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Season 2011-12

The Mail Bag

Daily contributions from ToffeeWeb readers
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talkSPORT and Ossie

I was interested to hear Darren Gough including our little Leon in his England XI as an alternative to the Gerrard / Parker snooze fest we've been witnessing throughout the Euros. Mr Gough felt Ossie and Jack Wilshere would be a good 'footballing' central partnership.

Couple of thoughts...1. Darren Gough is a cricketer. 2. At 30 I imagine Ossie has missed the boat for even a cameo at that level.

Personally I don't think there's any doubt he has the techincal ability, but a lack of consistency and his final ball will always let him down.

Just thought it was nice for the lad to get some sort of recognition in that type of discussion, especially on a media outlet that we often seem to get overlooked on.

Ben Hunt     Posted 27/06/2012 at 19:50:14   Comments (106)

Why do England Fail?

Other than 1966 England have never got further than the semi-finals of either the World Cup or European Championships.

So why is it that we can no longer produce teams that are good enough to challenge for the major honours? We are told that the Premier League is the best league, with arguably the best players. Certainly they are the best paid players.

Germany, Italy and latterly Spain seem to be able to compete at the highest level, in fact in Germany's case they always seem to be involved in the latter stages of most competitions. So what do these Countries do different from ourselves?

Is it our style of football, do our fans demand a high tempo game, which is OK at domestic level but doesnt work at International level?

Could it be that the better teams in the Premier League, have a large proportion of overseas players. I would imagine in Italy most clubs have about 80% Italians, and likewise for Germany, though I'm not sure about the Spanish League.

Because when it comes to the Champions League, I think England's record is as good if not better than most other Countries.

So why do we always underperform at major Championships?
Brian Harrison     Posted 26/06/2012 at 19:26:43   Comments (109)

Naismith or No Naismith?

Now I know that most of us Evertonians were concentrating on tonight's Euro 2012 match, but not being THAT interested in the National team, and being stuck here in Bonny Scotland at the moment my thoughts were on "something completely different"!

I've been hearing for some time now that Steven Naismith of Rangers has been coming to us!

Well today he refused to TUPE over the NEWCO that will be Rangers. Big news up here in Scotland, very big news!

Especially to the Celtic supporters, who are taking as much pleasure from Rangers' demise as we would if the same thing was happening across the park!

Anyway, if what I've been hearing is true, Nikica will be playing alongside his old partner very very soon... and for wages only as Steven is a free agent, no matter how Rangers try to challenge employment law!

Brian Williams     Posted 24/06/2012 at 18:20:48   Comments (82)

Everton Players at the Olympics?

Stuart Pearce has already picked his 35-man provisional squad for Great Britain at the London Olympics, but it hasn't been made public by the FA. The 18-man final squad must be finalised by 6 July, and Pearce is likely to wait till late because of injury concerns.

The nucleus of the squad will presumably be players that Pearce has used in the U21s, with a sprinkling of Welsh and Scottish players thrown in (apparently Jordan Rhodes and Craig Bellamy are in the 35). Players like Welbeck, Henderson and Oxlade-Chamberlain, who are in Poland now, will not be featuring in the Olympic squad. So Rodwell and Barkley ought to be in contention for places.

I don't know if any of the other countries competing are likely to pick Everton players. I don't think Ireland are sending a team, so Coleman is safe.

Any players going to the Olympics will potentially miss our first few games (because they won't be stepping straight back into our team once the tournament is finished). After all that's been said about the importance of a strong start to the season, how do people feel about this?
Nick Wall     Posted 22/06/2012 at 12:15:57   Comments (28)

The Forgotten Man

There's every chance that, if he had not been injured for the last 6 months, a third Everton player would be out at the Euros ? most likely getting tanned on the bench with Jags and Bainesy.

