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Walk the Walk

By Terry McAllister :  05/08/2010 :  Comments (35) :

The summer off-season has been ticking along for some time now and the new Premier League campaign is drawing ever closer.

The World Cup has come and gone with Everton stars enjoying varied levels of success as personel too have come and gone since the last shots were fired at Goodison Park on May 9th.

With the passing days and weeks Everton have quietly gone about their business with only the surprise departure of Dan Gosling causing any ripples in the media pool.

The additions of Jan Mucha, Magaye Gueye and Jermaine Beckford are the only notable additions to the squad and contract negotiations are ongoing with both Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta.

While the club are no strangers to not recieving the appropriate recognition from the national press and media, is staying under the radar this summer a good thing for David Moyes' men?

Having just scratched up a 6th win from 6 pre-season games in the brotherhood cup against Chilian namesake CD Everton, the team have returned to Finch Farm in the same vein as when they left towards the end of last season.

If Everton can hit the ground running this year ? something they have not managed in the previous two ? then following the form tables since last Christmas, top 4 could be but a taste of the Toffee's potential.

The clubs immediatly around Everton while recieving the lions share of attention will also carry the lions share of expectation. Clubs such as neighbours Liverpool, Megabucks Manchester City and Harry Redknapp's Spurs are all under the microscope but do any of them really have a hand as strong as the Blues?

  • Liverpool have a new manager who while being new to the club himself, will have to make do with a group of players who are largely average at best, left by the outgoing manager.
  • City though star studded as their squad may be, could not only be a paper tiger if their David Silva's go the same way as their Robhino's but could also struggle to work as a team if all the new pieces don't click right away.
  • Tottenham are in the worst position especially if they do go on to qualify for the Champions League. So many extra high intensity matches will without doubt heavily impact their league form especially since they have thus far failed to strengthen their squad, so expect them to slip down the table.

None of the above have the advantages that Everton can enjoy. As well as being out of the spotlight, if you were to read the cards then they could be about to set imaginations alight amongst their supporters.

No European calendar to tax the numbers which proved so costly last season; being the best squad at the club in the last 10 years and being by far and away the most settled group of players of all the teams looking to succeed this season could all play a huge part come May 2011. The current roster of players are at the same time the best yet since the managers arrival in L4 and the most underrated.

Everton have the capacity to prove a lot of doubters wrong this season, the chance to ram the words down the throat of opposition fans and the media who dismiss them as not being a threat or a big mover.

The mood amongst Evertonians was one of excited expectation when one thought about the coming season before the World Cup and there should be no reason yet for that mood to change.

All of the usual Red Herrings will still apply to any modern Everton team that flies higher than the media darlings, such as 'hard working team' and 'punching above their weight.' (any gritted teeth praise and means to not acknowledge Everton as an exciting team that Sky or other media outlets can muster.)

Perhaps the best attitude to adopt for Evertonians is to mirror that of the club itself? To pay no heed to what others say or do not say and just let the games do the talking when hostilities recommence. To allow those who are going to talk their time to talk and to wait until the serious business gets under way to show them just how foolish they are to write off the boys in Blue.

Don't mention it too loudly, but Everton could just be the best placed they've ever been to shake up the established order.

Nobody expects Everton to be a major player this coming year, nobody out there knows what they are... but we do, don't we?

Reader Comments

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Martin Mason
1   Posted 05/08/2010 at 14:58:53

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Terry, I agree with you. I'm incredibly positive about this year. I have no massive expectations because we are under resourced compared to some but at the ridiculous end we could be champions. We could also be 8th and still have a good season.
Sam Hoare
2   Posted 05/08/2010 at 15:33:48

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I am also super excited.

My worry is that serious injuries to Arteta or Fellaini i think will weaken our chances of a top 4 assault considerably.

However no doubt that we are better set than ever before. Excited to see what Moyes first team is going to be as he really has options this season.

