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Is it three billionaires and counting?

I read yesterday on another Everton fan site that Shahid Kahn was interested and talked to the Everton board before Fulham came on the market. As the deal was brokered by Keith Harris, who is supposedly trying to sell EFC, I am inclined to believe it must be true. Surely an astute American businessman is going to look at all his options.

The same post also stated that Lerner was also interested in EFC before buying Villa. As Sheik Massoud has said he talked to both EFC and Newcastle before he went for Man City, does this mean that three billionaires have approached our board and been turned away?

With Fulham being advertised and sold in less than six weeks, I think the conclusions are obvious.

Clive Rogers     Posted 29/07/2013 at 17:20:15   Comments (76)

Feeling Bullish

Somebody somewhere once wrote, "Being a football supporter isn’t about glory and success – it’s about learning to cope with failure." A Sunderland fanzine reflected this in its title "It's the Hope I Can’t Stand." (Kudos, whoever came up with that one!.

Being a supporter of our beloved Everton for nigh on 47 years, I believe that those two phrases are particularly relevant to us.

So why is it that, once again, as the new season approaches, the failures and the shattered hopes of previous campaigns are cast aside by a strong feeling of "This year lads. This is going to be the year.... Our year"?

I wrote an article before the start of the two previous seasons for explaining rationally and scientifically why Everton would finish 4th. I was proved, on both occasions, to be talking bollocks. And yet, and yet, that feeling of optimism – unrealistic in truth, but so tangible I can taste it – has once again returned.

So why the optimism this time? Well, for the last two seasons my optimism was based upon the shortcomings of others and their demise. All we needed to do was stay as we were and we would finish 4th because other teams would fall back towards us.

My rational arguments this time (and by rational I mean fanciful) are based upon our own improvements this season. To sum these up:

New Manager: New Mindset

The Moyesiah has gone. He brought stability and consistency for which I for one am genuinely grateful. He also brought risk aversion, a "let’s not concede" mentality which had taken us as far as it could. So Davie leaves, with my blessing and thanks (I’m sure he will be moved to tears about that). I hope the goggly-eyed miserablist relegates Man Utd in his first season though...

We now have Roberto. Martinez has won things... with a distinctly average squad, and has the reputation of having a positive progressive attitude to this football malarkey. Yes, he got Wigan relegated and they always were fodder due to their very poor defence. However, he is inheriting from DM a defence the envy of most in the Premier League. So as long as he doesn’t feck it up, we are in for some entertainment at the very least

Phillip Neville

Our ex-Captain was a Marmite figure. I certainly liked the idea of Phil (I think he was a tonic for the troops around the dressing room); however, the reality on the pitch was very different. We are stronger for his leaving and in Jagielka we have a fantastic leader on and off the pitch.

Additions

Bloody hell — what was all that about? Four players in before August? They may all turn out to be busts (although I doubt that very much) but Robbie has at least given them a good run at establishing themselves. And am I excited about our Barca loanee (and further future links)? "Not arf!"

Youngsters

"If they are good enough, they are young enough" as someone else said sometime (or something like that). I have a large hunch that we will be seeing more of our "yoof" this year, which may or may not work but, bloody hell, it's going to make the season more exciting

Pace

To say that Everton have been lumbering in the main in recent years is an insult to lumber. The addition of SuperKev last year and his limited appearances showed what pace could do for us. So, if we can keep Kev (and keep him fit) and unleash him, and Gerard and Arouna then defence into attack will be a powerful and potent extra dimension to our play.

So there you go, throw in the turmoil at our main competitors, and (fingers crossed) Bobby fending off any approach for Baines and Fellaini, then all the above leads to the these bullish feelings that we will finish a strong 4th, or an oh-so-close 5th. But please, for the love of God not bloody 6th again.

Alun Willis     Posted 28/07/2013 at 23:22:53   Comments (29)

Roberto's 2nd game in England

It was a sunny day in East Lancashire for Roberto Martinez’s second game in England in charge of Everton. For some of us, it was our first game of football of pre-season and we certainly enjoyed what we watched.

Roberto gave starts to Ross Barkley, Bryan Oviedo and the new boy Arouna Kone. There was no Leighton Baines, he missed the game through a hip injury. Oviedo was certainly an able deputy though, forging many nice link-ups with Steven Pienaar. We will hopefully see more of Oviedo this season as he rarely played last season and it looks like he has certainly got the ability.