When Jack Rodwell appeared for England in two-mid-season games, he suddenly seemed to show the sort of form that Everton fans thought had deserted their young prodigy. Strong in the tackle, decisive in the pass, quick over the ground and dangerous in the air. This was the Jack Rodwell that we had hoped for but seemed to have clambered back into his shell after some stirring performances (notably against Man Utd) in the 2010-11 season.

The truth is that if Rodwell had stayed fit and had gone to the Euros then there's a very good chance he would be being sold right now to a club in Manchester or London for upwards of £20m. Instead, his dropping value means selling him now would be like shifting a house after a property crash. So my guess is that he will probably still be at Goodison Park next season and maybe, with expectations somewhat lower than they were, he might just find some form.

At only 21, he's very much in the embryonic stage of his career and there's no doubt he has some of the prerequisites. He's quick, strong, decent on the ball and able to shoot and pass off both feet. Of course there's been lots of debate over where he should play but I suspect that, with Fellaini moving into the Cahill role, Rodders may just be able to form a good midfield partnership with Gibson.

With Gibson sitting tighter infront of the back four and initiating moves it may allow Rodwell to roam box to box and develop into the complete midfielder that he once threatened to become. He has time on his side and all the good will of the fans but next season Jack must discover a bit more self confidence and aggression (Derby tackle aside!) and maybe he can surprise us all by nailing down a starting spot in the team and becoming that future England captain we all hoped he might be.

Or maybe he'll continue to pass the ball only sideways and backwards and we'll try and flog him to Spurs for £8m?
Sam Hoare     Posted 21/06/2012 at 16:44:57   Comments (53)

Partner for Old Jela?

I believe the purchase of Nikica Jelavic will be known as Moyes' best bit of business throughout his tenure. I remember when he came in, many were pointing out that he needs another striker to play with him so he can reach his full potential.

With Strac and Saha gone, Anichebe not up to standards and Vellios still raw, should we target a striker to partner him? With Rangers he had Naismith (who Jelavic said Everton should target) and for Croatia he has Mandzukic.

Personally, I believe we should target someone who plays a similar role to Rooney. Obviously not him, but someone in our price range who can drop back into midfield and also link up with Jelavic.

Jelavic has been brilliant as the lone striker, but could he and we be better with another one?
Ryan Rosenberg     Posted 20/06/2012 at 13:29:56   Comments (45)

The fear factor

How many critics of David Moyes got a bit of a knot in their stomach when it looked as if he might actually be gone? I know I did, for one.

Fucking hell, he's actually going was my first reaction. I've wished for this moment for years and now it's here, was my second. "Careful what you wish for" was echoing in my brain.

Also, some of the touted replacements (not my choices), Lambert Rogers, Houghton had been taken. Who was left for us? I had the fear...

On reflection, however, I will stick by my convictions. It seems to have become a given that no-one other than Moyes could have achieved what he has on the budget he has. The point is irrelevant. I disagree with it but that is my opinion only. I believe that we were on the verge of being a really good team; there was, yes limited, money to spend and I believe our last chance was wasted.

We have played, at times, some excellent football under Moyes... but not often enough. There have been excuses but, over 10 years, I have seen more dirge than joy. It might have been different.

It is my view that David Moyes has brought us to a comfort zone and will keep us there. When it looked like the safety net was going to be removed, I was fearful. In the absence of change off the field, I believe that change on the field can be a good thing.

I hope that this season will be different but, had Moyes gone to Spurs, it could have been a chance to advance. This just might have been, or could be, better.
Andy Crooks     Posted 19/06/2012 at 19:35:25   Comments (73)

Does the media hate us, we Evertonians?

I just did a quick news search on Everton and the most common titles are: ?Tottenham's charm offensive may tempt David Moyes from Everton?; ?Everton's Marouane Fellaini will not rule out move to 'ambitious club'?; ?Baines flattered by Man Utd interest and won?t dismiss a transfer?; ?Everton boss David Moyes has funding issues and may leave?; ?Tim Cahill would love to play for the Saudis?? etc. etc. etc.

