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The Mail Bag

December 2009 Archive
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Forward Thinking

So, Toffeewebbers, we are informed that - "Yakubu, the only fit member of a largely unfit Everton forward line, has departed to join up with Nigeria's squad" (cTW)

Well would you Adam and Eve it?!? The lad played 94 minutes and Saha wasn't even on the bench against Burnley (although Vaughan was). Injury would have been Nigeria's problem for the next four weeks, not ours. And might we have expected Burnley to hack Louis down at every step? I would have predicted it and David Moyes, who has much less experience in these matters, might have come to the same conclusion.

And dear TW editorial team - what is a "forward line"? Possibly another Blue Bill musical, like all the rest, I have missed.

Good New Year all the same.
Keith Glazzard     Posted 30/12/2009 at 16:44:41   Comments (54)

Council Talks

Apparently Everton are to sit down with Liverpool City Council next week to start discussions on a new ground. Let's hope Warren Bradley has some real solutions. I'm not sure what this will be but here's hoping for a solution everyone can get behind.
Chris Williams     Posted 30/12/2009 at 10:27:46   Comments (31)

Glory Day

Saturday the second of January 2010, Everton FC plays against Carlisle (FA Cup). It will be a glory day for me and my family, specially for my kid. Because I will be there with my family.

As some of you probably know me from Toffeeweb, I'm Portuguese, 40 years old. Been supporting the blues for more then 25 years. I've been already at Goodison, not in many cases, and in London to watch Everton FC. But my son who is also a blue fan never went to Goodison Park. So it will be special for him, and of course me. Take that he will be 10 years old on that day, so it will be magic I suppose for a kid that everyday hears his father talking Everton FC.

I will be there with my wife and two kids. I chose the Family Enclose. Is this nice as I don't remember anymore the distribution of the seats?

Does anyone know Jimmy Burns? Avid Evertonian that for many years always sent the Echo to my home in Portugal. He used to run the marathon and his origins I think are Irish. It's been a long time since I've heard from him and meanwhile I lost is contact. It would be awsome if anyone knows him and talked about me. He must be around 50 years old by now, and I would love to chat again with him.

EVERTON FC 4EVER
Vasco Teixeira     Posted 30/12/2009 at 08:57:16   Comments (16)

FourFourTwo magazine — The Merseyside fury

I have been a subscriber to this magazine for a few years but recently I have been considering cancelling the order as it has gone from being a good football mag to just another mouthpiece for the Sky era and a sycophant of the top three and Liverpoool.

This month's edition, however, has made up my mind for me. They have done a 4-page article on how the Merseyside derby is no longer the friendly derby it once was and how summers aren't as hot as they were in the 70's etc etc.... The article is unbelievably biased and paints us to be the constant villians of the piece.

The pictures used for the article all show action shots of Liverpool players being tackled from behind by our boys and not one of the Kuyt assaults or the Carragher (who has a column in this mag) drag of Lescott to earth in the box.

I am not for one moment saying we do not have our unsavoury elements but this piece reeks of lazy journalism of the redtop kind. It is also completely representative of the football media's coverage of anything that may stop them from glorifying their cash-cow teams.

So Haymarket publications you can take your magazine and place it firmly up the arse of this month's cover star.

For what its worth I also subscribe to When Saturday Comes, a cracking football mag and probably the only one left that isn't in awe of the football megalomaniacs.
Chris Lawlor     Posted 30/12/2009 at 06:49:47   Comments (13)

4th place — Liverpool please

I’ve been thinking long and hard today mostly on the Aston Villa vs Liverpool game on what would be best for Everton. Its fair to say we lost our chance to crack the Top 4 after our lousy first half to the season and this could then leave open the possibility of either Spurs, Villa, or Man City breaking into the lucrative Top 4 places probably at the expense of Liverpool. But do we really want that to happen?

Whatever we fanciful might think, Liverpool are a top brand name worldwide and, even if they failed to reach the Top 4 place and hence the lucrative cash of Champions League, some rich Arab or Far East guy will come along and rescue them from the under-performing Yanks at some time in the future and give them the cash required to push on again.

Do we then want either of the other three to get on that ladder of cash riches, particularly Villa (as the poorest of the three) and we would be then be faced with another club to overhaul in our attempt to get to the CL. You might argue that City or Spurs have the cash to do it, but again I suspect that their respective owners will panic once again if they don’t do it this season – particularly City's new owners following their treatment of Mark Hughes. Both will suddenly change managers and players again and I think long term they will never have the solid foundation to crack the pot.

To summarise, if we can't crack the Top 4 then I don’t want anyone else to and I hope that Liverpool win tonight (God forbid me sating that, but!!) and go on to claim 4th place. Now I never thought I’d state that but can anyone else come up with another viewpoint? I’m open to offers.

As I finish writing this, Torres has just scored and Liverpool have won. God, I hate them... but thanks again.
Mike Oates     Posted 29/12/2009 at 18:57:03   Comments (31)

Alan Irvine Sacked

Unlucky Alan, you were doing a good job there for a while as yuo had previously done at Everton also. Good luck finding something new!
Dan Parker     Posted 29/12/2009 at 11:57:08   Comments (7)

Don't get Shirty with me!

So relieved after the win against Burnley last night. However, I was left feeling disgusted after seeing scorer Pienaar, rip off his Everton shirt and throw it to the floor.

That shirt is to be respected, worn with pride and passion and occasionally to die for! I hope the club fine him for this public display of shirt abuse. I don't give a flying fuck about the hidden message under his shirt... it's the Everton shirt that means everything to me.

To see it thrown to the floor like that is disgraceful. Will somebody at the club remind Pienaar that the name on the front of the shirt means everthing... the name on the back of the shirt means nothing.
Tony Williams     Posted 29/12/2009 at 09:47:11   Comments (73)

Hopes of the 09-10 Season Part 2

19 games played, that's half of 38 if anyone was wondering and that means we have played half the season. Right now we have 22 points.

At this point last season we had 27 points and had played 7 games against the 7 teams I feel we should be the in the mix with... Man U, Liverpool, City, Spurs, Villa, Arsenal, Chelsea. We accumulated 8 pts from those 7 fixtures... This season, we have played 6 matches against these 7 teams and have... 3 pts.

The second half of last season saw us get 5 pts from the remaining 7 games against those 7 teams and finish with 63 pts. 36 pts from the last 19 fixtures. Finishing with 13 pts from the 14 games against those 7 teams.

My point, if I have one, is that to equal anywhere near our record last season... which sadly I still think is possible... we need to do 5 pts better in the second half of the season which would be 41 pts.

Being optimistic, we have 6 of the remaining 8 games against these top teams coming in the next 2 months and we are in good form with players returning and joining on loan. If we get 10 pts out of these 6 games than we've already equaled our points total against them last season with 2 of those games to go.

If we can somehow manage wins against Sunderland and Wigan in January as well (bear with me) than we would have 16 points added on to our current total of 22 for a total of 38 points... with 25 points to go and 11 fixtures to accumulate them, that do not look too intimidating if we are performing well at this point. I do realize that is 25 out of 33 points. But I am just trying to be optimistic.

Realistically we will come up short but I still have hopes of 7th place which in the past few seasons has been 6-10 points less than 5th place and if this post is helpful at all I think it at least shows 7th could be possible. COYB!
Joey Brown     Posted 29/12/2009 at 00:57:22   Comments (4)

Team against Carlisle

  • Vaughan and Donovan up front
  • And then a couple of experienced ones on the bench and the rest of the kids.
  • Carlisle have also gone 5 games unbeaten - including a 0-0 at Tranmere yesterday. However, 3 away defeats in 11 means it could be more difficult than we think. After Carlisle, 3 more wins and we are back at Wembley...
    Phil Roberts     Posted 29/12/2009 at 07:30:26   Comments (11)

    First GP win in Three Months

    Well, a great result in the end, and two good goals... but utterly shocking to go THREE MONTHS at Goodison Park without a win in the League.

    Just excellent to see Vaughan score with what may have been his first touch. 2 mins v Birmingham; 4 mins v Sunderland; 8 mins v Burnley... what a progression! And just a superb goal from Pienaar. Fantastic build-up from Yak, the feeder!

    But no-one should forget the increasing frustration of yet another game we dominated and created many, many chances and half-chances, only to fail to convert through poor shooting.

    I'll probably watch it again tonight but I can hardly recall a single hoofball either... any connection?
    Michael Kenrick     Posted 28/12/2009 at 14:17:02   Comments (63)

    Team v Burnley announced

    24 Howard
    02 Hibbert
    03 Baines
    05 Heitinga
    23 Neill
    07 Bilyaletdinov
    17 Cahill
    20 Pienaar
    21 Osman
    25 Fellaini
    22 Yakubu

    Substitutes: 01 Nash
    18 Neville
    31 Coleman
    34 Duffy
    14 Vaughan
    35 Agard
    37 Baxter
    Gerry Quinn     Posted 28/12/2009 at 11:16:03   Comments (203)

    Fabregas out, Pienaar in?

    Rumours here in SA are breaking that Arsenal are contemplating selling Fabregas to Barca. The funds Wenger's getting for Fab he is using to fund singing four players, including Pienaar. (Please please, this rumour can't be true)

    I hope to God this is not true... can someone please confirm in the UK if the is the case?

    Pienaar to flippin Arsenal... Rodwell going to Manure/Chelsea/Liverpool... If it is the case, then DM needs to go!!!!!
    Ricardo Humphries     Posted 28/12/2009 at 03:11:44   Comments (27)

    Felliani or Rodwell or Neville?

    Now with Felliani settling in, in the holding role and doing very well... (by the way, it is only by chance that Felliani is playing there; if Rodwell and Neville never got injured, he would still be trying to fit in behind the front man. It was the same with Jags, awful in midfield, then Joe Yobo got injured, Jags steps in and has been outstanding...)

    So... with Felliani doing an outstanding job in the holding role, with his excellent distribution (forward passes, not crab like passes), is their room for Rodwell or Neville?

    If it ain't broke... don't fix it.
    Colin Malone     Posted 27/12/2009 at 15:16:02   Comments (22)

    Random observations

    Is it just me or is there some kind of ingrained refereeing bias against us? I'm not even talking about the big decisions or the penalties debate of a few years ago, just the little decisions that dictate the flow of the game and how each team competes in it.

    For instance, Big Mo was dragged from pillar to post yesterday and nothing was done, yet the minute he puts a decent challenge in, the whistle goes. This may seem a small thing but it's affecting our ability to compete in midfield.

