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February 2015 Archive   |   Submit a topic

A stronger midfield for the City game, please

The two important things I want to see for the Man City game are:

1. Not too many changes for the game. Just make the midfield stronger so we can try and stop City from getting a total grip on the game. A 4-5-1 formation with the 2 wide men doubling up with the full-backs, when required, and helping them defensively.

2. Definitely not playing 3 centre-backs which will only invite more pressure. The defence needs protecting by a strong midfield and changing the defence around yet again will only hinder and not help.

The team played well vs Leeds and then struggled against Southampton, mainly once Allan was booked and his influence diminished because he couldn't play his natural game.

So for me, the key to getting the team out of trouble is ensuring we have a strong midfield for the 90 minutes.

I think we all knew that replacing Allan with Gomes (in a 2-man midfield), especially away from home, was never going to work; hopefully Frank now knows that too.

Playing Doucouré with Allan and Van de Beek is the no- brainer for me, even if we have to play one less forward; from what Lampard has said since the Southampton game, I am hoping he realises this.

Against City, we must keep it tight and at least give them a tough game. Take the game to them when we can but stay disciplined.

Going forward over the next few weeks we hopefully can keep up some decent form at home but we must start to grind out the odd draw away from home, with maybe the odd 1-0 win!

Jim Wilson     Posted 23/02/2022 at

Schneiderlin's regret at joining Everton

Morgan Schneiderlin has been talking about the move he quickly came to regret, when he joined Everton from Manchester Utd 5 years ago:

“I learned a lot from my departure from Manchester United. I had played 40 matches the previous season with Manchester,” he told L’Equipe.

“When I come back from the Euros, I take 10 days off and I play very little for three, four months. Then, I have Ronald Koeman and Everton who are pushing hard to get me, every day, from October.

“I will remember it all my life: I should have played against Liverpool (in October 2016) as starter, and the coach comes to see me. He tells me he doesn’t feel me inside the group.

"I tell him that indeed, with what has happened in the last 3 months, I am not in it and I want to go to Everton... I regretted it very quickly.

“Even if it went very well at Everton, when you play for Manchester United, when you’re at a club like that, it’s not for a moment of doubt that you have to question everything.”
      Posted 21/02/2022 at

Benitez and Rodriguez

I think any good manager operates and augments what players he has available to him.

Benitez is the antithesis of this. He had his system and he wanted to select players who could do the specifics of what he required. It's why James Rodriguez was immediately admonished and rejected by him.

By my logic, the best players have to start and then you go from there. This will comprise in terms of priority:

A) Ability and form
B) Ability
C) Form and lesser ability
D) Potential and Form
E) Potential

It's a simple hierarchy.

A good manager would've embraced the rare match winning quality that Rodriguez offered and supplemented that with players to compensate for his shortcomings. That's why a side featuring him was able to go to the home of the reigning champions and win there for the first time in over 20 years.
Tommy Carter     Posted 17/02/2022 at

Rooney – The Documentary

A lot of news sources carried puff pieces at the weekend summarizing a new documentary in which Wayne Rooney talks candidly about his life, although it is not being released on Amazon Prime until Friday.

Most of it will be about his difficult challenges coping with fame wile being at Manchester United, but his development with Everton on Merseyside should also figure, although less so his return to Goodison Park as Bill Kenwright's prodigal son project, which was less memorable despite him being leading scorer that season, and finally getting a hat-trick for his boyhood club.

>Rooney: premiere, release date, trailer and cameos

Rooney is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video from Friday 11 February 2022.

      Posted 08/02/2022 at


Like Many Blues, I love the sound of Goodison in full voice.
Giving energy & commitment to Our Royal Blue Jerseys.

So naturally, I have a passion to create a truly powerful Everton Anthem.
Something that puts dread and fear into opposition.
I love a wide spread of music, from Classical to Indie to Punk and Celtic
For years I've trawled for something befitting Our Unique Club.

A song that will literally have opposing players drop to their knees.

So, I heard this haunting version of a Bob Dylan song (I think).
Instantly, I heard The Street End delivering this with devastating effect.

The lyrics are dedicated to a parent singing to their newborn......

May God bless and keep You Always,
May Your wishes all come true,
May You always do the right thing,
And always Be a Blue,
May You build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung,

May You play for Everton,
May You play for Everton,

May You grow up to righteous,
May You grow up to be Blue,
May You always know the truth,
And feel the strength surrounding You,
May You always be courageous,
Stand Upright and be strong,
And may You play for Everton,
May You play for Everton,

May you always be truthful,
May Your feet always be swift,
May the Street End always support You when the winds of changes shift,
May Your heart always be joyful,
May Your name be always sung,
And may You play for Everton...
May You play for Everton.....

Alexander Murphy     Posted 08/02/2022 at

Three-Quarters Time

Over the years, I have read many interesting stories on ToffeeWeb. Particularly of interest are those concerning events of the past which conjure up the different memories of others for the same event. I thought that the following would appeal to older Evertonians.

In days gone by, and before the introduction of floodlighting, it was a regular event for games to be played on Wednesday afternoons. About 20 minutes into the second half of the match, the gates would be opened and entry was free; this was known as 'three-quarters time'.

My primary school was St George’s Church of England School at the junction of St Domingo Road and Heyworth Street. Immediately after school on Wednesdays in the mid 1940s, the local population would witness a gang of boys racing down St. Domingo Road bound for Goodison. We used to cover the distance in record time.

When he was signed in 1945, Wally Fielding, the well-liked Everton inside-left, would often acknowledge our arrival with a friendly wave. We were too exhausted after the sprint to have responded!

Would the kids of today do as we did?

David Peate     Posted 04/02/2022 at

The Toffees' Progress

“The King then demanded to open the gate that the righteous nation, said he, which keepeth the truth, may enter in”
(The Pilgrim's Progress – John Bunyan)

In the classic novel The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, Christian – with his burden on his back – sets out for the Celestial City. Five years ago, this is how Everton seemed to me. Burdened by past glories, no money to speak of, and far, far away from the Celestial City of competing for a Champions League place or even winning a domestic cup.

So, when Farhad Moshiri bought into the Club, was this the moment when the Blues would set off on a journey to the Celestial City, losing their burden like Christian did on the way? I remember that night at Aston Villa when we won and we sang that we were “Fucking Rich!” Five years on from Moshiri arriving at Goodison Park, how close are we to reaching the Celestial City?

Moshiri started off with a bang: Roberto was gone after the disgraceful defeat at Sunderland and Ronald (Macdonald) Koeman was brought in during the Summer, along with Chief Scout... sorry, Director of Football, Steve Walsh. Meanwhile, Moshiri was popping up with his big buddy, Jim White, making one ridiculous statement after another.

The die was cast; the Blues had gone for the so-called “Hollywood Manager” and one bad transfer signing after another followed. After the failed Koeman experiment, we had David Unsworth as a cartaker manager, then Sam Allardyce (to our great disgrace), and then Marco Silva. Each failed manager after another continued to squander more and more of Moshiri's money while the Blues made not one jot of progress either in the league or domestic cups, while our one foray into the Europa League was an unmitigated disaster.

Meanwhile, commercially during 5 years of Moshiri, compared to the so-called Big Six in the Premier League, the Blues remain as far away from these as they ever were.

Not a glowing success... so enter Carlo Ancelotti and Marcel Brands, who replaced Steve Walsh as Director of Football when Silva was appointed. Ancelotti was not the appointment I would have gone for... and, for all the world-class manager talk, he is not. Ancelotti was once a world-class manager but not any longer, and he was a failure in his last two jobs, at Bayern (even though he did win the Bundesliga) and at Napoli. But, compared to the muppets Moshiri has hired before Ancelotti, he is a vast improvement. Too early to judge him either way yet (I hope I'm wrong) but we are at least competing at the right end of the table and have an FA Cup Quarterfinal on the horizon.

One success which the Moshiri years have undoubtedly had is progress on the planned new ground down on the waterfront. With planning permission being unanimously approved by Liverpool City Council, we now wait to see if the Secretary of State calls the plans in. Either way, I think we can all say that the plans for the new ground at Bramley-Moore Dock have taken a big step forward. At £500 million, how much this will be a strain on the club financially is another matter... but, sad as it will be to leave Goodison Park, the move has to happen; however, the price of construction still fills me with trepidation.

So, as Moshiri reaches 5 years at the club, are we any nearer reaching the Celestial City?

A qualified tick on the Bramley-Moore Dock project must be given. But, next to that, we have had season after season of new manager following new manager – all producing absolute mediocrity. Meanwhile, we have an academy run by a cabal of mates who produce absolutely nothing, and this has been allowed to continue throughout Moshiri's reign to date. We are as far away off losing our burden and getting closer to the Celestial City as we have ever been.

Maybe Ancelotti is the answer and I, hopefully, will be proved wrong. We have, I admit, taken a few stuttering steps on the route since he came in, but there is a hell of a long way to go. Glittery new grounds are all well and good but, at the end of the day, the only way to reach the goal is on the pitch. Five years on from Moshiri coming to the club, we have taken hardly any steps on this journey.

Hopefully the few steps we have taken under Carlo are the first steps for us finally setting out on our Celestial City journey. But, to date, no matter how much money Moshiri has pumped into the club, progress has so far not been forthcoming.
Martin O'Connor     Posted 26/02/2021 at

Tom Davies – The missing piece of the top 4 jigsaw

Championship player at best, can’t pass, can’t tackle, gives the ball away too much, not big enough, too slow etc. Tom Davies has had a lot of criticism levelled at him in the last few years. Could he now be the missing piece we have been searching for in our quest for the top 4?

Think about it: at the start of the season with a fully fit squad, the team picked itself – that is, apart from that niggling debate as to who should be the third midfielder alongside Doucouré and Allan. Gomes started the season, but always looked like the weak link, Sigurdsson had a go but was largely anonymous. We had Allan in that defensive midfielder, Doucouré next to him and the third spot up for grabs; that third spot was commonly believed to need a bit of creativity.

"How can Davies fill this role then?" I hear you ask. After all, he isn’t exactly the creative output we need there and all his impressive displays have come in the defensive midfield role previously filled by Allan. The answer, I believe, is found in Marco Silva’s tenure and the departed Idrissa Gueye.

When we had Gueye, the theory was that Gueye could hunt for the ball in midfield and we could take advantage of turnovers higher up the pitch, thus using a higher defensive line. Whilst I don’t know how good Davies could be in this role, I believe Allan could be excellent in it, leaving Davies in the role he is currently excelling in. We wouldn’t necessarily need a creative third midfielder if we had Doucouré and Allan pressing the opposition midfield high upfield as we would already be in a position where James, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and Digne could take advantage, rather like the first goal against Liverpool. The added benefit of this against teams like Newcastle and Fulham, is that we would suffocate them in their own half and destroy their confidence, rather than allowing their defenders and midfielders to pass at will like we have done.

The danger with this, is that we would need a relatively quick centre back so we don’t get hit on the counter. Therefore, I believe we would have to play one of Holgate or Godfrey at centre-back regularly.

There we have it… Any defensive combination, a midfield 3 of Allan, Doucoure and Davies, a front 3 of Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and James. Top 4 here we come!!!!!

Kevin Prytherch     Posted 21/02/2021 at

Will The Real Everton Please Stand Up?

Even renowned world-class football managers can sometimes get it wrong. That's how I felt after watching the dismal Everton performance against 'one win in 11 games' Newcastle Utd.

The players were rightly condemned, but I felt the manager's format and team selection was wrong as well. Starting with Gomes and Godfrey on the bench was a mistake and the team huffed and puffed all afternoon.

Fast-forward to Wednesday night and I reconciled myself to the team being over-run in midfield and all over the pitch, as the energetic style of 'fast passing' and movement of Leeds Utd being too much for Gylfi and Co to cope with. Instead, we were unusually quick out of the blocks, with strong performances all over the pitch.

I honestly don't think anybody had a poor game. One thing has become apparent over the last month: Godfrey is making it impossible for the manager to leave him out the side, such is his growing influence on the team.

His strong powerful presence is something we have sorely lacked over the years, and credit is due (to Brands maybe) or whoever spotted his potential at Norwich. I have seen a recent clip of him in the gym, shadow boxing with a trainer, and he really is the ultimate athlete.

But another player who has grown on me since the season started is Yerry Mina. I honestly thought this would be his final full season here as a centre-back due to his regular defensive mishaps and being prone to long spells on the sidelines through injury.

But no, he has become a dominant figure in the air at the back, and his tackling and positional sense has improved immensely, something I didn't think would happen.

Added to that, the all-round display of a rejuvenated Gomes, who bossed the middle of the park, made it a night when I had to re-assess my opinions on a number of our squad.

Has it really taken so long for Gomes to recover from that horror injury, physically and mentally, or is it something else? Who knows, but when he puts in a performance like that, he really brings something to the party.I

s it just me, or do Everton look more physically imposing in the all-blue kit? We looked strong all over the pitch last night and dominant in the air at set-pieces and corners.

So, onto Old Trafford and another stern test. Will Carlo stick or twist in the crucial goalkeeping position? Will he bring Rodriguez back after being rested? You certainly couldn't drop the impressive Doucouré, who continues to cover virtually all of the pitch.

Although Sigurdsson scored an impressive goal last night, he can still disappear for long periods of a game, and I'm not sure he will survive when Allan returns.

Anyway, great team performance on Wednesday night, and all questions for the manager to answer.
Steve Hogan     Posted 05/02/2021 at

Marcel Brands – The Architect

There was an excellent programme on last night on Sky Premier League, 402, at 6-30pm.

It was in a series called Premier League World, and this one was called ‘The Architect’. It was about the career of Marcel Brands, and it is thoroughly enjoyable. It lasts about 30 minutes.

It didn’t have the usual Sky gobshites on it, but featured Van Gaal, Jol, Cocu, Van Nistelrooy, plus the senior guys at AZ Alkmaar, PSV, and others. It also had Ancelotti, and players, like Bernard, Richarlison, Mina.

It gives a decent insight into how this guy works and how highly he is rated.

It’s on again tonight at 7-30. If you get the chance, watch it.

It’s also on at 9-30 tonight and 10-00 tomorrow night
Chris  Williams     Posted 20/02/2020 at

Howards Way – Special London Screening with Graeme Sharp

The Howard Kendall film, Howard's Way, is finally coming to London — for one night only. Graeme Sharp will be our special guest as we watch this one-off showing in the Capital. If you are about, tickets are available through EventBrite via the following link for this wonderful Toffee event in the West End.

Everton Howard's Way - Special London Screening with Graeme Sharp

Rob Madigan     Posted 19/02/2020 at 13:26:52

Bramley-Moore Dock

Readers of ToffeeWeb will no doubt be aware that the club submitted its full and detailed Planning Application for the new stadium to Liverpool City Council on 24 December 2019. The People's Project website also posts the amended images and fly-through of the new stadium, reflecting the design changes since Summer 2019.

