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Season 2012-13

The Mail Bag

February 2013 Archive
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Family Enclosure Tickets


I want to buy my boyfriend and his mate 2 tickets to watch Everton v Man City and I can get single tickets in the Family Enclosure Sections 4 and 5 as they want to be near the players and maybe get some photos etc.

I have read the small print and it says that you have to bring along a child to sit in the family enclosure, but they don't have children and there are only single seats left — does this rule still apply? I can't seem to get a proper answer from the ticketline.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Aileen Courtley     Posted 28/02/2013 at 22:26:39   Comments (5)

Replacement for Big Dunc?

Why don't Everton consider buying Matt Smith from Oldham? With the crosses from Baines, you can see what a force he could be - even as a sub!

We won the FA Cup in 1995 with Big Dunc in the squad and some winning goals have been needed in several games this season. Jermaine Beckford was a League 1 buy...

Terry Morris     Posted 27/02/2013 at 17:28:21   Comments (45)

Old Jela

Oh how we could do with the Jelavic of last season spearheading our front line and banging in one-touch finishes almost every game. Fast-forward 12 months and he is a shadow of his former self.

I personally don't buy into the argument that he isn't getting the service and am becoming more and more concerned when watching him, that he isn't actually very good. I also don’t believe Moyesie is ruining all of our strikers.

I do believe that 1 up front doesn’t suit Jelavic and I’ll list his deficiencies (in my view) later on, but he should still have at least 5 more goals than he has this season and I honestly believe if I had taken up the same positions, I’d have at least 3.

I know that is a strong statement, but last season he was smashing in goals left, right and centre, so any other deficiencies regarding his game were often overlooked as he was scoring goals, which is his main job at the end of the day. Unfortunately these deficiencies are being shown up every game as his confidence continues to dip. Let me list them as I see them:

1. For quite a big bloke he isn't very good in the air, especially holding the ball up. He hasn't got the chest control of Fellaini and doesn't win many flick-ons (if I’m brutally honest, doesn't get off the floor to try and win a flick-on).

2. He is slow – He can’t do much about this but it is an observation.

3. He has a poor touch and his layoffs are often poor, witnessed against Oldham when he somehow managed to miss the ball when through, only for it to hit his hand and give away a free kick when well placed.

4. Dribbling at "speed" seem a struggle, highlighted when he was put through against Oldham and fell over his own feet.

5. Poor finishing this season. He has had countless chances this season that have bordered on the ridiculous once missed (that’s if he actually connects with the ball and it doesn't hit his standing leg).

Mirallas had a "Jelavic" type finish yesterday against Oldham and stuck it away with aplomb, but the same chances have gone everywhere but in the back of the net for Jeli this season.

Now you may think I am being harsh here, but this isn't something that has happened over the last few weeks — this has been happening most of the season. The ball simply doesn't stick and, as horrible as it is to actually write this down, Victor Anichebe should be our first choice striker at the moment (if he was fit) as he is a nuisance, has good physical presence and is actually smashing the ball in the back of the net.

Jelli’s confidence is shot and that is why he is drifting out wide. This enables him to get into the game, but outside of the areas we all would like him to be. The plus side is that he is still making good runs, getting in good positions and working hard (the latter being a pre-requisite to don the blue shirt).

With regards to the title, I’m not advocating taking poor Nikica outside and putting him out of his misery, but I think we do need to realise that he may not be the player we thought he was, that he isn't actually that good and that another striker is a priority in the transfer window.

Tony Bell     Posted 27/02/2013 at 12:49:50   Comments (81)


I’ve now been a member of ToffeeWeb for at least 8/9 years — I cant quite remember — and I have to say unlike the team the quality of the web site just gets better as the years progress and the opinions and views of most contributors are as rich and varied as they have ever been. The basis of a decent fan site like ToffeeWeb is of course those who make contributions and I have always found something worth reading somewhere on the site.

I find it difficult to construct really decent prose – and I often read some of the postings with a serious amount of admiration – the time and effort some people put into establishing their opinions and then justifying these thoughts with sound fact (or fiction!) is quite impressive. I remember some of the contributions during the Destination Kirkby episode the fact, stats and views identified and produced by the fan base was truly inspiring!

Of course, if Michael and Lyndon were to hold a virtual award ceremony for the previous 10 years of Toffeeweb you would have to be giving prizes to the likes of Ken Buckley, Paul Trail, Richard Dodd and of course the legend that is Tony Marsh (I fucking love Tony’s posts — whether I’m in agreement of disagreement he always makes me laugh).

The reason for this post is two-fold. Firstly I’d like to address the contributors with the following questions: who are your favourite contributors and why? What discussion point over the last 10 years on ToffeeWeb have you found the most engaging/enlightening or something you felt most passionate about? How important is the website to you — put simply how would you feel if Michael shut it down tomorrow never to return?!

Secondly I’d like to ask Michael and Lyndon – it's really points of interest – how much of your time in a week does ToffeeWeb take up? Do you both meet up regularly and do you actually get along?! Are you based out of Liverpool and how much equipment does it take to support a website of this size? And finally how long do plan to do this? What happens if one day you both decide it's too much effort?!!

Anyway thanks for the last 10 years everyone. And here’s to a great run-in — top 6 and FA cup winners, that’ do me.

