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How Much Has Moshiri Really Spent?

I read the other day that the net spend on transfers since Farhad Moshiri took 'charge' stands at approx £230M. Thank God we got those big fees for Lukaku and Stones!!

So, with that in mind, and the "hundreds of millions" we get from TV money... how much has he really spent of his own money?

I don't really follow the financial side of things as closely as I probably should – I'm more of an On-the-Pitch fan – so I would appreciate any information from people who are more clued up than me on this subject. Thank you.

ps: I can't remember where I read the Net Spend figure so don't ask me. I initially thought it sounded quite low considering how much we've wasted.
Lee Courtliff     Posted 20/01/2022 at

Blue is the colour of my true love's hair. Ride On, Conor

I walked in, bold as brass, armed with 3,000 essays on my laptop on why Allan won't be sitting in front of the defence. Blue Bill chimes in: "I didn't realise he's not your favourite, Conor. I don't think you've ever said." When I told Moshiri we would have a goal start every game, he was so euphoric he began ejaculating on Blue Bill’s leg. My lack of experience and suitability raised concerns but I had all angles covered. "Mosh, don't worry about me, wait til you see the strength of my team."

First up, I wanted Dave Abrahams as the “man above”, someone to guide my novice hand. I'd need at least 3,000 decades to pray for my holy soul. Not just to save me from crucifixion for attempting the resurrection of Holgate, but for our devoted flock's forgiveness for exiling the Brazilian Jesus Christ into the desert to join his Colombian Apostle, James.

Dave suggested I put a frame of the divine one on the wall with locks ever-flowing. He wasn't impressed when he arrived to see André in a halo. That Abrahams Man has taken God’s love to a new level. His miraculous unconditional support for Satan for the last 6 months makes the parting of the Red Sea look a breeze, while the disciples have been to hell and back. He still wants to give him one more chance just before hell freezes over.

Danny O’Neill will run the academy since he never shuts up about it. I have forewarned him though that I'll be on to him should Koulibaly rock up clean-shaven, covered in acne, with his teeth braced and Danny claiming he's the first one off the production line. He has infinite free time now that the RSPCA have eventually been called after years of the most abhorrent abuse. His dogs were forced to witness some of the worst scenes imaginable every week at 3 o’clock and listen to Danny in full Kiefer Sutherland mode bleat on all things Everton 24 hours round the clock. They have never seen mental torture like it, consigning Escape to Alcatraz to a walk in the park. Woof, Woof. The TV ads asking to donate £2 a month are now demanding £20.

Next, I had Darren Hind in mind as Chief Scout. He's promised no lighthouses, no shithouses, no outhouses, no alehouses. An aversion borne by Biden kicking him out of the White House. Mind, it didn't stop him screening Moshiri for a luxury boathouse. I've asked for No don't plays, No won't plays, No can't plays and No fucking intention of plays. Let's hope he can pick a player better than he does a nag. Darren was as cantankerous as ever in negotiations, the big Mosh man swinging it by footing the bill for his yearly sub to the “I love Donny Osmond” Fanboy Magazine, a major sticking point up to then, excuse the pun.

Mike Gaynes was in as my number two. I needed an alternate voice to challenge me and boy that fecker never agrees with a single word I say. When I told him we were going to take the gig, he said, "Oh no we're not". Hey, what's fucking new? I lied to him that Holgate was sent back to Barnsley and he cried with relief when accepting terms. Though he was a sight for sore eyes, a shell of a man, explaining he had lost 90 pounds in the last month or so with the worry that there’s no one else in the world who would take the job. I told him he looked as white as a ghost, he chastised me for being racist.

Up next was Christine Foster as Head of the Physio Department. I needed someone to straighten out a few of our corpses. She promised Big Yerry will end up 12 foot tall by the time she works her magic. Jay Wood will be enlisted as Senior Fitness Coach to run a few of those lard arses into the ground, they won't know what hit them as they grasp for their very last breath. Even the poor buggers on death row share the peace of muttering a final word.

The room went eerily quiet when I wanted Tony Abrahams as Head Coach and Rob Halligan for the goalies. Suggesting qualified people was clearly a big no no. "Fuck me, we might have to win something" retorted a dismissive Bill. Moshiri said you better sort out a defensive coach. I told him to stick it where the sun don't shine. "No need Mosh; After two years of watching Jurassic Park does Goodison with those two bores, we are going full throttle and playing eleven up front".

I went into every detail. I enlisted Mick O’Malley as head of security. His first job was to escort Benitez out of the building, I think he liked that one. I even got Gary Smith to steal a peek at Benitez's computer on the way out to see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately Gary hasn't been seen or heard since!!!

All was going swimmingly and contracts were being drawn up when I opened my big mouth and proposed captain Christy Ring. I knew that man would be the death of me. I said Christy was perfect, I wanted another strong Irish voice belting out at half-time with Seamus ready for pasture and I thought giving the 'job for the bhoys' would go down well with Blue Bill. To my shock horror, Kenwright went fecking apeshit as he promised Seamus captain for life. He said Christy's powerful Celtic belting tone wouldn't be to the taste of the lads in the dressing room. Think he got the wrong Christy.

Ah well, it wasn't to be as Mosh broke the news I was told to “Ride On” out of Finch Farm. I suppose every cloud has a silver lining and all that — Delph was delirious he was spared the one injury that had so far eluded him, a permanent jawline fracture after being left alone with Christy for 5 minutes.

Conor McCourt     Posted 17/01/2022 at

Can we please stop blaming Moshiri?

Can we give it a rest with the bashing Moshiri stuff please? It's lazy, unrealistic and fundamentally makes no actual sense.

This guy didn't take a side that were challenging for the title every year and turn them into losers. Much as people on here may hate to deal with it, we've been pretty poor for the last 35 years (I know as I've been supporting for longer than that and still recall the '80s hey day).

He hasn't done a Glazer and loaded us with debt while paying himself a fortune and he's not done a Derby in destroying the club then trying to get out.

What he has done was continue to put a shit ton of his own money (and Usmanov's of course) where his mouth was and invest it into the club and try to build something better.

This club was an absolute financial basket-case before he came along, as this forum should know more than most considering the dogs abuse they've given Kenwright for the last 20-odd years. Moshiri invested a lot of money (Usmanov's too) to write off this debt, start a new stadium and try to improve the playing staff, management and structure.

Benitez was a punt, I agree, but we were left in a hole by Ancelotti at short notice. (Where's the criticism of Carlo? How is that Moshiri's fault that he has no sense of loyalty?), and it was at least an attempt to do something different rather than repeating the same thing that had failed.

If you step back from results, the management appointment ideology wasn't madness, he's simple tried different things and given people a shake:
i) Koeman – world famous manager with Premier League experience
ii) Allardyce – short-term specialist to 'keep us up'
iii) Silva – young, well regarded 'modern' manager
iv) Ancelotti - proven winner with great connections
v) Benitez – Forceful manager with strong history, but an 'outside the box' option
And of course we've also interviewed countless others.

Every one of these managers (aside Benitez maybe) has been given strong backing in the transfer market to build a side in their image. Despite some decent signings, I'd argue that all of them have pissed away money to some degree, over spending or buying too many of the wrong types of players. Is the argument he shouldn't have given them money? Or he should have vetoed signings?

Do you think he personally recommended Koeman not to buy a striker but to spend £40M on Sigurdsson (who to be fair had a great Premier League track record), £22.5M on Bolasie (less great but some positive signs) and £20M on Schneiderlein? Do you reckon he scouted Tosun and Walcott for £41M for Sam? What about the £28M spent on Gbamin by Silva, etc?

Presumably if so he wasn't involved in us signing Pickford, Richarlison, Digne, Gueye, Calvert-Lewin, etc?

Progressively, he also tried to put in place a wider football structure with key advisory figures around the manager – first Steve Walsh (who came very well regarded from Leicester) and then Marcel Brands (from Ajax).

Obviously we can all agree the 6. year adventure hasn't gone the way we'd hoped, but it's hardly been a total disaster. Since he took over in February 2016 and effectively ahead of 2016-17 season, these are the key bullet achievements:

i) Achieved financial security (Moshiri and Usmanov)
ii) Started work on new stadium (and a proper one not a Tesco carpark)
iii) Finished mid-table each year (but outside Europe) from 16-17: 7th (61), 8th (49), 8th (54), 12th (49), 10th (59)
iv) Net transfer spend of £233M (based on p/season net from 16-17 according to transfer market): - £23M, - £69M, - £64M, -£30M, -£53M, + £6M (so far)
v) Updated training facilities
vi) Established a relatively successful youth team and policy of buying youth (albeit not playing them enough)

Yes, there's been loads of terrible signings and yes the results have not yet approached what we achieved under Moyes and Martinez (and thus Kenwright) before. Moyes notably achieved 8 top 7 finishes under his tenure, got us into Europe several times and restored some respect to the side after the disastrous 8-9 years from 92-93 under the likes of Walker, Smith, Kendall (Mk 3) and Watson where we were flirting with relegation almost every year. Despite this Davey Moyes got pretty relentless abuse on this channel as not being ambitious enough, attacking enough, 'big enough' for Everton, etc, etc.

Is it possible just maybe the case that the people who are 'out of touch' and need need to take a look at their approach and expectations are NOT only the ones in the boardroom?

I know football fans are fickle and critical by nature, but I think few clubs have fans with such an unrealistic and detached level of expectation and are so willing to rapidly swing into negative doom and gloom than those voiced on this channel.

Even reading the posts about new manager options, it's mainly rubbishing people rather than anything constructive. We wanted Benitez out en masse it seems, so now that's done. What next? What will it take to have a more positive approach? Otherwise if it's just relentless doom and gloom, why are we bothering with the club at all?

Chris James     Posted 16/01/2022 at

The Maniac Must Be Stopped – Sack Benitez Now!

When Rafael Benitez took the Everton job, I felt sure he would try to steady the ship, unite everyone at the club, and show Evertonians he could be trusted. And yet he has done the opposite. His behaviour and team tactics have been nothing short of horrendous.

He said he would improve the players at the club. This he has failed to do. If anything, most have performed even worse than last season. But, far from uniting the club and winning over the doubters, he has taken a sledgehammer to the very foundations of the club, pointing the finger at anyone but himself.

After a brief set of good results, we have gone on the worst run ever with no sign of improvement. Benitez first blamed the injuries but the injuries did not cause such a dramatic drop in form. It was his tactics and the way he handled the injuries.

As the bad run continued, the finger was pointed at Brands with Moshiri happy to oblige with his sacking. The defeats kept on coming and it was the club medical officer who was to blame.

As the defeats got worse, our French international was singled out, and now he has gone. But the main problem, the awful tactics, continue with no sign of it changing.

Right under the noses of Kenwright & Co, Benitez is dismantling the club, while ensuring we keep losing, picking formations that condemn us to a bad start in every game.

Is he going to stop there? I doubt it. Who is going to be next for the axe? Rumours are rife that there are other unsettled players and Allan must not be allowed to leave at such an important time in the season.

The big fear is that Benitez's awful tactics will see us lose to Norwich and the other struggling teams and that will be it. There is nothing to indicate that can't happen.

Benitez has destroyed any understanding or confidence in defence with his constant changes. And changing to a back 5 or 3 (depending on how you see it), instead of strengthening the midfield, has made the defence even worse.

Benitez has to be sacked because he is destroying the club in every way and one league win in 12 is all that Moshiri needs to know. If we get beaten by Norwich, it is a must that he is gone.

Kenwright needs to stand up and be counted and show he is a true Evertonian. Unfortunately for Sharp, his first move as a director must be to say Benitez has to be sacked. After all the years of terrible management, to put Evertonians through this torture is unforgiveable.

We can get out of this trouble with a bit of management common sense. A settled defence, a more positive outlook and the acquisition of a mobile ball winner for the midfield. But something must be done now.

Everton fans deserve so much better than a character like Benitez who has already shown he is nowhere near good enough for the Everton job and must be shown the door ASAP.

Jim Wilson     Posted 13/01/2022 at

Time to address the Spine

The spine of a team,, as I see it, should be comprised of:

1 A commanding centre-back who organises the defence.

2 A midfield enforcer who sets the tone of a team. No backing down, no being bullied, athletic and a driving force both in dictating tempo and an in-built desire to feed the attack. A player who questions every dodgy refereeing decision with rabid fervour. A winner in spirit who demands, for 90 minutes, 100% from the team and never anything less.

3 A centre-forward who can be the focus of a team's attack. One who can get his head on crosses regularly, get on the end of low crosses, be in the right place at the right time. Can hold up play when necessary, win free-kicks and buy time.

One of our biggest issues and our current footballing malaise stems from the disappearance of our spine. Spinal surgery required…

1) Centre-Back

No Mina, who had become our best centre-back, has cost us dearly with his prolonged injury absences. Holgate has faltered; Godfrey is looking more like a high-class utility player. Branthwaite is 100% the future but is 19 and needs a managed introduction.

We desperately need Mina fit, but how long will that last? We have to do some trading and find a centre-back who can play with Keane, command and organise. A short-term on loan or a quality experienced centre-back on a short-term deal.

2 Midfield Enforcer

Both Allan and Doucouré are excellent players, but there is a missing link in our midfield. We have to be on the look-out now for this key player.

Don’t spare the horses, finances, FFP, (forget fair play)… get this player in to play in a midfield three with Allan and Doucouré.

3 Centre-Forward

Simple answer, get Calvert-Lewin fit. With Gray, Richarlison and Gordon providing chances and scraps to be fed off from their shots, Calvert-Lewin will be scoring regularly.

Also simple: Rondon has failed as an adequate back-up to Calvert-Lewin. This failing has to be addressed now, not in the summer. Say thanks but find a new club in Dubai or wherever. Simms is a better option, or get into the loan market now and get an adequate back-up.

Dobbin has been excellent but I see him as more of a wide forward rather than a focal point. He should also definitely be used more from the bench to inject essential pace for the last 20-30 mins in games.

Tony Everan     Posted 10/01/2022 at

Blue or red put to the test

Well, it has been an unpleasant first half of the season – what with Rafa Benitez being put in charge and the fan base split on his appointment: some are prepared to give him a chance while others from Day One will never accept the guy.

So, for a different perspective, it takes me to the question Blue or Red.

I will start with the Blue: shouts for Ferguson or Rooney, both Blues, to be given the job. So let us assume either or both had come in at the start of the season, started off well, but only had £2 Million spent in the Transfer window, then lost their main striker Calvert-Lewin, along with Doucouré, Richarlison, Godfrey, Pickford, Coleman, Digne, Mina, Gomes, Davies, Townsend and other squad members, all missing games at some point through injury.

How many would say they have both been unlucky on the injury front and should be given more time to be judged when they have close to their strongest 11 available, along with a few additions in the January transfer window. Then they sign a much-needed right-back, along with possibly our player of the season so far in Demarai Gray, and give an extended run to the youngster, Anthony Gordon.

I would expect a lot to be sympathetic towards our two Blues in charge and would want to give them more time to get it right.

Now comes the Red and all the above goes out of the window: no patience – he had connections across the park… some will never accept him as manager, results are poor, he does not change formations, etc, etc.

So now, back to Blue: in his third season in charge during the 1983-84 season, Howard Kendall had the same record going into January as our current manager now has: 5 wins and a dreadful 3-0 defeat to bottom club Wolves away, who had not won a home game for 6 Months.

Whereas our manager now has been called out for not rotating or changing the system, Kendall chopped and changed, week-in & week-out.

Dreadful football and poor attendances had leaflets circulating for "Kendall Out" – and that after being given 3 years beforehand to build his own team; luckily, we stuck with him and the rest is history.

Rafa Benitez has had just 5 months in charge, battling against injuries, lack of funds at the start of the season… only now are we starting to see players back from injury, and a transfer window where new players have been brought in.

So take the Blue or Red away: would you be happy to have given either Ferguson or Rooney more leeway, had they been in charge at the start of the season, and had the same players from past managers – plus shocking bad luck on the injury front?

If the answer is Yes, then why not the same for our current manager???
Brian Wilkinson     Posted 06/01/2022 at

2022 Toffeeweb Predictions


‘tis January 2nd and Ebenezer Kenrick unlocks the office to ensure that Lyndon Cratchit gets back to work, after his generous second day off over the “festive” season.

Kenrick is so stingy that Lyndon has to work, standing at his tall, wooden desk, with only a small fire for warmth, his long comforter scarf dangling down to his dirty breeches. He occasionally tries to warm his mittened hands at the candle.

“Christmas never brought any good to anybody”, grumbles Kenrick, “least of all Everton. Now get that report on the New Year's Day match written!”

At a Toffeeweb pre-match drink in the Crown, Dave Abrahams announces that he’s been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list, “for a century of posting his football memories”.

“I’m overwhelmed,” says Dave, “I’d buy everybody a drink but I don’t carry cash.”

Meanwhile, in the back of their Rolls-Royce (chauffeur-driven, Denise Barrett-Baxendale doing her bit for charity again), Jennie Seagrove consoles Bill Kenwright who blubs “I’ve just been told it was a clerical error – I’ve only been awarded an OBOE”.

Derek Knox takes to ToffeeWeb to ask whether it was pink.


Hit by injuries to a depleted senior squad, Rafa Benitez injects some young blood into the squad – “David Unsworth will fill a huge gap in defence”, he tells the gathered press with a wry smile.

Meanwhile, Farhad Moshiri, looking for a reasonably intelligent Under-23s coach to stand in for Unsworth, and recalling President Lyndon Johnson’s old line about Gerald Ford, says he’s not asking for much, just wants somebody who can “chew gum and walk a straight line at the same time”.

Holgate tweets, imploringly, “I can chew gum!”

New signing Mykolenko tweets that he’s just seen Iwobi in training – “great pace but they tell me his tackle is nothing to write home about”.


Everton appoint up-and-coming (again) head coach, David Moyes, who says he wants determination, effort and, above all else, loyalty.

Ebenezer Kenrick says just before the Saturday game that the Live Forum will be closed down for the day if there are any more fish puns.

Rob Halligan posts on Live Forum about a Mersey Trout - and promptly gets banned.

“That’s just shit!” says Rob.

“Bramley-Moore Dock – that’ll never happen,” writes Nobby Naysayer on ToffeeWeb.

Later in the day, Everton release the latest video of reinforced concrete pillars being erected for the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.


It’s the morning of the first day of April and the head coach announces that Fabian Delph should be back to full fitness for the game tomorrow. “No, seriously”, he swears, trying to counter the titters from the press.

Mike Gaynes is still hurting from being told by a ToffeeWeb punter that, as a Yank, and not attending games at Goodison, he knows little about football and can’t comment on what actually happens in games.

Later that day, said punter proceeds to lose a pony betting on Holgate to be able to chew gum and walk a straight line in that day’s match.

“Stupid punt”, posts Mike, having trouble with some of the keys on his typewriter.


Derek Knox organises another successful golf day. In the bar afterwards, Derek asks for contributions to a collection for charity – “folding money only”, he requests.

Dave Abrahams drops into the collection box a fifty-pence piece with a hinge.

David Moyes announces his premature departure for pastures new, and blames the players for their lack of loyalty.

Everton’s freshly-appointed head coach, Duncan Ferguson, predicts that Rondon should be fully fit for the start of the FA Cup campaign. Says Duncan, “I’m looking forward to leading training; I’ll knock these wasters into shape; any complaints and we’ll have a little ‘tête-à-tête’, if you know what I’m saying.”

Half the squad mutter under their breath that they rarely know what Duncan’s saying.


Acknowledging Duncan’s vote of confidence, Rondon is seen returning early for pre-season training on his own. “I’m going to hit the ground running this season”.

Later that morning a groundkeeper helps him up from the ground.

“BMD – that’ll never happen” writes Nobby Naysayer on ToffeeWeb.

Later in the day, Everton release the latest video of concourses being constructed for the new ground at Bramley-Moore Dock.


Scientists announce a new strain of Covid.

Fabian Delph announces a new strain.

Rondon says he hopes to catch up with the fitness of the rest of the squad before too long.

The rest of the squad return to training.


For the new season, Everton have completed a nostalgic retro-fit of Goodison Park, restoring several old features which had previously been removed, including the Boys’ Pen and decent beer. “Great - decent beer for a change,” says Dave Abrahams, “Tony, get them in!”

Farhad Moshiri leads an emotional Bill to the retro-fit Boys Pen and invites him to be the first to enter. As a pool of nostalgic tears gathers at Bill’s feet, the door “accidentally” slams shut in the wind. Mr Moshiri fumbles in his pocket for a key that seems to have “gone missing”. Mr Moshiri mumbles something about Kirkby and slopes off saying he’ll find a spare key.


Danny O’Neill uses all the expertise gained from his army experience to make a phone call: “Brent, I can’t attend the away game at Palace as I have Covid; but my brother, Jamie, will take the ticket you gave me, the seat next to you, if that’s okay”.

“No problem”, says Brent.

“Must go, Signals problem”, says Danny.

Duncan Ferguson pleads to be relieved of his head coach duties before the Palace game.

Everton’s new part-time head coach, Boris Johnson (still acting as World King and Prime Minister) says “I’ve always loved a Palace trip. But what a dysfunctional lot.”

Danny’s brother, Jamie, phones: “Brent, I’ve returned a positive Covid test; I hope I didn’t infect you at Palace.”

Brent emails Danny, thanking him for everything.


Mr Moshiri finally finds a spare key to the retro-fit Boys Pen. Pauses. Strokes his wallet thoughtfully. “Maybe we should just wait a little while longer,” he smirks to himself.

“BMD – that’ll never happen” writes Nobby Naysayer on ToffeeWeb.

Later in the day, Everton release the latest video of construction of the first tier of stands for the new ground at Bramley-Moore Dock.


Boris Johnson, still part-time Everton head coach but doubling up with Prime Ministerial responsibility for managing the New Year Honours List, tosses into a waste paper bin (Derek Knox, stop it) an anonymous letter with a West End postmark, nominating a certain Bill Kenwright.

Fabian Delph finally declares himself “fit for the game tomorrow”. The head coach says “Turn up at Goodison at 8:00 am sharp!”

The fixture list shows no games for another 2 weeks – international break.


Everton announce season ticket and seating arrangements for the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, now more than half-built.

Nobby Naysayer writes to Everton saying that he “wants a seat in the upper reaches of the South Stand”.

Everton email Nobby saying “That’ll never happen.”

Brent Stephens is congratulated by several ToffeeWeb posters for finally making an intelligent football comment. (That’ll never happen!)

Moshiri tweets “Has anybody seen Bill lately? He’s not in the Boys Pen.”

Moshiri is later seen with a jug of water and a stale loaf outside a centuries-old lock-up on Everton Brow, whistling his favourite Beatles tune “Fool on the Hill”.

‘Tis Christmas Eve, and Ebenezer Kenrick begrudgingly releases Lyndon Cratchit from his duties, resenting the custom of allowing people time off for holidays. Ebenezer urges Cratchit to come in early the day after Christmas to make up for his time off.

And Dave – I know you’ll take the ribbing in good spirit. I really wish you’d let me do an interview with you for ToffeeWeb. Not too late to change your mind. Seriously. I’d even buy you a pint.

Brent Stephens     Posted 03/01/2022 at

Who had a nice weekend?

I suppose I should make it clear that, in these tough times, football is not that important, but... the games go on and someone thinks it is.

So, how important is it? To me, very. Which brings me to our team and their performance yesterday. There are some admirable contrarians who will defend anything; Pickford, Carlo's subs, the negative dirge we are served up etc; however, that is all debatable.

What I would love to know is how the band of highly paid, incredibly lucky, vastly... oh by fuck — really vastly overrated young men spent their Saturday night???

Hands up, those who think they were sick to the heart, too ashamed and hurting to function? No, sorry, Martin Mason ... put your hand down!!

