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August 2014 Archive   |   Submit a topic

What's left on the shelf?

What’s left on the shelf?

The transfer window closes at 11pm on Tuesday 31st August. Kean, Rodriguez and others remain on our books. The much needed right back and reinforcements are not.

So, with a lot of our reported targets now settling in at other clubs, what is left?

Well, Rabiot and Koulibaly are still at Juve and Napoli respectively but they no longer seem like viable targets given our financial position. Sabitzer is still at Leipzig, although whether he ever saw his future being at Everton is another matter.

Indeed, whether we sign anyone at all might be depend on whether we can shift any of our unwanted, highly paid or Richarlison. Hopefully we don’t sell Richarlison.

But I thought it would be interesting to see what is still on the shelves, possibly ready for sale. Obviously, there are dozens and dozens so I’ve stuck to those we’ve been reportedly interested in of late.

Right Backs

Aarons is still helping Norwich to leak goals in the Premier League.

Patterson is getting a taste of the Champions League in Armenia with Rangers.

Dagba is still struggling for first team football at PSG.

Dalot and Odriozola are probably hoping for loans from Man Utd and Real Madrid respectively, with the latter possibly set for Fiorentina.

Maitland-Niles is still at Arsenal but probably wants to play centre-mid. Perhaps we should let him.

Centre Midfield

McKennie seems to be a late contender for sale from Juve as they fail to shift the likes of Ramsey.

Svanberg is still at Bologna after a lot of interest in January and earlier in the summer.

Loftus-Cheek is obviously surplus to requirements at Chelsea although didn’t really impress at Fulham last season.

DeBeek looks likely to spend a lot of time on the bench at Man Utd unless someone rescues him.

Attacking midfield

Roman Faivre is still at Brest, looking like an extremely talented left footed playmaker who will go on to bigger and better things.

Pedro Goncalves is still at Sporting after banging in tonnes of goals last season and looking like the next Bruno Fernandes

Wingers

If we haven’t yet had our fill of wingers…

Sarr is still at Watford, carrying their hopes of staying up with him.

Doku is still at Rennes after an excellent Euros but with the newly acquired Sulemana ready to take his place if they sell.

Boga is still at Sasuoulo looking set for another season of goals and assists in Serie A.

Hudson-Odoi is still on the bench at Chelsea, but looks like a remarkable talent if given a chance.

Neres is still at Ajax but possibly getting squeezed out by the development of Anthony and acquisition of Berghuis from Feyenoord.

Malcom – it wouldn’t be summer without a rumour about Malcom but he remains in St Petersburg.

O’Neill is still the one good footballer in Burnley.

Strikers

Hlozek looks set to do great things in the Czech league again, along with Sima who scored a beauty against Leicester in the Europa League and also looks like a star in the making.

Edouard is still at Celtic but now playing second fiddle to the brilliant, out of nowhere, Furuhashi.

Dike is back in the US with Orlando, having done very well at Barnsley.

Hoppe is still in Bundesliga 2 with Schalke.

So until the clock strikes 11 on Tuesday night there remains some hope of better things (along with some risk of worse). Seems likely our business is not yet complete, but whether anyone listed above ends up at Goodison is another matter.


Robert Tressell     Posted 26/08/2021 at

Is Financial Fair Play just for us?

I have submitted a few articles to ToffeeWeb and often contemplated others, but I have always decided not to bother if I felt I did not have the necessary depth of knowledge of the subject. In this instance, I know I don’t have the depth of knowledge but have decided to go ahead anyway. In fact, my lack of knowledge knows no bounds and can be termed minuscule or less.

Indeed, if I consider the rules associated with Financial Fair Play, assuming there are some, my knowledge is even less than the less than minuscule previously mentioned. Let’s just call it zero, while we cannot go negative.

The limit of my assumed knowledge is derived from the three words themselves which lead me to believe that, to level the playing field, your outgoings should be related to your financial incomings and you cannot spend money you don’t have. Perhaps someone else can post and enlighten me further?

However, without ever reading about Financial Fair Play, consciously avoiding the subject wherever possible, and believing it may never affect Everton, I have found that, in the last few days, it has figuratively jumped up and bitten me. Firstly, we have made bids for two young players considered outstanding prospects which I personally consider quite low, even for opening bids. Indeed the Rangers manager, who needs no introduction, described the bid for his player as “a joke”.

“Ah, that’s because of FFP,” some fellow Blue friends tell me. In neither case has the bid been increased as yet.

Next, I am reading in the press that our newly appointed manager (whom I am quite happy with, by the way) has stated that our fans understand our problems with Financial Fair Play. Well... I for one do not understand really, especially when the next day I read that Real Madrid – who are £1.15 billion in debt – have made an opening offer of £137 million for Mbappé of PSG. Previously, I had read of other Premier League clubs making large bids for players and actual signings for large fees being reported.

All this leads me to ask: Are we different? Are the rules just for us? Or is it that the rules are solely guidelines and we are the only ones abiding by them?

Or is it all down to my lack of understanding?
Clive Rogers     Posted 25/08/2021 at

Who is the best signing we ever made?

It's all about luck really. Finding the right man, who comes in and all falls into place. I would put Peter Reid and Andy Gray in that category. Their signings were an alignment of fortune that has never touched us again.

Seamus Coleman was the best value we ever bought. Duncan McKenzie, Andre Kanchelskis, Bobby Collins, Gary Lineker…

For me, it is Alan Ball. We were a big club and he was a big signing. He was a force, a whingeing demanding dynamo, who was a really good footballer. A perfect example of judging the player, not the man.

Was our greatest ever manager, Harry Catterick, right to get rid of him? Could it all have been different?

After Alan Ball, it would be Bob Latchford for me. The celebrations with Gordon Lee when Bob landed the Daily Express prize for scoring 30 goals in a season, the 30th coming during the rout of Chelsea on the last day of the season, is special.Gordon was a man lacking in emotion. Not that day.

I think that it is worth adding that the relationship between Gordon Lee, his family and our club, make me proud to be a Blue.


Andy Crooks     Posted 18/08/2021 at

Change or No Change?

Travelling to Goodison Park for the match on Saturday, I pondered on change. A new manager, a new season. Change for the sake of it? Or change for the better?

The first change I didn’t like is that my parking of choice in the car park of the Elm Tree was no longer available. Indeed, The Elm Tree was no longer available. A large hole in the ground where the pub once was, surrounded by steel fencing, made me scout around for alternatives. The garage next door was handy and so I parked there.

The usual £5 was paid but I was hemmed in after the game, and it took 30 minutes for the dozens of cars to move, allowing me to exit. To be fair, that was pretty much the experience with the Elm Tree car park, so no change there.

Making my way to The Brick, I discovered it completely packed, with 5 deep to get to the bar. Loud Everton-themed music and lots of banter. Friends I hadn’t seen for a long time and many stories to tell and respond to. The big change here was the payment system. Last time I was in this pub, cash was king. Credit cards were rare. That had all changed.

There is a favourite story of Victoria Wood in which she recounts the tale of modern morals and attitudes by pointing out the many people thronging the counter of a convenience store on a Saturday night, shouting out orders for condoms: “Three packs of the Strawberry flavour” – whilst a chap in a dirty raincoat with his collar pulled up whispers “Twenty Benson & Hedges please.”

I felt like that chap at the bar. The barmaid was waving around a contactless terminal, and it appeared everyone was paying by card. The man next to me looked worried. “I don’t have a card,” he said. “Will they take cash?” (They did.)

The price of a pint of Guinness seemed to be the same however at £3.50, so I ordered two. I wasn’t going to stand in that queue again.

We watched the Mancs thrashing Leeds, with hopes being raised when Leeds equalised, only for them to be dashed. No change there.

My mate Paul and his lad had had difficulties getting their Everton season tickets on a card, so the club had asked them to get there early with ID to get paper replacements. They had arrived at 9:30 am but were seen immediately and were in the pub for 10. It was now 1:00 pm and they were talking broken biscuits. No change there.

Lots of talk about the missing isolators, but no mention whatsoever of the 31-year-old helping police with their enquiries... When the team came through, it was felt it was the best Rafa could field, and we must hope.

The queue to get in to Goodison Park at my Main Stand entrance was a hundred yards long but moved quickly enough. My season ticket was on my iPhone and, at the turnstiles, I showed it to the chap and despite pressing it down every which way, it wouldn’t beep. He looked at the screen said, “Sod it!” and let me in. Everton with technical difficulties? No change.

Nice to see the couple who sit next to me; we chatted about everything except the pandemic itself. You don’t like to, just in case... For the record, I hardly saw a mask in the whole stadium.

Rafa was announced to the crowd and – despite the Guardian writer referring to it as ‘polite applause’ – he was received with a long, sustained ovation.

Everton started out well and the wingers had plenty of the ball but without any end product. Then Keane’s cock-up. A fair amount of despair and head-in-the-hands moments from the faithful. Armstrong took his goal well and nearly had another a few minutes later, Pickford warming his hands for the first (and thankfully only) time in the match.

Whatever Rafa may do with his defence, only time will tell... but I’m clear on one thing. If Keane and Holgate are his defensive pairing of choice, I’ll show my arse in Lewis’s window.

There were a few boos at half-time and the talk was of what needed to be done. The last time Everton had won a match after being behind at half-time was six years ago. Change was coming...

Rafa did change things around, swapping Gray's and Richarlison’s roles and (I think) swapping Holgate and Keane around. The big revelation for me was Doucouré. Last season he was a shadow of his Watford persona, clinging to the coattails of Allan with hardly an original thought in his head.

Today, he strode around the pitch like a latter-day Galloping Gourmet. Sharp, peppery tackles, simple side courses and a spread of passes like I’ve not seen for a long time. Then his pièce de résistance. A magnificent turn and volley into the top corner. A goal to win Goal of the Season for this and many other seasons. Easily my Man of the Match.

Cross after cross produced near misses and of course goals, with Match of the Day pointing out that Everton had 17 crosses in this match against an average of 12 last season. Change there then.

Richarlison was moody and magnificent. When Rafa subbed him late on in the match (a good man-management decision), he made his way to the touchline in typical fashion, head down, shoulders hunched like a lovelorn pigeon, trudging off whilst milking every second of a thoroughly deserved ovation.

Iwobi, Mina and Gordon came on and did their bit, with Iwobi ignoring the snipers and putting in a decent shift, getting involved in two of the goals. He got applauded! Change there as well.

Let’s all hope the changes are sustained for the next match.


Tony McDonald     Posted 16/08/2021 at

Mugs Away 2

11 years ago, I wrote this piece for ToffeeWeb just before the first game of the season 2010-11.

It wasn’t a particularly illuminating piece and actually seems to be mainly moaning, venting and looking for answers rather than providing any.

The comments below the article were illuminating and at least let me know that, however (miserable or narked) I was feeling at the time, I certainly wasn’t alone.

At the time, I was 51 and if there was a gist or point (?) it was probably about Evertonians ageing and what the (ie: my) future, re football and Everton had in store.

At one point, I asked: "I’m curious as to what happens to us (Evertonians) in the next 10 to 20 years. Does this bitching and moaning just get worse? (or better?) Do we stop going to the match?"

(Bu the way my first game was against Man Utd at home in 1966, a night game, 0-0.)

Well, here’s an odd thing: I can now answer my own questions.

The last 12 years just whizzed by and now the 62-year-old me can tell the 51-year-old me what happens, which is kind of… freaky daddio.

So, Eugene, you’ll still have a season ticket and you’ll still spend too much time giving a shit what Everton do. You’ll still feel the same about Everton’s chances of winning stuff (nb: none at all!) and you’ll still feel the same about about the hideous corrupt nature of football - The Premier League, FIFA, UEFA, Sky etc etc (ie: I don't believe in overreacting but I hope the earth is hit by a meteor).

But, despite all this, I’m still Pavlov’s Blue. I'm aware that my behaviour makes no logical sense, but I just go with it.

Going to the match now is not something I do because I'm looking for success (which is just as fucking well!!!); it’s now basically something that gets me out of the house, guarantees me a great curry and chips (at least I can rely on The Goodison Supper Bar) and 'the match' gives me a sense of… um... ’something’ (?) that nothing else can really provide.

Home games now are often extremely underwhelming and frustrating and possibly detrimental to one's seven chakras, but occasionally Goodison can provide moments of euphoria and community that can make a 62-year-old feel 16 again.

So, for now, it’s a case of once more into the breach, mugs away for season 55 and... up the Toffees!


Eugene Ruane     Posted 10/08/2021 at

(All we are saying, is) Give Raf a chance!

We are less than a week out from the season start and I think most Everton fans would be viewing that with some trepidation. Our recent friendly, 'low key' transfer activity, questions marks over a number of players, and our financial position, definitely give the impression of a club not ideally prepared for the season ahead.

It is very easy for supporters to try to scapegoat someone for this and it's usually the manager. In my opinion, this would be both unproductive and completely unfair. I say 'unproductive' because I believe that, at the start of the season, we need the whole fanbase to get behind the team and the manager as that's in Everton's best interest.

However, my main point is that we can't reasonably blame Rafa Benitez for where we are now. He has come in at the last minute and inherited the current squad. With the late season finish, Euro 2020, Copa America, and Olympic Games, this summer was never going to be easy for transfers. When you throw in our FFP (or maybe it should be FFS?) situation, Rafa is reminding me of the Black Knight: "It's only a flesh wound!"

The guy has inherited a poisoned chalice, it seems. In all his interviews, so far, he has struck me as being very pragmatic and realistic. I believe he took on the job knowing it would be difficult but vowing to do his best with what he has. Personally, I admire that attitude and I really hope he is successful.

Maybe at the end of the season, I might think differently… but, in the meantime, I believe that we should get behind him and give him a fair go.


Frank Wolfe     Posted 09/08/2021 at

Happy Birthday, Mr Bingham

Former Everton manager Billy Bingham is celebrating his 90th birthday. So happy birthday Billy.

Billy took over the reins from a physically and mentally depleted Harry Catterick despite the fans’ wish for Don Revie, Bobby Robson or Brian Clough to be the next Everton manager.

He promptly turned the majority of us fans against him by selling Howard Kendall, Joe Royle and Colin Harvey and bringing in sub-standard replacements like Jim Pearson (although Bob Latchford was a brilliant signing) and Joe Harper.

The football was dire. His favourites like Bryan Hamilton and Dai Davies were even worse. We used to leave Goodison Park with sore elbows after throwing so many cushions onto the pitch, amongst other things. It got to the point where announcements had to be made about “refraining from throwing objects”.

Billy blew the league by failing to beat teams like Carlisle United and Luton Town. He will go down (in my view) as one of the worst Everton managers of all time. His only saving grace was buying Duncan Mckenzie (our very own Pele) but, apart from that, the majority of time at Goodison was completely forgettable.

Happy birthday all the same, Mr Bingham.
Colin Glassar     Posted 05/08/2021 at

The Easiest Time To Create A Successful Team Is Now

Barcelona getting a stuffing from Bayern Munich is apparently down to poor recruitment stretching back seasons an amazing claim given their resources and pulling power. Ditto Real Madrid, Man Utd and Chelsea – not to mention money bags and perennial chokers, Man City, failing to replace Aguerro, Kompany et al.

The issue is the "elite" market they inhabit no longer exists. Young heirs to Ronaldo and Messi have not come through; the game is now a homogenous lump with little differentiation between the "best" and the rest.

"10 out of 10" players no longer stream out of South America and Africa to transform fortunes.

Never has there been such an opportunity for a good coach to forge a team from the mass of "same-iness" to upset the once unassailable elite.

That lad at Wolves did it – why can't we?


Barry Rathbone     Posted 16/08/2020 at

The things I love about Everton

Go easy on me — it’s the first time I’ve posted in the mailbag!

I’m sitting in the hospital with my Everton made 5-year-old son, decked out in his Everton kit! He fell off monkey bars and broke his arm...

I’m sitting reading ToffeeWeb and getting more and more depressed so we decided to cheer him (and me) up by listing all the things we love about Everton. Here’s what we came up with in 5 minutes:

The Everton Crest
Seeing Goodison Park on the horizon
Visiting St Luke’s Church before the game
Andy King's goal
Most games in top flight
Amokachi's semi-final
Tim Cahill celebration
Big Duncan's headers vs Man Utd
Sheedy’s free-kicks
Baines’s free-kicks
Peter Reid (he sent him a good luck tweet!)
Neville Southall
Rooney’s First goal
Rooney’s West-Ham goal
Singing at away games
It’s A Grand Old Team song
Z-Cars
Goodson Park
Amber away kit (I had to buy him one as he broke his arm!)
Howard’s Way
Dixie Dean
My 1990s Everton scrapbook
My Kevin Ratcliffe jersey on my living room wall
Seeing an Evertonian abroad
Asking any scouser we meet "Are you an Evertonian?"
Richarliason song (minus the f-word!)
Neville Southall – best keeper ever
Dixie Dean – best striker ever
Holy Trinity
EitC
Calling RS fans plastic
1984
1985
1987
1995
Best club in the world. My boy's words!

Add if I’ve missed anything!

Thanks!

Steve and Joseph Brown


Stephen Brown     Posted 09/08/2020 at 16:28:01

One bright light (and it could have been two)

Amidst the gloom and depression of the last 12 months of football, there is one bright light that some of us may have missed.

The average age of the 11 players taking the field during the season was the lowest for 21 years. The season 1998-99 had an average age of 25 years and 8½ months. The team this season just finished was only just over 26 years old (by 24 days).

And even better was that the substitutes put on the field (weighted to the minutes on the pitch) brought the average age of the players down by another 17 days to just over 26 years old.

And all of this was despite Coleman, Baines, Walcott, and Sigurdsson being over 30 and combining to be effectively 2 of the 11 players usually selected (or ineffectually, if you wish). They were on the pitch for 6,133 minutes between them out of the 37,620 total player-minutes (38 games x 90 x 11 players).

