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Perfect mix

I was looking at our squad and thinking, we have a lot of British/Irish players in the team. Is this the reason why we are getting rewarded with some fantastic results?

Let's go through the list:

Coleman, Jagielka, Baines, Gibson, Osman, Barkley, Barry, McCarthy. Now that doesn't look like much but that's nearly half of our first team!

Sprinkle in some some foreign flair – Lukaku, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Pienaar. For me, it's the perfect blend of British/Irish grit and some foreign flair. The homegrown lads understand the duties of going to a place like Stoke on a cold wet windy day, which is vital.

If you take a look at former title-winning sides, you see the Man Utd era – Scholes, Giggs, the Nevilles, Beckham; then Arsenal – Keown, Adams, Dixon, Wright; to Chelsea – Terry, Lampard, Cole. All top sides with a strong core of local lads.

Is it our turn?

Sean McKenna     Posted 31/12/2013 at 21:05:19   Comments (11)

Interesting stats

Being a boring old fart with plenty of time on my hands now that I'm retired, I decided to monitor the games played by last season's top 7 against each other and the games played against the remaining 13 teams.

As we are now exactly half way into the season, the results are as follows;

Games between last season's top 7:
(All teams have played 6 matches)

Man City	15pts
Chelsea		9
EVERTON		9
Arsenal		8
Liverpool	7
Man Utd		5
Spurs		3

Games against the remaining 13 teams
(All teams have played 13)

Arsenal		34pts
Chelsea		31
Spurs		31
Liverpool	29
Man Utd		29
EVERTON		28
Man City	26

Can we achieve a similar or better second half to the season?
Jeff Beaumont     Posted 30/12/2013 at 12:19:18   Comments (6)

Attendances at Goodison Park

I have just come off a statistics site which indicates that Everton's percentage attendance record for this season is 81%.

This is the LOWEST in the Premier League.

Our average is about 33,000 a game. Seeing we are having such a good season, is this correct? ...and, if so, WHY?

John Boon     Posted 29/12/2013 at 20:04:30   Comments (49)

Can Mourinho be blamed for Lukaku's recent slump?

Romelu Lukaku has been, let's face it, pretty below par in recent games. There are many reasons: lack of service; missed chances; the selfishness of Mirallas; and others wasting good opportunities etc etc... but I've thought of another reason.

Mourinho. Yes, I may be completely slagged off (as per usual) but I do think he can be partly to blame for Romelu's slump in performances and goals.

Ever since his little pot-shots at Romelu in the media, he has only scored once in 6 games — and that was only when the match was over against Stoke.

At that point, after joining Everton, he had 8 goals in 8 games, since the little Mourinho digs, he has fallen right out of the goalscoring wagon.

Maybe his confidence has been shaken by these remarks, considering the fact that he has to return to a club whose manager doesn't want, or doesn't seem to have a good relationship with him.

Would he want to be 3rd or 4th choice at Chelsea next season if they sign a forward in January, only playing for 10 minutes, under a manager who essentially ranted about him, and no-one else, out of spite, for two weeks?

No, the prospect of that would knock the stuffing out of him, in my opinion. I know he is adamant that he wants to go back there next season... but, if the manager he probably looked up to in his youth, considering his love for Chelsea as a 16-year-old, was slagging him off, it would be a big blow to his confidence.

Maybe it's mind games by Jose; if it is, it seems to have worked. There are those obvious reasons mentioned in my first paragraph, but this is my theory. I just thought I'd put this forward as an article as many are questioning his poor form recently.
Ross Edwards     Posted 27/12/2013 at 22:05:19   Comments (57)

The difference will be Man City

What a great first half to the season and in my opinion there is better still to come.

The difference currently between those that we compete against are the draws that in at least three instances should have been wins.

I know it's all ifs and buts; however, one thing that's for certain in this open league is that draws are slowly becoming useless. Look at the losses of those above us – what does it say?

My overall point is that, come New Year's Day, we could be top and that only loss this season will be matched by them beating Liverpool.

The second half of the season will be about winning 12 games, at least two of them against the current candidates. With Man City, Man Utd and Arsenal to come to Goodison Park, I am convinced we can do it.

The draws have to be reduced dramatically and we need another striker.

It's always great to be a Blue but at the moment it's fantastic.

Merry Christmas and a Blue-tinted New Year.


