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The Mail Bag

October 2009 Archive
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Villa Post-Match

A decent performance against a decent team. A point is not exactly helpful though. A very disappointing goal to concede though, yet again. Thank god we are coming out of the injury crisis now though.

I think people do not realise the importance of Phil Neville being in the team. He is not a match winner on his own, but his style of play seems to inspire those around him to work harder. We seem to be lacking leadership in midfield. Somebody who can organise the players from the pitch.

I don't think anybody jumps out as being a star man today. Grit a determination might get you a point, but it is not going to get us pushing for 4th. The lack of creativity is really painful to watch.
Dan Brierley     Posted 31/10/2009 at 15:52:51   Comments (19)

Everton vs A Villa

Baines, Bily, Yobo all back today.

Neill keeps his spot at RB, although Heitinga and Rodwell in Midfield could be a little defensive with only the Yak up front.

Howard
Neill, Yobo, Distin, Baines
Heitinga, Rodwell
Cahill, Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov
Yakubu

Subs: Nash, Jo, Saha, Gosling, Coleman, Duffy, Agard
Stuart Mitchell     Posted 31/10/2009 at 12:38:31   Comments (154)

Going, Going, Go???

I saw a reference in my paper yesterday to Sir Alex sending out orders for reports on Rodwell. Apparentley the arrangement in question would be for Rio Ferdinand to switch to Tottenham some time next year and for United to bring in Rodwell.

Will we face the same situation as per Lescott? How will Moyes and Kenwright play that one?

If United start making noises that they definitely are interested, will EFC quietly accept the inevitable, whilst publicly stating he isn't going anywhere (at least not until the price is right)? Its all paper speculation, of course, but it makes the wheels go round (or fall off if you're a toffee)!!!

Will the lesson a la Lescott have been learned, and moves be made early next summer to get not only Rodwell's replacement in, but 2 or 3 others as well instead of leaving it till one minute to midnight?

A lot of water will have flowed under the proverbial bridge by then, and Rodwell's own decision may well be influenced by where EFC finish at the end of this season.

For myself, sadly, I can't see him turning United down. Even if our season turns out to be much better than at present, Moyes will have a hell of a job convincing Rodwell why it will be in his best interests to stay at EFC (I almost typed Goodison then, but remembered the elephant in the room that is DK).

We can hardly promise him more silverware than them can we? Everton 2010 FA Cup winners? Somehow I doubt it. Well, it's our own fault, we should have got Senderos in when we had the chance.

Sorry, but Autumn blues and pessimism, together with the fact I will be 57 on bonfire night make me a miserable sod at the moment. 3 points today and Rodwell to score just might make a difference!!! COYB.
John Brennan     Posted 31/10/2009 at 07:06:31   Comments (17)

It could be worse!

It's been a horrible season so far and I think I've slagged everyone but the tea lady off at Goodison so far this season.

The Hibbert and Osman bashing has died down a bit lately with Jo now taking the brunt of criticism for his lacklustre performances of late. But it got me thinking, Who is the worst Everton player of all time and why?

I think I'm going to have to go for Marco van Pembo! closely followed by Alex Nyarko. It weren't so much as games that passed these two yard dogs by as seasons.

Who gets your vote?
Ste Kenny     Posted 31/10/2009 at 06:36:46   Comments (5)

Feel good at 5 o'clock

It's going to happen today. Last season it was Phil Neville's thundering tackle on Ronaldo, this year it is going to be rousing home win against the Villa. I'm sick to death, as we all are, of poor performances and even poorer excuses in the last few weeks, and worse, the stick that many have dished out so generously to the players and the staff. How fickle we all are. Lest we forget the form and performances of the 2008-2009 season that brought us once again to 5th place and the proud winners of the real Premier League .

Can it not be that we can look forward to one of our most important games of the season with optimism and hope. Can it not be that come 16.55 today we will be thinking "we needed that one" or "we're back". I am a very firm believer in positive thinking and the theory that thoughts do become things. If 38,000 people turn up today with the Old Trafford mentality of being beaten before you even set foot on the pitch, at a home game that we should seriously be thinking about winning, then do not be at all surprised if get beaten at home again. Be truly careful what you wish for.

If we start sighing at every misplaced pass, and groan at every attack that breaks down this will surely only increase the current lack of confidence in the side, and worse, increase villa's belief that they can stroll to three points away from home. Raucous noise and unconditional support is the order of the day, with a firm belief by all that we will put in a spirited, hard fought performance, and that we will look forward to watching match of the day for the first time this season. This is not "Field of Dreams" stuff. However depleted today's line up is there is more than enough quality from one to eleven to beat any side on our day. This is the day. Carpe Diem my fellow Evertonians.

Just for the record, I think super Tim will score twice today. One early on and one late on and the noise will be deafening for both.

COYB.
Peter Laverty     Posted 31/10/2009 at 01:26:33   Comments (3)

Dave Hickson

Today is the 80th birthday of Dave Hickson who, to we "Old Evertonians" who go back to the 50s was a Roy of the Rovers hero who was idolised for his great performances in the famous No 9 blue shirt. Happy Birthday, Dave, & thanks for all those wonderful memories of yesteryear.
Ian Jones     Posted 30/10/2009 at 17:39:29   Comments (11)

Shankly at Bellefield

A recent article in the Observer Sports Monthly said that following his virtual banishment from Anfield and Melwood, Bill Shankly used to turn up at Bellefield and assist Mick Lyons in coaching Everton's junior and youth teams. I wonder does anybody know whether any of the youngsters coached by Shankly went on to play a part in Everton's success in the 1980s? If so, I'd enjoy the irony!
Simon Woolfenden     Posted 30/10/2009 at 10:50:09   Comments (24)

Phil Neville

I have posted before albeit irregularly on unlinked subjects. No different today. Wanted to say I have been on the Official Website to view the "Purple Shirt Launch" and the VIP event, attended by our two Phil's. Have to say that Phil Neville is a proper gentleman.

His dignity shines through. As a Manchester lad his comments about supporting the youth of Liverpool are a tremendous example to all of us with parochial views; we are all the same bar accents. He's not a bad footballer either, but life transcends football.

I have seen the debate about Moyes tenure, both for and against; I dont know the answers... it's hard enough bringing two primary-aged schoolchildren up in a marriage with two full-time working parents trying to make ends meet without getting hung up about whether a manager is worth keeping on a contract of a couple of million pounds a year or not (or whatever we are paying).

Regardless, as a Club, wherever our future takes us, we could do a lot worse than keep Phil Neville involved actively in the long term once his playing career is behind him.
Mike Jones     Posted 29/10/2009 at 21:51:23   Comments (25)

Spurred into thinking...

I just wanted to post regarding some of Moysie's recent buys/tactics. I'd be interested in hearing other's views on this, but there's a couple of things that struck me as I watched from the Lower Tier at White Hart Lane the other night.

First, my doubts over Fellaini grow with each game. Although a threat from the air at set pieces, and occasionally a threat going forward, I'm beginning to fear for the lad. He seems to have no defensive discipline, and coupled with an attack-minded Rodwell in the middle on Tuesday night meant that the pairing left us hopelessly exposed on the counter. One pass was all it took to open us up and that's hugely worrying.

I also think his presence is having a detrimental effect on Cahill, who was once our most potent midfield goalscoring threat. Cahill isn't being played in his best position anymore because Fellaini has taken that role: even though, in my humble opinion, he ain't as good. So Felli hasn't got defensive discipline, is a weaker offensive option than Timmy, yet plays every week. Anyone think he should be dropped for the team's benefit?

Secondly, I can't fathom why Lucas Neill didn't start at centre-half on Tue night instead of Heitinga. He's got an additional couple of inches on Johnny, who was hopeless for Huddlestone's goal, and is really a centre-half. Heitinga is more mobile, better on the ball etc. Why wasn't he starting at right-back instead?

Lastly, Jo just isn't up to it. He's lazy and for a Brazilian, from what I've seen this season, his first touch and finishing just isn't good enough. I'd rather have seen Agard given a chance in the second half against Spurs — at least we'd have seen what he's capable of in a game that was looking beyond us as soon as the first goal went in.

I'm not too despondent about the rest of the season yet, although more so than at the start. I agree that it's deeply worrying to see the likes of Sunderland whizz past us with richer owners and better form. Despite a recent post from me willing people to keep the faith, I can't help thinking that, without a new megabucks owner by the close of this season, the gap will just be far too big to close.


Carly Scott     Posted 29/10/2009 at 16:41:13   Comments (11)

A diamond in the rough

I'm getting deja vu reading a lot of posts on here lately as I think the vast majority of people are pretty low with anything concerning EFC! And rightly so, I might add. However, I did want to post something positive after the Bolton game so although it's a bit belated here it is.

One Everton player this season has performed very admirably and I don't think we could have predicted what a joy to watch he has been. I think he is also the victim of currently playing in a very poor team. If results were good everyone would be singing his praises. Sadly they are not and the style of play is dire so he gets overlooked.

I am of course talking about Louis Saha. The goal against Bolton was sheer class and one of the best I have seen from an Everton player since, well.... probably Arteta's against Bolton too.

I really hope he continues injury free until the end of the season and gets to the 20-goal mark... which is some achievement playing in this team!
James Stewart     Posted 29/10/2009 at 12:09:28   Comments (8)

Injury updates needed

I am not going to go into my current frustrations at the team's performances as I think everything has already been said on here that needs to be.

What is getting my goat at the moment is the wall of silence coming out of the club regarding this horrendous injury list. Our last hope of salvaging this season appears to be to cling to the return of our crocked star players, yet all we get from the physio department yesterday is a vague "we hope to have one or two fit for the weekend."

As Evertonians become increasingly anxious about results and performances, I feel the club should respond to that by giving weekly updates on:

i) the estimated return dates for each and every injured player;

ii) what stage each injured player is at in their rehab; and

iii) the exact injury suffered by each player.

I include point iii) because no-one truly knows exactly what's wrong with Yobo, Baines, Osman and Bily at the moment. Pienaar meanwhile, has been missing for over a month with what was described as severe bruising. Now, I'm no physio but I do play a lot of sport and incur a lot of bruises, and it never takes a month for bruising to heel, so I want to know why he's not back playing yet!

Points i) and ii) are included where we do know the exact injuries players are carrying, but where I am scanning the fixture list and wondering when we might be able to call upon the likes of Jags, Arteta and Anichebe again.

Surely it's not too much to ask for the manager / medical staff to ease our frayed nerves by giving us some, if not all, of the information above? In the meantime, let's hope Rathbone is right and one or two of these mystery injuries do clear up to give us half a chance of competing against Villa on Saturday...
Mark Boulle     Posted 29/10/2009 at 08:17:13   Comments (7)

Down and Flat

It’s been a while since I posted — not least because others have expressed my views better. I just thought I would say that I think I feel the same way as many less vocal Evertonians feel at present — very down and very flat! I’m not ranting and raving - I’m just incredibly depressed about how we are drifting...

I’m not calling for Moyes to go (I still think with all his tactical flaws, we will get no better, and basically he’s our Davey!). I realise we are full of injuries (although am I the only one who still looks at the starting eleven and thinks we should still be doing better than we are?) — although I always knew that Pienaar was more of an unsung hero than many on TW gave him credit for.

I just seem to be seeing all the progress of the last few years seeping away before my eyes. I no longer look forward to our matches like I used to. I think the media have given up on us to even comment on (not that we ever had much coverage beforehand!). I don’t think our signings are that bad either (I think there is potential with all of them), but I can’t seem to see a way out of (at best) mid-table mediocrity, and (at worse) a drift into relegation trouble if we are not careful.

I think my problem is that I now see that the type of football I have actively supported for four decades, is really fading and that big money is what it’s all about. I had hoped that our ’traditional’ way of buying/selling/running the club would be a beacon of light for those fearing foreign owners, but to see the likes of Spurs, Villa and especially Man City now clearly over-hauling us, just makes me realise we need to finally move with the times.

I see foreign billionaires expressing an interest or even buying less clubs and I have now reached the stage when I think — why is no-one interested in us. I know the reasons we are not top of the list... but FFS... this is a big club and I can’t believe someone can’t get past Blue Bill’s defence and say they want in! Surely we must be more interesting for investors than West Ham, Portsmouth, QPR, Notts County etc. or am I forgetting we are north of Watford Gap? Or am I starting to question Kenwright's vision at long last!!!

I don’t think the status quo is an option after this season — I think we need to risk change, or we drift into Boro-like oblivion!
David Edwards     Posted 29/10/2009 at 04:20:26   Comments (17)

Left back

The biggest single problem that we have now is the fact that we only have one left back. This is particularly worrisome given Leighton Baines track record with injuries. I understand that the club probably figured Nuno Valente was no better a back than Pistone before him given both were old and seldom fit but we should have signed someone ...anyone.

