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Talking Points

November 2014 Archive   |   Submit a topic

If you know your (recent) history – is it enough to make your heart go Wooaaah?

We’d like to think we don’t care what the Red Side say… but unfortunately, as it is usually a reminder of them having the upper hand, most of us probably do.

With the negative circumstances surrounding the build-up to the 239th Merseyside derby, it would be understandable to forget that Everton are unbeaten in the last three matches against their own noisy neighbours. Picking up two draws and, of course, in February, returning from Anfield with all 3 points for the first time in over 20 years.

A lot of the talk surrounding Everton’s recent run of poor results has focused on the numerous injuries to key players. However, it is worth remembering just who was missing in securing that victory earlier this year. Everton’s much-missed centre forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin was fit enough only for the bench that day and centre back Yeri Mina was not involved at all.

These two players will almost certainly not be available on Wednesday but, on this evidence, should that really be enough to raise the white flag of surrender?

The other noticeable aspect of the starting XI that day was that it included the much-maligned trio of Mason Holgate, André Gomes and Tom Davies. Again, none of these will be available to start this match. Although, going by the most vocal opinions, these three players will not be a huge loss.

Conversely, two players who should be available to make their derby debuts are the popular additions of Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend. With the possible signs of an emergence also of the real Fabian Delph at Everton, the options for the starting XI are, on paper, arguably stronger now than they were in that victory at Anfield.

Previous manager Carlo Ancelotti received plenty of criticism last season for his tactics and formations, often leading to a dull experience and many dropped points, particularly at Goodison Park. However, opting for a three-man midfield away from home in this match proved an inspired move as a more aggressive Everton pressed the opposition into mistakes.

This observation though, is one of the worries regarding current manager Rafa Benitez. Benitez appears extremely reluctant to deviate from his preferred 4-4-2 formation, often leaving Allan exposed against a more mobile opposition midfield. With the mobility and quality of the midfield three he is likely to be up against on Wednesday, this is a huge concern. In Doucouré, Allan and Delph, Benitez does have the personnel to call upon to make this change, but will he?

A formation change to 4-3-3 would also provide a front three with pace, directness and mobility to allow Everton to play to their strengths on the counter-attack. Richarlison returns from a one-match suspension and Demarai Gray was, by some distance, the most dangerous attacking player after coming off the bench on Sunday. Leaving a choice between Andros Townsend and Anthony Gordon to complete the front three.

This would also allow Benitez to drop those players who have become a stick with which to beat him. The continuous reliance on Alex Iwobi and Salomon Rondon is in danger of turning the tide of support against Benitez. More than anything else, Everton supporters are losing patience with an insistence on turning to these two players without giving a chance to the younger players at his disposal.

Leaving attackers Ellis Simms and Lewis Dobbin on the bench on Sunday, when the team was chasing goals, was to most, totally baffling. Benitez’s reasons are unclear; is it a sign of stubbornness or simply a lack of trust? Either way, it is not proving popular with large sections of supporters.

In short, contrary to many people’s opinions, Benitez does have options at his disposal – in both formation and personnel. Some of these options would arguably ensure a stronger starting XI than the one which secured victory in the last Merseyside derby.

As always, this is a hugely significant fixture for everyone connected to the club, but perhaps even more so given the recent run of results. It is, however, impossible not to underestimate the significance of this match in the future of Rafa Benitez as manager of Everton Football Club. Will he once again turn to his trusted methods and selections, or will he take note of recent history and try something different?

This particular Evertonian is hoping for the latter. But mostly just hoping… and praying.
Kevin Murray     Posted 30/11/2021 at

Cliff Marshall dies aged 66

Sad news about a former Everton young player as news of the death of Cliff Marshall has been relayed by Everton FC:

A forward who was born in Liverpool in November 1955 and grew up an Evertonian, Marshall made his debut when introduced as a substitute in a Division One game against Leicester City at Goodison Park in 1975.

He made his first start seven days later, as Everton won 3-0 at Birmingham City to climb to the top of the league standings under manager Billy Bingham.

Marshall, who would make eight appearances for the Club, joined Everton aged 15 after winning the 1970 England Schools' Football Association Trophy with Liverpool Boys.

He represented England Schoolboys and rejected interest from Manchester United and Liverpool to sign at Goodison Park.


Barry Hesketh     Posted 24/11/2021 at

Things will get worse before they get better for luckless Blues

Like most Premier League sides, Everton were handed their annual away defeat to Manchester City this weekend. A sobering 3-0 scoreline, continuing a run of six games now without a win. Everton though, haven’t won at Manchester City since December 2010. Their recent overall record against the current Premier League champions is poor, to say the least. Losing each of the last eight fixtures against them in the league and only managing one victory over them in the last 8 years, a 4-0 thrashing courtesy of ‘that’ Tom Davies goal at Goodison Park in January 2017.

The last we saw of Carlo Ancelotti in Everton colours was scurrying away from the Etihad Stadium after last season’s final day 5-0 capitulation. Everton ended the season in 10th, Manchester City finished in top spot and clinched the title for the fifth time in the last 10 years. The difference between the two clubs, in every aspect, could not be much starker.

Manchester City were once the sky-blue equivalent of their Merseyside counterparts. The second team in the city, in the shadow of their more successful red neighbours. In much the same situation as Everton have found themselves for too many years now. Then came the Commonwealth Games to Manchester, a new stadium, and new multi-billionaire owners, and any comparison between them and Everton soon disappeared. City now have the upper hand over Manchester United whilst Everton have fallen even further behind their Merseyside rivals. With the Goodison derby match on the horizon, the situation is looking bleak.

Indeed, looking at the fixture list over the next month and the treatment room at Finch Farm, it would appear that things could get a lot worse before they get better. As well as that derby match, between now and Christmas, Everton face Brentford (a), Arsenal (h), Crystal Palace (a), Chelsea (a) and Leicester City (h). An extremely tricky set of fixtures at any time but, if the current injury list continues, some have suggested Everton could be sat in or around the relegation zone at Christmas.

To rub salt into the wounds, Everton lost another player to injury against Manchester City with Demarai Gray pulling up early in the game with what appeared to be a groin strain. Add to that Richarlison picked up a one-game suspension with his fifth yellow card of the season. Everton could therefore go into their next fixture missing first-choice players Yeri Mina, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarison and Demarai Gray, along with squad players Andre Gomes, Tom Davies and Mason Holgate also still unavailable. A significant factor in any expectations.

Such is the situation, if we could click our fingers and transport ourselves to Christmas Day, I’m sure most of us Evertonians would do so.

If, and this is a big 'if', Everton can manage to get through to the New Year without hitting the panic button, then things should begin to look somewhat brighter. The January transfer window should offer the chance to bring in one or two additions, those missing from injuries should have recovered, and the fixture list looks much kinder than pre-Christmas. Everton do not play any of the current Top 8 in the Premier League between Christmas Day and the end of February.

The one major issue in this timeline is the current manager, Rafa Benitez. Due to his previous employment, he will no doubt be given less leeway than most other Everton managers. The reasons outlined should create a sense of togetherness at the club. Supporters, players, and coaching staff should all come together in adversity and drag us through this tricky period. And if perhaps this was last season, and the once adored Signor Ancelotti was in charge, this would surely be the case. However, he is not, having turned his back on the club at the first opportunity.

Maybe though, if those who claim to love the club as much as they say they do were to try and forget who Benitez’s previous employer was and remember what the adoration of our last manager brought us, Evertonians could come together and support the team through this tricky period. The New Year brings hope of a turnaround in fortune; however, there is a long way to go before then. There are therefore two choices at this point: hound the manager out during December… or support the team through into the New Year. Which one will we choose?


Kevin Murray     Posted 21/11/2021 at

Davies the latest player to suffer injury in training

Tom Davies is reported to have been injured in training at Finch Farm. A knee injury that will keep him out for at least a month.

This is coming from "The Bobble" on Twitter, usually reliable. We’ll probably find out later if there’s any truth in this.


Tony Everan     Posted 16/11/2021 at

Have we got the right owner?

When Farhad Moshiri initially bought into Everton Football Club by purchasing shares from Bill Kenwright and associates in February 2016, and was announced as our new billionaire owner, it seemed to be a new dawn and the start of a new era of success for our historic club. The previous 20 years had been largely disappointing with the dearth of trophies attributed to the club’s lack of spending power.

With the promise of seemingly unlimited funds for players and also an early commitment to building a new stadium, the impression was that a bright future was beginning. This feeling was enhanced when the involvement of Moshiri’s associate, Alisher Usmanov, became apparent.

Indeed, as work has recently begun at the new stadium site, that side of things appears to be going as planned. Where it has not gone to plan, however, is on the pitch. There has been a succession of failed managers and indeed a succession of failed players also.

Somewhere in the region of £500 million has been squandered on players who in the main have not been good enough. Presumably the plan was to build a successful footballing model prior to the ground move. On-the-field success was required to ensure the increased capacity would be taken up. This is where things have not gone to plan.

After 5 years of Moshiri's ownership, we seem further away from success on the pitch than ever. This prompts the question, “Have we got the right owner?”.

According to stories often repeated on ToffeeWeb, Bill Kenwright had already turned down two previous buy-outs. Firstly from Paul Gregg who offered to bail out the King’s Dock project, and secondly from Sheikh Mansour, who went on to buy Manchester City.

On both occasions, the bids were reportedly declined, because Kenwright was not prepared to stand down as Chairman. Indeed it was the end of the relationship between Gregg and Kenwright with Gregg’s shares being sold to Robert Earl of Planet Hollywood. Gregg left with the parting jibe, “Bill hasn’t got a clue how to run a football club”.

It appears that Kenwright has found an owner who is good for Bill Kenwright in that he has largely cashed out the bulk of his share ownership at an incredible return on investment, assuming it was him who paid for the shares originally. And he remains Chairman, but once again we have to ask: Is he the right owner for Everton Football Club?


Clive Rogers     Posted 02/11/2021 at

Carlo's Time To Go?

He is running on empty, picking up a fat paycheck and riding on past glories. The team has gone backwards in the year he has been here. His attack is reliant on one player. He is a nice guy but his team has no shape or style. He wasted a lot of money on one luxury player who doesn't put in a shift. He has no Plan B. His team are too streaky. He won't give young homegrown players a chance.

These are remarks being tossed about by fans about Guardiola, Arteta, Hodgson, Solskjaer, Lampard, Wilder, Hassenhütl, and Mourinho respectively. They probably sound familiar as they are clichés being directed at Carlo Ancelotti. Add Tony Marsh's notion that there are no 60-year-old-plus managers who are successful today and you have a snapshot of the mood among some of the fan base. But is any of it true? Kind of, but other than Klopp, every Premier League manager is currently facing the same and other accusations of failure.

With regard to the ageism argument from Tony Marsh, we just lost to a highly-praised old-timer on Saturday; Sarri just won the league in Italy, Juup Heynckes and Arsene Wenger are among the other old-timers to have won trophies in recent years. Lucien Favre at Dortmund isn't doing badly either.

In contrast, we've seen a lot of young pretenders (Niko Kavic, Frank De Boer, Eddie Howe, David Wagner, Alex Neil, Daniel Farke etc) sprout up as the next best thing only to come up short. So you can play the age card either way but there are coaches of all ages failing and succeeding.

Then we have the "We're not improving" argument. Towards the end of Marcelo Bielsa's first season at Leeds Utd there was a clamour among fans for him to be sacked. He'd been found out, he had no Plan B, his players couldn't maintain the intensity all season. Leeds didn't pull the trigger; he fine-tuned things and, a year later, they were promoted.

With regard to the defence, Klopp was hammered in his first years for his shambolic defence. It took time, it took investment, but that is long forgotten now. Mourinho just six months ago was reliant on one man – Kane. Guys like Ndombele, Bergwijn, and Sissoko were wastes of money who weren't performing. It took a little time but, all of a sudden, those accusations have fallen by the wayside. It's easy to find fault.

It's frustrating to be patient if you think a failure is inevitable. You don't want to wait another 18 or 24 months until you have to sack the guy anyway. If a change is needed, why not do it now? Well, we have tried that approach several times. We've said the managers are underperforming and we have "great players". But that approach hasn't seen us progress.

We've tried every type of manager there is. Young "Jose type", nice football, cup winner, old-school long ball, Dutch supremo, decorated champion. So, if we were to pull the plug on Carlo, we'd hire someone in the mould of the others who tried and failed.

So why not hold our breath, accept the limitations of the squad? Give him the time Klopp has had. Allow him to bring in some more quality and further develop players as he clearly has with Dominic Calvert-Lewin. In fact, I would say there is no player in the last 15 years who has obviously improved so quickly under the guidance of a manager.

"Well, it's down to Unsy and Fergie" some will say. Untrue. Ferguson clearly helped his aerial game but the goalscoring was the issue and Calvert-Lewin has clearly stated that Carlo has been instrumental in working with him on that. So let's give the fellow some time and see what else he can do.


Kieran Kinsella     Posted 30/11/2020 at

January Window

The recent bump in our season has prompted a lot of talk about improving the squad. Towards the end of the summer window, we looked well placed. Indeed we've shown repeatedly that our fully fit first 11 is excellent. Capable of great football and lots of goals.

But:

- The late departures of the never popular Walcott & Kean left us light on pace and cover on the wings and up front.

- Kenny doesn't look like he's going to grab the right-back slot from the still excellent but fragile Coleman (although Iwobi did well at right-wingback against Fulham)

- Even in a fully fit first 11, we still have room for a deeply uninspiring midfielder

- Despite having loads of centre-halves, the chemistry at centre-back is not quite right (although Keane has generally played very well)

- We probably still have goalkeeping issues, although Pickford has settled down in fairness and Olsen looks dependable

Where does this leave us? Well, in short, we're a work in progress but we seem to be able to cope at least when Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Rodriguez are fit. Take those three out, however, and (as Chinua Achebe once said) things fall apart.

So, if we do anything in January (and that's a big if), it will be to reinforce the attack.

This is vaguely supported by the rumours so far which include:

- Isco (Real Madrid)
- Luis Alberto (Lazio)
- Daniel James (Man Utd)

The former 2 would occupy a playmaker role, meaning we still have someone who is good at football in the side - even if Rodriguez is unfit. The latter can run fast, meaning we still have someone who can stretch the play if Richarlison is out.

One or two of these on loan would make a difference. Carlo seems to have scotched the Isco rumours and I can't believe Lazio would let Luis Alberto leave for anything but a huge fee - so probably not one for January.

What other options are there? Well, it's slim pickings in January. Basically, picking up people who have fallen out with their clubs or fallen out of favour or where there's genuine value. So not many options but some good ones include:

- Dennis Bouanga - heavily linked in Summer. Goal threat from the wings. One of those players that's looked ready for a step up for a couple of seasons now and needs the chance. He'd be one we could actually buy, maybe for about £15M.

- Thomas Lemar of Atletico Madrid. Talented but never quite looked right in Madrid. Linked in passing now and again. He might be available on loan with an option to buy.

- Milot Rashica of Werder Bremen. Nearly joined Villa after looking like, at times anyway, a young Eden Hazard in the Bundesliga. Not really got going this season. Could possibly pick him up for about £18M.

Unfortunately, some of the players who might have been a really good fit look very unlikely to leave their present clubs:

- Odegaard, now getting games at Real Madrid

- Lozano, now getting regular goals and assists for Napoli

As ever, Summer is a much better time to sort out our still dysfunctional squad. But, even if we get just one quality addition in January (probably on loan), then the goals scored and created might just be enough to sneak us into that extremely competitive 6th-place spot.

Robert  Tressell     Posted 26/11/2020 at

VAR and the Liverpool

VAR referee David Coote is being stood down from refereeing Liverpool's next game because he didn't advise the referee to give a red card to Jordan Pickford for that tackle on Virgil van Dijk.

This is a Kangaroo Court by a bunch of Rednecks and the VAR and newspapers go along and encourage it. What chance have we got for the rest of the season when all referees will be looking over their shoulders and probably wanting to get into their good books by punishing us at every turn?

I think Everton should make a formal complaint to the very top people. They cannot be dictated to by Liverpool because they don't like a decision made by VAR.


Gerry Killen     Posted 20/11/2020 at

Which Premier League Team has impressed you the most so far this season?

We are eight games into the season, and we have had five league leaders so far. This season could turn out to be one of the most evenly contested seasons in many a year. After a promising beginning, which now seems like a distant memory, we have slipped comfortably back to our familiar position in the mid-table.