Hands up, those who think that they pressed the appropriate button to close their curtains, adjust the temperature, chill the wine, and enjoy the comforts they have really, really earned???

Here's what I think:

They don't hurt.
They don't care.
They don't know how we feel.
They don't give a fuck how we feel.
They couldn't form a backbone between them.
They don't know us.
They have no pride in wearing an Everton shirt.
They are hired hands.
They are lazy.
They have no pride.
They have no integrity.

Not one of them, not a single one, knows our history. Knows Mick Lyons, Alex Young, Ray Wilson, Alan Ball... no need to go on, just a sample.

You know what: I would love to ask every one of them, including the coach and his highly paid team, this question:

Who was Dixie Dean?

Would they know?

Would they give a flying fuck, I suggest...

Andy Crooks     Posted 31/01/2021 at

No after you, no after you...

Firstly let me establish my good fortune of having witnessed two great successful Everton teams full of leaders: Labone, Ball, Harvey & Kendall; then Reid, Gray, Southall & Ratcliffe.

All of the above hated losing, I mean these guys took it personally. We regularly heard stories that, if the Blues lost, then that weekend, woe betide the dog, the cat and sometimes the wife. Evenings out cancelled, sulking, silence & fronting up any teammate they felt hadn’t put a shift in.

Those were the days when a win bonus probably was more important than the regular salary but it wasn’t down to the money – it was down to the in-built will to win these guys had.

Since the introduction of the Premier League, we’ve been blessed with very few of such characters and my judgment is that, for a team to be really successful, you need a minimum of four players like this in your team.

We’ve since had sides with players like Cahill, Ferguson, Rooney etc. Maybe two players but not the full compliment required to affect the team's performance and be the required tipping point.

Fast-forward (unfortunately) to present times: overpriced and overpaid prima donnas who get more protection in one match than the '60s, '70s and '80s teams ever received for the majority of their careers.

I actually don’t think any of our squad actually hurt when losing; those days are gone. But we do seem particularly cursed with players who just seem to be “nice”. The only players we seem to have with “an edge” are Richarlison and Godfrey.

Yesterday, Newcastle successfully targeted James Rodriguez and no-one in our team responded. In my nativity, when Shelvey was yellow-carded after 20 minutes, I thought: "He’ll be off soon as we’ll do a number on him."

What an idiot I am! No-one went near him for the rest of the game. I forgot – we’re just too nice. I’d guess the thought of retribution and protecting your teammate never entered Sigurdsson’s mind... far too busy pointing.

When Sheedy got clattered, Reid would actively seek out the perpetrator and administer justice. Skill, talent, genius is wasted without character... the best had a nasty streak: Maradona, Pele, Best, Cruyff, Ronaldo.

We have character – unfortunately, it’s more Hugh Grant and not Liam Neeson.
Dave McDowell     Posted 31/01/2021 at

Forget about Carlo...

Let's forget Carlo Ancelotti, the latest fall guy being blamed for the failings of the club, and instead let's focus on two others: David Unsworth and Marcel Brands.

David Unsworth took over the Under-23s in June 2014. Six years on, we haven't produced anyone from within who is capable of doing any more than polishing boots. Jonjoe Kenny scored the winning goal for England at the Euros before Unsworth came onto the scene. Kieran Dowell was already highly rated at the club and even made his way into the first-team squad a few months after Unsworth succeeded Stubbs.

These two players are notable because they were part of Unsworth's much-lauded PL2 title winners. But their level relative to their peers has only deteriorated during the Unsworth era. Them apart, his one claim to fame is signing Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was produced by another club, then fast-tracked into the Everton first team. So Unsworth can hardly take credit for his rise.

So what does that leave us with? A bunch of folks like Nathan Broadhead who can't get a look-in, even when we are down to the bare bones. Our best option now seems to be the 16-year-old Thierry Small who, having stepped up to the Under-23s, has risen in status above all the other lads who've been "learning the Everton Way" for five or six years.

Such is the paucity of talent, we had an empty seat on our bench against Newcastle Utd rather than call on an Under-23 player. That is very poor especially in relation to Arsenal, Man Utd, Spurs, Liverpool and Man City. The worst part is that, years ago, Bill Kenwright was justifying Everton's lack of spending at the notorious Blue Union meeting by explaining that all our money was going into Finch Farm. Well, 16 years since Rooney left, what exactly do we have to show for that investment?

Then we have Marcel Brands. The guy who agreed to buy the show donkey, André Gomes, the product-less Bernard and apparently thought Marco Silva was the right man for the job. He decided this summer to bring in Nkounkou, a young left-back. Why did we bring him in if we have fears that the seemingly more talented Thierry Small may get impatient and seek first-team football elsewhere? Surely, if we hold onto Small, then in a year or two he can succeed Digne, which means Nkounkou will be in Luke Garbutt territory.

Meanwhile, the fading great, Seamus Coleman has been on the wane for years. Do we replace him? No. We bring back a 24-year-old Jonjoe Kenny, who has already shown that he's not at the level of a top right-back. Instead of addressing that problem area, we sign Ben Godfrey – a good player, no doubt – but a centre-back, to join Mina, Holgate and Keane.

Not only that but we also signed Jarrad Branthwaite. What's the game plan here? Do we need five centre-halves when we have no quality right-back? Is Branthwaite going to waste years in the Under-23s because the players he will eventually succeed aren't even that much older than him?

Beyond that, we have four first-team goalkeepers. Tryer is doing a sterling job with the Under-23s. Should he not, as such, be effectively the Number 3 keeper? Why even have him waste his time here if he has four senior keepers ahead of him?

If we felt Pickford wasn't good enough, then why not replace him? Instead, we buy a goalie that presumably we think isn't as good so as to "put pressure on him." Well, that strategy doesn't seem to be working as despite facing Lössl, Olsen and Virginia in training every day, Pickford hasn't felt pressured enough to raise his game.

On the wheeling and dealing front, Marcel Brands also brought in Alex Iwobi. He divides opinion but even his most ardent supporters would agree he was never worth £30 million. He also brought in the aging and injury-prone Fabian Delph on a massive wage. That was a West Ham level transfer misstep of the type that saw them buy Wilshere and Carroll.

We also had the Moise Kean fiasco. "We will take good care of your son." Yeah... we could take care of him financially but there didn't seem to be any real plan there for him. Either he wasn't good enough, in which case, we didn't do our homework. Or he was good enough but we felt we had better options, which begs the question: Why did we sign him? So that's another £30 million out the window while he is swanning about in Paris.

Financially, we don't have the luxury of wasting money on bad players in the way that Man City do. £30 million on Kean, £30 million on Iwobi, massive wages for Bernard and Delph... All-in-all, that's £80 million or so we could badly use right now to get a right-back among other things. And here we are shipping off anyone and everyone on loan because we are cash strapped. Sorry but, there is no manager in the world who could produce a top team with the level of performance delivered by Marcel Brands our Director of Football, and by Daviid Unsworth, our Academy Director.

Kieran Kinsella     Posted 30/01/2021 at

Ted Sagar

I was interested in the appearance record for this late great goalkeeper and recall seeing him in his final days at Wolves. My father took me to Wolves to see my first ever game, and I’m pretty sure that it was a reserve team, Central League game as there was only a small crowd, around 1950 (?).

I was only about ten years old but I clearly remember being behind the goal net when the goalkeeper made a fantastic flying save to deny a Wolves goal. I said to my dad, “What a great save, dad! Who is that?”

I always remember him saying, “Best keeper you’ll ever see, that’s Ted Sagar, son.”
Frank Byrne     Posted 25/01/2021 at

Two games in hand or the points in the bag?

After last night’s round of games, we sit 6th with two games in hand over Man Utd and Leicester City and a game in hand over Man City and Liverpool. Is having two games in hand a good thing or would we have been better off with the points?

I wish we had played those games and seen where we are. I would rather have the points myself. I also believe not playing a competitive game for so long will be counter productive. Could having two games in hand scupper our top four chances?
Bobby Mallon     Posted 21/01/2021 at

A suitable role for ex-players

I have just read that Marcel Brands is suggesting that the club should start recruiting more ex-players into coaching positions. Various names have been mentioned including Neville Southall, Paul Gasgoine, Phil Jagielka and others.

Not long ago, there was discussion about the merits of a 'bootroom' mentality at Goodison Park; some were in favour but, at that particular time when the club's fortunes were at a low point, many were pointing a finger at too much old-boy involvement.

There is no doubt that today's Everton, under the ownership of Farhad Moshiri, is a long way removed from what we had before. There certainly appears to be more business nouse about and the whole backroom team seem to be working well, with a common goal.

I have no particular feelings whether we need more ex-players at Finch Farm or not. Some have already described the club as a rest or retirement home for past-it players. What I am certain about, though, is that nearly every Evertonian I speak to is absolutely fed up with the lack of representation as media commentators.

Football – whatever your stance about VAR, a contactless future, and a no-heading game – is nevertheless big business and nowhere is this more apparent than in the £Millions being spent by the likes of Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime, BBC and whoever else has the pennies to air matches.

Granted, there are one or two ex-players that come to mind who have managed to squeeze into the mould. There is no indication that the mould has been cracked, never mind broken. To have any media influence at all, Everton must start a programme of training a new breed of commentators and promote them to do an 'unbiased' job of work for Everton, just as the likes of Carragher, Neville, and Owen regularly give the world their own brand of 'unbiased' views.

In my opinion, this is the area the club should be targeting; ex-players should not be considered too old for the job, look at St John, Thompson, McManamman, Souness and a myriad of other Golden Oldies that our dear neighbours manage to role out on a regular basis.

I read that Everton should copy the Liverpool financial blueprint… Everton are the Blues, we should establish our own blueprint and start a programme of indoctrinating the next generations into what it means to be a Blue – through the words and experiences of its former players.
Robert Williams     Posted 17/01/2021 at

Grey Day for Dancing with Wolves

It's a grey Sunday morning here in New Brighton... there is a magpie on the roof opposite, just sitting and looking out towards The City and The River, all grey, no lights but a pale blue on the side of one of the larger building near the waterfront to at least give a glimmer of colour.

I am in a pensive mood, listening to Erik Satie and Claude Debussy. I watched the game yesterday – unable to attend of course. I follow Everton by choice; I go when I can, only stopped by authorities and law. This makes me think, I have longed believed that football – like everything else in the world – is not only changing (for the worse) but is gradually being taken away from those who stood with them from the very start.

I am ruminating on Tosun's gesture, and his cowardice in denying it, and I realise that football and footballers nowadays are like puppets, marionettes, wooden and unable to do anything unless someone pulls their strings.

I always comment on the now normal practice of religious gestures when coming onto the pitch or scoring; as I said to my friends, I would not go to a Church and start singing “Everton!” I respect their space. I am not against anyone's religion. I really believe in it is every person's choice to be what they are – but don't "sell" it to me.

So it's the gesture by Tosun and his denial of it – we all know what he supports – the choice for me is: Do I let this stop me going to the match or supporting Everton? No, absolutely not... but in our long discussions and debates in The Dark House we demand no racism, no right-wing politics, no fascism of any kind in our talks and arguments.

What a sad state we have allowed the authorities, moneymen, hangers-on, agents and TV to do with our beloved sport. Each game I install within myself, from my physche, from my heart and soul and memories and beliefs, I create my "posso" waves for me and to share with you – in spite of the reality of the absolute dire garbage that is thrown at us (football fans, not only Evertonians) by the system.

For goodness sake, Nuno Espirito Santo got reprimanded for complaining about the referee... Why? Why?? Why??? A closed clique shop full of corruption and self-centredness.

If not for friends, and I include all you TW nutcases, my goodness – football would be nothing. Indeed, football without fans is nothing.

My sincere best wishes and cosmic grooves to you all. Take care in these difficult days and hopefully we can meet again some sunny day.
George  McKane     Posted 10/01/2021 at

Are we nearly there yet?

I enjoy and admire the articles posted by Paul "the Esk"... but I find them a bit scary; we rely on Mr Moshiri and he needs Champions League football. Can Carlo deliver it? Perhaps, with a huge amount of luck. Luck beyond anything we have ever had before. The easiest way is to buy it. Unfortunately, that ship sailed with Koeman and his lamentable Director of Football, Steve Walsh on board. So Carlo can't buy it.

Build from scratch with a long-term strategy of producing and developing young players? Sell some, slowly improve quality and have an inspired Director of Football, along with a patient Board of Directors and a fanbase engaged, supportive and even more patient. That option is not open to Carlo. The new stadium dictates so.

What is Carlo's plan? I am not altogether sure. My view is that he is in an almost impossible situation that is reflected in his team set-up. Our best eleven can play some good stuff and get results but it is still, in my view, not good enough. A couple of additions might, just, give us a chance. However, factor in injuries, Everton luck, and "off-days", and you get what we have endured in the last week.

The lack of depth in the squad was a fair enough excuse for losing to Man Utd – though not, in my view in the tame way we did, but still excusable. It was not any excuse, to me, for the utterly abject showing against West Ham Utd, for the lack of urgency, confidence and guile.

Carlo doesn't seem to trust the squad; when you witness the utterly heart-stopping, soul-destroying, pointless passing around the back, one cannot blame him. (I am doing the coach the courtesy of accepting that this annoys him as much as us.) So it looks like the tactic is to keep it tight and gather points till all the squad are fit. Problem is, we are Everton; that day never comes and never will until we can buy a squad.

Another, perhaps minor, but still irritating point: Why two goalkeepers on the bench? Surely a young player could benefit from the experience. Back in the day, Man City had the late Eddie Large on the bench. In those days it was not impossible he would get a game but apparently it was for humour and motivation. So perhaps Lössl is also a gifted impressionist and motivator.

We are better off than a year ago. We have, in my opinion, signed James and maybe others because of Carlo. It is a positive. He is committed to short-termism, which is understandable. We have good young players and some are getting chances. Frankly, it is Carlo or bust, because there is no room in the Moshiri project for another coach. Who could it be in any case?

Here's my concern and it is based on our last six games. Pragmatism is good; top teams have loads of it, but they have more. I would expect at this stage to be thinking; yes, a blip, but I see the big picture, we're not too far away. I just don't see it and I believe we have too many players who don't see it either. Losing doesn't hurt them.

For this to work, it will require a quite remarkable alignment of the stars. A blend of personalities, a talisman signing, unprecedented fortune with injuries... and, most of all, belief. Who knows? It happened to Leicester.

Andy Crooks     Posted 02/01/2021 at

The Curious Case of Gylfi Sigurdsson

Gylfi Sigurdsson is undoubtedly a player who can drive opinions. He can be the catalyst for excellent team performances, then he can completely anonymous the next game. A deserved captain one game, a perennial finger pointer the next. Just what is it that makes Gylfi Sigurdsson blow so hot and cold?

Firstly, let’s look at the run of games that Gylfi has performed well. I would say there have been two particular runs of games where Sigurdsson has performed well; Silva’s purple patch at the end of the 2018-19 season, and the recent run of games prior to the West Ham game.

Interestingly, the formation in both of these runs of games was a 4-2-3-1, with Sigurdsson in the coveted Number 10 role. In addition, both runs of games included games against teams that we didn’t necessarily expect to beat. Silva’s purple patch included wins against Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd, as well as draws against Liverpool and Spurs. The most recent run of games included wins against Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal. Why then, have two of Sigurdsson’s best runs of games occurred against superior opposition?

Gylfi Sigurdsson is not a creative player in the sense that he can unlock defences who have come with the intention of not conceding. He can’t beat a man, he can’t play an intricate defence-splitting pass, and he doesn’t possess that instinctive first-touch ability to make something happen. Neither is Gylfi Sigurdsson a central midfielder. He is too slow, lacks the positional awareness to close players down, and his tackling ability is questionable.

Gylfi Sigurdsson can pick a pass, however, and he is very good at it. The problem is, Gylfi is best at picking passes to runners, to those players who are making runs to stretch defences, or those players who are counter-attacking quickly. Gylfi is also very good at pressing from the front, he covers a lot of ground and works well in tandem with a forward player in pressurising the opposition defenders to force a turnover.

Here lies the problem with Gylfi Sigurdsson: The vast majority of teams who face Everton do not look to attack. They look to stay compact and restrict our chances, classic Moyes KITAP1. By playing this way and defending deeper, the opposition restrict our ability to stretch defences, meaning that we often face a wall of 8 players with no chance of runners stretching the defence. This immediately nullifies Sigurdsson, as his best two abilities are now taken away from him. The result – the anonymous, finger-pointing Sigurdsson that we all love to hate.

When we play the better teams, who look to attack us, Gylfi works well pressurising defenders and, when we have the ball, he generally has runners such as Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, as well as the full-backs, sprinting ahead of him, allowing him the options to make the passes which he is best at. The only other times we are in this position against the weaker teams, is when they are forced to play more expansive; either towards the end of games they need to win (ie – Sheffield Utd) or when we are leading and they are pressing for an equaliser.

The solution? Gylfi Sigurdsson should have two roles to play. The first as a starter against the better teams as the way they attack us plays into his hands. And second, as a sub to kill games, the way that Lukaku used to.

What we don’t need to see, however, and where Marco Silva repeatedly tried and failed, is Gylfi Sigurdsson in a Number 10 role at home to West Ham, Burnley, West Brom etc where he is likely to be completely anonymous, unless we get an early goal.

Carlo – if you are really worth your salary, please take note.

Kevin Prytherch     Posted 01/01/2021 at

If I was Manager!

As a sport, I feel the game has changed for the worse these last few years. Cheating has become a big part of the game I used to love. It has unfortunately become accepted that shirt-pulling, feigning injury, time-wasting, and "taking one for the team" are part of the game and you will no doubt be witness to all of the above in every Premier League game.

So.... let’s just say that I have become the new Manager for Everton. This would be my speech the first time I met the players!

"Hi, Lads, welcome to a new phase in Everton Football Club’s history! We are going to go forward as the club that everyone admires, the club with the best attitude in modern football.

“Now, you might think this is madness, but I will assure you, it will be worth it. I want this club to be the one everyone talks about. The club that doesn’t cheat!

“So, from now on, from the start of our very next game, we are going to wind back the clock and bring back football as it should be played. By players that do not cheat!

“You will no longer be allowed to pull-shirts; you will no longer be allowed to roll around as though badly injured when you clearly are not; or throw yourself to ground to get free-kicks and penalties; or time-waste by heading to the corner flag every time you get the ball (Ohate that).

“The crowds do not want to see it anymore — and nor do I. If you do these things, if you want to act like a child in a man’s sport, then you are in the wrong club and I promise you, you will spend more time on the bench than on the pitch.

“I am quite clear over the fact that this may cost us points but, in the long run, there will be dividends; other clubs will follow suit. English football will come home again because, if it continues down this path, the future is bleak indeed."

Yes, I know I would not last 2 weeks in the job, but just think if it actually set standards through the Premier League. How much better it would be to watch football again!

Rant over!
Tony Cheek     Posted 26/01/2020 at 19:50:34

Pickford, the case for removal... or not?

To me, Jordan Pickford is the best goalie we can afford. I also think he's still the best English goalie currently playing, albeit there's now a smidge of meaningful competition. In fact, I also think he's in the top six keepers in the Premier League, regardless of nationality.

That's my case FOR him.

My case against him is that he comes across as a bit thick. This is admittedly a subjective comment on his personality but, if it forms any part of the opinion on the players in front of him during games, it's a big problem for the team, and the fans, and Moshiri. By way of contrast, Neville Southall, a bin-man and hod carrier back in the day, always came across as a the picture of sober excellence, even when he once famously squatted, for bloody good reason as far as I was concerned, throughout half-time, leaning on a goalpost as the rest of the team retreated to the dressing room to discuss another wretched first-half performance.

That said, Pickford is now on the cusp of being 26 years old. I really think he needs to now “get his head together” on and off the field in order to progress to the level we enjoyed with Nev and Nigel Martyn – especially in view of the crap squad he played with – both of them being the same height as him, and both, in their different ways, being peerless 'keepers.

Top teams have top 'keepers, as well as top defenders, midfielders and strikers.

Hopefully Jordan can very soon supply the fantastic base of our next trophy-winning side.

Don Alexander     Posted 24/01/2020 at 23:24:45


Now here is a good one for ToffeeWebbers.

Until last Saturday, Moise Kean held a unique record for Everton.

However, he then lost it but gained another one on Tuesday night.
Phil Roberts     Posted 23/01/2020 at

Player of the season


Anyway, time is ticking along and l am scratching my head. Not just at how we can always seem to shoot ourselves in the foot in the most bizarre ways possible.

Any stand outs? DCL and Holgate for me.
Possibly Richarlison... it’s a very short list. Bernard has his good and bad minutes. The rest... maybe Sidibe in patches and the same goes for Bernard.

On the minus side my biggest disappointment has to be Digne. All season he’s been off the mark, though he has a few assists to his name some of his crossing is awful and saying he misses Bernard can’t be used anymore.

So it’s all to play for. So to speak.
David Pearl     Posted 22/01/2020 at 19:01:13

Win as a team and lose as a team?

One of my favourite coaching comments is “Win as a team and lose as a team”. But, although it is inclusive and sounds good, it is rarely true!

This morning, I forced myself to watch the last 5 minutes of regular time and then the 6 minutes of added time against Newcastle — although only 4 minutes were held up on the board. So where, Mr Hooper, did those extra 2 minutes come from?

We conceded the first goal at 3 minutes and 30 seconds of added time but Mr Hooper blew his whistle to end the match at close on 6 minutes of added time. The second goes in at 94 mins and 35 seconds. By then, we are 2-2 and suicidal. The game finishes at 95 mins and 57 seconds. But where did these extra 2 minutes come from?

No subs, no injuries and 2 goals. How long did he add on for the 2 goals and why? It must have been a minute per goal. I don’t think Mr Simon Hooper has been around long and took that perennial refs view of “l will see how this attack plays out and then blow my whistle.” Where in the reffing handbook does it say that?

So, having got that off my chest, where or who lost us the match? Or, as the saying goes, did we “lose as a team”? Well, let’s look at Carlo Ancelotti and his substitutions. I can just about accept Tom Davies and Seamus Coleman... but why Oumar Niasse? The way Carlo hugged him as he came on, it felt like he was saying “This is the last time you are going to play for EFC so go and enjoy the occasion!”

Sentimental, good guy, and the fans cheered as Oumar came on. What does this tell us about Carlo? He is a nice guy. The kind of guy you wouldn’t mind as an uncle! He is a little bit arrogant. Well, why not with his track record! But maybe he had forgotten about our track record of seeing out a game.

Okay, who else does my spotlight fall on? It has to be the guy in the banana skin outfit. Yes, England’s #1 keeper well until the next team is picked. There are many adjectives we can all choose to describe him but I will just focus on one - he is too short to be a top goalkeeper. How many times do we have to watch him toss points away? We need a 6'-2" minimum goalkeeper with the ability to deal with high balls into the box. Every team from now on and before is just going to lob the ball into the 6 yard box and see what happens.

Next- Luca Digne. With minutes to play, he takes a well-positioned free-kick and whacks it over the bar. Why not play it into the corner and play out time? Also with Tom he conspires to mess up the clearance which leads to a corner which leads to their first goal. Plus he was captain and should have been telling everyone to get the ball up the field.

The only person apart from Pickford who has a mouth on him is Mason Holgate. No one else says a friggin word. Delph a leader? No way! After conceding the first goal with only seconds left to play, he gets the ball from the kick-off and floats it towards the right-hand touchline where we lose possession. And we all know what happens after then. And I don’t think you can blame Tom for the tackle that leads to the 2nd goal or missing the header with Mason before the 2nd goal.

What about Oumar? 91 mins and 30 secs he charges down-field but cannot run it into the corner.

