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Reasons to be Cheerful!

By Glen Strachan :  11/08/2008 :  Comments (28) :
So.......six days away from the new season.

Eight first team slots are well locked down with quality players and another will be kept in reserve for Tim Cahill's impending return to fitness. The curious lack of inward transfers has given the unexpected benefit of first team play for the likes of Baxter, Gosling and Rodwell and their time will surely come off the bench as a long busy season develops.

The rumours of movement in this strange transfer market over the next ten days seem to be a little firmer than some of the fairy tales that we have heard since 'the window' opened in July. I think we did good business with the AJ sale and maybe two other fringe players could be on their way before the month is finished.

I like Blackburn at Goodison as an opener and there is no very good reason for EFC failing to collect 15 points from our first five Premier games although we face three big guns in the next five matches after that. Sure Moyes (and almost every other manager who ever lived) will tell you that his focus is on the next match.

There seems to be some mystery surrounding the absence of James Vaughan over the last two matches and maybe he will still pick up a three match suspension for that daft lunge in the US but on the brighter side, he may be fit and available for Saturday.

There has been a lot of gloom around these pages and media comment about the club recently but I don't see any huge threats emerging from the other seven clubs who might be likely challengers to our 5th place from last season. I believe like last year, a better ending to our season could leave us with a small chance of finishing above LFC in fourth slot although I do not expect either side to bring a trophy to Merseyside this time. I know many have written off our chances but let's see what kind of team we are fielding by the end of the month.

To the misery mongers who have us doomed already before a ball is kicked in anger ... shame on you ? what are you thinking about? To the 'eternal optimists' who believe we should be looking for a Premier League and FA Cup winning double with the European Champions League to follow next season, I urge you back to reality. A more realistic target should be a better standard of football throughout the season than we were able to offer for much of last season and more points.

Premier safety with 40 points in the bag should be our aim by December and let's come up with a better finish to 2008-09 and double that 40 to a more than respectable 80 by May. Sure come back and laugh at my comments at the end of the season but nobody has been able to do that over the past 18 months.

So Big Smiles for Saturday and a packed Goodison roaring the lads into an early lead on Saturday. Forget about the Yes and No crap... this is football... this is Everton. Rumours of Everton's impending death have been drastically over-stated.

Good stuff ahead !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reader Comments

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Steve Pendleton
1   Posted 11/08/2008 at 07:02:37

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Love the optimism Glen. What ever you’re smokin, pass it my way please!!

My concern is that we’re going to be chasing the season as Moyes won’t be able to mould the late influx of players (maybe I’m being optimistic now) into their roles until after New Years.

Our form during the preseason doesn’t warrant a confident call of 15 points from the first five games from me either.

Am I, like you say, a doom monger or a realist.
Simon Watts
2   Posted 11/08/2008 at 07:14:23

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Last comment was spot on. We will suffer this season as we did at the end of the last season. You have to expect a team will need time to gel. It's not going to happen and who ever we buy now has not trained with us or knows the team spirit or what we are about, apart from they get £40 to £50 grand a week not many know what is expected before they come. It's ok saying we got youngsters coming through but this has always been the case. Did BK write this article. Seems very upbeat.
Jay Campbell
3   Posted 11/08/2008 at 07:53:46

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Don?t believe what I read sometimes.
Trevor Lynes
4   Posted 11/08/2008 at 07:54:57

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Pipe dreams are right... Fact is we have a squad of 24 which include 3 goalkeepers.. two long term injured (Hibbo & VDM) 4 Africans who will be missing during september.. 3 fullbacks (Nev, Baines and Nuno) Yobo, Lescott & Jags, Arteta, Osman and Pienar (Cahill still not expected to be match fit until September) Anichebe, Vaughn and Yak the rest are kids. Yak, Yobo, Pienar and Vic may well all be missing on African duties... where the hell do you get your optimism from?? We actually have Howard, Neville, Baines, Jags, Yobo, Lescott, Osman, Pienaar, Arteta, Yak and Vaughan... a bench would consist of Turner (Ruddy) Valente and the kids.

Obviously injuries may occur and there is absolutely no contest for places...anyone who wants to play can.. what/s the alternative? Bring back Stubbs, Weir, Davies, Kilbane and resurrect Dunc if you have a shovel. This club is a shambles and I've watched them since 1950 ? even when they got relegated there was more players... Stoke, Wigan and Sunderland are showing us up, all have spent to improve their side. Stop looking for escape routes for BK and the rest of them and look at things realistically. We should never have been allowed to start a season in such a parlous state... it's rank bad management.

