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Money Talks

It is becoming clear that the man paying the Piper and calling the tune at Everton FC is not Farhad Moshiri, but his wealthier benefactor and partner, Alisher Usmanov.

The 67-year-old oligarch owns the Russian multinational, USM, which has multiple holdings in mining, metals, telecommunications, technology, and the internet. He is said to be worth at least £14 billion.

Iran-born Moshiri, 66, has long been a junior partner of Usmanov's, born in Uzbekistan, formerly a Soviet Republic until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Moshiri is Chairman of USM, and a major shareholder, but his net worth is reported at only just over £2 billion, £12 billion less than Usmanov.

They jointly held a 30% stake in Arsenal, before Moshiri sold his shares to take over ownership of Everton 5 years ago.

Usmanov is reported to be the driving force behind the controversial proposal to recruit ex-Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, as Everton's next Manager, the fifth of Moshiri's reign while he has been the biggest shareholder at the club.

The Russian billionaire is also said to have been behind the equally controversial, and massively unpopular, appointment of Sam Allardyce, who lasted only 6 months in the Goodison hot seat, and that of Marco Silva, also a dismal failure.

Usmanov has already bought the naming rights to the club's Finch Farm Training Ground for £30 million, so it is now known officilly as "USM Finch Farm."

He has also put down a £30 million deposit on a £200 million, 10-year deal to name the new Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock the "USM Stadium."

So, if the Usmanov-Moshiri double-act impose Rafael Benitez upon Evertonians, regardless of some strong opposition to the appointment, it will signal clearly that Russian money rules the roost at Everton, not Moshiri, and certainly not the Club's working-class supporters.

In fact, given the overwhelming evidence of Usmanov's dictatorship at Everton FC, the club should go the whole, capitalist hog and re-name the club "USM" to complete a decidedly "unholy Trinity" of a training ground, stadium, and club named after the Russian billionaire and his capitalist Company.

The club's Motto of Nil Satis Nisi Optimum - Nothing But the Best is Good Enough - could also be replaced by the more fitting "Money Is The Root of All Evil," written in Russian, and "The People's Club" signs on Goodison Park can be changed to "The Russian Oligarch's Club."

Money talks. At Everton, it talks in Russian.


James Roberts     Posted 29/06/2021 at

To Go or Not To Go... ?

With the imminent announcement of Rafa Benitez as the new manager of our football club, "To Go or Not To Go..?" That is the question

Many fans are threatening to either not renew their season tickets, ask for a full refund, or buy their season ticket but sell the seat via StubHub for every home game until such a time when Benitez is gone. This could be a long time because, if Benitez does well and we win a few trophies and are playing in Europe on a regular basis – and let's be honest, it's what we all want and crave for – then the EVerton board are not going to sack him.

My own personal opinion is simple. I don't want him. For his former connections to Liverpool and his "small club" jibe, I don't want him. However, I support the club, and the eleven players out there on the pitch.

Whenever I'm away on holiday and people ask me who I support, they don't ask "Which manager do you follow" or "Which player do you follow", the question is always "Which team do you follow?" Okay, it would inevitably lead to discussion about Benitez but, by reading comments on other social media outlets, particularly the BBC football website, it would appear that most neutrals think we are getting a great manager, and we would be foolish not to appoint him. Only time will tell, and besides, it's not their club that Benitez is about to join – it's ours!

So, as I say, I don't want him, but I will be attending every game, home and away next season – if covid restrictions are lifted, that is – and I will be supporting the 11 players out there on the pitch, and not the manager. The worst manager we ever appointed, Allardyce, didn't stop me from following my team, so Benitez certainly won't. Players and managers come and go, but supporters are here forever, and now is the time for us all to stick together.

Let's not turn this into a slanging match between everyone. Everyone's opinions and thoughts are welcome. I know we have an awful lot of overseas fans who contribute on ToffeeWeb, as well as fans up and down the country who are unable to attend home games, but we are all Blues, so everyone's opinion is welcome as to whether they would attend or not.

So: "To Go or Not To Go?" That is the question!
Rob Halligan     Posted 27/06/2021 at

Has Dominic Calvert-Lewin already peaked?

The insistent drumbeat of click-bait media speculation at the moment includes an increasingly persistent rumour now doing the rounds that suggests Everton would allow their star striker, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, to leave the club this summer — in exchange for a very substantial transfer fee.

It has taken patient work over the last five seasons that has seen Calvert-Lewin improve as a striker, in fits and starts at least to the point where he passed the iconic 20-goals-a-season target, scoring 16 in 33 Premier League games where he finally seemed to have mastered the art of goal hanging for tap-ins from inside the 6-yard box.

But some other skills expected of the best strikers — not least the ability to put your foot through the ball and drive it with power unerringly toward goal — have continued to elude him. Is this what lies behind the remarkable suggestion that he may have already ‘peaked' — at the tender age of just 24!?

The itinerant rumour-mongers claim that Arsenal are leading the quest to sign Everton's main source of goals, with a fee in the region of £50M being mooted. But Everton fans who have supported Calvert-Lewin through his growing pains to finally see him produce the goods at senior level will be less than pleased if yet another young star leaves the club rather than continues to develop his shooting skills under the tutelage of Duncan Ferguson.

Surely, of the precious few goalscorers now on the club's books, he can be counted on to deliver that increasingly rare commodity of goals that Everton were in such desperate need of as the side sank to finish 10th in the Premier League before Carlo Ancelotti was all-too-easily persuaded to jump ship and abandon the ‘project'.

There's no doubt that much work needs to be done to further develop the latent talent that still lurks inside the man with the incredible salmon-like leap. But for Everton to decide that now is the time to cash in and presumably reinvest a substantial profit on the Sheffield youngster whose services they acquired for just £1.5M back in 2016 seems unusually aggressive to the point of being foolhardy, and a potential criminal indictment of his training at Finch Farm if he should go on to further improve Under New Management.
Michael Kenrick     Posted 25/06/2021 at Fri, 25 Jun 2021 10:37:29 +0100

Why Roberto Martinez could be the ideal man for the current Everton squad

Remember Roberto Martinez’s first season? That 72-point haul and some of the best football we’ve seen in over 30 years. Well, look back at how he did it….

He came into the club and had that famed Moyes defence. He had a steady, if not ageing, goalkeeper. He had 2 solid attacking full backs and 2 good centre backs. He brought in Barry and McCarthy, a defensive shield and a box to box midfielder. We had Mirallas, a pacy direct player, on one wing and either Osman or Pienaar on the other. Barkley was our number 10 creator and Lukaku poached the goals. Brilliant team, entertaining football and a record points haul.

What do we have now?

We have a good goalkeeper. We have 2 solid full backs, albeit one is getting on a bit, who like to get forward. We have an abundance of decent centre backs. We have a defensive shield in either Allan or Davies and a box to box support in Doucoure. We have a pacy winger in Richarlison, Bernard or Gomes can fill the other side like Osman and Pienaar once did, James as the creative number 10 and DCL as a poacher. The similarities between the teams are striking.

Is there a better alternative to get the most out of the current team?


Kevin Prytherch     Posted 20/06/2021 at

New manager - new team

Will it be Santo, Benitez or Ferguson?

I thought it might be interesting to look at how we might line up under the various manager options, where the missing pieces in the first 11 might be and how we might fill them.

The formation / tactics side of things is not thoroughly researched here so genuinely interested in other perspectives if you think I’ve got this wrong.

Santo

Santo generally plays a 5221 formation. The two defensive midfielders at Wolves have been Neves and Moutinho – sophisticated passers and readers of the game rather than athletes. The two attackers behind the lone front man have been two of Podence, Jota, Neto and Traore. These are pacey dribblers and playmakers.

This means the team is generally set up for counter-attacks but can move up the pitch, controlling possession, with clever enough playmakers to open up a compact opposition too.

Under Santo we might look like this:

Pickford
………..
Holgate
Godfrey
Mina
…………
RWB
Digne
…………
Allan
Gomes / Doucoure / Davies
…………
Richarlison
RW / 10
………..
DCL

With a good quality RWB (like Aarons) and a dribbler, playmaker type (like Neto) our team would have a good shape and structure. People will wince a bit at the inclusion of Holgate and Gomes but I expect they’re a better fit for this team structure than how Ancelotti set us up.

Looking to the future, I can see Branthwaite and Gordon settling into this sort of formation well too.

Basically, this is why I like the idea of Santo joining. It looks to me like it’s the easiest fix for the first X1 and allows the introduction of youth over the next few years too. Potter plays a similar formation so the same would apply there too. Also a positive (for me at least) they coach players bought for them under a long term strategy rather than players bought by them, for the short term.

Benitez

I’ll be dispassionate about Rafa and just focus on the football rather than my dislike for the man. Benitez is a pragmatist and seems to develop a formation to fit the players. He was 4231 at the RS but often 541 at Newcastle (with variations on these two themes). It’s less about the formation with Benitez and more about the tactics. The main focus for any Benitez side seems to be the counter-attack – and the quality / style of football is dependent on the quality of players available.

How might we line up? I’d expect a lot of tinkering before we settled on a formation (like Ancelotti) and possibly never really settling on preferred first XI and formation (again like Ancelotti). But I’ll start us off with the 4231 he deployed at the RS.

Pickford
………..
Godfrey
Mina
…………
RB
Digne
…………
Allan
Gomes / Doucoure / Davies
…………
[Sigurdsson]
…………
Richarlison
RW / 10
………..
DCL

In this set up, Sigurdsson finally has the chance to play in his specialist position – something he’s always been effective at from an end product perspective. However, we all know he’s no Gerrard and does not impact the game a great deal if he’s not scoring and assisting. I suppose we could play James Rodriguez in that role too but stylish though he is, he’s a real problem to a defence minded manager and looks much more like an option from the bench to me.

With Benitez we probably need at least 2 and probably 3 first team signings rather than just 2 under Santo. Again, it would be a RB (Aarons?), a RW (Bailey?) and a more dynamic version of Sigurdsson (not easy to find by any stretch even with a big budget).

Really, I see Benitez as slotting in right where Ancelotti left off, wanting to work with the same profile of player as Ancelotti and with the same tactical fluidity (or inconsistency) as Ancelotti.
If we can get really good quality players in to work with Benitez then it’ll probably be fine (I was expecting this under Ancelotti in any case) but I can’t see any room for youth and development which really bothers me – because I don’t think we have the budget to deliver the quality of players Benitez really needs.

Ferguson

As we’ve seen, Ferguson sets us up in a classic 442.

Pickford
………..
Godfrey
Keane
…………
RB
Digne
…………
Allan
Doucoure / Davies
…………
RW
LW
………..
DCL
Richarlison

In this set up it is all about simplifying the role of each player and demanding discipline and effort. We saw how effective that was for a few games. It is defensively compact and carries an attacking threat because we have two forwards close together. Old fashioned in some respects but you could argue not unlike the tactics and formation Leicester used to win the league against the odds.

Again, we need a RB (Aarons?) but what we desperately need is quality on the flanks. Players who might fit this system include McNeil of Burnley who is very familiar with this traditional British style. On the other flank we might use someone like Dan James of Man Utd. Neither of these wingers are world beaters but they do give you effort, pace and delivery of balls into the box. With Richarlison dropping into the midfield with his tremendous work-rate, we might not be too outnumbered by more modern 3-man midfields too.

The key questions for me are (a) can any group of players maintain the intensity we displayed when Ferguson was caretaker and (b) how would such an inexperienced (but by no means young) manager react when we have inevitable setbacks. I think the answer to (a) is almost certainly no. Anyone’s guess with (b) but it’s certainly a risk.

To reduce that risk dramatically we might be better off appointing Dyche who has proved he is no mug and knows exactly how to play this system.

Conclusion

I still think Santo is the best fit for the job. He’s experienced, plays a style which suits the current playing staff and needs only a couple of signings to have a strong first X1. That leaves room for investment in high quality reinforcements. I’d also expect him to introduce younger players like Branthwaite and Gordon into the mix earlier than the likes of Benitez. But, I have to concede, Benitez is very unlikely to be a poor appointment from a footballing perspective.


Robert Tressell     Posted 19/06/2021 at

Roberto Martinez: Whistle to Whistle

If you search BBC iPlayer Sport, you will find an interesting documentary called “Roberto Martinez: Whistle to Whistle”.

I came across it by chance and, since it was bound to have something about his time as boss of Everton, I thought I would take a look.

I did not watch it initially with the thought that, as nothing is happening on the manager front, then perhaps Farhad, Bill, Marcel and the guy who sells programmes on Goodison Road are waiting for the Euros to finish before announcing the re-hiring of Bobby Brown Shoes!

But then I watched it again with a more critical eye. Could we be about to see the Second Coming of Roberto? Not quite a “Hollywood Manager”, à la Carlo Ancelotti, but possibly the manager of the winners of the 2020 Euros! I think Belgium are strong favourites to win. They have too many world-class players for even Bobby to screw it up. Or is that being unfair?

If I was managing Lukaku and friends, I reckon I could get Belgium to the final. So what does Martinez bring to the table? Or is he in the right place at the right time with the best players?

Going back to documentary, there is no doubting Booby’s passion for football and the ability to spend 23 out of 24 hours thinking about football. What is clear is that it would be very easy for him and his young family to move back to the North-West. Also, he will want to bring his small band of coaching staff, and he could possibly find a place for Big Dunc.

He is very much a “data-driven manager”. He has his own stats guru who I think has been with him for a while now. He seems to have a good rapport with The Red Devils superstars and would be a hands-on coach/manager who wants to work on the pitch with the players.

As more and more hotly tipped names fall by the wayside, we could do worse than try Roberto Martinez for a second time!


David Cooper     Posted 15/06/2021 at

Back where we belong

My last post on ToffeeWeb was after the Sheffield United game. I said, from memory, that I was indifferent to Carlo and his team and to whether he went or stayed. Indifferent, that is after more than 50 years as a Blue and 20 years reading and posting on this magnificent site.

That was my low point. Never felt like that before. Angry, really angry, pissed off, indignant, done all those. Never indifference and disengagement. I have looked on the site every day and admired the passion and commitment of every Blue. How the fuck can they take it anymore? I thought.

I admired Carlo but the doubts grew. The Sheffield Utd game made me realise that the race was run. You know what? I admire him more now. He knew that the game was up. His many admirable qualities were way short of what we need. Some saw it, some suspected it, I feared it, but hindsight is overrated because lack of it makes us Blues.

I don't feel betrayed by Carlo, just a massive sense of relief. He got out leaving us pretty much as he got here. Upside? Some fucking big wins, and my God, that counts. Downside? Shite football and two fingers to the notion that we are a big club in waiting, needing only a bit of fairy dust from a proven winner. I actually think I have got back to why I love us. It's as if Carlo was never for the likes of us.

Backs to the wall, ridiculed, getting above ourselves. Everton that. I feel engaged again. We will get a new coach and he will piss us off. But we are back to dreaming again. The Carlo era already feels like a pleasant dream that I woke up from before it ended. Now we are back where we belong. Start again, and sometime, maybe, perhaps, we will get there again.
Andy Crooks     Posted 07/06/2021 at

Blood Brothers

“I thought, I thought we always stuck together. I thought we were blood brothers.”

“But the dreams were not forgotten, just wrapped and packed away in the hope that she could take them out & dust them off one day.”

The Manager Recruitment Process at Everton?

Originally it seemed a simple process of Moshiri having a recruitment meeting with Bill, Denise and Marcel to draw up a list of candidates... but it has been reported at different times this past week and from differing sources that there was another party at this recruitment meeting: Kia Jaroobchian.

Who is Kia Jaroobchian?

Kia is a Iranian-born, UK-educated businessman, same as Moshiri. He is not a Registered Football Agent but is a self-proclaimed Adviser to Players and Clubs, with investment interests in 70 players, mainly South American. Famously, Tevez and Mascherano — yes, he was involved in the infamous West Ham deal. He is currently reported as being adviser to Moshiri. It appears that Bill is pursuing a list of his own — Moyes, Martinez and Santo.

