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ToffeeWeb MailBag
Letters from our readers — April 2006

ToffeeWeb Letters from March 2006

ToffeeWeb Letters from May 2006

Read Steve Guy's endorsement of Rod Liddles piece in the Sunday Times and took your advice to log on and scroll down. I expected to get a laugh at Liverpool's expense only to find Liddle at his favourite game of re-writing the history of Hillsborough. It is no longer credible to blame football fans for the tragedy so let's keep up the attack on whinging scousers. I hope the Blue who lost his Red brother and whose moving account you so recently published, avoided this pathetic attack. Shame on anybody who takes any pleasure in it.
Charlie Jones, Liverpool  (30/4/06)

Shit.. it never even crossed my mind that was a devious reference to Hillsbrough and a cunning dig at Scouse sentimentality... glad you explained that to me.

Everton's reserves
Whilst appreciating that Tony Marsh is correct that it wasn't Boro's first choice XI yesterday, I think it is also worth reminding him that it wasn't our first choice XI either. No Martyn (and Wright only lasting 54 minutes); no Hibbert, Pistone, Valente, Ferrari, Cahill, Arteta or Carsley... and Van der Meyde only lasting till half-time. That's not forgetting that Yobo limped the whole of the match. I think it's fair to say that at least seven of those players would have made our starting line-up, had they been fit.

We won, and probably deserved to - a win next week and we finish wih 52 points and a possible 9th position - I'd have settled for that after 9 games.
Jez Clein, Childwall  (30/4/06)

Goal Deficiency Syndrome
It has been an interesting venture, rather than going to the match, to explore the rationale behind Goal Deficiency Syndrome (GDS). This is particularly true as yet another tedious season draws to a close.

GDS was first made public following the adverse effects of mad cow disease and avian flu. As we know, these conditions can, in the right circumstances, become traceable in humankind and highly infectious. Indeed, the government now has specialised people in place to deal with the potential of a crisis. The same is not true for GDS as yet, as there seems to be no known antidote. It has been postulated in the States that playing a different kind of football may help but there is little empirical evidence. So we are left with only symptomatic factors to respond to, including:-

  1. a noticeable inability to get the ball in the net.
  2. a distinct lack of ability to pass to team members who maybe in a good position to get the ball in the net.
  3. a distinct lack of ability to get the ball out of one's own half to get into a position to get the ball in the net
  4. a overall lack of ability to pass to one's own team-mates to set up a move to get the ball in the net.
These are the major symptoms of the disease, which has recently been found to be present in other forms — especially the recessive form as manifested in Gene Deficiency Syndrome — that is the lack of understanding and appreciation of sarcasm, as exhibited by one or two regular contributors to this site (they can't be Scousers!).

The prospects for the future are scary but don't let that put you off your romantic idealism.
Peete Stewart, London  (30/4/06)

A good day out and three points toward another half million pounds per position — not to be sniffed at in our position. A bloody awful game, if truth be told, but points again made in as much as the Boro faithful got a look at their future — and maybe we saw our need for one. The manager put out the best eleven available in terms of experience and reputation but we so nearly came unstuck against a scratch team, another point reguarding both youth devolopment and squad size.

I thought in terms of this game that Wrighty was so unlucky with the injury as, in recent games, he has been getting better — proving what a run of games can do. The same goes for Davies and Faddy although I still have reservations about him as he can have the odd moment of brilliance but is never a constant thorn in the opposition's side.

Yobo again looked ill at ease at right back; Killa will have been delighted to come on and know that he had nothing to replace; VDM was BDA.

Stubbs and Wier kept us in it — especially first half; Neville did a workmanlike job; in fact, you could not fault anyone for not trying. It was that nagging feeling of lack of quality all over the park — something that really needs addressing during the transfer window.

Many passes again went astray — as did the shirt throwing at the end as non came anywhere near me. The last away game of a dissappointing season but the enthusiasm of the multitudinous away following has been constant all season.

I will just say now that I enjoy this site as an outlet for all things Blue... but I do wonder if some posters prefer the keyboard to live viewing as my unscientific gut-feeling of everpresent Blues is miles away from your Dodds or Marshes, although bits of what they offer is often discussed. And the fella who gives himself the name of Dutch would be laughed out of court at any real Blue gathering.

Their opinions are, of course, as valid as the next man's but, if you follow the Blues on a consistent basis, theirs is not reflective of the gut feeling. Having had many a conversation with fans both of which I know and don't know, I get the feeling many of us are waiting to see what transpires in the window and how we perform up until Christmas. Then, many of your more opiniated contributers will be able to say 'I told you so'... but as things stand that could go two ways.

Last home game looms and my feeling is the manager and players will get a good send off, but let them not forget: we may be loyal but not of the totally blind type of fan. See you Sunday ---- UP THE BLUES
Ken  Buckley, Buckley  (30/4/06)

Ken, you raise some really interesting points there, and it would be great to have you elaborate upon them — perhaps during the summer as you have no games to report on? One thing about this website is that we try to cater for a wide range of Evertonians — that obviously includes many who are living far away from Goodison Park — ones who do not have the benefit of direct interaction with fellow Blues over a pint before or after the game. So any insights you can share with them would, I am sure, be very much appreciated. Many thanks again for your lucid and down-to-earth contributions! — Michael

Silver Lining
Please, someone, explain to Ken Dodd and Butch Shaver that yesterday Everton beat Middlesboro's under-18 side — not the Boro who played Thursday night. If McFadden hadn't scored that great winner in the last minute, then even more shame would have been heaped upon us. To struggle to break down a bunch of YTS trainees is scandalous. And to top it all off, the secret weapon Kilbane was used yet again from the bench with little or no effect.

Its a fucking disgrace to even suggest that Moyes is a manager. He is totally clueless when it comes to anything other than screaming and shouting. Yesterday for me was just as emmbarrasing as all of those heavy defeats we have suffered this season. It was only kids, for fucks sake, and still we struggled.

The only good thing to come out of yesterdays football was the injury to Wayne Rooney. Boy did that cheer me up no end. Who said there's no justice in this world? Okay, England's chances in the World Cup are gone. So what? All it means is that it will be a little bit easier for Brazil to piss all over every one anyway.

My worst nightmare was looking at Rooney's ugly kite all summer in Germany with his bezzy bud Beckham and the Swedish trainspotter guy. I am made up he is fucked and I don't care if it's sour grapes or bitter — fuck the little twat.

I suppose if you are from Hull or Telford or Plymouth you will be gutted but me — I am still drinking Moet as we speak. The scouse football gods have finally taken their revenge. They think it's all over... it is now!
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (30/4/06)

Tony, you've been agressive against Moyes right up to the line (and perhaps beyond) of being totally obnoxious, but your comments about Rooney I find utterly abominable, childish and petty in the extreme. No doubt you will have many "supporters" who would back such sentiments but to have them coming from Evertonians... well, it saddens me; that's all I can say. Hopefully it says a lot more about you as a person than it does about you being an Evertonian — I guess we are sometimes tempted to confuse the two. — Michael

Not just us
I urge you to buy the Sunday Times today if you fancy a wry smile. Rod Liddle is always good value, but read his article in the sports section. It comes as splendid proof that it is not just us 'bitter Blues' who feel Liverpool get the rub of the green too often.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (30/4/06)

Uh? We may have to bomb Iran. Why? Are they all Liverpool fans now?

Oh... the Sports section... Okay. Click here and scroll down to the last two paragraphs.

A Moan From Dutch!
Why isn't the Academy producing youngsters good enough for Moyes to use in the Premiership? The most promising of current crop (Vidarsson, Ruddy & Spencer) were transferred to the club by David Moyes. Could it be we are missing Colin Harvey's influence? Hibbert, Osman & Rooney were really the last of Harvey's kids.

Maybe this summer Kenwright should spend some time and money developing the Academy....
Dutch Schaeffer  (30/4/06)

Loosen up!
What funny people the ToffeeWeb brand of Evertonians really are! Only three league defeats this year, a top ten place in prospect and season tickets available to renew at no increased cost, yet the main theme seems to be sack the Board and the manager! I can name about eighty club`s supporters who`d be doing handstands in our position. Why all the doom and gloom? We know only four or five teams win all the trophies but that`s not what being an Evertonian is about surely? It`s about the good fortune to to support the greatest club in the world. Loosen up will yas!
Megan Slater, Knowsley  (30/4/06)

Megan, I do hope you are single, becasuse there is one ToffeeWeb Mailbagger I'd just love to introduce you to. He's postive and bubbly and thinks 10th place shows fantastic progress after fiinishing 4th last season. He also has trouble with key facts to support his claims about how wonderful everything is (that would be four losses, luv — not three).

Megan↑ meet Dutch↓ — I'm hope you'll both be very happy together.

West Brom!
Now that West Brom are relegated, does Moyes go with his best team in an effort to gain the win or does he experiment and give debut starts to Bjarni Vidarsson and Victor Anichebe? It would be great to see the youngsters but we need that win so badly.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (30/4/06)

Moyes' best team is out injured, Dutch. The rest......nevermind players with ballet boots not protecting their blessed metatarsals.....we're in flip-flop mode. - Colm

Embarrassing Lows?
What embarrassing lows are you talking about Michael? Being knocked out of the Champions League by the semi-finalists Villarreal? Finishing 10th in the Premiership?

You talk about embarrassing lows under Moyes but what about these amazing highs? It's hard to think of our Champions League flirtation as anything but fantastic. Sure we lost but Everton were in the Champions League, how amazing was that!!! I never thought I would see Everton play at that level.

Of course we have experienced lows under Moyes, the poor goalscoring record, the unattractive football, the occasional mauling by Arsenal, missing out on transfer targets, but this is not the worst season ever with embarrassing lows — it's just a bit disappointing after the amazing highs of last season.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (30/4/06)

Oh Gawd... I was wrong. You are still living on last season's glories. Okay, let's talk about them. Crystal Palace: yea, we really stuffed them. Liverpool: that was a great win. And Big Dunc nodded one in to beat the Mancs for the first time in 10 years. What else was really memorable? Aston Villa... or was that this season?

We finished fourth by beating a fair number of the also-rans who are making up the numbers in the Premiership. That's what we should really have been doing this season, but instead of us, it's Spurs. Whoop-de-doo. And you are wrong about the Champions League because we didn't really get there — we got a chance to qualify for the Champions League... and we failed. That got us a chance to qualify for the Uefa Cup group stages... and we failed at that in spectacular fasion. Those are the abiding memories of finishing fourth for me. Not a lasting glory but a missed opportunity. — Michael

I read somewhere...
... that Boro used 8 academy youngsters against us. As nothing was at stake for both teams, was this not an ideal opportunity for us to give invaluable experience to some of our kids, or do we not have even one that is anywhere near good enough? It seems I was correct when approximatly a year ago I wrote of my dissapointment with our scouting and coaching departments.
Dick Fearon, Australia  (30/4/06)

The debatable point would be whether it is actually evidence of failings in our scouting and coaching departments, or simply a reluctance by our conservative and unadventurous manager. (Queue mail from Dutch explaining how David Moyes is neither conservative nor unadventurous...) — Michael

Toffee TV / Radio City
Did anyone else listen to the game on Saturday through's Radio channel on ToffeeTV? If so, did anyone hear the foul language that Steve Hothersall came out with at the end when he didn't realise he was still on air?

Basically seem to use Radio City's match coverage (scandalous I know) but the advantage is, this is un-interrupted, whereas listening on the radio you get passed about to Liverpool & Tranmere's games.

It happened at the end of the game when radio listeners were passed to Anfield to hear about Liverpool and there was Steve chatting away to Barry Horne coming out with fucking this fucking that.

Just found it amusing — interested if anyone else heard this and whether it happens a lot?!
Steven Astley, Wigan  (30/4/06)

Everyone who was listening will have heard it. It has happened a couple of times, and certainly adds some... ahem.. colour to the broadcasts. Since those of us using Toffee TV's mattch commentary are paying for the priviledge, I guess it's a bit like subscribing to a porn channel! — Michael

Just gossip?
My take on the Moyes to Middlesbrough story is a bit different to the one posted last night. Our Boro drinking mates say that Gibson wants O`Neill but will go for Moyes if the Irishman turns him down. Certainly the two have been seen speaking at a recent game but then you would expect our manager to be looking at upcoming opposition. Like most Evertonians, I hope it`s just gossip.
Tony Pearson, Northallerton  (30/4/06)

Summer targets
Wayne Roultledge, Jermaine Pennant, Zoltan Gera. Three right wingers ready to be picked up on a small transfer fee, and no disrespect to Osman but a geniue winger will keep him on his toes.

Curtis Davies and Matthew Upson, two centre backs ready to fill the void of Yobo and Ferrari, again on a small fee possibly.

Andrew Johnson and Benni McCarthy, two lethal strikers who will be a little expensive but the sale of Yobo will help pay for that.

Overall three positions where Everton are weak, these targets are still young enough and they are English so Moyes or Everton club plants take note. Or we can keep the same squad, sell Yobo and release Ferrari and Everton then can follow West Brom down! It's not Champ Manager, it's common sense. Oops! Common sense and Moyes????
Luq Yus, London  (30/4/06)

Stop already! You're just going to make everyone unhappy. Let's instead say Moyes will bring in nobody. Then you can look in surprise and wonder at each transfer that does occur, and marvel at the qualities of the players he chooses ... because — you guessed it — it's his decision, not yours. — Michael

Nine goals from fourth!
It`s not very often that the ridiculous Richard Dodd inspires me but his latest missive had me researching how far away we were, in fact, to retaining that coveted fourth position. The answer, surprisingly, is a mere nine goals!

Of course they would have had to be scored in the right matches but there have been five games in which had we scored — or scored again — we would have shared the spoils and four in which a goal was the difference between one point and three. Amazingly, those extra nine strikes would have garnered no less than thirteen points, putting us on 62 as we go into the last game.

The bad news for Richard is that rather than re-inforcing his point that we were so near to more success, it really underlines the appalling failure of the manager to recruit the vital strike force, preferring as he did to rest on the laurels gained last season.

The silver lining for us Mailbaggers is that we`ve been spared the interminable salutations to The Moyesiah that `back to back` top fourths would have provoked from Formby`s answer to Uriah Heap!
David Hall, Taunton  (30/4/06)

Website idea?
I read through the game report this morning and, like most of you out there, I'm not in the least bit convinced by our 1-0 win over the Smoggies. I also looked though the the squad to the right seeing who played, who was on the bench, who's injured etc etc. I didn't see Ferrari in there (for obvious reasons) so, while the club aren't capable of being honest with fans about why we aren't seeing these players, maybe we ought to incorporate something like this into the site, for example:

Not starting:
Matteo Ferrari (Needs to rest)
Victor Anichebe (Moon in Aquarius)
Nuno Valente (Too busy, has to wash hair)
Andy van der Meyde (stomach ache - has note from Mum)

What do you think?
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (30/4/06)

Perhaps you could join the ToffeeWeb team as Art Director?

Be serious, Tommy
I can see where you are coming from with Curbishley. He's proved at Charlton at times that he can get a team to play good football. I don't think he's the man for Everton, though.

But Peter Reid. Come on Tom. The football would get worse under Reid. If it could get any worse that is.
Dave Charles, Liverpool  (30/4/06)

Everton-retro capital
I see somebody wants to focus a few ToffeeWeb pages on the euphemistic ground `move`. Get real, matey, it ain`t gonna happen — not now, not ever. The best we can hope for is a `tarting up `of Goodison focussing on the improvement of corporate areas and money-making catering outlets.

Wyness will discover there`s a Conservation Order on all stands with pillars and obstructed views and that Goodison must remain untouched to preserve the heritage of the City of Culture. Tourists can be attracted from all over the world to see what Victorian grounds like ours were all about.

Bit like the football we play, really; stuck in a time warp — unattractive and boring with little end result. But that`s Everton, folks. Retro Capital of the Beautiful Game!
Sean Jolley, Kirkby  (30/4/06)

Wow! We have today's Bile and Sarcasm winner!!! But there is, I have to admit, every indication that what you say will hold true... Well, not the Conservaton Order bit, which was very creative. — Michael

Bye Bye Moyesey! Hello Curbs! (or Reidy!)
Nice to hear Alan Curbishley is now on the open market... We can now get rid of that dumb Scotsman and get an English manager!! We only win things (in the modern era) with English managers: Catterick, Kendall & Royle.

Moyes & Irvine are just as bad as Smith & Knox, the football they have all produced is absolute dross and they're all Scotsmen!

If we can't get Curbs, bring in Peter Reid... what does he have in common with the three aforementioned winners? He's English and played for us!

Actually, I believe Big Phil Scolari is really English and he wants to manage Everton as long as the press leave him alone... Well, given that our city newspaper, the red Echo is only interested in Liverpool, he should get his wish!

Anyway... time for me to go... and you Mr Moyes!!
Tommy Grant, Aintree  (30/04/06)

Not one of the major majority, then?

The major majority
Michael, you are havin a serious laff if you think this season is worse then The Dome's 3rd spell in charge.

You need to sort yourself out, mate; your opinion now sounds like your determined to say bad stuff just to prove a point to the pro-Moyes fans, which by the way are still a major majority.
John Atress, Liverpool  (29/4/06)

I would challenge anyone to come up with a comparable list of embarrassing lows that holds a candle to Moyes's "achievements" with us. It not as if I'm making this stuff up. He is actually plumbing new depths with each season that passess. Yea, I can stick my head n teh sand and pretend these things aren't happening. I know he's the best we could hope for, and I an NOT advocating his removal... but he ain't no Moyessiah, sad to say. — Michael

History lesson
Recent, justified eulogies for Bob Latchford made me think back to watching him during my early years as a season ticket holder. Thirty years ago…

1974-75: Everton finish fourth in Division 1

1975-76: Knocked out of the Uefa Cup in first round; knocked out of FA cup by the then Champions (Derby County); finish 11th in Division 1.

1976-77: Manager (Billy Bingham) sacked in February

Funny, isn’t it?
michael Coffey, London  (29/04.06)

It's all about expectations...

What about a Ground Page?
Any chance of opening a permanant section of the website about the ground move? I know it's a bit 'old hat' and you have already got a 'history of past ground moves' section. However, I think opening something new and current about the future prospects of Goodison would be beneficial to the website.

Despite various Wyness quotes over the past few months, the subject does not seem to be stirring much interest amongst the 'average Evertonians in the pub' — certainly compared to the last couple of times this has been on the agenda. I think this is dangerous. With the new training ground already started and Wyness making some tangible strides on the commercial front, there could be a real possibility that we, as fans, miss the chance to have our view heard.

I know that in some quarters there is a 'just get on with it' attitude, but with the reds edgeing ever closer to a new ground — it really is vital we don't end up with second best again. We need to either revamp Goodison or build a really special ground. Opening up some sort of section for views and ideas on this may start to get the message heard. I think the subject of a new ground will re-emerge in the next six months. In anticipation of this, couldn't ToffeeWeb do something now?
Jon Sellick, Liverpool  (29/4/06)

That is a good idea in that the section you refer to is a bit outdated and needs to be filed away in the archives. Repalcing it with a new section that tracks what is going on regarding a new grund is a great suggestion. And we coulsd easily add a section where fans could put forward their own ideas or expectations for the new ground.

Unfortunately, with two overwhleming votes in the recenty past that came to nothing in the end, I suspect the fanbase is somewhat jaded over this issue... and there is also the certainity that the club will do what it feels is best for commercial reasons, rather than paying much attention to what the fans want. And then there's that whole business of "comemercial sensitivity" they hide behind as well. Sorry to be negative but expections should I feel be realistic. — Michael

Florence Melly 1952
I am not a regular football fan but I would like to say that I was priveliged to have shared some footballing experience with Brian Labone. He was centre half in our school team at Florence Melly — a very good team indeed. On reaching the final of our league, we where priveliged to play on the hallowed turf at Goodison Park. I'm sure that all the old team would like to send there condolences to Brian's family and hope they read this message. The year was 1952 and we were:- Ken Aldred, Phil Bromilow, Vic Stone, Bobby Worral, Kenny Edwards, Alan Shaw, Alan Tyrer, Alan O'Neill... sorry I can't remember the rest. We will miss him at Old Padeswood this year.
Ken Aldred, Liverpool  (29/4/06)

One swallow doesn't mean a good summer
Well, another one-nil to the Blues does not mean shite to me. Middlesbrough virtually had a pub team out and Everton still were extremely poor in the first half. Second half was still quite poor and the winner left me cold. Don't get me wrong — I was happy they won — but I had long given up on this season and simply did not care if they won or lost anymore as there is nothing to play for.

It was nice to see Davies play well again and he was involved in the goal. Overall, it was a poor team performance made worse with Wright's woeful kicking (thank you, Lord, he is injured).

Where was Ferrari? Some fans are happy he does not play; some fans are happy Andy van der Meyde is not playing well and will not excuse his poor performances! Thanks you Moyes and Co for killing my passion for this club! One swallow doesn't make a summer and one win doesn't make Moyes a good manager or this a successful season.
Luq Yus, London  (29/4/06)

Moyes proves pedigree — again!
At the risk of being chopped off at the knees yet again, it may interest you to hear what the Evertonians in our pub were saying tonight.

The general concensus is that the first half of this season WAS a blip and that, if we had been able to achieve in the first half of the season what we have since Christmas, we would now be in a prime European place with around 65 points.

Now I know that`s fantasising but that is exactly what people were doing in October when forecasts of a Sunderland type points haul were being widely predicted. If you look at the last two years under Moyes, the only really bad patch was the start of this season and — once again — he will prove his pedigree by finishing well above such potential England managers as MacLaren and Curbishley. So just what have you got against him?
Richard Dodd, Formby  (29/4/06)

Woulda, coulda, shoulda... If my Auntie had balls, she'd be my Uncle now....

"...the only really bad patch was the start of this season..." Okay, so all the other bad patches were just so-so? Like the relegation form of Moyes's team from 28 Dec 2004 through until the end of last season: We lost 11 league games. And from the start of the season through 28 Dec 2005 we lost 12 games. Throughout the entire year of 2005, our form was really abysmal. And, prior to today's great result, we were languishing just third from bottom of the Current Form League.

I think you know perfectly well all the issues people have cited with regard to Moyes and his management. There is no need for me to repeat them all... — Michael

Who needs new strikers?
When you see how Faddy took his goal today, you`ll wonder why Moyes is continuing to prioritise the signing of a striker in the close season. The lad`s really come into his own and is the perfect foil for Beattie who now does a lot more of the grafting. It would be a pity to break up the parnership — particularly as we play a style which garners points without needing to score a multitude of goals.

Moyes has got the team functioning super-efficiently — just like last season — and my only hope is that he can carry it over to next season.
Paul Tait, Childwall  (29/4/06)

One goal and five points from five consecutive games... I guess in some other universe that might be described as "super-efficient" (go for it, Dutch!)... but come on, Paul, you cannot be serious? — Michael

Quizzed on Moyes
Just home from the game and thought we did just about enough to merit the points. Davies had his best game so far and was our MotM — let's hope it augurs well for next season.

Before the game, the Boro lads were asking all about Moyes; apparently Gibson fancies him big time. We said he had a special relationship with the chairman and fans and wouldn`t be interested... Just hope we`re right!
Kel Lockwood, Aintree  (29/4/06)

The mind boggles
I have read the input of many Evertonians over the past few months and feel the need to contribute.

I firmly believe that Dutch and Dodd are Labour Spin Doctors because, if they honestly believe that the shower of mediocrity which represent EFC today are making progress, then they are insane!

If we continue to make such progress under the dour duo (or should that be dire duo) of Moyes and Irvine at the current rate then, by the year 2020, we will finish third with an even goal difference and 68 points. However, by that time the big clubs (and we were one once) will have left for a Euro super-league and Villa and Wigan will pip us to the post.

Wake up, lads, before it is too late.
Paul Keenan, Elesmere Port  (29/4/06)

Making up the numbers
Delighted that we managed to sneak a win today but one look at the table shows just how far we`ve fallen behind the leading pack this season. Who would ever have thought we could aspire to a top-ten finish being 42 points and -67 goal difference away from the top team? There can be no doubt that the Premier League is now the province of the elite and — just as in Scotland — the rest of us just make up the fixture list.
Don Mills, Burtonwood  (29/4/06)

Boro 0 - 1 Everton
Michael, is this season really one of the worst you can remember? After todays victory over Bor,o we still have a chance of finishing in the Top 10.

You must have a short memory, do you not remember the fiasco and close escape that was Howard Kendall's 3rd reign or Walter Smith's old has-beens who never once managed to finish in the Top 10?

A disappointing season this has been but I can remember far worse. In fact 5 years ago I would have called this a good season.

Anyway why was Andy Van Der Meyde taken off at half time, was he injured or just playing badly again?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (29/4/06)


  • We had almost the worst-ever start to a league campaign — certainly the worst ever since Sky invented football.
  • We had the embarrassment of our critics being proved oh so right regarding our European credentials, which were shown to be non-existent in the most comprehensive and excrutiatng manner you could imagine.
  • We did our now standard exit from the League Cup at the first hurdle... against today's opponents.
  • We virtually gave up against Chelsea in the FA Cup when we had them on the rack — I think it was that game which did it for me.
  • We have socred the princely sum of 32 goals in 37 games — another "unwanted" record that does not concern our manager, and so no doubt it does not concern you.
  • We are going to finish with a goal difference in the negative teens...
The list is seemingly endless.

And on the positive side, what do we have? A couple of nice goals from Beattie and McFadden? The "fantastic" wins over Fulham and Aston Villa?? Oh yes, and we did beat Arsenal!!! Why do I have absolutely zero recollection of that one, I wonder?

Compared to the dull low-table mediocrity of Smith and the bumbling incompetence of the once mercurial Kendall, yes, I still maintain that this season above all others in the past ten years has definitely been the worst. And I haven't even mentioned the utterly mind-numbing quality of the football we have played in most of the games....

And I do assure you that my opinion has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with finishing fourth last season, and this garbage about "raised expectations". I hereby totally reject that line of thinking as completely irrelveant. Everything above is based on taking this season alone on its merits. In case you haven't figured it out yet, the finishing position from a previous season has no effect on the next season because all the teams start on zero points. Our problem was we sat on zero points a bit too long...

The other thing that has made this season so much worse than the earlier ones you mention is having to read the endless inanities you have sent in on a daily basis, trying in vain to convince intelligent Evertonians of your own bizarre brand of revisionism. It has been crap, Dutch, and no amount of rubbish you write in will convince me of anything else. Thanks for spoiling even the muted pleasure of this great win today... — Michael

Glorious Day for Everton
So Davey got his Premiership `record` after all! First win in last away game for thirteen bloody years — what more could you ask for!

And look at the other bonuses from today`s game:- Faddy scores a beauty and negates the need to sign another striker; Moysey gives youth a fling (albeit under duress!)by bringing on Turner in goal, and — just as that `Doddy Dutch` dopelganger predicted — Stubbs and Weir proved our future defence is in safe hands!

What a glorious day for Everton — we beat Middlesbrough Reserves 1-0!
Alan Instan, Connagh's Quay  (29/4/06)

Another contender for the Bile and Sarcasm Award!!!

To Quote The Great Man....
"Saturday afternoons are for one thing and one thing only: football and bevying." — Tony Marsh. Er, Tony. That's two things. I've often thought your reasoning didn't add up...
Tony Horne, Kettering  (29/4/06)

Saturday Shopping
Decided not to go to the game today; can't be arsed watching any more of the shit we call football. Instead, I will be marching around the town with the wife, shopping! How ever bad things get watching Everton, it can't be as bad as this. If you have any notions of not renewing your season tickets, boys forget them. Imagine the other things you could end up doing. If shopping isn't bad enough, how about DIY or gardening, or visiting the in laws, or the Sky Sports telly printer with Phil Thompson's ugly grid all afternoon. No, Saturday afternoons are for one thing and one thing only: football and bevying.

Just had a phone call: Everton's game at Boro is on the Iraqi channel down the boozer, so I am off there instead. As if the Iraqis havent got enough on their plates without having to put up with live Everton games as well.

Any way the wifes going Radio Rental with the knowledge of no trip to Lewis's. No tea for me tonight and all those flying pans to dodge. That Davey Moyes causes murder.

So, lads, remember: next season may look bleak already but consider the alternatives. Hours upon hours of the wife and station-hopping on the radio with a paintbrush in hand. What time's the box office open?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (29/4/06)

You should stay away more often, Tony: perhaps it's your somewhat negative mindset that has been reaching the players on the field... what's that they say about the Power of Positive Thinking!

Missed Opportunity
I can't help thinking what a great signing Wigan's Jimmy Bullard would have been for Everton. At 27, he could have slotted straight into a midfield bereft of goals this season and his box-to-box performance would have been a great asset along with his goals return.

There again a player who plays the game 'with a smile on his face' and actually looks as though he is enjoying things isn't really typical of the ginger one's current recruiting policy — god forbid we don't want players expressing themselves or running 50 yards to join in a 'piley on' like he did in the Wigan-Everton game.

I also think he would have become a firm crowd favorite in a team a little devoid of real characters. Never mind; he has signed for a club not content to wait till the transfer window oficially opens on the 8th May, the mighty.... Fulham?.. and at £2.5M represents great value for money.

Our transfer window normally opens 12 hours before it closes, can't wait.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (29/4/06)

Ah... bile and sarcasm! But so true... Although this post really merits a Championship Manager Alert!!!

The Echo
David Prentice's column in the Echo last night just about summed up what is/was good/bad in football today and in past years. It also, to me anyway, shows what contempt todays footballers have for their own fans.
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (29/4/06)

It was a good piece by Dave Prentice, who is far and away the best journalist they have. One thing that puzzled me yesterday was this tetchy little moan from the Official website that could only have been directed at what I thought was a fairly innocuous little dig at Cahill's absence from the event due to an injury problem:

"But the problem wasn't serious enough to prevent Cahill allegedly being involved in an altercation with Reds fans at the city centre's Newz bar on Saturday night."

Always look on the bright side
My god this website is depressing, any number of letters filled with bile and your editorials filled with sarcasm. In your item Iberian duo boost Blues hopes you mention that there is no mention of Ferrari knowing full well you're giving fuel to the conspiracy theorists. Just a look on the official site and you'd see that he's facing a fitness test and was unfit last week. I used to think Spurs fans were bad and bitter but we really do take the biscuit.
Jon Noname, London  (28/4/06)

Live in a fantasy world if you want to, Jon; your choice. Meanwhile, in the Real World....

Average Everton
I am not an Everton fan but my girlfriend is so I know a bit about all things blue. As far as I can tell, Everton are mid-table alongside Middlesboro, Man City, West Ham & Charlton. For that you want the manager sacked???

My question is what gives you the right to demand better? Don't Everton normally fight relegation in the Premiership?
Emma Coleman, Brighton  (28/4/06)

Let's see... I think it goes something like this:

Evertonians are born, not manufactured;
we do not choose, we are chosen;
those who understand need no explaination;
those who don't, don't matter!!

Not a bad season at all!
I have to say that I find the posting by Nick Archer most offensive. Not because it is an effort to `take the piss` out of two truly genuine supporters of our great club but more because it seeks to belittle the efforts of our manager and players.

In spite of the line taken by many writers and yourselves at ToffeeWeb, this has not been a bad season in any sense. We had our first excusions into Europe for many years — and who was it that brought that about? — we established the financial security of the club after many years of uncertainty, and we shall almost certainly finish in a respectable position in the Premiership.

As both Dutch and I have said so many times,the present discontent among Evertonians is because our manager worked miracles last year and has only been able to his job exceedingly well in 2005-06!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (28/4/06)

Well, speaking for myself, I think that is complete and utter crap. It has been a dreadful season, one of the most awful I can remember... but you are right about one thing: David Moyes deserve the full credit for all our "achievements" this season, and I think you know thw ones I mean. It has nothing to do with overblown expectations but it has everything to do with a failure to deliver in all the sectors that have already been named ad nauseam.

Everton's financial security is at best an illusion, and at worst a fine game of spin control, the fiascos over Krøldrup and now Ferrari being more representative of what is really going on, and meaning much more than a place in D&T Rich List Top 20 and a position at the top of the profit table. All that means is Wyness and Co have stopped the bleeding; it does not mean Moyes will get what he needs to build a real team... oh hang on; that's what he got given last summer... and look what happened... — Michael

Isn't it amazing how the kopites are getting all wound up about that banner which was put up outside Goodison Park quoting Brian Labone's famous line about "One Evertonian is worth 20 Liverpudlians".

There is even a letter in the local paper tonight from a Red, saying why are Evertonians using Brian's death as a chance to have a dig at Liverpool? He even brings up Everton's gates in the 80s for some odd reason. They are alright having their car stickers about Shankly's 'two teams in Liverpool' quote but can't take the one-liners back.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (28/04/06)

Entirely hypocritical
As a loyal Everton supporter, but an Australian one at that, I think it's pretty damn hypocritical of Moyes to come out bleating in the press over Tim Cahill playing in the World Cup and the possibility of him returning injured for next season.

Why? Well for one it didn't seem to concern Moyes too much that he could be risking Cahill's World Cup chances when he put him back on for most of the second half against Birmingham. This of course was despite Cahill having hobbled off before half-time with a potentially serious knee injury.

And let's be honest, if he were an important player in the English midfield, there is no way we'd be hearing the same message. Do you see Newcastle or Arsenal whining about the possibility of rushing Michael Owen or Ashley Cole back too early and risking an injury? Damn right you don't!

Of course, it's fine that these players risk potential injuries for next season by coming back barely recovered from long-term injuries, virtually without having played a single game in months. Just as long as England gives itself the best chance at World Cup!

I really get sick of the double standards shown by Premier League clubs with English and non-English internationals. The message continually doled out it seems is that English players have more of a right to represent their country than other 'foreign' players. Participating in the World Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many players, and if there is any chance Cahill can get on the field and contribute then he definitely should. It's not as if Gus Hiddink is going to throw a player on who can't run properly and is unable to play.
Simon  Potter, Paris, France  (28/4/06)

You know, I could have sworn Cahill hobbled back on for about two minutes before the break, and never played a minute of the second half because he was substituted by Killa Kilbane. That's what it says in our Match Report — but I guess that could be wrong, coz I wrote it!

Pity that the error somewhat detracts from your main point, which has some validity. However, I think it is mainly an annoyance for English clubs because of things like the African Nations Cup and long pre-match training sessions established well in advance of meaningless friendlies that fall outside of the agreed Fifa "windows" set aside for International matches.

Then agian, you might just be a typical narky whinging Aussie bastard who's never happy when removed from his intravenous supply of Fosters... Good on ya, mate! ;) — Michael

Dodd and Dutch preview
With Middlesbrough`s exertions on Thursday night (they`ve only played 19 more cup-ties than our lot so far this season!) three points should be there for the taking tomorrow and we can look forward to some more outpourings from Dooddy and Dutch! viz:-

`Everton were in sublime form against the Uefa Cup finalists and the Boro own-goal that clinched victory was testamount to the tremendous pressure applied on the home defence throughout the game. Only the woodwork and two dubious off-side decisions prevented Beattie and McFadden from adding to their impressive season`s tally and the form of Anichebe, preferred to Fergusson for the complete 20 minutes sub-spot added to the optimism we all have of next season.

`Restored to their excellent partnership at the centre of defence, Stubbs and Weir proved once again that the possible loss of Yobo and Ferrari will not be calamitous. With that victory, we should have secured at least a top thirteen finish and proved once and for all that Moyes is the man to take us forward.`
ps: I write this in the plaintive hope that WE do get three points but that it will save us from yet more banal postings from The Sun Shines out of Davey`s Arse Club!
Nick Archer, Parkgate  (28/4/06)

And here am I, trying to maintain that you just couldn't make it up! Well done, Nick!!!

In response to 'The Choice'
In response to the article by Jon Kitching, titled 'The Choice', I'd just like to say that it's the fans who make the stadium special. Sure there's a tight compact atmosphere in the ground, but it still takes the fans' passion for the club to create the real atmosphere

I doubt there would be the same atmosphere in Goodison if it was filled with the prawn sandwich brigade from Man Utd or the new era of glory-supporting cockneys. I believe that whichever ground we Everton fans fill will always have a special atmosphere due to our unrivaled passion for our club.

I think everyone would ideally like to stay at Goodison, but it seems the only option is to build from scratch. Everton Football Club will be here long after you and I have gone, and there's plenty of time to create more history at a new stadium that our future generations can be proud of — just as much as we are proud of our fantastic history at Goodison!
Anthony Fielding, Keighley  (28/04/06)

And Anfield. Don't forget Anfield. Or are you not quite so proud of our history there....

2006-07 is the final season
Next season will be the final one in which Everton spend under David Moyes. Unless we win something or finish 4th again he will go. It won't be Kenwright who fires him either - he will go of his own accord thus saving compensation payments.

The next manager will be 'lured/tricked' into joining us and no doubt have to build his own team. Expect a foreign manager with a 'big reputation' to roll into Goodison and along with a new board of rich investing Evertonians will see in a new age of success and 'pretty' football. Enjoy next year as Moyes will definately go — Christmas at the earliest if success evaids us next season.
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (28/4/06)

While you may indeed be proved right, "The next manager will be 'lured/tricked' into joining us" is absolute nonsense. I think you'll find that there would be plenty of willing takers for the job — and that salary is not to be sneezed at! — Michael

Sunil Mudgil bloody right, Moyes is a guy pissing in the wind and Dutch is happy to stand behind him! Moyes's management is not in question, it is his bungling in the transfer market and handling of players' contracts. I find the situation with Yobo and especially Ferrari very annoying. If 40,000 can see it is bad for the club then why can't Moyes or Kenshite?

And Michael, your exchanges with Dutch are now boring and suspicious. If you really think he talks shite then revoke his letters until he changes. Don't just threaten as it fools nobody that Dutch is a plant or infact your alter-ego!!!
Luq Yus, London  (28/04/06)

Hahaha... Come on — I think even I would be hard pressed to make up that much crap on a daily basis!

Apologies Smologies!
I just read Dutch's 'Sorry' and I think he misses the point. The problem isn't that we don't recognise that there are a number of young'footballers' at the club, rather that the problem lies in the lack of confidence fans have for the club's management.

Every time a player emerges with any discernible quality, any optimism felt is tinged with the knowledge that they may not get games because of financial constraints (Ferrari), will get sold for a quick buck (Rooney) or are linked with other clubs and you know that EFC won't have the wherewithall or desire to hang on to them (Yobo & Arteta).

The fact of the matter is that if the club is being run like a cowboy outfit, and continued fuck-ups (Krøldrup) only serve to advertise the fact, then we will never be able to get out of the rut we're in. I don't care about back-to-back top-ten finishes, or finishing fourth last year. It's history and pretty flukey anyway.

Also, I think if you believe that Anichebe and Co are the future of the club then you are merely clutching at straws. Everyone knows the attrition rate associated with youth players and I don't think that Moyes can take credit for any success on that front. I don't even agree that he's 'a good manager'. He's a pathetic excuse, and this club deserves better.

I think the sooner Moyes, Billy, Keith and Co go, the better.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (28/4/06)

A question of belief
If I was feeling depressed about Everton`s future, I was positively suicidal after reading the Comment piece by Sunil Mudgil. There was I thinking that it was only Kenwright`s failure to raise a brass farthing for a transfer kitty that stopped Moyes from signing the best when I`m told no bugger will come here anyway with Moyes in charge!

Certainly the evidence that Sunil puts forward makes sense but is the world-wide football grapevine that well tuned?Is Paul Dickov really the future of Everton? Is the wounded swan that is Shandy van der Scrimshanker really the only type of overseas player we can hope to attract? Oh, Christ, I thought... but then I turned to the Gospel according to Dutch and realised that under Moyes we had developed all these young players who would be queuing up to come to Everton because they were given the chance to shine at such an early age.

Who wouldn`t want to play for a manager who`d won not one but two etc. etc. etc... and I realised that everything was alright really and I could write my cheque for £600 safe in the knowledge we are in good hands after all. Who`d be an Evertonian, eh?
Guy Jackson, Aughton  (28/4/06)

Up the BORO!!!
Whilst wanting to congratulate Middlesboro on their tremendous achievement, I can't help but feel insanely jealous of this once ordinary club who have passed us by in the ambition stakes.

After coming out of the Champions League beaten by a small Spanish league outfit with a lot more about them than us, you would have thought that we would have been England's senior representatives in the Uefa Cup; we all know that this was not to be and we have limped on to below mid-table mediocrity.

Now I am no super statician but I would put up a pretty decent guess that Villarreal and the Boros average home attendance added together would not be far past ours !!

On my few previous posts on this site I have made reference to our once great club and the inneptness of its current custodians — the people that run OUR club, yes YOUR club — who you are about to give 500 of your well earned SMACKEROONIES to.

One bit of advice, ladies & gents: think again!! It breaks my heart but I have, and I will never change my mind while these clowns are in charge.
Kevin Bennett, Chester  (28/4/06)

What have we done to deserve it?
George Stuart is so right; Kenwright & Co betrayed our Club and all its followers by failing to raise the £30 million required to launch the King`s Dock project. I knew at that point that there was no hope for us and there never will be under this regime.

Sunil Madgil says much the same regarding the playing side under Moyes. What have we done to deserve this bunch of negative no hopers at the helm, I ask myself? Perhaps if I read more Dutch Schaeffer, I`d begin to understand!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (28/4/06)

Let the people speak
Sad to hear our host Michael warning Dutch over a ban and confirming that editorial changes do take place. I do not always agree with Dutch but his opinion is as valid as the next man.

It makes me wonder how many other pro-Moyes voices have been silenced by ToffeeWeb?
Stuart Dirt, Swansea  (28/4/06)

Thousands... we've been overwhelmed by messages of support for Moyes... But I think Dutch was behind most of them ;)

Premature Ejaculation
Sunil Mudgil includes some interesting quotes from Moyes in his Fatal Attraction article. I don't really understand what he expected the man to say, though. It's difficult enough attracting top players to Everton on our budget without Moyes going round saying "we desperately need to sell all our best players and will take all sorts of stop-gaps". Even if this statement is more truthful than some of the others he quotes, does he really think the rest of football would roll over and help? Far more likely the knife would be twisted and lower offers come in for the Rooneys of this world whilst inflated prices would be demanded for our transfer targets.

Similarly, what agent worth his salt wouldn't hawk his client round the clubs to get him the best deal? It's surely not too difficult to imagine the Scott Parker scenario. Needs to play first team football in a World Cup year, quite likes the look of Everton, wages are not the best though. His agent phones round:- "my boy has decided to leave Chelsea and will probably go to Everton unless you can do something better with the salary and the likes. Oh really? Yes that very interesting, I'll bring him over first thing in the morning, Mr Shepherd".

A performance acted out several times over the last summer methinks. It has led to a largely disappointing season made worse by the bad luck we had in drawing good sides in early rounds of cup competitions. Even so, I remember things a lot worse than this...
Tony Horne, Kettering  (28/4/06)

The stadium debate
Like Joe Kitching I've been having a think about the stadium debate further.

I have to admit that I've been convinced by Rob Fox's article, which was further enforced by Steve Guy's, about the need for a new stadium to generate non-football income to support our team-building efforts.

The building of Everton FC as a business parallel to Everton FC as a team benefiting the team in the long run in having the (hopefully) profit from the business available to buy players. In hindsight I can appreciate that this is what Wyness has probably set out to do and the proclamations about Everton's top 20 position and top profit earning in the money charts is probably not aimed at the fans, who it seems it's pissing off, but more likely aimed at the financial institutions out there that are likely to lend the money for the new stadium. I just wish such long-term planning could be imparted to the fans, or at least the shareholders instead of all the half-lies.

Let's face it, Kenwright is not going to get the money to invest in the team, either from his own pockets or from some mug giving it to him without getting some control over what happens to it. So no team investment from outside sources — we have to generate it from non-football income.

I think, with the current financial constraints, Moyes has done a good job, despite some of his mistakes — and no wonder he's lost enthusiasm as he can likely see (as most of the fans can) that things are not going to get any better in the short term — not with Kenwright at the helm anyway.

So what about the new stadium? I was lucky enough to see Everton through the '60s and was at all the home games of the Championship-winning season in 1970. To me, the home of Everton FC is Goodison Park and this has been further reinforced by the recent death of Brian Labone.

I'd rather see Goodison redeveloped than move outside the city. The redevelopment plans on the ToffeeWeb site are a 3-year plan but why not do it in one season? We could groundshare for one season with "them" while Goodison is redeveloped. Or what about the second best team on Merseyside? We could groundshare with Tranmere for a season? Then we'd realise our dream of a new home a lot sooner.
Eric Myles, Seoul, Korea  (28/4/06)

Stadium path
It would be interesting to investigate clubs other than Bolton that have followed the sensible path laid out in the Times article. Sunderland springs to mind... and Derby. There is no guarenteed solution.

The worst piece of business that we have done in the modern era was that afternoon where Johnson sacked Joe Royle thus initiating a series of disasterous events yielding the Everton we see today.

The Kings Dock would have been getting its blue and white coat on now, I beleive. It would have cost a tad under £200 million, for the want of £30 million. I heard somewhere that to start a "world class" stadium now would cost £500 million.

"Opportunity" and "lost" seem to fit somewhere.
George  Stuart, Lismore, Australia  (28/4/06)

Brian Labone
Sad to hear about Brian Labone. Apparently he was my grandad's cousin, the family resemblance is there. Never met him, though — and now never will. RIP.
Andrew Talbot, Prescot  (27/4/06)

Sorry, everyone, I really don't mean to annoy you. I just feel sometimes that there's a tendancy when things are a bit low to forget the good things. You're all complaining about Moyes ignoring the young players but you all fail to see that we have a young team.

Hibbert, Osman, Arteta, Yobo and McFadden are all early 20's with promising youngsters Vaughn, Anichebe & Vidarsson breaking through. The problem isn't the age of the team — it's the quality. I really don't care if the team is full of late 30-somethings, wouldn't bother me at all... if Everton were scoring goals and winning games.

Sure it would be nice to have a team of young exciting players but at this stage I just want to see Everton win, in fact I just want to see a goal (remember those?). We have a team with the right mix of youth and experience with an average age of mid-20's. The problem is most of them are average players who couldn't score in a brothel.

I have lost faith in Moyes, this time last year he was a messiah now he's just a good manager. If he doesn't sign some players who can score some goals I dread to think what my opinion of him will be this time next year.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (27/4/06)

But you make out how everything is so fucking wonderful all the time, Dutch. These rare moments of lucidity fool no-one because they are puntuated by extended bouts of Moyes-inspired insanity during which you spout reams of unmtigated shite — and you actually expect people to believe you! For the sanity of most of our readers (and me!) I think your opportunities may need to be curtailed... — Michael

Enough is enough
Dutch, please, for the love of God, stop! You write in on a daily basis giving us your painful, boring opinion of all things Moyes and Everton and I'm fucking sick of it. I used to kind of appreciate your argument but now I just think you're a knob. As a Moyes fan, I'm not gonna criticize you too much but please, please stop with these daily messages as they are doing nobody any favours.

I like Moyes but I'm not so stupid to think that he hasn't made some grave mistakes this year because he has. So please Dutch stop, stop now.
Patrick Marks, London  (27/4/06)

Amen to that. The one he sent in yesterday was so dreadful, I hacked 90% of it and just left the opening paragraph, which contained the point he was making. So he writes in and accuses me of censorship and host of other things. I was in two minds about this latest "contribution" of facts that we are all only too well aware of, but that only really mean anything to Dutch, and to the rest of us confirm the problems that are all too obvious.... — Michael

Everton FC
Although it is a sad time around Goodison at the moment, I am sure Brian Labone wouldn't want us to forget about all things football, because he loved Everton so much. Unfortunately, the last game he witnessed at Goodison was pretty awful, so it would be a fitting tribute to the man if the players would try to win the next game in his memory and definitely the last game at Goodison against West Brom. I know the season is over as far as achieving anything but surely the players should be showing more effort than they have been in recent weeks.

Come on you blues: pride in the shirt! I certainly do not want us to finish the season on eight games without a win and then have to watch them others win another trophy.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (27/4/06)

RE: Moyes puts `em in early!
Dutch... giving a debut to someone at a young age for 5 or 10 minutes in one match and then only playing them for less than 30 minutes (or 20 minutes?) over the entire season does not equal giving a young player a chance.
Dan Lim, London  (27/4/06)

...Dutch, please I cannae take any more.

You have obviously reached a higher plateau than the rest of us. You've already passed through the despairing mental state that people like me are in and have decided to focus on the positives no matter what.

I admire that, just please be patient with the rest of us until we've also learned to accept the reality of the situation. Even Jesus had trouble converting the masses :)

(If only you could turn Toffee Mints into money)
Iain McWilliam, UK  (27/4/06)

Moyes puts `em in early!
Wayne Rooney: Given debut by Moyes at 16. Was the youngest ever Premiership and Everton goalscrorer. England International at 17.

James Vaughn: Given debut by Moyes at 16. Is currently the youngest Premiership goalscorer ever.

Joseph Yobo: 21-year-old defender purchased and given debut by Moyes. Established into a very good player.

Mikel Arteta: 22-year-old midfielder purchased and given debut by Moyes. Established into a very good player.

Tony Hibbert: A fringe player under Walter Smith, made a first team regular by Moyes aged 21.

Leon Osman: 22-year-old midfielder given debut by Moyes now established as a first team player.

Nick Chadwick: 19-year-old striker scores his first Premiership goals under David Moyes.

Victor Anichebe: Given his debut at 17 by Moyes.

John Ruddy 19-year-old goalkeeper given Premiership debut by Moyes.

Iain Turner 21-year-old goalkeeper given Premiership debut by Moyes.

Bjarni Vidarsson & Scott Spencer Youngsters brought in for the future. Moyes thinking ahead.

Not bad for a manager who some feel has no time for young players.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (27/4/06)

Yawwwwwwnnnnnnnnnn......Let's see...

  • Brilliant prodigy, the greatest ever Everton prospect, the dream made manifest for us... sold for a mere £20M.
  • Injured;
  • Stalling on contract... rumoured to be on his way to Arsenal;
  • Injured; rumoured to be on his way to Man Utd;
  • Hermia operation and long period of recovery in prospect;
  • The only one currently in the team! Still too lightweight and too easily brushed off teh ball to be really effective;
  • Not good enough; flogged to Plymouth;
  • The one current prospect: 10 mins over two games so far...
  • Too young to even be considered — emergency goalie called in for four goals against;
  • Being punished, perhaps, for the unfortunate incident with Stubbs that saw him sent off, never to be seen again?
  • How many goals will they need to score in the ressies before they eeven close to getting a sniff?

Proud to be a Blue, but..........
I've probably been working up to this for the last few days, but finally I feel the need to say how I feel. I was looking at a video of our '95 cup final win over United, and I asked myself "What has changed?" Well, the players have changed, the manager's different and Agent Johnson has since moved on to greener pastures, but really, the answer is: not a lot.

You see, what hasn't changed is this club's lack of ambition. Since the Premier League's inception I have become more and more disconsolate about the state of Everton FC. OK, we won the cup that day, but if you look at the number of last-gasp escapes we have had to make (thinking especially of the Wimbledon game) you realise that the club has gone nowhere. Fair enough, Premiership survival ensures continued revenue and, as Keith Wyness keeps telling us, the club is amongst the most financially successful — though without the Rooney sale I doubt we'd have enough to buy a bag of nuts and half a pound of mild cheddar.

What concerns me most is that the club seem content with what they are achieving. The manager couldn't tell his arse from his elbow when it comes to the transfer targets. I know there will be those who say "If you get rid of Moyes, who could we get?", well I'm sorry, but the chance that we might not be able to replace him with someone less mediocre isn't a good enough reason not to in my book. There are 92 clubs in the English leagues. Take the 20 out of the Premiership, and that still leaves 72 managers at smaller clubs who could potentially replace him. I'd certainly be willing to gamble — at least it would give the signal that Everton are trying to get out of neutral gear.

Also, 'Our Billy' likes to tell us how much he loves Everton. Well, I'm sorry, but if he loved Everton so much, he'd listen to investors rather than pack up and run away at the first sign that somebody else would like to play with his trainset.

When you sit at home and look at an interview with Neil Warnock and you become jealous of a team that has spent 13 years out of the top flight, you know there's something wrong. The people that run our club have no passion, no ambition, are content with perennial mediocrity and have no respect for the paying fans. I'd rather Everton were in the Championship with people who care for it at the helm with vision, desire and passion than endure another year of empty promises, pie-in-the-sky attitudes and downright lies.

All I want is to be able to stand proud, knowing my club are doing their best. No-one can believe they are or have been for the last 15 years. Frankly, if Everton were a racehorse, someone would shoot it.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (27/4/06)

Andy van der Meyde
I note that some seem to be questioning the purchase of the Dutchman. I think what you need to remember is that we only paid a relatively small fee around £2M for a player who was once very highly rated. He was worth a gamble due to his age. If it had come off, it would have been hailed as a masterstroke. I think it's important to remember there is still time and AVDM is still only 27. Let's give him another season before we dismiss him as a flop.

On the otherhand, let's not carried away by proclaiming he's the new messiah.
Steve Ferns, Liverpool  (27/4/06)

Tim Howard Anybody?
I read in today's Times that David Moyes wants either Tim Howard or a 'younger keeper' on loan. For goodness' sake: Why?

Don't get me wrong: Howard is decent keeper, but why not at least try Ian Turner for a while? So, he is currently inexperienced at first-team level, but that will be the case until (or if?) he is actually given the chance to prove himself.

How will Turner (and Ruddy) feel if yet another keeper arrives over them??? If I were them, I would have been more than a bit concerned about Westervald arriving for the month.

Maybe Moyes knows more about the keepers than I, but his psychology certainly appears suspect on this one.
Tony Pickering, Devize  (27/4/06)

Er.. Moyes knows best!

Love your website as it keeps me upto date on this side of the world. Can you shed some light on Ferrari situation? He is not on the injury list and wasn't even on the bench last saturday. Some rumours are that he stormed out of the ground at 2pm after not being selected is this true? There has been no comments from the club and no explanations in the press. Has he been training this week? Any info would assist as I think he is a player we need very much.
Geoff Wells, Brisbane, Australia  (27/4/06)

What we were told was that Matteo Ferrari will not be an Everton player next season. It has been decided that the club do not wish to exercise the option to purchase him as no agreement can be reached over the money involved. This season, Matteo`s appearances have been limited by clauses in the `pay as he plays` loan agreement in the same way that happened with Per Krøldrup, with the club looking to avoid extra payments. We have no information on whether he trained this week, but we don't think he is injured. David Moyes told us he would get his chance, so we shall see...

But it is astounding that (if this version is true) such a situation should happen at one of the 20 richest clubs in the world, the English club that made the biggest profit last season... so it is highly unlikel you will hear anything like this from the club. Instead, there will be some story about how the player was unsettled on Merseyside, missed the sounds of goat-milking among the Tuscan hills, and decided it was best for all concerned if he retured to Italy. Perhaps it shows you can't get very far in football on £100k. — Michael

Fools Rushed In
The title says it all. Fools rushed in to defend Moyes earlier in the season and now they can pat themselves on the back. Job well done! — We stayed up, so Moyes must be a genius.

The Premier Leagues bottom tier is now so poor that a team that has a minus 16 goal difference is not in the relegation fight. Is this all we want from our team: survival?

Look at West Ham. Last season they where in the Coca Cola League, got promoted and started playing great football. Next month, they go to Cardiff in the FA Cup Final. That's good management. That's how it's done. Not this shit Moyes gives us.

How can a promoted side with less money, a smaller fanbase and a club who we consider smaller than us be in a major final? Good management and playing football in the correct way — that's how.

Another promoted side, Wigan, also made a Cup Final appearance this season — how did they manage that? It is possible for teams to get in amongst the big boys and compete if they have the right leadership. The truth is Moyes is out of his depth ih this league and time and time again is found wanting tactically. It won't change next season — how can it? Is Moyes suddenly going to transform himself in to this Dynamic forward-thinking tactical genius? I don't think so. He will do what he always does: play safe.

At the start of the season, I did warn you on many occasions about Moyes. Now it's there for all to see. Next season, another grim struggle is all we can expect while we persist with Moyes and his dour style of play.

Just heard on Sky Dave's after another keeper to add to the other four already here. You couldn't make it up!
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (27/4/06)

Going on about West Ham is facile. A team often does well for a season (er... Everton 2004-05, anyone?). The test for them comes next season. Other than that, your points are hard to dispute. — Michael

Should be fun
So Moyes is buying (loaning) yet another keeper.

The training sesssions should be interesting with Wright falling over random things, Howard swearing at random things whilst messrs Woods, Turner and Ruddy sit on the sidelines wondering "What the hell am I doing here?"
Aplankofwood Withanailinit, UK  (27/4/06)

Moyes puts `em in early!
So Moyes is `thinking of giving one or two youngsters a chance` on Saturday, because `we`re pretty good at putting them in early here`. You could have fooled me! This bloke lives in cloud cuckoo land and if he`s claiming any credit for Rooney, he`s a deluded fool — a blind man would have known he was ready at 16!
Ferdie Craig, Fazakerley  (27/4/06)

So... does he get a testimonial?
I just saw this in that Norman Hubbard article at Soccernet:

"Ferguson, despite the Everton tattoos, does not qualify for [a testimonial]; he was complicit in a lucrative move to Tyneside behind manager Walter Smith's back."

That's not quite how I remember it. Dunc was rather upset, as I recall, but had no option other than to accept the deal that Johnson no doubt brokered. Can anyone elaborate? I thought the Big Yin has the requiste 10 years of service to Everton... if that's what he has been providing all this time...
John Vines, Southwold  (27/4/06)

This is Duncan Ferguson's eleventh season at Goodison Park... Normally, ten are sufficent... or does the break (at Newcastle) somehow enter into it? Can't see how, as Unsie got a testimonial (v Athletico Bilbao) after his tenth season as a blue (and one season as a claret and blue) — Michael

Brian Labone
Perhaps someone from the Toffeeweb team could forward this to Wayne Rooney's inbox.

"Once a blue, always a blue" -- Phrase: definition, BRIAN LABONE

Courtesy, Oxford English Dictionary. (Well, it bloody should be). Take note Wayne.
Tom  Edwards, York  (27/4/06)

The current custodians will always be remembered for being the ones who oversaw his departure from Goodison Park...

Pistols at 10 paces
Date: 1967
Location: Molineux
Occasion: FA Cup 4th Round
Result: 1-1
In Royal Blue: Brian Labone
In Old Gold: Derek Dougan

Westy was brilliant that day, but the duel that stood out was Labby against the Doug. They competed throughout, two great professionals giving no quarter, demonstrating just how good they were at their respective trades. Unforgettable, just like Brian himself.
Laurence Hart, Nr Worcester  (26/4/06)

Must win at Boro
With Middlesbrough playing more games in a week than we do in a month, there will never be a better opportunity to turn them over and progress a couple of places up the table.

Saturday will be a big test for Moyes and his team. Win and we can make the Baggies game a carnival occasion; lose and we can all boycott the game!
Terry Fortune, Kirkby  (26/4/06)

And if we draw?

Let's Focus
Enough about Brian Labone, God Rest His Soul.

Now can we please get back to bashing Moyes's tactics and transfer dealings, Kenwright's financial prowess, and all that is negative about Everton FC? Let's focus, people! Thank you.
James Jekins, FL, USA  (26/4/06)

Lazy Moyes?
Michael, thank you for your reply; I now see that I had missed the point of the original post. But I still think that 'lazy' is a bad choice of words to desribe the choices made by David Moyes. I think a better choice would be 'safe'.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (26/4/06)

Spot on Steve Guy!
I just thought I'd say how much I agreed with Steve Guy's last piece. I feel that some people want change, be it a change of manager or a change of chairman, without necessarily thinking of the consequences.

There is no point changing, especially two important positions like those, unless there is a better alternative out there. I don't see any better managers out there that (a)would come to us, and (b) wouldn't represent more of a gamble then sticking with Moyes. And it's well documented that there's no-one in the pipeline to buy out Kenwright. To any fans out there thinking of protests, abandoning ship etc, I would ask them to think about this.

The other point I would like to make is that if there is one thing Everton have going for them it is a passionate support that gets behind the team. It's easy to support a team when it's doing well, I live in London and suddenly everyone is a Chelsea or Arsenal fan. As Evertonians we have known far worse times than this, the Coventry and Wimbledon games spring easily to mind. So, while we should never accept mediocrity, we should maybe save boycotts for last resorts...
Danny Broderick, London  (26/4/06)

Reply re: Route Planner
Ken Kirby, thanks for reading my piece. Without wanting to get into “ping pong” mailings I have a couple of clarifications I would make.

Firstly, I don’t believe that asking for continuity should be interpreted as “no change is good” which I most definitely did not say. You can argue as to how long is long enough for a management team to have an impact, before they are rightly asked to move on. This is why I suggested that Wyness needs to carry through on his commitment to deliver this year on the new stadium; where others have so clearly failed. If he doesn’t then he needs to go. But surely he has to be given a chance?

Moreover, we have to face the fact the Kenwright will not be moving on unless someone buys his shares. No amount of cries for him to go (even if these were orchestrated, which they’re not) will have any impact until someone shows him enough cash. That will take a major investor and there don’t seem to be many of them battering the doors down on Goodison Road.

Whether it’s behind the scenes, or the team manager, one thing seems pretty clear to me; change for change's sake, or too regular change based on shorter-term issues definitely doesn’t work.... Man City? Southampton? Portsmouth? to name but a few (and including ourselves in time gone by, eg, Joe Royle). The only period of sustained success in our recent history was in the Eighties, when we had a stable management structure from Carter through to Kendall.

So, given the above and my previous comments, I am saying give the current team time. However, what seems to have been lost is my essential point which was that the Bolton story highlighted the criticality of getting a new stadium ASAP. As a by product, it seemed that the point was worth making regarding the management stability Bolton have enjoyed and how it could not be coincidental to subsequent financial improvement at that Club.

In response to the Editor’s comments, my contributions on this subject have been intended as a counterpoint to the overwhelming number of mails to ToffeeWeb, which react in a pendulum swing on what seems like a game-to-game basis. This season has been as crap as last season was great. I am fully aware that success is typically never down to just one reason, it just struck me that we might have something to learn from the article I read on Bolton.

If anything, your comments and Ken’s reinforce a point I did make; namely, that as fans, we are unfortunately not in a position to ever see the whole picture and have too much emotion invested in the Club and the 'here and now' of team performances, to be as objective as we would need to be when it comes to the long term goals of the business known as Everton Football Club.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (26/4/06)

Work Ethic
Mike Silverwood accused Moyes of being a lazy manager. You can say many things about Moyes, you can call him incompetant, inexperienced, reluctant to take chances in transfer market, lacking tactical knowledge etc... None of which I would agree with but I would accept the opinions.

But one thing I will not accept is a complaint that Moyes is lazy. There are very few managers who work harder then David Moyes. Moyes involves himself in every single detail, in fact you could argue that he's too involved. Many players have been upset at Moyes and his attention to detail.

The hardest working manager in the Premiership and one of the lowest paid don't forget. You can complain about the quality of his work but you simply cannot question the amount of work Moyes does at the club.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (26/4/06)

I think you are (deliberately?) misunderstanding something here, Dutch. The laziness comes not in the conventional sense but in his choice of the easy option over the more challenging, as Mike made perfectly clear.

His team selections and substitutions fit this unfortunate mould, and his opting for the known (Naysmith, Pistone, Stbbs, Weir), rather than doing the hard work to find the players he claimed were simply not available, and not doing the work needed to figure out that the unknown (in this case especially regarding, Davies and Van der Meyde) were not going to be much good for Everton, when all the indications were there clear as day. — Micheal

Brian Labone....
I will take nothing that is said about my opinions on Everton FC pesonally. If Everton sometimes play bland football, then I am entitled to be bland sometimes.

It is not about the individual in these coming days, it is about all of us and about the club... We will miss Brian. What do we think about a statue to commemorate his service? I would rather that it be funded by the fans than the club, seeing as alot of contributors here have their reasons to doubt such an "investment/expenditure" from the current board.

It only takes someone who will get the ball rolling.
Marshall Tivnan, Leipzig, Germany  (26/4/06)

That's a pity; we were hoping for more highly perceptive (drug-induced?) insights into the world of Everton. But a statute is a good idea — I much prefer that to naming a stand after someone — where did that stupid way of honouring people start anyway? — Michael

I'm too young to have ever seen Brian Labone play but just reading the tributes sends shivers down your spine of what Everton Football Club meant to him and in turn makes you so proud to follow a club that he loved more than anything else. RIP.

By the way, can anyone confirm whether a certain Mr Wyness — who has excited me more than ever with the idea of introducing Plasma screens for next season — is actually an Evertonian? After reading his comments in the press yesterday, he quotes his heroes of being Brian Labone, Gordon West etc. It sounds like he's a 'true blue' It's just that I have never heard him refer to Everton legends and our history before.
Kevin Stevens, Liverpool  (26/4/06)

Hmmm... I find it odd that a bloke born in Aberdeen, who grew up in Elgin, whould take a shine to the English players on a team from Merseyside... especially when there were some Scottish legends he would have had a much more natural affinity to... Buster — Dons Fan

Lazy or just incompetent?
Mike Silverwood accuses Moyes of being a lazy manager. In the sense that he chooses to take the easy way out in transfer business and often fails to prepare the team properly, I agree with him.

Look at his signings last summer. The overseas recruits had all the signs of `agent buys` ie, players who had been pushed in his direction, probably after failing to gain a contract elsewhere. Whatever the monetary arrangements attaching to Krøldrup, Ferrari and Van der Meyde, they all proved a waste of good money, actually starting a mere 13 games between them. With a budget as restricted as Everton`s — that`s just not good business.

The `failure to prepare` charge goes back to the European debacle of which enough has been said but extends right through the current season with tactics seemingly made on the hoof as games progress.

Now I am sure that Mr Moyes puts in a good day`s work but it may well be that he`s just not up to the job and that his incompetence just has the appearance of sloth!
Evan Hughes, Rhyl  (26/4/06)

Brian Labone 2
I was thinking last night (drinking a few to his memory) that a feature of his, and the team's game was confidence and assurance that he always had 'options' — people to give the ball to knowing they had the skill to use the ball with class for the team.

Early on it was Parker and Collins. Soon after it was Kay and Scott, with Vernon and Young coming deep. Then he had Wilson, Harvey, Wright and Kendall, with Ball dropping deep. Mostly played short because it was our way and we didn't have a big centre-forward until Joe (Big Fred Pickering was better on the ground), and he got the ball from the wings. Some options eh? And Brian was the constant in this (with Westy) — and he was the captain! That's how good he was. That's how good we were.

Writing this is both therapeutic and poignant. I'm sorry for Brian, his family and supporters but what memories he left us, how far we've fallen, and how lucky old farts like me were to be part of all that.

A lot of the polarising of opinions expressed on your excellent website seems to be divided on "generational" grounds. This is because of some of the things written above. We've also got less patience and less time!
Chris Williams, Little Neston  (26/4/06)

Bran Labone
I joined the Collegiate just as Brian Labone left. The school football community talked of him, and Jack Bentley who I later saw play one game for Everton, as collossi of amazing stature.

My best friend at the Collegiate and he still is today, despite his allegiance to the reds, was a boy who'd come from Flo Melly, Trevor Owens. One day in the summer of 1958 we joined Trevor's much older brother, Bryn in Walton Hall Park for a scratch game of cricket. Among the older boys was a friend of theirs from their Flo Melly days, who was Brian Labone. He had played for Everton, but wasn't a regular in the first team. He joked and messed around with the rest. I was slightly in awe, but he was normal, just a teenage lad. I remember he was a rather quick bowler and caught my mate on his fingers, no gloves in those days gloves were a luxury. Trevor to this day insists that Brian Labone broke his finger with a cricket ball.

In 1964, when Brian was part of that great Everton team of Young and Vernon, he came to the Collegiate football ground one night to take a training session and told us of how he valued Denis Stevens as a marvellous football brain, who knew how to cover and help his defence. That was when Stevens was probably the most reviled of that great Everton team, but who did so much of the unseen work that allowed the Youngs and Vernons to be out-and-out attackers.

In those days, footballers were so normal. I remember Chris Lawler getting on the 27 bus in the morning, dressed in a suit; as it went past Anfield, he got off. I was working as a student in a pub. I can remember Brian Labone and the other Everton players in the basement bar in the Lord Nelson on a Saturday night. We watched them, but never spoke, they were left basically in peace.

Brian was a very normal person, an Evertonian who lived the dream of so many of us working-class boys of the 50s and 60s. He played for Everton. He played for them with style, never dirty, very unlike Swan, Norman, Charlton, Yeats his counterparts as top centre-halves, but with that intrinsic toughness that distinguishes the genuinely tough from the pretenders and bullies; like Bob Latchford and Joe Royle, he didn't need to be dirty. His skill made him that rare breed — what we called in those days "a footballing centre-half".

Brian Labone was the epitome of the Everton of those days — skilful, stylish, but with an inner strength that made him a great footballer and a true sportsman. But above all else Brian, was part of the community. He lived and died an Evertonian and he remained that normal boy I met in Walton Hall park in 1958. I can think of no higher praise than that.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (26/4/06)

What a high/low Everton week. Met and shook hands with one of my heroes, the great Bob Latchford on Friday, then heard of the sudden death of Brian Labone on Tuesday.

I was 10 when he retired, so only saw him play on 4 or 5 occasions. However, you cannot ignore his passion for Everton that comes over so clearly on the BBC 'Everton' video.

I will not be at the West Brom game, but wouldn't it be fitting for a last chorus of 'LABONE, LABONE' to the tune of 'Hi ho, Hi ho, it's off to work we go'.
Dave Powell, Newcastle, Staffordshire  (26/4/06)

Not many true Gentlemen left now...
Derek Thomas, Torbay, Auckland, NZ  (26/4/06)

Farewell to a hero
Brian Labone was Everton captain when I first started going to Goodison as a kid. He seemed like an omnipotent giant to me. I was privileged to see him play for six seasons — and lift the League Championship trophy in 1970. Although Bally became my biggest hero — he had the glamour — we all knew even as kids he could be a liability. Labby, however, was the rock, the quietly strong foundation of our last truly great team and I welled up when I heard of Brian's death, as a little part of my life died with his passing.

Thanks, Brian, for the memories and the inspiration. The club should name the Gwladys Street stand after him.
Kev Jones, Melbourne, Australia  (26/4/06)

Route to Nowhere
Steve Guy is being disingenuous, methinks, with his Route Planner article. This is more a plea for the `no change at the top` lobby than it is anything to do with building or not building a new ground.

Whilst the `continous management` technique may have worked well at Bolton, that is almost certainly because the people in charge were right for that particular club in the first place rather than that they have just remained in office.

Like Mr Guy, I am no Bolton fan but, because of the location of my business, I read and hear a great deal about that club. What I would say is that their Chairman, CEO and Manager are in a totally different league to their counterparts at Goodison. And I would venture that, had this trio been at Everton for ten years, we would now be one of the `big five` on a permanent basis.

No, Mr Guy, your theory of `no change is good` only holds water in any business as long as your `people` are delivering — continuity in itself will not deliver anything and may well turn out to be the route to nowhere!
Ken Kirby, Whalley  (26/4/06)

Great response, Ken. There's a problem too in selectively deciding which facet of a success story is the one that needs to be taken as an example or role model, when that success is usually due to not one but a whole group of things all 'clicking' together at once. — Michael

Gone but never forgotten
Heaven has a new captain.... as Labone climbs his final set of stairs.
Paul Conatzer, Harlingen, TX, USA  (25/4/06)

It's Your Club
Why let these people get away with this? I can understand people not getting their season tickets renewed but, for Christ's sake, this is your club — why should you get dragged off to B&Q by the missus on Saturday afternoon when you should be at the match?

Fight for change, fellas, starting at West Brom; let's make these people know that, if they want to be in charge of our club, we want entertaining — minimum. Don't forget, fellas, these critisisms would have come long ago if it wasn't for the Kings Dock and Samuelson's millions bullshit. They've run out of cover ups; it's time to force a change.
Blue Fella, Deeside  (26/4/06)

A well written letter, Steve, which makes some fine points. However, Keith Wyness will not personally give a shit about the content of it because he still has thousands of other fans buying season tickets. I'm sure that you will get some fluffy but hollow corporate reply from Mr Wyness.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (25/4/06)

Re: Renewal? Not this time
I am briefly writing in response to Stephen Callaghan's letter to Keith Wyness.

It is disappointing, yet understandable, to hear that Everton is losing another season-ticket holder. I would love to have the privilege to be able to hold a season ticket (I live in Australia) but like Stephen I would ultimately start to question the motives behind the large incurred cost. This particularly applies when, as stated in the letter, the fans do not know what product they are paying to see.

From December 2003 to February 2004, I was lucky enough to travel to England and saw a total of five games. One win (1-0 against Birmingham at Goodison), two draws (1-1 against Arsenal at Goodison, and one against Fulham at home) and two losses (4-3 to Man Utd and I believe 3-2 to Fulham in the Cup at Loftus Road). Given the position of the club at the time, I believed these results were standard.

Now as ambitions rise, when it has been proved that Everton can compete towards the top end of the table (albeit quite luckily), we are disappointed, if not agitated, by the lack of progression at the club on and off the field since our fourth-place finish.

Although I also love my club, and always will, if I was a season-ticket holder I would be questioning the reasons why I would want to incur the expenditure to see an unknown quantity, and, if things do not change over the summer break, a spent force and again another season as relegation contenders.