Paul Niklas     Posted 24/12/2013 at 10:34:34   Comments (33)

Matchwinners and defining moments

Three away games, three mighty strikes. Oviedo, Deulofeu and Barkley — three players just starting out on their careers in Europe's big leagues, with fewer than 10 Premier League goals between them — stepped up when it counted with late goals to turn a possible two points into seven.

Sure, you could say that each of the goals was "deserved". But you don't win points for good possession stats or corner counts, as Evertonians will be well aware. Getting the goals at the right time was not just down to good luck — it was that we had players with the ability and the attitude to seize the moment. This is what top clubs do. This is evidence that Everton FC have moved up to a higher level. And my joy as I yelled at the computer screen after witnessing these strikes was made all the sweeter by the belief that I was looking at a new Everton.

Of course there'll be games this season when we drop points because we can't find that little bit extra in front of goal. But you know what ? I've a feeling that we'll be seeing fewer of those games in the near future. Perhaps the biggest reason to feel optimistic is the form of Ross Barkley. I think Ross has all the ingredients to become a regular matchwinner for us, in the kind of way that Bale was for Spurs. The time's long gone when we should be cautious about our hopes for this lad. He may not be the finished article yet, but the sky's the limit for our Ross.

Nick Wall     Posted 23/12/2013 at 12:09:03   Comments (18)

Greater use of full backs

There is no denying how brilliant we are at the moment - my only concern is the front four, apart from wonder boy are starting to look leggy. Whilst the transfer window should help, I still worry that we need to keep winning and keep those front creative four fresh.

My suggestion, would be to play not just one fullback in an advanced position, but two. As we are playing two weak teams at home in the next few days, I would play Stones at RB and Oviedo at LB. Then put Baines and Coleman in front of their respective full backs. Rest Mirallas and Piennar in the first match and then replace Lukaku with Mirallas in the second game.

I think Coleman could become more like a Gareth Bale as his improvement like Berkleys is outstanding and we all know how brilliant Baines is.
Nick Oakley     Posted 23/12/2013 at 09:55:48   Comments (28)

When You're Smiling

Anybody know when we stopped singing the excellent When You're Smiling?

My first memory of this song was in season 73-74, last game against Southampton (we lost 3-0).

At the final whistle, the Street End stayed behind for an impromptu sing-song for about 20 mins, and the highlight for me (12 years old at the time) was the above tune. I think it would be great to start singing this song again.
Paul Washington     Posted 22/12/2013 at 20:25:05   Comments (3)

Colemanballs

Another unique place for Everton in sporting history.

In The Times obituary today for BBC's David Coleman, he was quoted as saying "...for those watching TV in Black & White, EVERTON are playing in BLUE."

He must have been a blue scouse at heart!
Keith Young     Posted 22/12/2013 at 06:05:59   Comments (15)

A Surprisingly Positive Negative Stat

Looking at our current status in the Premier League — on 31 points after just 16 games — something struck me. With three consecutive (IMHO very winnable) games coming up against Swansea (A), Sunderland (H) & Southampton (H) we would end up on the magic 40 points that was our target for the first two thirds of most seasons. We could be there at precisely the halfway point. In fact, we would be a point ahead of our 16th-placed FINISH in the 2003-04 season! For that to not have been mentioned even once by Roberto Martinez is so refreshing

Okay, for balance, I am not saying we will win the league, nor am I getting carried away with the belief that a mere 16 games makes a season, but this really gives me cause for excitement. The positivity from our manager and the class running through the veins of our entire staff at the moment is a breath of fresh air.

For things to be so good that we are seeing (more importantly, hearing) so little from our Chairman is duly noted too. I am under no illusions but praying this lasts as long as humanly possible. I, for one, will be celebrating if we make this mini-milestone by the halfway point — with 19 games and 57 further points at stake, the future is very bright indeed.

Lee Mandaracas     Posted 18/12/2013 at 11:18:40   Comments (30)

The Lukaku effect (Martinez & Clarke)

Having read the shocking news of the sacking of Steve Clarke at West Brom, it got me thinking how could a team like West Brom that was doing so well last season now find themselves struggling at the bottom end of the table and feeling the need to sack their manager?

My own theory is, had they managed to keep Lukaku for a second season, Clarke would still have his job and perhaps Everton and West Brom would be swapping positions in the table. Perhaps it isn’t as simple as that as other players have come and gone but there would definitely be a big effect on the team's positions this season, that is for sure, we have relied heavily on his goals and assists.

