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The Pressing Game

From what we have seen so far this season, fans seem to be worried about the high pressing game opponents have introduced to interupt our passing game. So far, so good for us; however... will it last?

Pressing high up the pitch at speed is all well and good but there is a serious flaw in this game plan: you only have to look at our first goal agaist a very decent Villa side. During that game, in the live forum, I stated that Villa's tempo will drop and we will go on to win the game... which we did. So, what's the pros and cons?

Pros:

1. High pressing allows you to get the ball high up the pitch, therefore starting attacks much more quickly.

2. Defending from the front, therfore stopping attacks before they begin.

Cons:

1. Teams need to be super-fit to achieve this. The best team at doing this in the EPL is Southampton; however, how long will it last before burnout?

2. Everyone has to be super-organised: if one player slacks, off the machine breaks down.

3. Teams playing the pressing game will have to play a high line, leaving a big ball over the top as a serious weapon for the attacking team.

So far, we haven't been caught (fingers crossed); however, we will get caught at some point — there's no doubt about that. But I believe the high pressing game is a failed system: only the very best teams in Europe can achieve this because — not only when they press, but also when they get the ball — they keep it!

What are your thoughts on the pressing game?

Sean McKenna     Posted 31/10/2013 at 08:44:39   Comments (21)

Seventies Memories

The recent passing of Mick Buckley had me thinking about other idols of mine during all my years watching the blues.

During the '70s, probably my greatest idol was Bob Latchford. I probably wasn't his because, having met him at a garden fete and getting him to pose for a photo with myself and my baby son, my son promptly puked all over his shoulder.

Thinking of Bob made me think of the greatest crosser of a ball I have ever seen, Dave Thomas, who was a terrific winger and he could hit the by-line at full speed and still deliver an inch perfect cross. I can still see him flying down the wing with his curly mop of hair and his socks rolled down round his ankles.

Funny thing was that was all he had to his game which I suppose in them days was adequate. He was an out-and-out winger and that was it. Anyway, I guess my point is that Dave is a player who deserves better recognition of his time with Everton. Even Bainsey can't deliver a cross like Dave Thomas could.

Bit of a sad postscript in that I attended a sportsman's dinner last Friday where Duncan McKenzie was appearing. Chatting to him afterwards, I asked him about Dave and he said unfortunately he's now suffering from glaucoma and it's so bad now he's no longer allowed to drive. So let's all hope things improve for Dave and wish him well for the future.

Bill Griffiths     Posted 29/10/2013 at 13:49:51   Comments (35)

Three at the back?

I've heard it from a reliable source that all of Everton's junior teams have received a directive from the Club telling them, from now on, they must start playing with three at the back.

To me it indicates that – as soon as it's viable – the first team will do the same.

Jeff Beaumont     Posted 28/10/2013 at 18:58:20   Comments (33)

Superstitions

Just a fun one: As a fan, what are your superstitions when it comes to Everton?

I've been known to not play a game of FIFA for a week if the game I'm playing is the same as the upcoming fixture so I don't jinx the result.
Trevor Thompson     Posted 28/10/2013 at 18:15:41   Comments (24)

Kenwright - Thank You

After all these years since MLS started, I've suffered because my MetroStars/Red Bull has generally sucked. Now, here in 2013 we've finally lifted our first silverware; the Supporters Shield.

We've had talent for the couple three years or so, but something was always missing. But what was missing came to us just under 2 years ago; Tim Cahill, the difference-maker.

This:

"On the field, Henry may be the captain but it's clear to see Cahill has become the team's unquestioned leader. Every time a Red Bulls player scored, Cahill was the first man waiting to congratulate the goal scorer. It's not to say that Henry isn't a leader, but he prefers to display that side of his game in his actions. Cahill is the vocal, outgoing person whom every contending locker room needs. When the Australian midfielder was subbed out in the 87th minute, the fans at the sold-out Red Bull Arena rose to their feet and chanted, 'MVP, MVP, MVP.'"

