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Will the real Everton FC please stand up

By Conor Waters :  21/05/2010 :  Comments (24) :
It's the usual season review time of year again... The silly season of the most fabricated tabloid tales... The hopes and fears for next season... As ever on TW, its whether you're a 'glass half-full' or 'glass half-empty' kind of guy.

And after the past 9 months it's honestly impossible to truly say where we will end up next season. Even graduates at MIT couldn't speculate as to what the future holds for a club like Everton. We appear to be a massive contradiction and an infuriatingly unpredictable animal.

I absolutely understand the crazy optimism from some fans off the back of that strong finish to the season. The flowing football that saw us overcome United and Chelsea in the space of a week, in both cases after falling a goal behind. The impressive drubbing of Hull. The huge amount of last-minute goals scored — always a sign of a winning mentality in a team. The fact that the likes of Pienaar, Arteta, Rodwell, Gosling etc are all linked with other clubs, indicating the elevated skill levels of many our players. An unbeaten run of 12 games. Why wouldn't we be excited?

But then let us not forget some other important points. The derby matches, how we succumbed twice to the most average of teams. That opening half-hour at the KC stadium. The absolute embarrassment at Benfica. The similar capitulation in the same city against Sporting. The opening day spanking from the Gunners. The huge amount of dropped points from winning positions. We couldn't even pick up 3 points against Stoke, Wolves or Birmingham over 6 games.

This is all based upon what happens on the pitch. Nothing to do with the injuries suffered, boardroom dealings, stadium moves or any other off-field antics. It is a conundrum every time we watch the Toffees play. We are surprised when we upset the odds by beating a 'big 4' team, and similarly when we fail to do so against a mid-table team.

One extremely worrying trend does often emerge and it's consistency. How often have we displayed a 'Jekyll and Hyde' type performance? Bolton, Hull and Benfica away were all lost by half-time because of a shockingly sleepy start to a game, This is common occurrence, where it seems like none of the players give a rat's ass whether they win or not — and by the time they pull their socks up, it's already too late. Similarly blistering starts at home to West Ham, Birmingham, Villa and Sporting all promised so much, but were let slip by a lack of clinical finishing and defensive lapses.

Everybody has their off-days, eg, Chelsea losing at Wigan... but unless we develop some kind of progressive consistency, we will simply slip into a mid-table abyss. Our small squad and financial mismanagment hinders our development — when the likes of Spurs, Villa, City and even to a lesser extent Fulham, Birmingham or Sunderland all have the capability of stepping up in terms of expenditure.

Do people really think we can break into the top 4? Really? We only achieved 2 pts less than last season and that has seen us slide 3 places in the table. The competition has skyrocketed. We have no divine right to be up there anymore, unless we get our shit together on the pitch.

Oh but Chelsea are an aging side, Arsene Wenger has lost his way and SAF's days are numbered... I think not. Let's not focus on what might happen to other sides and concentrate on building something special at Goodison Park.

So, this coming season, barring the traditional awful start to a campaign, will the real Everton FC please stand up.

Reader Comments

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Gary Creaney
1   Posted 21/05/2010 at 15:30:24

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Conor, in the 6 games with Stoke, Wolves and Brum we picked up 6 points from 6 draws. I think you meant we didn't manage to beat any of these teams but you see my point.

From a personal point of view, the last 2 or 3 summers have been incredibly frustrating experiences in terms of all things Everton. We’ve had to contend with reams upon reams of lazy journalism and getting linked with numerous foreign players (and getting consequently excited by YouTube footage of said players). We’ve had to contend with doing our deals very late in the transfer window due to TV revenues or long agonising sales of our own players.

In truth, I hate the silly season, it historically brings out a side to us that is not apparent during the real season. Even the most optimistic and upbeat of us lose a little heart, but for the doom and gloom merchants among us, it's almost enough to drive one over the edge.

Cue the summer of 2010. We are all buoyed by our form in the 2nd half of the season. Form which was good enough for 3rd place pro rata. The emergence of Heitinga and Fellaini as two ‘world class’ players (that is my opinion) and the return of Arteta and Jags means we all feel that we have the spine of a team that can truly compete at the highest level.

We seem to be so pleased / satisfied / content with the clear progression since Christmas that the summer of 2010 is important for one reason and one reason only: TO HOLD ONTO OUR CURRENT SQUAD. Should we somehow manage to sign a top player or two, then excellent... but if we manage to keep everyone on our books then fans, players and managers alike all know that the 2010-11 season can be a special one.

Dennis Stevens
2   Posted 21/05/2010 at 16:01:56

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Break into the top 4? Champions next season!
Michael Kenrick
3   Posted 21/05/2010 at 16:17:08

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I'm with Dennis.

