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Talking Points

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1892: Goodison, 2014?

We’ve had a wonderful season. I have enjoyed Martinez’s first term here more than any other in my Everton supporting life. There is a wonderful belief amongst fans, and it feels as though we are on the cusp of something big, a return to the top.

However, Goodison Park has become a hindrance. There have been murmurings recently that an announcement is to be made at this week’s AGM. I am not a shareholder so cannot attend but I will be following the meeting with huge interest.

Liverpool have just announced the redevelopment of Anfield to a capacity of 58,000. I believe this presents a huge, one-off opportunity to Everton FC. While we don’t like to admit it, we have become the second club of the City – but now we can change that. Building a new stadium with a smaller capacity than a regenerated Anfield is an admission of second class status. The door to the city is ajar and we must force ourselves through it and onto centre stage.

If Goodison Park truly cannot be redeveloped (which I suspect is a conclusion reached more from a commercial/financing perspective rather than a logistical one), then move we shall. However, this move must be to the city centre, perhaps to the northern docks, to Everton itself right by Prince Rupert’s Tower; right to the heart of the city. Everton FC can reclaim the city of Liverpool.

While our red cousins redevelop and stay at Anfield, we can and must build a bigger stadium. It must be iconic, it must be bespoke, and it must have a capacity of 65,000+.

1. Iconic

King’s Dock was a wonderful idea and it’s a real shame it didn’t work out. But that must be the model. There is just no comparison to Kirkby which, in my opinion, would have been a bad move for the club; the design was uninspiring and the location was wrong. A vision like the one proposed for King’s Dock must be the objective. Everton’s new stadium should be part of the skyline; every visitor to the city should see the stadium on the waterfront and/or from Lime Street.

2. Bespoke

The design must be bespoke and must epitomise Everton FC by echoing the very best of Goodison Park. Scale is paramount. Rather than two sweeping bowl tiers like the Emirates, two/three towering, steep tiers so that the fans are right on top of the pitch. This will generate an unrivalled atmosphere. There should also be a defined Main Stand, with the other three sides a horseshoe. Some form of tower design should be incorporated into one corner to echo both St Luke’s and Prince Rupert’s tower. This could incorporate a hotel, a club shop, a museum housing the Everton Collection and retail space for a major commercial partner.

3. Capacity

Build it and they will come. If the above two criteria are met, then Everton will quickly fill a stadium of 65,000+. How? Not only will it be central, accessible and iconic, but Everton can be the cheapest (and best) ground in the Premier League at which to watch football. Why would families go to Anfield at £50+ a ticket, when they can watch Everton at Clarence Dock for £30 a seat, or £15 for kids? Corporate provision is also key. And being in the heart of the city, with a capacity that vastly eclipses both the Echo Arena and Anfield, would mean all the city’s massive music events etc. would be staged at Everton, generating additional revenues.

4. Overall

I know that some may immediately dampen dreams such as these with "realism", "pragmatism", and "commercial considerations". But it shouldn’t be like that. We must find a way, and we must find it now. Some may say we cannot afford to build what is described here – but I believe that we cannot afford not to.

This is the biggest decision in the history of the club since we left Houlding at Anfield Road and build Goodison Park. In 1892 we dreamt big and must do the same now. The new stadium will be where the club plays its football for the next 100 years or more. My great-grandchildren will watch Everton at this new ground and, if the Club gets it right, they will be watching one of the best teams in the world and a truly unique and exceptional venue.

We cannot afford to compromise. We cannot afford to settle. We must build the biggest and best stadium, right in the heart of the city.

Nothing but the best will be good enough.

Charlie Gibson     Posted 28/04/2014 at 09:33:46   Comments (28)

CD Everton Relegated

The Everton in Chile, Corporaçion Deportivo Everton, were relegated from the top flight on the last day of the season on goal difference.

After a 0-0 away at 6th-placed Huachipato, Everton finished level on points with Unión La Calera, who surprised everyone by taking a point at top of the table Universidad Católica.

Going into the game, Everton needed at least a point and for Unión La Calera to suffer defeat. Evertonians were confident that Unión La Calera would lose, as they were thumped 6-0 last weekend by Everton's opponents Huachipato, so a point looked like it could have be enough. It wasn't to be.