The Planning Application has the distinction of being the first to be recorded for 2020, having the reference number 20F/0001. Anyone who may wish to track its progress should use this reference when searching Liverpool City Council's website and the area dealing with current applications.

I viewed the relevant application pages last week and noted that, aside from a full description of the proposals and notification that the application has been validated, it has yet to be registered. Until that takes place, the application will not be the subject of formal consideration. Nor will arrangements be put in place for Public Consultation.

Similarly, notification of the application and an invitation for their comments will not be sent to all the relevant public authorities – frequently referred to as the statutory consultees. In layman's terms, all this means is that the clock will not start ticking on the process to determine the merits of the application until formal registration takes place.

I have had contact with the Case Officer for the application and much of what I note above reflects his advice. He has also indicated that they are hoping to make some arrangements with the club to enable members of the public to look at a paper copy of the application. Particularly useful if you want to pour over the architect's plans. Details of where and when will probably pop up on the Council's website, if not also at the People's Project site (my assumption).

I am aiming to keep track of the progress of the application and will post further notes on ToffeeWeb as and when there is more to report. Readers should in particular note that the formal process of public consultation on the application will afford the opportunity to submit comments to the Council expressing your whole-hearted support for the scheme. Every little helps!

Alasdair Jones     Posted 10/02/2020 at 15:35:48

Is Carlo Ancelotti the man to break the spell?

Looking at how the fixtures are falling... after Saturday against Crystal Palace, we might be in 7th place for 6 days! That’s if my math is correct!

Three points against Palace will jump us above Wolves and Man Utd onto 36 points. Due to our wonderful Winter Break (think I will be going skiing in Aspen, Colorado... or not!) there is no-one who can stop us – except ourselves and Palace – until Wolves play Leicester later in the week!

Now I am sure many of us have been here before with Everton in the last 5 years. All we needed was a win to jump into 4th, 5th or 6th place in the Premier League but we always failed miserably! Was it down to the players or could the blame be laid squarely at the feet of our managers who could never get us to win that important game?

Now, here we are again! A win against Crystal Palace at home and we are in 7th place for at least 6 days! Unbelievable based on where we were at the end of November! But is Carlo Ancelotti the magician to wave his wand and get us to 7th place? I thought maybe I should keep my fingers away from my iPad just in case I jinx it! We shall see...
David Cooper     Posted 03/02/2020 at 22:02:23

Mason Holgate: What will his ultimate position be?

If there was an award for most improved player, Mason Holgate would certainly be a contender. Long derided as too error-prone, as having poor positioning, and simply being 'Championship Standard' (the much-used criticism labelled at our youngsters).

Personally, I always thought there was a good player there, but he has even surpassed my expectations in the last few months after dislodging Michael Keane from the starting 11. His loan at West Brom has certainly improved him, and now a big future awaits the young man. The question I have, though, is: What will his ultimate position be?

Having been too much of a risk for central defence when he broke into the team, his athleticism meant that the bulk of his games so far have been at right-back. Certainly not his best position, but this has given him experience of playing further up the field.

Against Watford, he stepped into midfield, as he had done with Duncan Ferguson in charge, and looked the part. He's got a good touch, reads the game well, and knows how to pass a ball.

So, in the long term, could Mason step up and make the defensive midfield position his own?
Fran Mitchell     Posted 03/02/2020 at 10:41:28

More questions than answers

So many questions, no definitive answers; only second-guessing and supposition, probably alternatively known as 'opinions'.

Question 1: Why is Bill Kenwright seemingly still pulling strings?

Question 2: Why do so many fans still labour under the misapprehension that Everton is a "big club"? How much longer are supporters of this club going to be living in the past?

The past is great, our history is great... the last 25 years have been pants.

I hate to draw parallels with Liverpool fans, but they let their owners know when they are angry or displeased. We just seem to harp on about EitC or the academy kids. Either we as a fan base let it be known in no uncertain terms that we are unhappy with the way the club has been run recently (insert your own amount of years) or we shut up.

My take is that, as a club, we have been floundering for a long time but unfortunately the truth is we are basically no more than a mid-table club.

Question 3: Why is the "Legend”, aka Duncan Ferguson, still darkening the portals of Finch Farm?

Question 4: Why does any supporter of sound mind and body believe that Everton have a divine right to be dining at the top table, whatever that may be?

Question 5: Why is it that Everton seem to have become the Premier League’s whipping boys, slagged off by all and sundry, especially by ex-player pundits of our beloved neighbours? It seemed to start with them and appears to have escalated to any pundit who is given access to the media. My theory is that they are running scared.

Question 6: Of what? I hear you ask. They're worried in case the big six, previously known as the big 5... previously known as the big 4, gets infiltrated by Everton. We have flirted with this in the past but not been able to cement that position.

Question 7: Why has the hierarchy at Everton not realised the potential? Well, actually, at one time they might have done... and, if so, why didn't they back that potential with investment?

Question 8, and this is really a curve-ball: Would it be better long-term if Everton suffered the ignominy of relegation in order for the people in charge to endure a reality check?

Question 9: When something goes catastrophically wrong in society, the government or powers that be always instigate a "root-and-branch" investigation and heads generally roll. Well, something has gone catastrophically wrong with Everton in the last few years. Will there be a root-and-branch investigation?

Question 10: If so, who will conduct it?

By the way, I love this club, have done for 50 plus years... but, like many others, I am seriously concerned as to how it’s being run, and by whom.

At the end of the day, football and all it entails and stands for comes a fair way down my list of important things. However, this is my club, always will be.

Someone, anyone please sort it.

Jim Bailey     Posted 25/02/2019 at 16:21:30

Memorable Penalties

Dixie Dean

In 1927, he scored a penalty, his second goal versus Arsenal, to equal George Camsell’s record of 59 goals (for Middlesbrough) from the previous season. The roar from the crowd was heard for miles. My dad was working a couple of miles away and he heard the noise and an even greater noise when Dixie scored again to break the record with 60 goals for the season.

Ephraim ‘Jock’ Dodds

No direction — just boot the ball as hard as possible. In 1947 versus Manchester City, he whacked the ball so hard that it caught Frank Swift in the midriff. The goalie collapsed winded but held on to the ball with his huge hands.

Tommy Clinton

1953 FA Cup semi-final v Bolton Wanderers at Maine Road. Tommy blasted his penalty as hard as he could as he usually did but this time he missed the goal completely. Everton lost 4 – 3.

Bob Latchford

April 1978 second goal v Chelsea was a penalty in a 6–0 rout. This was another blast and Peter Bonnetti had no chance. It came right at the death for Bob to achieve 30 goals in a season and claim the reward offered by a national newspaper. I seem to recall that John Willie Parker had scored 30 goals for the Blues in the 1950s but he did not get a reward.

Over the years, who can we say were Everton’s best penalty takers? In my view, they must be Trevor Steven and Leighton Baines as joint favourites. Baines needs one more to equal Trevor’s record of 30 successful spot kicks.

David Peate     Posted 25/02/2019 at 09:18:51

Here because we’re here?

If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, then statistics are the last refuge of the mediocre.

For some time now, the TV screens have been informing us of how many top-flight games Everton have played. The game against Wolves apparently was our 4,505th. Is this a record to be proud of or a sign of the club’s stagnation? Are we actually progressing or is it a case us being, in the words of a song popular in the trenches in the First Wold War: “Here because we’re here, because we’re here, because we’re here.”

On the evidence of the Wolves match, the latter would appear to be true. Once again our midfield is shown to be purposeless, pedestrian and predictable; once again we appear to have a manager who has only one way of playing and has no Plan B for when things go wrong; and once again we are undone by a simple free-kick routine.

As a club, we do give our youngsters a chance – something the Premier League as a whole is accused of failing to do — but how many flourish, and how many appear to be suffocated by our style of play. Tom Davies, when he broke into the team, was highlighted by Match of the Day pundits as a player who was always striving to get forward and take the game to the opposition. The coaches at Finch Farm soon put a stop to that!

Dominic Calvert Lewin is a promising young striker in only his second season in the Premier League who is still learning his role. He is, however, left isolated and without any support up front, and, as a result, has become an easy target for a section of the Boo Boys.

Even our experienced players seem to struggle. Sigurdsson and Gomes started the season really well, but have faded in recent weeks. Richarlison, a talented player who undoubtedly gets kicked more than most, goes to ground too easily — so much so that even the fans have stopped appealing for anything when he tumbles to the floor clutching his head.

The Board make ambitious noises, they talk of challenging for trophies, and how the new stadium is critical for this. But is a new stadium going to solve Everton’s problems? With the exception of the Etihad – gifted to Manchester City by a grateful nation — new grounds have to be paid for.

Both Tottenham and Arsenal have cited the cost of their stadiums as reasons for their perceived shortcomings in the transfer market. Even West Ham, another beneficiary of the nation’s largesse, have hardly set the world on fire since moving to the London Stadium.

When the summer transfer window arrives, it will be almost two years since Everton sold Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United. In that that time, there appears to have been no serious attempt to replace him. Is this the action of an ambitious club, a club who see themselves as challenging for major honours?

And what of Marco Silva and the coaching staff? Are they the right people to turn things around? Even before Silva arrived, Everton’s sideways and backwards passing game had been exposed as plodding and ineffectual; and Everton’s zonal marking system leaked goals with monotonous regularity.

History would suggest otherwise. Silva’s record at his previous clubs shows an inability to defend set-pieces, and the team seems as bereft of ideas as it was towards the end of Martinez’s reign and in the second half of Koeman’s brief tenure.But it is not too late. Most fans seem to think that Everton have a good squad.

What is needed is for the manager and coaching staff to take a long hard look at themselves. They need to rethink the way we play and how we defend. They have from now until the end of the season to find a system that brings the best out of our established players and allows the younger players to flourish.

In the meantime, it will be 4,506 games in the top flight and counting...

Michael Cartwright     Posted 21/02/2019 at 12:32:54

The Sigurdsson Conundrum

In the crazy summer of 2017, when we burnt money like there was no tomorrow, and continued that in the following January with the signings of Walcott and Tosun, one of the signings which only now seems to be splitting Evertonians opinion is Gylfi Sigurdsson.

To put my cards on the table, I have always considered Sigurdsson as an average premier league player who has a good shot and can take a good set piece (not that we have seen much evidence of that from him this season). At £45 million we paid a grossly inflated price for him in 2017.

Sigurdsson has had two purple patches, both at Swansea City, leading to our long chase for his signature during the 2017 pre-season. So, in the just over one and half seasons that Sigurdsson has played for us, what have we got?

Some great goals it is true, which everybody knew he had in his locker, but what else? Work rate yes he will put a shift in but is he the creative player who can feed a ball through to our forwards? If so I have not seen it.

He also, in my opinion, lacks pace to get the team moving. Admittedly last season he came to us without a pre-season and was played out of position on the left to accommodate the disaster, which was Wayne Rooney. An injury in the later part of the season did not help.

But did he produce the great set-pieces, which was his trademark at Swansea? A few... but not many, while at £45 million even if being played out of position I think we could of expected more.

Which brings us to this season. Although he is the teams 2nd highest scorer so far this season, in many games he has been non existent and creativity is lacking no matter how many stats the Liverpool Echo can put up to show the opposite: Posted 20/02/2019 at 16:36:10

What I Wore: Gary Lineker

It was my privilege to be witness to what I believe was the best Everton team ever in the mid-80s.

Howard Kendall had built a team with the perfect blend. The sublime skills of Kevin Sheedy and Trevor Steven, the bite of Peter Reid, the guile of “Brace”, the leadership of “Rats” and the best goalkeeper in the world with “Big Nev”.

Howard then worked on the “boot room” principal that served Liverpool so well. Close season, identify and bring in one or two quality players who he hoped would take the team to the next level. Remember, this was not the time of foreign imports, the “gems” were to be found in lower division or at that time mainly in Scotland (Sharp).

But a certain striker had consistently been knocking in the goals for his boyhood team, a young Leicester lad named Gary Lineker. Lineker was fresh-faced, boyish looks, devastating pace and a clinical finisher. Howard splashed £800,000 and then let Goodison hero Andy Gray depart to Villa.

As we have found since over the coming years, strikers who are “big fish in the small pond” have a tendency to sink when they have to step up to the next level. Not Lineker.

That 85-86 season Lineker went on to score 30 league goals (I had been again lucky enough to watch our last great striker, Bob Latchford, score 30 league goals) and 40 in all competitions in only 57 appearances and bagging himself the PFA and Football Writers’ Player of the Year awards.

The problem was Everton won nothing.

Lineker went to the World Cup, won the Golden Boot, Everton were offered a £2 million profit by Barcelona and, after one season, arguably our best striker since Dixie Dean had left.

The fact that the following season we won the title in some way mitigates Lineker’s sale but I still remember the football we played that one season with Lineker and the huge disappointment I felt when we sold the world’s best striker.

The reason for this post is Lineker’s comments on that Everton team in the feature “What I Wore” and his belief it was “the best team he ever played in”.

Dave McDowell     Posted 17/02/2019 at 05:59:07

Why do remain a Blue?

My good friend in LA has asked why, despite people like us being long-suffering, we remain loyal to our football team?

He feels that if Everton (well Sunderland in fact) were a USA team their attendance would have dwindled to the absolute hard core fans!

Over the years, and even more so recently, Everton has ushered in some very miserable moments. Moments made worse by the achievements of Liverpool. They have given very little in return for my love and commitment.

Despite this, if a government census asked about my identity, and gave two options, British or Evertonian, I’d pick Evertonian every time. Yet I don’t think I could justify my decision apart from ‘I just am’!

So why do you remain a Blue?

Andrew Nekson     Posted 17/02/2019 at

Should you Ever Hope your Team Loses?

The fixture against Manchester City at Goodison Park tossed up an interesting dilemma for Everton fans, with supporters of the club unsure as to whether they wanted the Toffees to win. Quite a few Evertonians who were making their way around the city centre were interviewed in the build-up to the game and asked if they wanted Everton to lose to Manchester City. The answer was a resounding yes from the majority, which must prompt the question, should you ever hope your team loses?

Let’s have a look at why Blues fans may want the Toffees to come unstuck against the Citizens. The main reason has originated from the fact that an Everton defeat will send City to the summit of the league at the expense of Liverpool who - it must be said - will still have a game in hand to right the situation again.

The relationship between Liverpool and Everton fans is complex but ultimately quite unique. With the two clubs being separated by only 400m it’s easy to see why the derby is dubbed the 'friendly derby.' Many households across the city are divided by their support of either the Reds or the Blues but not in a way that breaks them up or causes irreparable damage. We have seen that when it truly matters this city comes together and closes ranks in a powerful display of unity.

Hearing Everton fans say they want to lose because it will dent Liverpool’s chances of winning the league is the type of spiteful attitude that you could only associate with sibling rivalry. It is enough to make you chuckle out loud and, if any fans have earned the right to say that, then it is the Everton ones.

