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Talking Points

April 2015 Archive   |   Submit a topic

They are all sorry, but what for?

It’s becoming nauseating, the "We listened to the fans, we are sorry."

Sorry for what exactly?

Sorry for subversive secrecy?
Sorry for lying to fellow Premier League members?
Sorry for damaging fellow PL members' business models?
Sorry for the likes of Everton, possibly making our new stadium unviable?
Sorry for the loss of thousands of jobs and huge regeneration if that was lost?
Sorry for breaching the trust of the other 14 clubs?
Sorry for promoting anti-competitive practices?
Sorry for the absence of fairness to clubs outside this elitist group?
Sorry for the lack of consideration or compassion for honest rivals?
Sorry for the damaging loss of revenues that their fellow Premier League members would suffer, possibly causing bankruptcy or financial crises?

Where’s the contrition?

Where’s the willingness to put things right by proposing and backing an independent regulator to arrest this anti-competitive, self-serving cartel and to police fairness in football?

Just a few questions that the national media and the majority of journalists don’t seem to be asking for some reason.

Tony  Everan     Posted 22/04/2021 at

A great name for a young footballer from Scotland!

I noticed the other day that Wealdstone of the National League had a debut scoring midfielder on loan from Watford, with the classy name of Sonny Blu Lo-Everton!
Trevor Powell     Posted 20/04/2021 at

What would you do?

Had our new ground been up and running it's not impossible that Everton would have been invited into this "Super" League. I have been thinking quite a bit about what my own reaction would have been.

My first response would have been the same as most reds; total outrage. But then what?

Say it went ahead, could any of us simply write off what has been a major part of our lives?

I suppose I would try to protest from within but here's the decision:Everton v Real Madrid in the SL at our new stadium. Do you go?
Andy Crooks     Posted 20/04/2021 at

A bit of fun...

Based on the current set of players, assuming they’re all fit, Who would be your best starting XI and why? What formation and, assuming they all stay fit, where would that starting XI finish in the Premier League?

I’d go for, in a 4-3-3 when attacking but transitioning into a 4-4-2 when defending...

Coleman, Godfrey, Holgate, Digne.
Davies - in the holding midfield role
Allan, Doucouré
James, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.

Godfrey and Holgate together would mean we don’t have to defend deep, Allan and Doucouré would hunt for the ball and look to turn over possession in the opposition half.

Richarlison would fall back to left midfield when we are defending to make 4 midfielders. James would do whatever James wants to do!!!!

I reckon this starting XI, if they all stayed fit, would be on par with Man Utd and Chelsea, battling it out for 3rd. Not good enough for Man City's or Liverpool’s first XI, but better than Leicester, Spurs and Arsenal.

Over to you...

Kevin Prytherch     Posted 17/04/2021 at

Brands’s biggest mistake?

Over the years, Everton have bought some really bad players, some really below-average players and some, quite frankly, awful players. Players such as Alex Nyarko, Brett Angell, Simon Davies, Per Krøldrup, OumarNiasse etc...

Now we have Marcel Brands as Director of Football and, up to now, I think he’s been rather hit and miss. He’s brought in the likes of Digne, Godfrey, Richarlison, James, Allan, Doucouré who, on the whole, have been excellent purchases, and have improved the squad.

On the other hand, he’s recruited Sidibé, Bernard, King, and Delph, who have been poor to useless. Now I don’t want to go into every transfer as I think he’s got about a 50% success rate... which isn’t great considering his reputation and the money he’s on.

The worst purchase, in my opinion, has to be Alex Iwobi. I mean, my god what was he thinking???

That’s £27M (rising to £32M in add-ons) for a player of limited skill and even less heart. The Arsenal must have been dumbfounded when our esteemed Director of Football offered that type of money. Where was our accountant/owner? Is he so free and easy with his money that he sanctioned this travesty? This scandal of epic proportions? I mean, Iwobi is useless and anyone with two eyes and a brain can see that.

So, Mr Brands, Iwobi has been your worst decision to date. Can anyone name a more expensive and horrible flop than Iwobi?
Colin Glassar     Posted 15/04/2021 at

Everton in the FA Youth Cup

I am working on a site which takes Everton through the years from the first FA Youth Cup competition back in 1952-53. I am still adding details including match reports, teamsheets etc.

The main site is but from there you can go to pages with all match results and also pages showing a season-by-season review.

Hope it's interesting and useful, I am always on the lookout for additional info, there are two bits I am missing - The first is our scorers in 1958-59 when we beat Leeds United 3-0 in the 1st Round and also the date of the 4th Round tie against Stoke City back on 1967-68.

Any comments or additional info you think would be useful please let me know. I have completed up to 1988-89 but am adding details each week.
Andy Weir     Posted 11/04/2021 at

Right Side of the Track

As we close in on the end of the 2020-2021 season thoughts inevitably move towards what the Blues need to do in the transfer market to strengthen the squad for 2021-2022. A dynamic midfielder who can move the ball quickly, has pace and can score plus a backup striker are needed, (Forward Brian Brobbey at Ajax really should have been on Brands's radar. Now signed a pre contract with RB Leipzig for 5.4 million euros, a bargain). But before any of the above the most glaring thing to fix is the right side of the team both in defence and on the wing.

First the right back spot. As good as he has been, and he can still put in some good performances, Seamus has been on the decline since his leg break a few years ago. As age catches up with him, he is becoming no more than a squad player going forward. Mason Holgate has done a reasonable job at right back this season, but in reality his best position is as a ball playing Centre Back. As for Jonjoe Kenny I would think those blues who claimed he was a revelation at Schalke (have my suspicions they never actually watched him while he was at Schalke), have finally had their eyes opened this season. His loan spell at Celtic is not going great either. Meanwhile any full backs coming through on the youth side are all left sided.

Neils Nkonkou we have all seen in a few flashes this season. Thierry Small, at just 16, has great potential but has so much to learn, especially on the defensive side of the game, which is his main job. Knowing our underperforming academy, we will probably ruin his potential but that’s another story. Right back Kyle John will make a living in the game but just not with the blues. A new right back is an urgent priority for the summer. Max Aarons at Norwich and Tariq Lamptey at Brighton are the two names which seem to be on the lips of most supporters. Both are good defenders especially Lamptey who is excellent going forward as a wing back. But there are other options who can be acquired for less than Aarons or Lamptey and are in my opinion better players.

One such player is Zeki Celik right back for Turkey and a mainstay for Lille since he joined them three seasons ago. Celik turned 24 in February so has his best years ahead of him, a good solid defender who can also get forward. All French clubs have suffered badly during covid plus a disastrous collapsed tv deal added extra financial problems to League 1 teams. Lille were rumoured to have financial problems in the summer and were looking to off load players. Celik would be an excellent acquisition by the blues and would come at a reasonable price. Lille are on course to at least reach the Champions League and are in with a great shout to actually be crowned champions which may have a bearing on if Celik would want to move. But I would think for the right price he could be got.

Brandon Soppy at Rennes is at 19 a right back with great potential who is very good at going forward and a player I think ranks as good as Lamptey in the wing back stakes. Finally, at West Hams hunting ground, Slavia Prague, there is Danish international Alexander Bah, a lightning quick right back / wing back with a great eye for goal. I would put him above all the other options mentioned above and only still only23.

Further up on the right side Alex Iwobi is no answer, while James Rodrigues can play killer passes but is not exactly Speedy Gonzales, and is probably better utilised in a more central role. Richarlison can play out on the right but his best position is on the left or as a central striker. In reality a good right winger has been needed for a number of seasons and needs to be addressed as a priority. It is worrying that we have been linked with the declining and constantly injured Douglas Costa. Out at Ajax the young Brazilian Antony, just 21, has been excellent when I have watched Ajax this season and would certainly walk into our team on the right wing. As he is at Ajax hopefully, he is on Brand’s radar (note on Brobbey above !!).

Jeremy Doku at Rennes just 18 is another player with great potential. Still a bit raw but again he would walk into our team on the right wing and now a full Belgian international. Finally 21 year old Silas Wamangituka at Stuttgart would be my first choice for this position, a player who can also play down the middle. He is now out with an ACL so more a player to keep tabs on, once he hopefully comes back as good as he was before his injury. A note here is to keep eyes on 18 year old Raffa Garcia in our academy. A very quick skilful player from the bits I have seen of him. He was poached from Fulham. He has a lot to learn, but let’s hope Unsy and co don’t ruin what maybe a talent.

So, whatever happens in the Summer the right side of the team is the first priority to fix. I just hope it is done with young talent and not past their best declining players, which we seem to be constantly linked with since the arrival of Carlo.

Martin O'Connor     Posted 06/04/2021 at

What's it like to play at Goodison?

I remember as a kid running onto the pitch after Everton had clinched the title against West Brom. What a feeling! It was a dream. I couldn’t believe it. My feet were standing on the turf of Goodison Park. For those few moments under the bright floodlights, I was in fantasy land.

It didn’t last long. I remember being one of hundreds of kids chased off by burly policemen. But not before I picked up one piece of precious turf and put it into a used crisp bag to take home.

Once home, this magic slither of mud and grass went into my Dad’s tomato plant pot. True to form, it was magic. Only green tomatoes grew.

A few years ago, I had the chance to play at Goodison Park in a charity match. You had to pay for the privilege, of course, but who cared? This was Goodison and I was about to live the dream. To actually play on the same pitch as some of the greats. Dean, Lawton, Ball, Harvey, Kendall, Best, Greaves, Charlton, Pele, Eusebio, Henri... and now me! This was also the opportunity to roam the inner sanctum, to sit where those greats may have sat, to run out of the tunnel and imagine Z-Cars playing, Toffee Ladies et al.

This was going to be one of the best days of my life. But alas, and I say again, alas, an injury picked up in a five-a-side game kept me from realising the dream. Gutted to the core and my dream had gone forever.

So, when in the recent article by Alasdair Jones, 'Memories of an Old lady', Tony Abrahams casually remarked he played there a few times, I couldn’t help feeling but a tinge of envy. I think even Mike Gaynes has been on the pitch and taken a penalty! I’m sure there are more on this site who have had that special golden experience of playing or kicking a ball at Goodison.

So Tony, and the rest of you guys, tell the other 99.9% of us what it was like. Recount your experiences to us who have been like kids with faces pressed to the sweet shop window all our lives.

For those lucky few who did get into the sweet shop, how did you feel walking up the tunnel? Did your mind capture the spine-chilling entrance from past teams? Were the changing rooms luxurious? (Please say Yes.) Did anything surprise you? Did anything disappoint you? (Please say No!)

Paint the picture, fellas, and describe the dream in beautiful rose-coloured strokes!

John Burns     Posted 01/04/2021 at

Grumpy Old Men

As the years have passed, I have noticed more and more little things niggle away at me; I feel I am turning into my parents.

Back in my youth, I would get, "waste of money, football is not like it was in my day, they would put in a shift, there was none of this kissing or going down and doing several rolls on the floor, well maybe if a Norman Hunter tackle caught you."

Players were paid bonuses for wins and gate receipts. Even back then, I never complained about the dodgy hot-dog stands outside the ground, the Bovril, tea, or packet of crisps option in the ground.

Even being in a good spot at Goodison by 2pm, only to lose it by 2:50 as Richard Osman arrives from the pub, and decides the spot right in front of you is the best speck... Then waiting for your moment, for a sway in the crowd, to seize your moment, and nip in front of him.

Those things caused just a little sigh and tut on your misfortunes, but you accepted it, with the only talking point being the ref.

Now, though, I get wound up with simple things: players trudging off slowly after being subbed, shaking everyone’s hand, waving to the crowd, before finally leaving the pitch.

A corner being taken outside the quadrant, with his own player a foot away, holding it up in the corner, constant shirt-pulling and holding players down in the penalty area.

Some guy next to you in the seat, taking part of your seat up as well... even a bit of sun in your eyeline is more annoying than it used to be.

In hindsight, it has gone full circle, I have become my parents, and my kids have become a younger me.

Brian Wilkinson     Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:08:13

Behind Closed Doors

I recently had a request from the Lowry Theatre who are planning a strategy for re-opening when the social distancing rules are relaxed. It included questions such as when I would be prepared to return to the theatre, what arrangements would I be happy with (eg, reduced capacity, spacing between seats etc).

Would it be worth ToffeeWeb / Everton doing something similar, I wonder? I have missed a handful of home matches in the last 15 years or so but am struggling to come to a decision about when I'd be prepared to return to attending matches. Would I be happy, for instance, returning to matches at the start of the next regular season, if allowed to?

The answer is that I doubt it – maybe not until an effective vaccine has been successfully implemented – which may be God knows when.

What do other match goers think? Does there come a point when the punter becomes so bored with social distancing that they say "What the hell?"

What percentage of spectators would be prepared to return? There must be a large number of "older" season ticket holders who might be more cautious than their younger counterparts.

I'm afraid that behind-closed-doors football may become a reality for the foreseeable future. If not, then the suspension of the sport altogether.

Everton and all other clubs need to do some serious long-term planning, I think.

Ray Robinson     Posted 25/04/2020 at Sat, 25 Apr 2020 09:40:30 +0100

Yobo has upbeat outlook for Iwobi

After scoring two goals in his first two starts for Everton, Alex Iwobi has failed to deliver on the promise of his high-value move from Arsenal that could cost the club up to £34M.

However, former Blues defender and fellow Nigerian international Joseph Yobo believes the attacking midfielder needs to be given more time to impress:

“Arsenal is a club he knew too well because he came through the academy and he understands the structure of how they play — a style he knows.

“Moving to Everton was a good move for him because he wanted more game time. Unfortunately, it takes a longer time to settle down in a new environment because only a few players move to another club and settle immediately,

“In between him adapting, he had a number of good performances for Everton. He was getting familiar with how Everton play and was becoming one of the key figures in the team before his injury.

“After his injury, it also took him time to break into the team because Everton also have other good players as well, all that happened before Coronavirus ensured the league was suspended.

“I think we should be patient with him because we can't doubt his talent. He has unbelievable talent and work rate.

“I know he is going to achieve more with Everton, it is just the timing of everything happening to him. He will surely come good.”
      Posted 08/04/2020 at Wed, 08 Apr 2020 08:03:49 +0100

Visit with an old friend – podcast with Adrian Heath

Hi folks...

A friend of mine lives in Minnesota, and his son plays in the youth program at the MLS club Minnesota United. The gaffer of that club is Adrian Heath, who has been managing on our side of the pond since 2008.

The club has posted a podcast interview with Adrian, conducted by veteran football commentator Callum Williams. If you have an hour free (and who of us doesn't??), this is a very pleasant way to spend it.

Listen here

Mike Gaynes     Posted 04/04/2020 at

The one that got away – “I wish I was there.”

This has probably been done before, but instead of walking around saying, “We’re doomed” in a thick Scottish accent, I was thinking…

Andy Crooks asked fellow Toffees what was their greatest moment as an Evertonian. I enjoyed reading people's recollections. So, following on from that, I too have a question: Do you have a game that escaped you?

For me, like thousands of others, I was locked out of the Wimbledon game in ’94 because of the reconstruction that was going on in the Park End. I was gutted. These were the days when walking to the ground and paying on the turnstile was the norm. We got to the ground with loads of time on our hands but just couldn’t get in.

After trying to find a tree that wasn’t occupied in Stanley Park, me and my mate consoled ourselves in the pubs on County Road. For me, it was the game that got away – I wish I was there.

But for my mate, it wasn’t the worst experience of “the game that got away.”

Nine years earlier, he was caught bunking school and, as a punishment, his parents stopped him going to the game that night. That game was the Bayern Munich game – ouch!

I was wondering, did anybody else have a game that got away? Something they still wished they didn’t miss but fate and circumstance conspired against them – the one that got away, “I wish I was there.”

Mark Cuddy     Posted 01/04/2020 at 13:50:49

Days of Heaven (from Tony's seat)

Things rarely turn out how you expect and more often than not it's not in a good way. A few times, though, the stars align and it all falls into place. Those are the days that make memories. I had one of those days yesterday.

It's been a long time since I have seen a live game but, thanks to the generosity of Tony Abrahams, yesterday, I got a chance. I am naturally pessimistic. I predicted the flight would be canncelled, we would be stuck in traffic. So, after a sleepless night, I insisted that we left for Belfast airport (my wife was giving me lift) early enough for me to cover the 15 miles on foot if necessary.

All went well and I met the wonderful Dave Abrahams in a sunny Liverpool and headed to Goodison Park. Contrary to what Dave has said, I did not have the balls bored off me. It was fascinating to walk round the ground with an Evertonian who is incredibly knowledgeable. After a beer in the sun outside the People's Pub, we met Dave's two sons, Tony and Michael, and his grandson Cameron; just like Dave, lads out of the very top drawer. I suppose this is why I had been like a kid on Christmas Eve.

Walking up the steps and seeing the pitch was special. Is the grass, greener than it used to be? Is the sky bluer? That's how it seemed. Like a painting. By now, I couldn't have felt more tense if I was playing. I'd have taken a draw there and then. What unfolded was the stuff of dreams.

Five minutes in and we looked good. Fit, confident, pressing, passing forward, movement, guile. Here's something that never occurred to me before: the big difference in watching live or at home. It's the sound. The split second delay between the ball moving and the thud reaching your ears. When Sigurdsson scored, the ball was half-way to the net before I heard it.

At four-nil I relaxed, not at three-nil, though. We are Everton. I must have looked at the screen a hundred times in disbelief. Four-nil... how can that be?

Manchester United were made to look poor. There was not an Everton player who was less than excellent. They seem to like one another and be a team. Bernard has it all – skill, great skill, work rate and attitude. A special mention to Dominic Calvert-Lewin. He worked and battled and is just a bit of composure away from being top notch.

We left the ground and I was walking on sunshine in the sunshine. That is as good as I have ever felt leaving a match. A pint in the Halfway House (full of reds watching the Cardiff game). Then back to the hotel for the Toffeeweb get-together.

It was a terrific evening. Thank you, Derek. It was good to catch up again with the Johns, Derek, Brian and to meet the others and put faces to the names. The two Bills, Ged, Steve, Ray, Mike and the magnificent George. (I'm glad it stayed at four, George!)

I doubt there is another club with a website like this. I know there is no other club with supporters like this. Thanks for the drink, Mike, what a wonderful gesture. Thanks for setting this up, Derek. Dave, Tony and Michael – this meant more than I can say, thank you.

Finally, the siren and Z-Cars. I thought I was too old and cynical to have a lump in my throat at a game. Thankfully, I'm not. This club and its supporters still move me and always will.

