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The Mail Bag

The destruction of youth

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Is it just me, or are people?s evaluations of certain players holding little reality, but more presumptions? I don?t know if I watch different games, but I?d advise those who are calling Vaughan a world-beater and odds on to push a proven Yakubu out the side, to not put Geordie-esque praise on a player who hasn?t had time to even impose himself on too many full games in what has been a horribly short career thus far. We have an almost comical tradition of doing this with our youth, and on the other hand I am shocked at the abuse his partner in crime from reserve days is getting.

Not sure if you noticed this but there were times during his short time with us that Vaughan has looked disinterested and out of place on the pitch, accusations that detractors love to level at Victor Anichebe from the moment he came into the side. The views on this site are known for being somewhat trigger happy and over the top with agendas and pointless criticism. But it feels somewhat harsh that already next seasons readymade villain of the Bullens Rd is being made in Victor Anichebe on these pages. A player who has cost us next to nothing and even by his own words thanks his stars for having the chance to play for Everton and says it was down to luck and by Moyes? own thoughts down to the immense hard work, despite not being blessed with as much natural talent as some.

Yes, he doesn?t have the potential of others, but he?s fit and ready to be called on whenever the chance comes. And by the standards of other Premier League strikers who have come through the ranks recently, what he has done hasn?t been half bad.

We have a baffling culture as fans of Everton for expecting too much from those that have come through our club. All the while, others who are much more expensive with more experience (Arteta & Fernandes) are allowed incredible leeway. We have a ridiculous way of deciding that certain home grown players under the age of 22 are already past it and never going to make it.

I say ridiculous because we have maybe one of the finest examples of a late bloomer who had many assets and no doubt belief (through long injuries) stripping him of expecting to ever play for us..........That?ll be Leon Osman.

I?ll get shot down for this no doubt. But isn?t it about time we stop gunning down our youth with over-hype and ridiculous baiting? For a club that has a great tradition of having talent immense when it comes to its youth, we as fans (me included) sure know how to make sure they don?t/can?t develop.
James Mako, Manchester     Posted 14/05/2008 at 01:33:15

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Michael Kenrick
I think that's basically a stupid e.mail. I'll tell you why: because it makes out the fans to be the critical arbiters in the furtherance or otherwise of a young player's career. I'm sorry but they live by the sword and they die by the sword ? that sword being the ability they show on the field and how they perform in the games they get.

Do you REALLY believe that there are players out there who were really good but got their confidence destroyed by the fans? And thus sank like the proverbial brick in a pond? Coz, you know, if that was really the case, then doesn't it actually prove that they didn't have the right mettle in the first place?

I know I argued myself around in a circle there but I really believe a lot of fans think they have far more influence on things than they actually do.

Jason Lam
1   Posted 14/05/2008 at 05:31:59

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James, I believe you may be underestimating the wisdom and intelligence of some of us fans and posters to TW. Regarding our youth players, for everyone that came good, a lot unfortunately don’t make it to Premiership quality. It’s a tough league this one. But as MK mentioned, you die by the sword etc.

Some of us have played a bit of footie (suffering breaks and hairline fractures, knee injuries, metatarsals - yet still come back for more) or coach a kids team, to notice whether a young player will ever be good enough. You do get the odd late bloomer but (someone please correct me if otherwise) normally you can tell is a lad is gonna be good by the age of 9. By 14-15 his foundations are set. The forthcoming ’latter’ years is the relatively complicated tactics and strategy. But the really special ones are those that have the ’character’ and audacity, to know they are good, and really want to succeed. Before the Rooney wondergoal against the arse, you can tell from the way he controls the ball, dictates the play around him, and the sheer balls to run at defences to know that ’he will make it’.

Conversely, for all the Herculian physique of Anichebe, I personally (notice the magic word - personally) think he’s just one big softie who’s better off working in a library (no offense to librarian blues) then dishing out some to the best defenses in the football world. Vaughan has far greater potential but is plagued with bad luck.

