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ToffeeWeb MailBag
Letters from our readers — May 2006

ToffeeWeb Letters from April 2006

ToffeeWeb Letters from June 2006

Moyes (and those loveable reds)
I have in the past ranted about Moyes & Blue Bill and their ineptness (is this a word?) in the running of OUR club... Well, looks as though they've learned a little (must have read my comments)... the signing of AJ changes the look of the whole formation of the team — there's actually someone the midfield can look to, to get on the end of a half decent pass!! Anyway... it's brightened up my summer..

Now, about Moyes the man. I heard a story regarding the family of the late Bernard Murphy (died at Leicester 20/3/04). His son is a Liverpool supporter but is rather disheartened with his club. Firstly, they (along with Chelsea) were the only Prem clubs not to send flowers to his dad's funeral. Secondly, Moyes offered to buy the lad a season ticket for Liverpool (out of his own pocket) but guess what... When the Murphy family approached Liverpool the gobshoites said.. we can't make an exception as everyone will want one.. needless to say the lad was gutted, he still supports his team, but the club?? Remind me again why we hate those lovable reds??

As for Moyes, I believe he still drops in on the family for a cuppa, and for this, Moyes has gone up in my estimation as an honourable and decent man. (As a manager, I'll give him another year...)
Tommy Garibaldi, Aintree  (31/5/06)

Awww.. bless! What a lovely story. Now perhaps our Club can nip in and offer him the chance of a "restricted view" season ticket — he'd get to see his team... but just the once! — Michael

And The Defender Signing Is...
I think there are seven main contenders for the defender signing soon:-

Joleon Lescott
Young but experienced. Pacy and can pass a ball. Will definitely move this summer. His £5M price tag could be out of our range since signing AJ.

Robert Huth
21-year-old giant defender. Wants out of Chelsea. Strong and has a wicked shooting ability. The only drawback is his high price tag and limited experience. Boro could tempt him away with bigger wages.

Sol Campbell
Defending legend but 31 years old; unfortunately passed his best and struggling mentally. Could offer a new club a few years of quality.

Matthew Upson
With Birmingham relegated, England International Upson will surely be seeking a new club. 27 is the right age but has had injury problems and could cost more then Moyes is willing to pay.

John O'Shea
25-year-old defender/utility man. Decent player but has maybe gone stale at Man Utd. Some suggest Neville/Howard joined Everton as part of the Rooney transaction. Maybe O'Shea could be the final payment?

Dan Shittu
Highly rated QPR defender who Moyes has expressed interest in. Only 25 but has no experience of football in the Top Flight. Would be the cheapest option.

Andrew Webster
Another Moyes target (reportedly). Only 24 with over 150 appearances for Hearts. Again untested at Premiership level.

One thing is for sure, whoever the player turns out to be this really is an exciting time to support Everton.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (31/5/06)

... which raises the question: why has it taken your hero Moyes so long to figure out these transfer windows? I shall not forget his statement from a year or two back (... well, I have forgotten it actually) that went something like: "Oh, no, we're not even going to think about who we might be interested in signing until we get to the end of the season." WTF???

Something, someone has finally stuck a rocket up his arse and it is (hopefully) paying off. Of course, we have been through these periods of unbridled anticipation and excitement before... (remember the Champions League? I'd rather not) only to be let down to earth again with a serious bump. I'd say I was currently pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the proactive approach, but no chicken-counting until they actually do what they were bought for: getting on the field and performing. All the rest is meaningless blather... but then I don't need to tell you that, of all people! — Michael

Transfer news
Absolutely delighted with Andy Johnson... We did pay a bit over the odds put he will smash some hat-tricks in the Gwladdy and the Kop. Moyes mentioned in the AJ press conference another one could be on the way within 3 or 4 days. Now if it's a central defender, it's none other than Sol Campbell. Wenger has told him he his not in his plans and will sign on Saturday. It won't be Lescott because Wolves want £5.5M for him and we won't pay that for a Championship player. Also, Huth is in Germany and Moyes wants to sort out his transfers before the World Cup
Danny Magee, Liverpool  (31/5/06)

Nice info, Danny. If I was to hazard a guess, I'd say you must be a member of our Youth Academy??? — Michael

Shut it!
There's more comments about Dutch on here than about Everton. He's not that important forget about him!

Instead, I'm much more interested in speculating on Moyes' predicted signing in the next few days. There's Huth and Lescott who've been linked but as someone said before they don't look too likely at the minute. I can't think who else it could be though.

If another signing does happen, I think the key point is that Everton must have learnt to keep these things secret at last! How many deals have we had hijacked after weeks of public dithering in recent years?
Michael Johnson, Reading  (31/5/06)

I dearly wish we could forget about him. I get annoyed at every useless mail he sends in and have been deleting most of them. Unfortunately, the bloke in the other Tower is much more lenient than I am (he's a lot nicer too!)... and allows Dutch to use us as his plaything...

Regarding your main point, the Club comes in for a lot of unfair stick about this from some fans. In this day and age, it is the players agent, and/or the selling club who are only too happy to blab or leak information on impending sales, with the recent triangular(!) AJ auction being typical of what follows. — Michael

Unanswered Question
Forget Nyarko and Dutch, one is in Everton's dark past and the other has nothing to do with Everton as far as I'm concerned. What does concern me is Everton and its fans!

So has AJ signed a five-year contract, can anyone confirm that? I checked ToffeeWeb squad list, but it hasn't been updated yet. I really hope it's five as he is a natural striker and want him to be an Everton legend, like Big Dunc, for as long as Dunc was! God-Willing of course!
Luq  Yus, London  (31/5/06)

Since the reports I read used the phrase "four-year contract" I'm gonna stick my neck out and say it's four years... but hey, I could be wrong! It really doesn't matter anyway, Luq. If he is here for four years, they would strictly by then either negotiate a new contract or sell him on before he walks on a Bosman. The most stupid phrase in football currently (after the "I'm gonna give 110% in every game" nonsense) is "so-un-so is now tied to the club until 2011". No; all he's done is signed a contract that runs for a certain time period. End of. — Michael

Sorry, guys... getting a bit confused. I forgot the blue bar denotes a player purchased not sold. You are of course quite right, it was Kenwright who was in charge when Nyarko signed not Peter Johnson. Boy do I feel stupid. But not as stupid as Kenwright when he handed Nyarko that deal.

Colm, I do however stand by my opinion that AJ/Beattie can be a partnership worthy of any Prem team. It's not the medication talking — I just rate them both very highly.
Dutch Schaffaer, 31/5/06  (London)

We could get pedantic and cite Philip Carter, in the Chair, at that time but I think the original point was more of a nod towards BK and TBH to be honest! On the matter of Johnson and Beattie being a partnership — again, show me where I've said otherwise, they're not good enough? I think we've commented only in a positive manner on Johnson's arrival and would concur that there's potential (at last!) up-front next season. However, I'm not so sure — yet — that the pairing is as good as anything else we'll see next season! — Colm

For Shame, ToffeeWeb Editors
I do not often write comments on here but I am an avid reader of the feedback. However, I feel compelled to write now.

Dutch is correct it was Peter Johnson who sold Duncan to Newcastle but it was Bill Kenwright who was in charge when Nyarko signed.

I feel sorry for Dutch, he makes a comment about AJ and Beattie being a potentially world-class partnership (I happen to agree) and Colm replies somewhat childishly with a cynical comment about medication.

Then he makes a simple mistake regarding Nyarko (something he later apologised for) and Michael is really rude. Michael you could have just pointed out his mistake rather then the verbal bashing you felt obliged to dish out.

I read a lot of Dutch comments and I agree he sometimes looks at things with rose-tinted glasses but he is never rude and never attacks anybody. I would rather read his comments then some of the others who seem to delight in excuses to slag of my beloved club.

If this is how you treat fellow Everton supporters you should be ashamed of yourselves.
John Coten, Wales  (31/5/06)

"Dutch is correct, it was Peter Johnson who sold Duncan to Newcastle." Correct, yes. But show me where Michael, or I, said otherwise? Dutch stated further that we sold him in August 2000 and not in November 1998 when the deal actually occured.

Worry not about Dutch, or cynical childish comments in reply to Dutch, whatever his agenda from behind a moniker may be. I think he enjoys it to be honest!

Apologies if I feel no shame on this matter, John. — Colm

Just thinkin'
I have just seen Moyes at the AJ press conference. He seemed to be saying we could expect another 'big' signing within the next couple of days. Based on the following assumptions....

1.It will be a central defender.
2. It won't be Huth because he's in Germany and doesn't know what's going on.
3.It won't be Lescott because £5.5 million is ridiculous....

....could it be Sol Campbell?
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (31/5/06)

His mental state makes Gascoigne's seem no more than a picnic! — Colm

Erm, actually
The Nyarko incident occurred on Kenwright's watch. this much the admin have correct. Dutch was wrong to suggest Duncan to Newcastle was to pay for this most despicable of players (Nyarko).

And the admin misunderstood Dutch with reference to the most shameful of episodes — it was Johnson who flogged Duncan to Toon, whilst Smith was in charge — I give Smith the credit for taking a stand at such manouevres by his Chairman and helping oust the cretinous cancer of a man.

Anyway, perhaps Dutch could have been clearer as to what he was referring, and perhaps the board admins could just calm down a little when dealing with Dutch instead of jumping to conclusions (in this case the wrong one).

ps: Wherever Alex Nyarko is, I hope he along with Slaven Bilic are in a lot of pain (similar to the pain they put us fans through when they decided they were bigger than Everton and bled the club dry).
Teddy Niigma, Warrington  (31/5/06)

The thing is though... Dutch grabbed the wrong end of the stick from the off! The comment was initially about Nyarko's work permit. That occurred during Kenwright's tenure (or TBH if you prefer), not Johnson's (Peter). We all know it was "Agent Johnson" who flogged Duncan back in 1998. No one replying to the mailbag submissions has said otherwise!

By the way, you forgot to include Mr Barmby in your selection of players now exiled in pain! — Colm

Just a quick note
Don't get me wrong — I'm ecstatic that we've signed AJ. Like most fans, I've been checking constantly for updates and am delighted, if not actually relieved, that it all went through.

Thing is that, although we've been crying out for a player like Andrew Johnson with pace but also who can hit a barn door, let's not forget about James Beattie. He seemed as excited when he joined (if only less articulate), but it's been a bit like playing Peter Beardsley upfront on his own and expecting magic. Beattie has faced a lot (some deserved) stick, but I think that alongside a natural finisher like Johnson we'll see far more for our money where JB is concerned.

Not going to do a Dutch and claim it's as "good as any in the Premiership"... but it's good - and as good as any I can think of for Everton since, well, when I started supporting them in the early 80s. I can't really comment too much about it then as I just wanted them to win without really understanding much about the game.

Anyway, babbling on now, but I think AJ 8 (as he had it at Selhurst) Beattie gets 9, which he so wanted last season and these two mates can really make it exciting next season — especially (as stated by others including Nick) given a little extra movement will give the midfield more opportunities.
Chad Schofield, Cirencester  (31/5/06)

Let's hope this optimism is justified. What price a winger of Dave Thomas's quality to whip in balls for both Beattie and Johnson? We wish... — Colm

Good Luck, AJ!
You have just signed a great player. Pleased he went to you lot as opposed to others. He will score loads of goals. Good luck for the season. He will be missed at SE25 but it was time to let him go.
Darren Geddes, Croydon  (31/5/06)

Nice one, Darren, nice words indeed. You've made a very tidy profit on the lad and it's perhaps worth reminding some of Johnson's loyalty to Palace last season when signing a new deal with the club. Hope you get Charlton at home in one of the cup competitions! — Colm

What you talking about Billy?
Triangle of additions? I was kind of looking for a dodecagon of additions. Assuming Yobo is on his way out of Goodison, or even if he isn't, we need a quality defender (to warm his arse on the bench while Weir and Stubbs get outwitted and outpaced by a couple of snails and a crisp bag week in and week out).

Any midfield who can even on occasion accommodate that "Zidane of the North West": Gary Naysmith, needs an overhaul. Cahill's like a fish out of water and VdM still has fitness issues. We need some depth there at the very least, probably at least two players. Need I go on?
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (31/5/06)

A generation of old remembers the Holy Trinity with affection. Kids growing up today might in time to come recall the Everton of 2006-07 - the Holy Triangle (Johnson, Howard and AN Other) with similar affection! ;-) — Colm

Christ, we've got options!!
Thanks to Dutch Oven and his amazing powers to state the obvious... but the signings of AJ and hopefully Huth will bring a lot more than youth to the squad.

Huth is regularly employed as a sub by Chelsea for his attacking prowess and he also has an incredibly powerful long-range free-kick on him which, even if the keeper reaches, is very difficult to hold on to.

Enter super quick Johnson for the rebound and we've scored!!! Or maybe I'm getting a bit too excited....
Neil Scott, Southport  (31/5/06)

Whoo-hoo! A German 'Peter Lorimer' to whet our appetite. Subject of course to being one of Billy K's triangular pieces. — Colm

Someone owes Dutch an apology.
It was Agent Johnson who sold Duncan to Newcastle. A deal done behind Smith's back. Kenwright was not involved. Say sorry Michael.
Paul Atress, Wirral  (31/5/06)

Paul — most of us know (bar Dutch of course!) that Duncan was sold to Newcastle, by Peter Johnson, back in November 1998. Dutch has most definitely got his facts, and his years, sadly mixed up! - Colm

Am I Wrong???
Michael, I apologise if I was wrong when I said it was Johnson and Smith who signed Nyarko. I was using the information written on ToffeeWeb, the Duncan Ferguson profile (written by a certain Michael Kenrick) claims "In an effort to appease the bankers, Ferguson was sold by then Chairman Johnson".

It then claims the fans reaction to the transfer was so bad that it forced Johnson to resign. Duncan was sold to Newcastle August 2000. Nyarko was signed July 2000 which means Johnson was still in charge. Unless of course the information on the Duncan Ferguson profile is wrong?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (31/5/06)

What are you trying to spin here now Dutch? Let's rewind a bit... Matt Traynor was replying to an earlier post from Luq Yus, who asked a question about the length of contract given to Johnson. He made reference to a player signed by Everton on a five-year contract but with only a four-year work permit. His final question was aimed at Dutch, asking Dutch how well run our Club was (referencing the Nyarko permit fiasco). Dutch's response was to rewrite history and blame a previous chairman for that farce. Wrong! It happened with Bill Kenwright sitting in the Chairman's seat at Goodison. Johnson was gone back in 1999, with True Blue Holdings timing their entry to perfection on the day we tonked Sunderland at Goodison Park. Boxing Day if memory serves me well. You could argue that Johnson (Peter, that is!) had left the building a lot earlier than late 1999!

Duncan was sold to Newcastle in August 2000??? Dear oh dear oh dear Dutch.....this is getting worse! He was brought back in August 2000, not sold to Newcastle then. For your information he was sold in November 1998. You are wrong, wrong, wrong! - Colm

My old Dutch
Unlike Dutch, I don't go overboard in praise of all things Blue — nor do I take part in the blame game (perhaps just a little). Dutch's unflagging optimism is a frustrating brick wall to his pessimistic critics. Their ever more cynical jibes are water off a duck's back to good old Dutch.

In this distant outpost, just like Dutch, I struggle to keep the Blue flag flying. Unlike him, my battle is against fans of other clubs.
Dick Fearon, Western Australia  (31/5/06)

Dick, I believe our pal Dutch affords himself a wry smile every time he reads one of his missives in the mailbag. All part of his little game via the mailbag, no? - Colm

Matt Traynor, Cyber Pint!
Correct me if I'm wrong but it was Peter Johnson and Wally Smith who signed Nyarko on that ridiculous deal. A month later Johnson paid for Nyarko by selling Big Dunc to Newcastle. That shameful incident has nothing to do with the current management Kenwright/Moyes.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (31/5/06)

You're wrong. You're always wrong. You couldn't be more wrong. It was Kenwright's trainset when Nyarjko signed in 2000. Proving that "this shameful incident" has everything to do with William Kenwright Esq. Now please, buzz off and play with your own trainset until we celebrate the next young signing. — Michael

So, So Exciting
The prospect of AJ and Beattie forming a striking partnership is very exciting. There's huge potential there. In fact I would go as far as saying that the Beattie/AJ partnership could be as good as any in the Premiership.

Everton's starting line up next season could be Howard (26), Hibbert (25), Valente (31), Stubbs (34), Yobo (25), Arteta (24), Osman (25), Cahill (26), Van der Meyde (26), Beattie (28) and Johnson (26). The average age of the team is just 26. And that will fall if/when Moyes signs a young defender (Huth/Lescott).

Moyes has always stated he wants to build a young team capable of winning something and the AJ transfer is a big part of the jigsaw.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (31/5/06)

Have you upped the medication recently then, Dutch?! - Colm

Four or Five?
Luq Yus was one of many who's been asking how long Johnson signed for. I've seen both 4 and 5 years mentioned. He also took the piss out of the pseudonym e.mail bomber that often makes us want to laugh and cry at the same time.

Well, for a cyber pint, can anyone guess which club handed a 5-year contract to someone who was on a 4-year work permit? I'll give you a clue: the player was Alex Nyarko.

So Dutch, tell us how well our club is run again?
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (31/5/06)

Oooo.... you got him on that one. Nice move, Matt! — Michael

On a roll
Hats off to Moyes and the Board for getting AJ to sign — no dithering there. Hopefully Huth will follow, but equally hopeful of not losing Arteta & Van the Man (or any others). Van's got the potential, and it's up to Moyes to get the best out of him. HE wants to stay which is a rare thing in football these days. We need to bring in more players and not sell to get some competition for places — otherwise it's going to be a matter of players just turning up.

It's obvious a 'fight' to get picked for the first eleven and to stay on for the full 90 mins will be enough to get the players motivated to prove their worth. Here's hoping for a good start to the next season.
Mike Ekim, Wirral  (31/5/06)

After last season's opening months, it's imperative, for both Moyes and the team, that a decent enough start is achieved. - Colm

Fair play to Moyes, Kenwright and Co. I think Johnson is a great signing and one that really can't be measured by the fee alone. We've missed out on Ashton twice, and though we've probably paid over the odds, if his goals are the difference between last season's turgid offerings and the prospect of at least some entertaining football for Everton fans everywhere, then I think it's money well spent

I only have one concern and that is that the club have been very quiet about the finances i.e. where the money came from and the specifics of the deal. As Aristotle said 'One swallow does not a summer make'. We need to hang on to our better players and there's a lot of rebuilding work that still needs to done on our squad. That means hanging on to our better players like Arteta & Yobo and not cashing in on them to 'rob Peter to pay Paul' so to speak.

Mind you, I have no objections to selling Cahill — for reasons that Michael and others have gone into at length.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (31/5/06)

I suspect, like many others, that the decision to match the bids previously accepted by Palace, was done on the strength of future television revenue. It has also not gone unnoticed that this deal goes through just as our financial year ends... TODAY!!! — Colm

My mate was on a plane to Northern Spain two weeks ago and so was Moyes, off for a four day break. He spoke to Moyes and got the impression we are going to splash some cash this pre-season. Well, a week later we did, he also said "don't worry about Arteta — he is going nowhere." Well, we have heard that before but I actually believe him on this one.
John Murray, Birkenhead  (30/5/06)

Were the youth team present on the flight?! ;-) - Colm

Mr Johnson
Obviously I'm made up we've signed AJ — and beaten off Premiership competition to do so! Ok, it was 'only' Wigan and Bolton (I'm not kidding myself it wouldn't have been different if any of the top 4 had been in for him) but it's been a long time since a very highly-regarded player has openly come out and said 'I want to go to Everton, it's such an exciting opportunity' etc - music to our ears, and it will make him an instant cult hero.

Whether he will do the business for us, only time will tell, but in one fell swoop, signing Johnson has put a buzz round Goodison that hasn't been felt since ... well, fill in your own last line here. What has made me happiest of all is the fact that we have at last shown some AMBITION, which is so important to us fans but even more important is the effect on other possible signings. Word will inevitably go round that maybe Everton are now a club worth joining, who want to do more than just survive in the Premiership. Thank you, AJ, for believing in us and... good luck!
Mike O'Neill, Barcelona  (30/5/06)

Has AJ the EVERTON forward signed a four- or five-year contract? Most media outlets have said four, but the official website says he signed till 2011 — which is five years? Hope it's five!

And again Dutch's lacklustre e.mail is comical. But he thinks 'being happy' with the Board is supporting the club? NAH! They did good now but telling it how it is is what REAL supporters do. They still have a lot to answer for, like the Fortress Sports Fund. Let's not live in cloud nine with the hippies, thinking all is golden, shall we, Dutchy?
Luq Yus, London  (30/5/06)

I suspect it's four, and a case of the official website being somewhat challenged, mathematically speaking. — Michael

The Everton Board
Well done to the Everton Board of Directors. After all the stick they've had, a big congratulations is due from us whingers. The only thing thats baffling is Moysey: not a word from him — have they bound and gagged him till everything was sealed.
Big Dunc Stokey, Stoke  (30/5/06)

I doubt if the Board were actually involved at all beyond approving the overall spending budget that Moyes has been (deliberately?) cagey about. In most businesses, it's up to the management (in this case, Wyness and Moyes, and all the people supporting them) to actually carry through and deliver on a 'project' like this. Keeping silent all the way through is part of Moyes's job; I would expect him to have something to say at the official unveiling later in the week, though. — Michael

Pete St John
Sorry, wasn't making reference to Irish songs, I did genuinely hear Keith Wyness from my lonely prison wall, he was on a podcast.

In all seriousness though, do you think that Kenwright being away has helped our cause?
Jez North, HM Prison, Belmarsh  (30/5/06)

Kenwright's not the one that's "away". That's you Jez! Keep flying the flag for Evertonians in 'Belmarsh'! - Colm

Humble Pie
I sent a letter to ToffeeWeb recently doubting the likelihood of us signing any one of mention. "My arse" was a quote I used.

I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank ALL those involved in bringing Andy Johnson to Everton. I'd also like to request some custard to go with my humble pie...... Credit where credit's due. C'mon you Blues!!!!
Brian Williams, Wirral  (30/5/06)

That's a quick U-turn on opinion! — Colm

All going swimmingly
Three young exciting signings in a matter of weeks? Transfer record broken? Fast Striker at Goodison?

From my lonely prison wall, I hear Keith Wyness call...

....Kenwright is on holiday"

Clearly Bill is making cowboy movies, so can't interfere with our transfers. I think that last scene needs shooting from the top, Billy Boy!
Jez North, HM Prison Belmarsh  (30/5/06)

Red card for the reference to that Pete St John written drivel! - Colm

Arteta rubbish
I totally agree with Steve Connor. Why would the youth team be told about him leaving? Also why would Everton sell him to Man Utd. I would have thought we would surely tout him out around the Spanish clubs first then accept the highest bid! I think keeping Arteta is as essential as buying Jonno. I would sooner not buy another player and keep the little Spanish wizzard.

There's no more news on Man Utd coming in for Carsley then?
Alan  Clarke, Manchester  (30/5/06)

AJ Value
AJ overpriced??? Compare him to what the Liverpool have paid: Cisse £15M, Morientes £10M, Crouch £9M. C'mon give Moyes a bit of credit. I'd take Johnson any day ahead of that lot.
Tom Blue, Liverpool  (30/5/06)

Wot? No reference to Heskey's price tag of a few year's back?! - Colm

Any Improvement??
Watched the 'Magnificent Seventh' DVD the other night. Still can't get over how patronising it was calling it that. However, it was an interesting watch. It brought back the memories of the positivity we felt when Moyes arrived — his interviews all full of ambition and drive and that feeling we were about to become a big club again.

Whether all that can be revived again is debatable; certainly the Johnson signing can't do any harm. What was most telling was the team we had that season — I would back it to beat our current team in a match no danger! How the hell has that happened? We started the campaign at home to Spurs with an attack minded 4-3-3 formation with Rooney playing behind Campbell and Radzinski and Tommy Gravesen in the middle pulling the strings.

I know hindsight is a wonderful thing but, even discounting Rooney, we had passing midfielders with energy and vision (even Li Tie looked handy!), a striker (Campbell) who bagged 11 goals (we were buzzing last season cos Beattie got 9 or 10) and a tricky Brazillian winger on the bench (I know he got injured but can you imagine Moyesy going out and making an exotic signing like that nowadays?).

I remember being at Ewood Park, we were 1-0 up, on the ropes and holding out and Moyesy threw on Rooney instead of another defender — that was such a positive thing to do. He'd never do that now would he? Anyway, perhaps now isn't the time for negativity, what with the club finally making a signing to match our own ambitions.

One thing I would say is that, with Radzinski in the side, he thrived on through-balls from Gravesen and (don't laugh) Li Tie. Johnson is similar in style to Radzinski (although much better) and so surely Moyes must be looking for someone to put those type of balls through from midfield — Cahill and Neville, although handy in other ways, simply can't do this. That is now the priority surely?

Time to bring back Tommy? Just heard Simon Jordan on Sky saying he had got a call confirming Johnson had passed his medical so we can rest easy on that now. I hope.
Jon Sellick, Crosby  (30/5/06)

Wait till you look back on "Off To A Flyer" this time next year! — Colm

Exciting New Signing?????
Whilst I agree that Andrew Johnson (Not AJ) will be a good signing, I don't think he is as exciting a player as Kanchelskis was. Remember, you can't defend against pace. He'll do for starters though.

Who will be next to arrive/depart? Who knows? In addition, I would like to wish England all the best for the World Cup. Everyone up here is right behind Becks and the boys. All the best.
John Scott, Edinburgh  (30/5/06)

Man Utd
Personally, I don't believe that Arteta or Cahill are on the way to Man Utd and why would the youth Squad be taken to one side and told Arteta was going? Give me a break! Nobody does business that way... I hope! AJ is a good buy and Huth will be a good replacement for Yobo, who is more likely to leave than either of the other two.

Also DM should sell that arrogant over-rated McFadden to Rangers or Celtic for £3-4 million. I reckon he would suit the game up there and that would help pay for the AJ transfer.

Let's hope that recent events might bring some hope for next season because the depression oozing out of this mailbag in the last month has been awful. Oh yes we do have De Silva to look forward to? Hehe...
Geoff Wells, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia  (30/5/06)

You've just depressed me with your last sentence!!! — Colm

Formation, formation
Sadly woke myself up last night thinking of a new formation for next season to incorporate AJ. I'm thinking 4-1-3-2, with neville or carsley sat in front of the back 4, then VDM (if he stays) Cahill and Arteta as the attacking 3 in midfield. I know this might just seem like a tinker around, and yes I have been playing FM, but how's that sound to you?
Ian Gulliford, Bridgend  (30/5/06)

We've heard whispers that Moyes is seriously giving thought to playing in a 5-3-2 formation next season. Time will tell... — Colm

Once bitten... twice shy
There is undoubted optimism following the AJ transfer negotiations and further indications that he will be followed by possibly Robert Huth and or Joleon Lescott depending on Joseph Yobo's pending contract decision. After voicing my discontent and criticism of both David Moyes and Bill Kenwright regarding the Club's transfer policy, I must now acknowledge their handling of the AJ deal and feel that we are making considerable progress in strengthening the spine of the side.

With regards to Joseph Yobo, he has stated his ambition and also gone on record as saying that he is looking forward to signing more quality players. All said and done it is up to Yobo where he sees his football future and if he decides to go then so be it. However, what really pisses me off is this continuing rumour-mongering regarding Mikel Arteta, this idle talk is both damaging to the Club and also to the morale, Arteta has gone on record and said that he intends to be at Everton next season, enough said.

The Everton way has always been don't count your chickens as we have a history of having the rug pulled from under us, but for once let's enjoy this new found optimism and let it breed confidence.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (30/5/06)

Hope you're right there Peter! - Colm

Why on earth would the youth squad be pulled in to be told about a speculative, unfinished transfer of a first team player to Man Utd? Some people need to have a word with themselves before they start telling others what is going to happen.

Presumably I should now be harassing my 12-year-old cousin at the Academy to find out if the Chairman has called them in to discuss, over sherbet sticks and Tango, the transfer of Yobo to Arsenal.
Steve Connor, Liverpool  (30/5/06)

Let us know how you get on Steve! — Colm

Thats More Like It
I love it, the feedback is finally full of positivity and dare I say it... support for Everton.

This is more like it, long may it last.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (30/5/06)

Are you suggesting criticism of our Board and their shenanigans negates any Evertonian's support of the club? — Colm

I can't fathom Moyes's tactics, actually putting bids in for NON-injured players!!! He'll be trying to get back into Europe next, the crafty devil!
Mike Ekim, Wirral  (30/5/06)

I'm delighted we've got Andy Johnson. I think we've played top dollar for him, but then that is what is needed for quality strikers. West Ham bought Dean Ashton for £7M, and there were thre clubs in for AJ at £8.5M.

Thanks for the link to his goal tally for Palace, he seems to have scored every type of goal for them and looks like a good foil for Beattie. I particularly liked the headed goal against Liverpool. I actually watched that game on Scandinavian TV and remember him running them ragged. He looked like a top player that day, I was really impressed with him, and he can't be a mug if he managed to score 21 goals for Palace playing up front on his own.

Slightly worrying for me is that I have it on very good grounds that Arteta is going to United in a couple of weeks time. The youth squad were apparently pulled in at Bellefield and told that he is going there in a few weeks. I hope that is not the case, but I'm wondering where we're getting this money from to chase AJ and Lescott from Wolves...
Danny Broderick, London  (30/5/06)

The loss of Arteta to United (if it happens) would be a serious downer that would negate all the positive vibes from the AJ move, and set us way, way back. I don't even wanna think about it. — Michael

Leon Osman
Following recent posts about our home-grown playmaker, I feel he needs more defending. Paul Coleman stated that Leon started playing 'when we clicked' after Christmas. Actually, Leon being in the side for a reasonable length of time was one of the reasons we clicked, not a consequence of it.

When he loses the ball, the reasoning goes he's too weak or too slow. Yet the same thing happens to Beattie, Cahill, VDM etc. but nobody mentions their size.

The truth is that, after Arteta, he is the most skillful player we have and should be cherished as such. He never hides and will only get batter as the years pass. His goal tally is perfectly acceptable and if matched by all our midfielders would put us in the top four or five.

To those who would sell him — who could you buy in a similar vein? You would have us buy a big strapping midfielder but we would still be short of the subtlety that every successful team needs. Especially if we can qualify for Europe. And probably the most important aspect is that he is one of the few players we have I actually enjoy watching play, doesn't that say something?
Mark Manns, Acton, London  (30/5/06)

Call me cynical...
Is anyone else expecting to see a report on Sky Sports News tomorrow morning saying that AJ has failed his medical (thus saving £8.5M for EFC) after being clubbed around the knee by two masked assailants, one of whom was described as a big fat fella, the other being some thespian who was heard to mention how he 'dearly, dearly, dearly, dearly, truly loves this wonderful club' before making a remark about how good it was when we had Dixie Dean?
Ryan Wilde, Newton-le-Willows  (29/5/06)

Andrew Johnson
First, great article again by Nick Armitage on Andy J. Just my twopenneth to add to his very valid points:

(i) Penalties AJ has scored, how do you think baldie no-eyes Shearer got his goal tally up for the last five or six years of his career? Please, someone, give us the statto on that as I'm sure he scored more pens than anyone else.

(ii) To gild the "Who is sorry now?" quote, and perhaps early for Everton to say, but don't forget Juventus let one Thierry Henry go as they said he was rubbish and would never account to a top striker.
I am really looking forward to getting a decent strike partnership to watch, which I and everyone I know has been screaming out for, for what seems like an eternity. I think he'll keep the Number 8 and JB will switch to Number 9. Colm: great point about numbers by the way, I much prefer the 1-11 too.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (29/5/06)

Football On Merseyside
I'm lucky enough to have a copy of the above book (first published in 1963). It is a unique and factual account of Everton's early history, the only downside being it gives equal coverage to our cousin's from the dark side.

There are some fantastic black and white photo's from the 1950's including on page 145 a pitch invasion at Stamford Bridge when Everton were the visitors and two middle-aged manic looking spectators complete with long raincoats are about to confront the Everton 'outside-left' Laverick with a view to throttling him. Who said pitch invasions are a curse of the modern game?

There is also a full and scripted account of the celebration dinner at the Adelphi Hotel in August 1892 to mark the opening of Goodison Park. The ground was officially opened by Lord Kinnaird, president of the Football Association, along with Mr G Mahon, president of the club. Interestingly, in his reply to the toast of the club, he stated 'that it was his endeavour to save the game from the taint of rowdyism and betting' Sky Sports, watch out!

I'm sure there would be sufficient interest if anybody decided to publish a re-print of this book. If you're lucky enough to get hold of a copy then do so; it's the definitive early history of Everton Football Club.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (29/5/06)

Thanks for that, Steve. I think we'll make this into the official ToffeeWeb Book Review for that one, unless you have any objections. — Michael

AJ (presumed signed)
My two lads are both Palace fans who've forsaken the blue-bloodline for the best of geographical reasons. At least they've had the good grace to say that if AJ had to go anywhere then best we keep him in the family.

I've seen quite a bit of AJ over the past few seasons and - like Lineker before him and Ian Wright (another Palace man) — while he is on the pitch you always feel that you're going to get something out of the game. If he'd played in the Premiership this season, the busted flush that's Sven G E wouldn't be destroying the confidence of an untried kid in Walcott or considering Rooney's foot like some medieval relic.

AJ's hard as nails — when he goes down, he's straight back up again (that Iain Dowie 'bouncebackability', maybe). He tackles efficiently, has very good control and doesn't mind how they go in — tap-ins, from distance, chasing a long-ball — and his Skippy factor outjumps even Tim Cahill.

He's no diver, either. Rather, he goes in where it hurts and where defenders have to take him on. His running off the ball will not only drag defenders and create space for Beattie, but give our midfield an intellgient passing option. The only downside is that if things aren't going too well, he has a tendency to track back to get the ball.

He's a good pro, modest — no 'crowing' when he beat his former club Birmingham — and, I believe, will prove excellent business at £8.5M. I'm only sorry he's signed for just four years. Will he still be ours when South Africa 2008 rolls along? But that's a Toffee with a fatalistic centre for you.
Guy Pierce, Hastings  (29/5/06)

Some great perspective there, Guy. We may just have to plagiarize that for our AJ profile (if and when the deal is completed). — Michael

Ossie Ossie Ossie
I knew me throwing Osman in with Carsley and Kilbane would raise a few eyebrows. It's just a personal opinion. At the start of last season, Osman did my nut in because he did nothing for the team other than stand around with his arms in the air complaining to the referee. Then when we clicked after Christmas he started playing again. Osman is an average player IMO, yet sadly that makes him one of our better players.

I would sell Osman and McFadden then use the money to put towards a quality midfielder. I only say this because they are the only two squad players we have with any value. You can try and sell Kilbane and Carsley but I think you would only get a packet on nuts for them.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (29/5/06)

It really is a pity about Ossie. He had a great eye for goals when coming up through the reserves, and has banged in a few at the top level... but nowhere near enough. He has a good footballing brain and can play a bit but the ease with which he is pushed off the ball will always be his biggest weakness. Since this is par for the Prem, he gets no protection from referees. Hopefully in next season's team, with a greater amount of movement and some more open spaces, we can see Osssie shine once again. [Isn't it wonderful how optimistic a good signing makes you! I'm beginning to come over all Dutch!] — Michael

Is Moyes Shrewd?
Is Moyes actually the master tactician that I haven't given him credit for the last two seasons? Allowing Ferrari to leave so Huth can arrive is a master stroke... IF he decides to sign here! And Huth is the only other centre-back i would have love to have seen here (barring Ferrari); it would allow many of us to 'forgive' Moyes for getting shut of Ferrari and keeping Weir.

If AJ and Huth sign it gives us a much stronger spine through the middle and both players are still quite young, which is only good for us. But 1) AJ hasn't signed yet 2) Huth hasn't signed yet. So we are still up a certain creek without a paddle for the moment with the current crop. Happy days if they sign and God-Willing they will.

BUT we still need strengthening in midfield and attack and fear that there is little dosh left to do that. And regarding Paul Coleman comments on Ossie should leave and SWP signing on loan? Neither will happen! Osman is one of our best players so I find that statement utterly bizarre!

And lastly oh my dear Dutch! Your sad attempt to even sound happy about AJ signing was so shallow it is and was laughable. He really enjoys us being shite its disgusting. Will we see you at Wednesday press conference in a trench-coat with a banner saying 'Moyes don't sign AJ, he is far too good. Instead sign Paul Dickov, he is the right age and price oh Moyes my leader'!!!
Luq Yus, London  (29/5/06)

Hahaha! Good call for the Huth/Ferrari connection. We shall see what unfolds... [Was that really from you, Luq! I had to do a double-take when I saw your name. Glad to see the anger management of a good (potential) signing is working so well!!!] — Michael

Would we really be buying players on the premise of selling our better players? I'm a cynic but I don't think this is true. We wouldn't recup that much for any of our current squad for a start. Surely we'd need to sell them first so we had the finance in place to go splashing the cash? I will give Kenwright some credit though when I see Johnson in an Everton shirt... but the cynic in me asks why didn't he do this last year?
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (29/5/06)

I don't think we mere mortals can begin to understand the financial machinations that underpin some of these transfers — hence Colm's favourite BK qoute "You don't need £5M..." And yes, the fact that Davey dithered over Johnson last summer does does take the shine off just a little. — Michael

According to reports, we have a £5M bid in for Huth [hope not!]. Having watched Huth a few times, he seems to be very good when Chelsea are at full strength but only average when their second eleven are out. I could name some better and cheaper options but there's no point, and I know the editor would flag me down for a Football Manager moment, so I will resist.
Big Dunc Stokey, Stoke  (29/5/06)

Sensible lad. — Michael

I'm excited too!!!
Given what's been mooted in The Times this morning, could a team like this be a real possibility for next season?:

Yobo (signs due to new arrivals or sold & replaced by Lescott)
Van der Meyde (if bloody fit!)

Hypothesising, yes, but I too am more excited than I have been as a supporter in donkeys years. If a team like the above does come to fruition, then it represents a quantum leap in quality over what was endured during the Smith era. It also shows that the penny has finally dropped with those behind the scenes (anything to do with TV money I wonder?). I know it's taken time and as Evertonians we remember the constant disappointments, but let's get right behind them now. Roll on the mid-week press conference and hopefully a few more to follow!!!
Alexei Sayle, Northampton  (29/5/06)

Everton by David Prentice
This book is currently available through Book Butler.

The best book I've ever read on early Everton history is Football on Mersyeside by Percy M Young. I think it was written in the 30s so memories were still fresh and some of the people involved in the earliest days were still alive. I would make this book compulsory reading; talk about "if you know yer history!".
Phil Bellis, Essex  (29/5/06)

That's a great link for book searches — Thanks, Phil.

I don't have Football on Mersyeside but I do know it was published in 1963. I bet the book you are thinking about is actually this one by Thomas Keates (1929), republished superbly a few years ago, and truly compulsory reading "if you know yer history!" — despite the highly archaic style. — Michael

Number 9
Okay, let's place our bets... with all being well for AJ's medical, I think I heard he will sign for defo on Wednesday. Who do we reckon will get the Number 9 shirt?

Also, does anyone know if Anderson Da Silva is returning for this season as he must have surely got a work permit now?
Ian McShane, Sheffield  (29/5/06)

Reign my horses
So Michael Kenrick is already giggling at the seams for the future of EFC, since the "interview" AJ has given for the official website. Most exciting signing since Kanchelskis? I would reign my horses a little in thank you. Of course he would have said that. Between us, Wigan and Bolton? Yes, our history holds up.

Hopefully his presence in the lineup will free up Moyes's attacking mindset. Beattie will also get better because of this, since he no longer needs to hold the frontline, which is NOT what we bought him for. I feel very optimistic for the striking department though: we now have AJ, Beattie, Vaughn, Anichebe, Faddy etc. It's a pretty solid group.

So yes. I am a little excited, of course. But much work still needs to be done. I will not attempt to even suggest potential signings for other positions (defence, midfield) since somehow that qualifies as pure wishful thinking and 'Football Manager' comments. Please, if anyone has played FM before, they know that even if you buy the best players in the world, you still need a decent manager and tactics to find a winning formula. All hands on the deck now, all eyes on David Moyes now to see if he can prove that.
Mikhail Ridhuan, Singapore  (29/5/06)

Aaargggh!! FM alert! I blame those Collyer brothers... - Colm

So AJ is in the bag? I am also reading that a bid has been accepted for my preferred centre back, Robert Huth. If this is true then this is very exciting for me and hopefully Mr Yobo will show a bit of faith and sign his contract. I still want to see Kevin Nolan, but I'm sure Moyes will have to sell before he can buy him.

The problem is that over the years we have a bad habit of buying good players and then selling some of our existing good players to finance the deals. This could happen this year with the sales of Van der Meyde and Yobo. I want to see us keep our better players and just add to them. Could you imagine where we could finish next season with our existing squad + AJ, Huth, Shaun Wright-Phillips (loan), and Kevin Nolan? Let's not forget Scott Spencer who we could throw in if any of the front two get injured.

By all means, Davie, sell Kilbane, Osman or Carsley but don't get rid of any of our better players or it will just be one step forward and two steps back.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (29/5/06)

Agree in principle with what you're saying Paul. No doubting Van der Meyde's ability but so many Evertonians blindly overlook his woeful capacity for being out injured. That is simply not good enough for Everton. We deride the ability of a player like Kevin Kilbane who though not as talented a player as Van der Meyde, is forever available for selection and versatile enough (a luxury for Moyes this past season) to perform whatever role it is Moyes sets him. We simply cannot afford to allow the likes of Kilbane depart just yet. He still has a part to play in our hoped for progression next term. I'll decline (this time!) from passing comment on your ease in offloading precious little Leon! — Colm

Just can't hide it!
Well it looks as if AJ is going to be playing for us!!! GET IN!

I was going to wait until the medical had been done and dusted — but I'm so excited (and even more so having seen the vid link from Michael's piece titled just that).

Genuinely think that we'll see JB completely transformed too — he's not a out-and-out striker, but together with AJ could be really exciting. I hope that it turn will free up Cahill (I don’t think he's deserved some of the shit he's had on here).

Only worry is obviously the pensioners at the back, but I'm so happy at the moment I don't care. Looking forward to the World Cup, and let's see if we get a good enough bid for Yobo to strengthen some more (I know he's not playing in WC but obviously waiting for proper "crazy season" to begin; otherwise, he'll just have to attract clubs by playing well for us next season — he might even decide he wants to stay after that?!).

Anyway, thank you DM and BK - keep up the positivity Dutch! COME ON YOU BLUES! (God, I'm going to look like such a tit if there's a prob in the medical!)
Chad Schofield, Criencester  (29/5/06)

Let's hope that Johnson's impending arrival is a catalyst to better times. — Colm

No 8 or No 9?
Now, barring a failed medical, Andy Johnson will become our newest signing: do we make him our new Number 9? Or give the honour to Beattie and let Andy continue as he was with Palace with Number 8?

I don't imagine Everton will leave it long in deciding this, as obviously fans will rush to get the new shirt with Johnson's name and number on the back! (Me being one of them!)

Either way, it'll be another indication as to Everton's marketing prowess!
Steven Astley, Wigan  (29/5/06)

Gimme the 'old days'... one to eleven. End of! — Colm

I am glad Michael Kenrick shares my view that this is by far the most exciting move we have made since Kanchelskis, and the video link shows Johnson certainly has a lot to be desired, well found!

It is great that a player wants to join us as we are one of the biggest clubs in the British game as it goes a little way to slowing down the decline of the club. Hopefully, from this day, others will follow suit and we will rise like a phoenix from the flames... or maybe not.

Next season may prove to be an exciting one, Beats and Johnno up front, Van der Meyde (if fit), Howard, Arteta and Cahill are all players most Premiership teams would snap up in an instant. I just hope there is enough to get another wide player and a couple of centre halves.

The Board take a lot of stick from us, something I am guilty of too, but praise were praise is due — let's just hope he carries the form from Palace to Everton. Here's to next season.
Michael Mulhall, Blue Heaven  (29/5/06)

Moneybags or what?
According to The Times (so it must be true!) we now have an offer on the table for Huth! Perhaps you don't need any money at all to buy a £5M pound player!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (29/5/06)

Perhaps not. But you do need a guaranteed minimum £28M per season TV money income sitting around the next corner, in order to possibly get an advance — and therefore secure the services of certain players! — Colm

Midfielders needed
With the imminent arrival of Andy Johnson and rumours of Robert Huth being a possibility, things are starting to look pretty promising for next season. However, central midfield still looks a major problem to me. I have always believed that central midfield is where games are won or lost.

Winning the battle for midfield allows teams to dictate the pace and dominate possession of a game. Great central midfielders of the past like Keane, Viera and further back Reid and Souness, were strong characters, leaders who dragged the rest of the team on with them. They had a presence and instilled fear into opposition midfields, and also they could pass and tackle.

I know its a little unfair to contrast our midfield with such great players but if we are looking to build a successful team I think we need to be looking for players with at least some of their qualities. I feel we only have one recognisable central midfielder at the club, Carsley. Other players used there (Neville, Cahill, and Arteta) are not suited to that position and are not effective — hence the need for five in midfield most of the time.

I would be happy to get Gravesen back and maybe take a chance on Joey Barton. Anyway I hope central midfield is addressed while we are throwing all this money around and the optimism can continue. Up the Toffees.
Tom Sullivan, Liverpool  (29/5/06)

Wonder indeed if that first option on Gravesen returning might happen this summer? — Colm

The Truth About Cottee
I read Adam Carey’s post of 26/05/06 with interest, and his comment about Tony Cottee.

Like Adam, I was chuffed when the Mirror ran the headline ‘Tony’s a Toffee’ (days after the Sun had written ‘Tony’s a Gooner’). That season was when we spent a pile of cash to revitalise the squad (okay, forget about Neil Mac…). We’d finished 4th as defending Champions, and that simply was not good enough. (This is probably best kept to another article). I was privileged enough to be inside Goodison when TC scored after 30 seconds, and went on to claim the match ball.

During his time at Everton, he scored 99 goals — a lot of his appearances under HK II being as sub. Yes, he was capable of missing from 2 yards, but what I feel a lot of people missed was the fact he was, in fact, a natural finisher. I got the distinct impression he wasn’t liked in the dressing room, but having met him a couple of times, I am pretty sure he had the Everton fans in his heart. His autobiography was called ‘Claret and Blues’– the Blues being an obvious reference to his four years at Goodison, before being kicked out back to West Ham in exchange for David Fucking Burrows… (HK will always be a legend, but we have to be realistic in assessing his second and third spells – particularly the third).

Moving swiftly on to our current situation with AJ (and at the time of writing I don’t know if BK has found enough coins down the back of his sofa to make this happen), but I like what I’ve read — courtesy of TW, the lifeblood for some of us expats. He’s making all the right noises in what he says. After the retirement of our pigeon fancier (he won’t play anywhere else), Everton fans are crying out for a hero, someone to love. For whatever reason, Beattie doesn’t do it. Step forward AJ — your adoring fans await you…
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (29/5/06)

Amen to that, Brother Matt! ;-) - Colm

Fat Lady?
Is the fat lady about to sing at Goodison Park? Is it really true that Mr A Johnson esq is about to sign on the dotted?

Sorry, this here ever eternal pessimist still needs convincing... no matter what it says on the EFC website!
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (29/5/06)

Click your heels together three times... and think, "there's no place like Goodison Park, there's no place...." - Colm

Who is next?
Now that it seems we have got AJ {never certain until the medical is complete}, where do we go next? A central defender is a must as is a creative midfielder as — if Arteta is out — we have no quality in that role. If we are spent up, who should we sell to raise funds?

I go to away games and I would be interested in the thoughts of other away fans who see both sides of the players, including the ones who disappear when the going gets tough. Also, if AJ scores enough goals to climb a few places, will he still be over-priced?
Roy Coyne, Liverpool  (29/5/06)

Reply to Michael Kenrick
Over many years thanks to my lovely Liverpool-based family I have a collection of Everton memorabilia ranging from shirts, floor mats, books etc, none of which are for sale, loan or swap.

I have an 'EVERTON' by Matthew Graham, pen name of a newspaper journalist. His real name is not mentioned in my book that also has a blurb 'Enlarged 1987 Championship edition.' The year may be different but I wonder if Matthew Graham is actually David Prentice who wrote the 1989 'EVERTON'
Dick Fearon, W Australia  (29/5/06)

Hello, Dick; I too have that one by Matthew Graham (ISBN: 0600556336). I don't believe it is the same as Everton by David Prentice (ISBN: 0361085117). Thanks! — Michael

Hi Michael
My post had nothing to do with elitism, just a reminder that we can judge nothing until we know what has been negotiated on the playing front. We will then cheer those on for 38 matches and along the way comment on what we have witnessed. The 17,000 figure came from the reported number of fans who renewed season tickets in the no-increase window, before even a keeper was secured on loan.

If anyone from the club reads this site they will realise the significance of ONLY 17,000 Evertonians reportedly taking up the offer. Going to the games is a habit and if that habit starts to decline, especially with habitual renewers of season tickets, then we are not 'Boot Boys or Hard men' as you have it, but those who vote with their feet. Small numbers of hardcore fans are always harder for clubs to deal with than great numbers. My concern is that the Club progress to 30,000 habitual renewers of season tickets who do so in anticipation.
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (28/5/06)

Good response, Ken! Sorry to have goaded you there a bit. Maybe my dinner hadn't settled! — Michael

Just had a look at the mailbag and all hell is breaking loose when in fact we have only secured the services of a keeper!! The fullness of time (window close) will see the extent of our rebuilding programme, which may see incomings and outgoings. The result of this will be felt by the 17,000 hardcore fans who I am sure will deliver a verdict by all means possible.

For all the fancy Dans who write incognito on all things Goodison I say, for God's sake, come and join us for a full season and then make your mind up on whether we have had a good season or not — don't rely on your crystal balls and over-the-top posters who are mostly fictitious.

Us, the faithful ones, we criticize only on what is — not what might be.

Last season, we gave Moyes and the Board a bollocking and have beseeched them to try harder. If they heed that then they will have made us happy; if they don't then expect the 17,000 hardcore fans to do far more for the furtherance of this club than all the computer game fans can ever do.

Check the text by all means but it won't be until the end of August that we as fans can start to determine the outcome of the window. We will have kicked off and I am confident we will be seeing postings here of likely outcomes without the posters realising that a season comprises of 38 games.

Bill, Keith, and Davey will be once again judged over those 38 games and the overall verdict will be delivered. The trick for the Board is to know how far to push the 17,000 hardcore fans. We are a voice, maybe relatively silent, but a big big voice. May the seasons dealings leave us with just a shout of something positive.

World Cup? When do the pre-season friendlies start? UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (28/5/06)

Hardcore? Or just hard? It sounds like some simmering threat from the boot boys who are gonna give it one if they aren't happy. Trouble is, Ken, if you believe those 17,000 are going to think as one, I suspect you'll be mistaken. (How did you land on 17,000 anyway?)

Some claim that the (hopefully imminent) signing of Andy Johnson is a result of fan pressure, even if the need was blindingly obvious. Fan pressure that probably would have remained silent if we all maintained the "wait and see" approach. I think we all have a right to comment on proceedings as they happen, whether we belong to the minority of Evertonians who regularly attend matches, or are part of the vastly larger majority who (for one reason or another) are not regular match-goers.

We're all Evertonians — Let's not get into that elitist "I'm a better fan than you are" bullshit, please. — Michael

Everton — long shot
In reply to the fan who is looking for the book "Everton" by Dave Prentice (1989), I have just bought a book "Everton's FA Cup 100" from and I saw the book listed whilst searching through the vast amount of Everton titles they had for sale. I ordered my book on Tuesday and received it on Friday — it was £7 cheaper than the £20 publishers price. It is a must-have book for any blue.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (28/5/06)

It was me; I was being a lazy cheapskate, hoping someone would scan the front cover for me... I thought the ToffeeWeb list of Everton Books was pretty complete and I was stunned to find I had never included this one. Guess I'll have to buy it now!

On a similar theme, our DVD list is in serious need of updating. Would anyone like to work with me on this? You need to have (i) a good collection of Everton DVDs (b) a scanner, and (3) the mind of a librarian! — Michael

Oh for Jacob's sake
Andy Johnson hasn't even signed — yet the snipers are out for his neck. 'Oh he is just a penalty taker', and 'Oh he scores flukey goals'. Bloody us — that's who! So I won't care even if we sign a striker called Bobby No-Nuts, if he bangs in more than the fat man with the sports bra and the little Scottish spinning top who wants a pay increase for being shite, then what choice do we have?

Yes, I would like the money not all to be blown on one player, but with Moyes at the helm he would have blown it on useless players anyway! And speaking of useless: How many games did Naysmith play this season? SO WHY RENEW HIS CONTRACT! Even if Johnson signs there still is trouble abrewing at fort Goodison!
Luq Yus, London  (28/5/06)

You really do need anger management, fella. "Which club has the ALL TIME lowest goal-scoring record in the Premiership?" Our goal-scoring last season was poor but as for all-time in the Premiership...

  • 21 Sunderland (2002-03)
  • 26 Sunderland (2005-06)
  • 28 West Brom (2005-06)
  • 29 West Brom (2002-03)
  • 29 Sunderland (2001-02)
  • 30 Leicester (2001-02)
  • 30 Bradford (2000-01)
  • 31 Birmingham (2005-06)
  • 32 Blackburn (2004-05)
  • 33 Derby County (2001-02)
... and I got bored at that point but there are at least another 10 occurrences since Sky invented football. Our distinction was the lowest ever goals-scored total in a season for the club, including the many seasons that preceded the Premiership. — Michael

Glad to see Mark Hughes given a new contract. Hopefully the youngster can follow the example of James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe & John Ruddy and break into the first team next season.

As for selling Joey Yobo? Great player but prone to mistakes. Yobo himself seems a bit jaded lately and maybe needs a fresh challenge. Selling Yobo and using the money to balance the books and bring in Joleon Lescott sounds like a good deal for all parties.

Is AJ going to sign??? Exciting times for the Everton fans.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (28/5/06)

Hows about a homerun?
Hi Gavin; I hate to make this a round of post-board tennis but I think you will find that we are not Arsenal, we are not run like Arsenal and furthermore, we are not Japanese.

Shrewd investment policies are all very fine and well but, due to the gross negligence and incompetence of PREVIOUS boards (dating back to the halcyon days when we were on a par with the 'mighty' Arsenal), we don't have two shillings to rub together — so investment in times of an economic lull (???) is the purest fantasy.

So Everton FC being the unique financial opportunity (the one that has seen BK not get a full night's sleep due to offers for the club) goes to show how any "shrewd and effective businessmen or women" must be waiting on tenterhooks at the idea of "running the club and reinvesting in it to expand it to where it could and should have been."
Teddy Niigma, Warrington  (28/5/06)

Funny how we are (reportedly) about to break the club transfer record with 170 million shillings... but this thread is going nowhere and is now closed. Thanks, guys! — Michael

After reading Tony Marsh's latest contribution, I know where I'm going for me summer hols. Fuck me, the place must be brilliant!
Steve Connor, Liverpool  (28/5/06)

An perhaps it will last through the season! — Michael

You Did It Again!!!
Ok, a plea to ToffeeWeb Towers: 'Why oh why oh why' — (c) That's Life — do you have to ask a question like 'is £6m+ too much for AJ?'. One, it's a leading question. Two, the options were along the lines of 'Yes, we're desperate', and 'No, it's too much'.

What about more objective options like, 'It's a lot, but given the over-inflated prices in the market, it's worth paying / not paying'?

Christ, guys, I know you do sterling work, but as someone who kinda dabbles in journalism, that's not good writing (and our Singapore readers will know EXACTLY what I'm talking about!!). My fear is, assuming the guy signs, he's going to have a huge load on his shoulders before he kicks a ball — weighed down by expectation. Anyone remember Tony Cottee?

(I repeat - overall, you do a great job on this website. So many of us live by it, and so few actually write in...)
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (28/5/06)

Methinks thou dust protest too much. It's basically a yes/no question however you ask it. There are a lot of nuances, many of which have been brought out already in the mailbag. It's just a straw poll... the expectation will be there with or without our efforts — it will be massive because of the massive price tag — not because of — Michael

Bill's not that bad
Quote from the ever-likeable Chairman of Crystal Palace:

'Would another season for Andrew in the Championship do him any good and, if we're talking money, would it do the club good if he's not setting the world alight next season?'


On a lighter note, try this link. It's produced by a friend of mine - and she likes me enough to consider doing an EFC-centric one. Ideas on a postcard...
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (28/5/06)

Moyes has said that he would want £8 million for Yobo. If Yobo does go at that fee, I'm not that gutted as we could sign two good centre-backs in Lescott and Curtis Davies (although this might raise the concern that the Johnson deal was done with the Yobo money). But I'm a bit sceptical that we could get £8 million for Yobo if he had four years left on his contract, never mind a year left.

Moyes's quote shows his naivety in the post-Bosman ruling era. Players have more power than clubs, therefore it's important we give an extension when he has two years left or sell him if he doesn't agree... Never ever let it run below 24 months!!!

Unless Yobo signs a new contract, he will leave £2-£3 million or on a free transfer at the end of next season.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Johor, Malaysia  (28/5/06)

Goal scoring midfield
Top teams do not rely solely upon twin spearheads to win games. They have midfielders who score vital goals. Look at Chelsea, Arsenal, the other lot, etc — without their goalscoring midfielders where would they be?

We only have Cahill with a goalscoring instinct. With JB and AJ up front it, would be difficult for defenders to track Tim's late runs. He has earned the right to a place in the new set up.

On another note, I hear that old friend Collina is getting a mention in the Juventus / Referee's scandal.
Dick Fearon, Australia  (27/5/06)

Er... Osman? Third in our goal-scoring ranks last season... — Michael

Long shot: Does anyone have a book simply named "Everton", and penned by Liverpool Echo journalist David Prentice back in 1989?
Michael Kenrick, ToffeeWeb Towers  (27/5/06)

Thank You, Luq Yus
Thank you for expressing my point so succinctly: with a 4-4-2 system, if and when Johnson arrives, how will we protect our defence and who will create chances from the midfield, where only Arteta looks a creative force. With a five-man midfield, we've struggled to be anything other than good at closing down the opposition.

Paul Coleman has the answer; unfortunately, it's built on monopoly money. To me, the one definite is that Yobo must be kept and not sold on to create funds or pay for Johnson.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (27/5/06)

Andy Johnson
I still can`t help thinking that £8.5M is a lot of money to pay for what basically amounts to a quick penalty taker and not the new Gary Lineker (nowhere near) that a previous correspondent referred to. We`d be far better spending the money on a decent centre half (ie, Lescott) and a forward who really would love to play for Everton (ie, Nugent).

Also, I don`t think Johnson is 5 or 6 million pounds better than Nugent; after all, they both played in the same division last season with nothing to choose between the pair of them. That would then give us more money to spend where it really matters on a quality ball-winning midfielder. And if Bolton sign Johnson, they might want to sell Kevin Nolan to recoup some money...
Anthony Dilworth, Morecambe  (27/5/06)

Missing The Point
Chris Wright suggests that I missed the point of his original submission. On the contrary, I found his letter crystal clear. The points were that International selection for England was dependent on playing for a favoured club and that the Manager did not cast his net wide enough. I also concluded that he felt the Blues were particularly hard done by as he suggested that even Gerrard would not be selected if he played for us. (Too ludicrous to merit comment.)

I think he is wrong and supplied examples of players capped whilst at unfashionable clubs. There are more, Kevin Phillips, Gareth Barry, Chris Powell, Danny Mills and even players like Lampard and Cole were capped whilst at West Ham.

There is no evidence that Sven does not use players from unfashionable clubs if he deems them good enough. Chris cites the example of Phil Neville and Heskey unwanted by Sven since leaving big clubs.

Phil is not good enough to hold down a regular place in a top four Premiership club nor at international level. His strength is as a squad player who can cover a number of positions from the bench or to be brought on to close a game down in the latter stages and in those roles he rarely lets anyone down. Unfortunately, you only need one in your squad and England have decided that Carragher can cover not only full back and holding midfield but also centre back. There is no conspiracy: he has simply been replaced by someone more versatile.

As for Heskey there is certainly a case for asking why he was chosen in the first pace but it is also true that both Sven and the Red Frenchman had both tired of him before he went to Birmingham were his miserable goal scoring record has got even worse.

The simple truth is that we don't have an international class player on our book and if site contributors can't agree on whether Neville, Osman and Hibbert are good enough for us, how can Sven be blamed for overlooking them?
Charlie Jones, Liverpool  (27/5/06)

That's deffo one of those pub arguements that could go on well into the night... but not here, thank you! — Michael

Michael, my reference to next years league as the 'most competitive' did not pertain to the title race itself rather the fight below the top 4 to ensure 'Premiership survival'. A fight we found ourselves in until the post-Christmas purple patch last season.

Wigan nearly outbid Everton for a player, Michael, fucking Wigan! This is the competition to which I am referring. Competition from clubs not fit to wipe our hole, at least historically. There will be no Sunderlands next year as teams will be willing to over-reach their budgets over the summer to get their share of the TV windfall. I feared we were going to stand still and watch as others passed us by but we have not, to Kenwright's credit. That was the reason for my post and not as you suggested that I was somehow brainwashed by the Fox/Sky PR machine into believing that anyone could win the league.

I also do not understand why living in the States somehow devalues my opinion. 90% of my info comes from your own website! You don't have to live in Liverpool to follow the progress of the club in fact somtimes distance gives a little perspective.
Ronan Hanly, Boston, MA  (27/5/06)

Yea... I know you were referring to the lower end and not the upper... So it will be competitive — it was competitive last season, it's competitive every season... It's a competition! — When is not competitive?

I was stuck by how you could rate the degree of competition from one season to the next. How do you do that? There is ALWAYS a battle for survival in Prem, and there are ALWAYS a significant number of clubs (decreasing as the season goes on) involved (usually the ones in the lower half of the table — the ones with the fewest points!!!). Sorry I jumped on ya, but I don't think your original statement had any merit.

Now, as for living in the USA... well, I'll let Colm comment on that. He says it has a serious affects one's spelling! — Michael

If we do sign Johnson, how the hell is he going to score goals with the woeful supply from midfield (excluding Arteta and Osman)? Haven't thought of that, have we! And until he signs (or doesn't!), I ain't celebrating — merely checking the internet every 10 minutes for news! And still no Dutch? He must not like success at the club, hence he rabbit trick. Advice from me, Dutchy: STAY AWAY!
Luq Yus, London  (27/5/06)

Good business
AJ is a great signing (if completed) and while at the minute it seems that too much money has been spent, taking a long-term view, I don't believe that to be the case. Next season's Premier League will be the most competitive ever with clubs doing whatever it takes to position themselves for Premiership survival. With the new TV deal on the horizon, last season's £6M player is now an £8M player. The reason smaller clubs like Bolton and Wigan can even contemplate paying such an amount of money for a player is the sign of a new economic reality on the horizon.

In two years, that top twenty list Buster's always blathering on about will be comprised of 80% English clubs with a couple of the usual suspects from abroad. The Premier League will soon actually live up to its name and I'm glad that BK/KW/DM are prepared to do what it takes to make sure we are a part of it.

This TV money is the kind of carrot that attracts new investment and BK knows that he needs only to preserve the status quo for a year and a half before he cashes in the old 'train set' and rides off into the sunset (no cowboy movie reference intended) as the man who saved Everton.
Ronan Hanly, Boston, MA  (27/5/06)

Was it not relatively recently (perhaps pre-Abramovich... I forget now) that we were talking about the whole bubble bursting and purists predicting that Real Football would emerge once again from the ashes? We do seem to be as far as ever from that happening, with certainly no sign of Premiership attendances waning. Indeed, with huge capacity increases at Man Utd and Arsenal next season, perhaps what we saw a couple of years ago was merely a blip — a mid-term re-alignment — and the cash cow will continue to just grow and grow.

How this quite translates into "Next season's Premier League [being] the most competitive ever with clubs doing whatever it takes to position themselves for Premiership survival" — methinks you've been living in Yankeeland and watching Fox Sports Channel for a bit too long! — Michael

Who Next??
I am really clueless about how much money we have to spend but I would be delighted with two more players after Johnson (if he signs). The two players I want, who are realistic buys, are Huth and Nolan. I prefer Huth over Lescott because I have seen Huth play and think his strength will compliment Yobo's pace.

Nolan I want because I think he would like to come to Everton and he would be quite easy to get hold of. The only problem is that this will likely push our summer spending to near £20 million again.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (27/5/06)

"It doesn't take £20 million..." ??? — Michael

Need a midfielder...?
All this talk of needing another midfielder puts me in mind of the Brazilian we supposedly signed last year who played out the season for Malaga FC. Will he ever play for Everton, I wonder?
Rupert Sullivan, Reading  (27/5/06)

At last!?!
Well, according to the papers, we've got AJ. Great! That's one down, two to go; now for a central defender and a decent ball winner.

Things are looking up at last. If we can get Yobo to sign a new deal then couldn't we offer Weir with cash for Lescott [not FM just an idea]? And how about getting Gravesen back? He could be a cheaper option than most and I haven't of heard any one being after him lately. With Gravesen and Arteta in the middle, we might be able to get a good deal for Cahill [if he has a decent World Cup]

Maybe it's time to start wheelin' and dealin', Mr Moyes???
Big Dunc Stokey, Stoke  (27/5/06)

It has all gone very quiet with regard to Tommy — to the point where I'd forgotten all about him. And there is supposedly that first option. I just wonder if a step back would really be the step forward we need in midfield... — Michael

Chill Pill to Mr Pseudonym
Hi, Mr Pseudonym. I hate to make this a post-board tennis match but think you will find that no true Evertonian wants to be Arsenal. Many just aspire to the way they have progressed as a club and business from the same starting blocks as Everton and shown how it's done.

Yes, you can bleat about the lure of the "big smoke" in attracting foreign players and young heads can be turned far easier with a wad of cash. But Arsenal and Everton were similar in stature in the 80s — they had the luck of getting businessmen running the shop whilst Everton got our gentlemen's club with its in-house squabbling and pocket-filling with little beyond self-interest ever achieved.

Every time Everton gained success they blew it. The Japanese have a very shrewd investment process during times of economic lulls; they invest ready for the upturn to have a head start on competitors. The so called "big four" (with the exception of Chelsea — and they are an exception in Football full stop) built up a steady business stream to exploit every penny they could from the Sky deal, knowing that every penny they reinvested on the pitch would pay back dividends.

