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The Mail Bag

September 2009 Archive
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Ten Players

I believe that for tommorrow night against the mighty master BATE we are ten players down through injuries, ineligibility and suspensions. This is the ten isn't it?

Neill
Heitinga
Jagielka
Neville
Anichebe
Rodwell
Arteta
Pienaar
Saha
Vaughan

Bar a goalie, that is a 4-4-2 formation right there (Neville LB and Vic RW.) Missing a full team of players really emphasises how small are squad really is. Tommorrow's team now surely picks itself due to the smallness of our squad and the total number of senior fit players left. Having no experience or class on our bench will hurt us long term (thats another thread though).

Therefore... Blues calling for the sale of Neville, Osman, Hibbert and Cahill are total nutters. It's nights like tommorrow where having loyal hard working professionals around the team really can bail a team out in a player crisis. Sure if everyone is fit they could (and should) be on the periphery of the squad but successful teams have players to cover all positions.

Until everyone is back fit and raring to go (a fact I doubt possible in modern football), can we please keep the witch hunting of our own players to a minumum and get behind the lads! No doubt once Arteta an Jags are back, two more players of the calibre of Distin and Fellaini will probably get injured the next game anyway, so there will always be a need for players.
Michael Jennings     Posted 30/09/2009 at 16:15:31   Comments (11)

You Are David Moyes

Isn't it time we started playing YADM ahead of tomorrow night's game against BATE in Minsk? The travelling squad from the OS this morning was:

Carlo Nash, Tim Howard, Tony Hibbert, Leighton Baines, Sylvain Distin, Joseph Yobo, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Jack Rodwell, James Wallace, Jose Baxter, Jo, Leon Osman, Tim Cahill, Marouane Fellaini, Yakubu, Kieran Agard, Shane Duffy, Shkodran Mustafi.

So, if my sums are right, they all start on the field or on the bench. So what will Davey's 11 be? The most obvious line-up is:

Howard
Hibbert Yobo Distin Baines
Gosling Osman Rodwell Fellaini Bilyaletdinov
Jo

And I think that's what he will go with. The only wild card I could imagine would be Wallace to start, with the Big Fella as a Plan B. Doubt it though There's also the Bily question, but I think the temptation to put him on will be too great tomorrow night.
Keith Glazzard     Posted 30/09/2009 at 15:24:41   Comments (22)

The case for signing Micheal Ball

The harsh reality of life in the Premier League at the moment is that any club wishing to be competitive needs to have a squad of players, rather than just a good team. To do this you need money — something which, it has been well-documented — Everton simply do not have.

The solution according to Moyes has been to buy players that have versatility alongside the right quality and the right attitude. By my count there are now 12 first team players that can operate in more than one position on the pitch, with all bar one being Moyes purchases. There is also Jagielka (not one of my 12) who was bought as a versatile right sided defender who could play in central midfield, but has since proved so invaluable as a centre back that he is highly unlikely to be relocated from there when he is fit.

The result of this versatility is a squad with options all over the pitch. We have 5 players who can play right back (Hibbert, Heitinga, Neill, Gosling, Neville), 6 potential centre halves (Yobo, Jagielka, Neill, Heitinga, Distin, Rodwell), 6 defensive or central midfield players (Neville, Heitinga, Rodwell, Arteta, Fellaini, Cahill), 5 right midfielders (Pienaar, Osman, Arteta, Gosling, Anichebe), 3 left midfielders (Bilyaletdinov, Pienaar, Osman), 3 attacking midfielders (Osman, Bilyaletdinov, Pienaar), 4 players who can play as a support striker (Cahill, Fellaini, Jo, Osman) and 5 players who can play as an out and out centre forward (Yakubu, Saha, Vaughan, Anichebe, Jo).

The glaring omission from this squad of versatility is at left back. For me Leighton Baines is one of the 3 best left backs in the Premier League along with Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra. We do not have sufficient cover there, however, as displayed by the decision to move Tony Hibbert there when Baines came off against Hull. At some point he is going to need a rest. What happens if he gets an injury? I can’t see Distin or Hibbert playing 20 straight games at left back effectively. Neville possibly when he is fit, but I don’t think he is any better than Hibbo or Distin.

The solution is out there and is a boyhood blue, with England caps, Premier League and European experience. He is without a club and we could, therefore, sign him straight away. So someone please tell me why we haven’t signed Michael Ball?


Alasdair Mackay     Posted 30/09/2009 at 08:31:24   Comments (46)

Injuries

Following the latest injury scare to Steven Pienaar, I, like many other Evertonians, have been cursing our continuing bad luck in this respect. Injuries are indeed part and parcel of the game, however the latest casualty to hit Baz Rathbone's treatment table has also had me questionning whether this is in effect entirely due to bad luck and the curse of Shankley or symptomatic of something entirely more sinister in terms of cause and effect.

The pace of the modern game, high impact nature and the amount of competitive games that player's are expected to play will all undoubtedly contribute to the casualty list; however, would it be permissible to suggest that it may be in part due to the way we play?

The game at Portsmouth reinforced to me that Everton have major difficulty in competing with teams who offer a physical approach. Without having either the nous or tenacity to maintain any sense of composure whilst in possession, we too often surrender the ball, resulting in players over-stretching, turning sharply, or becoming involved in perilous combative challenges.

Everton obviously need to harden up in the face of the opposition; however, is it too simplistic to suggest that a little more keepball and a lot less hoofball will see us suffer less in terms of the casualty list?
Peter Laing     Posted 29/09/2009 at 12:33:03   Comments (17)

Segundo Castllo

Has anyone caught what Segundo Castillo has been like at Wolves.

Did we do the right thing by not signing him full-time or did we make a mistake?
Doug Walters     Posted 29/09/2009 at 01:50:56   Comments (32)

Let's praise Tim Howard

I always used to chuckle when the Guardian's tea time email used to arrive "The Fiver" and mention Newcastle United — or Newcastle Comedy Club, as their recent self destruction made me thankful I follow Everton! It was always amusing when they referred to the talisman Shay Given, who they gave the title "Newcastle's entire defence."

Tim Howard was immense on Saturday, and even the one that hit the bar was no real worrier as he was going to save it anyway had it dropped any lower.

The sheer confidence he has in himself at the moment is great for us, as the ball seemed to be aimed at him most of the time — something that used to happen with Schmeichel in his prime — strikers would cack themselves and blast the ball at him!

Howard does get beat from range a fair bit, but let's enjoy this little run of form and give credit where credit is due.

ps: Even Tony Hibbert did well for his cameo on Saturday... WELL DONE, TONE!
Wes Coles     Posted 28/09/2009 at 20:40:01   Comments (13)

BATE on TV?

Does anyone know if Everton's match is on TV on Thursday. ITV tv listings say that they are showing a 18:00 match followed by Fulham. Seeing as we are kicking off at 18:00, surely this is us.

Celtic are playing on 5live.
Craig Taylor     Posted 28/09/2009 at 10:36:25   Comments (20)

Should the punishment fit the crime ?

I see Moyesie is looking for more protection for our boys, I wonder if you guys think he has a point? As the "best of the rest" do we enjoy the same protection as the Sky4 ?

Also, is the punishment handed out for really bad tackles sufficient? Like or hate Big Vic, he was put out of the game for a very long time by a cowardly challenge. Kevin Nolan bagged himself a hat-trick at Ipswich on Saturday and seems to be really enjoying his football.

Should the perpetrators of such challenges be "rested" for the same length of time the victims are out of the game?
Dave Wilson     Posted 28/09/2009 at 03:59:20   Comments (23)

Distin or Lescott?

Personally I'm happy that we replaced Lescott with Distin, whatever the reasons. I liked Lescott when he played for us, but I was always worried that he would have odd "Yobo moment" now and again. I like Yobo too, but you know what I mean.

Distin looks really solid, like a real centre-back. I realise because of his age he won't be with us as long as Lescott may have been but I really like lad. Silver linings and that...

Come on you Blues !!!
Bob Boote     Posted 27/09/2009 at 02:52:59   Comments (30)

Good Enough?

First of all, I'd like to say that today was another three points and another clean sheet on our road to recovery after a turbulent start of the season. Whilst the clean sheet was welcome, and Saha's finish was sublime, I'm finding it difficult to be "happy" with the manner of our win today.

If we had been away from home and playing Arsenal, United, Liverpool or even the multitude of mid-table fodder in the Premier League, I'd be delighted with an away clean sheet under any circumstance. However, against a desperately poor Portsmouth — low on confidence and ability — you'd expect us to play the right way and not give them any encouragement whatsoever.

However, what came to be was something that has become somewhat of a Moyes hallmark. After an average first half highlighted by an opportunistic Saha goal, Moyes put up the barriers and in no uncertain terms settled for 1-0. I say "settled"... In reality, he gambled on the most desperate side in the division not being able to pull one back in front of their home supporters.

Moyes has said post-match that he expected a fightback from Portsmouth. Why then did he not offer some sort of deterrent to Pompey? Something resembling a threat on the counter? But no — he set up his fort and we very nearly paid for it; just as we did against Fulham. Portsmouth should have won today and if it wasn't for some poor finishing and, in a few instances, blind luck, they would have won.

I can understand some fans stating the old adage that an "away win is an away win". But surely that is extremely short-sighted. We got away with it today and basically stole the three points by sheer luck — how long is it going to be before the negative tactics of David Moyes away from Goodison is going to result in this very decent looking squad underachieving in the Premier League this season?

There's a difference between European football — where you nick an away goal and keep it tight — and English football — where you fight for each loose ball and go for the throat where you can.

When is Moyes going to learn the difference?
Lee Kidd     Posted 26/09/2009 at 16:29:06   Comments (55)

Injury Jinx

Am i alone in thinking that we must be the unluckiest team in the Premier League when it comes to injuries? I'm fearful that Pienaar could be the latest addition to the long-term injury list now... which would be a massive blow as I'm not sure where the creative spark is in the team without him. Also, why oh bloody why does it always have to happen to our most key players?!
James Mclaughlin     Posted 26/09/2009 at 13:38:00   Comments (25)

Immune to Bookings?

Just having watched the match today I failto understand how no Portsmouth players were booked at all — especially in the second half.

Everton didn't play particularly well, a hard fought victory which was made harder by a ref who refused to card the opposition. To my mind the challenge on Pienaar was a card offence — since when has running head first (at waist hieght) into a player been a valid tackle?

The loss of Pienaar obviously didn't help the Everton performance, but surely the tackles from Portsmouth players warranted cards — certainly more than the cards given to Pienaar and Yobo.

Pathetic refereeing.
Rupert Sullivan     Posted 26/09/2009 at 11:36:36   Comments (28)

Portsmouth v Everton

It's a bit early for the teamsheets but please post them here, along with links for those who don't have Sky (or ESPN2 in the US, where it should be in HD). COYB
Michael Kenrick     Posted 26/09/2009 at 04:35:33   Comments (160)

Are Everton really racist?

Having read about Diuof's nonsensical claim that he was racially abused and had bananas thrown at him, it made me think about Everton's previous reputation by most fans as a racist club... the most famous incident being when John Barnes had bananas thrown at him. We did not have a black player (not mixed-race as in the case of Trebilcock) consistently playing for us until 1995.

There is also an article someone wrote about our allegedly racist fans here on Football365.

To be honest. I think a lot of the racist stuff was going on at more or less every club during the 80s and I'm unsure why Everton have been singled out as having some of the most racist fans in the country. I've been to Goodison on numerous ocassions from the 90s and never once heard a racist remark towards me or anyone else.

In fact, I've spoken to a few fans in the ground and got along perfectly well, even though we didn't know each other from Adam. I'm not saying every fan is an angel but I do feel it must be a rare occurrence these days.

I guess Everton are still paying (for want of a better word) for that John Barnes incident...
Trevor Thompson     Posted 25/09/2009 at 19:45:58   Comments (26)

Popular in the 20s

How fantastic it is that the David France collection is viewable on the internet. Whilst browsing the 'Players' section, I discovered this little gem:

http://www.evertoncollection.org.uk/object?id=796+EFC%2f27%2f34&q=Jack+Cock
Myles Sunley     Posted 25/09/2009 at 13:21:29   Comments (4)

How deep is your... Hate?

On a recent trip away I decided to read ‘Cara – My Autobiography’ — and before you judge me, understand I decided not to judge Jamie Carragher or our fellow Merseyside rivals Liverpool before reading.

Over the years I have participated in the obvious hate we have for Liverpool, but always drew the line at Steven Gerrard, as I have personally seen him away from football and know what a great guy he is (he was kind enough to get me a signed Duncan Ferguson shirt).

Midway through the read, I was questioning my hatred for our neighbours... and my actually being interested in what I was reading, especially Jamie Carraghers love for the blues early in his life, and also realising why he now loves and embraces Liverpool FC. Also understanding the inner turmoil they have themselves gone through in various guises.

I was embarrassed for myself when Jamie spoke about how Everton fans singing ‘murderers’ and how he and Liverpool fans perceive our grievance. I admit I have sang them songs aimed at the Heysel disaster, but I can, hand on heart, say I will never do so again.

So what is the point at this post? Am I saying I now like Liverpool? I can assure you that isn’t the case... but I can identify the unnecessary hatred between ourselves and Liverpool and would like to see this come to an end.