However, I do believe that the lack of European games will work in our favour towards the end of the season. We need to get lucky with our injuries and, if Carlo and Marcel can pick one or two good signings in the winter transfer, we just might still make a fist of competing for the European places.

Two teams have hugely impressed me so far – Aston Villa and Southampton. They have had pretty consistent results and beaten some very good teams.

Aston Villa

Their present preferred starting XI is: Martinez, Cash, Konza, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Barkley, Grealish, Trezeguet, Watkins

After seven games, they presently sit sixth in the table with 15 points and a game in hand. If they win their game in hand, they go top of the league with a goal difference of >9. They have had some very impressive results – the 7-2 against Liverpool, the 3-0 and 1-0 (both away) at Arsenal and Leicester respectively.

In the seven games played so far, they have kept four clean sheets. One has to remember that they got lucky (technology malfunction) last season which disallowed a goal by Sheffield United and that 1 point helped them stay up.

However, in the summer, Dean Smith did some very astute business – keeping hold of Grealish and Douglas Luiz (whom I had strongly pitched for us to sign in the summer) and adding to the squad with some real quality – Martinez, Barkley, Cash, Watkins and Traore. Four of their signings are now first-team regulars – and, for me, their key signing was goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, whom Arsenal let go for £10 million. That was an unbelievable bit of business by Aston Villa and something that I wish we had done.

Now, I don’t expect Villa to go all the way to a Top 4 or Top 6 finish, and their squad beyond their starting XI is pretty limited, but I have been hugely impressed by them so far, and wish them well for the rest of the season.

Southampton

We have heard about that 9-0 result from last season so many times that we have become somewhat indifferent to it. But, I find it quite incredible what Hasenhuttl has achieved with that demoralized squad over the past year.

When they outplayed us last season after the lockdown, I had commented that I expect them to be in the Top 6 next (this) season, and so far, I haven’t seen anything yet to make me change my opinion.

Their preferred starting XI: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand, Armstrong, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Ings, Adams

As we can see, Southampton have no superstars; they did not spend big on transfers – as usual, they lost some of their key players like Hjøjberg, but still they come out and play a very consistent style of football irrespective of personnel. That is in stark contrast to Everton – if we lose one or two of our starting XI, we seem to fall apart.

Last game, they lost Danny Ings due to injury against Newcastle, but the much-maligned Theo Walcott slotted right in and played as though he had been part of the squad for many years. How do they do that and why do we struggle so much with players who come in with so much promise, but then fizzle out within half a season (of course, with some exceptions like Richarlison, Digne)?

Southampton are presently in 4th position, and were briefly on top of the league last Saturday. After the first two games, when they had bad results against Crystal Palace and Spurs, they have quickly regrouped and have been very impressive, albeit against lower than Top 6 teams – Burnley, West Brom, Everton (grin), Aston Villa, Newcastle United and a come-from-behind draw against Chelsea. It remains to be seen if they can get the results against the top teams in the league but, so far, they play a very high-energy, slick and forward-passing game. In Ward-Prowse, they have right now one of the best midfielders in the league, IMO.

Out of the two of them, right now, I would say Aston Villa edge it for me – just for the results they have achieved against some of the top teams. Other teams have also had some quietly good results – the likes of Crystal Palace, West Ham, Tottenham, Wolves, Leicester – by grinding out clean sheets and some boring 1-0 wins. Of the newcomers, Leeds have been exciting to watch and the two Manchester clubs have not really got going yet, but we all know the quality that they possess in their squads. And you can never write off Arsenal and Chelsea with the money they have spent on incoming players.

So, which team has impressed you the most so far?


Ajay Gopal     Posted 12/11/2020 at

Who made you go “Wow”?

Duncan Mackenzie... yeah, he did it for me.

He had everything that didn't matter. Did he protect the defence? No fucking way. Did he run himself into the ground? Nah.

He was a statement, that we signed who we liked. Him and Bruce Rioch — we wanted them... and we got them. Did he make us a better? No way! He made us (well, me anyway) feel good.

Gary Lineker was the last signing we made as a big club. Duncan was the last signing we made that had magic about it. He was just magic. Maybe not that good, but just special, a one-goal, Micky Walsh, John Fashinu, waste of money.

The last signing we ever made who did not have us fretting over the pennies. Our last Corinthian...

Who last made your heart sing?

Andy Crooks     Posted 05/11/2020 at

Concerns

I've been an Everton supporter from a lad and I'm 75 and I've seen some great teams over the years. I had a season ticket for well over 18 years till I moved from Liverpool to live in Newcastle 40 years ago. I'm very frustrated over the recent years with the following:

Our attacking approach is too slow and when we get into the opponents' area we always go backwards.

The biggest thing for me is the lack of urgency with in the players and I'm sorry to say this, the quality of some players is not good enough.

We've had a great start and hopefully when we get the players back to winning again but I hope I'm not witnessing the same old story promises promises. We now have a great manager so don't let him down.
Roger Dangerfield     Posted 02/11/2020 at

Mike Walker's 'What if' Moment

Everton came into the game against Norwich caught up in a relegation battle but hoping to build on a win last time out. In the absence of their injured "playmaker", a young English midfielder struggled to make an impression. He was criticized on the Toffeeweb match day review for having "too much hustle and not enough brain... he completely missed ~3 tackles."

The 30-year-old former Arsenal winger was described as "pointless". The young expensive striker signed in the summer failed to make the matchday squad while his replacement was described by some posters on ToffeeWeb as "crap." After the game, the board held a meeting to discuss the future of the manager.

No, I am not talking about last weekend and Gomes being injured, Tom struggling, Walcott doing nothing, Kean being omitted, and Tosun being crap. I am talking about November 1994 and Samways, Parkinson, Limpar, Amokachi, Ferguson… and above all — Mike Walker.

On that occasion, the board decided to sack the manager after the Norwich game. Walker claimed they fired him then as they were afraid that, if he won the upcoming Merseyside derby, he would be "bombproof". Here we are again, only this time the board seem to have decided not to drop a new permanent or interim manager into the hot seat ahead of the derby.

After 25 years of wondering, now we get to see the Mike Walker "what if?" scenario play out. What if Everton win the derby? Does it make Marco "bombproof"? And how long does that status last? I suspect the Mike Walker theory will be blown out of the water — as it would have been if he had stayed. I see no reason to think Everton will turn it around versus Leicester or in the derby. Nonetheless, I find myself praying for a miracle… unlikely as that may seem.


Kieran Kinsella     Posted 29/11/2019 at 15:01:07

Mike Dean

Forgive me if this has already come up in the various threads knocking about, but I heard on the radio the other day that the Premier League have announced Martin Atkinson is set to be the video assistant referee for next month's Merseyside derby. With Mike Dean set to take full command of the meeting between Liverpool and Everton.

Talksport couldn't see any problem with the renowned Tranmere fan taking charge.

Discuss.


Eddie Dunn     Posted 28/11/2019 at 18:52:52

Bad Luck or Bad Brands?

I think most of us thought Brands was a breath of fresh air at the time, what with him replacing Steve Walsh. And whoever took over from his role at Leicester seems to have done an okay job.

We’ve gone from a core set of players to ripping it all up to start again. That never works, never has. When Chelsea and Man City came into money, they were somewhat alone. They had a core to work with and gradually improved their squads. We have come into money and I'm sorry to say Moshiri should have a say but surely not the final say. Silva should never have got the job. He had zero credentials.

Anyway, Brands. Is it just bad luck this season? Look at his signings? Over £100M of them. Gbamin (injured), Gomes (injured), Delph (injured). Then we have Kean, who it’s unfair to judge given he is being asked to play with this mess. And Sidibe (quite an average player, a squad player if you will).

So that’s what £100M has got us. Some bad luck there, you can’t deny it. So far though, what a waste of money!
David Pearl     Posted 25/11/2019 at 19:03:02

The Sack Race

Following our incredibly bad defeat at home to Norwich, I must confess I lost any belief in Silva.

I’ve tried being positive about him with excuses that he inherited an unbalanced squad of players from three previous managers. I also think he had some really poor officialdom against him last season (Millwall, Liverpool, Arsenal, Wolves) and again this time round (Spurs, Brighton) but yesterday none of that mattered.

He fell into the trap of playing Morgan Schneiderlin, thus reducing any vitality or pace we could have in midfield. For me, it is a cardinal sin to play the proven crash-test dummy in this side against the bottom team at home. A midfield with Tom Davies and Iwobi or Sigurdsson playing just in front should have got us further up the pitch and overwhelmed them so the forward line could profit.

But then I read an intriguing article about the three Premier League managers under threat of being sacked. They were, unsurprisingly, Silva, Pellegrini and Emery. It brought some perspective.

One thing that struck me about this trio is that they all stubbornly stick to their way of playing, formation-wise. Then another: they have all been in charge of their respective clubs the same amount of time, all joining them in the summer of 2018. All three are in a difficult second season and struggling to get across their ideas to their players.

A parallel I can draw between Silva at Everton and both of them is that Pellegrini came to West Ham after seasons of unrest with Bilic and Moyes, similar to our own difficulties between 2016 and 2018. Meanwhile, Arsenal are adjusting to life without Wenger. Similarly, we have not been as stable nor as consistent as our long-term manager, the aforementioned Scot, departed.

It gave me some comfort as I realised that other clubs are just as dysfunctional as we are. Both the Gunners and the Hammers have spent a few quid recently and are not seeing the benefits. Like ourselves.

I’ve read fans on these pages call for Emery or Pellegrini to be our manager in the past but both are in the same peril as the far less experienced Silva.

This is not in support of Marco Silva. As I said, he deserves the sack for persevering with players who don’t deserve his trust. But, there are some players in this squad who are cowards who hide just like in East and North London and, ultimately, do their manager no favours.

If Marco Silva were to go in the coming week, I hope we don’t judge him too harshly. More experienced managers are capable of just the same mistakes and results.

But one thing I am clear about is that this squad must be cleansed of certain players who have been stealing a living for several seasons now. I won’t name them, I won’t have to. They just seem to feature during all of our dire runs of form, put in one half-decent returning performance when we’re back on it, and get undue credit.

These players must be sold on or their contracts bought out. I know that might sound expensive but, while they remain on the books, our chances of winning a trophy, packing out Goodison Park, or rising up the Premier League are unlikely.


Andrew James     Posted 25/11/2019 at 04:33:38

The oasis in the Everton desert that is Finch Farm

Just now various media reports state that even now our players still like Silva and his training methods and so, by simple extension, their own lives.

Now I've long realised that very, very many players these days pay attention to only their agents and none to the fans or even their managers or coaches. Once you've scaled the greasy ladder to a professional contract, especially one in the Premier League, you are, as a player, somewhat made for life as a minimum. In the meantime, and perhaps sadly to some people employed in football, our club, (repeat… “our” club, the fans' club), is deemed by many of us to be a necessity next only to food, drink and family.

Expecting enjoyable food, drink or family for decade after decade may admittedly be a bit weird but to be denied any of it for 25 years, as we Toffees have been in terms of enjoyable football, naturally forces consideration of what's going on where the Everton recipe is supposed to be refined and delivered, namely at Finch Farm.

We know that Mr Usmanov has devoted a certain amount of money into it. We know it's on the outskirts of Halewood… but, those two things aside, what else do we genuinely know about what goes on there?

Fans are completely in the dark as to who precisely does what on the management and coaching staff. There is no visible accountability from anyone except one hapless player paraded out to spout about nonsensical theories whenever we get beaten.

In my view, the place needs to be re-booted pretty much from top to bottom before we can expect anything remotely palatable as fans. Meanwhile, those actually passing through our oasis, drink their fill, as do the indigenous camels, and become fat, lazy and disinclined to ever leave – and why would they, I suppose?
Don Alexander     Posted 25/11/2019 at 00:23:22

We don't need a damaged coach

Most people on this site think that Marco Silva should be sacked and I hope and expect that he will be. I don't have a clue about who is available but I believe there is one essential criterion:

We must not appoint a coach who has seen a team relegated. Our last coach and our current one have form in this regard. It taints them, it damages their vision. It is like a boxer who gets knocked out. There will always be doubt and there will always be an element of fear.

Despite his qualities, which the admirable Steve Ferns has often highlighted, Marco Silva is damaged goods. He demonstrates this time after time with two defensive midfielders. He has fear in his soul. He is finished as a coach at top level.
The same applies to Moyes, Hughes, Benitez and Dyche.

We need someone who still has fire. Someone fearless, someone innovative. Something new.

We are in a crisis and the fact that some people go on and on and on about Kenwright does not mean they are wrong. Moshiri needs to sweep the club clean. Surely there us coach out there who is not tainted and fearful. We need to find him soon...
Andy Crooks     Posted 24/11/2019 at 14:19:11

Is Solari the man to save Everton?

The idea of David Moyes returning to Everton and repeating his aspiration to mediocrity - even for an interim period - fills me with dread and despair. He is just as likely to take us down and take us up the table. Everton need talented and inspirational leadership from a manager who wants to play attacking, attractive, protagonistic football. I believe that man is Santiago Solari.

Before anyone parrots the self-defeating “he’ll never come to the likes of us” mantra, Look at the facts. Solari wants to come to the Premier League. He has said so on a number of occasions. He is a young manager at 43 and still developing his coaching cred. He came through the coaching ranks at Real Madrid until he was pushed into the Big Job when he was probably a little too inexperienced. Still, he was successful for a time.

He is available right now. Nine months after being replaced by Zidane he took a job as club ambassador which means he needed some readies until a real job comes along. He even considered Celta Vigo so don’t tell me he won’t consider Everton.

I believe Santiago Solari could be a great match for Everton. He will bring aggression, innovation, determination and experience at developing young players.
Peter Fearon     Posted 24/11/2019 at 03:09:07

Don't Head the Ball

Those old enough to remember Jeff Astle, how do you feel now that yet another newspaper story is out about the effects of heading the ball?

Doctor studying dementia and football link urges clubs to introduce regular cognitive testing for players and to ban kids heading

Personally, and I grew up in the 80s and 90s (when we had decent footballs and not the ones Jeff Astle and Co used as kids), I was always sceptical about this stuff. I always thought it was driven from America where they are litigation crazy, and thought back to how the likes of Dixie Dean coped. The stories are getting more and more compelling and I find it impossible to dismiss them now.

What about you guys?


Steve Ferns     Posted 20/11/2019 at

You want us to what?

I want to discuss a rather thorny subject. I was going to do it last week, but emotions were a little raw and I thought it best to let things calm down a little. Not because I don't enjoy the virtual fisticuffs and banter, but because I am genuinely interested in cold-light-of-day opinion.

The question I want to ask is: Is it ever okay for an Evertonian to want Everton to lose?

During the Southampton game, I logged on to the Live Forum and read a post from a guy saying he wanted us to lose. He wasn't just sounding off. He meant it and supported his comment, by saying he believed it would hasten the departure of the current manager.

Some posters reacted angrily… but what really caught my attention was a couple of other posters actually agreed. The debate inevitably spilled over to the main forum and again we had a few posters voicing their support.

This is not a new argument to ToffeeWeb. I remember as far back as the semi-final against Manchester Utd when some posters were willing us to lose because an appearance in the FA Cup Final would almost certainly result in a stay of execution for Roberto Martinez. It's a debate that has surfaced briefly ever since.

I personally haven't rated any of our previous four managers. I really despised the fact that our great club was being managed by people who went against everything I hold sacred. Allardyce and Koeman drove me to distraction. I badly wanted them gone... but I could never bring myself to want us to lose. Was I wrong? Did I lack the courage of my convictions? Is there something in my DNA that makes me crave a win – no matter the cost?

Don't get me wrong: I understand the desire some express to see us lose. It's a simple, "short-term pain for long-term gain" philosophy. It's not something I can subscribe to, but I know only too well the inner conflict of wishing failure on a manager and chairman, whilst praying for success of the team they preside over.

I think it's fair to say that the overwhelming majority of Evertonians want our team to win every game – no matter what. We are quite simply programmed that way. We are prepared to put aside our dislike for the manager, coach or chairman and we pray for victory… but does that make us right?

Can defeat ever be for the "greater good"? Is wishing for defeat the cardinal sin? Is it a step too far? Is this where we draw the line? And, if there is a line to be drawn, who among us is qualified, authorised to decide where and when it should be drawn?