So the "wanting to be Arsenal" isn't so much wanting to be Arsenal and more of a wish we could have a business like that, which we haven't — but could and should have. Let go of the "unfair" and "what if" whingeing and just get on with having shrewd and effective businessmen or women running the club and reinvesting in it to expand it where it could and should have been.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (27/5/06)

Howzat! Backhand reply down the line... a winner! When's summer startin'?! ;-) — Colm

Moyes blows it all on AJ?
'Moyes blows it all on AJ' is the title of the story on the main page... The question is, how the Editor of ToffeeWeb knows actually how much Moyes has to spend? I, for one, think there's still a few million left in coffers for one centreback.

Johnson and Lescott (or Curtis Davies) plus the Yobo signing a new contract is enough for a good assault for a top 6 spot.

Muhammad Amin Azman, Johor, Malaysia  (27/5/06)

I won't speak for the Editor but we've read enough comments in the local media to indicate that David Moyes would have, arguably, less to spend than what we've now agreed to part with, to secure the services of Andy Johnson (allowing for the standard clauses and add-ons etc.)... so... I would suggest therefore that it's a fair call to suggest Moyes has opted to blow the lot on Johnson.

Of course, we could do what we did a few seasons back when dear old Walter was pulling the strings... beg and borrow (this time on the strength of the incoming revenue from TV) to fund an overhaul of the first team and hope to God that this time around we actually DO improve. — Colm

Charlie Jones - You seem to miss the point. You're right - Jeffers, Ball and Rooney were all capped by England when at Everton. All left soon afterwards. A little chat in their ears no doubt from the manager. Yes, Crouch was capped once by England at Southampton but suddenly over the park and he's a regular, with former LFC striker Heskey leaving the squad now he plays at Brum.

The point with Neville is that he has won (rightly or wrongly) 50 caps while a bit-part player at Man Utd but, despite playing all season at Everton, he is behinds the likes of Owen Hargreaves. If players believe that playing for Everton will reduce their international chances, will they really want to come?
Chris Wright, Chester  (27/5/06)

The English squad selection has always been pretty "cliquey" — Colm

Lesson Learned?
I'm glad to see that Moyes appears to have learned from his own mistakes and is going against his principles and signing a player for more than he would have liked. Previously we would have heard the same old excuses coming from Goodison, 'the players we want aren't available and those who are are overpriced'.

Hopefully this deal will go through and AJ and Beattie can form a strong partnership up front, which is what we have been missing for a long time. I just hope there is enough money left in the kitty for a centre-half, and maybe a midfielder on loan (SWP would be nice).
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk, Ireland  (27/5/06)

The desire for a new centre-half and midfielder may come courtesy of whatever funds we receive on outgoing player sales. — Colm

Get In!
Looks like we have got Johnson then... get in! Thank fuck for that. Yes, we have paid over the odds; yes, it can be regarded as a risk; but no, Wigan and Bolton cannot be used as sticks to batter us fucking great Evertonians.

I was very, very low at the prospect of Wigan and Bolton beating us to this signing; the prospect was so depressing. I will give no stick to the management for this signing, basically in the end it had to be done. Anyway I remember West Ham paying over the odds for Dean Ashton but it now looks like it has paid off for them.

Next season a BJ partnership up front then!
Robbie Muldoon, Liverpool  (27/5/06)

Licking your lips in anticipation then, eh?! — Colm

Ambition with Johno
I think certain people need to have a word with themselves! Moyes would get slated if he was outbid for Johnson by Wigan and Bolton, but now that bid has been matched he has been slated for spending too much on the player!

Personally, I think it is the most ambitious move we have made since Kanchelskis, and it makes me feel good to be an Evertonian. It doesn't happen often that we sign a player for big money... so enjoy it. He will get goals, he will also create them (I just hope it doesn't collapse). It would be interesting to see competition for the most coveted Number 9 shirt in the English game.

If Johnson signs today it will be a good birthday present for me: two very good strikers we will have in Beattie and Johnson — we haven't had that since Warzycha and Barlow!? Let's start being positive — Negativity is contagious!
Michael Mulhall, Aintree  (27/5/06)

Think you'll have to wait for a belated present, Michael! As for the Everton Number 9 shirt being the most coveted in the English game... ever worked for Everton's press office?! ;-) — Colm

Am I Dreaming?
Is it true, have we finally beaten off a host of other clubs to secure the signing of the new Gary Lineker? I don't give a toss how much AJ costs just as long as we get the lad to sign.

For too long Everton have been the laughing stock of the Premier league and this deal, if it happens, could be a turnaround in our fortunes. For once, a decent player has chosen us above others and I am fucking made up. In fact I might even come home to wallow in the feel-good factor you lucky twats are enjoying at the moment.

Wait a minute, though: we still have the meeting of AJ and Moyes to get through. It could turn in to another Bellamy episode. The whole deal may yet be fucked up by the ginger whinger.

No, that's silly; there's no way Davey Boy will fuck this one up on us. At last we the pace-starved thousands will get to see a player turn on the turbos and blast away from opposition defenders. The goal famine is over the flood gates have opened we are back.

See how one good signing can give a man hope, please let it be true and not just another PR stunt. Champions league here we come Again YIPPEE.
Tony Marsh, Sunny Cyprus  (27/5/06)

Guess it must be happy hour over in sunny Cyprus! — Colm

Season tickets
Notice how on the Official Everton website, at the bottom of the page with the title 'Everton and Palace agree on Johnson' it says below:


Is this just another stunt to get us to buy our season tickets? Because, even if it is, Bill Kenwright is just going to shit himself when Andy Johnson agrees to join us? BK then knows he's got to spend £8.5M, which means he will probably pull out. Another season where we supposedly "go for a top forward" that gets us to buy our season tickets, the funny thing is Palace haven't even confirmed they have accepted our bid yet.
Shaun O'Learley, Lydiate  (27/5/06)

Correct, Palace have yet to officially confirm their acceptance of our bid. Nice time-honoured dose of Evertonian cynicism there with the reference (valid!) to the placing up of the link to season ticket renewal underneath the story about Johnson coming to Goodison! — Colm

Everton Thoughts
My support for Moyes has waned considerably over the last year — last season was poor and bitterly disappointing. But I think it would be faithless to sack Moyes only one season after he achieved the unachievable here. This time around will be make or break for him though, and in truth I think he will probably be looking for a fresh challenge himself if things continue as they have been.

I have to say I am pleased about AJ's signing if in fact it does go ahead. Who could blame Moyes for seriously addressing our one major problem all of last season (and a long time before)? Isn't a decent striker what nearly everyone (both anti- and pro-Moyes) has agreed that we need the most? It's possible we may be able to buy a striker from overseas for a few million less (e.g. Benni McCarthy), who really knows? But signing someone with experience in the Premiership and the English game seems a logical way of thinking.

Admittedly this didn't seem to make much difference in the case of Beattie who hasn't delivered what his large transfer fee demanded. Perhaps £8.5M is a lot but I think Everton are simply paying what the market is requiring at this point in time. There are 2-3 other Premiership sides in the chase for his signature and there simply aren't many English strikers of good quality available.

How many more transfer windows are we to wait before attempting to solve this problem? Johnson being quite young also has a decent chance of holding some or all of his value over the coming years. He is fast and can score goals (anyone remember that?), and could soon be playing at the highest level. It's no coincidence that he is in the England back-up squad over many other established young strikers in the Premiership, and it's important to remember that he was also selected with the added disadvantage of being a Championship player. The fact that he wants to play for Everton (or reportedly does) is another big plus. Who knows if he will become a great player for EFC, but he certainly fits the mould of what could be a good signing.

I think this time around it's a case of credit where credit is due for Moyes and Kenwright; at least they are finally showing some ambition and it has to have hurt to almost certainly forked out way more than they would have originally hoped to pay. If Moyes manages to sign another decent central defender, or at a minimum keep Yobo, we will have taken a few decent steps in a positive direction. Just a few more decent signings away....
Simon Potter, Paris  (27/5/06)

Bottom line is we're about to sign (Tuesday?) an England international striker, with pace. Hopefully his addition will go some way to addressing our piss poor return in that column marked 'goals scored'! — Colm

Jordan — Wanker; Johnson — probably shit
Can't work out if this is a good signing or not, one proven season in the Premiership and in that season about 8 of his goals were pens — and I remember one being fucking fluky against Liverpool.

Sounds a bit like we've been here before — Beattie, but I'm prepared to give him a go. He's got pace and he looks like a lairy little shit.

Believe me I'm not getting all Football Manager here but Arsenal have just paid significantly less for Rosicky who is probably the most elegant footballer I've ever seen. I remember him form Euro 04 — absolute class.

Not happy about being mugged by that complete tosser Jordan. He seems to treat everyone exactly how he doesn't expect to be treated himself and seems to get away with it. Tosser.

Also, he's the spitting image of Kevin Arnold's brother in my favourite American TV series — The Wonder Years, and he played the role of a complete tosser too.
Patrick Marks, London  (27/5/06)

We could have cast our nets further
From the looks of it, we've bagged AJ for what looks to be £8 million plus. I understand the fee is structured but I can't help but wonder if we could have cast our nets further to other leagues. McCarthy from Porto would have been cheaper, and have CL experience. What about Zigic from S&B? With £8 million, we could have bought a quality defender (Mexes?) and perhaps a midfielder (I like Kallstrom, but he would be costly, yes). AJ is a good striker no doubt, but he is too expensive for that price. I would much prefer we stump up for Dave Nugent.
Mikhail Ridhuan, Singapore  (27/5/06)

What's the point? Of course there are other players out there. Hundreds of them. Do you seriously not think David Moyes knows that? Do you really believe he is going to read your e.mail and think, "Hmm... yes, we could get him."? Please, boot up Football Manager and spend the day dreaming...

Meanwhile, back in the Real World, Everton have decided who they wanted. They didn't want to pay that much, but that was the price-tag, the going rate. Get used to it. — Michael

Why, oh why...?
... can we not accept that we are not Arsenal. We do not have the attraction of THE CAPITAL to help us attract players. Furthermore, we do not have the option to pay mega wages to every flavour-of-the-month player.

When did a certain element of Everton support become such whiners? "We should be more like Arsenal" — "We should be competing with Man Utd, Liverpool and Newcastle" WAKE THE FUCK UP! They have money, we have fuck all.

Do you want to get really down to the truth? They have good facilities, goood stadia, good training setups, good media relations, good scouting networks, good youth policies, AND EVERTON FC HAVE NOTHING ANYTHING LIKE AS GOOD.

I don't support Everton based on any other promise, I know we have nothing; I don't like it, but I accept it, BECAUSE NO AMOUNT OF CRYING LIKE A PUSSY WILL CHANGE IT.
Teddy Niigma, Warrington  (27/5/06)

Great News! ... Or is it?
So Everton have finally accepted the need to bid the asking price of £8.5M for Johnson. They've joined the real world.

Or are all Everton's pre-conditions of appearance money and sub-clauses deliberately designed to antagonize Palace and therefore allow Kenwright to get off the hook?

Maybe I'm getting cynical.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (26/5/06)

When all the emotion surrounding this deal has subsided, and we've (hopefully!) got a new PACY striker on view... we might begin to accept that we've strengthened the squad WHERE NEEDED (though paid over the odds). Leaves the ball firmly in Mr "AJ's" court — up to him to slot home 15 odd League goals next season to pay for the deal! — Colm

Just seen Sky Sports News and we have matched the bids from Wigan & Bolton for AJ. I just hope they don't screw up on agreeing personal terms. Finally, the Board is showing some ambition. I hope this continues throughout the summer....

Forever Blue!!!
Yusuf Bobat, Batley, West Yorkshire  (26/5/06)

Ronaldinho's next. The minute Brazil go out of the upcoming World Cup. Honest, Guv... :-) — Colm

Come on Kenwright! Part two
This club's only ambition is to suck the honest bread from our pockets. As soon as the news of Everton mounting an £8.5M bid for AJ, the official club website have put under the news of this bid: "RENEW YOUR SEASON TICKET NOW" in flashing lights!

He hasn't even signed and yet the club wants to sucker us into buying season tickets! This makes me even more suspicious of this bid. Is it real? Seems like it's another ploy to rob us of our money. And has anyone noticed Dutch has disappeared?

Seems like he has informed Everton of the discontent of the fans, and now a bid of blue? Tossers!
Luq Yus, London  (26/5/06)

And I thought I was viewed as being cynical!!! If anyone from the club is reading this....could you please, in accordance with the Club's customer charter, comply with number 9 - "customer's relations" and honour me with a response to your pathetic claim in the ePhoto section of the Official site boldly labelled "If Y'Know Your History", whereby you're attempting to flog an image of EFC beating Watford back in 1984 after extra time!!!Colm

Come on, Kenwright!
COME ON JOHNSON! Well done, Kenwright and Co for at least stumping up the money for Johnson... now let's see if they can make us happy and agree his personal demands.

Kenwright: This is your chance to redeem yourself to us fans for the years of neglect and incompetence! COME ON AND SHOW THE PREMIERSHIP WE ARE A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH! Unless this is another Scott Parker event!
Luq Yus, London  (26/5/06)

The Toffees? They get stuck in my teeth all night, give me the Snots anytime!! Dan (age 6)
Dan Sadler, Witham  (26/5/06)

Oh grow up! Actually it is a pretty awful nickname, isn't it? No wonder so many people say "the Blues"... If we persist with the likes of Weir and Stubbs, perhaps we could justify something like "the Blue Rinse". — Michael

Reinventing The Wheel
I some times wonder if the correspondents on this site actually read each other's viewpoints. Paul Burns has reiterated my point exactly (Is John Middleton still maintaining his stance? Maybe he can't find the English press in Ireland!) that you either pay up or shut up. I happen to believe that it's a fraction more sinister than that. My evidence is fifty plus years as a true blue and my feeling that since Kenwright we have stopped being vaguely honest.

The issue isn't what Johnson is worth, the issue is what can Jordan and Palace get. Wigan and Bolton have allegedly accepted Palace's valuation, there fore Everton have to pay up or get out. It's the same with Lescott and Nugent and anyone else. You have to pay the market price, that's basic economics.

Please don't tell me in two days time we've resigned for a third time "the fox in the box", Jeffers, because he's cheap (and crap.)
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (26/5/06.)

"Stopped being vaguely honest" is arguably the understatement of the year - but, hey - me agreeing with you puts you in the same dark corner as others; cards 'marked'!

For what it's worth, if you check back through all responses I may have made reference Johnson coming or not, I believe we have always remained "in the box seat", the players' preference — simply a matter of striking the necessary deal that keeps everyone sweet. From what I've been told, we would've got Johnson (admittedly deal not yet confirmed as a done deal) for a lot less if it wasn't for Sam Allardyce acting the big fella inflating Johnson's fee. Whether he's worth the fee we're gonna end up paying for Johnson is another argument. — Colm

We may not like Sven's choices for England but we do not have to be blinkered. Bridge, Beattie and Crouch were all capped at Southampton, Charlton have had Bent and Young capped. Doesn't Upson play for Birmingham, Green for Norwich and Johnson for Crystal Palace. Was Vassell at Aston Villa and McCann at Sunderland?

Lots of good players have been overlooked (eg Nolan and Barton) so why do we have to whinge. The fact is that we moan all the time about the gap between the big four and the rest of us so why would be surprised that the best players play for them?

If our lads play well enough they will get in: Rooney, Ball and Jeffers did it.

No Blue played for England from 1947 until Labby Broke through in the 60s... was everybody against then as well?
Charlie Jones, Liverpool  (26/5/06)

Ask the Editor.....he was a regular at Goodison Park back then. ;-) - Colm

And the man in charge of England for almost that entire period was well-known lothario and ladies' man, Walter Winterbottom! Nothing changes!!! — Michael

More AJ
'And while Everton believe the offer will almost certainly be initially rejected, they hope Johnson's apparent preference to move to Goodison means he will turn down both approaches and persuade Palace to agree to their new terms.' The Echo

This is a very dangerous game of 'chicken' Everton are playing here. Not only do they risk antagonising Palace, but they risk giving Johnson the message: "You can come here if you want, but we aren't that fussed". Either they can afford it or they can't. I don't see that many players of Johnson's proven quality on the market, so they ought to make all efforts to sign him - period.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (26/5/06)

Big Dunc for Blue role
Does anyone agree with me that, in light of the sad passing of our dearly beloved 'Labby', Big Dunc should become a football ambassador for Everton Football Club? Newcastle have done exactly the same with Shearer. Dunc recently stated that he has an affection beyond belief for us Blues cause — we stuck by him through thick and thin. I think it would be a great move to keep him tied in with the club or maybe as a footy in the community officer. Everton's dressing room maybe a little less bubblier without the Big Yin around there next season although he only scored one goal his status still rubbed off amongst all the players and he had the respect.
Big Robbo, Sheffield  (26/5/06)

Great idea... I would just hope that, in his passion for the Blues he doesn't inadvertently lash out and slug someone... what a great ambassadorial advertisement that would be! And how exactly do you know all this bubbly fly-on-the-wall dressing room stuff? Wasn't he one of the more disgruntled players when they fell out with Moyesie a couple of seasons back? — Michael

Everton Internationals
In response to Adam Carey's comment about Everton's best player not being in the England squad, he should remember that you have to be a favoured player with a favoured club to be considered. The England management are only interested in certain clubs and do not cast their net wider. If Gerrard played for Everton I doubt he would be selected. How else to do explain the inclusion of Crouch and Walcott? Just suppose they were still at Southampton...

It works the other way too. Neville and Heskey, England regulars at one time even if unjustifiably so, now never considered.
Chester Blue, Chester  (26/5/06)

Nugent, McCarthy....
I see a lot of people are questioning the possible signing of Johnson in favour of taking on Nugent and/or McCarthy (for less money!!).

In this subject I would ask those of this opinion... how many times have they actually seen either of these PLAY and what makes them believe either would be an asset to our club based on what they've seen (and not what they have read in the press).

Having seen both on a number of occasions over the past couple of seasons, I would suggest that neither is a consistent 15-20 goals-a-season striker as can be proved by their records over the past season(s). I think Nugent has about 8 goals this term and McCarthy even less... NEITHER has any pace. With that in mind, how is either going to be the answer to our goalscoring problem?

I seem to recall not so long ago there where many Evertonians screaming for Walter Smith to spend £5M on ZAMORA (based on the number of goals he had scored in the lower divisions). Thank god he didn't listen.

Everton need a PROVEN goalscorer with PACE and like it or not that's what Johnson is...and to cap it all apparently he WANTS to come to Everton. FOR FUCK'S SAKE, SIGN HIM !!
Neil  Vaughan, Wirral  (26/5/06)

Once a blue, always a blue
Charlton have just released Franny Jeffers. What are the odds we'll sign him again? Also, does anyone know which Premiership team has the record of resigning players. We've got to be up there (Jeffers, Ferguson, Unsworth, Stubbs, Pistone to name but a few). I'm so glad we never look back...
Niall Taylor, Dublin  (26/5/06)

How to do transfers
There are only two ways Everton can go on this transfer:

  1. Decide that Johnson is not worth the money, declare this and pull out.
  2. Decide that Johnson is worth the money, stump up and sign him.
It's as simple as this. The main lesson to learn is to get the full value for any player you sell. No whinging along the lines of "we couldn't have him moping around the reserves" or "we couldn't stand in his way" or any other bollocks.

How about approaching Simon Jordan to be out Chairman? He seems to know how to conduct transfer business for players under contract at his club.
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (26/5/06)

The Mighty Everton FC
After my daily read of the mailbag and the mention of Tony Cottee, it has sadly made me realise our standing in the big world of football. I'm 30, and have supported the Toffees since I was about 5 (when I started to have a real interest in that game with the round ball that my big brothers used to play), and that coincided with our last great run of success. We were one of the teams that TV companies were interested in to feature on their live games. Now, we just get our fair share with the also rans, derby games excepted.

Living in the south, most of my mates support London teams and after a bit of banter with a Gooner about transfers, it took me back to Tony Cottee. That when he signed for us the competition was Arsenal who at thay time we were on par with, maybe a little better than. We had similar sized grounds, support and history of success.

They have just moved to a new stadium, have an exciting team of players (one of whom will always be in the running for player of the year), and have a standing in the game that we can just dream of. A bad decision during their biggest game of recent times cost them a chance to win the greatest prize in the European game, whereas a similar situation cost us a chance to qualify for that same competition. That was our biggest game of recent times!

As much as I love Goodison, she's looking her age, and our best player can't make it into his own county's World Cup squad. How the mighty fall!
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (26/5/06)

Andy Johnson
I must admit, I'm the biggest anti-Kenwright protester in the world, but I wouldn't be angry if we missed out on Johnson. He simply is not worth £8.5 million. He had one good Premiership season, and scored a lot of penalties. Whilst his pace and work rate are assets, I don't think we can justify that amount of money.

Why not take a couple of risks on other Championship players (á la Kendall) and see if they pay off? Cameron Jerome for £3.5M has just passed us by, so let's look at some others. The money we save should be invested in our disgrace of a youth academy, which has worse facilities than our local pub team!
Jez North, HM Prison, Belmarsh  (26/5/06)

Some logical thoughts from inside Cell Block H?! — Colm

Will DM/BK come out and either make a bid for AJ or say that they're not doing anything, which will probably be the way? — As normal!!!

We'll not buy anyone with any sort of class this summer, just like last year!! We're going nowhere as a club and it is highly depressing!!!
Allan Barratt, Durham  (26/5/06)

Seems as though we've now upped our bid... to slightly less than other submitted bids. Whoo-hoo! Let's bring in Muller instead! — Colm

The Eyes Have It
How you see anything depends on your perspective of it. The AJ transfer debate proves this.

As a fan, I want to see a goalscorer (PLEASE!!) at the club so I hope we buy him even at £8.5m — I know he's not worth that but I WANT a striker. Minus 15 anyone? But I don't mind as it's not my job to balance the books.

From BK's perspective, would you let DM get his hands on big money as his dealings thus far have been disastrous — Per Krøldrup, Davies etc. He also lets players go and then resigns them a few months later, for Pete's sake.

From DM's perspective, he is a dour Scot whose game plan (he has no Plan B) is based entirely on the Protestant work ethic (although he did play for the wrong Glasgow side strangely then) who wants hard graft, sneak a goal and defend for the rest of the game.

From the selling club's perspective, it's right to start a bidding war between clubs to push the price up and get as much as you can.

From the player and his agent's perspective, the higher the transfer fee, the bigger the wedge to be trousered. Also, saying you prefer to play for one of the clubs does your fee no harm either. Could be a red herring after all.

Hopefully we will get the spine of the team sorted out — we've got a keeper (for a year) and we need a centre back, a creative midfield playmaker and a striker — AJ or not. Have we got £20M?
Dean Peamum, Miami, FL  (26/5/06)

"The Protestant work ethic"???? Shakes head and moves on to the next mail! — Colm

So Wyness wants to reward Everton fans by providing a fans card and states that the club is constantly trying to improve? Listen, you deluded idiot, the reward I want for supporting the club is decent football — not some hare-brained scheme aimed at tracking the fans' spending habits and providing them to companies so they can bombard us with junk mail, which is what it boils down to.

And as for improvement, try improving the team by buying some decent talent who can actually play the game. Mr Wyness, you are a total idiot if you think the fans will swallow this latest PR stunt. We come to watch football — not to marvel at the latest technology aimed at providing companies with fans' spending habits etc.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (26/5/06)

I await development of this new card with great interest as a shareholder *still* waiting, since our last AGM, for the arrival of this promised Shareholders Gold Card. I know I'm not alone in this futile wait. And now Mr Wyness is informing us that "separate cards will be issued to season ticket holders, corporate members, Evertonia members and shareholders which will guarantee safer and quicker stadium access."  We await with baited breath! ;-) — Colm

Wigan's whipping boys
I’ve been reading a lot of the comments and dwelling on £8.5M sum for AJ. It is bad we've got ourselves into this position, and agree BK's "let's all bid the same" idea sounded like something out of the playground (how he convinced Old man Ellis it was a good idea on Beattie I'll never know — though now imagining BK pole-dancing Alan Partridge style which is not a good thing!).

The rumour mill bit about AJ signing for Bolton already is the biggest load of shite I've read so far "...has opted for a move to the North-West", well done on the geography Scott, inspired journalism!

To use Rick Tarleton's Freudian-titled letter "Johnson, if we want him, we have to pay the pric" — we are... we can't and shouldn't go higher than this figure, but it sounds like the he actually wants to join us — and we need some pace and a proven goalscorer. Vaughan and Anichebe will hopefully be given time to develop too.

Admittedly a large number of AJ's goals were from the spot in Palace's Prem season, but then the same could be said about Alan Shearer, whilst at Blackburn especially.

Whatever players we go for — unless Danny Mills appeals — the price will get bumped up. We can hardly be surprised Wolves want more than a handshake for Lescott. But we can't and mustn't be out muscled by the likes of Wigan (fucking Wigan!!), who've just put in a bid in for Huth of £5.5M (though to be honest the novelty of shouting "HOOOOOOOOOOOTH", whenever he touches the ball would wear thin quickly).

Last summer, DM acted as Souness's scout... let's not allow ourselves the same humiliation this summer but with the likes Wigan and Bolton pissing on our "dreams".
Chad Schofield, Cirencester  (26/5/06)

Wigan and Bolton this summer... what odds Accrington within five?! — Colm

Professor Moyes
Just noticed something.

On the official website - When you click on the news story 'Moyes to bolster his defence for next season with the signing of Alan Stubbs' the middle of the story there is a trailer for the new X-Men movie. Is this some sort of cryptic message?? Or just horrible irony??

Bunch of freaks fighting against the rest of the beautiful, normal people in the Premiership, ahem, I mean world. Maybe that's the story behind Gary Naysmith's horrible facial hair, shall we call him Wolverine?
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (26/5/06)

Marvelous! ;-) — Colm

This load of crap over Andy Johnson is really starting to piss me off. I stated previously that this would happen, and it has. Are things really that bad that we find it impossible to compete with Wigan and Bolton? I have had enough and Evertonians should make there feelings known to the dreamers on Everton's Board. Your thoughts please?
Glen Stevens, Nantwich  (26/5/06)

Everton don't do listening! Make sure you renew on your way out, Sir... — Colm

A laughing stock
We are a national laughing stock — An embarrassment! Andy Johnson WANTS to come to Everton yet, after all the usual bull talk from Kenwright and others, he will come due to 'lack of finance'. Funny, that — from a club who Wyness crows about being in the top 20 rich list!

It is an embarrassment and quite frankly the sooner Johnson moves to Bolton, the better as I am already pissed off by another Scooby Kenwright Do moment! This time it isn't Moyes the weak link, but they all should leave TONIGHT!
Luq Yus, London  (26/5/06)

Absolutely no denying this could be a defining moment in Bill's tenure over the car crash that is Everton FC: here's a player who obviously desires a move to Everton... yet we cannot compete with "little old Wigan Athletic!" — Colm

To AJ or not to AJ?
I suspect we don't have £8.5M for Johnson. Everton's silence on the subject has been continuous throughout without any official word to the press — however, there has been so much press including Everton in the frame that I am pretty convinced (in this case) that there is no smoke without fire.

At some level, someone from the club has declared their interest in Johnson off the record. I suspect that Buster, Billy and Davey were hoping to take Johnson on a part payment arrangement with installments, or matching Palace's valuation, which they expected to be nearer to £5M-£6M. Either way, to declare that publicly would be incredibly embarrassing, considering that -

  1. Dave Whelan is willing to stump the cash upfront, and
  2. that, as one of the universe's most financially successful football clubs, it is not good PR to be outbid by "second tier" Premiership teams purely based on finances.

Sure, Johnson is probably overvalued and his stock has no doubt reduced because of playing in the Championship. However, look for it to improve should he bang in 15-20 goals for Bolton or Wigan. With that scenario, that price tag of £8.5M could look cheap in 12 months time. I do think people forget how effective AJ has been for Palace. In a league, where their squad quality is no better than above average, Johnson has continued to knock in the goals. The same happened in the 2004-05 season in the Premiership, where he did what Darren Bent has done for Charlton this time around — and some.

People can also say that Johnson's not a big player, but neither was Tony Cottee. I certainly didn't have any complaints about Cottee. Our Diddy Men in the late 80s and early 90s were certainly more effective than any big target man since. If it's a choice of £8.5M for Johnson who is proven at this level, or £4M for Nugent who isn't, there's no contest in my eyes.

We really shouldn't allow ourselves to outbid on Johnson. He's a quality player, and if you are trying to send a message to potential investors saying "this club is going places" (i.e. not down a division) what better way to start? So, though there is time for Everton to match the Bolton & Wigan bids, you have to ask that if the money's there, why they haven't already? Rather than leaving us to wonder whether it's a lack of funds or Dithering Davey to blame, I do wish the club would come out and be honest with us. We know they won't though.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (26/5/06)

We cannot dwell on the dreaded thought of being outbid by not one but two clubs WE perceive to be nothing in comparisons to EFC. Wrong! Them's the economics: the haves and the have-nots. We cannot go making a bravado bid in excess of what (little?) we've got in the kitty. I certainly don't want to see Everton borrowing further just to keep up this facade of being a big club.

Similarly to what you say above, I would've liked to have seen Everton buy Dean Ashton a few seasons back when he was raw at Crewe. We mulled over the fee — too much for the lad, and off he went to Norwich, who cashed in on him, a tidy profit in their account. — Colm

We are a joke
You can fool some people but you can't fool all people all of the time. Don't get me wrong — Johnson is overpriced, but to hear we have now put in a bid lower than those already accepted is beyond belief. The reason behind this is he allegedly wants to join us and they are hopeful this means he will turn both Bolton & Wigan down.

Wake up! This is business and if they believe he would turn down lucrative terms from either club then Kenwright & Moyes need to wake up and smell the roses. The truth is Everton have not been a big club since the 1987 title win and we will never attract players of real quality (Arteta excepted) whilst Bullshit and Dithering are around
Jim Feeney, Liverpool  (26/5/06)

The sad thing is, Jim, by saying all of the above... there'll be some who'll mark your card as being anti-Everton. All about standards and expectations I suppose.... — Colm

Why Not?
If we are short of a million to buy Johnson, why don't we use a million from that old Fortress Sports Fund thingy??? That has remained untouched (hasn't it?) since Kenwright introduced the head of Fortress at the Shareholders meeting in December 04? I'm glad we have such a diligent Chairman who provides his Manager with the best possible support he can!
Steven Mills, Liverpool  (26/5/06)

Erm....this charade that was the Fortress Sports Fund? Well, to quote the Head of Communications at Everton FC, "it was a means to an end. It served its purpose." And still we await investment. That trainset of Bill's sure as hell is gonna need some oilin' soon enough! — Colm

What is going on here?
I refer to the latest press reports saying that Kenwright has now gone up to £8M. Why, why, why are we pissing around haggling like this??? Every transfer deal has to turn into a white-knuckle ride of brinkmanship with Moyes and Kenwright. Do we want this player or not? If the answer is yes, why can't they deal like Arsenal do and just buy him for the price asked?

Surely if we don't have the money for him, why are we putting in a bid of £8M? How come we can afford £8M but not £8.5M? Why is £500k so important? It's almost as if they are deliberately going out of their way to wind up Jordan (and AJ). Can't they see what this type of behaviour does for morale both within the club and amongst the fans?

What is needed here is leadership, a message indicating what direction this club of ours is going. If you want a decent striker who will score goals in the Premiership, you usually have to pay top wack. If Moyes had been more decisive in the past we might have been lucky and got Bent, Bellamy etc at a more reasonable price. The fact is AJ is too well known, he was never going to be sold for a more reasonable £5M. Why can't Moyes and Kenwright see that the extra £3.5M is what they are now having to pay for past ineptitude?

We are not in a position to 'unearth a gem' at a cheaper price. We can't take a risk on this. Our goal difference is absolutely diabolical and has been so for years. A proven goalscorer would help to fill the team with confidence and go a long way towards improving the way we play as well. Everyone knows that when you can't score you are always playing under pressure and so the long boot out of defence becomes the dominant feature of your game. We have no pace, AJ provides pace. He scares defences and causes them to make mistakes thereby reducing pressure on his own defence. For God's sake, can't they see £500k is therefore neither here or there. Unless of course they are playing a game with their own fans and trying to show themselves competing for a player they have no intention of really signing? Surely this is a conspiracy theory too far... isn't it???
John Davies, London  (26/5/06)

Speaking of unearthing gems... we had one and we sold him. "In the best possible deal I could get" were the exact words if I recall? Nice one Bill! — Colm

Don't kill our season with one player!!!
I will be quite glad if we don't splash all our hard-earned Cadburys on Mr Johnson. The reason being that I am worried the figure being talked about (near £9M — have we really got that?) can be divided amongst other much needed positions.

At the the end of the season, I said to many a blue folk, "Moyesy needs a centre half (under 25), a midfielder and a striker... Oh and they must all have one thing: pace!!!" It's been clear for the last two to three years that, to do well at a consistent level, you need that burst of energy and pace, which quite frankly we lack!

To the defence: Lescott has been talked about. Ok... he is young and meant to be fast but £4M is what I think it's going to rise to with Villa joining in — that is just far too much! Grygera at Ajax is avail for £2.5M. Then Midfield is anyone's guess. If the coffers are tight, why not try Dave Thompson on a free?

I would rather spend £3M on Jerome from Cardiff than Johnson — Jerome scored more last season — or we could have everyone's fave rumour merchant —Nugent!

Bottom line: I think is Mr Moyes dillies and dallies too much for my liking and we get left behind!

Love the site, fellas, as I'm on it mostly during work time so it keeps me sane!!! Heres to next season (oh and a defender, midfielder, striker.....)
Ian Robb, Sheffield  (25/5/06)

The need for pace has been there since Radzinsky left, but you started going a bit FM on us there, Ian. — Michael

Hang on
Hang on a minute, lads. I've read most of the letters on here and most are telling Moyes to go for the cheaper option instead of Johnson, "Take a chance," they're saying. Well didn't he do that last year with Davies, Krøldrup and Van der Meyde? And now he's getting bollocked for that.

It seems to me Moyes can't win. Whatever he decides to do, he'll be wrong to splash out over the odds on one player and wrong if he buys the cheaper version and it doesn't work.

If I was Moyes, I would think, "Bollocks, if £8.5M is the price then we'll pay it. If we don't, someone else will and whoever it is will look a pretty shrewd manager if he bangs in 20 goals next season."

But either way you lot wont be happy on here?
Big Dunc Stokey, Stoke  (25/5/06)

I think you're a little confused, Big. This is not one person (okay, I could be wrong there: Dutch may actually be impersonating all of you...) But those who want AJ at any cost would surely be happy with that outcome. And yes, the others would moan — especially if he only scores 19 goals! — Michael

Andy Johnson — outbid??
I noticed that there were quite a few e.mails sprouting the line "we were bidding for Owen and Kuyt in 2005 and now we can't match Wigan & Bolton's £8.5M bid for AJ —

Well, folks, we have to face reality. Pre-season 2005, we were looking at possible Champions League or even a decent Uefa Cup run. Thus, our dear friends running EFC would have budgeted or forecast financial year 2005-06 with a decent upside in money as compared to previous seasons. (Thus, we were putting in bids for Owen & others with crazy money.)

Pre-season 2006, what are we looking at right now? A decent run in the league and FA Cup? We simply do not have the money to spend on transfers based on the current situation. Hard times we're facing here. It's not a mystery why the season ticket sales are so important right now...
Matty  Lim, Singapore  (25/5/06)

Who's paying his wages?
A players value is only determined by what people are prepared to pay for him. We will argue for the next twenty years and more whether AJ was worth buying or not, but I for one would rather have an Andrew Johnson than some foreign cast off who no-one has ever heard of (when has signing an unknown from Europe ever worked out anyway?). I'm not sure that the price we pay is really the issue — can we pay him the wages that he wants? Are we willing to disrupt our precious wage structure to accommodate him and hopefully other 'name' players?

The summer and the January window are really the 'silly' season, but it's where hope for the future is found. Why else would we all be checking all the news sites first thing every morning trying to find some tiny scrap of evidence that Everton are buying someone with some talent? We're all nuts, supporting Everton should come with a Health Warning or at least free anger management classes.
Greg Dawson, Not in Walton Anymore  (25/5/06)

Andy Johnson
For God's sake, Kenwright, pull your finger out now! This has been going on and on.

At least now, if we are going to make a bid that will bring him to us, Bolton's bid has forced our hand into doing it. It's possible AJ would have turned Wigan down but now unless — Kenwright goes for this once and for all and stops prevaricating — we've lost out yet again!
John Davies, London  (25/5/06)

The Big Transfer debate
I say bollocks to Simon Jordon and his wide-boy transfer tactics! Johnson is not worth £8.5M and we obviously are not in a position to spend all that on one player. I for one would rather see £4M spent on McCarthy and £2M, (plus the usual future fees), on Nugent. Maybe then we'd have a bit of competition for places up front and it will make them try that bit harder to get on the teamsheet the following week!
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (25/5/06)

Saying bollocks to the wide-boy transfer tactics of a man who appears to have secured the asking price for his soon to depart striker? If only we'd a similar chairman two summers back! — Colm

Money. money, money...
Wigan, and now Bolton have bid £8.5M for Andy Johnson. Everton have typically reverted to type and made themselves scarce as soon as the words 'hard cash' were mentioned.

Whether or not you think Johnson is worth the money offered for him, it has now been confirmed that Everton are a smaller club than those twin giants of Northwest football, Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers.

Can Bill Kenwright please turn the lights out when he slithers out of Goodison Park. Thank you... for nothing.
Gareth Hughes, Liverpool  (25/5/06)

All it confirms Gareth — if it remains a fight between the other two for Johnson's signature — is that the other two clubs were prepared to pay more than we (the Club) believed we could offer. In fairness, I've not read or heard any comments coming out of Everton saying they would (or wouldn't) match the figure quoted... so we don't yet know what line the Club will take. We can second-guess alright, but that's about it! — Colm

Should we, shouldn't we ?
Do we need a goalscorer? (D'oh). Do we need to pay £8.5M for one worth maybe £5M?.... I don't think so. In this case, I'd say "Dither, Davey" because that is over the odds, and there will be others out there who represent far better value. That Crystal Palace chairman (I refuse to speak his name) must be rubbing his hands with glee as he goads the interested parties into a bunfight. This is one that I'd gladly see Davey and the Everton Board let go.
Brian Williams, Wirral  (25/6/06)

As said below, caught between the rock and a hard place! — Colm

Last orders, please!
Just heard on the wireless that Bolton (whose previous transfer record is £3.5mill), have equalled Wigan £8.5M bid! Where is Everton's supposed equal bid? I'll tell you where... it's in Football Manager land!!! Pathetic!

I will boycott home matches as I refuse to fund this betrayal any further! And I strongly suggest that most of you out there do the same, as it's not like there are a batch of loyal fans waiting to replace us.
Luq Yus, London  (25/5/06)

Patience is a virtue, Sir! Let's wait and see what scarf Mr Johnson holds aloft before the awaiting media. And note the price paid for his services. This deal ain't done and dusted just yet! — Colm

Moyes has got to make a choice. Johnson has said he wants a move to Everton; for once it seems we're in the driving seat in terms of the player. Johnson is proven at the top level and, even though he'll cost £8.5M, Moyes would be taking a big chance buying the likes of Nugent or Benni McCarthy for less money.
Rob McFawn, Widnes  (25/5/06)

The ball does seem to be, still, in Everton's court. The fact that two bids have been accepted, both £8.5M, without a deal going through, indicates that the player, as previously reported, remains keener on a move to Goodison. The one snag, of course, is his price tag. It's a lot of money, too much in my humble, but when you're caught between a rock and a hard place... - Colm

A thief in the night
I have just finished reading the excellent book 'Colin Harvey's Everton Secrets', and the thing that really got me wound up was when I read about Harry Catterick's transfer dealings. The guy sounded like a fucking MI5 agent, swooping off in the middle of the night with trusty sidekick Eggleston in tow to steal players right from under other clubs' noses, such as Tony Kay and Alan Ball.

He even almost reduced Shankly to retirement when he brought Howard Kendall to the club and spread a story the day before that he had signed for Liverpool. Compare this to Dithering Davie as we look forward once again to having all our first choice transfer candidates stolen by lesser clubs.

And we can be sure that the Everton bullshit machine we be in fine form, assuring us they do whatever it takes to sign proposed targets, and then not sign them. All the time Bill '24/7' will be poncing around in the Wild West with his latest production which he never seems to struggle to find finance for, even though he spends every hour of his day searching for finance for his beloved club, apparently...
Ian Aspinall, South Shields  (26/5/06)

Will Moyes ever learn?
Why are we trying to buy AJ for £7M-£8M? The daft saying "you don't need £5M to buy a £5M player" is true, at Everton you need David Moyes and £8M. Has he not learned from his Beattie transfer? He paid £3M too much or him and he will now pay £4M too much for AJ.

He has now found himself between a rock and a hard place: if he doesn't sign him then he looks a twat for being outbid by Wigan; if he does sign him then he looks a twat for spending too much on an over-rated player. SURELY there are foreign players out there with equal ability but who will come at half the price!

While Dutch is right in saying Moyes doesn't yet deserve to be sacked, the likes of myself, Tony M and Luq Y all know the ending to this story: it's as obvious as night following day. Moyes should go now before blowing the rest of our transfer kitty.

I also play FM, my Everton team consists of Southall, Maldini, Baresi, Carlos Alberto, Roberto Carlos, Peter Reid, Zidane, Ronaldinho, Maradona, Pele and Ronaldo ! I changed the game so that Everton could fill a 150,000 stadium and I have waited for three seasons for fucking Kenwright to build us a new stadium!

That game might be more accurate than you think.
Tommy Cole, London  (25/5/06)

The wheels on the bus... oh no — we are on bricks
As posted many, many, many months ago, if the club wait until after the World Cup, anyone half-decent who went will have an increased price tag; anyone going for sale before will have an increased price tag and anyone not going will more often than not be shite.

Dithering Davie and Bullshitter Bill strike again with no-one half-decent suddenly appearing at Goodison before the World Cup kicks off so prepare for more smoke and mirrors bullshit that even my one-year-old son would be able to see right through now of bullshit offers and no new striker.

Wigan are outbidding Everton for two straight-forward reasons, the first being they are selling reasonable quality to replace it, funds coming in to go back out again. Everton yet again have the Premiership's smallest squad the majority of whom are shite so no chance of selling most of them, and it would be suicide to sell our miniscule band of quality players.

The second reason is a Chairman fat with pounds sterling and one amazing thing nobody has bleated about is that a good chunk of it is from yours truly — the paying Everton fanbase; who the fuck do you lot think owns JJB Sports? Fucking lemmings to the end the lot of us.

Sit back and enjoy the painful slow sinking into obscurity that is Everton Football Club. Sing and reminisce about our history but look at the other founding members of the Football League — where are the majority of them now? For those that don’t know, here are the founding twelve:

  • Accrington Stanley — Conference side almost out of existence
  • Aston Villa — Premier league club as bad as us
  • Blackburn Rovers — Premier league club as bad as us but showing more ambition despite tiny fanbase
  • Bolton Wanderers — Premier league club with ambition and more ability
  • Burnley — Championship side
  • Derby County — Championship side
  • Everton — clinging onto history, woeful to currently watch
  • Notts County — League Two side
  • Preston — Championship side
  • Stoke City — Championship side
  • West Bromwich Albion — Championship side
  • Wolves — Championship side
History is for books; football is an entertainment medium about the here and now and dreams of tomorrow. Without vision and a properly run business — don’t expect it anytime soon at Goodison Park.

Maybe we should all take a leaf out of Tony Marsh's book and take what seems to be a very long holiday somewhere hot with cheap beer and more entertaining views on offer.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (25/5/06)

Hopefully not to detract from your otherwise nail-on-head analysis, just a minor pedantic point: Accrington Stanley were not founding members of the Football League. That was Accrington FC — a different entity (as this Wikepedia entry makes clear), who were incidentally Everton's first-ever League opponents.

Oh, and Accrington Stanley are hardly a "Conference side almost out of existence" — they just won reinstatement to the League after a gap of 44 years. — Michael

Enough is enough
I know we all have different opinions and that's what makes the world/football interesting but really enough is enough. Can you please stop posting the rubbish that is submitted by Dutch Shaffaer. Just because he sends it to you doesn't mean it has to go up on the site.

The joke has worn VERY thin and it's no longer funny. He has nothing valid to say and just pisses in Moyes' pocket every opportunity he gets. Maybe the odd letter every now and again but the guy sends in complete drivel nearly every day - for the love of God, STOP!

Thanking you in advance.

PS - the same should also apply to Tony Marsh who's the ying to Dutch's yang but even more irksome.
Sick Entired, Maylands  (25/5/06)

There's an element of irony in a post coming from someone hiding behind a nickname, commenting on others comments (valid or otherwise!) yet not offering any Everton related comment of their own! - Colm

It's going to blow at GP
This summer could bring an event horizon to Everton Football Club — or, to put it another way, Bill and Davie have their balls on the fans transfer choping block with the fans holding the axe.

Will it be Dichov or AJ in terms of ambition for Everton? America and Germany may not be far away enough for Bill and Davie this summer.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (25/5/06)

Come off it, John. What are the fans going to do? Yea, they'll moan a bit. But you can't axe someone who has been named Manger of the Year on two occasions while he has been at Everton. And Bill is doing the best he can, searching "24/7" for new investment. You really couldn't ask for anything more... could you? — Michael

I simply gasp as I must admit I really hoped Everton would sign Johnson, even though my head knew otherwise. I am depressed before the season has even begun. Even before the World Cup! At least there I can watch some quality football, which is foreign at Goodison.

Please leave Moyes, Weir and Kenwright! This is a horrible existence as a football club. And on a lighter note I played Football Manager and it is so unreal its laughable. he ideal of James McFadden winning European Footballer of the Year is quite funny!
Luq Yus, London  (25/5/06)

FM is the new CM. Perhaps that's what we all should do. — Michael

I see the club has just announced on its official website the introduction of the new TEAMCARD. This has been introduced to 'further improve service to the fans'...Yippee!!

Here's a thought... How about improving the team to allow us to play some exciting, fast-flowing football with the prospect of some GOALS??!!

Now that really would be a service...
Neil Vaughan, Wirral  (25/5/06)

One step at a time! ;-) - Colm

Two words: Shite... and, Shite!!!
Typical Blues, eh? ... outbid, out-thought & out-manouevred again! Just what the hell is wrong at Everton FC?!? We've been mis-managed & pissed around by the dickheads running this club for bleeding years now... it NEVER changes!!!

How come even mickey-mouse teams like Wigan, Bolton etc can get to the top-flight, stabilise, buy decent players, upgrade facilities etc etc — and we do/get fuck all sorted? The latest 'transfer' (or NON-transfer) fiasco just does it for me... its like pissin Groundhog Day!

We've obviously got no ££££, so stop pretending (lying) to go for the 'top' transfer targets. Like many Evertonians on this site have said, "buy the other (probably cheaper - maybe even better player) option ... it's not rocket-science!

The so-called 'star' players won't come here anyway ... even if we DID piss loads of ££££ in wages on them. Over the years, how much ££££ has the club got from fans/ticket-sales/merchandise/Sky TV etc etc? It must be a shit-load... so where's it all now, eh?

the Champions League 'false dawn' proved to be just that. Sorry to say, but I just KNEW it'd be a fuck-up! ... blah-blah ... rant-rant ... could go on, but too pissed off now ... roll on next season for more of the same ... shite!!!
Ste Johno, Nottingham  (25/5/06)

Just as bad as each other...
I wish people would stop protecting Moyes when it comes to transfers by saying he's got no money. He has spent over £20M in the last 12 months, mainly on shite (Arteta excluded).

As far as I'm concerned, BOTH he and Kenwright are to blame. Moyes because he can't attract players (or doesn't believe they're worth the money) and Kenwright for letting him get away with it!

Time and time again, Moyes has proved he's shite in the transfer market. he chooses the players he wants (Wright, McFadden, Davis, Van der Meyde, Krøldrup, Naysmith, Pistone...) — not Kenwright.

Kenwright's fault is that he has proved that he is just not capable of running a club of Everton's stature and is happy to be an also-ran. (A loyal true blue he may be but ruthless Chairman of a football club he is NOT!) Well, unfortunately for him, I'm not happy to be an also-ran — and neither should any Evertonian be.

It's a sad day when WIGAN ATHLETIC are proven to be bigger than Everton.
Neil Vaughan, Wirral  (25/5/06)

With reference to Mr Kenwright's ability to run this football club as it should be — a quote from two seasons ago, "Trust us, we know what we're doing and we're good at what we do." Indeed! — Colm

Do we really have any actual money? That's the big question, I am worth around £100,000 dead. Doesn't mean I have the money in the bank. The board owe the fans a lot and should say look we don't have a pot to piss in, we are skint, on paper we are worth x but we have around 8p in the bank. At least then we won't get any false hopes or promises and let's us watch the World Cup without thinking we should go after every half-decent player we see.

Also, I am sure we will sign a new striker before next season, D Ferguson, name ring a bell?
Dave Rodaway, Liverpool  (25/5/06)

Duncan or Darren?! - Colm

Please Go... NOW!
So Andy Johnson WANTS to come to Everton but Dithering Davie doesn't think he is worth £8.5M! Yet this is the same manager who believes Davies is worth £4.5M... C'mom, man! — you're havin' a laugh.

Whether Johnson is worth that kind of money is not the issue. We all know that we need a proven goalscorer with PACE (like it or not, that's what Johnson is!) and to get such you HAVE to pay the going rate. Don't blame Jordan — he's just getting the 'BEST DEAL AVAILABLE' for Crystal Palace (á la Kenwright when he sold the family jewels).

At the beginning of last season, Moyes told us he had bid £12M for Kuyt and was prepered to pay 'whatever it takes' (quote/unquote) to get Owen (i.e £17M). If this was the case, how come 12 months on we can't afford £8.5 million?... yet Wyness wants us to believe we are in the top 20 richest clubs in the world — not the country, but the WHOLE WIDE WORLD... BOLLOCKS !!

Being out bid by Wigan Athletic — say it again, WIGAN ATHLETIC, is FUCKING EMBARRASSING. If press reports are to be believed, they've also outbid us for HUTH as well. Will the debacle ever end!?! When are we going to stop being 'interested' in players and actually sign some instead? (and not Dickov, Sutton, Heskey etc)

Once again Bullshit Billy (and the ever invisible Gregg and Woods) is conspicuous by his absence whilst Dithering Dave fucks up yet again in the transfer market. If you want them, get them (other clubs seem able to do it), and stop taking the piss out of the loyalty of your supporters.

This time last year he could have had Parker and Bellamy but ended up with Krøldrup, Van der Missing & Davies — we all know what a great success they have been!!

Time after time again this has happened... enough is enough... BOTH OF YOU, PLEASE GO... NOW!!
Neil Vaughan, Wirral  (25/5/06)

Oh dear... you're not taking this well, are you? And it's not even June. At least this year we have the World Cup to act as a brief distraction... but it just gets the whole transfer market even more energized afterwards. Meanwhile, the Chairman is doing the Clint Eastwood thing somewhere in the Arizona desert... — Michael

Response to Rick
Rick, you give your two techniques to Everton's transfer market forays. Am I the only one who has heard ABSOLUTELY NOTHING from Everton regarding any players they are pursuing in the tabloids, regarding price, how much funds available etc. The only time I have seen anything was when they confirmed the Howard/Spencer signings.

We criticised them for doing it last year when we notified other teams (re: Parker & Sissoko), but they seem to have learned their lesson and have said nothing, yet you still find time to give out. Check your facts first, Rick. But for Jordan confirming our bid, I have seen nothing official to say we are interested.

Also, when were we after Huth? Because the Mirror says so?? A gutter rag says we were outbid and you believe it and dismiss us out of hand again? Too much of that happening...
John Middleton, Ireland  (25/5/06)

Ah... the silly season. Don't you love it? Rumour, real news, mis-information, downright lies... who can tell? Best not be getting on each other's backs over it, though. — Michael

I agree with Arnold Schwarznegger, David Moyes does know best and I would never question his jugdement.

However, the lack of funds available and being outbid by Wigan and Bolton is a Bill Kenwright area. I will question the job Kenwright is doing. He's allowed Wigan to become a bigger club then Everton.

For shame, Bill.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (25/5/06)

Here you go Dutch - 'specially for you Sir! - Colm

It's a Con
Everton's technique in the transfer market really is laughable. There are two tactics: firstly allege that you are bidding for a player whom you have absolutely no chance of signing: Owen, Smith etc. Secondly splash your interest all over the tabloids and then announce that the player is too dear and not worth the money: Huth, Johnson etc.

In neither scenario are we seriously trying to buy the player. What Kenwright, Wyness and Moyes are doing is pretending their involvement in the hope that we, the gullible idiots, for whom this club represents our hopes and dreams, will be placated and believe that they are really trying to make us a club to compete with Bolton, Portsmouth, Fulham, Wigan etc.

It's a con, full stop. The Arsenal method is the way real clubs do business.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (25/5/06)

Glass Doors
Well, don't say you didn't see that one coming [Andy Johnson]. Why the fuck any of you thought we were even in the running is beyond me. How many more times does this club have to kick you in the teeth before you realise what we are all about?

Bullshit and con-tricks is all that this shower of cunts who run Everton know. Moyes is just as bad for going along with these clowns every season. To be honest, three's not a lot any one can do, apart from stop going to the games... but then what? Saturday shopping, as I have said before!!!

Those of you out there who have been creaming your Y-fronts at the thought of AJ signing — get a fucking grip! Stop believing the shit that we are fed every few months and maybe you wouldn't be so crushed when it all goes tits up.

Get this will you: We will never get any one to sign for us who is wanted by other clubs as long as Moyes and Kenwright do their double act. End of story.
Tony Marsh, Sunny Cyprus  (25/5/06)

For what little it's worth, Tony — I know for a fact (yeah, I know!) that the chairman had indicated to the local media that he fully intended to match any rival bids for Johnson. Aye, yet another soundbyte to be lapped up and reported thus but there you go — what's new there, eh?! What we do know is that with each passing target going elsewhere, the heat gets hotter in that there kitchen down Goodison Road! — Colm

When I opened the paper this morning, I couldn't believe my eyes. According to them, Wigan have outbid us again and met Chelsea's asking price for Huth. I know we can still go in with a higher bid (Wigan have tabled a bid of £5.5M) but what are the chances of us offering more than that?

It still baffles me why we didn't keep Ferrari. I know it's only paper talk, but wouldn't it be a sad day if it was to be true, a small club like Wigan out-bidding us twice???
Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (25/5/06)

Don't forget — Moyes stated when shipping Ferrari out that he had other options. Stubbs and....??? — Colm

It looks like Johnson and Huth are going to Wigan, Joleon Lescott to Villa... but, hey — we're the richest football club in western spiral arm of the Milky Way, and we've proved it by beating off fierce competition to sign Alan Stubbs!

Go get 'em Davey!
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (25/5/06)

Deja Vu!
Jordan has accepted an £8.5 million... from the Latics! Bolton have offered £8 million... with Everton willing to bid only £7.25 million.

We have underbid for Lescot as well. The board must think we are stupid... hold on! Maybe they are right! Kenwright is holding us back and this latest bit of gamesmanship is a disgrace. What happened to the title of 18th richest club in the world?
Russ Kaven, Ellesmere Port  (25/5/06)

It's times like this that the quote, "you don't need five million pounds to buy a five million pound player" really hit home! For its comedic value... — Colm

Arse tennis
David Moyes is paying the price for not signing a pacey striker last season. We could have got Bellamy for £5.5M (little git but twice the player Johnson is). Even this season, he has a clause saying he can sign for a Champions League team for £6M... hey — that was us last season!

Of course, it is not just Bellamy; Darren Bent for £2.5M; the electric paced Henri Camera who destroyed Stubbs and Weir while playing for Southampton two years ago, cost less than £3M. If I was Moyes, I would go for Collins John who is strong and, more importantly, quick. We could probably get him for £3M, which would leave funds for a centre back and maybe Nugent if the fee wasn't too high.

The only positive of spending all our money on Johnson would be that we have good young reserve strikers (Vaughan, Anichebe) as back up. However we would have to try and do a Ferrari-type loan deal for a centre back. Also, I think Stubbs signing a one-year deal is good news; however, Weir should only be kept on as a reserve in case injuries hit the squad, and Neville or Stubbs should be made captain.
Pistol Pete, Windsor  (25/5/06)

Is this what we have come to?
Two discerning events have happened over the past two days that have made me realise our club is really going nowhere fast – in fact, we are going backwards.

The first of these ‘events’ is the fact that Everton are about to get out-bid for a player by… wait for it… WIGAN, for Christ’s sake. A small fuckin' rugby town in Lancashire by the way. The second is the fact that Reading are hosting the England B International this evening. Fuckin' READING...!!!!!!

I seem to remember my Dad saying that he once went to a World Cup semi-final at Goodison. I remember that we used to host FA Cup semi-finals at Goodison. Alas, I fear that a tent in the back yard of the Park End are not the kind of ‘facilities’ that the FA are looking for these days.

Basically, this translates into two hard facts: a club like Wigan has more buying power than Everton, and a club like Reading as better facilities than us. Mind you Rushden and fuckin' Diamonds has a nicer stadium than ours!

We need to get out of or redevelop Goodison, and fast! We also need to secure some investment from somewhere otherwise this wonderful Football Club of ours will end up in the same position as Sheffield Wednesday — FUCKED.

It is time to move into the 21st Century, along with the rest of the footballing planet.... or die!
Andy Callan, North Shields  (25/5/06)

Just as well we have a chairman who appreciates and shares your concerns, eh? — Colm

That reminds me
Since when has AJ been the answer to all our striking problems? If we are going to bid big, why not tempt Spurs or Charlton with £7.5M bids for Defoe or Darren Bent? Both are younger than AJ; both are pacy and have experience in the top flight.

The hysteria surrounding the AJ transfer is starting to get right on my tits. No player anywhere is bigger than the club.
Teddy Niigma, Warrington  (25/5/06)

At Least We Know We Bid!!!
So we've had phantom bids in the past right? Well, irrefutable evidence that we have bid for AJ is there.

The despicable Simon Jordan reflected on Wigan's £8.5M bid (and we've bid £7.25M apparently) — 'And another good thing about Wigan's bid — it's money up front'. I wonder what terms we'd offered?

ps: Although AJ is a decent player, a disproportionate amount of his goals in Palace's relegation season came from the spot. Although obviously with our quality wingers he'd score loads...
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (25/5/06)

So it's better for you to know that we bid the least out of Wigan(!) and Bolton(!!!). Oh how the mighty have fallen. — Michael

So there is some crying being done
It appears AJ is Wigan or Bolton bound — at £8½M, they are welcome to him. Let's remember, he was top scorer when Palace got relegated. Well, without Bullard, Chimbonda and Roberts let's see how Wigan manage next season, now that the rest of the Prem know a little about how they play.

I don't understand my fellow fans' problem with overpriced footballers; it's as though paying over the odds was a sign of credibility and ambition. Spurs aren't paying the earth but they are signing YOUTHFUL QUALITY players that will mature and develop into a formidable side the longer they are together.

As for all the baloney about the new TV revenue deal, 'extra cash' means a lot less when all your competitors have the exact same 'extra cash'. I would like to see our meagre squad strengthened, but I don't want to see a single penny wasted.

Blues look around at Wigan and Bolton and wonder how they can pay hugely inflated transfer prices... What kind of debt are they wrestling with? Are they able to use the majority of their ticket and tv money to strengthen their respective squads? Because Everton can't; we have to keep paying off the crippling interest on our enormous loans.

The longer we remain in the red with the bank the more difficult it will be to pull ourselves out of it. Talk about new stadiums and world class training facilities are nonsense, there is not one area of Everton FC (besides its supporters) that does not need immediate improvement.

I hate to say it, but 20 years of chronic underinvestment, financial mismanagement and improvement of our competition see us in the position we currently find ourselves in. We cannot turn the clock back and I am not suggesting we just accept it and give up. But I certainly do not have the solution that will have us back in our 'rightful place' (and don't start suggesting throwing money around — we have none).

As far as I can tell, the plan seems to be steady (slow) improvement of the playing staff, whilst trying to get on terms with our creditors. At that point, we might be able to look at stadium improvement or relocation, which will benefit us in the long term.
Teddy Niigma, Warrington  (24/5/06)

Johnson, if we want him, we have to pay the pric
There's no point a myriad of correspondents discussing whether Johnson is worth £8½M or not. The market has decided that's his price and if we want him that's the price we have to pay. I was intrigued by the reported Everton plan that all the clubs should agree to bid the same amount and the player could decide. Pie in the sky!

If Johnson ends up with us, then we have to change our structure. Assuming that we would therefore play Beattie and Johnson up front, we would then need a four-man midfield: Arteta as the creative player on the right; Neville the holding player; Van der Meyde or Kilbane on the left; and Osman as the attacking player. No Davies, and no Cahill.

As people have been pointing out, Cahill's style of play is very exciting and effective in a very good team whereas, in a more moderate team, his ability to "ghost" into scoring positions is a luxury. Cahill as a combative midfielder is not very effective, he is prone to give away far too many free kicks. Perhaps it's time to cash in on him. Davies can only be sold at a loss or kept on the bench.

Please tell me that we are going to fight to keep one of the great central defenders in Joseph Yobo. Moyes needs to be sorting his contract out rather than worrying about Stubbs and Weir.

Without Yobo and with a possible four man mid-field, I fear our very slow defence would be exposed. It survives at the moment because Everton's midfield see their main job as being to protect the defence. Their attacking contributions are secondary and that is the main reason why our goals for total is so appalling.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (24/5/06)

It doesn't bother me that AJ probably wont be signing for Everton. £8.5 million is a heck of a lot of money for a player with limited Premiership experience.

What does annoy me is that bloody Wigan have outbid Everton. Not so long ago Everton were considered one of the Top 5 teams but now even a little team with a small fan base like Wigan can bully us out of a transfer.

It really sucks.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (24/5/06)

Why should that worry you? Everything that happens at Everton is wonderful. All decisions that are made are the best ones at the time. We don't really need him anyway. Everton don't actually need to score all that many goals. 16 wins would get us a handsome 48 points and more mid-table 'progress' to boast about, and if we did that with 1-0 wins, we'd halve our rather excessive and wasteful goal tally of last season. Just think what the record books would say! David Moyes knows best! — Arnold Schwarznegger

Andy Johnson is not the sort of player who could take a club like Everton from mediocrity to fame. He is, however, the sort of player who could be the barometer of Everton's ambition as a football force. If Everton believe that this player is good enough to warrant breaking the club's transfer fee record — even at a price of £7¼M then surely he is worth the extra £1½M to bring him to the club he reportedly wants to play for?

Yeah, the price is inflated and I would doubt that AJ is actually worth that much. But that is the name of the game these days and if Everton want to remain in the big league for another decade they have got to be prepared to pay inflated prices for players who are in demand. I am not suggesting that the club should be prepared to pay 'anything' — there has to be a limit — but if Everton have any ambition at all I would expect that tomorrow morning I will read that Everton have matched Wigan's offer and that AJ is on his way to Bellefield for talks.

If I don't read that tomorrow then I will need to consider what a miserable misjudgement I have made in renewing my season ticket. (Please excuse the poetic licence...I would have renewed the season ticket even if we'd been relegated!.. perhaps that's the problem!) This is, jokes aside, a bit of a Rubicon for the Blues. For me, it's one they have to cross as the alternative is the realization that we are doomed with relation to any expectation that we are a club on the 'up' and that (as suspected) Tomasz Radzinski was right|!!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (24/5/06)

Andrew Johnson
The phone rings at Whelan towers:

"Hi, Dave, it's Bill here from Everton."

“Bill, Chairman of Everton FC."
“Oh hello, Bill, what can I do for you?”

“Well, actually, Dave, it was regarding the boy Johnson; I understand you are after him as well.”

“I thought if you and us bid the same it will save a bidding war, the only winner if that happens is the Palace. Then that leaves the boy Johnson to make his own mind up as to where he wants to go! It's a belting idea — I did it last year with Deadly at the Villa when we got Beattie. What do you reckon, eh, Dave?”
”OK, Bob; I'll go along with that — what's the deal?”

“It's Bill. Anyway, Dave we thought that we would offer £1M up front, £500k if we won that League cuppie thing that you were in this year, £1M if we win the FA Cup and £2M if we win the league — we've got them by the short & curlies with that one cos we aint going to win that, are we? Then we thought that we would make it up to £8M if the boy captains England! What do you think?”
“Good idea, Bob... where are you from again?”

“It's Bill!!! Dave, you remember me I gave you those comps for Billy Elliot last year!”
“Oh yes! Sorry, Bill, I get mixed up sometimes. OK, I will run with that one we'll do the same!”

“Thanks, Dave. You won't be sorry!”

Phone rings at the Jordan residence...

“Hi, Simon; it's Dave Whelan here. What's the crack with the boy Johnson? I've just had soft lad on from the West End trying to stitch me up.”
“Well, Dave, I want £8.5M up front. I know it's a bit steep but I'm in the driving seat and you've got the dosh!”

“OK, Si, you drive a hard bargain. Send him up for a chat and if he likes us I'll send you a cheque!”
“Good man! I'd shake your hand if you were here. The deal's as good as done. Good Luck!”

Another embarrassing episode in the comedy that is Everton FC.
Kevin Bennett, Chester  (24/5/06)


Johnson again
I really don't think we should be looking to sign any player for the price Jordan is quoting when we're in our financial position. The issue here is: Why didn't we sign him last summer for half the price? Dithering Dave again.

Why didn't we sign Ashton for £3M? I fear Nugent will be the next cheaper young talent we miss out on who will be "worth" £10M in one or two season's time when we get round to putting a bid in. If Kenwright and Moyes manage to pull their fingers out and sign a striker under the age of 30 this summer.... well, I don't know what I'll do because it won't happen!
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (24/5/06)

Whaddaya mean "our financial position"?!??! Surely you have heard we are one of the Top 20 richest clubs in the world (measured by turnover)... and we are the most profitable club in the country. — Buster Wyness

Here we go again
Let's be honest — Is it any surprise we will not be signing AJ? I agree, £10 million is too much but what upsets me is the hype that we are still a big club when Wigan and Bolton outbid us. It tells the story that Bill Kenwright promises a lot but fails to deliver.

Are we now supposed to think Stubbs is a great signing, and, for the way forward, Moyes is bullet-proof simply because he never gets his first choice options due to money problems? If BK is as big a fan as he claims, he must see he has to stand down and find a credible replacement. The lack of investment boarders on criminal neglect.
Roy Coyne, Liverpool  (24/5/06)

Is it that bad?
At the start of the season, before a ball was kicked, I would have accepted a top half finish. If we achieved that I would be happy. It would be progress.