Maybe we shouldn’t lose sight of the good things that happened in the first 93 minutes. Moise Kean, Calvert-Lewin, Bernard... but why is it always Everton that do this and will Carlo ever learn!
David Cooper     Posted 22/01/2020 at 20:04:32

Why? & How? – What is the Truth?

Everton as a multi-million-pound business are not in a position where they can impart detailed and possibly confidential information to the fans. There are a range of issues that the fans would be interested in but, even if the club wanted to keep us in the loop, it would be unwise to inform us. So the situation offers us many hours of discussion and debate. Occasionally, after time has elapsed, we might even get the chance to say to friends – “I told you so!” A great feeling.

So, a big “why”: Why has Carlo Ancelloti chosen to manage us?

I find it intriguing and am mightily pleased he is here. Surely it is because our owners have genuinely convinced him that he will have all the necessary resources to be successful. A man of his reputation and experience would recognise a con, wouldn’t he?

Is it the massive salary? The challenge at this stage of his career to prove he can restore to the higher echelons the great institution that is Everton Football Club. Is it nostalgia? Going back to his early days in management, when the odds were against him and he was trying to build a reputation. The lure of the Premier League? Has he been promised the money necessary to be successful?

However, he must realise the constraints of the “protectionist racket” that is Financial Fair Play. Does our club have a strategy to circumnavigate this rule? We seem to have made one play with the option of naming rights of our proposed new stadium to the tune of £30 million. Have we the money? If yes, can we spend it? Have the club been truthful with Ancelloti?

And then there is Usmanov. Is he now fully with Everton and prepared to pump money into the club in terms of buying players and in building the new ground? Is he only interested in making money out of us? Is he genuine and going to be one of us? Is it a combination of these reasons? Is he in the background due to Financial Fair Play?

Certainly I find his presence intriguing because he is a genuine “big hitter” and is unlikely to be involved in anything unless he can be successful. Does he share our dreams?

Does the club really believe we can reach the Champions League by the scouting and buying of the next generation of talent before our competitors realise their potential? Leicester City managed to do this to a degree – could we replicate this success? Is Ancelotti onboard with this vision?

Many many questions, what is the truth and how are we going to progress? Can Bramley-Moore Dock really be the catalyst to propel us upward? We will have a stadium of 52,000 while several of our competitors have 60,000 plus...

Tomorrow night I will be in the pub and some of these questions will form part of the evening's debate.
Barry Metcalfe     Posted 22/01/2020 at 19:03:04

The Curious Case of Oumar Niasse

Think back to the outcry as a result of Oumar Niasse on Saturday 18 November 2017 versus Crystal Palace (Away).

Niasse sparked controversy in the match by appearing to dive to win Everton a penalty, which was converted by Leighton Baines to make the score 1–1 in the first half. He subsequently became the first Premier League player to be charged with "successful deception of a match official" under The Football Association's new regulations and received a two-match suspension.

My first thoughts were the FA were looking for a scapegoat for the increase in players diving or going down to the ground with the slightest touch. After the decision with Walcott versus Brighton, would Walcott have committed a similar offence if he had actually gone down?

We are now over two years past Niasse's "deception" but we keep seeing players committing fraudulent falls with hardly a yellow card being brandished let alone a deception charge being brought afterwards. Perhaps, after the FA exonerated Michael Keane at Brighton, Aaron Connolly the Brighton player should have been charged with deception!

We have seen no further "deceptions" being punished after the media onslaught against Niasse. Why have the FA gone quiet?

A few years ago, Kuyt of Liverpool launched a nasty two-footed tackle against Phil Neville and failed! However, the referee Clattenberg failed to apply the law of intent to Kuyt's actions.

So are we to believe only successful deception and on-field violence are to be punished? Any donkey going down to claim a penalty is not guilty of any offence unless it would win an Oscar award for acting. Perhaps, Oumar Niasse should receive a Bafta award for his so-called acting skills. It seems clear that the logic suggests that not one player since has set out to deceive a referee again!
Trevor Powell     Posted 13/01/2020 at 20:31:10

What would it take for Europe?

What would it take for us to get into Europe?

I tend to be a fan who asks "What if?" ... What if Baines had taken the first penalty versus Leicester; what if we hadn't had terrible VAR decisions; what if...

Okay, put aside the reality of the season so far and let's look at what it would take to qualify for Europe next season by any means, which seems to be an aim that is gaining traction. This is more a little fun exercise. Let's hear thoughts on how many points we would need and what people think we could actually get to achieve this.

If you look at recent seasons, 7th has seen qualification if all the stars align with FA Cup Winners etc... To achieve this, 57 & 54 points have got you into the qualifying stages of the Europa League. Prior to this, it was us at 61 points and there or thereabouts in previous seasons.

So, looking at best-case scenario, we would need another 26 points from the remaining 48 available for us to hit 54. Using my blue-tinted spectacles, I tally 24; however, if we improve as we have done, then, using our recent form as a guide, 14 points from 7 games, with 16 games to go could see us hit the giddy heights of another 32 points. That would give us 60 — which still wouldn't guarantee anything above 7th, though if you go back to the beginning of December, I'm sure most would be happy to take 40 points.

In my mind, for what it's worth, I have us winning 24 points with tops of 32, so see us getting 28, putting us at 56; that puts us there or thereabouts for a Europa League place.

This article is not intended to be a detailed analysis, more a bit of fun. Maybe we can revisit this at the end of the season and see who is closest? What if we get to 54 points?

Len Gowing     Posted 12/01/2020 at 18:50:33

So, what next?

Having read hundreds of posts and contributed one myself, it's pretty clear that the vast majority of us do not wish to see particular players wear the shirt again. Some call for a huge, wholesale cull; some want to see some of the youngsters given a chance. Lots — if not most — myself included, bemoan the lack of fight, spirit, guts or whatever.

Serious question now: how would the fans of bringing the kids in to replace the blatantly obvious shirkers and mercenaries feel if Ancelloti did just that, failed miserably and got us relegated? How would the fans of 'hungry' players with a point to prove feel if they were brought in with the same result?

Do we as Everton fans expect too much due to our 'istory? Yeah, I know, more than one question, but how do others feel?

I think that, especially since Moshiri appeared with his money, we have collectively expected too much too soon.

A lot of people on here very similar age-wise to me (62) remember the good old days when even some of the most awful players ever to pull on an Everton shirt did at least attempt to cover their respective inadequacies with plenty of effort. This is what I miss most from the majority of players over the last 5 to 10 years.

Would we get, and or accept, lots of effort with just the odd occasional high point if it meant the big R from the Premier League? On reflection, I think I probably would. The club is so far behind the best sides, it's laughable to think that, under the present regime, with all its shortcomings, we can ever bridge the gap.

I don't include Ancelloti in this, he has a winning mentality that already seems to be creating friction with some of our senior players. If, as I sincerely hope, Carlo can begin to turn this wayward club around, all well and good. But, if he can't and the wasters who have already burned through three or four managers get their way, we could be in big, big trouble. Or does he get shut of said wasters, throw in some academy kids with a sprinkling of lower-league hungry players?

Jim Bailey     Posted 08/01/2020 at 16:19:21

Ancelotti and Ferguson

Can someone please explain to me why Big Dunc is the right-hand man? Two completely different approaches to playing.

Alongside Koeman, Allardyce and Silva, Ferguson never seemed to do anything except throw the ball for headers during the warm-up. When he took charge for a few games, he got more effort and better results doing it his way. Now he's back sitting alongside a manager who likes to play out from the back and more on the ground.

I think Ancelotti only kept him on because he believes that's what the fans want. I believe the club made the wrong decision bringing Ancelotti in so soon. They should have left Ferguson in charge for longer.

I'm not saying he was the manager for the long-term but now what can his style bring for Ancelotti? It's confusing me so what's it doing for the players? Why is Ferguson still there?
Anton Walsh     Posted 08/01/2020 at 13:43:10

Morgan Schneiderlin

Have we ever had a bigger waster at our club? Pound for pound the worst player we've had the misfortune to see in a Blue shirt. Him feigning injury in the derby allowing the Liverpool player to shoot unmarked when he should've been closing him down shows what a complete gutless wonder he is.

Getting sent home from training because of his stinking attitude. Getting sent off (many say deliberately) when we getting battered by Lyon in Europe plus half-arsed performance after half-arsed performance just about sums up his career here.

He just doesn't care and doesn't even hide it too. And we are paying this bloke a reported £120,000 a week for the 'pleasure'.

At this club, it's not even hard to get the fans onside. We can forgive lack of talent as long as you are prepared to sweat blood for the Blue shirt. Names like Denis Stracqualursi and Omar Niasse spring to mind in recent years.

As far as I'm concerned, Schneiderlin was finished at this club the moment he came on as sub against Palace a couple of years ago to a crescendo of booing, something I've never seen towards one of our own players in all the years I've been going to Goodison.

We should've dumped him years ago but after his pathetic 'efforts' at Anfield, he should never have the privilege of playing for our club again.

Ste Traverse     Posted 08/01/2020 at 12:27:51

Do we really have an Academy?

Whilst we all angry as hell following that non-performance, just take a minute out to wonder why we are continuing to have to play the likes of Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin, Coleman, Walcott, etc. Why aren’t they looking over their shoulders at new talent coming through – but, wait, what talent ?

I have been rabbiting on all last season and most of this in trying to get to the bottom of why we aren’t producing our own talent. What’s happening at the Academy, the U18s, U23s? Where is the homegrown talent, and when are the 16- or 17-year-old purchases also coming through. Where are our equivalents to :

(i) Liverpool - Alexander Arnold , Gomes, Jones, Philips

(ii) Man Utd – Rashford, Lingard, Greenwood, McTominay,

(iii) Spurs - Rose, Kane, Wicks, Alli

(iv) Chelsea – Abrahams, Hudson –Odoi, Mount,

(v) Arsenal – Maitland Miles, Martinelli, Saka, Willcott

We’ve got Calvert-Lewin, Holgate and on the fringe Davies, and to name a few more just about to come through according to Unsworth – Gibson, Gordon, Adeniran. Of that lot, only Davies and if he ever comes through Gordon, have come through the Academy, not a lot over last 4-5 years. The rest were bought, not for peanuts either. We buy Brendan Galloway from MK Dons, and at same time Spurs buy Alli; one plays for England, one can’t find a club.

People will say Unsworth has won the PL2 for 2 out of last 3 seasons, they have but if you’ve watched it, it's absolute dire defensive football, with NO talent at all being brought through. The likes of Dowell, Robinson, Connolly, Evans, Williams, have all gone out on loan and can’t get game time anywhere, even at Div 1 or 2 level. It’s just not good enough. We have as normal given our ex-pro’s jobs they don’t deserve — Jeffers, Unsworth, Ebbrell, etc.

Brands has to have a massive Academy, U18, U23 clear out – it ain’t working at all!

Mike Oates     Posted 06/01/2020 at 20:44:52

Everton FC - self inflicted football subjugation?

The pain is lifelong and the worst fears realised, as we’d feared yesterday afternoon.

Hows and whys, more questions and all break down to common answers.

For such a massive game and opportunity why did the players fail to show, and in the second half surrendered, with out fight? La Guarde Recule!

Why was this allowed, and will there be repercussions, long and short term?

Yesterday’s defeat is now folklore and legend, and any professional football team, if they’d trained and prepared properly wouldn’t have lost against a youth team whom were kids, bar one or two first team players.

It’s to me as if the last 30 years the club has designed its own downfall in terms of the football team, and raises serious questions about a Finch Farm and what happens there., and the ethos of the board room. Mediocrity and abject gutless failure is deemed acceptable.

The hard work ethic doesn’t exist, that was clear and the fight to the last man, belief has not been there since the days of Howard Kendal.

Yesterday the club was embarrassed and humiliated and unless we get 5 years of consecutive victories over the RS, which history suggest won’t happen, this pain will never go away.

Onwards and somewhere, that’s our lot at the moment but , for me by nature of the defeat , the darkest day in Everton’s , own annal of playing disasters.

Now to get behind the club and Carlo, who needs all of us now more than ever to stick together, through this latest humiliation, and regroup and rebuild.

Aspirations for the season, are to try and improve and filter out the dross and get as much as we can in a firewood sale.

Where FFP will impact, remains to be seen.

Typical Everton, and we always know , that the good times for us, are in context just moments in our life times, such is the demeanour of Everton Football Club.

Paul Birmingham     Posted 06/01/2020 at 15:54:39


As a lifelong Everton supporter living in Canada, I have spent the last two winters in the UK with my wife in her hometown of Birkenhead. The main attraction, apart from family, is my love of my team, the Toffees.

I watched last night’s game with confidence, when Mr.Klopp decided to field his reserve team. My thoughts were, who gives a hoot, a win for us regardless of who Klopp puts on the field would get us into the third round of the FA cup, a competition I love.

Well, during the first half I was totally convinced we would come out of the game victorious. Two lucky saves from the opposition’s goalkeeper were all that kept us from going on to a convincing win. Nil-nil at halftime didn’t dampen my hopes.

Well, was I ever brought down to earth. The most pathetic display from a team of losers who are sleeping well at night knowing that their big paycheques will still be deposited into their fat bank accounts. I know that most of my fellow Evertonians will probably disagree, but say what you life about Cenk Tosun, the lad runs his ass off when he gets a chance to play and shows that he wants to play for us.

Also our young 19 year old Moise Kean, given minutes in most games and expected to perform miracles. This kid is a diamond in the rough and if he is managed properly and given the opportunity to play will become a great player for us. Cameo appearances is not enough to develop this young lad.

Well, after the second half of last nights 3rd round tie against our arch rivals, I have to say that my decision to come here again for this winter is now squarely based on the fact that I have family here, because my beloved Blues were a disgrace last night. Ancellotti and Brands, please listen to our pleas and DO SOMETHING POSITIVE about our situation.

Bernard Halligan     Posted 06/01/2020 at 09:41:00

Changing our minds

To hell with the natural order.

All this 4 to 5 year project , so be patient , I don't fully buy in to. If Carlo Ancelotti gets backed in the transfer market to buy one or two quality players , then go for it. Top four is possible sooner rather than later, Leicester are proving it, even after selling Maguire ,their linchpin defender. With one or two quality signings and the coup of signing our top class manager, most of our current players can and should match what Leicester are doing.

Is Brendan Rodgers at Leicester on a 5 year project to get them into the top 4? Are Chelsea on a 5 year project, Arsenal, Tottenham, Man Utd ? No, they will be fighting for it now and next season, starting in August. Why not us ?

I am all for incremental progress and long term aspirations, it’s important to have a plan, but it must not be used as a perennial excuse and a crutch for unacceptable mediocrity. The whole mindset of the club needs to change and Carlo Ancelotti is the best man available to do it. Aligned with Duncan Ferguson who also has that unyielding mindset gives us the best opportunity we have for fundamentally changing this club right now for a great many years. Otherwise in 4 or 5 years time when this 'project' cycle comes to an end we will be back where we started.

Belief and a winning mentality are two critical ingredients that Ancelotti will bring to the table. To hell with the natural order of things, we should be going after each game to win it, full-blooded , against anyone.

Under Ancelotti and Ferguson we will have no fear and never any acknowledgement that any team is better than us when we walk onto the pitch. That desperately required and long awaited psychological shift can start now.
Tony  Everan     Posted 03/01/2020 at 11:09:32

Possession Football

In watching today's match, we were informed that we had possession of the ball for a third of it. I thought we once again afforded Man City, a top team, far too much respect. A large part of the third of the game where we had possession was to me spent passing the ball across our own back-line or fruitlessly across the pitch on the halfway line. City were comfortable in spades with this, they barely broke sweat. Only in the last few minutes did they get pressured by us anywhere near their back-line and, hey presto, our goal was created.

Now I know the City bench was awesome and I know that, on a good day, they can tear anyone a new one but might it just have been possible to give them something to actually worry about in and around their area if we'd played forwards during the third of the game we had the ball? Had we done so, they may have had to break sweat, they may have made an error (as they did for our goal), and they may have not had mastery of the ball in our half to the extent that they did.

If McManaman is right in saying Ancelotti was doing his nut on this issue in the first half, so much the better. Possession football was expounded as the Holy Grail by Martinez, for Christ's sake, and some still at the club said they had to reluctantly endure his nonsense, so why on earth are they, and newer younger signings, still doing the same thing?

It seems to me that possession of the football is somewhat meaningless in itself unless you have an extravagantly talented team, such as the Iniesta, Xavi, Messi Barca team of recent times. They did it for minutes on end in and around their opponents' penalty area, usually winning it back in a trice. No disrespect to our squad but that's dream-world at the moment.

We need to play to our strengths, as You-Know-Who play to theirs, and get the ball forward quickly in a bid to avoid the current ignominy of entering the second half of the season with another negative goal difference. Even a moderately good team doesn't do that.
Don Alexander     Posted 01/01/2020 at 21:28:22

Sensible management and settled team is everything

It's absolutely unbelievable what goes on at Everton, on and off the pitch.

All the talk of getting the structure of the club right, all the talk of buying the right players, getting team tactics right, having a cull, the ground move etc.

But the one thing nearly everyone seems to omit is getting the basics right.

Focusing on Silva, I am sure he has some good ideas and he has a positive, attacking, good football outlook. He has also signed some good players. But it all falls down because – like our previous managers – he seems to be oblivious to getting the basics right.

And the first basic is keeping a settled team whenever possible.

If Silva doesn't know this, then all the great insightful tactics in the world are rendered useless.

In the run-up to the Anfield derby, things had settled down and we were bumping along okay. We played well in the derby and we were very unlucky not to get a draw.

After the massive blow of losing this game, it was essential to then keep an unchanged team but immediately the manager made the huge mistake of making unnecessary changes to the team, especially the defence, which he's continued to do, and the wheels have fallen off.

A settled team helps players build up their confidence and understanding with each other, helps cohesion and spirit between players. The passing gets quicker and slicker and everyone knows their job. Make constant changes and the understanding breaks up, mistakes happen, confidence is drained... which is one of the reasons for the Spurs disaster.

We have brought in Zouma, Mina, Digne – players everyone said were really good, yet the defence is far worse now than when we had Jagielka & Baines in there at the back end of last season. We keep bringing in players, making changes, but don't improve... and the reason is we have no continuity. Change can only be gradual. Other clubs know this, why don't we?

A settled team will work wonders, we won't win the league, but it will settle us down. The Millwall defensive disaster was a direct result of all the constant changes Silva has made to the team and the defence since the derby; if Silva doesn't recognise this, he must go.

I point to the first half of Martinez's first season with us. He made a couple of good signings and let a balanced team go out and play to their strengths. It worked wonders and the wheels only started to fall off when he introduced his 'freshening up the team' nonsense with continual changes.

I am fed up of listening to people slagging off good players, saying we must have another clear-out, we need to buy another 6 players. The main thing we need is a sensible manager and a settled team — notwithstanding that the one signing we have desperately needed for a long time now is a mobile goal-scoring striker!

We've had the déjà vu of the cup exit to a lower-league club... and the déjà déjà vu of yet another home hammering (this time by Spurs); if Silva doesn't get his act together and settle things down by the time of the Goodison derby, we will have yet another derby humiliation on our hands and Siva would then have to go.

And if we don't get a couple of wins under our belts soon, we could, yet again, be in relegation trouble. But long-term, a sensible manager and a settled team is a must. We have had loads of excellent players over the last 20 years but we have not had a common-sense manager good enough to consistently get the best out of them.

And please no reference to Moyes; he presided over more cup defeats to lower-league teams and hammerings than anyone, and he was the main architect of the current horrendous Anfield/Liverpool hoodoo (when we were up against a very ordinary Liverpool team most of the time).

He also had an extraordinary knack of falling out with our better players. His treachery at the end of his tenure was just unbelievable and his record since leaving Everton only proves Everton were good for him and not the other way around.

If we get to the stage of interviewing for yet another new manager, the first question should be: "Do you promise to keep a settled balanced team?!"
Jim Wilson     Posted 29/01/2019 at 14:18:43

Let's put the players under the microscope for once

There are lots of discussions about Marco Silva and his relatively poor performances at Hull and Watford and how that is being transferred to Everton FC. But, if you look closer the majority of this Squad has now been managed by Koeman, Unsworth, Allardyce and now Silva and guess what – they are still letting us all down.

Would a new manager really make a difference? They would surely be let down again by this squad who just seem happy to get paid, turn up, phone it in and go home to their nice little lives. There is never ever any pressure in any shape or form on the players at Everton – they are always blameless – it's always the manager who gets the flack. Well, this is four managers in a row now who have been let down.

Well, I think its about time that this group of Everton players get put under the microscope. Yet another manager has a gun pointed at his head because they have a basic inability to play football and show any kind of desire or heart for the shirt.

They know full well there is no expectation, no pressure, and half of them cant be dropped because there is no one better to give them a challenge for their starting position. Life at Goodison is easy street for any pro footballer. No expectation to win and challenge just a nice cruise along while you earn millions.

We have a Championship-standard strikeforce and a very average squad and loan players who ultimately as it stands have no long term future at the club as they aren’t for sale.

Huddersfield is a crunch match not just for Silva but for this collection of can't be arsed so-called professional footballers who have somehow found themselves playing for Everton FC. I’m sticking by Silva and hope he and Brands can cut out the cancer that taints this club at the moment.

It's the players who cross the white line and they also have to be held accountable for their actions or lack of them. I hope a lot of them are sold in the summer.

Daniel Johnson     Posted 28/01/2019 at 16:21:29

Why I believe that Silva is no longer fit to mange our club

It is with a heavy heart I write this. The worst performance I have ever witnessedas an Evertonian was the 3-0 loss at Southhampton when it was clear to me that Martinez was unfit to manage our club.

We are here again. Yesterday was as bad as I have ever seen. I have supported our coach, argued that he should have time. I believe that we need a sign. Something, a glimpse, a tiny bit of light,some shred of hope that Silva has a plan..

Look at yesterday. Gana tackling on the right wing Coleman and Digne crossing like they had never played football in their lives. And, worst of all, our coach looking bewildered, utterly bewildered. Silva is not good enough. I believe that he should be sacked.

Andy Crooks     Posted 27/01/2019 at 20:17:15

Not Again — What next?

It seems like every year of late we reach a point or two when we hit the same old problems. We seemingly implode and start a losing run which leads to the departure of the manager.

From the years under Moyes, when I personally felt we moved forward slowly with small improvements to the squad, my expectations as a fan were being met as I understood the financials and the long term plan to build a team and develop a new ground, to the post Martinez period, when we have bought big and failed big. We have Moshiri’s money of course, but time seems to ultimately bring us to the same outcome. Big money signings who either look out of place or simply can’t perform. God knows how much spent, but we are going nowhere!

The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. We must break this cycle or face the possibility of becoming a Leeds with decades in the wilderness when the finances dictate what happens next.

Moshiri is a very successful businessman. Nobody invests in football clubs as a sound commercial venture and so Everton is his investment hobby and, like all hobbies, when you find it not so much fun and the expense outweighs the enjoyment or kudos, it’s time for us all to worry.

Not least because even if he stays his majority shareholding increases the one-dimensional view of what is needed — despite the introduction of Marcel Brands.

Picture painted, but what next?

I know from personal experience that business success comes from having the right people, right management, and the right long-term plan mixed with confidence and consistent day-to-day processes to achieve required outcomes. Most important is change needs to be little and time-related. Too much too quickly rarely works out. If I am honest I don’t think Everton tick too many of these boxes currently.

I think Silva was an emotional appointment. He had done ok with a hopeless Hull and started well at Watford — with his subsequent demise blamed on Everton’s interest. I don’t buy that because a strong manager would put the disappointment to one side and stick to the plan. Moshiri got his man, but I have big doubts he is the right man. The pre-Liverpool games and the game itself showed that just perhaps we were on the right path but, since then, it has been simply not acceptable. Something has changed in the dressing room. What that is is crucial to understanding what is needed next.

