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December 2014 Archive   |   Submit a topic

Crap Marks All Round

As we move in to 2022 and with the season more or less at the half-way stage (postponements notwithstanding), how have we performed? If I'm the one giving marks out of 10 for the first half of the season, the results are incredibly gloomy.

The Players

Jordon Pickford 7

One of the bright spots in the first half of the season. Pickford has matured as a goalkeeper over the last 12 months and is really becoming a mainstay of the team. Still tends to punch when he can catch on occasions but a good first half of the season.

Asmir Begović ½

Well past his sell-by date, yet some Blues thought he would be a good back-up goalkeeper… absurd! The more absurd when you think we sent João Virgínia out on loan to the Portuguese Champions where he would hardly ever get a game. Begovic has played two games, both in the Carabao Cup. His performance in both ties surely must have shown the ones who thought he was a good back-up the error of their ways. A snail could have got down quicker to the QPR penalties in the calamitous penalty shoot-out. A disastrous signing. Let’s hope he is not given any run-out in the FA Cup!!

Seamus Coleman 3

Our captain has been on an ever-quickening decline since he came back from his leg break. Age has also caught up to him. The first half of the season has shown that Coleman is now nothing more than a back-up option at best. But his predicament is all down to the criminal irresponsibility of not signing a replacement a couple of seasons ago. Hopefully this problem will be solved in January.

Lucas Digne –10

One of the most over-rated players at the club. One good season, and then a steady decline thereon in, which quickened following his nightmare performance at Millwall in 2019. He has never been very good at his actual main job of defending, and this season he has also been awful going forward. He has also seemingly lost the ability to even put in a good cross.

Following his bust-up with Benitez, he has shown total contempt for the club and basically gone on strike for the last few weeks. No player – good or, in Digne’s case, decidedly average – is bigger than the club. He has crossed the line of no return to add to his inept performances. So, he gets a 10 but on the minus side. Our left-back, as the song goes, is “Certainly not magic”. Should be shipped out asap in January.

Jonjoe Kenny

Kenny really should have been moved on long ago as he is not up to even being an understudy right-back. He has started three games this season and performed well both at Huddersfield in the Carabao Cup and especially away at Chelsea. But he was awful as part of the pathetic performance at Queens Park Rangers which takes his mark down.

Niels Nkounkou 2 for Everton (5 for Standard Liege)

He's only played one game at Huddersfield where he was good going forward but dreadful when it came to actually defending. He wanted to go out on loan and is now at Standard Liege for the season.

Nkounkou really needs to work on the defensive side of his game. I have watched him a couple of times for Standard and the same problem is persisting. Let’s hope the penny drops for him in the second half of the season in Belgium… but I have my doubts.

Yerry Mina 5

Mina has been, when fit, easily the best central defender so far this season. But therein lies the problem: He is incredibly injury prone and has not been able to stay fit for more than half a season since he joined the club. So, although he has performed well so far, he has missed too many games to get anything above a 5.

A question mark really hangs over Mina. If he can’t stay fit, then the club has a big decision on whether to try and cash in and move him on, probably in the Summer.

Michael Keane 4

It was a horrendous start to the season from Keane who made mistake after mistake. he picked up during November and was especially good away at Chelsea in December. But he is no better than an average player. It has been said Keane is a confidence player. What use is that when we are in a hole?

Ben Godfrey 4

After signing from Norwich City, Godfrey was the one success from last season. But in the first half of this season, he has been shown up at centre-half.

It was well documented that he suffered badly from Covid-19 in the Summer and was still overcoming the after-effects early on in the season. This was said to be a reason for his poor performances. If that was so, why did we play him? Surely, he should not have appeared anywhere near the first team until he had fully recovered from his long bout of Covid.

He has been getting back to his best over the last few games of the year. His speed is back and he has deputised at left back admirably. But overall, a poor first half of the season.

Mason Holgate

There is a player somewhere in Holgate. Will we ever see it again is questionable? It seems Benitez does not rate him highly and maybe it is time for Holgate to rediscover the player he could be by moving on. He has not performed at all this season except in two good performances away at Brighton and Chelsea.

Jarrad Branthwaite 5

Still only 19, Branthwaite does look like he has a real chance of making it with Everton. Recovering from a bad injury while on loan at Blackburn Rovers last season, he has made two full starts this season. Incredibly shaky at Huddersfield Town in the Carabao Cup, he was outstanding at Chelsea in December, and scoring the equaliser to boot.

Abdoulaye Doucouré 6

He has got forward more so far this season. One of the things Benitez has got right is allowing him to get forward more than Carlo, the so-called “Magnifico”, ever did. He has scored a couple of goals and been one of the better performers in the first half of the season. But the blight of injury which has plagued the team so far this season has also hampered Doucouré.

Allan

The Brazilian started off in the first few games really well in tandem with Doucouré. But that early form soon evaporated. Along with a few games missed through injury, he has been decidedly below par.

Tom Davies 2

Whatever happened to the player that first burst onto the scene during the arrogant Koeman’s first season? I still can’t work out what sort of midfielder Davies is, and I don’t think anyone can, except to say that he has never progressed from his early breakthrough, but has just regressed. Another one hit by the injury plague so far this season; when he has been on the pitch, he has been awful.

Andre Gomes 5

Another player who flattered to deceive in his first season with the Blues. He has seemingly been haunted by injury throughout his time at the club and really should be moved on in the Summer. But, when he has been played so far this season, especially when coming on as a substitute, he has performed okay and a couple of times quite well. He changed the game when he came on against Arsenal.

Fabian Delph 4

A player who thinks he is much better than the average player he is. Appalling injury record and should never have been signed. Injured for most of the first part of the season but, on the few occasions he has played, has been poor.

Jean-Philippe Gbamin 0

Nothing much to say about the unlucky Gbamin injury-wise. We all know his record since he joined. Two absolutely disastrous starts at Huddersfield Town and Wolves all add up to a zero.

Tyler Onyango 4

Admittedly he's only had a few minutes in a few matches so it's hard to give a proper mark. I can’t really give him much more than a 4 as he's had so little time on the pitch. But he has done nothing wrong in those few minutes he has had.

Alex Iwobi ½

Iwobi seems to take more stick than most. Needs to move on for his own good. If we can move him on in January we really should do. He will have a great African Cup of Nations, as he always turns into a different player when playing for Nigeria compared to when playing for the blues. But he did – ha-ha – at least win the club’s November goal of the month!!!

Andros Townsend 4

A bang-average player picked up on a free in the Summer after being released by Crystal Palace. He will work hard whenever he is on the pitch, but it seems he put in his usual 4 or 5 good games a season during August and September and has now reverted to his mean. Would we have missed him if we had never signed him? No, we would not.

Antony Gordon

Gordon gas a chance of becoming a player produced by our misfunctioning academy. He has grown throughput the first half of the season and had some very good games over the last few months.

Demarai Gray 7

Along with Jordan Pickford, he was the best player in the first half of the season. I think this was the last roll of the dice for him to reach his potential. At around £1.5M, it was definitely worth the gamble by Everton and has so far paid off. Let’s hope he continues in the same vein of form in the second half of the season.

Richarlison 6

Injury has hit Richarlison, like a lot of the squad, in the first half of the season. Has been good in some games and decidedly average in others. Easily one of the best players at the club, it is to be hoped he stays fit and puts in a great second half of the season, before he inevitably leaves in the Summer.

Elis Simms 4

Hard to judge on such limited time on he pitch but did start at Chelsea where he was isolated for basically the whole game. I saw a lot of Simms when he was playing for the Under-23s and a couple of times when on loan at Blackpool. For me, he will never be better than a Championship player.

Lewis Dobbin

Another from the academy who has shown potential. And like Onyango and Simms, hard to give a mark on such limited playing time. Having seen him in that limited time and for the Under-23s, I will say he is light-years ahead of Ellis Simms. Very quick and he outshone Simms easily when he replaced him in the Chelsea game. His contract is up in the Summer and he has yet to sign a new one. Maybe he has got his head screwed on right!!

Dominic Calvert-Lewin 6

Another player blighted by injury in the first half of the season. Actually, I don’t think he was fully fit at any point since the season started. When he has played, he has scored and looked dangerous.

Cenk Tosun 0

A few minutes is all he has had but we all know he is not good enough. He should if possible be shipped out in January.

Solomon Rondon 0

Basically, brought in, probably as the ears in the dressing room for Benitez. Never more than an average Premier League player, he had been winding his career down in China as age caught up with him. He has shown nothing when he has played so far this season. Even I could have scored the one goal he has got at Crystal Palace.

Loans

Niels Nkounkou played at Huddersfield before leaving on loan so he has been dealt with above.

Moise Kean 6 (At Juventus)

How we could have done with Kean in the first half of the season! Now on a 2-year loan at Juventus. Mainly comes on as a substitute for Morata but has started a number of games and has scored goals. But he's been mishandled from day one by the club.

Joao Virginia 4 (At Sporting Club de Portugal)

A promising young goalkeeper who is much better than the two back-ups of Begovic and Lonergan, who the club brought in while sending him out on loan. This is an absolute disgrace of a loan and totally nonsensical. One would think the club would at least bring in a back-up keeper who was actually better than Virginia if they were sending him out on loan. Then you would think they would source a club where he would get game time. So what do we do? We send him to the Portuguese Champions, where he has hardly played, and will hardly play! Absolute mess.

Rafa Benitez ½

The elephant in the room directing things from the dugout. Should never have been appointed, not just because of his past across the park, but because he is a manager who lives in the past and has an irrelevance in the modern game. His one-dimensional football got a few early results before teams worked us out and a nightmare followed. Can’t see much better than midtable at best in the 2nd half of the season with him in charge. With him and Moshiri now in cahoots there is only one way we are going and it’s not upwards.

The Board 0

We all know the arguments for the removal of the board, which laughably now consists of just three members, with a Chief Executive out of her depth and a Chairman who has been there far, far too long.

Farhad Moshiri -10

An even bigger elephant in the room is the majority shareholder. Yes, he can give us the new bauble down on the docks, but what good is that if he is turning the club into the RMS Titanic heading for the iceberg at every move he makes? Just part of his his rap sheet is:

  • One disastrous manager choice after another.
  • Spending the club into financial oblivion.
  • Ignores the supporters with contempt and communicates through Jim white on TalkSport and Sky.
  • Meddles in transfers.
  • Listens to no-one but himself and any agent who has his ear.

Moshiri, as I always say, is the biggest obstacle at the club. The man is a disaster. That is where the 27 years campaign is wrong. Instead of living in the fantasy world that the Football Manager playing majority owner will actually change and listen to supporters, it should instead be calling for him to sell up and get out of the club.

Conclusion

The first half of the season has gone, as the marks suggest, and as I anticipated, terribly. Will Everton make a vast improvement in the second half of the season? Not in my opinion.

Half the squad are not good enough and we have an out-of-date manager intent on turning us into the Newcastle United of his Saint James's Park days. More frightening, is he is now in full control of the club, with the backing of the clueless majority owner. Benitez and the Monaco clown are in charge of transfers after the ousting of Marcel Brands.

Expect late twenties early thirties so-called experienced players to arrive at Goodison, probably with questionable fitness records to boot. Money providing, we do get the two full-back options we are linked with. But make no mistake: Patterson and Mykolenko are in no way Benitez picks. They will be, if the Blues get the deals done, the last gift of the departed Marcel Brands.

We are heading nowhere in the second half of the season.


Martin O'Connor     Posted 01/02/2022 at

Happy Blue Year!

What a year! As I am currently located in the first country to greet the New Year, it falls to someone here to be the first to say, Happy New Year!

There is no doubt it's been another difficult one for so many worldwide, but I would like to wish every Blue and their loved ones a very happy 2022, and I hope it's a good one for you all. Over the years, there have been some great articles on ToffeeWeb, by writers who never cease to amaze me with their knowledge and love for our club. Don't stop, you make the day for so many others you will never meet in places you would never know existed!

Sadly, we are still in the clutches of this pandemic, and it occurred to me that some who used to post here may well have fallen victim, so I would say to their loved ones, they are not forgotten, just missed.

To Lyndon and Michael, thank you because, without you, thousands of people around the world would have no voice. You have made a massive difference in our lives.

So from my house to yours, may we all one day meet up, laugh, share a tipple and raise a glass to all Blues wherever they are! Stay Safe, Stay Well and Happy New Year from New Zealand!


Christine Foster     Posted 31/12/2021 at

Blue Blue Christmas

This time of year is always a very Blue Christmas for me. One of my favourite seasonal tunes is listening to Jim Reeves belt that one out, with a glass of port. The Christmas Tree in our house is always decorated with blue and white lights and matching blue, white and silver attire. Blue-dolph, our decorative Reindeer, stands next to it with his Everton Christmas bauble hanging off his antler.

As always, it's been yet another eventful year following Everton. Empty grounds at the start, but football gave us something to look forward to and talk about. It did me anyway. There's been great discussion and debate on this fabulous website as always.

The near-miss of Europe and Ancelotti walking out; there's never a dull moment with Everton is there? And I wouldn't have it any other way. Well apart from a trophy or two and our 10th league title, which I'm just going to have to wait a little bit longer for. It won't be far away.

The drama of the summer. Hours spent with the dogs on those early summer mornings, fretting about who our next manager would be and fearing the inevitable as the rumours broke. I think they listened to me; they seemed concerned. They looked concerned. Then they went to fetch squirrels.

Early-season optimism, a typically Everton October and November, then mutiny in the stands through to the encouragement of Stamford Bridge last week. It's been a privilege watching Everton, be that at Goodison under the lights or being part of the fanatical away following so far this season.

Personally, it's been a challenging year that has put much of life in perspective for me. My wife is in good health and my son will be home in time for Wembley in May so we can go and watch us win a Trophy and qualify for Europe. European tour next season.

No real point to this to be honest. I guess I really just wanted to wish everyone of you a great Christmas and prosperous New Year. I enjoy the discussion, debate and even the occasional locking of horns that we engage in on here and would like to once again thank Lyndon and Michael for the hard work they put into facilitating it as a forum for us. It doesn't just happen.

Take care all and enjoy time with your families. See you in the New Year. If you're at Brighton home and Norwich away give me a shout.
Danny O’Neill     Posted 24/12/2021 at

Where do you get the Time?

I was attempting to write a glowing review of Toffeeweb for no particular reason other than I'm an Everton supporter, occasional contributor, regular reader and massive admirer.

Just to write the undernoted took me quite a time and it made me think.

Some of the contributors on here are unbounded in their volume on pretty well every article, subject or message.

The same people appear over and over.

Some go into so much detail on every facet of what the previous contributor may have meant or said, in some cases ploughing back through historical items to maybe challenge, contradict and prove their own point.

I am often so impressed but at the same time curious, that, bright, articulate and active guys are able to devote so much time to this site.

Don't get me wrong, this is by no means a criticism. I'm so full of admiration for guys like Danny and Rob who not only fill the columns here with brilliant observations and opinions while actually getting to so many live games. Respect.

Add to that, correspondents like Mike Gaynes and Jay Wood in Brazil who never cease to amaze me with their depth of knowledge on just about everything.

Jay in particular provides essays on so many topics in painstaking detail. It's sometimes expert, masterful and always informative. Have to say I love reading his stuff.

There are so many more. Wish I could name them all...

But that brings me to the point of this article. How do you guys find the time to follow and comment to the extent that you do, on this site?

Everton are an important part of my life but not to the extent that I dedicate a major part of every day to the tricky blues. My other interests and activities preclude me from dedicating most of my days to the cause.

You guys are so impressive and long may it continue. Thank you.


Dave Brierley     Posted 21/12/2021 at

The Day Everton Changed

I can still remember the feeling as my dad held up the newspaper. The Daily Express, 23 December 1971, with the headline that Alan Ball had been sold to Arsenal the day before – for £220,000 – a new British transfer record. Pictures followed of Ball gloomily walking out of Goodison Park with his famous white boots slung over his shoulder.

This was unbelievable, Alan Ball was my hero and his 5½ years at Everton dovetailed with my formative years as an Evertonian. I was 7 when Harry Catterick broke the English transfer record in 1966 with his acquisition from Blackpool for the sum of £112,000 – at the time a record transfer fee paid to an English club – as he was a recently crowned World Cup winner with England.

Catterick had beaten Leeds for the signature of Ball after witnessing the gulf between the then champions, Liverpool, and the FA Cup holders, Everton, in the 1966 Charity Shield that was played at Goodison Park. He added Howard Kendall later that season to create (with Colin Harvey) the greatest midfield trio in Everton’s history, the driving force of the 1970 Championship winning side and better than anything in the Premier League today.

Ball made me believe that he was as much an Evertonian as I was. He never stopped running, had a great passing game, and scored goals – important goals. His legendary words “Nothing is the same once Everton has touched you" were written on the wall of the Home Team changing room when I visited, proving that he ‘got’ our club!

Rumours grew around the reasons for Ball’s departure. Catterick, who had never been one to duck tough decisions, said it was purely business. He had doubled his money and had 5½ good years from Ball, winning a Football League Championship.

Stories of dressing room unrest caused by Ball were slightly more believable, as I had seen Alan Whittle remonstrate with him after he had run solo through the Southampton defence to put Everton 5-0 up, in an 8-0 victory, in a blizzard, just a month earlier. Ball went on to become Arsenal's captain, with more games for England; he would play for 12 more years, moving to Southampton in 1976 before returning to Blackpool as player-manager in 1980.

The course of Everton’s history at the height of their successes has been changed by events beyond their control. The two world wars following Championship triumphs, then the European ban on English clubs in 1985 had a devastating effect on progress. But – of all the human decisions that affected the club adversely – the sale of Alan Ball on 22 December 1971 remains, to me, most mystifying and damaging.


Steven Jones     Posted 21/12/2021 at

Kenwright and Kirkby

Remember when "Blue Bill" wanted to move Everton FC out of the city?

While the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is under construction, it’s important to remember there were other attempts to build new stadiums in recent times.

Destination Kirkby. Does anybody remember that?

Long before Farhad Moshiri arrived and his deep pockets continued to be used poorly at best, Everton chairman Bill Kenwright claimed he was looking for investment in the club. The question remains: Why did it take so long? You can’t find any evidence of it, but the rumour still persists that part of any deal was that Kenwright would remain the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

More damning to Kenwright’s self-portrayal as “Blue Bill” is the planned move to Kirkby and the ensuing debacle.

For much of 2007, Kenwright pushed and lobbied hard for Everton to build a new stadium in conjunction with a Tesco superstore in Kirkby, located outside of Liverpool City limits.

According to the BBC:

Kenwright came under a barrage of criticism at the December 2007 AGM of shareholders.

Kenwright was accused of murdering the soul of the club. But he insisted he was looking at all the options available to the club, including staying at Goodison Park.

Feelings had been running high for months as Everton entered into discussions with Tesco and the authorities in Kirkby - significantly outside the city boundaries - over a new home for the team.

One of the longest-running Everton sites and one of the best is ToffeeWeb,

A Roger Davis article from August in 2009, deserves a full reading and you can do so by clicking the above link.

This is the third paragraph and it hits home hard.

To get to the truth, you need to dismiss Bill Kenwright’s sugar-coated smokescreen anecdotes that bring a tear to a glass eye. Stories like how he brought Moyes to the club and stood by him are as much bollocks as his tale about standing next to Eddie Cavanagh in the ’66 Cup Final. Of course there will always be the same apologists ready to spring to Kenwright’s defence but let's be honest — the game's up; it’s now no longer just simply embarrassing… enough is enough.

In the second part of the article, Davis says his information came from solicitors, accountants and individuals with an attachment to the club. Davis doesn’t reveal his sources and, to me, a former journalist, it makes a lot of sense. These sources need to be protected and naming them could very well ruin their careers.

According to a post on the Grand Old Team site:

Forever Blue 92 posted the following in response to a question from a Sunderland fan, about Kenwright’s popularity:

Never invested a penny in the club

3 failed ground moves under his tenure

24/7 investment search which was basically Kenwright knocking back any potential buyer who didn't accept him staying on as Chairman (apparently Qatar's investment vehicle that owns PSG were interested in us at one stage)

Selling Rooney and Arteta to pay the banks off

Involving his dodgy mates like Philip Green in the club behind the scenes

If it wasn't for Moyes working miracles on a shoestring sell-to-buy budget every season we would have likely been in League One and crippled with debt.

This was posted on 13 December of this year, a week ago.

Bill Kenwright is a showman, not a football man. He’s an actor and a pretty good one, it seems. He deserves a BAFTA, and an Oscar for how he has managed to fool so many Evertonians with his “I’m a massive Blue” act.

I’m a massive Blue, too. I have been since I was 5, I’m 64 now and I’ve seen ups and downs with our club. But no matter how massive Blue I am, it doesn’t mean I’m qualified to run a massive football club. I did spend a couple of years working for Citibank, but I wouldn’t claim that experience would qualify me.