So there appears to be a split in the process... The Kenwright & Co faction and the Moshiri & Co?

The Kenwright faction consists of Bill Kenwright, Denise Barrett-Baxendale, and Marcel Brands, and the Moshiri Faction is Farhad Mshirir, Kia Jaroobchian and probably Alisher Usmanov. I'd put Brands in although he does not appear to be his own man. You would think he should be involved.

Why is there a factional split?

Whilst Moshiri is the major shareholder and owner of Everton, he does not run the Club or have a say in how it is run, by agreement. His power comes from the fact that he is a source of funds and makes the decision how much is released, spent and on what.

A conflict of Objectives?

The objective of Kenwright & Co is to run the Club as they have always run it and they have been successful in doing that. This is done by having the majority of the personnel in the Club under their patronage, including the manager if possible. There are ways to get rid of those managers that are not. The high turnaround in managers has been as a result of conflict between those that run the Club and those that own it and their differing objectives. This management recruitment process is a public manifestation of this conflict.

How long has it been going on ?

Actually the selection of Ancelotti was a Moshiri faction decision, though there are only rumours who was in that faction. Because of Ancelotti’s reputation, he appeared initially to be accepted by Kenwright & Co, but that changed as his tenure progressed. In my opinion, Ancelotti left because he realised that he was being out-manoeuvred and his reputation was at stake.

Happy, are y’. Content at last? Wiped out what happened, forgotten the past?But you’ve got to have an endin’, if a start’s been made. No one gets off without the price bein’ paid.


Jerome Shields     Posted 06/06/2021 at

England Call-ups Aren’t Anything New for Everton Players

With the Euros approaching, fans have been reminded of what it means to athletes to play for their countries. While getting called up is never a guarantee because every season brings forward new talent, which makes betting on tournaments even more interesting, Everton players have long had a presence within national teams. This reality is especially true with England, where 69 Toffee players have accumulated a combined 557 caps for the country.

In light of Gareth Southgate confirming the squad for this year’s competition, which includes our own Jordan Pickford, 27, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 24, we’ve decided to look at some of the past Everton players who have played for The Three Lions. We also explore how this year’s selected Toffees compare in terms of caps won with their predecessors.

England Players from Everton

Now that England’s Euro squad has been finalised, Euro 2021 betting will shift away from who will make the final 26 to odds on group stage matches and outright betting. England has odds of 4/1 to win the Euros, making many believe football is coming home, despite reigning World Champions France having odds of 5/1. Even if England’s campaign in the Euros isn’t as successful as many are forecasting, at least two Everton players will be adding additional caps to their name. Ahead of the Euros, Dominic Calvert-Lewin has fewer than ten caps, while Jordan Pickford has around 30.  

The 30 and Up Club

Pundits and bettors have forecasted that Pickford is Southgate’s number one choice. If that proves true, Pickford will be pushing to level the number of caps accumulated by Ramon Wilson. The left-back had 35 caps with England whilst playing for Everton from 1964 to 1969. Wilson was part of the England team that won the World Cup in 1966. Pickford also approaches Alan James Ball, who had 39 England caps whilst playing for Everton (1966–1971), and most recently, Leighton John Baines. Baines accumulated 30 caps and scored his first goal in England’s 5-0 win against Moldova in their opener to the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign. Baines played for Everton from 2007 to 2020.

Moving Into Double Digits

Calvert-Lewin made his international debut in 2020 against Wales. He has fewer than ten caps to his name, and even though it’s speculated he will play understudy to Harry Kane at the Euros, Calvert-Lewin continues to make headway in his international career, joining the likes of Joleon Lescott, who had seven caps to his name whilst playing for Everton from 2006–2009. Lescott scored in matchday one of the Euros in 2012 against France. 

Calvert-Lewin is also approaching the same level as Keith Robert Newton. Newton played as a defender for Everton from 1969 to 1972. He ended his international career with 27 caps, eight of which came during his time as a Toffee.

The Euros this summer has brought about a lot of excitement and even more speculation. Bettors are studying match odds and outright betting while players are putting in extra hours on the pitch. As Everton fans, we can look forward to seeing some of our English players play summer football and hopefully contribute to England’s legacy as former Toffees like Leighton John Baines and Ramon Wilson did.


Gary McCarty     Posted 09/06/2021 at

Everton's Euro 2020 players and expectations

With the rescheduled Euro 2020 around the corner, only four Everton players are in contention for making an appearance at the final tournament.

Gareth Southgate announced provisional England's 33-man Euro 2020 squad on Tuesday, with three Everton players included. There has been more speculation and betting on who will make the final England Euro 2020 squad than what’s usually spent on a weekend at an online casino, so regardless of who gets dropped, you know it will cause a big fuss.

In addition to the first-team regular Jordan Pickford, Southgate shortlisted uncapped defender Ben Godfrey and highly-rated striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin. 

Elsewhere, left-back Lucas Digne has made the final cut for France's Euro 2020 squad. His countryman Abdoulaye Doucoure was omitted by Didier Deschamps, whose Les Bleus squad brims with talent.

Andre Gomes was left out of Portugal's squad, while Joshua King's Norway, Seamus Coleman's Republic of Ireland and Gylfi Sigurdsson's Iceland failed to qualify for the final tournament.

Jordan Pickford

Although the Three Lions gaffer will have to trim his squad down to 26 players, Pickford is widely touted as Southgate's number one choice between the sticks.

The 27-year-old has endured an injury-hit second half of the season, which also saw him miss the last international break with an abdominal problem.

However, the former Sunderland goalkeeper has regained the optimal fitness level down the final stretch of 2020/21 and will be fully fit for the upcoming competition.

Ben Godfrey

Godfrey's chances of making the final list are not as good, even though Southgate recognised the youngster's potential during his maiden Everton campaign.

He has been nothing short of outstanding for Carlo Ancelotti's side since completing his £20m switch from Norwich City last summer. 

Godfrey's development at Goodison Park has not gone unnoticed, with Southgate's decision to include him in provisional England's Euro 2020 squad an attest of his rapid progress.

The 23-year-old centre-back remains one for the future, but it's unlikely that he can compete with the likes of Harry Maguire, John Stones and Conor Coady at the moment.

Manchester City's Kyle Walker has impressed Southgate as a makeshift centre-half in some previous matches, which further derails Godfrey's hopes of making the final squad.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Despite experiencing a drop-off in form since the calendar flipped to 2021, Calvert-Lewin is likely to play understudy to England skipper Harry Kane. 

The Toffees talisman is Southgate's go-to option to fill in for the Tottenham star, as he is the only remaining out-and-out striker available to the gaffer.

The 24-year-old was handed his inaugural England call-up by Southgate in October 2020, following a fantastic start to the 2020/21 campaign. 

After getting on the scoresheet in his international debut against Wales, Calvert-Lewin netted a brace in his second competitive start for the Three Lions against minnows San Marino.

Lucas Digne

Deschamps has included Digne in France's Euro 2020 squad after dropping him from the Les Bleus team that lifted the World Cup crown in 2018.

Following his underwhelming stint at Barcelona, the 27-year-old has gone from strength to strength at Everton, becoming a permanent fixture in Ancelotti's starting XI.

Digne's blistering showings at Goodison have earned him a place in one of the strongest European rosters, though he will have to fight Bayern Munich's Lucas Hernandez for a place in Deschamps' defensive line-up.


Gary McCarty     Posted 01/06/2021 at

Post-Liverpool thoughts

During our enforced break from real football over the past 3 months, I took to scouring Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube to find any football-related programmes. From Sunderland Till I Die to the one about Leeds United, I watched whatever I could find. Of course, totally ignoring the series about Gerrard! One that caught my eye was the one about Brazil, the only problem: it was in a language I could not understand and there were no subtitles.

But I persevered hoping to see glimpses of Richarlison, of which there were a few. In those that I watched, Richarlison scored in nearly every clip along with Jesus from Man City. I thought it was clear from the limited clips plus the fact that I did not understand a word it was saying, that Richarlison and Jesus were superstars in the making.

How lucky I thought we were to have such a young genuine talent with the ability to run with ball, score goals with both feet and head, and work as hard as anyone else on the field. My only negative thought was: For how long would we be able to enjoy him in an Everton shirt?

Now come rumours that he turned down approaches back in the January transfer window. I have a horrible feeling that, once this rump of a season concludes, he might be gone for a very large amount of money, seeking the Champions League. Even if we do the impossible and sneak into the Europa League, I don’t think that will be enough to keep him. I really hope I am wrong!

My next thought is much closer to now and comes after Carlo’s presser earlier today, where he talked about the lack of time between Sunday evening and Wednesday evening for our players to recover. I tried to find a stats site which would say how far individual players ran against Liverpool but I could not find one. But I would hazard an informed guess that several clocked up plus 8 km and Tom Davies, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin may have got closer to 10 km.

Using my limited knowledge of physiology and the science of recovery times, I am sure that our players will be feeling the extra effort that we put in against them when we come against Norwich, who have had two extra days to recover. I hope that we spend more time with the ball and make Norwich run like we did on Sunday.

Also, it seemed that Carlo was reluctant to use his five subs on Sunday and maybe he will be forced into using them against Norwich. Carlo continues to hold the carrot of the Europa League as a motivating force so a win is imperative. We shall see!
David Cooper     Posted 23/06/2020 at 18:22:58

The Italian Job

Man for man, none of our team would replace his equivalent in Liverpool’s team.

I would expect that contention is passed with full agreement.

Faced with such a challenge… what to do?

In the last derby, Klopp frustratingly outwitted Carlo Ancelotti in the FA Cup but it was “early doors” and he was still coming to terms with the squad he had inherited. This time, even given our injuries, I am looking for a tactically savvy display from “El Maestro”.

Even before Carlo's arrival, I was a proponent of 4-4-2, mainly based on our history of “burning” strikers due to the expectations that they plough a furrow on their own, get little support, and never benefit from a partner to exploit our opposition weaknesses.

My hope tomorrow is Carlo serves us a tactical masterclass in good old fashioned Italian “shut-up shop football” – take a point or snatch a 1-0 win.

Even given my 4-4-2 propensity, I would change it tomorrow and play 4-1-4-1. We simply do not have the quality of player to play 4-4-2 against the top 6. The pace and flexibility these teams possess clearly highlights our limitations and we simply get exposed, see Chelsea for the prime example.

Play deep, rigidity in shape, soak up and frustrate and hope for a set-piece opportunity from Sigurdsson. A draw should give us the confidence for the remaining upcoming matches because we need 6 points to be safe. My fear is a kicking will decimate confidence and lead to a downward spiral.

My team would be: Pickford, Digne, Holgate, Keane, Coleman, Richarlison, Davies, Sigurdsson, Gomes, Sidibé, Calvert-Lewin.

Andre Gomes sitting as defensive cover as he’s clearly our most gifted midfielder for retaining possession, leaving Davies and Sigurdsson in centre mid.

I don’t want pretty, we can’t do pretty. I do want frustration, any organised team can frustrate, I will take 0-0 now.
Dave McDowell     Posted 20/06/2020 at 08:40:41

Taking the Mrs to the Match

My first game as a young boy, taken by my Dad, was to see Everton beat Ipswich Town at Goodison Park early in the season of 1961-62. Ipswich had just reached the First Division for the first time and my Mum was an Ipswich lass now living in Huyton. Everton with Young and Vernon cruised through to a 5-2 win, lost 2-4 in the return as Alf Ramsey's debutants won the league! She came several times to games but I can remember her being more interested in knitting in the Upper Bullens stands than the activity on the pitch!

In 1975, I was teaching on the south coast near Brighton. I took my soon-to-be wife, Carole, to her first game at Goodison Park. To be fair to her, I think she only went to the game through young love and loyalty. It was the opening game of the season at home to Coventry City and I assured her that this game was a walkover in the making and then the Sky Blues won 4-1!

As the years rolled by, she was happy for me to go off to games in the south. In 1978, we went back home for Christmas and my hometown mate got four tickets for Man Utd at home on Boxing Day. Colin and I were on the Gwadlys Street terrace, and Carole and Colin's fiancee were high up in the Goodison Road stand. Man Utd were in the doldrums and the Blues were in a title chase with Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest. Yet another home banker until we found ourselves 0-5 down at half-time, stunned and disbelieving like the Brazil fans against Germany! The second half was marginally better after Man Utd went 6-0 up, but two late goals were sarcastically cheered by the reds in the Stanley Park end.

Now, she had seen two home games with a total aggregate score of 10-3 against. We arrived at my family's Boxing Day evening party. My dad and two uncles had got home from the game earlier having been on the Prescot BICC Social Club coach! As she walked in, My Uncle Harry lifted a Dickensian index finger forbidding me to ever take her again. Needless to say, Carole took it all in her stride and gratefully never came again!

Forward into the eighties, and I was a member of ESCLA and went to many games with another Blue, Richard! Ahead of the 1986 FA Cup Final, I realised that I had never seen the Blues lose when I wore an old woollen jumper. My younger brother was working in Finchley and I went up to stay with him on the Friday. On the match day, we strolled out for a cooked breakfast, then came back to get ready for Wembley. Imagine my shock and horror on seeing that I forgot to pack my jumper. I phoned Carole at home in the vain hope that the sweater could be got to me in time. Off we went, and having bossed the first 60 minutes, managed to lose to Liverpool.

Distraught when I got back to the south coast, it was compounded exponentially when "Mrs 10-3" revealed that she thought if she wore the sweater during the game…? All of its power evaporated. It was her that done it, not the skill of Liverpool!

In the 'Noughties', Carole and I decided to go our separate ways and divorced. I met up with an old college friend and it was a terrific omen that I married Lynne in Pembrokeshire in the afternoon, after watching the Blues destroy Liverpool 3-0 at Goodison on 9 September 2006! When we walked into the hotel for our reception, a group of workman from the LPG pipeline construction congratulated us! Even more so as they were all true-blue scousers revelling in the antics of Andy Johnson, Tim Cahill and of course Pepe Reina!

My two daughters attended both the main Mancunian Universities at different times, so I often went up to visit one of them and tied it into home games at Goodison Park. Unlike their mother, they were really keen and loved the noise and atmosphere. More importantly, at a time when results could have been indifferent, neither of them has yet to see the Blues lose over more than 20 games.

In September 2003, Lynne came to her first game at Goodison Park. She had never seen a professional football match and was taken aback by the noise as Z-Cars rang out over the ground! Everton had a young Wayne Rooney in the line-up who had yet to score, but goals from Gary Naismith and others put the Blues 3-0 up in the first 20 minutes against Fulham. We were sitting in the Upper Bullens/Park End in seats reserved for away supporters!

Suddenly, there was a clash of heads in the penalty area in front of us, trainers and paramedics were straight on and the game was stopped for at least 5 minutes. At this point, Lynne decided to make her first comment. Shouting as loud as she could so that I would hear, the crowd quietened, for the epic observation: "Fulham have got nicer shirts than Everton because of the Yin and Yang logo on their shirts!" Consternation at the inane comment was confirmed when heads swung around with looks of "Keep her quiet, mate!"

However, again she has never seen the Blues lose as well! Three out of four is pretty good, though!
Trevor Powell     Posted 18/06/2020 at 23:53:47

My Everton Poem

My father once told me about a special day,
The day I was born when the skies were grey,
How mother and he both wept with joy,
To hold for the first time their new baby boy.

How I cried and cried and wouldn't stop,
Till an old lady nurse came over to the cot,
"It's the blanket," she said, "It's red, trust me,
For this baby was born a Blue, you see!"

Off came the red and she changed it to blue,
Then the crying stopped, not even a boo,
For the Mersey Blue runs strong in my veins,
And, even now that I'm old, it still remains.

My love for our history and what's to come as well,
When I hear the mighty Z-Cars, my heart begins to swell,
For I'm an Evertonian through and through,
And if you're reading this, my friend, then so are you.

We've all been born under the blue crescent moon,
We could never be Reds or support The Toon,
For I'm an Evertonian, a Toffee you see,
There can only ever be one team for me.

Now raise your glass and shout to the sky,
Everton's my team from birth till I die.
Wayne Dinkelman     Posted 18/06/2020 at 09:02:16

Spot the Player!