In fact, next season offers a fantastic opportunity for us as Everton fans to come together via the internet and to collectively employee the Power of Positive Thinking to achieve a tremendous result!!!

If everyone who contributes to TofffeeWeb could start to positively affirm in every message that we ARE going to win the league next season, just think what a fantastic wave of positive energy that would become behind the team, spurring them on. They simply could not resist but go out every game and play with total conviction toward the ultimate goal.

Everton are going to win the League in 2011. I feel sure of it now!
Alex Highton
4   Posted 21/05/2010 at 16:20:32

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DIdn't we lose 3 games in the last 20 odd? That seems pretty consistent to me. Previous to that we had a massive injury crisis. It wasn't just fringe players — it was pretty much the core of our team.

I think Moyes has done an amazing job. It's taken him a few years but this squad, with one or two additions is up with the best in the league.
Conor Ryan
5   Posted 21/05/2010 at 16:46:03

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Love It Michael !!!! COYB
Steve Edwards
6   Posted 21/05/2010 at 16:29:50

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Nice read, Conor, and I'd say a well balanced assessment of the season that's been. I think the main thing for Evertonians is what might have been if we hadn't lost key players for most of the season. That's now prompting optimism for the coming season.

I agree with you though, God knows what we'll actually get. I'll be pleasantly surprised if we manage to hang onto our best players. I still think that will be the key to whether or not we have money to spend in the transfer market.

Who will we lose? Will we lose anybody? Will we bring in one or two players who will improve the squad? Well we've got about another three months before we find out. I must admitt though, I do feel optimistic myself at the moment but then I'm waiting for my fragile optimism to be crushed.

Andy Crooks
7   Posted 21/05/2010 at 18:36:47

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I agree with you, Conor. Over 38 games last season we simply were not good enough. Not in terms of squad depth and quality and, on numerous occasions, in terms of attitude and tactics. What will change next season? Well, the failure to secure a new contract for Pienaar does not bode well.

The squad needs to be strengthened considerably and it won't be. Why will a squad that achieved eighth last season challenge for the champions league next season? The optimists (I really wish I was one of them) seem to be basing their hopes on having a full squad for most of the season. I won't happen, this is Everton.

Wilson Tan
8   Posted 21/05/2010 at 19:47:39

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Strangely, I'm with Dennis and Michael here. It is the first time I'm feeling so optimistic about the coming season (when the current one has barely ended). While we may lose 1 or 2 players this close season, I'm sure it won't have the same effect as the Lescott affair and most importantly, I believe that any money would be well spent by Moyes.

This team has shown tremendous tenacity and a spirit that allows them to bounce back from adversities. I think we are going to catch the league by surprise next season.
Peter Anthony
9   Posted 21/05/2010 at 20:31:48

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Michael, is that a slight hint of sarcasm I detect?
The same Michael that oft quotes to the effect of, 'We're damn well gonna sit there in a Goodison library unless and until the team give us something to shout about...'

Chicken and egg?
Rob Hollis
10   Posted 21/05/2010 at 22:47:52

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I remember telling anybody who would listen in the mid-eighties that we had 'clicked' and would be Champions. How they laughed and how I did one year later.

It is ours.......
Mike Allison
11   Posted 21/05/2010 at 22:48:03

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Yeah Michael you forgot to use your sarcasm font and have subsequently confused a few people.

We were the third best team in the Premier League for slightly more than half a season. Can we sustain it over a period of 38 games and challenge in cup competitions as well? I know its pretty boring at the moment but there simply isn't much to say beyond that. We can't do a right lot about what Villa, Spurs, Liverpool and Man City do.

Our last three seasons have been 65pts (5th), 63pts (5th) and 61pts (8th). I'm pretty sure we came 4th with 61pts in 2005. If we keep all our players and they stay fit we should expect to win an awful lot of games. We can improve on this season and we all know where, a realistic pts total could be 70+. Remember, we even lost Arteta again for some of those frustrating draws near the end of the season.

James Flynn
12   Posted 22/05/2010 at 01:03:58

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We have the same chance at Top 4 next season as any team finished ahead of us. Injuries avoided (major) and everyone retained (likely). Plus Landon back on board. Our talent matches any. Sure we'd need a break or two. All winning teams do.

The main thing to me Conor mentions is the Jekyll and Hyde aspect. I believe that more than our terrible first half is what kept us out of the Top 4 THIS season. We outplayed teams and too often came away with only 1 point. We have to finish teams off consistently.