It’s time to help blow the smoke out of other Blues’ eyes. It’s time to stop treating Kenwright as some kind of benevolent feudal lord of the mano
Paul Conatzer     Posted 20/12/2021 at

Ken’s Californian Haircut

My Californian brother-in-law needed a haircut. He phoned his usual barber in Arcadia, California, who told him he was too busy over the weekend, but if in a hurry he was welcome to use one of the other stylists.

Ken took him up on the offer and arrived at the premises to find it was hectic. All the barbers were hard at it, but Edgar (who’d been lined up for our Ken) told him to take a seat as he wouldn’t be too long.

The salon was large and at the far end was a kid kicking a football, but stopping every now and then to take up a broom and sweep the cut hair (mostly grey, said Ken) out of the emergency door. Between clients, the kid carried on working on his football skills, juggling the ball or hitting it hard against the salon wall.

A few minutes elapsed and then Ken was called to sit down. Edgar started to work on his hair… well, to be exact, he started to work on one side of Ken’s head. My brother-in-law watched his reflection lose almost all the hair beyond the parting. The barber seemed nervous, and Ken was no better, as it was 45 minutes since he’d sat down, only to have one side of his head nearly shaved down to the skin.

In the chatter that developed, it turned out that the barber had learnt his trade in the navy, a detail that just increased Ken’s concern. All the time the barber worked, other clients came and went, and the kid was either brushing up the hair or volleying his football.

At last, Edgar switched to the other side of Ken’s head.

Almost in relief, Ken started up a conversation about the kid’s skills at sweeping up, and of course, adeptly juggling the football. This was right up Edgar’s street. He got going on this one too, saying how much the barbering team liked ‘soccer’.

“LA Galaxy?” asked our Ken, “Or one of the other MLS sides?”

“Oh no, we're into European soccer,” said Edgar.

Ken did another quick scan of the stylist staff, wondering if the background Spanish chatter which he’d heard whilst he was sat there meant that maybe they followed Real Madrid or Barcelona? Or possibly PSG or Lyon from France?

“No,” said Edgar, and pointed down the salon beyond the kid, to a blue and white shirt proudly framed on the wall.

“We all follow Everton.”

Kevin Crean     Posted 20/12/2021 at

25 Years Ago Today...

25 years ago today, Nick Barmby scored a late winner away at Derby County, live on Monday Night Football. Everton walked off the pitch with the commentators, Alan Parry and Trevor Francis, talking about how we must now be considered as title contenders.

We were 6th in the Premier League but only a few points off the top; we had an Everton legend in Joe Royle managing the club; we had a top-class winger in Andrei Kanchelskis; we had a hugely promising striker in Duncan Ferguson; and we had some momentum, having won the FA Cup the previous year.

I was 15 years old and convinced we were going places... Big Places! My Dad had told me all the stories of the 1980s, so I knew that our rightful place was at the Top of the Tree. We were one of the Biggest Clubs in the country and nobody could argue with that.

Quickly after that game against Derby, we sold Kanchelskis and 'fired' Joe Royle after a disastrous run of results. A horrible injury list in the days of much smaller squads contributed massively.

The point of this article is... I always look back at that game with a sense of longing for what used to be. Not just the club, but me personally. I've always believed we'd get back to the top, always.

But today, I'm not even excited about our match with Chelsea; I'm only going to watch out of a sense of responsibility and habit. There is no excitement, just a sense that – no matter what happens – we'll end up plodding along and never amount to anything ever again.

25 years ago today was, almost, the peak of my excitement as I honestly thought we could do anything. Today, I'd be pleased with a decent performance and a point. I wish I was 15 again and possessed that kind of optimism.
Lee Courtliff     Posted 16/12/2021 at

Back or Sack Benitez?

I’m punch-drunk with managers coming and going… will this unproductive cycle stop with the next round of hiring and firing?

Under normal circumstances, Benitez would already be gone, but we are in weird times. The owner(s) have chosen him despite the majority of fans (me included) advising that it was a bad idea. Many foresaw the toxic outcomes that a poor run of form would bring – and this current run of form is beyond poor.

I wonder what a ToffeeWeb poll would now return, asking fans if they wanted him sacked? 80% in favour?

I’m genuinely torn about what to do for the best of our club; it is a very precarious situation.

Stick with Benitez? Why?

● Poor luck with injuries.
● Spent no money at all due to FFP.
● Excellent business bringing in Gray.
● Shaking the club up from within.
● Players making schoolboy mistakes week after week – not the manager’s fault.
● Run of games after Chelsea could get the club back on course, with Calvert-Lewin, Mina, and one or two new impactful signings in.
● Pre-planning for this attempted resurgence will have already been done.
● Would an achievable alternative manager improve things, half-way through a season?
● Benitez has taken on other people’s massive transfer mistakes that have been a ball and chain for his predecessors.

Alternatively, Sack Benitez now:

● Terrible results, relegation form.
● Divisive manager in the extreme, within the club and with supporters.
● Ex-Liverpool – he has ridiculed our club.
● Supporters are furious, almost mutinous.
● The style of football is so negative.
● Starting games slower than any opponents; the manager is to blame.
● Substitutions are often negative.
● Corners and set-pieces are ridiculously poor quality – training deficiencies?
● Defending at set-pieces is atrocious – again, training deficiencies.

Apologies, I have probably missed out a few too!

So what’s the conclusion? You tell me.

I want stability and the club to become strong and consistent, week-in & week-out. I want better quality football; I want to see us control a game for once, at some point in the hopefully near future.

I wanted Potter in the summer, to work under Brands, as I thought this would be a more stable solution. Mr Moshiri and Mr Usmanov have gone all-in with Benitez, and now we are at a fork in the road.

Ultimately, I think Moshiri will stay away and ride out the firestorm; we will finish a stressed 12th to 17th. He will then reassess in May 2022.

My conclusion? Do I have to give one? I think it’s going to be terrible to keep him and also extremely risky if we sack him. That risk will be determined by who it is replacing him.

I’d want someone like Potter. Young, hungry, ready to make the next progressive step, proven as a Premier League first-team manager and a reputation for playing on the front foot.

Because I think Benitez is going nowhere due to Moshiri’s and Usmanov’s continued backing… so it’s all irrelevant anyway.

Tony Everan     Posted 15/12/2021 at

Mike Parry wants support for his Wayne Rooney campaign

Radio pundit and minor Everton shareholder, Mike Parry, wants Derby County boss Wayne Rooney to replace Rafael Benitez at Goodison Park.

Parry launched into a rant on Twitter yesterday evening (December 12), asking Everton fans if they would support him as he "makes a representation" about Rooney to the board of directors.

He tweeted: “To all @Everton fans: I am one of few independent shareholders of our mighty club. I hate it where we are.

“If I make a representation to the board that we should exit Rafa Benitez and APPOINT WAYNE ROONEY as our new manager with Dunc already in place, would you support me?”

“Wayne Rooney @WayneRooney was the youngest @Everton debutante, youngest goal scorer, the youngest ever England player and scorer and the youngest player ever to score a hat-trick in the Champions League. SO WHY CAN'T HE BE EVERTON AND THE PREMIER LEAGUE'S YOUNGEST EVER MANAGER?

“Mr Moshiri who is @Everton owner has been magnificent in his support and funding of our mighty club.

“But the policy of appointing big name managers at £1m a month has not worked.

“It was better for the 3 weeks Duncan ran things .. WAYNE ROONEY SHOULD BE EVERTON MANAGER.”
Michael Kenrick     Posted 13/12/2021 at

Release us from Theatrical Bill's Dickensian Nightmare

Bill Kenwright is a thoroughly decent human being (I have ample personal proof but, due to circumstances I cannot divulge more, so please trust me with this). What he clearly is not is fit to drive our beloved club in the manner befitting our motto.

Bill took the Chair as the Johnson empire crumbled. But, truthfully, he's been party to the Boardroom demise since our own Emperor Nero, Carter the Spineless, watched it all fall apart.

Bill has run Everton like Arkwright's "Open All Hours" – and continues to do so. Penny-pinching, stubborn and trapped in the past.

Bill perpetually promised that he was merely a custodian, privileged by circumstance, tirelessly seeking a wealthier, more influential and fully cognisant owner for our beloved Everton.

Bill further persuaded and foreswore that his tireless efforts would bear fruit within seasons forthcoming.

Well, let's be bloody fair to theatrical William, shall we…? It took forever plus a day for him to finally flog Everton off like a pantomime cow for a handful of magic beans.

Inherent in the search was the overwhelming flaw that the Seeker was the problem! The bloody search dragged the club through a decade and more of paucity. Others thrived and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps whilst "plucky little Everton" pleaded for more, like Oliver at The Beadle's table.

Eventually, Boys Pen Bill escaped the clutches of Bill Sykes and everything was fine, dandy and tickety-boo. So, obviously, good to Bill's fine words, he stood down… Except he did not and he has not and his cornershop mentality pervades.

Bear with me, please… "Nil Satis Nisi Optimum" – Is anyone seeing our motto reflected in kindly Uncle Billy's tenure or even his time in The Boardroom?

BIll is a theatrical type and, for me, the only character that he brings to mind is the eternally trapped Miss Havisham, a broken loser.

Bill has built for us a castle of sand. Denise Barrett-Baxendale is pathetic and perfect. Perfect because Bill feels no threat. Whilst still part of Everton in the Community, Denise, upon her first meeting with him, requested a member of security be present because she believed that her meeting with a man with a blueprint National Vocational Qualification "Could be a bit awkward". The man whose provenance she was deaf, dumb and blind to? Evertons greatest ever fan.

Neville Southall. If you don't know who Big Nev is, how in the unholy name of all things Royal Blue do you ever get to be CEO? Pease?!?

Some long time ago, I read of the breathtaking influence that Swiss-based Italian Financier, Nicola Cortese, had upon Southampton Football Club – follow the link and look him up.

In the years that other Premier League clubs have strived, survived and thrived, we have lost ground, badly. With an amateur Board appointed through the auspices Kindly Uncle Bill and his "Most Generous Benefactor" sadly our future will always be to have our saintly pockets picked by cheeky urchins.

Push off, Bill, and take yesterday's millstones with you.


Alexander Murphy     Posted 13/12/2021 at

Why Monday night was a massive missed opportunity

The stage was set on Monday night to expose 27 years of barren management by Everton FC. The last 27 years has been the longest period in our history without a trophy. Instead, we have had to endure misery beyond misery.

The purpose of the protest was to show that Farhad Moshiri, once again missing in action last night, whilst being a generous benefactor, has surrounded himself with self-serving fools.

Surely, when Everton lost in the FA Cup to Liverpool’s third team, it should have been absolutely apparent that the club was imploding. But no, the club just blunders on. Yesterday, as so often, Kenwright got lucky. Nothing to see here folks. Move on.

I’ll let you know what last night was. It was the School OFSTED inspection. In front of the inspectors, it all looked great. Peek behind the scenes though and the school is falling apart, and all the best teachers are leaving.

This isn’t over.
Jonathan Tasker     Posted 07/12/2021 at

Time to Stand Down Bill

It is a time of change at our club. Performance on the pitch is dire. The Director of Football has walked away after a hint that, behind the scenes at the club, all is not well. Indeed, to the average fan in the street, it has the appearance of a complete shambles.

All things considered, it leads me to the conclusion that the exit of the DoF is simply not enough. There have been clear signs that Brands has not been allowed to do his job, with the two most recent managers not the types to work under him.

The problem is clearly coming from the top and there must be further changes. We have been plunged into FFP problems due to the biggest loss in the club’s history of close to £130 million. Why are we the only club with FFP problems this season?

I read recently about the CEO of the club across the park, Billy Hogan. An American with a history in business who got them out of their existing kit deal and negotiated a much-improved deal with Nike. This prompted me to delve into the background of our CEO.

After university, she was a teacher for a number of years, then ran a small charity in Liverpool named the Fiveways Trust. Then she came to EFC to run EitC. Having apparently done a decent job, she was appointed Everton CEO in 2018. I presume that Bill Kenwright was the driving force behind this appointment.

She has no business history whatsoever. Football has replaced the rag trade as the most cutthroat of industries. It is a similar story with the coaching staff. Your face has to fit.

You cannot run a football club in the manner Kenwright tries to, that being lovey-dovey, touchy-feely, pats on the back for all the “Everton Family”. He has tried it for over 20 years now and it has simply not worked, hence the appalling mess we are in.

Make no mistake: this mess could signal the end of Everton FC as a major player in football. Relegation would be an absolute disaster. Building of the new stadium could stop…

If Bill Kenwright really loves the club as he says he does, he should stand down as chairman
Clive Rogers     Posted 06/12/2021 at

Covering Their Backs

Cause I'll always know when you been cheating.
And I'll always know you've been untrue.
I'll always know.

Merle Haggard – I’ll Always Know

With fan unrest starting to rise in the Goodison stands, the Director of Football (DoF) Marcel Brands is the person to pay the price for the complete mess the Blues are in. Make no mistake, Brands was not the person written on the tin when he joined Everton. He has been an underwhelming DoF. But is the mess the club is in all down to the DoF? Has the cancer been cut out with his removal?

Brands’s moves in the transfer market have been, to put it bluntly, mainly failures. But how much he had to do with some of the transfers is questionable. Under Marco Silva, Richarlison was the new manager’s pick (although on Brands’s radar, we are to believe). Nothing wrong with this transfer, Brands got it done for £35 million plus add-ons (not the song amount). Richarlison has been a qualified success and will make Everton a tidy profit when he inevitably leaves in the Summer. But the other signings made while working with Silva are very much an overpriced mixed bag at best.

Yerry Mina is a good defender, but with a very questionable injury record. Lucas Digne was never worth the money, one good season and a liability ever since. André Gomes was another player with a flaky fitness record. Bernard was free, was a Marco pick, and never up to the physicality of the Premier League. Delph a big-mouthed treatment table. Alex Iwobi beggars belief, a complete panic-buy, when the Blues could not afford the money for Wilfred Zaha. The hospital case called Gbamin was bad judgement and bad luck.

The above were all signed when Marco was the manager, a person who was at least trying to work with the DoF. (Added to this were the totally mismanagement of loan signing Moise Kean and the supposed right-back loan, who could not even get his socks right.) Once Marco got the chop, things changed.

The clueless billionaire owner moved from his shiny young progressive manager idea, back to his already once-failed Hollywood dream. After this course had been set, the limited transfer power Brands had while working with Silva evaporated in a second.

Why did Moshiri need a DoF when the Hollywood dream was in place? The bumbling billionaire could now do what he likes best: dabble in the transfer market for what he perceived as a Hollywood star in the manager's seat. What the disastrous Carlo Magnifico wanted… he got.

In came the Colombian treatment table and the average Allan who had worked with Fantastico at Napoli. Neither of these players had anything to do with Brands. They were Ancelotti’s picks, funded by his new billionaire chum. Doucouré was brought in, but he had been on the club's to-do list ever since Silva. Godfrey was the only Brands signing in the Magnifico era, plus to his credit, the ones for the future (I am to be convinced): Branthwaite and Nkounkou.

Once the Italian had defected to Real Madrid and Benitez had stepped in, the now penniless Blues brought in Demarai Gray, Andros Townsend, Salomon Rondon, Asmir Begovic and Andy Lonergan. Again, none of these players had anything to do with the DoF (except maybe Gray, to be fair); they were all picks by Benitez. In essence, Brands never had full control over the club’s transfer policy and, once Silva got the sack, he was nothing more than a negotiator of deals.

Brands came to the club with the aim of signing young hungry players for the first team, and whom the club could also cash in on in the future. In tandem with this was the plan of producing an academy which did the same thing.

As Brands quickly lost control of transfer policy, the above aims soon disappeared. The last few seasons have seen the Blues sign James, Doucouré, Allan, Gray, Godfrey, Townsend, Rondon, Begovic and Lonergan. Godfrey apart, and maybe Gray might squeeze in at 25, Everton have become a team signing 30-year-olds and beyond. None of the above apart from Godfrey and quite possibly Gray are players Brands would have signed. The young hungry player strategy has been well and truly dumped.

As for the club’s academy, the failure to produce any real talent has been a hot topic for a number of years. Headed by David Unsworth and a bunch of ex-players, the academy is nothing more than an old boys’ network. Moshiri has allowed this state of affairs to carry on because he has no interest in it, while blue-blood Bill and probably Denise Barret-Baxendale protect Unsworth and his cronies, as we are all one big blue family. Brands did not make one significant change to the academy (except the backward step of giving Unsworth more power). Was he ever allowed to implement reform, or was he constantly blocked by Unsworth, Kenwright, and Barrett-Baxendale?

As for the managers, Brands as DoF should have been the person to set out the vision and style of play for the club, and then come up with a list of candidates suited to that style of play and vision. In reality, he came to a club with Moshiri’s progressive young manager, in place. To be fair, they did at least try to have some sort of working relationship. Once Moshiri panicked and sacked Silva, the writing was on the wall for Brands.

Moshiri turned back to his favourite topic, the Hollywood dream manager. So, we got the disastrous Ancelotti. Never ever was Ancelotti on Brands’s radar. You only have to go back to the lukewarm comments on the few times Brands ever spoke on his working relationship with Ancelotti to see this. Once Magnifico was in full control of steering the sinking Goodison ship, with his starry-eyed owner looking on lovingly, we were at the beginning of the end.

Now Ancelotti has defected to Madrid we have the monstrous hybrid, half-Hollywood, half-safe-pair-of-hands ex-Satan in the manager’s seat. As the pathetic manager search dragged on through the summer, it was clear Brands (widely reported to have wanted Graham Potter), was totally ignored. Moshiri, as is his wont, listens to no-one but himself, agents and it seems with the choice of the monstrous Benitez, Uncle Usmanov and Roman Abramovich.

At the end of the day, it is hard to feel any sympathy for Brands.

Brands should have walked in the summer (if not sooner), instead of signing a new three-year contract. He was a DoF in name only during his whole time at the club. He never had the authority and power to do the job of a DoF. How can anyone work under those circumstances? But he plodded on with a nice salary and place on the board.

As Brands finally falls on his sword his cryptic remark to the supporter and the end of the derby debacle “Is it only the players” is clear in its meaning. It’s not only the players, it’s the whole structure and leadership of the club, which as DoF he was never allowed to try and fix.

Will the removal of the underperforming Brands change anything? No, it won’t. Benitez, the Board, Unsworth (and his academy empire) and the owner may think so. But in reality, it is just the start of the quickening decline the Blues have been on since Moshiri bought into the club. Will we stick with the DoF model (the best model in my eyes), now Brands has gone? Let’s see? But what is the point, when the DoF is not allowed to do the job he was employed to do?

The removal of Brands at the end of the day is a desperate move by the owner, the board and Unsworth to cover their backs, pretend things are changing, while carrying on the path to doom they have us on. Brands was part of the problem, but he has also become the sacrificial lamb, the scapegoat on the good ship Titanic, sorry, Goodison.

You can pretend and try to cheat the supporters all you want by disposing of Brands. In the cold light of day, you are being untrue and just covering your backs. As Merle sang “I’ll always know”.


Martin O'Connor     Posted 05/12/2021 at

Direct questions for Everton’s major shareholder, Farhad Moshiri

There are many specific questions relating to footballing matters, finance, operations and strategy which can be asked of board members by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting. However, I wanted to address the major shareholder and ask some simple questions which, if answered, would provide a lot of clarity as to his thinking and his plans for the future of our club.

Details as to why these questions are relevant can be found in my series Everton’s Ownership and Leadership, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Governance

Why have you not made changes to the senior management of the company?

Why have you insisted on retaining the services of the Chairman and CEO?

Why are there no independent or non-executive directors to provide oversight and scrutiny?

What changes to governance are you prepared to make?

Recruitment

Who has responsibility for player recruitment at Everton?

What is the structure and process of a typical incoming transfer?

What is the strategy in terms of building a competitive squad, that is sustainable (financially) and offers future value for further squad development through re-sale value?

What changes to the recruitment process and strategy are you prepared to make?

Director of Football

What is the role of the Director of Football at Everton?

What authority does he have, who does he report to?

What control and influence does he have over the Academy given there is an academy director?

What changes and clarification of the Director of Football model at Everton are you prepared to make?

Finance

What is the true financial state of the club in relation to Premier League Profit & Sustainability?

What is the plan to reduce losses, to become cash-flow positive, and a return to profitability? In the absence of such, what is the future funding requirement and how will that be covered?

What is the position regarding stadium financing? How close to completion is the private placement / lending facility?

Recovery

What are your immediate plans to restructure the management of the business? To provide leadership, experience and competency that reverses the inexorable decline of our great club?

