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Soft Toffee

By Anthony  Jaras :  08/10/2008 :  Comments (52) :
Over the course of the season so far, I have often sat and thought long and hard about ?Why? we are no longer hard to beat and why teams are able to cut through us like a knife through warm butter. Is it because we have poor players? No. We have good players in comparison to the majority of the Premier League.

Is it because out original 4-5-1 formation has been found out and dealt with tactically by all the managers we have face so far? No. We have effectively player this formation under the current management successfully over the years, there is no reason to think that it is any easier to play against than other teams with the same formation.

Is it solely due to the fact that we have no consistent Carsley type ?Enforcer? in the middle of the park, protecting our defence? Again, No, not entirely anyway, although I do believe miss Lee Carsley in many ways.

I believe that it is the simple fact that we are not ?Hard? enough anymore!

If you look back over the years, we have always had a hard team of players. In our most successful sides, we have had players in the mix who have forced the opposition to ?Think again? about messing around with us too much.

Here are some examples;

1985: Neville Southall, Pat van den Hauwe, Peter Reid, Andy Gray, Kevin Ratcliffe, Derek Mountfield, Paul Bracewell, Graham Sharp.

All these players were not only skilful and good at their jobs in each of their respective positions but they were all harder than a dogs head.

Fast forward 10 years and the FA Cup-winning side had these ?Dogs of War?:

1995: Neville Southall, Dave Watson, David Unsworth (nicknamed ?Rhino?), Craig Short, John Ebbrell, Joe Parkinson, Barry Horne, Duncan Ferguson, Paul Rideout.

Again, all these guys would shed blood for the club and sometimes did. They would fight from the first whistle to the last and put their bodies on the line in every match, despite some of them, in fact most of them, not having a great deal of skill. What they lacked in talent, they made up for in heart and commitment.

Now let?s look at our squad of , when we achieved our 4th spot and our Champions League finish above Liverpool. 2004-05: Alan Stubbs, Davey Weir, Duncan Ferguson, Tommy Gravesen, Lee Carsley, Tim Cahill.

Although the numbers of ?Full blooded? players has reduced from previous years, we still have a good few who were not scared to ?Mix it?. All the above would, again, endeavour to ?fight? for the cause and did it to maximum effect that year.

Now to last season, a 5th place finish...

2008: Phil Jagielka, Tim Cahill, Phil Neville, Lee Carsley.

Numbers reduced again; however, those players played a pivotal ?Physically intimidating? role in our success last year.

It brings me to our current crop of players, contrast the commitment levels of the above sides to this lot;

Howard ? Southall
Lescott ? Unsworth
Yobo ? Mountfield, Watson, Short, Ratcliffe
Hibbert ? Weir, Stubbs
Baines ? Van den Hauwe
Saha ? Ferguson, Rideout
Arteta ? Ebbrell, Gravesen
Yakubu ? Gray, Sharp
Neville 2008 ? Neville 2006-07

These above players are the reason, in my opinion ? based on performances and overall work-rate and levels of commitment shown in matches so far ? that we are struggling at present. They are simply not putting their bodies on the line for the cause.

I believe that it is too early to judge the likes of Castillo, Fellaini, Pienaar etc, as they are new or have not had decent runs in the side thus far.

The commitment levels, despite any skill or lack of it, of Cahill and Jagielka have been top drawer in my opinion, and this is the reason we are not performing to our potential.

Take Wimbledon for example. They had very limited skill levels, yet they had success in the late 80s and troubled many team in the 90s with their enthusiasm and fear factor. They only got relegated in the end because their old school hard-men moved on or got old and they replaced them with better ?footballers?.

We need to get back to basics here and start learning to fight again, because this soft approach is doing nothing for us. Teams enjoy playing us, because they know they are in for a comfortable, easy ride.

One last thing: Before you say ?Football has moved on from the days when you could put 5-6 scrappers in a team and still win?, just look at what Hull City are doing, mixing skill with fight, they out-fought and out-scored Arsenal with that formula, so should we.