Put in Jonjoe Kenny at right-back and our back five and front two averaged under 25 at the end of the season. So a revolution started by Marco Silva to reduce the age of the team has been taken even further.

In our last match, for a brief 8 minutes, we had Kean, Gordon and Branthwaite on the field together. Three teenagers. As we all know, we just need to sort out the midfield and maybe in more ways than one!

Another fact about the change is that Coleman is now the oldest player and even he will not be 32 until October. Sylvan Distin was over 37 when he retired, Davy Weir was 36½, Alan Stubbs 35½, Richard Gough 39 and Dave Watson 38.

Perhaps it is a measure of the speed needed in today’s Premier League that players who we largely revere as being solid and dependable, would not be able to make it today. Perhaps a good reason to think that Ivanovic’s dream of having one last pay day on Merseyside can be filed as just that, a dream.

So our future is perhaps brighter than we think. A team growing up together with just the need for four guys in the middle of the park to protect the back four and provide the service to the two up front. Fanciful? Yes, and maybe one that will bring howls of derision for team selection:

Pickford
Kenny, Branthwaite, Holgate, Digne
Iwobi, Davies, Gbamin, Gordon
Richarlison, Kean

This line-up has an average age of 23 and just 3 days. They should be only able to get better, although some of you will suggest that some of these 11 will never get any better.

Give it time and Carlo...

And some postscripts:

1) The team In 1998-99 was managed by whom? Yes, the man famed for bringing in every “has-been”, every faded star, to ever to wear a blue shirt. Mark Hughes, Paul Gascoigne, Jesper Blomqvist, David Ginola all brought to the club by Walter Smith. But in his first season, he sent out a team every week with at least one teenager and on many occasions with three: Dunne, Ball and Cadamateri or Jeffers.

2) And the only team even younger? The one in 1984-85 and 1985-86. The Champions were an average age 24 years 4½ months. Not even Andy Gray was over 30. It just proved Hanson was right – “You never win anything with kids”.

3) And there could have been a second bright light to this piece – but that was extinguished on 26th July. It could have been 12 games unbeaten at home which would have only been the third time this century that we have gone so long without a defeat at Goodison. Just have to start all over again.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts     Posted 06/08/2020 at 14:56:15

The solution to marginal VAR calls: no lines!

It seems the problem with marginal VAR calls is not the principle that players shouldn't be punished for having odd body parts ruled against for being mere millimeters offside. That is what has riled fans of the game, seeing the virtual lines used on TV at Stockley Park to make these obviously ridiculous hairline decisions.

The solution: Don't show the lines! Premier League fans watching on TV could no longer have the lines shown on replays to reflect offside calls when the 2020-21 season begins.
Michael Kenrick     Posted 06/08/2020 at Thu, 06 Aug 2020 08:32:58 +0100

The Pickford Indicator

I watch a lot of Everton games. Recently, I have noticed differences in Jordan Pickford’s demeanour before games. As the players line up in the tunnel, most look relaxed but focused. For most games, Pickford conforms and he looks attentive. However, in other games, normally against lesser opposition, he looks disengaged and perhaps too confident. Worst is his over-friendliness with the opposition players.

Before this week’s Carabao Cup match against Lincoln City, Pickford was cocky, pally with the opposition, and not concentrating on the game. Within 20 seconds of play, Lincoln City had scored.

Though Pickford could do little to save the shot, the goal was indirectly his fault. His body language filters through to the rest of the defence and that collective nonchalance allowed Lincoln City to score.

In future, I ask you to look at Pickford’s behaviour before the game. Is he twitching around like a naughty schoolboy or is he attentive and focused? Does he joke with the opposition or is he readying himself for the challenge ahead?

Pickford is an experienced player in a key position, the rest of the team look to him for leadership. He ought to set a more focused tone to cut out the lazy defending early on in matches.


George Wilson     Posted 31/08/2019 at 13:23:41

What just happened?

It’s been three days now since the Aston Villa debacle and I, for one, can’t get my head around what I watched. It wasn't just the performance as a whole but also the individual mistakes made by what we class as our best players, all with plenty of Premier League experience.

From Gomes constantly giving possession away and not seeing the simple pass to Sigurdsson trying 20-yard passes that end up on the back row of the stand.

Then we have Coleman either not controlling a simple pass, completely forgetting the ball, or floating crosses to the back post where the smallest man on the pitch was when everybody else in the ground could see all he had to do was put it low and hard between the keeper and the defenders. It was as if we were playing with a fly away when Villa had a casey, our touch was that bad.

Calvert-Lewin is not the answer up front. He is an option from the bench for me, his composure in front of goal needs a lot of work as was seen with his gilt-edged chance at Villa.

I think Silva will start Kean on Wednesday against Lincoln and Calvert-Lewin will be relegated to the bench for future matches.

The main issue for me is that we have not replaced Gana, we have brought in Gbamin and Delph but neither are the same type of player as Gana. I think a direct replacement would have stabilised the team and meant less tinkering with the style of play.

I hope Villa was a blip but feel we will be seeing plenty more blips as this season rolls on.

Thanks, Everton, for spoiling a Bank Holiday weekend, FFS.


Peter Rogers     Posted 26/08/2019 at 09:05:08

Our Identity is...?

This question was sparked by Klopp’s weekend statement that “our identity is intensity” – it brilliantly sums up his team, philosophy and on-field fulfilment.

It made me think about our identity? Historically it was “the School of Science” but, to be honest, that is now more a homage to the past than any real basis in any team since the 60s. It made a brief resurrection under one of its former star pupils in our mid-80s team but, since then, our stylish playing philosophy has plummeted.

I cannot even describe a style or philosophy under both Walter Smith and Mike Walker other than “kick and hope”.

The “Dogs of War” under Joe Royle is fondly remembered because we won a trophy but “Keep it tight, pinch a goal” under David Moyes just became a chore despite at times a very talented squad.

Roberto Martinez’s “tippy-tappy” football appealed to both “School of Science” and Barça aficionados but defensive frailties scuppered that ascension.

Ronald Koeman, despite a Dutch heritage of “total football”, played some of the most mind-numbing, haphazard dross I have seen.

And Sam Allardyce did exactly what it said on the tin, so don’t expect any fandangos on “Strictly…”.

When you look at managers such as Diego Simeone (high intensity, aggressive), Jurgen Klopp (as mentioned), Pep Guardiola (possession with direction) it’s clear the motion of travel. I am impressed by the philosophies of Daniel Farke at Norwich and Nuno Espirito Santo at Wolves where you can see a clear identity of what is demanded, incidentally achieved with a lot less funds than we have spent, I would imagine.

Marco Silva — what is his philosophy? The players you have is a factor but actually the demands, the coaching and the sheer personality of the manager or coach is the key.

You see this with Klopp, Farke and Santo, their players know the expectations placed on them and you can see they don’t want to face the manager post-match if they have been lacking in what was required. For sure I don’t get the feeling Walcott and Schneiderlin give a toss once about ‘facing the manager”.

I don’t see us playing a pressing game, I don’t see us playing 4-3-3 (supposedly Silva’s preferred format), I don’t see us playing total football, and I don’t see us as ‘dogs of war’.

Football is a ruthless business and, for me, the issue is, when a manager tries to accommodate players into his style and thus compromises his philosophy, then the taxi (or Uber nowadays) is warming up its engine.

Remember Howard Kendall brought in players far inferior in talent to the guys they replaced in most cases but they were successful because they did the job he demanded without question.

Three games in, what is our identity?


Dave McDowell     Posted 26/08/2019 at 07:46:24

A numbers game we can never win?

This FourFourTwo article: Every Premier League club by squad value – how much is your side worth? lists the possible estimated values of all the Premier League squads at sale.

We are ranked 7th at £471 million, with Man City coming in first at £1.1 billion, not too far behind them come our neighbours and then follow the usual offenders who deny us our chances of booking our cheap Easyjet flights to Europe.

With those across the park and Man City so far out in front, that leaves 3rd to 7th within reach, for argument's sake. Let's be optimistic and dismiss the chances of our two fellow 'best of the rest, also-rans' from the Midlands. That leaves, in no particular order, Arsenal, Spurs, Man Utd and Chelsea (and Everton?).

The inclusion of us in that list will raise a chuckle or two should any fans from those teams I've mentioned read this article, and there will be a few ToffeeWebbers joining in, no doubt! Showing my confidence in our chances, I've taken the coward’s option and placed us in parenthesis with a question mark...

It seems all a bit too impossible to defy gravity and climb into 3rd or 4th; 5th or 6th might be in play, but we will have to climb over two of that lot mentioned above to do it. I personally don't want to qualify for the Europa League in 7th because someone else won the FA Cup.

And so back to the FourFourTwo article, has our fate this season been shown to us after just two games played? There's an unmistakably symmetrical relationship that defines our league: the more your squad is worth, the higher you finish.

Just maybe though I was a bit too quick in dismissing one of those two Midlands rivals. I seem to remember one of them being capable of miracles recently? There might be some solace to be taken from this.

With an almost apathetic feel to some of those TV glamour teams above us last season and low spending this window, should we really be too fearful of Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea or should they be looking at the extra dinner plate that has suddenly appeared at the high table and be wondering who's going to lose some of their portion? Then again maybe it's just a numbers game?



Rob Marsh     Posted 22/08/2019 at 22:12:00

Friday 23 August — For One Night Only!

Do you know the song “Do you believe in signs?” sung to the same tune that Cher sings “Do you believe in love?”

Probably not... but on Friday, 23 August “For One Night Only” Everton could be sitting proudly at the top of the English Premier League! Above all the Sky Six, above the current BBC darling teams! Yes, we could be waking up Saturday morning basking in glory!

So I return my original question: “Do you believe in signs?” I have noticed and made a mental note of the number of times our beloved Blues have been one win away from breaking into the top 3, top 4, Sky 6 – only to screw it up! Why has this been so!
Unlucky, frozen at the thought of joining the big time, or just plain poor performance, or a curse, or a combination of all four?

Subsequently we have gone on to fall out of the race and drop down the positions. Do I believe any of this! Of course not! “You are only as good as your last game” and all those other soundbytes! But, if we do win on Friday night against the Villains and when I wake up Saturday morning and listen to Jeff Snelling and his cronies or the intellectually challenged Saturday Football AM and they whisper “Everton are top of the Premier League” I might just believe in Cher!
David Cooper     Posted 20/08/2019 at 22:24:51

Happy Holidays!

As time marches forward, and I inevitably age, one thing that strikes me as brutally apparent: time moves fast. At 40 years of age, it seems God shifts it into 5th gear, and off we all go.

By the time we blink, it'll be Christmas. And that got me thinking...

From November 30th, just on the cusp of the happy part of the year, and just after our American Thanksgiving, through the New Year, our schedule is absolute hell. Leicester, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal, and Man City are 6 of our 8 league games in that time. I think it might be more fun sticking your face in a fan, than circumnavigating that set of fixtures!

I'm very, very fearful of a repeat of last season. A Holiday malaise must be avoided. Somehow, we need to grab points during this spell of horror games, and I pray the team is up for it.

We also simply must maximize points NOW. I was very critical of the draw at Palace. I'm not a negative fellow, I just realize the start of the season is relatively easy for us, and with the Holiday Season fixture list, I'd argue we have to be Top 4 going into it. We will, inevitably, slide back a bit. We need to make hay while the sun is shining. It's critical, in my opinion, that we grab maximum points now.

I realize you need to take it one game at a time. That cliche has its merits. But taking it one game at a time should be thought as, winning 3 points at a time. At least for Everton at this snapshot in time. Or else we may be in for a really rough season, and a sub-par 8th to 9th place finish.

Negativity be damned, but caution for the future, and a reality check for what we must accomplish in the here and now.
Jamie Crowley     Posted 20/08/2019 at 16:25:28

From Tony's Seat 2

Thanks to the kindness of Tony Abrahams, I got another chance to see the Blues live again. It was another wonderful experience. I heard a lot of lads at the ground complaining that we were shite. To me, it was magnificent: the siren, Z-Cars... all of it. When I watch Everton on TV, I can see when we are shite. On the rare occasion that I get to a game, we are never shite. It is just special.

Dave Abrahams and his lovely wife June picked me up and we went to Dave's house for breakfast. We sat in (June's) beautiful garden in the sun and talked about the new stadium, about what the team might be, and other Everton stuff. These are just wonderful people and the welcome the family gave me to the home was beyond words.

June gave us a lift to "The Stuart" in Bedford Road where we met up with Pete Mills and his pals for a few pints. Thanks, Pete.

A stroll to the ground, nervous but walking on air. I was sat behind Dave's grandson, Cameron, a top, top lad. There was a flag provided and, frankly, I would have waved it like a mad excited bastard had not Cameron not quite coolly desparaged it as a kind of Red thing (quite right, Cameron).

After the game, I was suffering a bit from the prolapsed disc so Dave and I got on the bus. Due to road works, the bus inched along and after an hour we were short of the city centre. The bus was driven by a probationary driver so there was an inspector on board. Dave asked that we be let off but it was more than his job was worth and way too dangerous.

Anyway, a girl was going to vomit due to the heat in the bus so they opened the door. Dave seized the opportunity and leapt off with her. I was too slow and the doors shut. I had no clue where I was going so Dave tried to get back on, but the inspector was having none of it. So, the bus edged into the town with Dave walking along side and me seated, exchanging the odd wave.

The night in the Excelsior was pretty special. Derek, John MacFarlane, John Rafferty, Keith and Sam and Neil, Ray and a few lads who joined us. Irish music and too much drink. The fact that Neil and Derek missed their trains kind of shows how it went. Really top guys and great company.

I enjoyed the match, live really does give a different perspective. I think Mina has a real presence. I think we look solid. Richarlison was poor, Calvert-Lewin works so hard. I thought it was a team with loads of potential.

Finally, Kean is going to be a star. I have been lucky enough to see his home debut. He will be magnificent.

Thanks to Dave, June and their family for a great time. Thanks to Michael and Lyndon, without this brilliant site I would never have met these good people.


Andy Crooks     Posted 19/08/2019 at 21:30:02

'Everton' loco nameplate up for auction

I'm sure many of you who have been lucky enough to take the stadium tour or to have used the main stand at some point will have seen the 'Everton' locomotive nameplate that adorns the wall which came from the former steam engine that bore its name till it was scrapped.

Well, these locos had two nameplates, one for either side of the boiler.

The club has one in its ownership, with the second about to go to auction, so if you have a spare £20 -£25,000 you might consider buying a very special piece of sporting history — if the club doesn't decide to out-bid you all to have a matching pair!

Great Central Railwayana Auctions: 7 September 2019

Simon Smith     Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:10:01

Franck Ribéry

Just browsing the Sunday gossip column and we have been linked with a move for 36-year old Franck Ribéry who is a free agent after leaving Bayern.

Personally I can’t see it happening but if it were to happen what do people think of this?


Peter Roberts     Posted 18/08/2019 at 12:42:01

The Shapes of Things to Come

I'm too long in the tooth to get too excited about first-day results. The shock of the 1-4s against Coventry and Spurs. The joy of Cottee's hat-trick debut. The shock of how awful we were on Bilic's debut defeat to Crystal Palace.

One thing the opening day always gives is an insight into the manager's thoughts and some home truths about the team.

I thought we had a good transfer window. It would have been better with another centre-back, but I'm a fan of Mina, Keane and Holgate and every Chelsea fan I know would have happily sold us Zouma.

Now it's down to Silva. Yesterday, he played last season's team, with Schneiderlin for Gana. Started brightly, missed chances. Very solid back four. Lost Gomes, midfield fell apart. Bringing on the unfit Gbamin was a poor decision that told me what Silva thinks of Davies. Missed chances again.

Up front, we were last season's mishmash. Calvert-Lewin works well, can hold it up well, but is often isolated. We all know that, if we have him as the pivot, we'll have enough good days to get us 8th, with a possible puncher's chance in a cup.

Hang on, we could do something different here. Kean was busting to play yesterday. Why not give him an hour running amok till he gets tired? You could keep the existing shape and have him behind or around Calvert-Lewin. Or possibly have them in a front three with Richarlison?

Of course, I'm assuming Iwobi was bought for the fast, strong, some goals role. I'd start him on Saturday as well. I'd be tempted by him, Kean and Richarlison up front. Pace, strength and goals.

I often read people on here telling me that Silva 'only plays one way'. That way doesn't work often enough for me. Our attack us like a jigsaw puzzle with the wrong pieces. Every so often they crowbar a good picture, without convincing me that it's going to work consistently.

I'd like Silva to be bolder at the start of games, rather than waiting till games pass us by. If that means sacrificing hard-working players like Calvert-Lewin, Bernard, Sigurdsson from time to time, so be it.

Lots more shapes with this squad. Here's what I'd try on Saturday:

Pickford
Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne
Gbamin/Delph
Gomes, Sigurdsson
Iwobi, Kean, Richarlison

My point is that Silva has options now. It's up to him to be bold and creative. He showed last season he can (eventually) organise a defence. Now it's time for the forwards. Yesterday's last-season rehash won't cut it for me. Time for something bolder. Time for different shapes.


Paul Tran     Posted 11/08/2019 at 17:29:43

Now versus then at Everton...

Some Evertonians were feeling a little bit deflated the moment the Transfer Window closed. Seemingly close to signing some big names, the window closed with only one new addition to the squad.

On a personal level, I think we should have gotten a centre-half or two. Not because I’m an ex-professional footballer or a mathematic genius, it was just simple maths: two centre-halves left and we needed to replace them. But, seeing as none of us know what’s in store this season, and all realise that Moshiri, Brands and Silva want the same success as the rest of us, let’s look at it another way…

Marcel Brand picks up his phone and starts to call the number of a football agent he knows well. He knows this agent, as well as most other football agents, because he has invested time with them, and built up a relationship and friendship of honesty and straight-talking business. He has always treated them with courtesy and professionalism as businessmen. Over a number of years of doing business this way, Marcel is very well respected.