There is a series of more detailed questions relating to footballing matters, operations and specific events which the Chairman and board must answer at the Annual General Meeting. They will be published after the Annual Report & Accounts are released.

I stress that the above are questions for Farhad Moshiri to answer. I understand he is under no legal obligation to provide answers to anyone at all. However, for the benefit of the club and in acknowledgement that transparency and accountability are vital components of the future recovery and restructuring process that is necessary, he would be well served to provide them.


Paul The Esk     Posted 02/12/2021 at

PGMOL's merit table is another factor behind the PL's uneven playing field

As if they needed it, there is extra incentive for Everton to maintain their push to join the Premier League’s elite: to get more of their matches officiated by the top flight’s best referees and assistants.

As Daniel Taylor revealed in The Athletic over the weekend, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) runs a constantly updated but internal (i.e. secret) merit table that ranks its officials after every game and determines, in particular, which referees are assigned the high profile matches on a given match day.

As the article explains, the decisions can be very personal, based on where the officials come from, which teams they either support or are accused of favouring based on their origins, and what controversies they might have stirred up based on their actions. Mark Clattenburg’s six-year absence from refereeing Merseyside derbies after his dreadful performance in 2007 was one such example, of course, as were the decisions to withhold Martin Atkinson from taking charges of games involving Manchester United for a period under Sir Alex Ferguson and Jon Moss from refereeing Leicester matches in 2015-16. It’s also why it will likely be a long time before David Coote, the official deemed responsible for not taking action against Jordan Pickford in October’s controversial Merseyside derby, takes charge of another match involving the reds.

The biggest takeaway from the article is, of course, that the big games between the “big” teams are usually assigned to the referees at the top of the merit table and it tends to be the same officials, like Michael Oliver, who are trusted with the job. By the same token, the “lesser” games are given to those refs who score lower and, all too often, Everton have been in that category because of our perennial under-achievement. That means more games with the likes of Jon Moss and Lee Mason and, by statistical likelihood, exposing the Blues to more mistakes.

More evidence, then, of the Premier League massaging its product rather than creating the conditions for fairness and equal treatment and, again, all the more reason why Everton need to keep striving to become one of those teams deemed worthy of having their games overseen by the best ranked referees.

The article referenced here is behind a paywall at The Athletic. If you aren’t already, you can subscribe via this link which provides a small, one-off benefit to ToffeeWeb.


Lyndon Lloyd     Posted 28/12/2020 at

All I want for Christmas...

So, 15 games in, not quite the half-way point, and we sit 2nd in the Premier League, 2 points behind Liverpool. We have a lengthy injury list and some players are also starting to look tired... so, as a belated Christmas present, what or who should be on Santa Moshiri's Christmas list?

Against Man Utd, I think it showed that squad depth is an issue; we just don't have class to replace class. Tom Davies replacing Allan is like swapping your Ferrari for a Ford Focus (nowt wrong with a Focus but there is with headless Tom). In my opinion, we seem more settled in defence, so I think we need to concentrate on other areas.
The lack of defensive midfield cover is apparent; I would like to see Gbamin back and see what he's got.

The main area for me that needs some additions is upfront, although Iwobi is playing better (he still shits out of any physical battle, even when he's favourite to win it) without Rodriguez or Richarlison, we struggle to make chances and big Dom is looking more isolated as each game goes on.

So please, Santa Moshiri, can I please have a Wilfred Saha and a decent striker as my belated Christmas gift?

Where do you think we need additions and who would you like to see brought in?
Peter Rogers     Posted 27/12/2020 at

Happy Christmas

Just thought as it is Christmas Day – time to be reflective. Thanks to Michael and Lyndon for providing a forum that has for more than 20 years been a positive part of my life.

I have met and become friends with wonderful people who have made my day so many times. I won't mention names but there are so many good folk on this site. I have argued and debated with many and back in the day it was fierce.

However, I have never encountered a Blue on this site that I would not have a pint with. One of my closest friends was writing a guide to fan sites. Sadly he died before it was completed. He was the cleverest man I ever met and this was the best site he visited.

Sentimentality is underrated in my view. So Happy Christmas to all of you. We were chosen (cursed?). Being an Evertonian has made me happy.
Andy Crooks     Posted 25/12/2020 at

Victorian Society on Bramley-Moore Dock

The latest edition of the Victorian Society’s magazine sets out this influential organisation’s position on Everton's Bramley-Moore Dock proposals. Their conclusions hint that the heritage and conservation community’s view on the plans are less fundamentalist than Historic England’s opposition suggests.

Obviously, the Victorian Society are not wild about the proposals, though, as many TooffeeWebbers have pointed out, they are thin on alternative ideas for the docks. In a nutshell, they’re worried that the dock wall is being harmed by the creation of access points within it, and by the loss of a large wet dock.

However, the Society has decided against making a formal objection itself to Everton’s scheme. While they say that this is because they lack the resources to do so, their review hints that what they perhaps really mean is that they don’t want to commit resources to fighting a scheme whose pros and cons they see as pretty finely balanced.

Firstly they appreciate that Everton need a new stadium “…the current facilities…all fall below the level expected of such a prestigious club…”

Secondly, they sympathise with the club’s desire to remain close to Goodison Park and to avoid building on a greenfield site.

Thirdly, they accept that “…the proposals have much to recommend them: the scale of the building is commensurate with the site and its use of materials is sensitive to context”.

The key observation, however, is perhaps that “…the importance of football, however, should not be underestimated, especially in this city, and we concluded that the provision of a new stadium should be considered a significant public benefit.”

Consequently, The Victorian Society has limited itself to backing the view of Historic England that alternative sites should be reconsidered in an independent review. However, the Victorian Society’s reluctance to wholeheartedly man the barricades may give an indication of how they see the final decision going.


Michael Coffey     Posted 24/12/2020 at

52 Weeks Later

Almost a year to the day since our last home match versus the Arsenal, we find ourselves on the same trajectory. That game on 21 December 2019 saw new managers for both teams sitting in the stands watching interim coaches go head-to-head.

It was a dire draw but many on ToffeeWeb were concerned that Everton had hired the "busted flush", the ageing and past-it Carlo Ancelotti, to guide Everton away from the relegation zone. While the forward-thinking Gunners had hired the brilliant Everton "legend", Mikel Arteta, to push them up from mid-table to the top six.

What happened since? Well, some would credit "Teta" with an FA Cup win, overlooking the fact Wenger owned that trophy in his latter years. And that he won it with Emery's side who got to the Europa League Final. Now that "Teta" has had time to incorporate his own ideas, things don't look so great.

He bizarrely defends hatchet men like Xhaka for mindless red cards. And, overlooks the youngsters who conquer all in Europe but can't get a look in for Premier League games. But of course, Everton fans see it differently.

Arteta is a legend. The man who couldn't take a corner, barely broke a sweat for fear of disrupting his bouffant. The man who threw a hissy fit on transfer deadline day and went to Arsenal while Bill Kenwright pocketed the earmarked Arteta money. Yeah, a real hero...

Who would have thought, a year later, the "busted flush" would be ahead of Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and the aforementioned shit corner taker in the table? In fact, defeat on Saturday could signal the end of Everton "legend" Mikel Areta's time at Arsenal.

Oh how I will weap for that "legend" Arteta while dealing with the fact we hired a "busted flush" in Carlo Ancelotti.


Kieran Kinsella     Posted 18/12/2020 at

Back in the old routine...

“Welcome back to the place
That you were never far away from”
Mike Ireland and Holler

I had just finished watching Stuttgart take apart Borussia Dortmund. I went to make a cup of coffee and then realised that, for the first time since I was at Chelsea on the 8 March (let's just leave that memory there), I was actually going to watch the Blues play. Not since 1 March against Manchester United had I been able to visit God's Playground. What do you do when you have not been able to go the game for so long?

For me, it was simple as I fell back into the old routine. Left the house, caught the bus into town, and walked to the ground. Nothing felt different: I was on the way to the game. The only difference was I never met my two sons at Lime Street Station – living in London, they can’t go into the ballots yet – and the lack of supporters as I walked to the ground. But, for the lucky 2,000, things went smoothly.

Good organisation from the club here; ticket checked, ID checked, Covid test checked, temperature taken – all within a few minutes, and I was in. I was in the part of the ground where I actually have my seat – the Lower Gwladys Street stand. It was here that strangeness struck me: where was the crowded concourse? But then you look around and think: "It's great to be back."

Once I went to my seat and looked at the pitch, it just felt as normal as ever and when the game started, songs, abuse (John Moss!!!), laughter. It may have only been 2,000 fans but it was just as always.

As the game progressed the crowd were fully behind the team and it was us who dragged the Blues over the winning line. Only 2,000... but no-one can tell me we did not make a difference. A much better performance from the team who were pushed on by the lucky 2,000; even Chelsea felt it.

End of the game I leave go home and think: good game and performance from the team plus 3 points. But, even if we had lost, it might have been depressing if we had lost... but nothing could take away being back at the game.

Hopefully it will not be the too far distant future when it won’t be ballots for tickets anymore and Goodison Park will be full again. But, on Saturday night, it showed why supporters are (cliché here) the 12th man, and, for me, it was great to be back in the old routine.

Martin O'Connor     Posted 13/12/2020 at

Basic Fundamentals

We talk about fitness, energy, desire, motivation and commitment week after week on ToffeeWeb. Strip out talent altogether and just think about these basic fundamentals of being a successful football player. Also, what every successful club bar none instigates as an undisputed necessity.

First, we need to match teams for these basic fundamentals or we will struggle against any team – including teams with less talent, such as Leeds United, Southampton; even more so against teams with more talent, such as Chelsea. Forget new signings for a minute: we need to get the regimes and culture into the whole club from top to bottom that produces these basic fundamentals better than the rest.

Carlo Ancelotti is a wonderful man, and is hugely successful, but at Everton, some different skills and approaches are needed to achieve these basic necessary fundamentals. Until I see an upward trajectory in these basic fundamentals, I cannot see an uplift of form in any permanent or sustainable way. I think we will muddle along mired in our perennial mid-table mediocrity.

Above all, I want stability; the club needs it, and I want Carlo to succeed. We have some wonderful talent at the club that – with the basic fundamentals in place – can shine bright. I want to see us return to being that hardcore football club that we love, a defiant club and an uncompromising club. 11 players fighting for everything on the pitch for 95 minutes. All this with the talent to deliver the winning blow. I don’t just want it, I am desperate for it.

The big question has to be: Can Carlo deliver the basic fundamentals with his backroom set-up as it stands at the moment?

It is looking unlikely from what we have seen over the last 7 weeks. Soon, Carlo will have to make some very difficult decisions if he is to set us on the right path and if he is to be a long-term success at Everton.
Tony  Everan     Posted 12/12/2020 at

The booing of the knee

When the Premier League restarted, and the players continued to take the knee I thought it might be a bad idea. I was right for once when I told the wife once fans returned, the booing will start.

Not all fans, of course, but from Millwall supporters, it was a foregone conclusion. For overseas Toffeewebbers, Millwall fans have always been a breed unto themselves with a reputation for extreme nastiness and racism. Has anyone ever met a Millwall supporter they liked?

But what about the rest of the fans? Are they happy with the continuing ceremony of ‘Taking the Knee’ before games?

After his team were criticised for not taking the knee in September, Les Ferdinand, QPR’s Director of Football said, ‘He feels the impact of players taking a knee "has now been diluted" and that the gesture was now "not dissimilar to a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge.’ He continued, ‘The taking of the knee has reached a point of 'good PR' but little more than that’.

I think Les Ferdinand’s statement is the sentiment of many fans, but one which has become difficult to voice in the current political climate. I believe the gesture may well become counter-productive, and more ‘Millwall’ experiences will follow, particularly as gates get larger.

Will Everton fans ‘boo the knee’ at next week’s game? I doubt it very much. We surely have too much class and respect for such odious antics. But going forward, I do think it’s a conversation that needs the involvement and input of the fans as well as the players as to whether the gesture continues.
John Burns     Posted 06/12/2020 at

The Ancelotti Song

When we're down at half-time
And we win it by 5
Ancelotti

When Dom hits the net
He’s the best we’ve seen yet
Ancelotti

Because He’s won the fuckin lot
Carlo is boss
Ancelotti

It was just meant to be
We’re Everton FC
Ancelotti


Conor Skelly     Posted 28/12/2019 at 19:34:43

Team of the decade

Bit of fun here as 2019 draws to a conclusion...

What’s your team of the decade?

4-4-1-1

Howard

Baines
Distin
Jagielka
Coleman

Pienaar
Barry
Gana
Richarlison

Barkley

Lukaku

Discuss...
Kevin Prytherch     Posted 23/12/2019 at 20:21:35

Santa Rings More Changes for 2019

My elves were working night and day
For Christmas TWO NINETEEN
Everyone was edgy
And things were not serene
The Reindeers were revolting
And this just wasn’t good
They wouldn’t eat their oats and meal
Or even Christmas pud

And then I realized the truth
As I lay in my bed
It’s all about this shocking suit
And this lousy “screaming” RED
We need to change our lives today
And our “point of view”
From now on, we aren’t wearing red
We will change to “Everton Blue”

And Prancer, Dancer, Blitzen
And even Rudolph too
You’ve had these really silly names
Since I freed you from the Zoo
So now's the time for common sense
Grab hold of all the reins.
So Prancer you will be the first
Say hello to "LEIGHTON BAINES

“Rooney” was considered,
But that was in the past
Now he's moved to Derby
His loyalty didn't last.
I have pondered for so long
On names that could be “blue”
Many I’ve considered
But I can’t please all of you

So number two is "PICKFORD
With “MINA” number three
And how about “BIG DUNC”
Of that you must agree
I looked at names from days gone by
Like DIXIE, STUBBS and YOBO
Instead we 'll have a "SEAMUS"
A real grand Irish fellow

But how about our “Rudolph”
And his big “red” nose
I’ve always found it far too “loud”
And I’m the one who knows.
But we’ll keep the name of Rudolph
Merely change his hue
I’m sure he’ll be delighted
To change from Red to Blue

Now everything’s much better
“Red” that’s in the past
My brand new suit is “Royal Blue”
A colour that will last
My sled has also been “refurbed”
Yes --- the big red one
It’s taken on a different sheen
Since I named it “EVERTON”

And now a brand new manager
Ancelotti is his name
To clear up all the mess we're in
And take away he pain
So here's to 2020
New hopes are riding high
And we can say to Silva
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye


John Boon     Posted 23/12/2019 at

What Now For Brands?

In the next 6 months, and possibly sooner, the future of Marcel Brands at Everton will be decided.

After his much-heralded arrival, and somewhat basking in his previous role in Dutch football as an astute spotter of young emerging talent in Europe and further afield, the imminent arrival of Carlo Ancelotti threatens his very existence.

His promotion to the Everton Board of Directors in the last 12 months only reinforced what many of his peer group within the club thought of his talents and expertise. However, the muddled strategy and division amongst board members after the dismissal of Marco Silva has left more questions than answers.

Clearly, there was strong support for David Moyes to fulfil some role at Goodison Park, whether as an interim manager or a permanent position. Only the huge public backlash from the fans prevented this, probably much to Bill Kenwright's displeasure. But the (probable) appointment of Ancelotti and his entourage, fitness coaches, analysists, and probably three more we don't know about, could mean a 'lesser' role within the club for Marcel Brands.

Whilst Ancelotti comes with an impressive pedigree, his calibre of manager, don't normally rely on third-party Directors of Football calling the shots when it comes to player recruitment. Ancelotti will have a pretty clear indication of what he needs and how quickly he wants to replace the non-performers in the squad.

How then does the club's previously stated policy of spotting and recruiting young emerging, but untried young players fit into the new regime? Has this now been thrown out the window with the arrival of Ancelotti? Looks like yet another change of policy direction could be on the cards...

Indeed, the rapid way Ancelotti has seemingly accepted the role at Goodison, normally means the leading shareholder and owner, has pretty much conceded to all his wishes, including a whole raft of self-appointed backroom staff and an immediate substantial transfer budget.

So where does Brands see himself fitting into the new set-up? Maybe his position in the Everton hierarchy has slipped a little of late. The purchase of Iwobi recently (if it was sanctioned and agreed by Brands) looks to have backfired spectacularly. I watched him at close range on Wednesday night, and he was dreadful, truly dreadful, no pace, caught in possession, certainly can't tackle to save his life.

Also, I remain to be convinced about Mina; he looks continually shaky, no positional awareness with a tendency to panic when put under pressure. Of course, it easy to criticise when a team is underperforming and lacking in confidence after an awful spell of results. But I do wonder, how much real improvement in form are those two particular players are capable of?

The golden halo which once was firmly placed on Brands's head seems to have slipped a bit lately; let's hope he can find a pathway into working alongside his new Italian family which he looks like inheriting very shortly.

Steve Hogan     Posted 20/12/2019 at 18:20:16

Playing two up top v Man Utd?

Whatever the debate about who is going to be the next long-term manager of EFC — that is more than 18 months — Dunc will be in charge on Sunday. So, will he go with two up top and follow the tried and tested coaching maxim “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” or will he follow the advice of our in-house tactical expert and play just 1 up top?

I love a tactical debate so I will put forth my thoughts of what Dunc could/might/should do. So here goes!

1) by playing 2 up top we can defend from the front. I thought we pressurize Chelsea really well with the press being led by DCL and Richarlison but backed up by Walcott, Iwobi and Sigurdsson.

2) in attack we are playing to the strengths of both DCL and Richi. Say what you like about DCL but he does challenge successfully for Pickford’s bombs and Richi is quite good at running into balls that go from DCL behind the back line.

3) Despite getting pulled apart by Chelsea we did manage to just about keep our shape.

4) by playing both DCL and Richi up top we can bypass the midfield. Now we might decry this most basic form of attack and say dinosaurs like Allardyce and the infamous Wimbledon team used this direct form of attack successfully. But deep in my memory I remember my guru of soccer tactics Charlie Hughes in the 70s book Tactics and Teamwork talking about how many passes does it take to get the ball into the attacking third of the pitch. With Silva et al, it was often 15 plus. So that makes 15 times when something can go wrong. If you get it forward in 1 or 2 passes and keep possession then you have reduced the number of chances for it to go wrong.

If we consider 442 then then our full backs can do their defensive work in strong back 4 without getting dragged too far up the pitch and leaving us open to the fast counterattack. In the last games of MS I lost count of the number of goals we conceded due to our fullbacks being too far up the field. I Hear some of you saying what about Sidibe’s cross for the 1st goal? Well in 442 there is nothing wrong with 1 full back joining the attack if the other full back stays back and another midfielder covers the attacking fullback. Whatever happens I think it is vital to defend the wide areas, which Walcott understands and maybe Iwobi or Bernard can learn to do.

So those are my thoughts! Have fun pulling them apart!


David Cooper     Posted 12/12/2019 at 16:30:28

A fine line between genius and madness

Ibrahimovic to Goodison?

I don't really have anything else to add, other than I genuinely believe this sort of thing could happen (from Everton side at least). What that says about where we are now, I'm genuinely not sure - there's a fine line between genius and madness.
Chris James     Posted 11/12/2019 at 09:34:38

The Legend

This is the first time I have used this phrase without quotation marks. It was always intended as a pejorative comment on Duncan Ferguson. I have been relentlessly critical of him, mostly as a player, but as coach too.

I stand by much of what I said about him as a player, seeing as I witnessed it with my own eyes. However, I have criticised him as a coach and, on reflection, I must say it is without any evidence. I have no idea what his role has been.

Duncan Ferguson has changed and I am ashamed of my response to that. If anyone can see how change is possible, it should be me, but, by fuck, I am quick to judge.

Also, I saw great Everton teams. The Catterick team and the Kendall team. So I had an idea of what a legend should be. However, many younger Blues didn't and Duncan was their legend. So, it was as a sanctimonious aul shit that I decided he wasn't.

Yesterday was a moment of epiphany for me. It was a day when legends were made. Duncan did something special. I will never forget his joy, neither will the ballboys.

Duncan Ferguson, Everton Legend.


Andy Crooks     Posted 08/12/2019 at 17:08:59

The man who saved Rangers

I lived in Glasgow for quite a few years. My preferred team was Clydebank. I spent some fine afternoons at Kilbowie. I also watched Motherwell, Partick, Killie, Dumbarton. Also, I was unusual in that I watched Rangers and Celtic. I just like football and had no allegiance to either.

The atmosphere at both grounds is electric. Anyone who succeeds there is special. It takes someone special. Jock Stein achieved, in my view, one of the greatest triumphs in British sport. Walter Smith coached the worst team that ever got to the Europa League final.

Brendan Rogers succeeded at Celtic and is doing it at Leicester City. At Celtic, now there is the admirable strong and underrated Neil Lennon. However, there is another success story in Glasgow. It is Steven Gerrard. What he has achieved is quite remarkable.