Also, please note I am not saying it’s just Everton who have sole responsibility for the way things are; both parties must be looked at. Healthy competition is, I feel, the way forward, as both clubs seem to be pointing in the right direction... although sadly now in the shadows of Manchester Utd and to some extent soon to be Manchester City.

I always said that it would be funny if a packed Goodison Park sang ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ during a derby match. I know I would be mega pissed off if I was a Liverpool fan. The point is, I think there are many more interesting ways to create banter and generate a heated atmosphere between Liverpool and Everton.

I hate Dirk Kuyt more than any other Premier League player, I want nothing more than Liverpool to lose week-in, week-out (apart from the Blues getting three points). I now find Rafa more funny and embarrassing than hating him...

So please, don’t question my loyalty, as I am still unsure what kind of reaction this post will receive; I hope it’s more constructive rather than reasoning why we should continue to hate Liverpool in a vile and evil way.
David Wallbank     Posted 25/09/2009 at 11:38:15   Comments (16)

Transfer Rumours

I understand this article comes later than an Everton player's expected return from injury, but the subject has only once more become of relevance due to Chelsea’s transfer embargo. That subject area is the transfer rumour.

The muted columns during the season blossom into life but of twice a year, and I for one eagerly await the fabled rumour. Rumours are the coal that keeps the engine of desire burning when football takes a hiatus during those dreary winters and drearier summers. For once pity Chelsea fans with no salivating prospect as to who may arrive, and who may reinvigorate the clubs dressing room.

The rumour is one aspect of feminisation that is deemed acceptable by us brutish fans. The Alice band is derided; long hair a Latino-spice boy façade is treated in the same way —nancy boys eh? But we accept the transfer rumour, not realising it as the inbred sibling of women’s magazine gossip that it is.

"Why so?"— I hear you splutter through the froth of your Stella. Well simply it adheres to our aspirations, our dreams and fantasies. Only in the alternate universe beget of the rumour could Everton field Moutino as a trequesta, with Banega lying deep dictating the play. Surging runs and Hollywood passes decorate the Goodison pitch. In this conflation of reality Van der Vaart is the fans favourite having repudiated the riches of the Galactico’s bench in order to re-unite with friend Johnny Heitinga and lead Everton to unprecedented success.

Capitalist pressure dictates the rumour's distribution. Papers feed us this vision in order to continue to sell papers. Advertisers would simply not allow ‘proper’ reporting to take place, thus we are fed a dumped downed concoction of hearsay and confusion.

Conversely, whilst the rumour is a child born of the financier’s control of our papers, it is also an aspect of sports reporting that adds pressure to those dabbling in the transfer market. Expectations are imaginatively raised; those players once deemed unattainable are now minimum expectations. I’ve no doubt many a club would love to see the back of rumours, leaving them to do business in the tranquil summer breeze over a glass of wine.

But as this is unlikely to occur, I for one will continue to sup on the impure thoughts of the rumour mill and continue to read every rumour section I can. For where there is rumour, there is also hope, and hope is something not to be underestimated in football.
Paul Gleeson     Posted 25/09/2009 at 12:11:50   Comments (0)

Are we being “Had”?

No one is happier than me about last nights result, especially when you live amongst Newcastle and Sunderland fans. However, have things gone too far with the current arrangements for these competitions?

How can teams like Hull and, indeed, most of the rest of the Premier League be allowed to get away with fielding teams that are far from their strongest in the Carling Cup and FA Cup?

Their sole intention seems to be to survive in the Premier League for another (or their first season)? If the League Cup/FA Cup means so little to them now, then why the hell do they enter for it? Does obligation dictate? Is it worth their while to enter most of the reserves/kids because even if they lose, at least it covers their expenses?

Despite their despatch from the Carling Cup last night, are Phil Brown and the Hull board disappointed? I doubt it... "that's that nonsense out the way, now lets get on with the real business of surviving in the Premier League". What sort of message does that send to the Hull fans who turned up last night hoping to see their team win?

I do not believe for one moment that the English Premier League is the best. I go for skilful passing, choosing to whom the ball should be fed, and keeping the ball on the ground. The Spanish and Italian leagues are, for me, the best in terms of skill and ability. I have always believed that the teams struggling in those leagues would comfortably cope with the English Premier League.

Birmingham, Bolton, Portsmouth, Wigan, Blackburn, et al. Apart from us and about 5 others, that's it. The foreign players must be thinking to themselves, "what the hell is this all about?" the possibility of picking up an injury on a wet night in Scunthorpe, Doncaster, wherever!!!

I am a massive fan of the FA Cup, that meant everything to me when I was a kid... but I feel cheated, wronged, and utterly despondent regarding the current arrangements.

Last night was a travesty, a lazy acceptance of defeat by certain clubs, the casual insousiance of finishing last, an undisguised agreement of quiet failure in certain competitions in order to pursue the Holy Grail, pathetic survival to finish anywhere above 18th position and call it success.

Life surely has more to offer than that?
John Brennan     Posted 24/09/2009 at 13:53:36   Comments (26)

Jags Robbed

Just heard on Sky that Jags was robbed at knifepoint last night at his home in Knutsford. Gutless scum!
Brian Wilding     Posted 24/09/2009 at 14:02:52   Comments (30)

Revenge time

And so to Portsmouth.... Spirits are high in the Blues camp, and I sniff another 3 points. However, caution must prevail.

I watched us play Portsmouth twice last season, and saw us concede 5 goals without reply. Before anyone starts, I know we took the lead at Fratton Park, but I was one of many stranded for 15 mins at the 3 turnstiles they are generous enough to give to away fans whilst the game got underway.

It still irks me somewhat that in one of our best seasons in recent times, we had the double done over us by Portsmouth, and Portsmouth alone. This cannot happen this time around.

That 3-0 defeat early last season was quite possibly the worst game all season. Liege came close (though I'd had too much Belgian lager to fully understand what had happened) and Wigan away was depressing, but that defeat was one of the worst in all my time watching Everton (including the 6-1 a few weeks back).

I don't know about the rest of you but, despite the obvious facts that: a) they are shite; b) we are starting to play some decent football; and c) we're scoring goals a plenty and getting great results to boot... I am still nervous about Saturday's game. There is always a part of you that thinks 'they can't lose 7 on the bounce, surely'.

Well they can, and they will, if we take the game to them, play OUR game, and punish them the same way we have done in the last 3 games. Many are commenting that the opposition in our last 3 have been poor. I would agree with that. But part of that is that we have made them look even worse than they actually were. Did anyone come away from Craven Cottage or Turf Moor and think Fulham and Burnley were good teams. I didn't. I thought we were shite, full stop.

I have also been fairly impressed with DM's use of his squad just recently. We all know it's small, but then how many PL managers have 4 players all out with cruciate ligament injuries? I would guess this has never happened in the history of the PL. And I would also advocate that DM will rotate his squad again on Saturday lunchtime. Isn't it lovely to use the words Everton and rotation in the same sentence?

My personal choice would be:
Howard
Heitinga, Yobo, Distin, Neill
Pienaar, Osman, Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov
Cahill, Saha

Subs: Nash, Hibbert, Baines, Rodwell, Gosling, Jo, Yakubu
Sounds tasty to me... and I just have a sneaky feeling, you know like when you suspect two buses might come along together after waiting so long...
Stewart Littler     Posted 23/09/2009 at 22:58:37   Comments (24)

Are we really for sale?!

I have just read an interesting article by Jonny Abrams at the sport.co.uk website about our beloved Chairman, Blue Bill and his attempts to sell Everton. Thought you might like to read it:

Are Everton really for sale?


Sean Joyce     Posted 23/09/2009 at 19:55:59   Comments (95)

A good night's work

Well there we have it...
...A good run out and a goal for the Yak
...An away goal and confidence boost for Jo
...Confidence boosting goals for the Goose and Ossie
...Some more match practise and assist for Bily
...Heitinga tried out in central defence and tried as an option alongside Hibbo
...Lucas Neill brought on for a relaxed debut
...Young Agard given a debut run out with no pressure
...Yobo, Saha and Cahill fully rested,
...Trial of a different formation and a chance to show strength of new squad
...Maintenance of our cracking form
...Progress to the next round of the Carling Cup

All-in-all not a bad night’s work!
Chris James     Posted 23/09/2009 at 18:45:27   Comments (84)

Team to play Hull

Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Osman, Gosling, Rodwell, Bilyaletdinov, Jo, Yakubu. Subs: Nash, Saha, Cahill, Neill, Fellaini, Duffy, Agard.
Keith Slinger     Posted 23/09/2009 at 16:16:27   Comments (154)

The League Cup

Does anyone have any idea about winnings from each round of the League Cup through to the final? Is it worth the effort for Premier League clubs, or is that why most of them seem to prefer to allow themselves to be knocked out quickly rather than try and win it?

Better to concentrate on Premier League survival than try to win a trophy — has it now had its day??

Should we now return to the early sixties when the old first division clubs either didn't enter, or were barred from partaking in the competition? (Not sure what the case was).

Could things be spiced up by perhaps seeding the top clubs against the bottom ones, or merging the competition with the FA Cup, and then the winner is guaranteed a place in the Champions League? At least they have won something... just interested in any thoughts, ideas, etc??
John Brennan     Posted 22/09/2009 at 14:40:36   Comments (30)

Lucas Neill

I note that our signing of Lucas Neill has only received muted comment from correspondents to this site. I feel that Lucas is a pretty handy acquisition.

He is a seasoned international (before there's too much sneering about the Socceroos, remember they took Italy to the wire last World Cup and are currently FIFA ranked 14th) and Premier Leauge player, can play anywhere in the back 4, and has the usual Aussie competitive drive.

Personally, I think having him and Tim Cahill in the same side geeing each other up and on won't hurt us. Isn't he a better right back prospect than Tony Hibbert? And, from what I've seen of the latter so far, Lucas is better than Johnny Heitinga.
Steve Carter     Posted 22/09/2009 at 06:35:43   Comments (85)

Elstone tells all?

So, via his blog on the OS, Everton CEO, Robert Elstone, has decided to come clean on his assertion that ALL the money obtained for Lescott was utilised in the signing of new players in the summer window. Indeed, says Elstone, this and more, if you take into account the more recent addition of Lucas Neill, the bank manager's bonus and the cost of millions of telephone calls he and the chairman made in vain pursuit of earlier targets.

I, for one, believe this to be an accurate calculation of the summer's investment although it again begs the question of where Moyes would have been without the enforced sale. Did they know of its likelihood all along...? — for, if not, how on earth did they hope to finance the targets that they all agreed to pursue as long ago as March?

It also prompts me to believe that, unless some inward investment is acquired soon, the likes of Pineaar and Rodwell will not be long at our club.

So it was good of the CEO to 'front up', but to me it was more what he didn't say that painted the true picture of Everton's fragile finances!
Brian Noble     Posted 22/09/2009 at 06:11:39   Comments (60)

England's Squad at World Youth Cup

The 2009 World Youth Cup starts this week in Egypt. As England play Uruguay on Saturday, I was curious to see who made it to the England squad, and particularly what sort/level of club they played for. It appears a number of our rivals in the EPL have players going, Aston Villa, Spurs, Arsenal, Fulham, Liverpool, Man United and Man City all have players going (Man City have 6 out of the 21 players!), but rather disappointingly no Everton players.

Full squad is here: http://www.thefa.com/England/MensUnder20s/NewsAndFeatures/2009/WC_squad_announcement.aspx

Sure, the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd are bound to have a few youngsters going. But I thought that we might have had one or two going, especially as some have received some high praise from those who see the reserves / pre-season matches, and that some of them keep making the bench.

So the question I’m really asking is, should I be disappointed that Everton aren’t represented, or should I be just glad that we aren’t going to be losing anyone from an already small squad?
Jip Foster     Posted 22/09/2009 at 05:54:04   Comments (7)

Tactical question: 4-3-2-1

The tactical side of your football — not my strong point. So I defer to you, the experts... Can someone tell me why we don't play a 4-3-2-1? The 4-5-1 up-front is too defensive, especially against inferior teams. Can you imagine how attacking we would be? Our back line is set...

Then, the 3 (choose 3 from): Bily, Rodwell, Pienaar, Arteta, Fellaini, Osman, Neville...

The 2 (chooose em again): Jo (I think he'd excel at a position like this), Cahill, Fellaini (can play here as well as midfield), Anichebe.

The 1: Saha, Yakubu

Play it very aggressively, a modified 4-3-3... Does anyone think this isn't a good formation with out current players?

Someone give me a lesson on why this is / isn't a good tactical formation. Why is the current 4-5-1 better? Please enlighten.
Jamie Crowley     Posted 22/09/2009 at 00:48:40   Comments (6)

Continuing the Good Form

It appears as though Everton have finally gotten over the now expected early season bad form.

The next game is a midweek League Cup away fixture to Hull. In theory, it should be quite winnable as Hull are in bad form themselves. In fact, Everton could hammer in the final nail on Phil Brown's managerial career.

The problem is: does Moyes risk his full-strength team? The next Premier League game is away to Portsmouth... again it's definitely a winnable fixture but you wouldn't want to go there without Saha, Pienaar or Howard.

The League Cup is always a difficult competition. Basically it's pointless unless you get to the final. Does Moyes risk his best players or does he turn to the likes of Wallace, Baxter & Nash? Trouble is, if he fields a weakened side then it increases the chances of losing.