With Unión La Calera managing to draw at Universidad Católica, this meant Everton needed all three to avoid the drop.

Everton gave it a good go, but they couldn't find that winning goal. They might feel a little hard done by, as on 83 minutes, they were not awarded what seemed a stonewall penalty after a clear push on the Everton attacker in the six-yard box as he was about to score. The Ruleteros had one cleared off the line late on too.

A troubled season for the Ruleteros who had been playing all the home games at other grounds while their historic Sausalito stadium is being redeveloped.

The Ruleteros did suffer relegation in 2010, but were promoted again the year after so hopefully they will bounce back at the first attempt.

Vamos Everton.
Tom P Owen     Posted 26/04/2014 at 22:51:16   Comments (9)

'Paddy Power' Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Green

I was working with an Irishman today who was, for want of a better word, a dick. As he was busy talking about something I didn’t care about I was flicking through Twitter and saw the poster of James McCarthy about how much earth he covers. It got me thinking; when was the last time we had an Irish player that wasn’t the absolute business for us?

My time as an Everton supporter only goes back to 2002, and my complete knowledge of the squad probably only to about 2004. In that time, however, I can’t say we’ve had a bad paddy. From memory, in that time we’ve had:

Lee Carsley: Ran the midfield like it was his dog. We probably never really replaced him until the past couple of seasons (and with two blokes that will be on this list).

Kevin Kilbane: Enough said.

Seamus Coleman: Turning out to be one of the best RBs in Europe.

Darren Gibson: Admittedly very injury prone but also solidified our midfield almost every time he played.

James McCarthy: Has probably got intimate knowledge of every blade of grass at Goodison and could probably surpass Carsley if he can get a couple of goals in.

I may have missed some, but, to be honest, these five represent an extraordinary consistency from the Emerald Isle. There’s nothing more to say, but just thought something other than Moyes and injuries would make for something to think about.

Roman Sidey     Posted 24/04/2014 at 21:52:55   Comments (38)

Everton and Liverpool

Not sure if Lyndon and Michael will post this and will fully understand if they do not but I really feel like posting some thoughts about us my beloved blues and our neighbours at this particular point in time.

I've thought long, long, long, and hard and hard and long about this, this week. I hopped on a plane for the Man Utd game Thursday and I head back to Chicago tomorrow – Monday – and this last week, Tuesday, today, and just quite simply being at home this weekend have brought a lot well home to me.

We are having and will end up having a wonderful season. We now have the gaffer that I think the majority on these boards have longed for for years. We have an attitude that we have pined for for so long – namely, we play to our own strengths and deal with one game at a time depending on these strengths and the weak and strong points of the team we happen to be playing based on the perceptive insights of our said new gaffer — and let's not forget Graeme Jones, who makes Round look like, well, fill in the space -----------!!!

One of the best pieces of evidence of this might be our record against the top clubs this year and the record of... well, HIM and his team. We are truly a completely different team this year — players who have been around for a while seem to be totally transformed and the fresh blood with, yes, some exceptions has been a genuine transfusion. It was a real pleasure to be at The Old Lady today and watch a gaffer playing his Plan B... or is it Plan C — cede possession and counter-attack with such strength — and utterly out-thinking his counterpart in red.

So, speaking of "counterparts in red", I posted a week or so ago that I would rather end up 5th and not see THEM win the league and we lose out on a Champions League spot. Well, one week on, this is how I now feel:

(1) I'm basking in this new Everton and hate that this lovely season will soon end but rubbing my hands at what we can do next season if we have an equally good summer window — no reason at all to think that this will not happen. Martinez is going nowhere and nor are Stones, Coleman, Ross etc (and the peeps posting that Mirallas can go... well... ) We are a real team with real team spirit and an exciting developing project now with European football of some sort to look forward to next season.

(2) Liverpool will win the league and I have come to terms with this. I hate Liverpool with all the venom that is imprinted in my DNA but I am at peace with Liverpool winning the league in this year of all years — 25 years on from a tragedy and disgusting injustice.

