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Heading for fixture congestion?

Has anybody heard when the Palace game is meant to be yet?

I heard that officials from both clubs were going to meet up at the start of last week... Why does everything take so long?

We already have to find a new date for the Newcastle away game and if one of us or Sunderland reach the FA Cup semi-finals, then our trip to the Stadium of Light is also postponed on 12 April.
Jim  Bennings     Posted 27/02/2014 at    Comments (16)

Martinez's big club mentality

I know I've said it so many times before but we have to allow Roberto Martinez time to do what is needed to take this club forward. He is trying to implement a winning attitude. He has mentioned no fear and arrogance numerous times which is the attitude of all successful clubs. Remember the old Man Utd? Even when they were losing, they never felt beaten and would make a comeback and usually end up winning. We need that but it'll take time.

The style of football needs to change, too. Most successful clubs know how to retain possession until the right pass is on then make that killer pass. I'm sure Barcelona has a massive influence on him and we're not going play like them at this moment but you have to aim high. To be the best, you have to be influenced by the best. Look at what they do right and take from it what you can.

I realise that the team he inherited have a way to go. The squad is ageing and the young players are still learning their trade. We need him to bring in the players he feels (under our financial restrictions) can play the way we he wants.

Whether we win trophies under him time will tell but bloody hell at least he's thinking like a big club manager. Not like Moyes who always seemed to think we're a tiny club so had to play with fear and would worry about stopping the opposition rather than the other way around.

Let's just give him the time he needs to take us forward. There's a lot of Moyes's mentality to undo and, under our financial restrictions, we have to make baby steps.

Trevor Thompson     Posted 26/02/2014 at 06:21:48   Comments (39)

Next Season

It really annoys me when season tickets are being touted already and we are only in February! However, it does give us an excuse to look forward to what will hopefully be a more settled team and an Everton side who are comfortable keeping hold of the ball. I think we have only had glimpses of what may lay ahead next season. Let's not forget, we not only had a change of manager after 11 years, we also had Mr. Moyes seriously unsettling the club with derisory bids for players, publicly declaring he would not have stood in their way!! Thanks for that David.

We all know the areas we need to improve, such as moving the ball forward more quickly, showing for a pass, and the most obvious - converting our chances into goals. We will have money to spend this summer, it seems Martinez kept his powder dry this January, which I agree with. It's no use panic buying if the players you want are not available.

There will be screams for a new permanent striker, quite rightly so. I've a feeling we will go after Lukaku, but that may depend on Mourinho's plans and Everton finding £20-25m. I'm not sure that would be good value, only time will tell.

You would assume Gareth Barry has enough money to buy a small island, so we can hopefully make him a permanent signing. There is talk of the Spanish wonderkid staying for another season, fingers crossed. I can see him having a fantastic season for us if he gets a decent run in the side. We have seen very little of McGeady yet, he could be another good attacking asset. He needs time to get fully fit, and get used to his new surroundings. Remember Baines and Jagielka when they first came to the club? Very few players hit the ground running in their first season.

Ross Barkley has unfortunately lost his touch after his injury, but he will be a far better player next season. There is no reason why he shouldn't be starting every game, he's certainly got the ability. You would imagine there will be bids for him over the summer, but he would be a fool to move at this stage of his development.

We really need to finish this current season strongly, a Wembley appearance would be most welcome. Sign that elusive goalscorer in the summer and I believe we can fulfill our potential. McCarthy will have had a full season to get to know his team-mates, Kone, Gibson & Oviedo are all potential starters. More importantly, we won't be getting used to a new manager, playing style and coaching staff.

It's too early to say if Martinez will be a roaring success, but the foundations have been laid this season, we also have the players to match any side in the League. Let's hope they all have enough self belief, something that's been missing from our great club for the past 25 years.
Kevin Tully     Posted 24/02/2014 at 11:14:01   Comments (34)

Everton and the Europa League

I would like Everton to have been playing Napoli last Thursday. A great night under the lights with the chance of more to come. The possibility of winning a trophy with the reward of a place in the Champions League. Yet many Evertonians seem to dread the prospect of this.

Of course I can see why to some extent. There is no doubt that playing in the Europa League seems to have a negative effect on a team's domestic performance. I can also accept that it could put huge strains on our threadbare squad. However, I believe that we we should strive to qualify and I have two main reasons for believing this.

