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How far away are we?

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We all knew this glass ceiling debate would raise it's head if we lost to Chelsea. It's almost deja vu from when we lost to them in the Carling Cup semi-final last year. For some, yesterday's result only confirms what we knew a year ago but my opinion has changed.

We must all accept that we've had absoutely rotten luck with injuries. Just imagine yesterday if we'd have had a fully fit squad to choose from and Chelsea were missing Terry, Lampard and Drogba? How far away would we have been? We'd have won it I reckon because in the end it was a fantastic strike by Lampard that made the difference. The facts are we were missing Jagielka, Arteta and Yakubu - the spine of our team. Easily our most influential players.

Yesterday the only creative player we had was Pienaar. If you've only one creative player on the pitch it's easy for the opposition to snuff them out. We suddenly looked totally out of sorts all over the pitch. The loss of Arteta should not be underestimated. This guy can hold onto the ball in midfield, bring the full-backs into play and also draw's fouls from the opposition. From resulting freekicks we attack through set-pieces. Yesterday we didn't get many freekicks and we struggled to attack through our full-backs. It's the way we play under Moyes.

Our record against the top 4 this season improved. Chelsea didn't beat us and we should have won at Stamford Bridge. On the way to the final we beat Liverpool, Villa and Man U. As much as people can question this glass ceiling, we don't need a billionaire. A return to fitness of our best players and the addition of a right back and right winger would make a huge difference, as well as a better run of luck with injuries.
Alan  Clarke, Manchester     Posted 31/05/2009 at 05:37:03

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Mick Wrende
1   Posted 31/05/2009 at 16:57:27

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Good words, Allan. One positive thing to come out of yesterday's game was it is now very obvious the area we need to strengthen. Our right side was so woeful that Chelsea could attack down that side in acres of space and especially, in the first half, with hardly a threat of a challenge. If their attacks were to break down then neither Hibbert nor Osman were capable of moving forward to trouble them.

As you say, our only threat was Pienaar and when you only have the one, then it is easy to snuff out. It is good that Moyes recognised this? so rarely does he make a substitution that soon. Surely correcting this must be his priority.

The only black cloud on the horizon is it may well be 2-3 months into the season before Mikel and Jags come back.

Ray Robinson
2   Posted 31/05/2009 at 17:08:03

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Alan, in your own article you answer your own question. We are still some way from breaking though the top 4 cartel because we cannot cope with injuries to key players. God knows it’s hard enough for Liverpool when Torres gets injured and that’s why they’ll recruit another top quality striker this close season. Our squad simply isn’t big enough in terms of quality.

On our day, with everyone fit, we can match most teams but with no strength in depth we’ll never compete with the top 4 when it matters - i.e. consistently over a whole season. Injuries are a fact of life and we’re 3 or 4 quality players short of a situation where a) we don’t have just one creative player on the pitch and b) persist with a right back who would struggle to get into most League 1 sides.

So in absolute terms, we’re about £30m - £40m short of seriously challenging for honours.
Trevor Lynes
3   Posted 31/05/2009 at 17:43:01

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I agree wholeheartedly with ?Sugar? Ray... without investment we will do no better than we managed this season and very possibly a lot worse. I'm sure that top players want the chance of winning something and we do not offer that possibility.

Chelsea and the other top four members can carry injuries far better than we can and our bench is testament to that. We have had a wonderful season despite injuries and lack of numbers but this cannot continue indefinitely. We desperately need a big influx of money and I get so disappointed when I read of lesser clubs being taken over while we are treading water...

If we don't miraculously produce a clutch of young future stars to supplement the first team and improve its prospects then I truly cannot see us maintaining our progress.

Mike McLean
4   Posted 31/05/2009 at 18:28:16

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When we lost the semi-final to Chelsea, we had at least two of the players you mention as being match winners yesterday.

We still lost.

Chris James
5   Posted 31/05/2009 at 19:19:21

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Mike, has anyone ever told you that you just might be one of those glass half empty people? Come on fella, give us a smile - turn that frown upside down!
Mike McLean
6   Posted 31/05/2009 at 19:34:52

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No frowns here: just incredulity that, after everything that has happened, (and not just the nice bits), anyone can possiby present a case that things can only get better.

The last two seasons are as good as it gets.
Stewart Littler
7   Posted 31/05/2009 at 19:46:40

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So Mike, we don’t get any better then? Look at the stats and see that we ARE getting better. FACT!

Alan, in terms of your article, let’s put it this way. We have a fully fit squad to pick from (as Chelsea did, with exception of Joe Cole), and THEY are missing Drogba, Lampard and Terry. Everton win, hands down. Of course, all in the lair of possibilities. But I think too many people, Evertonians included, have dismissed this loss of 3 key players as a minor obstacle. We are not talking about a few weeks (apart from Jags), we’re talking about several months!

We competed yesterday, and with a couple more additions, and the return of these players, we can STILL move to the next level
Robbie Muldoon
8   Posted 31/05/2009 at 20:47:04

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?The Spine of the team was missing? 100 per cent spot on. I agree with what you are saying, imagine if the situation was revered, we would have won.

Come on you blues, proud to be an Evertonian.
Tony Horne
9   Posted 31/05/2009 at 15:44:16

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A few points:

1. It took us 25 seconds to do what Barcelona needed 3 hours for.

2. The management and team had the nouse to sort out, at half time, the impending disaster unfolding from the right.

3. Moyes acknowledges that the best team won which surely is the prerequisite to making us better.

4. The fans were brilliant.

5. The TV companies actually seemed to enjoy having us there for a change.

Personally, I would have liked to see Castillo given the last 15 mins as he is the only one with proven ability to stick it in from 30 yards and, let's face it, we weren't getting any closer...