    While on the subject, I think it's worth mentioning how well the Big Fella is playing lately! He finally looks to be bossing the midfield and has a bit of bite to his game. Moyes has called him the best midfielder in the Prem today, a bit over the top? I don't even think he's the best midfielder in our side but he is finally looking the player we needed in the middle. To think, up until 5-6 weeks ago, I'd have carried him back to Liege to get rid.

    Some of the stuff we played yesterday was outstanding with Pienaar looking on a completely different level to anyone else on the pitch. I hope that we can get him tied to a long-term deal and build a side around him based on movement and passing. Probably a pipe dream but you never know.

    I was behind the goal yesterday and because of that got a first hand view of Tim Howard. He was absolutely diabolical yesterday. The crowd were seeing situations develop and shouting for him to react before he even realised what was going on around him. There was a recent article syndicated on here that he was rated as one of the top five keepers in the world? For me he's not in the top ten in the Prem.

    We played some excellent football yesterday and had enough chances to win the game comfortably; sadly, it was one of those days where chance after chance was squandered. The thing that I can't understand is how can largely the same team that started the season so poorly suddenly turn it on? And who's to blame?

    Anyway merry Xmas to all Evertonians except Blue Bill and Richard Dodd... Only joking, Richard!
    Ste Kenny     Posted 27/12/2009 at 08:24:00   Comments (15)

    We need a win

    We have totally dominated Birmingham and now Sunderland. Battered both. Sunderland hardly got out of their half at home in the second 45 minutes.

    The problem is obvious — we are not doing it upfront. Cahill is off form, Saha lost his touch, Yakubu nowhere. Maybe Donovan can save us, and Vaughan looks worth a bit of a run now.

    Positives? Fellaini is excelling in his proper role in midfield. Heitinga, Pienaar, Hibbert. Bily has the talent but looks lost at the moment. And the spirit is certainly there. But we need a win very soon.
    Neil Pearse     Posted 26/12/2009 at 14:51:16   Comments (52)

    Sunderland v Everton

    Line-up for today:

    Everton: Howard, Baines, Heitinga, Neill, Hibbert, Pienaar, Osman, Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, Saha, Cahill.

    Subs: Nash, Vaughan, Neville, Yakubu, Coleman, Duffy, Baxter.

    CYOB!!!
    Rob Murphy     Posted 26/12/2009 at 11:37:59   Comments (132)

    Dave's Dilemma

    Season/s greeting fellow blues. This is just a little note to stimulate some non-incendiary debate about the desire for new blood at the club.

    By my fairly bad reckoning, Moyes has about 22 first team players that need feeding and watering (wages and looking after); I would have thought that this should be more than enough for a Premier League season (in better days, we would have coped with about 16).

    So we have had a few crucial players unavailable and some of the available have been out of form... what is the answer? "New signings" is the cry: a big Centre Fireworks who scores goals, leads the line; a quick CM who scores goals, tackles, has an eye for a pass; a fast winger who scores goals — none of the above to have rock-the-boat tendencies — are obvious desires. But where are they?

    Even if we had a few bob, I haven't seen many who would actually make us better. Again, even if we do buy 3 or 4 and raise the staff to 26 expensive wage earners, where do you play them all when everyone is fit? So do you soldier on waiting for your hurt guys to return or get someone in who will then be surplus to requirements but you have on the staff paying a big wage and who never plays (a la Melchiot at Chelsea), or actually displaces one of your hurt guys and you then have him on the staff doing nowt.

    Personally, I'd soldier on with 2 or 3 loan deals till the end of 2010 and see where we stand... but that is just an opinion.
    Dave Leeson     Posted 26/12/2009 at 10:47:14   Comments (7)

    Just like having new signings

    So says the Jag in this article. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=717463&sec=england&cc=4716 Seems the company script hasn't changed.
    Eric Myles     Posted 25/12/2009 at 12:22:33   Comments (11)

    Toffeeweb

    Just had my daily fix reading the site. In the spirit of Christmas may I take the opportunity to thank Micheal, Lyndon and Colm for running the site throughout the year. Whether we all agree with eachother or not, one thing is certain, we would do neither without your efforts.

    Thanks guys and all the best for 2010
    Ian Smitham     Posted 25/12/2009 at 10:47:59   Comments (11)

    Blue Bill and a Very Happy Xmas

    Well...

    Lovely Message from Bill on the official site

    Full of pity and praise and hope for the "Elusive Billoniare"

    GOOD GRIEF

    Anyway, I'd just like to say a very Happy Christmas to all at ToffeeWeb. It's the best fansite out there and it's great that we all have different opinions on all matters EFC-wise.

    All the best from four Blues in Leeds
    John Audsley     Posted 24/12/2009 at 07:06:50   Comments (14)

    Bily speaks out

    Seems like some of our players are beginning to get sick of our style of play now. You don't often read about players speaking out under Moyes, so not sure how Davy will take this one, but it suggests all is not well in the dressing room.

    This from the Daily Mail


    Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has hit out at Everton's crude playing style and questioned his team-mates' psychological strength amid a run of six Premier League games without a win.

    David Moyes takes Everton to Sunderland on Boxing Day with his injury-hit side sitting 15th in the table, just two points above the relegation zone.

    But Bilyaletdinov, 24, said: 'Our team are very good at playing passing football but we rarely do this. We create chances mainly by lobbing the ball forward and putting teams under pressure.'

    His early goal against Birmingham on Sunday was cancelled out by Sebastian Larsson to ensure a third straight draw and the Russian is critical of his team for not holding on for a much-needed win.

    'Crisis or coincidence?' he said. 'Call it what you like. The point is that for the umpteenth time we took the lead but could not hold on to it. It seems our problem is psychological.'

    Bilyaletdinov revealed his manager had been quizzing him on out-of-favour Chelsea wide man Yuri Zhirkov, who can play at left back or on the wing.
    Ian McDowell     Posted 24/12/2009 at 05:56:15   Comments (27)

    How You Know You're a Mad Everton Fan - Top 10

    1. You honk your horn vigorously when you see someone in the street wearing an Everton shirt outside of the northwest

    2. You sing songs about Phil Neville being a “superstar” better than Steven Gerrard (though there’s some truth in the Cantona/Barry Horne one!)

    3. You buy Mates, not, Durex because you have an affinity with the “underdog”

    4. You beat Man Utd then sing “Kopites are Gobshites” – what’s it got to do with them?

    5. You won’t drink Carlsberg, take a life insurance policy out with AIG or buy a Samsung TV.

    6. You can name, date, and your seat number at the Cup Winners Cup Final but not your kids' birthdays.

    7. You check the results to see if Liverpool have lost before you see whether Everton have won.

    8. You’d be happy with a “0-0” on derby day because you just can’t stand them beating us.

    9. You buy a replica shirt and have “I 8 RED SHITE” emblazoned on the back – why?

    10. You’ve got ‘Z-Cars’ for a ring tone

    Feel free to add more.
    Jim Brand     Posted 23/12/2009 at 15:22:38   Comments (33)

    Abel Xavier has quit football

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1238038/Ex-Liverpool-Everton-star-Abel-Xavier-converts-Islam-quits-football-37.html?ITO=1490

    I wish him all the best.

    He was a good servant... (well, he did put it some good games for us)

    ps: Why are there so many football players finding peace with Islam? Anelka.. and recently Henry....
    James Eastwood     Posted 23/12/2009 at 13:00:22   Comments (20)

    Welcome Landon

    So Mr Donovan has secured a work permit, and it seems he will join us on January 2nd. My post was not to discuss whether or not this is a good move, as it seems that has been done to death, but more a case of where would you play him?

    For me, it's a toss up between wide right and in the hole. Out of the 11 on Sunday, Cahill and Bily were IMO our worst two players, so this would be a direct replacement for one of the two. And does anybody know if he will be eligible to face Carlisle?
    Stewart Littler     Posted 22/12/2009 at 23:59:57   Comments (26)

    The Perfect Excuse?

    Something lighthearted for the festive period, guys.

    I've often chuckled at the whinging excuses Wenger, Beneathus and Ferguson in particular roll out for results that didn't go their way, but here is one excuse that really did get me giggling and wondering WTF?

    Hugo Sanchez says a freak rainstorm during Almeria's 4-1 home defeat by Athletic Bilbao helped to see him on his way from the Spanish strugglers. The Mexican goalscoring legend was sacked as Almeria coach after Sunday's 2-0 loss at Espanyol in La Liga.

    "I had bad luck," Sanchez told sports newspaper Marca. "For example, it never rains here and the day of the Athletic match it was bucketing down. They put three past us from set-pieces and we lost badly."

    Former Mexico manager Sanchez may have a point as the average rainfall in the Andalucian city is only 7 inches. The province of Almeria is normally so dry that it has served as the location for numerous spaghetti westerns.

    Can you think of any other cracking pearlers that have either pissed you right off, made you gasp, or just made you think "What a freakin' prat"?

    Let's have a bit of fun to cheer our miserable season up, you can even invent an excuse....

    ps:- I'll take this opportunity of wishing all you Blue fans a great Christmas wherever in the world you are, and a very, very (COYB) prosperous New Year!
    Gerry Quinn     Posted 22/12/2009 at 12:03:57   Comments (18)

    Fernandes?

    Ok, this is a News of the World story and would normally be treated as absolute garbage by me. However, it seems the player has instructed his agent to try to arrange a loan signing this January. Frustrated at being left out at Valencia, Fernandes is looking for a Premier League loan and Everton top the list of proposed suiters, apparently.

    As a player he often flattered to deceive but had obvious talent and a midfield of Fernandes, Fellaini, Pienaar, Bilyaletdinov and Arteta is a mouthwatering prospect.

    I know that the 'Fernandes debate' seems to divide the masses and has been done countless times before but we are a different team now from when he was last here, in very different circumstances, and there seems some worth in discussing it.

    So, would you like to see him here on loan?

    http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/sport/football/649916/FERNANDES-TARGETS-EVERTON-RESCUE.html?OTC-RSS&ATTR=Football&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Score_Everton+%28Everton%29
    Ben Howard     Posted 22/12/2009 at 11:12:40   Comments (61)

    Howard - one of the top 5 keepers in the world?

    Interesting article about the most influential US players of the last decade, which our Tim Howard tops.

    Probably not too much competition to win that one, but a more interesting claim the article makes is that Howard is the only US player who would make the top 5 in the world in his position? Any thoughts?