C'mon Everton, justify your fans' passion.
Allan Kane, Adelaide, Australia  (26/4/06)

Brian Labone — Evertonian
Brian Labone played in the first match I attended in February 1961. I saw him lift the FA Cup on my first visit to Wembley in 1966 and I particularly remember him as the inspirational Captain of our truly great Championship team of 1969-70.

He was a far better player than Jackie Charlton and should have had many more England caps. An all time Everton team would undoubtedly include Brian as centre half and captain — that's how good he was — a great player and skipper, a gentleman, an Evertonian.

A very sad day in the history of our club.
Ian Pilkington, Adlington, Lancs  (25/4/06)

It's a grand old team to support
The death of Brian Labone at the end of an abysmal season which began way back in August with high hopes and great expectations — feels like the morale of the blue bretheren can't get much worse. But to me the passing of Brian Labone and the tributes and condolences that have since been expressed reafirms one thing: Everton needs you, and me and any other Evertonian full of self doubt and cynicism.

I'm not one for the high gloss spin and PR exercises that are trotted out from Goodison Park, nor am I of the positive ilk of Dutch Schaffer in the midst of troubled times, yet I know one thing for sure: my Club needs me, because to me the Club is what Rob Fox elequently suggests is about — the supporters.

It is with great regret to see fellow contributors taking the option of voicing their discontent with threatening to stay away. Yes, it is their right and maybe the only way of telling messrs Kenwright, Gregg and Wynes that they have had enough, but it is one less Evertonian ultimately fighting for the cause. Brian Labone was a man of wisdom, he was elequent and made some classic statements — his love affair and afinity with the club and fans summed up in the phrase 'one Evertonian is worth twenty Liverpudlians'.

We are less one blue in Labby and a great voice has been lost for the Everton way. Let's mourn Brian's death, see the season through and mobilise our efforts through positive and constructive efforts to continue the process of making our club great once again.

Everton — and it is we, the collective 'Everton' — deserve better. Don't give up the fight or lose the religion because Everton needs you.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (25/4/06)

My Favourite Game
Around 1954, we used to play a pickup game in Gillmoss every Sunday. A school friend used to bring this guy who was miles better than any one else. He stopped everything and scored whenever he liked. As an envious teen I sometimes remarked about that big greedy guy. That greedy guy was Brian Labone.

As a fanatical Blue, I was ecstatic when he went on to play for Everton and delighted to tell my children and grandchildren that I had played against him. I was also more than willing to tell them just how good he was. We used to have scores like 9-7. He only came occasionally but when he did he was always picked first.

Once he started playing for the Blues, I went from jealous teen to an idolising supporter. Brian represented everthing that was good about sport. He didn't need white boots, tinted hair, an agent or a million-pound salary. He didn't say "Once a Blue, always a Blue" — he just was a Blue and stayed a Blue. Wayne Rooney, you just picked the wrong role models. But once a dick always a dick — you will probably always be able to handle that motto.

Farewell, Brian. Without ever realizing it, you provided me with a lifelong memory. I have two sons: John Everton and Andrew Goodison. You were a fine example for all real Evertonians. I have been watching Everton for 60 years since I was six. Even if I was offered Rooney's money, I could never be anything other than an EVERTONIAN.
John Boon, Welland, Canada  (25/4/06)

The Corinthian
Most of what I know of Brian Labone comes from my Dad and other senior Evertonians... I saw him play but was too young to appreciate his game.

From the occassions I've met him at functions and at matchdays, he was one bloke who you could be sure the phrase 'Once a Blue, always a Blue' really meant something.

Will we ever see his like again?
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (25/4/06)

Brian Labone
I never saw Brian play or for that matter met him but, for as long as I've supported Everton, Brian Labone has been there representing the club in some shape or form. Trying to imagine an Everton without Brian Labone is for me as unthinkable as an Everton without the colour blue. Rest in peace, Mr Everton.
Stuart Rickards, Gelsenkirchen, Germany  (25/4/06)

RE: Renewal? Not this time
I feel that this letter by Steve Callaghan sums up how a good proportion of season ticket holders feel. And although you may publish articles which may not necessarily be the views of "", I cannot help but feel you feel the same thoughts expressed by Mr Callaghan.

However, as Mr Callaghan states; "...this is the only option I have to make a stance". I think that not only is this statement true, but we are at such a critical point with Everton Football Club that we need these opinions, if shared strongly by ToffeeWeb, to be voiced with a little more power, authority and volume. This *could* be done by ToffeeWeb. Perhaps a petition supporting these views with hundreds, potentially thousands of season ticket holders. Perhaps if the voice of the "People's Club" still isn't heard an organised protest? A protest 'now' initially seems a little extreme; a protest at a time when everything turns sour is then a crisis.
Alex Kociuba, Liverpool  (25/4/06)

Our view, Alex, is that the fans drive the ship — not If there are enough fans who want to make a protest, they will. And hopefully they will feel that, but sharing what they are doing with others through the ToffeeWeb mailbag, they will gain strength and momentum; that is what we provide. But we are not and we never will be the driver for this or for any other movement. Besides, there are always plenty of people with a different view, and we respect that too much to take a definitive and exclusive stance ourselves.

So, those of you who wish to protest, let us know, and tell us how you are going about it. And those of you who feel this is an abrogation of club loyalties — let us know. We want to hear from you too.

If it sounds like we're sitting on the fence... we are to an extent. But the reason is: we don't want to drive this; we want it to come from you, the fans.— The Editor

Brian Labone
I usually occupy a seat in the Top Balcony with my friends but on that day in December 2004, when Carsley wrong-footed Kirkland, I was privileged to have been invited to be with the match sponsors, whose host for the day was Brian Labone.

Although I'd met him before, I was still like a big kid despite being 50; I was in the presence of a hero from the '66 FA Cup Final — my first big match — to the 1969-70 League Champions — a Band of Brothers! He led that team in an excellent way and was underated for many years in terms of international honours.

Ironically and now sadly, I only put Brian Labone's name in an e.mail to EFC last night over the People's Champion. Another touch of irony is that his debut was against Birmingham City and his last game in the Club's service was last Saturday against the same team.

Brian Labone enjoyed life and worshipped Everton. I worshipped him alongside his Band of Brothers; I still do. He died just after what he was enjoying — supporting the fans. Long live his memory and a hope that his memory is continued in some way at the Holy Ground.
Ken Finch, Llandudno  (26/4/05)

Brian Labone
Brian retired the year that I was born so I never got to see him play; however, I received an e.mail from my dad this morning that simply read:

"Great player, great captain!"

....says it all for me.
Mike Murray, Kent  (25/4/06)

The Captain has passed on
I became an Evertonian because of the '68 team, I was just a scruffy kid then. God I loved that bunch but, without ever meeting him, I pictured Brian Labone as 10 feet tall and the fellow who would never let you down on or off the pitch.

I live in Canada now; have for some time... I had always hoped to take my own lad across to Goodison. I knew the Captain would often be there; I had hoped we, my son and I, could chance to meet him. I would have said "here you go son, this is the fellow who was my hero when I was your age and still is one of my heroes, he's The Captain."

That won't happen now, but I'll still tell him about the great man. Rest easy, Captain.
Michael Power, Fredericton, Canada  (25/4/06)

He was the best of players and the best of men. I met him a few years ago and a better gentleman you couldn't hope to meet

God Bless, form John, Liz and Charlie
John Audsley, Leeds  (25/4/06)

I saw a lot of Everton in the 60s when I was still a kid. Brian Labone was an absolute rock. One of those men who were just so big, so mature, so wise that you were in total awe.

5 years ago, a supplier sponsored the match ball and invited me. I was in my mid 40's and Brian was our host. I was still in awe of him. I had my picture taken with him. I still can't believe he would stand next to me and have his photo taken with someone so "lowly" as me.

Today, I am slightly tearful as another brick in the foundation of our club is lost. I treasure the time I was allowed into his presence. For him, it was talking to another Evertonian, equally worthy of his attention. But for me he was someone of which I will always be in awe.

Rest in Peace, Brian
Phil Roberts, Kelsall  (25/4/06)

I must agree
I feel I must agree with Mr Chadwick regarding my season ticket for next season. I feel he has covered everythingI was going to say. I also will not be renewing my season ticket — nor will my two friends who sit in the Gwladys St together. One can only stand so much; until this Board changes, we will not be back.
Colin Jones, Bury  (25/4/06)

Mr Everton
I felt shock when I heard today of the sad loss of Brian Labone. I met him quite a few times and although he didn't have a clue who I was, he was always up for a chat on all things blue.

I think he knew of the regard everyone had of him in that he was an allround nice guy and a real gentleman but I always got the feeling he wanted to come over to us awe struck fans as 'I am one of you I'M AN EVERTONIAN'. God rest his soul.
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (25/4/06)

A True Legend — RIP Labby
In a time when the word 'legend' is thrown around at every Tom, Dick and Harry, today saw the passing of a man who deserved the title Legend. I've only seen Labby play on DVD and videos, but I've just listened to my dad go on for nearly an hour about how great he was.

Brian was one of my dad's heroes and he finally met him at an after dinner event last year. Labby had so much time for my dad, talking about past matches, laughing and joking. But that was Labby, so much time and respect for every Evertonian. A true gentleman.

My memories, apart from his stories that night where of him always around the ground on Matchdays, and of course "one Evertonian is worth 20 Liverpudlians" quote. I truly hope the club remembers him appropriately, as Brian represented Everton so well all his life. Rest in peace, Corinthian. A true blue.
Steve Boileau, Liverpool  (25/4/06)

Lazy Davey?
It seems so trite to be posting letters critical of our (once) great Club on such a sad day but Steve Callaghan`s reponse to the Wyness `invitation to renew` provoked in me, a far less eloquent fellow traveller, the need to say `amen to that!`

I have always thought that Moyes shows all the hallmarks of a `lazy` manager. He always seems to take the easy option. Look at the re-signing of Messrs Ferguson, Naysmith, Pistone and later Stubbs. Much easier to gamble on getting another year out of `has-beens` than put yourself about to sign new blood to give the squad a boost.

Look too at the events surrounding the signing of the ill-fated Krøldrup. On the day he put pen to paper,Moyes was on holiday and,when quizzed on TV, the player admitted he had never actually met his new manager and had been guided towards Everton by Tommy Gravesen! Ask yourself what concientious, self-respecting manager gambles £5M on a player he has never even said `Hello` to?

Then again, we have the total shambles of `youth development`. It has been suggested in these columns that this is in no way the reponsibility of David Moyes. But why isn`t it? Surely any manager worth his salt would have seen, after four years in the job, that the academy was not bearing fruit and done something about it!

Team selection and tactics are both totally unenterprising, taking again the easy option to keep picking the same tired old faces rather than trying to adapt the style to accommodate younger players. I do not, for one minute, consider Moyes to be an idiot so he must have recognised, almost as soon as he signed him, that Beattie was never going to be a one-man solution to our long-standing goal shortage. But, in not one but two transfer windows, he has failed to come up with a solution when others are signing strikers for fun. Is it that he cannot identify precisely the type of player he requires or is that his favoured agents (through which all transfers are channelled) haven`t come up with the goods for him?

These are all questions that stem from Callaghan`s `No, Thank You` letter —the like of many I suspect may be landing on the Big Man`s desk as I write. They are on the lips of Evertonians and are but a sample of those we would all like answered.

We know, of course, that we will never receive that satisfaction — just as we know that, because of `the special relationship` between Bullshit Bill and `Lazy Davey`, we are in for a somnolent summer and another `dead` season come August. Even if they are both working 24/7!
Mike Silverwood, Ormskirk  (25/4/06)

Brian Labone
I awoke to my radio today, to hear the sad news of Brian passing away. Our city has lost a great ambassador; he was a giant in many ways and yet so in tune with the fans..... a man for the people from the People's Club!
Bernard Lloyd-Crawford, Liverpool  (25/4/06)

Brian Labone
I had the great fortune to see this man play for our club. He was a colossus in defence and a great leader. He was also a lovely man. At away games I was often within touching distance of Labby.

I never once felt able to approach him to tell him of the times we shared (unknowingly) with our beloved team because I felt in awe of this man. I do know that, despite my fear, he would have listened to me pouring out tales of joy and frustration about our shared love of Everton Football Club.

Corinthians, like Evertonians, are born to their role in life. Labby was lucky because he was able to fulfill both of those parts in his time.

I know his passing is of great sorrow to his family and friends. What I have to say of the man I hope will in some way help. He didn't know me but I share their sorrow at his loss. God Bless him and God Bless all the family in sustaining their loss.

With heartfelt wishes,
Terry Kealey, Wallasey  (25/4/06)

The Biggest and The Best
About 12 years ago,I was watching a video about the history of Everton Football Club on which Brian contributed some of his thoughts, memories and described his love of the club. At one point whilst almost seeming to choke with emotion he simply describes Everton as 'the biggest and the best'.

I have never forgotten this very emotional moment and interview which gave me so much pleasure that I would like to describe Brian in terms of being an Evertonian as 'the biggest and the best'...
Alex Tomas, London  (25/4/06)

Brian Labone
Footballer — Gentleman — Evertonian and worth a million Liverpudlians.

Good night, God bless
Carl Roper, Liverpool  (25/4/06)

Labone Loss
A sad day for all Evertonions with the loss of Brian Labone. For me, he is, and always will be the symbol of Everton Football Club. A class professional, with enormous pride for the club he represented. He will be missed. RIP, Mr Everton.
Kevin Morris, Sydney, Australia  (26/4/06)

Well done, son!
Great letter by Steve Callaghan — hits the nail on the head! Its about time someone took responsibility and did something about it instead of moaning on the ToffeeWeb Mailbag, wheren the Board or Manager won't even read it.

Something needs to be done to shake the club up for the up-and-coming transfer window. I believe that one opportunity will be after the West Brom game when the players do their lap of honour: we should chant about sacking the borad, Moyes sorting his team out, and most importantly INVESTMENT into the club! Does anyone else have any other ideas?

RIP Mr Labone — true Everton legend — the players we have now make him even better than he already was!!!
Jim Mason, Kirkdale  (25/4/06)

Brian Labone
Every great Everton team has been built around the 'spine'. Goalkeeper, centre-half, centre-forward: West, Labone, Young!

Those were the days when Everton were the class of English Football on and off the pitch. The word "gentlemen" applied to our players and Brian Labone was the finest example.

When I think of Everton the way I want them to be, I think of Brian Labone. I saw him lift the Championship in '63 and the Cup in '66. Great memories.

RIP Brian.
Fergus McCarthy, Surrey  (25/4/06)

Keep the fire burning
Today's sad news of Brian Labone's passing is particularly poignant as so many Evertonians are currently reflecting on where the club stands and on the significance of our motto.

ALthough there are a huge number of Blues who were never privileged to see him play, we all know our history and know that 'The Last of the Corinthians' is a major part of our club's fabric, even if in my lifetime it has been for his famous quotes, his constant service to the club he loved, and the passion for Everton that exuded from him, like it does from all of us.

A part of the Club died last night. The only people who can keep the flame burning are us, the supporters, who may disagree on why we are currently just another club in the Premiership but we are our club's greatest asset.

Can we be great again? Who knows... but players, managers and chairman will come and go. The one constant is us who have the task of passing the legends on and reminding the people who run our club what is expected of them — their very best.

One great Evertonian has died, one less person of those who helped to create and then continued to tell our great story, but there are still thousands of us left to carry his passion and example on.

We all want this club to be great again. We all want the people who are employed by the club to do their very best to live up to our motto. We are the only people who can remind them of their duties.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum — Brian Labone was one of the very best.
Rob Fox, Blackpool  (25/4/06)

A breed now extinct
When I was a teenager, I was chosen to be on a panel of sixth-formers to interview Brian Labone on Radio Merseyside. He was then at the height of his powers. He seemed to me a giant, but also a gentlemen.

He treated us with patience and respect and answered what were probably some very stupid questions — "Is Dave McKay the dirtiest player in football or Nobby Stiles?" — as best he could for over an hour. Nobody who saw him play will forget him. He seemed to be a one man back-four and have an almost telepathic relationship with Gordon West.

He was also a real Evertonian. If he hadn't been playing, he'd have been watching from the terraces. I imagine him at heaven's gates, keeping out the strikers. We shall not see his like again.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (25/4/06)

Farewell Mr Everton
The end of an era. Thank you for the memories.... rest in peace, Mr Everton.
Alan Khan, Durban, South Africa  (25/4/06)

Oh no, not Labby...
I saw a few games when TE Jones played centre-half but really, from the time I started going to Goodison, Brian Labone was also there. I feel like I've lost my big brother...
Thommo Bigpond, Litherland  (25/4/06)

Steve Callahan's Letter to Bully Wyness
Great letter from Steve to Bully, hitting many of the right notes in terms of fans' concerns.

Can we please see Bully's reply on this site (assuming Steve gets one).
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (25/4/06)

... and assuming he forwards it to us...

Brian Labone
I can remember him coming into the team when we were doing nothing then making the No 5 jersey his own. Later, when the Moores money came along and we and could just about sign anyone, there was never a question of our needing a new centre half. That was the measure of the man.

Regardless of how the club mark his untimely passing he'll be recalled fondly in many people's memories — that's the best memorial of all.
Neil Fenton, Sunderland  (25/4/06)

Brian Labone RIP
A sad day for Evertonians everywhere. Like most Blues my age (41), I can only remember what me arl fella told me about those glory days when 'Labby' played with the greats.

I actually met him (very briefly). It was the near-relegation Coventry game, and he was outside Goodison Park on his way to the Winslow. Goodison Road was eerily quiet & me and my friend were meeting someone in the pub. I went up to him and said "Alright Brian!" He turned, smiled and said "Alright son, don't worry, we wont go down!" ... or something like that!!!

I remember just after, my friend said to me "You can't just say 'Alright Brian' to Brian Labone!" ... but you could! A nice feller ... the man was a one of us ... a legend ... an Evertonian.
Steve Johno, Nottingham  (25/04/06)

Brian Labone
I saw Brian play many times from his home debut onwards. Early in his career he had to mark Tom Finney who was coming to the end of his, but was still a skillful handful. He played him well and as always, fairly. For some reason this was the first playing memory I had of Brian when I heard the news.

After he retired we seemed to inhabit some of the same places (pubs mostly) and, whilst I could never claim to be a friend, he was always generous with his time and reminisences. It seemed that being a Blue was reason enough for him.

He let me have a photocopy of a report Black Harry used to complete on the team after every match — just like a school report:

Roy Vernon: scored the only goal, must do better.
Brian Labone: coped well in the first half.

Priceless! Some of the stories... A lovely man and a great Everton footballer.
Chris Williams, Little Neston  (25/4/06)

Stairway to Heaven
I was greatly saddened to hear of the passing of Brian Labone. Labby and I were of a like age — he was one month older than I am so I have "grown" up with the legend and always admired him from afar, especially in his playing days. I can understand how greatly committed he was to Everton, it formed such a large part of his life, as indeed it does mine.

I have often thought when a certain Club across the park gets all the luck going, that God wears a Liverpool FC shirt — either that or Bill Shankly has more influence upstairs than we know! Perhaps the balance will be evened out now that our prestigious Corinthian joins the "in" crowd.
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (25/4/06)

Proud Of The Shirt
Brian Labone - someone whose pride in the Everton shirt was unquestioned. Can you see Labby giving less than 100% in a Blue shirt? What would he have made of our present players' "holiday mode"???

The "One Evertonian is worth 20 Liverpudlians" line is very famous of course, and epitomises Brian Labone. But my favourite Labone quote is a recent one, I got from this mailbag actually. In relation to swapping shirts at the end of a game - "Nobody got my Everton shirt, I was too bloody proud of it"

RIP, Brian; you will be missed.
David Caldwell, Liverpool  (25/4/06)

A true blue
Brian Labone was a true blue. He often was around Goodison walking up and down, talking with some of the fans, bitting his nails when they played. A true tribute is simply to reflect on his performances, his achievments and his love for the club. I really hope many of the playes look at him and take heed; he played with passion on tiny wages compared to modern-day footballers. He played to win and because he loved the club. A true blue!
Luq Yus, London  (25/4/06)

Mr Everton
It was with great shock to learn of the passing of a true Everton great — Brian Labone. Labby epitomised the phrase 'a one-club man' and his love, affection and commitment to see Everton do well was there for all to see. He was a true professional and one of a generation of players who showed loyalty, pride and honour to wear the Royal Blue jersey and embrace the game in the true spirit of football.

Brian Labone is a shining example of the qualities sadly missing from the modern-day game and modern-day professional: he was the skipper, he played for the team and he was in tune with the supporters. Sadly with the passing of such a true great Evertonian, we are reminded of the greedy and self promoting and egotistical elements that now exist in the majority of players, but it wasn't always this way — as Brian Labone is testament to.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (25/4/06)

Brian Labone
At a time when many of us are bemoaning the plight of our 'once great' club, an event happens that highlights how far we have fallen.

I say this out of respect for a player whom I had the privilege of watching when I first went to Goodison — Brian Labone. The news that he has died overnight is a shock and at the same time affords the opportunity to remember him in a focused way. He was the epitomy of all that was good about Everton; a quiet, mannered, strong, rugged leader who was fair and talented; he lead the team to Championship and Cup victories; he even gave up the chance of World Cup glory in 1966 to get wed (how many of today's players would do that?), although he made the 1970 finals in Mexico replacing Jack Charlton in England's team.

I'm sure he was concerned about how poor the Blues are today — yet he would take responsibility, unlike his modern counterparts — RESPECT
Peete Stewart, London  (25/4/06)

Talking with your feet
I totally sympathise with any supporter who feels unable to renew their season ticket for next year. This year has been appalling and, unlike many who read and contribute to this fantastic site, I've only had to endure 3 out of my pre-paid 19 matches.

After sitting through those first woeful games against Man Utd, Wigan and Portsmouth at Goodison (and Villarreal - after the Season Ticket Holder stitch up!) I decided I wouldn't return to Goodison until they could prove to me they wouldn't waste anymore of my hard-earned cash. I waited and waited and waited.

Even when results improved after Christmas, I still didn't return, superstitiously thinking I was the reason they were playing well at last. On reflection, I have paid circa £500 to watch 3 games this season!! Maybe that's a high price to pay, but at least my wife and children are not afraid to talk to me on a Saturday night now!!!

I'm another who won't be renewing my dust covered season ticket this year but I'm guessing you didn't need to ask!
Ian Sephton, Manchester  (25/4/06)

I grew up watching Labby after my first Everton match. He was not only a great footballer but a true gentleman. Though I now live in Cornwall, my heart today is at Goodison. Please leave a tribute from me and my son Richard at the ground (if a bluenose would be so kind). My thoughts are with his Family (though that includes us all)

RIP, Labby
David Evans, Cornwall  (25/4/06)

Sad loss; wish the club would take a leaf
I'm sure we will all agree the sudden loss of the last Corinthian, Brian Labone, is a great great loss to the club and community. Brian showed how to conduct yourself as an Everton player and representative on and off the pitch... pity the current encumbents haven't yet learnt his great skill and honesty with all things Everton as the late Brian honestly did.

He was ALWAYS available to fans and the community and if asked a question would ALWAYS answer it to the best of his ability without spin or bullshit. Rest in Peace, big man, and all my thoughts to your lovely wife and family.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (25/4/06)

Remember lads... Evertonian is worth twenty Liverpudlians.

For me that quote from Brian Labone was the best bit on the Everton History video I've got. Even though I never saw him play, you could tell he was a true Evertonian and a natural captain.

A very sad day.
Aplankofwood Withanailinit, UK  (25/4/06)

Brian Labone
Goodnight Labby, Mr Everton. Once a Blue, always a Blue... RIP.
Mark Brennan, UpHolland  (25/4/06)

A Giant of a Man in Every Sense
There are two moments on John Motson's Official Everton Video that bring tears to your eyes. One is Colin Harvey explaining what Everton has meant to his life, and the other is Brian. Not just the great quote about 20 kopites, but the way he talks about the players' relationship with Catterick etc...You can tell he really was the players' spokesman, a giant of a man in every sense.

Catterick's greatest mistake was not to give the captaincy back to Labone when he recovered from injury. Alan Ball was probably our greatest ever midfield player, and our worst ever captain! Gordon West cites that decision by Catterick as the most significant in the premature break-up of potentially our greatest ever side.

When you think of the giants of that era, none more so than Brian, it makes you blood boil when you look at the some of the players who've worn the jersey subsequently, and many of those who are wearing it at the moment. Would never wish to use the tragic death of a legend to score points, but there's no doubt that the mismanagement to which the club's been subjected to since John Moores stepped aside, and the dross we've had to endure on the field for most of the last decade and a half shame the memory of Brian Labone and Dixie Dean.

The present era, and the Kenwright/Moyes partnership will almost certainly be best remembered for the sale of perhaps the only player who might have come close to the legendary status of the likes of Brian, Dixie, the Golden Vision and the Holy Trinity.

What's left of another pathetic season now has no significance whatsoever,means absolutely nothing in the light of this news. Makes you laugh when you see some of the current crop that some of our younger fans would bestow legendary status on; makes you cry when you see how the current regime tries to sell us the idea that we should somehow be grateful for our current mediocrity.

RIP Brian, 'the last of the Corinthians'.
Mick Quirke, Madrid  (25/4/06)

RIP Brian Labone!
I never saw Labone play and I don't personally have any memories of him but I know he was a big Evertonian and he loved the club.

His passing is a very sad day for Everton. I wish more players had such passion for their clubs. He will be missed.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (25/4/06)

What an absolute legend. What a fantastic tribute from Kevin Ratcliffe on the Official Website too — captures the true spirit of our great, great club.
Paul Foster, London  (25/4/06)

Robot The Bruce & Brian The Great
I was surprised to read in yesterday's papers that Phil (the gap) Neville said that "If you need someone to get you out of the mire then my old mentor Steve (Bruce) is the man for the job".

When does Brucie take over from David 'Mr Mediocrity' Moyes? Will Phil be fined for touting for a new boss?

On a serious note, I have just heard the sad news about Brian Labone, a true blue legend. Maybe our current 'players' should look at his contibution to this once-proud club and if that doesn't motivate them they should go and pick up their all too easily earned wedge somewhere else.
Dean Peamum, Valetta, Malta  (25/4/06)

Re:Dutch's rant
Forgive me for being petty Dutch, but last time I checked, Kevin Kilbane was Irish (and still no addition)

Is there really any need to start a British v foreign player debate? (and then get the nationalities wrong!) David Weir has been a great servant to the club but he's coming to the latter end of his career and clearly to slow for Premiership football. People are not slagging him off because he's British but because they are disappointed that a younger, faster player is omitted from the squad.

Your loyalty is admirable Dutch but you really do talk rubbish sometimes.
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk  (25/4/06)

Footballer, Gentlemen, EVERTONIAN
RIP, Brian — St Peter will have a VIP pass for you.
Blue  Fella, Deeside  (25/4/06)

Farewell to a Goodison great
I just heard the sad news on the BBC that Brian Labone has past away. I'm not old enough to have appreciated him in full flow, but I know how much of an impact he had on fans in general. I'd just like to pass on my thoughts to his family.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (25/4/06)

The Future!
I never said I wanted an Everton future with players like Weir and Stubbs. My point was that players like Weir, Kilbane and Stubbs are in the trenches doing the best they can and for that they deserve my support.

Andy van der Meyde has contributed absoluetly nothing this season and for that reason I am very indifferent to him. I support the guy in the blue shirt doing the best he can on the field not the guy on the sidelines whose done nothing all season.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (24/4/06)

Just shows how you twist facts to suit your arguement. He has not "done nothing all season" and the following proves it beyond all arguement: he set up the the goals in both of the wins over Birmingham and Middlesbrough earlier in the season. End of. — Michael

Please comment on Davies when you have seen him in the position he was bought for, right side of midfield, and he has played there for at least 5 games in a row for 90 mins. The only two moments of half-excitement, against Birmingham, came when Davies ran along the right and put a good ball in. >

Please look no further than the great Jimmy Krankie for the great pretender in Everton's team.
Mark Lyth, Netherton  (24/4/06)


Another Corporate Cock-Up?
Everton got itself involved in the gambling business with the website, Being a registered member of the official website, I was "invited" to open an account with at the beginning of this season. I did that, and ocassionally put some wagers on Everton to win matches.

Suddenly, in January, this website appeared to be managed by another betting company,, I requested for a withdrawal of my funds immediately, but was sent an e.mail asking me to call a number that started with 1 800 (apparently this is not a UK pghone number?). I was just too busy to find out how to contact this company.

I tried to log on again recently and it appeared that EFC have closed down I sent an e.mail to ask for my money back, and I received an email telling me that they didn't owe me any money. I don't mind making a donation to the club, by issuing a cheque, but this is just unacceptable.

EFC, you are number one!!!
Dan Lim, London  (24/4/06)

Punch Drunk
I take it Chris Eubanks is a little punch drunk, when he says that Duncan Ferguson is our best striker. 2005-06: P 26 G 0 — enough said.
Nigel Benn, The Ring  (24/4/06)

I guess we're getting closer and closer to the silly season!

Van der Meyde
Now come off it with all this stick for Van der Meyde. There is a hell of a lot wrong with our football club at the moment, including the fact that the only genuine quality players we can attract to the club are likely to be crocks. But whilst AVDM's performance was far from brilliant, he at least showed that he has genuine football ability.

I'd have a half-fit AVDM in the team over a fully fit McFadden or Kilbane anyday. Just watch him pass a ball — his technique is fantastic! Moyesy must be dreaming of a fully fit Arteta and Van der Meyde supplying Beattie and Johnson with ammunition next season - I know it'll never happen but it sounds good doesn't it!
Jon Sellick, Crosby  (24/4/06)

Andy van der Meyde vs Davie Weir!
It never ceases to amaze me that some fans will support a player like Andy Van Der Meyde but have no time for the likes of David Weir.

Van der Meyde is a supposedly skillful, quick & foreign player but that doesn't make him more important to the team or more deserving of fan support then someone like Weir. Over the last seven years, Weir has been a rock for Everton: 250 games of safe, consistant and important defending. What does Weir get for that service? Everytime Everton lose the fans blame him.

Andy van der Meyde, on the other hand, has played no part in this season, all he's done is make a couple of brief cameo apperances. Sure the appearances have suggested he could be a good player but, if he's never fit, what use is he? Despite his injuries and even though he's done nothing to warrant his transfer fee, some Everton fans won't hear a word against him.

Don't get me wrong, I hope, I really really hope, that Van der Meyde is the player we have been waiting for... but I'm not going to defend him when he's done nothing to warrant my support. It just seems crazy to support the guy on the sidelines whose done nothing all season but slag off someone like David Weir whose been in the trenches every single weekend.

Weir may not be spectacular but he never lets Everton down. Why is it that British players like Weir, Stubbs, Ferguson, Davies and Kilbane are always getting stick but nobody ever complains about foreigners like Yobo or Van Der Meyde? For example Yobo made a couple of howlers early on in the season, (remember his gift goal to Rooney?) but he is never moaned about. Stubbs and Weir however are whipping boys for fans frustrations.

If Andy Van Der Meyde gets fit and starts playing every week, starts actually contributing something to Everton, I'll support him. Until then, it's players like Weir and Stubbs that deserve my support.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (24/4/06)

Dutch, perhaps David Moyes will agian make you happy by offering Wier a contract extension, even though most people suspect he is already well past his sell-by date. "Over the last seven years..." — Do you even read some of the rubbish you write?

And if your idea of the future for Everton is honest sloggers like Weir, Stubbs, Ferguson, Davies and Kilbane — guess what: the future's here already (it has been all season) and it isn't very bright... — Michael

Striker Choice - Whose behind it???
Beattie and McFadden are the first-choice strikers ... what a clown act. It says huge things about the manager when our best strker is 35 (Ferguson) and we don't even see him in the starting eleven. People say he can't hack it, I say rubbish, put him and Anichebe on for the last two games and loose the fat puddin' who will probably inherit the Number 9 shirt next season - WHAT A JOKE! Never mind letting Ferguson retire — loose Beattie and McFadden and keep Ferguson until we get someone better.
Chris Eubanks, Merseyside  (24/4/06)

Hahahahaha... Ferguson!?!! — that's the best joke of the day, Chris!

Question — Scott Spencer
Have I missed anything - wasn't the wonderkid suppose to sign on Friday? Anyone heard any news?
Mike Oates, West Sussex  (24/4/06)

Blind optimism, perhaps
Maybe I'm guilty of blind optimism, but I don't get the impression Shandy is going to waste another season, Michael. I think the Shandy nickname may be apt, but here's hoping Moyes will have a stern word and get rid of any lifestyle problems that might be contributing to the endless injuries. I agree, his history isn't too clever and the injuries are a bit embarrassing, but I fancy a good pre-season will do him the world of good.

Maybe I'm just desperate as he's one of our few players who can excite the crowd. By the way, I thought Davies gave a decent account of himself last week as well - there's another who has a point to prove.
Paul Foster, London  (24/4/06)

But what did Davies actually do that made any difference? Nothing — like he's done all season. — Michael

Running the best players out of the club
On Saturday at 2pm, before the Birmingham match, Matteo Ferrari got into his car in the Park End Car Park and drove off. Before doing so he spoke to the supporters there; he was smarting and told them that he had had enough of not being selected. When he was told he wasn't even on the bench on Saturday he saw his arse and went.

Now what we need to know is the truth, Why?. No lies, no waffle — tell us the truth! Whats happening with a good player that he storms off in huff? We can't afford to lose players of his quality. Why was Stubbs on the bench and not Ferrari? Surely players of this quality are our future. Please, Everton, tell us — the loyal supporters — the truth.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (24/4/06)

Hmmm... didn't I just read this somewhere already??? I don't think we'll be hearing the truth any time soon...and if we were told the truth, we'd be even more annoyed.

Matteo Ferrari is on a 'pay as you play' deal. Everton save money when they can play someone else other than him. Just the same kind of nonsense that underpinned the Krøldrup Kock-up. Told you ya wouldn't want to know... — Michael

Middlesboro' Question
I thought they had moved the Middlesboro' game to the Sunday because of Boro's involement in the Uefa Cup on Thursday?
Daniel Ford, Newcastle Upon Tyne  (24/4/06)

Me too; but I see now that they are also playing on Monday and Wednesday of the following week: Premiership Fixtures — four games in seven days!

Van der Meyde
I personally thought Andy vdM looked alright against Birmingham in what was a lethargic performance all round. And I think it is a bit harsh to have a go at him on the headline piece on Toffeeweb for saying he thought he did okay.

The guy has had a nightmare season with injuries, but he is one of the few players we have who can genuinely create things. We've seen glimpses of that earlier in the season and I don't think it would do any harm to get behind him. The fact that he was playing through pain isn't just a ridiculous excuse, it's a fact.

It always bemuses me when people have ago at players for saying positive things about each other and the club. It's not like they ring up journalists and say "Would you mind printing this quote from me? I've got something really nice to say about my strike partner!"

They are inevitably asked questions and in their position, would you be as glum as the average ToffeeWeb contributor?!

Andy van der Meyde could be a massive player for us next season. God knows his ability on the ball will be welcomed. We complain every week that we can't create anything and don't score enough goals — this man can do both and you get the impression he is absolutely desperate to do that for Everton.

Here's to two better performances before the end of this miserable campaign!
Paul Foster, London  (24/4/06)

I was just amazed that he was (a) injured yet again, and (2) getting pain-killing injections. To me, that explained an awful lot, including why he looked really poor on Saturday compared to previous (extremely rare) outings, and why he did not figure more against Spurs and Chelsea, as we'd all expected. Why does it take over two weeks for this sort of thing to be revealed?

I believe this makes it three seasons on the trot that Shandy Andy has not really played a meaningful part in... on what basis (other than wishful thinking) do you expect him to play a full role next season? — Michael

Shut it, Schaeffer
It's bad enough Everton are shite with an equally inept management team and Board without having to read the gut-wretching sniping of Dutch Schaeffer about Andy van der Meyde! Yes, he played pants; yes, his excuse is utter tripe; and yes, his injury record is terrible. BUT he is a damn sight better than the fools you give credit to: Weir, McFadden and Kilbane.
Luq Yus, London  (24/4/06)

Now, now... we'll have none of that around here. Be nice or your privileges will be withdrawn!

Lights Out
My dad first took me to Goodison in the 1953-54 season, the season they came up (and Liverpool went down!) — big party at ours. He'd been going since 1920 and now both my lads are infected too. I've had a season ticket for years, I get goosebumps when I hear Z Cars and Roy Vernon is my all time hero — a genius!

I didn't go on Saturday, thank Christ, and I won't be going again. I won't renew my season ticket, a decision I made after the displays over Easter. I actually feel relieved.

In supporting a team, somewhere there must be enjoyment. Where's the pleasure, the fun, the skill, the glory, the ability to marvel at? Where's the hope? All gone, killed by vandals, stolen by wankers, bought and paid for by Rupert Murdoch, sold by the idiots who run our club. Enough's enough.
Chris Williams, Little Neston  (24/4/06)

Re: Flying Dutchman
Andy van der Meyde was always a right winger. He played there for virually every game I saw for Inter.

However, those barmy Dutch liked to play Overmars right wing and AvdM on the left so that the could cut inside and go for goal. So, I think that's why he plays there for us. Anyway, I'd rather have a AVDM with no left foot than Kilbane any day of the week.
Steve Ferns, Treviso, Italy  (24/4/06)

Van der Meyde
Andy van der Meyde would have us believe that he's a hero playing through the pain of an injury. How can a player who's only managed to start six games this season expect the fans to respond to his claims of being a hero?

Hey Andy, stop bleating on about playing through the pain barrier, put a run of games together and score us a bloody goal. Then I'll give you respect.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (24/4/06)

I wonder how much his poor performance has actually had just the opposite effect? He was the last Great [White?] Hope (I suppose it's not PC to say that any more... but it fits!) — it was particularly depressing on Saturday to watch his mostly inept contributions, rusty or not. — Michael

Another Divorce
Can't help but agree whole-heartedly with Kevin Sparke's impassioned submission about Divorcing Everton. I've supported EFC since 1961 including a 30-year stint living in South Africa. I've been a season ticket holder most years I've been old enough to afford one and living in the UK, but I'm afraid another late-season surrender from players, managers, and administrators who don't appear to even be trying is too much.

And all this while talking the talk, and trying to con us into believing we can get a bargain reduction in next year's season ticket price! Do me a favour!!!

No, I'm afraid our sole option is use the only real power we fans have and that is to stop acting like lemmings renewing our season tickets year-in, year-out, whatever is served up.

A final comment — do any of the players, manager, coaches, board-members read this site? I really hope they do, if only to let them know there must be many, many more real, long-term supporters who feel this way.
John Ballinger, Heswall  (24/4/06)

Right little Alan Whicker!!
I don't know what you lot are complaining about!! Try spending 4 hours in the car travelling up to the Pool to see your beloved blues play like shite or lose the game, as my son and I frequently have done, and then have to travel 4 hours back in the car feeling thoroughly cheesed off and depressed and getting home at 10:00pm — just in time to see Football First on Sky and watch the highlights of the miserable game you have watched earlier.
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (24/4/06.)

Do I write the cheque?
It's so difficult — should I write the cheque to renew my seaon ticket? As everyone says, Everton are boring to watch, have an inept manager, and a hopeless Board. At this moment, I hate everything about them and will be really glad when this season has finished.

Not only that; there are no prospects for the future. I would love to make a protest by tearing up my ticket but who will that really affect? Football is in my blood, every day I look for news, chat to my mates in the pub, text my sons with gruesome tales of how dreadful the game was on Saturday....

And what will I do at a weekend — shopping, work, go and watch my local team who are 5th bottom of Division 2? I know by August I will want to go to football again and could not contemplate supporting any other team. That, I am sure, is why Everton get such big crowds — not because they are not absolute shite but because football is so much deeper in all of us.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (25/4/06)

Warning: Do Not become a Stat Whore
I'am a regular Voyeur of the ToffeeWeb Mailbag and enjoy the constant verbal tennis. I often feel unable to add much to the debate which has not already been said. However, I came across a piece on Brazil's 1982 World Cup manager Tele Santana who unfortunatley passed away last week.

It got me thinking about Evertons style of play and also the amount of postings refering to algebraic equations of points to goals, managers to signings, this to that and the other that appear on this website. I know you have to look deep to get any positves out of Evertons Total (non-)Football but I do not understand why it seems that it is too much to ask to see a team attempt to play with some style. The obituary summed up Santana with the following quote:

"But he always understood that there was much more to football than the result, that if the final score is the only point of interest then we might as well all give up and get into numerology, that football is not all about winning.

"It is also how you go about seeking the victory. It is about self expression and art and nobility."
Allan Price, Shropshire  (25/4/06)

Nice find, Allan. I think 1982 was the last World Cup I actually enjoyed for the quality of football played. — Michael

Yupp, he's gotta go!
Reasons being:

  1. Inadequacies in the transfer market; inability to find someone better than McFadden to play alongside Beattie. Disgrace!
  2. Relying on inadequate players to perform well... Stop waiting — it's not going to happen.
  3. And this is crime Number One: not offloading bad (yes, bad) players to make way for young promising players.
After all this time, should Kilbane, McFadden, Wright, Weir, etc really be playing in the Premier League?

Watched a game on the box yesterday in Norway — Rosenborg v Valerenga — and nearly all the players had a better touch than the current Everton team; how can this be???
Tony Cheek, Haugesund, Norway  (24/4/06)

One Question
I know Van der Meyde wasn’t having the best of games but I would like to ask Mr Moyes one question about the game on Saturday. What is the fucking point in taking off the only player in a blue shirt who knows how to cross a ball and replace him with a 6ft-4in centre-forward who thrives on crosses?

If Moyes wanted to bring Andy off, why didn’t he bring on Anichebe, push Osman into centre-midfield and get him on the ball so he could put through balls into his path to run onto, and give everyone a chance to have a look at the lad for 30 minutes instead of three? Or is that just too obvious and too simple for the genius of Moyes to think up? (I think I asked more than one question, but what the hell!)
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (24/4/06)

Why Bother
What a waste of time and money going to see Everton this year. I'm not renewing my season ticket — I'd rather keep the money and go to Corfu for two weeks instead.

I gave my season ticket to some young lad on my way back to the car after I left the match 15 mins early on Saturday. If he's got any sense he won't bother turning up for the final match against WBA.

One sick blues fan
Barry Holder, Leyland  (24/4/06)

After 25 years, I have had emough. Shove your boring football up your arse Mssrs Moyes & Kenwright. May 5th renewal — are you having a laugh? A club that doesn't match my ambitions and I am continually told to accept mediocrty and shite. Well, I am voting with my feet, along with many thousands of others!!!
Bobby Dempster, Liverpool  (24/4/06)

The Flying Dutchman
Only Arteta & Van der Meyde can go past a defender without the help of a ricochet, but I noticed in this last one of Andy's fleeting visits that he didn't seem to have a left foot. Maybe he lost the knack during his Rip van Winkle moments? Or would he have cost £10 million if he'd had 2 feet?
Dave Tootill, Johannesburg, South Africa  (24/4/06)

I have to agree, his one-footedness on Saturday was shocking. I still don't quite understand a right-footed winger playing on the left like that, having to always check back, and twist arouund in order to cross the ball... which is inevitably curling toward the goal and the advancing goalie, and away from any advancing attacker... doesn't make much sense to me. — Michael

I have already told this site my intentions for next season. For those of you who missed it, I am not buying myself a season ticket, or for my sons. In the process I am about to save close on a grand. That equates to about 30 seconds on the Duncan Ferguson Memorial Treatment Table.

As I have little else to lose, against the baggies on the final day, I will try and start a chant. This will be directed at Mr W Kenwright Esq and Mr D Moyes Esq. Oh yes, and that fat prick who turned up last season and has given me a bullshit letter this season. It is a very simple chant but gets straight to the point (unlike me). "We're Shite and we know we are, we're shite and we know we are...."altogether now..."
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (24/4/06)

Just so long as you stay to pay your respcts and sjhw your appreciation during he now traditional final day lap of "honour"...

Moyes a Catholic?
I'm an an Evertonian of 50 years standing and a season ticket holder of the same period for what it is worth. This doesn't give me any more right than any other Blue to have his/her say but can we get one thing clear? There is not and never should be any kind of religious affiliation attached to our great club (and it is!) For the record, David Moyes is not a Catholic and as a devout Catholic myself it matters not a jot! Let us put this one away forever.
Charles Mills, Liverpool  (24/4/06)

I thought that was a strange claim being made by Mad Marshall... but the insane religious biggotry seemed to fit the madness of his little world, so I just left it as is.... I do hope you didn't take the rest of it too seriously.... Did you??? — Michael

Reply to “Cynics..... Critics... eat your ham and
Marshall Tivnan… we salute you!! That was one of the most cogently sublime summaries of the Everton situation I have ever read. All other commentators on our plight are not fit to wipe your poetic arse. I hope Bill or Davey are reading because I feel your balanced and long-term views would sit well say as Director of Football? (With Dunc as your assistant?!) Please please please, can we hear more from you on some of the other crucial factors affecting Everton’s future… namely:-

  • Ground sharing
  • Investment
  • Training facilities
  • 4-4-2 or 4-5-1?
  • Goalkeeping
  • When are we going to score another chuffing goal?
I believe that you and possibly only you can answer these imponderables and give us a blueprint for the future.

I am, Sir, your humble servant…

ps: Whatever you are on, can I have some?
Alun Willis, Woking  (23/4/06)

I guess this shows we've been doing the wrong thing for far too long... we need to go a little CRAZY!!! — Michael

The future's blue......
In my house, the future is blue and that is because I am the proud father of two sons aged 4 and 2. Is my insistence born out of pride or frustration for the club that I support? Loyalty is an honour and, to me, "Once a blue, always a blue" does actually mean more than just shallow words.

However, I can totally see the points raised by Dean Paton and his concerns for the future generation of blues. I can count myself fortunate in that I went to school during the eighties and have memories of a side that played inspiring football that you felt proud to be associated with. My brothers grew up during the 70's and had to endure Liverpool's success across the park.

What Dean Paton is saying is correct, we are passionate and we demand much better than what we are being drip fed by an ailing administration bankrupt of ideas and finance. If we are truly The People's Club, let the people decide: enough is enough is enough, Kenwright for Everton's sake stand down, take Gregg with you, and let's have a consortium of Evertonians come in and make us proud once again.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (23/4/06)

Morello's crystal balls ?
Is Mr Morello's mail fact or prediction regarding the departure of Ferrari? If it is fact then fair enough and I agree with the sentiments entirely.

If it's a prediction then I don't see the point. Wait until it happens before getting angry; there's enough crap which is actually happening at the club to get peed off about without inventing new reasons to be depressed.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (23/4/06)

One-man protest
So the bloke who knows everything about the Villa says it`s no good us protesting about Bullshit Billy and his lap-dog manager because no bugger would want to buy Everton?

Well, that`s as maybe... but I`m starting my very own protest right now. I shall not spend a penny on Everton — whether it be via season ticket (held since HK1), admission money, Sky TV or papers and magazines — until both these gobshites have done one. I know I`m cutting off my nose etc..., the old lady says she wont be able to live with me, but these buggers are just taking the piss. How the fuck can you go through a whole season and only score 31 frigging goals? How can you blow all the Rooney money on the shite that has been on view this season? (Whoever said it was tainted money got that right, didn`t they!)

I know that in reality they could`nt give a tuppenny fuck whether I cut them out of my budget — there`s thousands of Dodds and Shafters who`ll keep forking out. But I`LL bloody well feel better knowing these preening wasters are not getting any of my hard-earned — so fuck 'em!
Terry Parker, Maghull  (23/4/06)

Our dire goals return for this season will no doubt have us all praying for more firepower to be brought into the club during the summer. However, even though this was top of most Evertonians' wanted list last summer, and again during the January transfer window, it's taken far too long for the manager to wake up and smell the coffee. Moyes has now come out and said that the lack of goals is a concern. Yeah, no shit Sherlock!!!

I have no confidence in Moyes being able to attract a proven goalscorer, especially when he makes decisions like bringing on the less than mobile Ferguson whilst we have a young strapping lad like Anichebe on the bench. The manager's approach to everything is cautious to say the least. For god's sake Davey, if they're good enough they're old enough, and not the other way around!

Now that we have nothing to play for in the last few games, why not afford the likes of Turner and Anichebe some invaluable experience, and let us all have a good look at them. What have you got to lose?
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (23/4/06)

Now then
Can any one else remember Moyes saying he would tell the truth to the fans no matter what? I think we've been a bit short-changed since then? First, there's money, then there isn't? Then we want Ferrari; now it seems we don't?

We have one gem [Arteta] but how long will he be around for, once he realises it's all bullshit? Knowing BK and DM with their recent track record, they will work it out so he signs for Liverpool.
Big Dunc  Stokey, Stoke  (23/4/06)

All opinions are valid
Yesterday was shite and not acceptable. Bringing on Dunc ahead of Anichebe made no sense to me. Only one man can explain the reasoning, and that's Moyes.

Speaking to people in and around the ground yesterday, some think Moyes is shite, others that he needs to do some sorting this summer and get us moving next season. In or out? We can all provide evidence to support our own opinions which is why it is divided. It's not a case of the clever ones on one side, the thick twats on the other — despite some people thinking theirs is the only opinion that counts.
Rob Fox, Blackpool  (23/4/06)

Can't think who would fit that description, Rob...

Records galore
At the end of this season David Moyes will have, in four short years, set a number of records which may still be around in a century. Unfortunately they are all bad!!

  • Our wosrt ever FA cup defeat (Shrewsbury are the lowest place side we have ever lost to)
  • Our worst ever defeat in Europe (not bad considering he only had four goes at it!)
  • Our lowest ever points total
  • Our worst ever Premiership defeat (it could be our worst ever league defeat for all I know)
  • and now imminently: The lowest ever number of gaols scored (not something to be bothered about apparently!!)
  • I am not sure but he could also have added our worst ever start to a season (7 defeats out of 8 must take some beating)
All of the above simply confirms what is evident before our eyes — he is by instinct an ultra-defensive long ball merchant who sends out sides that are prone to regular and calamitous collapse. The strongest and only argument for keeping him is that there is no viable alternative and I have to agree that the home-grown options seem no more attractive. I refuse to believe however that there are no coaches elsewhere in Europe who may be younger versions of a Wenger or you knwo who. If only we had someone like David Dein on the Board who actually knew and understood football...
John Doran, Wirral  (23/4/06)

The Arsenal defeat last season equaled Everton's biggest losing margin. But Everton have conceeded more goals on three infamous occasions.

Everton lost seven out of their first eight games in 1958, winning one, but scored 8 goals in the process. In 1926 (with W R Dean out injured?), they lost seven and drew one of the opening eight games. — Michael

Moyes and Kenwright do not care for the club. Moyes not only has achieved the lowest total of points in Everton's history, he has succeed in having the lowest goal-scoring record as well. And after yesterday's terrible game, I will not put any more money into Kenwright's pocket until he leaves or Moyes leaves. I support all actions to oust one or both of them.

And Ferrari: lad, have a wonderful career where a manager will love and believe in you, unlike that porridge-brained fool who leads us!!! Goodbye, Matteo and Yobo, and all the best. I have supported this club for over three decades but I will not support this shit anymore or pay to watch donkeys like Naysmith, Wright, Weir and Pistone. If this manager thinks we are better off with these journeymen rather than Ferrari and Yobo, then I will leave as I can not put up with this anymore.

ps: At least Davies played okay when he decided to stay wide right. And Dutch: if you are real, please don't run into me on a dark night, or Moyes for that matter also. I am a very pissed off fan.
Luq Yus, London  (23/4/06)

The Sack For Moyes?
11 months have passed since we finished 4th and everyone wants Moyes out because we are now about to finish mid-table. Do you have any idea of how crazy that sounds??? When did mid-table become so damned unacceptable?

During the Walter Smith era I use to dream of a mid-table finish. Being safe by January was almost unheard of. But Moyes is being slaughtered for these things.

Spurs have never finished the Premiership in a Top 6 position, they are dreaming and praying that they will finish 4th this term. The hopes and dreams of Spurs are exactly what David Moyes and Everton acheived last season. Isn't that something to be proud of?

In almost two decades of supporting Everton I have had only two things to brag about, winning the FA Cup in 1995 and finishing 4th last season.

I'm not saying Moyes is perfect, he's made mistakes, he's still learning, but he deserves a bit of support. A mid-table finish is not such a horrible thing. Let's get off his back and support him.

If Everton drop another couple of league places next season then we can begin to question the manager. I'm not going to question him now though, only 11 months after the impossible feat of finishing 4th.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (23/04/06)

Dutch, I was only joking! You didn't need to write all that rubbish. There was really no need... it's ancient history now. 4th in 2005; Champions in 1985; relegated in 1930. They are all just facts of history. They don't mean anything in today's world.

Come on, catch up with us now; we're looking to the future... — Michael

Damn shame
Well, fellas, it's nearly over; a season which could have taken us to the promised land, has taken us to Steptoe's back yard. All I can say is it's a good job we're not playing at Charlton on the last day. Beachy Head is only down the road...

Come on fellas, let's make some kind of protest whe we play West Brom, they're all to blame. No-one else would let there people get away with this disgraceful turn of events. I still coughed up my £500 before the game for some more next year, SOB.
Blue fella, Deeside  (23/04/06)

There's a sad irony of sorts in that last paragraph which says it all really... — Michael

Depriving Davey
Wish I sat next to David Hall at Goodison, at least he could tell me about the good old days! The old biddy next to me speaks only of Beattie`s highlights (hairwise) and Pennants sexy long shorts (oxymoron?).

Anyway, I think Statto Dave is trying to deprive Moyes of a record here! Whilst failing to score in 18 games in 1971-72 (who was it said Catterick`s teams always played entertaining football?) it was in a programme of 42 matches. If we don`t score again this season we will have 17 blanks from 38. Thus Catterick`s bores failed to register in 42.29 of their games whilst Davey`s dross will chalk up 44.74%.

I reckon Hall is on to something here, the calculator is more interesting than watching Everton! I just hope Moysey knows how near he is to immortality!
Mep Sendera, Neston  (23/4/06)

A concern for the future
I'd like to put to Kenwright, Moyes et al, where they think the next generation of loyal Evertonians will be coming from?

I grew up in a mixed household. Mum's family all blue, Dad's all red. Luckily for me, my Dad wasn't a season ticket holder, but my Blue uncle was. This meant my first experience as a 3-year-old was watching us put five past United (though I still managed to fall asleep!) My Dad still curses my uncle to this day that he managed to make me blue. I think it's like being a Jedi however, you're born one; you can't become one.

My point is this though: I was born in the early eighties when we were still regarded as one of the top teams. By the time I made it to school, we were on a downward slide, but we were still The School of Science. I could hold my head up as a supporter of a great team that was just having a shit time of late.

However, look at this through the eyes of my much younger brother, who is 13 years old. He was born in the Mike Walker era. He's grown up watching Everton win zilch (too young to remember the FA Cup). He's seen plenty of crap players, crap teams and sat with me in the top balcony through Walter Smith's awful last campaign. Whilst he is a blue, there is definately signs of apathy towards following them as obsessively as I do. I've noticed this in many young blues that I know and hope that this doesn't effect our support for the future.

Everton have survived for so long with so little success entirely because of the obsessive passion of its fans. I remember a friend in school (United supporter from Wirral... one of those plastic fans who has done the Old Trafford tour, but never watched a game because tickets are so hard to get(!) bollocks). He admitted to me one day, that out of all football fans in our school, the Evertonians were the most mad. Always ready to fight out corner in a debate, all went to the games and all knew the history of the club.

It was a good observation really, as every time I meet a fellow blue in the pub, you can guarantee that they had attended at least a handful of games in the season. This unwaivering support has helped us scrap our way through the Johnson era, and is what is still helping the club tread water through the era of Billy Bullshitter.

However, what of the next generation of supporters? There seem to be less "split families" in the area than there used to be. Chances are, there will be few blues like myself who escaped the clutches of the darkside. If I was born a few years ago, and my dad was pressing for me to be a red, he would have a much stronger case that he did back in the early eighties.

Is Bill's Bullshit, Moyes's negative football and the club lack of ambition going to turn the next generation of potenital blues into kopites, or Sky Armchair Supporters? I hope not!

Answers on a postcard please...
Dean Paton, Birkenhead  (23/4/06)

Goodbye Matteo
Matteo Ferrari will not be an Everton player next season. It has been decided that the club do not wish to exercise the option to purchase as no agreement can be reached over the money involved. This term, Matteo`s appearances have been limited by clauses in the `pay as he plays` loan agreement in the same way that happened with Per Krøldrup.

As an Italian,it grieves me to see two of the classiest defenders in Serie A rejected by my English club in this way and it will I am sure, mean that the door will now close on this area of recruitment.

The successful return of Alan Stubbs has done for Matt right now. But what does it do for the future of Everton, I ask?
Giovanni Morrello, Southport  (23/4/06)

I think most of us who've seen Ferrari play this season recognise his ability. The fact that one of the richest clubs in the world today will apply time honoured spin when it is confirmed he's heading home is what saddens me most. Being extremely economical with the truth has sadly become the norm at Goodison. - Colm

Open letter to Blues
Are you tired? Fed up with paying the cost of your season ticket to see the rubbish we get every Saturday?

Well, YOU do something about it. Stop writing your e.mails and DO soemthing!

Go to the last home game and SHOW how you feel. You know what you have to do do! You know who runs the club!!!

Just Do it or Shut Up.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (23/4/06)

Action is needed
After watching another anaemic and lifeless performance from Everton, it is apparent there are several factors contributing to the general malaise that has spread through the ranks and terraces like a bird-flu pandemic.

The team is undoubtedly suffering from injuries to key players in key positions; confidence and motivation have returned to the pre-Christmas low, team formation and tatics seem to be in tatters; and we cannot make a meaningful chance in front of goal. The cynicism that this has created is palpable and the apathy and malaise felt throughout the stadium as though Mogadon has been administered to all on enetering the stadium.

Keith Wyness has today gone on record and told us all what we already know 'we would have to sell a Wayne Rooney every year for five years to consistently beat the big clubs in a table such as this' referring to Premiership profits. This statement is both transparent and free from the spin and wax lyrical shite regarding the Deloite and Touche accounts presented to us earlier this season.

I for one believe that, with the current incumbents Kenwright and Gregg, then this very approach of selling a Rooney every year, should they be so lucky, would be the continued approach. It also makes the unacceptable analysis and truth that we are no longer a big club which again the fans are well aware of.

Action is needed and needed now; we have lost the greatest player in Rooney that the club has ever produced in living memory, and the shite across the park continue their spawny and fortuitous progress making being an Evertonian harder by the year. If you are happy with mediocrity follow the Dutch Schaffer and Richard Dodd's of this world — if not, then let's not accept it.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (22/4/06)

Of records unwanted
I don`t suppose that the area in which I sit was alone in losing interest in this afternoon`s proceedings. The last twenty minutes was taken up with discussion about when we last had such an unenterprising manager and team. I promised to research one or two facts and figures for neighbours Jack, Tony and Trevor and as I shall very definitely not be making the long journey to Middlesbrough, I wonder if I can convey the answers via ToffeeWeb in the belief that they may be of interest to others also.

First, most number of League games in which we have failed to score. Unless I`ve missed an ancient season, I think that has to be the 18 `no scores` we chalked up in 1971-72. This means that even if we fail to score again before the end of this season — and chalk up the record for lowest goals ever -the maximum `nils `we can get is 17. Moyes is, therefore, spared the ignomony of at least one unenviable record and it stays with Catterick!

Secondly, that 1971-72 (when we scored only 37 goals in 42 matches) DID contain the 8-goal thrashing of Southampton, the match in which Alan Ball scored his last for the Club.

Lastly, I can confirm that it was also the season in which Harry suffered his heart attack although he did return for a final season later. Thank you, Editor, for your forebearance but more than the odd shilling was at stake!
David Hall, Taunton  (22/4/06)

Think nothing of it. — The Edtor

Can it get any worse?
Four games without a goal; only 31 all season; -16 goal difference; going to finish in the bottom half of the table and on Monday will have to put up with the Liverpool supporters at work... YES it can get worse!!!

But... I'm Forever Blue!!!
Yusuf Bobat, Leeds  (22/4/06)

End-of-season Blues
Back from the game and it was such a tepid affair considering Brum were supposedly fighting for their lives and we were supposedly trying to finish in the Top Ten... you got the feeling of "Who gives a toss, we're millionaires so stuff the fans." Brum were woeful and deserve to be where they are and we were clueless in fashioning goal-scoring finishes considering total domination.

Our manager to me seemed to run out of ideas as much as his players on the field did; no leader, no focal point, no controlled urgency, no midfield.

The subs near the end seemed to baffle all as to there relevence, Anichebe's future in 9 mins? For all the words on Pravda from both manager and players left me — and I am sure countless others — shortchanged.

To make my night complete I have just seen Rob Fox reply to my last post and he has taken 348 words to explain what I did not say. Rob, I opined that we should marry gritty with pretty to get a balance and Moyes is yet to achieve that. No mention of whether I thought he would or would not in the future, he just ain't achieved it yet.

Is this the problem with people who write everlong tomes? — that they just don't take the time to read what others have offered. Boro next week and tickets still on general sale,says a lot. See you Sat. ----- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (22/4/06)

Same game, same team , same crap, and same comment
To all the pro-Moysie and Moysie Out people, let's get a grip and take in these home truths:

To all the pro-Moyes boys:
1. Enough is enough; you keep saying he will come good and he's the best young manager around. Well, I'm afraid he ain't. You can't keep this excuse going; it's not gonna happen.

2. You can't change a man's thought-process and you can't change what someone is all about. Moyes is negative and will carry on being so; that's all he knows. Positivity is a new subject he will learn but with time; we ain't a tool he can use to further himself and we have little time.

3. Tactically he is not sound and has shown this time and time again. I don't have to give examples do I!!!!!!!

4.You can't really defend his transfers. Davies was bought on reputation and because he, judging by his effort and enthusiasm, probably just went along with what ever his agent and our men said to him. Let's be honest, Moyes never got or will get his man — just men that might appease us... but then again... might not.

5. Everton are getting predictable. It's run from chairman to manager like a stage show, things are done to make life at Goodison seem ok, but its not. Ferrari has left today cos he feels unwanted and is second fiddle to Weir — why? Not because Weir is better or playing well, but because we don't have the cash for him and if he leaves us then it can't be the manager's fault or Blue Bill's. They're both in on it, even you Moysie lovers know it.

To all the Moyes Out people:
1. We're just as bad, we sit here and moan and say enough is enough. But what changes? — Nothing! The odd win here and there brings out our two faces.

2.What can we do to start making changes? I don't want anymore of this next season. Even some of the players that we think may have lost their way and ability might benefit if a change is made.

Finally, we need a new blue print; we need to start again, we need fresh ideas and we need to have positive men in charge of a positive team.

Mr Kenwright, you are never going to make this club big again as long as you have no money. For the love of Everton FC, make a change — and do it soon; she needs it.
Matty Longren, Bulford camp  (22/4/06)

Everton 0 - 0 Birmingham
A very annoying result. Should we be surprised though? One of the weakest goalscoring sides fails to get past the defence of a relegation-fighting side desperately holding on for a point. Probably should have guessed a scoreless draw from the start.

Here's a thought, everyone keeps slagging off Moyes for the recent disappointing performances; well, how about we take some shots at the players? It's the bloody players who aren't performing on the field. They are the ones who look like they have there suitcases packed for a summer holiday.

James Beattie for example was playing great but, when the bandwagon for his England recall ended, so did Beattie's season.

Andy Van der Meyde was given that start everyone wanted him to have but contributed next to nothing, which coincedently is what he's given to Everton's whole season.

McFadden seems to think that scoring 7 goals is enough to justify his season. Yobo doesn't want to get injured and spoil his move to Arsenal.

The only player still playing with passion is Leon Osman, probably because he's a local lad and actually cares.

Moyes has to take alot of the blame but let's not forget that the players are letting him and most importantly the fans down.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (22/04/06)

Just a simple reminder, Dutch: they are all Moyes's players; he selects them, he trains them; he preps them for the game, he takes the crdit when they finish 4th (yes, you haven't mentioned it for a day or two; I hope you haven't forgotten this achievement already. At least you have apprently moved on from the "so what, we won X out of the aslt y gfames so a 0-0 draw against one of the bottom-feeders is actually a good result" nonsense you were previously spouting... so I guess we could call that "progress". — Michael

As I was bored out of my skull for the last 30 mins of today's game [why wasn't Victor given more than 5 mins?], I looked at to look at Moyes record in the six games of each season:

P 22   W 4   D 5   L 13

Didn't bother to check goals for/against given the current squad's inability to put many shots on target. For those who think the sun shines out of Moyes's arse [can't say I've met any], they have got to wake up and realise he CANNOT MOTIVATE the current pile of shite that masquerade as Everton players.

I'd dearly love to see Moyes and Bullshit Billy ride off into the sunset at the end of Bullshit's western - sadly this won't happen and I, unlike the apathetic majority, have had enough.
Jim Feeney, Liverpool  (22/4/06)

This season is down to Moyes
Let's be totally frank. Moyes is responsible for our results this year. They are his players and his tactics. If people on here want to support him, so be it. However, I would venture the opinion that they have no ambition or desire to see the club do well if they are satisfied with this.

The laughable thing is, Moyes cries about a lack of goals yet did nothing at the start of the season when we needed a striker. He is bereft of any tactical nous save a lucky decision to play 4-5-1 — more out of fear of defeat than desire to win or play well. For me, he showed his lack of ambition when he failed to sign players to take us forward from last year and into Europe.

He dislikes youth and flair players and if there are not any young stars in the academy then this is down to him too as club manager.

Enough is enough. The Board need to look at their position and Moyes needs to go. If not — welcome to many more seasons of negative, boring play, aimed at keeping us in the Premier League and nothing else.
Russ Kavinsky, Elesmere Port  (22/4/06)

Ain`t no justice!
There just ain`t no justice, is there? I am sure even Everton`s fiercest critic — probably a Mailbagger! — will agree that only fate and a linesman`s flag prevented us from gaining all three points today. For much of the game, our midfield was majestic with Osman having his game of the season and Davies showing just what he is capable of.

What a tragedy that Tim had to miss the second half but Killa was certainly up for it today. Whilst Van der Meyde looked understandably `ring rusty`, he is a class act and will be a fantastic asset next season.

As ever, Beattie ran his butt off — how Moyes has improved him since those early days of lethargy — and I am sure even the Birmingham defenders thought his `goal` would have stood.

Just one more thought. All those who have screamed for the inclusion of Anichebe will have seen why our canny manager is `holding him back.` He just isn`t ready for this level. As Davey has said, his time will come soon enough.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (22/4/06)

More "jam tomorrow", eh, Richard? Four games against teams from all parts of the Premiership, and we still couldn't score. But was the goal disallowed because of the linesman's flag? Or because Beattie was offside? Guess it all depends on your perspective, eh? — Michael

Sad Everton
Can it actually get any worse? I have, to my own detriment, often defended this clown and his backroom staff for far too long. The standard of football is at an all-time low under HIS reign. No pace, creativity or ability to figure out a way to deal with 10 men behind the ball tactics. Remember our neighbours put seven past this lot.

Obviously, Moyes is content with the situation and is prepared to plod along with the likes of Naysmith, Kilbane, Davies and McFadden. But in all reality, the blame lies at the feet of Kenwright. He took a chance with a glorified six-former with a bunch of coaching qualifications that anybody with half a brain can obtain, and it hasn't worked out. Moyes can't take the club beyond the current status of distinctly average.

The only reason we're not facing a relegation battle ourselves is that he got lucky with the little Spaniard, who saved his sad arse with some great performances since Christmas. Incidentally, he's the same fella to whom Moyes was reluctant to pay the going rate last summer. Wouldn't be surprised if he's off: I wouldn't blame him.

Typically, supporters are powerless in this situation. The only thing that can be done is boycotting, which is hard to achieve when most support is derived from season-ticket holders. If everyone shows up with a tee shirt with "Kenwright OUT" on it for the last home game, or simply "KenWRONG" (cheers, Carolyn) he might get the message.

Surely given the strength of support for this once great club, a public offering via flotation can reduce Kenwright's influence.

Don't care what others say on the forum. Progress is not being made — certainly from footballing perspective — and I honestly can't take much more of this.
Mike Greaves, Houston, TX, USA  (22/4/06)

Two of the three youngest Premiership goalscorers
It makes me laugh, some poster has been moaning at Moyes because Aaron Lennon signed for Spurs. If you're going to use Lennon against Moyes then you better also slag of Sir Alex, Big Sam, Wenger, Mourhino, Benitez, O'Leary & Jewell because they all missed Lennon too.

Who says Moyes doesn't give the youngsters a chance? Here's a record for you: the Top 3 youngest Premiership goalscorers are 1. James Vaughan 2. James Milner 3. Wayne Rooney. Two out of the three youngest ever goalscrorers in the Premiership were playing for Everton under David Moyes. Not bad for a manager who hates young players. 17-year-old Victor Anichebe got another run out today as well.
Dutch Schaffer, London  (22/4/06)

Glad to see you picked up on the important issues of the day there, Dutch... NOT!

Utter Drivel
What a boring, boring game. Moyes has to be the most negative manager in the Premiership. I'm no footballing genius, but I question the decision to replace the best crosser of the ball on the pitch with the best aerial threat in the league!

Good crosses + good heading = goals?

Also, I could swear some of those players had Bermuda shorts on underneath their own clothes. Holidays booked are they, boys?
Daniel Sack, Wirral  (22/04/06)

Moyes's Lament
According to, Moyes is tonight `lamenting` the lack of goals, which is `becoming a worry!` I should bloody think so!!! 31 goals from 35 games is more than a worry — it`s a fucking disgrace — and, if it`s taken him until now to start worrying, there`s no bloody hope for us. This season is a disaster of his making and is ending how it began. I couldn`t believe how so many Evertonians, encouraged by his mates on the pundit panels, were telling us how he`d `turned it round`. It was his bleeding mess to start with!

All that happened is we got enough points in the New Year to get us out of the shit and once his stupid bonus scheme had paid out on the 42-point mark, it`s like every year: bollocks and goodnight!

That`s me done for the season — and my renewal form`s already in the bin.
Laurie Brown, Netherton  (22/4/06)

More a handy van man!
More a handy vanman than Van the Man, more wanker than scrimshanker... if this guy is the future of Everton, God help us! He`s hardly ever fit for duty and his whole career has been a cameo of fits and starts.

Most of Moyes`s signings are nowhere near the quality Everton require to be a top ten side — now the very peak of our expectation — and he will have to do 100% better this close season if we are to avoid being in Birmingham`s present position this time next year.
Gerry Lawson, Thornton  (22/4/06)

Lost all hope
What really pisses me off is that, if Billy Blue Eyes suddenly came up with £25-£30 million for Moyes to spend this summer, I wouldn`t trust him to spend it well. Like so many others, I`ve always felt that if we had the money, we could compete. Now I no longer think that to be the case.

Looking at the likes of Van der Meyde, Davies and Kilbane today, I realised that Moyse doesn`t know a Premier-level footballer from his own arse. There is no hope for us.
Adrian Davis, Bootle  (22/4/06)

Where's Ferrari today? Have I missed something? When's his chance coming? Anyone know???
Big Dunc  Stokey, Stoke  (22/4/06)

Left the stadium in a huff, presumably his reaction against not being selected. David Moyes knows best...

Genius Moyes
Just took in the first half of the Arsenal v Spurs game before leaving for the match. Young Lennon was murdering Arsenal down the right side, just like he did to us last week.

Can't believe the genius Moyes preferred to blow £3.5M on Davies rather than a third of that on Lennon. Then again, the kid would probably have spent most of his time here on the bench as Moyes "protected" him (pissed him off) just like he did with the Roon!
Alan  Gordon, Kirkdale  (22/4/06)

The recent posting about Aston Villa being `saddled` with a £9 million debt made me realise what a total waste of time it is for Tony Marsh and others to be calling for Kenwright`s head.

Villa is a public company in which, I understand, chairman Doug Ellis has a 51% holding. By any standards they have a magnificent modern but traditional ground and own vast swathes of land around about. They are currently re-developing their training facilities which are, in any case, of excellent standard already. Unlike our club, they have no long-erm mortgage on future season-ticket income and can turn in a working profit most seasons. Football-wise they are on par with Everton with a gregarious manager who blames everything but his own shortcomings whenever they have a bad trot.

Because of failing health, Ellis has had his shares on the market for the best part of a year; although there have been some nibbles, no-one can come up with the very reasonable £60 million valuation needed to buy the whole club.

Now I know that readers of your columns don`t require a lesson on Aston Villa but I trot out all this to illustrate that if Ellis can`t find a buyer for what is very much an ‘ongoing concern’ then NOBODY would be interested in relieving Kenwright & Co of Everton FC — which in business terms is near to a ‘basket case’.

So please, Tony, give it a rest, will you? We`re `saddled’ with Bill and he`s ‘saddled’ with Moyes. Meanwhile, let`s just look forward to stuffing that other club in Birmingham this afternoon.
Gary Robinson, Solihull  (22/4/06)

For love or money
Money buys quality; money buys ability; money buys support... it's simple and it's true. Look at the top 5 over the last 10 years and what do you see? $$$ money. Money makes money. And unfortunately we don’t have much.

Money brought Henry to Arsenal; it brought Lampard to Chelsea and it brought Rooney to United. Love of the clubs didn’t come into play when any of these players made their decisions. I’m sure that Ballack is sitting at home counting the dollars he can earn at Chelsea — not how much he loves the club. And that is where the difference lies between us and them: love and money.

