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ToffeeWeb MailBag
Letters from our readers — March 2006

ToffeeWeb Letters from February 2006

ToffeeWeb Letters from April 2006

Bean counting
I'm a positive person but I have a new fear and it is this. Keith Wyness and no doubt Bill are very proud of our D&T Top Twenty club status. Was this measured on revenues? If it was I expect it included both the cash and deferred Wayne Rooney money (but not the contingent bits).

So - they wouldn't want to drop out of the Top 20 after just having crept in; to stay in they would have to boost this year's revenue figure. And the easiest way to do this would be to sell Arteta and Yobo for big bucks. Now Moyes would have something to say about that but I think he is bought into the 'avoid Leeds Utd at all costs' school of soccer financial management.

Michael, please tell me I'm talking bollocks!
Chris Winslet, Egham  (31/3/06)

Well, you are right, I'm sorry to say: you are talking bollocks. The turnover is exclusive of gains or losses on player transfers. Buster is determined to stay there on merit, but the added income from improved on-feld performance last season was probably the biggest factor, and that will not be repeated this season. Still, it is a massive sign that Buster has turned things around in terms of the business side of Everton, and he should be given plenty of credit for achieving that. — Michael

Summer Transfers
If Moyes wants the fans to get off his back he must be very accurate with the signings he makes in the summer — but he also needs to be as careful with the ones that go out.

If Yobo is still refusing to sign a new contract, it is a must we sell him and get at least £4M on him, because Everton Football Club cannot afford to let players leave on a Bosman.

This summer, there will be lots of young strikers available accross Europe and Moyes needs to get off his arse an make more effort to sign one.

Goalkeeper is another main priority. I would like to see young hard-working players signed in the summer who give 100% and aren't big timers, such as: Andy Johnson from Palace; Wayne Routledge from Pompey (if they go down); Joey Barton from City; Craig Gordon from Hearts; and if all possible the one transfer that fucked us up last season... Craig Bellamy...

But don't hold your breath. If Moyes can't attract a quality striker when we have got Europe to offer, what chance when we are just a mid-table team!!
Tom Stewart, Kensington  (31/3/06)

Look, I'm sorry but I'm nipping this in the bud right now. Anyone can name any number of players they would like to see join Everton... it just doesn't work like that: it's not going to happen. Even the man in charge has his own set of targets that never gets filled! Let's keep your wish-lists and best line-ups for the football forums, please! — Michael

Working 24/8
When Bill made his famous statement about working 24 hours a day 8 days a week looking for investment, we knew it was as ring-fenced as the Kings Dock.

Doffing a cap to John Stewart of Comedy Central when talking about George Bush, what Bill really meant was he was working 24 hours a week, 8 months a year.
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (31/3/06)

Tales of the New Stadium
Big Keith is spouting again about some mythical future. I am suspicious as always of any statement, always patronising, always vapid, coming from him or Bullshit Billy. Why now? And what are they really trying to mask with this fog and offer of cod democracy? Methinks there is some let-down lurking...
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (31/3/06)

Ah... now that's Negativity!

Ground waffle from the Wyndbag
Buster`s statement on a new ground, which appears in the Daily Post this morning, hardly smacks of dynamic leadership and talk of consulting fans yet again is just another devise to delay any action. We last heard a similar tale around Christmas and I believe we are all sick of the waffle and prevarication on this issue. To say that any move depends on the funding being available is just stating `the bleeding obvious` and is patronising in the extreme.

I want to hear no more of this twaddle until the site is identified and the plans put in for approval.
Lawson Bennett, Southport  (31/3/06)

Early Days Blues
We get a great deal of criticism of David Moyes on ToffeeWeb — both stated and implied — but were the so-called great managers, Catterick and Kendall, that much better in their first few seasons? My father used to recount stories of the former being kicked to the ground by frustrated Evertonians whilst it`s no secret that Kendall was one game away from the chop in the League Cup at Oxford!

Both these managers were given years to cement their position at the Club and look how well that payed off. Moyes should be given the same time to restore the glory to Goodison.
Howard Willard, Prescot  (31/3/06)

Catterick's Cash
I share Jack Randall's disdain for the excessive use of "buzz" words by Wyness and his focus on matters financial. However, I fear he is wrong to believe that Harry Catterick would not have approved. I remember Alan Ball talking about how surprised and upset he was when Catterick sold him to Arsenal. When he asked why he was told that "football's a business son, I'm getting twice what I paid for you"

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.......
Tony Horne, Kettering  (30/3/06)

The Matter of Youth
Been reading a lot about the youth issue, in fact I was one advocating we play our youth more often. How worse off can we be compared to what we have now! And if they fuck up big time, we can always say they are young and inexperienced...

However, there's always a great risk when you decide to play your youth over your more experienced players. If they succed, good enough and everyone's happy... but What if that youthful Everton side gets into a relegation battle??? People are just gonna moan at Moyes and say "Why don't you play the seniors??"

These youth players are just potentials; we do not know whether they can cut it in the EPL and yes unless we play them we will never know. But to play them in keeper, defence, midfield and striker while at the same time getting rid of our deadwood — that's almost managerial suicide.

Sadly, our youth players are not the likes of Fabregas, Van Persie, Eboue... if they were, I'm sure Moyes would have played them. Maybe he wanted to play more youth but we had a horrendous first half of the season and now he's playing catch-up. What is needed now is stability to the team (Stubbs anyone???).

Youth players are an unknown factor. They could be a Rooney, Osman or even a certain Peter Clarke! Which manager would put youth on the bench just so he could "blood" them when a more experienced player could make a difference if the team was losing? It doesn't also make much sense to play a youth over someone you pay a high wage unless they are really good.

Yes, I would like to see more youth getting some match time and gradually becoming first-team regulars like Osman and Hibbert but maybe they are just not there yet. However,like Michael says "Dream On" ...
Jalil Noor, Singapore  (31/3/06)

What I mean by 'Negativity'
I don't think the most ardent supporters of Moyes can say he hasn't made mistakes — not even Dutch I assume. The thing that I see as negative is that we dwell far longer on the negatives than any positives he does.

I haven't read much of the mailbag this week because I sensed that it would just take one (albeit very frustrating) defeat to bring out all the people who had been quiet while we were winning.

I understand people want the best for the club; what I don't understand is when people seem to look forward to us failing so they can continue their rants at certain members of the club but never seem to come on and praise them when they clearly do well.

If Moyes was to sell Yobo, Arteta, Cahill and make Wright captain, I would come out and say that he had made a mistake and he had lost it; I just don't see the other side coming out and praising Moyes if we qualify for Europe this season or sign any of the players they want him to sign, but I guess we might never know. I can't really complain though as without Toffeeweb I might actually have to do my job :-)
Daniel Ford, Newcastle Upon Tyne  (30/3/06)

You can't change people, and each one of us has a different perspective. But what you say is way off base: people do not "look forwar to us failing." That is just plain nonsense.

Getting the motivation to write is more likely when you are aggreived over something rather than when you are pleased — that's human nature. But there is nothing to stop YOU from writing in, praising Moyes for everything he does that you think is wonderful.

Sorry to beat up on you here, Daniel, but let's take a look back over the last few months and see how many such letter you sent in to the mailbag during that wonderful period of Moyes-inspired Everton ascendancy... Do you see the problem? So let's put the lid on this "negativity" business, alright? — Michael

Stubbs and Weir
Just read Moyes saying how indispensable Alan Stubbs has become. I've also seen how reluctant he has been to drop Weir despite an appalling run of performances a) as a player, and b) as a totally inadequate and inspiration-lacking captain. We are therefore likely to see these two, both with the speed and mobility of your average lighthouse, in central defence for Saturday.

Yobo, far and away I feel, our best central defender — if only because he and Ferrari allow the rest of the team to play much further forward — will once again sit it out on the bench. This is probably as a forerunner of selling him in the summer. Good God! Is this the future that Moyes talks about? He promised to lower the average age of the squad and has instead increased it! And, if Stubbs is to be re-signed next year, will raise it even further.

What is it with him and skillful, ball-playing central defenders? As others on this site have said, there is a real chance now for Moyes to give the future a chance; we are safe from relegation. Europe is not on; why not give some of the younger lads a chance? When will you have a better opportunity??? And you can start with the central defenders?
Rob Williamson, Sheffield  (30/3/06)

re: Easy, Easy
What in the blue hell has the 'easy easy' chant got to do with anything?

If you've got a problem with it, why don't you try contacting some Chelsea loving 'ponce' or someone at Soccer AM. I can't think of us ever having any opportunity to do it anyway. So keep your curry to yourself. Damn students.

For the record, Tim Lovejoy is a legend and Soccer AM is a godsend on a Saturday morning.
Santiago Guerrero, Scotland  (30/3/06)

No comment. Except to say there will be no more letters on this topic, Thanks!

Mike Price's Letter
I haven't read most of the stuff on the mailbag in the last few days as I just dont think I can take the negativity but each to their own etc... But I couldn't let Mike's letter go with out pointing the truth out - I live in Newcastle and all the fans I know would love David Moyes as their manager.

Regardless of what some Everton fans think, he is well-respected by other team's fans - whether they are wrong is up for debate but there are plenty of teams who would love him to manage their clubs. I don't live in Liverpool so the derby defeat is slightly easier to take as texts/calls are easy to ignore but we have now lost only 3 away games in 2006 — at Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea — it's hardly time to start getting too negative.

There is no point me carrying on the Pro-Moyes Argument as I sense some people are never gonna like him whatever he does which I think is a shame. IMWT
Daniel Ford, Newcastle-upon-Tyne  (30/3/06)

I like him. I just don't believe every single decision he makes is for the best. He's a promising "young" manager who is still (after four years!) very much learning his trade at Goodison Park. That learning process involves making mistakes.

I like him... but I'm not particularly impressed with the way he has his teams play football. But maybe that's just a fact of the current game...

I like him for finally getting his players over the massive confidence gulf that followed our "European Adventure"... but I am not blind to the factors he is responsioble for that contributed to that dismal spell. Hope this helps you deal with what you call "negativity". — Michael

Academy Players
The reply from Michael in respect of the signing of academy players on professional contracts may be right but it fails to answer these questions:

a) are the players good enough or are they just there to make up the numbers in a very small squad of professionals

b) Why does David Moyes not give these youngsters a chance to prove their worth?

Personally I feel it was a disgrace to recall the 'talismatic' Duncan Ferguson for his swansong appearance against Liverpool on Saturday clearly unfit and without match practice. The Derby may have been a pressure-cooker and a difficult environment to include youth players but my opinion is that these are the occassions when the Victor Anichebes of the world should be allowed to experience and gain from.

It is without question that the Youth Academy facilities are a disgrace to a Premier League club and it is welcomed that Everton are finally doing something about. We do however need a more robust scouting network in Europe / Africa and it would make sense to source these regions for up-and-coming youth players in the mould of Fabregras, Toure, Adu et al.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (30/3/06)

Okay, I'll try:

a) They'er good enough... for the Academy. It's a good question, though, about 'making up the numbers'. In previous seasons, Moyes has not promotede many of the senior academy players into the senior squad; this season there were far more in numbers only, but we haven't seem any of them play to speak of. And if Yobo can't even get a game...

b) I'm sure they have to be a lot more than "just right" for Moyes to even consider them. Look how "protective" he was of Rooney. Their main role seems to aspire to accompanying the first team on an away trip, to soak up the atmosphere... or clean their boots! (Aye, Harry!) — Michael

Lies, Damn Lies And Statistics?
I tend to agree with my mate Luq Yus in his criticism of Phil Neville. Statistics would prove that, despite Phil Neville having 6 Premiership winners medals, 55 England Caps and being one of Evertons top earners on £35k a week, he is failing to lead by example.

This season, in 27 games, Neville has attempted 100 tackles winning only 27 and giving away 55 free kicks in the process as well as earning 8 yellow cards and 2 red cards. To break it down even further, on average he is attempting roughly 4 tackles per match, winning only one! You would expect his 'tackles made' and 'tackles won' rate to be much higher for a defensive midfielder who offers nothing going forward, and who's main role in the team is to win the ball.

Neville is on a par with the likes of Cahill and Arteta in the tackles made/won department. However their main job is to get forward and support the strikers, which they seem to be doing more effectively then Neville does his. Arteta: 1 goal, 6 assists, Cahill: 6 goals, 3 assists. Just for the record Neville: 0 goals, 0 assists.

Neville's distribution is another talking point. His pass success rate is 73% which isn't too bad when compared with other Everton midfielders. I would interpret this though, as him making many succesful short passes sideways and backwards because, in general, when he tries anything more ambitious, such as hopeful punt to Beattie, it very rarely works. At times during the derby it seemed like he was passing to an invisible player on the wing. (Insert your own Van der Meyde joke here!)

To compare like for like, last season Lee Carsley won 36% of tackles, completed 77% of passes, scored 4 goals and had 2 assists, and picked up less yellow and red cards. Basically this would suggest that Carsley is a better passer and tackler then Neville, and also offers more of a goal threat... well to the opposition's goal anyway!

As for Neville's leadership qualities, he is from the Moyes school man-management... The permanent miserable scowl etched across his face and the constant moaning to team-mates and referee alike. No wonder Moyes loves him so much!!
Marcus Turner, Bangkok, Thailand  (30/3/06)

The Organic Buster Wyndbag
Yes, I`m old fashioned but I never thought I`d live to see an Everton `top honcho` coming out with the power-speak bullshit that emanates from Buster Wyndbag!

So, now we know that `inward investment` is vital if we are going `to grow the brand` because we can`t hope to `sustain` this `organically` and `profitability is the most important measure`. Just fancy that! And there was I thinking the main target was to win football matches and provide some entertainment (value for money) for the fans.

If dear Mr Catterick is looking down on us now, he`ll be turning in his grave — if you know what I mean, Harry!
Jack Randall, Parkgate  (30/3/06)

Dashing Stubbs
So, according to Moyes, Alan Stubbs is now in-dispensable (sic). Pity he didn`t think that when he bombed him out last summer! If Stubbs is really that bloody good he might have saved us some of the heart-ache we suffered in the first half of this season!

Makes me laugh how so many gullible Evertonians are prepared to fete Moyes for getting us out of a mess of his own creation and then hail as an act of genius the `re-signing` of an ageing defender who he was wrong to `resign` six months before! Guess it`s just where you put the dash!
Harry  Meek, Worcester  (30/3/06)

'Easy Easy'
I'm with you Patrick. Anyone who does the Timmy Lovejoy 'Easy Easy' is a Ponce... End of....
Sheila Whyte, Merseyside  (29/3/06)

Colm's column
I'd just like to say how Colm's column perfectly descibes our situation. I'd also like to say that I had a mate just like him who lived over the road (a kopite); we used to play Subbuteo. I did manage to get him to swap his Crystal Palace 1976 kit, the one with the diaganal stripe, for a rather battered Derby County team (mug) and I've still got it in pristine condition.
Blue  Fella, Deeside  (29/3/06)

Merchants of Doom, get over it
I’m as angry and disappointed by the derby debacle as any Evertonian but let’s keep our feet on the ground. It’s not indicative of anything other than the loss of three valuable points.

There were four reasons we lost:

  1. The most important was that we had no creative leadership on the field to react to the new situation created by Gerrard’s dismissal. Nothing new there. We have had very little leadership in midfield since Gravesen left.
  2. Then two players, one of whom would never have been playing but for injuries, gifted them two soft goals.
  3. Then the so-called “James Gang” disappeared from view. Neither Beattie nor McFadden had the stomach or the balls for what was going down.
  4. Finally, the referee. The moment Gerrard was off I turned to my 10-year-old and said, “You know what that means don’t you?” And he said, “Yes, Dad, he’ll try to even things up by sending off one of ours the first chance he gets.” I thought it would be Cahill to be honest, but…
This match, like all derby games, is sui generis. It’s a mistake to draw broad conclusions from it as some of the doom merchants have. What we have to do now is take Sunderland apart on Saturday. The fact is that we are making progress and the glass is half-full, not half-empty.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (29/3/06)

The talentless Mr Neville
Ok, Marcus from Thailand, I'll have to agree with your last letter and as fans of this dysmal club let's stick together as the club has no regard for us fans. No kop-out; just the truth. After the derby defeat I have have to slag off Neville. I see him all over the various toffee websites and he carries himself as a leader... A Leader??? Bollocks — more like a shite poodle! He apologised about the own goal but thats ok: he has a long history of gaffs so that's to be expected. All he does is sit deep, give the ball away and get himself booked! Where are you Neville supporters now, eh?

It's an easy option to slate Kilbane but he tries even though my Gran has more skill and vision than him. Neville though seems 'exempted' from blame or criticism. He is nearly useless but is a Moyes favourite. And that's the problem isn't it with this club: Mickey Mouse leaders and Del Boy finances! Still, he's the best around... isn't he?

Bye bye, Yobo: have a better Arsenal career than Jeffery Jeffers.
Luq Yus, London  (29/3/06)

Moysey in the Market
I remember the day David Moyes arrived at Goodison. It was like a big brush sweeping through the deadwood left by Walter Smith. Pembs, Ginola, Gazza all seen the axe as a bit of youth was injected into the team. I remember Moyes saying that he wanted to bring down the average age in the squad and build a nice young attacking Everton team like Newcastle had at the time.

What happened though? Why does every Everton manager fall into the same dull routine of their predecessors?? We still have an old squad. Most of Moyes's other signings have been the wrong side of 25. I think that maybe managers at Everton realise that if they buy young players in their late teens/early twenties then, if they turn out to be half-decent, they will want to move to a bigger club. Rooney, Arteta, Yobo all fall under this category and I am sure the latter two will be moving soon just like Wayne. We can only afford to buy one or two quality players each season and with us only going for 25+, we are stuck on a treadmill.

If we sell Yobo then we need to replace the following players:

  • Martyn - Immediately
  • Weir - Immediately
  • Stubbs - Immediately
  • Valente - Within the next year or two
  • Neville - Three more seasons tops
  • Beattie - Probably three more seasons because he is a striker
Then you are looking at the next lot: Cahill, Van der Meyde & Davies, who will all go together. My point is that, for every quality player we bring in, we are going to lose one. We are destined to be medicore unless we find a manager who can find cheap talent OR a man with money.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (29/3/06)

Quality youngsters
A lot of Evertonians are moaning about Moyes's youth polcy, arguing that he should start playing Anichebe, Vidarsson and Turner. I too would like to see some new blood coming from the ranks, sharing our culture and beliefs.

If you don't have money to invest and rebuild the squad every year, you have to invest in your Youth department, scouting countries and continents for new talents. A good Youth Academy would allow us to compete with the big spenders (up to some level). The success of Man Utd was based an the Class of 92; the success Arsenal on their famous back five. The home-based player gives you something different - passion, pride, history, the bonds of generations with the fans. Every top team in the world has at least two home-grown players. Our only chance to compete is to turn back to our youngsters.

Martin Jol has understood that and he invests heavily in promising young players. Spurs has a young squad (if not the youngest in Premiership). The likes of Ajax, Auxerre, Udinese and even West Ham are examples for successful teams built without hundreds of millions.

From all the players Moyes has released, none has set the world alive. The likes of Anthony Gerrard, Daniel Fox, Peter Clarke and Nick Chadwick are playing regularly for their sides in the lower leagues but nothing more. Moreover, our youth policy is nowhere near up to the standard, in the last 15 years the most notable names which springs to my mind are Tony Grant, Michael Ball, Francis Jeffers, Danny Cadamarteri, Gavin McCann, Michael Branch and Richard Dunne. From all these players, only Ball, McCann and Dunne are playing at the highest level. The others are lost somewhere in the lower divisions or with fading careers. Three decent players in 15 years (excluding Rooney and Hibbert)...

Now, the most painful part: Do you know what is the common link between Rush, Owen, Fowler, Gerrard, McManaman and Carragher — they were all Evertonians rejected by our Academy coaches!!! Even Rooney was first approached by a Liverpool scout... we are losing our own talents thanks to our own coaches and scouts. If I were Moyes, I would have asked a lot of questions.

The bad thing is that nothing has changed. Since Moyes came in, the only two new youth players which were signed are Vidarsson and the two keepers. In that time Spurs and Arse have built new young and hungry teams and we are re-signing a 35-year-old centre-back, because our own youngsters are not up to the standard. They have never been...

Until we get new academy, with new coaches with an eye for talent (sign some from Ajax or Auxerre) and change our youth policy, we will never be able to be competetitive again — and our most talented youngsters will go on to win cups with Liverpool.
Stefan Tosev, Vienna  (29/3/06)

You are COMPLETELY wrong in you assessment of Youth players signed by Moyes or on his watch. This season alone, he has signed at least TEN players on professional terms. Go here and scroll to the bottom. Same story in previous seasons. Get yer facts right! — Michael

‘In-dispensable`... que?
`In-dispensable` eh? - guess the poxy Echo put in the dash but whichever way you read it we can look forward to another dose of the `Stubbs and Weirdo` show on Saturday. What it also means is that Joey is getting a dose of the freezer treatment for pissing off to the African Nations against the ginger one`s wishes!

Christ, I`d have thought he`d have learned by the effect his attitude had on Rooney and Krøldrup but perhaps it`s just his subtle way of saying "Piss Off, there`s a whole world of crocks out there just waiting to join us."

Somebody said a few week`s ago `we shall win nothing with this bugger` but what worries me now is if we can ever hope to keep decent players when we do get them! Last one out dim the light-switch!
Carl  Wilson, Walton  (29/3/06)

'Easy' — Piss off!
Being at University in Bournemouth has made it practically impossible for me to get to games this season, the last two were over Christmas, at home to Bolton and Liverpool! Anyway, I'm off to the game this Saturday but there is one thing that's really worrying me.

It's not the result; it's not whether or not Moyes plays Yobo — and it's nothing to do with the ever increasing size of the queue outside the 'Goodison Road Supper Bar'. What worries me more than that is this ridiculous Soccer AM inspired 'Easy, easy' chant that every knobhead fan in the country seems to be singing at the moment. I truly hope to God that no Evertonian has discgraced our club by singing this nonsense inside Goodison. As far as I know, it seems to be more of a Birmingham, Villa, Tottenham thing — but you can never be sure, you get some very silly people in football!!

Am I the only one who passionately dislikes this silly 'Chelsea' chant or am I just one of many? Will I be frowned upon if I throw my curry and chips at anyone who starts singing it? Have I just offended almost every ToffeeWeb reader because "Evertonians love the 'easy' chant" so much?

Answers on a postcard please...
Patrick Marks, London  (29/3/06)

Green tinted specs
I know I should be focusing post-derby comments on the Blues' complete inability to take advantage of Gerrard's early sending off and I don't want to appear like I'm taking out my frustration on Radio Five Live, but... Alan Green's bias on Saturday was beyond belief. In this part of the country, I have to depend on 5Live for commentary and it's interesting to note how often Green pops up at Anfield, even for mundane Tuesday night games. On the other hand Everton games are usually covered by the station's lesser lights.

But, of course, for the derby we had Alan Green. I didn't see his article slating Everton in the summer but do remember him sneering at our style of play last season. On Saturday there were again less than kind remarks - including a sarcastic reference to Duncan Ferguson's 'holiday'.

What really got my blood boiling, though, was his description of the incident that led to Gerrard's sending off. As soon as Kilbane went down Green was shouting about an outrageous dive. His eyes must have popped out of his head in disbelief as the red card was shown.

Now — being a fair-minded person and depending on the commentator for an accurate view of what was happening — I felt a little uncomfortable at the prospect of the Blues going on to win thanks to Kilbane's acting ability. Green made no mention of having seen a replay of the 'foul' so I assumed that the referee had, indeed, been duped.

Imagine my surprise, then, to watch MotD and find as clearcut a foul as any committed that day, Benitez making no protest and even the ex-Liverpool studio expert agreeing the referee was right to send off Gerrard. OK, the main cause of my anger on Saturday was Everton's shortcomings, but people like Green make it hard not to be a Bitter Blue.

ps: I'm making my first trip of the season to Goodison this Saturday — please be fit, Mikel.
Michael McQuaid, Lanarkshire, Scotland  (29/3/06)

Good enough for the Arsenal but...
Surprised to hear this morning that Joseph Yobo is `the favourite to succeed Campbell` at Arsenal. A bit weird, that one, I thought. Not good enough to displace either of two ageing defenders at Everton but a target for European Championship aspirants? We shall see...

But if it does happen, it will be a sickener to all Evertonians other than the Dodds and Schaeffers who continue to believe that Moyes really can judge a footballer. The sorry saga of Krøldrup — who any fool can see via Bravo IS a class act — was one thing but to lose an established player of the quality of Yobo is nothing short of sinful. Let`s just hope it`s hot air but we`ve been here before and I fear the worst.
Harry Meek, Worcester  (29/3/06)

The Long Term
Amidst the re-writing of our club's history and trashing of previously successful (trophy-winning) managers, one factor seems to have been overlooked.

Where's the long-term planning at Everton? We seem to be lurching from week to week, increasingly relying on older players previously thought to be past their best. When the gallant Martyn, Weir and Stubbs end their careers, who's going to replace them? If there are really 'no strikers' out there, where are the young players from the reserves & youth team banging on the first team door to give us a future (see Man City & Middlesbrough). What are the coaches and scouts doing?

I know we are better managed now than under Walker & Smith — big deal, is that the best argument for the current set-up?

It's clear that, directly or otherwise, Kenwright appears to be discouraging significant investment into the club, which means that we stick with Moyes or get another up-and coming-Pro-Licence clone. Great position for Kenwright: he keeps the train set with a manager lacking the clout to press for more money. Great position for Moyes: he does his best with 'limited' resources and spins us into being a mid-table club with no trophy-winning history.

Moyes made three good buys in Cahill, Arteta and Beattie. His biggest strength is buying mediocre players, getting a good year out of them and selling them at profit. All that does is keep us afloat. He, and we, seem to be continually running to stand still.

I can accept that at the moment the best we can hope for every season is 5th/6th position and a cup run. I refuse to accept that, after four years, a mid-table position, an ageing squad and no youngsters coming through is genius. Yes, Moyes is every bit as good as the other British Pro-Licence clones. If we can't find a Hiddink, Jol, Mourinho or Wenger, I want him to stay and succeed.

I'd love to see evidence that there's a long-term strategy, rather than the trashing of previous managers who had less time in the job, received less backing from the Board and (excepting Walker & Smith) achieved just as much, if not more.

Do we want an Everton that's marginally better than when Walker & Smith were in charge, or do we want a bit of real progress?
Paul Tran, Kendal  (29/3/06)

FA Cup vs qualifying for a Qualifier
Dutch, I am convinced every argument you give in support of Moyes is purely to wind people up. How can you compare winning the FA Cup to qualifying for the qualifying stages of the Champions League? Why are you so content with second best? Why do you persist in saying "Moyes developed Rooney" — he didn't and you know it, but why keep saying it?

I want Everton to win the league, nothing less will be good enough, and I want it achieved by playing attractive football. Currently, this Everton squad represent everything I dislike in a team. Hard work and effort first, good football a distant second. This is Moyes's team, Moyes's style, and yet you compare him with Royle, you defend Moyes to the hilt, you lie to make him look better than what he is.
Tommy Coleman, Liverpool  (29/3/06)

In Defence Of Big Joe
It's a mailbag - there's diverse ranges of opinions. Each persons opinion makes total sense to them, but sometimes the rest of us have trouble seeing exactly where that person is coming from.

Such is my problem with the criticism of Big Joe. Joe Royle a chimp??? It's been a long time since I have seen something so blatantly offensive and absurd as that statement! {to me anyway!}

I didn't need the numbers to confirm my opinion of Joe. He's the best manager we have had since Kendall. We played better football. We weren't doomed to defeat if we scored first. We had a team that was simultaneously respected in the middle of the park but feared on the flanks. We were entertainig and watchable and damn tough to beat. Joe was even One of Us - irrelevant to me, but it obviously means something to the pro-Kenwright brigade.

They're not rose-coloured glasses. The numbers back it up. We scored {significantly} more goals on average, won marginally more games but got beat a hell of a lot less. What they don't show is that we were a hell of a lot more pleasurable to watch.

The transfer arguments are interesting. Yes, I recall Claus Thomsen {shudder}. But, on balance, I would say Joe's successes outweighed the failures, by a large margin. Of course this is an entirely subjective view. But on the theme, who would you say Moyes best buy was? Arteta? The boys a terrific player, but he's no Andrei. The numbers bear that out too - how many goals has our Spanish maestro slotted this term?

And of course, I haven't even gotten to the final and most important point. A football manager's job is to win things. Something we have singularly failed to do under Moyes.

This is not a criticism of Moyes. {BTW, Mike Price: there are lots of us who don't fit into either the MOB or IMWT brigades — I for one am baffled by our manager and can't make my mind up.} Rather it is an observation on Joe Royle. Moyes may well turn out to be the finest manager we've had since the start of the Premiership. I for one desperately hope he does! But at the present moment, that honour belongs to Big Joe Royle.

Joe Royle a chimp??? Whats next, William Ralph Dean just a donkey who could only head a ball?
David Caldwell, Kidderminster  (29/3/06)

Do we have to love him or hate him?
Most detached observers of Premiership football over the last four years think that David Moyes has made progress for Everton. Read any national newspaper. And surely only a very few Evertonians think that we would be better off without him. But that doesn’t mean that we have to agree with everything he does. Some of his decisions are difficult to understand. All right, this may be because we don’t know the full facts, but on that basis we’d have to shut up forever. And we do get to see the games. Steve Hogan’s contribution and Nick West’s response are perfect examples of love Moyes or hate Moyes. Steve’s analysis seems to me perfectly reasonable — and he doesn’t even mention the worst recent error: leaving Yobo on the bench against one of the best teams in the Premiership while playing the sedentary Weir. Every Everton fan knows this is bizarre and assumes there is some strange Simonsen-like plot. Perhaps there is. Or maybe Moyes has a huge blindspot where Weir is concerned – or can’t see Yobo’s quality. Joey is not a ‘fledgling’ centre-half', he is already way beyond Moyes’s own playing achievements. Also he has a good temperament — better than most of the guys who queued on Saturday for obligatory yellow cards against ten men. He came back from captaining his country to be offered a game at right-back against Newcastle. Yes he had a very poor game. But he is a top centre-half and undoubtedly our most saleable asset. Sadly I don’t think that he will be here this time next year. I hope I’m wrong. Perhaps if David Weir was offered a game at right-back the obvious might sink in...

Steve’s comments were very accurate, until his final paragraph which he made no case for. Yes, move the deadwood along but you make no case for Moyes being part of the deadwood. On the other hand Nick’s blind defence of Moyes completely fails to deal with the issues Steve raises. I think I know who is watching us more often.

Moyes is a fine and promising manager. I like him and trust him. But not absolutely, and I’ve yet to talk to any season–ticket holder who regularly agrees with his team selections. Myself, I’d love to have a few words in his ear, and maybe hear something enlightening back.

Let’s feel free to admire and support Moyes as Everton manager while still wondering sometimes what on earth is going on.
Peter Hall, Wirral  (28/3/06)

African Youth
Watching Arsenal in fine form tonight against Juventus was great stuff; good football played on the deck with passion and young talent given a chance. As well as Henry, Fabregas and Reyes, two players and a comment from David Pleat stood out.

Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue had tremendous games, particularly the former. Watching young athletic and pacy Africans given their chance against Europe`s best, with Pleat adding that the recent African Nations Cup was the making of them as players, added to my frustration.

Who is the talented young captain of Nigeria, African football giant? Who is the paciest and most versatile centre-half we have? Who would never be kept out of the Arsenal team by two ageing centre-halves?

Joseph Yobo.

It doesn`t matter how well your team is playing. When your best players are fit & available, you play them. I can overlook some of the various defiencies in our play since Moyes took over but cannot accept not giving Joey his chance. If he is sold in the summer, it will be a disaster; he is the kind of strong, talented & calm defender teams build around.

Yobo and Turner in on Saturday, please - at least it would be a sign that youth is the way forward.
Mark Manns, London  (28/3/06)

Er.. Dream On! I can't see it somehow...

I often read the reserves match report to find Bjarni Vidarsson as a key playmaker. Has anybody seen this kid in action — is he any good?

If any die-hard fan who attends reserves games could provide an overview of him and other promising youngsters Kissock, Hopkins, Hughes, Anichebe etc, would be appreciated. Would be nice to see another Osman or Hibbert soon.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (28/3/06)

Dream on... David Moyes is the only one whose opinion matters in this regard. He watches them regularly... and he has promoted exactly how many to the heady heights of the Premiership? Enuff said. — Michael

Royle vs Moyes
I don't really see the point of comparing Moyes and Royle. But if we must...

The win ratio is:- Royle (39.5%) and Moyes (39.1%). So the difference is .4%? You're kidding me, that's the statistic your using to say Royle is a better manager? 0.4%??? All that statistic proves is that Moyes and Royle have the same win ratio.

Now I don't want to start finding faults in Royle — I liked the man and thought he did a good job — but let's be honest, Royle made mistakes just like Moyes. Both managers had a huge peak of success (Royle: FA Cup Win; Moyes: Champions League Qualification), but fans slag Moyes off for his transfer mistakes like Krøldrup — have they forgotten Royle's transfer duds? Earl Barrett, Marc Hottiger, Slaven Bilic, Nick Barmby and the truely legendary Claus Thomsen?

How many great players did Royle sign? Andrei Kanchelskis and Duncan Ferguson were his best buys and both of them cost big money. Royle didn't unearth a gem like Moyes has with Yobo and Arteta. Royle also didn't develop a world class youngster like Wayne Rooney. And I don't remember Royle winning Manager of the Year twice. The bottom line is this. Royle took over a relegation fighting side and at the end of his run at Everton they were still a struggling side in the bottom half of the league.

I liked Royle, he did a fair job, he was a passionate Evertonian and, in fairness, Royle was disadvantaged by having a bad chairman. But I can still see more improvement under Moyes. Everton are now a mid-table side with several international players and a few promising youngsters. That's real progress made.

One last thing, I live in Essex right next door to Ipswich and I dont know any tractor-boys who aren't shouting for Royle's head.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (28/3/06)

"All that statistic proves is that Moyes and Royle have the same win ratio." Ah teh wonder of selective reasoaning. Would you be saying they were the same if it was the other way around? Don't be silly, eh Dutch: 39.5 and 39.1 are definitely NOT "the same".

And I can't believe you continue to put the Rooney down on Moyes's credit column! You're just doing that to annoy me. What is blatantly missing from your comparison is Goals scored, and Quality of Football played. Enuff said.

In Defence of Big Joe
I don't know what Tom Locke of Bristol has been taking lately but is defeninetly clouding his judgement. How can he or anyone else slag off Joe Royle? — the man's a legend. It's a total disgrace calling him a chimp. Let me tell you about JR, Tom. Apart from playing in a Championship-winning side when he was just a kid, he gave Everton some pride back when he came to manage us in 1994. He saved what looked like an already relegated side when he took over from the drop and six months later lifted the FA Cup — the last trophy seen by Evertonians.

Beating Liverpool 2-0 in his first game, we then went on to play some of the best football I have ever seen an Everton side play. The 4-1 beating we dished out to Spurs in the FA Cup semi-final at Elland Road was the best football I have ever seen any Everton side play — including anything from the Kendall era.

The following season, Joe signed Andre Kanchelskis one of the best players I have seen in the Royal Blue shirt. Do you remember him, Tom single-handedly destroying Liverpool at Anfield in yet another great display of attacking football that was becoming our trade mark?

Scorelines like 5-2, 7-1 are ones that dour Dave can only dream of yet, under Joe, we were fast becoming a team every-one feared. Cup final victors against Man Utd; victories over them in the league; unbeaten in Derby games; European competition back at Goodison; exciting attacking football — all in the first 12 months of Joe's arrival.

Can Moyes or anyone else match that, Tom? No, they can't. The only trophy won in the last 20 years speaks for its self and it was all down to Big Joe.

Joe Royle a chimp? — no, Tom: you're a Chump.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (29/3/06)

Great memories, eh, Tony. Was that derby the one were Limpar beat four Liverpool players with one quick movement and set off down the pitch? Breakaway goals... when did we last score one of them, eh? — Michael

It's clear that we have two distinct groups of Blues right now: the IMWT boys, and the 'out of his depth, tactically barren, stubborn, money wasting, rabbit in headlights, Walter Smith protege' believers. No prizes for guessing which group I'm in.

However, just because I don't agree with the blinkered Moyes lovers doesn't mean that I have a problem with fellow Blues. Obviously we probably all prefer Blues to anybody else — even the ones you don't like! In fact in my own petty way I have always treated Blues much better and shown incredible bias towards them; the exact opposite is true of our ugly red friends. My previous job made it easy to slyly invoke such favouritism but I'd better not go into detail!

Anyway, I've realised that many Blues like Moyes, and think he's the best we can hope for! I find that astonishing but then again I've seen us play good football and win things... thanks, Howard and Joe! Until we raise our collective standards, we are doomed to mediocrity. It seems a majority accept this, and I realise that the people I side with.... Tony M, Gavin R... Michael sometimes... etc, are fighting a losing battle.

I feel we'll eventually garner more support and the dour Scottish one will go, but that's going to take more years of pain and a slow, oh so slow, Walter Smith like realisation that we're better than that.
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (29/3/06)

Football Fancy
My student friend Luke Davies (28/3) fails to inform this far too serious site of yours of another poll which took place at our college this week. Open to supporters of all Merseyside teams (both sexes and any orientation), the poll saw David Moyes receive no less 94% of the votes in the `most fanciable manager` category! Mikel Arteta was runner up to Djibril Cisse in the `player I`d most like to spend a night with` category but the real surprise was the 84% vote for `best looking football personality` going to Chris Woods after his face appeared in the background of a Moyes picture!

Finally, no real shock after Saturday that the `Mr Minger` winner by a street was Richard Wright!
Melanie Beck, Ormskirk  (28/3/06)

Right of Reply
I read some interesting reply's to my article on the derby defeat and I would defend anyone's right to disagree or criticise — after all, the mailbag invites debate amongst Evertonian's, which is great.

However, to re-iterate, I was not calling for David Moyes to be dismissed instantly, I simply question whether he is the right man to take the club forward. I base my observations on his four years at the helm and the style of football he advocates, and the type of player in general he likes to buy.

I just think we have a right to question the current playing style and team selections, and if he decided to leave, either in the short term or at the end of his contract, I don't know who would step in to fill his shoes as there is a real dearth of good quality candidates out there.

Perhaps the most incredulous response to my article was from Tim Locke of Bristol who maintains we should be satisfied at 'securing our place in the Premiership', a real sense of ambition there Tim! And he believes Richard Wright 'still has potential and there was nothing wrong with his performance in the Derby game'.

Sorry Tim, you must have simply been watching a different game with a different goalkeeper! Anyway, I'm glad I provoked such debate, after all that's what the mailbag is for isn't it?
Steve Hogan, Chester  (28/3/06)

I remember going through a long period with Walter Smith in charge when what we wanted was not necessarilly for him to leave, but for him to improve and change. Hopefully in Moyes's case, the stubornness of age is not there... but the stubornness of a Scotsman is! — Michael

Pride and Prejudice
There is no doubt that David Moyes is still learning his trade in football management; if he ever makes the step up to being a world class coach, then expect him to leave Everton for pastures new. Yet there is one element of his make-up that I can't understand and that is his loyalty to certain players and his pride when it comes to team selection.

Facts are facts: against Liverpool, we had key players out injured, our left side was decimated by injury and the replacements drafted in were either not up to the job or not match-fit. The manager has gone on record to say that he does not like to change a winning side but, all said and done, your best players should always be selected.

Our squad is still thin on the ground in terms of numbers and the acid test for David Moyes should see a more ruthless approach to both team selection and disposal of players. During the summer, sentiment and loyalty should be replaced by prudence with a clear-out of Wright, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Naysmith, Carsley, Ferguson, Martyn who by and large have all served the club well but are either over the hill or not what we need to move on to the next level.

The problem remains that, with the continued lack of funds available, we are likely to see a retention of the core set of these players — and possibly even the sale of our most lucrative assests: Yobo & Arteta. As long as we continue to be run with small-time mentality, PR spin and useless soundbites, then mid-table mediocrity will continue to be the fare served up for years to come.

The time has come for those running Everton's affairs to show some accoutability to the fans and go on record about investment, the future of the stadium, and other key issues. We have three directors who are controlling Everton and, as far as I am aware, this relationship remains bitter and acrimonious. For the sake of Everton, the fans need to mobilise and refuse to accept this ongoing mediocrity.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (28/3/06)

Evertonians for Change?

One- or two-man team
I was very confident of our chances in the Anfield derby before the game, but when I saw that Mikel Arteta wouldn´t feature in the game, my concerns grew. As it was, we lacked the creativity in midfield without Arteta. If Arteta had played, I´m sure we would have taken advantage of our numerical superiority. Arteta is nowadays "the heart and beat" of our midfield. Without him we are too predictable and "one-dimensional".

And imagine, if with Arteta, we had brought Andy van der Meyde to the game early on, we would surely have won. We would have kept the ball more and with it we would have created more chances. At least we would have played much more attractively!

Of course playing "eye-catching" football is not "the end-product" — you must be efficient too, to win matches. But efficiency comes with the variety of means to play the ball towards the opposite penalty box. You can hoof the ball to the target player, but you must also have "sublime skills" to thread you way through the midfield or to go down the flanks and put good crosses in for the forwards to convert.

As we all know, we don´t these days have as many skillful players as we would like to have. Mainly it´s down to our financial situation, which is getting better, but it still doesn´t allow us to splash money as the real "big guns" do. I think Moyes has mainly bought wisely. Arteta and Van der Meyde are good examples of that. The only regret is that Van der Meyde has been injured for so long.

Though we have lately been playing well, the opposition has not been the toughest. In the "top games", as against Liverpool, we need to have Arteta and Van der Meyde in the side, otherwise it´s as it was last Saturday at Anfield. It´s not good to be relying on one or two players, but that´s the fact today with us, especially when we are facing top opposition, home or abroad. We would have had a much better chance against Villarreal, if van der Meyde had been fit to play.

Of course Osman and Cahill have also been very good lately; even McFadden. I think we must keep these players which I have mentioned, and buy wisely next summer, mainly concentrating on "class-players". And if we can get some youngsters of our own ranks to thefirst-team, that would be great (where is the next Wayne Rooney?). When we can broaden our material based on skill, we can get away the "one- or two-man team" tag, which I have "invented" to outline the point in my letter.

ps: Maybe we let Per Krøldrup to go too easily; maybe with time he could have formed a good partnership with Joseph Yobo.
Hans Fyhrqvist, Tampere, Finland  (28/3/06)

Just a note about Van der Meyde and Villarreal: Van der Meyde joined Everton on 31 August 2005 — after bothe legs of our Champions League qualifier had been completed.

The Royles have it!
Mike,your recent assertion that Joe Royle stands as Everton`s most successful manager in the Premiership era is just about borne out by the `win %` stats and re-inforced by the loss ratio,viz:


  • P119 W47 D37 L35
  • Win ratio 39.5%,
  • Loss ratio 29.4%
  • P179 W70 D38 L71
  • Win ratio 39.1%,
  • Loss ratio 39.7%
In terms of entertainment, however, Royle`s teams managed to average 1.5 goals each game whilst Moyes`only 1.2. So, on every count `The Royles` have it and the Editor is vindicated yet again!
David Hall, Taunton  (28/3/06)

Thanks David. Don't forget, there's an all-too-rare FA Cup win in there too.

Changing priorities
Thought you might be interested in the results of our 50-strong college Everton group poll, held last night. Moyes got an `approval` rating of 86% — up 9 points from the autumn meeting — whilst 55% considered our main priority for summer signings was central defence and 27% a goalkeeper. Strange that with only 29 goals from 31 matches, the onus seems to have gone off the need for a striker but perhaps Moyes is beginning to convince fans that you really can have a successful side with a negative goal difference!
Luke Davies, Ormskirk  (28/3/06)

Fragile Wright
In all honesty, loosing Arteta was immense, and now we know Gravesen has been replaced, but what worried me more was having Dicky Wright in goal. He is a shattered man, needs to find a Wigan that is lower down to get some cofindence and get promoted with them. He is so nervous, I would think he has ulcers!

A striker, a striker... yes, i agree, but we had martyn in goal in january, and now we know how weak our second tier of keepers is!! Turner looks very useful: give him a go. Given was young, Casilla (madrid) he was young — it can still happen with a few games to go. Sorry, Wright Dick!!!
Anton Holmes, Australia  (28/3/06)

An all too Predictable letter
I feel so saddened as I read Steve Hogans letter, can this man's feelings really be reflecting the undertone of Everton fans. Although Mr Hogan raises some interesting points, he fails to provide a valid solution.

If he believes for one moment that Everton are as technically gifted as Liverpool he is sadly mistaken, and I fail to see having been reduced to ten men why Liverpool would lose some of their technical ability. Of course the game should be harder for them, and by the 70th minute the side should have tired, but sadly Everton’s main threat, which is closing people down, was never used.

On Saturday, Everton’s main problem was they failed to make use of the pitch. So I was very surprised when Mr Hogan called for us to play through the middle, when our main source of success in recent weeks has been through using the wings.

It was very clear from Saturday's performance, just how important Arteta has become to the Everton side; it was also clear that Naysmith is a poor replacement for Valente. Personally, I would have used Van der Meyde from the start, but I can understand Davey’s decision to leave him on the bench. As for Wrighty, I still feel he has potential, and there was nothing wrong with his performance on Saturday. You could say he could have done better with the second goal, but to go down that hindsight route, I feel only detracts from the very good finish of Garcia and shear instinctiveness of the keeper. On another day, we could have all been praising him for coming off his line well and preventing the scoring chance.

I agree that progress is going to be slow next season, but let's be honest, here we are making progress: we finished fourth last year, one place ahead of Liverpool, and managed to get into the Champions League; we got knocked out due a poor refereeing decision, to a team who managed to knock out Man Utd and who still remain in the competition. We have secured our place in the Premiership for another season and still hold the outside chance of a place in Europe.

We all remember the glory days, the doubles and the days when Europe should have been our stomping ground, but those days are not so far off. So give Davey a chance, the boy's track record speaks for itself: you don’t win Manager of the Year twice without doing something right.

We would all love to see a world-class holding midfielder, and a fast 20-goal-a-season sticker, but then again so would nearly every other team in the world. It’s not a case that he cannot spot players — it's more a case hecannot buy them. It’s so easy from the outside looking in, saying why don’t you buy him or get him on lone, but sadly it’s not like Championship Manager, and there is a lot of the work which goes on behind the scenes, which we never get to see or hear about.

So, before you start commenting, look back and remember Mike Walker, Joe Royle, and the rest of the chimps who have spent their time masquerading as Everton managers, Davey’s done a good job and with a little bit more time and money it could become and excellent one.
Tim Locke, Bristol  (28/3/06)

Oi! Don't be saying that about Joe Royle. How can you even use him name in the same breath as Mike Walker? He is the finest Peremiership manager we have had, and Moyes has still got some way to go to even equal his record. — Michael

Goalkeeper crisis
Moyes quickly realised his mistake with Krøldrup. Why has it taken nearly four years to sus Richard Wright? If he has!
Alan Hegan, Liverpool  (27/3/06)

But we are told Krøldrup was no mistake; merely a financial gamble that didn't pan out and who had to be returned to avoid further payments.

