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Season 2012-13

The Mail Bag

July 2012 Archive
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Ineptitude or good management? The case of Steven Pienaar

When Pienaar arrived at Goodison Park on loan in 2007 his career was on the rocks after an unsuccessful spell at Borrusia Dortmund. A few months later he was an Everton player for £2 million. It's got to rank as one of Moyes's great finds.

Now though, some fans are muttering that we haven't done so brilliantly since then, in letting him go for £3m, then buying him back for £4.5m. So do they have a point?

In August 2010, Arteta signed a new 5-year contract with Everton. It was a coup for the club to persuade Arteta to stay... and, to make the offer harder to refuse, Everton increased his wages. Pienaar though held out against signing a new contract. So, when Arteta jumped ship, because he was on a long term contract, we got £10m for him.

But Pienaar, who had less than 6 months on his contract, was sold for £3m. In the circumstances, £3m was a decent price, he could easily have left on a free at the end of the season. But why, people ask, did we not offer him more money or sell him earlier?

It's so tempting when key players hold out for higher wages to think "Just give them the damn money". I've had this reaction myself. But protecting the player's sale price isn't the only consideration. An extra £10,000 a week equates to over £2m over the period of a 4-year contract. £2m is bad enough but, once you break your wage structure for one player, you're inviting other players to make similar demands; so, if you're not careful, the extra wage costs could multiply. No doubt there are tough calls to make, but the club has to act responsibly.

As to why we didn't sell him earlier – what makes you think the club didn't try? The problem is, you've got clubs like Spurs monitoring the situation and thinking "Why jump in with an offer now when we may be able to get the player for a lot less money or even on a free in a few months time?" It's not an easy sell, to say the least.

That just leaves the question: Did we do the right thing to buy him back? There may be other players out there. But Pienaar has proved exactly what he can deliver in the Premier League – and, most importantly, in an Everton shirt. In a few short months, he's brought sparkle to our play and made a big difference to results on the field. If he can deliver more of the same over the next year or two, then £4.5m looks like an absolute bargain.
Nick Wall     Posted 31/07/2012 at 22:24:36   Comments (71)

Edge Lane

Sorry to raise this subject again, but though I have been going to Goodison Park for many years and have seen that we are constantly looking for a new site for a ground, I drove down Edge Lane on Saturday and was amazed that I can not recall the area being considered for a ground move.

I have in mind the site next to the Innovation place which is close by to the Edge Lane railway station, surrounded by an area, which without being disrespectful, needs and warrants redevelopment.

OK the roads may need a bit of upgrading, but they are not tight little roads that do not lend themselves to it, the railway system is in place, the area is within the boundaries... and as far as I could detect there is ample space for either parking or creating parking, all of which is about 2 miles from the motorway network. There is at least enough room for some sort of retail park based around the area.

If this area has been covered off before, then sorry... but if not, remember my finders fee!
Ian Smitham     Posted 30/07/2012 at 23:44:05   Comments (69)

Pre-Season Idea

We all know that this pre-season has been messed up with the Java Cup debacle. There has been often a lot of discussion on TW on the relative merits of going to US, Australia, Asia etc as well as the quality of opposition in pre-season. This got me thinking about a potential idea for next year.

How about if Everton and (hold your breath) Liverpool actually got together next year to organise a pre-season tournament on Merseyside. If we could invite a couple of high profile European teams (I was thinking Bayern Mnich and AC Milan) then I think it could be a win/win/win for both clubs and the City.

Hopefully it would attract good crowds and visitors to the city, give all teams a really good workout, and involve no travel. Who knows we might even make some money out of it.

Crazy – I know.

Ciaran Duff     Posted 30/07/2012 at 06:15:25   Comments (20)

The Silent Blue Union

So where are are the Blue Union???

The silence is deafening...

What happened to "We will keep the pressure on this inept management."?!?

If you portray to represent the true fans... well, get your fingers out and let us know your next move.