    Ben Patchesa     Posted 21/12/2009 at 19:42:41   Comments (21)

    Mr Nice Guys

    Following the turgid offering displayed against Birmingham and the general apathy that has gone before against team's such as Wolves, Bolton, Fulham, Stoke, Burnley, Hull et al what has struck me is the lack of fight, appetite for a scrap and commitment within the ranks.

    There may be mitigating factors such as the tone being set by the summer of discontent, Lescott saga, opening day mauling and ongoing injury crisis, however what I fail to accept is the soft underbelly approach that is currently being offered. We seem to be consistently out-muscled, out-fought and lacking in terms of both confidence and the ability to get involved in a scrap.

    Fellaini may have his disciplinary problems due to petulance and his awkward and ungainly approach, Cahill will chase and badger for every ball, and both Lucas Neill and John Heittinga seem to have previous, yet there does not appear to be anyone currently on the books who the opposition would consider to be physically intimidating. The sight of Lee Bowyer and Barry Ferguson being given cart blanche in the middle of the Park at Goodison had me reeling.

    Previous contributors have been lambasted regarding their predictions of a relegation dog-fight... but facts are facts: we are nearly half-way through the season and perilously close to the trap-door. It's time for the players and management to stand up and be counted. My major worry is that we don't appear to have a Barry Horne, Joe Parkinson or Lee Carsley in the ranks and, unless we can get Phil Neville fit anytime soon, the coming months are going to be a struggle.

    David Moyes has been roundly criticised on these pages for his lack of creativity, width and buying versatile players to cope with the demand of a paper-thin squad. Add to this the lack of an ugly ball-winner and we are left with a team of Mr Nice Guys and a home ground that is no longer feared by the opposition but seen as a place where points are to be had.
    Peter Laing     Posted 21/12/2009 at 13:13:13   Comments (21)

    Pienaar

    Anyone know what's happening happening with Everton tying down Pienaar to a long contract?

    We got him for a bargain and, since he's come back into the team from injury, we have seen a massive improvement. He ran the game for us against Birmingham. I think he would do even better if he played in the middle like he does for South Africa.

    But I'd would hate him to leave the club, I'm not completely sure but I think his contract is nearly up.


    James Elliott     Posted 21/12/2009 at 11:58:53   Comments (7)

    Fellaini

    Just something that I have picked up on in recent games, is Fellaini's contributions. Moyes has noticably been playing him in front of the back four, and I must admit, the lad's been doing well.

    He's never going to be the defensive midfielder we all want, throwing in crunching tackles and marking men out of the game, but his contributions in winning nearly every header from their goal kicks, and generally annoying people off the ball, I think we would all have to say it's a marked improvement.

    I also think, he's a way of us stopping our centre halves from lumping the ball up field. (It doesnt matter who plays there, they all do it!) Fellaini is always there for the easy pass, and generally he doesn't give the ball away that often (unlike Osman yesterday!).

    All-in-all, I still don't think he's a fantastic player, but for all the stick he gets, I thought it was time to acknowledge that what he's been doing recently is appreciated, and if that's where we are gonna play him, going forward, it means Cahill can get back to his favoured position, or even get on the bench as an impact sub...
    Chris Dwyer     Posted 21/12/2009 at 07:07:14   Comments (27)

    What is giving me such bad indigestion?

    It is uncanny that so many of us are able to predict the outcome of any home game. As soon as Bily scored today, me and everyone around me firstly applauded the quality of the first ten minutes of play, then almost to man qualified their comments with a "let's see if we're saying this by half time".

    My next thought was " Please God — don't let Birmingham score, otherwise I'm going to have to console myself with one of the planets shittiest meat and potato pies at half time." I get heartburn virtually every week during and after each and every match. I hate half-time! It's ruining my life. First the dash to get in the queue for a piss and then the ritual 10-minute wait, re-living the ref's bad decisions, the squandered passes, the abandonment of decent passing once we score, but safe in the knowledge that I'll soon have something worse to take my mind off the inevitability of the coming 45 minutes.

    Then it occurred to me... the only way to change the way things are going at the moment is to do the one thing the fans are capable of doing to change things at the moment. We don't seem to be able to change the team's morale, we can't stop the injuries, get Cahill to head like he used to, or make Jag's leg better. We'll never stop referees saving their worst performances for Goodison visits....

    BUT WE CAN STOP BUYING THAT SHIT AT HALF TIME!

    I know — I'm talking bullshit, but I'm desperate to go to a home game where I leave feeling upbeat, positive and safe in the knowledge that I won't be sat up at 2:00am in the morning clutching my stomach and re-living every missed opportunity I've just just forced myself to watch on MOTD2.

    So, the next time you hear "Commence Operation Goodison", realise that that's the code to turn up the heat in the oven to create armadillo crusts on the pies... and stay firmly in your seats. If everyone did that, it might just make someone at Everton FC start to think that it may be time to start doing something different and to start to consider the fans.

    I know... complete bollocks but clutching at straws is better than clutching my guts every weekend until May.
    John Eccleston     Posted 20/12/2009 at 22:20:13   Comments (15)

    Catch-22

    We have a Catch-22 position developing at the moment. We are all waiting for the likes of Jags, Arteta and to a lesser extent Neville, Anichebe (who was probably playing his best football ever before he was injured) to get back and also we still await the return to form for Yakubu and hope they all rescue the season for us.

    The problem we have is that the currently available players are not cutting the mustard; we can't rely on getting clean sheets; we very rarely see the good fast interpassing moves we saw last season opening teams up; and we haven’t got three or four players each chipping in with goals. So what happens is that we are languishing in 15th place tonight, a place we deserve to be on our current form.

    The Catch-22 position developing, and Moyes alluded to it today by stating that the injured players won't be returning until earliest late January or February and by the time they are match fit and significantly contributing its likely to be March or April.

    Even though we could be desperate for their return, can we actually play them — just look at the Yak at the moment. What’s to say that both Jags and Arteta are both similarly affected. Can you ever afford to play three or four half-fit players when you could be desperate for points for survival?

    We are stuck with what we have... and Donovan... and maybe a couple more... but, as again Moyes stated, the new lads will have to hit the road running; we cannot afford passengers.

    The key area for me is to get the Baines-Pienaar partnership working again so we can actually create something, get someone to help Saha out with the goal burden (hopefully Donovan), and somehow get Bily to show us asap what we’ve paid £10m for and get something going on our right-hand side. On this thorny issue, Moyes needs to be thinking of using Coleman as right back but I suspect the lad will be sidelined until Moyes has a central defensive partnership he can trust.

    The positive points at least after today are that Pienaar and Baines did show some seeds of re-forming their partnership; Heitinga and Neill looked again as though they will be the preferred two until Jags returns; and I think Fellaini is starting to define his true position — one he looks good in. Saha is becoming irreplaceable and we have to hope that we can keep him free of injuries.
    Mike Oates     Posted 20/12/2009 at 17:58:43   Comments (17)

    Wake Up! It's gonna be miserable

    Guys, only last week, after the Chelsea draw, some posters were actually saying that we will win or next 3 games, Birmingham, Sunderland & Burnley. I did post in reaction to this saying... remember how everyone had us beating Burnley, Wolves, Fulham, Hull, Stoke and Bolton. Now I think we need to really wake up and realise that this is gonna be a miserable season; will we go down?

    Moyes has been in the job for 8 years. No new ground plan, no money, relegation fight... yeap, it really has changed from the Walter Smith days. Before people say "finishing 5th, FA Cup Final"... well, what is important is here and now.
    Joe McMahon     Posted 20/12/2009 at 15:54:07   Comments (29)

    Everything hurts

    I'm still calculating how we didn't win and it's making my head hurt.

    My heart hurts from investing everything but my body on the pitch.

    I'm losing faith when it seems half the fans on here give up before the final whistle... and that hurts.

    And my hand hurts from when I slammed it on the sofa expecting a cushion and getting my phone.

    We outplayed them... and they pulled an Everton and got a draw... it doesn't make us relegation fodder... it makes them lucky. A disallowed goal... and a missed hand ball in the box... to name a few.
    Joey Brown     Posted 20/12/2009 at 14:00:44   Comments (47)

    Team vs Birmingham

    * 24 Howard
    * 02 Hibbert
    * 03 Baines
    * 05 Heitinga
    * 23 Neill
    * 07 Bilyaletdinov
    * 17 Cahill
    * 20 Pienaar
    * 21 Osman
    * 25 Fellaini
    * 08 Saha

    Substitutes

    * 01 Nash
    * 31 Coleman
    * 34 Duffy
    * 14 Vaughan
    * 22 Yakubu
    * 35 Agard
    * 37 Baxter

    Would have liked to have seen Coleman given a start but hopefully he will come on. Let's hope for that much need win!
    COYB!
    James Stewart     Posted 20/12/2009 at 11:50:30   Comments (139)

    Hughes signs on...

    After his disgraceful behaviour during the Lescott saga, I'm absolutly made up to see Mark Hughes joining the dole queue.

    Also in true football fans spite, what I want see now is Lescott not fancied by the in-coming manager and being deemed surplus to requirements and jettsoned straight out of Eastlands.

    Now that would be nice!
    Ste Traverse     Posted 19/12/2009 at 17:50:17   Comments (40)

    Going Gago...

    I know it's silly season but I think this deal could happen. Firstly, Gago is not getting a look-in this year; it's World Cup year and every player needs to be playing first team footie, Madrid want cut there wage bill buy selling some fringe players.

    It could well be a loan view move, then a buy clause in the summer. I watch a lot of Spanish football; last year, Gago was excellent, great passing breaks up play with a cracking strike on him. Mmmm just what we need eh?

    What do Evertonians feel about getting gago in? Anyone got any inside information? Come on, Bill — get the cash out!
    COYB


    Sean McKenna     Posted 19/12/2009 at 14:01:36   Comments (6)

    The Yak v Osman

    I'm very frustrated watching the Yak at the moment. For someone who "needs games" to return to full fitness ,you would expect some discernable effort. I've heard people say he needs the ball at his feet but when he's got it it he seems to just give it away at the moment! Compare this with Osman against BATE who ran himself into the ground.

    Am I expecting too much from the Yak? While I accept that it was a horrific injury to comeback from but I can't help but feel he's shortchanging us with the amount of effort he's putting in.
    Enzo Montagnino     Posted 19/12/2009 at 07:00:32   Comments (14)

    Confidence

    As most Evertonians have heard, the Birmingham side coming in to this week's game have won 5 in a row. Here's a list of the teams they beat: Blackburn (H) 2-1, West Ham (H) 1-0, Wigan (A) 3-2, Wolves (A) 1-0, Fulham(H) 1-0. All but Fulham are in the bottom half of the table. All of these games were won by exactly one goal. Our form over the past 2 weeks: Tottenham (H) 2-2, Chelsea (A) 3-3.