While I agree that the ginger one should blood the youngsters in our remaining games, since we will not be relegated, I feel this will not happen.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but, depending on where you finish in the league, each place is worth another half a million the higher you finish. Given that we don't have that much money and the way that Moyes sticks with his favourites, I dont feel that he will gamble the youngsters and will try to finish as high as possible to get as much money as possible. He won't risk the young ones just in case we lose our remaining games and slip, say four places — and lose 2 million quid!!!
Steve Bibby, Kent  (27/3/06)

Moyes Yet Again!
I always find it amusing that a big debating issue on this site is should we sack Moyes. I feel sorry for Michael who must get sick of reading the same old arguments over and over. I also feel sorry for Michael because I know that I myself continue to defend Moyes with the same old arguments. Is this what being a football fan is all about?

Let's be honest, how many fans are completely happy with their manager? I've never said David Moyes is the perfect manager. I've never claimed that every decision he makes is correct. What I have said is that Moyes is continuing to slowly build Everton into a decent side. He took over perenial relegation candiates and alright admittedly over-acheived by finishing 4th but now looks to have established Everton as a mid-table side. That to me is progress. That is something Walter Smith was unable to do. If Moyes can continue to develop Everton into a decent team that regulary challenges for a European place then I think that is the best we can hope for.

Everton will never be able to challenge Chelsea for the title — they don't have the money to compete — but if Moyes can build a side that regulary finishes in the Top 6 then I say "Job Done". And I dont think he's far off completly that.

One thing is for sure if Everton were looking for a new manager they would have no chance of finding a candidate who has finished 4th in the Premiership or won Manager of the Year — not once, but twice.

Everytime I talk to other supporters about football they all compliment the job Moyes is doing. Moyes may have his faults but we could never replace him. Not unless Kenwright was incredibly smart and managed to unearth another gem in the lower leagues.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (27/3/06)

Anyone for jokes yet?
I reckon Stubbs was actually not bad on Saturday. Granted Weir was exactly what a lot of people have said he was - slow... pish. But I thought our reaction to Gerrard getting sent off was decent.... I thought Kilbane looked ok, with good direct running. Neville looked up for it too. As did Beattie who always does.

Shame we didn't turn up for the last 70 minutes. Boom, boom!
Santiago Guerrero, Scotland  (27/3/06)

We are not amused...

'All too predictable'
When reading Mr Steve Hogan's article following the derby, I wondered whether the title was in reference to his own comments or the Blues' performance.

We're all gutted to lose to the kopites, but let's not lose perspective. When Moyes took over, Everton were relegation candidates — year in year out. Now we're moaning because of what? Because we're mid-table? Some of his signings have been disappointing, but show me a manager whose hit the jackpot with every signing? Percentage-wise and on a value-for-money assessment I don't think he's done too badly.

You can lambast Chelsea for playing boring football because they've got the money to buy whoever they want and consequently play however they want. Moyes has been restrained in how we can play by the players who he inherited and the fact that he is shopping at the lower end of the market. Yes Moyes has made mistakes, both tactically and in the transfer market, but he's changed the team when he needed to and he's done a voltface on Krøldrup/Stubbs, which is why we're now 10th and not down there with Birmingham.

Who would you rather have manging us? Allardyce — what style of football does he play? Curbishley — more yo-yoing? Mike Newell — a young manager doing well in the lower divisions... didn't we get the equivalent four years ago?! Let's have some stability at the club and build a solid team again rather than knocking Moyesey all the time. In Moyes We Trust!
Ian Christian, London  (27/3/06)

Re: Quality Gap
I agree with John Burns that this was the difference in the two sides even against 10 men for 70 mins. Moyes failed to handle another BIG game tactically and failed to get a performance out of his team.

On Moyes, you have to wonder — is he actually learning from his mistakes of past. It is quite apparent now, that Everton have a real problem when it comes to the big games. Performance and tactics gone AWOL.
Billy Bunter, Dublin, OH, USA  (27/3/06)

Being an irregular contributor to this august site, I have sat back over the past few months and watched with detached amusement at the wide range of opinions featured in the mailbag, some good, some bad but all printed in the pursuit of fairness — although some people need to get out more!

The flavour varies depending on the team's results and it was with a morbid expectation I logged on after Saturday; sure enough, it was as expected.

So far, all good stuff, but to the serious points about Saturday's result. I have been and still am a supporter of what Moyes has done for the club but I am starting to get a bit disconcerted by his ability to change tactics in a game. David Pleat's Chalkboard in today's Guardian says it much better than I can and sums up how I feel about the derby game.

When we start well and score early, we can turn it on as in the previous two games, but it's when you concede or you have an opportunity to win by changing something during the game; that's when a manager really earns his corn. As much as I hate to say it, I believe if Benitez had been our manager on Saturday he would have made the changes as Pleat suggests and we could/would have gone on to win the game on Saturday — that's the difference: Benitez has proved he is a top-class flexible tactician; Moyes hasn't. We missed our quality on the ball on Saturday (Arteta, Valente) but the players play to a plan laid down by the manager.

I hope Moyes can develop in this area as we don't need more change and instability but he needs to do it soon or we will keep losing to the likes of Liverpool and let's face it, we have all had enough of what we are feeling today. This is what football is about, not blind faith in the manager/club/board or otherwise; I think we can all sign up to beating Liverpool on a regular basis because then we'd be going somewhere and be happy (sorry, got over-optimistic there!).

A final rant; Keith Wyness' points on Radio 5live yesterday about refusing an offer to join the G14 (some hope!) is a load of bollocks, it really is. Does he really expect us to believe that he would turn it down? I would like us to be in the position that would enable an offer to be made, Mr Wyness, thank you!!!
Mike Iddon, Marlow  (27/3/06)

At least my wife's happy......
Well, she did have to put up with a miserable sour-faced husband all Saturday afternoon but then she now knows she is in for the first relaxed spring in many years.

Friday and Saturday put the final nails in the coffin of "worry about Everton" for the season. The team's excellent performances in Jan and Feb had banished relegation as a possibility, but once again Europe beckoned. I knew we were too far behind and the run-ins of Arsenal, Spurs, Bolton and Blackburn are such that if they match the results of last season they are all going to finish on over 60 points. But until Friday, 7th would get us in.

Then the cup draw came and either West Ham, Boro or Charlton will get into Europe as the Cup Final losers (Don't argue, the losers get in, it is only the Micky Mouse cup losers that don't). So now it is only the top 6 into Europe.

Then Saturday, we won't say any more, but the chance of us improving to over 60 points: no chance.

So we ain't going down and we ain't getting into Europe. Last year we were in Europe, but the tension — Champs League or only Uefa Cup? The year before, 17th and relegation fears as we only reach 39 points. The year before that 7th on the last day and not even the Uefa Cup. The year before Moyes to the rescue (playing attcking football; 40 goals in 9 matches of which 18 were ours). Before that, 16th on goal difference. You have to go back to the spring of 2000 for a relaxed time of nothing to worry about.

So in my wife's opinion, she could put up with a morose, ill-tempered depressed husband for one night, knowing that she will have a relaxed and happy one for the next two months... until the transfer window opens, and then it will all start again.
Phil Roberts, Kelsall  (27/3/06)

Honest,at least
So the knives are out again for Richard Wright who made a bad error of judgement and later admitted it. The same can be said for Phil Neville although Andy Gray seemed to suspect the ball had left the field of play before colliding with the unfortunate player`s head! But what a refreshing change from the endless tails of cheating and deception we hear from players of other sides. You don`t hear too many saying `I goofed `, these days do you?

Perhaps that`s what makes Everton special under a manager who, himself, always tells it as it is. Personally, I hope Davey keeps faith with both of them on Saturday when we can expect normal servce (win, win, win) to be resumed.
Richard  Dodd, Formby  (27/3/06)

In short, those people calling for Moyes head after the derby defeat are hypocrites. Despite great form in the Premiership, after one defeat they're calling him to be sacked but, if he went for a better-paid job at a club which had more money to spend, they'd call him greedy and never forgive him for turning his back on the Blues.

Loyalty goes both ways you know, I've been telling Reds all season that Moyes is a great manager and can set us up for long-term success. Moyes never puts short-term gain before long term aims. In Cahill and Arteta we have gained two young, quality midfielders at a bargain basement price. As for Krøldrup, how many managers would insist on playing someone who lacked quality just to save face?

Leaders make mistakes too but the important thing is admitting and rectifying them. I never doubted Moyes during December. I did doubt a heavy fixture list and a run of injuries. Also players like Valente and even Arteta hadn't fully gelled with the team in December but we've seen their quality more and more. Have fans forgotten already that Moyes won Manager of the Year in two of the last three seasons? Apparently they know more about football than Premiership managers. I have full confidence in Moyes's ability to lead Everton to long-term success.

Finally, the overreaction to the derby defeat justifies claims that it's our cup final. Wake up.
John Mlls, Liverpool  (27/3/06)

Loyalty questioned
I've said this before, but It obviously needs saying again: We all get behind the team!

Do some people expect all Evertonians to continually sing the praises of everyone associated with the club regardless of their performance? If David Moyes had signed me as a player, would every Everton fan be expected to cheer my every mistake? — my lack of pace, positional sense, tactical awareness, tackling ability, finishing prowess, and general ball skills???

Would it not be the duty of everyone with Everton's best interest at heart to shout 'Davie! Get that waste of space off the pitch!!' Obviously I'm not claiming that any player in the Everton squad has my failings as a player, but when we feel something is going wrong, we should say so. Equally, when something is going right we should say so. And the vast majority of us do. Most of the people who criticise the bad things also applaud the good things. The rose-tinted glasses brigade, however, never seem to question the bad things for fear of having their 'loyalty' questioned.
James Martin, Alicante, Spain  (27/03/06)

Let's not go off the deep end
Having had a couple of days to digest what turned out to be a horrible breakfast Saturday morning, it seems to me the main reasons for the derby defeat were:

1. No Arteta meant we had no one to be the playmaker in midfield. It's all to clear how much we rely on him to create goals. Without him, we were lost.

2. Their first two goals were an own-goal (every team gets them) and another scored by a man (and I use that term loosely) who shouldn't have even been on the pitch as Garcia somehow escaped with a blatant elbow to Kilbane's throat in the first half.

Change those two situations and we almost certainly would have won this game. But the fact we didn't once again causes a segment of supporters to label Moyes a cretin. Memory, I suppose, is as long as one wants it to be. I guess the eight wins and two draws in the previous 11 games — with some excellent football in the wins over Fulham and Villa — means nowt now that we've lost a derby.

I've read a comment replying to an earlier missive in which it's said we "choke" againt the big clubs. I hardly think 1-1 home to Chelsea, 1-1 away to Man United and 1-0 home to Arsenal qualifies as choking.
Steve Green, London, Canada  (27/3/06)

Now I'm really confused: we're being told not to over-react because we couldn't bring off a victory against our fiercest local rivals because they are fundamentally in a different class from us; however, we can pull off decent results against others from that class, when we have a mind to.... Guess you can use that one either way, depending on whether we, er, win or lose (or draw!). — Michael

Ho hum
Hmm, another 3-1 loss...although I'm pissed off, it's not much of a surprise. I've already stated on this website that I don't rate Moyes anymore so I won't bore you more than necessary explaining why. However, I'm having doubts about what I'm really complaining about. Is it Moyes and the style of play he likes that I deplore? Or is it the state of my once proud club? Or is it just the state of football in general?

I don't beleive I will never warm to Moyes's teams; his first-choice team seems to place too much emphasis on work ethic (which, admitedly, is always needed to a certain extent) over skill and pace. A good, attractive team needs a combination of them all. For example, a team of Sheedys would get nowhere, but niether would a team of Peter Rieds.

Until Arteta came along, our midfield lacked pace, skill and movement. It did not lack work rate or commitment but that meant nothing once we got the back from the opposition. Moyes needs to add just a bit of pace up front and pray that Van der Meyde ends his lifetime injury problems and the team may even look semi-decent against quality oppoistion.

Disregarding whether Moyes is any good at creating a good team, I also have to remember this isn't the 80s and we are no longer a big club... but its hard not to compare current sides with teams of the past. Hell, I even do it when watching Liverpool on TV... they have a winning team at the moment, but it still looks crap compared to their previous ones.

Finally, I also have to remember that football is just crap now. Everton can no longer afford the tickets for the big private parties and instead have wait outside jostling with all the other plebs hoping for a way to sneak in through the backdoor.

I hate the way Everton play but the Premiership as a whole is pretty dull. 95% of the teams are set up to stop the opposition rather than beat them... when Gerrard got sent off, Everton didn't have a clue as to what to do because they are so used to playing second fiddle on the pitch. We may be well organised and difficult to beat (ha!) but what's the point if you have a Wright in goal and two old men in front of him. I want Everton to show a bit more courage and have a bit more confidence in what they can actually do to hurt the opposition.

Oh look... there's a flying pig!
Aplankofwood Withanailinit, UK  (27/3/06)

Give What a Rest?
In response to Richard Dodd's scathing attack on David Hall's pertinent comments regarding the great Harry Catterick, this 41-year-old can remember those great days like yesterday. We were champions, we played great football, we had one of the best midfields English football has ever seen. We also had young local players in the first team.

On that basis, we could all forgive Harry for being a misery arse. Moyes is a misery arse without the great midfield, great football, local youngsters and trophies. That's why some of us laugh at the hero-worship of Moyes.

Passing the ball to feet, defenders who can defend, strikers who can score, a unit of 11 players who know what they're doing and can adapt during a game. It doesn't matter whether it's now or then, the principles are the same.

Instead of belittling those who have achieved genuine success for this club, perhaps the IMWT brigade may look at how we achieved such success in the past and beg their hero to look and learn.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (27/3/06)

Uh-Oh.. now the agist element are roused!!!

Facing Reality
As a slight diversion from the Derby game `fallout`, I wonder if anyone shares my view that, regardless of current positions in the Premier League table, there are really three mini-leagues operating within that competition. These leagues are based on club`s resources as well as their playing records although they are to some extent influenced by the amount of publicity they attract.

To me, the top sector comprises of clubs who have the necessary wherewithall to mount a REGULAR challenge for European competition and is made up of:- Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal and Newcastle. Everton fall into the second sector to be joined by West Ham, Blackburn, Bolton, Charlton, Man City, Middlesbrough, Fulham, Aston Villa and (just maybe) Birmingham City.

I do not see Wigan as likely to continue to punch above their weight and place them in the bottom tier with West Brom, Portsmouth and Sunderland or whoever is likely to replace them next season via promotion.

Now I know some Evertonians will scream at this but I firmly believe that we would all save ourselves so much angst if we accepted our true `second sector` station in life and saw as our goal TOP spot in that group. It would certainly mean that we had won more than we lost and if allied to a bit of success in the cups give us some half-decent seasons.

It is, fellow Evertonians, acceptance of this philosophy, which enables me to keep my perspective and to continue to believe that Kenwright, Moyes and Co are doing as well as we can reasonably hope for our Club. What think ye?
Morton Fisher, Hale  (27/3/06)

Did you think that up all by yourself? Amazing! Only I must have read it a dozen times or more on various forums and the like. But well done; it's true, isn't it. — Michael

What IF?
After the defeat on Saturday, I was sick to the stomach and probably the most downhearted I've ever been after a derby defeat. No doubt people will undergo their own postmortem of the match yesterday but the blame must lie with Moyes.

It was obvious following Gerrard's sending off that Moyes was just hoping to keep the score at 0-0 till half time and then try and nick one late in the match. Mr Phil's own-goal put an end to that and a Dickie Wright rush of blood after half-time all but ended our chances. I just wish after Gerrard's sending off Moyes reshuffled and went for it rather than playing it safe.

Although I was raging with Moyes afterwards, I must now on Monday admit that events were (maybe) out of Moyes hands. The goals either side of half-time (especially the second) effectively killed his game plan. Then we score and get a player sent off. Some may call it bad luck etc. But the fact remains the team and management failed to respond to Gerrard's dismal. The only conclusion full-time brought was that our team was ageing, immobile and out of its depth. And he management appeared slow; unable to adapt with any form of forward-planning on the touch-line.

Moyes, has taken us to a mid-table level in the Premiership, this has given us some respectability. But we must not be blinkered by Moyes's achievements in his time here. Next year will provide a stern test of whether Moyes can take us to the next level. If he doesn't it may be best all round to find someone who can.
Daniel Johnson, Newcastle  (27/3/06)

Shut up!
How quickly football can turn on its head. Up until Saturday, Everton had won more points since the turn of 2006 than any other Premiership team. One poor defeat later and people are questioning the manager again.

Do you remember Mike Walker & Walter Smith? David Moyes is one of the best managers in the country. I'd rather support a losing Everton team than a winning Liverpool team. Support Moysey, he's the future of EFC!
Dan Mortimer, Dartford  (27/3/06)

Furious With Ricky Wright
I cannot believe that, once again, we have gifted the opposition with a goal in the manner in which Richard Wright did on Saturday. I have seen him do this a number of times now and am frustrated that he gets the chance time after time to have another go.

Let's put his brain into perspective — injury falling out of the loft — then injury on a sign that says "stay the fuck out of the way of this sign" and we still put him between the sticks and say "dont go flying to the edge of your area if there is a good chance that the defence will cover the situation — is that okay Richard? will you remember this?"

Sorry, but is anyone else as spitting mad as I am with this?
James Power, London  (27/3/06)

Predictable and dissapointing!!
I am not referring to the game surprisingly enough but to the comments being directed at Moyes and the boys. I always find it funny that the minute we have a defeat (to a technically superior team led by a vastly more experienced manager) we bash the manager! Yes, I raise my eyebrows at some of the subs he has used and methods he has employed but...

Which of the players took it upon themself to turn the team around from the jaws of relegation to within spitting distance of Europe. And I am not discrediting Arteta here but Nup, give this one to the manager. He re-molded a side that was down in confidence, and had most people speaking of the drop, into a side that now, we dare whisper Europe about.
Kerry Frahm, Casino, Australia  (27/03/06)

''Quality Gap''
Unpalatable as it is, Liverpool's 10 players possessed more quality than our 11. Liverpool's superior quality over us will continue until there is investment on the same scale in Everton as in those across the park. Until then there will be a lot more Saturdays like the one just gone.
John Burns, Liverpool  (27/3/06)

John Burns? Is that really you??? Where've you been all this time?

How the tune doth change again
I was disappointed about the game, but it is not a reflection of our team as a progressive unit. Liverpool are a better team than us, and passion cannot always compensate for quality. Realistically, in terms of the Premiership history of this club, we should be pleased to beat teams Aston Villa or Fulham who really we are on an even keel with, and see it as progress.

We have slipped up in what has been the best vein of form for any Premiership side since 1 January. I would like to stick up for Moyes because I feel that people are not looking at the bigger picture and what David Moyes has achieved for Everton Football Club. He is a young manager and he is learning his trade, already bringing us to fourth in the premiership. This is an unthinkable, and once-thought impossible achievement.
Daniel Greenwood, Liverpool  (27/3/06)

Telling it as it is
Generally, I have been in support of Moyes and his decision-making and believe that he has been reasonably successful to date. However, for me the most disappointing aspect of the derby defeat was that it was entirely predictable.

Wright has been a liability from day one. Some times you've got to hold your hand up and admit to poor decisions; he has probably been the single worst signing of Moyes's tenure and it's time he accepted it. One also has to question the role of Woods in his coaching of the young keepers: frankly, if neither Turner nor Ruddy is capable displacing Wright, there is something seriously wrong... perhaps it's time for a new keeper and coach?

We started off really well with Cahill getting at both Gerrard and Sissoko and dominating the early exchanges. But, given our defensive frailties, we simply cannot continue with Stubbs and Weir — they simply undermine the efforts of their team mates. This was all too obvious as the game progressed: their need to drop deeper and deeper allowed the opposition to come on to us. Contrast this with the few games which Ferrari played prior to his injury — we where at times defending up to the centre circle.

Some will rightly point out that Ferrari is injured but my gut feeling is that, injured or not, Moyes would have gone with Stubbs and Weir in any case. But, whilst I continue to support Moyes, I must admit to a growing lack of confidence in his judgment as some of the current problems are blindingly obvious. Naysmith should have gone a long time ago and Neville I'm afraid simply can't cut it against the better teams.

But, to be fair, I don't believe Moyes has been given the financial support required to bring the quality players needed. Yobo will undoubtedly go and who can blame him? — having to watch the circus act of Stubbs and Weir from the bench must be extremely hard to swallow.
Gerry Western, London  (27/3/06)

Derby depression
Can we all just calm down a bit? Admittedly, there's nothing worse than getting turned over in the derby but let's face it the only reason derbies matter anymore is for local bragging rights. The days of title deciders are long gone.

The fans calling for Moyesy's head need a reality check. Anyone who's been at Goodison for the last two home games surely must have gained some satisfaction from our performances. I agree it's not back to the School of Science days but we were top of the 2006 table before Saturday.

There are too many fans out there waiting for a slip up so they can start clamouring for change. There are still winnable games left so please keep the faith. I still remember with dread losing a couple of cup finals to Liverpool and conceeding three but no-one calling for the manager's head then.
Craig Walker, Wigan  (27/3/06)

Hard work
No time for knee-jerk reactions; the Derby didn't tell us anything we didn't know already.

Moyes likes hard-working players. He buys hard-working players. Arteta excepted, he seems afraid of players who can make things happen, with pace, with flair, with speed of thought, comfortable on the ball. That is why we struggled against 10 men. Our one player with ideas was injured. As a consequence, no-one knew how to shape and control the game. They had players with power, speed of thought and quick feet. That's why they beat us. That's why Villarreal beat us. That's why people have to compare us to Middlesbrough, Charlton and Bolton in order to make Moyes look 'great'.

Our season has been lifted on the back of hard work against our fellow mediocre sides. Without Arteta, we were always going to struggle against Liverpool.

Last summer our club neglected to buy, or were unable to convince, any such players to come to our club. Despite being consistently told we have the 'best young manager in the country' and that we're the '18th richest club in the world', they're not coming here. Can someone tell me why?

I salute our players. On Saturday they worked their socks off, but weren't good enough. You buy mediocrity, you get mediocrity. We're a mid-table side — please don't expect these players to turn over sides like Liverpool more than once in a blue moon.

Give the kids a chance, see what they can do for the rest of the season. Buy some midfielders who are comfortable with a football, with pace. Let's have more than one quality striker on the club's books. I keep saying it, others keep saying it. The problem is, while there are Evertonians calling this state of affairs "genius" and "greatness", this is the nearest we're going to get to it.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (27/3/06)

There seems to have been an enormous over-reaction to the derby defeat here. I'm as passionate as anyone and I was also as angry and gutted after the game as anyone, but surely calls for Moyes's head are totally unjustified. I'll admit that before Christmas I had concerns about our future if Moyes remained in the job, but the improvement he has overseen this year has been marked.

Before the derby game we were top of the league for 2006, what more can people ask?! People were demanding that we ditched the 4-5-1, that we scored more goals and that we played more attacking and attractive football. I'm pretty certain that is exactly what's happened (to an extent) so there really aren't any grounds for complaint (at the moment).

I'm not going to say, like some people, that we lost solely because we were unlucky — it's too easy to do that. Yes, we were unlucky in parts (the ref: how he sent Van der Meyde off I'll never know; Arteta being injured) but we were also lucky that Gerrard got sent off and we failed to capitalise on that good luck, which is something we need to learn.

The game, on the whole, was total dross — derby games usually are — people should expect nothing else; we were never going to play the same way we did against West Ham and Fulham.

Moyes did make an error or two: playing the totally inept Kilbane ahead of Van der Meyde was borderline madness, Ferguson being anywhere near the squad was ridiculous. However, calls to split up Stubbs and Weir are without foundation. We have undeniably been a better unit as a team since they were reunited and then there's the old adage about changing winning teams. Since they've been back in the team, we've scored more and conceded fewer, what more do people want? If it means Weir getting caught for pace every so often but a general improvement in results and stability then I think we should be willing to leave them as they are.

At this point I'm trying to think of excuses for Richard Wright but I can think of any. He can't catch, can't command his box, and his decision-making is embarrassing.

To conclude, I think people should lay off Moyes and the team for the time being. The game was dire and, in fairness, neither team deserved to win. The only difference between us and them is that they win lots of games when they are not the better team; we don't at the moment (Sunderland being the one exception), but hopefully with a bit of time and some more good form, that will come.

We have some of the best players we've had in a while (Beattie, Arteta, Cahill, Valente, Neville, Hibbert, Osman) and we've had some of the best results for a while. For that, we should be grateful and full of praise; we should not be demanding wholesale changes based on one game. Football is a very fickle game and it needs to be. When things are going badly wrong then disparagement and possibly changes are necessary, but when things are going well, support should be at the forefront of everyone's minds. It is fair to constructively criticise no matter what the situation is, but total disdain at the moment is uncalled for.

Come on you Blues!
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (27/03/06)

Taking your last point, things were going very, very badly before 1 January 2006. The solution, as we were told by a minority of cooler heads, was to change virtually nothing. So, were the return of Stubbs, the departure of Marcus Bent, and the disposal of Per Krøldrup the key events that turned our season around?

Black Saturday
Although I am in a state of deep, bitter shock after losing the derby game, I have taken a day or so to mull over the events of black Saturday.

It is easy to pull the trigger and shoot every body down at Everton Football Club especially the Manager. But I think it would be naive to pass our verdicts so soon, bearly a day after the debacle, when our blood is still hot and fuming mad.

Overall, the main culprit was definitely the FA for fielding an inept referee. Surely they knew this was a Merseyside derby when passions run high on and off the pitch. It is precisely for this reason that a more mature and experienced referee should have been employed. Flashing a card everytime someone went down reflects very poor judgement.

Everton was the team that really settled down first and were playing some nice football throughout the first half. They looked threatening and looked like they would score first. The turning point was Neville's own-goal. That changed the complexion of the game especially when the goal came just before the half-time break. After the break, Garcia's early goal was really down to the bumbling Richard Wright, who has no place in this Everton side. Time and again, he has been a liability and should really just go.

Our Everton team, while having the physical strength to do battle on the field, has absolutely no mental ability to handle a game after conceding a goal. Yes, Tim Cahill did get one back for us but the team as a whole does not really know how to come back after we are trailing.

We have been on a roll and winning a lot of games lately so this loss is a reminder that not all is well. The Board should take this as a sign and do something about it at close season. It is not rocket science to know what we need - an experienced goalkeeper, a striker, two central defenders and perhaps a good midfield maestro. And we should definitely get rid of players who are not performing, as soon as possible. But we should definitely keep David Moyes.
Wally Melwani, Singapore  (27/03/2006)

Blue Jokes
Its silly season again here on Toffeeweb. The most stupid and ridicoulos comment I keep reading is, "If the league had started in January, we would be top" or "We are the form side this year". What a load of bollocks talk like that is. The season started in August, not January, and if you judge the season up to now including the 2005 bit then its been a disaster.

The other corker is this: "Moyes is the best young Manager out there." Well he might just be that if you exclude Mark Hughes, Alan Pardew, Paul Jewell, Jose Morihnio, Mike Newell, Ian Dowie, Steve Coppell, Martin Allen... the list is endless.

This is the problem we have got at the moment. Too many eaily pleased head-in-the-sand merchants. Our fans don't really know much about football, I wonder who said that one first?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (27/3/06)

And you are, of course, the glaring exception?

I was as dissapointed as the next blue with the defeat on Saturday. I cant remember going into a derby match at Anfield with such confidence. The manner with which we lost was very dissapointing. When they lost him, I would have put my mortgage on us beating them. We just didn't have what it took and we lost in the bottle stakes to a team who were there for the taking after 20 minutes.

I can't agree fully with Steve Hogan's piece, however. I regularly laid into DM halfway through this season, and admittedly, had he been sacked I would have been happy. I wouldnt say I/ve "changed my tune" as such, but I am far happier now than I was in November or December. We have put an excellent run of results together after some diabolical 4-0 reverses. It takes something in a manager to turn that sort of form around the way he has.

Given that, I'm now prepared to give Davie time and see what happens. Facts are facts; he has some unwanted records to his name but our league position is a real credit to the manager and his team when you consider the reults from the first 4 months. He's won Manager of the Year twice also. Liverpool have spent heavily, very heavily. I think their fans apreciate that we have a good, honest team that cost a fraction of theirs.

Ok, we need improvement and we need numbers come the summer. That is going to be the job of BK to bring in the cash to enable that and take us to the next level. Will it happen? Probably not. I would like to see HIM go and someone brought in to take this club forward and awaken the sleeping giant that this club is. The longer Kenwright stays, the longer progress will be hindered. He must be able to see that himself. Does he love Everon as much as he claims? If he did, he wouldn't be sitting back and denying us the chance to move on.

The likes of Coventry, Middlesborough, Bolton, Wigan, Millwall, and Reading all have new stadiums and have made progress (perhaps not on the field). These are clubs that shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence as Everton but, sadly, we are flagging behind most of them commercially — that has nothing to do with DM but those upstairs. Its time for them to ship out and let someone else have a go. The end of this season would be perfect Bill. Deal or No Deal?
Phil Burkert, LIverpool  (27/3/06)

Let`s face the truth
So fickle are most Evertonians these days that Saturday`s misery will be transformed into joy by a two-goal defeat of Sunderland this weekend. The team will again be `nailed on` for another crack at Europe and the manager restored to his place in the deity.

The truth, I fear is somewhat different. Only a handful of the current squad (Hibbert, Valente, Arteta, Cahill and Beattie) are of genuine Premiership class and the manager ordinary and predictable in the extreme. However the devoted `talk things up`, the record shows that when up against anything out of the ordinary — the top five here and ANY team in Europe — Moyes is out of his depth and the players either bottle it or completely lose discipline.

Can things improve? I fear not. The infrastructure of the Club militates against it as potential signings are put off by the shabbiness of our surroundings and the dour reputation (amongst press and agents, at least) of the manager.

Sorry to say, calls for change will fall on deaf ears as Kenwright pursues more profitable projects and Moyes is happy to toe the party line on everything from transfers to the lack of facilities. But, as my Birmingham City neighbour said to me last night, `We`d settle for mid-table mediocrity every year!` That, let`s face it, is also the realistic ambition of Everton today!
David Hall, Taunton  (27/3/06)

Frustrated as hell with the game on Saturday, I reckon I'm not much different from every other Evertonian who's written in. I reckon the letter from Mr Hogan is quite accurate except I differ on only one point. The manger we have should review his tactics (that includes changing players in the summer break viz-a-vie Mr Hogan) but I think we should keep David Moyes. Better the devil y'know! I think Davey is still young enough to learn, even if it seems like he's taking his time.

By the way - I haven't seen much comment about Dowd's refereeing! I'm glad he doesn't have my cheque book!
Bob Parrington, Adelaide, Australia  (27/3/06)

Now then. Wasting a nice Saturday night watching this sorry excuse for a game. No one seems to be talking about a couple of things.

It is clear that Liverpool has the better ball players. What do old-fashioned English teams do against ball players? They scrap!! (like we did last year and earlier this year). That is what we should have done last night.

People slagged Moyes off for using the 4-5-1. Fact of the matter is, with Arteta not playing, we are no match for Liverpool. The 4-5-1 would have been the only way to get a result out of this one. Of course I am not coach / manager, however I do understand a need for a different tactic for more "difficult" games ?

Also, no one's mentioned Mr Van der Meyde's egg-in-the-face comments before the game... something to the tune of "I have faced 80,000 people in a derby... what is 40,000 compared to that?"
BSD Lover, Sydney, Australia  (27/3/06)

Derby inquest
Ok, here's my take on Saturday's derby disaster. Before I start ranting, I'm a fan of the ginger one. But on this occasion, I believe his tactics cost us. After Gerrard was sent packing, we persisted with a 4-4-2; Why??? — they were only playing one up-front, so the advantage was lost in the final 2/3rds of the park. Even I can do the maths on that one!

So the three goals told a story about three men: the fluke, the fool, and the idiot. But had we forfeited a defender (Weir) and brought on either Van der Meyde or Ferguson, it would surely have put them on the back foot. As it unfolded, we allowed them to to regroup and in the end outplay us.

So... I blame Mr Moyes; however, I still think we've got probably the best young manager in the game. Up the Toffees.
Gavin Cairns, Carrickfergus  (27/3/06)

Now is the perfect time
Now is the perfect time to let some of the Academy players have a shot at Premiership football. Everton are safe from relegation, but not up to scratch for a European place. There are just too many better teams ahead of us. So why not give some of the youngsters some time on the pitch?

Wright is wrong for the Premiership so why not give John Ruddy a few games? Victor Anichebe looks to have some potential along with Bjarni Vidarsson. Surely they deserve a shot to prove their worth before the season ends and the new signings (maybe) come in. Might save Everton a packet in the long run if they show they have talent. If they don't have talent, what are they doing in the Academy?

Either way, give them a shot, Davey. We might just see some exciting football for a change.
Barry Johnson, Colwyn Bay  (26/3/06)

Moyes debate
Let's not get crazy over David Moyes again. Granted there was no way Everton should have lost the derby after Gerrard was dismissed but somehow they found a way as they have done in many other similar derby matches over the years. By the way, this is the third time Gerrard has been suspended after a derby match.

At half-time, I thought Everton would at least come back to tie given their form of late and against maybe a tiring ten man team but the crucial second goal from nothing put paid to that.

I also sensed at half-time that Everton needed to keep 11 players on the park but didn't expect Van der Meyde to get red-carded. The yellow-card frenzy is the responsibility of DM who as coach should have instilled discipline in his squad, even when they are losing. Funny how Liverpool started the rough stuff and Everton are the team who get fined £25,000 typical ?
Tom Bowers, Canada  (26/03/06)

Dean and the Bambino
Mike Gaynes should read John Keith's biography of Dixie. When Babe Ruth made a visit to London, he watched our own 'great one' play at White Heart Lane. After the game, he went to the dressing room to meet Dean and told him that everyone in the States knew about him. Come on Mike: bone up on 'yer history'.
Richard McGowan, Southport  (26/3/06)

I thought there was something like taht but OI couldn't put my finger on it. Thanks, Richard.

Not Moyes's fault
Whilst sharing your frustations as an Evertonian since the days of Roy Vernon, Albet Dunlop, et al, I think we must all take a reality check as to our financial plight, recent history, etc. It's not Davey Moyes's fault if Phil Neville scores an unlucky own-goal or superb goals flow in viz: Solano, Kewell. Give the man a chance and let's get behind the team.
Caradog Jones, Y Felinheli  (26/3/06)

It's a bit like hearing President Bush saying "support what I'm doing in the War on Terror, or support the terrorists: your choice." Does that make everything he does right? Similarly, supporting Everton does not blind most supporters to the failings of their manager, real or apparent. "Let's get behind the team" — I think we'll have a moratorium on that too; I'm getting sick of reading it applied by holier-than-thou fans who, by saying it, implicitly are questioning the loyalty of those they are addressing. — Michael

Same old story
Although we got what we deserved and desparately need a new keeper and centre-half, having watched the game at the Riverside today, yet again ref consistency comes into question. Van der Meyde is sent off for catching Alonso with no intent and no claret, yet the fat bastard that is Davies catches a Boro player with a swinging arm, draws blood and gets nothing! A case of Dowd equalling things up.

I just hope Moyes sees sense and leaves Wright & Weir (thanks for your service, Davie) on the bench and inserts Turner and Yobo for the remaining games.
Jim Feeney, Liverpool  (26/3/06)

re: All too predictable
Not a very good article. Every time we lose, there's a section of fans who hit the panic button. We have to realise our place in the modern game. We do not have the spending power of Liverpool — which is why we don't possess midfielders who can dominate the Liverpool midfield; which is why yesterday was not surprising to me. We are in a position where we can now comfortably beat the lower side such as Fulham and Villa but we cannot compete against the top sides.

It is disappointing to lose to Liverpool but on the back of this we shouldn't sack the manager. His transfer record is not that bad compared to Bentiez either. Beattie is hitting top form; Arteta was an absolute steal; Valente has proved his worth and he swallowed some pride and took Stubbs back to shore up the defence.
Mick Wrende, Manchester  (26/3/06)

Get Real
The derby result seems to have resurrected the debate about whether David Moyes is the man to take Everton forward. Despite us being in best run of home form in over 10 years, with probably our most skilful team in the Premiership era assembled at relatively little cost, we still seem to want a change.

Moyess’ transfer record isn’t brilliant but it is better than most Premiership managers. Even the likes of Arsene Wenger make mistakes (£8M for Jeffers, £17M for Reyes). Moyes has bought some good players on the cheap (Arteta and Cahill) and others at their market value (Beattie, Neville etc.). Obviously Krøldrup was a failure but not a very expensive one compared to what other managers have done. We all know where the team’s weak points are. We need a second striker, cover in midfield, a new central defender and a new goalkeeper.

It would be very easy for a manager to splash the cash on someone like Emile Heskey, or worse, but I would prefer our manager to be cautious with our club’s precious resources. Better to be in our position than Birmingham, with a treatment room full of expensive flops, let alone Leeds.

Moyes’s record in the transfer market suggests that he can get good payers if they become available, but he is not going to take risks. Unless we can find a Russian billionaire willing to splash the cash, that is just what we should want.
Richard Watts, London  (26/3/06)

Out of the Ashes
As I took up my seat in the Upper Centurion stand at Anfield, surrounded by red-noses, it was the most confident I had felt before the derby for a long time. Belive me, we had them very worried 'til chuckle scored an own goal. Evern when the second goal was given to them on a plate I still felt we could come back. I just wish Valente, Martyn and Arteta had been on the pitch.

How I shouted my head off when Cahill scored (you could see the police and stewards wondering what was gonna happen, and besides having me putting one or two idiots in their place for being personal, the banter was pretty good).

I know after that it was pretty down hill but we are definatly improving and if Bill Kenwright gives the manager as much money as usual, we should get the 'keeper and forward we need. I have never been Davey's biggest supporter but the football we're playing now is ok.

We all know who is leaving in the summer but if you take into account their age and how much they cost, most of them — Weir, Ferguson, Martyn etc (except Wright and Naysmith) have severd the club well. I just didn't feel as dejected walking away yesterday as I did walking out of Goodison after the last derby. Keep the faith, onward Evertonians.
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (26/3/06)

Considering how bad we were prior to the Goodison derby, the defeat seemed par for the course. Considering how good we have been coming into yesterday's game, hopes were high, despite the usual fears and trepidation. I'm just surprised the manner of our losing didn't get to you like it seems to have gotten to so many others. Ah well... it takes all sorts!

Oh how the tune doth change
Can we please, please, please put some perspective on things and not lose sight of the fact that we are a good side, and have lost only two games in twelve?

Everton were as much in the game as Liverpool until a divine slice of outright luck on the point of half-time changed the game — I'll say it again — changed the game. We didn't create many opportunities and, yes, we should have gone with Yobo, but who else felt our chances of creating much disappeared on news of losing Arteta?

The leading article on today's ToffeeWeb Homepage is simply a reaction to losing a derby and which in fact is just another game in the building process of Everton Football Club. It was a passionate affair, a great match, always will mean a lot, but mathematically it was just another game.

This is where the Evertonians must decipher: what is more important — The notion of victory or of progress? I back Everton; I back Moyes — he has done wonderful things for this club. It annoys me, this silly Moyes-bating, because it is what we say when there is little else to comment on.

  • 'Everton are doing great. That's it for this week.' — You don't make as much money off good news.
  • 'Everton lose, Moyes linked to pioneering of concept of defeat in human existence.' — Oooh! read, read, read...
Chill out, ladies and gents; we have Sunderland next week.
Daniel Greenwood, Liverpool  (26/3/06)

A great match!?!! Beyond the first 15 mins, there was hardly any football played in the first half. The game became a spectacle because of the "overly-fussy" referee, who totally ruined it with his card-waving antics. Everton got their first corner only after 60 mins — that shows how much football we were playing — and played the whole game far too deep.

And as for your pompous and patronizing parting rationalizations, no-one wants to hear that kind of parsimonious crap, thank you. The idea that somehow we should just let the events of yesterday rank on a par with the routine drubbing of Fulham or Aston Villa is so far off the mark, it is simply inconceivable. — Michael

The Rich List
Can someone please enlighten me about soccer`s so-called Rich List? A few months ago, Buster Wyness was telling us that Everton were about to join the 20 richest clubs in Europe. I even saw a table in a national newspaper that showed us in 18th position. Now I keep reading in your columns and elsewhere that we are in debt and and urgently in need of investment. The two facts don`t add up or am I just being thick?

Is so-called `rich` determined merely by income because that means nothing as Mr Micawber pointed out all those years ago!
Niall Burgess, Corley  (26/3/06)

It's called 'spin', Naill. Income = turnover, and that table was based on turnover alone — not debt, not level of investment, not book-value of the playing staff, not working capital or retained earnings. But if it keeps some of the sheep quiet and lets the custodians bask in the glory of their own percieved achievements... — Michael

Time for Change
Now that the dust has settled on yet another shocking episode of this soul-destroying season, where do we go from here?

If I had my way Moyes and his side kick Irvine would be on the National express to Glasgow just about now. Well, as we all know, that isn't going to happen. So let's assume that he [Moyes] is going to be around for the next couple of seasons. What will actually change in terms of quality of play and players?

From where I am sitting: not a lot really. We have had four years of this shit and its getting harder to bear for every one. Why do we [Everton supporters] put up with it? For instance, clubs like West Ham and Spurs pride themselves on trying to play in the correct way because the fans demand it. They won't settle for the kind of crap we put up with. They know they will never compete at the very top but they understand there is an obligation to the fans.

That's what we should expect from our club and our team also. I am sick to death of the watching players pull on our Royal Blue jersey who just dont belong in it. Some of them dont even possess the basics — ball control and passing for instance. As long as some of us continue to sing the name of Moyes and give undying support to his way of doing things, nothing will improve. We need to be more demanding of our team and stop settling for the drivel we are fed, week-in, week-out.

Another season of this Fiasco Football and you will see the numbers starting to drop off. What's wrong with a bit of value for money these days? Don't we want to see pacey young strikers and midfielders who can actually play the game in a blue shirt? Wake up out there for as long as you put up with this rubbish we are seeing, then nothing will ever change.

We should start on Saturday against Sunderland with some youngsters in the side. Give Turner, Anichebe and Hughes a game. There's nothing to lose.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (26/3/06)

And Mr Marsh in fine form as well!!! We're still pretty close to the top of that 2006 form table, ya know. Moyes's Boys can beat a lot of the middling sides. They just choke against the top ones. And in the last couple of games before yesterday, they had actually been starting to play something approaching real football, with a fast, tricky creative midfielder and a fair few pops on goal from a some more confident strikers. I think you are being unreasonable. — Michael

Dickie Contwright
So dear old Dickie is tearing himself apart worrying about the Reds`second goal, is he? ( Well, as the saying goes, `I don`t blame thee lad, it`s them as picked you!`

Truth is with our ageing/creeking central defenders, no goalie would know whether anyone was getting across to cover and it is clear from TV re-runs that Weir failed Wright abysmally on that occasion.

I have to say that if Yobo (now being spun against prior to departure!) is not restored ere long, this tragic season will end with us nearer bottom than top. We hear a lot from Moyes and his gullible supporters about progress but it`s a funny chart line that sees even 10th regarded as progress on fourth!

Oh, I forgot: we over-achieved last season!
Damien Lampitt, Kirkdale  (26/3/06)

Liverpool 3 - 1 Everton
Ok, so I admit that my last post was a bit preocupied with the pub I was watching the game in and for that I apologise. In my defence, I was a little drunk and a little shell-shocked from the truely awful experience of watching a defeat like that in a pub 90% full of Liverpool fans.

So let's try and get things into some sort of perspective. First of all, Everton have been on an amazing run of form lately and, if the league had started in January, Everton would be top. One defeat shouldn't take anything away from that run. We lost a game, thats all it boils down to. We lost a game, just like almost every club does. It happens, its football.

We had the bad luck to encounter a Liverpool team in amazing form. Don't forget leading up to yesterday's game Liverpool had scored 15 goals in 3 games, including a 7-0 thrashing of Birmingham. We lost an away game to the European Champions, the 2nd best team in the Premiership, in the best form of their season. I don't see any shame in that.

We also had bad luck which ruled out Arteta, who has become Everton's best player, and without him it was always going to be a struggle. Would it have been a different game if Arteta had been involved? I think possibly it may have.

The other talking point is: Was Moyes right to stick with Weir/Stubbs and leave Yobo out? Well, I think Moyes made the right decision. Weir & Stubbs have been playing great lately and Everton have been winning games. So why change it? The problem with Weir & Stubbs is the lack of pace but Liverpool have Peter Crouch up front. A player with less pace then both Weir & Stubbs. Why bring pacey Yobo back to mark a slow-moving forward? Better to let the more physical Weir & Stubbs use their experience to handle the freaky bean-pole.

The other point seems to be why Andy van der Meyde didn't start. Well, considering the injury-prone winger got stupidly sent off after 5 minutes of coming on as a sub, I'm kinda glad he didn't start.

Here's a thought:-

Duncan Ferguson: injury-prone British player gets sent off; the Everton fans blast him as a disgrace and claim he should never play for the club again.

Andy van der Meyde: Injury-prone foreign player gets sent off; the Everton fans blast Moyes for not starting him.

Who says the fans don't favour the more fashionable foreign players? Another example is Weir, everytime he makes a mistake he's blasted by the fans but nobody ever mentions the true awful mistakes Yobo has made this season. Double standard.

Anyway, back to yesterday's game; what did we learn? Well, surprise surprise, an on-form Liverpool are a better side then an on-form Everton. More proof that Dickie Wright is way out of his depth. Everton miss Arteta big time.

Let's stop slagging the team and Moyes off. Kenwright is not going to sack Moyes this season so lets get behind him. seven games left, four of them home games against struggling teams. We can still finish in a European placing.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (26/3/06)

Back in fine form, eh, Dutch? Rationalizations galore, fans at fault; Moyes above any sort of criticsm. Normal service resumed...

The Invisible Van
In answer to Dave Toothill`s enquiry about the Invisible Van, I can tell him that in two complete seasons at Inter he managed 24 starts, 8 appearances as a sub and scored 1 goal. On that basis, I guess we`re doing pretty well out of him so far!
David Hall, Taunton  (26/3/06)

Mediocris satis!
I know I`ve got post Derby blues but I do think yesterday showed up just how ordinary our club, team and manager really are. Sure we`ve had a good run — and Gawd knows we needed it — but when it comes to the crunch matches we just don`t show up! Even last season when we finished fourth we suffered that awful pasting from Arsenal followed soon by the European humiliation(s) and a next to nil return from top team confrontations this term. When we did get a point against Chelsea ,we saw the manager and team behaving like we`d won the League and the sight of our boys throwing their shirts to the crowd after a bloody draw was totally cringe-making.

I know Rome wasn`t built in a day but to read that Moyes may need ten years to make us truly competitive with that lot across the park is definitely not what I want to be reading on a miserable day like today! Just reflect that we`ve been hearing this crap for all of the LAST ten years and during that time we`ve seen hopes of a new ground dashed, Bellefield continuing to crumble, the youth policy virtually abandoned, our best player since William Ralph Dean used to get us out of hock, and a small fortune wasted on crocks and `no hopers`.

I know all this cannot be laid at the door of our manager(s) and that Kenwright and Co. need a bomb up their collective arse but I just do not see David Moyes as the kind of inspirational figure who might be able to stimulate those `upstairs` into real action. What the whole bloody lot of them have settled for is survival and and, sad to say, that has permeated down to a whole raft of Evertonians.

Don`t give me nil satis, it`s more like mediocris satis these days!
Martin  Horner, Knowsley  (26/3/06)

11 vs 10
To all those who probably feel like it's the end of the world because we couldn't win when we had 11 against 10, — don't forget aour game vs Blackburn: that was 10 vs 11. Why did we win that game? Because we played better than Blackburn. And why did we loss this one? Because they played better than us.

