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The Mail Bag

The Perfect Position for EFC

Comments (18)

EFC have finished exactly where the deservedly belong, they couldn?t be competitive in the Champions League next season if they finished 4th, with the lack of squad depth due to injuries and lack of finance to add some major strength or big name players who seem to avoid us and prefer to play with teams in the EPL top 4.

So where does 5th position leave EFC at season's end? Obviously in a better position than 6th because EFC overall in the entire season were a far better team than anyone team behind them, and realistically better than 4th because we would have only been humiliated or exposed in matches especially playing away from home against the likes of world class opposition who have an open cheque to buy whichever player they want and simply would outclass EFC onfield with what they spent over this seasons summer transfer window.

Overall, EFC have improved in leaps and bounds in all areas and are still learning the game with ongoing development and hopefully a bigger budget to buy bigger names. EFC are at the fringe of taking the next step in Champions League competition perhaps in a couple of seasons. I think another year in the Uefa Cup will strengthen the team and do the team wonders.

This season's Uefa Cup performance was quite outstanding, finishing on top of the group, and they could have won it this season if they had won on penalties, but you can?t beat bad luck in a shootout. Next season they will be far more experienced and competitive at this Uefa Cup level than being thrown amongst the lions in an unfamiliar Champion?s League level of football amongst the elite who would have left us squandering for answers next season what went wrong.

There?s nothing wrong with optimism and the team have surely proven they have given the fans the belief they are moving forward, but we as fans must be realistic that our form against the top 4 in the EPL is pretty poor and that tells us something ? that we belong in a Uefa Cup level for the time being. It?s been a wonderful season with what the coach had in the piggy bank to spend.
Clifford Zampost, Melbourne     Posted 12/05/2008 at 03:15:42

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Derek Thomas
1   Posted 12/05/2008 at 05:41:39

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Leaps and bounds eh??

ONE position in a 20 team league, 6th to 5th. Thats a 5% increase. not exactly leaps and bounds. more of consolidating what we had.

As you say though the REAL move is from 5th to 4th, which is a Massive leap. That takes big money.

Over to you Bill.... four or five players out, maybe, but we need five or six players in.

I just don?t see it happening.
Blair Johnson
2   Posted 12/05/2008 at 08:34:43

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Progress is progress.... I?d have bitten anyone?s hand off if they?d said you can have 5th place at the start of the year... with a decent run in Europe (only out on pens) and a new centre forward who will pop in 21 goals. Two things cost us a challenge for fourth... squad depth (especially when Cahill and Arteta were injured and the African lads were out) and an inferiority complex when playing the ?big four?. We need to rush at them like it?s a cup final when we play them... not sit back and hope for a nil-nil. We need another four decent players - a right back, a midfield grafter, a midfield creator and a wide man ... we have enough forwards in Yak, AJ, James Vaughan and Vic ... with Tim Cahill playing up front mostly now too. It?s been a VERY good season... if we leep progressing at the same rate we?ll be top four sooner rather than later... we have a TOP manager and a decent squad... not like it was under Walter! Rejoice!
Anthony Horabin
3   Posted 12/05/2008 at 08:48:22

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5th is a good season, 4th would off been great. The money involved in the Champions league is so high I would rather see us play 6 bad games in the group stage and get almost £20 million so we can develop the team more, than play in the poor Uefa Cup. The winners of the Uefa Cup get around £3 million in total for all the games they play. Have a look at the Uefa website to compare how much each team gets in each competition. It may sway your opinoin a little. We need to get on the world stage more.
Andrew Paolacci
4   Posted 12/05/2008 at 10:06:16

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Overall, we’ve had a successful season! We beat, & also stretched, some of Europe’s better teams in the UEFA Cup. We have outplayed the teams in the bottom half of the EPL, & have been, at least, competitive with the teams fighting for the spot that they tried to get from us. Also, with some of the major injuries that we suffered thru this campaign, we have done enough to put in another assault to break into the top 4 next season. We just need to improve the quality & the depth in our squad, & with a bit of self-belief, anything is possible! Easily.. for me.. Everton were the best of the rest!
Andy Hepburn
5   Posted 12/05/2008 at 10:26:27

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I think if Michel Platini really is concerned about the many big fours throughout Europe (it's not just our league that has the same teams winning all the time), then he could simply take some of the prize money that the winners/runners up of the Champions League get and give it to the winners/runners up of the Uefa Cup. Just because the money is generated from the Champions League doesn't mean it has to stay there. That way, teams accross Europe winning the Uefa Cup could make steps of breaking into their top four. Also, teams that are knocked out of the Champions League should stay out of Europe.