We only have to look at the effect of other individual players on teams such as Suarez at Liverpool, Rooney at Man Utd and RVP last season and also Bale at Spurs last season.

I believe that any club outside the top 4 or 5 would've jumped at the chance to sign Lukaku if they knew he was available, especially Everton, when it became clear Jelavic was struggling and Victor has never proven himself to be a reliable goal scorer. It also quickly became evident that, as well as West Brom and Everton, many other clubs had indeed been in for Lukaku, including West Ham and Fulham who also came very close to signing him.

I was wondering what fellow ToffeeWebers' thoughts are of it all?
Ian Tunstead     Posted 15/12/2013 at 18:25:47   Comments (69)

Mourinho's mind games

The results and style of play so far this season have exceeded anyone's expectations, especially the last few weeks, and Lukaku has played a huge part in achieving our current league position.

But, after looking at his performances the last few games I'm worried that Mourinho's statements have maybe got inside his head.

It could be a pure coincidence and his slight dip in form is not out of the ordinary but I don't think it was right for Mourinho to have that war of words with him. Martinez at the time was very diplomatic with regards to Lukaku still being highly regarded at Chelsea but at the end of the day Everton have paid £3 million plus his salary for the year for his services and what Jose did should be considered out of order.

Hopefully something has been sorted to keep him quiet the rest of the way because, up until the end of November, Lukaku was putting a lot of pressure on Mourinho with his goals.

Not sure if I'm reading too much into it but hopefully Lukaku is back to his best because we need him the rest of the way.
Mohammed Horoub     Posted 15/12/2013 at 15:48:42   Comments (24)

The English Barcelona?

I have watched every match from the comfort of my front room this season, live when it was possible, and on SNF match choice on Sky when it wasn't. What a revelation under Roberto Martinez — it's like watching the English version of Barcelona.

The big change is that Everton are playing attractive, passing, attacking football, home or away, it makes no difference. It is like every player has cast off any fear, any inhibitions... like he is playing football down the local park with his mates. Not afraid to try flicks, back heels, shots at goal and taking players on.

Every football fan in the country, apart from Everton or Liverpool fans, now have Everton as their second favourite team to watch. School children are switching their allegiance to Everton in their droves, all due to our attractive attacking style of play. A mate of mine whose kids were out-and-out Man Utd fans have now switched to Everton. My brother-in-law who is a Geordie has two daughters who have switched from Newcastle fans to Everton fans, like their favourite Uncle Brian (me).

Next time Everton play, they should wear Barcelona colours, just to see if people make the connection.

Brian Baker     Posted 13/12/2013 at 15:04:40   Comments (15)

WTF Osman!

"WTF, Osman!" A familiar phrase to those who participate in the Live Forum on match day normally coinciding with the announcement of the team news or in the early minutes of the game. Tomorrow, assuming that he plays some part in the game, Leon Osman will make his 300th league appearance which puts him 20th in the list of all time appearances for this great club.

So why does a player who came through our youth ranks, has worn the blue jersey with distinction and represented his country come in for so much abuse on this site? There was even a post, admittedly retracted, where someone wished a career threatening injury on him.

Many predicted the end of his playing time when the new manager arrived, as I suspect like Phil Neville he was seen as a ‘Moyes player’. A player that embodied the pragmatic and cautious approach that typified our approach in recent years. But Roberto continues to pick him and therefore obviously rates his footballing ability. It is likely he will get less starts as the emergence of Ross Barkley as a top central midfield player continues, but I suspect we will still get to see plenty of him this year due to injuries, suspensions and squad rotation.

Maybe some don’t actually appreciate what he does as a player. He is not a flashy, he’s not blessed with pace and power but he is what others have referred to on here, he’s a ‘footballer’. He is a team player, he has great awareness, he retains possession and he can pick a pass. All the attributes needed to play the ‘Martinez way’

He is a rare example in modern football, a one club man. He was part of our last ever Youth Cup winning team, he has been a model professional and I for one am pleased to see him joining the ranks of a very distinguished 300 club.
Graham Mockford     Posted 13/12/2013 at 12:16:16   Comments (74)

Mission Impossible!

After the game against Arsenal, our captain mentioned Everton and the League title in the same sentence, something he was later ridiculed for.

Well, has Phil Jagielka had too much of Roberto's happy juice? I'm not so sure it's as far away as some may think.