Sam Higgins     Posted 26/02/2013 at 13:28:06   Comments (112)

Season ticket prices go up

Today I received an e.mail from the club regarding the prices of season tickets for 2013-14. They are up and you have to cough up by the end of April to get the early bird discount.

Is this fair when, by that date, we will not know the manager's intentions? We will not know if the club will enter the market to strengthen the squad.

Due to the uncertainty over the intentions of the present manager, will a new manager be in place to oversee transfer action? If not who will?

With the big increase of TV money coming in, is a rise justified at all?

Ken Buckley     Posted 25/02/2013 at 14:56:46   Comments (44)

Law of Diminishing Returns

Being of an analytical bent, I thought I'd take a look at our performance this season in 'chunks'.

As we're now 27 games in, I had a look at the season broken down in three groups of 9 games since the beginning of the season. (I'm also of a logical bent!)

The results are hardly earth shattering or even surprising for those who follow the fortunes of our team as rigorously or passionately as the people who contribute to this site but they do provide a sort of context I suppose.

The stats are shown in chronological order, by group, from the beginning of the season.

Group 1 W4 D4 L1 Pts 16
Group 2 W3 D5 L1 Pts 14
Group 3 W3 D3 L3 Pts 12

Then there is the goals scored and conceded over the same groups and time scales.

Group 1 GF 17 GA 11
Group 2 GF 13 GA 11
Group 3 GF 11 GA 12

As I said, this merely confirms many of the opinions and concerns expressed on here, and I realise it's hardly a scientific analysis, but you could call it a trend, and a worrying one at that, as most of what you could call 'vital signs' are deteriorating.

This is a quantitative analysis but it is the qualitative issue that concerns me and most of the people on this site.

When was I last really enthused by an Everton performance? For me, it was the Southampton game at home when there was one of the most scintillating 30 minutes of play I've seen from Everton under Moyes. It was breathtaking and effective. 3 goals did not do that passage of play justice.

That was at the end of what I've called Group 1 in the tables above.

The quality of the football played has deteriorated as the season has gone on. The style of football has changed too, and not only is it less attractive but it's less effective. And it's getting worse by the look of it.

The way things are now, we need to score a minimum of two goals to have a chance of getting a result. The only time we have come close to that was also in Group 1.

I'm going to the Oldham replay with my son tomorrow and I feel really pessimistic, at least at this current moment.

I hope I feel better come 10pm tomorrow night.

Chris Williams     Posted 25/02/2013 at 12:07:57   Comments (8)

A fine state of affairs

Reading the comments on the various threads this weekend... they are interesting. One thing I can see is supporters fighting between themselves which is bad news. Saturday was bad; the bad thing about it was it was expected. It's sad how, since Christmas, the hope has gone.

In reality, let's look at it, we are 6th and got a great chance of Wembley. If we had won yesterday, we would've been 4 points behind Chelsea, that's the up side.

Some comments on here have a lot of truth: Jags cant pass a ball; Pienaar's form has been a shadow of last season; for me, Fellaini has been off-form since Christmas and looks like a player who will not be at Goodison Park next year. Moyes and players have to be responsible for this.

I personally think it's sad the stick Moyes is getting. I am by no means a 'Moyes out' or 'Moyes is everything' fan; when he messes up he is responsible.

I think his contract talks are having a bad effect, it's certainly split the fans. What's sad is Moyes should be remembered for the great job he's done. The fantastic times he's brought the great players we've seen, namely Arteta, Pienaar, Cahill, Lescott, the Yak (before the injury) etc.

For me there is one group to blame and ultimately one Name: KENWRIGHT AND THE BOARD.

Yes, Moyes does look like leaving — and it is in danger of collapsing the club... but ultimately, the board have allowed this situation to happen. I respect Kenwright in some ways, but he has failed.

All the fans slagging Moyes off — look at the facts: in Moyes's 11 years, he's spent a net of around £500k-£1M person. In the 11 years he's not developed the ground or got anything in the pipeline in terms of a new ground. He's not had a real offer for the club or got anywhere near selling it.

Forget the crap about Portsmouth and Birmingham, look at Spurs and even the likes of Liverpool who did have money to go after the league, or Aston villa who backed O'Neil with money at the start.

The sad fact about Everton at the moment is Moyes has got us on the brink of something several times and not been backed. He never spent money for three summers on the spin – we only got Mirallas after selling Rodwell. The money that man has made the club is unbelievable, yet the board take, take and fucking take. Season tickets being sold earlier and earlier, before any the summer transfer window has opened

Does anyone on here really believe those bids in January were serious?? Because our manager obviously doesn't. Who can blame Moyes for wanting answers? The silence from Kenwright is deafening.

Neville Southall is correct in saying the board should've bought three new players to lift the team, like last year. If we really were serious, we would've had the business done early and not tried so pathetically in the last 24 hours. Mike Ashley did all Newcastle's business early... Why couldn't we?

I'm sorry, fellow blues for the length of this rant: everyone who pays to watch Everton has the right to state their opinion, whether it be Moyes Out, Kenwright Out or Moyes In and Kenwright In. The fact is, those at the club will carry on if Moyes goes. We lost Kendall when he had us at our peak. But who do we all seriously think we will get to do better? Because there will be no money on offer – history and the board's record show this.