Fucking A they did and rightly.

Doesn't matter the sport, all supporters recognize THAT fellow who affects his mates. For we Red Bull supporters, Cahill was that fellow.

So, Kenwright, from the same parallel universe that saw Lex Luthor as a good man, thank you, THANK YOU, for selling Cahill's contract to my Red Bull.
James Flynn     Posted 28/10/2013 at 14:26:14   Comments (21)

Am I the only one?

There is a creepy feeling going around that most Everton fans are now in favour of letting Leighton Baines go in January instead of signing him up to a new contract.

Throughout my time as an Everton supporter I have wanted us to keep our absolute best players, and there have not been many, but Baines is in that category.

It seems to me that Kenwright is getting away with murder yet again in the case of Baines, because he is responsible for signing our best players on long term contracts.

Right now both Barkley and Baines should have been handed new long term contracts, but shockingly that has not happened.

After Fellaini left I was waiting to hear Martinez say that he would tie up our most priced assets on long term contracts to ensure the future of Everton.

It now seems to be all about selling, how much can we get to reinvest?

There is a clear policy change after Moyes left, every player now has his price, which is in contrast to what Moyes tried to do.

Martinez is happy to do whatever Kenwright wants, only the big difference between Martinez and Moyes seems to be that Moyes was trying to build the club with long term contracts to our best performers.

Already Martinez has gone back on his word to "reward his loyalty", which I can not accept from a top 6 manager.

To me it seems that Martinez have not left Wigan completely mentally, (and Kenwright is milking that for all it`s worth) and given the over priced transfers we paid for Kone and Mccharthy, I find it troubling that Baines has not been offered a new contract yet.

If the aim was to dismantle the good squad Moyes left us with, in selling Fellaini, Baines and Barkley, that Kenwright is certainly not far from it!

I find Martinez's sudden change in tone regarding Baines to be scary, as clearly Kenwright is pulling the strings to get his way, and that is to sell as many high priced assets as possible to pay off the debt he helped put into place.

Kenwright`s acting/director skills is finally being put into action unhindred.

Am I the only one who is upset by this?
Jimmy Sørheim     Posted 28/10/2013 at 14:27:32   Comments (109)

FA — 150th Anniversary

When we met Villa on Saturday, besides it being the 150th Anniversary of the Football Association, it was also between two of the original clubs formed all those years ago.

Correctly labelled as the oldest fixture in the Premier League! Out of the original 12 there is only Everon and Aston Vill, plus Stoke & WBA still in the top flight of English football.

My point is: What celebration would we have had, if it had been between Chelsea v Arsenal? Or Man Utd v Liverpool?

The very biased football media would have made sure it got better publicity than what was on offer on Saturday.

Norman Merrill     Posted 28/10/2013 at 14:33:51   Comments (2)

A short, but important question...

As a someone who tries to study maths, a desire to exactly define everything slowly appeared in my mind. Sometimes, that can be very unpleasant, but that "condition" led me to ask you, my fellow Toffemen, one particular question...

So, I'm curious, when a football club stops being that exact football club (aside from when it's defunct) and becomes another football club? As much as I wanted, I can't make a theory about that, even in my own language.

In advance, thank you very much for your efforts.


Ognjen Mojovic     Posted 28/10/2013 at 12:59:15   Comments (35)

A few questions from the new Blue

Great win for the Blues! Though I am still new to everything Everton, I do get the feeling that the fixtures with Aston Villa have a long history and represent a great rivalry, and therefore a great victory! A few questions for you fellow Blues.

1. How can we hold on to Lukaku once the season ends? I understand we have him on loan, and that he goes back to Chelsea after the season ends, but is there something we can do to hold on to him? Is it just a matter of offering Chelsea a ton of money? I'm still trying to figure out how these things work. I am already dreading the prospect of seeing "Big Rom" on the other side of the pitch next season. Mourinho is an idiot for letting Lukaku go, seeing as how Torres just got his first PL goal of the season and what does Rom have now? Five? How do we keep Rom?