Martin Lucas
5   Posted 11/08/2008 at 09:38:04

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I like positive articles, it sure makes better reading than the negative ones and some the comments like Trevor’s above.

I’m a little worried about our summer - it hasn’t been ideal, but when has a summer recruitment drive ever been as good as the fans want?
Kevin Gillen
6   Posted 11/08/2008 at 10:38:44

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I’m sorry. I hate to be a miserable bastard with the rest of the doom-mongers and Cassandras out there but this is just one season too far for me. Frankly I’m appalled not only by the lack of transfer activity but also by the lack of communication with the fans. To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail and the past few weeks in the Alps and in the USA have in no way prepared us for an assault on the top four. I am sure that we are going to look back on the last two seasons as halcyon days. I cannot believe Moyes will stay around as we tumble down the table due to a lack of teamwork and cohesion, international calls, injuries and downright poor management off the field. I’m going to watch the rugby this Winter instead.
Richard Osborne
7   Posted 11/08/2008 at 10:43:54

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Trevor Lynes, get a fucking grip lad!

"Stoke, Wigan and Sunderland are showing us up..."?

If you?ve been watching Everton since 1950, surely you should have realised that spending big and making signings for the sake of it, doesn?t guarantee success.

Tottenham/ Newcastle anybody?
Tony Waverleas
8   Posted 11/08/2008 at 10:19:01

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Glen you?ve got the sort of attitude that?ll get you chased off here by an angry pitchfork-wielding mob.
I?m not saying it?s a bad thing to gripe (it?s arguably a central component of what makes us fans) but I reckon if there was a Moaning Event at the Olympics then Team GB would be packed full of Evertonians. And win the Gold, obviously.
The transfer window is open for three more weeks.
The season lasts for nine months.
Yet some of our fans have already thrown the towel in.
Jesus wept.
And before anybody points out we have yet to sign anybody can I tell you that the same people will be falling over themselves to slag off the new signings (and yes I do believe we?ll sign players) the split-second they make their first misplaced pass.
So, just like those who couldn?t wait to tell the world that we should cash in our chips and sell The Yak in last season?s January window why don?t we all just wait and see?
Or would you actually prefer things to go tits-up?
Marc Williams
9   Posted 11/08/2008 at 10:58:17

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Glen Strachan :

Have you ever considered a career in public relations ?

Your first job could be helping Kenwright out at the impending EGM. I think there will be alot of those horrible negative types there with their awkward questions.
I’m sure your positivity & glowing prognosis of our situation and indeed confident predictions regarding our early games would be useful.

Good luck
Marc Williams
10   Posted 11/08/2008 at 11:09:48

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Tony Waverleas - You’re not back on here are you. Quick lads fetch tthe pitch forks & light those torches !!!

I must admit I’d rather have a gold medal for moaning than a NOBBER award for being so bloody Naive !!!
Chris Lawlor
11   Posted 11/08/2008 at 11:52:43

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I had the good fortune to meet a legend of our 80s team at Manchester Airport on Saturday. He looked as worried as I have felt for the last 6 weeks. He told me in no uncertain terms that we are pretty much fucked and he couldnt believe how the club has found itself in the situation its in.

Now this is someone who obviously has the inside track at the club and that to me spells bad times ahead.

Still, I?ll be there on Saturday to cheer on whoever is wearing the royal blue.
Steve Pugh
12   Posted 11/08/2008 at 12:11:16

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You people make me laugh. Tell me, when was the last time any of you went into a season feeling positive.

No signings yet, maybe because DM knows who he wants, is fighting against clubs that don’t really want to let go, but won’t panic and keeps going.

Loads of people at the start of the summer wanted Love. If Moyes has spent the whole summer pushing CSKA to get this loan deal then you should be happy. Or would you rather he got told no by CSKA 5 weeks ago and said "ok I’ll sign David Nugent instead". Same with M’Bia.

I read a comment on here that Villa managed to sort out 2 signings in a few days. Get real guys, O’Niell worked on those transfers for weeks. The only transfers that take a few days are the desperation transfers that happen when managers give up on their real targets.

I for one am glad that DM is still pushing to get the players that he wants, if he doesn’t get them then I am sure some others will suddenly appear, but lets give him all the time we can to get the right players in.

