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Prepare to Be Polarised

By Shaun Laycock :  01/01/2011 :  Comments (34) :

First of all, I would like to wish all ToffeeWebbers (and all Evertonians worldwide) a Happy New Year. In the spirit of goodwill be gentle as this is my first post and please excuse the cliches…..

Having witnessed the high (Man City) and the lows (West Ham & Stoke) this Festive Season, it started me thinking. I want to ?vent my spleen? at Dithering Davie but others are doing this more eloquently than I so, I have decided to go in another direction. We appear to be ?at a crossroads? for the club and we are ?teetering on the brink? both on the field and off it!

I was intrigued by another poster?s claim that Everton fans are polarised by what is going on at the moment. Let us speculate for a moment. Given the choice which path would you like EFC to take…..

Scenario 1 – Circa 2009 - 2011

  • Do we continue with status quo that currently exists. A complete ?c change? in our club from beating everyone around us and not touching the ?sky four? of a couple of seasons ago to only being able to get result from the ?sky four? and nouveux riches last season and this and being in an infinitely worse position for it.
  • Our season starting in January (here?s hoping otherwise we are in a whole world of hurt!)
  • The high paid players who strut around and are seemingly ?not playing for the shirt?.
  • A Manager (note not manger) who has lost his va va voom.
  • A Chairman who allows all sorts of financial skulduggery to occur in order to ?keep up with the Joneses, meanwhile the club is sinking ever deeper into the mire ? ooops, I appear to inadvertently vented my spleen.

Scenario 2 - Now for a utopian vision that I think is very workable for a club with balls. It is an organic top down bottom up approach (whatever that is).

  • We politely say thank you to our over-rated and over-paid players and sell them to the highest bidder. We re-invest our cash in highly talented young players from the British Isles (Conor Wickham, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rodders, Duffy, Coleman, Baxter, Hope, Barkley to name but a few). With our scouts I am sure we can unearth the next Bale, Ramsey etc.
  • We invest heavily in our Academy and Reserve set up and appoint the best technical coaches with balance (attack and defence).
  • Mix these with our senior pros to help them develop as players (Jags, Bainsy, Neville, TC etc etc etc.)
  • Cut our wage bill with a flat rate for first team, reserve team and academy players but highly incentify their contracts with win bonuses so they get paid highly to win not just turn up.
  • A staged re-development of Goodison Park like Gold and Sullivan did at Birmingham.
  • Lastly, invest in a manger (sic — Ed) who favours technical prowess over bullishness and obdurate stoicism. Pay him in the same manner as the players… for winning! (Coyle, Holloway, Jones)

I would settle for mid-table mediocrity with this set up and maybe even doing a Newcastle than the current dross that is being pedalled these days. It is about futureproofing EFC as the financial bubble is sure to burst in the not too distant future. Ask the question, if it was to happen tomorrow would EFC still be here the day after. As I said earlier ?teetering on the brink?

?Lock and Load?, fellow ToffeeWebbers, prepare to shoot me down in flames!

Reader Comments

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Charles King
1   Posted 02/01/2011 at 01:38:44

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I just think Moyes has to move on in favour of ANYONE willing to have a go, even if it's only on a temporary basis like Joe Royle.

I think the players are as tired of the present game plan as many of us. Could be a revelation for all concerned if the team heard a different message, I certainly wouldn't go for wholesale change till someone else had a go.

Roman Sidey
2   Posted 02/01/2011 at 03:06:23

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"Cut our wage bill with a flat rate for first team, reserve team and academy players but highly incentify their contracts with win bonuses so they get paid highly to win not just turn up."

This is an interesting point and could be a good idea. It would surely lead to disunity in the squad as some players would be on more than others for essentially winning the same game, but it would make the higher profile players stand up.