Jimmy Digney     Posted 29/07/2012 at 02:29:11   Comments (91)

Who negotiates our transfers?

Anyone else concerned about the goings on behind the scenes regarding transfers?

I think it's about time we started looking at the people at Goodison who are involved in the day-to-day negotiations of transfers. Our performance so far this pre-season has been a joke. The whole Pienaar situation has made us a laughing stock of the Premier League (my opinion though is that Pienaar is being his usual mercenary self and we'll probably see him sign for QPR soon).

Then you have the Yobo joke. The original deal was €5; they say no... so we go to €2.5M???

On top of that, you have Cahill going for £1M. I'm glad he's getting his payday, after all the work he's done for the club he deserves it, but £1m for him was cheap. I just hope we have an MLS deal with Landon Donovan coming across soon. And apparently Holliet has signed with QPR.

So what are these guys behind the scenes actually doing. What happened to the "get players in as quickly as possibly to allow them to settle in".

If it is actually true that we are dependent on the Yobo and Cahill sales to fund a move for a player, well that to me speaks volumes about the mismanagement of this great club.

It seems like another pre-season shambles with the men behind the scenes yet again failing to deliver on promises.
Kevin Freaney     Posted 28/07/2012 at 01:31:07   Comments (58)

Cahill replica kit

I just thought you might find this of interest:

On Saturday 21st, I took my son (9 years old) to buy the new Everton home kit, a kit he had waited and saved up hard for to buy, with the name of his hero  "Cahill" on the back... With all the printing and Prem badges, it came to a total of £92 – a lot for a child's football kit, I thought.

Less than 48 hrs later, Everton announce Cahill is to leave the club. To say he was upset about the fact he was leaving is an understatement, but when I telephoned the Club shop and then the Club to ask if they were happy to exchange the kit for one with a current squad member, I was told they would not and I should have read the small print.

Now when I paid for the kit, there was no mention of any conditions, never mind small print. How can a Club treat its fan base like this? "The People's Club"? I don't think so.

I now have a little boy who not only is loosing his hero but also stuck with a kit of a player that no longer represents his beloved club. I am told when Arteta left last season, they swapped the kits... maybe it's because they are now Nike kits there has been a change.

I think its disgusting way to treat a small boy.
Gary Feeley     Posted 27/07/2012 at 20:29:40   Comments (47)

Same as last season

Wev'e been here before, season after season. The build up, the anticipation, the hope, the dreams. Why do we put ourselves through it?

One season it would be nice to talk about players coming in without having to sell. There's me dreaming again...

Tim gone, Heitinga and Baines on their way? But we can possibly look forward to a Blackpool player. WOW!

David Moyes not signing a new contract. Talk of new buyers. We've heard it all before. Till a certain BK goes, I'll keep my money in my pocket and watch the telly, me and many others. I'm fed up being the paupers of the Premier League.

Des Kenny     Posted 25/07/2012 at 20:07:43   Comments (140)

Moyes's best all-time 11

The imminent departure of Tim Cahill seems to have finished off one cycle of Everton under David Moyes and will hopefully (for some) herald the beginning of a new one with names such as Gibson, Naismith, Rodwell and Barkley replacing the heroes of yesteryear such as Arteta, Carsley, Cahill and Lescott.

This begs the question: What do you think is Moyes's best 11 out of the first 10 years?

It has to be realistic; you can't have Rooney and Cahill in the hole behind Jelavic and Yakubu. Equally, it has to be a team Moyes would actually play so back 3s or 5s are also discounted. If they were all together in their prime, what would Moyes's team look like? Mine is heavily slanted towards the 2007-08 vintage which I consider to be the zenith of Moyes's first cycle with some obvious additions that can't be overlooked.

Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines
Arteta, Osman, Cahill, Pienaar

I'm sure everyone's will differ but I think if Moyes had all his players in their prime then this might be close to his favourtie team and formation, obviously with Cahill pushing on, Osman dropping in besides Carsley. Or is that perhaps just borne from my desire to see us playing with just one holding midfielder, like we did in 2004-05? – rather than the two that we do now... which all too often make up a back 6.

James Martin     Posted 25/07/2012 at 14:25:56   Comments (95)

Moyes's Contract

I am surprised that there hasn't been much comment about David Moyes going into his last season under contract.

Could it be that he has promised Bill one last season, but won't commit to a new contract? This of course means any club can take him and not have to pay Everton any compensation.

I know Davie says it is not important but how do the players feel about their futures when the manager seems reluctant to commit his future to the club?

Brian Harrison     Posted 24/07/2012 at 13:46:04   Comments (51)

Let's honour a modern-day hero

I would like to somehow start a campaign to have the number 17 shirt retired from Everton FC.

Tim Cahill was special. I could go on and give a million and one reasons behind this idea but I really don't feel it's necessary given the circumstances.

The man stuck around for years with the same hopes and dreams that we all carry, he played for us. He never walked onto that pitch for money or silverware. He did it for the shirt he had on his back. He understood what it was to be an Evertonian. He really did. And he leaves the club without a nothing but an FA Cup loser's medal.

I want Tim Cahill to leave his beloved Everton with his own shirt number. Never to be worn by anybody at the club again. It's nothing more than this living legend deserves.
Sean Kearns     Posted 24/07/2012 at 02:15:12   Comments (40)

Beauty v The Beast

Firstly, I'll admit I am a purist: there's nothing better than watching your team play the beautiful game "the right way"; however, is it the winning way?

After watching Chelsea defend, defend, defend their whole way to Champions League glory, it got me thinking: if that was Everton, would I be happy?

My answer would be – No!

For me, it was the death of football, a stab in the back of the beautiful game. If every team in the world played like that, would you pay your hard-earned cash on watching that tripe? People may counter that with the whole "Yeah but we won and that's what counts"... but does it?

Look at all the kids watching the Champions League final – what would they have learned? — to play defensive negative football and win at all costs... that's all that matters!!

We all know Everton will never win another major trophy unless we get major investment or get very lucky with a top bunch of youth players with a manager prepared to play them. I want Everton to get back to the School of Science, to have the skill the flair we showed in the second half of the season, because we showed we can be the beauty again.

Sean McKenna     Posted 22/07/2012 at 04:43:56   Comments (22)

A Question to Everton’s Commercial and Marketing Department

I am a HUGE fan of Jon Stewart (of Daily Show fame). So much so that I face extradition to the US on a daily basis by watching it online, riding roughshod over contractual law. (I''m a modern day Robin Hood and no mistake.)

I’ve just watched Thursday’s show (brilliant as usual, cutting to the chase of HSBC for example), but the jaw droppingly amazing feature of this edition was the online advert.

The product being sold to the USA demographic following JS was, and this really depresses me, the new Spurs kit!!!!!! "Tottenham Hotspur" ffs!!
They don’t employ the USA’s most famous Tourette’s sufferer (and excellent shot stopper by the way). Spurs aren’t the favourite team of USA’s footballing favourite son and part time Toffee!

This marketing kick in the cahones seems to sum up the ineptitude or lack or imagination in the heart of the Everton organisation (or am I being oxymoronic?)

Have to say it really depressed me. I hope that Jon Stewart can raise my spirit next week with political titters and replace that Spurs ad with the Lynx "premature perspiration" one once again. Oh, and if the Intelligence Agencies of Uncle Sam are reading this, then, please don’t render me. "God Bless America!"

Alun Willis     Posted 22/07/2012 at 13:37:29   Comments (22)

The club should put a time limit on sales out

Just a thought but why does DM not make a statement saying no-one has bid for any of our players (Baines, Fellaine, Heitinga) but say if anyone intends to bid then any business must be concluded by the end of July Otherwise we won't be able to replace and other targets will have gone elsewhere.