11 vs 10 gives you the advantage, but it doesn't really mean you will definitely win. If we could win a match when playing 10 vs 11, we could also lose a match when playing 11 vs 10.
Dan Lim, London  (26/3/06)

Too much logic there for heart-broken Evertonians, fella.

Post Derby Blues
Liverpool go in at the break one up without having a shot on target; within 2 minutes of the start, they are two up — all thanks to Curley, Larry and Mo. Or is that Neville, Naysmith and Wright?

I was really unhappy with how long it took to start to impose ourselves on the game (Walter Smithism there!) considering our numerical advantage. When it came, we failed to really make it count, and Moyes should have carried his intended changes through; it looked totaly unproffessional and showed his lack of desisiveness. One observation on the ref: surely Garcia's elbow was worse than Van der Meyde's?
Blue Fella, Deeside  (26/3/06)

Let's spin it and see...
Has 'Dutch Shaeffer' (his last effort was spiked and thus went unseen) morphed into 'Darren Wickham'? I'm puzzled because 'Darren's' wonderful piece of lunatic rambling was grammatical, correctly spelt, and included the word 'Carsleymeister'. This is not an expression a cross-eyed ranter would even know, let alone use in the correct context.

Odd? Or what? Is this more spin from behind the 'Big Blue Door'? I think we should be told!
John McTiernan, London  (26/3/06)

Hahaha... Dutch is probably annoyed with me that his rambling ode to Liverpool-supporter-infested pubs got ditched, but I don't think even he could have come up with with such a wonderful impersonation of a true gushing Carsleyite from deepest County Meath. — Michael

Right of Reply to Luq Yus
Excuse me Luq Yus, did you actually bother to read what I posted?.

I have only written to Toffeeweb twice. The first was to point out that we wont be signing Matteo Ferrari, because Roma want him back. The second was to point out how a loan deal, with a VIEW to a permanent transfer actually works. At no time did I say Ferrari was a bad player or that we didn't need him, just that we wouldn't be signing him and why. How this makes me part of the IMWT gang, I don't know!!

If you must know I am as frustrated and dissapointed as you after yesterdays shambolic display. I think Moyes deserves criticism for yesterday's game, such as our inability to string three passes together without Arteta in the side. His blind loyalty to the useless Kilbane and Naysmith (Number of crosses from the left yesterday? - Zero). And his failure to play Yobo, who is without doubt our quickest and best defender.

However, Luq, if people have got their facts wrong about a loan deal, and are using this a stick to beat Moyes with, then I'll defend him. I am not on the side of the sychophants or the cynics. Every one is entitled to their opinion, mine happens to be an unbiased, balanced one. I'm sorry this upsets you so much!
Marcus Turner, Bangkok, Thailand  (26/3/06)

The future
I have read the usual attacks upon David Moyes following the latest debacle at Anfield. I am no fan of DM. To me, the best managers are those who know when and how to change a winning side. Davey and his sidekick Andy Irvine simply do not have the necessary tactical ability. I could make many similar points about him: substitutions etc —most have already been made on these pages. As for the rest of his coaching team, I continue to ask myself what do they actually do during the week — particularly Chris Woods.

However I remain bemused at why so much of the fire is directed at DM given the lack of real support from the board — the worst thing is nothing is going to change whilst Bill Kenwright and his merry men remain in charge. We desparately need outside investment, new ideas, modern management at the top and a Board of Directors with the vision to deliver what our long suffering fans deserve. Instead, as examples — and there are many — the best player we have ever produced is sold, no real investment, a pathetic stadium, training ground and youth academy to name just a few of the problems we face.

We are in debt, going nowhere and mid-table mediocrity will be the future. We spend our time looking bakwards. We had the chance at the start of this season to move up into the higher echelon and we well and truly blew it due to lack of vision and investment.

If you want a reality check, just look at how Liverpool have taken us apart twice this year yet their manager is about to receive huge funding for the summer transfer merrygoround. We will be no doubt shortly be selling our two best players, Yobo and Arteta, and scraping around in the bargain basement.

So as much as DM`s inadequacies drive us all mad, let us get real folks and recognise nothing but nothing is going to change until BK disappears over the horizon... unless that happens please do not expect anything different.
Peter Quinn, Liverpool  (26/3/05)

Hmmm... now tell me agian, How much did David Moyes get through spending last summer? How many clubs out-spent him? Your claim that he was not supported by the Board seems to be somewhat disingenuous; however, your overall arguement has some merit, unfortunately. — Michael

Yesterday's derby match was there for the taking, especially when Gerrard got sent off, but Everton's defence sat too far back and kept giving away silly throw-ins and corners. This resulted in an unfortunate own goal, which surely for an experienced player like Neville, should have been cleared (Carlsley would have, if he had played). The expresion on his face was priceless.

The whole defence, excluding Hibbert and maybe Stubbs, should be dropped. They have absolutely no confidence in Wright, who is totally inept and clueless, and kept sitting back in order to protect him. Why oh why did he rush out for Liverpool's second goal, I still can't comprehend.

Weir should hold his hand up and admit he can't cut it anymore just like Ferguson and stop hurting Everton Football Club. I love Everton with all my heart and i'm not ashamed to admit that I cried and it hurt so much when the final whistle was blown.

ps: Try catching Yobo's expression when the three subs were about to come on or when Cahill scored. Totally disinterested, has no pride wearing the blue shirt and knows he will be leaving very soon.
Siva Nesan, Singapore  (26/03/06)

I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned the referee, Phil Dowd (no, not Ken Dodd, no disrespect Ken) — remember Dowd's name, because he'll probably be doing Rochdale vs Southport next year. He screwed the game up within minutes of the start, and had to pacify the fans eventually with a second sending off plus SEVEN Everton yellow cards - were they really kicking everything in sight?

Then Phil Neville makes his worst (human error) mistake since conceding a penalty in World Cup 1998, and Crouch out-jumps Beattie to lay on the second for Wright to mess up. So, bring on three subs, but one goal back, so put your track suits back on.

Eventually, van der Meyde & Dunc do come on. Is £5M enough for Andy's 5 minutes today and '7 starts'? Is he doing a Big Dunc? Did he ever earn his money in Italy? Did Johan Cruyff or someone say he was a dud? Is he a conman? Is he fat & bald, or is he a Johnny Morrissey — as he looked like for 30 minutes in December, & can create space on the left & cross it?

I was told off before by the mediator on this page for querying whether these mercenary guys were paid per win/minute or per month, as employee contracts were private. Did they say Arteta had a bad back today? Is he moving to Liverpool, or is he just friendly with someone from home? If someone grows to be world class, like Gravesen, take the money!
Dave Tootill, Johannesburg, South Africa  (26/3/06)

Man, you ask a lot of questions.

The Man, The Myth, The Carsley!
I, like most people, am disappointed with the derby result but it was what I expected! There is one man who could have made a difference: Lee 'God' Carsley!

This man got Everton to the Champions league last year and the rest of the team threw away his season-long effort by losing to Villarreal. This would not have happened if the bald genius was present. Everton's season began as a mess. They were laughed at by everyone for their poor performances; people should have been ready for this as the Carsleynator was injured.

Everton then began to improve as soon as Carsleymeister begins to recover. This is not a coincidence! This is PROOF of how great a player he is. Alex Ferguson is searching the universe for a replacement for Roy Keane and there would be no better player to replace him as Man Utd Captain but then would be recognised further as the greatest thing to hit Football.

Carslo is to Everton what God is to the world. Moyes! — get this man a new contract because all the big clubs will be after him in the summer.... They should probably let him go because they could use the £10M to get some new players. May I recommend Gary Breen or Peter Crouch might come? That sort of quality is what's needed if the worst was to happen and the ball avenger felt that he needed a new mission!

Please come back as quick as you can — football needs you, Lee! The man is an inspiration to my country and we will welcome him back with open arms if he would come back and play for Ireland on the world stage to show off his amazing talents.

Long live the legend that is Lee Carsley! I hope this will encourage Evertonians everywhere to write in to share their favourite Lee Carsley story or moment, while I would like to share mine with you. Finally "Who put the ball in the scousers net? Lee-Lee-Lee-Lee-Lee Cars-ley."
Darren Wickham, Meath,Ireland  (26/3/06)

Ah.. bless! That's lovely, fella. Nice one!

Am I silly to question the great ginger one's team selection and insistance on not changing a winning team? Liverpool are likely to finish as runners-up and have been tearing teams apart lately. Is it silly to suggest we played a centre-back with a a bit of pace. Was it silly that Van der Meyde did not start the match instead of that donkey Kilbane??

Anyway, I'm neutral as far as Moyes is concerned, but his loyalty to shite players does worry me. On the other hand he has done a good job this year.

So Toffeeweb a bit of consistency please. If you are going to call me silly for saying that we would lose because of the team put out, then surely you should be using that nice blue font to tell everyone else they are silly for suggesting Yobo and VDM should have started.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (26/3/06)

"Silly" was in reference to your suggestion that Moyes chose not to play Arteta, whereas the information from indicates that he failed a late fitness test. As to whether Yobo and AvdM would have changed the game... that's not silly, but it something we can never ever know. — Michael

For Next Season
Well... like all Evertonians, I'm gutted. A good chance to put one over them and we blew it — and with gerrard sent off too!!! Surprisingly, we seemed to have played better when they had eleven on the pitch than ten. As usual, the ref was horrendous in a derby...

It's hard to find any silver linings but at least it painted a clear and bloody obvious picture that even a blind man could see... and if Kenwright can't see it.....

We desperately need some better players in all departments: Wright, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith, Pistone, Li Tie, Kilbane, Dunc definitely have to go. If need be (due to funds or rather lack of) keep Stubbs, Kilbane, Naysmith and Nige AS COVER. But I'd rather see them all go and us using youth players as cover. Next season is the time to use the likes of Wilson, Vaughan, Anichebe, Hopkins, Hughes, Boyle, Turner and all those promising youth players that we have. Cheap and saves us money. It's always a risk playing kids but how much worse can they be than those lot above (excluding Nige)???

Da Silva coming next season; hopefully he will be another creative player in our ranks so we need not rely on Arteta alone. AvdM should have the whole of next season to prove his worth; hopefully he can stay fit enough.

We deffo need a centre-half, left-back, 'keeper, left and right midfielder and a couple of strikers but to do that we need at least £50M and that's what we dont have. So in all logical reasoning we should see more the likes of Turner, Yobo, Vaughn starting than sitting on the bench.
Jalil Noor, Singapore  (26/3/6)

Er.. Yout Players? Don't hold your breath...

Blackjack Dealer
It was an absolute disgrace that an imbecile with an ego and attitude problem refereed the game we so much looked forward too. He wanted to be in the spotlight, he was on a power trip as soon as he blew the whistle for the kick off, and he simply ruined the game, and freely waved a ridiculous amount of cards like he was on a blackjack table.

It wasn’t the payers that lost control — we expected a hard tough match of bitter rivals, it was that referee who lost control and destroyed a much anticipated game, and let the biased Liverpool crowd control the deck of cards he loved to display to any Everton player.

As for Arteta, he showed his true colors, and kept his loyalties for his homeland Spaniards, whom he will be joining next season.
Clifford Zampost, Melbourne  (26/3/06)

Err... I though the said... Oh, never mind.

A Disgrace
I'll hold my head up high on Monday, and go in singing with my mates, and be proud no matter what stick I get — the phone's been left of the hook so far — I'll do that because I'm a blue. Cos I'll support my team, my beloved club, through thick or thin and if I'm not singing when we're losing, I'm no better than that lot from across the park.

What I can't abide is heartless performances: a slow and aged defender blundering about the park; Phil Neville putting in another lacklustre performance and throwing the ball away at every chance — even into his own net. I can't abide useless, gutless refeering in which seven of our players were booked and one sent off for no reason.

Maybe we were over-awed; maybe Weir was too slow or Wright too crap; maybe we're nothing without Arteta. Or maybe, just maybe, Liverpool are on top; we haven't been for ages and we won't be, even at our best. I've never admitted it before in my life — never — but I just feel that some blue pride is being replaced by some red sense.

And it's really saddening.
Sean Wafer, Liverpool  (26/3/06)

I don't understand something. If we lost to a better team, then why this "disgrace" and "heartless" nonsense? They weren't good enough; it doesn't mean they didn't try. It means they weren't good enough. That's sad. — Michael

It is quite clear now that, if Everton are to progress in the near future, then we have to get a foreign manager. We have had a Scottish boss now since 1998 and have never even looked like winnnig anything. Look at the facts: Wenger (unparalelled success); Houllier (three cups in one season); benitez (European Cup); and now Martin Jol is tranforming Spurs, who never did anything in the league under British managers.
Col Hughes, Liverpool  (260306)

I think you forget the most successful foreign manager of them all... oh no, wait... He's Scottish! Doh!!!

Things we already knew
I hate the 'derby' match. So many emotions, most of them having some level of resentment associated with them; three brothers and a Dad who support the dark side, my own 'leanings' stemming from Mum's side of the family. I'm not alone: the only fans from either side likely to avoid this dilemna are from outside the city (an observation and not a 'pop' at anyone).

It is bad enough having to sit through the home 'leg' (win or lose) and I'm getting too old for the stress levels either fixture (home or away) brings. So I promised myself that this match would see me doing something else. I succeeded (apart from the odd moment when the desire to know how we were doing got too much). As a result, I was as pissed off as every other right-minded Blue. However, I had not seen the game. I saved that dubious pleasure for MOTD, but I was filled with trepidation; having already read the postmatch TW mailbag.

Were we really that bad? Having just watched MOTD (granted edited highlights), I have to say no.

Most of Everton's problems in the game were self-inflicted, but stem from problems we already know about and can only pray Moyes will fix in the summer.

Firstly, Richard Wright is a liability. We have all known this for some time. If Nigel was fit, Dickie wouldn't get a look in. However, his presence has an understandably and completely un-nerving effect on the rest of the team. I blame him for two of the goals. Phil Neville would never have attempted the headed 'clearance' / OG if Nigel had been there. Naysmith was culpable for the second goal, but disaster would have been averted if Dickie had stayed on his line.

The third goal for Liverpool was a good one. Any forward would have been proud. At the same time where were our defenders? Hibbert should have gone to Kewell, but instead pulled away. The underlying issue however, is that we were playing too deep. It was 11 v 10 for God's sake! But, even with more men on the pitch than the opposition we cannot press; because the whole team (and fans) know that, when we have Weir and Stubbs at the back, we are fine when the ball is in front of them, but that we are stuffed if it gets behind them. We have to play deep against any number of opposition in case they use pace to get behind us.

Arteta's ommission from the side was crucial. We all agree that he has increasingly become our pivotal player and his absence today was glaring. We have the nucleus of a very good side and nothing I saw today (in a one-off match where we lost 3 points) will persuade me other wise. Today showed that we must keep hold of Mikel Arteta — just as it showed that we need two new centre backs and a new goalkeeper. But we already knew these things and will still know them long after the hurt of today has passed.
Steve Guy, Harroagte  (26/3/06)

What Happened ?
Still in shock after that hapless display but David Pleat who did analysis on the US Broadcast made a couple of good points.

Firstly, when Neville and Cahill make up your central midfield, one plays so deep( to cover for Weir I presume)and the other so far forward that we actualy have no one playing around the centre circle for vast periods of time and Alonso bossed the game from that very area. When Arteta is fit, this is not as big a problem as he tends to drift inside and fill this gap and can pass the ball which I cant remember us attempting to do today.

Secondly, his assertion (and I agree) was that, when you have a man advantage, it is your full backs who have to push up and take a chance — something which neither did today, the blame for which he laid at the feet of our manager, again wondering if he was afraid of exposing our aging centre-halves.

Obviously hind-sight is 20/20 but, from now on, when Arteta is not playing, maybe it would be better to revert to 4-5-1 to try and address these issues with Davies coming in (I know, I know...) and McFadden out. At least in theory it would free up the full backs and enable us to play through the midfield a bit more.

Couldn't be any worse than Moyes's answer today — throw on the thug (no I don't mean Van der Meyde) and bomb it long — now could it?
Ronan Hanly, Boston, USA  (25/3/06)

The smartest man in the room
Okay, I have to put hand on heart and admit that I was one of the biggest critics of Moyes three months ago. We were in the bottom three and the standard of football being served up was a disgrace. Certainly, the performances were typical of a team heading for relegation and I was calling for his head. A knee-jerk reaction you could say.

However, after grinding out wins in the first quarter of the year, progress was made to finding an effective formation and the consistency had returned with some exciting attacking football, home and away. It’s anyone’s guess whether or not this is down to Moyes’s management or just the players sorting themselves out. Either way, progress has been made.

That brings me to today’s derby at Anfield. Alright, we’re all gutted. But let’s face it, even against nine, Everton would have struggled. At this point I have to say that I have read the letters posted after the game and I’m asking: what could have Moyes done differently? He didn’t risk the best player on the books because we’re not Man City. This club is not all about beating Liverpool once and having a mediocre remainder of the season.

The challenge for a Uefa Cup spot, clearly the last one available at this stage, doesn’t rest on the outcome of this game. Arteta is needed to ensure four wins out of four at home and one on the road so we end up with 58 points, which might be just what is needed. I talked with Evertonians all week about my fears for El Toffee lining up already carrying a knock, against Carragher and more particularly Gerrard. Once again Gerrard gets away with it, as he was off with a second yellow rather than the straight red the tackle deserved, and will only sit out one game instead of three.

The lack of European-style “savvy” is clearly evident with the current Everton squad, with big honest lad Kilbane straight up on his feet after the tackle, in contrast to the “clever Spaniard” Alonso, who writhed in agony after the legitimate challenge from Van der Meyde. Honestly, you get bumped harder in a Tesco checkout line of a Friday evening. Fellow countryman Garcia tried the same trick on Naysmith. I digress.

Moyes stuck with the pairing of Stubbs and Weir because Yobo gives him no option. Yobo has made a catalogue of errors in key games despite his abilities, and seems to have a hard time focusing for the entire game, particularly at the beginning of the second half. Weir and Stubbs are too old and slow, granted, but for several seasons now, they have proved effective against the clubs outside the top four. Clearly, we’re going to struggle here until Moyes can bring a kid through to partner Ferrari. But right now it’s the only option Moyes has.

Ferguson has cost the club more than just his wages over the years and the less said about his inclusion today the better. The criticism I will level at Moyes today surrounds his delay in introducing Van der Meyde. He should have been brought on after Gerrard was sent off, in an attempt to hold the ball in the last third and bring McFadden and Beattie more into the game. Little Ossie runs his knackers off every week and is in on merit. The rest of the squad have shown recently that they are more than capable of finishing off the season in winning style against much lesser teams than was met today.

I know it’s slow but progress is being made. I saw Moyes interviewed on Sky Sports last night and he more or less said that it would take about ten years to get into a position to compete with Liverpool, and the other G14 types on a regular basis. If we all lay off the ciggs, cut down on the bevvie and lose a bit of weight, we might just be around to see it.
Mike Greaves, Houston, TX, USA  (25/3/06)

Golden chance blown
Ohhh I'm fucking furious! Like many Evertonians, I knew we were fated to lose but the manor of defeat is what pissed me off. Gerrard the cunt sent off; Liverpool reeling... I thought: This is too good a situation to miss! Well, that's exactly what happened with inept tactics from Moyes and his woeful team selection.

Much of the game has been covered by other readers but I must say that Moyes made a big mistake letting Westerveld leave when he clearly is a much better keeper than that prick Wright! Another transfer bungle! Then the selection of Weir... he was always going to be a liability and Moyes's love affair with him makes me sick. A MANAGER DOES WHAT'S BEST FOR THE TEAM — NOT PICK WHO HE'S CHUMS WITH! Especially with a fit Yobo sitting on the bench, it bloody angers me he doesn't play as it's obvious he's leaving now.

I'm so angry I have tears in my eyes; I am sick of medicority, and for all those fans who said "Be positive, we're having a decent season," well, the first quaility opposition we play in seven games we get outplayed. With ten men with most of the game as well.

Forget Dutch; where are you, Marcus Turner, who said we don't need Ferrari? After today 's embarassment, you — and the rest of the Moyes faithful — must see how blindly silly you lot are! Yes Moyes is the best choice at the moment as manager as there ain't much out there to replace him but he does some stupid things!!!

See you next week and thanks for messing up my week, Moyes.
Luq Yus, London  (25/3/06)

I'm now a Montrose supporter
The phone's off the hook; seven relatives and "friends" have phoned up to gloat. I'm sick of being magnanimous in defeat when I want to scream "Go away" or words to that effect. Not since the very early seventies (even Kendall's marvellous team always seemed to lose to Liverpool) have we been on top. Ever sice Roger Hunt popped up in the last couple of minutes to equalize in the first derby game after they'd been promoted. I was even there in 1955 when we lost 4-0 in the cup and they were in the second division.

The reasons have all been touched on by your correspondents: poor central defence, far too deep, no Arteta; Naysmith & Wright — a good shot-stopper, but he panics and that negates every thing. But two reasons stand out above all others and they point to our main problem.

  • One: why was Yobo, a genuinely classy and speedy defender, on the bench and not in the centre of our defence?
  • Two: what the hell was Duncan Feguson doing in the stadium?
The problem is the reliance on effort, muscle and power over intelligence and football nous. Liverpool won because when Gerrard was sent off (how I roared to see Britain's best and usually one of the most controlled of footballers dismissed), they had the wit and control to change their game. They closed us down, got behind the ball and we were incapable of slowing it down, of making the extra man count. We played into their hands with blind punts and mindless, manic running. No Arteta, no Yobo, no brains.

What did Moyes tell his subs to do when they came on so fired up that one was sent off and one booked before they even touched the ball? I don't want excessive passion and commitment: Weir's got that, Stubbs has got that. Moyes has got that. I want some of the intelligence and subtlety that characterised Young and Vernon; Ball, Kendall and Harvey; Sheedy and Sharp; Rooney and Gravesen. This team without Arteta and Yobo is full of passion, it's fully committed. It's also technically naive and stupid.

My dad played for Montrose during the war, maybe I should give them a go or maybe Exeter City, I had a trial for them. Fifty years of being magnanimous in defeat, it's not right.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (25/3/06)

Let`s get real!
Apart from a dent in our pride, today`s result means no more in terms of points lost than against any other opponents. When will we all come to terms with the fact that Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd are out on their own at the top — as are the likes of Sunderland, Portsmouth, WBA and Birmingham at the bottom. With our Chairman, manager and meagre resources, all we can hope for is to be the best of the rest.

We can dream all we want but the real goal is to compete with the likes of Spurs, Bolton and Blackburn and hope for the occasional triumph as we had last season. Sorry, but that`s the reality of Everton in the 2000s
Len  Thornley, Ainsdale  (25/3/06)

Blue Murder
Back from the game and didn't linger to long in the pub. Although gutted, I am not surprised with today's events as I have witnessed (in games where we have won and scored goals) deficiencies that need correcting if we are ever to push to sit on the top table.

In a red-hot derby atmosphere in front of a hostile crowd, we blew it in terms of competing; we just didn't play any football — is that called freezing? Valente and Arteta being absent certainly left us short of craft and passing ability but we should have been able to cope better than we did.

It is time to bite the bullet and say Liverpool were stronger than us mentally and physically. They played the better of the football that was played, kept a shape better, and had the better players man for man — and this with ten men.

Today horribly exposed the areas I have been concerned with; to demonstrate this, just look which players were anonymous in the tough going: Faddy, Ossie, Killa, Neville, Naysmith, and Weir. All of these can put in good shifts against lesser teams but, if we want to be at that top table, then Messrs Kenwright and Moyes must find a way of bringing about first-class improvement so that we may be able to compete when the temperature is sky high.

We hardly gave them a game and boy that hurts. We can still finish high enough to give us what some call a decent season but I won't be satisfied until we can compete with the top clubs men v men — not men v boys. Should beat the Makems... shouldn't we? See you Saturday ---- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (25/3/06)

When will we have something to sing about
Having endured the whole sorry game from the Kop to watch my beloved Everton, I was let down once again by a sorry butch of twats in blue shirts. Listening to the kopites songs - 5 times we have only won it 5 times - 10 men we only have 10 men etc. What do we sing over and over - We dont care what the red shite say etc.

What has happened to our once great club? We have nothing to sing about, a ground that's stuck in a time-warp, no players we can bring on to change a game, a manager who is tacticly useless, a Chairman who we can bet wont be on the radio bragging today. We have a team who would find it hard playing against a local pub side. No passion, no class, no commitment just drawing their wage week to week happy in the knowledge that most fans scrape the money each week to watch them play — but hey never mind they could always have another bonding session in the States.

We need change and we need it fast other wise we will always be living in the shadow of them across the park. To Billy, I would end by saying please put the great back in our club or fuck off and let someone else do it. We don't deserve to live in misery for supporting our club.
Dwayne Sparky, Wirral  (25/03/06)

You're devastated like the rest of us, but is that any excuse to lapse into this stupid mantra: "No passion, no class, no commitment"? You don't pick up seven yellow cards by playing with no passion and no commitment. Why do Evertonians come out with this shite when we lose? Stick to the tactics, team selctions and substitutions at least, will ya! — Michael

It's only a blip
Steady on everyone. It's only a blip in what's be a good year so far. Did we really expect to win today? Be truthful, No.

Mr Veitch got it spot on with his comments the other day. We are short in some area's but we were playing against a team that were European Champions last season, and let's be truthful head and shoulders above us. Don't panic and look forward to the rest of the season. Today's result is now history.
Sean Ivory, Brum  (25/3/06)

"Today's result is now history". What exactly is that supposed to mean? That it means nothing? That it has no relevance going forward? The League is all about recent history. The compilation starts at the beginning of the season, and all matches contribute equally to the final position at the end of the season. That's why we are here, isn't it? — Michael

Come on Dutch
Where's Dutch telling us that Moyes is the greatest? Surely now even he can see that Moyes is tactically inept. Weir has been past-it for ages yet redhead insists on playing him. Quality tells and today Moyes's players lacked it. Still think the Van der Meyde red card was harsh though....
Chris Wright, Chester  (25/3/06)

Dutch did send in something about watching the game with hordes of reds in a pub down south. But he seemed more preoccupied with his immediate and intimidating surroundings than providing any comment or insight on the game itself (and nothing whatever on the skills of Mr Moyes), so that got binned, I'm afraid. I have no interest in reading about Liverpool fans... — Michael

Here we go again
Wake up, terrible hangover... turn on TV; go to Fox Soccer Channel by default. What a suprise: 2-0 down; lots of yellow cards; under pressure; long balls; Kilbane playing??? Naysmith and Hibbert playing too deep; calamity Wright... We get one back; bring on Dunc; player sent off — disappointment and dejection. That's that for another season then!
Daniel Parker, New York, USA  (25/03/06)

Er.. not quite. Still seven games to go.

The bleeding obvious
Well, most of us could see in advance what was going to happen: Wright would make a bad judgement; Naysmith wouldn't have the skill to defend or pass; Weir's lack of pace would leave him floundering; Kilbane and Osman would go missing; and Ferguson would be thrown on without any hope of retrieving the situation. We knew it so why couldn't Moyes see it? We are not going to reach Europe or get relegated so give youth a chance.
Leigh Sadler, Essex  (25/3/06)

My own view
I think we basically lost the game today because we didn't have our footballing players available. I know that sounds a bit silly but, when Liverpool went down to ten men, we seemed clueless in possession, and we badly missed Arteta, Valente and even a fit Van der Meyde. I was hoping when he came on it would enable us to get some width and get behind the Liverpool defence, but that idea was killed off by a very harsh sending off in my opinion.

It seems we are more of a 'huff and puff' team, playing the percentages and creating pressure through hard work. Against a stubborn defence and ten men, you need more creativity, and we were found lacking today.

Moyes has to take responsibility for signing Wright and Naysmith (again), and those two were at fault for the second Liverpool goal. I am not reacting in a knee-jerk manner, so I am not going to cite the age-old arguments about our centre-halfs being too old, Kilbane etc. Where we are lacking is more in the final third of the field, where we need to be more creative anyway, and we do not have enough numbers in the squad to cover any injuries/suspensions to our attacking players. Let's face it, we will continue to suffer if anything happens to players such as Beattie, Arteta, Osman or Cahill, because we can only replace them with workers.

Moyes will have to make sure we recruit several attacking players in the summer, and in the meantime I'm going to pray nothing happens to the players I've mentioned between now and the end of the season...
Danny Broderick, London  (25/3/06)

One step forward; two steps back...
As gutted as I am about the result, I can look back at the game and quite comfortably state that it was no less than we deserved. The sending-off of Gerrard merely acted as a prompt for Liverpool to hold deep, absorb what was thrown at them for 30 minutes and then pick us off at will. How Benitez must have been rubbing his hands at the fact that our central defensive pairing sat so far back and Neville was forced to continue to act as a third centre half, rendering our man advantage in the middle useless. We insisted on playing long and hopeful passes deep into the channels, waiting for something to happen as opposed to making it happen.

As long as Moyes insists on playing Weir and Stubbs at centre back, we are going to get shown up by decent teams; yes, we’ve had a good run but you only need to look at the Villa game to demonstrate that we are severely lacking at the back when teams try to get at us. We have got a strong midfield, but without Arteta playing, we look scared to play the ball through it. We never even looked likely to get the ball through the middle and try to pull players out of their defence to make an opening, all because our defence are pulling our midfield the wrong way.

Please David, get Joey back in the team and as soon as fit get Ferrari playing. We are starting to look like a team, but we will never be the team we should be with such naive and basic tactics where we try to stop the other team playing above our own game.

Today is a perfect example of how not to set the team up. We missed a great opportunity to put one over on them, and instead managed to turn victory into defeat through a complete lack of ambition.

Finally, can someone please explain what place Kevin Kilbane or Richard Wright have in a Premier League team; we all knew what they would do and they didn’t disappoint. Oh well, maybe Moyes thinks that 3-1 defeats to Liverpool now guarantee a good run of form!
Andy Norbury, Chester  (25/3/06)

Some intelligent analysis there, Andy. Thanks. — Michael

Lets say it slowly for the hard of understanding
David Moyes:

  1. The players he has are what he has to work with
  2. The players he wanted to buy to improve the squad wouldn't come
  3. The players who would have come were either crocked or would not have improved the squad
  4. We lost an away fixture to the 3rd placed team
  5. We won the previous 7 games
  6. We are still in with a chance of qualifying for Europe next season and, unlike some teams, we won't be allowed to enter unless we do qualify
  7. If you honestly think things couldn't be any worse you are wrong
  8. If you think Everton would be a better team with Rooney, Gravesen, Parker, Sissoko, Emre, Owen, Keane etc. you are correct
  9. Go back to (1) and read on...

Tony Horne, Kettering  (25/3.06)

They were there for the taking... apart from the fact that our defenders are so slow we have to sit deep, even when we have a man advantage; our goalkeeper is the worst I have EVER seen; our 'England' striker is an average Championship striker at best; our manager has signed or re-signed one-paced, unskilled garbage; and our manager is a tactical dinosaur.

And to all those IMWT boys who are dreading him leaving: check out the reaction from the Newcastle fans — they are praying that he's staying at Everton. The only place he will ever win anything is the two-horse race that occurs in Glasgow and the sooner he goes the better.

Tony is bang on about this season being a complete embarassment... horrible football, horrible results, derby humiliations, useless players on long, fat contracts... very similar to the dreaded Walter scenario.

Obviously we're all gutted but it's not a knee-jerk; lots of us just don't see any hope and that's just sad.
Mike Price, Songkhla, Thailand  (25/3/06)

I wonder is it fair, though, to link the disasters of this game with previous failings, particularly after we were doing so well? Yes it all really fell apart today, which perhaps shows how tenuous our grasp of real progress is. But for the entrenched pro- and anti-Moyes camps, this alternate crowing and baiting, win or lose, really is getting a bit tiresome. — Michael

Shame !
We had one of our best chances to turn Liverpool over today, especially after Gerard's early departure. Neville was unfortunate to put the ball in his own net, but the abscence of Arteta and Valente, coupled with a few below-par performances was always going to make it an uphill battle.

These problems should all sort themselves out soon enough, although the antics of Richard Wright are far more of a concern. It's obvious the defence has no confidence in him, and who can blame them? I'd like to see Iain Turner given a run from now until the end of the season. He can't be any worse than Wright, and if he performs well, he may save us splashing a few million in the summer !

It's the second time we've lost badly to the reds in succession, but only two defeats (both away from home) since new year is not a bad record, and the manager doesn't deserve a fan bashing for this performance alone. I just hope he buys sensibly in the summer, and adds quality to the squad so we have some sort of depth to replace injured and suspended players.
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (25/3/06)

Know alls know fuck all
Weir is finished; too slow, and a liability. Wright is probably the shittest keeper I have seen in a blue shirt that includes some right shite such as Paul Gerrard, Simonsen, Espen Baardsen, Jason Kearton to name but a few, Moyes is responsible for playing him yet again for another fuckup. To anyone posting in his support, in all the years he has been at Everton he has had less than a handful of games worthy of the kit so how does that make him anywhere near good enough? So, Moyes, thanks for being responsible despite his recent obviously shit games of sticking with him.

Moyes is responsible too for the useless Naysmith. Anyone worth a carrot would have long since shipped him off and taken a punt on someone else, such as the lad he missed from Tranmere. Don't come on here singing Moyes's praises and not be able to take his well-deserved tanning for his indecisive and shit player choices and this latest defeat —not forgetting the season up to December.

Knee jerk of course; mad, yes but as a paying supporter — why not?
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (25/03/06)

Moyes for Newcastle!
Nothing ever changes. Our key player is missing. Gerrard gets sent off and we don't have any quality to make the extra man count.

We get back in the game at 2-1 and then Moyes steps in to make sure we get beat. Anyone with any sense knows Ferguson can't play with Beattie. Two lumbering strikers together will never work. But our idiot manager thinks it might. I'm not even going to mention his other substitution but thank you Moyes for another inept and humiliating performance — and good luck with the Newcastle job!
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (25/3/06)

Another job for the Moyestro
Just back from the game and as disappointed as all fellow Evertonians who DIDN`T shell out an incredible hundred quid to see us get stuffed!

I knew we were up against it when Arteta was ruled out and with Nuno Valente and Martyn still not available, the manager`s options were severely limited. Thought we had by far the better of the first half and Neville was bitterly unfortunate to concede an own goal on the stroke of half-time.

Most Evertonians will agree that VdM`s sending off was no more than a `get out of jail` card for the ref and the heart seemed to go out of the team after that injustice. But don`t let`s forget what a great 2006 we`d had up to today and just as Davey has proved he can bring us back from the abyss in the past, I am positive he will have everyone firing on all cylinders next week — that`s what makes him `The Moyestro`!
Richard  Dodd, Formby  (25/3/06)

Predictable selections and result
Well no surprises there then. Wright did exactly as many of us predicted. Moyes persevered with the Weir & Stubbs combination and as a result we were forced to play much of the game deep in our own half — even with the extra man. Timmy battled well in the middle of the park with little help from Neville — proof, if needed, that we are desperately in need of a quality midfield player in the summer.

Well, with little chance of European qualification now, perhaps Moyes will finally give Turner a run in the side and bring back Yobo and Ferrari when fully fit. After all, every cloud has a silver lining... or does it?
Gerry Western, London  (25/03/06)

No defence!!
No defence for the selection, no defence for the tactics and no defence full stop. What did Kilbane achieve in any productive sense? Yeah, Gerrard scythed him down but so what, Kilbane's inclusion will never be productive. Is Moyes sleeping with his wife and feels sorry for him because, apart from running around passing to the opposition, what does he actually do?

Yet again Weir and Stubbs — no I'm not complaining about one game, I'm complaining about every game. Did either of these two win a single header? Why were they stood 5 yards inside our own box when the ball was played on the ground to Kewell? I'll tell you why, the're so fucking slow they can't get out quick enough to close people down and are so terrified that they will be skinned for pace that they defend deeper and deeper as the game develops.

Is there another defensive pair that can't close people down at the edge of their own box in the Premiership? The pair of them are useless; neither wins headers sent in from any angle other than straight balls. If any of you doubt this, watch the next match and count how many clean headers either wins when balls are sent in at an angle. Those of us who have played football at a decent level know this is the sign of old age - the inability to get off the ground without a run up. Strategic planning for the future? I don't think Moyes knows what it means!!

Naysmith was just plain shite, his passing was aimless his touch was poor and what the fuck was he doing after Stubbs was beaten (yet again) by Crouch for Garcia's goal? I hope Valente was really injured!!! — but nonetheless Neville should have been at LB and not Naysmith. Which leads me on to Wright. What can you say other than he is not and never will be a Premiership goalie. His decision-making is poor and he provides no confidence for anyone around him.

Ferguson on the bench...what??? And just to form he aimlessly fouls Alonso to get booked. Doesn't win anything and contributes absolutely ziltch. He's an ignorant Scottish thug who has no right to wear the royal blue shirt of Everton anymore.

So now we get to Moyes: what exactly was his tactical approach? Was it get the ball down and try and get wide? Was it turn the back four and pressurise them? Was it hit Beattie and then look to support? No, it was kick the ball in the general direction of their goal and avoid conceeding a goal and if we're lucky we might get a free kick or corner to cause them some problems. Then they go down to 10 men and suddenly Cahill, Neville, Osman and Kilbane go missing because, without Arteta, there's not a single football brain between them. So that leaves Moyes's only real tactic: give the ball to Arteta, and we're fucked cos he wasn't there.

We concede a goal just on half-time and surely the first thing that he must have said was don't concede another 'cos they will tire and defend deeper — don't give them a cushion to defend. So, assuming he says that, then Stubbs, Naysmith and Wright are all useless twats because what Liverpool did was simple Route One football that should be easily dealt with.

We're a second goal down, and he gets three subs ready, obviously looking to take two midfielders and one forward off. We score from a corner not from open play, have not looked like creating anything from open play, and he puts Ferguson on with Van the man (absolutely no comment on him cos' I can't remember seeing him play a full game — oh sorry he hasn't !!!).

Yes we scored a goal but if he felt that we needed to change the midfield because they wern't performing... what actually changed? Cahill scoring, perhaps? Well, if he was planning to take him off he obviously balanced his possible goal scoring against his general play and felt a change was needed.

What is his tactical assessment that has changed? Confidence of a goal? But if the midfield needed changing then surely straight after the goal when they are more pensive is the time to add to their questions not sit back and let those same players become subdued again.

Moyes has no tactics, his team selection is based on nepotism and a care of the elderly; he does not know how and does not possess players who can change a game - and who buys the players?

The prosecution rests. What has the defence to say?
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (25/3/06)

Biased Parry
No chance of getting tickets for Anfield these days so reduced to Prem Plus and an appallingly biased comentary by Alan `The Red` Parry. His partner, Brian Marwood, seemed embarrassed by it at times!

As for the game, I didn`t think we ever got into it properly although my heart went out to Phil Neville who was certainly up for it. I do continue to worry about Weir whose game now relies on impeding and shirt pulling and, as ever, Wright, who always seems to make the wrong decision.

As far as Plan B was concerned, Van der Meyde has obviously learned from the ridiculous Ferguson that once you`re fit you can still avoid having to play by getting yourself sent off! Let`s just hope that we can put the defeat behind us and, as Moyes always says, soon get back on track.
Harry  Meek, Worcester  (25/3/06)

Moyes Exposed Again
Now, after today's pathetic attempt at playing football, will the blind headless chickens out there calling Moyes a good manager shut the fuck up? Why the hell are Wright and Naysmith still playing for us? It's taking the piss out of the supporters having to watch them ponce about in a blue shirt.

No so-called good manager would have them two, Kilbane or the ridiculous Andy van der Meyde anywhere near their team. We all knew that Wright was going to fuck up today so why doesn't Davey Moyes see it.

It's alright for some of these out-of-town Evertonians who think Moyes is wonderful — their kids don't have to go to school around here on Monday. They don't have to go in the local pubs tonight and tomorrow putting up with all these red gobshites everywhere.

It's getting to the point now were I would sooner give my season tickets up than watch Moyes's Everton play pub football much longer. Its killing me and Moyes is killing Everton with his outdated style of doing things.

Davey, you are out of your depth here; please go to Newcastle, Celtic or the north pole — anywhere but here; we have had enough humiliation this season to last us a life time.

Moyes a good manager? Don't make me laugh. The tactics (or lack of) are a joke and after four years of Davey Boy we are no different to watch than the Walter Smith sides. This season has been one of the most depressing and miserable we have ever had to endure and yet still some sing his name. There won't be much singing tonight I am afraid. Please, someone call the Samaritans.

Or a Taxi for Moyes.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (25/3/06)

Choked it Again
IMWT? Not me, I am afraid. Why hasn't Richard Wright been sussed by now by this manager? If you get a shot on target his success rate at stopping is nothing short of abysmal. Even the defenders panic when it gets near him — he unnerves everybody.

So we had all the Moyes Supporters saying how great we were and that we were heading towards the top 6 and the players were coming out saying they were on their way to European competition but did not do the business when it REALLY mattered just like all the other times this season. 6-2 in the games aganst Liverpool who played the lion's share of this latest debacle a man down is simply not progress.

Let me take you back. Mr Royle never lost a Derby and actually won us silverware but was given less credit that this Glascow clown. Hurry up, Newcastle; come and take him back north.

Let's face it, the moment we lost Arteta we were up against it — so stark was this fact that even when Gerrard was sent off we still could not muster a shot on target. Beatie for England? Don't make me laugh — granted, service to him today was not great but he was made to look just what he is — absolutlely average, playing for mid-table no-hopers.

Sorry this sounds so damning but they build us up and then this... Why on earth did Moyes sit the subs back down after scoring? Anyone could see it needed changing even despite the goal and true to form we almost concede a third with Alonso's shot which hit the bar.

Too many, once again, went missing. Neville was poor, Osman looked like a little kid trying out for the reps and poor old David Wear needs to be put in an old people's home to convalesce. We are in dire need of a new keeper, at least one centre-half and a bank loan in order to keep the only shining lights Cahill and Arteta at this club. However, if a top team comes knocking for either of these two who could blame them for moving on? I

In my opinion, this manager is shite, indecisive and seems not to be able to leave out the senior pros (although Chris Woods wants a rocket up his arse for allowing Wright to just tread water and never show signs of improvement.) Can you blame the young kids now for not wishing to support us? When another weak display lets us all down once again.

No doubt we will get a few results between now and the end of the season and enter the Intertoto - for me that simply is not good enough, I'm sorry, and we face another summer of missing out on a decent player or three.
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (25/3/06)

Knee-jerk? Everyone's lashing out... we're all in pain. Severe pain after watching that.

I think today sums up the shortcomings in our manager who does show plenty of promise — no doubt about that.

When Gerrard walked, a progressive manager would have looked at the system, rejigged and changed personnel where necessary. Instead, we had to wait till half way through the second half for that. Personally, I think Van der Meyde should have been on from the start instead of Kilbane. If he had flagged he could have been subbed. He certainly should have been on for the start of the second half.

I therefore come to the inescapable conclusion that on many occasions Moyes's lack of progressiveness costs us dear. The fact that we didn't see a lot from Beattie also blindly states the obvious that he needs a quality strike partner but we already know about that old chestnut.
Anthony Newell, Northampton  (25/3/06)

To the IMWT gang:
Defend that if you can.

They had 10 men for most of the game, yet still went 2-0 up. Any other team you could shrugg your shoulders. We played Liverpool today, our local rivals and again made it easy for them. I'd like to thank the managment and staff for a wonderful weekend ahead.

ps: The ref was poor but don't use that as an excuse.
Dave  Charles, Liverpool  (25/03/06)

Opportunity Lost At Anfield
The fact that Gerrard got sent off was possibly the worst thing that could've happened. It means the impetus is on us, and we can't get things going. I felt so sorry for Neville for the o.g. but Everton have themselves to blame for not taking the game to Liverpool when they were clearly disoriented after the sending-off. And to lose a goal immediately after the restart. Only ourselves to blame.

Why did Wright burst out so quickly when Weir is already closing Garcia down? Why did Van der Meyde do what he did? Why did nobody close down Kewell? Why? Why? Why? A terrible, terrible derby defeat when you got the feeling we could have bossed them around. We really miss Arteta. I am so gutted we could not exploit the sending off any more than with just hopeful throw-ins and free-kicks.

However, I do feel we are on the right track here. The first fifteen minutes we were pretty good. Our remaining games are winnable (except Chelsea) and we can still make it to Europe. If Moyes can buy smart and get rid of the deadwood (Weir, Ferguson) we can go places. Creativity and Pace is the key.

Very, very disappointing derby defeat.
Mikhail Ridhuan, Singapore  (25/3/06)

Thats one of the worst derby performances I have ever seen. No discipline at all. Wonder what My old Dutch and Dicky Dodd make of it??!! And Naysmith and Wright, bloody hell what a mess. I bet that's the worst game Naysmith has ever had in football.

I am happy to say well done if the lads play well and Davie does a good job but today was a waste of time, granted the own-goal kicked us in the gut but the second goal... dreadful stuff. Right, I'm off to get pissed.
John Audsley, Leeds  (25/3/06)

Team Selection
Its 15 minutes to kick off and I am going to stick my head on the line here and say WTF has Moyes picked that team. Yobo and VDM on the bench????? No Arteta. I hope im wrong but this team selection tells me that we are going to be beat. Please make me eat my words in 2 hours.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (25/03/06)

Why react like that? You know Moyes does not change a winning team. And Arteta is injured, so stop being silly.

I beg to differ...
...ever so slightly with David Hall: he gives the impression that past players were better than today's players. Due to a 30-year absence (emigration), I was able to see my beloved Everton four times in that period. Quite frankly, I was amazed at the high level of technique and speed of the games.

Most of the old players would need to 'lift' their game to compete in today's premiership. I am not saying for one minute that they could not do so. If that was reversed, almost any modern day squad player if transported back to the past would be a star.
Dick Fearon, Australia  (25/03/06)

I wonder about that. Some basic skills just don't seem to be taught or cultivated these days. First touch and the ability to bring the ball under control in an instant... And what's this with head-tennis? Why do players indulge themselves in a bout of mindless head-tennis during each game? Harry Catterick would have shot the lot of them! — Michael

Although I would like to agree with Aidan's views on our 'keepers coach, is it not somewhat of an oxymoron for someone with absolute zero ability, in any position on the football field, to be able to, so flippantly, lay blame at Woods's feet for the inept dislplays we have witnessed over the past seasons. (Believe me, Aidan is that person.) Nige, even in his forthcoming twilight years, being the exception rather than the rule.

No Aidan, I believe the buck stops with the head coach. It is his responsibility to make sure that his coaching staff have not only the credentials, but also the ability to bring out the very best in whatever player in whatever position. Having said, that I am and always will be a very strong fan of "Davey, the Peoples Manager".
Jimmy Daly, Trussville, USA  (24/3/06)

So what is Trussville famous for? No, let me guess...

Give it a rest!
Will your correspondents ever tire of giving David Moyes a kicking? This week, in spite of the table showing we`re this year`s most successful side by a mile, we`ve had Krøldrup day and night, woeful transfer record, failure to bring on kids and now cricitism for including Fergusson before the team is even announced!

David Hall`s piece on Harry Catterick`s team takes the biscuit. Apart from being a hundred years ago when everyone knows the game was played at walking pace and the players couldn`t hold a candle to today`s super-fit athletes, I have it on good authority that The `great man`s` demeanour would make Moyes look like Mr Sunshine! He NEVER spoke to the press and managed to fall out with with just about every player who played for him. All this is on record in the many books on that era by first hand witnesses.

So for Gawd`s sake, give it a rest, will you? Or is that altogether too much to expect?
Richard Dodd, Formby  (24/3/06)

Err... I guess they will if you will.