If you look at Coleman's reaction when Fellaini gave him a pass that was all but ameteur as well as impossible to take, it does fill you with some hope that there are players in the squad that aren't going to settle for mediocrity ? this coming from a player who 6 months ago was loaned to a club no-one rated, against the club's record signing. Keep it up Seamus.
Paul Ward
3   Posted 02/01/2011 at 03:25:47

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The hurt Evertonians are feeling now is understandable but has festered into a for and against David Moyes and Bill Kenwright. battle. As I see it, the past should be forgotten and we should dwell on the present view of the team and the club generally. The players are not as inconsistent as we sometimes think because they are playing to a one-dimensional negative plan with personnel changes, but the same negative tactics be it home or away against top or bottom clubs.

The team's performances are quite consistent, good showing draw or win away against the top teams who attack them. The worse the opponents are, home or away, Everton are unlikely to perform because they have no other plan but absorb pressure and break. So when Wigan, Wolves and the other crap teams who have no attack play us, we are lost. The fact they can't afford to buy players or pay Moyes out is very convenient for Kenwright. He may be an Evertonian but he is a shrewd business man and he will not sell until he can make a huge profit. With these two men at the club, Everton cannot be successful.

Derek Thomas
4   Posted 02/01/2011 at 08:36:45

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Scenario 2... and yes you can hear a BUT arriving at a rate of knots.

BUT, this requires men of vision, as far as I can see we live in a Scenario 1 world and the turkeys aren't going to vote for Christmas.

Taxi or should that be...

Paxo for the Board and Moyes, Paxo for the Board and Moyes.
Alan Clarke
5   Posted 02/01/2011 at 09:05:53

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Scenario 2 is easily achievable and is a model every club should be looking at. The problems at Everton are representative of the problem with the modern game. We've overspent and we are being plunged further into debt because of our wage bill. At some point something has to change, not just within Everton but within football. This current set up is just not sustainable.

When Moyes first took charge, I'd hoped scenario 2 was what he was looking to do but he sold his soul signing his ridiculous contract then chasing overpaid foreigners like Yakubu, Fellaini, Bily and Heitinga. He abandoned his philosophy and it has been his downfall. But like someone points out above, it would take the people in charge to vote for change so why would they vote themselves out? Do turkeys vote for xmas?
Brian Lawlor
6   Posted 02/01/2011 at 10:33:39

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"I would settle for mid-table mediocrity with this set up and maybe even doing a Newcastle than the current dross that is being pedalled these days."

Call yourself an Evertonian?

Terry Hayes
7   Posted 02/01/2011 at 10:26:40

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Alllan @5: "At some point, something has to change" ? It has changed: Rooney and Tevez just changed it.
Mike Gwyer
8   Posted 02/01/2011 at 10:16:55

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Paul #3.

Spot on. Yesterday's game was a true reflection of where we are and, when push comes to shove, it is obvious Moyes has no Plan B because he does not have the players who would fit a Plan B.

Opposition teams know how we play, they know where to mark and they are more than happy for us to string 5, 10 or even more passes in the middle or final third of the pitch. They know we do not have a striker who fits this pattern, they mark Cahill (and yesterday they marked him hard) and, hey presto, we don't, can't and will never score.

If you watched the game, you would have seen the Stoke defence take the piss for most of the match, Cahill got battered and Saha was fucked off from the moment the penalty decision got turned down. Make no mistake that Stoke defence knew exactly how and when to play the ref, they knew exactly when to hit Cahill and it worked.

The Stoke forwards were as equally thuggish and got an got a good OG for their troubles.

But back to us, it's not looking good. I could talk all day about Arteta's form, Pienaar fucking off, Plan A to fucking C, Moyes and everything else that is blue. But it's so fucking boring being so negative about a club that I have loved longer than my wife and my kids.

For me, this was a season that had much opportunity for the players, the manager and supporters, that was just lost ? just thrown away.
David Hallwood
9   Posted 02/01/2011 at 11:01:07

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Scenario 2 sounds like Burnley circa 1975, all successful teams should be a mixture of home grown, big money buys and the occasional gold nugget bought for; however, the last one that reflected that was Man U with Beckham, Scholes, Cantona, Keane.