Now I know we DIDN'T finish there, but IF we had picked up just two more wins than we did, I don't think we would have half as many negative posts on this site as we have. I have just spent the last couple of hours reading the recent posts... Kenwright is this, Moyes and the team are that, and I agree with most of what is sent in (the positive and negative).

As far as I can see, there is no easy solution. If we sack Moyes, we're going to be going after the same standard of managers that Charlton are currently seeking: Davies, Dowie etc..

Let's give them at least one more season, coz at the moment, we're between a rock and a hard place!
Matt Geraghty, Warrington  (24/5/06)

There's merit in your overview, Matt. What has angered many Blues this past season is the style we play our football, the lack of goals an obvious moan. We are not pretty to watch and as you intimate there are no easy solutions ready made out there. Sacking Moyes cures all our ills? Doubt it. Continue as is well into next season then there'll be a new question on the agenda! Until then, sit back and enjoy/endure the ride! — Colm

Krøldrup, Ferrari, Yobo...
Not one of them good enough to force Stubbs and Weir out. Stubbs and Weir, dependable, consistent and generally good guys. Their age doesn't concern me, good enough, old enough is the rule. It's no wonder that Stubbs/Weir have the highest win ratio of any defensive partnership. Great players, long may they reign. It would be hard for any new defenders (Lescott, Huth) to displace them.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (24/5/06)

Trust me Dutch, the joke's worn out, this is for you. — Colm

Once we were equals
Quality piece by Gavin Ramejkis on the way 'The Arsenal' conduct their transfer business and that of the recent signing of Rosiscky. Add to that their recent handling of the Thierry Henry contract in the face of media and Sky Sports whoring of his talent and the acquisition of Theo Walcott, Eboue, Toure and Fabregas and you see a shining example of a club that is able to operate with distinction at all levels of the management structure.

Now I am not intentionally bigging Arsenal up as I am a committed Evertonian and this is a forum for matters concerning Everton but merely as an envious reflection on how we continue to operate. Added to transfer conduct we have the seamless construction of the Ashburton Grove stadium and it becomes a bitter reality that what was a Club we were once equal to are now in a different stratosphere. 20 years of neglect and flannel have resulted in a Club that can no longer even compete with the likes of Wigan and Bolton when it comes to prospective transfer targets.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (24/5/06)

Hard to believe that, back in the early 1990s as greed dictated we'd split from the Football League to form the Premiership, Everton FC and Arsenal FC were pretty much on a par — on and off the pitch. How times change... — Colm

CEO talks
Keith Wyness, who are you trying to kid?

Yes, Sky and Setanta will lavish the "new" TV money on the Premier League clubs. However, this money does not magically appear out of a monkey's arse. The fans that buy the TV packages will stump it up. Those fans that do pay will pay more to get the same. Those who go to the games, your cash-cow season ticket holders, will be further inconvenienced for the privilege due to uncertainty over kick-off times. Oh, there is no respite by just going down to the pub to watch. The price of ale will go up and it is likely fewer pubs will be able to afford the increased charges so where you watch the game may become less of a choice.

Also, in a relative market, the extra money available to ALL the Premier club sides will, in the way football behaves, be channelled into higher transfer fees, wages for playing staff, agents fees and salaries for people like you, Keith Wyness. No wonder you are smacking your lips!

Why should we, the fans, be pleased? The product will not improve. Only “Football People”, which we are constantly reminded we are not, will benefit. Why should we be pleased about that? What you are doing is taking the piss and you do this rather a lot Keith.

What should really happen, but it won't, is that this money should be channelled into fans and facilities. By the way are you still hanging on hoping for a ground share with our bitter rivals?

Keith Wyness, stop your patronising shit. The cynic in me does not need to be even remotely questioned to recognise that you have no conscience and you don’t even believe your own blag. Tell you what, Keith, keep your gob shut and leave it to Moyes to communicate with the fan-base or just provide us with facts. We are quite capable of work out the pros and cons for ourselves rather than just the cons that you present.
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (24/5/06)

With so much television money looming on the horizon (subject to not being relegated!)... makes you wonder why the demand for season ticket renewal money was paramount in Mr Wyness' thoughts... — Colm

Just read your link on the Rumour Mill about Robert Huth and I read Huth saying:

'You train and train only to be told you are not in the starting line up.'

Quick, someone stuff Joseph Yobo into a cupboard!
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (25/5/06)

This would be the same cupboard recently vacated by Mr Ferrari? Krøldrup, Ferrari, Yobo... who's next? — Colm

The way to do transfer business?
It was almost a pleasure yesterday to hear how Arsenal managed to negotiate a deal with Dortmund, arrange a medical and sign a quality player in Rosicky which didn't get leaked to the press until the medical stages — I believe myself he had already signed.

When was the last time Everton made a quality stealth purchase? Every recent purchase or "supposed" interest has been leaked to the press way before it should have for reasons many sceptics would say is to put bums on seats or blag the fans that we really are going for quality with our only true purchases being one-horse races paying over the odds.

The AJ saga is different I will admit with Simon Jordan milking the press to bleed a better price for his player but Rosicky was sold just a few years ago for £18M so surely his profile should earn him a few column inches? Arsenal's management yet again show how to scout, negotiate and sign quality players without getting involved in public auctions; Fabregas to name at least one other.

Where are the Everton scouts? Where are the management performing covert deals? Answer to the first one is "Do we have any besides Moyes and Irvine?" — if we do bleeding sack them. Second is poncing somewhere else lining their own pockets or talking utter shite to journalists.

If Buster can spout shite about this new £28M a year revenue stream then surely he can start earning his brass and getting quality deals done with it á la Arsenal.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (24/5/06)

Club CEO earns a bit of brass? Oi... we're not Newcastle, y'know... — Colm

RE: Begin at the beginning
Colm, about your response, this is the fansite that reminds us often that 'it doesn't take £5 million to buy a £5 million pound player'. Let us also realise that although, Keith would be quick to remind us that we were one of the top spenders last season, we didn't pay the full £3.5M for Davies, we shipped Krøldrup back out and sold Bent on... So were we also one of the top selling Premiership teams as well?

As for me needing to wash my mouth out for airing the O'Leary suggestion, if you had actually read the entire message you would have realised what was being said — especially this part "I'm glad we don't have an O'Leary or the likes of him who would happily piss the money away twice over".
Teddy Niigma, Warrington  (24/5/06)

Teddy, have you had a humour bypass?! Chill! - Colm

How long has he been here?
Seems true that Davie Weir really has been at the club too long, was this from his first team sheet pic???
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (23/5/06)

Cruel! — Colm

Sinking Summer Feeling
Good Day Gentlemen

Can't believe a first division team are looking for £10 million for anyone, that seems ridiculous. That Simon Jordan comes over as a bit of a cunt most of the time, but that's taking the piss.

I think blues getting their hopes up that we'll sign Johnson, or anyone refreshing for that matter, should brace themselves. Time and time again under Moyes we've been rumoured to be interested in so many fantastic new players but it's always the same story. We never sign anyone exciting, someone who could give the fans a bit of a lift, someone who'll breathe fresh air into the club (Cahill turned out to be a slight exception for a season).

After a lot of these posts Colm or Michael have said look for us resigning Big Dunc, Weir etc... that's alot more realistic than it is us signing Andy Johnson or Lescott.

I may be proved wrong, but I envy anyone with high hopes for decent signings this summer. We're more likely to offer our shitty 'reliable' players new contracts than we are do anything else.

It's a shit feeling to feel this hopeless, but I suppose you just get used to it!
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (23/5/06)

Even Tony Hibbert's getting in on the act, wanting his mates with contract renewed! New Everton signings, this way! — Colm

Will it make any difference
Johnson is a good player — not worth £8M or £10M IMHO, but at least he is nippy and hard working.

However, he is also not 6'0" tall... which is a problem when playing up front for David Moyes's teams. If he isn't careful, he could end up the next Tony Cottee unless Moyes adds a bit more craft to the midfield.

Anyways, let's hope Cahill and Neville (haha) have incredible World Cups and we can cash in on them. Then we can splash the cash and hopefully say, 'Bring it onnnn Watford!' with a bit of optimism.
Iain McWilliam, UK  (23/5/06)

Don't think we'd say no to a new arrival if he was to score 99 goals for us, á la Cottee! — Colm

Cynical or just plain true?
It is harsh to say that Moyes is negative in his tactics when he doesn't have the talent of players at his disposal to play free-flowing attacking football. Anyone who has coached knows you can only do the best with your resources; in the results business, you have to do anything you can to get three points and keep your job.

Now has he done the best he can do with his money? Probably not, he needs more Arteta's worthy of the "School of Science" but I am sorry there are not many of these around and everybody wants them. In a world where players are coached not to make mistakes rather than express themselves, I am afraid fans of most teams will have to get used to it. (even Chelsea buy into this... literally).

Gone are the swashbuckling stylish teams of the 60s as unless you have the personnel it gets you nowhere (and the financial losses are too great). We are in the era of the 4-5-1 and Greece winning the Euro champs. Come on, ask yourself honestly — Would you ask this Everton team to play like Arsenal if you were manager? If you did, you would be out of a job in 10 days.

Results over performances, end of story. Anything else is just a pipe dream, we must just get used to it and stop complaining.
Richard Williams, New Canaan  (23/5/06)

Ah yes..."high goal efficiency" reigns supreme! — Colm

Dutch says "Moyes the hardest working manager in the Premiership". Jesus Dutch, all he has done is bring a keeper in on LOAN and a young lad who won't get a look in — hardly riveting stuff.

Also, it looks like Palace won't let AJ go for less than £10M, and according to the papers Villa had a £3M bid turned down by Wolves for Lescott, and we're told to come back with another £2M on top of that. It looks like it would take £15M to land these players, have we got that sort of money? Have we my arse!

The only hard graft Moyes does is when he's spouting shite and spin on behalf of Kenwright and Wyness.
Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (23/5/06)

There's always the re-signing of David Weir to warm our hearts... — Colm

Why do so many Evertonians have to over-react and throw their toys out of the pram the minute anyone expresses an opinion that doesn't say how wonderful we are?

For me, this is a sensible debate on how we get the best out of our players. Cahill is a good goalscoring midfielder who needs the team to suit his style of play. Last season, that didn't happen, which was one reason for his ineffectiveness and lack of discipline — though some strong management may have helped there! Like Beattie, we'll see the best of him when the players around him suit... so, do we get them or do we cash in on him? I'd prefer to keep him, but then I don't know what's in the biscuit tin!

Campbell's piece on Ferguson:
I disagree with Campbell's emotive language, but for me, when players get £35k a week they have to do more than get a tattoo. I want players who show their love for the club by looking after themselves and consistently delivering the goods on the pitch. After he came out of jail, Ferguson failed to do this and his real, genuine potential was never realised. If you think he's a legend, fair enough. I think it says more about the quality of players we've had recently as well as the ever-diminishing expectations some Evertonians have.

Why don't we just let Moyes get on with it and voice our views at the start of the season, bearing in mind that whoever we buy may not actually get a game!

Four seasons; two very good, two very bad. And some people are surprised that there's any debate about his managerial ability?

There's no right or wrong on these issues. What worries me is that some Evertonians seem to think that it's disloyal to question anything. Look at all the successful clubs — they question everything in order to improve. Nobody's moaning for moaning's sake — we just want genuine, long-term progress, rather than the current week-by-week, sticking-plaster approach.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (23/5/06)

Good shouts there, Paul. — Colm

On the menu
I have heard elsewhere that at Beattie's wedding last week there was something on the buffet menu called a 'McBeattie burger'. I'm really hoping this is a joke, or it could be another reason why our 'fittest player' runs around with a pair of man breasts I'd be ashamed of in the Sunday leagues.
Ian Aspinall, South Shields  (23/5/06)

Whatever Mr Beattie might want on his buffet menu... on his own wedding day... well, surely that's his own choice, no?! Who cares! — Colm

Moyes On Fire!
I really think Moyes is on top form. He has got rid of the deadwood (Dunc, Ferrari, Tie) and already started signing new players. It's still May and already Howard has been drafted in to address the goalkeeping problem and one of football's brightest prospects, Scott Spencer, has been added for the future. If Moyes can persuade AJ and Lescott to sign I have really high hopes for next season.

I think Moyes knows he disappointed last season and that's why he's so pro-active in preparing for next season. It's great to see an Everton manager with fire in his belly desperately trying to improve things. The hardest working manager in the Premiership.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (23/5/06)

Sir, may we recommend this, as essential viewing in the Schaffaer household! - Colm

I see 'Dutch' is losing it — he can't even spell his false last name right. — Michael

I used to quite like David Moyes; now I can't stand him. I hate the type of football he plays, the players he buys, and his generally dour demeanour. Nothing about him is exciting — he is a charisma free zone. I have felt for a long time he has difficulty relating to flair or skilled players, but fully identifies and 'rates' workhorses.

Is it just me, bu't dont you just sense that any decent player doesn't really want to sign for him. They delay as long as possible, and if absolutely nothing better is anywhere in sight they reluctantly sign. I really don't blame them because he seems to stifle creativity and good football. Apart from Arteta, he seems to strangle a players career with his horrible, negative, boring football.

The longer he stays, the worse it will get. We may get the occasional step forward — a blind man will hit the bullseye every now and then — but several steps backwards will always follow.

The cancer that is David Moyes is seeping through every part of our club and many fans' psyche. The man now sounds like a shell of his former self, whether it be managing our expectations or carefully preparing his exit strategy. I really hope it's the latter and the sooner we get rid of this pariah the better.
Mike Price, Songkhla, Thailand  (23/5/06)

Some will view those opinions as being overly harsh, others not. What strikes a chord with myself is the remark that he "now sounds like a shell of his former self..." — Colm

Light Relief
To ease the annual "will we, won't we?" debate I got sent this fairly amusing assessment of Premier League clubs and it's a distraction from AJ and the Ginger One !

Football Teams as we know them!

Chelsea: Unconfirmed reports from Stamford Bridge say that Chelsea will be releasing a new record at the end of the week, "I'm forever blowing Doubles"!

Manchester United: Apparently, they've found Bin Laden, hiding in the Manchester United trophy room. He said it reminded him of his cave in Afghanistan; Large, dark, empty... and just been taken over by Americans.

Liverpool: Q: Why do Sumo wrestlers shave their legs? A: So they not mistaken for a Female Kopites!

Arsenal: The seven dwarfs are down in the mines when there is a cave-in. Snow White runs to the entrance and yells down to them. In the distance a voice shouts out "Arsenal are good enough to win the European Cup." Snow White says "Well at least Dopey's alive!"

Tottenham: Did you hear about the Conservative MP who was found dead in a Spurs strip? The police had to dress him up in women's underwear in order to save his family from the embarrassment.

Blackburn Rovers: Blackburn Rovers FC is apparently under investigation by the Inland Revenue for tax evasion; they've been claiming for Silver Polish for the past 20 years.

Newcastle United: Q: What do you get when you put the girlfriends of a dozen Toon fans in one room? A: A full set of teeth!

Bolton Wanderers: Q: What's the difference between a Bolton fan and a Chimp? A: Ones hairy, stupid and smells, and the other is a chimpanzee.

West Ham Utd: A West Ham supporter walks past a shop window and notices a video for sale entitled "West Ham —The Golden Years". The supporter asks the shopkeeper "How much for the video mate?" The shopkeeper replies "£200." "£200 for a video?" says the fan, 'You're having a laugh.' "Oh no" the shopkeeper replies "The video's only a fiver, but the Betamax player will cost you £195"

Wigan: Q: What do you call a sheep tied to a lamp-post in Wigan? A: A leisure centre.

Everton: Q: What's the similarity between Everton and a 3-pin plug? A: They're both useless in Europe.

Fulham: London Underground have decided to start sponsoring Fulham. LUL think they are a suitable team because of their regular point's failures.

Charlton Athletic: Q: Why does NASA send their astronauts to train at The Valley? A: It's the only place in the world with no atmosphere!

Middlesbrough: Q: Why should you not allow Middlesbrough fans a coffee break at work? A: Because it takes too long to retrain them.

Manchester City: Q: How can you tell when Man City are losing? A: It's five past three.

Aston Villa: Q: What have General Pinochet and AVFC got in common? A: They both round people up into football stadiums and torture them!

Portsmouth: Q: What's the difference between a Pompey fan and a Walrus? A: Ones fat, greasy and smells of fish —the other's a Walrus.

Birmingham City: Birmingham City Lipstick — Ideal for kissing goodbye. (To the Premier League, as worn by the players) £0:99p each.

WBA: Q: Why does Bryan Robson keep visiting Argos? A: Because that is the only way he can pick up any Premier points!

Sunderland: Q: What's the difference between the Black cat keeper and a taxi driver? A: A taxi driver will only let in four at a time.

The New boys

Reading: Two blokes were walking through a cemetery when they happened upon a tombstone that read: "Here lies John Sweeney, a good man and a Reading fan." So, one of them asked the other: "When the hell did they start putting two people in one grave?"

Sheffield Utd: Q: What do you get when you cross a Blades Fan with a pig? A: I don't know, there are some things a pig just won't do.

Watford: I'm sorry no joke here, because any team which sings "Are you watching, Luton Town?" doesn't need the piss taking out of them anymore.
Rog Walker, Portsmouth  (23/5/06)

Someone's had plenty of free time on their hands! — Colm

Slight Correction
In response to Colm's reply to Mark Wynne's letter, I must disagree with your insinuation and your facts. First of all, Ferguson DID join Rangers from Dundee Utd. When Duncan Ferguson left Dundee Utd, he had the choice of going to several clubs.

It was well documented at the time that Bayern Munich were offering him a huge salary (based mainly on his performance against Germany in a friendly several weeks prior), much in excess of what Rangers were offering. He turned down that offer in order to play for his boyhood team. He was earning much less than Bayern had offered.

When he joined Everton initially, it was on a lower wage than he was getting at Rangers; when he re-joined Everton it was on a much reduced salary to what he was getting at Newcastle.

Now I will not disagree that the majority of players are greedy bastards (can you imagine telling a prospective employer that $50k per week is not enough?), but I don't think that money was the main factor in any of Ferguson's transfers.

May also be worth reminding people that when he first broke into the first team at Dundee Utd, earning just a few hundred quid a week, he was known for taking all his mates from the youth team on nights out, and insisting on paying for everything. Sometimes this would cost him over two weeks' wages.

These are not the actions of someone motivated solely by money.
Alisdair Denny, Perth, Australia  (23/5/06)

Yep, hand held up, that's what I get for replying to the mailbag when tired (and emotional!). The underlying point remains though — most players will move where the best money awaits, it's only natural to work for the best paymaster, no? And last word on Ferguson, his old boss at Dundee United — Jim McLean — always said, to whoever would listen, that Duncan remained more interested in his pigeons than ever anything football related! — Colm

Begin at the beginning
Reading this Everton fan site, and numerous others, it has become apparent that David Moyes is considered a 'ditherer' in the transfer market. For me, that is unjustified.

Working on a budget with one hand tied up behind his back, Moyes has managed to bring in some quality. Look around in the Premiership and quantify the amounts spunked up the wall by numerous managers of opposing teams. Moyes hasn't had this luxury; Everton cannot afford to write off the millions Man Utd did on Veron, but as of next season they will be seating 78,000 so-called fans into their (I hate to say it) pretty good stadium. Say £30 per seat, and it's 2.3 million on the gate, every fortnight. Then add in consumables and merchandise, and we can see that certain clubs have spending power Moyes and a few other managers can only dream of.

So where does it leave us? — Scrapping around looking for bargains, taking the odd risk and hoping for a payoff. In this situation, can you really criticise the man (any man) for being cautious before frittering away what little monies there are. I am glad he is Doubley sure about incoming players, I'm glad we don't have an O'leary or the likes of him who would happily piss the money away twice over and leave us in a precarious financial position.

So, looking at Moyes's signings, he has made some good, and some bad. Looking at the football, we have looked great but more often we have been dull and not entertaining. The thing is was it any better when we had NYARKO, GEMMILL, ALEXANDERSSON, PEMBRIDGE, LINDEROTH and a whole plethora of players devoid of the 'nil satis...' skills?

There were few good points back in those days — I recall more under the tenure of Moyes than I do of all the others. We have improved, despite all the odds, and the only person that can take the credit for said improvement is our current manager.

Saying all that, let's keep at him, weigh him down, constantly snipe and make snide remarks, maybe just maybe we could force him out. The way I hear it, O'leary might be available sometime soon... don't forget 'Nil satis nisi optimum'.
Teddy Niigma, Warrington  (23/5/06)

On the point about Moyes not having millions to spend... the CEO would be quick to remind you that Everton were one of the top spenders in the transfer market last season. And for airing a suggestion that David O'Leary might become available in time to come... go wash yer mouth out! — Colm

If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody
I'm a mad Evertonian and always willing to get a little one over our neighbours. Here's a fact:

Last night, Gerry (The Great Red) Marsden was on BBC Look Northwest saying his goodbyes to Freddy from the Dreamers. I have it fully recorded on Sky Plus. So there can be no denial.

He said that Freddy was a "good Manc" and they often discussed "Everton and Man United games together"... He embarrasingly corrected himself to say "Liverpool and Man Utd games".

Now, I have always heard Marsden was a blue and turned his coats because the Kop started singing his record. Well this, my dear friends, is living proof. You would never make this mistake when recalling a memory. You simply would not mix up your supported team.

Get him exposed... You know it makes sense! Let's have a full exposé of this Schisster, eh. Turncoat for profit, and a red icon. Get him exposed...
Brian Hughes, Liverpool  (23/5/06)

I'm Telling You Now
You Were Made For Me
What Have I Done To You?
Feel So Blue
Send A Letter To Me
Over You
Come Back When You're Ready
I Love You Baby
Don't Make Me Cry
Just For You
Don't Do That To Me
I Understand

Collins John
£2 million for Collins John is not underwhelming but good business! He is 19, fast, a good finisher and a Dutch under-21 international. Was Crystal Palace's £750k purchase of Andy Johnson underwhelming? £10 million? No thanks!
Richard Williams, New Canaan, CT  (23/5/06)

Hot Air
Why all the conjecture, wishful thinking, angst and I have to say this, total - fans thinking they are Football Manager's - bollocks, over possibilities and maybe's?

What a load of shite. None of yer know the real amount of the tranfer kitty (if there is one) and none of you are in a position to influence the decisions made by EFC as to who they buy or when it happens. So, just shut it and wait and see. Stop dancing to the newspapers' lying crap or the toad agents and their upping-the-ante spin.

If Johnson doesn't come... so what?! Why is he suddenly the one? And.... I haven't heard a word from the manager about what he feels. Until he parades who he has bought before the press at Goodison Park, as a completed deal, I don't fucking care... and you shouldn't either.
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (23/5/06)

When all around you are losing their heads... — Michael

AJ — a worthy £10 Million?
I would dearly love for Everton to sign Andy Johnson — he's a wonderful player, pacy with a natural goalscoring ability, but if the bidding war reaches £10 million that's a bit steep. That would wipe out Moyes entire transfer budget and probably force him to sell one of the better players (Yobo) to balance the books.

Everton have also been linked with Fulham's Collins John. 20-year-old scored 12 goals last season and would probably only cost £3 million leaving Moyes in a situation of not having to sell anyone and still have more money to spend on other players (Lescott).

Does Moyes go for broke (Johnson) or take the sensible option (John)? I'm sure he'll make a good decision — he always does.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (22/5/06)

Oh well that's fine, then. Here is something for you to ponder in the meantine, 'Dutch': You may think you know how much money is in Moyes's transfer budget... but you don't know for sure... do you? — Michael

Desperate Housewives!
The majority of fans are like battered housewives who take the punishment and come back for more! It's obvious that AJ will not come to Everton as we haven't got £9 million to spend on one player! And it's painfully clear that the old PR department are doing their best at Goodison to instill hope in an already dead dog. Hope that will renew season tickets and boost shirt sales until... oops! AJ was too greedy/injury prone/ambitious to come — or however the PR team decide to spin it!

So let's not celebrate until its official either way on AJ's future. Personnally I would pay £4M for Benni McCarthy and £2M for James Milner — forget an over-priced AJ. And what is all this silly talk about Cahill? Yes he has the touch of a rapist and the vision of a bat, but he is the best out of a terrible bunch! In an ideal world we would shop him off and buy better, but here is a newsflash — WE ARE SKINT AND MOYES'S BARGINING SKILLS WE WON'T GET BETTER ANY TIME THIS DECADE!
Luq Yus, London  (22/5/06)

Nobody's celebrating yet, Luq; we're waiting patiently for the outcome. He may sign... he may not. But you are gonna look really daft if he does sign! — Michael

Victor Meldrew
Bloody hell, what is with this mailbag and the negativity??? The "Moyes is the worst thing to ever happen to Everton" brigade have now grown bored so they're turning their attention to Tim Cahill.

  • The 2004-05 Manager of the Year is crap
  • Now the EFC 2004-05 Player of the Year is crap
What a moaning bunch of old arses the people of the People's Club can be sometimes. There is enough true utter shite to be moaning about at Everton FC before you get to two of the handful of assets we HAVE got. Does me head in sometimes...

I just tuned in to Century FM phone-in and Sharpy is at it... having spent the past three years havin a go at the club for not speculating to accumulate and showin ambition, Andy Johnson looks like he might sign for £8 million and its "far too much, we should be lookin for bargains". Quick — sign Dickov instead, eh? Jesus. I don't fuckin beleive it.

Ta for that feel better now.
Haf Nia, Speke  (22/5/06)

Glad we could be of service. Although you seem to be halulicnating and confused to boot.

  1. To my knowledge, no-one has said: "Moyes is the worst thing to ever happen to Everton." He has his limitations, more for some than for others.
  2. The 2004-05 Manager of the Year was not exactly crap in 2005-06... but his limitations came to the fore.
  3. The EFC 2004-05 Player of the Year was not exactly crap in 2005-06... but he wasn't exactly very good either... and as a player I personally find him horrible to watch.
And as for Johnson, see the letter immediately below: the lad has a point. — Michael

AJ: £10 Million
That's how much I reckon he will go for, which is half the amount we sold Rooney for. Does this mean we will get half the talent of a Rooney?? Don't make me laugh — Rooney is 10 times the player AJ is. It's a stupid price for a player who has only been known for a couple of years. The chasing clubs should just agree a price with each other — £6 million, say — and not go above it. Then we just have to wait for AJ to put in a transfer request.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (22/5/06)

Why can't I find...???
My sister plays at the Academy, goes to the England camp at Lilleshall but I can never find anything about her or her team-mates. Yet, just the other day, they were on the hallowed turf getting a team photo while our not so intresting neighbors where ponsing on a bus round town. Ah, well... Her name is Amiee Kane (not to be mistaken for the Amy Kane who plays in the senior women's team) and plays for Everton Under-16s and England... yet nowhere can I find this information or how they are doing?
Colin Kane, Ipswich  (22/5/06)

Well, hate to be harsh, but no-one is really that interested. How many turned up for the FA Women's Cup Final the other day? I watched it for all of 5 mins and two Arsenal goals before deciding I had better things to do with my time.

Each year we have had a request on our embryonic Ladies page for someone to step forward and act as a corespondent for the Women's game at Everton. Last season's attempt didn't get very far, and this season we had nothing. So, as I said, I guess no-one is really that interested. Except you, of course! — Michael

Pub Talk
All this talk in the pub must have some truth to it. Last night I heard Everton were a big club again and were no longer a selling club but a buying club. From what I can remember, we are very close to signing Al Johnson and Nat King Cole — with many more to follow. And there I was thinking that the Goodison Bullshit machine was going into overdrive again.

One thing I have learned over the years is that, if some guy down the pub tells me some football related story, then it has to be true. Why would he lie? Whats in it for him?

So Cahill will leave for Barcelona; Yobo will go to Rotherham; and Beatie will make the World Cup squad. Kenwright has been on a yacht with the Arabs, and Wyness has lost two stone. That' s what they are saying down the pub, so it must be true.

I am off to get leathered.
Tony Marsh, Sunny Cyprus  (22/5/06)

Go easy there, Tony. Too much sun and too much alcohol, and too many glimpses of scantily-clad beauties have heen known to addle the brain! — Michael

Return to the fold
Its been a while since I've been able to catch up on the mailbag and bash a few thoughts in response. Some great postings; Matt Traynor and Tom, good analogy on being nutmegged by kids but still having views on players and Matt's views on the game.

I've posted in the past that our management has always seemed to be an old boys' network rather than hard-nosed businessmen with the acumen to bleed the Sky dollar dry. Look at other teams that were inferior to Everton before Sky, not Chelksi as that's a one off but the others, who remembers Man Utd in the 80s? If only a poor cousin, Everton looked a class act in the 80s but those days are gone as well as the boat in being on a par with the middle tier of Premiership teams.

Read between the lines on the teams around us though and for all Dave Whelan's money something appears wrong at Wigan: Bullard goes back to London, arguably their best midfielder; Chimbonda wants out, their best defender; and rumours Roberts is on his way too — surely three of their best players?

Troubling times though they were last season, Everton survived. I personally still can't believe the form that pulled us from the brink. Now is the time for ruthless business savvy, the pitch earns the public interest which should then be used by Buster to generate new income instead of relying on old money which will no doubt be down this season.

Let's go for players who can earn us that chance. Yes, we are no Chelski but like the blue rinser famously said "a five million pound player doesn't cost five million". Players I would admire in a blue shirt: have to agree with Pennant; Davis from Villa; Johnson — but only at the right price;, Lescott looks solid enough and always dependent on how Moyes wants to play the game. Then a look at someone like Zigic, yes he costs a lot more than we have and he would be another target player too similar to Beattie but unlike Beattie he is solid on the ground with his feet watch this for proof — halfway down page goals against Roma, so apologies for CM mode but as supporters and fans we will honestly never be the manager beyond our kids teams and maybe Sunday/Pub leagues but let's have our day on this message board.

Roll on what is going to be a really important transfer window and early start to the season for Moyes and his bosses.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (22/5/06)

Not too much has been made of the recently struck TV deal commencing season 2007-08. With a guaranteed £28M per club per season up for grabs I've no doubt some clubs might consider further borrowings on the strength of future "earnings"! Cue van Nistelrooij in Blue?! "Nurse!" — Colm

So where is Johnson? Is he in Portugal with the England squad, or having tea and scones while being talked into playing a "withdrawn midfield role" with Dithering Davey? Personally I wouldn't be at all surprised if he's on Merseyside, but more likely talking with the Shite across the park.

I'm sorry, but I know footballers aren't the brightest bunch, but even the dimmest (and I don't count Johnson here) isn't going to be convinced by whatever optimistic blather is fed to him by the Everton hierarchy. I know I wouldn't and I LOVE the club. What chance then for a lad from Bedford with no emotional ties to Everton?
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (22/5/06)

Frustration is perfectly understandable but purely food for thought I'll offer this: a young striker from Stirling was once on the move from Dundee United. The player was a lifelong Glasgow Rangers fan and indeed his beloved Rangers were one of those clubs in for him. The other? Everton, down south in England. So why would a Rangers-loving striker (literally!) opt for a move south to Everton instead of heading for Ibrox?! Answer? MONEY! Same rules shall apply with Mr.Johnson's decision, when the time comes. — Colm

Johnson et al
Reading the varying news reports over the Andrew Johnson transfer, I have got to admit that I am getting a tinge of excitement over the prospect of this possible signing. For once, I am feeling upbeat and hope that we can pull this off, as well as the fella from Wolves. If the lad favours us over others then surely we can't fuck this one up?

What this will do, however, is show what sort of management the club really has. It's one thing putting in a bid for Alan Smith when we all knew he'd go to Man Utd, or Owen to Newcastle etc, but this time we should be the best option (no disrespect to Wigan or Bolton). If we can't beat these two in a transfer auction then it will show the board up for what they really are. I don't think that they will have the balls to try it three years on the trot, especially now given the competition.

God, five minutes writing this and the excitement seems to have gone, and the reality is starting to come back. Perhaps it was something I ate!
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (22/5/06)

No disrespect intended to either Wigan or Bolton, but we're the best option? Let's see... we finished in the bottom half, they finished in the top half. At this time, we are bigger in name alone and that is all. Still, I figure we'll be involved with this potential transfer right to the end! — Colm

£3 million for James Milner — a lad with a big future. Villa are skint so why aren't we in there? Even we must have that much to spend???
Big Dunc Stokey, Stoke  (22/5/05)

I'd rather we took Davis from them, let them keep Milner! — Colm

Tim Cahill
I can't believe what I'm reading on these pages about Cahill. Let's all jump on the 'We Hate Tim Cahill bandwagon'.

You're an absolute bunch of losers.
Steven Astley, Wigan  (22/5/06)

That's a pretty sweeping generalisation eh, Steven?! — Colm

Pennant or Milner
Surely instead of Johnson, we should spend 2-3 million on a cheap proven winger like Milner or Pennant. Both who could easily strengthen our right side.

It has been said we have only around £10 million to spend. The big question is, do we spend a large portion on Johnson or do we spread the money on cheaper players?
Muhammad Amin Azman, Johor, Malaysia  (22/5/06)

This has been a party political broadcast on behalf of the Football Manager Addicts Party, Malaysian branch... — Colm

The Kenwright Saga
Matt Traynor picked up on my last post and his has set me thinking about Bill Kenwright himself in a little more detail.

We, as fans, have all played the game at some level (even if it's just being nutmegged by our own children in the garden) and we certainly all believe we could manage and play the transfer market better than any current boss. So our little knowledge allows us some empathy and stokes our opinions.

But our chairman? A critical role in any football club — nowadays THE critical role with finance playing such a huge part. And yet the chairman is the person most distant from the fans in terms of empathy. The average fan isn't anything like as familiar with boardroom as they are with bootroom.

Hands up how many of us can honestly define "corporate governance" or "due dilligence" without looking it up? Other than saying "should have got more money for Rooney", how many of us can accurately pick apart the business process of a football transfer deal to see how well or badly it was handled?

And on top of the frustration that our own lack of knowledge brings, we have our chairman's background and persona. If you think of people like Dave Whelan at Wigan, the late Jack Walker, or even that prick Freddy Shepherd, these are men who we at least feel like we can judge as one of our own type. Straight-talking men, hard-nosed business people, mostly working in traditional industries we're familiar with.

When you have a chairman outside of this type (like BK) they tend to create bad feeling very easily. The classic example is Rupert Lowe at Southampton, a man who you get the feeling probably prefers fox-hunting to football and wouldn't wear a team shirt because it doesn't go with his tweed suit. And the man is hated for it, despite delivering a nice new stadium for his club!

We have Bill, who is perceived as a proper fan unlike Lowe, but suffers from the same stigma of just being too much of a fancy dan to really be one of us. The fact he can't keep his gob shut and tends to spout all manner of luvvy crap doesn't help. All that theatrical prancing about nonsense? Fuck off and be a proper tycoon!

Anyway, when you actually look at it, Bill Kenwright Ltd boasts a permanent staff of 24 people (excluding the cleaner) so it's hardly a gargantuan outfit. I can't give you any info on the current state of the company sadly as according to Companies House the latest accounts (due 31/10/05) are overdue. Oops, early signs of a lack of ruthless financial efficiency! The same is true of a sister company Bill Kenwright Films Ltd (has Bill actually produced any films??).

But with theatreland suffering falling ticket sales anyway, it's hardly surprising Bill isn't wallowing in cash right now. Does this make him a bad chairman? Not really, plenty of other clubs don't have chairmen with huge pockets (Bolton, Charlton etc) and they do ok in balancing the books and spending what money they do have wisely.

It comes down to the ongoing financial management I referred to in my last post and having a clever strategy for both the medium and long term that reduces debts and lets the team be developed. I doubt Bill has much of a hand in developing any of these plans to be honest. More likely, BK dreams about spending £7M on AJ until Buster Wyness refuses to let him sign the cheque unless it's post-dated to 2013.

So maybe we should stop aiming all our venom at Bill and spend it on really keeping Buster on his toes. I'm glad to see fans on here sharing the letters they are sending to Mr Wyness outlining what they feel is a mis-use of the monies that keep the club afloat. A concerted effort to improve transparency and proof of a sound business plan is what we should all be keeping a very close eye on this summer and not the transfer gossip pages!
Tom Hadley, Hampshire  (22/5/06)

Your last paragraph hits the nail on the head, Tom. — Colm

Clear the tarts first
I agree totally with Alan Clarke about cahill. Why on earth have you started having a go at him when we have all these other tarts wearing a blue shirt? Cahill gives 90 minutes full blooded effort whereas Davies, Kilbane, Beattie, Naysmith, Pistone — what do they ever do — they don't exactly give their all do they? Come on, lads, let's focus here.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (22/5/06)

From Betty Turpin's hotpot to possession of a collection of unwanted and unloved tarts, eh?! — Colm

Oh to Be a Chairman of a Club
In his contribution of 19/5/06, Tom Hadley from Hampshire set me thinking. (Michael – how’s that for a ToffeeWeb strapline — ‘We Set You Thinking’ ?!) Tom mentioned clubs as businesses, and that’s exactly the point. There’s two sides of the coin: what happens on the pitch, and what happens off it.

Ultimately, success on the pitch is what drives the financials off it. Whilst secondary revenue from shirt sales or pies is important, they are ultimately secondary! There are very few clubs that are PLCs (even fewer since Roman and Glazer appeared on the scene), and most of them are shite investments for the small shareholder anyway. They are merely one of a number of ‘manufacturers of the same product’, and inherently are flawed by the thing that drives them — fans. Why would anyone buy shares in Leeds Utd, for example, if you’re not a fan?

Some football chairmen have very successful business track records behind them that got them to the position where they can spunk vast amounts of cash on their teams (I can’t personally think of a recent case where a chairman has actually made any money out of investment into a club). Therefore, some of these guys transfer their business acumen into the football business. And fuck, we’ve got Bill. That he’s a fan is not for dispute. Whether he’s a successful businessman certainly is.

Michael and Colm (amongst many others) have alluded to the fact that Sky has fucked our game. (Okay that’s my interpretation of your comments guys, apologies if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am on this occasion). But what has happened? Think Agents. Think Contract Clauses. Think Bosman. Think Image Rights. With the exception of Agents (who are still relatively new in football), all of these terms appeared in the game post-Murdoch. Why? Because footballers are now greedy little bastards who are more concerned about whether their latest ‘model’ girlfriend has enough Prada Handbags than they are about the game, or the employer they work for. Fans? Don’t make me laugh.

I’m lucky enough to have met players like Pat Nevin and Duncan Ferguson. Believe me, these guys really cared about us. On the Dark Side, I’ve also been lucky enough to meet people like Ian Rush, Steve McManaman and Steve McMahon. They all cared about the fans. A couple of them still harbour massive affection for Everton. I also met ‘King Kenny’ (who I’m not ashamed to say was the best ever footballer I saw play). He couldn’t (in my opinion) give two hoots about supporters. The point that I’m really trying to make is a lot of these guys (McManaman excepted as he was later) earned peanuts in comparison to these pampered pussies today. I still retain some hope. That for every Ronaldo there’s a John Terry. For every Drogba there’s a Thierry Henry.

Did this all change because of Sky? I think it certainly had an impact. Bitter? You fucking bet I am.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (22/5/06)

Chairmen who made a profit? A pretty shrewd one (believe it or not) was Peter Johnson, who made a fairly decent profit from Everton.

Utter madness...
... to think about releasing our only midfielder with a physical presence in and around the box.

Cahill may not be a big bloke yet he punches his weight unlike the puny Osman, Kilbane, Van the missing man and Davies. I for one am tired of seeing those nonentities turn to water when the going gets tough. If they did their job better then Cahill would not have to plug the gaps their weaknesses create. Should he be released to a club with a half decent midfield, his knockers in my opinion would be forced to eat their words.
Dick Fearon, Australia  (22/5/06)

A decent midfield could help him get back into that scoring vein, which is his only useful function. As a midfielder, he is poor; as a midfielder who doesn't score goals very often, he is next to useless. I fail to see what he does to make up for the other nonentities who are alos not very good when he himself is a midfield nonentity. But it will be interesting to see how he performs for the Socceroos in Germany. — Michael

Carsley to Man Utd?
I think we should keep our better players and the fact is Cahill is one of our better players. There are a few more players we should release first. All the debate on Cahill is based on one guy's poor hearing in a pub. I heard in a pub in Manchester that Carsley's off to Man Utd and we're getting Rooney back as a straight swap. There's as much truth in it. I know we're entitled to express our opinions but there's a long list of players who embaress me every week playing for Everton that I'd have a good moan about before Cahill.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (21/5/06)

I don't think so. — Michael

No more rejects
I have no problem with Cahill being shipped this summer as he is a liability in a four-man midfield. However, it would be foolish not to wait until after the World Cup, where hopefully he can raise his profile/market value by scoring one or two.

A limited player like Cahill could fool a couple of clubs into paying over the odds á la Proborsky, Baros, and half the African players the world gets enamoured with after every major tournament. Just please no more Man Utd rejects in return. One 'jack of all trades' is enough.
Ronan Hanly, Boston, MA, USA  (20/5/06)

Fees.... or wages?
I think the issue surrounding the possibility of signing Andy Johnson is less to do with the size of the fee (and whether or not we have that amount of money available) and much more to do with the wage we are likely to offer him. It is unlikely that Palace will expect all £7M up front. The norm is to get an initial ‘deposit’ with further payments over the length of the deal. This means that 'Fred' Karnowright and his chums will not have to dig deep to fund the fee, knowing that it will be met over time. But they will have to dig deep to fund his wages as these will have to be paid from Day One.

That, I believe is where the problem lies — Everton are not willing/able to match the salaries offered by other clubs. Johnson, like any other professional, will be looking to earn as much as he can from his next contract — we all would. He might be prepared to take a slightly smaller wage if all the other things on offer were attractive — European football, great facilities, brilliant players, exciting future... none of which, if we're honest, can currently be offered by Everton.

The Board can therefore rest easy, knowing that, by bidding a large sum, it looks as if they are prepared to provide funds while, in reality, the rest of the package on offer ensures that transfer discussions with Andy Johnson, or anyone else of any stature, will not go any further than first base.
Rob Williamson, Sheffield  (21/5/06)

Pires anyone?
Is it just me who thinks Robbie Pires has still got a season or maybe two left in him? I know he's old and could well be a bit of a French pansy but he's the classiest player I've seen at Goodison for a long time. He's never even played really well on any particular occasion at Goodison but he just looks the part.

We need quality, short term or long term we still need quality and Pires would give us that next season so I'd love to see the boy in a blue shirt. He's a top footballer who is clearly still in good shape — that's why good sides like Villarreal have noticed his availability. Come on, Moyesy: bring him on board!
Dave Marshall, Leeds  (21/5/06)

I wish....
Quote: “He is built up to be this creative attacking midfielder who scores a lot of goals but stats suggest otherwise.”

But stats suggest you've not seen him play! Otherwise you'd not be looking at stats you'd be looking proformances. I'll agree he's not been looking as prolific as last season but he's still one of the better players at Goodison Park.
Steve Noname, Hampshire  (21/5/06)

No wonder you are withholding your last name, Steve. I would too if I really thought Cahill was a decent footballer. — Michael

I wish!
Blue Fella claims he heard a rumour Cahill was off to United with O'Shea coming the otherway... I wish!

Some people don't realise how shite Cahill was this season. He is built up to be this creative attacking midfielder who scores a lot of goals but stats suggest otherwise. He goes missing for 89 mins and the 1 min you do see him is because he is kicking out and getting booked because he can't keep up with the opposition midfield (eg, Spurs).

Fair enough, he does pop up with a header now and again but does he ever create a goal or go on a skilfull run? NO! When he gets the ball, just watch him: he always passes it sideways because he doesn't know what to do with it. I think it would be good buisness to cash in on him to strengthen — and even Yobo as well because, not only is he a liability at times, but he doesn't want to play for the club, as his performance against West brom showed. Some Blues claim Cahill is more important than Arteta... They must be joking!

As for Johnson, I would love to belive it because he is the perfect partner for Beattie but I won't build my hopes up because of our bad reputation in the transfer market. Is this just another publicity stunt to get us to renew just like: Owen, Kyut, Alan Smith, Shearer and even Collymore!!
Ryan Barton, Liverpool  (20/5/06)


Maybe we're flush!
What's all this about Everton not being able to afford Andy Johnson? Does anybody really know how much cash is in the coffers? Who knows... maybe the direct debit for the Fortress fund £17M quid finally went through! Perhaps a couple or three of the Board have put their hands in their pockets for once. This doesn't smack of the usual stunt that we're used to. The con we all know and love usually appears just before the transfer window closes when we haven't signed anyone — the proletariat are getting restless and the club try to convince us that they're serious!

As far as I'm aware, Everton haven't denied they have offered £7M quid so they would look pretty silly if AJ turned up for talks next week and the cash wasn't there!I don't think even this board could be that incompetent.... or could they?
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (20/5/06)

Applying any kind of logical thought to the transfer process has to be fraught with all sorts of pitfalls. After watching the nonsense unfold for a good few years, I think there is only one point of certainty and that is when the deal is done. So sit back, margarita in hand, and watch the drama unfolding with plenty of salt around the rim, coz large parts of what you read simply ain't true. And only when you see the player being paraded with his newly numbered shirt... but you knew all this already! — Michael

Season ticket sales
I can't see Everton repeating anywhere near the 25,000 season tickets for the forthcoming season as wesupporters, have been led down the same path once too often to believe the majority of rumours of impending buys.

Some thought Moyes would keep quiet about the available funds so he would not be met with inflated prices. Others may think Moyes has a small pot to buy and sell. If the latter is the case Moyes is bidding for players with money Everton don't have.

The realisation of poor sales will hit home in late June or July and a flourish of panic buys will ensue, thus a slight surge in season tickets and we are back as we were last season, only Big Dunc is available this time. You can fool some of the people etc, but surely it won't work again?
Michael Carney, Halewood  (20/5/06)

Of course it will. — Buster

Cahill — irreplaceable or surplus?
The season before, he was unplayable, arriving late, unmarked and at pace. He has the ability to outjump every midfield player and a good number of defenders. But what went wrong this season?

Well, I think it's down to tactics. In 2004-05 we played the 4-5-1 system. Carsley holding, Tommy trying to be creative and Cahill always attacking late — in many ways Cahill was the critical player and statistically he scored many goals in the 1-goal wins using this system. I suggest HE needed this system to play because when he is analysed he has relatively poor control, passing that is erratic, and too often is drawn into poor tackles and conflict.

So what happened this season? Well, we all agreed that that 4-5-1 (or the "Go out to defend and hope to pinch a goal" system !!!), is never going to do anything other than frustrate and ultimately become ineffective if teams score first against us. So we moved to a more balanced 4-4-2 system. But what happens to Cahill? He has midfield responsibilities, is expected to track back, cover, pass effectively etc but can he do it? Well, if we are brutally honest, those are not the things he is good at, and suddenly he looks less threatening and becomes far less effective.

So where does that leave us? Well it probably means we have to revert to 4-5-1 to get the best out of him and possibly 10-12 goals. However, what we are all hankering after is a forward to play up front in a 4-4-2 system — one who will score 15 to 20 goals. Plainly the two systems are difficult to accomodate, and before anyone says you can use one and then if things go wrong change... well just think that through.

  • Start 4-4-2; go behind and 4-5-1 won't work; ahead and why change? — surely only against top sides?.
  • Start 4-5-1; go behind and you are chasing a game with a forward who's confidence is not high because he was sitting on the bench in a negative side.
If you are winning and happy with the system, then no point wasting millions on another forward who is not going to play regularly.

So where to Cahill? A real poser that, his enthusiasm and commitment is great to see. He adds a degree of challenge and bite in midfield but I dont really think that he's a 'good' midfield playmaker, rather he's a good 'scoring' midfilder.

I would rather see another forward, someone who will score those 15 to 20 goals in a 4-4-2 system, and sadly if that means we cash in on Cahill then as hard as I find it to say — let's take the money!!
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (20/5/06)

It is nice to watch Cahill score but the rest of his game really sucks, IMHO. He does nothing useful for the tream, ends up giving aaway stupid free-kicks, earns plenty of yellows. His whole body language drives me nuts. Not an attractive player to watch in any way... other than when he scores. So yes, that really is a tough one. — Michael

I think either Michael had a few too many or he just came off Football Manager because, even joking, suggesting that Everton may win the Premiership next season is the funniest thing I have ever heard! The only table we have, and probably will next season finish top of is the lowest goal scoring table! You made my weekend Ken (Michael) Dodd! Hahahaha.
Luq Yus, London  (20/5/06)

Maybe I have to concede defeat on this. I had hoped there might be some obscure relationship to say, the Fibonacci series {0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21...} but it seems none of our finishing positions under David Moyes constitute Fibonacci Numbers... and since 1, 2, & 3 are Fibonacci Numbers, I can only conclude one thing: we're fucked! [Although I'm working on a new theory now that says, next season, we could well finish 6th!!] — Michael

Here we go again
I found a three-days-old Daily Mirror and there was a tiny snippit that said the barcodes were in for Andy Johnson. Parker, Emre, Owen (if you believe it)... and now AJ perhaps?
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (20/5/06)

Cahill to Utd
Heard this in the boozer last night. Apparently it's a done deal with O'Shea coming the other way. Hope it's crap — anyone heard the same?
Blue Fella, Deeside  (20/5/06)

Leeds & Watford duke it out today for a place in the Premiership that is reportedly worth £40M. With that in mind, if you ignore parachute money for the moment, if Wyness and Kenwright aren't able to secure much-needed investment then the danger is that we'll be relegation fodder, thus essentially losing the same £40M. Considering the impact that would have on the bank balance, surely the gruesome twosome must realise the urgency of the situation.

There's no point in selling to buy (certainly when we have so few marketable players) if there is no net improvement in the quality of the squad. If the squad is not improved we will go down and Wyness won't be crowing about how financially successful we are.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (20/5/06)

It's a tricky one... 4th to 11th is proclaimed as 'progress' so, provided we drop another seven places next season, I can see your point. Yet the prime objective at Everton every season is to stay in the Premiership (for a lot more reasons than £40M), and on that point, the gruesome twosome cannot be faulted: they have delivered every time.

Last season we had plenty of soothsayers predicting with growing confidence (based on bottom place and one jammy win in eight games) that we would indeed go down ... but as you may have noticed we didn't. Now, with the season just months away, you are already predicting we will go down if the squad is not improved... That's a tough one for me to accept, yet it forms the basis of your argument.

We saw last season that improving the quality of the squad (most everyone thought we had) did not translate into improved final placing, so your logic there is hardly watertight. I could with just as much meaning make the case on the yo-yo principle: 15th 7th 17th 4th 11th ... 1st!!! — yes, that we could actually win it!

Of course we need to improve the squad — we need to improve just to stand still — but the constraints are very real: lack of cash, competition for new sigings, risk of (or need for) good players leaving, Dithering Dave... I donnno what to tell you other than strap in tight and get ready for another bumpy ride! — Michael

Big Dunc
I have been going to watch Everton for a long, long time now. During that time, there have been only a few players who have been something really special, someone you really wanted to see. Alex Young and Tommy Ring in my earlier years, Gary Lineker for one season, Peter Reid for his pure driving force, Wayne Rooney briefly. Even Paul Gascoigne — but not many others.

But one of the best has been Duncan Ferguson in his prime, when he really was awesome. That is why shite articles like the one in The Guardian shows the writer does not have any idea about the passion of football supporters.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (20/5/06)

Gascoigne? At Everton? Special? - Colm

We're (always) three players short of a decent sid
I read (again) recently that we are three players short of being a decent side capable of chasing a top-six finish and good cup run... Well, whoopdee-fuckin-doo — a whole sixth and the 5th round is it? Accepting that might be as good as it gets (for now), during how many pre-seasons have we heard this and all thought (or hoped) it to be true?

Problem being, this might have some weight when we look at the squad we finish each season with but, by the time we get to the new season, the three 'new' players have replaced three of the players we thought we should keep. For example:

  • We needed a striker to play with Rooney... Rooney out — Beattie in;
  • Another creative midfielder... Tommy out — Arteta in.
  • We are weak left and right side and at centre half... Van der Meyde, Davies, Krøldrup and even Ferrari in — but they fail to produce.
Guess what we need this season? Put your house on the money to buy Lescott coming from the money we get for Yobo. Or Valente having a good World Cup and funding the signing of the left- or right-sided midfielder we still need because we have Pistone and Naysmith fit at left back and "we thank Nuno and wish him all the best...".

Defeatist? I try every pre-season to look to the future and scan the websites and papers incessently to see who the three players we need will be — only to start each season saying "we're just two or three players short of being ..." well, you know the rest!
Dave Southers, Australia  (20/5/06)

Not far off the mark there, Dave. I think any expenditure for Johnson will be offset by the (necessary) sale of player(s) like Yobo. It's all short-term thinking dictated by the financial lull we forever wallow in! Rich List or no Rich List! — Colm

Question of ambition
Our very local paper,The Croydon Advertiser, with whom AJ seems to have a good relationship, reports that Everton is his `club of choice`. However, the report goes on to say that all contact has been at agent level so far and Johnson will sign for no-one `without being satisfied that their ambition matches his own.` That`s fucked it for us, then!
Monty Klein, Croydon  (20/5/06)

Our ambition is top ten. Nil satis, eh?! — Colm

It's understandable
It's understandable people's cynicism of our club's Board of Directors because they are true to form.

I remember Johnson saying we were going to get a world class manager and we ended up with Kendall for a third time. One summer we "bid" £7M for Smith then we sold Rooney and Radzinski. Last summer, it was bids for Kuyt and Owen. Our Board set themselves up for it by signalling their ambition but never proving it.

I'm a little envious of people who are still positive about Kenwright because they're not as miserable as me but I think it will hurt them more when the big fist of reality smacks them in the face come September.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (20/5/06)

About a Boy...
... who's Dad told him at a young age he could support Everton, or pay for his own food and clothes. I was 3. And I was hooked. What was this thing that my pop was so mad about?

I used to stand at the front of the Gwladys St terrace, on top of a sawn-off ladder that had originated from when we had bunkbeds. (PS — I'm 'only' 35!) To paraphrase a quote, I didn't choose, I was chosen. And I like that. It made me feel kind of special at a young age.

Roll on from my formative years, and I wake up one day and realise that Everton 'controls' the way I think in business. I may hope for the best, but expect less. I can honestly say that this philosophy has dictated decisions I have made! I've learnt to appreciate the 'highs' in my job, because the lows are just around the corner. Luckily, I've not had many of the latter. Maybe it's because I live my life by a certain motto...

But seriously, I'd love to know if anyone else has had this 'syndrome'. I think it's been to my advantage!
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (20/5/06)

Guardian 'Article' on Dunc
I've said before when I penned a letter that appeared as a fans comment, entitled The Scrimshank Redemption that Duncan in my eyes was a player who will look back on his career probably with some lament. It seems The Grauniad agrees.

Then I read, 'Image wise some liken him to Lee Bowyer but without the charm, while to others he is an Everton legend' I'm sorry, but Guardian, you've just lost my respect. That is lazy journalism at best.

To my knowledge, Duncan wasn't an allegedly racist thug, tried for it, and off thanks to the efforts of the Daily Mirror. He's guilty of a lot of things, but for God's sake, don't extrapolate it beyond the point of reason.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (20/5/06)

When are EFC going to learn to keep schtum?

Everyone and his dog knows we cannot afford Johnson, but let's get our bid in first so the fans know that at least we tried. As stated before, Howard (as part of the Rooney payments) and a couple of has-beens from Europe... Watch out for the massive signing on deadline day, though: "Big Dunc Is Back".

I will not be renewing my season ticket this year. To be honest, I too feel a little bit like Dave Lynch, but what really made me say enough is enough was Ballack signing for Chelea for £135k per week and McFadden thinking he is worth a million a year... and EFC will probably pay it.

Sky and arseholes like the twats who are running my club have nearly fucked up our game. Give them a couple more years and we will all be expected to pay to watch a Euro league while the Evertons, Man Citys, WestHams, etc will play in the equivalent of the League Championship.
Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (19/5/06)

We might not be able to afford Johnson but that doesn't mean we won't get him! What odds on Johnson coming in with Joseph Yobo heaading for pastures new? "The wheel's on the bus go 'round and 'round....!" - Colm

In a nutshell
Michael, I thought of an analogy which sums up our differing support for all things Everton. Imagine a child, a youngster who has lost its way and fallen into a difficult pattern of behaviour.

One parent offers unconditional love, refusing to accept the child has fallen from grace. In this parent's eyes the child can do no wrong and thinks with support and love things will turn around.

The other parent can see the problem and realises that something needs to be done. This parent is asking difficult questions and enforcing new rules in the hope of forcing the child to change. Both parents love the child the same amount but have different attitudes.

We are the parents, Michael (in a non-gay way, obviously).
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (19/5/06)

So... which of these loving parents has the unfortunate tendency to bugger off and get shacked up with a new (trophy-winning) partner? Gay or non-gay??? [Don't you love analogies pushed to the limit?] — Michael

Regarding Michael's slating of Dutch in his hope for Everton winning something. Surely if teams like Middlesborough and Blackburn can get to a cup final and win it, a club like Everton can HOPE to do so too? Yes, it may seem unlikely but it only takes a few lucky draws for the 'big' teams to play one another and knock themselves out.

By the way, I see Djimi Traore is available as a replacement for Yobo.
John Miller, Liverpool  (19/5/06)

Yes, of course I have hope, like any Evertonian, but the key point is that my support for Everton is not contingent on that hope. Dutch even talked of supporting another team... Inconceivable!!! — as that funny little fella Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) in The Princess Bride would say. — Michael

What I meant, Michael, is that if the club actually was honest with us i.e. like a public statement saying "We haven't got enough money to keep Krøldrup and we are struggling with finances to operate as a successful club." then a lot of us would respect that. We would not like it but at least the club would have shown an attempt to be the family club Wyness professed it to be!

I wouldn't want or expect the fans to run the club, that's the businessmen department. What I would expect is honesty, not that the endless bile pumped from our CEO and Chairman. I know that's too much to expect but again if we were all along the same lines, life would be bearable among the dire situation we find ourselves in.
Luq Yus, London  (19/5/06)

Fair point. It's that whole "Commercial sensitivity" thing and the fear of losing face that seems to stand in the way of the kind of honesty and transparency you and I would advocate... I believe strongly too that, in British business, there is a conviction that Knowledge is Power and that this permeates right through the business culture, preventing them from being honest when they can concoct a lie.

But as long as we have fans like Dutch who clearly don't want the truth, don't want to deal with reality, and would rather live in a dreamworld of positivity, happy that we are making 'progress', and that we will achieve something notable someday very, very soon... — Michael

A Question Of Support!
I know most of you dont agree with much that I say but I refuse to join your downbeat views. Sure, I can understand how you all lost your way, I also have had to endure dark days while supporting Everton but I refuse to give up.

When Everton are linked with a player like AJ, I want to believe there's a chance the deal could happen. Sure there's a chance that it's just another Owen stunt but I need to believe that we are going to sign him.

When David Moyes says he wants to win something with Everton, I have to believe him. Sure there's a chance he won't be able to make it happen but I cannot think like that otherwise I may as well give up and start supporting another team.

I don't understand the mentality of some fans who continue to pick apart the club and the current management. How can you say such things about something you so dearly love? If I felt like that I would have to stop supporting Everton because it would drive me mad. I know things aren't as great as I make out but I will never stop beliving that they will be some day.

Positivity and support rather then continual moaning and groaning is far more benefical to the club and your own peace of minds.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (19/5/06)

Finally!!! GOTCHA! — Dutch has cracked!!! An admission that the garbage you write is based on a total lack realism — as I've always suspected.

What sort of a glory-hunting luvvie are you if your support for Everton hangs on a belief that Everton will win something under David Moyes? That is shocking!

I support Everton, unconditionally, full-stop. I am realistic enough to know and accept the likelihood that (especially at the current rate of negative 'progress') we may never win anything ever again for a very long time. That doesn't stop me from supporting Everton! And it shouldn't stop any true supporter!!!

But it does make me question very seriously what the club is doing to bring us better football that could eventually win something, and it does make me highly suspicious of the continuous news-spin that is designed to sustain the support of mindless sycophants who believe their unquestioning "support" is actually helping the club move forward in any way, shape, or form.

Thanks for finally coming clean, Dutch. We now know just what sort of Evertonian you are. — Michael

Actions, Not Words, please?
What anyone does with their money is always a true reflection of their ambition. If we have the ambition to be a top club then we should be seeing that in how we do business over the next few weeks.

After last summer's transfer disaster our supporters have little confidence in the club to get some deals done. Based on way too much prior experience, our fear is that these news stories of Everton’s interest in a few decent players are just hype. What we need to see is a formal bid made for Andy Johnson — not rumours and stories, and not some scrimshankers bid of ₤2M plus 25p a week based on appearances. If all we hear is continued news-spin then we can draw some solid conclusions and confirm our worst fears. It’s time we saw for real what ambition Moyes, Kenwright and Wyness have for our club — if we don’t have the money handy then find it someplace else and use it! Don’t start on the ‘we’re one of the richest clubs in the world’ angle if you’re not prepared to spend some of that money where it counts — on the pitch!

I understand that we need to be fiscally responsible, clearly we can’t go off and do a Leeds, but for heaven’s sake there are some quality players available this summer and whether we make the deals happen or not depends on whether we are determined to succeed or are willing to settle for mediocrity.
Greg Dawson, Not in Walton anymore...  (19/5/06)

I think that's it in a nutshell, Greg. Good job! — Michael

“However, I've a feeling we just might get to see 'AJ' playing up front alongside Beattie next season. It's silly season in the newspapers so take most of what you read with a pinch of salt. — Colm

So which of Bolton or Wigan will we be selling Beattie to, Colm? ;-)
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (19/5/06)

Tut, tut! Such unfounded cynicism. — Colm

So Chad has checked and found that SHEV 10 EFC belongs to Kevin Sheedy. Does that mean he has access to the Police National Computer? If so, I can think of a couple of registrations Evertonians might want to trace. Instead of setting up protests, we could trace a certain chief executive's car and slip a couple of kippers into hard-to-reach places. With the summer around the corner, he could drive into work stinking to high heaven. A bit like what we have to put up with on the pitch week-in, week-out.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (19/5/06)

I stopped believing you upon reading about "summer" being around the corner. No it's not. It's an economical recession instead! — Colm

No chance
We all just know Andy Johnson won't sign for us. Like every other summer, we will just get turned down when we go for a player that would be a great asset for us. I think the summer is more depressing than the season watching every player turn us down and go to tin-pot clubs like Bolton, Blackburn, Wigan, etc. Come on, Everton: prove me wrong this summer... but I just can't see it happening.
Gary Norman, Stoke on Trent  (19/5/06)

Your pessimism is perhaps a natural state for most of us! However, I've a feeling we just might get to see 'AJ' playing up front alongside Beattie next season. It's silly season in the newspapers so take most of what you read with a pinch of salt. — Colm

So excited!!
Just checked who owns SHEV 10 EFC. It's only past hero Kevin Sheedy... maybe he's coming back!!! To coin a phrase (from Kevin Bennett) 'If you're old enough, you're good enough' — it does seem to be DM's philosophy.
Chad Schofield, Cirencester  (19/5/06)

Nothing wrong with such logic, if "you're old enough, you're good enough." Psst. Was that DUNC 9 EFC parked beside Sheeds' wheels? Never say never! Duncan may return in order to please Nicky Campbell! — Colm

Get behind what though, mate?
I got to agree with Paul Atress to an extent. As I'm guilty myself of slagging off the management often, I hold my hands up and say "Ok, maybe sometimes you've got to be positive a little"!

BUT I disagree with his optismism about 'bidding' for AJ. Weren't we SUPPOSED to bid for Owen and Kuyt for £12M last summer, yet didn't have two pennies to run together when it came to Ferrari and Krøldrup. The reason why the majority of fans moan is because of the lies and betrayal of the board, rather than the lack of quality on the pitch.

If we (the fans, board, manager) sung off the same song sheet, at the very least we would be more forgiving for the lack of sucess on the pitch. So as the current state of affairs are at Goodison there is not much to get behind!
Luq Yus, London  (19/5/06)

I think you're dreaming. We are fans; they are running a business. It's night and day...

And personally, what I care about much more than any off-the-field stuff IS the lack of quality on the pitch. At the end of the day, that's what football is fundamentally about — not any of this other shite that surrounds it. — Michael

Andy Johnson
I just can't get excited about us joining the race to sign Johnson. Maybe it's the cynic in me, but if these reports are coming fom the club, I just believe it's some sort of spin just to keep us happy. You can't blame me for being cynical, because we are being told there is no money so don't expect any big signings, and then there are reports of us putting a bid in of £7 million. I won't hold my breath over this because I bet you any money he ends up at one of the other clubs. Kenwright will then come out with some shite why we never got him.
Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (19/5/06)

From pop bitch
Everton striker James Beattie is holidaying in Las Vegas. Spotted this week in Tryst nightclub, wearing jeans with the words 'Viva Las Vegas' embroidered on the arse, drinking Cristal and $350 bottles of Vodka.

At least it didn't mention pies!

BTW leaving this as anon in case it's legally a bit dodgy!
Pop Bitch, Planet Earth  (19/5/06)

How would passing on something from pop bitch implicate you?

It's an age thing!
EFC holding its own? Or trampling all over its own motto? Surely this is all about the perspective we fans individually hold, depending on our age.

Supporting a football club is a purely emotional bond. We give our love and our cash to the club but receive no power, authority or official forum to air our views in return. I don't see any reason why Messrs, Schaeffer, Yus, Marsh or Dodd spend so much time posting on here other than the fact that it is very cathartic to see your own opinion on public display and Toffeeweb is as close to do doing this officially as we will ever get.

Those fortunate enough to witness the School of Science first-hand will never accept that the club cannot return to that status. Those under 25 know no success so it's not hard to see why 11th might be acceptable to them.

I'm 31 so remember 80s glory and 90s misery equally well. I actually choose to let neither era cloud my judgement of the present.

As Michael says "Sky hadn't invented football back then". And he's right. The two eras have so little in common it's not worth comparison (which is probably why I got so incensed at the whole Moyes vs Catterick argument — it's meaningless).

I prefer to look around me now at other clubs, as both teams and businesses. The top echeleon have a financial power that it would take 10 years of extremely astute business management to catch up to. At best, it's 10 years away... and at worst, never — under the present regime. So, other than making a long-term plan, forget 'em for the moment!

What I do see is a lot of other Prem clubs having exactly the same struggles we do. Villa & Man City are the closest in type. Traditionally run, large support, some money to spend (but mostly wasted) youngish manager who is frustratingly inconsistent (actually, no: O'Leary is consistently awful in all respects).

So I'll be happy to judge EFC on two fronts. Progress in contrast to this lot and quality of football. Clearly a lot to be done on the second part but if we can maintain progress on these fronts, it'll make a lot more sense to me than just pining for '66 or '85.