I mean everything that is good for Everton has to leave the club according to the media. And, this is nothing new; it has been the same for the last couple of years.

What?s wrong with the media? Don?t they have a word or two in support for the club and the fans? It seems that if the manager is great so the media ponders how he should move away from the club! If a player is great, then again the media transfers him right away as a target for another club.

It's all pure speculation but the media would simply not miss the opportunity. It?s so frustrating to read the news about Everton every summer. Please let them have a piece of your mind.
Sur Jo     Posted 14/06/2012 at 17:50:54   Comments (40)

Why Moyes?

Although Spurs have quite properly said nothing, the 'Moyes as target' story seems to have substance. Much has been said about this in Rumour Mill threads but there's one aspect I would like to highlight — why Moyes?

They have just sacked their most successful Premier League manager, so what do Spurs think ours will do to improve matters?

Living far away from Goodison in deepest South Manchester, with a very cosmopolitan local, I get respect for being an Evertonian. The first words that anyone says about us are usually 'great manager'.

We know that he has respect throughout the game, and 'doing it on a budget' has to be a significant part of it. But can that be what Spurs want him for? I'm no Moyes-Out! person myself, though I have a long list of criticisms. So...

'A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country' (Matt 13.57) as they say. So what do others see in Davey that many of us might be missing?
Keith Glazzard     Posted 14/06/2012 at 14:53:20   Comments (200)

Pre Season Tour?

Okay... so the usual glamorous friendlies have been confirmed against lower league and Scottish opposition as well as the 'Tony Hibbert Testimonial' against Greek 'giants' AEK. But what about the pre-season tour???

Over the last few years, the pre-season tour has been announced well in advance (normally while the season is still ongoing). Are the club so skint they have removed a pre-season tour from the budget??

I've heard rumours of Indonesia or Portugal as a destination.... has anyone else heard anything to back these up?

The club becomes more of a laughing stock each year. The 4th most successful English club cannot now organise a pre-season tour that satisfies its commercial needs.

Will the club be using lastminute.com to fund any trip? Or does Moyes know he potentially won't be here in the summer and has therefore paid little attention to the planning process?

John Crook     Posted 13/06/2012 at 13:09:19   Comments (16)

How times have changed...

I was looking up some numbers from the 1998 EFC accounts to respond to a fellow poster's question on another post when I came across the 1997-98 Premier League table.

I was getting a bit bored,frustrated and angry at the persistent transfer rumours and in-fighting between BU and Kenwright supporters so I thought a little look into recent history might give us somthing else to look at.

The most salient point is how close we were to relegation... and if memory serves me correctly Bolton scored a goal which was not allowed because the officials thought it had not crossed the line but, if it had been given correctly, it would have seen us relegated. Something of a close call, I would say!

However It also amazes me how many of those teams in the Premier as little as 10 years ago have gone into semi-oblivion.

We often mention Leeds as a "catastrophic" fall from grace but just look at the number of other teams who have suffered similar fate:

Derby County
Leicester
Coventry
Southampton (until recently)
Wimbledon
Sheffield Wednesday
Barnsley.

Thought-provoking, eh?
Jay Harris     Posted 08/06/2012 at 20:04:55   Comments (26)

Formby Hall

I Managed to get a cheap overnighter at the above this week. As a non-golfer, it was most pleasant. Anyway, I was searching the net for a local curry house and noticed a nearby village "Freshfield" had a curry at Zyko and pleaded with my partner to go to this place. On arrival, we found a pub bythe same name just close to the railway station.... Aha! "The Freshy"!!!

I got a Stella, then got down to the detective work. First off, I asked the barmaid, "Do you know someone called Richard Dodd or Doddy?" Polite blank "No" was the response. We sat down and looked around, noticing the place closes for refurb in 2 weeks. I was really keen to see what this infamous ToffeeWeb character is like...

Next, up I went over to three blokes and excused myself, asking them the same... only to get the same response.