With no live Everton games to watch for 3 months, the 5-minute highlights of our inter-squad game at Goodison Park on Saturday was gold dust!

Having watched it 18 times now, trying to get back into the swing of watching a full game, I started playing “Spot the Player” and hoped I could glean some much-desired insight into Carlo’s restart philosophy.

My initial thoughts were that the game was played at a very fast pace or I had set my iPad to fast forward! Apart from that, I struggled to work out if we were playing 3-4-3, 4-1-4-1, 1-2-3-4 or 3-3-3-1. Where are our tactical experts when you need them?

So, going back to the title of this epistle, who did you spot? I guess I have been spending too much time doing online quizzes! But naming the players without stopping the play is a good challenge.

These are who I spotted in both blue and yellow. I started naming the players in each team but got the impression that some may have swapped shirts. The more eagled eyed of you will correct me!

Pickford
Virginia
Coleman
Schneiderlin (in track bottoms!)
Davies
Gordon
Sigurdsson (I think cos I heard his name called out but didn’t actually see him do much. Nothing changes!)
Sidibé
Baines
Bernard
Calvert-Lewin
Keane (great headed goal to finish but why wasn’t he marking himself?)
Baningime
Feeney?
Niasse (looked the sharpest, fastest, keenest but still could not hit the target)
Iwobi
Holgate
Richarison for some of the game

I think that leaves me a few short. Digne and Kean must have been there? Obviously the following are already injured and did not appear:

Gomes
Delph
Walcott
Mina

Reminds me of taking attendance for my PE classes many years ago “Where are those 4?” “They are all absent sir!”

Well, that’s my attempt at playing Spot the Player! Can anyone beat 20 and fill in the missing 2. Answers on a postcard please!
David Cooper     Posted 14/06/2020 at 16:57:54

John Giles selects his all-time Everton XI

Former Leeds and Republic of Ireland midfielder, John Giles, has been selecting all-time XIs for several clubs and international sides during the recent break, for Irish radio station Newstalk's Off The Ball show.

This week, it was the turn of Everton, with Giles selecting his all-time XI from the 1960s to now, which unfortunately ruled out (among others) Dixie Dean.

Giles opted for a 3-4-3 formation but did mention that, if he had to select two full-backs, he would have gone for Seamus Coleman (right-back) and Ray Wilson (left-back).

Some of the names shortlisted for each position and his final selections will certainly raise a few eyebrows among Evertonians as will his recollection of an incident at Goodison between himself and Sandy Brown where Giles believes he was an innocent party! It is nonetheless certainly worth a listen:

The John Giles all-time Everton XI is as follows:

Neville Southall
Kevin Ratcliffe
Derek Mountfield
Brian Labone 
Howard Kendall
Alan Ball
Colin Harvey
Trevor Steven
Bob Latchford
Alex Young 
Andy Gray

 
Brian Hennessy     Posted 12/06/2020 at 15:03:42

Everton v Leeds Utd, 29 September 1958

As well as being Fathers Day, it is my birthday today and my daughter and son-in-law got me a quite unusual present. The match programme for the above match.

Priced at threepence (3d) and with adverts for reserved seating tickets at 5 shillings (5/-) and paddock for 3 shillings (3/-), it is a trip back to an era when we were most definitely not a corporation. There is an article in which Jimmy Greaves, newly signed for Chelsea, says "In what other profession could a lad of my age earn £1,000 a year?" What, indeed?

Everton were bottom of the table having lost seven of the opening eight games (slow starts must be a tradition). I believe they won the game 3-2 but I'm not certain. Do any Toffeewebers recall the game? Was anyone at it? How did our season pan out?

This was the Everton team:

O'Neill
Sanders
Bramwell
King
Jones
Harris B
Fielding
Harris J
Ashworth
O'Hara
Hickson.

Numbered 1 to 11. No sub. Match ball sponsored by Jack Sharp Sports.

Chief coach, Ian C Buchan. The Leeds team included Wilbur Cush, a friend of my father.

I am ashamed to admit that, apart from Hickson, I know nothing of the rest. I would love to hear from any Evertonian who does.
Andy Crooks     Posted 16/06/2019 at 19:59:40

Deadwood

Summer is here and with that comes the speculation of exciting, or underwhelming, newcomers. Much debate about who and what we need to quench our thirst for a successful and exciting Everton. But, there is a huge stone in the shoe of the club, or numerous huge stones, that until removed will limit our ambitions.

Years of poor transfers strategy have led us to have more than a whole team of players who have no future with us, but also have large salaries that will, of course, make difficult their sales. While some may disagree with one or two names, there is a general consensus as to who fits into the 'deadwood' category.

Here I plan to analyse each one and review their impact on our club.

Marteen Stekelenburg: Age 36, with 1 year left on his contract, this is likely his last season before retirement. With the arrival of Vossl, he is likely to be the 3rd choice, and maybe his experience can be valuable on the training pitch and in the dressing room. However, I personally see him as a blockage to Virginia's progression. Signing Vossl makes sense, in case of injury or suspension, but keeping Stekelenburg seems like a wage too many. But he is unlikely to leave.

Matthew Pennington: Age 24, with 2 years left on contract. Matty Pennington has acquitted himself well on loan at both Leeds and Ipswich, but he lacks the quality on the ball, pace, and distribution required to play for a team with our aspirations. He's been linked with yet another loan move but surely, at 24, he and the club should be looking for a permanent transfer. He'd do well for almost any Championship club, and could even be a decent signing for a low-level Premier League team. We could command a fee of £2-3 million, and that is money we could reinvest. Another loan just seems pointless.

Brendan Galloway: Age 23, with 1 year left on his contract. It's all gone wrong for the lad after a promising breakthrough into the first team. I feel the constant loans are not helping him get out of the rut. A move for a nominal fee to a lower league team and he just may have a decent career. At 23, if he joins the right club, time is on his hand. But he needs to move on.

Luke Garbutt: Age 26, with 1 year left on his contract. Basically reads the same as with Galloway, but 3 years older.

Morgan Schneiderlin: Age 29, with 2 years left on his contract. A £20 million signing, big wages, and, over the course of his career, a big disappointment. Impressive in his first couple of months at Everton but, when Gueye returned from AFCON, he failed to develop a relationship. Then he became the symbol of everything wrong as Koeman's reign unravelled, and the Allardyce dark period blotched our history.

Arrogant, aloof, no desire, no movement, at fault for numerous goals conceded. Given a chance again and failed to impress in Silva's first few games. He had a late return to form in place of the injured and then suspended Gomes, but not enough for a player of his age and wage. Could be worth £10+ million if sold, and should have clubs interested, but wages may be a stumbling block. Do we pay a portion of his wages to help him leave? Do we loan him and forgo the transfer fee to get him off the wage bill?

Mohamed Besic: Age 26, with 2 years left on his contract. 18 months on loan at Middlesborough, it's high time they paid the fee and took him permanently. £5 million seems reasonable for a player who has performed well. If Boro ask for another loan, tell them to stick it. Sell him whilst he still has some value.

James McCarthy: Age 28, with 1 year left on his contract. It's a case of 4 injuries too many. Good player, but no Gana. Finally fit, but at 28 should be playing every week. We have Davies and other youngsters to act as squad players in the engine room. McCarthy deserves a chance to play again. He would be a great player for any of the bottom 10, and a nominal fee of £5 million considering his contract length would be fair.

Kieran Dowell: Age 21, with 2 years left on his contract. An exciting player on his day, but it seems that our dreams of his skills and shooting ability lighting up Goodison Park will remain unfulfilled. 2 reasonable loan spells have shown his qualities, and his limits. Time for him to make a permanent move; maybe this could help him focus and become the player his natural ability suggests he could be. Sheffield Utd are apparently interested in keeping him, and would be a good option for numerous Championship clubs aiming for promotion, or lower-level Premier League clubs who need a player with that bit of flair. Sell him for £5 million or so, with sell-on fees and maybe even a buy-back clause.

Yannick Bolasie: Age 30, with 2 years left on his contract. The absolute epitome of Koeman's transfer strategy. Never consistent, never a reliable source of goals or assists, typical MotD player. Seemed to be signed to placate our wantaway striker, Lukaku, and then he got injured. Sell for whatever we can get, but I assume it won't be easy: big wages, hasn't played well for 2+ years, Aston Villa sent him back and got promoted without him, and he joined Anderlecht only to help them to their worst season in decades. I feel we'll be stuck with him and his wages... maybe a loan out, but his wages will be with us until 2021 I guess.

Sandro Ramirez: Age 23, with 2 years left on his contract. My oh my... remember when we were worried that Real Madrid were going to hijack our 'bargain' signing? Well, 2 years on, and the lad can't buy a goal. Woeful at Everton, where he got 1 Europa League goal in a total of 15 very poor performances. Subsequent loan moves to Sevilla and Real Sociedad have seen 0 goals in a total of 41 games. And a wage of over £100k a week. We will be stuck with him and his wage for at least 2 years... maybe find some mug to take him on loan at best.

Kevin Mirallas: Age 31, with 1 year left on his contract. Once one of our exciting and more dynamic forwards, he lost his way and doesn't fit with the high-press game. Hopefully he's done enough to convince Fiorentina to take him full time.

Theo Walcott: Age 28, with 2 years left on his contract. Bought at £20 million by Allardyce, a seeming statement by that woeful manager that 'we need proven players, not youngsters' as he then subsequently ditched Lookman. Walcott just isn't that good. Great pace, excellent movement, but woeful finishing and passing. Still got enough of a reputation for a lower level Premier League club to take him, and his excessive wage. He's never gonna get better, and gets in the way of promising young players like Lookman and Gordon.

Cenk Tosun: Age 28, with 3 years left on his contract. Another Allardyce buy. If it was 2002 and we played 5-4-1, he'd be a decent player. A typical 6-yard box striker, but when you need your forward to have pace, good link-up play, an ability to beat a man, change positions and press from the front, he just isn't the one. We should still get £10-15 million in the market, and he would be decent for a club that needs a striker to stay around the box and poach goals.

For me, that's 13 players we need to move on, of which 8 are on significant wages; recouping those will be essential to enable us to sign the players we need to compete with the top-6. And they are also stark warnings to those who call for us to "sign players who are Premier League ready..."



Fran Mitchell     Posted 14/06/2019 at 20:58:31

Everton on the Spot

I’m interested to know fellow Toffees' views on our penalty taker next season. With the introduction of VAR, new handball rules and the scrapping of replays in FA Cup matches, converting penalties is going to be an even more crucial part of the game.

The reason I ask is that I don’t think Sigurdsson, despite his dead-ball expertise, is a natural penalty taker. I wouldn’t trust Richarlison either after his effort in the League Cup last season. Calvert-Lewin doesn’t appear to have that clinical finish or composure to take them either.

I am assuming that Baines, the obvious candidate, will not feature much next season so, for me, it has to be Digne, or Gomes (if he signs) as they appear to have the "cleanest" strikes. I'm not one for the Lukaku type roll-em-in-the-corner penalties, I like to see the ball struck with venom so that the goalie has little chance even if he does dive the right way.

I'd certainly consider Pickford as well in a shootout but not during the course of a match where a miss would leave us susceptible to a counter-attack.

Of course, the taker has to want to take the actual penalty!


Ray Robinson     Posted 12/06/2019 at 21:20:56

Turkish Tales

I have always had some interest in Turkish football because I worked with a Galatasary supporter many years ago. I love the country and have been in Istanbul over the last few days meeting a friend from Bursa.

My pal has no interest in football but we went out with a few mates of his for dinner and, my God, they do. I think everyone has a double and, if so, Steve Ferns, Sam Hoare, Mike Gaynes, in fact half the cast in this site do.

First of all, Henry Onyekuru. He is not our player, not any more. After a slow start, he is a hero. This is the thing, though, they see him as a player just starting his career in Turkey, and this is a huge, huge thing. Drogba, is a hero but he represents the old Turkish football.

Ersin, who is a Turkish Steve Ferns, sees Onyekuru like Lookman (there is a strong interest in German football). The biggest thing I noticed is the admiration of Liverpool FC. I think we are seen as Besiktas and I did try in my, lamentable Turkish (who am I kidding) to raise this a positive.

Finally: Cenk Tosun. He is universally admired. I cannot imagine Spurs fans feeling the same way over Bale. The view was that he is a goal machine that Silva doesn't get. He is, apparently, a top man a top character and – forgive this, Darren Hind – like der Bomber.

I have had quite a few flights and Raki over the last 24 hours so please forgive any nonsense.
Andy Crooks     Posted 09/06/2019 at 21:09:26

Can England win the World Cup?

The United Kingdom will never win the Eurovision song contest again. It is out of our hands and sadly, no matter how talented our entry, and I think you will agree that we have entered some belters recently, politics just ruin it for us.

However, this World Cup seems fair and I believe England can win it. Two wins against shite teams have not triggered euphoria. It seems incredibly low key. If the Luxembourg jury were voting now on the England performance, it woukd be maximum points.

I am Irish and after the Ireland, Scotland and Wales teams, it used to be anyone but England. Simply because of the Spice Boys, Engerlund, and the appalling sense of entitlement. I believe that we will see the World Cup winners tomorrow.

I will have a significant financial gain if it is Belgium but I will have compensation if it is England.

It can be done. Kane is a remarkable player with a top temperament. Stones is starting to look as if Man City robbed us. The spirit is good, the coach is doing and saying everything right. The formation and tactics are right and the press have not yet printed the window stickers.

We have poor Spain, Argentina, Brazil, and France sides with an okay England team. An okay team – not a great team – will win this World Cup. It can be England. I am backing them as a saver with Belgium.
Andy Crooks     Posted 27/06/2018 at 21:14:01

Royal Blue Mersey

I've been singing this since I first went to the game in the 1960s. I'd love to know who penned this masterpiece that is ours and ours alone and has stayed the course and will forever, I'm sure.

'Oh, we hate Bill Shankly and we hate St John, but most of all......'

Eddie Kavanagh will never be forgotten and whoever is responsible for this should be lauded also.
Alan Bodell     Posted 15/06/2018 at 11:00:37

A Bigger Job Than We Think

Like every Evertonian, I have been doing my research on Marco Silva since the day we appointed him as first team Manager (or Head Coach). That includes his preferred style of play (which has been well documented) and the types of players he likes to employ in the system.

The upshot is a little concerning — what we seem to have at Everton is a lot of players who do not fit the mould of the type of player Silva likes to use.

Working on the assumption that some of the more obvious departures do indeed take place (Sandro, Mirallas, Tarashaj, Rooney, Besic, Garbutt, Galloway, Browning, Martina) we can realistically start the season with a more manageable number of players but, even after this cull, there is a worrying lack of balance to the remaining squad.

Goalkeeper and Right Back are less of a problem than any other position, so we will skip past these two areas.

Centre-Back — Silva likes to play 4-4-2, but he also likes to switch to 3-5-2 on occasion. Holgate fits in either system; Keane needs to improve, but he is young and would be an excellent fit at the centre of a 3, so they are no-brainers. Jagielka still has game and we have 3 promising youngsters in Pennington, Feeney and Lewis Gibson, but I imagine at least 2 of those will go on loan, with maybe Pennington hanging around for his make-or-break season.

The worry comes with Williams, who lacks the pace to play in a high-press 4-4-2 or to either side of a 3-man defence, and lacks the discipline to play at the centre of a 3. Funes Mori looks to have one foot out of the door, but he is our only left-footer (other than Gibson) and would be a natural to slot into the left side of the 3.

In short - we have to keep Funes Mori and find another centre-back who can be the long-term replacement for Jagielka.

Left-Back is an area that has been well-documented. Antonee Robinson has a lot of potential and impressed on his international debut recently, but he may get another loan next season, leaving us desperately short again. We need one more to come in here.

Midfield is where the largest amount of surgery needs to take place. Silva likes a commanding central defensive midfielder, with box-to-box, high-energy players alongside that can pass and score. Schneiderlin is the most natural player in the existing squad to take up that role. Gana could do it (and would be my preference) and Baningime may be that sort of player eventually, but Schneiderlin is the most obvious candidate. I don't like what he did last season, but selling him might set us back too far, with all the other changes going on.