No goal
I can see it now. Duncan will be on the bench. He'll be brought on with 20 minutes to go because we are struggling either to hold on to the game — or we're getting beaten and we'll resort to the long ball. Liverpool will be all over us. He'll get booked and it will be game over.

God, I hope I'm wrong.
Andy Veitch, Oxon  (24/3/06)

Welcome to Pessimists Corner!

I am a lifelong Everton fan and can't believe what I have been reading. For the last 10 years, Everton FC have been like a yo-yo, fighting relegation one year and dreaming of Europe the next. Last season, we finished way above our station in 4th (well done, Moyes) and this season we are struggling in 10th. We have an ageing back line and goalkeeper, a excellent midfield and a yard-dog up-front.

Why are we celebrating being top of a form table, when in reality we are in the bottom half and haven't improved on last season, and without major spending in the summer (replacing the back line) we will be even worse next year!!!
Chris Tucker, Liverpool  (24/3/06)

I usually treat every letter on its merits, but this one surely has to be a wind-up. For starters, we are 9th, and ninth puts us firmly in the top half of the table — not the bottom half. Our form since 1 January 2006 has been nothing short of incredible. Our record over that last eleven weeks is better than every single club in the Premiership, BAR NONE. If that's not worth celebrating after the utterly abysmal autumn of 2005, I don't know what to tell ya, fella.

We are celebrating the here and the now — not where we finished last season or the three previous seasons; not where we finish this season (because, guess what: we don't know where that will be!). And not what will happen next year because that is equally unknown, despite your dire predictions.

Just take another look at the table below and say these words: "Wow! That's brilliant! We are performing better than any of them at the moment! Roll on Saturday!!!" — Michael

Negative Vibes
I try with ToffeeWeb, I really do. I mean, it is a forum for Everton fans... so it is worth a visit in my book; but the negative vibes your editorial sends out are unbeleivable.

What exactly will it take for you to turn round and say, "I'm delighted with that result"? 4-1 at home ain't good enough for you; 3-1 at home ain't good enough for you. Why d'ya bother following a football team if you never ever get excited or find time to be happy with the team?

The poison against Moyes is mind boggling. Christ, you really have no clue how screwed we'd be without him.
Mark Laney, Ormskirk  (23/3/06)

Yea, it's all my fault. The trouble is, I have every idea how screwed we were with Moyes at the helm of our squad, wallowing in a crisis of confidence and self-pity. Witness one god-awful start to the season, all down to a goal being disallowed...

May be that whole thing washed right over you? Or were you in hiding when that all transpired? Well, it left its mark on me. And on Everton's season. Despite producing better results than all the other teams in the Premiership for the last 2½ months (see table below), we are currently down in ninth place. Do the maths. See if you can figure out why that is.

I write all the letters meself too — see the next two above... And as for "poison against Moyes" — what the fuck are you talking about? He does well, and we give him credit; he performs poorly and people voice their opinions... It's called football. T'was ever thus. Either get your head out of your arse, or go and read Dominic King every day to see how wonderful everything really is. Just don't come on here with this boring crap, alright? — Michael

After reading Chris Marks's well-delivered progress so far article, I would briefly like to pick up on one point in particular and that is the obvious need for a new stopper this summer.

Over recent history we have hardly covered ourselves in glory with our signings of number ones. In fact, a catalogue of disasters is closer to the truth. Gerrard Simonsen and Wright to name but a few. My point is that, although over this period we have a had different coaches, managers, and even chairman, the one common denominatator is the Goalkeeping Coach.

Now the goalie is a very specialist area and if I remeber rightly Mosiah is quoted in saying that all goalie issues are dealt with by Chris Woods. As we have all seen, I cannot remember a stopper since the world-class Neville Southall being able to kick it straight. To state the bleed'n obvious, and keep moving on from the progress that the Red Haired one has made we need a good premiership keeper. Leaving this decision to Woods does not fill me with confidence.
Aidan Daly, Ellesmere Port  (24/3/06)

A number have commented on the remarkable ability of Chris Woods to single-handled oversee the decline and ultimate demise of a succession of well-hyped incoming Everton goalies — all of whom were burdened with the label of being a "future England No 1". If I never heard that phrase again, I would die happy. — Michael

A Chance to Shine
I know how you hate us veterans harking back to the `old days` and claiming they were better than today, but a wry smile crossed my face when I read yesterday`s piece from David Fuller about the lack of emerging talent.

Anyone who knew Harry Catterick would tell you that no man ever suffered fools less gladly or gave house less willingly to the `unproven` than he. Yet no less than 10 members of his 69/70 Champions squad were local lads brought up on a diet of boot-cleaning and endless skills practice and presented with their chance to shine at any age from 16+!

I wonder how many Mailbaggers still remember that teenagers Darcy, Humphreys and Kenyon all made fleeting appearances in that glorious season and that Royle, Husband and Whittle were certainly no older than our `young` star Leon Osman. Just for the record,local `veterans` Labone, Wright, Husband and Harvey made up the Scouser compliment. Don`t tell me there`s no similar talent on Merseyside today. I just won`t have it!
David Hall, Taunton  (24/3/06)

Yes; there was one lad who was better than any of them. Can you guess what happened to him?

What was wrong with him was patently obvious if you cared to watch. He cannot head a football. This is spmewaht of a handicap to a central defender in the Premier League.
John Beesley, Maghull  (24/3/06)

Wasn't that just another part of the spin? "Can't head the ball; can't hack it in the Prem"? See, isn't it funny how many different explanations there are out there???

The truth behind Per Krøldrup?
Not sure if I've mentioned this before but in response to the PK question as to what happened, I've heard from reliable sources that it was purely about cash. We signed him paying £1.5M up front in hope of CL footy. We didn't get it, another £1.5M had to be paid after 5 appearances, and well we couldn't pay it. This can't be said publicy, as it would diminish our D&T Top 20 spin, so Moyes agrees to put out a (frankly) unbelievable excuse.
David Flynn, London  (24/03/06)

If true, it's pretty shameful that no-one had the balls to admit that was what was going on. Put like that, it makes perfect business sense, everyone would understand the logic, it would explain why he sat on the bench for so many games — purely just incase someone was injured. Instead, we are fed a pack of lies just so Buster's moment of glory is not tarnished. That is truly pathetic. — Michael

More Strikers While The Iron's are Hot
In reponse to the letters celebrating our new-found strategy of strikers actually scoring goals, here's two questions:

Who will play up front if Beattie or McFadden get injured/suspended?

Where would we be in the league right now if we had one or more strikers in the squad to compensate for the absence of a strike force from August to January?

I'm pleased that our strikers are now doing their jobs after so long. Let's have some serious competition to keep them and us up to speed!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (24/3/06)

Er... there's no James Vaughan; Anichebe has faded; Vidarsson has concusion... I know — DUNCAN FERGUSON!

Naysmith and Pistone
Two quick points; one the money shelled out to reward Naysmith and Pistone for years of non-service will amount to £4M over the course of both contracts. It would make sense for Moyes to ditch those two and use the money saved to buy better (Ferrari). And if people are worried about injury track records then it makes less sense not to buy Ferrari when you reflect on the total appearences made by Naysmith and Pistone over five years!

Secondly, Moyes's transfer abilities are poor and you just have to watch Bravo and Krøldrup to see that. A quality player who was treated appallingly, while Naysmith and Pistone (who are both shite and injury prone) get the benefit of doubt! The case is clear but unfortunately a few fans want Everton to be average and that's what we're we are and where we will stay without courage in the transfer market!
Luq Yus, London  (24/3/06)

The Krøldrup Mystery
Surely there's no mystery, it's blindingly obvious: Moyes likes big centre-halves who attack the ball (and Man!) a la Terry, Adams, Campbell, Weir etc. He doesn't trust game-reading, quick interceptors. His distrust of Yobo is blindingly obvious and Krøldrup was obviously a footballer too far.

A further indication of Davey's attitude is this talk (please it can only be talk, can't it?) of bringing back Ferguson after his seven matches out, for the derby match. Feguson in the early 1990s was a class act: he had pace, excellent control and aerial power, though he was never a good finisher. Now he is a bully who ought to be left out of the picture for the rest of the season. Not considered as a battering ram to be used against Liverpool for the last half hour.

Davy likes big, whole-hearted lads, preferably British and that's why Krøldrup is back in Italy. British fans like passion. Allardyce, Pearce, O'Neill are all considered suitable for the England job because they prance up and down on the touchline. None of them has produced a clever or attractive team, they produce teams that battle and are hard to beat. Davey is of that ilk.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (24/3/2006)

Which begs a few questions... all them johonny foriegners we have playing in the Prem... and how the more successful teams seem to have more of them, and fewer of the incredible British hulks. Or am I missing something? — Michael

The Danish Pastry!
I’ve been reading quite a bit on Per Krøldrup in the mailbag saying that he looks a great player for Florentina. That may be, but I feel people need to realise the difference in the style of football between England and Italy. In Italy it’s all slow, slow, stop, stop, slow – and he may well look great playing that style. But put him in England where you’ve got crosses and long balls flying at you from all angles and 6ft 4 centre forwards clattering into you every five minutes maybe he would simply not have not coped, and when Moyes saw him up close he realised that (i.e. he didn’t do his scouting properly!).

I remember when he was coming back from injury and he played a reserve game, in the match report it said he looked completely lost and didn’t know what had hit him – if he was like that in the stiffs imagine what he’d be like in the Premiership! At the end of the day, Moyes wasted five million extremely valuable pounds and I just hope to God he has learned from it.

As for the Derby — keep it tight first twenty and get into half time level. Throw Duncan on second half and you just never know. The Big Man rising, last minute, Kop End - fairytales can happen!
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (24/3/06)

Level at half-time... What's wrong with a two-goal lead???

What about 2005?
As the resident Victor Meldrew of these columns, you would not expect me to glory in the euphoria of the recently published `2006` table without requesting similar statistics for the WHOLE of 2005. Just in case anyone has forgotten, that was the calendar year that Everton and `The Sacred One` went to sleep.

Like the man said, stats can be made to show anything. Just as we are shown to be top dogs this year, a similar job on last year`s figures would show us alarmingly near the bottom. All of this froth means nothing until we get it together for a complete season and I still remain to be convinced by this manager and his yoyo team.
Harry Meek, Worcester  (24/3/06)

Bah humbug!

In defence of the ageing
I hear what you're saying on the defensive question about age, but at the time of voting Stubbs was just settling in and my vote went to players (Yobo/Ferrari) who I think, given the chance, could prove to be key in the future...

It wasn't to do with foreign-ness, though — my favourite player is Hibbert — I just saw too many instances of Weir getting beaten for pace in the first half of the season to merit an ageing back pairing, but they have proven me wrong so far this year... long may it continue! COYB!
Ian Pennington, Manchester  (23/03/06)

Per Krøldrup
I have to agree with Giovanni Morrello in his letter of 22/3/06 re Per Krøldrup. I have recently returned from a four-week business trip to Italy. Whilst there, I was invited to attend some Serie A matches and chose, for the first game, to watch Fiorentina, partly because I had seen them play in the past and partly to see just how "poor" David Moyes's most recent "flop", Per Krøldrup, was.

What I witnessed then, and in the two succeeding Fiorentian matches I attended, was a class centre-half who had it all. Unlike the reports we got when he was at Everton under Moyes's "expert" coaching, where we were told variously that he was shaky, indecisive and didn't have the skills for the Premiership, I saw three world-class defensive/attacking performances from a highly gifted player.

As Giovanni and his source have pointed out, Krøldrup thrived on the pressure and not only broke up solid, well-orchestrated attacking moves from the opposition, he turned defence into attack with his peerless passing and general distribution of the ball to teammates. I told my colleague that I believe that if Krøldrup had gone to the dreaded Liverpool instead of David Moyes's Everton, they could now well be genuine challengers for the Premiership title because of the class, strength and skill he would have contributed to their side.

I firmly believe that Krøldrup is one of the three best central defenders I have seen in 43 years of playing, coaching and watching our wonderful game. And we at Everton "blew it" by treating him disgracefully and ultimately losing him.
John Cooper, Australia  (24/3/06)

It is indeed a very starnge and bizarre business. Thanks for yet another confirmation that there really was nowt wrong with Krøldrup as a footballer... so what the hell was it??? — Michael

Ferrari & Yobo
Not to be xenophobic, but it's really a best bet on a back 4 of Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs & Naysmith with Neville & Ferrari able to fill in. Valente can play further up (instead of the Lancastrian Irishman) and also Yobo, until they learn their defensive trade. David can keep testing Weir & Stubbs for Parkinson's... who knows how many extra seasons?

Get a mathematician to correlate Stubbs's return with points gained this season, or do it with 5 fingers. Hopefully they can all stay in a stable squad for next season, and we can get a couple of million for Pistone, if he's not out of contract — either option for him would be great.
Dave Tootill, Johannesburg, South Africa  (23/3/06)

Ben Leyland — Dizzy Dean
Sorry to burst your bubble, but there's no connection between Dizzy Dean and Dixie. Dizzy Dean was a great pitcher during the 30's. He evidently got his nickname from his seargent in the army, who caught the 16-year-old pitching peeled potatoes at garbage cans and called him a 'dizzy son of a bitch.' Dizzy was quite the character.

Now, on to Saturday: God bless the Blues.
Greg  Dawson, Sacramento, CA  (23/03/06)

And that's quite enough about baseball, thank you. Why does it look like they are playing in their pyjamas? No, don't answer that! — Michael

The Matteo Ferrari Mystery
To reply to Thommo about Matteo Ferrari. He was signed on loan for the season with a view to a permanent £3.7M transfer. For this to happen, all parties have to agree to it at the end of the season. In this case, Roma have changed their minds and decided they don't want to sell him. According to his agent Giovanni Corci, Ferrari would be more then happy to return to Italy, and given the criticism Moyes has had for signing injury-plagued players, would he want to get his fingers burnt again, by paying £3.7M for another crock?

Your point about the loan fee being payed as part of the tranfer fee... Maybe it was? Maybe it was a £500k loan fee and another £3.2M if a transfer was agreed, making it a £3.7M deal? Who knows? If you are suggesting that we should have given Roma a large chunk of the £3.7M fee to guarantee the transfer, this seems a big risk to take at the start of a loan deal, for a player with no experience of English football. His injury record this season would also suggest that Everton were wise not to do this.

You also mention the possibility of cancelling the deal. What benefit would it be to Roma to agree to a cancellation clause? I would think that no sensible club would agree to this, unless it benefits both clubs involved.

At the start of the season he was deemed surplus to requirements by Roma, so there would be no reason for them to recall him. Therefore, they want to guarantee that we pay his wages for the whole season, even if he injured for most of it. It's good business sense from Roma and risk that Everton had to take when deciding to get him on loan for the season. If we had a option to send him back in January, Roma would then have been stuck with an unfit player on £20k+ a week, so there is no way they would agree to such a clause in the deal.

Hope this has cleared up a few things, and absolved Moyes, Wyness and Kenwright from any UNFAIR criticism.
Marcus Turner, Bangkok, Thailand  (23/3/06)

The James Gang!
During the early part of this season, we were all worried that Everton didn't have the strikers capable of scoring goals. Moyes was absolutely slaughtered by some fans for not adding a striker to the squad during the January transfer window. Moyes made a brave decision to stick with the strikers he had and The James Gang have now repaid his faith.

The James Gang, also known as Beattie and McFadden, have started to score on a regular basis and have the makings of a decent partnership. The James Gang are scoring goals and pushing Everton up the league and Moyes still has his transfer fund for the summer. Aren't you glad Moyes didn't waste his transfer fund in January by signing an over-priced lower-league player like Nugent or Trundle?
Dutch Schaeffer, 23/3/06  (23/3/06)

And aren't you one smug bugger. But the facts of the matter, Dutch, are these. The non-singing of a much-needed striker goes back to the previous summer. The ineffectiveness of the so-called "James Gang" is a major factor in what made 2005 so miseralbe for all of us. And that was all down to Moyes. His failure to invest in a decent striker may well have cost us any chance of progressing in Europe. If that's good management, I'm a Chinaman.

In my admittedly jaundiced eyes, Moyes remains wholly culpable for all the dreadful failings of Everton FC on the field throughout 2005, and I will not be forgetting that dreadful spell any time soon... especially not when people like you try to subtly re-write history! — Michael

I also think Sean Wafer's summary of the 'Ferrarigate' affair is way off. Yes, the Roma president may have said it was a mistake to let him go but the terms of the transfer was an initial loan period with a view to a permanent transfer. A £3.7M fee was agreed but now Sean tells us not to expect a permanent deal?! Well, he may still be a Roma player but the terms were laid down and if it doesn't go through it's down to more transfer bungles from Moyes and Kenwright.

As for the stats regarding Weir and Stubbs, so what! Does anyone seriously expect this partnership to get stronger or weaker next season? It's obvious the future is with Yobo and Ferrari, not because they are foriegn but because they are young class acts. I bet Man United or Chelsea wouldn't hesitate in shipping out the old guard and getting better younger players in, so why should I settle for second best?

And Big Dunc. you're a legend in my eyes but please do not do anything stupid on Saturday... like play!!!
Luq Yus, London  (23/3/06)

Sorry, no Dean connection!
In response to Ben Leyland's question... no, there's no connection between baseball's Dizzy Dean and Everton's Dixie Dean. Dizzy picked up his nickname because of his eccentric personality — his bragging and colorful antics were as legendary as his pitching ability. (His younger brother, also a fine pitcher, was nicknamed Daffy.)

And I'm afraid that, however widespread the fame of Dixie and Everton back then, it did not extend across the pond. US interest in soccer was almost nonexistent until after World War II. Incidentally, there was a famous Dixie in American baseball during that era as well, Dixie Walker, but he was so named because of his Georgia background.
Mike Gaynes, Moss Beach, California, USA  (23/03/06)

I thought you might mention that Dixie Dean was a great fan of this boring American game, and that he participated in some games when in the USA.

Derby Week
Ah, you've gotta love it don't you? Nick Armitage's article was boss, and the Danish boy's league table will shut up the rest of the twats I come across... and don't they come out the woodwork at this time of year? Me Blue Dad would say that's because they all get paroled at the same time, but I'm of a — slightly — more charitable view.

But that's neither here nor there, I just want to make a fool of myself and predicate a result. Score draw, and a good performance considering the form of the opposition at the minute. Do you think most Blues would be pleased with that?
David Caldwell, Slough  (23/3/06)

European Qualification
Whilst I enjoyed Chris Marks article, I feel I have to temper his belief that we may qualify for Europe. I hope I'm wrong.

Chris quite rightly mentions our relatively easy run-in. However, Blackburn's run-in is practically the same, playing 5 of our last 8 opponents. In fact, it could be argued that their run-in is easier. Everton will require 7 points more from their last 8 games to overtake Blackburn.

We would also have to leapfrog Bolton and Wigan whilst fending off a whole host of clubs just below us. Bolton are 5 points clear with 2 games in hand and whilst we may catch Wigan I think even seventh spot may be beyond us. At least that means I don't have to wish for a Liverpool Chelsea final to bring qualification place down to seventh.

And there's still the Intertoto Cup. I'm no snob, I will definitely travel abroad to see Everton in that cup, its about the beer and the craic. We may even win a game in Europe!
Mike Kennedy, London  (23/3/06)

Manager of the Season... Twice
This season, there has been alot of talk about David Moyes, especially before Christmas and whether he is the man for the job; for me, HE IS — without doubt. Since he took over, we have steadily improved, albeit slowly. If we can keep hold of him AND the better players in the squad (not sell them every time an agent smells money), I believe we have every opportunity to get back to where we belong.

The excerpt below has been taken from a Man Utd fan site and in many ways there are alot of comparisons with what Moysey has done so far; we just need to give him the time.

1986-90: Dodgey beginnings

Ferguson's first job was to lift United away from the foot of the table after Ron Atkinson had steered the club into trouble. This he accomplished but problems major remained. United's reputation as a boozing club was not without foundation and Alex tackled the situation head-on. In addition, he revamped the youth team system, a decision that would repay a hundred fold.

He paid minute attention to every detail of club life, first to arrive and last to leave was his attitude. Former United star Mark Hughes returned from Barcelona, Steve Bruce, Brian McClair, Gary Pallister and Paul Ince arrived but United were still adrift of the then champions, Liverpool. Though finishing an admirable second in 1988, 1989 brought dour anti-climax as the reds finished 11th. The side was hard working, methodical and dull, while Fergie's cautious approach did not win the fans over.

To read the rest of this article, follow this link.
Sean Hooley, Liverpool  (23/3/06)

Raising the Bar
John Weston is spot on with his progress report on Moyes but I would love to see the manager`s job description. In it, I am sure, is a clause relating to the development of young players, an area which Moyes either ignores or has failed in apallingly.

Looking back over his four years: Hibbert had already been bloodied by Walter Smith; Rooney was a genius waiting to happen — and for whom Moyes did little in my view; Osman had to wait almost too long for his chance; and Vaughan was only introduced at 16 to obliterate Rooney`s name from our history. Other than that — nothing!

Pearce at Man City and McLaren at Middlesbrough have, in my view, done a far better job with young players and it`s about time Moyes recruited staff capable of providing a steady stream of talent for the first team.

If all this sounds like carping, it is mentioned only to keep some perspective about Moyes`s all-round progress so far. In my firm, they raise the bar each year and widen the brief if they think your up to it. For Moyes to be viewed as anything other than a necessary improvement on his predecessor, he needs to embrace a similar philosophy.
David Fuller, Bebbington  (23/3/06)

Tough... but fair!

2006 Table so far
Maybe the league table for 2006 is worth mentioning... Could it be an omen for what's to come next season?


Pos Club P W D L Pts
1 Everton 10 7 2 1 23
2 Blackburn Rovers 11 7 1 3 22
3 Liverpool 13 6 3 4 21
4 Chelsea 10 6 2 2 20
5 Manchester Utd 9 6 1 2 19
6 Arsenal 11 5 2 4 17
7 Bolton Wanderers 10 4 5 1 17
8 West Ham United 9 5 1 3 16
9 Tottenham Hotspur 10 4 3 3 15
10 Fulham 11 5 0 6 15
11 Newcastle Utd 11 4 2 5 14
12 Charlton Athletic 12 3 5 4 14
13 Middlesbrough 10 4 1 5 13
14 Manchester City 10 4 0 6 12
15 Aston Villa 10 3 3 4 12
16 Wigan Athletic 10 3 3 4 12
17 Birmingham City 10 3 2 5 11
18 West Brom 10 2 2 6 8
19 Portsmouth 10 2 1 7 7
20 Sunderland 11 1 1 9 4

Kjell Åge, Denmark  (23/3/06)

Well, will ya look at that!!!

'Dizzy' Dean
I've just come across a baseball legend called Jay "Dizzy" Dean, who played for St Louis Cardinals in the 1930s and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953. Does anybody know of a connection with our Dixie? His debut was in 1930 so it looks to me like he was named after WRD, which would give an indication of how far EFC's fame spread far and wide in those days.
Ben Leyland, London  (23/03/2006)

During an interview with Sky Sports, Spud, as he is affectionatley known, said he would not be going across the park. However, just to keep the conspiritists happy, he didn't mention about not going elsewhere though!

PS... I'm shittin it for Saturday!
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (23/3/2006)

Ferrari & Yobo
So the vast majority of fans voted for a Yobo/Ferrari, I really dont understand that. The statistics prove that Weir/Stubbs is the partnership that's best at keeping clean sheets and winning games.

What has Ferrari done this season for the fans to have so much faith in him? He's been continually injured and only played a handful of games, most of which Everton lost. Stubbs on the other hand is very rarely injured and has been instrumental in this superb form since the start of 2006. Why on Earth would you pick Ferrari over Stubbs????

Personally I think fans tend to favour younger/quicker players because they are more fashionable. Stubbs has proven beyond doubt that he's the capable player to do the job and age has nothing to do with it.

If your good enough your old enough. That true of both teenagers and players in their late 30's.
Dutch Schaeffer, Liverpool  (23/3/06)

And perhaps it's an element of the foreign glamour import over the work-a-day local slogger. Fans seem to be placing great faith in dilletante foreign types (Ferrari, Van der Meyde, Krøldrup even!) in preference to the Bulldog British breed (Weir, Stubbs, Hibbert). Heck, even my favourite Everton player is a fancy-looking Spanish lad! — Michael

Comparison not the whole story
Richard Dodd makes a good point about David Moyes`s record bearing comparison with his peers. Certainly he is on a par with every manager outside the top five and few of us would readily swop him for any of the others. But does that make him a GREAT manager, as Dodd would have us believe, or even a GOOD manager, as most would seem to rate him?

Not necessarily, in my view — or not yet, anyway. His performance in preparing for the European adventure was abysmal and naive in the extreme and his rcord in domestic cup competitions is woeful. Similarly, however his proponents gloss over the issue, his tranfer dealings leave much to be desired and he will need to be far more decisive in future. Mystery seems to surround too many of his overseas deals — are they trialists, loans or part/outright purchases and are they injured when they arrive?

I wish to take nothing away from what he HAS achieved — a massive improvement over Walter Smith — but he operates in an era when the Wilkinson-inspired Pro-Licence makes clones of home-produced managers and the really inspirational figures all come from abroad.

Thus, I feel, the comparison approach fails to tell the whole story and Dodd and his ilk (and perhaps Bill Kenwright!) would do well to temper their outright acclaim and attach a `Encouraging four years, capable of further improvement` note to Moyes`s latest appraisal report.
John Weston, Birchwood  (23/3/06)

That point about the Pro-Licence is a good one I've not heard before. And your overall appraisal is bang on. — Michael

A level of achievement
I agree with Richard Dodd in the sense that it's great that our manager and some players are attracting attention. It also shows the sheer lack of quality in the Premiership. All the managers mentioned produce mediocre mid-table teams with football to match. To use the horse-racing term, Moyes is one of the improving and least exposed of this group, hence the current speculation.

If you simply regard Moyes as a promising manager and stick to the facts, ie, he's turned us from perennial relegation candidates to (one season excepted) a top-ten side, then you don't have to spin our current position and our club's great history to make him look a genius. This would save people a lot of effort and perhaps dampen some of the hyperbole and pressure around a coach who in his own words 'hasn't won anything yet'.

Interesting that it was David Moyes himself who said this last year. I was beginning to think I was the only Evertonian left who measures success by the team winning trophies! Thanks, Davey!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (23/03/06)

Response to Chris Marks
Chris, if only all Evertonians shared the same well-balanced view as you. You have in a matter of five paragraphs managed to sum up our season and send a clear message to the 'doom and gloom' merchants that not everything surrounding Everton has to be negative.

Granted, as you explain briefly, Everton did flatter to decieve in the early part of the season but, strikers aside, the team is fairly well balanced. The side are beginning to play the football players of their standard should be, and we have I believe one of the finest managers in the Premier League, if slightly slow on the transfer-market uptake.

In summary, your views are totally unbiased, factlike and very well presented... Ever considered EFC idiot fan roadshows?
Garry Lloyd, Jersey  (23/03/06)

From the horse's mouth....
Just been watching Sky Sports News (coz im a student and have time to do that sort of thing) and Arteta puts the rumours to bed by saying — in an interview — that he does not want to, and could not ever go to Liverpool. Take from that what you like, I'm sure some won't believe him, but hey... who cares.

You moan about Moyes going back on his word by selling our best players but you know the circumstances in which our best players have left. Rooney and Gravesen, our only two best players since Moyes took over. have gone to — officially — the two bigggest clubs in the world.

Fact is that Utd and Real Madrid are clubs that footballers just don't turn down. We are a great club but those two are massive, just as unique as Everton (but no more so) and littered with top-class players. Moyes did say that he never wants to get rid of his best players but he also said that he would never keep a player at Everton if they asked to leave because he understands that having players around who don't want to be there - no matter how good they are - is bad for team moral, something Moyes prides himself on. Both Rooney and Gravesen asked to leave.
Patrick Marks, London  (23/3/06)

That is very reassuring. Good point about the second Moyes quote. I was guilty of putting far too much weight on the first. Shows how easy it is to put spin on things! — Michael

The Disappeared
So it looks like Li Tie has played his last game for Everton. David Moyes does not seem to have much luck with his foreign imports, does he? With Van der Meyde permanently unfit, Yobo apparently on his way and Ferrari soon to disappear before he`s really appeared as it were, the list does not make good reading. To the above can be added the names of Krøldrup, Plessis, Bosnar, Pascucci, Rodrigo, Said, Baardsen, Tal, Wei Feng and no doubt one or two others we never heard about!

I do not, for one minute, believe that xenophobia rules at Bellfield but overseas players seem to get short shrift whilst we are made to suffer the likes of Wright, Kilbane and Naysmith ad nauseam! Any bets against Arteta and Cahill soon following the Gravesen Trail out of Goodison?
Harry  Meek, Worcester  (23/3/06)

Paranoid, me? Nahh, it's you lot...
Marcus Turner, Bangkok, quite rightly reminds us that Ferrari is only on loan from Roma. Also, the Roma chairman has stated that they are taking him back and therefore Moyes couldn't sign him even if he wanted to and that now we should all just shut up about the matter. Well, I'm sorry but this raises more questions than it answers and seems to be part of the mediocrity that emanates from Goodison.

If Ferrari was signed on loan for one season only then why didn't Everton say so at the time? If that is the case, why didn't Everton negotiate to have the right of refusal, rather than Roma, with the loan fee being part of an agreed future transfer fee? What was the point in taking a player, who you would think by this action was not wanted by Roma, on loan to play his way back into form if they could then cancel the arrangement? If this is the case could we, should we have sent him back when he got a long term injury?

The alternatives seem to be that Marcus is wrong either partly or totally or, he is highlighting more of Davey's dithering with help from the backroom disorganization of Kenwright and Wyness. Whatever, it seems Davey is right and we out here certainly don't understand what is going on in there.
Thommo Bigpond, Liverpool  (23/3/06)

Reality check
Michael, having read your reply to Richard Dodd, I can only hope you have not gone and done yourself some harm. Frankly, it seemed a little over the top. I think he was merely suggesting that we enjoy our current form and the positive light it is shining on the club at the minute.

No 'celebration' is required, but if some satisfacton cannot be derived from the recent upturn in fortune and the subsequent attention it brings our better players and manager then what's the point in supporting this club or any other outside of the big four? Should we instead hope for a return to the shite we witnessed from August to December? Then, at least by your rationale, we would not have to worry about anyone poaching our talent or about being misled by the chairman or manager as to their dealings.

Instead we'd be rubbish and far happier for it.
Ronan Hanly, Boston, USA  (21/3/06)

Well, I extrapolated in one direction, and you have extrapolated in entirely another direction. Fair does... But let me take a moment to explain the nub of the issue and its gravitas for Everton FC.

It's not about pissing on our parade: it's about the all-too common Everton tendency of watching our best players leave. And as ever, my focus here is on Everton: I don't give a shit about any other club. One of Moyes's mantras when he joined was that we would no longer be a club that sold its best players... yet we have continued to sell our best players...

The one thing above all else that drives me totally to the point of exasperation with Everton is when we sell our best players; it goes against everything we stand for and strive for. So this business over Arteta — our finest player by a country mile, if you have been watching — will be another "acid test", with Moyes and his buddy Bill already having failed miserabley in two crucial instances so far. Roll camera... — Michael

The debate on centre-back pairings is both interesting and pertinent as, no matter what stats show, both Weir and Stubbs are at the wrong end of their careers to be regarded as anything other than short term. Yobo from my observations seems to lack concentration and good positional sense; the best I have seen him play is on the odd occasion when he has been alongside Ferrari who seemed to talk him through.

This I think gives us the clue as to what is required. Ferrari may well be leaving but he is the type of centre back we need, not just young and quick but old enough to know the position well and a very good organiser of not just his defensive partner but the whole back four. I wish we had seen more of him and I bet so does Joe Yobo.
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (23/3/06)

The one that got away
I know how it pisses off some Evertonians to hear his name mentioned but, on a day when you are talking about our central defence, I hope I will be forgiven for again saying the best one got away!

In Gazetta today, Cesare Prandelli, coach of Fiorentina, says, “Our season has turned round since we got Krøldrup at New Year. His asset in defence is one thing but his distribution is like having additional midfielder. Luca Toni has thrived on the better service and looks a new player, I bet he wishes he could take the Giant to the World Cup with him.”

Please forgive this posting but I know some will be interested.
Giovanni Morrello, Southport  (22/3/06)

Not at all, Giovanni. The truth should never be hidden. This was such a bizarre saga. You have to assume that someone would look extremely bad if the truth did come out... and the only person who appears to be vulnerable in anyway is Richard Dodd's infallible hero... He would go up so much in my estimation if he had the balls to come clean with us on this one. "He's not quite cut out for the Premiership" doesn't even come close, I'm afraid. — Michael

Derby Team Selection
Moyes will be faced with some crucial decisions this weekend.

No doubt he will stick with Wright but given his aversion to coming off his line I suspect Crouch will be given the freedom of the city. Assuming Weir is selected, I fully expect Cisse to appear in the starting eleven in an effort to try and restore his confidence. However, without doubt the most debatable issue is whether to include Ferguson.

Personally, I feel he's got to make the subs bench. Whether he plays will depend on the effectiveness of our midfield. The opposition are physically strong and use this to their advantage but one thing they simply can't cope with are big guys who get at them and no one fits the bill more so than Ferguson. Could be an interesting last 15 minutes — assuming Wright and Weir haven't sold us down the river by that stage...
Gerry Western, London  (22/3/06)

What is Everton’s best centre-back partnership?
Very interesting stats. I would also like to know how many goals we score with each partnership. Everton tend to sit deeper with Stubs and Weir playing to complensate thier lack of pace. My guess is that we create more chances when Yobo is playing as we are able to play higher up the field. That theory obviously doesn't apply to the last couple of games !
Toby Coleman, London  (21/3/06)

Not surprising they fancy Moyes
It isn`t surprising that other clubs are casting an eye towards Davey Moyes, however tentitavely at this juncture. His record bears comparison with the likes of Curbishley, Allardyce and McLaren — all supposedly on the England shortlist — and few would argue that he is in a different class to Robson, O`Leary, Coleman and the sad, sad Bruce. To me, it is a sign of how far he has taken us that the Scottish giants and the moneybags of the North East should be looking in his direction. All the more reason that we should take every opportunity to show this most talented of coaches that he really is one of us — whatever the result on Saturday.

Rather than ranting and raving when other clubs are said to fancy our players — and now our manager — we should see it as a compliment to the progress we are making. And, remember, it`s all due to The Ginger One who has put the pride back into being an Evertonian!
Richard  Dodd, Formby  (22/3/06)

And we should therefore, by extension, celebrate and not be downcast when this appreciation and recognition of our current talent pool translates into the inevitable bids, offers, tappings up, misinformation, denials, counter-offers, capitulations and final transfer deals in which the target finally leaves Everton and goes to join one of these other jealous admirers? Richard, have you not seen that happen before? Or is you Moyes infatuation blinding you to some of the fundamental realities of the football world? — Michael

You are asking which is the best combo at the back. I believe we have to sign Ferrari as he simply is class. He is what we hope Yobo to be like very soon. Calm, composed, skilfull and full of class without the mistakes.

At the moment Yobo is not consistent enought to start, I believe that Stubbs and Ferrari should be next season's duo as the two are clearly class. I am suprised (and yet not) at the fact Stubbs's name is never mentioned when the England squad is concerned. Is he not an older version of Carragher? Yet he never gets picked. Stubbs is more consistant than Ferdinand or King and would form a formidable partnership with Terry, who is like Weir (in terms of style and lack of flair) except far better. Stubbs, Beattie and Hibbert for England!!!!
Aean Nagle, Anfield  (22/03/06)

Let's try this one more time: Matteo Ferrari is on loan from Roma. They said him leaving was a "mistake". It looks like there will be no option for Everton to continue the loan, or sign him permanently. — Michael

Arteta Rumours
Arteta being left out of the derby so Liverpool will sign him in the summer.

Preposterous — that is a ridiculous claim to make, and it is sad that you've published such tom-foolery. Is this what is thought of Everton, of David Moyes? Sorry but it's laughable, and you're all the more cynical and fickle for publishing it.
Daniel Greenwood, Liverpool  (22/3/06)

Well, part of the reason for publishing it is to try to show how preposterous some of the rumours are that go raging around Goodison Park. Ridiculous tom-foolery is absolutely right in my opinion... but you know what? No-one really knows.

And then there are the rumours like this one back in February 2004 that Wayne Rooney would join Man Utd for £25M... and we all know what happened six months later...

Years ago, we would deliberately ignore such rumours, not even mention them. But you know what? The most popular links and items we put up are the rumours. They get the most hits, without question. So it's one of the things people want to read. A bit like The Sun.

And recording them on ths website so they can be looked at in the future lets you see that 90% of them are indeed rubbish. The problem is that no-one knows at the time which ones are in that 10% category. — Michael

Dave Southword
As I and others have pointed out in this Mailbag, if it was not for the hard questions raised by this site and the mailbag corespondents, we would be in the dark perpetually on all things Everton.

The Liverpool Echo couldn't undertake any investigative journalism to save theire lives. The high qulity of this mail bag is down to the editor of the web site. I suggest you go try the other poor-quality message boards and you will finds others of like mind.

Thank god for ToffeWeb.
Billy Bunter, Dublin, OH  (22/03/06)

Thanks, Billy :)

With friends like this
Friend or no friend, denial or no denial, I can say with absolute certainty that `Best Mate`, Freddie Shepherd, DID throw Davis Moyes`s name into a briefing with journalists on Monday. Did he, for one moment, think they would not make it public? Of course not.

My brother-in law who was present says, of course there has been no direct approach but this was Shepherd`s usual way of seeing if there is any positive re-action — via agents — from a possible target. Someone should tell Bill that he can do without friends like Shagger Shepherd!
John  Cameron, Thirsk  (22/3/06)

And journalists don't actually say where this crap comes from because... What? Does Fredfdie start the briefing with "Don't quote me, but..."? — Michael

Moyes to Newcastle?
No chance, my dreams never come true. Moyes and the Barcodes, can't think of a better pairing. So sad it's just an idle dream...
Tom Collie, Maghull  (22/3/06)

Now come on, Tom; you're just going to give us a bad name with talk like that. — Michael

Media Anti-Everton Bias
I want to make my views clear about the obvious anti-Everton bias that exists in certain areas of the media at the moment.

Specifically, I wish criticise a website called 'ToffeeWeb'. Look at the latest dirge you have on your excuse for a homepage. Can you make a simple link to a simple story about Mikel Arteta and a slight injury worry before this week's derby? No! This story is proof to some cock-and-bull rumour about Arteta moving to Liverpool in a signed and sealed deal. Where is your proof?

I suppose because Mikey hangs around with Xabi Alonso a bit means a transfer to Liverpool is a certainty? Nothing to do with the fact that they played for the same village team in their youth perhaps? No, of course not, this is ToffeeWeb; put some spin on it.

And what about last week's 4-1 win over Villa? Anyone saying 'Great! 9 goals in 3 games! We're back on track and bring on the derby!'? No, all you lot can do is say, 'Well, we won 4-1 but after being 3-0 up at half time we should've put another 3 past them in the second half, and by the way, weren't we crap at the start of the season?'

I don't know, somewhere down the line you seem to have lost sight on what it is to be a football supporter. Perhaps because you control a website you think your role has change from giving your support to the club you love to providing a critique and finding problems and stories where there are none. You're not Jeremy Paxman and you're not Alastair Campbell. No football club 'deserves' fans like you. Why don't you follow rugby instead. Please.

All the best.
Dave Southword, Isle of Man  (21/03/06)

And all the best to you too, Dave. Talking of "best", there's this little Latin phrase... ah but never mind: I don't think you'd get it somehow. — Michael

Central Defence Partnership!
There seems to be an opinion that Ferrari and Yobo should be the regular centre-backs because they have pace and are younger players. I personally feel that's a bit unfair to Weir and Stubbs. Yobo & Ferrari might be technically better players but that doesn't neccessarily mean that they are better for the team.

I have a lot of time for Yobo, I think he's a really good defender but it's worth noting that Yobo played in both of the 4-0 drubbings against Villa/Bolton this season; he also played in the 5-1 Din Bucharest slaughter. Remember the 7-0 Arsenal humilation? That day it was Yobo and Weir at the back. Stubbs wasn't involved in any of those matches and, since his return, he's played 8 games and Everton have only conceded 5 goals.

Now I'm not suggesting Stubbs is a better player than Yobo but is it a coincedence that, since his return, Everton have found their best Premiership form? A similar run of form saw them finish 4th last year and Stubbs was involved in almost all the games. Maybe the team plays better with a Weir/Stubbs partnership because although the have experience which seems to breed confidence.

Could it be that the youngsters in midfield like Osman, Cahill and Arteta play better knowing Stubbs/Weir are behind them? I've heard it said on this feedback page that Moyes continues to get it wrong at centre-back but I don't see that. You can't argue with the form Everton have shown since Stubbs/Weir were reunited. I don't know why but Weir/Stubbs works; Weir in particular looks more comfortable with Stubbs.

Of course, given time, Yobo/Ferrari could develop into a great partnership but, in the Premiership, you can't blame Moyes for sticking with what works. Does Ferrari deserve a permanent transfer? I dont think so; he's hardly played... maybe he's injured... maybe he can't displace Weir/Stubbs. Either way, he's only made a handful of appearances this season and that's simply not good enough to warrant a permanent transfer.

Bottom line: I don't care about pace; I don't care about age; I don't care about technical ability... all I want is an Everton defence that doesn't concede goals and at present the stats prove that Weir/Stubbs are the partnership that is hardest to beat.
Dutch Schaeffer, Liverpool  (21/3/06)

Stubbs praise
Just a quickie - I've noticed that a lot of blues are clamouring for Stubbs and Yobo to be our first-choice defensive pairing. Who'd have thought it after the stick Moyes got for bringing Stubbs back? It was a shrewd move and a brave one; good on you, Moyesie.
Ronnie Mukherjee, Merseyside  (21/3/06)

Even if Arteta is going to Liverpool, why would that stop him from playing on Saturday?.
Ryan Holroyd, York  (21/3/06)

Well, I really have no idea... but that was the meat of the rumour... I'm just the messenger here... — Michael

Ferrari + Yobo
To all the people banging on about 'will we or won't we keep Matteo Ferrari': he is not our player; he is on loan from Roma. The Roma chairman has already said it was a mistake to let him leave, and he will be back at the Stadio Olympico next season. So, even if Moysie wanted to sign him, he won't be able to. So stop going on about it!!

As for Yobo, he has said in the past that he will see out his current contract, which runs out summer 2007. This will mean he has lived in England for 5 years, making him eligable for British citizenship. So if he doesn't go to Arsenal this summer, expect a Bosman to Italy or Spain the summer after.
Marcus Turner, Bangkok, Thailand  (21/3/06)

Wow! A voice of reason! Sometimes, the facts just get lost in all the emotion....

It is interesting reading down the mailbag and noting the clamour for the Stubbs and Weir partnership to be broken up in order to accomodate Yobo.

Surely it cannot have escaped some people's attention that our good form in recent seasons tends to coincide with periods when Yobo is dropped or unavailable.

The common denominator in the thrashings within the last eighteen months at the hands of Tottenham, Arsenal, Dinamo Bucharest, WBA, Bolton and Aston Villa is the presence of Yobo at the heart of the defence.

Stubbs and Weir have played together numerous times in recent seasons without us once leaking goals like the proverbial sieve.

If only the pair of them were ten years younger!
David Jeanrenaud, Liverpool  (21/3/06)

Ouch... poor Joey!

Sorry Michael, 'Tubance' was a typo — I honestly don't know why I wrote that? Maybe pure fury at Moyes's love of the Dad's Army centre-backs. Anyway, what's happening to our Brazilian lad, Da Silva, like an earlier post said? Is he coming back to us next season? And, more importantly, is he any good? Or is he another Muller job where, thanks to Everton's brillant transfer track-record, he won't come due to red tape?
Luq Yus, London  (21/3/06)

Best of friends
I was interested in the stories about David Moyes being on Freddy Shepherd’s shortlist, not because I think he’s on his way to the Northeast but because of the wording of Shepherd’s denial.

He said: "Bill Kenwright is one of my closest friends in football, and I have phoned him to say that Newcastle United have not approached David Moyes and will not approach David Moyes."

I found that fascinating because it was Freddy Shepherd who was instrumental in helping Manchester Utd leverage Wayne Rooney away from Everton. You may recall that Manchester Utd had decided not to bid on Rooney for another full season, but an unexpected bid from Shepherd of £20 million panicked Ferguson into making his move. Later, Shepherd helpfully upped the ante with another £23.5 million bid, forcing United to increase their own bid, despite the fact that they had already spent their transfer budget.

No-one in football, including Shepherd, believes there was ever a chance of Rooney going to Newcastle. There was nothing for him to gain from such a move and plenty to lose. So there are two possibilities. One is that Shepherd was doing a favor on behalf of the criminally corrupt agent Paul Stretford. Shepherd’s son Kenneth worked for him at the time.

The other possibility is that he was acting on behalf of Bill Kenwright himself, triggering a transfer process that Kenwright secretly wanted but which Manchester United had decided to delay. Perhaps Kenwright — one of Shepherd’s closest friends, he says — had set his heart on the transfer for the obvious financial reasons but wanted the deniability that an outside bid by Shepherd would give him.

If that is not the case, and Shepherd was helping out Manchester United or Stretford or both, then how has this friendship survived?

The legalized abduction of Wayne Rooney by Manchester United is one of the most corrupt episodes in Everton’s history and we are still in the dark about most of the facts. And the more you look into this sorry chapter the murkier the facts become. Why doesn’t some journalist ask Kenwright about these matters?

I would like all the facts surrounding the Rooney transfer to come out and they will only come out if we as fans demand them. It’s not just curiosity. We have to make sure that history does not repeat itself.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (21/3/06)

What can I say? It's all about denialbility. Bill will deny that sequence of events to the grave, no matter how plausible they are. And who else could corroborate them? Ian Macdonald and his long-awaited book about The Real Rooney Story? I think he's stuck on Chapter 3...

And as for The Truth being magically revealed at the behest of eloquent demands from the fans... I'm still rolling around laughing at that one. You jester! — Michael

If Moyes does go to Newcastle, I'll take even money that those who've been regularly calling for his head will shout 'Judas' the loudest...
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (21/3/06)

Spaghetti Western
News on Everton website that Kenwright will spend 3 months next summer directing a Western in Arizona. There are plenty of cowboys on the Board if he's stuck for actors!
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (21/3/06)

Arf, arf.

Centre Backs
Does any ToffeeWeb reader actually know what David Moyes's views on Ferrari and Yobo actually are? Is there anything wrong with either of them that we don't know about? Is Ferrari really injured? Does DM really believe that Weir is better than Joe.?

Despite what many people have written in recent months, DM doesn't get many things wrong but central defenders seem to be an exception — despite playing there himself.... strange.

Incidently my recent nomenclature of the James Gang for Beattie and McFadden seems to be catching on as fast as their popularity. Do you think that I can follow the only true course of action for a scouser and claim some money from someone for this?
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (21/3/06)

A view from the uneducated outside...
It was a good win over Villa on Saturday and the first-half performance was acceptable. It was not classical football and by that I mean, in part, that we didn't play the ball out of defence. Seeing as how the Manager has sent one player packing for, reportedly, espousing just such heresy, it is unlikely that we will see it in the foreseeable future.