Oh and Steve Guy, you should post more often. Dont mind reading Dutch or Tony Marsh so much as long as I can have a bit of "balance" as well as the two extreme views of those gents.
Tom Hadley, Hampshire  (19/5/06)

Enough already
This feedback never ceases to amaze me. Are there any actual Everton fans posting here?

A case in point Dutch (Everton supporter) makes an argument against Rooney (Man Utd scum) and everyone here supports Rooney and slates Dutch.

Supposedly we bid for AJ, thats exciting news, but here's its twisted and used against Kenwright/Moyes.

I can count on one hand how many positive posts I've read about Scott Spencer. He's an exciting prospect but instead of positive posts the ToffeeWeb feedbackers choose instead to use the news to condemn Moyes and the youth system.

Maybe it's just me but it seems every single bit of news or rumored transfer is twisted and used as an attack against Everton. I love the club and have supported through much darker times then these. Stop bellyaching.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (19/5/06)

Where to next?
In what direction is David Moyes and the Everton Board of Directors taking us? They have made money available for players and some of it has payed off (Yobo, Arteta and Cahill) but Moyes must take the blame for signing sh1te like Krøldrup, Davies and Wright, when he could have gone for Bellamy, Parker and Lennon for the same price.

One season we push for Europe and the next we are fighting relegation. One minute we are spending millions of pounds and the next we haven't got a pot to p1ss in. Moyes is so negative and being a season ticket holder I no longer look forward to going to the match on a Saturday. Kenwright has stated in the past that when Moyes goes he will follow. I personally cannot wait for this day so Everton can find new investment and bring in a manager e.g. Aidey Boothroyd and take Everton forward again. What do you think?
Steven Thomas, Holywell, North Wales  (19/5/06)

I think you're a little off initially: Krøldrup was not and is not crap. Moyes did go for Bellamy (who was put off by him) and Parker (who preferred Newcastle). I empathize with the middle bit about crap football.

But Billy and Davie doing on together? Never heard that one. And I'm quite sure it isn't going to happen for a while... although if next season doesen't show some signs of real progress (and I don't mean dropping seven more places to 18th!) I would not be surprised to see Moyes leave. But Bill Kenwright to follow? Well, he has put a tremendous amount of trust in Davie, and if it really is not going to work, then perhaps he would go to. — Michael

Transfer targets?
Damn, so Thierry Henry has re-signed for the Arse. Does that mean Davey will be courting Ruud van Nistelrooy, enticing the Dutch Schaeffer.... oops, I mean maestro to Goodison Park?

Nope, I don't think so. Then again, it's no less believable than the assertion in the Mirror article that Everton have met Crystal Palace's valuation for Andy Johnson. Seven million quid? I'd wager we haven't got seventy quid.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (19/5/06)

You don't need five million pounds to buy a five million pound player Mark! It's rumoured a car was seen last night on Goodison Road with the reg. SHEV 10 EFC, which *must* imply that Andy Shevchenko's arrival is imminent... or something. — Colm

Re: Talent spotting
I would love to shoot Peter Laing’s argument down in flames but who’d look the dickhead? He’s absolutely bang on with what he says... but what worries me more is the reaction of many blues when people stick their heads above the parapets and actually point out the blindingly obvious.

He’ll be called disloyal, not a proper fan and some tosspots will probably even accuse him of being a kopite. That’s the problem at Everton; we have become accustomed to nothing more than piss-poor mediocrity. Whilst some fans appear to be happy with their lot, there are many out there who aren’t.

There are Championship clubs that are run more effectively and efficiently than Everton. The best demonstration of a club’s ambition is its transfer policy. Apparently, Everton are in the top twenty richest clubs in the world and they are the most profitable club in this country. I’m willing to bet my kidneys we won’t be going after any of the players that the other clubs from that twenty will be after.
Nick Armitage, Liverpool  (19/5/06)

Editor responses
I wish I could share your optimism. Sadly, the numbers just don't jive. We will be very lucky if even one of those players becomes any good at first-team level. This article about a 17-year-old wonder kid signed from Oldham for £250k might help put it into perspective for you. And even if they do become good, all that does is trigger the high likelihood that they will be sold on to bring in more cash. It's become what we should now call "the Everton Way - Michael

ALL talent is marketable at some point or other. We can only applaud any attempt to widen the net, scouting wherever talent may be, and in general raising our profile, particularly overseas. — Colm

Thank you Colm for providing a positive reply in the mailbag. It makes a refreshing change. Michael, I really hope you use an electric shaver in the mornings, I would hate to think you have razor blades lying around.
Alisdair Denny, Perth, Australia  (19/5/06)

Yea, whatever. Just mark my words, come back and check in a few years, ya hear! — Michael

Selling club
Whoa! — That's English for Stop a Horse.

In response to Peter Laing's article, what kind of shit would we be in without the Rooney sale? Ball, Jeffers and McCann have hardly left to provide the impact of losing the most talented young prospect in decades. We could have easily built a team around Rooney... in fact, we tried — finished 17th. How hard and annoying must it have been to put your shirt on in that dressing room, knowing that — even if you ran the length of the pitch, took the ball from any strikers foot, turned away from another player, one-two'd it all up the pitch then had a shot from 20 yards, keeper saves it with the save of the season, it fall's to Rooney two yards out who bangs it home — the papers and majority of fans next day would scream "Wayne does it again!".

Selling that great player for that price made good business sense as it's nearly all profit. We cannot build a team around one player, we cannot build a team around four players who are not what we want, we dont have the money, However, Osman and Hibbert have come through the ranks and they are both solid team players. Hopefully, with more to come, I freely admit the club have seen little comeback from the sale of Rooney but what money we have had has been mostly well spent.

And as for "Bully Wyness" if he really needed £60 from each fan, why offer the price freeze? A 50-quid discount on your season ticket? It's a favour to dickheads like me that still think one season soon we will come good again, And guess what? It's next season (or maybe the one after that). If not, then the one after that.
Steve Owen, Bebington  (19/5/06)

What's happened to my beautiful game?
After a lot of soul-searching then finally deciding not to renew my season ticket, I started thinking what the real reason for my decision was.

Was it realy because we are a crap team with a poor manager coupled with a Board of Directors that couldn't run a market stall? Or was the underlying reason that I had fallen out with football, full-stop?

I began to reminice about the days when 3pm kick-offs were the norm and everyone played on the same day (namely Saturday) until along came Sky and fucked it all up. This got me thinking about just who is dictating when I go to the match and at what time; it used to be the FA with input from the clubs, but not any longer. Money-hungry TV is now dictating the game; it changes KO times and match dates to suit... and, like fucking idiots, we turn up all the same. What's worse is the clubs and the FA do jack shit to stop it, furthering my opinion that they do not give a toss about us the average fan.

All they care for is their wedge off the TV company — and there is worse to come: now that the TV rights have been divided, there are going to be more KO times and date changes, because you can bet your life that the tv companies will get together so as not to have their viewing figures affected by matches clashing. It will be us dickheads who will have to re-arrange our lives to fit in with them.

The whole game is being poisoned and the players are not without blame here. Take Macfadden (please, someone... take him!): this overated Scottish journeyman has the fucking cheek to ask for a million quid a year on the back of doing fuck all except losing the ball and missing sitters.

A few others who I despise are Drogba, Ronaldo (Man Utd) and Shearer. Shearer's goal-scoring ability is not up for debate but the rest of his game revolves around harrassing referees to send people off, diving, and elbowing any poor bastard within arms length. The other two are diving cheating bastards and the game is rife with them. I actually feel sorry for referees (exept Mike Rielly cos he's shite) because they have to deal with the cheating bastards and usually end up being scrutinised themselves.

As for Everton, unfortunately I am a whore to them and always will be for as long as I live. But, for now, football can fuck off until it gets its priorities right. Its priority should be the fans but, sadly, this is as far from the truth as a politicians speech, and I for one am having no part of it.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (18/5/06)

Balance and objectivity missing
I sometimes feel like topping myself after reading the ToffeeWeb Mailbag. A few wildly optimistic fans provide a strangely bizarre counterpoint to the majority of mailings, which seem only to want to turn any news / rumours emanating from the club or media into a truly negative spin.

I like the odd rant myself, but hope that I try to balance this out with looking for positives where they present themselves.

I say all this because I am exasperated to read the way in which the acquisition and nurturing of youth seems to be received by ToffeeWeb readers (and some editors). So far, Moyes has brought through Vaughn and Anichebe. With regard to the former I firmly believe he would be a first team regular now, but for the injury he received. In Anichebe's case, I believe Moyes has done well to resist the pressure from all around to 'blood' the teenager sooner. Again, I have no doubt that he will feature more regularly next season.

In addition to the above, Moyes has brought in players who came highly recommended and who were being chased by others... Vidarsson, Ruddy and latterly Spencer. In terms of youth development I am not sure what more the manager can do.

If you know then tell me... please... but don't cite Rooney as an example of Moyes getting it wrong (as is so often reported. The widely held view (especially on TW) is that we had to sell and that the Club spun it so that it appeared as though Rooney engineered the move.

Well try this one instead... EFC did not have to sell, they had been given an indefinite line of credit which meant they could buy instead and afford his wage demands. Rooney wanted the move and forced Everton's hand (with the help of Stretford). Everton did the best they could in the circumstances. Bill Kenwright was too distraught to take any meaningful part in the final negotiations, but both he and Moyes tried to remain dignified throughout the ensuing witchhunt from disbelieving supporters (including myself).

It seems that even today it is easier to see Roswell levels of conspiracy around Rooney's transfer and not see his subsequent comments (or lack of) and actions (again, or lack of) as confirmation that playing for Everton was just a tick in the 'been there, done that' box on his CV. The above scenario is far nearer the truth than one which sees Rooney (and us supporters) as the victims.

Finally, on a separate point, I seem to be in a minority of ToffeeWeb contributors who are actually prepared to support the club through the turnstiles. I make this comment based on the seeming consensus of statements of non-renewal that appear in the mailbag. To those of you who have made that decision, this is clearly your prerogative, but don't claim the moral high ground as your qualifying statements seem to do. I won't either, in stating that I renewed on 7 May in the firm belief that the worst is past and youth will come through — and I want to be there to see it.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (18/5/06)

Well, it should be clear reading the ToffeeWeb Mailbag that the details surrounding any story can be morphed to fit the viewpoint of the proponent. It boils down more to a question of what we want to believe — not that anyone is going to admit that but it is clear to me that's what we have.

For example, you believe Moyes is doing a good job regarding youth development at Everton and that they will "come through". I've watched him over the last four years trash, loan out, sell off, or give away most of the youth prospects, while being very, very reluctant to give them meaningful playing time, despite plenty of opportunities though injury and poor (make that 'abysmal') form of his chosen first-teamers. That's why I don't hold out much hope for those "coming through". But I shall be pleasantly surprised and happy to be proved wrong should one of them actually make the grade under Moyes, and become a regular first-teamer. — Michael

I wonder, wonder who?
Just spotted this in today`s Daily Mail:- "

This Premiership manager may be be short on transfer funds this summer after his indiscreet chief executive was overheard in the pub ridiculing him for having wasted £25 million on bad signings.`
Now they`re not saying it refers to Moyes and Billy Bunter but the ajacent columnist`s name is Colin Wood and we all know which patch he covers... don`t we?
Harry Meek, Worcester  (18/5/06)

Billy Bunter (Chairman)? Or Bully Buster (Chief Executive)? Either way, 2 + 2 = ... — Michael

Equally as amusing, from the Daily Mirror's somewhat 'humorous' 3pemmys column, the following appreciation:- "Best PR: The Premiership spin doctor who texted a pal with a series of four-letter observations about how much they disliked the club's manager....but pressed the wrong button and sent the rant straight to the boss himself." Couldn't be, could it? Surely not! - Colm

The mystery third kit
Does anyone know if Everton actually wore there Yellow third kit this season? I am pretty sure that they haven't, which takes me to the next question. Does that mean we will use the same yellow kit next season? Unlikely... although that would make sense, Everton would prefer to milk another £40 off fans. Why did we need a third shirt? What club plays in Blue and Grey anyway? Everton have brought out three kits for the last five seasons and only two shirts have been worn, and that was only once. Everton need to stop ripping us fans off and now.
Michael Fisher, Liverpool  (18/5/06)

I can't believe the concern Evertonians have over this shirt business. It's your choice to buy the bloody things! Everyone by now surely knows it is one of the few ways of bringing in extra cash, and anyone who loves the club enough is going to want to buy, regardless how many they produce, and how often... are they not? Unless they say "bollocks to the whole idea of it.

Well, that's the whole point, isn't it? Peer pressure and demanding kids... Either smile happily in the knowledge that you are supporting the club you love. Or just say "No!" It's that easy. — Michael

The Moyes Factor
Let's get on thing straight. The only Benni that would sign for Everton with Moyes in charge would be the one from Crossroads.

Forget McCarthy: there's no chance. Can you imagine the Moyes pep-talk prior to signing? "Look, Benni lad, I want you out on the left wing cos Jimmy Beatie takes up the right wing position most games. Sometimes you'll need to drop all the way back to protect the midfield cos its shite. I want you making wild challenges all over the park even on the edge of our own box — just like Jimmy does. "And, no matter what you might think about a striker's role, I don't want you in the oppositions box getting on the end of crosses or going on any mazey runs and finishing with a goal. It's just not the Everton way. You can argue over free kicks if you want but make sure you blaze them in to the crowd, just like JB.

"Look, Benni, here at Everton goals are not important — it's work ethic we like, not fancy Dan stuff. Right,son, sign here."

Cue dash back to the airport in limo. Later that day signing for Bolton or Wigan. Yes that is the way our Davey likes to do things. Just you ask Craig Bellamy. Big name signings and David Moyes go together like like a Tory MP and a Female... It just doesn't happen.
Tony Marsh, Sunny Cyprus  (18/5/06)

Not spot any Cypriot strikers during your scouting mission, Tony?! — Colm

Worldwide scouting
I work for Coerver Coaching in Connecticut, USA, which is in the New York area. We have just linked with Everton to become Everton America Connecticut (see — this is mainly to identify local talent for the club's youth academy. The club are sending a coaching rep to our summer tryouts for our youth teams. As an Evertonian, I am obviously excited about the project — surely this is a good sign that the club is scouring the globe for talent?

Or having read Peter Laing's article it could be just another way of finding marketable talent? Surely not... I hope not!
Rich Williams, New Canaan, CT  (18/5/06)

ALL talent is marketable at some point or other. We can only applaud any attempt to widen the net, scouting wherever talent may be, and in general raising our profile, particularly overseas. — Colm

Double Dutch
I agree with very little - if anything - of what Mr. Schaffaer has to say on any subject; but this 'mailbag' would surely be a less enjoyable read without his endless displays of narcotic-induced power of positive thinking.

Arise, Sir Dutch, you crazy diamond.
Jim William, Leyland  (18/5/06)

Maybe he shares a padded cell with Syd Barrett? — Colm

Peter Laing
Peter Laing claimed "Wayne Rooney and his family are as much Everton as Steven Gerrard is Liverpool." I cannot imagine Gerrard celebrating so enourmously if he ever scored against his old club.

I will never forgive Rooney for running over and gloating in front of the real Everton fans when he scored for Man Utd this season. He's not an Evertonian. He's a money-grabbing tosser and I for one am glad his World Cup is over.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (18/5/06)

Please expand that term, "the real Everton fans", Dutch. Are they the select few who spew venom from first to last minute at Rooney, somehow failing STILL to comprehend the fact that it was Everton FC who SOLD the player in order to ease a perilous financial mess? — Colm

The Moyes revolution of youth is still quietly wor
Reading the article on the Uefa webstie submitted by Stefan Tosev, featuring one of our youth scouts, Phil Cannon, talking about the Under-17 European Campionship shows that the Moyes revolution is still slowly and quietly taking place within the club

While we don't have the finincial capabilties to do a Tottenham by spending millions on British youth to sign The Lennons, Dawsons, Huddlestones, it's nice to see that we have scouts all over the world scouting for the best young foriegn talents.

The next few years will be an exciting time for us, to see the likes of Turner, Ruddy, Spencer, Kissock, and the Icelanders kids make the backbone of our team.

Muhammad Amin Azman, Johor, Malaysia  (18/5/06)

I wish I could share your optimism. Sadly, the numbers just don't jive. We will be very lucky if even one of those players becomes any good at first-team level. This article about a 17-year-old wonder kid signed from Oldham for £250k might help put it into perspective for you. And even if they do become good, all that does is trigger the high likelihood that they will be sold on to bring in more cash. It's become what we should now call "the Everton Way". — Michael

Arsène Wenger got it badly wrong in Paris. Unfortunately, he did not use the 'Rafa Benitez' Patented Ouija Board (Copyright 1666) available from RS Productions, Firesofhell Ltd.

Using this 'High Efficiency' training aid guarantees recovery from three-goal deficits, usually by smashing one in from 72 yards in the last minute of added time. It works in European games, including the final and FA Cup games, including the final. In Premiership games, even if you lose a man to a poor decision, you will still win the game by a two-goal margin, and the referee will subsequently suffer from food poisoning, and probably die.

This proactive system also ensures that, should a game go to penalties, you will never ever lose, no matter how badly you have played or how crap your players are. Manchester United used a similar system for many years before their subscription ran out.

David Moyes has looked at the system but has stated he needs more time to evaluate it before possibly making his mind up... or not.
Rob Hamilton, Liverpool  (18/5/06)

Youth policy
It looks like we have a decent youth scouting team. Just found this article: Talent spotter's paradise.
Stefan Tosev, Vienna  (18/5/06)

European Refereeing
I do not enjoy pointing out the injustice we have seen this evening, the referee in the CL final was atrocious, the Gunners have an idea of how it feels to be on the end of unreal decisions.

Very unlucky Gunners: better luck next time.
Teddy Niigma, WarringtonEngland  (17/5/06)

Ermm... referees... injustice... tonight, who cares? Ever seen Clive Thomas in action?! — Colm

The Message!
Paul Tran I take your point and you're right, if Hibbert was at Man Utd he would probably be fighting Gary Neville for his place... but Osman?

If Osman were at Man Utd he would be a regular now. Their midfield consists of the fading Paul Scholes, striker-played-out-of-position Alan Smith, jack-of-all-trades John O'Shea and the frankly rubbish Darren Fletcher/Ji-Sung Park.

Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo are probably the only midfielders Man Utd have who I would say are better then our Leon.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (17/5/06)

Okay, stop right there. This is starting to sound way too CM for my liking! — Michael

Funny you should mention, again, Tony Hibbert and the possibility of him being a Man U player......only last night I was chatting to a fella, related to someone working in a fairly high profile position at Everton who suggested he'd heard that United were keen on taking Hibbert to Man U! Naturally, I don't believe it myself and could have it verified if needs be...but interesting that you should opt to name Hibbert and United! - Colm

I have just been shown a short interview with James Beattie in this weeks Zoo magazine.

Offered £20 to order takeaway, James opts for barbecue spare ribs, salt-and-pepper chicken and Singapore noodles. Also, pizza is good for you as long as you order the right one.

He says, "When you've probably burned 7,000 calories, I think everything is acceptable in moderation."

Oh and don't go calling him fat bastard because he only carries 9% body fat. So there. I suspect that Naysmith and Wright will not be the only pair of tits on show on the first day of pre-season training this year...
Dave Jeanrenaud, Liverpool  (17/5/06)

7,000 calories indeed! High metabolism = good excuse for eating any godamn thing you want!

The Message
The message is simple.

If Hibbert & Osman were at Man Utd, they'd probably be struggling to get into the first team, just like Phil Neville was. They are two young, promising professionals doing a great job and saving the club loads of money. Right now, the pair of them are nowhere near England class.

Just think, if our great manager played more of these youngsters for more than five minutes a season when there's nothing at stake, maybe he could save the £7 million he spent on journeymen like Neville and Davies and buy the quality striker we apparently can't afford.

As for Spurs, they're getting the big sponsorship deal because, off the pitch, their directors are attracting decent funding and on the pitch, their manager is finding it strangely easy to attract good young professionals to a club that hasn't won anything for over twenty years.

It's not rocket science. It's simple football logic on the pitch and simple business sense off it. When our management becomes more attractive, I'm sure the players and investment will follow.

God, I hope Bill and Davey prove me wrong, but if they couldn't do it last year, how will they do it now?
Paul Tran, Kendal  (17/5/06)

Once agian, 'Dutch' kinda aims, shoots, and misses the target, wheras you, sir, are spot-on the nail with your analysis. — Michael

Something that will never happen
Having read all the pros and cons of every aspect of what has gone before about Everton and what they have or haven't acheived, I conclude that you should hang fire and see what the next few weeks bring. If the 2006-07 season looks to be following the same pattern as last year by Christmas, and the run up to the January transfer window does not look like producing much, then stay away. Hit Kenwrong and Winless where it hurts... in the wallet!

It would be hard to stay away for those with a passion for the club, but being cruel to be kind can and might work. Voicing an opinion does not seem to work; actions speak louder than words.

Do it and see what happens. The Club will always be there, and if we are on a slide by Christmas, it may be better than watching them playing League Championship football in 2007-08.
Mike Hayes, Wirral  (17/5/06)

Sad to say, and agree wholeheartedly with it, but the only action that speaks louder than words — and at times effects change within — is by walking away, not attending. However, how many fans really follow this through, all the way? — Colm

End of season DVD
How are Everton going to fill up the spaces on the end-of-season DVD? With so few goals scored perhaps they will show our near-misses [both of them], our corners and our sendings-off, or repeat last season's goals — even an extended interview with Moyes — now there's something to fall asleep in front of.
Leigh Sadler, Essex  (17/5/06)

I hear that part of the package includes a colour photograph of the 1984 FA Cup winning side, who defeated Watford 2-0 "after extra time"!!!Colm

When Sky invented football
We are no more a top-five club — we are an ETI (easy to ignore) team. I was scrolling today through the Premiership page of Sky sports and there is not a single item of news about Everton.

You can find news about Hull, Plymouth and every other even relegated team but not Everton — for me, this is embarrassing. We are a complete mess at the moment — out of money, out of vision for the future, out of everything.
Stefan Tosev, Vienna  (17/5/06)

Some might say 'no news is good news!' — Colm

Regarding Phil Neville's exclusion from the England squad despite now getting regular football with us.

A horseracing analogy springs to mind. Phil, being no better than a handicapper anyway, is now 'exposed', i.e any perceived potential, improvement, hint of class etc can safely be disregarded.

He's in the grip of the handicapper and until he drops in grade he's unlikely to win much.
Nige Eria, London  (17/5/06)

Ahhh... I've a nagging feeling it's horses for courses... — Colm

High Goal-Efficiency Football
Whats the problem with High Goal-Efficieny Football? We have a bunch of very average footballers and cannot afford better quality so High Goal-Efficieny Football makes sense, doesn't it?
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (17/5/06)

By jove, I think you've got it!

What's the point?
What's with all this player rating crap and what does it prove? I get fed up with people giving marks out of 10 or As, Bs and Cs etc for how they think the players performed.

Listen, the only opinion that matters is the opinion of the clueless moron that manages the team and his equally clueless management team. You had better start getting used to the idea that us supporters are virtually surplus to requirements since Sky invented football and all that matters is book balancing and profit margins.

They do not give a toss how we feel or for that matter what our opinions are of the club or its players. What matters is money and Premiership status: whether it is 1st place or 17th place is irrelevent to these people, so stop this useless exercise 'cos it does not matter as we are going to be served up the same rubbish next season regardless of how us expendable fans rate the players.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (17/5/06)

Spot on about the preservation of Premiership status being an over-riding factor, not only at Everton but other also-ran clubs. So long as you annually renew your season ticket it will continue this way... — Colm

Just spotted the OPTA stats for Everton on the Sky Sports website: although you can put all kinds of spin on them, I found they prove a few points. And I quote....

'Only four teams attempted fewer shots than the 346 mustered by Everton, but quality was also lacking in that only two teams converted a lower proportion of their chances.

Everton needed round 11 shots per goal scored.'

'Everton also struggled to retain possession of the ball, with only two teams attempting fewer passes.'

'The Toffees were one of the more prolific teams in terms of crossing the ball and were just one shy of a thousand centres over the course of the campaign.'

'Everton were put under a lot of pressure and no team was forced in to more defensive clearances, blocks and interceptions over the course of the campaign.'
So in short, we can't keep hold of the ball and when we do we just lump it up front because we can't pass it very well and because the strikers (or striker in most cases) can't hold the ball up it comes straight back and we are forced under continual pressure.

Still at least we put in a lot of crosses.
Iain McWilliam, UK  (17/6/06)

In summary it backs up those who view Moyes's football as dreadful fare to sit through. Even worse when asked to absorb further price increases with little visible sign of improvement to the squad. Funny how Mr Moyes, and Irvine, both qualified to the hilt in Uefa coaching badges, appear unable to put together a side able to perform the basics with relative ease. — Colm

Concerned.....? — I am!
Not that I think MacFadden is worth a pay rise. And I would try to keep Yobo more than MacFadden. What is worrying is Moyes's attitude towards their contract negotiations. How do we attract half-decent players when his relaxed attitude towards current squad members is a bit, "So what?".

We can't go out and do Ballack-type signings or pay that type of money. But if we are to get better players in then I think a more enthusiastic approach may help.

If we do manage to get some new faces in. I hope they are young and have a bit of pace and someone has the tactical ability to allow them on to a pitch and play decent football.
Dave Charles, Liverpool  (17/5/06)

Decent football??? No thanks! We're more interested in High Goal-Efficieny Football. The School of Science lives on! — Colm

re; Ferguson/Kanu partnership
Scarily, that had also popped into my head... but as a nightmare vision. Surely Big Dunc is no more... please!
Allan Price, Shropshire  (17/5/06)

Fiction is sometimes stranger than fact. I'm ruling nothing out with Everton having seen Alan Stubbs, Gary Naysmith and Alessandro Pistone all return! — Colm

We've had no money?
Once again, the pro-Moyes lobby invents the other side's arguments to suit their ends.... I'm sure I'm not the only dissenter who is not demanding top four finishes and trophies.

Four years since Moyes's arrival and promise of a young, vibrant team, I'm still waiting for it. Please stop peddling this money argument, especially when your hero has spent over £20 million in the last year. As Moyes consistently proves, money is useless unless the manager can spot, buy, integrate and improve quality players.

If, after four years, Moyes decides to turn over a new leaf and buy some strikers and attacking midfielders who can consistently do the job, I'll back him to the hilt and recognise some progress. Until then, I will speak out, as most of us have done with all the other Everton managers.

We don't 'demand' trophies, all we want is some entertainment and the excitement of a cup run, like most of the other 'failure' managers have provided in my lifetime. Football did exist before Mike Walker and Walter Smith, you know!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (17/5/06)

Indeed it did. We had HK III. Not too much to ask for though, is it, a little entertainment every now and then... — Colm

The difference in attitude
Look at what Sam Allardyce says on Bolton's website and compare and contrast it with the negative garbage that emanates from the cesspit that Goodison has become:

"We do need a stronger and younger squad going forward," confirmed Allardyce on the club's official website. "All my focus will be geared to bringing in the players we need to improve our standing.

"This season has shown that we need more quality. An extra two to three percent could have been the difference in getting back into Europe or reaching a major cup final. We need to strengthen in all departments. The whole focus in our recruitment strategy is to bring in younger players, who have the experience in playing top flight football and are willing to adapt to the English game quickly.

"The expectation levels have been raised and we have to match that ambition and desire. It boils down to sustaining our short and long-term future. To achieve that we do need better players."

Do Everton FC ever talk about meeting raised expectation levels? No, we are slapped down and told we have over-achieved, to be realistic by the imposters wrecking a club that has been competing at the top level of the game since the football league was formed, and who treat us as imbeciles.
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (17/5/06)

At least you know, now, that Mr Wyness is aiming for a lofty tenth place next season! Aim high, eh? — Colm

An International Striker — Transfer Fee: Zilch!
Just seen a quote from Bryan Robson on Sky Sports that indicates Kanu is out of contract. Shouldn't he be exactly the type of striker we should be looking to recruit? With a supposedly small budget, surely this guy fits all the criteria. If we can all manage to put one of the worst misses seen to the back of our minds then we should look at several positives:

  • - No transfer fee
  • - Nigerian International
  • - Highly thought of by Wenger (I dont think he wanted to lose himn when he went to WBA)
  • - 6 goals in 19 starts for a team that got relegated
  • - Skilful
  • - Experienced premiership performer
  • - 30 years of age so several years still left in him
As a squad player, surely we couldn't go wrong with signing him! Plus big Joe Yobo could have a word with him!

I realise though there is absolutley no chance of this happening. As we are becoming too aware, any hint of flair is a definite no-no under the current regime.

An increasingly despondent Evertonian
Allan Price, Shropshire  (17/5/06)

How about pairing Kanu with summer signing, Duncan Ferguson perhaps? ;-) — Colm

The Message
It doesn't bother me that Phil Neville was left out of the World Cup squad. He'll get a rest and be better for it next season. One thing does concern me though... During his Man Utd career, Phil was a regular to the England squads and gaining over 50 caps but, since joining Everton, his International career has all but ended.

It's not just Neville either, if Hibbert or Osman played for Man Utd they would have been England Internationals a long time ago. Probably even Stubbs would have been capped. Some may argue that we don't need them to be Internationals, that it's extra work for the players and puts them in the shop window.

But what sort of message does the fact that England ignores Everton players send out? What will England hopefuls like Andy Johnson, Kevin Nolan and Darren Bent think? Certainly they wouldn't want to sign for Everton knowing it effectively ends any chance of an England career.

Someone complained that Spurs have annouched a massive sponserhip deal; I bet having several England Internationals in the side helped raise the amount.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (17/5/06)

Hate to break it to you, Dutch....but it's always been this way! It's not new news to most. — Colm

Asia presence
Everton's presence in Asia? I'am havin' a laugh! I can't buy any original Everton Merchandise in Penang. Only Chang Beer. Full of Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea and even Aston Villa crap for crying out loud. Damn good marketing, Mr Bully!
Rish Shan, Penang, Malaysia  (17/5/06)

No comment! ;-) - Colm

re: Wright v Turner!
Again, I never fail to be amazed by 'Dutch'.

"Turner conceded 6 goals from his 4 appearances and he stupidly got sent off after only 9 minutes against Blackburn. So I rate that D-."

Good heavens, Dutch, you're bigging up a guy who has failed to impress in FOUR YEARS at Goodison. He's had no end of chances, runs in the team and whatever you like. Sure, Turner got sent off after nine minutes, but it doesn't compare to not being able to comprehend the meaning of "Not in use: please practice in the temporary goalmouth".

How you can rate him higher than a 17-year-old who has spent only 576 (first team) minutes on the pitch in his Everton career? Wright has had plenty of time to impress the fans, and it doesn't matter how many creamy swirls and chocolate sprinkles you dress it with — shit is still shit at the end of the day. OK, Howard will most likely get the nod for August, but I doubt you'll find many Evertonians out there who would agree with your comparative assessment of the two guys. If there's any justice, it'll be Wright who's sent packing and Turner who's given a chance to improve next season.

As an aside, I seem to remember that Wright was signed for £3.5M rising to £4.5M on appearances. Is there any chance he hasn't passed that threshold and that the Moyes policy of buying guys on deals like this will work in our favour for once? Probably not, after all Moyes is just as shit as Wright.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (17/5/06)

I think David Moyes will put the great "who's better: Wright or Turner" debate to bed once confirmation comes through that Nigel Martyn can continue for another season - by selling Wright. — Colm

I'll have one too
Echoing Neil Martin's plea for the Golden Vision, when it was shown on TV I saw it but in those days there was no such thing as videos or CDs. I always thought it was a one-off and the BBC did not keep copies. Please keep us updated as to it's availability.

As I remember, it was a quirky piece about a group of Everton mad fans.
Dick Fearon, Australia  (17/5/06)

It's a cracking watch, as you rightly recall, Dick. A brief synopsis, here from the BBC. In the meantime, I really must go and dig it out! — Colm

Re: Top Players
In partial answer to Sankar Vasu's question he can check the Actim Index for the top players in the English Premiership.

Last season, we had Cahill in the Top 30 overall so he certainly must have been in the Top 20 (in England) of his position.
Eric Myles, Seoul, Korea  (17/5/06)

Top Players
I have been an Evertonian for the past 30 years and of course it's sad to see that Everton is not a force to be reckoned with, like in those good old days. Which brings me to a question: Can anyone list the top 20 players for each position from the top leagues in the world and see if there are any Everton players in it, have we short-listed any such player?

Just a thought...
Sankar Vasu, Malaysia  (17/5/06)

Uh? Is this a new application for Championship Manager???

Excuse me Mr Smart?
How on Earth are Dutch and me the same??? If your post was to get your name up in lights then don't bother! I am far beyond Schaeffer as Blair is to traditional Labour values!

Now I have written in it was nice to see old Daniel Amo'taxi' expressing such fondness towards the club and fans. He and Dunc can have a happy retirement together as they are good mates!
Luq Yus, London  (16/5/06)

That's tellin' 'em, Luq! — Colm

Reply to Dutch Schaeffer article
I Like Dutch's report but thought I would give a more ruthless alternative report!

Full Term Report! 16/5/06

I thought I would give an honest opinion on the efforts of the Everton players during the disappointing season 2005-06.

Nigel Martyn: Too old; has to go.

Dickie Wright: Never been good enough; has to go.

Iain Turner: Potential — worth a place on the bench

John Ruddy: Potential — should play for reserves as back up

Sander Westerveld: good keeper - better bet than on loan Howard; could have got him on a free.

NOTE ON KEEPERS - Should never have sold Thomas Myhre

Gary Naysmith: Not good enough has to go.

Joseph Yobo: One of the best young centre halfs in the country, we should be building our team around him.

Per Krøldrup: What an embarrassing episode for EFC; someone should be made accountable.

David Weir: great servant, sadly has to go.

Alan Stubbs: Ditto

Phil Neville: Sorry, not good enough, Phil.

Nuno Valente: Quality — must wonder what he is doing here.

Tony Hibbert: Solid, dependable.

Alessandro Pistone: Good enough but injury-prone, has to go.

Matteo Ferrari: Liked him but didn't see enough of him; not surprised he is on his way

Simon Davies: Not good enough; waste of money again, Davey Boy!

Kevin Kilbane: Hard worker but not good enough for the School of Science.

Lee Carsley: Average player; we can do better.

Tim Cahill: Get the feeling he thinks he is bigger than the club.

Leon Osman: I like Leon — neat little footballer.

Andy van der Meyde: If he was any good he wouldn't be playing for Everton. Get Shut

James Beattie: Potential... needs help

Marcus Bent: Not good enough, had to go

James McFadden: Oh my lord! £20k? No chance!

Victor Anichebe: If you're old enough, you're good enough.

Duncan Ferguson: Thanks for the memories but bye bye.

David Moyes: Sorry, Davey, me old son; not good enough.
Kevin Bennett, Chester  (16/5/06)

Me 'n' you should have a pint, Sir! - Colm

Richard Dodd
Is Richard Dodd taking the piss? To come out with, "only 10 teams finished above us", is fucking pathetic. Apart from the top four, has he seen the other teams above us? Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn, etc.

Would he be happy to see these clubs finish above us next season? Also, to say we have no right to expect us to win trophies has got to be a joke. I have every right when I pay a fucking fortune every season to that bag of shite! And by the way, Moyes a great manager, my arse!!!
Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (16/5/06)

If we could have beaten West Brom on the last day of the season, there'd only have been nine teams ahead of us. And we'd have finished above Wigan. And have back-to-back top ten placings in the Premiership. Now that would've been a memorable DVD, eh?! — Colm

re: Arggggh
You're right, Michael, in my previous post I missed Dutch's assessment of Moyes, though admittedly I had lost the will to live half way down the page. I'm not sure if that's to to do with Larry, Curly and Moyes or just Dutch's persistent positivity. I tried the Samaritans, but all they kept doing was bigging up 'High Goal Efficiency' football.

That's the last time I buy one of their stickers on Flag Day.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (16/5/06)

Think of the poor Samaritans... — Colm

Wright v Turner!
Dickie Wright got a higher grade then Iain Turner for the following reasons:

Turner conceded 6 goals from his 4 appearances and he stupidly got sent off after only 9 minutes against Blackburn. So I rate that D-.

Dickie Wright is far from good but he did have a few good games. He never fully inspired confidence but he did make some great saves. Plus he kept 5 clean sheets. So I rate that D.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (16/5/06)

D-. Must try harder. — Colm

Any ideas
Any ideas where to get video/DVD of the Golden Vision?
Neil Martin, Lliverpool  (16/5/06)

Anyone able to assist here? I have a copy of The Golden Vision on video somewhere in the old 'vault'. Must dig it out... — Colm

Be careful what you hear...!
I've just heard two piss-artists in my local starting (or spreading) the latest rumour. Apparently... a friend of the lawnmower driver (who made my eyes go funny by going around in circles before the last few home games) told one of the piss-artists' mates at a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous that Sven-Goran Eriksson is about to be unveiled as Everton's new manager!

As a part of the deal, Davey Moyes will take up the post of technical advisor to the School of Science with special responsibility for promoting attacking flair. But.... there's better to come!! As Sven told the Sheikh, David Beckham and Michael Owen will follow him anywhere (or words to that effect) and they're coming too!!!

(I hope you're taking this seriously as these two piss artists are usually dead reliable) One of them even said that he'd heard that, on learning about this, the Metatarsal Kid is having second thoughts about where his future lies (mind you... they're all Metatarsal Kids aren't they?)

Has anybody out there heard this rumour too? Or am I just the third piss artist? Maybe I'm better just relaxing and waiting to see what actually transpires this summer because, especially at Everton, seeing is believing and we can't afford any more cheap rumours can we?
Dave  Roberts, Runcorn  (16/5/06)

Did anyone tell you about this Brazilian lad who is just 14....

Doing great, really!
Once again, ToffeWeb is acting as the catylist for the few Evertonians who constantly overlook the fact that, in the whole of England, only TEN clubs finished higher up the football pecking order than did Everton in the season just finished.

What right have we to expect our club to win trophies in the manner of the Big Five when we only have a modicum of their resources? Even in 2004-05, when we finished fourth, the site was awash with moaners and groaners, so what purpose does it really serve?

Whilst we would all like our club to be amongst the honours, by retaining a position in the top eschelon, year after year, under our most successful Premier ship manager, the vast majority of us recognise that we are `doing great`. So please give the sniping a rest, will you!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (16/5/06)

The ‘All You Need to Know’ Evertonian's Guide:

  • We are 'doing great'
  • 4th to 11th is 'progress'
  • We nearly did back-to-back top-ten finishes for the first time ever (since Sky invented football)
  • We are now confirmed as a regular top-ten side [uh?]
  • We are among the top twenty 'richest' clubs in the world
  • We are the most profitable club (£100k) in the land — if not the entire world!
  • A negative goal difference is a beautiful thing
  • We didn't need Mateo Ferrari — "there are alternatives"
  • Per Krøldrup may be good enough for Serie A but he just couldn't cut it in the Premiership (he couldn't head the ball either!)
  • David Moyes was voted Manager of the Year among his peers... last season.
Did I miss anything? — Michael

After much research I conclude that Dutch Schaeffer and Luq Yus are one and the same.
Alec Smart, London  (16/5/06)


How on earth did Dutch rate Dickie Wright higher than Iain Turner? Freda the Blue Peter tortoise would have been quicker off the line.

Interesting though that he didn't rate Moyes.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (16/5/06)

C- after all the blather he's subjected us to is really a joke. Either 'Dutch' is trying curry favour by adopting a more populist stance... or the message has finally gotten through to him. Either way I suppose I should be pleased... I just regret what next this might unlease!!! — Michael

What happened to Donaldinho on the Rumour mill. Is it true or not?
Bill Johnson, Wirral  (16/5/06)

Nah, sorry. It was a bit of wind-up that caught me napping — actually, more a cutting barb against the "protection" of Rooney provided by David Moyes — penned in convincing style by Sunil, and really nothing whatsoever to do with any prospective new Brazilian blood in the Everton Academy. But then 90% of the rumours we put up are garbage anyway, so there's nowt diofferent there!!! — Michael

Club's ambition?
I am going to say what I and my work colleages/friends and family have been saying for the past two years. Can somebody tell me what is the ambition of Everton Football Club?

We are being run by a gang of amateurs from top to bottom; this current Board and management team have successfully made Everton look and act like a small club. The height of our ambition is to finish in the top 10 two years on the trot.

I am not one for slagging our own club off but when it is deserved it should be said. We/they have continuously failed to improve our squad in the last three transfer windows. When we finished 4th, we had the best opportunity for over 20 years to try and begin to fulfill our potential. The Champions League was the one carrot that was supposed to be needed to tempt the quality players that we know we need.

The shambles in the transfer market is embarrasing, we should have had three or four players getting ready in the pre-season for the Villarreal games; all we got was Phil Neville three days before (nothing personal but he is a decent but average player).

The players that should have been thanked but released were:- Weir, Naysmith (crap) and Pistone. The two players who were worth another year or two were Stubbs and Watson. We did the opposite; even worse — we give some of them 3-year contracts!

After the shambles of Per Krøldrup, we sold a striker in the January window bringing in a total of £5M, and still failed to buy a striker. The only other real striker available after Beattie was young Anichebe in the reserves, but Moyes being Moyes is so negative he only gave him 10 minutes in the last game of the season because the crowd demanded it.

Anichebe should have been put on when Mcfadden went off against Chelsea in the FA Cup, but Moyes bottled it by saying it was a game for men so he put on Naysmith (crap). In my opinion, we could have well gone on to win that game with two proper forwards.

I would rather see attractive football and get beat than this crap that is served up now. We have been brought up with the knowledge that EVERTON is one of the big clubs, the fans should be demanding that, but I fear that the Board has done a good job of muting anyone who thinks like that.

What happened with us trying to play with the best and buying the best? Why is there no investment into the club? Where is the new ground? You do not hear anything about these issues... do they think we are stupid!

Kenwright only speaks when something good happens, that "I am a real fan" act is a disgrace. If he really ment that then why is he serving us up really average boring football? — Do something about it! Get investment or step aside for someone who has. All the top clubs are run by professional people at the top, this then filters down through the organisation.

I do not think Moyes can honestly provide us with the type and standard of football that we demand, I would love it if he could because I think he is a decent fellow, but the style is no different then Walter Smith. One up front and keep it tight. Get the correct players and let them play the football they naturally want to play. If Yobo wants to go — can you honestly blame him? He has played second fiddle to Weir for the best part of three years — unbelievable!

The team should be built around a good keeper, Yobo, Arteta, Beattie and probably Cahill. The rest? I am sorry to say are so average if you put them all up for sale I would like to see who would be bought. So let's do something about it and demand that we get answers to questions that MUST be asked:-


Karl Montgomery, Liverpool  (16/5/06)

Spot on, Karl. Some very pertinent stuff in there. Apart from a concern that Buster Wyness and the people he is bringing in may actually qualify as professional football club adminsitrators (it's their decision-making that is suspect), I think you nailed it. Perhaps Colm has some additional comments? — Michael

Youf today, eh!
Drunken contributions aside, I wasn't going to contribute to the letters page for a bit but I have to agree with Michael's response to Kevin Dacey's 'Standards' piece.

I'm thirty-something and yes I was lucky enough to see us do well but, for the most part, it's been pretty mediocre. However, deciding to accept this level of football is just wrong, IMHO. Everton were in the 2nd division (now called the League Championship) in the 50s but the club did its best and I'm sure annoyed the pants off the fans until our very own original moneybags turned up (John Moores).

Even when Billy Bingham nearly won the title in the 70s, the fans protested at the style of football... so it's nothing new that we are moaning. If anything, to me it shows that we care about what we force ourselves to watch every week — and that's what hopefully made us different from the majority of other clubs.

I personally would rather finish 14th playing entertaining football than 7th playing high efficiency football at the moment but I'm sure that after three seasons or so, I would get fed up with it and expect more from the team.

Yes, football is different now and we are no longer a big player but it doesn't mean we have to accept the inevitiable dross that Moyes has created. No matter what people say, he HAS spent a lot of money in comparison to other teams in the league and yet they still finish above us playing a better standard of football.

All I want is a happy medium of entertainment and efficiency. ;o)
Iain McWilliam, UK  (16/5/06)

Some great points there, Iain. — Michael

Missing Dutch
Pretty boring feedback. Where's Dutch gone? Its been ages since we last heard from him. Is he on vacation?

Wait a minute, don't all Everton Club employees get time off around this time of year???
Paul Atriess, Liverpool  (16/5/06)

Since it's quiet, and just for you... a massive dollop of 'Dutch' can be found here!

Standards for EFC
I understand how many thirty-something and forty-something year old fans are irritated with last season's performance, but this view is completely mystifying to those who were brought up in the 90s. My first ever game was a dreadful 1-0 defeat of Woking in the FA Cup, I think it must have been in 1990 when I was 5, and this puts into context my angle; people of my age (anything from 5 — 21 really) do not remember much success — just the 95 FA Cup. Therefore, in my point of view, our 11th placed finished is nothing to be ashamed of — of course, a top half finish would have been nice, but to a fan who has only witnissed three top half finishes in his entire life, 11th is a positive result.

I realise this is a depressing and barely acceptable point of view for those that remember the 80s, but those very fans have to bear in mind that the younger generations do not remember, or only have dim recollections of what success feels like. This tiresome argument that 11th is not good enough for Everton is understandable for us in one sense; only the best is good enough. But I sometimes think my generation are more realistic in their expectations than the more seasoned fans, who know more than the money-soaked football we all follow.

Surely we must accept that the 2004-05 campaign was a one-off, and that we don't have the resources to compete at that level year-in, year-out yet? I do think next season Moyes will stand or fall on his decisions, but as yet, let's not get carried away; at the end of October, I'm sure 99% of Evertonians would have viewed 11th as a good league placement, considering we were bottom of the league with three points.
Kevin Dacey, Reading  (16/5/06)

I find that so depressing it is sapping my will to live. Do you young 'uns really have no concept of what decent football is? Negative goal differences and High Goal-Efficieny Football — is that really what you want to pay good money to see at Goodison Park??? — Michael

Management Trio
What's wrong with our club? — Easy: it's the management trio who badly run the outfit and the communications from it.

  • Moyes — who can't tell a lie.
  • Wyness — who can't tell the truth.
  • Kenwright — who can't tell the difference.

God help us!
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (16/5/06)

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil? — Colm

What you see is what you get
Over 50-odd years of watching top football and involvement at amateur level leads to my firm belief that, after age 16, impovement in a player's ability is marginal and most of that improvement is due to increased size and weight. I remember when Shankly first took over at that other place, he put large adverts in national papers offering tryouts to any youngster provided they met certain criteria.

All criteria related to size and weight not skill. Depending upon position, youngsters from 15 to 17 had to be within a given range or they did not get a look in. My memory is vague on the conditions yet for example a goalkeeper aged 16 needed to be 5'10 and 10 stone. Different positions and ages had other sizes etc. I am not suggesting that is the way to go but it is noticable that some of our first team regulars despite an abundance of skill are unable to withstand a physical challenge.

It is also noticeable that even these days the 'other lot' rarely have what could be described as puny players. Now I await Michael to shoot me down in flames.
Dick Fearon, Australia  (16/5/06)

Err... Not, me, Dickie. But perhaps your anecdote explains how Everton can so accuratley determine the value of their academy youths, and release the dross knowing that, to a man, they will not be forced to regret it. — Michael

Mystery of the forgotten signing
Is it just me or has everyone forgot about the player signed last year but can't play because of a work permit? Can't even remember his name, can you?
Mike McGinnis, Wirral  (15/5/06)

Psst! Out of sight, out of mind? Here - Colm

Time to get angry
Shaun Sparke's fans comment piece was a brilliant summation of the terrible situation Everton FC are in. The mediocrity that has infested the club for 15 years is bad enough but the seeming acceptance of it by too many people who should know better is a frightening wake-up call to those of us not yet in a coma.

I honestly believe the whole future of the club is at stake; youngsters nowdays don't fall for the bullshit issued by the club and will simply follow anyone putting themselves in the frame for success.

The fact that the morons ruining Everton can't even accept that we are not even in this frame means that our future fanbase is being constantly eroded to the point where, if families with a history of generations of Evertonians drift away, they will never be replaced by today's glory hunters and bandwagon jumpers.

It is indeed time to get angry.
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (15/5/06)

I have no idea how Xabi Alonso made the Spanish World Cup squad ahead of Mikel Arteta. I know Alonso had some fitness issues, but the inability to connect a short infield pass is not something one can put down to thigh strains, back problems or a spot of the lurgy. I can only imagine that it's because he plays for Liverpool who have a good profile and that Everton have fallen off most international managers' radar. Let's face it, even Sven Goran Ericksson was urging Rooney to leave the Blues during the Euros in 2004.

As for Arteta, this could cut one of two ways. Because he's not taking part in the summer World Cup suoermarket sweep, he's less likely to register with teams looking to improve. On the other hand, Mikel may want to move somewhere where he is able to realise his international ambitions (ie, not Everton). I'm sad for Arteta, because I think of all of our players, he's the one who deserves the chance to play in Germany next month. I'm sad for us, because our profile and reputation has dipped to an all-time low, to a point where you could insert our name instead of Accrington Stanley into a certain milk advert.

Everton Football Club, who are they?
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (15/5/06)

Sack the Board....
Please tell me how Tottenham have managed to secure a new shirt sponsorship worth £34 million having just finished fifth — NOT FOURTH (ring any bells) — but fifth in the Premiership this season ??

I'll tell you how... with a team that tries to play open attacking football, a manager who's prepared to sign YOUNG players with desire, pace and drive and a board who knows what it is doing to attract proper investors to the club.

Kenwright for the sake of Everton FC PLEASE LEAVE NOW and take your invisible cohorts and your 'miricle man' with you !!
Neil Vaughan, Wirral  (15/5/06)

Everton's the Team that Plays!!!
If we look at the last three seasons, a number of constants appear. Everton play negative, cagey football. Very rarely score more than one goal and inevitably lose when we are the live game on Sky.

We then come to our lack of a cup run. Cup football is all about going out to play with a cavalier winning, devil may care attitude. It's about nothing else — just that game against 11 other players. It's about seeing if our team are better than their's, it's about showing them what we've got. It's not a game of chess, it's not about approaching games with the weight of the world on your shoulders.

David Moyes is in the last chance saloon and he has to ask himself the question: "Am I capable of sending a team out to play beautiful football?"

This is the make-or-break season. It's now his team, we have been in the top 8 spenders in the last 18 months. There can be no further negativity or silly excuses. The squad compared to Chelsea's is weak but compared to Wigan, Man City etc it's on par. Two or three good signings and we have a squad capable of playing good football. Are you capable, Mr Moyes?
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (15/5/06)

It's been a few days, ande you have obviously missed it, so I'll say it again: High Goal-Efficiency Football. That is the Moyes way... and it is never going to change. "Am I capable of sending a team out to play beautiful football?" — Now you're 'avin' a laff! — Michael

Big Summer for Everton (again!)
There has been a lot of talk about the numerous “Big Summers” for Everton FC. Well, I'm jumping on the band wagon in saying that it is a big summer, mainly to do with the club's transfer policy.

When Davey Moyes arrived, one of his aims was to reduce the average age of the squad. This has happened somewhat, with the signing of Joseph Yobo, Mikky Arteta, Tim Cahill and a few others. We have also signed people like Phil Neville, James Beattie and Nuno Valente which blew a lot of the transfer budget. These are good players, don’t get me wrong, but there are surely younger alternatives: for Beattie read Ashton; Neville read Reo-Coker; and Valente read Leighton Baines or Michael Ball!

I have no problem with the club offering new contracts to people like Stubbs and Martyn as a stop-gap measure, but the people we sign need to be the right side of 25 so they will be coming into their prime at Everton, and have a good resale value at the end of their contracts. Can you see us getting much for Phil Neville and Beattie in 3-4 years time? Exactly — this money once used for transfers is effectively gone forever, where if we had paid an extra million and gone for say Dean Ashton, he would be worth at least his value and probably more at the end of his contract.

David Moyes needs to have a real look at this as our old boys will not go on forever so we need to build a young side from now on.

The academy also needs sorting out ASAP; just look at Middlesbrough — what an example of a great Academy, and surely players would rather play for us than those Lego Stadium bandits! This must be a priority, although I don’t know how many Moyes would play, as he has never really seemed to champion the cause of youth players.

Rooney he couldn’t ignore, Tony Hibbert was and is the only right back at the club, and Leon Osman was only given a chance when we were struggling. We need some real talent coming through the ranks, then all money can be spent on very good players rather than several journeymen.

We now all wait with baited breath for the rumours to start in earnest, and how many World Cup one-offs we will be linked with... Daniel Amokachi, anyone!?!
Andy Lee, Warwick  (15/6/06)

This is surely a wind up guys? Are we also linked with Ravioli, Cuppatinho and Garibaldi?
Jez North, HM Prison, Belmarsh  (15/5/06)

Nice to see Belmarsh offering internet services, Jez! I'm informed that this article originates from the ToffeeNet mailing list, presumably lifted from there by the Editor. And yes, I suspect it's an attempt at 'yooomer'... - Colm

Nick Armitage
The boring reason McFadden is being offered a new contract is that Everton don't have many strikers. Surely Nick must know this by now as it is on this site daily. Ferguson is off, so that's one less striker, Bent was sold and not replaced. So, Nick, what do you recommend? Carsley as a striker? And please no mention of why don't we go and buy a striker — err... they have been trying that for years now — same old excuses. I'm sure Moyes is praying Anichibe is going to be Premiership quality. Expect another minus goal difference next season.
Jim Talbot, London  (15/5/06)

Joe Yobo
Have to disagree with Stewart Hayes... I don't think Joseph Yobo will be putting himself in the shop window by having an outstanding World Cup, as Nigeria failed to qualify.
Nige Eria, London  (15/5/06)

Good spot, Nige! That slipped neatly through the Ed's leg's... — Colm

Let's have a poll now before we bring any players in on where we will finish next season. I'm sure with everyone assuming we will get AJ and Lescott then we will finish top six.

Then let's have another poll in August just before the season kicks off. When we have Stubbs & Weir at the back and Beattie alone upfront. D'ya think the results might be different?
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (14/5/06)

Let's not! — Michael

Just a litte information
Thought I would share with you lot what my fellow Dane Krøldrup said about Everton FC when asked about in an interview with Danish newspaper BT:

"So what do you think of Everton FC?"

"It was a great club, with especially great fans."

This coming from one of the most skilled central defenders in Denmark for a long time (only outbeaten in my personal view by kopite Agger) and we gave him two apperances!! As fans I like to think we should appreciate these words coming from a player who, in my eyes, was treated very unfairly by the club, but still recognises how great this club's fans are...

And having watched the utter shite of this season, it seems to me that this is the only thing left to be proud of...
Frederik Pedersen, Denmark  (14/5/06)

A manager with vision
I feel compelled to reply to the posting from Thommo Pigpond 12/5/06. In his letter, he asserts that the only manager with a vision of the 'right' sort of player was Harry Catterick. Perhaps he did not support Everton in the years immediately prior to Catterick's arrival!

I have watched Everton from 1955 onwards and still have the most vivid and happy memories of the pure football played, and the quality of players brought to the Club, during the all too brief spell when John Carey was our manager. Without a shadow of doubt, this man did most to earn for the Club the title of The School of Science.

His abrupt and undignified dismissal by Moores was the greatest folly and a disastrous turning point for Everton Football Club. We have suffered in comparison with our nearest neighbours, and other Clubs, since that fateful day.

When I first started to watch football, Everton and Liverpool had the same number of Championship trophies (five) and Everton also had two FACup successes. I contend that Moore's impatience and lack of true footballing vision contributed to the subsequent disparity in trophy gathering between Everton and Liverpool (and some others) in the years that followed.

Everton gained 4 further Championships, 3 further FA Cups and the Cup-Winners Cup during the next 44 years. During that same period of time, Liverpool collected 13 Championships, 7 FA Cups, 7 League Cups, 5 European Championships and 3 Uefa Cups.

Catterick failed to follow up each of his two Championship triumphs with further titles but at least he was give time to try. John Carey was denied the opportunity to develop his team into one capable of winning several titles but I am convinced that such success would have been inevitable.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (14/5/06)

Well, that's definitely a new twist on the old woulda, coulda, shoulda fantasising ... And somewhat iconoclastic in my humble opinion, given that Harry Catterick really merits the title "Best Everton Manager" for his achievements in the 1960s. Perhaps Paul and Ollie Collyer are considering a historic version of Championship Manager in which you could play out this scenario?

Just one small point: according to this website, the title "School of Science" probably originated some years before Carey's reign. — Michael

Everything about Everton
Weir, Stubbs and McFadden getting offered new contracts... it's pathetic! The even worse thing is that once Yobo plays well in the World Cup, all the top teams will be after him and once that happens Everton can't do nothing but sell him at that point. A central defence of Weir and Stubbs (if Moyes doesn't get a centre-back, which he probably won't because he's a ditherer!!) in the Premiership next season??? I've seen better partnerships in the League Championship.

It's about time we started playing some youth for once, buying some injury-free, more than half-decent players, actually finding out what money we've got in the club, changing stadiums. It's about time this club started developing again!

The only player who I think that would even make it into our 80s squad is maybe Mikel Arteta; no-one else would even come close. We finish in the top 10 one season, then the bottom 10 next — and it happens over and over again. That's not moving on; it's what you call a manager who doesn't want to get better — he just settles for nothing — happy sp long as we don't get relegated.

Last summer we had a chance to develop a team that is capable of winning things — competing for Europe each season then building to competing for the title. We had around £20M to find top quality players. We could have actually bought them as well because we weren't just in the Uefa Cup but we were in the Champions League qualifier A chance to compete with Europe's elite — a chance to make a name for ourselves. But Moyes bought:

    Van der Meyde — An injury-plagued player with no future.
  • Davies — Another player who's constantly injured, but at first I was quite pleased with that signing because I thought he was a half good player; god, he's proved me wrong.
  • Krøldup — £5M, I heard a rumour that he got mixed up with kopite Daniel Agger; wouldn't suprise me knowing Moyes.
  • Neville — Decent, but a top-club reject... to become a top club, you dont buy rival's rejects.
  • Valente — Don't get me wrong: he's a good player, but he's injury prone too by the look of things.
  • Ferrari — Injury-prone and hardly played, Moyes should have given him more of a chance because he's a huge amount better than Weir.
That summer has gone, we are short on cash with around £8M to spend — what's that? — a half good player or two? Maybe with a few more loan deals the quality of Tim Howard and two good young signings, we could aim for top 10, but with Yobo, Arteta and Cahill maybe going I don't seem to think so. I wouldn't get my hopes up this summer unless we get a new manager.

The only future we may have is John-Paul Kissock, IF (and thats a big IF) he makes it there is a lot of potential but others have had a lot of potential and failed. Hopefully by the time he makes it, we have a manager who has a clue because what will we do? we will just sell him for £10M maybe £20M and get some more shite players. There is no future at this club; Moyes and Kenwright out now, we need a change. NOW!!!
Stewart Hayes, Maghull  (14/5/06)

A familar and depressing dirge. Just think: in March of 2007, David Moyes will have been Everton Manager for five years... or will he? — Michael

A Few Thoughts...
We have a pre-season friendly with Preston. Is this because of our managers history or is it to help grease the wheels of a possible Nugent transfer?

Andy van der Meyde is reportedly fired up and ready to fight for his Everton career. Did Moyes really want to sell him or was it just a clever ploy to get a positive reaction from the player?

Is Moyes being pro-active releasing players and making new signings now because he wants a head start on next season or is it because he knows he won't have much time over the summer because of his TV pundit duties?
'Dutch Schaeffer', London  (14/5/06)

Best not to use up your valuable braincells in this way, 'Dutch'. It comes very close to questioning the activities of the manager — and we wouldn't want to do that now, would we? — Michael

Whatever Happened To The Team?
Close season is here again and of course a rush of transfer talks and rumours.

I was just wondering what happened to the 'team'? I'm referring to the team spirit, team-work and the rest of its elements that carried Everton to 4th place just 12 months ago. It seemed that 'Team Everton' got transferred out or onto the treatment table along the way down to 11th.

Now who was responsible for the 'Team'? Or more importantly, who's responsible for bringing it back into action? Bet at least it won't burst our transfer budget...
Jason Heng, Singapore  (14/5/06)

It's an observation worth noting. Alan Stubbs aside, we're struggling to identify 'leaders' out there on the pitch. — Colm

Double standards
'What the hell' I thought when I read this comment in the mailbag — Footnote: Can we ask that all mailbag submissions relate to matters concerning EFC and not a match played in Cardiff on Saturday, May 13! PLEASE!

So what is the greatest comeback in 40 years article alluding to then? I am so gutted for West Ham for obviously reasons and because of the BBC bias towards the red shite! But credit for West Ham who played the game exactly how it should be: Attacking flair, even with inferior players.

Hmmmm, interesting, eh Moyes — isn't that. Maybe we should go after Pardew as Toffee manager. And Da Silva does not look too great I'm affraid lads but he is still young so can develop (hopefully).
Luq Yus, London  (14/5/06)

Hehe!!! I knew we'd get a bite on this one! Firstly, and most importantly, it's the fortieth anniversary of what was universally acclaimed as the greatest comeback in FA Cup history. Unfortunately, it coincides with the weekend of Liverpool lifting the FA Cup and much media hype acclaiming yesterday's match as 'the greatest final of all time'. Nonsense. The footnote was a plea for less bile towards our neighbours in the mailbag submissions and something more EFC related! - Colm

Very disappointed
I have been following Everton since I first saw them play against the double-winning Spurs team in 1961.

However, if Moyes thinks he is going to win anything with Gary Breen in his team, then he really does need to go to a shrink. He couldn't get his place on a very bad Irish team. And with possibly Denis Wise as well, we will have useless and next to useless. Breen is not worth £350 a week, much less £35,000.
Michael McBride, Ireland  (14/5/06)

Have you been skulling Guinness 'by the keg'?! - Colm

I have had to sit through the cup final surrounded by rednoses and started to think of when we were their equal if not better on and off the pitch but now what have we got to look forward to? Loan signings and Championship players and when we seem to unearth a gem like Rooney it ends sadly. So what's the answer? I don't know but more worring neither the Everton Board nor Davie Moyes appear to have a clue either. Still, I'll be back next season but I can understand those who have lost faith.
Roy Coyne, liverpool  (14/5/06)

Ignore the goings-on across the park - not our concern - but instead focus your concerns towards those who, step by step, have removed Everton Football Club from the equation when it comes to involvement at the business end of the season: our Board. - Colm

Footnote: Can we ask that all mailbag submissions relate to matters concerning EFC and not a match played in Cardiff on Saturday, May 13! PLEASE!

Dutch Schaeffer
The name Dutch Schaeffer comes from the 1987 film Predator, starring Arnold Scwarzenegger as Dutch in his usual role covered in camouflage and greasepaint and shooting anything that moves... I wonder what name he will think up next, whoever he is.
Leigh Sadler, Essex  (13/5/06)

Ah ha! The Moyesivator!!! — Michael

Sack the Board
I've done a fair amount of nosing around in Everton's business over the last few months, and it's frankly quite worrying.

Having spoken to a number of staff at the club, it is apparant that the whole club is in turmoil. Virtually 100% of the staff want rid of Gregg, he's an arrogant git who is simply using the club to make money, nothing else. Whilst Kenwright apparantly comes across as a nice guy, he has absolutely no idea how to run a football club, and is dragging Everton into financial dire straits.

It is a known fact to many staff that Rooney was pushed out of the club, and the whole debacle was manufactured by Kenwright as we needed the cash to hold off the banks. The Newcastle bids were false, and United won't pay anything else... hence why we got neville and now their goalie for a year.

The club purposely encourage links to good players, when we haven't got two pence to rub together, and the frozen season tickets were a gimmick to improve the end-of-year financials.

Kenwright and Gregg need to be replaced ASAP... where is our saviour?!! I'd happily launder Russian mafia money if it meant we got rid of that smarmy shite Kenwright and Shylock Gregg.
Son of Saint Domingo, Birkenhead  (13/5/06)

Shocking revealations there, Son. Good job they've never been aired before... otherwise, people might begin to believe there is some truth in them. And then where would the club be?

Oh, and if Gregg is actually making any money at all, that would be a miracle... unless there is some monkey business going on. He can only make money if he sells his shares for a profit. — Michael

This Howard deal...
The reason I'm writing in is to have a moan. When Tim Howard signed I was very happy. Dickie Wright has proved he's not good enough and Howard has the potential to be a really keeper. I also liked the idea that we signed him on loan, let him prove himself and earn a permanent contract. Good idea, Moyes.

But now I hear that the Alex Ferguson has no intention of letting Howard leave Man Utd and the loan is just a way of getting Howard games so he can regain his form and eventually take over as Man Utd's No 1. What are we? — the Man Utd reserves??? We give Howard games, help him regain his confidence, and then he goes back to Man Utd a better player???

When Howard returns, who will take over as Everton's No 1? Turner or Ruddy will have spent the entire season on the bench behind Howard so they won't be ready. This is not cool, Mr Moyes. The season after next, Man Utd will have an in-form Howard and we'll be back at square one.

Moyes, I normally back you all the way but this totally sucks.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (13/5/06)

Nice try, Dutch. But you know that, under the tutilige of the infamous Chris Woods, who has now proven his abilities by destroying at least three up-and-coming Everton keepers, the scenario you describe is pretty unlikely. Look for him to be Okay at best, and for Sir Alex to say: "Alrite, you can keep him... for £3.5M!" — Michael

Youth and Pace!
I was extremely happy to see young Anichebe slot away his first senior goal for the club against West Brom, and hope it's some sign of things to come. There was a lot of expectancy on James Vaughan coming through and stating his claim for a regular first-team place after his record-breaking goal against Palace, but unfortunately injury ravaged his chances last term.

My greatest concern is whether the youth will be given a fair chance in the coming season, or will the manager again be over-cautious like he was with Rooney? I'm a firm believer that if they're good enough they're old enough, and in the case of Anichebe, I doubt anyone can say he lacks physical maturity.

Our dire goals tally in 2005-06 is an embarrassment, and I think a chronic lack of pace throughout the team has played a huge part. When was the last time any of us watched an Everton player burst through a defence and slot the ball home? Personally, I can't think of once in the last campaign.

Along with a prolific goalscorer, pace is a comodity Everton have lacked for far too long, yet it's one of the most important assets to have in the Premier League today. We get punished in defence because of our lack of it, and 34 goals speaks for itself at the other end. Obviously you still need to be able to finish, but fast players stretch defenses, which creates more space for others, and even more importantly, they excite the crowd... and we could definitely all do with some of that!!!