We, Everton, are possibly perched on the verge of something special and I for one — as we already long for next season to begin and our momentum and development to continue as night follows day — recognize the justice of Liverpool winning the league this year for the injustices of the last quarter of a century.

Paul Ferry     Posted 21/04/2014 at 01:03:00   Comments (168)

Deulofeu replacement – do we need one?

I have been watching the Barcelona situation with interest, their recent lack of form and their transfer embargo. As time goes on, it looks more and more unlikely that Deulofeu will be returning to Goodison Park.

I would like to say first that I would take him back. Probably the most inconsistent player we have but also the most talented, and I think he would be a lot better next season.

But if Deulofeu does not return, do we need to buy/loan a winger as a replacement? I would argue not, we have one already and that is Bryan Oviedo.

He would probably feel more comfortable as a left back, I get that, but he's too good to be an understudy to anyone next season. And look at his attributes, he's pacy, fairly skillful, got a good delivery and has a good attitude to track back. He may not be as attacking minded as Deulofeu, Mirallas or McGeady, but he would still do the job.

Then either buy an understudy left back, I imagine Andrew Robertson from Dundee Utd would be Roberto's first choice: young, good at going forward, been in the Scotland squad and nominated for SPFA Young Player of the Year. Either way, he would be cheaper than buying a winger. Or quite simply use Luke Garbutt if he's good enough.

Then eventually if Martinez sticks to his word in a recent interview, he could use Baines in that holding role, similar to Lahm, and Oviedo could switch from the wing back to left back. Worked with Coleman, why not work with Oviedo?

Just saves us a bit of money to buy what we really need this summer – a striker or two and a skillful Number 10.
Ben Jones     Posted 18/04/2014 at 12:44:34   Comments (17)

Distin trolled by twit

After the dust had settled on last night's game Sylvain Distin took to Twitter to chat to Blues about the game. However, one fan took advantage of Distin's friendly banter to slag his performance off and basically tell him to leg it at the end of the season.

Distin's riposte to the idiotic individual was to say the club could only afford what they already have. A put-down is a put-down but I feel he could have carefully chosen his words better. I don't want to see our dirty linen aired in the open, so who's right and wrong on this one? I want to know what everyone's opinion is on this.

Should players go on Twitter after hard and emotional games that end in defeat and what's your opinion on so-called fans abusing the playing staff after they have given their all for the cause?

I for one could not fault anyone's effort last night. The players all ran their socks off and put the effort in. What really done us was a tactical decision and Martinez was right to try something different. It's just a shame it didn't work out and again it wasn't through lack of effort or trying, so what gives these idiots the right to have a dig at players and fuel tabloid space and internet rumour mills?

Damian  Braithwaite     Posted 17/04/2014 at 19:44:53   Comments (34)

Let's not become like Arsenal fans

The day after the night before and no doubt 4th place is starting to feel more than a couple of points away! I was of course very disappointed with the result last night. It was a great chance to move back to 4th place, but as Sunderland showed Man City there are no easy games.

At the weekend I tuned into the Arsenal v Wigan Athletic F.A. Cup Semi Final, at quite a good moment just as Gomez was scoring the penalty! What struck me was when the cameras focused on the Arsenal fans. Now, of course, I wasn't expecting them to be full of the joys of spring, but you could see the anger at their manager and team. Indeed looking at Wenger when the cameras were on him, you could almost visibly see him weighed down with worry. You would have thought that he had the weight of the world's problems on his shoulders.

At the start of the season I remember reading a letter from an Arsenal fan in one of the football magazines. This bloke was all for sacking Wenger, It annoyed me so much that I was tempted to reply. Clearly this bloke had little appreciation of Wenger's achievements. I think he's Arsenal's most successful manager.

Now I know that we are Evertonians and special, but I hope that we never become like those moaning Gooners. I think the song "You only sing when your winning" could be about them! I personally believe that Roberto can and will lead us to the Champions League, only I think it may not be this season – of course I hope to be proved wrong.