2. I am still new to the Transfer Window process. As far as I can tell, Man Utd can have Fellaini because I don't really see that he has done anything since they signed him away from Everton. (I bet now he wishes he had stayed here.) I am already seeing articles about how Baines is supposedly going to be signed away from us in January. Again, is this all just a matter of money? Is this the case of the rich clubs just plucking the players they want from the clubs without a ton of money? How can we keep Baines? He has quickly became one of my favorites and it makes me ill to think of him wearing red later in the season.

3. Has Tim Howard always given the fans heart attacks during most of the matches? Even though he is the Team USA #1 GK, I really have not watched him all that much until I started following Everton. While he is undoubtedly a great keeper, he nearly gives me 2-3 small heart attacks with his play on most weeks. I have started screaming at the TV when he tries to venture way out of his goal to break up a play. I think we have great defenders, so let them do their job Tim! And while you're at it, cut that beard off!

4. I have not watched PL football before this season, so I really know very little about anything... but... are we really missing David Moyes? They show most all of the Man Utd matches on TV here in the USA and he seems to be totally lost as manager. I am pretty sure he has started completely different lineups for each match and I can't see what kind of identity he wants the team to have. Was he like that at Everton? To my new eyes, if given a choice between Martinez and Moyes as manager, I would think most fans and players would go with Martinez.

A final note... to all my fellow Blues here in the USA: We need to figure out how to get NBC to show more of the Everton matches on TV! I am tired of having to watch them on the computer because the Man Utd, Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, matches are on TV! I think Crystal Palace has had more matches on TV here than Everton! We need more Everton on the TV!!

Have a great week Blues! Go Everton!

Mark Pakulak     Posted 27/10/2013 at 23:23:54   Comments (13)

Halloween XI

As we are approaching the witching season, and as the nights draw in, I'd like suggestions for a Halloween Eleven, made up of Everton players past and present who could win a game not so much through passing and control but instead through the ability to put the fear of God into their opponents.

Personally I used to get the fear whenever I saw David Burrows name on the team sheet, I'm not sure our opponents felt the same however as he was more or less guaranteed two yellow cards in every game. Duncan was famous for being a man whose home was quite literally his castle, but are there any other names that would find a place in an unholy Halloween eleven?

Your suggestions please...
Gavin McGarvey     Posted 26/10/2013 at 07:33:38   Comments (0)

Everton Archive Film

In case anyone hasn't seen these, I thought I'd let you know of some interesting stuff I found on the ITN Archive film site.

Some interesting stuff there. From 1962-63 season there is the famous Alex Young goal in the 1-0 win over Tottenham at Goodison in April 1963. Sadly the goal bit is a bit dark but there are some glimpses of Roy Vernon too. Look out for the absolutely packed Street End which in those days was far bigger in terms of bodies on the terrace. Also see us giving up a 2-0 lead at Fulham (to draw 2-2) and some bits from the Anfield derby.

Some bits from outside Wembley before the 1968 FA Cup Final that some may recognise the faces. Great bits from the 6th round win at Old Trafford in the 6th Round – look out for the absolute hammer punch on Johnny Morrisey that he just sits there after.being smacked – how did the Man Utd player not got sent off? And a superb example to younger viewers of Kendall's ball-winning skills on George Best.

Some 1970 footage showing 3 of our goals in the 5-0 pasting of Chelsea on a rain sodden day at Goodison and a funny clip of Alan Ball's hearing at a hotel in London – on the B&W clip, what is Harry Catterick doing with that newspaper?

Good memories from a distant era, in case you ain't seen them.

Chris Hockenhull     Posted 22/10/2013 at 11:40:16   Comments (7)

Do we need a new Goalie?

Like most Everton fans (and, I suspect, players), I'm thoroughly enjoying our refreshing new style of play under Robert Martinez.