However, if we did buy Conor Wickham (and it's a big if), he would demand top dollar, as would Barkley, and Rodwell, their agents would make sure of that.
Jimmy Hacking
10   Posted 02/01/2011 at 11:10:22

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Good article Shaun with some excellent points but the 2 (pretty major) problems with arguments about culling the "overpaid" players and sticking kids in the first team is that:

A ? This method has never worked for any club to my knowledge in the modern history of the game (someone correct me if I'm wrong);

B ? Even youth team players demand massive wages now, You get 17-year-olds nowhere NEAR a regular first team place who are on £7,500 a week and as soon as they play 7 or 8 games they demand £35,000 a week, so we're back in the same boat very quickly. And if we refuse to pay it, someone else will. If you think current experienced players are greedy, I believe the next generation will take the cake.
Michael Brien
11   Posted 02/01/2011 at 11:27:46

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Shaun ? how about a third scenario?

Somebody in the Everton hierarchy realises that we have a manager who appears to be devoid of ideas, is basking in the glory of past achievements, stubborn in his tactical approach, unable or unwilling to change his tactical approach... or all of those, and decides enough, Mr Moyes, enough.

A harsh view, you might think. Not really just an absolutely frustrated one ? frustrated at David Moyes and his over cautious and predictable tactics. You refer to our over paid players how about our over-paid and over-hyped manager?

US President Harry S Truman had a plaque on his desk with the legend "The Buck Stops Here". I would suggest that David Moyes has a plaque with the legend/motto "The Buck Stops anywhere but here". He is only too ready to accept the plaudits when things are going well, but when they are not he puts all the blame onto the players.

Compare Moyes with the likes of Ian Holloway and Owen Coyle. Regardless of the result, Holloway always backs his players up when talking to the media, as does Coyle. I should imagine the layers at Blackpool and Bolton know that they have a boss who is loyal to them and so they are loyal to him. Moyes shows very little loyalty to his players ? in my opinion, the present squad of players that we have are capable of doing well in the league, and under another manager/coach they would do so. Look at how Coyle has transformed Bolton's style of play, with virtually the same squad of players as when he was named manager.

Our problems can be summed up in two words: David Moyes. He has shown in the last couple of seasons that he is tactically stubborn and conservative, unwilling or unable to adapt or change his tactics. He is losing the confidence of many Evertonians and indeed of the players. We have struggled to score goals this season ? any good coach/manager would try a different approach. For goodness sake, Blackpool have been playing 4-3-3 in some of their matches. Any chance Moyes trying something different ? Absolutely not.

Yak scored goals at Boro, playing alongside Viduka in a 4-4-2 formation. Yet Moyes will not seem to try this; or, if he does, gives it half a game at most before reverting to his usual 4-5-1. If we were drawn against South Liverpool in the FA Cup at Goodison, our over cautious Tartan Ditherer would no doubt play 4-5-1. Napoleon once said, "There are Generals who make good decisions and Generals who make bad decisions, but the worst Generals of all are those who make no decisions." He could have been thinking of Dithering Davey when he spoke those words...

His use of substitutes is a joke ? you can predict with a certain degree of confidence when he make a change and who will come on. Usually he will wait until we have gone a goal down and need to chase the game before he makes a change.

This was not intended to be a "Slag off Moyes" rant ? despite what you may think reading this. I actually believe that the bloke is a good manager. However, it is surely clearly evident to all of us ? and I believe that the players are gradually losing confidence in him ? that Moyes has lost the plot big time. We could sign David Villa tomorrow and I reckon Moyes would ruin him by playing him out of position/asking him to play an unfamiliar role. Moyes has to change or he has to go ? it's as simple as that.