Not surprisingly, we're already hearing the annual cries of poverty from the board, with £6M being reputedly too expensive for a proven goalscorer. I'm sure Kenwright will have his lapdog Wyness file the standard spin report to us fans on how many people he's been talking to this week about investment into the club!

Talking of Kenwright, I can't say I respect any man who does things like walking in on Radio City's post-match phone-in after the Charlton game to gloat, yet the same guy is nowhere to be seen when the fans are asking for answers on the club's current state of affairs. The fact is the man doesn't have the money to help us stride forward, and he's not willing to let anyone else have a say, which is why we have a lack of investment, and a lack of the above-stated.

Ah well... another summer of hope is in store!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (13/5/06)

Optimism... criticism... pessimism... It's a right of passsage for us as Evertonians! — Michael

Reining it in
I knew it was going to happen. We're getting linked with Andy Johnson and Joleon Lescott and I'm trying my hardest not to get excited.

I felt the same back in January, yet despite all the speculation, there was no cigar. I just don't see how with a kitty that is probably realistically no bigger than about £3M-£4M that we could afford either of them. Palace would be mad to sell Johnson for less than £8M IMO and as far as Lescott is concerned, if he really is as good as his press suggests, then Wolves would surely be looking for around £5M. Unless there is some secret stash that is being made available (I await the AGM with anticipation), I don't see how we will get either club to agree a fee, and that's before we go about convincing the players themselves that Everton is a step up.

If we do have money to spend (a big 'if'), look for players to signed on shorter contracts or for them to have release clauses. Thinking back to Olivier Dacourt, it is not inconceivable that someone should join the Blues just to increase their profile by being in the Premiership only to leave after a season or two.

By the way Michael, I think you misunderstood me in my last post. I was making comment based on the fact that 'Dutch' and others are aliases. Considering the strength of opinion, it would be better if people could stand by their comments rather than hide behind fictional names. Like I say, just my thoughts.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (13/5/05)

Yes, you're right. I'm going to require a copy of Dutch's birth certificate, driving licence and passport before he posts again... — Michael

Malbranque — French but ok
Just heard that Malbranque has been put on the transfer list. Whenever I've seen this little garlic muncher, he's looked mustard — French mustard infact! What a good signing he would be. Along with Arteta in the midfield, we would actually be able to play some classy football on a regular basis.

Only problem is he's been overlooked by just about every club over the past few years despite appearing to be a quality player for quite some time. This usually suggests there's something wrong with him, maybe he's a total wanker, but hey, Bellamy's a total wanker and Blackburn havn't done bad.

His contract is up next summer so I reckon we'd be able to take the piss a bit too, expect an imminent offer from cuddly Bill of around £150k — depending on appearances mind! Just done a little raincheck on the Frenchman and despite looking older than Roger Milla he's actually only 26!

Patrick Marks, London  (13/5/06)

General disappointment
I've been a keen reader of the Mailbag for a long time now, but this is my first write-in. I think it's fair to say we are all gutted Ferrari left as he had bags of potential. The McFadden comments are spot on too, he IS too slow to nip around people yet persists with it. I've been an Evertonian for 22 years through thin and thinner — it never seems to get better.

Personally, I don't think Andy Johnson is the answer, we need a nippy lil 'un to partner Beats but this will force us out of the 5 in midfield formation. What to do?

Sometimes it sucks supporting a team that continually cocks-up, but you know what? I wouldn't change it for any other. That's what being a Toffee is all about.
Ian Gulliford, Bridgend  (13/5/06)

Makes the good times all the more enjoyable, appreciated, when (if!) we ever lift a pot! — Colm

Nick Armitage, although I do agree with most of what you have stated - if Faddy has only 10 goals, and he scored 7 this season, then surely this would suggest that he is getting better? (No, I know that it's not good enough, just though I'd point it out!)
Rupert Sullivan, Reading  (13/5/06)

Here we go again
It's dead easy, isn't it? We buy the best players in the world and we will be "dead good"; we spunk out £15M on some defender the cockneys don't want, villa passed over and the reds don't need, we go mad on some dirty midfield bugger words don't do justice to, then we get Ronaldo and Ronaldihno (he is some relation) and we win the league —it's that easy!

In reality we get David Weir, Jimmy McFadden, Stubbsy etc and no matter what WE FOLLOW, we trust in EVERTON. I have not been as upset as I was at Dunc's last game — not 'cos he was going but the awful booing of Simon Davies. Sorry, but that's shite, lads: you don't boo a blue jersey, you just should not do it.

Two-nil down to West Brom, people left the ground. They walked out saying they were fed up with it all. Again, you should not do this! I stayed 'cos even with the clock going down I belived and hoped and cared. I've a red fan cousin who said he was listening to the game and he knew we would get at least a draw... Why don't WE feel like this? At two-nil down, that was a great result no matter how we got behind in the first place.

I couldn't give a monkey's who we buy before the season starts but, come the first game, I will be there. Delighted to be part of the Goodison family again, hoping but not expecting a win, enjoying the fact that I support one of the great teams in this country and getting rat-arsed afterwards no matter what.

But hopefully we will do something. And if we don't, I will be there the season after this, and next and next and next and so on. Because I love this old, failing, battered, past-glories team. It's easy to slag us off, call us names, pick holes in the team,... but think hard and think blue, care and love the team. It's dead easy isn't it?
Steve Owen, Bebington  (13/5/06)

Ahh bless. Keith will get a warm fuzzy feeling reading that one: you're a star, Steve! — Michael

All in the game revealed?
Expanding on a previous letter just a little, I too caught about half an hour of this production and wished I'd seen the whole drama. It seemed quite close to home as from they had a young up-and-coming wonder kid who was going to be the future and saviour of their stuggling club — only for agents to get involved and manipulate a transfer away from the club. They even got the lad to sign his own transfer request for best interests of all parties involved. I wonder where they got that storyline from!

Sorry if this stirs up the same letters again but, if nobody watched it, no harm done. Oh just read the Rumour Mill on Lescott; if we do sign him, all my Wolves mates will be gutted if they get less than £5M for him, they say he's that good.
Robie Porter, Wolverhampton  (13/5/06)

Positive prospect for the new season
There's much pessimism around here, but I for one would like to look at the positive side.

West Ham had a great season because most of thier signings were a success. Gabbiddon, Reo-coker etc... were all gambles, but gambles that proved to be right.

I'm optimistic that next season will be a good one. There are good youngsters like Vaughan, Anicebe, and Spencer to look out for. Davies, VDM hopefully under a good pre-season will be blazing on the wings next season. We just need to get the right with signings, one centre-back, and one more striker. On paper it looks good.

Howard; Hibbert, Yobo, Lescott, Valente; Davies/Arteta, Arteta, Neville/Cahill, Van der Meyde; Johnson; Beattie

That's a top 6 line-up, IMO. and if there is a stat to give you hope is this:

2002-03: 7th (up)
2003-04: 17th (down)
2004-05: 4th (up)
2005-06: 11th (down)
2006-07: ? (up)

Cheer up, everybody!
Muhammad Amin Azman, Johor, Malaysia  (13/5/06)

So your hope for the future is based on players who don't even play for us — and may never do so? Get back to you Championship Manger, FFS! — Michael

Scott Spencer and Dutch
Just quoting Dutch's original post: 'Good work, Mr Moyes' Aren't they a contradiction in terms, like American Intelligence?

By the way, I wish Dutch and others wouldn't hide behind aliases - just my four penn'orth.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (12/5/05)

Er.... Do you really think there is anyone called "Dutch Schaeffer"??? — Michael

Scott V's John!
Lets all hope that Scott Spencer is going to be better then that other striker called Spencer we use to have. John Spencer, remember him? He was signed on loan from QPR in 1998, he made 6 appearances never scoring a goal before Howard Kendall decided he was good enough to pay £1.5 million to make him a permanent signing.

Spencer's permanent Everton career consisted of a further three appearances, still never managing to score a goal before new boss Wally Smith gave him to Motherwell on a free 7 months later. Scott Spencer has to be better then that, right?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (12/5/06)

Here's the thing though, Dutch.....most, you'll find, are in agreement about young Spencer: we're all hoping he's as good as they say he will be. If so, Everton will be quids in, in possession of a fine young talent, one of the better prospects. And you know what Everton do with fine young talented prospects! Shame Matteo Ferrari wasn't acknowledged in a similar fashion. — Colm

Peter Bartley, Liverpool
Why would the Dad's Army theme be fitting for Everton? Martyn (who is now No 2 behind Howard), Valente, Weir, Stubbs, Carsley & Pistone are the only players we have over 30. The other twenty or so players are teenagers (Ruddy, Spencer), mid-20's (Osman, Arteta) or late 20's (Neville, Beattie).

I cant be bothered to work it out but I bet the average age of the squad is about 24. Not exactly Dad's Army.
Paul Atries, Liverpool  (12/5/06)

I think Mr Bartley was applying some poetic license to his angst. — Colm

Answer to Colm For Allan Price
Of course he'll sign him, Colm... He's been fucking injured!!!
Mike McGinnis, Wirral  (12/5/06)

Ouch! — Colm

Dad's Army!
Is there any truth in the rumour that Everton are to change the music played as the players emerge from the tunnel? At present it is Z-Cars but the rumour is it is to be replaced by the theme to Dad's Army! This being more fitting to our current squad!
Peter Bartley, Liverpool  (12/5/06)

Betcha Scott Spencer has heard neither! — Colm

Colm your sarcasm made me laugh. Signing Spencer may not be the most exciting transfer but he is highly rated and that has to be a good thing for the future. Do you think there was a procession when Kevin Sheedy signed? Sometimes great players arrive unexpectedly. Fingers crossed...
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (12/5/06)

100% in agreement, Dutch! I hope your optimism is well-founded and yes, in the meantime, we all "keep the faith!" ;-) - Colm

Spencer and Dutch
Colm, don't you think you were a bit unfair with your sarcastic comments about Dutch's post? I am no fan of Dutch but all he has done is write in to say that Spencer will be a good signing and he was pleased for Moyes bringing him to Goodison.

No need to pounce on any opinion he has everytime, he doesn't put you down over your opinions and neither should you. I believe Spencer will be a very good player for us. I have a mate living in Oldham and therefore have seen Spencer play twice before for Oldham and he has been impressive to say the least.

Just hope our Academy doesn't undo all the good work or it will be another player down the drain. Great site by the way, keep up the good work lads.
Harry Evans, Liverpool  (12/5/06)

Sarcastic — yes, hand held up. Put down — no Sir! Tongue firmly in cheek replying earlier to Dutch's latest "all is rosy in the garden". I wonder does he write for The Evertonian magazine! — Colm

All in the game
Watched the Channel 4 play last night and began to understand why we sign so much shit and why mystery surrounds the cash attached to all transfers. Not that I`m casting asperions, of course.
Martin Reville, Penwortham  (12/5/06)

Care to expand on the above? Not all mailbag readers viewed this C4 play, whatever it was! — Colm

All My Support's a Circle....
I suppose from the time I stopped being over-awed by being at Goodison and watching Everton, I have always wanted to run Everton. After that it became watching Everton and debating amongst fellow Evertonians what should be done to improve them, even during times of success. Now I read on here that the supporters can't come together to demand change. Perhaps the reason is that one of us made it.

If the impossible happened and you changed places with him, where would you raise the money to have Everton again amongst the recognised "big clubs"? Who would you appoint to run the financial side? What would your practical vision be? Or would you forsake the dream?

Let's be honest, the only Manager we've had with a vision of the "right" sort of player was hard-nosed Harry Catterick, before his illness. He might not have been a tracksuit manager but he had Wilf Dixon and bought and raised players who wanted to succeed and demanded it of others. But so did his Boss.

Howard Kendall bought a load of rubbish at first and his improvement coincided with the appointment of Colin Harvey. But somehow Everton always stumped up the cash for record buys, Latchford, Dobson, Cottee etc. Has anything changed?... Other than we are no longer the club throwing the money around at the expense of others?

Quite often, I feel sorry for Moyes. How many of us disagree that Ferrari looked a worthwhile buy? That Krøldrup must have had something to do so well in Italy? But if we are to believe rumours, both had to be sat on the bench and then released as we had bought players we couldn't afford to play!

I have no such sympathy for Blue Bill as he has been there through the incurrence of most of the debt even if he wasn't the top dog, and the transfer debacles including the "you don't need £5M to sign a £5M player." Not to mention the fact that he has seems to be less than frank, consistent and forthright.

What I find difficult to believe is that we continually release so many juniors (is Rooney an aside or included?) while being seemingly unable to discover worthwhile players from the lower divisions. Look at our great players of yesteryear, the majority have been players on their way up, interspersed with proven players.

We are led to believe that the long term debt has been considerably reduced in the last three years (£42M to £10M) to the point, I suppose, that we could expect to be out of debt in the very near future. I suppose the question is, do we think that the people who have led this financial recovery are the same people who can lead a similar revolution on the pitch and will we have to wait a similar amount of time?
Thommo Pigpond, Liverpool  (12/5/06)

A lot of questions there Thommo. Food for thought amongst mailbag readers? - Colm I don't think that debt number is right, is it? Wasn't the Bear Stearns super mortgage £27M, with annual (interest/re-)payments of £2.3M per year for the next 20+ years??? — Michael

Joleon! Joleon!
Not wanting to put the kiss of death on any potential signings,but if Lescott signs I will truly become a happier Everton supporter.

I have had the benefit of being dragged along to a few dire Wolves games over recent years by my long-suffering Wolves-supporting father and this guy truly is a quality footballer. Strong, a bit of pace and also the ability to pass the ball when is necessary.

Oh... hang on a minute, not much chance of Moyes signing him at all then really!
Allan Price, Shropshire  (12/5/06)

Agreed! Heard plenty about him over recent seasons, catching the eye when Wolves beat a then half-decent Newcastle United side in the FA Cup a few seasons back. He's been unfortunate with injuries, no doubt, but there's no denying he'd be a quality addition. — Colm

McFadden is shit
Yes I have to agree with Nick. McFadden is a piece of shit. I watch Everton matches on TV whenever I can and the conclusion that most Evertonians in Hong Kong reach is that 99% of time he plays without using his brain. He may be a good squad member but he isn't someone who deserves £20k a week - I'd rather stick with VdM.
Sunny Li, Hong Kong  (12/5/06)

One minor snag... how often has Mr VdM been fit and available for selection? — Colm

Hey, two signings and (unless I've been asleep for a long time) it's not even the last day of August yet... A sign of lessons learned?
James Newcombe, Oxford  (12/5/06)

Don't forget we've also let more than two go! — Colm

USA Trip
Everton go to America to play two preseaons games against Columbus Crew and Club America... and who's badge do they show here on the Official website??? FC Dallas?? What the fuck? Can we get nothing right as a club???
Dave Rodaway, Liverpool  (12/5/06)

Well.... the second fixture, against the Mexican side Club América is being played at FC Dallas's Pizza Hut that might explain the usage of the Dallas crest? — Colm

Should be revising but...
Just checked the Official site and, despite having removed Ferrari and Li Tie, they've kept Ferguson listed as a squad player. Something amiss there? You wouldn't think so, but...

Anyway back to revising for the law exams, just four weeks left to go and then I can stop procrastinating — ie, indulging in conspiracy theories.
Duncan Maxwell-Stewart, Leeds  (12/5/06)

You're not suggesting David Moyes may yet turn to Duncan Ferguson before the transfer window closes? Moyes doesn't have any previous in taking back those he's let go... "Nurse!" — Colm

Not sleeping
I don't know whether it's just me but I'm getting serious concerns that David Moyes doesn't really know what he is doing and Bill Kenwright cannot tell the truth. Anybody else feel the same?
Worried from..., Bristol  (12/5/06)

Is your surname van Winkle? — Colm

Why is everyone having a flid 'cos we're on about getting shot of Andy Van?

These are the same guys who are whinging that we are offering Faddy a new contract — Faddy is not a Premiership player, but AvdM is just as poor. He was a poor signing in the 1st place; name one thing of any significance that he has brought to the side - apart form a bum-chin bigger than Dickie Wright's....
Alan Gwydion, Rhyl  (12/5/06)

Eleven letters in a surname adds up when placing upon a child's new replica shirt. All helps maintain a top 20 slot in the rich list! — Colm

Spencer Signs!
Scott Spencer has officially become an Everton player. Good work, Mr Moyes! Keeping on building!
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (12/5/06)

3pm: Gather outside reception, Goodison Road. Parade, with police outriders, escort the procession down through Everton Valley and into the City Centre, where due to arrive at the steps of the Town Hall at 3:50pm. All Evertonians are actively encouraged to turn up and support this joyous occasion! — Colm

Stating the bleeding obvious....
I take my hat off to Chris Williams and his spot-on analysis of Everton's current situation. Why is it that it seems only a small minority of fans are voicing their disquiet about proceedings at Everton FC ? I know this website is often and unfairly labelled as being negative and critical of the management of the club but why is there so much apathy and lack of interest in demanding answers and possibly forcing change?

The Liverpool Echo has even gone on record as stating that David Moyes's transfer kitty is likely to be in the region of £6 million, with the squad so threadbare and desperately in need of bolstering, what will this stretch to?

I have renewed my season ticket as it is a long summer regardless of the mouth watering football fest (sic) that is about to be broadcast from Germany, and the prospect of weekly trips to B&Q and DIY post-August simply do not appeal.

We are however promised some plasma screens at Everton an improvement in catering facilities (Does that mean not having to queue for 25 mins for an insipid sausage roll at half-time?) and maybe, just maybe, someone might actually win the depreciating Kia this season after hitting the bar.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (12/5/06)

Can you imagine the consequences should someone win a car from hitting the bar? We might have to flog McFadden as a result... — Colm

Classic Moyes Quote
"I've got alternatives there"

David Moyes 12/05/2006 on why he let Ferrari go. Stubbs and Weir... priceless!
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (12/5/06)

Maybe there's a post-World Cup bid going in for John Terry? Y'know, from one rich club to another... — Colm

Nick Armitage
I totally agree with Nick over James McFadden: he should be grateful Moyes has even offered him a contract, never mind knocking it back, as he is shite.
John Fitzpatrick, Liverpool  (12/5/06)

Please go!
Weir, do us a favour and please leave! Before you embarrass us and yourself. You had your time and it's been showing for two seasons now. Why else did Moyes play 4-1-4-1? — To counteract the lack of pace at the back.

And on your way out, take Moyes with you! Quick to offer McFadden a new contract and ever quicker to eject Andy van der Meyde, it's just silly now. Moyes won't go for now but at least Weir can spare us another season of pathetic defending!
Luq Yus, London  (12/5/06)

"Weir all going on a Japanese tour, a Japanese tour, a Japanese tour...." — one way or return ticket?! — Colm

Great article from Nick Armitage on McFadden. I have to agree with that one. To me, one of the problems with Everton ever since Sky poisoned the game has been what appears to me to be the sentimentality shown by the Everton managers to players who in the past would not have been tolerated or kept on.

I can't honestly say any of the top four clubs — Chelsea or Man Utd especially — have been afflicted in this way. If their managers haven't seen players as making the grade, they are shipped out; any unrest is nipped in the bud before it spreads like a cancer.

Everton's only shipping out of players seems to be at youth level. Maybe these players are deemed unfit to ever make the top-flight grade but, when you look at the journeymen and inferior players we currently have, it makes you stop and think. Our hands are now tied through fiscal constraints but that's the consequences of never rising to the opportunity of suckling the media whore which is Sky and being left in the wake of minor clubs with the likes of Wigan, West Ham, Blackburn and Charlton making us look like the badly run business we are.

Sentimentality is for the fans in my mind: great memories, heroes and folklore. It will never be our job to deliver that product; we rely on what I hope is a hard-nosed but credible top-down management team — but that's a pipe dream as this is Everton: run by a poor lying businessman and his team of yes men and a manager whose stubborness and lack of changing obvious faults is removing the fans perception of sentiment, heroes and positive memories.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (12/5/06)

Take it you've not read Mr Wyness' latest pile of nonsense then in The Evertonian? Speaks volumes for the serious lack of ambition at Goodison Park. — Colm

Sack the juggler
I always think that James McFadden plays a blinder during the warm up, nice flicks, smart juggling and keep-ups, body swerves and the odd volley at goal. he even does a nice little sprint and you think this kid doesnt look half bad. Trouble is when you analyze what your looking at you find that there isnt a man in ten yards of him and that's why he looks good.

Unfortunately for McFadden the premier league is all about pace, strength and guile none of these attributes does he possess. He looks very ordinary in a very poor Everton side, he would probably look good for a championship side or back in the scots premier.

After 3 seasons I think most fans have seen enough to make a judgement and now is the time for Moyes to offload him and recoup most of the £1.25m that he shelled out. Moyes tried and it hasnt worked out but at least he's 23 and still with enough prospect to command our money back. Problem is it is likely that a contract will be offered to McFadden on his terms as he fills a variety of positions and we are short of both money and numbers in terms of the size of the squad.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (12/5/06)

All Our Yesterdays
Fuck me its happening again. Rumours about players, arguements about Moyes ability, Wyness and Kenwright being slaughtered. Didn't the same thing happen this time last year right up untill the new season kicked off?

What has actually changed since then. Has our constant barrage of abuse done anything at all. The answer is NO it hasen't because nobody inside Goodison gives a fuck. The people who run the club, the players, the owner the fucking lot of them. The only one who does care is Moyes but he is so far out of his depth it's embarrassing.

What can we do? well fuck all really just turn up and watch the show. No amount of website posting or season tickets not being renewed will make a blind bit of difference. It's always the same and always will be. We have too many guillible fans for it to ever change. Give them a top twelve finish and they will part with there money quicker than Wayne Rooney in a pensioners disco.

I include myself in this scathing attack on Evertonians. Why else would I want another year of misery and shame? Maybe it's because, deep down, we think it will all turn round — that this will be our season after all; that Moyes is a good manager and will get it right; Kenwright will find a scouse Abromovich and top class players will sign for us.

Nah, not me, lads. I am not kidding myself any more. The memories of last season still haunt me and I have never recovered from our European misadventures. Let's just hope another top-twelve finish is possible this coming season — then at least Butch Shaver will be happy. The diehards are still somehow finding the time and energy to go through it one more time.

God bless you all.
Tony Marsh, Sunny Cyprus  (12/5/06)

That sunshine out in Cyprus getting the better of you, Tony? Sounds as though you've mellowed! — Colm

Patience, Toffees!

Why is it when there is any speculation about potentially controversial managerial decisions eg, vdM leaving, everyone jumps on Moyes's back?? It might not even happen, people! Calm down!

Secondly, no need to fuss about Weir staying. Yet. He might not even sign the contract!

Thirdly, where is all the Zigic and Davies/Nolan swap malarky from??
Chris Odedun, London  (12/5/06)

Answer to your last question — from the same source that informs us we're on the verge of signing Ruud van Nistelrooij. Or possibly an Aboriginal witchdoctor! — Colm

'Avin' A Laugh
Some great comments made over the last few days, Marshy, are there any crocked Cypriots that might interest your favourite Manager?

Why all the fuss about VdM? Who will sign him for a fee? The only hope we have of getting rid of our crap players — and is that 80% of our Squad? — is for Ferguson to Die, Hughes go to the Mancs, and Moyes to go to wherever is left after the merry go round and take his useless wasters with him.

Also, more money for Rooney? NO! We got Howard on Loan. There will be no money for players from season ticket sales cos that money is spoken for.

Everton have really pissed me off; Kenwright: it's time for you to go.
Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (12/5/06)

Insults on top of insults
Michael, in my 'Pointing the bone' letter I may have come across as a whinging Aussie when if anything I am a whinging Pom or more specifically a concerned Evertonian. Downunder, the witch-doctor jibe got widespread coverage and did not put Everton in a good light. From an Everton point of view, I am concerned because clubs must cast a wide net for talent. Snubbing what is potentially a powerful resource is not the way to go. The sun in this country may have addled my few brains... or was it caused by twenty years of standing on the Gwladys St terraces?
Dick Fearon, Australia  (12/5/06)

Fair point. I'll try to behave in future... — Michael

Short termism
Yet again, Buster goes for the short termism option

Having managed to sell every asset we once had, ie, land around the ground, car parks, megastores, training grounds... and still finding us in debt, Buster tells Moyes he has to sell players (Bent and Krøldrup last January) and is not allowed to buy anyone at least until our financial year closes, which is end of May.

Why was Ferrari not signed? — was it because Moyes thought Weir was a better long term bet? Of course not; it's becasue it would mean parting with £3M — the fact that in two years' time he could be worth £6M-8M is irrelevant to Buster as he is only interested about today - SHORT TERMISM WBA took a chance on Davies for £3M and now they are quoting £12M for him

Old players signed on cheap short contracts - SHORT TERMISM

Selling "frozen" season tickets in May is short termism. Why? because the £10M we receive will all be included in this financial year's accounts and will all go to reducing the debt. By 31 May, the debt will be artificially reduced by £10M (the Echo will be orgasmic) and Buster will get his nice bonus. But it also means we will have very little matchday revenue coming into the club each week next season.

So what will Buster do next year to massage the numbers? Well, don't be surprised if this time next year we are offered two year season tickets — at greatly reduced prices — only for our loyalty, of course.

Also don't be surprised if JJB have given us a nice little upfront payment in return for all the future profits on our merchandising for the next 5 years.

Is it just me who fears for our future in 3 years time?
Jez Clein, Childwall  (11/5/06)

Jez - yer scarin' me! If this lot are still in charge in three years time then be afraid... - be very afraid. Mr Wyness is rapidly running out of assets to flog. Scary! - Colm

Divine Intervention
Everton truly need some kind of divine intervention if they are going to be seen as a massive club that they once where. Love the site guys!
John Smith, Liverpool  (11/5/06)

I think we'd get a warmer reception if we rowed in with the Beelzebub XI! Seems to have worked over the years for that lot over the park! — Colm

A Critical Analysis
Recent discussions on ToffeeWeb seem to centre around a number of individuals,ie: - Moyes (as ever) Andy VDM, Davies, McFadden and the two geriatrics. May I offer a few thoughts of my own on these characters? Leaving aside Moyes for the moment........

Moyes bought Andy VDM when he was crocked and couldn't play. If Moyes now sells him because he's crocked and couldn't play that tells us more about Moyes than Andy VDM(or it should!).

Moyes bought Davies after having kept him under scrutiny for a long time (or so he said) Throughout that long period of scrutiny, Moyes never noticed that Davies was crap!

I happen to believe that, if McFadden played in a side with a midfield that made things happen, the lad could develop into a decent player. But he's been pissed about at Everton; asked to play in a variety of different positions and has had difficulty finding a consistent role in the team. Whose responsibility is that?

Stubbs is an average defender who has the uncanny and rare ability to send glorious balls accurately down the middle and unerringly into the arms of the opposing goalkeeper (even more so now that Dunc's head won't be there to occasionally intervene). To add to this, he's lost any pace he had (which wasn't much in the first place), so there's no reason why Moyes should not extend his contract.

Weir?... ditto... but even slower.

Moyes? We all remember the gaffe by Yobo when he gifted the Metatarsal Kid that Goal. What distressed me more than the goal though was Moyes's bollocking of Yobo afterwards in which he allegedly told him it was his job to boot the ball up the pitch. Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. This, and the above, tell me all I need to know about Moyes and his philosophy of football.
Eilleen Roberts, Runcorn  (11/5/06)

Eilleen — cap doffed. I'll leave it to the likes of Dutch to try to find fault in your comments. — Colm

Dunc's replacement
So we re watching Zigic; hey, he's 6ft 10ins... perfect replacement for Ferguson... looks like Weir and Stubbs et al will have a head to aim they're useless punts at next season after all!
Ben Polak, Nottingham  (11/5/06)

What a perfect time to get Joe Royle back. Bring back the dogs of war!
Daniel Parker, New York, US  (11/5/06)

Now there's a thought.. He'd get on like a house on fire with Blue Bill. — Michael.

Blind spot
'Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and couldron bubble'

Apart from the witch-doctors in Aus trying to exert their influence, there are another set doing their thing. Currently every voodoo master, morlock and witch with ruby slippers is attempting to tell us about signings, contracts, and the financial situation at Club Goodison.

So, can the ToffeeWeb Mailbag help me out? I'm trying to gauge the financial status as of today, 11 May 2006.

Sponsorship cash, £4.8M from the league, three first-team squad players off the wage bill, the money available in January that wasn't spent, the Bent and Krøldrup cash, and finally the first (or last?) of the three seperate £1M installments of the Rooney money.

Again I'm unsure of the numbers yet it appears to me that we might have more than a few pennies to work with, but perhaps I am being myopic. Then again, when it comes to Club Everton I try to be optimistic... perhaps this leopard cannot change his spots.
Teddy Niigma, Warrington  (11/5/06)

All will be revealled... prior too the next AGM. — Michael

One point...
After reading numerous and stupid letters about selling players eg, Davies for this much and vdM for that much and McFadden and so on, the one point these people seem to forget is who is going to buy the shit? I don't hear of one team looking at any of those named.

You can also forget Johnson. Nearly every team in the Premiership looks a better option football-wise than Everton. The only player who might sign is Nugent and that's only because he's supposed to an Everton fan.

I don't hold out much hope for any really big names to come here at this rate. And, given his track record, I expect Moyes to be linked with Soljkaer [many a true word said in jest]...
Big Dunc Stokey, Stoke  (11/5/06)

"....I was looking for a job and then I found a job; But Heaven knows I'm miserable now..." Chill, Big Dunc! Wait 'til we're into a new financial year before we start parting with some of the shillings that make us, for one year anyway, one of the top 20 rich clubs! We're keeping the powder dry 'til the post-World Cup splurge! - Colm

Mark Wynne
What manager would pay £1 million for Dickie Wright? Well Alan Curbishly paid £2.5 million for Marcus Bent. Do not underestimate the stupidity of football managers, Moyes is pretty good in comparison.
No name provided, No location given  (11/5/06)

Not surprised you didn't want to give your name with such stunning logic as that! — Michael

In Moyes I Trust
I've said this before, and I'll say it again.

Moyes has received a net outlay of £4.5 million per year. In 4 years, he has achieved 7th, 17th, 4th, and 11th.


I know we Everton expect nothing but the best. But the big Question here, can anyone — be it Wenger or Rikjard — better Moyes record on the same 4.5 million per year??

The answer is NO.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Johor, Malaysia  (11/5/06)

I love throwing stats about, to paint a picture. Doesn't remove the fact that our football is garbage to watch. — Colm

Journalist Bull?
Does anyone here thinks the people are overacting a little over the top over some journalist bullshits???

The agent of Mcfadden has only stated the he wished to extend his contract and the ball is in Everton's court. So, what's with all the 'McFadden to leave...' or 'McFadden wants higher wages..'. Nobody has said all these things, it's purely made up by the press.

and it's dissapointing that ToffeeWeb turns it on Moyes and that he can't handle flair over some baseless quoteless rumours about VdM. The player wants to stay and the agent has confirmed the the club wants him to stay.

Lesson to ToffeeWeb: There's a lot of journalsit crap out there. Don't be part of it!!
Muhammad Amin Azman, Johor, Malaysia  (11/5/06)

Sorry, Muhammad, but we are just a channel for you to receive the news. We always provide original and direct links (unlike virtually every other Everton website), allowing you to assess the validity of the 'news' rather than relying on our "spin". Caveat emptor: the interpretation of truth is always up to you.

As for Van der Meyde... Time alone will tell! — Michael

McFadden again
Scored today for Scotland. Shite though, not good enough for us(!).

bla, bla.....and fucking bla.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (11/5/06)

".....have you any wool......!" — Colm

Re: Clear Out
I read Tom Sullivan's post and it put a smile on my face:

"Davies — does nothing, sell for £2M.... Wright — crap: sell for £1M; Naysmith: £1M"

They're so bad that we don't want them, but what manager worth their salt would pay £1M for crap? What manager has that total lack of understanding of the transfer market and complete ineptitude in evaluating players? What manager out there displays an amateurish ignorance that borders on complete idiocy?

Yup, expect them all to stay and be given four-year contracts.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (11/5/06)

Petty Speculation
Your lead article is simply a reaction to speculation which has been quashed by Everton and Andy van der Meyde's agent. You turn it into a turn against Moyes and his dealings with flair?

Van der Meyde was out with injury, he played well when in the eleven and fit; is the injury Moyes's inability to deal with flair?

Laughable. Fickle bunch you are. Nonsensical!
Daniel Greenwood, Liverpool  (11/5/06)

We don't make (up?) the news, Daniel; we merely link to it. Moyes bought the player with an injury, and was surely aware he had only played a handful of games during the two previous seasons. He bought a scrimshanking crock; selling him makes a lot of sense, but the news was apparently meant only for the world of football agents, and not for the hordes of "drunken knobhead Evertonians". — Michael

Re: Puttin the boot in
I think people are so worked up about McFadden's wage demands as his attitude isn't up to much! I do think that he has some skill but not enough to warrant £20k a week. His attitude in matches is pretty poor and he drifts in and out of games too easily.

On Sunday, Arteta played a ball through but as McFadden changed his run he gave up and blasted Arteta when he could have easily got to the ball! Do us a favour Moyes and let him go!
Shakin Stevens, Liverpool  (11/5/06)

Putting the boot in
Everyone knows the wages payed to top-tier football players are obscene, so my point is: why is there such a hatred of McFadden on these pages? Beattie is probably on more than £20k a week, no-one moaned when he was signed. I really don't understand; McFadden always plays a blinder for Scotland (see recent Kirin Cup win for evidence of this) yet, on the evidence of this site, the Everton fans dislike him.
David McMillan, Glasgow, UK  (11/5/06)

It is stupid, I agree. I think people are just venting because he is such a disappointment as an Everton player... and because we know he can play so much better than that when he tries... — Michael

Getting a Brazillian?
Does anybody have any idea what has happened to the Brazillian (Da Silva?) midfielder who we supposedly hold the registration for?

We could do with a "creative" midfielder....or two.
John Williams, London  (11.05.06)

Here you go, John! - Colm

Pointing the bone
Moyes's jibe about witch-doctors was uncalled for; such is the feeling of nationalistic pride here in Australia, it might come back to haunt Everton. That kind of statement could be a decisive factor when an Aussie kid chooses an English club. I bet Tim Cahill would have had reservation about signing had he known of Moyes's opinions about his Australian background.
Dick Fearon, Australia  (11/5/06)

For God's sake, what is it with you namby pamby Aussies these days? You used to be all butch bronzed bullies who had it in for us poor Pomie bastards at every turn. Now, all we hear is whinging and moaning. Perhaps you're not getting out in the sun enough... just like us! — Michael

Spinal Tap
Reflecting on an abysmal season that was largely due to inept home performances, it is starkingly evident that we conceded far too many goals and didn't score enough, culminating in a -15 goal difference and our worst ever goals scored total. This was coupled with both injury and poor form on the part of the goalkeepers, lack of stability in defence, lack of creativity in midfield, and lack of firepower up front.

This scenario gives David Moyes the perfect mandate to rebuild the spine of the side which has thankfully started with the albeit loan of Tim Howard (I would have preferred WBA Polish keeper). Let's hope that Yobo is persuaded to sign a contract extension and we are able to recruit a suitable partner, with Stubbs as cover and David Weir at best used in a crisis.

The suggestion that AvdM is being touted to leave is no suprise; he has continued his form of injury, lack of fitness and being clearly well overweight. The performance of both Zoltan Gera and Greening for WBA showed that, although they may be no world beaters, they have the fitness to play in the premiership.

James Beattie has probably done enough to be picked again next season but must be paired in a twin strikeforce with Anichebe and Vaughan as developmental prospects. McFadden — for his sheer inability to make the easy choice, which is either shoot when it is on or pass when it should be released — needs to be shown the door. The news that Andy Johnson is once again being linked with Everton is positive. Ok, he can't be considered a world beater but he has Premiership experience.

Yet all the Championship Manager permutations mean absolutely nothing if David Moyes isnt provided with the funds to operate in the transfer market, which brings me onto this: Do you trust him.........?

One thing for sure is that, if we are to improve next season, the spine of the side needs strenthening; the defence needs to be more solid with a set-up that can get to know eachother's game; midfield needs to be more creative; and the forward line needs to improve radically on the goal return and home form that can draw inspiration from fortress (not Sports Fund) Goodison.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (11/5/06)

Pong Hole?
Am I the only one to think Sinama-Pongolle might be a decent option? The lad loves Everton — he has spent most of this season saying how much he loves the fans! 21 years old and quick — it would make a change!

I don't often play the role of Championship Manager in here, but I'm getting desperate amid rumours of all our talented players heading off into the sunset.
Paul Foster, London  (11/5/06)

All our talent swanning off into the sunset... "Arizona sure looks mighty-fine this time o'year...." — Colm

Clear out
With a lack of funds available for new players, Moyes should look at raising money by selling players who are not quite up to the standard required.

  • Yobo — lacks concentration/makes mistakes: sell for £4M.
  • Arteta — very few goals or assists to his name: sell for £5M.
  • Davies — does nothing: sell for £2M.
  • Cahill — good 1st season; poor 2nd: sell for £6M.
  • Wright — crap: £1M.
  • Naysmith... £1M.
  • Beattie —inconsistent: £4M.
Add that money to the transfer kitty and we have £30M to spend. Buy two centre-backs, two central midfielders, and two forwards, all at £5M a go. With a few loan signings as well we could have a really good squad for next season.
Tom Sullivan, Liverpool  (11/5/06)

Step away from that Football Manager game, Tom! Right now. And don a tin hat awaiting incoming flak, Sir! :-) — Colm

Moyes allergic to flair?
I'm sad to hear that AvdM is likely to leave Goodison. I for one don't feel he's been given a chance to prove himself — unlike some of the other jokers — and figured that if we could keep Cahill and if we could keep Arteta (both big 'ifs') then we might have a glimmer of hope for next season. As for how it seems, it looks like AvdM is just another one of the flair guys to leave.

Incidentally, I know nothing of Nugent's style of play but, given that Moyes comes out in hives every time he sees someone creative on the ball, I can only imagine he makes Big Dunc look like Ferenc Puskás.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (11/5/06)

Only one minor flaw behind the theory suggesting we're better off retaining Van der Meyde's services... he's forever injured! — Colm

Van der Meyde
What the fuck is Moyes playing at now? Surely it would make sense to keep Van for another season, get him to work on his fitness over the summer, and give him a chance to show us what he can do next season. If it didn't work out we could always get shut in January, at a loss, again!

Just one last thing; why does Dutch feel he has to write in everytime Moyes makes a decision concerning the club? We all know the arse-licker is going to come out with some shite in defence of Moyes.
Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (11/5/06)

Moyes and Everton Falling Apart
Everton just seem to be lurching from one diaster to another. Moyes has proved to the fans that he has lost the plot with the latest in a long string a fire sales eg VdM. Kenwright gave the consent to hand Moyes the money and look how well he has done.

Still, have you noticed that Everton are pushing so hard for the season ticket sales this summer while Moyes upsets the fans almost every day?

Oh to be a fly on the wall of the Everton Marketing Department and Sales meetings this morning...
John Cribb, Liverpool  (11/5/06)

Everton Marketing Dept? What's that? Oh aye, the creators of "Off To A Flyer", the dvd recognising the wonderful re-birth of this past season in January! — Colm

Its whoopie cushion time!!
Aware of the probable line-up, I decided to take a whoopie cushion to the West Brom game and it was the most fun I'd had all season. Old Man Rivers behind me even enjoyed himself. Why don't we all buy a whoopie cushion and show our frustration together.

Everytime McFadden fucks up a run or Beattie fucks up generally, we can all whoopie cushion together.

Whoopie Cushions — the future!!
Alex McGovern, 3.6 miles from Goodison  (11/5/06)

A throwback (literally!) to days of old... cushions from the Main Stand. Hmmm... great title for a book, that! Where's the copyright editor? — Colm

Van the wrong man
Glad to hear he is on his way out. This surely is not because Moyes wants to play boring football — it's because he is a total injury liability. If we kept him, all he does is offer an excuse when we don't win, like "well if we had AvdM fit, we'd have done better." He's not even been any better when he's come in.

As for McFadden, he should only be offered £20k a year — not a week. Cheeky bastard!
Alan Clarke, manchester  (11/5/06)

Bring back Alan Irvine on the left wing, say I! — Colm

Here we go again......
Joleon Lescott, Andy Johnson, David Nugent, Kevin Nolan, Zoltan Gera..... Ohhh, the season ticket sales must be slower than anticipated so we're getting the usual ever-increasing list of "targets" that Everton are being linked with. As Mr Royle (ok its Royal really) might say... "My arse!"
Brian Williams, Wirral  (11/5/06)

Wait for the World Cup, Brian! "Toffees linked with African wing wizard" etc., etc., etc. Meanwhile, over on Goodison Road, Everton FC remains inundated with record renewals... — Colm

No more dead-weight players.
Injury-prone defender Ferrari denied a permanent transfer; injury-prone striker Duncan Ferguson shown the door; injury-prone midfielder Li Tie let go; and now injury-prone maverick Van der Meyde being pushed towards the exit.

I guess Moyes wasn't satisfied with finishing 11th either because he seems hell-bent on getting rid of the deadwood. This is a clear message to all the other players: if you dont pull your weight, there's the door.

I'm loving this new passionate pro-active Moyes.
Paul Attries, Liverpool  (11/5/06)

Pfffffftttttt!!!! — Colm

What the hell's going on at Goodison? I woke up to hear AvdM going at a discount price. Why can't our stupid Celt manager handle players with natural ability, as opposed to severe disabilities — like a few I won't mention? Absolutely pathetic to sell him after one season, our manager has lost our credibility with the fans I know. Especially with his reluctance to get rid of the our old guard/favourites. It's time to go, Moyes! Or you will drag us down to the depths!
Luq Yus, London  (11/5/06)

Oi, Luq - nowt wrong with having some celtic blood in the veins, Sir! "What the hell's going on at Goodison?" Well... Keith's inundated with record renewals and we're offloading as best we can. "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza...." — Colm

Andy Van Der Meyde!
It is disappointing that Andy van der Meyde is apparently being booted out but you can understand why Moyes has made that decision. With such a small squad and very little money for new additions, Moyes is going to need every single player next season to contribute on a regular basis.

Van der Meyde struggles with injuries (and has a drinking problem, allegedly) and he did himselves no favours this season.What was his contribution? A handful of cameo appearances, getting sent off in record time during the derby. He never showed us anything to suggest Everton will miss him.

Andy van der Meyde isn't the only injury-prone player to find himself booted out. Sick-bay regulars Duncan Ferguson, Li Tie and Matteo Ferrari have all been shown the door. I guess Moyes has had enough with players who dont pull their weight.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (11/5/06)

"ToffeeWeb're 'avin' a laugh..." And so it continues, eh Dutch? You speak of disappointment, that Andy van der Meyde (I've heard of him from somewhere) is being 'booted' out yet you view Matteo Ferrari as a non-playing luxury not deserving an opportunity to shift the Stubbs/Weir axis.

If Moyes is in the process of removing the deadwood from this club (most of it secured during his own tenure by the way) then perhaps he should be asking the Directors of EFC for voluntary redundancies! — Colm

Best of luck to Tie
With the news that Li Tie will most likely be (allowed) to ply his trade for Sheffield United next season in the Premiership, I would like to wish him all the best. I don't believe he was given much of a chance after his leg-break whilst on International duty.

I recall a player who ran for 90 minutes, when certain other team mates had long since stopped; a player who wasn't the most gifted but gave it 100% and rarely gave the ball away sloppily.

Tie and Gravesen in the middle saw us reach the dizzy heights of 7th, I hope Li has similar success with the blades next season.

ps: I quite like Neil Warnock, he is a straight talker, passionate about his football and has a bit of a temper. Are Unsie and Oster still at Sheffield United? Roll on next season...
Teddy Niigma, Warrington  (11/5/06)

It's not as bad as it looks...
I think Moyes has already thought about his striking option. What he needs actually is only one new striker to partner Beattie. Vaughan will be back; Anichebe will play more games next season and of course that little twat from Motherwell will be the everready option. A new 'world class' striker will do for him.

As for centre-back... I haven't got a clue who will partner who next season. Anyway we have lots of left-backs so... why bother... these people will be deployed as centre-halves if needed. Isn't Moyes a genius!!! Yeah... right...

I have gut feeling we will doing fine next season but considering we only talk about Everton.. I would not holding my breath. By the way, since Moyes took over, our performances resemble the glucose level in a diabetic patient.. up and down in a blink of an eye... As a diabetic myself... I think I know what EFC is going through...

Just watch what you munch today Mr Bully Wyness... it might just kill you one day.
Kay Lampong, Asia  (11/5/06)

I was worried there for a moment... I thought you might suggest something like "Glycemic Index Football" for us to get our teeth around... SWEET! — Michael

Yes, I Know... Don't Count Ya Chickens.. but..
Just a quick comment on the early transfer 'speculation'. Last season when Andy Johnson's name was being linked to us, I was unimpressed. I wanted a better pedigree of striker like Robbie Keane (which may have been possible minus a Simon Davies); however, IF we sign AJ in the summer, I will be made up! I think he would be a good buy.

Nugent is a done deal. EXPECT NUGGET IN A BLUE TOP IN THE SUMMER. Hopefully this is the end for McFadden! I don't know if Nugent is good enough for us and the Prem, but he is a proper blue. I played in a few of the same teams with him when we were kids and he is as big an Evertonian as I am. He was on Everton's books back then but was let go because of his asthma... looks like that decision has cost a few million then!!!
Robbie Muldoon, Liverpool  (10/5/06)

Not many people know that! (My name is not Michael Caine...)

Scott whatshisname
Have we signed the allged wonderkid from Oldham... or did we fuck that deal up as well?

Also, I saw a bloke who looked a lot like Andy van der Meyde at a Richard Ashcroft gig in Blackpool last night. Mind you, the guy I saw seemed relatively sober so I could have been mistaken...
Gaz Hughes, Liverpool  (10/5/06)

Scott Spencer. Guess we won't know about that one until July time (when most contracts actually begin) or thereabouts... VdM? I was gonna ask about the level of sobreity (or otherwise) but you beat me to it... — Michael

Commercial Acumen
I hope I haven't got it wrong but wasn't it the Fat Controller's plan to tap into the Far East market and convert the Chinese Nation into Evertonians and have them all wearing Li Tie's name on their genuine Everton shirts?

Shit, we have got rid of dear Li Tie so there goes another grand plan. Better quickly sign an Irish player or two to convince those chaps in Dublin we are at the forefront of commercial know-how. Nugent sounds Irish... off we go!! Nisi satis, what?
George Carroll, Bramhall  (10/5/06)

What indeed... — Michael

Awful McFadden
Hampster McDadden is a pile of shite and should be sold to Abroath as soon as possible. The ungrateful little prick has been shite ever since we signed him and this is his way of repaying the club's loyalty. Let him go; we should get at least a hundred grand for the tosser. We could buy some new paint for the Bullens road stand with the money. As for him being the Scottish Rooney well thats true... First name: Mickey.

Knowing Moyes and his love for all things Jock, he will cave in and give the twat what he wants. We have got more jocks in our squad than than any other premier league club. Why, when the Jocks are the football equivalent of the Saudi Arabian ice skating team? Please get rid of them all and get some scousers in for a change, Davey.

Anyway there is always this summer's transfer frenzy to cheer us up. With all those new signings coming in, who knows what we could achieve... Get a grip, Moyes, you twat!
Tony Marsh, Sunny Cyprus  (10/5/06)

Tony Marsh at his best. Inimitable, obnoxious, unrepentant, insistent, and unexpurgated. Oh I feel a lot better after getting all that out of my system! — Michael

Is he?
Is Dave Nugent really going to sign? I have just seen the link. If so - bye bye McFadden! Which would not make sense as we need all the players (young ones) we can get! And on icLiverpool website I was reading their mailbag and 70% of fans slagged Moyes off for resigning Weir and letting Ferrari go. Thought it was just me???
Luq Yus, London  (10/5/06)

I'm still trying to figure out where thatr rumour came from... must be Colm and his crystal ball. — Michael

Nugent to sign
Another deal bringing someone to the club based on appearances. Does this mean that Nugent will be sold, or 'injured' when he reaches the appearance threshfold, like has happened so often before?

Mind you, I'll believe it when I see it. Knowing how good Moyes is in the transfer market, I wouldn't be surprised if he signed Ted Nugent instead.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (10/5/06)


Maybe it's my computer...
Whilst voting on our 'performance' for the season, I discover the result for:

Season ticket holders: Do you plan to renew by May 7?

Ruddy - 11% Turner - 63% Wright - 26%

(2,599 votes)

Wow, so I thought our performance was a disappointment. So that's a vote for Davies, Weir, Moyes, Kenright, Wyness, the Toffee Lady, or Walter Smith?

(PS - if it is my occasionally fucked up computer, please ignore!)
Albert Einstein, New Mexico  (10/5/06)

No, it's the occasionally distracted Webmaster. He claims things like wife and kids, newborn babe, and tough demanding job in the IT industry are impairing his ability to perform correctly and in a timely manner... Believe it or not, I had the same experience when voting, and sent in my own complaint to the Management. I'm still waiting for a response... — Michael

Da Silva
Re; Dave Southers question (10/05/06) 'Where is Da Silva'? I posted an brief update of his season so far with Malaga (who have been relegated from Primera Liga) on 4/5/06. If you read the posting it looks like Moyes found the one Brazilian who fits his type of football — a right clogger who can't stay on the pitch!
Ray Said, Liverpool  (10/5/06)

In reply to Micheal
I am really a Columbian Evertonian ever since I was 6 when an English aid worker came to our favelas to offer our people help, he has been here 20 years now helping our community. Jacob is a massive Evertonian and purposely requests time off when Everton play the shit that is Liverpool FC.
Luiz Martinez de Sanchez, Medelinne, Columbia  (10/5/06)

Oh right... that's excellent. Does he perhaps do any buiness on the side that we might be interested in? — Michael

Get Rid of Chicken McFadden!
Finally a glimmer of hope at the end of the season. James McFadden has rejected a double-your-money wage offer of near £20k a week. Hang on a minute, they were offering him 20 grand a week!!!! That surely cannot be right! Im mortified if it is, but hopefully it's a bit of spin-doctoring to pave the way for Chicken McFadden's well-deserved Goodison exit. As I posted on Saturday after the match, I constantly get the impression of McFadden when he plays that he really thinks he is our top man because he is always moaning and snarling his team-mates. In my eyes McFadden is shit and hopefully we could net £2M off this under-performer (remeber Bent £2.5M!). Moyes, you had better get rid of him now!
Robbie Muldoon, Liverpool  (10/5/06)

Anyone would think you want us to become a selling club... — Michael

Coffee Smelling
Apologies to David Scott for my supposition but here's how I see it: It was made very public that Naysmith and Pistone were "reputed" to have better offers elsewhere in Scotland and Italy respectively; as time dragged on these "reputed" offers failed to materialise... Just as it doesn't take a weatherman to tell me its raining outside it doesn't take a genius to make out an out-of-contract player trying to play hardball scaring his soon to be ex-employer into a new improved contract.

Moyes played hardball right back and released them but was (I suppose still is) bleeding useless at attracting anything half-decent (player-wise) and went back to Pistone and Naysmith with begging bowl in hand. Having watched the end of the that season's games with Steve Watson playing his socks off at left-back outperforming them both, it was astonishing that he was not retained as a squad player for that role with a first team replacement brought in. Instead Moyes re-signed two inferior players that should have left and a first team replacement admittedly only after Pistone's injury, the maths and logic just don't add up.

I do agree with you over the "reputed" £20k a week as it sits nicely with the £50k a week reported to be on offer to another former player, which was utter shite too.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (10/5/06)

Mr Moyes
David Moyes has proved he is rather inept when he has lotsa money to spend but, when the chips are down, he comes up with someone like Cahill for buttons.

So expect another sucessful season next season.
Luiz Martinez de Sanchez, Medelinne, Columbia  (10/5/06)

Or expect another wonderful bargain buy in the summer??? — Michael
ps: I think it's spelt "Medellín" (you're not really there, are you... and I bet that name is just a cover...)

Wake up and smell the coffee
Firstly, the club says that it has offered McFadden £20k a week. Whilst I agree that McFadden isn't worth that type of money, why do people automatically believe that this is what has been offered by the club? I mean they do have an excellent track record in disinformation (new stadium, investor's rolling up to plough money into the club, etc etc etc)!

One contributor cites the situation of the club being held to ransom by Pistone and Naysmith last year. I think that the contributor responsible must have a bit of a memory problem. These players, as as was the case of several, were re-signed for a number of reasons. The main one being the manager's inability to attract his primary targets to the club. (Pistone was actually released and then re-signed to bolster the squad!). Fact of the matter is that, when he had the money last year, Moyes was unable to improve his squad. What chance this year ?
David Scott, Edinburgh  (10/5/06)

What chance indeed... but Evertonians are by nature optimists, and look forward this summer (as they have, it seems for teh duration of most transfer windows since the bloody things were invented) to the signing of a "twenty-goal-a-season"/"world-class" striker. Hands up those who really think it is going to happen this time... — Michael

You don't need to be a genius!
Isn't it clear to some of my fellow Evertonians that David Moyes has ben given around the £6M-£7M mark to spend on new players and this is why he cannot purchase Matteo Ferrari. Because that deal was £3.7M for a permanent move and would have left our pathetic manager with just above £2M to spend on this world-class striker we need to partner the average James Beattie.

On to another point, there is no pleasing some Evertonians. If Moyes had signed Ferrari permanently, you lot would have been moaning the boy has hardly played and is injury-prone, which would not make much sense as half of his signings are injury-prone and another one would just take the piss. David Weir is 36 now and plays more games than our younger supposed fitter players eg, Yobo, Ferrari, Davies, Beattie, Naysmith, Pistone, Valente, Van der Meyde... the list goes on. At least Moyes knows Weir will actually be avilable most Saturday afternoons.

Overall I would actually say Moyes may have made the right decision in the transfer market.
Anthony Kelley, Aintree  (10/5/06)

I'm not a big fan of the lad, and I haven't seen anything in his performance which in my mind warrants a doubling of his wages. He drifts in and out of games, and frankly I've seen more speed in a nightclub bathroom.

I would like to say that we ought to sell him, because I don't think he shows any pride when he pulls on that blue shirt and I don't think he is worth more money. The only problem is that if we did sell him, we know the club would find it difficult to replace him, what with Moyes's dithering approach in the transfer market and the board's lack of enthusiasm to make funds available. The squad would reduce further, when we ought to be building it.

One thought I have had is that McFadden's stalling on the contract front may be an attempt to hold the club to ransom, because his agent knows that we probably wouldn't replace him.

We have the World Cup around the corner, and there is always a post tournament 'supermarket sweep'. I really wonder whether Cahill, Arteta, Van der Meyde or Yobo will play for us again, even if they don't appear or perform well in the competition. It looks like the only way we will get our 'revolution' is if next season falls to pieces and we end up being relegated. I think that's a distinct possibility but, as long as James McFadden gets his mil a year, that's ok, isn't it?
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (10/5/06)

Some terms we don’t want to hear around Goodison

High Goal Efficiency
The ability to grind out more points than goals from the course of a season. One should also bear in mind that if we were to score 10 goals in the course of a season, get 6 1-0 wins, a 0-0 draw and a 4-4 thriller against Reading on the opening day (obviously remaining games are all defeats where we fail to score), we’d be relegated with an efficiency of 2 points per goal. At least that would probably be some sort of record for Dr Moyestro, the Ratio Rationaliser.

Optimal Penetration Through Attacking rating (also known as OPTA rating).
This meaningless statistic shows how we were superior based on the co-efficient of pies consumed per home fan against that of the away rabble. It fails to explain how we managed to capitulate 0-3 to a team down to 10 men from the 8th minute, but I should stress it wasn’t invented by Professor Moyessiah. Be warned though, we’ll probably lose on this statistic alone if Leeds Utd are promoted. Games against Newcastle and Sheffield Utd are also going to be tough.

Crowd Support Efficiency
This demonstrates the relationship between the total crowd present for a match against the proportion who renewed their season tickets before the “early bird” deadline. Thus, the lower the number of early renewals, the more supportive the crowd towards the team — as they are not drowned out by the moans of ‘fuckin’ knew I shouldn’t have renewed to save a few bob to watch this shite!’, or words to that effect. Early birds are known to capture the worms however, or gastro enteritis to give it its Latin name (see also OPTA rating above regarding pie consumption). This may improve the relationship further, possibly even be worth ‘a 12th man’ or ‘an extra goal’ over the course of a season.

Optimistic Rating
This isn’t really a statistic at all, rather an ability to pick the positives out of every game irrespective of the performance and result. Also known as Doddy Schaeffer’s Syndrome, it can potentially lead to predictions of ‘winning the League Championship as being more significant than any previous success’ for Everton FC in modern (post-1992) football.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (10/5/06)


Why is it that so many refuse to beleive in McFadden?

For much of his Everton time up until this season, he had been played out of position (left midfield) and only this season, when given the chance, has he delivered of sorts. I just feel that he has begun a decent partnership with Beattie.

I'd rather we played him, as he has a decent flash of genius in him every now and then and can score goals, than sign someone who may take another two seasons to get bedded in and may not settle in next to the big burger muncher. It's almost as if no-one is good enough for Everton fans anymore. The service they are receiving, or not receiving as the case may be, is as much to blame as the strikers.

*Championship Manager Alert*
Unless of course we sign want-way stiker Ronaldo in the summer, him and Beattie could hit burger king after the matches then go clubbing together. That WOULD be a great partnership.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (10/5/2006)

I think it might be because he's not very good, makes the wrong choices, makes the wrong runs, etc, etc. And being labelled "The Scottish Rooney" really doesn't help... — Michael

So what makes you lot think it's Wright that Howard is replacing? — it could well be Martyn!!

But on a brighter note it's unlikely that Howard would agree to swap the Old Trafford bench for the Godison bench, so expect to see Howard as the first choice 'keeper.

So McFadden is holding out for one million quid a year according to the reports? Last time I looked, £20k a week for 52 weeks is more than a million!?!

ps: Ask Dave Southers if there's an Anderson Silva Da Franca in the team sheets for Malaga 'cos I read that that's his full name.
Eric Myles, Seoul, Korea  (10/5/06)

Where IS Anderson De Silva ?
Can anyone tell me where Anderson De Silva is? You remember him, the Brazilian wonderkid who we signed from a Uruguayan team??? (Do ALL the best Brazilians go to Uruguay ?) I know we were supposed to have loaned him to Malaga for the season enabling him to get his EU passport to join us in January. This then went to joining us in the summer, but I have been checking the team news from the Malaga games for the last 6 months and I haven't even seen his name on the bench! By the way, this is the mighty Malaga who are bottom of La Liga.

If he cannot get in that side, what chance of him making it in the Premiership? There is a guy called just SALVA playing for Malaga, but this name is on match reports from several websites so they cant all be making the same typo (can they?).

I can only guess he's been sent packing back to South America, can someone prove me wrong... PLEASE !!!
Dave Southers, Australia  (10/5/06)

Errrr... definitely a touch of straw-clutching there, Dave. — Michael

Jeepers Keepers!
Seems to me that the one position we have absolutely no problem in signing up players is in goal. Is that because at Everton they get far more action than at most clubs? I would be glad to see Tim Howard in the Everton goal next year.... but another loan deal? What about the long-term?
Michael Parrington, Melbourne, Australia  (10/5/06)

James McOverrated and his team mates
A lovely gem for the conspiracy bunch to chew over and hopefully to choke Dutch and Ken Dodd's Formby-based cousin. If you were an average player playing for a football team with the smallest squad in that league and a negative manager who was held over a barrel the season before by at least two contract mercenaries in Pistone and Naysmith (who rightly knew they would get deals despite them both being shite), then dont you think any current players and/or their slimy agents will be thinking it's paytime?

They know the club will be desperate for them to stay if they are any good or shite and that a potential replacement will be non-existent or they know full well the club hasn't got a pot to piss in to buy a replacement. I'm now expecting this to become a two-edged sword; the players will grab everything they can be, they shite or not then Kenwrong and Fat Boy Wyness will spin the sale of players as essential after contract negotiations have broken down over pay.

A lose-lose situation for the supporters again... God, this club makes me sick, but part of this problem is the state of Sky's brand of money-grabbing sports people. After Dunc left, I can't honestly see Everton signing anyone that could earn that sort of adulation from the supporters and fans because we are as poor as a church mouse and simply no longer attractive enough — be it for the management or the dour crap way we now play the game.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (9/5/06)

On the back of Weir & Stubbs... it's just too much to bear!! — Michael

James McFadden's Contract Talks
James McFadden is clearly "having a laugh"!?! As a season ticket holder at eEerton (who has already renewed for next season!), I am absolutely disgusted that we are even considering offering this guy close to £20k per week.

He scored just 7 goals all season in 29 appearances — he's selfish on the ball, lightweight and always but always, goes for the 'spectacular' when all that's required is a simple tap in! It must tell you something that a) there is no terrace chant or song in his name and b) at best he gets applauded when the team is announced before the game.

Despite a paper-thin squad, we should sell him now to anyone stupid enough to pay his wages — he won't even be missed. When he can consistently demonstrate the same attitude and commitment of Osman, Cahill, Arteta, Hibbert, Neville, Kilbane, Stubbs, Weir, Martyn, Yobo, Carsley etc, then he might have a case.

Yours in complete and utter disbelief,
Roy Masey, Glossop  (9/5/06)

James McFadden
This McFadden story is extraordinary. What the hell? McFadden is the most ordinary of players and I cringe whenever Moyes uses that "scottish Rooney" tag for him. Does he think that his performances this season merit some sort of amazing contract? Do we honestly believe his agent when she says other clubs have shown an interst in him?

To be honest I'm disappointed, if not surprised, that Moyes has offered him a new contract at all. It's pissed me off this one, it really has. McFadden isn't a terrible player, he is just so ordinary. He is frustrating to watch and he is just so normal in terms of ability and goals record. In a way, that's more depressing than if he was a Barlow or an Angell — at least they had novelty value! He is depressingly ordinary.

The worst thing about this is of course that being in the "young" category, he is the symbol of the "young, hungry and dynamic" squad Moyes promised us. Go away, McFadden; you're just annoying. EFC don't need you.
Jon Sellick, Cosby  (9/5/06)

Tourette's not the way to do it!
Well, at least Tim Howard will ensure that the back four get a bollocking next season whether they like it or not... even if he doesnt mean it! Hopefully Tim's Tourette's does not get him into trouble by telling his own fans to fuck off when they throw the ball back to him... when he meant to say thanks!

Sorry, not wishing to poke fun but can Moyes actually sign any players without injuries or afflictions? However, I am sure Tim will do much better than Wright — at least it seems the penny has finally dropped with Moyes and he has recognised the need to replace this clown. Make sure you read the signs on the sun-tan lotion when you go on holiday, Dickie, in case you end up with another injury. My nephew, who sadly supports Liverpool even felt sorry for us after that incident at Chelsea in the goalmouth.

Anyway, regarding the selection of Theo Bloodclot for the England squad — good luck to him but I am deeply saddened by the fact the Everton's forward (soon to be No 9) could not even make the standbys — a decision which was, sadly, correct — in my opinion: Beatie is not an international player. OK he had a good spell but his love of burgers and night clubs will never help him become a Legend at our great club. I think it has been proven that his price tag was too high and that Moyes's judgement in terms of what he perceives as 'top class' is flawed.

I have now accepted that we are skint, Bill and Davie will stay and we are likely in for similar seasons to this one just gone for several years to come. So, what the fuck... here's looking forward to the World Cup!
Steve Callaghan, liverpool  (9/5/06)

A Thoughtful Invitation
I have just come across an e.mail from the club suggesting I should consider watching the World Cup at Goodison. For a moment, I thought this e.mail had been winging it's way to me since 1966! After the smile faded, I remembered how Everton picked out one of the Stars of that tournament and went out and bought him. It's so sad to an old codger like me to realize that Everton no longer have the will or the ability to do that anymore.

I replied to the e.mail. I said I would consider the invitation as it would be nice to watch some classy football at Goodison once more before I depart this mortal realm. By the way... I renewed my season ticket... hopeful and loyal to the end!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (9/5/06)

Nice one. I wonder if the new Customer Charter makes any allowance for appreciating sarcasm! — Michael

Gripe at Moyes
I'm not sure about other contributors on this website, but I for one am at every home game; this is my two pence worth.

Even though Simon Davies has been shite all season, I thought he looked his best when he had a few darting runs down the wing. I ain't no tactician, but I think this may have something to do with the fact that he is a winger, not a fucking holding midfielder! It's as good as moaning at Beattie for not being a good left back!

I just don't understand what is going through Moyes's head when he makes these decisions. I'm sorry, but answers of "he's the coach, so knows more than you" just do not fly. The simple fact is this: if decisions such as this one, along with playing Weir and Stubbs, not buying a striker, not playing Ferrari and playing Route One football were good decisions, then we wouldn't be all moaning on this website. Clearly something is not right.

Can Moyes not see this? I can from my partially restricted view in the top balcony!

Moan over... I hope your reading this Bill Kenwr..eerm I mean Dutch.
Harold Bishop, BIrkenhead  (9/5/06)

It would be very Smith-esque of Moyesie to have played Davies out of position for almost an entire season. It would explain a lot... but pretty astounding if true! — Michael

I wonder...
I wonder how long Timmy Howard will warm the bench behind Martyn and become the next Matteo Ferarri? I wonder how soon Moyes will sign Steve Watson back from the Baggies now that they've been relegated? There's a lot to wonder about this summer.
Jiminho Jenkins, FL, USA  (09/05/2006)

Go on then - High Goal-Efficiency Football
34 one-nil wins and 4 nil-nil draws would mean 106 points and an almost certain Premiership title. It is something of a long shot, but you have asked if the 'High Goal-Efficiency Football' message is getting through.

On a similarly upbeat note, Tim Howard could prove to be a wise deal, it certainly shows Moyes realised the problem with the keeper situation and has acted very very quickly. A certain amount of credit is due I feel as it will mean Howard has time to settle and get to know his new team mates.

Now for a bit of a downer: I suspect Yobo is off, he isn't likely to sign and we can't allow a player of his value to walk — let's hope Newcastle are still interested.

Maybe if we play 5-4-1 we can invent yet another type of football... High Clean Sheet-Efficiency Football!!!

38 nil-nil draws, Should be enough to avoid relegation.
Teddy Niigma, Warrington  (9/5/06)

Ya gotta luv it... it could be our new future!

Frustrated: Is it just me or are we going nowhere?
I was appalled to hear that Stubs and Weir will be at Everton next year. How can we let Ferrari go when he showed more class as a centre-half in six games than Weir has shown for his whole time at Everton! Weir and Stubs are too slow, do not read the game, and are a liability.