I think we seem to be like a marathon runner that has kept pace with the favourites, but in doing so has expended so much energy that there's not a lot "left in the tank". I feel our squad needs at least 2 or 3 more players. I hope that in the summer Roberto is given some resources to strengthen the squad.I wouldn't expect to be competing in the same market as the likes of Man City, but hopefully at the next level down.

I think RM has achieved a great deal this season, we have been talking about a Champions League place and we haven't been able to do that for a long time. I seem to recall Neville Southall was less than impressed with the choice of manager, claiming that it showed a lack of ambition. I think Martinez has done a lot to prove him very wrong.

On a personal level, having inoperable cancer I am battling to be still around to see us get to the Champions League. Still, I thought I wouldn't see Ireland win the 6 Nations and look what happened! It's a tough run in. How I wish we could play Newcastle again - I think I could give their defence a few problems and that's when I'm having my chemo!

So let's get behind Roberto and the team, whatever happens they have given us cause to smile this season. I know I'm biased but I think we deserve either 4th or 5th place and stay ahead of those prima donnas from Spurs.


Michael Brien     Posted 17/04/2014 at 12:47:46   Comments (19)

Clattenberg... Collina Revisited

It is with great suspicion that I see Mark Clattenberg has been appointed as referee for the Man Utd game... so much so that I have sent the below letter to the PL expressing my feelings... Some might say I'm being paranoid but after what happened at Villarreal what do you think ?

Dear Sirs

I feel compelled to write in order to express my extreme disappointment at your decision to appoint Mark Clattenberg as the referee for the forthcoming Everton v Man Utd fixture on Sunday 20th April. As we are all aware the situation at the top of the Premier League is very tight with a number of clubs vying for the title and Champions League qualification. It is common knowledge that Clattenberg is a Liverpool fan and often socialises with their players and staff. This was clearly evident on Sunday in the Man City game when he failed to award Man City two clear penalties and having booked Luis Suarez for a terrible challenge in the opening minutes he blatantly refused to send him off for simulation when he dived to the ground for no reason (other than to cheat) on FOUR not one but FOUR separate occasions.Those decisions have all but handed the league title to his beloved team.

To now put him in charge of a game which will have a huge impact on Everton's Champion's League qualification chances only a week later is an utter outrage. As an honest & objective football supporter I have no confidence in the integrity of Mark Clattenberg and believe that this appointment has been made to hinder Everton's Champion's League qualification much in the same way Mr Collina did in 2005. Let us not forget Clattenberg's performance in the Derby Match of 2007. Such was the bias towards Liverpool in that game and subsequent outrage of many fair minded football supporters across the country it resulted in him not being given another Everton game for FOUR years.

Football is supposed to be the game of the people where teams (and fans) are rewarded for performance and results, where the integrity of the game should be of the utmost importance. However what chance have we got when even the Chief Executive of the Premier League Richard Scudamore publicly announces that competitions such as the Premier League & Champion's League are devalued if Manchester United are not involved in the latter stages... lo and behold, we now have Clattenberg refereeing the Everton v Man Utd game..

It is quite obvious that the Premier League do not want teams such as Everton competing in the Champions League as their 'brand' is not as high profile as the current top four and/or Man Utd & I have no doubt that it will be four of those five teams who qualify for next season's Champion's League but sadly, in my opinion, it wont have anything to do with Everton's performance on the pitch.

The appointment of Clattenberg for this particular fixture is an utter disgrace and gives me no choice but to question the integrity and honesty of the game at the highest level. I fully understand that if you even bother to reply you will tell me that Clattenberg is a fair and honest referee but sadly his actions both past and present speak louder than any words...all I would say is let's just wait to see what happens on Sunday. I predict that Everton will NOT win that game and it will be some sort of controversial decision by the officials which will prevent them from doing so.

I can't wait for their reply....
Nelly  Verdonghan     Posted 15/04/2014 at 11:40:23   Comments (78)

Colin's Cracker — 1 April 1970

I have been trying to track down footage of Colin Harvey's title clinching goal from 1970, having recalled seeing it many years ago.