Next I saw the man who confirmed himself as the landlord. He said he had never heard of "Doddy" but he has only been in the job nine weeks.

Last gasp I was pointed to another three blokes who "are in there all the time" and again, they had never heard of our man.

Some have queried on here whether "Doddy" is real. Now I wonder...

Ian Smitham     Posted 08/06/2012 at 17:05:31   Comments (30)

What beer for the Euros?

With the Euros starting tonight, here is something for a little entertainment. I think we need a break from worrying about selling all our best players.

I'm on early shifts in work over the weekend and then off midweek so I'm going to get to watch the Poland game tonight, opening game and all that, as well as Ireland's first two group games I've even cleared it with her indoors. Fair enough she's studying for an exam on Tuesday and I have the run of the TV but it makes me feel like I'm actually the boss of the house.

I've known in advance that I was going to be off for some of the games and don't really fancy going to the local. Beer is pricy in the pubs here and they're going to be overcrowded and uncomfortable given that Ireland are playing in the tournament. As a result I've been thinking about what beer I'll get in for the games I'll get to watch.

I'm not really a fan of the big commercial brand beers like Heineken or Carlsberg. I find them tasteless and they give me godawful hangovers. Over the last couple of years the CAMRA organisation has come to my attention through myself and herself going to England on short weekend breaks. I've found myself looking out for the signs outside pubs and will usually check the website for the area we are going to beforehand.

While some of the beers aren't to my taste, most of them have been nice and a little different and the idea of guest beers and hand pumps seems really charming. I also like the charm of a lot of the pubs that are involved in the CAMRA organisation. When we were in Liverpool for example there was a lovely little pub called the Globe that we usually had a beer or two in at the end of the evening. It was just up from the Novotel where we stayed near Liverpool One shopping centre. The Baltic Fleet was really nice too and I think I had a pint of Wappings summer beer there on the Friday.

Over the last couple of years many of the smaller English breweries having been appearing in large chain stores' off license sections here in Ireland as well as in many of the big chain off license chains themselves. Shepard Neame pops up a lot. Fullers has also appeared, with London Pride a favourite of mine. Theakston's Old Peculiar is another one to have caught my eye. There are a lot more but I can't remember all of them.

Depending where you go, some of the beers can actually be picked up fairly cheaply and this helps in terms of being able to avoid the pub. I'm off today so I think my beer of choice when I get down to the shopping centre will be some Shepard Neame in Lidl.

I'm just curious to see what beers people will be drinking for the tournament and what you think of the CAMRA organisation?
Kieran Fitzgerald     Posted 08/06/2012 at 08:08:07   Comments (24)

Desperate for the Reddies?

The news that Cardiff are changing their shirt colour from blue to red for commercial purposes is both sad and begs the question: how much would you do it for?

If a billionaire came along and said we should play in red (although the logic of this would be strange given our neighbours) would you accept it for a larger ground and a bigger transfer kitty?

I suspect none of us would and I also expect Cardiff City to be in blue by the 2013-14 season. To me this is one step too far.
Andrew James     Posted 06/06/2012 at 23:18:53   Comments (45)

Australia's greatest footballer

Just watching "The World Game" on Aussie TV and they launched some vote for Australia's greatest ever footballer.

After getting over the shock that they didn't say Soccer, I went along to vote for our Tim at greatesteveraustralianfootballer.com and found that you can vote as many times as you want ? so what, why not all of us put in a few votes for Tim?

You can vote for a first XI (didn't know they had so many players) but I went straight to the Greatest Ever Player vote.

So what's keeping you? Get voting now!

Jip Foster     Posted 04/06/2012 at 13:09:48   Comments (26)

Need an Proppa Interruptor

Jonny Heitinga (via an Interpreter?) was quoted as saying:

"Royston made it very difficult for himself. Moyes isn't a hard coach to get along with, he had more than enough patience with him. I´m not going into details here, that´s something for the respective parties to do, if they feel like it. It´s a shame how it all went though. Royston is a very gifted player. I hope he´ll be able to find a good club this summer, so he can get the best out of his career. I really wish him the best of luck. I tried to talk with him while he was at Everton, but in the end it has to come from the player himself. I advised him to focus on the left back spot at Oranje. Not at Everton though, because Leighton Baines is without doubt the best left back I´ve ever played with. I hope he stays at the club, but I understand there´s interest elsewhere".