I have discussed what he has done with many friends who watch Scottish football. He has rejuvenated a failed club. He has restored respect. He has been innovate in his coaching. He has been strong, media astute and is revered by supporters. He will move on soon.

I have loathed him in the past but Steven Gerrard is a winner. Not Arteta, not, no never, Eddie Howe. Let us hurt Liverpool, let us be bold, let us forget the past. Let us show some vision. I know many will hate the idea. But, let us do what must be done to make Steven Gerrard our next coach.
Andy Crooks     Posted 03/12/2019 at 22:07:25

Jamie Carragher

This is a letter I have written to Sky:

I am writing this on behalf of the fans of Everton FC to inform you that Jamie Carragher is no longer welcome inside Goodison Park ever again. We, the fans, are taking action to inform the owners of this fact. They have the right to exclude people.

Sky suspended him for spitting at a child. Why you ever allowed him back on our screens again is beyond words. His behaviour on Sunday when Leicester were allowed the goal after a VAR review was disgusting and totally biased against Everton FC.

The club have the power to act and to inform Sky he is banned and no longer welcome. Please act.
Anthony Batty     Posted 03/12/2019 at 15:46:15

End this nonsense now

I've waited almost 24 hours before beginning to write this article, and most of my anger and frustration is not aimed at Marco Silva, but the spineless and totally inept senior figures at the club.

In truth, Silva should have gone within half-an-hour of the Norwich debacle last week. Instead, we see a forlorn and rather painful figure, shuffling on the touchline clearly and utterly out of his depth.

Do I have sympathy for him? No; he will get a job elsewhere eventually, somewhere at the level of his own ability.

My frustration is aimed at Kenwright and Co who simply lack moral courage and leadership qualities to realise Silva was never going to turn things around at Everton, simply because he doesn't have the ability to do so.

The writing was on the wall pre-season really, when we struggled to score goals against some pretty average opposition. Since then, I think we have averaged a goal a game – not enough to have any aspirations of climbing into the top six.

Meanwhile, the mighty Sheffield United continue to embarrass us by showing what a collective effort and team spirit can achieve by looking distinctly comfortable in mid-table, whilst our collection of expensive misfits continue to flounder.

The last six games of last season merely created a 'false dawn' when a sudden improvement in form indicated to many that at last Silva had found the right combination of players and tactics that would allow us to look forward to the new season with renewed optimism.

His bewildering tactics and continued selection of players such as Gylfi Sigurdsson, who has been hopelessly out of form since the start of the season, simply confirms his ineptitude.

The sight of Everton chasing a win or even a draw with around five or six forwards on the same pitch with 10 minutes left is simply bewildering. Tosun, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Walcott, Kean, Bernard – all thrown up into the air like a pack of cards and hoping there will be a winning hand somewhere in the pack.

Phil Mcnulty of the BBC has already identified the problem today, stating the club “is rudderless and lacking leadership and direction.” You're not kidding there.

It's nonsense and cowardice in the extreme to send Silva into the derby game as manager of Everton. Do the right thing and put him out of his misery... today!


Steve Hogan     Posted 02/12/2019 at 09:55:48

Transition

I swear to God if I ever hear the word 'transition' as a reason or excuse for Everton's performances this season, or the last two or three seasons... or however many you like, I will fucking scream!!!

Please, people — look up the word and then decide if it is the correct descriptive word for this club's failings.

Any football team, or any sports-playing team for that matter, goes through various "transitions" during a game, never mind a season or part thereof.

We are patently not good enough. I remember when Liverpool supporters were in the process of trying, successfully in the end, to get rid of Brenda, the same guy who took that lot to within a slip of winning the league. What do we do as a fan base??? We label failure or disappointment as bloody 'transition'!!!

As I put forward on a previous comment, the fans of this great club will get what they deserve, unless there is a serious groundswell of opinion to cut loose from the "It's okay, not bad — we're in transition" mentality.

I don't know how as a fanbase we go about this; I'm certain ToffeeWebbers more knowledgeable and in the know than me could point us in the right direction. We need to make our voice heard – sooner rather than later.



Jim Bailey     Posted 29/12/2018 at 16:55:38

Living in the Past

I am completely and utterly at a loss as to why so many Everton fans choose to live in the past. Oh, so-and-so, an ex-player comes out and says that Everton is the best club, the best fans, they made me feel welcome or at home, blah blah blah.

Everton does have a fine and illustrious history... that has stalled since 1995.
If this club ever seriously wants to get back in the big time, then there are some things that need to be done which will not go down well with followers on this site in particular.

We need to lose the old boy network. We need to get streetwise, ie fouling opposition players to with an inch of being carded; we need to be able to feign fouls, especially in the penalty area, and not incur the wrath of the referee or VAR if and when that monstrosity is ever introduced full-time into the Premier League.

The "Oh look – we only lost by one" (especially against the Sky darlings) or "We played really quite well" – normally after a drubbing. The club is soft-centred and has been for far too long.

We need to toughen up, do away with the sentimental: "Well he's done us proud for a few years yet won nothing" attitude. I think Everton have three, maybe four years to begin to alter the mindset or it will be too late.

We are miles behind Spurs, Man Utd, Man City, and Liverpool (spit!), even Arsenal who seem to be wavering the last couple of seasons. WE have to show the killer instinct from the top down.

If a player, for whatever reason, is not up to par, then we should be looking to replace him, not saying "Arrh, he's had a tough time or a bad injury".

Yes, of course I fully empathise with the likes of Seamus, horrible injury and he has shown the guts and temperament that we all knew he had. But, if he now isn't good enough, and lots of fans on this and other forums have opined as such, then we should be looking to replace him.

Jagielka, a great servant, whatever that means... surely he should be put on the transfer list. Others as well should be viewed likewise irrespective of their service and/or fading skills and effectiveness.

This club is doomed to languish among the also-rans forevermore unless change is implemented. Change in attitude has to happen.

I am sick of reading posts and comments with "If you know yer history, and what EitC do (fantastic by the way, but this is not the way forward). We cannot afford the ludicrous levels of sentimentality to pervade this club for much longer.
It is a crippling malaise that needs to be stopped.

I only hope that Moshiri and Brands have a cunning plan because, if not, and I do believe that this will be Everton's last throw of the dice at joining the big boys, we will be wallowing in history and sentimentality forever.

You all know the saying, "If you can't beat them, join them". So what's it to be?
I say join them. Yes, it absolutely goes against the grain and everything football wise that I stand for. But, rather that than see this once proud behemoth of English football – you all know yer history — slide unceremoniously under the depths.
Jim Bailey     Posted 27/12/2018 at 18:23:26

Aspirations! Really?

I think, as we have done every season since 1987, we have ambitions which are way beyond what we can deliver. I believe we have once again beeng drawn into aspirations which are way beyond our current capabilities. Yes, we are playing football which is pleasing to the eye, the players seem to be enjoying their football again, and have nothing but excellent words about Silva, and all seems happy again within the club and its supporters.

Why do I think we will fall short again? – I think we have to develop a belief, an absolute belief we can compete at the very top. We just have to go to Anfield, the Etihad, Old Trafford, the Emirates, White Hart Lane... and actually WIN. There is a huge difference in producing quality football, having quality players, and actually going to these grounds knowing you have a real chance of actually WINNING the game. Yes it’s nice the managers of these clubs saying Everton are a top team, but they know that Everton won’t actually threaten their opportunities to qualify for the lucrative Champions League.

If you look at Spurs, probably the club closest to us for the last 20 years in terms of performance and ambitions, they (like us) were bobbing up and down the league, from 11th to 6th place for quite a number of years, 2004 to 2013, but they at least attained 4th place twice in those years, both under Harry Rednapp. They then managed to bugger things up when they sacked Rednapp in 2012 for failing to retain the 4th place and Champions League football. They dabbled with Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood and went backwards.

So, in 2014, they brought in Pochettino, who, after 2 years in charge, got them into 3rd place and has kept them there since, possibly, probably because he had a certain Harry Kane just coming into view from the academy and U23s. He delivered over 20 goals that season and he has continued ever since.

Pochettino inherited a team which had a strong backbone already and topped it up with some good buys over his first two years in charge, but the absolute goalscoring machine every top club needs (Aquero, Salah, Kane) was there already. Top teams have also got the creators required to put opportunities at the goalscorers feet/head (Hazard, Mane, Firmino, De Bruyne, Silva, Sane, Sterling). Pochettino has got the likes of Alli, Eriksen to help take Spurs to a level where they believe they can go anywhere and win.

Where are we, we haven’t quite got the strong backbone yet; we are short in the midfield area, we haven’t got that creative spark and, as we all know, we haven’t got the scorer to give us over 20 goals each season. Until Silva and Brands acquire the three or four missing jigsaw pieces, we will continue to flatter but not quite deliver.

I’m not saying Silva won’t deliver but I suspect it will take at least two or three more transfer windows to acquire the above and probably to replace the likes of Coleman and other fringe players like Baines, Schneiderlin, Tosun, and Niasse.

What worries me is the targets that Alexander Ryazantsev stated in his recent interview with “Paul The Esk”. He is our new Finance Director and listed better commercial revenues, stadium funding etc, but based on success on the pitch. He was asked what they are or need to be – his words: “In 12 months from now, we should have just qualified for the Europa League final 16, and be in the Top 4 in the Premier League, ready for Champions League qualification in the 2019-20 season.” — Really!!!

Is Mr Moshiri willing to spend another £120M in the next two transfer windows? I hope so!


Mike Oates     Posted 22/12/2018 at 17:36:24

Goals, Goals, Goals

Much debate has been going on about 2 things involving Everton: our belief and ambition to be top 4 again; and the lack of a proven goalscorer since Lukaku left.

I looked into the current top of the table and it illustrates the importance of goalscoring. The top 5 have scored significantly more than the rest and, in City's case, double the amount we have scored so far.

As the top scorers have only scored 10 and Richarlison has 8, I dont believe our problem is just a goalscoring centre-forward. We need goals throughout the side but particularly from midfeld and "other" forwards.

Sigurdsson has 6 so we can't look at him as being the problem but, if we take Walcott, Bernard, Gomes and Gana, their goal contribution is pitiful. Now, in my opinion, goalscoring is not an art that can be taught; so, if we are to progress, we need to replace at least two of those four with players who can contribute as much ability and score goals as well.

I am not forgetting the odd goal coming from the full-backs or centre-backs from corners but I am talking about regular threats from positions that should be contributing goals.


Jay Harris     Posted 20/12/2018 at 02:49:02

Bullied again!

Like many Blues, for me continually watching sub-par performances against teams we feel we should beat happens far too often, I think for quite a while now other managers have assessed the Blues and decided they can be bullied out of possession.

In previous posts going back to the Martinez era I have bemoaned the fact of the lack physicality in our team. Commentators love to use this word when describing a player or team. Basically it means that the team includes a majority of players who are 6 foot and combine size, strength and speed. And it helps if they can play!

Yesterday, against Watford, we lost way more challenges than we won. The only Blue who was a bully was Yerry Mina and he had one of his best games up against Deeney and Success who were quite willing to use their physicality at every opportunity.

Compared to previous managers, I do think Silva recognizes the need for players who can physically challenge and also play. Of his signings, both Zouma and to a lesser degree Gomes are plus 6 foot. This is evident that Zouma is rarely beaten and Gomes is strong enough to withstand challenges and keep the ball. As for the rest of the team, I think they lack either the physicality or desire to win the ball and keep it.

Digne has been a great addition going forward but both goals against came from his side of the pitch. Gana is great at stealing the ball in tackles but rarely wins a physical challenge. Sigurdsson is plus 6 foot but to often gets shrugged off the ball. Richarlison looks like he should win more physical battles but too often ends upon the floor. While I love the speed and skill of Walcott, Bernard and Lookman they are not going to win too many headers or 50/50 balls. And while the debate about Pickford’ s size has been well debated, he is not a commanding keeper at corners or crosses.

So what am I saying? I think we are much better suited to play against teams who don’t out-battle us. Come Saturday, I hope/think we will compete a lot better because Mnchester City are not a physical team in the same mould as Watford.

So, in an ideal world what would I look for in terms of player physicality to combat teams like Watford. I think at least 3 of the back 4 must be capable of winning physical challenges. So one of our full-backs needs to be able to defend against the high crossed ball. In midfield we need a player like Gana but stronger in the challenge. and finally as we all know we need a striker who has a physical presence and can win more than the odd header. Richarlison rarely wins the ball from a Pickford long punt. Calvert-Lewin is developing the physique and usually wins most of the clearances when he is playing. He drifts out wide and Pickford finds him. But, at the moment, He does not fit into Silva’s master plan.

Silva is loathe to change a “winning” team but I think he could pick a team to play certain physical teams and not include all of Gana, Bernard, Walcott and Lookman.


David Cooper     Posted 11/12/2018 at 14:36:38

Who really has the bigger claim to the Liver Bird?

A seemingly very well researched article in the Echo tackles this thorny question, tracing the history of the City's ornithological symbol back to ancient times.

Everton shareholder Keith Wilson, from Waterloo, decided to mount a campaign to reclaim the Liver Bird.

He explained: "Many Evertonians do not know that the club used the Liver Bird in the early part of its history.

"Myself and quite a few others are aggrieved that Liverpool FC have ‘hijacked’ this logo and use it as their emblem. The Liver Bird is for the people of Liverpool, and should not be associated with just one club.

"It should be on both kits, because they’re both from Liverpool."

Then Everton spokesman Ian Ross said: “We have no plans to attempt to reclaim the Liver Bird symbol. I think even the most devout Evertonian knows that the Liver Bird is now synonymous with Liverpool FC.”

The last known medal presented to an Everton footballer with the Liver Bird on it was believed to be the Central League Winners medal from 1937-38, just one year before Everton adopted the Tower crest.

While Liverpool's links with the Liver Bird became more and more entrenched, Everton's association with Prince Rupert's Tower became firmly established.

Read the full article at the Liverpool Echo
Michael Kenrick     Posted 09/12/2018 at

An evening with Duncan Mckenzie

I attended this event last night at a bar in Nottingham where I live. He was great, really funny and entertaining. He did talk a lot about Forest (given where we were) but also Everton.

A few snippets:

  • A joke about Rooney's education (or lack thereof).
  • He's still very slim; I could not believe how slight he was really.
  • When he spoke about Everton, it was obvious how much he'd loved it. He said how long he had worked there, and only left as had had "fallen out" with someone. Anyone know who this was?
  • I did manage to ask him for his favourite memory – it was a bittersweet one: the Clive Thomas semi-final.

Tim Taylor     Posted 07/12/2018 at 12:15:15

We're still here

How are you feeling? Numb? Angry? Hurt? frustrated?

I watched some of Sunday's game again today. Not all of it – just the end. Now you could be forgiven for thinking I`m some sort of a masochist, A glutton for punishment, but I can assure you that is not the case. I wanted to make the image of that gormless German fucker "forgetting himself" stick. I wanted to really register the injustice of losing to the Jammiest of goals, in front of a house of Orcs, all of whom have grown accustomed to winning games in the poxiest of manners. I want to remember this moment when our time comes... and come it will.

Silva has only been here a few months and his team are already playing better footy than Klopp's vastly overrated non-achievers.

I was gutted we didn't draw them in the cup. I was really willing for their name to come out straight after ours. I wanted to play them on Monday. I want to play them today. I want to play them tomorrow. I want to play these fuckers every day – twice on Sundays. There are scores to be settled, lots of them. The only way our wounds will heal is to pay them back in kind. To inflict serious pain on them, wipe those gloating smiles off their faces.

Silva wouldn't have been my first choice this summer (I wanted Eddie Howe). However, after years soul-destroying Zombie football, not many really objected to his appointment. We knew his team would attack and it does, but this is no Kevin Keegan. This guy fancies himself. I feel he is actually challenging his opposite number "You think you're better than me?"

Going into Sunday's match, I thought there was still an outside chance of catching them. We won't catch them now, but that's only because they were able to steal the march on us. While most of our signings were either struggling for fitness or still acclimatising to football in the Premier League, theirs were putting together an impressive unbeaten run of games. Make no mistake, this is the best side they have had in years... but they were still made to look very ordinary for long spells the other night.

We're close you know, I mean really close. 3-4 more players and we will be a sustained match for anybody. The number one priority right now must be to secure the services of Gomes on a perminant basis. His performances will have had many of the top clubs sitting up and taking notice. If we are serious about getting back among them, this guy can not be allowed to slip through our fingers. Get it done.

The next task is to get a few more in. Players of quality who will give us a real chance of winning the FA Cup. We should also be looking to take the next step against the big boys, its a measure of the astonishing change of mindset that simply "giving them a game" will not be enough when we face up to them in the second half of the season. It's doubly important we beat Liverpool, especially if it derails their season.

I've noticed a lot of people have been comparng Sunday's match to games they remember from the distant past. For me it was the Milk Cup Final defeat at Main Road. Unsurprisingly we were beaten by another poxy goal after Souness had mis-controlled.We used to travel together back then and, although I was broken-hearted, I was not broken. I had drawn the short straw and was driving home, but it wasn't solely down to the fact that I fucked off, leaving three skint kopites stranded in a drenched Manchester, that my pain was easing. I was driving home in the certain knowledge that the team I had so desperately yearned for, was about to arrive.


Darren Hind     Posted 04/12/2018 at 18:04:06

The legend that is Lyons

13 September 1975 was a day I will remember for the rest of my life. It was the day before my 9th birthday and the first time my Dad took me to Goodison Park, where I watched us beat Newcastle 3-0. Latchford scored the first, Mick Lyons the second, and then a screamer from Dave Clements with his first touch of the game made it 3. That was the day I became a Blue.

I went to almost every game through my childhood and Mick Lyons was my boyhood hero. His leadership, his determination, and his passion always resonated with me. He would run through a brick wall for the shirt, and quite often did. I was sad when he left for Sheffield Wednesday, especially as we went on to be the best team in the land, without him.

Anyway, in recent years I have been lucky to be involved in the local football scene here in Perth, Australia. I have been president of a top club, involved on various committees and now a regular on a local radio station. Through a mutual friend, today I met my boyhood hero. Mick and our friend Doug came to visit my winery and we sat for a couple of hours over coffee talking about everything football.

Stories from the 70s & 80s, right up to training the kids of today, something which Mick is actively involved with. Doug is a Red, which was a little awkward after the result on Sunday, but we quickly moved on and I was captivated by some of the stories.

This is a personal story for me, but something I thought I would share with you. It was an absolute pleasure meeting and chatting with Mick and it was very evident that he is enjoying giving back to the kids, what football has given him over the years.

5 December 2018 will now be a day I remember for the rest of my life, but I hope it is not the last time I catch up with the legend that is Lyons.


Andy Osborne     Posted 05/12/2018 at 03:27:03

To the banks of the Mersey

Ever since, Bramley-Moore Dock was chosen as the site for our new stadium, the sea shanty “Liverpool Judies” played on my mind. The dock is mentioned in the Lyrics, so I tried adapting it to an Everton Theme. With the stadium Consultation, improved performances, Blue Crimbo, and hopefully a win tomorrow, I thought I’d send it to the Web.

To the banks of the Mersey

A Song for all our homes past present and hopefully future
[To the tune of Liverpool Judies]

Stanley Park, Priory Road, then to Anfield we went
Where we won our first title, and up went the rent
With Mere Green in Mahon’s pocket, across the Park we did go
And the rest, well it’s History, as all Toffees know

Soo! It’s Goooo! Go Toffees Go,
To the banks of the Mersey
There’s going to be a show

The feelings you get when you watch the Blues play
They're not manufactured, we’re all born that way
The highs and the lows, the trouble and the strife
We’re the People’s Club, welcome, to the rest of your life

Soo! It’s Goooo! Go Toffees Go,
To the banks of the Mersey
There’s going to be a show

Most years in the top fight’s – one record we claim
“The School of Science”, it’s how we play the game
With Prince Rupert’s Tower at the Heart of our crest
It’s “Nil Satis Nisi Optimum”, Nothing but the best.