After a tip-off from Crawford Miles, I have posted it on YouTube... blink and you'll miss it (the cameraman pretty-much did). There is also brief footage of post match celebrations... Sadly there is no footage of Alan Whittle's opener. Sorry it is so short:

Rob Sawyer     Posted 12/04/2014 at 19:10:40   Comments (5)

Is it time for salary caps?

Since the recent article and subsequent comments regarding the loan system, and Everton's success this season, exploiting it, I have been doing some thinking.

I don't agree with the current loan system; it allows cashed-up teams to stockpile youngsters and then loan them out, driving up the purchase price to prevent other teams from buying. Not playing against the host club, adds insult to injury.

Don't get me wrong: I love what RM has done with the system, and how he has improved our team without spending the big bucks. But, at the end of the day, it is a temporary fix for, what is, a long-term problem. That problem is the financial disparity that currently exists between the "Big 5 or 6" and the rest.

Most of those rich teams, have either been bought by rich individuals, or were in the right place at the right time, when the Sky money came into the game. Given slightly different circumstances around the European ban in the late eighties, Everton my well have been one of those teams at the top when the Sky money fell from the heavens.

The "new" Financial Fair Play rules were introduced to level the playing field, but won't... and will never. All they will do is keep the the rich clubs at the top. Each team can spend what they like, as long as they don't make a loss; this means that Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea etc can spend a lot more than Everton, because they make more from attendance, sponsorship, Champions League etc.

I'm a scouser, but I have lived in America for while; I live in Perth now, and I think it is time for salary caps to be introduced. It's not a perfect system but it is definitely better than FFP and the current loan system. Each team can only spend a fixed amount on salaries; rich teams can't stockpile young talent, so the rest of the teams can buy them instead.

It won't control the purchase price of players, but will mean every team has to have the total wage bill under a set amount. Rich clubs will be against it, of course, but it's the only way I see the playing field being levelled any time soon.
Andy Osborne     Posted 11/04/2014 at 11:21:03   Comments (28)

Tim Howard

I don't know much about goalkeepers and what drives them, except that Neville Southall was the best one I ever saw... and that he said you have to be bit mad to be one.

However, has anybody felt as I do that Tim Howard is beginning to look like maybe the best goalie in the Premier League at the moment? He commands his area better; gone are most of the panicky punches... and he catches the ball much more often and more cleanly nowadays. He instills a lot more confidence in me than he used to.

If so, does anybody think this has got anything to do with Roberto and possession football? I can just imagine him saying to Tim, "If you catch the ball, it's ours... if you punch it, it's anybody's."

There seems to be a calmness about the defence recently and although some of that may be due to Jag's absence (Tin hat on here?) and Stones's introduction, I do feel that at least some of it stems from everybody feeling much more confident about our goalie... including me!

He's always been a good'n but, just now, he looks like one of the best.

Dave Roberts     Posted 07/04/2014 at 20:27:36   Comments (42)

The Summer Striker

Well we are drawing to a close for the 2013-14 season and other than the obvious talking point of Champions League football possibly being played at Goodison next season, my biggest concern is what happens when we lose a certain 20 million rated striker this summer.

The man I am talking about is Romelu Lukaku of course.

I will not beat around the bush here... We simply MUST sign Lukaku this summer. He has produced the goods again this season – just as he did when he went on loan to West Brom.

I questioned whether Lukaku was good enough but I should have given him more credit because, at 20 years old, he was always going to need time to progress his game; in many ways, the injury he suffered in the Anfield mauling was a blessing as it gave him that time out to recharge his batteries.

Since he has returned, we have seen the Lukaku that we first brought in back in September. He has been sharp, strong, eager and there has been a real hunger and desire about his game that went missing before he got that injury.

He has scored 14 goals this season, let's not forget that he did not even make his debut for Everton until half time of the West Ham game on 21 September. If we could sign him this summer, then he would have a full pre-season and start the season in August with us.

I just think, if we do have big money to sign a striker this summer, then surely we need look no further than Romelu Lukaku, who at 20 years old has all the talent he needs to get even better – plus he has been here at Everton and done it... he has produced the goods in the Premier League.

Why throw money at a player who we know nothing about and may prove to be a major flop, for example Ricky Van Wolfswinkle at Norwich.