Reader Comments

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Jason Lam
1   Posted 08/10/2008 at 04:21:31

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The easiest solution (not that I entirely agree mind you) is to replace Moyes with Allaydace. His Bolton teams were hard and skillful (JJ Okocha). The downside is the players would be near the wrong side of 30, can’t speak English, won’t get along with the fans (and teammates), and on short term mercenary contracts (which is probably a good thing for BK). On the plus side, fans could buy new kits each season with 11 new names to choose from.
Richard Parker
2   Posted 08/10/2008 at 07:34:08

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I agree to an extent. We don’t seem to have that will to win, I’ve seen Lescott let his man go earlier in the season more than once, when he would’ve stopped him last season.

Lescott isn’t the only one, but I think his performances this year are a real barometer for the team as a whole. He really doesn’t look like the great player we know he can be.

There seem to be too many players hiding at present. So I say fuck it, stick Pip and Castillo together in front of the defence against United and defend like our lives depend on it.

We’ve got to stop the rot and then we can tackle the root of the real problem which is a lack of composure.

Last year there was a period where every player on the pitch wanted and showed for the ball. This year that has disappeared from our game and we see very little football. Lots of long balls, but to me the problem is that no-one seems to show for the ball. They all look scared.

Why do we never see a full-back looking to take the ball from Howard? Why do we see Arteta sprint 30 yards to take the ball off a defender, nullifying his ability to hurt the opposition’s defence? Why do we not see 2 central midfielders showing for the pass each time the defenders get the ball? It’s simple, basic rules of good football.

The catalyst for that last year appeared to be Pienaar. The interchanges between him, Arteta and the other lads up-front were beautiful at times. He is our only other player like Arteta, in that you can hit them with the ball in most situations and they have the first touch and the skills to hold on to it against 2 or 3 players and make a bit of space to make the pass.

I’m just hoping that Pienaar proves to be a big difference and takes a bit of the pressure off Arteta.
Connor Rohrer
3   Posted 08/10/2008 at 08:08:11

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Look at Man Utd though. The only real tall physically dominant players in their team are Ferdinand and Vidic.

Other than that they have a lot of small players. The likes of Rooney, Scholes, Tevez, Anderson, Evra, Giggs etc.

I think there?s a lot of ways to play and be successful. At the moment I don?t think we have a squad capable of mixing it. We have workers who will run all day (Cahill, Osman, Pienaar) etc but we don?t have that bite or strength.

This is why Moyes baffles me, we still play a long ball percentage game with the likes of Osman, Baines, Arteta and Pienaar in midfield. Players who aren?t suited to that style and like to get the ball on the deck and pass and move.

I think a natural defensive midfielder is needed, Fellaini is not the answer despite being a decent player. Either Neville or Castillo should be in there, I wish we had better options but we don?t in that position. I?d be willing to let Castillo have a run in the team, we may as well. I think there is talent there but he just needs to improve on his positioning and learn the role.

We can go either 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2, we have the players capable of playing in both formations.
Nick Armitage
4   Posted 08/10/2008 at 08:26:01

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People who said that Lee Carsley was a poor limited player, and that it would be a simple job for Moyes to replace him may now finally admit that they were wrong - but I’m not holding my breath.

We are missing Lee Carsley badly.
Connor Rohrer
5   Posted 08/10/2008 at 08:47:18

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Nick Armitage,

We are missing Lee Carsley, there is no doubts about that now.

Are we missing Lee Carsley because he was a great defensive midfielder? Not at all. We are missing him because Moyes has failed to replace him.

He’s brought in a Belgium midfielder who isn’t naturally defensive and a Serbian midfielder on loan who could go either way. He still hasn’t had a run to prove himself.

That’s my opinion anyway, If you want to delude yourself into thinking Cars was an unreplaceable defensive midfielder then fair enough, I won’t.

Anyway, I wouldn’t right the new players off already. Some players take time to adapt and find there role in the team. Carsley took around 2 years to establish himself in the team and find his role. Anything can happen.