A couple of inexpensive options that spring to mind are Michael Ball and Daniel Fox. Perhaps those signings would have made BK squirm too much but either would have been cheaper and better than Heitinga, our latest and most expensive right back/centre half/central midfiedler. Even after the season started we added one player to the squad who rather than being a leftie was a right back.

Now we have no less than SEVEN players who are either right backs or people that Moyes has chosen to believe are right backs at points in time (Heitinga, Hibbert, Coleman, Neill, Neville, Yobo and Jagielka) but we only have one inconsistent injury prone left back. Why? It's kind of a costly oversight isn't it?
Kieran Kinsella     Posted 28/10/2009 at 20:44:11   Comments (7)

The Real Problems...

Apart from the obvious crippling injury list i feel there is more obvious problems with this Everton team and squad.

1. Simple really we have no pace what so ever, no pace means teams can push up on us condence the play with no fear of us hitting them on the counter attack... (When was the last time we scored from the counter attack?) Pace gives you space on the pitch, defenders don't want to get to tight in case they get rolled and cant catch the player. With our lack of movement and our lack of slick passing what are we left with? Set pieces, hit and hope football and very boring to watch, and I blame the management.

2. Relating to point one this is Moyes's philosphy of playing percentage football, it has to be, look at Wigan? Their new manager insists that they play the ball on the deck at all costs. On paper our squad is much better then theirs so why can't we string two passes in a row?

3. Signings, people say Moyes hasn't had the money, well he has had more money than any other manager in our history. I like the way he buys young players, but he NEVER buys pace (apart from Johnson)... why, Moyes???

Every single team in the Premier League has pace, it gives you options, we don't have one player on our team that can beat a man!!! I find this shocking to say the least. And don't say these players aren't out there, I'm watching Arsenal v Liverpool tonight and every player in the Arsenal team has pace and didn't cost a fortune and what a joy to watch.

If only moyes could take a lesson from Wenger... the game has changed, the modern game has changed, it's about pace and keeping the ball and I'm afraid, if Moyes doesn't change his ways, we could be beyond repair in a few years time.
Sean Mckenna     Posted 28/10/2009 at 18:00:04   Comments (9)

Bottom Three By Chrimbo???

Now that we have messed up the easiest run of fixtures we will get this season, we now enter what can only be described as a nightmare scenario in November. A Freddie Kruger special. Aston Villa next up on Saturday and with games away to Man Utd and West Ham followed by Liverpool at home in the League and Benfica in the Europa, I really fear the worst for this month.

How many points will we pick up from these games if we maintain our current lousy form? Don't give me the injuries Bollocks either, because Yakubu, Arteta and Jagz were out way back last season and Moyes has brought in crap players as cover.

Reading these pages the past few weeks, it is now very apparent that many more of our fans are starting to wake up to Moyes and his sterile methods. Myself and many others have been onto Davey Moyes for years but always get shouted down... Well, shout us down on Saturday night if Villa beat us at Goodison Park — which looks an away banker to me.

One thing I will give Moyes credit for is the bargain basement signings that have come good: Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar and Jagielka have all been great servants to the club but what worries me is, when Moyes has dosh to spend, he sponks it up the wall. Lets forget about Krøldrup, Beattie, Davies, AdvM etc for a minute and concentrate on the past 14 months...

A grand total of £30 million has been wasted on Fellaini, Bily and Heitinga. For that type of money we could of bought 5 or 6 proven Premier League players who would of done a far better job than these three buys ever will. Yet again this season, Moyes buys slow one dimensional plodders who he considers utility players. Square pegs in round holes more like... FFS, what about pace and skill for once? How about some flair and creativity??

Moyes should've raided Boro and West Brom for thier promising players when they went down rather than trawl the dustbins of Europe for the scraps no-one else wanted Let's face it, who the fuck had ever heard of Fellaini, Bily or Heitinga before we ended up with them?

Benfica should've been the massive wake-up call for all of our fans but I bet it wasn't. Playing what can only be described as 1980s long-ball shite, we have been an absolute disgrace this season. No amount of injuries should be an excuse for players being turned into Howard Wilkinson clones. Moyes is a shocking football coach and that will never change no matter what.

This season is only 10 games in and already we are burnt out so I think last night's result is a blessing in disguise. Let's get back to the bread and butter games in the Premier League and forget all the delusional stuff about winning cups.

I would bet every thing I own that Moyes will never win a trophy in my life time. As for winning a European trophy... ha ha ha — NO fucking chance. Hoofball on the continent? I don't think so... Roma and Ajax must be shitting themselves.

As for those of you who continually ask me to name a manager to take over from Deadly Dave, I would say at this: We have to be realistic as to who we could afford, who would want to come here, and who would be available. My first choice would've been Martinez at Wigan but thats a no-hoper now.

Dave Jones of Cardiff ticks all the boxes for me. A Scouser and an Evertonian who knows what it takes at this club. Jones has proved in the past that he can work on limited budgets and always produces proper footballing sides.

Look at Cardiff at present and watch the way they play and Cardiff are skint but 2nd in the Championship and not a sign of any hoofball. I thought you needed money to play footie??

Oh by the way Jones has even managed to achieve the same career high as Moyes: an FA Cup Final appearance in 2008 equals Moyes in 2009.

Anything would be better than what we have got right now wouldn't it??? A change is as good as a rest and Moyes looks as though he needs resting for good... Roll on Saturday for yet more of Misery Guts Moyes and his out-dated bullshit.
Tony Marsh     Posted 28/10/2009 at 14:33:10   Comments (33)

Right back - who should play there?

Simple enough... we have three right backs to choose from: Hibbert, Neill and Heitinga.

Hibbert - No doubt I'll be getting responses from Dave Wilson saying this is a blatant attack on him bla-bla.. but all he is, is a good defender, and modern full backs need so much more these days. I think he probably is the best defender, he's a great tackler and a good marker too. But going forward he is woeful... and I think this is down to Moyes.

A few years ago, Hibbert had great potential and there was talk of him being in the England squad. All Moyes needed to do was coach him to attack, improve his crossing ability and the most important... give him CONFIDENCE to go forward. Now, Hibbert is still the same player and hasn't improved much.

Neill — Has undoubted experience in the league and is composed on the ball. Actually has confidence and a good delivery, shown on Sunday with two assists. Quite good defensively but not as good as Hibbert, and he's a dirty player - shown yesterday when he kneed a player while jumping for the ball. Does a lot of mistakes too, where he has given away loads of penalties and sometimes costs goals - evidence of that on Sunday.

Heitinga — not very impressed with him so far I gotta be honest. Is caught out of position too much but he has time to adjust. Great tackler and a great passer, and a good delivery too, but not much pace and marking not up to scratch. But he has time to adjust and maybe will play better afterwards.

My verdict: Neill, simply because he has the experience and is a better all round full back. A modern day full back has got to be a very good threat going forward, where every world class team has got one. Neill is the better all round full back but it is still kinda depressing he is the best we got there.

I think probably by next season, Heitinga will get it there, and Hibbert should always be a squad player, yes he was playing there when we had all the success in the past bla-bla, but i the last 2 or 3 years he has always been one of the main weaknesses of the team.

I mean, look at Bainesy, great going forward and good defensively. If only we had someone like that playing right back!!
Ben Jones     Posted 28/10/2009 at 12:43:38   Comments (20)

Moyes's media blackout

I looked on the official website this morning for some reaction from staff at the club (hopefully the manager) after last night's exit from the Carling Cup. Unusually I saw nothing and immediately thought 'Moyes has thrown his toys out of the pram'. Sure enough a quick glance at the BBC Sport website confirms that Moyes has imposed a media blackout in protest at the fact that the game at Spurs wasn't rearranged as requested by Everton.

I think our manager is making himself and the club look foolish here. If his protest is against the Carling Cup organisers then he's failed dismally. They won't give much importance to whether Moyes moans in the press and then refuses to talk altogether.

Lets face it, we're not talking about a club that are key to the sucess of this tournament in terms of our media profile or previous record in the competition. In fact he's probaably giving the competiion more publicity by actually NOT talking about the game.

As far as I can see he's punishing no-one but those fans who would like to see an explanation for another disappointing defeat. Another PR own goal from Everton.
Colin O'Keeffe     Posted 28/10/2009 at 10:28:25   Comments (16)

Injury Crisis

Everton are pathetic at the moment. Players are injured, our pride (if we have any left) is injured as well. Why so many injuries? I think I have the solution to the problem.

Rather than spending all of the game bashing into opponents or being tackled we could start by keeping the ball. This means no long punts to the strikers and lots of crisp short passes.

To achieve this players need to make themselves available to receive a pass but this sort of running requires far less bodily contact.

We will also spend less time chasing the ball to no avail, simply by keeping it ourselves.

I noticed the hammering Peinaar takes because he often has nobody available to pass to quickly and he also does lots of tackling to clear up the mess made by his team mates.

KEEPING THE BALL - The stress free method of playing that is pleasant for the spectators and reduces wear and tear on your players.

I wish we would bloody well try it.
Rob Hollis     Posted 28/10/2009 at 09:54:51   Comments (9)

Young uns!

With the inguries and fatiuge we are suffering why did Moyes not utilies some of the fring players last night and give the likes of Cahill, Felli and Howerd a rest?

Agard up front with Yak, Baxter down the right, Akpan on the bench and Nash in goal?

But no — all the lads 90mins again!! — Then this morning I read Moyes saying Cahill is heading for burn out!?!? Then why play him!?!?

I am starting to lose paticence with Moyes tactics and decision making!
Si Harwood     Posted 28/10/2009 at 06:15:44   Comments (13)

Spurs Post-Match Analysis

I am not normally a fan of individual player analysis — it overlooks how the team knits together and the general spirit among the lads; however, considering these were nonexistent last night at White Hart Lane, it seems more appropriate and indicates our massive uphill task for Villa and the coming weeks:

  • Howard- Man of the match, and only because he was the only one who really went about his work in a proud manner, some decent saves but must be in disarray with the shambles in front of him!
  • Neill- I would regard this guy as one of the best right backs in the league from his west ham days, and I still feel he is our best here... but no amount of match fitness stops you putting your foot through the ball and clearing your lines properly- he looked off the pace and disinterested!
  • Hibbert- For all the Hibbert bashers he did actually make some decent challenges yesterday, and at least showed guts and spirit, however it was no surprise to see Huddlestone ping 60 yards balls over to Tony’s winger all night (I don’t feel talking about his limitations going forward is worth it, we all know it!)
  • Heintiga-Positive; thank you for always looking to come short for the ball, negative please don’t just do what Howard could do anyhow and hoof the ball. (see Distin rant)
  • Distin- Solid and reliable for the most part for us but looks really out of sorts recently, did not attack the ball as well as he should and looked a bit slow over the first few yards. The thing that gets me is we play the ball over the top so often, and its like passing the ball back to the opposition, spurs caused us all sorts of problems with the ball over the top last night which should be easy picking for the center backs, but they were either to sow of defending to higher line against quick forwards, either way it's baffling and would not happen with Jags; a real leader there.
  • Gosling-- sorry fella you are a tidy player and thus a useful player but to slow and predictable.
  • Cahill- Slow almost lazy last night — not following in shots, not really involved in the play, disappointing from a usually reliable player.
  • Rodwell- Badly needs a rest, gave the ball away far to many times and looked out of his depth with Fellaini against the impressive Huddleston and Palacios.
  • Felliani- Standard poor games from him, no guile, no presence not enough effort — disappointing.
  • Saha- I never blame centre forwards who get no service, but there is no way he should not've been on the field in the 2nd half.
  • Yakubu- In many ways he had a poor game, but showed signs of how vital he is to us; strong, genuinely looks to bring people into the game with a bit of class, needs match sharpness.
  • Jo-- No place for divers and a lack of effort at Everton — unimpressed!

I highlight these not to have a rant, but to show that good players are performing well below themselves and this is a worry. Moyes will say it's heavy legs, and in part is it, but more so than this we needs leaders, guile and creativity and before we gets these back the lads can try hard as they can but will struggle to pick up results in what is currently a tired workmanlike side playing with their heads down.


Ian Barker     Posted 28/10/2009 at 05:43:05   Comments (2)

Why?

Straight to the point:

Johnny Heitinga... if I'm right, he's the highest paid player in the club's history — Why?

Bily... £10 million — Why?

Jo... can't stay on his feet — Why?

Lescott could only defend when he played for us — Why?

Why, oh why, David Moyes???
Chris Kennedy     Posted 27/10/2009 at 21:00:05   Comments (81)

Team vs Spurs

Just heard we'll have late fitness tests on the walking wounded. Media are still reporting Yobo suffering with a head injury?

This would be my prefeered team if the fitness tests prove positive:

Howard
Neill Yobo Distin Baines
Bily Heitinga Rodwell Fellaini
Saha Jo

With Cahill and/or Yak to come on second half.

Should be good enough to get at least a draw.....?
Jay Harris     Posted 27/10/2009 at 14:10:45   Comments (230)

Injury Schedule

Ths OS used to have a reasonable stab at predicting when injured players were due to return. This seems to have gone out the window.