Just say that after the last day in July we will not consider offers for any players... end of.

For example, if the Baines rumour came true, then at least he would be able to do something about it immediately and Pranjic etc would at least know where they stood. At this rate, any prospective left backs could have already moved clubs by the end of August leaving us with no-one worth mentioning left to get in as a replacement.

Or is this just too obvious a stance to take??
Steve Cotton     Posted 21/07/2012 at 09:57:16   Comments (13)

Professional referees

With the new season only 1 month away, managers of every football club should seek clarification in a number of rules... No 1 being the two-footed tackle.

How many times have we seen tackles like the Jack Rodwell one given a straight red whereas players who steam in two-footed get a free kick given against them at the most?

I'm not just talking Everton, but about the game as a whole. When referees have these get-togethers, they should watch DVDs of incidents, asked what they would do, and then be told what they should be doing. Head of referees should go public and say what is right on the pitch and what is not acceptable.

On a final note of consistency, the FA should have looked into the incident between Cahill and Cabaye; if they found that Cabaye had indeed said some out-of-turn comment, they should have given him the same treatment as Louis Suarez.
Nick Millington     Posted 19/07/2012 at 22:54:36   Comments (12)

Will the bad starts to the season stop?

Each summer I ask myself the same question: When will our season start this year? In November or December we normally do better.

By logic, that means our pre-season matching is very weak, and I have looked at our programme and there are more weak teams than good. This has persisted each year in pre-season for as long as I can remember, and it makes me angry to see it persist.

I will point out that while we were playing Morecambe, Arsenal were playing against Anderlecht. Now that is quite a difference in matching. I think that the first two matches should be easy, but after that we should start playing against teams that actually gives us real matching.

Teams like Motherwell, Dundee and Blackpool offer little to nothing with regards to us being ready to play against Manchester United at home, which is our first game of the season. Last year, and years before that, we have played in the US and Austrailia. Teams there offer even less than Dundee, Motherwell and Blackpool.

Moyes makes a big point of getting the players ready with very tough training, but when it comes to matching the players he is unable or unwilling to give them quality matching. Quite strange... is it not? There are only two ways to do a pre-season, the right way or the wrong way.

To me, we start the right way the first two matches and then we fail the rest. It can not go on like this, Moyes has a duty to get the players ready for the new season but he is failing each time. As long as Moyes stays the same, we will always start the season poorly.

It is hard to face the truth, but it is even worse to watch our team not doing well until after 24 December. I hate how "normal" it has become, and how the press romances it with "the usual slow start to the season only to finish in top 4 form". I know it by heart as so many others do, and I am sick of it, truly.

I know some will try to defend Moyes on this, but to be honest there is no defense after almost 10 years of the same... A warning light should blink when the press has given us a puppy name like "slow starters".

Jim Hansen     Posted 15/07/2012 at 19:26:04   Comments (52)

Everton v Spurs, February 1983

Did anyone watch last night's Big Match re-visited? What a trip down memory lane. One of the featured games was Everton V Spurs in the cup in February 1983. It was a game I just don't remember so I was in the bizarre situation of urging Everton to victory in a match played 29 years ago.

Hard tackles, no diving, no yellow cards (players had their names taken) no step-overs and the joy of watching an Everton team who were on the verge of greatness. Everton won 2-0 with goals from King and Sharpe and outplayed what seemed like a good Spurs side. We looked a couple of players away from something special and of course we got them.

The point of this post, however is to ask a question. In goal that day was Jim Arnold, the captain was Mark Higgins. I just have no recollection of this. They just don't spring to mind when I reflect on that wonderful time. What became of them?

Andy Crooks     Posted 15/07/2012 at 11:45:15   Comments (22)

Finch Farm

Is Finch Farm — Everton's state-of-the-art training ground — out of bounds to the British Press?