Marcel rings the number of the agent.

“Ah, Marcel, great to hear from you. How is everything?”

“We need to talk,” Marcel says.

A meeting is then arranged at a venue where professional men meet to talk in private about big business matters.

Roughly, this is how I see Marcel operating. The agent and venue will change, but the meeting is all done in a professional no-fuss manner. Sometimes, some players he wants he just doesn’t get, but these things happen in life.

Now, let’s turn the clock back only a couple of years ago to Steve Walsh... Steve is eating a bacon butty in his house. He shouts to his wife, “Love, have you seen my phone?”

Eventually he finds it on the coffee table under an empty pizza box next to a bottle of wine.

“Found it. Eh, Love, you can’t remember the number of that agent I was talking to six months ago at Finch Farm, can you? His name was Miguel something.”

Eventually, Steve finds the contact name and rings the number.

“Hello Miguel, lad. Stevie Walsh here, how’s it going?”

The agent, whose name isn’t Miguel, doesn’t recognise the voice or name.

“Who did you say you were again?”

“Stevie Walsh. Ronnie Koeman’s right-hand man. Have you got any players to sell? The thing is, there’s cheap flights from EasyJet available this weekend over to your place, and I was wondering if you fancy meeting up and having a chat about anyone you’ve got to sell. We could meet in that café on the corner of that street, you know the one where they do that great tapas? It would be nice if you’ve got a player like Vardy for me. Oh, you might have… his name’s Sandro? Got any more like him because we’ve got money to burn at Everton?”

Now, I’m not suggesting any of this is factually true, it just seems to me, that the football club is moving in the right direction. It will take more time, but things are getting better every day. And it’s worth remembering that.

Everton are moving forward; stay positive, even when we get knocked out of the League Cup at an early stage and that dread covers you when we try to break the gypsy’s curse at our old football ground. Stop moaning: you chose Everton, for better or for worse.

Think of what Bon Jovi sung, “Keep the faith”; life’s too short. Your bad vibes are getting the club, fans and everyone else connected with the club nowhere.


Mark Cuddy     Posted 08/08/2019 at 19:09:51

My key dates

There are a few dates in my calendar that will be a firm indicator for how far we have moved forward under Marco Silva:

Brighton & Hove Albion (H), 3 November – After this game, we will have played two of the big 6, the two that we stand the best chance of challenging this season, and after a relatively easy start for us, the season will have settled down.

Leicester City (H), 1 January – Half-way point but also following our hardest month (December), playing three of last season's top four as well as some difficult away games; it’s at this point I think we will know for sure how much progress we have or haven’t made.

Liverpool (H), 2 March – At this point, I think we will know if we can challenge for a top 6 place this season and if we can start to finally put last season behind us once and for all.


Peter Rogers     Posted 30/08/2018 at 11:05:35

Our youngsters

I write this fully aware that a number of ToffeeWebbers may take a stock view that Marco Silva has the major responsibility at Finch Farm to improve what's in the title above, just as they'd say (and indeed said at the time) Allardyce had, and Koeman had, and Martinez had, and Moyes before him.

I disagree.

Our youngsters — a golden generation to some but to others, me included, inhabiting a large squad from which hardly ever appears a player ready for the first eleven — despite them having been “developing” for a season or two and, in some cases, three, under the watchful eye of our Youth coaching experts at Finch Farm.

Take Tom Davies for example. I'm not saying that we need to dispense with the likes of him but, through no fault of his own, he's now made 60-ish appearances in the first team and by now should be better than “promising” in my opinion — even if all 60 have been in a dysfunctional, fading team. That said, this season he must surely find whatever it is in him that gives him, in his mind and in his displays, the impetus to be a player other top Premier League clubs seek to sign for their starting elevens. That should mean, if he's interested, that he'll be a regular for us. He's way off that right now, which is a shame. That's maybe harsh but, unfortunately for him, it's his and our fate. In the harsh world of the Premier League, few top clubs afford their top youngsters three years and scores of appearances to prove their viability as regulars.

Then there's Jonjoe Kenny. He's slightly older than Davies but has only made a quarter of his appearances in the first team. Is that good enough, aged 21 — the same age as Richarlison by the way? I suggest it isn't; so, to me, he has only this season to make his case too. And yes, I accept that Richarlison showed himself on Saturday to be a young buffoon but he was signed for tens of £millions with a salary dwarfing that of any other lad of that age at the club, so why don't they try to take personal responsibility to improve?

Or is the coaching set-up still too stultified to allow personal initiative?

What do they do at Finch Farm?

The same goes for Mason Holgate, 21; he's been here for more than two years whilst visibly fading, far slower comparative geriatrics have generally been selected ahead of him in defence. He's played in half the number of games the younger, similarly “promising”, Davies has. Is he happy with that or is he interested in developing himself to the point where he has to play? We'll find out this season, I hope.

And I wish them all well too, at Everton, for years... but, for your own sakes, lads, stop “knowing your place” at Finch Farm, stop fannying about, searching out your next most glitzy car or whatever, and step forward in your head and heart, "arrogantly" even, to drop everything else in your personal bid to win a regular place in the first team. I'm sure it's what your agent (spit!) would want too! You have all experienced what it's like to win football competitions and tournaments against the best in the world at your age — so just go for it at Finch Farm!!!

And please, folks, don't think I'm being selectively personal against those three. I only cite them because they, from the dozens of their contemporaries, have shown themselves to be the best we've produced since the days of regularly selected youth team tyros such as Barkley (oh dear!), Rodwell (oh dear!), Rooney (wow!) and, erm, Hibbert... yes, Tony!

I suspect, but obviously don't know, that Lookman has seen what's been deemed acceptable at Finch Farm, albeit before Marcel & Marco took over, and has long since come to the belief that his own development is doomed if he is to remain in such a complacent, sterile environment. Hopefully, though, he too can thrive in the new football-savvy compost that M&M have only just begun to lay down at Usmanov's training ground.


Don Alexander     Posted 27/08/2018 at 00:34:06

The Twilight Zone

A lot has been said about Marco Silva and the start he has made at Everton. There is a very definite change in the mood of the average Evertonian. After years of dull uninspiring mediocrity, the matchgoer is looking forward to going the match again. Entertainment is back on the menu and Blues all over the world are buzzing.

But there is unquestionably a nagging worry. You could hear the murmurs around the ground when we were defending set-pieces. You all heard the commentators speak about the space we afforded Southampton's strikers. People have come on to this and other websites to express their concerns.

If you were to ask 20 TWers to explain Zonal Marking to you, the chances are you will get 20 different answers. Some will give plausible and intelligent answers; others will just embarrass themselves in their attempts to show they know what they are talking about.

"Zonal" isn't new. It's been around since forever; having been involved in the game since the late sixties. I have come across dozens and dozens of coaches at all different levels who have wanted to introduce this to their players... and every one had a different version.

I'm worried Marco Silva has taken this route and I'll tell you why. No manager has ever got a British back 4 or 5 to defend zonally successfully.

Whether we like it or not Jagielka, Baines and yes even Seamus are all knocking on. They are well past the stage where they can embrace and adapt to a way of playing which has been totally alien to them throughout their careers. These guys make up half of our defenders. Keane won't adapt either. Holgate might and Mina will, but Zouma... Really?

And here's another thing that bothers me, Shouldn't Rhino's boys be marking zonally too? We may need to call on players like Kenny, Browning or Galloway. Should they not be playing the same game now as the one they'll be expected to play when asked to stand in ?

It's okay to play fast and loose with defensive marking if your team score over a hundred goals and rarely give the ball to the opposition anyway, but Silva does not have that team. He does not have the players with the mentality and if he spends from now until the end of the season drilling his British defenders at Finch Farm every day, they will still not get to grips with it.

I'm not against Silva adopting zonal marking, but its something that needs practice from the start, the first day of pre-season, with players you plan to build your season around. It's something that needs to be done at every level throughout the club, with young eager minds wanting to learn. It's not something he should be asking his defenders to learn on the job when points are at stake.

Nothing destroys a teams confidence more than giving up soft goals from free kicks. My concern is that by persevering with something the players clearly don't like, Silva will undo all the good stuff in the process.

I know his supporters will claim he will get it right eventually. He won't. Not with these players... and, by the time they realise it, another season will have slipped through our fingers.

He needs to ditch this system. Now would be a good time.


Darren Hind     Posted 21/08/2018 at 18:32:51

Loan Watch — #1

With so many Everton players now out on season-long loans, and more to follow no doubt before the end of the Transfer Window in Europe, we're starting a new periodic thread to keep tabs on their exploits at their various loan clubs.

The current count stands at nine players out on loan, with Besic and Bolasie set to follow:

Cuco Martina
Nikola Vlašiĉ
Kevin Mirallas
Callum Connolly
Antonee Robinson
Ashley Williams
Henry Onyekuru
Shani Tarashaj
Luke Garbutt
ToffeeWeb      Posted 20/08/2018 at

The Progression So Far

We're on the eve of the first home game of the season, and we've drawn the first game against a promoted side, and we lost 4 (or 5 if you count the penalty defeat) out of 7 games in pre-season, with the only victory against a "pub side" and a draw against a League One side. So, an outsider could be forgiven for wondering what all this optimism abound is based on.

The optimism started with the much improved performance against Valencia, who are clearly a side so of our level in La Liga, and so we were able to think that we are back on track. It went up a level on the result of signing four players on deadline day of sufficient quality, and then the first half display against Wolves with 11 men which threatened to blow them away, and then the way we battled to a point and really should have taken all 3 with our performance with 10 men.

I said many times over the summer that I wanted a coach. I thought we had a decent team here, and a good coach could take the team apart, give the squad a good going over in pre-season and then put a team together that could reclaim out 7th position.

Now, I was wrong about part of that. Clearly Marco doesn't think the squad is up to it, and signing 6 players tells you that. But, the Valencia and Wolves performances were done with last season's team and Richarlison.

I hope you've been able to see what Silva was doing in training translate to the pitch. He's clearly changed everything about how we play:

  • much higher line
  • much higher tempo
  • faster passing
  • more direct and dynamic play
  • more cohesion and unity
  • more teamwork
  • more attacking intent
  • more collective responsibility
  • better shape defensively
  • more attacking movement
  • more chances
  • more shots
  • more energy

The players have all repeated what I expected to hear. The man is a superb coach who is hands on. He's hammered that defence into shape. He's drilled them relentlessly as a unit and taught them were they should be and made sure everyone knows his place and the place of others so that they can attack together and they can defend together.

Today we have heard from Morgan Schneiderlin. He is explaining how he and others have had Silva showing them videos of where they are going wrong and how to improve their game. Going beyond the training pitch, Silva (and his team) and analysts and are schooling the players to get better and better.

Progress is the word and it is a process. We've done absolutely nothing yet. We need to win all of the next four games and set ourselves up for a great season.

I'm expecting a great atmosphere tomorrow, that the Goodison faithful will turn up anticipating a new season more eagerly than in a long time, and mostly because they believe in the new regime, they are excited by Richarlison and hope to see similar from the other new signings.

I believe we can go from strength to strength and that Silva and co will not rest on laurels.


Steve Ferns     Posted 17/08/2018 at 14:54:09

Richarlison Song

There's been two terrible songs sung for our new star player so far.

Firstly, "Richarlison ta-ra-la" or some crap. Secondly, "Richarilson, ole".

There's a third song that's not bad that's on twitter on an Everton coach (I think).

Richarlison is going to be a great player for us, and so he deserves a great song.

Richarlison is a four syllable word, which is the same amount of syllables as "Here comes the sun" so can someone not adapt that song to suit Richarlison?

Something like:

Richarlison;

Richarlison, and we say;

He's all right

Everton, the smiles returning to our faces

Everton, he's flying down the wing and scoring goals

Richarlison;

Richarlison, and we say;

He's all right

I'm terrible at this kind of thing, so surely someone creative can come up with something worthy of our new star signing that's better than just adding "ta-ra-la" or "ole" after his name.


Steve Ferns     Posted 15/08/2018 at 12:58:44

On Hope Street

Leaving Goodison Park and making your way to the city centre, there are umpteen routes you can take. A brisk 10-minute walk will land you on Everton Valley and a left turn will take you along St Domingo Road, past the park where Prince Rupert's Tower sits. And before you know it, Everton Road beckons, leading you to Low Hill.

West Derby Road disappears off on your right but, maintaining a southerly direction, you will next see Brownlow Hill on the right. Heading west along it, passing Crown Street, Mount Pleasant looms. A stroll to the end and across the road, Hope Street awaits.

Standing on its middle, you will see prominent landmarks looming if you face north or south with the city's two major persuasions represented with their cathedrals towering skywards. The Everyman Theatre sits near one end, but not too far away, on Upper Stanhope St, sits the interestingly named Winners Chapel International. Not an attractive building by any means, but I certainly like how it sounds.

As the new season dawns, most, if not all of us spend more time than what's good for us in Everton Valley, plodding up and down St Domingo and Everton Roads, lingering too long in Low Hill. Oh, how we'd love not to feel a derby match has not gone fucking west before a ball's kicked.

With a clean slate starting today, we stride ever hopeful up Mount Pleasant towards Hope Street, dreaming we can be crowned with some silverware. With the events of the last few months reaching fever pitch yesterday, Hope Street is the place to be.

Surely it's about time Everton FC can for once break out of being an Everyman and challenge for honours? I am more optimistic than I've been for a long time.

Moan away for all your worth, but it's easy to forget that, not too long ago, we craved the cash to compete. Our business dealings now say we do. Yes, we all know it's been shambolic, but after yesterday, things are looking up. If we haven't got hope, then what's the point?
Gary Russell     Posted 11/08/2018 at 05:12:25

Good news for Blues in Oz

For those of you who don't already know, if you have a tablet you can now subscribe to Optus Sport for all the Premier League games for $14.99 a month. You no longer have to be an Optus customer – you just need an Apple or Google Chrome account with $15 in credit and enough data for with your internet provider for streaming.

I have just signed up and downloaded the app and watched some highlights from last season on my iPad – it works really well.

And it's free up till 31 August.
Laurie Hartley     Posted 09/08/2018 at 10:49:08

Time for Optimism? (Part 2)

The last two weeks have been frenzied at L4 with plenty going out, and up to four coming in. Without wishing to become too optimistic, I'm feeling a lot better about my club than I did three months ago.

I honestly don't know how the appointment of Silva as our new manager will turn out; he still has a lot to do to convince people, but I have to say, I am quietly impressed about how our new Director of Football has gone about his business.

He has had an incredibly difficult job to do in a limited amount of time. Getting shut of probably seven players by the time 5pm comes around on Thursday night is no mean feat, but he has managed to achieve it. I may be a tad conservative with seven, it may well be in excess of that figure... who knows?

What we haven't seen is any banner headlines in the tabloids, 'Everton Clearout'... just a steely determination to get rid of the deadwood who have been stealing a living from the club for some time. Instructing four of them to train with the Under-23s last week was probably the clearest hint yet they had no future at this club.

The players he has brought in are simply younger and better (and hopefully) hungrier than what we had, although I do feel a little sympathy for Vlasic and Bolaise who always displayed the right attitude at least, even if their ability was brought into question.

What Brands and Silva have done very quickly is to bring more balance to the squad (any more No 10s, anyone?), and identify those areas which needed addressing as a priority – left-back, centre-back, creative midfielder, more pace in attack.

However, we won't remedy the awful squad decisions by Koeman and Walsh in just one transfer window, and I hope fans give the new players in the team time to gel, as some of them won't have played a competitive game together.

There I go again, 'the player's need time', God forbid us.

Steve Hogan     Posted 08/08/2018 at 13:25:27

Where are you, Morgan?

Last season, I felt levels of loathing that I had not experienced towards an Everton player for a long time. To be true, I felt them towards a lot of players... but mainly I felt them towards Morgan Schneiderlin. Too many times, it seemed like he couldn't be bothered, like he was waltzing though a game, doing the bare minimum. And these feelings were given weight when rumours of him and Mirallas being turfed out of training for not taking it seriously arose.

I was delighted when Silva and Brands came in and rumours of Morgan's exit to Marseille or elsewhere surfaced... And yet he's still here. It looks as though he may be Silva's Number 6 unless we make a move before the window closes. I'm not sure we will though. Could it be that Silva rates him?

The difference between Schneiderlin at Southampton and at Everton makes for fascinating reading:

At Southampton, he was a rock defensively averaging (from 2012-2015) just under 4 tackles a game and just under 3 interceptions. At Everton over the last two seasons, he averages around 2 tackles and 2 interceptions a game. That's a huge fall off.

Attacking-wise he averaged 4 goals a season at Soton; he has just one in two seasons for us. He also averaged around 0.9 key passes per game at Southampton compared to 0.3 for us. That's three times less!

In short, he really was a very good player for three seasons in the Premier League at Southampton. The sort of midfielder we could really use, who can tackle and pass and even gets a few goals too.

Where is that player?!

Has he been stymied by managers who don't understand him? Koeman managed him at Soton so that can't be it.

Has he struggled with team-mates who are not up to his level or have the right understanding? Possibly, though Everton for the most part have finished above Southampton.

Or can he just not be bothered? This is what it looks like to me. But is surely too simplistic an explanation.

Anyway, my point (if there is one) is that the guy is capable of being a very good midfielder in this league. He has done it before. He is 28 now which should, in theory, be around the peak for a defensive midfielder. Is it possible that Silva thinks he can get back to Southampton levels? Or is he not worth persevering with?

I tend to think the latter. What say you?
Sam Hoare     Posted 06/08/2018 at 15:44:24

The 2018-19 Squad

Marco Silva & Marcel Brands have done a decent job in reducing our huge squad & adding a couple quality signings. That leaves the question – what does the Everton squad look like for the coming season, and what potential signings will be added (or do we need) by the end of this Transfer Window.