Looking at it now there is very little info at all. Arteta is showing as "late 2009", Jags as "Nov 2009" which seems to be ahead of Arteta & therefore surprising, Neville as Xmas & Anichebe as "early season".

Everything else seems to be "unknown", even Pienaar. It's like it hasn't been updated since the summer.

Has anybody seen or heard anything which suggests return dates for Arteta & Pienaar in particular? I'm surprised that it all seems to have gone so quiet.
Alan Kirwin     Posted 27/10/2009 at 12:33:44   Comments (4)

Investec loan

It is being widely reported that EFC have taken out a loan with Investec. The loan is being secured on NON -DEPRECIATING assets which would seem to rule out the players There are various possibilities under this category such as land, buildings, stocks maybe even shares. There are 3 questions I am sure we all have:

1) How much is the loan?

2) What is it for?

3) What is the security?

I can't answer 1) but as for 2) it could be for Kirkby, to pay off Green and Earl, to budget for players in January, or to redevelop GP because DK is knocked back (wishful thinking).

As for (3) it could be secured on shares, naming rights, Future season ticket sales (may already be hocked) or bellefield as all other assets have been hocked already.

Any other thoughts guys or does somebody have any further info?
Jay Harris     Posted 27/10/2009 at 12:06:51   Comments (4)

New Stadium for Spurs

I've just been reading about Tottenham's new proposed stadium. It's immense. It makes our proposed stadium look like a Championship Club's.

I'm not against moving BUT I am against the poor quality stadium being planned. I'm also against being potentially labelled as a Tesco Value Club.

Do we really have no say in what's happening to our beloved club? Do we really want to become the butt of many Tesco jokes?

Yes, the Old Lady is ancient but a lot of away fans comment that it has charm, warmth and intimidation. I for one want that replicated in any new stadium for Everton.
Henry Jones     Posted 26/10/2009 at 19:56:48   Comments (57)

Bad Luck and Bad Finances

I was waiting for this fall out.  The problems are obvious though.  I'd say there are two right now:   We have no money and we have a starting line-up of injuries.  How do we get money?  I'm not quite sure... there's a reason I don't run a football club.  But I've got to say the problem is not David Moyes.

Here's what happened this summer.  Villa and Spurs followed our bids and decided the best way to out-do Everton is take their reinforcements.  It was a dirty game and they won.  They knew our budget was limited and they out-bid us as soon as our bid was lodged.  Naughton and Delph had no loyalty to us so of course took the higher-paying contract. 

Moyes wanted an extra defender and he got him... whether Heitinga was first choice or not.  We missed out on Banega because Manny got injured and Banega started playing out of his skin for Valencia and they took the deal back. 

As for our current situation, a team of utility players out-played Bolton on their grounds and let in three goals because our makeshift defence let us and our manager down.  But as it's been said before, I would like to see any team in the league including the top 4 compete without well every creative player they have and their longest serving defenders. 

On a final note, I want to point out, not even a year ago, many and most of us were admitting we were playing beautiful attractive football. Whether or not you like Moyes, I think you have to believe it is his intention to play the way the game is meant to be played.  And as for the "We will never win anything with him" comments... if Arteta and Jagielka had been in the Cup Final team and Lampard and Terry had not maybe things would have been different.   

I'm not pro-Moyes or anti-Moyes... he frustrates me us much as anyone with his substitutions etc, but at the end of the day we need money.  Whether Bill is looking for it is still to be answered but, as much as I hate our current situation, I hold my head highly knowing we have done as well as we have in this "Money Talks" league.


Joey Brown     Posted 26/10/2009 at 18:52:40   Comments (21)

Thank you, Mr Kenwright

Thank you Mr Kenwright and for landing us in our current situation. While we scowl at our latest performance and run of inconsistent performances, blaming the players and/or Moyes is just futile. To change a manager (even if we could afford to) is merely treating the symptoms of a more serious underlying problem.

Last year, some argued, "If things are so bad for Moyes, why didn't he speak out?". Well, he has this year... several times. Speaking about our injuries before the Bolton game he said:

"I knew it would happen, but finances dictated what went on in the summer and that was evident in that most of our business was done in the last four days of the transfer window."

Yet some believe our current board are still good for our once great club. Sure it's Moyes and the players that actually go out and win games. But when they're injury ravaged, tired and running low of confidence, what hope do we have when our board can't put ANY money into the pot to help out?

We bemoan a lack of quality football but I can guarantee outside of the top 5, no-one really plays attractive football, it's a fucking myth. Maybe Spurs and Villa play slightly better than us but then again they've spent £60-100M more than us over the last few years... so its expected!

The fact is, this is the watershed year for Everton. Kenwright and Co have talked and talked for several years but always failed to deliver. Our top players (and their agents) are under no illusions about Everton's board and its ambition for the club. I wouldn't be surprised to see Arteta, Pienaar, Yakubu all leave next year. Moyes might not be too far behind too.

Where are you now, Bill? Or do you only come out when we have something to cheer? Take your useless friends and leave our club before we totally implode.
Phil Martin     Posted 26/10/2009 at 08:26:09   Comments (50)

Small Club Mentality

I've noticed it more and more over Moyes's tenure that the whole mindset around Everton is that of a small club. Right from the Board down to the fans.

As fans, if we truly believed Everton were a big club, would we really sit back and just accept the position we're in today? When I was a lad, Everton were winning things and challenging at the top of the table. When my dad was a lad, Everton were Merseyside's biggest club. I'd always regarded us as one of the country's biggest.

Now it seems we are gripped by total apathy. Most fans seem to have accepted that anything above mid-table and a good cup run is a good achievement. Most fans seems to have accepted it's okay that we're shit to watch because Moyes has brought us 'stability'. The first sign of a goal at Goodison and we'll hear Gwladys Street chanting Moyes's name again. Where's this grattitude towards Moyes come from?

It's obvious how one dimensional he is and we'll never win anything with him. Is it all to do with not wanting the bad old days of Wally Smith? So we should all just be grateful that we're no longer perrenial relegation battlers (although this season may see us turn back that way). Does this fear of going backwards again stop us having any ambition? When did people begin to accept losing to Bolton or drawing at home to Wolves or losing to Burnley?

What the hell has happened to us? There seems to be no fight amongst a lot of the fans to really challenge this Kirkby disaster that would see us move to the equivalent of the Riverside stadium or the Reebok.

There's no challenge from the fans to really demand answers from the board on why there's been no investment or what the hell is Green's involvement? Why was our summer of transfers more shambolic than the summer before?

Would Man U fans or Arsenal fans or even Liverpool fans sit back and watch their club slide into the hole we've been sliding into over the past two decades? We seem to be accepting our transition into a club of the same stature as Middlesborough. I want more from Everton.

I want our rich traditions to be upheld and I want to feel positive about the future of the club. The whole malaise surrounding Everton just leaves me feeling very depressed and utterly powerless so should I just accept it all and stop moaning?
Alan Clarke     Posted 26/10/2009 at 08:07:32   Comments (50)

Transfers, Policy and Panic Buys?

Last summer we were interested in signing Moutinho from Sporting Lisbon. He's their captain and playmaker and a Portuguese international. A creative player in the Scholes mould. The chase went on and on and eventually we never got him. However, it appeared Moyes had identified the fact we needed more creativity in the midfield and had players in mind to strengthen this department. If we couldn't get Moutinho, fair enough, shame but surely you move down your list onto the next player.

Instead, we got Fellaini. The two are like chalk and cheese. I've defended Fellaini before and this isn't a dig at him but a question as to why did we sign him? Moyes wanted Moutinho a creative central midfielder who could dictate the play. I haven't seen any of these qualities in Fellaini, he does more work trying to win the ball back and posing an aerial threat as opposed to playing killer balls.

So why waste time chasing a certain type of player and then sign a completely different type of player? If you can't afford the one you want, you find a similar player you can afford.

Apparently this summers transfer policy was drawn up in April, and we would be looking to sign "bright, young things" We were interested in Naughton, Elm and Senderos and one or two others. We never got any of them, although apparently funds were in place. The Lescott saga moved the goalposts as it dragged on and on. However, it meant effectively we should have had more money to spend, yet needed to sign one more player as a replacement.

Again our deals were done at the last minute and appears to be a case of "sell to buy" despite RE denying this. Once again our signings seemed to be the opposite to our transfer policy. Bily aside, Distin, Neill and Heitinga can hardly be called "bright, young things" I'm not going to name names of players we should have signed as it's pointless.

If BK is such a great negotiator why can't he attract the players Moyes wants. Surely the list of players he gives to the board are realistic targets, who he feels we could sign?
Peter Griffin     Posted 26/10/2009 at 05:15:36   Comments (11)

Injured Logic

The impact of injuries on Everton’s performances has been grossly overstated. Before the Bolton game, David Moyes was quoted by Sporting Life saying, “I will just have to wait and try to find 11 players to face Bolton." I love that: “try to find.” It sounds like he is beating the bushes around Finch Farm and shaking people off the treatment table to make up the numbers.

But look at the side that took the field against Bolton. Howard, Hibbert, Distin, Cahill, Saha and Fellaini are all regulars. Rodwell had appeared in 7 league games this season before Sunday, Jo has had two starts and five substitutions but can’t be said to be inexperienced. He’s supposed to be a big-ticket premium signing.

Both Heitinga (47 caps for Holland) and Lucas Neill (more than 250 Premier League appearances) are very experienced at this level. Indeed, Neill was signed precisely because he could theoretically play in any defensive position. So where is all this inexperience? Gosling. That’s it.

The bench was full of kids, and that’s a problem, but it was the experienced players in the starting XI that lost that very winnable game. I’m not saying having Yobo, Osman, Pienaar & etc wouldn’t have strengthened the team, but if players like Heitinga and Neill, Distin and Fellaini can’t perform adequately at this level, why were they signed?

Ironically, some missing players, like Neville, Baines, Yobo and Osman who would have made such a difference according to some, are routinely excoriated by critics as not good enough when they do play.

You can’t use injuries as an excuse for every lost game. It masks the real problems. There are always injuries. We lost because experienced players played badly and we — again — gave up three soft goals.

Unless David Moyes has more than excuses to deal with the free-fall down the table, I hesitate to think where we will be at the end of November after playing Aston Villa, Manchester Utd and Liverpool.
Peter Fearon     Posted 25/10/2009 at 15:17:38   Comments (54)

Look on the bright side....

After a couple of miserable draws, shipping eight goals in two games, and some fresh injuries to some of our only remaining senior players... it just gets worse and worse! God only knows what our line up against Tottenham will look like, but I strongly expect we will be on the receiving end of a pasting.

Watching the game today, a strange feeling of calm washed over me I had to just shrug my shoulders. In spite of the defeat, I was left feeling optimistic.

Reasons for my optimism, in spite of miserable defeat:

1) We are missing our brightest and best and still managing to compete in the Prem;

2) The injury crisis is giving us a chance to give some of the youngsters some experience, Gosling, Rodwell, and Coleman are all getting some valuable experience (and hopefully learning some harsh lessons); 3) The crisis is also letting us get some players, like Neill and Bily up to speed, and allowing a good run in the side for Jo, who has to find some form soon... (which mad Arab paid £18 million for him?).

The squad’s versatility and effort can’t be faulted, and my only wish is that Kenwright and the rest of the Board would dig as deep as the players are right now and sign a midfielder who can give us a bit more depth and help improve the quality of the football on offer for the fans who continue to show their support week-in and week-out.

This, I know, is pie in the sky. We will continue to rely on makeshift wingers and centre-backs, or youngsters when plan A fails. David Moyes and the rest of the squad have an unenviable task and it looks like us fans will have to endure more of this dross before things start to get better. Pretty it isn’t... but they continue to have my full support.

That which doesn’t kill us, can only make us stronger.


Patrick Browne     Posted 25/10/2009 at 13:32:26   Comments (58)

Bolton vs Everton

We just managed to put a team out, all kids on the bench

Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Distin, Neill, Gosling, Rodwell, Cahill, Felaini, Jo, Saha.

Subs, Nash, Coleman, Duffy, Agard, Baxter, Wallace, Akpan
Stuart Mitchell     Posted 25/10/2009 at 11:10:57   Comments (252)

We Aren't So Bad After All

Quite interesting results over the weekend. Stoke went to White Hart Lane and got a win. Aston Villa were held to a draw at Wolves. Both Spurs and Villa fielded a full strength team. Yet Spurs lost, and Villa only managed a draw.

Everton, on the other hand, with a team decimated by injuries, gets draws with Stoke and Wolves, and Toffeewebbers cry 'doom & gloom' for Everton.... and that 'Moyes must be replaced'. Let's face it, there aren't any 'easy' teams and 'easy' victories anymore in the Premier League. I think Moyes is doing a great job with what he has. Let's not go over-board just yet.