Well, I am a bit confused here ? I know that we all have issues with Moysie playing players out of position ? but Drenthe as a left back? No wonder there were issues with his stay if he (and Jonny) really were expecting RR to play at left back!!!

Need a proppa Interruptor...

Gerry Quinn     Posted 02/06/2012 at 16:44:56   Comments (28)

The safest job in the world

David Moyes is under no pressure. He has proved time after time, and I doubted him, that he can keep Everton in the Premier League and deliver the odd cup run. Is this good?

Well, I reckon Brendan Rodgers will get one season and without, at the very least, signs of improvement, he will be under huge pressure. It's the mentality of a club who actually believe they are a big club. There are huge advantages of having a safe job. The opportunity to take a chance; attack Wigan at home in October, say. Or perhaps, go to Reading in early November and treat them with contempt and play them off the pitch.

Having the safest job in the world should make this sort of thing thinkable. It should mean that playing proper football is perfectly possible. It should mean that, come the start of the season, getting 40 points will be seen as a given.

David Moyes; you are not going to be sacked... ever. We have a better squad than many teams. Please start this next season with belief, passion and flair... actually just start it the way we finished. Take advantage of being safe and show some balls, style and belief in your players. Give it a proper go.
Andy Crooks     Posted 01/06/2012 at 19:21:13   Comments (62)

Has it all gone a bit stale?

Now, before I start, this isn't a dig at Moyes or certain players. Many clubs are going through, or have been through changes in the last few seasons with managers and players.

It doesn't always work out, but sometimes it does, like Newcastle's gamble. I think we need some kind of bold action: it's the same faces year after year ? Cahill, Neville, Hibbert, Osman and of course David Moyes.

I know it's all hypothetical, but would anyone else like to see rapid change (which may or may not work) or carry on the same steady(-ish) year after year? Thoughts, please, lads and lasses.

Joe McMahon     Posted 31/05/2012 at 20:43:11   Comments (33)

So the cheque WAS in the post, after all!

After a delay of almost five months, Blue Bill's old friend Chris Samuelson has finally managed to complete his consortium's purchase of 51% of newly promoted Reading`s share`s from Sir John Madjeski.

The official reason for the long delay is given as the football authorities' concern over the source of the £25M involved in the deal. It now appears that all is in order and the Russian group's cheque is now nestling in Sir John's account. The publishing magnate is even moved to say "It's a deal made in heaven!"

So dear old Chris and his mate Zigaravich were for real after all! Perhaps our man just didn`t have enough faith... or patience. Perhaps, if only we had accepted his assertion that he was a lifelong Evertonian instead of laughing him out of that long ago AGM, our club would now be nestling in that state-of-the-art stadium on the waterfront?

But somehow, I think not. I have followed the Reading drama with great interest and I have to say that much of the verbiage attributed to Samuelson could have been taken straight from the pages of the Liverpool Echo of long ago.

But Sir John finally got his money. Somehow I suspect he will rue the day that cheque arrived. I still think we had a lucky escape!

Richard Dodd     Posted 29/05/2012 at 21:16:23   Comments (23)

Solution to the right-wing problem

Tranquilla Barnetta. Available on a free. Newcastle rumoured to be looking at him but surely a no-brainer for our right side? I've always been very impressed whenever I have seen him play.

Some cracking free transfers out there; no need to be blowing our meager stash on transfer fees. Pienaar on the Left. Fellaini pushed forward and Fernandes brought in. Simple! Bring on next August.
James Stewart     Posted 29/05/2012 at 14:09:03   Comments (23)

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