Soo! It’s Goooo! Go Toffees Go,
To the banks of the Mersey
There’s going to be a show

We’ve so many heroes, I’ll name just a few
The Cannonball Kid, Holy Trinity too
Big Dunc, The Golden Vision, Latchford and Dean
Sharp, Reid, Gray and Ratcliffe – all graced Kendall’s team

Soo! It’s Goooo! Go Toffees Go,
To the banks of the Mersey
There’s going to be a show

The last of the Corinthians, once famously said
That one Evertonian’s, worth 20 in red
And the Great Ball of Fire, this quote bares his name
"Once touched by the toffees, you’ll never be the same"

Soo! It’s Goooo! Go Toffees Go,
To the banks of the Mersey
There’s going to be a show

There’s those who have managed and played in Royal Blue
Royle, Harvey, Kendall, and Billy Bingham too
And then there’s the Catt, of whom little is heard
No media favourite, no credit where deserved

Soo! It’s Goooo! Go Toffees Go,
To the banks of the Mersey
There’s going to be a show

Great Goodison Nights, in our folklore are set
Inter, Florentina, Munich, the best yet
As we bombed the Germans, we’ll never forget
How the Gwladys Street End, sucked the goals in the Net

Soo! It’s Goooo! Go Toffees Go,
To the banks of the Mersey
There’s going to be a show

We’ve the 3 “Ms” on board, and once more we can dream
With Marcel and Marco re-building our team.
With Farad Morishi, there’s money at last.
Time to look to the future, not dwell in the past

Soo! It’s Goooo! Go Toffees Go,
To the banks of the Mersey
There’s going to be a show

Now our Grand Old Lady, is showing her age
It’s time that we moved to a new modern stage
We’ll still have fond memories, of all those great stars
Proudly running out to the theme from “Z-Cars"

Soo! It’s Goooo! Go Toffees Go,
To the banks of the Mersey
There’s going to be a show

And soon we’ll be moving to Bramley-Moore Dock
And all Evertonian’s to the Pier Head will flock
The site has been chosen, the first plans have been viewed
Eighteen Ninety-Two, the last time we’ve been moved

Soo! It’s Goooo! Go Toffees Go,
To the banks of the Mersey
There’s going to be a show

Good Health to all Toffees, where err you may be
Born into the Family, that is EFC
As for you Kopites, you’re bitter of course
Well it’s not just the City, the Liver Birds aren’t yours

Soo! It’s Goooo! Go Toffees Go,
To the banks of the Mersey
There’s going to be a show

Geoff Cadman     Posted 01/12/2018 at 23:13:43

Comfort and Joy

God bless you, Merry Toffeemen, let nothing you dismay
For Everton have sacked Koeman and Big Sam is here to stay
We may not like his football but this is how we play

In Eighteen we will all forget our cares
All of our cares
This time next year we'll all be millionaires

RS neighbours delusional in everything they say
They`ll have new CDs of red anthems
To blast out Christmas Day
So drown him out with Toffee songs
Don't let him have his way.

Don't let RS neighbours have their way
Fuck up their day
Don't let your RS neighbour have their way.

The New Year looks so promising
Finch Farm produce is good
Young Tom, JJ and Holgate
Have our club in their blood
We have to make sure that they stay
Keep them within our ranks

Don't sell to the Cockneys or Mancs
Cockneys or Mancs
Don't sell to the Cockneys or Mancs

Make next year be a special one
Let's play football we adore
Big Sam must tell his players that
We now play on the floor
Don't just lump it up to DCL
He needs better service than this

Don't turn him into Kevin Davies
Don't take the piss
He's miles better than Kevin Davies

A New Year dawns and we're still shite.
If we don't change this year
Give Dave Abrahams the manager's job and he will bring good cheer
We'll play like Barca every week, win trophies every year.

Drink Red Breast it's not all that dear
Not very dear
Four large glasses and it all becomes quite clear

All the best to you and yours, Enjoy your Christmas. Start early and finish late

Darren Hind     Posted 22/12/2017 at 12:49:27

What impact does Birmingham hosting the commonwealth games have on our stadium

With Birmingham being awarded the commonwealth games, what does this mean for the design of the new stadium ?

I haven't seen any news since and so was wondering if any esteemed ToffeeWeb-ers have heard anything
Dean Johnson     Posted 21/12/2017 at 17:13:50

Who should we buy in January?

I suggest no-one. We are not going to be relegated, we are not going to be top four, we could win the FA Cup with what we have and a couple of panic signings are unlikely to increase our chances.

I would like the coach to continue to give experience to our young players and develop them. I would like him to try different line-ups. Give Sandro a chance; give more game time to Lookman and Klaassen.

I would like Walsh to be keeping an eye on our players out on loan, planning what they can offer when they return and, most importantly, targeting a couple of really quality players in the summer.

This season is to be written off, short-term thinking will not develop our ambitions. Consolidate, plan, improve... I would not be sorry to see some go, in fact spirit might be improved by it. We are taking a step back but we could actually have been stepping over the edge.

I advocated Unsworth being given the job. Had he got it, I would have been pretty happy had the players achieved what they have. I believe that better football will come with confidence. I hope we use the rest of the season well. We spent badly in the summer – let us not do so in January.


Andy Crooks     Posted 19/12/2017 at 19:39:12

Managers v Philosophers

We have heard a lot in recent years about managers who have a 'philosophy'. This is usually an overseas coach who shuns the typical British work ethic in favour of pretty, passing football. Sometimes, they are successful such as Pep Guardiola. Sometimes they are a complete shambles like Roberto Martinez. But what determines this is easily observed.

The successful managers work with the players they have, or can acquire. They play to the strengths of their players and either coach them to be better or they buy better players. Those like Martinez, try to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. They fail to recognise the strengths and weaknesses of their players and as a result have them trying to play a game that is alien to them.

We hear about His Philosophy but, if it doesn't work, the media so often put it down to player error letting him down. But it would surely be better if the manager saw what his players could do and adapted that, rather than try to fit round pegs into square holes.

This brings me to Sam Allardyce. I, like so many Blues, was underwhelmed by his appointment. Man – was I wrong! After years of watching Martinez flail about and speak jibberish, followed by Koeman not knowing a footballer when one stares him in the face, we get straight forward clear thinking. Play to our strengths, not the manager's dreams. Organise what we have and use the resources available.Yet this does not mean long-ball pub football.

The goals against Huddersfield and that penalty at Anfield came as a result of accurate passing. Perhaps Big Sam just hasn't had that quality to play with before. It took me one game to realise that Martinez was an idiot (ask anyone who knows me); it took me longer to grow disillusioned with Koeman. It has taken a couple of games and I am convinced about Allardyce: No philosophy... just good management.
Martin Reppion     Posted 11/12/2017 at 10:36:52

Stayaway fans

Sam Allardyce certainly isn't the answer to all my prayers. But I'm curious: more than just a few fans are declaring that they won't watch Everton / renew their season ticket while he's in charge. Why?

There appear to be three main lines of argument:

1. The appointment shows that Everton are a small-time club / lack ambition

I don't buy this for one minute. Since Moshiri took over, Everton's ambition has grown. Six of our seven biggest money signings have come under his watch. Again and again, new signings have referred to Everton's ambition as a club as a key thing that persuaded them to come. (Obviously much of this money was not well spent, but that's hardly Moshiri's fault.) Further evidence of Everton's ambition lies in the fact that we have a training facility, an U-23 squad and youth development programme which are the envy of many of our rivals, and our commitment to the new waterfront stadium.

The argument hinges on the supposition that Allardyce has been hired to save us from relegation. I believe that a lot more than this is expected of Allardyce, and he'll need to demonstrate improvement in many areas if he wants to be kept on long term.

2. Allardyce's style of football

Various myths are being touted about as fact: he favours a long-ball game; his teams don't play passing football; he doesn't believe in bringing on young players. Running battles with fans while he was at West Ham have contributed to this perception. Allardyce says this is all nonsense: he'll do the right thing at whatever club he's at in order to win games.

My view is let's wait and see what he actually does before passing judgement. I think any manager coming in is going to be excited to see the breadth of young talent that we have and is going to want to give them opportunities. Unsworth is still on the payroll, and he'll be passing on his thoughts about the U-23s as well as the senior squad.

3. Corruption allegations

It can hardly have escaped the notice of anyone who supports a Premier League club that football is dominated by money and greed. It's an inescapable fact of life. The Moyes - Kenwright regime had a reputation for decency, for doing the right thing. But fans wanted more: we demanded ambition and success. Kenwright was castigated for failing to sell the club despite his explaining that he was looking for a buyer who would have Everton's interests at heart.

A buyer though was eventually found, so welcome to Everton, Farhad Moshiri, a financial wheeler-dealer who chooses to live in Monaco, a place where residents don't have to pay income tax. But before anyone rushes to accuse Moshiri of corrupting our morals, the most questionable signing in our recent history, that of Oumar Niasse, was made just before Moshiri's arrival.

The allegations hanging over Allardyce may be unproven but it's good that fans are raising these issues and questioning his character. The fact that fans care about this just as much as we care about being a successful club says a lot about who we are. Everton is a club which has pride in its history and its identity and this will remain the case as long as fans continue to stand up for values of integrity and sense of purpose.

I'm not trying to persuade anyone that Allardyce's appointment should be welcomed. My point is more that it doesn't change anything fundamentally at our club. For me, what's a lot more shameful than this appointment is the fact that Everton carry the name SportPesa on their shirt, but I don't see many fans boycotting the shirt.


Nick Wall     Posted 02/12/2017 at 09:26:57

What's our best team?

Now that the dust has finally settled regarding the controversial Managerial appointment of Sam Allardyce and his backroom staff I for one welcome a return to looking at matters on the pitch.

Allardyce undoubtedly has a penchant for experience and there has already been suggestions mooted from some sections of the fan-base that the younger players are likely to be playing second fiddle in the coming weeks and months.

Given the long-term injuries to Bolasie, McCarthy, Mori, Coleman and Barkley and the prospect of the transfer window opening in just on a month and a transfer kitty quoted in the region of £70 million - does anybody know what is actually our best team and formation ?

Factoring in the returning players I have no idea what our strongest line-up actually is ? Given that we are also going to be playing domestic football following the recent exit from Europa League the size of the squad is going to be less important.

I am sure that each fan will have there own opinions and Allardyce will probably be licking his lips at the prospects ahead. Interesting times indeed.


Peter Laing     Posted 01/12/2017 at 11:43:28

Ten Years... So Little Progress

I just watched the 2005 game against Manchester United for only the second time and it was a real eye-opener. It’s over 10 years ago and all I remembered clearly were Duncan Ferguson’s great glancing, diving header for the goal and the two stunning red cards on Gary Neville and Paul Scholes.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that, despite the managerial changes, the millions spent on players, the generations of new academy players who have graduated since then, we were playing significantly better, technically more adept, faster-paced, physically more committed football then than now.

We had better central defenders and a more courageous, more creative midfield. I am talking about the standard of football on display. We did not pass back at every opportunity. We do not have a goalkeeper of Nigel Martyn’s positional or organizational sense. We do not have a player of Arteta’s quality. We do not have a player of Cahill’s courage and single-minded intent.

With all due respect to Romelu Lukaku, we do not have the striking options or threat we had then. We were playing a Man Utd side with Keane, Ronaldo, Rooney, Scholes and Van Nistelrooy and won deservedly. Yes, it was only one match (but what a match!) and we were thrashed a short time later, but it is still very discouraging to realize so definitively and with such clarity that there has been so little forward progress in the intervening years. The best team that Koeman puts out would be utterly humiliated by the 11 players who beat Man Utd that night.
Peter Fearon     Posted 27/12/2016 at 21:44:35

What does the future really hold?

As 2016 draws to a close, once again, Evertonians are left pondering as to the future, both short term and long term, for our great club. Perhap's in the aftermath of yet another disappointing derby defeat, now is not the time to be penning an article in the current gloomy atmosphere that pervades most fans, but I'm going to stick my neck out and try to offer some Christmas cheer to you all!!

I've been supporting Everton long enough to know that ultimately, it's the results on the field that matters most, and the last three months have been depressing to say the least. The early optimism of Koeman's appointment in the summer, seems to have vanished very quickly, and some some of our fan base are now questioning his methods and management style

Personally, I'm prepared to give him more time, the current team, by and large is NOT his, and until he has time to bring in at least four/five other player's, of his choice, only then can we judge him. The problem he has I believe, in the eyes of the fans, is his general passive demeanor, either pre-match, during a game, or post match, he's calm and collected in his comment's, he's simply not known exhibiting much emotion. This perhaps work's against him when results and performances start to fail. Don't bet against him being passionate though

This aspect aside, I believe he know's what he wants, and is as frustrated as us, when he see's player's in the team or squad, who simply don't have the ability to carry out what he wants on the field.

In the age of 'instant', that we live in now, we simply must give him, Steve Walsh and Moshiri, time to turn things around after decades of neglect both on and off the field. I believe we will see a minimum of three new players come in during the January 'window' and that they won't all arrive at 11:45pm on the 31st.

The role of Moshiri remains problematic in all this however,as being based in London, and preferring to adopt a 'low-key' role as the public face of Everton, simply makes the the more cynical of our supporters a little suspicious. Again, I believe something IS happening down on the docks, and we will move to a new stadium within a four-year timeframe.

God how that will piss the RS off, can't wait to see and hear their reaction when the first spade hit's the ground

What we desperately need now from the club is a real statement of intent including a specific timeframe and confirmation that we have actually purchased the land from Peel Holdings, and have applied for planning permission. Until this happens , supporters will continue to remain pessimistic after so many false dawns in the past

Clearly, Bill Kenwright has managed to convince the new majority shareholder that he is the 'figurehead' to take us forward, and this aspect worries me, particularly with his history of 'new ground' failure's in the past twenty years. However, his favourite son, Robert Elstone, despite retaining his position within the club, seem's to have been removed from any current dialogue with the city council, in particular the office of Joe Anderson, who it seem's will be crucial to assisting Everton obtain a 'smooth passage' in terms of not just planning permission for the new venue, but enabling the correct road and transport infrastructure to be constructed in and around the new stadium area.

Evertonian's are a pretty patient lot in general, and I would urge supporter's to stick with the new regime for the next six months. Changes are afoot I believe, we've already seen the new owner clear most of the existing burden of debt, which at one time threatened our very existence as a football club, by way of an 'interest free' loan, in the same way Abramovich did at Chelsea. He's also brought in a manager and director of football at a significant cost, got rid of the 'phenomenal one' at an even greater cost; let's give him a bit more time to try and complete the job

There, I hope that's given you all renewed optimism for the future; right time to get my tin hat on...


Steve Hogan     Posted 22/12/2016 at 23:07:01

Should we gamble on Rooney?

It was twelve years ago that we sold Rooney to Man United. Is now the time to bring him back?

Rooney still generates strong feelings amongst Evertonians. Some see him as a traitor who grabbed the cash, and walked out on his childhood sweetheart. Others view him as a realist, someone who saw what he wanted from his career and went out to get it.

One thing I feel is true is that, in contrast to other footballers like Gerrard and Lampard, we have the chance to buy him. Although he may have moved on career-wise, I think he would still be open to a move back home.

It would take a few more signings, I think. At the moment, the squad lacks quality, but if we bring a few more players in then perhaps Manchester United could be tempted by a bid of say twenty million. Rooney isn’t getting any younger and although he is on twelve million a year, if we put an offer in we might be able to get him while he still has a couple of years left in him.

On the other hand, we know his manager Mourinho is a big fan of him and wanted to sign him at Chelsea. At the same time, with Ibrahimovic, Man Utd have one too many strikers past thirty. Also should we be out looking for the next Wayne Rooney and taking a thirty million chance on a 18 year old who looks great and has scored a couple.

It’s all a gamble. Should we gamble on Rooney?

Gavin McGarvey     Posted 17/12/2016 at 20:44:30

Dying Passions

I wrote something here in summer about how I cannot get enthused despite the appointment of Ronald Koeman. My passion for football had died a lot.

That, for me, is unbelievable. My parents remind me how football-obsessed I was where, when I was a kid, we had to say the meanings of words. To the word 'bury', I wrote "Bury are a Lancashire football team". I got the question right but maybe not what they were looking for!

Like lots of us, I grew up playing football and would have given anything to play professionally. That was not for the money but to walk out at Goodison Park and represent and win for the team I love, that my Granddad loved, would have been the pinnacle.

Putting dreams asleep, there is unfortunately, with life, a reality to face. Football has changed – I feel lucky I was around to see our team in the '80s. All around it felt more honest and passionate. You could get sides come up from Division 2 and compete. Compare that with today and the gulf is huge!!

So bringing this back to the title of this article – my dying passion! I want players at Everton to care. I liked the 'Dogs of war' because they cared. I liked Moyes's sides because they would put the effort in. I liked Everton under Moyes because it felt stable and real. He achieved lots on little and in my view did a great job for the club. We have in reality gone backwards since he left!

So watching Everton now is shocking. The performances lack any heart or commitment. There is no style of play – we look so stale and abject.

So many people blame Martinez for where we are today but I totally disagree. Koeman has had a reasonable time to get his ideas across but he keeps blaming things in the past. We don't expect him to win the title but we need to beat some teams – like Crystal Palace, Swansea (at home) and at least draw away to Watford and Bournemouth!!!!

I do still care so much about Everton. I hate losing but hate it more when we are as abject as we are. I see players who don't seem to give a crap and feel the pain of true believers here. Maybe what hurts now is we were given hope earlier this year with a takeover.

Personally, I think the squad is 'okay'. I have doubts about Koeman – where is his passion!? I have never seen any from him! The players, the managers – none of them really care. It is now a job to them, not a privilege.

A plea to the first team! You are so privileged to wear our badge and our shirt. Show some bollocks and heart amongst that skill and restore my faith that you multi-millionnaire 20- and 30-somethings give shit!


Phil Hoyle     Posted 11/12/2016 at 23:31:58

Koeman – stick or twist?

I have followed this great club since 1963. There have been a few periods of sheer joy but an awful lot more of despair and I am sensing trouble ahead now. I was not keen on Koeman, preferring the guy from Sevilla or De Boer because of his reputation for trying younger players. I was tempted by Unsy supported by Joe but, when Ron was appointed I contented myself with the thought that most fans seemed happy and that he must be an improvement on the previous guy. Initially all seemed well- a decent start and the new players settling in well but the last ten games have alarmed me – not least because of the lack of any pattern of play, no idea of a settled team and our next two games! I see signs of what happened last season when the players seemed to down tools. It reminds me of Mike Walker or even (for the older readers) of Tommy Casey who sat in for Catterick when he was unwell. No pattern, no concept of a first choice eleven, no leadership, no fight, lack of effort, no pride, no-one playing for the supporters. Ron clearly blames Roberto but whilst he can point at not having the desired quality he should be able to patch things together a lot better than he has shown to date. Why can't he inject some energy and passion and will to win? Why can't he see that these players cannot play his desired pressing game so develop a style which is suitable pending the acquisition of proper pressing players? Why won't he play the better youngsters- Holgate and Davies have shown that they can play in this company and they can't do worse than this lot. Why can't he see that if we play a defensive midfield we will not retain the ball and our shaky defence will be exposed? Can't he see that Rom is isolated and Valencia showed signs last week of being half decent so why not try two up front? So many questions and I am getting really worried. If we lose our next two games badly ( seems pretty likely) then we could be the team which slides down the table and God help us if this group of players ends up in a relegation fight because none of them fight!! The big question is do we allow Ron time and trust him with what will hopefully be a decent war chest in January or do we get rid now and give Unsy and Joe a chance as they would at the very least unite the squad and get some youngsters in to help. I would see what happens in the next two games. Capitulate and embarrass us and I'd get rid. Show some fight and pride and I'd cross my fingers and allow him to get his own players. The problem is that, whilst so many refer to him as a top class manager, I don't see it. Marvellous player, big name but then so was Paul Gascoigne but you wouldn't put him in charge of a club would you? I see nothing in his managerial CV to suggest he is top class and nothing he has done so far suggests to me that it is likely to change. I really hope I am wrong.
Dave Williams     Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:03:23

Dyed-in-the-wool Blue

A memorable occasion for me was Dave Hickson’s heroics against Man Utd in, if I recall correctly, early 1953 when he finished the match carrying a blood-soaked handkerchief and with so much blood on his shirt that he looked like a Man Utd player.

He gave his all for the club. I have read that he said at one time, ‘I would break my bones for other clubs but I would die for Everton.’

Now this is a motto that I would like to recommend to the present Everton manager, players and staff. Do you concur?
David Peate     Posted 11/12/2016 at 09:45:54

Would we be doing better under Martinez?

I bet I'm the last person any Evertonian would imagine posing that question. But I've just got back from having a pint with a couple of guys who I haven't spoken to since I was home last year – and they tell me the feeling of disquiet over the dross Koeman is dishing up certainly begs the question!

Apparently, there is a growing number of our fans who feel the Catalan was 'let go' only because Moshiri had to show who was in charge. And, whilst 'bullshit' has been replaced with 'pragmatism', virtually every utterance by the Dutchman distances him from the fan base.

Certainly this season's playing record is nothing to write home about but it's''early doors' and we seem more likely to claim a top-half finish than the 11th spot Roberto tried to tell us was progress. But, as my friends kept telling me,the quality of our football is 'turd' and far worse than anything Moyes imposed on us during his lengthy spell in charge.