Yes, losing to Benfica by 5-0 is bad, but let's remember that Moyes had 10 first-team players out with injury. Let's see how Rafa, or Ferguson, or Hughes deals with such a crisis. Let's wait till Everton have their key players back in action before we start passing judgements like 'sack Moyes'.

For now, I think we should be grateful that we have a manager and a set of players who are doing just fine, despite the many setbacks they're facing.
TL Sebastian     Posted 25/10/2009 at 01:37:11   Comments (23)

Endless debate

Have not been on this site for long but was quite suprised when I did join how much vitriol was directed at David Moyes.

I have watched Everton a lot over the years andI agree with the criticism that we may not be the most creative team in the league but we have secured a measure of relative success with very limited resources. I don't see how that can be debated by anyone here. With the money Moyes has had at his disposal I don't see how any other manager could have done any better. Maybe another manager would have played better football at times but maybe would have sacrificed the consistency and solidity that made us so hard to defeat at times.

The problem is two fold, fans here now expect us to push on to the next level and do it by playing better football. Easy to say, hard to do. Also our rivals are not standing still and teams like Spurs, Man C and Villa now threaten to eclipse us at the top and I don't see how any Everton fan can really complain about this and blame Moyes when you see the disparity of resources that Spurs and Man C have which Everton don't.

So I think you should all give Davie a wee break. Yes I agree he is not the best tactician, I doubt he is that charismatic in selling the club to potential signings and he is a tad over-cautious but I think the latter characteristic is his belief (he may not admit it) that his squad has now overachieved for a few years and he has done this by playing in a certain way and format, if he threw caution to the winds now and played more expansively then he probably fears they are not good enough to do that and it would unravel. I also feel that Everton's position is precarious where we are now (5th) and too much change will have us on a downward spiral not an upward one.

An analogy is my home town club Wrexham. Under Brian Flynn, Wrexham achieved a certain measure of stability and Brian took the club from 92nd in League Two to a mid-table League One side that flirted with the playoffs to the championship on a few occasions. However, inevitably the fans wanted more and accused Flynn of negativity, lack of ambition, poor substitutions etc etc. In fact everything became his fault.

To his credit the board and him listened and splashed some cash one close season and radically changed the squad. The result? Relegation... chairman resigned, manager left, administration and eventually the Blue Square Premier League.

I also hope like many fans here that our standard of football will improve and I am sure it will when we get our full squad back in business, but like many fans here I hope I don't have to experience another hopeless pre-season transfer policy at Everton, that is one aspect of the criticism I read here that I cannot defend the club on...
Alun Jones     Posted 25/10/2009 at 00:43:25   Comments (26)

Norwegian Blues!! Where are you ?

Just picked up the Norwegian Supporters Union handbook for British Football, and was gobsmacked to read the members count per 31 May 2009.

Of a total of 93,623 members, nearly half (40,092) are United fans, 33,241 Liverpool fans... which left just 20,290 fans shared between the other 47 teams represented.

Everton came in at 13th (behind Derby County and Notts Forest) with an astounding 330 members... but what really got me was our total in 2008 was 1076, we actually lost 746 fans somewhere — why and where the hell have they gone...? Not to Southampton anyway who came bottom with a grand total of 2!!!
Tony Cheek     Posted 24/10/2009 at 16:00:49   Comments (6)

A team too far

In the midst of three appalling performances in a row and really no excuse for it at all in my opinion,despite the injury issues, I would pose the question to David Moyes: "If you had everyone fit, would you play the team below?" >{? My experience of Everton and the way we play would suggest not and the anti-Moyes contingent would answer it for him, therefore I open it out to fellow supporters not to create an endless list of other alternatives but to reason why he would not do it or why it would not work.

In my opinion, I would love to see it for all home games at least, however, I fear we would never be brave enough to attempt it.

Here goes...

Howard
Niell Jagielka Distin Baines
Bilyaletdinov Arteta Pienaar
Saha Cahill Yakubu

Subs: Yobo, Rodwell, Heitinga, Gosling, Osman, Baxter, Hibbert

I believe this team could beat any one on its day, so why would we not play it?
Paul Niklas     Posted 24/10/2009 at 10:28:20   Comments (20)

Loaning out the Youngsters

I watched Watford stuff Shef Wed last night playing some good football. Their best players were both on loan from Premier League clubs: Tom Cleverley (Utd) was quality on the right of midfield, I think he's got 6 goals in 11 games. Henri Lansbury (Arsenal) plays in central midfield and was a typical Arsenal player, clever movement with intricate passing.

It would be interesting to see how some of our younger lads faired in the Championship. I feel it would be better for their development than the sub-standard reserve games they play in, and would give us a chance to gauge if they could make the grade at Goodison or not.

I know we have injuries at the moment and the younger lads are needed but maybe after Xmas? The likes of Agard, Wallace, Baxter and Duffy. Even Gosling, who I think will never be good enough for our first team at RB or in midfield. These lads are on the fringes and the others out on loan already like Ruddy, Lukas will probably never hold a place in our first team.

Vaughan was unlucky through injury (again) to have missed that opportunity. However, I wouldn't loan Anichebe as people will find out how poor he is and we won't be able to flog him.
Peter Griffin     Posted 24/10/2009 at 05:51:05   Comments (3)

Evertonians in Lisbon

Here's a video of our trip to Lisbon which I just knocked up on the plane on the way back from Portugai. A good trip ruined by a football match...


Guy McEvoy     Posted 23/10/2009 at 17:35:24   Comments (9)

Head injury?

Forgetting (or trying to) the debacle in Portugal last night, I was intrigued by the comment that Yobo is out due to a head injury.

Now when I thought about this I wondered if they meant his head wasn't right inside... especially after the whoopsee against Wolves... but seriously what sort of "head injury" puts you on the treatment table? As somebody who remembers Dave Hickson getting his head bandaged (they couldn't do stitches on the pitchside then) following a nasty clash of heads and a badly cut wound then coming back onto the pitch and scoring a header, I wonder WHY Yobo can't play.

Now I know there is a ruling on concussion that keeps a player out for a few games but I get the feeling that's not what it is.

Anybody with more knowledge know what Yobo's injury really is?
Jay Harris     Posted 23/10/2009 at 12:33:18   Comments (15)

Moments of Destiny

We seem to have a moment of destiny each season from which we kick-start our season or we use as a springboard to move onto better things. Last season’s was the Neville tackle on Ronaldo and the disastrous Wigan away game. I would like to think that last night’s Benefica game will act as our moment of destiny for this season, but I have this nagging feeling that it won't, and we will be subjected to another few months of misery.

Why? — because I don’t see the players in the current availability list who can force this directional change. It needs the Neville, the Jagielka, the in-form Cahill... We don’t have any of those characters there at the moment. We have the quiet/shy brigade — Fellaini, Rodwell, Hibbert, Baines, Yobo, Bily, Ossie, Jo. I suspect that Heitinga (given time) could become that forceful player but I think it’s too soon just yet, particularly with him still adjusting to the pace of the Premier League.

But is there a possibility that maybe, just maybe, Neill can provide that leadership/forcefulness we need at times like this to grab hold of the fragility we have and force it round, and maybe just maybe it would re-ignite Cahill again, as the Aussies duo take Everton forward.

As I stated in a reply to a recent e.mail on this site, I just cannot understand why we have 8-9 major players injured. To me, there must some underlying reason, which hasn’t been detected and resolved, but we cannot go on like this. We are a team which, like it or not, gets results by sheer willpower, force, doggedness, and with the ability to overcome/overpower lesser teams, but to do it we need our generals out on the pitch — not in Rathbone’s parlour.

A debate about the type of team, players, coaches, manager, finances we need to crack into the Top 4 is just a pipedream at the moment. We have come a hell of a long way with Moyes since the dark periods of the nineties and then Walter, but Moyes's philosophy is all about effort, commitment, hard-working players with the odd quality player thrown in, and that’s the way it's going to stay until something dramatic happens at the very top of this club.
Mike Oates     Posted 23/10/2009 at 09:16:27   Comments (8)

Steve Coppell

Steve Coppell... yes, yes, I can hear youse all laughing and sniggering like little school girls — but hear me out on this please.

Firstly, I would like to suggest Steve Coppell to be the next Everton manager and here's why.

Steve took a club like Reading from the brink of the lower leagues to the Premier League on a shoestring budget while playing attacking free-flowing football, scoring a record 104 goals while actually winning something (the Championship).

And before the pro-Moyes brigade start saying "But it's only the Championship", remember Moyes had years to get Preston up and guess what — he didn't!! Not to mention Preston crumbling in the play-offs... "Sound familiar?" — In other words, big games equals big disappointments under Moyes.

Now first season in the Premier League, Reading took the division by storm with their fearless attacking football, taking on anybody and everybody even the big four (something that we have never done and never will do) and ended up 7th in their first season winning plaudits for the style of play.

Second season, the wheels came off. Like most promoted teams they failed to add quality to their squad due to the fact of having no money to spend, so they struggled with second season syndrome and got relegated.

Following year, they sell the best players, struggle in the Championship, Coppell ends up leaving... doesn't sound like great credentials to be the next manager of Everton, does it? ... Or does it?

1. Steve is a winner, he won the league (Moyes has won jack!)

2. Wants to play the game in the right way i.e on the deck!! (Moyes... in your dreams, lad!)

The reason I mention Coppell instead of say a Hiddink or Ranieri is because we could afford Steve, his teams play football the way football should be played, the kind of football that made us love the sport, he sends his teams out to WIN football matches not just to stifle the opponents and hope for 1-0. Performances count for this man, unlike Moyes where results are the be-all!

I'm losing my passion for Everton, last night's performance was pathetic — no heart, no passion... not to mention the total lack of being able to keep the ball, which is the fundamental element in European football.

I believe some of the Everton players have lost faith in Moyes, I believe Moyes has the shackles on and won't let the team express themselves, I believe Steve would take the shackles off and let the players play to their full potential. I for one would love to see what Steve Coppell could do with a squad full of internationals, a team that Steve would have killed for in his Reading days.

My conculsion is that, if we stick by Moyes, we will end up mid-table, maybe top 7 or 8 in years to come, getting the odd good performance and the odd hammering while winning nothing along the way.

Or we could take a gamble on a young hungry manager who likes to play flair football, someone who has actually won somthing, someone who could give us our footballing pride back... School of Science? Yes, please!
Sean McKenna     Posted 23/10/2009 at 04:47:59   Comments (19)

Men Against Moyes

I didnt bother going to Lisbon for tonights game at Benfica. I had tickets, flights, hotels, money and all the boys were going but I just didn't fancy it. I had this horrible feeling that we where going to get mullered and I was right. I feel sorry for those who went through this ordeal.

I wont stick the boot in on any players because this result has been waiting to happen ever since the Arsenal game at Goodison in August. This was a typical result you get when a Moyes team meets a real footballing side. Not a Stoke or a Wolves but a proper footy team.

Don't think for a minute had Baines,Osman and Yobo been fit it would've been any different. Put simply, the way we play is suicide against quality sides who lap up the long ball and thrive on us not being able to retain possesion. The basics of football to be honest are just not there under Moyes.

I hope those of you who continue to think Moyes is a good coach take tonights result in and let it take its time to run through your mind. None of our lot can run with a ball, pass a ball, or cross a ball properly. Very rarely do we get shots on target and never ever score the kind of goals that Benfica did tonight. As a football unit we are total SHITE.

We can hide behind the injuries if you like but that doesnt hide the fact that any player who pulls on a Blue shirt should be capeable of the basics.

Should a player not be able to run pass and shoot with the ease that befits a proffesional player?

Benfica are good but not so good as to humiliate the 5th best team in England surely... With or without injuries, I don't think Villa or Spurs would've been such easy fodder as we were tonight

Moyes must take the blame because anyone with half a brain has seen this coming for weeks now. The only one who thinks this crap works is Davey Moyes. Does any one out there really think we deserve to grace the same pitch as teams like Benfica without the inevitable happening?

Tonight's football was like watching a Sci Fi movie in which Caveman armed with flint spears and stones fight a war with Spaceman who land in silver siuts firing Laser Guns. It was beyond belief how far behind Benfica we were tactically and how far behind thier players we are on a skill and sharpness level. Very frightning.

At least now maybe some of our lot will stop with the nonsensical belief that we can win this competiton. Apart from Benfica, there's Roma, Villarreal, Ajax and the teams who drop out of the CL to contend with.

Reagardless of if we go to the knockout stages or not, we have no chance whatsoever of winning a European trophy under Moyes. Like I said years ago, top European and proper footie sides will always wallop a team who can't retain possesion and who think Hoofball is an effective weapon.

We have great support that deserves more than this. Moyes is breaking every record there is as Everton manager and they are all bad.

Heaviest European defeat twice, Heaviest domestic defeats Home and away. Lowest ever goals tally and points tally for a season and some of the worst football ever seen.