I know my football as well as any fan. Six decades of supporting Everton have proved interesting as the journey has always been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. So what do I see?

Basics of not being able to defend set pieces, but am I the only one who thinks Pickford’s positioning is poor and his ability to command crosses is equally poor? Is this a factor in confidence to defend?

We desperately need a leader in the middle to hold the line and take us forward. To bring team cohesion when it goes wrong and direction as required. At the moment, we lack this.

Oddly, I have focused a lot on throw-ins lately. Is it just me or do Everton make nothing of them and usually give the ball away due to lack of movement or failure to create space? Whilst defending, they don’t close down the opposition who seem to take the advantage.

The obvious one is the failure to replace Lukaku. We have no aerial threat, no-one who is in the right place at the right time, and no one confident to stick the ball away. In other words who fears playing Everton? No imminent plans to change this so I'm not sure what will improve in terms of goals until we do.

What next is the big question?

Do we stick or twist on the manager? I would like to say stick, but little about Silva gives me any confidence. We need a new Moyes or, maybe dare I say, the old Moyes until such time as the long term manager can be found. I know this won’t be popular with many, but we used to be able to defend in his day and we did play decent football despite a lack of options. Silva is proving tactically inept and a bit of a one option pony!

I believe we need a period of stability. A fresh set of eyes to reassess the total squad. Time to be able to move on the misfits who no longer seem to have a role and whose salaries and price tags make them hard to move on. Under Financial Fair Play rules unless we address this with some urgency we will be restricted on new recruitment.

Alternatively not playing them or farming them out to usually unsuccessful loan arrangements is not helping values or our ability to get them off the books. We did not buy bad players, but they have all lost something at Everton and have become so. Finding out why is important; finding some form to play or sell them is crucial.

The only thing I am sure of is that each year and with each change we sink deeper into the abyss. I appreciate all that Moshiri has brought to the club and the new club management structure looks great but, for all that money has brought, we have lost our more valuable team spirit.

Another lesson I have learned is that sometimes managers or owners have to be brave, go back to basics, and start afresh. Building on sand will never give you the foundation to build a future.

Mike Fisher     Posted 27/01/2019 at 11:04:48

Marco Silva: Whose fault is it anyway?

I have not been impressed with the appointment of Marco Silva as Everton Manager, compounded by his ability to identify team weaknesses, his coaching development of players, and his tactical awareness.

But Silva didn’t ask for the job; he was approached. According to Watford, it resulted in a drop in performance for them, resulting in him getting the sack. Watford are still going on about it and seeking compensation.

Everton weren’t allowed to approach him, maybe if they had done it the right way, they would have been allowed to. They then appointed Big Sam.

The unemployed Marco Silva was the only candidate for the job, after Big Sam left. There were no other candidates for the job. His contract was agreed before Marcel Brands started and Brands started a week early to gave him the once-over. But the lower wages than Allardyce and a 3-year contract had been agreed beforehand.

Moshiri was in charge and making decisions, but brought Brands in to take some of the responsibility, at the last moment.

Silva did his players assessment and Brands found suitable replacements and other players were shipped off to reduce the wage bill. Some extra funds where belatedly provided to bring in new players. Big Sam moved out Martinez's players, but had to play Koeman's failures and Brands moved out Koeman failures, but had to keep Allardyce's signings.

So, like Big Sam playing Rooney and Williams, Silva had to play Tosun and Walcott. It turns out neither where worth their place.

When Brands and Silva started the season, some of the signings weren’t fit. The signing of Richarlison was a revelation, until he was easily baited and got sent off. Tosun was obviously not able to beat his marker or get a shot on target. Walcott was increasingly peripheral and the West Ham midfield trio waltzed through Everton's midfield as if it didn’t exist. Everton for some reason never wanted Pellegrini as a Manager.

Then Everton found the midfield trio of Gueye, Gomes and Sigurdsson (a player who had previously gone missing). Everton's right flank was an acceptable weakness and Coleman was clearly identified as the root problem, but was ignored. But Keane and Kouma gelled and Everton were heading in the right direction, with a sort of high press / wing preference. The League Cup didn’t matter, Everton were concentrating on the Premier League. Now, the FA Cup is important, but with little preparation evident.

Newcastle did a job on Silva's tactics and our present direction was mapped out. Brands got on to the board and hasn’t spoken, just saying he is doing nothing till the Summer (as there is no money available). Moshiri has made the statement that 10th isn’t good enough as if he had nothing to do with it and shipped out players are beginning to boomerang back. Mina is looking on in horror, Gomes looking really affordable, and Zouma uncommittedw while Digne now has a career.

So Silva now finds himself alone, trying to Manage a team in a Club that has been mismanaged for years, by an owner who has lost a fortune since he started looking to blame anyone but himself, with the prospect that all his failed decisions could come back home to roost in the second half of this season.

Sure, Silva is responsible for the team's position in the Premier League table, but he hasn’t been helped by the situation he inherited and the Club's ropey decision-making process. Suddenly, Everton should be a top six side and the 3-year rebuild is out the window.

Silva was the only candidate for the job. The next time, there might be no candidates... unless Brands can convince someone he knows.

The problems at Everton are not just confined to the pitch, they go deeper than that. It's the same old wonderful unique Everton, with long-suffering supporters. Can anyone name a similar club? Lucky because, as supporters, we are well used to it. But it never seems to get any easier.

I still wonder how the fan who kissed the centre spot after the Wimbledon game is doing? I still think that not getting relegated that time was a missed opportunity to face reality and rebuild.

Against Millwall, Everton were not a unit; they were poorly organised and poorly coached. They deserved to get beaten – no excuses.

Jerome Shields     Posted 26/01/2019 at 22:29:41

Couldn’t tackle their way out of a paper bag

I am just watching the Fulham v Spurs game and I cannot for the life of me believe that so many so-called lesser teams have players who win tackles and physical challenges.

Watching yesterday’s excuse for a performance at St Mary's, I tried to count how many of these types of challenges we won. It was not difficult as only Zouma and, to a lesser degree, Digne won more challenges than they lost.

Yes, Gana pinched the ball away from players on several occasions but was shrugged easily off the ball by Ward-Prowse for the Saints' first goal.

Maybe everyone at Everton FC and us, the supporters, look down our collective noses at players who are known for their passion, desire and competitive drive. We have at least a couple players at the club, James McCarthy, Jonjoe Kenny and maybe Yerry Mina, who have shown some of these qualities but are either overlooked or are in and out of the side. You cannot play the possession sort of football, I think, Silva wants us to play without winning the ball and then doing something meaningful with it.

We have a long list of “quality players” who started yesterday who are supposed to be good with the ball such as Sigurdsson, Gomes, Richarlison, Bernard and Lookman but rarely win the ball. That leaves the other five outfield players to do it for them. In any level of football, this 5:5 ratio is rarely successful.

It is very hard to understand why we can see this most weekends but Silva cannot. If he doesn’t pick a team to battle Millwall next week, we will be in trouble and will only survive based on Pickford’s or someone’s brilliant individual ability.

We can only live in hope! But it is the hope that kills you!

David Cooper     Posted 20/01/2019 at 17:22:26

An Education for the Future

A somber preface to an interesting life-decision.

I'm 49 years old. My Dad passed at 64, my best friend's dad at 59, the only company I worked for, before I started my little Ma and Pa Print Shoppe, my boss died at 54. I've had multiple friends pass at 40, 45, etc.

Life is short. I've always told my wife I'm not working a single day past 58. Now, I'll probably get a part time gig so I don't get bored off my ass, but I mean full-time work, I'm done at 58. Too many men in my life have been dead shortly thereafter. There's a lot more to life than work. No one, on their deathbed, said, "I wished I spent more time at work."

To that end, I recently told my wife, in about 9 to 10 years, I want to rent a flat / apartment in Liverpool, live there for 9 months, and follow Everton home and away for a season. It would make me beyond happy, and what an adventure for a man and wife to have.

My wife was on board, she's agreed. So I'm going to do this. Life is odd, it changes, so I could see having to go over for 2-3 months, return, and then go back. Logistics, details for a plan around a decade off. I'll worry about that when the time comes.

What I was wondering is, and I told my wife I could easily get feedback (negative or positive of course) from TW, is this possible?

Can you buy a season ticket pretty much on demand when they go up for sale in the Spring? I don't care if they are nose-bleeder seats. Won't bother me.

I think there's some "merit" system in place to get away tickets? I highly doubt some American dope could simply qualify for away tickets just coming over. Can you buy away tickets on the "black market" so to speak to get a seat(s)?

Is this idea folly? Can it be done?

Anyone with insight, suggestions, etc – admittedly well, well in advance – I'd appreciate it. It'll be good to have a decent background knowledge base to work from.

If it's possible, we're doing it. I don't mind getting old, and now I bizarrely can't wait for 9 to 10 years to pass quickly. :0)

Jamie Crowley     Posted 14/01/2019 at 19:57:04

Have a Plan and Stick To It

The last month hasn’t been pleasant, has it? The last time I saw us play in the flesh was Newcastle at home. My brother maintains, as do many on this site, that the derby damaged our confidence. I disagree because of how we came back after the international break.

Cardiff City at home was a day when we were really out of sorts. That day we were up against a poor side who worked hard but did try getting forward (cluelessly when the ball was on the floor) but still they tried thus meaning we didn’t have the banks to block us like with Palace at home. Yet we made hard work of it and there were too many 5-out-of-10 performances.

We’d gone into the international break with a comfortable win over Brighton, a narrow loss at Old Trafford whereby the officialdom robbed us, and a point at Stamford Bridge. Not bad form at all and we were playing stylishly.

Yet, at home to Cardiff, we were mystifyingly poor and despite a spirited performance in the derby, we still lost with some decisions (officials and our own goalkeeper) going against us. Newcastle at home was an inept display and, since then, our form has been embarrassing.

The truth is that the bad decisions from the officials keep coming. We’ve had them from the opening day to Spurs at home. Someone needs to look at that because, when goals are given like the one against Arsenal, or Delph doesn’t see red for his ludicrous challenge – it looks decidedly dodgy.

Marco Silva cannot control that aspect of the game. But the one thing he can control is having a plan and sticking to it. And that is what I am pleading for him to do.

After a mixed start to the season, by early November, I thought we were making steady progress with an intelligent and modern brand of football. But all the time, one thing was bugging me. Why was Silva changing our line up so often? I’ll throw out some of my quibbles. He names Tom Davies as captain one week but then he is benched afterwards for two months.


re we a back four or a back three with wing backs? I’m damned if I know.

Do we play with a target man (because when Calvert-Lewin starts, we sort of are) or a set of decoys in the shape of Bernard, Sigurdsson, Walcott and Richarlison?

It filters down. Before his three goals, I was saying we should drop Digne for Baines. Why? Because his delivery was shocking. I now realise he and Coleman have had the same problem. They don’t hit the early cross as they don’t have a natural striker to aim for. Instead, they go to the line where they can be cut off. Marco seems though to feel obliged to play those he and Brands brought in so Gomes and Mina are getting crowbarred in even if they have a shocker.

As for why we’ve had these frustrating drop-offs in matches, it’s because so many of our players are still learning each other. Look at an average line-up of ours and half have had four different coaches in the last season and a half. The rest were parachuted in during last summer. Can any of our centre-halves say they’ve had a regular partner in the last 18 months? Or can Gueye say the same?

I wasn’t sure of what the fuss over Silva was during our pursuit him at Watford and the insistence to bring him once we’d let go of our previous coach. A certain Steve Ferns, who I suspect I am of a similar age to, was clearly in the Pro-Silva camp. He provides wonderful analysis and went out on a limb about Silva. I remained lukewarm but hoped Steve had a point.

The one thing that I remain comfortable about with Silva is that he sets us up to attack and lines us up accordingly. My problem with Koeman was that he didn’t seem to have a plan past the half-way line. It looked like Barkley and Lukaku were just there to work it out between themselves. Allardyce was similar. I like that Silva coaches our players to get the ball forward quickly and through the channels, to have centre-halves rampaging through into midfield and to have full backs overlap. But there’s been too much chopping and changing.

So, Marco, over to you. Changing formations mid-match or game to game is natural in the modern game but for the time being, when all these strangers are assimilating, just have a plan and stick to it. You arguably have a free pass this season and Evertonians will forgive you if they can see what the plan is.

At the moment, you are starting to look like a latter-day Ronald Koeman and we know how that went. The tinkering can begin later when this set of players know each other better. Currently, it is losing us a lot of points.

Andre James     Posted 04/01/2019 at 23:50:11

Half-Term Report

We thought that Silva and Brands did us proud back last July and August, signing two ex Barcelona players, one of Brazil’s rising stars, one of Brazil’s most coveted midfielders, and two excellent loanees, and they also managed to keep hold of Lookman. On the outgoing side, they shifted two players permanently (Funes Mori and Robles) and to temporarily move on, a huge number players who will never cut it at Everton, on my last count 11, with a further 2 gone out today.

Some may argue Vlasic is worth another go, but I don’t think he’ll get a chance or even want it. The rest have had their chances over the years to show either with Everton or on loan at other clubs and frankly none will be offered another go.

So where did that leave us? Well, we left with a squad of about 25-28, a mix of older players coming to the end of their careers, a number in the prime age group of 24-29, and a fair number of youngsters (20- to 24-year-olds) who we thought would have the potential to break through. A much more, balanced, exciting, and technically gifted squad.

I suspect, 6 months on we now realise that a few of the youngsters will not make it, and with Holgate and Dowell out today, probably for good, Davies is struggling big time to convince Silva he can do it, Calvert-Lewin and Kenny just have to deliver in the next month or so, and injury prone Lookman if and when he gets a run a games to prove his worth. We seem to have lost Baningime on the way. In fact, I’m not sure at all that Silva actually wants most of this lot, with the possible exception of Lookman and maybe just maybe Calvert-Lewin.

In the prime age, group Walcott, Tosun, Niasse, and Schneiderlin, are struggling to impose themselves on Silva and they could also be on their way out before the 2019-20 season, and the 3 older players Jagielka, Baines and maybe Coleman are coming to the end of their Everton careers.

This leaves us with a possible Premiership level squad of Pickford, Mina, Keane, Digne, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Bernard, Lookman, Calver-Lewin and Gueye only. There are no guarantees that we will get Gomes or Zouma even if we want them. So squad wise I still feel we need at least 4 real quality players, a right back, a midfield dynamo, a wide man, and a goal scoring machine and on top of that at least another 4-5 good squad players.

The pace, the frequency of games in the Premier League means you have to rotate and you need a top squad of about 18 players, the rest being fringe or good youngsters. Mr Brands has a huge task on his hands over the next 2 years or so.

Silva, as he said he would, has produced a side which on its day and on top form can give anyone a game, there is only Spurs who completely dominated us, whilst we put up reasonable shows at Liverpool, Chelsea, and even created numerous chance at Man City, Man Utd and Arsenal.

Our problem is that we can’t win the bread and butter games, the games you should be winning even with mediocre performances. We can’t keep clean sheets, we can’t score, we can’t create, we can’t cross the ball to one of our own players. There is a worry, creeping in, that Silva can’t change his approach, he can’t change tactics to adjust to what is happening in a game. His substitutions always seem to be throw on 2-3 attackers and hope for the best.

I feel that he is totally dismayed with the players left to him, with the exception of Pickford, Keane, Gueye and Sigurdsson and he wants somehow to find a way of accommodating all his new players, Mina, Zouma, Digne, Gomes, Bernard and Richarlison – which he can’t.

It’s a bit like Koeman with Klaassen, Sigurdsson and Rooney all vying for that No 10 role, we now have 3 good centre-halves, 3 potential centre midfielders in Gomes, Sigurdsson, Bernard, but seriously lacking down the right-hand side, a real midfield box to box player and of course a goalscorer. He has been brave enough to drop Mina for some poor displays, yet continues with Richarlison who is having a hard time at the moment. It’s very early to judge; we really do need to give them time, I suspect probably at least 18 months to 2 years.

The Goodison Park crowd, as stated on National radio this morning are an unforgiving crowd who tend to quickly display their anger even to the youngsters. After nearly 25 years of not winning anything, the fans and crowd are restless and find it difficult to give any “project” time. What we need is some tangible proof that we are developing, we can compete at times with the top group, we can get back to a fortress Goodison and we can also win away from home fairly regularly.

How are we doing after 6 months? I’d say 6 out of 10. There have been signs that Brands can really find us players, that Silva can produce football that is a step up, and we can hold our own at times; but, on the negative side, we haven’t got our Fortress Goodison back yet and it’s our inability to win against those teams all around us.

If Silva can get 4-5 away wins in the rest of the season, if we can come away from Goodison with pride the way we have taken on the Top 5 sides which have to come to us and just hopefully get us to Wembley for a FA Cup Semi-Final, or even better, the Final, then we can start to believe we are developing.

Mike Oates     Posted 02/01/2019 at 20:31:45

Happy New Year

First alcohol free new year that I can remember( kidney infection, antibiotics, pissing glass) — Happy New Year, my arse!

But things are going to get better. This time next year we will be challenging for a Champions League spot. Though I would confirm the lack of drink before making that statement.

But I believe, because that is what we do.

Happy New Year to Michael and Lyndon and thanks for the best supporters site in the world. ( check out some of the other and see how lucky we are)

Finally, happy and healthy new year to every Evertonian but especially to every Toffeewebber wherever you are. Must of us have had spats with others but no one comes on here who doesn't care. And who doesn't think they are dead right when they post?

Good times are around the corner!

Andy Crooks     Posted 01/01/2019 at 00:09:04

A totally blue suggestion

Much as I hate to mention those fuckers over the park, they claim the name of the 'Reds' with some justification, because they play in their home kit in all red –- shirts, shorts and socks.

We are the Blues. The original and best. We know that despite the others who play in our colour, we are the Blues. Here's a suggestion: How about we have the full blue kit as a home kit as the kit we are recognised in?

I don't know whether I'm committing sacrilege or being insightful. My preference has always been blue, white, white, because it's been our way. But maybe it's time to assert our authority over this colour of ours and start to make things happen. Blue, blue, blue. What do you think?

James Lauwervine     Posted 24/01/2018 at 23:36:32

Big Sam's gravy boat to Bramley-Moore

Hard to know where to start with this. I've now let 24 hours pass since coming home from the latest embarrassing debacle served up by the most directionless team I've ever seen in Royal Blue.

We all can all pick faults with just about everyone – players, Walsh, Big Sam, Board, Koeman, etc. It's been a shambles, a complete balls-up if I'm honest. £250 million worth of balls-up.

I could spend (as could everyone) all day criticizing players etc, but I think there could be a bigger problem on the horizon.

Joe Anderson seems to be getting more vociferous every day, not least his latest outburst on the radio, and it makes me think the pressure of securing a funding agreement with the council is getting to him?

If, and it might not be too big an 'if', we got relegated... would that be the end of the stadium?

Would LCC agree to fund to a club in the Championship, aware that we may not get promotion the following season? Indeed, clubs relegated don't always come straight back up. If the worst happened, we could be down there for 10 years, who knows?

Which leads me to the biggest worry of all: does the future of our stadium now depend on Big Sam's ability to save us from relegation?
Robert Daniels     Posted 21/01/2018 at 19:53:09

Suspicions, Hmmm!!

I'm 81 now, (cannot believe I have just said that) and as I have stated in previous posts have been an avid supporter of this club since my first game at the grand old lady for our record gate against our neibours all those years ago.

I do not go much now due to health and obviously financially reasons. As you can imagine I have seen it all, good and bad. But my dear Toffeewebers this is something I have had on my mind for many a year now. This club has no AMBITION whatsoever.

I will probably get slated by a lot of you but for me this present situation this club is in started when they got rid of Naismith. He was better than possible three or more players at the time, but they stayed. How many reasonable players have followed? Barkley, Barry, Lukaku. Etc Etc.

You may argue the did not want to play, so what ,they were under contract so pick them, don't sell them. If they refused they would be breaking their contract. Again the arguments will come, "we'll be losing money" well guys I've got a bit of news for you, we have just wasted countless millions on three or four people who cannot play football at this level.

So, to conclude, I have no more suspicions, all my suspicions are confirmed in my mind, this club has no ambition.
Teddy  Draper     Posted 19/01/2018 at 18:14:26

Everton and Spurs players

Here's a little distraction from matters on the pitch: A work mate here (Sheff Utd fan by the way) posed me a teaser this morning:

During the Premier League era there are apparently nine players who have worn our beautiful royal blue but also donned the wimpy white of Spurs. Can you name them?
James Lauwervine     Posted 19/01/2018 at 10:10:27

The case for defence

What a mess of a season. My guess is that after the Tottenham game Sam Allardyce (if he didn't already know) now fully realises the horrendous mess that Koeman has left the club in.

I actually feel sorry for Moshiri who I firmly believe is working hard to push the club forward. He pretty much has to go along with the decisions of the manager and Director of Football as he hires them for their expertise.

Of Koeman's signings my feeling is that only Bolasie, and Gueye are I feel acceptable, while Rooney and Sigurdsson are in the acceptable bracket but the outlay (transfer fees and salaries) does not relate to the expected level of performance. Only Pickford is top drawer. As for the rest they look about Championship level. I can only imagine how Moshiri is feeling about things now.

The reality is that we require many changes of personnel but what rather concerns me is the order of priority . Yes we require another forward, (hopefully addressed) but now I believe we need to fully focus on the defence. Someone will undoubtedly inform me if I am wrong but successful teams let in very few goals and looking at the better Everton teams our defence was always good. Even our neighbours have at last begun to recognise this fact.

So where do we stand. Individually other than goalkeeper we look short. RB Kenny, certainly a trier and may make it but I feel short of exceptional pace and lacks height and physicality. Will time help him? Jagielka and Williams both good in their day but not now. Holgate like Kenny I am not sure about him developing into a top player. Physically he may lack height, pace and strength to be a top player. Can we wait to find out.

This brings me to Keane, the most disappointing defensive signing who came in at about £30 million. A truly shocking signing for a team that desperately required pace in the middle of the defence. It is even worse as he is cumbersome, unathletic and lacks power. He is the opposite of what we required. I think whoever was responsible for signing him is a Liverpool fan. The left back, Martina, well he tries but everyone knows he needs replacing.

Collectively I feel this part of the team causes us the most problems (I know we have other issues) as we have to defend deep, they require babysitting by the midfield and will not push out with any urgency when we clear the ball. If caught one on one they are in trouble particularly the central defenders. Our midfield just can’t adequately support the forwards and the ball keeps coming back at us. There is little composure to make passes either as they tend to play hoof ball.

We are seldom able to push teams back and our team is too spread out from the last defender to the furthest most attacker. The midfield can’t physically support the forwards.

My concern is that we do not appear to be linked with any top quality defenders. Until the defence is seriously upgraded any other additions will struggle and I doubt we can much improve performance. I find this surprising given our manager if nothing else is aware of the importance of the defence. My preferred major signings at the moment would be for the defence. Build the foundations and we can progress.

Barry Metcalfe     Posted 15/01/2018 at 15:25:36

A little immature

I followed the agenda of last night's AGM as it happened via the Liverpool Echo, who had a reporter there giving a timeline and appropriate updates on what was said by the contributors on stage. For the first time I have began to (ever so slightly) question the viability of the new stadium project.

As well as the completion date being put back 12 months, it seems we are now relying on the persuasive power's of Joe Anderson to convince the full city council that they will provide financial backing for two thirds of the stadium costs. Yet, only three months ago, we were informed that the council was only going to act as 'guarantor'? So what's happened in the interim?