Alongside, we need two of these high-energy type players. Davies and McCarthy are the most obvious examples, while Gana could again provide that energy; but where are the goals and creativity coming from? Is Joe Williams ready? Will Davy Klaassen be at the club? Gylfi Sigurdsson lacks the high-press energy to play there. We need at least one more and to clear out some of the high-earning talent that no longer fits.

Our front 3 (which becomes a 2 in a 3-5-2) also presents a problem. Tosun was a great buy and can play with Walcott, Lookman or Vlasic alongside. Calvert-Lewin will be great competition for the Tosun role, but again we are asking where Sigurdsson fits.

If Silva wants to play with a No 10 style player as 1 of his 3, Sigurdsson would be perfect (with Vlasic and Dowell as other options), but would that stifle Lookman's chances of making the first Team? It puts him in a straight fight with Walcott for the other role.

In short, there is only really right-back that we don't have to worry about. There are problems and a lack of balance across the entire first-team squad.

I think we have the right men at the helm now, but it is far from a quick fix. The fans (that's us) need to be patient. There will be a cull and then a slow re-shaping of the squad. I think it will be 3 very strong windows before this team is ready to play the Silva way.
Alasdair Mackay     Posted 10/06/2018 at 14:25:05

Man Utd 4 - 4 Everton

I watched that game again last night (drink was taken) It was at a time when I was calling for Moyes to go. We were good, really good. Fellaini was magnificent. We went 4-2 down and tried to win.

It was a brilliant performance from a team that didn't cost a lot. Yet it wasn't enough for me. We pressed, attacked and most of all battled.

The point I am making is that it was a million miles better than last season but not enough. How my expectations have been so utterly lowered is appalling. Last season was as bad as it has ever been for me. What I am saying, and I never thought I would say it, is, let's get back to what Moyes had and rebuild from there.

This is no defence of Moyes but a condemnation of the custodians of our club who brought in Martinez, Koeman and Allardyce. The three worst coaches in our history.

I knew Martinez was shit. I thought Koeman was the man and defended him. Then we had the shameful appointment of Allardyce.

I would urge all Evertonians to view highlights of this game. The only conclusion, in my view, is that the new management team be given time and patience. Mismanagement has taken us back 15 years and millions of pounds. We are back to the day Moyes went.
Andy Crooks     Posted 09/06/2018 at 20:53:54

Your all-time Top Ten Everton players.

This may be quite a juvenile talking point and is obviously very subjective but I am interested to know what people's opinions of Everton's all-time Top Ten best players are.

My Top Ten, in order, are...

#1 Dixie Dean
#2 Alan Ball
#3 Tommy Lawton
#4 Neville Southall
#5 Alex Young
#6 Gary Lineker
#7 Andre Kanchelskis
#8 Romelu Lukaku
#9 Trevor Steven
#10 Greame Sharp/ Bob Latchford


Conor Skelly     Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:11:21

I just don't like the redesigned club crest

Let's face it, the current crest was a botch job after the debacle of that first fateful redesign attempt for the 2013-14 season. Although the dust seems to have well and truly settled on this subject, I am curious what other ToffeeWebbers think about it as it is linked to a lot of other subjects already discussed on this site – the kits, the new stadium, the sponsors, marketing, and so many commercial aspects... Submitting this to you now might also provide a welcome distraction to some of the other chatter during this frustrating off-season time!

The questionnaire Evertonians then completed in response to that outrageous version was pretty appalling and yielded a dismal choice of three designs, from which the current badge was eventually selected just as the best of a bad bunch:

Whoever was responsible has tried to shoehorn every possible aspect in order to tick some marketeer's boxes. All the components everyone wants are there (part of the problem is in trying to please everyone) but it is nowhere near as slick, smart, appealing and stand-out as it aught to be.

I remember being drawn to the badge like a bee to honey in the 80s and 90s, whether it was on a boot bag or a pin badge. My mates and I would draw it on our school books etc but I don't see the same mystique around it today. On the rare occasion you see it in the shops, it looks very underwhelming compared to the those of Milan and Madrid... or even Crystal Palace and Stoke City...

Unfortunately the name and year have been stuffed incongruously inside the shield because of some ridiculous (imo) logic that it must show the name (to have meaning for anyone outside the UK) and the year (because if you know your history). I actually liked the addition of 1878 on the badge in the more recent Premier League years but doesn't it now look a bit tacky in it's current format?

It is also apparent that what we were told then about the difficulties of using more than one or two colours has proven to be a complete fallacy based on what most other clubs are now doing quite successfully – like Man City after their dalliance with an elaborate shield and eagle etc) – look at Chelsea, Newcastle... and so on.

And what about the reworked / simplified scroll and Latin text?? Is it an improvement? Look at the Welsh FA's reworked crest with a scroll and Welsh text – in no fewer than four colours, if you include white!

There are now, sadly, so many better examples of what a 21st century football club crest/badge should be. So, if indeed we are to move to a new super ground and we are developing a commercial nouse to rival other clubs, something must surely be done about the badge.

For me, the club crest is a historical emblem and should remain as it has (with perhaps minor modification) since 1938. It should be the traditional crest that appears on matchday blazers (last seen in the FA Cup Final 1995?) and ties etc, and should be prominent in various forms of media and apparel and locations around the ground. However, there is no reason why the badge on the playing shirts cannot be different.

Manchester United are a good example of this and I have to admit to admiring what Liverpool have done recently with their return to a simple liver bird emblem whilst keeping the crest with he Shankly gates etc that was introduced in the 90s... It pains me but their shirt badge is iconic. Notwithstanding the poor NB kit, the badge is simple and elegant and it is viewed with reverence and worn with pride.

The best badges to appear on our kits imo were from the late 80s through to the mid 2000s and there is no real reason why we can't return to something along these lines. Replicating the elegance and simplicity of the late 80s imo would be a real stand-out on the shirts.... a bit like Spurs at the moment...

As a side note, kits by Adidas, Under Armour, Puma and others lead me, sadly, to go as far as to say that Umbro has had its day now, as others have mentioned on different threads.

Performance aspects aside, where Umbro were once world leaders in football clothing design and technology, they have become a little uninspiring aesthetically... and without over simplification of the sports psychology there is truth in that adage: "If you look good, you feel good; if you feel good, you play good," etc...

Getting back to the point, however, whether the kit designer or manufacturers are involved in the badge design, I don't know...

So, in summary, although there are undoubtedly bigger fish to fry at the moment, I hope the subject of the badge on the shirt and/or the official club crest will soon be revisited (perhaps including the potential adoption of a blue liver bird to go with the coming season's Dixie) as there is an undoubted impact... We need a symbol of a new era we can all get behind.


Ian Owen     Posted 21/06/2017 at 17:28:30

Roy Vernon - your memories needed

Roy Vernon was posthumously announced as an Everton Giant at the club's 2017 End of Season Awards (he had previously been inducted into Gwladys Street's Hall of Fame).

The North Walian came to Everton from Blackburn Rovers in 1960. His impact over 5 years at Goodison was immense. He captained the team to title glory, had an impressive goal ratio, and forged an intuitive strike partnership with Alex Young. He moved to Stoke City in 1965 and left professional football in 1970. He died, at the age of 56, from lung cancer, in 1993.

I am researching Roy's career; if you have memories of him at club or international level please drop me an email – rsneston "at" gmail.com


Rob Sawyer     Posted 16/06/2017 at 22:42:52

The Lukaku Problem and the Myth of a Number Nine

As Evertonians, we have waited a long time for a 20 goal-a-season man.

We tried Bent, Beattie, Johnson, Yakubu, Anichebe, Vaughan, Saha, Jelavic – none of whom were up to the task (although in fairness the Yak & Saha had their moments, but invariably each were struck down by injury).

Romelu Lukaku represents (almost) everything we want from Our Striker - but perhaps the job description is changing.

Everton scored 67 goals last season, 26 of which were from Romelu. The next highest scorer was Barkley (6) followed by Mirallas & Coleman with 4 each.

I have enjoyed Lukaku as much as the next Evertonian but, if he was less selfish, the other players around him would score more goals. Put Dele Alli in our team, would he score nearly the number of goals he does for Tottenham? Or would Son, would Eriksen? Taking another team into consideration, would Pedro or even Hazard?

The selfless running from other teams' front men – Kane and Costa the best examples – create invaluable space for the other attackers to get in behind and through opponents back lines. The way Lukaku plays between the posts is fine if you have a team getting to the byline and whipping in crosses; but not if you have the two flowing inside forwards that Koeman seems to favour. Perhaps this is what Koeman saw Deulofeu providing when he was put up front while Lukaku was injured.

With the flowing inside forwards you need a striker who will make selfless runs to draw defenders, who will drop deep to pull them out of position, as well as finish HIS chances when he gets them. Arguably our best team in the Premier League era was the one with Marcus Bent up front, who would have scored more were he not lacking the finishing skills that would have made him a much more expensive striker.

To quote Moneyball, Everton need to find 26 goals; not a 26-goal striker.

When you think we are requiring 26 goals, it seems much easier to replace the man we trusted to score them. Find a front man with a mixture of power, pace and a footballing brain that will allow the two forwards and three midfielders around him to get 5-10 goals each and the problem is solved.

As always, COYB.


Robert Leigh     Posted 16/06/2017 at 15:32:37

Positive but...

Believe me when I say am over the moon that it looks like we are building a new squad that will hopefully get us in the top 4 but I still have doubts...

Has Mr Moshiri really spent any money as yet or are we spending the up-coming Lukaku money?

Hopefully we will have any transfer money we get in to spend as well but, if we look at the amount we have received for Stones and the amount we actually spent over the last two windows, I don't think he has spent that much in football terms.

Or is it just my glass half-empty?
Peter Rogers     Posted 15/06/2017 at 21:43:11

This Time Feels Different

The media pictures of our Director of Football arriving in Milan today to 'talk business' should herald a new dawn of optimism amongst our fanabase.

Clearly, we no longer have to wait until 11:30pm on deadline day to sign the 'best of the rest' – a familiar trait of the last 20 years of outstanding mediocrity on behalf of the custodians of our club. By the end of July, I expect at least five new players to have come in and improved the squad.

I think Ronald Koeman can sometimes come across as slightly dour in his demeanour, but underneath I believe, is a steely determination to take Everton to the next level as soon as possible.

As to what that level is, I'm not sure anybody knows yet; perhaps not even Koeman himself? At the moment, there are still probably at least three clubs in the Premier League who we simply can't compete with financially, and I hope the fans show some degree of patience as the large influx of new players that arrive are allowed to 'bed in'.

Koeman and even Moshiri have come in for some veiled criticism from some elements of the fanbase lately for not improving things quickly enough, but the situation on and off the field is improving; the real litmus test will be early in the New Year when the plans for a new stadium will be made public, and planning permission applied for.

Let's enjoy the ride along the way.
Steve Hogan     Posted 14/06/2017 at 21:52:44

It was 50 years ago today...

Well... it was on June 1.

image

This version is not quite what it seems... But a special Everton-flavoured celebration instead.


Mark Riding     Posted 04/06/2017 at

The gullible fans of Goodison Park

A group of fans like no other, an indescribable love for our team
Up to Sunderland or down to Bournemouth, in our thousands we’re happy to stream.
Putting up with performances so often wide of the mark,
We are the gullible fans of Goodison Park.

Blue Bill with his empty promises, his media soundbites are strong,
Yet Blue Bill is nowhere to be seen, when inevitably things go wrong.
And what about Bobby Elstone, a man so out of his depth,
A lie or an excuse is murmured, with each and every breath.

In came the saviour we had longer for, a billionaire to roll back the years,
Could this be the man to put us back on top, eradicating all of our fears?

Like City before us we expected, a Robinho-esque statement of player,
But this is Everton of course, and to dream we better not dare.

For a moment we were linked to the best, a club once against rich with cash,
But the months went by, our transfer funds dry, and the dream over in but a flash.

Sell-to-buy is the policy we must get used to, despite the claims of Blue Bill.
As we watch those around us strengthen and spend, not even the gossip columns give us a thrill.

The train has left, the ship has sailed, so don’t be fooled into thinking it ain't so.
We might make one or two signings, but only when Ross and Rom go.

So next time you walk home, we’ve lost and you’re miserable and frozen,
Console yourself with one of Blue Bills favourites...
You didn’t choose, you were chosen.

But still we’ll go back, that’s just what we do,
We’ll still give our everything for those boys in blue.
That one-off moment, that occasional spark,
Because we are the gullible fans of Goodison Park.

Scott Hall     Posted 01/06/2017 at 11:05:29

Brexit, what will happen now?

As a Brit living in Australia, I have watched the events of the last 24 hours with interest. My opinion on whether this will be a good or bad thing for the UK is irrelevant, but I got to thinking about what the impact would be on English football and, more importantly, Everton.

Firstly, Brexit has no influence on membership of Uefa, so Europa league, Champions League and the Euros stay as is, with English clubs and the international teams remaining and participating in those competitions.

Secondly, movement of players to and from Europe will largely remain unchanged, at the first team level. Overseas players that want to move to an English club, will still be able to, as long as they meet the same criteria that non-European players have to meet, currently.

What will change is the younger European players, playing in the Premier League. Maybe we won't see the likes of Deulofeu, Robles, etc. Maybe we won't see Premier League clubs taking short cuts in development by buying up the young European talent, but this is not a bad thing. It will mean that English teams will have to develop local talent, and take it seriously. The likes of Dowell, Davies, Pennington and Kenny, will have more opportunities to stake a claim for a first team place. It might take a few years, but it could see a surge of local youngsters coming through the ranks.

Will it result in a reduction of the over-inflated wages that players get these days? Probably not. Will it diminish the appeal of the Premier League in terms of TV? Probably not, as there will still be the marquee players playing in the league. Will it mean Everton have an advantage? I think yes. We already have a well developed academy, so we have a jump on our competition, but I also think it will have a beneficial impact on the English (and Welsh, Irish and Scottish) national teams, because there will be a lot more local talent playing at the highest level.

It also means that the FA could instigate a cap on overseas players again, which will speed up this change.

So, my view is Brexit will be good for Everton, and also the home nation teams.


Andy Osborne     Posted 24/06/2016 at 13:21:13

Everton May Have to Sell John Stones

Prior to the 2013-14 Premier League season, the Short Term Cost Control (STCC) rules were agreed upon for the next three years, and then renewed in 2016 with the purpose of stopping salaries increasing in line with the new broadcasting revenues. The STCC rules state that, “Clubs cannot increase their player wage bills by more than £7m compared to the previous year unless they can demonstrate that any excess is due to individual club revenue sources.”

This means that Everton cannot go and buy £100m worth of players and renew the contracts of many of their young stars because the wages would rise by far more than the £7m growth that is permitted. Even though Everton now has the funds necessary through the takeover to buy expensive players, they may not be allowed to. Unfortunately, Everton cannot do what Manchester City did in 2008 after they were taken over by Sheikh Mansour with the massive £32.5m signing of Robinho from Real Madrid because it would not follow the STCC rules.

Albert Perkins     Posted 24/06/2016 at 01:53:21

Bobby's last season. A blessing in disguise?

This is NOT an article about Roberto Martinez... but possibly an argument to offer him thanks.

As I was sitting in London's outer orbital car park – known to many as 'The M25' — killing my time by catching up on ToffeeWeb, as one does, and taking in the view (I think it was an R8 in front and Norbert Dentressangle alongside, open countryside to my right), and with an aimlessly wandering mind, centred on football in general and and things Everton in particular, I got to thinking...

Off the back of a pretty lacklustre season which, with a slightly more favourable rub of the green over about 40 weeks, might have looked a fair bit less of a debacle, but from which thankfully we survived, we find that our top players' stock has dropped somewhat leading to a noticeable (so far) lack of clamouring for them from other top clubs.

