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Moment of the season

Just watched a season review and I am wondering if your most memorable moments coincide with mine.

For me, the standout is Lukaku's response to his goal against Arsenal at home, for obvious reasons.

Second, Coleman's reaction to Oviedo's goal at Old Trafford.

Magnificent memories, do you agree?


Brian Hill     Posted 31/05/2014 at 07:12:25   Comments (52)

Title Challenge?

Usually in the close season Everton fans will reflect on the season that has just past and look forward to the coming season, usually with an element of uncertainty. Thier expectations are also usually quite realistic with most Everton fans admitting to being very optimistic on a top 4 finish, but would settle for 5th, 6th, or even 7th place, coupled with a good run in one of the cups.

But, for some reason, the expectations for the coming season have changed. Instead of mild optimism around a top 4 finish, we are a expecting it! But, guess what: we are also confident we can have good go at winning the title for the coming season, and to win one of the three cups we are now in.

Liverpool fans always talk of the coming season as 'their' title challenge, regardless of how awful their team has been... is this now how Everton fans are going to view the coming season(s) from now on?

The difference in language from Moyes to Martinez is apparent: Moyes set a target of 40 points, whereas Martinez set a target of 70 points. Moyes wouldn't even discuss the chances of a top 4 finish, whereas Martinez publically set a goal of a top 4 finish at the start of the season.

So... is it realistic to say that, for the 2014-15 season, we are going mount a serious title challenge??


Brian Baker     Posted 29/05/2014 at 09:17:35   Comments (54)

Getting shirty

I hesitate to invite comment on shirts since it could turn into another tirade about commercial nous.

However... there is a huge amount of shirt pulling/holding particularly in the box at dead ball situations. In rugby, where pulling a shirt is legitimate, they wear tight-fitting shirts that are much more difficult to grasp.

Simple question: why don't we do the same?


Peter Lee     Posted 27/05/2014 at 14:15:57   Comments (13)

End-of-Season Playoffs

Given the events of yesterday and what will be taking place over the next couple of days, I was wondering what other fans views are regarding the End-of-Season Playoffs?

I am easily old enough to remember things prior to the introduction of playoffs, when most promotion and relegation issues were decided weeks and sometimes months before the season end, meaning numerous games being played with nothing at stake other than perhaps personal pride.

The arguments against the playoffs are that it is unfair in that the highest finishing team may end up losing out to a team that finished not only below them but possibly many points behind. I think that this is fair comment but one that dilutes over time. You can counter this argument by saying that the situation is the same for all teams involved and that they are all well aware of this at the season's start.

Personally I am in favour of the playoffs as I feel it has introduced more excitement into the game and also given more hope to supporters of many more teams than was the case prior to their introduction. These days, the promotion, relegation and playoff places in all divisions tend to go right down to the final day of the season. Also, again you have the high drama of games like yesterday's.

Though on most occasions I do feel really sorry for the losing teams and their supporters, I think the playoffs have introduced something for the greater good of football and really do think they are a great improvement as to how things were. I would be interested to hear other fans views on this.

Just a thought: I was thinking perhaps that, maybe in addition to how things stand, the losing team in the playoff final played another game against either the highest of the relegated teams or maybe the team above them... or is that maybe a step too far?


Bill Griffiths     Posted 25/05/2014 at 09:50:09   Comments (45)

Goals when the ball is dead

If there is an obvious part of our game that needs improvement it is this.

I just watched the Champions League effectively saved by a 90th minute corner against a side that scored one and then defended. We will meet many such sides as our possession focused game evolves.

Last season I read many times of complaints that there were no goals scored from corners, how many from free kicks?

In the club that bred Sheedy & Hinchcliffe, we need the dead-ball magicians at work again to bring us 10 more points, and a better shot at the cups. Where was Baines's deadly dead-ball skill last season?


Thomas Lennon     Posted 25/05/2014 at 08:59:49   Comments (31)

Buy a new ground or buy new players?

There has been so much emphasis recently about needing to upgrade to a bigger ground in order to grow and develop as a football club. Conventional wisdom is that you need the extra cash from bums on seats in order to move forward.

But recent events suggest an alternative. With the advent of vastly improved TV payments, a new unexpected cash source is available.

My question is... should we use this extra money to buy a new stadium, or should we buy more quality players?

