Everton 2 - 1 Southampton

After just a short break we all assembled for ‘Lunch in L4’ a sell-out crowd and our local soon filled up with one or more fans making their debut at sampling match day ‘scouse style’ I wonder what they all made of it. One of them should be happy as not only did the Blues win but they won the card too. A text from a mate said Jags out with hammy trouble and when the team arrived he was proved right. Five changes from Boxing Day and how they might line up was well discussed.

Clattenberg was ref but when discussed the only comment was that he should not be reffing full stop after being caught favouring one team over another. All agreed and we moved on to the ground where the buzz started well before Spellow Lane and intensified the nearer to the ‘Old Lady’ you got. The fat van had run out of bacon and sausages so many had to do with chips. The Goodison Road was knee deep in the Blues and the yellow carry out food wrapper bins overflowed as we made our way to designated turnstiles. Almost 40.000 passed through.

Before kick-off we had a moment of applause for those Blues who had passed up to Blue heaven during the year of 2013. Their names displayed on the big screen, sadly there seemed to be too many of them.

The half started with us attacking the street end no doubt in an attempt to gain some help from the sun shining brightly in the eyes of their keeper and defenders. It was a low key start but it only took about 10mins for Osman to find Coleman with a decent pass and the Irishman set of at great pace down the right, cut inside his man took a few more paces and then let fly with a rocket of a shot that flew across the keeper and bulged the net. Happy Blues celebrated in good style, it was a stunning shot. He seems to be getting good at these. 3 in 4 games now.

The half meandered on with some decent football from both sides and slowly but surely the visitors were winning the midfield battle but Everton seemed prepared for this as they set up a line across the pitch just in front of the 18yd line. This seemed to work well and we thwarted anything the Saints could muster. Barkley was working well with finesse and power and had a few rounds of applause for his efforts. McCarthy was settling in to his anchor role and it was good to see Alcaraz settling in quickly in fact we were no weaker for the changes as we looked after the lead as well as attacking when we could.

Around the 20min mark Naismith went for a ball in the box and seemed to be pushed over but nothing doing from the ref.

The half wasn’t electric by any means and good chances were in short supply. Lambert brought a good save from Robles but was offside anyway. Lukaku had a powerful run down the right but just kept going and ended up being unable to pass to anyone. Shame really as Oviedo had made a good run to offer himself unmarked.

One more scare for us before the break when Lallana sort of squeezed between Osman and Distin and into the box but thankfully shot wide. Then one more chance for us as a delightful free kick from Baines was attacked by Naismith but his resultant header was shuffled away. Right on the half time whistle as Distin was seeing a ball out for a goal-kick he was barged by a Southampton player and handbags took place. Just a talking to from Clatters.

H/T and in keeping with the first half everything seemed a bit downbeat and flat from the speccys.

The second half started and within seconds the impressive Shaw raced down the left and fed a good ball into the box and but for the sliding McCarthy Lallana could have profited.
Oviedo got booked for a foul slide but it didn’t put him off as he raced down the left and looked up and fed Barkley open in front of a gaping goal but the youngster contrived to side-foot wide, what a miss, I hoped that would not come back to haunt us. Shame for the lad though as he was having a good game in his deeper midfield role.

Southampton were now in the ascendency and it was taking some sterling work from McCarthy to keep us together as well as the Distin Alcaraz partnership looking more solid as the game progressed.

We had a spell of both teams putting some good joined up stuff together but both teams promised more than they delivered. We had a scare when from a decent shot Robles let the ball squirm from his grasp causing him to produce a sprawl and smother to thwart the incoming forward.

All seemed very quiet in the ground and even the baiting from the travelling Saints fans barely caused any retaliatory action. Maybe we were just absorbed in the ground and fearful of an equaliser yet at the same time with the promptings of McCarthy and Barkley we were not looking in much danger.

In the 70th min all that changed when sub. Ramirez thumped one in from the edge of the box and it just seemed to be too fast for our keeper who just seemed to wave two hands at it as it went right through him and into the net. He couldn’t blame the sun as it had gone down!

The ground went even quieter but within minutes we were all on our feet as a delightful interplay between our sub Pienaar and the excellent McCarthy saw the latter pick out Lukaku in front of goal and he duly thumped the ball high into the net and the Goodison roar was heard once more. I bet Robles was happy to see that go in.

The points were now ours as the clock ticked out the final minutes. Still time for a half chance to them and two half chances for us. In their case Shaw fired over and in our case Lukaku fired over then had a shot saved low down. Final whistle but not any wild celebrations but many did stay to clap the players off after they had saluted the fans.
M.O.tM. --- McCarthy

Overall a good day out and a game that was played in good spirit in the main between two footballing teams. I thought the manager managed the subs well when he introduced Pienaar for Oviedo on the hour mark and the link up with Baines looked much more productive yet Oviedo had not done much wrong. The Mirallas for Osman on 70mins gave the fresh legs.

Barkley again had a good game this time as part of a mid-field two and some of his surging runs and insightful passing bodes well for the remainder of the season. Alcaraz slotted in alongside Distin well so even with five changes we showed we could more than cope. It will be interesting to see what transpires in this coming transfer window as we move into the second half of the season with a shout of a high finish. Exciting times lie ahead if we can grasp them.

All the very best for 2014

UP THE BLUES

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Peter Creer
992 Posted 29/12/2013 at 20:53:16
Thanks Ken for another snapshot of the game and we keep rolling on. It was very gratifying to see us play well against another team that likes to move the ball around and attack. With so many changes, especially Jags, Barry and Howard, it was great to see these forced rotations working out so well. Alcaraz in particular filled in seamlessly and made some important blocks and worked well alongside Distin. His return to fitness could not have been timed any better. The other positive for me was the work done at the heart of the midfield by Barkley and McCarthy who fought hard and had some great link up play. I would agree that McCarthy was the MotM.

The other positive was the return to goalscoring for Lukaku. He has worked tirelessly over the past few games without anything to show for it and today saw him get the goal that he deserved. Without a doubt we need to bolster the front line in the transfer window so that we don't see him burning out when the games will become even more important.

Overall, a great result against a team that played well. Fourth at the halfway point and only five points out of first. Martinez has been a revelation and the team has responded to his change in philosophy.....long may it continue!

Chris Jones [Burton]
993 Posted 29/12/2013 at 20:55:43
Given the number of changes in our line-up I think we did very well to come out of this with 3 points. Southampton have proved to be a good side this season, came here off the back of a 3 nil away win and played some lovely stuff in our half at times, albeit they didn't threaten our goal overly much.