I don't know how much we have to spend this summer, but we are certainly going to be spending something on a striker; for me, I think we should break the bank to sign Romelu Lukaku and continue the wonderful relationship that we have developed this season.

Jim Bennings     Posted 07/04/2014 at 15:06:53   Comments (71)

Sign Here, Señor Martínez... Please.

Well, that didn't take long did it? After another tactical masterclass against Arsenal, every sports hack in the country has Martinez going on to "Bigger and better things."

"Martinez to replace Wenger" or "Real and Barcelona Keeping tabs on Martinez" are just two stories circulating this morning. Even the long suffering Man Utd fans are longing for a taste of the "Olé football" we are now lapping up at Goodison Park. It seems every journo in the country can't wait to see Martinez at a 'bigger club.'

We need to move quickly and get an improved contract in front Martinez as soon as possible. No messing about, no drawn out negotiations – ask the man what he wants and pay it. It was rumoured Mr Moyes was the highest paid employee at the club; we need to make that the case with Roberto, but that's just for starters. He needs the backing of those behind the scenes with projects such as Finch Farm. We all know how we have missed opportunities in the past – well, please don't fuck this one up!

I truly believe he can match the achievements of Jurgen Klopp at Borrusia Dortmund. He can take this club 'places we can only dream of', to quote a man who once broke his leg.

I have begun to ask myself if Roberto could turn down one of the massive clubs if they came in for him. I would ask why he would go to these clubs when success is almost guaranteed? Is it really 'success' at the biggest clubs with unlimited transfer funds and the pick of a global pool of players?

He stayed loyal to Wigan after both Liverpool and Aston Villa made him offers. I don't think money is his main motivation at all, but he should feel he is being rewarded for his efforts.

We all know those tremendous words spoken by a great Evertonian – "Once Everton has touched you, nothing will be the same." Well let's hope our man is starting to feel an attachment to our club that will keep him here for many years to come. Let's start hearing his name ringing out at the game for a start!
Kevin Tully     Posted 07/04/2014 at 11:49:37   Comments (31)

Dunc the difference?

At the start of March, Duncan Ferguson was promoted to the first team coaching staff by Roberto Martinez.

In that time, we have played 6 league games, winning them all, scoring 15 and conceding 4. We've also seen a rejuvenated Naismith pivotal to the last few results and a more fluid clinical attack overall.

Is this coincidence or is Duncan having a major impact in training our attackers?
Steve Jones     Posted 07/04/2014 at 00:16:20   Comments (20)

Let's go for the title!

All this talk of maybe getting 4th place is a bit depressing. I mean, really, is that what football has become? 4th place?

How many times have we finished 4th, 3rd or 2nd in our history? I don't have a clue and I'm sure you don't. Why is that? Because, truely, it's meaningless.

For the first time in a long while, we can still mathematically win the league. We have 7 games to play which means 21 points. We can get 81 points. Who's to saw Man City won't implode? Chelsea's too? And Liverpool... well, despite their current attacking brilliance, you know they'll be talking 'ifs, whats and buts' til the end of days.

Arsenal fans still talk of the possibility... why not us?

Come On You Blues! 7 games, 7 wins and it's possible. Let's get into the best form of our lives and let's go for the title!
Fran Mitchell     Posted 06/04/2014 at 00:29:42   Comments (23)

Player, Young Player and Goal of The Season

Not sure if it's allowed on here as the official website is currently doing its own poll, but I was wondering who people think have deserved player, young player and goal of the season?

I've voted for Gareth Barry as Player of the Season. I think he's been immense this year and apart from the odd mess up here and there, he's been solid. Runners up go to McCarthy and Lukaku.

For Young Player of The Season. I'd say Ross Barkley, even if he has gone off the boil a bit. Runners up go to McCarthy for his solid display, although I'd like to see him get forward more and John Stones who I think will become a classy defender in the future.