Personally, I'd rather he field a full-strength side (maybe give Nash his debut) and beat Hull, keeping the momentum up and the confidence high.
Dick Anderson     Posted 21/09/2009 at 11:52:47   Comments (40)

Diouf

It seems from the paper this morning that Diouf is being accused of racially abusing a ballboy at yesterday's game. Having watched this incident on TV, it seems to me that supporters close to the incident were incensed at something they heard. I hope they will be contacting the club and giving evidence to support the allegation.
Andy Crooks     Posted 21/09/2009 at 05:42:19   Comments (96)

Besiktas's£8m bid for Saha

When news of this came in, I bet I wasn't alone in thinking that Moyes might be wise to cash in on an injury prone, 30+ striker, especially when we have a few of 'em (admittedly in various states of repair).

But, given King Louis's return over the first few games of the season, I have to credit the boss on a good call. Mind you, wonder who we might have got in with the extra £8 mill...?
Ben Patchesa     Posted 20/09/2009 at 17:26:23   Comments (44)

Winning in Style

Yobo and Distin have been class today. They are forming a really good partnership.

Heitinga... well at least he got some game time and can settle a bit more. I am not seeing this world class right back though that people have been banging on about.

A decent performance, that hinged on Tim Howard’s double save. Had Blackburn got one back then, the whole game could have changed.

But the win should give us some much needed confidence. 7 goals banged in without conceding. Let's keep it going.
Dan Brierley     Posted 20/09/2009 at 15:19:34   Comments (50)

Everton v Blackburn

Any links for todays game would be much appreciated.

Everton have been bumped again on Fox Australia for the Manchester derby and I need a link to view the match.

All these Sunday games mean we keep getting the arse every week coz Foxtel only show one 3pm kick off game and if any of the Sky's love children are playing we don't get a look in. On Saturday at least they show 5 live but we haven't had that opportunity yet.

Watched us v Wigan last time we were bumped, on a link from Fox USA- which other than the half- and full-time comments was a bloody clear feed.

Cheers in advance and let's hope it's worth it.
Rob Pendleton     Posted 20/09/2009 at 09:45:38   Comments (113)

What if Kirkby is rejected?

As we all know, the decision is imminent about whether or not Kirkby will go ahead. Irrespective of your alleigences for or against the move, I wonder what the alternative will be if it is rejected?

Are we to wollow at Goodison Park until the place falls down around our ears or will we jump in with Liverpool? I cannot see us developing a ground within the city unless Tesco are offered a prime piece of land where they can achieve their sales targets as well as being able to satisfy the demands of a 55,000-seater stadium.

It is very easy to say that people will be glad if Kirkby falls through, but I fear for the club's long term future if there isn't a Plan B.
Mike McLoughlin     Posted 19/09/2009 at 05:36:28   Comments (69)

King Midas in reverse

This year, last year, chaotic pre-season, a terrible start, the Wigan game, the Fulham game... and then the so-called season-changing incident involving Phil Neville. Well maybe, just maybe, Phil has done it again — only this time in reverse. Instead of being the perpetrator vs Ronaldo he was on the receiving end vs Fulham.

And, yet again Moyes (he who, in IMHO has, for the most part, never known what his best 11 was or how to play them) has been handed a Get Out of Jail Free Card, by circumstances beyond his control.
Derek Thomas     Posted 19/09/2009 at 02:52:29   Comments (8)

Praise from High Places

I wonder if all those who regularly criticise Moyes for his archaic hoofball tactics noticed this statement by Bilyaletdinov in the Liverpool Echo:

“(Guus Hiddink) told me Everton were one of only a couple of teams who really impressed when he was at Chelsea ... He told me they play in a contemporary style, under a good coach who likes to pass the ball."

I wish old Guus was a regular contributor to the ToffeeWeb, as sometimes my spirits are in serious need of lifting after reading some of the posts on here. I know we've some way to go yet before we can start talking in 'School of Soccer Science' terms — I doubt, for instance, that Hiddink is researching Hibbert's family tree for possible Russian ancestry — but there were signs against AEK last night that we are still going in the right direction, despite this year's disappointing start.

And remember how the last side to wear the Bib-kit started the 84-85 season... 1-4 home to Spurs, 1-2 away to West Brom, if my memory doesn't fail me. City and the rest — watch your backs!
Phil Grayston     Posted 18/09/2009 at 15:05:32   Comments (21)

If Games Were 45 Minutes...

I thought last night's first half performance was as impressive as any I've seen from the men in blue for a long time. The second half was a bit lacklustre, but being 3-0 up by half-time you can afford to do so, as long as you're in control of the game, which I feel we were.

I've thought for a long time that this is a continuing trend in our football: one good half followed or preceded by a bad half. With this said, there usually tends to be one or two players who are very consistent throughout the whole game. Last night saw most players putting in a very good shift, but in particular I feel Fellaini and Rodwell deserve special mention.

I thought Rodwell was superb in the holding role, sweeping up, protecting the four behind him, whilst providing those in front of him with real quality, confident passes. Fellaini meanwhile I thought showed absolute quality in his first touch and ball retention.

Fellaini seems to be a bit of a scapegoat for some people but last night he was excellent. We all know how good he is in the air, but I don't think enough people give him credit for the undoubted ability he has with the ball at his feet. He also demonstrated very good fitness, linking up in all areas of the pitch, especially down the left where I thought Baines and Bily offered a little glimpse of what could become a devastating partnership.

Fellaini is a very good footballer, and I think he deserves the recognition of a very good footballer, especially after performances like last night's.
Joe Carroll     Posted 18/09/2009 at 13:54:40   Comments (3)

Take the longer view

Last night's performance and result just proves why using any set of short-term result's sequence, good or bad, can be nothing more than a false friend.

Last night evoked memories of many games in recent times where we have seen an Everton performance of substance and style. Before the game AEK were much fancied to provide a real test for Everton, but were brushed aside with aplomb.

In stark contrast have been our EPL performances to date. Poor, disjointed and lacking confidence. This too is a side of Everton that we frequently see.

Both allegedly "pro" and "anti" Moyes, Kenwright and (insert player name to suit), use any specific performance to pronounce sentence on the team's forthcoming chances or to support their own agenda. I have read many such mails and articles in the last month from all sides of a specific argument. and it has felt at times as though the latter were reading tea leaves; given their interpretation of the last performance as somehow foretelling the future. Last night proved to me that for many they might as well have been reading said leaves.

Performances like last night make me proud to be a Blue and performances like Sunday's against Fulham make me cringe with embarassment. I read into neither extreme our likely fortunes and I believe we won't start to see a trend in how the season will turn out until Christmas. I'd urge other Blues to take a similar considered approach; enjoy last night for the great performance it was and hope for a repeat on Sunday.
Steve Guy     Posted 18/09/2009 at 10:34:42   Comments (17)

Random Observations From Last Night

1) Jack Rodwell was awesome, he just gets better and better with every game. While it may be tempting for Moyes to protect him, he already looks light-years ahead of most Premier League midfielders. He reminds me of Roger Federer in the way he moves so effortlessly and appears to be wonderfully balanced. He'd be the first name on my teamsheet. 2) It was great to see Fellaini back in a deeper role. Hopefully he and Jack will get plenty of opportunity to develop what is potentially a technically adept, youthful and physically imposing midfield pairing. 3) As expected, Joey Yobo took over the captain's armband. However, there seemed to be some confusion at kick off when Leighton Baines was announced as captain over the tannoy. Channel Five also stated that Baines would be skipper. I wonder how that happened? 4) Pienaar is class on the right as well as on the left although it's a real shame that Bily got injured as it looked as though Pienaar was being given a run in Cahill's position just off Jo. I'd like Moyesie to try him in that position in the Carling Cup game at Hull. I think it's safe to say he won't try that experiment in a Premier League game. 5) Finally I'll probably get some flak for this but our new retro style home strip is really starting to grow on me, I'm gonna order a shirt as soon as I get paid, although I don't think I could afford to get Bilyaletdinov on the back!
David Nicholls     Posted 18/09/2009 at 09:39:22   Comments (11)

The Penny Drops?

For the first time in as long as I can remember, both Hibbert and Osman are left out of the side and the transformation is immediate. Last night, the lads got the ball down and started playing the way we know they can. Proper footy happened like it was natural to us.

Without Hibbert and Osman pulling the other players out of shape, we looked a proper unit and Bily looked light years ahead of Leon Osman. As soon as they swapped, we went a bit flat... but by then the game was over. It must be all the proof the doubters now need that Hibbo and Ozzie dont cut it any more.

On a cautious note AEK Athens looked as though they didn't want to be there. Like a lot of sides in the Europa Cup, they are used to playing CL footy and simply didn't turn up. NFI perhaps?

Anyway, more of Bily and Danny and goodbye, Tony and Leon, and we just might turn the corner sooner rather than later.

All-in-all, a great night and one to put a smile back on our faces for a few days at least... Steven Pienaar — goal of the season or what?? If Rooney or Gerrard had of scored that scorcher, it would've been all over the telly for days.
Tony Marsh     Posted 18/09/2009 at 07:59:13   Comments (24)

Vaughan to Derby

The Guardian is reporting that James Vaughan is off to Derby County for a three month loan. The OS has yet to confirm this but Andy Hunter usually gets his Everton facts right.

Jo, Yak and Saha all on the field tonight — at the same time!! — and young Victor back sometime not too far off, it make sense to give James the chance to play in a very tough league to make his point. And I hope he makes it.
Keith Glazzard     Posted 17/09/2009 at 20:03:56   Comments (16)

Finally!

A few days ago, I posted in here stating that most Evertonians were praying for a midfield of Bilyaletinov, Rodwell, Cahill and Pienaar against Fulham — especially when Neville went off. It didn't happen.

Tonight, against an albeit poor Greek side, it's happened — and it's happened to an amazing effect.

I'm actually sending this in during the half-time break! Such is my confidence in the new look side that has shown brilliant balance, poise, strength and a killer instinct.

Football fans often get the tag of "wannabe armchair managers", yet I think this is sometimes unfair. Evertonians are amongst the most knowledgable football fans in the land — if not the world — and I honestly think David Moyes was the one who made the collossal mistake against Fulham.

Suddenly, with the absence of Hibbert, Neville and Osman (all of which, in my opinion, have been justifiably criticised by the fans), we're playing football. Actual, honest-to-God, football!

On another note, Bilyaletinov has the best left foot Everton have seen grace Goodison since Hinchcliffe (I actually mean that as a compliment!). It doesn't matter what the quality of the opposition is; you could be playing Real Madrid — whipping in a corner is always the same. And in 45 minutes, he's shown more than Osman has since last Christmas (sad, but true). Gosling deserves a mention in that he has given us a bit of "talent" on the ball at full-back, combined with Pienaar meaning we have a dangerous right wing as well as left.

Hopefully, Moyes won't "dither" and revert back to Osman for the league — Leon is a decent squad player but we have better options. This season is a time for Everton to have a go at sides given we have, arguable, the best squad to pick from since the 1980's.
Lee Kidd     Posted 17/09/2009 at 17:55:49   Comments (52)

Lucas Neill has signed

News on official site saying Lucas Neill has signed...
Stuart Mitchell     Posted 17/09/2009 at 16:50:31   Comments (27)

Everton vs AEK Athens

Howard, Gosling, Yobo, Distin, Baines, Pienaar, Fellaini, Rodwell, Cahill, Bilyaletdinov, Jo.

Subs: Nash, Saha, Yakubu, Wallace, Baxter, Mustafi, Osman.
Stuart Mitchell     Posted 17/09/2009 at 16:38:18   Comments (231)

Reading Davey's mind

My local bookie — very much one of us — has just laid me 8-1 against my naming the starting line-up tonight! Now throughout the week there has been much debate about the great man's predictability and as a contributor to this assertion, I felt it reasonable to invest £20 at the price offered. Jimmy Generous was not for taking an each-way punt so, to win 160 notes or nowt, this was my selection:-

Howard; Rodwell, Yobo, Distin, Baines; Bily, Osman, Fellaini, Pienaar; Cahill; Jo.

Wish me luck lads!
Brian Noble     Posted 17/09/2009 at 11:32:55   Comments (17)

Z-Cars

The creator of Z-Cars, Troy Kennedy Martin, has died. I reckon he's worth a minute's applause in his own right as the lads come on to the pitch tonight (or Sunday if Goodison can't get its act together in time). The fact that he wrote under the pseudonym of 'Tony Marsh' can only add greater moment to the occasion...
Guy Hastings     Posted 17/09/2009 at 11:40:10   Comments (2)

Captains

I dunno if this is a co-incidence or Moyes's transfer plan, but has anyone noticed how many ex-captains Everton have, and others who can easily replace Neville?

  • Yobo - Nigeria captain
  • Jagielka - ex Sheff Utd captain
  • Distin - ex City captain
  • Neill (providing he moves) - ex West Ham captain
  • Bilyaletdinov - ex Moscow captain
  • Neville - current captain
  • Arteta or Cahill - definite candidates for new captain
I think for mentality and leadership of the team, that's fantastic for us. It's just an interesting observation which I have just figured out.
Ben Jones     Posted 17/09/2009 at 10:36:56   Comments (21)

Crisis Club Everton

When David Moyes was appointed manager of Everton, he stated that he didn't ever want to hear again the word Everton prefixed by "crisis club". He succeeded and that in itself was a fine achievement.