Stubbs, Wier, Kilbane, Davies (please get rid of Davies) Pistone, Wright, Naysmith... they all have to go. They are nowhere near good enough. I doubt if they are good enough for the Championship! If they are the backbone next year, then I really think we will struggle to stay up!

McFadden and Beattie appear to be a bit of a luxury, but could do a job, maybe! The last season has only just finished and I am already depressed over next year! It appears that we have been kidded again. I wonder if this news would have been releaased if season ticket holders, like myself had already not renewed thier tickets!
Brian McNulty, Kirkby  (9/5/06)

It's certainly not just you (see below!) but I'm sorry, I'm just amazed at the number of people reacting in this way to news that was a cast-iron certainty. Having seen the effect of the Stubbs & Weir partnership (and Dutch, sadly, was dead right regarding this), there was no way that Mayes would abandon it — no matter how geriatric they are! And Ferrari's departure was obvious the moment he walked out prior to the Birmingham game. Why was this a surprise? And how could you NOT have considered it as more than a remote possibility before you renewed your season ticket? Get real, folks: it's all part of High Goal-Efficiency Football... [How come no-one seems to be picking up on that except me? :( ] — Michael

Bye bye, Dunc
Despite the injuries, suspensions and inflated weekly pay-packets, there is a personal sense of sadness that Big Dunc is going. For all his faults that every Evertonian is aware of, we could never question his passion and loyality for our great club.

In recent times nothing has got my spirits up more than Dunc putting one in the back of the net. But in terms of team tactics I believe it is a blessing, no more will we throw him on in the last 10 minutes and resort to the long punt. Now we may endorse a Plan B that, when the chips are down can involve one of our young up-and-coming players, who hopefully has even 50% of the passion that Dunc displayed.
Kevin Morris, Sydney, Australia  (9/5/06)

Imagine my surprise...
Wasn't able to get to the Baggies game on Sunday; saw MOTD which ignored the Last of the Corinthians tribute and portrayed Everton as having less of the game than WBA. Imagine my surprise then to discover the following stats about the final day of the season in my broadsheet newspaper the following day:-

  1. Team with most shots on target out of all 20 Premiership clubs - Everton: 14 (next highest, Villa with 9)
  2. Team with most corners won - Everton: 14 (next highest, West Ham with 11)
  3. Team with biggest share of possession - Everton: 64% (next highest, Man Utd with 63%)
Does this mean our strikers and goal-scoring midfielders are crap by any chance?
Chris Winslet, UK  (9/5/06)

A plea to the real Everton fans
A plea to Toffeeweb and the loyal real fans who have enough to worry about with Moyes the conquerless! Ignore the club plant who's name will never get typed again. He feeds off our honest, emotional reactions and with the disaster scene called Everton Finances — let's concern ourselves with views that may or will help the club. Not a lonesome Hobbit who obviously is very sad and doesn't like being in public as nobody sees him!

Speaking of disappearences, how come you do not reply to my mails now, Mikey? Colm is excellent and well balanced in his views but the last post was addressed to you? Maybe you were busy being somebody else?
Luq Yus, London  (9/5/06)

Unlike Colm, I don't add a reply to every mail unless warranted... and to be honest, you are fast apporoaching that certain somebody in the tiresome stakes. If you don't contribute something more than sniping and name-calling, you might be next!!!

Not to belabour an earlier point but your considered opinion was that "...the few fans who back this shite should be chased out of Goodison!" — What was the attendance again? 39,671. That is the SECOND HIGHEST crowd of the season. Do you really think they all turned up just to say goodbye to Big Dunc, and had nothing but your ire for the current administration?

You talk of balanced views, but I think you need to recognize and accept that a great many fans have a totally different view than you do, and you need to show some respect for that difference of opinion, rather than coming out with nonsense like this. — Michael

Dutch Schaeffer
Is starting to get right on my tits. His interminable opinion is driving me to distraction.

Dull, dull, dull.

Go and invade another site, you tiresome pest.
Dave Randles, Ellesmere Port  (9/5/06)

Pass the Dutchy
I notice the term "et al" has crept in to quite a few letters recently - who began this irritating trait and can't we now change it to something else please?

But now to the main item on the agenda : What seat/cloud/row/stand does the Schaeffer reside? Maybe ToffeeWeb can arrange a meeting at a neutral venue so that he can be interrogated on all things EFC and once it has been established that he is one of our own then his wind-ups can be taken a bit more seriously. At the moment I have to say I think he is a bit of a wrong un'. So do the majority of contributors et al by the sounds of it — oops!
Wayne O'Rourke, Liverpool  (9/5/06)

Henceforth, I hereby refrain from ever using the term "et al", in reply on the mailbag. Ad infinitum.... - Colm

David Weir and the Captainship
It's frustrating to hear that he's offered Weir an extension. Stubbs and Nige I would agree to readily as Stubbs could still do a good job for another season and Nige is the most reliable keeper we have now.

If Weir had gone, Stubbs and Yobo would be the partnership next season and whomever Moyes will buy, and that's a big IF, will be cover. Especially if it's a young defender. Now, the problem is: Will Weir and Stubbs be the focal point of defence? Or will it be Yobo and either of these two? Yobo must be asking will he now be first choice or will he play second fiddle to these two old codgers? This will definitely affect his contract signing unless Moyes has reassured him otherwise.

I guess we will know as soon as Moyes decides the captaincy. IF it is Weir, then we can expect Weir to partner Stubbs. I hope it's not any of these one-year contract players but rather someone younger who has the fire to want to succeed and can lift up his mates when required. We are lacking a leader on the field and the last good captain we had was Dave Watson. The likes of Campbell, Weir, Stubbs, Ferguson are just not inspiring or cool-headed enough to lead the team.
Jalil Noor, Singapore  (9/5/06)

Right, enough is enough from Dutch: he is a total idiot who knows as much about football and the running of a football club as a Mongolian camel herder. First he states that Ferrari is a luxury player and then states he only made six starts, how the hell he can determine he is a luxury player after only six starts is beyond me. Dutch, I'll tell you what a luxury player is: it's the likes of Weir, Stubbs, McFadden, Kilbane, Naysmith and Davies who cannot produce it week-in, week-out, because they are either too old or don't have the ability at Premiership level.

They are luxury players, you blind tosser, Now do us all a favour and stop using this website for your inane drivel and go and find some mates to listen to your garbage.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (9/5/06)

I had to cut him off today... his fourth posting pushed me over the line. — Michael

Next Season
So Weir, Stubbs and Nige to be given an extension. Howard on loan. That implies not much money or Moyes has a gameplan (most probably not!).

We now have five keepers. Hopefully Wright will be sold off for much needed funds and Nige to stay to guide Turner and Ruddy. Basically, Howard will be cover as Man Utd will not sell him. We have three centre backs, three left backs and one right back. hopefully Pistone can be reverted to centre back as he's much better there than on the left (to me, that is).

Midfield is one department where we are blessed with numbers if not quality. With Da Silva supposedly coming (as reported before the start of last season), we will have another central midfielder. Hopefully if he does come, he will be a creative force in the centre; if not Osman or Cahill can fill that slot. Arteta on the right and that leaves the left. Andy van der Meyde can be our answer IF he stays fit, IF he stays injury free, IF he sheds some kilos and IF he rediscover his form that made him a hot prospect. Lastly the "enforcer" role will be between Carsley, Neville or Davies.

Up-front we will have four strikers: Beattie, McFadden, Vaughan and Anichebe, even though 2 of them are youngsters.

We need defenders more than we need a striker. Now I know alot of people won't agree but we can't expect Neville to be cover for all four defensive position. The midfield needs to be mobile if not really creative with three of them being able to interchange positions and another anchoring the centre. the three could be AvdM, Arteta and Cahill/Osman who could feed a mobile and pacy striker such as Vaughan or Anichebe with Beattie feeding off them or as target man to lay on for his partner. This is a worst-case scenario with no one else coming in (not even Da Silva).

This is what I would do but Moyes will definitely have his own ideas.
Jalil Noor, Singapore  (9/5/06)

In other words.... Championship Manager Alert!!!

Davies and enforcer in the same sentence! Coffee all over my keyboard now, thanks!

"Really creative" ... I think you , sir, are delussional. We don't do "really creative" anymore... haven't you heard? This is the age of High Goal-Efficiency Football and David Moyes is the High Priest thereof. You only need one goal to win a game... as long as you don't actually let any in. Hmm... perhaps you are right about needing new defenders rather than strikers... — Michael

Tears and Big Dunc
Can only reiterate that I wish Ferguson all the best — he was a fantastic player and it was a shame he never really sustained fitness and became a great outside of the eyes of most Evertonians.

Having read comments on here, it's interesting to look at They've updated the Everton squad, except for adding Tim Howard; if they did we'd have 26 players... of which 5 are goalkeepers!!! I have tried to be optimistic this season and have spoken up for David Moyes, but that is ridiculous!

We have 21 out-field players including players like 18-year-old Bjarni Vidarsson and 19-year-old Patrick Boyle who are unlikely to get on to the pitch next season with Moyes's youth policy; whilst Vaughan (should he recover) and Anichebe having scored will be unlikely to be brought on because of their age — I mean we wouldn't want them to suffer later on by not resting them enough whilst they reamin at the club!

Why have we released Sean Wright, Stephen Wynne, Laurence Wilson, Jay Harris, Christian Seargeant and Paul Hopkins? Couldn't we have got anything for them given are always 'limited resources'?!! I am annoyed about Ferrari (who was most definately not a 'luxury player' - none are), but I'm furious that we aren't trying to develop these players.

Although ecstatic about reaching the Champions League last season, I was concerned it would have a negative effect given our tiny squad. This coming season, we won't have Europe but we have a smaller squad and I just don't see many players scrambling to come and play for us either. I just hope England do well in the World Cup, because I don't think it's going to be fun once attentions are turned back to club.

OK, I'll turn Radiohead off now.
Chad Schofield, Cirencester  (9/5/06)

The plan of course, is to bring some more players in (I think the way it works is that we actually have to go out and get them), and perhaps push up a few more of the youngsters who have been retained. So the squad may get bigger... unless we sell a few more players (Wright, Yobo...) when it will get smaller.... Oooeeer! — Michael

Everton FC are sleepwalking into total obscurity while the fans do nothing more than whinge on websites (myself included).

I don't know if this is a symptom of the information age, the era of all-seated stadia, or something being added to the water supply but its incredible how serene the atmosphere at Goodison has been while the club is putrefying before our eyes.

There is not a single thing to look forward to next year. Players who should have been put down years ago are unbelievably getting extensions. Good young players wouldn't touch us with a bargepole. The football stinks, the ground's falling to pieces, the lack of leadership, charisma, forward planning, decent standards or even anyone who seems to give a damn at the club is frightening.

Anyone who says or thinks otherwise is part of the problem and should be given electric shock treatment to wake them from the stupor.
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (9/8/06)

Here's the script, Paul. Identify areas problematic to the Good Ship Everton and attempt to highlight them via websites like ToffeeWeb, and others. Sit back and await obligatory criticism of your viewpoint, with a reference to you actually being a Kopite a must! Apathy, sadly, reigns supreme amongst the fanbase — some are not interested in anything off the pitch, others are. That's life! — Colm

Luq Yus!
"In anycase we will again lose out as if Howard is a success then Moyes will talk him up, then decide to send him back rather than take up a full-time transfer. Sounds familar?"

Yes that does sound familar, isn't that exactly what Moyes did with Joey Yobo and Mikey Arteta? No wait — it's the exact opposite!!!
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (9/5/06)

Dutch, I do believe Mr Yus used the phrase "tongue in cheek" when airing the above opinion, no? Anyhow, Alex Ferguson has stated already that he has no intention of allowing Howard to make any move permanent as Van der Saar's contract is, I think, up at the end of next season and Howard may be required.

Also, seeing as you champion Mr Moyes's lack of transfer funding available for certain positions in our team, it remains assuring to know that retaining the services of Tim Howard will not concern Evertonians as poor poor Everton can always fall back on (mind that sign!) Richard Wright, Iain Turner and John Ruddy! Such luxuries for any manager... — Colm

Conspiracy Theory No 2
Just reading Peter Fearon's well argued case that Everton slumped in the league after announcing possible entry to the Intertoto. He cites a possible reason being that the players perhaps didn't want to return early from their Summer hols.

I've got another interesting theory: Did Everton stay in a Marriot hotel at some time around the Anfield derby? If so, can we sue any Liverpool-supporting chefs capable of making dodgy carbonarra? Or furthermore maybe we can replay all the games since then?

Then again, I suppose it could just be down to us having only one player of genuine class (and he was injured for a few games) and a manager who accepts mid-table mediocrity as progress.
Craig Walker, Wigan  (9/5/06)

Food for thought! ;-) — Colm

The Moyes Debate
I have read avidly the contributions of many ToffeeWeb readers on the subject of David Moyes. Whilst the pendulum has swung from the "in Moyes we trust" mantra, that was quoted before the season started, to frustration leading some to call for a new manager, I myself have sat on the fence with my thinking often influenced by the latest result.

However, I have resolved not to make full judgement until I have viewed the transfer dealings of Dithering Dave this summer. His actions in the transfer market will make or break his Everton career. Not only does this mean the players coming in but also which players head through the exit door. And I am far from impressed with his early decisions.

Ferguson and Li Tie I agree with as their contributions to Everton are neglible. However, what I fail to understand is why we have offered both Stubbs and Weir new contracts.

Weir is over the hill; a great servant in the past but simply not up to the job. The same could be argued of Stubbs although I believe he is probably at the same stage Weir was at the start of last season. Very good managers such as Ferguson and Wenger have known when it is time to get rid of good servants, eg, Ince, Hughes, Viera and Petit. The only reason I can see why Moyes has done this is because a certain Joey Yobo is on his way and Moyes wouldn't be able to find sufficient cover.

I still can't believe we couldn't have found two better left backs than Pistone and Naysmith last season!

The addition of Tim Howard is promising. At least it suggests that Wright is on his way, which can only be a blessing!! My only grumble with Howard is that it's a loan deal and I would have preferred a permanent young new keeper. If Moyes is truly to build a consistent top-six team then it must revolve around the axis of two central defenders and a good goalkeeper. These players have to form a long-term working relationship and if they could play for five years together I think the team would have solid roots to spring from. How many candidates have we got for those positions? One and that's Yobo who's probably leaving. Let's just hope the strong rumours linking Lescott from Wolves come true.

Elsewhere, I think the midfield is alright although I would like to see Kilbane sold off. A solid pro but not good enough. Up front, I would like us to buy young and players with lots of pace. As most experts say, the one thing defenders do not like is pace... so they must bloody love our strikeforce!!

I haven't even touched upon the nightmare scenarios involving Arteta abd Cahill leaving — let's just leave that thought for a moment and pray it doesn't come true! Moyes has to be more positive and if necessary gamble in the market — if not, you will see this Evertonian firmly in the Moyes Out camp. The early signs are not good!!

Robert Pullan, Manchester  (9/5/06)

Further to my previous e-mail please, see the link on the BBC sport page regarding the rise from oblivion of Middlesborough under the stewardship of their chairman Steve Gibson.

There was a contribution previously on the progress that Bolton have made in recent years; considering their football pedigree, should we accept our current plight and see the likes of Bolton and Middlesborough prosper?

At Everton, the fans know their history and mediocrity certainly has no place in it. Action is needed and needed now, Kenwright and his mouthpiece-elect, Wyness, need to begin to turn empty soundbite rhetoric into action. We are told a decision on the ground issue will be delivered later this year, let's hold them to account and end this PR bullshit
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (9/5/06)

PR bullshit and Everton have been, erm, "blood brothers" for years now, long before Bill Kenwright acquired the trainset. Part and parcel of football these days... — Colm

Big Dunc
I will miss the big Scotsman, there was a tear or two in my eyes on Sunday. Duncan is a great Evertonian and a true blue — he loves the club and we love him.
Bluenose Bimbo, Liverpool  (9/5/06)

Our loss is his pigeons' gain... — Colm

Feeder club
Excuse me Michael? What are you on about? I never once said the fans were not cheering at the end for Dunc and the lads, everyone was as much with for Labone, Ferguson, Arteta and so forth. My point was I could not hear the ground shaking with praise for Moyes all day!

If there was then we didn't hear it. And anyone who supports the management whole-heartedly should see a shrink or just have sense beaten into them. So please Mikey I'm upset as it is! Anyway, have this supposedly great club turned into a feeder club for the US of A giants Manchester United?

Ok, I am being tongue in cheek but Howard today, Neville last year... is it me or have Everton perhaps not received payments for a former blue? Or are we just really good friends with them? In any case, we will again lose out as, if Howard is an success then Moyes will talk him up, then decide to send him back rather than take up a full-time transfer. Sounds familar?
Luq Yus, London  (9/5/06)

I too share your cynicism towards our seemingly cozy relations with Manchester United in recent times. No doubt Ian Ross, Keith Wyness et al will cite "commercial sensitivity" if / when asked directly about the terms of Wayne Rooney's initial Manchester United contract now being done and dusted due to whatever agreement between both clubs since the Glazer family removed Manchester United from a plc to a private vehicle.

My own personal opinion, whether right or wrong, is that we've taken a settlement from United (with a Neville thrown in) and not a penny more to come our way from the cashcow that was Wayne Rooney. Of course, if the above is all nonsense then Everton FC can come straight out and clarify that this is not so and we still stand to earn a percentage of the PROFIT come the day Mr Stretford moves Wayne on from Manchester United. - Colm

Good start, all downhill from here!!
I'm enjoying a rare morning of feeling good about our manager, so I thought I'd share the joy before the gloom descends again!

Tim Howard is a player I rate and I am delighted to see he's coming to Goodison for the next year. So I'll give David Moyes some credit where it's due for making a positive early move in the transfer market. No dithering in sight!!

But I don't intend to get carried away Championship Manaager-style and start dreaming of a summer of wonderful signings. Hopefully Dickie can follow Dunc and Li Tie out the door, but the influx will doubtless be small and late in the day!!

Not signing Ferrari is all the evidence we fans should need to tell us that money is scarce. We can only hope that Moyes can pick another Cahill-esque bargain up and play the loan market sensibly. Doubtless David Nugent is still in DM's thoughts but that elusive striker really must be a priority now.

Every Prem manager's first target for a new season is 40 points, but how about we make a concerted effort to get 40 goals too!!
Tom Hadley, Hampshire  (9/5/06)

40 goals in a season??? Are you MAD?!! What's that term again, Michael? Oh aye... "high goal-efficiency football"! — Colm

Made for each other
David Moyes breezed into Goodison Park just over 4 years ago and the reception he received in his opening game against Fulham was nothing short of remarkable. This reception was inspired by his comments on Everton being a sleeping giant, the people's club and his vision of a five-year plan to make Everton a competitive force once again in English football with a youthful squad.

The charisma that Moyes oozed was lapped up following the dour platitudes that had been constantly trotted out by Walter Smith and I personally could see a lot of similarities in the psychology employed by Moyes as that so deftly employed by Bill Shankly over at the darkside during the 1960s.

Fast forward 4 years and how things have changed: it's as though that original script was penned by Kenwright and Moyes, as a now dutiful employee, seems to have been a pawn in his continued effort to maintain power at all costs. The sour relationship between Kenwright and Gregg is damning enough evidence to call for an enquiry into Kenwright's agenda; the man's vanity concerning Everton Football Club is frightening, as is the Fortress Sports Fund scenario. When was the last time that we heard anything about Sir Terry Leahy's involvement in the Club? - And susbsequent AGM's have proven to be phony exercises in continuing this web of spin, high gloss and PR exercises.

Inward investment is continually being sought — or so we are told by Keith Wyness... not even a sniff coming last year following our fourth place finish. My view is that Everton are seen by outsiders as a provincial club trapped in a time warp, headed up by a maverick luvvy and firmly cast in the shade by our closest neighbours.

I agree with the comments that there isn't exactly a queue of investors winding its way down Goodison Road waiting to pump some much-needed prime revenue into the corridors of power; however, the list of billionnaires and comments presented By Jospeh Steven was stupid and ignorant in its suggestion.

I am not anti-Moyes, -Kenwright or -Wyness but I believe that it is disgraceful that a Club of the stature of Everton with a potential fan-base of 40-50,000 is both lacking vision and ambition and constantly out-competed by the likes of Middlesbrough, et al. It is a fact that there are wealthy Evertonians out there... would they be willing to invest in Everton? The continuing posionous relationship that currently exists between Messrs Kenwright and Gregg will certainly not promote our cause.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (9/5/06)

And now, over to 'Dutch'... — Colm

Sod Mars bars
A keeper a day, helps Moyes work rest and play. Hmmmm, Tim Howard... he likes his keepers doesn't he? I wonder if there are enough spaces in our various teams for them all to get a game each week (given age restrictions and all that). Having said that, it's good to have cover for Granpa Nigel, although perhaps he will indeed play 4-4-2 next season, but with the 2 in goal.

Anyways, I'm glad the season is over. The Moyesie Boys have produced some utter crap this season and I can't wait for the next season to start as it's gonna be more interesting seeing how long the fans will put up with the same drivel before losing patience.

Its 'shit or bust' time for Davie, methinks. For the club's sake, let's hope he has one of his better seasons.

On a final note, I'd like to wish Big Dunc all the best. Yes, he was paid a lot to be injured all the time but he didn't write the contracts, did he? He and Rooney have been the only two players I have been proud to have seen in the past few years. He never fulfilled his potential due to playing in poor teams and injuries but when he was fired up he played like a centre-forward should and scared the crap out of the opposition. I admired the stance he took with the SFA when they let him goto prison for something countless other players do every other week (that's not condoning it btw).

Enjoy the transfer gossip over the summer and try not to be too dissapointed... :o)
Aplankofwood Withanailinit, UK  (9/5/06)

Well said. — Colm

Simple Choice!
Put yourself into David Moyes shoes you have £3 million to spend on a defender do you...

A. Make Ferrari a permenent transfer even though the player only made 6 Premiership starts last season and failed to fit into the squad?

B. Send Ferrari home and attempt to source another defender, possibly British-based, like Lescott or Upson?

Simple choice, A or B? Personally I think Moyes has made the right choice.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (9/5/06)

Where's this figure of £3M for a defender come from? Ferrari's infinitely a better prospect than the other two, who have served us well in the past [emphasise the word 'past']. The Premiership is all about pace and if you can justify retaining both Stubbs and Weir ahead of a player like Ferrari then so be it. As for his minimal appearances last season, blame Moyes and no one else. Like Per Krøldrup before him, we were informed he would get his chance. Money, I suspect, before ability being the main reason for his continuing absence and eventual departure. — Colm

Limited Resources!
I think many of you need to remember that Moyes has very limited resources at his disposal. What was he supposed to do? — release Martyn, Weir, Stubbs and Duncan and then attempt to bring in a goalkeeper, two defenders and a striker? Where's he going to get the money for that?

The really funny thing is that certain idiots think Moyes should have released Weir/Stubbs and paid a couple of million for Ferrari. Sounds like a great idea but what happens if Ferrari is only able to play a handful of games again next season?

Fact is Ferrari was too unreliable, a luxury player, Everton have a small squad and need players who can make themselves available every single week.

By sending Ferrari home Moyes is not saying he wont bring in a defender. I suspect he will bring in a British based defender (Lescott maybe?) and get far better value for Everton's precious money.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (9/5/06)

Well....speaking as one such idiot myself.....who sees the, erm, logic in "extending that loan", of Ferrari, into a permanent deal, making Ferrari an Everton asset we could then cash in on sometime in the future. How much will we get for Messrs Stubbs and Weir when they quit Everton? Ferrari — a luxury player and unreliable? Give me a break! — Colm

End of an Era
[From the ToffeeNet e.Mail List:] Well, after 20 years West Brom was my last game as a season ticket holder. I may well be back, as the kids get older they may develop an unhealthy interest in football and drag me back. But, for now, at least, I will just be going to the odd game here and there.

I'm not giving my ticket up in anger, there was no ripping my season ticket up whilst ranting against the manager, the players or the board. There is more an air of resignation.

Reasons for giving up? Probably quite a few - in no particular order-

On-pitch entertainment (or lack therof) - we have been rubbish for a good part of my 20 years. Between the squad that we have and Moyes' inate caution I can't see that changing soon. Having made the final decision prior to the Birmingham game I seem to have watched the Birmingham and West Brom games with a slightly different eye - perhaps looking for reasons to change my mind. I didn't find anything to convince me to change my decision throughout those 180 minutes of football.

The Premiership and Sky - the continual messing around with kick-off times really irritates. 12:45 or 5:15 are crap times to attend a football game. I've never been comfortable with the whole Premiership and Sky calling the shots thing.

The future worries the hell out of me- yesterday we had a centre back pairing of Weir and Stubbs. With the possibility of Ferrari and Yobo leaving this summer, and no youngsters on the brink, where does that leave us? Unfortunately, similar dilema's exist elsewhere in the squad, There is so much to do with this squad. I look at the squad and the seeming lack of young players coming through and I feel my hope and optimism just drain away. We've undoubtedly been worse in the past but back then I always had some optimism for the future, I don't have that anymore.

Cost, whatever way you look at it £480 is a lot of money.

Time - I have four young kids who do a lot of activities over the weekend, never mind a house and a garden that always need work doing on them.

I've fallen out of love with Football - back to the Premiership and Sky thing again. Add to that agents, the mentality of the modern footballer it leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. The whole Wayne Rooney thing was a huge wake up call for me personally.

The Everton hierarchy - I'm not into personal vendetta's and I'm very uncomfortable with the whole Billy-Liar thing. But somewhere along the way the "Everton hierarchy" have got things very badly wrong over a sustained period of time. When I got my first season ticket in 1986/87 there was no disputing our place as one of the Big Clubs. How we have allowed ourselves to slip from that perch is very disheartening. The rest of football has moved on massively from that time - Everton have stood still. I can't see that changing any time soon. Obviously we need massive investment, but even in the abscence of that I don't feel that we're even close to maximising what we have.

Anyone of the above reasons have been pertinent for many of the past 15 seasons. None in their own right are reason enough to stop going. Ultimately, though, I just don't want to go every other week. Sat at home before the Birmingham game I just didn't want to go. What's the point of paying near £500 for that?

Thanks for listening- had to share it with someone who might understand!!!
Richard Marland, Chester  (9/5/06)

Richard, I remember you as a regular contributor to the e.mail list over 10 years ago, and will be forever grateful for your calm balanced and perceptive match reports that were a regular contribution for us here at ToffeeWeb for many years until you took on this plan to repopulate the Northwest (four kids!!!). Best of luck for the future, sir. — Michael

Let's move on
Okay, let's not dwell on the on-field season; let's now focus on the off-field season. With the likes of Crystal Palace and Preston not promoted, we have a sniff of reaching our targets to make us a better team again. Let's be realistic if anyone offered us 11th position at the begining of our disasterous and nervy season we who all have been grateful to take a mid-table position.

Let's be positive and hope the results on the weekend in regards to Preston and Crystal Palace will bring us a wanted striker in the transfer market. Let's be positive and optimistic on these results.
Cliff Zammit, Melbourne, Australia  (9/5/06)

Why do people keep repeating this meaningless shite: "if anyone offered us 11th position at the begining of the season..." blah, bl;ah, blah. It's bollocks. It's a stupid way to look at anything. It's a stupid way to talk.

No-one pops up at the beginning of the season and says "Oi, Everton: 11th place... alrite? Will you take that?" What a fucking stupid notion! The whole point of existing as a football team is to play the games, to earn the poionts, to compete in the league. THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT! Which is why the more sensible ones amongst us look back at the entire season and assess how we performed, and decide on that basis whether 11th place was good enough or not. The problem is... the table never lies!!! — Michael

Duncan had / has something...
... which has been sadly missing from most Everton players of recent years. He had his critics, most of whom seem to inhabit ToffeeWeb, and admirers — with me counted among the latter.

One thing for sure is modern football, with its namby pamby effeminate technically perfect players and managers, products of the same boring production line, will not see the likes of Duncan ever again. Those who say 'thank god for that' should get into the kitchen, wash the dishes or bake a cake, things you are probably best at. As for me I am sad to see the moving on of a bloke who gave and took the hard knocks without ever resorting to pretence or career-ending dirty stuff (a smack in the gob is not career ending).

To the big man I say thanks for the memories, enjoy your retirement.
Dick Fearon, Australia  (9/5/06)

It's all just a little bit of history repeating
With Wier and Stubbs signing on for one more year and Yobo being in the final year of his contract and not taking up the option of a brand new Ferrari, what are we to expect for next season? Yobo to go? Stubbs and Wier to be found out by the ever increasing pace of the Prem? It's not like we have an abundance of young players coming through the ranks...

We spent this season screaming out for a centre-forward; for next, will we have to point out the obvious and let Moyes know we need a centre-half. Going out on a limb, shall we expect for Cahill and Arteta to be sold next summer and we will go the 2007-08 season without a central midfield.

Enough is enough now, it's time for a change from top to bottom at the club, Kenwright Out, Moyes Out, Wyness Out. We can't even run a fucking megastore, it's getting to a point where it's not even funny anymore.

Oh, and if Dunc wants to wait around till August, I am sure we will offer him another year, after all we've fuck all money to spend and it's not as if we have European Football to offer.

I really worry about us for next season, Reading have money to spend, Wigan even have a few bob. It's between us, Fulham and Pompey both of whom have chairman with money to spend to join Sheff Utd and Leeds/Watford to go down.

On a happier point, Sven picked an England Squad we can all have a fucking good laugh at.
David Rodaway, Liverpool  (8/5/06)

Good god,,mate. Is it any wonder this webiste has a bad rep for neggy vibes? You've already got us relegated, ffs!

Here's my advice: buy the Lags Eleven [© Colm] Season DVD, sit down with plenty of your favourite beverage, and wonder at the marvel that is High Goal-Efficiency Football. I'm sure if you work at it, you'll get to appreciate its finer points. Maybe Richard or Dutch could give us a quick guide of what to look out for. Then you'll be ready to enjoy the infinite pleasures that await you next season! — Michael

Good posting
I think Dominic Buckley's e-mail below was well-argued and made some good (if unwelcome) points. The summary of Duncan Ferguson's Everton career was spot-on. If I think of the last ten years or so, nearly all the fist-clenching, hysterical-jumping, "Take that, you twats!" moments have involved Duncan. The only exception that readily comes to mind is the Spurs semi-final. I'll miss him.
Brian  Denton, Liverpool  (8/5/06)

Big Duncan
In response to Mark Joseph and his comments, you really do talk shite, mate. If it was not for the likes of Duncan, Dave Watson and David Unsworth we would not be a Premiership club now, so thanks for your time and enjoy your summer "MATEY".
Frankie Burrage, Northwich  (8/5/06)

A Seriosuly Disgruntled Blue (Aged 37½)
Reading the polarised opinions in the mailbag always makes me wonder how the seemingly vast majority of our fans accept the current situation.

As far as I am concerned, the club is run by a gang of amateur Muppets who have compounded our fall from grace over the past 20 years through a series of barefaced lies, missed opportunities, Alistair Campbell-esque Spin Doctoring and various acts of gross incompetence. So why do the majority of our fans put up with it? Because it’s all they’ve ever known perhaps?

I had the fortune of seeing the side of the mid-eighties that could so easily have gone on to dominate European football. Having seen that and compared it to the shite currently being served up, means that I have a benchmark. Anyone born after say 1983 won’t have anything to measure the current situation against, because in general terms they’ve only ever witnessed dross.

It would be interesting to see the age of the various contributors to this board – are all of those with blue tinted glasses (Dodd & Schaeffer et al) mere pups who have never witnessed anything other than shite? And is our mate Mr Marsh 97? Does he remember Dixie’s 60-goal season and the Championship win of 1915? Or are those of us that do not accept the current situation just a crowd of miserable ‘old’ bastards???

Perhaps one of our friends in the blue specs could tell us why they think that competing with Fulham, Wigan, and Charlton is acceptable?

Over to you, Dutch/Richard…
Dave Randles (Aged 37½)), Ellesmere Port  (8/5/06)

And here was I thinking I could look forward to a nice quiet couple of months doing the stats and such... — Michael

I am very disapointed at you (Toffeeweb) for pulling my last letter as it was not any more offensive than the last four. Anyway as I have calmed down a bit after the news that Ferrari going home I will say again, briefly my rant. Firstly I echo a previous letter urging Arteta and Yobo to leave this shithole. I still hate Rooney but now I can not blame him for wanting to leave this blackhole and that Scottish homer!

And the few fans who back this shite should be chased out of Goodison! This is unacceptable that Weir got a contract and Ferrari never. Moyes, you are a fucking wanker! You have the tactical intelligence of a ding-bat! Fuck this club I will never spend a penny here again until the mutant cancer in Moyes and Kenshite are gone. Because of you two I will be very depressed this summer. Thanks!
Luq Yus, London  (8/5/06)

I'm sorry, mate, but you are loosing credibility. Did you count how many people were at Goodison Parkl on Sunday, cheering the lap of appreciation? And then there's you; it's like David Moyes wakes up every day and pokes you in the eye with a sharp stick, just to piss you off! Come on, fella, be sensible now... — Michael

If you lose, you win; if you win, you lose...
Is it too cynical to suggest that the players just did not want a storming close to the season because that would raise the possibility of a curtailed summer holiday with an early return to competitive play in the Intertoto Cup and Uefa Cup?

Look at the record. Walter Smith turned his nose up to the Intertoto as a distraction. And back then it was comparitively difficult to secure a Uefa Cup place from it. But in February 2002, apparently at the prodding of Bill Kenwright, Everton applied. We went into an immediate slide — no wins in seven league games, culminating in the dismissal of the unlamented Smith.

Cut to the following season: with Everton on the fringes of a Uefa Cup qualification, the question of the Intertoto came up again. This time David Moyes — faced with a potential mutiny among the players — decided it was just not worth while. This is from the Daily Post from February 2003:

”The Everton manager is not prepared to allow his players to be involved in games so soon after their return from a summer break. Everton's chief executive Michael Dunford said: ‘The manager simply feels that the timing and structure of the tournament does not suit his plans for our pre-season preparations. The opening round of next season's Intertoto Cup is early July — we feel that is too early to be involved in what would be meaningful, senior fixtures.’
Now cut to this season. Following the disaster at Anfield, we recovered to beat Sunderland, Charlton, Portsmouth, Arsenal, Manchester City and Blackburn, drawing with Wigan. Then, in February, Everton announced their application to enter the Intertoto. And look what happened: almost as soon as we announced entry into the Intertoto, things started to go awry, with two wins out of the subsequent 10 matches.

Coincidence? Consciously or subconsciously, I think the players just didn’t want to get back into the fray before August and so the potential Intertoto place became a disincentive.
Peter Fearon, New York  (9/5/06)

That's imprtessive reasoning, Peter. A Conspiracy Theory by any other name... — Michael

Moyes At The Crossroads
Like a relationship that has run it's course and become stale and tired, I feel David Moyes is now at the crossroads (and probably beyond) with Everton FC. So how did it all go wrong?

Really, the writing was on the wall well over 12 months ago, despite the Champions League qualification. A friend of mine from London was alongside me watching Everton at Goodison grind out another 1-0 win, he turned round to me and said 'this side will struggle to score goals, there simply arn't enough natural goalscorer's in the team.'

How prophetic that turned out to be, if more proof was needed it was in the dire pre-season results culminating in the 5-0 thrashing in Turkey. Then there was still time to sign a forward with pace, well any forward with pace would have done. But no: 'We have scoured Europe' said the manager, really?

Despite an honest but fruitless performance against Villarreal, a lack of cutting edge cost us dear again. I believed we had seen the last of the 5-goal hammerings pre-season, but no, our Romanian adventure helped us develop an appetite for them in fact.

The rest of the season was simply a nightmare as all the chickens seemed to come home to roost at once; if it wasn't for the period after Christmas, I really believe we would have stood a good chance of being relegated. So why the dramatic reverse in results and performances?

It simply has to be down to the manager first and foremost; his recent purchases — apart from Arteta and Cahill — have been woeful (Beattie I believe could come good with the right support) and his chronic failure to recognise the shortcomings of a team now carrying the mantle of 'lowest ever Everton team for goals scored' is nothing short of criminal. Even the Echo published tonight, who normally give Moyes an easy time of it in general, criticised him 'for spending £18M in the close season for little or no return'.

Can he turn it round in the summer? History suggests not; he simply has blown a great opportunity to take the club to the next level — not only that, he has given the 'lesser' clubs like Wigan, West Ham etc a helping hand by reducing our spending power and increasing theirs! Unless he proves me and many others wrong, I simply cannot see him sticking around to the end of his contract.

Over to you, Davey.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (8/5/06)

Duped again
When I pressed the 'submit' button on Saturday to renew my season ticket I just knew that I was going to get stung again. They wanted our money early to pay off a debt. 'Let's get the money in off those fickle bastards' said those total twats Wynot and Kenwrong. 'Only then will we be able to sell off the jewels and sign Richard Gough back to play centre midfield'.

The first signs came today with the incomprehensible news that Geri-twins have been given a new contract, but someone who will unfortunately command a fee has been shown the door. It is an absolute disgrace. Nothing else. Building for the future, eh, Davey, you useless pile of shit.

I have just witnessed one of the most boring season ever, with probably some of our worst ever players getting a game (Kilbane). No youth progression (he was scared of bringing on young Vic). It's got to the stage where I turn the boring bastard off when he's doing his TV presenting job. When was the last time Billy Liar said anything to us? Did he ever try to appease us over the January transfer debacle ?

Thank god I don't have to sit through another 90 minutes of that shite for a couple of months. Please change something...
Dave Woods, Warrington  (8/5/06)

Well, I guess there's a lot of anger in the air today... come on, people: you KNEW it was going to happen. Moyes is nothing is not consistent; we warned you about Ferrari; Li Tie is crocked... Get Real. This is The Future. High Goal-Efficiency Football!!! You gotta luv it! — Michael

Message for Arteta, Cahill and Yobo
As much as it hurts me to say this, for the sake of your own careers, you have to leave our inept club. You have too much class and skill to play for us. Why waste your time playing for a man with no vision or concept of decent football, a club with no money or ambition, and teammates who are quite frankly the biggest pile of shit I've ever seen?

Go and play for a club with a future because Everton Football Club is finished in its current state. To all those people who defend the people that run this Club, I pity you as you are fucking delusional.
Mark Sampson, Bristol  (8/5/06)

Now, come on... you can't use this service as a means for calling your fellow fans nasty things. Let's try to maintain a sense of decorum here, peolpe! — Michael

Moyes, Kenwright, In the name of God.........!
I was a supporter of Moyes, but enough is enough. We're supposed to be grateful for nearly finishing in the top half in two successive seasons. Matteo Ferrari and Per Krøldrup are apparently not good enough to get into our star-studded line-up, Arteta isn't good enough to get in at central midfield, but don't panic, cos we've got Phil Neville and Simon Davies (a snip at £3M each), plus Stubbs and Weir will be staying, so no cause for concern in defence either.

I've had enough of this bollocks, and the absolute garbage we're supposed to watch. I'm sick of being told Phil Neville should be going to Germany. One thing is putting up with second best, but we're not even getting that anymore, we're not even 10th best! We've played the three relegated teams in the run-in, all at home, and not beaten one of them! We've got a 2-6 aggregate score against the second worst team in the Division, and people on here are gonna tell me there are positive signs, just a couple of signings etc...

Moyes now has the distinction of managing the team to the lowest points and goals totals in our history. We can't score goals, but because of his obstinacy we failed to sign a forward in the whole of last summer, and the whole of the January window. We've got no pace anywhere in the side; we're going nowhere.

Put no more faith in a manager who squanders over £10 million on James Beattie, Phil Neville and Simon Davies, plus another £3M on an international ball-playing centre-half and then doesn't give him a game. Phil Neville is the playing equivalent of Moyes the coach. Gives you everything, shouts a lot, points a lot, clenches his fists a lot, but thinks he can overcome his limitations by running harder, being stubborn and kicking out when he gets frustrated. We Evertonians over 30 were brought up on something better. This man has made average players into an effective unit over short periods, until their basic lack of class is found out. Then there's nowhere to go, no imagination, no Plan B.

This is a man, who either through envy or small-mindedness, is unable to deal with players of real talent. Moyes and Kenwright for me will always be remembered as the men who sold potentially our greatest ever player to stop us going bankrupt, and then squandered the excess on pure mediocrity. They both have to go, and it's time for Blues to start making their feelings known. Nobody expects to compete with the top three overnight, but we can't even compete with the likes of Blackburn and Wigan! A disgrace to the legacy of Dean, Moores and Labone. Time to get these people out before they destroy OUR Club.
Mick Quirke, Madrid, Spain  (8/5/06)

Yea right... and exactly how are you going to achieve that? They ain't going nowhere, and High Goal-Efficiency Football is here to stay... until Davey comes up with the nexty new strategy. — Michael

Ins and Outs
The mailbag makes pretty depressing reading. And unfortunately, there's little that can be said to paint it in a better light. I must point out, however, that if we all really think about it, we cannot disagree with the contract decisions regarding Martyn, Stubbs, Ferguson and Li Tie.

We can't afford to not sign up Nige for another year, although hopefully he won't be the automatic first choice — Robert Green anyone? Also, Stubbs's form warranted another year. Again, I must say, hopefully as defensive cover, not strict first choice. Ferguson has given a lot to the job, and also taken some. I'm sure no-one will begrudge him his time yesterday, but that is that. And Li Tie has been injured for too long.

Which leads us to the two mistakes. Weir is slow and old, and symbolizes our reluctance as a club to take a gamble on younger players. Are we seriously to believe that Curtis Davies, Darren Bent, Ashton etc. wouldn't have picked us had we bid for them at £3M rather than their current inflated prices?

West Ham, a smaller club than us, took a gamble on Etherington, Zamora, Konchesky, all bought from other Premiership clubs, and two of whom are at least England B standard. We have been left standing. Rumours lead us to believe we missed out on Aaron Lennon and Michael Carrick too. It saddens me that with only a little mopre impetus in the transfer market, we could be in a very different place squadwise.

Which takes us to Ferrari. Something has clearly gone on behind the scenes because I cannot see a reason why we would not take up an option on him. Either that or we have someone else lined up.

So, in net terms we are losing a striker, a defender and a midfielder from this season's squad. Expect to see no less coming in. I can't see Moyes being stupid enough to see we have to cover these holes. Expect to see foreign loanees. I wish we'd take more of a punt on Championship players (Green, Sidwell, Nugent, Kisnorbo, Lescott etc. etc.). 3 million each anyone? Fingers crossed for Andy Johnson. Nolan is a pipe dream. But don't forget, Vaughan will hopefully come through next season.

Speaking of young players though, Moyes has rather let us down in terms of blooding them. Chadwick, Hibbert, Osman, Vaughan and Anichebe have all been introduced at rather meaningless points in the last few seasons, and his caution with Rooney was tangible. We have yet to see him take a risk. He's slowly becoming the Eriksson of Everton. Although with Walcott and Lennon in the England squad, who knows what the future may hold?
Chris Odedun, London  (8/5/06)

Perilously close to earning the Championship/Football Manager rasberry... — Michael

No show
For the first time since Smith was at the helm, I chose not to bother going the game yesturday. I gave my ticket away — rather spend my time with my family. With a combination of really poor football and the different kick-off times every week, I really can't be arsed. I'm bored with it. How many times have we been entertained at Goodison this year? Hanging on with ten men against Blackburn is about all I can remember.
Mark Lyth, Netherton  (8/5/06)

ToffeeWeb Inspiration?
Does Moyes make his retention decisions after reading ToffeeWeb? I`m positive I first read today`s press release in two postings last month by (I think) Harry Meek and Vanni Morrello. The words of the Club spokesperson were almost identical, I`m sure.

Perhaps they could use their crystal balls to tell me whether it`s worth re-newing for next season!
`Cat` Stevens, Richmond  (8/5/06)

I can't find that right now... otherwise I'd add a link to it!

Absolutely Correct!
I think Moyes was spot on over the new contracts issue.

Duncan Ferguson
I love the man, a legend in my opinion. My heart says he can do another season; my head says he is finished. I would have offered him a new six-year contract but luckily Moyes makes the decisions and, as much as it hurts to admit it, it is time to call it a day for Duncan. Goodbye and thanks Dunc; you will be missed.

David Weir/Alan Stubbs
The statistics prove that Everton have a far higher win-ratio when Weir and Stubbs are in the side. Bags of experience and they can offer one last season. I don't care about age; good enough, old enough is the rule and Stubbs/Weir are certainly good enough for another season.

Nigel Martyn
Hasn't put a foot wrong since signing. Still a very useful player. Moyes might bring in a new keeper but Martyn is great cover.

Li Tie
Made nearly 30 appearances whilst on-loan during season 2002-03 but since signing permanently has become the invisible man. It's time he went home.

Matteo Ferrari
Hasn't done enough to win a permanent move. Injury has ruled him out for most of the season and he's only started 6 Premiership games. He has talent but why spend what little money we have on him when there are other defenders such as Joleon Lescott available? I think Moyes can find a more reliable player to bring in.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (8/5/06)

What a surprise... NOT!

Fuck off Moyes
I'm fucking irriate! I left work with the news that Ferrari is no longer an Everton player. Even through I knew it was going to happen but I couldn't handle it when it did. I'm black, but I was so angry my face was redder than a red indian! I almost thumped some geezer on the tube for no reason!

Moyes you are well and truly incompetent! You are a fucking fool! HOW IN GODS NAME CAN YOU WASTE MONEY ON WEIR'S CONTRACT AND RELEASE FERRARI??? Is Weir your boyfriend? Has Weir got something 40,000 fans have never seen? Either way you are a fucking loser and you really have fucked off my summer. Thank God for the World Cup, otherwise I would have went to Liverpool to slap Moyes with a wet fish! Scottish waster! And ANYBODY coming with Weir signing a good thing will have to answer to me!
Luq Yus, London  (8/5/06)

Luq, yus, I'm getting worried about you... Your language is shocking (Okay, it could be Tourettes, I suppose I have to cut you some slack)... have you ever considered anger management? — Michael

Knuckle-dragging Manc
One thing that has struck me this season is the amount of anger between fellow Evertonians. Joseph Steven is a prime example. In a mailbag, surely the point is for people to air their views. I'm from Manchester and my knuckles don't drag on the floor. If we all accepted Everton's position, we'd still have Walter in charge and maybe even Johnson. So why can't we show some unity and try and get Kenwright and his fat rent boy Wyness out?
Alan  Clarke, Manchester  (8/5/06)

I'm glad you spoke up on Joseph Steven's letter. I thought he was out of line, but didn't have time to respomd directly. And somewhat hypocritical — moaning at inordinate length about moaning ToffeeWebbers! The first function is indeed a place to air views with those you share your interests... if not necessasruily your opinions. Action may develop... it may not.

Although his point may seem to have merit, in that the club and its custodians can blythly ignore the fans and any minority voicepieces like the TW Mailbag, I believe fan unrest was a significant factor that persuaded Peter Johnson to sell up and move on. The problrm at the moment, Alan, is that "unity" thang... — Michael

Feet on the ground
Facts are as follows: We had a nightmare start to the season, people called for Moyes's head, our European adventure which we waited so long for was a shambles & we didn't sign Michael Owen, Dirk Kuyt or any other superstars.

But we pulled out of the slump and were never in any danger of relegation as the season entered into the business end. Despite Bruce siging Sutton, Pennant, Forsell, Dunn, Izzet etc (all previous Everton 'targets' who Moyes was to various extents criticized for not signing), it was them that went down and not us.

We're a bigger club then Birmingham but they're richer. Moyes has had to operate within financial constraints. That's the truth. There's no point saying Nil satis nisi optimun. That's a motto not an explanation. If there's little money then the best can't be bought. That's why he has to gamble á la Krøldrup & Davies. Maybe he didn't research them enough but that's that.

And if we need more money, then prices will have to go up and more merchandise will have to go on the shelves. It doesn't make sense criticising Everton's ownership for not being polished businessmen and in the same breath have a go at the club for screwing its loyal fanbase out of their hard-earned income. Who else is supposed to buy the gear?

And I know that Kenwright comes across like a buffoon but in my opinion, it is sheer ignorance to state Kenwright out without having any idea of who would replace him. He appointed Moyes and he appointed Wyness. That's ok. Phil Burkess, you say that "It is disgusting how BK can simply sit back and allow this rot to unfold in front of his own eyes", but what exactly would you like him to do about it? Discover a gold mine beneath Goodison perhaps?

If our neighbours, who are light years ahead of us off the pitch (if not on it as last year showed), can't attract big money, what chance have Everton?

Hopefully we are slowly heading the right way. Dutch, although sometimes coming across like he's trying to wind up some of the more excitable lads on the forum, hits the nail on the head when he states that it's absurd to expect us to build on our 4th place finish and challenge the top three — yet this appears to be what some people expect. Fingers crossed, we'll continue to improve with Moyes.

Similarly those who say that Big Dunc was a leach who wasted his potential kind of miss the point. Everton while Dunc was around were in the main a bit of a shambles. He would have had to have been as good as Maradonna to drag us to win anything more than the FA Cup way back, and if he was we would have sold him. But Dunc gave us a lot, he was our dead cool anti-hero who loads of us idolised. A tatooed, reticent gladiator, menacing and capable of great inspiration. He took to us and we took to him. Would you rather have had a blithering charisma-free zone like Owen, openly ambiguous about his motivation for the club, or an animal like Duncan?

Big Dunc... gone but never to be forgotten!
Dominic Buckley, Manchester  (8/5/06)

I'm not having a laugh, I'm having a cry!!
I would rather they had kept Dunc Ferguson than extend Weir's contract. He is far too slow now and Stubbs will soon follow suit. At least Dunc could still put the 'fear of God' into the opposing team.

How about we change the name the "People's Club" to the 'Geriatrics' Club"? Sorry, but between them, Kenwright and Moyes are going to make us laughing stocks.
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (8/5/06)

....if not already, Madam? — Colm

What the fuck is Moyes playing at? He lets a quality defender like Ferrari go, and offers two yard dog defenders new contracts.
Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (8/5/06)

Maybe our Ferrari wasn't up to speed? Perhaps he couldn't head a ball as good as Stubbsy and Weir! — Colm

Perhaps he couldn't settle on Merseyside... or Davie Weir's form kept him sidelined... Don't you love thise excuses! — Michael

Shrewd Tactics
For all the knocking of Moyes in your columns, he does seem a very shrewd tactician. Last year, he led the whole Premiership down the line of 4-5-1 (even Mourinho adopted it) and this year his High Efficieny Goals stategy has achieved a magnificent finishing place for a team dead and buried in November.

My only worry is that, if all the managers follow his example next season, 34 goals will become a total to strive for rather than a bloody disgrace. But I guess that`s the price we have to pay for hiring `the brightest young manager in the game.`
Alan Mepson, Wavertree  (8/5/06)

Whether a shrewd tactician or a man bereft of ideas... his football team has been painful on the eye this past season. Dull as dishwater. — Colm

Bleak? Take a look at This!!!
Ferrari gone — no loan extension. Li Tie gone — what was with him anyway? Big Dunc, hero to the masses gone. Half the youth squad gone but Weir & Stubbs get extensions Martyn pending.

Don't get me wrong: those three have served us well, but to let Ferrari go who may have been a force with Yobo or with Valente & Hibbert... I can't see Yobo staying,nor can I see any decent players knocking on Moyes's door for a contract. Hope Big Dunc gets a testimonial;criminal if they don't honour him.
Mike Lejan, Wirral  (8/7/06)

All part of Moyes'sutopian vision of a young hungry side... — Colm

Don't moan — accept or act!
Like most Evertonians I know and meet, I’m a regular reader of all things Everton the internet offers — particularly as I haven’t lived in the UK for over four years, the internet is a real oasis of knowledge and banter in a wider world dominated by supporters of red teams whose English amounts to no more than ‘Roooneeeee!’ and ‘aaaahhhhhnnnnrrrreeee!’ And, thanks to the shite across the park and their un-fucking-believable triumph in Istanbul, more and more counterfeit shite shirts are popping up locally.

My first port of call is often the ToffeeWeb Mailbag — (I must admit that when I’m really bored I occasionally click onto the BBC 606 forum where some of the saddest individuals on god's green can be found, naming imaginary teams, and speculating over £20M signings, anybody feeling depressed or suicidal should have a wander over, they’ll find a breed of human that will allow you to raise a wry smile in the knowledge that your own life isn’t so bad after all. (Any contributors to this forum, I don’t apologise and pity you whole heartedly, get off your arse you lazy shite and take up gardening or bog snorkeling, you’ll be infinitely happier.) - and considering all contributors to ToffeeWeb are Everton fans and therefore far more intelligent than the average human being or knuckle dragging Manc, I can’t believe the utter crap I read in a large portion of the mail.

A list of which can be summarized thus: How can we as Evertonians accept the current situation that exists at Goodison Park? Average team, average manager, crap facilities, continually empty coffers, poor youth system and a chairman whilst being as blue as any fan, is as poor as a church mouse when it comes to funding a Premiership football club?

I have to admit right here and now all the above doesn’t actually bother me that much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 30 years old, I have seen Everton win trophies, league titles and even a European honour. I’ve also witnessed some of the most diabolical crap to have ever worn an Everton shirt. The reason none of it bothers me that much is that I have absolutely no intention whatsoever of changing any of it, I’m not a professional footballer or manager and I’m not wealthy enough to buy the club. This is why I must take this opportunity to applaud Mr Ken Buckley for the following statement:

‘but will I renew the season ticket? You bet I will’

and the next,

‘I throw a sizeable wedge at a product, not knowing what I will get and, when I get it, I will not know if I will like it or not. And then, whichever way it goes, I will do it all again the next year!!!’

and finally,

‘What I have paid for, I have no control over but have to rely on my representatives at Board level and Management’

There you have it; Mr Buckley, I thank you; we have no fucking control at all. We are Blues; we must accept our fate unless we are willing to do something about it. As previously stated, I have no intention of doing a thing. I will continue to be happy giving my full support to Everton and everybody who works and plays for the club in the full knowledge that all the moaning and whinging in the world cannot change the facts of who and where we are and that we’ll probably remain ‘somewhere’ in the Premiership for another trophy-less year next season.

This letter is therefore a plea to Evertonians writing to the Mailbag daily with the same complaints to stop.

My last point is for those who find my viewpoint rather apathetic and difficult to rationalize. For those who can feel the fire burn in their bellies and have the desire, drive and determination to bring about change for the better. Don’t write a big long fucking moan and whinge into ToffeeWeb; there are 793 known billionaires in the world and Everton needs only one of them. You’ll find a list of them here.

I wish you the greatest of luck and fortune in your endeavors, and if I win euro millions one day and you read about it in the paper I give permission for the site editor to pass on to you my e-mail address.

With the warmest regards to all my fellow Bluenoses.
Joseph Steven, Somewhere in Europe, Usually  (8/5/06)

Big Dunc
This will be a quick one as I'm on my lunch break.

Cheers Dunc and all the best. Some fantastic memories and a True Blue.
Paul Foster, London  (8/5/06)

Another season over... I couldn't wait for that final whistle yesterday. After finishing last season in 4th with a negative goal difference, for the first time in 8 years we have finished the season without a positive goal difference at home. We have scored just 34 league goals, the previous worst being 41 - eight years ago.

I fear for Everton next season. There is little or no money available and the older players who will get extensions will be another year older, another yard slower? It is disgusting how Bill Kenwright can simply sit back and allow this rot to unfold in front of his own eyes. His tenacity is not commendable — it's horrifying! 34 goals in a league season is unacceptable.

If we were playing half-decent football and winning games by a single goal with a water-tight defence then maybe its acceptable. The thing is, we don't have a water tight defence; we don't have a creative midfield (barrring two players perhaps), and we have no 20-goal-a-season striker.

With little money to spend, and a manager who invariably gets it woefully wrong in the market anyway, prospects do not look good. Moyes has a complete disregard for youth and it is now starting to annoy me. I do want him out — I've said that since early in the season. He's too negative, he's tactically raw and his style of football is nauseating. I'm afraid that, with him managing and Bill holding the reigns, we will go nowhere. The staff will not change while Bill's around, that's for sure, so a further season of utter shite is on the cards once again.

The only conceivable chance we have in the future is the introduction of a transfer cap and a salary cap. If FIFA need any convincing that footballers are monstrously overpaid then they can sit in seats 86 and 87 of row B in the Gladwys Street stand anytime next season and witness what I do.

Seriously, there is more passion and more talent on show behind the Dockers club every Sunday. I'm sorry but the future's bleak; the future's Bill.
Phil Burkert, Liverpool  (8/5/06)

Are you reading, David Moyes? Bill Kenwright? The opinion, expressed above, I believe, is a fair shout amongst many Evertonians. Tick follows tock. — Colm

Thank you, David
Forty thousand fans demonstrated at Goodison yesterday. Yes,they demonstrated the huge support that David Moyes enjoys as our best ever manager in the Premiership years! What a wonderful way to end the season. An inspired substitution to introduce Anichebe to score his first goal and put us back in the game and then the never-to-be forgotten equaliser from the modern day Mr Everton with his final kick of the ball.

How the lads have shaped in the second half of the season illustrates the fact that £5 million or so spent by the Moyestro in the close season will see us once again battling for a European place. Thank you, David, for proving the knockers so wrong once again.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (8/5/06)

Yes, he has proved what High-Goal Efficiency football can do for us, and it is clearly the way forward. The new 4-5-1. No need to buy any more strikers as we garnered more points for each goal scored than any other team in the Premiership. What a fantastic achievement!!! — Michael

BBC Bias
Was it just me? Or did the complete lack of any mention of the achievements of Brian Labone or the respect duly paid at the West Brom game (by both sets of supporters) merit no mention on MOTD?

Compare to the furore surrounding George Best etc. Last game of the season or not, anybody who knows anything about football, ie is older than 15 and managed to live before the Premiership gave us what we have today, deserved to know that his type of football spirit still lives on in some parts of the country.
Mark O'Brien, Derby  (8/5/06)

Couldn't agree more, Mark. Accepting, perhaps, that Brian Labone was not as much a hosehold name as someone like Bobby Charlton I was annoyed at the lack of coverage to yesterday's pre-match tribute to Mr Labone. Not particularly trying to 'score points' but the recent passing of John Lyall received full coverage before the West Ham v Middlesbrough FA Cup semi-final. Why not Mr Labone?

I don't know if it's fair to compare but Brian Labone was to Everton what I suspect Bobby Charlton might be to Manchester United. Could you imagine any particular remembrance of Mr Charlton being completely blanked by the media? Neither can I! — Colm

Big Dunc
Personally, I can't understand the people who choose to slag Big Dunc off. I admit he never scored loads of goals but what these people seem to forget is how many he contributed to by taking at least two defenders with him wherever he went.

The best thing that can be said about Dunc is he never gave less than 110% — you always knew he was trying and at the West Brom game on Sunday he still showed some nice touches which would put our so called stars to shame. I really hope they can find Dunc a job on the staff somewhere if he'll take it. Personally, I would love to see him around Goodison on matchdays.

Finally, may I suggest to these people who slag him off the next time they're cheering the team on, have a good look round and see if those players playing are giving the same 110% as Dunc would [I think not somehow].
Big Dunc Bluey, Stoke  (8/5/06)

I always believed it was both mathematically and physically impossible to give more than 100%. Methinks your love for Duncan Ferguson paints a rosier picture of his contribution in recent times than the reality. Still, glad for the Big Fella that he went out as he did yesterday. — Colm

Duncan is our hero......
I see that opinion is split on the Big Man, I for one absolutely love the fella and I am going miss not seeing him in a blue shirt again.

I will never forget you, Duncan, out-jumping David James at the Street End for your first goal, whipping your top off after scoring against the Mancs, absolutely terrifying the Newcastle defence in the FA Cup Quarter Final in ’95, walking around Wembley wearing a blue nose while carrying the FA Cup, scoring a beauty at Wimbledon soon after coming out of jail, thrashing a half volley into the Kop End net, being on fire at Old Trafford and scoring twice (one of which was a beauty), last season showing up Rio Ferdinand for the crap defender that he is, scoring in the last minute yesterday and bringing a tear to my eye during your farewell walk around the pitch afterwards.

I know you’ve had your moments (Scharner and Freund must be made up to see you go!), but you have gave me so many magic moments. Most of all though I will never forget when you went to Newcastle and looked absolutely gutted at the press conference and showing so much respect for the club by telling of your affection for Everton and especially the supporters, which carried on during your time up there — something which Rooney could do with learning from.

So long, Big Man; thanks for the memories. Have a happy retirement and no doubt we’ll see you again some time soon sitting in the stands cheering on the blue boys.

Note to the Everton Board — any chance on giving him a testimonial? He has been here for the allotted time.
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (8/5/06)

Don't talk too soon! Who knows what will happen in the summer. What odd we see the Liverpool Echo running with a backpage headline, "Duncan re-signs!". — Colm

I recall Moyes making noises on his appointment about building a young side for the future, something along the lines of wanting ‘Win-Hungry young players’ or similar. The mean average age of the side he inherited for his first game against Fulham in 2001 was 27.25 years.

The side he put out against West Brom after four years in charge averaged exactly 28 years, and this included an 18 year old.

It is not impossible either, that new contracts will be handed to three players, each well over 34 years old. Funny that, isn’t it?
Mick  Gill, Crewe  (8/5/06)

Every good side needs a strong spine. Unfortunately, ours has arthritis! - Colm

I predicted in September that the top scorer in the Premiership at the end of the season will score more than the entire Everton squad. Henry's hat-trick yesterday just proved it. How long do we have to put up with this negative crap?

I look at Boro with the excellent financial support Steve Gibson he has given to the club. Then I look at Billy and Davey and think "For Christ's sake, what have we got here?" Mind you, when Moyes has money, look at what he buys — Davies, Kilbane etc — I could go on. Will we ever see a Everton striker score 20 goals in a season again? I believe Tony Cottee was the last to do this.

Nevermind, we can all be happy knowing Liverpool will win the FA Cup — no doubt on penalties.
Joe McMahon, Rossendale  (8/5/06)

Hmmm... Henry: 27 goals; Everton, 34 goals. Guess maths is not one of your strong points... but it was close!

Simon Davies
Why did people boo Simon Davies when he came off? And why do some fans keep on calling him a shithouse every time he gets the ball?

As far as I can see, he has had a poor season but he has not been terrible. On Sunday, he showed glimpses of what he can and should be doing. But he seems to lack confidence and I do not understand why Moyes thinks he is a holding midfielder. Let us hope he gets settled next season and starts putting in performances he is capable of.
Ben Greenwood, Chester  (8/5/06)

Kevin Nolan visits Bellefield?
Kevin Nolan in talks with Moyes about a summer move to Everton? Yeah right. I should think Davey looked at him, noticed he still had his own hips and gave him directions to Anfield.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (8/5/06)

I was listening to Radio Merseyside on the way home from the match. Some geezer, from I don't know where but he was 62 years old, said that he would give Ferguson another contract....!! Because he was an Eertonian!!!! Where are these people being beamed down from?

I am an Evertonian. I am crap at playing. Do I deserve a game? No, do I bollox! What has Ferguson done for this club? Scored a couple of Derby goals? Acted and played like a thug?

Duncan Ferguson, for me, will be remembered as the player who bled this club dry with little or no return. Goodbye, good riddance and I wonder who next will have a treatment table named after him?
Mark  Joseph, West Lancs  (8/5/06)

Goodbye, Dunc!
What an emotional match, eh! For 84 minutes I was so depressed and gutted that we were two-nil down and had dominated the play! Then, up steps Victor with a superb goal and it helps turn the tide. Ferguson's goal was the prefect send-off but when the dust settled and the heart slowed down, Everton were poor not to crush a poor WBA side.

Davies was usless, as was Andy van der Meyde. Weir was so unsure it was unture. His reward? A new contract! I often looked to the bench and Ferrari looked like he was saying goodbye also as he never once looked like coming on. I honestly hate Moyes for that, and hate is a strong word! I really hope our dip-shite manager will recognise the talent of Gera and Curtis Davies and swoop down in the summer, along with AJ. But will he? Will he bollocks!!! Everton are so dependant on Arteta we may as well make him manager.

Anyway, with another season of woe over, I would personally like to thank big Dunc for loving the club and giving his all for us the fans. That's why you are a legend! You even accepted being sold to Newcastle to help the club finances. Have a happy retirement! I really wish those dickhead directors (bar a few) would show the same level of love back to us: that's why we don't love them, more hate! And I never once heard today Moyes's name being sung so what are you talking about, Danny Broderick???

A shite season over, Moyes needs a good summer in the transfer market to save his job!
Luq Yus, London  (7/5/06)

Chicken McFadden
I hate McFadden. Never I have I felt so against one of our own, but this lad really thinks he is a quality player when the truth is he is an average player at best. The amount of bad desicions and pathetic shots on goal today was no surprise to me, but what really got me was incidents like the one when Arteta fed the ball through to him only for the stupid twat to change his run. His reaction to Arteta pissed me right off.

Fuck off, McFadden, you are shit! In my eyes he is symbolic of the mediocrity some Evertonians have come to accept. One question to a fellow blue I always ask is how they rate McFadden; their response goes a long way in my eyes.

Two changes which would instantly boost the squad next year would be replacing McFadden and Kilbane with a better calibre of player. It should be an easy task, but I forgot it's up to Dithering Davey... Speaking of Dithering Dave, I heard a rumour that he has called a meeting with all the players tomorrow at Bellefield. Could be innocent enough but some of the lads are saying it's to inform them of his departure. Don't know about that... but what I do know is that, whatever you think of Duncan, sometime in the future when I've got kids I'll be telling them about the Scottish bluenose with an Everton tattoo who used to love Everton and beat the shit out of burgalars!

There will be no mention of McFadden, Kilbane, Davies or anyone like that. For this I am sad to see Ferguson play his last game for Everton and I am glad he managed to get a goal today. That being said, it is defiantly time for the Big Fella to call it a day.
Robbie Muldoon, Liverpool  (7/5/06)

Deja Vu
Today's game for me summed up our season. Inconsistent, indifferent and the odd purple patch thrown in. The opposition carved out two openings and scored from both; we carved out at least ten openings and scored two, which suggests the need for at least one clinical finisher to be added in the close season.

The manager to me seemed most animated in his deliberations with his Number Two and after what seemed an eternity gambled upon youth by introducing Anichebe along with Van der Meyde. Anichebe, without looking a Rooney or Vaughan, did what strikers are supposed to do and SCORED A GOAL!!! VdM did nothing.

This scenario makes me think that our present manager is more interested in playing what he considers senior players rather than realising that he may just have players who are not of the required standard and by having to play the untried might somehow diminish his standing. From today's starting line-up I thought only three players worthy of mention: Valenete I thought the class act; Osman the only player with drive and purpose; and Arteta with obvious class but often flatters to decieve. This criticsm may be borne out of the fact that, in the years Moyes has been with us, I have yet to observe a pattern of play that defines both the Moyes Way and indeed the Everton Way — which may get some of the players we critisise off the hook because, if they don't know or understand what the manager wants, then... hell — we have no chance!