Thankfully the players young and old probably don’t give a shit about us fans perception as MK rightfully stated.
Andy Mack
2   Posted 14/05/2008 at 07:23:53

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I don’t understand the Vic-bashing either, our Euro adventure wouldn’t have been half as much fun without him this season, or was I the only one who was waiting for 60-odd minutes and Vics supersub introductions each game? We have very few striking choices and little money to splash £15mil on a proven one. He cost us basically nothing, and he’s still barely 20 We’ve much more drains on our resources than Vic in the current set up.

Regards Michaels "confidence" I can think of several from the past couple of seasons who used to wear blue, Beattie, Faddy, Johnson. Despite our sometimes polarised opinions of players, none of these are rubbish players. Yet the fans started to barrack them, confidence suffers and their stars began falling towards ye olde Division One.
Connor Rohrer
3   Posted 14/05/2008 at 07:42:04

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James Vaughan disinterested? Are you being serious. He’s looked rusty at times and very unfit but one thing you can’t level at James Vaughan lazyiness or disinterest. He’s one of the most passionate players i’ve seen and the amount of times he’s fought his way back from injury shows his commitment to Everton football club. 7 goals in 8 games is why people rate him do highly and he usually changes games when he comes on as sub with some really energetic performances.

Vaughan is nowhere near Yakubu’s level but next season if he gets himself fit he could break his way into the team and be Yak’s partner. He’s certainly a more effective player than AJ.

I agree with your comments on Victor. People saying get rid are quite frankly rididculous. He’s a 19 year old developing all the time. He knows he’s not the finished article, Moyes knows he’s not and we as fans know he’s not. He’s never going to be a world beater but he can be an effective striker if we give him time. He’s a very useful player to have and is a goof 5th choice striker.

One thing Victor needs to improve is his fitness. I was watching him at Newcastle about 50 minutes into the game and actually praising his performance. Some of his lay offs and backheels where nice to see and if players like Arteta or Fernandes had done them we’d be praising them to the rooftops. After the 60 minutes mark he’s seems to look knackered and everyone starts to go. His touch goes and he starts making silly mistakes which makes the fans get on his back. Improve your fitness Vic.

"All the while, others who are much more expensive with more experience (Arteta & Fernandes) are allowed incredible leeway. We have a ridiculous way of deciding that certain home grown players under the age of 22 are already past it and never going to make it."

I disagree with that. Fernandes and Arteta have got alot of underserved stick in my opinion like Anichebe.

Anyone who’s been to Goodison this season will see that the fans are very quick to get on Fernandes’s back. Even if he does someone right there was a time when he was getting abuse for it. He’s also come in for alot of stick on every Everton site on the web during his second spell.

Arteta has also suffered alot of crisitisism. His heart wasn’t supposedly in it despite him playing about 35 games with an injury. How wrong alot of fans where when they found out he was having an operation. Fans are quick to get on players back without actually thinking that injuries, lack of form, lack of confidence etc could be effecting them.
Declan OShaughnessy
4   Posted 14/05/2008 at 08:37:30

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Michael, if you’re really suggesting that there’s never been an example of a young player destroyed by bile and invective thrown at him from a few thousand boozed-up muppets on the terraces week after week, then you’re even more deluded than I have long thought.

I’m not talking about constructive criticism here, or even deserved criticism. I’m talking about the "fans" who barely know their arse from a football, but week-in, week-out sit there and throw hate and anger at players for no other reason than their idiot mate next to them is doing the same thing.

And let’s be under no illusions here: Everton have these fans, just like most other clubs have them.

Now, if anyone can show me an example of a young player who’s gotten better after fans have attempted to destroy him, then please speak up. I can suggest plenty who haven’t let it destroy their careers, but can’t think of one who’s been improved by having abuse hurled at him by his own fans.
Anthony O'Sullivan
5   Posted 14/05/2008 at 09:14:42

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First off I don't think worrying about one of our young players trying to make it is a "stupid e.mail". More that the responce you got was stupid. Of course having a large group of grown men shouting abuse at a kid will affect him only a moron would think other wise.