Much as top 4 would be incredible even top 6 would be a great achievement with the competition in the Premiership this season.
James Mullarkey
3   Posted 05/08/2010 at 16:17:18

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Terry...I would love to believe wholeheartedly but something will go wrong. I love Everton but so many times we have failed to deliver.
Yes, the squad we have looks very very good. Fellaini, Arteta, Johhny, Pinaar, Cahill, Rodwell, Billy...the midfield looks stronger than most if not all in the Prem. I think about Man U and find myself asking have they got a better squad than us? Its seems mental to even give it a thought! However I also ask why we let the RS beat us twice last season. They had their worst season for years and yet finished ahead of us. We always fall short. Is it a lack of self belief too much of being the underdog?
You are right ofcourse.City, Spurs,Villa,RS etc.. they get all the praise so that might just work in our favour.
But lets not get carried away.
Gerry Quinn
4   Posted 05/08/2010 at 18:15:05

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Last seasons lessons will have been learnt.
I am praying for the day when Everton upset the whole shitty EPL / Sky / BBC applecart...and I really do believe that day is not too far away now. In 50 odd years of supporting the blues, I just feel a strong positive sense that these players are going to go on to give me the pleasure of something great that I've witnessed before. Don't ask me to explain myself, I just feel it!
Jon Cox
5   Posted 05/08/2010 at 17:51:27

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I see this season as being a defining moment in our clubs recent history. Either one of two things will take place.

The first is that we have a season which everyone is contemplating and we either win the title or finish in the top four. I personly dont think we will win the league but I do think we are easily capable of finishing in the top three. Which means, players like Peinnar and Arteta will not only stay but players of that ilk, will, because of the CL, will wish to join us.

This is great because guys like Rodwell, big fella, Vaughany and many others will not only benefit, but the club in general will be on a massive upward spiral, finance, confidance etc.

But be warned. Everything has it's opposite and downside. Look at the RS the season before last. They were runners up and thought that the next season they would be kings of the world. How wrong they were.
The following season for them was a complete disaster (hurray I'll have some of that). So it could just happen that things may not work out for us and the end of the season sees all our fave players on their collective bikes and the downward spiral commences.

This is the meterphorical footballing tightrope that Everton is walking upon.

But for all that as in the earlier paragraph I CANT WAIT.

To all you stupid pathetic media fops be aware, you keep Everton under your radar AT YOUR PERIL


Andy Crooks
6   Posted 05/08/2010 at 18:48:54

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Terry, nobody out there expects anything much from Everton but on this site the expectation is amazingly high. I believe we have a decent squad but I just think we need to be more realistic. We are skint, we are mismanaged and we are some distance from being a side that can compete at the highest level. I just cannot share this annual optimism. What has changed from a year ago?
Jon Cox
7   Posted 05/08/2010 at 19:06:33

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Andy, the realism is an age thing. But I still think this will be a defining season.

Colin Taylor
8   Posted 05/08/2010 at 19:18:45

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Andy Crooks I hope you look back at your comment in May and think how wrong was I. We will finish at least 4th and if we get a bit of luck we deserve then who knows I am feeling something just like Gerry [4]
David Hallwood
9   Posted 05/08/2010 at 19:40:56

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Well the bookies don't rate our chances you can get 200-1 with Paddy Power. I'm really optimistic and say, if everything goes right then who knows? But this is Everton, and if there is the remotest possibilty it can fuck up-it will
Ste Lewis
10   Posted 05/08/2010 at 20:25:11

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What has changed since last year?Experience - Bily, Heitinga (hardly hit the ground running last season), Rodwell and Coleman should all have developed from last years football and I expect more from them this time around. Fitness - key players coming back. Togetherness - last summer Moyes' contract was unresolved and the Lescott debacle appeared to undermine team spirit - this seems to be back in the pre-season games I've seen. Confidence - we seem to be believing in our own ability to keep the ball and to win. Were still skint as ever though and the the red shites contract with the devil seems to have been renewed.
Richard Reeves
11   Posted 05/08/2010 at 20:25:19

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A few seasons ago we reached fourth place by having a solid defence, great team spirit and belief. If Moyes can get the defence as strong as that year then we really could be in the top 4 but I actually think we'll do better than fourth.
Mike McLean
12   Posted 05/08/2010 at 20:56:27

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There's a chap called David Gallant who knows the answer. You should ask him. Mystic Meg.
Eugene McLoughlin
13   Posted 05/08/2010 at 21:40:48

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I too hve the feeling that we cold do somhngspecial, maybe notthe legue but win a cup.... Or itcould all go pear shaped as happened before with us! You have just got to remember that don't get over excited or too depressed!!! Actuaclly fuck that go mad "Hibbert scores, we Riot!!!!!!"
Alan Kirwin
14   Posted 05/08/2010 at 22:29:38

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Terry, you say nobody expects us to do anything this year and that was more or less spot on till recently. Our odds for actualy winning the league have shortened from 250-1 (I had £100 on that) to broadly 100-1, with 80-1 being tightest I've seen.