If Moyes goes, they will grab the chance to sell Fellaini and Baines; personally, I think that has already been put in to place. Laudraup is too big time for Everton, as is Bilic I suspect... Will Martinez get us into the top 3 or win the league? I doubt it. Kenwright's level would be Big Sam or Megson.

Who would want to manage a club with no money? Peter Johnson had no money, Kenwright has no money, there is no difference yet we got rid of Johnson's Board. We need rid of this lot: Kenwright, Earl and Woods.

We need to stick together and get behind the team and the manager. I think Moyes does need to show the club and fans more respect but has he been given any by the Board? In my opinion, No! Forget his salary, it's what all the managers in the league will be on very soon with the money coming in.

We need to spank Oldham and get the good times back. Things will never change at our club under the current Board. Things have improved since Moyes came, who knows what the future holds, but if they had made real bids and signed players in January, I think we may have sneaked 4th even 3rd and maybe the FA Cup. That is down to the Board and the mentality at the club, that has seen Rooney sold, Lescott sold, Arteta sold and before that, Ferguson, Speed, Gray, Lineker and Ball sold.

There, I'll say it: that would never happen across the park – and it pains me to say that...
Gregg Sergeant     Posted 25/02/2013 at    Comments (14)

Everton Chile

Great win for Everton Viña del Mar tonight. It finished 2-1 to Everton in Antofagasta.

Mario Cáceres got the goal for Everton but Daniel Arizmendi equalised for Antofagasta shortly after. Everton had numerous chances in the second half but in the last stages, (88 minutes) after a great save from Dalsasso, Everton countered and Franco Ragusa tapped in to score the winner.

Everton are now going strong in third place, unbeaten after 5 games (W3 D2 L0)

Here's a link to the table -

Next up for the Ruleteros is another away game to San Marcos de Arica next Sunday.

You can follow The Ruleteros Society on twitter at

Or alternatively follow them via Facebook at

Vamos Everton

Tom Owen     Posted 24/02/2013 at 22:47:26   Comments (3)

What would you do?

I suppose we have all had daydreams of winning the Euro lottery. I know I have gone through all the options. So, if anyone on this site won £100 million, what would you do? Would you help Everton? And, more importantly, how?

Could that amount turn the club around? Would it get rid of Bill? Who would you approach and what would be your plan?

Andy Crooks     Posted 24/02/2013 at 00:56:03   Comments (39)

What's another year...

About 5 or so years ago I remember putting a post on here slating Moyes after his much vaunted 5-year plan had failed. I was not convinced then by the man's credentials or by his style of play... and I got slaughtered by the TW massif for it.

Fast-forward to today and very little has changed; the football is still uninspiring and we are still without a trophy or a win away at the big four or Anfield. What really upsets me though is Moyes's insistence on either playing his favourites or buying what can be best described as SPL cast-offs at the expense of youth.

There has been some good young talent come through the youth system and some good young talent signed but they never materialise on the pitch. Vellios, Duffy, Barkley to name just a few but a fair few more have been signed and cast aside in favour of what can best be described as players who are past their sell-by date.

Moyes always spouts shite along the lines of "Youth will always be given a chance at Everton" — so where is it, Davey boy?

Nothing has changed; his mindset is that of a safety-first, don't lose tactician and his backroom staff of all defenders bare that out. I for one cannot wait for him to leave — and maybe then we will see some of the young talent come through and shine.

Dave Lynch     Posted 23/02/2013 at 22:37:59   Comments (62)

What do these players have in common

Some light amusement to ease the tension before another critical game on Saturday...

Can you find the common link between all these players?

Naismith (3)

Clearly only one has performed consistently at the highest level for most of the season (Baines), and another has been a nice surprise and has done quite well mostly, but still cannot perform at the very highest level consistently (Anichebe).

The rest have had little to no impact on the first team. One has been on loan most of the time (Barkley), and one has been sold (Rodwell) – and he has not had any real impact for his new employers either.

What do they have in common? Well they were all the players who scored in the pre-season games. (nb: Baines's goal was a penalty...)

Which just goes to show that pre-season doesn't tell you too much about the season to follow. Except for the fact that Jelavic didn't score pre-season — and that's been telling...

Julian Wait     Posted 22/02/2013 at 15:49:31   Comments (9)

Has Fellaini subconsciously moved on?

Since his self-inflicted ban and convenient suspension over the Christmas period, is it just me or has Marouane Fellaini become a shadow of the player he was prior to December?

His first game back, at Newcastle, we won despite his poor contribution. His impact on this game was non-existent. Fellaini's body language suggested he didn't want to be there. Since then, he has looked out of his depth at Bolton in his 'preferred' defensive midfield role and looked lethargic against the likes of Swansea, Southampton and Oldham — along with being outclassed against Man Utd.

Fellaini's only contribution since his ban was his late cameo against Aston Villa... although, taking his goals away, his performance was nothing short of poor and his body language was in the mould of "I don't want to be here." Granted, he rescued a point for us.

At one stage this season, I feared losing him, as his stature, impact and presence would be hard to replace — along with his cult hero status amongst the fans. But, as of late, his lacklustre performances suggest he doesn't want to be here and he is now becoming a burden on the club. It looks as if he is resigned to the fact that he will be leaving in the summer, and it doesn't matter to him whether we will be playing in Europe because, more than likely, he will.