We scored two smashing goals, one a fine individual effort from Seamus, worthy of a Giggs or Kanchelskis in their pomp, the other a really lovely team effort featuring some great passing an movement, a super first-time flicked pass and a confident finish from a striker who you'd never know had gone several games without netting.

One slightly negative comment... I noticed today, in the first half especially, the tendency of our players to pass straight to feet when moving the ball around in midfield. While this may be ok when we're playing keep ball and not pressed too close, it can leave the receiving player a bit flat footed at times.

I'd much prefer it if the passes were aimed just in front of the target player each time, to induce them forwards (rather than back) and give the receiver a little bit of initiative/impetus if they're being closed down by an opponent. This I think is likely more comfortabe than when the ball is straight to feet. Sometimes we looked like we were playing pass the parcel with a grenade.

Ian Bennett
995 Posted 29/12/2013 at 21:11:10
I watched Lukaku quite closely up in the gods today. The service in to him was pretty awful (save McCarthy's great surge). Far to many times he was dropping deep looking for the ball and miss controlling it in a tight midfield (Osman disease was catching). Needs to play on the last man more, facing goal - his team mates should see his number 17.
Si Mar
005 Posted 29/12/2013 at 21:51:13
It's been a great start to the season and I hope we can keep it going. I was very impressed today with McCarthy, who seems a snip at what we paid for him, and Coleman, who keeps on getting better. I'm just dreading a massive bid for him which I'm sure will eventually come!

Looking forward to Stoke and I can't wait for QPR and Norwich.

COYB!!!

Gerry Quinn
008 Posted 29/12/2013 at 21:59:26
Following you all the way there Ken, great summary.

Chris, according to the staticians, Everton have won ALL 7 of the games in which Martinez has made two or more changes to his lineup.

Unchanged, the Toffees have won just once in 6 games this season.

Bit of a whizz-kid with the rotations then is our Roberto they've worked every time

Mike Gaynes
033 Posted 30/12/2013 at 00:34:56
Ken, I learn something about game-day culture every time I read your work. But what, pray tell, is the "fat van" that ran out of bacon and sausages?

If there's a truck full of pork to be found outside, it'll be my first stop on my pilgrimage to Goodison.

Gerry McGuirk
045 Posted 30/12/2013 at 01:24:10
I've been a Toffee since 1970 when my Dad returned from a ferry trip to Liverpool (boo hiss) with a Championship pennant featuring Alan Ball. Having read TW avidly for some years now I thought it was time to add my tuppence halfpenny.

The early heroes were Bob (deadly from 2 yards) Latchford, Martin Dobson? Thomas on the wing, and Drunken McKenzie. Then we had the glory days of the mid 80s and the crushing disappointment of missing the European Cup.

There's been little to cheer since (1995 and Big Dunc's elbows aside) but now I think the sleeping giant has awoken! DM did well with the players at his disposal and his limited vision.

But Roberto has given us the audacity to believe and the joy in watching an Everton team where you can revel in the quality of the football as well as sweat over the result. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going until May.....C'mon the 'Ton!

Rahman Talib
053 Posted 30/12/2013 at 02:55:04
I thought the Antolin Alcaraz dude was tremendous. First time an Everton centre-back can take on the opposing forward.

Osman was shaky but didn't lose the ball, thank God.

Naismith won all headers but was the only dude that seems to lose the ball in the entire game.

Joel should've saved that goal. It was a routine save if it was Tim.

Alan Khan
070 Posted 30/12/2013 at 06:09:58
Thank you Ken... Love your work!!! It's fantastic that we end the year in the top 4, above the neighbours and higher than Moyes. Roberto's md-term report card has been excellent and let's hope that he can consistently deliver the wins in 2014. Well done to Bill for appointing Roberto and in hindsight, a master stroke to offload Fellaini as it allowed us to make some interesting moves on the last day of the transfer window. Wishing my fellow Blues health and happiness in 2014... Happy New Year!!!
Brian Hill
073 Posted 30/12/2013 at 06:45:15
Thank you Ken. It was refreshing to hear Potchetinno's comments after the game. Despite the loss, he was very positive, praising our attacking philosophy and stating how much he enjoyed the match. Very similar mindset to Roberto and one that many others could learn from. Naming no names of course.
Zaid Omar
085 Posted 30/12/2013 at 08:49:19
Alcaraz was so composed on the ball. I get nervous whenever Distin and Jags try and control and pass the ball out of defence, but I thought that Alcaraz looked so confident and composed yesterday.

Encouraging that Lukaku scored, and overall he played really well, but we need another quality striker to add some competition and to give us a different option when games are not going our way.

David Ellis
091 Posted 30/12/2013 at 09:06:10
Can we now officially take Alcarez off the "crap Martinez signings" list?
Ross Kerry
106 Posted 30/12/2013 at 10:41:51
Alan Khan@070, how is Robles better than either Mucha or Ruddy?
How about Nigel Martyn or Neville Southall?
On a technicality I'll throw in Pat Jennings as another back up keeper
that he is behind, if you're not having that then he's not as good as the back up keeper that Jennings was once the back up keeper for.
In fact, on the basis of his calamitous handling so far I would also suggest Richard Wright, Steve Simonsen and Thomas Myhre were better.

He is better than Paul Gerrard, I'll give him that much.

Iain Love
109 Posted 30/12/2013 at 10:56:58
I was worried about playing Southampton [ esp with so many enforced changes ] as they press so well and I thought we might get caught playing out from the back.
Alcaraz appeared to have that concern under wraps and it will be nice to have the option of using him along with Jags and Distin with 3 at the back when other options are limited.
Lukaku must have had a halftime hairdryer as 2nd half he was a lot better.
Overall a great result in a tricky fixture.
Paul Ferry
111 Posted 30/12/2013 at 11:04:24
Mike Gaynes - 33

Ken, I learn something about game-day culture every time I read your work.

Well MG perhaps you might learn something about MacCarthy's performance from him then - Ken's MOM - who you somewhat foolishly called sub-par or words to that effect on another thread. I suggest that you press replay on NBC and watch the match and McCarthy very very closely and you perhaps might see what we who have been watching Everton for far longer than you saw.

Paul Ferry
116 Posted 30/12/2013 at 11:14:03
Alan Khan - 70 - to be fair to Phil Walling he has already put himself through the sackcloth and ashes stuff and admitted that he was wrong to say the things you have written here.

What do you want him to do, do his penance all over again!?

Sorry once is more than enough for me to be honest.