I think our priority should be to buy players. We need to catch up quickly to get into a top-four spot. If we do well, then a takeover is more likely and buying a new stadium will be part of the deal.

From what I've read, income from broadcasting is becoming more important than from season tickets. The Old Lady can rock on a bit more if we improve the team. Give her a good send-off. Rock her to pieces!
Albert Perkins     Posted 23/05/2014 at 04:38:22   Comments (292)

Why does't Everton appeal against the FFP ruling?

Manchester City overspent to get into the Champions League.

They took 6 points off Everton. If they broke the rules, they shouldn't be allowed to play in the Champions League. We have till Monday to appeal.

Why don't we? What have we got to lose?


Terry Murray     Posted 22/05/2014 at 10:17:51   Comments (35)

What might have been – James McFadden

I recently read a good article on the former Everton loanee, Jo, and I could not help but wonder what might have been for Jimmy McFadden had he played under Roberto Martinez in the current Everton team?

The man began his Everton career displaying a young eagerness to go past several men in one run before crossing or shooting at goal. In the first season he joined, I thought we had captured another Rooney at a steal, £1.25mil.

However, over time Jimmy's confidence repeatedly hit dips deeper than the Grand Canyon. I remember some of the goals he scored for us – Fulham, Blackburn and one of the greatest goals scored by any player against Charlton. Jimmy also scored the odd important goal in Europe, like the one against Metalist.

He continued in fine form for Scotland and had a very impressive goal record, one of the best Scotland has ever had.

I firmly believe that, had Jimmy played in this team with Roberto in charge, he would have flourished and become a key figure for Everton. He had more raw talent than many I have seen; however, I believe David Moyes's negative tactics and refusal to allow flair players to express themselves had a majorly detrimental effect on Jimmy's footballing career.


Sean Picton     Posted 20/05/2014 at 17:44:38   Comments (22)

The Barkley dilemma

I absolutely love Ross Barkley; I think he is a fantastic young footballer with the ability to potentially take him anywhere he wants to go in the game. He seems to have flourished under the positive, no-fear approach that Roberto Martinez has taken. And for a 19-/20-year-old midfielder, 8 goals in 38 games isn’t too bad.

However, at times he dithers on the ball and runs down blind alleys. On many occasions, he has run himself out of a shooting opportunity and I definitely think that tracking back and rolling his sleeves up are not his best attributes. I know that he is still young and must be allowed to make these mistakes to further his development and, when all said and done, it has been a productive season for him. But… would you cash in on him?

The reason I ask is because of the overall state of the squad. Lukaku, Traore and Deulofeu are thought to be returning to their parent clubs; Barry is being courted by Arsenal; Alcaraz is approaching the end of his 12-month contract; Osman, Distin and Hibbert are all comfortably over 30; Kone and Gibson are long-term injuries waiting to happen, and we have even let Vellios go!

Over the past, decade we have built our progress on selling a prized asset and reinvesting modestly (sad, I know... but true). Rooney sold to Man Utd; our squad improves. Lescott sold to Man City; our squad improves. Fellaini sold to Man Utd; our squad improves. If we were to sell Barkley to the highest bidder, would it take our squad to the next level?

Don’t get me wrong: I am not saying we SHOULD sell Barkley.... I think it would be a great statement by the club to keep an academy graduate whom we can build our entire team around. That said, I can see the positives of selling for £50+ million and buying some real quality in different areas to improve the depth of the squad. The question is: Do we sell now whilst the iron is hot?


Danny Halsall     Posted 19/05/2014 at 19:42:46   Comments (53)

No More Excuses for Everton

In the five or so years since I have been 'touched' by Everton, there has been one constant I have heard from fellow supporters and opposing fans alike: Everton are too poor to win a league title in these moneyed days.

The company I work for is based in London, so we have several English (Man Utd and Liverpool fans) that work here in the New York office and they all say the same thing "Everton are punching above their weight… Best you can hope for is an FA Cup or League Cup run… You don't have enough money to compete with the big boys week-in and week-out for a whole season…"

Well, that theory, which I never bought into, was thoroughly disproven this past weekend. I'm sure you can guess I am referring to the case of Atlético Madrid.

According to one report I read, Atlético spent about one-fourth the money on its playing squad that Barça and Real Madrid have. Further, they are over €500 million in debt, and they sold their top goalscorer and arguably best player before this season started.