And if you look at the goals we have conceded, very few how come from Carsley’s area where he played. Alot of the goals he wouldn’t have stopped, he can’t stop players from making individual mistakes nor can he determine how certain players play.
Stephen Stuart
6   Posted 08/10/2008 at 09:02:15

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Could always replace Moyes with Floyd Merryweater?s Dad
Anthony Jaras
7   Posted 08/10/2008 at 09:08:59

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Who is the Serbian midfielder?
Do you mean Ecuadorian?
Connor Rohrer
8   Posted 08/10/2008 at 09:16:32

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Anthony Jaras, sorry about that, it’s quite early. The Ecuadorian midfielder based in the Serbian League.
Anthony Jaras
9   Posted 08/10/2008 at 09:20:06

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I was up at 3am typing this article so excuse my grammar, could not sleep a wink last night, bloody Everton!!!!
Robbie Muldoon
10   Posted 08/10/2008 at 12:29:48

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Small size doesn’t mean you aren’t a hard player. Look at Cahill.

I think you missed the point lad, again.
Darrel Pugh
11   Posted 08/10/2008 at 13:25:48

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Finally someone has spotted we are soft as shit as a team and its affecting our results, put it this way do you think the likes of terry or gerrard look at Neville when they are standing in the tunnel and think what a challenge this lad is? or do they think average player can be knocked off the ball doesn?t really get stuck in and his players aren?t motivated by him. Make no mistake this is a big problem.
Ciarán McGlone
12   Posted 08/10/2008 at 14:04:51

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Its not a royal rumble ... its a football match.
Anthony Jaras
13   Posted 08/10/2008 at 14:12:01

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It’s a mans game, it’s a physical sport and we are poncing around getting bullied by everybody.

A lot of it is about who wins the psychological battle and intimidation and contolled agression plays a massive part in that, come on, don’t play ignorance to those facts!!!!
Ciarán McGlone
14   Posted 08/10/2008 at 14:45:56

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Yeah, get rid of Arteta and bring back Gravesen.

Sod skill and guile, lets kick seven shades out of them...

Anthony, Your version of the game is not for me.

There’s a difference between being competitive and what you are advocating.
Anthony Jaras
15   Posted 08/10/2008 at 15:12:22

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You clearly have not read the article Ciaran.

I am not saying that at all and you know it, you are just being argumentitive for the sake of it.

I am asking for committment and for our players to show heart and put their bodies on the line you idiot.

Unless you think we can win games by beating men all day with all the skill, pace and guile we don’t have.

Stop behaving like a child and join the discussion instead of just reading every post looking to pick holes in it like you always seem to do!!!!
Anthony Jaras
16   Posted 08/10/2008 at 15:15:06

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Ps. Are you not educated enough to understand what the term ’Controlled Aggression’ is?

Obviously not if you interpret it as ’Kicking seven shades out of them’.
Ciarán McGlone
17   Posted 08/10/2008 at 15:26:06

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This ’idiot’ is educated enough to know that the term ’controlled agression’ is a paradox.

I would respectfully suggest you reframe from questioning other people’s education, when coming off with unwise phrases.
Anthony Jaras
18   Posted 08/10/2008 at 15:41:17

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For you to come out with statements that insinuate that you are happy with the levels of commitment and that you don?t see that we need to ?Up the ante? when it comes to how we apply contolled agression then it kinda hints that it is you who is ?Unwise?.

If you are one of our ?Supporters? who is happy with the application of the current squad, be it commitment levels or not, then I suggest that you study our motto and maybe think again about whether it is Everton you wish to follow and not the likes of Sunderland, Spurs, Boro etc.

Ps. In future, I am only going to respond to people whose posts indicate that they have actually read my article in full and not just skimmed over it which you clearly have, as any educated person would have deduced that I was not advocating ?Kicking seven shades out of the opposition?.
Tony Marsh
19   Posted 08/10/2008 at 15:54:56

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Anthony its hard mate trying to convince some of our lot about the state of the team because of the manager.They just wont have it.Even if we lose every game between now and Xmas they will still be up Moyes ring peice

.One of the reasons I have stopped going to as many away games as I used to is the amount of Gobshites we now have following/supporting us.I dont know where they came from
or were they have been but it drives me around the bend.I feel like spewing up every time I hear that OH DAVEY MOYES SONG blurted out.

