view is that under Wyness the manager is having to work closely within an agreed budget and is doing a very good job given recent results. Tony, on the other hand, considers Moyes, Kenwright and Wyness to be total idiots who are incapable of running the proverbial whelk store!

As I see it, Kenwright long ago realised he was getting in deep water — and failing to attract any no-strings investment — put the business firmly in the hands of his Chief Exec. This has resulted in the introduction of the Doug Ellis school of football management which firmly lays down that you don`t let the manager spent what the club ain`t got.

By my reckoning — and picking up on all the quotes and rumours — Moyes was asked to clear his Krøldrup loss with the sale of Bent and was allowed ~£2.5M to invest in `the window`. As he would, or should, have been party to the budget setting, he had to be seen to go along with this in his public statements.

The Marsh view is that, however little or much he has to spend, Moyes cannot make a decision. The evidence over several `windows` bears that out and I suspect that once the price for his prime target, Nugent, went above his budget figure, he was ill-prepared — or too late — to look elsewhere.

In my very humble view, both Richard and Tony are partly right. Richard will say that, at last, the Club is being run on sound commercial principles whilst Tony will continue to scream for heads to roll. Where do I stand? I guess it`s with the majority. n general terms, Moyes has done as well as any other Everton manager in Premiership history and, at least in theory, Wyness, seems to know how a club should be run from a financial perspective. So both should be given more time to see if it all works out. Sad to say, exciting it ain`t — ask any Villa fan!
Melanie Downing, Birmingham  (2/2/06)

Financial meltdown?
Anyone else heard the rumours that we're financially buggered? Bent sold as we needed money to pay our wages, Krøldrup sold not because he wasn't good enough, but because we paid £1.25M when we got him, and had to pay a further £1.25M after 5 appearances — something that we couldn't afford to do due to not making CL group stages.
Blue Bob, London  (02/02/06)

Cheers for the financial advice Mike Price... I'll keep it in mind - now what was I thinking.

Oh yeah... looking through mailbag and actaully quite scared about Jez Clein. Not because of "Question Time" but because of his well written letter called "Kroldrup, Anelka and other things" dated (19/1/06) which links to the quite spooky Mystic Jez — What the next year will bring article.

Jez isn't short for Jesus or anything is it?!! If so all the Moyes-moaners might actually be happy come 21st May.
Chad Schofield, Cirencester  (2/2/06)

Football not handball
How long can we survive or mantain to struggle, when the tight Scot doesn't stick his hand deep in his pocket and use the cash Krøldrup and Bent? This is totally disrespectful to the defenders who must try to keep a clean sheet for Everton to draw or win another 1-0 game week in week out. I'm fed up reading all the supposed strikers within our reach. It's a joke. Why did Moyes take offence at Rednapp, about taking Duncan? This player is totally irresponsible to his strugging and gallant club on the pitch, it's football not handball.
Clifford Zampost, Melbourne, Australia  (2/2/06)

No Transfers — Should be OK
A lot people seem to think that we are being fed a continual line of crap from the spin makers of the club, which could of course be true. However, If you beleive that the club is doing the right thing and is not willing to pay over the odds for a player or just bring in a player just to make up the numbers, then we are probably not in too bad a position to enable us to wait until the summer to bring in a player or more.

Why? I figure that to make sure that we are playing in the Premier League again next year we only need 3 wins and a few draws more in the next 14 games. Looking at the fixture list I think that anyone would be hard pressed to believe that we wont achieve this. In fact, I believe that the squad will do better than this.With the money saved, we will have more to spend in the summer and also have a bigger pot to choose from. Is it possible that this is actually some good business sense from the manager and his peers?

Additionally it seems that quite often the winter signings are not too effective in the second half of the season. This is due to not having the correct fitness for the managers game play style or not understanding all the players. Yes, they may play 1 or 2 games well, but lack the general consistency to make a good impact. Although a younger Kevin Campbell was an exception.
Michael Parrington, Melbourne, Australia  (2/2/06)

'For when I am weak, then I am strong'
Isn't it amazing how Everton's on-the-field performances defy logic and expectations?

  • Everton 2002-03 - tipped for relegation, surprise everyone and just miss out on Europe.
  • Everton 2003-04 - tipped for Europe, just miss out on relegation
  • Everton 2004-05 - tipped for relegation, finish 4th for a Champion's League place.
  • Everton Aug 2005 - Awashed with transfer funds and all set for European glory chase, screw up in all possible ways.
  • Everton Jan 2006 - Threadbare team extends unbeaten league run to 5.
Maybe Kenwright and Co have chosen not to bring in new players simply because they grasped this "Blue Logic" ahead of all of us!
Jason Heng, Singapore  (02/02/06)

Kenwright out!
What a carry on at Goodison Park, eh? To say it's a load of bollocks is a massive understatement! I remember the days of flowing attacking football under Moyes when he took over, saving Everton from the drop. Now, after the worst start to a season in living memory, somebody decided he doesn't need strikers at the club. No sir, we'll sell one and stick with the mis-firing attack with only 16 league goals to their name. Pathetic!

But who's to blame? Moyes for him fast becoming Howard Wilkinson? the Board? or just one member of the Board who's sucking the life out of our club? Yep: it's the leach Kenwright who's attitude and lack of ambition makes my blood boil over!