But yet here we are. Atlético have proven with the right coach and system, and more importantly grit, fortitude and mental toughness, you can compete with clubs that spend much more than you. Also, I think it's inarguable that in terms of overall talent, Everton are closer to Man City than Atlético are to Real Madrid or Barça.

So, no more excuses. Play hard every week, and stay mentally strong, and anything is possible.


Clarence Yurcan     Posted 19/05/2014 at 19:49:27   Comments (17)

Keeping our stars

It's going to be a long long summer as bids are already coming for our star players.

Man City are going to bid for Baines.

Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal are all after Stones.

Any number of clubs will be after Barkley if he has a good World Cup

Man Utd are after Seamus Coleman.

Martinez will do well if he can hang on to them all and strengthen the squad.

Which of these players is the most dispensible, or is hanging on to them all crucial for next seasons title challenge and European campaign?


Brian Baker     Posted 19/05/2014 at 09:24:35   Comments (12)

Osman reveals concern over attacking tactics

I was very surprised to read that Leon Osman and the first team were unsure of the attacking tactics Martinez tried to implement when he arrived at the club.

However, Osman has revealed that the players were unsure of Martinez's tactics and footballing philosophy when he arrived on Merseyside:

"At first we thought we were too expansive and opening up left us vulnerable to being done on the counter-attack, but we quickly learned how to deal with that and it has been positive," he told the club's official website.

"It is a style of play that is possession-based and a player like me is going to prefer being on the ball than having to chase after it.

"We all embraced it from the start. We are a good bunch of lads, an open bunch that are not set in our ways by any means. We were very open to what the manager wanted to do."

It really shows how a defensive mindset was ingrained into our style of play – confirmation of our 'don't lose' mentality that held us back for so long.


Kevin Tully     Posted 18/05/2014 at 12:56:47   Comments (70)

Free transfers

Not very deep or insightful this one, but with still nearly a month until the World Cup, and a plethora of rumours and theories abounding about transfer activity despite nothing being likely to happen for a while, I thought it'd be nice to have a chance to discuss what might be happening over the summer.

In particular, I've recently discovered Transfermarkt, what I presume is a German website which effectively offers a deep database of all the footballers in the world, including their contract status. So following this link will take you to a list of out-of-contract Premier League players, and you can change the categories at the top to look around other leagues, including some potentially decent younger Championship players.

Be warned, this is intended to be a frivolous, FM-style thread where people can just share their opinions of different players, knowledge of obscure European players with potential to help Everton next season, or whatever else, so please don't be annoyed if you don't like that kind of thing.
Mike Allison     Posted 18/05/2014 at 11:41:54   Comments (0)

Jo

I went today to place a few bets on the World Cup. I believe Brazil will win it and therefore decided to back a Brazilian to be leading scorer. I took 25/1 on Fred. To me, he looks like a natural scorer and reminds me quite a bit of Tostao.

What struck me most though, was the fact that Jo was a shorter price than Fred. Now, when Jo was at Everton I defended him quite a bit and thought that our system just didn't suit him. However, I wasn't sorry to see the back of him in the end.

So, what has happened? Why has the subject of much Evertonian ridicule become a leading light with the favourites for the World Cup? What went wrong at Everton? What has gone right since? Was this a missed opportunity? I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has followed his career.
Andy Crooks     Posted 16/05/2014 at 22:01:56   Comments (6)

Fifa rule change

One thing that has got on my nerves the last few years is when a player who receives treatment on the pitch is then ordered off, while the player who caused the injury remains on the pitch.

Surely this is a disadvantage to the team whose player has to leave the pitch. I have always said the player who caused the injury should also have to leave the pitch until both players are called back on.

I have heard today that, from next season, Fifa are to implement this rule, whereby the player causing the injury WILL also leave the pitch at the same time as the injured player.

While I totally agree with this ruling, I can never understand why the injured player has to leave the pitch in the first place?
Rob Halligan     Posted 14/05/2014 at 18:42:01   Comments (34)

2013-14 Teams, Players, and Manager of the Season

A little bit of (fairly serious) fun now that the season has come to an end and we can all bask in the warm glow of Roberto’s first season with us and impatiently count down the 96 (feck, 96!) days until the big kick-off.