I cant take much more of Moyes his crap footy,his shit buys or the blind sheep that follow this man.I mean how shite do we have to become before thesze clowns wake up.????
jay harris
20   Posted 08/10/2008 at 15:54:20

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I think your point is well made.

I think our main problem is MF where with Osman,Felliani,Arteta and Pienaar we dont have any "bite" at all and although fans are blaming the full backs I would question Arteta and Pienaar in particular for allowing the opposition to run at them.

Good teams double up on the wing and their MF does not ignore defensive duties.

Carsley was a roving defensive MF who covered Arteta,Pienaar,Osman and Cahill in a 5 man MF.

The only players who have come close to that role IMO are Fernandes and Castillo and only Fernandes would cope in a 4 man MF.

There is enough "bite" in the back 4 even with Baines but if the opposition is allowed to run at you even Stubbs and his like would struggle.
Ciarán McGlone
21   Posted 08/10/2008 at 16:00:40

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So you’re on to commitment now are you?

What happened to ’controlled aggression’? ’blood’?, ’fight’? ’hard enough’? ’harder than a dogs head’?

Yeah, i’m happy with a lack of commitment because I don’t agree with the ’Grant Mitchell’ sentiment of your article..

Do me a favour.

Maybe if you hadn’t used similes for violence on a regular basis throughout your article then it wouldn’t read like a transcript of Braveheart!

Perhaps Danny Guthrie might agree with you, I don’t.

p.s I didn’t know Nil Satis Nisi Optimum meant .... ’shut it, as hard as a dogs head’
jay harris
22   Posted 08/10/2008 at 15:54:20

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I think your point is well made.

I think our main problem is MF where with Osman,Felliani,Arteta and Pienaar we dont have any "bite" at all and although fans are blaming the full backs I would question Arteta and Pienaar in particular for allowing the opposition to run at them.

Good teams double up on the wing and their MF does not ignore defensive duties.

Carsley was a roving defensive MF who covered Arteta,Pienaar,Osman and Cahill in a 5 man MF.

The only players who have come close to that role IMO are Fernandes and Castillo and only Fernandes would cope in a 4 man MF.

There is enough "bite" in the back 4 even with Baines but if the opposition is allowed to run at you even Stubbs and his like would struggle.
Kevin Hudson
23   Posted 08/10/2008 at 15:39:48

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I echoed Jaros’ theory some time last season with the sentiment: Every good team benefits from an obnoxious scrapper in the centre of the park-Joey Barton was my idea to replace Carsley. The guy also happens to be a blue, and would clearly have given his all,but i got laughed off the forum. Thoughts ?
Connor Rohrer
24   Posted 08/10/2008 at 16:26:26

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I don’t think Barton is a good shout to be honest. He gives his all yes and he’s very tenacious but he mistimes his tackles time and time again.

I want a defensive midfielder who is strong but fair. Like Carsley was for example when he put his foot in, Barton is just rash and his disiplinary record proves that.
Ciarán McGlone
25   Posted 08/10/2008 at 16:39:02

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What about Diaby... seems to have lost his place.. much like Diarra.
Connor Rohrer
26   Posted 08/10/2008 at 16:42:06

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He’s not really defensive minded and he can’t tackle. He is a physical boy though, he’s quite dominant when he wants to be.

I’d love him here though, in the box to box role. I think he’d be a fantastic addition. He’d replace Super Leon Osman.
Anthony Jaras
27   Posted 08/10/2008 at 16:47:49

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You are doing yourself no favours at all here for your credibilty you know, and what do you mean by saying; "So you?re on to commitment now are you?"