Also been a few of the more informed & broad minded pundits talking up Everton, especially if we hit the ground running (which we have truly yet to do under Moyes).

I never take anything for granted and approach every game a bag of nerves. I recognise all the consistency and gathering confidence could somehow all fall apart when the real games start. And clearly more so if Messrs Arteta & Pienaar slide towards the door.

But something inside is niggling away at me this season. I can't put my finger on any one thing, it must be an amalgam of our league form since Christmas, our performances against the 7 teams that finished above us (we could beat them all), our ever expansive & slicker style of play, and confidence, the availabiity of a full squad.....a FULL SQUAD!!, the almost uniquely settled & tight nature of the squad, and Moyes himself seemingly on the verge of a new stage in his management, more ambitious,more stylish, more confident.

If anything friendlies are where we might have tripped up more than in real games, as we have a more committed up tempo style than most. I thought the reduced intensity may not play to our strengths. I still have concerns about defence needing to be tighter, but that aside there is an unarguable development in our control of games,our confidence and our play.

There is something in the air. I can feel it. I have not felt this "up" for a new season for almost 25 years. If, come next May this team of ours is lifting silverware, and even the title itself, I will not be one of those shaking my head in disbelief.

Let battle commence. This is our moment.
Robert Daniels
15   Posted 05/08/2010 at 23:58:59

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Hi all,

Nice to be back for the start of the new season, and what a season it WILL be,
This is it boys, this is the year.
If it dos,nt happen now it never will.
We may have only added a couple of players ie Mukka, maggy, becks, but Coleman, Rodders, the return of the best midfielder in europe, plus a fit Arteta, the emergance of Johnny towards the end of last season, coupled with the King, big vic, etc, jags, ossie, were do you stop!

Its in the bag, we are back!

I have been one of daveys biggest critics, ie tactics, etc.

I have allways slagged of blue bill for numerous reasons, but were still at Goodison and improving facilluties,
and even a fool could see the potential in this team.

Shades of 84 me thinks, know one giving us a realistic chance of the title !

But we have too many creative players, too many winners, too many options to not win it this year.

200/1 150/1 Who cares this is are year,

Roll on number 10, eat your heart out arry, woy, and the rest, the boys are back in town!
David Ellis
16   Posted 06/08/2010 at 02:47:55

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I do not think we are underrated by the media anymore. Three solid seasons in the top 8 (or higher) and beating some of the top teams last season has finally changed the media's perception of us to match the reality.

We do punch above our weight. Its a fact. Our revenue is less than the other clubs in the "top 8". But

(a) there is now a top 8 rather than a top 4. You can no longer predict who will finish in the top 4 but you can predict that the top 8 will be the same as last year.

(b) we are a fully paid paid up member of that top 8 - and with no Euro commitments and (surely) better injury luck than last two seasons we should be a force.
Andy Kay
17   Posted 06/08/2010 at 02:44:15

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i think a reality check is needed! Premiership title ? top 4 ? Ok we had fantastic results against City( twice ) United and Chelsea , but in we only drew with Wolves , Villa , Stoke , and Birmingham home and away.

I know we had injuries but we still lost at Burnley , Hull , Bolton and Fulham! ( and we wonder why we're not media darlings) We lost at Spurs , drew with Sunderland and West Ham. We never turned up at Old Trafford and lost both derbies! 6-1 against Arsenal opening day!

Now I know we can't win every game and this squad is the best for years, but the above results are only in the past 12 months (as are the Benfica/ Sporting games) and yet we're going to be " under the radar" for the title! How many dropped points last season? Lets not turn into Geordies! Wins at the Blackpools and West Broms of this world win Premierships, not defeats at Burnley.
Still , I can't wait for season to start .COYB!!!!!!!!!