Currently, our squad consists of 32 players:

Goalkeeper: Pickford, Stekelenburg, Virginia, Hewelt
Right-Back: Coleman, Kenny, Connolly
Right Centre-Back: Keane, Holgate
Left Centre-Back: Jagielka, Pennington
Left-Back: Digne, Baines, Martina
Right-Central Midfielder: Gueye, Schneiderlin, Joe Williams, McCarthy
Left-Central Midfielder: Davies, Besic, Baningime
Central Attacking Midfielder: Sigurdsson, Dowell, Vlasic
Right-Wing: Walcott, Sandro, Bolasie
Left-Wing: Richarlison, Lookman
Striker: Tosun, Calvert-Lewin, Niasse

However, I expect a couple outgoings & incomings in the next couple days.

I think we need 2 Centre-Backs in, and a physical box-to-box central midfielder. Everywhere else there is more than enough. Unless we look to replace Schneiderlin, which I highly doubt will happen.

Incomings:

Centre-Backs: Mina* (or Lascelles*), Rojo*
Left-Central Midfielder: Loftus-Cheek*

Outgoings:

Hewelt (loan)
Pennington (loan)
Martina
Connolly (loan)
Sandro (loan)

Looking forward, that leaves us with:

Goalkeeper: Pickford, Stekelenburg, Virginia
Right-Back: Coleman, Kenny
Right Centre-Back: Keane, Holgate, Jagielka
Left Centre-Back: Mina*, Rojo*
Left-Back: Digne, Baines
Right-Central Midfielder: Gueye, Schneiderlin, Baningime
Left-Central Midfielder: Loftus-Cheek*, Davies, McCarthy
Central Attacking Midfielder: Sigurdsson, Dowell
Right-Wing: Walcott, Bolasie
Left-Wing: Richarlison, Lookman
Striker: Tosun, Calvert-Lewin, Niasse

That leaves us with a starting line up of:

Pickford
Coleman(c) Keane Mina* Digne
Loftus-Cheek* Gueye Sigurdsson
Walcott Tosun Richarlison

Subs: Stekelenburg, Rojo, Baines, Schneiderlin, Davies, Lookman, Niasse.

With: Holgate, Kenny, Baningime, Dowell, Bolasie & Calvert-Lewin all fighting for a place in the team.

1. Pickford
2. Holgate
3. Baines
4. Keane
5. Mina* or Lascelles*
6. Jagielka
7. Bolasie
8. Loftus-Cheek*
10. Sigurdsson
11. Walcott
12. Digne
13. Virginia
14. Tosun
15. Rojo*
16. McCarthy
17. Gueye
18. Schneiderlin
19. Niasse
22. Stekelenburg
23. Coleman
26. Davies
28. Dowell
29. Calvert-Lewin
30. Richarlison
31. Lookman
34. Baningime
43. Kenny

That’s a pretty strong & exciting squad.

Either way - let’s all get behind Marco Silva & have some patience.

COYB!

Gareth Clark     Posted 06/08/2018 at 09:11:30

Such early confidence has turned to desperation

I have only ever written one article on here before. The gist of it was saying that,, when Chelsea then Man City and others got new owners, it must have felt like dreamland for their supporters as they now shopped in Harrods.

At the time Everton had not really spent that much after Moshiri's arrival and my point was we don't have that same "kid on Christmas morning" feeling. Fast-forward to today and I don't know how I feel.

At the start of this transfer window I started to get excited. I went for a game of golf and was checking the Sky Sports News app between every whole as it felt like we could sign another player at any time.

It looked like the club had a plan, a real strategy and they went out and acquired the players that they wanted. However, everyone knew that Lukaku was leaving so as a fan you can only assume there was a plan for this also.

Early in the window the club got numbers in as we now have Europe. They identified young talent and acted quickly (investments for the future) and they recruited in key positions – goal, centre back, attacking midfielders, and a young striker (who I think will be a great buy).

Now, on the final day of the season, is my assessment still one of confidence, of watching a club with a plan and strategy? No; not at all.

It now looks just like Everton of old. Looking desperately for a striker, all kinds of has-been names being quoted. Why was it left this late?

Changing subject slightly, it has been great to see Everton up there with the big spenders but when you really look at everything that has gone on we hardy have any "marquee" signings.

Yes, Pickford is a lot for a young keeper - happy with that.

Yes, Sigurdsson at £45M is a lot of money (possible marquee signing), but in today's market £20M to £30M is normal.

I remember a few years back, Liverpool where spending £20M on just about anyone. Yet Chelsea spent £40M on Fabregas and one other who I forget – quality not quantity.

I feel we have gone the Liverpool route with these £20M or £30M signings – I would have preferred one less player but better quality in the others – so same budget was spent.

Anyway, back to the question... at the beginning of the window, I was impressed, proud even that my club were acting big. Like things had changed and the future would be different. Today, I feel like nothing has changed and this is typical Everton – I only hope I am wrong.
Paul Harrison     Posted 31/08/2017 at 12:43:58

'Tribute to the Everton Strikers' dinner 1989

In April 1989, shortly after the Hillsborough Disaster, a "Tribute to the Everton Strikers" dinner was held in The Prince of Wales Hotel, Southport. It was part of Kevin Ratcliffe's testimonial year events (the auction takings on the night were donated to the Hillsborough Disaster fund).

The event hosted perhaps the greatest line-up of Toffees striking talent ever assembled in one room: Graeme Sharp, Gary Lineker, Adrian Heath, Andy Gray, Alan Whittle, Tony Cottee, Bob Latchford, Dave Hickson and Roy Vernon being amongst the attendees.

Do any Toffeewebers remember attending the event. I am keen to read/hear your recollections – especially of Roy Vernon. Has anyone retained any photos of the night, I wonder?
Rob Sawyer     Posted 30/08/2017 at 20:16:03

What If? Stick or twist?

Okay, this is slightly provocative, and hypothetical, but going into an international break... why not?

What if Koeman can't get his hundreds of millions of new purchases to gel?

What if we have a new owner who is not a patient man?

What if he looks to change the manager mid-season, as do many of our competitors?

Who is available, and who would you like?

I can't think of anyone better than Koeman at the moment. Do I like his tactics? Sometimes... Do I like the progression that his team is making? Well... kind of, but I would like to see more desire. I am not suggesting we sack him – just wondering what options we have, if Mr Moshiri is a hard-arse, and he seems to be a hard-arse, from an outsider's perspective.

Answers on a postcard, or better still, a post on ToffeeWeb.
Andy Osborne     Posted 27/08/2017 at 16:49:36

Davy Klaassen

What does this lad Klaassen bring to the team? Honest question; me personally – I have no idea. While the lad is still settling in, new country, new league etc etc, I'm struggling to see... urmmmm, anything to get me excited!!

This lad came with a huge reputation: Ajax captain, Europa League finalist, Dutch International. £24 million price tag on his head, a Number 10 that we was all calling for, someone who would dictate play, someone who could link with the striker, someone who could play them killer passes, someone who will score goals. Have we seen any of that yet?

The big question for me is, is he any better then what we already had? Imo, no. Better then Davies, No. Better then Rooney? No. Better then Sigurdsson? No. Better then Barkley? Hell no. Does Klaassen offer pace? Nope. Hell, for a Dutch International, he seems to have very poor first touch.

It is early days though, so I guess we will have to cut him some slack. However, with every other summer signing, you can see the potential and more importantly the ability. Of course some will say, "Oh, did you see that last-ditch tackle last night, or the runs he makes in the box" as some sort of highlight reel. Dowell shipped off to play in a Championship team is mind-boggling when you consider the ability of both.

The other major issue for me is that, when Koeman made the double change last night, we put our £45 million Number 10 on the wing while our Dutch Naismith gets the Number 10 slot? The whole thing is weird. Someone please tell me Klaassen is going to be a worldie.


Peter Larkin     Posted 22/08/2017 at 10:10:32

Give me £200m, and I'll give you 7th!

The title of this post is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it does have a ring of truth about it. I have read numerous posts, and listened to many commentators and pundits who have us down for a "Magnificent 7th" finish in the Premier League.

Seriously? Do you think the new majority shareholder will be happy with that sort of return? As of today, we will have spent nearly £150m, by the end of the window, I expect that figure to be nearing £200! This type of spend is on a par with any of the usual big spenders – who all pay massively inflated transfer fees anyway.

No, I'm sorry, if we do not challenge the usual suspects and match them on their grounds where we have historically struggled, then the manager and players will have failed. To challenge the Sky-invented "Top 6" is our target, and if you can do that, there is no reason you cannot challenge for the title itself.

What's the excuse this time?
Kevin Tully     Posted 16/08/2017 at 13:08:07

Split screen

With 48 hours to go, I can't find a broadcaster who's taken the option for the Split game. If no mainstream broadcaster has it, what are the options?

On a wider point, it begs two questions a) if not, why not? and b) does EFC have the option to broadcast it at, say, £5/£10 a shot?

And to add to the mix, if it looks like we're hanging in the balance after the first leg, how quickly will the rights for the away leg be picked up? Not that I'm paranoid, like...
Guy Hastings     Posted 15/08/2017 at 20:30:07

Left field

Talking point:

Sign Diego Costa on loan till January?

Easy fix, he gets game time till January.

He breaks wage structure.

Destroys team spirit.

He scores 15 goals.

The rest of the country hate us.
George Stuart     Posted 15/08/2017 at 02:46:14

So... what's new??

I once had every weekend made or broken by an Everton result since 86-87, but since 15-16 I have not only seen my interest in Everton disappear, but also in all things football. I’ve paid as much attention to the game as I have student politics, rap music, or Crufts.

But a new season starts today and I’ve just seen Lyndon’s predicted line-up. I recognise a grand total of THREE names! And Rodriguez returns to Uruguay? Umm, who?

I’ll be watching the Stoke game and hope that, for the coming season, the passion returns for all things Blue. But it would help if I had a little context from the previous two campaigns. (I’m not sure where we finished last season. I saw that some crazy pre-season friendly that made it onto TV was actually a start of a European campaign, so… 6th?)

So imagine I’ve just woken from a two-year Martinez induced coma. You’re visiting with a bag of grapes. You can’t wait to tell me what’s happened both on and off the pitch, and of course here on ToffeeWeb. Should I hope for an early discharge or hope to be put back under?

Nick Entwistle     Posted 12/08/2017 at 11:16:06

Hello and Goodbye!

I am fuming!

I just called the ticket line this morning to buy my family's tickets for the Hajduk Split match. At the third attempt I got through at 8:08am and was 83rd in the queue. That's right, eighty-third but I thought it would be worth the wait so I'd sit it out. The numbers went down as you'd expect but when I was around halfway through after an hour and pace was slowing I started to get a bit concerned.

Finally, I was next up. At precisely (the phone tells me duration) two hours, forty-five minutes and forty-four seconds I received the following; "Unfortunately, we are receiving an unusually high number of calls at the moment so please try again later or you can purchase tickets via the website" followed by a dial tone!!!!!

If I could find my customer details on the effing website that's what I would have done in the first place instead of wasting an entire morning and being an hour late for my appointment for no good bloody reason! Now the line is saying they are having technical issues with the line and a maintenance team is working on it.

All of these improvements and investment but still the general basic function of a football club is an utter shambles!
Lee Mandaracas     Posted 11/08/2017 at 12:29:59

Everton... but not as we know it.

Just returned from my summer hols in Italy (yes, very nice, thank you). I must have visited the country dozens of times in the last 20 years, but this is a new one on me: Everton - purveyors of fine teas. I stumbled across a packet in a bar, and further research revealed....

http://www.evertonspa.it/en/about-us/


Didn't our lawyers come down like a ton of bricks a few years ago on some farm shop in Yorkshire for using the name?

Mind you, our PR department could take a leaf our of their book (sorry) when it comes to slogans:

"To preserve what is old and golden and to nourish what is new and radical "

Though perhaps not:

"Welcome to Everton- enjoy every moment".

Anyway - if we need an official Tea supplier to USM Finch Farm, the search is over...



Michael Coffey     Posted 02/08/2017 at 11:55:52

Wilshere on loan?

Arsenal have stated they are willing to allow Jack Wilshere leave on loan. He is an immense talent but obviously has not fully lived up to expectations, mainly due to injury.

He is a bit of an arsehole too. But, could be the exact midfielder we are looking for. Good passing, creative... next to Gana with Barry as backup/alternative.

Maybe Wilshere needs a move to get out the rut. Everton would be a great option for him. Add an option to buy and it could be a great deal. Nothing to lose.
Fran Mitchell     Posted 30/08/2016 at 00:07:49

What's wrong with Everton?

As an up-and-coming 23-year-old forward playing somewhere in Europe, I’m informed by my agent and my club that top clubs in the UK are asking after me and, if the price is right, I can go. My agent has asked me where I would like to go to: Well here we go...

The no-brainers - Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal. Guaranteed good money and European football... and London as well for two of them.

Liverpool – admired everywhere, been there done it, and now Klopp as well

European Football – Spurs (with beautiful London thrown in for my wife), Leicester (unsure but...)

London Calling – West Ham and (until last night) European Football

Southampton – European Football, please!

Got the money – Stoke, Everton

Everton... what can they offer me? Well, now they are becoming / are a rich club with fantastic plans in place to get them into the top echelon in 3-4 years with a new ground to boot. They are going to emulate Man City – but didn’t they take 4 years to get into the Champions League after their billionaire arrived? Err... yes! So I’ll probably have to wait 3-4 years before I can shine on the top stage? Erh... Yes. why should I bother?

Reality – the top / good players won’t / don’t see Everton as a good move yet; too many ifs, and too long before we achieve success. Mr Koeman & Mr Walsh, get us into the Europa Cup with what you’ve got – and maybe add in a couple of “potential for the future“ buys.

Mike Oates     Posted 26/08/2016 at 09:37:41

Squad by the Numbers

Looking at the transfer business done so far, I wanted to see how much more does the team need to get to a complete roster of 25 senior players out of which 8 must be homegrown as a minimum.

Last season, we had 24 senior players registered, with 11 homegrown; Stones, Deulofeu, Galloway, Holgate and Browning were all considered U21 and didn't factor into the 24. Deulofeu makes the jump into the senior squad this year.

For this review I will consider any U21 players as a bonus (Holgate, Davies, Dowell etc...)

From the 24 we have 'lost/will lose' 8 players: Howard, Hibbert, Osman, Pienaar, McGeady, Niasse, McAleny and Rodriguez. Looking at those names, not a huge loss in quality but still it's all about the numbers.

So far, we have brought in 4 senior players: Stekelenburg, Gueye, Williams & Bolasie. Currently we have 20 Senior players (including Besic) out of which 10 are homegrown. Straight up accounting tells us we need 4-5 more senior players.

Bringing in Bolasie and Williams was important as you can see Koeman & Walsh are giving themselves the flexibility of moving on two out of the trio of McCarthy, Gibson & Cleverley while still maintaining the 8 homegrown players for this season.
Where do we need these extra players?

Using a breakdown of positions as follows:

GK: 2/3 (Stekelenburg, Robles, ???)
RB: 1/2 (Coleman, ???)
CB: 3/4 (Jagielka, Funes Mori, Williams, ????)
LB: 2/2 (Baines, Oviedo)
DM: 2/2 (Gueye, McCarthy)
#8: 3/3 (Barry, Gibson, Cleverley)
LW: 2/2 (Mirallas, Lennon)
RW: 2/2 (Bolasie, Deulofeu)
#10: 1/2 (Barkley, ???)
#9: 2/3 (Lukaku, Kone, ???)

As most people know, we are 5 players short without selling anyone. My best-case scenario for new faces in the coming week based on the rumours is we end up with 24 senior players but at a much higher quality than last year:

Begovic (GK)
Martina (RB)
Sissoko (DM) for McCarthy (to Newcastle)
Brahimi (#10)
Gabbiadini(#9)

With Gibson, McGeady, Niasse and Rodriguez all finding new homes. This will give us the flexibility to add 2 players in January when hopefully our league position gives us better leverage to attract the kind of player Everton are looking for now.

We will all know next Thursday morning if the Moshiri era has really kicked off...





Mohammed  Horoub     Posted 26/08/2016 at 07:53:04

Will we still be The People's Club in 5 years?

Although the takeover and the wealth we now have is exciting, it does leave me with a large amount of concern.

I had a season ticket in the Gwladys Street for the majority of my teenage years and was there on the day we beat Wimbledon and drew with Coventry to stay up; the passion on days like this goes way past just "football".

I have been in the home end watching Everton in a number of grounds around the country (sat on my hands!) and, although I may see things through blue-tinted glasses, none of these grounds have the same special feel as Goodison Park and the fans don't seem to have the same bond. During the 3-3 derby game a few seasons back, I was jumping around and hugging people I have never spoken to, and pretty much everyone in the ground was doing the same thing. I don't think you see this emotion in many stadiums in world football.

Now that it seems we are fast becoming a more wealthy, modern football club, I am concerned that this feeling the club currently has will just die away. I think Everton fans are more of a family than just a group of people that support the same football team, which is why Everton fans would never decide to up and leave to support someone else who wins more trophies.

Hand on heart, do I think that, when we spend all of this money, probably have a merry-go-round of foreign players in and out the door, and we leave Goodison Park for a "better" or "more modern" stadium, we will continue to have the same passion in the stands week-in & week-out? No, I don't.

I think we will see more business men in the stands, maybe a few new fans jumping ship from other clubs now that Everton are winning things. (I didn't know many Man City or Chelsea fans growing up; I know a lot now.) I know it will still be Everton and we will still be the same fans, I just think that we will lose something along the way.

So I ask myself, would I prefer to keep the special feeling in the ground on matchdays? Or give some of this up in the quest for trophies? I think that maybe, deep down, I would rather stick to what I know and love.