However, we do seem to be conceding "soft" goals! Although Tim Howard is an excellent shot stopper, he always looks uncomfortable at corners, and he frequently stays on his line when I think he should be out there "commanding his goal area"e;.

We have International class defenders but but they seem to be getting the jitters because of this and it's costing us dearly.

For this reason I think a replacement goalie should be top of our transfer list! Does anyone out there agree with me?


Tom Martin     Posted 21/10/2013 at 19:58:51   Comments (65)

Martinez on transfer day, youth, finances and Tim Howard

Roberto Martinez is interviewed by Roger Bennett in this month’s issue of ESPN The Magazine, the hottest sports publication in the US at the moment. Here’s the interview, somewhat edited for space:

RB: What was transfer deadline day like for you?

RM: Deadline day culminates in a 35-minute period in which the contracts are signed, but it is the product of three weeks of hard work that precedes it. We lost two players, and that allowed us to invest heavily in the squad. Lukaku’s arrival was a big step forward.

RB: How do you ensure that young players bring fearlessness as opposed to inexperience?

RM: Getting the balance right is a critical task. Eleven young players would be a disaster. 11 experienced players would lack legs and burn out mid-season. Young players are among our greatest assets, and we have a golden generation here with the likes of Barkley and Stones, who will be an England international. Their bravery must be strengthened by the presence of players like Howard, Jagielka and Distin.

RB: Howard is 34. How long does he have left in his career arc?

RM: Tim has impressed me a lot – not just in his performances but in his demeanor and leadership in the dressing room. He is physically and mentally in a good moment. I don’t see the end of Tim Howard at all.

RB: Is there a glass ceiling on what your team can realistically achieve [because you’re not backed by a billionaire]?

RM: To compete, we have to develop a style that is more creative and flexible and then enable our fans’ passion and our club’s history to motivate us to grab hold of that top-four place that many would say is impossible on purely financial reasons.

RB: What kind of creativity will enable you to overtake the league’s top teams?

RM: Everton have always been competitive and hard to beat. Now we want to break our opponents down with a real attacking threat. A big part of our work is to increase the number of passes by 100 a game. We also have to be brave by investing in our younger players to build a squad that is greater than its market value. If you add in the players on loan, we can compensate for our lack of finances.

RB: Your team was the EPL’s last unbeaten club. Does that matter?

RM: You care about not losing, but you don’t win trophies in October. They are won in May.


Mike Gaynes     Posted 21/10/2013 at 16:17:03   Comments (12)

Passing it to death

After watching all of the Premier League highlights, it's obvious that most, if not all of the teams involved seem to be playing the 'passing' game. This has become very boring and annoying, as well as frustrating, especially to fans who want to see more attacking play, and of course goals.

Wing play is also being neglected when players like Lukaku cry out for inviting crosses they can get their heads to are lacking. Unfortunately, this method, which only the Spanish are good at, is in danger of alienating real football fans who want old the 'blood and thunder' play back in the game.

Peter Cummings     Posted 21/10/2013 at    Comments (37)

Still boxing the corner flag

Many may already have seen Everton alumnus Tim Cahill scoring the fastest goal in the history of the MLS – eight seconds – and not just fast but brilliant in its execution. If not here it is.



Peter Fearon     Posted 21/10/2013 at 14:41:00   Comments (14)

Fear factor – in transition

It has been striking, ever since I first started watching in the 70s, that teams turn up at certain grounds expecting to be beaten. Back then, it was Anfield – it was frustrating when cracks began to show and they were there for the taking that teams wouldn't take the chance; a point or even a narrow defeat was okay. The change happened slowly as the team/manager changed.

The present transition is at Old Trafford. This is apparently a title-winning team turned into a mid-league team over one summer! If Ferguson was still there, odds are that Manchester United would still be top 4 so the fear factor must be partly down to (1) a manager turning up at Old Trafford expecting to be out-thought by Ferguson; (2) Man Utd players 'fearing' the reaction of Ferguson if they don't win; and (3) opposition players turning up not expecting to win and not fearing the consequences of a defeat. The result becomes self-fulfilling.