The other part of the surprise argument is that – had no change in manager occurred, Martinez would have spent the Stones money on far better footballers than the motley crew (Gueye excepted) assembled by his successor.

Of course, there is no mention to be made of Niasse although plenty of references to the £30M or thereabouts which the change has cost. Martinez has, they tell me, more than proved his mettle via the all conquering Belgium team.

Now I can't believe these views are widespread but I never expected to be 'called out' over my disdain for the Wiganmeister quite so quickly. What do others think of the situation? Did so many of us get it wrong?


Phil Walling     Posted 06/12/2016 at 19:01:44

Blame Game

Clear-out seems a bit of a buzzword on Toffeeweb over the last couple of weeks. Obviously, with the dip in form from both the club and a number of established players, fingers are being pointed at a variety of areas at fault. Koeman, Martinez, Moyes, Kenwright, Morishi, Jagielka and whoever else on the endless list gets on the fans crosshairs of anger.

It seems that everyone has been lumped with some portion of the blame. It's easy to pick out certain people to moan at, but the fact is, probably all have some contribution. It really is an overall problem of the club’s own making. It can perhaps be traced back to around the start of the Moyes era, maybe a little earlier.

Due to tighter finances, we’ve always had a small squad. Moyes always mentioned he liked working with a small group and having flexible players who could play in a number of positions. A culture has been created within the club over the years, with players becoming indispensable because they can play in 2-3 different roles. Players like Osman, Neville, Jagielka, Kilbane, Arteta plus numerous more all have fallen under this category. With years of living on a non-existent budget, it became harder and harder to allow players to leave. If one of these players left, you’d need 2-3 players to replace them.

With the lack of players leaving, we also had a lack of players coming into the squad. If you remember a while back, there was the ‘Everton Time Clock’ on the internet. The slightly embarrassing timer, which recorded the time period of the last player the club signed by spending actual money. Didn’t it go on for over 2 years? So with players not really coming and going, the squad never really changed. Even with Martinez, the squad size still stayed small, and apart from a few acquisitions, the core of the team who’d been there for years had stayed.

Fast forward to the summer of 2016, Koeman signs 5 players, but basically, he’s just replacing the players who’ve left. This included Howard, Osman, Pienaar and Hibbert, all stalwarts of the club who’ve been around for around 10 years each. One thing that is great about the club is that we hold players who have been committed to the club in high esteem. Unfortunately, this has played into the issue. We don’t like to see criticism of ‘one of our own’, but players like Baines/Jags have been poor for a while and for many of us it’s difficult to call for changes.

The sad fact is that we are in the situation where a clear out is needed. If we had invested over the years, and built some depth in the team, we wouldn’t be in this problem. We all know what areas need extra bodies, but these are the same areas we’ve always needed players. We’ve been crying out for a playmaker probably since Arteta left, and we still are. Every year we’ve gone into a season understrength at right-back and centre-backand a lack of options for our forward line. Also, how many years did fans call for decent competition for Howard? Yet we are going into another transfer window, and still, we are looking for the same shopping list.

So who is to blame? It’s easy to throw names out there, with Koeman now getting much of the flack, but as already mentioned, it’s really it is the club as a whole, from top to bottom. Not enough forward planning and too much cost saving over the last 10-15 years have us in the situation we are in. It has created a squad that is lacking in most areas because key positions were never filled, or filled on the cheap. I hope Mr Moshiri has some deep pockets as this repair job is going to be expensive.
Kristian Boyce     Posted 06/12/2016 at 04:44:21

To Boo, or Not To Boo?

Firstly, let me say that nothing riled me more in the last couple of seasons than abuse and booing of individual players, especially Ross Barkley. But, when we witness such dross as we did against Swansea and Southampton, I think paying supporters have every right to let the players know what they think of their performances, and more importantly for me, lack of effort. It's a given that we all expect any player pulling on the jersey to give their all on the pitch, regardless of the millions they all receive for the privilege of playing for this great club. Professional pride alone should be enough motivation. I don't know if the Aston Villa squad were left in no doubt as to what their fans thought of the gutless performances they served up last season, but I do believe any Everton player should be held to high standards by us, the fans. The crowd applauding a 40-yard pass that dribbles out of play just seems a bit strange to me. (It happened twice against Swansea.) That may not mean booing the team off the pitch at every opportunity, but it's a slippery slope if we all just meekly accept sub-standard performances and effort levels we are watching creep into this current crop. If this team don't perform on Sunday, I don't think they will be left in any doubt whatsoever of what a quietly simmering fanbase think of them, and the manager. Or is quiet encouragement the answer?
Kevin Tully     Posted 01/12/2016 at 13:24:21

Blue leadership?

Watching from afar as I do every match that I can, I am struck by the lack of apparent "leadership" that is currently shown by our boys in blue. However I only get to see what the TV cameras decide I should see. As much as I would love to watch each game at Goodison, that is nor possible. It was made even worse on Monday when there was no coverage available in Canada, but I was saved listening to the "Snods and Griffirth" show on EFC which I quite enjoyed apart from the last 10 minutes.

So the question I am asking from the long suffering 40,000 who watch the Blues in the flesh, is "Who is the most vocal of our team and who stands out as a leader?" My fading memory of leadership on a football field goes way too far back to bear any resemblance to what goes on today. Names that jump out at me from the glorious 80s and are Reidy, Rats, big Nev, Sharpy and before that group Bally, Howard, Labby and others too many to mention.

How did these famous sons of Goodison demonstrate their leadership? In their days, the clattering tackle, the voices that could be heard and the ever faithful fist pump were all backed up by supreme performances and they became leaders. I am not a believer in the oft quoted statement "Leaders are born not made" having just watched on TV Lieutenant John Chard leading the defence of Rorke's Drift for the umpteenth time.

It is very rare that young players display leadership talents and at the moment we have a team that is basically a very young and inexperienced team as RM continually points out. The burden of leadership then falls on the senior members of the team of whom Howard, Bainsey, Barry and Kone (and Jags) are the ones who fill that category. Of those it is Barry that stands out as the obvious choice, dictating play and in great form, but does he LEAD the team? I really don't think he does. He seems very happy to do what he does without being particularly vocal or demonstrative.

Maybe it is not in his nature. Maybe he was not born to be a leader nor does he want that responsibility. As for Bainsey, I think he could do the job if encouraged to do so. Of the the 2 others, neither fit the leadership job description. Will everything change when Jags is fit again? I remember many times that Jags was criticized for being "too quiet" and not an inspirational leader. So where have all the on field leaders gone? Have they been replaced by the "non playing coach" barking orders from the touch line as I used to do when coaching the Burlington Danes U12 school team? RM and others seem to love that role, while Wenger and others rarely move out of their dugout.

So will Stones or Barkley ever develop leadership talents and skills? If they are not encouraged to do so, given the opportunity to do so or they don't feel it is their responsibility because they are more focussed on their own game, we will not find out. Young players make mistake, hopefully they learn from them and don't repeat them. RM comes in for ton of stick but in his defence, and as he always points out, this is a work in progress. He has been forced or chosen to rely on a very young group of talented players who are not "street smart" when it comes to winning football matches. Learning is a slow and often painful process as many teachers and coaches can confirm.

Football in the Premier League in 2016 does not allow managers, coaches and players time. I would love to think RM has got it right and in the long term his plans will be fruitful, right now we are definitely in the painful part of the process. How much time will he be given? Luckily for him, we do not chop and change managers as other clubs do. This is an Everton way of doing things which I applaud.

So if I go back to my original question to those of you who watch the games live without the benefit of TV slow motion replay, close ups etc., who does show any leadership skills or has this all been removed by the manager who tries to influence the game from the touch line.

Happy New Year from Mississauga, Canada!
David Cooper     Posted 30/12/2015 at 15:47:56

Martinez needs a good No.2

Whether you like it or not, you have to admit that as a club we have better of a chance winning some silverware under Roberto Martinez than David Moyes. Though that chance only seem slightly better.

Whilst I have heard many Blues mention lately that we would have more chance of winning our upcoming games against Man City under Moyes, I find myself reminding them that a Moyes side would probably not have beaten Barnsley or Reading.

Both managers are total opposites when it comes to style, substance and tactics, but they do have one thing in common, both men are incredibly stubborn! Moyes was stubborn in an authoritarian, aggressive way, whilst Martinez seems to be stubborn in a more passive and almost deluded way.

The similarities dont end there, both managers seem to have had very similar No2s – Graham Jones and Steve Round in my opinion are both yes men, nodding dogs at their master's beckon call.

Which brings me to my point; we have not had a good strong-minded deputy since Alan Irvine? Someone who is not scared to say hang on boss, this is not working? The team (in my opinion) looked at its best during the transition from Moyes to Martinez, when we seemed to play without fear but still defended in a regimental Moyes way. Appointing someone like Irvine as head coach or assistant manager in my opinion would readdress that balance.

This is the only way I could see Martinez succeeding in the long run, but given the fact he is incredibly stubborn and would feel totally undermined this will probably never happen, to add our board would never suggest such a move.

So In the meantime I shall continue to sit in the Park End holding my head between my legs, wondering why someone cant get an obvious message to manager that. hang on boss this isnt working.
James Thornhill     Posted 30/12/2015 at 15:42:10

Enough

I think that when it was identified that we were having trouble up front and scoring goals, the decision to put Duncan working and coaching the boys was really good and is proven by the difference in the quality of Rom's touch, his running and most important goal returnsn which are clear for all to see.

Equally clear, unless the blind man's Labrador is looking the other way, is that our defence and goalkeeping are shambolic to say the least. Even when we get Jags back we are still poor. I believe it is down to the understanding and organisation as much as the quality of the player; no one would ever have said Tony Adams and Martin Keown were great footballers but great defenders who protected a goalkeeper who also was able to excel knowing the confidence he had in the teammates supporting him was assured.

You only need to look at the form ofThibault Courtois for Chelsea to see what happens when organisation goes out the window – he looks very run of the mill now, although in a different league from Howard. Then you look at City's defenders who cost millions but look like clowns – Mangala, Otamendi are very poor – so it's not just about expense but tactics and coaching support.

So if every fan can see it why, oh why, can't our manager not? All I read is another winger on the horizon. We do not need another winger, we do need a goalkeeper and strong central defenders. If this means that we must sell the best central defensive prospect (according to the media) then we should cash in and build for our weakness. Also who is responsible for coaching our back line? They need replacing.

To finish on a positive note, it is great watching some of our attacking play. Ross is coming good so a bit of credit. Happy New Year and fingers crossed.


Paul Kennedy     Posted 29/12/2015 at 09:42:01

Defensive coach

Having had the same problem throughout his time with us you'd have thought Martinez would at least have something in place to stop the rot when defending.

I love watching Everton play attractive football, but it's all wasted when you are left frustrated by the end result because we've conceded a sloppy goal.

I have a controversial suggestion, one that shocks myself to a degree as I was so annoyed by this person for screwing us with his contract. But maybe we could get David Moyes to come and do some contracting and give Martinez a few tips on defending and not conceding so often from set pieces and crosses.

I hated the way Moyes kept us dangling over his contract to get his move to Man Utd as I've always hated Man Utd and felt he always planned to move! But he's eaten his own words in a way as he definitely hasn't found the grass greener since leaving, like he often suggested about players that left Everton!

It could be a good combination as the two managers have the different skill sets that could advance each other's coaching ability. The both could infuriate with their lack of action to either be inventive or stubborn in our play. The downside could be that it has no affect on our leaky defence but at least we see something being attempted rather than just saying it is a problem.

So would you consider Moyes as a defensive coach?
Martin Clark     Posted 29/12/2015 at 00:08:29

Martinez out

Once again Everton demonstrate ridiculously naive defensive tactics. This is exactly what happened at Wigan. They conceded shed-loads of goals and ended up relegated.

We have a very talented squad of players and our manager has no idea how to defend. If this continues Lukaku will leave and who could blame him, not to mention other players?

Everton would not ship goals like this with David Moyes in charge.

Also Tim Howard must go, he is well past his best.

I can't remember the last time I left Goodison with a smile on my face.
Tim Griffiths     Posted 28/12/2015 at 18:48:26

Oxford Moment ?

Its been a frustrating time to be an Evertonian, watching all of those priceless points slip from our grasp has been very hard to take. BUT . . . and there is quite a sizeable but. Our football as at times been (for this miserable old git, at least) quite simply better than anybody elses. We`ve been a fantastic watch.

A new phrase has crept in amongst Evertonians particularly on ToffeeWeb. "This could be our Oxford moment " is cropping up almost every time we win. I can understand it, but to be honest it drives me mad. There was only one Oxford moment and even then nobody recognised it until a couple of months later. This current team has been knocking on the door for too long for a sudden transformation to take place.

Having dismissed the chances of history repeating itself in one breath, I`m going to try to claim it is happening in another.

Cast your mind back (those who are old enough) to 68/69. I clearly remember similar parallels to today`s team, Of course we don`t have the "Holy Trinity" but we are dominating games in very much the same fashion, We were a joy to watch. We were also criticised at the time for being a tad "too nice"

There was no "Oxford Moment" for this Everton side, but Catterick who was notorious for breaking up sides, left this one alone. He knew that the only quality his team lacked was maturity. We ran away with the league the next season, by replacing a small part of the dazzle with a bit of steel and know how, we became simply too good for the rest.

Today`s class is a soft touch, there can be no doubt about that, but just because Stones, Barkley, Deulofeu, Galloway, Lukaku, are not do-what-it-takes winners now, doesn`t mean they will not turn out to be. there are already signs of maturity coming into their game.

Having repeatedly called for the manager to be sacked at the end of this season (if he doesn`t deliver) I`m doing a complete volte face. It would be wonderful if these youngsters can win a cup or qualify for Champions League football this time around, but its more important that they are kept as a unit and Martinez has already demonstrated that he can fend off the most determined attempts to take our players.

We don't need a king's ransom to get back into the big time, we simply need to hold on to the talent we have, they will mature naturally, it would be nice to think the manager will too.

Martinez holds the future of this club in his hands, if he can just find that attention to detail which separates the great managers from the ordinary ones, he could become legend. What he cant do is assume that by doing the hard parts, he is doing enough. he has to start getting the basics right too.

Stoke will offer a stern test of our resolve and only by winning games such as this will our youngsters start to understand what it takes.
Darren Hind     Posted 28/12/2015 at 06:26:07

Tactics and strategy?

I am becoming increasingly frustrated with Roberto Martinez. I think he has so many strengths he buys well, he wants to play football, he wants to play attractively but I feel so frustrated at his one-dimensional approach to play and I just don't get it.

We did really well in his first season, and also have done really well in the Capital One Cup this season, but I am spending most games pointing out clear issues that don't seem to be addressed. In his first season, teams started to sit back against us and Martinez seemed to counter it towards the end of his first season.

We also have done tactical numbers against United twice at Goodison until this season's three nil when they sat back and hit us on the break. He can out-think opposition managers when he wants to!

Here are my key issues:

  1. Why aren't we playing Robles until he buys a new keeper?
  2. Why do we seem so susceptible to big balls down the middle?
  3. What is happening to our midfield in terms of defence? We have good players but the opposition seem to be upon our defence within one pass. This is far too easy.
  4. Do we practice the defence of free kicks and corners?
  5. Do we practice taking corners and free kicks? This is a key asset in any Premier League team that wants to do anything!
  6. Why don't we use our squad a bit more in terms of horses for courses?
  7. Why are players who are not really in form kept in the starting eleven?
  8. What are our plans B and C if teams sit eight men behind the ball and harry us with two quick forwards?
  9. Do we actively work on getting the ball forward as quickly as possible when the situation demands it?

These questions and numerous others are driving me insane as the manager does not seem aware of them.


TIm Short     Posted 27/12/2015 at 17:25:30

Goodison Park, a different place

I have to say I am disgusted with things. It seems that everywhere you turn, there are people complaining about everything from Osman to Barkley, from Martinez to Kenwright. Whatever happened to supporting your team at all costs or positive reinforcement?

I remember attending Goodison as a boy, and I always traveled home with nothing but praise for the Scousers, who I wished nothing more to be part of. Their football intellect was second to none, coupled with a massive dose of humour it made traveling to Liverpool an event I look forward to. Now its turning sour, and I dont like it.

I know the world is full of opinion, mine included, I know that people have a right to complain when things are not going as they would expect, but where once there was optimism, it is now replaced with outright pessimism; where once there was humour, it is replaced with vitriolic abuse.

I've seen criticism of some of our best players, particularly Barkley, reach to levels that if I was employed by EFC I would seriously consider my options. How much fun can it be for someone that the minute they make a mistake, or dont make a forward pass that from a birds eye view may seem obvious, that thousands at best groan or at worst hurl unfounded abuse?

The guy is just 22, try to remember what it was like to be at 22... Also remember, he has scored 7 goals this season, in 19 appearances. There are only 9 other players who have scored more and Lukaku is one of them.

Recommendations for changing our current manager, who in my view is making us play of a style of football not seen since the days of Kendall, are ludicrous. Martinez has bought well, and now has the team playing some of the best football I have personally witnessed.

With a bit more luck, the 7 draws we had this season could have had a minimum of another 6 or 8 points (Norwich, hitting the post 3 times, Crystal Palace first half, Bournemouth, and Swansea or Watford back in Aug/sep). This would put us in 4th joint 6th depending on your view. Its not big changes we need, its small tweaks with the team we have and then it can push on.

I occasionally bring my children to watch the game, but less and less these days as at the moment its not the environment I want my children to experience. I know the irony in what I say, but if I had one wish this season, it would be for a sense of optimism coupled with a positive spirit at least until the end of the season and see where that takes us.

Happy Christmas everyone, I wish you well and fantastic New Year.
Joe Duffin     Posted 23/12/2015 at 14:02:50

Something strange happening

This is a different Premier League season. We have had some poor results but the teams we have disappointed against have all gone on, in racing terms, to frank the form.

Money doesn't seem quite as important. Leicester, a club that do not, in my view, have better players than us, are top; Why?

I believe that, for some mad reason, the Premier League has become like the real world. A bunch of lads who get on, who have a vision, who fucking actually like each other, who want to see each other succeed, who are mates, somehow combine (like we did in the eighties) to produce something special.

It all arrives at one time... and money, for a magic moment doesn't matter. Chelsea have had the opposite of it this season. But, it could have been us, a defining season that turns it all round. Is there still time for it to be Roberto?
Andy Crooks     Posted 22/12/2015 at 23:21:54

Gracias Howard, Hola Robles

I have been reading the mixed bag of comments of late, blaming this, that the other for our current slump. To be honest, I disagree personally with the anti-Martinez brigade; however, I have to agree with some of the comments about the boss, in particular the lack of seeing the obvious.

In the past month we have played some of the best football I have seen by an Everton side, dominating games only to be undone by stupid defending. If you look at the team we put out then it is pretty much a first choice 11 (Kone apart) and a very strong bench.

The back four is strong, which brings us to our Achilles heel the goalkeeper, Tim Howard. Tim has been a great servant to our club but for me the confidence is gone. Yes, he's a good shot stopper but so am I from 30 yards. A few things that worry me about our keeper of late: he saves more with his feet than his hands. You can see and hear Stones is not confident in his keeper, but let's get to the obvious: GET OFF THE FUCKING LINE!

All our good work is undone by bad positioning, he is rooted to his line for corners. A keeper should command his six-yard box and corners should be bread and butter. Tim Howard has cost us eight if not 10 points this season that is comfortable top 4. All the negativity directed at the manager would not be as potent had our goal custodian done what most keepers do.

Hinting in today's Echo that he is not happy with the soft goals we're conceding, it's time for Martinez to get some bollocks and drop what appears to be a so obvious problem. I have still not forgiven him for the Derby, never mind being beaten at the near post against Watford, inviting Rooney to chip him, Palace, Bournemouth etc...

Come on, Roberto, give us some Christmas cheer and say Gracas Tim, Hola Joel.
Ian Adams     Posted 21/12/2015 at 10:48:33

Can't Change... Won't Change

The guy sitting behind me in the Upper Bullens is not normally known for his 'gems of wisdom' but I thought he pretty much summed it up when he described Martinez as 'passively stubborn' at the end of the game against Leicester.

It is now becoming a regular trait around about the 60-minute mark (normally when we are a goal down) that he deems it the right time to make a sub. This despite the fact that, for the last two games, it's been so obvious that Kone will never score in a month of Sundays.

For a manager who supposedly embraces the idea of his teams being able to express themselves creatively, he is becoming mind boringly predictable. In a nutshell, he was easily out-thought and out-manouvered on Saturday by a manager who was simply intent on getting the very best out of the players he had at his disposal.