The more sinister reason could be to do with manager Marco Silva and his plummeting popularity at Goodison Park. The 41-year-old is under increasing pressure at Everton to keep the fan base on his side and on current form it looks like he may have lost it. In the eyes of some fans losing could force the hand of owner Farhad Moshiri despite the billionaire giving the Portuguese manager his full backing. Football fans who have been around long enough will know that shortly after the dreaded vote of confidence is given the sack normally follows.

Losing to Pep Guardiola’s City side will never be the final straw for a manager managing a team out of the top four, regardless of how bad a run they are on. It’s the defeats to the teams towards the bottom that may finally prompt change, which would suggest Everton’s trip to Cardiff on the 26th of February should be closely monitored. Silva’s men will be tipped to win in the Betfair Premier League predictions but should they slip up, it could be all she wrote for Silva.

Based on the two explanations that Everton fans have given as to why they want their team to lose it is the reason that Liverpool will be aided in their quest to win the league title for the first time in 29 years that is the more palatable one. There are serious questions though that need to be asked when a section of the supporters don’t want to back the team for 90 minutes because of an agenda against the manager - regardless of whether he is deserving of it or not.

It’s just not what being a fan is about regardless of how tempting it may be to do so. Voicing displeasure at the end of a game like in the case of what happened after the defeat to Wolves is a different matter and much more acceptable, in some case it's also condoned during a game but at least go into the game with the right intentions of supporting the team.

It’s important to remember that what will be will be. Winning is the only cure that will help to fix any confidence issues and confidence is what a team needs in order to get itself out of a slump. You could say without fear of being at all wrong that Silva has made mistakes and could have made better acquisitions in the transfer market but that doesn't seem enough to wish defeat on a team that is representing a proud club that will be around long after the manager has gone.

Gary McCarty     Posted 12/02/2019 at

The Goose With the Golden Egg

For the past 20 years, we were sold the sop of "The People's Club". We were told we had no money, though the Premier League money was rolling in. It financed a comfortable status quo of a manager who had a glass ceiling on his achievement, over-paid long-term and extended contracts, and a comfortable backroom staff, with a youth development policy sold as 'with potiential', which only partly materialised. Everton in the Community was achieving more awards anyway. The false dawn of a stadium was sold to us on three occasions. Such a management was never going to be permanently in the top four or win anything. The Chairman told us at AGMs that he needed a billionaire to buy the club.

What he was really looking for was a Goose with a Golden Egg; to provide the money to clear the debt, buy out any remortgages or find finance (which the old management were never capable of doing) for a stadium, and maintain the comfortable status quo. He found the Goose with the Golden Egg in a restaurant frequented by luvvies in London. Other potential suitors always smelt a rat.

So the Goose with the Golden Egg paid the debt, cleared mortgages, secured a site for the stadium development, possibly raised the appropriate finance, and maintained the comfortable status quo. Superimposed on by a new Chief Executive Officer, with no football experience, who gave everyone fancy titles and more money for the same job they had been doing in the first place, with little progress. In addition, funds for player acquisitions were provided. Notable amongst them was to pay the highest wages to a former Evertonian well past his sell-by date (who got caught in a Beetle), and other overpriced rubbish that other clubs wanted rid of, who couldn’t believe their luck at what Everton were willing to pay for them.

The Goose then was encouraged to take responsibility for the appointment of the new manager, Roberto Martinez, paying out the previous manager's contract, extended at the end of the first season by the old regime, whose flaws Crystal Palace exposed three-quarters of the way through that same season. He was also was allowed to spend the summer commenting on the World Cup rather than in squad preparation. The predictable failed season resulted. Ronald Koeman was appointed and started after he decided he was going to end his holiday. This new manager, though gone in 2 years, is still being paid by Everton. The Spanish press had documented the unbelievable saga of his previous appointment – failings which you could have cut and pasted with translation to describe his Everton career.

The Goose panicked and sought the advice of Jim White with the yellow tie. "Big Sam is your Man" — after all, he was good enough for England, until... Walsh liked his old mate. A large part of the Everton fanbase had a collective fit as Big Sam turned out to be unfit to manage England and more. Big Sam bought Walcott and Tosun in the ‘Risky January Transfer Window’ (according to Brands). They both were deemed good enough to play against Watford on the first anniversary of their transfer and have good contracts they would never see anywhere else. No-one else wants them anyway.

Big Sam went off with a load of cash to Dubai to sun his ass and the Goose thought that Marco Silva had potential. Having made up his mind, he wasn’t put off by the threat of compensation or the results of any FA investigation (still pending), or the fact that Marco became unemployed because of poor team management. Silva would get the crap the Goose had bought in to develop into players that were worth their signing-on fee and reduce transfer costs by developing youth. The Goose still believes the latter. It quickly became apparent that Silva was capable of neither and had a tendency not to be aware of recurring weaknesses, never mind sorting them out. Brands ran the eye over Silva before he himself started as the Goose thought, belatedly, it would be better to have someone who knew about football involved.

Silva was given a 3-year contract, yet Emery only gets 1 year at Arsenal? Reluctantly, at the last minute, the Goose parted with more money during the summer transfer window, holding Brands to his main target of reducing the now enormous wage bill with contracts finishing as late as 2022. He found it impossible to find any club willing to pay for rubbish. It was difficult to get suitable players, and risks had to be taken on injured players. Walcott was assessed as being better than Aaron Lennon somehow. Silva's marquee signing at £40 million (part of this fee I still think was compensation to Watford) to try take the bad look off it, turned out to be the worst Brazilian passer of the ball in history, with a tendency to be shepherded down blind alleys and not able to stay upright for no reason. Some talented young players wanted away and didn’t want to come back. They are all attending part-time German classes.

Silva rotated the team selection as if he was playing in five competitions and still does, even though they are only in one. Silva told the fans he was interested in another two competitions, but a lot doubted that. Now only in one. Anyway, the less said, the better.

The January transfer window was too risky, but the fact that Everton had overspent in terms of regulations was closer to the truth. Everton had to sell to buy. The mooted transfer interest in Oumar Niasse and Cenk Tosun turned out to be fairytale and players out on loan to reduce wages started to boomerang back. Everton nearly sold Idrissa Gueye which would have definitely goosed them. The summer transfer window could be the same scenario, only with more boomerangs.

Brands got promoted to the Board after half a season and one transfer window, a feat he didn’t achieve in Holland in 9 years with one of the best reputations in Europe. (Suggestion: All future contracts should have cleaning duties written into them.)

Now Everton face the real threat of relegation, a feat achieved before by the same old yet still-present regime. Baines and an extended contract are being mooted. Sounds familiar.

So, friends and fellow long-suffering Evertonians, unfortunately, ‘The Goose with the Golden Egg‘ is a fairytale, as is the achievement of a top-four finish or winning any cup competition or the increasingly doubtful completion of a new stadium any time soon. The old yet still-present regime being capable of achieving anything is a fairytale and the Golden Egg is nearly eaten.

The Goose needs to call on the help of his friend who is not a Goose, who would need to have a few roughneck friends capable of a clean out of Everton Football Club from top to bottom.

We all know the predicament Everton are in. Changing our useless manager will not make much difference to the direction of Everton whilst the old yet still-present regime is in place. Brands’s honeymoon period hasn’t ended yet. Hopefully it won’t go Cocu or Cuco or Cuckoo.

To win anything in football at any level takes a good chairman, a capable committee or board, and the rest on the backroom and playing end will slot into place. No fry-ups help as well. (Suggestion: All warm-weather breaks should be cold-weather breaks, no skiing facilities, the colder the better.)

I can’t remember the happy ending to the Goose with the Golden Egg. Hopefully there was one.

Jerome Shields     Posted 13/02/2019 at


Of all the articles, posts, letters, rants and moans about the current crisis (and it is a crisis) engulfing our great club at the moment, there is feeling that a big problem with the players is confidence. This is very obvious by the lack of assertion displayed in matches especially on the current run we are on.

I think we are all agreed that Marco appears to be limited in tactics, football knowhow formations, coaching etc. All of which may be true. But even a coach with limited ability should be able to get a tune out even a half-decent squad which ours is at the very least. The thing no manager can ever coach is confidence.

But the thing that can bring about a rise in confidence and belief in a squad (hate that expression 'group'!) is morale and, in my opinion, that's the one thing that Marco is sapping from them on a weekly basis.

Everyone has opinions on who or should or should not be playing. I'm sure we've all sat in dressing rooms or at team meetings, albeit mostly as amateurs, heard the team read out and thought, "Why the fuck is he getting a shirt over so and so?" and "Why are we flogging the same system that painfully isn't working???"

Now I'm not saying the boss starts pandering to individual players and egos but start playing people on merit. We all know who the present players are who either won't or can't put a decent shift in for 90 mins. So time for morale boost Marco. System change possibly. Personnel change definitely.

Oh, and cheer the fuck up on interviews!! A little animation (not Conte-like) on the touchline wouldn't go amiss either. Who knows... a personality injection might rub off a bit on the players.
Chris Brennan     Posted 11/02/2019 at 13:22:45

Stick or Twist? Over to you, Denise

First of all, can I say, I have no axe personally to grind with Denise Barrett-Baxendale. But once again, Blue Bill in all of his West End pomp, quickly labelled her 'litle Miss Dynamite' at a recent Philharmonic Hall production, due to be released on wide screen soon.

I wonder how much influence and input, she will really have into the short and long term future of Marco Silva?

As CEO, she really SHOULD be instrumental in deciding just how much longer the club can afford to support him as we slip closer and closer to the dreaded 'relegation zone'.

Make no mistake, if results continue the way they have been, we will be in the bottom five come the end of March, then it's twitchy arse time.

Sadly, I have now come to accept that this manager is well capable of relegating us. His total demeanour is of passive acceptance as to what is going on around him. I simply believe he has ran out of ideas, certainly in terms of team selection.

Two thirds of the season gone, and he is still searching for his 'best eleven', not a chance I'm afraid, he's clutching at straws, and the player's know it to.

So what now, how far does the team have to sink before someone hits the panic button and pulls the plug.

Not only that, if god forbid, the club WAS relegated, forget any more about a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock in the near future. Revenues would drop like a stone, not only attendances, but potential sponsorships, naming rights, the idea of attracting more corporate packages everything would stop if we ended up in the Championship.

It's a case now of who blinks first.

Over to you, Denise.

Steve Hogan     Posted 09/02/2019 at 22:13:02

Everton's Identity

Ever have that feeling of not being sure of yourself? Not sure what you’re aiming for or how you’re supposed to get to where you are going? Listlessness sets in. Complacency. No sense of purpose. Lost. No identity. That is how I feel about Everton. I believe this is how Everton feel about Everton.

We have consistently been fed the line about our ‘project’ from the time David Moyes left to the present day. Can anyone tell me what the ‘project’ entails? What is the purpose? What is the aim? I’m not talking about platitudes and the general football patter which gets continually talked about.

I mean, what is Everton Football Club’s identity? The ‘project’ must grow from our identity, but what is it? I feel lost as a fan and supporter because there is nothing for me to get behind; to root for.

Back in Joe Royle’s management days, Goodison Park used to rock. We had an identity. The Dogs Of War. I could get behind that. It was blood and thunder, mixed with some skill. A never-say-die attitude. If we got beat, it wasn’t because we were out-fought. Or due to a lack of effort.

Under David Moyes, we also had an identity. Tough to play against. Rigid. Compact. Competitive. There were times Goodison Park rocked. I could get behind that.

Since Roberto Martinez’s first Christmas as Everton Manager, I’ve been steadily getting further disenchanted and disconnected from Everton. I place the blame on the club not having an identity I can get behind.

Does this stem from the manager? Well, we have a Director of Football now. For all intents and purposes a competent one. I like Brands. He appears no nonsense. He appears to know his football. Does our identity stem from him now?

Or does it stem from our owner? The majority one, not the old, bumbling, watery-eyed one. Does our identity start and finish with just one man, or as a collective? I’d suggest the latter, but cannot help but feel the manager plays a huge part in any identity the club develops.

Do we as fans and supporters know what identity we want? Or is it a case of just getting behind an identity we can relate to?

The players don’t seem as committed to the club as the players of yesteryear were. Do they suffer the same issue? Is it hard to motivate yourself if you don’t know who you are? It gets harder to motivate myself to support the club, so I imagine it’s pretty tough for the players too.

An identity the club can unite under is required. An identity everyone can buy into and support. An identity to get Goodison Park rocking again.

Even under David Unsworth’s brief management stint, Goodison Park was rocking. Was this due to the fact that we expected a return to the identity David Unsworth was moulded within?

Most successful clubs have an identity the players and fans and supporters bought into. Look at Ole at Old Trafford – he’s got Man Utd looking as close to a Ferguson side as anyone since Ferguson left. Klipperty has given them lot an identity – although they’re yet to win anything (fingers crossed that remains their identity).

I’d be happy to go to Goodison Park knowing who Everton are, so I can get behind them win, lose or draw. So I can say “That’s what we expect, that’s Everton!” At the moment, I go to Goodison Park not knowing who or what is going to turn up.

We are currently the Lost Boys of the Premier League.

Personally, I’d be happy if we built our identity on youth, interspersed with a number of key signings for key positions – with 100% commitment, aggression, speed, and never-say-die attitude as a bare minimum.

This, as a starting point, I can get behind.

Winston Williamson     Posted 08/02/2019 at 11:38:29

We Need to Talk About Marco

After the latest debacle yesterday, the general consensus amongst fans is should the club 'stick or twist'.

Realistically, does the manager have it within him come next August, to have a realistic push for top four/six? I'm not sure he does. He doesn't help himself with his passive demeanour, often looking bemused on the touchline by the chain of events unfolding before him.

But the most alarming feature is ironically, one of the traits which I presume attracted the senior management of the club to him in the first place. His tactics so far this season have been pretty much appalling.

The criminal defensive lapses including the eleven goals conceded from set-pieces, means we have become the laughing stock of football.

We thought we had appointed a bright young tactically astute manager, well versed in modern day football, not a stubborn 'Martinezesq' clone of a previous regime, convinced that his way is absolutely right.

Opponents must be overjoyed to find out they're playing Everton next week with a defence almost gifting them goals, week-in & week-out, and a manager and his coaching staff unable to fix the leak?

One of the most alarming features of yesterday's performance was the ease in which a fast slick Wolves team was able to cut through the Everton defence with ease, leaving them totally exposed. Not helped by the bizarre decision to risk a clearly unfit Leighton Baines at fullback, when a fit Jonjoe Kenny was on the bench!!

So how much of the current mess can be blamed on the manager? Clearly just one full transfer window is not enough to rectify the horrible mess left behind by Koeman and Walsh. An over-bloated squad full of obscenely paid average players is not his fault, and I believe we will still be feeling the effects of that a couple of years from now... Sandro — two goals in nearly two years — on a reputed £100k a week; not many takers there, I think.