We started with a 4-2-3-1 formation and attacked Blackburn from the off and it was clear to see the change in style of play Everton were employing under the new manager, Roberto Martinez. All the passes were on the floor and Tim Howard played it out from the back to the defenders; this was not what we were used to and it was alien to us, until Hibbert played a long ball down the line after 25 minutes and then we were back to what we knew! It was good to see though, there was some very crisp passing on the floor!

The first goal came from a deflected shot from Kevin Mirallas, he was clearly seeing a lot of the ball in the first half and took his goal well. He linked up a lot with Barkley too. The rest of the half saw Everton dominate with several shots on goal, Tim Howard was just enjoying the summer sunshine! We went in at half-time 1-0 up.

The manager then made seven changes with new signing Joel, Stones, Heitinga, Jelavic, Naismith, Osman and Coleman being introduced. Kone was one of the players to be replaced; he struggled up front but it was his first game of pre-season so he will take time to settle into Everton. It was good to see Martinez playing a couple of the youngsters and Stones did not look out of place at the back with Distin constantly talking to him.

Jelavic looked sharp up front and took his first goal well: a Pienaar corner was met at the near post with a fine header into the goal, this did wonders for his confidence as he had a few more chances to score in the second half. A lot of Everton attacks were coming down the right from Seamus Coleman and he set up the third goal. A great through-pass from Osman to Coleman and he crossed for Jelavic who had his first attempt blocked and then slotted his next attempt into the net to send the Evertonians behind the goal into raptures.

Everton looked comfortable all through the game but a late spell from Blackburn saw them get a consolation from a cross and Scott Dann headed in at the back post unmarked. Martinez will not be happy to concede in this way, but it was only a minor mistake on a good day for Everton. The game ended 3-1 and another win in pre-season for Everton.

Overall, there were some good performances in the first half from Mirallas, Barkley, Pienaar and Gibson. In the second half, Jelavic, Coleman and Osman impressed but my Man of the Match goes to Oviedo. He had a great game getting forward to support the attack and defending too, he will provide good competition for Leighton Baines, who will hopefully stay. It was a good day for Everton and gives us plenty of reason to be optimistic.

It is on to the USA now for the Blues to build up their fitness. Everton will play tougher opposition but the signs are good so far for a good start to the season; roll on 17 August — only 3 weeks to go now!

Lee Molton     Posted 28/07/2013 at 14:26:53   Comments (9)

Fellaini at centre back?

Here’s a thought... I wonder if Fellaini would be any good at centre back? I mean in a back three.

Martinez switched to a 3-5-2 in the second half against Blackburn, but It remains to be seen how committed he is to that formation, or whether he’s going to experiment with a 3-4-3. (On the face of it, 3-4-3 would be a waste of Coleman and Baines, so I doubt RM would use it.) However, even if he doesn’t start with three at the back, it seems likely he wants to have it in his back pocket as a Plan B. Lord knows, we’ve been short of a Plan B for, oohh, just over a decade!

Three at the back requires the centre backs to be comfortable in possession and distribute the ball well. Alcaraz appears well suited to that, on the evidence of 45 minutes against Accrington, and Heitinga did yesterday, in my opinion. Distin (who did OK in the second half against Blackburn) and Jags are less obviously attuned to that role. Duffy? No, I can’t see it – he’s an old fashioned stopper.

Fellaini seems out of sorts at the moment, and there’s a question mark over where exactly he fits into 3-5-2 or 4-3-3. Certainly, under RM, his days of playing behind the striker appear to be over. He does, however, possess the physical presence and passing ability to play in a three-man defence. Yes, admittedly, he lacks pace and his concentration is iffy, but maybe the advantages would outweigh the disadvantages?

As a precedent, I’m thinking of Javi Martinez, a midfielder who Bielsa transformed into a centre back at Athletic Bilbao. He was a huge success in that position. (Subsequently, he moved to Bayern, where he plays defensive midfield, but that’s another story.) Or, further back, Matthias Sammer was brilliant for Germany in Euro 96 – he was a midfielder who dropped back to play sweeper/libero, and was voted player of the tournament.

You never know, it might just work.


Kev Johnson     Posted 28/07/2013 at 11:58:56   Comments (80)

So who are our competitors?