Tim Jones
117 Posted 30/12/2013 at 11:25:04
Do I detect a frisson of tension between you and the Yank Mike Paul?
Phil Walling
145 Posted 30/12/2013 at 13:12:34
No sackcloth and ashes for me in respect of Robles. Mucha, Turner, Ruddy, Wright, Simonsen and Myhre were all more talented than Robles... and, at times, could also be bloody hopeless!

Why is any criticism of Roberto's signings so reprehensible to his disciples? Just like any other manager, he will make bad judgements as well as good ones and we should all be entitled to express our view on the individuals concerned.

All I am saying is that on the basis of repeated mistakes Robles made in pre-season, his 'Careless Hands' display on Saturday was no surprise to me. He goes down on my list of the 'dodgy keepers' we have had over the Prem years. Love him all you will if you choose to.

Raymond Fox
148 Posted 30/12/2013 at 13:35:44
Phil, can I refer you to Alan 70!
There's me thinking you were a changed man, you've been deceiving us all along!
A leopard cant change its spots!
Ross Edwards
150 Posted 30/12/2013 at 13:49:01
Spot on Alan Khan. Certain people have been very quick on here to dismiss our manager and the players since he was appointed. I'd say on the thread on the day he was appointed, it was 80%-20% against him.

"Oh, he'll relegate us within 3 years, what a disaster... couldn't have been a worse appointment for our club... he'll turn us into another Wigan...a nothing manager...tippy tappy rubbish...bottom 3 by New Year.. to pick the guy who got relegated says everything that we need to know...kiss goodbye to top half finish and prepare for relegation battles...back to perennial relegation battles...Championship, here we come. GUTTED"

How nice it is to see those people proven wrong. Genuine comments by the way.

IMWT

Mike Hughes
152 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:03:43
Ross #150

It definitely wasn't 80-20 against RM when he was appointed.

I haven't conducted a survey or trawled through past posts but at a rough guess I'd say it was more like 15-70-15 with the 70 being unsure but willing to give him a chance.
The uncertainty was due to him having just been relegated which is not unreasonable.

I was one of those 70% and am happy to be won over.

I was, however, glad to see the back of OFM.

Phil Walling
157 Posted 30/12/2013 at 13:49:42
Ray, I've been delighted with what we have seen from our team under Roberto's tutelage apart from the 'pissing about' involving Howard. Given that my choice for manager would have seen the likes of Laudrup and Mackay in the job, I think BK chose wisely and has chalked up some redemption points in the process.

The McCarthy and Alcaraz signings now look good business even though we've had to pay the latter about £600k to sit on his arse for half the season! Kone has proved very poor business for the same reason. But nobody's perfect... particularly football managers, are they?

Ross Kerry
159 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:20:30
Whilst his positivity is in welcome contrast to Moyes's dour pessimism and regular whinging, Martinez hasn't proven anything yet.

Let's not get carried away by 4th place at the halfway point, as pleasing as it is.

Is it reasonable to question some of his permanent signings, like a goalkeeper who seemingly can't catch and the striker who couldn't score? Of course it is.

Kevin Tully
161 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:29:20
Ross - The man has proven he can win trophies. He has shown a tactical awareness not many mangers posses. He has proven he wants his teams to play attacking football, on the deck. He has without doubt, instilled a winning mentality previously lacking in highly paid professional athletes. Everton are now thought of as an entertaining side, who play attractive football.

Feel free to counter any of those points.

Ross Edwards
162 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:39:52
I think Ross he has, he has proven he has what it takes to manage a huge club, he plays football the right way, he has taken it to the big teams, led us to victory at Old Trafford for the first time in 21 years, he's tactically flexible, and most importantly, he knows the game, he knows his stuff, and has silverware to show for it.

Basically in short everything Kevin said, I concur completely.

Andy Peers
163 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:28:05
Ross Kerry, I have to say that RM has proven a couple of things up to now. A win at Man. Utd, a belief that we can beat anybody, more unity on Toffeweb than I have ever seen, and more than likely he will get us to 40 points quicker than OFM ever did ( Moyes main goal ).

Ross Kerry
164 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:45:41
I don't dispute any of what you say Kevin but it is early days, that's all I'm saying.

Just for balance, and despite all of the positives that you have listed, he did also prove his inability to keep Wigan in the premier league. Also, and back to the original point, there are questions that can fairly be asked about some of the permanent signings he has made as well as the long term wisdom of reliance on loan deals.

Ross Edwards
165 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:43:30
More importantly Ross, he has shown loyalty throughout his career, he rejected Celtic to remain at Swansea, rejected smaller clubs like Aston Villa and Liverpool to stay at Wigan and he has never taken pot-shots at ex players or clubs, something a certain Scottish manager has been doing recently.
Ross Edwards
166 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:43:30
More importantly Ross, he has shown loyalty throughout his career, he rejected Celtic to remain at Swansea, rejected smaller clubs like Aston Villa and Liverpool to stay at Wigan and he has never taken pot-shots at ex players or clubs, something a certain Scottish manager has been doing recently.
Phil Bellis
167 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:36:45
Mr Walling
You may be a very nice person but you come across as a curmudgeonly‎ old scrote; the sort who told their kids there’s no Father Christmas
I’ve not met another Blue, match-going or otherwise, who isn’t excited by and grateful for Martinez’s approach and attitude
The sheer joy of, after all these years, looking forward to the match again
Ross Edwards
168 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:47:42
Ross, they had the lowest wage budget in the league for each year they were in the Premier League, so it was inevitable that they would have been relegated at some point, with or without Martinez in charge.
Ross Kerry
169 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:52:21
Although it's tempting to cherry pick from the facts, the wage budget didn't seem to dictate relegation in any of the preceding 7 seasons.
Mark Frere
170 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:52:58
I think the biggest reason for Wigan's relegation was the amount of goals they conceded last season. That was due to Alcaraz and Ramis being injured nearly all season.
Ross Edwards
171 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:57:53
You see Ross, Wigan had their best players, N'Zogbia, Moses, Rodellega, Valencia, Cattermole, Caldwell, Diame, Connor Sammon all sold under Martinez, with little money to replace them.

The reason why Wigan finished higher under Bruce is because most of these players were available to him, whereas Martinez had to sell them to raise funds during his 4 year tenure.