Our friends from Manchester won the title in 1996-97 with a grand total of 75 points; 74 points was required for a Champions League place in the 94-95 season. The highest ever points tally was chalked up by a rampant Chelsea in the 2004-05 season with 95 points, when they were at the peak of their powers. So as you can see, you can have a massive swing of 20 points if a team is sweeping all before them. That's not happening this season, the likes of Hull is no longer an easy away game, as Liverpool found out.

So that brings us to this season. There is only one team in all 4 divisions who have lost only once. We are currently accruing 1.86 points per game, putting us on course for a season total of 70/71 points.

I know we have drawn too many games, but 1.97 points per game gave Man Utd the title that year, and I think we can easily match that average, if we carry on improving. We can play the next 23 matches and lose no more than another 3 games playing as well as we are. We just need to turn the draws into wins — not a problem now this team has clicked into place.

Look at the points the supposed 'Sky 6' are dropping, City have already lost 3, and Chelsea have lost 4, Liverpool have lost 3 and the leaders Arsenal have lost 2. They all play each other over the Christmas period, so those losses will be even higher for some teams. Everton have the best points return against the top 8 top-half sides — 15!

Do you believe?

Kevin Tully     Posted 12/12/2013 at 13:58:29   Comments (58)

Please — No More 'Del Boy'

Could we please stop referring to Gerard Deulofeu as "Del Boy?"

As it means either:

(a) a poor, ineffective scam artist or con-man; or

(b) a small fat penis, that barely changes on becoming aroused...

I think it hardly fits the brilliant young football genius we are lucky enough to have playing in an Everton shirt.

'Del Boy'... Really?

Peter Fearon     Posted 11/12/2013 at 20:24:22   Comments (55)

New composed centre backs

Just something brief that I have not seen mentioned so far, but has anyone noticed how much more composed Jagielka and Distin are looking on the ball, or is it just me?

They both look different players in the past couple of weeks in this aspect. It was clear they were struggling at first, but they seem to have clicked, and I think it's been a huge part in our possession play.

The defensive midfield duo of McCarthy and Barry is a huge part of this too, (they are always available!), but credit where it's due to the centre backs and Roberto!!

But it proves that the style of coaching has had an impact. I mean, as well as Distin and Jagielka being good, last ditch tackling defenders, it proves they can actually pass!
Ben Jones     Posted 11/12/2013 at 16:52:04   Comments (21)

The Key Early Martinez Factors

The positivity and optimism around everyone involved with the club at the moment is great to see and long may it continue. IMO the past four performances starting with the derby have progressively gone up another level each game, culminating in being unlucky not to take all 3 points at the home of the current leaders on Sunday.

Now it's clear that there have been a number of different positive changes this year, some more subtle than others, but there are three (aside from the obvious passing game) which are standing out more than most for me at the moment.

The first big change that has occurred to me is that the squad seems a lot fitter than it was. The last 4 games in particular we have been right at it for 90 minutes rather than just 45, as has often been the case in the past. We are now also at a stage where we seem to regularly be committing men forward late in the game from all areas of the pitch. I don't know if this is down to a new fitness regime or just the out-and-out positive approach from Roberto but, whatever it is, it is refreshing to see!

The second change is that we now have good legs in the midfield, particularly with McCarthy, Barkley and Mirallas. The past few years we have been crying out for someone of McCarthy's ilk in the middle and I love how Martinez came in and rectified this early on. Barkley as we all know has been given a license to roam and it is great to see when compared with what we have had previously.

The third major change for me has been the injection of pace. We have been crying out for real pace for years and this year we finally have it. Barkley, Lukaku, Mirallas, and Del-boy are frightening the life out of teams and this is now becoming a major weapon in the side.

A few weeks ago at Crystal Palace, I was sat around a few in our end who were quite scathing towards Martinez and McCarthy. I couldn't really believe what I was hearing and made me question their blue-related football knowledge. I'm pretty sure those in question will be feeling a little silly after the past month of action...

Viva Roberto! COYB

Matthew Roache     Posted 10/12/2013 at 16:18:08   Comments (41)

Positivity

Now it may come to some as a surprise, but I’m not one to baste the new manager in the juices of unfounded adoration when so many are just waiting to reach for the Kool-Aid. But financial flexibility and a God-sent loan of a true striker have been used to the club's advantage. Yet, I have frustratingly missed the last three fixtures that position us superbly as we approach the festive fixture pile-up.