I, like all of you, am itching for any news related to the club and most of all, for the season to begin. I’m intrigued to see how we play, what our new formation will be, how the defenders cope with passing the ball to players in the same kit as them regularly. It’s the breaking of a new dawn and I for one am excited.

I do have one thing which keeps nagging away at me and that is: Who should we see as our direct competitors for this coming season? Last season, I would have answered this question with a lot less thought but, with the influx of all of the TV money and our relative spending power, I’m a little less sure.

Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea are not direct competitors for many reasons – from money available to invest in the squad, to the fact they have comfortably finished in front every season – but what about Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal?

Spurs have bought a Brazilian international midfielder and have bid over £20M for a proven Spanish striker. Liverpool look like they will lose Suarez but will have a shedload of money to re-invest and have already swelled the squad with numbers (jury out on quality as I know little about them); and Arsenal finally seem to be splashing the cash, aiming at players in the Suarez/Higuian category.

With their squads already strong, can we really expect to be direct competitors with them? Our squad is strong but we don’t have the ability to bring in this quality of player. Of course the new players could all fail and we could reap the rewards, but it’s unlikely to happen.

What about the rest. Sunderland seems to have bought a new team; Cardiff have had an offer for Capoue (SP) accepted; Southampton look like they are splashing the cash by bringing in Wanyama and bidding for Brazilian Damaio; Swansea have bought a new team; and so on. There only seems to be the newly promoted teams (bar Cardiff), ourselves and West Brom not splashing the cash. This could of course change.

So where do we figure? In my humble opinion, I see us as a top 8 team and so I will still want to see us competing with Spurs, Arsenal, and Liverpool; however, it may be that we are 8th. The other pretenders may spend a lot more than us but have a way to go to match our squad. We could take off and smash everyone in front of us, or struggle to adapt to our new manager's methodology and struggle to maintain a top 10 position.

Whichever way the season goes, this time of year has felt a lot different to that of years gone by. The first change of manager for 11 years... new signings already brought in... interesting international pre-season tournament against some of the world’s best.... Things are looking up. I personally hope we keep Baines, but would sacrifice Fellaini IF Roberto was promised ALL of the money.

So… what do you think?

Tony Bell     Posted 26/07/2013 at 12:10:56   Comments (64)

Strange News Day

I opened my inbox today to find a news item about Man City's latest signing – Gordon Ramsey – in a £6m deal to overhaul their catering (journos reckon their catering for media is already the best).

Anyway even more strange was another email with the headline screaming that a FIFA member described the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar as a blatant mistake.

The strange thing is, is that the German FA had already announced they would support shifting the tournament to winter, yet this guy is the former head of the Bundesliga. The Premier League has already stated it is opposed to the switch, although the FA here has been predictably silent.

It would seriously mess up the English season. To accommodate the mid-season break would mean that there would have to be 3 seasons (one prior and one after) where there was a winter break.

What's the view on here? Should FIFA strip Qatar of the rights, risk becoming mired in legal challenges for years, stick to the original plan of Summer, or push on and switch to winter even though it would mess up most of the European leagues?

Matt Traynor     Posted 24/07/2013 at 23:28:59   Comments (35)

The new away kit?

Living in Sweden, I have had the opportunity to watch two of Everton's U18s games in the Gothia Cup on TV. (No I couldn´t make it personally.) The boys did not wear the blue kit for all their games. They have worn an all black strip adorned with the new badge.

The most striking part of the kit is the trimming on the shirt. The left arm has a lime green ring as the home shirt has a white one. The right side has a stripe, also lime green, which starts at the collar, proceeds over the shoulder and down the arm. The genius in all this is that should we play any evening/night games this kit is well suited as both the ring and the stripe are LUMINOUS!!!

This may just be a training kit which they preferred to play in as the opposition played in yellow... or the laundry had not come back in time. Let us hope this is the case otherwise we will have more to cringe over.

I think we should be told!

Brian Garside     Posted 24/07/2013 at 00:21:23   Comments (17)

The back three

Does anyone agree that under Martinez and with his new system, our best back three would be Alcaraz Jagielka Heitinga?

Heitinga has good distribution and was Player of the Season in 2012 so is obviously good enough!

Alcaraz compliments Heitinga and Jagielka is one of the best defenders in the league and can be covered by the other two with regards to his lack of positive distribution!

I can see Heitinga staying and this being tried or even used throughout the season to good effect!

Chris Hannon     Posted 23/07/2013 at 22:58:15   Comments (26)

Player Power Diminishing?