We all love our club, as does Bill, but love doesn’t equate to money. If it did, we would be top of the table right now and Chelsea and Man United would be relegated. We have survived on love and tradition for too long. The love of the supporters for our once great club is immense and it inspires players to sometimes play beyond their ability.

But do any players these days really love their clubs? The last player I truly remember is Le Tissier; he could have been a truly great of the game if he had moved to a more successful club but he instead choose to be a club man.

Does our big No 9 love our club or does he love the £27k he is on a week? Was he not a millionaire before he signed for the club on this huge salary, which has hindered us in spending money on improving the squad?

I wish money wasn’t the biggest issue in the game but it is — just ask Rooney, he could have earned millions playing for the club he loved (yes loved not loves) or multi-millions at United; he chose them. I would love to have a team full of world-class players producing the goods week-in, week-out but we don’t.

As long as we keep improving the team and our cash flow then I will have a smile on my face because, if we as supporters can inspire these guys on to greater things, then we might just get back up there with the big boys where we used to belong. Give me the blue of Everton over the green ($$$) of Chelsea any day because you shouldn’t sell your soul — you might need it one day.

Everton 11
Wayne Dinkelman, Australia  (22/4/06)

I'm only guessing here Wayne, but is 11 your current age? To give you credit, if true, you've picked up a wonderful array of clichés there and strung them together nicely. But I think today's game proves you wrong: it's not about money — it's about scoring goals... or at least it should be. Money is not Everton's problem: that is a total cop-out. — Michael

Good luck, Davie
I was pleased to hear Moysey could be on the Beeb`s World Cup pundit panel, hope he passes his audition. Anybody`s better than Redshite Hansen and it will be good for Everton for our manager to be near the action.

In spite of what I read here and on other sites, I don`t reckon Moyes is doing too bad a job at Everton. Mind you, like a lot of younger fans, I`ve only got Wally to campare him to but he`s young and switched on and must be respected for the Beeb to want him.

Six or seven points from our remaining matches will satisfy most of my gang and will add up to a very decent half season.
Sam Doble, Croxteth  (22/4/06)

Must be respected for the Beeb to want him??? Ever heard of an "expert" by the name of Graeme Le Saux?! - Colm

Doing alright
Two-nil to Everton this avvy and all in the garden will be lovely. Don`t some of your writers get carried away? Moysey`s doing alright given what he inherited and deffo deserves another season.

After Johnson, Blue Bill is God, how soon you all forget what he has done to `save` us.

Alan  Woodall, Wavertree  (22/4/06)

2-0 or no 2-0, I've seen my back garden and it't not yet lovely. Blue Bill is God....??? What are you growing in that lovely back garden of yours?! — Colm

A female perspective
I love reading the Mailbag but can rarely be arsed to write in. What I find funny is that when we win it all goes quiet and when we lose it all kicks off. Are the likes of Dutch and Dodd for real? Or are they figments of your overly vivid imagination?

And as for Rob Fox, he needs a good seeing to — can you tell me his precise address in Blackpool, bet I could prise his fingers off the keyboard!
Imogen Towler, Walton  (22-04-06)

Can't imagine there being too many "Imogen's" living in Walton. Work in Boss Tans per chance, madam?! ;-) - Colm

What a waste of words
Can`t believe the millions of words wasted on analysing why we`ve had such a crap season. The simple — and glaringly obvious reason — is that we haven`t scored enough G O A L S !

Had Moyes focussed all his efforts on recruiting a natural goalscorer and a genuine replacement for Gravesen (Arteta does not fit that role!) another 20 goals from any source would have seen us retain 4th place. Don`t tell me he tried and failed. The manager`s job in any business is to MAKE things happen!

Discussion over.
Colin  Tunstall, Bebington  (22/4/04)

Er.. thank you for your contribution! — Michael

Pundit Moyes
So according to Harry `I heard it on the grapevine` Meek, Moysie is being lined up as a pundit at the World Cup. No doubt he`s sold it to Bill on the basis it will give him the chance to spot some useful talent and that he doesn`t do much till the agents` "Not wanted by any other clubs" lists come in on the eve of the season, anyway!

I guess they`ll ask him to focus on how all the top teams could win games without scoring goals seeing how he`s developed this novel concept during his time at Everton.
Sean Medlicott, Waterloo  (22/4/06)

Davies Frustration!!
Just read of Simon Davies's frustration at not cementing down a first-team place this season. Is he for real? He should consider himself lucky to have played the bit-part role that he has considering the standard of football he has played. I don't think I have seen a worse performance by an Everton winger than I saw at Goodison last week in many years. I for one will be gutted if he starts today ahead of Van der Meyde.

Surely even Kilb... ah no, scratch that! COYB
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk, Ireland  (22/4/06)

I love the mental image of our Welsh wing wizard with two feet cemented. Any difference?! - Colm

Not worth getting upset!
Just read the most recent outpouring from Richard Dodd and can see that he has almost the manic zeal of the current crop of Creationists. If it`s in Bill`s Bible it has to be right — so there!

As Rob Fox points out in his more `Evolutionist` epistle, nothing about Everton (or anything else for that matter) is either black or white or lasts for ever. Bill appoints a manager and, like others before him, he gets some things right and some wrong. On balance to date, he is probably in credit. Another season like this one and he`s definitely going down the pan.

So why don`t we all just do what Fox suggests and let him get on with it, safe in the knowledge that like all things, NO manager lasts for ever and that, in due time, there will be another wanker spouting the same indiscernable crap along in due course?

Simple game, football, not worth getting upset about.
Ben Andrews, Birkenhead  (22/4/06)

To err, though, is human! — Colm

Rob Fox
I read Rob Fox's article and couldn't help agree with some if not most of his comments. Everton FC should not be the plaything of the current chairman and owner. We should be a public listed company trading on the stock exchange.

Everton FC is a club that should be owned by the people and god knows there are a few million of us around the world. I would love to have shares in EFC — even if I dont get a return every year at least we would have some market capitalisation and perhaps the funds to at least compete with our neighbours Liverpool and Man Utd.

Then we need a sucessful business model — and if you look at Villarreal, what better club could we model ourselves on? They play in the shadows of their more wealthy rivals, they do play good football, have some taltened players and have been astutely financed.

It's time we had serious investment and if that means goodbye to Bill then so be it; no-one is bigger or better than EFC. If Bill can't raise the necessary finances to compete — not just in the Premiership but also in Europe and beyond — then his time is up. Everton is bigger than Bill Kenwright and he has had ample time.
Adrian Byrne, Perth, Australia  (22/4/06)

Some problems there: firstly, the market capitalization bubble for football clubs has been and burst. If Everton were floated on the Stock Exchange tomorrow, we really would be a laughing stock! (Geddit?) I don't believe either of the clubs you mention, Liverpool or Man Utd, are publicly traded.

No, the solution in that direction for Everton would hopefully be a rights issue that was set up to bring in fresh investment and broaden share ownership among the fanbase. It's a great idea that has been bandied about a lot, but it never gets much traction in the hallowed halls of Goodison Park because it would only dilute the ownwership stake held by the current custodians — and they don't like that!

The other hope is that a group of rich Evertonians who have proven their business prowess in other fields were to persuade Bill to sell up and hand over the controls of the trainset. But there is seemingly no sign of that happening any time soon, and even it did, there is the tremendous risk that things could actually get worse, not better!

And the injection of cash at the takeover would not be into the club's transfer coffers but into the trouser pockets of Kewnwight and the Gregg family as they sell their Everton shares, and walk away (they hope) with some profit from this crazy venture. — Michael

Playing the Young Ones
Yes, I am well aware that Moyes has bought players for the Academy and never played them. Scott Spencer is another signing for the Academy who may well never get a game. Or maybe he is the next Rooney; time will tell.

However, Garvan and Jerome are two players who would not come cheap and would certainly not sit in the Academy or reserves if signed. I would rather Moyes take a chance on someone young and untested in the hope they become a star than just buy proven mediocre players like Neville and Davies.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (22/4/06)

I'm just back from sunnier climes and have missed the last two home games. I gave my tickets to 'me arl fella' and my neice. I kept in touch from foreign fields, just to see how the mighty Blues were doing.

I wish I hadn't bothered. Nothing but depressive stories from 4000 miles away. So, here I am with two games left (at home). Do I renew my season tickets at something close to £1000, or do I say "fuck it, enough is enough, I can have a week in the sun with the family"?

Well, my mind is made up. I have been sick to death of watching shite for the whole of this season and for three out of the four previous seasons and beyond. The promised land is as far away today as it was 10 years ago. I have spent thousands of pounds watching crap. I have bullied my son into watching crap.

It is my son, at 12 years of age, who has brought me to my senses! "Dad, do we really have to go to the match?" "My mates are going out and I want to go with them" "But what about the Blues?" "What about them?". And that just about sums it up. What about them?

Just for the record. Everton Football Club have been my life since August 1960, when I was born. They will always be part of my life but they will not be getting the grand up front. I'll join the rest of the great unwashed and pick and choose my games, watch them on the telly etc...

Love ya forever Blues... but I'll send you a postcard
Mark Joseph, Florida, I wish  (22/4/06)

Sad that, Mark. But understandable. You just forgot the bit about how we "orchestrated" you to do this...

Reply to Ken Buckley
I agree with what you say about the style of football; the question is can Moyes do anything to improve it? You think he can't; I think he can.

Moyes has attempted to make us solid and hard to beat, mostly that has been the case. The likes of Jewell, Pardew and Hughes have out-performed him this season, no doubt about that. But football's like that, Blackburn have been miles better than us but we have taken 6 points off them.

Moyes has to learn the lessons and make the necessary adjustments for next season. The point about pretty football is a contentious one. We tried to play some nice stuff under Walker but got nowhere, Joe was all about grit to begin with, but tried to use Limpar, Grant and Kanchelskis. For a while it was going great, then back to worrying about relegation.

Arteta has been the catalyst to get the likes of Osman and McFadden playing expressive football. Shandy van der Meyde to a lesser extent, when he has played. The majority of Premiership games are crap to watch until a goal or two is scored; when we have got the second goal we have played very well, and entertainingly.

Obviously this has happened far too infrequently, but it may not take too much, just one or two astute signings... Look at the difference Arteta makes at his best. Kroldrup, when he signed, said that Moyes brought him in to play out of defence more. Obviously things didn't work out there. Like many managers, Moyes is struggling to change a solid side to an expansive one.

If we are not forced to sell our best players, we have a base to build from. At worst we can expect another season of mid-table mediocrity - I doubt relegation would be a concern if we can keep this squad together and add one or two players.

If we are average again, and the problems of creating chances and scoring goals aren't addressed, then fair enough. I think Moyes and Irvine are bright enough to identify and address the problems; you don't. We'll see.
Rob Fox, Blackpool  (22/4/06)

Villa debt — what debt?
My brother, who is — for some misguided reason long forgotten — an Evertonian has referred me to an aricle by your correspondent, Rob Fox. In that article Fox claims that my own club, Aston Villa, is `saddled with debt.` Before Mr Fox receives a communication from m`learned friends acting on behalf of Chairman Doug Ellis, I would suggest that he recants and appologises for that statement.

In the most recently published half-year accounts, Villa`s total indebtedness is shown to be in the order of £9 million — hardly out of keeping with the size of the operation, totally serviceable and by no means deserving the description afforded to it by Mr Fox.

Without knowing anything of the affairs of Everton FC, I suspect your Chairman would be happy to see such a paltry amount in his creditors` column!
Peter  Jones, Bassetts Pole  (21/4/06)

Ah-ha! Rob Fox told us "I have tried hard to include as many facts in this article as possible." Not quite hard enough, apparently! I feel quite sure an effusive appolgy will soon be forthcoming... — Michael

Shame on you!
This has been a sad week for the huge number of Evertonians who continue — with every justification — to believe our Club is in good hands and moving in the right direction.

The amount of approbrium heaped on the Chairman and Manager is out of all proportion, given that last week`s defeat (at Chelsea of all places) was only our third Premier loss of the year!

Very well orchestated by yourselves, the aim seems to focus on whipping up enough unrest to con some misguided souls to stage a protest (precisely against what or whom seems unclear) or possibly to stay away altogether from the remaining home matches.

How absolutely irresponsible and disloyal! Surely the aim of a site like this is to inform and entertain fellow Evertonians and not to eat away at the infra-strucure of an institution of which we are just followers for our short time on earth.

What could possibly be gained by having the Manager sacked and/or the Chairman walk away to leave the Club in turmoil? Have you, or those you are in thrall to, any concept of the consequences of such a happenning?

Frequently you have accused me of blind faith and sychophancy, a charge I deny on the grounds that until somebody can prove to me that better people are willing and able to take on the running of our club we should give all our support to the present incumbents.

Tonight, sir, I charge you with a far greater crime: that of trying to do serious harm to the thing which outside our families is the most precious in our lives - Everton Football Club!

Shame on you!
Richard  Dodd, Formby  (21/4/06)

Silly boy, Richard. Go back to reading your programme notes and the positive spin from the Official Website. Oh, before you do, read the disclaimer that the mailbag expresses the opinions of the the writers and not necessarily those of this website, it's owners or staff. And if you want to get a hint of what that is, try reading some of the editorial comment before talking such rubbish. — The Editor

Putting himself about (2)
Just got back from a Sportsmen`s Lunch in Birmingham (Don`t tell the missus it wasn`t an evening do!) and got talking to a BBC `insider`. Seems I was well off the mark with my recent assertion that the `new` David Moyes was putting himself in the shop window with his recent appearances on MOTD etc. Apparently, he is being `auditioned` for a place on the Beeb`s `experts` panel for the World Cup!

Quite what this tactically inept, frequently incoherrant Scot will bring to the endless deliberations we shall have to endure, I cannot imagine, but then again, I suppose they have to find someone to comment on Togo v Trinidad & Tobago don`t they?
Harry Meek, Worcester  (21/4/06)

Just Who are the Optimists?
So there are apparently six clubs more affluent then us. Why aren't we pushing for seventh place, then? We all know Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are way ahead on and off the field... but Spurs?

I know some people like stats, so try this one. According to one website, since May 2005, Jol has spent £10.25M on players, plus undisclosed fees and loans. Moyes has spent £15.75M, plus undisclosed and loans. Jol has got £9.4M back, Moyes £2M. You do the maths! Moneybags??

It's not about money, or about hankering after the old days. It's about attracting, buying and motivating players who are sharp, quick, can pass the ball to feet and know where the goal is.

It's about having a desire to have a team that plays, or tries to play, fast attacking football. Spurs do it, West Ham do it, why don't we? At least they get entertained and will probably both be in Europe next season.

One of the most depressing things about this season has been the increasing view that those of us who cry out for attacking, skillful, passsionate football are called pessimists. Those who believe that the best we can hope for is slow, dull dour football with set-piece or deflected goals and mid-table mediocrity are apparently the optimists! What's that about?

It's not just about money, it's about your attitude and beliefs. You get more of what you focus on. The more we compare ourselves to the crap around us, the more we'll stay like them. When we start aspiring to be like the clubs above us, we'll start getting closer. That's what the few successful Everton sides have done. That's what we're going to have to start doing now — whoever the manager is!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (21/4/06)

Reply to Rob Fox
You did go on, on, on,on and then on and the point I got from it was that you were having a rant at everything and everybody through sheer angst. You did invite comment and I certainly dont want to 'slag you off' as you say.

The bit I want to pick up is from a paragraph near the end where you assert we have a choice of pretty football and relegation or the gritty non-pretty stuff and salvation. My view is that we should be mean, hard and gritty in defending and winning the ball; and having won it we should have the ability to move the ball between Blue shirts and cause some concern in the opponents' final third.

Pretty football if you like, unlike the fare being served at the moment. Defend stoicaly, win the ball and boot it anywhere except to another Blue shirt; then repeat the exercise for the most of the 90 mins.

Whatever you think of the squad the manager has got to work with, I believe it's his job to marry the pretty with the gritty; from my seat he ain't doing it and we are all frustrated.

Here's hoping we get all together tomorrow. ------ UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (21/4/06)

Well said, Ken. Spot on, as ever. And there really is zero excuse for professional supposedly top-flight footballers to play like that.... altough I am reminded of Cahill having his pocket picked by Drogba, but that problem is one of lack of movement off the ball — again, one of the basics that Moyes should be hammering into these players. — Michael

Wake Up
Come on, guys; we're being to easy on the people running our club. Rob's article is right in many ways but Moyes has made mistakes, particularly this year; however, they pale into insignificance compared to those of soon-to-be Billy no-Evertonian-mates...

We have to make some kind of stand, guys, or this man (who incidentally I used to think of as Uncle Bill) will run our club into the ground. It's Ok joking about apathy United etc but just think how you'll feel on the last day of maybe next season contamplating trips to plymouth and you haven't made a stand against this charlatan. Please, guys, lets' start tomorrow before it's too late.

Oh by the way, I see the con this year is to make us buy our season ticket before we have any idea of who's coming, unlike last year when they pretended to buy Krøldrup. I'm scared, guys, very scared.
Blue Fella, Deeside  (21/4/06)

While I'm not that impressed with Rob's rationalizations, I cannot in all conscience agree that Bill is "running the club into the ground". That's what Agent Johnson was doing. Bill, to give him credit where it is due, has bought in Wyness and is at least trying to make the club operate in a more professional buisness manner, increasing revenues and turnover, and limiting or even reducing debt levels.

For you to then claim that the price freeze for season-ticket renewals constitues another "con" by the club does nothing to enhance the credibility of your comments. — Michael

Moyes: Intertoto aut of reach?
Can you please clarify something for me? My understanding of Intertoto qualification was that it went to the highest placed team who wanted to enter. Surely if Blackburn (who have also expressed an interest) finish in the top 6 they will enter Uefa Cup. Doesn't that leave Everton as the highest placed team (assuming things dont get any worse) who were interested? Yet from official site Moyes seems to think its not now an option.
Ryan Paisley, Liverpool  (21/4/06)

Three teams have said they have applied to enter; but seven teams have apparently applied altogether. No-one is saying who the other four are... but I've got this sneaking feeling that at least four of them will finish above us.... and it seems Moyes as realized the same thing... albeit a bit late in the day. — Michael

Why Bob's a legend and Moyes a failure
Bob Latchford was a great striker at Everton. Big, strong and bagged a lot of goals. He is already in Everton's hall of fame. And today Bob said the most obviously yet fundamental thing which Moyes hasn't got in 18 months: "Beattie needs service to score goals, he has already proved he has got the ability".

Another reason why Bob is a legend is because he bothers to spend time at fan level, meaning he cares for the club and mingles to this day with fans. Hence he knows how we feel with the awful management currently — hence the sweeping statement today. Moyes in four years to my knowledge has NEVER spent any time with the fans and to him, as he once said himself, Everton is only a stepping stone to other things. It's only a job to him so why should he care!!!

In another stupid Moyes statement he concedes today that Everton will not quailify for Europe. Any idiot could have told him that after October. Again, I ask is this the man to lead us to glory?

I fully support the Kenwright out campaign also and urge fans to oust the man. And if Moyes has any sense then sign Petrov, De'lessendro and Ferrari.
Lus Yus, London  (21/4/06)

Your statemets on the possibility of qualifying for Europe are a bit unreasonable. If the excellent New Year run of form had continued, we'd be right up there now, competing for a Uefa Cup slot. And who the hell is "De'lessendro"? — Michael

RE: Who the hell are we: Rob Fox
I won't need 3000 words to reply to Rob Fox, it just this:— Bollocks!

Another long-winded post of excuses as to why we should cut Moyes slack due to a dodgy referee and how this broke our players hearts. Arrrrrrr... bless the players' Guci Cotton Socks.

Rob Fox fails to mention that our poor form started in the pre-season and continued to be crapy right up till the night of the long knives. It's continued crappy for the rest of the season until the players decided to clock in for 6 weeks before dashing off to buy their Guci beach wear.

Everton Football Club should hire Rob Fox immediately for their PR dept, where Rob and Bill can all live happily ever after.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (21/4/06)

And Rob thought it was just me being mean to him. That's the thing about good spin: you can only fool some of the people all of the time... Ah well... — Michael

How big is the purse?
I think we are moving forward under Moyes. Sure, the beginning of this season was a disaster, but the period at the beginning of this year showed that we do have the ability to be a top side when we have a fit squad.

My biggest fear is that Moyes won't get the cash he needs to continue to improve the side and get the backup players he needs to be able to have cover for important places in the squad. During this season, we've seen how we lack creativity when Arteta has been missing and the positive effect Van der Meyde has when he is fit. But what creative players do we have when they are gone?

Moyes needs to get the cash to purchase at least 5-6 good players that can fight with the ones we have to get into a starting 11, and preferbaly also a few promising younger talents. But I read somewhere that the budget he gets will be around £6M-£7M... isn't that approximately what he got for selling Campbell and Krøldrup? Shouldn't he be getting some extra cash from the board? A part of that cash will probably go to purchase Ferrari permanently, so his purse could be even smaller for new players.

I don't think we should get rid of Moyes, even though he has made some strange choices this season. But what we need is someone with a bigger purse buying into the club that also can give Moyes a bigger budget to get players... otherwise, I'm afraid that the good players we do have here will leave within two seasons at most.

It doesn't matter much how good a coach is if he doesn't get the funds to bring in more and better players!
Peter Karlsson, Sweden  (21/4/06)

Get ready
I've just been on Teletext and it says Big Sam on pre- World Cup spree? — He expects to sign at least 6 players before the World Cup starts.

Where are we yet again? Somewhere with our heads stuck up our arses patting each other on the back again. Surely Bolton are not a bigger team than Everton. If they can do it, why can't we?
Big Dunc  Stokey, Stoke  (21/4/06)

Young Lads
Nice to see us being linked with several youngsters for a change. Perhaps Moyes is taking Tottenham's lead and looking at bringing in some younger players.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (21/4/06)

Err.. this is nothing new with Moyes. He as brought in at least half-a-dozen young players to the Academy. But you can count on one finger the number of debut starts they have had in the first team... — Michael

Kenwirght OUT Banner — Tommorow at GP
If I can get the banner inside the ground, then it might make the Echo or TV.
Dave Turner, Liverpool  (21/4/06)

... or CCTV... and the Stewards will be onto you!

I do hope you at least spell the chairman's surname correctly on your banner! - Colm

Stan Petrov
Dear Mr Moyes: Please do me a favour, get that finger out your arse and go and speak to Stilian Petrov, IMMEDIATELY!!! Oh and if you do, don't tell the whole world. That way every other club in the Premiership won't get in before you.
Santiago Guerrero, Scotland  (21/4/06)

Championship Manager Alert!

RE: 4 Years and 40 Million - Go Bill
Moyes has blown £40 million in charge so we can reach the giddy heights of mid-table from the depths of relegation candidates in December of 2005? Another £40 million and four more years and we will be knocking on the Intertoto place.

Moyes has pissed it all away and Bill has handed over all of the silverware. That's it, folks; no cash left and a Chairman who puts his fingers in his ears and closes his eyes to any critical feedback from the fans.

Get the Banner out for Saturday's game, "Kenwright Out!"
Peter Moon, Widnes  (21/4/06)

Everton Shooting for a New low
I just read the article in the Liverpool Echo by David Prentice. That's two articles in one week which finally catch up with public opinion of the current situation.

It's been a disgrace of a season under David Moyes and these stats only underline that our problems are still with us in the here and now after four years.

Moyes has asked his players to put on a show this weekend. Shame they didn't start in pre-season, eh, Moyes?
Tony Rune, Liverpool  (21/4/06)

To be honest, I fear this game could be a bannana skin. Birmingham are on a high after beating Blackburn midweek. Plus they are desperately fighting to avoid relegation while Everton have nothing to play for. It's important that Moyes raises the players and makes them understand that we need to and should beat Birmingham.

Come on the Toffees. Its a grand old team to... And if you know your history... we don't care what the red-shite say... etc...etc...
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (21/4/06)

It could indeed be a banana skin. Perhaps there's hope we'll see the return of our flying Dutchman? - Colm

Forward, not back; Up, not down
Yes, I know that the title of this comment is (and sounds like) a dodgy New Labour strap-line, but hear me out.

My comment is a reaction to the 'A Question of Expectation' article by Dutch Shaeffer. It's hard to argue with his stats and, yes, if you start your analysis from Walter Smith's time in charge, there is no doubt that Everton under Moyes are on an upward curve.

However, the question I think that is before us as Evertonians is this: When do we reach the point when we say that the particularly dreadful period in our history highlighted by Dutch is behind us? — ie, we start looking forward not back? And secondly, when do we translate that change in focus to managing UP expectations rather than down?

You see for me, constant references to past dissapointments only mean that we stagnate into a complacent acceptance of our current position. I don't detect any real support amongst Evertonians for Moyes to be replaced. For many he is the best man for the job. A coach of undoubted talent. But do I think that he's beyond criticism? Absolutely not.

Personally, I think that from the close of last season his performance in the job on the whole — transfers, new contract decisions, team selections and tactics — has been poor. Not poor enough for him to be sacked but enough for us all to realise that he's mortal after all.

He has an awfully big summer ahead of him. Let's look forward, not back Dave. RAISE our expectations — don't lower them.
Cal Roper, Liverpool  (21/4/06)

Agree 100% with every word there, Sir! - Colm

Two Things To Say
Let me first say that I am not in the 'Get Moyes Out' group, or indeed the 'Must Keep Moyes At All Costs' group but I am becoming a little frustrated by a couple of things that I keep reading and hearing about.

Firstly, how well the players have done since just before Christmas when everyone thought we would get relegated. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this the same group of players and management that got us into that situation in the first place?

No matter how well we played for the two months after Christmas, there is no disguising the fact that this has been an incredibly disappointing season for Everton Football Club. We started off the season with a real chance of proper Champions League football (granted Villarreal weren't the easiest draw) and then proceeded to lose embarrassingly to Dinamo Bucharest (who, let's face it, weren't very good), and lose six games in a row without scoring a goal, add to that some humiliating defeats by dreadful teams like West Bromwich and Aston Villa and it doesn't look like such a successful season.

I understand the argument that a finish around 10th or 12th in the league would be some kind of progress but I don't quite agree with it. We finished fourth last season, FOURTH, and to be satisfied with a mid- to low-table finish this time around makes me sad; we shouldn't be happy with mediocrity, especially once we have tasted some form of success.

My second point is that people, including David Moyes, talk about how little we will have to spend in the summer, and have had since he came to the club. I don't need to remind everyone we spent £24M last summer, who was the last Everton manager to get that much money in one summer/season? Also, there aren't many other teams that spent that kind of money last year, apart from the obvious. Now I'm not saying that we haven't had a few key injuries, and that our squad overall hasn't been improved, it's just that everyone seems to forget what a chance we had last summer, and the board provided the funds.

If we look at the team today we see that it is now David Moyes's team, there are no excuses: Martyn, Hibbert, Valente, Stubbs, Yobo, Davies, Osman, Arteta, Cahill, Beattie, McFadden. Out of those, apart from youth (Hibbert and Osman) Moyes has signed them all, even Stubbs!

All I would say to the fans, the management, the board, and the players is let's just not settle for mediocrity when we should be striving for and deserving of more.
Max Mazonowicz, Oxford  (21/4/06)

Errm... "everyone seems to forget what a chance we had last summer," What planet are you on? That's what this moaning by your fellow fans is all about, is it not? — Michael

Pats on the back and I don't mean me!!
What really gets to me is all this "pat on the back" stuff you get on the official website nearly every day such as:

  • Cahill's unsung hero is Carsley [who promptly gets red-carded]
  • Kilbane says we want to get as many goals as we can - how many has he scored then?
  • Beattie is going to hit his best
  • Fadders is coming right at the right time
  • And, generally, every week "We are not going to sit back. We are going to try and get the maximum points from our remaining games so that we finish as high as we can"...
Oh yeah!! Pull the other one, it's got bells on!!
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (21/4/06)

I'd never knock the official Pravda site for their content, they always tell it as it is! Well, normally, usually.... "Nurse!" - Colm

Online ticket renewal problems
I have just had a look at the online season ticket renewals and unsurprisingly I have had a few problems with this. It seems to be perfectly okay (although I haven’t renewed yet) as long as you are using the Internet Explorer browser. If you are using Netscape or Mozilla browsers you get the following problems:

1) Security error – domain name mismatch. This is to do with the security certificate not matching the software (www is missing). nb: Internet Explorer must be more forgiving. This is not a major problem – just annoying.

2) You cannot add anything to the shopping basket – so you don’t really know what to do (the Proceed to Checkout only comes up when you have added an item). This is a major problem. Anyway I just thought I would inform the millions who access your site – it might save some people some frustration.

Thanks for a great site. I am positively optimistic compared to some of the views and I always thought that I tended to look on the negative side.
Brian Donnelly, Hoddesdon  (21/4/06)

Are you surprised there's a problem for those seeking to avail of the Club's "big freeze"? It's often been a nightmare buying tat from the online megastore, so I can only imagine the problems for some users of various other browsers! Same old, same old... - Colm

Should he stay or should he go?
Up until last week, I would have been firmly in the pro-Moyes camp. Last seasons 4th place finish was a fantastic achievement and some pride for blues was restored. I've supported Everton for 20 years now just catching the tail end of our most successful period. Everything since then has been poor - but for the `95 FA Cup. There have been some painful memories and dark times.

After last weekend's defeats to Tottenham and Chelsea, I questioned for the first time where this club was going under the current manager. My conclusion: nowhere. After making a 300-mile round trip to the game on Saturday, I came away feeling cheated. That journey back is hard enough after losing but I felt the 11 players on the pitch were clueless. They didn't seem to have a gameplan, no-one wanted to take responsibility.

Here lies Moyes's greatest weakness. His tactical ability — formations, gameplan, adapting it to chase games, substitutions — just isnt there. He can rally the troops and get them all to dig in and fight, but that's only so much use and has obvious limitations.

For so long he continued with 4-5-1 even though it clearly wasn't working. Last seasons 4th place for example. We were great up until Christmas, the formation caught people out and we managed to get the luck at times. After Christmas: relegation form. It was only the ineptitude of the teams around us that allowed us to stay 4th.

So many times this season Moyes has failed to make changes and when he has they have been mind boggling. Liverpool away, Fulham at home, Chelsea away to name a few.

The other area of weakness has been Moyes activity in the transfer market. Too many transfer windows have come and gone. The club has stood still not for the first time. We had the opportunity to take this club forward last summer but once again we did nothing. For that I blame the board and Moyes.

When I look at this seasons performances I am embarassed: Dinamo Bucharest, West Brom (a), Liverpool (h & a), Tottenham (h), Chelsea (a), Bolton (h), Aston Villa (a). These are the results that hurt the most. Up until Christmas we looked like we were going to be involved in a relegation battle.

I think we could have gone down this season if one game hadn't swung our way. That game was Sunderland away on New Years Eve. I went to the game and we were dreadful. It was one of the worst performances by an Everton side I have ever seen. We couldnt put one pass together, never mind two. Sunderland were by far the better team and should have won. We got a lucky goal and the rest is history.

I feel now that the club should dispense with Moyes's services and look to bring a new face in. Who? Well I honestly dont know, but I believe that if we carry on with the current manager, the consequences could be disastrous.

I for one am not happy with the dross that is being produced at the moment. Arteta is the only bright point to come out of this season. We need to take that and build on it. I don't think for one second that we will be transformed into a title-winning side overnight. But I do believe Evertonians deserve better.
Craig Heywood, Carlisle  (21/4/06)

Craig Heywood: meet Rob Fox....

Scrimshankers and snollygosters
Another good Scrabble Evertonia word is "snollygoster" - a worthless and dubious creature. Among those to whom we can apply this epithet (allegedly) are Paul Stretford and David O' Leary. Closer to home, you might consider Paul Gregg and good old Sir Des.

Some players actually achieved the unique status of being both snollygosters and scrimshankers, like Bakoyoko, Madar and Johnstone. In all honesty I can't put any of today's lot into this exclusive category, not even "Double Brandy Andy".

King of the Scrimshankers has to be Pistone, who apparently pissed the training staff off so much they rewarded him with a new contract. "Latter day Snollygosters" could be Mark Ward and Micky Thomas...
Chris Williams, Little Neston  (21/4/06)

Snollygosters! Brilliant!!!

Just read the legendary (a term not to be used lightly) Bob Latchford's message on ToffeeWeb... and it made my day. What a top, top Evertonian who we should all wish was wearing the blue shirt currently.

As a season ticket holder at the time, I fondly remember a lot of those goals and particularly the final game (against Chelsea) where he clinched the 30 with a penalty. For all of you who haven't read the message, do so — and go and buy the book, I know I am going to.

Well done the team at ToffeeWeb, a weclome shot in the arm for those who remember what truly GREAT players we once had at the club... very poignant.
Mike Iddon, Marlow  (21/4/06)

Just saying his name... brings a warm glow and a smile. Christ was he good! Oh for his kind playing these days! Echoing your sentiment, everyone should go out and buy his book! - Colm

Moyes not the first
With the main talking point being whether or not Everton can avoid chalking up their lowest ever goals tally, one of your correspondents recently opined that Moyes must be the only manager ever to have taken a club to fourth place in the Premier table with a negative goal difference. Strictly speaking he was right but another Everton managerial `genius` can claim an even better(?) achievement!

In the Premier`s inaugural season (92-93), Mike Walker took Norwich to THIRD place with a goal difference of minus 4 (61 for/65 against) from 42 matches.

It was enough to win him the much vaunted `Manager of the Year` award and ultimately convince the Everton Board to appoint him to the Goodison hot seat. Like Moyes, he managed to save us from relegation in his first part-season but was to reign (I love that term!) for only 305 days.

Perhaps the lesson is to look for substance behind the figures!
David Hall, Taunton  (21/4/06)

Indeed! - Colm

Not because they're Scottish

Sorry Michael, my point was not just because Moyes and Ferguson are both Scottish (Walter Smith was Scottish and he was terrible) but the title of my post did mention time.

Granted this season has not been as successful as the last but we have seen much more progress under Moyes than any other manager of the last decade or so (apart from Royle's cup success but we were nearly relegated that year from memory).

Our problem as fans is that we want success and we want it now. Moyes has had four years at the helm and we have definitely seen improvement and considering he inherited a team with next to no money and a poor squad, I think he has exceeded realistic expectations. It took Ferguson nearly seven years to win his first title. I think we owe Moyes a bit more time to prove what he can do. Revolutions do not happen overnight.
Stephen Whiley, Singapore  (21/4/06)

It`s that word again (ITWA)
Thursday is darts night for a few of us Evertonians in our local. When we arrived last night, we were greeted with the following rhyme chalked on the old scoreboard,

`Scrimshanker, scrimshanker, where
Where have you been?
Of Van der Mede nothing is seen.
He`s off having treatment,
Now there`s a surprise,
Another great signing by the genius Moyes!`

Only a couple of us understood the significance but, clearly, the educational impact of ToffeeWeb knows no bounds!
Eric Phelan, Parbold  (21/4/06)

Some day in the not too distant future will we witness a scouse band (Zutons etc..) releasing an album called "Scrimshanker"? Or how about the follow up DVD to the absolute cringeworthy effort titled "We're Off To A Flyer" - "Scrimshanker: That Was The Season 2005-06"??? - Colm

All things blue
So we achieved fourth with Tommy Gravesen having his best season until January, Carsley played a full season and played well, Martyn was great, and Stubbs and Weir had a full season together, Dunc's even scored a few, Bent's workrate and few goals helped, then Cahill popped several in — 4th!!!!

We got knocked out by a bad decision (Villarreal are in semis) then we got Bucharest; they too are still in the Uefa Cup, so we had two bad draws. This season: no Carsley, Stubbs went (results turned when he returned)Dunc's provided no goals and banned, Cahill burnt out, Bent was just not accepted due to not enough goals, so if we had got in to the Champions League we would not have got far.

Signings Ferrari, Van der Meyde, Davies, Vaughan, Pistone, Naysmith all mainly injured regardless of if you like them or not. Now we are not the "millionaires" of the good old days: Sky TV, the Premiership, Champions League was all taken away when the Heysel Stadium European ban happened — we suffered most.

The game is money-run more than ever. It took Chelsea 50 years for their next title, and a lot of money; Man Utd —money; Arsenal who have one of the best coaches in europe and money... so who else has won the title? Oh yes, Leeds in 94ish. Where are they now, after not getting into the Champions League, when they went out on a limb and spent big!!!

Bullshit Billy he may be; Peter Johnson did us no favours... when we got rid of Walter Smith, I actually wondered if we would get anyone worth talking about. All your complaints about Moyes/Kenwright: carry on, but your only arguement is get some investors in, spend money, buy big names...

But it does not always work either. The game's changed; the times have changed and until we get a sugar daddy, we will not have the chance to loose a lot of money on mercenary players... I'm as pissed off as the rest of you but unfortunately that life.

And I know to a lot of people he's a hero, but why did we ever by Ferguson back when we knew his history, injuries red cards and not really that many goals? Sure he had great potential, but that was big money back then!!!!
Anton Holmes, Australia  (21/4/06)

We didn't play Steaua Bucharest in the UEFA Cup. ;-) - Colm

Little will for
Once again, debate focusses on the merits or otherwise of our manager, David Moyes. As ever, and as with every other manager in the game, when the team wins a few he`s a hero and when they lose he`s a villain.

Working as I do with a large number of Evertonians, I am in an ideal position to gauge the temperature,as it were. Generally speaking,the dissatisfaction level is rising but nowhere near boiling point. The main focus of complaint is the poor entertainment level, best illustrated by the appallingly negative goal difference. Apart from the very odd game, this has been a feature of the Moyes tenure with victories mainly of the 1-0 variety gained from set pieces.

No in-depth football knowledge is required to identify the inadeqacies of the strike force as the main weakness but questions can also be asked about the inability of the midfield to supply the `killer` ball and the somewhat confused tactics the manager seems to employ. Defensively we are generally well served by the various back four combinations although ageing first-choice goalie and centre-backs may find another season together just one too far.

In all fairness, all of the foregoing points are quibbles rather than downright criticism, and with last season`s fourth place still a positive talking point, I sense very little will for immediate change. Much will depend, I feel, on what the manager is seen to do in the the close season and how the Board can support him.

If it turns out to be another period of inactivity, followed by a less-than-inspiring start to the new campaign, then the quibbles will soon escalate to an outcry and Moyes will not be the only target of the `Must Go` mob!
Cameron McGrath, Halewood  (21/4/06)

That's good feedback, Cameron; you should get with Gaz Hughes, who believes fully two-thirds of Evertonians are ready to ditch Moyes, and do a databse swap. Personally, your account sounds more realistic, and explains why the crowds at Goodison remain very healthy despite the rumblings on here.

I'm still amazed how many Evertonians are banking on action in the summer, though, when Davie clearly has tried to play down the expectations of any great signings.... Reverse psychology? — Michael

My, my...
Well that's another to add to the list... Reading Toffeeweb really is contributing to my education, so far we've had 'pantywaist' re Valerie, 'scrimshanker' re Vans-he-going-to-be fit and now 'jejune' re, well anything to do with the current management and playing style. All sound words now in my regular vocabulary. Nice one, keep it up contributors and editors alike.
Educated Rita, Leeds Library  (20/4/06)

Mr. Wyness has already contacted ToffeeWeb towers with an idea for "Scrabble Evertonia" - all he needs is the patent. Wonder how many points you could score with 'scrimshanker'? - Colm

Moyes & Rooney
Moyes never held Rooney back. He protected him. Just like Sir Alex did with Ryan Giggs at that age. Sometimes Rooney found himself on the bench but I think it was for good reason. Moyes was protecting him so he didn't end up like Michael Owen and his injuries or Jermaine Pennant and his off-field problems. Keeping Rooney on the bench some games protected him both physically and mentally. It meant Rooney didn't feel the weight of the whole team on his back. I think Moyes was trying to ensure that Rooney didn't get burnt out at a young age so Everton could enjoy his services of many years to come.

Unfortunately, Rooney turned out to be a money grabbing git and the self-confessed Evertonian dumped his beloved club quicker then you can say 'tapped up by Gary Neville'. Anyway you want a manager who kicks the butt of young players like Rooney who are prone to getting into trouble. Rooney knew who was in charge at Everton, as do all the players. Moyes also protected Rooney off the field. I bet he wouldn't be in so much gambling trouble if Moyes was still his gaffer.

I know Rooney got into trouble with a granny prostitute but that was early on before he really came under the Moyes attention. Moyes didn't hold Rooney back, the boy was given an Everton debut at 16 and was playing for England at 17.

Rooney's autobiography will be out soon and we will all be able to read his version of what happened. I bet he still respects Moyes and what he did to help him early on in his career. Rooney is a world-class player, maybe the best player of his generation. Harvey, Moyes, Sir Alex and Sven have been the biggest influences on Rooney's career. Although apparently Big Dunc was his hero.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (20/4/06)

Come off it, Dutch! Throughout the entire vilification of Rooney's fondness for amassing a rather hefty debt on the old plastic we seemingly all forgot that the same Croccy kid was paid a SEVEN figure fee to NOT write a collection of books in his own name! Nice work if you can get it. Above his football income. For what little it may be worth, should it ever be penned, I'd much rather read the thoughts of Rooney's old agent Peter McIntosh on the issues surrounding Rooney's exit from Goodison. More than a few people in places at Everton might then experience "squeezy bum time", to pen a phrase oft used by Rooney's current manager. Rooney's 'autobiography' will be a sanitised pictorial tome aimed at the younger market. That's what sells. - Colm

Re: The future might be bright
So we go from relegation candidates in Dec 05 to world beaters in a few years. I ask yer, are Everton's pr team working overtime this week.
Jim Spears, London  (21/4/06)

Never under-estimate the art of spin. They work 24/7! - Colm

A little chuckle!
Reading your answer to my last posting brought a smile to my face. The sarcasm, the wit, the truth! What can I say, as a guy who was born in Margret Rd, went to Arnot St School (I moved to Crocky when I was 10 years old) went to his first EFC game at 3 and was even one of the sados in our lowest modern attendance.

I'm EFC daft and proud of it. I'm also definitely in the stay at Goodison camp. I'm made up we don't have a Russian or Croatian Chairman. A French, Portuguese or Spanish manager with 34 players from Timbuktu. Am I a 43-year-old Evertonian tradionalist? Who sees his club through blue tinted glasses on the end of his bluenose? You bet your socks I am, and proud of it. Onward Evertonians.
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (20/4/06)

Would I be correct is saying you used to pull the odd pint or two not far from Goodison Park, Sir? - Colm

The Future Might be Bright
I hear lots of fellow Evertonians moaning about the lack of flair in the side and the fact that the team is going no were under Moyes. I disagree. When players like Van der Meyde, Arteta, Cahill and Osman are on the pitch in midfield all at the same time next season, with plenty of flair and age on their side, that solves the flair problem straight away.

With James Vaughan, Victor Anicebe and the impending arrival of the supposed next Wayne Rooney, Scott Spencer, on the way, the future looks bright in the striker department. The goalkeeping department is fine with Ruddy and Turner looking good coming through. The only postion Moyes will need to really invest in is the defence because, without the likes of Hibbert and Yobo, we look slow and vunerable.

So therefore I think Everton will be challenging for honours in the next couple of years — maybe not the league but at least European football each season and winning the English Cups.
Anthony Kelley, Liverpool  (21/4/06)

What a scrimshanker!
Highly amused to see my description of Van der Meyde had created such interest. My old man, who spent all his life in the Merchant Navy, applied it to anyone he considered a skiver or n`ere-do-well. I remember being amazed when Harry Catterick used it in a less than sensitive Sunday paper article about some of his old Sheffield Wednesday players, but I guess you will have some idea of the subject matter!

Personally, I have extended its use to cover anyone I consider less than efficient - it just seems so much more polite than the appellation with which it rhymes!
Ray Porter, Kirkby  (20/4/06)

Re:Lowering expectations
Bollocks to lowering expectations, if the players or manager don',t perform... ship them out. I will not go down Apathy Ave to keep Moyes and his players in a job.
David  Bell, Liverpool  (20/4/06)

Many supporters are demanding that Moyes start playing the youngsters and are using the fact that they aren't being given a run in the team to slaughter Moyes for hating young players. Have any of you ever thought that maybe with his personal knowledge of the young players that Moyes knows something we don't?

No doubt Moyes has seen the youngsers in action many times; I'm sure he's spoken frequently with Andy Holden about their performances for the reserves and I would bet my house on the fact that Moyes knows more about them than any ToffeeWeb feedback fan currently shouting for their inclusion in the first team.

I would guess that the same fans now shouting for Victor Anichebe to be given a debut start are the same fans who a couple of years ago blasted Moyes for not giving Nick Chadwick a run in the team. And where is Chadwick now? Well, in the 14 months he's been playing for Championship side Plymouth, he's scored exactly 6 goals. I guess Moyes knew something about Chadwick that those fans didn't.

What's more likely: Moyes knows the youngsters would improve the first team but refuses to play them because for some reason he hates them? Or Moyes has assessed the youngsters and feels that they are simply not good enough for the Premiership?

Maybe Moyes is aware that Anichebe, Vidarsson, Hopkins & Boyle are about as good as previous youngsters Chadwick, Schumacher, Gerrard & Clarke, all of whom have now settled into obscurity in the lower divisions. If the Academy doesn't produce youngsters of a high enough quality Moyes cannot develop them into Premiership players. When Moyes has had the quality (Rooney/Osman/Hibbert) he has managed to develop them into good players, world-class in Rooney's case. Can anyone even name a youngster who was never given a chance under Moyes and has gone on to better things?
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (20/4/06)

Or could it be that the experience of having to try to impress Moyes the perfectionist has been too much for these lads, who are blessed with skill and flair but perhaps don't show enough of the work ethic, who have had their fragile confidence dented, and have then been destined to wane and fade instead of becoming talented young footballers of great promise.

There are indeed those who say that Moyes held Rooney back, and delayed his development into a world-class footballer, that Rooney's negative experieces under Moyes played a significant role in him leaving the club, and were also a massive factor in the problems of that final almost disaterous season, which were manifested in a 17th place Premiership finish with the lowest ever points total by an Everton team. No, they're not among the accomplishments of Mr Moyes that you crow about, eh, Dutch. And no wonder. — Michael

No scrimshankers for `The Cat`!
Strange to tell but `scrimshanker` was a word much loved by Harry Catterick to describe any player who he considered to take an undue time to recover from injury. I have spent considerable time today researching my material of that period to see if I can locate an attributable quote. I do remember it being used in a programme article in response to criticism that he seemed reluctant to sign certain players much vaunted by the Press. From memory, it was something along the lines, `We would need a treatment room the size of Goodison for some of the scrimshankers they would like us to sign.`

I`ve no idea where Ray Porter became aquainted with the word but, like many others who did National Service, I can attest it was used daily by my drill sergeant to describe anyone he considered lazy and inept. It seems to have disappeared from most modern dictionaries but I have found an old Chambers which says `Scrimshanker: One who avoids work or duty, widely used in navy parlance to describe a seaman who nurses an injury for months to shirk his responsibilities.`

Whether this applies to Van der Meyde, I will leave others to judge, but I can assure you it might well have been very close to `The Cat`s` lips!
David Hall, Taunton  (20/4/06)

Cheers for that David! Scrimshanker, a word now never to be forgotten - and somewhat apt for perhaps one or more of the current first team squad! - Colm

Reply to Robert Jarvis
Thank you for being interested in my article, and I would like to take the opportunity to apologise for it being so short. You see, the thing is everybody else used to complain that my articles were too long.... Ho hum.

But don't worry, I've got plenty more to say; I just thought I'd ease my way back in and make a conscious effort to stick to, oh, 6 different points instead of about 30.

Now I remember why I used to make them so long. I used to make sure I tried to cover every possible angle at once so nobody could ignore what I actually did write and just say, 'Well that's all well and good, but what about x, y and z?.' But surely just commenting on what was left out is a politician's trick? Not that I'd know, like.
Rob Fox, Blackpool  (20/4/06)

Four pages... short?!!?!? I think the point is not that you have to include everything, cover ever angle — it's that you need to have one clear point and make that as succinctly and convincingly as possible.

I'm not really sure what that article was about, and I've read it at least twice. You slam the current discussion as boring, repetitive, depressing and polarized, yet end up saying you can see both sides of the argument, and offer us, as ever, the prosepect of jam tomorrow, if we are patient (at least you didn't add "and if we like Moyes, adopt a long-term view"...).

Let's face it; we as fans are never going to "solve" anything related to Everton. The discussion itself is the end-product. It enlightens or entrenches those with fixed views, depending on their personalities; it informs and educates those who are receptive, and its acts as a place to vent publically for those who need to get things off their chests. This is your audience. Don't knock 'em. — Michael

Lowering expectations
Let's face it, Dutch is right. Mid-table mediocare shite is all Everton can achieve in the Premiership. We are stuck in a mid-table league with teams such as Newcastle, Middlesbourgh, Bolton, Charlton, Blackburn etc whose main objective is to qualify for Europe and have a good cup run. And depending on confidence, injuries and suspensions, any team is as good as the other. Spurs have achieved what all of these mid-table clubs would like; gain Champions League quaification (assuming they do). We did this last season but have failed to build upon that success. It was a huge success but a totally unplanned and heroic feat.

So unless we get some serious money and spend it (just like Spurs), all we can ever expect is mid-table. There is a risk: Middlesbourgh and Newcastle have spent heavily but are still no better off. However! We do deserve to see maximum effort, good football and to beat Liverpool at least once a year! Comparing modern-day Everton to the great teams of old is uselss and if anything depressing!
Danny Hall, York  (20/4/06)

Just a reality check to some of you out there who think that we are improving because we are'nt involved in a relegation scrap. We were very lucky at Sunderland and then had a very short run of good results allied to good fortune and playing teams at the right time.

We are a very poor team and could easily be in dire straits right now. This pathetic assembly of one-paced journeymen is Moyes's sole responsibility; he is clueless in the transfer market, doesn't value athleticism, power or pace... see Davies, Beattie, McFadden etc etc, for proof; is a tactical twat....see rabbit in headlights/Gollum expression at most games; and has horrible man-management skills....see Rooney and every spineless end-of-season collapse.

Unless we see big changes to the playing staff, we will be in big trouble again next season. The best we can hope for is not getting relegated and yet more 'clinging on', horrible, unskilled football to 'entertain' us.

But still he has his Disciples... you reap what you sow, get what you deserve and all that. Well if your happy with having teams like Wigan and West Ham coming from the Championship, beating us at home, having a superior squad, playing superior football, finishing higher in the league than us... all at a fraction of the cost, then you and Moyes deserve each other.
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (20/4/06)

Ouch! Stick that big knife in and twist, why don't ya! But I can't argue with much of that. It reflects my biggest concern with Moyes: our football is not progressing... it's regressing! — Michael

It's An Age Thing!
I've often wondered how it is that correspondents like Shaeffer and Dodd can be so happy with so little. Basically, it's simple: they are the Sky Generation. Football began in 1992 and anything before that was in the age of Steve Bloomer, the Younger Pitt and Xenophon. They expect that titles will be won by Man Utd, Arsenal or lately, Chelsea; Cups will be won by the above three and occasionally Liverpool. It's amazing really that they ever chose Everton as their team as most of their generation supports the team that they see winning most often on Sky.

Those of us like David Hall, Harry Meek, myself, and even Tony Marsh (though I suspect he is younger than us three), who have seen Everton as a great team and winning trophies, are now regareded as relics. The fact is,"Young Dutch" and "Young Richard", we like you are living Evertonians. It's not so much our lack of success that upsets me about Moyes and his team. It's the complete absence of style.

To see last season's jejune offering as a triumph. Has a team that's finished fourth in any League ever finished with a negative Goal Difference? Surely that's a reliable statistical indicator of how lucky we were? David Hall is right about the statistics of this year. Our lack of goals is a clear indicator of our lack of quality.

I keep repeating Danny Blanchflower's wonderful quote that football isn't about winning and losing, it's about "glory". The reason Chelsea are not popular is that they are effective and efficient, pragmatic, but rarely do they play with style. Arsenal on the other hand, are vulnerable, you can kick them out of games, but at their best, they play with glory. Everton have always been in the past a team that played with style. They did not merely win, they played to bring a smile to those who watched and supported them.

To be told by some Everton fans that Joe Royle's "Dogs of War" were a great Everton team. At times they were an affront to those of us who believe in this club and its values.

I will always support Everton no matter how they play and where they are in the League. But in my heart, I expect Everton to play with style and dignity and that is why "the dogs of War" mentality and the idolisation of the thug, Ferguson, is contrary to all the values that I hold as being synonymous with Everton. "Nil Satis Nisi Optimum" is a creed, not a motto.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (20/4/06)

Great stuff, Rick. Spot on, arl fella! — Michael

Re: Everton's performance under Moyes 2005/06
Taking the season as a whole, I have been dissatisfied by our progress — or non-progress — compared to other clubs in the division. It seems that the decision not to recruit a striker in the summer has ultimately cost us. Scoring just over thirty league goals in a season is pathetic for a club of Everton's size and stature.

It is often unfair to use hindsight to enforce an argument; however, clubs like Blackburn, Charlton, Wigan and West Ham all seem to play much better football than Everton and score more goals. Would Darren Bent, Craig Bellamy, Henri Camara or Dean Ashton really have been of less benefit to Everton than some of our summer signings such as Simon Davies or Per Krøldrup who both contributed little or anything to the Goodison cause this year?

If Everton want to learn how to build a successful attacking football team, they should look no further than a Liverpool-born manager, Steve Coppell at Reading. Reading have quite possibly been the best team to watch in any of the English league system this year. The strategy of the club has been to recruit young, hungry, attack minded players (haven’t we heard that somewhere before?) such as Kevin Doyle and Leroy Lita who have propelled them to result after result this past season — playing some breath-taking football along the way.

For me, progress is a continual improvement. Although I am a believer that we are only a couple of players away from being a very good side (compared to the dross of the past fifteen years), I do not believe that anybody can justifiably state that we have progressed this season. The defence has looked slow and laboured, some of our results have been an absolute disgrace, and the attack and quality of football has been virtually non-existent.

If Moyes does not have the funds to buy the best quality players then the club should invest in its virtually non-existent scouting network. Clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham seem to have a production line of young domestic and foreign talent coming through their ranks. Looking at Everton’s youth and reserve sides — the future looks far from bright.
Paul Gregory, Lancashire  (20/4/06)

A number of people are now slamming the scouting system and the Everton Academy, making disparaging claims about both. I'm curious: are these determinations based on personaal knowledge and experinece with how these systems should work in modern-day football? Or is it an inference drawn through perceived comparison with "other clubs" based on number of players coming through? (I think I know the answer...)

Having followed Everton Academy football through this website for almost the last 10 years, I struggle to understand how you draw such conclusions: where is the evidence that the club's scouting system is "virtually non-existent"? How then did they just come up with Scott Spencer? And all those other youth imports I listed a few days ago?

Come on, people: I know you love to knock the club, but this is horseshit and I'm calling you on it. — Michael

Player Fitness or....?
Last season everybody was impressed by the fitness of the team and their high-energy game. The number of games we won/drew with late goals was a feature.

This season has been the opposite. We rarely come from behind to get anything; having seen the stats on Sky text which shows goals for and against split over each 15 mins, our goals-for in the second half is even crapper than our overall poor scoring record and our goals-against this half is disproportionately high.

Last close-season, a friend described how David Moyes spoke at his firm's conference and, using Prozone, showed how the players, by being fitter, ran further in a match, covering more ground than the previous season. This was a reason for their success. Perhaps others have caught up, we've gone back. or players aren't playing for new contracts this year.
Chris  Williams, Little Neston  (20/4/06)

Interesting; I do wonder about this emphasis on fitness over skill and flair; guess it says eveything about the modern game and the modern Everton (low in expectation, as the Moyes Apologists keep telling us). And as we were told just recently, "the players have nothing to prove" regarding their contracts... — Michael

Give Moyes more time
Sorry if this has been brought up before but if we look at another Scottish manager in the form of the great Alex Ferguson (as much as it pains me to say it), we'll see that he was appointed United manager in 1986 and didn't win his first trophy until 1990, the FA Cup. During these first few years, United's form under Ferguson was mediocre at best and he didn't win his first Premiership trophy until 1993.

As we all know, United and Ferguson have gone on to create history and, as much as some of us may dislike Ferguson and United, their success cannot be ignored. Granted one of the main reasons behind United's success is money and lots of it but time was also very important. Things don't happen overnight and Moyes is still young as a manager and will keep on learning. If we give him more time we may even see more success than just fourth in the table.

Another reminder, Ferguson's initial years as United's manager bear resemblances to Moyes's first few as Everton's manager. Going from runners up in the league one year to eleventh in the next.
Stephen Whiley, Singapore  (20/4/06)

And let me get ths right: the only connection is that they are both Scottish??? Now, what if there were two or three (or even four) other Scottish managers who have been given lots of time to succeed... but have not done so. Could they also be considered as role models for us confused Evertonians? I just want to understand how this works, that's all. — Michael

Things aren't that bad...
In my last posting,I said how ridiculous it was for fans to consider boycotting games, nd Michael gave me a (fairly typically!) sarcastic response. My point was simply that I don't think the situation is bad enough to warrant boycotts or calls for the manager's head — they surely have to be last resorts.

Yes, mistakes have been made, and in many ways it has been a season to forget, but have things honestly been bad enough to call for a massive clear out, right throughout the club — if you believe what some people contribute on this site? My opinion is no, and I believe David Moyes will be a better manager again after the experience of this season, just like he was last year after we finished 17th the previous year.

I believe he must now regret not getting a striker last summer, but do we give him the opportunity to atone for his mistakes, or do we cut our nose off to spite our face? You're probably going to slate me anyway Michael, but I say give David Moyes the opportunity to get a striker and another creative midfielder. Do you not share my view that we would probably be in line for a decent season next year if he manages this?
Danny Broderick, London  (20/4/06)

I learnt a long time ago that making any predictions regarding Everton was a worthless endeavour. I know lots of fans see this as a fundamental part of their football experience; it underlies the massive booms in recent years for betting on football and for things like fantasy football leagues, but at the end of the day, such predictions are quite meaningless.

Yes, we all said he needed to bring in a striker, but Davie knows best, remember; so I see no indication that he will fulfil your needs for team-building this coming summer. Next season could be a decent season or not, quite unrealted to whether David Moyes brings in a striker or not — surely that's what the last four years tells us? That's what it tells me anyway: anything is possiible — or not — why even waste your time trying to predict it? Just jump aboard the roller-coaster for all the thrills and screams it's going to bring you... — Michael

4 years and £40 million
When you look through the list of players purchased by Moyes, did we really get value for money when Moyes was handing over the cheques? £40 million is a lot of money for a small club like Everton. On the other hand, Moyes had to sell over £33 million worth of talent to have money to spend in the first place.

The other thing is Bill Kenwright has put next to nothing in the pot and has failed to bring investment into the club for 5 years running. No new stadium; no new investment and Bill Liar's finest hour when he sold our best player and then flat out shanked the fans with Fortress Sports Fund lies.

So, 4 or 5 years later, with £40 million spent and we still sit at the wrong end of the table. Financial approval is consent and that is enough for me to say DO ONE, BILL! Go and run Apathy Utd.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (20/4/06)

You must have meant he "scrimshanked" the fans, surely? And Apathy Utd? I think he's already there... — Michael

My Expectations!
Maybe the problem is that my expectations are lower then some of the other fans.

I'm 30 later this year, I started supporting Everton when I was just a little kid in the 1980's. May 1987 I was an 11-year-old standing in the ground watching as Pat van den Hauwe scored the winner against Norwich and sealed the title for Everton. I have vauge memories of the match and I remember being pleased but I was really too young to appreciate it.

For some reason I had a spell where I lost interest in football for a number of years. Then in the early 90's when I was a teenager I found my way back to football and started supporting Everton again with a passion. Unfortunately this was during the 1990's a decade which, except for the FA Cup win, was pretty awful for Everton fans.

Basically my best memories of Everton consist of a vague title winning game in 1987, the FA Cup win in 1995 and finishing 4th last season. Other then that Everton have been a midtable or relegation scrapping side. That's all I really know, which is why I'm so happy that Moyes is slowly establishing Everton as a Top 10 side.

I know Everton boast a proud history but that's the past and I don't have any memory of it. Comparing the current side to the golden era sides is pointless. We have to start thinking of more recent history and sadly Everton have been a pretty poor side for nearly two decades now.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (20/04/06)

So, let me paraphrase: because Dutch as no great personal experience of Everton being any good, and is now reveling in this current purple patch of mid-table mediocrity, the rest of us should lower our standards to your level and not expect anything more?

Where's Bill gone? I think he understands this a lot better than I do. — Michael

Wanted: Playmakers
Not wanting to be seen as jumping on the most recent bandwagon of criticism levelled at David Moyes, I just would like to ask the question as to why (especially in the last few games) we look like a team full of huff & puff, but short of any playmaking ability?

With Arteta out of the team, no player seems capable of putting his foot on the ball and showing some class. Is there anyone in our current squad who can step up and fill the void?

During the off-season, I — like every other Blue — will be scanning the media to see what (if any) players we can lure to Goodison. But instead of a strike partner for Beattie and a solid goalkeeper, I will also be praying for a quality proven central-midfielder who's first reaction will be to get on the ball and pick out a constructive pass. Watching the likes of Riquelme for Villarreal made me realise what we sorely lack!
Mark Fitzgerald, Cork, Ireland  (20/4/06)

Reply to Rob Fox
I read the article with interest. It seems to me that Rob sufers from that selective memory syndrome commonly associated with politicians.

No mention in his long article of our what is becoming our perennial end-of-season whimper when the players seem to be thinking of holidays. No mention of the pathetic goal scoring each season and our awful start of this season. To describe our play as being mediocre is too generous a word; no mention of our playing style from Rob. Then there are the tactics and the substitutions in which Moyes's only idea seems to be bring on Ferguson and swop a midfielder. No young players given a chance even for the last 10 or so minutes.

Perhaps Rob is just like Moyes and revels in the so-called effort put in by the players. Next time you want to do an article, Rob, put your thinking cap straight.
Robert Jarvis, Burnley  (20/4/2006)

Are we progressing
This is a very hard question for all true Evertonians to answer. If you look at our wonderful history and our present position, the answer has to be a massive "No". If on the other hand you look at our last 10 years, you have to say we are.

Do we play the type of football we Evertonians demand (which is our birthright)? No. Are there any players in the current team, who will go down in history as an Everton great? No. Are we the millionaires, who regularly break the transfer record? No. But compareded to just a few years back, when we escaped relagation TWICE on the last day of the season, hearing daily in media that Everton were about to go bankrupt and with Ginola and Gazza on the pitch, we are definatly progressing.

I have never been David Moyes's biggest supporter. He not only gets me down at times, sending our team out who's main aim is to steal a goal from a set play, but he actually hurts me when he talks down EFC (I wish BK would have a word with him on that). But surely we all agree that, with at least three good buys, we have the best squad for a long time, the club is finacially stable (thanks for that BK, there's not one other person willing to put a penny into EFC. This man remortagaed his house for our club and we have other idiots criticizing him who won't even put the price of a season ticket into the club)

For these reasons we all must give our backing to DM and BK for next season. If it goes wrong, then it's the time for the long knives.
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (20/4/06)

Ah Bless... What can I say... I am so choked up, Absolutely overcome. That's fantastic. You know, I just love the club and everything about it, the blue gravel, Goodison Park, it's just such a lovely old stadium. And we do have such a fantasic history. Everton are absolutely positively one of the best clubs out there... and they're all mine, I tell you... ALL MINE!!

What on earth is Moysie doing? Subject to a medical he appears to have brought a young player in... Scott Stevenson. Surely a mistake?

Being an avid reader of the TW mailbag (promise I will get out more soon), I was led to believe that DM was anti-youth. This purchase, plus that of Vidarsson last year, together with Vaughan, Turner, Ruddy and Anichebe coming through from the youth ranks has me all confused.

No doubt other mailbaggers can put me straight on this ?
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (20/4/06)

David has done a fantastic job, absolutely fantastic, to bring through the players he has. He works with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and creates a lovely ambiance during those training sessions. What a lovely fella; he's an absolute joy to behold. I'll tell you this: he is far and away the best manager we could possibly have. It was a fantatsic acheivement to finish fourth last season, absolutely fantastic. — Bill

Money doesn't talk it swears
Here's an answer to the problems we seem to have encountered under Moyes. We need to pay more money each week to players in order to keep them and attract them. We always seem to struggle to 'renew' contracts unless it's a 48-year-old 'keeper or a crock 'Talisman' we need to keep hold of.

The signings we lost out on in the summer were down to cold hard cash, the cooked figures we were shown by Wyness aren't a reflection of our true status — rather they show we are still unwilling to accept our position as a club who has lost direction. I can't remember exactly were we were in the 'Big 50' or whatever it was but you won't get a backer based on turnover; it's profit that counts.

We need bucks and fast — Moyes might be as tight as a Scotsman but Sir Alex Ferguson seems to have shaken off his 'jockness' (granted United have more cash) — but why work at Tesco's for minimim wage when you can go to Waitrose for double the wedge? Yea Dunc and Campbell 'crippled' us but we needed Campbell. Wedge and more wedge are needed so we can pay those lovely mercenaries as much as they want.
David  O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (20/4/06)

You know, money is something that has changed the game, you can't get away from that, but I love the players we have now, and with David there, it's one happy family. He is such a lovely fella and he does everything I tell him, and we find that is more than enough to instill the fantastic kind of loyalty we have on the pitch. I still find it's an absolute pleasure for me to watch Everton every day of the week, eight days a week. — Bill

But who is the mastermind?
The worrying thing is, Colm is a figment of Bill Kenwright's imagination and the whole thing is a big charade as the big man carefully controls public opinion with theatrical audacity.
Paul Foster, London  (20/4/06)

But you've got to love it haven't you. It's really fantastic. You know, this gives me the best imaginable access to the fans, to be close to what they really think and feel. I love every minute of it. Sheer joy, and an absolute pleasure. — Bill

Everton history
Forgive me if I've missed it but why hasn't Moyes been slaughtered for his comments after the Spurs game, "We hope to finish in the top ten for the second season running for the first time in Everton's history"! Did he miss out the word "Premiership" before history? Further proof that he sees us as a small club happy to be among the big boys.

And by the way, Dave, seeing our players chasing Chelsea players to swap shirts... well you couldn't make it up. Sort it out!
Andy Hegan, Liverpool  (20/4/06)

You are a bit off the pace, lad. Both of these things have been mentioned and explained away by the Moyes apologists:

(1) Of course, he meant "Premiership" history... he just didn't SAY "Premiership history"... he said (as reported on the Official Everton Website} "for the first time in Everton's history". Go Figure.

(2) The shirts were "needed" for a charity event... Hang on, wouldn't it have been just as effective to say "These were the shirts Everton wore to play the Champions-elect"? Is people's charity so conditioned? — Colm's Figment

Poor end of season results
It has been mentioned quite a few times that since David Moyes has been in charge he has had 4 full seasons, and each season we have had a poor end-of-season run. There are a number of theories so I thought I would suggest mine.

As we all know Moyes likes to play a quick, high tempo, pressing game and I wonder if it takes it out of the players physically, so that it is impossible for them to perform at the top of their game playing this way for 40-ish games a season. I know that they are Premiership players and should be fit as a fiddle, but if other teams are playing at a normal pace throughout the season and we're all running round like headless chickens every week it must, I feel, catch up to them towards the end of the season when they are shattered — which means teams over-running us in the last few games and getting results.

I think it might be time Moyes finds another style of play so that we can get results in all nine months and not just in four or five months of a season. Maybe I'm wrong and the players just like to 'take the piss', but I do feel our style of play might have something to do with it.
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (20/4/06)

Moyes is No 1
Making progress... is this a joke? Moyes, Manager of the Year twice and making us a force again. Mike Walker and Walter Smith... ring any bells? Give the man a break. we should be kissing this mans boots!!
Pete Hining, Newcastle  (20/4/06)

Would that be hygenic? - Colm

The Scrimshanker
Never before have I been totally knocked out by the word 'Scrimshanker'. I now use it every day to describe everything from thieves, robbers, ner do wells, used car salesmen, call centre sales staff, cockney reds, it has a whole raft of uses.

Come on, Ray Porter, spill the beans and let us know it's origins?
Steve Hogan, Chester  (20/4/06)

We eagerly await the launch of "ToffeeWeb Call My Bluff". And today's first word is... - Colm

The secret`s out!
So,at long last the secret`s out! According to Rob Fox who always talks good sense, Dutch and Tony are merely figments of the Editor`s imagination and ongoing need to stimulate debate. Really, Michael, that`s pretty sad. How lonely you must be having to answer your own letters as it were! Perhaps I can arrange for you to attend a Day Centre near your home.

At least any Evertonian who wants to debate the issues of the day can see me in `The Freshy` on a couple of nights a week, although those who know of my local council employment say I spout a lot more rubbish than I arrange to have collected!

But then, football`s a game of opinions, ain`t it?
Richard Dodd, Formby  (20/4/06)

But what if I was to tell you that Michael was a figment of my imagination?! And last time I was out in Formby... think it was the Bay Horse we fell out of! - Colm

A Ramble & Jim Smith IN!
Speaking as a Moyes supporter, I have a gripe... why the hell can't he just sign some of these talented Championship strikers before their price triples with all his dithering around? Nugent, Jerome... give me a break; if he just signed them rather than buggering around talking about them maybe we wouldn't have missed out on Sissoko!!!

And we would have saved millions. Rather than talking about bringing Dick'ed in from Blackburn, why not go for Pongolle instead — he at least recognises there is only one club in Liverpool.

Anyway, my point here is if we are so dependent on developing young talent, why don't we hire a decent Academy Director? Why don't we develop the young kids, and have a scouting system that matches a Premiership side and not the Conference.

Get Jim Smith in from Oxford... excellent credentials, has forgotten more about football than we will probably ever know, and is an excellent judge of young talent. Give him the Academy and the Reserves and create a School of Excellence! Buggering around with the club's future in this amateur way is frustrating and frankly a waste of resources.
Rog Walker, Portsmouth  (20/4/06)

Another Moyes record.... if
Both Anthony Walling and your goodself have overlooked the possibility of yet another Moyes-type record being established soon.

If Everton can AVOID scoring any more goals this season- always a good possibility - they will create a new club record for the ratio of points to goals, currently a staggering 1.45. They can even improve on this by chalking up three 0-0 draws or even three 1-0 victories to bring the ratio to 1.5!

No doubt the Manager`s many supporters will hold this up as an indication of Scottish prudence and stunning organisational efficiency.

And before you ask the next question.... It wouldn`t be a Premiership record as the infamous Howard Wilkinson once bored the arse off Leeds fans by managing to achieve a ratio of 1.64 with 46 points from a measly 28 goals. It seems our man has got a way to go yet!
David Hall, Taunton  (20/4/06)

Some Blues might argue that he's already there! Other's not. - Colm

Campaign of hate against Moyes

I agree with Dutch. Moyes was only in charge for nine games that first season and cannot be held responsible for finishing 15th.
Steve Lewes, Cardiff  (20/4/06)

Campaign "of hate"??? Hate???? Oh dear... - Colm

Great Expectations
I could’ve titled this letter ‘Why Paul Tran is suddenly my favourite mailbagger…’

There’ve been some lively old submissions lately, which has been a great diversion from the post-match reactionary material that normally prevails (understandable though it is).

A word for the ‘Old farts’ brigade’ (I’m a slip of a lad at 35, but remember going to the game in the early 70’s, seeing Latch score his 30th…) – some of us do remember some attractive footballing sides. When that wasn’t available, we had the fighting spirit of Joe Royle’s unfortunately self-styled ‘dog’s of war’. Where player’s lacked ability, there was passion and commitment. (This is a gross over-simplification but bear with me).

The point is that those of us who remember earlier teams feel somehow short-changed. I’d even bet that some of us can’t really put the finger on why we feel like that. Football has (in my memory) always had it’s mercenary, pay-cheque, badge-kissing players — it just seems that as the rewards have gone up, the number increases.

The Premier League recently used to be called three leagues in one. I’d even say it’s now two – the top four (Arsenal included, not Spurs) and the rest. Look where we were earlier on, and until Sunderland were even hoping to sneak into Europe.

With Everton these days it’s hard to judge a match objectively. Did they play like that because they’re just not good enough, or were they playing to instructions? Everyone saw on Monday that Cahill lost the ball as he was out of position, and had absolutely nowhere to put the ball.

I think Moyes has his detractors for two principal reasons: he raised the bar — massively — with the 4th place last season, and this season his negative play, style, demeanour has been ‘found out’.

As others have pointed out — these ‘faults’ were there last season, they’ve just been amplified by the abysmal start and other runs (including current) this season. Yes, he’s stablised the squad — improved it even over the rabble he inherited from Smith. But like Paul Tran, Mike Price, Tony Marsh and others, it’s not enough for me – because I want to see the Everton that my Dad took me to see when I was a kid. I know I’m being unrealistic in the state of the modern game, but I am not being unrealistic to want to see entertaining football at least attempted by Everton. Sorry, but I often don’t enjoy watching Everton play anymore — I can take us losing, but not in this ‘style’.

So Michael – are you gonna censor me, or censure me??
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (20/4/06)

I felt the urge with that bit "he raised the bar — massively — with the 4th place last season" ... you know, everyone's been saying that but it's simply not relevant to what we saw last week, and to what I have every expectation of seeing this weekend.