My first reason is not based on any practical benefit to the club but on what it fundamentally means to be a supporter. To me, the Champions League is not the sole aim for our season. I want Everton to win and I was gutted when we lost yesterday but I enjoyed the game and I liked the way we played.

There are some on the website who are taking the elitist view that the Europa League is a Mickey Mouse affair which would impact on our efforts to qualify for the Champions League next season. I take the view that we haven't won anything for too long. Our last trophy is now considered Mickey Mouse by some... but who cares? I want to enjoy watching a club I care about with like-minded friends. If it's at home to Stevenage, that's good. At home to Napoli, even better.

Secondly, I believe that playing in the Europa League can have huge practical benefits to the club. In the early stage of the tournament, it could be a chance to get squad players match fit: Hibbert, McGeady and Vellios for example. We will have players back from loan next season and those we intend to keep would surely benefit from European football. Certainly I'd like to see Stones and Duffy playing together.

Finally, I think that playing in the Europa League would be an ideal preparation for us, if and when we play Champions League football. I am convinced that Stones, Barkley and other young players would be better for the experience.

We are not too important for the Europa League; we should embrace it. The greed driven supporters of the Sky darlings look down on it — I honestly think we are better than them.

Andy Crooks     Posted 23/02/2014 at 20:07:01   Comments (35)

Good Foreplay... No Penetration

Someone said that we are showing great foreplay — just lacking in penetration. I don't think the 'foreplay' is good. If a team like Chelsea or Liverpool allows you to have the ball then it's no great feat simply passing it around in front of them and giving their striker the odd run around.

I could buy the argument we needed a top striker if we were putting Naismith through countless times and he kept messing it up with poor finishing, but we're not. In fact Lukaku and Naismith both have a really good shots to goal ratio but they get so few shots off. Even Lukaku who showed his class at West Brom has eventually been starved out in this team. Now Jelavic is back to scoring for an average side like Hull just like he did with Rangers.

There is something wrong with us and has been for a few seasons. In my view the football we played in 07-08 was the best I've seen. We had a great defense that we trusted in to defend accompanied by one holding midfielder. We then had creative players crafting chances for Yakubu. He got goals from headers, long distance, and crucially from tap ins. He was so lazy yet we put them on a plate for him and he had the quality to finish them.

When was the last time in a premier league game we gave someone a tap in, or chipped a ball in to an unmarked forward in the box to nod in casually (like Yakubu did so often)? When was the last time in the league we threaded someone in who went round the keeper and put the ball in? At some point in the last years of Moyes' reign, keeping the ball became more important than scoring. We don't trust our defense any more so play to holding midfielders at all times. Martinez has continued this pattern thus far.

Our build up play is not good, it simply just looks good in parts. Barcelona have given everyone the idea that if you're passing you are playing well. They made an impossible philosophy work because they had a breed of unbelievably special players. The philosophy depended on them rather than the other way around. No Messi, Iniesta or Xavi then the whole thing didn't really work.

It was based on ridiculously sublime one-touch football on the edge of the box that only those players were capable of. Trying to copy it without that sort of quality works in the first two thirds but when it gets to the final third you are left facing 11 players who are all in formation, and short of having Iniesta and Messi in your team it is extremely difficult to break down.

It's not a case of just buying another striker. We need to change the way we are playing.

James Martin     Posted 23/02/2014 at    Comments (46)

Rooney Deal

Finally, after months of speculation, it's done. Hopefully it will finally put to bed the notion that he was to return home like some prodigal son to lead his beloved Blues on to better things. Maybe I've been in a dry country too long but some people really need to lay off the sauce or whatever else they're imbibing!

The new deal he's signed tells us why any idea of his returning was the romantic fiction in a few sentimental heads. It's not just the £300k a week (which starts now, by the way) — it's why Man Utd are willing to pay stellar wages.

Rooney is now managed by a team of people, employed to help their employers get rich off their commercial property. (Stretford co-owns the company with ex-Newcastle owner Freddie Shephered and his son.)

Man Utd have more sponsors than any club on the planet. If I listed them here, it would go on for pages. As well as the top tier sponsors (Chevrolet/GM, Aon, DHL) there are myriad of other official partners, ranging from watch manufacturers in the US (who provide all the clocks at Old Trafford & Carrington) to a small paint manufacturer in Japan.