I'll admit getting bounced out of Europe this year sucked. But it does mean fewer games and travel next season. I have to believe that everyone back and healthy means we have a legitimate shot at lifting the Trophy next season.
Derek Thomas
13   Posted 22/05/2010 at 03:14:20

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This coming season is the best chance we have had since the league cup final to go on

We were (for us ) on the up. All the talk in work at the time was about being ' born again Evertonians '

The FA Cup, The new season, even though we lost the first 2 games.

So, Will the real Everton please stand up?

And put one of those fingers on each hand up?

And be proud to be outta your mind and outta control

And one more time how does it go???

Maybe only if the real David Moyes stands up, not the one that shit him self over Delap.

Donovan and Coleman in.

A poor world cup for Peinaar ( shit, now I'll have to sign the plan B contract and stay )

A decent pre season.

And Michael Kenrick, now we know there NEVER WAS a Richard Dodd... it was you all along you little wind up merchant you.
Michael Kenrick
14   Posted 22/05/2010 at 06:22:48

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I'm not really being sarcastic. It's about self-belief. And if we, the fans, don't believe, then how can you honestly expect the players and above all the manager to believe?

That's been part of the problem. We've proved we do now have the players, the tactics, the on-field skills and the team spirit needed to beat anyone — even when we go a goal behind. Self-belief has to be a massive part of making happen for us... instead of just making yet more excuses.

It's fragile, though... and very easily broken. It's what cost us the FA Cup Final from a winning position, and other crucial games were we are not playing as if we did actually believe we have the right to win. The difficulty with this as I see it is getting Moyes to believe it. Getting him to drive the team forward, rather than wasting his breath talking up opposing mangers and their achievements before every match. Fuck that shit. We are Everton!

But, Peter Anthony (#9), unless the manager and the team believes it BEFORE they set foot on the park, no amount of hoarse cajoling from the terraces is going to give it to them. My previous comments have simply reflected observed fact: that the Goodison crowd on the whole are reactive to what they see on the field.

If the team comes out and means business, they will get the support of the crowd. But they (and that manager of ours) are the ones who need to believe they can do it now.
Richard Dodd
15   Posted 22/05/2010 at 09:42:11

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It is inevitable that `shit will happen` at Everton between now and next May. It always does. I continue to maintain that we will do well to finish 8th although, of course, I wish us to do better. So I`ll go through the next 12 months content if we punch our weight and become elated if we improve on that benchmark.

That`s how I ALWAYS enjoy being an Evertonian!

Tony Cheek
16   Posted 22/05/2010 at 10:59:06

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Michael... you can still get 250/1!!!
Martin Mason
17   Posted 22/05/2010 at 14:12:25

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Wouldn't it be absolutely inceredible if next year we just clicked and won the PL? It isn't out of the question if we can keep the squad, get a RW and add a couple of utility players to cope with injuries.
Richard Dodd
18   Posted 23/05/2010 at 10:43:48

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It can never be done for as soon as we start really troubling the big boys, they will get to our players (as with Lescott) and tempt them away with offers of double pay. The same applies to even the likes of Villa who are already set to lose Milner.

Just accept it... but continue to hope that BB will one day find the end of that rainbow!

Alasdair Mackay
19   Posted 24/05/2010 at 12:49:40

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It's definitely an important summer.

It now looks as if Piennar will move. Ideally a Spanish or Italian giant will come in for him and we won't have to play against him next season. I don't think Yakubu would be a great loss for the £8 million being talked about either.

Assuming we have £4-5 million in the kitty and add the £25 million we will get for the two players leaving, I am confident Moyes can use that money wisely and we can challenge next season.

We have to sell right, buy right and start well. I am not sure we can WIN the league, but outside of United and Chelsea we have as much chance as anyone else. If we finish 3rd or 4th, it gives us something to build on!

Alasdair Mackay
20   Posted 24/05/2010 at 12:57:38

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Piennar - £18m
Yakubu - £8m


Mucha - Free
Beckford - Free
Ledley - Free
Donovan - £5/6m
Keane - £12m (or similar pedigree striker)
Dave Lynch
21   Posted 24/05/2010 at 13:00:13

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I agree with Doddy. (Time for a lie down!) I will be very suprised if the team is intact come the opening day of the season. Pienaar is already history me thinks and expect bids for Arteta, Jagielka, Rodwell and maybe a couple more.

Not holding my breath, top 6 it is for me.

Mike Green
22   Posted 24/05/2010 at 13:10:40

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If we can get Bellamy in for £8m, as rumoured in the press, it's the sale of the century, get him in.
Phil Bellis
23   Posted 24/05/2010 at 13:31:28

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Charlie Percival
24   Posted 24/05/2010 at 13:53:38

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Petrov - free
Ireland - £5 mill
Donovan - £10 mill
Joe Cole - free (signing on fee a la Kanchelskis)


Pienaar - £15 mill

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