I want Everton to win trophies as much as any fan, but not if, when we win them, it doesn't feel like the real Everton winning them.
Chad Harper     Posted 25/08/2016 at 08:29:14

Refereeing at corners

I was delighted to see Ryan Shawcross booked for grabbing a Man City player's arm and impeding him at a corner kick - and a penalty duly awarded at this weekend's Stoke vs City game.

MotD said it was a "change in the rules". Well I studied the rules – there have been some changes. There are several offenses that merit a direct free kick (or a penalty if incurred in the penalty area). One has been added where "a player impedes an opponent with contact". However Shawcross would in my view have infringed the existing rules which includes the office of "holding" an opponent.

On MotD there was superficial discussion between two ex Everton players – Phil Neville saying it's part of the game and it never should be a penalty... and Gary Lineker saying its not part of the game (guess which one was a striker and which was a defender in their playing days). I guess it's too much to ask for journalists (and ex-players) to understand the rules and properly explain them. As a lawyer it infuriates me when players say it's "part of the game" or "he should have been stronger". No, no, no – there are formal rules that simply have to be (a) understood and (b) applied.

This holding that has gone on at corners for several years now was ALWAYS illegal if it continued once the ball was in play. I for one would be so pleased if there is a campaign to wipe it out – the game of football is about attacking the ball – not the body (it's in the name).
David Ellis     Posted 21/08/2016 at 09:44:22

Sceptical?

Well... I am sceptical – after all, I'm an Evertonian!!!

So far, in simple terms, we have spent zero... nada, zilch. We waited for the Stones sale to Man City before we opened up the purse strings. Now some may say we had to wait due to Financial Fair Play rules and to free up wages? But, if that is the case... how come every other team could buy before a sale?

I'm happy with the direction we are going under Koeman – he's building a hard-to-beat, in-your-face, pacey Everton team; that's what we all wanted. So, now we are getting that (on the evidence of one game)... why am I so sceptical?

Nearly every Evertonian has been here before: promises of Kings Dock, promises of not selling Rooney for £50 million... the list is endless. I see across the board there has been huge praise for Farhad Moshiri; I don't get it. Why? What has he done apart from sacking Roberto and appointing a Director of Football? While this is no doubt a great move from Moshiri, my question is: Has anything really changed?

We played out first game last Saturday with no Striker, no backup right-back, and a keeper who will be second choice from the look of it. If this was Bill Kenwright, there would be an outcry!!! I'm all for giving Moshiri time etc... but I'm hugely sceptical of the whole thing. I'm expecting phantom bids for players like Draxler and Hart while the tried and trusted excuse is: "We ran out of time" – and plenty of the fans will lap it up.

Now I don't want us spunking £40 million on some dodgy Brazillian with a flashy hairdo; what Ii do want is progress and – with less then two weeks until the transfer window slams shut – I am not optimistic.
Peter Larkin     Posted 19/08/2016 at 01:07:12

£150mil To Spend...

£150mil to spend... What I'd do:

BE REALISTIC WITH THE TARGETS.

Firstly, writing it out makes it clear and obvious where we need to improve.

GK: *Butland, Stekelenburg, Hewelt

RB: Coleman, Kone and Holgate as cover (Davies as a last resort)

RCB: *Williams, *Kone, Holgate, Pennington

LCB: Funes Mori, Jagielka, Galloway

LB: Baines, Oviedo, Garbutt

CDM: Gueye, McCarthy, Barry, Besic

CM: *Witsel, Davies, Cleverley, Gibson

RM: Deulofeu, *Ziyech, Lennon, Tarashaj, Dowell

CAM: Barkley, *Mata, Tarashaj, Dowell

LM: Mirallas, *Bolasie, *Ziyech, Tarashaj, Dowell

ST: Lukaku, *Bony, *Remy

The likes of Bolasie, Tarashaj, Dowell, Ziyech & to a lesser extent Mata can play across the three behind the striker (RM, CAM, LM)

 

Transfers in:

Butland (£25mil) - I'd be willing to spend a lot of money on him! I'd go as far to say more than £40mil.

Kone (£18mil) - He is very decent, main reason Sunderland stayed up last year, after he was brought in, in Jan. He played a lot at RB in France, is good with the ball, running with the ball too, he can pass well and scores a lot from set plays.

Williams (£12mil) - No nonsense, experienced head, team man. Good business.

Witsel (£20mil) - He is available. Big name player, he will bring a lot of class and attract bigger names in the future. He is big, but also is good going forward, which we need.

Ziyech (£10mil) - Should be available on the cheap, following FC Twente's forced relegation due to FFP. He is very creative and deadly from set pieces. Still young, will grow into a really top class player.

Mata (£20mil) - After the embarrassment of being subbed off, just after being subbed on - in the game against Leicester - he will probably be happy if his old friend Koeman comes in for him. Plus United might be happy to earn back some money from the Pogba deal. Again, he should be available and he is another big name will lots of class.

Bolasie (£20mil) - Disappointing season last season, but the one before, he was one of the top wingers. He is a lot different from Deulofeu, Mirallas, Lennon, Dowell and Tarashaj. He is a lot bigger and stronger on the ball, but has loads of skill and gas to burn. I think he will be very effective and a change from what we have.

Bony (£15mil) - Big and strong, his time with Swansea, he was one of the best in the league. A lot better than Rom with the ball at his feet, can bring others into the game a lot more. Also, he is gettable.

Remy (£10mil) - Another one I like a lot! He hasn't featured for a while, but when he plays - he is a deadly finisher, will a lot of gas to burn, and holds the ball up well too.

= £150mil

Alternatives I'd like to look at -

GK: Forster, Hart, Begovic, Ryan

CB: Van Dijk, Dragovic

CDM: Carvalho,

RM/CAM/ LM: Januzaj, Nasri, Perisic, Depay, Coric, etc.

ST: Jovetic and Iheanacho from Man City. (Hopefully we are on decent terms following Stones' sale), Benteke, Ighalo.

Transfers out:

GK: Robles - not good enough. Sell now.

CB: Jags might be coming to the end for us, with all the injuries. But definitely keep him for the next season or two. Good experience.

CB: Galloway & Pennington - I might look to send one or both of them out on loan, to a decent Championship side, where they will play at least 3/4 of a season.

LB: Personally, I'd move Oviedo on. Or at least make Garbutt second choice LB. Oviedo doesn't cut it for me, while Garbutt has the potential to be very good.

CDM: Barry is also one who is aging, and his pace is ever deteriorating. However, like Jags, I'd keep him for at least the next season - good experience and mentor for the youngsters.

CM: Gibson is a broken man, I'd move him out within the next season.

RM: McGeady doesn't cut it.

ST: Kone the cone, has to go.

 

The full first-team squad list for the forthcoming season or two, below:

1. *Butland
2. *Williams
3. Baines
4. *Kone
5. *Funes Mori
6. Jagielka
7. Deulofeu
8. Barkley
9. *Mata
10. Lukaku
11. Mirallas
12. Lennon
13. *Witsel
14. *Ziyech
15. Cleverley
16. McCarthy
17. Idrissa
18. *Bolasie
19. *Bony
20. *Remy
21. Besic
22. Stekelenburg
23. Coleman
24. Tarashaj
25. Oviedo
26. Davies
27. Browning
28. Dowell
29. *Garbutt
30. Holgate
31. *Oviedo
32. Galloway
33. *Gibson
34. *Barry

38. Pennington

"*" = New signing/New number

With a options for the starting team:

(4-2-3-1)

Butland/Stekelenburg/Hewelt

Coleman/Holgate (Kone/Davies if needed)

Kone/Jagielka/Pennington

Williams/Funes Mori/Galloway

Baines/Garbutt/Oviedo

Idrissa/McCarthy/Barry

Witsel/Davies/Cleverley

Deulofeu/Ziyech/Lennon

Barkley/Mata/Dowell

Mirallas/Bolasie/Tarashaj

Lukaku/Bony/Remy

A very strong, all round squad, with very capable back ups as well as third options.

This at the cost of £150mil, the £100mil plus the £50mil from Stones, along with sales of the dead wood.

That leaves us with a very strong squad for the next three seasons at least.


Gareth Clark     Posted 09/08/2016 at 14:52:01

Team for Spurs

Not much seems to be happening on the transfer front and it's getting pretty close to the start of the season for us to sign anyone who'll also be able to play against Spurs.

Thought I'd have a bit of fun and see what starting XI people would choose based on the current squad (ie, no new faces before Saturday). Also what formation would you play?

Personally I'd plump for old school 4-4-2: Stekelenburg
Coleman / Jagielka / Funes Mori / Baines
Deulofeu / Geuye / Barkley / Oviedo
Lukaku / Mirallas

Assuming Jags is fit, Gibson is not and Lukaku is fit and played.

Not 100% happy with the team. If Gibson is fit, I'd be tempted to play him 'cos of his passing but not sure he'll cope in the centre with the pace Spurs have... tricky one.
Denis Richardson     Posted 08/08/2016 at 15:12:14

Which 3 players?

Over the last few months we have been linked with loads of players.... Witsel, Forster, Mata, Butland, Koulibaly, Williams, Carvalho to name a few.

The one thing that seems to be forgotten, by media and fans alike, is that there is a limit to how many players we have in the squad. Assuming we will bring in a keeper, there is only space for another 3 players (if my rough guess at our players ages is correct) if you look at the released squad list.

With that in mind, what do we think the priorities are? For me it's keep everyone in the squad, adding a solid centre half, a wide left player, and a playmaker of some description.
Kev Lucas     Posted 02/08/2016 at 18:57:03

Why selling John Stones could be a positive move

Let me just preface this article by saying the decision to rebutt Chelsea's approach was the right one. It would have been a depressing turn of events to allow Chelsea's arrogant assumption they could bully us into getting what they wanted to play out.

However, I still believe at some time the ambitions of the player will mean a move becomes likely and the club's with money will keep on knocking. So maybe rather than being passive and waiting for that day to arrive we should now be proactively planning for it and doing it on our own terms.

This might be during the next window or at the end of the season, but whenever it is we need a plan. And maybe we need to think out of the box a little and maybe do something that might excite fans and energise the club.

So here's a little scenario I imagined: Let us say we go to Manchester United with a proposal, especially if they consider to struggle.

We value John Stones at 45m. We will take Wayne Rooney at 10m. We will also allocate a further 15m to settle his existing contract which allows us to give him a 100k pw four year deal. That leaves us 15m to buy a top quality replacement centre half.

I believe taking Rooney at an age he is still In his prime would be a huge shot in the arm for the club, gives us some creativity we are missing and I suspect if the personal finances work would have a very motivated player.

Now we will all have views on how best to invest 45m but my main point is that we must have a plan that does things on our terms. Don't let us be in the same position we have been this transfer window.


Graham Mockford     Posted 31/08/2015 at 16:45:50

No Mellowing for Mr Yellow

So, Gareth Barry has achieved the dubious record of being the Premier League player with most yellow cards, following his latest booking at Tottenham yesterday.

This got me to thinking that Barry shows no sign on mellowing, of perhaps using his experience to maybe be a bit less aggressive in breaking up play, instead of of "taking one for the team" which he's had to do rather a lot of in his anchor position. Hence the relentless totting up of cautions.

There can be no doubt that Gareth is a very accomplished player, and as good as anyone at reading the game and nullifying threats, but at 34, is it realistic to expect him to do this every game?

I cannot see that Barry will be phased out of Premier League games as Roberto thinks he is still too important to the defensive set-up, but maybe he should be rested for cup games and Besic or Cleverley given a run out?

Returning to my original point, is too much being asked of Gareth Barry at this stage of his career? The yellow card count would suggest that his former clubs also used him as a wrecking ball, when in fact he clearly has more to his game?
Murdo Laing     Posted 30/08/2015 at 10:14:27

Lead in my Pencil

I approached this season lacking my usual cocky "This is the year we will finish 4th, lads" bravado. And certainly the first few games in the Premier League of "The Good" (Southampton), "The Bad" (Watford) and "The Ugly" (well, okay... Manchester City wasn't ugly but it was an example of where we sit in the Premier League pecking order) meant this season seemed to be going the same way as last, with the occasional short burst of fizz but ultimately flattering to deceive and ending in disappointment (a feeling 'er indoors is all too familiar with).

What a difference a brilliant night out in Barnsley makes (there's a sentence that I never thought I would write). Yes, the first half was abysmally abysmal and my half-time mood was moribund. But what a second 75 minutes! I was literally drooling over what I was witnessing. Seriously, there were pools of slobber collecting on my keypad. (Not an uncommon occurrence, it must be said.)

The five goals (That's FIVE goals) were just reward for Roberto's gung-ho formation after the break. And reflecting on the evening, I think that Everton might just have the most potent "fast break" counter attacking team in the League.

What a forward line, in no particular order: Mirallas, Deulofeu, Lukaku, Barkley and AN Other (Naismith on the occasion with a really well taken header). Add to that quintet Coleman and Oviedo marauding down the wings as well; if that doesn't place lead in your pencil, I don't know what will.

Now I know that it was only lovely little Barnsley we beat, and our defence was less convincing than my attempt to sneak into Emmanuelle as a spotty 15-year-old, but I really hope that Robbie continues in this up-and-at-'em "you score three then we'll score four" style. We may not win more games but, boy, will it be exciting to watch.

If only we could have signed Yarmolenko as the AN Other, I think I would literally explode with excitement (but not actually).

So to the Lane, where we shall see if Robbie has seen the future (at Barnsley) or reverts to Plan A. I know what I want. The team selection will reveal all. COYB.
Alun Willis     Posted 29/08/2015 at 15:07:23

Media double standard on Mourinho

Jose had a press conference today where he was asked about Stones and said that he "does not speak about players from other teams."

Did anyone in the media ask Jose what he has been doing when it comes to John Stones all summer? No.

Yet Chelsea, through Mourinho, made public their interest in Stones in July. He talked about Stones in a press conference.

"We made a bid [on Stones] because we like the player." That is what he said.

That is what started this whole thing with Martinez reacting in anger at Mourinho (and then Terry, Cahill, and every other big media or Chelsea sycophant) publicly encouraging Stones.

When will someone stand up and say that this guy is toxic?


Adam  Trotario     Posted 28/08/2015 at 18:42:25

An Alternative to Salary Caps

This is probably a daft idea, but having read so many calls on so many forum threads calling for a salary cap set me thinking. First, let me state that I dont see how a salary cap could work in football. Who would set the limit?

For me the answer is not a salary cap, but a squad size cap. Imagine if a Sky Four club could only hold 24 (okay choose a different number if you want) professional contracts for a season. They could play a youth player in case of injuries (or to promote them for experience). But there could be no more hoovering up of young talent and sending them out on loan. They would have to let a lot of their players go. They would still be able to offer the best contracts and still be able to attract the best players, but they would not be able to hoard them. No buy-back clauses could be written into a contract either; you cant stop gentlemens agreements but you can make them non-enforceable.

Any additional players would have to be on youth contracts which could be held at a rate affordable for all clubs within the division (with strict controls on additional payments). Young players would then base their decision on where to develop their career on who has the best set-up and which clubs are most successful in achieving professional contracts once they graduate. There would also have to be significant fees for signing another clubs youth club graduates.

I suspect that this would incentivise the rich clubs to offer lucrative short-term contracts and allow the second tier of clubs to offer longer less lucrative ones. Less lucrative but not necessarily less attractive, especially for players entering their late careers. I also suspect that this would have the effect of spreading the talent around the division far more effectively than any salary cap.

Now the big question is: how would this affect Everton?

Terry Murphy     Posted 27/08/2015 at 23:58:17

Transfers?!

So Igor Surkis and Andriy Yarmolenko have come out and publicly stated that the player will stay at Dynamo Kyiv to help with their Champions League campaign. Bernard is nowhere near close to leaving Shaktar, with the club themselves denying that the Brazilian will leave this summer.

Ramiro Funes Mori seems no closer to securing a work permit in a deal that looks more and more like it is going to go tits up. We have no left back. We only have 2 senior centre backs. We have a desperate lack of depth in the squad and no back-up for Lukaku. All of this added to the fact that there is now only 4 days of the window left leaves me with an extremely negative view of our prospects for the season.

Apart from Arsenal (who have only brought in 1 player) Everton have been the most inactive club with 4 signings. That may seem a lot, but we have let go of Distin and Alcaraz. The 4 players we have brought in are Deulofeu, Cleverly, Henen and Mason Holgate, so only 2 senior players! We have spent 4.25 million, which is an absolute disgrace in the current EPL climate.

I suppose all of the above just sounds like a lot of ranting about things that 90% of people on here already know. My question is, what are we going to do? I am sat in my living room as I write this looking on SSN and the net for some indication of movement in the market and I can find nothing. We don't seem to have any real targets, so I am starting to panic. To be honest wanted to ask people if they are feeling the same way and if they are, what do you expect to see from Everton before the 6pm deadline on Tuesday.

With all of the additional revenue that the EPL has been enjoying recently that fact that a club as big as ours is so far behind is mind-blowing. God help us all if we remain quiet and expect a season that follows the same trends as 2014-15.
Danny Halsall     Posted 27/08/2015 at 20:46:34

Part 2. Support the Reasons. Oppose the Methods

Some of you will have read my article from a week or so ago entitled Support the Reasons, Oppose the methods. There was a considerable difference of opinion between those who agreed and disagreed with me. I remain firm in my stance that there is a better way to demonstrate displeasure and improve matters.