Michael Brien
12   Posted 02/01/2011 at 11:56:58

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Sorry that should be ".....players at Blackpool and Bolton" The subject of Moyes ? as you can tell ? really annoys me. A bit like Tony Blair and the great Election Victory in 1997; I felt let down by the years that followed ? a great opportunity was lost. It's the same with Moyes ? I believe that he has thrown away a great opportunity to take Everton forward. And it I find it absolutely bloody frustrating.
Brian Denton
13   Posted 02/01/2011 at 12:58:19

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Brian Lawlor (#6), the greatest crime in our esteemed editor's eyes is questioning the loyalty or 'Evertonianism' of another poster.

It will be interesting to see if he tells you off for the last sentence in your post.

Colin Malone
14   Posted 02/01/2011 at 13:16:41

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In a nutshell, get rid of Moyes.
Roman Sidey
15   Posted 02/01/2011 at 13:12:23

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I am a school teacher ? a history teacher at that, so I understand the idea we learn from mistakes and try not to repeat them if it can be avoided.

If I was to have students with behaviour or learning problems, I come up with a strategy, implement it, then report the progress to my superior. If the strategy doesn't work, I am expected to come up with an alternative strategy. If my strategies continually fail to be effective, I can bet my right nut that I won't be teaching at that school for much longer.

We end up at undesirable destinations, teaching kids who would rather stab us than learn how to read. Compare this with a football manager. Where should Moyes be managing? Anywhere but here.

Marcus Kendall
16   Posted 02/01/2011 at 13:27:03

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Someone mentioned Joe Royle as a possible caretaker, that would be no help at all.

I know Joe Royle seems to be loved by us Evertonians and winning the FA Cup but more importantly keeping us up in his first season was great. But I'm afraid to say he wasn't and isn't a great manager. I felt let down by his management and his lack of being able to push us on, he was a lot like Moyes in this regard.
Brian Lawlor
17   Posted 02/01/2011 at 14:05:06

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Brian ? what are you? Some sort of snitch or teachers pet. Why do you feel the need to highlight what I said?

Where I come from (which is Liverpool by the way), Evertonians don't want their team to 'do a Newcastle', or lose games or "get knocked out v Scunthorpe" etc. I'm disgusted at the amount of so called supporters wishing for such things. I have every right to ask that question. On a previous article, several posters questioned whether Richard Dodd was an Evertonian. His crime? Supporting his team.

I'm sorry but I can't comprehend some of these people. I've never met a blue scouser who wants us to lose.

Brian Denton
18   Posted 02/01/2011 at 15:07:34

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Brian, I think you misunderstand me. I'm not a snitch, and do actually share your views. I don't want us to be mediocre or to lose games.

However, my dig was more aimed at Michael, because he is not consistent in his approach to nailing those TW posters who badmouth their fellow-Evertonians. For the record (although I don't agree with it) it is a perfectly arguable point to suggest that a short-term loss might be necessary for a long-term gain. To suggest that blind loyalty is the only path a 'real' Evertonian can follow is both self-defeating and insulting.

I hate that expression 'Call yerself an Evertonian' . I can remember seeing Blues actually fighting each other on away terraces because of such accusations.
Brian Denton
19   Posted 02/01/2011 at 15:17:28

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PS Just read your 'where I come from (Liverpool by the way)....'

Do you think there is anything which suggests I DON'T come from Liverpool?
Michael Kenrick
20   Posted 02/01/2011 at 15:53:36

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Brian, Brian, Brian... Oh sorry, there's only two of you.

Still, I'm confused what I need to be doing here. Mr Lawlor throws out the trite Kipperism, and I should verbally rap his knuckles?

If it helps, Mr Denton, I hate that stupid phrase along with the pisshead mentality it conveys... but looking behind it, Mr Lawlor has trouble with fans whose frustrations are, shall we say, getting the better of them.

The sad fact is that losing games is generally taken as a trigger for managers to be sacked, and that is probably the call here. Wanting your own team to lose or be relegated does seem a bit extreme; however, that's the underlying logic. It's an affront to the emotional investment we have in our team... but then so is watching the unmitigated shite Moyes presents us with as 'football'.