I would like the Manager to explain if we play the long-ball so much because he feels anything else might lead to making errors at our end of the field? Or it is the quickest way to counter attack? Or he feels that the majority, if not all, Premiership teams are incapable of properly defending it? Don't get me wrong; I think there is a place for the long ball but I just think we tend to overdo it. Having said that, Villa did seem particularly poor at defending it and at one stage seemed to be pulling more and more players back to counter it with less and less success.

Also, I would like to see us play more through midfield than we do but this again may be dependent on playing it out of defence. On the plus side, it was good to see Cahill and Osman arriving in the box as they did and McFadden looks a lot better when he is as decisive as he was on Saturday.

Other things I find troubling are the way we started the second half when it looked like we were going to sit on the edge of our own penalty box and try to defend for the entire second half. The first half started similarly with Villa doing better in the opening 10 minutes. Are we just slow starters or is it under the Manager's direction?

The most worrying was that, when Arteta was substituted, a lot of the skill, invention and movement went with him. I've always believed that the hallmark of good players of any era is the time and space they appear to have. This leads me to ask what we will be doing in the summer transfer window. Has Mr Moyes already drawn up his list and had them properly assessed?

It does look as though Yobo only intends seeing out his contract, which is his right, but will Everton try and cash in before this happens? And why wasn't he tied down to a longer contract last year? Nothing mentioned above, I hope. I assume that we will be seeing our already signed Spanish Brazilian sometime during next season... or will he go the way of our last Brazilian?

So, what are we looking for? At least one goalkeeper, cover for Hibbert, at least two central defenders (no matter what your opinion of them, Stubbs and Weir at 34 and 36, is it? can't go on that much longer). I like what I have seen of Ferrari but it does look like he is going back to Roma (has Dutch given us the inside line?). If Van de Meyde gets fit then the midfield seems more than adequately covered. That leaves the striking department. It looks like farewell to Dunc and next year before Vaughan recovers, if at all. The least needed seems to be a big man to cover for Beattie and someone with a bit of pace.

Well that's my two-bob's worth which I hope is not more than Everton have to pay for it, but it does seem that we will have to unload someone. Let's hope we have learned the lessons of last year and have better but cheaper replacements already lined up.
Thommo Bigpond, Liverpool  (21/3/06)

Views and more views
I agree totally with Sean Wafer with his letter (with exception of praise for Kilbane as Van der Meyde has done more in eleven games than killer has done all season). The future is with Arteta, Yobo and Ferrari and without one of them we may survive, but without two or all of them we're sunk!

But again, Dutch Schaeffer, we are at logger heads. I like you, mate, but I honestly think you're going for the job as Yobo agent. Yeah, damn right why should he stay but why should he bloody leave either! As for what you said regarding Ferrari; yeah he's injured a lot but so was/is Naysmith and Pistone and they got three- & two-year contracts apiece??? So if they can, it should be a dead cert that a player of Ferrari class should do also... but somehow I don't think Moyes likes him. Maybe because he is good with the ball and Moyes doesn't like that (Krøldrup everyone)!

I'm hopeful but realistic about the derby, but with officer Dibble (sorry, Dickie Wright) in goal, and David 'He can read the game so well but his body can't react to danger' Weir (remember what Cisse did to him last Derby?), I'm scared that both jokers will cock things up.

Luq Yus, London  (21/3/06)

Who's Tubance?

Scottish Rooney? — Bollox!
I love Everton but some of the bollox spouted by the players and now David Moyes makes my blood boil. Two goals in two games and McFadden is suddenly `The Scottish Rooney`! This is a player who has performrd like a twat for most of the time he has been here and who anybody who has ever watched the game would know is not fit to lace Rooney`s boots let alone be mentioned in the same breath! By all means speak encouragingly of the improvement — long overdue to my mind — but `Scottish Rooney` — in your bloody dreams, even if he is a fellow Jock!
Hastie Gordon, Charnock Richard  (21/3/06)

Have to agree, it's a ridiculous parallel to draw... but to be fair, the concept was originally mooted some years ago, when they were both young and unproven potential stars at Everton. And the rest, as they say, is history. — Michael

Davey on the move?
So, having acted as unofficial talent spotter for the Barcodes ever since he joined us, Davey is off to join them himself! Well so say the back pages of several of our dailies this morning. A genuine approach from a desperate Freddie Shepherd — or, more likely, a clever ruse to screw more money out of the naive Bullshit Billy?

No doubt the next few days will see endless speculation of the "will he, won`t he?" nature, followed by an announcement of a new 10-year contract for the miracle worker who`s got us up to ninth in the table. Just you see!
Carl  Wyatt, Wavertree  (21/3/06)

Moyes to Newcastle
Interesting article in the Guardian regarding Moyes as a target for the Newcastle position. These kind of rumours will certainly make those who want him gone think 'Who are we going to get now?' You truly don't appreciate until you lose something of value and, despite some real lows during his time as manager, we would be taking a step back if he left now. Typical Newcastle trying to stick it to us.

As for the Derby, you know Moyes is not going to change a winning team. Depending on Valente's injury we will start with Wright, Stubbs, Weir and Hibbert. I agree with all the mail regarding this pairing (especially Weir), but Moyes only changes his central pairing when we get pumped for 4. As for the midfield and attack, it will be interesting if he goes defensive and sacrifices Osman for Kilbane or Davies. Let's hope Cisse doesn't get one-on-one with Weir again. I hope we can put a few past them like they did to us at Goodison. C'MON EVERTON!!
Jerome Esterhazy, Adelaide, Australia  (21/03/06)

So Negative
All this talk of selling Yobo, Arteta etc... well, years ago, we had to sell McMahon to buy Inchy Heath. Ask yourself, "Does Moyes want to win something?" Yes.... well, he needs good/great players. If we have to juggle and reduce debt, which we have done, it puts us on a better foundation. But he bought no-one in January, although most complained; now Faddy, Arteta, Neville, and Beattie are playing well you still complain!

When Kendall took over, he inherited 70% of a winning team, with Ratcliffe in the reserves... Don't just knock Moyes, I for one am glad that we may get into Europe again — and next season looks bright. Regarding Weir and Stubbs, sometimes pace is not the just the factor; READING the game is the name of the game... so wake up!!!!
Anton Holmes, australia  (21/3/06)

Sent Me For A Pie
Nice one for postin up that interview with Beattie, ToffeeWeb! Pissin me self when Beattie said Arteta is the most skillful, and in training this morning he "sent me for a pie"!! Ha ha ha. So that's why he's got man boobs because Arteta keeps sendin him for pies! To be honest though this is the first time I've ever written in to this website without moanin! And long may it continue! Now let's twat the red shite on Saturday, COME ON YOU BLUES!!!!!
Robbie Muldoon, Huyton  (20/3/06)

To Worry or not to Worry...
I think there's a difference between negativity and fear. Negativity I have a problem with — we scored four goals where previously there was just one, or even none; in the first half, our football was wonderful and we look a side with swagger — and more importantly, skill. I have a problem with people bemoaning Moyes's tactics — has anyone noticed we've becoming a posession side now? He's changing his tactics, or at least it appears so. We are moving in the right direction.

I have a problem with people bemoaning Kilbane — he came on as our brightest player and was really enthusiastic, putting in some delightful crosses and he was all over their defence. He's playing for his place and, but for the excellence of Arteta, he makes a very good case. Van der Meyde is being idolized before he even delivers the goods — he's never completed a match this season! Ridiculous!!!

What I can appreciate is fear of our best players going. Ferrari, Yobo and Arteta are awesome players that must be kept at the club. We cannot afford to lose them and playing Weir & Stubbs — although they are on form — is a ridiculous move and shows Moyes's lack of care for our future. We need to build up the Ferrari-Yobo partnership and to do that they need games.

With a youthful defence, complete midfield and goalscoring forwards we can glide into the top six, we can hopefully enjoy some more routs at Goodison Park in the future, but it hangs in the balance... and for me, it hangs upon three players. Keep Arteta, Yobo and Ferrari and keep moving up the table — lose them, and go down to mediocrity once more. The decisions is in Moyes's hands... I hope he makes the right one!
Sean Wafer, Liverpool  (20/3/06)

Joey Yobo Transfer Saga!
I'm not suggesting I would be happy if Joey Yobo joined Arsenal but I could accept it. Yobo is a very good player and it's unavoidable that good players will be of interest to big clubs. In fairness to Yobo, he has given Everton 4 years of service which is more then we got from 'Evertonian' Wayne Rooney. Could you really blame Yobo for wanting to leave for regular Champions League football and a chance of winning something? I dont think its fair to expect any player to stay at one club all their career. If Yobo wants to try another club it will hurt but I can accept it.

Moyes I feel would want to keep Yobo but knows he can't stop him from going. And if we can get £8 million then Moyes will have the funds to find a suitable replacement. Even big clubs have their best players leave for a new challenge: Beckham left Man Utd, Owen left Liverpool, Henry looks set to walk out of Arsenal and I have a feeling Lampard is not long for Chelsea.

Oddly enough, even though he's one of our best players, Everton have been most successful without Yobo in the side and with Weir/Stubbs as the centre backs. £8 million would bring in the exciting Joleon Lescott and the reliable John O'Shea.

As for Matteo Ferrari, I hardly think it's a problem if he doesn't sign, after all he's only started 11 games this season. If he was any good, Moyes would have given him more appearances. It's not friendship or favourtism that keeps Weir/Stubbs in the side; Ferrari just isn't good enough to displace them.
Dutch Schaeffer, Liverpool  (20/3/06)

... or he's injured.

The Derby
I find myself siding with Tony Marsh, Harry Meek and Luq Yus in being thankful for a few wins but not hopeful for the future. The derby is worrying me and I can see all the old problems coming back if we play Wright and Weir. We must have at least one pacy defender against Liverpool or we will be in big trouble. Hopefully Valente will be fit as I can't see Naysmith having the speed to cover. I hope I am wrong but I fear the worst.
Leigh Sadler, Essex  (20/3/06)

Onwards and (more) Forwards
Isn't it great to see an Everton team trying to win games, taking risks, making and taking chances and playing with a smile on their faces!

You get more of what you focus on. Throughout 2005 we focused on not losing games, we created little, we were dull and we kept losing, which is why some of us were critical. Recently we've been much more positive and the results are there for us all to see.

Earlier in the season I said that with this squad, I'd be happy with a top-ten position and playing good football. I'm chuffed that we're 9th and playing positively!

I just hope we don't fall into the old Everton habit of taking our eye off the ball when things turn for the better. It was awful listening to Kenwright prattle on about Collina last week. Instead of blaming a referee for four months' poor performances, we can sort things out for ourselves this summer by strengthening the front end of the team to give us more positive options next season.

I'll continue praising Moyes when he's doing the good job he's doing right now. I'll criticise him if we revert back to the negative rubbish of 2005 and the transfer neglect of last summer. Some people call it whinging and disloyal, some people call it telling it like they see it.

Let's keep focused on being more positive on the pitch and in the transfer market. Onwards and (more) forwards!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (20/3/06)

Each to Their Own
After Saturday, I was going to write something based around Osman, McFadden, Beattie, Cahill all playing with a good bit of confidence and David Weir at the back being an absolute liability. However, when I eventually got onto ToffeeWeb, I see this has all beeen discussed numerous times!

Fact of the matter is, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If we all agreed it'd be a bit boring.

Yes it's fantastic we scored 4 good goals, but it's hard not to be too cynical when Richard Wright is being beaten like that and David Weir IS so much of a liability — he's too damn slow. I hope the talk about Yobo leaving is false 'cos we need Weir punted as soon as possible.

Here's hoping we can play with a bit more confidence against Liverpool. Perhaps we could play Dunc at the back to sort out Crouch? That way, Beattie might get a wee shot at playing at the World Cup too!
Santiago Guerrero, Scotland  (20/3/06)

Wait a minute
There is no doubt that the form of the team is making for vast improvements in the quality of performance and league position, but I wish that everyone would stop talking about international honours for our players. Playing for their countries simply puts quality like Arteta in the shop window, or exposes them to injuries.

Beattie will invariably break a metatarsal if he goes to Germany; Arteta will return to a Spanish club (or be snapped up by Man Utd or Liverpool) and Andy van der Meyde, if ever fit, will probably be bought by Newcastle. So PLEASE stop talking about Mikey playing for Spain; let's keep him our worst kept secret.
John Williams, London  (20/3/06)

Facts don't lie
Keep Stubbs, keep Weir, keep Martin; sell Yobo for £8M and have more to invest into a quality striker to support beattie. And please dont ever let go of Arteta, he's a star. Our defence may be a tad slower but it's far more stable; give stubbs credit against all odds.
Clifford Zammit, Melbourne Australia  (20/3/06)

Beattie for England? Absolutely.
Why is Sven even stalling on this one? Just look at the stats. Beattie scored for us against Villarreal, against Arsenal, against Chelsea he scored a penalty, against Blackburn when we had 10 men and Liverpool in the derby even though we lost that game. He finds a way in the important games.

And Mikel should at least be in the Spanish squad.
James Wong, Melbourne, Australia  (20/3/06)

Bloody hell
Sorry, Dutch Schaeffer, but I agree with Tony Marsh that Yobo and Ferrari will leave over the summer and I'm prepared for that, but if Arteta leaves I'll curse Moyes and Kenwright till the day I die!

As for the Schaeffer remark: "I'll support Moyes in whatever he decides" — that is utter magic mushroom talk. How can you support a manager who's intent on selling our best assests? Fans after each letter please state whether you want Yobo and Ferrari to stay or go. Then Schaeffer, after the results will you still back Moyes even if the fans don't?

Neville is playing much better, though, and I'm very glad he is as he could develop into a real leader on the park (if he carries it on). Despite my mate calling him the modern-day Raymond Attervelt. Oh how I laughed!
Luq Yus, London  (20/3/06)

Well, you know how the spin goes. Moyes will not let them go willingly... but that won't stop them leaving — especially if the offer is good enough. — Michael

TEAM Mates
Loved it!!
Really gave a sense of TEAM.
Love to see the rest of them do it.
Only if the gaffer is made to do the last of the season.
Got to know about his taste in music.
Thanks for a great peice of entertainment.
You don't often get to say that in today's football.
Mike Smith, London  (20/3/06)

Good news and bad news
Lots to be pleased about yesterday's result. Cahill up for it; Beattie and McFadden get better each week; Arteta dazzling once more. However, on the defensive side we were simply awful — our lack of pace cruelly exposed on more than one occasion. Against a better team, we would have been in serious trouble.

As for Richard Wright, where does one even begin? To start with, he was hopelessly stranded on occasions, and reliant on Cahill and others to make goal-line clearances. He then caps his performance by letting in one of the softest goals you're likely to see all season. Firmly in the path of the ball, he somehow manages to take evasive action avoiding an inevitable collision otherwise known as making a save!

Solution: Yobo and Valente back, and Turner in goal. Some may view Turner as a risk but we can take it as a given Wright will be a complete liability in the derby.
Gerry Western, London  (19/3/06)

I would be flabbergasted if Moyes was to choose the inexperienced Turner ahead of the experienced Wright, injuries notwithstanding. — Michael

The hot debate
Dave Roberts from Runcorn has it spot on — I'm going to stop moaning about the moaners now!

I feel fairly comfortable going into the derby next week, hopefully the lads won't let us down for once.

Dan Parker, New York, US  (19/03/06)

Weir's finished
With all due respect to Dutch, there were times yesterday when Everton were really shaking and rocking at the back; we were all over the place. The lack of pace at centre-back is frightening we are a better team with Yobo playing and preferably Ferrari as well. This I believe will be Stubbs's and Weir's last seasons and I for one hope we are not looking to replace four centre-backs. And as for Wright.......
Chris Wright, Chester  (19/3/06)

A History of moaning.
I am sorry if I appear to be joining in old conversations but I only came on line yesterday courtesy of a helpful engineer who finished the installation in time for me to get to the Winslow for 10.45! I have enjoyed reading all the submissions over the last few days.

What I noticed first of all was the wordy battles between the moaners and the much rarer breed of Evertonian, the optimist. I read comments about history; whether we have been crap since The Big Bang or only during the Premership years and discussions about the genius or otherwise of David Moyes. But nobody (at least as far as I could see) was able to see the point! Evertonians have always been and probably always will be the biggest moaners in football spectatorship — and I can say that with vast experience because I have watched them since 1954.

We are the biggest moaners in supporterdom precisely because of our history. Depending on how you calculate it, even allowing for the dismal Premiership years, we are still the 4th most successful club in England. As a result our expectations are always high, perhaps unrealistically so in these modern days when money speaks much louder than it used to.

We also see ourselves as the unluckiest club in the world! We gather together great teams that win Championships in the same years that World Wars break out; teams never to play again! We build a great team in the 80s only for somebody else's supporters to knacker us by conspiring to cause the demise of 38 Italians. This happened at just about the time when thoughts about the forthcoming Premiership were being conceived. So, when it came, we entered it weak, pauperized and with a short European portfolio — a big club made small with the help of the German military and Liverpool supporters (but not necessarily in that order).

History, high expectations, and horrendous bad luck... even if David Moyes was a genius, he could not stop Evertonians moaning about it. But one thing we all have in common is, wether we moan optimistically or pessimistically, we moan because we love the buggers — even when they`re shite!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (19/3/06)

Good to hear from you, Dave, and welcome. A nice synopsis of our History as she is wrote. — Michael

Old and Cynical (68)
As you`ve pointed out before, I do `old and cynical` better than most — but then, I have known disappointment for 20 years! This weekend I have a bad feeling that all the rumour, counter-rumour, and denials about Yobo and Arteta moving on is just the softening-up process towards summer transfers.

It`s always been like this, you see, for as soon as anyone comes good at Everton, they ALWAYS move on to pastures new. ALWAYS it`s at their `own request` and ALWAYS for half the fee they are worth! In recent years the likes of Speed, Barmby, Rooney and Gravesen followed the trend so why should our present stars be any different?

Looking further ahead, Moyes will need only another season of `consistent progess` to make himself a `shoe-in` for the Celtic job he so craves — so some will say that every cloud has a silver lining!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (19/3/06)

Joey Yobo
Nobody can question the quality of Joey Yobo but is it a coincedence that since he's been out of the team and Stubbs has returned the team has been far better.

Yobo was fantastic at the start of the season but the team around him was awful, Everton were in the worst form they had seen for years. The African Cup then took Yobo away and Stubbs (who was a regular last season when we finished 4th) returned. We are now in the best Premiership form ever.

Yobo is such a good player but it seems like Stubbs/Weir inspire confidence in the other players. For some reason Everton are harder to beat with the vetrans at the back. Now apparently Arsenal want Yobo and I have no doubt he's good enough to play for the Gunners, does Moyes cash in on Yobo? Can Weir/Stubbs continue next season? Can Moyes find a replacement for Yobo?

Moyes has some difficult decisions to make and whatever he decides I will support him.
Dutch Schaeffer, Liverpool  (19/03/06)

Everton 4 - 1 Aston Villa
A fantastic result against Villa. The team is really starting to look impressive and the lads are even starting to get a few goals.

The only small disappointment from the Villa game was Dickie Wright. He had to rely on three goal-line clearances from his team-mates and he was absoluetly nowhere for the goal, a very weak goal to concede.

Things are really starting to come good for Moyes and if he manages to gain us European qualification would it be wrong for him to be considered as a candiate for Manager of the Year again? The way he has turned the team around this year has been nothing short of spectacular.

Is it an indication of how far we have progressed under Moyes that a Top 10 finish is now considered an abysmal season by some fans?
Dutch Schaeffer, Liverpool  (19/3/06)

I'm not sure why people need to twist things. The start to this season was abysmal. Nothing will change that. As the manager at the time, David Moyes has responsibility for that abysmal start, although he has tried to shrug it off as a "loss of confidence".

A top-ten finish will fulfill the minimum expectations based on last season: nothing more. This is the first time we have been in the top 10 this season after a full set of weekend fixtures. And there are still 8 games to go, so let's see where we actually finish before giving Moyes the MotY award. — Michael

Negativity on here - what a surprise!
I had a strange feeling that there might be a few moaners on here after yesterday's game, as we took the foot on the gas in the second half. It was a good solid performance and we always looked comfortable. Well done Moyesie and the boys, you're doing a great job.
Ronnie Mukherjee, Merseyside  (19/3/06)

What I saw
I was impressed by this disply, definitely one of the best this year. While Mikel Arteta was the standout, I would say the whole team put an effort worthy of applause. For the first half, we were all over them. We had the ball, we kept the ball and we knew what to do with it. Much better than the 4-5-1 of old.

Has Moyes been playing Arteta at left wing for long? I always though he was a right-side or a central midfielder. Anyway, it worked like a charm last night. So much for people whining about Moyes's inability to sign "flair" players.

Faddy's strike was pretty good. Cahill's first was just a display of raw strength. Osman's third was similar to Faddy's first. By this time it was game over. Credit to Villa, however, for keeping their heads up right until the end.

Next year we will need a new goalkeeper, a strker, a right-back and a center-back. Don't know where the money will come from though. Ah well..
Bsd Lover, Sydney, Australia  (19/3/06)

Hmmm... a right-back??? So Tony Hibbert is not good enough for you? Oh deary me... — Michael

Great Result but...
The score line against Aston Villa's youth team on paper looks great. Yet once again I left Goodison Park underwhelmed and questioning the manager's decision making. Instead of the avalanche of goals we were all waiting for in the second half, we got the usual negative approach from the best young manager in the game.

There is no doubting that Arteta's withdrawal was damaging but why were we so deep and why didn't we try something different when using subs for a change? No matter what the scoreline is, Moyes has to give Killbane his weekly game... WHY? It's so predictable, it's becomong an in joke. My son knows what's coming next when we make a change and he is six years old! As for playing the likes of Wright and Naysmith when there is better in the reserves — what's that all about?

On the plus side, we are now scoring goals from open play and beating the lesser sides, which we were not doing earlier in the season. As for the Arteta — going or staying? debate, there are plenty of rumours doing the rounds most of them bullshit. We need to keep hold of this player more than anything. Let's give Davies and VDM away and give Mikel the money we would save on wages to him. We must do anything we can; he has got to stay. The game highlighted how important he is to us. He is our Gerrard, our Vierra, our Keane — whatever you want to call him. If he leaves it will be just as damaging to us as when Rooney buggered off up the Lancs. Arteta makes us tick and watching him play makes going the game worth while. If he goes, then it may well be one of the final nails in the coffin for some of us.

Yobo will leave and so will Ferrari but if Arteta goes then we might as well pack it all in. Let's just hope he doesn't make the Spanish World Cup squad and showcase himself to the world.

Anfield, here we come — without Richard Wright, I hope!
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (18/3/06)

I can't believe what I read on here
I really can't believe the negativity coming from posts on here tonight. We always have to see the bad side of everything, a trait I used to despise about Spurs fans. We played really well in the first half today, we could have scored five; we scored three and, apart from 5 minutes where the much maligned Naysmith and a couple of others cleared off the line, we were in total control.

I agree with the sentiments of an earlier poster, if it had been Chelsea (or a Manchester United of 5 years ago) who had taken their foot off in the second half, we would have been marvelling at how they can win at a canter and that they were resting themselves for more serious challenges.

As for the editorial comment about playing against Brummie kids, didn't they have Mellberg, McCann, Hendrie, Sorensen, Moore (who has scored a Premiership hatrick) Davies, Hughes, Samuel, Ridgwell (who has played all season) — all players with Premiership experience and who according to your match summary had an impeccable away record.

Yours in despair at a really morbid bunch of fans who can't enjoy winning when, let's face it, the winning feeling is why we all go to the game.
Jon Williams, London  (18/3/06)

Well, we're all going to just have to agree to disagree. Personally, I'm with Ken Buckley and his analysis of a Strange Game. And we're keeping our powder dry fro the Main Event: same time next Saturday. — Michael

Reasons to be cheerful
We're 7 points behind Arsenal; ahead of Newcastle who have all the players we missed out on; top half of table; strikers who are no longer flops... and we have scored seven goals in two games! Yet there are still people fucking whining — including the editor of this site!

Enjoy yourself while you can or you'll always be miserable!
Daniel Parker, New York, US  (18/03/06)

Er... see below!

The glass is half full not half empty
We beat a team 4-1 that we always seem to struggle against — brilliant, most of us would have taken a scrappy 1-0. For the first time this season, we scored FOUR GOALS, so why do some people in this mailbag continue to be so pessimistic?

3-0 down at half-time Villa were always going to be the dominant team in the second half because that's what usually happens! And why is everyone getting eachother worried by talking about Arteta going to Liverpool? Yes, it might be our worst nightmare but it aint going to happen! If he was gonna go to them, he would have gone in the summer before he signed a 4-year contract! Didn't anyone see his interview the other day talking about how much he loves life at Everton? An yer Liverpool can have him if they want... for £20M!

I feel confident we can record a long-overdue win at Anfield next week! Come on, the People's Club!!
Ryan Barton, Liverpool  (18/3/06)

Ahhh... the innocence of youth. Just wait until ya get old and cynical, like the rest of us! — Michael

Strange Game
A 4-1 win and delighted with the points. It was never a great game, though, more one of two average teams where five goals broke out.

Myself nor the rest of the crowd could really get going at most times which left a very odd feeling coming out of the ground where we had won 4-1, gone an unprecedented number of games undefeated at home, and hot on the heels of European contenders... yet we left with a feeling we hadn't seen much.

The good moves were spasmodic but good enough to create goals.

Individual players shone brightly then dismally in equal proportion with the exception of the in-form Arteta who was the class act of the day. His enforced removal from the field was far more noticable than it should have been. A handsome win, yes, but it left me thinking I should really be rejoicing a much more convincing win. I saw things that should give our manager clues to the building programme required to match those teams a little more threatening than your Fulhams and Villas.

In some ways, today's game reflected our fortunes under the present management: one half better than the other. Still, not to be a kiljoy, well done lads: a great win... And yet...

See you Sat -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (18/3/06)

I know just what you mean, Ken.

Moyes still inept
A competent display but hardly as scintillating as Richard Dodd attests. Moyes is still inept tactically as after pulverising a bunch of kids in the first half he sends the team out to DEFEND a three-nil lead! As it was, we drew the second half 1-1 when we should have gone for a hatful. As far as tranfers are concerned I reckon the major talking point of the summer will be the loss of Yobo and Arteta. Just you see!
Martin Richardson, Knowsley  (18/3/06)

Let's see... how many people are goimng to jump on that bandwagon? Does it help prepare you for the inevitable if you start telling yourself that now? Just wondering, like. — Michael

Whats right about Wright? Nothing!
I was furious with Everton's second-half performance as the players had their cigars out. Villa were/are poor but they had to be professional to the very end. Great display though, but we are turning into 'Arteta FC'; when he went, we were uncertain.

And please, Moyes, if you're in your office, surfing the net and you happen to read this mailbag, then please hear me out: Drop Richard Wright as has a negative effect on our defence. His fear of crosses will kill us against a long-ball Liverpool. Drop Weir for Yobo as he is too slow and against Liverpool will be exposed.

Lastly, keep Davies on the bench as he can't do any harm there! No slagging off; just sincere advice, Moyesly. Looking forward to the derby! Come on you blues!!!
Luq Yus, London  (18/3/06)

Just to those people who always have a go at Dickie Wright... Okay, he doesn't always look the part, but remember how good he was with Ipswich? The lad has talent, so let's hope it begins to show sooner rather than later.

But I've noticed a few fans have fallen into the easy trap of calling for players we know sod all about. How can we say "bring in Turner, he deserves it after the Chelsea game"? He didn't make any saves in the Chelsea game that you wouldn't have expected him to, so why do some people assume he's the answer to our problems between the sticks?

He could be dropping balls left right and centre in training for all we know, and judging by the fact that Moyes brought in Sander despite Wright only being out for one more game, I suspect he probably is!

Turner seems to have potential, but don't make him the hero just because he wasn't utterly shit against Chelsea. You'd imagine Moyes and Woodsy have a better idea about who will do the best job!
Paul Foster, London  (18/3/06)

If you extrapolate the last bit of nonsense, it sounds to me like this: "Moyes and his team know all about everything. We are merely know-nothing fans. Everything they do is therfore correct, and everything we think they should be doing is wrong by definition. Knowledge makes their decisions infallible; ignorance makes our musings asinine at best and at worst, totally worthless."

As you might imagine, I don't really subscribe to that line of thinking. Fact is, Moyes will always choose experience over youth. — Michael

Two Halves and Some Worries
Back from the game and many congratulations where they are due. First half: not excellent but certainly head and shoulders above Villa who deserved the pummelling they got, three good goals and Beattie's attempt at his new trademark chip not too far off either.

Second half was like Fulham home game all over, sat too deep and looked terrible after Arteta went off — hopefully his thigh will be ok in time for the derby match.

Worries and complaints: Naysmith is crap when he isn't injured but Moyes left him on when he couldn't even stand up and in the second half he stayed on despite limping several times and being skinned by Hendrie. Surely a more sensible move would have been Neville to right back and Kilbane or Van der Meyde on and either of same pair for Arteta once injured????

Weir was skinned several times; he is too slow against faster younger players — it's a fact! And Richard Wright is appalling!!! The goal he gave away was poor and on far too many occasions he switched to rabbit-in-headlights mode. I wish Stubbs would have just slapped him for being so incredibly shite so often towards the end of the game.

Onwards and upwards for the derby but lets hope Moyes has ideas for subs and maybe young Turner gets the run out he deserved from his performance in The Chelsea Cup match where none of the goals were his fault.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (18/3/06)

A roller coaster ...
Unbelievably, I've already heard a few rumblings of discontent this evening, while Michael felt the game epitomised our roller-coaster season. I can't help thinking that had Chelsea put in an identical performance, pundits (and Chelsea fans) would have been raving about a mixture of scintillating flair and dogged determination.

Yes, we took it easy in the second half, but with the derby next week and some massive games to come, am I alone in thinking, "Who cares?" I, as much as anybody, want to be entertained, but if seeing the Blues knocking in seven goals in two games at Goodison isn't entertainment, I really don't know what is.

The second half today was solid - no more and no less - but in my eyes, it didn't detract from a genuinely impressive opening period. If the boys bang on 3 in the first half every week, I for one will be more than happy for them to rest their legs a bit in the second!
Paul Foster, London  (18/03/06)

Yes, the second half can be rationalized away; who cares... coz we won 4-1. It doesn't matter, does it?

Well, we didn't look very solid at all to me. We certainly weren't solid when that goal went in under Calamity. And I really wonder how 'solid' it felt for the players, being given the run-around for 40 mins by a bunch of Brummie kids.

I just wonder, would seven goals in this game have given them a better feeling going into next week? Or would it have made us just that bit too cocky? We shall never know... but that would certainly have put a dent in our negative goal difference! — Michael

Arteta & Moyes
What happens if we lose Arteta? ... Bring on Kilbane! — Liverpool must be shiting themselves.

It's good to see some kind of form at last, although again when we go three up, why do we not push for more (Like Liverpool did against Fulham).

It's all Ifs and Buts, but imagine where we would be if it wasn't for the awfull start to the season.

If Moyes takes thr credit for the results recently then he has to take the stick for the first 5 months, and the crazy purchases in the summer. I still worry about his ability in the transfer market; with defenders of a combined age of 896 we should all worry.
Joe McMahon-Bates, Rossendale  (18/3/06)

Arteta off?
Rumours were rife in the Paddock before kick-off today that Arteta will be on his way to Liverpool in the summer, and that he wouldn't play in the derby next weekend.

Sounded like bullshit... until he walked off injured. Here's hoping it's one of these "mate's uncle's nan's friend" rumours....
Peter Rossetti, Wirral  (18/3/06)

This is often how it starts...

Tin Man
Good first half against a weak Villa side with Arteta outstanding, but is it only me that's already seriously worried about next week with the ridiculous Richard Wright in goal?

Time and time again, there were crap balls played into our box where you thought 'easy meat for the goalie', only to see him rooted to the spot and a panicky clearance from the defence. The goal he conceded was typical of him and he really does remind me of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. He is a total disaster and the lack of confidence the defence has in him, combined with his own ineptitude, could lead to an embarassment.

Oil yourself up and prove us wrong, you muppet!
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (18/3/06)

Yobo won`t be missed!
Just home from witnessing another scintillating display by the Boys in Blue. Who was it who said that Davey could not send out entertaining teams.... oh, and that Beattie and McFadden were a waste of money?

Looking to the future, am I alone in hoping that Moysey will not blow all his transfer budget on a multi-million pound striker? We just don`t need one anymore! By all means recruit an up-and-comer from the lower leagues but of far greater priority is a top-class goalie and a central defender to replace Yobo who has, I am told, made it clear his future lies elsewhere. In any event, he will not be missed as the upsurge in our fortunes co-incided with his trip to Africa and our manager`s masterstroke in bringing back Stubbsy. As ever, Moysey knows best.

So it`s Onwards and Upwards for Davey and the Blues!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (18/3/06)

Everton ARE Mikel Arteta!! The teams were evenly matched after he had left the field.

Stubbs/Weir/Wright shaky to say the least; you have to worry about them being shown up at Anfield next week. Surely an old head (Stubbs) plus Yobo is a better option, although I think Moyes is scared of this because they haven't done well when paired together in the past (if someone can remember the exact performance, I would appreciate it).

Could be a classic derby next week; come on the blues!
Rich Williams, Danbury  (18/3/06)

On the recent history post, haven't we been champions of the league for longer than anybody else due to the two world wars?
Daniel Parker, New York, US  (17/3/06)

Err... that's what I was (far too subtly) referring to... but it really is a bogus kind of a "trophy" to really be crowing about.

David Prentice's article is spot on. I must admit I was getting a bit worried up until Christmas but it's absolutely true what he says — we've come on massively in the last four years. The level of expectation is evidence of that at the minute.

As I say, I'm not innocent of doubting Moyes myself but I don't think anyone can say we haven't progressed. When 40 points by March is a shit season, think about 1998 when we stayed up on goal difference and the numerous years when we've got into the end of April sweating on results.

Last year was a blip, not this one. We need to be a bit more realistic really. Who'd have thought back in December we'd be looking up the table at the end of the season not down it? We're on the rise — just not as quickly as us success-starved blues are desperate for...
Michael Johnson, Reading  (17/3/06)

In response to David O'Brien
Apologies for missing out Kendall's 2nd & 3rd spells. I think football had moved on, he hadn't, hence his terrible results. He was pretty good in his first spell though, wasn't he?

I'm just trying to make the point that during my lifetime, there have been Everton managers who have achieved at least as much as Moyes. They were sacked for 'failing', while some people regard Moyes as a genius. I just find that a bit odd, that's all.

My other point is that I don't think Moyes,or anyone for that matter, is beyond criticism. Since when has questioning a manager's methods been a lack of support? I've heard plenty of it in the last 36 years from loyal Evertonians!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (17/3/06)

I am no great supporter of Moyes but perhaps he has a better grasp of our history than most of us. In my view we have two claims to fame. Firstly, we have proudly been in the top flight for more seasons than anybody else; and secondly we have Dixie's individual goal-scoring feat which will never be surpassed.

After that... zilch.

  • Have we won the league more than anybody else?
  • Have we won the FA Cup more than anyone else?
  • Have we won the League Cup more than anybody else?
  • Have we won all three domestic trophies?
  • Have we retained a trophy 3 years running?
  • Have we retained a trophy at all?
  • Have we won a treble?
  • Have we won a domestic double?
  • Do we have an enviable record in Europe?
In case anyone thinks only the truly big names can say yes to any of the above, think again. Portsmouth, Wolves, Preston, Blackburn, Nottm Forest, Man City and probably a few more can answer at least one of those questions in the affirmative.

Before Davey gets too comfortable, perhaps he would be embarrassed to know that Howard Kendall had won 2 Championships, the FA Cup, a European Trophy and left the Blues for pastures new before he reached Moyes age. So much for the best "Young" manager in the business...
Craig Jones, Liverpool  (17/3/06)

Err... We once held the League Championship trophy for four consequtive years... and then we held it again for another seven years... Does that count? Until very recently, we had won more FA Cup games than anyone else... then there's the top-flight table... In addition to Dixie Dean, we could boast more "Golden Boot" awards (for doemstic league goal-scoring) than anoyone else. Of course, that does not include the present era of negative goal-differences... I'm sure there's more... just look in our History Section. — Michael

Believe it!
Not a lot to say. We're doing wonderfully: Arteta, Beattie and Neville are doing what, I presume they were meant to do. That means that Arteta will be sold, Beattie will be open to offers and I think Yobo, given his contract situation has gone. That leaves "Tiny Tim (very over-rated) and Neville (not really having a great re-sale value). But like Rooney, Gravesen etc. it's all part of Bill's overall long-term vision.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (17/3/06)

Cynic Alert!

Quack, quack
'Vaughan to miss rest of season' - yet another triumph for our medical staff. They operate on his knee, balls it up, knacker his season and we have to send him to the US to get it fixed. When was the last time that the quacks we employ as Doctors actually sorted a player out at the first time of asking or even didn't make him worse?
Steve Callan, Birkenhead  (17.3.06)

Oh boy... now it's Basil's turn to get it in the neck! There are probably numerous cases that progressed nicely; of course, the cock-ups are the ones that stand out (if this is a cock-up, and not just "one of those things").

Good Quiz Question: List Everton's rollcall for the Battle of Wounded Knee.

From memory, I'd start with Michael Ball, John Ebbrell, and Joe Parkinson... — Michael

I have to say I'm completely with Moyes's comments. We've been shit since Royle was around and even before that. We've been terrible at times under his guidance but we've had some real hightlights. It's better to have players that top-class sides want than Peter Beagrie, Ginola, Gascoigne, Mikel Madar, Bakajoko amongst other truely woeful players.

He has made a few mistakes in the transfer market but, on the whole, he has made a lot of great buys. As Phil Neville said on the Everton chatroom this week, he's a young manager who is still learning and getting better and showing signs of being as great as Alex Ferguson. If we're patient, the stability of having a good manager for a number of years should only help us get to the next level.

I for one look forward to the next few years under Moyes and regular top 10 finishes.
Daniel Parker, New York, US  (17/3/06)

Perspective in 2D
I am responding the the comment titled "Perspective in Management"

I notice the author left out the money (in relative terms) previous managers were given to spend. I also notice you "forgot" to mention the emergence of Sky and Murdoch's filthy baby that changed everything - and I mean everything. If this was not the case why did you also "forget" to include Kendall's 2nd and 3rd term at the club? Was this to avoid criticising Kendall? You say you support Everton not the manager? Sorry but to not support the manager is to not support the club — after all, the manager is part of the club as are the players and the fans.

Quite clearly your views are polarised — on one hand you spout statistics whilst conveniently forgetting our most successful manager's second and third terms that that were both disastrous. The question is: Were they disastrous BECAUSE Kendall had become poor? Both times? I think you will struggle to come up with a answer - I have.

People praise Moyes too much; others slate him too much. The best reflection of his ability is if you use people's opinions are other fans thoughts about our manager. I am always being told what a good coach they think Moyes is - Utd Fans, Hammers fans, Gooners and Spurs fans. Their opinions are surely as un-biased as you could reasonably expect. Make a stat out of that!
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (17/3/06)

Intertoto Cup Qualification
Can anybody enlighten me as to which teams from the Premiership have officially applied for the Intertoto Cup this season (apart from us)?
Caradog Jones, Y Felinheli, Gwynedd  (17/3/06)

In reply to Caradog Jones, Mick McDermott of Liverpool say: "Shit ones!" I'd guess he's not too impressed with the Intertoto... Mick: could it be the fucking stupid name, perhaps?

It's the least we expect
It's great to see Everton playing attractive football again. No matter what your opinion on Davd Moyes, Evertonians who have been going to the game over the last four years have not seen too much of it.

For me, DM is a decent manager who is not only learning his trade but also how to manage people. Where he is lucky is that he has found a chairman who is not only prepared to give him time to build a team but also a squad. He has provided him with more funds than 70% of Premiership managers (well done on both accounts, Bill!)

Overall, I am very happy to say DM is moving the club forward... but please Davey stop bigging up your wins and pretending that your very, very lows (not only football but your handling of Rooney etc) didn't happen. 90% of Evertonians are happy you are here but we have never accepted being in the bottom half of the table — never mind a bottom-six club.

All our managers who took us close to the bottom (besides you) got sacked. And at the real bottom clubs, they get given a bonus and new contract for finishing sixth from bottom. I'm glad you have turned the season around but I for one will never accept it being a good season for Everton that, come February, we are out of all the cup competitions and the most we can hope for is a top-eight place. That reminds me about a letter I sent a while ago about accepting mediocrity...
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (17/3/06)

A Letter to David Prentice
Are you really David Prentice of the Liverpool Echo or a paid ghost-writer for Bill Kenwright!

It appears to me that you do an excellent softball PR job for the club instead of asking hard questions as an impartial objective journalist. The ToffeeWeb Mailbag throws up more hard questions on the running of our club than I've seen adressed by you during your tenure at the Liverpool Echo. I'd rather read see you tackle the club head on and print some meanigful answers in the local paper.

Let's take your latest article - The facts behind Moyes' reaction to the critics - all you have done here is to rehash the original article and put your spin on why those who have hard questions should shut up. It's a pity you don't have the balls to ask the hard questions yourself given your job is to do exactly that, as a journalist. Maybe you don't want to loose your column in the Everton programme and the free lunches at Everton's expenses.

If your struggling for hard questions, try these already pointed out by the fans in this mailbag:

  • The Kings Dock Stadium,
  • Fortress Sports Fund investment,
  • the new training and Academy facilities,
  • why we released and later resigned Stubbs and Pistone,
  • why Parker, Emre, Keane et al went elsewhere,
  • why we didn't sign the obviously needed striker,
  • the Per Krøldrup affair,
  • the medicals that fail Forrsel but pass Van der Meyde and Krøldrup,
  • The Rooney affair,
  • Eddy Bosnar,
  • ticket sales fiascoes,
  • the disparity between Rangers and Everton's agreement with JJB,
  • the consistently negative goal difference,
  • the Ball transfer fee,
  • the desire to manage in Glasgow,
  • the tent in the car park,
  • the European Campaign disasters
  • and not last and certainly not least, the massive debt the club is in!
Go on, David, prove to me that Everton Fans are NOT uneducated and that you have the balls to ask the hard questions and print the answers.
Billy Bunter, Dublin, OH  (17/3/06)

While your list of unanswered issues is a good one, I think your premise is a little inaccurate and unfair. David Prentice is a voice of reason and sanity at the Echo (remember "Taking the Piss" that so pissed off Stubbs et al???) He is infinitely preferable to that sycophantic idiot, Dominc King.

But there are many reasons why you won't see any such probing investigations in Everton's local paper any time soon. Don't you remember a few months back that infuential Everton fans forced a meeting with the Editors precisely because they were percieved to be too anti-Everton in their coverage? It's a difficult balance at best.

While I'd love to hear some properly researched and well-presented answers to all of those questions, I'm not holding my breath... — Michael

For fucks sake
I agree with Steve Guy that Everton are stupid when it comes to contracts. It's becoming more obvious that Yobo's and Ferrari's careers at the club are coming to the end. How can Moyes rely on two centre-backs aged 34 and 36 for another season? But, supporting Everton, I have come to realise is just like Moyes said: we are a bottom-six club and we are a selling club. It breaks my heart when people like Rooney and Ball leave and it looks like my heart will be broken again, TWICE! Kenwright: thank you very much! Don't ever tell us you love the club again. (My letter prepard in advance of when we sell Yobo and release Ferrari!!!)
Luq Yus, London  (17/3/06)

Entertaining football
Since our results have improved, the anti-Moyes brigade (AMB) now have to focus on something else. Entertaining football - I'll admit that I've not found our football riveting although because of our results some of the games have tended to be edge-of-the-seat stuff; however, I would be interested to know which teams those AMB have found exciting to watch.

Maybe it's Chelsea, the kings of the 1-0 despite having a squad costing £200M. Maybe it's Liverpool who, previous to the other night, had had something like seven 1-0 wins in their last 10 games. No, I know it's Bolton. So that's it, take yourself to the Reebok and be thoroughly entertained. Even Man Utd rarely score more than 1 or 2 goals these days.

Basically the Premiership is boring; boring in terms of its predictability and boring in the football that's played. Those players who show a bit of flair (Rooney, Duff, Whalcott, Cole, Saha, Wright-Philips) are quickly snapped up by the big 2 or 3 so is it any wonder the rest of us are left with the dreggs?

Moyes hit on a formula last season playing five in the middle, which was quickly copied by a lot of other managers. They are in a results business with the prospect of relegation making clubs doubly determined to avoid going down.

How many teams have come to Goodison and entertained us? Blackburn, despite playing against 10 men, hardly crossed our half-way line and the possibly one and only entertaining side in the Premiership, Arsenal, didn't do much better.

  • How many fans are concerned about one of our better and more entertaining players, Arteta, leaving? Why? Is it because Moyes wants to sell him?
  • We can't even keep hold of players who are boyhood blues (Speed, Jeffers, Ball and Rooney); is that Moyes's fault? We are constantly having to reduce our squad - is that Moyes fault?
  • We obtained our greatest amount of prizemoney last season and still only just crept into profit — is that Moyes fault?
Until the rich stop getting richer and/or serious investment is made at Everton FC, then I'm afraid it's not going to get any better.
Jez Clein, Childwall  (17/3/06)

Hmmm... it's hard to argue with much of that, Jez. Except for this: if Everton under David Moyes were actually able to start playing something that at least shows more attacking desire, and actually goes some way toward fitting the decription of "entertaining football", would that not destroy your argument at a stroke?

Newcastle (A); West Ham (H); Fulham (H)...

Or at least make you wonder why we couldn't have been doiing that a bit more during the past four years??? — Michael

I am not stupid!
The media campaign to support the departure of Yobo has started, as we are told Arsenal and Marseilles (to name but two) will be after his signature this summer. Everton will apparently face a 'dilemna' as he only has another season to run on his contract. All the above courtesy of the Post / Echo website.

I must be a bit thick. Surely the way to keep Yobo is to give him a new contract? We don't have to wait until the summer to do this. ToffeeWeb contributors (myself included) have been screaming for this for some time.

But actually I'm not stupid, this negative media spin has formed a regular pattern for departures in recent seasons and I have feared for some time that this would be the case with Yobo too.

By the way, Billy and Dave, letting him play instead of kicking his heels on the subs bench might help persuade him to sign (if you really meant him to, that is).
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (17/3/06)

The future
How interesting to read the plethora of mainly pro-Moyes posts of late. Somehow, this guy is being hailed as an unprecedented success after — what is it? — four long years of nothing. I'm not quite sure what is going on in the psyche of many Evertonians... have they been brainwashed? Or are they just young and know no better? I don't know, though strongly suspect the latter. After all two decent games and 40 points in March is such a great achievement... erm, isn't it?

Whatever, it's my bet that Moyesey boy is going to take us absolutely nowhere. As someone else pointed, out he's just one of many Premier, and old First Division, managers who flatter to deceive.

I'll stick my neck out and predict all those getting excited and predicting a Uefa Cup qualification finish are going to be disappointed. It's my bet that we'll end up near enough where we are now, or lower. The rot could well start again on Saturday against Villa. Hope I'm wrong... but somehow doubt it.
Tom  Collie, Maghull  (17/03/6)

Europe & other stuff
Just a few comments...

This season's European disaster? Well, yes, the Uefa Cup certainly was, but look who are one of the Champions League quarter-finalists: Villarreal — courtesy only of that slap-head ref's diabolical decision against Dunc in the second leg of our qualifier.We might not actually be that far off being good European material.

Competing in the Uefa Cup, while a drain on players' fitness, and low crowds, is still important. That way, you get more 'points' in Uefa's ranking system and so the next time we get to the qualifying stages of the 'Big Cup' we get a better draw, ie, not Villarreal, but the type of crap teams Liverpool get drawn against.