I went into my local library to wait for my wife who was getting her hair done. I read most of the newspapers... hardly a mention of Everton in them. All our rival clubs in the North West seem to get pages of information. Yet Evertonians are like the proverbial mushroom kept in the dark and fed crap.

PS: The wife's hairdo was nice!

Edward Boyd     Posted 13/07/2012 at 13:53:17   Comments (15)

What will be acceptable?

David Moyes can't get us into the Champions League because we don't have enough money. That's what his defenders say... and frankly they are right. Yet, some of his admirers are hinting that it just might happen. It's sort of having it both ways in my view.

The optimists take the view in August that our squad is good enough and that the coach is the best we could hope for. Come October, the squad isn't good enough but, hey, how could it ever happen with the budget Moyes has got?!?

It seems to me that we need to set our sights much lower. The gap between Everton and the Champions League places is big enough to make a substantial improvement in our fortunes meaningless.

So, what is acceptable? Not survival which I suspect will do for Kenwright. I believe we have a squad good enough to qualify for the Europa League. Good enough to have a good run in one of the cups. Good enough to play better football more often than we do. Good enough to go to Anfield and play that poor side off the pitch. That would be acceptable to me.

Andy Crooks     Posted 12/07/2012 at 17:43:37   Comments (46)


With silly season being quite slow, and very little to talk, think or worry about that hasn't been done to death already, I've just got to thinking about my fellow Toffeewebbers and who they are.

This being the internet there must be a wide range of people from all over the world posting, and it's interesting to know some of the different reasons why we've been drawn to the club, especially those of us not originally from the Merseyside area. There's been discussion before of providing a bit more information, such as age, when posting, as these things can be relevant to how you view Everton's current state. That was resisted however, on the grounds that it might lead people to prejudge based on assumptions rather than take each comment at its own value, which I understand.

I am interested though; where do we have ToffeeWebbers around the world, how did you come to support Everton, and how many other Evertonians are you in face-to-face contact with on any kind of regular basis? I think it would also be interesting to compare this I suppose to how many 'fans' of other clubs there are where you are.

I'm English, from a town whose nearest professional football team is Coventry City, so when I was little and the 'big' teams were on TV, Everton just seemed to happen naturally given that I wasn't going to be supporting Man United and Liverpool the way everyone else seemed to. In particular, being allowed to stay up until half-time as a four-year-old during the Cup Winners' Cup final of 1985 seems to have been a key moment in retrospect.

So in a highly voluntary way, I think it would be interesting to find out about Evertonian correspondents in far flung corners of the world, especially as we ponder the possibilities of raising Everton's 'brand' awareness in the Asia and North America particularly.
Mike Allison     Posted 12/07/2012 at 11:55:02   Comments (87)

Clubs for Sale

Another week goes by and Notts Forest have found a buyer, Watford have found a buyer. Thank God Bill's working 24/7 in our cause. Have a think how many clubs have been bought and sold over the last few years, Liverpool have managed three sets of owners over the last six years.

If only Everon had a support base and a proud history, they could join Forest and Watford as playthings of rich owners.

So if we can find someone to pay Bill three times what the club's worth and allow him to stay on as Chairman, then we can move forward.

Richard Tarleton     Posted 12/07/2012 at 09:38:56   Comments (110)

Stardust Memories

I remember seeing the opening scene of this film and thinking that's what it's like being an Evertonian.

Woody is on a train filled with misery while the train on the adjacent line is having a party – filled with happy people and beautiful women... Don't get me wrong; I wouldn't swap being a Blue for the world.

But, if Everton FC and one of the finest group of fans in the known universe – Evertonians – were a movie, what would that movie be? (This is a bit of pre-season fun so don't say "Apocalypse Now"!)
Mike Hughes     Posted 10/07/2012 at 23:34:11   Comments (44)

Starting eleven?