But on Friday something resonated in a two-word utterance during Martinez’s appearance on BBC’s World Cup draw coverage. Throughout the programme, sandwiched between the prosaic Lineker and the inane Shearer, Matinez spoke with purpose, and unfamiliar to many a pundit, meaning.

The draw itself was an audio and visual mess typical of the BBC’s overproduction of all things sport, and made all the worse knowing Jonathan ‘Robot Wars’ Pearce had a free jolly to Rio at the licence-payers’ expense. But I digress…

Back to the studio with the endless montages and Shearer-lead banter, there was a vote on viewers’ expectations in the World Cup. With reality conquering, hype the majority voted for the second round with an optimistic 6% choosing out-right winners.

With Lineker’s droll sarcasm, he said dismissively "and I love the 6% who think we’re going to win". Yet Martinez, in surroundings where most pundits are as up-tight as their Ben Shermans, purposefully countered with "Why not?" Lineker continued with the autocue but it showed Matinez’s positivity, his belief in the simplicity of success, to only beat the opposition at a game of football. And further still, to have no belief in what is or is not someone’s rightful place.

There are now seven league fixtures against the dog end of the Premier League to take us through the January window and up to the derby. If Martinez said we’d be top by then, I’d be tempted to believe it. But then, in the back of my mind, I wouldn’t say Alan Pardew was a top manager, and he’s only two points further back. Doesn’t Martinez know he’s at Everton and has to look over his shoulder?

Nick Entwistle     Posted 09/12/2013 at 12:44:54   Comments (83)

Best team at the Emirates

I am a Gooner of over 40 years! Yesterday's game was the best performance of any Premier Leagiue team this season at our ground.

It was a pleasure to see a team play football and put us under a lot of pressure. I would have liked if we had taken a few more of our chances but cannot begrudge your well earnt point.

You have really won the lotto with Martinez! (The BEST young/old manager outside of the Emirates!)
Alan Taylor     Posted 09/12/2013 at 10:25:29   Comments (24)

Ross Barkley. The real deal?

Wow! Simply, wow! The boy Ross Barkley, tipped by many to be the next boy wonder of English football is starting to evolve right before our very eyes, and what a joy to be hold.

Let me start by saying this, lastnight Ross had me tearing my hair out, simple miss placed passes, fancy flicks in the wrong areas, dribbling into dead ends, sounds shite right? Wrong! Ross is turning into a monster of a player, these flicks and tricks come from a young boy full of confidence willing to try the impossible on one of the grandest stadiums of world football!! I have to give credit to Roberto for just simply letting the lad play and enjoy his football.

The faults I highlighted far out-weigh what he offers to Everton. To watch him glide around the pitch skipping past top notch players with complete ease is truely a joy to watch. His balance strenght pace, his vision all outstanding!

I was thinking to myself after the game, could I name one player in the whole of world football who picks up the deep in the middle of park and runs at defenses? Can anyone think of players around europe that can do what Ross can do in the same position? I honestly cant think of one. Big praise yes, need a bit of caution due to age? Yes. I would like to see the club sign him on a new contract with a 60 million realese clause, we have somthing very special here. COYB.


Sean Mckenna     Posted 09/12/2013 at 01:46:49   Comments (69)

New, borrowed... and blue

As many others I doubted Roberto Martinez had it in him to turn our luck against the top 4. It seems he has gotten off to a very decent start, a turning point in fact. I have longed for it for such a long time and it feels we are headed forward at last. With Martinez, anything seems possible.

Despite the good results so far, the acid test of a great manager is his ability to find new permanent signings that raise the overall quality of the team. With our three best players being loans, I am fearful about our next season.

Keeping Lukaku should be our number one priority, as I strongly doubt we will find anyone better. If we get to keep Lukaku, then I have great faith for next season, but if we only get Barry then I think we will be in for a rough season with the need to find a top goalscorer again.

In a way, I think this season is an illusion: three great loans that should be permanent but are far from it. I guess getting Lukaku depends on us qualifying for the Champions League this season. So to get there the January transfer window is the acid test of how good Martinez really is.

I think we need a striker and a midfielder to cope with the demands of being a top 4 side and I hope Martinez can find some gems to help us out. I have faith in the way we play, but I am not convinced about his skills in the transfer market yet. To me, permanent signings are the way forward and Kone has not inspired me at all. I just hope Martinez will aim higher next time then some ex-Wigan striker.

To keep this good trend, I think we need quality additions; I don't think Lukaku is enough, I think he needs to be pushed by a top striker who is in form in order for him to keep his.