Did you not read the parts where I said;

"These above players are the reason, in my opinion ? based on performances and overall work-rate and levels of commitment shown in matches so far ? that we are struggling at present. They are simply not putting their bodies on the line for the cause".


"Again, all these guys would shed blood for the club and sometimes did. They would fight from the first whistle to the last and put their bodies on the line in every match, despite some of them, in fact most of them, not having a great deal of skill. What they lacked in talent, they made up for in heart and commitment".

I said "Shed" blood, not "Spill" blood or can you not read so well?

Also, you still don?t get what ?Controlled Aggression? is do you?

Controlled aggression is the abilty to apply aggression to a sport whilst staying within the rules of the game, thus meaning that tackles are made forcefully but legally.

Not seen much of that, have you?

I guess you thought we ere a dirty team in 85, 95 and so on then do you?

The term ?Harder than a dogs head' applies to those players in the Gray, Reid, Watson, Ferguson mould refferring to their bravery and commitment in the challenge meaning that they were not scared to put their feet or heads in where it hurts, thought an educated man would have cottoned on to that.

The word 'fight' in football is not often taken as literal, but clearly by you. It is usually used to refer to players who ?fight? for the ball and to win games, not throwing punches, but again you did not understand.

It seems clear to me that you are the only person that failed to read the article and understand the simple and often used footballing terms within it because as far as I can see, everybody else understood it, so that leads me to the conclusion that you are in a very solitary minority here with the weak and irrelevant statements you are splurting out.

Just give up will you, you have no point to make.
Anthony Jaras
28   Posted 08/10/2008 at 17:10:24

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Have you ever played football Ciaran, sunday league etc, does not sound like you have.
Ciarán McGlone
29   Posted 08/10/2008 at 17:20:52

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I?ve already made my point. Your article is daft...and you are a fool.

Conor, it would interest you to know that Diaby?s natural position is defensive midfield... and that he was played out of position last year.<
Darrel Pugh
30   Posted 08/10/2008 at 17:27:58

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So everybody in this thread agrees with Anthony and thinks we are a soft touch and it does affect our results apart from Ciaran who thinks that all is fine and dandy and Phil, Jospeh, Mikel and Co are not losing us games with their half-arsed approach to life?

Ciaran, what do you normally play: Chess? Ker Plunk? Or Battleship if you?re up to it?
Connor Rohrer
31   Posted 08/10/2008 at 17:43:55

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Ciarán McGlone,

He played the majority of the season backing up on the left flank last season, I seem to remember him moaning about playing there. Flamini played the defensive midfield role.

I’ve been told by many Arsenal fans that he is more attacking than he is defensive. I’ve seen it myself to be honest, the lad can’t tackle nor is he agressive enough for the role.

Because the guy is French has the "Vieira physique" he’s supposedly the next Vieira, not the case at all. He’s completely different.

As a box to box midfielder he’d be excellent for us though, there’s no doubting that.
Mark Scarratt
32   Posted 08/10/2008 at 18:56:57

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I think the answer is that football is changing. It seems now that every single physical challenge results in a free kick. Years ago, players were booting seven shades out of each other and weren?t even getting booked. All you have to do now is breathe on somebody to get booked. Look at Cahill?s sending off in the derby. 10 to 15 years ago that wouldn?t have even been a yellow.

The way football is going it will become a non-contact sport and they days of the so-called hard man will be over.

So in a nutshell, I don?t think we are softer, it is just that the rules are changing which allow the pure footballers more of a chance. Unfortunately, at the moment, that knackers us completely.
Anthony Jaras
33   Posted 08/10/2008 at 19:11:04

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Ciaran McGoon,

Ha Ha, I am a fool, that also makes the majority of posters on here goons too, ha ha fuckin’ hell.

I know you believe you have made your point, trouble is, nobody could find it amongst the shite you spouted.

I guess the answer to the question;

Have you ever played football?

Was ’No’, which is why you dodged it like a child pretending to be a politician. It also proves why you think the way you think cos clearly you don’t know a great deal about the mindset of a player. (I have played for 18 years competitively).