Allied with the arrival of Farhad Moshiri and his obvious influence around the place — his appointment of Ronald Koeman as manager and Sasha Ryazantsev to the board, comments about plans, projects, stadium, signings and so on – the excitement around the place is nigh on tangible.

We have a thoroughly classy core squad of players — some with immense potential with the right mentoring which is going to be further strengthened with the possible arrival of the likes Sneijder (a good move IMO) and/or others, but which could been dismantled (and would have been if Martinez had remained).

If any of Lukaku, John Stones, Barkley, Coleman, Deulofeu and Funes Mori (this is not an exhaustive list), all whom are very definite potential targets for the big-shot clubs to move on, they will clearly not be easy to replace. Had their stock been higher off the back of a stronger season, there would have been a free-for-all for their signatures, particularly under Roberto Martinez.

However, and this is where my thinking led, has last season's difficulties resulted in a situation whereby it will be easier for the club to persuade these guys to stay (assuming Koeman has a plan for them, of course)?

He has probably (hopefully) done us a massive favour, working himself out of a job, paving the way for Koeman and sparking the positive vibe around the club right now.

I said on another thread that any player wanting out now might look back with some pretty major regret. Greener grass and all that, and I for one, cannot wait for the new season to start and also see what the close season (is it still called that?) brings.

So... thank you, Roberto Martinez, for engineering an optimism (a GENUINE optimism) about Everton that I have not felt for some time.


Kim Vivian     Posted 23/06/2016 at 20:04:36

Lukaku: Difficult to replace

With the appointment of Ronald Koeman and the investment of billionaire Farhad Moshiri, this is a very exciting time for the Everton faithful. I'm sure Koeman is looking forward to assessing the players he has at his disposal and seeing where he needs to improve the squad.

One key issue he will want resolving is the future of our prolific goalscorer Romelu Lukaku. Prolific strikers are difficult to come by; we only have to look at our own history in the Premier League era to see how hard it is to secure a striker that finds the back of the net as frequently as Romelu does. Last season, he broke Kanchelskis's record of 16 Premier League goals for Everton by scoring 18 goals. In truth, he should've scored more but there appeared to be a rapid decline in his attitude on the pitch, which resulted in a real barren spell in front of goal.

Even Yakubu (as good as he was) only managed 15 Premier League goals (22 in all competitions) in his best ever season with us. So, if the inevitable happens, and Lukaku gets his wish of playing in the Champions League next season, which striker out there is capable of replacing him? I have found it hard to think of many players that could fill the void of Lukaku's goals; the only (realistic) player I can think of, currently plying his trade in the Premier League and who is worthy of replacing Romelu, is Wilfried Bony.

He had a prolific goal-scoring record at Swansea – a record that is every bit as impressive as Lukaku's... and he does hold the ball up better than the big Belgian. But, he is older at 27 years old and he does play in the dreaded African Cup of Nations, which means losing him for a portion of the season.

Anyway, I was struggling to think of worthy replacements, so I thought I'd look at the top goal-scoring charts of the top leagues across Europe to refresh my own memory about certain players and see if I could identify any gems:

La Liga:

Luis Suarez - 40 goals
Cristiano Ronaldo - 35 goals
Lional Messi - 26 goals
Karim Benzema - 24 goals
Neymar - 24 goals
Antoine Griezmann - 22 goals
Aritz Aduriz - 20 goals
Gareth Bale - 19 goals
Ruben Castro - 19 goals
Borga Gonzalez - 18 goals
Lucas - 17 goals

Italian Serie A:

Gonzalo Higuain - 36 goals
Paulo Dybala - 19 goals
Carlos Bacca - 18 goals
Mauro Icardi -16 goals
Leonardo Pavoletti - 14 goals
Mohamed Salah - 14 goals

German Bundesliga:

Robert Lewandowski - 30 goals
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - 25 goals
Thomas Muller - 20 goals
Chicharito - 17 goals
Antony Modeste - 15 goals
Sandro Wagner - 14 goals
Claudio Pizarro - 14 goals
Soloman Kalou - 14 goals

French Ligue 1:

Ibrahimovic - 38 goals
Lacazette - 21 goals
Cavani - 19 goals
Batshuayi - 17 goals
Ben Yedder - 17 goals
Ben Arfa - 17 goals
Germain - 14 goals

Dutch Eredivisie:

Vincent Janssen - 27 goals
Luuk de Jong - 26 goals
Arkadiusz Milik - 21 goals
Dirk Kuyt - 19 goals
Sebastien Haller

Portugal Primeira Liga:

Jonas - 32 goals
Islam Slimani - 27 goals
Konstantinos Mitroglou - 20 goals
Leo Bonatini - 17 goals
Rafael Martins - 16 goals
Bruno Moreira - 14 goals

The stats above are only the goals scored in their league campaigns and do not include goals scored in cup competitions.

There's not many realistic worthy replacements on that list; my personal choices would be Lacazette, Janssen or Icardi. I only really watch the Spanish, German and Italian leagues when watching foreign football so I'm only going by what I read about Lacazette and Janssen.

I would be interested in anyone else's views and knowledge of players they think would be a good replacement for Lukaku. ToffeeWeb has contributors from all around the globe, with knowledge from various different leagues. Perhaps someone knows about another hidden gem like Niasse in the Russian league?

One thing is for sure, though: Lukaku will be very difficult to replace.


Mark Frere     Posted 19/06/2016 at 17:39:25

Getting rid?

New coach, new dawn, new players. It's all good. There is plenty of speculation about who we will buy. I enjoy it though I accept it is pointless. What I don't understand is Evertonians with a "get rid", list.

In my view, every player at the club should have a chance. I believe some of our squad could perhaps be a revelation under a proper coach. Super fit, well motivated and confident. None of that costs money. Oumar Niasse for example. He may indeed be not much good... but, to judge him on the very limited chance he has had, seems to me to be harsh. Fit, a run in the side, confidence boosted; who knows what we might see? Anyway, someone at our club thought he was good.

I think every player should have a clean slate. When the influence of the abysmal Roberto Martinez is removed, who knows what we might have? It might be like half-a-dozen new signings.
Andy Crooks     Posted 17/06/2016 at 20:44:13

Stick or twist

It is being reported that EFC plan to offer Lukaku double his wages to stay at Everton.

I have pretty fixed views on this.

He has 3 years remaining on his existing contract.

He has disrespected the club by mouthing off in public about him needing a CL club.

Although he has a pretty good goalscoring rate his general ability and hold up play leaves a lot to be desired.

Under normal circumstances I would send him packing up the road to whatever club wants to pay an outrageous fee for a contracted player and although the media keep talking up the so called big clubs I cannot see anyone stumping up around 60m for him.

On the other hand who would we replace him with. There is talk about Pelle but although he outshone Lukaku in the game the other day his goalscoring rate in the Prem does not appear that good.

Kane and Aguerro would appear to be unattainable and Vardy has already turned Arsenal down.We would need to find a Martial or Rashford and even they may be one season wonders. Jansenn or Milik look good options but have never played in the Premier League.

So, fellow ToffeeWebbers, do we stick or twist? And if we twist who would you go for and how much do you think we could get for Rom?


Jay Harris     Posted 15/06/2016 at 16:47:53

Koeman: More a sinner to the Saints?

During a recent trawl of Everton related media, I came across an interesting commentary by a Saints fan that has been making the rounds on their fan sites.

I'll reserve my personal opinions until the end but I decided it was definitely something worth discussion by the ToffeeWeb faithful.

At the end of the season, Koeman verbally agreed to a new contract with Saints, even down to such details as what players would be leaving [Wanyama (most likely to Spurs), Pelle (most likely to Lazio), Juanmi (to Sociadad, already done) lol, I didn't even know he had gone! and Mane (most likely to Man. Utd)] – as well as discussing our transfer targets into the Club. This was all verbally agreed upon, leaving the finer details of Ron's actual contract itself to be sorted by his agent and settled when he returned from [his first] holiday.

Whilst he was away however, Everton approached Ronald's [now former] Agent, Guido Albers, to sound him out on Ronald's interest in taking up the Everton Job. His agent, taking Ronald at his word - "I like to honour my contract, I like to shtay at Saints" - [bear in mind that the agent had been involved in negotiating Ronald's new Saints contract, and therefore believed that he wished to stay] flatly turned down the Everton approach on behalf of Ronald, and instead put forward the name of another of his clients, Frank De Boer, who was indeed interested in the Everton job. [Two agent pay-days for the price of one!] lou_wink2

Everton, having already been turned down by their first choice, Unai Emery from Sevilla [who is off to PSG] were determined to get their second choice [Ronald Koeman] – and so used Dutch agent Rob Jansen to approach Ronald with an "offer he could not refuse" – i.e. £6-7 mill a year, and £100m transfer kitty to splash. Ronald was furious that his own agent [Albers] had refused the offer without even speaking to him first, and sacked him, taking on Rob Jansen in his place. And here is where things get interesting.

Koeman was not entirely dishonest – as he wasn't really that interested in the Everton job. Who would be, when you've just got your team into European football for the second year running, already enjoy substantial backing from your board, the adoration of your loyal fan-base – and Everton are nowhere? But what Koeman wanted to do, was to use this interest and concrete offer as a bargaining tool when he returned from his holiday, to say to the Saints Board "this is the kind of 'ambition' I am talking about". He wanted to "use" the Everton interest to get himself more spending money with Saints – but he grossly overestimated his own "value" to the Saints Board.

For quite a while now – Saints have not been entirely happy with Koeman. Many of the agreements he had previously made when he first signed, he had not been honouring. The style of football, formation, and most importantly – the much vaunted "pathway" to the First Team from our famed Academy – which under Ronald has been said inside the Club to have become "blocked". His attitude toward our young players, never bothering to involve himself with the Academy or even watch their games [he sees himself very much as a "First Team Manager only" whereas we want our manager to take a keen interest in helping develop our burgeoning talent], often discouraging them, blankly stating that most of them are simply not good enough, and at one point launching into a very nasty tirade of abuse to young Matty Targett, that is said to have stunned those who were there in its cutting spitefulness and completely unnecessary severity. The "esteemed" Ronald Koeman callously tore a sensitive young lad to shreds in front of all his mates, and has since been widely regarded as a complete cunt.

Ronald Koeman, despite his very well presented and controlled public image in the media, is not particularly well liked by many at the Club, to make a sweeping understatement. His aloofness and arrogance on the training ground, his unapproachability, and tendency to snap at players and speak to them in a disrespectful tone has not gone down well. Mane, JWP, Harry Reed, and Tadic in particular have an immense dislike of Ronald Koeman, and others only tolerate his tactless approach as they're regularly in the Team, were enjoying an element of success under him, and don't want to rock the boat. But you get the general idea.

We are also greatly peturbed at some of Ronald's training methods, i.e the lack and short duration of them, the low intensity, and lack of commitment to training in general. He gives the players a lot of time off, and is prone to "disappearing on golfing breaks" when we feel that he should be spending his time coaching our players!

The Board have been questioning a lot about his management style and not honouring his commitments to playing "The Southampton Way" and his stifling of the pathway for our young players for a while now – but whilst he has been enjoying success and has the firm backing of the fans, they have been loathe to take any firm course of action. Ronald got very lucky during our disasterous run of form over the Christmas period, where we lost seven out of nine games, and we were persisting in that horrendous hoofball style of football, lumping long balls up to a woefully out of form [yet constantly picked anyway] Pelle, and privately among the Board, questions were being asked by some, of whether to get rid of Koeman then. But as I say, he got lucky: Pelle got injured, and Ronald was forced to play the excellent Shane Long [who he previously never game a proper chance to show his qualities], and change back to a style of play more suited to our philosophy. Shlong pretty much saved Koeman's job at that time.

So that's the background. Ron thought his "gravitas" in the game deserved a certain respect, and coupled with the success he has brought us – he badly misjudged his importance to our Board. He thought he could use the Everton interest, believing his value and position at the Club to be unassailable – to effectively blackmail the Board into agreeing completely to his own terms to sign a new deal. It wasn't so much about the personal money on offer, but more with getting more to spend on new players than was on offer – and forcing Sadio Mane to stay again against his will. Sadio hates Koeman [the phrase used (by Sadio) was "fucking arrogant asshat"], and the irony is, we now have a higher likelihood of keeping him [Mane], without Koeman around. Not to say that will definitely happen, just that it might.

Koeman gave us an ultimatum, that we could either make him an offer much closer to what Everton were offering – or he would simply not sign the new deal, and see out the last year of his contract as promised. This effectively massively backfired on him, as our Board were really not that fussed. We have other excellent candidates on our shortlist who we feel would stick much more closely to our Club philosophies, and therefore be a better fit with the Club – and as stated – many players who'd be happy to see the back of him.

So the Saints Board effectively called his bluff, and said sorry Ron – either you sign the deal you've already verbally agreed to – or you can take the Everton job and we'll get in someone who will do things the way we want, according to our Club philosophy. What we won't have, is a "lame duck" manager seeing out the last year of his contract, when what we want, is for someone committed to our new Five-Year Plan and hungry to build on what we've already achieved. Ronald simply wasn't showing the kind of commitment we were looking for, so we gave him the choice to either do so, or fuck off to Everton. Lol.

We gave him two weeks to decide what to do; sign the new contract, or go fuck himself. Ron stormed off in a huff on holiday number two after this, and we shall await the final outcome. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that he yet may end up staying, so don't burn any effigies just yet – although to be honest – I suspect that bridge has now been burnt sufficiently from both ends to be unlikely in the extreme. Though, stranger things have happened – like Ronald Koeman being interested in a club like Everton for example, lol. lou_wink2

And this is why the whole sorry saga has been playing out now for so long. Ronald doesn't really want the Everton job – but his own duplicitous conduct has ended up forcing him down a path he was entirely not expecting! He badly misjudged the situation and his own worth to the Club – and thought that we would bend to his will, to keep such an esteemed figure at the Club at all costs. And now – if he doesn't take the Everton job – he looks like a complete cunt, as he [almost certainly] won't be staying at Saints. Well, he looks like a complete cunt either way now, whatever he does, lol.

He's completely blown the reputation he carefully established for integrity, decency, and being a man of honour and respect.

Another thing, is that we will not budge on the finer details of his compensation package with Everton. Some of which (including guarantees that they will not make offers for any Southampton players once Koeman arrives) are proving to be a real sticking point, as is the contract on offer to his brother Erwin, and the fact that both Erwin and particularly Jan Kluitenberg (our fitness coach) are pissed off at Ronald, as they both love being at Saints, and didn't want to leave. Erwin, ultimately, will be loyal to Ron – but Jan (and his family) really love living in the area, have settled really well here and don't particularly want to leave. (He may yet even end up staying). If Everton do not agree to absolutely everything that Saints want – we are quite happy to deny Everton permission to take our under contract manager, and essentially "hang him out to dry" for a year whilst his contract runs down, and we'll get on and appoint someone who does want to commit to us fully.

Moving on to that now – and some details of our shortlist:

Most of the names in the press are not our preferred targets. Don't worry at some of the horriffic options that have been bandied around. The likes of Moyes and McClaren are nowhere near consideration. I've heard Pellegrini linked in the media, and he is on our list, but only as an albeit very decent back up option if we don't get one of our preferred candidates. Eddie Howe I've also seen linked, he is on our long-term watch list of potential managers that is constantly updated, and Les Reed in particular is a big fan – but overall we don't feel that he yet has the required level of experience or "gravitas" to impress our Europe-bound Squad or the names we're looking to bring into the Club. Frank De Boer has also been linked everywhere, and is on our list – but some way down the pecking order, as we prefer someone with experience and evidence of implementing their philosophy across a range of Clubs to show consistency in application, whereas Frank has so far only managed at Ajax.

My friend [indicated to the existence of, but] will not reveal the names - of two of our most favoured options at the top of the list, as they do not want to risk alerting other Clubs to the possibility of their availabilty, but other than those, I can say that Murat Yakin [currently out of contract after parting ways with Spartak Moscow] Vitor Pereira [of Fenerbahçe], Paco Jémez [of Rayo Vallecano] are all managers who are thought of very highly by the Club, sharing in our philosophy and playing the brand of football we like, and have long been on our watch-list. So if we don't get one of our two unrevealed names, those three are high on our appreciated list. So too very much is Thomas Tuchel, but the fact he's only just recently replaced Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund crosses him off of our potential targets for now, [he's unlikely to be interested].