Also striking was the expectation of a win – certain players over the years could not live with defeat and went round physically defending their 'turf'. Such players only seem to turn up in successful teams (Reid, Souness, Keane). The same attitude was to be found in the manager, the staff, and the crowd... Which came first? — the arrogance or the win?

Our ex manager has no such attitude. His teams have yet to show anything but respect for other teams; probably too much respect. Man Utd seem to be reflecting that attitude – showing us that the manager is the primary source of the attitude I am thinking about. It is going to be very interesting if he can learn to develop that attitude; he can now buy better players but needs to believe. Success is a state of mind.

It therefore holds that success can come if you have the right manager. It won't happen overnight as belief is hard won, especially when your team have half the budget of other teams. Arguably, Martinez has more in common with Ferguson than Moyes does – he believes in winning rather than caution. I think he already has the attitude that the opposition should worry about us rather that the other way round; I don't think Moyes will ever have that.

Once our players start to believe, the opposition starts to worry and we all start to believe we just might be on a five-year upturn.

Thomas Lennon     Posted 21/10/2013 at 08:27:42   Comments (43)

Meaningless phrases

There is a lot to like about our start to the season. As someone who sees few live games, I have a sure fire way of judging this. It is the attitude of neutrals.

During the Moyes era, I was frustrated at mates who never saw Everton play but had an utterly entrenched view that Moyes was a great manager over-achieving against the odds. That might or not be true but it became almost a fact.

Now, the view I get from the same people is one of surprise that RM is doing well and that Moyes is doing badly. Things become accepted truths when they really aren't anything other than cliches.

Here are two examples:

Firstly, "The opposition can't score when you have possession". In my view, a totally meaningless phrase that only makes sense if you intend limiting their possession to about five minutes per game.

Secondly, "It's the sign of a good team who can win when playing badly." You know what... Yeovil have done it this season,

Playing badly and winning is the sign of a lucky team. When Man City play badly and win, they often still play better than the opposition.

We have a team that can play well and win. When we play badly it is not churlish to criticise. RM has raised expectations and will succeed.

Andy Crooks     Posted 21/10/2013 at 01:52:08   Comments (14)

Par score

Here is our final points tally and league position for the past 10 seasons:

39 (17th)
61 (4th)
50 (11th)
58 (6th)
65 (5th)
63 (5th)
61 (8th)
54 (7th)
56 (7th)
63 (6th)

What is your minimum acceptable points return for Martinez's first season in charge?

Kevin Tully     Posted 17/10/2013 at 14:05:35   Comments (22)

Plenty of room for optimism

I have been a little surprised at some of the comments aimed at the team / Martinez in the aftermath of the Man City defeat last week. We were always going to be under the cosh there considering they had come in to it on the back of two defeats and that, coupled with a shocking refereeing performance and a few underperforming players in our side (particularly Mirallas and Osman), made it very difficult for us. Although the result was disappointing, I did feel quite confident for the season ahead walking away from the Etihad.

Martinez for me, has brought a new buzz and vibe to the club. Granted, it wasn't the best performance against Man City but there were reasons for that. We now have young and exciting players in the side who will trouble teams with their pace. If we can get Mirallas firing, then a front three of him, Barkley and Lukaku is potentially very potent.

The performance of James McCarthy also filled me with plenty of hope. I thought he was excellent, tenacious around the pitch and the type of player I was confident we had signed. Paired with Barry in the middle, they will, I believe, be an excellent combination this season.

In all the games so far this season, I have seen evidence that the approach Martinez has brought in is going to be an exciting and I think successful one. Of course, we are not going to win every game and there will be poor performances, but I for one feel we are in more than capable hands for this next era.

COYB

Matthew Roache     Posted 16/10/2013 at 10:39:02   Comments (20)

Four measures to rate Martinez...