I’ve made an – amateurish – stab at picking team, young player, player, and gaffer of the 2013-14 season, already twiddling my thumbs on this drab and dreary first post-season day.

The first selection is for the Premier League as a whole and the second is Everton alone.

And, lastly, a little question about Manchester United’s former manager.

How have I done?

Team of the season:

David Marshall – Seamus Coleman – Vincent Kompany – Dejan Lovren – Leighton Baines – Yaya Toure - Eden Hazard – Adam Lallana – Ross Barkley – Luis Suarez – Sergio Aguero

Tim Howard – Seamus Coleman – John Stones – Sylvain Distin – Leighton Baines – James McCarthy – Gareth Barry – Bryan Oviedo – Kevin Mirallas – Ross Barkley – Romelu Lukaku

Young player – under 22 (top three in order):

Luke Shaw – Ross Barkley – Raheem Sterling

Ross Barkley – John Stones — Romelu Lukaku

Player of the Year (top three in order): Vincent Kompany – Yaya Toure – Luis Suarez

Seamus Coleman – James McCarthy – Ross Barkley

Manager of the Year (top three in order) Brendan Rodgers – Roberto Martinez – Tony Pullis

Where will David Moyes be on 1 September 2014? Aston Villa
Paul Ferry     Posted 12/05/2014 at 17:16:51   Comments (29)

Adios Apostolos (I know he's Greek but áíôßï doesn't rhyme!)

Earlier this afternoon Vellios tweeted his farewells and thanks to Evertonians but I can't find anything anywhere 'official' so is this unprofessional of him or are our club skulking over this?

Personally, I think it is a real shame he never showed his full potential with us. He seems to blame Martinez for that by later posting a photo of him on the touchline with Moyes thanking OFM for all he did for him but nor referring to Martinez at all.

He's clearly bitter towards our current manager because of this but I wonder what the real story behind his loan / not loan / early recall from loan stories were. Also, has his contract been run down or has he been sold or what?


Lee Mandaracas     Posted 10/05/2014 at 17:46:08   Comments (45)

Champions League at City's Expense

It will be interesting to see if Uefa have the will to force Manchester City to pay a £50m fine for breaching their Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

It has been suggested that should City not do as they are told and cough up, further sanctions will be imposed. Whilst forcing their Champions League squad size down to fewer players is one likely option, Uefa apparently have the authority to throw City out of the competition altogether.

Whilst I would be very surprised if that happened, Uefa may be prepared to go to battle with a club not yet perceived to be one of Europe's elite, especially as they are an English Club. In other words, they wouldn't try it on with Barcelona, Bayern, Manchester United or AC Milan, but they may think they could have a Champions League without Man City and not devalue the competition to make a point to other clubs,.

All conjecture I know, but should Man City get booted out, this would leave the tantalising thought of the 5th-placed English team replacing them in the Champions League... and we all know who that is!
Karl Masters     Posted 07/05/2014 at 18:08:40   Comments (32)

We won the league!

When you have half an hour to spare this link regarding Financial Fair Play (FFP) is very enlightening. An absolutely fascinating read:

http://www.financialfairplay.co.uk/

The FFP is like a handicap in a way but we won the league if it was down to purely FFP rules as we 'overperformed' regarding points expectency due to wages, etc.
Charlie Percival     Posted 06/05/2014 at 17:11:48   Comments (18)

Europa League next season

There has been much debate on the merits of the Europa League. Whether it is a poisoned chalice, or a way of preparing for future seasons in the more recognised, more glamorous, more profitable Uefa Champions League.

Looking back at some recent winners of the Europa League, I saw that Athletico Madrid took the trophy in 2010 and 2012, and seeing they are in the Champions League final this year, that tends to support the "preparation" argument, not the "poisoned chalice".

I, for one, am disappointed that we didn't qualify for the Champions League this season, but I am excited about the prospect of European football, in whatever shape or form. I think a season in Europa League will be better for our team at the moment, because it will give Roberto Martinez a chance to get European experience, without playing some of the continental heavywieghts.

If we had finished 4th, our first Champions League game would have been in the playoff round on 19 or 20 August. If Arsenal win the FA Cup Final, then our first game in the Europa League will be in the group stage on 18 September, a whole month extra, to prepare.