To do this, he applied all the qualities for which he is rightly respected: pragmatism, caution, building of team spirit, bringing out the very best in ordinary players, and gradually improving the quality of the squad. At times we have come close to breaking the top four monopoly but never quite made it. Lack of funds is often given as the main reason for failure to step up. Of course to some extent that is true but not, in my view, totally. Other qualities are needed: flair, tactical subtlety, inspired risk-taking and the ability deal with big egos.

Many supporters are content to avoid a relegation fight and I'm certain that under David Moyes we will never be "crisis club Everton". Sometime, however, glorious failure is better than narrow cautious defeat (the Cup Final).

Last season, I was disappointed when David Moyes signed a new contract. I felt it was time to remove the Moyes safety net and embark on a new adventure for Everton. The huge contract means, though, that DM will be here for as long as he wants to. Eventually, he and Kenwright will go together; until then, we face at best treading water and at worst stagnation.
Andy Crooks     Posted 17/09/2009 at 09:49:54   Comments (8)

Etuhu

Just wanted to raise something that has been bothering me. What are the FA going to do about Etuhu?

After what Adebayor did on Saturday, why has nothing been done about Etuhu. Every time I see the challenge it gets worse; he should be charged because unlike Van Persie, Neville will be out till Christmas.
Doug Walters     Posted 17/09/2009 at 07:46:27   Comments (10)

Why Not Play Seamus Coleman?

This summer, Moyes signed young promising right back Seamus Coleman. So far this season he was given a squad number and has featured in the reserves.

Moyes now has a crisis at right back. Hibbert (suspended), Neville (injured) & Heitinga (cup-tied) are all unavailable and it looks as though Moyes is being forced to play Gosling out of position.

Now I know Gosling has had some previous experience at right back and I expect he can probably do a job there but why not try Seamus Coleman? If Seamus Coleman is the reserve right-back then surely he's next in line? He has little experience but then that will always be the case until he actually plays.

It's not as if Gosling has loads more experience. Personally I would rather see a young specialized right back play unless Moyes feels that Seamus Coleman simply isn't good enough. But then you have to question why Moyes bought him?

Seamus Coleman is the only specialized right-back available so why not give him a chance?
Dick Anderson     Posted 17/09/2009 at 05:38:11   Comments (11)

Lucas Neil

This is probably quite tenuous, but its plausible either way! - Lucas Neil it has been suggested will be having a medical at Finch Farm today...

What is the opinion of this guy? Given our resources, I think he could prove useful.

Obviously his wages (astronomical apparently at the Hammers) might be a problem. Is he injury-prone? And is he better than what we already have??

If it's true, the fact that he turned down the reds (for the money) sits high in my book of positives...
Mark Hill     Posted 16/09/2009 at 16:03:34   Comments (45)

Kenyon Anyone?

I read today that Peter Kenyon is leaving his post at Chelsea.

Now I know that he is not without controversy but he does have a proven record (as did Trevor Birch) where business acumen is concerned.

While he is still wanting to represent Chelsea on a few Uefa committees etc, is it worth Everton having a punt at him and using him, even part time, to help the structure of the club?

Perhaps the board could even use him to help broker a deal with a decent investor...?
Jamie Rowland     Posted 16/09/2009 at 13:25:39   Comments (12)

Defensive duties

So, with Neville injured, Hibbert suspended and Heitinga ineligible, just who is going to be a makeshift right-back for Thursday's crucial game?

I can only think that rodwell will be asked to fill in, which will have a drastic shape-changing effect on midfield with Pip out also. No defensive midfielders?

Maybe an attacking line-up for once...
Jeremy Benson     Posted 16/09/2009 at 04:49:47   Comments (37)

Of Moyes and his sycophants

Sometimes one is so bemused by the actions of David Moyes that one has to resort to theological-mystical hogwash in order to explain his tactical choices. Has Moyes got Glenn Hoddle's astrologers stashed up somewhere? Did he bring in some African shamans instead when he failed to sign M'bia? Did Bilyaletdinov not play because of the ominous cosmic alignment of Saturn and Jupiter? I am tempted to write to the KGB/FSB and have them tap Moyes's phone-line. I am desperate to know what makes this man tick, for what happened at Craven Cottage on Sunday was nothing less than a disgrace.

The first rule of warfare, according to Chairman Mao, is never to wage a war on the premisses set by your enemy. The second rule is to exploit the opportunity to wreak maximal amount of havoc, once your enemy shows signs of weakness.

The strategic genius of Guus Hiddink demonstrated the utility of these revolutionary tactics against the Dutch last year. The Dutch came out expecting to dominate the game, but Guud Hiddink's boys anticipated their every move. And once the Dutch started showing signs of weariness, the Russian decided to set the agenda. It was like watching a Siberian bear tear to pieces its prey. Once it had its fangs inside, it would not let go until all the entrails had been torn out. What we witnessed was the greatest piece of massacre since Hannibal marched across the Alps and violated the Roman pansies at Cannae.

With a small dose of fortitude, we could have killed Fulham off on Saturday. For the second half, I expected to see both Bilyaletdinov and Vaughan come on. One capable of holding the ball and getting our passing game going, the other a spirited lunatic desperate prove his worth. What we got instead was the most unimaginative bunch of central midfielders ever on the retreat, and thus granting Fulham the opportunity to take the game to our side of the park.

Everybody could see what was going on. Effeminate timidity came into play when boldness was called for. One did not need to be a tactical genius in order to see through the game plan of Moyes. Everybody could see what Roy Hodgson saw.

At the end of the day I am a patient man. For seven long years I have stood by Moyes. But unlike some of the sycophantic Blues here, I do not believe in his quasi-papal infallibility.

I know that we are not in a position to compete with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal. But is it too much to ask for some flair and boldness from our team?
Dominic Bobadilla     Posted 15/09/2009 at 17:13:49   Comments (47)

An over-reaction?

Reading some of the mailbag and comment articles on Sunday's game has been something of an eye-opener. A shambolic display was witnessed from a spineless team with a madman in charge who has brought our season to a close before it's even begun.

Forgive me for being patronising but do those making these comments not feel they're a little premature and OTT?

I won't provide another match review; suffice to say I didn't think the first half was too bad (not great but not bad). The second half was poor and we were undone badly and despite a spirited attempt we didn't really have enough ideas to get back on level terms.

My problem with the criticism levelled at Moyes (and that's where the blame has been laid by most) is the hysteria and exaggeration in the comments.

Why did he play Hibbert and Osman? Because Bilyaletdinov and Heitinga have had two and one days training respectively with the team so far. It's not unreasonable to resist throwing them straight in and at half time seemed a fair decision. Several of Everton's most successful Moyes signings have started their careers with the club as substitutes.

Why bring on Heitinga for Neville? A fair question. For me, it would have been unwise to weaken an already over-run midfield by bringing on Bilyaletdinov or a second striker and Fellaini has rarely showed the discipline to play as a defensive midfielder. In retrospect, Moyes probably made the wrong call, especially given how Fellaini played when he came on, but it was nowhere near as much of a no-brainer as some have made out.

Why persist in playing Pienaar on the wing? How many 5 foot 7 inch slightly built central midfielders are there in the Premier League? I can't imagine why with Wigan treating players so gently. The Premier League isn't international football. The latter affords more space and less physicality. Furthermore, until recently our most creative outlet was the Pienaar-Baines combination which is only flawed by Baines's poor crossing.

I don't dispute we lack ambition at times nor that confidence is low and Moyes often makes substitutions too late but on Sunday he tried to switch things round with the two crocked strikers, two untried signings and one inconsistent Fellaini available to him and it didn't work... but it wasn't as though he sat impotentily and tried nothing. In fact, Fellaini nearly made an instant impact.

Oh and as for the madman who has brought our season to an end before it's begun. Check Tony Marsh's posts from September last year. There's plent of them singing much the same tune and last season turned out alright in my book.

It was a poor result and a disappointing performance but at least give Moyes a chance to bed the new signings in and show his hand for the season before you start on the same old Moyes rhetoric.
John Holmes     Posted 15/09/2009 at 14:25:38   Comments (19)

Confidence Is Key

Watching Everton this season, it seems very apparent to me that there is a profound lack of confidence on the pitch. We can point the finger all we like and look for scapegoats but sometimes the biggest problem is blindingly obvious. In this case I believe the 6-1 defeat to Arsenal sowed seeds of doubt into the players' minds, whose heads had already been turned by the Lescott saga.

Last season, churning out the results breeded confidence in itself, we never had to rely on a Plan B. We were well set up and solid, never had to worry too much about our style of football. We invariably nicked a goal and the defence did the rest.

To my mind, Premier League teams are becoming more adventurous all the time; by trying to grind out results constantly we are putting so much pressure on the defensive side of our game that it seems to have affected our offensive play. To this point, I believe that David Moyes needs to play his part by giving the players the freedom to play and by reminding them that they are good players still.

I'm no fantasist, I realise that we have our limitations... but we also have players who have shown in glimpses that they can play. The likes of Pienaar, Arteta, Baines, Rodwell, Fellaini, Gosling, and Saha — not to mention Bily and Heitinga — are as good as anyone outside the big 4 when they get the ball down and play.

However, when confidence is low, players often become fearful when in possession, hence the hoofball as they are quick to want to get rid of it! At this point in time we need the footballers in the side to be brave enough to take responsibility on the ball. Young Jack Rodwell is already doing this — much to his supreme credit.

Now it's up to some more senior players to step up to the plate and show us that they can play once more. Until this happens, confidence will continue to dwindle. We might grind out the occasional win against poor opposition but that won't paper over the cracks long term. Come on lads, show us what you are really made of.........COYB
James McLaughlin     Posted 15/09/2009 at 11:30:13   Comments (0)

The ref-olution starts here!

Just noticed on news now that our game against AEK will feature 5 match officals!

http://www.sos1878.co.uk/everton-news/goodison-to-witness-5-official-ref-olution/

It's a good move I feel as there to many dubious incidents that could decide matches but because of no video replays etc most of them just become something to talk about after the game... if only the ref spotted that one!

I wonder if this will take off in the Premier League?
Anthony Doran     Posted 15/09/2009 at 13:47:25   Comments (6)

Not Moyes's Type of Player

For me, the most notable press release of this season were the comments from JP Kissock upon leaving Everton — "I wasn't Moyes's type of player, he doesn't have many flamboyant players in his side".

This for me sums it all up. Having just read Tony Marsh's latest post, I can't say I agree with it all, I think DM did a great job when he first came, but I do believe that there is a time to change journeymen for flair players, players who can change a game — Everton have Arteta but stick him on the wing, Pienaar — likewise on the wing and Neville in the middle.

Christ, what is wrong with a little bit of flair..?
Rupert Sullivan     Posted 15/09/2009 at 07:35:29   Comments (13)

Confidence starts with the manager!!

As someone who has regularly defended David Moyes as a good (not great) manager with sound integrity and dignity and obvious ability to generate excellent team spirit, I now find myself in a difficult position.

I firmly believed last year's shenanigans were totally down to a Board that had not supported David Moyes with one penny of their own money, nor shown any capability to generate any through proper management of the club, which I believe caused Moyes to seriously consider his future and consequently made it difficult to motivate the team.

And to be honest, when I look at this season 10 games in (counting our friendlies and Europe), I see a similar pattern... but this year I am more concerned.

I see a very frustrated manager who feels he has been given a major mountain to climb without any ropes. His honesty is his weakness because I believe he wears his heart on his sleeve and therefore cannot contain his frustration from the players. Unfortunately, as I stated last year, if he cannot do his job in those circumstances, he needs to go — and quickly.

Before all the brickbats arrive stating he was won 3 LMA awards and gotten us places in the league we could only dream of with what he has to spend — I TOTALLY AGREE.

This board at EFC are the worst in my lifetime of 50+ years supporting the Blues — both in terms of having no money to support the team, and more importantly, in terms of having the ability to generate those funds — let alone the constant aura of deceit that emanates from the corridors of power...

However, David Moyes's job is to manage whatever is thrown at him; while I did not expect a top-six finish this year, I certainly did not expect to get only 3 points from four games — at least two of which we'd have won last year.

Now a lot of you may say, "It's too early to panic"... but I see three problems:

1. A classic Moyes sulk leading us to crash out of Europe and the League Cup because I believe psychologically he has geared things up to put the Board in a position of "Back me or sack me" come January; he clearly knows this squad is inadequate to challenge on all 4 fronts.

2. We're all pinning our hopes on Jags, Arteta and the Yak to come back as good as new... whereas anyone who has experience of the type of injuries they have had will tell you that they will be unlikely to find the same form this season and may not fully recover for next season.

3. I believe that the Destination Kirkby decision will cause such a rift between fans and fractions within the club that concentration on the pitch will be hard to maintain.

I would like to close in saying this is not an anti-Moyes rant in fact I see Moyesy as a managerial equivalent to Big Dunc— only he doesn't have the tattoo on his arm. I truly believe he loves the club and supporters but is getting worn out by the constant bullshit upstairs.

If THAT is the case, as I said earlier, he cannot sustain his position and needs to do the honourable thing. I think that may be a short-term disaster but we cannot continue to build the club on sand... and in my opinion, sand is where it's at right now.
Jay Harris     Posted 14/09/2009 at 20:50:15   Comments (18)

I Hate To Say This...