Every time we discuss a player under contract who may want a transfer, we often hear commentators state: "The contracts are not worth the paper they're written on."

This summer transfer window, we seem to be witnessing some clubs taking a tougher stance when it comes to players engineering a move away, against their employers' wishes. It could be down to extra TV rights revenues, or have football clubs had enough of players & agents taking people for fools?

The list of Chairman & managers refusing to do business seems to be growing daily: Baines, Fellaini, Suarez, Bale, Rooney, Higuain, Fabregas and half the Chelsea squad seem to be on the market, but no-one is budging.

Benteke was refused a move away from Villa and has just signed a new 3-year deal. Unless we see ridiculous offers that cannot be refused, are we observing the end of player power?

Kevin Tully     Posted 22/07/2013 at 10:06:20   Comments (21)

Stoke scores easy PR win

Many of you will have read about Stoke City offering free coach travel to fans for all 19 away Premier League games next season. They directly attribute the increased TV money as enabling them to do this.

There was also the TwentysPlenty campaign recently, about the price of match tickets for away fans. They pointed out that clubs could effectively reduce ticket prices substantially (in some cases making it free) using this new TV money.

Stoke can't really lose here can they? I mean:

  • They're located centrally, and within sight of Junction 15 on the M6. Would be much more costly for a Sunderland/Newcastle or Southampton to do this.
  • The coaches will start/end at the Britannia Stadium. Many fans will live away, or may even prefer to "make a day of it", so I'd wager that base uptake will be low, but it will definitely generate sales.
  • Slightly spurious, but if you genuinely believe support has an impact (and Everton is renowned for its away support), then if this helps the team to another 2-3 points away from home, or an extra league place at the end of the season, it's paid for itself many times over.
  • They also get a huge PR benefit from this, helps in their marketing of the club.

Now I'm sure a few of us will chip in with all-to-predictable jibes about Stoke, but before you do, remember that this is a club that has not increased match ticket prices in 5 years, and season ticket prices in 6 years.

Sadly this kind of "extravagance" will be beyond the self-styled People's Club for the foreseeable future.

Anyone aware of other clubs doing something other than spunk the money on debt/transfer fees/wages?


Matt Traynor     Posted 20/07/2013 at 19:37:46   Comments (22)

Level of Performance

Nowadays, assessments from computer analysis giving details of a player's contribution on the pitch are ten a penny. I hazard a guess that stats even revealing how many calories based on his body mass and prematch meal were used in the course of his appearance, should anyone be that interested. Personally, and I suspect like many fans, a visual once over is all that is needed before at least an opinion is formed.

Sadly for goalkeepers in particular this, in my experience is irrevocable. My mantra has always been that when watching them they either make you nervous or they don't. Enough said.

For the purposes of this article, they are good with a constant high level of performance essential or, let's face it, unreliable or bad. Like dogs who chase cars, they do not last long.

I cannot be sure but (forgive me); I think it was Bob Paisley who – when being quizzed as to whether a player with the mercurial talents of Duncan Mackenzie or similar may add a new dimension to the Anfield machine – coined the phrase "fancy dans"... but what he went on to say was much more important and still holds true today.

He stated that, to be a player of the calibre required for the Reds to win the league, it was necessary for a player to be able to produce at least 30 games out of 42 that were of a good standard. That is to say, 3 out of every 4, or 7½ out of 10 on a consistent basis. Not one stellar home performance and then two poor ones. Get the picture?

If this is then extrapolated into a team performance and 7 or 8 of the outfield players produce 7½+ on a weekly basis, this team will be very very difficult to beat. I should add that, behind this outfield ten will always be a very competent goalkeeper. Sounds obvious and very simple but, as a maxim for assessing how good a player is, I feel it holds up every time.

To illustrate, let's go back to the very good Nottingham Forest side under Cloughie, circa late 70s.Players like Kenny Burns, Larry Lloyd even, John Robertson, Martin O'Neill etc etc produced levels of performances on a weekly basis that culminated in the side remaining unbeaten for a ridiculous number of games. Rarely was the individual noticed but the overall efficiency of the side had to be admired. This sort of analysis will stand up both pre- and post-Forest era.

To digress slightly I always felt the beginning of the end for Cloughie came when he succumbed to the MotD Goal of the Season perpetrator and signed Justin Fashanu. Definitely not a 30+ good-games-a-season man.