The season will not be lost in the first five games, we may not get 15 points but I bet we will be in double figures.
Jay Harris
13   Posted 11/08/2008 at 13:35:06

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I admire some of the optimism on here but let’s get real.

We are expecting to play at least 60 games this season.

We have lost Johnson, McFadden, Ferrnandes, Gravesen, Stubbs, Wessels and most of all Carsley from a squad that limped into 5th last season.

We need 4 or 5 signings not just 2 or 3.

I dread to think what will happen if Howard gets injured.

I also worry that throwing the young lads into a weakened team will destroy their confidence.

Money or no money questions have to be asked why it has taken us months to get to this situation when it was known about before the end of last season.

Spurs have signed Modric,Bentley,Dos Santos and 5 other players with the minimum of fuss.Happy Harry has gone out and bought new players and we end up reducing our squad by 7 players.

This season sees an increase in the number os subs allowed on the bench I dont think we’ll even be able to fill our quota.
Aide Dews
14   Posted 11/08/2008 at 13:28:14

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Steve Pugh, i totally agree with you mate, the type of quality signings Moyesy is trying to get are harder to sign due to the fact that the clubs there at dont want there best players to go and are trying to broker the best possible deal for there clubs or there over pricing there assets to put us off because lets face it, where not Chelsea, we cant just throw money at clubs and agree to there stupid valuations straight away, weve got to negotiate hard and get the best possible deal for Everton FC. as the deadline gets closer, the more deals will go through as clubs will cut there losses and take the majority of deals that are on the table!
John Doe
15   Posted 11/08/2008 at 13:43:00

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It’s not been a great pre-season but that’s not really news to anyone by now is it?

Personally I think we’ll end up with two good quality signings coming in (and possibly a couple of potential bargains) and the 11 that we put on the park on Saturday will be the strongest we have seen in the Premier League era.

Howard
Baines
Lescott
Yobo/Jagielka
Neville
Pienaar
Osman
M’Bia/Moutinho/ANOther
Arteta
Love/Vaughan/A 5th mid/ANOther
Yakubu

I don’t see another team outside the top 4 that have a settled 8 or 9 from last season and an 11 that can match us. Injuries will bite but it’s not like the teams below us are boasting massive squads full of quality.

No doubt Moyes could go and find 5 or 6 warm bodies but that wouldn’t be progress - they would just be filling bench space for most of the season before they get moved on. That’s been Benitez’ approach and that lot made zero progress until they wised up and opted for quality over quantity. That mantra is even more important in our position - 2,3,or 4 million pound players on the bench is a less efficient use of limited money than a top player on the pitch.

Better football, top 6, and hopefully a cup run. Keep on aiming high Moyes, I want to see some quality players at my club. Nil satis and all that.

COYB!
Perry Umbown
16   Posted 11/08/2008 at 14:07:19

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Glen - you contradicted yourself again mate...
First you say -
" I do not expect either side to bring a trophy to Merseyside this time. "

Then you said -
"To the misery mongers who have us doomed already before a ball is kicked in anger ... shame on you ? what are you thinking about? "

So shame on you misery guts, If you didnt notice we are still joint top of the league!
Neil Scott
17   Posted 11/08/2008 at 13:52:11

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Steve Pugh - i disagree with you i?m afraid.

David Moyes? Everton are a team that can perform ?miracles? (or so says BK) when their heads are up and then the next minute play like an alehouse team for weeks because of a few injuries or because of one bad defeat.

We therefore need to go into each and every season with the best prepared side, both mentally as well as physically and rack as many points as possible before the fatigue kicks in for our limited numbers.

Last year, we had that and i for one was very confident pre season. This year, we have Arteta stating with 5 days to go that ?the players need to forget about new faces and concentrate on the job in hand?

What does that tell you? The PLAYERS FFS!!!

I really hope we get off to a good start on saturday because if we don?t we?ll be regretting this missed opportunity for what should have been ?an easy 15 point start? for the rest of the season...
Colin Martin
18   Posted 11/08/2008 at 12:48:39

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The season starts Saturday, with no sign of any players coming in. Is it just me or are the Everton Board treating us Blues with disdain? Again we are asked to buy our season tickets in April with with hope that the manager can keep us challenging near the top.

This current board knows how passonate we blues fans are but still tests our loyality year after year. David Moyes can't keep producing miracles each year with no backing from the top. I hope I am wrong but I can see this being a long hard season.