Darren Hind     Posted 18/11/2019 at 18:47:03

Steve Walsh — the genius?

Apparently, the much-maligned Steve Walsh had lined up transfers for Harry Maguire, Andy Robertson and current Champions League top-scorer, Erling Braut Håland, only to be shot down by the club.

Does this change any minds about Walsh's record at the Club? And is this just another example of why Everton always will disappoint? Failures to recognize an opportunity when it comes?

Or would all the three above-mentioned players have been on the scrapheap today if they had signed for us? We seem to do that more often than most clubs with promising players we buy. Here's the source at Goal.com:

Everton passed on £3m Haaland & £20m double deal for Maguire & Robertson – Walsh
Paul Olsen     Posted 18/11/2019 at 16:21:08

To Zlat or not to Zlat

A tongue in cheek reply to the Moise Kean post regarding what strikers are available to us presently for 30 million got me thinking

Obviously these days, unfortunately, 30 million in no way could buy us an established, as was mentioned, a 12-20 goal a season striker

We would have to take a punt on an upcoming potential such as Moise Kean or spend it on a mercenary nutter such as the great Zlatan

There is nobody than myself in favour of giving our youngster not only a chance, but our full support

Seeing DCL, Davies and Holgate step out each week is brilliant. I pray for the day they are joined by JJK, Gordon, Adrenien and our two great centre halves

However, short term, are we approaching this right?

Just now should we be looking to keep above water?

Just get through the next 12 months or so.

I jokingly mentioned Big Zlat but in the past we have seen the excitement half wits like Robinho have given City, Jurgen gave Spurs. Both having seen better days but both contributed with a big fillup and also importantly, goals.

So, short term, could a Zlatan help us out?


John Keating     Posted 17/11/2019 at 16:27:20

Our scouting

I've long wondered about the quality of our scouting, before and after (sadly) our acquisition of Marcel Brands.

For instance Liverpool spent £100,000,000 in signing Salah, Firmino and Mane. We spent the same in acquiring Tosun, Walcott, Kean and Bolasie.

Discuss please. I await enlightenment.


Don Alexander     Posted 17/11/2019 at 00:07:15

The Forgotten Kieran Dowell

Irrespective of whether you see Kieran Dowell as a long-term project at Everton, I am becoming increasingly alarmed at his lack of game time at Derby County. I checked his stats, currently standing at 7 appearances, of which 6 were in August!

Checking recently, Derby are using him as a non-participating substitute and it's not that Derby are tearing up the Championship. Has Philip Cocu decided that he is not his sort of player? He does not appear to be suffering from injuries.

So why is he there? Especially with demand for his loan services in the summer window. If he is not playing, get him back and make a decision on what he needs to be doing. Bench-warming is no good for this young lad!


Trevor Powell     Posted 10/11/2019 at 13:32:29

Will it always be game over at 1-0 down?

The Shocking injury to André Gomes prompted a few discussions about Everton with my colleagues at work this week.

One stat about Everton they seemed keen to discuss was the inability for the team under Marco Silva to overturn a goal deficit into a match-winning performance. They were quite shocked at this stat and acknowledged that, if a team scored first against us, then we are pretty much done and dusted and may as well get back on the team bus. They didn't realise we were "such a soft touch".

Two teams at the weekend, Man City and Liverpool, came back from a goal down to win at the death, also Liverpool again did it in the Carabao Cup to win on penalties. Then tonight we had Chelsea coming back from 4-1 down to draw 4-4.

Actually thinking about it, for the life of me I can't actually remember when our last big comeback win was… Have we ever had any significant comeback wins?

I’d be interested to know people's thoughts on why we currently seem incapable of digging in and fighting back yet other teams seem to be able to do it?


Daniel Johnson     Posted 05/11/2019 at 23:35:54

Is Jack Rodwell worth a punt?

Jack Rodwell is gainfully unemployed but good enough to have trials at Roma and Parma. He's a bluenose who can play central midfield and centre-half.

Okay, his record post-Everton is poor but, as a utility man on a 9-month deal to tide us over? We could do worse. He is no stranger to the Premier League or the club.

Brands hates January shopping and I doubt we will spend big money knowing the injury crisis will pass.

So... is Jack Rodwell worth a punt?
Kieran Kinsella     Posted 05/11/2019 at 01:30:30

Plenty of blame to go around after Gomes nightmare

I am absolutely outraged by the rush to try to absolve Son Heung-Min and Serge Aurier from any responsibility for the potentially career-ending injury to Andre Gomes.

First, the commentary team minimized Son’s intent and ignored Aurier’s role. Then Pochettino claimed the tackle was not a red card offense, and of course the likes of Jamie Carragher gave Son a high-five for the tackle.

The fact is that both Son and Aurier should have been sent off. There is no point claiming that there was no intent. Intent, “follows the bullet” meaning that, when you commit a reckless act, you are responsible for the consequences – even if you didn’t intend every detail of those consequences. You can’t fire a gun in a crowded street and claim you didn’t intend to hit a child.

The referee also bears some responsibility for what happened. If Son had been booked, as he should have been, for diving earlier in the game, he would never have felt free to make a tackle of that level of reckless irresponsibility. Atkinson was letting Spurs get away with murder throughout the match.

I am sure Son’s distress at seeing Gomes’s foot being kept on by his sock and a couple of muscle strands was authentic but that doesn’t mean he should be let off the hook. Can you imagine the outcry if an Everton player did that to one of the curly-haired darlings of the Premier League’s Favored Five? There wouldn’t be any “There was no intent to hurt anybody” then.

Neil Taylor got a two-match ban for his horrific tackle on Seamus Coleman’s leg – one for each break. If he had spat at the referee, he would have been banned for six matches. Players play too low a price for incidents like the one that has put Gomes on crutches for months to come.
Peter Fearon     Posted 04/11/2019 at 02:01:40

Is Richarlison 'Everton'?

After a game that failed to raise the pulses (until the sight of Andreé Gomes reeling in agony), one could be forgiven for thinking this game was another case of huffing and puffing, with no breath.

For me (and my father) watching in our local, our blood pressure was already pulsing throughout the game, at the sight of Richarlison, wincing in agony, like he'd broken his leg.

There is no doubt that Richalison offers an attacking threat. There is no doubt Richarlison is talented, and there is no doubt that I have walked away from a game, singing the song of the Brazilian, on several occasions.

However, the time has come for all of us to question, for all his productivity: is the constant diving worth it? Is Richarlison just a pain in the ass and is his petulance “Everton”?


Conor Skelly     Posted 03/11/2019 at 22:56:41

Loan Watch — #4

This article in The Guardian covered the range of on-loan Premier League players. The report in regards to our 14 boys elsewhere goes as such:

Everton

Ashley Williams, 34, Stoke: Williams has little future at Everton, but is a regular starter at Stoke and says he is “pleased with how it’s going”.

Henry Onyekuru, 21, Galatasaray: The Nigerian striker signed a 5-year contract in 2017 but does not have a work permit so must play abroad. He is a regular starter at Galatasaray, and has played in Nigeria’s last four games (though never for more than 9 minutes).

Nikola Vlasic, 21, CSKA Moscow: Still only 21, Vlasic has started every domestic and Champions League game for CSKA Moscow, won their player of the month award in September, and his fourth senior cap against England last week. Marco Silva says he could still have a future at Everton: “We will follow him and take that decision.”

Muhamed Besic, 26, Middlesbrough: The midfielder is in his second loan at Middlesbrough and, after an inconsistent start to the season, has become an important member of the team. “On his day he is as good as anything in this league,” says Tony Pulis.

Antonee Robinson, 21, Wigan: The Milton Keynes-born American left-back is having a fine season at Wigan, though he injured an ankle on international duty last week and is likely to be out for a month.

Callum Connolly, 21, Wigan: Connolly started 29 league games for Ipswich last season but is finding it harder to get game time at Wigan, where he has started five league games, and only two in the last two months.

Luke Garbutt, 25, Oxford United: It is nearly 3 years since Garbutt’s last first-team appearance for Everton. Last season’s loan at Wigan was only moderately successful and he is not excelling this season either, having not made it further than Oxford’s bench in their last seven league games.

Cuco Martina, 29, Stoke: Martina was a certain starter at right-back until injury intervened and gave 19-year-old Tom Edwards a chance to stake a claim for the spot. As a result of the youngster’s form, Martina has been on the bench for Stoke’s last two matches.

Yannick Bolasie, 29, Aston Villa: Bolasie’s comeback from long-term knee injury has been slow: he has only recently returned to full training and has been limited to substitute appearances – none of his 10 league appearances has lasted more than 28 minutes. He has declared himself fully fit for Sunday’s Birmingham derby, with Dean Smith saying he is “getting better and better”.

Shani Tarashaj, 23, Grasshoppers: Roberto Martínez predicted Tarashaj would “without a doubt have a great future” when he signed from Grasshoppers in 2016. He is now back there, where he has been sidelined by injury since August.

Kevin Mirallas, 31, Fiorentina: Mirallas has starred in just three league games for Fiorentina. The most recent, at home to Roma, saw him replaced after 53 minutes and just 13 touches. His stated desire is to sign a permanent deal in Florence: “This is the perfect club for me – like the city, beautiful and welcoming.”

Joe Williams, 21, Bolton: Williams has started all but Bolton’s first league match, and Phil Parkinson has described him as “a great all-round midfield player” who “is confident and good on the ball”. Silva has spoken of his admiration and a return to the first-team fold at Everton is not out of the question.

Sandro Ramírez, 23, Real Sociedad: Ramírez has concluded that “my characteristics are not compatible with English football” but they don’t appear to be massively compatible with the Real Sociedad first team either: he has started one league game, has often been shunted to the right wing when he has appeared and is yet to make a significant impact. He celebrates the first anniversary of his last first-team goal on Friday.

Matty Pennington, 24, Ipswich: The centre-back has been a resounding success at Ipswich, where he has stood out even when filling in at right-back, and was voted the club’s player of the month for September and October.


ToffeeWeb      Posted 21/11/2018 at 14:42:03

Adding A Lookman

Okay, so we’ve been hearing calls for Lookman to get a run in the starting line-up since... well, since the first game of the season really. Finally, I am in agreement. Sometimes he comes on for his 10 or 20 minutes and looks good and other times you can’t tell he’s actually come on. The only way, I conclude, that he can make his mark is to make a start. The game against Cardiff does look like the ideal opportunity. If Richarlison, Gomes and Sigurdsson do recover from knocks, I’m not so sure Silva will change anything but, if he does... then whose position should he take?

Most shouts are saying he should take the place of Walcott who does drift in and out of games. However, l think, if he does come in, it should be at the expense of Bernard. The reason for this is the full-back playing behind him. If he plays on the right, then I feel it would hinder Coleman getting forward and doing what he does best. We all love to see Seamus marauding down that right-hand side as opposed to his defensive duties. I feel it would then leave us very exposed having Lookman on that side. Therefore this ToffeeWeb expert would like him to come into Bernard’s place on the left, where he can benefit from a closer working relationship with Digne. I think the left-hand side as is has potential but hasn’t caught fire just yet. Digne is also more aware and capable of fulfilling his defensive duties. So there you go... if Lookman starts, I think it should be on the left.

Silva has made some great strides this season so far with the help of course from some astute Brands signings. So, as the season progresses, I'm sure certain players, young as they are, will hit form at different times. At the moment, we seem to have a settled line-up with a few players chomping at the bit for a chance. This is exactly what we should have if we want to both bed in new players and still keep room for a few players to develop during the season. That’s not saying I’d turn my nose up at a new striker... but what team wouldn’t?


David Pearl     Posted 13/11/2018 at 21:17:28

Another bleeding international break

I ain't one of those 'I ain't bothered about international football' fans, like most, I love the world cup, and the European Championships and usually get swept up in 'In-GER-LUND' mania like the best of us, and as such I agree that friendlies are necessary to try out new systems, players and the maintain a certain level consistency.

BUT blimey, is it just me or has this season had a ridiculous number of international breaks already? The next allotment of games will be the 5th and 6th England games of the season. That's 50% of the number of Premier League games up to now. If you stretched it over a season that'd be 18 games.

Surely at a time when a). Players already complain of fatigue b). Players had shorter pre-seasons due to the World Cup we should not have had such a large number of international games in such a short period.

Added to the fact that it is another break of momentum for our team, just as we were building up a good run.

Affff, I bleeding hate international football.


Fran Mitchell     Posted 13/11/2018 at 10:29:13

Is the Premier League getting boring?

I just read this on Facebook and it really got me thinking....

Is the Premier League getting boring. How much longer can it continue being about the "Big Six"? Is it about to bite its own bum?

The sooner they all fuck off to a 'Super League' the better. It's so one-sided now that even the City fans are bored. The 'atmosphere' was like a library. I'm sure the excitement of playing Liverpool, Barca etc every second week without the pressure of relegation will be tremendous!

I'm a Burnley fan and the sooner we are relegated the better - the Premier League is the equivalent of the English aristocracy versus the peasants, getting crumbs off the master's table and hoping we aren't given a thrashing every week for getting above our station. Football was once the game of the people now it's just another corporate business – whoever has the most money wins.


Tony Cheek      Posted 10/11/2018 at

Where are we now and what we need next

I had picked after the Man Utd game to assess, in my opinion, if we had progressed or not under the new regime. Although some of the results so far this season may not have gone the way we all hoped they would, the signs are very promising.

We were out-classed by Arsenal and Man Utd away last season, losing 4-0 and 5-1, and although we came away with zero points again this season, we could've and should've got something out of both games. The way Marco has the team set up and the style of football we are trying to play at least makes it a pleasure to go to the game again, unlike last season.

Being the expert that I am (Not!), it seems obvious to me that we are a 20-goal-a-season striker short of the top 6. All the new and loan signings look like they are capable of doing a job (Mina aside... due to not playing yet) and – most importantly – look like they want to be at the club.

Who would you like us to sign January or the summer that would give us the strike power to push on? Or maybe we should stick with Tosun and Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison up top?

For me, I would like to see Diego Costa in our team – a powerhouse player who would be able to hold the ball up and bring in the attacking talent that we have in midfield? Or would you take Lukaku back? Or are there younger better strikers out there?
Peter Rogers     Posted 02/11/2018 at 09:41:00

Our greatest ever goal

Quite simply folks some of the TV punters have acclaimed Wayne Rooney's third goal as just that, our greatest ever, and that may be the case.

What do you think though, and if you differ, what WAS the greatest ever in your opinion?

For me the screamer Sharpy scored against them over the park takes the biscuit.
Don Alexander     Posted 30/11/2017 at 23:55:02

No left back!

Everton's official Premier League Squad for the 2017-18 season as listed on the Premier League website is as follows:

25 Squad players (*=Home grown)

Baines, Leighton John*
Barkley, Ross*
Besic, Muhamed
Bolasie, Yannick*
Byrne, Sam John*
Coleman, Seamus
Funes Mori, Jose Ramiro Gueye,
Idrissa Gana
Jagielka, Philip Nikodem*
Jones, Gethin Wynne*
Keane, Michael Vincent*
Klaassen, Davy
Lennon, Aaron*
Martina, Rhu-Endly Aurelio Jean-Carlo
McCarthy, James*
Mirallas Y Castillo, Kevin Antonio Joel Gislain
Niasse, Baye Oumar
Pickford, Jordan Lee*
Ramirez Castillo, Sandro
Robles Blazquez, Joel
Rooney, Wayne Mark*
Schneiderlin, Morgan*
Sigurdsson, Gylfi Thor*
Stekelenburg, Maarten
Williams, Ashley Errol*

We need 8 Home Grown players. I count 13. Of the 25, I count 23 as players who have played in the first team. The other two are Sam Byrne (striker) and Gethin Jones (right back). Both are over 21 and so need to be registered to play.

Now reviewing the list, it seems to me that our left back options, stretching it as far as I can, are as follows: - Leighton Baines - Ramiro Funes Mori (injured for the season as confirmed before the window shut) - 'Cuco' Martina (nice real name by the way) - Jonjoe Kenny - Mason Holgate

Now Kenny and Holgate emerged as candidates recently, (Sunderland LC and Southampton respectively) and were surely not viable candidates when the list was submitted. Martina was as Koeman discussed his versatility.

The serious question is this, was it really wise to loan out Galloway? Or could Garbutt have been registered as a contingency plan ahead of Byrne or Jones? Especially Jones, given he's older and less likely to play than Kenny and effectively a dead spot on the list?