If we apply this formula to the current Everton side, I contend that we have a back four that produces 30+ good performances based on last season. In detail, Coleman especially in the second half of last season, continues to raise his own standards and I will not be surprised if he manages the odd goal as well in the coming campaign. I know, like Distin, he made a bad error at Wembley but he is improving.

Jagielka has limitations but I feel the England recognition has raised his game; although his passing is suspect, he does maintain a good standard that I feel the captaincy will only reinforce. Distin, despite his age, produces consistent and reliable shifts at the back. Baines has qualities that have made him the envy of many clubs. At times I think he lacks the self-belief or assertiveness (especially when allowing other colleagues to take free kicks) – but that is Leighton.

To midfield and sadly this is where the 3-out-of-4 analysis crumbles with the current squad. Being optimistic, I will give Gibson the vote and feel that, if he maintains his fitness, he will justify my belief. The rest do not fit into the 3-out-of-4 category although, at times, the likes of Pienaar and Fellaini do have purple patches. Unfortunately, Fellaini or even Mirallas are classic examples where two consecutively excellent performances are followed by at least two or three indifferent ones. That, I contend, is not good enough and is why we are where we are.

I am slightly disappointed that Roberto Martinez needs time to assess this current Everton squad. I am not a Wigan fan but saw enough of them last season to form an opinion. We are not that remote from Wigan geographically that he has no idea what he is working with!!! Use the 3-out-of-4 maxim, Roberto, and you will not go far wrong!
Simon Davis     Posted 20/07/2013 at 07:25:20   Comments (15)

So... what has changed?

Well the obvious - we have a new manager and backroom staff and to date (post-Accrington) from player and fan feedback it appears we are playing more football from the back even though it takes a hell of a lot longer to reach the attacking third. We must give RM credit for this as being Spanish the blueprint, no pun intended, must be Barcelona.

Personally I found watching the Catalans last season painful; against physically powerful and fast sides in the Champions League, they struggled. It may be that their engine room is not what it was and this brings me back to the Blues and our main problem as I see it.

Our central midfield comprises of Gibson – I can live with him but do not see anyone at club who can cover for him – but my main concern is the other two, so to speak: Osman and Fellaini.

Osman, tricky though he can be on his day, is physically not strong enough for this position and is only good for 50 to 60 mins in any given game. Curiously Fellaini is just the opposite, tall, strong, physically imposing and good in the air. Unfortunately he cannot shoot or thread a pass to save his life and at times gives the impression his mind is elsewhere believing the hype that surrounds him. He is also like Ossie: slow!

RM states that he wants to look at all players before he decides whether to bring in further additions to squad. I respectfully suggest that he seriously consider two quality central midfielders as a matter of urgency.

Reports suggest Alcaraz looks composed on the ball and the back four in various permutations looks sound. Robles is big enough however his kicking is unpredictable if what I saw in Vienna is anything to go by... and I do not see Kone as a striker who can get us 10 to 15 plus goals this season. Strike that; I do not see him as even good enough to displace Victor who, if he could produce displays like he did at Spurs last season, would be a shoe-in every week.

The lad from Barca could be anything but it would be a first for us to get someone who lives up to the hype of being the wunderkind he is cracked up to be. We will wait and see on this one.

So where are we at? After Vienna, most fans consoled themselves with the fact that we were missing a number of first teamers, Howard and Coleman, to be precise, as Barkley and others do not count in my book. Anyway Austria Vienna were a week away from the start of their season and much fitter than us.

So to Accrington where we banged in four and everyone thought we knocked the ball around well. If, after reading this, you might think I am a little concerned over the coming season... you would be right! Blackburn will be interesting but that will be nothing to the potential pain we are exposing ourselves to in the States...

RM we are not and never will be able to football our way out of defence for 90 mins without making mistakes and I fear this will cost us heavily in some games this season. Nobody will be happier than me if I am wrong but without urgent strengthening in midfield I fear for us this season.

Simon Davis     Posted 18/07/2013 at 21:13:06   Comments (46)

The best back four in the Prem?

Out of total boredom (honestly), I watched Man U get beat 1-0 by the "Bangkok All-Star 11" today and although they had the likes of Rooney and RVP missing, they still had a very strong side out including Ferdinand, Evans, The Fabio twins etc.