Keith Glazzard
10   Posted 31/05/2009 at 21:23:47

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Alan - although I don’t agree with all your reasoning, I go along with the ’we don’t need a billionaire’ idea. Although one could come in handy at times.

We are the only club to have penetrated the ’glass ceiling’ in recent years and the next Five Year Plan is unfolding - so what would a new plutocrat owner do for us? Man City might become a footballing power, but the sudden injection of monopoly money hasn’t made that happen yet. If Moyes had the funds to secure the, say, three players he really wanted this close season, plus three or four bargain basement deals, it might make the difference.

But to sell the club for this mess of potage? (Genesis 25:30)

Perhaps we should have a TW poll voting for which particular billionaire we want to own ’our’ club.

John Doolan
11   Posted 31/05/2009 at 09:23:00

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My feeling at the final whistle yesterday was simply one of immense sadness and it is a feeling which has actually grown in the hours that have followed.

With a couple of minutes to go, the guy sat next to me, whom I did not know but with whom I has shared an epic celebration after our goal, turned to me and said we had to win today because we would not be coming back for a long time. I almost started crying there and then, and this from a grown man who has not cried since I was 5, because deep down I think he is right.

In the days leading up to the final there has been rubbish spouted by some fans saying that we will go on to greater things. The reality is that we are skint and are likely to remain so with a number of clubs outside the top 4 far better resourced than we are. If we finish in the top eight next year it will be a miracle and ultimately you can't beat the house odds for ever.

I'm sorry if this post depresses everyone but I have to unload as it will take me a very long time to get over yesterday. I just hope that the thousands of fans who were quote "absolutely desperate" to get a ticket turn up in the diffcult times that may lie ahead.

Martin Downey
12   Posted 31/05/2009 at 22:19:51

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Dear Alan,

Sorry, I disagreee. We need money.

We love our heritage and tradition.

We have a heritage and tradition because, in the past, we had, amongst many other qualities, relatively, plenty of money.

We have no money now, relatively. We still have heritage and tradition. We need money to protect it.

Times change, and in the past they changed because of, not without Everton.

Unfortunately, and sadly, in these times of such obvious grasping, we too need money, if we are to cling on to what means most to us - the suceess of our beloved Everton - we must have some.
Iain Love
13   Posted 31/05/2009 at 22:43:28

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There is always this talk about money, money, money and it?s true the quickest and best way is to have pots of money and buy the best players available. But we haven?t got money so moot point.

My grandad said there is more than one way to skin a cat, so thinking laterally what other way is there? Maybe we have found it. The young lad who joined recently said, "I chose Everton because of the way the youth players get a chance in the first team." We are also the best team outside the top 4 with [x3] the best manager in the league. So many players have followed the £ ie Newcastle [15 players on £50k a week] and still relegated. If i was a Delph or the like I would choose Everton because that would be the best way to progress my career... if i was a money grabber, hopefully Everton wouldn?t get or want me.

So I believe that we can progress without pots of money and look to carry on with the youth system and add a bit of quality each season. A fully fit squad with a stronger right side [Glen Johnson would do for me], maybe Nani on loan, and we might have a chance of another top 4 slot.

A much better season than I thought... and let's see what the summer brings.

Alan Clarke
14   Posted 01/06/2009 at 08:51:40

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Sorry guys but those who disagree with my post are full of shit! Stop dreaming about losing all our tradition and stability for some rich Arab to take from us. Read Moyes’ quotes about it being a fashion. With great riches comes a lot of problems. Look at how far Tottenham and City’s riches have got them. Look at how unstable they are - the minute they have a dodgy run the manager’s threatened with the sack. Is this what you want? Or do you all have this completely unrealistic dream that we’ll find some understanding billionaire who’ll run the club exactly how we want it? Wake up.

You can harp on all you like about needing a bigger squad but Liverpool have the biggest squad in the Premier league and they still miss their key players. Take Torres, Gerard and Carragher out of their team and they still can’t cope - look at their result away at Wigan this season as proof.

We do need a bigger squad I accept that but we would still have missed those three key players. We are in an absolutely priveledged position where we now only need to add a couple of players each year to help build and keep making progress.

You all know had we not had the fuck up at the start of the season, we’d have finished ahead of Arsenal. Wenger has no money this summer. A couple of quality additions will see us overtake them. We have to trust our manager to be able to do that. Pienaar and Arteta would walk into any of those top 4 sides and their combined total was less than £5 million.

Trya and see the bigger picture instead of this willingness to sacrifice our traditions to some Arab billionaire.
Ray Robinson
15   Posted 01/06/2009 at 18:43:44

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Alan, "Sorry guys but those who disagree with my post are full of shit!"

Have you any idea how ridiculous that sounds - particluarly as you asked a question in the original post? Did you really think that everyone HAD to agree with you?
Alan Clarke
16   Posted 01/06/2009 at 18:57:28

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Sorry Ray, I just get so worked up by these idiots claiming we should sell out to some billionaire who doesn’t have the best interests of our club at heart. A new owner in the mould of the guy who’s taken over Portsmouth would spell disaster and if you think otherwise then I class you as an idiot too.

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