Now Man Utd may not qualify for the Champions League next season, and may claim they can afford to miss out, but what they can't afford is sustained absence from the competition. They will lose money from sponsor bonus payments related to exposure via the Uefa TV deals, and that will be substantial – but recoverable if the absence is for just a season (hence why, if Moyes hasn't got it together by November, they will get rid).

Rooney brings much more to the table than just his footballing prowess: He's marketable. He may not be a great talker but his image is carefully crafted (to the point where his fondness for classy hookers, oh and Jenny Thompson, gets overlooked).

As soon as Kenny Dalglish talked his parents into switching his management from Pro-Form Sports Management to Proactive (of which he was a part-owner) the die was cast as far as Rooney staying at Everton was concerned.

Stretford did well holding onto Rooney as his client when he was ultimately sacked from Proactive/Formation Group. By keeping him and his family sweet, and hence taking him as the anchor-client to the new Triple S agency, he's secure for life too. No way would he allow his client to join a financial and marketing basket-case like Everton.

Maybe the romantics will now look forward to us signing Rooney at the end of this contract. When he's 34, and "reinventing himself" to play a deeper role, maybe a sweeper? ... I won't.

Enjoy Ross Barkley whilst we have him. We'll never be able to compete with these clubs until we haul ourselves into the real world.

Matt Traynor     Posted 22/02/2014 at 04:38:25   Comments (27)

Money and Europe

I listened to an interesting interview with Christian Purslow the ex CEO of Liverpool FC. He was asked about how important Champions League football is to clubs these days. He said that it had always been important, next season he reckoned clubs would get about £30 million from getting into the group stage of the Champions League, but the following season with the new BT deal he reckons Champions League will be worth around £60 million.

He was then asked about what he thought of Liverpool's plans to modernize their existing stadium rather than build a new one. He said that he didn't think that was the right move. He said that at present both Man Utd and Arsenal earn £60 million more out of home gates than Liverpool. He also thinks that, with their planned increase, Man City will soon join that group.

He then went on to talk about the possibility of a shared ground; he said unfortunately both clubs seem reluctant to go down that route. But he said financially it was a no-brainer — both clubs would benefit massively from a shared stadium. He also reckons at some point both club chairmen will have to get their heads together with the council and push on with a shared stadium.

Now whether you agree with him or not on a shared stadium, what is not in dispute is that the money that will be generated by a Champions League place will be massive.

Brian Harrison     Posted 20/02/2014 at 14:51:50   Comments (22)

Barkley as a front man?

I have seen many Everton centre forwards from Jimmy Harris and Dave Hickson to the present. We always seem to be looking for that guy who can consistently find the back of the net over years, not just a few months or just one season.

I wonder if Ross Barkley could be made into a front man? He has all the potential. Good control, speedy and a good shot. He is also big and certainly tough enough.

I know ,just lately, he has been a little off the boil, but he still has much to offer. I also know that he might be missed in midfield, but it might be worth a try.
John Boon     Posted 18/02/2014 at 11:13:21   Comments (26)

Watering of the pitch

Both before and during half-time at the match against Swansea, I was baffled to witness the hallowed turf at Goodison receive a very generous application of water from the fancy sprinkler system. Given that Merseyside had experienced a 48-hour deluge of rain that ensured cancellation of most of the local amateur / youth games, it was hard to imagine that the surface required any further water.

I noticed that the sprinklers were applied liberally under David Moyes's tenure and I can imagine Roberto would want a slick surface to promote the quick movement of the football. However, yesterday the players could hardly stand up and the surface spray when a ball was struck was evident to see. I am curious to know, is it the policy of the groundstaff or the coaching team to turn on the sprinklers?

Peter Laing     Posted 17/02/2014 at 16:57:37   Comments (13)

'There was contact so he was entitled to go down…’

The above line isn’t a quote attributable to anyone specifically but it covers a general tone that arises from professional pundits across TV, radio and the press when a forward charges into the penalty area and collapses at the slightest contact from a defender.

This is cheating. I hate it, regardless of whether it is one of ours or the opposition, and I have read many comments about this over the years.

A couple of weeks ago, there was the situation with Andy Carroll and Chico Flores. Almost to a man, all the professional pundits were lambasting Flores for his reaction to being brushed on the forehead by Carroll – something that was clearly accidental and no danger to Flores.