Yes Vic needs to learn a bit more but he does give us an extra option he does take the ball out of the air very well and can lay it off. something neither AJ or Yak can do properly. He can finish as he has shown when he scored to finish off the games in europe. Just because he didnt get 10+ goals from his 20 something 15 min sub appearences doesnt make him a bad player.

He has a lot to learn but thats just it he wont learn it from the fat idiot in the crowd shouting at him.


Jason Lam on the late bloomers: Jags & Osman to name just 2 in our team. Go throgh the list of kids released by everton that made it to find more and more players. you could nearly include Cahill and Lescott who where mid-20s before they made it in the prem league.
Jason Lam
6   Posted 14/05/2008 at 09:40:09

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I can identify with late bloomers, Toni and Drogba are perfect examples who turn out to be world class strikers. But these are rare gems and luckily for us Moyes does have a knack of finding the unpolished ones are molding them into his image (which can be a good or bad thing depending where you play). Otherwise they’ll cost a bomb for the finished article at 27-29yrs.

However, I hold by my view that only a trickle ever make it to Premiership class from the youth system, which is probably why Arsenal casts their net across the face of Africa to find the handful of young inexpensive players to fill their team. Sorry I have bad images of Michael Branch and Francis Jeffers to contend with right now.
Seamus Murphy
7   Posted 14/05/2008 at 10:14:28

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You have a go at James Vaughan then ask others to stop youth bashing???

I have NEVER once seen James Vaughan play as if he was disinterested - if anything he plays with too much heart and passion, full blooded in everything he does hense the injuries he has picked up.

I think you are well off the mark with that James Vaughan comment.
Norman Merrill
8   Posted 14/05/2008 at 10:05:04

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I have no problem with James Vaughan, I think he is an exciting prospect, if there is a flaw in his makeup its the fact that he is too brave, if that can be levelled at a young lad, playing in the position he does.

He gives the impression he is trying to hard, hence some of the injuries, he has received, ie the shoulder injury at Preston.
The boy has achieved much in the national set up, so he must be regarded highly.

I just hope he can settle in ,injury free, next term, and give Davey Moyes a great option.
Wayne Francis
9   Posted 14/05/2008 at 11:09:08

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At least I now know who we are supposed to slag off next season. The latest in a long line.....AJ
Neville
Hibbo
Davies
Kilbane......

I was at this do the other night with Gary Stevens in it, and he said he couldn?t understand fans constantly picking on certain players and shouting abuse, sometimes only seconds into a match before they?ve even touched the ball!

Granted, some of these players are shit, but they are aware of the crowd, and even the most thick skinned will be affected....

On another note, my mate reuben looks like John Bailey.
Brett
10   Posted 14/05/2008 at 11:52:08

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If Vic has a bad game he is labelled disinterested or lazy. If Vaughan has a bad game he is labelled rusty.

When they first arrived on the scene I thought Vic had the most potential, now I think we have two of the best young forwards coming through who I believe can compliment each others game!

They are really good friends too so we shouldnt see any Adebayour/Bendtner squabbles ahaha
Reuben Leach
11   Posted 14/05/2008 at 11:41:29

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Just been sent this article (by Wayne FRANCIS) via e-mail. Had a read. Have to say that the people that constantly slate certain players do my head in. I actually wonder if those who seem to have jumped on the ’Slag off VIctor Anichebe Bandwagon’ sang his name when he was scoring goals against Nuremberg, Larissa and Metallist.

On another note. I am wondering if this morning Wayne has had some of what John Bailey (God) had on Saturday night considering he has had trouble spelling his own name.

Chicken Bazooka.
Tony Connor
12   Posted 14/05/2008 at 12:26:29

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Michael Kenrick

Are you related to Alan Green?
Jonathan Fletcher
13   Posted 14/05/2008 at 13:30:33

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People don’t have a go at Vic because he’s not very good. They have a go when they see him stroll around the pitch and not try.

I can’t believe with his the natural physique and the fact that he is planning for Everton doesn’t make him want to give every defender a real hard time!

I was really pissed off in the Fiorentina game. He could have made himself into a hero but didn’t even look interested. I’m not expecting to come one and score but I do expect him to come and run his heart out for the side.