What the list also shows is that we have only two spots (Byrne's and Jones's) to play with in the window, and after that we will have to move on over-21 players to make room, or simply not register them and be unable to play them.

Koeman really did a number on us this season, and this is just one such example of his gross incompetence.


Steve Ferns     Posted 30/11/2017 at 01:36:58

Back to basics

Let’s start off on a nervy note - I think we made a huge mistake letting Koeman go... and if I were in charge, I’d try to get him back.

A big issue is that our fans have a huge say, which is a great thing, until we hit a rough patch. What we need is to keep clean sheets, be organized and build confidence. Tthe time for pleasing fans is not now, we do not need to entertain, we need to grind out games, we need to get players behind the ball and we need to not concede goals, no matter what.

In the same breath however; we cannot sit back for 90 minutes - the pressure will be too much. Therefore, we need to have an exit route, which means we need to have a striker with support up top. An isolated striker is pointless, we may as well not play with one.

Again, the fans are asking for width and pace... which is great when you’re doing well and in form... but we need to condense the midfield and make sure we aren’t vulnerable through the middle.

There is only one formation that we can play in my opinion.

4-3-1-2

Pickford Kenny Jagielka Keane Baines Idrissa Baningime Davies Sigurdsson Calvert-Lewin Niasse

Obvious a couple are injured/suspended - but you can see how much more solid this is, by having 3 in midfield and 2 up top. Also, when playing with 3 at the back, we seem so open, I’d much prefer a solid back 4. Another thing is that our fullbacks need to get back to basics - DEFENCE must be their first priority!

Pass and move is another thing we need to work on - there seems to be no movement at all by the players and this makes us easy to press.

When defenders are in doubt - kick the sh*t out of the ball. Kicking it out gives us time to reset. When we are in form then we can play out from the back. Now, we need to get the ball to Davies or Rooney (who ever plays in the free CM role) and let them distribute.

On a side note - playing three in midfield would suit Rooney - as I feel his only true position is one of the three in midfield. As this gives him a bit of freedom to do what he wants.

This formation also allows Sigurdsson to play in his natural position and run the show. While giving him options upfront to play through to - Niasse, Calvert-Lewin, Sandro, Bolasie (when he is back), Lookman - all willing runners who can cause problems.

We need to stick to the basics - have options in midfield so that we don’t have to pass backwards. Fullbacks sticking in their positions - as we have conceded a lot of goals when fullbacks bomb on. Playing two upfront also takes away the need for fullbacks to provide width. Defenders need to defend, not be play makers. Simple passes, let Rooney, Sigurdsson, Davies play the difficult pass.

Furthermore, getting back to the basics in terms of formation - this will allow Klaassen to show what he can do - similar to Rooney, I feel this is his natural position, one of the midfield three.

For the West Ham game - assuming Keane and Baines are injured - I would play:

Pickford Kenny Jagielka Williams Cuco Idrissa Baningime Rooney Sigurdsson Calvert-Lewin Sandro

Robles, Holgate, Besic, Schneiderlin, Davies, Vlasic, Lookman

For the Europa game:

Robles Lennon Holgate Williams Cuco Besic Schneiderlin Klaassen Vlasic Lookman Sandro

Hewelt, Feeney, Charsley, McCarthy, Lennon, Henen, Rooney

We are a much stronger team when our injured come back - Coleman, Barkley, Bolasie, Funes Mori, McCarthy and now Keane and Baines. Until then - we NEED to stick to the basics, get clean sheets and slowly build confidence.

Who ever our next manager is, that is what they need to do.


Gareth Clark     Posted 28/11/2017 at 09:26:18

Sending the wrong message

I know that Everton are currently in a difficult situtaion, the results are bad, morale seems worse and the whole picture looks very black... Surely then, this is all the more reason then NOT to appoint a someone like Allardyce?The club should be looking to send a positive signal, they should wait for the right manager, not a manager for right now.

They also (in my view) should steer clear of people who are happy to take money to advising others how to break the rules. That is not an image that were I would want associated with the club were I in charge.
Rupert Sullivan     Posted 28/11/2017 at 07:50:41

Crisis not Catastrophe. Keep Calm

May I sound a note of optimism amid all the gloom and doom? Contrary to many fans whose posts I have read I do not believe for one nanosecond that we will be relegated this season. So pervasive is the negativity that I read one post today that seemed to imply that we are going to be relegated from the Championship NEXT season. Bit soon for that, surely.

I would remind everybody that somewhere hidden in the chaos of the first team squad is a quality line up capable of driving up the table. Yes, this is a crisis, yes, our league position is humiliating and unacceptable. But look at where the problems began. The original error was trying to assimilate too many players too quickly into a squad that already had the makings of a successful team.

We should have signed three outfield players - yes one should have been a marquee striker - and taken the time to ease them into the team. Instead we tried to bring in too many players at the same time, disrupting both the existing squad and the already truncated preseason. no wonder the result has been chaos and disharmony and defeat.

What David Unsworth, or his successor, must do is choose a starting XI he believes in a give it the time to gel, not chop and change and assign blame. This starting line-up should include Rooney, Vlasic, Sigurdsson and Davies, and NOT Ashley Williams, Schneiderlin or Mirallas. Rooney must lead the team on the field - if only because he is probably the only one all of them respects. I believe Sandro will ultimately come good once this crisis has past and he has been given time to adjust. Klaassen, well the jury is still out. I don’t believe we have seen enough of him to judge.

Meanwhile, the talk of drifting to disaster and listing ships and free fall is only adding to the atmosphere of imminent catastrophe, which in turn is arming those misguided souls who think dishonest Sam Allardyce, who was prepared to sell his football soul for £400,000 is the right person to take Everton into the future. I don’t think so.

We are just as close to mid table as we are to the bottom. I have every confidence we will beat West Ham - a club with much more deep rooted troubles on Wednesday. There are many winnable games ahead. Keep Calm.


Peter Fearon     Posted 28/11/2017 at 03:24:44

State of mind

Is Michael Keane up for the fight or is he really injured?

Some might say he does not have the mental strength for a dog fight and can be a bit fragile when we need to show a spine.

I guess only time will tell so watch this space and let's see if Big Sam can put the wind up a few of them and lead us to safety should the rumours be true!
Simon Smith     Posted 27/11/2017 at 22:02:03

Take your pick

Whilst watching another embarrassing capitulation against a Southampton side who prior to playing us couldn't hit a barn door, I began to think about how awful our squad actually is. I started to consider which players other teams would covet. Forget the 'top 6' clubs, I mean the other 14 who we have to mix it with at present.

So, I considered a scenario based on the present season. Burnley and Watford are battling to take the position we usually battle for, i.e. the best of the rest/7th. So imagine it's January and Mr Moshiri picks up the phone to Burnley and Watford respectively and says "If you give me a nominal fee, you can take your pick from our current (fit) players to help you push for 7th". (I say fit players so as to exclude those who can't help our current slide towards relegation, i.e. Coleman, Barkley and Bolasie).

So who do Sean Dyche and Marco Silva pick, if anyone? I would suggest they maybe take Pickford and possibly Sigurdsson, knowing if he plays in the position he plays for Iceland he can influence a game. So that is Burnley and Watford, not Man City and Chelsea, who may take up to 2 of our players.

This then made me take my blue tinted spectacles off and realise that maybe this is why there isn't a glut of top class managers banging down our door to come and manage this once great club. Why go to a 'bigger' club, on a 'bigger' salary, only to have to manage a 'poorer' squad for more demanding fans.

So where do we go from here? Well it looks like either Martin O'Neill or a Allardyce/Pulis appointment. Who would have thought that just 4 months ago. Oh well, it's over to the board to review that awesome short-list of candidates, none of which will be met with enthusiasm by the fans, and take your pick.
Carl Taylor     Posted 26/11/2017 at 14:45:44

Now's the time for an inquest

We are in crisis and can’t decide how we manage our way out of it, either with in-house Unsworth, or a true-brit, tried and tested manager, Allardyce or Dyche, or splash the cash and get a true European tried and tested, Ancelotti or Tuchel or go outfield and bring up a true outsider – Nuno from Wolves.

Therefore can I suggest that Mr Moshiri takes some time out and carries out an inquest of how we’ve got into this state, to ensure we don’t get into another one. Those found responsible should be discarded completely before we appoint on next manager. Can I also suggest that the inquest is carried out with only himself Moshiri, and his fellow board appointee Alexander Ryazantesev, and with a completely independent, football wise bloke who’s done it all before, Huddink ?

They need to question the likes of Kenwright, Elstone, Walsh, Royle et al, who together with the departed Koeman were the men responsible for our present position. Some questions which need answering are:

  1. Why was Lukaku not replaced, what were options A,B,C and why did they all fail?
  2. Why did we not acquire a left sided defender, and have to rely on 3 defenders all in their early/mid 30’s and at the end of their careers?
  3. Why did we end up with effectively three No 10’s in the squad, who let Koeman pursue £45m Sigurdsson when we already had Klassen and Rooney?
  4. What roles did Kenwright and Walsh actually carry out in all the transfer activities?
  5. Who actually chose our acquired players?
  6. Why were Barry, Dowell, Connolly, Browning and Galloway all allowed to leave/loaned out for a season when we short on left-sided players?
  7. Who decided not to register Garbutt for PL and Niasse for Europa Cup?
  8. What actually is the role of Director of Football and does it work, particularly with possible British Managers being brought in and also with Kenwright taking lead role in transfer negotiations?
  9. What should our future football management organisation be in light of what’s happened in last 18 months?.

When the inquest has finished, and the ramifications sorted then look for our next manager. Have the decency the let the Everton fans know how it failed.
Mike Oates     Posted 26/11/2017 at 06:46:45

It’s the fans' fault this form

Blame Koeman. He probably played his part but it’s more the fans' fault.

People at the club keep calling us fantastic fans. I have to disagree.

I’m going to refer to us fans as “you” because I sing on my own most of the time.

You lot sit there and never sing. You wait for something to hopefully happen to get you excited.

I think it was with Moyesy we were last any good. With Martinez, we were okay with the School of Science chants but we actually lack the ability to even create a decent song for any player and come up with some of the worst stuff I’ve ever heard. Tim Cahill's song was a belter back in the day, wasn’t it?!

I know you fans are the difference, we can make or break this team this season and right now we’re not playing our part.

We can be fantastic fans but we’re more interested in chatting bubbles about something you read or heard, eating hot dogs, being sober doesn’t help and what’s all this clapping now and then at a pass? You’re a disgrace!!

Bournemouth had a better song for Rooney then us. Again we’re utter crap fans.

You are the reason we’re not playing well. The team are shite scared of us. If we sing, guaranteed you see an immediate difference in the players.

Step up, Blues, and sing for the whole game, no matter what.

If you don’t want to, then give your ticket to someone who will. The club no doubt would offer a part refund to you negative moaners. I'd rather see an empty seat than have a Negationian in amongst us.

Simple, when we’re singing at the tops of our voices, it’s absolutely the best feeling, the hairs on my neck standing on end. When the whole stadium are on their feet singing and we feel unbeatable and the team respond massively and go for it. 12th man an all that.

It’s a sad fact – Goodison Park is a library most of the game

Step up, Blues. Time for us to stop ruining our team's confidence and get our boys playing in a positive atmosphere.

Come on, you Blue Fans!!!
David Gill     Posted 24/11/2017 at 23:29:53

Our proactive board

Just over a month ago, our Board made the correct decision and sacked Ronald Koeman. No problem there. One assumed they had some idea of whom they wanted to succeed the highly paid Dutchman. Big names like Ancelotti and Tuchel were bandied around. Many fans expressed dismay that successful managers like Dyche and Wagner were being mentioned. Such men were too "small" for our great club.

A groundwell of opinion was pressing for one of our own, the estimable David Unsworth, to take over. Then the name of the legendary Big Sam was being bandied around. The Board stayed silent.

Now, well over a month later, few names are being mentioned. Unsworth appears to be as hapless as Koeman was with the squad he's inherited and still the Board stays silent.

Silva was apparently the Board's choice, but he's spoken for and if he is the Board's choice, they have to pay compensation or make an approach or do something. Their silence is deafening.

What is the Board's position? Who is their choice? Do they have a plan? Answers on a postcard to Goodison Park. All suggestions may be considered or they may not.What a way to run any organisation, never mind our beloved club.


Rick Tarleton     Posted 24/11/2017 at 16:30:19

My choice for new manager: Some feller

I think what's needed here is someone stating the bleeding obvious.

Any volunteers?

No...well, looks like it'll have to be me then.

So, as I say, some feller is definitely the man for me and I'll back him to the hilt.

Or...maybe I won't, depends how he does.

It’s a funny thing with managers, all we know for sure is that when it comes to picking the right man, we know fuck-all…for sure.

"Koeman's a great appointment...er...I mean shite!"

"Martinez is doing great...er...I mean Shite."

Supporters work themselves into a lather and turn themselves inside out over this feller or that, but re possible success/failure, they know next to nothing about what will happen (me included).

“He won the Jibrovian league six times!”

“Yeah but he got the sack from AK-47 and FC Borlbagg.”

Conclusion?

"Erm..well..."

There is simply no 'this plus that = the other.'

So re Everton, right now, the ‘evidence’ tells us the following..

Our 'what could happen next?' choices are very simple - we'll either pull ourselves out of the shite or sink further in.

Is there a manager who can guarantee the former?

No..but we (kind of) DO know the two things he'll need.

1) A bit of luck (good, obvs)

2) To be liked/respected by the squad*

And..that’s it really (well ok, of course there’s fitness and a plan etc, BUT if they hate his guts or think he’s a nob-head, they won’t listen so..).

Never forget the following..

Ranieri lost the Greece job after his side were beaten by a few gozzy-eyed inbreds who live on a rock in the North Atlantic.

Who’d want a hopeless loser like THAT as their manager..right?

His next job was manager of relegation candidates Leicester and…they won the fucking PL title.

Oh sure NOW people can rationalise it, but the only thing it should tell you is - I repeat - no one knows a fucking thing.

So right now, I don’t give a fuck about what our next manager has or hasn’t done.

What leagues/cups he's won, who he's managed or how many times he's been sacked.

I’ll take anyone who OUR players like/respect and/or who is thought of as lucky.

Oh actually there is ONE thing I know.

A couple of wins on the bounce vastly increases the confidence of ANY struggling side.

And that confidence means more confidence and maybe a few more wins and maybe less defeats and maybe a better league position and..

Well, you get the idea (I know, stating the obvious but sometimes it needs stating)

So right now, imo, we’re looking for anyone (ANYFUCKINGONE!) who can give us two wins on the bounce.

“Yeah but WHO?”

No idea, like I say, some feller (Joe Royle** would be my choice, but as I say, anyone the players will respond to).

“Is there anything you DO fucking know?”

Honestly, like you, not much for sure, but I don't think ALL the players we bought are "fucking shite!!" (nb: their past performances for other clubs tells me that) so would hope that the next person in can get them performing close to their best.

Oh and I know the next three games are very very VERY important.

Up the Toffees!

* Understand some would respond "FUCK THEM, THEY'RE ON 80K A FUCKING WEEK, THEY SHOULD..." but now isn't the time to be completely unrealistic. As frustrating/annoying as it is, if they're miserable, chances are we are too.

** How come Royle, a smart man (good psychologist) and a winning manager and player with Everton wasn't (seemingly) even considered for the role?


Eugene Ruane     Posted 24/11/2017 at 13:53:13

Tony Pulis for the Blues

It's time to get real. Pulis is available. Everton are in freefall. Film-star managers for Everton are not a possibility.

Unsy's time is over. If the board don't act now, we will become a football irrelevance.

Get Pulis now!
Harry Catterall     Posted 23/11/2017 at 23:21:56

Everton first XI with a twist...

Would this team beat our current eleven?

Ruddy; Mostafi, Duffy, Stones, Dier; Deulofeu, Barry, Fellaini, Cleverley; Lukaku, Naismith.

All the above are playing in the Championship or the Premier League (with the exception of Geri). Would these give our first eleven a run for their money? If Yes, then how do we find ourselves in a position that we have lost the above?