Ross Edwards
172 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:04:07
Very true Mark, if I'm right in saying, all of Wigan's main defenders plus Al Habsi were all injured at some points during last season.
Ross Kerry
173 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:01:08
I didn't suggest Martinez was to blame for Wigan being relegated, but it is a fact that he was unable to keep them up.
Phil Walling
174 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:51:08
Mr Bellis, anyone who bought into Roberto's pronounced judgement that Robles was blameless for the Saints' goal is more gullible than any fan should ever be. OK, he backed his player - a poor one in my opinion - but can't possibly have said the same to him about the fact the ball passed straight through his hands!

Please don't make sycophancy of ALL things Martinez a condition of our contribution to this board.

Ross Edwards
175 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:06:04
I don't think anyone would have kept Wigan up during that season, AND win the FA Cup.
Patrick Murphy
176 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:08:32
Phil do you remember Neville Southall at the start of his Everton career? If you do you will also remember that he made quite a few mistakes and was in and out of the team until he found his form and the rest is history. Real football is not like the arcade games, sometimes players take time to adjust to their environment and settle in before they show their true abilities.

Mark Frere
178 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:06:31
Yes Ross, Ramis is a very good defender which cost Wigan £6 million and Alcaraz was their best defender. Most Wigan fans agree if their best 2 defender weren't injured, they would have stayed in the PL. Its like us losing Distin, Jags and Alcaraz for the season. I'm sure we would be shipping a lot more goals.
Ross Kerry
180 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:12:08
Ross@175. Well Martinez did think so. Not for one second did he believe that Wigan would go down and neither did he think that they deserved to be in the bottom three at the end - his words.
But down they went.
Ross Edwards
181 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:13:44
Or a modern example Phil, David De Gea struggled early on, but is now one of the best keepers in the Premier League.

Exactly what I said earlier, some people are just too eager to write off our players and the manager just because they don't like him or didn't want him or those particular players.

Ross Edwards
183 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:15:31
Precisely Mark. Ross, a club with smaller squads like Wigan would have been unable to replace their injured players, hence the reason they conceded lots of goals. Their FA Cup campaign, good that they won it, made that situation worse.

A club with little money, a small squad and huge injury problems like Wigan would have found it impossible to survive in the Premier League and find success in the FA Cup.

Ross Kerry
185 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:20:43
So we are going to give credit for the Cup win despite the crippling problems, including that porous defence shutting out Everton at Goodison and Man City at Wembley but remove any responsibility for losing over half of their games last season? I don't think Martinez would see it that way.
Kevin Tully
186 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:25:01
After 2 losses (least in the League) the best defensive record so far in the division, and a very real chance of C.L. football, why would anyone be intent on discussing who was to blame for Wigan being relegated?

Some strange Evertonians out there.

Ross Kerry
187 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:33:03
Yes Kevin, yet you brought up Wigan's cup win and invited comments.

Strange indeed.

Barry Rathbone
188 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:28:38
Ross Kerry, re your focus on Roberto taking Wigan down, here's a quote from a Wigan fan interviewed by an Evertonian for an article.. it might help:

"Their [other Wigan fans'] view is Steve Bruce left him with a mid-table Premier League side and he's turned us into relegation fodder. The Martinez defence mechanism in me quickly points out that team had Heskey, Palacios, Valencia and Cattermole sold from it and was also relegation fodder post January (a 4-0 humping at yours sticks out somewhat). Also, that the wage bill has reduced by 20% from then in a period when wages have increased 65%, if Martinez had the same wage bill last year as Bruce had then it'd be £70m not £35m. All facts – the reason Martinez has struggled is because the tide of money has continued to swing against us."

In such circumstance, Roberto played a blinder delaying the inevitable so long, this business about the Wigan relegation being avoidable is bollocks.

Kevin Tully
190 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:37:29
No, sorry Ross. I've just read my posts back, can't see that anywhere. Are you getting a little mixed up?
Ross Kerry
192 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:42:34
Try 161 Kevin.
Phil Walling
194 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:37:53
OK guys, I'll declare. No negative comment on any aspect Martinez allowed. Robles is the new Bin Man!!!
Kevin Tully
196 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:43:48
Yes Ross, he's proven he can win a trophy. Where did I mention Wigan's cup win?

Ross, there are enough on here who have made a fool of themselves over the past 5 months - don't add to their number.
Dennis Ng
202 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:49:06
It's easy to forget the wage bill, injuries, squad size and all that leading to Wigan being relegated. However, its not like they were dead last. They tripped on the last game! And had they not tripped up, we would not have had him as a replacement after OFM left. Maybe we would, but I can't believe we're arguing about history.

The best learn from their mistakes and move on to greater things.

So far, RM has not shown me any reason to doubt he has moved on from his Wigan days. If he is THAT BAD, we should be mid table, concede a boatload of goals and saying, yea, this is what we expected when we lost OFM anyway.

Like I said before in other threads, I'm afraid of next season, especially if we go into UCL this season. Where do we set a bar for next season? We need to be realistic, challenging for top 4 is our immediate target, automatic UCL berth is a thing for the next 5 years and hopefully we can win that shiny thing while most of us are still alive. How many different teams actually won that cup? We should realize our chances while they are there. Of course, if you want us to be another Leeds, you're talking to the wrong person. And supporting the wrong club.

Ross Kerry
204 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:57:14
Kevin, I suspect that the fools that you refer to number anybody who doesn't share your opinion so I wouldn't be adding to it.

A fool indeed if the trophy you referred to was the League one title rather than the Wigan's FA Cup win. I must stop jumping to conclusions

Ian Tunstead
213 Posted 30/12/2013 at 15:52:55
Its funny, its seems the same people who said Moyes not having as much money as clubs that finished above us is not an excuse for us not finishing above them, are the same ones who say it is an excuse for Wigan being relegated.

Ross Edwards, nobody said Everton would be relegated in 3 years. Nobody has been proven wrong about anything as it is far too early to make any judgement. I'm sure if you told West Brom fans at the end of an impressive last season that they were going to lose Lukaku and less than half way through the next season they would lose their manager and would be 2 points off the relegation places they wouldn't have believed you.

It sounds like you cant wait to say "I told you so" but then Phil or who ever could have said "I told you so" after the Sunderland game. I think the truth is, we just have to wait until at least the end of this season before we can draw any conclusions. After all I heard after the Sunderland game we were on the same amount of points we were on at the same stage last season and that is with the added bonus of Barry Lukaku, McCarthy and the likes. So for all the praise Martinez is getting, have we really progressed as much as we are being told on this forum? Especially when we take away our loan signings next season.

You state the Man Utd result as proof he has proven himself, but we all knew he had a reputation for getting shock results against the bigger clubs but don't the results against the likes of Sunderland and Palace count as much? Those are vital points that can decide relegation for a team like Wigan or top 4 for a team like Everton.