In the comments to the post, I explained that I had, subsequent to my article, emailed Robert Elstone to suggest and offer of a conduit between club and fans. The email was penned in about 5 minutes and I didnt give it much thought during writing or indeed afterwards. I have copied the email below:


From: James Cadwaladr
Sent: 18 August 2015 15:51
Subject: An Offer of Support - In Strict Confidence and Good Faith.
Importance: High

Dear Mr Elstone,

As you are no doubt aware, there is growing unrest amongst the supporters of Everton Football Club. As a well educated, intelligent and level headed person I am able combine my love of the club with a rationality and sanity that is able to understand both the executive and supporter pressures. As such I wish to offer a level of support to the club, however I must first set out my intentions and beliefs

I neither support nor oppose the board of Directors of Everton Football Club. I am a supporter of genuinely neutral apathy.
I oppose the current fan protests and the supporter groups responsible.
I believe that engagement rather than disengagement is the solution on both parts.
I wish to stop the protests, and endeavour to help make all parties content.
I believe that the club executives and some decisions made have been poor and frustrating for fans.
I have worked within Sports Media, in a commercial role. For a supplier of the club no less.
I genuinely believe I have the credibility, to assist the Football Club moving forward.
I wish to volunteer my help as a genuine conduit between the club and fans.

I believe that both the club and its fans can help and I wish to engage with you to consider my assistance and perhaps the creation of a syndicate of fans (not previous Fans Forums) those who can provide valuable support and assistance to the club in an array of guises, stop the protests and allow all parties to move forward as one.

Should you or any of your colleagues wish to have an initial conversation to discuss I would be delighted to do so. Of course I shall be more than happy to sign any non-disclosure agreements as required.

Finally, should the rumours regarding our Chairman be true, please pass on my warmest respect, regards and best wishes.

Best regards

James Cadwaladr
Like I say, I didnt give the email much thought afterwards and I did not expect for one minute a reply. So please imagine my surprise when I received an email from Richard Kenyon, Director Marketing and Communications earlier today suggesting we "have a call to discuss some of the items you mention in your email."

Is the club listening? Who knows. However this is a very important time for the club and I intend to have a conversation and see where it leads to. This article may lead to another bun fight and I hope it doesnt. I intend to try and foster sensible communication. Please feel free to offer suggestions and questions.
James Cadwaladr     Posted 27/08/2015 at 15:13:05

Supporting John Stones

These last few days have been surprising and confusing in equal measures. I was 100% sure that Everton were going to keep Stones this transfer window and that John Stones would never even dream of handing in a transfer request. To say I was surprised and confused that he handed in the request is putting it lightly. Add to that small list the word 'disappointed' and you've just about got there.

However, that disappointment was eradicated by the news yesterday that my wife is going to have a baby girl. I'm so very happy! I guess what I'm trying to say is that whilst I was disappointed, there are far more important things in this world than expressing such vitriol and hatred at a young football player whom we still have on our books. Some of the stories, posts and all around abuse has gone FAR too far already and I fear it will only get worse. This is a young man who we want to keep, not turn away.

The rumours of him being in tears in a service station on the way home from the game and the idiotic and recorded abuse many of us will have seen calling him a 'rat' needs to be stopped. The only way of doing that though is for us all to be the bigger person and stop before expressing hatred for a young man playing a game (albeit one we all love) and 'having a word' with those around us who need to be reigned in.

John Stones is a wonderful young footballer and I hope he continues with us throughout this season at least. I hope that the real Everton fans step up and offer the boy some true support irregardless of how "disappointed" "confused" and "surprised" he's made us feel.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. And that goes for us fans too.
Matt Lavery     Posted 27/08/2015 at 09:19:54

Why Stones is not going anywhere

I am convinced Stones is not going anywhere. The factors that make me believe that are the manager's constant replies that he is not for sale.

His post-match interview after Barnsley was class. Can you imagine, with the discontent from the Everton fan base, the banner(s), the club's skid-marked underwear on full display the last month in the media, how it would look? Bobby would look ludicrous and no-one would blame him if he resigned.

Also, the board must be sitting uncomfortably and scared of a very serious meltdown and large-scale revolt from the fans. If the board do sell (surely they do hold some common sense between them?), then money can buy most things and will show us that this board has one thing only in their plan. And that one thing won't be putting Everton's best interests for the future paramount to all else.

I also think that most of the country would like to see us give the finger to Chelsea and let the values of what sport used to be win for once.
Gary Russell     Posted 27/08/2015 at 02:05:08

Royal Blue Jersey?

Is it just me? I know I am an old fart when it comes to my footie. I like to see them kick off at 3pm on a Saturday. I like 4-4-2. I like centre-backs that attack the ball in the air. But what I like most of all is seeing my team turn out in the royal blue shirt that everyone knows is Everton Football Club.

Dont get me wrong; I dont expect Chelsea to change their kit when we play at Stamford Bridge. I understand the need for a change of kit when there is a colour clash and the tradition in football is that it is the away team that change. But why do we need to change at all when we play a side whose kit is red and white stripes with black shorts is beyond me? Why we need two different change kits is also beyond reason.

Of course there is a reason: greed. The commercial divisions decide to have different change kits so that the kiddie pester factor increases their income. It gives nothing to tradition, necessity or reality.

In the current Premier League season, there are only seven teams we could conceivably have a clash with. Of these, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, West Ham and Man City, we could play in our normal kit without much confusion, but if we have to change we can. The other 12 clubs play in Red, White, Yellow or Black and White stripes.

So why all the variety of non traditional colours and fancy patterns? If we change at all, the colours that kept us going for many years: Yellow shirts, Navy shorts would suffice. I am sure modern versions of this could be produced.

So heres the rub. Show the commercial vultures the contempt they deserve. Dont buy the Olive Green/Black kit. If you wear a replica shirt, turn up in blue home and away. Make them realise that it matters. Or as I said... is it just me?

Martin Reppion     Posted 21/08/2015 at 13:04:58

Support for Bill Kenwright over his illness

There has been much talk recently about Bill Kenwright and his absence from many of the games towards the end of last season and so far this season

Back in July 2015, in an interview with Newcastles Evening Chronicle, Bill Kenwright said 'he was determined to recover after missing some of the Blues games towards the end of last term due to a debilitating condition' but also indicated that he was 'on the right side of the grass', which is positive.

We all know that our Chairman would attend games if he was fit and able.

From a fan's point of view, I imagine most of us on here would be interested to know what condition he is suffering from. Illness is such a personal thing and I am sure if Bill Kenwright wanted to disclose more details, he would have done by now.

Putting any personal feelings people may have towards Bill Kenwright and his Chairmanship aside, I believe we all hope that he is not seriously ill and that whatever condition he has can be cured, improved or managed without any long-term implications, and that he can soon be back watching Everton.

Debilitating illnesses can be stressful, and I expect the last thing he needs right now is the protests and the flying of banners across stadiums telling the Board to go.

Whilst everyone is entitled to their opinion about Bill Kenwright and the role he is playing at our club and therefore have the right to protest, how about Everton fans arranging a banner to be flown across Goodison Park and Liverpool as a whole with a "Get Well Bill" message? That would at least demonstrate to Bill Kenwright, the Board, management, players and all the staff connected with the club that Everton fans care about him as a person and wish him well.

It would also result in great positive PR for the club and show to the outside world that despite some divisions in opinion about how Everton is run, Everton fans are a class act.


Ian Jones     Posted 20/08/2015 at 10:03:29

An Open letter To Mr William Kenwright CBE

Dear Bill,

I am sure every Blue on the planet wishes you a speedy recovery if the rumours of a recent illness you may be suffering from are true. Get well soon!

As we all get a little older, we start to think of our legacy and how people will remember us, good or bad. There has never been any doubt that your Evertonian credentials stand up with the best of them out there. Hopefully, we can have a great 2015-16 season.

The reason for this letter is to inform you that the fanbase are becoming extremely restless with the lack of progress during your 16-year tenure as Chairman of this great club. You successfully steered us through some rough waters in your early years as Chairman, but I am sure you are aware of the rumblings of discontent.

My proposal is a simple one. It is that the current majority shareholders put their shares up for sale, at cost price, plus an acceptable rate of commercial interest over the time those shares have been held.

In return for those shares, any purchaser has to guarantee the building of a top class, quality stadium that future generations of Blues can enjoy. I believe you won't even have to request planning permission for any new stadium to be built on Stanley Park!

I can only imagine how much joy that sort of legacy would give fanatical Evertonians such as yourself & Mr Woods.

You would both be remembered as the men who stopped the rot; unfortunately, we cannot go on hoping for donations as a way forward for our club.

I hope these thoughts are passed on to your private office for consideration.

Yours sincerely, an Everton season ticket holder.



Kevin Tully     Posted 17/08/2015 at 13:24:32

An open letter to John Stones

Dear John,

Well never meet and Ive never played football above Sunday morning pub stuff so youve no need to listen to me. My only qualification for what I have to say is as a life-long sport fan and (cards on table) Evertonian.

You will be getting loads of advice about your career and future at the moment: where you can go to earn more money, win more medals and get great acclaim and prestige. So heres my bit.

Since I travelled to watch you play at Fulham in a terrible League Cup game a couple of years ago I have been telling anyone whod listen that I saw, on that night, desite the teams insipid display, the future England captain. My description of a right-sided Kevin Ratcliffe was intended as the highest praise I could think of. Comparisons with a young Rio Ferdinand were also made, but he wasnt in Ratters class. Nothing Ive seen since has changed that view.

All sorts of rumours abound now. You are going to Chelsea next week. You are going to Barcelona next year. These moves will bring you fame, wealth and medals beyond what you might expect to achieve at Everton. Having said that, Ratcliffe won 2 league titles, the FA cup, 4 Charity Shields and a European Cup Winners Cup. (You may have to ask your dad what that was.)

What would you get if you stayed at Everton? Wealth? Well you probably already earn more each week more than any of your former school mates will earn in a year. With a little financial management you will never be short of all the material things you could want. Medals? The tide can turn, Everton may build a team around you that can challenge for cups and one day even more. You will at least play every game you are fit to play. Im not sure this would happen at a mega rich club with a huge squad to keep happy.

Then there is fame. Yes, you could be recognised by more people if you played at a fashionable and more successful club. But... Stay at Everton for another year, you will be a hero. Stay for the length of your contract, you will be a legend. Stay beyond that and future generations may talk of you in the hushed tones reserved for Alex Young, Dixie Dean or the Holy Trinity of Kendall, Harvey and Ball and there is no praise higher to an Evertonian.

So there you have it. You can go wherever you want. Earn sums I cant even imagine. Be another mercenary galactic. Or do what we all dream of as a kid. Play football for a living, be a hero for club and country. Either way. Good luck.

Martin Reppion     Posted 17/08/2015 at 09:53:48

Class. Sheer class.

Our young striker showed class on and off the field yesterday.

During the warm up Rom hit a stray shot into the crowd which hit a middle- aged lady. Did he turn to the likes of Ross Barkley and laugh?

No. He spun away and looked embarrassed before immediately running to the stand, climbing over the barrier, and climbing the stairs to present the lady with is training top, giving her a "proper" big hug and shaking hands with the guy she was with.

Hats off to the Southampton fans for clapping him all the way too.

That action made me even more proud than the teams performance yesterday.

If Carling did centre forwards....

Brian Williams     Posted 16/08/2015 at 06:33:29

Bill`s paltry bank account

This is a list of the Premier League's richest owners from today's papers (translated from a Norwegian newspaper):

1) Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Manchester City 25,800M
2) Roman Abramovich, Chelsea 6,400M
3) Joe Lewis, Tottenham 6,300M
4) Stan Kroenke, Arsenal 5,100M
5) Mike Ashley, Newcastle 4,500M
6) The Glazer-family, Manchester United 3,800M
7) Ellis Short. Sunderland 3,100M
8) Katharina Liebherr, Southampton 2,400M
9) Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Leicester 1,800M
10) John Henry, Liverpool 1,300M
11) The Coates-family, Stoke 1,200M
12) David Sullivan, West Ham 1,100M
13) Randy Lerner, Aston Villa 800M
14) Giampaolo Pozzo, Watford 150M
15) Maksim Demin, Bournemouth 130M
16) Jeremy Pearce, West Bromwich 65M
17) Steve Parish, Crystal Palace 58.1M
18) Bill Kenwright, Everton 42.6M
19) The Morgan-family, Swansea 41.3M
20) Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, Norwich 29.7M

The list is showing the real difference between Man City and the rest - not even Chelsea are anywhere near them. The next big gap is between Aston Villa and Watford. This actually clearly indicates how much Money the likes of Leicester, Southampton, Stoke, West Ham, Sunderland and Villa really have compared to us. We know Liverpool and Newcastle have money available, but we tend to forget that clubs as mentioned above have just as much. These are clubs we are beating year after year, however as we know these days, they can easily catch up with us over a summer with some hectic transfer activity.

The point is, with the current ownership, we will be experiencing the ups and downs from season to season again and again. This can only be changed with a new mega-rich owner arriving some way or another. When we have our best squad, we need to hold on to our best players and have the option of making the last required 3-4 transfers.

Håvard Sletvold     Posted 13/08/2015 at 150813

Has Kenwright given up?

The storm clouds are gathering around Goodison. The fans are certainly not happy, booing the team's performance after 45 minutes of the new season. The fans are dissatisfied with the signings so far and the amount of money spent, compared to every other club.

The silence from the board, and the chairman in particular who is normally so vociferous when things are going well, is mystifying.

Similarly with the ground move. Two attempts have failed and we have been told by the CEO that the Walton move is unaffordable. So what is the position now on moving to a new stadium. Nobody knows!

At the Annual General Meeting two years ago, in response to demands from shareholders, the chairman agreed to have such meetings annually and be open to questions. Last season, the meeting didn't take place, and I believe none has so far been scheduled for this year.... The chairman seems to have gone to ground.

All this makes me believe he has given up trying to run a successful club, given up looking for investment, given up the search for new owners, but is hanging on to power for as long as possible for reasons best known to himself.
Clive Rogers     Posted 11/08/2015 at 10:18:28

talkSPORT discussing Everton this week

updated talkSPORT have given more time than usual this week with Stan Collymore responding to requests from Evertonians on Twitter to discuss the lack of signings at the club this summer and the boardroom situation in general.

The final hour of "Kick Off" from 9pm onwards on Monday was devoted to the Blues you can listen to the recordings here.

Further calls were taken during the Drive Time show on Wednesday, with one in particular from Joe Jennings that drew a particularly strong reaction on social media. SOS1878 have made a recording of that call available here.

ToffeeWeb      Posted 10/08/2015 at

Those first ten games....

A lot has been made and commented on the fact that we've been handed a rough first ten fixtures of the season - Spurs, Man City, Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Southampton (plus a visit to Swansea who are looking like no mugs either).

I'm canvassing opinions here, but what would in your mind constitute a "good" start to the season after those first ten games?

Personally, given the strength of the opposition, our early-season malaise, the injury curse, and the uncertainty of the transfer window/what new signings we may get, I'd be happy enough with mid-table by the end of October. 14 or so points (let's say four wins, two draws) would be enough for that. Not exactly ambitious I know, but that is the reality of where we currently are at. The fixture list from October - December does give us an opportunity to start looking upwards from there.

Anything less than ten points will see us hovering in or near the relegation places, and if the heat isn't on Roberto and the board already it likely will be if that's the case.

So.... what's the points tally by the end of October that we should be aiming for / you would be happy with?

Craig Fletcher     Posted 10/08/2015 at 02:16:43

Next three weeks vital for Martinez

As I sat and watched Match of the Day last night (8/8/15) I couldn't help but sit there and feel quite angry as I watched the highlights of Norwich v Crystal Palace. No, not because a Palace win had ruined my accumulator or because Norwich are my second team. iIt was because I just watched a vibrant looking Palace win 3-1, and Yohan Cabaye had just sealed the win for them. "Fucking hell, Cabaye would've been perfect for us, what's he doing at Palace?!" i uttered to myself.

Next up was highlights of Everton v Watford, "For fucks sake, same old crap as last season". A double Jack Daniels and Coke helped calm me down a bit though. But the next day I watched Arsenal vs West Ham, home banker this, I thought. But I sat and watched as Dimitri Payet ran the show for West Ham and looked exactly what Everton have been crying out for a creative, attacking midfielder, "For fuck's sake, how did West Ham get him? He looks superb!" I said out loud.

Yes, I swear a lot, especially when it concerns Everton. Because there were two players who have joined mid-table clubs who have the ability to change games, would have been great for Everton and didn't even cost that much. Payet cost around 11 million and Cabaye cost 13 million, hardly huge fees in today's world.

It brings me to the questions anyway: why wasn't Martinez in for these players? Where is the creative no.10/attacking midfielder we so desperately need? It was obvious for the majority of last season we needed a game changing player and it was obvious again against Watford.

Our manager has had sufficent time to find these players yet there has been no signs he has found any; teams like Palace, West Ham and Swansea can, so why cant we? I feel the next few weeks could determine Martinez's future at the club: sign the players we need or the buck stops with him as far as I'm concerned.

And don't bring up that old chestnut "weve got no money" we, and the rest of the Premier League have never been richer. If the board are giving the manager no money to spend then I suppose that is a different kettle of fish and needs its own questions answered. But I know one thing for sure, unless we have those three signings Martinez says we need, and they are good enough quality, then I suspect there will be a lot more swearing from me and the Goodison crowd concerning the manager's position in the not too distant future.
Chris Sillett     Posted 09/08/2015 at 18:26:30

Please sell John Stones ASAP

I didn't think I would be writing this but enough is enough. Forget about the lack of morality that Chelsea have shown in his pursuit. Forget about being labelled a "selling club". Forget about the dreams of building a team around him. Please take the 30 million when it is offered and run.

In the short-term, 30 million will go much further in making Everton into a competitive team NOW than thinking "long-term". Let's face it, there is no long term in the Premier League; it's all about the next match, the next 5 and 10 matches and the desperate need to WIN!

No matter how good we think John Stones is, he is not going to win us any matches. Nor do I think, in his current state of mind, he is going to save us from losing any. So please cash in ASAP and buy someone who can help us win (or compete) in a few of the next 5 matches.