Nigel Gregson     Posted 19/11/2017 at 15:12:00

Vision and getting an edge

It is the time you take to look for options before you get the ball, even as it is travelling towards you that gives you the edge. Which of our current squad are most capable?http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11096/11119387/what-gave-xavi-hernandez-and-andrea-pirlo-an-edge-on-the-rest-the-secret-to-his-vision
Thomas Lennon     Posted 10/11/2017 at 12:56:33

A Song for Seamus

This is a suggestion for the poets and jesters who go to Goodison with chants and songs and odes to our great players. Seamus will (hopefully) be racing up the right wing in a few months, and I think a new song would show our appreciation. The song, Las Vegas in the Hills of Donegal, by Goats Don't Shave (I know, I know) has the chorus:

And if I could I'd build a wall around old Donegal
The north and south to keep them out, by God I'd build it tall
Casinos, chicken ranches, I'd legalize them all
We'd have our own Las Vegas, in the hills of Donegal
Yeah Las Vegas, in the hills of Donegal

I can guarantee that Seamus knows this song. :)

We can change it to this, or something similar:

Goodison jumps to it's feet, when Seamus gets the ball,
He's up and down the right wing, he's nearly 6 feet tall
He only cost us 60 grand, but we don't care at all
He's our Seamus Coleman, the man from Donegal,
SEAMUS Coleman, the man from Donegal

There's plenty of diddly-aye there too!

As I say, it's just a suggestion for those who make up songs or get songs going in the crowd. It's been going around in my head for years.


Dermot O'Brien     Posted 09/11/2017 at 13:04:41

What Big Sam’s appointment would say about the current state of Everton FC

Okay, he hasn’t signed on the dotted line yet but he’s going to so better get used to it.

What’s perhaps more interesting are the insights that Big Sam’s appointment gives as to the thinking of Kenwright and Moshiri. Truly progressive companies work along the sound principles of forward planning. They can see trends and they can gear their businesses to take advantage. Everton isn’t run along these lines. It veers from one crisis to another and the cycle shows no signs of breaking.

Consider the last two managerial appointments. Quite what Bill Kenwright saw in Roberto Martinez, beyond nice shoes, I will never understand. Martinez had just presided over Wigan’s relegation. The hallmark of that team was a dodgy defence, a problem that persisted through Martinez’s regime at Everton.

Then we had Ronald Koeman. I sit in a marketing office in London, with no obvious connections to football. Lo and behold, as Koeman was being appointed, I got an e mail forwarded to me by my Saints-supporting colleague which told me exactly how things had unravelled at Southampton. It entirely predicted what would happen at Everton – Koeman being deeply unpopular with players and fans as his arrogance shone through.

All of this suggests a business philosophy that doesn’t do due diligence and certainly has no forward plan.

And so, to the impending appointment of Big Sam. His USP, unique selling proposition, to Everton’s owners is that he has never presided over a relegation. This appointment backs up the contention that there is no forward plan whatsoever at Everton except to stay in the division. This is where the money is made and this is all the Everton owners care about.

Allardyce is 63. He’s not exactly the future of football. Looking ahead, Nil Satis nisi optimum has never made less sense. Everton’s real “mission statement” now should be “make do and mend” and hope it all sort of comes out okay.

Finally, I would apply the same thoughts to the new ground. Nothing the owners say or do gives me any comfort on the new ground and I think their short-termism and mistakes on manager selection equally applies to the supposed new ground.

So, what does the future hold? Staying in the division. That’s all.

Sam will deliver that but don’t expect any plan beyond the end of this season.


Jonathan Tasker     Posted 07/11/2017 at 07:55:05

Best formation and going forward

I have been saying for a long time, that we need to tighten up our defence and build confidence through defensive solidity.

However, there is no point doing this, and then having absolutely nothing going for us up front... because, as we have seen, the pressure will eventually get to us and we will concede.

This mean that we simply HAVE TO play two up front and three in midfield.

If would therefore 4-3-1-2

Pickford
Kenny Keane Jagielka Baines
Idrissa Baningime Rooney
Sigurdsson
Calvert-Lewin Niasse

Robles, Williams, Holgate, Davies, Vlasic, Lennon, Lookman

With Schneiderlin being off his best and with the apparent lack of effort I’d leave him out for now (however I am more than confident that he will fix his wrongs and get back to the right attitude). I would play McCarthy (if fit) as the CDM in the midfield three. If McCarthy is not fit, I’d go with either Baningime or Besic in at CDM. With Rooney and Idrissa having a slightly more free role, and allowing Rooney to control the game from midfield.

This formation allows us to have enough in midfield to keep out the goals, while Niasse and Calvert-Lewin offer more than enough pace and width upfront - further more, it means they are not isolated. As seen in the Watford game, and many other games, when we have switched to 2 up front.

Sigurdsson would also thrive in this formation.

It would also then be easy to switch to a 4-2-3-1 later on to add width with Lookman, Vlasic or Lennon.

Europa League:

Moving onto the near future we have 2 Europa games left, and with our exit from the competition confirmed, I would use it as a platform to build team confidence and give players who have not played the opportunity to prove themselves and put pressure on the usual starters.

I would also play our new players from Europe (Sandro, Klaassen, Vlasic) as they have experience in Europe and also they need a chance.

Robles
Holgate Feeney Williams Cuco
Besic Schneiderlin Klaassen
Vlasic Sandro Lookman

Stekelenburg, Keane, Kenny, Baninime, Davies, Lennon, Henen

Or something similar...

Further into the future:

Looking at when our injured players come back.

We have a very exciting time ahead of us - the return of Bolasie, Coleman, Barkley and Funes Mori...

The difference these players will make is difficult to explain... we have missed Bolasie and Coleman’s passion and energy so much, Barkley’s ability and Funes Mori’s pace and left foot. As well as the inclusion of Garbutt in January!

With a full strength team, we have a very very strong squad:

GK: Pickford / Robles / Stekelenburg
RB: Coleman / Kenny / Cuco
RCB: Keane / Holgate / Jagielka
LCB: Funes Mori / Williams / Feeney
LB: Baines / Garbutt
RCM: Idrissa / Besic
CDM: Schneiderlin / McCarthy / Baningime
LCM: Rooney / Davies / Klaassen
CAM: Sigurdsson / Barkley
RW: Bolasie / Lookman / Lennon
LW: Sandro / Vlasic / Mirallas
ST: Calvert-Lewin / Niasse

Next Season:

I think people often get too focused on the here and now (which is important, of course) - but we also need to look at the big picture.

We have a strong squad, and a good blend of experience, youth and players in their prime. Yes we are missing a few players - a striker, a left back and a CB. However, next season we have a lot of on loan players coming back.

Most exciting is our winger/striker Onyekuru, who is thriving once again. Then there is Dowell who is proving himself and learning a lot in the championship, which is a big step for him.

And then there are others, such as Robinson (LB), Galloway (LCB/LB), Browning (RCB/RB), Walsh (CM), Williams (CM), Pennington (CB) to name a few off the top of my head...

We need to build, therefore I don’t think we should sell anyone (especially those just bought in this summer - give them a season and a bit to adapt and prove themselves).

I might let the likes of Cuco, Mirallas, Stekelenburg go, but I’d like to keep the others.

Onwards and upwards, Blues... this was always going to be a tough season, with so much change. But we need to back our boys and our team. Patients and full support.

COYB.


Gareth Clark     Posted 06/11/2017 at 11:50:02

Trademark Tim again

In the Australian equivalent to the FA Cup final FFA Cup final Tim Cahill scored the winner.

This local report says it all.

"Franjic’s perfect delivery provided the platform, and Cahill rose in his indomitable style, freeing himself of marker Matt Jurman to head past Danny Vukovic."
Dick Fearon     Posted 30/11/2016 at 13:38:16

Verdao – The Big Green

If I may, I would like to take a 'time out' and write a little about the tragedy the world woke up to yesterday, the plane crash carrying Brazilian football team Chapecoense to Columbia.

The tale has a tenuous Everton connection also.

Chape, or 'Verdao' — 'The Big Green' as they are affectionately known by their fans (reference to their green shirts) is a remarkable story.

Formed only in 1973 in (for Brazil) the small city of Chapeco (pop. 200,000) in the small state of Santa Catarina, the club's rise has been a remarkable one.

Far removed and isolated from the financial centres of Sao Paulo and Rio, and starting life in effectively the 5th tier of Brazilian football - playing in the Santo Catarina state league, rather than the national leagues.

Typical of a small provisional club, they bounced around the national leagues - Serie B, C and D until finally arriving in the top tier in 2014.

Until now, their only triumphs have been winning the Santa Catarina state championship — the equivalent, if you like, of Everton competing for and winning the Lancashire Senior Cup.

So nobody was expecting much from them this season when they sneaked into the equivalent of South America's Europa League, Copa Sudamerica.

They defied all logic and in the early hours of yesterday morning, they were flying to Columbia to compete in the 1st leg of the two-game final. It is the equivalent of — say, Scunthorpe — achieving the same in English and European football.

Now 'o Verdao' share a very special relationship with their fans. There is tremendous civic pride in what the club has achieved in their short history.

Cruelly, without this week’s tragedy, they wouldn't even have hosted the second leg of the final in their own stadium, with its 22,000 capacity whereas the continental federation says such big profile games must be played in stadiums with a minimum of 40,000 capacity.

What should be the greatest week in the club's history — possibly the city's history — has plunged not only Chapeco into mourning, but the whole of Brazil.

As recently as Sunday, ahead of Wednesday's scheduled 1st leg, they played a vital penultimate game of the season in Serie A against Brazil's most successful club Palmeiras, away in Sao Paulo. Palmeiras need to win to ensure the title. Many expected Chape to rest key players and not put in much effort ahead of Wednesday's final.

Not at all. They played a full strength side, performed with integrity and were only beaten by an exceptionally worked free kick.

The whole of Brazil was rooting for them in their final. And now this.

And the Everton link I mentioned? Brazilian TV is reporting that just 3 weeks ago the Bolivian chartered plane they were flying on carried the Argentinian national team, including Messi and, of course, our own Funes Mori.

There but for the grace of God, 'n all that.

So heartbreaking for the families, the club, the fans, the city.


Jay Wood     Posted 30/11/2016 at 12:07:20

The long and painful road

The question we have to ask ourselves is: What is causing this collapse in form? In my opinion, it is as bad as Roberto Martinez’s last 6 months with us, if not worse. At least he had a plan, but it wasn’t working... whereas I fail to see what Ronald Koeman’s plan is at the present time.

Is the collapse due to:

  • A temporary loss of form?
  • A tactical gameplan they can’t play to, for whatever reason?
  • Certain players are past it and are being found out?
  • Certain players know they don’t fit and are out in 3-9 months and have thrown their towel in?
  • We’ve hired a dud manager?
  • Or a deep unrest in the squad themselves, either by players to other players or an overall hatred of Koeman?

Like most problems, it’s probably not down to just one item, unless you firmly believe the “We’ve hired a dud manager” excuse above. If that truly is the cause then we are well and truly buggered as there is no way at all that Farhad Moshiri and Co will put their hands up and admit it and do the necessary act and sack him. Koeman is around for at least 2 seasons, to allow him the time to try and turn us into a Champions League team. The worst thing that can happen is the crowd turns on him, which in Moshiri’s eyes he could see as an act against himself and he could bugger off, taking his billions with him and bang goes everything we dream of.

I personally think Koeman can be a good manager. I’m not saying top class as he just hasn’t done enough elsewhere to demonstrate that he can compete with the top brass of Guardiola, Conte, Klopp (has to be said), and a Mourinho from 4-5 years back. He showed that he is capable of getting a team onto the fringes of Europe and playing attractive football to boot.

I think the problem we are facing is that he has inherited an ageing team, a lazy team, a team completely incapable of playing the game at the intensity he wants and seems to be the vogue at the moment. Players like Jagielka, Baines, Barry, and Williams can’t press, close down, and haven’t got the pace required in today’s game. Players like Barkley, Lukaku, and Deulofeu just won’t press, wont work at the rate Koeman requires from his forwards. The permanent crocs of Gibson, Besic, and McCarthy will be given short thrift and will be on their way as soon as possible.

We basically have left just Gana and Coleman who have the energy to put the shift in Koeman wants, and Bolasie who has the energy and strength but for some reason seems to be in a world of his own, we just don’t know which one we will see. I also firmly believe there is unrest between players, mainly targeted against Lukaku for his total lack of spirit, fight, movement, but Lukaku is our £60m major asset, a proven goalscorer, and will be shielded by Koeman and won’t be dropped.

I believe Koeman now fully realises that he faces at least another 2 or 3 if not 4 transfer windows to radically change the players for those he knows or believes can play to his instructions. It’s a major clearout, not an additional 3-4 players. The major issue he will face is that today’s quality players want European football now, not hopefully promised in 3 years, not a maybe but now. The one downside I see to Koeman is that he wants experience, he wants physically strong players and therefore he just won’t experiment and give youth a chance. I can tell you now that the youth players – Walsh, Dowell – won’t come near the first team and we might see the likes of Davies, and Browning sometime on the bench.

It’s going to be a long and painful ride and I’m not sure the Goodison faithful will put up with it easily. Koeman and Moshiri will need to get used to the crescendo of boos ringing around the ground.


Mike Oates     Posted 29/11/2016 at 10:01:29

The Next Game

The next game of the season is home to Man U and what a huge one it will be. A win could see the Blues stop the slide and go into sixth, which is amazing considering the dross of the last few weeks.

Depending on results of the teams in the three places below, we could be sat in ninth come Sunday evening. WBA v Watford means a drop to tenth is not possible this weekend.

The first quality performance of the season is needed from our team of 'pros'. I am trying to think of the last time we actually saw the players put in a shift worthy of the shirt in terms of passion and skill that left the fans applauding. Maybe someone can remind me when that was?

I doubt any fellow Blues are confident of a result. The pain continues...
Gary Russell     Posted 29/11/2016 at 01:34:01

Scouseless Everton

The 83rd minute of the Southampton game was a sad one for me. After Leighton Baines was substituted, we had an Everton team on the pitch without one player from Merseyside.

Has that happened before? Probably. I don't know... but I would love to know. If the answer is Yes, how often in modern times?

Does it matter? I think it does.

Even in these mega-money days, I think a club should have some local players if it wants to be considered part of the local fabric, as a standard bearer for the area in which it is based.

It also helps many of the supporters, the lifeblood of the club, identify better with the team that they cheer on and encourage.

I also think a team that includes Merseysiders is likely to have more spark and fight in it.

Unfortunately, as our desire for progress and success intensifies, there is also greater pressure on local lads who do make it into the first team. I believe it is tougher for them than it was for local players a decade or two ago.

Some may mention other clubs. Okay, but I'm not interested in them.

Everton without Merseysiders? It's a contradiction in terms.


Mike Owen     Posted 27/11/2016 at 21:13:35

Jonathan Cafu

Hi guys, I haven't been active for the last couple of years on ToffeeWeb but I have a nice story for you and it's not a Football Manager rumour either.

Everton have submitted an inquiry about Jonathan Cafu — he is a 25-year-old pacy right winger, very tricky with an eye for the goal. He can score goals, provide assists and is a constant torment against any defense. Furthermore he is willing to take on defenders and is very direct; but the downside as with every Brazilian is his work rate.

He plays for the Bulgarian champion Ludogorets Razgrad and this season he is impressing in the Champions League. He is rated around €10M by Ludogorets and will be available in the winter transfer window if they are out of both the Champions League and Europa League.

In the compulsory YouTube compilation from this season's Champions League are his goals against Red Star Belgrade and Basel. Against Arsenal, he scored the first (from a set-piece) and provided the assist for the second when he left the Arsenal defender for dead.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIbl8Nc5QIk

Personally I think he will be a bit of a gamble at this price but at the same time he was decent against Arsenal and PSG in Champions League and he definitely won't be worse than Bolasie or Lennon. Lazio and Leicester also have submitted inquires for him but my sources are claiming that Everton are considering a firm offer.
Stefan Tosev     Posted 26/11/2016 at

Thunderbolt and Shitefoot

"There are no great strikers out there now because there are no great strike partnerships."
Dennis Bergkamp

"You have to run the channels, hold the ball up, bring team-mates into play. When the ball goes wide you get into the box, in a good position. The most important thing is holding the ball up, though, because if you can’t do that, it brings pressure on the team."
Wayne Rooney on playing as a lone striker

"The post-apocalypse often makes for strange bedfellows, and you can’t always choose who you team up with after the end of civilization. But Don Johnson’s bond with his telepathic dog is one of the strangest buddy relationships we’ve ever seen."
Review of A Boy and His Dog (1975)


Having just read the thread about Idrissa Gueye looking to notch his first for the club, I was struck by the comments regarding this current crop's lack of goalscoring potency. There seemed to be general agreement that if you stop Lukaku scoring then you're almost all the way there to stopping Everton.