Like we did with Peter Johnson, every home game sing 'KENSHITE OUT' until he leaves us alone and maybe someone can invest into a dying giant before we end up like Swindon.

Oh yeah Moyes, if you're reading..... please either play Davies right flank or sell him! The Spurs lads give me loads of stick coz of that Welsh wasock and his general inabilities!

Still loyal, still blue... unlike Rooney!
Luq Yus, London, England  (2/2/06)

Genius. I think not...
I can't believe some . For some Everton fans to say not buying anybody was a stroke of genius by Moyes is pathetic. Does Moyes think Yobo is going to sign a new contract? I doubt it. How long will Ccahill and Arteta put up with this sham? To keep quality players like these, the club has to show ambition; it seems to me, Kenwright and Moyes are just happy to plod along.
Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (1/2/06)

Nnothing to do with football really, but have you noticed the likeness between Kilbane and Jim Carrey? And if you draw a little moustache on Mikel Arteta, he is unbelievably like Charlie Chaplin... see, a team of comedians!!!
Tony Cheek, Haugesund, Norway  (1/2/06)

The truth?
Reading the mailbag after the transfer window has closed has thrown up more conspiracy theories than JFK and Roswell put together. Surely someone at this site knows the truth. Are we in a financial crisis? Can we pay the going rate for average players? Are players put off signing by the offer of short-term contracts? There were so many players out of contract at the end of last season that some form of mis-management is rife at our club. Moyes cannot be held responsible for everything wrong at EFC. Can we hope for a full statement from Mr Wyness on why we never even looked likely to sign anyone this January? Probably not. Sad, isn't it.
Kevin Tully, Liverpool  (1/2/06)

More worried thoughts
I know it's easy to keep on with the various threads running at the moment, pro-Moyes, anti-Moyes, anti-BS Billy, no signings, etc.

My worry is the current finances as stated in my last posting and as pointed out earlier the fact that we have a reduced squad were injuries to just two or three players could decimate our chances of gaining any more wins this season. Scarily I'd forgotten that add to injuries, internationals (African Nations) and suspensions (not just straight reds but think how many are balanced waiting for just one more yellow).

A simple scenario, Weir or Stubbs injured in training or midweek game and out for a few weeks, Moyes plays Neville centre half and he gets booked, bye bye Neville for next game and we have one fit centre half again and no emergency ones unless our miniscule kids squad can supply one, then welcome to the Premiership for a player whose first game may be a complete nightmare.

The second scenario you dont even need to imagine, our sole fit striker McFadden starts a game well, the opposition team decide to turn him into a piece of corned beef with some decidely fierce tackles, then who do we play up front? Imagine Osman trying to win a header from a punted long ball against some six foot plus centre half or get a free header from a corner against the same size defenders. We would be forced to lay the ball on the floor, can our midfield hold and distribute the ball enough to do that?

To those thinking Moyes had been shrewd with not adding to the squad through quality, well, can anyone explain adding to the squad even for numbers should we get injuries, internationals and suspensions????? Bring on the kids, how many do we have left as most seem to have been shown the door and dont forget the best one is months away from playing again (Vaughan). He added at least two crap players that didnt even get a game last season in Plessis and Bosnar, so surely loans for free and only picking up wages can't possibly have been out of the question unless the wage cupboard is bare.

Oh then comes the summer sales, its the end of a World Cup, agents will be rubbing their slimy hands at the prospect of touting their prospects at over-inflated prices to anyone needing a player so the shrewdness of saving the cash until the summer doesnt even wash.

I'd love a campaign to oust Kenwright and can see one starting soon as the loyal fans can surely take only so much as they did with Agent Johnson before he was walked down the gangplank.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (1/2/06)

Good grief... you really do have too much time on your hands. What if an asteroid collids with Goodison Park? Gat a grip, FFS. What we have is what we have. Injuries come and go; suspensions come and go. The transfer window is closed. It's over; nothing can be done about it now; no more players! Why is the reality (as opposed to mad hysterical hypothesis) so hard for you to accept?

And as for ousting Blue Bill... dream on. This is our highest league placing and we are heading for the 5th Round of the FA Cup. That is all that mattters to most Evertonians, who do not question Kenwright because he is like them — an Evertonian. — Michael

Question time
Three questions for the likes of Dean Paton, David Haimes, Mike Price, Tony Marsh and the other fans in the 'Moyes is out of his depth' camp:-

  1. Which manager would you all like to replace the twice manager of the year?
  2. Your new manager, which striker do you think he would have brought in?
  3. What is the square root of fuck all?
Do you not think that 'dithering Dave' would love nothing more than to buy 6 strikers?

Save your anger at Moyes and console yourself with the fact that, thanks to Buster, we handle the sale of more tickets than any of this country's great theatres (if that's really the case, you would have hoped that he had learnt how to do it by now!)

Finally a criticism of Moyes from me. I heard yesterday David O'Leary saying that Villa would not be buying any players in January because the cupboard is bare and they have no money — a bit of honesty, Dave?
Jez Clein, Childwall  (01/02/06)

I still struggle with the rapadily drawn conclusion of so many — that Moyes is not being his usual honest self with us over his reluctance to bring in players whom he does not consider good enough, combined with his apparent refusal to pay over the odds.