It's Moyes'S side now and his and Round's pathetic tactics. Fellaini and Bily are his biggest buys and they don't look good enough. Where to now? ... I don't know but I reckon the smart money is on swerving Athens.

I can't take the pain or the shame any more.
Tony Marsh     Posted 22/10/2009 at 19:20:17   Comments (90)

Ashamed

No guts, no heart, no effort, no commitment. That's what I saw tonight from every single senior player on the pitch. Cahill was invisible, Felliani looked as if he couldn't give a shit, Yakubu drifted around aimlessly and I don't think he even managed to break sweat, Jo fell over a lot, Distin and Hibbert looked completely at sea.

Loads of injuries to key players meant young kids got shoved in at the deep end and somewhat out of position. Instead of the senior players on the pitch stepping up and showing some bottle, some initiative, some support and some leadership, we got a bunch of spineless wonders.

There was still 40 minutes left when the fourth goal went in. That's almost a full half of football. And yet not one senior player responded with anything close to trying to salvage some pride. Not one senior player stepped up and looked to do anything apart from look sorry for himself.

I have never ever been so ashamed to be an Everton supporter, never.
Kieran Fitzgerald     Posted 22/10/2009 at 17:43:00   Comments (48)

Team v Benfica

I’ve just seen our starting line up, no Baines! Is he injured, not on bench...

* 24 Howard
* 02 Hibbert
* 15 Distin
* 31 Coleman
* 07 Bilyaletdinov
* 17 Cahill
* 19 Gosling
* 25 Fellaini
* 26 Rodwell
* 11 Jo
* 22 Yakubu

Substitutes

* 01 Nash,
* 34 Shane Duffy,
* 38 Wallace,
* 39 Akpan,
* 08 Saha,
* 35 Agard,
* 37 Baxter

Am I right in thinking, if you take out Saha, the rest of the bench has 4 appearences for Everton between them, all sub appearances, and 3 of them are for Baxter!!!
Lee Smith     Posted 22/10/2009 at 14:57:06   Comments (201)

Perception of Events

It is interesting to me, espeially given the recent articles in this site concerning the injuries Everton currentyly suffer and the media coverage typically provided: the BBC and many sites are currently loudly proclaiming that Rafa's injury list is "the worst during his 5 year reign". The Reds have Gerrard, Reira and Torres out.

According to the EFC website there will be 10 first team players missing from the squad to face Benfica.

It is interesting to see the reactions of both managers and the reaction by the press to what they say — perhaps some budding journo should point out to Rafa what a real crisis is — but then (cheap shot alert) perhaps because LFC only have two players of quality, they really are in a crisis.
Rupert Sullivan     Posted 22/10/2009 at 08:57:22   Comments (6)

Injury woes ahead of Benfica

I have just clocked this report on the BBC website

It seems Pienaar is not the sole 'short-term' absentee. Yobo (head injury picked up against Wolves) and Osman (ankle) are out too. I suspect the Osman absence will raise a cheer or two in many quarters, but I don't think it is useful having him absent, certianly not for this game.

I say this because the Yobo absence drains our options further. He is one of our only two senior fit centre-halves eligible for this competition. As such, I foresee Hibbert at centre-back and Gosling at right-back. I'm not a fan of Osman on the right of midfield, but who else do we have who can realistically play there?

If we had options at centre-back, Gosling would surely be there. Will Moyes be brave and blood a youngster, or will he shove Cahill out wide and continue with the disjointed 'square pegs in round holes' midfield theme?

It never rains but it pours....
Andy Morden     Posted 21/10/2009 at 16:09:22   Comments (5)

Why do I smell a set-up?

David Moyes's complaints about having to field a weakened team against Spurs strike me as strange. He has fielded weakened teams in the Carling Cup before without compunction or comment and has shown little interest or respect in the competition up to now.

I could be wrong, but I suspect we are being set up for reserve team drubbing and an early exit from the competition to clear future fixtures. That's a pity because the Carling Cup is winnable silverware.
Peter Fearon     Posted 21/10/2009 at 11:23:37   Comments (25)

Enough is Enough

Ok, I thought I would share a few thoughts as sometimes it's better to get things off your chest! I can safely say I am currently the most disinterested in watching Everton as I have ever been. This comes after seeing pretty much every game so far this season. I find it hard to accept excuse after excuse we keep hearing from Moyes.

Yes, we have injuries to key players but let's not forget this is very much Moyes's team now. He has signed or re-signed all the current crop. We should be performing a hell of a lot better even without our injured players. We are simply so boring and dire to watch.

Moyes seems to simply have a one-track mind with no Plan B let alone C. 5-4-1 is making us unwatchable. Playing one up front pretty much without fail is not helping matters. There is so much to lose from doing this and it's painful to watch.

Continued baffling team selections and the trying to fit a round peg in a square hole with various players is another gripe. It's just painful and sad to watch it really is...

We need a change and we need it asap. Now before I get labelled a Moyes hater, let me just say I have only come to this conclusion from performances this season. I stupidly thought we might push on after last season and was fairly optimistic we would not make the mistakes of the summer before. How wrong I was!

In a nutshell I would simply like to start enjoying watching Everton again. I simply cannot see that happening under Moyes. Surely we deserve better than this?
James Stewart     Posted 20/10/2009 at 22:25:40   Comments (32)

Everton - Benfica on TV?

Anyone know what channel (if any) the game is on, on Thursday???
Allan Barratt     Posted 20/10/2009 at 11:23:58   Comments (14)

Let's have a real go!

Most of the time our football is crap. Did we track Bily and Heitinga before we bought them, or were they panic buys as we were late in selling Lescott? I am certainly not attacking those two, as it is too early to judge, and I am confident Bily has the intelligence and ability to blend in well after another dozen games or so.

Moyes just makes me so angry when we are at home against "weaker" teams and we have the attacking potential to beat these teams, and yet it is almost as if Moyes won't let our attackers fully off the leash because he is scared of leaving the back door open (but look at the strength of our defence)!!!

Surely at home, you really must be prepared to have a go at teams (whoever they are) if you have enough confidence in your own players.

I try to put myself in the position of players like Bily and Pienaar and think, "Jesus, is this why I have been brought to this club? To track back endlessly to help out a defence which is perfectly capable of looking after itself?"

Why should people like Bily and Arteta have to think about defending? No wonder the likes of Pienaar and other forwards/midfielders are taken off long before the 90 minutes is up. They should be constantly threatening the opposition, not endlessly tracking back (and wasting energy) to help the defence.

Moyes would rather stop the opposition from winning, rather than try to win the game himself. Our game plan seems to be the same thing every time — try and nick one, then defend for all it's worth. Against Lisbon, we will defend, defend, defend, and if we come away with a draw, Moyes will say what a great result. OK. but will that attitude win you cups and championships?

Let them be scared of you, don't you be scared of them. We could have beaten Wolves, and I blame Moyes for that. If we have aspirations for cup wins, or to finish higher than 5th or 6th, then we really must be prepared to take the fight to the opposition.

I really wonder what must be going through the minds of some of the new arrivals, when they see the negativity out there on the field, and look at the quality that there is available. Once Arteta and Jagielka are back, if we don't start winning the majority of our games in style, I can see certain members of the squad thinking, "With this approach, we are not going to win anything; at the next window, I'm off!"

For god's sake, Moyes, take the reins off, and let's have a real go!!!
John Brennan     Posted 20/10/2009 at 02:10:44   Comments (43)

Missing in the Media

Like many of you, my obsession with all things Everton means that just watching the matches is not enough of a fix. It's also the day to day process of checking any news or rumours related to Everton.

Being based in Australia, I can still tune in to plenty of football shows from the UK and things like Sky updates. Now I know this is something that irks plenty of us but to me I find it simply amazing how regularly the media completely ignore Everton. They seem to forget we even exist at times.

It even happens down here on Fox Sports. I’ve lost count of how many times pundits have been talking about clubs that have or will provide a challenge to the top 4 and left out Everton. Every time Villa, Spurs and now City are mentioned. Sunderland even rated a mention the other day. Yet Everton, despite none of these sides being better than us in recent years, we don’t even rate a mention.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than used to Everton being overlooked in the media but at times it just staggers me. It's as if these pundits have a clause in their contracts never to mention Everton. I’m not expecting us to be talked about like title contenders but it would be a nice change to see a news update actually acknowledge our standards in recent years.

I’ve followed Everton for years now but I’m still a babe in the woods compared to some Toffees on here. The questions I put forward is how long this has been the case and what’s to blame? It's got to be more than the fact that every second pundit is a closet Liverpool fan. Is it the standard of the club’s PR department, our lack of money?

Sure, we have not won anything in some time but our recent track record is still better than the other so-called challengers to the top 4.
Russell Buckley     Posted 19/10/2009 at 23:23:48   Comments (27)

Tramlink to Kirkby rejected

I saw this story in the Liverpool Echo regarding the proposed Tramlink from Liverpool city centre to Kirkby being rejected once and for all. ( http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/10/19/liverpool-s-merseytram-virtually-killed-off-by-government-100252-24960366/ )

Should we read anything into this, in regards to the proposed ground move?

After all, it is one less public transport option for supporters travelling up to Kirkby on a match day, and surely, if the Government department who are making the decision on the ground move are thinking that the decision could be a positive one (in the view of Tesco and Everton), then would they have contacted the Department for Transport and told them it is an absolute must for the Tramlink to get the go ahead.

Is this Tranlink decision part one of rejecting the Tescodome development? Or is this a separate decision, which holds no bearing on the stadium decision?
Adam Bennett     Posted 19/10/2009 at 11:51:04   Comments (7)

Can only Quality Players Play Quality Football?

I have heard on too many occasions now that we, the mighty Toffees, cannot play attractive attacking football because are best 2-3 players are injured. It is absolutely not about being unable to, it's entirely about being unwilling to.

Watch Burnley play a game of footy, then have a little look at Fulham, maybe take in a game at Sunderland. In terms of individual quality I think we are in a better state than these clubs. But they can play, they can really play. Lovely flowing attacking moves, time after time, having a real go at all teams. Yes, they have not been as successful as us over the past few years, but they don't quite have the quality we do, do they? P> Let's dismiss the "we can't play good football" nonsense. We must accept that someone, or some people, are choosing not to prepare our beloved team to go out and have a go. We won't do it against Wolves, we won't do it against Man United...

We can, but we won't. I for one am really sad about that, because I feel if we really gave it a go, we could roll over most teams in the Premier League, and maybe surprise the odd Sky 4 team. Who knows? Will we ever find out??? One thing is certain, I am not alone in being totally fed up with the shite that is on offer (win or lose) every week with Everton.
Gareth Mercer     Posted 19/10/2009 at 11:18:33   Comments (42)

Cahill Approaches 50

I'm sure some of you die-hard stattoes are well aware that Tim Cahill is just 2 goals away from scoring 50 in all competitions for Everton, it would be great to let him know by reminding him of this from the terraces when he achieves this feat!

I have fond memories of his derby goals! What would be his best goal for us??
Chris Keightley     Posted 18/10/2009 at 11:03:38   Comments (11)

'Goal at Goodison...'

If there's one thing that's going to get the hairs up on the back of my neck it's hearing the phrase 'goal at Goodison...'. It doesn't matter what I'm doing, or whether I'm listening to TV or radio commentary, it will immediately catch my ear.

A whole routine that I've built up over the last 25 years wil then suddenly kick in. There will be a couple of seconds of anticipation while I'm waiting for the match commentator to cut in and start speaking. During this couple of seconds I'll listen for what kind of noise the crowd is making. If it's a home game and radio commentary, a roaring crowd will tell me we've scored. A home game and a silence, I'll automatically mutter 'well shite'.

If it's an Everton goal, regardless of the venue, I'll still get that happy rush of endorphins and will be glued to the commentator's description of the build-up play and the goal itself. If we've gone ahead, there will suddenly be rough calculations of how many more we might score and what that does for the league table. If we've equalized, I'll still get that huge sense of relief I used to get as a kid. If we've gone behind, well, I get a sudden fit of sulking and petulance that may last for a good five to ten minutes and may even result in me changing channels.

I'm 35 so, while not ancient, I'm still old enough to have grown up in a time before Sky's wall-to-wall easy-to-access coverage. Match of the Day on a Saturday and Midweek Sports Special on ITV on a Wednesday were as much TV coverage as we got here in Ireland. (I think it was called Mid week Sports Special but I'm not a hundred percent sure. Anybody with a better memory please update me. I definitely remember watching the 4-4 cup game highlights on it and was Clive Tinsdale the presenter?)

As a result, the only live commentary I could get was through the radio. I could get BBC 5 Live perfectly but only on an old transistor radio belonging to my dad. I suppose having radio commentary alone as a teenager for live updates is where I got hooked to this particular phrase. I've even got two of these radios to my name today, one in my house and one in hers.
Kieran Fitzgerald     Posted 18/10/2009 at 08:05:11   Comments (5)

Blue or What?