Solutions and reasons? They included 'defensive midfielders should be doing more to get on the score sheet', 'central defenders and full backs aren't pulling their weight when it comes to putting the ball in the net' and 'Yannick Bolasie has a shitter shot on him than Yosemite Sam and should sort it out. Right now'.

Well, back in the days when any self-respecting manager referred to as 'Big Ron' would have been rocking around wearing a skinned wolverine for a winter coat or brazenly tanning his testes with a Breville toastie maker whilst sat on the Man Utd bench, the simple answer would have been to sign another striker and whack him upfront with your main man.

Outdated, old fashioned? Fuck it. I'll take obvious over obdurate when something's clearly not working out.

We play with a lone striker and two holding midfielders every single week. It's an overly defensive way of setting up a side and we've stubbornly persisted with it for almost three and a half seasons, under two different managers, despite it only ever producing decent results in the first six to seven months. It's like Joe Pesci continually playing up his psychotic mob midget schtick just because it worked once in Goodfellas, gradually becoming an ineffective caricature of himself in Casino before making a complete cock of himself with 'Wiseguy' (although, to be fair to Joe, 'Wiseguy' will for evermore be played at least once a week in my house).

With one up front you really need two wide men willing to work their nuts off, cut in and offer support at every opportunity and have a pop at goal themselves, or an attacking midfielder (aá la Tim Cahill) capable of running beyond your striker and arriving in the box at the right time. I don't see players with those characteristics anywhere in our squad.

To make matters worse, we have those two defensive midfielders previously mentioned winning or collecting the ball in their own half, but then looking to release it the moment they breach the safety barrier of the half-way line. This results in Ross dropping deeper to pick up the ball in return, leaving Lukaku utterly isolated and struggling to hold things up.

We end up with aimless possession, going sideways and backwards with nobody ever looking to break beyond the striker. It bores the living daylights out of me and has done for ages.

That's before you even get to Lukaku and the fact that, despite his goalscoring record, he doesn't comfortably fit the profile of what you would look for in the ideal lone centre-forward.

A striker who is comfortable with his back to goal, whose hold up play is a strength rather than a hindrance, can retain the ball and allow runners from midfield to transition to attack. To make it work, a striker needs not only physical strength, but also the willingness to use it and a decent first touch that doesn't act as a fucking deflector shield half the time.

Whilst Lukaku has shown some improvement in that regard, his bang on impression of big friendly soft bastard Baloo bobbing about on the spot during his 'Bear Necessities' bit as the ball bounces off and away from him, still causes way too many moves to break down before they've even begun. 

The second type of striker capable of making a lone role work for the team would be one whose speed and movement constantly stretches a defence, opens up the pitch and makes space for onrushing midfielders to move into and exploit. It's no good making a run now and again, when you can be arsed, or making the exact same run every time. You need to be at it consistently and mixing up your movement to make life uncomfortable for defenders. Check back, burst forward, spin off the shoulder of the last defender, make a diagonal run toward the corner. Don't just trudge back and forth in an area the size of sixteen slices of toast laid flat that you've seen fit to christen fucking 'Lumania'.

Thus far it might seem like 'have a pop at Lukaku' time, but that really isn't the intention. We all know he's an extremely talented player and the team's one reliable source of goals. Rather, the point I'm trying to make is that playing him as a lone striker in this particular team... a team set up with two 'stoppers' in midfield... may (ultimately) be counter-productive as, while he may continue to score his fair share, it conversely prohibits the rest of our players from functioning properly as an attacking unit. 

If Lukaku lacks some of the tools you would look for in a lone striker,  but Everton seriously lack goals without him, then what is the answer? It's obviously not to replace him and you can't just replace everybody else en masse (despite what some seem to think).

For me, you first remove the needlessly negative hand brake of a second holding midfielder and instead select someone to play alongside him as a strike partner. Obviously, that is going to necessitate a dip into the transfer market in January but I'd happily swallow the bullet even before then. 

Now, some might say "Oy nob'ead, our other striking options are utter shite and it would be sheer stupidity to start with any of them". Ok, but the same people probably said Clint Eastwood was off his head when he chose to hang out with an Orangutan called Clyde and look how that shit turned out. The best 'bare knuckle boxing meets latently gay biker gang meets monkey guzzling lager and giving Granny the middle finger whilst making loud fart noises with his mouth' movie you're ever likely to see (if you haven't seen the sequel or... err.. watched Sons Of Anarchy). 

It could be Mirallas, it could be Valencia, it could be Calvert-Lewin. It won't be Niasse. Doesn't much matter to me at this point. Just the presence of a second striker on the pitch (particularly at home) would signal a more positive, attacking  mind-set and could help ease some of the problems Koeman currently faces.

He's mentioned (by 'mentioned' I mean never stopped banging on about) his team pressing from the front and wanting his attacking players to work harder at it. Well, again, whether by reason of physical or mental make up, it's not something Lukaku is ideally suited to. Two strikers pushed right up to occupy the opposition centre-halves could provide an instant short cut to achieving this stated aim. The problem posed by two strikers requires both central defenders to mark their man rather than one remaining free to bring the ball out at will. 

In addition, it doubles your midfielders options for an out ball, increases your chances of launching a swift counter-attack, means an extra body in or around the box when a cross comes in, and having someone always in relatively close proximity would help cut down on the amount of thankless/unsuccessful hold-up play Lukaku is required to get through in a game.

As for being outnumbered in midfield or losing the battle for possession as a result? Well, having seen him play prior to moving to Aston Villa and nothing he's produced in an Everton shirt since signing convincing me otherwise, I'd say Gueye has the necessary energy and nuisance factor to get about the opposition and negate the loss of a second defensive midfielder. Not like he would now be expected to do double the work as 'breaking things up' never really merited being a two man job to begin with. 

Martinez's time in charge hammered home the fact that possession in the middle of the pitch, without a cutting edge, counts for nothing and Koeman himself doesn't seem to put too much emphasis on it. In fact, if anyone can fathom Koeman's preferred style of play from what we've seen so far, I'd love them to enlighten me.

To me, it's amounted to little more than make an effort to win the ball back and launch it forward. If that's going to be the case then at least add an extra body up front to aim at.

The only way his side has seemed to think it can achieve a breakthrough is by getting it out wide and slinging a hopeful cross in toward a single blue shirt in the box. If that's going to be the case then at least double up in there and have two looking to get on the end of it.

What have we got to lose? (apart from games, smart arse).


John Daley     Posted 24/11/2016 at 03:15:05

A General Feeling

I want to keep this as upbeat as possible, as my previous posts on other articles have (on reflection) been down-beat and negative.

The arrival of Koeman, to me, was neither excitable nor ponderous – it was met with a feeling more akin to relief than anything else.

At the time, my head said Koeman as he'd be able to attract a higher standard of player to the club. My heart said Unsworth, who I believe loves the club and displays a passion which garners professional respect. However, I like Koeman. He's an honest (to a point) manager. I'd suggest his honesty does not stretch to his own shortcomings, not in public at least.

The downside to Koeman, as recent articles have pointed out, is his stand-offishness. Not a major downside and one I could ordinarily live with. Still it is a huge difference to Unsworth's passion.

However, when you couple Koeman's stand-offishness (yep, I've used this non-word twice now) with diversive attitudes from some of the players that they either do not want to be here, are too good to be here, or they cannot believe their luck to be here – it has created a general feeling of disconnectivity.

I feel disconnected from the club, players and management.

There are plenty of things to be positive about including the prospect of a new stadium, investment in players (maybe without actually selling someone first) EitC and possibly new commercial deals.

I just cannot shake this general feeling.

During pre-season, I wrote an article about player transfers and was shouted down about letting a mass of players go. I understood the view that mass wholesale changes rarely work out, but I still stand by what I said then... this club needs to get players who can connect with the fans, who don't believe they are doing us a favour by putting the shirt on, and who are actually not scared of winning. This rules out the majority of our current players.

And for God's sake, play Tom Davies more!


Winston Williamson     Posted 22/11/2016 at 14:04:20

The best goal at Goodison?

I have seen some cracking goals over the years at Goodison Park. Memorable ones to me are those scored by Wally Fielding, Joe Harris (a header from outside the penalty area in one of his dozen or so games for the club), Fred Pickering, Duncan McKenzie, Graham Sharp, Andy King, Trevor Steven, Duncan Ferguson, Tim Cahill, Romelu Lukaku (via television). The list is endless and, of course, everyone has and is entitled to his own opinion.

However, my most memorable goal at Goodison Park was one scored by the opposition in the early 1960s. It was in a match against Burnley. The incomparable Jimmy McIlroy took the ball out of defence at the Gwladys Street end and started down the field. He passed it to Ray Pointer who, in turn, passed it back while still going forward. They went the whole length of the field just passing the ball to each other before Pointer pushed it past (I think) Albert Dunlop into the net.

The Goodison crowd was stunned into silence and then suddenly burst into a round of well-deserved applause. I have never seen the like and remember the play as though it were yesterday. It is a fitting tribute to Ray Pointer who died earlier this year.

What is your memory of the best goal at Goodison Park?
David Peate     Posted 21/11/2016 at 14:01:02

How realistic are Everton’s chances of finishing in the top six?

There was a time when Everton were regularly knocking on the door of the top 4. During David Moyes’s 11 year tenure at the Toffee’s he would often be finishing above their Merseyside rivals, losing his biggest players to the top 4 clubs, and many believed that if Everton had money they’d be a serious threat to the title. Few would have imagined that Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement from Manchester United would have such a knock-on affect for Everton when they also lost their manager. The appointment of Roberto Martinez seemed like an intelligent one, especially as Martinez had recently won the FA Cup as Wigan manager.

Life Under Martinez

Martinez’s first season was very impressive overall and included a seven match winning streak towards the end of the season that included making victims out of Arsenal. They also defeated Manchester United, causing former manager David Moyes to lose his job, and finished 5th in the Premier League. The following seasons weren’t as impressive with two 11th-place finishes in the next two seasons, and Martinez was eventually sacked with a game to spare.

Enter Koeman

Dutchman Ronald Koeman is the latest to be handed the keys to Goodison Park, and has made a promising start to life in the North West. There was a number of shrewd business decisions made at the start of the season, with the sale of John Stones to Manchester City for £47½ million funded the acquisitions of Ashley Williams (a natural replacement for Stones with more experience), Yannick Bolasie and Idrissa Gueye, with cash to spare. Fellow Dutchman, and experience goalkeeper, Maarten Stekelenburg was brought in to replace Tim Howard as first choice between the sticks. This was hardly a surprising move as Koeman had previously taken Stekelenburg on loan when he was Southampton manager too.

The Season So Far

Early results have gone Koeman’s way as he went unbeaten for five games, picking up four consecutive wins. They also unexpectedly scored first at the Etihad, holding City to a 1-1 draw. They’ve only lost two games in league from ten games, putting them at a very respectable 6th place, which is much better than where they were positioned at this stage last season. Koeman’s side face a stern test this weekend when they make an away trip to Stamford Bridge, where after a shaky start, Antonio Conte has his new Chelsea side performing very well. 888sport currently list Everton as the underdogs, but it wouldn’t be the first time Everton have beat the odds and knocked off a giant.

Future Fixtures

The festive fixtures usually go a long way to dictating the final Premier league standings, and Everton face a number of sticky fixtures over the Christmas period that includes back to back matches against Arsenal and Liverpool. The return game against City awaits in January, but after that there are no seriously challenging fixtures in close succession. Potential transfer business in January could also go a long way for the Toffees, but under Ronald Koeman, things look very promising.


Gary McCarty     Posted 17/11/2016 at

The Singing Winger

He had appeared on television (presumably in a recorded programme) on the Friday evening before the match on Saturday. The Goodison crowd had no idea that he was a singer but they did after his television debut. Of course, it had to be Goodison where his next footballing appearance was.

As soon as the left-winger ran out with his Sheffield United team mates, the leg-pullers in the Everton crowd were onto him like a flash. This was some time in the late 1950s. The singing footballer was Colin Grainger. He took the Goodison stick with apparent good humour. Grainger filled in the vacant summer months by entertaining and he made a career of singing when his footballing career ended. I don’t think that he will ever have forgotten that Saturday afternoon playing against the Blues. I know that I haven’t.

There was little or no foul language in those days although it was soon to creep in. The stick given to Grainger was just good banter and fun. In fact, the worst language I had heard at Goodison was from one man in the latish 1950s whose favourite moan was, ‘Oh, you clown, Harris’. He was referring to the much underrated Jimmy Harris.
David Peate     Posted 16/11/2016 at 13:28:39

The Mighty Jock

Being a relative newcomer to this site, I do not really know what should be or should not be a talking point. I have noted that some contributors become quite heated about some of the points raised previously on the various other ToffeeWeb pages. However, I will plough my own furrow. For fun rather than for fury.

I don’t think that many Everton supporters nowadays will recall this incident. Nonetheless, it is still worthwhile relating. This match was almost certainly in 1947. Everton were playing Manchester City. I think that it must have been that game on 27 August 1947 in City’s first season back in the old First Division. The home team won 1-0 with Wally Fielding scoring an astonishing long distance but solitary goal. Whichever match it was, Everton had a penalty at the Gwladys Street end.

Ephraim ‘Jock’ Dodds had been with the Toffees for less than a year. He had arrived as the usual big, bustling centre forward as a replacement for the brilliant Tommy Lawton. The Blues were facing the second-best keeper in the land, the ill-fated Frank Swift, the man with the huge hands. Ted Sagar was, of course, the best keeper. The mighty Jock Dodds came forward to take the kick. He took a short run up and wham.

He hit the ball extremely hard. Frank Swift was rooted to the spot and could not get his hands on the ball in time and it struck him full in the stomach knocking him down while still cradling the ball. Swift was on the floor winded for a few minutes before the game continued. The game should have carried with Swift having the ball in his hands but the referee gave a free kick to City. Bizarre to say the least! Reminds me of another bizarre refereeing decision. Would this, by any chance, have been made by Clive Thomas?

This bash bang wallop method of taking a penalty brings to mind the way Tommy Clinton approached spot kicks. No finesses, just wham. He had obviously never watched the Hungarian Hidegkuti stroke the ball into the corner of the goal. Wham worked exceptionally well for Tommy except on that one very important and unforgettable occasion against Bolton Wanderers.

Jock Dodds’s ratio of goals per game was exceptional though not quite as good as Dean and Lawton. The Scot scored 37 goals in 58 games for the Blues. I wish Everton had him now. Why The Mighty Jock is not included in Gwladys Street's Hall of Fame is a complete mystery.

There is a great story that I read somewhere or other about Swift and Dodds. Frank Swift was out shopping one day when he came across Jock Dodds. Jock said, ‘Hello’, and nodded. Frank dived to his left through a shop window! My father related this same tale from the 1920s but the protagonists then were Dixie Dean of Everton and Elisha Scott of Liverpool.


David Peate     Posted 13/11/2016 at 14:44:42

Koeman commands respect but needs time

When I heard our new owner stating: "He's Koeman, he does what he wants, there is no sentimentality there," I thought to myself, "Brilliant... and about time".

We've been fed a diet of "Uncle Cyril's handlebars" for nearly 20 years. Sadly, some Blues lap this type of sentimental tripe up. They go all misty-eyed along with the story teller and believe it somehow makes us 'special.'

Like that time you meet your old pals in a pub somewhere and realise the stories from your youth are no longer that funny, or the girls weren't really that pretty. You feel sorry for the one lad still hanging onto those times as the best part of his life 30 years later. I never missed a game in the '80s, home or away. I look back on those times as a benchmark for heights we should be aiming for again, I always have done. That doesn't mean any club should be looking back on those times as their pinnacle of success. Arsenal or Liverpool don't, why do we?

Getting back to Ronald Koeman. He doesn't care about the '80s. He doesn't care about Uncle Cyril. He probably sees a fallen giant, who are hoping to get back amongst the elite, but I doubt he'll be here to witness a new stadium being built. However, he can walk into that dressing room of international players and tell every single one of them they will never achieve the heights he reached as a player.

18 major honours including four La Liga titles in a row and a European Cup. Schooled under Johan Cruyff, don't you think we should be showing a little more respect to a man who has achieved everything in the game?

