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Season 2012-13

The Mail Bag

January 2013 Archive
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Ready for a push for the Champions league we waited for inspiration, someone to shake things up, a new face, the strengthening of a threadbare squad, something to give us all a lift.

No, that's not the Everton way, We get one for the future (good luck to the lad, by the way). A lad who might just break into the side when Phil Neville is fifty. Still, it's been a good window for Bill. After all, we had money to spend and just got unlucky. He did all he could to support the manager and I wonder will the manager be grateful.

I really hope that David Moyes will not say that there was nothing available better than he has; that would be ludicrous. If he supports Bill over this then he really will take any shit that Bill throws his way.

We have had weeks to improve the squad and move forward. Failure to do so shows smugness, incompetence, arrogance and an utter lack of ambition .
Andy Crooks     Posted 31/01/2013 at 23:47:27   Comments (138)

One for the Refs

In the Brentford v Chelsea game, John Terry from just outside the penalty area passed back to his keeper. The referee awarded Brentford a free kick from where Terry was when he passed back.

My question is: Where did the infringement actually occur? Was it where Terry kicked the ball or where the keeper handled it?

Following on from that, If the keeper illegally handled the ball should a penalty kick and possible red card have been awarded.

Dick Fearon     Posted 28/01/2013 at 02:21:27   Comments (40)

Apostolos Vellios

We need a change. Since Sunderland, our performances have been average at best. We need a striker and a midfielder but we are skint.

Vellios should be given a chance. He's shown potential to score goals and midfielders and fans need to see different tactics, different patterns of play and runs and goals.

I don't trust Moyes – constant picking of Naismith over Oviedo, Neville in midfield, no Duffy in cup ties against crap average opposition, playing Mirallas when freezing and he's had lots of hamstring surgeries - it ain't rocket science.

Please play Vellios — he looks great!

Peter Warren     Posted 26/01/2013 at 23:12:36   Comments (44)

Where are the loans Moyes promised?

I am frustrated that we have had no players coming in on loan yet. Instead, all we see and read are renewal of contracts for players already here... I ask myself what is going on here: does Moyes really want to bring in loan players or not? What we need is a midfielder and a striker, and to me we should have ready-made targets identified before the January transfer window opens.

We have heard there is some money for Moyes to use, and I would think Moyes would be working day and night to secure new loan players. But there have been very few real stories about potential loan players coming in, and that worries me because we read about Moyes being interested in Butland from Birmingham who will cost around £3.5 million; we all know we simply do not have that cash to spend.

Prior to Pienaar coming in on loan we read about it for weeks before it came true. I think it is vital we at least get a midfielder in. someone like Vadis-Ofoe who we had missed out on during the summer. I would think a deal could be made again, so I guess we will have to wait and see if we get any loan players in at all.

I like the motto of Nike: "Just do it".

Jimmy Sorheim     Posted 24/01/2013 at 20:40:54   Comments (68)

Man Utd ticket allocation

When the away ticket allocation was announced for the Man Utd game at Old Trafford, I was surprised to see that we had only been given some 2400 tickets.

I believed that away fans had to be given 5% of the ground capacity which would be in the region of 3750. To clarify, I emailed the Ticket Offices at both Everton and Man Utd on 15th January.

I received a prompt and polite reply from Man Utd in less than 24 hrs informing me that Everton had only asked for 2400 tickets for their fans and that Everton could have asked for the full allocation but had not done so.

To date I have yet to receive any response from Everton.

Our official website now tells us all that we have sold out of our "Full allocation" and that we will be supported by "just under 2500 blues".

On the same page, EFC promote 2 separate events at Goodison Park for the Man Utd matchday. Stadium Tours with Martin Dobson and "Come and watch the Man Utd match in the company of fellow blues" – in the 1878 Brasserie – cost £12a.

Personally, I will watch the Man Utd match in the company of fellow blues – just 2400 of us at Old Trafford.

Can you see the irony? Can you see the economical use of the truth by our club?

Our away support has been terrific and has been praised by the players for their backing in numbers. Why would the club not try to get as many of our fans inside Old Trafford as possible?

Or would our club prefer our fans to pay to watch from the comfort of the 1878 Brasserie and buy food and drink there?

Don't get me wrong I think this option would be great if it suits you but never at the expense of getting fans a FULL ticket allocation for an away game.