But thankfully, you went in the same direction: it's about the football you and I want to see us playing NOW. The apologists are making endless convoluted apologies for why we can't see it from Moyes's team (welcome back, Rob Fox). I remain unconvinced. — Michael

One for the stattos
Alternatively... lies, damn lies and statistics.

So we play two top 4 sides within 4 weeks and we receive 2 highly dubious red cards - STRAIGHT red cards. When was the last time such a harsh and despicable series of events went in our favour?

My question to any would be statistician is - during the premier league years, how many straight red cards have Everton players 'earned' and against whom?

My somewhat cynical nature leads me to believe there might be direct correlation between teams that have found themselves at an advantage due to refereeing decisions against us and teams that finish in the top 4 of the league (see also G14)
Teddy Niigma, Warrington  (20/4/06)

Ref, to himself: "Now, I must remember... this is Everton, and they are playing the other team, who are really good and hardly ever commit any cardable offences. So, at the first opportunity, as soon as one of their dirty bastard players goes sliding in, I must show a straight red, rather than just a yellow card. Yes, I'm ready!" Conspiracies 'R' Us — Michael

Moyes & Expectations
Just reading the article on Moyes and whether we have progressed under his leadership.

Compared against previous seasons in the Premiership, the obvious answer is yes. We have a younger team and have actually achieved some things... ie, Champions League qualification. I think that the question should now be: Is Moyes and his staff capable of taking Everton to the next level?

To me, the answer is not as simple as just getting rid of the current coaching staff. Moyes is obviously capable of motivating the team but seems to lack tactical prowess. Therefore, can we not bring in a more tactically minded assistant coach? A young foreign coach who has some tactical nouse or at least some different tactics? In this way, we keep some stability in the club yet bring in what's lacking.

If Moyes goes then how long will a completely new coaching staff take to gel the team?
Michael Parrington, Melbourne, Australia  (20/4/06)

Rent-a-Quote Moyes
The new all-smiling `Rent-a-Quote' Moyes was at it again today, talking up Villarreal ahead of their game against Arsenal. He seems to think they are a wonder team — just like Spurs and Chelsea earlier in the week! The tactic is simple — but very transparent — lavishing praise on previous Everton victors in order to minimise his own team`s deficiences.

I`m not sure the tactic will work if, God forbid, Birmingham or West Brom turn us over but it`s certainly a new insight into the persona of this canny Scot. Whether these very public utterings will be enough to impress the Steve Gibsons of the football world is open to speculation, though — we can but hope!
Keith Patterson, Wigan  (20/4/06)

Lowest ever?
By my reckoning, we need to score ten goals in our remaining three matches to avoid this being our lowest haul in Premier history. I don`t seem to be able to access figures from our Football League days, so I wonder if anybody knows what was our lowest-ever season tally?
Anthony Walling, Ainsdale  (20/4/06)

Oh dear... I was hoping no-one would bring this up. The negative goal differences and lowest points total ever are bad enough, surely? Apparently the lowest previous total is 37 goals in 1972. So that's "just" seven goals needed to avoid equaling the lowest-ever goals-scopred record for Everton.

Strictly, there is our first-ever season in the Football League (1888-89) when we scored only 35 goals but that was from just 22 games... perhaps we should ask Dutch whether that should be included or excluded? Whatever, I feel another "record" coming up... — Michael

'We are never happy'
Why can "we" as Everton suporters never be happy and get behind Everton as much as possible instead of slagging off the manager or chairman all the time? If these players who we try to sign could see how much the fans love the club and everything about it, maybe they would sign for us and not the likes of Newcastle, Blackburn, Liverpool.

And maybe "Once a bluenose, always a bluenose" would mean just that and some of our sons would stay and fight for Everton FC and make it great again instead of proping up the likes of Man Utd on their own.
Steve  Bailey, Stalybridge  (19/4/06)

O..kay... err... quite a bit of ground to go over here... where to start... Fiscal remuneration as a prime motivational driver in the psyche of the Modern Footballer? ... perhaps not. No; I think I'll leave this one for Colm to deal with...

Ray Porter's piece
"Scrimshanker"? Fucking fantastic! I am going to use this word at least once in daily conversation from now on. Brilliant! Don't actually know what it means, but it aptly describes the season (I think). Superb!!
Tom  Edwards, Yorkshire  (19/4/06)


Silva, anyone?
Does anybody know much about Anderson Da Silva? Is he a real player or is he a character from Blue Bill's new Western? His name suggests he will be magic! Then again, I felt that about Rodrigo... Anybody caught anything of him in La Liga? A bit of flair would be welcomed with open arms!
Paul Foster, London  (19/4/06)

A lot of people are calling for the head of Moyes but I'm yet to see anybody suggest a realistic replacement. So come on - who is it?? Give me a decent answer and you can moan all you want! And I mean somebody who could take us beyond where we are with minimal cash.
Daniel Parker, New York, USA  (19/4/06)

Look, I've told you before, this is not Championship Manager. Those who want Moyes removed will have absolutely nothing to do with the appointment of his successor, so what's the point? And where is it written that they have to have his replacement lined up before they can complain about his failings? All they need is a desire for good football and a desire to see this club do well. — Michael

The Youngsters!
I thought I read on this site that youngsters Paul Hopkins and Mark Hughes had been released? The official site lists them in the starting eleven for tonight's reserve game against Leeds.

This 17-year-old Scott Spencer sounds like an exciting transfer. I love how Moyes is keeping one eye on the future. In five years time the Everton first team could include Ruddy, Molyneux, Vidarsson, Phelan, Anichebe, Kissock & Spencer.

We have a good batch of kids coming through and Moyes will develop them into good players. People screaming for the youngsters to be thrown into the deep end now have to remember how much of a step up it is for teenagers to make. Moyes will give debuts to them when the time is right.
Dutch Schaffer, London  (19/4/06)

That's bloody Colm feeding me non-facts... wait till I get 'im. But I don't think Moyes's involvement with the development of the kids is as great as you would have us believe, Dutch. He goes to see them play now and again, but I think they train separately from the first team.

And beware: I think the dropout rate over the years we have been tracking Acedmy players at ToffeeWeb is somehwere over 95%... so don't hold your breath for them youngsters forming the next great Everton team. — Michael

If I may.....the four youngsters mentioned last week as being let go are indeed being let go. At the end of the season. Which, I believe, comes soon! - Colm

Response to Dutch's Expectations
I agree with a lot of what Dutch says here. Moyes is better than Kendall Mark II & III, he''s better than Walker and Smith. I would like to have seen Royle given the support Moyes has had from the Board before making judgements there. And yes, finishing 7th, 17th 4th (and 11th/12th?) is progress compared to these managers.

I recognise only too well what an achievement 4th was last year. Keeping the same squad, a dip in form was inevitable, yet during this season there has been no sign of a plan b or of any strategy of playing differently. We've spent the season shuffling a small pack of cards hoping it comes good. Is that good management?

Here's my big beef with Moyes. Four years on, despite being constantly told how well off we are financially, we're still living week to week. I loved Moyes's early stated strategy of young, vibrant players. It's just not happening now. Everything is short-term. We have a thin squad in numbers and quality; yet there seems to be no transfer strategy, other than to buy players who are old and/or slow. This season has been a PR job, 'educating' us to believe that we're a crap club with no history, there are no strikers better than Beattie or McFadden, and that after spending £25 million it is great managemnt to finish mid-table in a mediocre league.

At the moment the whole club is in a comfort zone. The Chairman is happy doing nothing with the train set; the manager knows enough people are happy whatever he does; the players know the squad is so small that they don't need to play well to keep their places.

I'd like to see Kenwright kick his own arse, kick Moyes's arse, and pass it down the line. I think it's reasonable to expect us to challenge for a Uefa Cup place. You only succeed by aiming at a higher level — too many Evertonians seem to be happy with what we did last year.

I hope Moyes sorts it out in the summer.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (19/4/06)

A Good Old Moan
This young Spencer signing is a joke in my opinion.

From the comments I've read in the mailbag, Anichebe seems to be the one everyone wants to see given a chance, so what a surprise we've signed some other 'wonderkid' instead. This lad hasn't even played for Oldham firsts! Granted he's bound to be a signing for the future, but even still.

I'm sick of seeing Moyes smiling on Sky Sports News or the BBC when every Blue is so downhearted about the club, I even noticed Dutch had some negative comments last weekend!!

I was a Moyes supporter up until even just recently, but now I'd be happy to see him leave in the summer. Someone new could come in, get rid of the shite and give them a good kick in the arse. I hope one of McLaren, Curbishley or Allardyce get the England job, that way Moyes might be swayed to take his mediocre-ness somewhere else.

I'd just love to see them seriously compete against teams! Surely that's not too much to ask.
Santiago Guerrero, Scotland  (19/4/06)

Apparently it is, Santiago (your English is very good by the way! ;) But I think you're perhaps being a bit hasty; we haven't signed this lad yet. To my mind, the most informative comment in the Mailbag was from that lad who actually goes to watch them, and he did not think Anichebe was ready either. — Michael

In response to 'No kid of mine'
If my lad was good enough, I would dearly love to see him in a blue shirt. I would also love to see Moyesie playing some of the younger players. This season Victor Anichebe has had two mins, Turner 100 mins and Ruddy 80 mins. And a few bench warmings.

I find it absolutely ridiculous that comments like this come in. Rooney was and is the wonderkid. Vaughan ain't bad either; had a debut early. How much has the club spent in taking him to Steadman after he injured himself in training with England? How much has his rehabilitation cost?

Spurs against Man Utd featured their youngster stiker at 20 years old! If they are good enough they are old enough. Moyes makes that decision. It's his job to decide the starting 11 and the bench. He sees them all week long. I personally liked the way Moyes looked after Rooney, has got personally involved with signing Ruddy, and this new lad if he comes will be well looked after.

As for blooding them, Moyes has the responsibility to deliver the results on the pitch. Points = Money. Of course I would love to see Lennon (or our equivelent) tearing up our wings in a blue shirt but the talent has to be there in the first place and they have to be up to it. Quite a few toffees would barrack and boo a youngster if they got it wrong on a few occassions wouldn't they? Great start to a career.

If my lad was good enough, EFC is where I would want him to go.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (19/4/06)

Ah yes, the manager is always right. I doubt if even he would claim that... — Michael

Toffeweb Censorship!
It's appropriate that while the feedback page debates censorship, I notice that my post A Question Of Expectations has been edited. I'm very grateful that my piece was published but I am not impressed that you took it upon yourself to change some of the content.

My original piece stated that you couldn't attribute season 2001-02 to Moyes but that has been changed and it now looks like I credited the 15th place finish that season to Moyes. No way can you credit the 15th place finish in season 2001-02 to David Moyes. He was only in charge for 9 games. That season belongs to Walter Smith who was in charge for the other 29 games.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (19/4/06)

Sorry, Dutch, but we only deal with the facts here. Moyes was in charge at the end of that season. And including that finish, rather than excluding it as you did, gives a clearly picture of Moyes's yo-yo record, and paints a somewhat more realistic picture of his overall progress, which looks to me like THREE bottom-half finishes out of the last five seasons.

That's definitely progress when compared to the previous five seasons, I'll give you that. But is it enough? We may have better players on paper (and in the papers!)... but what are they doing on the field of play, where it matters? Why is it such a struggle for them to play half-decent football? Why do you need millions of pounds before you can pass the ball to a team-mate? Answers on a postcard, please! — Michael

I can read Dutch Schaeffer's piece on expectations and see a lot of sense in it — if we take a step back from our current disappointment at a(nother) limp end to the season, Everton overall are looking healthier than they were a short time ago.

Then again, Paul Tran's piece (in the mailbag) also makes a lot of sense, and you get the feeling of an opportunity missed this season — or more specifically, in the pre-season.

I can reflect what Moyes has achieved here — under tight constrictions compared to most — and we should give him credit for that. But that's not to say he can't improve. He must improve. I'm generally pro-Moyes though I can see the point when his critics have their say, so what I'd like to see from him next season is:

  • Confidence in the younger players - Yobo, Ferrari, Anchibe, Vaughn etc
  • Early, direct use of substitutions - Am I alone in hoping it's a fond farewell for Dunc?
  • Boldness in the transfer market - in terms of targets, not finances.
  • A more upbeat outlook - his last few interviews have been more depressing than the games... and
  • focussing on "consecutive top ten finishes" for the first time "in Everton's history" (sic) is not going to impress anyone.
Overall, I'd like to see more of what seemed to sum Moyes up when he first arrived at the club: his dynamism. Maybe it was the early season malaise but that key component of his character seems to have gone missing — and it has a direct effect on the list I've made above.

Then perhaps he can find the balance between his realism and the fans' optimism, and we can expect another fight for the top six. If...

If he remains as he currently is — lacking enthusiasm I think, and treading water a little — then we'll disappoint again and it really will be time to move on.
Simon Amble, Hereford  (19/4/06)

Great letter, Simon. These are the real issues with Moyes — not whether he should be sacked, which is a view held by a very small minority of particularly aggreived fans. It might be useful to hear some of his supporters really address these issue and explain their understanding of why those key components of his character seem to have gone missing, rather than papering over things by creating historical "records" that don't exist — and that we look like missing out on anyway! — Michael

Double Dutch
I have just finished reading the latest submission from Dutch and I can see where he is coming from regarding the progress made since Moyes arrived. The problem is, however, that we are all bored to tears with the football presently on offer at Goodison Park.

The highlight of this season is destined to be the determined 1-0 victory with ten men against Blackburn, which kind of sums up Moyes's time in charge. 31 goals scored so far this season is totally unacceptable.

When we start playing some quality football and knocking in a few goals each week, then that will constitute progress in my eyes.
Dave Jeanrenaud, Liverpool  (19/4/06)

I'm glad you wrote that, Dave. Absolutely spot on, IMHO — censorship notwithstanding! — Michael

The number`s SEVEN, Van!
I see in The Echo that `The Invisable Van` is counting the days to next season. I bet he is. It`s roughly another 120, mate, before you have to stir your fat arse in the Everton cause again!

We`ve all been counting too, and the number we came up with was SEVEN — yes SEVEN — occasions when you got yourself in good enough shape to waddle into action this season.

I understand Moyes thought he wasn`t quite ready for the fray at Chelsea. No, nor for much in the season's before he came here. If Moyes had done his homework — or even read the ToffeeWeb Mailbag — he could have learned about this scrimshanker before he paid good money for him.

No doubt he can find some more like him in the close season — no other bugger wants them!
Ray Porter, Kirkby  (19/4/06)

Ouch — that hurts too!

No kid of mine....
Wish I could get excited about the possible signing of `Wonderkid` Scott Spencer. Twelve months ago, we signed `the best young goalkeeper outside the Premiership` (Ruddy)from Cambridge and a year before that `the best young goalkeeper in Scotland` (Turner). What senior action have they seen? — Even in a keeper crisis, fook all! Moyes would rather pay good money out to borrow Pompey`s fourth choice — I bloody ask you!

`Neither have any experience`, he kept telling the media. But as they are on Everton`s books and have been loaned out more times than `Lady Chatterley` from Bootle library... how the hell do they get it!

Moyes don`t rate kids — not even Rooney got the first team action he should have done — so Spencer is destined to play for ever at reserve level until he`s told, like the rest of them, that he can bugger off to Burscough or somewhere similar.

I`ve been an Evertonian all my life but if I was Daddy Spencer, no kid of mine would ever sign for the Blues whilst this clown`s in charge.
Arnold Norton, Knowsley  (19/4/06)

Ouch... that hurts!

Re: Protest at Everton this Saturday
I noticed that a banner was pulled out at Aston Villa the other week and made it onto MotD. While it may not have the effect to remove anybody from the club, it does raise the heat in the kitchen. Nothing wrong with that, when nobody is turning up the heat from the boardroom, touchline or on the pitch.

Go for it; if it fails, so what! — at least we can try.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (19/4/06)

Most fans, after having read in the local organ or heard it on Sky that Davey's lads played their hearts out and gave everything they possibly could at Chelsea, are going to be a little puzzled — to say the least — that there should be anything whatsoever to protest about. We did finish 4th last season, after all... — Michael

Turning in on your Own
A plea to fellow Blues who blindly follow the current management:

Most of us who have been critical of Moyes have been consistent over the last year. We praised last season's 4th place, as any Evertonian would, with the rider that we had two options — to build on our success, or spend the rest of the summer (or year?!) congratulating ourselves.

When we failed to bring in any new quality in the areas we needed the most (attacking midfield and forwards), we criticised. When the team and management disappeared for four months, we criticised. When the managment failed to add quality to the squad in January, we criticised. We praised the upturn in performance and results, without believing that it meant everything was rosy again.

We haven't come out of the woodwork in the last two weeks; we've been here all season.

Spurs are not a 'moneybags' club. In the last two years their charman has done his job - attracting investment - and the manager has sourced and bought energetic, skillful young, often English players. The ones we are told aren't around. Not all their signings have been huge. I'd love to see the comparison with Moyes's £25 million spend.

As far as I'm concerned, nothing this season has altered my belief that Moyes is a competent manager of mediocre players and out of his depth at taking things further. Off the field, we have also been out of our depth. Perhaps everything did happen too quickly too soon, but an opportunity has been missed. Spurs haven't won anything yet, but I can see their good young team growing for the next three years — can you say the same about ours? Why don't we learn from them?

If we are as rich as Kenwright says — and that's a big if — why aren't we bringing O'Neill to the club? He's a real motivator and winner. I'd love to hear the arguments saying Moyes is a better manager than him!!

All Blues' opinions are valid and worth hearing. Next time you get upset about others who don't share your views, please stick to facts and answer our questions, rather than making irrational personal ageist insults to get your point across.

Can any of you tell me what Moyes's strategy is and what you think we have to look forward to next season? That would be more constructive than trading insults and might help you persuade me of his 'greatness'.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (19/4/06)

ToffeeWeb Censorship Protest?
Maybe some wag could turn up at Goodison on Saturday afternoon - midway through the snooze-fest - and unfurl a banner over the Pukka Pies advertising, bearing the legend "Kenrick Out"?

Coat! ;)
Colm Kavanagh, Arklow, Co. Wicklow Ireland  (19/0/06)

Oi! Get back to work!

A Matter of Censorship!
This feedback is run by editors and ultimately they have the power to say what's posted and what isn't. We have to trust that they will be fair enough to present both sides of the argument even if their own personal feelings conflict.

If we don't like it we can always find another forum to talk about Everton. Personally I feel Michael and Colm are doing a good job even though I don't agree with their views on all things Everton. I would just like to say that at times I have been blasted for my opinions which does make me feel a bit hard done by.

I have been very careful to never slag of the opinions of anyone else. Sure I have disagreed and argued a point but never have I called someone's opinion bollox, described the writer as an idiot or accused them of being a Liverpool fan in disguise. All of which I have had to endure.

One thing I will say is that Michael and Colm clearly spend alot of time maintaining this site and I applaud their efforts.

PS: What happened to the post I wrote last night about expectations? It took me an hour to write. Was it binned?
Dutch Schaeffer, Lonodn  (19/04/06)

Ooopps... Sorry about that, Dutch. It was way too long for the Mailbag so I switched it over to make another Fans Comment piece... and then fell asleep at the wheel. No, wait a minute... It was Colm's fault! — Michael

What was that about? I never asked for censorship! I asked for the exact opposite - I just said that it's great that we all disagree but it should be done in good spirit.

I feel that response was harsh and a bit unnecessary. I have no idea what it referred to either, I'd never ask for censorship and all I said was there is no need to slam people in a nasty way for supporting Moyes. (referring to things as utter bollocks etc).

ToffeeWeb has been a favourite site of mine for years and I can't believe that last post you added.

Genuinely upsetting.
Paul Foster, London  (19/4/06)

Paul - I know you've not asked for censorship! I placed up that response from Mr Cribb as not doing so might leave us open to accusations of, erm, censorship! For what it's worth, I'm in agreement with you - diversity of opinion's nothing more than healthy! And yes, Michael does remain a miserable arl git! ;-) -Colm

Catterick didn't always get it right ...

In reponse to Colm's comment that Moore/Catterick would be outraged at the way things are going... Didn't Harry Carrerick's talented side finish 14th in the league in 1970-71 despite possessing a midfield envied across the world?

Don't get me wrong: Moyes cannot be compared to Catterick in any way shape or form — he hasn't won anything yet. But at the same time, when confidence fell away from Harry's side, they played some dreadful stuff and finished with a goal difference of -6.

It wasn't all rosy back then either and it pays sometimes to put things into context rather than comparing them entirely with the very best times in Everton's history.
Paul Foster, London  (19/4/06)

Hand held up, guilty as charged! Of course, I was referring to that golden era, back in the Sixties, when this Club proudly claimed to be the School of Science: a club with foresight, leading on many fronts. Dare I say, we adhered to that motto that now hovers over the club like an albatross! - Colm

Paul Foster — Take a reality check
This is a forum for fan feedback and that includes the views of the editor of the website.

Don't like it; go to another forum.

You are asking for censorship and that is not starter at ToffeeWeb.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (19/4/06)

I can't speak for the Editor but personally I've always believed this mailbag to contain an array of different opinions. The constant criticism of this website on other forae that this site is "anti-Moyes/Everton" etc. is utter nonsense. If the mailbag can continue to encourage healthy debate and opinion then so be it, long may it be the case. - Colm

What do you want from me
Do you think Moyes is trying to tell us something? Obviously he is trying to protect his players from criticism from the Chelsea and Spurs results by saying, 'I can't ask for any more from them'. All good managers do this and fair play to him, but is he also trying to justify it? Is he just saying, 'Look these players are shite but I'm getting 100% effort out of them, I cannae do any more!'

I suspect he IS getting 100% effort from them (well all except Davies)... but doesn't that then beg the question of 'why did you create such a team?'
Aplankofwood Withanailinit, UK  (19/04/06)

Despite overseeing a dwindling of numbers (and quality) in the squad, the manager has at all times praised his chairman for his full support, on all levels. Wonder will the manager's comments of support for his chairman in public come back to haunt? - Colm

I think a protest can be organised without it becoming a boycott. How about everyone in the ground turning their back on the team an hour into the last game? This has been done before in Italy (usually the week before everyone gets down the training ground and slaps the players around and smash their cars up!). Not sure how effective it would be but its a start and could be the beginning of a proper, focused campaign to finally force the issue and let the buffoons ruining our club know that enough is enough.
Paul  Burns, Liverpool  (19/4/06)

I'll give you one word why such a protest will never occur and most certainly never influence anything in the Everton Boardroom: APATHY. - Colm

Bring Back Archie
Perhaps the time has come to bring back Archie Knox with his baseball bat to knock some aggression into Moyes and the players. I am just sick of negative comments and lacklustre performances from this manager and his squad; never have I wanted the season to end as quickly as now.
Leigh Sadler, Essex  (19/4/06)

May I recommend you purchase the Collected Works of Leonard Cohen! - Colm

Gloves off..or merely a spat?
The frequent spats between Tony Marsh and Dutch Schaeffer and Harry Meek and Richard Dodd make for compelling reading. Personally, I prefer the latter contest (better sentence construction and less bad language!) but I guess discussion of this polarised nature is what makes football the game it is.

Whilst, at times, we all seem to forget that it is still a game and that the Shankly quip was just a smart-ass throwaway line, I do feel that, in virtually every club, the on-line forum has taken over the traditional role of the local newspaper. In the latter, critical comment has given way to sanitised pap as the members of the fourth estate have been reduced to mere quote-getters. What future for the hack who dares to tell the truth about a manager`s tactics or transfer failings? What opportunity for a cosy one-to-one with an ineffectual chairman if you dare to tell the world he`s a luvvie prat?

All these thoughts were in my mind this morning when I read the guardedly critical piece by the Daily Post and Liverpool Echo`s veteran scribbler, Len Capeling. Wow there, I thought, this kind of stuff will see you in bad odour with the boys at Goodison! Davey and Bill won`t like this; Rossy will be calling you in for a chat!

Better to leave Everton comment to the boys who have an `in` to the inner sanctums of both Goodison and Bellefield and really know how not to give offence.

As we proceed through the arse end of another season best forgotten, it will be interesting to see if, and how, the P&E line develops. Will it lead to an all-out fallout as it did with Joe Royle; could it be that the Evertonian Sports Editor, David Prentice will once again dare to echo the fan`s view that certain players are `taking the piss`?

Somehow,I doubt it. I suspect that Capeling will be quietly told to lay off Everton and concentrate on what`s happenning `over the road.` Let`s see what next season brings,eh?`

Which is where I came in. Thank God, I say, for ToffeeWeb, Tony Marsh and Harry Meek and, of course, Richard and Dutch to wind them up!
David Hall, Taunton  (19/4/06)

Quality post there David - and how true your comments are about local media and their spineless reporting of all things Evertonian. Controlling the media is now a key concern for football clubs. Amazing how little in-depth coverage Everton's parlous financial position receives in the back pages when instead they can run with a "Ferrari loves the Beatles and wants to stay" type story. Mind you, the Echo is to print the matchday programme from next season so it's arguably in their interest not to bite the hand that feeds! - Colm

Protest at Goodison this Saturday
Lads, cmon it,s not hat hard to do. Get a banner, drape it over the stand this weekends home game.

- Kenwright Out -

We don't need a mass protest, the media will pick it up and give us the coverage to carry this forward.
David Bell, Liverpool  (19/4/06)

And we all lived happily ever after.....

Dream on! - Colm

End of Season Blues
As yet another season draws to a tame, uneventful close, I've been thinking about the Premiership and conclude that, apart from about half a dozen teams, the rest are inferior and all capable of beating each other "on their day". What is conspicuous by its absence is technical ability.

England may have a great World Cup squad but that's only about 20-some players (including those based on the continent), shared amongst all teams in the Premiership. I venture to suggest that most if not all of the classiest players are foreigners. Had anyone ever heard of Alonso and Garcia before they came to the other side of the Park? Yet they consistently turn in first-class performances — it hurts me to admit it but it's true — and you only have to look at Arsenal and Chelsea to see what I mean.

Then again there is a virtually unknown team in Spain by the name of Villarreal, who tonight face the aforementioned Arsenal in the later stages of the European Champions League. The simple fact is that British players — with some notable exceptions — cannot trap and control a ball nor pass it to a team-mate. To say that they lack vision is probably spot-on also. Am I being too hard? I don't really think so.

Application — and English teams have it in spades — is all very well but in the long term it doesn't win football matches. Let's hope the Academy is teaching our youngsters the right things, including how to keep your cash out of the bookies' grasp.
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (19/4/06)

Today's Guardian
Moyes is quoted today, in an article about Villarreal as saying the following; 'I'm not surprised at how well Villarreal have done, though maybe I didn't realise how well we played in the two games. Someone pointed out how well we'd played, and looking back, he was right....' I hadn't realised we'd done so well, most particularly in the first leg. Living in denial?
Chris Williams, Little Neston  (19/4/04)

I agree with Moyes's comments about Villarreal. I genuinely believe they are a vastly under-rated side and it's not luck that has seen them emerge as a force to be reckoned with over recent seasons. I was amazed at the welter of opinion that predicted an Arsenal v Barcelona final the minute the semi-finalists all became known. Under-estimate Riquelme et al at your peril. For what it's worth, Collina aside, I believe we gave it our best shot against the Spanish side but were beaten by a better side, disallowed goal or not! - Colm

Ahem... Living in Denmark I can't watch Everton playing at Goodison. If I could, I would be there every Saturday, every day, even if we were relegated to the Conference, still supporting them.

Fortunately you have something called televison so I'm able to at least watching them on the screen. And I agree we are shite for the moment and I'm also starting to have doubts about Moyes.

But managers will come and go; players will come and go — even boardmembers, so be it.

But to boycott the matches, the club, no matter how shite we are, that is treason...
Frederik Pedersen, Denmark  (19/4/06)

Waiting for Godot
It was obvious, to me anyway, Walter Smith was a dead man walking for at least 18 months before Kenwright sacked him, although some of it was not of his own making. I have backed Moyesie through thick and thin but after reading the piece 'Preston perspective' the scales have fallen from my eyes! This is as good as it is going to get.

He is now the deadman walking.

BUT, and there is always a but, until we get some real investment, not much will change. So, we can bring in someone new, the results may remain the same or thereabouts. If the most we can hope for is to be a member of the chasing pack, maybe we can do it with a bit of style and panache; if we can't live up to the full letter of the motto at least we can have the old 'School of Science' bollocks to fall back on.

Aooga, aooga, now hear this ... I am declaring a U turn.. this is not a drill... MOYES OUT.

Kenwright can stay (or go) — it will make no nevermind either way so long as the real money comes in — they can make him life president with special duties for making the tea and seeing that the pies are hot for all I care. No real money in = no real players = no real high league position = no Real Madrid as opposition.

So, to sum up, while we are waiting for godot to turn up (and we all know how that ended), and in the absence of 'real' substance, I for one will settle for style — it's got to be better than this shit. Sort the midfield out and the goals For and Against will take care of themselves.

Show me the money! (louder)... Show Me The Money! (LOUDER)... SHOW ME THE MONEY !!
Derek  Thomas, Torbay, Auckland, NZ  (19/04/06)

Mick Wrende asked what he should tell his grandchildren if 20 years from now they asked about season 05/06.

It seems unlikely that they would ask about that specific season but you simply tell them that Everton won nothing and finished midtable. You could also mention that football was rubbish back then and completely dominated by four clubs.

Do you think Aston Villa, Bolton, Spurs, Newcastle, Charlton or Fulham fans will have better stories to tell? >Nobody outside of Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool fans will be able to boast about football in this era.

At least Everton finished 4th one season. That's better then most teams have managed.
Dutch Schaffer, London  (19/4/06)

Ah, you were on a roll until the last paragraph. Not disagreeing with the bulk of the above but championing one fourth place, better than most teams it may well have been, is hardly the logic that makes Evertonians tick. Catterick? Moores? Can't imagine they'd be overly impressed with the Everton of today... - Colm

Ferrari to remain?
I haven't had the chance to catch up with the radio interview with Matteo Ferrari where the Italian defender is saying that he is 'keen to stay with the Blues'. What I have been able to do is read the article on the Everton FC website. As far as I can tell, Ferrari says the following:

1. I'm a good player, and despite my injuries, I'm usually a full-time player.

2. The loan deal ends at the end of the season, and I still have a contract at Roma if nothing transpires.

3. I haven't had chance to prove myself in the Premiership this season because of injuries, and I would like the chance to prove myself at this level.

4. I like living in Liverpool.

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but at what point does Ferrari say that he is 'keen to stay with the Blues'? OK I admit that I haven't seen the full transcript, but nowhere on that page does Matteo ever say "I want to play for Everton". Maybe he does, but you know it isn't going to happen. After all, there is more chance of a club-footed myopian troglodyte winning Wimbledon than us signing Ferrari. In fact, reading the above points you could quite easily see the Italian across Stanley Park, or anywhere else for that matter.

Like a lot of Evertonians, I read transfer rumours and am filled with woe. Yes, we haven't got a lot of money, but neither has Big Sam at Bolton. I think the difference is that they are able to evaluate players better. You know that unless they're over 36, washed up, and are so slow that the grass beneath their boots bleaches due to lack of sunlight, we are unlikely to consider them.

I know bucket loads of money isn't the only answer, but why isn't the club managed just that little bit better?
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (19/4/06)

Take a break?
Michael, go for a holiday mate! Your responses recently have been a bit out of character, I feel! This is a forum and, as you often say yourself, people have as much a right to defend Moyes as they do to criticise him.

Just because you share the latter attitude, it doesn't mean you should absolutely slate people for standing their ground on the former. We all know Dutch talks rubbish at times, but some of the comments from others that have been slammed do not warrant abuse!

The banter in here is decent and generally reflects well on Evertonians worldwide, but is there any need to send it down the road of disrespectful bitterness just because you don't agree?
Paul Foster, London  (19/04/06)

Michael's a miserable git at the best of times! ;-) -Colm

Just listening to the Bob Latchford interview. I wish we at least had a player of that calibre in the team I could look back on in pride, but unfortunately there is no-one. I think Rooney is the closest we've come but he left us before he became a legend. The likes of Arteta and Yobo are class players, no doubt, but I can't see them being remembered in 20 years and gathering together at Everton Greats dinner evenings. Just who do we have from the last 16 years to attend? The only players I can think of are Joe Royle's Dogs of War..

BTW - is it me or does Tony Cottee hate Everton? He's always assigned on Sky because of his association with the club to commentate on our matches, yet shows a complete bias against us.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (19/4/06)

Protesting too much
Having seen a number of letters in your mailbag call for a boycott of future Everton games, I can't help but worry about what effect this would have in the immediate future. Don't get me wrong; I'm no Moyes fanatic and definately not a Dutch Schaeffer alias, and Tony Marsh I agree with most of what he's saying, in fact almost all of it.

But as an exiled Blue in the northeast, if Everton are not home when I travel back to the game, then I go to the Sunderland game and it's a very cold, very lonely place for their home fans. And, were I not an outsider, there just because the lads I work with go, I don't know if I could stand it. There is a proper atmosphere of protest against those whose run the club, the players heads drop after one bad pass as the do those of the fans that have turned up, and they are regulary outsung by opposing fans.

Everying happening there with these protests seems only detrimental to Sunderland, and god knows I've lost my faith in Moyes and never had any in bill '24/7' — I'm just not sure whether boycotts and protests will have a positive or negative effect.
Ian Aspinall, South Shields  (19/4/06)

Seems I`m the Mailbag villain of the piece as everyone vents their spleen because we lost to Chelsea. What on earth did people expect?

This turning in on one of your own really makes my point for me. There has to be somebody to blame. It can`t be that we`ve been turned over by a couple of teams who were better on the day and perhaps were not suffering the injury crisis we were!

I know I shall never convince the Meeks and Marshes but David Moyes is very definitely a victim of his own success. Think, if he had merely achieved the budgeted 12th place last season and then followed up this year with 4th spot, he would be a bloody hero.

Solid, sustained progress you all would have said. But no, he has the misfortune to get it all right too quickly and, OK, overachieve (whatever that means). Instead of having time to consolidate, Europe is upon us and comes as a cultural shock to everyone.

As he has constantly sought to explain, the experience left a scar which showed little sign of healing until Christmas was upon us. This wasn`t because he or the players didn`t care or, as some supporters believed, the players were crap; it was what happens in football from time to time. But he turned it round and was once more the hero. Two losses later (against top four sides with £zillions more than Everton) and it`s back to villain status!

Such is the mindset of certain Evertonians and, I guess of football followers everywhere. Last game mentality, Wenger calls it!

Call me naive, a sycophantic bore or whatever you will as long as it makes you feel better, but I`m as good an Evertonian as any one of you. I just happen to believe we have the right man at the helm. Sorry!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (19/4/06)

This is bollocks. If you compete and win the honour to play in Europe, it is then encumbent upon you to prepare to the best possible extent, ready to give it your all. I believe that's were we fell down, and it was directly because of Moyes's dithering in the transfer market, and inadeqaute preparation of the team to take on the rigours of Europe.

You can't have it both ways. It was a great achievement to qualify for Europe, but the manner of our exit was an excruciating embarrassment. To say we over-achieved is a pathetic copout. It's what Everton FC exists for - to compete for honours. Not perform like we have in the last four games. That's the principal reason why people are upset now. Moyes seems to be losing the plot.

And why do people keep resorting to this "If Moyes had done X, Y, Z, he'd be a fucking hero!" Why do people invent these scenarios? Enough already: the real world is hard enough for us to deal with, let alone this hypothetical bullshit! — Michael

Er.. hem!
Hi Michael, thanks for your comments. I have not been to a game this season for the first time since 1963. The last three seasons regardless of results have been pure purgatory. You may understand why I have had enough.... I think I allude to it in my inane rant. Do I love Everton? Yes. Do I like what they are? You know the answer.

It's not just Everton; it's Football. It's no longer a sport — hasn't been for ages. However, Everton have fallen more than anyone given their historical position and more than anyone apart from Leeds they have FAILED as a business in the Premiership's formative years as the only TOP club not to lever off its history — unlike... Liverpool, Man U, and Arsenal. The Premiership Years now define Everton FC as a non-entity. Here we are happy to just survive, the manager wishing to crow about possibly finishing in the top ten — twice on the run — for the first time in our Premiership history. How standards have fallen.

I am lucky to have been there when we won things — I have the memories — and I cannot see that happening again under this ownership.
Mike  Dunne, Toxteth  (18/04/06)

Sorry, Mike; I was a bit harsh there; I like your response though; spot on. — Michael

Boycotting Games?
What's all this talk of boycotting games? If you have even contemplated this thought, you are the type of fan that does my head in. I suppose that never even entered your heads last year when we were 4th and you probably thought we were the best team in the world. And now all of a sudden you probably think we are the worst team in the world.

A word of warning — that Middlesbrough fan who threw his season ticket at Steve McClaren will feel like a right tit if they win the FA Cup and/or Uefa Cup. Are you fans or just glory fans?
Danny Broderick, London  (18/4/06)

You're a fool if you think any Evertonian thought we were the best team in the world becuase we finished fourth... that's FOURTH!

You're also a fool if you think any Evertonian thinks we're now the worst team in the world. What utterly stupid and worthless comments, Danny; you can do better than that. Why not address the issue at hand: that the performances in the last four games have been simply not good enough. Yet people are still flocking to Goodison in their thousands. That's what people are talking about. Not about finishing 4th last season; that is now ancient history. — Michael

What do I tell the grandkids?
In twenty years time, when my grandchildren ask me "What was it like to watch Everton in that dreadful record breaking season of 2005-06 when they only managed 21 goals at Goodison?" What should I tell them?
Mick  Wrende, Macclesfield  (18/4/06)

I'm sure Dutch could think of something positive and uplifting...

12 Long Years
7th May 12 years ago was a sad day for Sheffield United - as they lost their status in the Premiership.

On the pitch when they got it back was a David Unsworth. That same David Unsworth who was playing at Goodison Park that same 7th May as Graham Stuart cleverly shot under Hans Segers body to give Everton a 3-2 win and keep us up as Sheff United went down.

I look forward to his return next season. He might even ask our players for one of their shirts - but then again he has enough of them! Welcome back Unsy!
Phil Roberts, Kelsall, Cheshire  (18/4/06)

IQ insult
The one thing that is consistent at our club and has been for some long time now is the lack of collective intelligence within the club and the assumption that the paying supporters are thicker, more gullible and more stupid than they — think about that. That could be you.

Cascading down from Bill the chairman, the Fat Controller, the (card)board, the manager who doesn't know OUR history and particularly the dumb-arsed (we do it when we want to) players, they well and truly take the piss — in fact they piss all over us. All of them.

But let’s give ‘em a break. You know…. pack in going until they show the supporters something worthwhile for their money.

The club gets a full house on Saturday, people coming home to their families from all over, taking a game in, possibly the only chance to see a game of their favourite club, something that means a lot, for a long time, looking forward to it... and are duly let down like on loads of times in the past.

It gets too much and has been for too long now. Simply the players should do and live up to what they say in the papers, on the radio, on the Official website... but predictably it turns out to be mindless patronising platitudes hinting at effort and WANTING to achieve. Promising to make an effort and doing it for the fans and how much it means to them. All that shite.

They are just going through the motions.

Getting into Europe! I have hoped this wouldn’t happen for a while now. They would just embarrass us like last season. Clueless brainless happy to be here incompetents. They have no professional pride and lack ambition, which reflects the management and the cowboys on the Board. None of them are arsed – success for Everton is being one of those making up the numbers in the Premier League.

Boycott the place until you see something positive and worthy of our motto. If you don’t agree, keep standing underneath those golden showers.
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (18/4/06)

I'm sorry mate, but, if you were even half-right with these accusations, then the "lack of collective intelligence", as you call it, is clearly with the fans who feel like you do and yet continue to attend in their droves — and definitely not with the club. Anyone who continues to fork out good money while claiming or believeing even half of what you have in that inane rant wants their bumps feeling. — Michael

Boycott in full swing
Seat 11 row B, Upper Gladwys has been empty for the last 3 games. I'm tired of watching poor football. Burn your tickets and join the revolution!
Matt Geraghty, Warrington  (18/4/06)

Back... and disappointed. My heart sank when I heard Weir was in instead of Ferrari as I think I was not alone amongst Blues who were convinced the manager would give us just a glimpse of the future by pairing him with Yobo. It was not that Weir played badly; it was just a sense of disappointment.

I thought we started the game brightly with a good tempo but didn't overly bother the Chelsea defence. When Chelsea got into their stride you could see us going deeper and deeper until the midfield blended with the back four and the goal that was coming came all because Cahill didn't have a sole in support and in his efforts to spot someone saw the ball taken from him.

In that passage of play, I saw what I have been seeing all season, no discernable pattern of play or game plan. The last time I saw what I as a fan could identify as a game plan with players knowing their jobs was the much-maligned 4-5-1 formation.

Since moving to this season's system (whatever that is!), I have been unable to fathom quite who is supposed to do what — which I think is reflected in the goals-for column. I think Moyes is doing the best he can with what he has got; but, there again... he got 'em!

The manager did say in today's paper he thought the players did great and I agree with him as far as digging in defensively goes and with the added harsh loss of Carsley we did do well to keep it down to three... But when, oh when will we be saying we did great going forward? Much work with little money needs to be done in the close-season, which will give the Chairman a real insight into whether he really has got a miracle man for a manager.

Still three more games to go; we're safe, we're not going to Europe... so please can we have a look at just a smattering of youth — especially in the home games, where I am sure our crowd would make them feel a million dollars.
See you Sat ----- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (18/4/06)

In your hands — ''It''ll never happen''
with the above words (Letter Title) you finsihed a reply to a mail from another dissappointed blue. The crux of your reply was to vote with our feet to maximise our views re EFC.

I don't know how many people could be reached via your site Mike but would it be impossible not to organise a boycott of sorts and try as best as Toffeeweb could to get supporters to veto a home game?
Roy Jordan, St Helens  (18/4/06)

It's an interesting thought, and really stemmed from the "challenge" Gaz Hughes put forward that fully two-thirds of match-going Evertonians have turned against David Moyes — yet what I see is that they continue to attend the games, with some of the highest attendances all season. Would they be interested in a boycott to send some sort of message home? Are they already sending their message — that they (in the main) fully support David Moyes and what he is trying to do for the Club?

And what would it achieve? Some change of heart with Moyes, so he has the youths play clean attacking football on the deck for the last two games, instead of giving Big Duncan a last hoorah before his legion of addoring fans?

Personally, I think a boycott movement would need a lot more behind it than this — a much more defined purpose and objective than just "We're unhappy; make things better, please."

I'm not about to call for such a boycott; that would be up to the match-going fans to do. I do know this: it would be even more polarizing than anything we've seen so far this season, and would cause a lot more heat between the pro- and anti-Moyes Brigades.... but would probably achieve little else. — Michael

Lowering the bar
I know how old and re-actionary I`m getting when I feel the need to post on your site twice a day! I also know that I shouldn`t let the likes of Richard Dodd and Dutch Schaeffer wind me up as they do. But what really worries me is that they DO speak for the majority of Evertonians who DO believe that Moyes is doing an OK job!

The trouble is their achievement expectation keeps getting diminished — it`s fine now if we finish 12th or 13th when only a week ago Europe (in one form or another) was still an outside possibility! D`you know, they remind me of the teachers at my little grandson`s school — they keep lowering the bar on sports day so ALL the kids can clear it with ease. They don`t want anyone to win a race because it might make the losers feel inferior and so they keep saying well done to everyone — even the little buggers who`ve missed the event because they`ve been smoking behind the bikesheds!

What a daft world we live in when we are so prepared to tolerate mediocrity — and that particularly applies to Everton FC which has been the focus of my life for more than 50 years.

For God`s sake, let`s stop taking the shit they serve up to us both on the field and via the media. Let`s begin to think the really impossible and tell them to stuff their `bargain` season tickets for next season.
Harry Meek, Worcester  (18/4/06)

I'm sorry but the likes of Richard Dodd and Dutch Schaffer are nothing more than a Renfield to the evil servant Count 'Moyes' Dracula, who is gradually sucking the life out of many supporters of this magnificant club. Luq Yus is an example of what I'm talking about, a dedicated Evertonian being drained by Moyes's cold approach,

"When I saw the teamsheet before the game, my blood was boiling — I almost ran some poor sod over. WEIR ahead of Ferrari is taking the piss."

I dont get my hopes up anymore with regards to team selection. Sadly, I expect the laughing stock of the Premiership to play in goal. I expect Dad's Army to play in central defence whilst two young athletic defenders warm the bench. I expect useless Kilbane to play ahead of Van der Meyde. I expect McFadden to play a whole 90 minutes when he truely symbolises the mediocrity many Evertonians has settled for.

I am so pissed off at the moment and not because of results. Quotes like this have me fuming, que Richard 'Renfield' Dodd with this depressing shit, "So, as we move towards the end of a somewhat disappointing season BY THE STANDARDS THE MANAGER SET LAST YEAR, let us rejoice that we are ONCE MORE being spared the ignominy of a relegation dog-fight and can look forward with considerable optimism to another good season ahead."

Richard Dodd and Dutchy are fellow Evertonians and I admire the positive light you try to shine on situations, I used to the same meself... when I was in school. But we are EVERTONIANS, not David Moyesians. I think people are scared of change. I think we are entering a period of stagnation (Kilbane, Weir, Stubbs, McFadden, no strikers) and a change would revitalise everybody.

I can't see Moyes leaving in the summer despite all the rumours; to be honest, though, I don't have confidence in Bullshit Billy to find a decent replacement even though I could think of a few. So, until then, I will be firmly in the Tony 'Van Helsing' Marsh crew in giving a dose of reality and shouting for improvement instead of settling for mediocrity and saying "Yes, master," — like all these Renfields.
Robbie Muldoon, City of Liverpool  (18/4/06)

In your hands
I cannot understand why most of you come on this site and moan about the standard of football, Moyes, team selection, tactics and possible transfers!!!! At the end of the day, it is your hands... Why? Because you go week-in and week-out and give the idiots the money to run our once-famous club — the only way to get them to do anything is stop going the match and giving them YOUR MONEY!!!

The club does not deserve your loyalty and your hard earned money; it is as simple as that. But don’t just Blame “Blue Bill” or Moyes — this club has been rotten for years and we have all put up with it, so we only have ourselves to blame for letting this go on.

I can remember standing at Goodison with a crowd of about 18,000 supporters (Saturday home game) and that was in the dark days; now they are getting about 38,000 week-in, and week-out!!! How can this happen when we all moan and want more from our club?

I gave up going to away games last season because of the performance of our team and this season I gave up all together and now spend my time listening to the games on the radio. Yes, I miss going the match and I miss the banter and the whole build-up to a game at home, BUT until the club get their fingers ou,t they are not getting a single penny out of me! Until EFC start showing the supporters some respect and start trying to get half- decent players and moving in the right direction, then I will not set foot in Goodison Park again.

From a very sad BlueNose.
Jim Jones, North Wales  (18/4/06)

Spot on, Jim: enough of this whinging. Time for action from Blues who feel like you do (a two-third majority of match-goers, says Gaz Hughes). So let's see it next Saturday — a 15,000 crowd at Goodison Park, in protest.

It'll never happen... — Michael

Sack Moyes?
This time last season, Everton were finishing 4th and qualifying for the Champions League. We had beaten Man Utd and Moyes was Manager of the Year. We have a disappointing season and finish mid-table and all of a sudden everyone turns on Moyes. Sack Moyes?

And do what exactly? Bring in Alan Curbishley, Sam Allardyce or Paul Jewell? What have they ever done? Certainly they have never finished 4th or qualified for the Champions League. Let's be fair, could anyone do a better job then Moyes at Everton? Given the limited resources and the high expectations?

Man City are a similar size club to Everton, similar resources, similar fan base, they have changed their manager a number of times but they still haven't broken into the Top 4. City have lost 6 games on the trot and fans are already questioning Stuart Pearce. I bet he gets the sack soon and someone else will be brought in but Man City will remain a mid-table side.

Moyes is slowly improving things, five years ago a midtable finish would have been considered a remarkable success. Let's give Moyes two more seasons, he's earned that. If Everton are still a midtable side, then you can argue that Moyes has taken Everton as far as he can. Try to remain objective. We are going to finish midtable. Disappointing but not the end of the world.

Kenwright is never going to sack Moyes so he will definately be in charge next season; rather then slagging him off, why dont we try and support him. If next season is disappointing too then questions can start being asked.
Dutch Schaffer, London  (18/4/06)

Oh good grief...

Bob's wrong picture!
Only a minor point and a fairly petty one at that, but this has bugged me for years. I was fortunate enough to see all of Bob's 30 goals in the flesh. I even got the poster, I think from the Echo which displayed a picture of all 30 goals.

One of the pictures however, portraying the goal in the 3-2 defeat away at Coventry late in the season, is not actually the right picture. It was a shot he had earlier in the game and he is in fact on completely the opposite side of the area from that where he scored. I was in the stand at the old Highfield Road with my brother and was directly behind Bob when he scored. I would really like to know if anybody else has ever thought this to be the case and if the real photo actually exists?
Stewart Jameson, Beaconsfield  (18/4/06)

More than a few want Moyes OUT
The claim that most Blues remain behind Moyes is dubious at best. Most fans don't contact websites, radio stations, newspapers etc. calling for Moyes's head not because they want him to stay but simply because they can't be arsed making the effort. If a poll was carried out amongst Evertonians at the next home game asking whether Moyes should be sacked, I suggest at least two-thirds would say 'Yes, please God'.
Gaz Hughes, Liverpool  (18/4/06)

Oh really? So the pendulum has finally swung against Moyes? I just find that hard to believe, given the incredible crowds that showed up for the Sunderland and Spurs matches... one question: Why? — Michael

Charity shirts boob?
I share the widespread disgust at the sight of Everton players chasing round to swop shirts with their Chelsea counterparts. So incensed was I that I rang the Club first thing to protest. After some `on hold` delay, I was told that the players had been asked to get the shirts for use at Club-organised charity events. This may — or may not — be the truth but the impression it gave was appalling. How things have changed! Brian Labone once told me, `Nobody got my Everton shirt, I was too bloody proud of it`. But then he was a REAL Everton player!
Kelvin Mansell, Heswall  (18/4/06)

Last 5 Games

For me the last 5 games from which we've gained only 2 points, has highlighted two things. Firstly, we are way short of being a top 4 team. Looking at the season's results we've taken only 2 points from the current top 4, conceding 16 goals in the process. Secondly, without the creativity and passing of Arteta, our team is very ordinary. Without him the midfield lacks pace and imagination.

As honest a player as Cahill is, he's hardly a 'playmaker', Osman is not quick enough and the less said about Davies the better. A creative central midfielder, who can pass the ball well is a transfer priority (along with a striker, goalkeeper, right sided midfielder, central defender...)
Andrew Wilson, Chester  (18/4/06)

Oh for a Riquelme! - Colm

Ken Dodd of Formby
I am so tired of reading the crap of Dodds's posts. The lad is so out of touch with the common fan and then he tells us with authority what the majority are thinking.

Watching Everton every season is like turning the gas up and down. It's time for Everton fans to turn words into action.

We have some home games coming up: can we all agree to start with Kenwright and work down from there?

John Cribb, Liverpool  (18/4/06)

John, fella, I'm sorry, but you're not getting it. Ken Dodd speaks for himself and his like-minded mates; as do you and I. If this mailbag tells you anything, it should be that there is no unified opinoin among Evertonians. The 36,000 Evertonians who variously make up the incredibly loyal Goodison crowd include a massive cross-section of diversity when it comes to opinions on Kenwright, Moyes, Ferguson. And many of them remain incredibly supportive. Critics like you, me, and the many writing in below are in the minority: I firmly believe this. And the likelihood of them banding together to Kick Out Bill Kenwright is nothing more than a doomed pipedream. — Michael

Tactics and team selections
After the derby game a few weeks ago, I wrote in calling on people to lay off David Moyes, as, at that time, results were going our way and we seemed to be improving to an extent. However, the four subsequent games have brought back all of my earlier reservations about his managerial credentials.

These last four games have been nothing short of shambolic and Moyes is responsible for that. The tactics and team selections have been utterly ridiculous and reflects a total lack of ambition.

The decision to start Simon Davies in the three games prior to Chelsea was dumbfounding. He is without doubt the worst player I have ever seen in a blue shirt. But really. The decision to exclude Ferrari and Van der Meyde yesterday was inexplicable and it was clear before the game that in making these decisions, Moyes was playing for 0-0 draw.

I really cannot comprehend why Moyes has not selected the strongest 11 players in the last few games, particularly as the European dream was still alive. For example, even with the injuries yesterday, we had had the aforementioned Ferrari and Van der Meyde left out and Weir and Kilbane in their places. How can Moyes justify this? I think you would be hard pushed to find an Evertonian that would have agreed with these selections before the game.

In addition to this, the tactics are so negative that watching the team I love becomes a feat of endurance. The epitome of this is the 'every man in the box to defend a corner' tactic. Why not leave Osman up front at least, he's hardly going to be much use defending a corner. We invite pressure and our game plan is based on hoping we don't concede rather than expecting not to.

In the last three games we have had 5 shots on target and haven't remotely looked like scoring. We have lost the last two games with our goalie being man of the match in both. Moyes was pleased though and has no complaints.

It seems to me that Moyes cannot see what is blatantly obvious to 40,000 fans:

- Simon Davies is abysmal beyond belief.

- Weir and Yobo cannot play together; it's either Yobo/Ferrari or Stubbs/Weir.

- Bringing Ferguson on is a concession of defeat and smacks of cluelessness.

- Naysmith, Carlsey and Wright are just not good enough and never will be.

It actually gets me fuming that Moyes cannot see this. He can blame Carsley's sending off for yesterday's defeat all he wants, but the simple fact is that we were awful in every department. When I saw Davies and Ferguson standing on the touch-line ready to come on at 2-0 down, I wanted to kick the TV. What the hell he thought that would acheive I'll never know. He could at least have rewarded the fans' loyalty by bringing on the player's they wanted to see; but no, that's not his style. We seek to defend 2-0 deficits, not try and get our first goal in 3 games and restore respectability.

If Moyes chooses not to play his strongest 11 then he could at least have used some of the promising youngsters from the reserves rather than force us to watch hapless journeymen who we all know aren't good enough.

Total dross the last month has been and unless Moyes gets his act together more people will turn on him. It actually seems to me that there are more discerning voices now than there were when we were bottom of the league in October. Interesting that.
Sean McFee, Maghull  (18/4/06)

For me, Sean, your letter captures everything that is wrong now, and that was wrong with that game we endured yesterday. — Michael

Great expectations
Much as I respect the rights of all Evertonians' opinions to differ, I find Richard Dodd's naivety offensive enough without him resorting to capitals to prove his ignorance.

He opines that we should be looking forward to 'another great season' but then goes on to say modern history commenced with the advent of the Premiership. Please therefore define 'great' or 'another' Richard as 'great' seasons involve a lot more in my book than scraping the European qualifiers with a negative goal difference against unnaturally generous league competition.

He also opines that we should not be expected to compete with 'moneybags' teams like spurs. Well less than twelve months ago, Richard, their key goalscorer this season, Robbie Keane, should have been ours — no question — and we had plenty of money in the bank from selling the player that buried Spurs yesterday at Old Trafford.

As a Blue who was at that Chelsea game yesterday, it was pitiful to believe that we are Everton and yet our biggest cheers are now reserved for winning debatable goal-kick and throw-in decisions.

Here's to another great season, Richard.
Neil Scott, southport  (18/4/06)

I can't wait for the season review on DVD! Wonder what glorious title our creative PR department will find to describe the dross? - Colm

True Colors

Everton's away strip colour sums their display perfectly: dull and boring.
Cliff Zambony, Melbourne  (18/4/06)

Reminds me of an old song, "....we fade to grey..." - Colm

Snap him up
Ferrari is keen to stay, so please, Moyesey, let's do everything we can to keep him. And Yobo, for that matter.

I have been a big supporter of Moyes's strategy of building a team around a solid defensive unit but, top-class though they have both been, we can't rely on Weir and Stubbs for many more months.

Most fans agree that Ferrari and Yobo will form a formidable partnership together and it really is time we started building for the future.

IMWT — still.
Paul Foster, London  (18/4/06)

While most fans tend to believe that a Ferrari - Yobo axis is our best pairing, the reality seems to be that the manager thinks otherwise. - Colm

Walter lives on!

Is it just me or do other Evertonians feel that Moyes is `morphing` into Walter Smith? `Can`t cricisise the effort`, `we were playing the best today`, `referee did us no favours`, `look where Everton were when we came in` ... are all quotes straight from the Wally archives — or is it just that all managers come out with the same dross after a while?

Joe Mercer used to say that you either changed your manager or virtually your whole team every three or four years as the players have heard it all after a while and it all goes over their heads.

Time for some changes at Goodison, methinks!
David Hall, Taunton  (18/4/06)

Am I alone?
To say this season has been an anti-climax for me would be an understatment. During the summer, while everyone else clambered about looking for the few tiny bargains about, Everton — armed with our finest transfer chest for many a season and recent qualification to the Champions League elite — looked ready to return to former glories.

So maybe this is where my story should end as, let's face it, we all love a happy ending but us Blues seem to be bottom of the queue when it comes to good luck and happiness. In comes yet another set of mediocre players and re-signings of players that, if truth be known, we all hated at our beloved club.

Still my faith in the "Moysiah" continued! "He will get us back up there," I told my kopite mates. After 7 games and 4 points, exit from the Champions League and Uefa Cup, even the strongest of our loyal fans began to worry and shudder at the thought of a trip to Plymouth on a Wednesday night was on the cards. Still I had faith! Maybe blind faith that was borne out of the fact Moyes had replaced Walter Smith (a man I regard as the Worst Ever Everton manager).

Then came the turnarond, which unfortunately couldn't come before being hammered by Liverpool! We won a large chunk of our games, looked a half decent squad and started to climb to the lofty heights of 9th! Now I am a realist and understand Everton are no longer a big-six club so a 9th place finish would have been great. Maybe another chance to end the story there would have been great.

To cut a very long season short I now find myself struggling. I now find my once blind faith in the "Moyesiah" is very slowly very painfully and maybe harshly dragging itself kicking and screaming to the "Time for a change" brigade! I watched us play a Chelsea side that have in truth destroyed many a team this year, but never I don't think with such ease. I genuinely feel that even with Carsley on the pitch that the scorline would either have been the same or worse. All the Everton players on the pitch lacked skill, passion, awareness, fitness etc (I could go on)

The most baffling decision for me had to be the choice of substitutions!!! We were getting hammered, couldn't move out of our half, and he replaces Beattie with the less mobile, less harmful, less potent Ferguson and the strangely awful Simon Davies! Ferrari and Van der Meyde must have been having a sly chuckle as the watched yet another Chelsea attack!

In conclusion, I have watched Everton for over 20 years and have definately seen worse teams than this, have DEFINITELY seen worse managers, and have almost certainly seen players with less passion — but never a team with no Plan A let alone a Plan B! Never seen so much emphasis on age and not youth, and never seen a manager go from being so self-motivated to so down-heartened in a matter of months!

Am I alone in thinking this?
Garry Lloyd, Jersey  (18/4/06)

No, you most definitely are not alone. Has the fire, the drive, the will to succeed now been extinguished from Mr Moyes? - Colm

Fade Away
It looks like the season is finishing as most of our seasons seem to — with a huge whimper. With the most of the team already thinking about the World Cup (watching it on telly), can I ask Moysie to do just one thing before leaving us for the bright lights of Boro? Let us have another glimpse of Ruddy, Anchibe and perhaps an outing for Vidarsson. At least we will then know if we are completely in the mire next season with our squad of plodders or if we can spend the next couple of months clinging to the thought that our youngsters will be a new start to building a young team with a bit of verve and ability.

Any sort of bid for our players ends in a sale, so there's not much hope of holding on to our few established assets (Yobo, Arteta, Cahill, Beattie*) and every chance we'll still have Pistone, Tie, Wright, knowing at least a couple of the youngsters can cut it will make us a little cheerier.

I know you'll not take Davies, Naysmith etc with you, yer Canny Scot you, but will you do us all a favour and take Irvine and Chris Woods. Cheers Davie, thanks for keeping us up for another season. All the best at Boro.

* Yes, I know, I know.
Andy Mac, Banbury  (18/4/06)

N'er a truer word spoke in jest... — Michael

Dodgy transfer rumour
I'm teaching in Istanbul and my students excitedly told me today that Everton are in talks with a Besiktas player called Tumer. He's a midfielder-cum-forward, with a deadly free kick and they reckon he's decent. Unfortunately he's 32. He's got reasonable speed. One reason he's coming is to get out of military service! As they say - you heard it here first... Moyes in!

ps: Most of my students are Everton fans.
James Smart, Istanbul, Turkey  (18/4/06)

Poor sods! - Colm

Stars In Their Eyes
What the fuck are players who play for Everton doing running up to Chelsea players begging for shirts? What have we become? Behaving like a non-league side in an FA Cup tie. It makes me sick.

On sky last night Moyes had the cheek to call the referee star-struck, what about your own players? Every one of those shirts should be confiscated and thrown in the bin and the tossers who put them on should apologise to the fans.

Every week that passes this once great club slips further into the Abbyss. Another great quote from Moyes after the Spurs game: "We were beaten by a far superior side today." Wake up, you prick! We finished four places above them last season and spent more money than them in the summer — we even gave them £3.5 million for nothing. So what's gone on to make them this supreior side? Fuck all from Moyes that's what went on. While others strengthened and added quality, Davey Dithered and drove players away.

Postings on this site keep refering to our small squad as an excuse for the poor showing this season. Whose fault is that? Instead of buying Davies and AdvM who never play; instead of buying Krøldrup and Ferrari who Moyes didn't and doesn't rate; instead of re-sigining the useless Pistone and poor old Davey Weir, we might of had a decent squad. Why cant you people see that and stop blaming Kenwright?

It's Moyes who fucked up the transfers and Kenwright who supplied the funds. Get it in to your thick skulls: Moyes is a disaster and the sooner he leaves the better. All summer I watched in anger and dismay as quality player after quality player was bought and sold by clubs who were well below us in the pecking order. At the start of the season we ended up with the dregs no one else wanted — so why blame anyone else other than Moyes? The squad is small by his own choosing.

As for £6.5 million on Beatie being peanuts, we could have got Dean Ashton and Darren Bent at the same time for £6.0 million. Beattie has never been my idea of a striker we needed — in fact, he makes Brett Angel look like Maradonna — another bit of shrewd buissness by Moyes.

Some drastic decisions need to be made to stop this farcical situation carrying on. But as long as the Dodds and Schaffers of this world exist, we are fooked. I know we will never compete with Chelsea or Man Utd in the money stakes and I know we will never play football like Arsenal. We could at least try to play football though. West Ham play good stuff. Are they a bigger club than us? Spurs, Wigan, they play nice football — why can't we?

Oh, I forgot; they ain't got Davey Moyes for a manager.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (18/4/06)

Like your spot about Moyes referring to the referee as being starstruck, yet his own players went on a souvenir hunt as soon as the final whistle blew! - Colm

Go for it Davey!
Given that we would all have settled for 17th place in October, Moyes has done a good job to see us home in 12th (or could it be 13th?) position. Fortune dictates that we meet three of the teams beneath us in the final games and whilst at least two of them will have much more to play for than Everton, the results matter little to us and a modest degree of experimentation would be in order.

We all want to know whether Iain Turner is a future first-team goalie, whether Ferrari has a future at Goodison and whether Van der Meyde is anymore than an expensive bench-warmer. The more adventurous would like to see if Anichebe has real potential and the outrageous see the back of Duncan Ferguson as our not-so-secret 70th minute weapon! All I do hope is that if, at long last, Mr Moyes is tempted to address one or two of these questions, the more vocal of our supporters don`t give him and the players a bad time if it all goes pear-shaped!

All that matters now is planning for next season and if, by any chance, the answers to the questions above are positive, then we shall better understand if the summer does not bring anymore than the odd addition to the squad. Go for it Davey!
Tom Canning, Pemberton  (18/4/06)

There's validity in your claim that Moyes has "done well" to get us off the bottom and safe before Easter. However, who's responsible for us being so lowly placed in the League, and *still* without a recognised goalscorer? It's Moyes's responsibility. End of. - Colm

Excuses, excuses!
`Yet another star-struck referee sees Everton done down, he always sends somebody off against Chelsea! Why do they all have it in for us? Look out we were fiddled out of Europe and there have been an endless string of booking/sendings off for the likes of Ferguson and Cahill(just because of who they are) which have been nothing short of scandalous!`

`Moyes does right to name and shame these prima donas whose only interest is in coseying up to `the big boys.`

`No wonder the same four or five teams always win all the honours — the refs are programmed to make it happen!`

All the above are quotes I heard in the pub after yesterday`s defeat, some of them from our manager. And I cringed, because making ridiculous excuses has become the stock in trade of so many Evertonians for whom the team has become a poor excuse in itself.
Guy Masters, Speke  (18/4/06)

We used to laugh when hearing Monsieur Houllier's latest post match comments. Shoe. Other foot. - Colm

Mediocrity is Thy Name
It looks about just right – Everton sitting well above the relegation zone and short of our 'goal' in the top half. Suits our current capabilities and ambitions well – comfortably close to the other Premiership-quality clubs like Boro, Villa, Charlton, Wigan etc.

Seems that Moyes has decided that mediocrity fits the bill for all at Goodison as well. No more complaints about disappointments over non-results like he used to in his first couple of seasons. Now he’s just glad that the players give an “honest” performance. Talking about the players, who earn more in a week than what the man on the street makes in months, they too reckon that after turning the season round after Christmas, the job’s now done and it’s time to tune out for a nice break before the World Cup rush. Why break sweat for tenth place when 11th, 12th, or 13th looks fine? Our beloved Everton has forgotten how to dream the impossible.

If mid-table is acceptable, risking bold changes against the possibility of a couple more losses won’t make a difference. Why not throw in some of the youngsters into the fray? The child is father to the adult. Turner, Vidarsson, Anichebe… At least they have a future ahead of them. At least they dare to dream!
Jason Heng, Singapore  (18/04/06)

Well, it seems another season is limping to a close at Goodison. Although I didn't expect anything from the last two games (Chelsea in a different league and Spurs are Spurs!), I did want to believe that you would see a bit of football played by the boys. In all honesty, and as much as it hurts to type it, I would rather us try a bit of that 'pure' football and get beaten knowing that we'd had a go against the two better footballing sides. Is it just me or have we become a team that is almost surprised to be leading a game?

I don't like putting players down but why play Weir when he is clearly off the pace? Why play Ferguson when we have younger players chomping at the bit? You can say all you like about throwing boys against men but I didn't see that going too badly for Arsenal in the Champions League! I was under the impression that it built a bit of character?

Mr Moyes, should you read this, how about giving a few other players a chance to show if they can cut it and why not try something new out there? After all, we aren't playing for Europe and the Premier League status is safe for another year! Let's have a look at what next season might hold and not be reminded even more of this season.
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (18/4/06)

End of the world? No way
So we lose to the team in which a Russian ogliarch (what the hell does that mean?) has invested £266 million and you`d think it was the end of the world. Well it ain`t! The table alongside shows that Everton are still in a very respectable twelth position (ask Birmingham, WBA or Pompey if they`d like to swap!) and we are still likely to finish in our best `back to back` position in Premiership history.

So how can that be all bad? With the need for virtually no investment other than that raised by the sale of players and place money, David Moyes has fashioned a team with tremendous heart and no little skill.

Of course we can`t compete with the moneybags clubs — and I count Spurs among that group — but we have shown since Christmas that we can give most of the others a run for their money.

Far too many Evertonians live in the past. The reality is that the pre-Premiership era is ancient history and revered only by those for whom football meant `case balls`a nd brass bands. Thank God, the majority - and we are a majority, even if not too many of us write to this forum - can see the wood from the trees and appreciate what Kenwright, Wyness and Moyes have done to steady the Good Ship Everton. That has been no easy task, believe me.

So,as we move towards the end of a somewhat disappointing season BY THE STANDARDS THE MANAGER SET LAST YEAR, let us rejoice that we are ONCE MORE being spared the ignominy of a relegation dog-fight and can look forward with considerable optimism to another good season ahead.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (18/4/06)

A fistful of dollars....

So Blue Bill is off during the summer vacation to fulfil a life's long dream and direct a western. Maybe he will be sorry that the leading part isn't being played by that guy who he proclaimed Everton would never sell - you know that lovable rogue who reminded him of a cross between John Wayne and Mickey Rooney.

Thing is he wants a fistful of dollars before he departs from the loyal 25,000 with the reward of a prize freeze with some even suggesting that our Spanish gunslinger will be joining the kid Rooney at Old El Trafford. The spaghetti Western that is Everton will continue with several rogues namely Naysmith, Pistone, Weir, Wright, McFadden, Kilbane, Carsley, continuing to don the spurs when most are crying out for them to be ridden out of town.

Maybe Kenwright might be able to bluff some big cheese American that Everton is not a club run by cowboys and that County road and its hostelries is somewhat similar to the wild west. Sad thing is the club is doing what it does best and screwing the loyalty of fans for a continuing second rate matinee.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (17/4/06)

Tut, tut! Such cynicism towards "True Blue" Bill! - Colm

I've had it!
I have had it up to my ear holes with that loser Moyes. I wish he does go to Middlesbrough or wherever as I can't take his bullshit anymore. At least with Walter Smith, he played attacking players sometimes (Ginola, Gazza, Tal etc).

When I saw the teamsheet before the game, my blood was boiling — I almost ran some poor sod over. WEIR ahead of Ferrari is taking the piss. Moyes said in his monotone voice "Let's see what Ferrari can do before the seasons over". What a liar!

He wants every young flair player out of the squad so he can play his favourite Weir! And Killa ahead of AvdM? Even more disgraceful! We ain't got shit to play for except our pride and Moyes still refuses to play our best players. I want Ferrari to go, as well as Yobo and Arteta. Let this club die and then what will Kenwright and Moyes say at the end of it?

What will the Moyes and Kenwright fan club say when we are in League One at home to Walsall? It's shit and we all know it. I've supported this club for over three decades and this is the lowest I've been with them.
Luq Yus, London  (17/4/06)

A club in trouble
For some time now, I've supported Moyes making allowances for the lack of support he's received from the Everton Board of Directors. However, today was the final straw. I can't criticise the players for their effort but we simply had no shape.

Hovering just above the relegation zone but safe I felt sure Moyes would take the opportunity to experiment with his team selection. I simply cannot believe Weir's inclusion at this late stage; he's had a long hard season and clearly has nothing left to give. Yobo single-handedly was left to mop up everything.

We have an abundance of left backs and yet we could not field a recognised right-sided midfield player in the starting eleven - beggars belief.

The substitutions made no sense. Finding it impossible to get out of our own box, Moyes introduces Ferguson and Davies, surely it would have made more sense to have called on Ferrari as this would have allowed Neville to take up a position in the middle of the park which would at least have allowed us to get hold of the ball and stem the tide of attacks. Consequently, Ferguson and Davies saw very little of the ball. Moyes has said Ferrari will be given a chance; presumably he has a cameo appearance in mind for the final game of the season?
Gerry Western, London  (17/04/06)

Amen to every word there Gerry. - Colm

Chelsea Debacle
I've just returned from watching the Chelsea match which according to David Moyes 'our boys did great today ... an incredibly honest performance .. ref ruined it for us'. Is he watching the same game? We were never in it. Cech nor Cudicini never had a save to make. McFadden, Beattie, and Kilbane never once got past their opposite number, there is no PACE available in any position — should I go on !!!

I've come to the conclusion that the better managers take adversity full on and go for hell or bust, fully optimistic in their belief that they want maximum points at all times. David on the other hand completely shuns these adverse occasions and crawls back into the shell of pessimism and defensiveness.

We had nothing to lose today, why not give Andy van der Meyde an hour? Why not use Ferrari with Yobo? Why stick with Duncan? why not give Victor Anichebe 20 mins? - for goodness sake, David, try to be a little bit strategic and try new players, take some risks, plan for next season.

Tell us what you are trying and we will understand. We don't when you always try to just play safe, it gets us nowhere — we must be the most boring side in the Premier — I'm sorry to say.
Mike Oates, Bognor Regis  (17/4/06)

Everton boring? Surely not? Thirty one goals, you know... - Colm

Paul F + Performance
We where shite in most departments today and we've been pretty woeful all season. Yep I remember the Riverside, I was probably sat near you and I remember going down to Southampton under Walker in 94 and giving one of the worst performances I've ever seen.

What saddens me the most is the lack of a plan, I agree Chelsea are a million miles away from us BUT we new that and so did Moyes. It never looked like (with 11 or 10 men) that we had an idea on how to score. Whether yer the Champions or near the bottom of the league, it isn't good enough.

And on growing up, well I've been a blue since the late 80s so crap is pretty much all I've been used to. Sadly it's all my little one will have to watch as well.

Anyway Moyesey reckons "the lads did great today" and that's all that matters in the end!!!
John Audsley, Leeds  (17/4/06)

A Lumbering Fool?
Mike Price called Moyes a lumbering fool in the transfer market. I know Moyes is not perfect but he's pretty good in the transfer market. Moyes has never had big money, his biggest transfer so far is Beattie for £6.5 million, which is peanuts in today's market. Beattie is proving worth the money too.

Arteta, Yobo & Cahill were all bought at a low price and have proved superb players. Marcus Bent was purchased for peanuts, gave the club one good season and then sold for 300% profit. The Charlton fans have started using Bent against their manager.