Maybe he is reading his own press; probably a deal is already in the pipeline knowing the Everton board... but I can't help but think this could be the fresh breakaway both club and player need. As Fellaini's impact on games lessens, so too will his valuation... so it's important for Everton Football Club that we cash in at the right time. Whilst the southern based media is still in awe of his performances from August, we have a significant chance of getting around the 25m mark.

Fellaini's transfer funds should be spent wisely on a box-to-box midfielder and a proven striker. I just hope — whoever the manager may be — he gets to spend it.

Ryan Barton     Posted 22/02/2013 at 09:32:36   Comments (29)

We're On The March...

After last week's disappointing result to Oldham, the winners of the replay will host Wigan in the next round of the FA Cup — a draw which could have been made a lot harder, with teams such as Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea all still in the Cup. As Man Utd and Chelsea were being drawn to play against eachother, I realsied that with a win against Oldham, followed by a win against Wigan, and the FA Cup could be ours for the taking.

If luck goes our way, and two of the three remaining "bigger" clubs meet in the Semi-Final, we would have a really big chance of getting in to the Final, and ending a very long Trophy Drought. This could maybe give our club the big publicity it needs to sign bigger players and push for more permanent place among the Champions League slots. A 6th-place finish will get us into the Europa League, regardless of whether we win the FA Cup or not.

The question is: Does the current squad we have playing for our great football club have the capability to mount the push for consistent Champions League football?

Ethan Maddison     Posted 21/02/2013 at 17:00:01   Comments (46)

Fellow Blues, can you help with my book?

Dear Toffeewebbers,

A few of you might know my name through my contributions to the Evertonian, and also from my sports columns and interviews over many years in The Independent, which had an EFC bias as often as I thought I could get away with it!

I also write books, and have now been commissioned by my publishers, Simon & Schuster, to write about the Everton team of 1977-78.

I was a 16-year-old fanatical Blue at that time, and the idea is that I will go in search of my heroes, comparing football then with football now. I've chosen that season because of Bob Latchford's 30 goals, and also because football, little though we knew it, was on the cusp of great change, with Ardiles and Villa about to nudge open the floodgates through which foreign players would eventually pour. Plus, of course, 1978 was the club's centenary year.

Anyway, if any of you think you can help, perhaps with particular memories of that season, or in any other way, I'd love to hear from you, either in message-board form or via email (

Many thanks, and COYB

Brian  Viner     Posted 20/02/2013 at 16:44:18   Comments (9)

The Extra Officials are not Working, Mr Blatter

I think it is patently clear to everybody that Blatter's master plan of having two extra officials behind the goal isn't working.

Again in the past week we have seen the officials not seeing the ball deflect off Podolski, instead allowing Arsenal to be awarded a corner from which they scored. Now, if they can't see something as obvious as that, then what is their purpose?

Then in the Celtic vs Juventus game, the Greco-Roman arm wrestling that went unseen by the extra officials was unbelievable.

So I ask the question: When are you going to admit that it's time football used technology, like most other sports, Mr Blatter???

Brian Harrison     Posted 20/02/2013 at 12:37:05   Comments (11)

Time to stop the cheats

David Moyes raised an interesting point last night when he pondered the legality of an outfield player obstructing an opponent by standing with his hands raised. Oldham deserved a draw yesterday and Everton were mostly poor but Oldham got a draw by cheating.

What happened at the last two Oldham corners is a perfect example of something that is blighting and changing football. The man-handling, shirt-pulling and obstruction that goes on at set-pieces is unbelievable and should be unacceptable. It is reminiscent of American football and devalues the skill level of defensive play. What is worse is how it is tolerated by officials and players. Outside the box, the foul on Jagielka would have resulted in a yellow card at least. The antics of Juventus against Celtic were shameless cheating.

Now, I don't know why it hasn't been addressed but it can and must be. I suggest that Fifa filter down a warning to every club stating that this behaviour will no longer be tolerated. Referees must be ordered to award penalties and issue red cards. If this mean five penalties and five red cards, so be it. The message will get through and it will stop.

I believe that this obstruction, given the weasel worded title of "blocking the runner" is actually being coached.

Last Saturday morning, I saw it constantly happening at an Under-13 game. It is cheating and is ruining the game. It should become as unacceptable as spitting.

Andy Crooks     Posted 17/02/2013 at 16:48:32   Comments (40)

Season ticket Mr Moyes???

I looked at my bank statement the other day and noticed that I paid my season ticket in March last year. I didn't complain about it as I haven't done for last 16 years of having one... but, for the first time ever, the club are asking me to make a commitment when the manager doesn't feel he is able to.

Imagine being at work, and the guy who interviewed you for your job and that you have grown to respect, says "actually I might move on in a couple of months, not sure yet".... It's a bit like the guy on the desk next to you being made redundant... What do you do? You look for a new job – that is what every current Everton player must be thinking...

I'm a pro-Moyes fan and chuckle at the humour that some of the anti-Moyes guys come up with in various posts. But I have to question what Mr Moyes is achieving by making it public about his contract. We can't offer him more salary (who can??), so what will make him sign a new contract? Is he naive enough to think that the current board will conjure up money to sign more players, or that he is so important some oligarch/sheikh will come in and secure the club because he hasn't signed his contract? It's cheaper to buy another club and buy Moyes to manage it than do that!!