Vaughan shows much more pride and passion than Victor.

Ok you could argue the same fact with Yak - but at least he delivers an end result!
Tony Williams
14   Posted 14/05/2008 at 13:45:37

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So people should lay off Vic but it’s ok for you to label Vaughan as being "disinterested"?

There could not be a description that is further away from the truth, as stated above if anything he is too eager and throws himself full tilt into games and tackles, that is why he gets so many injuries.

My biggest concern about Vic has already been mentioned...he looks lazy and his interview on EvertonTV speaks volumes, it is a little quip about the ball being away from him and he couldn’t be bothered to run for it. That is his problem.

All the lads I go the match with say the same, for a young lad he looks lazy and seemingly unfit, granted he doesn’t get the minutes to get full match fitness and that could be a factor but his usual hamds on hips stance seems to appear after about 10 mins after he has come on the pitch.
Chris Jones (Wakefield)
15   Posted 14/05/2008 at 14:42:57

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I wasn’t entirely unsympathetic with the original piece here but I have to say I was wholly unimpressed by Michael’s response to it.

Fans do get to players when they barrack them. I know he may not have been a world beater but I recall how a young Ian Marshall was vilified by fans after a poor derby game in the mid 80s and he never got over it.

As for those who would only give the time of day to players who look the real-deal at 9 ...

I remember once talking to a guy involved with coaching players about a kid he knew of who went through his whole development being labeled not quite good enough - but who kept surviving by the skin of his teeth, avoiding the chop numerous times by dint of his impressing people with his determination and effort.

Eventually, against the odds, this young player made it, having moved clubs a few times. Perhaps he did this because he got support as well (c’mon guys, we call ourselves supporters, let’s support ’em).

Oh, his name? Paul Bracewell.
Peter Howard
16   Posted 14/05/2008 at 15:35:17

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I can see both sides but out of mischief could I mention: Ross Jack, Drew Brand, Rob Wakenshaw, John Ebbrell, Tony Grant
Peter Howard
17   Posted 14/05/2008 at 16:10:46

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.....and not forgetting............Martin Murray!
Michael Kenrick
18   Posted 14/05/2008 at 16:31:34

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Listen, my point is this: do you really think the assessment goes like this: "Well, he’s not very good.. but the fans never barrack him and always get behind him, so let’s keep him around"?

Or "Well, I think he could be really good, but the fans get on his back all the time because he’s not showing it out on the field where it matters, so we’ll let him go."?

I don’t think so...

Obviously individual fans develop their own perceptions about players, but most expect players to play well; and most players are given a decent chance before the judgements tend to be vocalised. For players who get shit from the fans, there’s usually good reason: it’s because they are not very good at certain things (Hibbert, Neville), coz they don’t appear to be putting in the required effort (Yak, Vic), cos they get brushed off the ball too easily (Osman), coz they shafted the club or don’t track back (Fernandes), or becasue they become a total waste of time and effort and can no longer shoot properly (AJ).

You may not like it but that is how (some/many?) fans are. The fans, as ever, are reacting to what they see. They do not create the flaws in these players’ games. Barracking from the fans when you are not playing well is part and parcel of the game and is part of the trial by fire that makes or breaks a good player.
Reuben Leach
19   Posted 14/05/2008 at 17:10:22

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Fair play. AJ has been a waste of space lately. Not many can disagree with that.
James Mako
20   Posted 14/05/2008 at 17:47:58

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I have to laugh at Kenrick's first post. Good to see everyone else had more thought out responses. I wasn't slating Vaughan with much belief just stating the contradictory ways of some fans. Give both lads the time is all I'm saying as should go for any players under 22. I did say what I said about Vaughan to get a rise I?ll be honest. On another note my belief in ToffeeWeb for being such a good forum for varied opinion has been re-ignited. Can we have more than the general bashing that paints this site in such a bad light?
Jason Lam
21   Posted 15/05/2008 at 07:17:21

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How ironic that EFC have just released 9 young players. Sorry if you’re not good enough, it’s a cruel world the Premiership is.

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