Overall, I am glad to see the back of this season as it has been nothing short of a big disappointment, which I believe started with the words of Moyes when he said 'We go with what we have got', No building toward the Champions League and, by definition, none toward building on a fourth-place finish, resulting in what we have witnessed up until today.

Going with what we have got is fine if the manager is confident of improvement but when (as this season proves) he is nowhere near it — and in fact gone backwards — what should our Chairman do?

You will will see from the tone of my post I am not too chuffed with our season... but will I renew the season ticket? You bet I will — and I have already done so. Every year, I am most prudent with my money matters — at least for 364 days of the year — but, on the 365th, I throw a sizeable wedge at a product, not knowing what I will get and, when I get it, I will not know if I will like it or not. And then, whichever way it goes, I will do it all again the next year!!!

What I have paid for, I have no control over but have to rely on my representitives at Board level and Management level to deliver that which they promise. I have no recourse except through a website such as this to comment upon how my investment is going — and long may you continue to give us all that platform.

The window cometh and I will believe nothing until I see them wave the shirt for the back page of both the Daily Post and Liverpool Echo for the incomings; and any significant outgoings will again question ambition. All standard fare for the dedicated Blue.

In conclusion, I did a straw poll in our ale house: 99.9% have already renewed or will renew for next season and the same proportion believe that only an injection of money will alter anything significantly. The rest will be merely cosmetic, which leaves me thinking that the Dodds, Marshes and fictitous Dutch's should perhaps reconsider their stances.

Have a great Summer! See you next season --- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (7/5/06)

I hope Duncan has left!
I sincerely hope Duncan has left the club, because I spent 20 minutes clapping at the end. That applause was for his contribution for 10 years, not this season; because he was shite.
Ahvanta Haanjob, Birkenhead  (7/5/06)

Thank you, err.. Ahvanta... bit of girlie name that, init? If you say it quickly it sounds a bit naughty. It's not your real name, is it?

So why isn't Duncan getting a testimonial? And don't give me that "'coz he left us" line. If that were true, then explain please how Unsworth got a testimonial. — Confused

Papering over the cracks
For all the talk on this forum of protests, I saw nothing today to suggest that the majority of fans want Moyes and/ or Kenwright out. Far from it. Maybe Labby's death cooled the air of revolt that's been brewing, but after being led to believe that a number of Toffeewebbers would be bringing out the 'Kenwright Out' banners, the atmosphere at Goodison probably reflected the mindset of Richard Dodd more than Tony Marsh.

Still, today yet again reinforced what's been clear enough to me for too long: the team consists of too many journeymen who will only go downhill. We lack a leader on the pitch who's able to grab hold of matches; the players are abysmal when it comes to supporting each other in any meaningful, attacking way; there is no way on earth that we'll be able to keep Arteta beyond next season; and that Moyes is tactically inept. In short, we are crap, and only the truly deluded could draw anything positive from the season.

Although he wasn't really at fault for either goal, my gut feeling tells me that Turner is not the answer. Anichebe looks promising, and took his goal well, but how many times have we said that about young Everton strikers? I'm just thanking the football gods that the Big Yin's Saturdays will be probably be spent knee-deep in pigeon shit and burglar's blood next season. But, then again, nothing would surprise me with Everton.

Still, considering how things were at the start of the season, I'll settle for how things eventually turned out. Next season? I'll reserve judgment, but at the moment I'm far from optimistic, no matter how much Richard and Dutch try to convince us all that consecutive top eleven finishes equals progress.
Andrew Conroy, Stoke-on-Trent  (7/5/06)

Starting XI? Huh?
Maybe I'm missing something, but where the heck did Mark Joseph pull the following starting XI from, in his prediction for August 2006??

Wright, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Carsley, Kilbane, Neville, Davies, Ferguson, Beattie.

Didn't you 'cleverly' miss out several of our most gifted players, including Yobo, Valente, Cahill, VdM, Jimmy Mac, Osman, oh, and Arteta?

I mention this only because Moyes's critics need to realise they can't have it both ways. Moyes's supporters are constantly told that finishing 4th last season means nothing and they should stop using it as an example of his genius.

I couldn't agree more — Moyes needs to show us he can take this club forward and not stagnate in the middle of the table. But for those who have decided that they will criticise DM for whatever he does or says, you can't have it both ways either.

Supporters of Moyes can't keep talking about last season, but critics should not ignore facts (or make them up) merely to strengthen an otherwise inadequate argument.
Paul Foster, London  (7/5/06)

No, I think finishing 11th in the fine flush of mid-table medicrity is arguemnent enough. — Michael

Season Review
Well, the only solace from today was the fact that Totteringham spunked 4th to their nearest neighbours, and a team that I have some affection for, if only cos their fans are humans and I had some great times at Highbury and afterwards in pubs in N London, particularly a Gooner called Danielle, but I digress. Was I the only one seeing the irony of an Israeli scoring the winner? Anyways, I digress again.

So, how to view 05-06? Fucking shite, if you'll pardon my French. Other contributors have coined far better superlatives, but for me the writing was on the wall in Bangkok. Ill-advised or not, that tournament was our last pre-season friendly before the big kick off against Villareal.

I can accept that the better team won that tie over both legs (Collina aside). What I can't accept is the excuse touted by the Dour One that that fucked our season. Bollocks! Players get over bad / freakish results. Particularly when they have little or no affinity to their paymasters. The complete capitulation for 2-3 months subsequently (and then another bad run towards the end of the campaign) is, in my humble opinion, not acceptable.

The fact that we also play a style of 'football' that is akin to that played by the current German national side (who will no doubt get to at least the semis next month) is immaterial. Christ, for the first time in my life I actually avoided watching us play on the box!

Anyway, some positives to end on. This mailbag has been a Godsend. I find I laugh out loud in work (much to my colleagues' annoyance) at the various missives from people like Dutch, Doddy and Tony Marsh. (Actually, Tony amuses me — the Brazilian comment being the best — the other two, it's more of a sympathy laugh).

Colm, Michael and others who make this site work — salutes and a virtual pint to you. One of the few things I miss about living in the UK is the craic from the games, particularly the away games. The actual match often used to interrupt a great day out with some great people... I imagine that would be more so now!!

Damn, was trying to remain positive. So, roll on next season, and the emotional rollercoaster that is the bitch that is EFC. No matter how badly she treats us, we keep going back for more... Anyway, in an effort to see some quality footy, I'm off to the World Cup for an entire month. Damn, negative again...

ps: Dutchy and Doddy — so back-to-back top 10 finishes? What happened???
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (7/5/06)

Thanks for that, Matt; much approeciated. Just a note to get some facts straight: we played Fenerbahçe and Udinese after Bangkok and before Villarreal as part of our "preparation". Perhaps that 5-0 drubbing in Turkey was the real confidence killer...? — Michael

Finishing 4th
Michael, you laugh at me because I think finishing 11th is acceptable. I can see your argument but after finishing 4th last season the only way was down.

Do you really expect Everton to finish in the Top 3? Finishing 4th in some ways was a bad thing because it set the bar to impossible standards to repeat.

If we accept that we over-achieved last season then this season can be considered as a consolidation. We are now an official mid-table side which is amazing progress after so many years fighting relegation.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (7/5/06)

Oh for god's sake... "finishing 4th was a bad thing"... are you totally stuipid or what??? Err... let's not finish too high ion the table this season beacuse people might expect us to do the same thing next season... ??? Your hero David Moyes — Manger of Mediocrity and champion of High Goal-Efficiency football — HE told us the target was 3rd place. That's what he said!!! So enough of all this "setting the bar too high" bollocks.

Third may have been a bit adventurous — we would have had to out-do Liverpool after all (oh... wait a minute... I think we did that last season!) but nothing ventured... With some better transfers and some better preparation there was no reason at all why we could not have finished 4th again. You've told us all season we've had a better team, remember!

18 points... I'm sure you could name six games we really should have won rather than lost. That's all it would have taken. But you're happy with 11th place and "amazing progress" of being "officially" mid-table (you really do come out with some utter shite at times). To me, that says it all. No reply needed. — Michael

Everton 2 - 2 West Brom
A second consecutive Top 10 could have glossed over what has been a disappointing season so maybe a draw was the right result. And 11th is pretty decent.

A debut goal from teenager Victor Anichebe (who says Moyes doesn't give chances to youngsters?) was very pleasing but I was so happy that Big Dunc scored. The late 90s were a very dark period in Everton's history and for years Big Dunc was a shining light. A player who was good enough and passionate enough to inspire a crowd and single-handedly destroy opposing defences. Sure, you could argue that Big Dunc never fulfilled his potential, there were some hard times for the player but when he had a day, he really had a day!!! He always seemed to save his goals for the big games against Liverpool and Man Utd.

If today's game was to be his last in an Everton shirt, I think it was fitting that he scored. Big Dunc is in my opinion an Everton legend and I hope he stays on in some role next season. How about player-coach??

Good news as well: Spurs weren't good enough to repeat our amazing feat of finishing 4th!!!
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (7/5/06)

Wonderful glossing attempt there, Dutch, with the typical kind of blather we have come to expect from you. Go on, tell us again: dropping from 4th to 11th really is progress. I like that one the best. — Michael

Kick out Kenwright??!!
Why oh why is everyone calling for Kenwright to be kicked out?

Sure, there isn't much money about and he has handled some things disastrously, but who is going to come in with a pot of cash and buy him out? I don't see a long line of investors wanting to invest in the club or buy him out!!
Shakin Stevens, Liverpool  (7/5/06)

You have to wonder if there is in fact interest out there... but the problem for them would be persuading Kenwright to relinquish control of the transformer! Unless they are offering a ridiculous premium on top of the under-valued price for the club Kenwright negotiated with Johnson, there is probably very little initiative for him to accept their overtures. And, given the constraints of "commercial sensitivity", it should be no surprise that we don't get to hear anything. — Michael

Caution can cost!
We've recently been linked with Curtis Davies for West Brom, who is also linked with Arsenal, Spurs and the Liverpool. However, we were outbid for him when he signed for West Brom... who bid £3m instead of our £2m.

Guaranteed, he'll now cost £4-5m if we were lucky enough to buy him. Why, oh, why did we not shell out the extra million for him, instead of the whole Krøldrup fiasco! Whilst we maybe erred on the side of caution, he is a young, pacy, talented British defender. I think even at £3m it would have been worth the gamble. These are the risks Kendall used to take, which got us the league in the eighties.
Brian Potter, Bolton  (7/5/06)

Brian Potter? From Bolton? Hmmmmm..... - Colm

Response to Peter Fearon's comment
Peter Fearon,

You have enlightened me. I've just realised this, that Moyes does keep saying that he doesn't have much money to spend at every transfer window, including LAST SUMMER, when he spent up to 20 million!!! You've given me hope that will buy some serious quailty this summer. I hope it's around £15 million...

£3M for Ferrari, £3M for Lescott/Cutis Davies, £5M for Johnson, and £4M for Yaya Toure. Add those four, we'll be competing for that a top 5 spot, mark my words.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Johor, Malaysia  (7/5/06)

Paul and Ov Collyer really must take some of the blame for all of this Football Manager speak! — Colm

August 2006 Starting XI
Wright; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Carsley, Kilbane, Neville, Davies; Ferguson, Beattie.

Renew?????? MY ARSE!

"We're Shite and we know we are, we're Shite and we know we are... altogether now..."
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (6/5/06)

"We're Shite and we know we are, we're Shite and we know we are....." Indeed, but come this time tomorrow we might be top ten shite and that's enough in some people's eyes for a street party to celebrate such a wonderful achievement! — Colm

Having started out merely observing what current Evertonian's REALLY think about Everton FC, it has now come to the point were i am in total agreement with EVERY letter that is currently posted in to bemoan our fall from grace.

Apart from one or two (they need no mention) one thing is clear: BILL KENWRIGHT NEEDS TO GIVE UP HIS OWNERSHIP, or else Everton will fall even further down the ladder. It does make you think — How bad would it have to get before BLUE BILL really found it vital to find a new owner? Perhap's our wait is coming to an end, either way, this season?
Jamie Carroll, Co Louth, Ireland  (7/5/06)

How long's a piece of string?! — Colm

I read your mailbag and I feel like hanging myself by the time I've finished. Two blokes write positive letters and get slaugherted for it. I'm sure everyone would have been more than happy to have finished in mid-table back in November. Moyes has had a bad season yes, but if he goes who do we get? Reid, Gregory, Howard Wilkinson?

Because thats what we will end up with. So I say don't keep changing the manager, get behind him and hopefully everyone's loyalty will in time pay off.
Gary Norman, Stoke-on-Trent  (7/5/06)

I don't think all criticism of the manager means he must be removed forthwith! Plenty of room for improvement though next term. — Colm

I iust happened to turn up the brochure produced after the title success in 1962-63 and thought some words from our Chairman and the Manager might be appropiate today. The Chairman, John Moores, "EFC lucky to have the most doggedly faithful following of supporters of any club in the country. And this type of support is of far greater value than just money at the turnstiles. There will be no smug satisfaction or sitting back contented with the club's present position.

"The management is aware that the Evertonian knows appreciates and very rightly demands football of the highest class." The Manager, Harry Catterick, wrote "Everton must have a nucleus of 15 or 16 players who can be labelled first teamers. We only want players who will bring glory to Everton"

How I wish those were the sentiments of the present Chairman and Manager. I know times have changed and we no longer have a benefactor like John Moores but our aspirations as Evertonians have not dimmed but sadly as the years go bye the prospect of ever having a glory day again grows less and less. It would appear that 10th in the league is the summit of our ambition from the Chairman down.

In the 65 years I have watched the Blues, there have been highs and lows but we now seem to accept that we are an also-ran and the club is happy with it. Sadly, mugs like me will still pay our money and Kenwright, Wyness and Moyes will cheerfully carry on as usual.
George Carroll, Bramhall  (6/5/06)

So long as there's Evertonians like yourself George, to rattle home the message that the current mediocrity is simply not good enough — or acceptable to anyone who cherishes the history of the Club — the better. It's frightening to think there's now a generation of Evertonians who consider you out of order if you are critical of our lack of style, our dismal performances, and lack of championing two consecutive top-ten finishes. Shite football is shite football, whether fourth or fourteenth! — Colm

Transfer Money... just Moyes being clever?
One issue keeps bugging me: the money Moyes has to spend in the summer. Whilst I was reading through a post in a forum I came across this reply:

"The thing is I don't believe we have limited resources. I think we will go all out this summer and the talk of low funds is just so we don't get over-priced. This could be a big summer in the future of Everton and I reckon we have more than were letting on."

Maybe he is exaggerating a bit but he has a valid point. Moyes has been trying to hide how much money we have to spend since he has been here. Its his "tactic" as you woould say.

Think about it: Last season, Moyes was bleating on about how we didn't have that much money but he couldn't cover it up with everyone knowing the windfall you get from the Rooney money and finishing fourth in the Premiership. So he goes and spends £20 million. Not a lot eh Moyes? He is trying to keep the prices down IMO by saying how little money we have.

This season, it could be working. The Press think as we aren't in Europe we won't have any money but, if Wyness keeps bangin on about how well we are doing financially, there must be some pot of gold hiding somwhere. I'm not saying we have £20 million to spend again but saying we have about £7 million just doesn't stick IMO.

We usually get linked to players left right and centre but I haven't seen Moyes before suss out the players he wants before the transfer windows open. Just a hunch but I remember Yobo and Arteta both saying at different points that they want us to buy good players during the window. Wouldn't we have heard Yobo voicing his concerns more around now if he thought we had no money to spend in the summer? Something might have been said to him by Moyes telling him he has more money to spend than the Press thinks or that he has decent targets lined up. I don't see Yobo as the kind of person who would button his lip if he sees something he doesn't like.

So, in my opinion, Moyes has more money to spend but he's keeping his cards close to his chest.
Peter Fearon, Cheshire  (6/5/06)

Only time will tell. What we do know is that if Everton do not spend well this summer then the knives will become increasingly sharp. Big summer ahead for the manager, spending spree or no spending spree. Wonder how much of the new TV money he'll get to spend?! AJ for starters, I reckon... — Colm

Any truth?
Any truth in the rumour mill claims Nolan was at Everton today? Wehre did it come from? And, most importantly, why isn't there a link to it?
tom sharpe, Walton  (6/5/06)

I hope she's in the mood for dancing. Z-Cars or Grand Old Team? — Colm

Thanks, lads
I've only just discovered this site — we 69-year-olds are a bit slow on the uptake with the web and all that crap! The correspondence section is fantastic. Reading the comments of real supporters is like being back in the Elm Tree in Kirkdale 40 years ago and listening to the after-match comments.

No question about it, the current crop of Evertonians still represent the funniest, most erudite and well-informed collection of football supporters anywhere in the world. A title we'll never lose. Keep up the good work lads!
Ted Lewis, Kenilworth  (6/5/06)

Nice one, Ted. One Evertonian is worth...

Moyes and Kenwright out!
That Scottish wind bag has out-stayed his welcome. Some Moyes supporters crowe about how I am always against him and waffle, waffle! Well, of the five players out of contract, four are staying while ironically the youngest out of the five (Li Tie) will leave. Moyes Out!

If you have a small squad then wouldn't you want to keep all the players at your disposal? So why let Li Tie and Ferrari go while keeping the degrading rest? Moyes and Kenwright Out!

Simon Davies has had some stick off me this season as he has been very poor by has good standards. But in his last two games he has been Man of the Match and, by his own admission, wants to give the club more next year. I give credit where credit is due and I hope Davies will shine tomorrow and all of next season. Amazing his improvement when Moyes plays him as a attacking midfielder, not a holding one. What kind of negative manager plays flair players in holding positions? Moyes, Kenwright, Weir and Ferguson (who still is a legend but, dude, you gotta go!) OUT!
Luq Yus, London  (6/5/06)

New kit
Is it just me or does the new kit (which we have been told was designed over the course of two or three months), look remarkably like the mock up kit that you linked to last year? Said kit was supposed to be a piss take, wasn't it??

With it being 70s retro, I say sod a new contract for Big Dunc: bring back the 'Latch'!
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (6/5/06)

Idea for a humerous protest song:
To the tune of Dad's Army: "Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Kenwright, with your fucking People's Club?"
Blue Fella, Deeside  (6/5/06)

And to think... it was only twelve months ago we were singing "Champions League, We're Havin' a Laugh...." — Colm

Well, fellas, here we are: one more game to go. I urge you as Evertonians to show some kind of unrest towards the people running the show. He (Bill Kenwright) got a standing ovation at the AGM — astounding! These people are all in it together. We are the fans, we pay our money, we pay their wages.

Please, please at least throw your season ticket on the pitch at the beginning or the end, whether you're renewing or not. Let's make them sit up, let's just give them a sign — otherwise nothing will change... and even if it doesn't, we can at least make them feel uncomfortable.
Blue Fella, Deeside  (6/5/06)

Oh aye... last game of the season is the perfect stage for Evertonians to make a complete twats of themselves, running across the hallowed turf and chucking a used season ticket book in the direction of the Director's Box! Any wonder Mr Wyness is introducing a swipe card system! One in the eye for all would-be disgruntled Evertonians! — Colm

Full support
"But if Moyes isn't happy with his situation, then why does he continually claim to have the full support, and financial backing, at all times, of his Board? — Colm"

"Why then does Davey continually offer undying gratitude to this same Board for the fullest of support? End of term report: Mr Moyes, D — 4/10: Must do better. — Colm"

And what would your employer do if you told them the company employees suck and the board is crap? Give you a pay rise or say 'Don't Come Monday'? Moyes's probably grateful that tosser Kenwright hasn't used him as a scapegoat and sacked him when his head has been called for in the past. Make-or-break year, someone said in a previous message? Well, I don't see that. Even if we make a CL placing or win a cup — or even the title — I don't see things improving with Kenwright still there.
Eric Myles, Seoul, Korea  (6/5/06)

Whilst I wouldn't expect to hear David Moyes using the media to complain about funding and support from his Board the fact that he has repeatedly "bigged up" the Board leaves the manager in a position where you could arguably say that now that he's made his own bed he can lie in it. I was trying to find a few further clichés but at the end of the day I think it's sink or swim. ;-) — Colm

Ferguson renewal
I said to my wife that I was through with Everton if Rooney went. Due to the confused nature of his leaving (and the machinations of agents etc.) I reserved judgement when he "finally" went to United.

For some reason, I'm feeling the same about it all when I hear rumours about Duncan Ferguson getting an extension.

I mean, really, what is the point of supporting the club when the manager may renew a contract of a player who has the longest goal drought of a striker in the league in which he plays? Does that not suggest he's a little bit crap or out of place? When Jon Stead (playing for the team with the lowest-ever Prem points total) scores before him, you've got to wonder ... errr why is this guy being offered more money per year than a ward full of nurses just to huff and puff for 20 minutes?

Weir, ok, maybe, as backup, but please... when you've got a lack of pace upfront, take a risk on youth rather than a violent lumbering representation of everything that Everton does wrong.

And if he's being offered a new contract due to the smallness of the squad — then whose fault is that?
James Welford, London  (6/5/06)

A little knowledge #2
It's 'Schadenfreude' and 'Weltanschauung' ('Etymology' - John Bracken's letter below).

It's remarkable to see a letter where the foreign words are key to its point, yet so hopelessly misspelt! The attempts made are not even close.
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (6/5/06)

Satis, eh?! — Colm

I'm glad it didn't happen on my watch or I'd never hear the end of it — Michael

I have ust looked at the stats for our game v WBA. Not that much difference between the teams, also Campbell has never scored against us in the 8 games he has played. What price the first goal??

This is the most depressing build-up to the final game that I can remember. Davey, you have a lot to answer for. The football being played is crap. During the close season can you get the players to practise passing and... ah what the fuck! I am so pissed off with the way the club is being directed.... KENWRIGHT ET AL — FUCK OFF!
Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (6/5/06)

Rest assured, Mr Kenwright is indeed off this summer. To Arizone-I-A! Into the Wild West. Sadly, to return after the sun sets to the remnants of The School of Science! Unless Keith finds him a buyer before then! — Colm

Sack Moyes?
I don't quite understand some of Everton Fans who still think Moyes should be sacked...

Let's look at the reality here:

Moyes saved us from being relegated, got us to 3 top-ten finishes in four seasons. All this on limited money.

I'm not saying Moyes is perfect or anything — he has made many mistakes — but at £4.5 million net outlay per year, he has done considerably well. If you're fustrated that we are not progessing fast enough, then it's the Board's fault for not giving enough money to Moyes.

FACT: No other Manager can better Moyes's record of these aachievements on inheriting a crap, old squad.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Johor, Malaysia  (6/5/06)

Prepare to don thy tin hat! Blame the Board, not Moyes? Why then does Davey continually offer undying gratitude to this same Board for the fullest of support? End of term report: Mr Moyes, D. — 4/10: Must do better. — Colm

"Schaudenfraude". It's one of those unique German words that sum up eight paragraphs of bile and rhetoric in one word.

A quick translation would be:- your mates fail; enemies fail; you do OK — as long as the former two keep on failing, all is well and you smile. Very efficient, these Germans.

"Weltenshaung". It means 'world view' at a base level translation but, in German, a lot more. It's almost your whole personality in one word. One word on paper; that's who you are.

Two good Germanic words and I've needed more than two paragraphs to describe them. Combine then, and order these as you will:- Rooney, Weltenshaung, Schaudenfraude.

That would be two or, maybe three words, with a bit of punctuation and verbage and the whole saga is sorted. Who is laughing? The English or the Germans? — Me, I just love going the game with my friends...

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.
John Bracken, Liverpool  (6/5/06)

What does the last bit mean in German?! - Colm

Useless, Clueless, Wyness
Is it just me or can you imagine Wyness's presentation last week in Dublin as being something similar to David Brent's motivation piece in The Office?

The man, Wyness that is, is a fraud. In his interview with the Irish Examiner the part I loved was this bit "It’s official: Everton are top of the league. No, your brains haven’t just turned to toffee. It’s not often they get the chance to lord it over Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and, especially, their dearly beloved neighbours Liverpool, so you can forgive Keith Wyness the wide smile with which he delivers the news Everton, having registered a profit of just over £23 million last season, according them the status of most profitable club in the Premiership.

He goes on to say that most of it was down to the sale of Wayne Rooney (you don't say!) but then he has the cheek to say that we were still profitable — that will be the whole £100k profit, will it? There won't be one Everton fan in the world who will be proud of our £23M profit as I'm sure we'd all have prefered to have kept Rooney — and why is Wyness taking the credit anyway? — he didn't arrive until after Rooney was sold!!!

Wyness is a desperate man living off the credit of the turnover increasing to £60M — even though you must remember though that he wasn't even here for half of the financial year either!

The hundreds of empty seats in the corporate areas all season are testiment to his lack of understanding of the fanbase and there is only one reason why the "price freeze" has taken place and that is Buster wants to get as much money in before 31 May in order increase this financial year's turnover. If it was purely as a reward for our loyalty, then why couldn't he have frozen the prices until mid-June? And again, if it is for our loyalty, then why could I buy a cut-price season ticket for a friend who has shown no loyalty at all? The treatment of those younger fans who two seasons ago could buy their ticket for £99 is nothing short of disgraceful.

The constant reminders and extended opening hours are proof enough that he is a desperate man. I think an uptake of 10,000 tickets out of 26,000 season ticket holders should be warning enough that fans don't want to be taken for a ride.

Finally with regards to the new annual kit, I have two young sons and although I will have to buy a new kit, I will only be buying the home shirt. If they lasted more than a year then I would probably buy all 3 shirts over the course of the 2 seasons — obviously Wyness knows best - what was it... a £750,000 loss on retail last season!
Jez Clein, Childwall  (5/5/06)

Absolutely 100% spot on! Don yer tin hat, Mr Clein, and await criticism from those who view your opinion as being anti-Everton! — Colm

Tony Marsh, I sent in a moan about being on a ROLLER COASTER since 1950... WATCHING EVERTON!!! GET ON BOARD, LAD!
Bob Patterson, Liverpool  (5/5/06)

What's this, an offer of Friends Reunited? — Colm

Blues Setting Records
No, this headline is nothing to do with the fact that we are on the brink of setting an unwanted club record for the lowest total of league goals scored in a season. It also has nothing to do with the fact that we are about to achieve a back-to-back 'top 10' finish in the Premiership.... (ok 10th, if we do it, is actually in the top ten but we will be bottom of this so called top 10 - and we are extremely lucky that Wigan are playing Arsenal on the last day; otherwise, I fear this also might not be achieved).

Actually, as mentioned in other posts today, this headline refers to the 'unprecidented response' to the club's offer of a price freeze on season tickets with '10,000' sold aready. Well, with only two more full days to the end of the price freeze, this to me is not very 'impressive' as the spin tries to make out. It is actually quite shite considering there were over 20,000 season ticket holders last term as surely no-one intending to renew would wait until after the price freeze to do so to pay the increased tarriff?

No, to me this represents a poor take-up so far on the club's offer and a worrying sign that perhaps the club's coffers may not meet Keith's Lard's target due to the lethargy on take-up. Only time will tell if I am wrong but if the blues do set new records as the spin puts it then I will be astonished and astounded and clearly in the minority in terms of my dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.

More likely, the outcome will be a significant decline in numbers of season ticket holders but surprisingly there will not be a massive downturn in attendances as there will be many, like me, not renewing but still going to most of the games by purchasing match tickets as and when... Anyway, I look forward to the final tally with interest.
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (05/04/06)

Hurry on down to Goodison Park. The Club needs YOUR cash now in order to help Mr Wyness use bigger bubbles in the next AGM PowerPoint presentation! — Colm

Big Dunc on a new contract? Please.. the guy was finished at the end of last season. The idea of seeing him lumber on for his sub-appearances and obligatory yellow card (when fit / not suspended) for yet another season is beyond depressing. If money's tight Moyes should:

a) stop overspending (when we actually have a decent budget) on shite (Davies - appalling; Beattie - talented but overpriced; etc)

b) use scouts to find youngsters from the Championship / League One who want to better themselves and are hungry to have a crack at the big stage;


c) give the kids a chance! (more than five minutes at the end of a match).

Sorry if I'm treading over old ground, but I needed to write that down!
James Newcombe, Oxford  (05/05/06)

I find standing on the end of a pier and screaming to be therapeutic! As for Duncan and a possible contract renewal — the only 'logic' I can see is quite simply that we have such a small squad as it is and even though Mr Wyness (soon to debut on Channel 4!) will tell you all that we're the most profitable of the richest clubs in the game today, the reality is that we can ill-afford to lose another body from our first team squad, no matter how weary and how crocked he may be! — Colm

How the hell Moyes can come out in the Echo and say Weir has had a great season is beyond me; he's been average at best. I'm by no means having a go at Weir himself as I feel he's been a good servant to the club. However, he's way past his sell-by date, and getting slower by the day. If Moyes hands him a new contract, then his mentality toward what will be happening during the closed season is clear for all to see. Re-sign the old dogs on lower wages, and bring in some hard working players that are devoid of skill and flair.

Moyes seems to have something against exciting young players. I'm scared he's gonna rip off his mask one day and we'll find he's actually Wally Smith in disguise. Then again, I doubt even Smith would choose a ginger disguise!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (5/5/06)

New Strip
Ain't up to much.

Why do they even bring a new top out every year? They just appear to remove the collar, then put it back on the year after.

Think I might refuse to buy it... unless they sign a Brazilian — 'wax as lyrical' was funny by the way. I like it.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (5/5/06)

Why do they bring out a new kit every year? Hmmm....let's see now.....anyone know the answer??? ;-) - Colm

Screwing the Cash Cow
So here we have it. Another year; another kit.

‘Professional Sport — A Still Undervalued Business Project’ — Keith Wyness.

Big Keith appears to imply that sports fans are not paying enough for the dubious honour of consuming the ‘product’. Sorry, Keith: if that statement isn’t shit then it’s an insult.

Tell you what, less of the pseudy business bollocks and translate that to what you really mean. Evertonians are not paying the maximum you can squeeze out of them and you will keep pushing and pushing until the majority of fans wake up and realise they are getting nothing in return.

So, until then, Keith will continue ratcheting up prices across the board, fucking the supporters around to maximise returns whilst slowly attaining the point of being on the brink of throwing the baby out with the bath water; I bet season ticket sales for next season will be substantially down on 2005-06. This fellow is so up his corny jargoned arse.

He’s chiselling here and there and the ‘customer base’ — sorry, FANS — are paying more and being inconvenienced without him giving a shit — cos overall he reckons he still has (and will continue to have until more start recognising this) room to screw. By the way, that’s par for course in marketing, a practice not a profession which comes into its own in terms of exploitation when applied to football whose practitioners comprise snake-oil salesmen, con-men, chancers and barefaced liars.

Soft arse seems to think more dearly of the mystical and counterfeit possibilities of an untapped Chinese fan-base than looking after the true supporters — otherwise known as the Cash Cow.
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (5/5/06)

Can't disagree with much of that, Mike — but the one thing we tend to overlook... fans *willingly* dig deeper into their pockets. For season tickets. For new shirts. For whatever tat with the club logo upon it. — Colm

Season Tickets
So much for the "let's not renew our Season Tickets" band of merry men. I see from the official Website today that Everton has stated there is a club record for the renewal of season tickets, more than 10,000 having been sold already. That plea not to renew, as a protest re standards, results, goal tally etc., fell on deaf ears then!
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (5/5/06)

If this is genuinely true then those paying punters shall rightly expect a greater return for their loyalty next season, no? - Colm

Arteta staying — it's official?
Just been on the Official Site to have a look at the new kit — made up to see Arteta as one of the models. Looks like he’ll still be here next season as the club wouldn’t have him wearing next season's merchandise if they were planning on selling him. I remember the 2004-05 catalogue with no Rooney gear in it and thought ‘he isn’t going to be here next year’.
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (5/5/06)

Looks that way Adam. The trick now is to build a team around his undoubted talent. Might go some way to appeasing those unhappy with our 'style' this season. — Colm

Tony Marsh, you may be the most negative Evertonian I've ever heard but at least you have a sense of humour... "Nightmare on Glwadys Street"... brilliant!! And your reference to the only Brazilian at Goodison brought a smile to my face at 9 in the morning!!

I may not agree with all you say, or even anything for that matter, but if you keep on posting crackers like that, I'll happily read them all day.

Patrick Marks, Liverpool  (5/5/06)

Must admit myself, there was an air of quality around that quip re. the only Brazilian to be seen at Goodison. Mind you, I wonder would she wax as lyrical... — Colm

And now things become clearer.....
Just reading the report in the Irish Examiner where Keith Wyness was shopping Everton to prospective investors and saw:

‘However, he doesn’t accept the Premiership is riddled with corruption, and predicts Everton — and all the other clubs — will “comfortably pass muster” when Lord Stevens’ inquiry delivers its verdict. “I’ve never seen even a hint of corrupt practices,” he told his RDS audience.’

Yup, no flies on Everton. You’d have to have transfer dealings to attract Lord Stevens’ attention, and as we know Davey has shrewdly avoided the transfer market.

By the way, I’ve been racking my brains to see why Davey is offering new contracts to Weir and Stubbs. I decided to plunge into my Conan Doyle collection and the great man Sherlock Holmes said ‘It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’ Anyway, I have come up with the only possible answer, Weir and Stubbs have photos of their manager fellating a goat.

Expect them to remain at the club for some time yet……
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (5/5/06)

The line about Everton comfortably "passing muster" raises a smile considering our chairman's comments about having a "good working relationship with Paul Stretford". That's the same Paul Stretford who committed perjury in a Court of Law! — Colm

Pies II
So Tony Marsh has decided he cen't be bothered whinging anymore because there's no point. As we would say here in Cyprus: Be quiet for good; nothing you say is happy. All people you make sad.

Now, if only we could make Dutch see some sense too.
Bitzen Pieces, Cyprus  (5/5/06)

When will they ever learn....
Those commenting that the Rooney incident is history, that it should be forgotten and we should move on have a point. But so did the man who said, "Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them". Again and again and again... My memory of Everton first selling to meet its debts was the sale of Keown, Beardsley, etc.

One final point. If Everton cannot afford two or three new signings each season, how do we afford to replace, all at the same time, all of our "senior" players when it is more than apparent they cannot possibly continue at the highest level? Heaven forbid that it should happen at the same time as injuries curtail some careers, when another of the Academy's crops totally fails, or the next installment of the last ill considered transfers is due...
Thommo Bigpond, Liverpool  (5/5/06)

What are the chances...???
I read the article with regard Big Keith's presentation with some interest. The quote that caught my eye was:

"I hate to talk about football clubs as brands but if we were to look at it from that point of view, 'The People's Club' is more an issue of positioning for Everton."

I like this positioning. It's open-ended (in other words if we become even shitter we don't look silly — imagine a team playing in the 'Theatre of Dreams' struggling to finish in the top half?), its unique and, most importantly, it touches the people who matter — the fans.

Therefore what are the chances that:

  • IF Keith makes a decision on the stadium by the end of the year (why our decision-making is dictated to by Liverpool I'll never know...);
  • And IF the decision favours a move (my personal preference, for what it's worth) to a brand new complex that enables us to stumble into the 21st century;
  • And IF we somehow secure investment from one of Keith's Irish mates (probably have to settle for Murphy's Bitter — Guinness wouldn't touch us!);
  • THAT we could use our common sense and play our football in: 'The People's Stadium'?
Now, I'm pretty sure no-one outside of Goodison refers to us, or even knows us as 'The People's Club'. Therefore why don't we promote our positioning?

I would hate to get caught in a trap of being stuck in; 'The Murphy's Stadium' or, perhaps more aptly, 'The Bitter Stadium' á la Arsenal and Sunderland. Keith, you have something to work with, a potential goldmine if you will. Imagine: the people, watching 'The People's Club' operate their business and play their football in The People's Stadium.

Very hypothetical I know but What are the chances?

ps: Knowing our PR history, a somewhat average Sunday tabloid will get some money from somewhere and present Keith an offer he can't refuse. The catch — our new stadium gets branded in their corporate colours!!!!!
David Cox, Perth, Australia  (5/5/06)

Can any one tell me who or what company will be supplying the pies at Goodison next season? Will it be the same as last year or will we have a change? I wonder if they will do three varieties, Steak 'n' Kidney, Scouse, and cheese... or possibly a nice sausage roll? Well, there won't be much football to talk about or any signings to deal with so its Pies we must consider....

As for Santiago Trotter asking about Da Silva, the only Brazilian you will see around Goodison next season mate will be if some bird slips over on a sauce sachet in a short skirt. Do you really think a young talented footballer with a bright future would come and join Moysie's Dad's Army? Would you???

We are definetly going to get worse next season without a shadow of a doubt. How is it possible to get any better if we stick to the same routine with the same old players? But who cares as long as the pies are hot and delicious. And by the look of James Beatie, he has been enjoying the odd pie dinner as a pre-match meal... fuck the pasta.

How quickly things change. Only a year ago we were crying tears of joy in to our champagne glasses. Now we are crying tears of pain in to our onion gravy. Where did it all go wrong? I still can't figure it out.

I wake up some mornings thinking it's all been a dream. But it hasn't; it's been a Nightmare on Gwladys Street — and Davey Krugger has got more horrors in store for us — just you wait and see.

We are now that shit that I cant even be bothered getting annoyed any more — what's the point?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (5/5/06)

Da Silva
Re; Geoff Wells's question about Anderson Da Silva. According to ESPN, Anderson has started 8 games in midfield for Malaga so far this season and been sub 6 times. His record is 0 goals, 0 assists, 8 shots, 2 of which hit the target. He has committed 37 fouls, recieved 5 yellow cards and been sent off twice!
Ray Said, Liverpool  (4/5/06)

Nice! A companion for Phil Neville!!!

Scots and Brazilians
What's the chat with Anderson Da Silva? Only place I've ever heard of him is on Toffeeweb. Is he decent? And are we going in for him?

Honestly can't beleive Weir is being given a new contract; that's ridiculous as well. I was reading about Scotland's 'young' squad for the summer tour to Japan recently... honestly can't beleive he still gets picked to play International football! He's a proper liability. There is no way he should have been even playing for Everton this season.

Congratulations to McFadden on Young Player of the Year too, I still feel he gets far too much stick from some fans, he's a good player and a lot better than the 'Championship' player some say he is.

And thanks for unmasking me by the way! (I always wanted to be a Santiago)
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (4/5/06)

Hmmmm... a Google search for "Anderson da Silva" and "Everton" throws up no less than 17,800 hits!!! Okay, so adding "Moyes" knocks it back to 2,170 hits... of which only 37 are unique. And yes, ToffeeWeb are well represented... but so are the usual suspects... and none seem to have anything new to report!

Seems from today's "news" that Mr Moyes has a diametrically opposite viewpoint on David Weir's contribution and value this season... but then I guess we'd all have expected nothing less!

McFadden strikes me as an extremely limited player... but on another level you could argue that he epitomises the high-efficiency goal dictum — in that he is in no way profligate with the bloody things — and therefore is a perfect "striker" conforming to the low-scoring Moyes model. [As you can see, I'm taking quite a shine to this whole High Efficiency thing... ]

And regarding your unmasking... De nada! What was that all about anyway? We can't have people writing in with made-up names, you know! — Michael

Just a business?

Just to say I was at Brian's service earlier. I wasn't sure whether or not to go but just felt I wanted to attend; more truthfully, strangely felt I needed to attend. I was particularly filled with memories of the "big one" in `66', just 17 and hardly ever kissed.

People who doubt or query that we are a special football club would have seen evidence to the contrary today.

The feeling for Brian and the empathy among supporters of all ages was plain to see. Despite how we may feel about the way the club is currently run and the anger about how we have been allowed to lose our heritage and our way, the feeling of belonging to this special club is, at times, overwhelming, tangible and undeniable.

I was moved to hear and see how Brian was esteemed in the football world. Sir Tom Finney attended and there was a particularly moving reading from Ian Callaghan and message from Sepp Blatter.

So, Colm and colleagues, next time some young wise-arse responds "keep the faith in what, exactly?", I'll shake my head, remember how I felt today, and smile.
Phil Bellis, Essex  (4/5/06)

Nicely worded, Phil. I dearly wanted to fly over for today's service, to pay last respects to a man who had no peers at Everton Football Club: the definitive Mr Everton.

I genuinely don't believe we'll ever witness a similar outpouring of affection towards an Everton Great in the future as what occured earlier today in the streets of Liverpool city centre, and somewhat poignantly around our beloved Goodison Park. I think credit must go to all those involved in today's funeral service, a celebration of a great life - and, yes, that includes Everton Football Club! He will be so badly missed. Rest in peace, Labby. — Colm

Football Is A Business...
If I was in the pub discussing the finer points of the game with my mates, I`d probably get kicked in the balls for saying this...

But in amongst all the bad feeling and general shite that flies around about Rooney, I`d like to think that one day he`d play for Everton again. Albeit 30 or so and past his best, but still a great player to have in your team.

This is based on no fact whatsoever. Just in the hope that; "Once a blue, always a blue" is not bollocks after all.
Andrew Payne, Burnley  (4/5/06)

If Rooney was for sale in the morning and if Everton could afford him and if he wanted to return, he would. Wonderful word, 'if'... - Colm

Great interview with Phil Neville
You missed this great interview with Phil Neville in Saturday's Guardian.

He talks of how he is "disgusted with (him)self" at not realsing Brian Labone was not just " a normal worker at Everton"... How "that's the type of club this is: no one stands out from the rest, everyone's equal. That's why it's so special. I thought after Manchester United that football would become a job to me, but it's still my life. That's how happy I am here."... And how he ""feels like an Evertonian now"...

The final comment from the reporter is "it sounds as though he has the blue blood of Brian Labone in his veins pumping him on."

Great stuff. Quality fella.
Tim Taylor, Nottingham  (4/5/06)

Skid marks
Dutch and the rest of the loyal Moyes, Kenwright and Wyness brigade — have a look at this quote from our seemingly barking mad CEO, whose "primary concern is the well-being of Everton, which he is anxious to promote as ‘The People’s club’."!!!

“I hate to talk about football clubs as brands but if we were to look at it from that point of view, ‘The People’s Club’ is more an issue of positioning for Everton. All you’ve got right now is Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool — their positioning is, we’re number one, we’re the best team, we have the highest paid players, we have the biggest chequebooks. That’s okay until you’re number two someday. What’s your ethos then?

“At Everton, we want to be the first true club that has a genuine corporate social responsibility agenda. We already have the best disabled programme but we want to put that on a worldwide footing. We want the best community football programme. We want it so that, as an Everton fan, you’re recognised as having values rather than just, ‘we’ve got more Lamborghinis than you have’. There’s a phenomenal heritage at this club and we’ve got a lot to teach fans, especially internationally — in America and in Asia. We want to give fans a reason to support Everton, a sense that this club means something.”
The biggest load of bollocks i've ever heard in my life! I almost laughed myself off my desk!!!
Luq Yus, London  (4/5/06)

The funny thing here is that, while Mr Wyness was in Dublin spouting such nonsense, Bob Latchford was across town in Dalymount Park recalling his goal haul of 1977-78 and launching his book '30' in aid of the EFPF. Mr Wyness was invited to attend but opted out of embracing fellow members of "The People's Club!" If I was a cynic I'd wager Mr Wyness is using any media outlet possible to tout the Club for sale — as they've little assets left to flog! — Colm

Thanks for response regarding my question about Ferrari. The news of renewing the contracts of the pensioners is really gobsmacking. Why would you give Big Dunc another go? He hasn't scored since the end of 2004-05 season, hardly a solution to the strke force problems.

Moyes should play the younguns — they can't do any worse. Even if they score once, we will be in the profit margin and they won't cost a packet to play either. Any word on the so-called Brazilian sensation Da Silva? — we are supposed to get him in the close season from Spain...

Keep the good work up.
Geoff Wells, Brisbane Australia  (4/5/06)

No word on Anderson da Sliva... but watch this space! — Michael

Doom and Gloom
I don't believe that Moyes is as bad a manager as some people on this website like to make out. I'm sure he would love to have unlimited amounts of cash to buy the best players in the world — what manager wouldn't? And I'm equally sure he could build a Premiership winning team like Chelsea if he had their money, I'm sure I could myself.

The difference I see between last season and this season is luck. Last season we had a lot of luck, things went our way, we ground out wins and we finished fourth. This season we've had a lot of injuries, especially to the new players bought in during the summer, so we've essentially had the same team as last season but without the same luck to get the same results.

I don't for one minute think that Moyes is happy with the situation as it stands but there's nothing he can do about it; he needs the money to be available to buy better players and that's the job of the board. If they're not able to put in money or find investors to put in money then they should be the first to go. Getting rid of the manager won't bring more investors into the club and it won't make our mediocre players into superstars.

I'm afraid that, with the current setup and Kenwright in charge of the train set, things are not going to change in the near future. We'll hopefully have a full compliment of fit players for the start of next season but it'll likely be the same faces as we have now and we'll be reading the same gripes and moans on this website for the next season and end up in the same position at the end of the season.

And then what? With our OAPs well past their sell-by date already, we won't be able to still keep Weir, Stubbs, Martyn and Ferguson into the 2007-08 season so we'd better have a hatful of quality youngsters coming through from the reserves... or Kenwright out and a whole load of new money coming into the club.

Otherwise I only see Everton on a downward spiral back to the relegation dogfights or worse.
Eric Myles, Seaoul, Korea  (4/5/06)

But if Moyes isn't happy with his situation then why does he continually claim to have the full support, and financial backing, at all times, of his Board? — Colm

The Mersey Millionaires
Davey Moyes says:

'The Board are terrific here, they’re very supportive and everybody looks for people to come into the club and invest some money but as we know at the moment football doesn’t seem to be the best investment for any backers really.'
Sorry, Davey; I don't believe you. As a paid employee and minion of the Fat Controller, you trot out the corporate line. You'll be saying that you are managing expectations next!

New contracts for old crocks. I'm looking forward to that. You know what 'they say'? Static objects don't just stand still, they corode!
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (4/5/06)

One thing's for certain these days — David Moyes knows who pays his wages. Where's that burning desire to succeed, to create a young winning side playing attractive football disappeared to? Very much a company man nowadays... Colm

If my memory is correct, surely Wayne Rooney handed in a transfer request something like 2 days before the end of the transfer deadline? And surely if the Board had been the instigators behind his sale they would have simply started an auction straight after the European Championships, when his value was at his peak? We obviously needed the money, but I feel Rooney instigated his transfer because the club was forced to sell him due to the timing if nothing else. We may well have sold him later of course...
Danny Broderick, London  (4/5/06)

Aye, the club was forced to sell him "due to the timing!" Put it this way Danny — if the above was true, and the Club was reeling in shock, in dismay, at the thought of young Rooney wanting away with just two days to go before you could begin to build a team around his undoubted talent (as promised), then could the Board not have simply slapped a rather large "NOT FOR SALE" sign on the lad, who, forgive me if wrong, was under contract to remain an Everton player for another season or two? - Colm

When all's said and done, he's gone!! And he's a knobhead who still has the potential to blow his career right up.

As for Moyes I would say he has got until December to start improving on the style of play, even if we stay mid-table, because he has improved on the squad and has brought some respectability back, which would be enough for us to get another decent up-and-coming manager. After nearly 5 years, you cannot say that he has not been given a go, and real mangers get things sorted in that length of time. In this era of money, it's not the title, it should be semi-finals in cups; look at Mark Hughes, Jol, Benitez, Coppel, Roeder, McLaren...

My problem is that I think he lacks creativity, and lacks balls in the market. Also, at the end of the day, what did he really do at Preston?! Into the play-offs (wow! big fucking deal). His time to improve on what he has and hasn't done is next season; 1-0 nils went out in the 80's. As a building thing, it's ok for a couple of seasons, but we have to move on. Holding ground is actually going backwards — any business or businessman will tell you that!!!
Anton Holmes, Australia  (4/5/06)

The Blue tide
So a player who has been out for what is starting to feel like a very long time is still the most fondly remembered in our memories. No great surprise condsidering the standard of our football since his departure.

Mikey Arteta 100% deserves his awards, but can we really hope our gaffer stumbles onto a few more quality signings — like he did with Arteta — this summer? The blue tide is already starting to turn against Davey. This year is make or break time or judgement season or some other cliché, either he has to get it right, and now, or...
Ian Aspinall, South Shields  (4/5/06)

Mr Moyes is a bit busy, at the moment, waxing lyrical over David Weir's ability... — Colm

Drawing a line under Rooney
OK, people may be angry about Rooney and the injury may give the disgruntled a chance to smile. Please don't forget, though, that in that transfer were two big clubs who both wanted the transfer, a teenager barely out of short trousers, and an agent who was laughing all the way to the bank. It's all ancient history and there are much more worrying issues that take precedent. I think what hurts is the apparent lack of returns for the money we got in the transfer.

After a handful of botched transfers and the inference that we will be offering new contracts to Weir, Stubbs & Martyn, I for one see no reason for optimism for next season. I see us being linked with every Tom, Dick and Harry across Europe only to re-register Alan Irvine as a player and see our transfer budget evaporate in an effort to polish the bank balance.

Short of a clearout (and I don't mean the squad), I don't see anything changing. Kenright and Co have lost the confidence of the fans and, if they had any respect for the club or the fans, they'd walk. As for Dutch and his incessant pro-Moyes bullshit, anyone who can take heart from Weir and Stubbs being offered new contracts is quite clearly insane and needs sectioning.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (3/5/06)

And people wonder why we're concerned... why we are not still gagging over 4th place... why we are not slobbering at the fabulous prospect of back-to-back top-ten Premiership finishes... — Michael

Don't hold your breath for goals
I see we are being linked with defenders again.

I guess David Moyes will argue that Stubbs and Weir can't and won't go on forever and therefore he has to make plans to replace them first.

In my view, DM was a defender and he wouldn't know a good striker if he tripped over one, so I for one am preparing myself for another goal drought next season.
Steve Edler, Chester  (3/5/06)

At least you'll embrace the new range of "Everton Nil" merchandise! Guaranteed to score with all 'punters'! Thirty two League goals between the lot of them, eh? Lineker'd love this! — Colm

Everton and Transfers
Although in the end I've no doubt that Rooney wanted out, neither have I any doubt that the Board stand accused of manipulating the whole business. When Kenwright told the world after Euro 2004 that 'He's not for sale even at £50 million' what was that if not the starting gun for the Rooney auction — except that Kenwright managed to skilfully negotiate less than half that in reality.

And if you know your history, you'll know that we've always sold our best players to cash in, and usually against their will at that. The immortal Dixie, Tommy Lawton, Bobby Collins, Alan Ball, Howard Kendall, and Gary Lineker to name the obvious ones.

In his book, Bally tells how he asked Harry Catterick why he was selling him to Arsenal — 'That's business,son' Catterick told him. Yes, history tells us that that's how Everton do business. Oh, incidentally:

Dixie was sold after his 399th Everton appearance so that he wouldn't reach 400 - and the club gave him nothing to commemorate his 60 league goals.

Lawton was sold because we wouldn't pay him more money even though most neutral fans thought him the best centre forward they'd ever seen.

Bobby Collins later inspired Leeds's promotion to the old First Division as well as captaining them in a Cup Final.

Bally went on to captain England despite Everton breaking his heart at 27.

Lineker won loads of medals with Barca after his one season and 40 goals in 57 or so games with us.

So, over the whole issue of Wayne Rooney, let's just accept that the writing was on the wall after the Euros and as soon as the Everton Board had got what they thought was the 'best deal possible' (ie, less than Chelsea paid for Drogba and Man Utd paid for Veron). Yes, Stretford also stands accused big time but he couldn't have done it without some insider dealing, as the saying goes.

Thank Christ the Board can't sell the fans or they'd have us off to Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge quicker than Liverpool can beg Uefa for a place in the Champions League.

Everton and transfer business — fucking hell.
Kevin Latham, Liverpool  (3/5/06)

A quality, if somewhat depressing and stark read there Kevin. I'd argue with you over the 'writing on the wall' with Rooney's departure though. It was a done deal before Euro 2004. Spot on with the rest, though, sad as it is to say.

I know it's not popular — and in a different year I could be held up for committing treason — but, when Kenwright's gone as Chairman of Everton FC, I genuinely believe his greatest achievement (sic) will have been securing the written transfer request of a kid from Croxteth.

It's an opinion that flies in the face of what most die-hard Blues want to believe — what most die-hard Evertonians refuse to believe — but one day, perhaps, those that were close to the kid back then might put pen to paper to blow the whole can of worms open! — Colm

A touch of common sense
Hurrah for Adam Carey for a reasoned and reasonable approach to the 'Rooney' saga. Take note, those Evertonians who seek to vent their spleens and blame the most exciting young footballer this country has produced for our dire situation.

Did I feel gutted when he left the club? Too right. Do I blame him? No way! He may not, as Adam Carey pointed out (a little unneccesarily I thought) be Mensa material but he was smart enough to make the decision that was right for Wayne Rooney and family. It's about time Evertonians realised that players play for clubs because it's their job (despite some being lucky enough to play for the club they've always supported) and they're not going to give up the chance of a lifetime to be dragged into mediocrity, and neither should they.

Get over Wayne Rooney. If the club was good enough for him he'd still be here. But it's not, much as that hurts to admit. But Wayne Rooney's not the cause of the demise of our club, far from it. A lack of business acumen, an inability to move with the times, financial mismanagement, lack of forward planning and investment... should I continue?

I hope Wayne makes a miraculous recovery and goes on to help England win the World Cup... There! doesn't that unlikely and unrealistic hope prove I'm an Evertonian?
Brian Williams, Wirral  (3/5/06)

Too Late
I can understand that some people are upset and I can see why talk of boycotting games and not renewing season tickets has become an issue. What I dont get is the timing of all this talk.

Surely the time for boycotts and demonstrations of unrest was five years ago when we were enduring the dark days under Walter Smith, a team of old used-up players like Gazza and Ginola who failed to get into the Top 10 even once.

Now we have a team of established Internationals (Neville, Davies, Yobo, Valente), exciting young players (Arteta, McFadden, Osman, Hibbert) and we regulary finish in a Top 10 position.

Things at Everton have improved over the last four years, even the most passionate Moyes hater cannot deny things are far better now then under the Smith era. We should have taken action years ago when Smith was in charge or even before that Kendall (3) and Mike Walker. The were very dark days compared to the mediocre season we have just witnessed.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (3/5/06)

Dutch, only you would talk about conducting a boycott five years ago!!! What you don't seem to have figured out yet is that your view, at least on here, is a minority one. Most intelligent people are looking at the football we are playing now (not five years ago) and asking: "What the fuck???" And quite rightly too.

"... regulary finish in a Top 10 position". Yeah, right. And I've told you before, I'm not a Moyes hater but I know for a fact the football has not improved... in fact it is getting worse. If you don't stop spouting this shite, the censor will be alerted! — Michael

Danny Broderick
Hmmmmmm... I thought long and hard about replying to your rather humourous letter but in the end I thought 'What the hell'. Everyone has an opinion, Danny and I respect yours, even through it was quite silly.

Ok for your reassurance I am a loyal blue nose and my referal as 'they' was those players on the pitch. I always say 'we' if I talk about the whole club in general. And who gives a shite what you can and cannot do on Champ Manager, it is irrelevant and just shows how silly your arguement was.

Apart from that I hope you enjoyed the sun (being in london) and will be more thoughtful in future. And as your your comment 'a balanced view' concerning Moyes and Zacceroni; so what if Moyes finished 4th in one season. Norwich and Ipswich finished fourth and went down the season after! That doesn't mean a whole lot when Moyes has sunk Everton to some dire depths in the other three seasons!!!

In any case my annoyance is not with you, its with the useless board, the non-caring chairman, and the Celt bore! Enough said.
Luq Yus, London  (3/5/06)

Funny, I thought with all your wonderful recommendations Champ Manager would be just your thing, Luq! Or is it (appropriately!!!) Fantasy Football? — Michael

Our Outstanding Youth Policy
So James McFadden won the official EFC Young Player of the Year Award. And who was he up against, exactly....?
Kevin Latham, Liverpool  (3/5/06)

World Cup and Dutch
As my name suggests, I'm Scottish, which should mean I could give a monkey's about Rooney playing for England at the World Cup. However, I feel it's incredibly harsh for a grown man to be writing that the 'little twat' deserves a broken ankle and not play there etc. He's a young talented lad who deserves to showcase his talents. Like someone else mentioned, we don't know who he had in his ear at Everton about his move, so just grow up a wee bit.

And Dutch, please, please, please just go on holiday for a while so that folk don't have to continually read your slavering pish. Joleon Lescott?? Behave.
Santiago Guerrero, Scotland  (3/5/06)

I bet your real name is Ross Trotter or something like that!

Roooney wanted to leave since...
Do you honestly believe Rooney did not want to leave Everton? Do you honestly believe that in the April of that year he hadn't applied for planning permission on his house in Prestbury? Do you honestly believe that he hadn't told his uncle he was leaving for Man Utd after his first meeting with the England squad?

Of course it's all the Board's fault he left. Although you say it's not stated as fact that he was pushed you seem to imply that fatso was quite innocent. The board, I assume made sure as part of his transfer that he had to kiss his Man U badge in front of the Park End Also where do I aim my bile? I would like to aim it in another direction than fellow Evertonians like you seem to!
Alan  Clarke, Manchester  (3/5/06)

For what little it MAY be worth, since you and many others are not reading what's being provided, no-one's really arguing the toss that "at the end of the day" Rooney wanted out. Had enough. Whatever. At least you have gone back some way, although to put it all down to his first exposure with the England squad is a bit dubious, I think.

As for the planning application supposedly submitted earlier in the year — I'd point a finger at Stretford here, obviously an old boy scout: preparation, preparation, preparation! Stoneygate 48, the company established by Stretford to "look after" Wayne's commercial interests was set up a month prior to this. Everton FC's merchandise catalogue two months later contained nothing with Rooney's name or image on it. Still later, but well before the end of the season and Euro 2004, never mind his transfer request, Wayne decided not to renew his luxury box for the watching family members at Goodison Park.

And the killer — for anyone who refuses to believe that Rooney wasn't the single villain of the peace — the loan from Singer and Friedlander in February 2004. Ten million quid, to offset (presumably) Everton's cashflow problems.

Now, your starter for ten: what guarantee could EFC give Singer and Friedlander for that loan???

As for bile-aiming, there's always Stretford, but he seems to be Teflon-coated. But perhaps your statement explains a lot about many of the reactions below that no-one else has verbalized: Evertonians are above reproach in this matter. Thanks, coz that's obviously what I'd been missing...

As I've said before, I would like to know what really went on... but I know we never will. I can move on if you lot can... after all, it's youse sending in these letters every day — Colm and I are just responding.... — Michael

Luq Yus ...
Reading some of Luq's last few postings has made me write in. After the Boro game, he wrote the following:

'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.'

No Evertonians I know refer to US as THEY, which you did twice, as well as saying you were not bothered if we won or lost. He then hails Zacceroni for helping Lazio and Udinese to top 6 finishes, and says of Moyes:

'Hailed a messiah for doing sweet FA', and follows it with some of his usual anti-Moyes rant. If you are going to have a point of view, at least have a balanced view of the facts, and acknowledge the job that Moyes did in taking us to 4th, which is surely comparable to taking Udinese to the top 6 in Italy?

'If this was an election he would lose hands down.'

Another gem of Luq's, except he wouldn't. Most blues I know are frustrated, but few want the manager out, as you should know by the way the fans sing his name.

He says the Board of directors 'care more for their pocket rather than the club' — they may be hopeless but that is just crap. Do you not think Bill Kenwright cares for EFC? Even his biggest critic couldn't say that surely?

Last but not least: 'And I wish I was playing Championship Manager as I would have sacked the board along time ago.' Sorry mate, but you can't do that on Champ Manager!

Maybe you've just had a bad few days at the office or something Luq but you compelled me to write in! I just had to get this off my chest!
Danny Broderick, London  (3/5/06)

Living with women has taught me that emotional responses and rational thinking don't often occupy the same space... [Duck!] — Michael

Now that all the gloating/sympathy re Wayne Rooney has died down, can we turn our attentions to what is left of an awful season, albeit one game remaining?

Like a lot of Blues, I will not be renewing my season ticket for reasons that have been stated on this website by many others and it would just be futile to repeat them. I am personally going to write on the back of my season ticket not renewable, or words to that effect and throw it on the pitch at the end of the WBA game (being careful not to hit anyone as it is still heavy with cup priority vouchers).

This may be a childish gesture but, sod it, it will make me feel better.
Dave Lynch, merseyside  (3/5/06)

Maybe you should have chucked it at Moyesy before Christmas, Dave! See what a fan chucking his season ticket at the Riverside did for Middlesbrough's season! — Colm

Blues Fans: All Talk, No Action
Despite excellent mails and fans comments on this and other web sites, there appears to be little effect in the real world.

Communication of the issues is a start but you have to move past debate into the land of action to make change.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (3/5/06)

Well, sadly, speaking from personal experience and my own time on the SA Executive, the club often chose to close down those avenues of communication. No one truly advocates a boycott, and the like, but it does ring true that the only time-honoured method of ensuring action / reaction is to stop lining their pockets.

Even though it looks increasingly likely that there'll be a serious downturn in season ticket renewals I'd wager most of those Evertonians who've now had enough of annual price increases and constant fleecings — with little in return — will still continue to support the club more often than not. - Colm

It is on the official Bolton Wanderers site that they have applied for the Intertoto and it suggests that Newcastle United have also. So that's that! No Europe for us next season — except maybe on our hols.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (3/5/06)

Killjoy, Paul! Just when we were once more getting our hopes up... — Colm

Blues Fans: Wake Up & Do Something!!!
The articles on the Rooney deal, Lack of Investment, No New Ground and small transfer funds have a common factor... Bill Kenwright!

So be proactive and make your response an active one.

What are you waiting for — somebody to tell you how to wipe your arse?

Go on do something; let Bill Kenwright know how you feel.
Alex Bond, Liverpool  (3/5/06)

The irony of mentioning Rooney's departure etc and then asking for a proactive response! Even under oath in a Court of Law, Paul Stretford committed perjury - so there's little or no chance of us obtaining a response from him I'm afraid! — Colm

Speculation over the summer
Davey and Bill are out now scouring the job centres and medical centres all over Europe. No doubt we will be fed many names before, during, and after the World Cup. We will then have reasons as to why they signed for Newcastle, Charlton, Blackburn or Wigan — we were outbid / agents upped the ante, or the player failed a medical.

This site will have loads of theories and rumours but Everton will not sign anyone with pace or class. We will sign a reserve-team goalie (Howard) and two geriatrics (Weir & Stubbs) to pass on their valuable experience to our non-existent young talent, and a couple of crocks from Seria A or La Liga who will not cost a fee but will be paid on an if-they-are-selected/play basis.

And I am expected to renew my season ticket? As I have said before- FUCK OFF KENWRIGHT ET AL — YOU HAVE CONNED ME FOR THE LAST TIME!
Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (3/5/06)

Steve — are we to believe then that you are not availing of Mr Wyness's price freeze?! You might like to register your vote in our current ToffeeWeb poll, aimed at existing season ticket holders. — Colm

Rooney and Everton
Wayne Rooney seems happy enough at Man Utd. Everton's squad would be non-existent without the Rooney money — as to whether the money has been well spent, well that's a separate matter.

Can't we just accept that the deal seems to have suited both parties and move on?
Rob Fox, Blackpool  (3/5/06)

Indeed! - Colm

The bile from some Blues about Rooney is pathetic. If you are English, you should take no pleasure from his injury. Yes, some of England's fans are embarrassing morons but this is our country we're talking about, for Christ's sake. Rooney is a genius and if he helped England to win the World Cup, there would be an Evertonian from Croxteth of all places lifting that trophy. That would make me feel quite proud actually.

I am sure Rooney is, and always will be, an Evertonian — whoever he plays for. Every time Evertonians blame him for leaving the club, that fuckwit Kenwright must have a little smile. If he had shown any ability to take that club forward and prosper, I'm certain Wayne wwould have stayed. Rooney did more for our club in two years than stuffed blazers like Kenwright and Carter have done in twenty.
Gareth Hughes, Liverpool  (3/5/06)

But Bill never wanted to sell Wayne... he wouldn't sell, not even for £50M. Unfortunately, we were in debt. We were going to build a winning team around him. But we were in debt. We sold him. We eased our debt. We replaced him, and Radzinski, with Marcus Bent. That's what happens when you're skint! — Colm

Joleon Lescott!
Joleon Lescott is a very good defender and at 23 he's the right age but I cannot imagine Moyes spending almost half his transfer buget on a single player.

I would love Lescott at the club but I fear Portsmouth or Reading will outbid Everton. How can Moyes build a decent team with such a small budget? Kenwright needs to sort something out.

Then again, maybe Moyes can sort out a deal for Lescott and that's why Ferrari has been shown the door.

Moyes I Continue To Trust.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (3/5/06)

I just hope he can head a ball... — Colm

I have read with interest the debate and comments aired in the mailbag following Wayne Rooney's recent injury and probable omission from the forthcoming 'football fest' (sic) in Germany. Following last season's over-achievements and this season's dismal campaign, the Rooney saga was always likely to explode with his injury the catalyst for the venting of spleens, vitriolic bile and conspiracy theories.

The transfer of Rooney on the back of a breathtaking performance at Euro 2004 reminded me of the historic policy employed by Everton of selling their most prized assests. Gary Lineker was the recipient of the golden boot at Mexico 86, scored 30 goals in one season and was promptly shipped out by the Everton administration with the excuse that we had failed to retain the title, a decision that was vindicated apparently by the '87 Championship success.

Since Lineker, we have continued to be seen as a selling club — just think about the players that we have lost along the way as each manager has hads to build and rebuild following the sale of our better players. The club has struggled both on the field and off since the mid 80s with only the loyalty of the supporters as a means of both salvation and redemption from a spectacular fall from grace á la Nottm Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and countless others.

Throughout our demise, the administration of Everton have traded off our heritage and history whilst the fans of Everton have quite rightly expected much better than this. The sad passing of Brian Labone brings into perspective how much the game has changed; last of the corinthians he was — and in terms of stature, possibly a reflection of Everton FC circa 2006.

Evertonians deserve much better in every single facet — be it the stadium, team, administration, facilities, academy to name but a few. I will continue to support the Blues as a paying customer through the turnstiles but is it too hard to envisage a future which could and should be much better
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (3/5/06)

Peter — how dare you suggest Everton have always been a selling club, flogging the family silver. I'll have you know, courtesy of the current Head of Communications that — and I quote — "Everton has never sold a player for financial reasons." A staggering statement. — Colm

True Blue
I have sat back and watched the mailbag unfold over the last few days re Rooney. I have written to express my own view last time this subject came up (which, spookily, I think was about this time last year). This debate is now almost at the point where it is ancient history and if you are going to continue to hate him, then do it because he is now a fully fledged Manc and not because of conspiracy theories on his departure which can never be proved one way or the other.