Everton are fucked if everyone adopts your shithouse mentality long term.

Good luck with life Mr Jellyfish (Oh I better explain cos you are slow on the uptake on most things, you are spineless).
James power
34   Posted 08/10/2008 at 19:07:25

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I?m loving the educated / not educated argument. By the way Ciaran, "refrain" please, it will help.
Steve Edwards
35   Posted 08/10/2008 at 19:37:21

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Big mistake arguing with Ciaran, it's like feeding a donkey strawberries.
Declan Brown
36   Posted 08/10/2008 at 18:31:55

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Anthony, great article. You hit the nail on the head. Couldn?t agree more pal. I doff my cap to you for your thoughts. I?ve been an Evertonian for 20 years now.

It summed up my thoughts after the derby capitulation which confirmed in my mind we?d gone as far as we could with Moyes ? it was time for him to go. Another 5 years of that, putting up the white flag before we got onto the pitch with the Sky 4... no thanks. Our supporters / I?ve more fire in my belly, more desire to win those games it seems than Moyes does.

Royle?s or any of Kendall?s teams wouldn?t be walked over by Liverpool in that manner regardless of their league position. The thought of playing the Sky 4 would have brought out the best in Royle?s / Kendall?s teams, they wouldn?t hide in fear of the Sky 4. They didn?t do fear in these games, they relished the challenge. That?s what really annoys me about Moyes?s teams. Due to fear they?re beaten before out on the pitch (Arsenal, Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea). Used to be those teams had to come and fight for the points at Goodison, if they won they had to earn it or at least battle for it first. Not these days.

One of my points I made to my friends and fellow Evertonians after the derby weeks ago, was that regardless of how bad we were in the 90?s whether Kendall or Royle (I really enjoyed the heart and passion of Joe?s teams in his 1st and 2nd season) managed us, a derby match was life and death for them, they had passion, desire, guts and the heart of a lion, you could forgive them in defeat because you know they always fought for it with everything they had, that came from their manager who KNEW exactly what it felt to be beaten by them bastards across the park.

Look at it this way. Moyes's team this season versus Royle?s Dogs of War of 1994-95. Who?d win? Well, all those hoofballs would be food and drink to Royle?s back 4 and Southall.

Who?d win the midfield battle? Royle?s midfield would have our current midfield bullied out of it, if they got near the ball Horne, Parkinson or Ebbrell would have tackled them as soon as they got the ball, tough but fairly. Limpar and Kanchelskis were a class act on the wings. Royle?s team epitomised controlled aggression, Ciaran, don?t hide the dictionary on that one, Anthony was spot on with that analysis.

I don?t think The Yak would get any change out of Watson and Unsworth (who were both immense that season when Royle joined). Rideout and Ferguson would have terrorised and made life awkward for Jag and Yobo. Kanchelskis on Lescott would have been a great battle. Southall or Howard? Simple choice isn?t it?

And they say this is the best team we?ve had in 20 years? I strongly disagree. Just look at our fearful woeful approach towards the Sky 4 games home or away, good teams and managers relish the big games, they don?t hide in fear...

Anthony Jaras
37   Posted 08/10/2008 at 19:55:58

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Great post Declan, really good summary of the 1994-95 team, cheers buddy, brought back some nice memories there.

In particular, the semi-final at Elland Road, which is probably the best match I have attended.

Stand out moments where when Horne and Parkinson tackled each other only minutes before tackling a piece a paper blowing in the wind cos they saw the white and thought it was the ball, ha ha.

Two full blooded men committed to the cause.
Declan Brown
38   Posted 08/10/2008 at 20:08:11

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And another thing too boys...Moyes is far too respectful to Benitez for my liking.

I’d love to know what Big Joe’s / Howard Kendall’s thoughts were when Benitez was being spiteful / downright disrespectful in his remarks over the years regarding our club. I think Joe would have had a field day with him in the media.