Added to the fact that the cost of the stadium, before a brick is laid, is now escalating, and approaching half a billion pounds? All this without the unknown factor of the 'Brexit' effect happening soon, by the way.

I also thought the comments made by Denise Baxendale were a bit silly. On moving her ever-growing empire to the Liver Building, she proclaims (albeit half-heartedly) 'the City will soon be all ours'. That's sure to endear us to the red half of the City, just when we're asking the rest of the City Council to support us.

However, the majority shareholder then fans the flame further, by claiming the Lukaku transfer situation was decided by a telephone call in which Lukaku's mother was guided/advised by a 'voodoo' priest that her son should sign for Chelsea. What on earth was gained by that statement? We didn't really need to know about the private conversation between the player and owner. The player wanted away, couldn't he have just left it at that?

Sorry, but the public statements just made the club look rather silly in the current climate.

Steve Hogan     Posted 10/01/2018 at 14:36:58

We only sing when we're winning?

Throughout the period 2000-2011, I was either a season ticket holder at Goodison Park, or a regular match-day attendee (home and away). Since then, for various reasons, I've become an irregular match-day goer (I probably get to four homes and three aways a season) and an armchair viewer. And it is from this perspective that I ask: What has happened to the volume of the crowd and quality of songs at Goodison Park over the last few years?

Perhaps my mind is playing tricks on me, but in that first decade of the 21st Century, not a home game would go by without several renditions of:

"It’s a grand old team", "We hate Bill Shankly…", the usual "E-VER-TON, E-VER-TON…" chant emanating from the Gwladys Street End. We also had lots of chants for specific players, including some great ones for Arteta, Gravesen, Pienaar and Hibbert (hijacked by Man City fans for Kolo and Yaya Toure). Moyes was regularly feted with a song about the colour of his hair. And, every once in a while, an old school chant of "Barry Horrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrne", "Duncan had a pigeon", or even the "Everton, oh we love Everton" chant celebrating the 1985 team would go up. In short, Goodison was, more often than not, pretty loud and full of song.

Then, when Martinez took over, I remember going to my first game in September and thinking how great it was that we had some new songs in our repertoire: "Allez-allez-allez-oooooh" was a cracker, as was "The School of Science is on its way back". The songs for Barkley, McCarthy (the one to the tune of Karma Chameleon that was not sung enough) and Coleman were also great and original. I was dead chuffed that our fans had brought out some new numbers, but I also thought the amount of singing had maybe dropped a touch.

But now? What of the situation now? Well, to be totally honest, I’m not really sure we have many songs at all, or that we are loud in any way. Of the four games I’ve been to this season (including West Ham where we won 4-0 under lights), I have heard "E-VER-TON, E-VER-TON…". go up a couple of times, plus some chanting for Oumar, but that’s kind of it. And the games I’ve watched on telly? The ground seems very, very quiet. The two I recently watched, Swansea and Man Utd at home, you could only hear away fans. And when the away fans were quiet you could hear individuals talking to each other.

Is this the impression of people who go more regularly than me? Have we just become much more quiet over the last few years... and why? Of the current squad, I think we have songs / chants for Barkley, Coleman, Bolasie, Niasse and Rooney (the last two are just the same chant though). It can’t just be because the football has been depressing, surely? We have some of the best fans in the world, but right now I don’t get the sense that we are showing our identity as a club on match days well enough.

Like I said at the top, I’m not a regular anymore and the reason I mentioned that is because I want to hear the opinions of our regular match-day goers (Lower Gwladys Street especially) and, if people are in agreement, see if there’s something that can be done about it. I don’t want to sound like I’m having a pop at the match-going fans, just want to understand if this is a problem we should try and rectify.

Tim Wardrop     Posted 02/01/2018 at 18:29:18

Why change a winning formula?

Why change a winning formula?

Pick a back 4 and stick with it – check
Take each game individually – check
Find a way of playing Rooney and Sigurdsson together – check
Give players renewed confidence – check

Then – two winnable away games come along, and just throw everything you've gained down the toilet.

I was a firm No to Allardyce, but said I would support him as he was now our manager, and therefore one of us. Then, I was quietly impressed with what he was doing in difficult circumstances. The right decisions were being made and the players were responding well to the tactics.

Were the West Brom and Bournemouth games a turning point? Did the players question why they were keeping ten behind the ball against such opposition?

The interview after the United game would not endear me to Allardyce if I were one of them - "This team can't score more than one goal in a game"?!?!

Although I want to give Allardyce my full support, the last 3 games - and his bullishness after all the media praise – is not making that easy.

Season ticket renewal is being advertised now – mine is on hold for the time being...
Adam Baig     Posted 02/01/2018 at 11:14:52

Will Lukaku sign a new contract?

Does anyone else think that Lukaku will be off at the end of the season?

What was the point of his agent coming out and saying a new contract is 99 percent agreed a few months back if he was never going to sign it?

Initially I thought a new contract would have meant a hefty wage increase for the player in exchange for club security in future transfer negotiations and a massive buy-out clause being inserted. I for one think, if he were to stay and one or two more key signings made, that we could seriously challenge for honours next season.

If Lukaku should go, particularly to another Premier League club, we would be taking a massive backward step.
Pete Ward     Posted 27/01/2017 at 19:07:57

Are you going to the big fight?

There are memorable occasions at Goodison Park which do not necessarily relate directly to football itself.

One that I call to mind is is of people saying, ‘Are you going to the big fight today?’ This was the question whenever Bolton Wanderers were playing us at Goodison Park or Burnden Park and Dave Hickson and Malcolm Barrass were on opposing sides.

They always ended up fighting or scuffling. This was part of the expected entertainment as Everton’s footballing abilities left a lot to be desired in those days. Oddly enough, I cannot recall either player being sent off. I do remember Dave Hickson being sent off another time for arguing with the referee.

I was the first person to get Dave’s autograph well before his first team baptism and I was proud of this fact. Sadly my book which contained many Everton and other player’s signatures has gone the way of the world.
David Peate     Posted 25/01/2017 at 16:07:20

Our new second favourite team

With the signing of Lescott, Moyes now has 4 old boys with Rodwell, Pienaar, and Anichebe already there.

People seem greatly amused by this on message boards and Twitter. But as Evertonians, does this make us not want to get behind Sunderland, especially as 3 of the 4 left the club on good terms?

So what does everyone think? I certainly take much more interest in Sunderland now, and I always want the northern clubs to stay up ahead of the London clubs.
Steve Ferns     Posted 24/01/2017 at 14:20:44

Europa League, again.

We have a chance to qualify for the Europa League. Some Evertonians don't like the idea. I see their point but, in my view, it is short-sighted. Will a Europa League campaign cost us Champions League football? Who knows; what I do think, though, is that Europa League football might just give some of our younger supporters memories that do not come round too often.

From a practical point of view, I think we would be ready. We will have Besic back, Bolasie will return. Our loanees will come back. We will have young players coming through. We will make new signings.

We can have a League Cup team and a Europa League team. We will have a strong enough squad. To me, we have no place disparaging European football – we should embrace it and set the standard.
Andy Crooks     Posted 23/01/2017 at 21:08:38

New contracts

Any news on the Lukaku and Barkley contract extensions?

I recall in December Romelu’s agent announcing his new contract to be 99.9% but have heard nothing since.

More troubling is the lack of action on Barkley. The club announced in December that a new contract would be forthcoming after the New Year. In June 2018, he is a free agent... I would be gutted if the club had to sell this summer.

Habib Erkan Jr     Posted 22/01/2017 at 13:13:10


I just wanted to post a few words about our shape and system in recent weeks. Given so much has been said about the performances of some individuals, I think it’s worth mentioning how the players are asked to play as this has probably been just as significant a factor in recent performances and potentially in how we will get on in the coming weeks and months.

The most significant factor to me seems to be flexibility. Whereas his predecessor had us playing in one shape and one style come what may, Koeman has been at the other end of the spectrum – adapting his system almost week in week out to meet the needs of the game.

I think there’s something to be said for not always playing to the opposition but instead imposing your own way of playing onto an opponent (and at times I’ve been critical of how easily we’ve resorted to hoofed balls up to Lukaku this season, instead preferring where we’re the more capable side to outplay and outmanoeuvre sides), but there’s definitely a need for players to be able to adapt to a game as it plays out and this is where I think the Koeman philosophy is superior to that of Martinez.

In particular, when we play the system that we did against Manchester City, the players seem to be facilitated by the shape to be able to adapt depending on whether they’re on the front or back foot. I’ve seen it referred to as a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-3 but these are quite simplistic terms for what is essentially an ever changing shape. There were times in the first half against City when we were penned in and Coleman and Baines were acting as more or less out and out defenders, giving us a 5 at the back.

In front of the 5 were Barry and Davies, aided by Barkley and Mirallas dropping in as required making the shape almost a 5-4-1. However, it quickly changed as we become more expansive, particularly on the counter attack, with the wing backs pushing on as midfielders and Mirallas essentially operating as a second striker, verging towards a 3-5-2 or even 3-4-3 at times when Barkley pushed on. It also looked as though later in the game that Schneiderlin was operating at the base of a diamond, with Davies and McCarthy either side and Barkley at the tip, giving the shape a look of 3-6-1 (the six being the four mentioned plus the wing backs).

Now these are all just numbers but what it points to is an adaptability that just didn’t look like we had under the previous incumbent. The 5-4-1 shape comes through as you’re looking to defend deep and narrow and withstand pressure, the 3-6-1 floods the midfield as you’re looking to close the game out and not offer the opposition chances.

The question mark that seems to hang over this side is how it copes against sides that will sit in and defend, looking to expose us on the counter attack. But the flexibility shown against City was certainly a positive and in my view stands us in good stead as the side will need to play in different ways against different types of opposition over the course of a season.
Graham Holliday     Posted 20/01/2017 at 16:34:17

Decades: the '70s

Now this all started as a drunken night in the pub as a lot of the best arguments often do.

My brother and I were talking about the best Everton players we have ever seen. Both of us started watching in the 70s so we ended up discussing it by decade and trying to determine the best 5.

It occurred to me that looking back is always popular in these parts so I thought sharing our combined deliberations might at least stimulate some debate and would provide some mild relief from the transfer window.

We had no scientific criteria for what is the 'best'. Just the players who we remember with affection and provided the memories that being a football supporter is all about. And they played at least one game in the decade concerned.

So in order to test the waters, I will start with the first decade, the 70s. A decade where I watched most of my football on the Gwladys Street, mostly dressed with at least three scarves. One around the neck, one around the wrist and one tucked in my waist band.

5. Andy King

A bundle of energy as a player. A midfield player with a lovely touch and an eye for a goal. Written into Everton folklore for one of the great Derby moments. Sadly missed.

4. Brian Labone

A one club Evertonian, a leader of men, a proper centre half and one of a few to raise the Championship and the FA Cup in a blue shirt.

3. Bob Latchford

Bob Latchford walks on water is what my pin badge said. The best header of a ball I've ever seen, a serial goalscorer. He was a British record signing and he paid it in full. His 30 goal season was a welcome oasis in a really barren patch for the club. One of the great Goodison hat tricks as we beat Coventry 6-0 and went top of the league.

2. Mick Lyons

Maybe not a footballing decision and I'm sure the most controversial given the number of 69-70 League winners who could be included. But Mick embodied being an Everton player. A Scouser through and through, played with his heart on his sleeve who gave the impression if he bled it would be blue. Also scored a goal I still remember to this day ( it was the day my Grandad died), a diving header through flying boots.

1. Alan Ball

Not a difficult choice even though most of his football for us was in the 60s. I had his picture on my wall, I got my white boots and like most of us was in a state of shock for days when he was sold to Arsenal. Not just the best player of the 70s but the best I've ever seen.

Graham Mockford     Posted 19/01/2017 at 19:50:47

Winds of change at Goodison

Anyone who doubted the impact of the arrival of our new majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, only has to look at the current transfer window to realise that the wind of change is blowing through every aspect of Goodison Park.

Koeman's press conference today, in which he has said our current club captain, Phil Jagielka, along with Gerard Deulofeu, can effectively leave the club, is further confirmation that the manager is looking to clear out the remaining 'old guard', as he intends to bring in players or replacements that he considers will bring about further improvement to the current squad.

By June this year, I expect as many as six or seven will have gone, with an influx of U-23 homegrown lads and incoming transfers totally transforming the playing squad.

After nearly 30 years of under-investment and subsequent under-achievement, I welcome change, but can't help feel a little sorry for the likes of Jagielka who has given incredible service for nearly 10 years, but has now reached the end of the road, as he has simply lost the pace and timing required for a top class central defender in the Premier League. Deulofeu, on the other hand, was not given the same playing opportunities as Mirallas and Lennon, and for some reason, Koeman made his mind up very early about his playing chances at Everton; I for one wish him well. As a player, he always made himself available for every kid who wanted a photo, and was the last of the players to leave the car park at Goodison after a match.

I guess we have all moaned for so long about the lack of drive and ambition at Everton, that when it does happen, it takes a bit of getting used to...

The next 12 months will see further seismic change both on and off the pitch at Everton. Hold on to your hats!

Steve Hogan     Posted 19/01/2017 at 18:23:32

Giants battle over Deulofeu

The future of Gerard Deulofeu seems to be a lot more complex than is being reported in the British media. It seems that this stylish and creative player, mysteriously surplus to requirements at Goodison, is in the midst of a tug of war between giants Milan and Barcelona with Celta Vigo and Middlesbrough trying to snatch him from both.

According to reports in the Italian and Spanish media, Adriano Galliani, Milan’s Chief Executive, is eager to sign Deulofeu but right now Milan can only negotiate loans. Everton suggested a loan with a transfer deal at the end of it but Barcelona objected, claiming the sale to Everton included a first refusal on a buy back if he was sold within three years. Meanwhile, Celta Vigo stepped, in offering a reported 12 million Euros for Deulofeu after a successful loan until the end of the season. Middlesbrough is also said to be interested and offering cash now, and so favoured by Everton but not by the player.

Milan is preferred by Deulofeu because he has a better chance of a starting position – startlingly, on the left rather than the right wing. It is surprising that a player favoured by AC Milan can barely get a look in at Goodison but football is a funny game, as they say.

Barcelona does not want to relinquish their hold on Deulofeu – even though he would be unlikely to start there – because he is native Catalan and Barcelona, the perceived guardian of Catalan football culture, wants to have talented Catalan players available to them.

As Adriano Galliano told an Italian newspaper: “It is a rather complicated situation. Everton is well aware that at this time we can only do pure loans So tomorrow we'll talk and we'll see if we can find a solution, otherwise we will remain as we are. I do not like to make forecasts or predictions, I can’t tell the future.”

Most Evertonians would probably want to hang on to Deulofeu, particularly now that Bolasie is out with a long-term injury.

Peter Fearon     Posted 17/01/2017 at 16:12:37

Everton Superheroes

Following the news regarding our new possible sponsors, the first thing I did was to look for the logo and imagine what it would look like on the famous Royal Blue jersey.

Well, 5 mins of photoshop later and the look is like something out of a Marvel comic! I'm torn as to whether I like it or not, maybe it'll grow on me, but either way it's got to be better than the deal that brought us Chang...

PS How about a cape on the back of the women's shirts?!
Andy Bulmer     Posted 17/01/2017 at 12:43:32

The rest of the season...

After last Saturday, I thought our season was dead. With hindsight, I believe it is very much alive.

Koeman now has space. We will not be relegated; he will not be sacked; he has time to work. It looks likely that we will have three new signings and, for me, that will do.

This is what I hope will happen:Two or three young players will gradually be given a chance with the possibility of one or two being ready for a regular start next season.

Our Director of Football will find another one to bring in under the radar in the transfer window. We will also sign a well scouted established player, perhaps like Schneiderlin, who will be an improvement on what we have.

The remaining games will be used to set in place a style that will be effective for the players we have. Most importantly, work will begin now to make a major signing. A player that other clubs want. A player who will show that this is a club with ambition.

Koeman must start next season with his own team and his own style. Then, he can be judged. The season is not dead – there are exciting and vital days ahead.
Andy Crooks     Posted 11/01/2017 at 21:50:34

What would represent a successful transfer window?

It's obvious to anyone with half a brain that we require several quality additions during the January window. The FA Cup defeat to Leicester reinforced what we all know and that's that our midfield is lacking in almost every aspect. Limited creativity, limited strength and tenacity, and shot shy beyond belief.

When was the last goal scored from outside the box by one of our midfielders?Koeman has fired a broadside in the board's direction and it will be interesting to see whether that shot has hit home. This morning I see we're being linked with Gylfi Sigurdsson again.

So what exactly, would represent a successful window this January?For me personally if we were to sign Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin it would make a huge difference where we most need it.

If we're going to dream I'd add Manolas and a striker to play "with" Lukaku and not as backup, in addition to the two aforementioned midfielders. At a guesstimated cost of around £100m I think that would represent excellent business and actually transform the team.

Bear in mind this is all pie in the sky so I know it's not likely to happen and I know I "must be dreaming if we spend anything like that".... it's all about dreaming though isn't it?
Brian Williams     Posted 09/01/2017 at 10:33:18

Schneiderlin or Schneiderout- the acid test for Moshiri

Trying to digest the disaster of yesterday, the BBC’s Phil McNulty made some very wry observations on Everton’s transfer policies.

He pointed out that Leicester had anticipated that their team would need strengthening whilst the core of their team was at the African Championships. They duly went out and identified where the team would need new resources and went out and spent £15m on Wilfred Ndidi , and he was able to play against Everton. By contrast, Everton’s transfer policy, if I can call it that, seems to only be about saving money. Every identified player seems to take an age to arrive- or usually and conveniently, not arrive.

Over the last twenty years, Everton sit right at the top of the league for making a profit across the various transfer windows. Of course, this coincides with the reign of the chief penny pincher himself, step forward Bill Boys’ Pen Kenwright.

Everton always seem a convenient stalking horse club who are interested in key players but never actually buy them , Sissoko being a recent example. I actually took issue with a leading national journalist when I asked him why he kept reporting Everton’s interest in Sissoko when us fans knew that the player wouldn’t come to Everton. The journalist, and I’ll save his embarrassment by not naming him , insisted that Everton had all along been keen to sign the player. This merely proves that I know Kenwright better than he does!

So along comes money bags Moshiri. Koeman has seemingly identified Morgan Schneiderlin as our key transfer target. So will the club sign him or will this be yet another show of gesturing from Everton , designed to supposedly appease the fans?

Personally, I think Moshiri is only around to extend Kenwright’s stay in power. And I consequently don’t expect Everton’s penny pinching transfer policy will change but , at a time when the Echo only yesterday said they could see as many as 7 players arriving this window, the Schneiderlin affair will surely be the acid test of the new regime.

Jonathan Tasker     Posted 08/01/2017 at 17:55:24

Koeman: Out of the January window

It's the January window and Koeman should exit through it.

Too early to judge? I don't think so. You don't expect instant success from a manager, far from it. You do expect identifiable change for the better. Some sign of progress. There has not only been no progress we have actually fallen back.

The season is over in the first week of January. Out of both knockout competitions at the first hurdle. Locked out of the top league positions. Minimal creativity in midfield, minimal penetration in attack, lack of durability in defence. Koeman has given no sign that he is capable of making significant changes in style or structure. There have been none.

His players look like they have been drained of confidence. Most of all, there has been a lack of innovation and leadership from the manager. He seems to be looking in from the outside. When he talks about the team, he talks like a pundit. He doesn't speak like he had any responsibility for what happens on the field. We can unload him now or in two seasons when he will have also achieved precisely nothing.

I say he should go now. That would give us plenty of time to find a new – and hopefully top-drawer – manager to take over at the end of the season. Ferguson or Unsworth to take a caretaker role in the meantime.

If Martinez was still manager and the wheels had fallen off the season like this, there would be a mob of people with torches and blue pitchforks outside Goodison calling for his head. The same should apply to Koeman. Ga nu!

Peter Fearon     Posted 07/01/2017 at 17:14:11

Reality check

Ok, I'm angry and hacked off at yet another dismal exit from a cup competition.

Koeman hasn't won me over yet, but look at the players at his disposal. As fans we were all to often treated to a Martinez classic quote – one that sticks in my mind is that Tom Cleverley is one of the most technically gifted footballers ever produced by this country.

Laughable (no disrespect to Tom), but can you imagine the Catalan going to each player and filling their heads with total bullshit as to how fantastic they were, that they were world beaters, etc.?

Thankfully Bobby has now gone and has been replaced by a realist. Yes, he can come across as dour and uncaring, but his hands have been pretty much tied up to now.

To the whingers out there – and I make no apology for describing them as such – try assembling a Porsche from rusty old Lada parts. It can't be done.

For me, there are a lot of players on Everton's books that for various reasons shouldn't be, but they are. I can only hope that, with Moshiri on board and him backing Koeman, that things will change for the better.

Also, there are a lot of fans that have made out the current state of the club to be worse than it actually is.

Keep expectations to realistic levels, and drop the sense of entitlement. We are going in the right direction.
Jim Bailey     Posted 07/01/2017 at 17:16:55

Axel Witsel heads to China

So, there you have it. Long time Everton target, Belgium and Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel has signed for Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian and will earn a reported £18M a year.

Juventus reportedly tried to persuade the player on a move to Turin but the lure of Chinese football was too great.

During the summer, when a move to Everton was mooted on these pages in one variation or another, every other week, many of the readers questioned the character of the player. Turns out with Axel Witsel, like so many others - money talks.

As football fans, we often criticise players for their lack of sentiment. We project our own passion for “Club” onto a professional player. Are we the mugs? What is this all about?

I’m looking for a compelling argument either for or against. If Chinese clubs are paying all this money to players, why stay in Europe?

Conor Skelly     Posted 03/01/2017 at 22:01:12

Dollie the possible missing link?

The South African CAF Champions League winner is on the radar of a couple of European clubs. This player could be the missing link in Ronald Koeman's team.

Pienaar was really on the left, Keagan Dollie is in the same mould, only 10 times better. Also a product of Ajax Cape Town(same team Pienaar came from.)I have a sneaky suspicion we can easily steal him at a bargain. Sundowns just declined a $1.2m offer for the player.

23 years old, played at the Olympics for South Africa, champions league winner, one of the players of the tournament, played at the FIFA Club World Cup.
Ricardo Humphries     Posted 03/01/2017 at 16:21:02

Dear Roberto

Ok, so we have had many many articles slating Martinez; "clown" they call him, "inept" they call him, but maybe just maybe all is not as bad as it seems?

Let's look at the squad. A young, bright, talented group of players that Roberto has assembled, playing in my view the best attacking footie that I've seen from an Everton team in a long long time.

It's a pure joy seeing Delboy ripping up the wings and pinging those whipped crosses to our number 9 who is banging them in for fun. It's a joy when Ross goes on those lung-busting runs and buries one in the bottom corner. It's a joy when we play those slick one-twos in the box we all love, dont' we? Of course there is a negative side to all this that has been well documented on this site. So where do we go?

Most want him sacked. I understand why – the stats dont lie, as they say. But let's say we got the rub of the green "just a little bit"– the wrong penalty call vs Stoke, the Chelsea offside goal, the Bournemouth goal after "too much added time"... I could go on but that's 7 points better off. Would we really be calling for a new manager if these wrong decisions were made correctly? Not to mention the semi vs Manchester City.

I'm still with Roberto. I see what he is trying to do with this squad. I think this season will open Roberto's eyes as to what we fans expect OUR Everton team to be. We want an agressive, positive side willing to run through brick walls with plenty of skill and a winning mentallity. You're halfway there Roberto. Now apply the above and we could be onto a winner. COYB.

Peter Larkin     Posted 30/01/2016 at 01:17:56

The King is dead – Long live the King

As far as I am concerned no matter what the timing the Martinez project is dead.