Anyway it got me thinking that their back four is not that good (even with Vidic back, they are still not that good) and I struggled to think of a better back four in the Premier League than Coleman, Jagielka, Distin and Baines.

The closest I could get was City with Kompany and Nastatic but even they have a weak left-back in Clichy IMO.

Chelsea would have been No 1 at one time but, with Terry and Cole aging and the inconsistency of Cahill and Luis, I feel they are becoming weaker too.

I know individually we might get better quality but, provided we keep Bainesy, I feel we have the best defensive unit in the league.

What do you guys think?

Jay Harris     Posted 13/07/2013 at 21:33:16   Comments (32)

Our New First XI?

Assuming most of our transfer business is done, we have the following players available:

Howard
Robles

Coleman
Hibbert
Duffy
Alcaraz
Distin
Heitinga
Jagielka
Oviedo
Baines

Mirallas
Osman
Fellaini
Deulofeu
Piennar
Naismith
Barkley

Anichebe
Kone
Jelavic
McAleny

Based on this, which players would you have lining up in your first XI if you were Martinez? Also what formation would you go for? I know it’s only a pre-season friendly but if I was Martinez I would probably want to find out my best first XI asap.

Gavin McGarvey     Posted 11/07/2013 at 19:58:35   Comments (81)

My Second Team...

When I was a young whippersnapper, I suppose you could say that Ipswich were my second team — behind Everton, of course. They played nice football, had a cool strip, and they were also pretty rubbish. A second team have to be "lovable losers" because you cannot have a second team who threaten your own team's standing.

Years later, it pains me to hear large numbers of people both at home and here in the US referring to Everton as "their second team." These are fans who officially support Chelsea, Man Utd and even Man City. How insulting! 15 years ago, if I revealed my allegiance in a crowded Southern pub, I would get dirty looks, jostled, and hear offensive remarks about "Scallys." Now, I get a sympathetic pat on the head.

Moyes did a lot of good things for Everton. He saved us from relegation, he wheeled and dealed and he even got us into Europe. However, I think he played the "victim" card a bit too much. Between him and BK, you'd think Everton were a Wimbledon type outfit that had risen from nowhere to challenge the best (or the next-best) teams in the land.

Looking ahead, I like what Martinez has said about "winning." But I also worry when BK says that Martinez asked if he would have to "sell to buy"? "No" says BK, "and we've put in two bids already." We end up with a 29-year-old striker, a couple of free transfers, and an untried kid on loan. All-in-all, the type of spending strategy you'd expect from some no-hoper little Cinderella club that can be everyone's "lovable losers."

I hope Martinez finds a way to move us forward so that people look at us with envy. I want to have a team that people hate — because they are sick of the site of us winning. That is how it should be. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.


Kieran Kinsella     Posted 11/07/2013 at 00:15:18   Comments (54)

Fulham for sale?

We read in Metro today that:

"Mohamed Al Fayed has reportedly put Fulham up for sale after 16 years at the helm by the Thames.

The sale of the Craven Cottage club is part of a wider financial strategy by the 84-year-old Egyptian, who has begun converting his assets into cash to plan for his family’s future.

Having ploughed around £200m into the club, he leaves them with debts of just £4m, with any buyer likely to have to fork out between £150m and £200m.

It is thought a new owner could even be in place before the start of the new season.

Former Harrods owner Al Fayed bought Fulham in 1997 for £6.25million, with the west Londoners languishing in the third tier of English football."

I have posted this up to begin (another) debate about Everton, its sale price, its debt and our current board's inability to refinance the club or sell it, whilst running it into the ground. As an interesting aside though, what have the relative on the pitch successes been like in the last 16 years?

Everton & Fulham in the Premier League

Year Position
2012-13 6th/7th
2011-12 7th/9th
2010-11 7th/8th
2009-10 8th/12th
2008-09 5th/7th
2007-08 5th/17th
2006-07 6th/16th
2005-06 11th/12th
2004-05 4th/13th
2003-04 17th/9th
2002-03 7th/14th
2001-02 15th/13th
2000-01 16th/NA
1999-00 13th/NA
1998-99 14th/NA
1997-98 17th/NA

Fulham in the Football League

Division 1
2000-01 1st
1999-00 9th
Division 2
1998-99 1st
1997-98 6th

I would argue that we have not fared that much better in the period of his reign but he would be leaving with a lot less debt. The rumoured asking price puts the spotlight on the figure quoted for Everton as well. I'll hand this over to the boys that know more than me. Forgive me if it bores people but I thought it threw light on our situation at Everton and the is most comparable club (old ground, shadow of bigger clubs nearby, little recent success etc) to have possibly been up for sale recently.