Okay I know it's very early but there isn't much really interesting to write about just yet...

Considering the possibility that Pienaar is signed and Rodwell is fully fit now, what do you think will be Moyes's first starting eleven against Man Utd?

My own selection would be:

Hibbert, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines
Pienaar, Rodwell, Fellaini, Gibson
Naismith and Jelavic.

Subs; Mucha, Cahill, Distin, Barkley, Gueye.

Of course not including Coleman and Moyes's perennial favourites Osman and Neville will cause consternation so let's see how everyone else feels?

Tom Bowers     Posted 07/07/2012 at 21:25:52   Comments (76)

Clive Thomas

For fans of a certain age (me) the one refereeing decision that still rankles is Clive Thomas 1977.  I have heard rumour and counter rumour down the years as to whether he ever admitted he got it wrong. 

On Thursday night I was listening to Tony Livesey on Radio 5. There was a very lively debate regarding goal line technology. One of the guests was Clive , albeit on the telephone. 

Now is my chance, I thought. It was a long shot, but I sent this text to the show;

Please ask Clive Thomas why did he disallow Bryan Hamilton's 1977 FACup Semi final goal for Everton against Liverpool. 

It's never too late, Clive, to admit you got it wrong. 

Neil, Wirral

I didnt think for one minute it would be read out. Then to my amazement as the interview ended and the news was coming on, Tony read it out. 

Thomas replied," They won't leave it alone will they. Offside or handball it was". He then muttered something else about "Hamilton knows that", and that was it. All over in ten seconds.  Tony Livesey knew where I was coming from. He even said theres nothing like a 35 year grudge. 

My only consolation was the whole thing got him slightly irate. Albeit for a few seconds. 

For those who haven't forgotten Maine Road '77 we still have no explanation as such. Let alone an apology. 

The wait for justice goes on. 

But it's nice to know Clive was put on the spot and WE will never leave it alone.!

If you want to hear it, its on BBC iplayer. Radio 5. Thursday 5th. Half an hour in. Tony Livesey show. 
Neil Smith     Posted 06/07/2012 at 17:47:21   Comments (70)

Transfers Out and the Youngsters

With the season around the corner, I'm surprisingly more confident that I probably should be. For some reason I have a feeling that we may not get raped late in the transfer window.

One thing I did notice was a tweet by Tolis Vellios with Coleman and Rodwell in training kits in pre-season. Coleman and Vellios both had squad numbers but Rodwell didn't. Conspiracy maybe, but does anyone think that counts for anything? And if so, are we bothered if he did go?

Anyway back to the point: It's key for me that we keep Fellaini and Baines.

If we do manage to what else do we need? What else do you think we will get? What can we expect from Cisco, Duffy, Barkley this season?

James Cadwaladr     Posted 06/07/2012 at 15:50:29   Comments (10)

Buying up houses around Goodison

Is it a worthwhile to explore the idea of a venture for fans to buy up the houses around Goodison that will enable Everton to use this land to extend or rebuild Goodison?

The houses in that area are relatively cheap, and it will take time, but the stadium issue has hung over us for 15 years now and zero progress has been made. I would not be surprised if we are still in this position stadium-wise in 15 years time.

So, if we eventually bought all the houses and Everton moved location anyway, at least there's the opportunity for fans to get their money back or even make a little by selling the houses on.

I know there would be issues over renting the houses out in the meantime. Maybe rent could cover the admin costs, and pay an interest rate to investors even? Maybe we'd end up getting all our money back before we even sold/gave it to Everton!

Could Everton then knock them down and get planning permission? There are a number of challenges and considerations of course, but at the moment I just want to know if this idea is worth exploring further by people who know a lot more than me!

David Shaw     Posted 06/07/2012 at 06:09:18   Comments (42)

What's needed?

What we need is a bit of skill a bit of flair in the final third. At Goodison Park, the lower teams in the league came, parked the bus, and knicked a goal. Those teams knew, as do we fans, that we don't have that special player to unlock a stubborn defense; so what's needed?