There has been much debate over who could succeed him with the usual conservatives saying "be careful what you wish for" and "Better the devil you know" etc.

Many supporters seemed to be struggling for names so I decided to post this article as a means of reassuring the supporters who are worried about who could replace Roberto that there is plenty of Choice.

I have always been of the opinion that Martinez appointment was lazy probably done over a brandy with Dave Whelan at a much earlier date than we were led to believe.

I also could not understand why a top 6 club would appoint a manager who has just got his side relegated after flirting with it for 3 years.

I also could not understand why no other names were mentioned at the time of interviewing.

However I only mention this as a cautionary way of saying that is not how I feel the recruitment of the new manager should be conducted.

Although not necessarily the widely held view in the sport Everton are a sleeping giant that has been asleep so long it has forgotten to wake up.

Imagining myself as chairman (yes I know) I would start by drawing up a list of the top coaches in the world, identifying t and give a search consultant the job of identifying which names would be the best fit and then going out and selling the job and the club to them.

In the world of modern technology a short search identified the top 50 managers in the world as researched through industry experts.

Here are the top 25 for discussion and debate with some unfamiliar names on it:

1 Jose Mourinho
2 Pep Guardiola
3 Luis Enrique
4 Diego Simeone
5 Max Allegri
6 Jurgen Klopp
7 Unai Emery
8 Joachim Low
9 Carlo Ancelotti
10 Laurent Blanc
11 Arsene Wenger
12 Leonardo Jardim (Monaco)
13 Ronald Koeman
14 Rudi Garcia
15 Jorge Jesus
16 Louis van Gaal
17 Lucien Favre (Borussia MGladbach)
18 Phillip Cocu (PSV)
19 Oscar Tabarez (Uruguay)
20 Marcelino (Villarreal)
21 José Pekerman (Colombia)
22 Edgardo Bauza (San Lorenzo)
23 Mircea Lucescu (Shakhtar Donetsk)
24 Bob Bradley (Stabaek)
25 Dieter Hecking (Wolfsburg)

Jay Harris     Posted 29/01/2016 at 17:39:51

I've had enough now

I've had enough now..

We've got to get rid of Bobby before it's too late. Before he manages to bluff us into relegation on the back of a dodgy cup run. Here are a few observations from the Park End:

When we appointed The Incredible One, he had been trying for several years to achieve relegation at Wigan with his brand of suicide football. It was a bold move by the Everton board, perhaps mitigated by the real lack of an outstanding candidate, and I would suggest I was like a lot of Evertonians in thinking "Fuck it, let's give the guy a go". Finally, we would have a boss who would give Brenda a run for his money in the obfuscation stakes, or as the media would say, a young progressive coach.

Contrary to popular opinion, I've always thought that Bobby's first season should be assessed more in terms of potential than actual achievement. Finishing 5th in a very open league was hardly world-shattering when 4th was definitely in our grasp, and even at this early stage in his tenure, basic defensive issues were already manifesting themselves, eg, set-pieces. This ability to undo all our brilliant attacking play would surely be addressed in the close season... surely??

Unfortunately, last season was a complete debacle, albeit not aided by Jagielka being hopelessly out of form. The Europa League run was achieved at the cost of all else, and the usual excuses of World Cup, squad size etc were trotted out. The business end was always going to be difficult, and for me the home tie against Wolfsburg was a massive turning point. Time and again we were breached, only Howard providing any resistance. "He's gonna change it, isnt he?... that was a wake up!" only for bobby to sit on his hands. How we won 4-1 was beyond me. Im sure Wolfsburg were stunned as well. Despite the result, we had definitely got out of jail.

Again the close season would offer a chance to regroup. However, it was clear that Howard was staying; instead of a credible first choice keeper, we signed a centre-half and another winger of dubious end product. For me, Howard has been a solid keeper; let's not forget he was part of the Premier League's best defence under Moyes. He has never been a truly commanding keeper though. His inherent weakness on crosses was compensated for by preventing deliveries into the box, a more than successful formula as it happened. Unfortunately under Bobby he continues to be ruthlessly exposed, begging the question: Do we change the keeper or the defensive set up? Apparently neither.

This obstinate desire to push square pegs into round holes has extended to other areas of the team now as Bobby attempts to pin the tail on the donkey. The vulnerability to crosses is still all too obvious, and while we all acknowledge that in playing bold, enterprising football, we are going to get done on the break now and again.

I wonder have I been alone in questioning what Baines and Coleman actually achieve in the attacking third? The delivery from wide areas is shocking (Deulofeu aside), particularly from set-pieces; unless we create some sort of outcome, then we are just leaving ourselves wide open. Despite being told by the media that they are two of the best attacking full backs around, they both look increasingly bereft defensively as they are exposed every week.

The media love-in with Stones is still in full swing, exacerbated by the sheer lack of any real quality English centre-backs. While I have no doubt that he will develop into a top class player, it is clear that bobby intends to burn both him and Barkley on the altar of tic-tac. Again, I would not mind the odd mistake in bringing the ball out if we could manage a clean sheet, but would it be particularly old school in asking for the basics to be done well before we take on players in our area? It would seem so as bobby continually relies on our young players taking terrible risks in order to move the ball ten yards.

In short, the pursuit of aesthetic football has not been underpinned by any of the fundamentals. We are set up to fail, built as we are on the Wigan template. While keeping Lukaku, Barkley and Stones was always going to be a tall order, the lure of winning trophies after a decent Euros will surely mean that best case scenario would be securing top dollar for our young talent.

The levels of apathy at recent home games may vent into anger at the prospect of another season of mediocrity, forcing the board to act decisively as the post match hyperbole well and truly smells of bullshit now. The progressive young manager has shown that he is massively limited and is still at heart the Wigan manager. He needs to go.

Mike Morrissey     Posted 29/01/2016 at 09:14:58

Tipping Point

So for most Roberto has reached his Walter Smith moment. Dumped out of the cup, isolated in his views, reaction, opinions and perception.

The growing and now majority feel he has sadly taken us as far as he can and regressed us during the last 18 months.

You just cannot see him coaching our defenders to defend; what Moyes coached into them, he has coached out of them and there is no sign of that ever coming back. Resilience and hard to beat were the brand values and mission statement under him. Let's not lose and see if we can win, we lived with it for 11 years. If Man Utd hadn't come along, maybe we still would be?

The board appoint a manger based on a certain criteria/profile they are looking for. The options they had to chose from when appointing Martinez were slim at best. Weir, Stubbs, Ferguson and Neville. Who wouldn't have appointed Martinez?

He is solely responsible for the way the team set up, play and perform. It is he in this instance that needs to change or be changed. In the case of Walter Smith, he had to go, plain and simple; he was too old to change, had a poor and aging squad... the days of 7 defenders starting a game had become too much for us to stomach.

The complete opposite of Martinez, it is true; he's still very young in terms of age and management experience, a young and vibrant squad with real talent and value.

It is now that we need someone at board level to take a firm control of the state we are in, someone to spell it out plainly and clearly to the manger that he has at maximum, the end of the season to turn it around a minimum of top 8 finish, good showing in the FA Cup or he will be leaving.

The money that is coming into the Premier League next season will see clubs with much greater opportunity to buy quality, we cannot, just cannot be left behind. In my lifetime as an Evertonian, I never thought or expected to be envious of Stoke City or Leicester City. Clubs have one-off seasons, just look at the likes of Reading, Ipswich and Blackpool in recent memory, but these two seem to be solid.

I genuinely believed after the first season we had found something that just clicked. He said the right things, did the right things, showed no fear against 'bigger teams', immersed himself in the history of the club. For the life of me, I just cannot see how it's all gone so horribly wrong.

Lots of posting on Twitter last night about at least we haven't got to suffer losing to Liverpool in the final, that's no comfort for such a missed opportunity.

Over to you Mr Kenwright...

Matthew Barry     Posted 28/01/2016 at 08:06:11


Nothing more to add from last night's continued farce. I was thinking more about injuries. Maybe someone on here, like Mr Murphy, will delve into the stats in regards to certain players and the amount of time they are out.

I am thinking Besic and Mirallas of late but since Martinez's reign, we have players continually breaking down. He hasn't picked either for decent spells of time and they have sat around fit at some points until belatedly being picked, then limp off in the first 30 minutes.

None of us know what goes on at Finch Farm and the backroom but the clown in charge holds a piece of paper proclaiming to be a physio or some such. Proclaiming to be a Premier League manager doesn't require a piece of paper, just a good line in patter, it seems. Can the powers that be please put us out of our misery and start a new chapter?
Gary Russell     Posted 28/01/2016 at 07:23:25


During the Walter Smith era, the cry of 'yer fuckin' big lazy twat' (or twats) wasn't an unusual thing to hear screamed Goodison.

Often justified as there were definitely a few players who were (obviously) just going through the motions (it also seemed that Walter 'Verra disappointat' Smith himself was 'swimming in the Med').

Under Mike Walker, 'useless twats!' was possibly the most used expression you'd hear in the ground or as you traipsed dejectedly away.

Under Moyes, when things weren't going well, I don't remember much in the way of specific complaints – more of a head shake and a muttered despairing 'fuck me' (after 9 years I gave up my season-ticket and decided I would be getting another while he was in charge, I just couldn't 'do' Moyes-ball anymore)

I don't think I ever heard 'you predictable shower of nob-heads!' screamed but that is certainly what many were thinking.

And now?

Well I'm actually not a big abuse-screamer. And when I do occasionally let rip, it tends to be at referees or when I feel some big dirty grock has just crippled one of our players.

But this season, regarding our performances, 'concenfuckingtrate!!' has been flying from my face with regularity.

I don't go along with the 'we've got the best squad we've ever had' (or whatever that claim is I keep hearing) but it is (nb: on paper) possibly a better bunch than many I've seen. But fuck me, I can't remember many Everton sides, good or bad, with such a pitiful level of concentration.

We simply don't have it (taps head) up here. We are a side who are almost guaranteed (every game!) to simply

We are a weak-minded side and also possibly the quietest Everton side I've ever seen (I pay 40 odd nicker to watch them and yet they expect ME to let them know when there's a man on!?)

Against Chelsea, we went one up, then two up – it should have been a (relatively) simple case of looking to hit them on the break and the pressure should have been on them, yet every Everton supporter KNEW that (within a couple of minutes of us getting our second) there was a good chance concentration would go out the window and we'd concede.

And when we did, was there any Evertonian who thought 'ok but they won't get a second!'?

There are obviously a lot of reasons why we are where we are (ie: nowhere) and though blame can maybe be aimed in a few different directions, the buck absolutely stops with Martinez.

However, I'm less concerned with all the many complaints about his tactics, who plays, who doesn't, who plays where, when substitutions are/aren't made, one/two up front etc etc, because for me, these things are all secondary when compared to the lack of concentration in this side.

There needs to be a dedicated concentration coach (and if there IS one, he should be fucking sacked). Either that or we need an absolute beast of a player in the side, someone (scary) with a big mouth who can keep all of them thinking about what they're doing.

If this is not addressed, it won't make any difference if 'Pienaar comes for blah-blah in the second half and we push Kone Blah-blah..'

Until someone deals with what is going on in their heads, everything else will, in my opinion, be simply papering over cracks.

Eugene Ruane     Posted 26/01/2016 at 15:45:34

John Stones

John Stones has had a bit of stick lately: show pony, thinks he's Bobby Moore, his mind is with Barcelona or somewhere else. Believes his own publicity, arrogant etc. Sell him, cash in etc. As someone who is capable of mighty overreaction I can sympathise with those views but I vehemently disagree.

When I was his age,frankly, I couldn't be trusted to go and buy a bag of spuds.Y et, this young man has recently played against men in the Premier League along side another novice, and he has done well.

He has, in my view, every natural attribute to be a world class defender. Anything he lacks will come with experience and tuition. This last weekend is part of his learning. Making a mistake, getting stick and learning from it.

He is the best young defender I have seen at Goodison Park. If he did not have a bit of arrogance about him I would expect him to acquire it.I would rather he learned beside Jagielka than Terry. We have, in my opinion a player to be cherished and nurtured.

If our club is to be great again we need a nucleus of world class players. In Stones I think we will have one.
Andy Crooks     Posted 26/01/2016 at 23:26:26

Everton: Crisis club or on the verge of greatness?

In my mind two games which stand out will be this Wednesday against Manchester City and our next league game – both games will provide the crucible which could determine the answer. With perhaps the Newcastle game at home, the following Wednesday being the most important.

Undoubtedly, the gifted squad we have at our disposable is capable of achieving great things. Whether they are better than the class of 04-05 or 94-95 I think is debatable – yes as individuals on paper they are, however as a cohesive team, willing to go through the proverbial brick walls for each other, I think the jury is still out.

Still, Wednesday and the Newcastle game could answer that. Maybe like the legendary side of the 80's they just need that one epithanic moment to galvanize them into something great. Sometimes lightning does strike twice. Regardless, in my mind, now is the time. It's time deliver, to stand as men and be counted.

I would urge all Evertonians, to get behind the team for these two games, to give them the best possible chance so there can be no excuses this time.

We all know the League Cup isn't the most prestigious of trophies but it's imperative the club win something and soon. There are many supporters who aren't as fortunate, as many of us here, to have witnessed Everton sides lift some silverware. Give them something to take pride in and brag about. That generation is the future of the club. To be trophyless for another 20 years would be a catastrophe. I could go on and counter and argue against, but I think we should wait. Let's see what these two games bring and then the post mortem can begin and the wrath that will surely follow.

So here's my rallying cry: forget the Board, forget Martinez, forget the bad blood. We'll be the 12th man on the pitch, harrying, pressing, fighting for the royal Blue. Let's stand together, let there be no mistake who we are. We are Everton and when riled to action, a force of nature, so powerful, fearless and unstoppable. Now let City and Newcastle face our fury.


Jack Mason     Posted 26/01/2016 at 17:52:12

Who would sack him?

Despite only three wins in the league since September I walked up to Goodison feeling confident of beating a poor Swansea side who had struggled for most of the season.

After 10 minutes of this woeful game my confidence was gone, as was most of the crowd's to be fair. A slow and pedestrian start and, to be honest, players not looking interested and looking like they all they thought they had to do was turn up and three points would be won.

I ran out of patience with Martinez after the terrible run over Christmas 2014 and wanted him out in January last year as I was convinced he would take us down to the Championship. After 16 wins in the last 61 games I haven't changed my mind – he needs to be sacked before he does get us relegate. I suggested last year he would take us down and laughed at by many but this is now again a reality under this delusional fraud.

The problem is who will sack him? Right now I am not sure who actually runs the club at the very top. If rumours are true then Kenwright is ill and in no fit state to be making those decisions and I fear if he was ok he still wouldn't sack him as our club resembles a boys' club these days; everyone mates with everyone else and while they are being paid no one will say anything even the media in this city are terrified to ask the important questions.

Many people see Wednesday as the final straw go out against City and what have we got left? Well, we have the FA Cup and a relegation battle. Personally after that yesterday he should have been put in a taxi and told to do one back to Wigan. We are Wigan mark II now and if he stays in charge he will relegate us. I have no doubt about this because the man will not change and once you start blaming the crowd for your own deficiencies then the writing is firmly printed on the wall,.

Please, EFC – react now before its too late.

Alex Mather     Posted 25/01/2016 at 11:08:56

The mother in law from hell

Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson provided us with some amusing spats. My favourite one was when Sir Alex lambasted Wengers team, stating that United played the better football. Arsene then responded with his now legendary, everybody thinks they have the prettiest wife at home. Cue apoplectic fume from Sir Alex. You may wonder what this has to do with the ToffeeWeb forum.

Unfortunately, in our case, everybody thinks that WE have the prettiest wife at home, when in fact our Old Lady is rapidly turning into the mother in law from Hell. This article is not a case for or against our Manager, just a statement of the facts.

We have now played 12 of our 19 home league games. Let us deal with the three victories, the high point being the 3-1 victory over Chelsea and a comfortable demolition of a hapless Villa side 4-0. The third was a 6-2 victory over Sunderland who could have been 2-0 up after 10 minutes, and came from 2-0 down to be drawing 2-2 early in the second half.

Of the 9 remaining games, five have resulted in defeat, with four draws. Being honest with ourselves, our performances in those games deserved nothing more no hard luck stories please. In those 9 games, we conceded the first goal 8 times. I will repeat that we conceded the first goal eight times!

Played 9, Lost 5, Drawn 4, Goals for 11, Goals against 19. Nineteen! Put another way, we would have had to be scoring 3 goals per game to stand a chance of winning.

Who do we have in our defence, you may well ask? Well our defence is full of international players Howard, Baines, Coleman, Jagielka, Stones, Funes Mori, Oviedo.

Who is our defensive coach you may well ask? Do we have a defensive coach?

If I cannot make it to a game, I always look for the report written by Ken Buckley. Always sensible and well-written with no knee jerk reactions.
I have followed the Blues now for 50 years, and cannot honestly remember us conceding so many soft goals at home, not even at the fag end of Walter's reign, or the disaster that was Mike Walker.

You can all make your own minds up but do you remember good old entertaining Blackpool in the Premier League five years ago? After 24 games, they were 11th in the table with 28 points and were relegated that season. But everybody loved watching them and probably thought they too had the prettiest wife at home. That same year Birmingham City won the League Cup and were also relegated.

A few years ago, for a guilty verdict in court, the evidence had to prove beyond reasonable doubt to convict. It was subsequently changed to on the balance of probabilities'. Have we reached that point, and if we have, will anything be done before it is too late?

I always want every player and Manager to do well for our Club. Just let the season end on a decent note and put to bed the barely believable scenario of our dénouement against Norwich on the last day of the season, with a certain player scoring against us. (Anyone old enough to remember that Dennis Law goal against Utd that relegated them?)

Last week Paddy Power were offering 150-1 on Everton being relegated.

Philip Ashton     Posted 25/01/2016 at 09:41:48

It's (not) the defence

I know that there are many threads discussing our current frailties but I, personally, feel that many fans are missing the main issue.

I think that we all agree that this season our defensive record has been the team and manager's Achilles heel. Every good team is based on a solid defence and it provides the foundation for the team's success. So what is the issue?

From what I can see, most fans seem to be looking at individual players and mistakes in isolation. It's all Tim Howard or John Stones's fault, etc. Now, I'm not saying that there have not been individual mistakes but in my opinion the fundamental issue is that we have no defensive system.

Similar to Wigan, Everton are absolutely hopeless without the ball. The first half yesterday was a classic example. Swansea were allowed to waltz around with the ball and were put under very little pressure. In particular, the front 4 seem to do very little in terms of (intelligently) pressing the opposition and when they do it is not co-ordinated. It is as if every player is left to make their own decision on how to defend. Compare this to how other teams like Leicester, Palace etc behave when the other team have the ball. Even total football teams like Barca, work really hard to get the ball back (as a team) when they lose it.

This lack of pressing and teamwork then puts pressure on the 2 defensive midfielders and defence. It is very unsettling for a defence if there are opposition players running into gaps, as you tend to get dragged out of place which has a knock-on effect for other defenders. A lack of confidence at the back in turns will lead to more individual errors. How Roberto Martinez cannot see this is beyond me.

I like Martinez and I think he has brought some great players to the club. He has assembled an excellent squad with great attacking ability who should be capable of winning silverware and competing for the top 4. However, he seems to have a fatal flaw with his (lack of) defensive strategy.

Without that, we will never achieve what we are capable of and so, sadly, I think he needs to go at the end of the season unless there is a major change in tactics and mentality.

Ciaran Duff     Posted 25/01/2016 at 00:19:40

When is enough enough?

There comes a time in a manager's tenure at a football club when he reaches the point of no return as far as the fans are concerned

Walter Smith realised it after Everton's disastrous FA Cup tie up at Middlesbrough a few years ago, and now I believe Roberto Martinez has reached the same point

After the latest horror show against a woefully inept Swansea team, someone at a senior level within the club should step in and bring matters to a speedy conclusion

Of course it won't happen, because Everton and Roberto Martinez deserve each other at the moment – we are like a ship sailing without a rudder, totally lacking in moral courage right at the top of our once great club, with a distinct lack of any real leadership

There were many things wrong with Everton's performance on Sunday, the quite baffling line-up of two out and out wingers in Deulofeu and Mirallas, a 'left-footed' player at right back, and a sub brought on who's only played three games in nearly two years, and was out on his feet for the last thirty minutes of the game

Having somehow worked out that getting the best out of Lukaku means playing a fit Kone alongside him, he then decides to totally isolate him in a 4-5-1 formation with three hairy arsed centre half's pushing right up on him

Six wins in 21 games isn't fine margins Roberto, it's a recipe for the sack at most clubs, and then to cap it all, he turns round in his post match interview and blames the Goodison crowd for making the player's 'fearful'

If this season was simply a 'one-off' all well and good, but it's been a downward spiral now for nearly two full season's, he simply refuses to change his 'philosophy', it's Roberto's way or the highway I'm afraid

Would they put up with it across the park, absolutely not, so why should we? The man is truly delusional, I honestly mean that, I'm not actually insulting him, and I do wonder whether like all despots, he has a mental condition

The longer he stays, the more damage he's doing, particularly to our young guns, whilst player's can be naive, most are not stupid. They can spot a phoney a mile off, and this guy is a phoney believe me.

Arrogant, delusional, take your pick, but he simply ain't going to change, and he certainly isn't going to accept one iota of blame for our current plight

I'm not going to suggest who should come in to replace him, but there are managers out there who could certainly perform better

Go now, please – you're simply out your depth.

Steve Hogan     Posted 24/01/2016 at 22:05:32

Roberto Martinez

In my view Martinez is a total enigma. When he walked into Goodison he stated that he would get our great team into the Champions League, the players took a lot of getting used to his style of play but did well enough to get us into the Europa League.

At this time, despite the criticism labelled at him, the die-hard fans like me wanted to maximise his chance and tried to believe in him. In fairness we did well enough in this cup and went out to a very good team. Our league form suffered greatly and we have yet to recover the form the players are capable of or what our manager wants from them.

Although I was giving him every chance this season has really brought it home to me that, like many other fans before me, he is not up to managing our great club. I watch eagerly every game his pre-game spiel about the players and injuries etc but recently he has demonstrated a dishonesty I do not like:

  1. He has stated for some time that Steven Naismith was injured and not yet ready. He then sells him – God only knows why – and Steven then goes to Norwich and scores on his debut, shows no sign of any injury and is latterly withdrawn due to tiredness.
  2. Regularly praises Tim Howard when he makes mistake after mistake.
  3. Tells us the players are hurt when they go out the following week and perform under par under his poor management.
  4. Continues to blame the referee when he hides his own inabilities.

The list is endless. Every week I watch Duncan and wonder what he is thinking about all this crap. If only the players could show as much passion as he did then I could see they are really trying from the badge AND THE FANS, then I could believe in him but after today's total inept performance, the second half was also crap, the players injuries didn't affect the team, the two players replacing them surely are good enough. Even Romelu gave up.

This article may be something that Everton fans have seen it all before but this is from probably another fan who has finally given up when I promised not to do so.

What else can I do on matchday but I live in hope and hope...?

Roy Clark     Posted 24/01/2016 at 19:57:26

Have your say

Somewhere, stuck in a corner of a ToffeeWeb page is a Poll asking fans to vote for Howard or Robles. At present Howard has around 14% and Robles 86% of the votes cast. That in itself is pretty decisive I would think but still the ToffeeWeb revelation appears to have fallen on the deaf ears of management.

What the poll does not say is how many fans actually voted or what percentage of the total TW membership that represents. It would be very interesting if the moderators could supply those stats to confirm that such polls are representative of the membership. For all we know less than 100 could have voted!