I am genuinely puzzled by these different approaches. Both incidents involve a player over-exaggerating to get an advantage (in the first case, a penalty; in the second case, an opposition player sent off). Both incidents involve cheating. I do think there may be a small element of Jonny Foreigner involved with the latter case but this doesn’t hold up when looking at players cheating to get a penalty.

I would like to see more players openly mock anyone who cheats in this manner but this never happens. Going back to the Flores case, I thought when Allardyce openly laughed at Flores last year, that was the best reaction to take but this seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

Vince Hindson     Posted 16/02/2014 at 13:03:48   Comments (55)

The Way It Is

I am not on Facebook and never will be and Twitter has as much appeal as DIY brain surgery but thank god for Toffeeweb. Once in a while, it gives old geysers like me a chance to erupt, or in this case a foamy spume several days after the recent Derby disaster.

The morning after the match, my daughter (an indoctrinated Blue) phoned to say that she did not see that result coming. Me, with my cynical hat on, having endured over 50 years of accumulated misery, replied "You would have been even more surprised if we had won 4-0!"

I then went on to say that if you had known what the score was to be before the game and straw polled 100 Evertonians (who knew their history) as to which team was likely to achieve it, my bet is the majority would have chosen the Dark Side. It's just the way it is. Let me explain...

Before I go any further, anyone know before the Reds came back up to the top flight in 62-63 how we fared against them head to head in league encounters? It surely cannot be as bad as the last 50 plus years. I recall watching on Sports Special or whatever MotD was in those days the highlights of the first encounter against newly promoted Liverpool at Goodison. Two goals up at half-time the Blues appeared to be cruising. Whatever was said by Shankly at half-time must still reverberate around their dressing room to this day. There must be some former players who have written about what was said. The second half turned into the Alamo at our end after Hunt and co levelled matters and that set a precedent for years to come.

Sure, we have had some great wins against them and believe me I am not ungrateful, but let's be honest – even Lady Luck has been against us for most of the time. Curiously our greatest and sweetest victory came just after the Benzedrine drug scandal broke in 1964. A 4-0 victory at Anfield must be one of the heaviest defeats in the League they have suffered since their return to the top flight. Anyone who saw game? I would love to know how we played.

For me playing the Reds twice a year (Health warning! After Sunday, we could meet again in FA Cup...) must be like being a postman having to deliver mail to a house where a particularly vicious dog resides. If you are very careful, you may get out unscathed but drop your guard and you will be badly mauled.

One thing is certain – the nature of the beast is always the same. Despite all this misery they have inflicted upon them, be in no doubt that it is as important to them that, despite all the trophies they have won in the 50 years, victory over us is still as important as it ever was. At least that is some consolation to me.

With regard to the recent demise there is no doubt Coleman and Distin were missed but as with the Spurs game, a midfield with three out of four players being well over 30 is going to struggle at this stage of the season. Well you have always got to have a consoling excuse. It's the way it is!
Simon Davis     Posted 14/02/2014 at 08:50:24   Comments (32)

Still points to be won

The mugging at White Heart Lane may be disappointing but we are still on course for 70-plus points this season. It's whether that's sufficient for 4th place, however?

I'm not sure this particular season will follow any previous pattern over the last 5 years but I suspect it will. Last year 73 points got you 4th. The year before that 69 and before that, just 68. In 09-10 and 08-09 seasons, 70 and 72 points were required. It's an odd season though and it could end up where 76 points are required as it was in 06-07 season which would be too much to ask.

First half of the season, a good first half, we collected 37 points which if repeated gives us 74, sufficient for 4th place over the last 10 seasons bar one. I'm currently doing a sort of parallel tracking of the first 19 games, points accumulated against the second set of 19 games and, having just played our sixth game of the second, set we are just 4 points down on where we were at game six at the beginning of the season, 12 points as apposed to 8. Sad I know but I couldn't sleep.

With four out of our next six games at home, all very winnable, and Newcastle wobbling, I can see an optimistic 13 points out of a possible 18. Teams like Palace, West Ham, Cardiff and The Swans offer opportunity. This would put us on 21 points at game 12 of the second half of the season. The same tally we had after the first 12 of the season where we were one point off fourth, and we weren't too disappointed then were we?