Moyes has made mistakes of course (Davies, Krøldrup, Wright) but at least his mistakes have been cheap compared to Wenger (Jeffers/Wright), Ferguson (Djemba-Djemba/Veron), Mourinho (Tiago/Kezman) and Benitez(Josemi/Morientes). Many fans complained when Moyes decided against completing the Mikael Forssell transfer. He's only scored 2 Premiership goals this season; ask the Birmingham fans about him and stand back.

He may not be the best and sure his reluctance to take a risk in transfer market can be annoying but Moyes is not a lumbering fool. £9.5 million for Alberto Luque is a lumbering fool transfer. Although I can see how many fans are annoyed that Moyes is not more assertive and I agree that players like Lennon and Ashton should have been on his list.
Dutch Schaffer, London  (17/4/06)

Everton... who are they?
‘Everton offered little attacking ambition…’

‘Everton were outplayed and outmanoeuvred for long spells of this game…’

'It was not a good game…’

‘Everton scored a fortuitous opener…’

The above are four quotes from our last four games (the third one even comes from Davie Moyes himself. This is the same man who spent around £6 million on a striker last season, and around £10 million over the summer on various players (Arteta, Neville, Davies, Valente, Krøldrup). Now 16 million is chicken feed when compared to the ‘big four’ but, even in today's inflated market, it’s a considerable investment for a club that’s got no rich backer (sorry Bill).

Moyes did remarkably well to lift us into 4th last season; he’d done the hard work. With a load of effort, a lot of grit, and a particularly average Premiership, he got us into the Champions League qualifying round. We’d got an unexpected cash windfall… we were actually in a position of some envy… people actually wanted to play for us again.

Well, we know what happened, national humiliation after national humiliation occured until finally Collina put us out of our misery and sent us back home vainly trying to cling to the fact that the officials got us knocked out of Europe.

It was true, but it still didn’t hide the fact that the whole adventure was a total disaster and we probably ended up with even less respect from world TV audiences than when we started (I'm trying to look at our plight in the bigger picture here). From the moment we played the first match, Moyes was sending out negative vibes in my opinion. We all knew most of the teams we would face would be technically superior and probably more experienced in Europe than ourselves but whenever Moyes was quoted talking about the opposition I felt he was talking the opposition up instead of trying to reassure his own players and reduce any fears they had.

This is my big problem with Moyes, I accept you need to keep your team objectives realistic and you also need to keep your players' feet on the ground but his whole persona has become so negative both in terms of the way his team plays and the way he deals with the media. I'm not saying I want Moyes to turn into a Mourinho, Clough or god forbid a Shankly but perhaps he can take a leaf out of old Howard Kendall's book, he was quite skilful with the media he never actually said much but whenever he said something it never sounded overly pessimistic or optimistic (almost Blairesque!). Still, I suppose that’s something Moyes will learn eventually.

As for the squad, well I think we all know he screwed up by not buying a fast striker to complement Beattie, with Radzinski or Rooney in the side we at least managed to scare the opposition through speed if not skill and guile. McFadden is a good player in my opinion but is totally unsuited to a Moyes team… he needs to play in a footballing team that plays to his feet (Christ, as an Evertonian, that’s depressing to type).

Anyways enough of the Championship Manager stuff, I just hope people start to realise that this style of play is not going to go away as long as Moyes is in charge. I respect him as a bloke but he shows no ambition to entertain the crowds. I don’t expect Brazilian style football but I do expect the ball to be played to feet, not DUNC’S BLOODY HEAD!

In the 80s and 90s I used to laugh at the likes of Sheff Wed, Sheff Utd, and Wimbledon for the Route One football they played but realised that they did it purely because they couldn’t afford decent players and it was the easiest way to get success.

What really concerns me now though is that I reckon most of the other premier league fans think the same of our club now… and yet we have spent £16 million.

That’s not progress; that’s just crap.
Aplankofwood Withanailinit, UK  (17/4/06)

Couldn't score with a Lime Street scrubber
Most of this season, but most particularly in the last several matches, we have seen what a gigantic disadvantage we put ourselves at by persisting with a wholly inadequate strikeforce. You can be second-best for most of a game and still win with a skilled, clinical and opportunist striker. And you can dominate a match for 90 minutes and still lose if your strikers aren’t getting the job done.

Time and again this season, Beattie and McFadden have shown they just have no business playing at this level. When the going gets the least bit tough, they get going – as far away from the action as possible. McFadden is incapable of regularly crossing accurately, even from the flag, and Beattie is helpless unless the ball is delivered precisely to his shoelaces or his forehead. To call McFadden “the Scottish Rooney” is so patently ridiculous I have no words to refute it adequately, while Beattie is overweight, lazy and to put it mildly, cognitively challenged.

It is so outrageous that after four seasons of team development and tens of millions of pounds spent – most of it on tedious mediocrities like Simon Davies or walking wounded like Andy van der Meyde – Duncan Ferguson is still our most threatening striker. Until he came on against Spurs we never looked like scoring; after his insertion the attack came alive and Spurs looked uncomfortable for the first time. They were intimidated by him in a way that they just were not afraid of Beattie. Within minutes he had set up two chances for Beattie. One he swung wildly at because it wasn’t delivered precisely on the poor lad’s instep and the other he lost sight of in the air because the ball wasn’t delivered exactly on his brow.

There has to be a hard look in the close season at the front pairing. Obviously Ferguson can't be a starting striker. But I would sooner see Osman or Cahill playing up there than McFadden and just about any other striker in the Premiership would do a better job than Beattie, who is a total fraud with neither power nor pace nor skill. There isn’t a central defender in the Premiership who can’t turn him inside out.

Why not try Anichebe? What is there to lose? If he fails to score, how is that worse that Beattie failing to score? I realize we still have the nucleus of a good side – in Yobo, Cahill, Arteta and Osman — but it’s disheartening to see Spurs busy achieving what David Moyes should have achieved by now. They are playing attractive passing football and you can bet they won’t be selling their best young player, Aaron Lennon, and spending the money on a posse of bedpan cases and nobodies.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (17/4/06)

Poor pickings
I can't believe Davie Moyes (GOD) is stil choosing Davie Weir and Kevin (Killa?) Kilbane ahead of Matteo Ferrai and Andy van der Meyde — especially this late on in the season we need to bring youth into the sqaud and look to the future, as Ferrai is due to leave in the summer. Don't get me wrong, Davie Weir has been superb at the club but I think the time has come to give youth a chance.

While we are on the subject of the future Richard Wright has to go: he is not fit to lace Nigel Martyn's boots but who is at the moment? Maybe Carlo Cudicini could be the answer? Who knows... but Richard Wright is certainly not the answer. I just hope Big Davie Moyes gets the backing he deserves.
Ernie Coombes, wirral  (17/4/06)

Surely the time has come....KENWRIGHT OUT
A couple of months ago ,I submitted an article entitled 'Enough is Enough'... For those of you who didn't read it please do so and then tell me that I'm wrong.

After yet another drab, passionless, flairless performance at Stamford Bridge today, SURELY the time has come for Mr Kenwright to do the right thing and accept that he CANNOT take this club forward and stand down as Chairman and figurehead of this club... He is embarrassing: No leadership, no investment, already no cash available in the summer ... NO FUCKING IDEA !!

As for Moysie the 'Miracle Man', has he now completely lost the plot?? Did you see his SKY post-match interview... Quote: 'I thought our boys did great today, I really did..' Unquote... What fucking game was he watching?

If you call not looking like scoring a goal and punting the ball aimlessly up the pitch to nobody for the majority of the game (as we've done all too often this season!!) great... then, yeah, we did great !! Whilst I'm on the subject of 'our boys', can somebody please explain how McFadden and Naysmith have made the grade as professional players, never mind been awarded international caps? Just goes to show why Scottish football is in the mess its currently in! They are without doubt two of the worst players ever to have pulled on our beloved shirt. They are not alone either in this squad!

Never mind though; the "Miracle Man" has just rewarded these two clowns with new three-year contracts... What a bright future we have.

They expect us to shell out for new season tickets before the end of this current season with only the prospect of the likes of Dickov, McSheffrey & Lua Lua to entice us... THEY MUST BE FUCKIN' JOKIN'!!

Mr Kenright: do the right thing GO and GO NOW before you make us an even bigger laughing stock than we already are!!

Please don't use the excuse: 'It was Chelsea; we're not expected to win'.... This club will never move forward whilst Kenwright and his cronies are in charge, 38-40,000 regulars can see it... WHY CAN'T HE ??

He couldn't even attract investment with the prospect of Champions League football... God help us now!!

Nil Satis Nisi Optimun... Don't make me laugh!
Neil Vaughan, Wirral  (17/4/06)

While I agree in large part with the intent of your post, I have to disagree on your head-count. The vocal and disenchanted Evertonians remain among a minority, and I fear it is a small minority at that. Yes, many people are writing in to reinforce your view: that makes 237 of you at the last count.... Most of the other 36,000 remain pretty solidly behind Moyes and Kenwright, neither of whom can do much wrong in their eyes. — Michael

Message to Davey
Would someone please explain to Mr Moyes:

Football history started sometime before 1992. The Premiership used to be called the First Division. Everton FC had a history before he had even heard of us... when we won inane things like the League and the FA Cup before he arrived.

And... he is employed to push us a little further towards former glories... not remind us how shit things have been since Sky took over the world.

If that is too much to ask for... fuck off back to Preston who will be glad of another play-off place... never to be seen in the top flight for many a year... if ever again!
David  Jones, Rochdale  (17/4/06)

A shot on target!!!
The only positive is that we managed a shot on target, progress from the Spurs game.

On a more serious note, Moyes's selection and tactics leave a lot to be desired. Did Ferrari do anything wrong on Saturday? Does Moyes, or should I say Bullshit Billy and him, have a statement prepare for his return to Roma, saying transfer funds didn't stretch to Roma's valuation?

Apparently Yobo rates Ferrari and if he sees the inclusion of Weir as part of Moyes masterplan for next seaon, we are screwed because we will be left with 2 OAP centre-haves. For the last few games let's give Ruddy/Turner and Victor [oh sorry we don't use young players] as we have fuck all to play for. Thank fuck we had a mini-revival otherwise we would have been in a real dogfight with no hope of survival.

I suggest that, a la Man Utd fans last season, anyone with sense leaves the ground before the players walk round Goodison Park against West Brom, as a show of unity that we won't put up with this crap any longer.
Jim Feeney, Liverpool  (17/4/06)

Nothing but the worst
Wright, Hibbert, Naysmith, Weir, Pistone, Carsley, Davies, Kilbane, McFadden etc etc... These guys wouldn't get a game with me and my mates. Enough said.
Paul C, Liverpool  (17.4.06)

I've heard etc etc have some potential! Think you're being overly harsh on one or two of those named but the frustration's perfectly understandable. - Colm

Lack of Ambition
Really, how did we allow Necastle with all their problems this season to sneak up and go past us for that slot? The Barcodes have had to change manager, loose Qwen, loose Parker and still have the worst back four I have seen for a long time in the EPL. Yet still they get to 7th after being in the bottom half of the table all season and are in pole position for Europe.

Moyes told the media that the Everton players deserve a pat on the back for the performance today. I guess that says it all..
John Cribb, Liverpool  (17/4/06)

No more.....
I was having lunch with my partner at a bar minutes from Stamford Bridge today. The talk was, as you can imagine, not of how Chelsea were going to match Everton's skill and domination, panache and ingenuity... rather about the wisdom of taking on another mortagage, which universities were up for checking out and where the nearest organic shop was. God, they must have been scared out of their pants!!

Everton no longer scare anyone. I had the option of going to the game but I didn't go. When we got home I found the game to be on TV at £7 ppv. I thought about it for a moment - even went and made a cuppa for us both - then decided I didn't want to watch it on tv either. My partner went to the gym and I went into the garden to hear the roar from the first Chelsea goal. I made a wise choice.

I will never go to watch Everton again. I've followed them for 56 years but the last 20 have been difficult in general. The last few, with the odd exceptional game, have been dreadful. No hope, no talent, no desire. Take the money and run - but not mine; not anymore!
Pete Stewart, London  (17/4/06)

Be serious, please

John Audsley in Leeds ... grow up mate. The worst footballing side you've seen wear the shirt? I've seen this side knock the ball about well this season, even when we were losing games early on.

Do you not remember Mike Walker's team? Do you not remember Walter bloody Smith's team? Jesus, I was up at the Riverside for that FA Cup tie and it was woeful. Everton's performance against Chelsea today was a million miles from that. There was commitment, there was purpose and there was a sense of togetherness.

Chelsea are very possibly the best football team on the planet. Barcelona will dispute that, but still. Fine we lost, but it was no disgrace. They've spent around 300 million quid, so you should start to expect it. This is why they are running away with the league title!

It is very easy to turn to hyperbole when you're pissed off about a result, but some of the comments that turn up in this mailbag are off the scale at times.
Paul Foster, London  (17/4/06)

Agree with the comment on our commitment today but I saw very little purpose. We looked lost out there, no creation in our play. We looked as lifeless as anything I've witnessed over recent seasons - matters not helped by a pretty poor refereeing display from our friend Mr Styles. We're a long long away from being the kind of team we need to be if we're to continue deluding ourselves that we can compete with the better sides in the Premiership. - Colm

Stubborn Beyond Belief
The sight of Gary Naysmith asking Frank Lampard for his shirt at the end of the game made me want to puke, not only was his own game absolutely appalling for the 90 minutes, he actually wanted a souvenier of the occasion.

But then to cap it all, our own ginger maestro came on TV and stated he was 'proud of his team and so were the supporters'. Well, forgive me, David, but I suggest you canvass opinion and see how many agree with you before you make a statement on my behalf.

Even allowing for the hapless Rob Styles, I have never witnessed an Everton team so bereft of flair and attacking ideas. Did we actually have a shot at goal in the whole game?

I hope he puts this fact on his CV: we are going to finish with the lowest goals scored total for an Everton team since the Preiership began. It was blindingly obvious to anyone last season that we had a major problem in this area, and what did he do? Jack shit.

Never mind, we can look forward to good honest pro's in time for next season.More of the same please.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (17/4/06)

Can't disagree with the majority of that. - Colm

Chelsea Match

Having watched the performance at Chelsea on the TV, I am annoyed at the following:

1) Why is Weir playing whilst Ferrari is on the bench? I quite like Weir but we know what he can do & he’s getting too old.

2) Wright & Davies?

Both not good enough – was Wright at fault for the first goal, it could be a bit harsh - maybe? Why did he pick up the back pass which led to the 3rd goal when he could just have easily kicked it?

3) Do we need to see any more of big Dunc? We know what he can do, but away from home he’s a waste of time.

4) Why did Van der Meyde not get some time on the pitch?

I am a David Moyes fan but since Gerrard got sent off in the derby we have been poor - particularly at Charlton where I thought they were there for the taking. Today’s game, I thought the red card was harsh and we always seem to get the worst of decisions, but we were under the cosh and maybe Chelsea understandably are just too good for us.

Still, enough of my drunken rant – IMWT ... just.
Brian Donnelly, Hoddesdon  (17/4/06)

Well, the manager thought his team did well today, really well. I have to admit his post match words stumped me as I thought we were turgid. - Colm

Tear them off a strip
Can`t believe it but I`ve just seen bloody Frank Lampard receiving the Man of the Match award in an Everton shirt with the badge ripped off it.What a total lack of pride that shows from our players to be craving Chelsea shirts!

I hope Moyes or the Chairman literally tears them off a strip!
Andrew  Levy, Maghull  (17/4/06)

Actually, the shirt was inside out! He always did want a Tim Cahill shirt, that young Lampard. Guess the appreciation goes back to his days as a Hammer, totally appreciating all things Millwall.... - Colm

Cheerful Davy
Interesting comment from Harry Meek about Moyes' appearances on Match of the Day. Harry suggests that Moyes is putting himself in the shop window by showing he can be a relaxed and approachable character, as opposed to the general perception of him as strict and severe. There is also the possibility that Moyes may now have realised his public image is not helping him out in the transfer market. It seems we probably missed out on one or two big names in the past because players opted for more ostensibly jovial managers.

While you can't rule out the possibility that Moyes is selling himself to other clubs, he may also be selling himself to players/agents in advance of a good summer in the transfer market.

In Harry's post, he says: 'Whilst we know the truth about this dour, one dimensional manager, to the world at large he is the man who turned Everton round; got us to fourth after having to sell his star players; won two Manager of the Year awards; coming very close to achieving two unique back-to-back top-ten finishes etc etc ...'

Strangely, whilst arguing the case that Moyes isn't up to the job, Harry Meek made me more convinced than ever that he is.

To those who are constantly having a pop at Moyes, just re-read that list of achievements. Nobody is saying that it is good enough for Everton - we all know our club deserves better - but the fact is, the situation Moyes inherited was frighteningly bad. We were on our way out of the league and Gazza and Ginola were the men we were relying on for answers!

In my opinion, too many people are being too quick to give up on the man who has started his Everton career extremely well. Room for improvement? Yes. Reason for replacement? No.
Paul Foster, London  (17/4/06)

Trying to be positive
So we lost to Chelsea. No real shame in that seeing as they`ve only dropped one point at home this season. But there were some positives. David Weir, re-instated as captain, did enough to show he is worthy of yet another contract and young Kilbane did plenty to justify the one he`s got.

Bringing on Big Dunc when the game was lost was a masterstoke by the Moyesiah although by the Sky clock it was 17 seconds before the statutory 70 minutes.(Timing ,David!).

And didn`t young Ferrari look impressive on the bench as the manager sought to involve him enough to consider staying here next season!

Oh, I nearly forgot, Dicky Wright only gave away one goal today because no one had told him not to pick up back passes.

As you know, like Dutch,I always try to be positive. IMWT!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (17/4/06)

You forgot van der Meyde's contribution upon his return from suspension! - Colm

Moyes on Andy Pandy
I blame moyes on this: why din´t he use Andy van der Meyde? He is the only player who can pass or cross the ball right now and he was on the bench! I am very pissed with Moyes playing Weir; that is bullshit — Ferrari should be in the team now.
Marino Mattigusso, Iceland  (17/4/06)

Ferrari Home?
After the Chelsea game, I can only conclude that Ferrari must be going home. If he isn't good enough to replace Weir then surely he should be off home to where he might be appreciated and be able to get a game. Even if he wanted to stay originally surely he wont now; he must look at the team and be gutted he can't get a game.

I am slowly turning against Moyes and his ideas; now must be the time to play Ferrari and Yobo together — just out of curiosity?

The other concern is, if Moyes does leave, will we be better off? I for one can't wait to see a few Everton players [Wier, Carsley, Davies] running round in Boro shirts — at least we will have to find some replacements then.
Big Dunc Bluey, Stoke  (17/4/06)

Lost all pride

Just seeing Yobo and Cahill scrounging shirts off Chelsea players and then Essien blowing his nose on an Everton shirt says it all for me! How bloody low can you get? As Moyes said two weeks ago `they have nothing to prove to me`. Well they`ve got bugger all to prove to me neither because when you lose your pride in your shirt you really are fooked.

Season ticket in bin together with next season`s renewal form!
Alli Humphries,  (17/4/06)

One of many I suspect. - Colm

Wrong men in charge of our beloved club
I am a first-time writer to these pages and one who always believed that David Moyes was the man to take us forward but, after seeing today's starting XI, I don't think so anymore. What a great oppurtunity he had to play Ferrari & Yobo together but alas he stuck with his favourite Weir.

Then we are 2-0 down so what does he do? Takes our top goalscorer off and brings on Duncan Fergsuson, who has not scored all season, and Simon Davies (what a great signing) and leaves Van der Meyde on the bench. Poor Carsley did not deserve to be sent off; yes, the challenge was clumsy but a yellow would have been enough.

I agree with most that Bill Kenwright is not the man to take us forward; please find investment and do the honourable thing and step down.

I also believe that David Moyes is putting himself in the shop window with all his TV appearances so I don't expect him to be our manager come the start of next season. Will this be a good thing? Only time will tell...
Yusuf Bobat, Leeds  (17/4/06)

Chelsea ? - 0 Everton
75 minutes have passed and the current score is Chelsea 3 - 0 Everton, I think it could end up 4 or possibly 5 but to be honest I'm not that bothered. We played quite well in the first half and all the decisions have gone against us.

I have decided to put the game in the background and type this. I think that's an indication of how totally bored I am with this game. Some say the Premiership is the best most exciting league in the world. That makes me laugh. Chelsea against Everton is practically a friendly for them, an exibition game. There's no contest so how can this be the most exciting league?

I think the Premiership consists of four sides, Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal & Liverpool. They contest between themselves for the League and the FA Cup. The other 16 sides just make up the numbers. Those 16 sides compete against each other in an attempt to win their own league within the Premiership. Last season Everton won the league, we were the highest placed team of the 16; this season it looks as if Spurs will win the league.

The Premiership isn't the most exciting league in the world. You can predict most of the results. Just pick the Top 4 to win every game and 90% of the time you would be right. There's no contest. The last team to win the FA Cup outside of the Top 4 was Everton.

Here's an example: I'm guessing next season the Premiership will go to one of the top four sides, probably Chelsea and the FA Cup will go to one of the top four sides. I'm not disappointed we lost to Chelsea; it's expected, it's an easy result to predict, even the Sky people had a hard time making a game of it. I'm just bored of the 'most exciting league in the world' being so predictable.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (17/4/06)

Dont want to watch this!
Well, I know we are playing the best team in the Premiership and I now that we worked hard in the first 45 mins but I've had enough of watching this crap.

Mr Styles may as well wear blue today but I'm struck dumb by the lack of leadership and belief in our team. I reckon it's the worst footballing side I've seen wear the shirt, even worse than Kendall's 96-97 team. Normally I'd go on about things like Carsley getting the wrong card but what's the point? It will make little difference.

Ah well, another close season with loads of work to do, how many have we had in the last few years? Everton going forward as a club and team?? Don't make me laugh (or cry)
John Audsley, Leeds  (1704/06)

Could we be any more predictable? This end of season was totally inevitable: thankfully, we put together a good run of results to pull away from the bottom; and then our mercenaries switch off and coast knowing their Premium wages are intact for another year at least.

Moyes is a joke, a PE teacher who picks the crap divvie because he always comes to training, turns up on time and washes the kit. He plays his favourites, re-signs his favourites, newly signs 'favoured' players like Davies, aka Mike Milligan; all of whom are utter shite. If you were any good would you want to play for a man like that?...

Plus he is charismaless and seems to alienate players with a choice, almost immediately. Have you noticed that nearly all his signings/re-signings aren't wanted by anyone else... Pistone, Naysmith, Weir, McFadden, Kilbane, Carsley, Van der Meyde... Davies — for £3.5 million!! Arteta even, at the time. Beattie was wanted by Villa and I wish he'd gone there; he's still total crap and if we could get our money back, I'd bite their hand off!

He is a lumbering fool in the transfer market, and as pointed out, the purchase of Davies for £3.5M and up, with Spurs then signing pacy Lennon for £1M, was gross mis-management. Spurs must have cracked open a few bottles of bubbly after they pulled that one off!

Unfortunately, that's fairly typical of our dealings and I'd bet the agents and players mentioned above wet themselves with excitement as we offered juicy contracts when just about no-one else was interested.

We have so many poor players it really is a miracle we stayed up this year; next year will be no different and that's why, hopefully!, Moyes is engineering a way out. He knows they're rubbish, he's spent a fortune, he's wasted our best chance in a generation to move forward by spactacularly blowing this season, and a relatively massive transfer budget. If he can spin a 'record' year out of our finish(!!??) this season then maybe there will be a lucrative contract elsewhere.

I used to like him when he first came; fresh, intelligent and positive. I thought we'd end up with a fit, fast, aggressive team with splashes of skill. How wrong I was... he's now become a cancer that's eating away at our club... the players aren't that fit: look at Beattie's tits 18 months after he arrived! No pace, not even aggressive, and less skill than just about every other Premiership squad other than Sunderland.

We're unpopular, play horrible, ugly football and have a dull, limited, boring manager in charge. Unless we change him, this will continue... end of.
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (17/4/06)

God, that was depressing!

No need for hankies yet!
Re the `Goodbye David` posting, the way I heard it is that the job`s only Moysey`s if O`Neill turns it down. No need for hankies yet as it`s all message board stuff, with Gibson saying nothing apart from he wants the FA to make their mind up about McClaren soonest.

Like most Evertonians, I should be sorry to see Moyes go as I think Kenwright will seek to replace on the cheap by handing it to Irvine under the guise of continuity. But it won`t be the end of Everton, for sure, and the phoenix will rise — and all that other crap.
Jim Lawson, Northallerton  (17/4/06)

The Future
Just a couple of little cameos from Saturday's game against Spurs sum up what has become and what will become of our once great club. Fast, skillful teenage winger who cost only £1 million, constantly embarassing our hapless, hopeless veteran (but with a three-year contract)full back. At the same time, the 26-year-old, injury prone guy who Spurs sold to Everton for £3.5 million (!) to accommodate Lennon, has yet another invisible, unimpressive and ineffective performance. If this is David Moyes's idea of building for the future, I'm not sure I want to be part of it.
Rob Willliamson, Sheffield  (17/4/06)

easy as that

All the talk about Moyes must go really is annoying, ok fine sack him no problem with that.

Now will all the people who want him gone please tell me who will come here to replace him? Don't forget they will have no money, no help from the board, players who simply arent good enough, old players past their best, an invisible youth policy, the list just goes on and on, god every manager must want this job it sounds that good.

Let's face it we're stuck with Moyes and a board who refuse to move over or get investors in but I'm quiet willing to listen to all those people who know a manager willing to come?

Answers on a postcard then?
big dunc bluey, stoke  (17/4/06)

HK IV???! - Colm

Goodbye, David?

Rumours abounding up here that David Moyes will follow McClaren into the Boro hotseat when the latter is named England boss this week. Apparently, Gibson has offered him what Kenwright can`t and that`s a good tranfer kitty to keep Boro challenging for honours.

If Davey makes the move,I for one won`t blame him. Kenwright has failed him on all counts and the lack of financial support in January and for this summer must frustrate him to hell.

I know he has his knockers but the vast majority feel he has worked wonders in his four years at Goodison. Whingers like Tony Marsh and Harry Meak are very fond of singling out his transfer disappointments - Wright(now coming good), Kroldrup(expected the whole team to play it his way) Davies(taking time to find his feet) and Beattie who took an age to reach peak fitness. But counter this with class signings such as Yobo, Arteta, Nuno Valente, Neville, Cahill, Van der Moyde and soon, hopefully, Ferrari. Then there`s the allegation that he doesn`t bring on young talent. Nonsense; Rooney, Hibbert and Osman all became Premiership regulars under Moyes` influence and Vaughan, Turner, Ruddy and Anichebe have all been given a taste of the big time.

So what about his tactical acumen, often frustrated by the smallness of his squad? Who was it that persuaded two thirds of his fellow managers to adopt a style which saw Everton to their highest ever Premier spot? Who was it who took over a bunch of losers from Walter Smith and saved us from a certain drop? Who was it who transformed `Mad Dog`Graveson from a self indulgent show pony to an ace playmaker and Lee Carsley from a journeyman to the best holding midfielder in the country?

No doubt Boro-and other discerning clubs - have spotted all this and can`t wait to see Moyes in charge. All I can say,if the rumours are right,is that Mr Kenwright and certain Evertonians never deserved him!
Seb St.Clare, Harrogate  (17/04/06)

I'm sure Mr. Kenwright will give this matter his fullest attention. From a movie set somewhere in deepest Arizona... - Colm

A Moyes Mistake!

The last four games have been a real disappointment. So what's changed after our excellent form of Jan-Mar?

Stubbs returned in January and immediately reformed his old partnership with Weir.

The veteran duo played played 9 games together, winning 5, drawing 2 and losing 2. Pretty good form.

But for some reason Moyes decided to change things and bring back Yobo. In the 3 games Yobo has partnered Stubbs Everton have drawn 2 and lost 1. No wins!!!

Yobo also started in the defeat against Liverpool although it was a Stubbs/Weir partnership.

I think it was a mistake by Moyes to bring back Yobo. Stubbs and Weir were working as a partnership and Everton were in good form.

Stubbs is out injured for the Chelsea game today so we might get a chance to see the fans favourite partnership Yobo/Ferrari in action.

It will be interesting to see how they cope. If they flop I say bring back the tried and trusted Stubbs/Weir. They never let Everton down.
Dutch Schaeffer  (17/04/06)

Utter bull, Dutch! Let's all pin the blame for the obvious shortcomings of our beloved football team on the shoulders of Joey Yobo. Do you spin for the Club per chance via the back pages of The Echo??? You might indeed get your wish this summer, with the sale of Yobo. Stubbs and Weir for another season, Sir???? - Colm

If you know your history...

...David Moyes doesn't. If he cares to hark back to the halcyon days of the seventies and eighties, he will see we finished back-to-back seasons in the top ten on a regular basis.

There again, what would you expect from this clueless 'manager' of ours. He will be wrong again because in my opinion we will do well to beat both the Midland sides and will lose the two away games for sure.
Russ K, Ellesmere Port  (17/04/06)

To cut Moyes some slack here I believe his reference was to our more recent history, going back to the day when Sky invented football. Aided by the greed of chairmen like Philip Carter, may I add... - Colm


Is Moyes a good manager, that is the question. If he is, at least at the motivational side, now is the time to turn it on, or, (here comes the slings and arrows bit) are players with their mega contracts, cast iron when it suits THEM, so armoured as they are by a lanimated kevlar, part squad system, 1part no proper reserve side to pressure them as to be untouchable effortwise unless the whim takes them.The next 4 games will, or maybe not, show us.

If they don't and I am prepared to be proved wrong here (please!). Who or is that whom ( I never know, help please M.K.) is to blame, him, them, 50/50, 60/40, any 8 from 12 full the man said in dirty harry ( no not that, I do not feel lucky ) 'tell me, I gots t'know'.

Is it our fault and more to the point, whats to be done to fix it.Are the present encumbents part of the problem or the key to the solution.
Derek  Thomas, Torbay Auckland NZ  (17/04/06)

Have you been binge drinking, Derek?! - Colm

Putting himself about

Am I alone in believing that the now frequent,cheerful TV appearances of David Moyes is an attempt to put himself in the shop window for one of the several Premiership jobs which will come available shortly?

Whilst we know the truth about this dour, one dimensional manager, to the world at large he is the man who turned Everton round; got us to fourth after having to sell his star players; won two Manager of the Year awards; coming very close to achieving two unique back-to-back top ten finishes etc etc.....

Who wouldn`t be interested in such a star performer?

And as for his Powerpoint skills......

Just mark by words,this is a man putting himself about, telling the world,`Come and get me, I`ve done all I can for this lot but they won`t give me any money to take us on.....` And, do you know,he`s absolutely right...and I`m glad!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (17/4/06)

There's been a little voice in my head telling me similar over recent weeks. Perhaps we're going senile together, Harry! Time will tell. Meanwhile, the clock ticks and Davey prepares for his tactical battle with José... - Colm

Very Disappointed
I've watched Everton since 1950 and been privileged to see some great sides who genuinely entertained. I have of course watched poor teams over those years who have pained me immensely. I must say that what disappoints me now is the toatal lack of ambition shown by everyone at the club.

It seems we make false claims at trying to lower the avarage age of the team which must be the oldest in the Premiership. We say that there were no players suitable for Everton during the last transfer window, then we contradict this by re-signing Alan Stubbs and being linked with Jeffers and Dickov. None of these players can get regular games at their present clubs. It seems we have become a dumping ground for this type of player.

We have no youngsters at the club fit to be given a try in the first team and we may as well scrap the academy as it seems that there are senior players who have a divine right to either play or sit on the bench without competition so long as they are half-fit.

If we do not use younger players soon our club will deteriorate further next season and relegataion will again be an issue. To have the ambition to obtain forty points as a goal each season insults the loyal fans who deserve much more from a club that should be challenging for Europe every season.
Trevor Lynes, Wrexham  (17/4/06)

Jez Clein, I completely agree we need to wheel and deal - I just think we could do better than sell Beattie and buy a couple of average players to replace him. If you hadn't suggested two such bad players, I'd probably be with you all the way. I think we need to keep the two James's up front and buy a young pacey striker to support them. Who can fill those boots? I'll leave to Moyes...
Daniel Parker, New York, USA  (16/4/06)

Oh right... just like we did last summer....[Click the link and sing along]
Yea, let's twist again like we did last year
Do you remember when things were really hummin'
Yea, let's twist again, twistin' time is here .... [fades]

I just endured our manager laughing and joking on MOTD2 as if he hasn't got a care in the world. "Oh look at Bruce and Robson they are under pressure, I am glad with the boys after Xmas blah blah". What bollocks!!! You ain't under pressure because your Chairman is as spineless and unambitious as you are, Moyes!

It makes me sick that he seems happy that Everton are making up the numbers in the Premiership. Is this the leader who will lead Everton to glory? It's a reactional rant but after the Spurs display I don't know how he could show his face on national TV — let alone be happy; joy, joy!
Luq Yus, London  (17/4/06)

Just everton
I have noticed the club saying there will be a two-week freeze on season ticket prices; well, I know what I would like to freeze for two weeks, just to see if there is any more ambition in them when they come around...

Who is going to rush out and renew their ticket by 8 May, before this season has even finished? Given our record in the transfer market, there is no incentive. It is about time the Board stopped treating the fans as a money-making machine when we never achieve anything on the pitch.

Why should we have to pay the same entrance fee as at Anfield when we are always having to watch lower quality football/players? I remember when the club gave fans until the end of June before increasing prices.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (16/01/06)

It's hardly the Board's "fault" the fans are as loyal as they are. And in a way, this price freeeze is rewarding the most loyal of those fans — the ones who will renew before 8 May, regardless of jam tomorrow in the perennially disappointing transfer window.

The Club has to look realistically at the revenue stream that is provided by ticket sales. Given yesterday's ridiculous attendance for a meaningless end-of-season kick-about, they are totally justified.

Pessimism replaces optimism
As a season which afforded the potential rebirth of a great club teeters to a frustrating end, it appears next season may be just as disappointing. Moyes has recently remarked with alarming frequency that finances are tight and that there is little to spend. He talks only of tinkering with the current squad — a phrase normally associated with highly successful clubs.

It would seem the money we do have will be needed just to hold on to the few quality players already in the squad. This is a high-risk strategy as, having witnessed one of the poorest games I've seen for some time at The Valley followed up by a very disappointing home performance, it must now be a real concern as to how far the loyalty of the fan base can be tested.

A huge traveling contingent at The Valley, followed by a full house at Goodison is testimony to the level of support the club enjoys but many more performances like these and the fans will be turning away in their droves. It will certainly do nothing to promote season ticket sales.

Most alarming of all is that a quick glance at the bench reveals the lack of quality available and surprisingly a player of the calibre of Ferrari is only introduced as a result of an enforced substitution.
Gerry Western, London  (17/4/06)

Oh What Joy!
The Spurs defeat has put me in a bad mood and tomorrows sure-fire humilation at the hands of Chelsea will round off a crap bank holiday weekend. But oh what joy, not only do I have to hear and read about the Chelsea defeat I can actually pay £7 and watch it on pay-per-view.

Am I stupid enough to pay the money and force myself to sit through what will surely be an excruciating defeat? Of course I am; I'm an Everton fan and have been forced to sit through worse.

What a rubbish weekend for Everton, I am going to pretend the season finished in March. In fact I'm going to try and pretend this whole season never happened.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (16/4/06)

I've just discovered that your e.mails sound really, really authentic and sincere when read in the voice and persona of none other than Alan Partridge, Ah ha!

A positive?
One thing that may well be neglected from yesterday's poor performance was the performance of Dickie Wrong. I know the lad has his moments but he certainly had a good game yesterday. Let's hope it gives him some confidence so he can rediscover the promise he showed when he was younger. No harm being optimistic about it is there?

But ffs Moyes: stop playing the big man. He's well off the pace and does not strike fear into opponents anymore. If we're thinking towards next season now, what's the point of playing someone who definitely won't be a part of our squad? Try one of the younger lads. Especially as the team look like they're playing for nothing now...
Nick Tierney, Liverpool  (16/4/06)

And he goes by the name of...
I think enough has been said about yesterday's pathetic, spineless performance so I'm going to open up the summer transfer debate...

Wright had his most assured game of the season yesterday but he is simply not good enough (i trust him about as far as I can throw him). The perfect replacement for Nigel this summer is in Scotland... he goes by the name of Craig Gordon and he has just been named Scottish Player of the Year. He's better than Green and wouldn't cost an arm and a leg. Only stumbling block is that Hearts can offer him Champions League football.
Ben Polak, Altrincham  (16/4/06)

Oh bloody hell. Now you've told everybody. We won't stand a chance.

Nothing happens
Can`t say I`m bothered one way or the other whether Big Dunc gets an extra payday. What I do know is that the debate should have taken place a year ago when he, Weir, Pistone and Naysmith should have been paid off once and for all. That Moyes eventually decided to re-sign the lot of them — and Stubbs later — demonstated his total lack of judgement, vision and global contacts. Allowing him (or was it forcing him?) down that path also demonstrated the Board`s absence of ambition as this season has become one too far for every one of `the old brigade`.

I have never been quite sure whether Moyes takes any personal interest in, or responsibility for, the development of young talent — it always seems to operate in a vacuum somehow — but the abject failure to bring the kids through makes it vital that the scouting set up at senior level is absolutely switched on. I know they say that chairmen should never interfere in football matters but ensuring that the football organisation and infra-structure is in place must surely be a prime function of the Board. If it is not part of the manager`s responsibility then it is clear that others should be called to account for the absence of results and replaced.

Although I`m no particular fan of either Allardyce or Redknapp, both have shown how effective players can be brought in — often on loans — at very short notice. The latter was able to find eight players in the recent window for a total spend of £11M, just about half of what Moyes blew last summer. Other managers at `our end` of the table have introduced youngsters to the fray once their Premiership survival was assured.

At Everton, nothing happens. No new signings (only an old boy brought back) and no kids to give us a glimpse of the future. I put it to you, m`lud, that this Manager, this Board and this Club are moribund and, along with a lot of others, I fear the worst for it!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (16/4/06)

Looking forward to nothing!
I'm not even going to moan about yesterday because it's exactly what I expected. Spurs are a much better footballing team than us, let's face it, and they have got something to play for; we havn't. As usual, we are settling for second best!

But what concerns me more than anything is the summer. We have little if any funds available and our best players are being linked with moves away! such as Arteta, Yobo and even Cahill! It's like going back in time to 2004 when we waere in a financial mess and Rooney left.

We finished 4th last season and we have got absoloutly nothing positive to show for it. Look at Spurs: they bought a lot of young home-grown players for a reasonable price that anyone could have had, while Moyes buys over-weight, over-aged, over-rated players who aren't good enough for are club. Aaron Lennon was right on our doorstep and he signs people like Simon Davies and Spurs replace him with northern boy Lennon! You seriously can't tell me that Lennon would have rather joined Spurs than us last season when we had European football to offer! Don't think so!

The only way the "Moyessiah" will leave is if Newcastle or Celtic/Rangers come in for him. Bullshit Billy is so far up his arse you wonder if can see the tactical mess he has on the pitch. When he is giving Moyes £25M to waste he could at least advise him to sign a striker!

When the papers link you with a move for Dickov at 34 years old, that's when you know you're in trouble! Next season will be exactly the same as this on: a useless wretch! Let's face it, we're on the road to nowhere.....
Ryan Barton, Liverpool  (16/4/06)

After watching yesterday's performance, where can we go from here? Disastrous is the only way to describe yet another aimless display in a season of similar ineptitude; as a true blue for 60 years, my heart bleeds for the loyal fans who are being short-changed as a result.
Peter Cantwell, Ontario, Canada  (16/4/06)

Arteta going nowhere!
I can put everone`s mind at rest: Mickey Arteta is NOT moving to Man United! Had a drink at lunchtime with a mate who is a steward in the VIP areas at Old Trafford and he says that Mickey was a guest of a top Miguel in the Spanish Consulate in Manchester. Apparently, Mickey was attending a special Easter event laid on in the city by the Consulate later in the day.

Panic over, I think?
Ed Vincent, Altrincham  (16/4/06)

A hopeless situation
There was a time when I used to write regularly to ToffeeWeb about Everton-related issues but gave up doing so when I realised that Bill Kenwright and our once young dynamic manager probably never read the website anyway. But after witnessing another turgid display yesterday I have been provoked into action.

My main gripe is about our youth system. Clubs like Middlesbrough and even Aston Villa seem to have young players coming out of their ears who are given a chance in the first team. David O'Leary and Steve Maclaren are not great managers but do seem bold enough to throw young players into the fray. Compare this with David Moyes who always errs on the side of caution with tactics and team selection.

Against Spurs yesterday, he put two defenders on the bench and a striker who is retiring at the end of the season. Where was Anichebe? Is he not worth some sort of try now? Yes, he is raw, but quick, powerful and hungry. Our manager's frightened dour approach leaves me cold and utterly hopeless.

If our youth system is not producing players good enough then why is it not overhauled and people like Andy Holden, Gary Ablett and the assorted scouts replaced? Other clubs, notably Liverpool, import youngsters from other clubs, including abroad. We have only one foreign player in our Youth academy, another sign of the clubs lack of vision.

The pro-Moyes brigade on these pages and elsewhere tell us that people who want Moyes out are the vocal minority. Actually I would contend that we are the silent majority who are so resigned to our fate under this clueless manager and chairman that we have mainly given up protesting about them.
Gaz Hughes, Liverpool  (16/4/06)

Just to pick up on one point, the number of imports currently in the Everton Youth Academy:

  • Bjarni Vidarsson — Iceland (I think you got that one!)
  • Thordur Ingasson — Goalkeeper from Iceland?
  • Patrick Boyle — signed from Scotland
  • Johann Davidsen — signed from the Faroe Islands
  • Iain Turner — signed from Stirling Albion at 18
  • John Ruddy — Snapped up from Cambridge Utd
  • Victor Anichebe — born in Nigeria
And they're only the ones muggins here knows about. — Michael

Chelsea squad?
Just been on the official site. Can anyone tell me why we have taken three keepers to Chelsea?
Danny Hall, York  (16/4/06)

Well, it's like this: at Chelsea, they sometimes put this sign inside the goal...

No complaints ...
I have to pick you up on the criticism of David Moyes for the "no complaints" line, Michael. "No complaints" doesn't mean David Moyes is satisfied with losing, nor does it mean he enjoyed watching his side comprehensively outplayed. What it does mean is that there were no contentious decisions or anomalies in the match that could make us feel the result was unjustified.

I don't think it's fair on the guy to deal with that quote in any other way than in the context in which it was used. It is a line that honest managers use to concede their team was not up to scratch on a particular day.

I don't know about anybody else, but I'd much prefer to hear Moyes admitting this than to see him blame everything else under the sun. I do not want to see a Graham Souness press conference where he blames everything from injuries to the colour of the ref's underpants.

Okay, we weren't good enough against Spurs. But don't slam the manager for refusing to pass the blame elsewhere.
Paul Foster, London  (16/4/06)

The Final Curtain
I dont know what all the fuss is about over yesterday's result. Yes, it was pathetic but no different to how it's been since last January. When people like Dutch Schaeffer start to doubt the set-up at Everton then something must be seriously wrong.

I and many others who post on this site have been aware of the deficiencies of Moyes and all things Moyes for a long time. It finally looks like he is running out of support from those who have backed him most. At the end of the day, we can only take so much before we give up. I don't want to watch us play any more. It's horrible. It's emmbarrasing. It's pointless. It's a shambles.

We can blame players all day long but who sent them out against Spurs to play the way they did? My lad who is 7 in July has been everywhere with me this season, including away to Villarreal, and I don't want to put him through it any more. In fact, I have to bribe him to go some times. Its true what Paul Brown says: it's like cruelty to children bringing them up an Evertonian. When I was his age I would have done anything to go the game with my old man.

Me and a few pals sat around drinking and talking last night about the state of our club. I totally blame Moyes for the shambles he has created. We are no better or worse than when he came — only £50 million poorer. If Arteta goes then so do we. I will never set foot inside Goodison again if we sell him and there will be many more to follow, just wait and see.

As for Moyes being the best young manager in the game, he is about to add another record to his list of shame: Lowest ever goals tally. The current record stands at 37 in 1972 so we need 7 more to avoid it. Good old Davey I bet he breaks the record.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (16/4/06)

Am I insane?
One person thinks I am insane for suggesting we sell Beattie and buy players like (I did say like) Stead and Heskey. Well, of course, I am insane; what I meant to say is that we should keep all our players and sign back Rooney and then buy Ronaldhinho.

Now, back in the real world, if we don't sell anyone, I believe the only funds we will have is prize money above our budgettted 14th place ie £1M-£2M at tops. So, Mr Parker, it's all very well to criticize my suggestion, but how do you think we can build up a squad on £2M?

We have to wheel and deal to buy players who may have a couple of good seasons then be sold on for a profit - Jon Stead is just 23 and has always impressed me whenever I have seen him play and very similar to Mike Newell. Spending a million on him seems a very small risk.
Jez Clein, Childwall  (16/4/06)

For Summer Transfers 06', Please Rewind To 04'
Yes, remember that shitty summer of 2004 when we couldn't rub two pennies together and Rooney left us? Well, this summer looks the same, lads, so let's not get carried away with fantasy transfers, aye!

We have got no money, our best players (Yobo: definitely! Arteta: maybe) look set to leave, and all the noises out of Moyes indicate exactly this. Get ready for a desperate struggle to sign Paul Dickov or some other load of shite (remember 04 and Robbie Savage?) not fit to wear the shirt. Happy Easter... I am off to drink these thoughts away!
Robbie Muldoon, City of Liverpool  (16/4/06)

Nothing to Prove
The issuance of the famous qoute 'nothing to prove' has been taken literally by the players. OK, the players have nothing to prove to David Moyes but they all have a lot to prove to us, the supporters.

Our end-of-season form under DM during the time he has been here is less than satisfactory and is symtomatic of the poor management putting up with medicrity wich pervades our club.

DM statement certainly has not helped in terms of motivation because it simply has put the club into hibernation and then lead to the usual links to high profile players in the summer, who will of cause not come anywhere near this club whilst the current regime accepts mediocrity as year-on-year improvement.
John Anson, Wirral  (16/4/06)

I told you so
So another disappointing performance, or non-performance, finds Everton fans who were realistic about the team saying "I told you so" while the foolish Moyes supporters crying into their train-spotting mags. Personally, I did not see the game but I heard that it was men against boys. I also heard Davies, Naysmith, Cahill and Stubbs had good games (yes I'm taking the piss).

As for Dutch and the other train-spotters Ferrari came on for Stubbs and shored up the defence. Amazing isn't it that those who questioned his ability and favoured the Dad's Army duo! Fools!!! Any I'm off early to my summer holidays... wait hold on wasn't that Moyes's team talk yesterday??? Very poor the difference in quality between us and Spurs... but "poor" is now Moyes's and Kenwright's motto!
Luq Yus, London  (16/4/06)

Now I think that's the kind of glaoting in defeat that nobody really likes... even if you are right!

Prediction: — Apathy to Anger
So apathy has set in. Certainly it has with the team, not forgiving any of them for their trotted out drivel about qualifying for Europe. We have the embarrassment of a manager claiming success as a so-called record — a consecutive finish in the Premiership's top-ten — and on Monday we go to Chelsea who will win the title if Man Utd fail to gain anything at Spurs.

And you know what? Judging by past scenarios, we all know that Everton are the prefect fall guys. So tomorrow be prepared to be embarrassed and angry cos you will no doubt be hearing some shit-spinning after a predictable tonking as Moyes trots out how marvellous the opposition are in attempt to cover up for our (HIS) bunch of shameless underachievers for the second time over the weekend.
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (16/4/06)

No complaints
So you feel you`ve got to have a go at Moyes for admitting we lost to a better team on the day! Well, let me tell you, the vast majority of Evertonians don`t re-act to a rare home defeat (by the narrow margin of a penalty) in that `over the top` way. That`s why nearly forty thousand of us turned up yesterday - we think our team`s in pretty good hands and can only go one way-up!

In every way we are a hundred miles on from the dark days of Walker and Smith and the disappoinment of the early season is far behind us. So can you stop knocking the manager, who would walk into another Premier job if the pessimists here saw him off, and look at the big picture a little more closely. Then you might just see that the sky really is BLUE!
Howard Beale, Wirral  (16/4/06)

Ferguson — what do people see?
Having just read the love letter to Duncan from Dutch I am driven to respond with the following questions:

  1. How many millions of pounds have we paid him in wages for how many full games?
  2. How much have we paid him whilst he was injured or suspended?
  3. How many MotM performances has he put in during his career at Everton?
  4. As a centre-forward, what is his goals-to-games ratio?
  5. How long is it since his last Premiership goal?
  6. How many times has he left us to play with 10 men through idiotic sending offs?
  7. How many games has he missed through injury as a percentage of possible games?
Those for me are the simple questions that can be answered by statistics and I would suggest (as I don't have the answers, I'm guessing) would all prove to be pretty damn negative. Here are the more fundamental questions for true Evertonians;
  1. What style of play does Ferguson force us to play?
  2. What charecteristics does he add to the team? — grace? elegance? subtlety? pace? intelligence? vision? or just plain thuggery?
  3. What are his fundamental footballing strengths? - passing? shooting? support play? or just the ability to rough up defenders?
  4. When he's on the field, everything is aimed to his head, but what is the actual purpose when we have no small quick forward who might benefit from his presence?
I could go on but won't because I get more and more angry at the morons who defend him. I go to watch the blues to enjoy football and have done for 40+ years; I don't enjoy it when he's on. Yes, he adds a presence and sometimes he is effective — he's even scored 2 or 3 ( for a c/f ???) important goals - but he is fundamentally a thug who belongs to a past era. He should have had no part to play at our club and I genuinely believe he is a devisive influence, not only for his on-field antics but also his lack of GENUINE COMMITMENT to the club.

Why does he always run off the field at the end with no real respect to the supporters who have paid his wages? Does he actually give a damn about us or are we the mugs that he has fleeced for years? And why does he refuse to talk about Everton because of some issue with the Scottish press?
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (16/4/05)

Moyes got lucky!
To all those who keep trotting out `But Moyes got us to fourth last season` when defending this busted flush, I would remind them that Mike Walker took Norwich — yes Norwich — to third place (also with a negative goal difference!) before moving to Goodison. Did that make him a genius? Of course not. Like Moyes, he got lucky and over the course of time got found out.

In spite of having big money to spend last summer, Moyes blew it on no-marks and skivers; the paucity of his tactical nouse has seen us back at the wrong end of the table. I know, as you keep telling us, he`s going nowhere but to me that just demonstrates the lack of vision and ambition in the Boardroom. They will get no season ticket money from me next season.
Frannie Norton, Walton  (16/4/06)

Thank you
I would just like to say thank you to Ian Collins for sharing his brother Gary with us even though in such a sad way.

I was lucky that day; my brother in law and his brothers came home, one of their friends didn't. As Mike was pulled out alive at 4:05pm (he remembers looking at the clock) my Grandad passed away in our local hospital at 4:05pm. Give one, take one?

An hour after being saved, a man came up to him with Mikes shoe! He had been looking for the person it belonged too! Dealing with the disaster in his own way. Mike never speaks of that day but has rarely been to a football match since.

It amazes me all these years later that people still do not understand the 'connection' between Liverpool and Everton fans over this disaster. As if we would celebrate such a thing. Many a family are divided in the city but only over a lovely game called football!

Keep smiling, Ian and he'll never be away from you. And I hope you take a pic of him to every Everton game you go to.
Stella Read, Great Sutton  (16/4/06)

What about Plan B?
Re the proposed Testimonial for the millionaire, Duncan Ferguson, I presume that in order to minimalise the danger of his assaulting someone, the Big Yin will play only for the last 20 minutes and that the game will take place at Anfield to test how many Evertonians would attend matches there when we move.

You know we`re getting to the end of the season when people write in with silly ideas such those featured in your columns this week! Anyway, Big Dunc is staying. How else could the tactical genius that is David Moyes operate his carefully honed Plan B? ... Perhaps by signing Emile Heskey!
Jake Tucker, Kirkby  (16/4/06)

Testimonials Outdated?
I won't have an attempt at talking about yesterday's game, in line with the fact Everton didn't muster an attempt on target. Instead, I wanted to dip into the discussion about the relative merits of a testimonial for that polariser of fans' views, Duncan Ferguson.

Traditionally, a testimonial was to reward a player for service to the club — usually 10 years, and usually towards the end of their career. The rationale was to provide them with a 'nest egg' at a time when the financial rewards were nothing like they are today. The rewarding of long service was because the player had 'missed out' on the signing-on fees that many an agent uses in the modern game to keep themselves in caviar.

Those of us lucky enough to recall our last Championship team will perhaps be aware that our top players then earned something like 3 grand a week. Granted, still a lot to most of us in today's money, but nothing compared to what the top earners, or even below-average earners trouser at the moment.

Whilst testimonial's are still found today, and people like Denis Bergkamp are truly deserving, the player in question tends to donate the money to charity.

I don't think testimonials are meaningful anymore, in merely being another pre-season friendly in preparation for the kick off. Certainly not the 'exhibition' matches many of them became.

If the club does grant one to Duncan, then I hope the price is kept low, and he puts the money to charity (which admittedly he has done in the past) rather than his latest residential development project.

As to whether he deserves it, well he has been 'loyal' but only in the sense he felt idolised here, whereas anywhere else he would just be another player.

Oh and Dutch — he got a 7 match ban after Wigan — not 5. Then again, maybe the lad does need the money after all the club fines he's had?
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (15/4/06)

Apathy sets in
I feel complete and utter apathy after today's result. We have blown Europe now and we aren't getting relegated. If I feel it then you can guarantee those players will be feeling it too and I am sure some of them are already packing their suncream as I speak. I think Moyes should have a good old adventure over the remaining games and try a few different things out. I'm not the sort of person who thinks bringing in youngsters will make us win games but it really would be nice for the last few games to see some of our Academy players play and maybe just give us all a little optimism for the future.
Paul  Coleman, Kettering  (15/4/06)

Caught Short
Back from the game and not too impressed. We met a good strong team of youth and stature who employed a passing and movement game even when away from home which showed our limitations. Again I have to comment on our deficiency in midfield which seems to account for our inability to put two passes together. People continue to cry "stiker, striker" but, without midfield craft and guile, the world's best would suffer.

My take on the game was one that some fans may not agree with but I thought Wrighty had a very good game and is worth persevering with. Phil Neville seemed far more at home at right back than any other position I have seen him fill. Joe Yobo would be a loss if allowed to go. Can we keep Ferrari? Beattie... hard to judge due to no service provided.

On the down-side, I thought Stubbs too slow,Osman lacking strength and Naysmith, McFadden, Davies anonymous leaving far too much onus on Carsley returning from injury. I also noticed the difference Ferarri made when he replaced Stubbs in as much as it took him ten mins or more to settle then the speedy Spurs forward players found it much harder going. We also then defended that much further up the field — which gave us a sniff that we could not take.

Why this more youthful centre back pairing wasn't on from the start only the manager knows... and why McFaddon remained on the field for the 90 I will never know. When the geriatric Dunc comes on and revitalises us up front, you know we are not progressing as we should be. I am neither pro- nor anti-Moyes but surely fans must know we are are short in squad terms which leaves him constantly changeing formation and tactics as the game is in progress — and that can do little for coherence or indeed our enjoyment. I saw three different formations ranging from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 and then 4-2-4 as our needs became more acute. Will we ever see see a team playing fluid football?

Back at the pub after the game, I asked the question: "Who was our MotM?" and the number of answers showed both confusion and uncertainty; not a good sign. I will conclude by empathising with the wag who, on seeing the subs board go up, yelled "Moyes make seven". Still no two games are the same, so...
See you Monday ---- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (15/4/06)

I can't believe someone suggested on here to sell Beattie and buy Heskey and John Stead!! Are you insane??? They're probably the worst strikers in the Premiership. What a complete pair of donkeys. They'd be more suited to kicking at goal in Rugby League than football.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (15/4/06)

Nothing but mediocrity will satisfy
I have never written to ToffeeWeb before and have found most of the e.mails to be negative and depressing. I have supported Everton since the early sixties but now live in Cumbria so, together with my family, only make a few pigrimages a year to Goodison.

After today's game against Spurs, I felt sorry for my children who have been inflicted with the illness of being Everton supporters. Why feel sorry? Well, like a lot of older fans, I remember what it was like to watch players who were world-class, individuals with skill and determination who brought you to the edge of your seat because they played in the tradition of the School of Science. Even when you think back to some of the bit part players who filled in when injuries prevented the stars from playing, compared to the present crop they would be superstars.

A Spurs fan along the row said that in the second half we out-fought them. Is that what it has come to? No skill, no imagination, no creativity... just journeymen battlers who seem unable to master the basic skills of trapping a ball, taking a ball in their stride, passing the ball to members of our own team rather than what I have just witnessed which is 90 minutes of hit and hope.

If the glancing header is just right, if the ball bounces just right, if the opposing defender slips at the right moment then we just might get a chance on goal. As we know to our cost, everything falls into place about one time out of a hundred. I will never stop supporting Everton but today I felt embarrassed; I do believe teams are put together in the image and as a projection of the Manager. Dour Manager, dour team.

Our lack of scouting young talent worries me. All today's superstars started as unkowns who could be bought for very little e.g. young Lennon. Moyes said, on his arrival, he wanted to build a young hungry team who would be able to challenge for honours; this present team must be eating too much and his definition of "young" seems to be any mediocre player who is under 35; the mention of Dickov as a possible transfer target does little to inspire me.

Is it possible for ToffeeWeb to arrange an interview with Moyes to ask some hard questions to see if the Everton team that he watches and comments on is actually on the same planet that the Everton team that I and countless others watch every week? Someone is losing the plot; like many I am loathe to lose faith in Moyes but I have the future well-being of my children to consider. I do not wish to inflict any more pain on them. A lifetime of watching this unadulterated tripe without even memories of happier times is unthinkable.
Paul  Brown, Cumbria  (15/4/06)

Sadly, Paul, many of us who are somewhat dissatisfied with current Everton performances will at least derive some solace that a person such as you — who has not written in before, who want to be supportive of Moyes — feels moved to comment on the "unadulterated tripe" currently being served up.

Today, it was epitomized for me by Cahill; a great goalscorer, on occasion, but a horrible obnoxious little player; Every time he went near a Spurs player, it was all arms and legs... and an inevitable free-kick. How he avoided a booking, I will never know. And it was all captured for me in a crazy moment when he headed the ball up, way above his head, the ball was coming straight down back to him, there was no-one within 10 yards, but instead of elegantly trapping the ball, he heads it again — straight to an opponent! Sweet mnother of god... — Michael

The Big Dunc Effect!
I saw in a post that someone was asking about a possible testimonial game for Big Dunc. While I agree with the idea, in my eyes the big man is a legend but this post isn't about that.

I have been trying to figure out why this season has been so disappointing compared to last season's fantastic triumph. I dont think you can nail it down to one simple reason but I do believe that a big factor is that Big Dunc has struggled this season to be so effective.

Last season was Big Dunc's final hurrah, in a super-sub role Big Dunc found a new niche for himself. Moyes was able to deploy Dunc as a substitute and basically scare the shit out of opposing defences in the final minutes of the game.Last season Big Dunc scored 7 goals and four of them were winners. His goal against Man Utd, a game he actually started, was the final highlight of his Everton career.

It wasn't just his goals though; last season, Big Dunc came on and changed games. His mere presence was enough to unsettle defences and a number of goals were scored by other players thanks to Big Dunc doing something in the opposing penalty box. I bet if you worked out how many winning goals Dunc scored and how many goals he created for other players it would amount to the almost the same amount of points that we are behind this season.

You could argue that, while Dunc wasn't Everton's best player last season, he was one of the most important because he changed games and Everton picked up a lot of points in the final few minutes. Which brings me to Big Dunc this season: his performances have been disappointing and Everton seem to have followed suit. Dunc was a sub for the first couple of games and then started in Everton's first win of the season against Bolton. He also started in the return away leg against Villarreal.

Big Dunc scored a wonderful bullet header against Villarreal which should have taken Everton into extra-time against the now Champions League semi-finalist Villarreal. Unfortunately 'the world's best ref' Collina, who had been on Dunc's case the whole game, decided to rule the goal out, ending Everton's Champions League adventure. Maybe it's coincedence but since that goal was ruled out Big Dunc has looked a shadow of his former self.

Moyes has continued to use Big Dunc as a substitute and give him an occaisional start but, unfortunately, Dunc has failed to have any impact in any game. In fact, the only two memories I have of Big Dunc season 2005-06 is his ruled out goal and his sending off against Wigan which earned him a crazy five-match ban.

Now, as I said, you can't put all this season's disappointment down to Big Dunc not being up to the job anymore but I do think its had a big effect. Big Dunc should have retired on a high after last season. Moyes is going to have a difficult time replacing Dunc's ability to change a game.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (15/4/06)

Duncan's testimonial
Testimonial? Erm... for what exactly? His violent conduct or habitual dissent?

Okay, I admit his reputation went before him with referees and he was sometimes unfairly treated... But he never did much to help himself did he? At one time, the guy had the ability to be the best... but he chose to try to be the hardest.

You can be quite sure that in a few years time Duncan will sit back and take stock of his life and realise how his nasty temper blew his place in history as a true blue legend.

He'll not get my money; I work too hard for it... something he might have considered doing every once in a while instead of blowing his stack and becoming a burden and not an asset to our already stretched squad.

Cottee, Grey, Sharpy, Newell and even Heath were better forwards than Dunc... The sad thing is, Duncan had the potential to be better than any of these but he chose the 'way of the warrior' instead of the path of the professional.

Good luck on your retirement, Big Yin... but you'll be getting off me what you so often gave our team... Bog all.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (15/4/06)

It would be interesting to see how many would attend. In recent years, testimonials for even the greatest Evertonians rarely get above 18,000 or so... max! — Michael

Sell Beattie
I think someone wrote a letter a few weeks ago suggesting that we should cash in on James Beattie — well, I totally agree. Aston Villa would bite our hands off for him even if we asked £8M — O'Leary even said recently that he is desperate for a James Beattie-type striker.

Now, believe it or not, I'm actually a fan of Beattie and believed he would come good but I would much rather lose him than Arteta, Cahill, Yobo and Ferrari (if he is actually ours to lose). With the £8M, we could easily buy three strikers along the lines of Jerome from Cardiff, Stead from Sunderland (don't laugh, I know he's only got one goal but it took Crouch about the same amount of games to get off the mark and he was playing in a side creating chances) and Heskey (again don't laugh).

With prize money likely to be £5M down on last season and a Board and CEO seemingly incapable of attracting anything other than loyal fans' money — and of course any bricks and mortar we used to have also sold — then I'm afraid there won't be much if anything in the pot for transfers.

Getting our money back and more for Beattie, who is now 18 months older, actually seems quite sensible, don't you think?
Jez Clein, Childwall  (15/4/06)

Even Better!
The unedited version of Ian Collins's piece is even better. Moving beyond my capacity to express admiration. By the way is Danny Noble mad? Ferguson — the best Scot since Young. Well if he was better than Gray, I'll eat my hat... and as for Sharp, Ferguson wasn't fit to lace his boots. Any Evertonian who pays to "honour" this pigeon-fancier has more money than judgement.
Rick  Tarleton, Rutland  (15/4/06)

Losing the faith
Sorry to post twice in one evening but now even dear old Dutch is losing the faith! I got a lot of stick for leaving before the end this afternoon but an urgent family message prevailed on me to return home. However, I did see enough to know it wasn`t going to be our day; a ruled-out goal and a denied penalty indicated that Spurs' luck with the ref would be enough to see them home.

Does nobody, not even Dutch, appreciate that half our first-choice side was missing today and the manager`s scope for innovative tactics was severely curtailed? Can`t anybody give credit where it`s due and, for instance, hail the performance of Richard Wright as the best seen from an Everton goalie this season? And what about the defensive assurance of Phil Neville and Joseph Yobo in an emergency back-four?
Richard Dodd, Formby  (15/4/06)

Yea, it was great result, since we "only" lost 1-0 — not the 3-0 or 4-0 Spurs' superior play merited. Definitely credit where it's due there, eh, Richard? And it just reinforces the "progress" made this season toward a "record" second successive top-ten finish... Silly! — Michael

Ferguson Tribute?
Forgive me if I`ve missed it but have the Club yet announced any details of a Testimonial for Big Dunc? Regardless of whether or not he gets another contract, the time is ripe for all Evertonians to be given the opportunity to honour our most talismanic figure in the Premiership era.

A pre-season fixture against Rangers or Walter Smith`s Scotland side would be a nailed-on sell-out at Goodison and a fiiting tribute to Everton`s greatest Scot since The Golden Vision.
Danny Noble, Thornton  (15/4/06)

A star is born!
Amongst all the gloom and doom of today`s defeat a star was born! Step up, Richard Wright, the most maligned custodian since Dai Davies a thousand years ago. Today Wright got it all together and showed just how perceptive Moyes was to sign him. On two occasions the England Keeper at the other end was moved to put his hands together in admiration of Wright`s work; if he can maintain this standard for the remaining four games there may well be a seat on that plane to Germany for an Evertonian after all!
Steve Perry, Waterloo  (15/4/06)

Support or blind faith?
Returned from today's game and can openly admit I went fully resigned to losing the game before a ball was even kicked in the knowledge of missing players; Hibbert and Arteta and a squad shallower than the gene pool of the lad in the dueling banjos scene from Deliverance. I am a realist who enjoys watching good honest attacking football, be it by Everton or, more often than not, by opposing sides.

The paucity of our team during today's match and David Moyes's after match commentary on the radio have cemented my personal belief that he has taken the club as far as he possibly can and simply doesn't have any idea of what to do next, his flat "couldn't be arsed"-type voiced acceptance flies in the face of passionate managers such as Stuart Pearce who you can openly imagine rightly slating his squad after such a heartless defeat.

Tottenham played exceptionally well, I will testify to that, but to watch Aaron Lennon fly past Gary Naysmith on half-a-dozen occasions with the same trick and Simon Davies's complete ineffectiveness as a footballer — never mind so-called winger — are crystalising the sorts of players Moyes is regularly claiming as "quality" and "performers" as self-justification of monumental poor judgement.

Moyes's tactics today — you must accept he chooses the squad and tactics no matter how niaive you are — was Route One football hoping Beattie, McFadden and Osman were ever likely to win headers against centre-halves King and Gardiner who have substantial height advantage against all three. Moyes stuck with Route One and reverted to Duncan Ferguson and we finally started winning headers but not once was there a player to win the second ball and create a goal-scoring or shooting opportunity even. The continued use of Simon Davies meant the wing he was supposed to occupy was empty with no traffic down the channels, with no crosses to Beattie or McFadden or Cahill.

It is a very sad season when Everton's only tactic is to hope for a set piece and stroke of luck rather than to actually play passing and attacking football. Given the remaining games, the loss of Hibbert and Arteta and lack of replacements, I expect a drop of another two or three places in the league.

The drop in income, together with Bill Kenwright's and Keith Wyness's inability to source any further funding whatsoever, and their clamouring for screwing the last drop out of season tickets don't bode well for any kitty, the fabled £6M or £7M bantered in the press would surprise me unless a large part of it were made up from player(s) sales.

I listened to the radio returning from the match and a supporter who had followed the club for 63 years had decided enough was enough and he was not renewing his ticket; I wonder how many similar supporters doing the same would drop Moyes's kitty even further, even if he did have money he could still blow large amounts on crap like Davies unfortunately. Michael I'm sure you will remind me that BK gave Moyes his vote of confidence less than three weeks ago and neither are going anywhere, only trouble is, are the fans switching off to this negative drab non-entertainment in their droves too?
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (15/4/06)

Well, Gavin, I really thought people would react to the last three non-perfomances and stay away from Goodison in droves today. Shows exactly how much I know... THIRTY-NINE THOUSAND, EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTY-SIX — that attendance has only been bettered at the derby game!

To me, it is utterly incredible how many fans are still prepared to go and watch, knowing, as I'm sure most of us did, exactly what to expect... exactly what we got.

But a huge number of Evertonians must just shove such painful logic aside and go for the occasion, or for the drink with their mates. As long as that carries on, Moyes is fully justified in his moribund tactics, and unimaginative team selections — many will say he has no alternative, and I did promise not to menton those youths.... Just think, Richard Wright actually kept us in with a chance today; otherwise, it could have been horrible.

Ah well, nevermind; our standards and expectations are simply too high, apparently. Think I'll have a lobotomy in the summer: perhaps that will help! — Michael

Everton 0 - 1 Spurs
For some reason, I always feel like I should defend a disappointing result. I suppose I could try and claim that the defeat was against an in-form Top 5 side, Spurs are also Everton's bogie side and Robbie Keane seems to delight in playing against us.

I could also claim that the loss of one of our best players (Hibbert) and our most important player (Arteta) meant we started the game at a disadvantage. I could also claim that 2 defeats in 14 games is pretty good going. But honestly, I simply cannot be bothered. I am too hurt and depressed to even attempt it.

Fact is, it's a bad loss, a result which will almost certainly confirm Everton to a bottom-half finish again. Chelsea on Monday will be desperate to win and confirm themselves as Champions. That game's going to be a whole lot of fun for the Everton fans.

I really am hurt by the Spurs defeat. I've had enough of this season and wish it was over. Another Easter Bank Holiday ruined.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (15/4/06)

Well done, Dutch: a bit of the reality the rest of us have been feeling has finally got through, and you are man enough to admit it without making stupid excuses. How on earth they will raise their game for anything other than a Highbury-style end-of-season slaughter on Monday is beyond me... and yet, that's what the game is about. They CAN go there and they CAN get a result. But WILL they??? — Michael

Ian Collins, Hillsborough
Superb. Simply superb. Respect is not an adequate enough word for your article, but it's the only one I can think of right now.
Tom  Edwards, Yorkshire  (15/4/06)

We need to judge Moyes on his results
Under Royle:-
P:118 W:47 D:36 L:35 — Never Lost a Derby; Won the FA Cup.

Under Moyes:-
P:182 W:70 D:40 L:72 Never got a point in a Derby [err.. Lee Carsley? Piley Ony??? — Ed]. Finished fourth in League and embarrassingly dumped from two European competitions at first hurdle. Suffered some of the most embarrassing defeats in Everton's history and NEVER finished a season with a positive goal difference.

Stats show Royle got a 'result' from 70% of games played (add wins and draws together divded by games played). Stats show that Moyes gets a result from 60% of games played. Royle was sacked for trying to sign players. Moyes hasn't got the bollocks to demand cash from our joke of a Board who've less money than me it seems but has been offered a new four-year deal.

So we are vastly better off now are we? Maybe than the Lee and Smith spells but certainly we are not making much progress in my eyes — still mediocre and probably going to flirt with relegation again next year.
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (15/4/06)

I'm a Royle fan but if you can't even get your facts right, enough aready!!! And he has been given cash. What was it last summer... £25M.

Easter Horror Show
I really do fear for Everton at Chelsea on Monday after the last four weeks of performances. If Everton finish in the bottom half of the table then this season will have been an abject failure. This is not progress and it's time for changes.

John Cribb, Liverpool  (15/4/06)

Don`t hammer Moyes
Can we all pledge that if Micky Arteta moves on, we shall not use it as an excuse to hammer David Moyes? Although he will be forced to toe the party line by saying he never keeps an unsettled player, there is absolutely no way he would choose to lose his prize asset. The Bank are calling! Is it not about time that Kenwright & Co owned up to being totally out of their depth as custodians of the great institution that is Everton FC?
Percy Pocock, Crosby  (15/4/06)

Well, I didn't get to the game due to work commitments but by all accounts it was pretty dire from our point of view

Would loved to hear Dutch's view on it; if anyone mentions "one team is on the verge of Champions League Football and wanted it more" please remember which team was in the same position this time last year — just shows how our standards have dropped in 12 months

Looks like we will finish below 10th and that can't be any kind of progress, if we finish in our current position its 7 places worse than last year. If we finished in the top 6 or 7 that would be consistency and progress and it ain't gonna happen

Still, sounds like another great performance by Simon Davies, glad we wasted 3.5 million on him. His Player page states it could go up to 4.5 mil, THIS CANT BE TRUE!!

Please clarify!!!
John Audsley, Leeds  (15/04/06)

Watched the game live over the Net myself and found myself increasingly bored watching endless aimless balls hoofed in the general direction of their penalty area. One of our poorest efforts to date this season. Pass me the factor 15... - Colm

Settling for eleventh
With Charlton, Middlesbrough and Man City already lining up the deck chairs, even today`s defeat should not prevent us claiming 11th spot at the end of the season. Admittedly, it doesn`t have the same ring as 10th and it pays a half million quid less but all-in-all we would have settled for that in December.

Moyes has assembled a sound nucleus of good players and a couple of additions during the summer ought to make that top-ten spot a reality next season. My only worry is that Arteta is on his way to Old Trafford although I know Moyes sees Van the Man as his ideal left midfielder, anyway. At least it will free up funds to sign a decent striker.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (15/4/06)

How often must we read those lines in tandem with the potential exit of the latest asset to be flogged - "freeing up funds". Nothing ever gets "freed up", it's the sound of the Bank etc. knocking on the door which triggers player sales. Whatever happened to "investment in Everton"? - Colm

Is it a record?
I agree with Dutch: two top ten finishes on the trot would show major progress. Something to be proud of, no matter how silly it might sound to other clubs.