After seeing the latest poll in the Liverpool Echo, I felt a need to try and find some real views on how our new manager has been doing. I have four different points in which I would l would like feedback on.

1. Pre-season: Do the players seem fit under Roberto Martinez, and do you think the change in our backroom staff have affected the players' fitness?

2. Transfers: With regard to permanent transfers, how well has Martinez done in his first transfer window?

3. Youth policy: How do you think he has done overall in helping our youngsters towards the first team?

4. League points: As a manager, his job is to get as many points as possible. How do you think Martinez has done in getting maximum points?

Thank you.

JImmy Sørheim     Posted 15/10/2013 at 08:37:29   Comments (70)

Born not Manufactured

It is retro day against Hull and I know an Evertonian is born not manufactured. Some Evertonians are lucky to be born under the shadow of Goodison Park and have only two choices of teams to follow: the Mighty Everton or Tranmere Rovers... but, for others that have no affiliation with the area, here is my logic of how I chose Everton — or how Everton chose me.

It was the 1982-83 season when I choose / fell in love with Everton. This was at a time when we were one of the big 5, Chelsea were not in the top division, Man City were an average side and Man Utd had not won the League in years.

All my friends were either Man Utd or Liverpool fans and all were Celtic fans coming from Ireland. I had five older brothers, two were into soccer, one a Man Utd fan and the other a Spurs fan. I was just graduating from reading the Beano to buying Shoot magazine and collecting Panini stickers (showing the great history of Everton). I had a decision of which team to support (I had one friend who supported both Man Utd and Liverpool).

Life was much simpler back then, we played with jumpers for goalposts, fly goalies, last goal wins no matter what the score was. At the tender age of 9, this was probably the first life-changing decision I had to make. I wanted to be different to all my friends, not to be a sheep and follow the crowd.

I had watched a few games that season, I wanted a team with an Irish connection. Arsenal had Liam Brady a couple of years before that; Everton had Kevin Sheedy. It was Ipswich away on TV and Everton won 2-0. Both scorers on the day were named Kevin — Sheedy and Richardson (the same as me). This was swaying me towards them. It was not until the next week when won 5-0 vs Luton (Heath 2,  Bailey, Curran,  Sheedy) that I was convinced.

30 years later, I finally have made one of my two Evertonian dreams come true, my chance to see the Mighty Blues in the flesh. (Sadly, I was never in the running to play for them as all young kids dream to do.)

I would be interested to hear about how Everton came into your life?

Kevin Thompson     Posted 08/10/2013 at 07:31:05   Comments (39)

Time's up, Leon?

Leon Osman, love him or hate him, the guy's a Blue: always puts a shift in, never steps out of line, and (from what we can gather) a model pro. But is his time up?

Leon gets a lot of stick, some justified, some not. I have always thought Leon was a decent we player but always had the belief that someone else could do a better job. After Saturday's game, I decided to watch the game again that evening, and what stuck out most was Osman... I don't think I can recall an instance where he made a tackle!!

James McCarthy was like a one-man midfield unit, full of energy and determination, while his midfield partner was strolling round the pitch without a care in the world. To be honest, I was raging. I mean, come on... away to the best team in the league... at the very least, you put a shift in? I felt sorry for McCarthy.

For me, Leon's time is up — not as a footballer... but as an Everton footballer. Leon reminds me of the Chill situation: we should've let Cahill go earlier than we did, I'm just hoping Roberto Martinez can see all the signs of a declining footballer.

I'll always hold Leon as an Evertonian, great on his day... but all-in-all an average talent. Thank you, Leon, for some good memories... but your taxi awaits.

Sean McKenna     Posted 07/10/2013 at 23:15:13   Comments (74)

Optimum use

I'm sure most of us agree that Lukaku has immense talent and should bag us a hatful of goals. However, having watched his first two starts, his second-half performance in both games was nowhere near what he produced in the first half.

If my memory serves me right, I think that WBA mainly used him as a second half sub and still he provided them with 17 goals.