Replace him short-term with Tyas Browning and find some big, ugly 6'-4" man-mountain to win some headers in our own box. Maybe even buy someone who is not so composed, elegant and wants to play the ball out from the back, but will get the ball safely into our opponent's half with a lot less touches.

How good will John Stones become if he plays in a team with better players around him? The only way to find out is to let him go to a team which has better players around him, with all due respect to Jags et al.

We all know JS is going to be gone before August 31st, so please let him go NOW and not when there is only 5 minutes left on the transfer deadline clock!
David Cooper     Posted 09/08/2015 at 04:46:03

Patience (is a virtue)

Well, the new season is nigh. I think that it is probably fair to say that many fans will have been be tossing and turning in their sleep.

9 players out injured before we have even kicked a ball!

One of these is our only real effective attacker with no decent backup. Another is our Barcelona whizzkid who might hold one of the keys to unlocking proverbially parked buses.

While we have some decent players in MF, we are still missing that magic No 10. Sure, we have a solid back line but the constant Chelsea tap-ups are unsettling especially for a team without good cover at CB.

As if that's not enough, we have arguably the toughest set of opening fixtures of any team in the Premier League.

If you are like me, you are trawling the web for transfer news and getting frustrated at the multitude of rumours and lack of substance. So, it is no wonder that everyone is getting edgy. However, I think that we all need to take a collective deep breath (me included) and look at the bigger picture.

Firstly, much as some people would like to, we cannot blame the manager for injuries. All teams have them to some extent (eg currently Bale, Ronaldo and Pepe are doubtful for Real).

Secondly, we cannot blame the manager and the club for trying to get the best value from the transfer window. Actually, it is a pet hate of mine, how late this window goes.

I cannot see any benefit for having it run til September 2 and it is basically destabalising for clubs, players and fans once the season starts. We know that the club has limited funds, so it makes sense for them to squeeze as much value as they can from those funds.

Obviously, we can only judge the transfer window activity AFTER the window closes. In the meantime, I think we need to be patient with the team and, for the moment, the club and manager.

If things don't go well in the opening game, I could see things getting ugly with further pressure being put on the team, club and manager. That in turn could affect team performance and force the club into hasty (yeah I know) transfers to appease fans.

So, my message is to keep the faith, be patient and get behind our team, especially over the next few weeks. Maybe we can reappraise the situation on September 3.
Ciaran Duff     Posted 07/08/2015 at 08:49:58

Jealous?

Given the current panic around new signings for the new season and all of the talk regarding West Ham, Stoke, Bournemouth, etc improving and leaving us behind in the transfer market, it got me thinking: "What signings have been made by other teams in the league this year that I am jealous of?" And the answer? Well not very many, if I am honest.

I had a look on transfermarkt, which had a (not very good) list of all of the transfers from all of the Premier League clubs so far and below are the signings that make me green, as well as a select few "big signings" that I am not too fussed we missed out on. Here goes:

Jealous

Petr Cech I think we will all agree on this one, a proven top quality Premier League goalkeeper. Given last year we had the poorest first choice keeper in the league statistically this one at 10m would have been a great signing. However, to caveat all of the above, it was well publicised that Cech wanted to stay in London so we were never a viable option.

Asmir Begovic Basically just see above. A top quality 'keeper younger than Cech who chose the bright lights of London and Chelsea's bench for what seems like greed. Maybe we can come back for him next year when Mourinho revolves the door. You can also add Sergio Romero to this argument.

Fabian Delph This guy is a personal favourite of mine and has been for a while. A good technical footballer who is full of energy and offers a threat going forward as well as a solid option going the other way. I suspect his release clause was for champions league clubs only so he would have cost us a lot more than the 8m he cost City. Same as Begovic, maybe we can get him on he cheap next year when/if City ruin his career.

Toby Alderweireld Had a very good season for Saints last year, but given he has chosen to go to Spurs and London (which seems to be a genuine disadvantage to us in the transfer market) I would say we would have had no chance in signing him. Also may be too good to be a 3rd choice which is ideally what we need.

Danny Ings Possibly because I am thinking of him as a free but a young mobile English striker who could have offered good competition to Lukaku. May end up costing 10m + though, which may be money spent better elsewhere.

Joe Gomez I watched a bit of the England youth games when Ledson and Kenny were involved last year and this kid stood out then. But gutted he has chosen to go to the dark side. That said, we seem to have a good batch of young defenders already and need a proven defender rather than a prospect.

Andre Ayew A top class player (it seems) on a free. Did get outshone by Atsu in the African nations though so I think the jury is still out on whether he will do well in the Prem.

Dimitri Payet I wrote a comment a while back where I tried to pick out potential no.10s/ creative players we could be after and he was right near the top of the pile due to his incredible assist record in France. More of a winger than a no.10 though and we have already bought a winger this summer.

Angelo Ogbonna Purely because it seems we lost out on him.

Not so Jealous

Raheem Sterling 49m?! Need I say any this else.

Christian Benteke 32.5m for someone who has show himself to be a very streaky striker, does not count as home grown (our Rom does) and has the whole team built around him a Villa.

Georgio Wijnaldum Won the Dutch player of the year but doesn't seem like the type of player we need. He sounds like a Barkley type player, albeit a bit more mature but not what we need, not a schemer.

Younes Kaboul Seems like a cheap price for a experienced Premier League CB, however, there is a reason Spurs want rid of him. He seems to have an attitude problem and also has a mistake in him. Too inconsistent to be relied upon.

As you can see not loads of players that we could of realistically signed that I am jealous about and only a small selection of the transfers that have gone through. I have faith in Bobby and Bill to get a proper 10 in and am very happy with the business so far. Now just for those other three..!


Michael Ward     Posted 06/08/2015 at 13:59:20

We will know on Saturday

Ten games, the end of October, Christmas. How long should Roberto get? What will it take for Bill to act? I suggest we will know after the Watford game. It's not a must win game, a defeat is okay under the right circumstances.

We will know by team selection. We will see the tactics. Will it be insipid, pointless passing. Will we close down? Will we defend solidly? Will there be passion? Will there be any sign of guile or innovation? Will there be positive substitutions if required?

We can be unlucky losers to Watford or lucky winners. But we should know what is in store. We will know if there is a plan or is it to be more of the same. A big day for our club.
Andy Crooks     Posted 06/08/2015 at 00:43:12

Season 2015/19 - WWWWWW, LLLLLL or DDDDDD?

This is just thinking out...quiet (random thoughts, brain droppings, killing time).But is there a way we could be successful next (this coming) season?

This has been on my mind since Sunday.

Obviously, immediately after the game, I thought 'no fucking chance' and after a couple of days (calmer) reflection, I still couldn't see a way.

But now I think there might (only might) be a way.

A way at least to avoid a repeat of last season.

However it would mean being incredibly brave and using (for want of a better word) 'surprise'.

It seems to be accepted that one of the main reasons we were so ineffective last year is that we had been 'sussed' - that teams had figured us out and knew how to play us.

Though I think there was (much) more to it than this, what is beyond dispute is that we were 100 times easier to figure out (and beat) last season, than we were the season before.

On Sunday imo, it was the same as (the worst of) last year.

It went/goes..

Pass.....pass.... .pass.....pass.....pass....pass-pass-pass...pass...pass...pass...pass-pass...passpasspass....PASSPASS...give the fucking ball away...........chase....chase....chase...chase....chase-chase....CHASE... etc.

(and by the way, their chasing was twice as..um..'chasey' as ours)

If we do nothing different from last season, we are probably goosed, though to exactly what degree, will probably depend (basically) on how other sides perform and our injuries (or lack of them).

My feeling is the only chance we have of 'success' is to (suddenly) be the 1950s Wolves side.

To play a fast-paced, muscular, long ball percentage game.

Now many (ahem, 'purists') didn't like it back then and I personally don't feel comfortable with it now, but it would completely surprise teams playing us and increase our chances of putting the ball into the net.

It is also obvious (to Lenny fucking Peters) that we don't have the players to be able to compete on level terms with the big-spenders at the game they play (passing the ball with touch and pace)

From what I've seen in the last 12 months, the most dangerous we've looked is actually from a punt upfield and a defended headed ball dropping just outside the opposition's box.

Of course some might say 'oh you can't expect them to change the whole system and expect results' but the players seemed to do exactly this last season (see Utd) and it worked very well.

So maybe our best chance of success next season is actually... mutiny!

For the likes of Osman (or whoever) to effectively be the manager.

I'm kidding.......a bit....ish.

We can (and do) argue about the best way forward, but I think we all know/agree is that more of the same won't do (and we have to keep reminding ourselves that no matter who or what we'd like, we have the players/team we have and have to play to their 'strengths').

A quote popular and much used on TW is the one often attributed to Einstein that states 'the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results'

A great quote no doubt but one that (it seems) is as likely to have come from Benjamin Franklin or Mark Twain or from Rita Mae Brown's novel 'Sudden Death.'

However there is a (definitely) Einstein quote that also seems apt in so many Everton ways (in fact re being an Evertonian, I'd even apply it to myself).

"He who joyfully marches to music rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him a spinal cord would surely suffice"

It was part of an an anti-war sentiment, but I have a feeling if 'Einy' saw me in mid-January, standing shivering in the pissing sleet, shoveling cold curry and chips into my face on Supper Bar Island, he wouldn't change a word (especially if we got tonked by Palace and he saw me 2 weeks later in Woolton, waiting for an 81 to Bootle Strand).

So mugs away and....up the Toffees!!
Eugene Ruane     Posted 04/08/2015 at 11:46:27

Physicality?

What prompted me to write about this topic in relation to the Blues team that player against Chelsea, was a comment at the start of Tottenham v Liverpool game, that Tottenham now possess "a physical presence". The current popular word is "physicality" more often described as 'tall' or 'big'... which I take to mean "a team of 6-ft+ players" with several towering between 6'-1" and 6'-3".

Tottenham are not only the current team in the 2014-15 season who have size to match potential skill. Man City and Chelsea fit this bill as well. Likewise, "lesser" teams such as Stoke and others have always made sure they possess enough "physicality".

So what about our Blues? I have had to dip into a website that states these facts and hopefully they are accurate. So the team that started was as follows:

Tim Howard 6'-3"
Seamus Coleman 5'-9"
Phil Jagielka 6'-1"
Sylvain Distin 6'-3"
Leighton Baines 5'-7"
James McCarthy 5'-11"
Gareth Barry 6'-1"
Aiden McGeady 5'-8"
Steven Naismith 5'-8"
Kevin Mirallas 5'-9" (?)
Romelu Lukaku 6'-3"

So that gives us only five 6-ft+ starters and four who are (in terms of football and other professional sport) quite short at 5'-7" to 5'-9". On the bench we had:

Leon Osman 5'-8"
John Stones 6'-1"
Mohamed Besic 5'-9"
Antolin Alcaraz 6'-2"
Darron Gibson 6'-1"
Samuel Eto'o 5'-11" (?)
Joel Robles ?????

Then starters who are currently injured, or were ineligible:
Ross Barkley 6'-2"
Steven Pienaar 5'-7"
Bryan Oviedo 5'-10" (?)
Christian Atsu 5'-8"
Arouna Kone 5'-11"

Sorry about the long list of heights but it does go to show we are not the biggest team that has ever graced Goodison Park. I used to share the old idea that "size did not matter" in certain regards but, just like in other areas, I think it does in today's version of the Premier League.

While I was brought up on the "Holy Trinity" and love to watch smaller skilful players, I wonder if you cannot afford to have more than two or three players who are less than 6 ft tall?

  • How much do we miss Ross Barkley at 6'-2"?
  • How much stronger would we be with Darren Gibson in midfield at 6'-1"?
  • How much longer does John Stones at 6'2 have to wait?

Some of the intricacy and speed that we showed at times against the best team in the league by a country mile was mindblowing. McGeady, Naismith (who plays above his height) and Mirallas played at a level I have rarely seen an Everton team achieve.

Football, like everything else, is a game of compromise when it comes to selecting a team to compete at the top level. I can already hear some saying "size has nothing to do with making stupid errors" and I totally agree. But I do fear that Roberto's love of playing the ball out and keeping the ball on the floor is achieved at the expense of our lack of physicality.


David Cooper     Posted 31/08/2014 at 20:59:21

Steven Naismith

Football fans are a fickle lot, we all know that. In Steven's case, however, particularly so. Two years ago under OFM, the sight of him entering the arena whether as starter or sub led to howls of derision throughout the majority of the Everton community. Many of us surely questioned what OFM had seen in him.

Two years on and the answer is plain to see. What we have is a player as honest as the day is long and of no little talent-his finishing lately has been of the highest order. He efforts alone against Chelsea yesterday didn't merit the final score. His status among the Goodison faithful may yet reach that of Tim Cahill in the modern era. Time will tell.

What's more, and more importantly, he seems to be a thoroughly decent human being as witnessed in his gesture towards the unemployed and his work for charity.

A Goodison favourite. Thanks Stevie!
Julian Exshaw     Posted 31/08/2014 at 16:45:55

Please don't tell me it's not about the money...

With everyone feeling a tad pessimistic and frustrated after letting Arsenal off the hook, just have a think about how well we do as the money game spins further out of control.

I watched most of Man City vs Liverpool last night. Decent game with City just having too much fire power and Liverpool having lots of new players looking like they only met on the team coach before the game. Not unusual.

What really struck me was the subs. City brought on:-

  • Aguero (scored with his first touch)
  • Navas
  • Fernandinho

City paid a total of 90.8M for those three.

The reds brought on:-

  • Markovic (looked decent)
  • Can (could be called Cant after that pathetic dive ref bottled an easy decision)
  • Lambert.

They cost Liverpool 34M.

I dread to think about how much Man City's squad cost or what their wage bill is, but basically, they will only not win the title if they cant be arsed, or if Chelsea pip them.

Game over? Uefa Financial Fair Play? My arse.

Meanwhile, back with Etoo on a free... Evertons three subs on Saturday cost 2.5M and our goal scorers were a pricey 60k.

Ho hum.


John Jennings     Posted 26/08/2014 at 09:59:03

It will come good - sometime shortly

Trying to step back from the reaction to Saturday, lets focus on some facts.

We have in the first two games demonstrated that we are a force to be reckoned with; there were significant parts of those matches where we dominated the opposition, and vitally made a significant number of goal scoring chances, and actually took four of them. None were fortunate; all four were well crafted and executed even without Barkley.

Against that, Leicester scored two fortunate goals, both conceded from ricochets; Arsenal's goals to be truthful were deserved and taken well, even if you could argue they should/could have been eliminated. In both games, we lost our way after 60, 75, 80 minutes whatever time you think we lost it. Why ?

My view is that Martinez, after last seasons success, has to go with the 12-15 or so players who delivered it, and that means to me the Jags, Distin, Osman etc. They suddenly dont become past it over the 2-month summer break. He can't and won't just throw in Atsu and Besic.

To me, our downfall has been due to a lack of player fitness, sharpness, game time. The pre-season was poor, if you look at Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd they all had their World Cup players back at least a week earlier than ours, even those who played after the group stages. Arsenal gave their German lads another 2 weeks off, but had their French players back early. We gave our England lads a further week off than our rivals and our losing Qualifiers and Quarter finalists (Belgium and USA) another week off.

I suspect Martinez hadnt got his brain round this issue all summer, convinced himself rest was important and we suffered and are still suffering because of it. We played less proper pre-season games than all our rivals, and in fact never ever played our first 11 players at all together.

Someone mentioned in an earlier thread that Arsenal should have been worse off than us fitness wise on Saturday after playing in Turkey midweek, but thats what we are actually missing game time. Even this week, our closest rivals, Man Utd, Spurs, Arsenal are all playing again, getting mentally sharper, physically stronger.

I dont believe the team can suddenly perform at the excellent level as last year, they need to gel, they need to regain that composure, that trust in those around them, they need game time and conditioning.

As an aside, Im slightly concerned that we lost 3 coaching staff over the summer: Alan Irvine and Alan Stubbs... also Steve Tashijan (US Conditioning Coach, brought in by Moyes 5 years ago who decided to go back to the USA), and I dont think any have been replaced as yet. We seem to me to have taken our eye off the ball. Im sure Martinez will do the necessary to sort it out, but its just another factor contributing to our poor pre-season giving us problems at the moment.

Im optimistic well go on and do well, we could have been more fortunate than getting Arsenal and Chelsea so soon, but a good victory sometime will undoubtedly help aching legs and minds.


Mike Oates     Posted 25/08/2014 at 17:31:08

The Park End Stand - 20 years old this week

It's 20 years yesterday since the Park End stand opened for its first League game, a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on August 20, 1994.

Although a big improvement on the old 1906 built structure, it looks now to have been a massive missed opportunity. The original plans, unveiled in April 1991, were for a 10,000 seater double decker stand to line up and join the Bullens Road stand.

However, symptomatic of the depressing 'Dr David Marsh' era, the Board, including a certain Bill Kenwright, deemed it unlikely we would need a capacity of more than 40,000. So, instead a single tier 6,000 seat structure was built, costing a mere 2.3m, of which 1.8m was a grant from the Football Trust.

Even at the time, it seemed short sighted and we ended up with something not big enough, noticeably further back from the playing area than the Gwladys Street end, and out of keeping with all the other multi-tiered stands.

So, 20 years on, do you regard it as a missed opportunity of 4,000 extra fans at many games from a penny-pinching Board or a prudent move to get the stand replaced at the lowest possible cost?
Karl Masters     Posted 21/08/2014 at 07:52:31

Lewis Holtby (again)

I see our Evertonian mate, Lewis Holtby is once again being mentioned with our great club! According to SportingPreview.com we are the favourites to land him and I would love to have him in our squad.

I think he's a good fit, good footballer, unselfish, good engine!