EFC has an unending ability to shoot itself in the foot when it comes to our supporters.
Paul Joy     Posted 24/01/2013 at 10:59:24   Comments (25)

Is joined-up stuff the only way?

How about this for a hypothesis: When playing against lower order teams, do we use standards that are higher than is really necessary? Take the Southampton game for example.

It seemed to me that our players spent a lot of time and energy keeping possession around the midfield areas. Our lone striker could be seen flogging himself on runs into ‘dead areas’ just to keep going what Ken Buckley calls ‘Joined-Up’ stuff.

Managers of lower order sides are in survival mode and points – not pretty play – is their priority. Their teams put up token resistance in the midfield knowing that we always look for that extra pass. Meanwhile, they have every spare man packing their defensive third. Hence, further need for our lone striker to seek space out wide.

Of the few times they attack, they avoid the midfield by lobbing the ball to one-on-one situations in our back line. Our success against higher order sides is down to the fact that they are prepared to match us man for man across the entire field.

Basically what I am suggesting is, instead of gradually dropping our standards against the likes of Southampton, we should start at their level – and then, if necessary, we could introduce some of our more cultured players.

Dick Fearon     Posted 23/01/2013 at 12:14:22   Comments (49)

Additional striker needed

Watching last night's game was further evidence that we require an additional striker – more than anything else – for when Jelavic isn't playing well. We are relying on him too much and when he isn't putting away the countless chances we are producing, we need someone else we can rely on.

I don't think Anichebe is necessarily the answer. He makes a great impact from the bench but for me is a little hit and miss.

Good to see Mirallas make a return last night. He oozes class and should give us a little bit more creativity. For me, when need that 2nd striker and the sooner we can get him the better.

Stephen Jacobsen     Posted 22/01/2013 at 07:45:45   Comments (43)

Out Of Control?

Having had a boring day I have compiled the following table with Information obtained from The Telegraph on wages and spending:

Team	     Transfers	Wages	Both
	      Net	Millions(£)
Chelsea		159.7	702.8	 863
Man City	415.27	443.8	 859
Man Utd		47.45	529.1	 577
Liverpool	68.65	453.4	 522
Arsenal		-31.9	440.4	 409
Villa		54.3	284.3	 339
Spurs		42.9	273.5	 316
Sunderland	64.15	201.5	 266
West Ham	11.9	233.3	 245
Fulham		44.575	192.2	 237
Everton		   0	205.5	 206
Newcastle	-7.75	201.5	 194
Bolton		 6	182.43	 188
Stoke		60.075	121.8	 182
Wigan		-9.1	159.4	 150
Blackburn	-41.138	146.4	 105
Wolves		35.9	67.9	 104
Birmingham*	36.675	63.6	 100
Hull		18.9	71.5	  90
Portsmouth*	-35.42	119.8	  84
WBA		11.15	68.1	  79
Mboro		 1.3	68.8	  70
Derby		12.95	26.1	  39
Reading		 1.82	33.1	  35
Burnley		 7.35	22	  29
QPR		20.55	0	  21
Blackpool	3.635	13.6	  17
Swansea		 8.85	0	   9
Norwich		 6.35	0	   6
Transfers relate to transactions between 2007-08 to 2011-12;
Wages relate to recorded data between 2007-08 to 2010-11

Birmingham and Portsmouth have missing wage details due to administration.

Patrick Murphy     Posted 19/01/2013 at 22:07:59   Comments (27)

Three players away...

As with most clubs in the top half of the table, Everton followers are prone to believe "we are just three players away from being a really good side".

Now I don`t really subscribe to that view, believing that to be true contenders for a Top Four place, we need double that number if all bases are to be covered. But, if it were only three, what areas of the pitch should be the priority?

At the Swansea game, I heard calls for a new goalie, central defender, wide right and central midfield as well as support/replacement for Jelavic up front.

Given that Kenwright will never be in a position to provide his manager with an open chequebook, prioritization is of the utmost importance here...

So what would your THREE be???

Phil Walling     Posted 17/01/2013 at 08:32:33   Comments (69)

To Stand or Not to Stand?

I was wondering what other fans views are on this issue after my experience at the game.

I took my grandson, Jack, to the Swansea game for his 8th birthday present. As I left it a bit on the late side ordering tickets, I was unable to book for the Family Enclosure. The girl in the ticket office said she had two really good seats together in the Glwadys Street End so I opted for those.