Let's face it — the performance against Fulham was about as spineless as it gets for Everton; compounded by strange decisions from Moyes and what now appears to be a bad ligament injury to Phil Neville.

However, it's the Neville injury I'm going to focus on. Obviously, in what is a threadbare squad, we don't want players injured for the Blues in any circumstance.

Saying that, if I'm being brutally honest with myself... I'm sort of, well, not "happy" he's injured, but it DOES force David Moyes to break his unbelievable selection policy involving Neville in midfield.

Of course, the fact our manager decided to throw a right-back on in his place isn't encouraging (given Fellaini was sat on the bench, and Cahill available to drop into midfield for Yak to come on upfront, or about twelve other more obvious answers that most managers would have done — but thats by the by...), but overall it does free up a selection problem that was caused by the signing of Bilyaletdinov.

Neville was never going to be dropped... ever — even if the majority of Evertonians would have screamed for a midfield of Pienaar, Rodwell, Cahill, and Bilyaletdinov.

Perhaps "Captain Pointsalot" being out for a while could, in a perverse way, be beneficial for Everton this year.

It couldn't get much worse!
Lee Kidd     Posted 14/09/2009 at 17:42:58   Comments (8)

Finch Farm's Prognostic Failings

Has anyone else noticed EFC's frequent inaccurate medical press releases? Am I alone in wondering whether EFC have an adequately skilled team to diagnose injuries and issue reasonably accurate prognosis to the press?

Have you ever wondered what EFC's done to deserve the recent catalogue of serious injuries (unfortunately all affecting our most influential players)?

The latest injury to Capt'n Pip is another cruel blow but early fears were allayed with reports of it being "nothing too serious — just a deep gash under the knee". Another — "won't require him to go to hospital"... Just 24 hours later, we hear the worst-case scenario is that he could be out for 6/8 months.

Mikey has a setback in his recovery and Baz says his return has slipped by 6 weeks but now it's reported he may not return until the New Year... How come we get so many contrary press releases? Does it give confidence in our medical expertise at Finch Farm?

Lots of questions but I have no real answers as I'm not qualified to comment on medical matters but I would suggest EFC give greater thought to medical bulletins in future. Sometimes it is better to wait a day or two and have better information before commenting...

"The patient is has a serious injury"
"We are optimistic the patient will recover"
"The patient is dead"

All such press releases within just a few days are hardly likely in inspire confidence.
David Bryant     Posted 14/09/2009 at 16:49:20   Comments (9)

Pienaar in to the middle please

Ok, so there are only four games gone but we have only 3 points when we should realistically have at least 7, and we are 2nd bottom. Time the fans started to pick the team for a change!

At the game yesterday it was woeful. Big punts up the pitch, over and over again. But what else is there to do? There is no-one in the middle that can play and create.

Rodwell bless him wants the ball, and is happy to recieve it. He does everything to get it on to the floor. But sometimes I just wish he would boot it one like Hibbert, he does have a tendency to dilly dally. Lack of experiance granted.

Ok we have our injuries and when Mikel comes back surly he slots into the middle, but his come back has been delayed, and we need to start winning.

My solution is Steven Pienaar. He is the only player who seemingly has the ability to carve out a chance from nothing. Now Bily will have had a full uninterupted week with his new team mates this week, so he can go onto the left (when Mikel comes back its a given that Osman takes a seat on the bench and Pienaar moves to the right). But Pienaar for me must, must move into the middle. PLEASE!
Craig Taylor     Posted 14/09/2009 at 16:55:50   Comments (8)

Make hay while the sun shines

Ok so the table does not look too good and 3 losses from 4 is not the best... however, I will add a little bit of optimism to the current situation. Our squad is clearly the strongest I can remember in a long time (maybe since the 80s....cue debate) and one of the strongest in the league (behind the top four), we have quality and selection headaches all over the field and once the players begin to gel and Moyes discovers his favoured 11 we will climb the table, we are too good and deep not to.

We knew Moyes was not going to throw the new boys straight in at the expense of Osman/Hibbert yesterday, they must prove themselves first and I think, although we all want to see them asap, that this is the right way to do it. I firmly believe that in the next 7 premier league fixtures leading up to Man U and Liverpool, we will prove our worth as a top 6 contender as we make hay against Blackburn, Portsmouth, Stoke, Wolves, Bolton, Villa and West Ham. I predict we will be no worse than 7th by the time United come along.

I am fairly happy with the team (unheard of for me), I will be more happy when Arteta and Jags are back (little worried about Distin and Yobo at this point I admit), fantastic to see the Yak yesterday, shame about Neville but we can absorb it... time to push on and go on the type of run we enjoyed so much last season. COYB
Richard Williams     Posted 14/09/2009 at 12:22:26   Comments (32)

Dismal, Disappointing and Downright Frustrating.

In a side which to all intents and purposes lacks the necessary creativity to break into the top four, and in which the creative players that do exist are played out of position, and thus stifled; what should a fan expect when a couple of new signings arrive who ‘give us options’, one of whom is a goal scoring midfielder who specialises on the wing; where at present the team has a central midfielder out of position.

The display of hoofball at Fulham, where Davey fielded neither of his new signings was an absolute disgrace. Everton are crying out for a bit of pace, a bit of movement and a change to the predictable route one crap the fans are subjected to on a weekly (weakly) basis. Pienaar, Fellaini, Cahill – midfielders who play regularly at international level, yet when they don the Royal Blue of Everton they seem to lose all movement and all ingenuity.

OK, so this is a little bit of an exaggeration, but I am sick to the back teeth of watching teams come to Goodison and play delicate little balls to their forwards, who hold off Everton defenders and then make an opportunity. I am fed up with seeing Everton players not able to pass a ball on the ground, not able to pass and move – Everton play with 5 midfielders for fuck’s sake, how can the middle of the team be so rigid, so unable to adapt. The only delicate little pass I saw all game came from Fellaini (through the defence to Pienaar) and he had started the game on the bench!!

Apparently the only ‘option’ DM wants is to be able to have his expensive new signings warming the bench. DM needs to change his thinking if he is to make Everton successful.
Rupert Sullivan     Posted 14/09/2009 at 07:00:57   Comments (22)

Moyes & Substitutions

Firstly let me say it is out of the norm for me to criticise Moyes. I am a fan and have been since day 1, but I can't defend him today.

There are a load of things we could criticize today, but I'm focusing on one: Moyes's lack of ability to change a game using substitutions. Sometimes I think he tries to be too clever. DO THE SIMPLE THINGS. MAKE THE SIMPLE DECISION!

Strikers are there to get goals so forgive me if I'm wrong, but is it not just plain strange to take off your only recognised striker when you're needing a goal... only to leave a team full of defenders and midfielders on the pitch? Don't get me wrong, Jo was nothing special today, in fact he was far from it, but to me taking Jo off and bringing Fellaini on made no sense.

Yak and Vaughan were on the bench, plus our new £10 million plus attacking midfielder winger! He may not be ready yet, but he has to be worth a punt when we are producing lack-lustre displays like this.

We have to be careful with the Yak I know and he did come on in the end, but time and time again during the Moyes era I find myself getting annoyed at his sub choices or most of the time by the fact that he leaves it too late to make a change or doesn't make any at all!

And what did he say at half-time to the lads? Some pep talk that must have been eh!

Try something different Moyes... two strikers perhaps?? Is it really that scary?
Ian Ankers     Posted 13/09/2009 at 18:09:18   Comments (42)

Neville Injury

Phil Neville's injury looked a bad one and we could do without yet another long-tern casualty.

Nevertheless, it wouldn't be the first time that Moyes is forced to do the right thing in adversity. A central midfield of Neville and Rodwell is woefully short of ideas and Moyes would never drop Neville of his own volition. I hope this forces him to move Pienaar inside (where he is sensational for SA) and give Bily a go outside.
Steve Mink     Posted 13/09/2009 at 17:20:33   Comments (11)

There's no 'I' in Team.

After another truly woeful display in the 2nd half against Fulham and the subsequent postings by equally irate and disappointed Evertonians I felt compelled to write in. I personally feel that there is no "I" in team, the "I" in this case.... invention.

I believe that the constant singling out of players is often overlooking the most startling problem which is the lack of threat we cause to the opposition because of our one dimensional approach to nearly every game and the square pegs in round holes syndrome clearly affecting the managers team selection and the players themselves. The lack of an alternative style of play is what holds us back from being a great team rather than a good one (I say nearly every game because I did witness Fiorentina at Goodison where we absolutely battered them!).

My main gripe is that we do not have a style suited to the majority of players in the squad (jo or Saha as lone striker, Osman right winger, Hibbert attacking full back, Pienaar left winger, Neville and Rodwell together as centre mid, Arteta right midfielder, Anichebe right midfield, Felliani attacking mid, Jagielka def mid/right back I think that is sufficient but I do have more!!), or if we succumb to an injury to an influential player (Arteta) there is nobody who can fill in adequately and we plod along with "what we've got".

I would not be surprised if almost all Evertonian's could pick the team and tactics that our manager would deploy each game, which begs the question how many football managers would also guess this and counteract them? Mr Moyes will say that the problem is a lack of numbers in the squad, I would argue that it is a lack of invention in tactics which addresses this lack of numbers which he has known about for over 5 years!

Don't even get me started on throw ins! back to basics David, an overhaul in thinking is needed and players have to be dropped from the squad all together until they improve dramatically.
Andrew Laird     Posted 13/09/2009 at 16:28:28   Comments (7)

A lack of ambition?

Having just watched a sickening defeat to Fulham, I feel the need to comment on what I percieve as a lack of ambition from our manager when trying to win games. I feel that today's game highlighted problems that have become indicative of the way we as a team approach matches.

I think that today Moyes could have done more as a manager to win this game. Firstly he should have made sure the players had their eye on the ball, rather then the sloppy manner in which they approached the second period. Now I recognise the players were also at fault for this but it is Moyes's job as manager to ensure that complacency does not set in at half-time.

Another problem that was evident in this game (and greatly frustrates me in most of our games) was Moyes's refusal to leave anyone up from free-kicks and corners. This in effect means that our defenders have no option when defending but to hoof the ball aimlessly back to the opposition; thus instantly putting ourselves back under pressure. Wouldn't it make more sense to leave a quick player like Pienaar (who offers little defensively) up the field as an 'out-ball'? I was particularly frustrated in added time when, despite being a goal down, no-one was left up to counter-attack.

My main concern with Moyes has always been his seeming inability (or refusal) to make changes that everyone else would see as obvious. Granted over the last two seasons his use of substitutions has improved but his replacement of Phil Neville with Heitinga today was quite frankly ridiculous. I believe that Moyes wasted a perfectly good chance to show ambition and go for the win by bringing on a more attack-minded player e.g. Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, etc. Instead he chose to bring on a defender and play him in midfield. Evidently Moyes was looking to secure a draw before going for a win but his plan backfired and we ended up having Heitinga playing out of position as we slumped to a loss.

If Everton are serious about challenging for Europe this season, Moyes has to be more adventurous and we have to seize opportunities like the one we had today.
Joseph Kelly     Posted 13/09/2009 at 15:17:00   Comments (42)

A long hard season ahead

In all fairness what were we expecting, the warning signs have been there from the start of the summer, this shit board not being able to attract/stump up any investment for Moyes.

We needed more than just the three players we got in, but this board does fuck all to get any funds in summer aftrer summer after summer and then that twat Elstone comes out and says weve spent around £30M! Who you trying to kid you fool! Make no mistake we were lucky against Wigan to get the 3 points. They could and should have buried us!......

It's a long hard season ahead for us.
Kunal Desai     Posted 13/09/2009 at 15:18:57   Comments (42)

Fulham: No Saha

Saha is out this afternoon

Jo or Yak to start? What do you reckon? I’d quite like to see Cahill up front with a team of

Howard
Heitinga Yobo Distin Baines
Neville
Bily Rodwell Osman Pienaar
Cahill
Karl Masters     Posted 13/09/2009 at 12:33:04   Comments (112)

Cracks? £19m v £30m

Are the comments from Robert Elstone about spending £30m, and David Moyes's £19m figure, the first signs of cracks appearing in the Goodison dam? Why would DM raise this point after the video blog on the Daily Post's website? Has he just planted a seed on his routemap to Man Utd? I hope not.
Tony I'Anson     Posted 13/09/2009 at 04:47:50   Comments (9)

Versatility

I think this is a very weird point.. but entertaining nonetheless. But has anyone noticed how obsessed Moyes is with versatile players? We probably have more versatile players than anyone else in the league i.e Heitinga, Neville, Jagielka, Arteta, Osman, Pienaar etc etc.

I'm not saying it's completely the worst thing, because obviously versatile players are useful, but this links to our small squad, where Moyes clearly buys versatile players to cope, almost as a substitute instead of simply buying more players. I mean Moyes's comments about Heitinga acting like two signings in one because of his versatility worries me.