Peter Bourke
18   Posted 06/08/2010 at 03:03:08

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I have to agree with most of the sentiment here. I am as confident as i have ever been in memory.
Maybe its because we have had a good pre-season, i don't know. But from the time the team landed in Australia till now, it seems they are playing for each other and the unity amongst the team is stronger than ever.
The much criticised trip down under may just have given us the edge and lift we need and may well go down as another Moyes masterstroke if we have a cracking season.
Afzan Yusuf
19   Posted 06/08/2010 at 04:15:36

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Same team, same playing style, same grit and tenacity... so what's different from last year or the season before?
This super excited feeling grows when you see the players play with believe and expectation. It is not us who started this feeling.. is the PLAYERS who showed it and then... we believe.

I live thousand miles from Goodison but the "football-orgy" that Fellaini gave me when he turns on Bellamy still stucked in my mind...

How can you cannot be excited with that?

Blame the players for making us excited!!!

Martin Mason
20   Posted 06/08/2010 at 05:18:10

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Don't write Liverpool off this season. Hodgson is a very shrewd manager and Joe Cole could be an amazing buy for them. Their key players are also staying. Realistically I don't see Everton being higher than Chelsea and Man United, Arsenal may also be back to form next year so I will be happy for us to be top 4 and especially to beat and be higher than Liverpool. City must come good sometime too with the talent that they now have available and Spurs will be there again.

It is going to be a hard one
Andy Crooks
21   Posted 06/08/2010 at 08:10:59

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Colin Taylor, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be eating humble pie next May.
Sam Hoare
22   Posted 06/08/2010 at 10:06:02

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I agree with Martin (no. 20). I think annoyingly Liverpool are going to be a hell of a lot better this season. Jovanovic (remember him tearing us apart for Standard Liege?) and Cole are very good additions and if Gerrard an Torres can stay fit they will have one of the strongest starting 11s.

We also can't underestimate the squads and players available to Chelsea, Man U and Arsenal. Obviously City are unpredictable.

One concern is that we have very little experience of title chasing. Of maintaining consistency over the season. This is something Man U and Chelsea have in abundance. The ability to grid out wins even when playing badly.

I can see us getting some great results but also having some very frustrating days when we somehow contrive to draw at home to Bolton or lose away to Newcastle.

Consistency over a season has always been our problem. I hope that the unbeaten streak at the back end of last year has shown that we have learned how to maintain form and grind out results but over season? Who knows?

I am saving the full release of my optimism till after the Wolfsburg game. They are a good team and possibly the only Premiership level team we will have played in the whole pre season. I imagine Moyes will play at least a half with his starting 11 for Blackburn. For me that will be the first real indication of where we are at.
Kase Chow
23   Posted 06/08/2010 at 11:27:07

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We have nothing until we have a solid centre back pairing

Hettinger and Jags are too short to play together

Distin and Yobo make way too many mistakes

I'm sorry to say it but we will leak goals and THAT will be our undoing

UNLESS we swallow our pride and try to buy Lescott back and reunite him and Jags

Yeah I'm waiting for the onslaught to start at that suggestion BUT that's been our most solid centre back pairing since Ratcliffe and Watson and YOU NEED a solid defence to win anything
James Mullarkey
24   Posted 06/08/2010 at 14:51:58

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Martin & Sam, maybe see your point about RS but youv'e not mentioned the dross and there is plenty there. Lucas,Carragher,Aerelio,Aqualani, Ngog etc... Time will tell whether Gerrards that good anymore. Joe Cole slightly above average. How many players do RS have that would improve our squad. 1 or 2 in my opinion.
we have at least 4 or 5 players that are good enough for any squad in the PL.
We shouldn't fear anyone but we should be realistiic. It's all about consistency thats what gets you success.
As for Lescott, he wouldn't be the same player now anyway, his committment wouldn't be there.
Sam Hoare
25   Posted 06/08/2010 at 16:17:14

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James, much as i hate to say it. If they were'nt red scum i'd probably have (if fit) in our team: Reina, Johnson, Cole, Gerrard, Jovanovic and Torres in our team. Not saying that they're great just that they'll be better than last year.

Hopefully Gerrard and Torres will be crocked and burnt out...
Des Farren
26   Posted 06/08/2010 at 16:01:47

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I have heard all the pros before.
Lets consider a few cons:
We have one 4th place in 20years.
We were light years off it last season.
Do you recall the games where we were on top but decided to play defensively and could not hold on?
Do you recall the games where we could not string three five yard passes together.
Do you recall the utter lack of motivation that many players displayed on quite a few occasions?
Do you remember the drawn games that any top four team would have been able able to turn in to wins?
As of today none of us know whether our two most creative players will even be here for the season.