But it's his inability to utilise the players at his disposal that worries me. Surely he should at least be able to make them 'hard to beat' as a minimum requirement? The slow ponderous tactic of moving the ball between the two centre-halves who then look for a non -existent creative midfielder to unlock a defense that must be laughing their collective heads off at the snail's pace at which we move the ball around.

In terms of team selection, it's now reached the stage where the manager is swapping player's around almost on a weekly basis hoping almost by accident he stumbles upon the winning formulae.

Why on earth select a hopelessly out-of-form Walcott for Lookman, who needs to be given a run of games, and not dropped at the first sign of having a below average game.

There were massive gaps all over the field yesterday and no sign of a 'plan' whatsoever. We would be in deep shit if we hadn't have had a decent start to the season, with just three wins in twelve games, that's relegation form, make no bones about it.

The fact that Cardiff and Huddersfield are almost 'dead men walking' at least provides something of a safety net.

Finally, how much is Moshiri to blame for the current predicament? He certainly must have sanctioned the choice of Silva and approved the length of contract etc, but who else aided and abetted him?

The problem Everton have is we simply don't have the status or the stature as a club to attract any of the top six managers in Europe. At some stage, we need to take a chance, rather like Southampton did with Poccechino a few years ago, and appoint a manager with CLEAR evidence that he knows how to at least set a team up, the minimum requirement.

The question is now, do we stick with Silva to the end of May, and then look to appoint someone else, or do we persevere with him in the knowledge that he will recruit HIS own player's in the summer that will be able to execute the game plan that HE wants.

If he gets it wrong again in season 2019-20, we face another 12 months of stagnation.

Over to you, Farhad.
Steve Hogan     Posted 03/02/2019 at 10:36:23

Time for change

Just thinking outside the box here, which is where most of our shots come from!

Anyway what I think the main issue with our team is we are so frightened to try anything new, there has been nothing to excite us fans, there was a little bit of excitement in Martinez's first season, where he had the wingers switching flanks from time to time, a solid system with McCarthy and Barry in the midfield who could break up attacks and start them up again. These two would also plug the holes vacated by Baines and Coleman when they went bombing up the wings and joining attacks.

We have nobody in our current first team who possess these qualities; far too often the ball has been won and there is nothing forward to pass to, no movement so we end up going sideways and then back to Pickford and it is exasperating seeing this week in week out.

Now this is a big call, but how about we drop the current system we use and drop Sigurdsson. He has been missing in games for how long now? He needs a rest and we need energy in the midfield and this is what James McCarthy brings.

Also the back 4 have been woeful for a while now. We need leaders at the back and we have none. Keane has done well but we need leaders around him; this is also a bold call but bringing back Jagielka in the very central of defence would provide a bit of leadership and strength, especially with aerial balls as we are dreadful at defending set pieces.

I would go for a solid back 3 of Keane, Jags and Mina and the someone who can protect the back four playing just in front of them, and from here I suggest Baningime could possibly do a job here because he is calm on the ball and slots into that position nicely. He would have that area to himself, his sole job would be to protect the back 3, and break up attacks with the intention to start meaningful attacks.

In front of him, I would go with 3 midfielders of Gomes, McCarthy and Bernard, with McCarthy in that central position high up the pitch pressing and harrying defenders and midfielders into making mistakes. Sigurdsson does not do this, therefore there are massive gaps in the midfield when he plays, and the two behind him are too far from him when we play a Number 10 in our team.

It worked okay with Barkley, McCarthy and Barry, because they all pressed the ball. It has not worked for years with our current crop and there has not been any changes in formation, and even a 1-2 pass is out of the question with the current players we have.

Then up front the 3 of Richarlison, Tosun and Lookman should be striking fear into defenders. So that would be a 3-1-3-3 formation which could be seen as too narrow to play good football, but with energy in the midfield and pace on the flanks this is something that could work. Far too many times we have just sat back and soaked up pressure with nothing going forward.

The other option could be to play a flat four across the middle of the park of Lookman, McCarthy, Gomes and Richarlison, with Baningime still in behind them in the holding role; two in the holding role has not worked for us for years. Then with this formation an option is to play two up top with Tosun and Walcott, a combination of speed and strength.

If we do play two up front, at least we have a Plan B where we can send a long ball to Tosun in the hope he wins it and have Walcott's pace latching onto a knock-down; it's Route One, I know... but at least it's something.

Also, why not swap Lookman with Richarlison from time to time on each flank to give the opposition full-backs a hard time. Other teams have had it extremely easy up until now with us, its the same stuff over and over as we have no ideas going into a match.

The best we can do is maybe finish 7th so why not take a chance the rest of the season and experiment a bit, we have nothing to lose now, same as every January!

Andy Bacon     Posted 01/02/2019 at 17:35:37

Why not more Academy and Youth Players?

I am 64 years old and I have seen many great Everton sides and some average ones over the years. The current one, with the exception of a few in the side, are less than average. This is not the standard of a professional Premier League team.

Why do the Premier League teams of today not invest in their youth systems? It is very rare to see; typically only a handful of the youth academy players make it all the way to the senior side.

Is the level of our young players not good enough to make the senior side? Is this the reason that the Premier League sides spend so much money to recruit players from abroad and, in doing so, also place the club into debt?

After all these years, I thought you must surround yourself with the best to reach the top – obviously the lesson hasn't gone too far. Sometimes, what you're looking for is right under your nose – have a look in your own backyard.
Steven  Jones     Posted 24/02/2018 at 21:56:10

It's a Sam Butty for me

As this season draws to a welcome end, and, by general consensus we will remain in the Premier League next season, our thoughts will automatically turn to what happens now? Many supporters who contribute to these pages have advocated that, as soon as the season is over, we should say bye-bye to Big Sam and his backroom staff and appoint a more 'suitable' manager.

Clearly there is some appeal to this option; however, we know from experience that managerial changes are expensive and often less than successful. Whilst our current manager comes with excessive baggage and little apparent humility, he has appointed a big and experienced backroom staff and just maybe they are the best we can expect.My concern would be that having another change of management will simply delay the planning for next season when it is essential to get some of this work done as soon as possible.

Critical for Everton during the next few months is to sort out the high numbers of players in both the first team and youth team squads who appear to have no first team potential. The squads need to be trimmed to manageable numbers, and a preferred playing formation adopted throughout the club. Every effort should then be made to finally address the left-hand side deficiencies. This will be the third attempt at confronting this problem, so the earlier we begin, the better chance we have of bringing in the right players.

All this means that some difficult and maybe unpopular decisions will have to be made regarding players' contracts, but at present too many players are enjoying generous terms whilst contributing very little.

So let's clear the decks, deal with the shortcomings, and move forward. We may need to ruffle a few feathers, but it is not a popularity contest and we may have the right man in place? Step forward – Mr Allardyce!

David  Bromwell     Posted 22/02/2018 at 13:20:50

Feeling left out

Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I couldn’t read the papers listen to Talksport or watch Sky Sports as I was sick to death (and jealous) of hearing about Spurs’ brilliant comeback or Super City demolishing Basel!

Onto Wednesday night and Thursday morning, you couldn’t escape the media’s love in with Liverpool slamming Porto, how Klopp’s brand of football is so wonderful to watch, and how Salah is the best signing ever etc, etc! I’ve never listened to so much Radio 2 and watched my missus' programmes on tele!!

Onto Friday and TalkSport starts previewing this weekend’s FA Cup games!! For fuck's sake!!!

Onto my point: have Everton ever been so irrelevant? Out of the cups, nowhere in the league and we’re not even in a relegation battle, unlike 10 clubs below us! All the while this is going on, the group of multi-millionaire flops are on holiday in Dubai! The mind boggles!

I wish I didn’t care but it’s so frustrating listening and watching other teams' success! Sorry for such a negative posting but I’m sure lots of us feel the same! We are so irrelevant!
Stephen Brown     Posted 16/02/2018 at 18:30:54

Tom Davies

There’s been some negative chat about our young local midfielder of late and I wanted to say some things about the lad.

Firstly, Leon Osman used to get unnecessary criticism when he played for us and what is being said now about Tom Davies reminds me of his time with us. Osman had a good career with us.

Tom is a very good player and he could go anywhere. He needs time in the gym and to work on his sprinting. But he naturally reads the game, likes to attack but can defend as well.

There were some gasps of disappointment at Goodison on Saturday when moves broke down while Tom was involved but many of them, for me, were because the pass to him was too heavy or inaccurate and he couldn’t keep things going. But he looks for the pass, either as the one playing it or the recipient.

Some even came on this site and claimed that Liam Walsh was the better player. I hope Liam becomes a wonderful player but let’s support Tom. He’s been criminally overlooked by Koeman and Allardyce – to their loss may I add – but I think when Tom is in our team we have more chance of winning because of his energy and skill.

Let’s make him a hero on the terraces, let’s celebrate this quality player from the academy and then who knows what he and we might achieve?
Andre James     Posted 14/02/2018 at 23:43:03

Are we following the Tottenham project plan?

There seems to be quite a lot of similarities between Everton and how Spurs have performed after the sale of a top player.

When Spurs sold Bale to Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 for £86m, they went on a spending spree – buying seven players. They went on to finish one place worse off in the 2013-14 season, finishing 6th, one place below Everton. There are only two of the seven players still at the club (Eriksen and Lamella) so five of the seven failed to make the grade.

Spurs went on to finish 5th, 3rd and 2nd in the following seasons and look good to finish in the top four again this season.

Redknapp was replaced by Villas-Boas before the sale – just as Martinez was replaced by Koeman; what followed was a short period under Sherwood before finally getting Pochettino in and settling down.

We can only hope that we follow their lead and find the right man to replace Allardyce, then settle the ship. Spurs also had plans for a new stadium that should be ready in the near future – hopefully we can replicate this as well.

Peter Rogers     Posted 13/02/2018 at 10:50:43

Give us peek, please just a 'lil glimpse

With no first team action for a couple of weeks apart from some warm weather training for the lucky few, surely it must be time to raise our spirits not to mention get our hopes up with some long-awaited artist's impressions of our new ground to be.

It doesn't have to be much, but please... anything would be much appreciated by our long-suffering fans.
Simon Smith     Posted 12/02/2018 at 17:53:13

The big six, my arse

I’ve kept my pencil dry on here for far too long now. It’s time to tell it as it is from one who has supported The Toffees since 1967.

My brothers love to remind me that I got a Redshite kit for Chanukah (Jewish Christmas) in 1966 just after my fifth birthday but switched to The Blues less than a year later and have never wavered since. So, bang goes your ‘born a blue’ notion. Anyway, that’s another issue and although it was a stupid decision at such a tender age it was one I’ve never regretted. All the nice girls at primary school supported Everton and all the annoying boys were Reds.

Over the years I’ve seen some bloody awful teams, and some appalling managers. I went to school with Gordon Lee’s poor son. Funny that he was better at rugby union than footy I always thought. Managers like Billy (“speak up Billy” the interviewers on BBC Radio Merseyside always used to say) Bingham, Mike Walker and Walter Smith.

I witnessed us win the league in 1970, 1985 and 1987. I’ve seen us win the cup in 1984 and 1995 and I was in Rotterdam when we beat Rapid Vienna in 1985 where my dad got covered in beer when the third goal went in. The next morning, I actually saw men asleep standing up in phone boxes.

I remember that bastard Clive Thomas (ask your dad) rob us against the redshite. He was one of many referees who stole matches from us over the years but he was the first I remember and I guess that’s why they call us “bitter” as no self-respecting Bluenose would scribe an article like this without bringing up those bastard referees!!

Thomas deprived us of a legit Bryan Hamilton goal in the FA Cup semi in 1977. A few weeks earlier we’d got to Wembley in the League Cup Final and it was 0-0. We went on to lose to Villa in the second replay. For the trip to Wembley we’d left our house in Allerton at 6am. My dad was worried about the traffic. At 9am, six hours before kick off we were sitting in the car in the car park at Wembley where we sat for the next 4½ hours. We weren’t allowed to leave the car in case we got murdered by cockneys!

My most vivid memory from the 1980s was when we lost the second leg of The Milk Cup semi away at Aston Villa 1-0. We’d actually won the first leg 2-0 the week before at Goodison. This meant we were in with the chance of winning something for the first time in 14 years. It was also sweet revenge for Villa having beaten us seven years earlier in the final. Think about that youngsters! 14 years. I ran on the pitch at the end only to be hauled off by a copper. “14 years” I shouted in his face!! As usual we lost to the redshite in the final as we always did and we always will whenever it really counts.

Of course, I was at Wembley to see the first leg end 0-0. The replay was at Maine Road and I was a student at The University of Essex. I watched the replay on the portable colour telly (still unusual in those days – colour telly I mean, not unusually portable.) Ask your dad again, or mum for that matter. We lost 1-0 and I cried myself to sleep.

So many memories from so long ago and only a few of them are captured here. These days I can’t even remember what I had for my tea last night.

Right now, I hate Everton, I hate professional football and I hate the Premier League. I still play three times a week which includes playing left back for our local veterans Sunday 11-a-side team in the Mid Herts Vets League. I’d rather play than watch Everton any day of the week. Those bastards stealing a living in the royal blue tops make me puke. I despise them with a passion.

The media bang on about ‘The Big Six’ but it should be “The Big Seven” because time and again we’ve blown it. That bastard Kenwright who lies incessantly about remortgaging his house to save his beloved Blues drives me insane. This is the twat who turned down the Mansours who went on to buy Citeh, because he thought he could do a better job. Please bugger off Kenwright. The continued shite we spout about the new stadium just to lure idiots into buying season tickets is one of the worst crimes of the lot. Read my lips, there will be no new stadium!

What is the point of us being in the Premier League? What joy does it give anyone? They don’t care about the supporters and it’s only ever about money. What are we doing with Allardyce as our manager? He’s useless. I’m a lover not a fighter but he deserves to be removed from our club with a baseball but up his arse.

Apart from the big six and us, every club in the top flight is a championship club. It would be so much more enjoyable for us playing at a lower level. We shouldn’t bother playing against the big six. Don’t tell me about our amazing point at Citeh this year or I’ll make you watch us play away at Arsenal for the next fifty years.

I’m sick of Everton and our continued inability to capitalise on everything that comes our way. I get more joy out of watching Liverpool lose than when we win these days. I’ve even given that feeling a name - redshitenfreude.

So, I’m out. At least until we get relegated. Hopefully soon. Football is about the joy of winning matches and it just doesn’t do it for me beating Leicester City 2-1 (we were lucky) only to do what we did at The Emirates a few days later.

So, after 51 years of undying love, you can fuck off Everton. You make me sick.

David Tasker     Posted 06/02/2018 at 09:08:31

Es mundus excrementi, Everton

If the campaign Everton supporters have been forced to endure since July had to be catchily summed up in one juicy soundbite, then "Season From Hell" should fit like a hermetically sealed shroud.