I may seem naive, because of the current financial market bla bla bla we can't buy much more players, but there are plenty of cheap players for cover that would a job. A player like Zenden would do alrite, still a decent enough players on the left. Michael Ball even for left back. Basically, Moyes is stubborn in his philosophy for players as in they always have to be young and upcoming. I'm not criticising any players Moyes has bought, because most of them have been fantastic, but we do need more players, if we wanna acheive in 4 competitions, and cheap alternatives or loan signings would be good as cover, instead of focusing on players who are versatile all the time. Do people think I have a point or am I a loon?
Ben Jones     Posted 10/09/2009 at 20:11:03   Comments (23)

Why can't they be honest with us?

Rumours flying around that Arteta has suffered a knock on his knee and it is feared that he will be out until March!!!! Maybe idle gossip but maybe that failed bid for Krancjar will come back to haunt Moyes?
Jamie Carroll     Posted 10/09/2009 at 17:42:01   Comments (24)

The one that got away?

Given how we have performed so far, and bearing in mind the players qualification (or non-qualification) to play in the Europa Cup, which player do you think we would have benefitted from most of those that we were linked with prior to Sept 1?

I think we would have been extremely happy if we could have bagged Banega. He looked real class against Sevilla and slotted into midfield alongside Arteta I think we could have had a diamond and a real touch of quality.

What about Naughton, Van der Vaart, Huth, Wheater, Hutton, Delph??? No, not in the same league as Banega. We will finish 2 places lower without him, but I will still settle for seventh??!!
John Brennan     Posted 10/09/2009 at 17:24:32   Comments (18)

Back on the road again

International break over and it’s back to the grind of gaining points in both EPL and Europa League. Fulham are first up and a stroll through a park to that quaint ground by the river is always enjoyable although the results have been less than enjoyable apart from 1966-67 and 2008-09.

Part of the buzz on Sunday will be that we have new players on board, Distin, Heitinga and Bilyaletdinov; will all three be in the starting line up? I doubt that. Distin seems a given but due to the short time the manager will be able to work with the other two due to the said international break I don’t think our manager will chance disrupting the team much at all.

Away from home and points on the board being preferred to performance I expect little change from the tried and trusted 4-5-1 to start and maybe with a bit of tinkering in the mid-field the players who took to the pitch v Wigan look the likely ones with our two new men on the bench.

At some point in the game I expect the ‘New Two’ or maybe just the ‘New One’ to be introduced, hopefully at 2 up and not 2 down, as I am sure the manager will have thoughts on using Bilyaletdinov v AEK, European expertise and all that, but with Heitinga being ineligible for Europe he may just ask him to watch and learn and the Blackburn game being the one when our line-up gets a new look.

This should ensure plenty of commitment from the players on view at the Cottage as competition for places enters their minds and comfort zones will need to be abandoned leading to a feisty high tempo extravaganza with three points to boot. Having witnessed the ‘Moyes Way’ since he came to us a starting line-up of – Howard, Hibbert, Yobo, Distin, Baines, Neville, Rodwell, Fellaini, Pienaar, Cahill and Jo would not surprise me.

A bench of Nash, Bilyaletdinov, Heitinga, Osman, Saha, Gosling and Wallace has things looking a little less threadbare although knocks and strains taken on international duty or training may yet play a part so it may be best to just turn up, see who are in the Blue, let the manager and players earn their corn and just cheer them on.

I see no reason for the Blues not getting all three points just as the Fulham fans will see this game as one of their home bankers, so let battle commence and come the final whistle may the walk through a park be a Bluenose sing-a-long.

UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley     Posted 09/09/2009 at 19:30:45   Comments (11)

The Captain's Role

The new arrivals in the transfer window, particularly that of Johnny Heitinga, got me wondering about the role of Phil Neville in the team. After the Naughton bid had failed, I took the lack of transfer activity in the right back position as an indication that Neville may be moving back to that position for the rest of the season.

Our Captain probably only has two or so seasons left in him at this level and most of us would agree that against the very best of opposition he is probably not good enough in central midfield. He played very well there last season but I think this was more due to the influence of Arteta next to him as once he was injured Neville’s performance level has dropped. Heitinga is unlikely to be content with being fourth choice centre back and is most probably going to be right back hopefully first choice ahead of Hibbert.

This means that if Phil Neville wants a place in our team he will be contesting for one of the two deep lying central midfield spots presuming the usual 4-5-1 is being played. With Arteta a certain starter when he returns this leaves Neville jostling with Rodwell and Fellaini / Cahill for one place. Add in to that mix Osman who will probably be moved inwards of the flank with the arrival of Bilyaletdinov. Osman is very good in the centre of a five man midfield as he shown in the past. I for one wish that Moyes had played him in there next to Rodwell to provide the creativity that we have lacked so far with Arteta’s absence.

Anyhow this makes Neville’s place in the team extremely dubious. Is he only in there because he is the captain? As much as I love the guy in the long term future if we want to progress surely he can’t be making our starting line up in any position other than right back? He has never let us down in any position he has played including centre back, shows more passion than the majority of players and has been a wonderful captain. I would like nothing better than to see him get his hands on a trophy with Everton this year.

In the near future, however, I feel for the good of the team Moyes has to bite the bullet and appoint someone else as Captain and use Neville almost in the way Beckham is for England — to provide experience and cover.
James Martin     Posted 09/09/2009 at 19:16:29   Comments (24)

Message From the CEO

I have just been reading an article on the Everton website By our CEO Robert Elstone and was left a little confused! According to what he has said we have spent the money raised from the transfer of Joleon Lescott + an additional £5mil. So let me get this right:

Bilyaletdinov £10M
Distin £5M
Heitinga £6M

So that's £21mil. I heard we received around £24M for the sale of Lescott, now surely if we have spent the money from Lescott's sale + £5M that would be around £29M?!?!

Just wondering how the CEO has come up with these figures, or is it just a way of making fans believe there is heavy investment going on in the squad!
Steven Smith     Posted 09/09/2009 at 12:45:53   Comments (50)

Looking for Clarity

Can somebody (who really has answers) please clarify some points for me. I'm not looking for a whole load of people's opinions, I'm looking for facts:

1. It keeps being said that Kenwright is preventing and/or has prevented the sale of the club. Is this even possible? If I had lots of money and wanted to invest and he said No, then I would do what everyone else does and leak it to the press. Isn't there something written into Company Law that means when certain criteria are met then a business has to be sold?

2. It has been said several times in this forum that individuals KNOW of an investor that tried to buy the club but then ran into problems with Kenwright. When pushed for details, the accuser always seems to hide behind some form of confidentiality. Does anyone on here have any actual evidence? If so, what is it?

3. Why is staying in Walton so important? I was born 50 yards from the stadium. I lived there for 25 years or more. It's a hole! The pubs are minging, the transport is shocking and there is no scope to gain external revenue streams from anywhere. People keep going back to redevelopment and talking about building a hotel onto the stadium. Why? So that it can be partially full 25 times a year? If you weren't going to the match, why would you want to stay in a hotel in Walton?

4. Who holds the fans to account? When the AGM was cancelled it was in direct response to a threat to keep calling EGMs. Was that the reason? I don't know but I do know that, by making stupid threats, the club now have a reason!

As I said at the beginning I am looking for people who really do have answers not unfounded opinion.

NSNO
Gareth Prytherch     Posted 09/09/2009 at 07:03:22   Comments (52)

TV Debate & Joint Stadium

Is there no one in Liverpool capable of banging heads together and getting agreement to a joint mega Stadium in Stanley Park — state of the art... and worthy of the combined achievements of both Everton FC and Liverpool FC, and our aspirations for the future?

It would be a tremendous statement of the City's self esteem and really visionary for the future.
David Kenrick     Posted 08/09/2009 at 20:57:58   Comments (35)

Confidence (or lack of it)

Only about 24 hours ago I posted an article about the Fulham game on Sunday. It was deliberately upbeat because I thought it would be interesting to see what the response would be to a piece that shouted about how we should go gung-ho against not exactly the strongest Premier League team.

There seemed to be from most of the respondents a cautionary approach — viz, Fulham are no mugs, they have a good record against us at Craven Cottage, lets try and get a point by keeping it tight etc.

Have we really dropped this low? What is wrong with adopting an adventurous approach against a team who finished below us last season?

They don't have much in attack, and if Moyes, the boys, and us supporters have any ambition or confidence, surely we should be looking for more than leaving the cottage with a tedious 0-0? Has this great club and its tremendous fans drifted like autumn leaves from the top of the tree to humdrum mediocrity where we go away from home setting out our stall not to lose rather than try to win? Mr Moyes often says in interviews on TV that he wants to win things etc etc. We will win nothing without CONFIDENCE and the WILL TO WIN!!!

Surely, if we want to get anywhere we have to start lifting our eyes to the stars instead of worrying about not losing or "keeping what we have got". I have to say, I found it quite depressing reading some of those responses. Negative, defensive, staying in our shell, refusing to come out and attack. Isn't it about time this club sought not only to lift the spirits of its supporters but also to show the rest of the football world that we have confidence, power, attacking ability, ruthlessness, flair, fire and ambition!!??

Perhaps we won't be sneered at and always placed last on Match of the Day if we show most of the qualities outlined above!

Over to you, Mr Moyes. I, and I am sure most of our supporters have had enough of this dour, dry, safety first approach, it seems to have seeped into the bones of too many of our fans. Thank you for the Cup Final and the good finishes in recent seasons, I am not ungrateful, but there are plenty of crap teams in the English Premier League — show that we are better than them, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum!!!
John Brennan     Posted 08/09/2009 at 14:56:33   Comments (20)

The Booing of Lescott

What are the opinions about David Maddok"s article — "The booing of Joleon Lescott during at Wembley on Saturday shows ordinary fans have had enough of hypocritical footballers"

Not to bring up a touchy subject again, but I didn't know that Lescott was booed during England's friendly at the weekend and and so I thought this was interesting. One of the few positive commentaries that I've had the chance to read.
Chris Wilson     Posted 08/09/2009 at 11:30:10   Comments (21)

Time For James Vaughan To Depart?

Once again, there are rumors circulating that James Vaughan is injured. It's been over four years since Vaughan first burst onto the scene, breaking goalscoring records as the Premier League's youngest scorer.

Since then Vaughan has suffered one injury after another and his contribution to the team has been restricted to just a handful of appearances. In fact, of the last two seasons Vaughan has managed just two goals for his club.

If one of the senior strikers like Saha or Yakubu had scored just two goals in two years almost all the fans would be screaming for blood but, because of his age, Vaughan is excused. Don't get me wrong, I think Vaughan has shown some promising moments in his stuttering career and he could be a good player but all that potential is wasted if he can't get fit to play.

At what point do we cut this injury-prone player away?

At what point do we question paying his wages every week for almost no contribution to the team?

At what point do we move Vaughan out of the way so younger players like Baxter and Agard can get a chance?

I like Vaughan but the simple hard facts of life are if you are not medically fit to undertake your job then you have to be removed from that job. Two goals in two seasons is simply not good enough. In fact it's pitiful contribution from a member of our already small squad.

You can't blame Vaughan for his injuries but surely this season is make-or-break for the player and so far things are not looking good.
Dick Anderson     Posted 08/09/2009 at 08:23:18   Comments (24)

Respect The Fans Campaign

The road to Wembley, the chance to walk down Wembley Way, to look up at the arch, to sing with your family, friends and fellow fans to support your team in a final, that's the pinnacle of every football fan's dreams. Unfortunately that is a dream that doesn't become reality for many fans due to poor ticket allocations. The Respect The Fans Campaign is callng for a fresh look at allocations at Wembley, whether for play-offs, Carling Cup or FA Cup — a fresh look which aims to give the best allocation of tickets to reward the real football fans and the real football family.

Earlier this year, Everton had two trips to Wembley for the FA Cup; unfortunately, a mere 31,825 tickets were allocated for the semi-final and a far from acceptable 25,000 for the final, not even enough to satisfy the demands from season ticket holders. Because of this poor allocation, thousands of Evertonians missed out on our first trips to Wembley in 14 years.

Despite these dire allocations, thousands of Evertonians who couldn't get tickets through official allocations managed to attend the game, often after having spent hundreds on touted tickets. If you were one of those who missed out on one or both of our trips to Wembley because of the allocation, if you had to go to touts to get a ticket, and if you were one of those who had segregation problems in the 'neutral' seats, please share your story with us by emailing info@respectcampaign.com

If you would like to support the campaign we have an online petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/facup71/petition.html.

If you have any ideas for the campaign, please contact us on the email address above or visit our website for more details.
Liam White     Posted 08/09/2009 at 08:07:43   Comments (0)

Tribunal process in deciding fees

Just read that the football tribunal has set the fee we should pay Leeds for Luke Garbutt at an initial £600k which could rise to £1.5M! This seems substantially higher than the reported £200k that we offered. I'm wondering how the tribunal actually decides on the eventual compensation fee to be paid?

Does the tribunal have any guideline with which they decide the fee? For example, since he's represented the country before, does his fee go higher by "x" amount?? I would be interested to know if anyone has any insight into this process.
Marcus Choo     Posted 08/09/2009 at 07:42:34   Comments (4)

Fulham Funday

Now that everyone has been stimulated by England's crushing victory over Slovenia, can we keep the momentum going by defeating Fulham on Sunday? Should Moyes really go for it and seek goals, goals, goals??? Why not??

They don't have much in their attacking locker, and I think I am right in saying that Johnson is unavailable for them. Moyes could also show Bily and Heitinga that he doesn't intend to take any prisoners when we are dealing with teams outside the top 4.