I think I was born negative.As someone said above about being a bag of nerves come every match day.
Jay Harris
27   Posted 06/08/2010 at 17:39:24

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Lets hope this renewed optimism carries into the matchgoing supporters and we roar the Blues on to winning something.

Maybe then instead of the "People's Club" we will become the "People's Champions".

Like one or two others I would like us to beef up the defence before the season starts and hope that Beckford will be as clinical in the prem.

Robert Daniels
28   Posted 07/08/2010 at 00:48:17

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We have lost two games since last october lads!
Thats title winning form.
Dare to believe.
In 84 when the shite were on the wane everyones champions elect were man utd, , and after the five nill drubbing we gave them people started believing in everton!
History has a way of repeating itself,and swop man utd for man city, and this could be 84 all over again!

Ive looked at the oppisition and were better or at least on a par (chelski) all the rest spurs (dont make me laugh) villa (no chance), shite (ave a day off will yer), arse(not tough enough), man ure (apart from the world cup flop that was rooney, name another player thats better than ours in any position, apart from in goal) man citteh , cohesion, team spirit, lescott, ) .
Lets face it fellow blues, who would you rather have , swp or pienaar, barry or felli, jags or lescott, bridge or baines and coleman, arteta or , well you get the picture.

Go threw the everton 11 and swap them with any one in the prem!

saha, becks, arteta, felli, johnny, peanuts, rodders, billy, vic, guye, yak, jags, coleman, baines, cahill, nev, distin, vaughn, ossie, yobo,

we must have eleven midfielders or twelve,

five forwards,

eight defenders and thee goalkeepers,

we have got better players in almost every position than most teams1

And we have belief and team spirit (man city take note),

we have lost two games scince october 09!

whats not to get excited about, put the champagne on ice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nick Flack
29   Posted 07/08/2010 at 17:30:32

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I had a bet a while ago that Everton will win the league before the RS do and I'll stand by it.

When you look around the league, yes, it becomes obvious we're underfunded, but do you really want us to become the next club to be bought out by some bored billionnaire from overseas? I think if you take the stupid money out of the league, our club (along with Spurs and Villa) is one of the best placed to see out the next decade or so in the Premier league. We only have to look over the park to see how close to the wind our illustrious neighbours have been sailing.

This season? The smart money would be on a Citeh, Chelsea, Utd top 3 and anyone of 4 or 5 to clinch 4th. Forget the top 3, we've been priced out and we don't need that kind of burden and lead weight round our necks. 4th is realistic. 6th is more than possible.

Stewart Littler
30   Posted 08/08/2010 at 01:14:42

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Alan (14) - don't you mean you have? I too have. Very unrealistic know, but it's a what if bet. Apparently, the odds dipped following a Talksport show that talked up our chances as a dark horse.
Mike Green
31   Posted 08/08/2010 at 15:28:21

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Howard, Neville/Coleman, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines, Bily, Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar, Cahill, Beckford.

That 11 can get 3rd. And thats a proper footballing 11 too.
Mike McLean
32   Posted 09/08/2010 at 22:00:59

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Hopeful & optimistic .. yeah.

Liverpool's players are largely average?

No. Nonsense.
Terry McAllister
33   Posted 10/08/2010 at 01:21:57

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Reina, Agger, Johnson, Gerrard, Mascherano (who'soff) Kuyt, Cole, Torres.
Those are their decent players, after that you get vastly overrated fodder like Skrtl, Aurelio, Babel and Ngog or players on a rapid decline like Carragher.

They have 4 or 5 good players, the rest wouldn't get on our bench.
David Price
34   Posted 11/08/2010 at 18:48:19

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For all the very good players we have, it's Blackburn away, with Big Sam waiting to destroy any footballing skill shown by us. Come Friday he'll be mentioning some foul play one of our danger men get upto.
This is a massive test on Saturday and with kick off near it's the moment to take one game at a time and leave the end of season predictions alone and focus.
Oh what the hell ! 3rd in the league deffo, there done it now..
Paul Carr
35   Posted 13/08/2010 at 20:38:20

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The good news: We will win something this year. Each year we have progressed and now have a quality squad able to win with style.

The bad news: Moyes will then leave to take over at Man U, and like the Kendall years, our successful era could be short but so very sweet.

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