Many a strange-faced mooncalf has stood accused of being at the root of the stygian shitstorm we've been mired in. Koeman, Walsh, Allardyce, Moshiri, the entire playing staff sans Seamus Coleman and, of course, doughty defender of the faith, Bill Kenwright.

Numerous half-arsed theories have been put forward in a futile attempt to fathom precisely how and why our form became so horrendously piss poor.

So,'s another one.

'The Exorcist'.

As a child, I grew up in front of grainy VHS copies of 70's and 80's horror movies. My education in the genre beginning at an age when most of my mates were still busy making the case that Mumm-Ra could 'have' He-Man in a one on one brawl to the death (but only if Battle Cat was deffo banned from getting involved because, otherwise, all bets were off). Such child friendly fare as 'Halloween', 'Carrie', 'The Omen', 'Don't Look Now', 'Dawn Of The Dead', 'Suspiria', 'Basket Case' and...of course... 'Scream, Blacula, Scream',

provided a steady, blood curdling, stream of background sights and sounds to my scoffing of bowls of Sugar Puffs and 'proper scientific' pointing out of who was and was not a "prick" in the pages of 'Shoot'.

One movie to have a profound effect on me at that stage was William Friedkin's 'The Exorcist'. Watching an old copy my old queen must have borrowed from somewhere, at the age of 6, and then not being able to revisit it again for over a decade (due to the film being banned in the UK from 1984 until 1998), led to my younger self developing a yearning to devour every bit of info I could find on the film. I was kind of like a mini, mid-level, Mark Kermode with less cockish hair (although, ultimately, his 'The Fear Of God' documentary, produced for the film's 25th Anniversary, probably had a hand in the film finally being passed uncut by the BBFC, so we'll let the pompadour slide).

Being well aware of the above, my wife thought she would 'surprise' me with tickets for the West End theatre production of The Exorcist. Admittedly, I was surprised because, not being the slightest bit interested in the British theatre scene, I had heard nothing about it. I was even more surprised to discover they weren't just tickets to 'The Exorcist'. Oh no. They were tickets to 'Bill Kenwright presents: The Exorcist'.

Anyway, we went and I was squirming in my seat, flesh crawling, the whole way through. The last time I cringed, sighed, shook my head and muttered "this is complete shite" so often was at a live performance of 'Bill Kenwright presents: Everton vs West Brom'.

Jenny Seagrove 'starred' in the crucial role of Chris Macneil, some bloke off a Davina McCall hosted dance show decided to alternate between Damien Karras and fucking Crocodile Dundee, while the best 'acting' in the piece came courtesy of a crackly cassette tape of Ian Mckellen's voice, recorded at home in a spare five minutes while he was mooching about waiting for his red-hot bath water to cool.

"Curse you, Kenwright!", I thought. "It's not enough you turned sitting through Everton games into some form of slow torture, you're now taking it a step further and tarnishing my favourite horror classics as well? Where will it end? What have I ever done to you?".

Then it hit me. Maybe the 'curse' has already started?

William Peter Blatty was first warned off penning a story based on the (purported) real-life possession and subsequent exorcism of a young Mount Rainier boy by a concerned Jesuit Priest. The Priest posited that revealing the existence of the Devil, in any way, would inevitably lead to retaliation and revenge on his part because, with bloody good reason, the big red shite would be pretty pissed off at his insidious methodology being made public, his privacy being invaded, plus having to turn a deaf ear to incessant accusations of how he's a bit of bad tit.

Rumours of a curse have long surrounded the movie itself. The set famously caught fire. Actors Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros both died in post-production after their respective characters suffered the same fate on screen. Max Von Sydow's brother died on his first day of shooting for his role as Father Merrin. Linda Blair's grandfather died. A night watchman on the set died. Jason Miller's son was mowed down by a motorcycle and only just survived. Mercedes McCambridge's son lost his mind and murdered his wife and children before taking his own life. An extra in the film later stabbed a film critic to death and was suspected of having killed six other men whose bodies washed up on the Hudson River, wrapped in plastic bags.

When Bill (and by inevitable association, Everton) blundered onto the decades old battlefield, surely bad luck was bound to follow?

The UK premiere of Kenwright's pre-teen possession extravaganza took place in Birmingham on October 16th 2016 and it continued to play, as part of a strictly limited run, until November 6th.

During that brief period, Ronald Koeman's Everton suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Burnley, along with a 0-5 horror show at Chelsea.

The day after the premiere, Philip Green was accused of being a shadow director of Everton in the House Of Commons. Leighton Baines suffered a setback in his attempted return from injury, and James McCarthy tore his hamstring.

The production started it's later run in London's West End on the 20th October 2017 (and is scheduled to finish on the 10th March 2018).

The first game after opening night was the five goal hammering by Arsenal that brought the guillotine down on Ronald Koeman's Everton reign.

Trust the Everton board to then further compound matters by bringing forth the big boss demon himself and, like Faust, making a dicey deal with 'Meffystiflethese'(or Sam, to his mates).

Now, we're stuck bearing witness to one of the most brutal, eye bludgeoning, cases of defilement ever wrought on an institution once dubbed the School of Science. The stuff we're being subjected to is utterly horrific and the managers decades long track record of dour mediocrity and desperate, self-serving, short-termism, should send a screeching warning signal that his hand should be among the last you want steering the future direction of your club.

Yet, some not only countenance his presence, they practically cheer it. "Needs must", they say. Like the doctors prodding and poking Regan and putting her through a pointlessly painful spinal tap, they stick resolutely to the 'rational' claim that the club is sick and Allardyce is merely administering the necessary, stomach churning, medicine.

When it begins to become acceptable to regularly go into games with no real intention of actually engaging the opposition, with an expensively assembled squad of international players drilled to concentrate primarily on containment and playing the percentages, then even those with the most faith can eventually begin to lose sight of the fact it should always be possible to strive for better.

"His attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful.Yet, the demon's target is not the possessed; it is us...the observers...I think the point is to make us see ourselves as ultimately vile and putrescent; without dignity; ugly; unworthy".

Seriously, these are dire times.
I well know the sheer dread that can derive from dabbling with demonic forces. My wife once had a ouija board resting on her lap as she tried in vain to contact the spirit of futuristic tubby tin can Twiki from 'Buck Rogers In The 25th Century'. No matter how many times she spelt out "Biddie Biddie Biddie", the six-foot under, silvery shortarse, never bothered to respond.

However, the tranquility was short lived, as no sooner did I decide to take matters out of her reaching over to spell out 'G-O P-U-T T-H-E D-I-N-N-E-R O-N N-O-W'....then she went absolutely ballistic. Face contorted in rage, gurning like a reject from The Garbage Pail Kids, phlegm flying from her expletive spewing mouth, the aura of pure evil radiating from every pore. 

I don't know which particular demon it was that had taken possession of her body, but i'm guessing such snarling satanic beasts must share some sort of special psychic affinity with the wife's family, as a similar hate filled entity has been residing, quite openly, in my mother-in-law ever since the day I first met her.

So, next time you're at Goodison, if you happen to hear a guttural voice in the crowd, moaning and groaning, before shouting something along the lines of "Yer Mar(tina)'s a prossie in hell, Karras", you know what's behind it....'Bill Kenwright presents: The Exorcist'.

John Daley     Posted 05/02/2018 at 05:34:20

Why, why, why Moshiri?

In a season of unprecedented disappointment, there are so many questions we as supporters have; many may never be answered but if the owner of our club has any thought of the fans who pay, week in and week out to watch the utter crap that has been on display this season then I believe these are a few of the questions he should be asking his management team.

Why... don't we seem to have a style of football? We seem to play a different way every game. Okay, we have had three managers this season but each has had enough time to impose a style on the team yet we still seem unsure as to how we are set up to play.

Why... is Steve Walsh still at the club? We look like a team on a downward spiral surely after spending over 200 million this is gross misconduct and in any other profession would result in the sack.

Why... break up a winning team? Coleman I can understand but one commentator said he thought he changed the team to rest players as he didn't think he could win the game. For fuck's sake, people payed a lot of hard earned money to travel and watch that crap.

Why... do we seem to interrupt our own attacks and play towards our own goal time after time, players hesitating, slowing down attacks, unsure about making passes that should be bread and butter to professional footballers?

Why... not – if the rumours are true and Allardyce is going in the summer – cut our loses, get rid, bring in Silva, give him a couple of months to look at the players he has, and decide what he needs to do?

I realise there are far more questions that we all have but I can't think when am this pissed off at the way we are playing. Please, Big Sam, take Little Sam and Walsh with you. Goodbye and good riddance.

Peter Rogers     Posted 04/02/2018 at 16:11:42

From Unsworth to the Unworthy

David Unsworth is a Blue. Not 'was a Blue'... 'is a Blue. He was a caretaker manager of our great club and will always remain a supporter till the day he dies. Candidly, he did not pass his audition to become our permanent manager.

So to his replacement, ex-England manager Sam Allardyce. He is not a Blue. He was given the job as our manager. Has he passed his audition?

Most fans' Talking Points articulate a position on a subject. I didn't really want to. I wanted to simply ask: Is Allardyce worthy?

However, since I started to pen my thoughts, today happened. I was not unduly disappointed with his appointment; I am now though.

He points the finger everywhere other than at himself. We are not stupid. Team selection and tactics are not the players' fault, they are the manager's.

I understand anyone who says that he was let down by their mistakes, I really do. But, I feel let down by the way that my team is lead. He is not worthy of managing our club. There you go, I've said it. From Unsworth to the Unworthy.
Phil Williams     Posted 03/02/2018 at 21:51:01

Play it again, Sam

Five changes after a fine win last Wednesday does not make sense. Sam is too clever by half. He says he played that formation because Swansea beat the Gunners like that. As Victor Meldrew might say, "I dont believe it!"

Kenny should have been the only change as Seamus was unwell. Most fans can do a better job than this idiot. Time for him to go!
Mike Woods     Posted 03/02/2018 at 20:25:50

Seamus: Refreshingly ordinary

Seamus Coleman's return to the fold last night was significant in many ways. One, he certainly contributed to our overall defensive display, and his now trademark barnstorming runs down the right flank, most certainly lifted the crowd

Many, including myself, were a little alarmed however, at him being given a place in the starting line-up, after over 10 months out with a double fracture. However, give the manager some credit – he breezed through the game, seemingly with no ill effects, but I suggest he probably woke up knackered this morning, believing he'd been run over by a steam roller the night before.

Off the field, Seamus remains 'ordinary' it seems; you just know for certain you aren't going to be reading any tabloid headlines involving excess booze, drugs, or any of the other recreational activities many of his Premiership peer group get involved in during their spare time. He is held in such high esteem, both in Ireland and this country, that it's sadly almost a rare occurrence when this happens to a player these days

A number of Everton's senior pros are coming to the end of their career, and the contracts of Rooney, Jags, Williams, etc all expire in the next 12-18 months, with little chance they will be extended. Some would say now is the time to make Seamus the official club captain. He's just a fantastic club man and a great example to all players old and young in how to conduct yourself on and off the pitch

He's 30 this year, and has simply been a great servant. He really is one player who genuinely has not been affected by the significant salary and status players enjoy at the current time. He's also not adverse to putting his hand in his pocket on a regular basis, and helping out worthy causes back in Ireland and over here. I hope he continues to play for Everton for many more years

And to think, only injury stopped him signing for Burnley when on trial there in 2008.

Sixty grand, sixty grand, Seamus Coleman....

Steve Hogan     Posted 01/02/2018 at 16:44:34

Performing under pressure

We have long protested that our team has folded on big occasions. Away to the top 5, home to one in particular, in cup matches, especially the later stages and finals. Any time we find ourselves above our customary 7th place, whenever we have wanted a big performance – a breakthrough game and so on - the team can usually be depended on to blow it. But why?

There are global clues and one or two more specific examples. Leicester are performing the perfect example of folding under pressure. Impregnable last season but expectations were high from the start of this season as Champions; the same team and manager have floundered – badly.

These words from Phil Jagielka defending David Moyes's poor start at Manchester Utd 3½ years ago illustrate perfectly the difference in pressure and attitude between a highly successful side and players at Everton:

“At Everton, the pressure was not so big initially, he could grow into the season. You can’t grow into the ­season at Manchester United. When you look at how Arsenal have started and Chelsea and teams like that, you can’t give them too much of a lead. I am sure he will get the guys moving in the right direction.”

Jagielka is saying Moyes did well at Everton because he was allowed a slower start to the season compared with Man Utd – at Old Trafford, the pressure was on from Day One.

Which rather begs the question: Why don't players at Everton mind getting beaten at the start of the season as much as players at Man Utd? Where does that attitude come from? Does the manager reduce expectations from opening day or before? Is it the players settling into an 'acceptable’ comfort zone. Who decides what is acceptable?

There is a gulf in attitude to bridge here. Man Utd players run out in late August thinking they have to win. Everton players run out thinking "Let's see how we go"!

Times are changing now – that is plain to see. Some current players might have learned to change their attitude, there is a long list who could not and many departed in January. More than a few were the senior pros that set the 'team aspirations’ and Mr Jagielka will join them in the summer.

Koeman is having to buy in winners – how did it get that way?

Thomas Lennon     Posted 18/02/2017 at 08:26:23

Could history repeat itself?

Goodison Park, 20 April 2014. The day David Moyes took charge of Manchester United, the reigning Champions of England, for the last time. In the crowd, a man dressed as 'The Grim Reaper' waved his scythe behind old Moyesie. After eight short months, the news was leaked of his sacking. A poor way to treat any manager.

Another barren management spell was cut short in Spain with Real Sociedad, winning just 11 out of 38 games and lasting just 12 months. It was a massive fall from grace for a man who had nothing but praise heaped upon him whilst he was with Everton. He certainly believed in his own press, despite the empty trophy cabinet.

Next weekend, Mr Moyes, who was credited with saving Everton from relegation, returns to Goodison Park once more, with his Sunderland team rock bottom of the Premier League, on the back of a 0-4 home defeat. Moyes made it clear to the Sunderland faithful they would be in a relegation battle from Day One of the current Premier League season.

A lot of Sunderland fans, and the mainstream media, point to their absent owner for lack of leadership and financial backing of the manager. Another place Moyes does seem to be quite immune from criticism is in the press. Whilst every other manager in the bottom 6 seem to be pilloried, Moyes doesn't really come in for much criticism at all.

He has been praised for his candour in some quarters, but some view his 'honesty' as ready-made excuses coupled with crushing negativity (which we are all familiar with).

If he does suffer a heavy loss at Goodison this time around, Ellis Short may well opt for a 'new manager' bounce to try and keep Sunderland in the Premier League. I was surprised to learn that this is their 10th straight season in the top flight...