No cautious tinkering with only Jo marooned up front, and too much back-passing and square balls. We have a decent record against Fulham and I firmly believe if we are serious this season, we should be beating teams like them home and away.

Surely, it's now time for Moyes to throw off that all-too-familiar cloak of cautiousness and start rubbing the noses of our supposed inferiors into the mud. I don't want Bily to become quickly discontented and disgruntled at our lack of attacking resolve. He is a Russian, remember — Urragghhh!!! (their equivalent of Banzai)!!

Moyes said after the Burnley defeat that he thought things needed freshening up a bit; well, here is his chance with an injection of new blood. Come on, David, let's see some attacking flair right from the off, and please don't stick one man up front on his own... Let's see you "freshen things up" by being bold and launching waves of attacks.

Their defence is probably better than their attacking ability, so all you have to do is get our players in the right frame of mind to prove our attack is better than their defence. Then we can go to Athens for My Big Fat Greek Winning, washed down with retsina and ouzo.... COYB.
John Brennan     Posted 07/09/2009 at 13:56:57   Comments (17)

Crooks in a Crooked world

Seems like Everton are getting a reputation amongst the lower leagues for doing exactly what seems to rile David Moyes so much — we have been poaching youngsters (Crewe have now joined in with Leeds according to article in The Mail).

It's always happened and probably always will (as I can't see how they will ever stop players from being tapped up) but it just goes to show you that every club is screwing someone else over at some point other. Everton may be relatively skint compared to the top half of the Premier League but we still have enough dosh to annoy a few people further down the pecking order and to me this makes Moyes's stance over Lescott even more hypocritical/bizarre.

Of course we dont like seeing our best players leave but face facts — everything boils down to money... no matter what league you are in.
Iain McWilliam     Posted 07/09/2009 at 11:24:07   Comments (27)

A Captain's Role

With the arrival of Johnny Heitinga, the role of the team captain Phil Neville has suddenly become less clear. In my idea of the perfect team I envisaged Phil playing at right back for this season and possibly next before at last giving way to father time and his inevitable coaching role.

For that reason, I thought Moyes was saving his transfer budget by not bringing in a right back once the Naughton bid had failed. I cannot see Heitinga being fourth choice cover at centre back so he is more than likely going to play at right back and in all likelihood first choice with Hibbert as cover.

This means, if he wants to play in the starting 11, it has to be in midfield. With a fully fit Arteta a certainty for a central starting berth, this means Moyes is almost forced into playing Neville in the other deep-lying role and invariably then a 5-man midfield. In my opinion, he played well there last year, although I think Arteta made him look good as his performance dipped once he became injured.

One thing is for certain is that he is not good enough to be playing centre-mid against the Sky Four. With the likely removal of Osman from the flank to compete for a central spot, this makes Neville, Fellaini, Rodwell and Osman all in competition for one spot. You could make a case for all three of them potentially being better than Neville in that position. Before all the Osman critics crawl all over this I think he is very good in a five man midfield in the centre and I would love to see him providing the creativity next to Rodwell in there before Arteta returns. I think the three most Evertonians would like to see would be Rodwell and Arteta with Cahill ahead of them.

Where does this leave our captain? It would be very harsh to drop him as captain but looking forward he probably should not be in the first 11 if we wish to improve. It saddens me to say it as I think he’s a great Captain always giving his all, willing to play anywhere and never letting us down in any position. I would love to see him lift a trophy as captain of Everton hopefully this season and then progress him towards that retirement/coaching role he deserves.
James Martin     Posted 06/09/2009 at 18:01:14   Comments (11)

As Time Goes By

I was just reflecting on all the Football Manager type posts suggesting Yobo's garbage, Cahill is past it... let alone the amount of abuse some other players have suffered on here. It made me think back to earlier this year when we were all boasting we had the best 'English back four" in the country and clean sheets were the norm for us. It is amazing how nothing stands still for very long these days. So what changed?

Well, for a start, Jags got a serious injury and I do believe we're missing his leadership and determination more than we should. Secondly we had Tony Hibbert playing out of his skin until the injury, since when, he's been a shadow of the peaks he reached. Pushing Osman out to wide right also caused some problems because a defensive midfield player he definitely is not.

Now Lescott has gone, although I do believe he was a better left-back than centre-half... particularly without Jags alongside him. Bainsey has also fallen away from the high standards he was setting at the time which demanded an England call-up.

I was delighted we got Heitinga but a little concerned about his recent form. I think Distin is a "safe" option but will not contribute the goals nor the pace that Lescott did. However, he should be the steadying influence at the back.

Joey Yobo will, in my opinion, settle down a bit more with Heitinga and Distin alongside him. Bainsey has to get over the departure of his "buddy" Lescott and get back to concentrating on his own game. So hopefully we will establish the best "non-English" back four in the Prem this season and time will move on again.
jay Harris     Posted 06/09/2009 at 14:46:48   Comments (16)

Should Pienaar play in the middle?

Did anyone watch the Germany vs South Africa game?

Steven Pienaar has a very good game. Again the question should be asked why Pienaar isn't playing in the middle for Everton? Why is DM playing this player wide? He looked like the only class attacking option for RSA.
Ricardo Humphries     Posted 06/09/2009 at 06:33:55   Comments (17)

James McFadden

Scored again today and he got me thinking about his time at Everton and Scotland. Seems to be a major contrast. He was very infuriating at Everton, as he seemed to be useless bar the odd wonder-goal here and there. But for Scotland, he was like their Diego Maradona. The man they could count on to get them out of trouble or win games for them.

If he had shown half of what he can do for them for us, he'd have been a fantastic player. I can see why Moyes bought him, when I look at his performances for Scotland, just can't understand why he couldn't transfer his international game to the Prem. Strange as players usually find it harder at international level.
Trevor Thompson     Posted 05/09/2009 at 17:04:22   Comments (20)

Loyalty

I read with interest the recent article regarding Tim Cahill. It set me thinking about what I believe is one of the fundamental weaknesses in David Moyes's style of management. Great managers — and in my view, Alex Ferguson is a prime example of this — know exactly the right time to move a player on. They can see before anyone else that a player is slightly past his best and they are ruthless enough to cash in before it is common knowledge.

Tim Cahill has been magnificent for Everton. Break his game into individual components and it's hard to see what he offers. The sum, however, has been different and special. Whether he is past his best, I don't know.

What I believe, though, is that David Moyes will not sell him in time. He has shown loyalty to Bill Kenwright when, in my view, he should have spoken out. He has been loyal, I believe rightly, to Tony Hibbert, and wrongly to Leon Osman.

I didn't criticise Joleon Lescott for leaving because I believe that loyalty works both ways, and had we been offered an even more ridiculous amount than we received then the club would have been right to sell him. I don't think David Moyes would have done so. Can a manager be too loyal? Yes. Loyal or ruthless — what would Evertonians rather have?
Andy Crooks     Posted 05/09/2009 at 12:48:25   Comments (42)

Gary Stevens - modern full back

I saw a clip of Gary Stevens being interviewed on the Everton website and must say how eloquently he came across. I am surprised he does not appear on local/national media.

He is a player that would have done well in today's game — a natural athlete with great pace. He perfected the art of running back to catch up opposition wingers and sliding the ball from them. His crossing was a bit erratic though so Tony Hibbert is following in the tradition!
Rob Sawyer     Posted 05/09/2009 at 08:31:05   Comments (22)

The World Cup Effect

Another thread on this site got me thinking on what effect the 2010 World Cup (June 11 to July 11) might possibly have on players' performances during this season.

Will we see players who are regulars in their country's squads and those whose teams have qualified, playing warily towards the end of the season to avoid getting injured?

For Everton, this list of players could include (depending on qualification): Howard, Cahill, Yobo, Yak, Bily, Heitinga, Pienaar. Will these players give 100% for matches in February, March, April? Will they care about the FA Cup/Europa Cup ?

Or, will this create a positive motivation for fringe players trying to break into their respective national teams — players like Baines, Jags, Rodwell, Anichebe, Saha, Arteta, Hibbo, Ossie (OK, I made up the last two up — couldn't help myself!).

Of course, this is not only going to effect us, but more so the top teams (Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City, Spurs, Villa) than the lower ones.

For this reason, may we actually see some surprises in the league this season?
Ajay Gopal     Posted 04/09/2009 at 15:22:10   Comments (7)

Cup/League Trade-off?

I first posted most of this in response to Richard Dodd's 'eighth would be great' article, but it got lost amongst some fairly straightforward Dodd-slagging, where no-one seemed to take account of the three cup competitions we're in. These, let's face it, are our only chances of silverware in the immediate future. I would be interested to know the full range of opinions on it.

Eighth might be realistic, it might even be acceptable, but I don’t think even fifth would be ’great’ having done it for two years running already.

Man City are obviously a big factor from the last two seasons, and Spurs and Villa will be in and around the top 8 again (to be honest, we’re beginning to form a ’next four’ if you look at recent league tables) so anything lower than eighth will be massively disappointing.

However, with neither Spurs, Man City or Villa playing ’Europa League’ (I still struggle to call it that) football, there is now an additional factor. I think part of this debate could centre around how much doing well in three cups would make up for a worse league position. Imagine we came 17th and win all three cups. Is that any good? What if we come 7th and get to three semi-finals, is that any good? 5th and a Cup Final, any good?! You get my point.

So where do people stand could we have a great season, coming eighth, if we did well enough in the cups? Also, are any of the cups more or less important than the others?
Mike Allison     Posted 04/09/2009 at 12:24:17   Comments (22)

Bily's Position

According to the O/S:

"My position is left-sided but not as a winger, I come inside then go outside. Last year I played on the right — I prefer the left but it's not a problem, from the right I can cut in and shoot more than from the left."

Thank god he knows the difference between a wide midfielder and a winger...
Dan Brierley     Posted 04/09/2009 at 07:12:59   Comments (39)

A possible chant for Bilyaletdinov??

Right fellow ToffeeWebbers, I know this may be slightly jumping the gun due to the fact that young Bily hasn't really had a chance to show us how good he is but if he turns out to be a (not so little corker!) could this be a possible chant for him?

To the tune of Danny Boy:

Oh Bily boy... the ball, the ball is calling,
So lift your head and turn towards that goal,
Oh Bily boy... we love it when you're scoring,
So show your best and go score us a goal.

Just a thought guys, would love to hear your responses, or any other ideas.

COYB
Luke Berry     Posted 03/09/2009 at 23:21:18   Comments (26)

Chelsea Banned From Signing Players Until January 2011

Fifa have banned Chelsea from signing new players until the transfer window opens in January 2011 after convincing Gael Kakuta to breach his contract with Lens when he joined in 2007.

Interesting really, but will they have the strength in depth to cope with over 12 months of domestic and European matches without any new additions. It seems at the moment that they have the strength in depth to survive this ban, but the situation could change dramatically if, say, Ancelloti decides he can't cope with his hands tied and not being able to develop his own team. Or if any number of players decide they want to leave within the space of the next 15 months.

FC Sion of Switzerland were similarly punished in 2008 for the same crime. So has Fifa now thrown down a new baton? It certainly looks like it.

What scope is there now for other "tapping up" incidents? Regarding our club, is there a case against us for how the Luke Garbutt situation was managed. Ken Bates has demanded the Premier League and FA take action against us for our procurement of the player in the summer. God help us if we were handed a similar ban.

Alternatively, what of the Man City tapping up of Joleon Lescott? Imagine all that Middle Eastern money having to stay in the bank for 15 months because they couldn't break any more transfer records.

Interesting times ahead me thinks...
Lloyd Sloan     Posted 03/09/2009 at 13:00:11   Comments (23)

Eighth may have to be great!

Rising to the challenge of Gavin Ramejkis, I felt I ought to insert a little realism into the debate as to this summer's transfer activity.

Regardless of the soundbites emanating from the Club's admitedly non-too-reliable Press Office, the 'window' just closed was always going to be a difficult one to negotiate. Most of us realised that, in spite of a very successful 2008-09 season, the income generated was hardly going to do much more than allow the Club to tread water within their own depth.

Promises from everyone — even elder statesman Sir Philip Carter — that transfer action would occur sooner rather than later never rang true to me given past form and the need to delay commitment to transfer payments and wages until the first tranche of Sky money was in the bank.

Additionally, the likelihood that Destination Kirkby is a goer necessitated the need for prudence in up-front expenditure, given that the Club will have no scope for prevarication once a positive decision on the new stadium project is handed down.

So, in every respect, the Lescott deal was a life-saver in just the same way as the Rooney saga was six years ago. Player wants to move, manager disappointed, player gives him gip, manager faces up to reality and goes on to play hardball and manipulate the situation so as to extract the maximum fee possible from the buying club.

Result: Money to spend as the market closes! Nothing unique to Everton about that scenario is there?

So where does this last minute excitement leave us in the Premier League pecking order? Only a fool would predict that any one of the Big Four will suddenly collapse to a half-way position. But they will certainly be challenged by big spenders, Man City, Spurs and Villa!

David Moyes has shown over and over that he can get our team to punch above their weight but we must have the sense to recognise that Messrs Hughes, O'Neill and Redknapp are no slouches either and may well be about to upset the established order.

I know I'll get panned for saying it but in our present circumstances I truly believe that a finishing position of eighth would be a real achievement and accepted by all but 'the militant Marshes' as just that.