Being on the small size for his age, Jack's day out was ruined for him in the main due to fans continually standing whenever the ball approached the Street End and remaining so for considerable lengths of time. Jack struggled to see at these times, even standing on the seat.

I've got a pretty open mind on having some standing areas at grounds but my view is that, if the ground is all-seater, persons should remain seated as there is no reason for not doing so. Why spoil the enjoyment of others?

Stewards seem to totally ignore this issue. I did read recently that one club (can\'t remember who) have confiscated fans' season tickets for disobeying this rule, which I am all in favour of. I was wondering what most ToffeeWebbers think of this?

Bill Griffiths     Posted 15/01/2013 at 17:22:41   Comments (30)

Jelavic, the new Andy Johnson?

I know there will be lads on here, stating Jelavic isn't having any luck, it's a confidence issue.... this is a knee-jerk reaction etc. But in my opinion, we are seeing a completely different player to the one who was banging them in for fun last year.

He is dropping deep all the time, he spends most of the game playing out wide, when you want him in and around the box. He seems to be doing more on the defensive side of his game, working hard for the team. (I hate all this "He's working hard"...)

Here's the thing: I don't want him running round working hard for the team, defending etc — I want him banging them in for fun again!!!

There will also be those who will just say this is another excuse to have a go at Moyes but, for me, Moyes is the problem. You could see him asking for more from Jelavic: work harder, get back and defend, because that's what Moyes expects from his players. For me, this is having an impact on his natural game though, and that's scoring goals.

So... Jelavic — the new Andy Johnson?

Brian Waring     Posted 14/01/2013 at 15:05:30   Comments (104)


I was expecting to see a decent game of football on Saturday that would see both teams trying to win the game. I had no doubts that Everton would be trying to win but I was unpleasantly surprised with the way Swansea went about it. Maybe it is a back-handed compliment to us that their manager decided to use such a negative approach in an attempt to get a result.

I have no axe to grind with any team "parking the bus"; every team has a right to play however they want... but one tactic that really frustrates me is the blatant time-wasting that goes on.

Swansea, in my opinion, overdid this tactic and were not taken to task for it by the ref until the last 5 mins. Our own team have done it at times and everybody does it from time to time but, as a paying spectator who pays a handsome price for two tickets every game, I hate it and I think the powers that be could eliminate it from the game quite easily by having an official timekeeper that operates a stadium clock. When the ball is dead the clock stops and starts when it is back in play, it's that simple.

There would be no need for "Fergie time" in games because the clock would be visible for all to see; when it gets to 90 mins, the hooter sounds and that is the game over. Managers would probably be opposed to this because it would put more strain on their players due to them being "in play" for a full 90 mins but I would like to have full value for my not-so-cheap ticket price — and not the shite that Swansea threw up on Saturday!!

Mark  Roberts     Posted 13/01/2013 at 19:34:26   Comments (27)

The Invisible Team

We have just returned to Australia from a month back in the UK for Christmas. What amazed me was the total lack of Everton merchandise anywhere, with the exception of the the Everton shop.

Do we have an arrangement which means it is impossible to get kit, DVDs, even a hat anywhere but in the city or Goodison outlets?

Whilst visiting friends and family, we stayed in London, Stafford, Swansea and Stratford. We also spent a week in Ireland and I was convinced I would find something there, given the large Everton following — but again, nothing. I saw virtually every Premier League side represented, plus the obligatory Barcelona etc but not even an Everton pencil case in the rest of the British Isles!!!

Incidentally, the shop was so packed when we visited on Boxing Day that we bailed without spending a penny in there. Surely whatever marketing opportunity that exists is going down the drain?

Finally, to the lads in the row behind us in the Park Stand for the Wigan game, who made us feel so welcome (particularly my wife and daughter in law!) – thanks boys. Rubbish game but a great reminder of our belonging to the Everton family from 12,000 miles away.
Andy  McNabb     Posted 13/01/2013 at 10:15:34   Comments (28)

Welshism — a form of racism?

I would like to ask your readers thoughts on yesterday's game at Everton against Swansea. I have been an Evertonian for 40 years and a season ticket holder for 10 years, and was very disappointed and intimidated by large sections of our fans shouting comments about my nation, ie, "Welsh scum", "Welsh bastards", etc.