Lastly, Goal of the Season goes to Ross Barkley for the solo effort against Newcastle. Runners up are Mirallas's free kick against Villa and Pienaar's side foot against Hull.
Trevor Thompson     Posted 03/04/2014 at 17:12:37   Comments (25)

The McMagic Ingredient

I'm very glad to have taken the three points at the weekend as they are the games that can prove to be the hardest at this time of year. Even if at first we were "shaky" and "very poor", Martinez made the vital changes and got us playing the football that we have all become accustomed to at Everton. Although playing like this at bigger clubs and we WILL be punished.

Now, looking ahead to the weekend, we are going to need to be a lot better than we were in the last game; otherwise, I can sense another dosage of the 4-1 treatment. This '4-1 treatment' is not what is needed – especially if we are going for that 4th spot. If we fail to win this game, there will be no 4th spot but, even if we do win... is it really that possible? With the intensity of games we have coming up compared to them, it may seem that we are going to need to be on top form, not only for this weekend, but for the duration of the season. For this to happen, I really think that the inclusion of Aiden McGeady is vital.

Aiden McGeady is fast, skillful, tactical, has an eye for a killer pass, can use both feet and has bags of natural ability. The way in which he takes on players is phenomenal and Martinez wouldn't have kept tabs on him for so long if he was just a merely average, squad-type player. As we can already see from his brief introduction at Goodison (including his touch and through ball to Mirallas vs Fulham), he is extremely influential and in my opinion will be the key to our success (both if we have it and if he stays fit).

I hope that McGeady starts against Arsenal instead of Deulofeu as, even though we all know what a talent Del boy is, I do feel that he can slow down chances at times – especially after not passing and continuous dribbling. McGeady, I feel, can offer more by which when he dribbles at players and takes them on he creates opportunities with a deadly cross or chances to that concept.

Also, Deulofeu can be used more effectively as an impact player against Arsenal, as he was last time around, as his fresh, direct approach after 65-70 minutes of McGeady will have the Arsenal defenders quaking in their boots – especially with the loud roar of the crowd behind him. McGeady is a great winger and he is an absolute bargain for only £2M.

For the game at the weekend, I would play Mirallas on the other wing and am praying to God that Pienaar cannot recover from his injury and get anywhere near the side that will be facing Arsenal on Sunday.

Pienaar is nowhere as good as he used to be and is completely annoying in the way by which he is constantly diving to the floor these days. I can't seem to remember him doing this previously throughout his time at the club (in both spells) however maybe I am wrong or maybe it was something he picked up from Bale at Spurs...

Jokes aside though, Pienaar is very frustrating and I wouldn't be upset to see him leaving us in the summer (I hope he stays injured for as long as possible). In fact I felt this way about Osman, admittedly, less than a month ago; however, it seems that I was completely wrong as throughout the last few games he has been the standout performer and has led by example like the true Evertonian he is.

I also feel that, like McGeady, it is imperative for Martinez to start Leon and we, as a club, really go for it (putting Barkley on at around the 60th minute mark – IF we need to). If Jagielka is back then all the better but 'would he even get in?'... is the question I would ask as Johnny Stones has been a brick wall since filling in for our captain Jags. This decision could be vital however, I know Bobby will make the right decision when both, going into the game and throughout it.

This game will determine the rest of our season and I, as I'm sure so many others, are really anxious as well as excited about this weekends fixture. I can't wait and hope we can do 'em and take all 3 points – moving that one step closer to Champions League football next season. I am sure we can do it and we'll just have to wait and see I guess.

I, as ever, have complete faith in the club and I believe we can do it...

Daniel Summerton      Posted 03/04/2014 at    Comments (38)

A bit of anger?

We all know that we need a striker and a playmaker who can open up stubborn defences but I also think we need to be a bit more angry.

I've been watching footage of the '85 team and what I've noticed is that they were like mad men. They fought like crazy to win the ball and they challenged every decision. They would do whatever it took to (fairly) win. Even Kevin Sheedy, who I presumed to be the most mild-mannered member of the team, challenged the ref if he felt a decision went against us. We're way too soft at the moment and lack that drive and determination to win. We may talk the talk but won't walk the walk.

We need a winning mentality to go with the "arrogance" our manager is trying to imbue in our squad.
Trevor Thompson     Posted 02/04/2014 at 16:47:46   Comments (14)

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