Mark Stone
6   Posted 12/05/2008 at 10:46:32

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I couldn?t agree more with the orginal article. I wrote on here a number of months ago sayng that we need to become a permanenet/regular fixture in the Uefa Cup before we can dream of competing in the Champions League. This is the first time we have been Europe two years on the bounce for many a year ? and people are already disappointed that it?s not CL! 3/4 seasons of good Uefa Cup runs and then Champions League. We?ve gradually developed from a releagtion/dogfight team to a mid-table - pushing for Europe team. We?re now European regulars and top of the chasing pack. Next step is Top 4 but Rome wasn?t built in a day!
Sandy Brown
7   Posted 12/05/2008 at 11:05:34

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The Hep

I tend to agree with you. In addition I would give a place in the next season’s CL to the winners of the UEFA. Let’s face it, they’ve more reason to call themselves champions than the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th placed teams in the PL or the Spanish League etc.
Will Leaf
8   Posted 12/05/2008 at 11:12:29

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It does seem ridiculous that CL losers parachute into the UEFA Cup...but, in our interest it gives us a chance to play some higher calibre teams in the knockout phases (this year teams such as Benfica, Werder Bremen, PSV, and Sporting Lisbon dropped in...I will not mention Rangers) and allows us to be blooded against CL teams.

I see the UEFA Cup not so much as hoping to avoid big teams, but as a means to achieve experience for an eventual CL foray.
Chris Bradley
9   Posted 12/05/2008 at 12:02:47

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This season has been full of highs and lows, fantastic edge-of-your-seat games in the Uefa Cup, a decent Carling Cup run and a Premier League season full of more highs than lows ending in a well-earned 5th placed finish. Hats off to David Moyes and all the players. Love him or hate him, he's brought European football to this club 3 years out of the last 4, for that he deserves massive credit.

Yesterday's game was great and the atmosphere was brilliant, the best for a long time, but I think Newcastle's toon army helped our fans find their voices because, like our fans, the Geordies back their team through thick and thin, I take my hat off to them. Like our fans, they are a credit to there club. Here's to a great 2008-09 season!

Robbie Muldoon
10   Posted 12/05/2008 at 12:19:46

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I think the comment that Everton aren’t ready for the champions league is so stupid. We wouldn’t win the cup, but thats not the point. The money it would bring in would take us up to the next level and we could build from there. The Uefa cup simply does nothing for us other than another opportunity to win a cup.
Gavin Ramejkis
11   Posted 12/05/2008 at 12:40:06

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Robbie got to go with you on the CL over the UEFA too its got a far bigger global audience too and attracts far more in both profile and wealth for the club, happy with getting UEFA but the target MUST BE CL.
Chris Briddon
12   Posted 12/05/2008 at 12:53:41

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On the grounds that we beat the Norwegian champions, the Russian champions and the 3rd palced team in Italy (CL qualifiers) then why would we struggle in the Champions League?

I don?t believe we would win it for one minute, but if Celtic & Rangers can be competititve then there?s no reason why we couldn?t.
Tony Williams
13   Posted 12/05/2008 at 13:11:50

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I am in two minds about the CL, I would love the money and the coverage it would bring however once again it seems that we have a tendancy to go on a poor run when we get dumped out of an European competition and if we were to be beaten soundly by the "bigger" clubs then who knows what damage that would do to our season.

Yes we beat the Norweigan and Russian champs but we have to remember that we probably played them at the best time, as their season had yet to start, look at Zenit now, that have just battered Buyern Munich to get to the final. I think that if we had played them later on we would not have won.

It’s a great dream to play in the CL but I do not believe we are ready for it........yet
Steve Jones
14   Posted 12/05/2008 at 13:17:13

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I know it?s been mentioned before but we should have finished 4th! We lost 7 points from incorrect decisions and Liverpool gained 5. So we deservedly belong in 4th.

The only way we?ll get serious money to strengthen and step up from the chasing pack is to get in the Champions League. If we?d finished fourth there would have been more money to strengthen than there will be now

Even if we had got knocked fairly early from the Champions League the impact would be no more demoralising than going out of the Uefa Cup.
Ian Tunny
15   Posted 12/05/2008 at 13:51:45

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Clifford, ??realistically better than 4th because we would have only been humiliated or exposed in matches especially playing away from home against the likes of world class opposition who have an open cheque to buy whichever player they want and simply would outclass EFC??
I didnt see Man U out class us or Liverpool or Arsenal or even Chelsea. And, if you'd believe the media and pundits this, is the best league in the world with the 4 best sides. With our strongest 11 on the pitch, knowbody would out-class us.
Peter Clarke
16   Posted 12/05/2008 at 14:30:39

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Not good enough for the CL? What an absolute joke of an argument. Obviously we wouldn?t win, but then again that isn?t the point. The millions of pounds in revenue and increased exposure in the global market is a necessity for us to progress further, because Blue Bill isn?t giving his toy away to any investors any time soon.
Anthony Horabin
17   Posted 12/05/2008 at 15:42:59

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Also being in the CL attracts better quality players. We will struggle to get more top quality in our squad without it.
Dan Parker
18   Posted 11/05/2008 at 20:31:02

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Watch the Kevin Keegan post-match inteview on the BBC website. He clearly says that Newcastle are a big club too and there's no reason they shouldn't be there either.

Then the BBC article itself mis-quotes him as saying: "If Everton can finish fifth, why can't we? We have a bigger stadium and more fans, but they all play for each other and that's the spirit we don't have."

Kev was paying tribute to what we've achieved but the BBC decided to word it otherwise. What a waste of your licence money!! Anyway, not going to let it bother me. We're off on another European campaign!

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