I believe that the best managers are those who get results even when the injury list is long — they don't resort to excuses (ie, Souness is crap as we all know). Well, David Moyes belatedly managed to get some results after Xmas, so I shall (reservedly) side with him on that, even if it was not pretty to watch (on TV here in Canada).

But injuries are clearing and now Moyes is back to being measured against our great managers. At Everton, we expect not just results but also that the boys play entertaining footie, and even DM's greatest supporters on ToffeeWeb cannot say that, so far, that has ever been consistently achieved. OK, if they play like they did against West Ham and the obviously poor Fulham for the rest of the season (or at least against Liverpool), I'll again side with DM, but not until.

So, even after 4 years, I think the jury is still out regarding Moyes as a manager (and I do not think that an unreasonable time-frame). Some positives, several negatives. But at least 4 years of managerial 'stability' is something we should all welcome.
Dave Keg, Fredericton, Canada  (16/3/06)

Our Big Chance Wasted?
When we made the CL qualifiers last season, I was made up. How could a club that had been tipped for relegation turn the odds around so much? Sheer determination and good management, that's how.

The club is making progress, and despite many people's thoughts, David Moyes is doing a damn site better job than any of his predecessors did over the last decade! Playing European opposition for the first time in ten years (even though we were out-classed) was a breath of fresh air. More of the same, please, Mr Moyes (but with a better result!).

If last year's events served only one purpose, it was to have a look at what level we need to reach in order to maintain a lengthy run in European football. I am not saying that the experience was enjoyable for the players, fans or boardroom, but there is the saying: 'learn from your mistakes'.

If we make the Uefa Cup this term, I think we will be much better prepared for what lies ahead. We have more players in the squad with European experience: Phil Neville, Nuno Valente, Mikel Arteta and with the possibility of additions in the transfer window.

I tell you one thing, I would much rather us get into Europe and fall at the first hurdle than not get there at all. (Obviously I would like us to get further than the first hurdle.) What ever happens, we need to get behind the team and the manager. If, in your day job, no matter how hard you tried and no matter how well you did, people still said you were shit and wanted you out, your confidence would be at an all-time low and you could think 'whats the point?'

Maybe Tony Marsh needs a change of day job.
Paul Cooke, Runcorn  (16/3/06)

Damned if you do......
Michael Morton's latest posting regarding David Moyes may have offered a personal perspective on his ability to manage Everton and quite rightly reflects the cyclical criticism received based on results and performances, yet it fails to offer any possible aternative. Managing a Premier League club is rewarded with a huge salary and status; however, a poor run of results — let's say six straight defeats — and a manager is literally walking a tightrope. David Moyes has gone on record and identified stability as the basis on which to build success; in my humble view, stability should therefore be judged on a full season and final league placing.

David Moyes is now actually the longest serving manager at Everton with 4 years service since Howard Kendall's first tenure. Previous chopping and changing of manager has created instability alongside boardroom and administrative disasters and coincided with an almost perennial fight against relegation. Do people realistically want a return to such an approach when the next Mike Walker or modern day Mike Newell is seen as the way forward. Newcastle are a prime example of quick fix solutions that don't work; with their revenue stream, money is always available but has it been repayed with success?

In respect of potential managers — who is there? Maybe that foreign coach?... for every Wenger there is 10 Alain Perrins. And possible investment? I can't remember seeing a queue down Goodison road. The reality is we would all love the nirvarna of having lots of money to spend but realism is needed. Moyes is criticised for being a defensive manager, he buys defenders, plays for a 1-0 and forgets expansive football. Is that why he bought Mikkel Arteta and Andy van der Meyde? Is that why he has honed Leon Osman and has given him a chance?

In respect of a centre-forward, yes we are desperate for one to partner James Beattie. I believe that with this careful acquisition during the summer at the right price, and the spine of the side strenthening further then we have a realistic chance of pushing on next season. Robbie Earnshaw was even suggested in some quarters during January - is he setting the world on fire at Norwich?

Moyes has his targets and valuations, Andy Johnson and David Nugent are two, given their desire to win promotion, do their respective clubs really want to sell in January? But, come the summer, after missing out on promotion, then they may be there for the taking.

I believe David Moyes has a plan and he has stated his desire to win trophies. It is appropriate that his success should be ultimately judged on this, but patience and planning is required for this to bear fruit. Unless a Russian billionnaire or the like walks in and puts £100M on the table, then a more pragmatic and realistic approach is required.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (16/3/06)

I am not of the opinion that all is rosy in the Everton garden but really so far this season I am satisfied. I would love the club to get into Europe again and I think we have a good chance even if it is through the Intertoto. After the last 10 years or so, I think it is great to be looking at Europe again instead of relegation year after year. This season has been a big, big dissapointment and it is frustrating how we are a yo-yo team but Moyes is really the best man for the job.

Moyes has stabilised the club in the league and of course has had the odd crisis along the way. It is progress and just because we aren't pushing for the Champions Leauge again should not cause some fans to get on his back. If you really want us to move to the next level, then you will need to look at us getting new investment from somewhere.

As fans we always want the best for the club and that is to be expected; let's support the manager and the Board but still give them constructive criticism. If we don't support them then the manager will piss off to Rangers and then, instead of moaning about missing out on Europe or getting knocked out of Europe, we will all be moaning about why we have to fight relegation every year.

If we keep this squad together then next year we will be pushing for Europe again and I dont know about you guys but thats good enough for me.....for now ;)
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (16/3/06)

"... and just because we aren't pushing for the Champions Leauge again should not cause some fans to get on his back." We were bottom of the league for a whole month, and playing some god-awful football. We saw an excellent, competent, skillful, football-playing £5M defender not even given a game, and then packed off back to Italy... The fans had every right to get on his back.

And I'm with Tony Marsh on Europe; qualifying represents another opportunity; Moyes (and the Club) will determine if that opportunity develops into something we can all be truly proud of, or descends into another abysmal farce. — Michael

The Moyes debate
The trouble with some Evertonians these days (eg, Paul Cooke & Alister Denny below) is that they have small-time mentalities. I DON'T. Call me what you like but I happen to believe that a club the size of Everton should be in a far better position than we are now.

Mike Price is spot on when he says our big chance has been wasted: it has. Considering the shite we have to put up with over the years, our support is easily the best in the country, yet the club treat us like twats.

I didn't say I dont want us to get in to Europe I said "What's the point?" — there's a big difference.

The way the club is run, the fans would get fucked around again and with Moyes in charge the team would get hammered again. Cant you see it? The way Moyes sends his team out to play would be a slippers and pipe job for any half decent European side. As for organising travel and tickets, the bunch of tossers at Goodison couldn't run a stall at a car boot sale.

Some of our fans have this strange way of defending Moyes and his policies: "We were crap before he came and so it's alright to be crap now because that's the way it's always been." What a load of shite. They keep going on about this good run we are on as if we are suddenly some kind of world beaters. We beat Fulham 3-1; big deal... look what Liverpool did to them last night.

It was only three games ago at Newcastle were we looked like a conference side in the second half and once again Moyes's rabbit-in-the-headlights tactics were to blame.

As I have said before, if David Moyes had been deprived of funds to buy players, then I would not have a problem at all with what I'm seeing. But he has spent more money than most managers in the Premier League in the past 18 months on a load of shite. Making mistakes by buying young up-and-coming players is nothing to be ashamed of. Buying other team's duds the likes of Davies, Van der Meyde, Krøldrup, — all at the same time — is.

Of course I want Everton to be successfull and play in Europe; it's just that I dont think the club as a whole is geared up for it. What I don't want to see is a repeat of this season's world shattering humiliation all over again. That's what would happen with the present set-up and yet again the poor bastards to suffer would be us mugs who follow the team on the road. Try telling any one who went to Romania in September that being in Europe gave Everton stature around the world...

We are a big club; we could attract better players and we could play better football. May be I am crazy but that's what I believe and I don't think for a minute that we will ever improve under the present regime.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (16/3/06)

I think your conclusion is wrong, and the facts show that we have improved in a number of ways overall under David Moyes. The problem is the rate of improvement, and how you can actually analyze that given the mind-numbing lows Moyes has also achieved along with the well-hyped highs. Some of us have trouble forgetting those lows; others seem only too happy to write them off by one form of rationalization or another. Views on Moyes seem destined to be polarized by such attitudes, neither of which are necessarilly "wrong". — Michael

Moyes will win nothing!
Whatever he said or didn`t say or whether he ever said anything at all, I`ll nail my colours to the mast and say Everton will never win anything under Moyes! He is so typical of a whole raft of modern managers — O`Leary, Curbishley, Allardyce, Coleman et al — who tell a good tale, feed their excuses in before the event and deliver bugger all.

They are all of the same ilk and just the same as the generation before them - Atkinson, Reid, Basset and Co who were always `three or four players away from a good side.` The one thing they all have in common is that they are good at patronising the fans and spending our money on crap players, knowing that as long as their teams stay out of relegation, some idiots will regard them as the second coming.

Estate agents, car dealers and journalists share the lead in the poll on `Shysters of our Times` and with very few exceptions, the modern football manager should be high on the list!

So have no fears, give our man another four years and success will still be a season or two away - and then we can replace him with another `no-mark` who can start the process all over again.

God, I wish I liked cricket!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (16/3/06)

Now that, in comparisson to the letter below, is hugely off the mark to my mind. You are drowning in bitter cynicism over many more things than the percieved value of David Moyes, and some how inuring yourself to continued failure by predicting that success will never happen. Sorry, but that's just daft. You may be proved right by events, in four years time, but if I believed such nilhilistic nonsense now, it would really make me wonder why I bothered. —

Perspective in Management
I can accept that Moyes has a better record than Smith and Walker. I accept he has turned things around, though he was responsible for the downturn too. I think he could become a great manager. To me, the problem is that last season the hype coming from some Evertonians was just too over the top. If I'd come on this site last summer and said Moyes would be called a genius for taking us to 11th by March I would have been laughed at, probably by most of the IMWT lobby.

For some of us, football and Everton began before Sky. That's what our 'history' referes to. Here's my take on the managers I've seen:

Catterick: Two championships, one FA Cup, quarter-final of European Cup. Say no more.

Bingham: Fourth. Two defeats from the title. Got us to the verge of Wembley and was sacked for being a 'failure'.

Lee: Third, Fourth. First win over Liverpool in years. Countless near misses in semi-finals and one final. Sacked for being a 'failure'.

Kendall: Two championships, ECWC, one FA Cup, countless finals and semis. Say no more.

Harvey: Didn't want the job, so shouldn't have been given it. Still got us to a cup final. Bought some good players and bottled it.

Walker: Tried to play good football. Miles out of his depth. Nearly got us relegated. Sacked for being a failure.

Royle: Saved us from relegation and won the cup in the same season. Then gave us our last entertaining season. Left after lack of support from Johnson.

Smith: Initially bought some good players, then let down by Johnson (see various interviews with John Collins). Then let us down big time. Then fell asleep for a couple of years, woke up in time to be replaced by.....

Moyes: Seventh, seventeenth, fourth. Given £25 million to spend. Regarded by some as a 'genius'.

That may explain to me why younger Evertonians love Moyes. It may show why I have been critical of Moyes and annoyed by the hype surrounding his supposed 'genius'. I have seen all of the above managers criticised, that's part of football and comes with their territory. Why should Moyes be exempt from criticism?

I happen to think we can be a great club again. In this poor league, a Uefa Cup spot should be there for the taking every year. When he produces some consistency for more than half a season, I'll start believing the hype.

In the meantime, I'll back Moyes and whoever else manages EFC, because I'm an Evertonian. I support the team, not the manager. That includes both praise and criticism based on the evidence, not on the hype.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (16/3/06)

"When he wins a trophy, I'll call him a great manager. When he builds two great teams, I'll call him a genius." Nail, head. Great letter, Paul — Michael

Moyes Mis-quoted
I watched the inerview on Sky and Moyes definately mentioned the Premiership. Crucially, his remarks about the dent in Everton's confidence due to the Villarreal result were spot on. I have just read Bobby Robson's autobiography (worth buying) and he made the exact same comments about his Newcastle team who got knocked out unexpectedly in the qualifiers. Moyes is the best young manager around bar none - IMWT!
Keith Piper, Liverpool  (16/3/06)

Nothing good to say
I find it hard to believe how many fans do not like Moyes considering that, when Smith was moved on, at one time I wondered if we even could get any half-decent manager. Now, after finishing 7th, 17th, 4th and perhaps 7th/8th, with a fairly young core group in the squad, and people do not think we have improved?

No, we are not the finished article; No; no silverware yet, but we are on very solid ground.... I think you are all spoilt by the reality of Premiership and media money that has not come our way due to being crap when big money came in with the Premiership...

Go on, Moyes; you're doing alright. And yes, you are learning — but petty well I think!!!
Anton Holmes, Australia  (16/3/06)

Or forever hold your peace.....
So David Moyes thinks that Evertonians who criticize the performances on and off the pitch are "uneducated". Did he actually say that the uneducated are to blame for these below standard performances over, at least, the last 10 years that has seen Everton become a "bottom six side"? If not, would he mind educating this supporter as to where the blame for that should lie?

Sorry, Davey, am I reading too much between the lines? Now why would I have done that? The trouble with opening your mouth in such a way is that you will be asked to use it to correct the situation. So, Davey, educate me on the following;

  • Kings Dock Stadium,
  • Fortress Sports Fund investment,
  • the new training and Academy facilities,
  • why we released and later resigned Stubbs and Pistone,
  • why Parker, Emre, Keane et al went elsewhere,
  • why we didn't sign the obviously needed striker,
  • the Per Kroldrup affair,
  • the medicals that fail Forrsel but pass Van der Meyde and Kroldrup,
  • The Rooney affair,
  • Eddy Bosnar,
  • ticket sales fiascoes,
  • the disparity between Rangers and Everton's agreement with JJB,
  • the consistently negative goal difference,
  • the Ball transfer fee,
  • the desire to manage in Glasgow,
  • the tent in the car park,
  • the European Campaign disasters
  • and not last and certainly not least, the massive debt the club is in!
The sad thing, Davey, is that we won't get any sort of "correct answers" on the above or any other matters. Just the lengthening of the above list by this needless outburst.
Thommo Bigpond, Liverpool  (16/3/06)

Oh look, an art critic !
Opinion on the manager is cyclical. When we lose some games, pessimists appear saying "Moyes is useless, where are all the optimists now eh?" When we win some, optimists ask "See, we're great, where've the pessimists suddenly gone?"

This bugs the shit out of me, so while we're in a good patch, let me reiterate : David Moyes is not good enough for Everton Football Club.

The reaons have been done to death over the recent period: tactical ineptitude and baffling substitutions, bizarre transfer issues (some of which is admittedly not public knowledge, so could be anything), relationship with current club regime etc.

Suffice it to say that the recent good run of results have not changed my view, any more than the previous poor form will have altered some others' positivity. He should go — and if he can take the Board and senior management with him, all the better.

I accept that this is an unpopular view at the moment but, 'twas ever thus. Just remember in a few months where you heard it.
Michael Morton, Liverpool  (16/3/06)

Moyes Skysports Interview
Sky's website report has been rather disingenous in it's selective editing.

I watched the televised interview and he clearly said that we'd been nearer to a bottom six club over the years OF THE PREMIERSHIP, after some great times in the previous period.

That's pretty near the truth (can we use the phrase 'the truth' ?) and I didn't hear much at the time to disagree with massively.

So, in a nutshell, he didn't say it.

Sorry to nail that one so easily, but there you go; even an unrepentant Moyes critic as myself has to draw the line somewhere.
Michael Morton, Liverpool  (16/03/06)

Well, thanks for that, Michael. The wonderous Sky TV strikes again, and have just wasted everbody's time. I know people seem to love their football coverage, but the only thing I see is Sky Sports News, which has to be one of the most annoying, poorly produced excercises in asinine television I have ever seen. Is this really better than anything the BBC could produce??? — Michael

Moyes comments
Just read the article where Moyes calls us a "bottom six club". It's obvious to me that he's thinking of the "Premiership" years, after all football didn't exist until Sky came along to invent it!!

As the song says "...if you know your history..."

No doubt we've all got one or two books/videos/programmes etc. that Davey could learn from.
Liam Taubman, Onchan, Isle of Man  (15/3/06)

... and even then he was not correct; see below.

Lies, damned lies and....
The statistics provided by Steve Flanagan purporting to show that David Moyes is our most successful manager to date are interesting but in the end, meaningless – his brilliance as a statistician notwithstanding.

You can’t compare managers of two different squads playing different opposition over a different number of matches a decade apart simply by equating the points gained per game or the goals scored per game and so on. This is not statistical analysis but mere arithmetic and it tells you nothing.

You might, in a limited way, be able to compare individual strikers or goalkeepers using that kind of model, but the result tells you zero about the managers’ performance. Although both are inspiration and charismatic figures, Joe Royle took over a very different Everton squad from the one David Moyes took over and the two were faced with very different problems. The Premiership was also a very different environment when Joe Royle managed Everton than it is now.

In order to compare the two you would have to come up with an Index that weighted the different transfer funds spent, accounted for the relative qualities of the two squads at the beginning of their respective reigns and took into account Joe Royle’s achievement in lifting the FA Cup.

Even with that, you could not take into account the fact that Joe Royle, despite all the negative connotations of the “Dogs of War” tag, which began as just a reference to one specific match, produced a higher overall standard of football entertainment at Everton than David Moyes has – at least so far. It may have been physically committed, as is the Everton of today, but it was rarely as negative or as dull.

I believe it is also a meaningless comparison to subtract funds from transfers out from expenditure on transfers in as if this tells us something about a manager’s skill in the market. In that model, Manager A who sells a world-class player for 20 million and buys five mediocrities for 19 million is better than Manager B who does the reverse. But that’s not football and it’s not even statistics. It’s accountancy. Whose team would you rather watch? The one with five mediocrities or the one with a world-class player in the squad?

The problem is that management is an art and you really can’t use science to analyze it usefully. It’s like calculating the amount of blue paint Leonardo used over the amount of red paint Michelangelo used. You get the answer, but what have you learned about them?

As the only manager of Everton to lift trophies in the Premiership era, Joe Royle must rank first among them. We’ll never know what he might have achieved had he stayed, of course. Eventually, I believe David Moyes will top his achievements at Everton. But until then…
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (16/03/06)

Peter, it appears from your letter that you have read my piece on David Moyes's record with Everton. However, I feel that I need to make a couple of points regarding your comments.

  1. "...purporting to show that David Moyes is our most successful manager to date...". I have not said that Moyes has been our best Premiership manager. If you look, in the majority of cases (average points, win%, etc) Moyes is actually second behind Joe Royle, which, in terms of managers we've had since the Premier League, I think, is correct.
  2. "You can't compare managers of two different squads playing different opposition over a different number of matches a decade apart simply by equating the points gained per game or the goals scored per game and so on." — I couldn't agree more, but until someone devises a method (and I'm not going to do it because, yes, I do have other things to do in my life!) which accurately reflects the strength of the players at different times, the strength of the opposition at different times, etc, then this can't be done, and looking at managerial records from a simpler point of view is the only option we currently have.
  3. Your mention of the use of transfer funds. The point I was trying to make with this bit was that, looking at his record, the amount of money spent by Moyes' has not been as much as what some of us (and me included) was expecting. I also added my thoughts on his transfer dealings to date, and a fair number come in the 'good' bracket - again this was more than I was expecting to be perfectly honest.
It may be interesting to see how Moyes has faired, based purely on his record, with the other Everton managers:

1. Harry Catterick
2. Howard Kendall (taking all 3 managerial stints as one)
3. Colin Harvey
4. Joe Royle
5. Gordon Lee
6. Billy Bingham
7. Johnny Carey
8. Cliff Britton
9. David Moyes
10. Theo Kelly
11. Walter Smith
12. Ian Buchan
13. Mike Walker

I suppose you could argue that Moyes is better than Britton was, and that, maybe Royle should be above Harvey, but, other than that I don't think you could argue with this listing. Although I have included Kendall's 3 stints as one, it may be interesting to note that if you break down Kendall's individual stints as manager then he comes out as being first (in the 80's), seventh (ust under Billy Bingham) on his return and finally, just above Mike Walker in his third stint. Again, I don't think you could argue too much about that either.

Cheers, — Steve

Dear Mr Marsh
As an Everton fan, I always want the club to succeed. I want them to improve season after season and I want them to try and obtain the highest league position they can. I, like the majority of other fans, want the team to play on the biggest stage possible, promoting the club around Europe. With a lengthier run in Europe (let's face it, it can't get much shorter than our last attempt) it may just be possible to attract those better players and ivestors that can possibly change the fortunes of our beloved club.

Why on earth would somebody who supposedly supports EFC come out with the comment 'Whats the point in qualifying for the Uefa Cup?' Now I can understand people having different views, some positive and some not so, but surely as a fan you want the team to do well? Or are you a 'glass half empty' kinda guy?

Sorry to have a dig, but constuctive critism is usually a worthwhile cause; Down-right stupid questions are, well, down-right stupid.
Paul Cooke, Runcorn  (15/3/06)

Improvement since Xmas 2005
I thought it would be interesting to see a Premiership Table since 25 December 2005 to see how marked our improvement has been. I realised after finishing it if I had done it since the Liverpool game (on the 28th) we would be above them buggers.... can't be bothered to change it though. Yes I know I am a sad is Team, Played, GD, Pts;

1. Chelsea 12 10 29
2. Blackburn 12 9 25
3. Liverpool 14 3 24
4. Man U 11 11 23
5. Everton 12 1 23
6. Arsenal 13 15 21
7. Tottenham 12 4 18
8. Villa 12 6 17
9. Charlton 10 1 17
10.West Ham 11 -1 17
11.Bolton 11 1 15
12.Wigan 12 -3 15
13.Newcastle 12 -4 14
14.Boro 11 -6 14
15.Man City 12 -2 13
16.Fulham 12 -4 13
17.Birmingham 12 -4 12
18.WBA 12 -9 11
19.Portsmouth 12 -13 8
20.Sunderland 12 -12 5

Richard Williams, Danbury, USA  (15/3/06)

Nice job, Richard.

A letter to David
I’m not sure if I can say it any better than Ken Buckley, but the purpose of a ‘mailbag’ is to see the weight of opinion, please add this to the appropriate pile.

Dear David,

If I think back through what you have said over the past few years, I have to admit that I believe you to be an ‘honest’ man. I believe you deserve our respect for speaking from your heart and being straight with us.

When you said recently that during the transfer window, you had looked at ‘everyone’ that was being mentioned and had decided that there was no one available who was better than who we already had, then technically I guess I had to go along with that. I’m presuming that this implied ‘availability’ meant that we could actually afford them, and it also implies that we have youngsters who you believe will be better than whoever was available. Time will prove whether you were correct in this assessment of the potential of our youth. I would expect that if you value the likes of Anichebe, Hopkins, Vaughan, Kissock, Wilson, and others so highly that they will be given a chance to prove themselves at the first team level (even though you have shown your cards here too often by NOT giving the lads a good chance).

This all being said, I have to believe that since you are an honest man, that your recent comments must have been mis-quoted. Surely you were not indicating that all those who that thought the early season form of the Blues was diabolical were uneducated and knew nothing about football? Surely you weren’t suggesting that when you arrived at Everton we were a club who had no realistic expectations (or prior history) of finishing in the top ten? Surely you weren’t suggesting that we actually played in the Champions League, because even those of us who are uneducated and know nothing about football whatsoever know that we only played in the Champions League ‘qualifiers’ not in the big show itself (sorry if that is being too picky)?

David, we the ‘people’ of Everton Football Club have every right to comment and criticize — sometimes we are completely full of it and sometimes we’re not. But please don’t suggest that we are not ‘clever’ enough to recognize inept performances when we see it. Our performance in the transfer market last summer was inept, our play for most of the first half of the season was inept, you know it and so do we! Now please get back to squeezing the last life out of our current squad and continue this nice run of form — it is really very much appreciated, and while you’re at it please start contract negotiations with the list of transfer targets you have already drawn up before they go off and sign for other clubs. Playing talented folks out of position may be successful in the short term but it’s not a good sign for our long-term prospects. Also, David, I see that your long-term infatuation, I mean transfer target, David Nugent, is now injured and out for the season — I guess that guarantees that we’ll buy him then? Or are there other lower division and non-league targets we can look forward to?

For the record, David, I think you’ve done some really good things as manager of our little club, and I support you in the future quest for silverware of significance. You have my respect as being a sharp-minded football manager. You’ve also made some mistakes, it happens to everyone, you have my respect when you own up to them, God bless the Blues!
Greg Dawson, Not in Walton anymore  (15/3/06)

Great letter, Greg. That says what I've been trying to say, but much more eloquently! — Michael

Four years of dross
I think Mr Moyes should start to pay to watch the culmination of 4 years of dross he has imposed on us, then he'd see why the true Evertonians (not passers-by like him) vent their spleen when we believe OUR team is crap! Because it's still crap!! 3-1 against Fulham!!, for chrissakes, a decent team would have been 5-0 up at half time, not still struggling to keep a two-goal cushion come the end of the game..

And as for Andy van der Meyde, Moyes's backroom staff advised him not to buy him because of his injury record... but Moysey knows best, eh! I hope AvdM plays a few games so he can build up a profile for another crap team to buy him, or should that be crap manager!!

Anyway, somebody should remind Moyes of our history and that it started before the Pemiership! What do I say?, ship him back to Glasgow where he belongs and where he wants to be: results in 2005 would have had us relegated over a full season.

Moyes us big time and if he can't see that he should move out along with Billy no-mates...
Tommy Grant, Aintree  (15/3/06)

Okay, regarding what I said below, we at ToffeeWeb want Moyesey to be the best for us, whereas some of our contributors take a different view.... — Michael

Li Tie
Why do I keep reading references to Li Tie being a bad signing or a waste of money? Don't these people remember the role he played the year we finished seventh? As far as I am aware, he didn't cost us much/anything and surely he cannot be blamed for breaking his leg. Please give him some credit and remember the good times!!!
Richard Williams, Danbury, USA  (15/3/06)

For me, the issue with Li Tie is how he is good enough to play International football for China, but doesn't get a look-in for the Premiership. What's that all about? — Michael

Easy now
I actually thought Davie Moyes was treading on dangerous ground when chatting about Everton on Sky the other day.

Being the nit-picking (nerdy) Everton fan that I am, I thought he showed a rather 'interesting' view of our history... in fact he showed the same kind of knowledge (or lack of) about our beloved club as most of the Man Utd, City, Liverpool (delete as appropriate) fans I have to work with.

Actually, the bit that got me was when he said how we used to be successful and in the European Cup all the time... errr we would have been in the European Cup all the time but for our neighbors (sorry, it still hurts even after all this time).
A plank of wood with a nail in it, UK  (15/3/06)

For years not Four years
So the self-congratulory drungoes are out in force - this time not fighting against the football served up, but instead it's Moyes being cheeky! God forbid anyone on ToffeeWeb's negative site actually being wrong and admitting it. As for the editor's comment about 'stinging critisism' being responsible for the 'turn around' that is the most laughable thing I have ever read. I thought Moyes was a coach — I didn't realise he sat around reading ToffeeWeb and other such sites! You obviously dislike Moyes and are so anti, you appear to have backed yourself into a corner where yuo must continue with your rubbish. Grow up and be a little impartial.
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (15/03/06)

Well, it's funny you should mention that. If you look back through our mailbag, you will see a gradually building theme regarding disatisfaction with watching Everton grinding out results, even if it did put us at the top of the form table. And, as if by magic, soon after that, Everton suddenly start trying to play more attractive football! Of course, one has nothing to do with the other, and David Moyes is immune to feedback from the fans... which is why he mentioned the need for "educated people" to give them correct answers.

And just for the record, (not that you will be reading this part), we don't dislike Moyes; we just want him to be the best manager for Everton, and to do the best for the club. He's doing that now, but it has only been in the last three games... — Michael

Setting the bar!
Is it just me that finds the smugness emanating from Moyes and his disciples just a little premature? We've played a bit of decent football and pulled ourselves away from the relegation fight... thats it! I'm as delighted about that as every other Evertonian, including Tony Marsh... but that doesn't mean that the sickening garbage that was served up earlier this season didn't happen, and it doesn't mean that the best chance to move this club significantly forward in a generation wasn't embarassingly blown away.

Moyes was given a lot of support, lots of money to build a squad to get us into the Champions League and to move us forward in the Premier League. He blew it and it's going to take a while to get that chance back again.

Personally I agree with Tony on the subject of Europe. I couldn't give a toss about the Uefa Cup, attendances and money are a joke and it is a major drain on the squad. Champions League or nothing is my preference. The Moyes comments regarding Evertonians Knowledge and Everton being a bottom half club are weak... it smacks of setting the bar low, which when successfully negotiated has some Evertonians wetting themselves with joy over not getting relegated and actually entertaining one game in ten!
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (15/3/06)

Blue Moaners
Why oh why are some supporters not happy unless they are having a go at the Club? David Moyes is right — since the onset of the Premier League, we are more of a bottom six club rather than a top club. At least he and his staff are doing their best to rectify this and yet guys write in and go on about our historic pre-Premiership honours constantly without facing the reality of our position which was at the bottom prior to Moyes's arrival. Why not support rather than knock this splendid quest. From tiny acorns... etc

We are on the right track. Let's support the club with this and then maybe, yes maybe, we'll see those days again sometime in the near future. IMWT
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (15/3/06)

(1) Despite popular perceptions, football was NOT invented by Sky in 1992. Prior to that, Everton were indeed a top-six club. FACT.

(2) Everton's average finishing position in the Premiership is 13th. Last time I counted, that is not 'bottom six".

(3) When David Moyes took over, our average Premiership finishing position up until that time was 14th — still not "bottom six".

(4) In terms of overall Premiership records, Everton lie 10th ( Look here.) Twice in his short career as Everton manager, Moyes has seen Everton finish below that mark, and twice above. (Sounds about right...)

But in reality, screw statistics: it's the lows people have trounble with. Under David Moyes, they neutralize the highs... and yet we are meant to sit back and say: "No worries, lads; we're just going through a bad patch!" I don't think so. — Michael

Hang on Davey, 4 years 0 Cups
So, according to David Moyes only Bill Liar and the Evertoin Directors have the intelligence and education to understand football.

Bollocks, Davey!

A couple of wins with some nice football is what the fans have been waiting and praying for since you took the job nearly 4 long years ago! The same everton fans have seen previous managers guide the team to success, titles and cups. Something, Davey, you should do well to remember and as you have won nothing yet, which is the benchmark you laid down.

This love-in fest by Moyes and Bill is starting to getting on my nerves as they back each other up and pop out for press stories after a few wins. I think I will thump Bill and Davey, if they come out with these crap statements about the fans knowing nothing about football.
John Quinn, Liverpool  (15/3/06)

Well done lads!
I am absoultly made up, not just because of the run we are on but because Moyes has finally spoken out about the less knowledgable ones. Most of whom seem to frequent this website. We now have much needed continuity at Everton despite the fickle few trying to undermine the manager at the start of the year, we are pushing forward once again. I just hope when we go through a bad spell again certain people stand up and be counted with regards to the manager and not wimper, moan and let the club down again.
Paul Roteram, Widnes  (15/3/06)

I wonder if you have ever considered that the stinging criticsm might have acted as a spur for improvement, rather than the paying fans merely sitting back and accepting the utter dross being served up, patting everyone on the back after each dreadful performance? — Michael

Lower League Potential
I was up in Mansfield visiting parents, so I went to see the STAGS demolish Boston 5-0 so I thought I'd give you a report on Laurence Wilson, currently on loan there...

He's receiving rave reviews both playing left back and left midfield. Hard-working, skillful and, considering he's only been there a short time, already a key part of the team. Man of the Match on Saturday and got a standing ovation when he came off near the end. I know an Everton scout was supposedly there also, so my view on other players who are worth a gamble ..

Alex-John Baptiste - 20 year old defender and class act
Giles Coke - 20 year old Midfield lots of potential
Simon Brown - 23 tricky winger lots of skill and pace

All-in-all an interesting experience... and shows that there is a lot of young talent in the lower leagues that would be worth exploiting (and wouldn't break the bank).. All the above would represent better value for money than Per Krøldrup or Li Tie.
Rog  Walker, Portsmouth  (15/3/06)

Feeling Yellow
When I write to the ToffeeWeb mailbag, I'm usually defending our players or Moyes from unfair critisim. Or belittling the views of fellow Evertonians. But now I would like to raise a less serious issue.

As an owner and a fan of our yellow third kit, I'm wondering with the season coming to a close, are we ever going to see the boys actually wear it on the pitch? Also if we don't make it into Europe it will again decrease the opportunities to see it in action. Surely we wouldn't invent a new strip and not wear it, would we?

Those out there who think I'm being shallow and that I need the players to wear it in order to justify my purchase, you're absolutely right!
Kevin Morris, Sydney, Australia  (15/3/06)

Censorship or silence?
Having just read the letter from Tony Marsh implying he doesn't want us to qualify for Europe (at least, that was my interpretation), I thought I would have a scroll through the previous ones to see what positive things he had to say during our recent excellent run.

It seems Toffeeweb decided not to publish any of them!

With the amount of negative letters when we were performing poorly, surely he must be sending you some positive ones while we are performing well. Is it a case of Mr Marsh being quiet during the good times or ToffeeWeb not publishing them in order to maintain his status as a whinger?
Alisdair Denny, Perth, Australia  (15/3/06)

I'll let you figure that one out...

Real World
So, here we are on the brink of qualifiying for Europe... so some of our fans believe. What I want to know is: what's the point in qualifiying for the Uefa Cup?

There's no money to be had until the final and our squad can barely make it through the season as it is. Maybe it's all the new quality players we could attract — just like last season, when we finished in a CL position.

As for getting there... aren't we still in the bottom half of the table with a pathetic goal difference and still only one striker at the club?

Yes, it would be fantastic going through all that misery again with a squad weaker than last time around. Count me in: I cant wait.

Schaffer & Dodd, the funniest comedy act since Laurel & Hardy, believe it's a formality that we make it, so good luck to you, boys, when you turn up at the airport with no tickets and no plane on the runway.

And, with master tactician Moyes at the helm, we will breeze through the qualifiying stages with ease. Yes, I must admit European adventures with Everton are wonderful occasions, don't you think?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (15/3/06)

Contracts and selective memories
Oh I'm worried... ohhhhhhh I'm very worried! Yobo's contract has 18 months left to run and there is no word on renewing it. Moyes usually leaves it late to renew but in this case it could be fatal as already there have been 'bigger' clubs trying to unsettle him. Moyes, sign him and Ferrari up on five-year deals each ASAP and they could be centre-back legends at the club, given the chance.

And to those Neville supports I wasn't going to respond to their snipes as I hate arguing with fellow blues but your loyality to Uncle Fester is misplaced. Yes he has had two MotM awards this term but what has he actually done since he signed? Not a lot... and that's a sign for things to come. Carsley may be a Division One player but he is realiable and a presence in the middle of the park. He doesn't drift or pass the ball backwards or aimlessly punt it to the flanks. Carsley just sits there and adds steel to our defence.

I may be remembering the Liverpool and Newcastle games where he scored last term but that's two more fond memories than Neville. I'm not saying he's rubbish, no he just isn't a midfielder and to say he must be captain because he is so professional or experienced is just bollocks my friends! Don't take my word for it — ask the Man Utd fans who say in 10 years he had 10 good games but cost them in many (remember Man Utd v Arsenal '99 Cup semi-final, where he gave a stupid pen). Surely you supporters are only remembering the one dominating display he had against Arsenal as that was it. And the Mancs should know best?!

Ask the England fans about Neville and they took me back to Euro 2000 where again he gave a needless penalty against Romania. They also can't remember a great game from Neville and often wondered why he was in the squad — but, now he isn't at Man Utd, he ain't in the squad. Surprising, eh?

So let's put it in perspective: Neville isn't the second coming, he is just an average player whose name is bigger than the player: Fact! Suggestions that he should be captain or he is an influentail player for Everton: Foolish! Enough said, as that is the last I'll say on old Uncle Fester.
Luq Yus, London  (15/3/06)

Four-year rollercoaster
Many are congratulating our manager on his four years at Goodison and it has coincided with our achievement of 40 points this season. Mr Kenwright says he never had a doubt about his appointment but at the same time says that in November he was worried.

Mr Moyes says that the media play a big part and concedes that platforms for critisism exist but these should be tempered with "Educated People" who can answer phone-in questions correctely. Forgive me for thinking where the hell can I find a phone-in with an educated person to explain to me a 4-0 reverse at the Hawthorns! Where is that educated person to explain to me why we made such a pigs ear in Europe? Where is that educated person to explain to me why we only perform for half a season? Last season we chased Europe on a good first half of the season, this time we are chasing Europe on a good second half to the season... WHY??

Many thousands of us Blues spend a fortune on season tickets and finding our way to ground after ground only to be told we are uneducated and can't recognise dross when we see it. Davey boy, we moan and bellyache only when what we have witnessed deserves it and are also quick to praise when that is justified.

In your four years, one thing you don't seem to have learned is that Blues fans are not uneducated and will always be quick to either praise you to high heaven or chastise vociferously purely based on their knowledge gained after many more than four years of following this club.

As you say in the Daily Post, you need people who are educated and ready to answer questions correctly then why not start with yourself and come from behind the Media Training curtain that blights all questions. As a Blue for what seems like a century, I wish you all the best in gaining us the silverware you talk about but please dont patronise us for being bitterly disappointed with your European preperation and such a dismal start to the season, which has left us safe but playing catch up.

This post is from a fan who believes Moyes is the best manager available to the club as it stands; god help him from those who don't like him!

See you Sat --- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (15/3/06)

A truly excellent post, Ken and absolutely spot on. No-one can question your Everton credentials, which you document diiligently for us after every game, and we really appreciate that. The above message coming from a dedicated supporter like you carries a lot of weight. — Michael

Onwards and Upwards
Given the passing of the 4th anniversary of David Moyes's tenure, I just wanted to say what a fabulous job he has done thus far. There have of course been bad spells but the same can be said of all sides other than the top three or four.

By and large, however, we have made progress and I have belief that we are going places, which I never once felt under the previous manager. The challenge now is to maintain the momentum and estalish ourselves in the top six over the next few years. By the way, whatever happened to Rob Fox??
Dave Renaud, Liverpool  (14/3/06)

Rob is on sabatical, but he might be writing something really loooooong ..... — Michael

Real Progress
From a position in December, when I couldn’t see where the next point was going to come from, to February, where I find myself looking at the respective run-ins of both the Blues and those above us, imagining scenarios in which we qualify for Europe.

This is a real turn-around and the players and management of the Club should be congratulated (I feel another Manager of the Month coming on for Moysie). However, it is progress which is fairly limited in nature, given that what we are actually doing is comparing our pre-January form with the football we are now witnessing.

So, whilst enjoying watching the Blues again, I was nonetheless prompted to write by the mail submitted by Jez Clein — who has concerns about whether Arteta, Yobo, Cahill and Ferrari will be at the club in 18 months' time. I would absolutely agree with Jez. The silence over a new contract for Yobo is deafening. A good World Cup will raise the profile of Cahill. Arteta’s stature is rising all the time and, if he could squeeze into the Spanish squad, could rise higher still. The same is true of other players in the squad (including James Beattie, by the way).

For me, the real test of progress at our Club will be our ability to hold on to players of calibre. How do other teams do it? Basically, they win trophies, or at least do a better impression than Everton at being capable of doing so (eg, Spurs). Consistently higher league positions and the odd trophy mean that the Club would be better able to afford the higher wage demands which inevitably come from wanting to attract and retain the better players.

If Everton can put a full season or two together playing to the pre-Christmas 2004 and post-Christmas 2005 standard then I would be confident of holding on to such players. Otherwise, I am afraid Jez’s concerns will become a reality and we will again have missed an opportunity to make real progress.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (13/3/06)

Steve, your statement regardig whether we could put together a season or two playing pre-Christmas 2004 and post-Christmas 2005. Well, I did have a look at this prior to your letter and I can tell you that, if you add up the points for the 2004-05 season up to the end of December and our points from this season from January onwards, then we would be on 60 points at the moment and three points ahead of Manchester United in second place! — Steve Flanagan

Mikel Arteta's Improvement
I remember when I first heard the news we were taking Mikel Arteta on loan, I was gutted. When he played for Rangers he was a not bad attacking midfielder, decent bit of flair, but he was a really lazy barstool, he used to lose the ball and trudge back, the kind of player the fans hate to see.

So naturally, I was unimpressed at first. But as time has passed, he has become one of our best assets in the past few seasons. I think even more than Cahill, he has been a fantastic signing. He has toughened up and also wised up to the English game. It's good to see him fighting for the ball and he's a real asset at set pieces and going forward in general, he seems to spur us on.

So, congratulations Davie, and keep it up Mikel, you've proved me and alot of people in Glasgow wrong!
Santiago Guerrero, Scotland  (13/3/06)

Mikel Arteta has become our most creatve and exciting player, and he is a superb footballer. An absolute joy to watch. — Michael

Dear Bill; maybe you should stay...
If there is one thing that I find likeable about Kenwright it has got to be his consistent backing and support of our manager.

Kenwright has his problems in other areas but everytime he talks about Moyes, he seems to confirm everything that I think is brilliant about the man. Imagine Kenwright was not only poor/tight (in chairman terms) but also had a shit understanding of the game! Then, we really would be screwed. Thankfully our Bill is a stern supporter of Moyes and that makes me very happy.

Infact, something else that Kenwright also got spot on - forgive me if i'm wrong, I was only 16 at the time - was the timing of Smith's dismissal. Smith, ideally would never have come to Everton in the first place but we all agree that we were in the shit in his last season and Walter was taking us down. Kenwright didn't mince around like many chairman's do. He acted and acted fast. Bringing Moyes in asap.

So, for my supposed dislike of Kenwright, he's responsible for almost everything that I think is good about Everton at the moment: mainly, the sacking of Smith and appointment of thou holy one.

In fact, if it wasn't for the cuddly minx, I could actually be as depressed about Everton as all of these other Moyes cynics who are slowly creeping back in to their shells.

Strewth. That would be bad.
Patrick  Marks, London  (13/3/06)

Well done, Moyes
Another great result against Fulham. Our squad is now starting to look stronger and stronger. Every newspaper is questioning whether Beattie should be called up for England. Arteta is looking classier by the week. Stubbs and Weir are looking solid and Carsley and VDM are still to hit full fitness. As Moyes knows, the addition of a quality striker is now the main priority and this will probably happen in the summer. Well done Moyesie.
Ronnie Mukherjee, Merseyside  (13/3/06)

Yes, things are looking up... now, that bit about buying a striker in the summer... haven'twe been there already??? And with goals like that from the strikers we already have... WHY? — Michael

Dear Bill
So we are on a good run. We are all feeling happier and of course it makes life so much better as an Evertionian.

The one thing that spoils it for me is Billy Bullshit's gushing shite.

Bill. Please don't go public again until you announce you are giving up the train-set.
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (13/3/06)

Let's hear it for the boys!
I expected to see our site flooded with letters praising the team's performance last Saturday against Fulham and I am not talking about the win but the quality of football they played. No, on the other hand, I should not really have expected to have seen praise oozing out of every pore because this site is too full of whingeing, pessimistic fans who seem to take every opportunity to put down the players, manager and the club.

Let's give a bit of praise when it's due please.
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (13/3/06)

So go 'ed then. Give 'em so praise, why don't ya? No, you've got to do your own whingeing and monaing...

After defending David Moyes a lot over and after the Xmas period, I am naturally pleased that the results and performances are doing the talking for me at the moment.

However, I just want to pick up on one of the letters which said about Moyes being able to build a side. Unfortunately, he will never get the chance to as who can honestly say that Arteta, Yobo, Cahill (and Ferrari for that matter) will be at the club in 18 months' time. No wonder Bullshit Billy sounded so pleased after Saturday's match — he's probably already instructed Mikel's agent to go out and get the best price he could for him!
Jez Clein, Childwall  (12/3/06)

The spin wil be interesting... As Moyes has claimed over his 4-year tenure, we no longer sell our best players... unless they want top go, and then there's nothing we can do about it. — Michael

Neville for Captain
I totally agree with the comments of Paul Foster and his analysis of Phil Neville and his overall influence on the team. I would go as far as to say with his leadership and motivational attributes, previous experience at a successful side, albeit in a variety of positions, and often sparringly due to the quality of those around him, that Neville should be made captain. His workrate and commitment are admirable as is his never-say-die attitude.

Week-in and week-out, Neville is the last player off the field at goodison and shows both appreciation and an afinity with the fans. For every Arteta there needs to be a Neville, skill and creativity need to be blended with grit and determination. Phil Neville's overall contribution to the renaissance witnessed in recent months as far as I am concerned is there for all to see, he has played across the back four and midfield and does whatever job is asked of him to the best of his ability.

In games when Man Utd have needed steel this season, Neville has been missed. Ok, he isn't Roy Keane and never will be, but their loss is our undoubted gain. With good results, confidence returning throughout the ranks and on the terraces, and the feel-good factor once again in the air, let's get behind the boys in blue, and here's hoping that Neville flattens Gerrard early doors and inspires us to derby day success.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (12/3/06)

What if...?
I might be ungrateful but I still wasn't entirely happy after yesterday's great win because the substitutes whose introduction changed the game for the worst from our point of view were the usual suspects (Van de Meyde excepted) who we know all about and wish we didn't.

Last week, when Kilbane was brought on for Arteta, it made sense to put a winger on to exploit the wide open spaces of the left wing which Arteta had worn himself out exposing. Shame Kilbane didn't have the brains to pass the ball to Beattie instead of aiming to destroy the corner flag.

Evertonians already knew Simon Davies's contribution yesterday would be: (A) inevitable, and (B) irrelevant.

I don't expect to see Ian Turner or John Ruddy in the first team again soon... When will Moyes realise that the the only way to KNOW if a young player can or can't cut it in the Prem is to play him at least for a couple of games. There was a chance against Fulham to improve our goals for and to learn a bit more about the future, if he has one, of Anichebe. Chance spurned.
Steve Alderson, Jersey  (12/3/06)

My God, I thought I was harsh...

Let's Build
After spending the last few months moaning about the lack of quaility football and goals, it's only fair to say how chuffed I am that, for the last two games, we've produced good football and goals. Just for the record, I was in London last week, listening to West Ham fans talking about how entertaining we were. Am I the only Evertonian who can spot the difference between the last two games and the turgid rubbish of the past few months? Wouldn't it be great if this was normal?

So here's the choice. Are we going to go on about these two games for the next year, or are we going to build on this in the summer? The more we play like this, the more attractive we'll be to watch, the more appealing we'll be to creative players.

Could someone give me a definition of a great manager? I always thought it was one who builds great teams that win trophies, like Catterick and Kendall. I've said in previuos letters that I'd love Moyes to stay here, putting out a side playing good football. He's proved it for two games; let's have some more. Let's get some perspective. He's a promising manager, yet to give us a cup run or anything close to a trophy. Maybe a great manager for the future, surely not now? Right now I'd settle for steady progress, rather than two steps forward, two steps back.

What's depressing, whinging, pessimistic about that?
Paul Tran, Kendal  (12/3/06)

Nowt. It's called realism. Spot on.