Supporting Everton over the last ten years has been difficult. So many crap seasons under Walter Smith. I've been supporting Everton nearly 20 years now and the only time I have really been proud was winning the FA Cup ten years ago and finishing fourth last season.

Mancs, cockneys and red-shites may laugh at the consecutive top-ten record Everton are attempting but I do not care. It is a record worth having and another step towards Everton getting back to where they should be.
Leon Caine, Liverpool  (15/4/06)

And if, follwoing today's result, we can't even manage to do that, after setting it up as an "achievement", what does that say? Again, why set oursleves up for a silly fall like this? It makes no sense. It really doesn't. — Michael

Tell Me Something New!!
So, 'next season is going to be a really good year for Everton providing we sign the right attacking players'?

Well isn't that interesting. Some of us were saying this a year ago. We said it walking out of the first leg against Villarreal. We said it through the dark days of the winter when we couldn't score in open play. We've been saying it during our 'glorious' run of the last couple of months, because a strike force of Beattie, McFadden and untried kids will not, on its own, take us further.

Interesting that when some of us say it, we are called old timers, miserable, disloyal, unrealistic, etc. Welcome to Planet Earth folks!

We couldn't/wouldn't buy a pacy striker with our 4th place and alleged riches, so what makes you think we will this time? Don't hold your breath. For the hundredth time, I'm asking Moyes to prove me wrong! We won't get Dickov — he's not old enough or slow enough!

If you go for mediocrity, you get mediocrity. That's why we've got no money to spend and are unattractive to the players we want. That's why players deemed surplus to requirements keep getting re-signed. That's why our manager who has never won anything is called 'great'. That's why we're sitting at 11th place.

As an Evertonian, I will never be 'proud' of mid-table mediocrity. If you are, good luck to you, but at least be honest enough to admit it and not dress it up as some kind of achievement.

For those who believe Moyes is some kind of genius, what should we expect next season? Over to you, folks....
Paul Tran, Kendal  (15/4/06)

Oh dear...
I almost threw up my breakfast when I saw Arteta at Old Trafford. I really hope its pie in the sky any transfer talk out of Everton but why was he there? I mean if he was that silly to want a move to Man Utd he wouldn't have been spotted! I'm worried! Also can anyone tell us how our Brazillian Anderson Da Silva has been getting in Spain?
Luq Yus, London  (15/4/06)

Thank you, Ian Collins for that marvellous piece about your brother, Gary. Honest and moving without any sentimentality and with so much dignity. It puts everything else into perspective, including the way all football fans allow a game to dominate their thoughts and emotions. I was moved and that takes some doing, given my age and cynical nature.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (15/4/06)

Ian has told me that version was "ribbooned' by Liverpool. I have now posted the correct version. — Michael

More respect
I found your reponse to Dutch Schaeffer`s salute to David Moyes somewhat patronising. I have hardly missed a game, home or away since I left school ten years ago when your hero Joe Royle was in the deaththrows of his spell as manager. In that time, only David Moyes has given me the satisfaction of a repectable top-ten League position and he has achieved that twice — soon to be thrice I hope — in four seasons.

Whatever his shortcomings, Moyes has made me proud to be an Evertonian and last seaon brought great joy to all but the `grumpy old men` who inhabit your columns. Sure, we bombed in Europe but it was great even getting there and our time will come again, I`m sure. In the meantime, can we have a little more respect for correspondents who wish to do other than slag off the club they purport to support.
Luke Compton, Aintree  (15/4/06)

Sorry, fella; Dutch gets respect only in direct proportion to the amount of sense he talks. He knows that. Now you do to.

A matter of record
Someone said the other day that Everton FC are reluctant to honour the Club`s major achievements. Dutch`s ebullience at the prospect — and it remains just that — of a second successive top-ten finish has got me thinking of other `major` records we could mark appropriately. How about:

  • scoring at least 30 goals in every season of Moyes's management (just),
  • achieving a negative goal difference two seasons running,
  • getting knocked out of three Cup competitions at the first stage
  • suffering a record defeat at Arsenal?
All are worthy of recognition and, as Dutch has so little to do at work that he continues to bore the arse off most of us, perhaps he can come up with suitably designed trinkets to mark these unique Moyes landmarks.
Harry Meek, Worcester  (15/4/06)

Painting Anfield Blue
Beware. The Isherwood suggestion may not be the harmless piece of Easter fun it first appeared! Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but a well-known tactic ahead of a `consultation exercise` of the kind being prepared on a ground move is to float the worst-case scenario and then convince everyone that a `compromise solution` is the best possible option.

It is an indisputable fact that the Everton Board see groundsharing as the only affordable way out of Goodison and I know every effort is being put on local and national politicians to push Liverpool into acceptance. What we say will not matter a jot — the only barrier is our rivals' reluctance to consider it.

Painting Anfield blue may seem the daftest thing ever suggested but painting `New Anfield` red and blue is a `goer`, believe me!
Colin Meddings, Liverpool  (15/4/06)

For the record...
I can remember as far back as the '60s that Everton always seemed to suffer numerous injuries during training. More knowledgeable supporters on the "Gladdy" regarded it as the inevitable outcome of training with swords. Oh, and on your response to Dutch; you are wrong, it is a record... a broken bloody record!
Thommo Bigpond, Liverpool  (15/4/06)


A little bird told me......
Calvin Bywater is right - `re-claiming` Anfield was among the daft ideas put about by `a little bird` who used to do the bidding of a certain ex-chairman of our club. As one who has never set foot in the place — not even for a Derby game — and would rather take a diversion than cast my eyes in its direction, I have to say it is the most offensive suggestion ever made in your columns.
Eddie Wilcox, Wavertree  (14/4/06)

It's only a football ground... hell, it was one our earliest grounds. We won our first Chamionship there... doesn't that mean anything to you? Call yerslf an Evertonian?

The Easter Weekend Games!
I have to disagree with the supporters who think Everton's season is over and the upcoming games are worthless. First of all, there's money which Everton are desperate for. The higher up the league Everton finish, the more new faces Moyes will be able to afford.

Then of course there's this record of two consecutive Top 10 finishes. I can understand how some supporters don't really care about such a record but after a decade of relegation scraps and bottom half finishes I think if Moyes and the team manage to gain this record it will be something to be proud of.

It will also be a small consolation prize in what has been a disappointing season. It will also be Moyes's 3rd Top 10 finish as Everton manager, pretty impressive considering Wally Smith never managed it a single time.

I honestly believe that a consecutive Top 10 finish will officially establish Everton as a Top 10 side again, hopefully Moyes can then raise the bar even higher and return Everton to the Top 5. That's got to be his goal over the next few years. I know we finished 4th last season but they need to finish that high up in two or three consecutive seasons before they can be considered a Top 5 team again.

So I do believe the Easter games against Spurs and Chelsea are important. If we can get 4 points from the two games, respectability and a Top 10 finish will be in our grasp. If we end up with no points I think Everton will be doomed to another finish in the bottom half of the table.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (15/4/06)

It's not that we don't care about the "record", Dutch. Here's the news — are you listening carefully... turn up the volume... IT'S NOT A RECORD!!! Calling it a "record" is so bogus, it defies all credibility. At some levels, it's an achievement, perhaps, but if you go boasting that to a Gooner, Manc or Kopite, you'll be laughed out of court. And that's as it should be. Calling something like that a "record" makes us look ridiculous and pathetic... no it makes YOU look ridiculous and pathetic. I'm having none of it. — Michael

Oh my God, I can't believe it...
I believe that I am open minded and rational about most things including, for example, Everton ground sharing with Liverpool. However, I felt physically sick digesting Alan Isherwood's suggestion of .....urggh... even the thought of it makes me heave again!

Fact: Everton where once tenants at Anfield and even won our first championship whilst playing there; but since when has it been our 'spiritual home'?

Sorry, this is an absolutely ridiculous idea, and I suggest to anyone who can stomach it more than I can, to just think about every 'home' derby after said hypothetical event?

As someone else has said... madness!
Mike Murray, Kent (ex-Crosby)  (14/4/06)

Hibbo makes his 150th appearance for the Blues this weekend. All credit to the lad, he's an unsung hero of our team.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (14/4/06)

Over my dead body!!
Oh dear, M. Isherwood... what a thing to suggest. Everton FC move stock and barrel into Anfield if Liverpool have a new ground? That really would be unthinkable. I cross my self every time I pass the Anfield gates to ward off evil spirits!! The only time I would step foot in that ground would be a Derby March. Enough said?
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (14/4/06)

Completely mad
Just read the posting from Alan Isherwood and feel strongly that the comment about madness you attached to Ken Dodd`s posting should have been addressed to the Anfield letter. The only person I have ever heard suggest that as an option was, in fact, a director of our Club with strong affiliations to Trammere Rovers.I vowed then his name would never cross my lips!
Calvin Bywater, Heswall  (14/4/06)

I was pretty sure someone would respond to that one; thank's for steppping up, Calvin! [Ken Dodd? — Nice one!]

Quiet optimism
Whilst I`m not greatly enthused by the thought that we may see the likes of Paul Dickov alongside Beattie next season, I can see where Moyes is coming from. It`s no good him signing an out-and-out striker to replicate the main man, so the hard-running ultra-competitive style of a Dickov would complement the big man nicely. Whether at 34, Dickov can still cut it at the top level, I`m not sure, but beggars can`t be choosers and with other priorities to address — in goal and central defence — six million quid won`t go far.

I`m quietly optimistic about the goal-scoring department next season because Jamie Mac will have this good season behind him and Vaughan should be coming into his own.
Evan Thomas, Rhyl  (14/4/06)

Give the guy a break
Let's not be too harsh on Dutch. In a website which seems to be full of Moyes Pessimists from the editor down to the mailbag writers, Dutch offers a counter argument to the idea that Moyes is somehow unable to move our club in the right direction and only plays the elderly!!

Admittedly, Dutch may sometimes sound a bit too cosy with Moyesey but maybe he just wants to give him a hug. Give the guy a break. Why do people assume he's not an Evertonian because he speaks positively about the club?

As a great fan of Moyes, I obviously find Dutch's comments more bearable than some but there's no need to start calling for him to be banned from the mailbag.

I'd hate to jinx anything or make any silly predictions but I honestly believe next seasoon is going to be a really good year for Everton providing we sign the right attacking players, Paul Dickov is definitely not one of them but when did Evertonians start paying attention to anything written in the Daily Mail!!
Patrick Marks, London  (15/4/06)

Training Ground Injuries
Is it just me, or are we really getting more than our fair share of training ground injuries? I suppose you can maybe expect a few, but so far this season we have lost, from memory, Beattie, Van der Meyde, Nuno Valente and now, we're told Arteta, who could be out for what's left of this season. Not only are these "self-inflicted" injuries, but they all seem to be serious with players missing for weeks.

Not being particularly bothered with what goes on at other clubs, I have no idea as to what is the norm for this sort of thing but I can't remember this happening with such frequency in other seasons.
Chris Williams, Little Neston  (14/4/06)

Injuries are always a massive lottery. Last season, we got extrememly lucky with injuries; this season we at the other end of the bell-curve, having given it a serious helping hand by buying injured players. — Michael

Arteta injury — Blessing in Disguise?
I was gutted when I first heard about Arteta's injury. We have now lost what little creativity we had in the team. It'll be a hard working but unclassy side that will push us through to the end of the season and I can't help but feel we might struggle quite badly against teams like Spurs and Middlesbrough away from home.

However, after thinking it over, I decided it might well be a blessing in disguise. Arteta will miss out on the World Cup most probably so therefore he won't be show-cased to the whole world. Teams in the Premiership are most likely the only ones to have glimpsed his best form in the last two months but we know the top teams here won't buy injured players. (Wish I could say the same for our club!)

In my opinion, we have therefore signifanctly reduced the risk of losing another star player in the summer window. So I feel we should be fairly upbeat on the situation. Get us a result tomorrow, Toffees, to cheer us up!
Jonathan Marchat, Liverpool  (14/4/06)

Good point, Jonathan!

Corporate Mascots
Cheers for clearing that mascot issue up gentlemen. Good to see they're not the robbing bastards I took them for!

I'll try and read the small print next time!
Santiago Guerrero, Scotland  (14/4/06)

There is a tendency to jump on that kind of thing, so it's nice when we have if sorted.

The Dickov Factor
Screams of derision at the thought that Paul Dickov might —just might — be on his way to Goodison. But let`s get real: only a blue-eyed romantic would now see Everton (as a club) any higher up the Premiership pecking order than the likes of Birmingham, Portsmouth, WBA or Fulham. That Moyes has managed to drag them above those perennial strugglers says much for his acumen as a manager. Certainly the present infra-structure puts them well below Villa, Bolton, Blackburn and Middlesbrough — all currently viewed as the `league` in which we compete and light years behind former equals Manchester Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool.

Sadly, too many Evertonians still see us as the all-conquering `millionaires` of the sixties and, whilst the Moores regime was never one to toss money around, they did provide sound business management and ensured sufficient funding to compete with the very best of the day.

The Kenwright years have seen a continuance of the steady decline which, in fact, began in the later years of the Moores`s influence with non-descript Littlewoods executives trying to second guess what `the little man` would want them to do. This continued through the ill-fated Johnson years (in which the present chairman was complicit) until Kenwright was able to buy the whole trainset.

That he struggled to come up with the cash should have warned us that rocky times were ahead but most of us were happy to see our club back in the hands of a true Evertonian and gave little thought to how he could turn the tanker round.

It is an indisputable fact that since Kenwright took over, the Everton kitty has received only two tranches of meaningful funding. The first, to his (our) eternal shame was the Rooney money and the second, the brilliantly engineered fourth-place bounty last season. Other than that, zilch!

It is against this background of fading (faded?) glory that Moyes and Wyness work on a daily basis. Remember, the ace `Football Doctor`, Trevor Birch, took one look and walked away... and it is well chronicled that Martin O`Neill showed the same re-action when touted for the manager`s role before Moyes picked up the poisoned chalice.

Now nobody who manages a modern football club can expect to make all the right decisions or to be be universally popular, anymore than the CEO who has to make the books balance can expect regular price hikes to be well received. All we can say, I feel, is that Moyes and Wyness are making a reasonable fist of a bloody difficult job and because there is absolutely nobody out there wanting to throw money down the black hole that is Everton FC, we'd better get used to rejoicing every season we stay away from the bottom of the league.

Thus we may just come to accept that the Dickov factor is today`s reality at Everton FC.
David Harold, Southport  (14/4/06)

Can't argue with much of that, sadly.

Stadium Debate continued
I wasn't saying that we don't need a new stadium. My main point was in pointing out the flawed logic of Ger that the top 4 teams became the top 4 because they have new grounds and that Everton only needs to get a new ground to also become a top 4 team.

The likes of Chelsea and United may be attracting corporate and conference revenues, as likely will Arsenal and Liverpool when their grounds are built, but my point again is why? Because of the prestige attracted by them being SUCCESSFUL teams.

If Everton build the newest and bestest ground in the country (which will be highly unlikely) and are a Championship side full of the same old players they will not attract the same prestige and therefore the same income.

However, I'm also aware that the financing is more likely to come for a new ground before investment for new players as a bank is more likely to lend the money for a physical asset such as a ground than for a player who might so easily get injured and therefore be worthless.

I can also appreciate that the fans who can attend the games every week see the new ground as a high priority whereas overseas residents like myself can only hope to see the team (rarely) on the telly and would appreciate the achievement of winning Cups more than a new stadium.
Eric Myles, Seoul, Korea  (14/4/06)

Where did it all go wrong?
Rick Tarleton makes a good point about identifying where the roots of our decline lay. He also pointed to the examples of Man Utd and Liverpool.

It's a contentious issue, and one of opinions. Well, mine is, we got crap at the wrong time. Sure, the Euro ban led to the departure of our best players. Kendall left when he got pissed off with the profit take on Lineker. We then had a reluctant manager in Colin Harvey who spent a lot but couldn't replace the players who left effectively.

Then he gets the bullet, but hey presto Howie's back (with Colin), and that whole charade was paraded as wisdom by the Board.

The rest, as they say, is history. Man Utd where utter shite at that time — and only Lee Martin's winner in the FA Cup final replay against Palace kept Fergie in a job. They got good at the right time — with a lot of youngsters coming through together, plus an inspired and lucky signing of Cantona. Their development commercially parallels that — others have said that success on the pitch breeds success off the pitch.

The most appropriate word for Everton FC over the last two decades is stagnation. The King's Dock fiasco, the spin over player sales etc is all symptomatic of that.

Will we get back? Maybe. But it'll take a long haul and a complete change at the top with new investment (it won't happen with Bill in charge). But look across the park at our nearest and dearest. They last won the First Division (for that's what it was then) in 1990. They've taken a decade and a half to move to a position where they can challenge Chelsea and Man U (and remember, Chelsea are only there because of the Oligarch's cash).

Message to those who cite Moyes as a "learning up-and-coming manager" — Benitez is only a couple of years older — and yet has one the Primera League, Spanish Cup, and (flukily) the Champions League.

I'm on the fence with Davey. I'd like to see him come good, but the main reason is I don't think there is anyone decent to take over - our stock is that low. Thanks Bill, Phil, Agent Johnson and all of those who've done this to MY club.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (14/4/06)

Seems about right, Matt.

Thinking the unthinkable
In all the debate about the re-location of our ground, has no-one thought about re-claiming our original and spiritual home — Anfield? If `the great pretenders` ever raise the funds to move to Stanley Park, it would be a comparitively cheap option to move into the vacant stadium. After all, it`s where it all started for Everton and only a greedy landlord caused our forefathers to move down the road.

Admittedly, it would take a few hundred gallons of paint to obliterate all memories of the red shite but but what`s that compared with the cost of a total building job?
Alan Isherwood, New Brighton  (14/4/06)

Great time to be an Evertonian!
Davey Moyes is showing early intent to do something about Everton`s perceived shortage in the goals department with his interest in securing Blackburn`s Paul Dickov. Dickov is a proven goal-scorer with every club he has played for and with The James Brothers now firing on all cylinders and James Vaughan likely to be back for the start of next season, he will provide excellent back-up.

One thing is certain: if the Scot does come to Goodison, it will be because Davey sees him as an ideal addition to a squad which is already shaping up to be our strongest in Premiership history. The Open Day earlier this week was another PR scoop for a great, great manager and no-one need have any fears about the future of this great club, either on or off the field. It`s a great time to be an Evertonian!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (14/4/06)

Oh right, so it's Good Friday... let's kick things off good and proper, shall we? Have you gone completely mad???

Stop Going On
In response to a couple of postings I have read today:

Peter Laing, I know you are a good Evertonian and you mean well but listen mate our history is nothing to shout about. Okay we have been in the top flight for a million years and our ground was built around the same time as Stonehenge but that's about it in the history department.

Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal — they have history worth singing about. The likes of Spurs and even Notts Forest have got more in the locker than us so stop it with the history stuff. It makes me cringe every time I hear our fans sing that Celtic song [Incorrectly!].

As for selling our best players who do you mean. Rooney and... erm... who else? Gary Lineker? If a player wants to go there is fuck all you can do about it mate. Every team's best player leaves some time unless your names is Steve Bull.

As for the limited funds bit, I don't buy it. There has been nothing limited about Davey Moyes's spending these past 18 months. We are not talking Chelsea or Man Utd type money but, compared to teams at our level, we have spent fortunes.

The thing is the dosh has been wasted on crap. The team has gone backwards and fans start to believe that we haven't spent enough. As far as I am concerned, Moyes has had enough of our money and pissed it up the wall.

Daft Schaffer, you might think you are being clever with you postings and find your self highly ammusing but let me tell you this: Spout the nonsense you put on this website in any pub around Everton's ground on a matchday and you would not make the last train back to Euston.

Spurs on Saturday means nothing to any Evertonian; it's just another game we have to play with nothing at all at stake. Our season was over in September Dutch, anyone with half a brain knows that.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (14/4/06)

I can tell the thought of two games in three days has you well pumped up, Tony!

Re; Mascots for £1500
I think the comment earlier regarding Everton charging £1500 to be a mascot is referring to the Club's "Corporate Mascot" scheme — which offers businesses the chance to advertise their wares in the program, get four seats in the Main Stand, and one lucky young soul the chance to be the second mascot for the day.
Jonathan Martin, Bucks  (13/4/06)

Thanks for clearing that up. It looks like another good and creative way of bringing in more corporate sponsorship. Credit to Mr Wyness?

Mascot misinformation
Think Colm may be right re a fee for being a corporate mascot but two of my three kids were lucky enough to be chosen for away matches: Liam at Villa Park in '95; Gemma at The Valley in '03... and we paid not a penny. The staff at EFC (as well as the other two clubs) were fantastically nice, as were the players; I was and am very jealous.

Incidentally, before their selection, when I'd asked if it was possible to pay to be a mascot, just for info, I was told "absolutely & categorically not", it is a random selection amongst loyal supporters. Funnily enough at Charlton, neither of their two mascots nor their dads were keen supporters; they'd got season tickets there as it was cheap and easy, as it was to be a mascot, they said: "And you get to see the best Premier league teams play here"!
Dave Styles, Hatfield  (13/4/06)

Nis Satis Nisi Optimum
I agree whole-heartedly with Ger McNally's insightful analysis on the demise of our once-great club. Truth is the Club uses the Grand Old Team, If you know your history, 100 seasons in the top-flight, 125th Anniversary, constant re-runs on the big screens at Goodison Park of past glories, etc etc — all as a smokescreen to gloss over our current plight and defeciencies.

It is fantastic to have pride in one's heritage and we as Evertonians can quite rightly draw inspiration from our history; yet history is in the making, no sooner is one season over when another is beginning. We all know that Everton is better than this — better than mediocrity. I feel that most fans can identify with what Nil Satis means but it is the more apt 'you're in my heart, you're in my soul' of the EDSA car sticker that these days is more relevant.

David Moyes is doing the best job that he can; year on year we have limited resources, we continue to sell our best players, we are fed on a diet of spin and PR that is the by-product of a board which is seriously listless and ailing. Talk of a ground move remains a pipe-dream and the grand old lady that is Goodison Park reflects a Club that resembles a once great institution, circa 1966.

But remember, fellow blues: one of us is worth twenty of those pikey kopites.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (13/4/06)

Paul Bloody Dickov?
I have been the biggest supporter of Moyes but if the Paul Dickov rumour is true I am seriously going to struggle to defend him. One of the things I most hated Walter Smith for was the way he seemed to run out of ideas in the transfer market. Smith's wasted time on old has-beens like Ginola, Gazza, Mark Hughes & Gough (although in fairness Gough was decent for a season).

Moyes has always made me believe that he's building a young squad and developing a decent team. Certainly in the past his transfers have reflected that idea: Yobo, Arteta, Cahill, McFadden and even Krøldrup were all talented young players who have (except Krøldrup) been developed into very good Premiership players.

Paul Dickov smacks of a manager running out of ideas and it's too similar to Walter Smith' way of thinking. I'll keep defending Moyes because I think he's heading in the right direction but I simply cannot justify a Dickov transfer.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (13/4/06)

Err... Valente: now 31. Neville: now 29. (And I won't even mention the re-signing of Stubbs and Pistone!) How many exceptions prove the rule?

Let's Run Bill out of Town
Is this what we have come to: Paul Dikov. Lack of funds has tied Moyes hands and stunted his orginal vision for the club.

We have to get Bill Kenwright out, I dont care how it's done, I don,t care how ugly it has to get, but we need to get ugly and run this clown out of town.

David Smith, Liverpool  (13/4/06)

A stupid rumour in a stupid paper like the Daily Mail, and you're all up in arms to kick Out Bill Kenwright? I'm astounded. — Michael

Former Players' Foundation
I'm sure it deeply saddens all football fans to hear about a great player of the past, who gave his all and more, to be suffering physically and living in poverty. With all the money in the game now, clubs should do more, like we do, to look after these greats of yesteryear. I for one will be buying "30".
Steve Ferns, Liverpool  (13/4/06)

What they have achieved since their inception is really tremendous. — Michael

Thanks, Ger McNally
It was good to read the cogent and well argued piece "penned" by Ger McNally about Everton's decline. Few could dispute the points he made, nor about the need for a better ground than dear old Goodison.

However, I do feel he glosses over one point that has always mystified me. In the aftermath of Heysel when, quite rightly, English clubs were banned, Everton certainly lost out big-time. They sold over the next few seasons our best ploayers: Lineker, Steven, Stevens, Van den Hauwe, Keown and the argument runs that therefore we descended into mediocrity. The question that always puzzles me is why didn't the same thing happen to Liverpool and Man. Utd?

Sure Liverpool sold Rush, but he came back and they strengthened their team, Barnes, Beardsley etc. United sold Hughes who came back as well and United invested for the future. When the day came that we were allowed back into Europe, these clubs were ready. Everton had by then sold their birthright. There was no possibility of Lineker when he returned to England coming back to Goodison. So why did Everton alone of the successful clubs of the 80s end up as the club that grabbed the cash and sold the players and their future?

Everton's financial decline since the 60s is a mystery. Kendall was given little money and McMahon, our best player at the time, was sold so that we could buy Heath. There's a story waiting to be honestly uncovered about the mystery of Everton's missing cash. I doubt if anyone will ever penetrate the mystery.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (13/4/06)

Ban Dutch
May I join Luq Yus and ask you to Ban Dutch from these postings. I'm a great fan of Moyes and always have been but Dutch's Blair/Bush-esque love for Moyes is frankly just nauseating. Like I said, I back Moyes all the way and believe he's taking us forward but Dutch is simply unable to see a single fault in our manager.

Just flicked through the back pages of the Daily Mail at work and their's a story linking Dickov with Everton!! Need I say more...
Burt Hasslehoff, London  (13/4/06)

Dutch saga.
Whoever said 'there is no such thing as bad publicity' ... very true! After reading a few spats between Michael and Dutch I found myself going through the 'mailbag' reading more of the posts of Dutch and the comments of Michael. Please don't ban Dutch; I find him so entertaining.
Eddy Gibbs, Brecon  (13/4/06)

Stadium debate
I've just read Eric Myles's piece about how building a new stadium doesn't have to be a priority for Everton. Well I disagree entirely. He mentions the fact that the top 4 teams have not moved stadium, yet let's face it Arsenal are about to move, Liverpool are thinking along those lines, while Man U and Chelsea have completely revamped their existing stadiums. Those two don't need to move. They are absolutely coining it in from corporate hospitality and non-football related activities like hiring out conference rooms for business meetings etc. Chelsea's complex includes hotels and a night club amongst other things. Why move when your existing ground is set up for all this?

However, Goodison is most certainly not comparable to Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge. Our ticket revenue is nowhere near theirs, but how will it ever be when nearly 10% of our seats are obstructed views? And while Goodison sits idle all week, Old Trafford for example is housing business conferences, museum tours and offering car parking facilities. And that's aside from the fact that a new stadium could offer a better design of pre-match entertainment, so that the fans could buy their drinks and food inside the stadium instead of spending their money in the pubs on County Road.

In fairness, Eric was talking about success on the pitch being a priority, not the be-all and end-all, but without significant investment in players, we are never going to break into the top 4. Those players are not cheap and it's fair to say that we couldn't afford them at the moment. Any way we can increase profitability must be explored.

My own personal preference would be for a shared stadium with Liverpool: that way we could have a 70,000 stadium at half the price it would normally cost. That would enable us to invest in the team at the same time as building a new stadium. I am sure that Keith Wyness is advocating a new stadium because he seems to be a real businessman, and doing a good job in my opinion, although raising prices is never going to be popular.
Danny Broderick, London  (13/4/06)

Colin Harvey
I have seen in the mailbag recently a couple of people suggesting that the club may have pushed him out of the youth academy set up, which I agree hasn’t been the same since. I heard at the time that he had or was about to have a hip operation or something, and couldn’t continue working on the training ground. If that’s true then maybe it will explain why he left.
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (13/4/06)


The Game Against Spurs!
I really think this weekend is a must-win game for Everton. We have never had much luck against Spurs but Everton really need three points towards that second consecutive Top 10 finish. I also think it would be a statement if Everton could beat Spurs.

Moyes and the players would have us believe that the start of the season was just a blip, a run of bad form created from the low morale after the early Euro exit. Beating Spurs and moving back into the Top 10 would go a long way to proving their point.

Spurs of course are doing an 'Everton', they are attempting to secure 4th place from their local rivals. Personally I hope they don't manage it, I want Arsenal to beat them; if Spurs fail, it makes Everton's success all the more impressive.

Moyes will have to select his strongest team to beat Spurs and unfortunately that includes Dickie Wright. I think Stubbs should be selected to handle the physical presence of Mido with Yobo watching the pace and guile of Robbie Keane. You all know I think the world of Moyes but even I wish he had made more of an effort to sign Keano: great player.

Midfield is where this game will be won. Michael Carrick will run a game if you let him and Everton have to hope that Lee Carsley's fitness is up to the challenge. It might be a better idea to drop Carsley who is still short on match practice and play Neville in midfield to battle against Carrick. Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Lennon are very difficult players for defenders, Hibbert in particular will have to be on best form.

We must not forget that Everton can cause Spurs problems. Mikael Arteta at his best can completely run the game. Cahill and Little Leon provide a goal-threat which will unsettle Spurs. Dawson and King are a great defensive partnership but if Beattie's work ethic can pull them out of position Cahill and Osman will find space to exploit.

To me, this game holds the key to Everton's season. A win will go a long way to a respectable Top 10 finish, a loss will set Everton on the way to another bottom-half finish. Which even I admit just isn't good enough from Moyes and his players.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (13/4/06)

Thanks for that preview, Dutch. I'm not sure I agree with it being a key game: the next five, though, are crucial to that endeavour, and to proving that Moyes can rouse his players for the final push. He hasn't been able to do it when the tream has had something to play for, so motivating them now must be an extreme challenge. — Micheal

Michael Symes
Dear Sirs, I read through your write-up about Michael Symes, including goals and games and so on… This kid was the biz: only operations and injuries forced him to leave the club. Not good enough, my arse! Six operations and lengthy lay-offs killed his progress. From 2002 to 2004, he scored 13 goals. in 2000-01 Academy U-17s; 16 goals in 2001-02 Academy U-19s — not including two in the FA Youth Cup at West Ham, who had Glen Johnson and Anton Ferdinhand in their team. And he made plenty for Rooney — ask him!

He also scored two in the mini-derby in a 5-1 win which included Marcus Babbel and others. He always scored in the big games: Man Utd, etc. He only started 9 games for the reserves and scored 5 goals in 2 seasons plauged by injuries… And if you know your history; C’mon lads — fix your stats! His Uncle Arthur.
Arthur Fox, Liverpool  (13/4/06)

Ah.. bless! That was lovely, Uncle Arthur. It's all to easy to consign talent to the scrapheap. And injury must be the biggest nightmare for a young lad with high hopes for becoming a star. Very timely, too with thse four lads being released just now, without even getting a sniff. I've uipdated that file, added in all the missing stats, and brought the text right up to date. Pity the poor lad's career still semms to be going nowhere... — Michael

Please don't let it be true
Please David Moyes do not sign Paul Dickov. He is old, slow and cannot get a game for Blackburn Rovers anymore. We need a pacey striker such as Andy Johnson, whilst if you are going to get a freebie on year's contract then Moyes should go for either Viduka or Hasslebaink who are both doing the business at Middlesbrough now.
Pistol Pete, London  (13/4/06)

Paul Hopkins
It's sad to see the youngster released. I remember a couple of years ago he was being touted as the new “Rooney”. He broke more than a few records at youth level and seemed to me to be a potential new “Fowler”. It is another example of young promise not turning into reality, and joins the ranks of Michael Branch, Danny Cadamateri, Michael Symes, Phil Jevons and Nick Chadwick on the slide into football oblivion.

Let's keep our fingers crossed on little J-P Kissock. He needs a real growth spurt, and if it happens and he keeps his speed and skill, he could be something special. But let's learn the lesson of Hopkins et al and not pin too much hope.
Steve Ferns, Liverpool  (13/4/06)

Deary Me
Great news! We are being linked with Paul Dickov. Young Paul is 33 and is surely a rock-type character we should build around with Stubbs, Wier, Ferguson and Martyn as Moyes continues our long-term development.

Buy your season Tickets NOW to confirm your commitment to the exciting and forward-thinking developments about to take place at Goodison for 2006-07.
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (13/04/06)

Just remember: 90% of the rumour mill stuff never happens. So, if only 10% is true, why base anthing on it?

Just like Murinho!
`Everton to ignore goals committee` screams the headlines. How bloody pathetic! Just like Mourinho saying he takes no cognisance of losses incurred via dubious penalties and off-sides, Moyes is talking like a total prat. Trying to blame all his shortcomings this season on the FA - who have bugger-all to do with the goals panel anyway - shows that he has now entered the seige mentality period of his period here. The end is in sight, believe me!
Mal Oliver, Parkgate  (13/4/06)

It's a little petulant, I'd agree, but nothing more than that really. I suspect you're reading a little too much into it. — Michael

Long may he reign!
In your on-going spat with Dutch Schaeffer, you seem to be taking an increasingly anti-Moyes stance. Are you not aware that polls conducted all over the web continue to show that Davey enjoys a `satisfaction rate` amongst Evertonions within the range of 75%-83%? Even your own poll, conducted when the Club was bottom of the Premiership, showed that 75% were in his corner and Everton have gone only one way — upwards — since then.

The truth is that almost all of us recognise that we are blessed with a rare and outstanding talent in Moyes who, if he were English, would now be in the shake-up for the national job. Long may he reign!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (13/4/06)

So here I am actually defending a potential Moyes action (signing Ferrari) against criticsm from Dutch. I am completely at a loss how that can be characterized as being anti-Moyes. — Michael

Dutch point of view
I just wanted to send some support to Dutch. He may have a tendancy to always see the best in Moyes but you're being a tad unfair to him.

Michael claimed that Dutch's post had absolutely no merit. I think Dutch has a pretty decent point. Why is Moyes signing another player who has struggled with injuries all season? I am beginning to wonder if Moyes has run out of ideas? Joleon Lescott and Matthew Upson are available next season, why not spend the money on one or maybe even both of them?

Ferrari has shown glimpses of class in the few appearances he's managed to make, he seems to have won over the Everton supporters very easily. It's a shame that the same supporters are so critical of Davey Weir and Alan Stubbs. I wonder if the duo would still get stick if they were 10 years younger?
Paul Badham  (13/4/06)

Can you spot more irony in your last paragraph? Evertonians know class when they see it — even if it's just a glimpse. And they know when players are approaching the end of their useful careers. [Interesting that you layout your mails just like Dutch... and even make the same basic spelling errors... Are you perhaps related?] — Michael

Newsflash... more
I DID make it up, Ed, but already one of the items in my Newsflash has become reality! Perhaps `the powers that be` are now reduced to loking to ToffeeWeb for their inspiration!

In the meantime, sincere apologies to young Hopkins, Seargeant & Co, if I unintentially contributed to their demise. I`m sure they will soon get fixed up elsewhere.
David Hall, Taunton  (13/4/06)

It must be devastating for them, but then again it is the fate of 95% of the Academy intake so they should know it's coming, I suppose!

Can Everton be a big Club again - Reponse
I disagree with Ger McNally's conclusion that for Everton to break into the top four we need a new ground. The only team in the top four that have a new ground is Arsenal and they've not set foot on a blade of it's grass yet. The Manc bastards are renovating their ground to increase its capacity (an option that Everton also have); Chelski are still at Stamford Bridge and undecided about a move; and that lot from across the Park don't have one yet and it's future is still shakey.

So what do the top four have in common if not new grounds? SUCCESS on the pitch — and that success has not come about by having a new ground, and neither will Everton's. What we need is a winning team and the money invested into the club to buy the players to achieve that success. Then, when the success comes and the ground is being filled every week, we will need the new ground.

Why build a new 50,000 seater stadium when we can't fill the existing one except for games against the Mancs and Liverpool? Business reasons to make the ground available for concerts? Conventions? Etc? How much money do the richest clubs make from these sources of revenue? My bet is very little if none at all.

What is the biggest revenue earner for these richest clubs? Sales of kit and other TEAM related merchandise. And why does that come about? SUCCESS on the pitch.

Let's make the Team great again and then we can work on making the Club great again.

Eric Myles, Korea  (13/4/06)

Royle and other misnomers
Can everyone stop bleating on about Joe Royle jacking it in at Everton. He was called in by Peter Johnson and given his marching orders, it's on the record and was not instigated by Joe himself.

If I remember correctly it was arranged by one of Johnson's cronies, another freeloading parasite, Des Pitcher of North West Water — one of the first fat cats in UK business to give himself an obscene pay rise whilst he cut his staff and the standards of Water provision in the North West plummeted. I did some work for NWW back then and he was as arrogant as Peter Johnson was when I met him whilst living in Jersey, a real contempt for anyone other than their own inner circle of friends.

For anyone who doesnt remember here's one of his claims to fame.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (13/4/06)

Ban Dutch Schaeffer
BAN Dutch Schaeffer! His postings are becoming less in touch with reality it's like watching the Mike Baldwin saga in real life. I'm all for free speech but his dribble is nauseating. Unless he admits to being a Liverpool fan or a club plant please do not print any more of his ramblings! An loyal and real Everton fan.
Luq Yus, London  (12/4/06)

Normally I wouldn't do that (or allow your "Liverpool fan" comment) but Dutch certainly deserves everything he gets after that last effort.

I just took my daughter to her first match at Goodison (against the Makems). To get to the point. She decides that she wants a pre-match hot-dog. So we join the small queue at the kiosk. As the attendant is about to hand me her hot dog I belatedly ask for ketchup. I am told that if I want ketchup I have to get it from the main Food & Drink stand. With this info slowly sinking in I decide that if I am going to queue at the Main food stand I may as well get her hot-dog there also.

So I join the queue behind 15 to 20 people at the main food stand. Imagine my surprise (Copywrite Viz) when on reaching the front I am told that I can't buy the hot dog just the sauce. What the hell is going on? Can this Football Club get anything right??? You may think this to be a small thing to be comcerned about. But for me it is just indicative of how things are at the moment. I hope Mr Wyness reads this.
Paul  Furlong, Greasby  (12/4/06)

I endured a similar experience in the Lower Gwladys Street recently. One queue for hotdogs, another for the sauce! Attention to detail, eh?! I dared not ask for both salt and vinegar... - Colm

I Guess I Am Thick.
Michael, please dont think that this post is me trying to make an argument against you. That's not the case. I respect you and your opinions and in no way shape or form want to upset you. But I was wondering if you could maybe explain your reply to my last post. It's probably me being silly but I didn't get what you were saying.

>>> Singing injured players?!!

OK I see that I made a typo there but that hardly makes me a laughing stock. It's a simple mispelt word.

>>> "If he can't stay fit and play regulary for the whole season he's no use to Everton." — that will go on your tombestome!

Once again I made a spelling mistake when typing "Regularly". I was in a rush at work and should have checked my words for typos. But what I don't understand is how you can totally ignore the points I was raising just because I made two typos.

I can accept my argument being disagreed with because we all have different views but please dont just laugh it off because of two spelling mistakes. I apologise to you Michael if you feel I'm wasting your time, I just felt a little hard done by.

Anyway, is anyone else shocked that youngster Paul Hopkins has been released? I had high hopes for him. The Academy doesn't seem to have produced a youngster since Rooney. Do you reckon Colin Harvey's absence is to blame? I hope Bjarni Vidarsson gets a chance soon.
Dutch Schaeffer  (12/04/06)

I'll allow Michael to jump in with his own comment but the remark about typo's raises a smile when reading comment from someone still opting to hide behind a moniker. Or is it a Monica?! - Colm

If Colm hadn't got in before me, this probably wouldn't have seen the light of day... And I assure you it has nothing to do with the typos, which I shamefully missed! You sometimes do come over all innocent and churlish after pulling a particular stunt, which is why people rightly suspect you of being a wind-up merchant. Having the gall to write the crap you did about signing injured players, without even a hint of irony! No mention of the stunning achievements of your hero David Moyes in this regard: Davies, Van der Meyde, Krøldrup to name but three — ring any bells with you, Dutch?

The reason I don't respond to your points is because there were none of any merit: you were just getting your weekly rise out of me. You do it quite well, I have to admit, building slowly and sucking me in. But no more (unless Colm indulges you! — I may have to revoke his privileges too!)

Regarding Hopkins, he seems to have faded as Victor Anichebe's star has risen. And yes, those "in the know" say that the Academy has never been the same since the (forced?) depature of Colin Harvey... Doh! look, you've done it again! Sucked me right in!!! Out, Damned Spot! — Michael

McClaren? McCLAREN!?!
Sorry if this one is a bit disjointed, but I've just read a post in the mail bag that has left me almost speechless!

Mal Oliver says that "two thirds of the managerial clones in the Premiership and at least half of those in the League below could do as well" as Moyes. He forgets that David Moyes was widely seen as the best non-premiership manager in the country when Everton hired him. The fact that DM was hand-picked from the Championship surely undermines your claim that half of the managers in the league below us could do as good a job as Moyes? He was, remember, the best that division had to offer.

But it was after this point that Mal's post went truly crazy. Of those who could do the job, he suggested Allardyce (I'd agree) and Mark Hughes. What has Hughes done that is better than anything Moyes has done at Everton? Blackburn are set to finish somewhere around where Everton did in Moyes's first full season. His suggestion of Hughes really did cut open the argument that there are good alternatives to our man.

Curbishley was another suggestion and few would dispute his credentials, but Steve McClaren? STEVE McCLAREN? The man is such a loser it is frightening. His press conferences make me want to vomit, as much with sympathy for the sad deluded fool as anything. He has taken a side full of talent and full of big names and taken it to the verge of relegation from the Premiership. A few weeks ago, a fan charged up to him and threw his season ticket at him. What on earth makes you think he has anything on Moyesey?

I whole-heartedly disagree with the sentiment that Evertonians would be over the loss of Moyes within a week too. Quite to the contrary, it would perhaps take a week before many of Moyes's critics realised exactly what the club had lost.

Michael responded to one of my posts the other day by saying he thought Moyes may well have lost some of the passion he had when he started. I can't say I completely disagree and there have definitely been signs this season that he is a bit of a shadow of the Moyes we loved last year. Nonetheless, I'm sure this has a hell of a lot to do with how much it genuinely hurt his pride seeing his side flop out of Europe after all the hard work. Yes, maybe he should have been better equipped to deal with this, but he is human afterall. Like the players, it took him a while to get over it but also like the players, I think he's on his way back.

A few shrewd signings this summer (please) and some time to recharge the batteries and I'm confident of more improvement next season. The club is no longer losing money and it's about building now. I suggest this is a process that will not happen by getting rid of a man whose managerial ability has been championed by ALL Evertonians along the way. Let's support him — I can't see how all the sniping can help matters.
Paul Foster, London  (12/4/06)

The whole business of talking about other managers is wasted sapce to my mind. Moyes is our manager and that's the indisputable fact. I should can letters that talk of other managers on the simple basis that it has nothing to do with Everton FC.

However, I think you go a little awry on your final thought. While ALL Evertonians may at some time have championed David Moyes, that has not been the case this season, with increasing concern being voiced about some of his wayward ways and decisions. That's as it should be among an intelligent group of fans when things are not going well.

It's ridiculous to expect ua all to act as luvvies fawning our sycophantic "support" in blind ignorance as the edifice collapses around us. It's not "snipping"; the critics are offering valid and justifed criticism. What happens beyond that point is anyone's guess. I'd like to believe that some of the better ideas floated on here do find their way to Bellefield's inner sanctum, but I strongly doubt it somehow. The main fuction, when all said and done, is to get it off your chest. I know that, If I had a bunch of amateurs (even if they claimed to be "paying customers") telling me how to do my job, you can imagine what I'd be inclined to do with it all! — Michael

Results website
Dutch and Moyes should check that new Everton Results website out and ask themselves if Evertonians should not expect to be challenging for the title, whether it is beyond our club to be amongst the 'big boys', and if we should really be counting ourselves lucky to be finishing in the top ten again in the Premiership.

What does the 'Premiership' mean anyway?
Tommy Coleman, London  (12/4/06)

The Ship has Steadied
If all Evertoninas look into their hearts and are honest with themselves, we have to acknowledge that the Club is in it's best state for 10 years. As much as it pains me to hear it, this could be the first time EFC have had consecutive top-10 finishes in the Premiership... which, for a club of our size is incredible. We have to thank Bill Kenwright for this: he brought the manager and Chief Executive in. All the so-called EFC millionaires (Downing, McCombe etc) have never put a penny into the club.

That brings us to David Moyes. Since the glory days, he is far and away our best manager. People will mention Joe Royle but one tricky period and he threw the towel in. We all know were we need to have more flair and style next season. Let's hope DM can provide it. DM has definitly done more bulding than demolishing, we can just hope and pray that they become more crafted bricks instead of breeze-blocks.

I have always been 50/50 on DM but he has finally won me over. I think we need to get that message to him because reading between the lines he seems a little pissed off with our moans this year...
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (12/4/06)

Alrite, Gary, we'll tell him: He's finally won you over.

Personally, I've gone the other way, from a being a big fan of his to now being wracked with doubt while I moan quietly in the corner... And as for BK: do you think we should also thank him for his role as an Everton Director, oversseeing the years of decline that saw us become the one "Big Club" the Premiership left behind? — Michael

Ferrari Facts!
You all seem to be blinded by how good Ferrari could be and how good his partnership with Yobo could be. Ferrari played in a few cup games but has only made 6 Premiership starts this season — Why sign a guy whose injury problems are that apparent? If he can't stay fit and play regulary for the whole season he's no use to Everton.

Why waste Everton's money on a player with an injury-jinx? Surely its better to seek out another defender who will be able to start more then 6 times in the Premiership per season. Big Dunc has been slaughtered by the fans because of his injury problems. Ferrari could be the new Big Dunc, talented but injury prone. Do we really want to go there again?
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (12/4/06)

Dutch, I think you just succeeded in making yourself a complete laughing stock. Singing injured players?!!*#&%#?? Come on, your havin' a laugh, eh? Surely even you can see the exquisite irony in that one! "If he can't stay fit and play regulary for the whole season he's no use to Everton." — that will go on your tombestome!

Now stop pissing about and be sensible or the Big Blue delete key will be coming down hard... (As it very nearly did with this piece of nonsense). — Michael

Stock so low?
Just read a piece in the Daily Mail that suggests Darren Bent is disgruntled at Charlton because his name-sake signing from Everton is on £18k a a week whilst he has to make do with a measly £11k!

Now, apart from the fact that nobody who thinks Marcus Bent is worth that much (let alone a £2.5M transfer fee) should even be considered for the England job, how come Curbishley got Whizkid Darren to sign for Charlton when he obviously would have been offered more by Moyes? Is our stock so low that we can`t even attract Champoinship strikers to Everton anymore?
Vincent Yates, Liverpool  (12/4/06)

Err... Sweeping Generalization Alert!

No alternative? You ARE joking
What I find so difficult to understand in all the debates about Moyes`s future is the statement by so many Evertonians that there`s really no meaningful alternative. Of course there is; the graveyard`s full of indispensable people and whilst there`s no guarantee that ANYBODY would be better, two thirds of the managerial clones in the Premiership and at least half of those in the League below could do as well!

Does anybody seriously believe that Moyes is in any way superior to the likes of Allardyce, Hughes, Curbishley or McLaren? Or that Coppell, Dowie, or Blacklock wouldn`t make as as good a fist of the job? Of course not, and when the day comes, and I suggest it will be a lot sooner than most people think, there will be a queue a mile long waiting to pick up the pieces... and, like true Evertonians, we shall be over the loss in a week!
Mal Oliver, Parkgate  (12/4/06)

Dutch logic
I think Dutch should realise that Ferrari had infact become first choice until he picked up that troublesome injury, and he is also the player that Yobo seems most comfortable alongside and could contribute to him staying. As for the chelsea thrashing, as far as I can remember Ferrari had the man he was marking tucked up tight for every goal and was let down by those around him (particulary Weir's lack of pace).

It is obvious when he's on the pitch that, though Weir and Stubbs have been great servants to the club, Ferrari is clearly a superior all-round player. In this case, it's to Moyes's credit that he's shown at least some intent on moving forward rather than just sticking with the same old same old.
Ian Aspinall, South Shields  (12/4/06)

And If you know yer history
This year is the centenary year of our very first FA Cup win way back in 1906. Has anyone seen anything from the Club about celebrating this important event in our history. Do they know their history? - Grown men may cry...
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (12/4/06)

Personally I think that is ridiculous. You celebrate winning the FA Cup when you win the FA Cup — Remember 1995? — not 10 or 100 years later. It means nothing... Why? Because another club is going to win it in 2006, and not Everton. — Michael

Newsflash 2
`Everton will offer new one-year contracts to veterans Nigel Martyn and Alan Stubbs. The news that Matteo Ferrari is to stay at Goodison after a cut-price deal has been arranged with Roma means that 35-year-old skipper David Weir joins long serving ex-skipper Duncan Ferguson at the exit door. Four young players with no first-team experience are the only other departees.

`Manager David Moyes is confident that Joseph Yobo will remain with the club — at least until the New Year window —and has expressed himself well satisfied with his midfield. "Davies and Kilbane have done particularly well for us this season," he said last night. The deal for Ferrari means that Moyes will have only £6 million to spend in the close season, all of which is expected to go on the recruitment of a support striker for James Beattie.

`Moyes is believed to be focussing his attention on Preston`s David Nugent although Crystal Palace hitman Andy Johnson is still on his wish list.` Ends.

So there you have it, a scoop for ToffeeWeb. You couldn`t make it up could you?
David Hall, Taunton  (12/4/06)

I thought you just did. Stop it now! That's quite enough "Newsflashes".

OH NO!! Say it ain't so... the 'Fox in the Box' is back:

Charlton's out-of-favour striker Franny Jeffers is a target for Blackburn and Everton. (Daily Star)

... And just when we have banned hunting too !!!!
Rog  Walker, Portsmouth  (12/4/06)

Third time's a charm!

That Moore'e Quote
Now I could be wrong but do you quote Sir John Moore's correctly? Did he really say that we "expect to see good football". My memory of it was that he said we "expect to see success". The two are not necessarily the same. Of course there is the difficulty of measuring success. Top 4? Top 10? A trophy? Selling top players to other clubs for vast sums of money? Promotion following a relegation? Financial stability?

Something should be done about it....!!!
Tony Horne, Kettering  (12/4/06)

I think you might be right... I'd better roll the tape again (The Official Everton History vid)... Okay, let's try that again (I think I had 'good football' on the brain the other day...):

"Everton expect success. We've a very good crowd and the crowd are very loyal. But, of course, they pay money and they expect to see us to do well. If we don't do well then something should be done about it, and something will be done about it."

A chance to shine
All who know me are aware that I follow Serie A with great enthusiasm, spending as much time on calls to my relatives in the homeland as I devote to the affairs of my team for 25 years, Everton.

So that there are many who will tell you that I was estatic at the news last summer that Mr Moyes had signed both Krøldrup AND Ferrari from my native land. All the research I did — and shared with all who would listen — indicated that Everton had a double scoop. Now I know that Per was injured when he arrived but it is my firm belief that, had he and Matteo been paired in central defence as soon as fitness allowed, we should not have suffered the indignities we did up to Christmas. As any Bravo watcher will tell you, constuctive play from defence provides an essential boost to the midfield and greatly increases the amount of `quality ball` received by the stikers — particularly vital if coaches favour only one up front.

I do so hope that Mr Moyes will persuade Matteo to stay for next season but I can say that he may need to be assured of the chance to make more starts than he has been given so far.
Giovani  Morrello, Southport  (12/4/06)

Just heard the news: Everton have got Sheffield Utd at home first game of the season.

Team News: Wright;
Hibbert, Wier, Stubbs, Pistone;
Kilbane, Neville, Osman, Davies, Van der Meyde; Beattie.

Subs: Turner, Naysmith, Carsley, McFadden, Anichebe.

Looks like Moyes has gone back to his 4-5-1 formation which brought the club so much success in the past.

That couldn't happen in real life could it.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (12/4/06)

Tony... put down that drink and go to bed!

Ferrari Stats
ESPNSoccernet shows Ferrari making 34 starts, 1 as sub, 0 goal and 7 yellows in Serie A during his only season (04-05) with AS Roma. He also had 4 starts, 0 sub, 0 goals and 1 yellow in Uefa Champions League.

Additionally, he played in 1 Friendly International for Italy (although born in Algeria) and, whilst a member of the European Championship squad, did not make the team. The notes to the stats describe him as a central defender of considerable quality.
David Hall, Taunton  (12/4/06)

Thanks, David. ..."considerable quality" Dutch: does that mean anything to you?

Matteo Ferrari Staying?
Let me get this straight.... You're all really excited because a player who has only started 6 Premiership games this season wants to sign permanently??? Ferrari has only managed to start 6 Premieship games and exactly half of those ended in defeat for Everton.

The last we saw of Ferrari the Everton defence were torn apart as Chelsea scored four. Big Dunc has managed more appearances than Ferrari. Would you all be so excited if Big Dunc signed for another year? I'm not saying Ferrari isn't a good player, he might well be decent, but if all he can manage is 6 starts a season I don't see the point of signing him permanently?

Personally, the news I'm waiting for is concerning the future of Alan Stubbs. Stubbs has had a bigger impact on Everton's season and he signed in January.

Will someone please explain to me why you're all excited about the news concerning Ferrari? Ferrari may be young and pacy but what good is that on the sidelines? Weir and Stubbs have been the guys in the trenches helping to drag Everton up the league.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (12/4/06)

You just like being contrary, don't ya, Dutch. It's not that hard: Evertonians LOVE new signings. Evertonians LOVE new signings who are foreign. Evertonians LOVE new signings who are from exotic footballing countries like Italy.

And he's actually started 11 games this season — two more than Duncan Ferguson, and one more than Stubbs. And he's been on the bench for 7 more games as an unused sub... I wonder who that's down to??? Don't you think that provides some sort of basis on which Evertonians (but maybe not David Moyes) can decide if he's any good? Coz maybe, just maybe, it's got something to do with the quality of football the lad can play. Or is that something you've allowed your addled mind to lose sight of in all this pro-Moyes blather? — Michael

Moyes opts out
The on-going debate about whether Moyes should stay or go does, I fear, miss the point. A careful examination of his public statements since Christmas strongly suggest he has himself already given up the ghost. So far he has not gone as far as David "you are bloody lucky to have me and even if we are relegated it's not my fault" O'Leary, but all the signs are that he has entered the bunker.

His statement that criticism of pre-Christmas performances were "not right" (when they were totally justified) and his talking down (as if there are not enough outsiders ready to have a go already) of the club's overall Premiership record are clear signs that he has fallen out of love with the fans and probably the club.

Evey manager has a natural shelf-life and I think Moyes is rapidly approaching his own end-date. For what it's worth, his early days were some of the best in the last decade but from now on I think, sadly, it will be a case of slow decline and an increasingly petty guerilla war with the fans. If Bill Kenwright has anything about him, he will be thinking about who could be next in the Hot Seat...
John Doran, Wirral  (12/4/06)

Wow! Now that's what I call pessimistic! I prefer to believe it's just a spell he's going through after a particularly difficult season... — Michael

Ferrari & Yobo
I couldn't be happier with the news that Ferrari might stay. If Yobo also stays we, will have a pacy defence that will allow us to play a few yards further up the pitch. If yobo goes, we will have at least one centre-half of quality the right side of 30. We still need a few more additions to the sqaud — preferably ones that add quality rather than just boosting numbers.
Ian Aspinall, South Shields  (12/4/06)

Contrary to popular belief
Well, the latest news would appear to suggest that Ferrari might be for staying. This comes as no surprise as I suggested in my previous postings, contrary to all the speculation and the suggestions he was desperate to return to Italy. I have tended to place more emphasis on the player's reactions. No one could have failed to have been impressed by the player's reaction to the hamstring injury which lead to his enforced substitution. His disappointment at having to leave the field was highly visible. Sadly you don't often see that in players these days hence my belief that his imminent departure was far from a foregone conclusion.

However, I'm not so foolish to belive he will definitely be with us next season — this is Everton after all... but I am more confident than ever of the prospect he might stay. It's up to Moyes now; he's on record as saying the player will be given an opportunity. Well, it's time to act: he has got to partner Yobo for the rest of the season.
Gerry Western, London  (11/4/06)

Kenwright's Cowboys
Did I read somewhere that Buffalo Bill Kenwright is riding off into the Nevada desert this summer to film a cowboy movie, instead of hanging around to help out with the bargain hunting in the transfer market?

If so, 'Billy the Kid' better show his 'True Grit' and return home with 'A Fist Full of Dollars', sell off our crapiest players 'For a Few Dollars More' to invest in 'The Magnificent Seven' new players needed to ensure next season is a 'Bonanza' and thereby leave his many critics with their arses strapped to 'Blazing Saddles'. But if he returns as wild Bill Hickock and our chances are 'Gone with the Wind', we might end up at 'Dances with Wolves' at Molyneaux in the Coca Cola Championship next year.

If this happens he will be 'Unforgiven', there will be 'Gunsmoke' and possibly a 'Fist Full of Dynamite' at the next AGM, and if his name is not thereafter written on a 'Toombestone' he and Davy 'Crocket' Moyes will be run out town and banished back to the USA to spend the rest of their lives living in a tepee on 'Brokeback Mountain'! Apologies if these ramblings sound like an article in The Sun.
Martin Downey, Belfast  (11/4/06)

Get yer coat.... NOW!

Ferarri stats needed
Whilst delighted at the news that Matteo Ferarri may be staying with us for next season, he does seem to be something of a mistery man! Moyes tells us that he played over 50 games for Roma last season and, whilst I don`t doubt the veracity of that statement, all my usual stats sources show no games played. Was he injured, out on loan somewhere else, or is it just my tracking limitations?

I do know that since turning pro, he has played with Parma, Bari,Lecci, Giarre, Inter (twice) and Spal as well as Roma and I have appearances to hand for those clubs. Can some other anorak help me with the Roma figures please?
Ivor Preece, Whalley  (11/4/06)

Wikipeadia list him as playing 81 games for Roma, which seems impossible. Somewhere, I found a figure of 35 that is in his ToffeeWeb Profile. — Michael

Totally glossed over Alex Ferguson
Just a quick note in: first time I have written. I was scrolling through the Mailbag and noticed that there was not a single response to the letter regarding the first four years of Alex Ferguson's reign and how much re-building was needed at Man Utd. This at a team with financial stability and worldwide fame. Yes, four years.

Moyes has nowhere near the funds and therefore has to move slowly until the club is more stable (If you see Peter Johnson on day-release, give him a slap from me). Yes, he has made mistakes but let us give him a bit more time before we join Tony Marsh's lynch mob.

Remember the cartoon 'Stressed Eric'. Tony take note. What would your partner say if your head actually did explode? Anyway, I understand the for and against Moyes debate but a debate it should be, without what seems at times, to be bordering on a hate mentality. And for why exactly? Because you love Everton FC so much? Don't we all, my friend? Don't we all.

A so-called hardcore away fan from the Park End.
Paul Blue, Southport  (11/4/06)

Welcome to the Mailbag, Paul. But please be careful not to preach to the assembled members: yours is only an opinion, just like theirs. Yes, we love EFC: we each have different ways of showing it. It's not hate. And anyone who characterizes it as hate needs a good slap for lowering the tone of the debate... Oops; now I'm preaching! — Michael

Tony Marsh
Ahhhh, Tony, me lad, you make me laugh! It's a pity I don't know you in real life as one of the reasons I supported Everton was because of the passion and humour of the fans. Humour, which I may add, has been the only thing that kept us going through the barren years of watching zero personality Scottish managers and haggis football!

Keep 'em coming Marshy. And please, Lord let Ferrari stay and sign a permanent deal. Fans: pray each night for this as it is privotal to Everton's future. All fans, I appeal to you — and yes even you Dutch!
Luq Yus, London  (11/4/06)

That Moyes Quote
Further to my sensational revelation about our manager's preference for graft over glamour, I kid you not and can disclose that the said comments appeared in none other than The Sun and furthermore, it was between quotation marks so he must surely have said it, mustn't he?

Also I must ask is Dutch Schaeffer in some way related to our brilliant young and up-and-coming manager? - I think we should be told.

Thanks for reminding me of the Sir JM quote which brought tears to my eyes.
Wayne O'Rourke, Liverpool  (11/4/06)

Dutch is a genuine Evertonian who just has a different (less critical... more supportive?) approach to the club than a number of others we could mention (stop laughing at the back!). Let's have no more of these conspiracy theories, please! — Michael

Ferrari to stay?
Personally I think it's fantastic news and the strengthening of our squad through a signing like Ferrari can only be beneficial, after some of the performances I've seen I was very impressed.
Sean Wafer, Liverpool, UK  (11/4/06)

Over to you, 'Dutch'...
I was going to post a scathing reply to the latest of 'Dutch's Daily Despatches' from the trenches, but I didn't know where to start - just about everything he writes is contentious. An example being his view that Naysmith and Pistone sitting on the bench as cover is a good thing! What?

And then I saw it. Some time ago on the Pravda clone ( I spotted a spelling mistake in an official match report. The mispelt word was comfitable (sic). Just look at what 'Dutch' wrote in his latest missive: 'Arteta and Osman both look comfitable in this position.'

Not conclusive, but very interesting... We should start taking bets on the location of 'Dutch's' computer. I'll go first. 10/1 it's in the boiler room under Gwladys Street...
John McTiernan, London  (11/4/06)

Ooops... how did that get through the rigorous mail-wetting process? Taxi for the Ed!

Moyes's Soft Side
With regards to Moyes: He come's over as this rather drole, kind of boring character, which I have no problems with. But I'd like to think (hope?) he's got that fire inside of him to really give the players a bollocking though.

I certainly believe he had that when he first joined the club, but going back to what was mentioned before, he's almost a shadow of the character he was when he first joined. He doesn't look as passionate, he doesn't look like he's actually too bothered sometimes! The way he acts during games... I dunno, he seems a little softer these days.

Mind you, wearing a pink shirt on the BBC didn't help much either!
Santiago Guerrero, Scotland  (11/4/06)

Old Everton kit
My son has just been given a complete old Everton kit in a box. It is size 30-32 inch and has an original price on box of £20. It is an away kit, grey and white striped with thin blue stipes down the edge of the grey stipes. It has blue shorts and white socks with blue bands around top with diamonds running between the bands. Has anyone any idea if this is of value and how we go about getting it valued?
Sue Noonan, Wallasey  (11/4/06)

Hmmm... that's a tough one. Perhaps you should ask your son what he thinks?

Why Bother?
Now that we know that Moyes and his players have given up for the season, shouldn't we the fans do the same? Why should we bother turning up at Goodison on Saturday, season ticket holders or not.

Why should any of us bother pissing about at the box office to get away game tickets when we know we will get murdered at Chelsea and Boro. In fact what reason is there for anyone to hand over their hard-earned dosh for next season in what promises to be another trauma-fest.

Last week's non-event at Charlton was the first time this season that tickets for an away game went on general sale. It's the same for the Boro game and it will be the same for the Chelsea match. Is this the beggining of the end for the hardcore away support? Have we had enough of the lies, the bullshit, the pointless way in which our club is run?

This season has finished many of us off, I am afraid to say

  • Humiliation at home and abroad.
  • All of our money wasted on any player who can tie a shoe lace.
  • Watching football that would make Graham Taylor cringe.
  • A manager duller than a 20-watt light bulb on the blink.
I know it makes grim reading but its true we are crumbling as a club and it won't take much more of this crap until the fans are driven away for good. If the diehards start to drop off going to the games, then what chance is there of getting the kids to start going — that's my concern.

You can try and sugar-coat it all you like ("two top tens in a row is progress", etc) but that won't hide the facts much longer. Under Moyes we have become an unattractive club to play for. Agents and players alike treat us like a leper colony and until something changes, then we will remain that way.

Maybe Moyes doesn't have to many more big decisions to make this season but we all do: Are we going to part with our money for next season's Bullshit Bonanza? I probably will but knowing full well what's going to happen. Then again it get's me out the house and in the boozer so it can't be all that bad. Can it?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (11/4/06)

I guess it would depend, Tony, on whether the booze makes you happy or turns you violent! Judging by the tone of your missives, I fear for your fellow drinkers!

Same again next season
Reading between the lines of yesterday`s announcement from Moyes and the press and TV comments of Weir and Martyn, what`s the betting that the only player to be let go this summer is dear old Dunc? Ferrari may be on his way back to Italy but he was never our`s anyway, and my betting is that with the understandable reluctance to waste more money on a summer binge after last year`s disasters allied to the manager`s legendary indecision, it will be a very familiar line-up we see next August.

But then again, fear not because, as the Dutchman keeps telling us, we`re only a couple of players away from being a good side!
Brian Tasker, Broad Green  (11/4/06)

Up for the challenge?
This morning`s news that Leon Osman has had two goals taken away from him means that Everton have scored a paltry 27 goals from open play in 33 Premiership matches this season. This figure and the standard of football we have witnessed in no way justifies the self-satisfied smugness which surrounds Moyes and his acolytes as they view the task before them in preparation for next season.

No one could have got it more wrong last time round. The raft of disasterous signings — only Neville has provided anything like value for money — the ill-advised trip to Thailand and the cringeingly embarrassing European experience all militated against another good Premiership season and in virtually any other club would have seen the manager brought to account long before he could regain a modicum of self respect with a few good results after Christmas.

Make no mistake, now that Moyes has chosen to pull up the draw-bridge on this season, he is entering the most vital few months of his topsey-turvey Everton career. I wish I could believe he was up to the challenge!
Trevor Compton, Holmes Chappel  (11/4/06)

I think your opening point is a bit silly. The goals came from open play; without the work of the Everton players, especially Leon Osman, they would not have been scored. In fact, as far as Leon is concerned, he DID score them. In any event, they were scored from open play, and they were scored for Everton. — Michael

Rich Club?
In some comments in this mailbag, people are refering rather sarcasticly to the club's claimed position in Deloitte & Touche's 'Top 20' list of the richest clubs in the world. Now I am not a financial genius but if my understanding is right, the list is based on the turnover inn a specific year... the £60M doesnt tell anything about the club's debts or loans and other payments. So, although EFC are placed on this list, it doesn't mean that we should expect large sums available to player signings?

If I'm right then please stop the sarcastic moaning. Not everything at Everton has to negative! I supported them since November 1994 and for me, every season at this time and Everton not fighting to avoid relegation must be seen as a (short-time) development — mind you, I've only experienced four seasons out of 11 without relagation fears...

So, Moyes or no Moyes, I still feel that somewhere we are going in the right direction, at least financially.
Frederik Pedersen, Denmark  (11/4/06)

We are making progress financially, and that was borne out by the improved turnover in 2004-05, but the suspicion amongst some fans was that it was based on a set of circumstances which were not sustainable, and that it certainly did not mean Everton could claim their place among the elite in terms having the finances to really compete. Nevertheless, there was great trumpeting from on high about the D&T Top 20 slot and what it meant for Everton. That's what sticks in the craw — the succession of endless spin when in reality, as you rightly point out, it means very little. — Michael

Some people are on the pitch...
"... they think it's all over... It is now!" according to Dutch and some others. This is as good as it's going to get, say more and that's if you're lucky. Well, why don't we just change our name to "mediocrity 'R' us", or, as the pedants would have us say, "mediocrity 'R' we". Take the Prozac and, while we are at it, section ourselves into Rainhill (if its still there).

The department of the team that Dutch seems most none judgemental of — the midfield — is where, in fact, the most work is required. Having been both watcher and player — not, I hasten to add, at the toplevel but at a good amateur level, for many years — I know this: the game is won and lost in the midfield!

I have lost count of the number of times I have seen the difficencies of average forwards and defenders masked, carried if you will, by a class midfield — never, in some cases, being found out. Arteta, yes; Cahill, probably; Osman, maybe; Van der Meyde, unproven; Davies, not likely! The rest are has-beens or never-will-bes or honest plodders/subs. Spend what little money we have on the midfield.... oh, and maybe a goalie.
Derek Thomas, Torbay, Auckland, NZ  (11/4/06)

Reality Check!!
Whilst open debate is great I do think that there is a certain lack of reality in some of the negative comments. The facts are that :-

1) If Moyes hadn't been appointed, we would be a Championship side now or worse (aka Forest)

2) We've had sod all investment apart from the Rooney money, and that only enabled us to buy enough players to get to mid-table.

3) We can't compete yet with the Chelsea's of this world. If we get points off them then it's because we worked our socks off and they didn't play well.

4) Dutch is right: this is a building process. Without a large investment we won't make strides... Moyes has done well at building the team — it's the next step thats worrying me!

My concern with Moyes is more along the lines of why the hell he won't give the younger players a go and why there seems to be NO path for the Academy or Reserve Team players to get into the first team. If it's because they arent good enough then fix the Academy structure as every other Premiership club seems to be able to do it.
Rog Walker, Portsmouth  (11/4/06)

Er... the Academy structure was 'fixed' some years ago when Colin Harvey (yes, he's the bloke who actually brought through young Wayne Rooney) was 'persuaded' to step down. — Michael

Losing the plot
Can`t help thinking Everton and most Evertonians have lost the plot. With five matches to go, the manager pulls the plug on the season and then, AHEAD of season ticket sales, tells us there won`t be much activity in the transfer market.

Yet most of the fans I talk to — and many of your correspondents — genuinely believe we are making progress!Quite how fourth to mid-table mediocrity bears that out defeats me and how anybody can be satisfied with the fare we`ve seen this season is beyond my imagination! So, as we drift into the summer with only the slight hope of Intertoto qualification to sustain us, can somebody please tell me why I`m so out of step with the rest of the Everton world?
Alan Langham, Crosby  (11/4/06)

Who`d be a footballer?
God, my heart goes out to Davey Weir! Career coming to an end at 35 (although he`ll probably screw yet another year out of his fellow Scot!) and only a bit of property income and a few pensions to sustain him into old age! How can he hope to sleep nights?

Right underneath this heart-rending piece is the message that the `average` Premiership player (and Davey fits that bill perfectly!) has to survive on a mere £676,000 a year. Now being a `new` socialist, I`m not into the politics of envy, but that`s just about THIRTY years earnings for the average punter out of which he`s expected to find at least a grand a year to cheer on poor Davey and his other pauper mates home and away.

Who`d be a footballer, eh?
Roger Tomlinson, Hale  (10/4/06)

In the world of the blind.....
Never thought I`d say it but Dutch is absolutely right, we do only need one or two new players for next season. That, of course, supposes that we shall be perfectly happy to accept the `undoubted progress` of 11th to 14th.

In the world of the blind.......
Malcolm Senter, Heswall  (11/4/06)

Another Balls Up
With regard to your item on Michael Ball's transfer to PSV and subsequent revival of fortune (including a Dutch Premiership medal and possible late call up by England), I'm reminded of the debate on ToffeeWeb earlier this season when the idea of bringing the boy home to the club he was devoted to was met with so much rancour.

When you add up the wages paid to the hopeless and injury-prone duo of Naysmith and Pistone, it is hard to believe that Ball was never thought of as a possible returnee at left back. When you also consider the waste of 'Rooney money' that went to recruit the likes of (Powder Puff) Davies, and the downright hopeless Krøldrup it does make you wonder at the club's scouting system at the highest level — especially when we hear that there are no funds for future team building.

Q. Am I going to renew my season ticket (even though I was moved to the crap end of the Main Stand in Wyness's Corporate Hospitality Clear Out)? A. Probably... Explanation = I'm obviously a complete idiot.
Mike Keating, City Centre  (11/4/06)

You're a funny bloke and no mistake:

  1. "Ball was never thought of as a possible returnee at left back" I think he was... just not by the people that matter — the real decision-makers at EFC
  2. "(Tub O'Lard) Van der Meyde" — naughty!
  3. "hopeless Krøldrup"??? Apparently not — according to Bravo.
  4. "no funds for future team building" — that's not what Moyes said and you know it.

Moyes Moyes Moyes, we were looking for a good time
I have noticed the whole 'love him or hate him' argument developing on this page particularly over the last couple of weeks. I'd just like to add to the debate by offering an observation.

I believe all this is born out of a slow realisation that, no matter how good (or bad) Moyesy is, we are not going to become League Champions or winners of any trophy for a long time. At its height, Moyes mania and the emergence of Rooney had us all beleiving anything was possible. Three years of yet more bad-luck stories and the general football soap opera that is Everton Football Club have quashed Evertonians' hopes and (some would argue) David Moyes's ambitions for the club.

Blues are now split in to two camps — those who are clinging on to the hope that he will make us great again and those that feel bitter and let down by the man because, depite his outward belief that anything was possible, he hasn't really delivered. However, both camps share a deep sense of disappointment.

But then to make the whole thing even more complicated — I don't know any Everton fan who TRULY beleives that there is a manager who could do a better job than Moyesy. Christ, if the hope and ambition and belief that Moyesy brought with him hasn't worked — what will??
Jon Sellick, Crosby  (10/4/06)

Maybe it just needs more (and more... and more) time!

From the Editor


Just a friendly little reminder that, if you are going to write in slagging off your fellow contributors with sweeping generalizations and you don't have something interesting to add to the discussion, your contribution will more than likely not get published. Thanks!

To Wayne O'Rourke,

Wayne posted a line which he said was from David Moyes and it reads: 'I am looking for hard working players tinged with ability'.

I'm just genuinely interested which tabloid you found this in? It's something I haven't come across elsewhere that's all... and although Moyes is often frustratingly unimaginative and negative in his transfer talk, I can't imagine even he would say this! It is like a self-parody, playing on the thing that Evertonians find most frustrating about him!