I’d much rather focus on Sunday and what will be the last game for a player who is, without doubt, an Everton icon. I refer of course to Duncan Fergurson.

I am sure there will be those who would dispute this statement, but I genuinely believe that they would be in a minority. We can talk about whether Fergie could have delivered more on the pitch (in terms of goals or remaining injury free) and done it more consistently, but there can be no doubting the man’s passion for the Club and its supporters.

Whilst his playing days at Goodison are finishing, I would hope that the Club can find a way of ‘bottling’ that passion by keeping Duncan on the backroom staff, working with the players and making sure they understand (in Duncan’s own inimitable style!) what it means to play for Everton.

I have great memories of watching Fergie over the years; whether they be his goals, his passion, or the fear of God he put into the opposition. I hope he plays on Sunday and that the crowd remember him as I do and give him a great send off.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (3/5/06)

This being Everton, do we write Duncan's epitaph too soon? Contract renewal in the summertime? God knows! With a lot of bile towards Rooney of late in this mailbag it's perhaps ironic that this Sunday we might be saying our last goodbye to a player once sold by the Club in order to ease spiralling debts! Sounds familiar... — Colm

So now Blackburn are definitely in the Uefa Cup does this mean that we gain the Intertoto spot if Fulham can't overhaul us?

Sorry to be grasping at straws in maintaining some sort of interest in the last of our dull season, but I just thought I'd ask as I understood these were the only three English teams to apply.

Surely even we can't fail to gain the required 3 points against WBA to ensure the matter....
Tom Hadley, Hampshire  (03/05/06)

Wanna bet?! — Colm

Where is the evidence?
I am a regular ToffeeWeb reader and notice that Michael and Colm are now stating it as fact that Rooney was forced to leave. I thought this was just a theory so do they have definite evidence? And if this is the case why has Rooney in face of all the personal criticism never confirmed this himself.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (3/5/06)

Mick, before taking this any further, may I please ask where exactly it is stated as fact, by either Michael or myself, that Rooney was *forced* to leave. All that has been offered in the mailbag is factual evidence pointing towards other parties, both inside and beyond EFC, having a vested interest in ensuring Rooney departed.

There's no doubt in anyone's mind that towards the end of his days at Everton Wayne wanted out. But, for fear of yet again replaying a now broken record, you must take into account the series of events that saw Wayne moved from one agent to another and the gradual deterioration in relationship between player and management, ultimately leading to his departure. — Colm

Young Player of the Year
James McFadden getting our Young Player of the season award just about sums up our club at the moment.

Mark Joseph, Liverpool  (3/5/06)

I take it then that all votes for Per Krøldrup were null and void?! - Colm

A little knowledge.....
The legal principle is actually 'Cui Bono' not 'Quo Bono'. I'm getting increasingly vexed by solecisms (look it up) on this site. Given that it aspires to a quasi-journalistic (and broadsheet at that!) style, I think more attention could be given to proof-reading.

I am happy to advise on Latin expressions, if people must use them. One could almost say it would be a sine qua non of my involvement. But quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Nil desperandum!
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (3/5/06)

Oi! I knowz wot me solecisms are. It wuz the Ed not me. As for quazi-journalistic ambitions.... well, I get the hump from time to time indeed! As for proof-reading submissions, I agree. I think the first step to achieving this will arise when the Ed admits he needs better spectacles! One last thing, this that egg-based? - Colm

I can't understand some of the shite that has been written about Rooney over the last few days. Do some of you actually feel some joy that a person has had possibly a once in a lifetime chance to shine at a World Cup taken away by injury? Are we really experiencing happiness over someone elses pain?

Brian Labones name has (rightly) been heralded over the last few weeks. Talk of his sportsmanship and of being a gentleman who is sadly now gone from us... and the same people who wrote the tributes are now revelling in another person's misfortune?

Don't get me wrong; I hate the fact that Rooney plays for Man Utd, and that he left before we had a chance to see how great he may have been in the blue shirt, but let's look at this from a sensible perspective. He was 18 at the time, it is obvious that he is not about to join Mensa, and was advised on a route to take that would set him up for life. If any of you had that chance given, you'd take it or you are bloody fools.

I also seem to recall a tape recording from a certain club dressing room and the first thing he asked about was our score!
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (3/5/06)

Well said Adam. I caught a viewing late last night of his interview on Sky Sports News (taken from Pravda MUTV) and it is still obvious, to myself anyway, that Rooney remains unsure when speaking in front of a camera. I lost count of the number of "erm's" and "errr's" he offered! — Colm

Youre treatment of david hughes of york was harsh re your'e comments.

Im being serious when i say that my son is dyslexic and has trouble using a keyboard so please be aware that some people may be diadvantaged and don't deserve being vilfied in public.
dave lynch, merseyside  (3/5/06)

I'll slap his wrists on that matter, Dave. However, to cut the Ed some slack on this one.....there is, atop the page for mailbag submissions, a note which kindly requests that all submissions comply with the Ed's wishes. Invariably that ain't the case - and amending mailbag entries in a Miss Jean Brodie style fashion is time consuming. Lastly, I won't even raise the issue of the Ed's many typo's on this site that need correction! - Colm

Ed, as you seem perfectly capable to not publish postings and censor others why not for the sake of the mailbag close the Rooney shit, it's getting boring now and move on to more important issues such as season ticket renewals (or lack of) and what looks likely (sic) to happen during the summer and no doubt right up to the start of next season.

Its CM season so why not turn the mailbag to that direction and as it should be open discussion ground for differing views on the club and its current and potential future players — for god's sake, Rooney has gone: let's move the mailbag on too.

Starters for hopefully a long thread:

Possible manager replacements: If Moyes is still the king of negative and we have another shocking start to next season by lets say Christmas? (I agree Kenwright won't bin him over the close-season.)

Players in, players out: Now this has to be a juicy one for all the conspiracy bunch and the optimists alike. (Yobo, Arteta, Cahill going? More goalkeepers in a la Moyes, true to form as he would be extending our current dross on even longer contracts...)
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (03/05/06)

Say no to CM silly season! I'd rather a mailbag full of queries over missing investment, ground redevelopment, groundmove, groundshare and last but by no means least one of the richest clubs in the world buying quality YOUNG players and building a squad we can be proud of! — Colm

The Scottish Rooney
Just why are so many Evertonians exercised by the the fate of the boy Rooney? Didn`t our manager move immediately to fill the gap of his departure by signing up the genius he dubbed `the Scottish Rooney`?

Thank God we are in such safe and capable hands!

ps.Just saving Doddy & Dutch a job.
Harry Meek, Worcester  (3/5/06)

In fairness to McFadden he has persisted and has shown himself to be a better player than the one-trick donkey many viewed him as being. Wouldn't quite agree with labelling him as The Scottish Rooney though... — Colm

No More Rooney Debate!
Moyes sold Marcus Bent to Charlton for £2.5 million. So far he's only scored two goals for the Addicks. No wonder Curbishley is being pushed out.

Moyes made mistakes in the transfer market this summer (Krøldrup) and paid over the odds for average players (Davies) but the Marcus Bent deal was genius.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (3/5/06)

Super. Champion. Smashing. Great. Next... - Colm

Judas Rooney
I am sick & tired of hearing that little gobshite's name. It still grates me to remember the Everton flags in the bedroom, the Once a Blue message, & then within the year hes fucked off to join the antichrist at the end or the M62. Everyone knew he was never going to stay with us forever, but to stay for as little time as he did says something about the man, it says that he didn't give a fuck about the club, or the supporters for who he represented hope & pride in the famous blue shirt.

Now this is the first time I have aired my views on that little cunt, but I must say, to see how upset he is now his dodgy foot has flared up again leaves me with a fucking big smile on my face. The man has no soul, no spine & no pride. Only later in life will he realise just how much he is despised.

To hear him say that he would like to sit in the Gwladys St, a la David Unsworth galls me, as Rhino was a true Evertonian. Even though he possesed none of the skill that gobshite has, he has blue blood running through his veins, something WAYNE ROONEY has never had.
Gary Lawler, New Zealand  (3/5/06)

Let's see now... who did Unsie support when he was a lad? Oh the irony... But don't let it affect your charming little bilefest. — Michael

Get over him!
Its near two full seasons since Rooney left but to read this mailbag its like it happened yesterday. Get over it, Its not like he left for free.

What should be discussed is what has happened to the money the club recieved for him. Was any of it used to strengthen the squad or did it all go to pay off debt? I mean it was 25 million pounds. Where did it go?

It's twice what the Fortress fiasco was supposed to invest and, to listen to the spin ,that money was going to put us back at the top. So what happened? Why is the club so short of funds for transfers? Top twenty in turnover, most profit last year, more TV appearances than I can ever remember... and what have we got to show?

32 Goals and Stubbs and Weir at the back for another year by the sound of it. Fuck Rooney, that ship has sailed. This club has enough problems without reliving a shitstorm that happened two years ago. What's next — Heysel talk perhaps?
Ronan Hanly, Boston, MA, USA  (3/5/06)

The funny thing is, if you re-read what you wrote carefully, and think about it a little, you might just get the connection...

Bile and dismay
I am getting a bit tired of this site. It has excellent aspects to it. But I find it appallng that the Rooney debate has continued to rage two seasons after he has gone. Bitter Blues know one can accuse of us of that eh?

Rooney was an asset, who may have stayed; I would have liked him to have stayed and regret that he has gone. Then there is the money that the sale has brought. Not only did we sell the family silver — did we spend it wisely? I appreciate that as a fan there are questions I would like to know the answers to. Company business is down to the shareholders and Directors. Is EFC becoming more attractive to invest in?

It truly amazes me that "our fans" can be so venomous towards a player without knowing the facts behind it. Why should indeed Rooney be more loyal to his fans than say Phil Neville?

Indeed, why should contributors to this site use Labones memory to emphasise and chastise our season so far?

Brian was worthy of the shirt and beyond, as one of us. It's obvious some Evertonians don't live up to the standards Brian set in gentlemanly conduct. I know I am in danger of using his memory to make a point. I hope you see it as a point well made.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (3/5/06)

I have viewed from afar the steady decline of the Royal Blues with sadness. At 68, I have seen the great and the bad times but never before such an inept manager as David Moyes. He appears to have no faith in his players by continually playing a defensive formation in games where a little more imagination could produce at the very least a decent game to watch. I am almost ashamed to admit being a Toffee!

For god's sake lets get rid of Moyes and get someone who has learned his trade and is not an apprentice of Ferguson and Co whom he seems to admire. It would be nice to have a manager whom others admired like Harry Catterick, Howard Kendall. Surely Everton deserves someone better than a young, inexperienced manager who should be loaned to a smaller club whilst learning his trade just as he seems to do with the younger players on Everton's books.
Peter Davis, France  (3/5/06)

Never be ashamed to be a Toffee. As you say, you've lived through some great times and now endure the current misery, or Moyesery, as you suggest! I think whatever goodwill has been offered towards Moyes in the recent past is now wearing thin and a repeat of this season, both results and performance-wise, will leave Mr Moyes skating on pretty thin ice before long. — Colm

Walter's Deal
Cast your minds back to The Game when Rooney beat Arsenal, it was a betting cert that he would go sooner than later-But the little shit could have chosen to stay a bit longer, sign his £50k-a-=week contract and have his buy out clause at £30M. He didn't.

BUT what about Walter? Spoken of very highly by the Rooney Family as having a great influence on his developement at EFC. LO and Behold, who is appointed as the Mancs' No 2 for 6 months — 'til the transfer was done, none other than another Scottish cunt who should not have been allowed within 10 miles of Goodison.

Enough said, oh and by the way in case you have miised my posts Kenwright FUCK OFF NOW — YOU AND YOUR MANAGEMENT TEAM WILL GET US RELEGATED.
Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (2/5/06)

Ah yes....the much publicised "we offered him £50k a week" — banner headlines back then! Pity the small print wasn't aired as freely as it was reported (allegedly folks!) there was no £50k until the third year of his contract. As for Walter Smith... please please please, don't get me started on that man! - Colm

So why did it all happen?
I'm not convinced by the argument that Rooney's transfer request was just the final stage of a process that people at Everton had set in motion months before.

While Bill has the rather unfortunate reputation for bullshit, his love for Rooney was quite evident to anybody and I just don't think he's a savvy enough businessman to cast that passion aside. That, I think most would agree, is what makes him a flawed chairman in so many ways. He loves the club, but there is very little else backing it up.

I also don't believe that Moyes would have had any part in seeing Rooney leave the club. Maybe their relationship was strained, but there is no way on earth any manager would go along with some scheme to force out his best player and a player regarded by most as the best in the world at his age.

Maybe I am embarrassingly naive in this respect, but wasn't it a simple case of Rooney going on international duty and being advised by senior players that he could replace the Everton teddy bears in his window with a few trophies?

He was told over and over again by these players (and Sven, in public) that he was a genius and every newspaper I picked up after that Turkey game said he was born to play on the big stage.

With a push from a money-grabbing agent and some kind words from the undoubtedly persuasive Alex Ferguson, I imagine the young and impressionable Rooney was put in a position where he thought that anything other than a move to Old Trafford would make him an under-achiever and something of a LeTissier figure.

I accept that I don't have any evidence whatsoever that there wasn't some underhand plot from the Everton hierachy to force him out, but I just don't buy that.

I appreciate that rumours began to surface long before he actually moved, but Alex Ferguson has never hidden the fact that he wanted Rooney for years before he got him. It wouldn't surprise me if Rooney's agent received numerous generous offers from Manchester United in the year approaching the transfer and we all know what a despicable toad Stretford is. I don't imagine he had any reservations about wording the proposition to Wayne and his family in a way that left them thinking he wasn't even wanted at Goodison.

I remain absolutely gutted he isn't an Everton player, but I wish him all the best in getting fit to play a part in the World Cup. He's a footballing genius and whatever your feelings about him now, watching him humiliate world class defenders (in and England shirt) is still a joy.
Paul Foster, London  (2/5/06)

Paul, this has been well-documented ever since the whispers first began to snowball a long long time ago; and I'm not going to go into great detail again, here and now! Anyhow, game set and match to Everton FC on this one as, no matter what is offered as 'proof' that the Club was keen to sell, most sadly want to believe that it was all Rooney's fault for leaving his boyhood club.

I'll throw a few jigsaw pieces out into the open here — the kid is under contract with a locally based agent and has agreed to extend his existing contract — all parties, that's the player himself, his family and the agent, are happy and wait for the time to arrive for him to renew, as agreed.

The Club meanwhile, with the absentee landlord, Mr Wm Kenwright (London), is left in the safe hands of CEO Michael Dunford, a founding shareholder in ProActive Sports Management. Incidentally, his then girlfriend also possessed in her name a large number of shares in the same company. Dunford, alongside three then current first team players and employees at the Youth Academy, all have a financial interest in ProActive.

Out of the blue (sic!), Wayne Rooney switches agents — moving to Paul Stretford's ProActive Sports Management group — even though he's under contract to a rival company. It needs stressing that this move to ProActive received the blessing of EFC. Dodgy criminals, struck off solicitors, hidden agendas sprawled conveniently across the red top tabloids.....all factors contributing to his exit. And the saddest thing? The manner in which the Evertonian fanbase, to this day, point blankly refuses to believe any of the above — all of which became public knowledge in a very high profile court case — ever actually happened.

That is the saddest part of all. The mismanagement of Everton FC over a number of years placed the Club in a position where we simply had to sell what was arguably the finest ever talent to come through the ranks. — Colm

Just read my heavily censored posting on your site. The one concerning Mr Sparke.

Surely having a pop at Kev for comparing Rooney to the great PELE is not worthy of such drastic cuts. I know Kev is a literal genius but surely he deserves some stick for his latest absurd posting.

Rooney lovers — who needs them.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (2/5/06)

Wayne advertises Viagra as well then, Tony?! - Colm

What I meant by mis-management and corruption is by the Directors of Everton (majority), caring more for their pocket rather than the club, leads to a series of financial mishaps. Like Everton getting bumped on the Rooney transfer in terms of payments or non-payments, supposedly being wealthy, yet being poor and still in debt in reality, no money for players, Krøldrup affair, contracts to Naysmith and Pistone, etc etc.

This balantly is mis-managment and it does not take a brain cell to work that out! And I wish I was playing Championship Manager as I would have sacked the board along time ago.

And two last points to Colm and Micheal; 1) Do you agree with my arguement 2) Do you agree that renewing Weir and Ferguson contracts is totally unacceptable when releasing Ferrari and Yobo is unthinkable, yet will happen?
Luq Yus, London  (2/5/06)

I've been banging on ad nauseum now for a good number of years about the continual mis-management at Everton FC, so no arguments from me anyway on that score! As for contract offers to Weir and Ferguson - well, to quote that now famous headline from Mr Prentice, someone's "taking the piss..." — Colm

Poor Little Wayne!
When Tim Cahill scored against Millwall, he celebrated in a very restrained way which showed respect for his old club and fans. Last August, Yobo gifted Rooney the ball and he scored Man Utd's second goal. Did we get a respectful celebration from the big Evertonian? No chance, Rooney ran sraight over to the Everton fans and celebrated sheer delight right in front of them. I've seen Liverpool fans celebrate less.

Rooney wasn't pushed out of Everton. If he didn't want to go all he had to do was say "I want to stay". Moyes and Kenwright would have been kicked to the street before the Everton fans allowed a reluctant Rooney to depart. Fact is Rooney didn't say he wanted to stay he jumped at the chance to go.

As an England fan I'm sad to lose Rooney but as an Everton fan I feel like running up to him and celebrating with joy just like he did that day in August.
John Atress, Liverpool  (2/5/06)

It's obviously hard for people to grasp his change in allegiance, but that it suddenly happened overnight when he was given the opportunity to join Man Utd just completely misses the point of this. The process of moving Rooney out of Everton started in the autumn of 2003, and the fact that he would be joining Man Utd was rumoured in February 2004 — six months before his deadline day transfer. It's funny how so many Evertonians will lap up any and all transfer rumours until it comes to this one — the most important to Everton of all time — and they just ignore it! Claiming that Rooney could have turned down the transfer completely underestimates what had been going on for months and months before that fateful day. The idea that Rooney could or would have stopped the juggernaught at the last moment is simply preposterous. — Michael

Rubbing Our Bluenoses Into It
Is it just me has anyone else noticed that now Ronney's injured and no good to anyone, in the papers he's all of a sudden "former-Everton forward Wayne Rooney", Paranoia? perhaps...
Michael Callaghan, Glasgow  (2/5/06)

Rooney and Progress
I know nothing of the detail surrounding the Rooney transfer except that it left me gobsmacked how a lad with Evertonia all over his bedroom windows could suddenly have a lifelong ambition to play for another team. I have children of my own and that one just doesn't add up. This gives me an uneasy feeling that IF we do make the progress that some predict then it will mean we have some very decent players on the field and a tremendous amount of hero worship, while in the back of a lot of minds will be the vision of a bedroom window full of Evertonia. UP THE BLUES
Ken  Buckley, Buckley  (2/5/06)

The Rooney debate re: Kevin Sparkes
Living in Manchester, I have to put up with Man Utd fans day after day telling me how talented Rooney is then patronisingly thanking me for selling him to them. Isn't that nice of them? Isn't it nice that he played for 1 season for us after Everton groomed him and worked hard to make him the talent he is then he handed a transfer request in on Deadline Day?

True, our Board stuffed it up but he was not forced out of our club, he chose to go. Rooney now exhibits those talents that we optimised and helped create for a load of gobby Mancs that chant at us every time, which he must hear "in your Liverpool slum" and "you'll never get a job".

So excuse me for not wishing Rooney all the best and wishing him the worst. Kevin Sparke sounds like a Sky Sports fan writing his self-righteous rubbish about loving football. I love Everton, Everton and Everton (then the wife). Rooney didn't care about us so I couldn't give a shit about him
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (2/5/06)

He didn't need to be "forced" out. Securing his transfer request was the penultimate step of a complex process that had begun months and months before and which Rooney was a merely the piece of meat being traded. Once again, all that bile and anger is focussed in the wrong place. But they do say love is blind... — Michael

Zacceroni and the board of mis-directors!
Some supporters on here are saying "Oh, if Moyes goes, there is nobody to replace him". Bollocks! Alberto Zaccheroni is gagging for a job in England now so why waste an opportunity to oust the Scottish bore and replace him with a manager who is proven quality?

Let’s look at the two first; Zaccheroni has won the Seria A title once and has taken teams like Lazio and Udinese to top six statuses, which we can agree in Italy, is no mean feat. He is respected and would attract better players to the club.

Now lets look at Moyes; Hailed a messiah for doing sweet FA (ironic as that what the actual FA do also), took Everton to Europe and made history by failing to make it to two competitions in the same season, could not handle England’s hottest young star in Rooney, has secured the lowest surviving points total in Premiership history, is about to claim the lowest goalscoring total in Everton’s history, and, which is worst of all, has dumped his policy of blooding the youth— something he promised to employ when he got here!

If this was an election he would lose hands down (unless it was in the States). So why should Moyes stay on? Why shouldn't Everton broaden their horizons and try to better themselves? So please some supporters stop being so being so blinkered, there are perfect alternatives out there waiting to be swiped, just the Board are happy with mediocrity and Everton just staying in the top tier, making them revenue, it's their only ambition!

Look at Paul Gregg: he wanted to change the rot which had set in the club. Instead of embracing the ideal the other greeddy bastard directors invented a story of investment to pin Gregg down. It is this mis-management that will slowly kill this club - Do we have to go down to realise something has to be done?

An another example of mis-management, but at manager level, is the shocking news that Moyes will renew the contracts of Stubbs and Weir due to lack of cash! WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE TOP TWENTY RICHEST CLUB IN THE WORLD SO PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME THIS BOLLOCKS THAT WE CANNOT AFFORD YOUNGER PLAYERS THIS SUMMER! It's because of this stupidity why many fans will not renew their season tickets!

Overall my article can be summed up in two sentences; Corruption — yes! The People's Club — not any more!
Luq Yus, London  (2/5/06)

What is it with you and Championship Manager? Is your version not working properly or what? Moyes will stay on because Bill Kenwright wants him to stay on. How does mis-management equate to "corruption"? — Michael

Come out, Gregg, wherever you are!
Whatever happened to the dissenting voice of Paul Gregg? It strikes me that Mr Gregg did an excellent job of shaking up the Boardroom and getting Bungling Bill to flush out an "investor" ready to commit to the Club (Fortress Sports Fund) — even if the stupid sod was duped with Monopoly money.

Gregg, it seemed to me, was satisfied with the 'Fortress marriage' and the noises he was making seemed to die down thereafter. So, having never materialized, Gregg surely is not happy with the way the club is being run and would therefore surely now be looking to kick up a fuss once more to get the Chairman to restate his vision for the future and how he is going to grow Mr Gregg's portfolio? If anyone can flush out Kenwright, Gregg can. What about it eh?

Let's get Kenwright (the one-time investor) to step aside and let others breathe life into one of the top six best-supported clubs in England. Crying out for a boardroom change, desperate for new investment. Four or five top drawer players would ensure sell-outs, week-in, week-out, and eventually would see a return on a £20M investment. It seems to me that the reason we are not progressing is that we have a stubborn old luvvy running the club who does not know when he is beat and will not step aside to let in new blood to breath life back into our once great club.

ps. No reply from Wyness yet about my declination to renew ("renewal? not this time" comment article)- just got a lovely glossy brochure from the PR dept about Everton's customer charter and that I would get a reply 'soon' from the relevant dept - wont hold my breath.
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (2/5/06)

I'd wager that Mr Gregg has lost the will to live inside that Boardroom and as a result he stands equally as culpable as his fellow directors for the mess we're in. — Colm

Love will tear us a part, again !
If Everton are a family and all Evertonians brothers, Rooney has definitely turned his back on his family. We all know that brothers can fallout with their dads. Get married out of the family and move away, even lose touch.

What's unusual is pretending that you never had any brothers, that you never shouted your love for us from the rooftops, you never led us to believe that you were going to make us proud again. What's even more insulting is the way you never ever mention our house, the street you played in, the city you come from.

It's like anything pre-Manchester doesn't exist. It's like the new in-laws don't like where you're from, who you really are. As with all snobbish middle-class families if they don't like it, they ignore it, pretend it didn't happen, it doesn' exist.

Is that what you are now, Wayne, a snobbish middle class prick? That's what hurts; that's why many of us find it hard to wish him any luck.

On the Bill Kenwright issue, have I missed something? Is there someone not only willing to buy Kenwright's shares but also put millions into EFC??? Only when that happens and BK refuses to sell can we start to call him. Question him hard, always... but — let's remember — he's definitely done better than the last fella. Onwards, Evertonians!
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (2/5/06)

Two questions, Gary — our debt when Bill Kenwright (alone?) saved Everton from the clutches of the evil Johnson? And the debt now, including the sale of Wayne Rooney. Bill Kenwright, TBH etc. — done better than the last fella? Debatable! — Colm

jimmy bullard
[Unedited] last weeks transfer of jimmy bullard to Fulham was a great move by Fulham as he has been one of the premierships most consistent performers this season and at 2.5 million was a bargain the first anyone new about the transfer was when jimmy was in London signing on the dotted line

Now think on Bullard is the kind of player Everton are crying out for and at 2.5 million was in our budget. Where was our bid we again were left in the dark as were other clubs becouse Fulham were no fools

compare Fulhams transfer dealings to ours if Everton are after a transfer target first of all it is all over the media papers, tv radio, website. Everton are after player x this alerts other clubs to the possible chance of signing player x and before you. Know it player x is in talks with half adozen clubs and Everton are out bid and cant match the ambition of other clubs or offer European football

so to David Moyse this message
1 select your target
2 check his availability
3 engage in talks
4 if agreed have medical
5 player signs
6 call a press conference

that is the sequence a transfer should follow now i dont know if David moyes is just not streetwise or its ploy by Everton fc to fool the fans they are going for certain players but secretly hope by alerting other clubs they will be outbid and will then have to re-sign a load of players past their sell buy date (we all know who they are) but it looks like we did try to sign some decent players

i hope i am wrong and Everton are just naive if this is the case my message to moyse get streetwise or missout
David Hughes, York  (2/5/06)

A couple of things astound me:

  1. The idea that Everton FC and David Moyes (note spelling) actually divulge to all and sundry who their transfer targets are.
  2. The presumption of some "streetwise" urchin to know the first thing about what really goes on in the heady world of football transfers.
  3. The thought that this same streetwise urchin could actually be so bold as to lecture the manager on the correct way to secure a transfer.
Oh, and (4): how the fuck such an ignoramous was ever let near a computer in the first place. Is this what they teach in school now? I suppose I should be grateful you didn't write in txt-speak. — The Editor

Facts are wrong
Kevin Sparke's article likening the transfer of Rooney to those of incoming players to Everton falls short on facts.

Alex Young was not home-grown by Hearts, initially playing for Newtongate Star — not only that but he played for Hearts for 5 years and was their leading goalscorerduring that time. Trevor Steven also was not home-grown at Burnley and was struggling to get into their side when we signed him. Peter Reid was a gamble when bought by Everton as he had been injured most of the season at Bolton and signed for a knockdown price as Bolton did not then want to keep him. The only one remotely resembling Rooney was Bob Latchford who was home-grown at Birmingham but did stay there for 5 years. Not only that we lost Howard Kendall as part of the transfer deal in a move not liked by Evertonians.

These deals bear no resemblance to Rooney who, having been raised and nurtured by the club, then kicked us all in the teeth by leaving after one season to satisfy his own greed. Please don't put great players like Young and Latchford into the same category. They understand 'loyalty' — Rooney never will.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (2/5/06)

I think the point was that transfers are a part of football. Any comparison is going to fail at some point. The issue for me is much more around the events that led up to him leaving than the fact that he left. — Michael

Ok lets get it straight, the only reason some Blues are glad Rooney is injured is because it still hurts. Rooney leaving was like any breakup of a relationship. Some infidelity, some harsh words, some tantrums but it all comes down to what you do afterwards that dictates how quickly you get over it.

Some people find a new lover (Mikel, I'm not but for you I'd turn) and get on with their lives while others mope, sulk and dream of past moments — the wonderful days against Arsenal, Leeds to name just two. Remember, time's a great healer! It's just that some people need more than others.

Oh and as for being pleased your ex gets badly injured - shame on you! Even if they are a money grabbing little turncoat!
Richard Jones, Hemel Hempstead  (2/5/06)

Rooney Debate
Questioning Rooney's love for Everton is silly, there's one sure way to judge his passion for the club. What would you have done in his shoes?

To me, it wouldn't matter if the club lacked ambition, if I didn't get on with the manager, no matter what my agent advised and it certainly wouldn't have mattered if I could earn more elsewhere. See, I'm an Evertonian, I fucking love the club and nothing is more important then that.

Sure the desire to actually win something would have gotten to me in the end but my passion would have kept me at Everton until I was at least 25. Then maybe I would have looked for success elsewhere. I think a high percentage of fans would be the same. I doubt many would have dumped Everton for fat sweaty Man Utd cash after only 2 seasons.

If Rooney was a real Evertonian he would have stayed for love of the club no matter what. Moyes, agents, lack of ambition, money, sponsorship deals, a real Evertonian would have put all that aside just to play for the club he loves.

Its really as simply as that.
Dutch Schaeffer, London  (2/5/06)

Wrong again, Dutch! What part of "Everton need to sell Wayne Rooney" do you fail to understand? Blame the kid all you like, that's your choice, but the fact remains that Everton Football Club, at that time, were up the creek financially. We cashed in.

As for your question — what would we have done if in his shoes? Change boots! Protect your metatarsals at all costs! — Colm Did I see reaport recently (before the Chelsea - Man Utd injury game) extolling the fabulous new boots Rooney would be wearing? Surley no connection... is there??? — Michael

In response to Kevin Sparke
Most of us knew that Wayne Rooney would leave Everton one day for greener pastures. What I and many others of my ilk won't stand for is the manner in which the move was conducted. The whole lot stinks. The agents, the clubs, the gormless manager of ours were all involved I agree. But it was that weasel Rooney who signed the contract.

He could of done a Steve Gerrard and given us at least one more season and left with our blessing. No, he scuttled off out the back door like a shithouse rat and left us in all in bits.

And we are still chasing after the payments — it's common knowledge around these parts that we got fucked over on the deal. What do you think the Phil Neville transfer was all about or this so call lone deal for Tim Howard? A player is sold to the richest club in the world on the never-never and you think it's great buisness!!!

The Wayne Rooney saga is one of those ugly realities in football and nothing will ever change that.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (2/5/06)

Right, it appears you've calmed down since Saturday then, eh, Tony? A more thought out post regarding the sadly departed Master Rooney, pointing out facts that remain - more than one club agreed to the deal; agents and club representatives with "interests" in Rooney moving; his transfer fee on the drip - us not now knowing if we've seen the last of it, or if there's still more to come. Nail on head time oncemore when stating that what happened when Wayne was sold to Manchester United on the drip was one of the game's "ugly realities". And correct, nothing will ever change, sad to say... - Colm

Kevin Sparke
There is a joke I heard about Evertonians and it rings true about a proportion of Everton fans. "How many Evertonians does it take to change a light bulb? None they sit in the dark and blame Liverpool".

It really is about time some people let the Rooney sale go. We got £27M (up to including bonus payments etc etc etc etc) which we badly needed. Kevin Sparke is a little over the top — having pity for people whose views differ to his. The fact is the World Cup will be shit without 'old large pants' and everyone knows it — including our opponents who are already rubbing their leather shorts in anticipation of his replacement.

Speaking of which, that filth merchant lard arse Benitez has immediately piped up to let the FA know Crouch is ready to 'replace' Rooney. That is an absurd contradiction — no one can replace Rooney regardless of who he plays for — especially that freak. Forget about Man Utd and 'our Wayne' and remember England and cheer whoever it is playing in the England kit (except for Crouch).
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (2/5/06)

God, you're really confused... and with a name like O'Brien to boot! — Michael

Is there any point?
Not quite sure how to start this: Rooney has gone, not much more to it. Whether he was co-erced, whether the move was engineered by the club/Moyes/Kenwright/Mickey Mouse... the point remains: he's gone.

Why are we all talking about him, and complaining about the club we are all supposed to love, but I couldn't give two shits about Rooney. There are more important issues at hand, let's stop talking about stuff that has already been done and dusted and start worrying about things we may as a whole be able to change.

Whether he plays in the World Cup or not he's gone and it's about time we all got over it!
Jez May, Isle of Man  (2/5/06)

Let's say, just for the sake of discussion, that one of the things you wanted to change was the Goodison Spin Machine. Truth and transparency in business (I know, I know). There should surely be no need to spin a pack of lies to those club-loving fans... should there? I don't know about you, but it doisturbs me deeply to think that the club I love is lying to me.

That's about the future: but the problem is, we don't know it's happening when it happens — unless we can point to occasions in the past and use them in the quest for a better future. Pink pigs, anyone? — Michael

Jammy Liverpool
Did you see the '86 Cup Final Replay for Charity yesterday on TV? Typical Liverpool.... they score an offside goal, which stands, in the last few minutes by a player who wasn't even in the original '86 team...and what was Gary Ablett doing wearing a red shirt when he is employed by the blues... sack him is what I say!!
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (2/5/06)

If ya know yer 'istory, Pat, you'd know that Gary Ablett was a Liverpool player prior to 1992 — although it appears from our records that he was probably out on loan at Hull at the time of the 1986 Cup Final! — Michael

Another cold Summer
Further to my letter last season entitled " Born of frustration" and the false euphoria I felt in papering over the cracks within Everton Football Club, well I must admit I am starting to get that feeling again.

Is it just me or are we all being fed the same old crap about money available in the summer (apparantly a whopping £6-£7M)? When is everybody going to realise that we are not a big club anymore and certainly won't be while Mr Kenwright is in charge of the purse strings? I know Kenwright hasn't got the money to spend, so let's get the club sold to someone who will put us back on the map again.

This summer's transfer activities will be as frustating as last, with Everton trying to get players in at half their market value. What sort of message does this send out to fans and, even worse, potential transfer targets. We have got a tiny squad with alot of players who should really be moved on. Mark my words, we could be in trouble if the club cannot raise its aspirations.
Glen Stevens, Nantwich  (2/5/06)

Wayne Rooney
I have mixed feelings about him missing the World Cup. On one hand, I am made up the little shit is injured; when I was in the ground at Middlesbrough watching him on the screen in tears getting carried off I had a beaming smile on my face.

Kenwright and Co may well have pushed him out of the door but that is still no excuse for his behaviour towards Everton and the supporters since he has left, which I think is absolutely disgusting. That little gobshites attitude towards his ‘fellow’ Evertonians was summed up in December when, after Ryan Giggs had equalised, he felt the need to run over to the Everton fans in the corner of Old Trafford kissing the Manchester United badge and being dragged away by, of all people, Gary Neville – that sight made me sick. He couldn’t give a toss about Evertonains so why should we give one about him?

On the other hand though, I was hoping he would have a mind-blowing time in Germany, watch Real Madrid buy him for £60 million, see us get our 25% and then use that money to remain one of the richest clubs in the world so that Billy Boy and Keith could give themselves another pat on the back for tremendous financial figures.
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (2/5/06)

Old Guard
At least Dickov won't join the aged squad [thank God]; however, it makes me wonder which aged has-beens will be recruited to increase the size of the squad — certainly makes me want to sprint up to Goodison and renew [not].

Prentice had the cheek to say that the club had no need for a price freeze, personally I think that the increase in ticket prices is a joke, especially when the quality is not going to be improved.

Moyes said after the sale of Rooney, that we are not a selling club... BULLSHIT! Who's next for departure? Arteta, Cahill, Yobo — the only players likely to attract decent money and be replaced by crap.

I know Sunday will be a final time to remember a great Evertonian in Brian Labone, but what have we left? — a once great club in terminal decline under the stewardship of Bullshit Bill.
Jim Feeney, Liverpool  (2/5/06)

That last paragraph just about sums things up. — Colm

New Contracts For Old Feet!
Glad to hear Stubbs and Weir are getting new contracts. They have been great servants to the club and Everton's fine turn of form in 2006 is in large part due to them being reunited. We won most of our games this season over January/Febuary/March with Stubbs and Weir at the back.

Lately the partnership was broken up with Yobo brought back in the side. The Boro win was Everton's first in 6 games. It was also the first time in 6 games that Stubbs and Weir were partnered again at the back. Coincedence? I think not.

I dont know why it happens but Everton have a higher win ratio with Stubbs/Weir at the back. I know they are probably getting a bit old but they can still compete for at least another season. If Moyes is smart he'll sign up a young defender who can spend next season learning from the experience of Stubbs/Weir.
Dutch Schaffaer  (02/05/06)

Oh the irony in our mate Dutch backing another contract for Stubbs (incidentally a player who left Everton only last summer!) yet at the same time question young Mr Rooney's motives upon his departure from Everton. Wasn't your pal Mr Stubbs the very same Everton captain (and ProActive shareholder) the man who stated, clearly, that Wayne should move? Nil satis, eh Stubbsy! — Colm

What a load of Mealie Mouths
I am extremely disappointed in the attitude of some of my fellow Evertonians who seem to be gloating that Rooney has suffered an injury which may prevent him taking part in the World Cup. What a load of mealie mouths.

Nobody could have been more upset when he departed for Man Utd than I was and, yes, I called him everything under the sun and felt quite vindictive about him for a while, but I got over it as everyone else should have done by now.

Fancy gloating over the fact that an extremely talented footballer is going to miss out on the tournament of his dreams. Surely the wider picture should be looked at here.... it's England's loss if Rooney is unable to play not Man Utd's... ENGLAND'S .... surely you want the National Team to do as well as possible and they won't if Rooney isn't in the team, that's definite.... so grow up the lot of you.
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (2/5/06)

Wasting your time here Patricia. Plenty of bile still incoming Rooney's direction. If only people expressed the same 'passion' towards a pathetic Boardroom at Goodison... — Colm

Who cares? — not me
I could not care less what happens to Rooney, I'm sick of hearing about him and his money-grubbing girlfriend. What sticks in my craw is the fact he showed that T-shirt and then shat all over it and the fans who adored him and were looking forward with the hope of great things to come.

Ok, we had a great season without him but we're not so great now, although if we had all players fit and a consistent side we may have fared better, and who knows we COULD have been in Europe again. England will never win the World Cup because they're only proud of holding the money the tournament brings, winning the cup is just a bonus, that'd bring more money. These players know they are going to get picked by name alone (Beckham for one... I hate writing his name — biggest arse going and a pain in the arse wife to boot). Being picked on merit alone won't help.

Personally if I never see Rooney, his no morals girlfriend, Beckham and the thing it hangs around with in the papers again I'll be happy man. Unfortunately you've got to write about shite sometimes.
Mike Leyan, Liverpool  (2/5/2006)

I sense anger there, Mike! - Colm

One More Rooney Comment
I have read with interest the comments on the 'Wonder Boy'. I find it amazing that a number of people lay the blame on an 18-year-old's shoulders for leaving a club with the amazing ambition of a back-to-back top 10 finish —the most profitable club in the world!!! Living abroad I must've missed Moyes comments at the time that Everton are ambitious to win things and as such he would be building a team around the best English talent to emerge for many years, along with Bill Kenwrights endorsement that he was more interested in bringing silverware to Goodison than in reducing the bank balance.

By the way it, wasn't totally an inept season — the Ladies Team did really well!!

Finally, I assume all the comments on loyalty are from people who have only ever worked for one organisation.
Barry Sullivan, South Africa  (2/5/06)

Nail on head, Barry. — Colm

Slow Death
I agree with a lot of what Kevin Sparke says about Rooney. I still love to watch him play and hope he recovers quickly and shows the world what a sensational superstar he really is.

Like every other Blue, I was beyond gutted when he left. I was pissed off at him for a while, but it quickly dawned on me that to blame a not overly bright 18-year-old for a pre-meditated betrayal was ridiculous. He was clearly manipulated by several parties and I have a much bigger problem with the short-sighted powers that be at Everton who mis-handled a player that could have carried our club into a different league.

I've always thought that his departure was the death knell of Everton as a major player in English football. If we can't keep a kid who is as blue as you possibly could be, for longer than we did, then what hope for a player with no love for the club... like Barmby, Gravesen, Yobo, Arteta or Cahill? Not very nice... but true, I'm afraid.

I also believe that Moyes didn't help things regarding Rooney; he is clearly a major factor in our club becoming a leper colony to any player with any skill, pace or potential who's actually wanted by just about any other club.

Why else do we end up signing injury-prone wasters like AvdM and Davies, or re-signing rubbish like Naysmith, Pistone and Kilbane? Nothing will change whilst the dour Scot is in charge; he's already lowering/'managing' expectations, and get ready for more of the same horrendous football next season.
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (2/5/06)

Nice post, Mike. Shame that some Evertonians simply refuse whatsoever to believe that it was in Everton's "better interests" to sell Rooney when we did. - Colm

Tactics and systems
In all the huha surrounding Rooney — about whom most Evertonians don`t give a shit one way or the other — I have been intrigued by the insight into tactics provided by Peete Stewart, Nathan James and David Hall.

It occurs to me that the weakness of this `football by numbers` approach is that, if all the coaches apply the same approach they negate each other totally and winning a game then comes down to pure luck!

Perhaps this is the reason why so much football in the Premier League is almost unwatchable and why those teams with foreign coaches who are not restrained by these metronomic systems seem to win all the honours.
Will Bellamy, Bootle  (2/5/06)

Yet the perceived-to-be dour Glenn Roeder, with no badges, comes in and turns Newcastle United into a winning team! Football, eh? — Colm

What sort of Evertonian decides to leave the club after only two seasons? Rooney wasn't pushed out he was seduced by the money and glammour of Man Utd. I actually don't blame him because he was clearly too good to play for a mediocre club like Everton.

What does annoy me is the length of his stay at Everton. If he had played for Everton for 5 years and then moved on I wouldn't have been so cross. But he pissed off as soon as he could. If he truely loved Everton he would have stayed longer.

Now that his World Cup dreams are over, it's hard not to smile. He may be England's youngest ever goalscorer but he'll probably be 24 before he gets chance at a World Cup. All of his fat sweaty Man Utd money can't change that.
Dutch Schaeffaer, London  (2/5/06)

What sort of Evertonian leaves Everton after only two seasons? Ask our beloved 24/7 investment seeking Board that one — they've the answer to your question. They always give it to us straight, don't they, eh? — Colm

Hi, Mick Wrende; thanks for your observation. However, I think you miss my point. Let me say Mick, if you were in a strong position due to some talent that you had, how would you feel if a gang of selfish ingrates tried or even succeeded in stopping you moving to a higher paid job because they had some ownership on you? Sounds silly? How would you really feel? It's nothing to do with a dreadful decline in our society — it's the way it is, the free movement of goods and services within a free market, it's actually — how did you miss this? — enshrined in law.

I suppose you should consider if you would still have players on a maximum wage and turning up to play at Goodison on a bus to Spellow Lane, not getting paid a full wage through the closed season so having to get a job and being thrown out of the club-house if sustaining a career ending injury?

Wayne Rooney was — sorry to say it but it's true — too big for Everton. The club did well out of the transaction; so did they boy. He's the best prospect this country has had for a long time so why don't you just put aside your bitterness and wish him a swift recovery and a successful career? And you know what, if everyone did that he may eventually want to come back and play for Everton. I for one would welcome that.
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (2/5/06)

Now I can enjoy the World Cup
Like a lot of Evertonians, I've never really been an England fan. However, I love watching the World Cup. In fact, I'm going over to Germany to catch a couple of games, but I'll be avoiding the ludicrous dimwits that follow In-ger-lund like a plague. Don't get me wrong; I want the England team to do well, I just don't like to see our national identity hijacked by a bunch of fat, balding, tattooed fascists that still harp on about World War II as though the deaths of thirty million people is something to laugh and sing about.

And since Wayne Rooney left, I've had even less reason to support England. I bear no ill will against him; I'm not even sure his departure was entirely his fault. It's just that I can't find it in my heart to cheer him on and I probably never will. So now he won't be playing, I can relax and enjoy the England games without the nagging doubts about whether I should be pleased or not when England score. I know it's a selfish, but it's certainly not malicious. It's just the way I feel.
Steve McBride, London  (2/5/06)

Rooney Move & ToffeeWeb Views
Like many others on this site, I find the whole debate surrounding Evertoniains views on Rooney's injury fascinating.

Whilst I do not wish physical harm on any person, and there is no doubt that the World Cup has lost a great talent and potential superstar, I agree with certain sections of this mailbag who cannot forgive Rooney for the move and find it difficult to feel sympathy for him now.

Michael's quote:

'The key is that his move was engineered largely from within by people at Everton FC who were complict with his new agent. But that idea raises many conflicts for Evertonians that are hard to rationalise. I can understand why a lot of them just don't want to go there, and would rather take out their bitterness on 'Shrek' himself'
suggests he has evidence that Everton engineered his move. It is patronising to assume that we would not be able to understand the fact that there are greedy people throughout the game, including Everton FC, who may not have the best interests of their club at heart. It also comes across as a rather twisted snipe at the club, seeking to find a party to blame somewhere in the whole business.

Is it not simply possible that he left us and went to the Mancs of his own accord? Even if he was pushed, his ensuing behaviour towards Evertonians has truly scarred him in our eyes. Whether bitter or not, it is the view that nearly all Evertonians I speak to hold. Whilst giving constructive criticism to contributor's posts and often being a little scathing from time to time, (as well as providing some insightful and humorous responses) it would also do the Editorial Team well to remember that they too can be criticised, and this can lead to an improvement in the site as a whole.

As for the national team, we have been force-fed Sky bollocks about 'The Best League in The World' for years now and have come to believe our own hype. The World Cup will survive and prosper without Rooney, and thus more than likely without England in the later stages. I look forward to watching Japan. Australia and the like rather than our lot. It is time for other 'unknowns' to come to the fore, and for reminding us just what the tournament is all about.
Mark Manns, London  (2/5/06)

Some interesting comments there, Mark, and I appreciate your balanced approach to broaching them. There are people who know or have figured out a lot more about the Rooney move than I... but they are not talking, for whatever reasons. Some of them are very close to the Rooney family; others have delved and resereched other sources through their own diligent research. There is a story to be told, of that I am convinced, and one day, perhaps someone will spill the beans... but I doubt it somehow.

My motives for continuing to reject the percieved wisdom underlying the public perception of Rooney's move, and the entire media line we were fed thoughout that horrible summer of 2004, are simply a desire to know the truth; not to snipe at the club or at specific individuals, but to know what their role was, and see how that fits with the implict claims of doing what was best for "our" club. — Michael

Rooney typifies all that's wrong
Mike Dunne's letter below criticising those who are having a go at Rooney is typical of the dreadful decline in our current society. To say he owes no loyalty to anyone other than himself and his family is selfish to the extreme.

I am older than some supporters but I was always brought up to look out for others and to help those who helped me. The fact that Rooney looked only to himself is what everyone hates about him especially as he left us when we needed him most. I have found if you help someone you tend to get more back in return.

Conversely if you behave badly then bad happens to you also. Just maybe that is what has happened now.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (1/5/06)

Maybe Evertonians won't be happy until it is proven that Wayne Rooney is actually the spawn of Satan??? D'yer remember when football clubs used to buy and sell players? Still goes on, y'know... - Colm

Mr Ramejkis
While I am delighted that you sound a well balanced father of one I still cannot understand why anyone could make the following comment!!

"The tackle was disgraceful and malicious and shows Rooney's true colours as an angry little council estate bastard who will always have a temper on him."
Just one question that I and a number of people who contribute to this website are anxious to know: What's wrong with people who are brought up on a council estate?

Dare I say it, you sound the angry one.
Kevin Bennett, Chester  (1/05/06)

It's taken a long time and I didn't think it would happen but I have found something to agree with Tony Marsh on! The way Rooney has treated Evertonians deserves only contempt. Every success he enjoys, be it at club or international level, only intensifies my dislike of him. Call it jealousy, bitterness or whatever you like but all of this is driven by regret that Rooney chose not to stay true to his supposed loyalties.

Furthermore, I have absolutely no interest in Ingurland winning anything. In fact, having spent most of the last 15 years living down south and having to put up with the ridiculous and hypocritical national team supporters that populate the southeast makes me revel in their misfortunes. Any Evertonian who has travelled to away games in London will have encountered these idiots who spend 90 minutes baiting scousers so the irony of them all crying into their replica St Georges flags over a little scally from Croxteth is all too amusing.

Also, the ToffeeWeb Editor's stance is a bit sanctimonious. If supporters of other clubs think Evertonians bitter about Rooney's move then that is all well and good because that is how the majority feel. Buying into the media spin that Rooney had to move and all right thinking Evertonians should accept it, wish him well and move on is, quite frankly, bollocks.

Finally, let's hope Stevie G suffers a similar fate so I can piss myself at the sight of a load of scouse hating- southerners kneeling on their free prayer mats published in The Sun hoping that these two 'robbing scouse bastards' recover in time.
Steve Connor, Liverpool  (1/5/06)

The key pharse in there is "Rooney chose not to stay". That's how the club portrayed it at the time... but what if that was not the whole story? What if the club was behind the whole thing and forced, manipulated, managed it pretty much from start to finish? Would your bitter feelings still be directed at Rooney? Or would you perhaps feel some bitterness towards those at the club who might have been responsible for this turn of events?

As for calling me sanctimonious and suggesting that I have bought into the media spin that Rooney had to move, well, that's totally the wrong end of the stick. The key is that his move was engineered largely from within by people at Everton FC who were complict with his new agent. But that idea raises many conflicts for Evertonians that are hard to rationalise. I can understand why a lot of them just don't want to go there, and would rather take out their bitterness on 'Shrek' himself. I just find that pretty sad... not for Rooney's sake, but for us as Evertonians. — Michael

Lucky Dave
In the hysteria surrounding Rooney's injury, for which I wish him a full recovery... almost as much as I wish that Everton FC had not been managed so farcically that we had to sell his likes... but I digress. If, at 20, the likes of James Lawson in The Independent see him as having something called "The Rooney Effect" and being on a par with Ronaldhino and Messi as one of three talents that will make this summer's World Cup one to really remember (depressing isn't it?), then what was he to Everton FC?

I honestly believe that, had he hit 16 under Walter Smith, our previous dour, clueless and unimaginative Scottish manager (who recommended the current incumbent to Bill Kenwright by the way) might still be in a job (God forbid).

For me, the successes that Moyes has had have been all about Rooney — his emergence to begin with and the defiant football when he departed. Without these catalysts, I don't think Moyes would be seen as that much better than Smith. The only shame is that the money raised from Rooney's sale has, in many ways, been wasted by Mr Moyes.

I hope I'm wrong and we become a stylish, imaginative outfit next season under Moyes — and by that I don't mean that I hope Mikel Arteta stays injury-free all season to carry the creative burden of our manager's inability in transfer market! The truth will out...
John McCabe, Wavertree  (1/5/06)

Lead by example, Moysey!
I see on the club website that Moyes thinks more Brits should work abroad. Can I suggest he sets a good example by pissing off `over there` soonest?
George Withers, West Derby  (1/5/06)

Now, now, George...

Counter to Kevin Bennett
Mr Bennett, I'm neither immature or vile, I'm a 36-year old married father of one with a passion for clean unspoilt football and season ticket holder at Goodison for many many many years. Sadly my point of dirty players getting their just deserts has overshot you be it for your passion for Engerland or some other reason I'd love to know.

My point is completely different from Tony Marsh's — I moved on after Rooney left knowing full well life goes on but some people haven't. I hate cheats and love to see them fall upon their own sword as the growing spectre of cheating is ruining football. if you are not able to see this, maybe the maturity questioning should be reflective?
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (1/5/06)

Alan Irvine
Just watched the Charity match on Sky between the legends of 1986 and guess who came on off the bench: our very own No 2 Aln Irvine. No surprise he had trouble passing the ball to a blue shirt, that might tell us a lot about his coaching skills.

One final thing to all those who are happy to see Wayne Rooney get injured — get a life! I know it hurts he left us and Everton will always come first but I also love to see our great country lift the World Cup once more and that will only be possible with a fit WR, so get well soon; England needs you!!!
Yusuf Bobat, Leeds  (1/5/06)

Wayne Routledge
Just a quick response to Gavin Ramejkis who thinks Everton should be in for players like Routledge... well funnily enough I was on the south coast over the Easter period, staying at a hotel. Guess who I bumped into in the lifts.... yep, Wayne Routledge.

Had the usual quick chit chat about how it's going at Pompey and asked him when his loan period expires there would he be willing to move to a club like the Blues.... He simply just laughed his head off.. I said seriously mate im serious, his response was "Sorry, that move wouldn't appeal to me at all!" (I bet if Liverpool came in for him he would jump ship!)

Just shows folks... no matter how hard Everton try, they simply aren't an attractive enough proposition for decent players!
Kunal Dinjal, London  (1/5/06)

Hmmm... seems to reinforce what Sunil was saying the other day...

Joseph McGivney
I was looking through your site for info about old Chester players (Albert Virr was the name I was looking for), and saw the query below about someone's Grandfather, Joseph McGivney, who was supposed to have played for Everton in the 1920s. There was a J McGivney who was Chester's leading scorer in the Cheshire County League with 10 goals in 1922-23. This player was apparently signed from Everton Reserves, so I'm presuming it's the same one — he played for Chester from 1922-23 to 1923-24, playing 30 games, scoring 17 goals.
James Helson, Chester  (1/5/06)

Howard not the first
Nathan James may well have witnessed Wilkinson in full flow but the former Leeds manager was by no means the first to advocate a negative style of play. Previous Technical Directors at the FA, Charles Hughes, Alan Wade and possibly Walter Winterbottom were preaching the gospel of `Goal Eficiency Maximisation` years ago and the need to make EVERY goal a GEM stood side by side with `Maximum Impact at Set Pieces`(MISP)!

What is frequently overlooked is that these were emergency strategies when needing to field understregth teams or facing much superior opposition. What has happenned in recent years is that coaches such as Moyes have taken them as a blueprint for all games and have even recruited players to suit this overly negative style. The FA have much more than the England managerial cock-up to be ashamed of!
David Hall, Taunton  (1/5/06)

It's not fair yeah yeah!
We all have our opinion and it's good that they differ. Some here though appear to have lost their sense of reason. The anti-Rooney spite stuff is just plain childish. Wishing ill on him is a disgrace. What do you expect from him? He is a professional footballer. He is a million miles removed from the fan and you expect some parity?

The insults expressed here will be a source of derision for any non-Evertonian who chances upon what’s been posted, confirming how bitter and twisted Evertonians are. To those I say "not me, mate" and not the vast majority of normal thinking Evertonians.

Rooney owes no loyalty to anyone except himself and his family. He gets paid as any professional for doing a job. If at some time he can improve his return on his effort he will leave his current employer and move on. That is not disloyal and anyone who thinks it is needs to grow up.

May I remind you about football if you don’t already get it? As fans, you or I have NO ownership of the club, the stadium, the players or even the Goodison Park cat. The only thing you have is a choice of whether to patronise them with your money, paying to go or buying their merchandise. Buying a ticket allows you to sit in the ground, watch the game and scream and shout till you are blue in the face, oh and claim some childish right if the fancy takes you over being a better Evertonian than someone who doesn’t go any more because they can’t bear the crap on offer. Nothing else.

Wishing bad on Wayne Rooney because of some immature feelings of spurned loyalty is frankly ridiculous. Get a life and grow up. There are far more important things to worry about.
Mike Dunne, Toxteth  (01/5/06)

Well said, Mike.

Matteo Matteo, wherefore art thou?
Anyone know what happened to Matteo Ferrari?
Brian Butler, Southend  (1/5/06)

David Moyes and a few of the staff at Goodison Park probably do. According to the last indications on the Official Website, it was implied that he was carrying an injury and would be a doubt for Middlesbrough. According to the gossip from Goodison, he left in a huff after not being picked for the Birmingham game... Take your pick. — Michael

Silly Me
What was I thinking of Michael being so obnoxiuos towards Wayne Rooney. I must be mad to think such things about such a warm human being. How foolish I am not to want to see WR all over the papers and TV for the next ten years. Holding aloft his World Cup medal in his Man Utd kit.

How crazy of me not to want Mr Ronney and his sleazy agent to pocket even more shitloads of cash from endorsements this summer. SFX World Cup Bonus for one. In fact I was so looking forward to listening to our Wayne's post-match interviews after all the big games... what will I do now?

Just think, we will now not be able to watch the fly-on-the-wall World Cup Special, where our Wayne and Colleen show off for the cameras while Lamps, Becks and Rio pull funny faces behind his back. How could I not want to live through all of that? How selfish of me!

Wayne Rooney has shown nothing but contempt for our club and its supporters so why should we wish him any success. The sight of him kicking a ball around the streets of Salford with kids in Man Utd tops was bad enough. [What about our kids, Wayne? did you ever think of them just once when you devastated this city with your actions?]

Kissing the manc badge telling the media he dreamt of being Man Utd captain as a kid turning his back on his own kind. Yes, what a wonderfull chap.

Maybe I have got this kid all wrong Michael and he fully deserves our support. Or maybe he is the face of all that is wrong with today's game and today's footballers. No honesty, no loyalty, and — above all else — no class. Give me one good reason why any Evertonian should want to see WR do well out of our misery.

The thing is Michael the Corinthian spirit died last week, mate, when a true legend of the game passed away. This Rooney character deserves all the shit he takes because its all self-inflicted. Personally, I couldn't give a toss if he never kicked a ball again. The day my son's Everton Kit with Rooney on the back went in the bin so did he. It's funny isn't it how football brings out the worst of us. Just remind our Wayne of that if you get the chance.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (1/5/06)

You hit the nail on the head Tony when thinking aloud, "football brings out the worst in us". You're better than that, the above bile towards Rooney is, I believe, misguided. Agree with a lot of what you say about Everton in general but ask yourself this: what happened at Everton FC, to make a kid who was kicking ball in the streets with his mates an hour or two after dumping Seaman on his arse down the Park End, ending Arsenal's year-long unbeaten away run — what happened, and who pulled the strings, to turn his head and ensure he departed Everton with haste? It's been well documented elsewhere so to solely blame young Rooney for his departure is, sadly, not the full picture. - Colm

The talent Mr Rooney
Sorry for sounding bitter but I agree with Tony Marsh (who I like a lot, as explained before), and Gavin that I was toasting my soda bottle when I heard Rooney got smashed up. Even when he decided Everton were worth playing for he was a dirty little bastard, with as many yellows as goals at one stage. Anyway, the World Cup will be a more attractive place (in more ways than one) with that Judas Manc sitting at home counting his medals, sorry medal, since leaving us!!!

In fact, if he never played again I would not care! England is not my concern, Everton are! And before I get slated I am being ironic as that's what the Mancs say. Also it is not CM to have AT LEAST tried to sign Jimmy Bullard. At £2.5M he would have been a bargin but Moyes and good decisions just don't go. Stuff Moyes, I want Trappitoni as manager!
Luq Yus, London  (1/5/06)

Staying in CM mode, I'd love "dirty little bastard" Wayne back. As would you if the chance arose! - Colm

A class above
I watched a couple of games on Sky last week and was saddened to see the gap between the class of football we are playing compared to the fast flowing game by the likes of Fulham, Wigan and Bolton. They all played skillful, attacking football at pace, managing to string together seven or eight passes and vitally keeping posession, something we have failed to do for a long time. Even the likes of Brian McBride looked pacy compared to the boring dross we have become used to.
Leigh Sadler, Essex  (1/5/06)

To Charlie and anyone else. On re-reading Rod Liddle's piece a few times, I can see what you are getting at, I think. Like any right minded person I would never endorse anyone 're-writing Hillsborough' on any level and I'm sorry if that's what you or anyone else thought

I was actually referencing Mr. Liddle's words around imagined FA rules designed just for Liverpool FC, which in itself I thought funny enough to be worth passing on.

I'll read more carefully in future.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (1/5/06)

Extract from Rod Liddle's Sunday Times article
Now, news of a worrying breach of official procedure at the FA. In accordance with the section of the FA and Fifa handbooks dealing with “Knockout Competitions Involving Liverpool Football Club”, Mike Dean was quite properly selected as the referee for their forthcoming FA Cup final against West Ham. Rule 4b (Officials) states: “. . . the referee chosen to officiate at any cup game involving Liverpool FC should, so far as is practicable, be drawn from the Liverpool squad of players, the Liverpool board room, season ticket holders or, at the least, from the nearby geographical proximity”. Dean is indeed from the Wirral, so fitted the bill perfectly. But now he has been replaced. What is the point of having such rules if they are to be countermanded, or ignored?

Last summer, Fifa correctly invoked rule 8a (Eligibility), which states that “Liverpool FC should be admitted to whichever cup competition they wish to be a part of, their ineligibility under normal rules notwithstanding”. So it is not as if the procedure has fallen into abeyance.

We were watching closely to see whether that procedure was stuck to in the case of Liverpool’s Luis Garcia, who was sent off in the league match against West Ham. Had Luis played for any other club, he would have immediately forfeited his right to play in the Cup Final. But, as manager Rafa Benitez pointed out, Luis quite fancied having a kick about at the Millennium stadium and would be “unhappy” at having to sit out the game, so would it be okay if the card was rescinded, please? Yes, it would be okay, is the simple answer under Rule 3c (player misdemeanours), which makes it clear that the FA can indeed rescind any official punishment meted out to Liverpool players if it is felt that so-doing will minimise the risk of “. . . the imposition of a minute's silence before the game, widespread adoption of black armbands, the depositing of bouquets or yellow ribbons around the entrances to the ground, or the onset of mournful, mass, communal lowing or keening”.

So, come on, Brian Barwick: as a Liverpudlian, you should know this stuff off by heart.

(None of the above rules apply to West Ham, of course.)
Dave Pennington, Bramhall  (1/5/06)

C'mon Dave, keep up — this was yesterday's news! — Colm

Reply to Ramejkis
What a disgusting and vile letter from Gavin Ramejkis regarding Rooney. Even more so I am surprised that the content passed Toffeweb's censorship for totally useless dross.

Young man (you sound young and immature) you should be ashamed of yourself and you are not fit to call your self an Evertonian.
Kevin Bennett, Chester  (1/5/06)

The Gospel according to Saint Howard
Peete Stewart writes eloquently on `Goal Deficiency Syndrome` and a previous poster talked of `Super-Efficient Football'. Whilst he may not have given the style/tactic these precise names, the former Technical Director of the FA, Howard Wilkinson, was the high priest of such an approach to the `Beautiful Game`.

Wilkinson believed that goalscoring is not as important as everyone imagines; the real art is to make EVERY goal count, ie, earn points or win a cup-tie. Scoring early and shutting up shop or `keeping it tight` and snatching a late winner (as at Boro) enables teams to maximise the talent available and `levels the playing field'. Thus, through hard work and `application to task`, inferior teams can always be in with a shout against the super stars.

Now quite what this approach does for the pleasure of the paying public is debateable but as the man said frequently, `Our job is to win matches not entertain.` Wilkinson accepted no dissent from this approach (`unless you`re bloody Real Madrid!`) - I know, I was there and (have still) got the badge!

To me, Moyes proved last season that he had developed `Wilkinson`s Theory` almost to perfection and this goes a long way towards explaining why he was never particularly concerned by the failure to boost the strike force.

With McFadden showing just how it`s done last Saturday, we may have another long wait for re-inforcements!
Nathan James, New Brighton  (1/5/06)

A beautiful simple game ruined by tacticians! Howard Wilkinson — an insomniac's dream date! — Colm

Defending Shrek?
I feel compelled to air my joy at Wayne Rooney's self inflicted injury but before Michael et al dive in with unfair, anti-Evertonian etc etc as replied to Tony Marsh, let me say just why.

Very little if anything was made of Rooney's disgraceful tackle on his England colleague John Terry earlier in that same game which left Terry motionless on the pitch and since requiring ten stitches in his shin. The tackle was disgraceful and malicious and shows Rooney's true colours as an angry little council estate bastard who will always have a temper on him. Who is not to say he aggravated his foot during this assault on Terry which was later pushed over the edge by a perfectly reasonable tackle made against him towards the end of the match. Nothing was made out at the worry of Engerland losing one of it's best centre-halves through the boy blunder's attack was it?

Yes, I am no fan of Rooney but my joy at his injury is weighted with the fact that he quite rightly deserved it for his dirty antics in the match earlier; I am a firm believer of what goes around comes around.

I, like the majority of people I know, have moved on from the gobshite leaving Everton; the matter to hand is simply a dirty footballer getting their just deserts.

On a final short paragraph: when you have slated contributors playing Championship Manager suggesting Routledge and Pennant amongst a few we should be making early moves on — if Fulham can make a deal before the season has finished, why the hell can't we?????
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (01/5/06)

Regarding the last paragraph, a fair question — and definitely not a CM one. It's perfectly reasonable to suggest that we could have got a jump on things by making some pre-contract agreements. Sadly, we have heard Moyes say before that he cannot contemplate doing this or that until the season has ended. One was in reference to sorting out players' contracts and the other was thinking of who he might go after in the transfer market. I guess "multi-tasking" is just not in his vocabulary. — Michael

Sunil Mudgil
Well its the end of the season the knives are out... I look at Mr Mudgil's quaint rendition... David Moyes said many things this year, but here we have a article based on a few choice statements (rather Sun or "Mirror-like reporting).

From the games I saw, yes; we could have been better at times... yes, we need some more quality players — and I do believe that will happen.

Ever seen "Kelly's Heroes"? As Oddball would say, "have faith baby, what's with the negative vibes?"
Carlton Johnston, New Zealand  (1/05/06)

So we should ignore the reality Sunil presents because you believe we will get some more quality players? That's very reassuring... NOT!

Been there, done it, think I've had enuf of it
I was at the Bayern game, all the 80s cup finals, the relegation scrapes. I have seen probably the best sides we will ever produce. I sat with my dad (RIP) and saw our club come from nowhere to become what I believe to be the best in Europe.

Now I sit and watch in total despair as we settle for mid-table survival. I hate the fact that a lot of Evertonians have been "conditioned" to accept the absolute rubbish we are getting fed week-in, week-out. I watched us reach 4th last year and prayed we would at long last show the ambition required to stay amongst the big boys... but NO, we were led by people who just ain't got it to take us to that next level where we really belong.

Having watched this season's games, I finally have to admit to myself that, under this regime (Board and Manager), we will never ever be able to compete with the so-called "big boys".

By the way: Brian Labone RIP; one of us.
Steve Mack, Liverpool  (1/5/06)

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