Anyone remember Big Joe’s "the dummies fell out of the pram last night" quote, he was responding to Roy Evans’ complaints about our battling display in Royle’s first Anfield Derby as manager in 1995. What was our crime? We dared to stand toe and toe with them, gave them a hard game and let them have nothing their own way, even at Anfield. It was a cracker of a quote, the local media lapped it up. I knew then we had a genuine Blue at the helm who wouldn’t let anyone unfairly have a go at us without him responding. That’s the type of manager i want at this club. Scared of no-one.

I would love to see Joe take on Benitez in the mind games / talking the talk in the media battle. He always had great quotes ready to put our critics back in their place when they whinged or criticised us unfairly.
Connor Rohrer
39   Posted 08/10/2008 at 20:17:43

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The problem is even over the last 12 years Derbies have changed and Liverpool are far more of a force than they where then.

Physcially they are the best team in the League for me and technically compared to us they are superior technically.

Joe Parkinson who I was a big fan off even said recently that the Derby is a completely different game to the one we are seeing at the moment. The 94/95 team could try all they want to bully this current Liverpool side, I doubt they’d get anything out of it.

Masherano and Gerrard v Horne and Parkinson, they’d wipe the floor with them to be honest both physically and technically.

This team is better than Joe’s team in my opinion, for a one of game maybe the 94/95 team would beat us but would they finish higher in the League, I very much doubt it.

Good teams are consistent, big game teams relish big games.
Declan Brown
40   Posted 08/10/2008 at 20:48:04

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Connor if they’re so physically dominant and technically superior why did it take them 3.5 years to score a league goal against Man Utd? Their record against Chelsea and Arsenal is just as bad, it was something like 2 wins in 18 games over 3 seasons. They’re not that good.

But i will disagree with you on the 1994/5 team. They would have beaten Liverpool at Goodison a few weeks ago and definitely would beat our current team any day of the week and not on any one off occassion.

Our midfield is shit scared to tackle Gerrard, if you get into him, rough him up, he goes quiet against guys who stand up to / match him, he only picks on and fouls players smaller / weaker than him, those who fear his hype, he bottled it and walked away when Terry, Shearer and Rooney squared up to him on seperate occassions. He’s nothing that the media make him out to be, any trouble and he’s nowhere to be seen if anybody’s up for a fight. He’s a shithouse, Horne, Parkinson and Ebbrell would have stood toe to toe with him, stared him out, then tackled the gobshite regardless of his over inflated hype.

As for the 1994/5 team, remember Royle got us over 40 pts with a team that was dead and buried by mid November, he got those 40+ pts from late November onwards, won a FA Cup too, so yes i reckon game for game they would finish higher than this team would. For a bad side their pts record against games ratio was very impressive.
Anthony Jaras
41   Posted 08/10/2008 at 21:08:04

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Connor, just out of interest, how old are you buddy?

I just wanna gage you age with regards to the teams you have grown up watching mate.
Gerry Western
42   Posted 08/10/2008 at 21:42:36

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Anthony, a good piece I’ve been saying for weeks we’ve no real bite in the team since Carsley departed. Cahill is the only one who is prepared to mix it, sadly he’s not been terribly well supported by his team mates in that respect. A couple of posters have mentioned Joe Parkinson possibly one of the hardest men ever to pull on a Everton shirt. Connor if you believe for one moment that Gerrard or Mascherano would have been capable of intimidating Parkinson your gravely mistaken. In fact I’d go as far as to say he’d have been more than able to take both of them on. I still recall Vinny Jones being asked about hard men he actually made a point of singling out Parkinson something along the lines of he really wouldn’t fancy mixing it with Parkinson describing him as one of the hardest men in the game. What an asset he would be to the team in today’s game.
Connor Rohrer
43   Posted 08/10/2008 at 22:28:59

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I think we’ll have to agree to disagree boys.

On Parkinson, if there was one played I’d want from the 90s team it would be him. He’d be a perfect addition to this squad. Yes he could mix it but he could also play a bit, alot of Evertonians and others outside the club failed to see this. Sadly his injuries robbed him of an excellent career in the making.