Why cannot these things be true? I'm not saying he had pots of money, but everything points to him having between say £3M and £6M to spend at his discretion. Is it so beyod belief that he chose not to spend, for the reasons he himself outlined? Why assume he is lying? I really don't understand that reaction from Evertonians who would rather call our manager a liar than accept that what he is saying might just be true. — Michael

Let us give thanks
Leaving aside all the angst at the apparent `failure` to secure a new striker, I would just like to post a few words of thanks and congratulation to David Moyes and the boys for giving all Evertonians a super start to 2006. Clearly, the manager`s decision to root out the players giving off negative vibes and pin all his faith in his small but motivated squad, rather than signing any Tom, Dick or Harry just to quieten the baying mob has proven to be an act of genius that will undoubtedly see him crowned Manager of the Month.

Just in case anyone has missed it, we have climbed the League at an incredible rate over January and are absolutely on course to hit the budgeted 10th position. So let us give thanks for a job well done.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (1/2/06)

It is wonderful how the recent events can be cast in any light you care to constuct — from dire disaster to brilliant stage-management. Everton never cease to amaze... — Michael

Don't be silly!
I am so pissed off with these clowns who continue to think Moyes is 'Out of his depth'. What a load of shite!

Mike Price, cheers for your input but please tell me you're joking. Just because you used to be paid to play football does not mean you know any more than my mum. How many crap managers used to be paid to play football?? too many to even consider. Football is full of idiots, Moyes is NOT one of them.

You argue about Moyes in the transfer market but actually his record is pretty good. Yobo, Cahill, Arteta, Martyn, Beattie, Valente - starting to look really good, Van der Meyde - give him time, Ferrari. These are all good players who, with the exception of Martyn and Valente, have age on their side. Add to that Kilbane who is not very good but clearly worth what we spent on him. Suddenly you realise that Moyes is actually quite shrewd in the market, something you might have been saying last year when we finished fourth.

I'm sure you're thinking - what about Davies, Wright, you might not like Beattie and go on say it - Per Krøldrup. Krøldrup, Krøldrup, Krøldrup. How many times do people want to bring him up?? Most managers would play him even if they know he's shit, Moyes on the other hand had the balls to stand up and get rid. He may have lost just over a million on him but he gained just over a million on Bent about a week before.

Every manager makes bad signings, even the best. Wenger spent £11M on Wiltord, £9M on Jeffers, £17M on Reyes, However much on our very own Richard Wright!! Mourinho spent £24M on Drogba, £8M on Del Horno and Fergie's had some shockers in his time too.

How can you say Moyes is out of his depth?? Twice manager of the year, he's only been Everton manager for 4 full seasons. I wrote an article - defending Moyes - called 'Get a grip' that was put on the main page about a month ago, a day after we got pissed on by the shite. I'm pleased to say things have got a hell of a lot better since then, infact, we're looking pretty sound again. Bosh.
Patrick Marks, England  (01/02/06)

Bosh? So we can just write off the utterly mind-boggling Krøldrup episode as a meaningless little blip in David Moyes's otherwise impeccable record? Bosh indeed. — Michael

Sorry, Dutch
I well understand Dutch Shaffer's annoyance over the non-signing of David Nugent. I feel exactly the same! But I stand by my story and my source - the deal broke down over PNE's demand for another £500k up front which Everton either couldn't or wouldn't come up with. Sorry Dutch, but don`t shoot the bloody messenger, he's as pissed off as you!
Duncan Clements, Penwortham  (1/2/06)

Everton mess up again
I’ve been wrestling with my thoughts over the last few hours trying to work out how Everton still manages to have a loyal fanbase, who put their money into the club week after week, year after year.

It was obvious to all on sundry that we were in desperate need of a forward BEFORE this season started. We missed out in the summer, so had the month of January to make up for the lack of firepower which has seen us drop out of two European competitions in the first round, and become the club with the least amount of goals in Europe. What do we do? Nothing! We miss out on a huge amount of good quality players that would add to our much depleted squad, with the excuse of “no one was available” the only one on offer.

We’re an absolute embarrassment, ran by a Board with absolutely no business sense, and a manager who is starting to show where the ‘Dithering Dave’ names came from. The only consistency we have shown as a club comes from it’s unwavering, unconditional support. We’re not a ‘Premiership’ team like Newcastle — we’ve been around from the start and deserve better.

Typical Everton, bull-0shitting the people that keep them alive.
Dean Paton, Birkehead  (1/2/06)

Duncan, Go Now!
Why doesn`t Duncan Fergusson do the decent thing and carry out his recent threat to retire RIGHT NOW?

No doubt his delay in calling it a day was more to do with the Club`s refusal to pay up his contract than any real desire to help the cause but we have now reached a point when Everton — and football — can do without his brand of thuggery.