On paper, Martinez has much better technical players than Ranieri, but is simply failing to get the best out of them. On an individual basis, goalkeeper apart, I'm not sure you would find a better back four in the Premier League, but collectively, we are shambolic. Conceding an average of two goals a game over the last four games must SURELY tell the manager where the problem lies, but he is so focused on his masterplan, it's just not registering.

The manner in which we were 'picked off' on Saturday was alarming. More disturbing was the message sent out to our better players that, under this manager, we are not a club that is moving forward. We may be better on the eye this season but, with just ONE point more than at the same stage last season, that tells me lessons have simply not been learned. Indeed, we have supposedly just finished a spell of games against 'lesser' opposition; it's going to get uglier in the very near future

So what of our manager? What are the likely scenarios? Is he going to develop a ruthless streak and make the BIG decisions that are required? ... I don't think so; he's very much set in his ways and will be backed by a group of directors too weak and lacking in direction at the basic level to demand better.

Meanwhile, the club's impressive and loyal fan base (a near capacity attendance a week before Xmas) continues to become more and more fed-up with the 'mad professor' and his regime at our club. As we reach the halfway stage of the season, we can look forward to maybe a few more wins against feeble opposition like Aston Villa (the 'complete performance', according to Roberto) and Sunderland, but with a record of just two wins in the last eleven Premier League games, don't hold your breath.

As the crowd's frustration grows for the rest of the season, I sincerely hope the don't turn on the younger players, such as Barkley, who was on the end of some dog's abuse last season. Save your ire for the manager whose flawed philosophy and tiresome post-match comments lend themselves to further ridicule.

I noticed even the local and national media are now turning up the heat on Martinez, after giving him a fairly easy ride over the last 2 years; things must really be bad...


Steve Hogan     Posted 20/12/2015 at 09:42:45

Watching the Blues can be dangerous for your health

Last Monday, I wrote that I was feeling strangely confident based on the fact that we were playing the top team who were not one of the Sky 5. How wrong can I be!

I'm not sure how the players feel after losing today. Do they go home and feel depressed because they have played so poorly? Does the loss mean that their Festive season will be less festive because they have managed 3 points from a winnable 12? The players may not feel it, but we certainly do and there lies the rub.

Supporting Everton should carry a health warning because of what they do to our emotions. While it was still 0-0, there was a fleeting glimpse of a poorly Bill Kenwright back in his favourite seat. But the man did not look well and no matter what some think of him, I think he suffers like we all do only he has the responsibility of running the club, while we can just make comments. So best wishes Bill for a speedy recovery.

Next, onto Boxing Day and Newcastle; I really hope when I open my present that I find Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith are starting, and James McCarthy is back. We can only hope.

Best wishes, Bill, for a speedy recovery.
Dave Cooper     Posted 19/12/2015 at 23:15:48

Feeling strangely confident!

I cannot remember when the last time was that I felt so confident about the Blues playing the team sitting on top of the Premier League! Usually, home or away, it has been against one of the teams who we don't do that well against except for the odd occasion which you can count on the fingers on one hand over the past 20 years. Why does playing Leicester not send those shivers down my back?

I must admit, today was the first time I have watched them. I may be proved wrong but I think we will turn them over on Saturday to give us a all a Happy Christmas! The alternative is too painful to contemplate!

Why do I feel so confident? First of all, they are a BIG team. They have several versions of Huth in different positions and we will need to match their physicality all over the field. But I think we have played well against teams who won't pick anyone under 6 foot.

They also don't mind sticking their boot in when it counts, which we don't do, so we will have to win more 50-50 tackles and 2nd balls. They seem very happy to play without the ball. Today, it was 35-65% possession vs Chelsea and attack on the break.

I hope McCarthy is back and Barkley is told he must run back when he loses the ball upfield. Albrighton, who flattered to deceive at Villa, seems to have a new lease of life playing wide and we will need to defend well against him. Coleman may have to curtail his attacking urges. I noticed several times they hit balls deep into the penalty area for Mahrez to come around the back. So hopefully Roberto and Bainsey will be up for that as he is scoring for fun.

Then of course there is Vardy who can't believe how things are going for him. Time for John Stones to show us how good he really is. But, as others have said in other posts, if we were to match up player for player on their best day, I would pick us every time.

Can we produce our best on Saturday? Will playing the Premier League leaders who are not one of the Sky 5 mean we approach the game with confidence and a positive outlook? For sure the Old Lady will be rocking and I am looking forward to watching us win from 3,000 miles away and set up a Very Merry Toffee Blue Christmas!
Dave Cooper     Posted 15/12/2015 at 03:24:45

Premier League week 16 and the set-piece debate

With Everton's increasingly costly fragility at corners and free kicks and the majority of Premier League goals coming from dead-ball situations this weekend, the hows and whys of defending them are the topic du jour.

Today, West Brom scored twice from set-pieces in their 2-2 draw with Liverpool three if you count the one that was disallowed while Eric Dier notched for Tottenham from a dead-ball opportunity.

Is this something that can be coached into defenders or is there an inherent advantage to attacking players in these situations? Discuss!
ToffeeWeb      Posted 13/12/2015 at

No wins when scoring 1 or 2 goals

Here is the league table of each club's number of wins this season when scoring 1 or 2 goals, through 12 December 2015:

1. Crystal Palace 6
2. Watford 6
3. Stoke City 6
4. Man City 5
5. West Brom 5
6. Leicester City 4
7. Arsenal 4
8. Man United 4
9. West Ham 4
10. Liverpool 3
11. Bournemouth 3
12. Chelsea 3
13. Swansea 3
14. Tottenham 2
15. Southampton 2
16. Newcastle 2
17. Sunderland 2
18. Norwich City 1
19. Aston Villa 1
20. Everton 0

Maddening.
Geoffrey Caveney     Posted 12/12/2015 at 23:09:22

Fatally flawed or work in progress?

The sheer volume of anger and disappointment following another massive let down by this current Everton side is totally understandable after the latest debacle against a poor Norwich team.

It's difficult then to decipher whether this is just a sign of 'growing pains' and inconsistency of an evolving team or something more serious?

Critics of Martinez will say 'he's not a defensive coach' and what were witnessing is typical of Martinez style of teams ie 'can score freely but can't defend to save your life'

Sitting in the pub with a mate watching events unfold in the second half he said 'What we need at times is a Skyrtel type centre-half'

.

Before people keel over in shock horror , is there some truth in this, are our current centre back's too nice?

I love to see John Stones beating three players bringing the ball out of defence in a Beckenbaur sought of way, but I'd love to see both him and Fumes Mori dominate in the air the way less cultured centre half's do.

You can see why Everton were so keen to sign Scott Dan in the summer break.

But back to the original question, are we on the brink of something really good, or are we being hampered by Martinez's lack of a real ruthless streak?

Whilst opinion's on our manager's ability seems to split opinion right down the middle amongst the fan base, his stubbornness is there for all to see.

Why is it fans can see events happening on the field on a regular basis but the manager can't?

Today, Kone was all but finished after 60 minutes and should have been replaced.

The continuing quandary with the ability of the goalkeeper being vulnerable on crosses or immobility in the six yard box continues to haunt us week after week.

Apparently Howard has a contact with us until his 40th birthday, nice work if you can get it.

Perhaps it's his lack of ruthlessness with certain players which will be his ultimate downfall or perhaps we should be more tolerant of the young but talented players we have and the inconsistencies that accompany players of that age.

Lukaku is having a great season, but it was an absolute sitter he missed today to put us 2-0 up and further demoralise an abject Norwich team.

Should we forgive and forget?

I'm sitting on the fence I'm afraid, but enjoying the sheer quality of the football on offer at certain times, I just don't like the sheer frustration that goes with it.


Steve Hogan     Posted 12/12/2015 at 22:11:15

Learning to play with Bainesy again

Although we have waited a long time to see Leighton Baines back on the field and we have been very well served by Brendan Galloway, I feel the Blues have moved on a mile since Bainesy was our regular left back.

We have only seen him in short glimpses recently but when he has been on the field, the pattern of play has shifted away from him. Everything recently has gone right towards the amazing Geri and who can argue with his end result. Yes Geri can be incredibly frustrating but you always feel that he will produce a cross that someone, mostly Big Rom will convert.

Leighton is missing his two main pals that helped him become the number one left back in the Premier League. It is hard to see how Pienaar and Osman can ever get back into the team unless we have a run of unfortunate injuries.

Do we look a better defensive unit with or without Galloway? And where does LB fit into this dilemma? Which is a very nice dilemma to have! Would we be an even better attacking force if LB rediscovers his old form? If Baines returns to anything near his old form, we can at least expect our delivery from corners and set pieces to improve. Or has he slipped too far down the pecking list of dead ball specialists behind Barkley, Geri, Rom etc.?

Personally, I feel we are a better side without Bainese. I never thought I would write or say that! We certainly don't have a problem going forward but we do when we have to defend. Galloway is a much better defender and physically bigger and stronger than LB. Is it heresy to suggest we cash in on whatever value Leighton has left in him?
Dave Cooper     Posted 10/12/2015 at 09:11:50

The case for the defence

I think the majority of supporters feel that defence is our Achilles heel, particularly from crosses.

Defending is a team game and therefore it is not just down to the back four. So what can we do about it?

We dont need a rocket scientist to establish some principles.

The first improvement needs to come from preventing the crosses coming in in the first place. It is fair to say the majority of crosses come from our left side but I do not totally blame Galloway for this.

Tactically 4-2-3-1 does exacerbate this problem as we don't have a dedicated left-sided midfielder and while Kone does occasionally chase back it is not enough. What may help however is if we have Baines or Barry playing left midfield as part of a 4-3-3 or even play 4-2-3-1 and revert to 4-3-3 during passages of play.

One of the main problems we have defensively is defending corners and free kicks and while we can put much of the blame for this firmly on RM' s shoulders as "He doesn't practice defending corners and set pieces because they are not significant"

In my opinion, it is imperative we get a defensive coach working with the team ASAP on our set up and ability to defend corners and crosses.

We should also have Lukaku back in the area marking one of the center halves and leave Geri or Mirallas (Yes, I said Mirallas, Roberto) on the half way line with an instruction to clear the ball up the pitch if the opportunity arrives.

I also think we need to asses the goalie's role in all this so we have a clear understanding of what the keeper will and wont do. For example should he clear everyone out in the 6 yard box or should he stay on his line flanked by defenders on the post. Do we go man marking or zonal marking?

My view on this is quite simple. Anything that prevents the opposition getting a touch on a cross is the way to go whether it is a defender or goalkeeper getting to the ball.

On the issue of the goalkeeper my view is Tim Howard has come in for some unfair criticism this season but, nonetheless, if we are to go for Champions League there is no doubt we need a better keeper and goalkeeping coach.

Answers on a postcard, please.


Jay Harris     Posted 08/12/2015 at 16:28:23

Cold, cold sweat!

So, how many are getting excited at the thought of a day out at Wembley? I guess the "young 'uns" cannot wait for chance to see their team walk out onto the hallowed turf. Those of us of a certain age will, perhaps, be more guarded in our emotions. Why? Well there are two reasons I break out into a cold sweat.

Firstly, from my experience, Everton must have one of the worst "appearance vs winning" records of the top teams... yes, I am including us as a top team along with Villa, Spurs etc.

I first saw us in the 1977 League Cup Final (the debacle of the FA Cup Semi-Final still to come) against Villa, a bore-draw but we did hit the bar I think?

The final started in March but it took two replays and we finished up losing in April at Old Trafford 2-3. We had an all English team, bar the defender Ken McNaught (Jock), but he left us the following year to join the very same Villa (and go on to win the European Cup).

The next final was also in the League Cup in 1984, and yet again our mortal enemies stepped forward to ruin our lives. Liverpool escaped with a draw at Wembley by the skin of their teeth (Hansen's a cheating twat). No such luck in the Maine Road replay.

The next final was later the same year and at last I saw Everton lift a cup in 1984 versus Watford.

Then the 1985 treble was snatched from us by a bloody toe poke from Norman Whiteside. It didn't matter, I had watched us win the ECWC in Rotterdam and we had the 1st Division Championship.

Then 1986 and 1989, FA Cup finals at Wembley... the bastards did us twice. Nothing comes close to that feeling driving home. I have to hold my hands up, the hate was well and truly installed in my young heart back then.

A long wait until 1995 and Big Joe managed to take his Dogs of War (and Nev's famous quote "We are a pub team") to Wembley and snatch the FA Cup from Man Utd. Our turn to "get away with it".

Finally, 2009 and after the first-minute goal we just faded away in the FA Cup final versus Chelsea.

So I have watched us win 2 out of 8 cup finals at Wembley. I do not feel lucky... so I will not be attending if we make it this year.

Oh, and the second reason for the cold sweats? Yes, you all know it....the Red Shite. Seriously, it's not a fear of a better team, far from it, but Hamilton's goal, Hansen's handball, Hutchison's goal, Thomas, Clattenberg etc etc. They always get the bounce, the decision or just cheat. Everton appear to have a mental block with them. Only with Joe Royle did you think "yes we will win", even at Anfield.

They are lurking and I pray they lose, please God let them lose. The cold, cold sweat is running down my back.
Ian Robert     Posted 02/12/2015 at 06:34:09

The bitterest pill

I have written some very positive stuff about Roberto Martinez. "All to play for " was a fairly recent post. Also, I believe I predicted Champions league football for us. I wasn't happy at his appointment but was convinced by respected posters that he was the right man. Last season left me in no doubt , this was the man and project to change our club.

It really is the hope that hurts, though. Over the last few days I have written some stuff that rivals the bitterness with which I denounced Moyes. Clown, charlatan, inept, clueless and probably more. All fired at Roberto Martinez. Honestly , I hate the fickle fan that I must appear but it is how I feel. I have twice seen Everton survive on the last day of the season and approached those days with a strange stoicism.

However, the way I feel now is different. I feel an utterly irrational bitterness and entirely unjustified sense of betrayal. I suspected during our home game against Wolfsburg that the emperor was naked. It was a travesty of a result.

The team selection and shoehorning of favourites into any role was as bad as Moyes. The nervous totally awful passing about the defence was like watching sports bomb disposal. Pass the hand grenade.No spark , no inspiration, fearful and predictable.

I want to be wrong and I want someone to come on with a reassuring argument. I just have a bad feeling about this. Fickle as it might seem I honestly believe we need a change.
Andy Crooks     Posted 30/12/2014 at 23:54:12

Where can we get 22 points to beat relegation?

With just 19 games left, it looks like 42 or 43 points will be needed to escape relegation. We are 8 points off the bottom club but only 5 points higher than 18th and 19th places.

So where do we get those points from?

Chelsea (A) .......0
Man City (H)..........0
Man Utd (H)..........1
Southampton (H) ..0
Arsenal (A) .......0
West Ham (A)........0
Tottenham (H).......1
Swansea (A)...........0
Newcastle (H) ..3
Liverpool (H)........1
Stoke (A)................0
Aston Villa (A).......1
Sunderland (H)......3
QPR (A) ............1
West Brom (H)......3
Hull (A).................1
Crystal Palace (A) 1
Burnley (H)...........3
Leicester (H)....3

That would give us 43 points just enough to be safe, but any slip-ups with those below us and we are bang in trouble.

Who knows, with a bit of good fortune or a referee that went to Spec-Savers, a couple of those tough games could go with us.

Let's hope I start off wrong and we get 3 points against Hull.


Wayne Stamps     Posted 30/12/2014 at 11:08:26

Formation 3-4-1-2

The passing game we have adapted to is great to see but we are currently stuck at the back with nowhere to go, so a change in formation can help sort this. For the formation I would change to 3-4-1-2. With the possible line up being:

Howard
Browning Stones Garbutt
Coleman Besic McCarthy Baines
Barkley
Lukaku Kone/Eto

Reasoning

Defence
Extremely inexperienced but will bring some much needed legs to our back-line and confidence, yes mistakes will be made but each is young and will learn and develop with more game time constantly improving.

Defensive Midfield
Coleman and Baines playing out wide with more freedom for both to run forward and create chances like we loved seeing last season but playing in a position where both can get back and create 5 at the back and much needed cover for the young defence. Besic because the player has a flare about him and isn't afraid to put in a strong tackle when needed and take one for the team, great vision with good passing and can dribble through players if needed too. McCarthy doesn't really need justifying, a real workhorse and great player always there to put in a shift for the team.

Attack
Barkley can now be played in his correct position and get plenty of service and with two up front will have more options to aim for. By playing Lukaku up front with either Kone or Eto will help the lad, he struggles for service a lot of the time and is at his best running at goal not with his back too it, so by adding another man upfront will take defenders off him to mark the other player giving him much needed space. This will also allow for more support to help break down the oppositions defence and find the form we know he is capable of.

Summary

This is the formation I believe would work for us keeping with Bobbys tactics of passing as it allows for wide men in Baines and Coleman to take possession or drive the ball down the line. Brings what I believe would be more confident defenders in at the back to make better and more attacking passes. Some much needed legs and creativity and will bring out the best in our stars and help key players find form and play to their potential.

Obviously players can change this is just my own personal opinion of what I believe is best for the team, My formation has a lot of youth so Id be interested to hear other peoples opinions on what formation could help the team and what players theyd pick?

Thoughts and opinions and this?


Daniel James     Posted 29/12/2014 at 10:14:02

Reasons for Concern

To start, people calling for Martinezs sacking are ridiculous! We are not Crystal Palace, Fulham etc... WE ARE EVERTON! We have class and give people time especially after investment and record points hauls. After spending the last hour flicking through social media and ToffeeWeb, I have read a number of meltdowns, sacking Martinez and installing Etoo as manager being the most ridiculous of the lot!

For me, the following reasons are the ones to be concerned about.

1) There is simply a lack of fight and desire from the players to get the ball back or make things happen. This is not an anti-Roberto post, but during Moyes's reign, the players looked like they would run through wall for him; with Roberto, his relaxed play and manner seems to have rubbed off on the players. There are ways to lose and lack of desire isn't the Everton way.

2) Barry's legs seem to have gone overnight. But also teams target him for massive amounts of pressure. For some reason last season, teams never did this, he collected the ball every time and linked play. This season, play breaks down and we often concede from this. Worst thing of all is the 10m, three-year contract he is on, when he looks like he is treading sand!

3) The curious case of Romelu Lukaku: The price tag is not his fault, he can't control that. What he can control is his effort and attitude not that he has to chase down everything (Marcus Bent), but his physique should enable him to boss defenders. A prime example when he faced McNair, a young defender new to the Premier League, Lukaku should have run riot... McNair completely nullified him.

4) McGeady: his confidence is shot. How he was ever worth 12M, I will never know. He is in the prime of his career yet is a one-trick pony. I am willing to give him a little longer but we cannot rely on him.

I would love to see a midfield three of Besic, Barkley and McCarthy. They offer legs, desire and three lads willing to put a foot in. I appreciate Barry did well last season but teams are on to how to play through him.

I thought Kone was the real positive of the Newcastle game; his hold-up play was fantastic and a nicely taken goal. He is much more experienced that Lukaku, so you can't compare them with hold-up play, but what I will say is Lukaku should work on the his first touch and spend more time in central areas like Yakubu did.

I sign off my first post by saying keep the faith. I never expected us to progress into the top four, nor did I expect such an alarming dip in form, but we are Everton and we stick together. January is shaping up to be a massive transfer window for us, where we need to freshen the squad up. After all, we only added Besic and Etoo in the summer, the youngsters were already in and around the squad last season.


Elijah Constantinou     Posted 28/12/2014 at 20:01:26

Déjà vu?

Ive read so much in the last week or so about where Roberto Martinez has gone wrong this season: how he got it wrong pre-season, has no Plan B, and so on... and I admit its difficult to disagree with a lot of what has been said. Whilst not looking to absolve Martinez of all the blame, I do think that this season was always going to be tougher than last.

This season reminds me a lot of the 2005-06 season, the previous season was Moyess first full season in charge and we against all odds finished 4th as the surprise package. Aside from the failures in Europe in 2005-06, which clearly dented confidence, we had to contend with teams being more wary against us in the league and getting more men behind the ball, making it more difficult for us to break them down and hugely raised expectations.

By the end of December 2005, we were about 17th, desperate for a win, when we went to Sunderland on New Year's Eve. Confidence was low and Sunderland were by far the better team but Tim Cahill knocked a header in at the death and we went on a good run which lasted until around March. The goal and win boosted confidence, reinstated belief, seemed to almost visibly take a huge pressure off the team who then started to adapt to the way teams sat back against us and the greater level of expectation from the fans.

Whilst thankfully this season we are still in Europe, the team which surprised so many last season is now having to learn to adjust to teams getting plenty of men behind the ball. Confidence is currently low; whereas, last season, everyone expected a season of transition, this season, it was assumed wed be challenging the top 4, so the pressure is greater and patience from the fans is almost non-existent. Our home form this season compared to last season highlights the combination of teams sitting deeper to nick the game and the burden of expectation and impatience has hugely impacted us. The more teams allow us to have the ball while they sit back, the more prone the players become to mistakes and lapses of concentration which the opposition are ready to pounce on.