Were that to be delivered along with a little sucess in Europe and the Cups as well as seeing us move towards gaining a new home, eighth would certainly be great and we could be confident that Blue Bill's search for investors would at last begin to bear fruit!
Richard Dodd     Posted 03/09/2009 at 05:54:00   Comments (41)

Two teams better than One?

So, like many of you, I waited in vain for the influx of world beaters on transfer deadline day; still refreshing the BBC website at 10 pm in the desperate hope that an under the radar move for Defour might materialise. It didn't.

However, in my eternal push for optimism I have decided that recent comings and goings do mean that, for the first time in a while, we have enough players to put out two seperate teams both potentially capable of challenging for the top 10. This would be my team to face Fulham:

Howard
Heitinga Yobo Distin Baines
Pienaar Rodwell Fellaini Bilyaletdinov
Saha Jo

I believe separating Baines and Pienaar is not ideal but productive as they are they can be overwhelmed physically and both Heitinga and Bilyaletdinov are 6 footers. As Pienaar can play on the right, that should add balance.

For me, Rodwell and Fellaini has to be the central pairing for the future. Two young athletic lads both able to pass and tackle well on their day (if both prone to mistakes... they're still developing). Jo and Saha for me provide the best combination of finishing and guile... and I think its high time we started playing two proper strikers together.

So that leaves (with those returning from injury):

Nash
Hibbert Jagielka Duffy Neville
Osman Arteta Cahill Gosling
Yakubu Vaughan

Duffy obviously a bit of a punt but still in my opinion a team that should more than hold its own with the majority of Premier League teams. And with promising youngsters such as Baxter, Wallace, Agard, Garbutt, Akpan and of course Anichebe able to step in too, I believe we have some decent depth barring a glut of injuries.

Perhaps the more pertinent question though is wether our strongest team is capable of challenging for the top 4? Even an optimist like me will struggle to give a definitve positive answer to that. If Bily and Heitinga bed in rapidly and prove to be the players Moyes hopes... If Arteta, Jags and Yak get back quickly to playing at their very best week-in and week-out... If we can avoid injury and fatigue to key players... If Rodwell carries on his exciting development to become the lynchpin of the team... Then maybe... just maybe...

Buts it's a lot of ifs.
Sam Hoare     Posted 03/09/2009 at 05:52:29   Comments (12)

Central Pairing

Ok, two new signings, both of whom will surely be expecting a starting spot means that finally we will have some genuine selection headaches.

Since the close of the transfer window, I've been trying to pick my first eleven (4-4-2, not 4-5-1, please, please, not 4-5-1) and it's not that easy, as I always seem to leave out a player that I would prefer to be in. Defence isn't too difficult - though I don't know for sure what position Heitinga will be chosen for by Moyes. But let's say it's a straight swap for either Hibbo or Yobbo, problem solved.

Again, I'll presume that Moyes will play Pienaar & Bilyaletdinov out wide. I'd have Saha and Yakubu up front. Only two spots left but a choice of Cahill, Rodwell, Neville or Fellaini (not considering those unavailable. That's an argument for another day). So who will be our first choice central pairing?

To get the debate rolling; I'm tempted to go with Rodwell & Fellaini. We haven't seen the best of either yet but both are good midfield passers (give Fell' a chance) who can also contribute going forward. Cahill is unlucky but could challenge for one of the striking positions. I'd be happy with that line up.
Mark Fitzgerald     Posted 02/09/2009 at 17:39:42   Comments (53)

Pride or Pounds?

Firstly I have no problem with Lescott, a non-Evertonian, leaving us for the money. I do, however, have one with any Blue giving up his "boyhood dream" to join anyother club for the cash and/or the medals.

I still think Wayne had other pressures to leave but someone on here said anyone who wouldn't change jobs for double the money is deluded and I got to thinking. I WOULD leave my job for double the money, but I wouldnt leave Everton. Am I alone?

Say you're a valued player at Everton, on, say, £25k a week, and another club, any club, offered you double to leave. Would you?
Mark Murphy     Posted 02/09/2009 at 08:24:17   Comments (68)

Pissed off... or not?

I once worked for a company that used to pay a yearly bonus to all its employees. In one particularly good year everyone was expecting a bumper bonus. The company itself had intimated that it was going to be a "biggie." As it turned out, the actual bonus paid, while "substantial" was not what had been expected. It lead to what became one of those oft quoted lines, "How can (name of company witheld) give you six grand for nowt and still manage to piss you off?"

That's how I felt yesterday at around five past five, after initially hearing "We're not finished yet." I couldn't help (and at my age I should know better) but feel a surge of excitement and expectation course through me as my imagination ran riot for the "biggie" to be announced right at the death. After all, we'd only spent the money we'd got from the sale of Lescott hadn't we, so surely there must be at least another £10 million or so... so who was it going to be?

It didn't take long for the next noteable quote to come out of the club "We're done, we couldn't complete the other deals..." (or something like that).

It took even less time for a stream of insults and the like to fill Everton forums, slagging Bill Kenwright right left and centre for "failing" to complete those last minute deals and calling him some VERY unsavoury names.

I've thought about it since and still can't make my mind up whether I'm "out of order" for feeling disappointed in getting three new signings of a level of player who could prove to be very very good for the club. Or whether I'm "right" to feel disappointed, having been led to expect more.

I ask myself if it was MY business, and I was going to have to go further into debt in order to provide £10 million or so to strengthen the team, whether I would stop after spending an otherwise unexpected windfall of £22-24 million? After all, the team's now been strengthened BEYOND what I first thought we'd be able to manage... isn't it?

So... are you pissed off or not?
Brian Williams     Posted 02/09/2009 at 07:08:10   Comments (31)

Hibbo and Heitinga both in the starting eleven?

With the addition of a new wide player, and the impending return of Arteta, I bet Tony Hibbert is breathing a sigh of relief. He has kopped a hell of a lot of stick this season, and to be fair has not really done anything to justify it. The wide midfielders have a job to do in covering their full back, and the right side has been lacking in this for a long time. You watch how many times you see Pienaar back there supporting Baines in comparison.

Hibbo's crossing and general wing play is no worse than Leighton Baines's in my eyes. And for me, he is still a first team right back ahead of Phil Neville. What I am getting at, is that I would rather see Heitinga deployed in the defensive midfield role, rather than at right back. But I must admit, I know very little about the guy's distribution ability. Does anybody know enough about him to give an idea on how effective he would be at defensive midfield?

The key now is for Moyes to find the optimum formation and balance for the side. If we can get Saha into more shooting chances, I feel he is bang in form at the moment. And with Yakubu coming back, there is genuine competition for places up front now.

My ambition is to break the top 4 this season, but this is also the ambition of a team that have just spent over £150 million on some world class players. I think the reality will see us flighting for a Europa League spot again.
Dan Brierley     Posted 02/09/2009 at 03:07:36   Comments (19)

Phantom bids

I've lost count of the amount of times this summer that I've read or heard about suspected 'phantom bids'. These are supposedly cases where a club makes a bid for a player, or tries to create the impression that it has made a bid, when it has no intention of trying to complete the transfer.

There is not to my knowledge a single documented case of a phantom bid in football. I would suggest that this is because they do not exist other than within the paranoid delusions of a few football fans. There is practically no reason why any club would want to do such a thing. I know the theory is that it's to appease the fans, but this is nonsense. Fans judge transfer dealings by results. Being linked with a star player isn't going to 'appease' them if the player isn't bought, as every club will be only too aware.

The theory becomes even crazier when applied to cases where the club is known to have made an actual bid. We're asked to believe that a club would commit costly resources (wages of the people involved) to putting together a bid and entering into negotiations without the intention of seeing it through?!?

Out of interest I just did a Google search for phantom transfer bids. I found nothing of substance. A large proportion of the entries were from Everton FC fan forums. This is absolutely no reflection on the probity of the people who do Everton's transfer business. David Moyes may have made his share of mistakes, but his professionalism and integrity is unquestioned within the game. The idea that he would be party to a phantom bid (which he would have to be, as he controls Everton's transfer policy) would be laughable if it wasn't so insulting.

The Banega and Heitinga bids are cases in point. The evidence for Heitinga being a phantom bid was that Everton 'knew they couldn't meet his wage demands'! In fact, of course, Everton were simply aiming high, being ambitious, trying to bring in players who could improve the team. Moyes has revealed that some players rejected us this summer over the personal terms being offered — that doesn't mean that we weren't serious about bringing them in.

As for Banega, others have demonstrated that we could not have obtained a work permit without the agreement of both club and player; so aside from the considerable effort involved in doing this at a time when Moyes was desperate to strengthen the squad, it was also a bid that came close to succeeding.

So why are Everton fans so paranoid when it comes to transfers? I think we have to look no further than the issue of Kirkby. Kirkby has destroyed whatever trust may have existed among a large section of fans for the club in general and Kenwright in particular. More than anything else, it's fuelling a poisonous climate of cynicism and mistrust in which all too often paranoia triumphs over common sense.
Nick Wall     Posted 01/09/2009 at 20:08:18   Comments (25)

Heitinga context

I wanted to put the Heitinga signing into context with activities of other Premiers League Clubs. Heitinga has close to 50 caps for the Dutch National team, which he has captained; he was the Dutch Player of the Year in 2008, he is just 25, he can play several different positions. Everton want him as a right back but he has played for Holland — the no.3 ranked team in the world — as a central defender, he has played Champions League football for Atletico Madrid, he is Ajax — schooled and trained. He cost between £5M and £6M.

Glen Johnson - who is a good right back, regularly in the English national team - cost Liverpool £17M. Spurs spent £9M on Houghton, £7M on Naughton, £8.5M on Corluka , £7.5M on Bale, £3.5M on Assou-Ekotto and 3mill on Kyle Walker and originally 3.5mill on Chimbonda — that's £41.5M on full backs, none of whom have Heitinga's pedigree.

Wayne Bridge cost between £12M and £14M....

Second piece of context for all of us who get very frustrated at lack of movement from Everton on transfers. This is what Uncle Bill and Father Dave had to convince Johny Heitinga to do. (Ask yourself if you would do the same in your job situation.)

He played in Spain, for a team in the Champions League. He lived in Madrid — one of the great cities and climates of Europe. He had moved his family from Amsterdam to Madrid and they had settled and were happy. He paid less than 25% in taxes, he almost certainly had a higher wage at Atletico then he will have at Everton. We only introduced the possibility of moving away from Madrid to him a couple of days ago. We convinced him to come to Everton - I don't think we should underestimate the convincing skills of Mssrs Kenwright and Moyes.

Well done — now let's try Johny and Pienaar down the right, Bily and Bainsey down the left, and see how that looks.
Graham Brown     Posted 01/09/2009 at 16:30:27   Comments (41)

Transfer Deadline Day

Personally, I do not think we will sign anybody. By the sounds of it, we have deals there, and Moyes has hinted at them, for example at least 2 new faces, Heitinga and Banega. Except with hours to go, we have no real chance of signing them anymore. I don't think we will sign a goalkeeper, even Moyes wouldn't buy a player we don't need. But with no midfielders or defenders going cheap, I can't really see us breaking the bank at the last minute this time round.

I do think our main problem is not transfer kitty, it is wage structure. Players like Heitinga would sign for us if we could offer wages that broke ours but I think the board know this is not wise in the long run. A year down the line, players like Yakubu, Pienaar and Arteta could ask for bigger money or they will leave, as in what seems to happen at other clubs.

To be honest, I don't think that is viable as new players would then ask for what our maximum wage is just to sign, and leave us unable to sign in the future. I would like to see players the quality of Van de Vart and Heitinga line up against Fulham, but without investment they will never be able to compromise wages to our level.
Christopher Ashton     Posted 01/09/2009 at 09:46:09   Comments (234)

Attracting Quality Players

Whilst we all know that Kenwright will struggle to find £10-£15M required to acquire 1 or 2 decent players every July/August, what will always be a stumbling block to get a player from any English Top 6/8 club, Spanish Top 6/8, probably Top 4 German or Italian is our salary structure.

We pay at least £20-30k/wk lower for the above clubs standard players, ie Heitinga today (wants £80k/wk) and I suspect also Bentley, and Krancjar would also fall into the same issues, if we had ever got close to approaching one of them.

Moyes can get good Championship, Portugese, Russian, Belgian, and older UK players, et al, within our salary structure but it means invariably that they are not immediately playing at the Top 4 level we need to progress. Under Moyes’s management I’m sure they will develop over 2-3 years into Top 4 level (Lescott, Arteta, Jags) but we need top players now and we cant afford their demands.

If we tried to increase our salary structure by an extra £25k/wk for our Top 20 players this would mean an extra £26m on our salary bill and hey we just break even at the moment — and Kirkby won't provide the extra.

I don’t know the way forward in all honesty, without a sugar daddy we need to add 50% to our ticket prices and suddenly get an £10-20M a year from our hopeless Commercial Dept.

It’s the one area I think will lead to Everton’s future demise. We will I think be able to get capital in from selling players as do Man U, Liverpool, Spurs etc and we had better get used to that — Arteta or Rodwell next year £20M? but we cannot attract or keep Top 4 players at our average salary payments of £40-50k/wk.
Mike Oates     Posted 01/09/2009 at 09:20:58   Comments (16)

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