Where does all this lead to? Well, with a possible take over of the club I am sure that potential buyers will already have their plans for all things Everton and whether they consult us fans before coming to their conclusions is highly unlikely.

David Cameron promised a referendum on Britain's membership of the EEC and said it will take a very simple YES/NO majority to settle the issue.

What I am proposing is that TW set up an official poll run over the remainder of the season on one very simple all encompassing question:.

Do you want Martinez as manager of Everton after the current 2015/16 season Answer YES/NO.

AND to supply us with the eligible number of members and the number of votes cast in addition to the %s.

Is that asking too much?

AND finally to bring this poll to the notice of the club, we are after all the 'Independent Everton Website'!
Brin Williams     Posted 24/01/2016 at 18:45:24

Would the real Lukaku please stand up!

One of the most amazing transformations this season must definitely be credited to Romelu Lukaku. I was one of his critics last season as he ambled through games with heavy touches, a wimp with abysmal control and to be honest, he didn't look like he gave a monkey's! And all this for a club record outlay of 29 million. Some games he made my blood boil with his lethargic attitude.

Then, in the middle of it all, I remember a cup game against West Ham, in which he was absolutely breathtaking. He looked dangerous every time he got the ball, cruised past defenders as if they were not there, and his first touch was immaculate. I couldn't believe it. I sat there scratching my head wondering if he had a twin brother or maybe he was schizophrenic. This was not the Lukaku I knew. If he can do it in one game, why can't he do it all the while? But we were soon back to normal as, in the next game, he didn't look like he could trap a phonebook.

So, what has happened this season? Suddenly, we have one of the best strikers in the league. Strong, fast, clever on the ball, and close to lethal when he gets a chance. Was he just coming of age? Is the difference in the players around him or is it Ferguson & Martinez that have made a man out of him?

I know one thing: I bleeding-well like it... as long as it lasts. Humble pie never tasted so good!
Tony Cheek     Posted 22/01/2016 at 21:32:29


Where to begin? The sense of what could have been is surely to be what defines our thoughts. The 29 points from 22 games is a pitiful tally, and one that should be at least 10 better off.

The nativity, or the tendency to bottle it, shown when it matters, has destroyed our season, and has sapped our morale. Of course, silverware could surely lift spirits, but that is a huge IF.

The league is what shows a teams strengths and weaknesses. But of course, nothing is so black and white.

One the one hand, Martinez has built a young and exciting team. The fact that we have been in so many winning positions, and are argueably one of the most exciting and dangerous teams when on the ball is a huge upturn in fortunes.

The days of seeing Beattie spearhead our attack, (un)aided and (un)abetted by the likes of Kilbane, McFadden and Co, are long gone.

Yet, for all our attacking verve, we are lower in the Premier League than we were in the days of boring, predictable and uninspiring football.

Are Martinez's flaws irreversible? Or is he building something special, something that with a new Keeper, more experience and time that can turn 3-3 draws into 3-0 victories?

Martinez is in his 3rd season, and each one is more distinct than the last.

Last season, we were slow, predictable and impotent. Martinez has managed to change that, making us quick, spontaneous and potent, albeit absurdly fragile and naive.

Of course, another 11th place finish could render all of Martinez's team building obsolete, should Stones, Barkley or Lukaku decide they are ready to challenge the best.

But I am still in doubt. At 2-0 yesterday, there was a feeling that yes, maybe Martinez can get this team to tick. Then, inside 5 minutes, all the doubts return, and the calls for a new manager begin to dominate.

But still, I really don't know. Klopp at Dortmund built a style that took years to click, but when it did the patience paid off.

Is Martinez in a similar situation? Is he building a great team, or wasting one?

Without the riches of the big clubs, can we afford to take a chance on a new manager, once again build a new style, once again begin the team building?

I'll be honest, I really don't know.
Fran Mitchell     Posted 17/01/2016 at 12:47:34

Almost unbearable...

How can ones's weekend be blighted by a football match? I imagine it has happened to many Evertonians this weekend; that sickening knot in the stomach that only our club can provide. Yes, we were robbed, unlucky, a bit naive. Yet what is the point in counting the minutes added, or the yards that Terry was offside?

Yesterday was a metaphor for our season and what is most unbearable to me is my realisation that that is as good as it gets. The ability to grind out wins, to hold onto leads, can be coached... yet our coach has stated yesterday that it is not going to be our way.

I think it was Phil Walling who accurately likened us to Ron Greenwood's West Ham: admired but never feared. We are feared by no-one. I would imagine that every team fancies their chances against us. There is a fundamental weakness about us that can be corrected by the right coach... but it won't be.

It is hard to take that we have a good squad who are not challenging for a weak Premier League. I believe we have better players than Leicester City, but I think they have a better coach.

This is not a call for Martinez to go because that would be pointless. He is doing exactly what he was employed to do. Keep us safe, get the odd cup run and keep Evertonians off the back of the Board. It could have been our year and it is so depressing that it won't be. I think that, for my blood pressure, I will have to accept we are nice but soft moulded in the image of our coach.

Andy Crooks     Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:43:58

Martinez: Cup vs League

I know that cup statistics can be misleading Im admitting to that right now because, yes the sample size is generally smaller. But Im also kind of using this whole notion of 'misleading stats' to support the idea that Martinez has continually relied upon cup competitions to remain, relatively, out of the limelight (in relation to any potential sacking) – the FA Cup at Wigan; Europa League performances at Everton; and, more recently, the League Cup performances.

Do you think Martinez's style is suited more to cup competitions? Have his cup performances masked, or even made up for, his Premier League performances?

Im also posting this because I know that there is a lot of current talk about how good the side look when playing; and Im therefore, pretty interested to see how people interpret these statistics.

Do you think these stats are misleading or garbage? Are performances more important than stats?

Anyway, the trends are:


Total Win% = 64% (16/25 games)

1. GF ratio (goals scored per game)

Season 13-14: 2.5
Season 14-15: 1.8
Season 15-16: 2.3

2. GA ratio (goals conceded per game)

Season 13-14: 1.33
Season 14-15: 1.23
Season 15-16: 1.00

3. Win % (percentage of games won)

Season 13-14: 67.0%
Season 14-15: 46.2%
Season 15-16: 100%***

Premier League

Total Win% = 39.8% (39/98 games)

1. GF ratio (goals scored per game)

Season 13-14: 1.6
Season 14-15: 1.3
Season 15-16: 1.77

2. GA ratio (goals conceded per game)

Season 13-14: 1.03
Season 14-15: 1.32
Season 15-16: 1.45

3. Win % (percentage of games won)

Season 13-14: 55.3%
Season 14-15: 31.58%
Season 15-16: 27%***

The Premier League win percentages in 14-15 and 15-16 are, in my eyes, definitely the most alarming stats (especially because that first season seems to be the only thing keeping the total Premier League Win percentage close to 40%). Martinez has spoken before about performances being more important than results; and it appears that some people have actually been swayed by the beauty of recent performances. I honestly hope however, that these people have a long hard look at the stats, and realize that, at the end of the day, performances mean absolutely nothing when your Premier League win percentage is as low as it is.

Joshua McGreen     Posted 17/01/2016 at 07:51:24

What do we want from the next four games?

We all know that we've thrown away an incredible amount of points in the supposedly easier part of our fixture run and we all have theories as to why (most will be some variation on lack of defensive nous).

In the next two-and-a-bit weeks, we have some unarguably tough looking challenges:

Away to Man City (Premier League)
Away to Chelsea (Premier League)
Home to Swansea (Premier League)
Away to Man City (League Cup Semi-Final)

The questions for consideration are:

  1. What can we expect to get out these games realistically? (For example, would 5 points in the Premier League be a massive success?)
  2. Given the injury situation and frequency of fixtures, would we sacrifice one thing for another? In other words, should we really go all out for the League Cup and let Rom and others rest a tad in other games?

Personally speaking, my answers are:

  1. 5 points is fine, 6 points would be a success in league although I'd trade a point or two for a League Cup Final slot.
  2. For me, if players are fit, we should play our strongest line-up in every match (I think it's important we don't get battered in the Premier League game at The Etihad, for instance) but I wouldn't want to see the likes of Lukaku or Coleman rushed back for the league games if there was a chance of aggravating an injury.

Chris James     Posted 10/01/2016 at 18:36:20

The plan for the rest of this season?

Whilst I am a die hard Evertonian, and will cheer my team on until the last minute of the season, I find myself in the awkward position of having written this season off already. To counter that quite depressing standpoint, I have put all my eggs in one basket and am looking forward to next season, salivating over the obvious potential that this team has.

Tempering my excitement for the future, is the constant feeling that some of our younger, "future stars" will want to leave in the summer to pursue Champions League football. So the question I am asking myself, is how we keep those players, without the prospect of Champions League next season?

I will describe what I would do, if it was up to me, but I would also invite your thoughts.

First of all, the plan for next season starts now. We have half a season, two transfer windows and a pre-season, to get the balance right, build momentum, and build confidence. If those goals are achieved, then that might be enough to convince the young stars to stay, and sufficient to attract new quality players into the squad. It might also allow us to start next season on the front foot, at full speed, and from then on who knows what might happen!

So what would I do? I would identify the future and give those players more game time, and I would identify the past, and drop them. I would do this gradually over the remainder of the season, so as not to jeopardise this seasons league performance. I would use this transfer window to move some players on, and add one major signing (Yarmolenko?), and a couple of prospects.

In my opinion, the "past" include Howard, Hibbert, Gibson, McGeady, Pienaar, Kone, Naismith and Mirallas. I would sell, loan or release all of these players in this window or next. I would keep Jagielka, Baines, Barry, Osman and Lennon not necessarily all as regular starters, but more for their experience, attitude, squad involvement, and possible future coaching roles.

I would begin to bring in the younger players, starting with Robles, and use the rest of the season to determine whether our crop of youngsters are up for the challenge of Premier League football. The young players that have been brought in so far (Galloway, Browning) have done well, but I would try out more.

If the younger players give any reason to suggest they will not be able to play at the top level, the summer transfer window should be used to address those weaknesses.

Anyway, that's what I would do... what about you?

Andy Osborne     Posted 10/01/2016 at 05:36:07

Is it time for Robles to be No 1?

After watching the cup matches and not finding a whole lot wrong with the performances that Joel Robles has given, and then comparing them with the sometimes very shaky play of Tim Howard this season, is it time to shuffle the keepers?
Darryl Ritchie     Posted 08/01/2016 at 06:33:55

It's a Wonderful Life - John Stones, the richest man in town?

Here we are, still in the throes of the festive season and just into the new transfer window. At this time of year, I always make a point of watching It's a Wonderful Life, that uplifting tale with James Stewart where good triumphs over evil and the little man overcomes all stacked against him with the help of his friends and family (and Clarence, his guardian angel, of course). The best movie of all time. No contest.

In between my uncontrollable sobbing which used only to be at two or three points in the film but now extends for some reason from the opening to the closing credits I got to thinking of strong parallels between some of the main protagonists and our own great and good; in particular, the stark similarities between the situations of John Stones and George Bailey.

So, those of you familiar with the storyline will recognise the characters. For George Bailey read John Stones; for Old Man Potter read Roman Abramovich. Bailey Park becomes Goodison Park... You can probably fill in one or two of the other gaps yourselves.

Our story revolves around Potter trying to get his grubby little hands on the one thing that has eluded him for too long. No matter how much money Potter has, George Bailey holds out. Yes, of course George is tempted, and in an unguarded moment, is flattered by the offer of untold riches put on the table by Potter, but he soon comes to his senses and tells him where to stick his fancy cigar and inflated salary. George is a man with big ambition, high hopes and morals to go with them who has always done the right thing, at great personal cost, putting others' welfare and happiness before his own.

Then it all goes tragically wrong for George. He goes through the depths of despair before finally realising just in time that it is a Wonderful Life. In his time of need, his friends and family have no hesitation in coming to his aid and baling him out. Why? Because George (or is it John?) is an inspiration to us all. One of life's good guys. With all those friends he truly is the richest man in town.

So, here we are, in the transfer window once more. If Old Man Potter comes calling again, I've no doubt George Bailey will do the right thing again and tell him where to stick that cigar!

Happy New Year.

Frank Mullin     Posted 02/01/2016 at 13:15:51

Top 4 It's gone

Forget a Top 4 place... its virtually gone. Whilst the Atlantic has been dropping its water on the UK over last two or three days, I took opportunity to get back to my beloved maths. (Some of you might well remember my previous forecasts some years ago!)

Before I give you the results, I must fully agree with the torrent of abuse Ill get on the basis that we are heading towards the bottom 4 with our porous defence never mind moving up the Premier League. That aside; here are results of tonights mathematical deliberations.

Ive looked at each of the current Top 12 clubs' results over the last 3, 6 & 9 games theyve played and to take account of some clubs dropping some rising Ive split the 12 into groups of 4 teams: Top 4, 5th to 8th and 9th to 12th.

The current Top 4 got 11.5 pts on average out of the last 6 games - 18 pts possible; 5-8th are average 8.5 pts, and 9-12th average 7.5 pts. Everton over the last 6 games have got 6 pts only! and werent these supposed to be easier games after our tough opening 10 matches???

We are 9 pts away from Spurs (who are on 35 pts), currently in 4th. People are saying we can easily get 9 pts back, but actually its not easy as there are clubs in 5th to 10th places who are also trying to get back the 4 to 6 pts they need for 4th place. We would need a sustained improvement of about 14 or 15 pts per 6 games for the rest of the 19 games to be played, and even Arsenal & Leicester (currently top on 39 pts) have only averaged 12 pts per 6 games. Arsenal and Watford both have 13 pts from last 6 games and, in Watfords case, its moved them from 12th place to 9th today still... 6 pts away from 4th place.

To get into the 4th position, we are therefore talking about winning at least 13 more likely 14 out of the remaining 19 games; draws dont help at all. This form would have put us on top of the league after the first 19 games with 42 pts, Arsenal top at the moment with 39 pts. So, can we reach 4th in my view, the answer is an emphatic NO!

Can we reach 5th or 6th and the beloved Europa League? Yes, we can... but we will need about 10 or 11 pts per 6 games over the remaining 19, in total about 33 pts extra from today so we need to win at least 9 of our remaining games, losing only 4 at the most.

All this I think rightly assumes that we dont see a complete collapse by Spurs, Man Utd, Liverpool, Palace, Stoke, West Ham and Watford all together.

Mike Oates     Posted 01/01/2016 at 15:27:41

Everton and Contracts

With the skies greying by the day after last season bringing us amazing sunshine, our manager's positions is as unstable as the UK weather, it seems.

Bobby Brownshoes got a 5-year contract from what I have read on here and it got me thinking. Why is it that those in control of the club seem to dish out long, lucrative contracts to players and men at the helm?

It smacks of desperation when what we should be doing is be a lot less generous and be a club where you are made aware of how honoured you are to be on the payroll and need to prove your worth.

Its football in general really but Everton FC's hierarchy seem more incompetent than most, to the point of embarrassing.
Gary Russell     Posted 30/01/2015 at 02:52:08

At Least Two?

Here we are, with seven days left until Jim White has a fit, and collapses into the arms of Natalie Sawyer, live on Sky Sports super duper deadline day.

We have been suffering badly with injuries all season. Not just the odd few weeks for the usual suspects, but months out for certain players, or possibly career-ending injuries for the like of poor old Ossie. (I wish him well.)

The smiling assassin has gone for another pay-day in Italy, and we will soon be playing the dreaded Thursday / Sunday games due to the Europa League.

We are not as skint as we used to be, so surely we will be bringing at least two players in? That's if we don't see any last-minute shenanigans with players going the other way! That doesn't bear thinking about.

New faces can lift a squad if they are the right type of personality. Even if we don't bring in established stars, the likes of Deulofeu would certainly lift our spirits. This lot need an injection of some new blood, along with a winger and maybe a creative midfielder?

Please tell me we won't be left staring at the TV in disgust at 11 pm this time next week? A couple of decent signings (or loans) could mean the difference between relegation and survival!
Kevin Tully     Posted 26/01/2015 at 20:47:38

George Green

Whatever happened to George Green? Is he injured or is there another issue?

I believe we paid 2 mill for him and initially he showed great promise.

So what's happened?
Nick Oakley     Posted 22/01/2015 at 14:48:57

The options then. The options now.

At the moment, given our perilous league placing and our impending relegation fight we are questioning if Roberto Martinez is the man to be heading our beloved football club. Many fans are still wrestling with the idea that Martinez just simply isnt good enough and has us on a one-way trip down the league. Fluffing home bankers such as WBA isnt inspiring confidence amongst the ranks.

But one has to question how hard did Kenwright actually search for Moyes's replacement?

Kenwright seemed genuinely caught out and stunned by Moyes choosing the United job, despite the world and his wife knowing more than he did. The problem is when Moyes left there weren't many managerial options out there. Names such as: Martinez, Malcky Mackay, Phillip Neville, Alan Stubbs, David Weir, Brian Laudrup and Neil Lennon were being bandied around.

All pretty uninspiring to be honest. But the question remains, how many did Kenwright actually interview? There are rumours that Newcastle have had 80 applications for the manager's job from around the world. Id love to know how many applications Kenwright received to succeed Moyes.

The only problem is that if we do sack Martinez what are the serious long-term options? As we have experienced with our current manager, any manager can have a good season. Anyone remember names such as Malky Mackay and Aidy Boothroyd which were once being touted as future England managers? Even our own Martinez was being touted as the next Arsenal or Barcelona manager last season.

For now, the realistic options to replace Martinez seem to be Brian Laudrup, Mark Hughes, Steve McLaren and er... anyone else got any ideas?

Im all for sacking Martinez but his replacement IF he does get sacked must be more thoroughly researched and the net cast wider than when Moyes left.

It really is slim pickings out there...

Daniel Johnson     Posted 21/01/2015 at 19:55:22

Team Spirit

During the last few years of the Moyes reign, there was a justifiable belief that things had gone stale, stagnant and that change was for the better, for both parties.

He got us to 7th/6th/5th, but we'd hit our peak... to go further, we needed new ideas; Moyes simply couldn't shake the conservative shackles off, and this mentality would be our downfall.

All this is reasonable, albeit questionable. At times our play under Moyes was dreadful, at times it was a joy. Most of the time it was decent neither terribly boring nor orgasmically exciting just decent.

What it was, and in this there is little room for debate, is that it was always organized, well drilled with players playing and knowing their role in the team. And there was never a lack of team spirit.

These adjectives are commonly reserved for the 'over-achiever', the 'good but not a threat to order'. We often got annoyed at such adjectives; rather than see them as a compliment, we took them as a sly dig. Maybe this is true.

But one thing is for sure, we need those qualities more than ever. What will save Everton from the drop won't be a few moments of skill, of great individual flair but a collective team spirit, collective organization.

The players look totally uninterested. They look like wounded animals waiting to be slaughtered. Beyond their lack of self-confidence, they have lost the confidence in their team-mates, exemplified by the Mirallas debacle. The lack of width comes from a manager playing central players, and not giving them strict roles.

We may have hit a glass ceiling under Moyes, but Martinez is leading us on a treck over a lake of thin ice. We were naive in thinking we simply needed a new manager and new ideas. But now we need to get back to basics.

If Martinez won't be sacked, and it is unlikely that he will be, then we need to bring in an Assistant. Offer Alan Irvine a position, maybe he could instill some Moyesian pragmatism to our game. Or someone else of that ilk.

Personally, I'd sack Martinez, give Duncan Ferguson the job until end of season and spend the next 6 months searching for a new guy.

Fran Mitchell     Posted 21/01/2015 at 11:58:17

Lay off Barkley

If theres one thing which totally annoyed me on Monday night it was listening to the crowd jeering Barkley.

The lad is 21, hes missed a huge amount of football due to severe injuries triple fracture of the leg, and knee ligament damage. He was given two games by Moyes before he cast him out to learn the trade.

Hes been built up by Martinez, Carragher and every uncle Tom Cobbly media man as the English saviour, and hes playing in a team that at the moment doesnt know how to win. Hes surrounded by experienced Internationals who are miles off the pace, who are showing no leadership at all, and the crowd expect him to dictate the game, score and create opportunities galore.

Hes pledged himself to Everton, hes stayed when others have bolted off to cream riches elsewhere yet we must have a fall guy, was Osman now Barkley its s always a home grown lad.

Ive read numerous points raised "oh, it wasnt Barkley, its just frustration at the whole team"; "oh fans must be allowed to boo, its our right, we pay good money"; "its always been the Everton fans way of doing things"

Well it stinks when the target is the youngster in the team who, through no fault of his own, has been totally overhyped, thrown into a poor team at the moment. Get one thing straight, hes not a bite-your-legs, hunt-every-ball-down type of player, and never will be. Hes a lad which might develop into a Silva type player if hes given some decent players to play with.

Boo if you want but do it to Martinez, do it to Kenwright, do it to the older lads when they cock up, but for Gods sake dont do it to the young lads Barkley, Stones, Lukaku, McCarthy, etc because they are the ones we can only look forward to next year or so to take us forward. The rest will be on their pensions, coaching somewhere, playing in the MLS.

If we keep up whats been happening in last few games, I tell you what: they wont be around next season let alone be our future.
Mike Oates     Posted 20/01/2015 at 23:22:41

Bill, Go Get Mark Hughes

So, whos getting really worried now?

Defeat to Palace, Chelsea and Liverpool (look at those games with your head and not your heart) and we could be bottom 3. Be honest, in our state can we beat any of those 3, after that shambles last night?

Right now we need to think about the here and now - get the points to survive then take it from there. The panic and fear engulfing every aspect of the club (apart from Roberto the Spoofer and his Alice in Wonderland coaching staff) around the club is frightening.

Ive seen the Kendall Dynasty disintegrate, nearly going down with Mike Walker (the parallels are uncanny), Kendall nearly taking us down again, the Walter Smith years, the Moyes era.

Bill, go and get Mark Hughes at all costs now. He'll get us fit, organised, well marshalled, no nonsense at the back, put the fire back in the bellies, well be hard to beat, competitive, combative, getting a mix of attacking through passing and being direct when necessary, give the players self belief. Mark Hughes is a winner, in my opinion under-rated as a manager, he's a narky nasty tough son of a gun and we wouldn't have to be worried about rolling over for anyone regardless of reputations. I think he'll look at our squad and see that we have a good lot who can offer so much more.

Big decisions required in the coming weeks. I like Martinez, an affable chap, but i support Everton, not Martinez, nice as he is, he's not up to this. 1 win in 13, 5 wins all season with the same squad with a few additions to help it. This is nothing to do with the Europa League. Something internally is very badly wrong. Watching Eastenders is more entertaining than us at the minute. This is getting close to making me take up watching grass grow instead. Isnt it getting that bad? Are crisis and chaos words that are too strong to describe this?

I've heard all the rumours, it's so un-Everton. This cant go on like this. If we can't Hughes until the summer, then if its possible bring Big Joe Royle back in with the Dogs of War spirit to get us out of this mess in the short term, then Hughes to come in during the summer.

Slate me all you want, i've supported this club for nearly 30 years. We're in trouble, big trouble.

Forget sentiment, there's a lot of money at stake. Relegation will kill this club for a long long time. Kenwright will not want to be the chairman that took this club down for the first time in generations. The loss of income will see him making the change soon.

Interesting times lie ahead.
Declan Brown     Posted 20/01/2015 at 20:54:18

Black and White

My intention for this article is not to waffle on or mask issues but deal with matters head on.

For the writers who suggest we sack Martinez, we simply do not have the money do this. I realise that relegation would cost a hell of a lot more, but quite simply Martinez and his backroom staff have 4 years minimum remaining on their contracts at the club. Our form has been awful but Kenwright isn't in a position to make wholesale changes to the staff and does he feel comfortable enough to give Martinez funding to loan or sign new players, that we desperately need.