It would be totally humiliating for the man if the same scenario were to play out again, and he was sacked after another Goodison defeat. After all, he did say he was "Going on to bigger and better things." A poor choice of words, Davey, very poor.
Kevin Tully     Posted 16/02/2017 at 15:45:25

The true Goodison effect

Goodison. From days long past to the present day, we have always been proud to call Goodison Park our home. Now it seems our destiny lies on a different path in a different stadium.

The significance of a new owner, a new manager and more importantly, new money, cannot be underestimated yet I feel we have a unique opportunity to pay tribute to our history in a truly Everton way.

After reading Lyndon Lloyd's brilliant article about our potential move, I started to think of a way that we could do this. I propose that within our club, we retire the word 'stadium' and replace it with the word 'Goodison', in honour of the Grand Old Lady, Goodison Road, the borough of Walton, the great city of Liverpool, all Everton players and every Evertonian worldwide.

A bit like retiring the number of a great player, I feel that we owe it to the place that has given us so much. It is inevitable that the club will sell naming rights for our new stadium and with the USM deal concluded for Finch Farm, the possibility of a Sky soundbite of "Live from USM stadium" seemed ever more real to me.

Whatever the sponsor, I don't feel that such a name would reflect our heritage or what it means to be an Evertonian. If we call a 'stadium' a 'Goodison' then we can join our past with our future. It will mean that we will still go to Goodison on Saturdays yet she'll just be on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey (I hope).

"It's the Merseyside Derby live from USM Goodison". Or, "It's the Merseyside Derby live from USM stadium". You decide.
Dean  Johnson     Posted 12/02/2017 at 20:23:20

Realistic signings in the summer

If we make top 6 (or qualify for the Europa League through Manchester United finishing ahead of us and winning the EFL cup), what realistic signings can we expect in the summer window?

With the primary positions being: Goalkeeper, Centre Back (one or two?), Left Back (back up to Baines), Attacking Midfielder and Striker, personally, I'd like to see:

GK: Kasper Schmeichel / Joe Hart / Jordan Pickford
CB: Michael Keane / Van Dijk / Lamine Kone (two of them - with Jags probably making way in the summer)
LB: Jordan Lukaku / Andrew Robertson / Jordan Amavi
CAM: Sigurdsson (I'd be very happy if he came in, absolute quality)
ST: Mertens (Has been playing striker for Napoli - top goal scorer in Serie A and can play in many positions) / Haller / Perez (he looks quality, looks like Arsenal aren't using him much).

However, if Deulofeu and Mirallas stay next season, I don't think we need another striker. With them and Calvert-Lewin backing up Lukaku.

Team for next season:

1. Robles 2. Keane 3. Baines 4. Schneiderlin 5. Williams 6. Van Dijk 7. Deulofeu / Mertens 8. Barkley 9. Sigurdsson 10. R Lukaku 11. Mirallas 12. Holgate 13. Schmeichel 14. Bolasie 15. J Lukaku 16. McCarthy 17. Idrissa 18. Barry 19. Lookman 20. Davies 21. Besic 22. Stekelenburg 23. Coleman 24. Tarashaj 25. Funes Mori 26. Dowell 27. Browning 28. Pennington 29. Calvert-Lewin 30. Connolly 31. Kenny 32. Galloway 33. Hewelt 34. Sambou 35. Walsh

With Jagielka, Kone, Cleverley, Lennon going out. Possibly one of our goalkeepers going out too. Keep Barry, he won't play a huge part, but will be a big influence!
Gareth Clark     Posted 07/02/2017 at 10:47:42

The Lukaku Conundrum

Okay, I'll nail my colour's to the mast straight away, I'm a BIG Rom fan. In the four years he's been with us, however, I've heard him labelled by our fans as lazy, fat, not a team player, arrogant, and a few other choice phrases I can't repeat on here... What his detractor's can't argue with is his goalscoring record.

Including his majestic four he knocked in yesterday, 76 goals in 172 Premier League appearances, means he's scoring on average, every 2.26 games, and is only one of five players in the history of the Premier League to score 50 goals before the age of 23 years old. If he stays clear of injuries for the next 14 games, he'll probably surpass his best ever goals tally for Everton, and that scoring average will drop even further.

So what is it that really pisses people off with him? I understand his overall game is not perfect; with his back to goal, you rarely see the best of him; alongside the fact that 12 months ago, I concede his first touch was sometimes bloody awful. Ironically, for a guy of his size, he's not particularly aggressive either, look how Costa of Chelsea snarls and snaps at everyone, even his own team-mates, that's just not in Rom's make-up.

But I also feel, in his defence, he's been Everton's most 'natural' goalscorer since Gary Lineker. Put him one-on-one with the keeper and he rarely misses. Also, certainly for the last 12 months of Martinez's tenure, his game and that of certain other players in the team, actually went backwards!!

Despite his four-goal spree against Bournemouth, I actually felt his best game for the Blues was in the cup-tie last season against Chelsea, when he terrorised their defence for the whole game, before turning them inside out for the opening goal, it was a virtual masterclass in centre-forward play.

What then of the future? Sadly, I think this will be his last season at Goodison Park. I simply think strikers of his calibre and age are few and far between. His goalscoring record will have been noted and recorded by Europe's elite group of clubs, who will come in with a mega offer at the end of the season. I would even hazard a guess that the club (and Koeman) would not stand in his way should a massive offer come in.

The lure of the gravy train that is now Champions League football is something Everton simply cannot offer at the present time. This coupled with the fact that the player recently joined the 'superstar' stable of players managed by the obnoxious Mino Raiola, means that, in my opinion, it will lead to a parting of the ways in the summer.

I feel that the Moshiri - Koeman revolution has come too late for Rom: for a number of years, he has played in poor or average Everton teams. For a large number of games last season, he rarely received a pass for 90 minutes, and ploughed away up front, largely unaided. This was when the brunt of criticism from the terraces came his way. How many times did we take the lead in games through his goals, only to see us concede two or three more at the other end?

I would love to see us build the nucleus of the team around Lukaku, but I just don't see it happening. In the last five years, the truly outstanding players in the Premier League have all been tempted away, mostly abroad. Suarez & Bales, amongst others, have all gone. Perhaps holding onto Lukaku for four years is about right for this day and age, particularly for a club of Everton's (pre-Moshiri) stature?

I, for one, will be sorry to see him go; we'll certainly miss his goal return, but, providing the money we receive for him is spent wisely, we should be able to continue the upward trend, improving season on season under Koeman.

Steve Hogan     Posted 05/02/2017 at 19:12:15

Now It's Crystal Ball Time

Well it all happened rather quickly in the end. After four or five days of intense speculation, both locally and nationally, I don't think many of us expected the club statement on Saturday afternoon. Now's not the time to be cynical, but I really hope Kenwright has found the 'investor' he has been searching for 24/7, to take the club forward.

When the dust finally settles on the biggest news for Evertonians for probably 30 years or more, we need to see concrete plans to restore the club amongst the frontrunners in the Premier League, and dispel the tag of 'plucky little Everton, punching above their weight'. The two main issues Farhad Moshiri must address are the ground issue and the strength of the playing squad; I'll leave Roberto Martinez until later...

However, those hoping to see the back of Robert Elstone as CEO, will be left 'ringing their hands' I feel; Bill will have ensured that any 'takeover' as such will involve his 'star pupil' who, despite what fans think locally, as Chairman of the club, he rates him very highly.

More interesting will be the new man's take on the ground situation. Having watched at close quarters, the building of the truly magnificent Emirates Stadium, now the best domestic ground in the UK, will he want a scaled-down version in Walton Hall Park? Or, as many fans want, a credible plan to redevelop Goodison Park? My guess is Kenwright and co will push for a new build somewhere in the City. This means of course, resuming a dialogue with Joe Anderson and the City Council, after the recent 'war of words' ended in a PR disaster for the club. There is a few olive branches to be offered there, I think.

Next on the agenda is the retention and improvement of the playing squad. I believe Stones will move on in the Summer, and possibly Lukaku will push for a move, but hopefully the others will see the promise of investment as a sign the club is moving in the right direction. I guess the BIG question is whether Moshiri with his business connections will be able to attract additional investment and purchase additional shares from the current board, and has he been given a promise by Kenwright and Woods (now that Earl is out the way), that this will happen?

Finally, what does the deal mean for the manager? No-one knows what the new guy is really like... I believe the manager will be given another 12 months, probably on the back of Kenwright's assurances, but having paid 200M, Moshiri will want to see real signs of progress, and the right man in place to move the club forward and realise his investment as well as ambition

The next 6-12 months will be really interesting for all Evertonians. Let's give the new guy a chance to put his blueprint into place, in the meanwhile, let's enjoy the ride.

Steve Hogan     Posted 28/02/2016 at 08:12:16

Worst Signings in Everton's History

Perhaps one of the poorest and ill-conceived posts on here recently was one claiming that Tim Howard is "One of the worst signings in Everton's history". But please, no more posts about him.

However, another of our stalwart contributors suggested "Worst signings" is worthy of a thread on it's own. A recurring periodic theme on here but we haven't had one for a while.

Ray Roche suggested a couple to drool over:

Bernie "The Bolt" Wright, named after a piss-poor TV programme;
Per Krøldrup may have been successful elsewhere, but here?
Glen Keelly?
Brett Angell?

It's a dead weekend as far as we're concerned with no Everton game on the ticket, so I've moved a couple of posts over from the Howard thread to get you started.

Michael Kenrick     Posted 26/02/2016 at

The missing link

There have been many an articles and comment on this site berating the lack of leadership on the pitch in this Everton team. Indeed, on a recent thread I added my thoughts about the naivity that we have shown this season in a number of games. Both ring true and as such it has got me thinking how best to sort this problem.

The parallels to the the eighties team are many. We had a young team who lacked confidence and conceded goals. The manager was under extreme pressure and most believe was he was probably twenty minutes from the sack. Yet we had youth and quality in our ranks who needed guidance, confidence, drive and leadership.

Enter Andy Gray. A footballer way past his best whose glory days were surely gone. His body was half broken, his stock was on the wane ( pardon the pun) and his signature was met with mixed feelings in our fan base.

Two and a half years later we had turned into the most exciting, confident and driven team in Europe. Andy Gray brought knowhow, aggression, passion and self belief that rubbed off on all around him. He was a massive missing piece of the jigsaw.

Here we are thirty years later. A youthful team with bags of ability. Confidence is low, especially at home and the ability to get over the line, to have the knowledge and experience of how to win in tight situations is missing. The manager is under pressure and maybe he was a penalty save away from the sack.

Enter Wayne Rooney. A divisive figure certainly (although less and less with each passing visit to goodison). The character that he shows, his passion, his drive and his experience draw many a parallel to Andy Gray. Yes, he too is past his best and yes, he also has a body that is showing the wear and tear of many years at the top. However, the arrival of such a player to join the ranks of our inexperienced youthful and exciting team could just be the catalyst to much bigger and better things for our club.

So, is Wayne Rooney the missing link?

Phil Williams     Posted 21/02/2016 at 10:02:24

Howard is still a keeper!

Tim Howard has been a fantastic servant to our club! The man has single-handedly won us football matches time after time over the years and yet we ridicule him for a substandard performance this season?

Trust me, being a goalkeeper myself I question his performances the last couple of seasons. Lest we forget though, he did manage to salvage us a draw at Manchester City earlier in the season, so is he past it or is this just a matter of form? Personally I believe the former. However, now that we have all got our wish that big Joel Robles get his chance, and now that he has taken it with two open arms, why do we as Evertonians still feel the need to take our frustration out on Tim Howard?

Martinez showed true faith in him even though we begged for Robles to get his chance, myself included. Personally looking back now, I think he earnt his right to keep his place in the team or at least fight for his position just a little bit longer than what was expected. I agree that Robles's opportunity was well over due, but let me put it to you this way... For a good part of a decade, Tim Howard is the reason why our defence was so fantastic in the Moyes era. It happens in every player's career that, at some stage, he has to step aside and let the young blood take over, but let's not be too harsh on Howard.

Let's celebrate his career at the Toffees and thank him for his terrific service to the club. Should he move on in the summer, let's wish him the best of luck and make him feel welcome whenever he wishes to visit The Grand Old Lady, because that is the Everton Way!

I'm calling out to all Evertonians to drop the whole social media epidemic of ridiculing the man who defended our goal with such passion for so many years. We have got our wish, Robles is now the Number 1 choice, so let's show the quality that we are as supporters and get behind one of our greats.

I would like to praise our away support once again at Bournemouth yesterday. Absolutely fantastic! Poor first-half performance rescued by a fantastic penalty save by Robles. Second-half performance was different class. A special mention to big Rom and our Diamond Ross for the two goals.

Vaughan Sheward     Posted 21/02/2016 at 01:24:04

Winning formula

The first thing I noticed that surprised me about Roberto Martinez was his loan strategy.

Our problem has always been having a lack of options in all positions, and the three amazing loans in his first season was a formula that I really liked. It allowed us to fill holes in certain areas without spending for spending's sake.

Taking Lukaku and Deulofeu as an example, they were exciting young players with great potential; to have them come and play for a whole season allowed them to form a good impression with the club, so that, if they performed well enough, it would be much easier getting a player that already knows how great this club is.

Sadly, Martinez has abandoned that strategy which, in my view, was his only "Wow" factor that separated him from Moyes. I truly believe that Martinez must re-start that strategy in the summer if we are to have any chance building a top 4 squad quick enough.

Ever since he stopped that strategy, we have fallen backwards, and I think we need to do everything in our power to compete with the top 4 clubs – that includes a wise loan strategy, on top of the regular transfers.

If Martinez can get back to how he operated the first season (like getting a new defensive coach to replace David Weir) then I still think he is able to build this club towards being a top-4 club. The problem is, I think he left that strategy behind because of all the media criticism, and we have suffered badly because of it.

JImmy-Åge Sørheim     Posted 19/02/2016 at 22:52:14

A discourse on luck

For my sins, I teach a Theory of Coaching course at the University of Toronto. We cover all the expected topics but one of my favourite discussions is about "Luck".

The oft quoted "It is often said that a lucky coach is better than a good coach" is our starting place. It is not a theory of football coaching course but a general coaching course and, occasionally, the subject turns to football (soccer!)

Is it unlucky when Ross Barkley produces a wonderful controlled shot that hits the post and goes in or does not? The moment the ball hits the post, the difference between going in or staying out is probably less than inch. If Ross shoots from 20 yards, his accuracy limit revolves around that inch. Compare this to Barney the dart slinger, if he misses from 8 feet by an inch, he is having a bad day.

Not being a darts player, I watched the recent World Darts Championship with fascination at how players accurately hit tiny areas with amazing consistency. Yes, the distance is small, the dart tip is minute, and target is minimal but by consistent practice these guys rarely miss. So, is darts or snooker a game where luck is minimized? Both are what sport psychologists refer to as "closed skills" meaning the object does not change, neither does the environment. All that does change is the shot required to get the double or pot the ball.