So, Mr Moyes, why destabilise a good season at a critical point? I just don't get it. From a pro-Moyes, I am now neutral... you've done a good job, but Everton is bigger than you!

And I presume the season ticket blurb will come with a letter from Mr Moyes... I can't wait to read what he has to say. Pay in March... Nice one!

Dave Harrison     Posted 16/02/2013 at 23:37:29   Comments (31)

The Emperor has no clothes

The game against Oldham summed up the 11 years under David Moyes. Some highs and eventual disappointment. Did that 90 minutes look like a team challenging for the Champions League? The swift and certain answer is No.

Jelavic should have secured the win but he is shorn of confidence, marooned up front on his own in his last games. Fellaini seemingly playing deeper as at Southampton. Jelavic forced to run the channels and also continually offside. The dropped.

I would go as far as suggesting that the last 15 minutes at Oldham was the last fart of the Moyes reign at Goodison. It should not have been a surprise. It was a repetition of the second-half semi-final defeat against Liverpool. Try to defend a lead and ultimately fail. Wrong substitutions. We all felt it even if we wouldn't admit it but when Jelavic went off and Duffy came on it was a desperate act of a tactically bereft coach.

Anyone with an ounce of intelligence would have got the team higher up the pitch and put an extra forward on. Naismith?

Steve Clark at Anfield on Monday, when leading one-nil, put an extra forward on and went two up-front . A brave decision by a brave manager. He was rewarded.

The last few minutes at Oldham was an embarrassment. We were like a lower league team hanging on for a win at a Premier League club. Shameful.

The team is nowhere near good enough for Europe. Look at the ageing team Moyes has undoubtedly left us with when he sneaks out the back door in May: Neville, Distin, Hibbert, and Osman. Fellaini will go and probably Baines.

Moyes bleeds this club of £4m a year. He can't complain he's had no money!

Like 2004-05, the team is crawling towards the end of the season. Young players like Oviedo and Barkley are used sparingly or not at all. Two points were squandered against Villa when anyone could see that Heitinga was a car crash waiting to happen after the West Brom game.

The only thing that the last 15 minutes at Oldham showed to the watching millions on TV is that David Moyes's 'rabbit in the headlights' tactics is that his next job in football will not be at Arsenal or Chelsea or Man City or Man Utd. It will be a mediocre club in the Premier League or in the Bundesliga.

At Oldham the Emperor was shown to be naked — and it was an ugly sight.

Ian Edwards     Posted 16/02/2013 at 23:24:51   Comments (75)

When was your first time?!

It's late Saturday night, and probably the Jack Daniels talking (after the Oldham game) and I'm chilled, but when was your first time coming onto ToffeeWeb?

What game, situation, or something someone said made you feel the need to come on here?

For me it was after a defeat (obviously, you know me by now) but I went onto BlueKipper one night before coming on here and I couldn't believe all the toe-the-party-line shite on there.

So, when was your first time?

Brian Waring     Posted 16/02/2013 at 21:42:31   Comments (20)

It's all about communication

Did anyone come across Rodgers’ ridiculous comment about The Reds losing performance against Zenit St Petersburg being “almost perfect”? Bizarre and blatantly untrue.

Anyway, I was listening to TalkSport yesterday and Danny Kelly (who I rate, unlike most of the muppets on that station) made the point that Rodgers was very articulate, great at making speeches, but was maybe a “bad communicator”.

What he meant was that he was not actually getting through to the fans in a way they understood or could make sense of, good communication being a two-way process. It causes a harmful conflict within the ranks when the manager’s comments bear little or no relation to what the fans are actually seeing on the pitch – it can create an unreal ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ type of situation. Kelly went on to say that some managers don’t seem to appreciate that when they’re being interviewed the fans are listening and it’s an opportunity to talk directly to them.

Well, that made me think about Moyes and his failings in that department. I can think of plenty of good things to say about Moyes, but his media work has always been dire. His starting point always seems to be: "This interview is a contractual obligation, I don’t want to do it and I’m not going to give anything away." He never ever attempts to communicate with us, the fans. Surely he’s missing a trick here?

In the ‘Cautious or Confident’ thread, Phil Sammon said that DM is coming across as humourless, arrogant, unlikeable, lacking in personality and thoroughly unengaging – and Phil’s a Moyes admirer! I feel that communicating with the fans via the media is an important part of the manager’s job, so why does Moyes refuse to do it?

Kev Johnson     Posted 15/02/2013 at 12:22:57   Comments (34)

Castles in the Air...

Once the infamous Real Madrid board give Jose Mourinho the mutually agreed option of departure having had Barcelona hand their ass on a plate this season, what would be the odds for Mourinho choosing a post-Moyes Everton for his next Premier League destination?

For anyone else the challenge of replacing Alex Ferguson would be a poisoned chalice, for the Special One the ultimate placation of his ego. But that will not be this summer. Everton with its small but effective number of star players would be a perfect make weight before the culmination of his domestic management at Old Trafford.

Without the recent history that demands the successes or expectations of his previous clubs, Mourinho would have, like FC Porto, a vehicle to further his myth and legend where any improvement on the club’s current place in the world of football would be heartily appreciated. And in all honesty a club very easy to leave behind once the call comes from down the East Lancs Road.