If Hull City win, of course, our first game will be in the Europa League playoff round on 21st August. So no difference. For Everton, at this time in Roberto's revolution, I think Europa League is the better option. Especially if Arsenal win the cup, because it means the first game is after the end of the transfer window and our team will be firing. Unlike the early part of this season, where we were labouring to a lot of draws before the likes of McCarthy, Barry and Lukaku joined at the beginning of September.

So my difficult conclusion is, "Come on, Arsenal!"


Andy Osborne     Posted 05/05/2014 at 05:21:57   Comments (112)

Martin Tyler - What Was His Problem?

First off, I’m glad that’s over. I wanted Everton to win, Man City or Chelsea to win the League.

When I saw the line-up, Jags back after a lengthy absence, Alcaraz in there too, us playing 3 at the back (we never do well with that formation), I thought to myself, Roberto, I think you’re a genius, you’ve done really well this season, you made us believe again, but if we lose this we’re wide open to all sorts of accusations with that selection at the back for such a big game (for Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool).

Even beforehand Sky were carping on about would Everton happily lose just to spite Liverpool. But listening to Martin Tyler who was aided and abetted by Gary Neville throughout in the jibes and snide remarks about Everton fans at the stadium and wanting to roll over to stop Liverpool being in the driving seat, if we scored how would we react, sniping at the lack of atmosphere at Goodison for such a big game, at one point Everton fans were singing and you could hear the sound of that being turned down, that was hard going, really infuriating to say the least.

I’ve always enjoyed listening to Martin Tyler especially when he was with Andy Gray no matter who they were commentating on. I rate Gary Neville as a pundit despite despising him as a player.

Gary Neville, I’d expect it, he doesn’t want a City title win for obvious reasons, but even he I thought was over the top with his insinuations throughout the game about the Goodison faithful that were present, but is Tyler old school and is against “new money” (Man City / Chelsea) winning the league, because he never struck me as a Liverpool supporter?

But Tyler’s frequent digs at the Everton fans and their perceived quietness went beyond the line, it was a disgrace in my opinion, I couldn’t imagine him being so snide about Chelsea, Spurs, Man Utd, Man City or Liverpool fans and getting away with it either.

That really annoyed me, the occasion, what was at stake, the ramifications for Man City, Chelsea and them, the whole game just made me feel uncomfortable throughout, the players can’t be faulted for effort, I saw more Everton players flying into tackles than Man City players, yet we had Tyler repeatedly being snide about our efforts.

I was actually looking forward to seeing the Blues on the box again at Goodison, but I’ll admit it, I didn’t enjoy it for many reasons.

Well, Tyler didn’t mention the game that Liverpool “threw” against Chelsea years ago to stop Man Utd passing / equalling their 18 League titles did he? So what was his problem tonight? Is it just me or has there been a ridiculously over-the-top support of Liverpool by a supposedly impartial media this season?

My renewal of Sky Sports is a decision for me later in the summer; I’m not impressed, right now I’m very angry, seething about it. Tonight makes me want to say no thanks, I’ll save my money for better things instead.

Best comment on the forum tonight said for all these pro-Liverpool / ex-liverpool players who were no doubt up in arms about The Sun and Hillsborough are now very happily taking Murdoch’s money to be one of their “Rent a Gobshite” on Murdoch’s TV channels.

Credit to Martinez and the players, pity the same can’t be said of Sky Sports tonight.


Declan Brown     Posted 03/05/2014 at 20:44:57   Comments (94)

What's it worth, Guv?

There has been huge discussion since yesterday about the club's financial health and its ability to generate cash.

Leaving aside any opinions on the deals that the club has done to have external providers manage aspects of its operations (after all, at some point, these could be negotiated anew), how much do people think the club should charge for its offerings?

  1. What is a reasonable price to pay for a shirt?
  2. What is a reason able price to pay for a pie and a pint?
  3. What is a reasonable price to pay for a programme?
  4. How about a main stand ticket, no concessions, to play say, Stoke City in a Premier League game?

The reason I ask is that one contributor on another thread suggested an average ticket price of £50, which he multiplied it by 10,000 extra seats for 20 games to get £10m in added income from a new expanded stadium, implying this was reasonable...


Peter Lee     Posted 01/05/2014 at 00:03:05   Comments (15)

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