So, caught between this rock and hard place... what to do? I have to accept that some Evertonians think this way; they have contributed as much... I don't personally ? I hate to see us lose. But does that mean I should stop them from saying it on here? Mr Lawlor presumably wants stronger action, perhaps wants to stop them even thinking it, and does this by questioning their Evertonian credentials...

All rather childish in my book.
Brian Denton
21   Posted 02/01/2011 at 16:42:50

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OK, Skip!
Shaun Laycock
22   Posted 02/01/2011 at 16:51:33

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Brian, Brian & misunderstand me. Of course I do not wish us to lose or be relegated nor will I ever. This isn't a knee jerk reaction but I have felt this way for a couple of years now. I long for a club with integrity and one in which others look at us with admiration off of the back of something we have created not bought. If my last paragraph is a means to an end and we come back a stronger club for it, then so be it!
Michael Kenrick
23   Posted 02/01/2011 at 17:17:14

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Sorry, Shaun, no misunderstanding.

If you write: "I would settle for ... maybe even doing a Newcastle..." ? that can only mean one thing: relegation.

Are you now saying that's not what you meant?

Means to an end ? that's the problem: Me and Brian find the relegation bit that would involve to be unacceptable.
Shaun Laycock
24   Posted 02/01/2011 at 18:22:18

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Absolutely not, I stand by what I said. If we continue in the same vein then this maybe ultimately what happens!!! I do not wish (and never will) us to be relegated BUT if it did happen then I would accept this IF it was a wake up call that we needed to get the club back on the straight and narrow. The club is dying a 'death of a tousand cuts' from board room down and it may need something drastic to happen to break the status quo!
Michael Kenrick
25   Posted 02/01/2011 at 18:42:23

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So I think we do all understand, Shaun; what I was really responding to was your claim that we have misunderstood you. We clearly have not.

You repeat, "...I would accept this IF it was a wake-up call ..."

The key is WE (and I think I'm speaking for both Brian's here as well as myself) WOULD NOT ACCEPT RELEGATION OF EVERTON FC ? even if it was what "we needed to get the club back on the straight and narrow."

So, no misunderstanding, okay? Disagreement, yes; misunderstanding, NO.
Brian Denton
26   Posted 02/01/2011 at 18:59:34

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Quite. Sorry Shaun - relegation is too big a risk to take. Irrespective of the loss of our proud record of continuity in the top division, a quick return is not guaranteed. It took Wolves 20 years; Sheff Wed have been out for 10 years with no return imminent.

Brian Lawlor
27   Posted 02/01/2011 at 19:17:32

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Correct Michael
Shaun Laycock
28   Posted 02/01/2011 at 19:33:19

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Fair enough, Michael ? it appears we are polarised.
Claire Cavendish
29   Posted 02/01/2011 at 22:40:56

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I quite like scenario 2, but it would need to be achieved over a couple of seasons rather than an all out cull.

Personally I think Dave Jones would be a good person to be in charge during that time. However, I can't see much changing in the short term other than more and more supporters getting disillusioned by our negative tactics and lack of form. Hope I'm wrong.
Paul Ward
30   Posted 03/01/2011 at 03:09:10

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I agree Clair, Dave Jones would be a good choice. Even with the present playing staff his tactics would have far more variation than at present.
Al Reddish
31   Posted 03/01/2011 at 14:45:54

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Imagine yourself to be lucky enough to be playing for the Mighty Blues. You have just joined the club, on a free of course as we are skint and you are making your debut. Very soon you suss out your team mates capabilities and you are in a must win game, as all of ours effectively now are.