"He plays football the right way" What is this right way? Surely the right way is the way that gets results, to either keep you in the league or get you into the top 4?

"Most importantly, he knows the game, he knows his stuff, and has silverware to show for it."

So any manager who doesn't have a trophy doesn't know the game but managers like McLeish, Di Matteo or McClaren do know the game because they have won a trophy?

Ross Kerry
219 Posted 30/12/2013 at 16:41:54
Barry Rathbone@188

I never thought I'd see the day when the loss of Emille Heskey would be used as a reason why a team got relegated, banging them in for Wigan was he?

I do get the point, Wigan went down but he was blameless because players were sold from beneath him and the money was not made available for reinvestment in the team.

We can all be grateful that Everton isn't run that way. I fully expect that the tidy profit made on Fellaini and Anichebe in the summer will be reinvested in the playing staff during the coming weeks without the loss of any of our best players.

Ross Edwards
223 Posted 30/12/2013 at 16:52:38
Heskey was actually a key player for Wigan in their early years in the Prem Ross.
Jamie Barlow
226 Posted 30/12/2013 at 16:57:43
I thought money wasn't a factor. Can we only use the money debate to defend Roberto taking Wigan down? He had no money. The wage bill was slashed. I thought none of this mattered if you played the right type of football.
Dennis Ng
229 Posted 30/12/2013 at 16:57:11
Ross E is right, Heskey is underrated. imo, he's a great team player that gets too much stick for the failures of others. You guys made me research the wage bill thingy. To think that Swansea and Wigan won cups last year with ~$35m of wages, that's awesome. Looking at the rankings and performance since, I would say that you can infer brilliance and failure just from the final ranking compared to their wage bill. I would say RM's Wigan stint is average, not bad really, and that's ignoring the fact he won that shiny thing we could have used in our cabinet the last 10 years!

There are way too many things to dictate success and failure of a team. While I remain cautiously optimistic with RM, I really think naysayers are missing out on the moment by chasing the negatives.

Ross Kerry
237 Posted 30/12/2013 at 17:22:45
"Heskey" and "great" in the same sentence, without "lump".
Another first on ToffeeWeb.
Dennis Ng
239 Posted 30/12/2013 at 17:27:09
Well, considering that he's ex-3 lions, not a stretch, especially after his RS days.
Ross Kerry
244 Posted 30/12/2013 at 17:55:37
For every Neville Southall who starts badly and becomes great there are a hundred Massimo Taibi's, Heurelho Gomes', and Paul Gerrard's who start badly and get worse.

Early signs from Joel are frankly terrible and to extrapolate from this to him becoming a stopper for a top 4 premier league team is beyond my limits.

I think we have an excellent back-up keeper at the club in Tim Howard, what we need is a better first team keeper.

Si Cooper
246 Posted 30/12/2013 at 17:47:20
'Like I said before in other threads, I'm afraid of next season, especially if we go into UCL this season. Where do we set a bar for next season? We need to be realistic, challenging for top 4 is our immediate target, automatic UCL berth is a thing for the next 5 years and hopefully we can win that shiny thing while most of us are still alive. How many different teams actually won that cup? We should realize our chances while they are there. Of course, if you want us to be another Leeds, you're talking to the wrong person. And supporting the wrong club.'

Sorry Dennis, but I am struggling to understand what point you are making. Leeds forked out a fortune to effectively 'buy' a team capable of qualifying for the Champions League / European Cup year on year with the idea that money would flood in to pay-off the initial investment. When the team couldn't do it the club suffered the consequences.

No-one is looking for Everton to follow that model. The ideal scenario would be to qualify for CL through upping team performance rather than the expenditure, and then advance some proportion of the extra revenue for squad improvement with the primary goal of once again getting CL qualification and repeating the process.

It is about climbing the ladder to success one rung at a time, clinging on for dear life at times, until the extra revenue is sufficient for a sustained attempt at the summit. There are no guarantees and it will be incredibly difficult, but the only real alternative (unless the perfect billionaire shows up) is to simply accept we are second tier and hope we can continue to tread water for ever.

Patrick Murphy
252 Posted 30/12/2013 at 18:24:53
Ross Kerry Happy New Year 2 days in advance and I also hope you had a very merry Christmas.
Dennis Ng
256 Posted 30/12/2013 at 18:15:15
Si,

I might have made 2-3 points within that same 1 line, so I might have lost you there.

Indeed, we're not Leeds, but the many banter on how much we should cut long serving players like Osman and Howard loose reminds me of how little patience people have at teams that are near the summit. Leeds is THE ultimate example of people in way over their heads in chasing the title.

We definitely agree on the route in which we can reach the summit, and quite realistically, that is the only stable way. Other than Arsenal, other top teams can't really survive as is without their billionaire backers. Even for AW, they are walking a tightrope based on whether they can maintain their UCL place. I'm happy that we're even in the mix given our wage bill.

As for the expectation part, your comment on treading water is superb. My main worry, back to the line "people in over their heads in chasing the title", is that people would be eager to think that we can maintain this success with some investment. RM, as much as he has wielded magic this year, is still young, managing a thin squad with a tight budget. Until that improves, I'm expecting some form of yo-yo in standings for some time.

And you're spot on again, its about some to accept that we're second tier, at least in terms of finance. I can only hope on the field success can change that sooner rather than later. Team wise, I believe that our first 11 has the ability to challenge for big things, though beyond that, it is quite thin and hard to expect much when it comes to injuries.

Ross,

However much I think Howler Howard still lives, he is pretty much going to be our first choice for a while, unless we can bring in good bodies on the cheap, through no less than more of RM's midas touch. Otherwise, we'll have to hope one of those "good GK" teams to bite the dust before we can swoop in. Another tough ask.

Barry Rathbone
294 Posted 30/12/2013 at 19:14:49
Ross 219.

Not my words but that of someone who attended Wigan games, obviously you know better.

Ross Kerry
312 Posted 30/12/2013 at 19:42:45
Ross E @ 165 (and 166)
What do the Swansea fans call him and why?
Ross Kerry
324 Posted 30/12/2013 at 20:21:50
Barry, I don't claim to know any better that you or the Wigan fan that you quoted. I do have an opinion though and I'd like to put it forward.

I hope that's OK with you.

Raymond Fox
339 Posted 30/12/2013 at 20:30:16
Another bungle of joy appears from nowhere & spouts tripe about Martinez being not a good manager because, wait for it Wigan were relegated.