Andy Crooks     Posted 22/04/2019 at 17:02:02

Silva’s Everton shine at Goodison on Easter Sunday

What a win. What a performance. We demolished Manchester United yesterday to build on our recent run of good form, which goes like this:

W 4-0 v Manchester United
L 2-0 v Fulham
W 1-0 v Arsenal
W 2-0 v West Ham
W 2-0 v Chelsea

That’s a sequence of results which includes three wins against teams directly above us and a solid win away against West Ham. Other than the performance against Fulham, Marco Silva’s Everton are on a great run of form, currently sitting in 7th place (with possibly Europa League football next season) and are playing attractive, high paced football.

Here are my main thoughts following the win against Manchester United:


This performance epitomised what Everton should be about. Grit, hard work and determination in abundance. Players lunging into challenges, winning the second balls, out-jumping and outrunning their opponents. Never stopping, never letting them settle.

During the current run of matches, however, this team has combined that doggedness with delightful attacking football. When the moment is right, they get the ball on the deck and play with a purpose and an incisiveness unseen in recent Everton history.

Added to that, Goodison Park is starting to see players that can produce moments of pure magic do so regularly. Yesterday, Sigurdsson created another moment of genius to go alongside his ridiculously good goal against Leicester earlier this season, Digne’s goal was sublime and Richarlison struck again with a ruthlessness that only a few players in the league possess.

Perhaps the craftiest of them all is the little man on the left. Bernard looks like a wizard from a sci-fi fantasy film and he plays like one too.

Has Silva hit on the right formula? Uncompromising without the ball, assertive with it, dashes of Brazilian flare and Icelandic cool. Let’s hope so.

Ahh... pundits

The dominant narrative following the game was that Manchester United played badly. Gary Neville, in particular, was livid with their performance. However, the overemphasis on them detracts from how good Everton were in preventing them from getting any footing in the game and playing effective football with the ball.

In his post-match interview, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer essentially repeated what Unai Emery and Manuel Pellegrini have said following recent defeats to Everton: ‘That was our worst performance of the season’. This isn’t a strange coincidence, nor a huge slice of fortune in which Everton play successive games against some of the best teams in the league on their off day.

We made them suffer, we didn’t give them a chance, we forced them to play badly!

Credit to Marco Silva

Those fans calling for Silva to be sacked look rather silly now. Perhaps their passion for Everton affected their judgement.

They were right to draw attention to Everton’s bad run of form through December to February but were wrong to think that Silva could not change that poor run around.

For those slightly more optimistic among us, the brilliance of yesterday’s performance could be seen in flashes earlier on in the season, particularly in the results against Burnley (5-1), Fulham (3-0), Leicester (2-1) and Brighton (3-1). Good performances without the results came against Liverpool (0-1), Chelsea (0-0) and Man Utd (1-2).

At this high point of the season, the fan base must remember that it is inevitable that this young side will stumble through a bad run of games in the future, like they did in the middle of this season. We must stick with them because it is the only way for the club to grow, for the manager to get things right and for the first team to get more emphatic wins like this.

Following the game yesterday, I watched Marcel Brands’s first interview as Everton’s Director of Football. During which, he emphasised the importance of building a solid club structure filled with good, honest and hard-working people. That process takes time and trust.

Silva clearly has the virtues Brands highlighted and his trust; it’s time the fans give some credit too. Crushing more big teams and potentially European football could follow.

Yesterday, the team played brilliantly, Silva and the boys should be proud. Just don’t let the standard drop against Crystal Palace. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.
George Wilson     Posted 22/04/2019 at 16:56:04

Rising up the 'Ineptitude League'

The Guardian run an annual Ineptitude League, which is well worth a look... and Everton are in 3rd spot and pushing for the top! This is not the news we want to hear and yet Mr Silva has a proud record of achievement in the league and I did not want this to go unnoticed.

Key points to extract from the league statistics include:

Throw ins straight to the opposition: We have managed to do this 157 times already this season. How do you reach that level of crapness without practising to do it?

Goalkeeping incompetence: We are in 2nd place here with Pickford making four errors leading to goals against us.

Missed penalties: we are joint leaders with Man Utd here with three penalties missed (so far). Time for a change in takers, I think?

Red cards: 2nd place here with four reds so far.

But, to end with a direct quote from the Guardian piece, 'That’s not the real story here. In 2016-17, Marco Silva had a hand in getting Hull to the top of the ineptitude index and, last season, he helped inspire Watford to top the list. This season, he’s made a good fist of getting Everton up there too. That takes some doing. No wonder Farhad Moshiri was so keen to splash the cash'.

What goes on at Finch Farm?

Ray Said     Posted 19/04/2019 at 13:24:44

You Never Win Anything with Kids

One of my weekly duties is to attend a meeting of the Council of Elders. Nobody else calls us that but, as Evertonians, we are naturally wiser than any of the kopites who venture into our hallowed committee rooms, otherwise known as our local pub, so we feel justified in appropriating a term that distinguishes us from the red riff-raff. We have to meet in the pub because it’s thirsty work talking about Everton and it’s amazing how, as a fairly homogenous demographic group, we can differ so much in our opinions.

For instance, a few weeks ago, the following subject came up: Should we just write this season off in terms of league position and instead take a good look at some of the youngsters in first-team action? Or should we leave the kids for another day and go all-out for as high a finish as possible, with a hint even of a Europa League place? Opinion was split down the middle. However, when we re-convened this week, opinion had shifted heavily in favour of “Let’s just play the kids.”

This change of opinion was led by a couple of Elders who’d been down to Fulham. The prevalent view was that it was one thing “to play your best team” and not bring in the young talent just yet... but quite another to be typically sentimental Everton and play a soon-to-be 37-year-old great servant ahead of a lad who has overcome much adversity to be one of our players of the season. Silva’s explanation seemed to be that Phil Jagielka had played well the previous week when drafted in at the last minute and so deserved selection on merit.

The switch in favour of ignoring our final Premier League placing and picking some of the promising young players at the club was motivated not only by a now collective desire to see new blood playing their heart out for Everton, but also by three other factors:

a) Unanimous agreement that we don’t actually deserve to qualify for Europe and that the Europa League would probably do more harm than good when you take into account the bigger picture;

b) Unanimous confusion as to why promising younger players, like Lookman and Kenny, have not been given more game time ahead of overrated or not-fully-fit players; and

c) Unanimous disappointment that Marco Silva will not be consistent in his stated policy of selecting those who deserve a place, based on the previous week’s performance; if he were, he’d have to select the entire U23 team in place of the shambolic first-team effort against Fulham.

At least then we’d get a chance to see the youngsters. Oh, and by the way... tell Ajax you never win anything with kids.

Gerard McKean     Posted 19/04/2019 at 12:49:57

The VAR conundrum

I've never been a fan of VAR.

For one, it doesn't remove subjectivity – far from only being used to interfere with refereeing decisions where the VAR outcome is clearcut, it is often being employed on issues where the end result is simply replacing the ref's opinion with that of someone else who seemingly bears no accountability.

For two, it takes the emotional spontaneity out the game. Is anybody looking forward to next season having to put your emotions on hold after an Everton goal is scored while you check the scoreboard for a number of seconds to see whether the goal is to be reviewed?

VAR is here to stay, unfortunately, but, in the meanwhile, I'd love to understand certain aspects of it. In particular, I don't think I have ever heard an explanation of how far back in the game a VAR can go in considering whether to cancel out a goal.

Take tonight's Man City - Spurs game: what if Aguero, instead of knocking the cross in straight-away for Sterling to score, had instead juggled the ball on his head, knocked it on to his thigh, did some keepy-uppy, and then crossed. Would it still have been disallowed? What, more realistically, if there had followed a 4- or 5-pass sequence before the ball was set up for Sterling?

To remove the inevitable inconsistency in referrals on the particular issue of offside goals, is there a case then for only deploying VAR to judge only the final pass? After all, refs make incorrect decisions all over the pitch and VAR is not used to get them corrected. Nor is VAR used to halt a game whenever the ref misses an offside.

The history of football has always been one of contentious decisions, where incorrect decisions have determined outcomes. It's only a sport and we've all had to live with it. Obviously, VAR can lead to more correct decisions, but let's not kid ourselves... the real reason for its introduction has been the amount of business money now swilling around the sport. And it comes at a cost — to lovers of the game and the excitement and intense spontaneous emotions it generates.

Steve Carse     Posted 18/04/2019 at 00:42:53

The Top-6 Finish

I often read calls for Everton FC to set themselves a target of finishing in the “Top Six” (T6). So I thought it would be interesting to see if that is possible by looking at the seasons since 2013-14.

The League Positions

The T6 teams are, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool. In the last 5 seasons the league has been won four times by one of these teams and every team except Chelsea has been runner up in the last five years. The 2015-16 season saw Leicester City win the most open Premier League championship of recent years.

Taking an average of league positions since 2013-14, the clubs have finished in the order

Club Avg Pos Winner Runner-up
Man City 2.2 2 1
Tottenham 3.8 0 1
Chelsea 4 2 0
Arsenal 4 0 1
Man United 4.8 0 1
Liverpool 4.8 0 1

At the time of writing, taking the current positions into account; and assuming Arsenal win their game in hand, making them third after 32 games, the positions remain similar with Arsenal moving ahead of Chelsea in my T6 rankings.

If you imagine that between 2013-14 and 2017-18 season there are thirty T6 positions available (5 seasons x 6 positions = 30 places), only Leicester City, Southampton & Everton have taken one of these positions just once each, meaning the T6 have 27 out of 30 between them.

The Points

The sixth place club has on average, required 65 points to achieve this result. The lowest since 2013-14 was 62 points, the highest 69 points. To finish top of the second tier in the Premier League, (i.e. usually 7th) is, on average 5 points behind the T6, therefore you’d require 60 points, but as the difference is usually 7 points when you take into account the “anomaly” seasons in brackets, then the goal would be to achieve 58 points.

The difference in points between 6th and 7th finish.

2018: 9pts

2017: 8pts

2016: 1pt (Leicester 1st, Southampton 6th making a “Top 8,” 8th to 9th difference was 9pts)

2015: 2pts

2014: 5pts (Everton 5th, “Top 7,” 7th to 8th difference was 8pts)

The Finance

Source – The Guardian

I’m not an expert on any of this and better informed fans regularly discuss club finances, however this article shows what happened during 2016-17 season. I won’t regurgitate it, safe to say that the top six positions for club turnover and player wages were all occupied by T6 clubs. Leicester had the seventh highest turnover and wages, Everton were tenth (turnover) and ninth (wages).

The Reality

I want us to win the Premier League, don’t get me wrong, but to do so requires major change both on and off the pitch. Until we can re-establish ourselves into “Best of the Rest” then we will only stand by and watch other teams finish above us.

To be “Best of the Rest” means finishing higher than the teams able to compete on our level, such as Leicester City, West Ham United, Newcastle United, and lately Wolverhampton Wanderers. You can make a case, for example, that Newcastle’s off the field problems would likely count against them finishing seventh or higher, but they do retain that potential.

Consistently being “Best of the Rest” means being in position to take a T6 place should one of those clubs have a poor season. When Leicester City won the league, we were still unable to take advantage of Chelsea’s poor season, finishing eleventh behind their tenth! The other club breaking that stranglehold was Southampton.

The Solution

OFF THE PITCH we require a greater cash turnover as a club. Greater income / turnover means we can pay higher wages and attract better players (a horrible sentence to write, but unfortunately true in the modern game). Even if we can’t break into the T6 turnover echelons, we need to be closer.

ON THE PITCH in short, not only do we need to win more games, we need to lose fewer games. “Best of the Rest” requires 58 to 60 points, for example, winning 15 games, drawing 13 and losing only 10 achieves 58 points. Then bridging the gap to finish sixth requires something like 19 wins, 10 draws, 9 losses (67 points). Our fifth place finish in 2013-14 saw us win 21 games, draw 9 and lose only 8, giving us a total of 72 points. Spurs were sixth on 69 points.

If we cannot achieve either then I’m sorry to say, the only way we will win the league, or possibly finish fourth, is with a freak season like 2015-16, when more than one of the T6 teams struggled.

My Conclusion

Saying we need more money, win more games and lose less often is stating the obvious.

I cannot see us breaking the T6 stranglehold without first re-establishing ourselves as top of the second tier of the Premier League. We were in that position more times than we were not under David Moyes so I believe it is possible to repeat that. A new stadium will help us keep pace in the income race, but going beyond that will require a sustained input far beyond anything I can see at this moment.

It is my opinion that to finish in the T6 will require us to punch above our financial weight and if a T6 team has a poor season we need to be in position to take advantage.

Simon Jones     Posted 10/04/2019 at

Beware of Greeks Europeans bearing gifts

I turned 80 last January. This more or less coincided with my decision not to renew my Season Ticket. This decision had nothing to do with the club’s current travails. I had begun to notice that the journey was getting more tiring (I live close by Oxford) and that it was not a smart move to be continually taking on the M62, M6, M42 and M40 after a match.

That decision set me to musing about the game I fell in love with and the current offering. Chalk and cheese.

It was a time when European football consisted of watching Wolves v Honved (1954) on a very small black and white TV, and later Manchester United playing in some fancy European competition. What did it matter? A lot as it has turned out.

From those first tentative contacts we are now facing a change in the game that will radically alter it. The introduction of VAR.

Where does one start? Well, let’s start with who wanted it. My experience at games has not been one of fans chuntering on about the need for VAR. My memory of reading papers, periodicals and even ToffeeWeb is not of a fans mass movement for its introduction.

The Trojan Horse that started all this was the introduction of goal line technology. Surely a success? Well, as my old pal Professor Joad used to say “it all depends what you mean by success “. This technology is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. I would not need one hand to count the number of goal / no goal incidents in a season at Goodison, and I cannot remember one.

The “successful” introduction of goal line technology made it very easy for VAR to be introduced. What VAR is being used for now will not be the end of it. This pursuit of “error” will lead to the spread of VAR all over the pitch, and the game will be a shadow of what it was.

By this pursuit of “error “, the warp and weft of the game is being picked apart. The match-going experience is an emotional one. This fan wants to see the ebb and flow of the game. The continuous action. Of course the Referees and players make mistakes, how could they not, they are human. This fan accepts that. Better this than the game being stopped so that a TV viewers opinion can be sought.

Unfortunately, the Beautiful game has sold itself out. Sad.

Brian Winstanley     Posted 09/04/2019 at

He who dares...

The long debate over whether Sam Allardyce should be removed from his post or not seemed dead and buried when a recent ToffeeWeb poll revealed that up to 95% of those who voted wanted him gone. There was no way back, at least that's how it seemed. He was virtually friendless, even the 5% who voted in his favour were keeping a low profile...

What a difference a couple of victories have made. These two wins may have been instantly forgettable, but they have yielded 6 points and, with the promise of another 3 to follow next week, Sam is gaining support from the less-informed members of the media. worse still, a growing number of our own fans are declaring their support and want him to stay.

Farhad Moshiri must be sweating like a glass blower's arse. He has sacked two managers already and he is coming under intense pressure to sack another... Unless he is deaf, dumb and blind, he will know how deeply unpopular the prospect of Allardyce being in the dugout next season really is. But for a guy known more for his business acumen than his football knowledge, he will want to protect his investment and the best way of doing this would be to stay in the Premier League, no matter how ugly it gets.

Moshiri has a decision to make. Does he want to consolidate and make a nice profit when he eventually sells, or does he want to shoot for the moon knowing success could make the value of his shares rocket? If it's the latter, Sam simply has to go.

As a club, we have lacked ambition and adventure at just about every level. We have appointed cautious manager after cautious manager. What a roll call...

Moyes would often go right up to the water but could never summon up the courage to drink. He stunted the progress of his teams (and he built some decent ones) with his own inability to believe. The glass ceiling was created.

I know people see Martinez as attack-minded but his possession obsession ensured we played most of our football in our own half. The guy put the shackles on the most exciting pair of fullbacks in the league when they were in their prime and couldn't figure out why we played without purpose.

Koeman was a nightmare, I hated that every performance was dependant on whether Lukaku was in the mood or not. "Tell-it-like-it-is" Ronnie was eventually proven to be full of shit. I honestly believed the football his teams regularly served was a bad as it got... but what did I know? Allardyce was to prove me wrong — and how.

What really depresses me is that Goodison Park — once renowned throughout the game for the incredible atmosphere generated by its hostile inhabitants — now feels more like a chapel of repose. A few visitors paying a hushed respect to the dead people in the middle... and all four of the managers mentioned above have had a hand in it. Since Moshiri took over, I can only remember the old lady rocking four times — and three of them were for a stand-in manager simply because he asked his players to show a little passion.

I`m done with the cautious approach; I`ve had a bellyful of possession obsession. I can't take any more Zombie football, I feel nothing but shame when I think of Allardyce's gutless game-spoiling approach and I feel totally desolate when I hear Evertonians asking for more of the same.

This club needs to rediscover its soul!

Darren Hind     Posted 30/04/2018 at 18:29:57

Mo painting borough red

Our own Mo Besic is doing the business at Middlesbrough and they love him. Another Man of the Match award today. He should be doing it for us.

A combination of very bad luck and not enough faith in him has left him out-cast. At least his game time means we benefit with a new Besic next season... or we get good money for him. I'd prefer the player.
Anton Walsh     Posted 28/04/2018 at 21:48:23

Wenger the Great!

Incredibly, Pep Guardiola has spent more money in 21 months at Manchester City than Arsene Wenger has in 21 years at Arsenal. Whilst clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United were spending hundreds of millions, Wenger was competing, and often out-performing these clubs on a minus net spend. What he has done for the ingrates at Arsenal is actually quite amazing when you look at the figures.

I always looked forward to turning on a live game and watching his sides playing fast-flowing, pass-and-move football. To listen to their entitled fans hounding this man out of a job after 20 years solid of qualifying for the Champions League is astounding. Even over the past 5 seasons, the man has won 3 FA Cups, reached a League Cup Final and finished runner-up in the Premier League. They are on the verge of a European final as we speak. Imagine for one moment if that was the record of a recent Everton manager? There would a dozen statues around Goodison by now!

Listening to tales from his ex-players, about how he even introduced warm-downs to the English game and how his training methods, which were 20 years ahead of their time, makes me think how desperate we are for someone of his ilk to transform Everton. Even if we didn't push on to the Champions League under his stewardship, then surely he would lay the foundations for someone else to follow him and deliver success. That alone has to be worth hiring this man.

Over the hill? No chance. He's been hurt by the way he's been let go. That will definitely light a fire in his belly to prove to the footballing world that they've made a mistake sacking him. Because that's what has happened, he still had a year left to run on his contract. The press didn't really run with the 'Wenger Sacked' tagline. He has publicly stated he wants to carry on in management. He won't be doing a Fergie and 'going upstairs' to take a directorship.