Ben Dyke     Posted 10/07/2013 at 11:10:46   Comments (79)

What we really need

I think we will be playing a little bit differently this season. I'm happy with the signings and I think the new coach is playing a blinder. We have a decent squad and I expect it will be better come August.

I think, however, that we are missing something that we haven't had for some time. Not a pacey winger or a midfielder with some tricks but what I can only describe as a hateful bastard; someone who opponents will dread playing against.

I don't like Kevin Nolan (I suppose that's the point I'm making) but I'd like a younger version of him. We've been too nice for too long and my only fear with Roberto is that we will be even nicer.

Surely, there is someone out there we can sign who will make space for Roberto's new expansive style. A player who will go to Stoke and scare them. A player who other supporters will hate.

I want us to play the right way and entertain. I also want us to win tough when necessary. Who is the man?

Andy Crooks     Posted 10/07/2013 at 00:37:45   Comments (56)

Talking Points

Just a few of queries/questions I would like to hear your thoughts on...

1) Is our financial situation so bad that, even if we qualified for the Champions League, would we still be in financial trouble? What is required to break even? (Don't say "remove the board" because we've had plenty of time and opportunity to do this.)

2) If you were running Everton and thought we're 4/5 class players away from challenging for top 3 etc, would you be willing to gamble getting a £150 million loan off the bank (Imagining the banks say Yes) if the bank also said, "You must qualify for Champions League in the next five years... otherwise, we will take over and EFC will be no more, but if you qualify in that five years then the £150 million repayment would be waived"?

3) I don't like the stick Anichebe gets all the time... I mentioned him because you'll notice that every pundit/commentator raves about him. I'm left wondering why so many of them would be wrong... I think we need to get behind him, no-one likes prolonged criticism. Ridicule is not always the answer to get the best out of a situation.

4) One thing I'm worried about is every Everton player has come out with Martinez being a 'nice guy'; he may well be but this worries me for obvious reasons.

5) Some things to look forward to next season:

- Mirallas being left on half way line during an opposition corner
- Tactical changes / substitutions before half-time if we're being overrun
- Substitutions being made promptly
- Youngsters getting a proper opportunity to express themselves - Osman being a squad player
- Either Picking up away points against Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal, Man City & Liverpool... or maybe losing but controlling/dominating the game.

6) A moan I'd like to have: People on here think they know everything re who to buy and think Footy Manager is the same as real life management; well, it isn't. I bring up Footy Manager as it's obvious most people who play this think they are a real manager. An example is when we are linked with players no-one on here has ever heard of, and these people then say who they want to buy or who we should be looking at. They mention these players who they had never heard of and who we weren't rumoured to be interested in, then cry if we don't sign one of them.

Charlie Percival     Posted 09/07/2013 at 20:09:03   Comments (11)

Leroy Fer off to Norwich?

Dutch media are suggesting Fer is going to Norwich for a transfer fee lower than what we appear to have paid for Kone.

I think it's a shame, Fer is a great player with lots of potential and at the quoted price (€5 million, that's £4.3 million) we can hardly make a loss, we will always recoup that fee even if Fer doesn't cut the mustard.

What do you guys think?
Erik Dols     Posted 09/07/2013 at 08:08:13   Comments (80)

Squad Size and using the Young 'Uns

Martinez is a thinker; not unlike Moyes, he seems to be a real student of the game... I think he will know how he wants his team to play and any manager coming in would be stupid to not see that our best 11 play good football and can be a match for any team in the Premier League. Our problem is picking up the wins against the bottom 6 or 7, and failing to turn draws into wins.

Squad size is an issue: I personally don't want to see fillers coming in on decent wages to hardly play – not because they're not needed but because they're not good enough. We called for the kids to be given a go and against Leeds away in the League Cup last season, and we all saw how that went. However, blooding in one or two this season into a team packed full of international players will bring them through. Imagine being two or three up against Crystal Palace or Hull City and 15 minutes to go on comes Hope and Junior or McAleny and Kennedy... this will help them and freshen up our team with youthful zest whilst not really risking the 3 points. I believe Martinez knows from the success of the Under-21 team last year he may just have 3 or 4 players capable of stepping up to gain some playing time.