    I realize that if you compare our past 5 weeks to theirs, they have the edge. There's no denying that. But based on our last 2 games, I'm not intimidated at all by this fixure and I hope Moyes and the players aren't either.

    Which brings me to the one thing that concerns me; will we come out on to the pitch afraid? This is what I saw in the Liverpool game, the second Benfica game, the Man Utd game. We were an absolute gong show in all of those games, being held scoreless. We looked confident after our first goal in the Tottenham game and we looked confident throughout the Chelsea game. Those ended a little bit better.

    I think this week's game is dependent on whether we see the scared gong-show EFC or the confident and thus competitive EFC. COYB!
    Pat Finegan     Posted 19/12/2009 at 03:54:02   Comments (8)

    Him again!

    Oh no him again! This always seems to be the cry when a right sided Everton move breaks down.

    Who are they complaining about? Why, our very own Tony Hibbert. Now, I'm the first to admit that he ain't a world class player. But HE IS a world class trier.

    Tony will never be Tommy Wright in my eyes, who could be? But he's the equal of a lot of right backs in the Premier League. He can defend; Johnson across the park can't and he's Capello's blue-eyed boy. OK offensively he leaves a bit to be desired, all he needs is a bit of confidence... Certainly if he scores for us one day, it would a terrific filip for his confidence.

    Recently he has been turning in sterling performances at centre back in the Premier League and Europa League. A smallish bloke, the sight of him marking Crouch was startling. Why didn't Moyes give him a pair of step ladders?

    To cap this, he is now the leading appearance maker for us in European matches. Beating 'Labby' and the 'White Pele'.

    It seems to be the game to play, to criticise the bloke, while people like Cahill have struggled all season. Why does Moyes keep faith with a hole striker who doesn't regularly score? Hibbert has made consistent performances.

    Come on, Tony... score that goal.
    Mike Berry     Posted 18/12/2009 at 15:42:15   Comments (31)

    Europa Draw

    First game vs Sporting Lisbon at 17:45hrs kick-off at Goodison!!! on Tuesday Feb 16th to leave the 8pm Thursday slot to Liverpool who play Uni from Bucharest — preference time to team that finished higher up in the Premier League — Uefa rule.

    If we beat Sporting (Moutinho et al) we then play the winners of Athletico Madrid or Galatasry, we are away in the first leg.

    Could have been worse — at least it's not a cold country


    Mike Oates     Posted 18/12/2009 at 09:41:38   Comments (17)

    World Cup bid

    “The search for a new Everton stadium post Kirkby will of course intensify and as I have said previously we remain absolutely confident of delivering that within the timeframe of the World Cup bid for 2018.

    “Clearly, the bid team did not feel comfortable with this approach and when we sat down with them, we wholeheartedly disagreed on their point of view.

    “Other clubs that will face similar funding and planning challenges just like Everton have been included - so why not Everton?

    “A fundamental of any successful stadium funding package is, almost certainly, occupancy by a strong, viable and robust PL club. Such an occupant is also the only way to support a lasting legacy.

    “If we do deliver a stadium within the timeframe then we would be delivering a FIFA compliant venue and in our opinion it would be crazy not to play World Cup games at Everton.”
    Robert Elstone, 16 December 2009

    It seems that England's 2018 bid committee had little faith in the club delivering a facility that would be capable of hosting World Cup games. I don't understand how Everton could expect to be accepted as a host with no semblance of a plan in place.

    The Daily Post reports that Goodison Park missed out because it doesn't meet FIFA's requirements.

    I believe that the club should have put a case forward the redevelopment of Goodison Park. It would have been better than submitting no stadium for consideration at all, perhaps this would have been possible had the Kirkby decision been announced sooner?

    Also, it's both disheartening and embarassing to see the club's CEO take yet another swipe at Liverpool City Council. No doubt there would have been further criticism had Liverpool's bid document contained a repitition of the Kirkby proposals' description from July 2007!

    I'm hardly Dale Carnegie but I don't think this public dispute is helping anyone and it needs to be put to bed. It reflects badly on the club, who knows, perhaps it is this type of public behaviour that convinced the bid committee to give any new Everton stadium a wide berth when Nottingham Forest for example do not have planning permission (as far as I know) for the stadium but have shown unity with their key stakeholders.
    Louis Platt     Posted 18/12/2009 at 02:05:50   Comments (21)

    Kick-Off 17:45 Tuesdays???

    According to a steward at the BATE match, we will be playing home ties in the knockout stages of the Europa League on Tuesdays at 17:45 hrs. How many people will be in the ground by kick off is a different matter.

    Isn't a factual announcement of course — sheer hearsay on my part — but he informed me that stewards are already being briefed on their arrival at the ground by 3pm. It's apparently — a Uefa directive. Liverpool will have 8pm Thursday night home kick-offs according to the steward.

    As it's a new competition, I guess that the knockout rounds are seen as fair game by Uefa to set new standards and precedents. Everyone surely knows that it won't work in England but another sign that the game is bit-by-bit changing for the worse.
    Alan Chadwick     Posted 17/12/2009 at 21:10:03   Comments (50)

    Proud of the boys

    All in all, a good runout for the young lads against BATE Borisov. I think they were a bit unlucky to go down 0-1 to a deflection. Coleman looks a class apart from the rest already. Agard isn’t afraid to run at defenders and many times gets past them. I’d love to see him partner Saha or Jo up front before the season is done. Baxter and Duffy show some promise as well though I don’t think they’re ready for first team action in the PL as yet.

    Bidwell, Forshaw and Akpan did ok. It was nice to see a youthful side with some pace finally, that weren’t afraid to play it on the deck and try and hit the opposition on the quick break. That left us a bit more exposed at the back and the inexperience showed there. But it was refreshing to watch them try and move the ball up the field instead of playing 9-men defence. They weren’t afraid to show for the ball, didn’t look to get rid of it at every opportunity, didn’t panic and resort to hoofball, and even beat their man and took the ball off them a few times.

    Overall, really proud of them and they deserved a point, I feel. Glad I woke up at 4am to watch them. They didn’t disappoint even though they lost. The future is bright, the future is blue!!
    Rory Slingo     Posted 17/12/2009 at 20:33:22   Comments (37)

    Come On, You Kids!!!

    Should be at least interesting to see how they play tonight, and whether it's just a training/reserves runabout or if there is some fire and desire shown.

    Who's on the bench? Let's make this the Matchday Mailbag thread; I'm closing off the other BATE related threads that are currently open...
    Michael Kenrick     Posted 17/12/2009 at 14:46:31   Comments (90)

    Door Open for Baines

    So Lescott's dodgy knee has acted up and it looks like he'll be out till March. Wayne Bridge is also out over the same period. So the door is now wide open for Leighton Baines to make a claim for the England left-back spot.

    Separately though, while I wish Lescott all the best for a swift recovery, it's a real relief to know that he's not on Everton's books anymore. The knee was due to go, and it's better that it happened at City rather than when he was with us.

    In fact, the Lescott deal is looking more and more like a very favourable one for us in the long run.
    Tim Luke     Posted 17/12/2009 at 01:03:03   Comments (20)

    Donovan Confirmed

    According to the Los Angeles Times Landon Donovan is to come to Everton for the first 10 weeks of 2010.

    By my reckoning, that means we get to use him for about 10 Premier League games, including Liverpool, Man U, Chelsea, Spurs, City and Arsenal as well as a possible 4 FA Cup games and 3 possible Europa games. It seems good business to me (from a player choice point of view) although the finance side of it is not discussed or mentioned. If the hype is to be believed, he is a good, fast, right sided attacking player. Praise be...
    Tony McDonald     Posted 16/12/2009 at 17:25:27   Comments (23)

    Team to face BATE Borisov

    Team released on the official site — apart from a few, it’s a creche, boys!

    Everton: Nash, Coleman, Duffy, Hibbert (c), Bidwell, Osman, Forshaw, Baxter, Rodwell, Yakubu, Agard.


    Mark Pendleton     Posted 16/12/2009 at 14:13:58   Comments (38)

    Another insult

    Perhaps I am just being over sensitive here but the New Anfield has been selected for one of the World Cup stadiums, even though it hasn't even been designed yet, whilst the general opinion of their neighbours; Everton, is that they have no hope of getting a new stadia off the ground.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/8414235.stm

    DK is mentioned as a missed oppertuntity and Milton Keynes and Plymouth are give the opportunity.

    The Club's Board and PR department are useless. Getting WC Football to the revamped Goodison (or new ground) should be a priority to showcase the club.

    I despair.
    Liam Reilly     Posted 16/12/2009 at 12:41:55   Comments (33)

    It's not all bad...

    I have had something of an epiphany today. Please indulge me by letting me give you my story.

    My Godson James, a young 4-year-old who has no interest in football whatsoever, is being treated in Alder Hey for lymphatic cancer. He was today visited by the whole of the EFC squad and was absolutely transfixed by the occasion.

    They spent a good 45 minutes on his ward and he, along with his parents, got to chat with pretty much every member of the team. He even got a whole heap of cuddles from Mikel Arteta and had a good laugh with several other players (his photo's even on the official site!).

    They gave him a goodie bag stuffed full of things from the store and gave him a shirt signed the whole squad which I am reliably informed by his Mum has not left his back since. This is such a wonderful event for him at the end of a horrific series of chemotherapy treatments and, especially coming just before Christmas, really makes me proud of the club I've supported for 25-plus years.

    I just hope that this memory lives with him and he'll join me at the old lady from this point on (assuming his Dad will let me of course!).

    I suppose all I'm trying to say is this — we might not be having the greatest season, we may be playing some pretty dire football and we might even be construed as being a bit clueless on the business front... BUT I'm so proud of these players and the management staff that

    Finally, we harp on about being born and not manufactured but let's welcome those new fans, who the club are actively creating through their inspirational work, into our warm blue embrace!

    Merry Christmas to all my fellow Toffees!!
    James Dawson     Posted 15/12/2009 at 18:33:44   Comments (22)

    Aiden McGeady

    My father rang me to say he heard on RTE Radio (State broadcaster in Ireland) that Everton have lodged a £6 million bid for Irish international McGeady. Can't find any other reference on the web to it except this: http://www.eleven-a-side.com/acrossthewater/news.asp?n=37764
    Bradley Nolan     Posted 15/12/2009 at 15:13:05   Comments (23)

    Good business

    I was listening to a discussion on 5 Live last night when the subject of Joleon Lescott came up. Some interesting comments were made."City wanted Terry and they got Lescott". "They needed a Ferrari and they bought a Fiesta".