I've been an Everton fan for nigh on 60 years and in all that time — well until this season — we've always played in Royal Blue, or so I thought. Am I the only one who thinks that this season the team are wearing shirts which resemble a Chelsea blue rather than Rroyal Blue?

So far this season I've only seen the Blues play on TV so that could be a contributing factor to my "colour blindness" but I'd like to know what other fans think.
Tony Waring     Posted 18/10/2009 at 07:42:36   Comments (6)

The Beach Ball

After two horrible league performances that raise a lot of questions regarding our manager, I thought it best to have a laugh at the expense of another team. We all know you can't lose more than a few league games and still be considered contenders, so it is with great joy that I watched a perfectly positioned beach ball give the reds another loss. The timing was exceptional, the victims so perfect. It really couldn't have happened to a more deserving bunch.
Jerome Esterhazy     Posted 18/10/2009 at 03:50:21   Comments (15)

Team Talk

So we we are playing WOLVES today lads. They finished high up the league last season which is why they got promoted. They are a top four club in that case so we have got to be careful. I have got a few tricks up my sleeve which I think will give us the edge.

We will play not one but TWO holding midfield players. They will struggle to score with our extra defender and they will not be expecting that as we are at home.

Continuing our element of surprise, we will play Ossie and Hibbo on the right. This combination has been our weak link for about 657 games now so they won't be expecting us to use it again.

They will also have a plan for midfield. It will not work because we will ensure that the midfield is not involved. When we get the ball at the back we will hoof it right up the pitch to Louis. Wolves will be expecting fluid football in this league and will not be expecting the tactics used by a variety of pub teams up and down the country... another masterstroke from us I think.

Louis, when the ball comes to you, all you have to do is beat the defender to the header, bring the ball under control in the same movement, and then take it around the whole back four (you will be by yourself) and whack it into the net.

Tim, you look knackered after all that travelling but you are our talisman. You will start the game and, no matter how little you are involved due to tiredness, you will stay on. You see, a team needs a talisman and the combination of a talisman and my lucky rabbit's foot is a sure winner.

We certainly will not be out-thought by a mediocre manager like Mick McCarthy!
Rob Hollis     Posted 17/10/2009 at 21:43:13   Comments (11)

Post-Match Analaysis

Moyes got the selection wrong starting with 2 defensive midfielders. Only one was needed with probably Fellaini starting in their place. 4-5-1 can be fine IF you have an attack-minded midfield, which we didn't have to start off with.

The second half improved mightily especially with the Heitinga - Bily combo down the right. You can see how the team will in future line up with these two on one side, and Baines -Pienaar on t’other side, with the full backs encouraged to overlap all the time. Question is: who to play in the 2/3 middle slots? ... and that I don’t think Moyes really knows.

Perhaps the most annoying thing for me was taking off Saha and bringing on Jo. Yes, I know Jo set up the goal but, besides that, did very little (I know that’s what subs are meant to do but I could easily have seen Saha making that run as well) plus the Yakubu - Saha partnership was making real inroads. I don’t quite understand this substitution... but then I don't understand the team that started either!
Nick Dommett     Posted 17/10/2009 at 15:47:30   Comments (28)

Everton v Wolves

Team for today :

Howard, Hibbert, Yobo, Distin, Baines, Osman, Rodwell, Heitinga, Bilyaletdinov, Cahill, Saha. Subs: Nash, Jo, Gosling, Yakubu, Neill, Fellaini, Coleman

Is it me, or does anyone else think this line-up is, well, a bit negative. Especially with what looks like 2 defensive midfielders starting (Rodwell and Heitinga). I mean come on Moyesy, we're at home, to Wolves!
Lee Smith     Posted 17/10/2009 at 11:31:54   Comments (146)

Our best back 4?

Got to say this one has me perplexed: we have an abundance of talent in the defense role... and quite a few where I am really undecided on who the best back 4 are. Moyes has a tricky decision to make when all fit:

So for each position we have:

RB: Hibbert, Neill, Heitinga
CB: Yobo, Distin, Jags and Neill & Heitinga again
LB: Baines

For me, Heitinga looked his best at CB... but I don't think any of Jags, Yobo or Heitinga are natural left-side CBs, leaving Distin in his place and the others fighting for the other CB spot. I have nothing of Neill with us so he can be forgotten for now.

When Jags is back I guess I see it like this:
Heitinga Jags Distin Baines

unless Heitinga just can't crack that RB spot then Hibbert will do and is actually more than a decent replacement with half decent cover in front of him.

Tough on Yobo... but thems the breaks.
David Chait     Posted 16/10/2009 at 04:49:55   Comments (16)

The purple kit

Haven't seen anything in the mailbag about the new limited edition charity kit so I thought I'd pen a quick note.

Personally I think its actually better than both our current home and away kits (especially the latter)! I see from the news feed that the purple top is outselling the home shirt 3:1 at the online shop. Here's hoping even more get sold (its for a great cause after all) and the team actually wear it at some point this season (does anyone know if this is planned?).
Neil Humphrey     Posted 16/10/2009 at 04:29:50   Comments (10)

Fergie does a Harry?

We've all griped about Moyes's targets being followed by other managers / teams, like Redknapp, Newcastle, but is Alex Ferguson now following suit?

In the summer we were strongly linked with Steven Defour of Standard Liege, but nothing happened, probably due to our transfer budget being dependent on the developing Lescott saga. Now Defour is out with quite a bad foot injury, and Fergie decides to take time out from berating referees to pen a letter to him (below).

I know Utd had a formal relationship with Liege a while back, but I still think this is incredible — don't think I've ever heard anything like it before. Another player to file in the "If only..." drawer I think.

The letter read: "I have just heard about your injury and, in the name of Manchester United, I would like to wish you a full and speedy recovery.

"I am sure at the moment you must be feeling awful and that you'll have all kinds of questions.

"Steven, these are natural worries, but I have to tell you that modern medicine and treatments are incredible, you have to have confidence in them.

"I'm going to follow your progress closely and I will remain in contact with your club to have news of your recovery."

Defour subsequently confirmed that the letter had been passed on to him via his current club.

He added in Het Laatste Nieuws: "One thing I should like to highlight is that Ferguson has followed his interest officially. He addressed the letter to Standard.

"I think the attention is great, but I do not want people think I am already at Manchester, which is no means the case. But if they come knocking, then I would obviously not cause problems."
Matt Traynor     Posted 15/10/2009 at 22:15:38   Comments (10)

The Big Fella...

It would appear that Fifa have done the right thing and cleared Fellaini for the Wolves game. Good news!

Is it seen as good news by all Evertonians though? I have been on my world travels this year and have failed to see as much game coverage as I would like. From everything I have read though, there seems to be an incredible difference of opinion on this player.

Match reports this year have had some fans giving him Man of the Match, describing him as "immense" whilst in the very same game, others describe him as a waste of space / money. Which is it folks? Flop or future great?

Is he showing signs of improvement many promised having had a full pre-season and time to learn a bit more English? Is he a vital cog in the Everton wheel or just a big cart-horse?
Jamie Sweet     Posted 15/10/2009 at 19:21:18   Comments (11)

Ticket Rottweilers

Having arranged a trip to Portugal months ago, I was delighted when we were drawn to play Benfica there in the same week. What luck! All I need is a ticket.

So I did what it said on the website and applied. I was told yesterday that there was a ticket for me. I rang up and arranged to collect it today (Thursday). I was told to ring before setting out to check that the ticket was ready. I did this and was told sorry, the ticket can't be processed until Saturday am. Well I'm going Sat very early so that's no good.

I asked why I could not pick it up before that and was passed over to a female 'supervisor'. This woman talked rapid fire, not letting me get a word in and when I finally did, she told me to stop interrupting and talking over her! Incredible! I did get to put my case but she remained rude, aggressive and completely unhelpful.

No, the ticket would not be 'processed' until Saturday as they were doing it on a points basis, highest points first and so on. This despite the fact that according to the website, there are enough tickets for all those who applied. So why can't a ticket be handed over to a customer who wants to pay for it and turns up at the box office to collect it?

Unbelievable way to run a business. I'll be there anyway and will get a ticket locally and sit with the Benfica fans. So up yours box office!
Peter Carpenter     Posted 15/10/2009 at 18:42:42   Comments (12)

England Squad for South Africa

Cappello reckons he has 16 out of 24 places filled for the World Cup in South Africa. This got me thinking about Everton players' involvement for England...

It wasn't long ago when we could have supplied 3 out of a 4-man defence but, with the injury to Jags, the sale of Lescott and the form of Baines at the start of the season, it looks like our input to the England team will be minimal or none at all.

The likelihood, barring injuries is, Jags might play himself into a squad role but is unlikely to displace the captain. Baines has improved of late but has two decent left backs in front of him. The only other hope is Rodwell but I feel the competition from Lampard, Gerrard, Barry, Hargreaves and Carrick will be too strong.

So in summation England looks like they will go to the next World Cup without any Everton players. If this happens which is more than likely... COME ON YOU AUSSIES, AND BAFNA BAFNA... not forgetting USA! USA!!!
Iain Love     Posted 15/10/2009 at 18:10:39   Comments (10)

Tim Howard

I am a life-long Evertonian; my youngest son was recently diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome. Being only 12 years old, this is a lot for him to come to terms with. So I thought it would be really cool if I could arrange for him to meet Tim Howard, who of course is a fellow sufferer of this disease and a big inspiration to many kids of Joe's age.

Does anyone on the site know how I could get in touch with him? I have tried surfing the web for an e.mail address but nothing has turned up. As we live in Glasgow, it is too big an expense to just turn up after a game in the hope of catching him & I was hoping for more than just an autograph for Joe.

Can anyone help? COYB
Simon Gilmovitch     Posted 14/10/2009 at 16:17:19   Comments (16)

Socceroos v Oman

Cahill and Neill despite not doing anything spectacular each put in a good yet hard working shift in a 1-0 win over Oman in a crucial Asian Cup qualifier. Lucas had two good shots at goal but the winner was scored by Tim, right-footed from a long cross that eluded everyone else. Both players seemed not to have sustained injury.
Dick Fearon     Posted 14/10/2009 at 09:52:29   Comments (5)

Benfica Celebration?

Don’t know if anyone else is promoting this but I’ve sent this short mail to the club…

I, like many other Everton fans, particularly of my own age group, remember Eusébio (The Black Pearl) with great affection. Indeed, growing up in the 60s, we would see Eusébio and Pele as the two greatest overseas players.

I’m sure officials of the club feel the same way and hope that something special is arranged for the Benfica visit on the 5th November.

This not only represents a great opportunity to acknowledge a true legend and gentleman but also allows us to recognise his achievements in 1966 when as top scorer (9) in the World Cup, he scored 6 goals at Goodison Park.

Here’s to a momentous occasion which will further enhance Everton Football Club’s name around the world.

Best regards,
Ian Buffey

ian Buffey     Posted 14/10/2009 at 09:47:53   Comments (19)

Fishing with our rod

It appears that, yet again, we will fall into old habits by selling one of our assets to either Manchester United or Chelsea. This could well gain Kenwright enough money to fund the proposed new ground or to buy new acquisitions.

We raise a young prospect and nurture him to become a more all-round player, then lose him due to finances. As Keegan famously greeted the baying mob after the sale of then prolific Andy Cole to Manchster United...

Considering we finished 5th in the last two campaigns, many fans believe that we should be aiming to buy new assets — not sell the ones we already have. As one fan said, the more Jack Rodwell plays, the less time we can keep him at Everton.

Many fans have pushed for Phil Jagielka and Jack Rodwell to be called up to the England squad. When Jagieka comes back to fitness, naturally he will be aiming to get into the World Cup squad... and Rodwell could be too. Unfortunately, as with Rooney, this could end with us losing some of our best talents.

Although most fans accept money is tight and sacrifices will have to be made to progress, we do not want some of our best players to leave (Jagielka, Rodwell... Steven Pienaar). With the departure of Lescott, I fear that many of our other stars will lose patience and the World Cup will give them an international stage on which to shine.

I think the best way to give incentives to our current squad, potential buys and transfers targets is to keep hold of our talented players. This summer, we have been outspent by City, Spurs, even Sunderland — all clubs that finshed far below us in the Premier League. If we do not improve on the past few years, we will slowly become a mid-table team.

Also, imperative to our top 4 ambitions is to keep our highly talented manger, who we could also lose. As an ambitious club, we do need to get our finances in check and build toward a bright future.
Chris Butler     Posted 13/10/2009 at 12:55:42   Comments (35)

Clattenburg leaps to defence of refs

I read with interest in an article in The Telegraph, that referee Mark Clattenburg has come to the defence of his profession after the much debated tirade by Alex Ferguson on Alan Wiley.