It's going to be a nail-biting last seven games with three massive home games against Arsenal, Man Utd and Man City... I just hope we can match the first half of the season and kick on!

Lloyd Brodrick     Posted 14/02/2014 at 00:39:13   Comments (36)

Tic-tac or counter attacking?

Tic-tac or counter attack, what’s the best? Well Liverpool have just demolished probably the best two tic-tac teams in the Premier League with fast counter-attacking football, because they have pace to burn and two top-quality forwards.

Also I seem to recollect that Bayern Munich swept the best tic-tac team on the planet, Barcelona from their ten year lofty perch. To some extent I also think that Chelsea and Man City are of the pace-up-front variety rather than the dominating possession type teams.

Well it got me thinking, why does Martinez persist with tic-tac when he’s got the likes of Lukaku, Deulofeu, Barkley, Coleman, and Mirallas in the team? All 5 players would thrive on the fast counter-attacking style, or quick-ball-out-of-defence, and drive-forward-in-numbers type of game currently being used to great effect by our competitors.

Whilst I agree we have been a joy to watch, and suddenly we have become the in-demand media team, I’m worried that it might just fall short of delivering. We do need to deliver, so much rests on us obtaining Champions League football. I fear that the likes of Lukaku, Deulofeu, Barkley, Coleman and even a rejuvenated Barry would think twice about staying if we fail to reach the CL.

Tic-tac or counter attacking; I suspect Martinez has never had the luxury of a strong defence ever before and that, to me, is the essence for a counter attacking team – they need a strong defensive platform, but he could also learn from Chelsea and City who continually get the ball moving forward with pace.

I read a response to an article on another site about the Spurs game which mentioned that Everton had over the last month increased the number of “less than 20yd” passes it makes and also had an increase in the number of backward passes it makes. The problem, if correct, is that we don’t then use our pace and also the time it takes to get forward inevitably means the opponents have mass defence in place.
Mike Oates     Posted 11/02/2014 at 10:52:31   Comments (49)


I may well get slaughtered for this but I'll throw it out there anyway. Are our expectations too high given our circumstances?

For instance, the teams that are around us and higher have spent a vast amount of money. We, on the other hand, have had to loan most of our players and have spent very little. Now we can all look at the past and say how teams in the 70s and 80s didn't have to spend much to succeed, but that was a different time and football now is all about how much money you can spend.

Look at Man City and Chelsea as prime examples. Without the millions they spend on world class players then where would they be? Even Blackburn had to spend millions to just scrape winning the Premier League.

I just can't see us getting into the top four without considerable investment and I think we're doing a superb job of competing with the best of them. Unless we can grow our own world class players, which we wouldn't see the success of that policy for a good 10-15 years, or just try and loan potential world class players, then we're more than likely to fall short (unless the other teams competing fall apart).

I think we really need either a multi-millionaire or a billionaire. Unfortunately, it's the way modern football is at the moment.
Trevor Thompson     Posted 09/02/2014 at 15:48:48   Comments (129)

Everton Equivalents?

I was recently chatting with a German friend about Everton and footie in general....

He is a lifelong Hannover fan and asked me, if any... Who do I think would be the German equivalent of Everton?

This question kind of stumped me and, if I'm honest, I couldn't give him a concrete answer. My knowledge relating to the history, success & support of German teams is not great.

Obviously Bayern Munich are likely to be the Man Utd of Germany, but I couldn't think who would be like us?

So, as a talking point, who do you think would be our mirror clubs across Europe? France, Germany, Spain etc?

Tony Stanella     Posted 08/02/2014 at 12:15:17   Comments (11)

Everton and Football

I log on to ToffeeWeb several times every day simply because it is the best and most reliable place for Everton news. Thank you Lyndon and Michael.

One thing I have noted over my many years of "Toffeewebing", which has recently become more noticeable, are the numerous references to matches not involving Everton, often live reports.

The only point of this article is: I never watch any game of football in which Everton does not play. Many of you seem to watch any and every game that is on TV.

Do you love football so much/are you checking out the opposition/what is your interest in non-Everton games?

Years ago someone posted an article which contained a statement something like this: "My Grandad said he doesn't like football all that much, he just loves Everton."

That encapsulates my feelings completely. I find non-Everton games unwatchable, I simply don't care.