David Dein said he's already received many calls in relation to Wenger's availability; it's not too much of a stretch to think that Mr. Moshiri had been one of those callers. Could we get him? Personally, I think it's doubtful. If he is to stay in England though, would any of the established top five clubs want him? I can't see it. That would leave us as the only realistic candidate for his services. A club with the resources to back a big name. It would be an incredible coup for Everton to be able to convince Wenger to be our next manager.

Only today, he is quoted as saying: "I hope these are not my last European cup games – my target is to play in Europe again. I've had no break for 35 years. You can look around, and that doesn't exist. I don't know now how addicted I am. I am like a guy who plays Russian roulette every week and suddenly has no gun. I will see how much I miss that gun."

Has he got one last hurrah left in his locker? I think he has. Wenger on a bad day is 10 times the manager we have recently seen pollute the dugout at Goodison Park. He would modernise this club from top to bottom if we gave him a free reign. That has to be an attractive proposition for a scorned man like him, with something still left to prove. Come on, Arsene, are you up for the challenge?

Kevin Tully     Posted 26/04/2018 at 15:49:07

Some home-grown left-backs Everton must go after this summer

A great multitude of people who follow Everton regularly believe that the Blues should now start thinking about finding a replacement for Leighton Baines. Ever since Baines moved to Everton in July 2007, in a £ 6 million move from Wigan Athletic, he has become a huge favourite among the Everton fans.

However, it cannot be denied that he’s now 33-years old and his best days are well behind him. Furthermore, Leighton Baines influence and effect on the Everton side will slowly start waning in the times to come.

It’s high time that Everton start finding an ideal replacement for the star player. People who regularly punt on football matches involving Everton, believe the same. Even the most popular football tips portals are expecting Everton to find a replacement soon.

Let’s now take you over some of the potential candidates for the Leighton Baines’ job.

Ben Chilwell

Ever since he made his debut in the Premier League on the Boxing Day in 2016 (against Everton coincidentally), Ben Chilwell has made a firm place for himself in the Leicester City team. He is the automatic choice for the left back position, ahead of other players like Christian Fuchs. Chilwell has appeared 32 times for the foxes in the Premier League, and has had 59 club appearances overall.

Being a young 21-years old player, he has many years of football left in him. And despite that, he already has ample experience under his belt, which is excellent for his age. Chilwell plays as an adept defender with a 75% tackle success rate in the English Premier League for the current season.

The Leicester defender has plenty to learn when it comes to the attacking aspect of the game though, something that any modern-day fullback should know.

Ryan Sessegnon

Having 71 club appearances under his belt, across all the competitions, Ryan Sessegnon, the Fulham’s fullback is only 17-years in age!

He’s already scored 21 goals, and is emerging as the most exciting English footballer out of the Premier League. He recently set up the Fulham win over Millwall, boosting their promotion hopes. The distinguishing aspect about him is that he has found just the right balance between defence and attacking abilities.

Regardless of his lack of experience in the Premier League, Everton would have made a massive coup if they successfully sign-up Sessegnon for the Blues. It’s also just the right time in his career to make a move to EPL. However, please note that there are some other big clubs eyeing him as well.

Luke Shaw

Many refer to him as the biggest enigmas in the EPL today. When he was drafted into the Southampton side at 22, many expected him to become the next Ashley Cole, and prove himself as among the biggest talents to emerge from the English football. However, post his £ 35 million move to Manchester United in 2014, Luke Shaw has had a really hard time at the club. Apparently, Man United are asking £ 28 million for the player.

He suffered from multiple injuries and has had only 62 appearances over the 4 seasons, which is quite less compared to his 67 appearances for Southampton in 2 seasons. Regardless of his injury concerns and criticisms, Luke Shaw is a very talented footballer that Everton must definitely try to sign up soon.

Gary McCarty     Posted 24/04/2018 at

Death to Bullshit

A few years ago, a colleague of mine — I’m in the Web design industry, I’ve seen him speak at conferences, follow him on Twitter… we’re colleagues, alright?! — coined a phrase that I come back to time and time again: “Death to Bullshit.”

It was a rallying cry specifically related to design on the Web and demanding better experiences for people using Web sites and the Internet in general — “Popups, jargon, junk mail, sensationalism, begging for likes, tracking scripts, spam, unskippable ads, clickbait, linkbait, barely-visible unsubscribe buttons, 24-hour news networks, auto-playing audio… the list of bullshit goes on and on and on” — but it resonates loudly when it comes to life and modern media and communications, and football appears to have fallen prey to bullshit as hard as anything.

The media-stoked furore this week over Everton’s fan survey, the results of which weren't ever to be made public, is a classic case in point. It began as a routine data-gathering exercise by the club and has ended with Sam Allardyce grandstanding in a press conference and throwing the Blues’ Director of Marketing and Communications, Richard Kenyon, under the bus for not being “a great understander (sic) of football and how football works.”

You can argue about the merits of the club canvassing its supporters in this way but, let’s face it, there is no way it becomes a story of this magnitude if we were not in the social media age where everything is blown out of all proportion and knowledge of a questionnaire aimed only at season ticket holders and registered members spreads like wildfire, fuelled by the local and national press... and by some pretty well-respected journalists who should know better at that.

The fact is that Everton have held this kind of survey in the past (through a desire to get more targeted data on its supporters than a wider Premier League survey of all 20 top-flight clubs’ fans) and it didn’t even register a blip on the radar of any journalist. (It also asked for Evertonians to rate their trust in the club’s hierarchy but you haven’t heard about that as much because, while they haven’t quite got their arms around the task yet, Farhad Moshiri and the Board of Directors are showing the ambition off the pitch required to take the Blues forward.)

The difference this time, of course, is that the incumbent of the hot seat being evaluated before wasn’t a controversial, almost universally unpopular manager who a majority didn’t want appointed to the post in the first place.

Ironically, the very fact that this has become such a massive talking point without the kind of balance that you would hope from some better regarded or senior members of the press corps and has prompted the manager’s performance at Finch Farm this afternoon is precisely because Allardyce has been such an underwhelming and disliked appointment.

So when Bill Kenwright is, as the boss claims, offering his apologies to Mr Allardyce, you would hope he is saying sorry for the embarrassment caused by the wholly disproportionate reaction from the media rather than the fairly benign survey itself.

At least Allardyce didn’t name-check Richard Kenyon personally or anyone on his team specifically but you would hope that he would have the grace to extend a private apology of his own to a fine Evertonian who, as James Corbett expressed on Twitter, is a passionate Blue who “understands more about the club than Allardyce could in 100 years.”

Lyndon Lloyd     Posted 19/04/2018 at

Change. From top to bottom

I have been watching Everton for 20 years now. I have seen some decent football being played on Goodison Park. I have seen some poor and average games, home and away. But I don't think I have ever seen as season as pathetic as this one. This season, I have seen the club exactly for what they are: mediocre, lacking leadership and a circus.

The board, managers and definitely the players have been an utter shambles this season. A season which promised so much has turned into a nightmare and a we're laughing stock for our rivals. We only have ourselves to blame.

Nobody at the club takes any responsibility. Nobody knows what the plan is. And worst of all, we have lost the meaning of Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.

Allardyce was a panic appointment and brought in to do one thing: keep us up. He did that, yes. But, surely to god, if Everton had anything about them, the second that final whistle goes at the end of the season, pay him his money and get rid. Along with Sammy Lee, Craig Shakespeare, Duncan Ferguson and please, oh please, Steve Walsh.

Allardyce clearly does not care about Everton one bit. Fans making it loud and clear – they don't want him.

Once again, the only positive this season is the supporters who go, week-in and week-out, home and away, and get nothing in return. Away to Man Utd, Spurs, Arsenal and Southampton come to mind... and many more.

This summer has to be – has to be – the change were we stop being negative. Get rid of the weak links at the club:

... and others maybe.

The transfer window shuts before the season starts this time round. So it's vital we have that manager in before the end of May, and no fannying about again like November. Hopefully This Brands is in too. If not, whether that means an alternative or no DoF. if it means Steve Walsh will not be here this summer. Then do whatever.

We need players with the right mentality, hunger and desire to fight week in week out in games. And not buying bang average players. Players who will get Goodison going again. And more importantly consistency and leaders.

Two Centre backs, left back, box-to-box midfielder, striker and maybe another winger or playmaker. We need the right manager for it. Whether that is Paulo Fonseca, Marco Silva or Any other decent alternatives.

The club needs a lift. it needs that will to fight again. We're not asking them to be like Messi or Ronaldo. We're asking them to get stuck in, fight and get going. Players do that and Goodison is a bear pit. Especially in the big games. We need players who cherish the big games and not go hiding.

As for the board, if Farhad Moshiri wants this club to move forward on and off the pitch. A couple of the board have to go. Elstone for one definitely. I think Kenwright has done all he can now; time for him to move on, along with Woods and Elstone, and get people in that want to move the club forward. 23 years without winning a trophy is disgusting for a club like Everton.

Surely one club cannot make the same mistake as last summer. If they do, god help us. Get these players in early, get the manager in early, and get the ideas ready now. In fact, they should've been ready months ago.

Has to happen... Make it Happen, Everton!!!
Mike Stanley     Posted 18/04/2018 at 02:49:44

Style over substance? Everton must be careful what they wish for

It's fair to say that the 2017-18 season won't be looked back on with much fondness by Everton supporters.

The Toffees spent almost £150 million in last summer's transfer window under former boss Ronald Koeman, but most of those signings have failed to make much of an impact.

The club's failure to replace striker Romelu Lukaku was a major mistake and effectively ended Everton's hopes of his success this season from the outset.

There was very little for fans to get excited about during the early part of the season. A 1-1 draw with Manchester City raised hopes that they would be challenging at the right end of the table, but four goals in their opening six matches quickly highlighted Everton's biggest problem.

A 5-2 home thumping by Arsenal signalled the end for Koeman, but the lack of a coherent plan about who would replace the Dutchman added to the sense that the people running the club aren't pulling in the same direction.

David Unsworth stepped in as caretaker manager and many fans would have been happy to see the man who wore the Everton jersey with such distinction handed the job on a permanent basis. Five weeks later former England boss Sam Allardyce was appointed and the news didn't go down well.

Criticisms of his style of football are never far from the surface for Big Sam, but he has achieved what he was appointed to do and that was to guide Everton up the Premier League table.

A 1-0 win over Newcastle United on Monday took the club into the top eight, but the manner of the victory was once again crticised by fans. However, Everton have now picked up 30 points since his appointment at the end of November. That puts them among the top six clubs in the Premier League since his arrival. He has collected more points than Arsenal and just four less than Chelsea.

Fans will argue that 'style' still matters at Everton. Mentions of the famed 'School of Science' places managers at Goodison Park under perhaps more scrutiny than many other clubs.

Whether those arguments stack up in the modern game is hugely debatable. Sure, the likes of City are able to implement Pep Guardiola's stylish footballing ethos, but it's hardly come cheaply.

Some fans would take playing a good style of football ahead of being successful by playing the wrong way. In many ways, that mentality bears all the hallmarks of the fabled 'West Ham Way' and it's one that seems to have its roots in nostalgia rather than common sense.

Both Koeman and Roberto Martinez are managers who would be credited with trying to play football 'the right way', yet both were dismissed by Everton for failing to win enough games.

With a full summer to prepare for next season and the World Cup in Russia providing the perfect opportunity for scouting potential incomings, Everton have a crucial decision to make regarding Allardyce's future.

While someone like Paulo Fonseca is the 'sexy' appointment many fans crave, there is no guarantee that the current Shakhtar Donetsk boss would be a success in the hurly-burly of the Premier League.

As the likes of Blackburn Rovers, West Ham, Newcastle United and Sunderland discovered after parting company with Allardyce, the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Be careful what you wish for.

Gary McCarty     Posted 25/04/2018 at

Closing Down Sale. Everything Must Go!

The current Everton squad is arguably the most unbalanced group of individuals in the club's famous history. With major trading work required this summer in order to bring some form of equilibrium back to the team, who would the Everton fans keep and who would be on the first bus out of Finch Farm? Here's my opinion on who I would keep and who I would let go with a short explanation for each.

Pickford – Yes. Still has lots of learning to do but he has the years ahead of him to do so. Seeing as most games are like shot-stopping practice for him with the clowns in front of him then I think he deserves a lot of credit.

Robles – Yes. Only as a back-up though.

Martina – No. Not good enough to get in any other Premier League side and certainly not good enough to be in ours.

Kenny – Yes. Still young enough to improve and with the right coach he can turn into a solid attacking wing-back.

Baines – No. Controversial, I know, but he’s past it. He just goes through the motions now.

Coleman – Yes. Should be captain.

Garbutt – No. For three managers to completely disregard him, there’s a problem there somewhere.

Jagielka – No. Has always epitomised the gallant loser for me. He’s only good when our backs are against the wall defending for our lives. Hoof!

Williams – No. Possibly the worst centre-half I’ve ever seen in a blue shirt.

Funes Mori – Yes. Goal scoring centre-half. He has a mistake in him but he’s a good age and he’s quick.

Holgate – Yes. Young, passionate and tries to play football but he needs a good coach.

Keane – No. Nowhere near good enough.

Gueye – Yes. He’s lost his way this season but, if we can get him back to being the aggressive biting midfielder who never gives anyone a second on the ball, then he’s an asset.

Rooney – No. Sorry Wayne you had your chance to be an Everton legend 12 years ago. You blew it. And to think that Ronaldo and David Silva are older than you... Who was the world most excited about when all 3 of you were 16? What a shame.

McCarthy – No. Never fit and doesn’t offer enough when he is. Ireland will always be his priority.

Baningime – Yes. Young, aggressive and time on his side.

Davies – Yes. Another that has lost his way but, with confidence back in his game, this boy has something.

Schneiderlin – No. Cares more about his hair than his performances. I’ve literally never seen him sprint.

Sigurdsson – Yes. Forget the cost, that’s not his fault. He’s a good player.

Bolasie – Yes. Controversial again but motivated in the right way he can be a dangerous player that can cross a ball and take his man on.

Vlasic - Yes. Young, quick and worth giving some time to see how he develops.

Walcott – Yes. Needs to be played in a formation that gets the best out of him.

Klaassen – No. There must be a player in there somewhere but we can’t afford to wait for him to arrive.

Calvert-Lewin – No. Makes Stuart Barlow look like Drogba.

Tosun – Yes. He’s our only hope of a goal.

Sandro – Yes. Needs the right coach to play to his strengths. Not a winger or a lone striker which is all he’s had from us.

Niasse - No. Simply not good enough.

Lookman – Yes. Showing what we’re missing while out on loan.

So overall, 16 that I’d keep and 12 that would be shown the door. But, however you slice it up, there’s some major work to be done and realistically, it can’t be fixed in one summer.

By the way, none of the coaching or backroom staff would stay on my watch. Duncan, Jeffers et al would all be gone. Unsworth would be the only exception.

Who would you keep?

Scott Hall     Posted 16/04/2018 at 09:45:28

Where did it all go wrong?

It’s a pity last weekend’s derby wasn’t played on the Friday night. If it was, it would have been 4 years to the very day since Martinez’s dynamic Everton side demolished Arsenal 3-0 to overtake them in the Champions League places.

Arsenal picked apart by magnificent Everton

Compare and contrast


We had an innovative young manager who had the upmost confidence of the fans (see the attached report – only a few comments down and the demands start for him to be given a new, long-term contract).

In Stones, Barkley and Lukaku, the spine of the team was made up of 3 of the hottest young talents in the English game.

And we were a team. There was a spirit and togetherness about the players, who played with pride, passion and professionalism. Even the less glamorous ones who possessed more limited ability would play out of their skin and seemed to have a place in Martinez’s vision. Again, see the attached report for the plaudits Steven Naismith receives.

Okay, so Boys Pen Bill was still Chairman, and, as we sang, we had no money so we signed our players on loan. But all our transfer business had been shrewd and, in the aftermath of Our Former Manager leaving, the managerial appointment seemed to be a sound one.

Only 4 years ago... The future looked bright. The attractive, winning football looked set to continue, and Champions League football – and dare I say trophies – seemed to be on the horizon for the club.

4 years and 1 day later and an insipid derby display in which, barring the last few minutes, we played for a 0-0 draw against an understrengh Liverpool side who were asking us to attack them and we wouldn’t. Tomorrow, we’re expected to lose away to Swansea. So, where did it all go wrong?

No, I’m asking, where did it all go wrong?

Dave Newton     Posted 13/04/2018 at 11:02:43

The importance of structure, clarity & belief

So the blues have just been schooled by a Manchester City side superior in every aspect of football. Of course the defeat came as no surprise, given the fact that City had only failed to win 4 of their 30 games this season, scoring 85 goals in the process. However, having spent in the excess of £250million since 2016, I would have certainly hoped we could have at least gave them something to think about. Although a much longer term project, Guardiola's City embodied a side based on coaching, quality, cohesion, planning, togetherness and identity, in relation to an Everton side which looked fearful, disjointed and devoid of ideas throughout.

It was clear that this City team has been assembled with a clear identity in mind, and recruitment across the board has represented that. Since their appointment of former Barcelona director of football, Txiti Bergiristain in 2012, City have had a clear footballing identity in mind, which has meant all recruitment decisions the club has taken have been based upon a clear long-term objective. From the outside, it certainly appeared that since Bergiristain's appointment, the club was anticipating Guardiola's arrival, and although it was not until 2016 that this dream became a reality, City still represented a club with a clear idea of where it wants to be and exactly what sort of individuals would be needed in order for them to get there. It took time and patience of course, as all good projects do, but the club's intentions appeared rather clear.

Currently, 'relegation specialist' Sam Allardyce is our manager on an 18 month contract with highly regarded scout Steve Walsh in the director of football position. The positions of both individuals appear increasingly precarious, given fan dissatisfaction with Allardyce, and the disjointed nature of this current Everton team which has been built upon Walsh's recruitment. I'm sure I am not alone in lacking the confidence that Allardyce and Walsh can be a partnership which brings the success and footballing identity us Evertonians wish to see moving forward, which is why the individuals' Farhad Moshiri decides to install into these respective is absolutely crucial for us moving forward.

True success does not happen quickly. A long-term vision is crucial, and key to implementing that vision is having the correct individuals' in place to oversee it. None of the managerial appointments during the Moshiri era thus far have been made with longevity in mind. Ronald Koeman was realistically never going to stay beyond his three year contract, David Unsworth was a temporary appointment, and if various reports are to be believed, Moshiri only wanted Allardyce on a contract until the end of the season, rather than an 18 month one. This constant changing has provided fans and players alike with a feeling of uncertainty regarding the club's long-term objectives, with our current director of football equally failing to project the notion that there is a clear, long-term vision at the football club.