Mr Clattenburg states that when you referee at the big stages like Old Trafford, you rise to the challenge. He was under the spotlight himself when he failed to spot the stamp on Van Persie by Adebayor, and admitted he found it difficult to deal with high profile errors. He goes on to say,

"On Saturday evening I always want to analyse my performance, because I can't sleep otherwise. I don't know what players are like, but that is me as a referee, I want to make sure I have done everything right before I go to bed on the Saturday night, and when you have made a mistake it hurts. It hurts deeply"

All I can say is that things must have changed since his disgraceful display in the derby match at Goodison a couple of seasons ago.
Norman Merrill     Posted 13/10/2009 at 09:48:43   Comments (23)

The Immediate Future!!

I found this article on KEIOC. With the Decision about DK about to be released, It gives a fair interpretation I think, of the consequences of the move, and being from KEIOC an analysis of Blue Bill and his position as Chaiman. Viewed through Keioc eyes of course, it is never the less a good read.

http://www.keioc.net/index.php?mact=News
Sean Joyce     Posted 12/10/2009 at 07:45:56   Comments (63)

Alan Smith

I don't know about anybody else but I am getting fed up of all the rumours about us trying to sign Alan Smith from Newcastle, According to this article http://www.teamtalk.com/football/story/0,16368,1774_5623070,00.html, we are going to be bidding for him, I know it's all speculation but surely this is not the type of player that will improve the squad; surely another injury prone-player will not be good enough!
Dan Machin     Posted 11/10/2009 at 21:49:30   Comments (13)

Ticketing Problems

With Everton's most successful season probably in the last 5 years, getting to Wembley, giving us a reward for our loyalty... But spare a thought for the guy who sat next to me for 5 years or more but lost his job and therefore could not afford his season ticket.

Unfortunately, this season, Everton's points system is basically telling us we should not go to away games. I mean, I got tickets for the Bolton away game with 225 points, similar to a fan who had gone to 6 away games and had a season ticket. After waiting as usual at Everton for 10 minutes to be told I could not get tickets, then a man next to me was given an under-21 ticket... which does not exist at Bolton — it's under-18.

It dawned on me about last May, seeing a lot of the coaches in Wembley car park from miles around with only about 19 I'd guess coming from Merseyside, eagerly anticipating my first FA cup final. As I was waiting for the coach to arrive, I was in front of about 80 drunken loons confessing to have somehow had a friend who got tickets for them — 1 season ticket for 5 people.

Also, looking round, it looked like half of these people were not there at Spurs on a Sunday... or Newcastle ditto. But also we have sold out of tickets for Benfica away... Many times I have gone to Goodison to be told tickets have sold out, only to go later on and be given a ticket.

Also, on our most prestigious day in 14 years, I was unfortunate to sit by, on one side, to be fair a kind mid-40s fans who said he'd gone to 12 away games and 14 home games this season. On the other side a 15-year-old shy lad and a 15-year-old girl who'd had one too many.

Being a shy lad, I wasn't particularly confident talking to either as kick off approached, but as my dad was on the lower tier, I had no-one to talk to... neither did my neighbours. Then as the attractive girl next to me broke the silence, how I'd got down here etc... I then asked where her season ticket was? to be the met with the answer she hadn't even been to Goodison this season!

I asked did she go the semi-final? Yes. Thinking she must have moved elsewhere, I asked whereabouts do you live? Met with the response: Walton. Many of my freinds and family never got tikcets but while in the queue for the semi, people were getting extra tickets for family members that do not have a season ticket. <> As someone who sits near a fan from Bosnia each week, and I have seem him at away games, along with fans traveling from Scotland and Wales that make an effort to go to every home game. Also I have known for Euro away games people who haven't stepped foot in Goodison all season getting tickets from Everton.

It was not just me who witnesssed the same thing — some people at the semi and final hadn't been to a single Everton game this season or last but had got tickets by just asking for family members.

I feel Elstone's and Everton's complaint about lack of tickets for Wembley is ridiculous considering so many undeserving fans ended up with tikcets for the semi. Also witnessing two morons at Wembley, either insane or completely drunk, falling over people, swearing, generally making people feel uncomfortable... these two go to away games and do the same thing each week — even after numerous complaints about them.

Everton need to find a way of rewarding the fans who went to Chelsea, Newcastle, Sunderland, Boro, and Spurs... who are more loyal than fans who just have season tickets, often missing regular games then going to two key cup games.
Chris Butler     Posted 11/10/2009 at 14:03:23   Comments (19)

When Did I Stop Supporting England?

Watching an ESPN Classic documentary of the England 1966 World Cup tournament, I was surprised by the pride I still felt for that England team. It was great; Sir Alf, ‘Banksy’, ‘Nobby’, Bobby Moore, little Alan Ball etc and of course Kenny Wolstenholme screaming, ‘They think it’s all over’.

I was an England supporter in 1986 when Everton contributed about 25% of the squad. 1990 was ok too with Sir Bobby, ‘Gazza’, Lineker and ‘Butcher’s Bloody Brow’. Then we had the ‘thirty years of hurt’ in 1996 and I was singing ‘Football’s Coming Home’ with everyone else.

But after that, something seemed to happen. The emergence of Sky, aligned with Everton’s demise as a footballing power, and a paucity of quality English players coming through from Everton meant my interest declined. And then, when a player did break through, it was because they were special, and the Sky 4 (now Sky 5), don’t allow special players to remain with other Premier League clubs.

So Rooney, Barmby and Lescott went... and we know Rodwell will be next. So I guess that my support for England waned with the fall of Everton as a super club. Where in the past I wanted to show off our players to the rest of the world, I now want to hide our best for fear of losing them.

So maybe when we become one of the ‘Big Five’ again and Everton players are not considered transfer fodder after playing for England, then maybe I will start supporting them again.

I hope so, because I enjoyed the immense pride I felt when England where the Champions of the World. It will be good to sing ENG-ER-LAND again.
John Burns     Posted 11/10/2009 at 13:11:24   Comments (24)

Downunder news

Everton had three players involved in the 0-0 Australia vs Holland. All three came through without apparent injury.

Cahill was subbed at half time but that was probably to keep him fresh for Australia's important Asian Cup game against Oman next Wednesday.

Lucas Neill will benefit from a good solid workout while Heitinga who played in the back line looked impressive for the Dutch. All of his many passes were daisy cutters.
Dick Fearon     Posted 10/10/2009 at 08:59:15   Comments (12)

Steven Pienaar

There is currently a TV show called "Premier League World" being broadcast here in SA, which has a fairly decent feature about Pienaar, including quite extensive interviews. Catch it while you can, as I'm sure the content will change soon, and it seems the type of programme that probably shows worldwide.
Brian Hill     Posted 09/10/2009 at 16:03:40   Comments (2)

Ownership

I think it's about time 'we' the fans took some form of action in regards the lack of financial progress our club is making. The fact that so many investors are still sniffing around every Premier League club apart from us has to raise serious questions as to what's happening at the top. Just look at Portsmouth. How can they have two new owners in one Summer when we haven’t had any potential suitors in 4 years.

The report in the Daily Mail in regards the wealth of owners highlights what a pauper we are in comparison with even Hull City. We need a collective organisation and start petitioning for answers from Kenwright. I am a Kenwright fan but the recent behaviour is appalling and a detriment to Everton.

I was shocked that we managed to follow last Summer's inactivity with yet another nail-biting finale. The Club in my eyes is very badly managed. To sell all of its assets and to be run on a shoestring is too close to the nail. I’m not here to regurgitate the article that described what’s wrong. I’m here to say lets start to do something about it!

I think we should start taking action before our club falls too far behind the rest of the pack.
Henry Jones     Posted 08/10/2009 at 10:08:13   Comments (93)

Sicknote Vaughan

What a shame to see young James Vaughan has been returned to Goodison from Derby as the lad has picked up yet another injury. It's another knee injury but apparently it's a brand new injury and not related to his previous ones. According to Mick Rathbone, this is good news.

I've always like Vaughan, I remember his debut goal against Palace and, like most others, I had high hopes for the lad. Now, even though most of his injuries are unrelated, I think it's coming to the time when Everton are going to give up on this lad. I have never known a player to be so unlucky with injuries, for fuck's sake he even opened an artery in his foot away to Bolton!

These injuries have no doubt hampered his development and I for one think it's time for James to move on. I don't know if anyone would pay for the lad anymore but I would wish him all the best wherever he ends up.

A shame.
Franny Porter     Posted 08/10/2009 at 09:29:49   Comments (29)

A tough week made tougher

As if playing 3 away games in a week later this month at Benfica, Bolton and Spurs was not going to be hard enough, it seems a bit unfair on us that we will only have 2 days between the Bolton and Spurs games.

Benfica - Thursday evening

Bolton - Sunday lunchtime

Spurs - Tuesday evening.

Whilst the games come thick and fast these days, 3 games in 5 days, all away from home, will stretch us to the limit. I can't see why the Spurs game could not have been played on the Wednesday, with Arsenal and Liverpool meeting on the Tuesday.
Karl Masters     Posted 06/10/2009 at 17:09:54   Comments (21)

Benfica away tickets

Could anyone clarify the points system used for eligibility for Benfica away tickets?

As a season ticket holder, previous visits to Fiorentina and Liege through the Thomas Cook scheme, a couple of domestic away games last season, thought I'd be ok for Benfica tickets but it's not the case.

Apparently I need two points but only have one (for the Liege game). It does state on the EFC website that 09/10 season ticket holders gain another point but they fail to point out that this only applies if you are a new season ticket holder this season. Renewing of season ticket holders do NOT get the extra point!

Why can't they make the whole thing transparent and list how points are allocated on the EFC site?
Glyn Withenshaw     Posted 06/10/2009 at 15:28:05   Comments (13)

Big Dunc's Book Shelved!

Just heard that the long awaited book on Duncan has, in the word's of the assistant at Waterstones, been abandoned. Could it be litigious and yer man's got his lawyers on to the case? What will I buy the Mrs for Christmas now? Anyone out there got an inkling as to why it's been pulled?
Eric Yarker     Posted 06/10/2009 at 13:40:30   Comments (13)

Looking 24/7

A company have just taken up a new lease in the office block I work from, they have exclusive betting rights to Premier League football in China and they're expecting to clean up over the next few years. According to one of the guys behind the business, the reason so much Middle East money is flowing into the Prem is because of the interest from the Asian market.

I know this is going to turn into a 'rant fest', but reading about Pompey this morning and also hearing (unconfirmed reports) that Hull have two potential buyers lined up, makes me wonder how much longer we're going to carry on believing Bill Kenwright's "24/7" claims.

His response to a legitimate question at the AGM was disgraceful, we're the stakeholders in EFC and all of us (including Bill apparently) want new ownership. Something is not right and it's time to flush him out!
Marcus Dawson     Posted 06/10/2009 at 09:26:48   Comments (41)

Baxter's in the soup

According to this morning's Daily Post...

"An Everton squad member was arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs and counterfeit money. Rising star Jose Baxter, 17, from Bootle, and two other men were arrested yesterday in Kirkby. A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: 'We can confirm that three men were arrested in Kirkby on possession of cannabis with intent to supply and on suspicion of possession of counterfeit money'. The men, 17, 29 and 34 are currently in police custody. A spokesman for Everton Football Club said they had no comment at this time. The centre forward is the youngest player, at the age of 16 years and 191 days, ever to feature in an Everton line-up. He came on as a substitute for Everton in their clash against Blackburn Rovers on August 16, 2008. He has now become a regular member of the first- team squad"

Maybe this is the place to start a really aggressive, shouty campaign that, despite all or any evidence, just repeats' Jose is innocent!!!' until the authorities get fed up and release him. It's worked before.

(a bit of vocal support from Liz McThingy and Freddie Starr might also help!)
EJ Ruane     Posted 06/10/2009 at 08:11:26   Comments (160)

Two points dropped

That was a frustrating result and 2 points dropped before the international break, but I don’t think we can fault the tactics or the effort for the most part.

We created enough chances to win this comfortably (24 shots and 17 on target vs 8 and 6 respectively) and managed to raise the tempo when needed and reacted well to the goal against the run of play.

We just lacked the final ball, the incisive finish or even that little bit of luck — how often is Cahill going to head two clear-cut chances like that straight to the keeper?

I think the main difference here was on the flanks actually, Bily’s clearly still getting up to the pace of the game and doesn’t have the rapport with Baines that Pienaar does and we all know Ossie’s not really a winger, but in the circumstances there’s not much else Moyes could do, aside from perhaps giving Gosling a run-out.

I might have been tempted to take Cahill or Felli off for one of the strikers and play 4-4-2 a little earlier with Yak or Jo alongside Saha for 10 mins before bringing the other one on on, but equally, both have offered such a goal threat recently it’s not clear-cut.

With Pienaar or Arteta in the side, or with Bily looking a bit more accomplished, we might have rolled them over, but they aren’t so what can you do?

On the positive side, I thought Heitinga looked much better today... showing his willingess to bring the ball forward and some nice distribution and as a unit we were more balanced than in the last two games, but of course we won them both.