Personally, despite the talk, I expect players of a good calibre to come in this summer. I remember how ambitious Moyes was when he arrived and I don't accept he has lost the fire and the passion we all praised back then.
Paul Foster, London  (10/4/06)

Interesting last thought. I suppose my take is a little different: I really think Moyes has changed over his period with us — and not all for the better. Yes, he's older and wiser to the ways of top-class football, agents, players, directors, boardrooms and all that stuff. What a fantastic four years of experience-gaining it has been for him.

But the fire and the passion? I am sad to say that I get the feeling they are not burning as brightly as they once were. I would think this last four years has had a terrible wearing effect on his psyche, if not his self-regard. He just doesn't strike me as the same guy. He seems more accepting of limitations and preconceptions when before he would have fought to change things.

Of course, it is all the fault of we who dare to question his decisions and suggest that his teams should perhpas play better football... Yes, it's all our fault. — Michael

Business as usual
Christ it's no wonder they want our season tickets bought early is it?

Depressing as it was to think this season was over by early April, I have to hand it to 'the Moyestro' that only he could pretty much wipe out so early any real hope for the next one.

After last year's debacle, you can understand why they're doing this but I bet I'm not alone in wishing my expectations hadn't been managed quite so early...
Neil Scott, Southport  (10/4/06)

What`s good for goose...
Sad to say, too many younger Evertonians really do believe — like Shane Pollard (10/4/06) — that life only began at Goodison with the coming of David Moyes. As they frequently tell us, what happenned in the past has no relevance today.

Taking that theory to it`s natural conclusion, we could argue that last season`s fourth - which they never tire of mentioning - has no possible relevance to the crappy position we shall finish in this year! So shut up about it, please!

What`s good for goose etc...
Alf Worrall, Speke  (10/4/06)

No surprise
Not surprised to hear that Everton will not be splashing out this summer. After Moyes chucking the thick end of £25 million down the pan last year to turn 4th position into 11th (if we`re lucky!), I wouldn`t give him much to spend either!
Trevor  Williams, Liverpool  (10/4/06)

Come on, now; if 4th to 9th is 'progress' (a record two back-to-back top ten finishes) and 4th to 10th is also deined as 'progress' (a record two back-to-back top ten finishes), then 4th to 11th is probably somewhere between 'Okay' and 'rather good under the circumstances if you think about it.' Credit where credit's due... — Michael

Fans Comment
Rick Tarleton: spot on mate. I remember all those "greats" as well.
Robert Jarvis, Burnley  (10/4/06)

Joe Royle and other thoughts
The reason I love football is it engenders debate more than nearly any other topic, with myriad views on offer.

Take Joe Royle for example.

I have always held him in the highest esteem and Mr Marsh says we should not mention David Moyes in the same breath as him.

But during his time at Manchester City, Royle was accused of nearly every single thing Moyes is. My future father-in-law, a mild-mannered man, and others said this about him:

1) Tactically inept;
2) Rubbish in the transfer market;
3) Talks a load of crap in the press;
4) Does not give youth a chance;
5) Wastes money;
6) Out of his depth in this division;
7) A good first division manager.
8) Plays dire football.

I wonder what they would make of Mr Moyes at Eastlands?

To Ken Buckley, your erudite comments are shining lights in the mire the Mailbag oftens becomes when the fanatic Moyes supporters and the rabid Moyers haters fight it out.
Ben Greenwood, Rochdale / Chester  (10/4/06)

Give Moyes a break!
What an optimistic bunch you all are that write in on this website!! I must admit I wasn't best pleased with the comments made about the transfer activity that will be happening in the summer from Moyes — and I would have loved a season like last just as much as the next Evertonian — but I think Moyes is a good manager and I am happy to see him in charge of Everton. Every manager makes mistakes and buys the odd heap of shit and some are much more experienced managers than Moyes.

I think the real problems lie in the Everton boardroom and the huge lack of investment in the club. I think Moyesie's hands are tied in the transfer market and always will be until investors are brought in or unless we create another Rooney that we can sell for big money (not that I want to sell players of Rooney's class). Hence his comments about summer transfers, he knows the transfer kitty won't be bulging!

I would love to see Everton take the step which Spurs did and appoint a Director of Football to help Moyes in the transfer market as this is an area he really lacks experience in. Someone with a big name in Europe who can help attract young players from around the world. These players are out there sitting in the reserves for Milan, Barcelona etc, — just look at the players Wenger has unearthed over the years and paid next to nothing for. Maybe it's time to take a look at the scouts a bit more too, but lay off Moyes!!!
Steven Smith, Ipswich  (10/4/06)

Ouch.. that's telling us!

Dickie Wright's World Cup!
Please don't confuse my comment as an argument for Dickie Wright to be included in the World Cup squad. I personally feel Dickie is a very poor keeper and I hope the only reason Moyes is continuing to play him is to put him in the shop window.

I never said Dickie was worthy of a World Cup call up, he's not in any way shape or form. The point I was making was that he has the best chance of any English Everton player. (Robinson and James will be included with the 3rd spot up for grabs. Kirkland isn't playing and Green is untested at top levels.)

He may be crap but ironically Wright has the best chance of any Everton palyer for an England call-up. I can't see Hibbert, Neville, Osman or Beattie making it now.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (10/4/06)

No doubts
Here is a quote from the Moyesiah published in a Saturday tabloid :

"I am looking for hard working players tinged with ability"

Nuff said, so please let everybody be in no doubt that David Moyes is not the right manager for Everton Football Club.
Wayne O'Rourke, Liverpool  (10/4/06)

Time for that Moores quote:

"Everton expect the best. We have a good crowd and they are very loyal.  They pay good money and they expect to see good football.  If they don't get it then something should be done about it, and something will be done about it."

Its only April and we've already been told by the spin happy official site that there will be little activity in the summer transfer window. We've got one of the smallest squads around and are probably going to lose four players at least this summer. What's the betting a "Threadbare" squad start the season with Beattie and McFadden as the only recognised strikers at the club?

Deadline day will approach with Blue Bill saying "we are looking 24/7 for players blah, blah blah" or Moyes stating "the players we want are not available".

Go on lads, surprise us and bring in 3 or 4 players who can make a difference. After all, we are one of the richest clubs in Europe...

My arse we are!!
John Audsley, Leeds  (10/4/06)

Failure To Communicate
So yet again the man some like to call the Messiah has dropped one of his now famous pearls of wisdom on us. We are now a side so much on an upward curve that the players have nothing to prove to anyone, according to Davey Boy.

Well let me tell you this, Moyes. Every signing you made this summer has been a total disaster and not one of them has proved fuck all to me or any other Evertonian I know. Davies, Van der Meyde, Neville, Krøldrup along with the resigned players Pistone, Wier, Naysmith have all proved Jack Shit to me. Half of your squad wants away from the stinking mess you have made of this Club and the other half have got to stay because we couldn't give them away to a Division 3 side.

All the crap spouted recently in defence of DM makes me laugh. David Moyes is a Howard Wilkinson clone through and through. Talks a load of shite and plays his team the same way. I don't blame any player who wants away from this clown and I can't blame any player who is stinking Goodison out every week. It's not their fault — it's all down to Moyes: he signs them and he creates the bad atmosphere around the place.

Maybe the players haven't got anything to prove Davey but you sure have. Go and learn your trade somewhere else and stop this torrture you call football. Stop being a football coward so scared to lose that you let it consume every decision you make. Play some kids, sack some of your squad, go out and sign a decent striker — whatever it takes, just do it! Can't you see we are dying?

Go on, Davey, we know your job's safe with Big Bill in charge but you go and prove yourself to us fans. Give us something more than bullshit and woefull football.

Please all of you statos out there stop trying to prove or disprove things concerning Moyes and past managers of Everton football club. Regardless of what the figures say David Moyes's name should not be uttered in the same sentence as Harry Catterick, Howard Kendall or Joe Royle. They were and still are on a different planet to Moyes and his late-eighties brand of football.

Rick Tarleton: I thought your latest piece on Moyes was spot on. Keep it up mate.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (10/4/06)

When David Moyes is finally driven out, I fully expect him to name Tony Marsh... and not as his nominee for the next manager.

I'd just like to say I totally agree with Rick Tarleton's article, "Moyes's Report", it really sums up my feelings about our current gaffer. I dont think that Moyes is completly inept and we probably will never go down under his management, but that is simply not good enough for Everton Football Club.

I do accept the reality of our current situation and the difficulty of moving forward a club with our finances, but even now at a time when no-one would blame Davie for taking a few risks to try and achieve something, he seems to lack the conviction to do so. How will he convince Ferrari his future is at Goodison when he prefers to stick with players whose own future doesn't go beyond one more season of being semi-useful?

Somewhere deep down, Moyes probably wants to play with pace and youth, but the pragmatist in him will never allow him to do so. And I for one, would rather see someone come and take chances than accept mediocrity for my club.
Ian Aspinall, South Shields  (10/4/06)

Bill Kenwright - Do One
Let me say that I am not a big Moyes fan but I do tip my hat to him for achievemnt of getting us up into 4th place last season.

However, frustration and expectation are Moyes's enemies and they will be banging on his door by the time the next season is out. Why, because I think Moyes is OUT of team bonding exercises, flowers and framed pictures of the derby win to send to the players.

There are no more magic bullets in the Moyes gun and little cash in Billy Liar's safe.

Moyes has a keeper crisis and defender crisis to boot before we start the transfer rumour talk in the summer. Contracts to be decided upon and a World Cup to drive up players prices.

Moyes is destined to become the next Alan Curbishley, unable to move the club forward to the higher levels because Billy Liar cannot do his job and raise investment outside of selling the club's best player.

In the end it will be Bill Kenwright's failings which will contribute to Moyes walking; given a choice between the two men, I would toss Bill Kenwrights ass on to the street any day.

I feel sorry for Moyes but at the same time he needs to wake up and drop a bomb on Bill Kenwright. Maybe Moyes should play Bill's games and give him a choice: raise investment or he (Moyes) will walk.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (10/0/06)

To some extent, though, I think Moyesey has relished the challenge of doing it the hard way — with little money. Perhaps he was a little overwhelmed last summer with how much he had to spend. Will lack of investment be the what drives him off... or the fans on ToffeeWeb??? — Michael

Young Talent
I hear a lot about Moyes being accused of not giving youth a chance. I think that this accusation is a bit harsh. Whilst I’m no regular at Haig Avenue, having a season ticket and parents who live in Southport I can’t resist the odd bit of ‘scouting’, just so I feel like I know a bit more than my mates.

From what I’ve seen, we’ve got a pretty solid reserve team. There are no standout players, like another Rooney, but the young centre-half Hughes could be ready in a few years, if he fills out a bit. The young Icelandic kid, Vidarsson looks a good player and seems to be able to play anywhere. He’s nowhere near ready for the first team yet, he’s far too lightweight.

Up front, Anichebe looks good. But I don’t think he has what it takes to be a proper Premiership-class striker. I fear that he’s destined to play a division or two below Everton. He reminds me of Michael Symes. He lacks a good touch. But I’ve only seen him play about two or three games and he could have easily had a off-days.

To summarise, I feel we can’t really critise Moyes for not throwing in the kids, there’s simply no-one who is ready. If people say "play the kids", then specify who. And most of those who argue for Anichebe had never heard of him before the Chelsea game. The problem with him is he’s too similar to Beattie and we need someone a bit faster up front. I know we’ve got two such kids, Vaughan and Kissock, but one’s injured and the other is at least 2 years away, and has plenty of growing to do (he’s even finding the reserves difficult). Perhaps Jimmy Vaughan would have made an impact this season, but he’s been cruelly robbed from us. Moyes did seem eager to play him.

Its not Moyes’s fault if there is no-one available.
Steve Ferns, Liverpool  (10/4/06)

Steve, I sincerely appreciate you writing in with your comments on the young Academy players in the Reserves. It's good to have a fan's view of this and it's something that simply does not come across in the media reports I read on them. Regarding Anichebe, I guess I was just following up the fact that Moyes must have seen something to give him his debut, but I for one will fully accept your judgment and stop pressing for their inclusion. — Michael

Why so Anti Moyes?
I have been a reader of your site for the last few years. Today will be the last time I logon. I have become very disturbed by your current anti-Moyes policy. Be this directly or indirectly it seems to be visible on the site most weeks now through one article or another. Moyes is the best manager we have had in a long time (yes, better than Royle) and the fact that the bar was raised last season now seems to be counting against him. I just hope that you are happy if he goes and we are back to fighting relegation each season.
Phil Johnson, Liverpool  (10/4/06)

It will definitely be our fault if that happens, so yes, we will all change our ways henceforth.

An odd record... but still a record
I have to disagree after all those years fighting relegation and ending up in the bottom half of the table it will show great progress to finish in the Top 10 two seasons running.

Its something Everton have never managed and credit should be given to our manager (who has made mistakes this season but I stil have faith in him... just).

Even the mighty Joe Royle only managed one Top 10 finish. This will be Moyes's 3rd.
Paul Bedham, Liverpool  (10/04/06)

More effort please
When the great Joe DiMaggio was once asked why he tried to score as many home runs as he possibly could in each innings; or why he chased the baseball with the same energy as he had at the start of the season (despite the fact the pennant was long won), his response was 'I want to make sure that everyone who sees me sees the same high level of performance during every game so they get their money's worth'.

How many of our 'heroes' can say the same? We do this every year. The performances tail off if we have 'nothing' to fight for. Moyes should be ashamed of himself if he thinks that he is happy with all of the players' performances.

It is the poor level of performance and lack of skilled foot ball that annoys me. The spin and the deception over lots of different issues and the lack of desire to nurture young talent.

I will not go into a diatribe as to who should go because we all have our own opinions on this but if Dithering Dave thinks that this is progress then I give up.
Russ Kavanagh, Cheshire  (10/4/06)

Out with the olds
Having just caught up with recent Mailbag contributions, I`m amazed you don`t ban postings by Messrs Tarleton, Hall and Meek together with any further mention of Catterick, Kendall and Royle! The first three named are all resident Victor Meldrews whilst Catterick managed in an era when, like Chelsea today, Everton were a rich man`s plaything!

Kendall,who ran out on the Club to feather his nest abroad, came back twice in my time as a supporter and was an unmitigated disaster on both occasions whilst Royle was rightly hounded out by fans and press alike. Hall is however right on one point — the future is David Moyes — and I can positively assure him that virtually all Evertonians under pensionable age share that view.

So please, Mr Editor, no more of this `things were better in my day` crap; Catterick is long dead and Kendall and Royle condemned to the `failure` file. The here and now is all that matters and as the man keeps telling us `the future`s bright with Orange!`
Shane Pollard, Netherley  (10/4/06)

So much for respecting the old and the wise... somehow I thought it would be a longshot!

Scha-ffer brains......
I have just read Dutch's latest post and nearly pissed myself laughing at his ludicrous comments about the possibility of Richard Wright being considered for inclusion in the England squad. Now maybe this was a tongue firmly in cheek comment and Wright may actually benefit from some dual therapy with David James on how to restore a shattered confidence but surely this suggestion takes things a bit far.

As an Evertonian, it is painful to see any player suffer such both a loss of confidence and at the hands of a baying mob looking for a scapegoat during troubled times. Wright has even gone on record this weekend and admitted in as many words that he is not up to the job and it is surely now the time for David Moyes to give Turner or Ruddy a go and save him from further humiliation.

It looks like Dickie Wright will be needing to get that suitcase out of the loft and get ready to pack before pre-season training resumes, I wonder if he has got space for Naysmith, Pistone, Weir, Ferguson ?
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (10/4/06)

Loft?? ... Nooooo!!!!!

Slightly irrelevant, but I couldn't beleive my eyes reading FourFourTwo this month to see that it costs the average punter £1500 for his wee boy or girl to run on with our beloved team on match day. Unbeleivable! Robbing bastards.

Has anyone on ToffeWeb every forked out this money for their kid to be a mascot? The likes of Man Utd do it for free. I might be being naive but, I honestly can't believe it's as much as £1500.
Santiago Guerrero, Galashiels  (10/4/06)

That price is incredible... Wyness is a business genius!

In the article I was fortunate enough to have published yesterday, "Moyse's Report", I realised, on reading it after publication, I had missed out making a comment on young McFadden. At first I put that down to my advanced age(59), but on reflection it's because so often he is peripheral to the main events on the field. He has the most skill and the best feet at Goodison, but that's it.

For a striker, he doesn't make those selfless runs into the channels, he rarely looks up and finds a colleague with a simple pass. His shooting is wild and over-optimistic and to put it simply, his feet are magnificent, his football brain below average. McFadden will score a few great goals, but I can't see him becoming a great goal-scorer. He has the ability to prove me wrong and I hope he does.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (10/4/06)

Better to have loved....
Two magnificent postings over the weekend from Messrs Tarleton and Hall. Rick`s is a very fair and realistic appraisal of where the Club/team stands today and David speaks from the heart as his belief in our future drains away.

Having been mentioned in Rick`s despatch, all I can say is that at least we knew Everton when it was truly amongst the powers in the land. For that we should be eternally grateful with all those memories to sustain us through the torpor that serves as the Premier today.

Better to have loved.......
Harry Meek, Worcester  (10/4/06)

Once a blue, always a red!
There's a name to my pain and his name is David Moyes. I've said before on many occasion that when he first came he played youngest in the first team (Rooney, Chadwick and Clarke) and he employed attacking football. Four years on, it's the extact opposite and I think he has become stale with his ideas at Everton. Yes, he is a good manager but his dithering with transfers and negative tactics are too much to bare now for many of us. And speaking of pain, I hate that Rooney running about thinking he is a Manc. He is Judas scum!
Luq Yus, London  (10/4/06)

Just felt like a bit of a rant, did ya?

Everton set sights on record?
Having read the article from the official site under the heading above, any supporter of this club can have only one reaction and that goes somthing like this:

Fuck off telling us how well the team is doing and earn your keep playing football — not filling column inches with this shit.

A record? Two seasons in a row in the top ten is somthing to brag about? The propoganda machine is humming along at Goodison all right:

  • If Yobo leaves it will be of his own doing.
  • We have money to spend but only if the price is right.
  • Finishing 4th and then 10th is actually progress.
Dutch 'Goebels' Schaffer even has Wright going to the World Cup! My fucking head is going to explode!!!

I am now going to end my post early as I have nothing to prove...
Ronan Hanly, Boston, MA, USA  (9/4/06)

And there I was thinking perhaps I was over-reacting a little because I had exactly the same reaction to reading that peice of crap. But I imagine it must be just what some fans want to read... — Michael

For the first time in years, I spent Saturday afternoon completely oblivious to the proceedings at the Valley — safe in the knowledge that my feeling of apathy would be reinforced by both the performance and the result. After watching the Grand National and flicking over to Teletext, my hunch was confirmed by the 0-0 scoreline.

It is well known that Charlton usually take their foot off the gas at this stage of the season and struggle to get a decent result; following the piss poor debacle against Sunderland it was all too predictable that we would struggle to produce a match-winning performance.

Ordinarily a draw at Charlton would usually be seen as a decent result but is it our league position, team selection, or general feeling of mediocrity with nothing to play for that is adding to the malaise?

I agree with fellow contributors in that it is surely the time to at least give Victor Anichebe a place on the bench, but is this what we have come to - discussing the potential prospect of a boy only recently signed on an extended contract from the Youth Academy? At least with some youth on the bench, it gives the fans something else to consider other than another cameo performance from Big Dunc.

I'm certainly hoping that with Spurs and Chelsea coming up that the players and management can inspire the fans with more than the empty soundbites currently emanating from the camp which have only served to add to the apathy experienced in recent weeks.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (9/4/06)

All goalkeepers are crazy
... but if the ball bounces over your fingertips from 3 yards in front of you, expect some sympathy.
Dave Tootill, Johannesburg, South Africa  (09/04/06)

... unless your name is Richard Wright.

Top 10 Finish & Goalkeepers!
Since the Premiership began, Everton have only finished in the Top 10 three times: Once under Joe Royle (95-96) and twice under David Moyes (02-03 & 04-05).

If we manage to finish in the Top 10 again this season I think that will be a sign that Everton really have developed into a top-half-of-the-table side. Thats called progress and its a small cherry in a disappointing season.

As for Richard Wright, I hope that the only reason Moyes is playing the useless keeper is to put him in the shop window for a summer sale. Oddly enough Wright, could well end up sneaking into the England World Cup squad. Robinson is England's No 1 and James is his back up but the third spot is up for grabs. Kirkland isn't playing and Green is young, uncapped and playing the Championship.

Wright could well find himself on the plane to Germany. How unfair would that be? Wright is useless but could end up going while our decent English players (Hibbert, Neville, Osman & Beattie) end up watching on TV.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (09/04/06)

A Question of belief
I do so hope that Martin Downey`s posting (8/4/06) will not set off yet another battery of `if not Davey, who then?` missives. As a Moyes critic who has learned to sleep nights by accepting the inevitable, I beg all Evertonians to come to terms with the reality that the future is Kenwright, the future is Moyes and the future is Goodison!

Trying to predict who might buy the Club, manage it, or where it might better be situated is a totally pointless exercise in the present cicumstances which sees us with with a `train-set` mentality owner, a manager in whom he has absolute faith, and a Board with not the slightest idea how to raise the funds to move to a new ground.

Driving back from the torpor which was the Charlton game (and blissfully unaware that the manager had effectively pulled the plug on the season anyway!), I got to thinking: Why I do it? It`s certainly not because I have ANY hope for our future but more the feeling I had when I used to go to church. It was Sunday, so you just went! Once I came to terms with the fact that I had stopped believing, I broke the habit. It worries me that I`m beginning not to believe in Everton anymore — now that is serious!
David Hall, Taunton  (9/4/06)

Was disappointed but not surprised at the display/result yesterday. Although I didn't disagree too much with the changes Moyes had made to the line-up, I'd already made a mental note that I could watch the National without worrying too much about missing ten minutes of Everton going through the motions at Charlton.

My first question to my mate who had texted me the team news was: "Is Anichebe on the bench?" I already knew the answer before it came back but every week I still cling to the hope that Moyes will give us a chance to see what the kid can do before the end of the season.

The reason I go on about Anichebe being overlooked every time I comment on ToffeWeb is that I feel his (and other young players like Turner) absence from any team Moyes picks is symptomatic of Evertons mid-table mediocrity.

Why did Richard Wright have to play yesterday? Why did Ferguson have a place on the bench instead of you know who? Moyes has obviously decided the season is already over but even now he won't make any attempt to look to a different type of Everton team than the stale/obvious one we saw at Charlton.
Steve Alderson, Jersey  (9/4/06)

If not Moyes, then who?
Only a few of David Moyes's critics have suggested who they think should replace him. Or perhaps the question should be: who do they thimk would be willing?

For instance, I would love to see Martin O'Neill managing Everton, but it's an impossible dream... isn't it? Apart from him, I can't think of any likely-to-be-willing manager in British football who I feel is better than David Moyes, and that includes Curbs, Big Sam, Stuart Pearce, Steve McLaren et al. But I would be interested to hear people's views.

Mine, for what it's worth, is that if we haven't moved on by this time next year, and by that I mean a season where we have been challenging for the Champions League again, then we can start talking about a change of manager? Although I'm still very much a Moyes fan, I do see some merit in the arguments of his detractors who say that we shouldn't settle for mediocrity? After all we are the 18th richest club in the world in terms of annual turnover!
Martin Downey, Belfast  (9/4/06)

Why? What's the point? Moyes's critics don't necessarilly want him replaced. They want him to do what's best for Everton. They want him to implement the simple principles espoused by Sir John Moores:

`The task before me is dictated by the Club`s motto; Everton must have the best players, the best coaches, the best manager and the best directors. If any of them fail, they must go.`

Uh oh... Guess I got that one wrong then. He has to go! There is actually a far better Moores quote... but I can't find it. Bugger! — Michael

Good Point
Back from the game and as things turned out, we got a good point. Charlton went for it and I thought we defended well although we were fortunate at times.

Wrighty had us gasping a couple of times but to be honest I think he will take more flak than he deserves for the one that bounced over him because it was that type of pitch and I thought he did well to deal with it. The let-down for me was the lack of creativity from midfield and the inability of the front two to either hold it up or pass effectively, which ensured that our defenders were kept busy.

Why we can't play through the midfield and at least give strikers a sniff mystifies me for there is talent there. Carsley, although rusty as you would expect, did enough to suggest to me that he his our best player for the holding role and showed he knew when to break and influence play. I am begining to think that both Cahill and Arteta are believing their own publicity as they contributed little in the creative department prefering to show individual skills and losing the ball, to the detriment of well-placed team mates.

The substitutions did little to suggest we have a strong bench as they made no difference whatsoever — just different names on shirts.

I have heard much talk of how we may scrape into Europe but, on the season's showings so far, I just don't think we are yet geared to partake with any degree of optimism. Today's game showed two teams locked together just outside the requirement for competing on more than one stage but capable of Premiership mid-table. Still, Rome wasnt built in a day.

I have the feeling the best performances we will we see over the last few games will be v Spurs and Chelsea as they will be self-motivating. But it would be nice to see the players treat all games the same...

See you Saturday — UP THE BLUES!
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (8/4/06)

The season is over
The holiday started earlier this year. After the derby disaster, I was still confident that we could clinch a place in Europe next season, with three home games against relegation candidates, two winnable away games and only two really difficult fixtures, one of them at home. Opponents who have FA Cup glory to play for, and Boro — they are still playing in Europe, the FA Cup and are safe — that means no motivation at all. Bolton and Blackburn have the toughest run-ins, so we had a real chance for Europe.

Now, just two rounds late, we will settle for mid-table mediocrity and maybe 50 points, with nothing to play for. This was a chance, whatever anyone will tell you; it was a big chance and we blow it. We started badly, recovered and got satisfied with “Nil Satis Mid-table Optimum”.

But even this doesn’t bother me; what bothers me is the fact that David Moyes keeps his faith with Wright — it’s apparently clear that he is not up to the standard. The defenders simply don’t trust him, even the blind can see it; he is walking disaster.

Please, Mr Moyes, the season is over: give Turner chance. He may take it or may fail: if he uses it well, he will save us money; if he fails – send him on loan, but to play with our nerves every time when we see Mr Wright in goal and block the future of talented youngster is not what any one of us would wish for.
Stefan  Tosev, Vienna  (8/4/06)

I think your assessment of the opposition is completely wrong. If you watch the game, there is no way on God's good earth that Charlton were playing without motivation. In fact, if anything, the game was a little TOO competitive for us.

And as for this crass stupidity of predicting future results and points hauls: let's not do that, please. No-one ever gets it right, it serves no purpose and it means absolutely nothing. Just let the games be played and see the results achieved... or not. That's what football is supposed to be about. — Michael

Taxi Time
OK, so Moysey has written off this season and says the players have nothing to play for. So, can we ALL agree that 2006-07 is "shit or bust" time for this manager? And if we don`t see some real improvement — particularly in the quality of the play — it must be taxi time! As one of the richest clubs in the game, we are entitled to see the best — and we ain`t getting it by a long shot!
Jim Brennan, Speke  (8/4/06)

Er.. Jim: a word in your shell-like: getting Evertonians to agree on anything (other than the imutability of Z-Cars and the sheer excresence of Sponge-bob Dixie) is next to impossible. Just a brief review of any three letters below picked at random should tell you that! — Michael

No big deal
Only a few weeks ago we`d all have been doing handstands at a point from Charlton. This was against the team of the soon-to-be announced England manager, remember. So if he`s a tactical genius, so is our Davey! I can`t believe the criticism of what he said on Sky this morning when asked if people were playing for contracts. Surely they all had to know this by Jan 1st, so it would hardly have come as a shock if they were out of the side today (Weir, Ferguson). But then, Mailbag`s own Happy Harry (Meek) has to make it sound like a really big deal-which it obviously isn`t! Some people...
Richard  Dodd, Formby  (8/4/06)

Good one, Richard. Your pro-Moyes spin is vying with Dutch's for its inanity! There were three points for the taking... although watching it now, I thought we tried hard and Charlton made it very difficult for us to play our game. — Michael

Job done, Moysey!
Just home from one of the poorest Premiership matches I have ever seen - and it wasn`t just Everton who were going through the motions! Then I read a report of what Moyes had said this morning and all became clear! The incentive to pull out the stops has been removed with his statement that the lads have got nothing to prove. Well, in one way he`s right because today, and in a lot of other games this season, they`ve proved they ain`t much bloody good! Job done, Moysey!
Howard  Reedy, Warrington  (8/4/06)

It used to be great reading everything Moyesey said: it was usually excellent. Recently, he has been talking more and more utter twaddle. This one takes the biscuit. What was he thinking? — Michael

Tricky Dickie
I've just seen Richard Wright being interviewed on SKY. He talked about how much he was enjoying his football .Bloody hell, I wish I was!! There's five games left so Moyes has got to bring in Turner to give him experience. We may not have Nigel next season and we don't want to be buggering it up from the start by depending on Tricky... it couldn't be any worse.
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (8/4/06)

Nothing to prove?
I`m a Moyes man but I couldn`t believe the twaddle he came out with this morning (see previous postings). I can well imagine that he`s already told the likes of Weir and Ferguson that they won`t be around next season but letting the others off the hook by saying they`ve got nothing to prove is ridiculous! Haven`t they got to prove that last season was no fluke or that they really are much better than their early-season form indicates? Haven`t they got to pull out all the stops to get the Intertoto spot or just the bloody place money?

No, it seems the season is over — even if they do take our dough for another month!
Peter  Davis, Kirkby  (8/4/06)

Moyes vs Kendall
Apologies for the delay, but only just noticed the steaming pile of nonsense posted by Charlie Jones (7/4/06). Please take note of the following observation!

'I began to lose my respect for [Moyes] when I found out that each player had been presented with a framed photograph of last year's goal celebration of the Derby winner. Does this man think we have never beaten Liverpool before? More importantly, does he think we'll never beat them again?'

How about, Moyes presented the photos as a crystalization of team-spirit? Your assessment that Moyes felt we had never beaten them before and thought we never would again is ludicrous! In a season based almost exclusively on hard work and team-spirit, Moyes gave the players a constant reminder of exactly why it is all worthwhile. Besides, it was a memorable celebration!!! It was an old-school pile on that you don't see enough of anymore!

As for pointing out what Kendall had achieved at Moyes's age... are you suggesting Moyes should have won two championships, an FA Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup now then? No, I didn't think so. The game is very different now and Everton were in a very different predicament when Moyes took over. After two decades of threatening dominance in the 60s and 70s, Howard Kendall, genius though he is, at least had something to build on and had a solid foundation for success.

Moyes took over a club on its way out of the Premier League with no money and a dwindling reputation. When he took over the job, what would you have hoped for by the end of his fourth full season? Champions League qualification and two (soon to be three) top-ten finishes wouldn't have sounded bad to me.
Paul Foster, London  (8/4/06)

Valley or Telly
I usually go to watch Everton when they play at The Valley but on hearing the team had nothing to prove I decided to keep my money in my pocket and watch the Grand National instead. A lot of fans must have had the same idea as there were still tickets on sale a couple of days before the game. Considering Charlton rested five players, this performance was poorer than it looks at first glance. Still, nice to see young Dunc getting a place on the bench...
Leigh Sadler, Essex  (8/4/06)

Lets be positive people!!!
Well, I don't know about the rest of you but I'm happy with a point at the Valley and very happy with Moyes today. Why? Today he finally had the balls to put Neville at his best position (left-back), brung Carsley back in and continued with Stubbs and Yobo at the back. It wasn't pretty but we had a solid defence and a FUNCTIONING midfield!

So for me a draw was a decent result as that team hasn't played all season and that's the best we could expect unless anyone's stupid enough to believe we will get into Europe. Ha, now that's a laugh! As for Moyes getting caught drunk on camera (must be for praising Davies and Kilbane): he simply is getting the market value up for their summer departures. Not good today but not bad either! And on the good side, we only have five games left until Wright leaves!
Luq Yus, London  (7/4/06)

I wouldn't be surprised to see Wright stay at this rate. He is, by default and continued partonage from Moyes, Everton's No 1 keeper. — Michael

Yes, if we'd had some good youngsters to put out there today, I'd have been delighted to see them have a go.

But I'll have a fair guess that the people who are now slating Moyes for not picking the young lads were the same ones who talked down the victory over Villa the other week because the Villa youngsters were there to be embarrassed.

After that Villa match, I couldn't believe how many Evertonians piped up about how we should have scored more because their side had too many young inexperienced players in it. And yet now we think we should be taking the same appraoch?

Anichebe played 90 minutes on Tuesday night against Blackburn and from all accounts worked his arse off. Maybe he could have featured today, but I'm guessing he wasn't in the right shape.

But as for Turner!? Has everybody forgotten the fact he was sent off after about 9 minutes against Blackburn?! Where did the idea that this guy is a goalkeeping maestro come from? Other than that, I'm desperate to know which youngsters people were looking to see out there today?

Besides, had Anichebe and Turner played, I'd have been very surprised if the Mail Bag wasn't swamped with criticism about not taking the league seriously - especially had the two youngsters played a part in a defeat.

Michael began his match report:

'With an opportunity to exercise some youthful changes to his side in an effort to add a bit of new life and fresh thinking, David Moyes predictably resorted to his old faithfulls in this massive mid-table end-of-season six-pointer.'

I'd personally argue that the only predictable thing about today was the criticism that immediately followed the match. For those who, for whatever reasons, have become disillusioned by Moyes, it doesn't matter what he does, he will still be castigated.

Youth is a very appealing buzz word when it comes to football, but we're not exactly brimming with talent in that department. Yes, it was unspectacular and hugely underwhelming today, but I fail to see how playing Turner or Anichebe should be seen as an improvement on Wright or McFadden/Beattie.
Paul Foster, London  (804/06)

Pep-Talk Moyestro
Good to see that the Moyestro`s pre-match pep talk-`nothing to prove to me` worked so well today at Charlton. The commentator I listened to said they hardly broke swet before half-time — but then why should they? The usual twenty grand a week is already assured for next season.
Nathan Tunstall, Wavertree  (8/4/06)

So predictable
Another game, another 2 points dropped. Moyes is becoming so predictable with his tactics, a 5-year-old could do better. When all else fails, bring on big Dunc. Always the same old same old.

Never mind about new players for the summer: we need a new manager. This one is devoid of managerial skills, tactics & nouse. If so many Toffee supporters can see how bad he is, why can't the directors?

Everton FC, the People's Club? I don't think so.
Barry Johnson, Colwyn Bay  (8/4/06)

re: Charlton report
Another result other than a win and, predictably, another dig at Moyes. Ring in the youthful changes, Michael? With whom, exactly? Turner? Despite himself, by all accounts, Dickie kept a clean sheet. Anichebe? With Beattie and McFadden still in some sort of scoring form, why? You blood the youngsters when there's absolutely nothing to be gained or lost, which wasn't the case today.

At least Moyes played Yobo again and left Weir and Naysmith on the bench. Valente is injured, Ferrari is obviously far from match fit and Van der Meyde is suspended, so Moyes didn't have many options, really. Save the criticism for the players who didn't perform despite what they knew was a must-win game — Europe was a longshot anyway, maybe the players knew it before we did.
Steve Green, London, Ontario, Canada  (8/4/06)

Obviously I disagree. Anichebe has scored four goals in the last 3 reserves matches. And Moyes plays that useless Scottish dinosaur. What does the lad have to do to get more than his two-minute debut? We had one poxy point to lose and two precious ones to gain. But, nothing ventured... — Michael

On the way to nowhere
What possible justifacation could Moyes have for not giving Turner a game today or including Anichebe instead of The Dying Scotsman on the bench? I tell you this manager has got about as much imagination as a goalpost and a congenital dislike of young players. Everton are ending the season with a whimper and we are on the way to nowhere.
Paul Flitcroft, Southport  (8/4/06)

Charlton 0 - 0 Everton
Sounds like it was an awful game but a point is a pretty good result considering Charlton away is a difficult fixture (especially for Everton).

I know some fans are disappointed that the youngsters are not being used but David Moyes is trying to finish as high up the league as possible and that demands he plays his strongest side.

Anyway 26 is the average age of the starting squad against Charlton with half the team in their early-mid 20's (Hibbert, Yobo, Cahill, Osman, Arteta & McFadden). The youngsters will get their chance. Let's look to the positives: 5 games to go and Everton are in a Top 10 position — who would have thought that during that dark depressing early-season slump?
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (8/4/06)

Another pre-emptive strike, eh, Dutch? Well, it won't wash I'm afraid. That was insipid. What happened to all the great promises this week in the press? If that's how they go about finishing the highest in the league, they might as well just not bother.

And please stop with this "who would have thought that" shit: it's a League: it's about results, points, goal difference (MINUS TWELVE!!!) and final position. The only table that matters is the one after Match Number 38. The table does not lie. — Michael

The Wrong Keeper
Never mind Kenwright Out... after another calamity for Richard Wright again last week, yet the ginger misery sticks with the worst keeper we have on our books. It's only early second-half at Charlton but Dickie Fingers has already had a near miss with a ridiculous trademark fuck-up.

Moyes Out for sticking with a twat who has lost us enough points and face over four years; let's hope today isn't yet another.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (8/4/06)

Come on now, Gavin: it was a brilliant clean sheet for Dickie boy. That's two so far this season — he's obviously improving in leaps and bounds... just not high enough to catch the ball, unfortunately!

Nothing to prove-eh?
So Everton players have got nothing to prove to Moyes before the end of the season, eh? I`m glad he`s so `very happy with the squad`, but I don`t think I`m the only one who considers this season to be a big damp squib. Apart from the period between the Derby games, it`s been crap all the way and it`s a good job he and his team are not judged by the standards John Moores set all those years ago (David Hall 7/4/06).

I`m not sure if I heard correctly as I was sounding off at the time but did he single out Davies and Kilbane for praise? Surely even Moyes can`t be that bad a judge — or can he!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (8/4/06)

Transfer problems
Unless Bill Kenwright puts his money where his mouth is, Everton will have failed to take any advantage last season's 4th-place finish. We had a great opportunity to build on what was looking a promising team; we had a genuine chance of breaking into the top teams in England. However, at the start of this season, Moyes had only strenghthened in a few areas. This would have been fine if we had managed to repeat the miracle of last season and stay virtually injury free.

I believe he got the midfield spot on; we do have some great players there (bar Kilbaine and Davies) and it looks like a true Everton midfield: strong and skillfull — and can play a bit too! However, Mr Moyes didn't sign a centre-back (Krøldrup doesn't count). So we now find ourselves in a rather large mess: two centre-backs are past it and should not be offered new contracts. Yobo, the only class defender we have, is more and more likely going to Arsenal. Ferrari is unproven at Everton and is apparently unsettled on Merseyside. So, the worst-case scenario is we could end up with Weir and Stubbs being offered new contracts and our two athletic, quick and srong centre-backs could be off!

You can't help but feel that all this could have been avoided. If he had offered Yobo a new contract the day after we qualified for the Champions League, and signed a proper £5M centre-back. I do admit that Moyes was unlucky with Krøldrup but as the manager he has to take the blame. Beattie has come good; however, we all knew that he needed a partner. McFadden, despite his recent goal-scoring form, I am still to be impressed. I hope he will come good but this time last year I doubted that McFadden could finish his dinner never mind a goal-scoring opportunity.

Moyes has done a great job at Everton; the fact that I am writing this letter complaining we didn't take our chance to break into the set of elite English teams shows how far Moyes has taken us. This summer will be the defining moment in the Moyes era. If Bill can supply a big enough transfer kitty and Moyes buys well, we could still have a chance to build on last season's heroics. However, I feel increasingly worried about the Board's acceptance that a top ten finish is good enough for Everton. I only hope that this summer's transfer activities represent that nothing but the best is good enough!
Danny Hall, York  (8/4/06)

No bloody hope for us!
Just heard David Moyes say on Sky Sports that Everton players have nothing to prove in the remaining games of the season. Apparently he`s already made up his mind on who`ll be here next season and doesn`t want to put pressure on anybody to play for their places. He mentioned that Davies and Kilbane had both had great seasons and were particularly good players!

So as they all cruise sublimely through the last six matches with absolutely nothing to concern them, we`re left to reflect that with this self-satisfied bugger in charge, there`s no bloody hope for us, is there?
Aiden Grainger, Maghull  (8/4/06)

Oo-er Missus...
In the ToffeeWeb reply to Michael Cawdron it was suggested that he'd blown off the manager, and the players too, apparently.

Perhaps that explains the sudden upturn in form after Christmas!
John McTiernan, London  (8/4/06)

Window of opportunity
Great news that Yobo may yet decide to stay. Surely Moyes must use the few remaining games to assess the potential of the partnership between Yobo and Ferrari. Faced with the combined pace of both Bents, this could prove quite a stern test. Also would like to see Turner given a chance as we've nothing to lose.

Much has been said about Ferrari's wish to depart; however, gauging from the players response to the injury which side ined him he looked bitterly disappointed at having to be withdrawn. It would be a huge bonus to be able to evaluate the pairing of the two. If it yields results it will give us all hope for next season. Let's hope they get the opportunity to impress.
Gerry Western, London  (7/4/06)

So you thing Yobo was saying he is staying? It depoends what brand of spin you want to be whisked away by. Nothing in what said indicated he waas either staying (beyond the end of the season) or going, which leaves us exactly where?

A large art of this has to be down to Moyes, who wants to put off all contract talks until the season is over, and says he is unconcerned by the fact that the contract has been on the table for the last YEAR!!!

Reply to Fan Comment 'Scenario'
As toffee living and working in Germany at the moment I was interested to read Stefan Tosev's comments on Everton's scenario for the future, particular with regards to new players for the summer. Although I am in agreement that we need new players to come in to key positions, particularly with the likely departures of Yobo and maybe some of the older players, I do not agree with his choice of replacements...
Pete Kelly, Dusseldorf, Germany  (7/4/06)

I said ENOUGH. Go here to our Transfer Talk Forum and talk all you like aboout this meaningless crap.

RE: Scenario
Interesting Championship Manager piece but to be realistic, we could never bring in these guys except maybe for Lescott and Bojinov.

Pienaar together with Nigel De Jong and Hatem Trabelsi of Ajax are frees in the summer. Nigel have been sold to Hamburg where he joined Van der Vaart (another rumoured target of ours) Trabelsi was a former Gunners target but Pienaar, if I aint wrong has signed a pre-contract with Hamburg where he will join his good mate Nigel (they were best mates at Ajax).

Hildebrand is a highly rated keeper in Germany and most probably will be Germany's number 3 keeper. If he were to go, he would mostly go to a higher profile team to help his national team cause if Kahn does retire.

Bojinov made a name with Lecce (11 goals in 20 Games) before a move to Fiorentina but he has struggled there (5 goals in 22 games) but Moyes won't buy young, foreign and unknown striker. He did that with McFadden and it took him years to get Faddy to "adapt" to the Premiership. Besides he already has young strikers in Vaughan and Anichebe and they get limited chances to play. A young player, even thuogh foreign, won't change his mindset (as he has shown). With Dunc set to leave, most probably he will want to sign a "mature" striker who can play in the EPL, to partner Beattie and teach a thing or two to the youngsters. Moyes will always get his target even if it takes him years and they are crap (a la Davies).

Iaquinta is a physical forward, tall, good in the air and ground as well as with both feet and a rumoured target of Spurs. That alone means he won't come and after Krøldrup told him about Moyes, he deffo wont come (haha!).
Jalil Noor, Singapore  (8/4/06)

Right, that's quite enough of this Championship Manager nonsense. This is the Real World. Players are not signed until they are signed and paraded at Goodison with their new shirt and squad number. Until then, it's all just so much bollocks. And no amount of second guessing will get you any closer or mean diddly squat at the end of the day. Enuff, I say! — Michael

Get Real
Mr Foster from London makes a number of points in support of David Moyes. Can I take issue with two of them?

Mr Moyes's comments about the People's Club only served to prove his complete lack of understanding of football in this city in general and of Everton's history in particular. If the city is so one sidedly blue, why do we dread going to work or school to face the kopites after a Derby defeat? I began to lose my respect for him when I found out that each player had been presented with a framed photograph of last year's goal celebration of the Derby winner. Does this man think we have never beaten Liverpool before? More importantly, does he think we'll never beat them again?

Can we also put to rest this suggestion that DM is a young manager learning his trade> I believe Howard Kendall was born in 1946 which means that he had won two championships, the FA Cup, and a European trophy before he reached DM's age. Nobody should be appointed as Everton manger to learn their trade.
Charlie Jones, Liverpool  (7/4/06)

Model in the Motto
I read with interest the suggested `models` put forward for the future of Everton FC. Both are admirable in their way but they are nowhere near as succinct as that put forward by the late John Moores on his election as Chairman in 1960.

Speaking of his ambition and vision for Everton`s future,Mr John (as he then was)said `The task before me is dictated by the Club`s motto; Everton must have the best players, the best coaches, the best manager and the best directors.I f any of them fail, they must go.`

What a pity that so many who have followed him in that grand office either didn`t share his vision or knew not how to make it reality!
David Hall, Taunton  (7/4/06)

I like that. I think we need that in bold flashing letters on the Homepage!

Missing in Action
Michael, in response to you wondering where I've disappeared to, surely you've realised I now use the pseudonym Dutch Schaeffer.....
Rob Fox, Blackpool  (7/4/06)

Hahahahaha!!! Or should that be "Doh!"

MAD Dodd Wind-up?
See that you`ve upset Richard Dodd by not putting him ahead of the Dutch in the Moyes Admiration Division (MAD)!Like a lot of Evertonians who drink in a certain Formby hostelry, I know him well, but although he`s as vehement in his manager-support in person as he is via Internet correspondence, I sometimes think from his permanent smile it`s all part of an elaborate wind-up!

We`ve been trying to `out` him for at least two years as no employee of Sefton Council can be that daft... or can they?
Andrew Robinson, Freshfield  (7/4/06)

Doesn't DM live in Formby? Maybe Richard does him some nice deal on the side with his recyclables....

European Qualification Permutations
As it stands at the moment - Sixth place is guaranteed Uefa Cup, but there's no way we'll overtake Blackburn so let's forget that. Seventh place is guaranteed Intertoto and with only 4 points separating us and Bolton it is doable.

However, there are a couple of realistic scenarios that do slightly improve our Euro hopes:

Scenario 1 - Middlesborough win the Uefa Cup AND reach the FA Cup final. In this case seventh get a Uefa Cup spot and eighth Intertoto.

Scenario 2 - Either West Ham or Charlton get to the FA Cup Final and finish in the top seven. In this case, eighth will be good enough for Intertoto.

In summary - seventh will guarantee us Intertoto and give us a very remote chance of Uefa Cup. Eighth will give us a slim chance at Intertoto, but won't guarantee anything.

NB: I'm discounting Boro's chances of a top 7 finish.
Steve McBride, London  (7/4/06)

Reponse to 'Scenario'
Stefan writes a good piece, however, he forgets a few things!!

Firstly, these players are good and would not doubt give us the umph we need to break the top 6 regularly but ... we are not attractive enough! Moyes harps on regularly about not getting the right player etc and it is his frequent excuse for not signing anybody — but the fact is this. Moyes knows who the right players are and he duely contacts them over a move to Goodison but... (another but) they are not interested!

After the CL disaster, the equally poor Uefa Cup performance and including the farce that was the Krøldrup Krønicles and his response to being shunted back to Italy - nobody from Serie A is going to give us a second look.

We can't really attract a top striker because we haven't got anything to attract them with - we would need a mercenary and we all know what happens when greedy mercenaries play for your club... (see Newcastle).

Let's look at the teams that have extablished themselves in the top 10. None of them have top strikers or top midfielders or top defenders. and they dont attract any classy players during transfer windows either...

WE missed out on a good young striker in Samaras (now at City); we missed out on Daniel Agger; we need to offer silly contracts to get players of any quality that can MAKE us finish in the top 10 (or 6) without hesitation or doubt... but EFC will never offer silly contracts due to the fact that BK has a big problem with finances.

The simple fact is: we need investment. We need financial backers and football is not attractive to them unless you are at the top already. It's hard to bring people in to sponsor a club that 'may or may not' finish in the top half of the league.

If Moyes signs two decent players in the summer and keeps Arteta, Yobo and Ferrari and can keep Van der Meyde fit, we will be a good side. I think we need a fast striker, a 30-year-old keeper (with experience - Jaaskilinen for example) and I still think (provided we keep Yobo and Ferrari) that we need a left back — Naysmith is no good and Valente only has a season left in him.
Jamie Rowland, Lliverpool  (7/4/06)

A dose of cold hard reality to burst the football fantasy bubble. Personally, I don't understand the desire to live in such a fantasy world full of all these wonderful signings and dream formations when it is obvious (see above) that it is not going to happen. Doesn't that lead to even greater disappointment and disillusionment in the end, when people build their hopes so impossibly high, only to have them dashed?

Is it not better to have a more realstic concept of what is likely to happen in the summer (and for that, it may be helpful to remind yoursleves what has gone down in previous summers regarding the Moyes transfer merry-go-round). At least that way, you won't be too disappointed. And when Moyes does pull a few pleasant surprises, just imagine how much more pleasure and excitement that will give you — beacuse it was all so unexpected! — Michael

An excellent article; what a pity Stefan doesn't have DM's mobile number. Keep up the good work!! COYB!
Dennis Robinson, Warrington  (7/4/06)

Ugh??! See above for today's Reality Check.

So easily satis!
I find it staggering that so many Evertonians seem satisfied with the present status of our club. Have our aspirations fallen so far that we see as a sign of progress the present scramble for an Intertoto place?

The younger element — and thank God there is one — have never known success in any form and can be forgiven for clutching at last season`s fourth position as a sign that the club is moving in the right direction. But that was last season (after 17th previously); by any yardstick, this campaign has been another unmitigated disaster.

What I can`t get my head round is why so many veteran followers of the cause seem happy to accept all the propoganda that seeks to show `we are moving in the right direction` when palpably we are going absolutely nowhere. Frankly I couldn`t give a stuff who is manager — like the players, ALL of that ilk are mercenaries selling their `expertise` to the highest bidder — but I do want to see my club as serious challengers on a REGULAR basis for a top six position and a decent trot in the cup competitions.

The acceptance that mid-table and early cup exits is all we can expect `given our resources` plays right into the hands of the manipulators who now run the club. So I, for one, will show it just ain`t good enough by declining to renew my ticket for next season.
Michael Cawdron, Lymm  (7/4/06)

I can understand where you are coming from... but when you blow off the manager (and apparently the players as well) in that fashion, you lose me. Yes, you are entitled to be disgruntled about perceived lack of progress but to claim you don't give a stuff who they are loses something critical in my mind.

We Evertonians want to have a manger we can identify with, who understands us, and who respects and appreciates our passion. David Moyes shows that; I never felt it from Smith, for example. — Michael

So disappointed that you chose to identify Dutch Shafter as a lone voice in support of Moyes. To me he`s a relative newcomer who only climbed on the bandwagon when things improved after Christmas. The real Champion of the IMWT cause is your very own Rob Fox and I hope I`d get a mention in there somewhere — at least a lot of Evertonians do know me and dish out the appropriate stick on a pretty regular basis!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (7/4/06)

The derision obviously became too much for Rob Fox, which is a pity. We haven't heard from him for a few months now; he must be fit to burst... or he's working in the longest piece EVER!!!

Unbelievable Everton Shirt
I am trying to find out how much an Everton shirt signed by all the squad in '87 will fetch. It was the last time we won the title and is in mint condition. I got the shirt from Neil Pointon who put it in an auction to raise money for a young boy who got ran over.

I am hoping to sell this shirt to pay off some debts and to get on an even keel, so hopefully you may know.
Lee Launders, Liverpool  (7/4/06)

Wow! Fantabulous!!! You 'ave no fookin idea, mate. I tell ya, you are sittin' on a friggin' gold mine. I would not part wid dha for all the tea in China. You lucky bastard!! I pity the poor sod who got run over... I just hope there's no blood on it... but n'er mind, eh? All's well 'un all that shoite!

I'll start the bidding at a fiver, alrite?

Inter toto
I'm really bored with talk of the Intertoto Cup and Everton's desperate need to qualify for it. If we do or don't, I don't give a turd; the season's hope went belly up with the embrassing draw with the mighty Sunderland.

And to make matters worse, Yobo leaving and supporters are HAPPY with this! So right now I am in suspended animation with this club; if we do well, then good — if not, then I shrug my shoulders. At least Moyes has given me hope that Ferrari may stay?

And I think/heard/guessed that an alleged club plant/Moyes fanatic is a Liverpool fan taking the piss out of us with his postings??? It makes sense as no real Everton fan could talk that insane talk for so long! What you think, Michael?
Luq Yus, London  (6/4/06)

Ahhh...hahahahahahahahaha.... ROFL.... "No comment"

The People's Club
I know there has been a ridiculous amount said in here, within the stadium, in the streets and in the pubs about the relative merits of David Moyes as a manager, but I feel I may as well add to it.

As Evertonians, we expect to be the best or at least amongst the best, and rightly so. At the same time, when DM took over, the club it was in a terrible condition. He put smiles back on our faces within minutes of accepting the position with the now legendary People's Club comments — a contribution that shouldn't be underestimated. We'd started to feel sorry for ourselves and the bashings we took from the media were getting ridiculous.

While we still may come on last every single week on Match of the Day, the printed press at least has changed its tune a little and this is in no small part down to DM. He took a club that was becoming a laughing stock and qualified for the Champions League within a couple of years. The transformation has been remarkable - so remarkable that it is easy to forget exactly how bad things had become before Moyes turned up.

Now I know Phil Neville is hardly likely to come out and say Moyesey is crap, but on a couple of occasions he has compared him to Alex Ferguson, saying the only thing that separates them is experience. I only mention it because some of the criticism I've heard about Moyes (bad substitutions, man management) was also levelled at the Man Utd tyrant before things clicked.

My own opinion is that no, he isn't flawless and yes, he is very much still learning. But he is after all a young manager and very few if any at his age have achieved anything of note. I remain convinced Moyes will win trophies with Everton and I think the top 6 status is not far away. Keeping hold of Joey would be nice, but if he goes I also have a funny feeling that Moyes has learnt his lesson in the transfer market and he won't dither, if indeed that is what he was guilty of doing.

The Man Utd fans turned on Ferguson very early and everybody knows how close he was to being sacked when things turned. On the basis that Moyes has brought a lot already to a club that was in dire straits, I hope we give him the time he deserves to do his job properly. He's an astute guy and a passionate guy and I'm sure he can fulfil the potential that his fellow managers have seen in him.

... besides, it wasn't long ago I heard people calling for Reidy as manager! Have you heard him on Sky Sports?! Legend though he is, the man can barely speak!
Paul Foster, London  (6/4/06)

Meek in name only
OK, Steve Guy, I`m a grumpy old sod — even my wife says it!But what gets to me is that we set our aspirations so low and seem happy to move along at a snail`s pace — not always in the right direction! Tell me, honestly, was it really too much to expect that we could improve on, or even equal, last season? Perhaps a couple of rounds in Europe, fifth round FA Cup or even the bloody Carling would have done. But no, whilst the Chairman, Manager and at leasst two thirds of the fans are basking in LAST season`s glory, we`re bottom of the bloody league and can`t even buy a goal!

So things improve a bit... and the players are world-beaters again! And the manager`s a bloody genius!!!

And then that cheeky sod Beattie tells me tonight we should give him and his lazy-arsed team-mates more credit for digging themselves out of the hole they created in the first place! You could`nt make it up,could you?
Harry  Meek, Worcester  (6/4/06)

Spot on, Harry. I nearly did a homepage hatchet job on that Beattie bollocks but refrained in the interests of, er, positivity. You nailed it! — Michael

Uefa Cup / Intertoto
Everton, Blackburn and Middlesboro have applied for the Intertoto. We therefore, realistically, want Blackburn to finish 6th, taking the Uefa Cup place. I cannot see us overtaking them and Bolton. We are 4 points above Boro (they have 1 game in hand) but they might win the Uefa Cup this year (unlikely). Intertoto is probably the best bet for us.

ps: Do we have to keep on reading about Dutch's love affair with Moyes?
Tommy Coleman, London  (6/4/06)

He's like a lone voice crying in the wilderness of ToffeeWeb negativity :)

Intertoto cup
With regards to getting into Europe next year, I think the final two nails in our coffin have been the Chelsea v Liverpool semi-final FA Cup draw and our draw with Sunderland. This means the Uefa Cup place will go to the FA Cup runner-up (assuming Chelsea and Liverpool are in the Champions' League- a given), unless one of them finishes in the top 6. The most likely is West Ham, but I would think they will be outpaced by two of Blackburn, Bolton, and Wigan for 6th place.

This means that we need to look to the Intertoto. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think this is also hanging in the balance. As far as I know only ourselves and Blackburn have applied (is this right?). If so, Blackburn will get the place ahead of us UNLESS we finish above them, or they qualify for the Uefa Cup directly by finishing 6th or higher.

Thus I think we need to support Blackburn for the rest of the season! Pity we took 6 points from them eh? Does anyone know if you need to finish above a certain position to be allowed into the Intertoto?
Chris Odedun, London  (6/4/06)

Youngest scorer!
To Mr Pederson of Denmark. I think you'll find a certain James Vaughan is the Premiership's youngest ever scorer, and not the ugly one who now plays for Man Utd!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (6/4/06)

Painful memories
Dear all, Much as it pains me to ask, does anyone remember the precise date Liverpool beat us 5-0 at Goodison? All I can recall is that it was in the early-mid eighties, that Ian Rush scored 4 and that, as an 8-year-old, I sobbed inconsolably as the Park End (then the terraced home of away contingents - and that day including several cousins from the deviant side of the family) rocked with the chant 'Get down to Goodison!'

Bizarre though this request sounds, the information is required for an upcoming public-speaking engagement. Please feel free to offset these rather bleak reminiscences with far happier ones relating to the 5-0 victory over Manchester United a couple of seasons later – it would be helpful to have a record of that date, too.
Steve Rooney, Leicester  (6/4/06)

Steve, it was 6 November 1982; Everton beat Manchester United 5-0 on 27 October 1984.

Nice link!
Thought you guys might like this link:
Dean Paton, Birkenhead  (6/4/06)

That's great, Dean. Paul is a regular contributor to The People's Forum.

The Youngsters!
I can understand why some fans think Moyes is reluctant to develop youngsters but I really don't think that is the case.

Wayne Rooney
16-year-old given debut and developed into England International. Unfortunately seduced by bright lights and money of Man Utd and sold for record-breaking £20 million.

Tony Hibbert
Youngster developed into vital squad member knocking on door of England. Will surely win a cap soon.

Leon Osman
Youngster whose development was delayed by injury, given debut under Moyes and developed into first team regular. Maybe not knocking on the door of England but has been mentioned as a possibility.

Joey Yobo
Youngster signed by Moyes at only 22, developed into top defender. Reportedly on the verge of a big money transfer to Arsenal.

Mikael Arteta
Youngster signed by Moyes at only 22, developed into first team regular and now arguably Everton's most important player. Knocking on Spanish international doors.

James McFadden
20-year-old youngster signed by Moyes, given Premiership debut and slowly developed into decent striker. International Player.

John Ruddy, Iain Turner, James Vaughan & Victor Anichebe
Teenagers all given a debut by Moyes. Hopefully development will continue.

When you look at it like that, Moyes hasn't done such a bad job developing young players at Everton.
Dutch Schaffer, London  (6/4/06)

7th Place
7th Place (and by no means do I expect us to finish that high) won't be enough for a direct Uefa Cup place as far as I know, unless there was a Chelsea v Liverpool final, which is impossible. The only other way would be West ham to get to the final and finish in the top 6 which is looking highly unlikely.

The Intertoto place will probably go to the team in 7th/8th now depending on who has actually applied for entry.

We get three uefa places - two for the cups and one for the league so with Man U winning the LC it brings it down to 6th. The FA Cup runs differently though and the runners-up qualify if the Winners are already in Europe.

But there's always the Fair Play award??

Also, in reference to another comment, surely Arteta is a more than adeuqate replacement for Gravesen, in my eyes he is a far more consistent player who has taken far less time than Tommy did to settle into the premiership.
Daniel Ford, Newcastle Upon Tyne  (6/4/06)

Meek but not so mild
I cannot quite work out how Mr Meek (in his recent mail) can draw the conclusion, from my recent contribution in Fans Comment, that I think everything is rosy at Goodison. It clearly isn't and I said so.

However, thanks, Mr Meek. With your view that 4th last year and 10th this season is not progress, I think you prove my point that, as fans we have a tendency to only view the Club in the short term and ignore a positive trend over a number of seasons.

I too would have hoped for a repeat performance of last season (the first half anyway), but I don't think I am alone amongst supporters in thinking this was unlikely. To take your interpretation of progress at face value would have required Everton to finish 4th again or better and I can't accept that as realistic; just as I don't think we will have to wait six years to qualify for Europe again.

Nuff said.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (6/4/06)

Shirt Sponsor
Anyone know how long our shirt sponsor deal runs with Chang??? Mansion, who was trying to get a deal to sponsor Man U for almost $70M, has been rebuffed by them and is now looking for another EPL club to back.

Now I know that we are not that attractive to sponsors (hahaha) but if all the other "popular" clubs have years to go on their deals, we could in theory stand a chance. May not be as big as $70M but should defintely be better than what Chang is paying us now!!!
Jalil Noor, Singapore  (6/4/06)

Does 7th Place Qualify for Europe?
Can someone tell me through the mailbag if a 7th place finish could get us into the Uefa Cup? Given that there is a good chance that the winners of both cup competitions will have qualified for the Champions League, will there be an extra two Uefa Cup places available for 6th and 7th place? Realistically the best we can hope to finish is 7th. Would this be good enough? I hope so, because we still have a decent chance if this is the case. If it is not the case, please accept my apologies for being a prat.
Martin Downey, Belfast  (6/4/06)

Since the players' confidence took such a hit at the derby disaster, we'll be doing extremely well to finish inside the top ten. Did you read all the crap the players provided to the local sycophantic press after the derby? All those promises to perform better, bounce back, do it for the fans, and all the other meaningless clichés? I think we've begun our end-of-season torpur a month earlier than usual... — Michael

Who else...
Just want to give my regards to Steve Guy for his comment, which is by far the best comment I´ve read on this site for quite a while. Finally, someone who is thinking long-term, instead of going bonkers about Yobo :)

Also getting a bit fed up about the ongoing discussion about Moyes. I agree that some of his decisions are rather poor (Krøldrup, subs, etc), but then again can you name a manager who fits the bill better?

And for those who say that Moyes doesn't give youth a chance, who was the youngest goalscorer ever in PL ...and I recall a certain Roo... what was his name??

All-in-all, you could find goods and bads about Mr Moyes. My point is just that I really (for the moment) can't name a (realistic) manager I'd rather see at the club.
Frederik Dahl Pedersen, Denmark  (5/4/06)

Inspite of, not because of
Dutch, I respect your positive spin on all things Moyes but I have to take issue on your point about Moyes being great at looking after our youngsters. Colin Harvey produced Rooney, and before him produced Osman. I'm not sure what influence he had on Hibbert before the club treated him so bad he left but have you not noticed how poor our academy has become in the last few years? Rooney left partly due to the fact that Moyes wouldn't play him. Osman nearly left for the very same reason (and he bought Davies to replace him).

Moyes has a few good attributes but I don't think developing or giving youngsters confidence is one of them.
Aplankofwood Withanailinit, UK  (5/4/06)

Thanks for putting Dutch straight on that; I've been wanting to tell him but had a mental block... but what of this: "I'm not sure what influence he had on Hibbert before the club treated him so bad he left" — are you confused with Michael Ball? Who left under a Smith cloud... now I'm totally confused. — Michael

I believe the reference is to Colin Harvey's departure, with Mr. "Withanailinit" speculating on the White Pele's influence on young master Hibbert! - Colm

Progress, what progress?
Just picked up on Steve Guy`s eulogy of all things Moyes and beautiful. Ain`t it great to know we`re moving in the right direction — we should be back in Europe in only another six years!

I don`t know what planet he inhabits but if Steve thinks fourth to tenth is progress he really will finish up his own arse!
Harry  Meek, Worcester  (5/4/06)

Nice one,Steve!
What a sensible, well balanced article from Steve Guy. With every sentence he endorses my long-held — and frequently criticised — view that Everton are in the safest possible hands. From the level headed Chairman, through the dynamic Chief Exec to the talented and ever improving manager, our Club is progressing along the right lines, says Steve. How wonderful to know that there is someone else out there who can actually see the wood from the trees!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (5/4/06)

It could be as simple as this - qualify for Europe: Yobo stays. Don't qualify for Europe and he goes....

Looks like he's going boys!!
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (5/4/06)

It's only a business
Right, everyone: don't start worrying over who stays or who goes. You can do nothing about it. Footballers are careerists and when the right offer comes or clubs decide to get rid, they go. Loyalty to fans from clubs has never existed and player loyalty went years ago, remind yourself of the two-faced badge kissers like Barmby and Hutchinson.

Guess what... Yobo is off and it is what you have to come to terms with as a player comes up to his final contracted season when his agent — if doing what he is payed for — secures options from better, more successful clubs, and for better money. He would not be a traitor and he should not be treated as a pariah when he goes. He has every right to do what he pleases. It's only his job and Everton only his current employer.

Also watch for out Arteta and Cahill, the same will happen there too. It's only a business....

If only it were.
Mike  Dunne, Toxteth  (5/4/06)

Defensive Crisis Looms
Joey Yobo wll be sold in the summer, I have no doubt. I have no qualms with him either; he has given us many years service. He is obviously a quality, athletic defender of the rarest kind. The fact that, upon returning back from the African Nations Cup (where he had a blinder) to find that Moyes had re-signed Stubbs and basically banished Yobo to the bench would have obviously pissed him off and played a part in his decision to leave.

My problem is that if Moyes does not sign Ferrari on a permanent (who says Ferrari wants to stay?) we will face a central defensive crisis. I have no confidence in Moyes being able to bring in a replacement for Yobo, because he has failed on two previous occasions to find 'adequate' replacements for Rooney and Gravesen. I fear it will be another quality player going to improve somebody else's squad whilst our current squad weakens.

I hope Moyes drops Wright for Turner, and gives Anichebe a start on Saturday, but I won't be holding my breath.
Robbie Muldoon, Huyton  (5/4/06)

Re: Supporting Everton
Having read Brendan Fitzgerald's piece on what it means to support Everton, I'd like to offer a viewpoint from someone who lives a lot farther away than the Isle of Man. Born and raised in Canada, I became an Everton fan in 1970 after my beloved grandfather told me of his life in Liverpool. He played for Marine and, so I was told, spent a brief spell with the Everton reserves. The Toffees were his team and, therefore, mine as well.

I've been to the shrine that is Goodison just once — in October 1990 — and cried as I touched its walls. I was 28 at the time.

I would kill to be able to watch my Blues on a regular basis at Goodison. But, until the advent of the Internet, all I could do was compile scores as they appeared in my local newspaper.

I'm sorry Brendan started following our team during one of its lowest periods in its long and illustrious history. I'm easily old enough to remember both the lean times of the 1970s and the halcyon days of the mid-1980s. I was on the phone celebrating with relatives in Crosby as Dave Watson hoisted the 1995 FA Cup. And I remain convinced those glory days will return, sooner rather than later.

Being an Evertonian, to me, means any one of a number of things. It means agonizing over every loss and revelling in every win. It means naming your first dog Goodison. It means having EFC on your licence plate of your Everton blue car — and being more than willing to take stick for it. It means loathing ANY team wearing red — with the exception of Canada! It means never giving up, no matter how bleak things seem to be.

But more than that, it means being a part of something truly special — something I wouldn't trade for all the gold in the world. Everton is in my blood and always will be.
Steve Green, London, Ontario, Canada  (5/4/06)

All we are saying.... is give youth a chance
I posted a mailing last week amongst others about the youth system at Everton and the need to give our younger players the opportunity to make the grade. It is clearly evident that the spine of the first team is ageing and way beyond its best with the need to strengthen in goal, central defence and up front.

When David Moyes took over as manager, his self-imposed mandate was to reduce the average age of the players in the squad and identify young players, both from within the club/academy and those playing for other clubs, who were potentially available at a reasonable price. Such an approach provided a refreshing change from the dour transfer dealings of Walter Smith who had recruited the likes of Paul Gasgcoine and David Ginola to add to the PR spin operated by the Everton Board.

However, what we have since witnessed is Moyes adopting the party line and mantra of the Board in sticking with the tried and trusted ageing professional who his happy with his lot, has no ambition, and settles for the terms offered by EFC Co Ltd. Any player with ambition has since left during Moyes tenure even if it was for the lucratrive pull of Real Madrid or Man United.

Although Ferrari has been injured for long periods this season and Yobo has been reduced to playing a bit part once again on this season on the fringes - why is it that a ToffeeWeb poll can result in this partnership being seen as the most suitable? What is clear from current soundings is that both players will be elsewhere come the start of the new season.

If Everton have any ambition, then both Yobo and Ferrari should be installed asap in the team and allowed the opportunity to gel with a decent contract offer and assurances about selection. This should coincide with the further acquisition of somebody like Joleon Lescott and the retainment of Alan Stubbs as cover. Ian Turner should be allowed the opportunity to prove his worth as should Victor Anichebe.

Without major investment, then a sound youth policy is the only way in which to make progress. I for one am sick to death of the over reliance on our senior professionals and would reiterate the comments made by Dave Prentice a couple of seasons ago in that it is not these players who are taking the piss but the Board for allowing this to happen.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (5/4/06)

A lot of references to the Board of Directors in there, Peter, and they may indeed set some kind of overall tone, but Moyes is the one who targets potential transfers, makes the team selections, and who knows the players he has to work with in the Reserves/Academy. These are managerial decisions: Moyes has never been one to give youth much of a chance, despite the positive spin Dutch puts on things. — Michael

re: Comparisons
Re Mr Hogan's plea for South American flair and the rather sarcastic Krøldrup inspired Editor's comment... Isn't Anderson Da Silva South American and just qualifying for his work permit in Spain? Whether I'm right or wrong on Da Silva, there ain't too many South Americans who succeed in the Premiership. For every Solano, there is a Veron...

Another comparison which is getting spooky (but isn't a surprise) is the rhetoric which preceded the Rooney transfer in the light of Mr Yobo's impending departure and his comments as expressed today; about waiting until the end of the season and seeing what happens then. The latter having followed quickly on the back of Moyes' comments about how the offer has been on the table for ages and it's all down to Yobo; which again is similar to the Moyes view re Rooney. All of which will enable Moyes and Kenwright to claim that, if he goes it's all Joe's fault!?

On the latter point I do hope it get's sorted very quickly (a) because it is distracting from the focus of bringing in the right players (including a defender to replace him when he goes to Highbury) and (b) because knowing we have the money early in the Summer will also help in getting players in before pre-season training starts up (or are we in for another 'last day of the transfer window' scenario?).
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (5/4/06)

The Youngsters Chance
I also would love to see Moyes give a chance to some youngsters this season. There is very little left to play for so it would be good to see the likes of John Ruddy, Victor Anichebe and Bjarni Vidarsson given a chance. I suppose the problem is Moyes is more interested in finishing as high as he can to get more money from the Premier League.

It's a difficult choice for Moyes: does he play his strongest team to try and finish as high as possible, to get the best money available? Or does he give the youngsters a chance and accept Everton could finish a couple of places lower and lose a bit of money?

I think he'll stick with his strongest team because he needs all the money he can get. The youngsters will get their chance if they are good enough; Moyes has been a good judge of talent in the past. Moyes developed talent perfectly like Rooney, Hibbert and Osman and got rid of the ones not quite good enough (Nick Chadwick, Peter Clarke & Steven Schumacher).
Dutch Schafer, London  (5/4/06)

Can`t wait for next season!
Just renewed my season ticket and I'm the thick end of five hundred notes lighter... got round to thinking: Why do I do it?

These days we expect to win nowt, pay months in advance to watch a bunch of mainly talentless twats cause us heartache, suffer a stomach-churning chairman, slag off a manager who seems to be a magnet for every serially injured player in Europe (and Asia!), and always blame referees for our failure to win Derby matches and make progress in Europe!

When I think about it, it`s me who`s the twat, listening to the owd fella all those years ago spinning yarns about the Golden Vision, Kendall, Ball and Harvey and how nothing but the best was ever good enough. When all me mates were counting trophies for fun, he said `You be a Blue my son, quality will out, you`ll see`... and I believed him!

But then I think how barren my life would be if I didn`t have people to row with at work, if the only shite I could hope to go down the drain was brown, if my natural pessimism was focussed on the wife and kids and I didn`t have Wright, Davies and Kilbane to swear at on Saturdays! No, I can`t give up, Everton fills all the space for negativity in my soul and saves others from my ire. And do you know, I can`t wait for next season already!
Jim Hindson, Huyton  (5/4/06)

Leave it to Davey
The clamour to include the likes of Turner and Anichebe at the present time totally lacks credibility. Whatever the shortcomings of Richard Wright — and they are greatly exagerated by writers to this site — he has not yet committted the cardinal sin of handling the ball outside the area and leaving us with ten men for 80-odd minutes of a game as did Turner in his one start!

As far as Anichebe is concerned, he`s no Rooney — or even Vaughan — but whatever his attributes, there is no logical reason why he should replace one of the `James Brothers` who have scored no less than 10 of our goals since Christmas!