Not since the great Howard Kendall have we had someone in charge who could walk into a club and command instant respect. Smith, Walker, Moyes, Martinez – all no-mark players who couldn't command the respect of an Under-16s side!

The first thing players ask when a new manager walks through the door is "Who is he, and what's he ever won?" That's why Moyes fell right on his arse at Manchester United, the players (all winners) had no respect for him whatsoever.

It's going to take Koeman at least 12 to 18 months before we can judge him on his signings and management record. Martinez left behind a broken dressing room. We could only dream of an appointment like Koeman in the recent past.

Apart from the money, Uncle Cryril's nephew only wanted lower League managers on whom he could rely to keep their traps firmly shut, and to be forever grateful to get a chance at a club like Everton.

Koeman may upset a few of us during his time here. He was wrong to talk about Lukaku in the way he did. But I firmly believe he can start putting us back on the football map. Until he does, we can all look misty-eyed at the giant pictures hiding the rusty windows and cladding on the Main Stand that have gone untouched since the '70s.


Kevin  Tully     Posted 13/11/2016 at 12:13:17

Pre-season friendly against Bangu in the early '60s?

The first time I went to Goodison Park was sometime around 1960-62, when my dad took me to a friendly (I assume it must have been pre-season) against a Brazilian club called Bangu. I remember they played in red-and-white stripes and it was a floodlit game. I think the result was 2-2.

Being very young, I also remember watching our goalkeeper Albert Dunlop during the pre-match kickabout letting various soft shots go past him and thinking "He's not very good!" Whenever I have looked for any reference to this game, I have been unsuccessful – but I know I'm not making it up because I remember it so clearly.

Can anyone else confirm my memory or am I really deluded?


Paul Newton     Posted 10/11/2016 at 17:44:29

Safe Standing Survey

Everton Supporters Trust (EST) have taken the decision to survey the Everton fan base on their thoughts and feelings around “Safe Standing”.

In recent weeks, with the successful installation of “Rail Seating” in Celtic Park, the debate around “Safe Standing” has increased within the national game, with Clubs like Manchester United showing an interest and the Liverpool Supporters Union recently passing a resolution at their latest AGM to investigate their own supporters' thoughts and feelings on the subject. Safe Standing is an emotive subject for football fans and non-football fans alike within this City and EST intend to take an approach to the subject in what we feel is a respectful and inclusive manner.

For Evertonians in particular, a potential new stadium has been a hot topic in recent weeks with the Board of Directors and Mayor of the City meeting regularly and viewing potential sites for a new build. EST believe that the time for Evertonians to discuss and debate “safe standing” is ripe and are keen make the first steps in this process.

To achieve this, EST has worked closely with the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) to come up with a number of questions in a short survey which should hopefully give EST a better understanding on Evertonians' opinions on the subject of "Safe Standing".

The survey will run online for a month, encompassing both Swansea and Manchester United home games at which EST representatives intend to also personally gauge the opinions of match-going Blues, with the results of the survey to be fully released and shared with the Club in the weeks that follow.

EST would like to encourage as many Evertonians as possible to take the time to fill in this survey so both the Trust and the Club have a better understanding of the opinions that Evertonians have relating to the subject.

The survey should take no more than a couple of minutes to complete and can be found by clicking the link below:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/est-safe-standing-survey

Thank you for your continued help and support.


Simon Magner     Posted 10/11/2016 at 13:54:08

A million miles away but...

We are a million miles away from being a really good side at the moment but I still believe the potential is there; it's a question of balance and keeping a settled team which is where we turn to the manager. Koeman has already made big mistakes in my opinion and I am very worried that he may be another dud.

Making changes for the Norwich game was stupid as it was far too early to change the team that had started the season well but still needed more time for everything to knit together... but changing the formation of the team for a difficult away game at Chelsea was reckless.

Since the days of Howard Kendall's second reign, I've seen our managers try the three at the back (or five eat the back, depending on opinion) and it never seems to work. Packing the midfield is a far better way of stopping the opposition from getting into their rhythm. We had problems enough with Gueye missing so Koeman should have solidified the midfield – not mess up the defence.

I feel we can have a strong back four and midfield with the players we have but it is the flair players who are overrated and who have consistently let us down with poor decision-making and lack of effort over the last 4 seasons.

Lukaku can come up with something special now and again but his lack of effort in most games is a serious problem. There is no closing down of defenders when they are in possession and, when the going gets tough, his ball control goes to pot and he hides. His attitude has been a constant menace to the progress of the team, and I don't think we get the best out of Barkley with Lukaku there. We need a striker who will score goals and who will put a shift in for 90 minutes in every game.

The manager from across the park now has his forwards working hard and defending from the front and they press the opposition defenders in their own half. This is the modern way and Lukaku, Deulofeu and Mirallas won't or can't play like this which is causing massive problems for us. They also keep giving the ball away cheaply which just adds to the problem, causing our defence to be put under more pressure than necessary.

So, in my opinion, we need a new set of strikers before we can start being a force in the Premier League... and a manager who will keep a settled balanced team with a 4-4-2 formation a must!


Jim Wilson     Posted 08/11/2016 at 18:37:46

EFC is broken beyond repair

In his most recent book, The Secret Footballer talks of clubs that are simply happy to be in the Premier League. That’s where Everton are. There is no ambition beyond that and this situation entirely suits the owners. To advance beyond mediocrity requires investment that just won’t happen.

Propaganda

The only area that Everton excel in is propaganda. They are geniuses for this. Amongst the best examples of this is that Bill Kenwright was all along looking for a suitable partner to sell to, one that had Everton’s best interests at heart. The reality is that Kenwright’s aims were to get as much money as possible from a partner that allowed Kenwright to stay totally involved.

So good is the propaganda that a very convenient rumour even managed to surface about Kenwright’s declining health — this came at the height of the plane campaign against him.

The other story that keeps coming back is that Everton are looking for a new ground. Every few years, the club trots out this story again. Either the club is just plain rubbish in its search or, more likely, there is no serious intent to move ground.

The club also managed to orchestrate a summer story that we had £100m to spend. Nice one. Most of never believed that one for a second but it’s the kind of thing that sells season tickets.

The Manager

Ronald Koeman is a man on a mission. He wants to manage at the top level. Everton will prove to be a very short stopping-off point when Koeman realises that his time at Everton proves to not exactly strengthen his CV. However, given that Koeman managed to be part of a regime that sent us yet again into battle without a goalkeeper worthy of the name, may not be that great anyway.

The Squad

Having followed Everton since 1967, I am in a decent position to compare the current staff with players over nearly 50 years. We still don’t possess a goalkeeper. Ovideo is one of the worst players to have ever played for us. Cleverley is possibly the most anonymous player we have ever had.

When Funes Mori signed, the BBC South American correspondent said he was worse than Alcaraz. Clearly, nobody told Martinez this. I could go on. Most of the squad is mediocre. Overall, the squad strength is dire.

Commerciality

Given how good Kenwright and his new best mate are at making money – for themselves – it is astonishing how bad Everton are at marketing themselves. Manchester United get more money from their bed partner than Everton do from the shirt sponsor.

Everton last won a trophy in 1995. I don’t believe there is any intention of winning anything in the near future. I feel really sorry for the proper fans. I am not one, I merely observe from afar because the people that go to the games maybe believe something good can come out of all this.

Nothing will happen until the current owners depart and that won’t be happening anytime soon.

The above is merely a summary of my opinions. The malaise has gone on so long now that I am immune to the pain. I hope, for the younger fans, that something changes soon.


Jonathan Tasker     Posted 05/11/2016 at 19:33:38

The Hand of God

I am convinced that I saw this goal but I cannot find any reference whatsoever to it. It occurred in a home match in the mid-1940s at the Goodison Road end. I used to always stand under the clock by the half-way line and had a good view of the incident.

The culprit was George Antonio (the Shropshire Lad) of Stoke City yet I can discover only one game that he played for Stoke City at Goodison post-war. This was a 2-2 draw when the scorers were Wally Fielding and Tommy Eglington for the Blues and Syd Peppitt and Frank Baker for the Potters. This match was on 29 March 1947 when Ted Sagar was in goal. It was probably George’s last match for Stoke City before joining Derby County.

I remember quite vividly seeing Antonio scoring with his hand and the goalkeeper protesting vigorously to the referee that the Stoke man had punched the ball into the net. But Antonio does not seem to have ever scored against Everton at Goodison in a post-war match.

Have I got this all wrong, man, team, match? Was it all a dream? Any views?
David Peate     Posted 05/11/2016 at 10:28:14

61663 - EVERTON - the Steam Loco

I have some corrections for your Everton Memorabilia feature showing the LNER class B17 locomotive 61663 'EVERTON'.

The LNER class B17 locomotive 61663 'EVERTON' was allocated to the ex Great Eastern lines and did not ever visit Liverpool Central. It did however serve routes to Norwich and Harwich, but from London (Liverpool Street) station.

Whilst unfortunately none of the B17s made it into preservation, it is good that many of the nameplates found homes with the football clubs they represented.

Good luck, Toffees, my son must be among your furthest flung supporters, now living in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


David Drury     Posted 02/11/2016 at 161102

The one that got away

Everton have long been noted for their superior goalkeepers. There is one of them that did not shine in the old First Division and, in fact, did not even play in it. I think that it was a player named Archie McPeake who recommended the keeper to the cub.

It was some time in the early 1950s. The goalie was Bob Bissett who could well have been their most expensive player ever given the amount of time that he played for the club compared with the cost of bringing him over from Canada. Bob played in just one reserve game.

He performed exceptionally well and his accuracy in throwing the ball to Everton players was unbelievable. Unfortunately, there was obviously some ill-feeling on the field between him and the right full-back who was (I think) Rankin.

Anyway, Bob Bissett threw the towel in and returned the following week to Canada never to be heard of again. What a pity.
David Peate     Posted 01/11/2016 at 09:11:46

The manager

Hello Evertonians! I am a Finnish EFC supporter and wanted to know your honest thoughts on Roberto Martinez. Personally I have lost a bit of faith in him since the 13-14 season. That season, the potential of the team was fully maximised. There was structured defending, fantastic attacking displays on a regular basis, and true spine when needed, winning us points in tight places like Cardiff at home or both the Swansea and the West Ham fixtures, United and away... and so on.

Last season was obviously very disappointing. There was small glimpses of good attacking play, but definitely not regularly. The defending as a team was atrocious at times, and more annoyingly, at times when one goal for or against would change the outcome of the game. We shipped so many easy goals, and then we pulled small comebacks that weren't enough to save shit, ending up losing by one goal/drawing. Do you follow me?

Anyway, last season made me seriously doubt Roberto's ability to motivate, his authority and his ability to organize the defense. There has been talk about him simply taking over a good defensive unit created by Moyes, which I don't think is far from the truth. Roberto isn't a guy who when leading at the 80 min would be like "you'd better keep this up or I'll batter you" he's more like "oh lads I hope we can keep this up. If not, I can always look the reporter in the eyes with my innocent puppy eyes and tell the world we deserved more". Sorry for the bad expression. Just trying to make a point clear. But honestly, he's too nice. Has no authority over the players.

At least David Moyes had the authority to make the players work their socks off and grind out results occasionally, a talent severely downshifted under Martinez. The Bournemouth game shows this so well. We let Bournemouth come into the game, and once again showed naivety and lack of character beyond belief.

You might argue that it was the ref's fault (a bit of truth in that), but for fuck sake to first lose the two goal lead and then lose the lead again in that way. It had me seething. Shaking by anger. I'm not saying these kinds of things never happened under Moyes, because it did at some point every season, but at least not regularly! The team had a mental presence, drive and will to work that made EFC arguably the most over-achieving team compared to e.g. it's financial funds in the Premier league during David's reign. It had steel.

This team has so much talent, but so much naivety, and I blame it very much on Martinez. He's a confidence manager, a guy who is always there to lift you up. He never gives you a good kick in the ass, which sometimes is needed. In Wigan's dressing room, there was not that much to be positive about, as it was simply not a very good Premier League side, so his approach fitted ever so well there. But guys like Lukaku, Barkley, Deulofeu, Stones etc need to get toughened up, which is not happening atm. It did under Moyes. Even the more experienced players like Jagielka and Barry have become surprisingly inconsistent. I believe they would also need some hard times in the dressing room.

To finish it up, I think that if Roberto doesn't change, we're gonna keep on winning at home by three-four goals after splendid performances, and the next week get a draw or lose after dull/unbalanced/ straight out atrocious performances. He has got my weak trust so far, but if we don't finish in the top 8, he is finished for me.


Hannes Eerola     Posted 30/11/2015 at 23:16:21

Atmosphere

Why is the atmosphere so shit at Goodison?

Fair enough, it picks up in a close encounter like any other game but the reality is a default dull.

I don't live in the area but have a season ticket and go to most away games which have a significantly better atmosphere...

Why?
Matt Correal     Posted 26/11/2015 at 21:20:47

A little bit of history!

I just thought some may be interested in having a look at something I came across on YouTube while doing a bit of research into the history of Liverpool the city, that is!



Take a look at the following YouTube video, found by typing in the searchbox 'Liverpool Police Recruitment Film circa 1950':



The whole thing is very much worth a watch (about 35 minutes) but otherwise take it forward to 17 minutes. At this point it shows policing of a game at Goodison Park. The old façade can be seen in all its glory why did they ever knock it down? I'd forgotten how classy it used to be.

It then shows the team running onto the pitch. I don't recognise anybody because it's a bit before my time but it must have been around the time we came up to the First Division. It then goes to Anfield at which point you can fast forward it but you can see the stand is almost empty at kick off time.

It's worth a look.
Dave Roberts     Posted 17/11/2015 at 11:55:30

Breaking the mould

This season has now reached a crucial stage; before the start of the season, many of the Everton faithful (myself included) were worried about the tough opposition we were facing in the opening 10 fixtures.

Many people feared we would be languishing in the relegation zone after the first 10 games. Thankfully, these fears did not come to pass. I think its fair to say we haven't covered ourselves in glory thus far, or disgraced ourselves; we've been a mixed bag.

There's been a couple of outstanding performances so far e.g Southampton and Chelsea games. There was the no-show against Man Utd at Goodison. But for the most part, we've been reasonably competitive without really putting together a consistent run of wins. We currently have 17 points on the board after 12 games played, having already played the so-called top teams.

These next 7 games, I feel, are going to be crucial to where we are heading this season; there are 21 points to be gained and now is the time to start making a real impact in the league, before the halfway point. The opposition is:

Aston Villa (h)
Bournemouth (a)
Crystal Palace (h)
Norwich (a)
Leicester (h)
Newcastle (a)
Stoke (h)

This is a very kind looking fixture list... but there are of course, no easy games. I think anything over 30 points (after 19 games) will represent a decent (or good, depending on how many points over 30 are gained) first half to the season. Anything under 30 points, would be a little disappointing.

This season (or any other season for that matter) isn't all about the league though; the Premier League is awash with money and higher up our team finishes, the more money is gained. Its also a true indicator of how good (compared to the rest) our team is, because its played over 38 games... But, it's also been 21 years of hurt since Dave Watson lifted the FA Cup.

It only occurred to me the other day that Martinez could achieve something very unique by winning a trophy. That is because he would become the first Everton manager that isn't an ex-player to win a trophy. All our trophy winning managers played for Everton:

Harry Catterick:
2 Division 1 Championships
1 FA Cup
2 Charity Shields

Howard Kendall
2 Division 1 Championships
1 FA Cup
1 UEFA Cup Winners Cup
3 Charity Shields

Colin Harvey
1 Charity Shield

Joe Royle
1 FA Cup
1 Charity Shield

This I find astonishing! We must be the only club in the country to have this unique bit of history. Oh and before some 'Everton know it all' try's to throw the name: Thomas H McIntosh into the mix, I would just like to point out he was secretary not manager. Everton were actually one of the last league teams to appoint a manager. Before this, the team selection was made by coaches and boardroom members. Theo Kelly was actually our first ever manager in 1939.

Anyway, here's hoping Martinez can, at the very least, achieve a points total over 60 points (that would represent progress in my opinion) by the seasons end. But most importantly (for me anyway) end the 21 years of hurt by breaking the Everton tradition by becoming the first manager - who didn't play for Everton - to win silverware.

Come on, Bobby, break the mould.