A good read on Koeman.... Seems he left himself short.

Firstly, I feel a distinct amount of betrayal in this piece, which reinforces my view that this is a hit piece against a man who has scorned this insiders team.

But secondly, some of the points raised do grow a level of concern in me. The training issues, the blocking of the academy, the potentially over-inflated sense of self worth.

Thirdly, as a side issue almost, I find the nerve of some of references to Everton galling, and find it painful to see our standing with other fans at a recent low after the last 10 years.

So what do we think Toffeeweb? Who is our future manager really? Is he the much vaunted guiding hand we have view him as, as a majority, or is he the character much maligned in this piece.


Kris Boner     Posted 13/06/2016 at 14:33:34

Modus Operandi

Koeman is locked in, the announcement will be made next week, and as a trusting, loyal Evertonian, I don't doubt this will happen!

In the meantime, we have recently been connected (by the press) with several players as potential "Koeman" targets: Wijnaldum, Nani, Van Dijk, Forster, Pellè, Dann, Cillissen, Dunk, Kean and Clasie.

It might be lazy journalism but a fair few of those names have played for Koeman at Southampton, or previous clubs he has managed or had connections with. Wijnaldum (Feyenoord), Van Dijk (Southampton and Groningen), Forster (Southampton), Pellè (Southampton), Clasie (Feyenoord).

It got me thinking, if this is the new manager's "modus operandi", which other "former players" he has managed, would he want to bring to Everton? Juan Mata (Valencia), for instance? I would be interested to see if my fellow ToffeeWebers could come up with some other names. Just a thing to pass the time with, while we all wait for the official announcement.
Andy Osborne     Posted 10/06/2016 at 14:45:54

While news is quiet...

The quality of build that modern stadiums have is little in compensation for the generic soulless bowls their designs often become, and leave the fan without that feeling their home is something special.

So to help out any future Archibald Leach whose blueprints will become our home long after we've witnessed yet another Champions League victory, I thought some Royal Blue sky thinking could provide some inspiration.

I'm sure there could be better ideas than this, but how about more imaginative?

For the Trafalgar Docks, instead of 4 normal sized stands, why not open an entire side for a view of the Mersey. With the pitch positioned closer to the dockside? It leaves room for three much bigger, more daunting stands.

And like behind the goal at the Aviva/ Landsdown Road stadium you could line the Mersey side of the pitch with a simple token stand about 15 seats deep but behind that have massive clear glass panels that could be opened when the elements allow... or open them anyway when soft southerners come up to play.

Further still for those wanting a VIP experience – there would be no executive boxes, but instead Bill can pick up a second-hand cruise ship on the cheap, set sail pre-match for a luxurious dinner cruise down the Mersey, then dock alongside the stadium for the kick-off with the berths kitted out as executive boxes.

I'll offer this idea for free. No need to thank me.
Nick Entwistle     Posted 10/06/2016 at 12:59:44

Everton Squad, 2016-17

A few years back I posted a similar topic along the lines of 'what if we got a rich owner, would we need to change much? And whom would you want it'.

The general vibe back then is we were not too far away, just needed a couple more class additions, the icing on the cake, you would say. If that new owner arrived, what would we ask of him?

Well, here we are again, but this time it seems to be real. A new era is dawning on us, and I don't think with the current squad we are that far away.

Okay, things have been very poor the last couple of seasons, but I feel the leadership and direction some of the players have been lacking has affected them. I do believe we have some class in the squad: Barkley, Besic, Deulofeu, Stones, Funes Mori – I feel under the new leadership of Koeman they will fulfill their promise.

So, with that in mind, and with the pending departure of Lukaku up front, what do you think we need, and who would you like us to get?

It would be good to hear your ambitions and desires for the new-look Everton. This is aimed to distract from the current 'When is RK arriving/signing' stories, or the DoF Football rumours.

Personally, I don't think we need that much. I'd like the ambition of replacing Lukaku with Higuain, or the Spanish kid at Juventus. That would be a real statement. I'd love to see Baines moved to a central defensive midfielder, like the way Bayern moved Lahm. A World Class goalkeeper to replace Howard too. I'm a fan of Forster, go for him.

Get rid of the deadwood like McGeady, Kone, Niasse. I'd even look to offload McCarthy, Barry and Mirallas too.

I think a new Everton has to rise, and we need to strip it to the core and build on the spine of the Besic, Barkley, and Stones that we have.
Steve Foster     Posted 10/06/2016 at 10:02:43

More scouting options

I'm an ex-Club volunteer, Disability team skipper, fan and scout.

Here are some more players from my recent series of who I believe would make the squad better or whom we could potentially develop:

Outfield players

Gino Peruzzi – Very good right back and good attitude. Would be pricey but worth the punt.

Assane Gnoukouri – (Inter) Midfielder, 19, but over 6ft and strong. Combative and likes a tackle. Big future.

Jordan Cousins – Great leadership qualities, would be a step up for him but real talent

Wes Hoedt – 6ft 4-ish defender for Lazio, really dominant.

Lloyd Isgrove – Great engine, good cross and successful loans away. The next from the Welsh set up.

Robert Holding – Another defender with great aura and attitude. Will be pricey but worth a punt, within this deal some of our lads could go to Bolton to gain first team minutes

Takumi Minamino – Not seen him myself but from my scout friends I'm told this kid has lots to offer and has real work rate and scores

Omar Govea – Porto player, quite raw but so hungry, high hopes for this kid, great engine

Dom Berardi – Italian star, wand of a left foot, very versatile,


Goalkeepers

Simone Scuffet – What a name! But real good reflexes and has great presence

Mouez Hassen – (Nice) Has real purpose and a good kick on him.

Timon Wellenreuther – Great loan last year. Lots of scouts watching this boy. Very grounded attitude and calm.

Fred Woodman – Could be available after Newcastle's relegation. Good size. Good kick and again lots of clubs watching

Jeroen Zoet – I rate this lad highly, deserves a chance at a better level, winning attitude and great keeper in most departments


Aaron Evans     Posted 09/06/2016 at

A voice of reasonable expectation

I am writing this piece because I am reading too many posts on other threads saying that they expect too much too soon from our team and owner. It is ridiculous for people to seriously post and expect that we will get Champions League next season or even a cup. This could happen but come on – all we can expect is an improvement.

I was going to cherry pick a few comments about how we will have a new stadium in a few years, should be butting heads with Europe’s elite next season and sign established stars of game. But let’s get real.

I think we have the makings of a good squad. If we get Koeman we will have a good (possibly great) manager. In Moshiri without having done anything (yet!) it looks like we have a very good owner. But let us compare ourselves against the competition:

Arsenal are miles ahead in terms of squad and finances. Also plenty of experience of finishing in the top four but consistently inconsistent.

Tottenham are in an even more positive place than us. Great young players in a number of positions, new stadium on the way, richer owner, definitely on the up.

Man City have a better squad, wildly richer owners and on paper one of the best managers around. Crucially a squad that are simply excellent. You’d take most of their’s over our’s.

Chelsea have a new coveted manager, richer owner and a squad that’s won loads recently. That said the squad isn't great..

Man Utd have one of the most successful managers of recent times but a squad that could be compared to ours in terms of quality. Also, they have more money and pulling power.

Liverpool have one of the best managers in the game but less money (apparently) and in my opinion a lesser squad – but only marginally. Pains me to say but they have better pulling power.

West Ham have a new stadium we have kindly bought for them, a real good feeling about the place – reminds me of us after Martinez’s first season.

I have deliberately left Leicester ‘til last because basically they ruin my argument. Anyone can win the league based on perfect recruitment and management. What they did was a joy and I obviously see them as a force next year and hope they win everything after us.

I now come to my point: We can’t expect miracles overnight from our new manager. It will take time. Our rightful place is not amongst the current elite if we haven’t earnt it.

NSNO is a great motto but we’ve dropped from those standards in recent years. Moshiri though does seem to have gone back to that and not taken no for an answer regarding Koeman.

We need to earn our way back there and right now with this squad, this manager and with the money (that we apparently have to spend) this is our best bet in years. But the above people could hit the ground running and we could finish 6th or lower and people will say Koeman has failed which would be ridiculous.


Chris Keher     Posted 09/06/2016 at 02:53:00

Reclaiming the City

In 1892, Liverpool Football Club unwittingly pulled off a remarkable marketing coup, by naming their breakaway outfit after the City of Liverpool. In one fell swoop, they consigned Everton FC, named after a small suburb of Liverpool, as bit-part players in a yet to be realised global football market. For good measure, they also appropriated the Liver Bird as their emblem (not withstanding that Everton FC also used the Liver Bird as an emblem in earlier years).

Fast forward 75 years to a period when Liverpool Football Club's re-emergence as a successful trophy-winning team coincided with the emergence of Liverpool, the city, with the global appeal of the Beatles and numerous other Merseybeat groups. Suffice to say that, since that time, an admission that you hail from Liverpool, will automatically elicit a response based on an assumption that you are a fan of our beloved neighbours. The response to any mention of Everton FC will usually involve a blank stare and total incomprehension.

Enter Mr Moshiri and talk of a new stadium on the north dockside. What a prospect this is, to reclaim some of our lost identity within the city of Liverpool. Quite apart from the advantages offered by the the proposed location, the name of the new stadium could incorporate the River Mersey – how about 'The Royal Blue Mersey Stadium', to re-ignite (at one fell swoop!) the connection between our team and the city of its birth?
Mike Goodwin     Posted 06/06/2016 at 23:02:44

Shareholder sway

I believe we all as Evertonians have a lens through which we view all things blue, the color of which is tinted by our personal history and experience with the club.

My personal involvement dates back to 1985 from afar in Ireland where I grew up. My first trip to Goodison was for a 4-0 drubbing of West Ham in our last season becoming champions in '87.

I've seen good, and I've seen bad but always feel fortunate to have experienced the former and always look to it as the standard to which our club should be held.

Ironic that a club instrumental in the formation of the Premiere league would get left in the dust on all fronts, commercially, honours wise, stadium development, fanbase etc. Our entire cast of board members through this barren era shares the blame, not least the Chairman who is our popular whipping boy. It's been a rough couple of decades but, with a new majority shareholder on board, the outlook again has shifted.

The lens through which I view our club's dealings changes its shade of blue mainly as a self protection mechanism... without hope, there is nothing. Here's how I choose to interpret the near future and as always, based little on fact and heavy on the hope...

A 49.9% stake in the club for Moshiri is no accident; neither is it, I'm guessing, an endpoint. For all their faults and failings, I believe Kenwright and Woods want their legacy to reflect a club in a better place than it was found. They've likely been paid handsomely for shares sold to date and could likely have increased said wealth with a complete sell out as was the case with 'Mr' Earl, a shareholder never displaying any interest in the club other than his personal gain potential.

The negotiations regarding the takeover I believe (based on nothing but blind hope) included benchmarks regarding the funding of a new stadium, investment in the squad and clearing current debt... with all risk assumed by the new shareholder. Until achieved, veto power remains with Kenwright's ~12% and Woods's ~ 8% shareholdings. Once achieved, the remaining shares will either be handed over as 'pre-paid' or at a rate not reflecting the higher re-evaluation.

And so for now, I believe Moshiri is calling the shots on all fronts to move the club forward with purpose knowing that he will, in short order, have near complete control of the club and reap what he sows.

For now, through my lens I read 'Nil Satis Nisi Optimum'... and it's been a while.


Paul Columb     Posted 05/06/2016 at 17:54:42

Before Z-Cars?

Before Z-Cars was introduced, the Blues used to run out at Goodison to a marching band tune. It's driving me mad trying to remember what it was - can anyone help.

I know I should know but I just can't remember.


Laurie Hartley     Posted 05/06/2016 at 12:49:59

What's Our Name?

We are all naturally focused on our new manager but the passing of the legendary Muhammed Ali took me back to 1967 and his (admittedly distant) connection with Everton. Terrell foolishly insisted on calling Ali by his former name, Cassius Clay, and in retaliation, Ali gave Terrell the beating of his life while taunting him with the words, "What's my name? What's my name?"

Within the week and for several seasons after, Everton fans were chanting "What's our name?" at opposing fans while Ball, Kendall, Harvey, Royle & Co, gave their teams a hiding. Those were the days...
Peter Fearon     Posted 04/06/2016 at 21:15:40

When Skies Are Grey, China style...

I'm an English teacher and have been in Asia, mostly Thailand, since 2007.

More recently, I've taught in Vietnam and, currently, am a few months into my second spell teaching in China. Last time, it was for kids, in Beijing; this time, I'm teaching grown-ups in Foshan, southern China.

Point is, yes I'm on ToffeeWeb because I'm an Everton supporter. This means I've been carrying my feelings on all things 'Nil Satis..' and Blue for many, many years, now. Goes without saying, perhaps.

Very recently, I also decided to 'do' an 'English Corner' (a presentation and discussion etc on the teachers own thing, basically) on 'The Ups and Downs of Following Your Team'. I broke into the subject of football, Everton specifically, gently (although most of my students know exactly who I follow in England!) by getting a few thoughts on their own favourite sports and possible 'passions'.

I used PowerPoint to put together (admittedly, containing a few of the more detailed facts and figures, from the usual internet sources) a presentation on Everton, our history, longevity in the English top-flight, some past-managers, trophies etc but also related such slips or near-slips from grace as that heart-stopping 3-2 comeback against Wimbledon all those years ago!!

Of course, none of this info is anything new to ToffeeWeb members, but the passion we all feel for our team(s) back in England was apparently quite a revelation to my, mostly quite young, Chinese adult students.

I got some of their thoughts on how they felt about, how closely they followed, some more 'Chinese' sports, such as basketball, badminton, and 'ping-pong' but they seemed genuinely amazed at the passion we English carry regarding our beloved football teams, notably 'my' Everton, in this case, of course.

To cap this off, as I also have done a few 'singalongs' with these same students (whilst introducing my ukulele!), my final slide contained the lyrics of a song which I, rightfully, hoped they might all recognise.. 'You are my sunshine.' Except, after a cursory, vocal-chord limbering pre-run, I then told the students that this was actually also my team, Everton's, song... hence it's introduction, here. I also asked them if they could think how we could could slightly alter the lyrics shown to make the song 'specific' to the team. They weren't sure.

Click... click... click... and suddenly the word 'Everton' swept down to cover all the instances of 'sunshine'!! A few rounds of 'You are my Everton..' later and arms were swaying in the air!!!

I loved it, THEY loved it, and (you never know!) maybe our love for the blue shirt has inspired a few new Goodison Blues in this neck of the woods!!
Lee Brownlie     Posted 03/06/2016 at 12:07:13

Grand old team

After reading the recent praise on here for Gareth Barry, I was wondering if there were any other players that came to us late in their career that people would like to have had earlier – and further to that, could we get a team out of them?

I'll start by nominating a keeper. For me Nigel Martyn was an excellent signing and I would've loved to have seen him with us earlier in his career...
Les Green     Posted 01/06/2016 at 12:27:03

Why we must sign Aaron Lennon

Aaron Lennon coming into the club on loan in January was a good bit of business by Everton. Here was an experienced international with pace to burn and who knew what it's like to play in the Premier League. What I wasn't expecting was a player to put in the graft to track back, looked comfortable playing inside, and who chipped with a couple of good goals.

So why should we sign him? Well, first, after the capture of Deulofeu, and with Lennon himself (who is desperate to leave Spurs and would only consider Everton), we're at a good position to negotiate with hard-line Levy. Yes, he's a tough negotiator, but so is Blue Bill to be fair (I still don't know how we managed to get 28 million for Fellaini) and I am convinced we will get him by Deadline Day for 5 million. So, yes... not that much money.

Then there is his pace and effort. His pace is vital for counter-attacks, which was when we looked at our most impressive last season, Having pace is so difficult to play against.