Right first of all we are defending and you don't want to give the ball away. Who do you pass too. You could pass it back to Howard but you have noticed you are 20 yards from goal, therefore you decide to look elsewhere as you know from that distance, the chances are it will sail straight past him. Captain Pip is screaming at you to "twat the fucker" as hard as you can, "don't worry where it lands, just clear it, it works for me and I'm shiiiiiiiite!" You rule that one out and also Jags, who is copying the shouts from his captain, (apart from the "shiiiiite") you also feel Jags is on a hot goal-scoring streak, he has 2 own goals in 3 games so instead you turn to Distin or Baines. Good choices. Distin calmly clears it to Baines and he sets off on the offensive. Well done you.

The chance has come to get forward now so you turn to see who is 'on'. Fellaini is there to collect the ball from you. This is a good option, you know 9 out of 10 times he will use the ball effectively (only for someone else to fuck it up). Rodwell is also there in the middle but you are only going to get a sideways pass back to you and as no one has run into space you will be back to square one. Pienaar is in space so that could be a good pass but you know that the forwards are waiting in the box so as you know there will be no end product you turn to look around. Arteta is behind you as the third centre back with a £75,000 cheque in his back pocket weighing him down so you rule out that option. Coleman has made a good sprint down the right hand side and has been causing the opposition defence problems all day, despite no support from Neville and Arteta, so that's where you elect to send your inch perfect pass. Once again, well done.

Finally you are about to cross the ball into the box. You look for Cahill but he is in Australia. Bollox. Now where? Ah, you spot the Yak, but unfortunately he is in the bar with a scouse pie in his hand. Saha is in the box but you don't want to give it him as he has done fuck all to help you all game and he hasn't scored since last Feb/March. Moyes brings on his 93rd minute sub and it's Beckford. You want to pass to him, he has the pace but not the guile needed to put the ball in the onion bag. No other option... you are 40 yards from goal. You draw back your left foot and you fire a shot in pure frustration back at Howard, who fluffs the catch but no worries, that man Jags is there to head it home.

You lose 1-0 and the fans and papers are raving about your performance. You are the new Gazza and an instant crowd favourite. You have the game of your life and Crapello has told the papers you will be in his next squad

Moyes drops you and instead plays Osman next week!

Jay Gray
32   Posted 03/01/2011 at 20:35:34

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Scenario 2 has ben done quite succesfully at another club with a twist. Barcelona used their B team as a grounding for Pep Guardiola. Now I'm not saying that we will have the same level of success, but how about appointing a reserve manager who will take over from Moyes in a few years time. The reserve manager will be given free reign to mould the club youngsters into the next team similar to the manner in which Guardiola brought through the likes of Pedro, Busquets, Thiago et al.
Michael Brien
33   Posted 04/01/2011 at 07:14:43

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Jay - that is a similar type of situation as exists in Holland with Ajax. I totally agree with you that basically briging through our own talent is a good foundation for establishing a successful team in the Premier League. The only drawback I see is the organising of the Reserves. It seems to me that the second string at Barcelona and Ajax play in a stronger, more organised structure than our second team and indeed all the other Premier League Reserves.

For many years there existed 2 reasonably strong Reserve Team League formats - namely the Central League and the Football Combination. What has replaced them looks to be very poor. I think it explains why so many PL teams loan out Reserve team players. In both Spain and Holland their Reserve Formats are stronger, indeed I think some of the stronger clubs have their second string playing in the equivalent of our Championship/Leaue1/League 2. Given this is it any wonder that the younger players in these countries seem to be better.
Phil Martin
34   Posted 04/01/2011 at 15:21:34

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"even doing a Newcastle than the current dross that is being pedalled these days"

Are you honestly suggesting going into metldown and being relegated is better, than being a club which has achieved European football more often than not in recent years?

Holloway -fuck me. Ask Leicester and Plymouth fans about his 'technical prowess'.

Remember the last stylish, highly (over) rated manager with no big club experience we took on? Mike careful what you wish for.

Owen Coyle is the best of what we could possibly attract, but even that's a risk. Either way our fortunes will not change in the long term until there's a shakeup in the boardroom.

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