    A bit harsh, perhaps, but there is little doubt that his confidence is in bits and playing in the World Cup seems quite unlikely.

    Frankly, I feel little sympathy for him. It was great business for Everton marred by the fact that it wasn't done in June. I still feel, however, that after the sale of Jeffers it's the best sale Everton have ever made. I can't think of anything that tops those two deals.
    Andy Crooks     Posted 15/12/2009 at 09:53:58   Comments (27)

    Ground control to Tony Marsh

    Just as you can still be an Everton fan even if you disagree with the direction the Club is taking, think the tactics are rubbish, question the team selection and think BK is a crook, then you can be a Tony Marsh fan even if you think exactly the opposite of every opinion he has. So I’ll come out and say that I’m a Tony Marsh fan.

    His views are sometimes well informed, sometimes incisive, other times too knee-jerk and often negative. BUT they are always passionate, always heartfelt and come from the angst ridden soul of a true blue. His submissions are always controversial and always create the longest threads, so — love him or hate him — you can’t ignore him!

    I wonder if anyone else has noticed that Tony hasn’t been posting for a while? Not since 4th November if my quick look through fan articles is accurate. Not since his article “Time to get on board?” which seemed to suggest he felt he finally needed to settle for second best.

    Well Tony, if you’re still out there and still visiting ToffeeWeb, I for one would like to hear from you again as I believe TW is the poorer without you. NSNO.
    James Reade     Posted 14/12/2009 at 13:26:49   Comments (33)

    Team vs BATE?

    I'm considering a trip to Goodison on Thursday night. £35 for an adult/junior ticket for a game which is a dead ruber. I'd be interested to hear who people think Moyes will play and who gets a rest.

    Is it reasonable to play an entire team of reserves?
    Dave Reynier     Posted 14/12/2009 at 12:21:25   Comments (31)

    Billy's performances

    I was just wanted the opinion of Bily's performances so far.

    I think he has shown he is a great footballer, with brilliant assists in the beginning of his play, and some of his goals too. But I don't think he's played greatly recently, BUT that in my opinion is down to adapting to the Prem and the mental aspect of his game. He seems scared to take on players, and do what wingers are supposed to do.

    I think next season, he will be a fantastic talent!!
    Ben Jones     Posted 14/12/2009 at 11:27:50   Comments (12)

    Just don't get it

    From the Echo (I know, it's a shite paper)...

    ...EVERTON boss David Moyes celebrated a Stamford Bridge draw for the fourth successive season on Saturday night.

    But the Blues manager admitted he had been bracing himself for a heavy defeat!
    This shit boils my blood. The ONE person at the club that should believe in a team (and perhaps believe unrealisitically) that they can defeat anyone, in any circumstance is the Manager.

    I have been proud of the fact that Moyes hasn't whined about injuries at every opportunity. We have had terrible problems compared to Liverpool and yet all you read is how injury-hit they are. I'm proud that we have just got on with it.

    What annoys me is that Moyes is seemingly starting to submit to the fact that we are going to get beat and anything is a bonus. This isn't the first time this season and it doesn't exactly fill me with confidence (and I can imagine it has a negative effect on the team).

    Does this annoy anyone else?
    Jamie Rowland     Posted 14/12/2009 at 07:31:17   Comments (28)

    Wilshere

    Word is that Wenger is looking to loan out Jack Wilshere for half the season. Surely this is a no-brainer for us. Three reasons why:

    a) As a young player his wages would likely be small so represent little financial risk. Unless Wenger is asking for a fee, but I believe that is usually reserved for players likely to complete a permanent move.

    b) We are obviously short of players. Especially players who can create. Bily looked exhausted on Saturday and Wilshere could provide cover for him and Pienaar. If he's as good as people make out, great. If he's not, little lost.

    c) If he ever doesn't quite make the grade at Arsenal or gets bored of waiting in the wings, it might give us a jump on the competition to get him. Though we probably won't be able to afford him!

    Would be great to see a few players come in January. My personal favourite would be Adam Johnson. Pace, penetration, creativity and goals. Yours for £5M according to NOTW. Suggest Bill has a garage sale and sees what he can raise...
    Sam Hoare     Posted 13/12/2009 at 17:05:39   Comments (21)

    New site for ground move?

    Just seen on the BBC 606 forum an article with a rumoured site for a new ground. Apparently Everton and LCC have been looking at a site on the Prescot Road/Green Lane junction. Don't know how much truth this rumour has!
    John Kenyon     Posted 13/12/2009 at 15:31:46   Comments (10)

    The importance of Pienaar

    Since Steven Pienaar has returned, Everton's form and performances have remarkedly picked up. Ok, we could do with a few wins in the PL to move up the table, but the effort of the team and the whole performance has improved.

    I have always said we need to wait until we get some injured players back rather than criticise the players that were fit. Some players have been playing regularly two games a week, some have been playing with injuries and not fully fit. We have too many good players to get involved in a relegation scrap and have a very good squad when everyone is fit. I have posted on here before that I am already looking forward to next season as long as we don't sell anyone in the summer.

    Fellaini and Rodwell despite the odd moment are both looking very promising in centre-midfield where we still have Arteta and Neville to come back. We now have width and creativity on both flanks with Pienaar and Bily which gives us more options than just restricting our attacks to the left wing. Saha and Yakubu are two strikers with quality which we haven't had for 20 years. Heitinga looks like a centre-back and could make a formidable partnership with Jagielka and have Yobo and Distin in reserve.

    However, as mentioned, the one player that really seems to make us tick is Pienaar. He gives us drive and enthusiasm as well as creativity. The only criticism I have of Moyes is that he hasn't signed enough creative players to cover for injuries. The injuries to Arteta and Pienaar are massively understated to results and performances. Get Pienaar signed up now for a longer contract.
    Matthew Lovekin     Posted 13/12/2009 at 05:04:00   Comments (27)

    The start of something...

    Great result and a good performance as well - despite inviting a lot of pressure on and a few of the lads who definitely need a rest (Bily looked knackered after about half an hour at least!)

    What got me thinking was that we obviously need some kind of run going, to prevent getting sucked into any relegation dogfight. Looking at upcoming fixtures (last game in Europe and FA Cup 3rd round besides), this is what we've got in store:

    Sunday, 20 December 2009 Birmingham (H)

    Saturday, 26 December 2009 Sunderland (A)

    Monday, 28 December 2009 Burnley (H)

    Saturday, 9 January 2010 Arsenal (A)

    Saturday, 16 January 2010 Man City (H)

    Wednesday, 27 January 2010 Sunderland (H)

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 Wigan (A)

    Out of these, we have winnable home games against teams close to us in the table (Birmingham, Burnley, Sunderland) as well as a Man City side who can stutter. Our away games also offer potential points, bar the Arsenal game probably.

    Anyway, my point is that a few well-fought draws could take us through the rest of December and January and spark the season off. February will be a big month, with the derby game as well as playing Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs. There will also be the African Cup of Nations where we will be even further depleted.

    It's all wishful thinking but a few good results over the holiday season and a few good loan recruits in January could really turn our season around.
    Adam McCulloch     Posted 12/12/2009 at 16:02:03   Comments (10)

    Well Done

    Everton’s midfield is looking very promising ... very promising. It may well be that we’re going to see another good run from the boys.

    Let’s make no mistake about the gravity of what we’ve just done - Prior to this game Chelsea had not conceded in 10 hours of Premier League football at Stamford Bridge — and we stuck three past them, had almost as much possession and about 7 goal attempts.

    They dominated the last quarter of the game — and we invited them forward by playing so bloody deep — but our makeshift defence held on for 25 minutes against a determined attack from the team containing the best striker in Europe. (With perhaps the exception of the ladyboy)

    However, I also think that with a little bit of balls we might have been a tad more adventurous towards the end and grabbed all three points.

    We had some luck about at least two of the goals — but we had to be up there to score them.

    Well done Everton; Well done Dave Moyes.
    Kevin Sparke     Posted 12/12/2009 at 15:59:29   Comments (35)

    Today's Team vs Chelsea

    Howard, Hibbert, Neill, Heitinga, Baines, Rodwell, Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, Jo, Saha, Pienaar. Subs: Nash, Yakubu, Coleman, Duffy, Agard, Akpan, Mustafi.

    So much for 'Moyes doesn't do 4-4-2'. It's a pity for Coleman that he's on the bench again but knowing our luck he'll be on after 15 mins because of an injury.
    John Pulman     Posted 12/12/2009 at 11:44:49   Comments (215)

    The myth of new stadium = investment

    I've no link at present to back this up but the word around Manchester is that Man City are looking to move to a new stadium. This is because they don't own Eastlands and therefore their stadium does not create revenue for the club. For anyone who knows their geography of Manchester, a site has been found in the Ashton Moss area. I think City's owners are calling Manchester Council's bluff to get them to sell the stadium to the club but either way it's a massive pay out from their owners to acquire the stadium.

    It's funny because having read a lot of posts on here and other forums from the pro-Kirkby brigade it seems that having a new stadium guarantees a rich Arab owner yet City's owners are having to fork out for a new stadium. In which case why are we any different from them in terms of investment? Perhaps we just have a stubborn chairman trying to line his own pockets? Someone on here made a good point the other day — our stadium may be old but we're willing to fill it week in week out so what does it matter?

    If City do relocate, perhaps Kenwright will propose we move to Eastlands!
    Alan Clarke     Posted 12/12/2009 at 06:06:40   Comments (20)

    Defenders

    If he's not asking too much money, what about Sol Campbell? Even when we have Yobo, Distin, and The Jags fit, we'll still be short of experienced cover in central defence.

    Let's hope Hibbo does another good job against Chelsea, but he could easily put in a solid stint at centre-back and still get ripped apart by Drogba. Campbell strikes me as an obvious and viable option. He'd get games, and we'd get cover for the rest of the season and maybe a little longer.

    Davey Weir and Richard Gough both played for us when they were older than Campbell, so let's not the age thing put us off. Looking at it another way, are there any other options out there that we could afford?
    Tim Lewis     Posted 11/12/2009 at 19:31:04   Comments (11)

    Kill the cliché

    How about some sort of New Year gesture to the TW family ?
    Annually — preferably January 1st — you could ask the congregation to select the cliche they hated most and want banned.

    Say the word and I’ll open a book...