Let’s hope Pienaar is back fit for the next one and let’s rollover Wolves en route to the Stadium of Light! Can’t bloody wait! COYB!
Chris James     Posted 04/10/2009 at 14:45:40   Comments (38)

The Juke's Fitness level

Came across this earlier, which came as a bit of a shock to me considering how we are constantly told by the players and club about teamwork and fitness levels. If the Juke is that unfit, then are we doing something wrong that clubs in the SPL find our players in this bad a condition?



Motherwell boss Jim Gannon admits he's shocked by how underdone on-loan Everton striker Lukas Jutkiewicz was upon arrival.

Jutkiewicz hit the winner against Falkirk yesterday and the Well boss said: "I've been surprised by his poor level of fitness and his match practice because he hasn't been injured in pre-season, he has just been under-used and under-trained.

"He has been unfortunate that we've been using him wide, which isn't his strength.

"So before we can make a judgement on him I felt we had to play him down the middle in his natural position where he can use his strength and mobility a little bit more.

"I think he did really well, that was probably his best performance so far.

"He will be delighted with the goal because that's where centre-forwards get more confidence."
Gerry Quinn     Posted 04/10/2009 at 11:19:45   Comments (12)

Today's match

This could be a real tough game to win in light of the injuries and the long trip to Belarus. Stoke are a very big physical side who are going to be a real danger with their 4 centre backs especially when they come forward for throw-ins and corners. Playing Hibbert again in the middle would be suicide if Yobo is out. Certainly that will be Stoke's main ploy and Everton need to keep possession for long spells and not surrender the ball cheaply like they usually do.
Tom Bowers     Posted 04/10/2009 at 09:39:43   Comments (148)

Once a blue always a blue?

My son is four and has just started school. I have also started taking him to play football on a Saturday morning for the local boys team.

This morning, we were having a kick around with a few of the other lads and one of them had his older brother aged seven with him, who had the full Everton trackie on. I asked him who his favourite player was, expecting a Cahill or Arteta reply but instead he replied "Drogba!" He then went on to explain that his favourite team was Chelsea and Everton was actually his third favourite.

I asked him who his second favourite side was and he replied "the one who play in light blue, I can't remember their name". I was gob-smacked to be honest. I then turned to my son and said who is your favourite player. He replied "the one with the bouffey hair, Fellani but not in that pink kit — it is rubbish." I said to him, "Do you like any other teams?" and he said, "No, I love Everton and don't like anyone else."

I have never felt so proud!

The point is, however, that when I was little my Dad supported Everton and as a result so did I. My kids support Everton because I do. I believe the maxim that you are born a blue. I have never considered supporting anyone else and don't expect my kids to ever support anyone else.

So why do kids support Chelsea or that team in light blue now?
Chris Leyland     Posted 03/10/2009 at 21:33:57   Comments (20)

Altogether Now

In fairness, some may call me naive but reading Derek Turnbull's great article about Gwladys Street, I would like to make a point that nothing's happened. When AEK fans came to Goodison, they split themselves into a seated group for youngsters and the elderly who cannot stand.

Why not either mid-way through the current season can all people who want to stand and sing can do so? By no means do I want the "Who are ya?" chants as they are reserved for the Park End.

I unfotunately could not get a season ticket in the absolute centre of the Lower Gwaldys under the roof but there are about 5,000 others that would like to do the same but cannot out of consideration for those who want to sit. In the Derby, Man Utd, in 2005 Fiorentina we dragged the ball into the net through our vocal support. Not only does it intimidate opposition teams but rallies ours. The lovable reds have proven when 13,000 fans stand you can beat anyone.

It would also bring a younger fan to home games again so why not help me if you could possibly help me in any way give me an email.
Chris Butler     Posted 03/10/2009 at 17:53:04   Comments (1)

Squad depth and injuries

Everybody now seems well aware of our injury problems. However, I have felt for some time that when (or if) we get everybody fit, we now have a very decent squad to pick from. In my estimation, I reckon we have about 20 good to very good Premier League footballers to select from and that's not including the likes of:

  • Gosling: not really found a position to determine his quality yet.
  • Anichebe: I don't consider him a Premier League player and don't think he will be at club much longer.
  • Baxter & Wallace: potential is there, but similar to Gosling, they need game time to develop.
I believe one of the main reasons the top 4 are so dominant is due to their good and large squad sizes. Most teams in the Premier League have good starting XIs but start to struggle when injuries and suspensions kick in, especially to key players.

Recently at Everton, we always have seemed to have injuries to key players, but we carry on and grind out results which is surely a testament to Moyes and the existing players. However, I'm hoping now that most if not all our players will be back and match fit by Christmas, we will have a very strong squad to enable us to kick on and challenge for honours.

Unfortunately (especially at Everton) these things don't always work out the way you hope and after christmas we will have the African Federation Cup of Nations to deal with. Our target until then is surely to remain in contention for a strong end-of-season finish. My worst fears are that we will be out of all competitions by February (including CL qualification) and then we will face a summer of struggling to hold on to our best players like Rodwell, Arteta and Pienaar as the vultures from the top 4 loom.

The 'middle league' within the Premier League has strengthened this season with Spurs and Man City spending a lot of money and both have big quality squads to challenge the top 4 now with Aston Villa not far behind. I believe Everton are still in this middle group due mainly to us grinding out the results but we really need to at least keep up with Spurs and Man City and take advantage of a possible slip by Arsenal or Liverpool.

If we can keep in touch until February, I think we could be the surprise team of the season, barring any more injuries!
Matthew Lovekin     Posted 03/10/2009 at 12:19:38   Comments (13)

Allocation for Benfica

I'm finding it hard to believe Everton only received 3,250 tickets for the Europa Cup tie. No doubt many of you will have been to Lisbon before, and know what a cracking place it is to visit for a few days. I'd been many times before I relocated to Asia in early 2004, but by then had applied for, and been allocated, tickets for Euro 2004.

I'm not particularly an England fan, but I do enjoy international football, and the chance to see players in the flesh I was unlikely to see with Everton! I flew back, and made a holiday of it (visit the folks in Liverpool, then "Oh, forgot to mention, off to Lisbon, bye!" I had tickets for 2 quarter-finals in Lisbon, at either venue, so knew in advance if England did get through, I'd see them. (Last time Rooney kicked a ball as an Everton player, and we all knew it).

The rebuilt Stadium of Light is a cracking stadium (warning - when England were there the beer on sale inside was alcohol-free!), and it's big. There were so many England fans there, if you do want to go, and don't qualify for a ticket, then find out where in the stadium the Everton allocation is, and I'm sure they will sell you a ticket next to it. You know that's what thousands will do anyway — Nuremberg all over again.

Funny thing was, the bar owners wanted England to win the tournament. The places we frequented whilst there were in tears when Portugal won, as they knew most England fans would be off home the next morning! My personal suspicion, based on the Nuremberg experience, is yet again, the club asked for the smallest possible allocation. We don't have a reputation as "bad travellers" — far from it. So why is this?
Matt Traynor     Posted 03/10/2009 at 00:49:00   Comments (18)

Distin

Bit surprised that the September Player of the Month poll doesn't have Distin as an option.

Ok, I wouldn't have voted for him myself... but given the long list of other candidates, I am surprised he wasn't considered worthy of a place.

Not the most defensively challenging opposition in September but Distin has still impressed me a great deal. He seems to have clicked with his team-mates ultra quickly. He is showing intelligence and has been pretty good coupling that with his size and pace.... and he picked up a goal too.

I can't be the only one that is relieved how quickly Distin has made memories of Lescott fade.

Hope Yobo is back for the league this weekend...
Tom Brown     Posted 02/10/2009 at 10:31:43   Comments (7)

Not bad... for the reserves

Watched the game on ESPN last night and was thouroughly pleased with the result if not always with the display. However, a freezing rainy night in Minsk against a team that has acquitted itself fairly well in Europe was never going to see us play our most joined-up stuff, especially when you consider who we were missing.

With the exception of Tim Howard it seems to me that every department was missing at least half of what might be considered its first team components if all were fit.

In defense, we were missing Jags, Joey, Nev and Heitinga. At least two if not three of these player might be expected to make up our strongest back 4 (certainly if you consider captaincy and wages!).

In midfield we were missing arguably our 3 best midfielders in Pienaar, Arteta and Rodwell. The first two would surely be our strongest team and young Jack has certainly emerged as one of our most reliable players so far this season.

In attack we were missing our most prolific marksman this season, Saha and I feel we are still missing a fully fit Yak.

And yet we won a tricky away tie in very tough conditions. All-in-all, a good night for the reserves then and more importantly a sign perhaps that we finally have a bit more depth to our squad. I for one am excited to see what this team might achieve if (and its a big IF given our recent bad luck) we can get our preferred first 11 all fit and raring to go.

What exactly that first 11 is? Well that's another question....
Sam Hoare     Posted 02/10/2009 at 06:33:26   Comments (37)

What a result!

Firstly, let's get the facts out of the way:

  1. The conditions were appaling;
  2. A long way to travel in Europe;
  3. Yakubu is clearly a long way off match fitness;
  4. Six outfield teenagers on the bench, three of which had never seen a minute of first-team action;
  5. Our depleted squad was a joke;
  6. The performance wasn't great.

It was bad enough when we knew Pienaar would be out, unbelievable with Rodwell out, and words could not describe when I saw the teamsheet and Yobo was out. Hibbert at CB. Gosling at RB. Cahill at RM.

Gosling (despite numerous requests on this site) is not a right-back. He's too attack-minded and got caught out several times against a better team than Sigma, often with Hibbert (!) covering right-back as well as centre-back. Distin was immense and kept us in the game.

Baines and Fellaini's recent improved passing was tonight poor, but that could be put down to the weather conditions. Jo was his usual headless-chicken self as well as being taken off before half-time on a stretcher. Yakubu needs many more months as Moyes suggested beforehand and when almost through on goal seemed to pull up as well.

After I heard Yobo was out, I thought a draw would have been a good result. At half-time I was praying for a draw.

All in all, I can't believe we have come away with a win, but excellent result. We stuck in there whilst losing and got our rewards. COYB!


Matthew Lovekin     Posted 01/10/2009 at 17:14:45   Comments (19)

Psycho's equal

After watching Vidic ruthlessly scythe down opponents in the Manchester United vs Wolfsburg and Wolverhampton Wanderers (Carling Cup match), I was prompted to finally post this letter in support of Marouane Fellaini.

When Fellaini rose to head the equalising goal against Manchester United at home last season, he did so believing that he could be seriously maimed by the incoming Vidic, which he was probably aware was his nearest marker. Some believe that this was the catalyst for the change in Everton's fortune last season.

In my opinion Fellaini displayed the maximum amount of fearlessness and courage which I believe he does not receive enough credit for. Vidic is used by Manchester United to instil fear in to opposing players; one only has to watch his uncompromising style to understand that, when he challenges for the ball, he would have no hesitation in taking out the player also. It is because of this that I admire Fellaini and believe that despite his usual gate, his sheer presence, work rate and goal threat make him worthy of wearing the blue shirt for many years.

Whilst I accept that he is not the defensive midfield player many expected and it may be tricky to facilitate him in the same side as Cahill, it must be remembered that he is still only 21 and I believe that with Rodwell, Arteta, Pienaar, Bily the Kid and possibly Ross Barclay, he is the future of Everton's midfield.
Steven Jones     Posted 01/10/2009 at 14:56:05   Comments (17)

Team vs BATE

SkySports Live Score Centre are reporting the line up as:

Howard, Gosling, Hibbert, Distin, Baines, Osman, Cahill, Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, Jo, Yakubu.

Subs: Nash, Duffy, Agard, Baxter, Wallace, Mustafi, Akpan.

Presumably this means Hibbert as a centre back. Will he also take the arm band? Will Tony Marsh make it through the night?

Is it just me that was expecting Yobo to play — what's wrong with him?
Mike Allison     Posted 01/10/2009 at 14:39:13   Comments (305)

Big Bad Dunc!!!

I just wanted to remind everyone that a new book "In search of Duncan Ferguson — The Life and Crimes of a Footballing Enigma" is published today.

During a time of relegation battles every other campaign, when the club was in dire straits and needed someone to look up to, this guy delivered when he could. Sold to keep the club afloat and then bought back for a song.

For those that had season tickets during the 90s and where too young to enjoy the 60s, 70s & 80s, this guy gave you heart to watch some of the worst football to grace the Goodison pitch.

There are too many classic Duncan moments to choose only one! All I can say is that Goodison has not been the same since he left and I don't think it ever will be.

He has obviously got a few critics but who else could change a game like he could? Who else could put the fear of god up defences across the country? Who else in the modern game would take a £15 grand pay cut to come back with his tattoo still proudly embedded in his arm? Nobody!

Duncan is a legend, nobody has been worthy of the Number 9 shirt since!

Long live the Legend that was DUNCAN FERGUSON.


Gavin Alexander     Posted 01/10/2009 at 04:56:03   Comments (32)

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