Another would be Billy Kenny, what a player he would’ve been. Probably the best midfielder I saw in the 90s, sadly it didn’t last long.

On the lack of bite in the team, is it time to unleash James Vaughan? If your talking about old school rough and tumble players he’s the closest we have.

He’ll put his body on the line, he’s a good target man and he’s got the pace and ability to go with it. He’s a little raw but I’d say he’s worth the gamble.

He’s probably the most physical player we have at the club, by quite a distance to be honest.

Jason Lam
44   Posted 09/10/2008 at 02:49:42

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No, it’s not a brawl out there but there is a baseline requirement of ’aggression’ and ’physical presence’ to which our midfield simply does not meet, to place them on equal footing with the opposition thereby allow us to play football. The ref can’t blow his whistle if we’re fielding children.
Ciarán McGlone
45   Posted 09/10/2008 at 08:50:36

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My god, what a clever parody of my name...You get six "I'm educated" points for that one..

And 6 "hard as a dog's head" points for calling me spineless over the internet.
Anthony Jaras
46   Posted 09/10/2008 at 09:14:01

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12 points, woo hoo!

More than Everton currently have, YES!!!!
Ciarán McGlone
47   Posted 09/10/2008 at 09:52:17

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At last.

Thanks for raising the smile.
James Byrne
48   Posted 09/10/2008 at 09:46:31

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Really interesting article but I struggle to agree 100%; I really believe however we are missing that one really strong personality on the park that shouts & screams etc at the players. We don?t have that at the moment and the heads of our players are going down to easy and too quick during games.

I don?t thing that role is being played too well by Neville as captain; he doesn?t shout and instruct and also doesn?t contribute to the overall game due to being a shite footballer; therefore he doesn?t set a good example or helps to motivate players around him.

My main concern of our current team is the tactic?s coming from the training ground; this is where our strategy is based.

I think it is just a matter of time to get some of our injured players back, the new lads installed and some confidence embedded into the likes of Arteta & Lescott. The captain's armband been handed to Jags might also be a positive move.
Yisroel Selwyn
49   Posted 10/10/2008 at 03:36:28

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One thing about Carsley though.

If you watch some video from last season, you will see that 4 out of every 5 opposition attacks that were broken up, were broken up by Carsley?s head, foot, shin, back or posterior. He would always track back and either hound the attacker to submission by closing of any outlet or by jumping in the way of the ball. Contrary to one of the earlier comments, yes, he would have most probably stopped at least half of the goals that we have let in this season.

It doesn?t mean that he would have got to the balls that were over Hibbert?s head, it means that the ball would never have got to the point where an attacker had time to pick his spot. He was like a terrier nipping at their heels.

Remember how we went on losing streaks every time he missed a few games with injury?? I am not saying that this is the only reason, but it is a big one. He was instrumental to the success of last season and has not been adequately replaced as of yet.

Ste Kenny
50   Posted 10/10/2008 at 15:26:56

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We lack LEADERSHIP on the pitch and off it, that's why we're in a mess. When the shit hits the fan, how many of our team stand up to be counted?
Ciarán McGlone
51   Posted 10/10/2008 at 16:45:27

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?Carsley stopped 4 out of every 5 opposition attacks??

?He would have most probably stopped at least half of the goals that we have let in this season??

My god, where do you get this deluded opinion of Carsley from!

I?ll repeat ? seven games at the end of last season with Carsley in the team, and seven games this season with Carsley in the team EXACTLY THE SAME POINTS TALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
James Power
52   Posted 10/10/2008 at 22:02:07

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Oh God, Jehova, Allah and the ghost of Steve Sergeant, a blue since birth in 1970... if we are reminiscing about the admirable and reasonably, but relatively modestly talented team of the mid 90s then life is hard. Lord help us remember! Oh the glory of the cloggers and I was at the beautiful Elland Rd display v Spurs and all the others, including 5-0 v Norwich, but it was the exception and life was generally still cack. But agreed, we did fight.

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