If Everton Football Club didn't exist, I would have to invent it. Otherwise, I would not watch football.

Brian Hill     Posted 07/02/2014 at 07:05:16   Comments (34)

My greatest night at Goodison

I often go misty eyed remembering the European Cup--Winners Cup semi-final against Bayern Munich. Me, in my Adidas Munchens (the blue not the red of course) and Jonelle lambswool jumper, climbing and clinging to the fence on the Gladwys Street End that divided us from the Family Enclosure. I had moved from the crush of the barrier in my usual spot halfway up the terrace behind the goal. I thought I had witnessed the greatest secondnd half in history and was throat hoarse with the singing.

Tonight, for the first time, I watched the whole match again on YouTube. Christ, what a piss poor game of bypassing the midfield, misplaced passes and dodgy tackles! They would have been slaughtered for playing in that style today.

That's my little bubble of teenage triumph burst then...

The atmosphere though is something that will live with me forever.

Mike Corcoran     Posted 06/02/2014 at 23:16:52   Comments (27)

To Trust or Not To Trust?

Whatever your opinion Roberto Martinez was appointed as our manager and clearly had a plan to totally alter the way we played. As it transpired, he is also changing the whole footballing ethos of the club.

Obviously most newly appointed managers will need time to adjust and achieve their aims. Given the circumstances, one may feel that Martinez would need perhaps a bit more time than normal to see the results of his actions.

Personally, my thoughts were that I wasn't sure he was the right man for the job but was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Given the circumstances, I thought it may take at least a season to a season and a half before we started seeing the benefits of his ideas/actions.

Currently we lie 1 point below 4th place playing some of the best football we have seen in years. I am certain that, before the season started, neither myself nor any other Evertonian thought we would be in this position. My view was that a finish of around 8th place playing good football would be a good start and foundation for further growth.

I am now coming round to the view that Martinez is definitely up to the job and am coming to love the man more and more each time I hear him speak or read one of his interviews. Yet, despite our current great position, I am amazed at the abuse and negativity shown by many posters on this site towards both the team and Martiniez.

Probably this greater-than-expected early success has made a bit of a rod for his own back. Many fans appear to have raised expectations and to have lost any trace of reality. Okay, I realise there is still time for the train to come off the rails but so what, all the signs so far indicate that his plans are progressing at a faster pace, probably more than what he expected himself.

While I don't agree with every decision and team selection he makes, he our the manager and as such we should trust him to continue in the positive manner that he has done so to date.

In Roberto we trust... or do we?

I certainly do and feel that we should all do so and get behind him and the team so that we are all pulling in the right direction.

Bill Griffiths     Posted 06/02/2014 at 09:57:30   Comments (8)

Forgotten again?

Looking back in the history books, future Evertonians will assume last Tuesday's result to have been a rout. I didn't see it that way.

It was obviously very disappointing because, to be perfectly honest, I expected at least a draw as I firmly believe that overall we are better than them but we cannot match, at the moment anyway, their strike force of Suarez and Sturridge... and that was the difference.

On the night, we had the lion's share of possession and played the better football (as much as it was ineffective in terms of goals, admittedly). We were missing some very important players and, if I am truly honest, Roberto's gung-ho approach does not really suit derby games; perhaps he will learn from that. Additionally, we had players out there who were not really fit.

Anyway, agree or not, that is my opinion... but what this post is really all about is how, since that game, at least as far as the media are concerned, we have dropped out of the reckoning as far as the Premier League is concerned and equally a top four finish. I find this amazing. The league title would be a long shot indeed but a top-four finish?

We are two points behind Liverpool with, at least on paper, an easier next few games yet, prior to last night's game between Man City and Chelsea, three newspapers examined the prospects for the title of the current top four including who they were playing in the future. Similarly today, two papers did the same thing AFTER last night's result and neither Everton, nor Spurs to be fair, were mentioned.

It just demonstrates to me how readily the press are able and willing to revert to the 'traditional top four' within their presentation of the game. How easy it seems for them to forget that Man City and Arsenal have to come to Goodison too, we have to go to Chelsea and that accordingly we might also have a say in who wins the league and who finishes in the top four.