For me Ross Barkley is suffering and Martinez has to take some of the blame for this. Barkley last year was a joy to watch, running at players, scaring the opposition and played with no shackles. Yes I know he was in a form team playing well but Martinez hadn't started his blow smoke up his arse campaign, for me Barkley is now suffering. He isn't the finished article yet, he can't win games for us, yet Martinez goes on like he is our Gerrard. I feel his constant talking up of Barkley has lumped far too much pressure on a youngster who to this date still hasn't contributed enough in the first team.

The captain debate, personally I think Jagielka is a fine pro, but he isn't captain material. We need a player who is going to drag the players with him to success, Jagielka doesn't have this trait. I would love to see McCarthy,Besic or Stones being looked at. Yes young, but all three play with pride and try to force the game. Experience isn't everything in football after all.

The squad is filled to the rafters with deadwood. I say deadwood and mean players who offer nothing, in this category is Pienaar, Gibson, Alcaraz and Atsu. They pad the squad on paper make it look bigger than it is but in reality they don't change games. When you look further, take those names out, the youngsters who offer nothing and don't get played and we have the smallest squad ever.

Elijah Constantinou     Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:28:19

Eto'o to Sampdoria

The imminent departure of Samuel Etoo to Sampdoria may or may not speak volumes about the way EFC is being run at the moment. Obviously I hope this is not the case, but am I the only one who finds this turn of events a bit worrying?

Roberto Martinez has been saying all along that the club has a great relationship with Etoo, that he was virtually guaranteed that second year of his contract, and that hes a great influence around the place, particularly on the younger players. And now hes off to Sampdoria, and according to the Guardian hes taking a 40% pay cut to make this happen.

Why the sudden desertion, I wonder, of the two-times Champions League winning, Italian league-winning, Spanish league-winning, experienced, star striker? Surely not the rigours of the Premiership he was doing pretty well earlier on in the season Burnley anyone? So, is Sammys departure a comment on how EFC is being run behind the scenes?
Alex Wylie     Posted 19/01/2015 at 15:05:00

How do you solve a problem like Ross Barkley?

It doesn't seem that long ago that we were asking the same question about Jack Rodwell. And before that it was Francis Jeffers and before that...!

I don't ever recall much uncertainty about Wayne Rooney but then he was one that comes along once in a lifetime. Before him and since, they have either fallen short or failed "to train on".

But Ross was supposed to be different a true Blue who, blessed with sublime talent, played for the shirt and wouldn`t have his head turned by exaggerated praise or the lust for money. True, he had, from a young age, suffered an undue number of serious injuries but had always shown great fortitude in overcoming them.

So, after many a false start, often in the colours of lesser clubs and even briefly for England, we came to 2014-15 which was supposed to have seen him emerge as a true Everton star.

Of course, a bit like Rodwell, there had always been uncertainty about his role in the team. Most thought just behind the striker the so-called No 10 role while others saw him playing in a more withdrawn slot from which he could burst forward with that electrifying pace and sublime control. Few, apart, perhaps, from his manager occasionally, ever regarded him as a wingman.

Of course, the uncertainty was compounded by the presence of the likes of Eto'o, Naismith and a clutch of midfielders who seemingly had to be accommodated if only in the cause of rotation. To many of us, this confusion has greatly contributed to the lad's rapid demise from a player considered by his manager as "probably the best who has ever played for England" to very much an "also ran". But, I suspect, it is not the whole story.

Sad to say, last night, he stank the place out and just had to be withdrawn. So what ails the boy wonder who has become an ordinary man? Has his head been turned by tales of 60m bids? Has he suddenly started to believe he is the supreme performer his manager described him as? Or is it simply a case of yet another sensational prospect hitting the ceiling of his development?

What we do know is that many, many, less talented have worked like dogs to really make it in this game Keegan, Beckham, Beardsley, Steven, Reid to name a few. So what is holding our Ross back?

Answers on a postcard (remember those?) to R Martinez and all Evertonians.

Phil Walling     Posted 14/01/2015 at 16:18:19

No short cuts

Roberto Martinez is a charming man. He has charisma, style and he's clearly intelligent. But does he have the single-minded dedication required to manage a club the size of Everton?

I made a promise to the Editor that I would never mention Martinez's trip to Brazil again, so I hope he will forgive me for raising the issue just once more as I feel its an important part of the point I want to make.

Whatever your feelings, it is surely difficult to argue that he could achieve as much devoting himself to the cause for ten months as he would have done in eleven. Some have tried to defend his time in Brazil by pointing to the signing of Besic, but that argument seems rather weak when you consider that Mark Hughes stayed here and managed to sign a more skillful player for half the price. I'm convinced Martinez would have snapped up Bojan and a couple of others if he hadn't taken his eye off the ball.

In isolation, Bobby's trip to South America would seem harmless enough, but a precedent was being set. We were still frantically trying to arrange pre-season fixtures when he eventually got back and our general lack of readiness would suggest he had taken his eye of the ball. Despite publicly recognising that we needed 6/7 players, he left things in the less than capable hands of our "recruitment department". The attention to detail so easily recognisable in the top managers just wasn't there. In short he was corner cutting.

Our manager's stock has fallen sharply over the past seven or eight months. Why?

I've got to admit I'm worried. When a young player tells us Martinez sent his team out at Newcastle without clear instructions as to what formation he had in mind, it showed us that he was paying absolutely no attention to detail. So did Ossie's recent revelation that he doesn't think corners are worth practicing... and should a manager really have to be told by his players that they were uncomfortable with his style of play? Not if he's paying attention to detail.

I believe Martinez is in a hurry to get to the top, so much so that he is willing to take short cuts to get there. It can't be done, not in a league where his counterparts are leaving no stone unturned.

There is no easy fix. Only by putting the hours of practice in will we stop conceding needlessly from dead-ball situations, Transfer negotiations may be slow and laborious, particularly on our budget, but if you know you need 6/7 players you have to stay around and sign them, even the long drawn out complicated free transfers. You simply cannot send a team out on the off-chance they may click as he did at St James's.

You need to be 100% focused to manage a club like Everton; you dare not miss a trick. Bobby seems to have adopted an it'll-be-alright-on-the-night attitude. Too much is left to chance. Whine about injuries if you must, but every other team has them. This crisis we are in the midst of is solely down to him

I hope to fuck he is half as good as his supporters have made him out to be and that he has it in his locker to redeem the situation.

Darren Hind     Posted 08/01/2015 at 18:37:39

A Case For The Defence

ToffeeWeb inundated with worried supporters all wound up and reasonably so with the pending flirtation with the drop zone. Time for a counter view:-

1. The 'system' is more important than the players. Absolutely. Players get injured, go off the boil, change clubs, and at times are selected (or not as the case may be) to do a specific job against variable opposition.

2. The 3 year project otherwise called a business plan is to re-establish Everton as a major international status club. Very difficult given the stranglehold the Redshites have on the BBC. (try living overseas and following Everton via the media and you will know exactly what I mean...) This can only be achieved by classy behaviour at all levels. Arguing with the refs? Behaving like Charlie Adam? Give me a break... Real class crosses cultural boundaries and stereotypes, has vision, set goals and a rationale to achieve it.

3. The set goal(s) is the European Champions League. The Premier League is the essential bread and butter. The FA Cup is window dressing. We will survive in the Premier League, we may do reasonably well in the FA Cup, and we will qualify for the Champions League probably via the Europa League this season or 4th place in the Premier League next year season.

4. Am I delusional? Possibly. But at least the thinking process has a logic not a panic button. The mix of Barry, Eto'o and Howard for the USA connection and other seniors to set alongside the youngster brigade is genius management of a slower than we would like process in the making.

5.The rationale? You can't buy success. Tottenham tried it. The Redshites have tried it. Doesn't work unless the foundations globally are incredibly strong. That is why Man Utd survived Moyes; why Man City can afford it, and could be why Liverpool are being promoted globally by the BBC. (Though why a national corporation should focus so avidly on them, I can't quite work out yet...)

The only way forward is the route Roberto is taking. Create a team of flexible, interchangeable parts, greater than the sum of the whole but on a shoe-string budget. He only has 50% of the staff he needs at this point in time. He will be as angry as all Evertonians at being in a tighter financial straightjacket than he was expecting, but the acid test of this philosophy the lynchpin is Ross Barkley, and if he is sold it, will be over Martinez's head and if it happens then that is when Martinez will leave; on his own terms and not before.
Cartwright William     Posted 04/01/2015 at 17:07:06

The Responsibility of Everton's Board?

I am asking this as, over the past number of weeks, there has been a large amount of comments regarding the play of Everton's team, both in effort and style, plus the manager's decisions on player selection and his philosophy. There are two opinions with the supporters and just reading the comments the majority want the manager out and the rest wanting him to be given the chance to turn it around.

Regardless of their conflicting opinions, the majority of both feel that at this time his style of play is not working with the players we have and he should alter it until we have the players who will be comfortable with it.

Because of the business they are in, Everton FC are the same as other professional sports they are in the entertainment business. This is the start of the Board's responsibility: to ensure that the correct people are hired and held accountable for the entertainment side of the club and the high standard that the customer / supporter demands as, the better the entertainment, the more Everton supporters; whereas, if there is a drop in entertainment, the less Everton Supporters turn up.

Without going into how you became a supporter, it is fair to say that there are about (these may not be accurate figures) say 25,000 to 30,000 hardcore supporters that practically guarantee a large amount of the club's annual income, both in pre-season with season ticket sales... plus attendance at friendlies and home games.

As all the supporters do not live within walking distance of Goodison Park, a high number travel by train, bus, taxi, carpool and even some by air. As well as providing income to the travel industries, the supporters are providing income to people who rely on them in the businesses near the ground for food and refreshments.

This also becomes the responsibility of the Board as if (a) a large amount of the supporters decide that they may not attend the game and that is possible in the present climate and (b) taking in the amount of money they spend (these figures are not accurate but are being used for demonstration) 35 for the game plus 35 pound for transport and refreshment, that means for every 1,000 supporters not attending, 35,000 is being lost to the club and 35,000 to the transport and refreshment industires and I am sure that these people will not remain quite for long...

So... are the board being responsible by:

(a) Announcing that they are remaining with the present management and are satisfied with the job he is doing?

Or (b) bringing in a troubleshooter ie, a new manager to resolve the problems?

Or (c) become irresponsible by leaving the responsibility to the Chairman to make the decision?

Everton are a massive organization and there is no way that one man should be responsible for major decisions that affect the club. The supporters deserve a lot better than they are getting.

Bill Gall     Posted 02/01/2015 at 14:34:24

In defence of Roberto

We are at a point in the season where we should drop the delusions of grandeur about top four in the league and focus on survival. Let us save our best days for cup games. However, unlike what seems to be a very vocal majority on ToffeeWeb, I still think Martinez is the man to take us forward; although I do feel that he has been badly let down this year by the following:

1) Defection of coaches (Stubbs, Irvine etc.) to take other more senior jobs. Bobby cant do it all and Im hopeful that he is big enough to recognise this and seek out help where required.

2) The challenge of juggling Europa League with Premier League. Lets not forget that this is Roberto's first European cup experience. Hes done all right in the Europa League, but hes not been able to juggle the squad around optimally.

3) Players aging faster than he anticipated. Who would have thought that Barry would suddenly turn so poor, especially after last season? Similarly Distin and Howard have been absolute rubbish. Howard seems to have lost his hunger ever since he retired from the US team. Distin's just past it, but we have been forced to play him due to injuries to others.

4) Injuries to key players: Throughout this season, we have players taking knocks at the wrong times. James McCarthy is an absolute key player for us but is missing at the moment. John Stones is probably our best defender and he's been missing for a while now.

5) Youngsters not living up to their potential. Barkley, who currently plays week-in & week-out hardly, does enough to merit his place in the squad. He's not creative or explosive enough to be a match winner. Neither is he physical or tactical enough to be a defensive mid field leader. His decision making is beyond pathetic. In any other team, he'd be on the bench if in the squad at all. Lukaku has been rightly benched recently, and has hardly shown enough to live up to his billing this season.

6) Gerard Deulofeu: Gerard got slated last season for being a selfish twat. But what he brought was raw game-breaking dynamism and the unpredictable flair that defenders dread. We are badly missing that spark this season. Atsu isnt that person, neither is McGeady.

7) Consistent referring howlers: Week after week we get stone dead penalties and red cards to opposition players not given. My conjecture is that other teams and refs view us as nice guys who can be taken for granted and all of this stems from a lack of on-field leadership.

8) Lack of on-field leadership: Where Roberto has truly screwed up is in not signing a nasty piece of work as a leader of the pack. A saner Roy Keane, or a more skillful Phil Neville. Someone who will dish out a royal old bollocking to the slackers and give back as good as the team gets. We have the physiques look at Lukaku, he's a freaking man mountain. But he acts like a rabbit against defenders smaller than him. He's young and he's looking for someone else to start the aggression from our side.

His signings have been fine. No better or worse than any other manager. They have been both pragmatic to fill gaps (Eto'o, Kone, Barry etc.) and long-term (Lukaku, Besic, McCarthy, Galloway). More importantly, he has shown that the youth can step up in form of Garbutt and Browning. The squad, although carrying some old legs, is in a healthy shape overall. But he does need that on-field leader signed up in January.

Nigel Gregson     Posted 02/01/2015 at 12:09:31

Back Him or Sack Him. Now!

Kenwright has to make the decision and he must make it quickly. If I was him, I'd speak to three people:

Baines and Jagielka two stalwart Blues who know the club and could give him a decent insight into the feeling in the dressing room.

Eto'o seen it all, done it all, will know a good set-up and manager when he sees one. My instinct is wondering whether he may be one of the 'bad apples' who has 'sussed Martinez out'.

If I felt he could get the dressing room back, I'd give him the chance to put things right. If I didn't, I'd sack him now.

There were a few occasions when I thought Moyes had lost the dressing room, but give him credit, he always got it back and I'd be thinking of the City game as a barnstorming, backs to the wall 1-0 to get some of us off his back for a few weeks. Can't see that this time.

If Kenwright comes out and backs him, that gives us time to weed out and replace the 'bad apples' who want out, rally the players and fans in the knowledge that Martinez is staying.

If he sacks him, it gives the next man the chance to come in, get rid of and replace those who want out.

We've got a decent squad. I'd like the manager we had last season, or another one. The players look to have made their minds up.

Doing nothing is always a good option for Bill, but that will just continue the drift and the rumours will get more interesting until a decision is made.

It's down to Kenwright to force a few hands here. Let's hope he does it now though I'm not holding my breath.

Paul Tran     Posted 02/01/2015 at 11:24:45

Where Everton stand

Everton, to be a consistently challenging side, need a strong defence, and the players who can consistently achieve that level of performance. Presently, they haven't got a strong defence and the players aren't consistent. As a matter of fact, some of them have never been consistent enough.

As supporters for many years, we all have felt the next game is vital after a good result, and if we win that, we will move into a challenging position in the table. Remember how we always lost that game, for this past 10 years? Moving forward, we have always looked challenging, but have huffed and puffed when a team set up shop against us. Always afraid that our inconsistent defence would get caught out. Martinez pushed us all forward and got away with it last season, but our inconsistent defensive players let us down; with Martinez's tactics of playing the ball across the defence, we missed out on the top four place.

Having now been found out, teams press us high up and, because our players are trying to pass the ball, there is no depth of defence when they lose the ball. The middle of the park is an Everton defence-free zone under Martinez. It's falling back on the holding player, Barry (a kind of sweeper) who is frankly overwhelmed.

Last season, Barry began many attacks. This has not been happening in the league most of this season so far. Players now don't want to get forward and, rather than defending, they are thinking of their next pass. The forwards are often isolated and unsupported. It's just pass, pass, pass... with no alternatives of getting the ball to them.

The problem is, if Martinez was told to keep a clean sheet the next game, ie, grind out a result, would he be able to set up a team to do that? In a recent interview, he said that they should never change tactics but try to improve on the implementation of the existing tactics. This isn't grinding out a result.

I don't think Martinez is going to manage a turn-around and start another golden era. I saw Everton at Arsenal in the early 80s (attendance 51,000), they lost one-nil, to a dubious penalty where Charlie Nicolas got pushed. Charlie was embarrassed. He knew, as all the Arsenal supporters around me knew, they had seen a special Everton team play that day, based on a defensive tightness throughout the side. What followed was inevitable history after that.

I would love to see such a team under Martinez, but I think I will have to suffer a while longer. I have recently seen on the forum a long standing supporter, who was taking up a new hobby. I ask myself today do I really need this disappointment? I didn't watch the match and didn't pray before I looked up the inevitable result.

Jerome Shields     Posted 01/01/2015 at 23:43:46

The Right Tactics and the January We Need

In searching for silver linings after the embarrassment that has been our Festive Period, I started thinking about our tactical approach and the best way to turn things around. Roberto Martinez has been heavily criticized for sticking rigidly to his 4-2-3-1, possession-based system. However, somewhat to his credit today, he did employ a different set-up and received yet another crap performance. He ran a 3-4-1-2 (or 2-1 depending on wherever the hell Naismith was playing at any given moment). So what next?

The biggest source of our demise today was none other than Gareth Fuckin! Barry deputizing at center back, and he was also to blame against the Barcodes for his ridiculous defensive work and ponderous build-up. His work at center back today was among the worst performances for an individual player Ive seen in a blue shirt in years. Had the referee made all of the right decisions, he would have committed a clear penalty, played Jelavic onside for the 2nd (maybe 3rd with the penalty) goal, and rightly been sent-off.

And so at least for the moment, Im skeptical of the screams for a change in formation or reverting to Pulisian Route One lump-and-chase, and concerned far more about team selection.

Alcaraz was neither hero, nor zero but certainly made no case for a first-team place unless forced through injury. Combined with the shambolic Aiden McGeady, Distin in his Gareth Barry costume, and Naismith continuing ineffectiveness, it seems to me that we now know our Best 11, if only after a brutal process of elimination:

Robles (groans...) Coleman Jagielka Stones Baines McCarthy (lying deeper) Besic (slightly forward) Mirallas Barkley Oviedo Lukaku Subs: Anon. Keeper X, Etoo, Kone, Garbutt, Naismith, Barry/Atsu/McGeady/Pienaar, Alcaraz

Thats the side that we need to see against the Mancs. While Im intrigued by experimenting with a back 3, we simply do not have the central defenders with the quality to move to that set-up. Neither Alcaraz, Distin, or Barry should be in that position without being utterly forced by injury.

With that set-up, that leaves our task for this transfer window straightforward for me. Goalkeeper coverage is an absolute necessity with Joel looking about to shit himself 90% of the time the ball comes near the box, and he is no match for the injured Howard, even though all would agree hes been far from his best. Also we at least need better coverage at center back, preferably a CB that we could all see winning an automatic starting place for the run-in the likes of Winston Reid on the cheap sounds about right.

Finally, I dont see how we recover our form of last season without a real left winger to provide the width and balance to both sides in attack that made us, and in particular our fullbacks, so dangerous last season. Restore that balance and we also get to play the most in-form of Barkley, Etoo and Naismith in the hole with the time on the ball that additional width and quicker passing from defensive midfield would provide.

David Hall     Posted 01/01/2015 at 20:57:39

Individual Errors

A lot has been made about "individual errors" recently (and we're now up to 11 in the Sky table after today, way ahead of the 7 from Arsenal in second place) but an individual error is not the same as a goal or even a chance. In reality, individual errors occur from both sides pretty much every minute of the 90. But fitness and organisation mean that you generally mitigate these risks.

If you are organised then you generally have cover from another player, either to tackle, sweep or just jockey opposing players into less dangerous areas, or to buy time to get further numbers back. If you're fit you have an increased chance of doing this and for the full 90. This is the basis of KITAP1 (oh what heady days they seem right at this moment!) This side does none of the above.

Look at Alcaraz's positioning for the third Newcastle goal, charging in, as an example. This kamikaze high back line with zero cover that he persists on playing is fatally flawed and he plays it every single time against every opposition.

I was apoplectic against Hull today at the number of last-ditch tackles we made in one-on-one defending situations precisely because of a lack of organisation. In truth, the team that couldn't score before today could have got double figures today because of haphazard last-ditch chaos rather than managed defence in depth.

Our record loss is 10-4 but we would not have scored 4 today! Can you imagine that? This is not new, it first came to our attention properly in the Anfield humiliation and still does not seem to be recognised or addressed in any way by Martinez or any of his expensive coaches. How can something so basic be overlooked? Our CBs have been hammered on ToffeeWeb this season but this system is the real reason we ship goals, not the quality of defender. It's just not statistically possible not to fail when this type of single point of failure defence is what we have.

Joe Clitherow     Posted 01/01/2015 at 20:20:58

Nero Fiddled As Rome Burned?

This is my first article on here and as a Lower Gwladys Season Ticket holder with my son I am desperately disappointed with Roberto. Yes, I did want him appointed, I will admit to that, but I now see the dreamer/salesman for what he is.

Most ideologists in history are unswerving in their beliefs but eventually get found out. His recent comments have almost told the rest of the league his intentions. I have never heard such nonsense. I have watched EFC sides from Catterick to the present day and I never heard of a manager with a philosophy apart from a winning philosophy. It is total spin from a very arrogant stubborn man.

Football to some extent is a simple game. You have a good spine in the team, you have the right players in the right positions, you are organised, you do pass the ball positively and you work to get the ball back when you lose it. You make sure your players are fit, picked on merit (form) and use set pieces to obtain an advantage. I have coached kids and the first thing you tell them is not to pass it about in your own penal;y box and clear your lines. Possession does not win games, goals do!!! Let teams have possession in areas that are ineffectual.

You vary the play depending on the opposition you face. Sometimes you play long ball, sometimes short ball. The objective is to win! If you play the same way all of the time, teams work out your style of play and nullify it and take advantage.

Let's have a look at Mr Martinez this season although the signs were there last season too.

  1. He has done almost the opposite of the above. The amount of times we have a free kick in the opposition half and a short free kick sees it all the way back to Howard. Wasted opportunities like our corners. You only have so many opportunities in the Premier League.
  2. His defense do not mark their players touch tight and seem reluctant to clear their lines, apparently they must pass the ball out or incur the wrath of Martinez. Jags has turned into a nervous wreck.
  3. Passing for passing sake is our new mantra. It is like watching a training session. In the Swansea and Hull when we are chasing a victory instead of launching the ball in the box, they continued passing about the defense in the last few minutes. It looked as if they were unable to change.
  4. The true barometer of a team has been the league position. At the moment we are sinking like a stone because of an intransigent manager who will not change. His record in the league at Wigan was awful and he took them down by playing the same stuff with the same approach.
  5. This is a good squad so Martinez has no excuses this time around. His tactics have been woeful. I suggest that Lukaku be partnered with Kone leading the line. Besic in midfield and more direct football. 6
  6. I do feel sorry for the players as it is clear that Martinez has lost the dressing room and they have direction but the wrong direction. I do think managers should be given time but I honestly feel we are fighting relegation now mainly because of Martinez's tactics. He has also stated that he will NOT change them. That is the key problem here.

What do we do? I believe that today Steve Bruce will be licking his lips and my beloved Blues will be beaten soundly as they are in dis-array.

This is like the end of the Mike Walker era, Martinez should be sacked forthwith and put Big Joe Royle in place for the rest of the season until another manager can be identified. You will soon see good players playing to their strengths and we will not be a 'soft touch' anymore.

Bill Kenwright must know that top flight football is the most important thing to us Evertonians!

He obviously has faith in Martinez as I used to have. However, my faith is not 'blind faith'. It is not the run of results that concerns me but the way we are playing under a man who is delusional...
Steve Davies     Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:51:20

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