    "Be careful what you wish for" would be installed as the immediate odds-on favourite.
    Dave Wilson     Posted 11/12/2009 at 11:56:34   Comments (49)

    Fitness tests... or lack of

    Over the last 12+ months we have had a catalogue of serious injuries to the majority of our best players. You read the gutter press and all you get is "Man Utd injury crisis" or "Liverpool down to the bare bones". Never a mention of all the players we have lost which in the case of the Yak, Jags and Arteta is the spine of the team.

    Of these three, only the Yak has returned and 3 months in he looks woefully low on confidence and his touch is terrible BUT Of late we have added to ths list with IMO terrible fitness tests.

    In Athens, Distin played on a very slick pitch. He looked unfit from the word go and lasted only a few minutes. He missed the Spurs game and I've no idea how long he will be out for.

    On Sunday we all witnessed a limping Yobo coming out to Z-Cars and again he barely lasted 15 minutes. He is out till the new year then (if fit) he is with Nigeria.

    My point is how on this earth did those two guys pass a pre-match fitness test?!? The injuries they sustained cant simply be run off and it's made a bad situation worse.

    I understand we are down to bare bones but those two decisions were of EFC's on making and totally crazy.
    John Audsley     Posted 11/12/2009 at 11:42:02   Comments (9)

    Is McFadden having the last laugh

    I'm sure many Evertonians have identified our next home fixture against Birmingham as a great chance for the blues to return to winning ways at Goodison — where we haven't won in the Premier League since 20 September.

    However, as we know, Birmingham are on a good run at the moment and I've noticed they've got two winnable home games before they come to Goodison next Sunday. That game will see the return of James McFadden, a player who used to frustrate me no end and who I thought Moyes did well to sell for the approx £5-6M.

    Imagine a hypothetical option given to McFadden:- stay where you are or return to Everton for a second chance? Notwithstanding any issue he might have had working with David Moyes, would McFadden (or any Birmingham player) think EFC to be a better proposition?

    In my opinion, Birmingham look like a progressive club — they've got a modern stadium, new owners with the funds to make some decent signings (£40M has been reported) and a decent young Scottish manager. Everton have got only one of these three things. Who would have thought at the end of last season that this situation would arise?

    Not only that, but when they come to Goodison next week they could be a full ELEVEN points clear of us!! I'm not saying anything new here — new ground, new investment blah blah blah — but FFS to me Birmingham City look like they have a better future than us at the moment!!
    Colin O'Keeffe     Posted 02/12/2009 at 10:51:41   Comments (12)

    Sunshine Superman

    As the Landon Donovan deal looks close to completion, let us welcome him and hope all goes well.

    The 60s Donovan (Donovan Leitch, a Glasgow lad) singer had a number of hits. 'Catch the Wind' was followed by others, but Californian Landon as our Sunshine Superman surely has to be the most promising.
    Keith Glazzard     Posted 10/12/2009 at 16:25:27   Comments (19)

    And now... Notts County

    'Notts County's owner Munto Finance has put the club up for sale, reports BBC Radio Nottingham.

    It is understood that Munto is already in contact with interested parties.'


    Notts County put up for sale this week - already have interested parties.

    Everton put up for sale umpteen years ago... nothing!

    How can City find two buyers, Liverpool have been bought out, Pompey (3 times), Arsenal takeover imminent, West Ham twice, Newcastle, QPR, Notts County, Villa, etc.etc... and we can't find one viable buyer? How come?
    Jamie Rowland     Posted 10/12/2009 at 11:31:48   Comments (61)

    Next Europa Opponents

    The shake down from tonight's Champion's League matches means we have a better idea who we will face in the Europa League "Round of 32".

    UEFA's mechanisms mean that we will be drawn against one of the following:

    Juventus, Wolfsburg, Marseille, Unirea Urziceni, Sporting Lisbon, Galatasary, Red Bull Salzburg, Fenebache, Shaktar Donetsk, PSV Eindhoven... and:

    • either Ajax or Anderlecht... but probably Ajax;
    • either Valencia, Lille or Genoa... but probably Lille;
    • either Hamburg or Hapoel Tel Aviv but probably Hamburg;
    • either Roma or Basle — presuming Fulham don't pull off a blinder — although we're not allowed to play them if they do,
    • either Werder Bremen or Atletico Bilbao... but probably Werder Bremen.
    That's 15 possibilities, the missing one being Benfica who we can't play again at this stage. That is defo how it pans out.

    Fancy a day out and a few beers in The Dam, Hamburg, Lisbon (again) and Eindhoven. Don't fancy the journey and the cold in Donetsk nor just the cold in Salzburg. Don't fancy getting stabbed at Rome, Istanbul or Anderlecht.

    But a little teaser, do fancy a few cervezas and a bit of sunshine on the back at the Best little Spaniard we know's old stomping ground over at Bilbao. Might give him a tempting target to get fit for as well. Everyone's a winner.
    Steve Green     Posted 09/12/2009 at 21:36:27   Comments (38)

    Team for Chelsea game?

    Just been on BBC squad selector - well what else do you do when there's sod all on the telly? I was dreading the idea of Hibbert and Neill as our centre-half pairing again on Saturday. Then I realised that Heitinga was fit, so thought oh well not too bad, Neill and Heitinga at CB and Hibbert in his usual RB role.

    Then I tried to find 5 players to fit the midfield (surely Moyes would never dare play 4-4-2 at Chelsea) and could only find 4 fit midfielders after Cahill's suspension. Thus, as I see it, this will mean Heitinga playing in his holding midfield role and a back four of Coleman, Hibbert, Neill and Baines. That back 4 will need all the protection a 5-man midfield can provide!
    Colin O'Keeffe     Posted 09/12/2009 at 18:38:13   Comments (26)

    Move for Donovan is perfect

    Multiple sources indicate we're very close to a deal for Landon Donovan, and for those of you who haven't seen much of the little speedball, this Yank is here to tell you that Moyes couldn't have made a better move. z

    Donovan is a pure playmaker in the Pienaar mold -- a superb passer, constantly attacking, and absolutely tireless with an engine that never runs out.

    Although he's the all-time leading scorer for the USA, he's not actually a great finisher, but his speed and quickness get him into the right positions. You'll love seeing him in the open field -- despite his rather goofy-looking stride, you won't believe how much pace he has. And he strikes a dead ball better than anyone we have right now.

    Best of all, he's got the Everton attitude -- fierce competitor, never say die, no sulking, no diving. And despite his small size, he won't be intimidated by the physical stuff.

    He's absolutely ideal to tide us over until Arteta is back up to full speed. If it actually happens, well done, Moysie.
    Mike Gaynes     Posted 09/12/2009 at 16:31:21   Comments (56)

    James Beattie

    Almost apologetic about this. But bearing in mind the other thread I just wondered.

    He will be well motivated, proving himself against the situation that has cropped up, he really cannot be on that much money by comparison, he may well enjoy the buzz of being back, but then again.....

    Any thoughts?

    ps: I would; a low-cost loan, maybe... with a view to our being pleasantly surprised?
    Ian Smitham     Posted 08/12/2009 at 18:48:45   Comments (39)

    Ground Share

    Yes or no... and why...?

    Personally I could see this go either way, whilst I would rather pluck my eyes out with a cucumber than share with Liverpool, I can see both sides of the arguement... open to the floor...
    Mark Hill     Posted 08/12/2009 at 18:21:59   Comments (57)

    It always the same, isn't it?

    Offer an opinion of a player and get accused of demoralising a player of already drooping confidence... My heart bleeds (stop giggling at the back) it really does. But what about my confidence? What about my morale? Can I not accuse shit performances from overpaid donkeys of sending me to the pits of despair?

    I mean, I'm expected to accept every excuse under the sun — excuses which are frankly trite nonsense. Excuses which seem to offend perpetuity, even though they are somewhat amazingly premised on time. You know the ones — 'he's new to the country', 'he can't speak the lingo', 'he's low on confidence at the moment'... same old shite, wrapped up in shiny new Christmas wrapping paper.

    As for the player in question — João Alves de Assis Silva. Wonderful name; piss poor footballer.

    Now I'm not knocking the player... well I am — but that's self evident. What I have a problem with is people's un-ending reservation despite the bleedin' obvious. Apparently he has been far better in the last couple of games — looking 'more dangerous'!

    I'm sorry but this kind of crap I can't contend with. This guy looks about as dangerous as Micky Jackson - horizontal! A carefully directed arse chuff from the park end could probably knock him over. He's got the touch of a rapist, and his dribbling, passing and all round awareness is staggeringly annoying. It's only matched by that look he pulls (with gloved hands in the air) after fucking up another passage of play — you know the one — 'That was a really good chance and I fucked it up'.

    Yes, that was a really good chance mate — and you did fuck it up, just like you do every time.

    Now, we've had a year and a half of the exact same shite every time he gets on the pitch... any chance you 'glass half-full' guys could come to your fucking senses?
    Ciarán McGlone     Posted 08/12/2009 at 11:32:48   Comments (108)

    Rodwell - a false hope?

    Are we looking at another Branch, Cadamarteri, Barlow, Jeffers (who was sold at the right time), or is this guy the real deal and therefore we should refuse to sell him at all costs?

    Personally I think that our financial position will force us to sell him, and if you believe the figures that have been quoted (£20mil+) then it seems mad to refuse.

    We seem to have done quite well at commanding over-inflated prices for 'average Prem players' (Lescott/Johnson). On the playing side, he will be a sub once Neville is back, and recently say the last month or so it looks like we have had 10 men when he's been in the side.

    He was non-existent last week against Spurs; it seems like any 6 ft player who does not break sweat when they run and looks squeaky clean is automatically considered to be a class act, a bit like Rio Ferdinand.

    He is also showing signs of the darker side of the game, the wag bird (gormless soap star), flash motors, and now with advisors saying things like 'short- to mid-term' future, would imply that is he looking outside the realms of Moyses's guidance.

    At this moment in time we are not in a position to gamble on certain young players and planning to build a future squad around them is futile as the trappings of fame and fortunes else where become apparent.

    I know that this opinion may sound short sighted and unromantic but its related to the harsh reality of survival and cashing in while you can and as with any young player there is always a chance that their development will stagnate, thus making £20 mil sound even better should we decide to sell in January.


    Luke Dunn     Posted 08/12/2009 at 08:03:06   Comments (65)

    Comebacks

    Watching Sunday's game got me thinking about how poor we are as far as staging comebacks. When we equalized I sincerely thought that we were going to win the game. Sadly this did not happen but I did struggle to think of one game aside from the 1966 FA cup final where we came back to win after being 2-0 down.