My question is, should we do something similar (say play him for 60 mins) and if so do we play him from the start or bring him on later when hopefully defenders are starting to tire?
Jeff Beaumont     Posted 07/10/2013 at 13:57:56   Comments (46)

Marks out of 10

Why do we as fans pay hundreds of pounds a season but never find out what the Official Observer marks the referees score out of 10?

Why don\'t Sky and the other Companies demand to know what scores these referees are being marked by their friends, ie other refs?

Why don\'t we even get to know who the official observers are?

The answer is that the FA and League rule like a dictatorship and are above any kind of scrutiny. It\'s time for the clubs, the sponsors and the fans to demand more information.

Joe Bibb     Posted 06/10/2013 at    Comments (21)

Fundamentals vs Fundamentalists

The dust has settled and we have time to reflect on the City game. What I find interesting is that not many complained about tactics or playing style. Playing City in their backyard, and trying to beat them at their own game, was always suicidal (idealistic?). So why shouldn't we go to this particular game with a strategy that we know works!! Pragmatic yes, but fuck me, pigheaded adherence to a philosophy is also sometimes termed 'fundamentalist'....

What is wrong with playing long ball target man (and boy do we have one in Lukaku) with 5 at the back (dogs of war), when faced with Silva, Negredo, Aguero and Co, and getting a result (at least preserve the unbeaten tag)?

For the record, I'm only putting this viewpoint to start a healthy debate, I am fully behind Bobby's way.

Nigel Gregson     Posted 06/10/2013 at 13:11:09   Comments (30)

If Lukaku leaves, it will be for love

In a great column by the Guardian's David Hytner about the dynamic between Jose Mourinho and Romelu Lukaku, there is what appears to be some very bad news for Everton fans hoping Lukaku will stay.

After detailing Mourinho's discomfiture and Lukaku's delight at the current situation, Hytner mentions a Belgian TV documentary done on Lukaku four years ago, in which the then-teenager professes a lifelong dream... to play for Chelsea.

I found the clip on YouTube. Lukaku is visiting Stamford Bridge, and is almost in tears with the fervor of his desire to play there. In fact, he says he will cry for the only time in his adult life when he takes the pitch.

Here's the YouTube clip, with subtitles:

Even in the unlikely event we can afford to buy him out, it doesn't seem likely he could stay -- Lukaku's heart and soul appear to truly be with Chelsea.

I'm always an optimist, but in this case I'll be watching Lukaku this season with the conviction that it will be my only chance to see him in the correct shade of blue.

Mike Gaynes     Posted 05/10/2013 at 03:48:41   Comments (23)

Is it too soon to mention?

A number of years ago, we had a summer of optimism. Evertonians talked of striking bets at decent odds on Everton qualifying for the Champion's League. A couple of signings were needed to make it a possibility. Of course, the signings never happened and the usual joy-killing Moyes start had me posting that I'd settle for 40 points.

Is this year different? Well, I think so. Many Evertonians talked of a season of transition. Frankly, I believed that a new manager should bring in enough impetus to drive us forward. I was disappointed at our start and willing to criticise Roberto.

What I have seen has changed that. The transition has taken a few games. We look capable of beating any team and can only get better.

Our weakened team should have beaten Fulham, so, when injuries strike, our weakened team will pick up points and grind out results.

We have beaten Chelsea and we play without the fear that prevented us from winning at Old Trafford and Anfield. We will lose games we expect to win but we can and will expect to win every game.

I believe Manchester\ United are in decline. I believe we are more settled than Spurs. I think that, over a season, Manchester City Chelsea and Arsenal might edge us. That leaves us and Liverpool... Roberto or Brendan Rodgers? I'll have Roberto any time. This can be our year.

It's not too soon to mention Champions League. I am a cautious, superstitious curmudgeon, but I have a feeling, a good feeling.

Andy Crooks     Posted 02/10/2013 at 19:24:00   Comments (40)

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