I am as patriotic as any Englishman, Irishman or Scotsman and to hear this all game was not very nice. Is this a form of racism? What do you think? I will certainly not be attending any more games featuring any Welsh sides in the future. I attend to watch our beloved team – not to hear these comments about my nation which I love.

Mike Hughes     Posted 13/01/2013 at 06:19:05   Comments (68)

The next central defender: Brede Hangeland?

In view of the need to buy another central defender in the near future, with the likes of Lescott and Forren recently linked, I wonder if there is a much cheaper and perhaps more available option, in Hangeland, who is out of contract in the summer? Whilst this season may not have matched the quality of his others, he has been one of the most consistent centre backs in this league in recent years. He is 31, and I don't see any reason why he can't play until he is 34, whilst he also offers Premier League experience.

Of course his age goes against him, and every Everton fan would like to see a younger Lescott or Jagielka. But realistically we may not be able to find one, and I think picking up experienced central defenders is a good tactic, as illustrated through the purchase of Distin.

My only concern would be Hangeland's lack of pace, in view of our current attacking set-up, which leaves our centre backs more vulnerable than at any other time during Moyes's reign. But then Fulham play a brand of attacking football not dissimilar to ours; he has great positioning, and aerial ability, and we could pick him up for free in the summer.

I wouldn't be overly surprised if, providing he is still available at the start of the summer, we can make a move.
Jim Knightley     Posted 12/01/2013 at 11:12:21   Comments (13)

Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe

Does anyone have any thoughts/ideas about whether we are going to sign this lad?

And if we do, who he can replace? I am assuming "Der Hammer" won't stay if Ofoe comes in...

Joe Gresham     Posted 10/01/2013 at 23:42:04   Comments (39)

David Moyes should make his decision NOW

The uncertainty over David Moyes's future is intensifying and it is down to him to sort it out and do this immediately. Why?

He is in danger of derailing the push for Europe by unsettling the squad. This happened last time be delayed renewing his contract; team performance dropped and we finished poorly.

Any view that says this is about David Moyes playing a canny game on funds is wide of the mark. The Club cannot conjure money out of thin air. Why would anyone (especially Moyes) think this will fundamentally change in the near future? Why would you make a decision about the next 5 years of your career based on such a short-term issue? He knows it's more of the same from Bill Kenwright so I don't see this as a reason not to sign now.

Negotiating his contract should be easy. His pay is already amongst the best in the world for a manager. He knows the score in terms of team building per comments above. What's left to discuss?

Finally, he owes it to the Club to sign. Even if he does move in the summer, at least Everton will get compensation. At the moment, we will get diddly squat. If he doesn't want to stay now he should say so and allow Everton maximum time to find his successor; not be pushed into a rushed decision in June.

A new manager will need the maximum time possible to bed in as Moyes has influenced every level in the Club over the years and it is now moulded in his image. I'd like to think the Board are already succession planning but, given their track record, I doubt it: if he isn't going to sign, he needs to say, so that they are motivated to act.

Moyes's declaration of intent in the negative would derail this season, but allowing the current situation to persist will do that anyway, in my opinion; players need certainty and the Club and its supporters deserve it too. In the same way, declaring he will stay could give the lift that gets us into the Champions League.

Steve Guy     Posted 09/01/2013 at 17:41:42   Comments (108)

The Problem is with Heitinga's Height, Not Skills

Johnny Heitinga is getting so much flak for Everton not being able to keep a clean sheet. However, in the FA Cup tie v Cheltenham, Heitinga wasn't even on the bench and we still couldn't keep a clean sheet.

I noticed many of the goals which are blamed on Heitinga came from balls being lobbed into the area by the opposition. The Newcastle goal saw Heitinga jumping as high as he could to head away the awkward ball but missed it completely. The same can be said about Lampard's first goal or even the Sunderland goal.

I believe Heitinga has the same problem as Peter Shilton with penalty shootouts. Recall the World Cup Semi Finals in Italy 1990: all of the German penalties went in because all they needed to do was to hit the ball close to the right or left upright. On the English side, Stuart Pearce decided to hit the ball weak and Waddle ballooned it. The mistake lies with Sir Bobby Robson for not subbing Shilton with Chris Woods on the 120th minute of the game.

So, give Johnny a break. He did everything he could. Opposing managers are capitalizing on Heitinga's physical shortcomings.