At Everton, it does not seem clear to me where it is we want to be, and much more importantly, how it is that we are going to get there. The lack of identity to this current Everton team is my biggest concern regarding Walsh. When discussing Koeman's dismissal, Moshiri spoke of how "the team didn't appear to have a shape". Although Koeman's managerial short-comings were of course a big part of this, an equally large share of the blame must fall at Walsh's door also, with the two individuals ultimately unable together to create a structured, cohesive team. For example, the failure to address key areas such as the centre-forward and left-back positions, demonstrates to me a degree of incompetency and naivety which we cannot risk occurring again.

Perhaps Mr Moshiri does have clear ideas in his mind regarding what identity he wants an Everton team to have, however it is crucial that if the DoF/manager model is one which he is insistent on, long and careful consideration must go in to ensuring that the correct appointments are made with the long term success of the club in mind. Presuming that both Allardyce and Walsh are going to be replaced in their respective roles, the emphasis must be placed upon securing a pair who can work together to construct a team with a clear identity and structure. In my view, this can only be done by installing an experienced director of football with previous success in the role.

If rumours are to be believed, Moshiri's number one target appears to be Marcel Brands, a man with years of experience in this role in Holland, occupying the role at PSV currently. Having won titles with AZ Alkmaar as well as PSV, Brands clearly has pedigree, with the fact that his name has previously been linked to a role at Chelsea further evidencing this. While this experience of course does not guarantee he'll be a success with us, I believe the club must look to appoint someone with a proven ability to oversee various footballing operations and a know-how in terms of working closely with a manager to deliver a successful, winning team.
James Pirie     Posted 03/04/2018 at 13:33:53

Fans as scouts?

I just had a crazy idea. Not for the first time. I was about to post something on one of the rumour threads when it occurred to me how many Everton fans there are who (like me) spend hours and hours watching football matches, other than Everton ones, and how this is potentially an untapped resource....

Obviously the club has a network of scouts, probably a huge network, but think how many games and matches they are physically unable to watch that other Everton fans may have witnessed. From club matches in far flung parts of the world to youth matches that someone's nephew or niece is playing in.

Anyway, I though that maybe the club (and perhaps all clubs) should set up some type of forum or website where fans could pass on their findings and opinions on players that could be brought into the club at whatever level. Now, your first thought, like mine, is probably "Can you imagine how much garbage they would have to wade through?" and that would almost certainly be the case. But surely it would be possible to grade contributors internally so that if 'scout reports' were well written, well argued and ultimately found to be of any use whatsoever then that contributor would be higher rated and their reports given more weighting. Obviously you would block all the RS scum and timewasters.

The first few months would probably be quite painful but after a while you might build up system of reliable and insightful contributors who are essentially acting as free scouts. Obviously no-one is going to be signed on this basis alone but it could become a useful resource that could notify the club of talents that they may possibly have overlooked or been unaware of. It could also be a useful conduit of who the real fans would like to see come into the club, something that may or may not be helpful for them.

Is there something in it? Anyone see what I'm envisaging or am I just going a bit mad at my desk? There must be some way to put the thousands of football loving blues and their thousands of football watching hours to use. I guess the juice would not be worth the squeeze....

Sam Hoare     Posted 28/04/2017 at 10:30:07

Ross for sale but not Rom?

Over the last 6 or 7 years, Everton have become a real “smoke and mirrors” outfit – we never quite know what’s real and what’s not. Of course there is a need for discretion and we were once renowned for the club’s stealth in signing new players, but the world has changed and mobile-phone cameras, social media and the insatiable demand for round-the-clock news make such discretion more difficult. Why then should the club go to such lengths to make life even more difficult for itself by being so opaque over things it can control – such as giving us real facts about our own players?

Look at the apparently similar situations regarding Lukaku and Barkley; there are some discrepancies here when really there should be complete transparency. Take for instance the fact that a salary figure is being bandied about openly in the press and social media regarding the new contract on the table for Lukaku.

Now compare that with the Barkley situation where, unless I’m missing something, the figure always shown is his reputed current salary rather than one that has been offered in the new contract. Both of these players are high-value assets and both are popular with the fans, but whereas a proven goalscorer is very difficult to replace, that is not necessarily the case with a creative midfielder.

So is someone trying to blur the lines here? Perhaps some players “are more equal than others,” or is there in fact a hidden agenda to sell one of these two without looking as though the club had much choice in the matter? One of the main things I hoped for under Moshiri was that he or his representative would put a stop to shenanigans like this. Unfortunately it is very much ‘as you were’ and the club continues its descent into amateur smoke-screening.

Call me old-fashioned but I just love players who want to play for Everton. I would say there is no doubt that Barkley is in that category while Lukaku, self-evidently, is not. In my world, Ross Barkley is the kind of player we build a team around; yes, he could improve his goals return but all his other stats bear extremely favourable comparison with any creative midfielder in the Premier League.

Mr Koeman may see this differently but if he believes that Sigurdsson, for example, would be better for Everton than Barkley, he should quietly explain that to Ross and let him find another club (there are about 19 others in the Premier League who would want him) where he can continue his development into probably a world-class player by the time he’s about 27. And once this is done, this Summer Koeman might share that explanation with us paying supporters as to why spending £35m to buy Sigurdsson to replace Barkley was a good idea.

In the meantime, while Barkley is being publicly chastised and warned that he will be sold despite never once having intimated that he wants to leave, Lukaku openly flaunts his preferences to move away from Everton. Bizarrely, Everton publicly warn him that he’ll NOT be sold. Is this sensible planning? I think not and personally, being old school again, I’d put a stop to this.

I’d be saying, "Thanks, Rom, for all the goals this season, especially in the key games where we really needed you to come up with the winner, but it’s time for us to plan ahead now. We know you want to win the Golden Boot but, in the greater scheme of things, that does not matter to anyone but you and we know you will understand, now that we will finish 7th, possibly even 6th, and qualify for Europe, that we need you to sit on the bench while we take a closer look at how Calvert-Lewin and Lookman gel together in these next 4 games, which are still meaningful to us as a club. So here’s your flip-flops and have some fun watching the Chelsea and Man Utd in-house TV channels that you seem to enjoy so much."

And planning ahead, Everton might even yet decide to keep on nurturing a special talent and decide to see how a maturing Barkley fits in just behind those two kids up front and provides the bullets for them to fire as well as continuing to have such a positive impact on Tom Davies alongside him.

Gerard McKean     Posted 26/04/2017 at 16:40:23

ESCLA event in London

ESCLA along with EitC present 'Everton in the Capital' Charity Casino

To thank our London-based blues, we at ESCLA have decided to have an event before our last London game every season beginning with our final league match of the 2016-17 season against Arsenal.

Saturday May 20th is the date... Make sure you put it in your diary as the next day will be the end of a very exciting season for us blues.

The event will be a Charity Casino function at The Horseshoe in Clerkenwell. We are very much hoping to see a former Toffee at the event but more will be revealed as soon as we know.

The tickets are priced at just £5 and will include a buffet along with chips to play Roulette or BlackJack.

Darren Griffiths and Graham Stuart will be onsite to chat with about Ronald Koeman's first full season in charge of the Super Toffees.

Fun is to be had by all and it will be great for us all to have a few drinks and chat about the season together along with planning our trips for the Europa League in July or August depending on how far up the Premier League table we finish.

Everton in the Community (EitC) is one of the UK's top sporting charities and firmly established on the world stage of community sports development. As the Blues' official charity it is considered one of the Premier League’s leading community schemes due to the quality and reach of its various programmes.

Since 1988, Everton in the Community has been at the forefront of social intervention across Merseyside, not afraid to tackle issues which others shied away from.

We at ESCLA are very proud to once again work alongside EitC and try to hopefully make a difference through you are members.

We really hope to see you at the Horseshoe on May 20th.

To buy tickets please use this link:

Best wishes
Rob Madigan,
Social Secretary

Rob Madigan     Posted 26/04/2017 at 16:37:30

Where is Gana?

Having been substituted in the last 2 games you might think its only just come to my attention... but he seems to have lost his mojo since returning from the AFCON. It might be his partnership with Morgan. Perhaps he is missing Barry. Or is it that Koeman has yet to find a way to fit all his favourites into a side whilst retaining the kind of shape and flexibility that's required to win both home and away. Do we really need Gana and Tom Davies both doing the same job?

Next season is again going to be very interesting. I'm not overly keen on the 4-3-3 we play... in fact I'm not overly keen on the way we have played under Koeman all season. Though I do think he has superior man-management skills, ambition and potential than his predecessors.

Maybe we have to wait for him to stop holding his breath to get the funds he needs to play his way. Next season, a few more teams I'm sure will adopt this 3 at the back and 4 across the middle and that might spark Gana back to the player I loved from last year.
David Pearl     Posted 26/04/2017 at 03:42:56

Romelu Lukaku – Real Deal or the Cherry on the Cake?

With the astronomical and ever-increasing fee for Romelu Lukaku being touted in the press and Ronald Koeman’s stated desire to keep him at the club, I began to think about how important he is to the team.

I must confess, I began my musings thinking that he was absolutely vital to the continued progress towards forcing the media to acknowledging that there is a “Big Seven”... but, the more I thought about it, the more I began to think this might not be the case.

Now I am not for a minute saying he is not a very, very good player and my thoughts are not based on any statistical analysis, but as I went through the more recent games, it did occur to me that on many occasions his goal-scoring prowess is most prevalent when the game is already won or at least we are already winning and time is running out (eg, vs Burnley he got the 3rd goal after 74 mins when we were 2-1 up; vs Hull City the 3rd and 4th in injury time when already 2-0 up; and vs West Brom the third after 82 mins when already 2-0 up – all of these in the last 6 weeks).

I am perfectly happy to be told I am smoking the wrong stuff to be even speculating about Rom’s value to us (I do not get to many games these days and I am well aware of the limits of watching on TV), or for someone with the relevant stats to point out how his points-per-goal ratio is better than anyone else’s, or that the last few weeks have been a statistical blip, or even for someone to say, "For god's sake we have a player who is likely to win the Golden Boot for the first time in a generation so just shut up and enjoy it!" – but what would we have given for a striker to sniff out one goal in a poor game against West Ham instead of two in the dying embers of the Hull game?
Carl Waldron     Posted 24/04/2017 at 22:31:48

What happened to Easter football?

Remember them playing games Saturday and Monday during the Easter weekend?

I could just leave the article at that and let the message boards do the rest.Seriously, though, since 2007 we’ve only played a double-header at Easter once (in 2012). Who OK’d this? Why haven’t more fans kicked off about this?

To me, the Easter weekend is as big a tradition as playing on Boxing Day. A pivotal moment in the title race and relegation scrap, a real test of everyone’s squad, an unmissable weekend. Can you imagine if they scrapped the Boxing Day matches to have a much mooted winter break? There’d be uproar, especially in the media. The scrapping of the Easter weekend football seems to have gone unnoticed though.

One of the reasons for this may be that they didn’t actually announce that it wouldn’t happen anymore – they just didn’t put Easter Monday in the fixture list anymore and hoped no-one would notice. And the worst part is, it’s worked.

The first year of this, in 2008, I think it clashed with an international friendly so we kind of let that one go, but in the years that followed, there was no reason for it not to happen. So why have they done this?

I think the biggest reason is Europe. Teams playing mid-week games before and after Easter couldn’t be expected to play two games during the long weekend. For that to happen, though, it would mean at least one English club has reached the quarter finals of a European competition, so surely that would be a “good problem” for the Premier League to have as it would maintain their co-efficient with UEFA? Also, it would likely only affect a couple of clubs, so here’s a simple solution – re-schedule their games and allow everyone else to enjoy the Easter double header.

It might also be a matter of consistency – they can’t have it every year due to international games if Easter falls in March. That’s fine – just have it when you can. We don’t always play on New Years Day, it depends on how the calendar falls, but we still play on New Years Day when the calendar allows.

It could be that managers have been complaining about fixture congestion – you’ve seen Klopp crying 2 years in a row about having to play twice in 3 days over the Christmas period. Van Gaal used to moan about it too. But, although I’m going back 10 years, I don’t remember any complaints about playing twice in 3 days at Easter back then.

So the only other factor could be TV. Sky and BT wouldn’t be able to squeeze anywhere near as many games out of the “rounds” or “match-days” or whatever they call them if everyone was playing two games in the same weekend. In fact, until recently, showing live games on Easter Sunday was almost unheard of. Now, they treat Easter like any other weekend, even down to the fact that the Arsenal-Middlesbrough game is kicking off this evening when it could easily be played and shown in the daytime.

Also, with all the TV money being pumped in, clubs aren’t as dependant on gate receipts and so the Bank Holiday gate boost that used to happen at Easter maybe isn’t needed any more.

Whatever the reason, next time you’re traipsing out in inhospitable conditions and having to book time off work for a mid-week game in January, and are then spending Easter Monday in the garden centre or DIY store, remember, it shouldn’t be like this.I might re-do this article at the start of next season. Find and replace “Easter Monday” with “mid-week games in August”.

David Flint     Posted 17/04/2017 at 12:32:21

An Ideal Summer

With the season end fast approaching we start to wonder what we might need to take the next step and get into the Champions League.

If it wasn't for our poor run towards the start of the season we may of actually made it this year suggesting that we are not so far away. I feel that we could make massive leaps forward if we were to bring Champions League football to Goodison Park and really build our team, but failure could mean losing some serious assets.

To start with we need to build on this season and to do so we will want to keep our best players. The two main doubts are Barkley and Lukaku.

With Lukaku, he has said he won't sign a new contract for now, but his existing one has two years on it and he should be kept for another year to see if we can progress and if we do attain Champions League would he then reconsider. He has said he wants to create history and what better way.

Barkley has less time on his contract and has apparently been told to sign or be sold. A possible solution is to offer a one year extension so to have the same as Lukaku as Champions League is so important to both players, let's see if they can get us there!

Having tied these players down, we would then need to build a stronger squad. We had a decent clear out in January and can add at least Kone to the vacating list in the summer and need as much quality as possible.

I think we'll need a goalkeeper, backup Left and right backs, a centre back maybe two, a quality striker and maybe a few creative midfielders/wingers. So possibly about eight signings.

Being someone who reads transfer gossip and prematurely gets excited, I would be over the moon to see these players that have already been linked to Everton at some point.

GK - Hart £15m
RB - Trippier £8m
LB - ?
CB - Keane £25m
CB - Van Dijk £40m
MF - Sigurdsson £30m
MF - Tielemans £25m
CF - William Jose £28m
CF - Dolberg £15m

Although I can't see us splashing out in excess of £180m, I do believe these are all quality players and would be very happy to see them in an Everton shirt next season.

I am feeling very optimistic at the moment and as long as we maintain what we already have, including the manager, and can add a few quality signings we should be able to provide a strong challenge for the Champions League places.

Martin Clark     Posted 17/04/2017 at 06:48:17

Atletico's new stadium

Dear all, a Toffee since 1962, aged 8. I am definitely dead-set against an athletics track around our new stadium pitch. Never, ever... we are used to being close to the pitch, giving a great intimate intimidating atmosphere... I'd rather stay at Goodison.

However, take a look at this lot's new stadium, built for Atletico Madrid: Wanda Stadio Politicano, which opens in September.

70,000 seats for football, but for an Olympic bid for 2020 or 2024. Three tiers, the lower 20,000 tier seats they loose for the running track. A floor covers the pitch and the seats. They still get middle and top tiers, 55,000 seats.

If Mr Joe Anderson can deliver and pay for his extra 20,000 seats, and have a track in our stadium designed to watch football in, well I am up for it. It'd be a football stadium adapted for athletics a few weeks every few years. We get 70,000 even 60,000. But we want steeper seat terraces as close – if not closer than we got now. Over to you, Mr Joe Anderson, Dan Meis, Mr Moshiri, Mr Kenwright...

You would get everybody behind 70,000 a top tier available on big games. I'd rather have a top tier not open for 12 games if we had 55,000 in the lower tiers than be too far away, looking across the space temporary seats.

Adrian Evans     Posted 16/04/2017 at 16:13:00

The Barkley Dilemma

The yob who punched Ross Barkley in the face on Sunday night, in what was a completely unprovoked attack, might have just been enough to tip the player into thinking about a move in the summer?

The goldfish bowl that can be living on Merseyside at times, for footballers in particular, is often an unforgiving place but it was a little stupid of Ross to be in a bar or a club (I presume in the city centre) on a Sunday night.

If he leaves Everton, it will be a real shame; he offers us something different, aside from the wonder pass for Lukaku's headed goal against Leicester.

Nearly all of Everton's prompting and probing on Sunday afternoon came from Barkley and he gives us an element of control when things are tight. I suppose I stand accused of wearing rose-tinted glasses, and I understand some of his play can be frustrating at times, but I can never agree with the pundits who want us to 'get rid' in the summer, particularly those who write on the pages of ToffeeWeb that he will never 'make a great player', and we should cash in now.

Like all players, he suffers dips in consistency, and it was interesting to see Vardy get subbed on Sunday afternoon for Leicester – this same player was scoring for fun last season, and was subject of a big bid from Arsenal, who clearly recognised his ability.

I'm not quite sure why Barkley raises so much vitriol in our fan base; it wasn't too long ago that we had some real journeymen playing in his position, yet I don't recall them getting a fraction of the criticism this player gets?

If he decides to pack his bags and go, watch the stampede of clubs willing to bid for him. So much for people saying he'll never make it as a top player.
Steve Hogan     Posted 10/04/2017 at 14:45:49

Lukaku vs Rooney vs ??

Lukaku is not signing a new contract and is probably off to Chelsea at the end of the season. My initial opinion is if he doesn't want to play for us, sell him and spend the money on someone else. But who? Strong rumours that Rooney could be heading back to Goodison, heart says yes, head says no.

At the age of 23 Rooney had scored 80 Premier League goals, Lukaku has scored 81. In the last 3 seasons Rooney has scored a total of 22 goals, this season Lukaku has scored 21 (with 7 games to go)!

If Rooney does rejoin Everton (and I hope he doesn't), rumour is he would take a 50% wage cut and agree to $150k per week. Looking at value for money alone, it would better business to double Rom's wage, and get him to sign. Everyone has their price, just need to find his. There is no loyalty in football anymore, so it becomes purely a business transaction, a negotiation.

If he still won't sign, keep him for another season and sell him then.

Looking at the current "proven" strikers in the Premier League, who are comparable to Lukaku, none would be available to us. So that means buying a striker like Rooney, Costa or Aguero, who may be surplus to their respective clubs requirements at the end of this season. I am not keen on that.