And the problem is KENWRIGHT DOESN'T CARE LESS.

Joe Clitherow
19   Posted 11/08/2008 at 15:44:38

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Transfers in are one thing, and we do need extra bods - but ONLY quality who will improve the team/squad.

But one thing is absolutely certain:

Pre-season showings or results mean absolutely fuck all once the season starts in earnest.
Glen Strachan
20   Posted 11/08/2008 at 15:54:21

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Thanks for your comments , guys.

Not surprised that we are divided on this but can I please repeat for anybody who missed the point in my original article that I was in no way, shape or form protecting Bill Kenwright from his critics and like the rest of you, I will be intrigued to see what kind of answers he gives the ?Goodison Inquisition?.

Team selection might come into that but I think BK?s hardest task will be to find any trace of an excuse for this second stadium farce that he has now presided over.... What was he thinking ?

Maybe he will tell us one day what really went on behind the scenes but will we believe his explanation after all the lies that were told about an almost free state-of-the-art stadium ?generously? offered by Tesco out there? Thank goodness for Phil Green who does appear to be trying to sort that mess out and keep the club running!

I still believe we have some soft options in the first five games of the season and recent form suggests that we will lose three of the next five.

Mostly we beat the bottom clubs so Stoke, Hull and West Brom should represent a great chance of 9 points from these matches.

Usually we beat our peer group at home so Blackburn and Portsmouth should be another 6 points.

We generally lose most of our games against the ?Four Money Clubs? so I won?t be holding my breath for anything out of Arsenal or Man U and frankly we looked scared in both derby matches last season so that is not one I look forward to either.

Home to Newcastle and away to Bolton, the right approach should give us a fair chance of another two wins so after 10 games we COULD have 21 points.Sure we have problems with the size of the squad but only a couple of posters highlighted the one thing that I do believe could screw our season big-time.

That would be an injury to Tim Howard and the introduction of Turner to the first team. I would love to see that lad sold , out on loan - anywhere really but not sat on our bench. I really hope David Moyes gets his experienced back up goalie and rids us of the ?Turner threat?!

I think Osman and young Rodwell might start on Saturday but will both be regarded as stand ins until we get our two central mids transferred in. I still believe that side would be good enough to beat Blackburn.

Sure we have been slow to sign the players we want but look around the league... Chelsea are still sniffing around Kaka, Man U want Berbetov, Liverpool want Villa?s best player but no signings of any of these guys yet. One poster on this thread liked the chances of Stoke, Wigan and Sunderland.... are these guys serious?

I?ve watched us gain promotion, I?ve seen us take four Championships and various Cups and I have to say honestly that I cannot see another title any time soon.

The fact remains that even without any players coming in this week, the team that takes the field on Saturday will be, for the third season in a row, the best to have represented Everton since the last Championship squad over twenty years ago.

There is even the possibility that Tim Cahill will be ready at some time later in the year and sure he has been a terrible loss over the last two injury ravaged seasons but a fit and ready Arteta will help balance that loss. I will be back at the end of September and let?s see how it all panned out.

Does anybody else hate these Thursday night football games that make the Champions League look even more glamorous - the only big game in town? Does anybody like the Sunday footy that follows these Thursday games against Europe?s ?less than elite clubs??

Does anybody else think it is daft to compare Jose Baxter to Rooney? Surely there was only one Wayne Rooney? We had him... Bill Kenwright sold him... and that killed our hopes of top four more effectively than all the ridiculous stadium nonsense that followed!

I never learned much Latin but I think I still remember what our club motto means! A week is a long time in football!!!! Just don?t bury EFC before we are dead !
Steve Pugh
21   Posted 11/08/2008 at 22:08:47

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Neil, so what you are saying is that you would have preferred DM to give up on his first choice signings and gone for second rate players just so they were ready for the season?
Graham Brandwood
22   Posted 11/08/2008 at 21:48:53

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Things are not great and I am sure if the Aj sale had gone through quicker we would have made some signings by now. It is good however that Moyes is not rushing into panick buys. What I find interesting is the lack of progress being made by our rivals. Liverpool have run out of Money. City are selling players behind there mangers back, Newcastle are selling and buying behind Keegan's back ( did you see his interview on sky sports when he was told about his new centre half. He was taken totally by surprise). Blackburn lost a star and more to go. Spurs may have too many changes and fans are unhappy at losing Keane and may lose Berbatov, they could end up weaker. Only Villa and Portsmouth are making any progress. I think if we bring in Love, M?Bia, Smith plus 2 young squad players we will be marginally better off than last season. Add to that Moutinho and we will have had a good summer and be pulling away from our rivals. Let's wait and see.
Jay Harris
23   Posted 11/08/2008 at 22:41:00

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Graham
I think you are undersetimating Spurs.