Loaning players out again is always good for development but, when our squad is so thin, it's a risk. I'd like to see Duffy and Velllios loaned to a Championship club for a season to see how they do but our current squad doesn't allow that as we could end up paper-thin on a matchday squad with injuries and suspensions.

So, for me, assuming we get Kone in (along with Alcaraz on a free), that is a good deal. We need another striker and cover at centre-half after we sell Johnny Heitinga and with the funds bring in a centre-midfielder in Leroy Fer... again, young, hungry, eager to progress – let's hope as I believe Martinez doesn't want to change the whole squad and will try to blood a few youngsters this season – not because we're skint and can't afford transfer fees and top wages, but because these boys are good enough for our elegant club and want to prove their worthy of pulling on that royal blue shirt.

Time to step up, messers Barkley, Stones, Vellios, Kennedy, McAleny, Garbutt and Junior... show us you have what it takes.

James Wood     Posted 05/07/2013 at 14:42:02   Comments (28)

EFC Examinations Board 2013

Summer 2013 – exam time!

The following 6 questions contain references to your study of Everton FC since whenever you became a supporter. You must answer at least 3 questions, and your answers must stick to the point, as there will be marks lost for deviation and poor spelling.

You have 45 minutes to complete the exercise, answering only one question at a time. You must not use calculators, the internet, or bring books into the examination room. Anyone found talking to his/her neighbour will be immediately disqualified.

Take a deep breath, and a slug of your favourite tipple, and off you go...

Q1. David Moyes was right to leave Everton. Do you agree or disagree?

Q2. In order to progress, EFC must sell at least 1 top player every season. Who, therefore, should EFC sell this season?

Q3. If you were given £20M to spend (and assuming NO OUTGOINGS to fund this), which player(s) would you introduce for this amount? Give your reasons.

Q4. Either Roberto Martinez has been handed the best job in English football, or he has been handed a "poisoned chalice". What do you think?

Q5. "I believe Everton will finish no lower than eighth this coming season." Do you agree or disagree? Give your reasons.

Q6. "The board of EFC have done everything in their power to maintain Everton in the top tier of English football." Is there anything wrong with that statement? If so, what?

The examination is now over. Please leave the room quietly, as some may still be working... while others may still be drying their tears.

John Brennan     Posted 05/07/2013 at 13:46:35   Comments (19)

Roberto Martinez

Personally I think Roberto Martinez was the wrong man for the job and further I totally disagree with most of the players that he appears to want to sign other than perhaps Honda.

Can’t say I’m impressed with his backroom staff but all managers want to take the people they know with them when moving to a new club. Saying that there’s nothing we can do to change this and I am certainly willing to give him/them some time and the chance to prove me wrong and would certainly be far happier for this to happen rather than being able to gloat and say told you so.

On the positive side I have been impressed however by his comments to date and dealings with the media but some ToffeeWebbers even see sinister undercurrents in what he says. Also he appears to be indicating that he will give some of the younger players the chance/opportunity to shine and hopefully he may be able to rejuvenate the misfiring Jelavic.

Normally I’m as pessimistic as any Blue Nose most of the time but strangely despite my doubts and fears I am looking forward to the new season.

Rather than all this sniping and running down of the man can we not all get behind him and the club and give him the chance to prove all us doubters wrong?


Bill Griffiths     Posted 03/07/2013 at 17:20:43   Comments (71)

What if Rooney was to return?

With us being linked with every player with a pulse in recent weeks, I have trolled trough every rumour site in hope that the impossible could happen. The most intriguing and possibly the most far fetched suggestion so far I have seen centred around a possible swap deal involving Fellaini and Wayne Rooney.

But would it really be on the realms of possibility? Fellaini is obviously on the lookout for Champions League football and now that Moyes has left this club and taken over from Sir Alex, Rooney might just consider coming back here. The main stumbling block would be his wages but I find it hard to believe that our marketing department couldn't even mess up the return of the prodigal son.

I have seen many posts in the past slag Rooney off for leaving but like Jeffers and Ball before him, I felt it was necessary as we needed the money – sound familiar?

What would everybody's feeling about this be? I'll quote Kevin Keegan on this one: "I would love it, Just love it."

Is it possible?!?

Noel Early     Posted 01/07/2013 at 15:29:28   Comments (86)

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