So we are left we taking a risk on an "unknown", up and coming striker. It is a risk that I am not sure we can take as our main frontline striker. So, to conclude, break the bank to keep Lukaku, because there ain't many strikers who are as prolific as him, at the moment. Keep developing our younger strikers (Lookman, Calvert-Lewis) and buy a "risky" unknown, but keep Lukaku, for his goals.

Oh, for those who will reply that Lukaku doesn't run, can't control the ball etc etc etc, I don't care about that. If the club spends money on a striker, it wants to buy goals, and Lukaku scores goals. Simple.
Andy Osborne     Posted 08/04/2017 at 15:31:08


I am just wondering if we have possibly jumped the gun on getting rid of Niasse.

I do not for one minute mean as a replacement for Lukaku, but is he any worse than Valencia or Kone as our back-up striker?

It appears that having been given a run at Hull he is certainly playing his part in their mini-revival.
John Keating     Posted 06/04/2017 at 07:08:36

Stadium vs Squad

There has been a lot of talk this season about it being a period of transition, both on and off the pitch.

Off the pitch, naming rights for the training ground, the binding together of our loans into a single interest-free one by Moshiri, and the progress on the new stadium have all been positive. On the pitch, the rebuilding process has already started, with signings like Gana and Schneiderlin proving to be decent additions. A sprinkling of youth in Holgate and Davies have also given us a lift.

However, we have now come to an important stage in terms of kicking on, both on and off the pitch. Off the pitch, we need to come up with £30M to pay Peel Holdings for the site of our new stadium. We will probably need to also have a deposit in place prior to gaining any loan approval for the £300M needed to pay for the stadium. On the pitch, we need a couple of quality centre-halves, at least one creative midfielder, and at least one quality striker, maybe two, if Lukaku leaves in the summer. Easily £100M plus.

At present, even with Moshiri's money and contacts, Everton do not have the finances to adequately cover a stadium and a squad. Player sales and TV money in the summer may look easy on the eye right now. But take payments in instalments, tax, agents' fees, day-to-day running costs for the season ahead into account, and the huge sums of cash suddenly shrink.

So what should the club do? Sink the cash in hand into the stadium, guarantee its progress, and keep debt to a minimum? Doesn't give you much chance to buy top class players. Spend big in the transfer market and hope to somehow make up the cash for the stadium while waiting for planning permission? A big ask given our resources and revenue streams. Split the pot of money evenly and see what we can squeeze out of it? This could mean doing neither properly.

It's genuinely hard to say. Don't spend the money on the squad, we fall further behind the six teams above us in the table. Don't make proper progress on the stadium, it's groundhog day all over again and another golden opportunity lost.

My gut is telling me that the club will put the stadium first. I can see us pinning our hopes on Koeman staying a full three seasons and hoping that none of the teams below us overtake us for 7th place. We will probably spend big on one, maybe two players in the summer, and hope to hang on to Barkley. Cut-price deals for players like Luke Shaw, who has fallen out of favour at Man Utd according to reports today, will be the norm, and promoting youngsters, at the right pace or not, will continue.

Interesting times ahead.

Kieran Fitzgerald     Posted 03/04/2017 at 11:38:20

A New Stadium – A New Era

It's easy to get caught up in the 'sentimentality' of our home of 125 years. Some people outside L4 love to wax lyrical and look upon Goodison Park as "The last proper football stadium."

Personally, no matter how many great memories I have of the place, it's become a symbol of a club reliant on trading on past glories. We were one of "the big 5" who voted for establishing a "Premier League" then waved that particular train goodbye as clubs who identified the commercial side of football left us trailing in their wake. It's taken us 20 years to even recognise we were becoming an also-ran, on a par with Stoke, or Southampton.

The opportunity to erect a new, world- class stadium can put us back amongst the so called elite. Not only will the publicity generated by this exciting project propel the club forward, it will make every other club in Europe take note of how big this club is. Make no mistake, no matter how much it hurts, we are irrelevant when it comes down to attracting top European talent.

The one constant that has kept us treading water over the past 20 years is the fantastic fanbase; without that support, I firmly believe we could have sunk into footballing obscurity. We mustn't forget the work of KEIOC, who should have a plaque at the entrance of any new waterfront stadium in recognition of the (unpaid) work they all did, saving the club making what could have been a fatal move to Kirkby.

I had an interesting chat at a match a few months back, a guy told me that most players want an executive box thrown in to entertain their family members on a match day, and that Everton lagged far, far behind their peers when it came to 'extras' on their contract such as this. A new world-class facility can attract players, fans, corporate sponsorships and publicity.

We mustn't let anything distract us from our goal of moving away for Goodison Park within three years. As sad as that may be for some, it will mean we can finally put this club back where it belongs. The days of "plucky little Everton" can be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Kevin  Tully     Posted 02/04/2017 at 15:45:24

A false dawn?

I know I'm being a bit previous but am I the only Evertonian who is a bit disappointed that there has been a deafening silence from Farhad Mashiri since he invested in 49.9% of our club's stock?

Many of us saw his arrival as a sure sign that things were changing and the control of all things Everton was no longer vested in Bill Kenwright. For several weeks after "the deal" was announced – and in spite of disappointing results on the field, there seemed to be a feeling of new hope for a bright future for the club in the comments and messages of the fanbase, both old and young.

It wasn't so much that there was, at last, real hope for a new ground and significant investment in new players but more a feeling that new life was being blown into the creaking structure that is Everton FC. Of course, it's early days, but for me the alarm bells started to sound when we learned that, far from aspiring to be our new leader, the investor didn't even desire a direct place on the Board.

On enquiring about this development via local and national sports writers, I was told that it was not Moshiri's style to grab the headlines nor seek hands-on involvement. His style, it seems, is to put up the money in support of a sound business plan and rely on others to make that money work for him. Sharing this message with ToffeeWebbers, resulted in much scorn being placed on me by fellow contributors who saw the new man very much as the New Leader and inspirational figure.

Kenwright was consigned to history, we were told – from now on "the new money" would call all the shots as Farhad and his proxy got their feet under the table. "Moshiri will see to it that Martinez is toast," they affirmed, and once the now apparently mythical Board Meeting took place, we would be looking towards Europe for a new manager. Of course, it's only Thursday evening and such an announcement may be being drafted as I write – although I think not.

So tonight, I reiterate my view that Moshiri is not overly interested in such details and is happy to leave football matters in Kenwright's hands. I can only say that such trust in our resident procrastinator is utterly frustrating to us mere "punters"... but, to the major Investor, it may prove ruinously expensive!

Phil Walling     Posted 28/04/2016 at 19:53:54

To be a manager of Everton FC

Yet another article on Roberto Martinez, for which I make no apologies – because he is still here.

There is no doubt he is a salesman and there is no doubt he is misunderstanding what it takes to be a manager of EFC. He is like the Mercedes car salesman when airbags first came out, as they were on the driver’s side only. The buyer said to the salesman: “I love the car but the airbag on the driver’s side causes me some difficulty. The car crashes, the airbag comes out and saves me but all I can hear are the screams of my wife going through the windscreen.” The salesman says: “Sir, this airbag is so good, you won’t hear a thing.”

That is RM – he is a super salesman but he is completely missing the point. He says he understands what it takes to be a manager of EFC but he hasn’t convinced the long-suffering supporters. Had he understood, he would have sacked his coaching staff and brought in somebody who could assist him with a Plan B and C, then assist him with how to structure a defence and practise defending corners and free kicks. He would refrain from boring the masses to death going back and forth along the back line to the point where he has managed to silence the crowd into a state of numb confusion. He would recognise that he has taken us from a top six side to a bottom half side and who knows where we might end up this season still?

So what does it take to be a manager of EFC?

First of all, it seems you have to be a sycophant sucking up to the ego of one’s Chairman, maybe even taking the wife to one of his productions. The Chairman’s partner has to think you are a really nice guy. You now have the additional problem of telling the new shareholder that you need time and that he must ignore the first three years. You have to smile at his representative on the board: “Success is coming, I’m building a squad to finish higher than 17th then in ten years I will have built a side gunning for the Europa League. Just stay with me, you will see”.

Let’s pray the new shareholder doesn’t have ten years to wait and the representative on the board sees a desperate man trying to sell a car to a buyer who doesn’t like the airbag being only on one side. He is no longer getting the point – he has lost the majority of the fans.

So the new man should avoid wearing brown shoes with a dark suit – too close to home that one. He should be a name above the average; know how to set up a defence and employ coaches who understand the basics of the game such as practising defending all kinds of set pieces. He should recognise that the new shareholder is his future and set out a plan fit for a king (or at least a billionaire) and not one for an impresario.

He should be such an appointment to excite those we want to keep. I am thinking of Stones, Lukaku, Deulofeu etc and give hope to the likes of Dowell, Davies, Connolloy and other up-and-coming young guns by immediately upgrading them to the first-team squad.

Most of all, he should understand Everton and Evertonians and not just pay lip service to our history. We want to be up there with the best, competing for a place at the top four table; competing for top players; players who will bring a smile of anticipation to our supporters. He needs to be a name which will command immediate respect. He needs to be able to understand that the car buyer was concerned about his wife’s safety and not the quality of the fecking airbag. He needs to get it and be his own man.

Everton deserves such an appointment.

Ian Burns     Posted 28/04/2016 at 16:28:47

Judge Me On Three Seasons

Roberto Martinez has asked to be judged not on the last three months of his reign, but on the last three seasons. He has, he tells us in that time reached two domestic cup semi finals, the round of sixteen in the Europa league and a top 5 finish in the league with a record points haul for the club. All sounds very good doesn't it?

Many people try to compare him to David Moyes as they are really the only managers the younger supporters really remember. The only problem is how do you compare a man who joined a club flirting with relegation to a man who joined a club always on the fringes of the top six. Well, like most of you I am fed up, not only of Roberto's ramblings but also of the people who believe him. So I took a closer look and decided to compare his impact on the club since his arrival with Moyes impact all those years ago.

As I have said David Moyes came into a club flirting with relegation. In the three seasons before he arrived Everton won a total of 34 league games out of a potential 114, we lost 47 of them. In Moyes first 3 seasons he changed that around completely to see us winning 44 and losing only 43. Taking into account his disastrous second season that saw us only win 9 games he certainly showed early promise about how to win matches. One thing was also clear in those early years, Moyes did not go for expansive, thrilling football. In fact his first three years saw us score 11 goals less than we had scored in the three seasons prior to his arrival (this is a little bit unfair as all 11 were in one season). What he did do was tighten us up defensively conceding 13 fewer goals than his predecessor.

So Mr Martinez how do you compare? Shall we judge your first three seasons.

Well to start with unless we win 2 of the remaining matches this season you will have won fewer league matches in your first three seasons than your predecessor did in his last three. That is a definite backwards step in my eyes.

You have already lost 5 more games over the three seasons than he did another backwards step.

In two of the three seasons you have conceded more goals than he did, the only season that your defence was better than his was that first season, the one that many observers claim was still his defence in many ways. As it stands you have also scored fewer goals in two of the three seasons, although with a little bit of application you should be able to turn this around by the end of this season. Even so for a man that claims that your teams are free flowing, goal scoring entertainers to be this close to the end of the season and to have scored fewer than the king of KITAP1 for the second time in three years is pretty appalling.

So league wise your first three seasons have seen us go backwards, in position, in wins, in defeats, and in goals conceded.

But that's okay because you have been phenomenal in the cup competitions haven't you. Two semi finals out of 6 domestic entries is pretty impressive. Let's forget that in the first two seasons you managed four wins between the four domestic competitions you entered.

In Europe you did okay, and do you know what that tells me?

That tells me that you should try managing abroad because in England you just can't cut it.
Steve Pugh     Posted 28/04/2016 at 14:38:11

New Owner – New Era

As an Everton supporter for 50 years, I've endured the highs and lows of our great club with other long standing fans. In this present time and on the brink of a New era, with a new owner, we would like to believe that we are about to have a new ground in the next couple of years. So, things are changing. I thank all of those over the years involved with the club, who have kept our club in the top flight and in a reasonable financial state.

The squad that we currently have, has been said by some, as the best that we have had for years, but the current league position does not reflect that.

I believe that we have the core players in the squad to add to, but there is an awful lot of 'deadwood' and players who either past their sell-by date or just not up to standard.

I would try to keep, Lukaku, Mirallas, Stones, Coleman, Deulofeu, Lennon, Besic, Funes Mori, Niasse (not had his chance)and Baines (as a squad player). Hibbert, Barry, Jagielka, Pienaar, Osman and Gibson are too old now and have lost any pace they ever had.

Here's my list of players who should be moved on:-
Oviedo, Browning, Cleverly, McCarthy, Galloway and Kone, despite all their effort, they are at best Championship players.

Barkley is an enigma, and looks like he's had too many games. Lately, he hasn't had the legs to chase back, and solely a playmaker / attacking midfielder. Perhaps he should be given a chance with better players around him.

The 'Riddler' Martinez has had his chance, but sorry he has to go. For me it's Ronald Koeman. I believe he has the pedigree for building a team to take Everton forward, as he has shown with limited funds at Southampton. Mark Hughes does not 'cut it' for me. He's a 'nearly man' as a manager, and just when it appears he's on the brink of success, he flops.

Whatever happens, change is about to happen, and it's yet to be seen if it's for better or worse. None of us can predict that. The future's bright, the future's a club without Martinez and his new-found word of the day – "Scrutiny"!
Malcolm Van Schaick     Posted 28/04/2016 at 160428

Kenwright's sales pitch

The root of the problem with firing Roberto Martinez probably lies in Bill Kenwright's sales pitch to Farhad Moshiri. Just last week, his buddy Alisher Usmanov came out and said Arsene Wenger is Arsenal's greatest asset so let us assume Moshiri thinks similarly. BK's pitch – which we are told has been ongoing for about two years – probably involved highlighting similarities between Martinez and Wenger.

"Here we have this intelligent, well-liked guy intent on building a stylish team around youthful talent. Our fan base is similar to Arsenal, our history is similar or was until I became chairman. All we lack is an Emirates style stadium and a bit of cash to add some experience to our young guns. You're used to being a silent investor so I'll run the club since I am universally lauded as a great chairman by the media. What do you think about making an Arsenal 2.0?"

All of a sudden, Kenwright looks foolish as the dedicated fans are belligerent while Martinez has been revealed to be more Walker than Wenger. Sacking Martinez would undermine the whole sales pitch, so the alternative is to hope against hope and stay the course.

The problem is that we all know the game is up. Roberto Martinez has lost the fans and probably the players. The danger is that we could have a Villa or Newcastle situation on our hands if our new investor takes offense at fan revolts and hostility. Inevitably as pressure grows on Kenwright to sack Martinez, eyes will turn to Moshiri to fire Kenwright. That involves him taking or a more active role than he signed on for. He may say "Screw it!"

The only way out of this is for Kenwright to act like a businessman instead of a proud old fool. Sack Martinez and present it in terms that Moshiri understands: it is all about results. If he fails to act, the fans will... and that could make a dire situation worse.

Kieran Kinsella     Posted 25/04/2016 at 17:42:16

Richard Keys on Martinez and Moyes

I've just read the article written by Richard Keys in the press over the weekend. I don't normally write down my thoughts regarding EFC because I just get more and more frustrated thinking about our "phenomenal" manager.

What Keys said summed up my thoughts entirely and it would be interesting to read other people's comments on the said blog article.

Here is some of what he wrote:

The headline in The Mirror read 'I can deliver glory. Moyes only brought TEN YEARS OF MEDIOCRITY'. Did he really?

The quote, of course, came from Roberto Martinez after Everton's FA Cup semi-final defeat. Mediocre? I suppose there's an argument that Martinez should know something about the subject, his whole career has been mediocre, both as a player and now a coach.

Football fans on Merseyside know their stuff. Evertonians have seen through Martinez, although it took a little longer than I thought it would. He's lost them and I don't see any way that he's coming back from the current situation. I think he'll be gone at the end of the season.

Lee Whitehead     Posted 25/04/2016 at 17:10:30

E-mail the club directly

I was scouring the EFC site for news on Martinez's departure and it dawned on me that the club has probably put a social media ban on all it's staff to avoid them getting too disheartened over the current situation. So I had a look at the Contacts tab to see what was in there. There is a Contact Us section where you can even choose to mark your feedback as a Complaint and list it as about Everton Staff... so this is what I wrote:

I am so saddened that the club is treating itself so badly by not releasing Roberto Martinez from a position he clearly cannot perform properly.This proud club has the motto Nil Satis Nisi Optimum which means nothing but the best is good enough.

I don't believe that there can be anyone associated at any level with Everton Football Club who feels that the team has been performing at its best this season, or even last season. Those performances are solely down to training, tactics, player selections and substitutions. The man in charge of those has let this great club down.

I know I am a lone voice in this e-mail but I don't want to get lost in the barrage of vitriol on social media. I just hope that the club will do the right thing and honour it's motto and in doing so show respect to the thousands upon thousands of supporters all around the world without whom, there would be no reason for the club to exist. Martinez must be relieved from his duties as manager as quickly as possible.

Yours respectfully,

Kerry Frahm.

I felt the politely but firm tactic might have the best chance at being read but I thought I would let you all know about this option and then let you decide for yourselves how you would like to jam up their email with complaints.

Share this contact information on all forms of social media as well as together we might stand a chance of being heard.

#martinezout #COYB
Kerry Frahm     Posted 25/04/2016 at 15:29:46

Analysing Roberto Martinez’s Everton career

Q. Was Martinez the right manager for Everton?
When he arrived at Everton he enjoyed success with Wigan in the cup but ultimately got them relegated, his playing style of short passing attacking football exciting fans but left his teams exposed and vulnerable defensively.

Most Everton fans were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and if anything he was somewhat refreshing after a dour yet effective end period under previous Everton manager David Moyes.

Q. Why were some Everton fans sceptical about his appointment?
A. The Everton team under David Moyes had stalled and with the New Everton team under Roberto Martinez Everton fans feared a major overhaul and the Wiganisation of Everton.

This fear came true somewhat with the signings of former Wigan players and coaching staff such as Arouna Kone, James McCarthy, Anton Alcaraz and goalkeeper Joel.
Martinez’s initial plans to field five at the back were thwarted with new signing Alcaraz getting injured forcing the manager to play four, a happy accident or clever management this almost seemed to galvanize Everton and rather than a complete overhaul for Martinez with Howard in goal, Distin or Stones and Jagielka, Baines and Coleman bombing forward as wingbacks, McCarthy and Barry solid in midfield, Mirallas, Pienaar, Deulofeu on the wings, and the emergence or top midfielder Ross Barkley and the loan signing of Romelu Lukaku upfront made Everton a team evolving rather than being completely changed and fans liked it.