Forging his reputation at FC Porto without the large sums of cash to which he is now accustomed, the Everton transfer kitty too would showcase his budgetary responsibilities that Manchester Utd would comparatively require compared to the rise of billionaire owned clubs around Europe and the predicted power shift to the Bundesliga…

Of course this is idle and preposterous speculation about a season that is yet to be. But Everton compete in a sport in which recently a BBC reporter described as perennially shrouded in a stale hysteria. How very true. Every time the team takes to the pitch, it is for what? To enliven our midweek for next season, hopefully. But there’s always a waiting for next season, a next season that never comes.

So if the thought of the greatest manager for a generation sitting next to Steve Round is at best spurious, forgive me because there’s nothing positive right now about Everton. But the smaller club allure would be just the right kind of project until the times comes for Ferguson to put his feet up.

Nick Entwistle     Posted 13/02/2013 at 14:28:05   Comments (60)

Already Planning for Next Season

I think Moyes is starting to plan already for next season; he’s been doing it all year and to me his attempted move for Leroy Fer in January was just another piece in the jigsaw. I firmly believe that Baines and Fellaini will move on at season’s end if we haven’t qualified for the Champions League and I suggest that the purchase of Oviedo, Stones and the attempted one of Fer were done to cover the losses of Baines, Heitinga and Fellaini.

Moyes will stay on as manager with the knowledge that he probably will have a budget of about £30M to spend on new players (Fellaini, Baines & Heitinga - £40M minus the bank's cut of £10M). He will already have cover for Baines with Oviedo or Garbutt and I think he fancies Stones as a centre-half (as he stated when he bought him). He’ll need to find another strong midfield player, another creative midfield player (unless Barkley develops exponentially this season) and probably at least one maybe two more goalscoring forwards. Can he find these next 3-4 quality players for £30m is his target over the coming months as I think he knows after the last few games that his CL aspiration is gone.

He certainly won't give up this season, particularly to get back into the Europa Cup, by finishing 6th or via the FA Cup. His recent comments re tiredness reflect his big shortage of players to reach a Top 4 place and his associated comments re treatment/respect of FA Cup demonstrate to me that he is revising his targets.

I don’t believe he will give the likes of Duffy, Barkley, Vellios, Junior, McAleny et al, opportunities to play as he pursues his new challenge. He either doesn’t believe they are good enough (as I believe in most cases) or maybe in the case of Barkley that he is just too inexperienced to try yet.

Mike Oates     Posted 12/02/2013 at 14:57:01   Comments (53)

Up for the Cup?

Leaving Old Trafford on Sunday, there was some sheepish talk that losing all hope of a 4th spot finish would enable Moyes to concentrate on exiting Goodison Park with a trophy — the FA Cup. Certainly the immediate prospect ahead is none too daunting — although our neighbours probably felt the same as they travelled to Oldham for the last round.

So how should The Moyestro line up his troops for this 5th Round try which suddenly becomes all-important in his 11-year search for honours?

Should he rely on the side that so disappointed us on Sunday? After all, there's a universe of difference about the quality of our opponents... although twice this week our man has dwelt on the horrors of losing to Shrewsbury and the Addics in the past!

Or should he grow some balls and give the likes of Stones, Duffy, Oviedo and Vellios the chance to show what they offer?

My bet is that it will be 'same old, same old' as Captain Fantastic's leadership is viewed as vital, Heitinga is given yet another chance to redeem himself, and Oviedo and Vellios continue as bench fodder.

What's your thinking on the issue? After all, it is only Oldham we're playing!

Phil Walling     Posted 12/02/2013 at 11:32:21   Comments (41)

The Ones That Got Away

I was reading an article about the best dribblers and one of the players mentioned was Alvaro Recoba. It got me thinking: Weren't we linked to him once?

Anyway, I thought it'd be a laugh to see the quality players we were linked with but didn't sign for one reason or another — no matter how ridiculous the idea was.

Here's a list of the ones that I can remember off the top of my head:

Dahlin (turned out be crap but thought he was quality at the time);
Lineker Mk 2,
Chris Armstrong,
Stan Collymoore (I think) and
Dean Saunders.

Can't remember many more at the moment.

Trevor Thompson     Posted 11/02/2013 at 16:38:53   Comments (27)

Bad Weather drives man to Statistical Analysis

Yet another defeat at the home of one of the ‘traditional’ top four extends David Moyes's remarkable record of never having won an away game at Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea or Man United in over 10 years of trying.

But just how ‘remarkable’ is this? A cold wet day and not much else to do provided an opportunity to mull over the stats...

Since the beginning of Moyes’s first full season, the ‘top four’ (I use the term loosely) have lost a total of 80 home games between them (Liverpool 26, Arsenal 21, Chelsea 18, Manchester United 15). Of these, 35 were lost against fellow ‘top four’ teams. Man Utd are the most successful at winning at the homes of their fellow ‘top four’ teams with 11 wins, followed by Chelsea (10) Arsenal (8) and Liverpool (6).

This leaves a total of 45 occasions when the 'top four' lost to ‘lower’ opposition. Most successful in claiming ‘top four’ scalps have been:

Aston Villa (6),
Man City (5),
Blackburn (4),
Spurs (4),
West Ham (4),
Wigan (3),
Newcastle (2),
West Brom (2),
Fulham (2),
Bolton (2).