A few weeks ago we were one point behind Liverpool and much of the media, after our performances against Man Utd and Arsenal, were considering Everton as a force. Now, we seem to be not worthy of a mention when it comes to the final calculations. It's not that it bothers me that much, it's just that I find it rather perverse. It won't keep me awake at night, however and maybe, just maybe, it could help in taking the pressure off when all the wounded are back and available!

Maybe then we will be back in the reckoning!

Dave Roberts     Posted 04/02/2014 at 15:17:47   Comments (56)

World Everton Day

I've been thinking about this for a while and thought I'd run it up the flag pole while we have a lull between fixtures.

As a (non-Scouse) Toffee living in Sydney, being an Everton supporter can be a surreal experience. Obviously, ToffeeWeb does a fantastic job connecting fans from all over the world together and I visit everyday. However, unless I want to travel to a couple of pubs in the city in the early hours of the morning, I generally don't meet too many fellow supporters.

Actually, I do have one close friend in work (an Australian born Greek) who is a fellow fan and it is great to catch up and discuss all aspects of the Blues. I have run into one or two other people in the shops wearing Everton tops and invariably, when I approach these complete strangers, we have a great chat.

In fact, I sometimes wear my Everton shirt on a Saturday to see if I can "smoke out" a fellow fan. (That sounds weirder than it is!) Having read various posts from Toffees all over the world, I don't think that I am the only person in this boat...

This got me thinking how it might be a good idea if, on one particular day a year, all Evertonians around the world connected together — A World Everton Day if you like! This might be as simple as wearing a shirt/scarf and/or getting together (if suitable) in some meeting place (okay, the pub). I know that many places (including Sydney) do have fan clubs which could be a focal point, but I would hope this would reach beyond that.

Hopefully the club's Marketing Department could drive this and get people to register (on or Facebook), send in photos, highlight meeting places, give prizes etc. The benefit to the club would be a larger database of fans, maybe more merchandise sales, and a more connected fan base.

In terms of dates, I was thinking maybe 7 Aug (7/8 to align with 1878) which would normally be just before the season starts. Anyway, let me know if you think this idea is nuts, has legs, or could be improved.

Ciaran Duff     Posted 03/02/2014 at 04:39:59   Comments (51)

Our current squad situation

I thought I’d do a little recap of our current squad considering the transfer window has just closed. This is my first article to do so. Just to see people’s opinions on how we're fixed for the future. The way I see it, there’s four groups of players we've got.

1) Untouchable: Howard, Baines, Oviedo, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, McCarthy, Gibson, Mirallas, Barkley, McGeady, Koné.

I put these players in this category totally on their value to the team, whether that’s based on quality or being a recent signing.

2) Ageing: Hibbert (31), Osman (31), Alcaraz (31), Pienaar (31), Howard (34), Distin (36).

Some of these players are current first-teamers, but surely will eventually need replacing within 2 years; their legs are in the process of going. It’s only a matter of time before they are moved on.

3) Hit or Miss: Robles, Stanek, Springthorpe, Garbutt, Browning, Duffy, Stones, Pennington, Gueye, Lundstram, Junior, Green, Kennedy, Hope, Vellios, Long, McAleny.

This group are ones for the future or they are just hanging on to being with a Premier League club when they just should move on. So far, Stones has been the most impressive, with Gueye, Vellios, Duffy and Robles all making appearances. There are plenty more at the club with potential, like the Duffus brothers, but I anticipate Martinez's plans for them would be loans to Football League clubs first, unless they're top quality. If we could have three or four top players out of that group, I’d be happy.

4) Loans In: Barry, Lukaku, Deulofeu, Traoré.

Hopefully we will sign Barry on a 2-year deal in the summer. If Barcelona allow it, we may get another year for Deulofeu given his stalled progression to due injury and lack of game time at the beginning of the season. As for Lukaku, maybe we should try to sign him as well; fans have slated him recently for lack of goals and effort but I have some sympathy for him. Deulofeu, Barkley and Pienaar have all been injured since his goals dried up, and I’ve no doubt this had a lot to do with it.

Given the £40M raised through sales, we've got an interesting summer ahead. Players wages that left, I think, will level out with the improved contracts for Baines, Coleman and Barkley.

So the questions I’d raise are:

1. Who will come out of the Hit and Miss category?

2. What signings would be good for our squad?

Trevor Whyte     Posted 02/02/2014 at 20:50:44   Comments (31)

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