Then there is his effort; I didn't know he had it in him. The way the game is now, with full backs bombing forward, wingers need to defend, or at least one winger in the team has to. So, for example, Mirallas and Deulofeu are more effective than Lennon in the final third, there's no doubt, but could they play together? No chance!! There would be no balance in the team and we would be so open, with Coleman and Baines trying to mark two players.

So at least one player in that team has to be a winger who tracks back. If we have two who don't, we would be far too open. So Lennon provides that kind of player in the right, and it would be Pienaar and Cleverley on the left. It's the same the other way round, playing Lennon and Cleverley for example on either side, would not scare teams going forward. That's why it's one of Mirallas/Deulofeu and one of Lennon/Pienaar and Cleverley/Pienaar/Lennon. It gives the team the balance offensively and defensively.

Finally with Lennon, it's his effect on the team and the fans. Fans loved his effort and he was infectious to the team, highlighted by Baines during the season in an interview. Coleman is a far better player with Lennon in the team, because he can go forward more. He's the best in the league as an offensive full back; playing Lennon will allow Coleman to be back to his best. And generally, last season our best form was with Lennon in the team. It's no coincidence.

People will point to his lack of assists and goals, which is a good criticism and he needs to improve that side of the game. But as a team, if we have Mirallas and Deulofeu doing all that for us, and have Lennon addressing that balance and protecting our side defensively, we look a lot better.

So yeah, Bobby, sign him up laaaa!
Ben Jones     Posted 30/06/2015 at 15:02:22

The First Eleven

Great business thus far .... I would really hope the gaffer can land Aaron Lennon and the starting 11 would then be complete:

  1. Tim Howard
  2. Seamus Coleman
  3. Leighton Baines
  4. John Stones
  5. Phil Jagielka
  6. James McCarthy
  7. Aaron Lennon
  8. Tom Cleverley
  9. Ross Barkley
  10. Romelu Lukaku
  11. Gerard Deulofeu

Subs: Robles, Oviedo, Barry, Besic, Pienaar, Osman, Naismith

To sell: Arouna Kone, Darron Gibson, Kevin Mirallas and Aiden McGeady (They have served the club well but it's time for them to move on.)


Shain Sewbaran     Posted 26/06/2015 at 16:32:04

Keeper: David Ospina?

This may be a moot point, as it appears Martinez is happy to stick with Howard for at least the upcoming season, but I see that Arsenal's David Ospina looks likely to move on following Peter Cech's arrival.

He cost Arsenal 3 million, so can't see him being too expensive. A talented keeper who came to prominence at last year's world cup. He's 26/27 years old and was very solid last season for Arsenal.

Finding good and affordable keepers at a good age is difficult, so for me, this should be seen as a not to miss opportunity.

Personally, I think Howard has been a great servant to the club and provided us stability over the years. His occasional errors (much over exaggerated by some) being cancelled out by his many a point-saving save. But last season (for about 10-15 games) he was a liability.

He can still have a role to play but I don't see Joel as being able to challenge him for the No 1 jersey. He's 36-37 years old, and while for a keeper he may still have a year or so left, we need a real challenger.

A 5-6 million bid for David Ospina should be within our budget.
Fran Mitchell     Posted 26/06/2015 at 13:57:36

Our Best 11

This is no doubt very premature, but having had two very early (for Everton) purchases, I am seriously scratching my head as to what is our best 11 and where Roberto Martinez is going with them. RM's love for his old position has seen a very bloated central midfield. We have picked up another winger. Are we short at the back having lost Distin and Alcaraz?

Im writing the article not because I have the answers but because I dont.

I look at the squad and think we HAVE to sell to balance it. We dont have European football to keep everyone busy so there will, I imagine, be some disgruntled employees.

To analyse the issue we have:

  1. Goalkeeper no issues. Howard or Robles.
  2. Right Back no issues. Coleman is the man and has little competition. Browning seems the only fill in and seems happy to be that for another year. Too early for Kenny. Hibbert happy to bank his pension.
  3. Left Back this is less of an issue than it was 2 years ago when Oviedo was flying as a fill in and Garbutt was knocking for time on the pitch. It seems sorted with Garbutt apparently going on loan and Oviedo not helping his cause to be number 1 by getting injured continuously. So status quo.
  4. Centre Back With Jags signing on to another year, he and Stones are the incumbents and will remain. Buying another CB for me is risky unless they come with the expectation of being a fill in for injuries or dramatic loss of form (only relevant to Stones as RM would never drop Jags). Can we afford to have kids as the only backup in Galloway and Browning? The answer is no. RM might then move Barry back, which is a good stop gap option to give us another year. Seems no faith in Besic to go back even though he is a specialist CB after all. I believe Galloway is probably happy to be backup until Jags runs out of time, but add another younger CB in the mix and it becomes murky. It also gives us time to see how good Galloway can be. Moving Barry back also solves another bigger issue.
  5. Central Midfield Here Im considering your defensive midfielder and your box to box player. We have been running 2 defensive midfielders both of whom are meant to give scope to the wing backs leaving their positions. Incumbents are Barry and McCarthy. Having just signed Cleverley we have 5 defensive midfielders for 2 positions, namely: Barry, McCarthy, Besic, Cleverley and Gibson. I also want to include Osman and Barkley here if we want the box to box players we have. RM showed his favourites more here than any other position last season not only in number of games but in the number of minutes in games. With Cleverley we are over stocked. Besic is so far down the pecking order now I cant imagine him being too happy. We have also read even McCarthy is twitchy. What of Barkley; is he the new number 10 full time now or will he have to wait another year to fulfill being the best midfielder in England? Problem we had last year was no speedy distribution of the ball from any of these incumbents. So how do we resolve that?
  6. Wingers Difficult to say incumbents as these swapped more often than any other position. RM seemed to like Pienaar and Lennon at the end, but Lennon is gone, replaced by Deulofeu. Mirallas and McGeady ready to step in to when required. We are hearing of Mirallas going or why do we need McGeady, but I dont see the depth here if we lose anyone. Then we will have square pegs in round holes with Barkley back on the wing, which is a tragedy for the player.
  7. Attacking Midfield here is an issue. We are told and are telling ourselves that we need a creative force to slot in at number 10. We have Osman, Naismith, Barkley and Mirallas who can do the job. Maybe Cleverley might come into the mix.
    Now if we need a creative force we are saying then all of those chaps dont do the job, which might be fair. What stands out to me then is Barkley has absolutely no role at Everton. The greatest thing since sliced bread doesnt have a job. So either we give him the number 10 slot or he has a real problem in the current team setup.
    If we do get this new number 10 Osman wont cause disruption, but Naismith and Barkley Im sure will wonder where they stand.
  8. Striker no issue: Lukaku... he just needs some support in case of injury. Top teams have more than one top striker, so there is an opportunity to get another of real quality without upsetting the team or players.

So in summary the issue is right up the middle of the pitch. I was tempted to put the attacking midfield role with the defensive one to show how many players are vying for 3 spots, which under the current system leaves in the cold players who dont fit the RM system in my opinion, namely Barkley.

If Martinez doesnt put to bed the sound bites of needing a number 10, he will have to change his system in order to accommodate Barkley as the box to box midfielder, which would let him play Barkley next to McCarthy with one other up front. We thought Mirallas was actually a perfect number 10, but he is too selfish.

So who is excess to requirements? Might we sell the crown jewels because although they might be pretty they dont have any practical use? Who will get fed up first and disrupt the spirit? Can RM make a bold decision for the first time in over a season?

My bold decision trying to answer my own thoughts: Sideline Barry to the bench; sell McCarthy for some good dough; bring Barkley into the box-to-box role; pair him with Cleverley primarily with Besic or Barry as backup; go and get that new Number 10 with the money from McCarthy. Dont sell a winger and start with Mirallas on the left and Deulofeu on the right. Dont buy a CB and bridge the year with Barry, Galloway, Browning and Hibbert in that order.

I end up with:

Howard;
Coleman, Jagielka, Stones, Baines;
Deulofeu, Cleverley, Barkley, Mirallas;
Nolito!; Lukaku.


David Chait     Posted 26/06/2015 at 11:57:39

EFC Footballer Job Descriptions

wrote a series of job descriptions for footballers.

My intention was to post it but I changed my mind as Toffeeweb was on fire and I thought it probably wasn't a good idea.

Now that we are in the close season and many of the current posts are about pending and possible transfers, and how these transfer targets may or may not improve us, I thought I would post my "job descriptions".

I am sure we can have a bit of fun with this.

Many posters with a better technical knowledge of the game than me have said "football is a simple game". I think that is probably true.

Here are my job descriptions for footballers.

A goalkeeper should be a be a big sod and good at three things in this order:

1. Commanding the 6 yard box, all elbows and knees, able to clatter any body having the effrontery of trying to head the ball into "his goal" from crosses and corners.
2. Coming off his line at the right time to pluck the ball from the feet of anyone who has got passed his back four.
3. Stopping shots.

A centre half should be a big sod and good at three things in this order:

1. Winning the ball in the air either from long balls out of defence or from crosses and corners.
2. Clearing danger which may mean putting the ball out for a throw in or belting it up the pitch. If no man on go to 3 below.
3. Never getting caught in possession gives it to a team mate with more skill on the ball.

A full back should be mobile, possess good positional sense and good at three things in this order:

1. Showing opposing forwards the touch line and not letting them cut inside.
2. Stopping opposing forwards getting to the byline and getting crosses into the box through tackling and blocks
3. Passing the ball up the touch line to the winger

A midfielder should have stamina, awareness of what's going on around him regardless of which way he is facing, and be good at three things not necessarily in this order. The order will define what his key role for the team is:

1. Making himself available for a pass.
2. Breaking down the oppositions attacks by tackling or harassing.
3. Supplying the forwards with passes to run onto

A winger should be have pace, and or trickery, have confidence on the ball and be good at these three things:

1. Beating a man one on one with pace or trickery.
2. Crossing the ball with precision from the by line into the air or along the ground to a spot anywhere within the boundaries of the penalty box and the D.
3. Cutting inside and shooting for goal with his wrong foot.

A centre forward should be either big and strong and mobile or stocky and strong and mobile and be good at these three things in this order:

1. Running on to passes, controlling the ball with his first touch, and scoring by either blasting or passing the ball past the keeper into the net.
2. Getting in front of the defenders to meet crosses and convert them into goals with foot or head.
3. Getting the ball at his feet and turning his marker or passing to an oncoming teammate who is running towards the oppositions goal

Any player wanting to pull an Everton shirt on must also possess the following personal attributes:

The skill set applicable to of the roles above
Courage
Fitness
Discipline both on and off field.


Laurie Hartley     Posted 25/06/2015 at 09:58:47

What money can't buy

We don't know what Everton have to spend this summer and neither do the press. I like transfer speculation, mad rumours are what get me through the close season. I think that there are changes that might be made that won't cost a penny.

I think we need more confidence in the back four. In my view, we do not need two holding midfielders. It suggests a safety-first, lack of ambition, "keep us in the Premier League" mentality. Cleverley for Barry might make it a little more palatable and creative but I'm not sure.

Then, we need to pick a side and have the confidence to give them a run. I hope we sign Deulofeu but if we do I would bet that he won't start in half-a-dozen games before Christmas. Our apparent lack of resources means we have to take chances. That doesn't just mean buying potential, it means giving the players we invest in a decent run in the side. There must be no favourites and we must be the best in all that costs nothing: Motivation, togetherness, spirit and will.


Andy Crooks     Posted 21/06/2015 at 00:18:31

Lack of height and lack of goals

I'm not sure if anyone else is thinking the same, but I think we are suffering from a severe lack of height in the team, and a severe lack of goals from midfield.

I am pretty sure that Stones is our only tall defender at 6' 2" so if Lukaku is back defending corners and set pieces then we are certainly vulnerable to teams with big burly players, like Stoke, Chelsea, Man City etc, and there doesn't seem to be anyone in the Distin mould coming on board to help out in this department.

Also we are extremely short of goals from midfield. Without Mirallas's goals, you would struggle to find the next best scoring midfielder Probably Osman. Someone remind me how many Barry, McCarthy, Gibson and Besic got? And while we are there, how many did our wingers get apart from Mirallas? Atsu, McGeady and Lennon?

As a side issue, we don't seem to have a free-kick specialist anymore, someone who has power in their boots or someone who regularly curls one in the top corner.

Sometimes a free scoring midfielder can win us those points that make the difference.


Steve Cotton     Posted 20/06/2015 at 19:30:26

Idle Minds = football manager mode

We're in the season of silly. That famous period that distracts football fans in the months of June or July.

While the Copa America, World Cup (f), U21s, Euro Cup qualifiers and various league championships outside Europe are occuring, they just don't seem to satisfy our addiction to 'The English Premier League', the most consumed drug outside of Alcohol, to pacify us in the face of ruthless capitalist exploitation.

For his reason we jump on every transfer rumour with vigour, and attempt to imagine just how Everton could be transformed into a team that, well, wins.

In my opinion to do this we must adopt the strategy of sell to buy.

With the rumours of James McCarthy's unrest, and the already cited issue of too many defensive centre mids, then his possible sale to an Arsenal/Spurs type team for 18-20 million could indeed open up a chance to make a bid for a top quality attacking centre mid/ box-to-box no.10 to challenge and compete with Barkley, while leaving change to buy a decent centre back or striker to push Lukaku.

For me, a player who has immense ability, and potential to improve, who is proven in the PL and has a mentality that I think our fans would like is a certain Jonjo Shelvey.

A bit of a misfit while with Liverpool, at Swansea he's proven himself a top player. Good passing, aggressive (sometimes too much) as well as having a good shot on him.

While Swansea finished above us, I still believe Everton would be seen as a step up. A midfield 3 out of Besic, Barkley, Cleverly, Shelvey, Barry and Osman (with Ledson slowly introduced) could welloffer variety and Balance.

Then a front 3 with Del Boy, Lukaku, Mirallas(?), Lennon (?) and other.

Whether this is any way plausable is another matter.
Fran Mitchell     Posted 18/06/2015 at 20:24:07

Everton players' percent of league minutes played in 2014-15

The following is a breakdown of the number of minutes played by each Everton player in the Premier League in 2014-15, and the percent of the season's minutes that represents. The data comes from .

Observations:

(1) Notice how few minutes were played by natural wingers: Mirallas' 42% and Lennon's 31% were the most. In effect we typically had only one true winger on the pitch at any given time.

(2) Distin played 32% of our minutes and Alcaraz 15%, so we played nearly half the season with one of these two weak defenders at centre back.

(3) Clearly it hurt us that Barry played 83% of our minutes while McCarthy could only play 70%. We would have done much better if those two numbers could have been reversed.

Howard 2835 (83%)
Robles 585 (17%)

Jagielka 3285 (96%)
Stones 2043 (60%)
Distin 1080 (32%)
Alcaraz 527 (15%)

Coleman 3066 (90%)
Baines 2773 (81%)
Hibbert 329 (10%)
Oviedo 320 (9%)
Garbutt 287 (8%)
Galloway 173 (5%)
Browning 31 (1%)

Barry 2823 (83%)
McCarthy 2400 (70%)
Besic 1284 (38%)

Naismith 2058 (60%)
Barkley 1960 (57%)
Osman 1279 (37%)
Gibson 416 (12%)

Lukaku 2870 (84%)
Eto'o 787 (23%)
Kone 601 (18%)

Mirallas 1420 (42%)
Lennon 1071 (31%)
McGeady 884 (26%)
Pienaar 317 (9%)
Atsu 113 (3%)


Geoffrey Caveney     Posted 16/06/2015 at 15:53:02

A question of non-TV Revenue

A club like Evertons top priority is to stay out of the relegation battle. I cant see any of the top 6 revenue clubs getting dragged into a relegation battle but ALL of the other 14 teams could wind up in a relegation scrap. There really isnt much of a revenue gap between the teams that fall in the 7-20 revenue category. West Ham is moving to the Olympic Stadium so next season there may be 7 teams in the Premier League with a substantial revenue gap over Everton.