    Can any of you historians enlighten me?
    Ajay Timothy     Posted 07/12/2009 at 15:18:36   Comments (14)

    Kirkby rises from the ashes

    Sorry to bring bad news but Kirby is back on the agenda. Gordon Brown, no less has backed a revised plan to include a stadium. Check out the Daily Post.
    Chris Halliday     Posted 07/12/2009 at 11:16:45   Comments (78)

    Half-time blues... and Bily?

    I wonder if there are any readers on this site who have access to statistical evidence that points to the impression I have that Everton must be the easiest of soft touches for teams today in that they just have to wait for half-time and then they seem guaranteed to be presented with a goal in the first five minutes of the second half?

    Of course I may be imagining it but Everton do seem to be remarkably prone to conceding early in the second half. I just wonder if there is any statistical evidence to bear out my "impression"?

    Also just by way of debate, it is interesting to read the criticisms of the likes of Osman and Hibbert (some of it justified but not all) and see our new 9 million pound Russian escape relatively unscathed. I even read now that he is in need of a rest!

    Unless I am seriously mistaken I think we have a real problem with this guy. To be so limited in pace and physical application he has to be as good as Tommy Ring was (giving my age away here!).

    It could be that he is a contributor to the decline in Baines's performances this season. After the first few crosses in his first game, which seemed to indicate being an asset, the guy seems incapable of a constant quality delivery. He is neat and tidy as they say, but so is my wife, but at present he seems totally "detached" from the physical, committed side of the game.

    Let's also cut out this nonsense of the "demands of English football". The guy is an international footballer of the Russian Federation, he is not a novice. At present I simply cannot see what he is bringing to Everton's present, never mind the future.

    The team is crying out for greater pace especially in the midfield area, as we are so often unable to attack teams out of defence. At present Billy appears to be another one-paced, occasional player with the added problem of apparently seeming to be unconcerned one way or the other. Not impressed so far.

    But this young lad Coleman — now that is hopefully another story!
    Anthony Lamb     Posted 07/12/2009 at 10:07:46   Comments (32)

    January transfers

    Not sure if we will have much (any) money, but Moyes has already suggested that he wants to bring in some fresh blood in January.

    For me, our number one target should be Scott Parker. Intelligent footballer who can sit in front of the back four. He is the type of player we need in that he can be creative and dity. Argueably an international standard.

    West Ham will need to sell players and I think it would be more than worth a cheeky offer.

    Ok he fucked us over a few years back to go to Newcastle but a lot of water has gone under the bridge now.

    Any takers?
    Craig Taylor     Posted 07/12/2009 at 09:00:59   Comments (29)

    Return of the optimist...

    Watching last night as Everton showed their trademark spirit to recover a point that very few could have hoped for, I felt the presence of an old friend I have not seen in a while. Optimism, unmerited and irrational perhaps, but nonetheless the belief that better things may be around the corner.

    In a month that has seen some woeful football, one of the worst injury streaks of all time, the meltdown of yet another grand stadium plan and some disappointing financial figures, last night — and in particular the play of a young Irish right back — gave me some hope.

    I'm not suggesting that we are going to on to dominate Chelsea next weekend, start playing football and surge up the table. Nor should any player be heralded as a team saviour after one good showing. However, it got me thinking that if (and its a big 'if') we can get everyone fit and ready and hold onto certain young gems, we might have a seriously good team next season.

    -------------Howard------------
    Coleman---Jags---Heitinga---Baines
    -------------Rodders------------
    Pienaar---Arteta---Fellaini---Bily
    --------------Saha--------------

    Now to me, that's a seriously exciting prospect: a fairly youthfull side full of ballplayers that could match any team on its day. Add a bench of Yak, Timmy, Neville, Osman, Baxter, Yobo, Distin, Gosling and Anichebe and there are some options.

    I'm not saying that we should consign this season to the scrapheap but the future on the pitch at least, looks quite mouthwatering.
    Sam Hoare     Posted 07/12/2009 at 07:29:00   Comments (10)

    The Hibbert Enigma

    Tony Hibbert would have died for the cause today. He got close to that on a head-to-head which was awarded a penalty against his challenge.

    Sent from his familiar role at right back, again, our lad showed many qualities. Speed and strength we might expect, but positioning, reading the game and getting there to snuff out the danger? Not what some TW posters might predict.

    His performance today reminded me of Lee Carsley. The Cars came through a long apprenticeship to earn the appreciation of thousands of people who know their football, week-in week-out, in a good EFC team. And we still haven't properly replaced him.

    Hibbert? He has the basics. Moved away from what he does at right back, he has shown himself to be a footballer with much more about him than simply a 'tackler'.

    I look forward to the day when Hibbo does what Cars did — hit it low and hard from 20 yards into the bottom corner. It can be done.
    Keith Glazzard     Posted 06/12/2009 at 17:07:15   Comments (63)

    A great fightback

    I'm a glass half-full person. Always have been. And tonight I'm raising it joyously to my lips after a wonderfully satisfying comeback against a distinctly disagreeable Tottenham team. A great fightback and Howard's fabulous penalty save. What a game.

    Pienaar's return has made such a big difference. His addition to the midfield has seen both Cahill and Fellaini start making an impact again. Bilyaletdinov, although quiet today, makes them a pretty formidable unit, as the last three games they have played together have demonstrated.

    Against Liverpool, Athens and today against a petulant and at times quite nasty Tottenham, we showed qualities we've been missing for a month or so: skill and fight.

    Yes, Jo still looks woefully inadequate. Yes, Hibbert and Neill are obviously not a central defensive dream ticket. And yes, we are still conceding goals we shouldn't be doing. But that was some result.

    Every time Saha plays he climbs another rung on the ladder to achieving the type of legendary status reserved only for Duncan Ferguson.

    And what about Coleman? There's a real find for the future. What a huge step he took towards making that position his own. Pace, adventure, determination... and he can cross a ball too.

    That being said, my rose-tinted spectacles are still on the shelf at Specsavers. This is a green shoot or two, not an Amazonian rainforest. But against a team bang on form, with Crouch & Defoe up against Hibbert & Neill and coasting at 2-0 with 20 minutes to go, we showed what we're capable of.

    I venture to suggest that if we had been on a similar run (they would have gone third if they'd won), with a full-strength team, two goals to the good, playing against a side struggling for results with four full backs across the back (including a young lad pitched right in at the deep end), we wouldn't have let the lead slip.

    I know there's a long way to go. I know we've got tough games immediately ahead. And I know one game like this doesn't mean everything's hunky-dory. But it proves a point. With a decent creative quartet, a growing hint of confidence as a result and that magic ingredient — a little bit of luck — we will get back on the rails.

    I know bad news makes for good reading, but give the boys a break. They did us proud today.
    David Booth     Posted 06/12/2009 at 15:53:07   Comments (25)

    The Big Galoot

    Well, wasn't that fun! I don't think I've enjoyed an Everton game that much for a long, long time. A few of the boys were actually playing football for once, just a pity that it took the prerequisite two goals before that idiot Moyes took off the brainless big galoot (Jô) and put on some proper strikers, even though they were both seriously rusty and a few yards behind the pace.

    Excellent stuff from Coleman, and kudos to Dave Wilson, who said we would attack. Unfortunately, we failed to score one more than them. It was far better than many a game this season... but still we start with the tried and trusted, and only have a go when we are two goals behind. Moyes just drives me to despair...
    Michael Kenrick     Posted 06/12/2009 at 15:09:22   Comments (88)

    We're going to score one more than you

    A growing number of Evertonians have been mightily pissed off by Davey Moyes this season, not necessarily because of our results, let's face it, given our injury crisis most would be prepared to overlook them.

    No, it's been DM's approach to the games that's really getting so many people down, it's been negative, ultra negative... and not just against the top teams, against newly promoted teams Moyes has still been excessively cautious... until now!

    The Lion from the Wizard of Oz will swagger into Goodison fancying his chances today. He`ll tell his Spurs team that Everton are weakened, to go for the jugular. Moyes would normally try to stifle and nullify that, but today he can't, he simply doesn't have the personnel. So what are his options? Well they're pretty limited really, in fact the way I see it, he only has one.

    Moyes will not risk his makeshift defence being ripped apart by a rampant Spurs; I believe he'll go for it, he'll send his boys out with one instruction, attack, attack with purpose.

    Saha and Fellaini will be told to give their defence far more problems than Keane/Defoe and Crouch can give ours; Bily will be trusted to outshine Lennon; Cahill Rodwell and Pienaar will be charged with forcing the Spurs midfield to retreat.

    "Attack is the best form of defence" they used to say... It certainly is if your boys at the back are inexperienced or playing out of position.

    I would fully expect Moyes to slip straight back into his more cautious approach once he gets the right players back, but he can't tomorrow.

    I predict a classic

    IHSWR
    Dave Wilson     Posted 05/12/2009 at 18:24:46   Comments (113)

    Paul Scholes

    BBC are quoting from the paper that no-one reads on Merseyside that Paul Scholes wants away. "I don't feel I am making as much of a contribution as I'd like. I wouldn't say I am playing some of my best football. I always preferred when I was playing regularly and scoring a lot more. Now, it's different."

    So that's our next signing is it? Is there any Rooney money left owing?
    Mike Williams     Posted 05/12/2009 at 12:58:44   Comments (10)

    Amortisation of players

    Hopefully an accountant will be able to better explain this. but I think it works like this:

    About 10-11 years ago, the UK financial regulating body standardised the rules for accounting for players as intangible assets. Now, I think the rule is the cost for acquisition (transfer fee) is spread over the life of the contract, whereas previously it was accounted for in the year due.

    Therefore, I think, the un-expired portion goes to the balance sheet (as a provision, or future liability), and hence gradually "written off" to the P&L over the life of the contract - which may be shorter if he is sold, or his career is ended prematurely.

    I'm pretty sure that this is only transfer fees, and doesn't include wages for that contract, which are accounted elsewhere.

    But, can someone answer a couple of questions:

    1. Say Man City paid the money up front for Lescott, does that appear on Everton's accounts as a one-time income (although surely on City's (internal) accounts it would be spread over the life of the 5-6 year contract)?
    2. How do you account for someone extending their contract?
    And finally, is this actually of any relevance to the football club's accounts, other than for purposes of taxation?
    Matt Traynor     Posted 04/12/2009 at 13:21:47   Comments (10)

    YADM this Sunday

    So... with THREE more on the treatment table and Heitinga on a one-match ban, what side would you put out? My suggestion is:

    Howard; Hibbert, Moyes, Stubbs, Baines; Pineaar, Cahill, Neill, Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, Saha.