Is that it, it only proves that your one of poor souls that can observe events & not have a fecking clue what happened!

Were in 4th place sunshine its not happened by accident, if you cant tell that RM is the real deal by now I'd stop giving your opinion.

Ross Kerry
340 Posted 30/12/2013 at 20:54:06
Lay off the sauce Raymond.
Dennis Ng
341 Posted 30/12/2013 at 20:59:08
I was going to say something similar to him Ross. While while we're at it, why stop at 4th? 19 more games to play, the ball is round, who knows what will happen.

IMWT

David Ellis
426 Posted 31/12/2013 at 04:07:06
I think the reason why we can't agree on whether Martinez has "proved anything" yet or not is because the two camps are answering different questions.

The majority view the timeline for judging him up to the present day, so at least a 9 out of 10.

A minority seem to view the appropriate timeline as some period in the future, at least one or two seasons, perhaps longer (it varies by poster). In which case of course we have to wait and see as we don't know how it will turn out.

Both are correct, but each is answering a different question.

I am with the majority.

Phil Walling
477 Posted 31/12/2013 at 10:46:03
Purely on the topic of goalkeepers, both Howard and Robles have been directly culpable for goals conceded in last two games.

Howard is generally a 'safe custodian' as they used to say but prone to 'rushes of blood' - usually about four times a season. Hopefully, however, he can stay out of trouble for the rest of the season because Robles just ain't up to it. Any keeper with Premier aspirations has to do better than raise his arms and allow the ball to pass through them as the Spaniard did on Sunday.

It would be a tragedy if all Roberto's good work was sabotaged by one or other of our 'iffy' keepers.

Mike Green
480 Posted 31/12/2013 at 11:17:15
Phil #477 - in general your assessment of Howard's right, but to be fair he's been quality for most of this season, particularly the last couple of months, and saved us far more points than he's lost us. He's looks to me like a senior pro who's stepped up to the plate and improved by about 10%. I for one can't wait for him to get back in nets.
Phil Bellis
481 Posted 31/12/2013 at 11:13:57
Yes, well, Mr Walling
I accept you are not a bundle of joy and have, like me, seen more false dawns than a false-dawn inspector.

I'm not advocating unbridled bliss and Kumbaya but, surely, you see the improvement in the team's (in fact the whole club's) demeanour and attitude? Surely?

We might even swagger a bit, if this goes on...

Lighten up, enjoy the ride, nip out for a few scoops, needle the deludes, have a nice New Year's Eve.

Dennis Ng
483 Posted 31/12/2013 at 11:44:54
David (426), you're quite right on the 2 timelines. It is the reason I'm cautious despite being happy with RM so far, putting me quite snuggly in the majority. My main worry is how many of the majority will remain his supporter when we get a bad run of results. That can only be proven by time. Look at Jol at spuds, a few seasons of UCL and everyone thinks hes the worst manager for them when they fail once. Leeds, obviously, was the same with O'Leary. I'm happy we're not those clubs as seen by the time we have with OFM but we never had so much positivity since early 80s, when I was a toddler!
Brent Stephens
489 Posted 31/12/2013 at 11:44:57
David #426 "The majority view the timeline for judging him up to the present day, so at least a 9 out of 10. A minority seem to view the appropriate timeline as some period in the future, at least one or two seasons".

I sort of got the feeling at the start of the season that the majority on TW were of the second view. Either way, I kept posting, after some fine performances and results, that to be consistent "it's too early to judge".

There's a rational part of me that says "it's still too early to judge". We've seen all sorts of false dawns with new managers coming into other clubs.

And yet there's another rational part of me that says we're now half way through the season, in 4th place, above some other sides I don't like to name, and only 3/4/5 points off 3rd/2nd/1st; we've played some superb football, with confidence in a passing / possession game with an increasing tempo in the play; we've beaten a few of the other top sides; we've got ever-developing gems in Ross, Seamus, Macca; we've got potential gems in Stones, Antolin; the solidity of Barry, Baines, Jags; we've just seen how a weakened side can perform against no-slouch Southampton. This other rational half of me says what part of that can you argue with? Top spot we ain't going to get but a CL place is in no way pie in the sky.

I'm now shaking with anticipation before every match.

Shaking Stephens is off to Stoke tomorrow.

Raymond Fox
500 Posted 31/12/2013 at 11:43:14
It's very difficult to say categorically that one manager is better than the other because there are too many variables, quality of your players, ditto the opposition, officials decisions, luck etc.

Obviously the quality of your players has to have a enormous effect on whether you have a successful rein as manager.

I believe you can only judge a managers ability by what you think of him as a person/character/decision maker and in my opinion, along with all the pro's he's worked with is that he has the ability to go to the very top.

This transfer window could be a divining moment for us in so much as if the directors don't back RM and bring in 2 or 3 quality players we will have missed a glorious opportunity to get us into Europe.

If they don't go for it, I think Roberto will be off to pastures new in a year or two, where they have the same ambition as himself.

Dennis Ng
504 Posted 31/12/2013 at 12:29:30
Well, Raymond, if RM leaves and comes back to raid our players, it will not be as limp as OFM. I hope that day never comes. BK! GET YOUR CHECKBOOK OUT!
Phil Walling
517 Posted 31/12/2013 at 12:51:46
Yet more fans who judge their club, directors and managers solely on how much they spend !

Roberto is made of stronger stuff than that, I suspect , and I for one - originally a doubter - will back him to succeed come what may. We ain't going to win the Prem but he will give it a go for top four!

Dennis Ng
518 Posted 31/12/2013 at 13:04:11
Phil, never say never. The game is not finished until the final whistle.

It's unfortunately true about spending but that's what making our position even better! The players we have are at little cost to us and performing way better than those on mega contracts. They need pay raises but so does this club. UCL and a few shinies can help.

Ross Edwards
542 Posted 31/12/2013 at 14:00:40
Ian, if I remember rightly, you said something similar on here to much ridicule.
Ross Edwards
545 Posted 31/12/2013 at 14:06:22
By the way Ian, what I meant when I said "he knows his stuff" is that he has had considerable experience as a pundit. He has won a trophy, a major one, the FA Cup.

Remind me, what did the Scottish manager win here in 11 years? That's right. Zero.

Dennis Ng
546 Posted 31/12/2013 at 14:04:06
Ian, indeed the future is unpredictable. Enjoy it while it lasts is all I can say. Come next year, even if we are nowhere near our current form, I will still stand by RM for what he's done so far. He's not perfect, but he's trying to go in a direction I believe is the way to go.

btw, despite my misgivings with OFM on his negative tactics, I stood by him until he left, and only placed him on the hate list when he did the shenanigans over the summer. This is how I expect other fans to back our boss. Once he's here, support him until the time is ripe to let go.