One win has been achieved by 11 more clubs.

Of course we are not the only club who have failed to win at a ‘top four’ ground in the past 10 years – there are 10 others. The big difference is that 6 of these teams played only a single season in the top flight, 3 just 3 seasons, and Portsmouth for 5. So, given the number of chances we have had, we certainly are something of an oddity in not having achieved a single win over such a protracted period.

So... a remarkable record? Probably.

Alan Burnham     Posted 11/02/2013 at 15:46:52   Comments (15)

4th is over, if you want it?

John Lennon asked, "War is over, if you want it?" I firmly believe David Moyes and Bill Kenwright never wanted 4th for us and they are both delighted it is now over for us, for another season.

Yesterday's surrender at Old Trafford, with visits to Arsenal (another ground we go to expecting nothing), Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool too come, effectively ends any Champions League football dreams we may have had. Europa is far from guaranteed with other teams improving as we falter. So what now for the rest of the season?

The FA Cup is just awaiting another Moyes tactical masterstroke. If, and on current form it's a big if, we beat Oldham and then draw Man City or Man Utd, Moyes will crawl back into his shell and play for a draw... it's a cup tie, someone has to win!

So here is my suggestion: No more Heitinga, get Distin down the Doctors and if he can't fix him, then give Duffy a chance. No more Neville, if Coleman isn't fit, give Stones a chance. No more Anichebe starting, he's only got 15-20 minutes standing time in his legs so he starts on the bench. Get Jelavic back in the team but under strict instruction that he goes no wider than the 18 yard box. Drop Felli back into midfield alongside Gibson and give Mirallas the free role behind Jelavic. Osman, or my preference would be Coleman at present with Hibbo or Stones behind him, on the right.

Finally, tell the players they can win! We appear to have gone back to the 1 point is better than 0 attitude recently. Remember early season when it looked like the players believed they could win every game? I'm not preaching give the kids a chance, I'm preaching a positive approach to every game. Then in the summer we could stop believing that top 6 is would be, just like starting over.

Carl Taylor     Posted 11/02/2013 at 09:12:56   Comments (44)

Pressure on Kenwright

I see Leroy Fer is playing 90 minutes every week for FC Twente and has been doing all season. Fer even got the assist for their winning goal yesterday — how we could have done with him.

Fer is obviously fit and playing good football; he would do a job for us but no-one wants to invest any money in this club. It's pointless having an 18-year-old £3M centre-half sat on the subs bench, the money should have been diverted to Fer.

Kenwright, Elstone and Moyes are a disgrace for letting him go and treading water with the same threadbare squad — this was never more apparent than yesterday at Old Trafford.

We should all get together to remove Kenwright and Elstone before they inflict more damage on our club. The Blue Union divided opinion but had our best interests at heart.

We are falling down the league without a Plan B whilst Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Swansea go from strength to strength and glide effortless past us — all because they were backed.

Dennis Shaw     Posted 11/02/2013 at 08:46:57   Comments (35)

Woeful, utterly woeful

I thought that Nick One and Keep It Tight was a thing of the past. No, it isn't. After five minutes it was clear that Moyes was back to his default position. Negative, second rate hoofball.

We started off full of fear, we treated Man Utd like Barcelona. We were totally devoid of passion, spirit and any semblance of sending out a side to win. From 1 to 11 there was not one player who should not be ashamed.

I challenge anyone to defend the shite that was served up today. As soon as I saw Heitinga starting, I was fearful; has Duffy had a leg amputated? We are ready to offer this negative, defeatist coach £4 million a year. Man Utd are an average side in an average league; today's abject surrender should end any notion of Champions League and let us start thinking of a future with a coach who actually has belief in his players.

Money had nothing to do with today; we started with fear and that comes from the coach.

Andy Crooks     Posted 10/02/2013 at 18:13:39   Comments (110)

Once a Blue, always a Blue?

Moyes has to leave us at some point. Managers will come and go – some posters have been calling for big Dunc to take the helm.

Much as I hate his RS credentials, Jamie Carragher was once a Blue and has many of the attributes of Duncan Ferguson... could he be a blue again? Could he be a future manager for us?

Jim Preston     Posted 08/02/2013 at 20:15:49   Comments (47)

Can we beat Man Utd?

Simple question really. What are people's thoughts on this Sunday's game? If we can win, how will we do so?

Personally, I see this as a moment that could set the tone for our performances up til the end of the season, much like beating them at Goodison helped drive the first half. As Patrick Murphy observed in his article, we tend to perform better against the bigger clubs, so I'm inclined to believe we can snatch 3 points.

How would people sort out our defensive woes, and how would people set up the team to get Jelly firing again?

Adam Luszniak     Posted 08/02/2013 at 09:02:43   Comments (70)

Champions League Tie Fixed

425 match officials, club officials, players and criminals are suspected of being involved in fixing over 850 matches (350 in Europe).

Though these matches only go back three to four years, it is also potentially the tip of the iceberg.

Rob Wainwright, director of Europol – the European Union's law enforcement agency "It is clear to us this is the biggest-ever investigation into suspected match-fixing in Europe. It has yielded major results which we think have uncovered a big problem for the integrity of football in Europe.