Q. How has Martinez done so far?
A. He enjoyed a good first season and a poor second season domestically, his saving grace in his second season was the good progress Everton had made in Europe with Martinez himself even citing that the effects of playing Thursday-Sunday had maybe taken its toll. This the third season however with no European distraction it was expected Everton would have a much improved season in the league, in fact it has been the opposite.

Roberto Martinez is a nice guy and has plans in place for the summer including redeveloping the training ground, signing new talent and despite the poor league form he has guided Everton to two semi-finals.

Q. What about the poor League position and home form?
The league position this season is not acceptable and the cup runs have taken some of the pressure of the boss a little but the home form is not good enough.

Q. Why is the home form so bad?
It’s not easy to pinpoint the reason for the bad home form but there are many factors. There is a horrible negative atmosphere at Goodison Park this season at times which has seen the team perform better away from home as a result.

Factors such as the John Stones transfer saga, transition of the new goalkeeper who some still don’t think is good enough, the building pressure of not winning, Barkley not signing new deal despite apparently being offered one at the same time as Ovideo and Besic, Baines and Coleman being injured and perhaps being asked to do too much at times, Jagielka being too nice and not being an effective leader as we need at times, wingers none existent, Lukaku banging on to media every international break about his longing to play Champions League, Martinez kidding himself telling the press how phenomenal his team and players are when they quite obviously haven’t been, Kone failing to impress despite some good early season cameos, Niasse being a laughing stock coming in for big fee and never playing, Oviedo just not cutting it, McGeady and Gibson left in cold, ostracising Sylvain Distin last year after the good service he had given Everton have all played a small part in creating this bad atmosphere and the fact we are seeing no improvement doesn’t make it look good for Martinez’s Everton future.

Q. How can Roberto Martinez save his job at Everton?
His positon is perhaps now virtually untenable with a large proportion of the fans but despite this he is a big favourite with Chairman Bill Kenwright. Kenwright will almost certainly not want to sack Martinez and will hope his plans in place for the summer will give him one last chance next season to save his job.

Q. What about new investor Farhad Moshiri, will he be happy with Martinez?
A. Publicly maybe he will back Martinez and stand by Bill Kenwright’s side but privately we just don’t know. The bemusement on Moshiri’s face when he was interviewed with Kenwright and Kenwright’s cringe worthy praise of Martinez after a poor season perhaps tell a story in itself. Moshiri has come to Everton to invest his money and try to make Everton successful but he is no idiot.

Manager Martinez has talked about how Everton are rich now and despite his ambition is this really the way Moshiri wants to conduct his business and inflate the money Everton will have to pay out in the summer and perhaps he would want Martinez to play down his arrival and do business quietly.

Q. Is Roberto Martinez was to go is there anybody out there who could do a better job?
A. Perhaps there is and perhaps change is needed to refresh things at Everton now. Martinez was hoped to be a bright young managed playing attractive football and building long term a bright young Everton side.

If he was to go names such as Pellegrini, Bielsa, De Boer have all been mentioned but could they do a better job and would they be a good fit for Everton? Former Everton players and coaches have been mentioned but could they attract the top talent Everton need to progress?

Martinez has done a great job integrating himself into all things Everton and fans love this and like him, but they need to believe again and things do need to improve dramatically for him to save his job and sadly it is maybe too late now.

Q. Should David Moyes return as Everton manager?
Despite the good job Moyes did at Everton the way he left and comments he has since made have hurt fans and the fact he has failed at his last two clubs doesn’t exactly send pulses racing.

The good relationship he has with Bill Kenwright could help him lure his way back in but I believe in general the consensus is No we don’t want Moyes back, he ran out of ideas and there is nothing he would bring to the table at this moment in time to move Everton forward.

Q. What will happen if Martinez stays?
For Everton fans the season is now effectively over and they will hope the manager will be able to attract top talent in the summer and hold onto his best players.
Stones and Lukaku seem to want out and although it would perhaps take some of the bad atmosphere way from Everton if they were sold the message of intent and lack of ambition would not be good for Everton.

The thought of an Everton team next season without Lukaku’s goals is frightening and if he is sold do we trust Martinez to sign a suitable replacement.

Martinez is stubborn and will not let these players go if he doesn’t want to, however not doing this keeps a bad vibe pummelling throughout the place and sadly for him he is damned if he sells them and damned if he doesn’t.

Perhaps a new manager could keep those players here and hereby improve the atmosphere but realistically the appointment would have to be of a Mourinho-esque proportion to do this.

There is also a big question mark over the future of Ross Barkley and perhaps only a new manager now can stop him heading for the Everton exit door sometime soon even if perhaps not this summer.

Has he lost the players? I believe he now has and despite the faith I personally have in him, his ideas, his philosophy, I think a change may now be needed to try to improve the atmosphere if nothing else. The body language of the players, soundbites coming out and the performances in general are of a club in meltdown.

If Martinez does stay then this summer is massive I believe he may just do that but if he gets it wrong, doesn’t make the big signings we crave, doesn’t get rid of the bad atmosphere then it could and is sure to be a horrible telling season next year for Everton.

Andrew James     Posted 25/04/2016 at 12:16:39

Expectations versus reality

As an Everton fan, what are your expectations nowadays? Do you expect us to win or are you so ground down by years of nearly teams or promises that we are still developing, that you will settle for second best? Is this how it is for us now, we have just got to get used to mediocrity?

When I was younger I expected us to win; we have had periods when we were the best and the very least you could expect was for players to give their all, both physically and mentally. Today, the players receive vast amounts of money but seem unable to fulfil these simple tasks even for ‘big’ matches. Whose job is it to motivate these talented players. Hopefully some of it is down to the player’s individual pride in their performance, but ultimately that is the role of a manager. I have come to the conclusion like many, that it is time for Martinez to go.

What are his expectations? What reality does he live in? They say there is a fine line between genius and madness, I now believe the man needs help. A genius sometimes goes against the norm because they believe so passionately that what they are doing is right and some geniuses are eventually proved to be right, but where is Roberto’s evidence? Even in his first season I started to doubt because we fell away at the end when with a bit more drive and belief we could have had one of those Champions league places. It was almost like Roberto felt it was too soon and this was transmitted to the players.

Last season and this season has been a steady decline with the wrong sort of records being broken, with plenty of uninspiring performances and last minute panics, which have cost Everton a lot of points.Does Roberto see this? Well obviously not! He is still telling us that we fans should see the obvious development of the side and it is just bad luck that has been dogging our progress. Other teams have now worked us out, just like Spain were worked out at the last World Cup.

Managers and players know that if they press hard enough eventually we will give the ball away in our own half and bring pressure onto us.I hope the board are not living in Roberto’s reality and see the games like the rest of us and make moves to bring in a manager who knows how to prepare teams for attack but also defence and instil belief and confidence in the team so they are not willing to settle for second best and even win something. Maybe the board can “repay the fans” with a swift appointment. Martinez has been promising to “repay the fans” all season but has been unable to repay us with anything to give us hope in his continued management of this football club.

Paul Brown     Posted 25/04/2016 at 11:00:42

John Stones in centre midfield

Admittedly this is not any Evertonian's priority at the moment after last week's "defining" period, but if our young England star does stay with us this summer, I think it is something we should look at.

After seeing John Stones's performance at Wembley on Saturday, it jumped out at me and maybe thousands others, why not play him in centre midfield? I think he could handle this with ease and it may even help him long term. He is so comfortable on the ball and is always looking to drive forward or play a forward pass (the complete opposite to most of our midfielders). He is also not afraid to put a tackle in and is handy in the air, which would be ideal in the middle.

By having him further forward, he could take the risks on the ball and then still have a line behind him to cover. In defence he can look unreal one minute and then frustratingly amateur the next, as he lacks the positional sense and strength in the air of top, top centre backs. Look at what Spurs have done with Eric Dier this year, who will probably be England's holding mid in Euro 2016, and in my opinion Stones is twice the footballer he is.
Andy  Lee     Posted 25/04/2016 at 10:10:54

Time to start again

It's been a bad day, and for personal reasons, the utterly gutting defeat was the icing on a cake of shite. There are some positives to take; I thought Stones, Robles and Gibson were good. Barkley and Lukaku were really poor, embarrassingly poor. However, they will be good in the right line-up.

In my view, today was not down to Martinez, in fact, I thought we started bereft of confidence but then showed spirit and I think the coach did something right at half-time.

It is a good time for Martinez to go. To go out on the back of a fair effort and a gutting loss. The players gave it a go and he could leave now with dignity. They rallied for him one last time.

There is no future for him at Everton now and I would hope that he will see it and resign. We have a lot to offer a new coach. Stones will be great, Barkley needs a new coach along with some confidence and the loss of a few pounds. Lukaku whom I admire but who today showed the finesse of a blacksmith, will bring us in some money.

There is no better time to start. Roberto was not humiliated today but he will, in my opinion, relegate us if the merciful thing is not done. We need a temporary coach from within to see us through while a new dawn begins. Today was a start; the end of a project and the beginning of the real one.

Andy Crooks     Posted 23/04/2016 at 20:53:39

The FA Cup, family, and us

It's been a day of contemplation for us all. A tough day, having been humiliated at Anfield. Heartbreaking to find ourselves in such a shambles on the eve of an FA Cup semi-final.

Then, at just after 1:00pm, I was listening to Radio 2 and heard Jeremy Vine talk with Dame Vera Lyn, the woman whose songs kept alive the spirit of millions of people during World War 2. Songs that were cherished by my father, who spent 5 years away from home flying in bombers, scared out of his wits, winning that war for our freedom. The other things that kept him going were family, and Everton.

That man survived, and took me to the FA Cup Final in 1966 and 1968. We took him in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, and 1995. He stayed at home in 2009. He took them in his stride, revelled in the victories, was philosophical in the defeats. He understood that no matter what happened, there was a bigger picture. BUT it mattered. The match mattered. Whatever was going on, Everton mattered.

So, whatever my feelings towards the inept manager and the wastrel, millionaire footballers, I'm going to go down there and support Everton FC. Thousands and thousands will do the same. Many will have similar family histories. We are born, not manufactured. It's what we do, it's who we are.

Embrace the day. As the old fella would say, "The darkest hour comes just before the dawn".

Peter Mills     Posted 21/04/2016 at 22:21:50

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. Nothing but the best is good enough.

For 40 years as an Everton fan I’ve proudly carried that message with me. It’s the perfect motto. It runs through the heart of the club. It’s even on the badge. (Interestingly, it fell off the badge around about the time Martinez arrived). Now, more than ever, “nothing but the best is good enough” has to be the benchmark by which EVERYTHING at our club has to be judged, from top to bottom.

Is having one formation you repeat over and over despite getting the same poor results “the best?”
Is our tackling?
Our spirit?
Our defending?
Our attacking?
The manager?

I’ve been very patient with Martinez. I even wrote a balanced article a few months back highlighting the good he’s done, as well as the bad. But now the bad so far outweighs the good, he has to go. You don’t have to look far to see the good a change of manager can do. Across the park another ex-Swansea boss with tippy-tappy possession based ideals was upgraded for a genuine, proven top-class manager and have never looked back.

Let’s be honest, for 30 years little at our club has been the best. We’re a club with a proud history of challenging for league titles – 9 league titles is the same as Man City and Chelsea combined. But, whilst other clubs have progressed, we’ve stood still, our stadium, results and ambitions never moving forward. It’s time for change.

The one hope I’m clinging to right now is Farhad Moshiri. We’ve needed major investment for decades and now we have it. Moshiri’s the most crucial man at the club because he has the power to change it. He has to be ruthless, judge everything, including players, coaches and managers by our motto. Every single in and out at Goodison has to be nothing but the best. Then, finally, our long-suffering fans will get back the club they deserve.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.

Peter Needham     Posted 21/04/2016 at 09:51:42

From Bosnia with love

Respected Toffees,

Pax vobis! As Saint Seraphim of Sarov said: "Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved!". So, I write this in hope to bring some calmness in these times, full with bad results and even worse atmosphere at ToffeeWeb, because we don't need that kind of spirit here. Of course, probably, any one of you invest more time and money in their support of Everton than me, but don't allow yourself to be overcome by sour taste of defeats at playing field. Don't do that to yourself.

Let's try and, once again, take from football only good things. Carnival and playful way of showing our celebration of life; hope, that men in blue shirts will play the best way they know , and our support if they can't do that, because only support and willingness to help and understand can lead us to greater achievements.

Try to push away all negativity football might offer, because we don't need it, and it's unnecessarily. Football can be beautiful game, only when you take away his potential to harm you, and I see that many are hurt by it.

I am finishing this short note, with best wishes for you all, and best wishes for Everton!
Ognen Mojovic     Posted 19/04/2016 at 10:21:42

How much is too much?

But for the helicopter flight out of London and over Stamford Bridge, it would have been Tottenham to benefit from Abramovic's billions.

But Chelsea were bought, and so were trophy after trophy. Man City benefited from the Saudi Royals, and again followed trophy after trophy.

Blackburn were the blue print in cheque book champions and though Portsmouth and Leeds had their successes, they lost everything.

Man Utd were able to lead the way at the start of the Premiership, as it was then, and reaped the financial windfalls of success which created even greater windfalls. So though they have spent just as much as anyone it was at least earned. The same again with Arsenal.

So why do I write this? Well, I always said if we became a billionaire's play-thing and the title came to Goodison on the statistical probability that follows outrageous expenditure, it would be hard to continue my support.

I know Chelsea fans, who of course enjoy their time under Roman, but once the initial successes were done with, another trophy, and another one, were just... bought. And emotions are difficult to sell.

Its like watching Indiana Jones knowing who would be the winner come the end of the movie. Only this is sport, and as such competition is necessary.

It would be best if our nice new investor would spend his pocket change on the club, and let the Prem TV contacts deal with the transfers and wages, but that's not the way things work, as the much heralded FFP is now a grand irrelevancy. So much for the level playing field.

It is easy to point out the inconsistency here, with our desire for investment over so many years, but a team financially juiced would be everything we've complained about in the Premier League since the Top/Sky/Big 4 came into being..

Is there any ToffeeWebber who would want to be another Chelsea? It could possibly mean we'd be another Leeds.

How much is too much?

Nick Entwistle     Posted 18/04/2016 at 17:46:14

The Peoples Cup?

I've been an Evertonian since 1983. My family moved from Hull (which is a huge Rugby city) and arrived in a village called Goxhill. Since I can remember I would go to every Hull KR home game with my late Dad and Auntie while living in Hull and had never heard of 'foot ball'.

My new class mates showed me the ball, which was an odd spherical shape, then asked me the hardest question of the day:"Which team do you support?"

Not having a clue I replied... "erm." My new class mates informed me that they all supported some team called Manchester United and one lad (who would later become my best friend) supported Liverpool. They kindly gave me 24 hours to pick a team to support.

Now, many people would've just gone home and asked their parents which team they supported, but sadly for me there was only my mum. My dad worked in the merchant navy and would be away for 6-8 weeks at a time. I used this new fandangled thing called Teletext. I brought up the First Division spotting boht Manchester United and Liverpool but, not wanting to be someone who follows a crowd, another club just called out to me. I don't know why? It just did. Perhaps it was because they were at the bottom of the league? Perhaps it was just the name? But it spoke to me. So the next day my class mates asked me the question again and I replied, "Everton".

Now, in my short time supporting Everton I've suffered some highs and many lows. I didn't see the Cup final vs Watford as, in all honesty, I just hadn't fallen in love with football yet. I remember not watching the final vs Liverpool after the Hillsborough disaster, mainly because I would feel guilty if we had won. (I watched the semi final at Hillsborough on TV and I couldn't believe what I was seeing; terrible day.)

The 1995 Cup final was my greatest memory. Against all the odds we beat a very good United side with a few key injuries. My younger brother and I (Yes, he copied me, as he had no clue about football either) bounced around our living room when the full time whistle went.

Then, of course, was the Chelsea final. We scored the fastest goal in FA cup final history only to bottle it. Again I watched from my living room.

My only visit to a Cup final with Everton was the Zenith Data Systems Cup when we sadly lost to Crystal Palace AET 4-1. Not only did we lose but I was sat next to two Everton fans who decided to take the piss out of my family and I until we moved for the second half.

This year I feel something. I don't know what but I just feel it. Now, living on the East side of the country with two kids, three and under, plus the fact I play on a Saturday myself, I don't get to Goodison that often so naturally I don't expect to get a semi final ticket but...

I just decided to search on a famous search engine for the possibility of tickets and lo and behold there are several Web companies offering tickets for the game.

My question is; which genius allows these ticket businesses to have a large amount of tickets while the clubs get a pathetic allocation? They keep saying it's the peoples FA Cup but in reality the "people" can't go. I sadly can not warrant paying £200 for a single ticket. It's the same for the FA Cup Final. 25,000 tickets to each club, therefore 50,000 in total, of a 90,000 seater stadium. So 40,000 tickets go where?

Now I do know each county FA gets some tickets as when I ran my own kids team we tried to get some for the Chelsea final but were unlucky. Still there is still a hell of a lot of tickets that go... somewhere.

Will I ever get to Wembley to see my beloved team? I don't know. I can only see the FA Cup Final becoming more and more taken away from the fans and given to sponsors, those with ties and ticket businesses. Money seems to have taken over the romance of a once great cup competition.

Stu Smith     Posted 17/04/2016 at 19:36:39

He's made me apathetic towards the club I love...

Maybe I'm being a bit melodramatic for effect – after all I am still writing an article here on ToffeeWeb. I visited the site on at least six separate occasions on Saturday alone, and I visited the BBC site at least four times during the game to see how we were getting on. That certainly does not suggest apathy, but something has certainly changed in the way I feel about my cherished Everton.

I wake up on Saturday mornings and I, like everybody else on this site, am more than aware of the horrendous football that has been on display for a great deal of time now. But ordinarily there is still that glimmer of hope that Everton are going to win this weekend. And there is my first big bug bear with Senor Martinez: how has he managed to change my level of expectation, with supposedly the best squad that we have had in the last 30 years, to a level where I am now merely just hoping for a win?

From roughly 2006 onwards, especially when we were playing on the hallowed Goodison Park turf, and even in the first half of Martinez's first season in charge, I expected us to win, and I, probably a bit optimistically admittedly, expected us to win well!

That feeling has now gone, and the reason for the title of this article is because when I woke up this Saturday morning, whilst I of course knew that we were playing against Southampton at home, and whilst there was still a glimmer of hope that we might win the game, a larger part of me expected us to lose. But by far and away the biggest part of me did not care if we won, lost, or drew the game.