Phil Walling
552 Posted 31/12/2013 at 14:10:55
Just heard Roberto referring to 'the Club's financial stability' not requiring the imminent sale of players. Could it be that Everton have 'now turned the corner' and are once again a viable proposition for takeover?

And with all the media references these days to BK as a model owner, is there still a case to crave for a change at the top ?

Just asking, like!

Dennis Ng
553 Posted 31/12/2013 at 14:16:58
Phil, I kinda like BK and how he acted over the past few years. Only black mark was Rooney really. Can't say much but if getting cash injection means we lose the platform we have how, then yea, its not worth it. We should not really expect to become like Chelsea these days with a takeover. More Cardiffs and Blackburns these days.
Raymond Fox
559 Posted 31/12/2013 at 14:12:57
Phil, its a sorry fact that we can almost certainly pick the top 4-6 positions in the Prem. by how much their teams have cost!

If we don't buy & strengthen our squad in Jan. I think I'm safe in saying we can forget CL next year.

A level playing field, the Prem is not.

Phil Walling
561 Posted 31/12/2013 at 14:21:10
Okay Dennis, but he has many years of contrition still to serve in respect of the KD and DK scandals, don't you think ?
Dennis Ng
564 Posted 31/12/2013 at 14:26:56
True, though I'm not completely familiar with those scandals. I've come to know the club when they were getting themselves into heavy debt in the 90s. I would say BK def needs to serve more goody-2-shoes time for those scandal, but any new owner coming in should be buying in because of our philosophy and not just the potential. That's what I'm hoping at least.
Ross Edwards
591 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:10:25
So Raymond, that top 6 would be City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool.

Yet the top 6 includes Newcastle and Everton.

Maybe not all about money.

Patrick Murphy
598 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:13:47
Apparently Bolton Wanderers are £163m in debt a sobering figure. But Everton are always just a bad season away from financial meltdown and it does look as if we have missed too many opportunities in the past, this season could be our last chance of getting aboard the gravy train and that's why the fans have to get right behind the team for the remaining 9 home league games.
Dennis Ng
599 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:19:00
Patrick, no doubt that worry weighs on RM's every decision and I think he's doing well with it. Does anyone have our balance sheet or income statement? I feel that there's enough finance knowledge on this board to see how healthy the club really is and suggest a few maneuvers for BK. Poor man is all white up there already. Ok, that's age, not worry.

Also, if we're that deep in crap, we've been done when we're nearly relegated under OFM. I definitely beg to differ on how close we are and we still have a few tricks up our sleeves for sure.

Dennis Ng
600 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:25:04
I read Everton Net Debt ~$40m. Is the Bolton number total or Net?
Nick Entwistle
603 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:25:11
I don't know how much crap we're into, but we were losing approx £5m a season not so long ago, and we'd sold everything off and had to contend with no cash signings and the likes of Hitzlesperger on loan.

But if we can spend £6m this season on two loans, then I think we're doing alright. The gravy train for the bank balance came in with the new Sky money, the gravy train to compete in the transfer market with those above us will need to come from a richer type of Bill.

Patrick Murphy
605 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:24:24
Sorry Dennis we are a one trick pony - bring a young player into the side and sell him when he looks as if he has real talent. It's been going on for nearly twenty-years. The rise in TV money recently has helped out for sure but without that cash cow we would be in dire straits. Attendances have held up pretty well over the last decade and are unlikely to dip anytime soon, but it's the other areas such as merchandise and sponsorship where we fall down and without a new stadium that's unlikely to change. Only option is to win trophies and qualify for CL on a regular basis.
Dennis Ng
608 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:32:28
Agreed. I always thought we can only get out of this hole by selling young players we blooded. Though there is a difference between selling the standout of a bad team vs. an important piece to a good team. But I digress, almost.

If the debt is at ~40mill, we should be able to work it off in a few years, provided we yo-yo around european spots. We can miss a few years of Europe but we cannot contemplate a relegation dogfight ever. I think thats what OFM left us with and I'm glad RM seems to be doing well as a first show of the next step. We'll be fine.

Wayne Smyth
612 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:21:35
Raymond, thats a very negative viewpoint regarding the top 4-6 places.

We've shown both under Moyes and especially under Martinez, that while riches do provide a better chance of getting in the top places, it certainly doesn't preclude teams like Everton who are financially significantly less well off from gatecrashing the party. We're more than half way through the season and 5 points off top spot ffs!!

I don't buy Patricks viewpoint either that this season is our last chance. We have a popular manager who is willing to develop young talent and it sounds like he wants to revamp our long term prospects via our academy system, combined with loans and permanent transfers for the right kind of player.

What we have that many of the other big players don't have is the expectation and requirement to be up there competing at the top. Every season the RS or Utd are out of the CL positions hurts them, if we get in, its a bonus. If the RS finish 6th, the likelihood of Brenda being sacked is high, if we finish 10th Martinez knows he'll still have the 100% backing of the board. Stability is one way we can hope to compete.

Because we have about 8 teams fighting over 4 places, it does mean that every year more and more of the rich clubs become destabilized. Moyes will struggle to spend his cash on the kind of players he wants if he can't achieve CL football. Martinez has more scope to buy in and develop young players for the long term without that pressure for instant success. Provided we live within our means we can pick up any pieces when a those sides implode.

In summation, I'm not worried for our future at all. The most important signing we made in the summer, our manager, has the vision and willingness to get us competing regardless of our inability to buy top quality ready made superstars. The longer he is at the club, the better placed we'll be to compete.

I'm actually looking forward to a few years hence when Roberto has had the opportunity to get rid of deadwood like Heitinga, Naismith etc, and bring in his own signings who are able to play the kind of football he likes, and combine them with the best young players developed by our Academy.

Nick Entwistle
618 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:41:35
You can't dismiss the money argument.

If the big/sky/money 4 have been in place for say 12 years, that's 48 top 4 berths, with 47 taken by teams spending way ahead of the others.

We've still got a great chance though and the transfer window will be key. But Utd are closing and things could soon look overly familiar in the top 4.

Paul Tran
620 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:37:29
I'm not sure whether we're better off or not. The only difference is that we have a manager saying that we are in a 'good financial position'. People in the game in the know may see this as bullshit. It looks to me like we have a manager accentuating the positive; ie we don't need to sell, we only want to strengthen.