So, if you do really love this Club, go now while you still have a semblance of dignity left and let Wyness & Co put your still grossly inflated wages towards a summer replacement!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (1/2/06)

Sale Time Blues
The new Everton policy of making the Manager balance the transfer kitty is commendable enough but it does mean that in order to loosen up funds for the purchase of a striker in the summer he will have to sell at least one of the likes of Yobo, Cahill or Arteta. Alternatively, he could concentrate the search on Bosmans but quality will be an issue there. Either way, the future looks none too rosey for the sale of season tickets, no doubt again at enhanced prices!
Len Seward, Knutsford  (1/2/06)

What do you all think?
Well, another window closed, another 5 months without strikers…. We were suppose to strengthen our squad, but end up selling Marcus Bent and the “great “ Dane… With only Alan Stubbs resigned… A 34 year old… Oh… Unbelievable…

This makes me think, about Walter Smith, the 98/99 season, same time, same situation, we can’t score, badly in need of points and goals, and, no funds for transfers…. Then came Kelvin Campbell. And we all know the rest. He’s on loan, didn’t cost a cent. Then the following couple of seasons, we see the likes of Richard Gough, Joe Max Moore, again for free… By the way, Smith miss out on Viduka because of Peter Johnson f I’m not wrong…

Then we look the current situation, are we being too harsh on Smith? I mean, he has no money to spend for 2 seasons, was forced to sell Ferguson, Kanchelskis…. Yet the money didn’t go to his transfer budget… Then he did somehow signed the above players… I not saying Smith is god, but to look at him and Moyes…. Well, I mean, are we such a bad team that no one wants to come even on loan??? To look at the loan signing made by pompey and Blackburn just makes me so so disgusted…

So I’m really curious to see how you fellow evertonians see between these two managers in terms of signing the correct players at the correct time… I can’t help but to imagine if, I say if Smith have had 10m to spend during the 00/01 season, would we be seeing the Everton we are seeing today?

Well, let me stress again, I’m not anti Smith, neither do I worship him, but somehow, I always feel that he is in such a helpless position, no money, high expectations….
TB Ng, singapore  (01022006)

What happens on the field doesn't count?
January has been a terrible month, we have had no pictures of new players smiling at Goodison holding up an Everton scarf and saying how it was a dream move and they couldn't wait to play for us (and pick up the nice fat signing fee). Our season is therefore doomed, Portsmouth signed plenty of players and even Birmingham and Sunderland managed to bring people in, so I assume we will be overtaken in due course.

Toffeweb headline is
---------------------- "nothing was announced as concluded, leaving the manager's stated dreams of reaching the FA Cup final or mounting a late charge for Europe sounding very hollow indeed"
What a crap manager Moyes is when he spends January working with the players he has to put an unbeaten run together and moving us up the table when he should have been spending money on players wo would be a drain on the club's finances for years to come.
David Haimes, San Francisco  (01/02/06)

Beattie is injured, Ferguson suspended, McFadden hardly prolific. How much further *up* the table do you expect us to rise with no strikeforce? It's not all about *now* anyway. The idea is to always improve your squad where possible and not necessarily wait until the summer to do so. Lyndon

As predicted weeks ago in a previous letter, Moyes was unable to make one signing. It would be refreshing if he was honest and just admitted he doesn't know how to. He can't spot a good player and he certainly can't sell himself or the club to a player. Moyes is so out of his depth in every department of management it's ridiculous that this man is being paid thousands a week to manage a great club like ours.

He has turned us into a laughing stock and before anyone says we're unbeaten in January so everything must be fine, be in no doubt that in nearly every one of these games the result could have gone the other way. And what we have achieved in January is in spite of the manager with bits of luck like Davies getting injured so Moyes was forced to play Osman which has helped enormously. If Moyes could only sign players like he can fall out with them we'd have a great squad. It's a disgrace that this fool is allowed anywhere near our beloved club.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (01/02/06)

We have now played eight games undefeated in all competitions, beating Arsenal, holding Chelsea, and picking up good away results. It is a very good time to be an Evertonian.

We didn't sign a striker, and this was irritating, but I find too many Evertonians are letting their imaginations overcome their intelligence. It is right that Moyes buys only the players right for the club, and I back the man in his decision making.

Why the elaborate theories that there are people within Everton Football Club desperately plotting our downfall through not signing Chris Sutton? Take it easy la, we're doing very well under Moyes, so take a breath and look at the bigger picture.

ToffeeWeb take note; it is vital that you scrutinize, but it is not always necessary to do so in the form of a seven year old boy who didn't get the bag of sweets he wanted from Sainsbury's. Lyndon is my homeboy so no beef there, bruv.
Danny Gee, Liverpool  (1/02/06)

Where have all the signings gone?
I have been waiting till the end of the transfer window to make my comments about Moyes and Kenwright, but Paul Kish has made my points very cogently. Even Moyes would have wanted to add a central defender and a striker to this squad, if there had been a smidgeon of cash available. The club has its tactics brilliantly worked out, make noises about big deals on loan or to buy like Wright-Phillips or Nugent and then imply that it was the other team's fault that business was not completed.

I remember writing to "The Echo" when Steve McMahon was moaning about the derisory offer that he'd received from the club. My point was that Everton needed to speculate to improve. Unfortunately the situation has not changed.

The mystery to me is how Liverpool and United came through the post Heysel years without selling their best players (we sold Lineker, Steven, Stevens and Van Den Hauwe) and managed to be in a position to compete when Europe allowed us back in. I look at Tottenham who were allegedly on the verge of administration five years ago, yet who are now capable of signing a plethora of mid-fielders. Where did the money go? Why did Johnson jump ship so quickly? What was the true nature of the money the grantchester family took out of Goodison and above all why hasn't the present board done anything about getting real investment in this club.

Like you I believe that Kenwright is in it as an ego trip. I also believe his breakthrough onto Broadway has been his main emotional and business objective recently. I am firmly in the Moyes out camp, but equally feel that with the present Board it would be very difficult for any manager to succeed at Goodison.