There are other factors too: the bad refereeing decisions against us far outweigh those in our favour; Barry and Distin are showing their respective ages; the team lacks genuine width; we are accommodating two or three Numbers 10s per game, so have one or two out of position; and we clearly havent replaced Deulofeu with a player who can come off the bench and get at teams with pace.

Whilst Martinez must learn to adapt the way we play to break down teams and get the players digging in as a unit, fighting for each other, I'm not sure things are as bad as is being made out. We just need one result to go our way to instill confidence in the way the Sunderland result did back in 2005. Heres hoping our game in the North East on Sunday is that game.


Steve Jones     Posted 27/12/2014 at 00:51:17

Questions?

Questions to the Manager and coaching staff of Everton FC:-

How can a team go from one entertaining fantastic season, into one that right from the off with an organised unstructured preseason flowing into a season with team tactics that are so inflexible that the same quality players seem very ponderous and incapable of reaching the highs of even our poorest game of last season?

Whats happened to our coaching staff, cant they see what happens if you keep passing the ball around in your own half?

What has happened to our corners and set pieces, even in our previous dark days we still worked at these?

Why are we playing players out of position?

Why do old out of form players take precedence over inform young players?

Are all the coaches in agreement with this style of play?

Is our managers sole focus on the Europa League at the expense of everything else?

Are the Managers beliefs and footballing philosophies so entrenched he has become intransigent and will not budge no matter how desperate things get?

I have been supporting Everton since the very early sixties and have witnessed the team go from champions to mid table fodder on many occasions, but never as sudden as this! Plus you can normally see it happening over a couple of seasons, this is very different!

We are not at that desperate stage yet but many of the above questions need to be answered before we fans can start to believe again as the football we are witnessing this season is abysmal to say the least!!

If any of Evertons coaching staff read this can you answer some of the questions please!

Kevin Dale     Posted 22/12/2014 at 21:04:16

Bye Bye, Blues

It's finally happened. After the dismal draw against Hull a couple of weeks ago, I knew it was finally over. I lost interest in Premier League football. Nearly fifty years as an Everton fan and suddenly it just wasnt the same anymore.

It was not because of the Hull game. It's been coming for a while. I just wasnt feeling the relief and joy when we won, and if there was one thing that really told me enough was enough, it was the fact that I am not that arsed when we lose anymore. Now that surely must be the last nail in the coffin.

This season has been a big kick in the balls though. After building up expectations and after a great uplifting season, Martinez has turned out to be nothing but a spin-doctor. Saying all the right things, but seems to be struggling to back his words up. To tell you the truth I think he is already losing the dressing room. I reckon it started around about that time when Distin got dumped. Could never really worked out what happened there.

Back to the start! I was born in Lowestoft (1955) on the east coast, so never really had an association with Everton as a kid, in fact my first favourite club was West Ham, only because I had watched Geoff Hurst hit a hat-trick in the world cup final. Probably my first football hero. But even then I was pissed off because all my mates at that time were United fans, and they had some great names playing then. Best, Charlton and Law among them.

It all changed one Saturday night watching Match Of The Day. I saw Everton turn United over 3-1. They were all there, Kendall, Harvey, Labone, Wilson, West and of course the greatest player ever to pull on an Everton shirt. The great Alan Bal!!

I dont know why but choosing Everton felt like coming home. It's not always been an easy ride and if I am really honest, there has probably been more disappointments than celebrations. But I have always been proud to say I am an Everton fan and although it would have been more fun to have been an RS fan, a United fan, an Arsenal fan, there success has never worried me. I am, and always will be a Blue through and through.

So, end of the road for me, and I know you lot will stay true to the cause through thick and thin. But that gap between the money clubs and us others doesnt seem to be getting any smaller. Although there are a couple of clubs punching above their weight, it will be the same lot picking up rewards again at the end! But I hope you all, like I have done, keep believing. Because thats what it's all about.

Three games on from the Hull match and I havent seen a minute of any game. The magic has gone, and I know it wont be back. I have decided to watch the Europa League games until we get dumped out of that, then I will probably take up some interesting hobby like bee-keeping or stamp collecting (not).

Please do not write youll be back. It's gone! Best of luck, fellow blues. Thanks for the good times!
Tony Cheek     Posted 22/12/2014 at 13:16:40

A Growing Disquiet

Cards on the table time the day Roberto Martinez was appointed I sent out an email to friends and family under the subject line "Fucking Martinez???!!!" You might guess from that I was underwhelmed.

However, after an initial stuttering start, the way Roberto set the team up to play and the manner in which they played really started to impress and excite me. Contrary to my initial fears he maintained a miserly defence, but more than that he had Everton playing with verve and vigour both home and away. Almost every game you were guaranteed entertainment, excitement and for the most part, a favourable result for the Blues.

Im sure that many Blues like me delighted in the 2 performances away to Manure and the Arse in 4 days in December last year. In the first half in particular at the Arse I was laughing with pleasure at the run around we were giving them in their own back yard.

In our first 23 games in the league under Martinez we suffered only two defeats. We then had a bit of a stutter, but then won SEVEN consecutive games, including two majestic 3-0 wins, one away to Newcastle and the complete dismantling of the Arse at Goodison.

Again we stuttered over the finish line in our final fixtures, but as one of the victories was another tanking of Manure in what proved, poetically, to be OFMs final game with them, we basked in the glory of just missing out on top 4 with, for Everton, a record 72 points haul over the season.

So, what is the point of this quick resume of last season? It is this

We are now almost at the half way stage of the season and we have been unbelievably poor. Every time we have had a fixture which offers the opportunity to regain last seasons swagger, weve blown it.

The table doesnt lie. We have conceded 27 goals the same as QPR. Only Leicester has conceded more 28. We are 1 point ahead of Sunderland and Villa, 4 points ahead of WBA and QPR, 6 points ahead of Palace and Burnley all clubs said to be under threat of relegation.

Now I HAVE to believe there are 3 worst teams in the PL than Everton this season. At Everton its a given we are a team of battlers. Sadly, at this time, we seemingly have a team of bottlers and that is very much Martinezs responsibility. The Everton crowd as I know it will not tolerate this for long as recent grumblings home and away suggest.

A frequent defence I read of Martinez is that this is a poor squad, or he doesnt have the personnel to effectively implement his system. IMO that is flawed on two counts:

1) It is essentially the same squad as last year which thoroughly excited and entertained us playing Martinezs preferred system and achieved our record PL points haul. It is fair to conclude from that that the current crop of players are more than capable of adapting to Martinezs system and that he was effective in transmitting his methods and implementing them.

2) If some still wish to argue that current squad players are not capable of playing the Martinez Way then why is the manager persisting in imposing on his players a style and method of play they are not capable of producing? From all we know of Martinez he is clearly a serious student of the game. He must have studied different systems, strategies and training methods. If, as seems the case, last years impressive and successful system has been found out then it is his duty, his responsibility, to find alternative ways for the players under his charge to win games. And he is patently failing to do so.

Last season in front of a solid defence we were pinging the ball about in all areas of the park in neat one-touch triangles and wall passes. Having sucked teams in we countered at pace with devastating effect. Baines and Coleman were pivotal in that. Quite often Martinez made inspired substitutions and tweaked the tactics which resulted in goals and victories. Time after time we scored goals in the last 10 minutes.

Compare that to this season. We have seen glimpses of some of the above, but in the main the defence is fragile and porous, the ball is ponderously and ineffectively recycled, Baines and Coleman have been neutered, there is no pace in the team or the methods applied and we dont last the pace of games well. The stat that if games finished at half time we would be third in the league supports this.

Along with many others, I felt a sense of disquiet when I saw yet another unbalanced XI named for the Southampton game. And so it proved. My disquiet transformed into complete bewilderment when Martinez did nothing absolute NOTHING! to address what was happening (or rather, what was NOT happening) on the pitch. How can he seriously believe his after match statement that he believed the XI on the park was the right one to turn things around in the game?

Finally, as someone who lives abroad and cannot see games in the flesh Im limited to what I can see on my TV screen. So I would like to ask match going Blues who have a wider periphery of proceedings that TV viewing denies me: what is happening off the ball? Is there movement? Players making runs? Offering themselves? Any leaders taking responsibility? My guess is that too often the player in possession has few if any options to pass to, so again Martinez has to resolve this conundrum.

Last season Martinez had me believing we COULD hit the heights again, win a trophy, even with our restricted finances compared to the mega rich clubs. Right now, that belief is rapidly evaporating. It is unfathomable to me how the same players under the same coach have failed to build on last years impressive debut season by Bobby Brown Shoes. He needs to find a solution and fast.


Jay Wood     Posted 22/12/2014 at 11:13:33

Substitutes

I missed the Southampton game, and so too it seems (for the last 20 minutes at least), did a fair number of blues whod made the not inconsiderable journey to the match. I was at a mates wedding and kept an eye on the score, and was (as I always am) gutted to see that we were losing/had lost. I did flick onto the match forum and couldnt believe the abuse being posted in the last 10 minutes. I put it down to the disappointment of a drab season and another poor performance.

At the time I thought/rationalised well, thats typical, another underwhelming away display away to Southampton. Hardly a rarity. In the throes of a rather hellish hangover this morning, I caught the highlights on Match of the Day. It was all there, abject defending, ropey tactics etc and then one of the strangest things (for me at least): the failure of Roberto Martinez to make any substitutions. I mean is he not even going through the motions of managing the team? What is going on?

I remember Moyes bringing on Heitinga (who won the match) and the reaction it got despite him scoring the winning goal. In addition to this: the numerous bolstering of midfield/central defence, a la Shane Duffy cameos and all too late additions of forward as we looked ever more unlikely to score. I remember the depression as Walter Smith failed to bring on Joe Max Moore as Steve Watson ploughed a lone furrow up front. I cant remember an Everton manager failing to do anything at all as we cruised to a heavy defeat.

Now Im not saying the solution to our problems yesterday was on the bench. But I know that, in my job there are certain things you are expected to do, and I would argue that its the same for football managers. To do nothing, and to do it so ostentatiously, is stunning.

The only conclusion I can come to is that Martinez is on his way out. If this is how it looks from the outside, how must it seem on the inside? What must the players think? Youre being hammered by the fans and theres the boss on the side lines changing nothing, it hardly inspires confidence. What can he be thinking?
Gavin McGarvey     Posted 21/12/2014 at 20:53:14

Vocal Support? or Demand Entertainment?

Its clear via a few articles both on this site and in the local and some national papers that the team are getting a wee bit upset with the booing theyre getting. Whilst Baines spoke out after the Hull game that the players realised and sympathised in their words with the frustration expressed by the fans in the form of booing and could understand it. But its become clear that the players werent happy with the booing last Monday night, particularly the passing back to Howard when there were minutes to go and we were protecting a 3-1 lead.

It begs the question: Should we support through thick and thin or should we be entertained? Is it up to the team to get the tempo up, the fans aroused, or is it that the fans need to vocally get going in order to support the team?

My own personal view is that it is up to the team to get on the front foot quickly, get some pace into the game, stir the crowd up. The problem is that Martinezs policy is that, first and foremost, we should retain the ball at all costs even if it means 29 passes going nowhere, maybe not even over the halfway line... and, once we get control, we try to explosively exploit it. The problem is, the longer we take, the more mistakes we make, the more the opposition get into a defensive shape, and the more the crowd get irate I dont agree with the word frustration used by the players. The fans demand that we attempt to attack.

And as a side note, I also think that Lukaku would be twice the player hes currently demonstrating with a quicker ball fed up to him, through the channels. There is nothing more passionate for the fans than seeing a 6-ft-odd brute powering his way into the box with the ball at his feet.


Mike Oates     Posted 19/12/2014 at 20:51:55

Truer Race for 4th Place

The boss is making some pretty interesting predictions about this seasons race for Champions League qualification.

Last season was a bit of an odd one. Man Utd and Spurs effectively removed themselves from contention when they got it so spectacularly wrong with the appointments of Moyes and AVB. Crackpot chairman seemed to dominate the news. It seemed decent managers like Clarke (WBA) were fired on a weekly basis. At one end of the table, 72 points proved nowhere near good enough, yet at the other end, no fewer than four teams were comfortably safe without getting near the fabled 40 points mark.
It was, to say the least, unusual and it gave us a great insight into the sort of chaos These chairman can creat at any given club.

It's different this time around. The chairmen have calmed down and we're back to any team being capable of beating any other
on any given day.

I believe Martinez is right: the team who finishes 4th this season will not get to 70 points, it's a more competitive league (if you take the top two out of the equation). Putting a run of 10 or so wins together will be far more difficult than it was last season.

So who is capable of doing it? Wel,l we are.

Despite our victory, on Monday night, this week has been a bit of a cold shower for all of us, You only need to look at the length of the posts on this website to gage the concern... but I don't know anybody who is ready to write the season off just yet. God Knows mistakes have been made, but we still have a really good group of players and a manager who clearly has something about him.

I can't / won't believe that the manager and the players will not have sat down and discussed the crowd's reaction to recent performances and, although none of us could have enjoyed the publicity it's recieved. I think the reaction may well be a positive one.

I backed us to finish top four at the start of the season and, despite the fact that we are battling on more than one front, I 'm still not ready to wave goodbye to my money!

Darren Hind     Posted 19/12/2014 at 02:43:20

How can Thomas Cook guarantee match tickets for Young Boys?

A lot was made of how well the club did re tickets for Lille, for those who traveled to Russia - and I agreed, they did great.

So I'm not sure how to react to Thomas Cook (seemingly) guaranteeing match tickets for the trip to Switzerland.

Are they being offered tickets before Evertonians?

I might be reading this all wrong so would be grateful if anyone knows for sure how it's going to work.

After the sensible ticket allocation system for Lille, this would seem odd and it looks like 500 nicker is the cheapest you could do this trip for with TC.

They say they don't yet know the price of the tickets but DO seem to be guaranteeing them.

Just curious.
Eugene Ruane     Posted 16/12/2014 at 19:54:50

Timing of Everton vs West Ham FA Cup tie

For those that are interested, the FA Cup tie with West Ham is on Tuesday 6th January, four days before we play Man City at Goodison.

I find this decision unacceptable and just shows how TV just rips the fans off completely. In my opinion, for the FA Cup to be played on a Tuesday just ruins the whole competition.

Also just after the busy Christmas period, four days before we play Man City in the league, the players will be completely knackered.
Jermaine Jennings     Posted 16/12/2014 at 07:50:52

Friday night Footy

From season 2016-17, 14 more games will be televised on top of what we already have and they will be on Friday nights. How will match-going fans react? Will it lead to half-empty stadiums? How does a Friday night away match at Newcastle or Southampton grab you?

Clubs and players will be awash with money but fans who travel home and away will certainly not be.

Is this the start of football being played to massive TV audiences and clubs needing a ground with no more than 12,000-seat capacity?

How do Everton fans see this development, whether you are a TV viewer or a match going fan? It sure as hell will be cheaper to stay at home...


Ken Buckley     Posted 13/12/2014 at 20:12:46

Corners

There's one thing that's driving me crazy, and that's our piss-poor corners.

How is it possible for so many of our corners not to even beat the first man? I play park football and it's a pretty basic skill even for me to put a ball in with pace into the box.

It happens every game no matter whether it's Baines, Barkley, Mirallas or whoever taking it.

Maybe we need a player at the near post every corner to flick it on every time it does get cocked up; maybe we are attempting that although it never seems like it... maybe we just need to spend a bit more time on the training ground getting back to basics with the delivery.

Either way, sort it out, Bobby, as it's driving me mental.


Dan Burnett     Posted 06/12/2014 at 23:14:22

Are Evertonians entitled to be dissatisfied with Roberto Martinez?

It was about five years into the Moyes reign when I first felt it wasn't working. Over the next few years I got a lot of stick from Evertonians for negativity. They might have been right, Moyes bought reasonably well and kept us safe on a tight budget; I felt we were better than that.

After one season I am alarmed that Evertonians I respect feel that Roberto is the wrong man. At the back of my mind I can see their point and it seems to me to come back to the Wigan relegation. I had doubts about his appointment, in fact I nearly wrote a post titled "this man will get us relegated". By the end of last season my doubts had gone. It was a truly remarkable achievement, changing our style and collecting points with good football.

He has been a little unlucky with his signings because of injury but I am convinced that the signing of Lukaku was a bold and brilliant move. His loan deals have been mixed. Traore was inexplicabe and indefensible. Atsu, well who knows. Deulofeu was inspired.

The Hull performance brought a hugely negative response on the site as did his unfortunate comments after. Have our tactics been found out? It seems a fair enough criticism. Does he have his favourites like Moyes? Yeah, perhaps. Is he stubborn to a fault? Perhaps.

None of this is heartening but I will take a more positive view. I expected last season to be one of huge transition which would leave us bottom half. It wasn't, we exceeded expectation and I believe that Martinez is paying for that now. In my view I believe that calls for him to go are foolish.

Moyes got eleven years and during that time we flirted with relegation. Also, during that time I never believed that there was any long term plan either on or off the pitch to move us forward. Of course there are faults at present and I often take as short a term view as anyone. I believe we have a core of young players who are part of a better future. I believe that Roberto must be given time.

I believe that there is no relegation battle ahead and at present I have faith. When will I lose faith? Well, as a football supporter, maybe on Saturday night. But, come Sunday I will calm down and accept that we are in the long game and have the right man in charge.
Andy Crooks     Posted 05/12/2014 at 20:13:06

EitC: Defenders Branch

While Everton are leaders with their charity work off the pitch, I think we are developing a reputation for it on the pitch as well.

During the Man Utd game on Tuesday, the commentator mentioned while Falcao was warming up that his only goal was against Everton this season and I thought that sounds about right. Remembering that we also extended Soldado a similar service on Sunday I wondered how charitable are we to Premier League players. My quick research for this season produced the following:

22 goals conceded. 1 Own goal (Coleman) and 20 different goalscorers make up the other 21 with Costa the only player with 2.

Of the 20 goalscorers, 12 of them scored their first goal of the season against us...

Of the 12 players who opened their accounts against us, 4 haven't scored against anyone else.

I'm not sure if the stats above are just pure luck (or lack thereof). Maybe it's too early in the season but I'm going to update the numbers later this season and hopefully a few clean sheets make my research a little easier.

Like most on ToffeeWeb, I would accept a few ugly 1-0 wins with 40% possession. No better place to start than at the Etihad, maybe Hibbert can start and Man City can return the favour and start a riot!


Mohammed Horoub     Posted 04/12/2014 at 17:55:15

Second behind Chelsea

I saw this piece of information on the BBC site:-

"If Premier league games ended at half time this season, Everton would be second behind Chelsea"

Does this have any meaning or is it just a useless statistic?
Paul Taylor     Posted 03/12/2014 at 12:43:37

As if we weren't depressed enough...

We are now one third of the way through the season and Everton have the unenviable distinction of being the team which has dropped the most points compared to the corresponding fixtures last season.

Our 13 fixtures so far this season have seen us drop 9 points compared to last year, 7 at home and 2 away. A loss to Chelsea and draws with Arsenal and Swansea City have given us only 2 points from fixtures last year which brought us 9 points. Away from home, wins at Manchester United and Sunderland last year have only brought us 1 point this year whilst the draw at Anfield and the win at West Brom saw us pick up 4 points from fixtures where we only gained 1 point last year. The other 6 fixtures were the same results as last year.

The table here has added the results from the 25 fixtures still to be played with the 13 played to date. With Spurs having not changed and Southampton 4 points better than last season, not only are we not making any progress towards the top 4, but our place in the top 7 is possibly in danger. If Van Gaal had managed to get the same performance out of Man Utd that OFM was able to achieve, we would even be behind them! Thankfully three of the Sky Darlings (Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool) are almost as bad as us in terms of performance compared to last year so we are not alone.

One club stands out for a significant improvement and that is West Ham. Chelsea have made up the 4 points gap they had to Man City at the end of last season. At the bottom, West Brom is one of three clubs to have taken 29 points from their last 38 fixtures (along with QPR and Burnley who have replaced Cardiff and Fulham). As it stands, it looks like the relegation battle will be less nail-biting than recent years.

But what about our team and the race to the top 4? Our next 12 fixtures, until the next midweek fixture on the 11 February, brought us 18 points last year 5 wins in the next 7 games and 3 draws in the following 5. So if we have more than 35 points after the game at Chelsea (or even before), then cheer up but if it is less, then hope we win the Europa League it may be the only way into Europe in 2015-16.


Phil Roberts     Posted 01/12/2014 at

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