They may have lost Keane but they have signed 8 new players including Modric,Dos Santos and Bentley.

For once I think they are a real threat.
Eric Holland
24   Posted 11/08/2008 at 22:38:08

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John Doe

You can take Pienaar out the OS says he is out for six weeks,
Can it get any worse????
Neil Scott
25   Posted 11/08/2008 at 22:58:28

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Steve - you know what mate. Yes I am saying that.

The cracks in our squad started to show when we lost players to the African nations for god's sake and we never recovered from that until the last day of the season.

No matter, we limped home in fifth with a whole summer to replenish the stocks and yes, if we couldn?t now afford the Arshavins of this world then what the hell happened to the likes of Michael Bradley, the freescoring midfielder that we had been watching all last year??

For me, the Piennar injury has blown wide open the total insanity of what has been going on behind the scenes this summer and exposed the house of cards that all those blues having been living in by naming our ?best eleven? as if they are all going to be available every week until next May.

Here?s to the next sixty games Steve.
Trevor Lynes
26   Posted 12/08/2008 at 07:49:56

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I was not being pessimistic in my answer to the OTT optimism shown in this article...Im just pointing out the cons to counter the articles pro?s. Ive watched EFC for over 50 years and this season I was looking forward to investment in the potential of DM?s team building plans. The fans deserve better as does DM for his efforts to revive the flagging and aging side he took over, he has operated on a virtual shoe string and now that he has got some decent young players together he should be financially backed to get the world class players to actually break into the top four or to at least reward the fans with better football... we blindly go on believing that the club has no money... WHY??

Surely the money saved in wages of the players we released plus the money made on the sales of McFadden and AJ should have been directed to DM?s transfer budget. This does not include the money for finishing 5th etc etc. Like I said, Wigan, Stoke and Sunderland have provided more financial backing to their managers this season...check it out. I was very optimistic about this season especially with the talk of Arshavin, Moutinho, M?bia etc... but all appears to be falling apart... The only information we get is through the press so where you all get your optimism from beats me !!

Michael Brien
27   Posted 12/08/2008 at 12:23:57

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A lot of Evertonians were hitting the panic button weeks ago and were expressing fears about our lack of activity re the transfer market. At the time I posted some replies to the moaners - I was supportive of Moyes and thought we should be patient.

However whilst I still back DM - i have to confess that I am more than a bit concerned at our lack of activity in the transfer market. I would have thought that by now we would have recruited at least one new face. DM has known for a while now that we lack real strength in depth. They say that identifying a problem is 50% of the way to solving it. That is possibly so in most cases - but clearly not with regard to Everton!!!

Glen can you explain the logic of on the one hand pointing out that we lack strength in depth as David Moyes has done several times - and then reducing the numbers by selling players and not replacing them? Yes we got good money for both Johnson and McFadden - but where are the replacements for those players?

Tottenham have sold several players - but they have brought in sveral players as well. Aston Villa have been active in the market in recent weeks after a slow start. At this moment in time it looks like we will be putting out a squad on Saturday that will have several players who have yet to make their league debut. This doesn?t look like good planning to me. One doesn?t need to be Einstein to know that we have needed to strenthen the squad. Why haven?t the people in charge done something about it?

I regard myself as being pro-Moyes - but it is very hard to find reasons to be optimistic given the pathetic efforts of the last few weeks. Not really in keeping with our motto is it?

Graham Brandwood
28   Posted 12/08/2008 at 17:10:28

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Jay. You may be correct about Spurs but I thought that they would be a threat last year and they started badly. I am just thinking that so many changes could mean anouther slow start despite ther impresive pre season form. Villa are a real threat, they seem to be very well managed club, with a traditional inner city ground and a manager who is copying D.M’s style but a little more outspoken and perhaps more confidence in the transfer market. Regarding Everton I am constantly in a state of flux optomistic yesterday, depressed today due to CSKA’s denials and Pienaar’s injury.


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