Everton cant charge London prices, but they may need to try something other than what theyve done in the past. The thing thats holding Everton back more than anything is the lack of revenue thats not the TV money. Everton do have the opportunity to try to change this by signing top players from countries which could help raise the non-TV revenue.

Im a Yank from North Carolina and I started supporting Everton when Landon Donovan did loan spells. Since you had Tim Howard in goal, I got to watch two regular starters on the US Mens National Team.

If Everton would have gone hard after and signed our current captain, Michael Bradley, we would have a better player than Cleverly and a second American on the team (Bradley is a much improved player from his stint at Aston Villa). I really think if Everton had two Yanks on the squad, more USA sports fans would tune in to watch Everton games.

Here in the States we get every Premier League game live. Sometimes you have to watch over the internet, but I can watch the internet on my 40-inch flat screen TV in high def.

You want to increase kit sales to the USA, get some USA players. We are a country of 350 million people and were starting to watch a lot more football. Michael Bradley may be the most popular player on our team right now.

Everton could not only sell a bunch of jerseys in the US they could play a couple of pre-season games in the States or against MLS teams. If Michael Bradley was on the Everton team, you could play post season games in Seattle and Chicago. In Seattle, youd play against Clint Dempseys Seattle Sounders and they draw 70,000 for every home game. Have Michael Bradley and Tim Howard sign jerseys the day before the game and youd sell thousands.

Have some hot-shot marketing company figure out which colors US fans like the most and put Tim Howard in those colors. Offer a discount for fans that buy two Everton Jerseys in Seattle. Play a game in Chicago and you can play in a stadium over 50,000. Again have the players sign jerseys.

If you want to sell more kits/jerseys sign Gyasi Zardes whos 23-24 years old, starts as a central forward for the LA Galaxy and started both of recent friendlies against Netherlands and Germany. He scored against The Netherlands. Hes popular and getting better very season. He wouldnt cost a whole lot.

After youre done increasing the Everton revenue with US players, sign Keisuke Honda. I believe hes currently playing for AC Milan. Hes really good and might still be the most popular player in Japan. Do the same thing in Japan (play two pre-season games) and SELL JERSEYS!!!

After we sign Honda, we ring up Japanese car manufacturer Honda and see if they dont want to be the Everton shirt sponsor (and buy out Chang). Get an American shirt maker to have the rights to sell Everton kits in the US. Sign up a Japanese company for Japanese Everton kit sales. Think about signing the most popular Korean player. If Australia produces another Tim Cahill, sign him up and play games there.

I understand you can only sign players who are available and willing, but signing a homegrown player and a Spanish player isnt going to get Everton more eyeballs watching our games on TV and its not going to grow the non-TV revenue. It does help with priority #1 dont get in the relegation scrap!

John  Voigt     Posted 15/06/2015 at

Word on the Garbutt Deal

I had a real good source tell me yesterday that Luke Garbutt will be signing a 5-year contract extension with Everton, Bill Kenwright has personally got involved with the contract negotiations but we will now have to pay him 30k a week to stay instead of the 12k a week we initially offered.

The irony of the situation is that Luke would have happily signed for 12k 2 months ago if we had agreed to put in his contract that he can go out and play next season on loan and get a full season playing experience, but RM wouldnt do that as he wanted him as back-up for Baines.

Negotiations then went stale, his price has increased because other clubs were willing to pay him 30k so Everton have to match that, and now they will allow him to go on loan, with Bournmouth his likely destination for the season.

All-in-all good news, but it sounds like a very poorly handled negotiation for what is turning out to be a real hot prospect of a player. I was also told that Luke had never pushed for a move away or more money, he only wanted assurances about playing time and understood going on loan was best for his development.


Craig Mills     Posted 14/06/2015 at

Centre-back options?

Scrolling through the Rumour Mill, I see loads of strikers and wingers named, but precious few centre-backs. God knows we need wingers, but thankfully Deulofeu is looking likely now, and I'm confident we'll bring Lennon back too. Centre-back is the other position where our squad is really thin on players, and I don't hear much of what we're planning to do about it.

I don't take the "selling Stones" rumours seriously but, regardless of that, we cannot expect Stones and Jagielka to play every single match. With Distin and Alcaraz gone, and rightfully so, we will need defenders who can step in and not let our back line get shredded to pieces like it was so often in the first half of last season.

I suppose Martinez could move Barry back to defender when necessary, and perhaps that is part of the plan in bringing Cleverley on. But I hope we have more options than that.

The only name I have seen batted around is Scott Dann. I suppose he would serve well as a back-up for Jagielka and Stones. I also saw Micah Richards's name dropped, and I understand he can play centre-back as well. And that's about all I've seen out there as options for us.

So, what do folks think of Barry and Dann as our back-up plan at the back? I'd feel more secure with Dann and one more competent centre-back on the squad. Any ideas who that might be?


Geoffrey Caveney     Posted 14/06/2015 at 14:47:09

Free Agents

Since freebies are all we can afford, here is a full list of free agents being released from all clubs. Who do we fancy?

ARSENAL: Abou Diaby and Ryo Miyaichi (last seen on loan at FC Twente).

ASTON VILLA: Darren Bent (already signed by Derby), Chris Herd, Enda Stevens and Ron Vlaar.

BURNLEY: Steven Reid and Ross Wallace.

CHELSEA: Didier Drogba.

CRYSTAL PALACE: Shola Ameobi, Stephen Dobbie, Owen Garvan, Brede Hangeland, Peter Ramage and Jerome Thomas.

EVERTON: Antolin Alcaraz and Sylvain Distin.

HULL CITY: Maynor Figueroa, Steve Harper, Paul McShane, Liam Rosenior and Yannick Sagbo.

LEICESTER CITY: Paul Gallagher, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Matthew Upson.

LIVERPOOL: Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson (middle names: McLeod, Cooper) and Brad Jones.

MANCHESTER CITY: John Guidetti, Frank Lampard and Micah Richards.

MANCHESTER UNITED: Ben Amos, Tom Cleverley (already signed by Everton) and Tom Thorpe.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Jak Alnwick, Jonas Gutierrez and Ryan Taylor.

QUEEN'S PARK RANGERS: Bruno Andrade, Joey Barton, Richard Dunne, Rio Ferdinand, Karl Henry, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Bobby Zamora.

SOUTHAMPTON: Artur Boruc (already signed by Bournemouth) and Jos Hooiveld.

STOKE CITY: Wilson Palacios, Thomas Sorensen and Andy Wilkinson.

SUNDERLAND: Wes Brown and Anthony Reveillere.

SWANSEA CITY: Alan Tate and Gerhard Tremmel.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: Cristian Ceballos, Brad Friedel and Bongani Khumalo.

WEST BROM: Chris Baird, Jason Davidson, Gareth McAuley and Youssouf Mulumbu.

WEST HAM: Carlton Cole, Guy Demel, Juusi Jaaskelainen and Daniel Potts.


Nigel Gregson     Posted 10/06/2015 at 17:09:03

Forgotten men...

Hello fellow blues, it has been a while since I posted anything at all here on ToffeeWeb, mainly down to our sub-standard season. But now that the 14-15 season has been and gone, I thought I would write something about the coming season and what we might expect to see out on the pitch.

There was a lot to be disappointed about during the season: our final standing in the Premier League, our exit from both domestic cups, the hammering we took in Kiev... For me, though, the most annoying thing about the season was the rigidness of Robertos team selections.

I am sure that there are many examples from last season were people would have loved to see a certain person playing in a certain scenario. The three that stick out for me are: Mo Besic, Tyias Browning and Luke Garbutt.

Besic was the best player in our team at one spell during the season. At a time when we were seriously lacking any sort of creativity or tempo in our midfield you would see Besic making himself available to take a pass, looking up and trying to play a ball forward. Not the insistent to me, to you football we seem to always want to play. Dont get me wrong I love us having possession but we are not Barcelona and therefore cannot play like them. Besic is brave, maybe too brave to play in front of the back four... but why not play the lad further up the field? Especially when the likes of Barkley, McGeady and Naismith look completely devoid of ideas.

Next, Tyias Browning. I remember Martinez saying at the beginning of the season how brilliant this kid could be. How he was a fantastic athlete, the best one-on-one defender at the club etc. He played a cameo role at Anfield in the derby and was fantastic. Then, 5 mins at Old Trafford and we never saw him again. Instead, we were exposed to Antolin Alcaraz, who may have been half-decent in his Wigan days but has been an absolute non-starter for us (again, see Kiev). When we have an opportunity like that, why not throw a talented youngster in?

Luke Garbutt, a very talented left back who looks like he might be playing for Bournemouth next year, or worse that shower of over the park!!! I will admit that Garbutt has been given more opportunities than the others mentioned, but still not enough. In a season when Baines has not been at his usual standards, why not give Garbutt a game? Competition for places is great, but it doesnt work if nobody gets the chop.

It all points to Martinez being the same as Moyes, we all have our favourites. For Martinez Barry must play, Baines must play, Howard must play, Alcaraz must play. Look at the goalie situation: Robles having a blinder gets dropped as soon as Howard is fit. Not great for a youngster's confidence. People may disagree, but for me Roberto does not pick his strongest teams or his 'in-form' players. Whether that is because he prefers a particular style of play or whether he is too weak a character to make the changes, I couldnt say. He needs to sort it though, because another season like this one will signal the end.


Danny Halsall     Posted 09/06/2015 at 09:49:51

Kenny Sansom

I just read a story about Sansom being an alcoholic, gambler and homeless. He played for us for a very short time, so short to me that I only know about it from history books.

Does anybody know would he qualify for help from Everton Former Players Foundation? Only the PFA is offering support at the moment, which likely won't amount to much.
Brian Hill     Posted 08/06/2015 at 17:51:45

Learning from Juventus

Looking at the ToffeeWeb comment section on the (very fantastic) Champions League final, there were several sarcastic comments along the lines of "We'll be there once we get our billionaire" etc.

But the thing is, we need not be defeatist pessimists waiting for a sugar daddy from the Middle East to save us. Looks at Juventus as an example.

Of their amazing midfield trio, Pogba and Pirlo were obtained on free transfers, and Vidal was purchased for about a 10M fee. Fernando Llorente was free, Evra they paid a nominal fee for, and Tevez cost them a mere 8m or so from Man City.

The only player they really "broke the bank" for was Morata, who they paid around 22M for, far less than we paid for Lukaku! The moral is, you don't need a sheikh or oligarch; you need smart, savvy decision makers.

Side note: I'm fully aware Juventus is a much bigger "brand" than us and has a global fan base, but the point is their Champions League near-winning squad was assembled with other clubs' castoff free transfers or players thought past their prime they paid a nominal fee for.

To recap: Pirlo: Free. Pogba: Free. Llorente: Free. Evra: nominal fee. They paid as much for Tevez essentially as we paid for Mirallas. It's possible and in fact probable to achieve great things with smart decision-making and you don't need a sugar daddy.
Clarence B Yurcan     Posted 07/06/2015 at 23:36:09

Bribes and cheating

FIFA paid a non-transparent bribe to FIA after they were eliminated from the World Cup by Henri's handball. Much of the chatter is about the bribe but I would suggest that it is more condemning to ask why the payment was necessary.

A referee missed an important decision but that happens every week. A bribe suggests that there was a systematic intention to exclude Ireland via a referees collusion with FIFA. Ridiculous! Or is it?

We are all aware of a famous incident involving Duncan Ferguson being sent off in vital Champions League match and a retiring ref. At the time and since there has been much speculation in this forum that the match was fixed.

I have always thought that sour grapes but if FIFA pays bribes for a handball then we are glimpsing a culture of cheating that influences the outcome of important matches that begins at the very highest level. Now, I am not so sure.


Thomas Lennon     Posted 05/06/2015 at 07:54:24

Blues Goal of the Year?

Not been an outstanding season for breathtaking goals, but my fave has got to be McGeady's stunning curler against Leicester in the very first game

Any better?
Tony Cheek     Posted 03/06/2015 at 19:44:53

Striking Similarities

Take any two Premier League managers and you can usually find some common ground to make a valid comparison. None more so than the current Everton and Liverpool bosses though. It's quite amazing how the upcoming season may possibly define their careers.

The similarities don't end there. Both are talented exponents in talking absolute bollocks, they are trying the patience of supporters with the rubbish they spout after a defeat. 'Outstanding' and 'Character' seem to be trotted out at any given opportunity.

They are both relatively young to be Premier League managers: both will be 42 next month. If rumours are to be believed, Martinez was sounded out for the Liverpool job before Rodgers, with Martinez choosing the blue half of Merseyside via Wigan. The two men had also managed a Swansea City side that did reasonably well under their leadership.

The two clubs had their best ever tilt at the Premier League under their guidance. Both in the 2013-14 season. Everton finished with a record Premier League points total, and Rodgers nearly led Liverpool to the title. (Thanks, Slippy G!)

It all went very wrong last season, with serious doubts cast over the ability of both managers. Everton went from 5th to 11th, and Liverpool from 2nd to 6th with the booby prize of Europa League football. There were serious calls for both managers to be shown the door. In my opinion, it would have been premature to sack them after the seasons they both had previously.

If you are a regular visitor to these pages, you will know most Blues are prepared to give Roberto Martinez up until Christmas to prove that a 5th-place finish and some sumptuous football wasn't a fluke.

Read any Liverpool fansite and the opinions on Rodgers are almost exactly the same as most on here: "Here's hoping the debacle that was last season was a one-off, due to the culmination of everything bad that could possibly happen to us football-wise, happening. Let's draw a line under it. Let's look to the future; we have a good young manager who has hopefully learned from last season, and quite a few young players who could be absolute stars."

There are many more comments from over the park which mirror our current outlook; "Give him another 6 months... hopefully he's learnt from his mistakes... see who he brings in this summer..."

Finally, they are both 66/1 to be the next manager to get their marching orders. Let's hope it's Roberto who proves his doubters wrong and Rodgers is sent packing with his tail between his legs. In all honesty, I never liked Rodgers before he was Liverpool manager!


Kevin Tully     Posted 03/06/2015 at 14:18:53

Attendance v Performance

A few months back, I had an article published on TW called The Responsibility of the Board, and that produced some good comments. The basis of the article was that it's the Board's responsibility to make sure that the correct people are hired to ensure that the supporters are provided with a product or experience on matchdays to keep them coming back. And that provides the club with a major income source to keep the club running.

With the ongoing negativity that is being written about both the Chairman and the Manager, I had a look at how it affected what I believe the Board look at and that is "attendance". (These figures cover all season games.) Looking at the last 8 seasons of David Moyes's tenure and the last two seasons under Roberto Martinez, the figures make interesting reading.

Goodison's official capacity is rated at 40,157. Looking over the last 10 seasons, the lowest average gate was in 2011-12 with an average of 33,228 and Everton finished in 7th. The highest average gate was last season at 38,406 and Everton finished 11th. The average gate for the past 10 seasons is 36,468 witch is approx 10% less than the capacity.

The questions are: Do the Chairman and Board simply look at the average attendances over the season regardless of performances? Or do the Chairman and Board ignore the feelings of the supporters as long as the attendances remain as stable, as over the last 10 seasons?

Looking over these figures, what stands out to me is:

(a) Moyes would still be manager if he had not resigned.

(b) The comment that Everton do not sack managers is based on attendance and not just that they are too nice,

and (c) Martinez will stay manager unless there is a drastic drop in attendances, or the performances are that poor, our position in the Premier League starts to look unattainable.

Regardless of what people comment on the questions, I think we are in for a very difficult situation for next season.
Bill Gall     Posted 02/06/2015 at 20:20:11

Johnny Keating, Z-Cars composer, dies

Tell me the hairs on your neck don't stand up when Z-Cars plays as the team come out. Without doubt it is as Everton as the Royal Blue shirts.

The composer of the original TV theme tune, my namesake no relation Johnny Keating, recently passed away in his home town of Edinburgh.

The Liverpool Echo has his article tasking our support for his family who wish to place a plaque in his honour at his place of birth. I would ask all supporters to read the article and sign the petition.


John Keating     Posted 01/06/2015 at 19:47:39

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