Research is often quoted that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve perfection. Not sure many of us can afford that time. My take on "Luck" is that the more times you put the ball or dart or whatever into the right area at the right time, the more chances you have of eliminating luck. Luck obviously plays a huge part in winning most football games or losing them, as Bobby tells us all too regularly. There is no legislating against that twat Atkinson for being such a shithole ref...

The other often quoted line is that luck balances itself out over the season! No real research or evidence for that! Any offers to watch every Blues match in the Premier League and log the number of lucky and unlucky instances? I will be happy to write up the thesis!

So, what do I tell my students or players that I now coach? Put the ball in the best possible place depending on the state of the game as many times as possible so that it is skill that determines the outcome and minimizes "Luck"? If I have a bad run of results, then (like RM) I can resort to "bad luck" as my excuse to stop me getting the sack!

Having said all that, I am still going to wear my lucky shirt, won't move if we score, and keep everything crossed on Saturday.

David Cooper     Posted 18/02/2016 at 22:51:13

Small Steps when we needed Giant Strides

Following on from my previous article (The Fine Balance, 17th November 2015) we have made progress in the last 14 games compared to the same fixtures in 2014-5 but no where near enough.

We are now 8 points better off than the performance last season, gaining 6 points more in the last 14 games than the equivalent fixtures last year. This has taken us to a projected 55 points and 8th place in the league. We are actually the 4th most improved team in terms of points this season and 3rd most improved in terms of the middle third of the season. Progress? Somehow if a projection of 55 points is considered progress, it is more a mark of how low we had sunk last season.

This table takes the results of last season for the remaining 12 fixtures and adds them to the results so far this season. As simple as that.

The battle for the top 4, both on projections and current status does seem now settled. It is just the order with City having a very noticeable dip in the last 3 months (down 13 points).

Europa League places are also seeming to go to the Sky 3 who have lost their way so that should be fun on Thursday nights. The question is will one of the chasing pack really move up a gear and catch one of them. I would possible risk a fiver on Chelsea being in the top 7.

Then we have 8 clubs, including us, who will be thankful of the money, not seeming to be in any danger of relegation and not making the Europa League with the associated costs in terms of squad numbers. Southampton dipped over Christmas but have improved by 5 points in the last 5 games so have more than arrested the slide. All of these clubs are showing improvement, albeit only marginally apart from Swansea who also have picked up recently after a brief flirtation with a projection of under 40 points.

And so who is going down? Villa and Barcodes look certain. Or do they? Newcastle took just 3 points last year from the remaining 12 fixtures. Tough fixtures or they were just lousy last year as well as this? Bournemouth (playing as Hull) took just 6 points. The ones who will probably not improve are Norwich (QPR took 13 points), Villa took 12 and Sunderland with 9 and so we could see the 3 promoted sides stay up, but I suspect one will not make it.

So back to our grand team. 12 fixtures to go. 5 at home. Wins over Norwich, Saints and West Ham and draws with Arsenal and Bournemouth? 7 away. Wins at Watford and Palace, draws at Liverpool, Leicester and Sunderland and defeats at Villa and United? 55 Points? So Bruce, Higher or Lower?

Phil Roberts     Posted 17/02/2016 at 22:22:56

Atkinson to ref the Bournemouth cuptie

I've just heard that Mr Atkinson is to take charge of the FA Cup game at Bournemouth on Saturday as if things weren't bad enough...

Patrick Murphy     Posted 16/02/2016 at

Roberto – Asset or Liability?

The answer to the question raised is going to be heavily in favour of Liability given these past two seasons of frustration.

The majority of Evertonians will point to his lack of defensive coaching; set pieces; goalkeeper selection; selection generally over the season of square pegs in round holes; substitutions, both in terms of personnel and timing (I still shudder with embarrassment with regards to Rodriguez's 30- second debut).

Then we have listened to his phenomenal after-match interviews; interviews in general where he expounds about having the best young players in Europe whilst he drags them towards the depths of the Premier League. The column marked Liability contains a list which makes this article a simple one sided discussion.

However, what about the other side of the coin? The investor side of the coin?

If I was an investor, whether I am American, Chinese or a rich man in a Manchester bed-sit, it matters not what matters is my investment.

Roberto knows how to sell himself; knows what to say about the Chairman to the media, wishing he could live for another 100 years (put in a good word for me to the new investors Boss). He knows when to jump ship (Wigan when relegated and how to move out without a sniff of resentment from the supporters, at least at the time of his departure). He knows how to put a positive spin on bad results and performances. He is mystified when we batter a team and lose 1-0 to another set piece. He makes last ditch acquisitions on the final day of the transfer window so he comes out holding the high ground.

To an investor he sees the young, invaluable players he has brought to the first team and one cannot argue with the development of Barkley; Stones; Galloway; Lukaku; the acquisition of Deulofeu; the free signing of Cleverly. There are more in the pipeline of talent yet to be fully fledged.

As an investor, what do I care about? The TV bounty is on its way with more to come. Roberto has developed talented but, importantly, invaluable young players to sell at the drop of a hat to cover any expenditure to which I might over-expose myself. As long as EFC stays in the Premier League, as long as Roberto keeps delivering this young talent to the first team, surely he is an asset I cannot afford to lose? Why fix what is not broken?

Yes, it would be a bonus if we can get into Europe; win a cup or two Roberto only has to fix the defence and the investor has a match made in heaven. As an investor I cant understand what these Evertonians are complaining about. Such a nice man, nice shoes, nice dance moves, Chairman thinks he is wonderful, everything is phenomenal, so what is there not to like? It is not as though the club have been winning trophies for the past 20 years or so but we will see what Roberto has to say about that defence and if it all sounds good, give him a new contract.

Of course the investors might not give a darn about anything but finding a manager who can take us to the top of the league; recognising that Europes top competition is where the real money can be found. Just maybe they will see the Liabilities outstrip the Assets but it depends on why you are investing in the first place.

Ian Burns     Posted 16/02/2016 at 10:40:22

Gamblore on the Top Four

Only Simpsons fans will appreciate the title of this, my first article on ToffeeWeb.

Remember that easy run of games from around October up to the Spurs game at the turn of the year? Well we're in the middle of the reverse of those fixtures and this time we're winning.

If we beat West Bromwich Albion on Saturday then we will be either nine or ten points off fourth place.

Now I'm as pessimistic as your average ToffeeWebber but with an upcoming fixture list of Aston Villa (A), West Ham Utd (H), and Sunderland (A), dare we dream of finally sneaking into the top four this season?

Arsenal at home is the next game on the list (leaving out the pending derby game for the minute). Seems like déjà vu from last season where us beating them set up a race for 4th place in the Premier League.

Bear in mind that, by the time we play them, they'll have just encountered Leicester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the league not to mention their probable annual exit at the last 16 stage of the Champions League.

This article sounds like the type of one that I throw my eyes up at but, at 50/1 to finish in the top four, I'm going to allow the aforementioned gambling monster to enslave me and chance at least a Euro on it happening.
Shane Corcoran     Posted 11/02/2016 at 17:20:14

Ticket prices

Last weekend Liverpool fans walked out in protest at the proposed 77 ticket prices, and fair play to them, for once didnt have me viewing their flag waving banner clad karaoke Kop with nausea and disgust.

Earlier this week, despite their ability to argue at great volume even when agreeing with one another, Mark Saggers and Stan Collymore on talkSport covered the pricing of tickets in the Premier League against the vast increase of money coming to cubs next season (not the first massive rise in recent years) and clubs will see their coffers swell multiple times above the level of income from gate receipts, that make the turnstiles as beneficial as programme sales. And yet prices in the Premier League will go up.

There has been much discourse about how the relationship with the fan and the players has changed within the Premier League this season. For those with bums on seats are waiting for the players to provide the impetuous to rouse their support rather than the other way round, or at least an equal responsibility. But as the fan are the only people in the stadium poorer at the end of 90 minutes, by some considerable amount, this is entirely predictable and I would say, warranted.

But no one wants the game to be this way, and with prices to make a Chelsea fan blush it was hats off to the Liverpool fans streaming out on 77 minutes when a tipping point was reached.

Saggers and Stan informed the listener that you can watch Barcelona or Bayern Munich with a season ticket that costs only a couple of hundred pounds, and yet very much under reported only a few, lead by our own club, couldnt stop Premier League chairman voting to refuse capping away tickets at 30.

If the Premier League continues to follow the American path of pricing tickets, our stadia will continue to be full, but not by the hard core fan but those who visit four to five times a season and willing to pay the price of a Barbra Streisand ticket. That is the American way.

One final stat from talkSport, the most expensive ticket at Arsenal 20 years ago, adjusted for inflation, would be 20 in todays money. And we are about to be taken over by venture capitalists from United States.

Are we about to see unity from fans across the country, as what divides us is not as great as what unites us? If I could afford to go to the game Id also walk out on 77 minutes.
Nick Entwistle     Posted 10/02/2016 at 13:51:07

Bugger! We missed 2 goals!

I really must find something better to do with my time!

Again, putting aside any natural disinterest in all teams wearing red and who play their home games in the Liverpool area, I listened with mild interest to the 77th minute shenanigans across the park.

It's pricing us Norwegians out the game!(Ok, I made that quote up...sorry!)

The thing is, will a club like them (Boooo!....stop it!) be able to sell the seats? Answer: Yes. We have to assume it is not a random finger-in-the-air price? Let us assume a marketing company has done the work for them.

Now the capacity will be somewhere around 54,000 morons (apologies...couldn't help myself). There is a joke in there about which way the new stand is facing, but let it go people.
This capacity is a long way from that of Hades Trafford so they probably are confident that where United charge from 40 to 55 for a seat, the greater demand for a seat in (our discarded old ground, dammit!... another cheap jibe. Again, sorry) will allow them to charge more. This, I believe, is a very simplistic price-versus-demand thing?

Now, the owners are looking at a very simple business model, loadsa money equals greater success. They could be looking at money in their pockets OR buying better players (I don't particularly care), but again let us assume it's to buy more expensive players. Better players, more wins, more success.

So we get to the point of this talking point. Where do your priorities lie?

  1. Everton win at all costs (game or trophies)
  2. Everton win but we must play like Brian, Howie, Alan and Colin
  3. Everton try and do a Leicester/Nottingham Forest

My preference is the number 2 please forgive me, I'm an oldie but even that is not the cheap option of number 3.

And therein lies the dilemma we all want success and let us be honest, the players and agents are black holes to money. If we get taken over by foreign investors we may get the glory back, but what is the cost? The board across the park are looking to maximise profit to achieve success. Is that wrong? If the trophies roll in, do the fans then complain? We need to understand that the fans do not figure in the plans of these men of riches. If they know someone will buy the seat, the shirt or the scarf, they care not who that fan is.

I think we are lucky (so far). We are a big club, we fill our beautiful (and she is beautiful even if I know she must go) ground, we have a mass of octopus tentacles stretching through local communities (far more than the other lot). The club has a soul and I, like you, love her to bits.

But when the money comes (fingers crossed) will we be walking out at 89 minutes? (I'm not suggesting 89 for a seat in a new ground in Kirkby but buggered if I'm leaving at 70 minutes I sodding paid for 90!)

My point: I appreciate the fans making a statement, but I doubt anyone was listening.

Ian Robert     Posted 07/02/2016 at 17:47:48

On Paper?

Just for a bit of boredom relief I started looking at games left and a possible end-of-season points tally for our beloved Toffees.

We all have our own opinion on the outcome of any given game. Some people just look at the team on the fixture list and say we should beat them, even if they are above us, just because we traditionally finish above that same team.

Some people look at statistics and try and reason the result, but we know footy is a bugger for letting yer down!

Some of our fellow Blues just see red literally for some games and demand a win regardless.

Now I concluded a 53-point tally but everyone that knows me looks for the black cloud above my head and puts up a brolly when talking to me!

I then thought, don't look at the fixture, forget the stats, just look at all the teams and think who is the best on paper (before any wannabe Boardmans come back with the we play on grass routine, please don't). Again it is all down to personal opinions, and I know we all can say well if we dropped him, or hadn't sold him, etc...but clear that from your minds.

Forget earlier results. Forget bogey teams. Forget how teams have performed. Forget how good the manager is. Just look at first elevens at the start of the season.

Teams I believe (that is I, me, nobody else) we are better than on paper: Villa, Sunderland, Newcastle, Norwich, Swansea, Bournemouth, WBA, Palace, Stoke, Watford, Southampton, Westham, Leicester. Ok, so that should mean we finish at least 7th (if there's 13 listed there... maths was never my strong point).

Now I also believe we are better than the chaps across the park....just my opinion and not based on any seething hatred. That puts us 6th.

The rest are probably as good if not far better than our boys. Again, on paper: Chelsea, Man U, Man City, Arsenal, Spurs.

So I would be happy for us to finish 6th, anything higher would be a great achievement, anything less is a disappointment.

Of course teams have injuries and some have Kone :)) but over the season I think it evens out. So was I right to expect a top 7 finish? Can we still obtain a top 7 finish?

If we do, I for one, won't be complaining.

Ian Robert     Posted 05/02/2016 at 10:42:38

Crowd trouble and double standards

Let's just start by saying I am not racist and would like to congratulate the Carlisle staff and police for tracking down the idiot who abused our players on Sunday. Great work, guys.

Okay, why has the same logic not been applied to the Man City game where a disabled fan was abused and there's video showing a fan being repeatedly struck by City fans in front of the stewards who are then allowed back to their seats to enjoy the rest of the evening and celebrate City winning and qualifying for Wembley?

The Everton supporter was removed from the ground. If this had been deemed racial, would the Steward be identified and sacked now and the culprit arrested?
Raymond Halsall     Posted 03/02/2016 at 15:38:03

Watershed Weekend

Seeing the table after todays matches was not a nice feeling. Everton have slipped down to 14th, albeit with a game in hand against Arsenal tomorrow. But we are now behind Crystal Palace and West Brom in the table, the two clubs that changed managers to arrest a slide and the stave off increasing likelihood of relegation.

I know full well that changing managers mid season is a great risk and hasn't often worked, but its worrying to me that those two clubs are now ahead of us.

Since Pardew was appointed Palace manager on January 3rd they have won 6 games (4 in Prem and 2 in FA Cup), drawn 1 and only lost against Liverpool and Arsenal and us narrowly by one goal. They now have 30 points and a slightly inferior goal difference to us, but crucially they have FORM and confidence!

West Brom are also now on 30 points and with a marginally inferior GD, and having changed manager with Tony Pulis on January 1st, they have since won 6 games too (3 in Prem and 3 FA Cup) and drawn 3 (including against us) and crucially only lost once at home to Tottenham. SO to me they too have form and confidence.