Kenwright and his inefficiency in attracting real investment, not Fortress, notfictional Russian bilionaires,not raising £20 million by selling the best British player of this generation, is the real problem at Everton.I want a Board that does its job, not a bunch of Kenwright's men and another camp which criticises, but fails to put its money where it is needed.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (01/02/2006)

Simply Not Good Enough
So suprise suprise, the transfer deadline came and went and no additions to our wafer-thin squad. No suprises there then, but according to the great ginger one,'we are scouring every continent' Really! What he was really saying was, we have have made a few enquiries locally, to no avail, I'm not sure he knows what a continent actually consists of, by my reckoning that statement include Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America etc.

Guess what, there are absolutely NO players who could have come in on a small fee or loan to bolster our attacking options!!

So, with one statement, he has discounted hundreds — no, thousands of players not good enough to wear the Royal Blue of Everton; in the meantime we are probably the only club in the Premiership who started last night's game at Wigan with a forward line of 'converted' mid-field players. Virtually, all of our rivals strengthened in some shape or form before the deadline; some begged, some borrowed, but all made the effort. Another opportunity has been squandered, whilst the team continues to grind out results, somehow justifying his plain stubbornness.

I believe we tried to sign some guy from Turkey on the last day... typical, never straightforward with Everton! By the way David, Turkey is often labelled as the gateway to Asia, but I guess you don't 'do' continents?
Steve Hogan, Chester  (1/2/06)

No bluff
I wonder how many other fans were thinking that Moyes was bluffing when he said that he didn't think any new players were coming in. When I saw him on Sky speaking I thought he sounded so honest it couldn't be true, especially with the predicament we are in. Apart from Chelsea we seem to be the only Premier club not to strengthen and their need is not quite as urgent as ours. Even the pro -Moyes fans must be disappointed now.
Leigh  Sadler, Essex  (1/2/06)

Calm down, calm down!
Jesus. Calm down everyone! I am so depressed reading the mail bag over the last two days. It is disappointing that Dave wasn’t able to get another striker in, but it’s not the end of the world! Look, the club is in big debt, by exactly how much – who knows. Moyes spent BIG over last summer, sure, and the Kroldrup affair was a joke, but every manager makes big mistakes (Wenger and Jeffers?). I personally would love to see the end of the January transfer window. It seems to serve no one but players, their agents and the numpty press.

All these guys writing in criticizing Moyes have not got a clue what the real situation is like behind the scenes. Only Moyes knows what he’s got to work with, not irate fans sitting at PC’s with all the business sense of a monkey. It comes down to money, of course, and we have GOT TO BE CAREFUL with it. We know that in reality we made a tiny profit last year, and if Moyes starts blowing even more money on players that will become a big loss.

I genuinely believed that our team was good enough for ~10th place this year. It is such bad luck that we have had so many injuries and suspensions, and I feared the worse after the awful start to the season. But now we are 12th, playing well, and well on course for that 10th or higher finish. If Moyes achieves that, and correct me if I’m wrong, it will be the first time the club has finished in the top 10 in back to back seasons in a long, long time.

So quit griping, and start believing!
Paul Appleyard, Bootle  (01/02/06)

Smells of Billshit !
I have to agree entirely with Brian Williams comments that there's definately something fishy going on at boardroom level. We can all dig at Moyes for previous fuck up's galore, yet I cannot whole heartedly believe the guy had little intention of bringing someone in during the window. The departure of Marcus Bent had most Evertonians wondering who the impending replacement(s) would be, only to once again be let down. I can only think that the money has been banked to help reduce the debt, and we've been bullshitted for the umpteenth time !

Personally, I won't be calling Moyes for this, as it looks like his hands have been tied and he's been made the scapegoat. The real culprit is Kenwright without a doubt. We are never going to get anywhere with this man at the helm, he doesn't have the finances to take us forward, and ploughs us with endless spin and lies, so he can maintain his beloved throne for better or worse.

This guy needs to go! he needs pushing out ASAP, and there is only the fans who can do it. We did it with Johnson, so why not Kenwright?

I'm sure there have been plenty of enquiries by bigger better people to takeover Everton, but we're never going to hear about them whilst Kenwright has got hold of the reigns. Just look at the bullshit he came up with to stave of Gregg's advance (FSF etc)!

Anyone who wants to see our club change for the better and move forward should make Kenwright target number 1. Go and play theatre somewhere else Kenwright, the fact that your a so called "true blue" only makes your crimes against us worse !
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (1/2/06)

Mike Price, Thailand
Obviously overseas Evertonians, namely you, ARE 'lacking in some fundamental way'

The words and language Robbie Fowler has spoken about us Evertonians in the past are disgusting, petty, out of order and completely childish.

Your suggestion that Moyes should have even approached Robbie Fowler is absolutely pathetic and would have been a disgrace should it have come off.

The way your post came across was that you are just another football fan who sees it fit to chop and change managers/players as and when it seems the 'fashion' to do so.

What David Moyes is trying to do is to build a squad around team-spirit and a togetherness, and to some degree - has achieved with some success.

I and the majority of Evertonians admire this and his stance on not buying players in for the sake of it.