To have won against United and bad-mouthed Moyes was the perfect energy injection this club needed. We have restored our pride that Moyes tore up in the summer, and that can make players such as Baines believe in Everton again.

On the one hand, I want more cash for Martinez to spend, but on the other I think losing Baines and Fellaini in just six months will be too much for Everton to cope. It makes perfect sense selling Baines at peak value, but I think he will be a huge loss to the team and morale.

Guess we will have to wait and see...

JImmy Sørheim     Posted 08/12/2013 at 23:06:12   Comments (19)

A table within a table -- needs format

I thought it might be interesting to see how the top 9 have performed against each other and who each team still has to play from the teams listed before the end of the year.

					
			PL	W	D	L	Pts	To Play
1	Man City		6	4	1	1	13	Arsenal (H) Liverpool (H)
2	Everton		7	3	3	1	12	Southampton (H) 
3	Arsenal		5	3	1	1	10	Man City (A) Chelsea (H) Newcastle (A)
4	Newcastle	6	3	1	2	10	Southampton (H) Arsenal (H) 
5	Man Utd    	8	2	3	3	9	None
6	Chelsea		6	2	2	2	8	Arsenal (A) Liverpool (H)
7	Southampton	5	1	2	2	5	Everton (A) Newcastle (A) Spurs (H)
7	Liverpool	5	1	2	2	5	Spurs (A) Chelsea (A) Man C (A)
9	Spurs		6	0	3	3	3	Liverpool (H) Southampton A
Hopefully the table will format OK when submitted, but given the games still to play, the respective Premier League positions and points of all the teams, it looks good for us.

A couple of things it doesn't show....Man U have played 6 of their 8 games at home whilst Liverpool will have only played 2 of their 8 games at home come the end of the year. We will have played 5 at home and 3 away. Not that it matters as we've just out-passed the supposed best passing team in the Prem on their own pitch.
Toby Smith     Posted 08/12/2013 at 23:12:01   Comments (3)

The Baines plot thickens?

I know it's been debated to death, but it seems to me the Baines-to-Man Utd story has taken on new dimensions in the past few days, viewed from all three sides: Baines's, Man Utd's and Everton's...

From his point of view, does he now want to go to a team that is almost definitely out of the top-four race and is looking more and more like one that needs a complete overhaul, top to bottom? If he does, he should be sent off with our thanks for all the great play he has given us. But, with Everton clearly on the up, he should think about our chances for Champions League play next year.

From Man Utd's perspective, their on-field situation is deteriorating daily. Just today, a poor play by Evra (whose performance, if you watch, is clearly deteriorating) led to another loss. I read somewhere that, to meet their budget, they need to make the CL. So, does that mean they are desperate for reinforcements in the January window? It might be the case, in which case, assuming Baines wants to go, I think we could get top dollar from them, perhaps at the high end of the £16-20 mil range that's been bruited about. (Or £16 mil + Zaha?)

Finally, from our perspective, clearly we are on the up: Oviedo has shown he's ready for the Premier League... and we have needs at (permanent) striker, midfield, and perhaps at the back (future cover for Distin). If we got maximum for Baines, and Roberto used it wisely, it could position us well for the second half of this season, and beyond.

In summary, we surprisingly hold a lot of cards as the endgame of this long, dragged-out saga plays out. Whether Baines stays or goes, I have lots of faith that Roberto will do the right thing.


Phil Friedman     Posted 07/12/2013 at 16:24:00   Comments (59)

The end of an era

David Moyes has featured heavily on this site even though he is our former manager. It seems to me that last night has drawn a line under his reign. He is no longer relevant. We have a top coach who can take us on to better days.

Moyes may think that he built our squad but Roberto Martinez has made them his own. For a number of years I argued that a different coach might have done better. We were in a safety zone and it became almost a fact that our safety was down to Moyes. It wasn't. Fear has gone. I honestly believe that the January window can take us to the Champions league.

No more knives to gunfights, no more defending leads, no more negative substitutions. Moyes has finally gone. Let his name not be mentioned again.
Andy Crooks     Posted 05/12/2013 at 18:00:01   Comments (133)

A very special celebration

This was a deeply emotional game for me, one I will remember for life. Here’s why.

I watched it with a close friend, an Irishman who supports Brentford. He is happy to help me cheer on Everton because we loan them so much quality. (Forshaw and Bidwell have become Brentford mainstays.)