Out of the mouths of....
For once, Richard Dodd of Formby got it right when he said in the first paragraph of his last letter that he didn't get it. Get the videos out, Richard, or imagine Arsenal at their best, only in the Royal Blue. For all the stats in the world, it used to be that way.
Thommo Bigpond  (12/3/06)

The James Gang
In the old Wild West, the land was ravaged by the dreaded James Gang. Have they made a long overdue return — to Goodison? With McFadden and Beattie now terrorising opposition defences... or am I getting ahead of myself? Incidentally, was one of the originals a Jessie?
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (12/3/06)


Nice performance yesterday with two wonderful finishes. Beattie used to score many spectacular goals for Southampton; hopefully this will be the start of something similar for us.

I just wanted to point out that, despite our six home defeats, no team has managed to complete a double over us. We have played five of the six away, winning two and drawing three. The remaining return fixture is at Anfield later this month so I fully expect the record of no doubles to be continued...
Brian Hill, Cape Town, RSA  (12/3/06)

David Moyes and Neville vs Carsley
Like me, Luq Yus is one of the unfortunate Blues who does't get to live particularly close to the stadium/training ground and, with this in mind, you have even less of an insight than most into the condition of our players.

Since making the point about Andy VdM not being fit enough to strike a ball long or hit one of his ferocious drives, I found that it was indeed only last week that the physio admitted Andy was only doing basic training and was not yet able to hit the ball hard. Moyes didn't bring him on early because he didn't want to leave him in a situation in which he was going to put himself in danger of a relapse. With only five or so minutes left, he could have a gentle run out and reintroduce himself to the fans without finding himself in a do-or-die situation that could have set his recovery process back.

As for Carsley vs Neville, are you absolutely mad? I've heard of selective memory but this is extraordinary. Carsley has been a good Division One player all his career, but Moyes's excellent man-management skills and ability to give a player a defined and valued role in a team brought him up a gear or two. Nonetheless, despite some great performances when he had Gravesen to help him out, I feel you are remembering his winner against Liverpool and thinking he did that every week. He was good yes, but he was never better than about 7/10.

As for Phil, he has been our Man of the Match on so many occasions this season and he has looked a class above the rest on too many occasions. Yes, his versatility is useful, but the guy is an excellent footballer and I find it astonishing that you are really tipping Lee Carsley as his replacement. When players are out injured for long periods, we tend to look at all the games we lose and think, "if we'd had him out there, we'd never have lost that one". This has clearly happened in your mind with Lee Carsley, as to suggest Phil Neville's passing is inferior to Carsley's is perhaps the most bizarre thing I've ever heard on ToffeeWeb.

I sat at Goodison with my head in my hands on so many occasions watching Lee winning a great tackle before punting it out of play or knocking it back to the keeper. Moreover, Phil is a better tackler than Lee Carsley by a long way anyway and is also a much more impressive leader.

Not only are you exercising a selective memory when it comes to the bald man, you also seem to be demonstrating that oh so infuriating trait of getting on Phil's back just because he's ex-Man Utd. His commitment to Everton, his intelligence on and off the pitch, his comments about how proud he is to represent the Blues and about how impressed he is by the fans and the whole setup at the club; all of these make me delighted to welcome him to Everton.

When I also reflect on a string of brilliant performances this season (I think he was crucial in turning the season around, with huge performances when some players were shying away), I find it unbelievable that anybody can still have doubts about him.

I think there are a number of Evertonians out there who made up their minds about too many things too early. Some Blues decided that Moyes was crap in the transfer market, crap at substitutions and didn't know how to play attacking football. Well, with Arteta, Yobo, Beattie, McFadden, Neville and Valente all playing some great stuff, isn't it time to swallow your pride? Such is the faith I have in Moyes (yes, he really does know more about football than us) I'm also willing to give Davies time to refind his confidence.

Moyes told us over and over again that he was sure his players would come good, and sure enough, they are doing. Moyes saved the club from relegation in his first few months with the club. He then achieved enough points to get into Europe in any other season. A bad one followed when nothing seemed to click, but it is testament to the man that he followed it up with one of the most memorable seasons in the club's history.

We're now a few points behind the clubs in European positions so, for God's sake, stop your whinging and reflect on what has actually happened in the last few years. Moyes's bad transfer dealings, his inability to get the side playing, and his crap substitutions are working pretty well as far as I can see.
Paul Foster, London  (13/3/06)

I'm still not convinced about Neville, and yes it does have a lot to do with him coming from Man Utd — I think he's a Man Utd reject. David Moyes obviously thinks very highly of him: I just see him doing stupid things, getting booked far too often — like that ridiculous Aussie Rules charge-down... and Rennie gets shit for booking him for a deliberate and utterly senseless handball???

did not think he was all that involved yesterday. He certainly didn't seem to be a part of the better footballing moves that involved Arteta, Valente, Hibbert and the others. Still, it's all about opinions, eh? — Michael

The Big Picture
The mailbag is stuffed full of match-day posters who take the short-term view on a match-by-match basis. Win, loose or draw, posters try to back their belief systems out of the nuggets of each game. Maybe their contributions should be rotated to save us the same soap-box postings.

I appeal to the readers who have been watching the club developments both on and off the pitch for the last 4-6 years. Yes, that right: the last 4-6 years... So this won't take very long.

Under the leadership of Bill Kenwright as Chairman for the last 6 years:

  • Cups won...None
  • New Stadium... No
  • New Club Investment.. No
Under the leadership of David Moyes Club Football Manager for the last 4 years..
  • Cups Won... None
  • Supporter Apathy... Bags full
Back to normal mail bag service.
Billy Bunter, Dublin, USA  (12/3/06)

Thanks for that, Billy. The Big EFC Picture can indeed look monotonously depressing but it's the complex and ever-changing tapestry of day-to-day life as an Evertonian that keeps the rest of us interested. — Michael

Great performance, but?
Came home a bloody happy toffee but, as with Michael, I share a couple of concerns. Firstly, I thought Everton should have at least been five up before John scored the pen. After Fulham scored the Toffs looked a little nervous and unsure... Maybe it was just me who saw that but that made me very uneasy about the players' frames of mind — to be cautious against a poor side like Fulham away.

Secondly, the daft subs Moyes made or made too late in AvdM's case. Kilbane and the woeful Davies came on, Neville went left-back and again Everton looked a lot less positive.

Thirdly, I cannot believe Neville plays ahead of Carsley. I thought Neville's passing and positioning again was embrassing and it really pisses me off he plays 'unconditionally' for Moyes!

Otherwise it was a great performance, espeically from the vastly improved Valente and Beattie. Keep it up lads!!!

Yeah, almost forgot: I support Dutch Schaeffer, regardless of if he is a club plant or not. Doesn't mean I agree with him, far from that! But he loves the club so lay off him and his blue-tinted glasses as this 'plant' affair is quite boring now. At least he doesn't give half-arsed letters to the fans, reeking false sincerity, concerning why the club didn't sign a striker!
Luq Yus, London  (12/03/06)

Some intelligent comments there, Luq, especially the Carsley/Neville comment... and obviously a raw nerve or two. Not taken in by the Moyes Missive? For shame! — Michael

We're being taken for a ride
I thought split opinions on DM and BK were OK and we all express opinions that may be an exaggerated version of our true view. But they are true views.

But don't let editorial commments just be to there to create reaction for your site, Michael. That is taking the piss just as much as the EFC establishment you like to goad.

I expect that is too cynical. Perhaps the site doesn't need some kind of authoritive view? What do you think is the purpose of it?

3-1... and great today. Enjoy. I am.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (11/3/06)

Let's face it, opinions generate counter-opinions. T'was ever thus. Editorial comments and my opinions are always going to be very hard to separate for obvious reasons. But that does not equate to an authoritative view.

It was a good win but it left me wanting more, wondering why we couldn't have done just that little bit better that would have made it into a truly great win. All the ingredients were there, but it just didn't come off, and we ended giving them chance after chance, while we squandered twice as many at the other end.

Two superbly taken goals, though; I shall savour those. — Michael

Moyes and vdM
I have just come on to this usually great site to read the Match Summary describing our fantastic and well deserved win over Fulham. Yet, even after a great win like this, you find something to moan about: Moyes should have brought Van der Meyde on earlier? The bloke hasn't played a game for about four months! David Moyes knows a bit more about his fitness and what he can handle than you do. Give the bloke a break and enjoy a decent win for once.
Jamie Barlow, Manchester  (11/3/06)

A very good performance against Fulham and 3-1 takes us to the magical 40 pts and what is regarded as safety.

Today, I witnessed a game I have been waiting to see for a long time: a routine Everton win against a poor team. We totally dominated and played some very good football until the manager changed everything. Was anyone else like me in fingernail-biting mode for about eight minutes at the end?

Last week at West Ham and today I saw a lot of good things about Everton and I think it is within these good times that you can really see what is required in the stengthening department. Whilst playing well in both games, you could not fail to see the need for a degree of youth and speed at the heart of the defence, also a dynamic force in the centre of midfield, which leaves only the thorny question of a striker...

What we need is a proven goalscorer at the highest level in major leagues — so do most clubs in Europe — so that leaves us a bit down the pecking order. Those who believe implicitly in Moyes must hope he takes a punt on a rookie and it comes off.

As far as securing an automatic Euro spot, I am a little apprehensive so maybe we could qualify to go via the Intertoto route. Whatever route we take, I hope our preperation for Europe is far superior to our last effort. Villa next and I am sure we will all expect a similar performance.

This is a great site for stats but dont forget they all begin with the result of the NEXT match. See you Sat--- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (11/3/06)

Good points as always, Ken. I liked your last line: I nearly wrote in a reply down below: "Remember, we are only as good as our next game."... but in fact it's not ture. Current wisdom says we are as good as the composite of our last six results: W3, D2, L1 — not too bad at all. — Michael

Give Moyes a break
Michael, I don't think I'm alone in thinking that some of your comments about David Moyes are becoming a bit tiresome. While you regularly concede the man is doing a good job, you sometimes can't resist having a sly and almost inevitably pointless dig at him.

Take today - you refer to the fact that Moyes's substitutions never cease to puzzle, yet you have absolutely no idea what is going on behind the scenes.

Why don't you accept that you're not the manager and therefore you don't know how players are feeling physically and mentally. Maybe Killa and Davies desperately need the confidence from a 20-minute run-out; maybe Andy van der Meyde told Moyes he didn't fancy more then a few minutes to get a feel for the stadium again?

I read only last week a quote from Mick Rathbone saying that Andy VdM has not been able to practice kicking the ball long or shooting yet. Isn't this evidence that it is not worth getting him to go full pace for 15 or 20 minutes? The thing is, we don't know what has happened in training and we don't know exactly what kind of fitness or psychological strategies are being employed.

With this in mind, it seems utterly futile to chip away at our manager, especially having seen the boys perform so magnificently yet again. Shouldn't Moyes be given the benefit of the doubt when we don't know any better?

Having said that, your match reports and articles are never short of top class. All I would say is that after four years, I certainly still believe in David Moyes and perhaps more so than ever. He has done a remarkable job for the club and yet he is still young and is still learning.

Let's give the man a break and see just how far he can take us.

In Moyes we Trust
Paul Foster, London  (11/3/06)

Fair point; I was proabbly a little harsh there... Team selections and substitution strategies from now on will become increasingly more interesting now that the constraint of mass injuries has suddenly subsided. Carsley and Naysmith overlooked today, along with Chinese International Li Tie.... [Don't go there!!! — You are right: we really have no idea what is going on behind the scenes!] — Michael

Snipers are the bores
How disappointing that you chose to mark the anniversary of Davey`s appointment with snide comments and pathetic attempts at humour from your readers. I trust that the result today was enough to make these so-called Evertonians cringe in shame and embarassment. How ANYONE can now say that we are not entertaining is totally beyond me. Ever since Christmas, we have seen a new dimension to our game with attacking flair being allied to sound defence.

Valente, Neville, Weir, Cahill, Davies, Beattie and, yes, McFadden are already internationals and are playing like it. It can surely not be long before Hibbert, Osman and Arteta join them and with the brilliant Van der Meyde now on the way back, Everton will soon be able to boast a full team of world-class players. Add a truly inspirational manager who has been able to transform our club in no time flat and I can see only glory days in store for us.

No sir, it is your legendary snipers who are the true bores — perhaps soon they will see the futility of their asinine comments and shut up.
Richard Dodd, Form  (11/3/06)

Richard, we have been entertaining for all of three games. For two-thirds of the season, we were really rather poor in terms of entertainment. And while the latest games are seeing something gel in terms of entertainment to go with the much improved sequence of results, the way the last mini-revival collapsed in a series of hugely embarrassing 4-0 defeats should not be forgotten.

And I really should not need to comment about the freedom we all have to critique even the best Everton performances if we still see room for improvement. Nil Sa... oh never mind. — Michael

Michael, truly and honestly, would you carry on deriding Everton for having a negative goal difference even if we got into Europe at the end of the season? I know you just want the best for the club but does it actually help anyone if you keep banging on about the goal difference?

Yes, we all know about our appalling defeats during the first half of the season but EVERYONE knows we weren't going to be a mean goal-scoring machine. I've given up on the hope of us finishing with a positive GD but I won't give up on my belief that Everton could still qualify for Europe. I know it's an outside chance but I just think the likes of Man City and Wigan are suffering a dip in form which could open the back door for us.

Please, Michael, we don't need the moaning about GD at this moment. Thanks if you post this comment. Great Website.

ps: I was a bit embarrassed before the match was about to start when the announcer bleated "30 seconds to top-quality Premiership football". The club's PR department must have been working overtime to think that one up! Anyway, I'm glad the players put to rest my worries and produced an excellent performance.
Phil Ekin, Cheshire  (11/3/06)

Well, I wasn't going to mention it any more, but since you asked... I think a negative GD in the top half of the table is (or will be) embarrassing. I thought the negative GD Last season was embarrassing — and it accompanied CL qualification, so I think you are talking about two different things.

After the pain of this season's "great European adventure", I prefer not to think about a Uefa Cup spot. If we get one, fair enough... but once again, it will all come down to what we do with it next season. Qualifying for Europe is next to meaningless if you squander the opportunity by failing to adequately prepare and strengthen your squad beforehand. Sorry. — Michael

Everton 3 - 1 Fulham
Fantastic result against Fulham. Beattie is really starting to look like a top quality striker, are you watching Sven? Even the normally eratic McFadden looked like he might finally be getting to grips with the Premiership.

Everton's strength is the midfield: Arteta runs the game and the World Cup will be a lesser competition if Spain don't take him. Cahill works hard and is always dangerous; Osman has a quick mind and even quicker feet while Neville is the rock upon which the others depend.

This was a great result and the perfect anniversary present for our esteemed leader Mr Moyes. I'm going to enjoy this result and performance. I wonder what the rest of you will find to moan about this week? After all I must be a plant because I'm a supportive and enthusiastic Everton fan.
Dutch Schaeffer  (11/03/06)

Careful... You wouldn't be crowing if those two late chances had been converted by Fulham. We should have totally battered them today and we didn't... so yea, call it moaning if you like. Goal difference is still -12. Are we going to see a positive value this season, eh, Dutch? — Michael

Kill ban vs. Pemb Ridge
A lot of people are listing Kilbane as a bad buy by Moyes. Playing Fulham today, it reminded me that he actually sold Pembridge and purchased Kilbane for the same money. Thus replacing an older player with a similar younger one. Ok, he's not great, but it was a quick win at the time.

Looks like it's going to be a good win today too! Everton boring? Alan Whitmore — eat your words!
Dan Parker, New York, US  (11/3/06)

Torry memories
I know that to you boys, Everton did not exist before the birth of ToffeeWeb but, to us old stagers, what happens now in the name of Everton is just an apology for a football team and we only have our memories to cling to. So please indulge me long enough to say that Torry Gillick was an outstanding player in his day and the perfect foil to the great Tommy Lawton.

Gillick made 40 appearances in the League Championship win of 1938-39, scoring 14 goals (Lawton managed 34!). However, Gillick`s real moment of fame had come in May 1938 whilst playing for Everton in the Empire Exhibition tournament in Scotland. In the semi-final of that tournament, he netted after just 10 seconds — the fastest goal ever recorded anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately, the Second World War did for his career and at it`s conclusion he retuned home to his beloved Rangers. I know this is all irrelevant to most of your readers but please, Michael, don`t disparage our heroes of the past or those who cling fondly to their memory.
Alvin Walters, Thornton  (11/3/03)

Thanks for those priceless memories, Alvin. No disparagement intended; I was trying to show that the Cult of the Legend (Dean, Lawton, Hickson etc.) means that some very good players get sadly overlooked. I did look for him in Everton — A Complete Record, and somehow missed his biosketch in among the Everton Stars A-Z section. It reads as follows:

"Torrance Gillick was a man who helped to maintain The tradition of top-class Scottish players at Everton. A stockily-built winger and natural entertainer, he was ana exhillarating sight when in full flight down the flanks. His major problem was his attitude to the game. Far too often, he played it strictly for laughs, so annoying the more studiuos members of the side. Somethimes he was brilliant, sometimes woefully ineffective, but no matter what the circumstances, he was always entertaining. Sadly, the Mersyside public never really saw the best of him for, like many others, his peak years came and went during the course of World War Two. He joined Everton from Rangers in December 1935 in an £8,000 deal. He played on either wing and very occasionally at inside-right, and won five Scotland caps. He rejoined Rangers in November 1945. He died in 1971."

You're Having a Laugh
I'm still struggling with Mr Moyes's comments re: "Simon Davies scoring goals". I suppose for the price he paid then maybe you could expect them.......
Joe McMahon-Bates, Rossendale  (11/3/06)

..... but we are still waiting.

St David`s Day
As we reach the fourth anniversary of the Greatest Living Scotsman`s appointment as Everton manager, I do hope the Club will allow us to mark the event with a minute`s round of applause before today`s game in appreciation of all he has done for our cause. Not only our longest serving manager in Premiership history, Moyes is, it appears, on virtually all counts, the most successful. Twice voted Manager of the Year by his peers, he alone has taken us to the verge of European Championship football showing such prudence in the transfer market that at least two of his big money signings have hardly been required to kick a ball in anger.

The brilliant innovator of a style of football that revolutionises the concept that you need goals to be successful, Moyes with a win/games ratio of 38.7% is already more than half way to the success rate of the likes of Mourinho and, indeed, should now be crowned as the REAL Special One. Sharing the view of Wenger that you win nothing with British kids, he has scoured the world for young talent and the occasional appearance on the bench of a foreign-sounding youngster indicates how successful he has been in this direction.

So today is a momentous day in the history of our club — our very own St David`s Day — let us be sure, whatever the result (you have to look long term, you see) that it is marked appropriately.

(Submitted on behalf of Dodd the Dutchman of Formby/Timbuctoo)
Harry Meek, Worcester  (11/3/06)

Hehe.. nice. Perhaps the nice result today edges those Flanangan stats just a tad more in Moyes's favour...

Questioning your reason
Michael, can you confirm if the reason or destination of your holidays was the Dutch Schaeffers?
Thommo Bigpond  (11/3/06)

Haha ... Netherlands Antilles... which is only half an island. And I didn't see a single Everton shirt the whole week!

Second best — God help us!
Nice to know that, statistically, Moyes is our second most successful Premiership manager. No doubt Dutch and Dodd will be able to prove that as Moyes walks on water he is actually the very best!

All I can say is if Moyes is as good as it gets, God save us all! It says much for the depths to which our aspirations have fallen that so many Evertonians find a degree of satisfaction in the boring, negative tripe which has been served up across all four years Moyes has been in charge. As you pointed out a few days ago, the permanently negative goal difference says it all.

Best, second best or Moyseiah, I for one will not be re-newing my season ticket whilst this bore remains at the helm.
Alan  Whitmore, Crosby  (11/3/06)


Dutch Schaeffer
For some time, I've suspected that 'Dutch' is nothing more than a club plant. Since his latest bleat, I'm tempted to say "yes piss off Dutch, now!" Unfortunately my old Labour principles continue to nag at me and make me beiieve everybody is entitled to an opinion. The paradox being that Dutch doesn't like any opinons which differ from his own sycophantic and grovelling hagriophy of today's Everton.

As an escapee from PR I'm convinced that Dutch is a club plant, his writings are just too "on message" to be genuine. Dutch; I'm getting to be an old arse these days, my first season ticket was in the top balcony of, the, then, new Main Stand in season 1970-71. Before that I'd been in the Boys Pen and ground for ten years. It's appreciated that us old arses invoke the zzzzzzzzzzz's in younger guys, the old arses did the same to me when I was young. Nontheless I've been lucky enough to watch Everton from the halcyon days of "Ball, Harvey, Kendall" through the magnificent mid-80s side to today.

Let's be brutal: if you think the current Everton side and it's manager rank above mediocre, it shows one of two facts. You are either unfortunate enough to be too young, or an American, to have watched a real footballing Evertoin side; or you are, as I'm convinced, a club plant.

Being an old timer has few advantages; however, you do at least get the wisdom of experience and if you're lucky a nice family. Now I'm fortunate enough to have a couple of great kids, who I love very much — their best interests are one of my prime motivating factors. If I saw one of them making a big mistake, what should I do? Tell them "yes I support you whatever stupid things you do" or say "I love you and want the best for you and I'd suggest you are making a major error". What's the best tack, Dutch??

I love Everton too and in my opinion none of us do the club any favour with unquestioning loyalty. Unless of course we're club plants. What say you, Dutch?
Tom  Collie, Maghull  (11/3/06)

Hagriophy!!! I had to look that one up. Close...but no cigar. I'm going for hagiolatry: worship of saints. Nice one! — Michael

Fairtrade Fortnight
What a relief that the transfer window has closed and we have already off-loaded Bent and Krøldrup! What would we have got for them if people had only had to pay a fair price for them? Perish the thought.
Day McKeown, N Wales  (10/3/06)

Hello there, how are doing? So the news has finally penetrated the soggy moors of North Wales? Yes, the transfer window is now over... Krøldrup was and is by all accounts (other than those generated by EFC) a very good and composed player. Fair price is what we paid for each of them. Somehow, we got £2M for Bent and lost the same anmount (supposedly) on Krøldrup. But wait 'til you hear about our new goalie! — Michael

David Moyes, A Bloody Good Manager!
It's almost four years to the day when Walter Smith was finally told by Bill Kenwright to go home and not come back. At the time, I thought we were going down and never to return. Walter Smith had near enough sucked my love of EFC out of my lungs. The embarrassing scorelines were happeneing too frequently (5-0 at Man City, 3-0 at HOME to TRANMERE, 3-0 at home to Charlton). I, like I suspect a fair few other Evertonians, had had enough.

So fast-forward to the present and, while I can still look back at more embarrassing scorelines (Man City again, Blackburn away, Shrewsbury, Arsenal, Bucharest, West Brom to name but a few), anyone who tries to tell me that we are in a worse position and have an even worse manager than Wally needs to go into a room alone and have a word with themselves. While the 03-04 season and the first half of this season weren't much fun at all, seasons 02-03 and 04-05 were bloody brilliant and I loved every single minute of them. And I have David Moyes to thank for a large part of that.

Moyes has to take his part of the blame for what happened during our lowest ever points haul in a season and the first half of this season. But he also deserves a bloody huge amount of credit for last season. Yes, they faltered as the season went on, but we still finished 4th. We still beat Liverpool & Man Utd. We still webbed Villa AT Villa Park. We still qualified for the Champions League. And also on the back of last season, I think he has earnt our support.

He does make mistakes, sometimes big mistakes — not buying a striker before the start of the season. But ,as he proved from the mess that was the 03-04 season, he learns from his mistakes and comes back stronger for it.

Everton are a better club under David Moyes. By keeping faith in Moyes, I think we will continue to grow. And while I could do without the ups & downs, at least there a few ups every other year instead of contant downers.

Anyway, Visca Del Everton!!
Barry McHale, Liverpool  (10/3/06)

Am I Hated?
I'm starting to get paranoid and think everyone on this feedback hates me?

I really don't want to annoy people, I was just trying to be optimistic and look on the bright side concerning Everton.

If that's going to annoy people please tell me and I will not post here anymore. I'm serious; I don't want to upset anyone. Anyway fingers crossed for 3 points tommorrow against Fulham. Come on the blue boys!!!

Wait did that last statement come accross as too optimistic? Just ignore it if it did. I hope I didn't upset anyone just then.

Would I be more popular if I stopped optimistically looking on the bright side and instead focussed on something disappointing?

Isn't Richard Wright a crap goalie... Bit silly giving Pistone a new contract and then him getting injured... Boy, is Naysmith very avearge.

No sod that, too depressing, come of the Toffees, you can beat Fulham.
Dutch Schaeffer  (10/3/06)

I've had this feeling for some time that you may have been using this forum to build an elaborate facade in order to make a point. So you've made your point; optimism is a wonderful thing... Now you are pushing the envelope just a little too much and descending into egregious sarcasm, among other things. Yellow Card. — Michael

'Get behind the team'
I have lived in Spain for 13 years and have not been to Goodison in all that time. From 1977 to 1993 however, I regularly attended Everton games. I watch every televised game over here and it's clear to me that Everton fans are the same as always. As long as they see committment from the players, they always get behind the team.

I am convinced that Moyes's strongest critics leave the stadium hoarse after every match from cheering on the Blues for 90 minutes. This does not mean that those same critics must cheer every decision, every spineless performance and every headless-chicken impression they witness. If someone exercises their right to criticise, they should not be labelled as disloyal.

Personally, I think Moyes has done a lot of good for Everton but fans of big clubs, even in 'small' periods, have a kind of collective memory and have the right to expect more for their money (yes, money). Sorry Dutch, I admire your loyalty, but some of us, while getting behind the team, are not entirely 'Satis'...
James Martin, Alicante, Spain  (10/3/06)

Great letter, James. Spot on.

Mel Brooks Alive and Well at Goodison
Lads, let's not argue about how much we got for Rooney - we still sold him for less than Chelsea paid for that fuck-up Droghba. Some business, that... it's like Mel Brooks' "The Producers" in reverse. You know, maybe someday, some luvvie impressario will tell that story as a West End show - wait a minute....!
Kevin Latham, Liverpool  (10/3/06)

My old Dutch
Maybe Dutch is actually Tony Marsh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That would be the weirdest thing ever to happen on ToffeeWeb!

Maybe Simon Davies will have a good game on Saturday (if selected)????

Now I am dreaming :)
John Audsley, Leeds  (10/3/06)

Rooney For £10 Million
This site still lists Wayne Rooney as a £10 million transfer. Conviniently the second installment of a further £10 million seems to have been ignored.

Thats £20 million so far and it should raise higher depending on Man Utd winning Cups and how many appearances Wayne makes for Man Utd and England.

It's about time this site dropped the 'best young talent sold for only £10 million' thinking and started recognising that we got £20 million at least for a player who was more interested in cash then playing for Everton.
Ducth Schaeffer, Nantucket  (10/3/06)

You're right; I should update those pages. Although Everton were actually very coy about the second £10M... and the transfer of one Phil Neville occured right around that time... and United had shut up shop as they were no longer a plc and would no longer be publishing details about their transactions... which was the only reason we knew any of this stuff in the first place. Hmmmm.... is there a Conspiracy Theory in there somewhere...!!! — Michael

More Moyes Maddness
Lescott? A couple of my mates have said he is a good prospect which is fine, but Moyes's interest in him spells one of these:

a) Moyes will finally rid us of Weir in ths summer, or
b) Moyes will get rid of our second best defender Ferrari to clear funds to buy a striker, or
c) Moyes will get rid of both defenders, buy Lescott, and play him in midfield to make everton an even more negative side!

If I were Moyes, given his track record in the transfer market, I'd get shut of Weir, stick with what we've got, and invest the funds on a much needed striker. Just a thought... otherwise, great job Moyes. LOL.
Luq  Yus, London  (10/3/06)

How on earth can you extrapolate Moyes taking in a match on the spur of the moment because Everton's reserves game was called off, and the nonsense that his main interest was one particular player who we can't sign for another three months? This Rumour Mill rubbish drives me crazy! — Michael

I'm An Awful Everton Fan!
I'm so sorry to have upset you all by trying to look on the bright side and getting behind Moyes and the boys.

I know I have a tendancy to be optimistic but I dearly love Everton and, like parents with naughty kids, I can only see the good.

When Moyes defended Davies this season it wasn't an attempt to justify his signing, it was an attempt to raise the player's spirits and give him confidence.

I try to do the same thing, I believe that if the fans actually get behind the team and try to be positive then the players will take confidence from that.

Some of you may be upset that Everton have consolidated themselves as a mid-table side but I can't see that as anything but an improvement after a decade of relegation fights.

Anyway, as I say, I'm sorry if my attempts to support the team have upset anyone. If you want I'll try and find another Everton site where I can be optimistic about supporting the team I love.
Dutch Schaeffer  (10/03/06)

Awwwe, bless! That's lovely, Dutch. Just ignore the letter below; supporting Everton can be a bit of a battle between blind optimism and the cold hard truth. I know which one I'm more comfortable with... If you bare your soul and wear your heart on your sleeve about Moyes and the Boys, you have to be prepared to deal with the responses that triggers. Keep it up. The truth will out! — Michael

Who is 'Dutch Schaeffer'?
Arnold Schwarzenegger played the character 'Dutch Schaeffer' in the 1987 fim 'Predator'.

Choosing a pseudonym like that suggests that the 'Dutch Schaeffer' who writes to the mailbag almost on a daily basis, is either an adolescent who likes winding people up, or, more likely, a smarmy EFC employee sitting in an office at Bellefield practising 'Blue Spin'.

Which is it 'Dutch'?
John McTiernan, London  (10/3/06)

The latest Moyesism is priceless, think you all know the adverts:

  • Manage a team of past-their-sell-by-date players to a Champions League Qualifier - Cost virtually nothing
  • Fail to invest in a striker to progress in that competition - naieve suicide
  • Get pumped in the Uefa Cup because you still haven't invested in a striker - head now buried in sand
  • Invest in players no-one in their right mind would touch: Pistone, Naysmith, Davies - stubborn beyond belief
  • Play a striker who has never played in a lone-striker role before in his life and expect miracles - plain stupidity now...
Now, when it's clear as it ever can be the club you manage isn't scoring enough goals, blame the midfield in your negative defensive strategy for not scoring enough goals — even claiming Davies is good for goals - amazing if you have ever looked up his goal-scoring stats for clubs!!! three years before he scored for Peterborough; most scored in one season: five in thirty six games for Spurs; 12 goals for clubs since 1997!!!

Finally, when the fans resign themselves to see how the season closes and if the manager ever bothers his arse to buy a striker, he goes to watch yet another bleeding defender - priceless!
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (10/03/06)

Biffa Strikes Again?
The PR splash that has followed JJB's tie up with Rangers has put forward some interesting numbers... £18M upfront in a £45M deal. Nice.

I agree with the mailer who suggested it was time to ask for our Ball dosh back (with interest). However, I'm now more interested in relating the Rangers coup to our own recently announced 5-year deal — to outsource the megastore and other retail operations to JJB — as the numbers seem harder to identify. <>P> I can't find any reference to what Everton get out of it in any of the articles published at the time. At best, Biffa seems to suggest that it was all too much like hard work for the commercial team at Goodison and that they were better served off-loading this prime revenue generator to experts.

The logic may be sound and it might just be my lack of research skills (in being unable to find out the bones of the deal); or could it be that dear old Biffa didn't get anything like the Rangers deal, so it wasn't worth publishing the benefits ?

Presumably Bill is taking him to task as we speak?
Steve  Guy, Harrogate  (9/3/06)

Tory Gillick
Shame on you Michael, I think you need a dose of "Do you know your History?"

Tory Gillick was a supremely skilful inside-forward who was the only player to be signed by Rangers twice - once in 1933-35 and once in 1946-50.

He was sold to Everton for £8,000 in 1935 - a then record fee for the Club. He earned 5 caps for Scotland, all whilst playing for Everton, and a Football League Championship medal in 1939. He was a good goal scorer and netted 62 goals from 140 games.

Methinks we could do with him today and I hope this, to a degree, satisfies the earlier letter writer who asked about him. I am sure if he looked up Tory's name on the Internet he might find out a fair bit about him. I only know of him because my Dad was such an ardent Blue and used to rave about him.
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (9/3/06)

Just for the record: 44 goals from 133 games is what he did for Everton. Not sure where you got the rest from? (Wartime games are not counted in players' appearance or goals-scoring records.) — Michael

Abysmal Lows? Really?
Reading the feedback on this site it surprises me that people think of this season as an abysmal low.

Is it really an abysmal low?

Sure being knocked out of the Champions League was a blow but remember it was our first attempt at football at that level and we had the bad luck of being drawn against a very difficult Villarreal side.

Villareal have this week progressed to the quarter-final stages by beating Rangers. To be fair, if the "world's best" referee hadn't ruled out Big Dunc's perfectly good goal, who knows what could have happened in extra-time or penalties.

After the Champions League exit, the players suffered from low confidence which resulted in some awful form. Then, after some great management by Moyes, the team got their confidence back and are now steadily climbing the league. The relegation fears are gone and all we have to worry about is: "Can the team finish 6th and get a Uefa Cup spot?"

A mid-table finish, possibly a Uefa spot, an abysmal season? I think not. I look at this season as a consolidation, Everton have continued to cement themselves as a mid-table side, which is an amazing step up in 3 years considering how bad they were under Smith.

People who expected Everton to challenge for the Champions League every season were dreaming. We over-acheived last season due to team spirit and damned hard work, both of which Moyes instilled in the team. Think back to when Walter Smith was sacked; if you could have been Bill Kenwright, what targets would you have set the new manager?

I think the following is fair:-

  • Year 1-3: Move away from relegation scraps.
  • Year 3-4: Consolidate Everton as a midtable side.
  • Year 4-5: Qualify Everton in a UEFA Cup spot.
  • Year 5-6: Push for a Champions League spot.
Moyes has over-achieved so much its scary. The two-time Manager of the Year deserves respect not snide comments.

In Moyes I Continue To Trust
Dutch Schaeffer, Timbucktoo  (9/3/06)

Jesus H Christ, you won't give it up, will you. You invent a mythical scenario, and then applaud Moyes for over-achieving because he does better? How pathetic is that? And what is this "mid-table" rubbish? Under Moyes, the one thing we have not managed is a mid-table finish. We either dabble with relegation or we "over-achieve" with Champions League qualification and the "Magnificent Seventh".

And you wonder about our abysmal season? Let me help you with that:

  • The loss to Bucharest was abysmal;
  • The combined exits from CL and the Uefa Cup at the first hurdle were nothing short of abysmal;
  • Our whole European adventure plumbed the depth of abysmal;
  • Eight league deafeats out of nine was the epitome of abysmal;
  • Being bottom of the league for four weeks closely matches the dictionary definition of abysmal;
  • The whole sordid Krøldrup saga extended the definition of abysmal;
  • Our sad slide out of the Carling League Cup, to Middlesbrough — AT HOME — was abysmal;
  • Three 4-0 losses to poor opposition was totally abysmal;
  • Our failure to beat Chelse in the FA Cup when we had them on the rack — AT HOME — was particularly abysmal.
DO YOU GET IT YET??? Or is selective memory working its magic?

And David Moyes was the Manager (of the Year... x2) in charge, and therefore directly responsible for this orgy of abysmalness! If he takes the plaudits for the recent run of form and the long-awaited improvement in our football — finally witnessed in the last two games — then he carries the can for all the awful abysmalness that went before it.

The balance is right now directly equal to our goal difference. And the damage done won't be healed until we have a positive goal difference — something I feel confident in predicting we will not see this season.

Does that help you understand the excruciating abysmalness some of us have suffered this season? Thought not... — Michael

Man Managment
Yes, Davies has continued where Beattie left off last season by (in my mind) potentially being an excellent buy (Even if he only found 50% of his form a couple of years ago when Man Utd bid £10+) and then spending 6 months proving me wrong.

However, this may be a crazy idea but maybe Moyes is backing the player so he can improve. While we all appreciate honestly, Moyes coming out in public with `Yep, he's been shit` is unlikely to help Davies' confidence.

Anyone else prefer Davies to play well rather than sit in a position of `I told you so` while he rots in the reserves?
Mike Jones, Liverpool  (9/3/06)

Of course we all want him to play well... but that raises the obvious question "Why isn't he playing well?"; "Why isn't he having far more impact on games?"; "Why did we buy him?"... and probably a lot more besides. — Michael

Tory Gillick
I would like to make a comment about Tory Gillick. My Grandad describes him as one of the best football players to have pulled on the Royal Blue Shirt. According to my Grandad he never recieved the recognition he deserved while he played for Everton FC. I would great if you could put an article up about Tory Gillick.
Dave , Merseyside  (9/3/2006)

Let's just do a quiz instead:

(1) Hands up if you have heard of Tory Gillick, and knew he was once an Everton player?

(β) In which famous era did he play?

(c) How many more goals did he score for Everton.

... and that's just about all I know about Tory Gillick. Sorry. — Michael

It`s all the players fault!
David Moyes`assertion that he expected more goals from his midfielders provides an interesting insight into the manager`s probable thinking before the present season commenced. Over a 38-game season and generally playing with a five-man midfield, few managers would budget for a contribution of more than 25 goals from this section of the team — although we managed 28 last season. Add say 5 more from defenders and own goals and to repeat last season`s tally of 45 he would still have been looking for only a total of 15 from strikers Beattie, Bent, Ferguson and McFadden.

If this was, indeed, the limit of his ambition — and 45 had been good enough to finish fourth, remember — was the gamble not to invest in a `summer` striker justified? On balance, it probably was, given that he must have seen Beattie alone good for 15 and token contributions from `non-scoring strikers` like the other three could well have boosted the total beyond the 50 mark. Just think of that!

We know now, of course, that it all went wrong. Opposition managers have taken steps to negate the `Cahill Jump`; Davies can`t hit a barn door; and other than Beattie — now transformed into a lone striker expected to cover every blade of grass on the pitch as well as be in position to score — the so-called strikers have contributed nowt.

So, readers, it isn`t the manager`s fault we`re well behind schedule — he did the planning alright — it`s the bloody players who just won`t do what they are told!
Harry  Meek, Worcester  (9/3/06)

Rangers reveal £48M retail deal — can we have our Micheal Ball money please?

Oh no, I forgot — Wyness and Billy Blue let them keep it because the poor little club were struggling for money.

For fucks sake!!
Dan Parker, New York, US  (9/3/06)

Davies is a good footballer; I like him a lot. Give him a run in the one position and watch him go. It is so easy from the comfort of the armchair to have a go, then the bandwagon rolls. I will stick my head above the sand on this one and I know there is someone at ToffeeWeb towers who agrees, though I can't remember if it was Lyndon or not.
Mark Lyth, Netherton  (9/3/06)

Praise for Davies ill-judged
David Moyes`s praise for Simon Davies says it all for me about his ability — or lack of it — to judge a footballer. However `good on the ball` he may be, Davies rarely achieves anything meaningful; if Moyes is truly satisfied with the Welshman`s contribution so far, there is little hope for us, I fear.

To think he had `the hots` for Davies for at least a year before he signed him almost defies belief. Jol, on the other hand, couldn`t wait to get rid and, as soon as he was half-fit, had Davies on the train to Merseyside.

David Hall`s prediction (7/3/06) of what the summer has in store for us rang all too true to me; with Moyes considering `no-marks` like Davies to be what he is looking for, yet another influx of dross can be expected.
Alan Young, Parkgate  (8/3/06)

First and foremost, let me say I am really happy to see Everton picking up their fair share of points. They are even starting to play a little football. The thing that is getting my neck up is that, every time we score a goal or pick up a point, there seems to be someone who thinks this makes David Moyes the best thing since sliced bread. Yet that's just what we pay the manager for.

Now we might not be in the BIG FIVE any more (at least not financially) but we are sure in the big eight financially and support-wise. Any manager who at the absolute minimum does not keep Everton in the top eight, with a cup run (at leat a quarter-final) every couple of years is not doing his job. If we look at the financial backing and time David Moyes has had, the conclusion regarding his abilities so far can only be fair to middling.

No one is saying fire him now... but we want big improvement for next season. The game at West Ham was more like it — the players & fans went there saying; WERE EVERTON AND WE'VE COME TO WIN. (The atmosphere was boss; reminded me of when the big man got two there.) More of it, please, Davey.
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (8/3/06)

The one eye is king in the valley of the blind!
I just read on icLiverpool that Dutch's best friend and mentor David Moyes is 'pleased' with Simon Davies thus far this season. Sorry but there comes a time when you have to tell the truth to get more, or much more in Davies's case, out of a player. My point is this: how good a manager is Moyes if he really believes Davies is a positive influence to the team when 40,000 toffees don't see that each week? I don't want Moyes out — I want attacking, winning football with better fare in the transfer market!
Luq Yus, London  (8/3/06)

I respect Dutch Schaeffer for his passionate defence of Davey... but to say the season has not been dissapointing is a joke. I can't remember the last time I was so looking forward to the start of a season: in Europe, and convinced we were good enough to get at least a top-six place. The rest is history.

I got depressed with it all, kopite mates back in Liverpool ringing me up taking the piss. If Dutch thinks being a laughing stock is not dissapointing, he must have low standards. Also, he says this season has consolidated us as a mid-table team. Yeah, Dutch — along with Fulham, Blackburn, Charlton, Wigan, etc — don't you think that's dissapointing in itself?
Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (8/3/06)

I agree in part with what Dutch has to say (shock, horror!). Moyes has brought us on since the Smith era but as Michael says it's the highs and lows that really get you.

I'm not saying I want to revert back to bottom-six finishes, that would be mad. But the highs of finishing 7th and 4th are mixed with the lows of 17th and whereever we end up this season.

I don't understand how we can play so well at one point then get totally hammered by teams who we honestly know are worse than us, it wasn't like we where getting beat 1-0 or 2-1... it was 4-0... three times!!

I fully realise that the Champions League exit was heart-breaking, and Moyes must have felt it as hard as most, BUT we totally fell apart as a club. To lose a couple of matches is one thing but we didn't look like we had any spirit till the end of October!! That's what I found difficult, mainly cos I believed Davey would sort it out.

Maybe my expectations of Moyes where too high but as a blue the period from Aug to Oct was the lowest I can remember for years, and we've had some lows, haven't we!!

At least ToffeeWeb gives us the forum to share our views, and it does it with a bit of humour, and I for one am very grateful.
John Audsley, Leeds  (8/3/06)

Great letter, John. (Of course I love it when people agree with me!)

Advance and be recognised, Dutch!
With every letter you publish from Dutch Schaeffer, I become more and more convinced that he is an official Everton FC placeman put up to deflect any criticism from `the management.` His defence of `the realm` is too pat and his terminology reeks of PR-speak. Indeed, with every posting, I am reminded more and more of the Chris Samuelson sting attempt at the 2004 AGM, which (like dear old Dutch) fooled nobody!

Now I don`t mind a fellow supporter believing the sun shines out of the nether regions of Kenwright, Moyes and Wyness and, in a strange way, I find the likes of Richard Dodd amusing (NB I know he exists because he is a distant relative!) but Schaeffer is far too glib and a Scouser can smell a patsy a mile away!

So `Advance and be rcognised` Dutch — otherwise you had better retreat to your natural home —
Harry  Meek, Worcester  (8/3/06)

Oooo... be careful. He might just be genuine.

E= mc²
I've decided to take the scientific approach to explaining what's gone wrong with Everton as the emotional arguments are never going to work. So...

Entertaining (and hopefully winning) football = More media exposure = More exposure to potential investors = More chance of getting investment in the club = Bigger wage/transfer budget = Better players = More Trophies = Happier fans

You could also say...

Entertaining (and hopefully winning) football = Happier players = better reputation amongst agents and players = More chance of signing better players (even if we cannot offer more money)

On the other hand, this is what we get now...

Dour (occasionally winning) football = Less media exposure = Less sponsorship = Less investment from Sponsors and potential backers = Less money to invest in team/wages/ground = Less Trophies = Pissed off fans
A plank of wood with a nail in it, UK  (8/3/06)

Ergo... more letters from Dutch telling us it just doesn't add up!

You know I love this site and I have great respect for the people running it but I just get the feeling that nothing our manager does is good enough and there is a mission here to get David Moyes the sack.

I really am getting tired of defending Moyes. I think he's doing a great job and if others don't well that's your opinion.

Moyes took a team which under Wally Smith had fought relegation every single year, not once finishing in the Top 10. The squad consisted of everyday journeymen (Pembridge/Gemmill) and over-the-hill vetrans (Gazza/Ginola). All the promising young players had been run out of the club (Jeffers/Ball/Dunne).

I've listed before what Moyes has done in his three seasons but I'll do so again because it's so impressive:-

  • Everton finished in the Top 10 for the first time in a decade.
  • Two season's later Everton finish 4th and qualify for Champions League for the first time ever.
  • Everton bring through a world class youngster (Rooney) and a couple of other very good youngsters (Osman/Hibbert).
  • Everton begin to turn over a profit and become one of the 20 richest clubs in the world.
  • Established International players (Neville/Valente/Van Der Meyde) sign for Everton.
  • Oh yeah nearly forgot, Moyes wins Manager Of The Year twice!
This season we have seen bad luck and bad ref Colina end our Champions League adventure which destroyed the moral and clearly resulted in the Uefa exit and a bad start to Premiership. That said, the season hasn't been so bad, in fact its a pretty good season, a mid-table finish looks likely and it will confirm Everton as relegation fodder no more, the quality of players in the squad has undeniably risen and up-and-coming starlets (Ruddy/Anichebe) have moved a step nearer to the first team.

Add a quality striker in the Summer, and a defender maybe, and Moyes could turn Everton into a very good side.

As it's been pointed out before, what's the option? Sack Moyes? Thats laughable! We have no chance of attracting a manager anywhere near the quality of Moyes. Sack the two-time manager-of-year Moyes and appoint Peter Reid or Grame Souness? I think not.

This season is not disappointing, its just consolidated us as a mid-table side, which is an amazing achievement considering where we were four years ago.
Dutch Schaeffer, Liverpool  (07/03/06)

Dutch, I think the thing that gets people — well, it gets to me — is the yo-yo rollercoaster ride we are on with him. Supreme highs... followed by the most abysmal lows. Why is it so hard for Moyes to steady the ship and keep us on this improving path? The higher he takes us, the deeper and more painful are the dips that seemingly are an inevitable accompaniment to his management. No amount of listing his attributes will change that feeling.

But you are way off the mark when you think there is a movement here to sack him. I think that is a shrinking minority. And there will be one hell of a stink if he does go off to Glasgow in the summer — or any time soon —without achieveing greatness at Everton.

And please, stop mentioning Rooney as a feather in Moyes's cap. Moyes was almost without doubt a major factor in us losing the greatest ever talent we have seen rise through the ranks. — Michael

Just plain silly
That 'Just sign here' piece is the most pathetic excuse for an article I have ever seen. Rob Williamson should be completely ashamed of himself, providing he's old enough to know what the words 'completely' and 'ashamed' mean.

What worries me more though, is the fact that you guys who run this site obviously believed the article was good enough to splash onto your homepage in the first place!

All you depressed Moyes pessimists will realise sooner or later that he's a great manager and he is moving our club forward all the time. And frankly when you do, I hope you feel ashamed of yourselves every time you step foot into Goodison Park. Anyway, tallyho....

ps: - Dutch Shaeffer - good man
Patrick  Marks, London  (7/3/06)

I know for a fact he was not moving us forward the season we avoided relegation with the lowest points total known to man. I don't think our European Adventure really moved us forward at all either: it turned into a hugely negative embarrassmnent too be honest. He did incredibly well to get us there, but the utter debacle that ensued set us back a long way. IMHO. — Michael

What, you think I'm mad......
You people have been told by Ronnie Mukherjee and Dutch Schaeffer, to name but a couple of thousand, that our manager has won THE Manager of the Year Award twice in three years. Let me write that in big letters, 2X!