Go back to your Wally Smith days of happily throwing money away on players that whinge, moan and wantaway from the club. You maybe do need to be patronised should you be able to perceive Robbie Fowler in an Everton shirt.
Steven Astley, Wigan  ()

One would have done...
Jeremie Aliadiere [Arsenal - Wolverhampton] Loan
Nigel Quashie [Southampton - West Brom] Undisclosed
Wayne Routledge [Spurs - Portsmouth] Loan
Szilard Nemeth [Middlesbrough - Strasbourg] Nominal
Neil Mellor [Liverpool - Wigan] Loan
David Thompson [Blackburn - Wigan] Free
David Bellion [Man Utd - Nice] Loan
Leon Knight [Brighton - Swansea] £125,000

Any of the above would have done, all cost nothing or next to nothing, even on 6 month loans. Leon Knight is young, fast and was at Chelsea not so long back. Costs f*ck all, its a cheap gamble, if it fails, so what. Somethings not right at Everton. We are falling further and further behind our rivals. Rivals that used to be Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal are now Portsmouth, Wigan and Charlton. Its a disgrace and we are time bomb waiting to go off. The squad is as threadbare as I have ever seen it and we have no fit strikers. We have a goal difference of -15 and we dont buy or loan a striker. If we have no money then they should say so, surely a loan signing isnt too much to ask? Kenwright, please go. You are killing this club.
Phil Burkert, Liverpool  (01/02/06)

I didn't bother scouring the web or Sky for new signings as I knew the silence was deafening leading up to it, for the first time I wasn't even surprised at the lack of last minute desperation movement either, so as expected no apology and an early night's sleep on a deadline day.

Something is clearly rotten to the core at the club and I wouldn't be the first or last to think we are skint and deep in the shit again with the bank. Despite passionate pleas for honesty and information the fans have no chance of ever getting clarity from the club.

I do worry deeply as to who is next out to pacify our creditors. The tokens of players not suitable, available, etc etc simply isnt good enough given the amount of loans that were made by other clubs and the fact we reduced our pitifully small squad further with the main weak point of striker being reduced despite over 12 months worth of David Moyes saying we need a striker, we will buy a striker, etc etc. A loan player is not the same as £5m on a player you havent seen play then play for 146 minutes then sell for a £2m loss, yet even this was not forthcoming.

Two options ladies and gents, keep buying your season tickets and marketing like lemmings (as loyal as it is) or watch the match on TV (giving the club the same loyalty they are currently dishing out) and see the club sink further as it's last guaranteed incomes stall and lower.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (01/02/06)

What the fuck?
Can I just start by saying great site boys keep up the good work.

As a life long fan (30 years) I can just about remember the good times but those memories are a fading fast! Can anyone shed some light on just how bad of a state our beloved club is in? I don't blame Moyes for the lack of transfers as I think it comes from the board. I just don't understand why they tell us Moyes has limited funds (£2 mil) before the transfer window, then we sell two players for £5 mil and then fail to sign this much needed forward that Moyes keeps telling us we need (not that we need telling!)

Having sat up last night waiting for the good news about our lastest buy I was once again left with an empty feeling that I should be getting use too by now! Something has to change sooner rather than later. Start at the top and work down before it all goes completly tits up!
Paul Dalton, N.Ireland  (01/02/06)

Well I said before the transfer window that EFC is only interested in getting money in and Dithering Dave, Wyness and Panto Bill have proved me right. The complete and utter shambles that masquerades under the title of Commercial Dept of EFC is coming home to roost - there is no money. We rely on selling players to survive but where does the money disappear to?

If we had an efficient scouting system the players needed should have been identified long before January. The supporters have identified that we need a striker, a goal difference of -15 means you dont need rocket science to tell you we are not scoring enough goals.

The failure to bring in investment and the failure to secure good players on long term contracts rests with the Board and whilst they dither we sink further in the mire.
George Carroll, Bramhall  (01/02/06)

Only at Everton
Woke up at 4am, checked teletext etc NO SIGNINGS

Not surprised but then I looked at the spin the club will put on it

"Unbeaten in Jan, More cash to spend in the close season as we've saved it now, Moyes will probably be manager of the month, The Quality just wasn't available, tried 24/7 to get a striker"

Basically it will be a case of "What are you all complaining about, EFC is in wonderful hands and all our problems will be solved in the close season when we sign a top class striker etc, etc, etc"

Moyes can't make a decent transfer decision to save his life. A new striker might have won us 3/4 matches between now and May and that could mean the difference between finishing 7th or 17th. Think of the Premier league cash we might have got at £500,000 a position. It could have paid for itself but NO, we're left with Mcfadden upfront by himself on Saturday against City, unless we play 6 in midfield

Looks like Cahiil, Ossie and VDM upfront from time to time then, i hope he gives Anichebe a chance on Saturday, it couldnt hurt could it?