My buddy was just told that, after major surgery and repeated chemotherapy, he is now in remission from the kind of cancer that is only rarely defeated.

Celebration time.

So today we walked a mile to a local sandwich joint for an early lunch. During the chemo he might have lasted 50 yards. Today he made it all the way.

Celebration time.

And then we watched the game together, and at last there was Oviedo.

Celebration time.

And my eyes got wet. I couldn’t let him see it, but we both knew it was all about beating the opponent you are not supposed to beat.

Well done, Everton.

Well done, my friend.

Winners.
Mike Gaynes     Posted 05/12/2013 at 05:48:46   Comments (17)

A Loud Blue in Texas

What a match! I'm only 1/3 of the way into my first season as a Blue, and I think I am just starting to realize what it's truly like to be a Everton supporter.

Since I just started following English Football earlier this year, I really had not even heard of David Moyes. After my first few months as a Blue, I came into today's match wanting Everton to beat him soooooooo bad! Even here in the US, it's always great to beat a long-time manager that has left your team for supposedly "greener pastures". I had no idea before today that Moyes had failed to beat Man Utd at Old Trafford in all his years with Everton. Martinez did it in his first match!

Since the match was shown in the middle of the afternoon here in Texas, I happened to be the only one home to watch it on TV. This was bad in that I had no-one else to share my enthusiasm with, but good because I could scream my bloody head off without anyone telling me to quiet down. And that's what I did when Oviedo scored. I screamed so loud that dogs a couple blocks away started barking.

Then, the last few minutes of the match were some of the most tension-filled moments of my entire sporting life. I was literally begging the Football Gods to speed up the clock and, as the 4th extra minute passed, I was screaming at the top of my lungs for the ref to "BLOW THE BLOODY WHISTLE!!!!!!"

When that whistle did blow, it was utter joy! I might be a new Blue but I know that beating Man Utd is nothing but good! Beating them at their home is even better! Beating them with Moyes as Manager, is the best of them all!

Way to go Blues!! Congrats on a well deserved win from this Blue in Texas!!!

Mark Pakulak     Posted 04/12/2013 at 21:50:28   Comments (14)

Mick Meagan

Some time ago I read the article on former great, Mick Meagan. I was out of the country at the time so was not in a position to comment on it earlier.

Way back in 1963, I had just begun my first job working in a bank in Dublin. I had been an Everton fan since the time Johnny Carey was manager and stuck with them even after he was fired.

Imagine my surprise and delight when one day Mick Meagan arrived into the bank. I summed up the courage to approach him and found him to be a real gracious gentleman. We had a general chat about Everton and the wonderful season just finished.

When he left, I did not expect to see or hear from him again. However, some weeks later, I received in the post a copy of the Everton souvenir booklet for year 1962-63 (price 2/6), it had been sent on to me by Mick.

The booklet alone would have been a treasure to have but this was even better. Inside there were pen pictures of Gordon West, Alex Parker, Mick Meagan, Jimmy Gabriel, Brian Labone, Tony Kay, Brian Harris, Alex Scott, Denis Stevens, Alex Young, Roy Vernon, Johnny Morrissey, Derek Temple,, and Ray Veall... ALL personally autographed.

So as you can see, not a bad souvenir to have. Needless to say, it is still in my possession in a 'safe place'. If anybody out there is in contact with Mick, I would really appreciate if they would thank him again on my behalf and wish him the very best.

I have stuck with the Toffees since, reckon around 55 years. It's not been easy a lot of the time but I would not wish to change a thing. I try to get over once a season... still get a shiver when Goodison Park comes in to view.

Brendan Sliney     Posted 04/12/2013 at 14:47:01   Comments (2)

Yet more Moyes arrogance

Unbelievable stuff from the bloke who used to manage us. He's now claiming our upward curve this this season isn't down to Roberto Martinez and his refreshing approach, it's because our players 'can play without a manager'.

David Moyes has taken a sly pop at Everton boss Roberto Martinez by insisting the Toffees can play without a manager: "I always told them they could play without a manager because they are very well organised." — Metro
Who the hell do this bloke think he is? He's basically trying to get himself the credit for our start as he signed a lot of them players.

Would we have signed some of the players RM has brought in had Moyes still in charge? No. Would we be playing this excellent brand of attacking football had his miserable kipper still been the Goodison dugout? No.