Firstly Pienaar is a must; second, if we get Naismith on a free, I'll not moan about that... but most of all we need a right winger with pace to burn! Every year it's the same, every transfer window is the same... defenders, strikers and workhorses. We need pace, trickery, vision.

If you look at the top teams in world football – Barcelona, Madrid, Man City – it is all built around a top midfield; these teams have the workhorses and the skill... the balance that sets teams to win in any situation. We have the workhorses – all we need is the flair. For me, a top winger and a top playmaker would see us break the top 4 this year.

Do you agree?

Sean McKenna     Posted 03/07/2012 at 16:22:26   Comments (25)

The Cahill conundrum

While watching the usual non-movement of players for Everton, I cannot help but think that we should let Tim Cahill go if the chance comes — not because he has dropped a level in performance, but because if he is still an Everton player next season then David Moyes will play him every week. I think he got 2 goals in total last year and this is not good enough for a second striker.

Okay he may have lost a bit of spring in his leap and we all still appreciate what he has done, but David Moyes will play him ahead of another player every time, with possibly the same thing happened as with Saha when it took 4 months of misery watching him misfire.

Perhaps for the good of the club and for us to be more of a threat we need to let him move on?

Steve Cotton     Posted 02/07/2012 at 10:49:28   Comments (51)

New Blues

I found the ToffeeWeb poll concerning Evertonian's starting to follow the club rather alarming. The 65-69 period (when I first attended Goodison) and the 80s reflect the success of the club in numbers of first time fans. The last three categories (the 90s and the 2000s) are the worst in 60 years, and this when top flight football in England is more popular than any-time in the last 40 years.

I know there are other factors to take into consideration, but there's no denying that our dwindling gates and these results point to an obvious correlation between the turgid, barren last decade and a half, and the shortage of next-generation Toffees.

Mick Davies     Posted 02/07/2012 at 02:46:50   Comments (61)

Everton's Big Transfer Budget

In this world of oligarchies and sheikhs and American owners with seemingly endless piles of cash for transfers, it's easy to dismiss Everton's poultry CapEx budget as not worthy of mention but football has changed and the players, or more accurately their agents, have recognised this.

The Bosman ruling has made the players all-powerful and frankly they can engineer a move wherever they want (the idea that 'tapping up' is against the rules is laughable) which means that, more and more often, there is no transfer fee involved for teams in the 2nd or 3rd tier in European terms, if the contract is ending.

Unless you need to convince the best teams to part with their best players mid-contract, as the teams challenging for the major honours do, the likes of Everton can pick up the cast-offs from the best teams on free transfers. These players are infinitely more likely to run down their contracts sitting on the bench waiting for the increasingly unlikely chance to get on the pitch for the Champions League or Carling Cup... Think Gibson, Kalou... and even Pranji.

When you look at transfer finances in these terms, actually what is important is your ability to pay wages and in that sense Everton are fairly well off. We have just released circa 5 squad/fringe players plus those we have let go over the last few seasons and we still have decisions to make over the futures of the likes of Tim Cahill and Phil Neville – who I imagine we must pay at least £120k per week (£6.24m/year) between them. This gives Moyes some food for thought when he sees the quality of free transfers available in terms of how he allots this OpEx budget for next season.

If he were to afford the salary of one quality player where he had two or three average players in the past, the ability of the first 15 or so players at his disposal should be much better and the remaining players should be either much worse or 'development' players.

This is of course fine if your squad remains injury-free and I think this is why we will see Moyes targetting international players who can play two or more positions, like Pranjic, because ultimately – if you can have international quality players playing 95% of your games – by rights you should be in business. It'll drive the 'players in right positions' brigade mental but it might be the way forward for us.

Drew O'Neall     Posted 01/07/2012 at 21:39:05   Comments (30)

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