Like I've said on countless occasions, it's a matter of choice. If you want a manager who says we're skint and can't compete, fair enough. It may not make a difference to what happens on the pitch (I think it does), but it may determine the general perception of the club/business. No-one dreams of playing for/buying a club 'punching above it's weight', they want a club that's going forward.

Anyway, what really matters is whether we are 'stronger at the end of the window'. Given what happened in the last window, I'm optimistic that Martinez knows what we need, even more so after his hilarious comments today! There's no £27m players to sell this time, though, unless Moyes is desperate for Baines. I'm in the Phil Walling camp here, let's judge the new players by their contribution rather than their price tag.

Paul Tran
638 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:52:59
Ian, I'm going to attempt to discuss your post in the hope that it won't descend into a Moyes/Martinez argument.

In points, we're slightly better off than we were last season. I think this is because we have a strengthened squad. Not just because of loan players, but because for whatever reason, more of the players are being played more often. Because on top of that, there is a method to our play which means when players are injured, the replacements know what to do. This in time will, I think, produce more consistency of performance, from which results will follow.

I couldn't give a damn what Martinez did at Wigan. We're a different club altogether. For what it's worth, if we were in the bottom half of the table, I wouldn't want Martinez and his brand of football. I'd want someone like Moyes. Thanks to Moyes, we're consistently top eight, but my view was and is that Martinez would be a better manager with better players.

Like you I don't like the childish, systematic abuse aimed at Moyes. He was a good manager with limitations that were repeatedly exposed. No need for the abuse which says more about the perpetrators than about him. He's moved on and so should we.

We're in the top four on merit. I see no reason why we can't stay there. I don't regard Martinez as a messiah or genius, he's just come in and done simple, obvious things, most of which don't cost millions of pounds.
I can understand your reservations, as we haven't won anything yet. I can't understand your apparent desperation to find something to crab a manager who has come in and done a good job......so far!

What would you regard as success at the end of his first season, Ian?

Happy New Year to all blues. For 2014, remember to look at the content before the name of the poster.

Raymond Fox
645 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:50:54
Wayne 612, I don't think I'm being negative,
more money gives the manager the ability to buy better players, I think that's a given.

Now the money has to be spent well but its indisputably an advantage, apart from Everton, nobodies seriously challenged the big spending clubs, & that's all credit to OFM & Roberto.

I agree with your point about Martinez developing the youth side of the club, I think he's just the man to do it.
The problem is that, fans & some of our very best players will not want to wait a few years for glory.

Our Achilles heel/s are our lack of those extra millions for new players, & the need of a new ground with a bigger capacity, which will give us a fighting chance of competing long term.

I believe Martinez will become a great manager somewhere, he has the lot for me, it would be wonderful if it could be with us!

Dennis Ng
646 Posted 31/12/2013 at 16:16:26
Paul, OFM gives me a structured but un-inventive perception. Rarely going above and beyond his status. Good for grinding out wins, bad for overcoming weaknesses. He's good for us in the past 10 years because of the bad shape the club was in. No doubt about that. RM is a different breed. Dare to dream, more versatile and perhaps also volatile in results from time to time. Concept wise, RM is our next step. However, you've touched on a great point about moving on. If SAF didn't retire, would we get RM? The timing couldn't be more perfect actually. And it is the perfect time for all parties to move on. Maybe this is one of his better years but we'll only see that in a few years time. I hope we will continue the ascendency we have been on for years into the many years to come.

btw, I did think RM sucked at Wigan but that thought changed when I realized how many players he had to sell to balance the books. And he almost succeeded on the last day. Seriously, people are underestimating the jobs these people do.

Ian Tunstead
672 Posted 31/12/2013 at 17:14:02
Paul Tran, I agree with 90% of what you say.

In answer to your question, I would regard top 6 as success for Roberto's first season and or a trophy.

Wayne Smyth
741 Posted 31/12/2013 at 21:39:51
Raymond, I'm not saying money doesn't help (although QPR and Spurs are a great case in point that it can often hinder), but money doesn't allow you to pick the top 4-6 positions with near certainty, or mean that if we don't spend a load of money then we can forget top 4 hopes.

I think I'd be right in saying that Chelsea, City and probably the RS have spent more than Man U in the last 5 years or so, yet Utd managed to win the league last season and have previously won the league spending less than a few teams below them. The key advantage is a top class manager who believes they can and should compete regardless of the opposition(which I think we have), and stability(which we also have).

We've previously gatecrashed top 4 with Moyes and we've generally been damn close each season. I see nothing to indicate that next season is likely to be so much worse for us.

What in particular gives you cause for concern? Baines leaving? Oviedo has shown that if Baines goes its not the end of the world. We'll just have to make do with Barkley's stunning free kicks and Oviedo's surging runs and goals instead.

How about Lukaku? Admittedly a good striker, but not the world beater just yet. His hold up play and link up play is often poor and he goes through barren spells like any other player. We've coped with goals from other parts of the pitch during Lukaku's dry spells. In the past with a manager who believed we should aim for 40pts, we've managed to finish not far from 4th without Lukaku, so I'm not too concerned that he's going to leave.

Barry will probably remain as a permie signing, Deulofeu will likely be back for another season, deadwood will be shipped out and Martinez will likely have some cash to spend due to players sold or moved on. Maybe we'll see something of Kone soon too; Alcaraz is looking pretty decent as is McCarthy so I'm sure Kone will come good eventually too.

Liu Weixian
792 Posted 01/01/2014 at 05:39:48
"I don't dispute any of what you say Kevin but it is early days, that's all I'm saying.

Just for balance, and despite all of the positives that you have listed, he did also prove his inability to keep Wigan in the premier league. Also, and back to the original point, there are questions that can fairly be asked about some of the permanent signings he has made as well as the long term wisdom of reliance on loan deals."

Wigan are skint and the majority of their players are not of Premiership standard. Despite these disadvantages, RM kept them in the Premiership for years and even won a trophy. Moyes, who had a much stronger squad, won fuck all.

The jury is still out on Kone. You cannot really judge a player who is out due to injury.

We are reliant on loan deals because of our limited finances. I think it is fair to assume that RM would make more permanent signings if we had more cash to spend.

I agree that it is still early days. Although things can go tits up, I must say that for once in my 18 years as an Evertonian, I have never been more positive about the team's fortunes as I am since RM took over.

Paul Tran
799 Posted 01/01/2014 at 08:21:19
Fair play Ian. I'm with you on top 6.

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