PS: Im waiting for a "New Investors talk to Kenwright exclusive" on the Official site or the Echo site in the near future

Spin, Spin and more Spin

Only at Everton
John Audsley, Leeds  (01/02/06)

Dont blame Moyes....
Blame the chairman. It's quite clear that Everton Football Club is broke and with the evidence of what has and hasn't occurred in the last 30 days could be close to bankruptcy? Why else would you sell a player in a problem position and then not even attempt to replace him. Moyes is just toeing the party line, covering up for the mess that Kenwright and his chums have put us in. I just wish they would come clean and tell us the real picture instead of forcing Moyes to churn out the same old nonsense that the players he wants are not available. When you are down to 11 fit players and 1 striker for the last 4 months of the season, then by my reckoning that means you need players and I think we are doing Moyes a disservice if you think he wont sign anyone for any other reason than the board wont let him.
Paul Warkins, Bristol  (01/02/06)

Why do "us" as Evertonians put up with such tripe? I was at the Wigan game last night and to be fair for 20 minutes Everton played ok. But can anyone explain why the fans sing DM's name? He's inept and tactically naive! Maybe if we had a striker then things might have been different, but as usual DM and the rest of the Keystone cops fail to register what we need & are crying out for.

Now obviously there isn't much money around at the club or is there? Maybe the board dont trust DM with any more money? Personally I wouldn't give him 10p to go the shop with! I think DM has taken us as far as he is capabilities allow him! God knows what the rest of the season holds for us.

As for the "HERO" that is Duncan Ferguson, what an absolute IDIOT!! He should be booted out the club, never to return (although 9 1/2 years too late) - he has left the whole club with NO recognised strikers available. Ah well lets hope we get to the end of the season still in the Premiership??? I for one think its time Evertonians stopped accepting pure Sh**e.
Jason Hughes, Liverpool  (01/02/05)

Why So Angry?
I really don't understand why you are all so cross Moyes didn't sign anyone? Its like a personal insult to you, thats so weird.

Personally, I'm a little disappointed but I accept the decision by Moyes. Why should he spend all his money now on a player he doesn't really want just to make the fans happy? That money is now saved and hopefully during the Summer Moyes can get someone he really wants.

Sure we are short of stikers but fans on here complain all the time that McFadden never gets a decent run and the youngsters never get a chance, well now they will.

A lot of responsiblity falls on McFadden now and by the end of the season we'll know for sure if he's good enough or not. Youngsters like Victor Anichebe, Paul Hopkins and James Vaughan will now have to be blooded just like the fans have wanted.

There's so much hate for Moyes which is surprising considering he's enjoying the best form of his Everton career right now.

Give the guy a break and lets judge him after the season has finished.
Dutch Schaeffer  (01/02/06)

Frustrated Everton Fan
I’ve been an Everton fan for the last 20 years and probably the only surviving fan from South Africa. At one point I did a stint as a radio jock and promoted Everton on air and I used to get people calling in mocking me about supporting Everton, but as a true Toffee supporter, I kept on wearing my Everton Jersey, proudly. And last year we improved drastically as a team, I was proud for a moment.

My point:
But, I was frustrated at the beginning of the season because we did not sign a recognized striker and I thought David Moyels had a plan, if he did it backfired, because we struggling at the bottom half, picking up scraps here and there. Imagine what it would be like with a recognized striker I kept telling the Everton critics back in SA (and believe me, there’s many). Last night I watch the game on the telly (we get all Premier league games) and simultaneously searched the net for transfer news, I was shocked, not one signing.

I’m left wondering: DM could not sign one decent player, even on loan till the end of the season and why did he not send someone to watch the African Nations Cup, there were some great new talent on show besides the Drogba’s etc. Spurs and others picked up some talent at this tournament; Everton who are desperate for talent did not have the foresight to send a scout. What’s going on?
Natano Brache, South Africa  (01/02/2006)

Up yours!
To Chad Scofield: If you don't think that Moyes overspent on Wright, Kroldrup, Beattie and Davies at around 20 million pounds then you really need to look at your pension and/or get another financial advisor!

Anybody that knows anything about football would have been thrilled to sign Fowler and Thompson for free, on short term, no risk contracts... it's not rocket science; they are good players, coincidentally Evertonians, and if they'd have done well, would heve been a massive bonus for us. If they failed it would have been a minor loss.

Just another thing folks... just because I currently reside overseas, don't patronise me or others like me who live away. I'm a born Evertonian, former season ticket holder and got paid to play football for many years before I left, so don't assume overseas inputs are lacking in some fundamental's incorrect, jingoistic and annoys the many Blues that live abroad.

Also I have to once more agree with Tony Marsh...he is simply stating the obvious and the thrust of his inputs ... that Moyes is out of his depth, will eventually become stunningly obvious to even the most blinded, and seemingly many, Moyes supporters.
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  ()

Another I told you...
Oh Geez...Tony, Tony Tony..

I know you are only giving your opinion but you must be the most negative fan I have ever come across.)

I do realise that you are voicing what some Everton fans think, but there is an old saying.."if you can't say anything nice..then don't say anything at all." (Can we add constructive to that?)

But, having seen the transfer window come and go without the much needed striker we need, it's time questions were asked.

Not only of DM but the entire board. People have to be made accountable and they need to tell us:

a) if there REALLY was any money available during this window?

b) if not, why not?

c) what is the REAL level of debt at this club?

d) and was Bent sold to keep wolves from the door?

We need, and deserve answers. Not more lies and spin.

It's time we as a group demanded it.

And it's time the Fourth Estate started asking them too, not that they'd have the balls.
Paul Kish, Maylands  (Australia)

And for my next trick...
Moyes doesn't want to sign players to make us happy for three days and then to disappoint us when we see them play. So to fill the gap he brings in players we've all seen before in Pistone and Stubbs. Players who only months before were released as they couldn't agree to contracts that, we must assume, the manager thought were commensurate with their ability. What do Moyes, Irvine and the scouting department do, only attend our own training sessions? Perhaps that explains all those players to whom we gave trials.