By contrast, since the turn of the year we have won only one game in the Prem or FA Cup, drawn 5 and lost 3. We have 28 points, two less than Palace and West Brom, will probably not beat Arsenal with our game in hand (but hopefully we will go against the form book and history!) and we don't have confidence or form in the Premier League or a new manager!

I know that we all know this stuff I have laid out but the wins by Palace and West Brom today really put how bad we have been doing in perspective and it doesn't get any nicer!

I hope we put together a few results soon but we have been hoping for that since January. I really hope we don't rue the chance to replace Martinez in January.

I can sympathise with Kenwright that its probably better the devil you know until at least the summer and that last year was hopefully not a flash in the pan. What saddens me is that I remember Martinez in his interviews after Wigan went down and it was about how it had been incredible keeping them in the Prem that long and that injuries that season had made it impossible to stay up. It all sounds ominously familiar and the script seems already written for what he'll say if he takes us down.

Only brightness is that Burnley, Leicester, Aston Villa, QPR, Sunderland and Hull are struggling for form and confidence too!
Ben Dyke     Posted 28/02/2015 at 19:28:09

How do we beat Arsenal?

So it's back to reality on Sunday; our renewed hopes for Europa success set aside; our angst related to Premier League results back to the fore.

If we get turned over or edged, as everyone expects, there will be the Martinez Out venting and associated soul- searching. I believe Everton can get a result....

So how do we set out our stall?

Positive from the start. We have the talent on the flanks to forge forward and create chances. Don't stand off them but stop them playing at every turn; they don't like it up 'em. Howard and the back four need to spend the next couple of days agreeing how not to look like the keystone cops at set pieces and when under pressure.

3 points at the Emirates against the odds. And a fantastic run in.

Believe. COYB
Robert Miller     Posted 27/02/2015 at 01:08:32

A big kick up the arse

There has been much talk of the failings of Martinez this year and rightly so. However, one can't also look past the fact that at times when the players have crossed that white line they have also let him and us fans down badly.

It's almost as if Martinez has a supply-teacher vibe about him; his airy-fairy, nicey-nicey, softly-softly, positive-positive approach has almost rendered him a joke. Do they respect him? As a result you can't help but think as Martinez has protected the players so much that they are now taking the proverbial piss.

The whole squad looks like it needs a complete kick up the arse. A few cages need to be rattled and a few home truths need to be told. No hand-holding or nurturing of precious egos. Each and everyone of the first team squad need to be told they have been shit this year. With the exception of Besic I think every first team player this year has been below par and they all need a good look in the mirror.

There are times to be nice and there are times to call a spade a spade and tell the truth.

Martinez has been kidding himself and the players seem to be cruising without consequence or pride for the shirt. Im not sure though whether it is in Martinezs make up to bring out the big stick. Im not saying he needs to lambast individuals in the press but a change in the mental attitude of some of our players is needed.

I hope hes been rattling Mirallas and Lukaku for recent comments, I hope hes been telling Howard hes not been good enough I hope hes been telling Barry to up his game. The problem is I just cant see it, it simply reeks of indiscipline at the club at the moment.
Daniel Johnson     Posted 26/02/2015 at 08:38:56

The intransigent season

I am sure that when many of us look back on this season, whatever the eventual out come, many like myself will think of it as a season of intransigence from the manager as has often been referred to on Toffeeweb posts.

This has been true across the board on all fronts. Firstly the system has been rigidly 4-2-3-1 whatever the oposition or the scoreline, winning or losing. This was demonstrated on Sunday when three substitutions were made but the system stubbornly persevered with. Gibson slotted into the Besic role competently.

As Atsu, replacing Barkley, has previously always been used on the wing, I expected him to be employed wide left, with Lennon wide right, but no, he was used central as a direct replacement for Barkley. Then Mirallas took over the Naismith position as left mid, although they are not comparable players.

Secondly the personnel. Certain players names seem to be on the teamsheet, no matter how poor their or the team's form. The club has been slipping into the relegation dog fight all season yet the first choice eleven is essentially the same as that for the first game. The only exception is the introduction of Lennon who has yet to establish himself.

Two youngsters have briefly been introduced through necessity, and Garbutt in particular has looked the part, but has immediately dropped from view. On Sunday, Baines only looked half fit, but was prefered to Garbutt.

The one area that has especially amazed myself, has been the reluctance to play an extra striker alongside Lukaku, even when falling behind in games home or away and with a few minutes to go. Indeed, after we signed a permanent deal for a big strong old style centre forward type and followed this with a proven goal scorer in Eto'o, I assumed he was there to play alongside Lukaku, even if it was from the bench when needed.

Amazingly this was never the case. Whenever they were on the pitch together, Eto'o never played up front with Lukaku for a single minute. Even when Eto'o was picked from the start up front and Lukaku was brought off the bench, Eto'o was moved out to the wing or dropped back into midfield.

To sum up, I can understand rigidly sticking to a system and players when things are going well. Many top managers have done this over the years. When, however, things are not going well, and continue so all season into March, it is incredible that nothing new has been tried either with the system or the players
Clive Rogers     Posted 24/02/2015 at 20:11:14

The Martinez Question

Everton employed a young manager whose experience in the Premier League led to a team being relegated. His footballing philosophy is all about keeping the ball, he put experience above form and he never seems to have a plan B.

This season we have witness some very poor performances, which, whether he likes it or not, stems from his organisation and preparations of the team he sends out. His defensive organisation plus his insistence of keeping the ball deep in his team's own half can at best be called very naïve. That along with our attacking system of only ever getting one player into the box when we have moved the ball out wide, again very naïve?

The questions?

  • Is he out of his depth?
  • Is he afraid of senior players?
  • Can his philosophy ever work in the premier league?
  • Is he any good at management at this level?
  • Is he a leader at this level?
The Everton board need to ask plus provide answers to all the above questions and then act very quickly, otherwise players will want to leave, season ticket sales for next season will be affected and the future of Everton football club could be in jeopardy, the Martinez questions need to be answered.

I have said previously I believe he needs assistance, I think he is too stubborn to admit to being out of his depth (which is difficult for anyone to admit), but look at all the other top managers with the exception of Wenger – they all have good strong second-in-command. Its not too late, the board need to insist. It can be turned around!
Kevin Dale     Posted 23/02/2015 at 20:34:36

Young Boy(s) Garbutt

I've been a backer of Roberto Martinez. I will continue to be until that time comes that I feel he's no longer the man to lead Everton.

When, where, how, and why that time comes is a conversation that has been done to death on this site. I have no wish whatsoever to re-hash that. I do, however, see this Thursday's game against Young Boys very pivotal in one respect.

Luke Garbutt must start.

This game is in hand. This game is one where I wouldn't blame Roberto one jot for giving some fringe players a run out until there is some real danger of the away game reversing itself and Everton in peril of not going through. Because of that, I'd contend that Luke Garbutt simply must start and finish this game in it's entirety.

The kid is absolute class in my opinion. For a man so young, he is so composed on a ball. I can not remember him putting a foot wrong in any of the games he's started / cameos he's had this season.

The boy has to be frustrated. He's passed over too often in my opinion. With the talent he has and the fact we're not playing him very often, a contract set to expire, and other teams surely interested in him, we simply need to start getting this boy minutes.

If he doesn't play in this game, when the hell will he ever play?

If Roberto doesn't start to show some confidence in this young man beginning Thursday - the perfect opportunity to do so - my faith in Roberto will be shaken.

We have an absolute gem on our hands in Luke Garbutt. Do not screw this up Bobby! Play the boy. Show the confidence in our youth you so often talk about. There's very little exposure for you to do so this Thursday.

Play Luke! If we lose this kid I'll never forgive you. If we lose this kid across the park...?

I'll join the horde and call for your head.
Jamie Crowley     Posted 23/02/2015 at 18:24:32

Big decision to make

Surely this has to be one of the most disastrous seasons in recent memory? The excitement, optimism and the good times of last season are long gone.

Roberto Martinez has made some shocking decisions this season. Sticking to his favourites such as Howard and Barry, the painfully slow, tedious football we've seen for the majority of the league season certainly, the strange subs, the same, repetitive tactics that have been long exposed and the same mistakes over and over again that either he can't see or either he is so inept tactically that he can't find it within himself to rectify and change it.

Sorry to drag up the other lot but when they started slowly and were struggling, Rodgers changed it up, changed formation, gave young players like Ibe a go. Do we see Roberto doing that?

Players like Robles, Garbutt and others would never get a chance to establish a foothold because as soon as the regular starter like Howard, Barry or Baines are back that's it, they're straight back in, no questions asked, regardless of form or performance.

I don't think we'll get relegated but it will be very close. I reckon Premier League safety won't be secured until the last 3 maybe 4 games. On recent form and performances we're heading for maybe a 13th-15th place finish. A decline from Champions League challengers to looking nervously over our shoulder in a year that is unacceptable.

I would think that our European performances is the only thing keeping Martinez in a job. 6 wins in 26, 3 home wins all season, 2 wins since November. Awful run of form. Obviously if we win the Europa this would all become insignificant, but realistically can we win it? I don't think so.

So a tough decision lies ahead. One that the board probably doesn't have the bottle to make, but if a top manager becomes available in the summer, such as Frank De Boer, whose Ajax side is looking unlikely to win a trophy this season and is apparently not ruling out a future Premier League move, becomes available, do you stick or get rid?

I personally would give him until Christmas but what if next season we start just as poorly and we've missed the boat to get a Bilic, a De Boer or even a Benitez who in likelihood is returning to England?

I know what you're thinking. 'Ross, have you gone mad? Why would De Boer or Bilic come here?' But these are the calibre of managers we should be attracting if we are to establish ourselves as regular Champions League challengers.

This season has been a disaster, and Martinez's tactics and his 'philosophy' hsve been exposed. Do we stick with him next season? Does he deserve a third season? If indeed in an ideal world, Bilic or De Boer do become available, do we go for them?

It's going to be an interesting few months.
Ross Edwards     Posted 23/02/2015 at 10:32:25

Top eight finish

I was one of those fans recently who could really emphathise with Tony Cheek in his recent article entitled 'Bye Bye, Blues'. I was drifting away from the club and was finding myself more and more disinterested. The same anticipation wasn't there on match day and I was less inclined to tune in to Final Score or Gilette Soccer Saturday coming towards full time.

The two West Ham cup games offered a brief glimmer of hope again and performances, clean sheets and to some extent results started bringing me back to the club again.

I was genuinely surprised to find that last night's Europa League game and the Premier League game on Sunday were part of my thinking and were a huge part of a weekend taken off from work.

This morning, I have the sitting room to myself for an hour as my wife has gone to the gym and my son has gone back to sleep. I turned on the laptop and drank my morning coffee while browsing the football pages. Following last night's impressive result, I found myself looking at the league table.

I suddenly found myself thinking about a top eight finish and the four teams that currently stand in our way. I am for now enjoying being a fan and being able to look forward to how the season may finish is actually enjoyable. Having a sense of positivity certainly doesn't hurt either.

Those four teams at present above us are Newcastle, Stoke, Swansea and West Ham. There is also the small matter of an 11-point gap and having to achieve a positive swing of 12 goals. None of the four teams between us and 8th are that consistent and I think that if we continue as we have in terms of improving, we can overhaul them.

While a long shot, I think that another positive result on Sunday would give us a chance of achieving a top eight finish. It may seem like a million miles away from what we had expected in August as a Champions League spot was the goal. But, considering how the season has gone in terms of on-the-pitch performances, it would be a massive achievement.

Even if we didn't achieve a top eight finish, at least having something to aim for may go a long way towards eradicating fan apathy and disenchantment.

Kieran Fitzgerald     Posted 20/02/2015 at 08:44:57

Thursday Night League

Interesting BBC article here on the pro and cons of Europa League action: Europa League: Premier League hopes damaged by competition.

Some of Phil Neville's comments...

"The recovery process is much harder," adds Neville. "Normally you get a Sunday off, but your recovery from the Sunday game knocks into the following week and has a cumulative effect. That builds up. The first couple you're fine but it's the third, fourth, fifth game in the group stage that hits you hard...

"I think I saw Roberto Martinez in a study once say managers get back from Europe and change the team for the next game, when actually you should change your team the game before Europe, then pick a team for the Europa game and keep it the game afterwards.

"He has done that a lot this year and what I guess he is trying to say is look, don't use this as an excuse.

"It annoys me, you may work for nine months, get into Europe, celebrate and then come back for pre-season and the Europa League has become a noose around the neck. We embraced the competition at Everton and that is what you have to do."

My personal thoughts on the Europa is that its a tin pot, an after thought when the traditional Uefa and Cup Winners Cups were dismissed and merged to allow an extra midweek night free for the CL to take centre stage.

The Europa also allows for the gap between the haves and have nots to remain in place as CL teams have the squad numbers and quality to be playing and traveling to all these extra games. The lesser teams don't have the personnel to cover both and as the article states, more than likely league positions fail, with falling down the table running at 64%

Teams dropping out of CL are included, I believe, in those numbers. And given 5th place generally being that of a monied-up rich club like Spurs, would reduce those percentages. I would therefor presume, if you're not in the top 6 money teams then Europa is a massive disadvantage numbers would be in the 80s.

Football should not allow a system where players know who to play for, and more to the point, not play for. If there were one European wide knock-out tournament then it opens up many factors that otherwise in today's game the league is won, and the top 4 taken, by the same teams each and every year.

And doing the math one long afternoon, the teams reaching the final would play the same number of games that are needed to reach the current CL final. I've never done an ad for L'Oreal, but if Ginola can run for FIFA, then I can run for UEFA... and you should all back me. Because I'm worth it.

Nick Entwistle     Posted 19/02/2015 at 13:53:21

Bookies see Everton safe

For those of us who subscribe to the view that the bookies are never far wrong, this morning brings the good news that they already see Everton safe from relegation.

After hovering around the 25/1 mark for weeks, the recent upturn in performance level rather than results has seen our price against relegation go as high as 66/1 while Roberto Martinez has gone out to 80/1 against losing his job in the near future.

I am reliably informed that the money men have adjusted prices drastically in recent days because of the belief that Leicester are already doomed and 38 points will be the absolute safety level this season.

Thus, with the given of a win over the wooden spoonists elect on Sunday (Everton 4/5 - Leicester 9/2), our boys will need only 8 points from the last dozen games to see us maintain Premier League status.

For all my cynicism about the present management regime, I can see no way Roberto can balls it up from here and I was never going to chase money in the cause of my club being relegated, anyway. The fate of the manager is another thing altogether although he would seem to be safe for a while, at least...

Phil Walling     Posted 17/02/2015 at 09:39:23

Is Bob Dylan a Blue?

Just a thought: the latest release from the "spokesman of a generation" includes a version of Johnny Todd, along with the Mighty Quinn, which I remember being a terrace favourite back in the 70's.

As you might expect it's a bit wonky, perhaps after celebrating a Blues win back in the 60s?
Martin Lewis     Posted 12/02/2015 at

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