Mark Frere     Posted 08/11/2015 at 18:25:25

Would Evertonians ever accept Mourinho as manager?

This is just a question from an American Blue to life-long Evertonians on Merseyside:

If Everton ever had the opportunity to hire Jose Mourinho as manager, would Evertonians accept it if it meant we had a better chance to finish Top 4, make a run in the Champions League, and compete for league titles?

Or is Mourinho too deeply hated, a persona non grata forever?

I ask because when I raised the question on the Everton USA Facebook group, I got total rejection of the very thought of considering the idea. I just wonder if local Evertonians feel the same, or not?
Geoffrey Caveney     Posted 07/11/2015 at 23:20:40

Money can buy you... 'love'?

So news from all different sources is now gathering about a possible new owner, some saying the one from Sporting KC and others talking about a Russian business. We've all been in this situation before as a blue by being told news about new owners or a new stadium but nothing ever comes of it and we're left with Bill Kenwright once again. This one is slightly different though, right?

A fundraising page has been created asking toffees to donate to raise enough money for a banner saying 'Thanks for everything, Bill' over Goodison Park in an upcoming home game; however, rumours have also been spread about a Russian business man telling a taxi man in the city to 'expect a new owner' in '3 weeks'. Knowing our track record for rumours about owners and stadiums, I'm not expecting much in 3 weeks, but I will be looking at the possibilities of what could happen and look at the 'why it's bad' side of the argument.

We have a solid fan-base so that'd be guaranteed income for the Russian business man if he were to become our new owner. He'd probably fire most of the board and cancel the Kitbag deal, which I'm sure we all hate, but let's look at the history of OUR club and why this wouldn't be as good as it sounds.

Our owners have never really been businessmen. Bill Kenwright runs our club as a non-profit scheme and does all he can to ensure the best stability for our fan-base, and most importantly, he's a Blue. This businessman that we are linked with is most likely not a Blue, so he will be looking to make a profit on OUR club. This would mean worldwide merchandise retailing, more friendlies abroad, and possibly the new stadium we've all been hoping for.

What it also means though is plastic fans becoming 'Evertonians' which'd be a nightmare for me being a Toffee from the south of England, so I'd always get it from supporters of local clubs saying I 'only support Everton for the money' which I clearly don't! I've collected the shirts since the age of 7 and in the last 5 years have travelled up to Goodison 7 times (including the 4-1 win over Wolfsburg, our first European game in over 5 years). That's 4,900 miles there and back, and a lot of money spent on fuel! I definitely deem myself a proper fan, and who wouldn't when you're in my situation and put in a lot of effort into a club miles away from home... Those who understand need no explanation, those who don't understand don't matter!

What I mean by this is there will be fans who deem themselves 'chosen' when they really aren't. I sort of like the way we grind it out most seasons pushing for the top 5 or 6 and don't want us to become another club with loads of money who practically buys the league. Our fan-base would become unstable and the businessman would leave and we'd dwindle into another Pompey or Leeds.

Yet I feel the time is about right for change and we deserve a trophy after the 20 years without but multiple years of great football under Moyes and 'that' season with Martinez. Let's not get carried away again though, this may be just another false rumour! NSNO.
Daniel O'Sullivan     Posted 04/11/2015 at 19:16:20

Culture of blame vs Culture of not taking responsibility

The statement from Tim Howard this week in the Echo (Tim Howard says criticism of him comes from a "blame culture") got me thinking... Yes, I agree to an extent that we live in a culture of blame. But thats not the whole story.

In fact, in many ways over the past 20 years, life has changed completely mostly due to life in the fast lane of the Internet.

Corruption is being laid bare, companies and individuals are becoming more transparent, and the spotlight is on those in positions of power and leadership.

In nearly all cases, when the sun shines in, you can see the dirt. Thats life, Tim. Youre a public persona, earning big money; if you claim a role of leadership in the dressing room, then you need to do the same on the pitch.

Even if youre not captain, youve been around long enough yourself to know your job. And no, the fans are not fools. We may not be managers, not professional keepers, but we do know a thing or two about football (on the whole).

Fact is: the goal area is yours to manage and control; be in charge, take responsibility and ownership. Yes, leadership means ownership and taking responsibility and that brings me to my second point.

If we have a 'culture of blame', then I beg the question: Is this not down to the fact that so many of our leaders and role models and those in charge run away from taking responsibility when the chips are down?

Yes, it is a team sport; yes, the defence could have done better on those two crosses at Arsenal, but YOU Tim, did not do YOUR job. You did not take responsibility and seem to be willing to continue like that. Just say "It was crap... should have done better." Work hard and get better. Honesty and taking responsibility go a long way to making a good leader.
Otherwise, arrogance and unwillingness to listen and learn will come back and bite you very very hard. Just ask Jose Mourinho over at Stamford Bridge.

Time now to stand up straight and be honest. That's where respect starts.
Kevin O'Regan     Posted 03/11/2015 at 13:21:15

All to play for...

There's all to play for. I don't expect that, despite early season nerves from some, we'll be in a relegation battle. It will be top four, Europa League and/or the FA Cup.

There is a chance for an Everton player to change our season. I believe we have so many players of potential but someone must stand up and between now and May and become the Player of the Season.

Barkley won't get the chance. Mirallas is too inconsistent. Defenders don't qualify... In a dream world, it would be Atsu.

So, it's down to one man: Romelu Lukaku can be an Everton legend. Twenty goals between now and June. After Chelsea there is all to play for.


Andy Crooks     Posted 25/11/2014 at 22:28:01

Poised for a breakthrough

Evertons rise to near the top over the last decade has been well documented and frustrating. David Moyes built a team that first kicked above its weight, relying on defense and will to grit their way to points. It worked. Evertons battles with relegation soon came to an end and moving up the table became expected.

He quickly added more creative pieces, Evertonians were treated the sights of Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines bounding up the left side, their teamwork raising the club to greater heights. Moyes also added other players such as Seamus Coleman, Darron Gibson and Kevin Mirallas. The point of rehashing all of this history? These decisions were made as the club was at a precipice, moving from a team that was considered to be a non-threat and transforming them to one that consistently went top 7 each campaign.

Everton are now at another junction and the stakes are higher. Enter Roberto Martinez, Moyess successor and a manager who set the Everton world ablaze with high possession, fast attacking and high-quality football. A record points haul last season and things on Merseyside looked to be ready for a Champions League spot. Of course rarely does that happen easily.

So far, this season has been a litany of injuries to players, loss of form from World Cup hangovers and the normal team chemistry process. Injuries of course are a part of the game that every club must deal with each year and in recent weeks the standard of play has increased but despite all of this, I believe there is reason for strong optimism for Everton supporters.

Roberto Martinez has added pieces that have set a launching pad for incredible success in the coming years. The signings of Barry, Besic, Lukaku and restructuring deals for players like Barkley has given him a wider range of useful players. The player pool has grown to accommodate extra European football and the mix of youth with experience will serve the Blues well as they get healthy again.

Not to say that this season is a lost cause. There will be a push for a top four finish as there always is and they have performed well in the Europa League thus far. But this campaign will be the foundation for greater success. Everton has taken its lumps in the past and has come oh so close to the coveted silverware or a consistent Champions League spot but the time is near that they will breakthrough. Everton are rising and the rest of the league will know that soon.


Matt Wallenhorst     Posted 24/11/2014 at 12:38:00

Martinez on easy street?

Is Roberto Martinez getting an easy ride from us and the press?

Liverpool 3 points behind us and there are mentions of crisis and need for a clear out. Tottenham level on points with us being roundly derided and criticised. Arsenal level with us on points and Wenger is being slagged to the hills.

Yet nothing is being said about us? Puzzling? Are we more measured with our criticism or are our expectations a lot less than Spurs/Arsenal and Liverpool fans?

Are we plucky little Everton feeling happy with our average start and mid-table standing?

A lot has gone wrong this season, especially pre-season, yet no criticism has been thrown at Roberto.
Daniel Johnson     Posted 23/11/2014 at 18:04:06

Who will replace Baines against West Ham

Roberto Martinez suggests that Tyias Browning or Luke Garbutt could be given a chance to play if Leighton Baines does not overcome his injury in time for Everton's match against West Ham United this weekend.

It will be wrong for us to rush Bryan just because Leighton has got an injury, Martinez said to Everton's official site. Tyias Browning or Luke Garbutt, there could be an opportunity for a youngster who has been working hard in that department.

Personally have been impressed by Garbutt in the England U21.

However it is Browning for me, he has the pace to deal with West Hams very pacey winger, who looks a real handful.

Who do you think it should be?
Wayne Stamps     Posted 18/11/2014 at 16:24:00

50 years ago: The Battle of Goodison

The title refers to an infamous game at Goodison Park in November 1964 against Leeds United. The Guardian carries a feature recalling stories from the time blaming the rowdyism on too much money in the game...

Sandy Brown was sent off within just 4 minutes of the start after John Giles went over the ball at him.

I was in the crowd at half-way and remember the tackle on Derek Temple, the nearest thing to a decapitation I've seen in football. The ref did nothing and the big crowd (over 60,000 I think) erupted.

The ref walked the teams off eventually to let people clam down. Leeds won 1-0. They were a good talented side but very dirty in the Revie fashion, as pointed out by Brian Clough if you read his biographies.
Mick Greenwood     Posted 13/11/2014 at 141113

The Spectre of Moyes

I am wondering with David Moyes's appointment at Real Sociedad will he return for any of our players?

I wish Moyes well in Spain, he did well for us when he came in and I think he was the right manager for the time. His return to football though does pose a question for Everton.

Evertonians have been lucky really with Moyes being out of football for the past 10 months as it is a long standing tradition for managers to sign players that they have worked with before. Harry Redknapp is probably the biggest offender having signed several players two or three times for different clubs, however Moyes has followed the tradition by signing Fellaini and attempting to sign Baines while at Man Utd.

Sociedad are currently in the bottom half of the Spanish league but they have the capacity to compete for the European qualifying positions. If Moyes came sniffing around which if any of our current squad would be interested in swapping L4 for San Sebastian?

Tim Howard Unlikely but not out of the question. Howard was purchased by Moyes and was ever present under his reign. Martinez's first purchase was a goalkeeper but I do not think Martinez sees Robles as a replacement for Howard.

Hibbert Unlikely but again not out of the question. Hibbert has had a few appearances lately and I think he is happy to be a bit-part player for Martinez; however, Moyes did show a lot of faith in Hibbo and he only has a short term deal with us.

Baines Not happening. Moyes clearly would love to link up with Baines but Leighton wouldnt move 25 miles up the road to Man Utd who at the time were in the Champions League. I dont see him moving to Spain to play mid-table football.

Jagielka Not happening. Club captain, back in form and in the England squad. I dont see going to Spain offers him anything.

Distin A possibility. Distin has recently been dropped by Martinez, he is coming to the end of his contract and there have been rumours of ill feeling between him and Martinez. A season or so in the sun would interest him I think.

Coleman Not happening. Seamus seems happy at Everton, he is close enough to see his family back in Ireland and is undoubtedly the best right back in the Premier League. Nothing for him at Sociedad.

Osman A possibility. Ossie has found himself on the fringes lately and I know he has only just signed an extension but, if he was offered a starting role at Sociedad, I could see him leaving. Clearly shown in his book he thought a lot of Moyes. The speed of Spanish football is slower and this would suit Ossies lack of pace. Maybe not this year but, if Moyes makes it to next season, who knows.

Barkley Not a chance. Nothing for Ross out there; if he leaves us, it will not be to Moyes and not to a side outside the Champions League

Gibson Another possibility. Gibbo is clearly not first choice at Everton as he has seen three defensive midfielders signed by Martinez and through his own lack of fitness has only played a handful of games. Gibbo was signed by Moyes and is a player Moyes thought a lot of. A possibility this one.

Naismith Not likely. Naismith was one of Moyes's last signings at Everton but he was played out of position and was not enjoying his football at that point. Clearly he likes the way Martinez plays and I dont see him going to Spain.

Pienaar A possibility. Pienaar was bought by Moyes twice already. Clearly a player he likes and appears to get on with. Currently on the fringes at Everton and as he gets older he is getting slower. Could he have a season or so in Spain?

Mirallas Not a chance. Signed by Moyes and arguably one of his best signings. Enjoying his football prior to his injury and not likely to swap the Premier League for mid-table Spanish football.

The Kids Moyes would have good knowledge of the likes of Garbutt, Stones, Lundstram, Kennedy, Pennington, McAleny etc but I do not see any of these moving to Spain.
Lee Jamieson     Posted 12/11/2014 at 16:37:27

Top 4? Probably Not...

Have we left it too late... are we too far behind to even contemplate a Top 4 finish? It looks as though Chelsea have got the league sewn up, they are too far ahead, are by far the best team in the league, and also being realistic the best manager. I also believe that Man City will pick up from where they are and will guarantee a Top 4 finish for their fans. Their away form is fine compared to last season, it's their home form which has left them down, but only by 3 points compared to this stage last season.

This leaves I believe only two places up for grabs, and from where we are today, they will be contested by Southampton, Arsenal, Man Utd, Everton and Liverpool. I just dont believe that West Ham Utd, Stoke City, Newcastle Utd and to a lesser extent Swansea City will continue with their fine early season form.

I would normally say Southampton would also fade away, but their lead over the likes of Man Utd, Everton and Liverpool of 9 11 points is such a good lead that Southampton should be in contention. Even if they revert to last seasons form for the remainder of the season, they will just sneak in by a point or two. It's "watch this space" as regards Southampton, in particular, the next 1-2 months when they have to face 5 out of last seasons Top 7, but if they do well (8-10 points) then I believe we cant catch them. Their current home form of 16 pts from 6 games is fantastic, and they are still in the League Cup after beating both Stoke away and Arsenal away.

This leaves Arsenal, Man Utd, Everton and Liverpool. They all need to start to reproduce last seasons home form, as currently all are way off, in particular Everton, who are 7 points worse off than after same games last year. In our favour, only Everton are showing last seasons away form, the other three are far worse off. If all four were suddenly to recapture their best form from last year it would still end up a Top 4 of Chelsea, Man City, Southampton and Arsenal with Liverpool just pipping Everton to 5th and Man Utd a poor 7th.

For us to have any chance to reach a Top 4 place we need a return to last seasons home form, where we won 13 games and only lost 3. This means from today that we start to win games, not draws, we effectively need to win 10-12 out of our last 14 home games!!!

We also need a real Southampton or Arsenal slump, and accompanied with Liverpool not regaining last seasons home form, where they won 16 games at home. I dont believe they will revert to that form, it was built on Suarez, and hes too big a miss. The big question is can we start to win again at home and will Southamptons bubble burst? To be honest, Im not sure either will happen, but we will know by Xmas.

The real disappointment is that last years 72 points will I believe easily walk into a Top 4 place this season, probably into 3rd place.


Mike Oates     Posted 12/11/2014 at 09:59:05

Following Everton in the 1960s

Do any of our fans who were privileged enough to follow us between the late 50s to mid 60s remember any words to the Everton versions of Keep Right on to the End of the Road, or to 'Still I live in hope to see the Holy ground once more (fine girl you are)? I don't think they were sung as the original but I may be wrong.

As with a lot of songs back then, they may have originated on songsheets given out by fans, and got sung more on the way to the aways. So ask your dad, your uncles, anyone who may know, we can't have these possible classics going astray. Thank you.
David Shaw     Posted 12/11/2014 at 00:16:03

A Missed Opportunity for Hospitality

It was good news to hear the club is now on a sound financial footing after many years of uncertainty. Our annual accounts also highlight one particular part of the 'business' that needs some serious attention our commercial revenues. It's incredible to think some Premier League matches at Goodison have taken place without a main match sponsor this season.

It seems to me, that the club aren't bothered about this shortfall, now the TV money will gloss over any lack of commercial nous.

One missed opportunity is absolutely incredible though even one of those imbeciles off 'The Apprentice' wouldn't have missed this one.

Every lounge is sold out at Goodison this season, the club are even offering matchday hospitality at the Hilton Hotel, or the new Titanic Hotel in Liverpool City centre.

My point is, there was room over 2 floors right opposite the ground in The Winslow Pub, which was up for sale at a knock-down price. You could easily seat a couple of hundred people. Instead, fans are now having to go somewhere without any links to the club, and no doubt the club have to pay for the privilege.

It's not that difficult, is it?


Kevin Tully     Posted 02/11/2014 at 10:48:45

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