This, added to his demeaning comments during the whole Baines/Fellaini saga, just adds fuel to the fire for tomorrow's game. We need to humiliate him in front of his own fans by giving them at beating and the Blues present give him the bad reception he deserves.

And to think I used to be a fan of this classless man!


Ste Traverse     Posted 03/12/2013 at 21:01:04   Comments (62)

Flares

Dave Lewis, head of security at Everton, does his best here to use every scare tactic in the book toward anyone who would bring a flare into Goodison Park. Flares being the latest cause célébre for some reason...

Personally I don't mind them. The recent England game v Poland had a great partisan atmosphere, something that wouldn't do in the shut up and drink your coca-cola world of Premier League football, and the flares added to the spectacle.

Sure you wouldn't encourage it, or want everyone to have one. But if one is let off, why go all nanny state?

The serious problems with injuries and deaths that I'm aware of, notably in the Wales v Romania match in '94 and recently in Brazil, are when the rocket type flares have been let off. Those are not what we're talking about here. But this latest drive by the footballing authorities is happy to blur the lines and not mention that.

Yes, Milan 'keeper Dida did get a flare on his head a few years back. But as an adult you're not allowed the cap from the bottle of coke that just set you back £4, yet perfectly allowed to have a pocket full of two pence pieces. So where's the rationale?

So if you were thinking of taking one to Goodison, reconsider. Dave Lewis is watching and – if you're going to get a ban for opposing an Everton free school – imagine what you'll get for this!

You've been warned! Accept and comply!

Nick Entwistle     Posted 03/12/2013 at 16:28:17   Comments (10)

Five for 4th

I was invigorated by the performance against Stoke, not because we beat them – we were always going to beat them – but for what it revealed about our squad. We appear to have depth and an array of possible combinations on the flanks, midfield and across the back. It looks like a squad that can maintain momentum right to the end, no falling away in the battle for the top five.

I see Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea taking the top three spots, leaving five teams in the running for 4th and 5th.

Question is: Can Everton finish above Southampton, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool?

I think there's a vacuum to be filled and it's looking good for us.

I cannot see Southampton matching our potential, particularly in terms of attack; so, whilst close, they will finish behind us.

Spurs just don't look too dangerous, have no Bale this time to get them out of the mire, and AVB is not a happy bunny.

As for Liverpool, too inconsistent and they will miss Sturridge.

Our main rivals have got to be Man Utd who are overly reliant on Rooney and remain inconsistent. As our main rivals, then they don't come anywhere near Baines, that could cost us £40m, Lukaku and Deulofeu.

Wednesday night is a 6-pointer: win it and we show our intent for 4th.
Lloyd Brodrick     Posted 01/12/2013 at 23:16:41   Comments (51)

Lovely header by Skrtel

I don't usually pay much attention to the other lot but I was rolling on the floor laughing as I watched that brilliant Skrtel header which saw Hull defeat Liverpool 3-1 just now. Simply delightful!

After Man Utd dropped anther 2 points when they could only draw 2-2 with Spurs, it shows how vital it is to get points in this crazy league this season, and the single loss so far is starting to do us proud.

Roll on, Roberto!

[Note: This thread includes posts on other games played today that were posted on other threads.]
Michael Kenrick     Posted 01/12/2013 at    Comments (113)

Who chose this man to manage Everton?

I don't know how well this will go down with supporters, but let's give a deserved pat on the back to Bill Kenwright. I never thought I would find myself even contemplating saying something like that but let's be fair, the man got it spot on when appointing Roberto Martinez.

Lots of fans were focused on Martinez being relegated with Wigan, refusing to see what a bright young manager had also achieved at such a small club in winning the FA Cup and getting them playing without fear. Well, you are now seeing an Everton team playing without fear and an Everton team that can entertain and excite the fans. Would we have been sitting here now talking about an exciting young whizz kid from Barca on loan or managing to even bring in Lukaku at all if Moyes would have been in charge?

I applaud Kenwright because, when searching for our new manager, he could have really played it safe and gone for a Mark Hughes, Martin O'Neill or Neil Lennon, someone who would have just been a safe option... but in Martinez we have a manager who is willing to try and change the blueprint, rid the fear, rid the "plucky little underdog Everton" tag.

He is trying to create an Everton team that now goes into matches believing they are favourites and playing as favourites; it won't suddenly happen altogether but we are seeing signs and we are simmering with a new confidence.
Jim Bennings     Posted 01/12/2013 at    Comments (58)

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