And that is my second and probably the larger of my two bug-bears with our manager. He has made me feel – if not totally, then certainly a little bit – apathetic towards the club that I love. Yes, I know that is probably a contradiction in terms within one small sentence, but you know what I mean! And for me, that is unforgivable....

And so, to try and put a more positive spin on my feelings, rather than read the pre-match build up; potentially putting myself through reading any more inane ramblings from our manager; or, sending any faint glimmer of hope that I might have had into a full blown expectation of loss; and not caring if that was to be the case, I visited YouTube. I typed the following into the search bar: 'Best Everton Goals' and I came across the following video: Everton FC 2002 - 2013.

Can I suggest that prior to possibly one of the biggest weeks of football for Everton over at least the past six or seven years, that we as fans watch this video and get that fire and passion back in our bellies for supporting our club – not that I'm suggesting that people are stopping supporting our team of course, or have even lost passion. What I'm saying is that I'm certainly not trying to insult people, but from the gist of what I've read here on ToffeeWeb recently, a lot of people are feeling a lot like I am at the moment.

This video made me proud to be an Evertonian again, it reminded me of all the great displays: league, cup and European, that we have had over the past 10 to 15 years, and it made me feel good about our team again.

So, please, watch the video. Hopefully, if any players read this site, they might watch the video too, and if they can show just a small percentage of the passion that Rhino or Bug Dunc show in the clips, we might see something better from our beloved Everton in the coming week. And if ultimately we don't see anything better, hopefully the video might have reinstalled a bit of passion so that we as fans can believe again!
Steve Stobie     Posted 17/04/2016 at 06:19:47

Gary and Phil

This season has been so unreal. Monied clubs not getting it all their own way, a team in blue (not us) going to win the Premier League...

I got to the boozer about 6:30 and there was the same question: Were we lucky or unlucky? I had to say I was nonplussed. I mentioned the mini-pitch invasion, then someone remarked (a Burnley supporter), "Do you need a new manger?"

Out of left field – I don't know why – I said that, after today, the Chuckle Brothers couldn't do much with the players we have.

Then it struck me: Gary and Philip! One possibly looking to get back into management; one we know was a good captain, even if we all know he might not have been the greatest player.

But you saw him fight and encourage players around him. These are qualities we are seriously lacking, plus – a big plus – it would seriously wind that shower up.

ps: I still miss the the thoughts of Mr Matthews...
Alan Hayes     Posted 16/04/2016 at 23:43:17

Time for Mr Moshiri to take control

This summer could well be a watershed for Everton. For years we have been crying out for someone with real wealth to take over.

Well, now we have a billionaire who has bought a substantial stake in the club. He hopefully has had time to make a judgement on how we move this club back towards the top of the table again.

Understandably we havent heard a lot from him, but come the summer his decisions will indicate how hands on he will become. Does he go along with Bill Kenwright's view of the current manager or does he, like many of us, feel now is the time for a change?

Despite him saying that his first task was to try and keep the promising youngsters at the club it seems like Lukaku and possibly Stones may move on.

Would he be prepared to let Roberto Martinez spend the money the club might get for these two should they leave?

As I said at the beginning, this summer will tell us a lot about Mr Moshiri. I hope he left Arsenal for us so he could make a difference but time will tell.
Brian Harrison     Posted 15/04/2016 at 16:04:01

Down and out. But what if?

In my mind and countless other Blues' minds, Roberto has to go. No exceptions!

After the Palace game on Wednesday night this was the overwhelming view of myself and fellow Blues that had gathered to watch the game until someone raised the question: "If he (Roberto) won the derby on Wednesday and the semi on the Saturday, would you give him a chance?"

There was a long pause and a few mischievous grins but the overwhelming answer was, "he won't win at Anfield." Not yes or no.

So I ask the question, what would it take (realistically) to give Bobby another chance?
Jambo Jones     Posted 15/04/2016 at 12:54:43

Semi-final referee choice

I have been listening to talkSport this morning going on about Kevin Friend being taken off the Spurs game due to him being a Leicester City/Bristol City fan.

This was apparently done due to Spurs fans taking to Twitter in their thousands.

I must admit i have no idea how Twitter works but having heard the talkSport presenter state that for our semi-final being against United, the choice of Anthony Taylor as our referee beggars belief.

He lives two miles from Old Trafford, FFS. How is he going to be neutral? So fellow Blues, let's take to Twitter to voice our concerns about this.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum
Stephen Jones     Posted 14/04/2016 at 12:02:44

Mix it up!

The week before last was my final straw. I watched an Everton team completely disinterested in winning. To say they were going through the motions is an understatement. Our starting lineup was:

Robles, Coleman, Stones, Jags, Baines, McCarthy, Cleverley, Deulofeu, Lennon, Barkley, Lukakau.

After that insipid, embarrassing performance, all I wanted to see - the only thing - was a response from our manager. The kind of response to players who make millions but shit on fans worldwide, akin to, "fine... if you're going to play like that, how do you feel with splinters in your ass?"

In short, personally I'd have turned the team / lineup on it's head and sent a message to underperforming and effortless players that what was on display against Man United is wholly unacceptable.

So what did we get?

Robles, Coleman, Stones, Jags, Baines, McCarthy, Barry, Deulofeu, Barkley, Lennon, Lukaku.

One change.

Things are going so poor at the moment. You'd think, after weeks of dished up garbage, any gaffer worth his salt would send a message.

Sin miedo has given way to sin bravado. No courage, no effort, no desire.

Shocker, I don't know what the answer is. But I do know one thing: playing any professional sport is a privilege, not a right. And it's high time many of our players understood this.

It's not too much to ask to see a team on display giving their all for the cause.

Inasmuch as Roberto is to blame for marching the team out in a very near "as you were" set up, the players have been diabolical. But Roberto compounds the misery by changing little to nothing while malaise and complacency rule the day.

Time to send a message Roberto. Even in the interest of self-preservation you'd be wise to do so. Swap players, change formation, play kids... do something. But for the love of all that is holy don't play the same disinterested, 70% effort, going through the motions lineup.

Before you leave, please grow a pair and go out fighting.

Jamie Crowley     Posted 11/04/2016 at 17:10:03

So how good are we?

Many folk on ToffeeWeb have, over the last 3 years, waxed lyrical about this being potentially the best team since the 1980s. We loved the football in Martinez’s first season and perhaps dared to dream. We have also looked at new signings favourably and, until the current slump, there was a feeling that this team could achieve.

Now I am not going to repeat the Martinez In/Out argument. Nobody is saying anything new now. Rather I am wondering about this so-called "great team":

Robles: seems pretty good but inexperienced. Does not read games that well but can make some good saves.

Baines: has had his best days.

Jagielka: good player but no captain. Too nice. Also nearing end of his career.

Funes Mori: I think he's a really good player.

Stones: not a secure central defender. Sometimes wonder if he would be make a midfielder

Coleman: can be great attacking full-back. Not world class defender.

McCarthy: workhorse but with little imagination.

Barry: key to our team. But should a man his age be so important?

Cleverley: never sets the world alight.

Besic: can be really good but seems injury-prone.

Barkley: has some great runs but I get really fed-up by his decision-making.

Lennon: good player but also not one who would be in a great team.

Deulofeu: talented player... but his fitness?

Lukaku: has scored a lot this season but missed some sitters too. I think he thinks he is better than he is and seems idle to me.

So those are my doubts about them as individuals. Are these the component parts of a great team?

Some may just blame it all on Martinez. I agree, he has many faults and needs to go, but I think it is a mistake to think a new manager would have all (or even most) of what he needs in place already.

Ged Simpson     Posted 11/04/2016 at 12:11:29


While the talk is about the defence and Stones in particular, we still haven't sorted the goalkeeping problem.

How many six-yard box headed goals have we conceded? Both keepers are rooted to the goalline or at best flapping at anything that's crossed. They look as if they have been coached by a hockey coach more concerned about making themselves big than attacking the ball...

But alas it's just one more defensive problem that hasn't been addressed over the past couple of seasons.
Mike Allen     Posted 10/04/2016 at 20:25:55

¡Martínez; vete ya! / Martinez out! chant

Personally, I am tired of the steady stream of slick excuses emanating from Roberto Martinez, week-in & week-out, while the team fails predictably and on-cue on the pitch. It looks to me that Martínez seems to spend more time coming up with management double-speak than coaching the likes of John Stones not to make errors that would embarrass the worst schoolboy footballer. Self-preservation seems to be foremost in his mind, the team´s performance is somewhere down the list of priorities.

So, I am well sick of it all and I think average Evertonian´s present displeasure with Martínez should perhaps be vented in a language that is more direct and is not ridden with Business Management, PR and PC double-speak: and that language is Spanish.

So here below, I´m going teach anybody that wants to learn how to tell him "to do a runner" in Spanish. It is the same phrase that was recently used to good effect recently on Gary Neville in Valencia. It is, as follows:

" ¡Martínez; vete ya!"

The literal translation is: "¡Martinez; (you) go already!"

To give it its correct pronunciation in Spanish, phonetically from an English speakers point of view it would sound like this:

"Marr-teen-ezz; Veh-teh-jah!"

As you can see it is a neat little phrase with just six syllables and probably a lot easier on the ear than "Martinez – do one now!" in a broad Scouse accent.

More to the point, it would not be something that would obviously upset the majority of the players on the pitch, as only the Spanish speakers (Ramiro, Gerry, Brian, etc) would get it and its full significance. And, since we are for Everton, and only against Martinez, that is a good thing. However, I do postulate that our "phenomenal" manager would get the message coming from the Everton faithful very clearly.

(By the way, do you know what the Spanish for "phenomenal" is? It is "fenomenal".)

So, I reckon it would work well as a simple call-and-answer type terrace chant with a basic 1-2-3 rhythm, like thus:

Marr-teen-ezz (call)

Veh-teh-jah! (answer)

So, finally, who would up for organising this at a match? Anyone? I can´t unfortunately. Please copy and paste as necessary onto other forums. It is my gift to the world of disgruntled Evertonians. And it would show us to be an erudite and learned bunch in the expression of our displeasure, I do reckon.

" ¡Martínez; Vete ya!" would work well on signs too!

(Additional; Guardian article on Gary Neville and `´Gary, vete ya!" from a while back )

Joe Rourke     Posted 10/04/2016 at 14:49:59

Social dynamics

In an earlier article I gave my 'Analysis For Change' based on the under-performance of probably our strongest squad in years. My summation being that great teams are more than the sum of their parts and sadly we are a poor team with a total less than the sum of the talented individuals who make up the team. My solution was change the manager for someone who could manage a great team.

I would love to be saying I was wrong, but I am more convinced in my own mind that the time since the article has simply reaffirmed my belief. Unfortunately it was not the defeat at United where I thought we did enough for a point, if not a win, or today's failure to beat a Watford who have not been at their best of late, but the rumblings of discontent hitting the media.

Social dynamics is basically the interaction between individuals and within teams. I watched the Leicester City team last week and whilst they may not be the best group of individual talent, they are the best team. Looking at them after another hard fought 1-0 victory there was unity and belief in the team. Whilst it is still not nailed on that they will win the Premiership I hope they will if only to show that you don't need to be employed by the big 6 to play Champions League the following season.

So to the other not quite so mighty blues! The FA cup win over Chelsea was a great result and we are now just 2 games from possible silverware. Premier league for next year pretty much guaranteed and absolutely nothing apart from pride and the fans to play for in the league for the rest of this season. It looks like we are getting exactly what we might expect!

Lukaku has had a good season, though I am not sure he is anyway near the finished article. If he is then he is not good enough for the best teams in Europe in my opinion. Lukaku is good, but not a game changer like the best on a regular enough basis. Am I the only one who wonders why we play long balls to Lukaku as, despite his size and physique, he never wins a knock on when the ball is in the air?

Now at the tender age of 23 he wants Champions league next season. Does he not believe that this can be achieved in his current team or simply with Martinez managing it? Either way I am pretty sure that any media comments from him, his family, or representatives could have been left until after he has scored an FA Cup final winner and repaid a big slice of our £28m investment.

Baines comes out with a comment on team chemistry and apparently feels the need to apologise according to Martinez or has Leighton just been smart enough to recognise that social dynamics have collapsed. It is a real shame that an established and long standing member of the team like Baines feels the need to make comment, but much worse that Martinez feels the need to go to press with misinterpreted nonesense. What does this achieve apart from promote a perception of entropy within the team.

The positivity from an FA Cup semi and the future investment from Mr Moshiri has in typical fashion been thrown away and once again the club fails to build on its strengths. It's a real shame that the positivity and confidence has been lost.

I still hope that we beat whoever gets put before us in the FA Cup and we finally win something, but what's happening in the league reflects more on the manager and his team's social dynamics. I am sorry Roberto, but win or lose you need to be the first to pack your bags and then just maybe Mr Lukaku and co may be less eager to leave and more open to one more season to show what they can do in a real team managed by a manager equal and worthy of it.

Mike Fisher     Posted 09/04/2016 at 18:41:50

Why Blues must always respect the motto

If you watched the football last weekend, you may have seen Aston Villa supporters holding aloft their paper protest: "Proud History, What Future?" Personally, I am disappointed to see a club that was always on a par with us fall into such a state on and off the pitch.

Their problems don't stem from lack of investment – Randy Lerner has ploughed hundreds of millions into the club. No, it's a prime example of poor managerial choices, clueless CEOs, disastrous transfer policy, and not replacing their best players when they sold them.

Which brings me to Everton. We have a new owner (or majority shareholder, if you wish) and the club will certainly lose some of its star players this summer. It's imperative the right decisions are made if we are to replace Martinez along with some of our most important players.

I haven't always agreed with the intense criticism of Martinez because he has sometimes been blamed for the temperature of the pies this season, but I do agree wholeheartedly that he should be held to account by the fans if performances drop below acceptable levels.

I don't know how much Villa fans protested when their slide began, but I'm sure the board, players and manager alike would have been aware of our feelings a lot sooner if this was happening at our club – and long may that continue!

We should never accept mediocrity, we need to ensure this club is always challenging at the right end of the table. No player, manager or owner should ever be in any doubt of what is expected. Our motto is our standard, and don't ever let them forget it.

Kevin Tully     Posted 08/04/2016 at 11:54:52

Flipping and flopping

For the first 10 years of the Premier League era, Everton Football Club declined steadily, hiring and firing a series of managers. The costs and instability if doing this very nearly cost us our Premier League status twice.

Over the last 14 years, we have had just two managers. The first turned round the sinking ship to such an extent that by the time he left expectations of actually winning something were back on the agenda. I would suggest that that was the result of backing (ie, not dismissing) the man in good times and bad while he helped balance the books – a virtuous circle.

That manager built around work, defence and ultimately won nothing, visiting Wembley twice I think in 10 years? Regularly embarrasses in cup competitions. Martinez has a surer touch in cups but has yet to convince anyone his team's can defend consistently - and this in a season when a tuppenny-happeny side are sweeping all before for the first time since Blackburn in 1994. Long may they continue.

Do we stick with this man, allow him his time to learn or do we hire a 'better' manager every couple of years? As we are now better funded, do we attempt to act like a 'big club' and throw money at this problem until all are convinced we now have a winning philosophy rather than our current 'soft' attitude that is a hangover from the past?

Certainly there now needs to be a step change. Once we have the funding there are no more excuses. If Leicester City win the Premier League, that goes double. That might well involve hiring better players and instilling a winning attitude/ aptitude but will we lose something?

Is developing local kids the route to winning the Premier League? I don't see much evidence of that aside from one or two who must be there on merit. That gives us the problem of how much playing time a developing player gets. In the past winning this season wasn't imperative as long as good players were developing in the side, giving us a better chance if winning next season. Now, if winning is all important as we are aiming to finish in the top 4, then they don't get that time. That means we must buy players much closer to the finished product and play them instead.

Do we keep changing managers? I refer you to the Newcastle Utd example of this approach versus perhaps Arsenal. Do we spend £200 million on new 'better' players – I refer you to our neighbours example.

Evolution, not revolution, is likely the way forward.
Thomas Lennon     Posted 08/04/2016 at 08:33:10

Being left behind

The other night I was flicking between the Champions League matches. Main interest was the Paris St Germain vs Man City game as I consider it the bigger game and also an English team. But then, Wolfsburg vs Real Madrid caught my attention and had me somewhat confused and angry. Not because Wolfsburg were winning 2-0, but because last season in the Europa League we beat Wolfsburg over two legs 6-1.

6-1! 4-1 at Goodison and then 0-2 at their place and they are here giving one of the best teams in the world a hiding in the quarterfinal of the Champions League!

What's happened to us!?

It's not only Europe we are being left behind in. In our very own domestic game, we are moving backwards in the Premier League, moving backwards in tactics, moving back in culture/spirit on the pitch, and moving backwards with the support. Leicester City will end up in the Champions League (they may still win the Premier League), so they will strengthen.

West Ham moving to a new ground, could still get into the Champions League and will strengthen. Spurs could win the league and will end up in the Champions League and will strengthen. Man Utd will spend money and still attract players and strengthen. Liverpool will spend money and attract players and strengthen.

What do we have...?

A club moving the wrong way in the league
An old stadium – which I still love though by the way.
No European competition
Star players wanting out
A manager who is tactically poor and not wanting to change
What seems like genuine unrest in the camp

We are pinning all our hopes on Mr Moshiri to work miracles in our beloved club and god do we need it.

He has stated he will give £150 million to invest in players – I would take a huge chunk of that and throw it at a big-name Manager. A manager who our players will want to play for and who can also attract top talent just because of who he is and someone who will sort out the chemistry and have us winning again.

We have the players (add a couple more in the summer) to do it, we have the support, we now have the money, But we do not have the tactics, the culture, fitness, planning, coaching etc... and who does that sit with? Martinez.

He promised us Champions league football when he took over – he is a far far way from that now.

We are being left behind by this man, he is taking us backwards (FA Cup win or not), he is damaging this great club and the best quality team we have had since the '80s.

Shaun Traynor     Posted 07/04/2016 at 08:53:49

Panama Papers

Having read the latest article on the BBC I am left wondering how or if Everton fit or are part of this massive fraud.

Our own Prime Minister has defaulted to the "personal issue" exclamation. And having reviewed the latest news it looks like no one is free from innuendo.

However, from a blues point of view, BVI (or the British Virgin Islands) is looking seriously prominent in many articles that relate to Mossack Fonseca.

Having recently gone through due diligence and the Yanks backing out of the deal, was this a consideration or blocker?
Paul Johnson     Posted 05/04/2016 at 23:16:54

Problems and solutions

Baines said it perfectly:


It is a collective failure this season.

In my opinion, the biggest problem is the DESIRE in the team. Lukaku is always on about Champions League football, but do you ever see him giving 110%? Do you see him working back every now and then to show the team that he is there to win? How often do you see him running at full speed or putting in a committed challenge?