I know we all like to play Football Manager but decisions like when it is best to blood youngsters is really best left to the experts, particularly when you have such a good judge in charge as Davey Moyes.
Sebastion  St Clare, Harrogate  (5/4/06)

Time for youth
It`s probably too much to expect but it would give the arse-end of the season a real boost if Moyes gave Anichebe and Turner a start on Saturday. We don`t need any encouragement away from home, but these two could expect massive vocal support at Charlton as well as indicating that Moyes is not just a stubborn old bugger who has no time for youth.
Callum O`Dowd, Wavertree  (5/4/06)

I think the required response goes something like this: Dream On! — Michael

Comparisons, Comparisons
Just finished watching Villareal on TV.deservedly eliminating Inter Milan and reaching the semi-final of the Champions League in their first season in the competition.

OK, I know they were fortunate to go through against us courtesy of an almighty blunder from Collina in ruling out 'that' goal, but over the two legs they were so technically superior it was untrue. The point I am trying to make is it IS possible to progress as a football club without massive amounts of money or super stadiums, and also to play some pretty impressive football as well. I guess the difficulty is in trying to sustainit in the long term.

I just can't help making comparison's with our own situation here at Everton. Villareal's average home gate this season is just 17,000; compare that to our own average of more than double that figure. They lie 8th in the Spanish league against our current position of 10th. However, the real difference I believe lies in the technical quality of the two teams and ultimately in the coach.

In the televised game against Inter, I watched the masterful display of Riquelme, one of seven South Americans in the current Villareal side. This guy for me, is one of the most accomplished midfielders in European football, and I believe Villareal will struggle to hold onto him at the end of the season.

The point I am trying to make is (and please don't think I am Davie bashing) why would anyone spend a total of £7 million on Neville and Davies when there are players of that calibre about? It just doesn't make sense. I really believe the majority of British clubs just don't look hard enough for players like Riquelme or his ilk, but they are out there.

Question- Do we have a scout or agent in South America? If so, when is he going to send someone over for a trial?

I'm not suggesting we fill the Everton side with South American's god forbid, but I was green with envy as I watched that side pass Inter to death, and at a tempo, most lovers of football could only dream of, oh and by the way also managed to dispose of Man Utd and Rangers along the way, so-called bigger clubs with substantially bigger budgets.

You see for me the buck stops with the Manager or Coach, he picks the players, decides on the style of play, and also dictates tactics. It just so happens with Villarreal, they have a 53-year-old Chilean Coach with a mullet (or is it a syrup, I can't decide, but who cares) by the name of Manuel Pellegrini, who has this awful knack of getting his unfashionable small-town side into the semi-final of the Champions League on the first time of asking, and has the audacity to play some mighty fine football as well.

I can only dream.....
Steve Hogan, Chester  (5/4/06)

"We had a look at a few South Americans but found they couldn't hack it in the Premiership. None of them could head the ball properly" — David Moyes

Villareal in CL semi finals
I dont know whether to be happy for this hardworking team which has just added Inter to its list of big scalps, or whether to be sad about the way they actually qualified in the first place (which was trampling all over our dreams). I suppose it's high time to get over it.
BSD Lover, Sydney, Australia  (5/4/06)

No Cups for EFC
I believe that Everton cannot win the title, the FA Cup or a European trophy before 2009. Think about that for a while because if you agree with me that my comment is a fair assesment then what on earth is Moyes saying to prospective players who are musing over a transfer to our club? What on Earth is Bill Kenwright saying to Moyes every year with regard to performance expectations? And what will the club say to the fans when the penny drops and they need their fans to pay higher season ticket prices each year.

The gap between Everton football Club and the top 3 or 4 sides in the EPL is so wide in terms of spending power and squad quality that there is no chance for any club to win the title outside of the usual suspects. Thoses clubs who are cash-rich have also got it right in the boardroom; they have been able to manage their clubs as buisness from a local club to a global club. Newcastle's failings would be the one very poor exception and a lesson to all clubs that you have to get it right both on and off the pitch to make the vision and money succeed.

So with the Title a non-starter for Everton, what about the other trophys? Well, IMHO, The FA Cup, next year, is about to come back into its own bigtime and I expect that the big clubs will want to add this to their shopping list and I expect them to dominate this competiton for the next 5 years.

On the European front, Everton will run into the same problems: they will be competing with bigger clubs with better squads due to spending power. It is a non-starter for Everton due to our current resoources and investment levels in the club. And there appears to be little chance of Bill Kenwirght letting go of the club's reigns for good or for worse.

So I propose this: how about we form a new EPL without the top 3 or 4 clubs, we cut our own Global TV deal, introduce performance-based contracts after current players contracts expire. We impose a transfer levy for any player being sold to the G14 clubs and we restrict the amount of players that can move in one year to the clubs out side the league.

We keep the FA Cup and more improtantly we give the game back to the fans becuase for the first time in a very long time all teams outside of the big clubs will have the chance for fans to dream that they can win trophies in the EPL.

The alternative is this: Your club will be a feeder club for the super-rich clubs. Your manager will identify great young players and then you will see your players walk as the penny drops.

It will be nothing more than years of midtable scraps with the odd cup run. Eventually the penny will drop with the fans, revenue will decrease and then the squeeze will force clubs down the break-up road.

Billy Bunter, Dublin, OH, USA  (5/4/06)

There's nothing you're predicting that isn't already happening. Although you seem to be baffling yourself with bullshit, viz: "The FA Cup, next year, is about to come back into its own bigtime and I expect that the big clubs will want to add this to their shopping list and I expect them to dominate this competiton for the next 5 years." Err... how many clubs have been dominating it for the past 15 years? And as for your alternative... HELLO! Take a look at Everton FC... only we don't actually get the Cup run bit. — Michael

Anyone found a sense of humour?
Some people seem to have lost their sense of humour.

My NEVERTO post was tongue in cheek & was posted on April Fool’s Day, albeit a little late in the day.

However, having seen some of the responses & having queried my own posting’s accuracy, I feel bound to make the following comments:

Neverto play entertaining football.
The victories over Fulham & Aston Villa were simply one mediocre team beating teams of greater mediocrity. (Note how Arsenal looked wonderful against Aston Villa as well)

Neverto win a trophy.
Nothing for eleven years? Expecting only the top 4 to win shows negativity in the extreme. Everton used to & should again be capable of winning trophies, as should many other Premiership clubs other than the top 4.

Neverto beat our red neighbours.
This was in reference to the current season. In the last game, with Liverpool down to 10 men, Everton should have changed formation & gone for the kill. Instead, they sat back & tried to soak up Liverpool pressure. Negative management lost us the game.

Neverto attract stylish players.
Arteta being the exception, Everton have no one else with style, flair or pace. Ok, so Beattie & McFadden have improved this year, but not sufficient to compete with other teams with fast & stylish players. They only shine against mediocre teams. Yobo, whilst showing promise now and again, is too error-prone to be a good, regular player.

Neverto attract any significant investment.
Investors look at two main things before parting with their money: How safe is it? and how much will I gain in return? The team’s performance and results have significant relevance to both the financial returns and the long-term safety of a potential investor’s money. Therefore, Moyes does share some responsibility for gaining investment, as do the players.

Neverto get a new stadium.
As above. However, as the reds have already hallmarked Stanley Park, Everton may have to accept a stadium outside the Liverpool boundaries due to lack of funding. The Netherton site seems like a sound investment, assuming the limited funding becomes available. (To all Goodison die-hards, sorry, but it makes financial sense.)

Finally, if my post offended anyone, I want you all to know I don’t give a shit. Get a sense-of-humour transplant and come back with a smile on your face. It’s only a bloody game after all.
Barry Johnson, Colwyn Bay  (4/4/06)

Rip Off II
Not one to give up, I asked EFC for the reason why the Park Stand was the most expensive place in the ground. Their answer: "it recognises the high demand for that area of the stadium. The Park Stand offers some of the best seats in the house with uninterrupted views and the best concourse facilities" — Leigh Mclean, Customer Relations and Training Officer.

So it seems its all our fault the price goes up by 15% we support the team too well. If we didn't go to support the team, we would get a lower price... so don't buy the tickets and we will all be happy.

The People's Club you're having a laugh.
George Carroll, Bramhall  (4/4/06)

I very nearly replied to your original rant but amazingly resisted... sadly, I can no longer:

Let's start with a couple of economic concepts: Supply and Demand, and Price Elasticity. You want your seat in the Park End but you don't want to pay the going rate? And the problem lies with the Club, who are ripping you off?

I'm sorry but I have absolutely no sympathy. What do you honestly expect them to do? I would expect them to continue raising prices until there is evidence that the increased income from tickets is flattening off. That's the only apporach that makes any business sense.

Why charge less than the market can bear? They are not running a frigging charity just for you. It's a business; everyone has been craving for them to run it more like a business, and here are you squealing about price gouging! I won't even mention the tenuous linkage between ticket income and paying for the players you go to adulate or berate... it's the very essence of what football is about. If you have an issue with paying to go and watch, there is only one solution: don't go. End of my Rant. — Michael

Heroes to villains
Have you noticed that anyone, just anyone about whom there is talk of his leaving Everton, is immediately reduced to shit?P resently it`s the turn of Yobo who, only a week ago, everyone was saying should be a regular in the side. Before him it was Krøldrup who was a total wanker and I`ve even heard it said about the boy genius himself. Is this the way Evertonians get to assuage the disappointment of loss or are we all that gullible that we accept the crap that comes out of the `official` channels and turn in on our own heroes? I despair!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (4/4/06)

Err... Deception is the New Reality. See below.

I reckon BK speaks about an average amount for a Chairman. I think EFC players speak less than many clubs (apart from press releases to the Echo) and that is, obviously, at the end of the day, with all things equal in a game of two halves...a good thing.

We have at this time a mass of views about a season that will see us end up mid-table probably. I reckon all things considered (money, squad, past 15 years, ever widening gap to top-4 regulars) that that is a pretty fair reflection of where we are as a club. Better than the usual relegation fight we all got used to and not what we dream of. That dream would need major injection of cash (unlikely).

The future? Probaly much the same sadly. The gap will widen and we will have occasional seasons like the last one and perhaps even the odd cup win. The state of the game dictates this. (Though we may do OK when the G14 completely ruin the game for ever.)

If I was Chairman of Everton, you can bet I'd bullshit too. The alternative would be to state the above. Then we'd be relegated as those fans with money would leave and support Reading.

Happy? No, pissed off big style. But I don't think BK, DM or individuals are too blame. They work in the climate of the modern game. EFC are not alone here.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (4/4/06)

Probably true... and thus sad and depressing. Perhaps we do need to live in a world of spin and bullshit because the Real World (whatever that may be) is simply too unpalatable. Where's my gun? — Michael

Sign me up; my descendants and I can even will you some organs if that'll help....

The lack of money with Bill is an issue, but for me at least, not the main one. After all, there are plenty of chairmen who don't spend a fig on their clubs. What they DON'T share with Bill is this need to bullshit, lie, twist the facts, and exaggerate to maintain control. Really, I'd settle for a chairman with as much money as Bill as long as (a) Said chairman didn't feel the need to get his/her name into the papers at every opportunity, and (b) was honest with the fans, especially at trifling matters of business, like AGMs...

An honest person who lets the players they employ make the headlines and column inches... am I over-ambitious in feeling Everton deserve someone like this at the helm? Bill, it's time to go back to pulling the wool over the eys of the twats who frequent your {ahem} performances.

KOBBK. {The extra B is for bullshit!}
David Caldwell, Liverpool  (4/4/06)

While I know what you mean, I think the "every opportunity" bit is a little off-base. It's not the frequency that's the problem — many comment on the fact that he disappears for long periods, only to reappear when he can bask in reflected glory and pontificate in gushing terms of wonderousness and fabulistic excess about stuff that mormal human beings regard as fairly hum-drum.

But as for kicking him out? I can't see it happening. There is simply not the groundswell of opposition needed from the fans to create the kind of pressure that (surprisingly to me) finally seemed to persuade Johnson to sell up. Many Evertonians see Bill as an emotionally driven Everton fanatic — just like them. It would be like going against one of your own family... — Michael

What's the deal with him? Is he injured or is he just unwilling to play?

He looked a class act on breaking into the team. I had watched him on the Italian Football on Eurosport. He was very assured at the back and looked every inch the future of Italian football when he first came.

With the lengthy injury and the rumours linking him with a return home, are we set to lose our two best defenders this summer?
Steve Ferns, Liverpool  (4/4/06)

Some problematic injury (nerve damage to his hamstring) that had him retunring to Italy for special treatment. He's been "back in training" on a number of occasions in teh past few weeks but gets no further than that. No outings in the Resevers (that's probably beneath him!). Perhaps the Roma link is just too stong for Everton to break... — Michael

Krøldrup and Yobo
Whilst everyone is bringing up Krøldrup again, I just thought I’d share a rumour I heard about him. I was told that Moyes signed him after watching him in a few games and he was never below excellent. Every game watched was in Serie A. So he was signed.

Apparently, problems started to occur after his injury when he was murdered in the air in a reserve game against some no mark. Moyes had taken him to one side and wanted to see if Krøldrup was ok. This was the first realisation Moyes had that Krøldrup could not head the ball, and had something of a phobia about it. He then started seeing a psychologist to cure this but to no avail. Sounds a bit far fetched but how many times did “Splinters” Krøldrup spend the pre-match warm up working on his heading with one of the coaches?

The other rumour I heard was that “cash-strapped” Everton couldn’t afford him and had to sell him after we crashed out of Europe.

On Yobo, we must keep him. Yes he has his flaws, but they are happening with less frequency and he gets better and better. I think he’s our best defensive header of the ball at the moment, which I’d never have thought when he first came. It would be disaster if he left and what kind of message would it send to potential new players, any reputation enhanced by last season would almost certainly be wiped out, well what’s left after this season.
Steve Ferns, Liverpool  (4/4/06)

The "Krøldrup can't head the ball" rumour surfaced pretty early in the mystery saga, and was no doubt fuelled by those who should know better as a way of talking him down prior to sale (a fairly common tactic with Everton players who ar set to leave). There was also a dodgy-looking video-clip doing the rounds, showing some bloke in a tracksuit not heading very well. But on balance, the financial reason seems most likely... even if we are among the 20 "richest" football clubs in the world... Go Figure! — Michael

re: Ryan Taylor
In response to Dutch praising Moyes for not moving for Ryan Taylor because he's only played 3 games for Wigan this season, he's only 20 and is a regular for the Under-21's — and has looked quality for them as he did for Tranmere. Imagine having two full-backs on the pitch who can cross the ball (when Valente's fit). Besides, he cost little over a million quid, which would surely represent better value than Davies or Krøldrup — or even Neville.
Ian Blaydon, South Shields  (4/4/06)

That was just Dutch clutching at straws in his "The man can do no wrong" campaign.

Lets be real, Yobo was never going to sign a new contract, and for once I believe Moyes when he says "no-one has made enquiries about him". When Yobo plays, Everton concede goals — FACT! I can think of only one game last season against the Mancs at old traff 0-0 when we kept a clean sheet with him in the team.

OK he has pace but he is too clumsy; watch how his feet position when he is om the ball. He will cost any team at least 8 goals per season and when you cannot score like us that is a great liability. He may turn into a world-class player at Arsenal but, like Jeffers, he may well be found out. EFC should get as much for him as they can; there are better central defenders out there.
Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (4/4/06)

Hmmm... Yobo Clean Sheets 2004-05: 3 starts and two as sub... out of 19 (&8) appearances. That's not very god is it!

Please don't go ...
This certainly won't be the most sophisticated or interesting letter you get, I'll warn you now!

It's just a simple plea, mainly to Joey (if he's a ToffeeWeb regular!). I think an element of delusion is setting in among our fans, with a fair few people saying we won't miss Joey if he goes this summer.

Rubbish. He is an outstanding player who is getting better and better. Moyes tells us he wants to build a young team - well the young Nigerian captain should be central to that and I would be absolutely gutted if he left.

The scars from Rooney's departure have certainly not healed and they are torn open every time I see him wearing that terrible red kit. Letting Yobo go wouldn't be of the same magnitude, but it would be a real blow and so my second appeal goes to the fans.

Let's hope Joey hasn't made his mind up yet and so let's give him one hell of a reception from now until the end of the season. With the mischief-makers from Highbury already trying to unsettle things through the sports papers, let's not give him any extra reason to want to leave.

Here's hoping it is nonsense and he wants to be a big part of the Everton revival for many years to come. Hmmm....
Paul Foster, London  (4/4/06)

What seems to be going on here? We're all Evertonians, but there seems to be such a divisive element — those who are too positive, and those who are too negative. After reading numerous postings from people (Tony Marsh or Dutch for example) it seems to get personal.

Christ, we all have our own views, and fair play. Sometimes I find myself half agreeing with both Tony and Dutch. But I'm starting to feel that there's an idealism here that just isn't realistic.

Everton is a big club, with a great history and excellent support. But does that give us the god-given right to have a consistently successful side that plays football like Arsenal?!? No frankly it doesn't. The game today doesn't work that way.

Same with the whole "Nil satis..." thing. Personally the way people refer to it, it's like a Milstone around the clubs neck, choking it to death unless its expectations are met. Just because it's on the crest does not mean that it's something that's guaranteed.

We exist in a league where the best is based on who has the most money. We finished 4th last year, the same spot where a top side like Arsenal will end up in a few weeks. But was our football up there with the best? No way. But who was complaining? The team gave it their all, and that was great. But some have taken a revisionist approach, and decided that there were lots of aspects to last season that weren't good enough.

Hey, I wish we played like Wenger's side, and won the league, but it doesn't just work that way. They've had (and have) a budget that we can't compete with, and stability that we can dream of.

The "Neverto" posting - I mean come on!! Why should we be guarenteed a trophy, European football etc. any more than Newcastle, Villa, Spurs, Blackburn? Sure let's aspire to it — why spit a dummy out just because we have a chance to finish in the top 10 for a second consecutive year, no longer have relegation as a real threat, and look like we can build on something?

I'm not saying that we should wholeheartedly accept mediocrity, but there just seems to be an arrogance amongst many postings that are furious that we aren't winning a trophy, being in the elite, and playing Brazilian-style football. Very very few teams manage that, including Man Utd, Liverpool, and at some stages this season (i.e. when we beat them) Arsenal.

I feel that, due to so many living in the past, it's hampering how this club can succeed in the present. Personally, sod the nil satis bollocks, let's let it go. We all know our history, but let's be realistic as to how football is in 2006. I'm sure many won't agree, but fuck it, I've had my say.
David Flynn, London  (3/4/06)

And that was the point was it, so you could have your say?

Why is it unreasonable to expect the players to pass the ball to each other? Why is it over-reaching to expect a little movement off the ball, running into space? Passing the ball forward ahead of players running in, rather passing back to the goalie for a hoof up field? Do you really need millions of pounds of investment to figure out how to do that? I don't think so. — Michael

Ryan Taylor
Remember Ryan Taylor? He was the Tranmere defender linked with Everton. In fact, at one point, Norwich manager Nigel Worthington claimed he wanted to sign Taylor for the Canaries but couldn't because Everton had already agreed a deal.

Taylor eventually signed for Wigan and Moyes took a lot of stick from fans for being lazy in the transfer market. Well, Taylor has only made three starts for Wigan this season. I guess Moyes was right not to sign him. He was also right about not taking a chance on Forsell.
Dutch Schafer, London  (3/4/06)

Yobo, agents & replacements
It seems the Yobo issue has inspired quite a few to raise their electronic voices. I would like the chance to respond to a few:

Burt Hasselhoff: if Krøldrup is as SHIT as you make out, then why did we sign him in the first place? The irony is unescapable.

Steve Callaghan: "No disrepect to Joe but African players and their agents love moves as they make all involved very rich" - rather unlike our European counterparts then... Stretford.... mmmm. It may not be intended as such but it is a racist comment and needs to be dropped from rhetoric when discussing African, Chinese or any non-British player. Stubbs should take a look closer to home too at Owen and Joe Cole before harping on about `foreigners` diving.

Gary Rimmer: "If the Arsenal offer £4M for him, bite their hand off and buy Upson from Birmingham — a much more reliabile player" - are you for real? Upson has given away more penalties through clumsy challenges and handballs than Stubbs and he`s a good few years younger. The guy just simply does not convince and is not fit to lace Yobo`s boots.

The facts are that Yobo is the kind of player we should be building a team with. Whether he`s captain, first team or on the bench, buy more young players to play with him. We should never be selling our best players.

Apologies for being deconstructive; just thought I`d add to the stew. I`ll even give us a vision to go forward if you`ll let me..
Mark Manns, London  (3/4/06)

Err... Go 'ed den...

Hibbert for England?
It looks like Luke Young will not make the World Cup squad due to an anke injury; surely our Tony has a chance to get into the squad now!
Dean Paton, Birkenhead  (3/4/06)

Let's not even go there, please!

Joey Yobo!
I have to admit I'm not really that bothered if Joey Yobo wants to try another club. I do think he's a quality player but I wouldn't say he was that important to the team or impossible to replace.

Yobo is by far the most naturally talented defender at the club but for some reason the team seem to play better when he's not in the side. Yobo has the quality but he doesn't inspire confidence at the back. And it always seems like whoever partners Yobo, be it Weir or Stubbs, they suffer. Whereas, if Weir and Stubbs partner each other, they seem to blend better and help each other.

Weir & Stubbs was the main defensive partnership when Everton finished 4th. When Stubbs left, Yobo took his place but the team was really suffering and in the worst form for years. I'm not blaming Yobo for that form but he did make some really horrendous mistakes which gifted opposing teams a goal, that can't have helped the confidence.

In January the Stubbs & Weir partnership was reunited and is it coincidence that Everton show their best form for years? Yobo has given us four years service and we can't complain if he wants to try something new. I have faith that Moyes will be able to replace him.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (3/4/06)

Go-ey Joey
Looks like Joey Yobo may well be leaving the blues in the summer but should we really care?

Before I say anything else I should make it clear that Yobo is a good defender; quick, strong, good tackler and fairly decent in the air but his departure will make little difference to the way we perform next year.

In fact, Yobo's weaknesses tend to be far more noticeable than his strengths; prone to mistakes, naturally poor movement and fucking hopeless with the ball at his feet. If good football starts from the back, then we ain't ever gonna play it with big Joey in the team.

Valente is proof that a quality defender doesn't necessarily need blistering pace. Impressive movement, sound technique and excellent vision make's him a better all-round defender than Yobo.

No matter who we play in defence, Moyes will always be capable of making them do well as that's one of his strengths so I'd be far more concerned about losing the likes of Arteta, Cahill, Beattie and Valente than our Joey.

Losing Yobo would obviously still be seen as a blow because there's no doubt the boy has developed since he's been here and will only get better; but it certainly won't be the end of the world so let's not get too worried. If he does go I'd like to see Moyes buy a quick and really composed centre-half who's capable of passing the ball out. The idea that Moyes won't buy this sort of player became a myth the moment he brought in Valente.

ps: - watched Krøldrup the other day, the reason he was sold is simple - he's SHIT.
Burt Hasslehoff, London  (3/4/06)

Funny how you move from paragraph to paragraph describing Joey as quick and strong yet follow up claiming he has poor movement. He's either one or t'other! No matter who Moyes plays in defence, he's capable of making them "do well"? Obviously, in your opinion, that does not include Messrs Yobo or Krøldrup?! - Colm

Throw them in the bin?

Can you advise me on whether to renew our season tickets? I missed the April Fool's joke about the crest and thought it was the one about doing the fans a favour by offering us season tickets at the same price!

We have 3 in my family. My lads have been going since 1989 and so far have seen us win one FA Cup and now we are on our longest losing run in the club's history. There is no prospect of success unless someone invests at least £100M in the club; with baffoons Wyness and Kenwright at the top, no-one is going to do that.

One of the main reasons for buying season tickets was to guarantee seats for the big games but I am sick of not being able to compete against the likes of Liverpool and United where a draw is a good result; how can we possibly compete against all the money they have spent?

It is the games against Fulham and Villa that are the better value. Five hundred quid is a hell of a lot of cash to fork out even before this season is finished. Two weeks in Majorca sounds a better bet to me.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (3/4/06)

Don't forget to send Mr Wyness a "wish you were here" postcard from Majorca! - Colm

Rip Off

So increases are seen as part of the modern game, so says Wyness — a game with greed as its watchword. So what do we get for the increases? Bigger screens, plasma screens and improvements in catering arrangements. So the myopic will see the screen and we will charge you more for a pie and pint.

But why try and justify the increases? Why justify making the Park End the most expensive place to watch the game from by raising the price of a season ticket by 15%? Do you see the game better from there? Are the seats better? Are the toilets better? Is the catering better? Of course they are not but why do we need justification? — after all, Wyness tells us the increases are modest.

True if you earn like Wyness £100k+ but if you are on the national average wage with a family to support then perhaps it's not so modest. But, hey, if you can't afford it, stay at home and let some fat cat take your place — we need the money.

If we are being brought into line with the other clubs in the league then are we going to stop selling our best players? Stop buying bargain-basement players who spend most of the season on the treatment table — except when they are appearing at one of our fast disappearing retail outlets??? Give us a modern stadium instead of consultation smoke screens; treat us as adults and stop the spin.

If you think that's going to happen then you believe in the tooth fairy. We are the mugs who get ripped off.
George Carroll, Bramhall  (4/4/06)

Re; Real World

I reckon Tony Marsh is looking for a tufty badge with all his 'I was here when this happened mate' and I bleed fecking blue if you cut my veins bullshit.

If you live in the 'real world' as you call it, why you sitting fucking posting on the 'geeky' internet every bloody week? That post about the bloke playing football manager on his PlayStation was meant as a laugh.

For the record, just signed Messi, and he looks great in the blue top. Links well with Vaughan too!!
Santiago Guerrero, Scotland  (03/04/06)

Signs of desperation yet again!

Brilliant; so it looks as though Yobo's off this summer and add to that Stubbs & Weir — hopefully that'll mean three new centre-backs for next season. Actually, hold on: he'll offer Weir & Stubbs new one-year extensions more than likely. You might as well give Wrighty a new deal whilst your at it as well Moyesy!

If you've offered a player a contract a year ago and it hasn't been signed then surely you'd have other plans in place to replace Yobo??... You better be busy in bringing in the RIGHT quality of players to Everton this summer Moyes!! You've blown one too many chance in the past.
Kunal Djibrilisi, London  (3/4/06)

May I suggest we take a look at Fiorentina's Danish centre half... - Colm

Yobo Nogo?
So we learn today that Joseph Yobo has been stalling on signing a new contract for almost a year and, despite an upturn in form at the beginning of the year, the club seems not to have forced the issue by either increasing any offer or forcing him to make a decision. Dithering Dave strikes again - clearly though he is not the only person who makes decisions on money matters... the club is riddled with Ditherers and Dopes - several of whom we have to watch on the pitch week-in, week-out.

So, due to dithering, we are likely to lose Yobo and make a loss on the £4.5M we signed him for... because Ditherers did not have the balls or foresight to see that, if you let a player stall, then you need to make a quick decision and not let him get into his last year because, if you do get a fee, it will fall very short of expectations.

No disrepect to Joe but African players and their agents love moves as they make all involved very rich — this has been on the cards for a while. There is no way Yobo will sign a contract extension. This summer is going to be very interesting with bids for Cahill (ManU) and Arteta (Real M) likely to materialize. We should change our Moto to the Selling Club and put a big fukcing FOR SALE sign above the Park-End stand during the summer.

How many players do you think we will sign BEFORE the season ticket prices go up after the 'two-week price freeze'? I'll be amazed if we sign any player before June - I bet they extend the deadline for season tickets as they tend to do annually because of poor take up this year. This year more than any may prove disappointing to the club's coffers and many fans I speak to are talking about picking and choosing next year and not taking up their usual seats... who can blame them?

Some people have just had enough and if the only investment in the club is being brought in through the turnstiles and we are losing decent players for below market value then don't expect a big spending budget in the summer — let's set expectation now and not have the summer of expectation set high by making enquiries for players we simply cannot afford.

Anyway, if all else fails we still have our production line of youth coming through from our 'best in class' Academy don't we? Sorry but cannot think of anything positive to contribute about Everton of late.
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (3/4/06)

It's a long way from "Nil Satis..." alright Steve! - Colm

Yobo to go ??
Are we really that worrried if Yobo leaves? I have always looked at Yobo as someone who has often threatened to be a very good player but his constant mistakes have always let him down. If the Arsenal offer £4M for him, bite their hand off and buy Upson from Birmingham — a much more reliabile player. By the way, the time has come for RW never to play for EFC again. Wenger got shut of him quick at a £3M loss. He's not too bad a judge...
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (3/4/06)

The Moyes Debate
I've only just started visiting ToffeeWeb in recent months and have been taken aback by the amount of criticism directed at our manager. I have obviously been living under the false impresion that practally all Evertonians are devotees of the man. Not that we shouldn't criticise when we think he's made mistakes.

I, like many, am totally bewildered and pissed off with some of the signings he made last summer, but in many ways it was not entirely his fault. The simple fact of the matter is that we just don't have the money the top clubs have to make offers for players and then pay the crazy wages most of them hold out for. Plus it seemed that as soon as Moyes showed an interest in a player along came some other suave git with a bigger cheque book and wisked him away, take the Sissoko and Parker situations for instance.

In the end, signings were made in haste and almost for the sake of it and it hasn't worked out. But look, remember how things were before Moyes arrived, when dear old Walter was plodding away? We, as a club, were dull. Forever languishing in the lower reaches of the league with only unwanted nerve-wracking end-of-season battles to stay up to get us roused. From the day Moyes took over and dubbed us 'The People's Club' we became interesting again.

Everton, as a football club and indeed, as an institution, had all but disappeared from the minds and pysche of the great British public. But somehow we're being noticed again as under the current manager we've rode a rollercoaster up and down the division, finishing as the team of the season last year, with David Moyes Manager of the Year. How short our memories are.

Yes, I was bitterly disappointed the way we went out of the Champions League, then collapsed horribly against Bucharest in the Uefa Cup, then sat at the bottom of the league for an alarming number of weeks into the season. But I didn't give up on Moyes, I just had faith he would turn it around. And even if he hasn't done enough to stop this season being a disappointment (it's hard to see how we can make Europe now after drawing with Sunderland yesterday, although I'm not giving up hope on that one either) surely he deserves our support for another season at least.

After all, our form this year is excellent. Just think if we start next season the way we are finishing the current one. Let's face it, when you go to the fun fair, it's always the rollercoaster that has the queues. Who wants to go back to riding Walter's merryground? Not me, I'll buy a ticket for Moyesey's Big Dipper every time.
Martin Downey, Belfast  (3/4/06)

Sounds like you've got quite a lot of catching up to do, Martin.

Real World
Tony Horne from Kettering what are you on about, lad? Trying to compare supporting Everton to some PlayStation game??? To be honest with you I haven't got a clue what Football Manager on PlayStation is — and I don't want to know either. I deal in the real world mate not some computer-geek fantasies.

Let me tell you something, Tony, about Everton fans just like me that live in this city. We don't just support Everton as a hobby or treat Everton Football Club as a way of passing some time away on a Saturday afternoon. It's in our blood, mate, it's what our fathers have passed down to us over the generations. It's part of our lives and we live and breathe it every day. We don't just come and go when ever we please — we are in it for life.

When I critisize my football club, it hurts me more than my wife going to the Grafton for a bevy but thats another story. If I thought you had seen half of what I have seen over the years then maybe you would understand a little better.

I was at Maine Road in 1977, it was the semi-finals of the FA Cup we were playing Liverpool and a certain Clive Thomas robbed us of victory.

I went to Wembley three times in the eighties and watch Everton v Liverpool contest finals and never once make the journey home with a trophy to show.

I followed Everton home and away nearly every week from about 1979 onwards and watch the good, the bad and the ugly.

You should stick to the PlayStation. I'll be making my way to Charlton and Middlesbrough in the next few weeks while you sign Messi and Ronaldinho for your fantasy football team. While you're at it, bring Rooney back to Everton but only pay £5M plus Phil Neville in a take-it-or-leave-it deal.

Carry on living in your little PlayStation world. Meanwhile the rest of us will be living in the Real World — and we do know the score.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (3/4/06)

Now, now, boys and girls... Play nice!

Barry Johnson's Post!
I just wanted to address Barry Johnson and his pretty silly post. Apparently under Moyes the word Everton can be used as an anagram and respelt as "Neverto":

  1. Neverto play entertaining football.

    I would dispute that; certainly Everton have played some very entertaining football under Moyes, such as the recent 3-1 victory over Fulham and the 4-1 victory over Villa.

  2. Neverto to win a trophy.

    Have you noticed that all the trophies seem to go to the same 4 clubs? 85% of the Premiership clubs have never won a trophy under their current manager. It's not fair to use this against Moyes when it's so rare for a club outside of Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal to win anything.

  3. Neverto beat our red neighbours.

    Thats a stupid thing to say. Have you forgotten 11th December 2004? Lee Carsley's goal defeating Liverpool, ring any bells? What you should be claiming is that Moyes is the first Everton manager since Kendall to finish above our red neighbours.

  4. Neverto attract stylish players.

    Another stupid comment, players dont come more stylish then Mikel Arteta. Van der Meyde and McFadden also have style and flair.

  5. Neverto attract any significant investment.

    Well now that's not really up to Moyes is it? Moyes is in charge of the team; it's Kenwright who should be attracting investment.

  6. Neverto get a new stadium.

    Again, this is a Kenwright issue and cannot be used against Moyes.
It may be an unpopular opinion but I still retain faith in Moyes and the job he's doing.
Mark Heuston, Altrincham  (2/4/06)

Re: Back to the Future
I am neutral to David Moyes (still), as I think that he inherited a team which was a mess with an ageing players. For me Moyes should be judged in the next 3 years because the squad which is he building will be seen next year and it will be entirely his. However, I decided to take a position on this issue:

  1. What exactly is Moyes's strategy? Please explain.

    Last season, Moyes implemented the 4-5-1 system; two months later, half the teams in Premiership started to use it. Later this season, he had the balls to change it again. The Premiership is very competitive and every manager is under pressure to deliver results, that's why the defensive tactics are so common, even Chelsea are often winning by one-goal margin. I cannot blame him for sticking with defensive tactics after the dreadful start to the season.

  2. What were the players, management and chairman doing during the first half of the season? (By the way, please don't blame it on one referee's decision!!)

    I call this the "Europe Effect". It was not down to the referee's decision but that contributed. The players' confidence took a dent; if get in trouble, it spins you down further. Moreover, if you look at the teams of Villarreal, Betis, Udinese — all of them were in CL for first time, you can compare their form to ours. Betis and Udinese are still under treat of relegation while we were awful in the first part of the season and now, they are in eighth place (before today's games). It is difficult for every team to play on two fronts at the same time; if you don't have resources and big quality squad, you are going to struggle.

  3. If Moyes is such a 'special' manager and if our club is in such a wonderful financial state, how come the quality players keep turning us down?

    We are living in a commercial world. The players are just employees with short carreers and they are looking for the best possible salary. You cannot expect a player to turn down Newcastle, which offers £55k per week, for Everton (£35k to £40k/wk). I dont think this issue is down to Moyes...

  4. What specifically is so 'special' about a manager who looks no closer to winning anything than he did four years ago?

    Since 1992, only 4 teams have won the FA Cup — us included; I will not mention the others. But as for our League Cup record, the less said the better. All-in-all, without investment EVERY year, we can hope to lift 2-3 cups till 2010, which is the aim of Mr Moyes as well. So I am willing to judge him after 2 to 3 more years, there is no point in sacking him now and getting a new manager without no money to back him in the market, and the having to wait another four years for the next clone to come good.

Stefan Tosev, Vienna  (2/4/06)

Davies, Neville and Dutch!
I am in total agreement with Gerry Western about the ever useless Neville and the long awaited return of Yobo and Carsley. Neville should ever be left-back or a coach as he isn't a midfielder simple! How many times will he have to do nothing for Moyes to drop him. And he is club captain???

And Davies finally doesn't even look interested anymore. When Everton scored either time we hardly looked bothered! A decent player would have rolled his sleeves up and try to prove the fans wrong but he just didn't care. He should be sold back to Spurs and replaced with Roultledge.

And just be quiet, Dutch: the reason nobody moans at Yobo is because he is better than Weir and he tried to push forward to help the midfield as even he saw how bad Neville and Davies were doing. As Brian Clough once said, "Football a simple game complicated by idiots" ... are you listening, Moyes!
Luq Yus, London  (2/4/06)

Get busy
Surely it must be time for BK to get busy releasing some money, I think we need £15M to put Everton FC back up there:

  • £5M plus S DAVIES should get A JOHNSON from palace.
  • £5M for W BROWN or J O'SHEA and T HOWARD [that should take care of keeper crisis]
  • £3M for W BRIDGE
  • £2M for L TRUNDLE or D NUGENT as back-up
and finally offer R WRIGHT to any club who has a young midfielder with potential, as it seems we can't find any at EFC.

We must also do everthing possible to keep Yobo. He might lose concentration now and again but he will surely last longer than Stubbs and Weir and once again it seems there's nothing in the Reserves for back-up.

I know we have no chance of the above but it's nice to dream.
Big Dunc Bluey, Stoke  (2/4/06)

Welcome to Dreamland then.

Richard Wright
Not even David Moyes really thinks Richard Wright is a good keeper. Moyes may give support to the player in the press but that's only an attempt to boost the player's confidence. Deep down, I would bet my house on the fact that Moyes knows Wright is not up to the job.

All good managers support their players even if they secretly know they are rubbish. You watch; I bet Wright is shipped out this Summer and a new stopper brought in.

Oh yeah, give that Dutch guy a break, he supports Everton and I for one feel comforted by his optimistic posts. In an ideal world Everton would be as good as Dutch thinks they are.
Paul Bedham, Chester  (2/4/06)

Read Dutch's latest thoughts on Everton's new star... James McFadden!

Back to the Future
Yesterday's result, performance and lack of quality say everything. Jim Hourigan and Colin Paul were spot on.

Richard Dodd makes references to 'old timers longing for days of yore' Actually Richard, you'll find it was a raft of factual reponses to your suggestion that today 'super-fit athletes' are better than the teams that played skillful football and won trophies.

OK, let's focus on the here and now. Here's some questions for the IMWT people to answer:

  1. What exactly is Moyes' strategy? Please explain.

  2. What were the players, management and chairman doing during the first half of the season? (By the way, please don't blame it on one referee's decision!!)

  3. If Moyes is such a 'special' manager and if our club is in such a wonderful financial state, how come the quality players keep turning us down?

  4. What specifically is so 'special' about a manager who looks no closer to winning anything than he did four years ago?
There's four questions for you all. Please answer them. I know Moyes is better than Walker and Smith. I know we haven't been a top side for years. I know we can pretend that finishing fourth is better than winning a trophy. I know we can only replace him with another Pro-Licence clone, so there's little or no point. I know it's easier to call people whingers, disloyal, negative and 'old timers'.

I'd just love to see these questions answered, because it would make more sense than the usual name-calling we Moyes doubters receive. I'm waiting to be convinced. Let's hear it!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (2/4/06)

What I do find funny is that David Weir was getting loads of stick from the fans when he was playing even though Everton were winning.

Joey Yobo is returned to the side, just as the fans wanted, and Everton concede a disappointing 2 goals against Sunderland.

I haven't heard a single word questioning Yobo's return. You can bet if Weir had played his name would be mud right now.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (2/4/06)

Everton Crest
I noticed the April fool's day prank today & couldn't help but notice the spelling of the word "EVERTON".

Under Moysie, the spelling needs revising to "NEVERTO".

  • Neverto play entertaining football.
  • Neverto to win a trophy.
  • Neverto beat our red neighbours.
  • Neverto attract stylish players.
  • Neverto attract any significant investment.
  • Neverto get a new stadium.
The NEVERTO badge would however make a fotune. Every red in the world would buy one for sure.

So, start the printing presses, get those embroidery machines programmed and let's all have a good laugh at our own expense.
Barry Johnson, Colwyn Bay  (2/4/06)

Now even I am feeling depressed...

Midfield blues
Many disappointing aspects to the game yesterday. Some are criticising the pairing of Yobo and Stubbs without due consideration of the 'Wright' effect. The facts are that, in the past, irrespective of the centre-back pairing, Richard Wright has always retained the capacity to cause mayhem and uncertainty in the back four — yet again, he did not disappoint.

What was clear yesterday was that Yobo was attempting to push up more. Unfortunately, this did not ultimately realise any benefits as our midfield was in total disarray. Neville simply could not get hold of the ball and, when he did, he invariably gave it away. I think it's time Carsley was re-introduced as he is a much more commanding performer — a ball winner with good distribution skills.

Neville might be a better option at left-back as he contributes little in the middle of the park. Arteta's arrival did spark a revival but too little, too late, I'm afraid. Evidence, if needed, that we urgently require a holding midfield player as a priority.
Gerry Western, London  (2/4/06)

Clowns — Don`t bother they`re here!
It says much for David Moyes judgement that he `continues to believe` that Richard Wright is `a good goalkeeper`!`After all,` we are told, `Wright was England`s third choice when I signed him.` So what went wrong, Davey Lad?

He`d be lucky to make thirty-third choice these days and has become a figure of fun amongst Evertonians. If, as we are asked to believe, Moyes is intolerant of players who `don`t shape up`, why wasn`t Wright `Kroldruped` two years ago? Upwards of five million quid has been wasted on this `no-hoper` whose limitations were there for all to see once he moved into the top division for Arsenal.

I tell you, Moyes must be seriously worried about the talent of Messrs Turner and Ruddy for him to continue to play this clown in preference - but what do they say about us Scots... obdurate and intractible?

Not our Davey though, surely?
Keith MacGill, Crosby  (2/4/06)

A COUPLE of players ?
Linking two of last week`s stories, if Moyes had a tenth of Catterick`s nouse in the transfer market, he truly might be just a couple of players away from having a good side!

The reality is that Kenwright`s `miracle worker` is totally useless in the transfer market. Just look at his `scoops` to date.

  • Krøldrup: useless because when he was fit the Moyestro decided he couldn`t play.
  • Van der Meyde and Ferrari: useless because they`re never fit;
  • Davies, Kilbane and Wright useless because they are just bloody useless!
And, on top of that lot, many of us continue to have reservations about Neville and Valente... and even Beattie over the whole season.

What genius he showed in re-signing Ferguson, Pistone, Naysmith — all this dross in preparation for what we thought would be a European `campaign` and then later being so devoid of ideas that he had to turn to 34-year-old Stubbs whom he had been glad to see the back of six months earlier!

Don`t give me the `new Catterick` only a couple of players away from glory... the reality is that he`s just a couple of results away from being a bloody disgrace!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (2/4/06)

Therapy For Tony Marsh
I understand what it's like to have all the answers yet no-one will listen. Try this. Pro Evolution Soccer Manager is out for the Playstation2. You can take over at the helm of Everton FC, play who you want (I have Yobo and Krøldrup at the back), how you want (Carsley man-marking, Cahill kicking everthing in sight — sometimes even the ball), sign who you want (assuming they'll come — Kewell, Emre, Pennant and Alan Smith have all knocked me back) and respond to all events how you see fit (within 5 mins of the first pre-season friendly, Arteta buried one in the top corner from well outside the box — he's picked, Martyn threw a wobbly and demanded a transfer — he's gone).

We've had an OK season currently lying 7th with 10 games to go. Some memorable moments including away wins at Arsenal & Liverpool and a 6-2 thrashing of AC Milan at home to get us in the semi-final of the Champions League. Of course it's all pure fantasy. No doubt opinions vary as to how far Tony Marsh and his mates will need to adapt to fit in.
Tony Horne, Kettering  (2/4/06)

I wasn't the least bit surprised by today's result or performance. We are a club that attracts mediocrity... even our better players aren't 'winners'. We are chock full of people who are happy to play pro football, pick up fabulous money, live an amazing lifestyle, but know they will never really reach the upper echelons. When we're safe — can't win anything, which is the norm at Everton — they just switch off and coast. They don't give a shit; we all know it, and the inept, inadequate fools in charge know it too.

Any player with ability and a winning mentality would want away from this insipid meal-ticket at the first opportunity. That's why you can't blame Rooney; anybody with his talent would do the same thing and his agent would be neglectful if he didn't get him away from the inept joke that is Moyes and Irvine and the sad cancer that EFC has become.

I honestly think that we are very fortunate to be safe this season; unless we have a radical change of personnel, we are in for another horrendous and humiliating year next season.

We need a winner at our club. Wenger is a winner; he recognises those qualities in players, picks his best players, believes in pace, strength and skill — and is tactically aware whilst playing entertaining, winning football. Winners are out there; when Wenger went to Arsenal from Japan he was unheard of and untried. Moyes is a failed attempt to bring these qualities to a club that has historically, been very comparable to Arsenal.

Kenwright tried but failed; Moyes is failing, his players are failing... they're all losers. Evertonians ARE NOT losers and we shouldn't accept this overwhelming mediocrity.
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (2/4/06)

Oh my God! That wins the prize, hands down, for the ultimate in negativity. Well done, Mike!

So Sunderland become the third and final promoted club(Wigan and West Ham) to leave Goodison without losing this season. Don't get me wrong; I am not bothered about our Uefa Cup hopes being all but extinguished today as the league is our bread and butter... What really concerns me is the amount of crap that has got results against us this season. Remember Portsmouth, Bolton (at home), West Brom, Aston Villa (all 4-0). Are we really progressing under Moyes? Big signings must be made in the summer or it will be more of the same next season.
Colin Hughes, Norris Green , Liverpool  (2/4/06)

Tonight, I'm totally embarrassed!!! I don't give a shite what Dutch or any another silly Moyes and Kenwright people think or the fool on TV talking dog poo, selling our club down the crapper, says: Sunderland were the better team in the end and I'm sorry but the future looks very bleak for this club. My good mate who's a Liverpool fan said 'You bin found out yu toffee shite', and sadly I had to agree. Very embarrassed! Who would want to join a club like this? Very embarrassed!!!
Luq Yus, London  (1/4/06)

I'd say tonight you are very drunk; I hope you feel a bit better in the monrning — and have the good sense to ditch your kopite mate.

Ho Hum
It's difficult to be anything other than pissed off. Inept tactics, poor team selection, and too many poor performances. We can all accept off-days, team wise and individually but, if the type of performance seen today is put into this context, then the omens are not good.

Three of the 16 players total over 100 years of age - good youth policy that!!! One player now holds the record for the longest period for a forward without a goal in the Premiership - Stead scored against us to lose the previous record. When we need to change, we have one tactic - lump the ball forward to a lumbering Scottish thug.

Back four players arguing looking to pass the blame - our self appointed Beckenbaeur can't pass water let alone 50 yds. A midfield that is bereft of ideas and ability until Arteta arrives.

So where does it all go wrong? It's quite simple really and, as we keep being told by the football experts and managers, its a simple game — our problem is a lack of tactical nous, a combination of players that do not play to any discernable pattern apart from 'hit it long', and an inability to think of anything beyond a long-ball approach.

Outsiders, and those with blue-tinted glasses, see these comments as negative and un-grateful; what they fail to accept is that we have a right to be entertained and a right to aspire and have expectations. The football we are seeing is poor, lacking in imagination and ultimately going nowhere. How can we progress with two centre-halves over 34? How do we encourage adventure and imagination with a drunken Scottish has-been? How do we become creative with a midfield that is incapable of stringing three passes together without Arteta?

Stand up, Mr Moyes and your coaching staff, and explain exactly what are your long-term plans. What role does youth have at this club? How do players gain experience? What tactics do you employ when chasing a game? I have to admit to being old enough to have seen the teams of the 60s, 70s and 80s so the dross that I see know is just that: dross. Yes, we're more stable, but mid-table mediocrity, tacticless football, aging has-beens and some generally poor players is not good enough.

I genuinely am sad to say that Mr Moyes has taken us as far as he can; he is incapable of moving his thinking beyond the humdrum of not getting beat — look at how he reacted last week in the Derby. Change your tactics, change your coaching, change your team selection but above all change your thinking! I'll accept poor performances in the context of entertaining progressive winning football — too much to ask? NO; Too much to ask of Moyes? probably...
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (1/4/06)

Now come on, Jim: that was hardly "Ho Hum"... that was a good old rant of the highest quality. Well done, lad.

Embarrassing... but predictable
Even though today's performance was a total joke, I kind of expected it! BLUNDERland were bound to pick up a point somewhere, so of course out of the 7 remaining games it was always going to be Everton... Well it usually is; remember a similar scenario a couple of years ago when we drew 2-2 with Leicester??

The players totally underestimated the game today and, not for the first time this season, they seemed to talk up their performance and then let us all down. The finger should be pointed at the vast majority of players for not pulling their finger out today but also to the manager for once again failing to see the tactical mess he has on that pitch.

Confidence is always key to our performance under Moyes, but did you really see any between Wright, Stubbs an Yobo??Bring on the Addicks next week (let's hope they have one eye on the Cup) and as for the KOBK, vote me in but you would need to a lot more to get that bullshitting bugger away from our club!! KOBK KOBK KOBK
Ryan Barton, Liverpool  (1/04/06)

April Fools
So, the result against Liverpool was a blib and we would soon be back on the winning trail against Sunderland???

How guilible some of you are. When will you ever learn? What will it take for you to wake up to this joker Moyes and his Jurrasic Park football?

Sunderland, the worst team to ever grace the top flight in English football, have come to Goodison Park today and heaped more shame on Moyes and his pitifull set up. I watched Accrington Stanley play last week and believe me they played better football than anything we can produce and they have been exctinct once.

Today's result and performance is just another example of whats been going on all season. Teams being sent out not prepared properly. The wrong players being picked and some of them playing in the wrong positions. No tactics other than "get stuck in and lets see what happens".

Some of us have been aware of the ineptitude of David Moyes for quite some time now and some of us have refused to admit the truth. Giving points away at home to Sunderland is disgraceful. The worst of it is the bullshit Moyes has just come out with on Sky TV.

"Sunderland are not as bad a side as their league position would suggest," he said. No Davie, they are the worst team in the whole fucking Universe, you daft twat. Please tell me you can see it now — Dodd, Schaffer, Beesley, Summers, and all the rest of you who defend this man.

In a nutshell we play crap football get humiliated at least once a month and give our supporters no hope for the future. That's some going considering we have got the best young manager in the game in charge of the club. Giving today's players the cold shoulder, the angry glare, or sending them to Coventry just does not work so why does miserable-arse Moyes persist with it?

It cant go on much longer. Can it?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (1/4/06)

Well, I didn't think it sounded like aa very good result... but I didn't know it was the end of the world as we know it! I have this feeling you are over-reacting just a little, Tony. — Michael

Support for Davies?
Not trying to be one to start a new person-to-person war but a message to the chap from Rochdale who supported Davies and Neville as having great games today with one wonder-cross into the box being unmet. Please come and find me in the Park Stand where this was no doubt supposed to have happened in front of several thousand other non-believers, I'll buy you a pint or three if you can convince me.

Davies had at least three or four crosses that sailed into no-man's land then quickly touch for goal-kicks right before my eyes. Phil Neville, although not criticised by myself earlier, had lost the ball on several occasions but either regained or helped regain the ball; Simon Davies did nothing (bar one throw in and one tackle) to even remotely earn his salary in a blue shirt. I watch the same game, every home game for years and not as many aways as I used to.

In a market with one buyer (EFC) and one seller (Spurs), why did we pay top-drawer full asking-price for an injury-prone and very importantly non-prolific (as per an earlier posting from myself quoting Simon's goal history) winger who cant even stay on the wing?????

Anyone there today saw the same game; we may not agree but don't start eulogising on the shite which is Simon Jonathon Creek Davies as a worthy player!!!
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (1/4/06)

Couple of Players
Who knows whether or not a couple more players would make Everton a top six side. Judging from the league table tonight three more wins would have done it.
Tony Horne, Kettering  (1/4/06)

And how hard would that have been? A little more application, a little more committment, a little more self-belief, some better tactics... and some better substitutions. Moyes proved last season that it can be done — without the gobs of money everyone is looking for. — Michael

Ken Buckley...
... I totally agree... but I think you have got the wrong player. Let's hope I'm wrong but I think it's Arteta; he's class.

This Wyness is a twat; no consideration for us, who struggle to get our finances for our season tickets. Last season, he took in a loan shark company, for season tickets. I went through this scheme; I still owe £430 now! Even though I've been paying regular payments every month of about £23!!! The People's Club. Let's hope I can get a top-up... 'cos that's what they are after.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (1/4/06)

I may be speaking out of turn here (now there's a first!) but you can't wail on Wyness here; he is just doing his job. Ticket sales are one of his few lines of income for the Club. They have to charge within a certain price window, aad you can hardly fault him for trying to find creative ways to finance the sale of season tickets. Buyer beware! — Michael

The Ultimate Goal!

Lets be totally honest now, what is the ultimate aim for David Moyes to achieve at Everton?

I hope that most people on here will be sensible, we are never going to win the league again, we simply dont have the money to compete with Chelsea and Man Utd. So what is the realisitic best the fans can hope for?

I would argue having Everton become a Top 6 side again and regulary qualifiying for Europe is the target. That simply is the best we can hope for.

How far is Moyes away from that goal? Well I would argue that Moyes has now established Everton as a Top 10 side and we have had a taste of Europe.

So in my opinion Moyes is pretty close to his goal.

I really want to hear some other opinions though. Michael in an ideal world where would you realistically hope to see Everton?
Dutch Schaeffer  (01/04/06)

If I am permitted to jump in on this one, the day any Evertonian *accepts* we'll never ever again become Champions of England - well it's a sad indicator of where our Club lies. You gotta have a little hope that matters will turn upwards over the coming years. Nurse, me medication.... - Colm

Why would I feel like hiding? First of all, I'm an Evertonian on an Everton feedback board. I should be amongst friends and we should all be feeling the same.

Secondly, after six consecutive home wins we have to settle for a draw. Sounds pretty good to me. I wonder if the Chelsea fans are in hiding after their draw with Birmingham?
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (1/4/06)

Dutch, I got news for you: we are not all feeling the same. [Where on earth did you get that new rule from anyway? You are beginning to spout the most asinine shite imaginable in your quest to toy with the TW Mailbag...] Anyway, only you (and perhaps Richard Dodd) could rationalize away a poor performance against the bottom club by settling for a draw after six successive home wins, and calling it "pretty good". On yer Bike!

I know full well you are on the wind-up. And you know what happens next: the plug gets pulled. Your choice. — Michael

April Fools
Back from the game and as disappointed as any other Blue. I thought our lads made fools of themselves as well as making fools of us. Witness the arguments between our back four members and keeper; not good for morale, lads.

I thought our season-long problem haunted us as we appear to have no discernable midfield which caused arguments between both attackers and defenders, did anyone else hear the players slag each other off? Neville as Captain? I am not sure... in fact, I will say now: he is neither a top-notch midfielder nor a captain — or he would have sorted the dissent there and then. Without the engine room that is a decent midfield, no team can be given the chance to function and boy did we prove this today.

If this is the best the club can muster then we are just about in our rightful position of mid-table. My hope is that our Manager can fulfill his Chairman's tag of miracle man and make some necessary signings in the summer that allow us to at least play a bit against rock bottom teams without becoming one ourselves.

Having also digested the Season Ticket "hurry up!" to fans, are Wyness and Co wanting to scare the majority into buying before they announce the sale of our odd better player on the grounds of a good deal that couldn't be avoided? Was Joe Yobo's "not intersested" performance today an indication of such?

I follow the team everywere but am left at a loss as to just what the hell is going on in our name without our knowledge. Still, it's the Capital next and let's hope they make the journey worthwhile. See you Saturday. --- UP THE BLUES!
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (1/4/06)

Some perceptive observations there, as ever, Ken; much appreciated.

A question of religion
Comparing Davie Moyes to Harry Catterick is like comparing David Icke to Jesus H Christ in my opinion (apologies to any religious people out there!).

60s football for a lot of clubs helped shape the current brand of clubs we see today, and Harry Catterick (with the help of John Moores) re-established Everton as a club of substance, style and reputation (remember we'd been pretty average since the War).

I'm not old enough to have seen the sides play myself but from what I've seen on DVD, what I've read, and what I've been told from older Withanailinits, we played some of the best football around in the 60s, which is a time when there were more than a few decent teams floating around. Catterick even — get this — managed to win trophies playing good football. We were always competitive and because of this we were respected.

The only similarity that Moyes has with Catterick is that he's a grumpy git. By all accounts, Catterick wasn't much of a tracksuit coach but he knew a good player and he knew how to mix expensive signings with youth-team hopefulls. If you have good players in the team who can (a) pass the ball and (b) intelligently run off the ball, it makes life easier for the youngsters to come in.

Catterick and Moores demanded success, and demanded good football... and for 10 years they got it. Today, I can only dream that Kenwright will wake up one Saturday afternoon and realise that Moyes is never gonna produce stylish teams. He has no concept of what makes a good Everton player, and he has absolutely no concept of how to give the majority of Evertonians what they want at the moment... and that is to see a team that can beat the opposition not just by battering them down with Big Dunc in the last 10 mins, not just by chasing them across the park all afternoon and hoping to nick a deflected goal, but by playing FOOTball and playing them off the park!

ps: To all you Kenwright haters out there. I agree he's a bit of a nonce when he starts eulogizing on TV, but you will have to face it he's the one that saved us from the clutches of Johnson. He's also the one that found your Mr Moyes. He's also the one that's kept your club just about afloat even though we are technically a gnats hair from administration. There is no one out there who wants to throw money at the next Wolves or Burnley (circa 80s). Hes also a Blue and — although not as rich enough as we'd like him to be — he's still a more level-headed chairman than a good few other clubs.
Aplankofwood Withanailinit, UK  (1/4/06)

The missing link
Had to laugh when I read old Dutch`s piece about us being just a couple of players away from a good team. Only five minutes before, I had been listening to Deadly Doug being questioned on the future of David O`Leary and whilst he was giving nothing away, he said “David`s like every manager I`ve ever employed, he`s just two players away from having a good side!”

Just as Deadly said about his team, if you believe that about Everton, Dutch, you`ll believe anything!
Alan Coffer, Maghull  (1/4/06)

RE: Kick Out Bill Kenwright
Just my 2 pence worth on BK: The man has been at the helm for many years and I don't feel we have moved on as a club. No investment, no vision and no results at the Board level. for me, that is not credible. For the sake of the club, Bill Kenwright should GO. So the KOBK movement has my vote.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (1/4/06)

Tactics: Nightmare!
Well, I just got home from the match and I am exasperated. How on earth did we concede two goals against a team that has a player who hasn't even scored since two years ago!

I feel we didn't snap at their heels enough today and it seemed to me that we relaxed against them and didn't give the usual 100% from the start. Moyes told us this match wouldn't be taken lighlty but how wrong he was proven.

Mainly I think there was just three major problems with today's team selection and tactics:

  1. Wright in goal. I know people have been over this millions of times but I just have to add that if he can't instill confidence into this team, why play him? He was found wanting at all crosses and was glued to his line for most of the match excluding the time he made his pointless attempt to jump through the mass of players at a corner and grab the ball. You can see even Stubbs and Yobo were worried with him around in goal and always had to make up for his mistakes. Moyes will play Turner next week. I bet my house on it.

  2. Secondly, Moyes was trying to play a wide game and wanted the ball spread along the pitch. Why play Davies on the wing then? We all know how badly he cuts in and he was constantly leaving Hibbert to mark twoayers at once because of his ineptitude at tracking back. I know it's easier to say this in hindsight but he should have stuck will Kilbane (first choice if Arteta wasn't match fit). The guy may not have all the qualities needed to be a good Premiership player but he is strong (unlike Davies), tracks back (unlike Davies), and stays on the wing (unlike bloody Davies). Moyes was so desparate for some width on the end he forced Cahill onto the wing whilst Davies wandered in no-man's land. Davies will never justify his £3.5M price-tag and I believe he will never be more than a squad player.

  3. Finally, and I know many a fan will disagree with me here, but I feel Yobo contributed to our poor performance today. I'm not saying for one minute his defending was bad (it was in fact excellent and much better than Davey Weir) but having lacked match practice lately he seemed a little slow to start and also there was no communication between him and Stubbs. They were clashing into one another when challenging for balls and I just thought that the understanding between our centre-halves was troubling during parts of the game.
Well that's my piece over with. I'm sure many fans will disagree with my views but that's what makes football so interesting doesn't it? :)

ps: I wish we had Halsey for the derby last week. Even though he made a few dubious decisions today, he let the game flow as much as possible and didn't produce silly cards like the moron last week. We need more refs like him.
Will Simmins, Lancashire  (1/4/06)

We all hate Simon Davies
I am absolutely convinced a lot of supporters do not actually watch the game in front of them. I thought Simon Davies and Phil Neville played well today. Davies did one bad pass so did Neville, yet we get all this "Davies is cunt" nonsense and "Neville you're shit". There was one point when Davies put a quality ball in the box but no-one attacked it and I heard four people shout "Fuck off, Davies". It was Cahill and Osman who were losing the ball today.

Anyway, poor result, but never mind. Well played, Sunderland.
Ben Greenwood, Rochdale  (1/04/06)

KOBK (Kick Out Bill Kenwright)
Sorry folks but this has been a long time coming from me: I don't blame Bill for the defeat today but six years of the same old lies and promises is six years too much.

Let's help Bill on his way; lets get the ball running... KOBK.
Billy Bunter, Dublin, OH, USA  (1/4/06)

I'm sorry but ... UH?? What brought that out, today of all days, if it is not some kind of knee-jerk reaction to today's result??? And what makes you think you have any say on the position of the Chairman of Everton's Board of Directors? The guy is there because he wanted it more than anyone else. He came up with the readies (well.. one-third of the readies) and pulled off a deal with Agent Johnson. Yes, he's talked a load of total bullshit, but that's Bill. When needed, he has supported Moyes and is doing all he can (reportedy) to further the aims and progress of the Club. I'm sorry but I just don't get it. — Michael

Let's just stick to Happy Harry!
Guess it will all kick off again, what with the lads failing to beat the bottom team! But all in all, I thought we played pretty well for much of the game and it was good to see Faddy adding to his tally yet again. He is going to be some striker, I reckon.

Pity that Davey felt the skipper needed a rest — well earned though it was — but at least it settled one arguement: Stubbs and Weir are a much safer pairing than what we saw today. Perhaps it was a shop window exercise at Arsenal`s request!

So having retained tenth spot tonight, can we just hope for a peaceful Mailbag with lots of old-timers dreaming of `Happy Harry` and days of yore? I suspect not.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (1/4/06)

Ah... another pro-Moyes person getting in a pre-emptive strike for Positivity! Well done, Richard. Great that Faddy and Ossie scored. A fantastic point won. Our position in the Top Ten consolditated... No yellow cards whatsover! [Can I stop now?] — Michael

Everton 2 - 2 Sunderland
So Everton's superb run of six straight Premiership home wins comes to an end with a disappointing (how many times has that word been used this season?) draw to bottom-placed Sunderland.

Some might be upset, the ToffeeWeb moderators will no doubt write a report which can be summorised as 'ha ha, told you so, Moyes is crap'. It looks as if Everton have left it just a bit too late to make a charge for a European place and mid-table mediocrity looks certain. A small part of me is actually happy for the Sunderland fans; they have suffered so much this season they deserve a bit of sunshine.

Everton now need to ensure they finish in the Top 10 which will be a fair season considering the awful start they had. Now that we have nothing to play for, I'd like to see Moyes try out a few of the fringe players (Turner, Van der Meyde, Anichebe & Vidarsson) to see if they are worth keeping for next season.

I'm willing to accept this season as a consolidation and I hope next season will improve. Moyes is close to establishing Everton as a Top 6 side, he just needs a couple more players.

Osman for England!!!
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (1/4/06)

If I was being my normal negative self, I might have suggested that you are just writing in, Dutch, so no-one can say you are hiding... but what wonderful platitudes you provide:

"finish in the Top 10 which will be a fair season considering the awful start they had." Oh, is that how it works now? It'll take a bit of adjustment for me mentally but I'll try to get my head around the twisted logic of that one and glory with you in the positive side...

"Now that we have nothing to play for..." Tsk, tsk, Dutch: roughly half a mill per Premiership place, and you of all people produce this old saw. Please... try to be positive!

"I'm willing to accept this season as a consolidation and I hope next season will improve." — Yes, that's a wonderful prospect... but aren't you just a little worried that placing demanding expectations like these on the team is what causes and exaccerbates the problem?

But what a wonderful object lesson in positivity. Just forgive me if it takes me a little longer to fully ingest this to the point where I can regurgitate it with a modicium of genuine sincerity. — Michael

How many chances
Just what the fuck does Moyes think when he continues to play Naysmith, Richard Wright and Simon Davies ahead of anyone else, I beg to ask??? Let''s hear ot form the Moyes Brigade...

Naysmith — admittedly a difficult one to call with current injuries — went missing so many times today it was beyond a joke. Simon Davies is an invisible man; fucking useless twat gave away an uneccessary corner for the first goal and on countless occasions put crosses in that even Hibbert would have been ashamed of.

Finally, and most pointedly the best of today's Moyes fuck-ups, was the reliance yet again on Calamity Richard Wright who was rivetted like a rabbit in headlights to his line for the second goal when any half-decent keeper, Turner included having seen several of his previous games at other clubs, would have come out to meet and safely take. On too many occasions defenders were colliding with each other trying to clear the box with Wright nowhere to be seen yet again.

Richard even had the stupidity to turn to the Park End to clap the fans but quickly turned away running to the half-way line when his face was met by several thousand fans quite rightly calling for him to fuck off; unfortunately the ginger misery hadn't bothered doing that to him over ninety minutes earlier — just how many last chances are a chance too many?

In precis, Arteta should have started; we did put a lot more attacks in after he came on but with little time to finish them. Naysmith is a shockingly poor left back —surely even reverting to Neville and putting Carsley in midfield — at the half-time warm-up, he looked as fit as Neville... And then shite that is Richard Wright yet again in goal: show him where the train station to Ipswich is and tell him not to bother coming back.

Sunderland from their second half performance should have won the match — and deservedly so. Mr Moyes, you are a disgrace and your team choice humiliated the fans today.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (1/4/06)

I'm speechless!

Today's Game
I am not sure what tactics Moyesey was trying today but they were completely wrong!

I always thought that he would play the strongest team possible. If Arteta was fit, he should have been in the team; if he wasn't fit, he shouldn't have been on the bench. I still don't know why he bought Davies; he ran round today, that's about it!

Too many balls were pumped into the middle; against one of the biggest teams in the Premiership, it meant we won too few. Some of the players seemed a bit too disinterested today.

We're not going to get one of the Uefa Cup places so let's see some of the youngsters given a run between now and the end of the season.

Come on you blues!
Andy Wright, Leeds  (1/4/06)

I'm sorry, but you are not allowed to make these kinds of negative statements on here any more. Don't you know it's OUR FAULT! Critcism of the our fantastic team and of the two-time Manager of the Year, the incomparable David Moyes, is just dragging us down and causing the whole thing to unravel. Don't you people geddit!?! — Michael

New Crest
Yes ToffeeWeb, I do indeed feel a tit! In my defence I was tired on an early Saturday Morning! Was the result an April Fool too? The chimps are little scamps!
Mike Mulhall, Stamshaw  (1/4/06)

It's all our fault; we say negative things about the team... and then they fail to perform. So... only POSITIVITY allowed here from now on. [Okay... it's a bit late in the day for April Fools...] — Michael

Harry Catterick
I would just like to add my suport to the mailbag on Harry Catterick. In my book, he was second only to Howie Mark 1 in terms of managers. David Moyes comes nowhere near him as a manager.

Harry may have had finance behind him to make record transfers, but not all his signings were records and he did bring players on through the youth system — unlike someone we all know at present. Harry was also a good judge of a player and I cannot recall any duff transfers as such. In comparison, Moyes has shown himself to be nowhere near Harry in this area nor in tactics. Remember in those days there were no subs; if a players was injured he went on the wing.

Harry Catterick was not given the recognition he deserved — unlike Shankly across the way.
Robert Jarvis, Burnley  (1/4/06)

I would rank Catterick above Kendall because of the length of time he ruled, and the fact that he produced not just one Championship-winning team, but two. He had Everton at the top for an entire decade, and what a great time that was to be an Evertonian. — Michael

The New Crest
The new crest as per the official website is absolutely disgusting, Why cant they keep the tower as the crest? The history of our club seems to have been forgotten in what I feel is a lame attempt to "modernise the club". Everton is run by chimps who have no idea at times!
Mike Mulhall, Stamshaw  (1/4/06)

I bet you feel a right tit now, don't ya?

New Everton
I`m glad Peter Fearon put Howard Willard right on the early record of Catterick and Kendall. Just as so many in my beloved Labour Party seem to think there was nothing before Blair, too many Evertonians espouse the view that life began with David Moyes.

I`ve just heard him referring yet again to how poor the club`s record was when he took over and how we could never have dreamed of Europe before he took us there. If I had made such a balls of things when I got there, I think I`d be a bit quiet on that one but just like Blair in Iraq... Ok, I know, this is a New Everton site....
Colin Paul, Wavertree  (1/4/06)

If you really know your history (2)
Peter Fearon has beaten me to it on this one. Catterick`s first four seasons saw Everton finish 4th, 1st, 3rd and 4th, winning 85 of the first 170 games he managed, thus hitting the `gold standard` of a 50% win ratio. Hardly struggling was it?

Several years after the fans` attack on him, Catterick told me that it had shaped his attitude towards supporters and the press. I have never believed that to be the whole story as Harry was taciturn by nature and, at times, impossible to deal with. But certainly up to his heart attack in 1971, he was one hell of a good football manager!

Howard`s first four seasons saw us finish 8th, 7th, 7th and 1st with 79 wins of 168 League games producing a 47% win ratio. Oh, and by the way, in the third season we won the FA Cup and in the Championship winning season, the European Cup Winners Cup and lost in the final of the FA Cup — is there really any need for me to go on?

Would it be impertinent of me to suggest that, before correspondents sound off to ToffeeWeb, they invest a few bob on one of the excellent histories of the Club which are so readilly available?
David Hall, Taunton  (1/4/06)

Sense of Humour
Just looked at the date. Didn't realise the club had such a good sense of humour... and didn't realise I was so gullible....good work fellas...
Dave Norman, England  (1/4/06)

Let's hope they don't try anything funny with the scoreline this avvey!

New Crest
I've just seen the 'New' Everton Crest on the official website. Shocking is too soft a word for it. The history, character and strength of the badge has been dulled down into a bland dull nothingness. We need to start a campaign to have this mess corrected and revert back to the original crest. Maybe you could ask someone at the club to explain why a change was felt required. Yet another example of modern football forgetting its history. Soon "If you know your history...." will be banned on matchdays!
Dave Norman, Norwich  (1/4/06)

Gee.. I wonder what the date is today???

A ray of positivity!
In response to Michael's appeal for less negativity on the mailbag, here's a little nugget for us (and it's not an April Fool's wind up).

Our current number 8 (or is it 08? Nice one Stevie G for raising the profile of Capital of Culture to a global audience!) gets hitched this summer.

He's asked that rather than wedding gifts (I imagine he can afford all the toasters he needs), attendees make a donation to the Sophie Barringer Trust, set up in the memory of a six-year-old girl who died of cancer, whom Beattie had met.

And better still, if we can use our recent home form to dismantle a truly average and dispirited Sunderland side, I imagine the mailbag will be positively overflowing with positivity (did you see what I did there?) But please, Dutch and Richard, keep it just to the one letter, and something new. I think we all know where you stand now! (Not being negative here).

Right, think I'll go for a stroll and pet some dogs...
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (1/4/06)

Ah... bless! That was lovely.

If you really know your history...
May I set Howard Willard straight on a point of fact? Harry Catterick did NOT struggle for results in his first seasons. He took over in the last few weeks of the 1960-61 season and we finished 5th. Everton finished 4th in his first full season and were Champions the following season.

The kicking incident happened in 1965 and had little to do with results. In a period of transition he experimented, dropping Alex Young for an unknown teenager named Joe Royle. When the FA Cup began the following January he restored the regular line-up and we sailed on to Wembley.

There is no comparison with David Moyes's performance over the last 4 years. Not only was Catterick a brilliant tactitian and a demanding overlord, he had enviable financial resources, enabling him to arrange several record transfers.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (1/4/06)

Negativity is Thy Name
I would just like to thank you for having to endure so much doom and gloom reading the opinion of such sulking football supporters. Firstly, I thought this website had really high standards but, reading more and more, it is plain that your standards for this great club at present are naive and unrealistic.

Assess objectively the abilitiy of this current squad and you'll realise that a 4-1 win over Villa, an occasional 1-0 win over United/Arsenal or draw with Chelsea is the best we can hope for. Sure I'd love to see us among the elite, destroying the likes of Milan and Madrid, playing attractive football but then I wake up and have to go to work.

The current squad can say: "We are a mid-table Premiership team," without thinking of relegation during the last month of the season — that is progress. Struggling against relegation for the best part of ten years and then transfrming into consistent entertaining footballers in four years (without any serious financial backing) is not progress, it's fantasy.

I'm not saying we should hold hands around Goodison Park singing "We are the Campions" after a scrapy, undeserved 1-0 win, but let's not belittle the enjoyment Evertonians get out of a desevered win because "it wasn't perfect" or "could have been better". Criticsm for criticsm sake isn't enlightenment; it just get's predictable and boring.
Kevin Morris, Sydney, Australia  (1/4/06)

Yea... bit like having to read yet more predictable and boring crap about Negativity... Can't you think of something positive to say, you hypocrite! — Michael

ToffeeWeb Letters from March 2006

ToffeeWeb Letters from May 2006


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