"It would be naive and complacent of those in the UK to think such a criminal conspiracy does not involve the English game and all the football in Europe."

I'll mention one more word, because it still hurts – Villarreal.

Nick Entwistle     Posted 04/02/2013 at 20:02:14   Comments (61)

Strength of the squad

Amongst all this doom and gloom in relation to failed signings and tired-looking players, I was tidying my lad's room and came across a poster from a couple of seasons ago with the following players on it:

Bily and

Out of these players, we still have Pienaar (after his Cockney vacation), Howard, Distin, Fellaini, Baines, Coleman and Hibbert.

I don't think anyone would argue that it was good to ship out Jo (once valued at £18M), Cahill (good in his time but off the boil in his last few seasons), Gosling (massive fuss when we lost out on his signature but hasn't played since — I think he's a cabbie now), and finally Bily (awful player from day one).

I am the first to moan at how things often pan out at the club — especially in relation to players — but things are going well for us on the pitch and, on looking back at the poster it could be a hell of a lot worse if we had sold Howard, Fellaini, Baines, Coleman, Hibbert and Pienaar.

Dennis Shaw     Posted 03/02/2013 at 19:39:55   Comments (32)

Lewis Holtby — the one that got away?

Lewis Holtby, at Shalke, was known to be:

  1. An outstanding midfielder.
  2. Wanting to play in the Premier League.
  3. An Everton supporter from an Evertonian family.
  4. Available for a bargain sum of £1.5million.
Why, Oh why then did Everton not try to bring this outstanding young player to Goodison – rather than letting him go to one of our main rivals for the Champions League – chasing instead far more expensive foreign players with dubious health issues?

Has David Moyes's renowned scouting system failed him this January? Or does he know something we are not aware of about young Holtby?

Christopher Clough     Posted 03/02/2013 at 18:22:17   Comments (65)

Step up, Shane Duffy!

Well, now the myth that Johnny Heitinga can play centre half at premier league level is well and truly buried, it must finally be Shane Duffy's chance to step up to the plate the next time either Jags or Distin get injured.

As with a host of other young players who rarely get a chance under Moyes's leadership, he has to wait and wait until Moyes has tried every other alternative there possibly is. But now surely it must be time to give the lad a chance.

He has had a few runs out in the Premier League, and to be quite honest, I do not think he has ever let us down. Quite the opposite, in fact; he has held his own and more and always looked a threat at corners and dead ball situations.

To me, it was obvious before the VIlla game that Heitinga is a slow, weak centre back and we will always be vulnerable when he partners Jags or Distin. So why did David Moyes not play Neville at right-back and keep the Jags and Distin partnership going?

Who else now can David Moyes use to keep Duffy on the bench? Hibbert has been used; other than that, I can only think of Fellaini as a stand-in. Come on Moyes... next time, it must be Duffy's chance!

Tony Cheek     Posted 02/02/2013 at 20:36:36   Comments (52)

Most entertaining team

Following Leighton Baines's double against West Brom on Wednesday night, it prompted the question of who was the last EFC left back/ full back to score two goals in a first-team match for the Blues?

Having followed Blues for over 50 years, I confess to not knowing. Any informed scholars out there?

[Hold that – flash of inspiration – I think Dave Jones scored two in an FA Cup replay against Swindon but he was right back.]

Thinking about Baines's season, I doubt I have witnessed a better attacking left back in the Everton blue even though I feel defensively Ray Wilson was better. With this in mind, I have selected the most entertaining EFC team I have seen over the last 50 years. I would emphasise this would not be the best team I would select. In my humble opinion :

  • Goalkeeper - Neville Southall
  • Left Back - Leighton Baines
  • Right Back - John Gidman even though AV fans had better of him than we did.
  • Centre Half - Derek Mountfield just shades Brian Labone solely on vital goals scored.
  • Half Backs - Tony Kay - short career, man of steel , lucky to see him. Jimmy Gabriel - great passer and very versatile. Seem to recall one derby at Goodison where he played with 9 on his back. He scored twice and we won 3-1.
  • Outside Left - Dave Thomas - has there ever been a better crosser of the ball in the last 50 years ?
  • Inside Left - Roy Vernon - never been a better striker of the football, deadly shot and no better penalty taker in last 50 years. Recall him making Sheffield Wed and England goalie Ron Springett look hapless in one game at Goodison.
  • Centre Forward - Bob Latchford if only for number of goals.
  • Inside Right - Alan Ball
  • Outside Right - Andrei Kanchelskis Again I would emphasise this team was dug up from my failing memory vaults and was not computer/reference book assisted.

Any opinions ?

Simon Davis     Posted 01/02/2013 at 07:36:05   Comments (31)

Hope Akpan doing well

It is always good to see an ex-Everton Academy player doing well. I recently watched the Chelsea - Reading match and recognised one of the substitutes, Hope Akpan.

Released by Everton in 2011 he signed with Crawley in League 1 and then was signed by Reading during this January window. It was during this substitute appearance he contributed both assists for Le Fondre's equalising goals. The first a tremendous straight pass between defenders to a cutting Le Fondre.

He would've been a welcome addition to our squad during the current, continual injuries to the midfield.

Best of luck, Hope.

Leon Purton     Posted 01/02/2013 at 07:21:01   Comments (11)

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