I really think he would suit Roberto and I hope this latest rumour is true. What do the other Bluenoses reckon then?
Tommy Davis     Posted 20/08/2014 at 17:46:36

Europa League or Top 4?

I've been having a bit of a debate with some of the lads about which would be the most enjoyable way for us to get into the Champions League next season.

Obviously the Premier League is the bread and butter and I always want us to finish as high as we can. With the teams around us spending astronomical amounts of money, it may seem it's a step too far again. The Europa League now gives us a second bite of the cherry to get to the promised land.

So just wondering what all the Blues out there would rather do. Win the Europa League and finish in the top 6. Or finish 4th and not concentrate too hard on the Europa?

For me, I personally would love us to win it. A trophy and the Champions League would be better than 4th and no trophy.

Also I would like to point out that I haven't ruled us out of winning the league just yet HA! COYB!
Michael Cummins     Posted 19/08/2014 at 12:59:17

Man Utd shambles means 4th place is up for grabs

Ok, ok, I admit we didn't look like the 3rd best team in the league yesterday. That would be true even if we had sneaked out of Leicester with the full three points. And letting two of the points slip away on a late goal was a punch in the gut, with the bad news about Barkley adding injury to insult.

But the good news from yesterday is, Manchester United look a shambles, and that is HUGE for opening up a spot in the Top 4. Spurs were lucky to sneak past West Ham, the RS have lost Suarez... so, if Man Utd bollocks things up, 4th place could be wide open for the taking this season.

Witness the panic in the Red Devils' camp in the press. They think they are in far worse shape than us right now. Already, for example, an ESPN FC poll shows only 40% of respondents believe Man Utd will finish in the Top 4.

On top of that, van Gaal appears shaken and shocked and publicly states that his own team's confidence has been smashed! Thank God we have a positive manager in Roberto who would never say such a thing.

If Man Utd believe their own panic, and Roberto keeps our side positive, that could be a huge edge for us in the race for 4th. COYB!


Geoffrey Caveney     Posted 17/08/2014 at 12:17:06

The Forgotten XI

Before the new season kicks off and all of the talk on here gets very serious, lets take a look back through the years at an Everton team that none of us were ever very serious about. This is the team that time forgot; the team that makes you stop and think to yourself for a minute about whether these players ever actually pulled on the royal blue shirt, the team that most non-Evertonians wouldnt even recognize as an Everton line-up. Did they play for Everton? Really? When?

The Forgotten XI is reserved for players that never made a career or even a name for themselves at Everton. Some may have never even crossed the touchline. Some were unlucky with injuries, some were loan signings that just didnt work out and some were just simply forgettable. This is not the worst Everton team of all time, those absolute shockers weve had down the years were at least memorable.

Before I begin, let me stress, this post is designed to be a bit of fun before the serious stuff starts tomorrow. My forgotten XI is based on my own opinions having watched Everton for over 30 years. I invite and encourage you to share yours. Clearly there will be players that, well, Ive forgotten.

1. Espen Baardsen The Norwegian stopper played one game, against his former club, conceding four goals. He retired citing that hed fallen out of love with the game. Evertonians dont fall out of love with the game, mate.

2. Li Weifeng A member of the Kejians HQ 5-a-side team that negotiated himself into the shirt sponsorship deal. Now back in the accounts department where he belongs.

3. John OKane Who said we take Manchester Uniteds unwanted rubbish?

4. Anthony Gardner Another former Spurs man who seemingly used Everton as a more luxurious version of the NHS.

5. Per Krøldrup Moyes made some great signings on the cheap, he really did. But oddly when he did get the chance to blurt out a sizeable wad of cash it never seemed to quite work out for him. The signing of this centre-half went particularly per-shaped... Ill get my coat.

6. Billy Kenny No joke here, just a very sad waste of talent and opportunity. Sigh.

7. Rodrigo The Brazilian winger, the next Rivaldo, personally remembered by me for confidently stepping up at Maine Road to sting a direct free-kick from just outside the area out for a throw in.

8. Alex Nyarko Had two bites of the cherry and squandered both. Career highlight was hitting the underside of the bar against Chelsea he didnt half hit that one shot well though didnt he.

9. John Spencer The former Chelsea man came in during those very special Walter Smith years and his goal-scoring exploits contributed to many a clean sheet for the other team.

10. Tommy Johnson The ex-Villa and Celtic red-haired assassin. Another striker who smashed home a grand total of zero goals in a blue shirt.

11. Jesper Blomqvist The highly regarded tricky Swedish winger looked to banish the memories of our previous tricky Swedish winger Niklas Alexanderson. Lesson learned. Dont buy Swedish wingers.


Scott Hall     Posted 15/08/2014 at 14:42:06

Manuel Fernandes

As I was perusing all things Everton, I came across an old name that revived some thoughts, none other than Manuel Fernades! One of the hacks was pushing his name forward, saying that Roberto may have missed out not bringing him on a free transfer to Goodison?!?

I personally don't think so, for several reasons and I really think this hack was probably bored, as Fernandes is now plying his trade in Russia... although he did score a cracker, see goal below..... Fernandes scores a screamer in Moscow.

I will never forget him dumping us for Valencia back in 2007 or thereabouts, assuming that was the truth of course!? I think he is water under the bridge and, even if Roberto did fancy him, would any blues out there really want him in the squad?
Tommy Davis     Posted 13/08/2014 at 20:55:18

What should be our focus this season?

We now have an idea what our squad will look like this season, as we do our competitors. So where would you like us to prioritise our efforts?

I have two priorities: firstly silverware; and secondly a good European campaign. So attempting to win the UEFA Europa League would be ideal for me. I don't see us winning the Premier League, we cannot compete over a season with both City and Chelsea, both have strengthened again as has Arsenal.

As for a Champions League spot, I think again it would be a big ask. None of the media tip us to attain it and I can see why. Firstly, have we progressed? I don't think we have. We have taken the vital step of retaining key players (Lukaku and Barry) but done little to push on. Everyone is raving over Besic but surely he is competing with the (both excellent) Barry or McCarthy for a place, as all of them are primarily defensive midfielders.

Atsu may be exciting, but so was Delofeu whom he is, in effect, replacing. This means the only likely improvement is the younger stars continuing their development into Champions League quality players. This, in the case of Stones and Barkley, is of course possible but the flip side is players like Pienaar, Distin and Osman getting less effective as they get older.

Secondly, we have strong competition (as always) from other teams. The Dark Side will miss Suarez but I think will be strong and United, with their finances, unfortunately won't have another season that bad again. Add to that who knows what Pochettino will get do for Spurs and I think top 4 is again a huge ask. Even if we got it, who remembers who finished fourth? We would still have to play a knock-out match to get into the group stages (we remember how that finished last time) and one year on its own in the Champions League will not do much financially to address the gap to the wealthiest Premiership clubs.

That leaves the Cups. I would be glad to win any of them; it really is about time we did, but the added sweetener of a Champions League spot makes this the competition I would like Roberto to prioritise. Considering how well we did last season and Roberto's continental style of play, we should be able to compete with any likely opponents. If that affects our Premiership form so be it. We should still be good enough for top 7.

Over to you!


John Pickles     Posted 11/08/2014 at 15:49:04

Ross Barkley Messiah or Angell?

This will undoubtedly divide opinion amongst posters on ToffeeWeb and risk the wrath of many but I want to raise what is, in my opinion, fast becoming an 'elephant in a room'... namely, Ross Barkley and just what he is going to add to our 'push on' this season.

Like every one of you, I acknowledge that the boy is undoubtedly a great talent with certain attributes that others his age, simply don't have. (Here it comes...) However, how is he going to now transform the 'sporadic' form of his debut season into becoming a week-in, week-out 'force' in the Premier League? At the moment, I don't see the type of drive and focus that will take him to the level that will ultimately see him mentioned alongside the elite players in Europe. This in itself is a worry, as we know he will still be attracting the type of media coverage that has destroyed many other 'talents' before him.

Let's be fair, there are not many 19-year-olds in Europe's top leagues who have been given the luxury of being 'carried' for a season, in an attempt to nurture their skills. I personally applaud Roberto for having the bravery to do this, but what worries me is that we don't see enough 'end product' from him, and looking at him in the World Cup and, indeed, yesterday again his conditioning simply doesn't allow him to influence games in slower, possession-based play.

His passing is becoming negative and his movement increasingly ponderous/static (in fact the Besic boy showed more dynamism yesterday, from a deeper role). He is a player that we have seen in flashes, excels in fast/powerful play (like his expensive new buddy up front) but he, in the 'free role', is the guy that needs to dictate the speed of play, and he simply isn't, for me, showing that he can do this on a regular basis. He has guys around him that sacrifice elements of their own game (and invite criticism) to do his defensive duties, which can limit our ability to switch tactics in games.

So now the honeymoon is over, he must deliver in a consistent manner. Also, he's not a surprise element this year and defenders will also have a plan to nullify him.

So ToffeeWebbers, how is he going to adapt and improve? Is the addition of some pacey new wingers (?) going to allow him to express himself? If not, how is he going to improve us this year?

ps: I do hope he finds the 'missing ingredient' and attracts all he big money 'speculation' next year as it will mean he has influenced another memorable year for our club!

Debate!


John Cotton     Posted 10/08/2014 at

Season Predictions

The usual special supplements are being distributed with national newspapers, discussing the prospects for the season ahead, and there does seem to be a significant return to 'normal service', if my own paper is anything to go by.

The conspiracy theorists explained away Man Utd's 'poor' last season, by the genius 'Sir Alex' realising it was time to go as he had an aging squad, largely past it and in need of wholesale change. Since Moyes was removed and the new messiah 'King Louis' has signed up, how things have changed!

As far as I can see, two new recruits, a midfielder and an 18-year-old full back have signed up, but the prospects for the season ahead have been transformed so Moyes left a great team of potential champions after all!

Of the Daily Mail's ten so-called experts, eight have Man Utd finishing back in the top 4, with one having them down as Champions. (One of the remaining two naysayers is the Merseyside writer, Dominic King!) Of the ten experts, six (!) predict silverware for Man Utd and only two think Liverpool will finish in the top 4.

Of course, none think Everton will get into the top 4, and a generous lone writer thinks we will win a piece of silverware the League Cup (Spurs and Newcastle also have one nomination each).

I'm going to keep my copy, and sincerely hope to be using it for what it was meant for next May, hung on a nail in a small room at the bottom of the garden.


Peter Morris     Posted 10/08/2014 at 07:26:48

Is it just me or is Roberto right?

I was expecting a flurry of players arriving before and after the World Cup; I suppose like every other Evertonian on the planet, I came to realise that it wasnt until the Lukaku situation was resolved would we see the incoming of other players particularly a couple more forwards, as Roberto said in June we need seven new additions to the first-team squad.

Well, we signed Barry, Besic, finally Lukaku and now hopefully Atsu on a loan. So one new player to last years squad Besic. OK... did Roberto mean seven players after losing our loanees from last year? So four new players... and you could possibly add Garbutt to that, and maybe, after today, Chris Long.

Now Ive reached a point where Im trying to convince myself all is well...but after five senior friendlies, no wins and four defeats there is no sign of the fitness, readiness, sharpness, style or shape we will need. The team are playing as though last season didnt actually happen... playing like Wigan did 2 years ago, giving goals away left, right and centre and never ever looking like we would score more than one a game.

The boss making positives out of utter garbage... "Yes, just as we planned, we went in ready to lose four games; we went on knowing that our top players werent playing or werent at the races, as we gave them an extra two weeks off."

Oh, by the way, Roberto, the winners of the World Cup Germany (alias Bayern Munich) have had their players back and actually playing in friendlies... but, hey ho, our lads will be peaking in November when we're 12th in the league.

Hopefully Im way off the mark but no-one can convince me we are ready for Leicester, and we are miles away from being ready for the Arsenal and Chelsea games to follow. Im seeking Robertos psychologist as I need to find some positives.


Mike Oates     Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:09:59

Try Decaf

There seems to be a bit of a panic lately. Where's the loans? Where's the speedy winger? Our squad is thin...

Maybe I have too much trust in Roberto? Nah, that's not it. The man is gold.

Everyone needs to just calm down.

"But we've only really signed Besic," you say? "Same squad as last season, plus only one more," you say? Put the car in park for just a second and think about that one.

Our young talent is another year older, wiser, and battle-tested. Should we not expect more from them this coming season? Surely 20- and 21-year-old boys will improve through the years? Ergo, they should play better this year?

We've signed Rom, one of the best young strikers out there. We've solidified our future with the the contracts of Barkley, Seamus, Besic, and Stones. Frankly, we're in a good position.

Yes, a few more players in some positions would be nice, but this is Everton. We're not sleeping on piles of gold coins, and we just dropped an astronomical amount of money on one player whom our manager has the utmost faith in. Faith enough to build his attack around him for the next half a decade.

I also trust Roberto implicitly on the economic side of this equation. He won't overpay for average talent just to fill numbers. He won't bring in players that don't fit the vibe and ethos he's building here. In short, he won't spend money we don't have just to fill the squad. He seems to be equally concerned with the financial stability of Everton as much as he is with winning. That's a good thing.

Am I the only one comfortable with the current landscape?

In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory I recall Veruca Salt "I want a golden goose NOW!"

Everton Football Club and it's supporters are not a rabble of Verucas. So let's stop the whinging (to steal an English phrase), trust our fearless leader, and remember what we HAVE and not act the spoiled brat wanting more.

We're fine. We're going to have one hell of a season.

Finally, keep the vibe we had after we signed Rom. There's SO much to be positive and excited about!

I love ToffeWeb. But I often wonder if some contributors start their day with two espressos, snort a line at lunch, and then scream, "The sky is falling!!!" by your tea time...

Trust Roberto.

Try decaf.


Jamie Crowley     Posted 08/08/2014 at 16:48:21

Deulofeu watch

Barcelona played at Nice in a friendly on Saturday (Score: 1-1). The local sports paper here in Catalunya carried reports including, under his photo, half a column about Gerard Deulofeu, who played all of the second half. I thought you might like to hear what they said (my translation):

"The poor first half was changed by the entrance of Xavi, but also by Deulofeu coming on .... he showed that he could be a game-changer.

"Gerard is a distinctive footballer ... electric ... one-on-one ... unlocks defences. His final ball can be improved but he's still young ... he had a good effect on the rest of the team."

It all sounds very familiar don't you think? His season with us doesn't seem to have done him any harm at least.

To finish, I liked the final thing they said about him, that he would be 'una fichaje de lujo'. De luxe, of course, but in our terms? 'Like a new signing'!
Keith Glazzard     Posted 04/08/2014 at 19:03:13

Lineup vs Leicester City

So not long to go now, a fortnight if my calendar is correct I know this is some people's pet hate on here but come on, what would be your starting line-up against Leicester City?

My line-up is under the assumption Atsu has signed... (After all part of the deal it appears is that he plays as much as he can in the Premier League!!!):

Howard
Coleman Jagielka Stones Baines
Atsu Barry McCarthy Pienaar
Barkley
Lukaku

Subs: Robles, Distin, Besic, Osman, Naismith.

All-in-all, it looks like being a very promising season. When everyone is fit, Christ only knows how you fit Oviedo, Gibson, Kone et al into it... but hey, that's the dilemma Everton have these days!!
Sam Higgins     Posted 04/08/2014 at 14:31:21

From a Distance the Earth is Blue

As an impressionable 15-year-old lad in 1962, I watched my first game at Goodison Park. Converted soul. Since then, my love affair with Everton FC has continued unabated. Long gone are Dunlop, Harris, Young and the unsung hero, Roy Vernon (Welsh and a 60-a-day smoker), but now to the present day.

Roberto Martinez has a vision and from a distance it becomes clear: The team from last season has been re-assembled almost to the letter. Barkley confirmed; Stones a regular; Barry re-signed; Lukaku a full-blooded regular; Atsu a possible replacement for the erratic Deulofeu. In essence, the team that finished 5th (just) but Roberto has added the steel of Besic to counteract the tired last half-dozen games from last season's finish.

So, from a distance the ageing Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Pienaar axis are being replaced by the wily Catalan's vision hence the prospective purchase/actual acquisition of Atsu, Galloway and Henen to fill in the gaps as the old soldiers gradually disappear.

Add in the promotion of Garbutt, Browning, Ledson and Lundstram to the Senior ranks over the next couple of years and we have an Everton side that is young and experienced and the fiscal cost is limited to wages.

I am a Catalan through my father (born in Barcelona) and I see clearly Roberto's vision. Visca Everton y los Boixes Noys... Nos Vamos sin miedo con confianca. NSOP.


Francis Munoz     Posted 02/08/2014 at 19:56:43

Are Everton the third-best team in the League now?

With Lukaku signed and hopefully Atsu and/or Guardado on the way, where do Everton honestly rate among the best teams in the Premier League going into the 2014-15 season?

Taking an objective look at the league, we probably have to admit that Manchester City and Chelsea appear to have the strongest sides. But can any other club really claim to rate clearly higher than Everton now?

There is good reason to believe that all Southamptons horses and all Southamptons men cant put the RS together again, after the departure of Suarez. Their attack has lost itsbite.

Nothing that Arsenal and Man Utd have done looks like a dramatic improvement. Van Gaal is even making excuses already, saying how difficult it is to sort out the mess that Moyes left him, how unbalanced his squad are, and so forth.

And are the Spurs even in the discussion anymore?

I think a 3rd place finish is a quite realistic goal for Everton this season.

For the betting types, I notice that for a Tricast bet for 1st Chelsea, 2nd Man City, 3rd Everton, one can get odds of 225 to 1 or as much as 400 to 1, and for 1st Man City, 2nd Chelsea, 3rd Everton, 225 to 1 or as much as 500 to 1. A small bet on each of these outcomes might not be a bad wager to make right now!


Geoffrey Caveney     Posted 01/08/2014 at 15:09:19

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