That's the big difference between a team like Leicester and many others - especially Everton. This is due partly because of the manager, but in my opinion, mainly because of the players.

I'm not saying that Martinez is not to blame, as it is part of his job to get the team motivated. However I feel the youngsters in the team often get caught up in their own hype, and don't put in that extra effort which would take them and Everton to the next level. They rely on their talent and "potential" and don't put in the hard work that is needed.

What is the solution?

In my opinion, the midfield is the starting point.

As good as Barry has been, we need to move towards a good passer with passion and a will to win. I'd definitely give Stones a chance at the holding role, especially with his natural defensive talent and his ability to win areal battles in the midfield (getting back possession a lot quicker).

Therefore Stones and Cleverley (playmakers), and McCarthy and Besic (breakdown and aggression) would be my midfield.

Stones could always move back into defense if need be (such as Dier does). Leaving us with Jags, Funes Mori, Galloway, Browning in central defense - another area where an addition is needed - a rough and tough ball winner (old school defender) is needed. Someone like Shawcross or Dragovic, or possibly Cahill from Chelsea.

Another obvious addition needed is a goalkeeper, someone who can organize the defense and is a good leader (Cillesen is a good option).

There is a couple more positions that need a back up - I would follow Spurs approach of having two equally good players in each position. Additions such as Wijnaldum from Newcastle (a team player who works hard, plays LM, CAM or CM) would be my main target. Then players such as Yarmolenko and another right back would take us to the next level.

Without playing manager mode I'd like to see this next season:

GK: Cillesen/Mathew Ryan, Robles

LB: Baines, Oviedo, Garbutt
LCB: Funes Mori, Galloway
RCB: Jagielka, Dragovic, Browning
RB: Coleman, (youth player/new signing)

CDM: Stones, Cleverley, Besic, McCarthy, Barry (bench role)

Wingers: Wijnheldum, Deulofeu, Lennon, Mirallas, Yarmolenko,

CAM: Barkley, (Wijnheldum)

ST: Lukaku, Niasse, Kone

With youngsters filling in when necessary.

I wouldn't be extremely upset if we lost Lukaku for a massive fee, unless he changed his attitude and work ethic. If he did, he would be unstoppable.


Contrary to what most other Everton fans think, I would keep Martinez.

HOWEVER! I would definitely bring in another manager to bring the team together!

Ideally I would bring in Guus Hiddink especially after what he did for Chelsea. He is also available, as Chelsea have just appointed Conte for next season. I feel he could get the best out of Lukaku.

Assuming we get the necessary funds, I feel the above is possible & completely necessary.

Martinez and Hiddink working together would be a very very exciting prospect!

Just my thoughts, I would love to hear the rest of your ideas and comments!

Gareth Clark     Posted 05/04/2016 at 07:31:22

The case for now not later

I posted my views on a couple of threads, and there were plenty of supporters sharing my view that Mr Martinez must go now and we must not to wait until after the semi-final or the final(?). There are even some who think he should go at the end of the season/summer and, even more surprising, wait until so many weeks of next season. Even Christmas has been mentioned! Can you imagine the press conferences by then?

Let us look at the logic that says he has to go now:-

The fans know their football and he has been found out tactically and personally. He is more of a spin doctor than a football manager with the majority of fans very unhappy. Even some media pros have also seen through him at last, but it has taken a while.

The statistics do not lie either and have been mentioned on many threads. He has had enough time to show some humility and on-field improvements. But things are going backwards and we need to remove this blockage to progress.

We are on the verge of a new beginning, with possible new investment and maybe a stadium as well. We are fed up of the trophy-less years, the false dawns and this hopeless feeling that all Evertonians are suffering at the moment.

It makes sense to me to start now. Is Roberto Martinez the manager to take us to this new level?

We get more income for a higher finish.  Is Martinez the manager to take us to the highest league finish possible?

It would great to win the FA Cup of course. Is Martinez the manager that will galvanise the squad for a better chance of winning the semi and maybe the final?

It would be a huge statement if we could keep our "stars" and build a team around them.  Is Martinez the manager who the players respect, believe in his methodology and ambitions?

Finally, it would be excellent to attract quality (and fit) players to help the squad on the journey to more successful days. Is Martinez the manager,= that new players would respect, believe in his methodology and ambitions?

I would answer NO to all the above. The only question is how all of us can assist him on his way...

Paul Taylor     Posted 04/04/2016 at 22:11:09

Who is calling the shots?

There cannot be many happy Evertonians currently despite the prospect of at least one Wembley appearance.

A few recent surveys indicate that around 80% of supporters want Martinez gone even if by some chance we win the FA cup.

What most if not all of us dont know is how secure his job is and who is going to make the decision.

Logically one would assume that Moshiri will not want to invest multi millions on the playing squad and a new or developed Stadium project without having confidence in the manager and given that he is reasonably shrewd and successful must be aware of the disenchantment with Martinez and staff.

The question for me is that although it is obvious that Bobby has pulled the wool over Bill's eyes I wonder how much support he is getting from other board members including Jon Woods and Elstone who may also be backing Bill's stance.

I would imagine although I am not sure that the small shareholders have expressed their dissatisfaction through the normal channels but knowing Bill I wonder if this is getting through to Moshiri.

I get the feeling that an exit at the semifinal preceded by some dodgy results may be enough for a tidal wave of anger that is currently being held back by many supporters to be unleashed and although I am sure no Evertonian would not want us to get to Wembley for the final and win the FA cup I still wonder if that will be enough to save BB from the axe.

It all depends on who is going to call the shots in the boardroom.Hopefully we will soon know.

Lets hope that Mr Moshiri shows us the ambition that we all assume he is bringing to the club and that he closes the door on the dark ages that have prevailed for the last 20 years.
Jay Harris     Posted 04/04/2016 at 18:27:13

Season Tickets – To buy or not to buy?

I am at a loss as to what to do. Unlike some who have been season ticket holders for many many years, I have my first since I cannot remember when.

>p>It was brilliant and exciting to finally go to the home matches instead of trying to watch a feed on the PC. But now, nearing the season end and the renewals have come out, what do I do?

I never thought I would feel this way but, after watching all but one match, I am not sure what to do. The football most of the time has been predictable and slow with the feeling at any time we will implode and lose a lead (if we have one). I cannot express how let down I feel; is it me? Did I expect too much?

The way we play – apart from flashes of excellence – is not exciting to watch. We supposedly have the best squad in years but at home you would be hard pressed to believe it; top four? We are Lucky not to be bottom four... and no signs of change.

So, do I renew the season ticket? I can afford to this year; I want to... BUT I do not want to sit through the same again with the real possibility of relegation next season if the same manager employs the same system. I have the letter for renewal on the desk and look at it every day, fighting with myself as to what to do. With all the speculation about our team nothing is giving any indication that the manager will be changed for next season.

What should I do?

Christopher Dover     Posted 01/04/2016 at 15:49:12

What is likely to happen?

Most of us have our thoughts on what should happen. Who should go, where we need to strengthen, players we would like to see and arrive. I personally don't think much will happen.

Martinez will stay, undoubtedly. I don't think we will sign a goalkeeper. Howard will still be number one with Robles getting a run in the cups. I expect three or perhaps four players to go.

Distin and Hibbert have given great service. Distin might get a season elsewhere, maybe Hibbert will join the backroom. Good luck to both. Kone has been desperately unfortunate but I would see it as sensible to accept the loss and release him. It hasn't worked for Atsu and I think he will be gone. That will free up some money for wages.

I expect Pienaar and Osman will be around for another season and if fit can make a contribution. With a fit Oviedo I suspect that will be our options on the left. I would expect and hope that Lennon will sign. If Mirallas stays it will give us more options but less money to spend. If he goes I believe the right flank will be covered by Lennon and McGeady.

I fear that Garbutt will be gone and I find that disappointing. Gibson has been extremely unlucky but I expect him to stay and with a deserved change of fortune offer at least cover in a creative midfield role. It seems likely that Cleverly will come in, not greatly inspiring but, in my view sensible.

On top of that I see us at best making two more signings. I would like one tom, be Charlie Austin. He can offer something different to Lukaku or better still play along side him.I would also like us to sign or loan a creative mid fielder who can find a defence splitting pass. I've no idea who but I hope that we have been searching.

So, Lennon plus two. Not a lot to ask in my view. Of course on top of that we need a little more. One or two young players to come through, Browning would be ideal. Barkley and Besic to fulfill their potential and take major steps forward. Martinez to learn a lot from this season.

A proper pre- season with us starting off fit and confident. Then, a little bit of luck.. Cofidence, fitness , team spirit and a good attitude don't cost millions. It is the least we should expect.
Andy Crooks     Posted 27/04/2015 at 17:42:42

Leighton Baines

Am I looking too much into this penalty-taking situation or are Everton now testing alternative penalty takers with a view to Leighton Baines leaving in the summer?

I've always thought that with the emergence of Luke Garbutt and Bryan Oviedo to vie for the left-back position that, despite Leighton Baines's obvious quality, at his age (30) this could be his last "pay day" contract and possibly Everton's last opportunity to get a decent price for him.

Personally, I would cash in on him and give Garbutt a run to the end of the season to prepare him for next season and encourage him to sign a new contract!

Simon Bell     Posted 21/04/2015 at 14:42:13

Is there something wrong with Mr Kenwright?

I was at the Southampton game and noticed that Bill seemed to leave after only 10 minutes or so.

I also noticed he did not appear to take up his seat at the Burnley game.

I saw a comment on here that made mention of him getting "Get well" wishes on TalkSport at the back end of last week.

He seems to be pretty regular in his seat.

So, is there something wrong with Mr Kenwright?

Ian Smitham     Posted 20/04/2015 at 23:07:00

Why Kone A must be Gone A

I fervently hope that the game against Burnley will be the last we see of Arouna Kone, one of the least effective signings since Ibrahim Bakayoko.

Was he really scoring regularly in the Belgian league as a teenager? Is this the same player who once vied with Didier Drogba for the title of Ivorian Footballer of the Year? Looking at the lonely, confused and only half-interested time server who turns out for Everton it is hard to believe either to be true.

It may be that Kones long history of illness and injuries including a lengthy bout with malaria, a cruciate ligament injury that required surgery and six months of rehab, and a cartilage injury which put his career on hold for the best part of a year, have taken their toll on a player who once appeared so promising but who has actually achieved a career average of about eight goals a season. Even setting aside scoring goals and looking at his other contributions, the kindest assessment is that they have become minimal.

He does not hold the ball well, he rarely wins aerial duels in front of goal, his reading of positions is weak and he runs into defenders and loses the ball far too often. The idea that he is an acceptable stand-in for Lukaku is ludicrous beyond words.

Now I know that many will point to Martinez as the chief culprit but the player is ultimately responsible for his performance. Martinez understandably saw the striker who was an asset to him at Wigan and believes or believed he may be an asset again, but that Kone probably disappeared with his last serious injury.

The time has come for him to play out the remainder of his career in a lower league and the kindest thing Martinez can do is to let him. Watching him struggle through matches is like watching a three-legged dog cross the road. The kindest thing is to let him go.
Peter Fearon     Posted 20/04/2015 at 21:40:30

The Case for Fair Play?

I've been thinking a lot this season about the Europa League, and European Football at Everton. I for one love it. I love the style of football, the different atmospheres, the city centre when away fans populate it, and the mixing of cultures. I love away games when Blues take 5,000 fans to Germany and France, and when my face and green hoodie end up on BBC News and the Liverpool Echo after getting tear-gassed....

All this leads me to ask, what do other Blues make of the possible entry to the Europa League via the Fair Play League? This hasn't really been discussed or mentioned anywhere I've seen, but here's my theory why it's possible. So stay with me here!

1) The top 4 in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League, with 5th place to the Europa League. Chelsea winning the League Cup means that 6th place qualifies for the Europa League this season too.

2) If Liverpool or Arsenal win the FA Cup and finish in the top 4, that Europa League spot will go to the 7th team in the Premier League, the FA have confirmed. If the 2 play each other, it does anyway.

3) If you top the Fair Play League you will qualify as England's representative, but must not be relegated.

Everton currently sit 6th in the Fair Play League, behind only Burnley and West Ham not already expected to qualify for Europe. So is there a case for Martinez to tell the players to respect the refs a bit more? From my understanding of how this is worked out, it's not solely based on red & yellow cards anymore.

Do we pray Burnley go down and West Ham have a meltdown??! I think it helps attract a better quality of player and raises the club's exposure too, you only have to look at opposing managers' comments after performances this season. If you take away the downside of the Sunday fixtures, I also think it can be a good opportunity to blood youngsters. Just look at Garbutt.

As long as Alcaraz doesn't play, obviously...

Martin Graves     Posted 15/04/2015 at 08:32:15

Martinez's priorities going forward

It looks as if we are now safe from being involved in a relegation scrap going into the final throws of this season. I for one am relieved. (I will not say 'happy' as we should never have been there.)

I don't see Martinez going anywhere. I did not see where his tenure was going a few months ago, but I think we have now got to unite behind him and look to the future.

With 4 months to go to the new season, what three things should Martinez prioritise for the 2015-16 season?

Let's make no mistake: next season is vital to the future of Roberto Martinez and Everton. A bad season again and he is gone. On top of that, it will be goodbye to Lukaku (certainly... if not already), Stones and McCarthy surely.

For me, the priorities would be in no particular order:

1) Sort out the goalkeeping situation. Howard is in the latter throws of his career now and I don't think he can be relied upon. A long-term vision, not squad players (what I feel Robles, though vindicated in his performances a few months back, will always be).

2) Sort out the centre-back issue. Stones and Jagielka are solid. What comes after is nothing short of disastrous. The period where Stones was out of the team was scary. We need options in this position

3) Find a playmaker. Someone who can unlock defences. Has drive, a range of passing and can score goals to build the team around, alongside Lukaku. Without this, the Martinez philosophy that he seems so wedded to cannot hope to work.

What would others' priorities be? For now, let's assume that getting rid of Martinez is not going to happen.

Mark Andrews     Posted 14/04/2015 at 13:09:46

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum: Never more true

So, Greg Dyke really believes the way forward to improve the game in this country is by investing more heavily in homegrown talent and ensuring our youngsters get a fair crack of the whip in breaking through to the top level? The man is deluding himself and is indeed trying to delude the rest of the gullible footballing fraternity into thinking social engineering is really going to produce a team of truly world class players to win the World Cup.

At a club level, here we are, outclassed in Europe, scrambling for safety in the league and wondering what we need to do to compete with the very best. Where are we as a football club going wrong? Is it the fault of the players, the manager, the board or any combination? Or is it our expectations that need reassessing? Are we kidding ourselves that the Everton of 2015 can really take us back to the glory days of yesteryear or was last season just a flash in the pan?

There is a key difference which stands out between the so-called "top sides" and Everton, which desperately needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

On paper, we may be in the top 20 richest clubs globally but our spending power just can't compete in attracting the elite players who can make a difference. This has a profound effect upon how our playing squad is formulated. Our investment in players is weighted massively towards developing homegrown talent. Fine, you (and Greg Dyke) might say. Grow your own rather than fork out megabucks for proven performers. All well and good to a degree... but if the balance is wrong, and the talent is second-best compared to oversees players, then we simply can't compete. And the balance at Everton is certainly wrong.

Look at the current top sides' 18-player squad composition between homegrown/foreign players over the past couple of weekends compared to Everton:

Chelsea 3/15 3/15
Man City 3/15 3/15
Arsenal 5/13 5/13
Man Utd 5/13 5/13
Liverpool 8/10 6/12
Southampton 7/11 7/11
Tottenham 6/12 7/11
Everton 12/6 11/7

Startling differences, with most of these clubs having at least twice as many overseas players in their teams than Everton. Why? We have the club motto of course, but it is others who seem to be demonstrating the sentiment whilst we continue to rely upon average talent which will produce nothing more than average results. Homegrown players, whilst certainly having the oft-quoted multiple qualities of grit, power, stamina, determination and all the rest of it, simply do not have the silky skills, the self-confidence, belief in their own ability and natural flair in abundance to take players on, pick their way through defences, and, in short, change games. How can we hope to compete domestically, let alone in Europe, when the cards are stacked in this way?

Do we have to continue to put up with this imbalance and turn out predictable players who lack imagination and panic under pressure? When did we last have a truly world class player in our side? More questions than answers, but one thing is for sure: our next world class player is very unlikely to be homegrown.

I would argue that there needs to be a radical shift in thinking at Board level and a recognition that, if we really do want to get into a position where we can start to compete with the very best, we need to plough more of our resources into identifying and developing global talent rather than channeling it domestically as Greg Dyke proposes and placing restrictions on foreigners. Granted, Mr Dyke, this won't help the national side one iota but, as far as Everton is concerned, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum is the order of the day.

Frank Mullin     Posted 09/04/2015 at 10:29:56

The next few weeks...

With so much anti-Martinez sentiment doing the rounds ofn ToffeeWeb and the stadium walls, what do his detractors, not-so-sures and zealots want over the next few weeks?

Let's face it, bar a disaster or unbelievable form from all the bottom six, we are safe for next year. I can see that the Barcodes have imploded with yet another prospective manager and with their derby defeat, look in need of something very different!

If our Toffees hit a bad or poorly motivated run, will that be enough for Bill Kenwright to call time on this Spanish Indecision?

If they have a fine finis, eg, five wins out of seven or better, will BK see the huge middle bulk of the season as a repaired blip?

These seven games may take on a life of their own. Once mathematically safe, will the players go into flip-flop mode to really underline the lack of motivation and loss of confidence?

I find myself wanting to see a win at Swansea followed by turgid defeats to the end of the season to bring this whole question to a resolution.

BK can argue that a "promising" end of season means that finishing 14th or 15th can be written off as second season syndrome and that it has served EFC well with Moyes and Kendall not to be trigger happy!

RM's comments after the Southampton game hardly inspire me to think that he is learning or developing. Still too much unfounded public positivity statements!

We all want this season to be over but what do you want for games 32 to 38?

Trevor Powell     Posted 06/04/2015 at 11:47:46

Why can't we have a buyer?

It seems funny that, for many years now, our Chairman has been trying to sell the club. No buyers to be found... yet, as soon as the Villa chairman decides to sell, the buyer is available straight away.

Then, the world famous West Brom are put up for sale and straight away, a consortium are ready to buy.

What is it about us that no-one likes us? As soon as we sign a player, paying him big bucks and good wages, he goes public with his desire to leave!!

And our true blue chairman keeps trying to get rid of us, or so he says in public... Does no-one really love us?

Paul Kennedy     Posted 06/04/2015 at 10:36:15

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