While it seems worrying enough that we cannot find any players in what will be a year at the next opportunity, we do not seem to be moving to secure those worthwhile players we do have.

There may be some movement behind the scenes but it appears that Ferrari will probably be returned after his loan spell and that Yobo, whose contract I think runs out at the end of next season, will be the next money spinner. Other clubs seem to renegotiate wanted players contracts in plenty of time but at Everton everything seems so unplanned and last minute.

Still, Mr Kenwrong does have the cash for their replacements, doesn't he?
Thommo   (01/02/06)

Another 'I told you'
So the window is now closed and our squad is still thinner than Steve McLaren's fringe.

Did any one really think Moyes was going to be sensible for once and buy the striker we desperatley need? Talk about crushing the spirit of the fans.

I don't give a fuck if we are on a mini-revival at the moment. This joker Moyes ruined our season long before now. How stupid can a so-called football manager be? Virtually every club just above or just below us have strengthened with new signings but as far as Davey Boy is concerned we can make do with what we have got.

The truth is Moyes, as I have said before, is clueless. He has all the badges the FA can throw at you but being a manager of a football club the size of Everton takes a whole lot more than Howard Wikinson-approved coaching badges.

A couple of signings now would have given the whole club a lift and put the fans out of there misery [for a while]. Instead, we get rid of a striker and bring none in. How is that sensible buisness for a club in our posistion?

Yet, while there are fans out there happy to put up with this nonsense, we will never get anywhere. I didn't know if I should laugh or cry when Everton fans started getting excited about Defoe being spotted in Liverpool. Are we that fucking daft to think he would sign for us?

Get real, people: I knew all along Moyes wouldn't deliver —he never does. Next season will be excactly the same — just you wait and see. His failings are there for all to see so open your eyes.

Yobo, Arteta, Cahill... kiss them all goodbye in the near future. Last one out switch off the lights.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (1/2/06 )

Another point
Back from the game and another point toward either Europe or Safety. It is hard to really analyse this game as it resembled a full blooded cup tie rather than a Prem match.

Two teams who for whatever reason played a brand of football that could leave many a watcher wondering just what division they were from. Taking the Blues performance I thought we started very well and got the early goal and looked as though we could build on it then for some reason thought we could hang on to the lead by going deeper and deeper,we paid for it.

Overall I thought the point was about right and was earned on a great back four performance because the players in front of them didnt have the best of nights in terms of ball retention and understanding. I would absolve Kilbane from this as I thought he put in a great shift of graft and determination.

Given our predicament regarding team selection the above may be rather nitpicking but there were players who I thought could have given more in technical ability rather than out and out trying.

My M.O.M must come from the back four and I would give it to Stubbs who just shaded the other three.

I must mention the Dunc debacle as when he came on I thought he altered things and there was renewed expectation but then he proved he may have more pidgeon eggs than brain cells.

Still I came home with an away point and a pie and can look forward to City. Had a quick look at Sky sports transfer news but that's another story. See you Sat -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (1/2/06)

The last straw
Well done,Moysey, you`ll now be able to indulge in your vision of an Everton team without any strikers at all!

To me the failure to make a suitable signing,given that our resources are so stretched, borders on negligence. With a goal differential of minus 15 only a fool would think that with only one fit striker-who averages 1 goal every 4 games!-we can hope for anything but a white knuckle ride till the end of the season.

Sad to say, the Everton of today have absolutely no ambition-the only interest is in Premier survival and come season ticket time they will start to pay the price. Perhaps when Kenwright is congratulating his`brilliant young manager`on his prudence he`ll reflect on a season which could and should have been the turning point for the Club but which, for so many of us, has been the last straw!
Alan Campbell, Wavertree  (1/2/06)

Let Down
Let down by : -
Duncan Ferguson (as if we ain't in enough shit, being strikerless)

Let down by: -
David Moyes for not having the foresight to see problems ahead and leaving us with a striker who can't beat his own mam (McFadden)

Let down by: -
Bill Kenwright and Bill Wyness, for mis-managing EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB.

And finally I have let my son down: -
For demanding he be an Evertonian and pledging himself to a life of misery and heartache.

We are Leicester, Coventry, Ipswich and now there is no use trying to pretend we are not.

Big Club? No, BIG JOKE!

I sat in with the Wigan crowd tonight and watched the Blues Boys in the North Stand give their all, singing shouting, an absolute joy. The team on the night gave 100% with the exception of the lunatic substitute, but why do we do it? I can only think that we are the footballing equivilent of a lemming.

Being an Evertonian at this time is like being tortured by Smooth FM!

Still...................... I'll be there Saturday..................with the rest of you LEMMINGS!
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (01/02/2006)

And there you have it...
Time sent: 00:10

Its ten past midnight, I have scoured every website there is for news on ANY transfer for EFC and, you guessed it, FUCK ALL!!

Good old dithering Davey!!

I hope you know what you're doing Davey Boy......

(maybe the morning papers will reveal some better news)
P Cooke, Runcorn  (01/02/06)

ToffeeWeb Letters from January 2006

ToffeeWeb Letters from March 2006


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