Rahman Talib     Posted 09/01/2013 at 10:15:48   Comments (40)

The madness has to stop

In the real world, people lose their jobs, face yearly pay freezes and see their benefits cut. In the world that is the Premier League, austerity doesn't exist.

In another thread, I argued that there was envy at working class footballers earning such vast amounts. Roman Sidey's response made me think. He made the point that, in other industries, people who generate money make big money. In football, this is not the case. One can earn huge money for very little.

I don't know if or when the Premier League bubble will burst but the recent accounts suggest to me that, for Everton, this is coming soon. We are selling to survive and the board are overseeing a slowly sinking ship.

Tony Marsh made the point that he felt this season was our last chance for Champions League football. I believe he is right. Qualification for the group stages will at least buy time. Anything less must surely lead to calling time on the madness. The wage bill will have to be slashed and ticket prices will have to rise. In other words, supporters will have to pay more for less. For the foreseeable future, 40 points will become the height of our ambition.

I see no billionaire on the horizon nor any willingness to sell. What I hope for is transparency and a plan. Is that too much to ask?

Andy Crooks     Posted 06/01/2013 at 10:33:14   Comments (55)

Charlie Austin to join Everton?

I have just seen on Sky Sports that Everton are favourites to sign striker Charlie Austin.

I know very little about the player other than he is young, plays for Burnley and has scored a fair few goals already this season (quickest player to score 20 goals for Burnley in a season).

Has anyone seen the lad play and know what he'd bring to the if he joined the Toffees?
Steven Scaffardi     Posted 03/01/2013 at 12:41:29   Comments (60)

Grand Old Team?

Is there any substitute for experience? Given the relative ages of the floundering team at Villa Park and the dizzy heights at Goodison Park then the answer is a clear no!

A team of Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Naismith, Neville, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic is an average age of over 30½. So the real question is how much longer can we keep going? Villa's team last weekend was average age 23.

Swop out Hibbert, Neville and Naismith for Coleman, Gibson and Mirallas and the average age is still almost 29, still an ageing team. The team against Newcastle has 6 players aged over 30 and the last time a teenager started for us was away at Stoke over 12 months ago.

At some stage David Moyes will need to ease in the youngsters like Duffy, Barkley and Oviedo and the more time on the field now, the easier it will be when they are in the starting line-up. I just hope the old legs are are still going strong come May.

Phil Roberts     Posted 03/01/2013 at 11:57:17   Comments (14)

Deadwood on the Bench

Personally I can't understand why Guye, Mucha and Vellios are still on the payroll. Why not get rid and save a bit of money?

My opinion is that Gueye is useless and not up to Premier League standards. He hardly ever gets to come on never mind start a game, what's the point of having him on the payroll?

The same can be said of Mucha and similarly with Vellios though to be fair I don't think he's been given the opportunity to show what he can do so I may be being a bit harsh in his case.

These players really haven't got what it takes so why waste money on their salaries. For what use they are we may as well have young lads from the U21s on the bench.

Bill Griffiths     Posted 03/01/2013 at 10:57:29   Comments (31)

The FA Cup: Should we bother?

As the 3rd round of the FA Cup approaches I would like to know the thoughts of my fellow ToffeeWebbers on whether we should we play our second team in the cup games and go all out for 4th spot?

With our squad being thin enough as it is, do we risk a serious injury to one of our stars in trying to get to Wembley?

I think it's a no-brainer... and I think we will also give the likes of Ross Barkley the chance to find some first-team form.

Conor Skelly     Posted 03/01/2013 at 00:27:15   Comments (75)

Lewis Holtby

This is an actual quote from Lewis Holtby who is a 22-year-old midfielder playing for Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga:

"My father was born in England and has been an Everton fan since the age of five. He immediately infected me with the Everton virus! Since then I have been a Everton fan and have always followed their games."

I called a German friend of mine who is a Schalke fan, and coach. I asked him about Holtby, he reckons that he will be the next great product of German footy. He started at Moenchengladbach's academy then went to Aachen and then onto Schalke.

He has represented Germany at U19, U20, U21 and senior levels. Schalke have offered him a bigger contract that he has turned down. He has expressed his desire to play in the Premier League — with Everton.... he is a free agent in the summer.

Arsenal and Spurs are showing an interest in him.

Jimmy Daly     Posted 02/01/2013 at 16:54:01   Comments (33)

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