    Bench: Nash, Coleman, Duffy, Baxter, Yakubu, Mustafi, Agard.

    Only question I have is did Stubbsy have enough pace to cope with Defoe and has he now lost even that? On the other hand the experience of our two centre-halves will cope — difficult to run fast after the first two minutes when you have a dead leg.

    What say you?
    Phil Roberts     Posted 04/12/2009 at 06:08:50   Comments (34)

    Just wondering

    I have seen a recording of the "Bily" goal of Athens and wonder if anyone else has noticed any sort of likeness to Sheedy's goal in Rotterdam?

    Please ignore such facts as they are both in blue and shoot with the left foot, I am more looking for the body posture.

    Cheers guys (and gals)...
    Ian Smitham     Posted 03/12/2009 at 19:37:05   Comments (8)

    Don't get Too Excited

    First of all, I thought that it was a brilliant result in Athens considering the injury list. As most players will tell you, going to the likes of Greece and Turkey due to the noise their mental supporters make, I was worried going into the game as I thought that at best we could hope for a draw.

    Fortunately AEK Athens have been having a bad time domestically as well. You should never under-estimate these sides as at home they can be very hard to beat. At GP we played well but AEK were all over the place.

    I think December and January will be hard months for Everton. I think a win against Spurs is vital on Sunday as I think it will give the lads some confidence. Chelsea will be a game were we will be hoping for at best a draw. After that we have a meaningless game against BATE Borizov.

    In the next 2 league games, the pessimist in me says that we could well end up with no points from either. Spurs are going into the game in top form and will be full of confidence. I think we need to get a least 10 points before the New Year to be really out of trouble.
    Chris Butler     Posted 03/12/2009 at 19:05:20   Comments (14)

    Pen to Pienaar

    A question to those with there ear to the ground: Does anyone have any (true) info on Steven Pienaar's future? I know his 3-year contract runs out in summer 2010 and if I remember rightly, talks were underway or at least threatening to get underway shortly before the start of this season. Since then it all seems to have gone very quiet?

    I think there will be many attractive offers for Pienaar elsewhere if his form continues. Arsene Wenger was apparently interested 12 months ago for one and I can see a lot more clubs trying to tempt him away from Goodison if we don't get him tied down soon.

    He's been outstanding for us I think. His work rate is second to none and he's been by far our most creative player in the absence of Mikel. I'd hate to see him go for little or nothing because we've dithered around and waited too long to sort something out with him!

    So does anyone have any info on Pienaar and contract negotiations?
    Ian Ankers     Posted 02/12/2009 at 19:55:49   Comments (36)

    Victory in Greece

    A victory against anyone is welcome these days and all credit for this one given all the circumstances. We beat this lot easy with a strong team at Goodison and then again today with a patchwork team. We have to be grateful for the fact that Greek football has been on a downslide since they won the European Nations Cup some years ago. They did however beat Benfica and I hope we can get Benfica again down the line with a stronger squad. Looks like Moyes will be asking for volunteers for Sunday’s game against Spurs.
    Tom Bowers     Posted 02/12/2009 at 17:29:00   Comments (39)

    AEK Athens v Everton

    The matchday thread...
    Michael Kenrick     Posted 02/12/2009 at 14:55:09   Comments (159)

    Leon Osman

    Have any of you geniuses noticed how many games we've won / lost since he was out injured?

    Probably not linked. Move along.


    John Kline     Posted 02/12/2009 at 09:06:27   Comments (25)

    Elstone

    One person who seems to escaped much deserved criticism over the DK farce is Mr Elstone. Remember his ludicrous scare story in the summer of 2008 that the club has to 'move or die'?

    Then, in Cup Final week, he publicly dismissed fans who didn't want to go to Kirkby as 'flimsy'. Leaving this City wasn't an issue with him but then when the new shop opened in Liverpool 1 he had the cheek to say it will 'enhance our standing in the City'!!

    Then finally, literally hours after DK was throw out, we had the pathetic sight of him being interviewed begging LFC for possible talks about a joint stadium... I put my head under my pillow dying of embarrassment! People say he's better than Wyness but I think this bloke is even more out of his depth. Get rid.
    Ste Traverse     Posted 02/12/2009 at 00:23:02   Comments (25)

    You Are David Moyes - in Athens

    With the traveling squad announced, much of the team had picked itself. Might he protect Pienaar? Gosling at right back? Hibbert in the centre? and so on...

    But now the OS has thrown a boulder into the pond. Rodwell unlikely, and Distin a doubt. So what would could the likely starting line-up from this squad be?

    Everton: Howard, Nash, Hibbert, Coleman, Duffy, Distin, Mustafi, Baines, Gosling, Cahill, Pienaar, Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, Rodwell, Akpan, Baxter, Agard, Jo, Yakubu, Saha.

    Time to play YADM again. And as Tiny Tim said, God Bless Us All.
    Keith Glazzard     Posted 01/12/2009 at 17:03:46   Comments (21)

    David Moyes: Chapter Five

    In the recent weeks 1 thing has occurred to me about the team and Moyes. First chapter: David Moyes started his managerial reign in 2002 and he largely got rid of his useless players by 2003 bar Stubbs, Duncan Ferguson, and Tomasz Radzinski.

    Chapter 2: from 2003 to 2006, players such as Thomas Gravesen, Marcus Bent, Kevin Kilbane were essential parts of our team that finished 4th in the league. That team performed brilliantly, but Moyes quite rightly realised that these players were not good enough for Everton to progress.

    Chapter Three: In the summer of 2006, Moyes made three terrific signings: Joleon Lescott, Tim Howard and Andy Johnson. This team was made even better when Jagielka, Baines, Yakubu, Pienaar came along with two young strikers in Vaughan and Anichebe. In my opinion, that team, strengthened with Manual Fernandes, was the best Everton team since the 1980s.

    Chapter Four: In the summer of 2008 we made an awful decision in my eyes by selling Andy Johnson, one of our most vital players. Our team has been a successful family and work force all working hard for each other. Nobody was bigger than the team unlike clubs such as Liverpool. I think we destroyed that chapter when we sold Johnson. If we’d bought in a few players such as Bentley I think we could have finished in 3rd place last season.

    Chapter Five: I always knew though that another club would come in for Arteta, Cahill, Baines, or Lescott. This season we have gone from being top 4 contenders to relegation candidates. We have the old guard and the new guard... the old one that essentially worked hard are clashing with the newer lazier players in our team; you can make your own decisions about who I’m talking about. We need to accept that chapter of success has gone and need to make numerous changes so we can become top 4 contenders again, such as Spurs have done.

    I do think we need Moyes but we need a new owner and new players more importantly. People have said look at the differences from last season. We’ll be missing four players in January and February. I cannot see us getting rid of the underperforming players to make finances for new ones so I think it will be a difficult season.

    No longer do I go to games excited or believing we can win. Kenwright is not the devil incarnate, he’s just easier to blame than Moyes. There are many people to blame... nobody’s blameless for our demise.
    Chris Butler     Posted 01/12/2009 at 12:45:36   Comments (12)

    Only two places up for grabs with a fully fit squad?

    I was thinking about what the Everton team would look like with a fully fit squad and came to the conclusion that only two positions would be up for grabs once the team is back to a full compliment. With everyone back there may not even be a starting berth for Cahill, Fellaini or Rodwell.

    Here's my starting 9 who pick themselves:

    Howard
    -------- Jagielka Distin Baines
    Pienaar Arteta --------- Bilyaletdinov
    Saha Yakubu

    Whilst Cahill is an excellent player and often gets crucial goals, this season his role has been nullified — not just by Fellaini as many think but by Saha. Cahill worked very well as a forward but now we have a quality striker, it is Saha who has popped up with the headers and in the positions where Cahill used to be. Fellaini also covers a fair bit of the ground Cahill used to cover. In my opinion, this potentially relegates Cahill to a second option in a 4-4-1-1 when one of the strikers comes off.

    With two places up for grabs, it's difficult to pick who should play there. I don't think anyone can dismiss the influence Phil Neville has when he's on the pitch. Like him or loathe him, Phil has been the Mr Motivator of our team and leader on the pitch. This means he HAS to be there and, in my view should be in the middle of the park.

    This leaves the rightback slot which is between Hibbert and Heitinga. The choice, is yours. Which means that Rodwell and Fellaini particularly miss out on starting roles. Another alternative is to have Rodwell as defensive midfield and Neville at rightback?
    Anthony Hawkins     Posted 01/12/2009 at 10:24:04   Comments (24)

    Kirkby Again!?

    Please BK, do NOT let Mandelson anywhere near this subject. We have enough problems without involving this government in what is already a shambles. We have wasted heaven knows how much in feasibility studies and tied ourselves in exclusive partnerships denying ourselves the ability to negotiate with whom we wish. Presumably we have something in the kitty which we can use to redevelop GP — that's where we belong; end of story !
    Tony Waring     Posted 01/12/2009 at 09:04:40   Comments (7)

    Please let me be wrong

    There is plenty of evidence that absence makes the heart grow fonder but methinks it also causes amnesia. Many have pinned their hopes, I believe falsely, on a return of Jags, Arteta, Osman and Neville plus a return to match fitness of Yakubu.

    Before their injuries, Jags and Arteta each had a run of half dozen games that were rated good but that rating was based on a much lower standard that preceded it. Both were shockingly poor free-kick takers, Jagielka's kicks went everywhere bar to a teammate and He was another who was over fond of the big boot. He also made a number of Yoboisms.

    Arteta's free kicks and corners more often than not did not clear the first defender. Remember how we hoped for for someone else to take them. He also was inconsistent to the point of being almost invisible against top teams.

    The same can be said about Osman but he like Jo had the added weakness of being unable to stay on his feet in at slightest challenge.

    With Phil Neville we got the same high level of commitment game after game. He was not a fancy ball player but a solid performer in whatever position he was named.

    I would not hold my breath waiting for the first four but I hope Pip comes back before it is too late.

    Yakubu is the biggest disappointment, it is two months since he was given the all clear and he is yet to display anything like his form when first arriving. He is nowhere near as fast to the ball as he was then. If anything he is slower and less active than he ever was. He needs the ball on a plate simply because because he can’t jump or sprint.

    Such was his attitude and effort before his injury it was suggested by many on this very site that he was looking for a way out and another fat pay cheque.


    Dick Fearon     Posted 01/12/2009 at 04:24:42   Comments (14)

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