I was there for the first one. I was in the Boys' Pen, sneaking into the ground with Fat Bill but that's another story, when the winning vote went in. There was uproar as some suspected that he only got it because he is Scottish which is seen as something of a hinderance if not a downright disadvantage and has since been, quaintly, known as the "Sympathy Vote".

I am writing to the FA, or someone equally aptly named, to see if we can have a play-off, a sort of Charity Shi..., no they don't use that one anymore, the Community, no they don't vote on it, a People's Club versus... no. Anyway, a vote-off for a worthy cause with the bloke who stopped DM's hat-trick, if only we could remember who it was.....

While I'm at it I may ask if we can do away with this playing for points to decide positions on the ladder and just have people, qualified people, those who can spell X (or know how to cross it out if they spell it wrong), decide who wins what. Sky TV can sponsor the counting, say 5p a vote, which could be used, you know, to improve your chances of winning next year.

Now, if you ToffeeWeb people stop all this negative rubbish I might just mention your good work with the ToffeeWeb Polls and who knows....
Thommo Bigpond, Cardiff  (7/3/06)

Hmmm... so it's not a lifetime award then? It needs to be re-assessed each season? What's that based on then, I wonder? Maybe it would be helpful to analyze the season DM failed to win this prestigious trophy (and I somehow doubt he's in with much of a shout this season either, to be brutally honest.) But hey, you know best. Thanks for trying to put us right. — Michael

Missed the Point
I like this web site; it's informative and well run and provides a great balance of Blue views and opinions... However, I'm driven to write in following the list of anti-Moyes / Billy mails... and no I'm not without critisism of both.. My simple question is "Who do the critics really think will come in and do anything different?"

Let's Take the Moyes job: OK we fire him and bring in who?
Peter Reid (duh)
Mick McCarthy (ummm)
John Gregory (dont think so)
Alex Mcleish (Walter Smith throw-back)

Or maybe we can go get a great Foreign coach (hit and miss - see Mourinho and Perin!!)

As to the Chairman, what we need is a sugar daddy to bring investment into the club. All you guys would be happy if Blue Bill suddenly stuffed £100 million into the club ( maybe the Securitas robbery in Kent was down to him... ummmm!!!)

The Problem is EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB is not seen as being sexy enough at the moment for future investors or players. We've got to work back up to that status again 'cos — like it or not — we don't have the same profile as a lot of your contributors think we have.

In my view weve been very lucky not to be relegated in the past 10 years and, to be honest, Moyes has done a great job to keep us up — never mind give us a shot at Europe.

Do Moyes and Kenwright make mistakes? Yes, they do ... Are they the best in the business? Probably not... but rather than bitching and moaning, maybe some of you can come up with a realistic alternative or quit moaning.!
Rog Walker, Portsmouth  (7/3/06)

The point when people don't perform well in their jobs is to first try to improve that performance. I'd like to think that most of the comment provided by our contributors falls into that category — especially as most of our readers (except you) seem to know that neither David Moyes nor Bill Kenwright are going anywhere. It's not about us finding replacements — that's not and never will be our job (although personally I'd welcome a new Chairman who wanted to take over — not someone I chose). So that's what we'd like to see: a better job done by both of them. There's nothing wrong with that, is there? — Michael

'Just Sign here' — a piss take!!!
What the hell is wrong with everyone today? Fall out of bed and hit their heads?! I for one am 100% behind Moyes, but like a lot of us, am totally puzzled by some of the stuff he does or doesn't do. But one thing's for sure, irrespective of what side of the Moyes fence I sit on, I would have laughed at that piss-take either way. It was a light-hearted dig at the man, to which I'm sure most of us found amusing. The kind of dig we have everyday with our own mates. Lighten up Bluenoses!!!
Kieran Doyle, Shanghai, China  (7/3/06)

Just lighten up!!!
You would think the article written by Rob Williamson was a personal attack on some fans the way they have reacted. It was funny, so take it as a piece of fun, and if you can't, I think you need to get a life.
Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (7/3/06)

Statto lives!
Congrats to Steve Statto Flanagan for his excellent work. How he does this without blowing a gasket is a miracle. Long may he continue to keep up the good work. Putting aside the obvious "lies, damned lies and statistics" jibe, I think I can compare this season and last season without the use of a slide rule. Prior to Christmas last season, we showed Champions League form. After Christmas, we were shite. Prior to Christmas this season, we were shite. After Christmas....? Go on, complete the sentence in less than 3000 words!!
Tom Edwards, York  (7/3/06)

Just sign here...
I'm not going to rant about the majority of the content of the peice as I guess that some people might believe it to be satire/comedy but I was wondering if someone could answer a question for me.

"Moyes: ‘Definitely son. I know that the cynics will point to the fact that the average age of the squad has actually gone up since I took over but you wait and see…’ "

Has the average age of the squad really gone up since DM took charge? I know that Martyn, Stubbs and Weir are all pretty old but I thought the average age of the squad was down from the WS era.

Can any stato give me an answer?
Iain Cameron, Cambs  (7/3/06)

People who question Moyes in the transfer market are a little bit silly. You need to stop focusing on the couple of mistakes (Krøldrup/Davies/Wright) and start shouting about how well he's done.

  • Joey Yobo is a world-class defender nobody had heard about and Moyes picked him up for £4.5 million.
  • Mikel Arteta is fast developing into Everton's best player, surely a future Spanish International, yet only cost Moyes £2 million.
  • Tim Cahill was the player nobody wanted to take a chance on but Moyes paid £2 million and has been rewarded with a fantastic player.
  • Kevin Kilbane has played his best football at Everton well worth the £1 million Moyes paid.
  • Established International Nuno Valente is looking a bargain at £1.5 million.
  • £3.5 million for a player with nearly 60 England caps and is still in his 20's. Phil Neville is our future Captain and is an amazing deal by Moyes.
  • Beattie is now justifying the £6.5 million Moyes spent on him. There are many strikers out there who cost more but haven't produced (Alberto Luque).
  • Marcus Bent cost £450,000 was a good player and then was sold for £2 million. Great business.
  • McFadden may still have some to prove but he only cost £1 million and we'll get that back if we sell him to Rangers or Celtic.
  • Hopefully Andy van der Meyde can get over the injuries and prove his worth.
There are some amazing deals by Moyes. All managers make the occaisonal mistakes but I'd rather have Moyes making mistakes then Walter Smith (Gazza/Ginola/Hughes).
Dutch Schaeffer, Liverpool  (7/3/06)

What's happened to Cahill then, Dutch? He scored a few goals last season but he really is a horrible player to watch. And this season he is next to useless. Don't tell me that's David Moyes's fault — bad training, perhaps? — Michael

Smile,darn you,smile!
It`s not only David Moyes who appears to have no sense of fun but a few of your readers seem to suffer the same complaint. The `Sign Here` piece was, to my mind, a genuine attempt to brighten the gloom that has settled over Goodison this season as we have once again seen our dreams of a real revival dashed. As we once more settle for escaping relegation — all Everton managers are pretty good at it really — time to reflect on what the summer holds for us.

On the departure side, I expect to see Martin, Weir, Ferrari, Lie Tie and Ferguson released and efforts made to sell Wright and Kilbane. Stand by for a shock departure with either Yobo or Arteta used to bring in much needed funds. (Any transfer provoking controversy will obviously be at the request of the player, his agent or other dark forces!) As ever, all the Academy players will be released and those reponsible for their development given huge rises for getting them off the books.

On the in-coming side, expect Wyness to come up with the extra million or so he couldn`t find for Nugent at Christmas. A goalkeeper will obviously be a top priority as Turner and Ruddy will be told that even Big Nige didn`t reach his best until well past 30!

Other signings will be at a premium as we shall be told that having Pistone, Naysmith, Carsley, Vaughan and Van der Meyde back in action is like signing a new team. Oh, I nearly forgot, on the eve of the new season, Weir will be offered a new one-year deal to fill the gap in defence and Nigel will return after the new goalie trips over a Gatorade bottle.

Just tick off the above events as they happen and at least you`ll have something to smile about this summer — that`s if you`ve not already succumbed to the Everton Blues!
David  Hall, Taunton  (7/3/06)

Just sign here?!!
An absolute disgrace, you shouldn't have published it. Constructive criticism is one thing but blatantly taking the piss out of a manager who has won two Manager of the Year awards with us is another.

Our manager and players probably read sites like this and it is articles like that one which destroy confidence. They definitely do not reflect the opinions of the majority of Evertonians and when they are written in such a childishly piss-taking way they should be ignored.

All the names mentioned by Williamson didn't join us for valid reasons and Moyes has signed far better players than them (e.g. Arteta, Neville, even Beattie). Please don't make it the case that when things are looking up on the pitch we still fail because of fans sites spreading ridiculously negative vibes.
Ronnie Mukherjee, Halifax  (7/3/06)

Oh good grief... the art of satire is well and truly dead. If you think the players would be upset by that, you have no idea how they take the piss out of each other as part of that famous team-building thing. But yea, if the season now goes down the toilet, you'll know who to blame... — Michael

Light and tunnels!
Well, finally I can see a shard of light at the end of a long tunnel. It looks like we are just about safe from relegation, which I really thought was a possibility this season. I was actually worried before the season started because our squad of players were clearly over-rated by Moyes and a major fall from grace was inevitable. Most prospective signings could see that... even fatboy Alan Green was bang on. Anyway, some gritty perfomances, some good luck and a few really badly managed squads have seemingly saved us. This means that we can all start to look forward to the end of this horrible season and enjoy the summer.

The other bit of light, that although distant is still there, is Moyes voicing a move back to Glasgow. I'm hoping it was a first step in the slow engineering of a move away from Goodison. It's where he belongs, he'll do OK there amongst his own, and his lack of tactical nous and inability to value pace and skill won't be so clearly exposed. I know it may not be for a while but it's given me hope... something I've not felt for a while and I've missed it.

For those rose-tinted spectacle wearers who will wonder who's better?... well, that's another story. Most of us hate the football we play, can't believe the chance to move us into a top 6 position that was luckily there for the taking before this season started and was blown so spectacularly and embarassingly, and we don't like the continual disasters in the transfer market which often seem down to the manager's dour personality and over-rating of average workmen like Davies, Carsley and Naysmith.

Anyway, it's been a horrible disappointing season. The manager was given more money than most, he blew it, it was his fault! Thankfully we look safe from relegation and the manager see's his future away from Everton.. eventually.

Tiny, pathetic chinks of light. Thanks for nothing!
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (7/3/06)

A pointed response to Mr Schaeffer... only you didn't have the benefit of reading his rousing extolation of the Moyesiah, did you? Nice job abyway. That last little bit really sums it up for me. — Michael

At the moment im being constantly told by fans and pundits alike that Everton's season has been saved and Davey has done a fantastic job. It seems at lot of people believe we where Mad as fans to even consider his position.


Ok, I will admit Moyes and the lads have done a great job since the New Year and God did we need it, but who got us in that position?? Yep; you guessed it: Moyes and the boys.

A season that should have been great has been very miserable at best. I won't forgot sitting watching us get beat 4 - 0 by average teams every other week for a long time.

And what will the summer bring???

Stubbs and Weir get another year (at least one will stay, my money is on Stubbs); Yobo could be sold as his contract has only a year left; Moyes will buy hardly anyone and Li Tie will be in the reserves 'til he "gets match fit".

Don' get me wrong, I admire the job Davey has done and we've shown more spirit in the last two months than all of last year but this club is going nowhere fast... in fact nowhere slowly!

The only new arrival im expecting is my first baby who's due in April

ps: Is Davies the worst player in an Everton shirt for 10 years? I know he has some competion (Degn, anyone?) but I reckon he's right up there. £3.5M well spent, that!
John Audsley, Leeds  (6/3/06)

Mr Audsley, may I introduce you to Mr Schaeffer (below). I think you will have plenty to talk about.... — Michael

In Moyes We Continue To Trust
I'm so sick of all this talk about the worth of David Moyes. Sure this season has been disappointing and sure Moyes is capable of making mistakes in the transfer market (Krøldrup/Davies) but on the whole he's done a bloody fantastic job.

His transfers on the large have been great, he's unearthed some real gems at very resonable prices (Cahill/Yobo/Arteta).

He's used the youth system to develop youngsters into great players knocking on England's door (Hibbert/Osman) and truely world class players (Rooney).

Not only has he managed to get Everton to finish in the Top 10 twice (something that's only happened 3 times in Premiership history) but he brought Champion's League football to Goodison Park.

He's won Manager of the Year two out of the three year's he's been in charge, I'm gonna repeat that because its such a magnificent acheivement, HE'S WON MANAGER OF THE YEAR TWICE IN THE THREE SEASONS HE'S BEEN IN CHARGE.

This year got off to a bad start because of bad luck (could we have got a more difficult tie then Villarreal?) and his transfer targets being more interested in money (Scott Parker).

Like I say, he's not perfect but could you imagine any other manager in the world doing a better job with such limited resources?

Give the guy a break, would you really want Kenwright to sack Moyes and appoint Souness or McCarthy? Face it, Moyes is the best manager we could possibly wish to attract to Goodison and he deserves some respect.
Dutch Schaeffer, Liverpool  (06/03/06)

Is that meant as a satirical contribution? We don't do satire any more... sorry! — Michael

That 'Just Sign Here' article is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read concerning Everton. I agree there are plenty of different viewpoints (your regular contributors provide excellent articles) but you have let yourself down with this being printed.

It doesn't even give a balanced viewpoint. I doubt this will be printed but it was that bad I had to reply.

It doesn't do yourselves any favours with other Blues on the view that the site is anti-Moyes/Kenwright.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum should reply to the articles as well.
Chris Keegan, Liverpool  (6/3/06)

So it was a quiet weekend... no-one bothers to write in when we play well.... I'm overworked at the moment and didin't read it very thoughrouly... Lyndon has written this neat routine that instantly converts Fans Comment input into a nice clean ToffeeWeb page, untouched by human hand — I just had to give it a whirl. They lad took the trouble to write it; it was the least I could do... What's happened to satire all of a sudden? Come-on folks... it's not a serious comment! Although it might as well have been.... Right: only inoffensive and therfore dead boring stuff gets through from now on... — Michael

Deadwood and fresh pine!
I've got issues with the worth of Neville, Dutch Schaeffer, and so have a lot of fans. Personally I like Neville as he is an honest professional and a likable guy; however, his ability (or lack of it) is very concerning as a midfielder.

He offers nothing in attack and is prone to error in allowing the midfield to be over-run. The only reason he plays in midfield I think is that it is part of his contract which, if right, is another Moyes mistake.

And Mr Schaeffer unless you're blind or simply don't pay attention to other fans, Davies gets a regular slaughtering from me and will do until he improves or leaves!!!

Lastly the fans comment about the Moyes and Keane fictious conversation is an excellent example of why Moyes fails in the transfer market. If you disagree then ask yourselves who would you rather have... Neville or Parker? Enough said.

ps: I bet you Moyes DOESN'T sign Ferrari — possibly our best defender — and resigns Weir!
Luq  Yus, London  (6/3/06)

That's gratitude
Got to say I find Rob Williamson's 'hilarious' article concerning the imagined attempt of Moyes to sign Robbie Keane in rather shabby taste. It seems ToffeeWeb has nailed it's colours to the mast where Moyes is concerned, as the editorial comment (never completely objective but usually willing to at least concede a point) is now always glazed in a layer of sarcasm, and you seem to relish publishing crap like this.

It makes pretty unpleasant reading. Where else would you get an article like this about a manager who has just led his team on a two-month streak to get them out of trouble? I know Moyes isn't perfect (ie, I know he was a lot to do with us being IN trouble so please don't feel obliged to point that out in a clipped, sardonic, we-know-best reply), but this piece, attempted comedy or no, takes a pretty simple view.

Is it worth even trying to point out the good things Moyes has done anymore? Does anyone there have any time for the man?
Simon Amble, Hereford  (6/3/06)

Go right ahead, Simon. Point away. There are more than a few Moyes fans reading the mailbag... By the way, the standard disclaimer reads: "Fans Comment" articles are submitted by outside contributors to ToffeeWeb. The views contained therein may not correspond with those of the site owners. Editorial policyMichael

Phil Neville
I hear a lot of people questioning the worth of Phil Neville. While he's never going to excite many fans and sure he's gonna get booed at every away game (why is that?) but I do feel Phil Neville has established himself as an important part of the side.

Neville is a complete professional and makes up for his shortcomings with 100% commitment everytime he plays. I think he was well worth the £3.5 million Moyes paid for him. If the fans really want to question a player's worth then how about Simon Daives? He also cost £3.5 million and really hasn't shown anything for it.

Why is it everyone is willing to get on Neville's back but Davies escapes the moaning?
Dutch Schaeffer, Liverpool  (6/3/06)

Neville strives for more 'visibility' than Davies off the field. Davies has very few admirers... Given Moyes bought him, I'm shocked you are not showing more support! — Michael

Kroldrup-now we know!
Surfing translations of Yahoo Sport Italia, I found this gem, charmingly labelled `School report on Per Krøldrup-Fiorentina:-

`The Danish, like his unit companions, often slips. It is always in delay but its long levers help it to recover easily`

Seems like, as at Everton, poor Per just can`t find his feet!
Ron Marchant, Burscough  (6/3/06)


Waiting Game
Does Dutch Schaeffer really believe that Everton would not have been more effective this season for the ADDITION of any one of the strikers he mentions? Like the manager he so admires, does he really think that the team has made progress this season? Most of us are now resigned to accepting that Everton under Moyes will continue ad infinitum to be mind-blowingly boring — because that`s the way he likes it!

As for saving resources until the summer, after last summer`s debacle, few of us have much faith in The Moystro`s tranfer abilities. Just reflect on the money wasted on `no shows` like Krøldrup and Van der Meyde, the sheer ordinariness of Davies and the re-signing of Naysmith, Pistone and Ferguson whose total contribution amounts to nil.

I`m glad that Schaeffer and his dopelganger, Richard Dodd, are happy in their so easily satisfied world but I, for one, will not be renewing my season ticket until I see proper commitment from the Board and a real indication that Moyes can operate in the transfer market at top level.
Gary Isherwood, Oughton  (6/3/06)

They indications were there was more entertainment on offer at the Boleyn Ground, but I had to stop watching the bit-torrent after about 30 mins. That was not 'quality football' by any stretch. — Michael

On the recieving end...
... of a smack in the gob does not endanger a player's career — yet it most certainly does should you be the one who delivers said smack.

I am not attempting to defend the indefensible yet I wonder where you would rank Dunc's behaviour on this little list of onfield crimes: Feigning injury, attempts to get an opponent sent off, diving, spitting, assaulting an official, attacking a spectator, career threatening fouls. I would place Duncs offences at the lower end of the scale. What do others think?
Dick Fearon, Australia  (6/3/06)

Uh? Did I blink and miss something significant? What are you talking about? Or is this another apologist missive along the lines of: "It's really Okay for Duncan to thump someone in the guts; he didn't really mean it. He's very kind to children and small animals..." Ducan Ferguson was convicted and imprisoned on the merit of three separate cases of physical assault, one of which was a head-butt on a player during a game. — Michael

Live in lover!
Linking two of today`s letters together, if Richard Dodd will let me have his address in Formby then I will petition the local council to have his street re-named Moyes Lane. Then he could reside in perfect happiness close to the one he loves.

Second thoughts, perhaps we should petition to have this sycophantic bore removed to New Zealand!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (5/3/06)


The Striker Dilema!
David Moyes has had so much critism over his decision not to sign a striker so I thought it was time to look closely at that decision.

First of all, we are safe from relegation so not signing a striker was not the downfall of the club many predicted. As for the strikers Moyes was reportedly interested in but didn't sign, much to the annoyance of the fans, how have they done? Bear in mind, James Beattie now has 9 goals this season.

  • Michael Owen: Only 7 goals this season.
  • Robbie Keane: 10 goals (that's including today's two against Blackburn but it is only half time so he could add another).
  • Mikael Forssell: Only 6 goals this season.
  • Milan Baros: 10 goals this season.
  • David Nugent: only 8 goals this season at Championship level.
  • Mark Viduka: 9 goals this season.
Sure, Robbie Keane would have been a great addition and Samaras at Man City looks good... but did Moyes really have the chance to sign them?

Personally I dont think any of the striker's I have mentioned above (except Keane) would have added anything to Everton. I'm glad Moyes kept his limited funds and I hope he spends it wisely in the summer.

In Moyes We Continue To Trust.
Dutch Schaeffer  (5/3/06)

Moyes Lane
The better half took this photo of me in ‘Moyes Lane’ while on a recent trip to New Zealand. Hope it proves prophetic after Davey’s recent Old Firm comments.

Peter Moore, Liverpool  (5/3/06)

Much Better
Reflecting during the journey back to Devon from West Ham last night on a much better performance and starting an away match with a positive 4-4-2 formation (is this a first under DM?). Along with 32 other members of the West Country Blues Supporters Club, I was really delighted with our amazing 'take the match to them' tactics and we fully deserved to win, trying to score right up to final whistle.

Why can't we do this every week? Better times around the corner - maybe - only time will tell.

However, we still need faster central defenders who can play further forward than Weir and Stubbs if we continue to play with two strikers. Ferrari and Yobo sping to mind - who do they play for these days and is there any chance that we might sign them?
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (5/3/06)

Exploded Myths
Another great performance at West Ham exploded three myths which have received acres of space in your columns.

  • Everton can`t come from behind.
  • Everton can`t score more than one goal.
  • James Beattie cannot score goals away from home.

    Add to that the much repeated story that David Moyes is `a miserable bugger` which has been totally destroyed by his most pleasing demeanour in his stint on Sky`s Goals on Sunday this morning and, all in all, it hasn`t been a good weekend for the Mailbag gloom mongers who only rejoice in defeat and disappointment. IMWT!
    Richard  Dodd, Formby  (5/3/06)

    Oh look! A brilliant revisionist proves us all wrong and re-writes the history of a dreadful season at a stroke! One swallow, Richard. The exception proves the rule... etc. — Michael

    Duncan Ferguson
    I was looking through the ToffeeWeb profile on him and I see that you haven't mentioned one of the big reasons he struggled at Rangers — he went to prison for a while!
    Gordon Silvestro, Nuneaton  (5/3/06)

    Okay, let's see how you do on this little quiz:

    1. How many times in his career has Duncan Ferguson been sent to prison?
    2. What crime(s) did Duncan Ferguson commit?
    3. Who was he playing for when he committed said crime?
    4. Who was he supposed to be playing for when said prison sentence was handed down?
    5. How did the serving of that sentence in prison cause him to struggle while at Rangers?
    As they say, answers on a postcard, please.

    New Manager?
    After reading all the mail about should Moyes stay or move on, I think the next 2 months will be crucial for him. He's done well in stabilising a sinking ship financially and making sure we are not relegation fodder. The next step he got us into Europe, but this season we haven't performed like we should have. We must qualify for Europe again for us to keep improving. If we don't, I think he should go on his own accord at the end of the season. This will give us time to find a new manager and give the new guy a chance to bring in new players over the summer. With the World Cup on, players will be out to impress.

    There are managers available out there, Martin O'Neil being my choice, closely followed by Newell and Reid. Mind you, Sven will also be available. Heaven help us!!!!
    Andy Veitch, Oxon  (4/3/06)

    Sod off then Moyes!
    Just read on teletext that Moyes would love to manage either of the Glasgow clubs in the near future!!! Simply message from me and a few of the Toffees heading to West Ham..... Close the door when you leave you tumshee! Trapaptoni is looking for work, Mr Kenshite!
    Luq Yus, London  (4/3/06)

    Cuddly Bill
    In response to Paul Tran. I have always been a great fan of Moyes, for reasons that frankly, I can't be arsed to explain, as I have said them in the past. (read fan comment, titled - Get a Grip!)

    Admittedly this season our football has been poor and I'm not so blind to see that it is partly to do with the manager's style of play. Similar to Chelsea, only with players who are not as good! I say give Moyse'y a chance to prove his worth this summmer when every Evertonian will be expecting him to buy good, fast attacking footballers, because the rest of our team is ok. If he fails, I may be forced to side with you and other Moyes pessimists.

    On the subject of Kenwright, I and most fans of Moyes Ii'm sure, are with all Evertonians on agreement that he is arguably the most pointless chairman in the Premier League. I dislike him almost passionately if it was not for the fact that he's still a blue.

    In fact, 'Big Bill' would often scrounge a lift on our coach back to London from Goodison because the trains are so shit, much to the delight of all the Evertonians on board.

    But instead of offering us an insight into the club or maybe telling some funny stories about the players or manager, he simply sits there on his fat arse and reads the papers. Growling if any fan dares to ask him a question.

    We've just lost at home to Charlton, Bill. Were pissed off because we've got a 4-hour journey back to London. Talk to us, please.

    He may come across all luvvy duvvy on tv, like a big friendly bear, but really he's a miserable old man who genuinely believes he is more special than you, and me.

    I stopped getting the coach a while ago so maybe 'cuddly Bill' has changed and tells everyone everything, but frankly, I doubt it.

    ps: To those who were strangely wanting Moyes to buy Franny Jeffers back — I can tell you that the only thing we ever squeezed out of Big Bill was when we had our shit arsed season of which Jeffers was a part of recently. "Why isn't Moyes playing Franny??" a fan asked from the back of the coach. "because he's crap in training and argues with him all the time."

    So there you go, not only is Jeffers now a Charlton reject and a Rangers reject, Moyes also hates him. No chance of him coming back, believe me.

    I write this shortly before our trip to the Hammers. COME ON YOU BOYS IN BLUE.
    Patrick Marks, London  (4/3/06)

    Nice insight there, Patrick. Although I do wonder on what basis we can you expect Moyes to sign good, fast attacking footballers. Leopard... spots? — Michael

    Phil Neville
    You have lost your perspective about Mr Neville. He is not mediocre by any means at all. Numerous England caps, Premiership Titles, CL medal and a wealth of experience at European and International level. That's hardly a player of mediocrity. Kilbane, Carsley, Davies and Pistone... now that's mediocre.

    He does work extremely hard, and I believe he is a star. Hes a great signing for the club, a superb professional and the experience he brings to the club is in my opinion invaluable and will certainly rub off on the 'younger' members of the squad.
    Steven Bibby, Kent  (4/3/06)

    Per: Cool Customer
    Just home from a delivery to Parma and took in the home team`s game against Fiorentina. You really do take your life in your hands on those terraces — reminded me of old times at Leeds!

    Star of the Viola`s victory was a young Bulgarian, Valeri Bojinov — why can`t we find finishers like that? His two goals in as many minutes negated Parma`s early lead and set the visitors up for an easy 4-2 victory.

    So what of Per Krøldrup? All I can say is he is one cool customer who would probably have given us all heart attacks if he had ever been put to the test! Can`t recall him making a mistake but whether you would get away with such ball-holding audacity here, we shall never know. One thing is for sure: he don`t come from the David Moyes School of Centre-Halves — that`s certain. How on earth he came to sign him is beyond me.
    Matt Newton, Prenton  (4/3/06)

    Viduka? Can't see it
    Whilst the `Viduka for Everton` story has certainly been doing the rounds up here for months — The Evening Gazette trailed it soon after Christmas — I cannot see `The Moody Man` being Moyes`s cup of tea at all! A prolific goalscorer at Dynamo Zagreb, Celtic and Leeds, he has singularly failed to impress since his £4.5M move to Boro in 2004.

    Self-opinionated and very vocal, he is the antithesis of what our manager goes for and his CV carries more than the odd strike record (industrial variety)! No, I can`t see that one coming off but if, in desparation, it did, the inevitable fireworks alone will be worth the entrance money, believe me!
    Jim Keogh, Northallerton  (4/3/06)

    Hint of what's to come...
    So today I'm reading that Moyes is saying that Weir and Stubbs will need to play well in the remaining 11 games to earn another year. At least we're getting the warning signals so we shouldn't be too despondent with a summer of little transfer activity.

    The option on Ferrari is something like £3.7M. I'm doubtful if we'll see much of him between now and the end of the season, as I really think Davey needs to save his pennies for the area that even he acknowledges we're short in — strikers.

    Okay maybe I'm being a little pessimisitic, but why does he need to come out with quotes like that if it's not to dampen expectation?
    Matt Traynor, Singapore  (04/3/06)

    Err... perhaps it's a genuine statement of how he feels about the two players he was talking about? And has no reflection on anyone he wasn't talking about? [Yes,. I know we're good on conspiracy theories, but that one takes the biscuit!] — Michael

    Where there`s smoke.....
    Tony Tsang is right to ask for clarification on Lie Tie`s status. The way he has been made `to disappear` seems resonant of the Per Krøldrup affair. Perhaps he`s another to have fallen out with Moyes and is getting the `cut dead` treatment?

    Whilst I don`t expect us to be let in on all the Goodison/Bellefield secrets, a little more openness wouldn`t go amiss and other managers always seem to be able to handle things much better. No wonder the press guys don`t give Everton the time of day!
    Ivor  Preece, Knowsley  (3/3/06)

    Outsiders' Views on EFC
    As an Evertonian who optimistically believes we can produce winning, attractive football if the management desires, I feel I have to comment on the idea that any outsider can see the thriving state of our club.

    I travel all over the UK for business. The words I most often hear from outsiders regarding Everton are: dull, defensive, why don't you have any strikers?, boring, negative, bit embarrassing in Europe weren't you. Oh and of course, great fans.

    That's what I hear everywhere I go. Maybe that's why we struggle to attract better players.

    Every great business and football team has been based on the people within it questioning, asking, probing, taking chances and looking for different options. Some people call it moaning. Successful people call it positive, proactive management.

    I respect that some people have complete trust in Moyes and Kenwright. I just can't understand what strategy they have, if they have one. I'd rather their trusting supporters explain it to me rather than telling me to shut up!

    Over to you folks!
    Paul Tran, Kendal  (3/3/06)

    Toffee Loyalty? There is no such thing
    Going through the Mailbag over the last few days, I was again questioning the loyalty the "People's Club" have towards the people that represent them. The manager that brings us European football has a poor start to the season, it's Moyes out! Now that one of our most consistent players, Phil Neville, gets omitted by a Swede from the England team, in a friendly, and out come the wolf's again.

    I'm aware that Neville is no Makelele in his position, but Neville is a good defensive midfielder, and I don't think Makelele can be a competent left back, a competent central defender and when required a right back when need be. But it seems when a person who has been Everton Captain this seaon is left out of a pre-World Cup squad, we don't rally around him, we start picking faults. Loyalty Evertonions, look it up! It's in Websters, under L.
    Kevin Morris, Sydney, Australia  (3/3/06)

    What are you babbling about? Loyalty does not require you to lose your perspective. Neville is at best mediocre. He tries hard but he is not a star. — Michael

    Viduka in the Bag!
    Word up here is that Mark Viduka has signed a pre-contract with Everton and would have made the move in January but for a row over accomodation. I looked up his goalscoring record and it`s pretty impresive — one every two games — but Borough fans I work with says he`s a moody, miserable bugger who keeps`going off on one`. But who the hell cares, we`re desperate for a goalscorer and we ain`t likely to get anyone better!
    Sebastion  St Clair, Harrogate  (3/3/06)

    Evertonians for Change
    Whatever happened to the Evertonians for Change movement? Are they still having meetings? Or did it all fall flat on its arse? SHAME.
    Blue Fella, Deeside  (3/3/06)

    Flat on its arse. Apathy among the fanbase. Ah well... — Michael

    We'll moan a lot but nothing is going to change
    Fine words Michael. But change is happening at Everton. Sure, there are plenty of people who will find any reason to find fault with individual players, the manager or the board.

    I choose not to view things in a negative way. None of us can predict the future. But recent (over the last four years) performance of the the people who run the club, the manager and the players tell me that we are going in the right direction. The best financial and league performances we have had for well over a decade.

    Nothing has changed because some will still moan. Rather than look at what you expect, look at the results we had before Moyes and look at where we are now. Some will not accept that we do not have the financial clout we once had. Time to move on me thinks.

    As long as we do what we are good at which is getting behind the team (our job) let's leave it to the club to sort out the rest. They have been improving, yes they have made mistakes, but they are improving. Any outsider can see it. I do wonder sometimes reading this mailbag whether my fellow Toffees can see the bigger picture also. Change is happening, Michael, but some don't see it. Moan about it if you wish.....
    Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (2/3/06)

    And that is exactly why any fans' revolution is doomed to fail. There are enough people like you who pefer to be positive and to give the current custiodians the benefit of the doubt. Oh, and the obligatory "get behind the team" — a nice way of saying anyone who does not agree with your stance and continues to question the Goodison heirarchy is being disloyal. Nice one!

    I wonder if it has ever struck you that it might be the other members of the mailbag who have a crystal clear view of the 'bigger picture' that has sucked you right in?

    No-one's denying there has been change. Dunford has gone and Wyness has come. Moyes's exciting management adventure has descended into an excercise in defensive mediocrity on minimal resources. But where we need change the most, it stays the same. — Michael

    Smoke and mirrors
    Typical of the `smoke and mirrors` syndrome that pervades Everton is the `The Great Li Tie Mystery`. Whilst we are constantly told that he is unfit, the Club website reports that he has played `a host of Internationals` this season. Then, alongside the piece, there appears an apparently unrelated quote that indicates he is seriously ill!

    Does no one at Goodison feel they owe it to supporters to indicate just what is going on with this once very effective midfielder whose progess was followed throughout China and in many eating emporiums like my own? After all, the day we stop showing any interest will be a sad one for Moyes & Co but perhaps they just want us to fook off and leave them to their private machinations!

    The way Moyes `sets his stall out`, they`ll soon be playing to an empty stadium anyway!
    Tony Tsang, Bold Street, Liverpool  (2/3/06)

    The whole Li Tie thing is indeed a mystery. I was surprised they were so forthcoming on the Official website today, when there has hardly been a mention of him for weeks. A bit too forthcoming... the information is contradictory... but it seems he played through the illness and asked to be replaced at half-time. What a guy! —

    Up for it!
    Whatever that phrase means, the answer for myself and many others is "yes". But I think essentially we need a Shareholders' revolt. The feeling of most of your contribitors is one of dissatisfaction, but the power for most of us lies in making our feelings known. Whether the Shareholders and more importantly the Board will listen or do anything seems dubious. A revolt of supporters... now there's a thought... but I think most Evertonians might feel like Tony Marsh: we're pissed off, but they're ours.
    Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (2/3/06)

    And I think you're dead right: we'll moan a lot but nothing is going to change. — Michael

    Successful clubs are essentially well run organizations. Teh current Everton team lacks flair, it finds scoring goals difficult, therefore there's a coaching/management problem. Moyes is like most present-day managers, including Benitez and possibly even Morinho, obsessed with defensive formations and tactics. So we have to look at the organization that employs Moyes.

    They are a shambles: lack money, incapable of change, in it for their own reasons which may not be for the benefit of the team and supporters. Kenwright has failed to provide the organizational leadership (after all he's busy breaking onto Broaday, and that's fine, except I don't think many other club Chairmen have such demands on their time, resources or commitments) or financial know-how that we need to take our club forward.

    Putting on a blue scarf and speaking as a "true-blue" Gwladys Street" supporter is not enough. To me Moyes isn't very good, the team has spirit, but little else, but they are symptoms of the real problem: the Board and Bill Kenwright.
    Rick  Tarleton, Rutland  (02/03/06)

    So, Rick, what's to be done aboput it? Regular missives of complaint? Or some concerted action? Let's start the campaign here and now... you up for it? — Michael

    Forever Ordinary
    The recent debate on the merits — or otherwise — of players such as Beattie, Neville and Van der Meyde only goes to illustrate what an ordinary bunch of workhorses our once great Club now employs. How anyone can get excited about any of that trio is beyond me — although I have to admit to finding the garbage they come out with a good deal more entertaining than their exploits on the field!

    That these players are viewed as our `stars` is to me an indictement of the Kenwright/Moyes regime although the signing of players like Bent, Davies and Kilbane and the re-signing of Pistone and Stubbs says it all about both the ambition and the ineptitude of those who govern the Club`s fortunes.

    I cannot believe that without a total re-think this club has any future apart from one of mind-blowing mediocrity. A useless Chairman and Board of Directors, the most boring manager in Britain, a crumbling ground, absolutely no youth policy, and a team who can`t score even every other game. What a bloody mess!

    Trouble is I can`t leave them — what time`s the coach for West Ham?
    Martin Watts, Mere  (2/3/06)

    My concern over Neville's absence from the England squad is the message the Swede is sending out. Neville was ever-present in the England squad for four years while playing a bit-part at United. He comes to Everton where he plays evey game, apart from suspension, and he is left out.

    As I see it, the Swede thinks Everton are unfashionable, did he not say Rooney would be better playing his football elsewhere? This bias extends beyond Everton. Crouch never figured in the England squad 'til he went to Liverpool; Heskey was ever present while he was there, but now at Birmingham he is nowhere to be seen. The fact that they don't deserve to play for England is another issue but the same players seem to be picked on who they play for — none of the three mentioned above have changed dramatically either way.

    I personally don't care for England anymore, if they played in my back garden I would draw my curtains. What concerns me is any future player considering a move to Everton would think twice if he was on the fringes of the England squad. Well I suppose that won't happen anyway.
    Mark Lyth, Netherton  (2/3/06)

    Praise for ambition
    Why do some Evertonians `get off` on depricating the ambition of our star players? Instead of celebrating the fact that up to half our team were in action for their countries last night, your columns concentrate on slagging off those players who, although clearly of International standard, somehow missed out.

    Who would honestly say that James Beattie would not have done better than Bent — at least he would have been a damnsight more mobile — and Phil Neville would have done a far better job at stand-in left-back than Carragher. As for Van der Meyde, he is pure class — his country knows it and must be hoping like hell that he can shake off the dreadful luck he has had with injuries since coming to Goodison.

    So what`s wrong with these players stating their World Cup ambitions? Surely their striving to `make the cut` will be in the very interests of our Club? Give them and us a break you knockers.
    Richard Dodd, Formby  (2/3/06)

    Polish Legend?
    That Polish website you mentioned...found this link to Big Dunc - the Legend. Hilarious... you've gotta laugh.
    Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (1/3/06)

    ... or cry!

    World Cup Wannabes
    What is it about the World Cup that prompts average and non-performers to make prats of themselves? Today`s "Official" site has three of our players, Beattie, Neville and `The Invisible Van` all looking wistfully at a freebie trip to Germany.

    Now the first two I can sort of understand as the Echo keeps egging them on although I suspect that few Evertonians would have thought they were up to it before they came to Goodison. But Van der Meyde has a bloody cheek even to mention it - although, if truth be told, that`s probably why this serial crock is, at last, getting off his fat arse to grace us with his presence!

    Somebody at Goodison should tell these wannabes that they should concentrate on impressing their countries` coaches with their feet instead of their bloody traps — or am I just old fashioned?
    Ed Isherwood, Huyton  (1/3/06)

    No, you are absolutely spot on, Ed. It is just so much vacuaous bollocks and it annoys the fuck out of me! Oops! that's not very old-fashioned is it? — Michael

    String Theory
    When I read the mailbag on this site and others, I sometimes wonder if I watch the same game as everyone else each week.

    The latest reason for thinking this is the debate over Everton players representing their country. This debate continues a string of differing topics and contributions which have, at their centre, the view that Phil Neville is not up to it, either for England or Everton. The latest addition to the string comes from Luq Yus (phonetic scouse? I was told by the Editor we all had to use our real names?!); quote… "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."

    Well Confucious, you and your boss may know a cliché or three, but you’ve not been watching the same Phil Neville as me this season. PN has been one of our most consistently solid performers since he arrived. You (and others) see his ability to play in several positions as a weakness. Personally, I am delighted. Moyes will have known this; his ability was a key strength when he bought the player and, given our small squad and the injury crises we have had, I for one am glad Neville has been able and capable enough to fill the gaping holes across and in front of the back four.

    I don’t let the odd wayward pass or poor tackle cloud my view of other players in the team, eg, Mikel Arteta (who I think is a great player and should be playing for Spain this Summer). So I would ask other supporters to do the same with Phil Neville and recognise the qualities he brings to the side. Don’t be surprised if he is Captain next season.

    By the way, I also don’t subscribe to the conspiracy theory that says that, just because someone plays for Everton (as opposed to one of the ‘Big’ clubs), they get overlooked when selection for England comes round. Phil Neville has lost out against Uruguay because Sven wants to experiment with other players before choosing his 23 for Germany. I would fully expect him to be in that 23 if he continues his fine form for the Blues.

    I like Tony Hibbert (I wish Rooney had shown the same loyalty as Hibbo) but he is not England class, simple as that. He should be but (whilst he is a great tackler and a dogged defender), his distribution, crossing ability and pace are not international standard. Until he can improve these key aspects of his overall game, I just think there are better defenders in that position.

    By the way Confucious, who says how much Moyes will have to spend in the Summer? £10M or £0.10p? No one will know until the end of August.
    Steve Guy, Harrogate  (1/3/06)

    Beattie comes good??
    You wrote "Confidence is a wonderful thing, but I'd still like to be reading much less of this self-absorbed nonsense and much more about how many goals James Beattie is scoring for Everton." concerning the Sky Sports interview James Beattie did, and I have noticed comments in the mailbag supporting your view.

    I would just add 3 points. First, he did go on to say "I'm not saying I'm there yet...", but that would detract from the Sky Sports headline, wouldn't it?

    Second, what do you expect him to say? He's going to "big" himself up in an interview - no-one giving an interview would say that they're actually untalented, lazy and ridiculously overpaid (even if they thought they were). Sure, it's more important what they do on the pitch, so why not take it with the pinch (or handful!) of salt we use for any article written about Everton?

    Third, Beattie has scored more goals this season than Peter Crouch, a player who seemingly is picked only because he's 6' 7" tall. I would suggest that Beattie offers more than Crouch, so if Crouch can expect to be picked for England, why not Beattie?
    Robert Turner, Runcorn, UK  (1/3/06)

    1) Yes, I say that at the bottom... and thought a nanosecond about giving him some credit for it. But didn't.

    2) "Taking it with a pinch of salt" devalues meanigful work that some people commit to text regarding Everton. My real preference would be for him to say "I'm not talking to the media until I have 20 goals to my name."

    I don't care a monkey's fig about Peter Crouch... or England for that matter. Sorry! — Michael

    Beattie at his best?
    If thy gave out medals for self-promotion, James Beattie would have a chestful!

    I woke up this morning to hear him telling Sky that he was now back to his best and deserved a shout for World Cup selection. Now I`ll cheer on anybody who wears an Everton shirt with pride and recently I`ve begun to think Beattie fits that category. But England class — no way! Thanks to Moyes, he certainly puts himself about but in general terms his `finishing` skills are dreadful. True, he had a purple patch at Southampton the season BEFORE we signed him but his overall record is modest and his cost per goal ratio (including transfer fee and wages) is still running not far short of £1 million a goal!

    So, dear James, thanks for putting in the effort for our cause but if you`re now at your best, it ain`t that brilliant, believe me.

    Less mouth and more goals would be gratefully received by all at Goodison — then you might think of England!
    Jim  Woodall, Bartistree  (1/3/06)

    What are the rules?
    1) Consider this analogy: David Moyes names Anichebe, Carsley, Davies, Kilbane and Naysmith as his substitutes against Blackburn. Early in the game, Iain Turner, gets sent off, so he approaches the 4th official for 'special dispensation' to allow John Ruddy to climb down from the stands and take over in goal!

    2) What is the rule regarding red card suspensions and mid-season signings?

    3) When Arteta, Ferguson and Neville were sent off earlier in the season, they had to serve 3-match bans. Fair and fine. But when Iain Turner was unfortunately dismissed against Blackburn, he was only given a single-game suspension. What cirteria is used to determine the length of the suspension?

    4) More pointedly, how come 'special dispensation' can be granted to sign a player outside of the transfer window? It is great that Sander Westerveld made a solid (albeit losing) debut at Newcastle, but how come he was allowed to join us at all? Aren't the possibility of injury and suspension crises not the very reasons why managers have to make sure that they have enough players available to them?

    I am in no way anti-Everton, just wondering . . . .
    Taka Nyahunzvi, Harare, Zimbabwe  (1/3/06)

    Well, you can't be an Everton fan or you'd know the answers to all those questions already.

    1) The manger is required to name five (and only five) substitutes before the game starts. One of those is normally (with David Moyes, that reads "always") a goalkeeper. If a player is injured in the warm-up, a new player can be drafted in at the last minute. Calling anyone down from the stands when your goalie is sent off, because you chose to name only outfield players as substitutes, is a total non-starter. In the Good Old Days, when you had no or one sub, usually one of the team would be the emergency goalie.

    2) Rules apply no matter if you move teams. A player must serve his suspensions, no matter what team he is playing for.

    3) The standard punishment is a 3-game ban for violent conduct; 2 games for using offensive, insulting or abusive language and 1 game for something inocuous like handball. Them's the FA rules. There's a fuller list on our Badboys Page

    4) Since the invention of the transfer window, the potential difficulty under an injury crisis has been recognized by the authorities, who are willing to consider special dispensation when all your goalies are injured. The reason goalies are 'special' is that the job is somewhat specialized, whereas outfield players can commonly play in more than one position. [I seem to remember Liverpool having a striker crisis last sesaon(?) not sure they were able to get any additional players though.] I admit I was surprised this stretched to include a suspension, but I think Everton had gone way a long way by already playing all their senior registered goalies. They are by no means the first to 'benefit' from this rule.

    No go away and read up on the rules, there's a good lad. — Michael

    Do you know who took the captain's armband from David Weir when Per Krøldrup replaced him in the FA Cup 4th Round reply against Millwall?
    Peter Tennant, Liverpool  (1/3/06)

    I feel pretty sure it must have been Phil Neville but I cannot confirm that. — Michael

    The not-so-mighty Dollar
    I am a huge Everton fan and have been for the last 5 years. The problem is I live in a freezing state called Minnesota in the USA. This is a problem because I can only view Everton matches at 8 in the morning and online.

    Everyone says 'soccer' and the only 'soccer players' they know are Pele and Beckham. My question is… I have been looking everywhere online for a long-sleeve Everton Jersey and the only ones I can find are in the UK. This sucks because you all pay with the ₤ we pay with $ (₤1 = $2). So when I see one on your sites I see it for ₤60 and shipping to the US is ₤20!! Now I love the Blues but I am not ready to spend $160 for a long-sleeved jersey. Can any of you help me out and point me in the right direction to find a cheaper site to get a long-sleeved jersey. Thank you all!

    Once a Blue, always a Blue
    Michael Gale, Plymouth,USA  (1/3/06)

    Neville — England
    How many of us would have been shouting for Phil Neville to be included, or playing, for England 12 months ago? I'd venture to say, none of us. So what's changed? Has he become a world beater? No, he hasn't; he's become an Everton player. That, as far as I am aware, does not make him an automatic choice for the national side.

    Moving on... is he worthy of a place in the national side? I'd have to say "No, he isn't." For effort and commitment you would be hard pushed to find someone better, but that doesn't qualify you for a 3-lions shirt either. What if Sven, for all his faults, has found a better alternative? Carrick, perhaps?

    I honestly think that Phil Neville has been a plus for Everton this season, for which I will thank him. But, if he deserved to be in the England squad, he would be. I won't accept either, that he is not in the squad because he plays for Us. He is not in the squad because he is not good enough to be there. In fact, I'd be hard pushed to find a player of any nationality playing for us, who would get into the England set-up.
    Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (1/3/06)

    ... all of which would actually support the rationale that he probably was playing so many games for England primarily because he was a Man Utd player. — And I think I know what you mean by the last line... but there's a non-sequitur in there somewhere... Michael

  • ToffeeWeb Letters from February 2006

    ToffeeWeb Letters from April 2006


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