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What is the purpose of the Under-23s?

I think the time is ripe to have an open, focused discussion on the purpose of the Under-23s. I've seen a few posts here and there across a number of topics where the Under-23s are brought up and no concensus is ever reached before the debate is buried under the traffic of the original posts.

For what it's worth, my opinion is the whole structure of Unsworth's sub-culture is a complete waste of time. Financially non-viable both in terms of progression to the first team and resale value. We buy players specifically for this squad who disappear completely without trace or flatter to deceive for a few games before succumbing to long-term injury or anonymity...

And let's not put perennial benchwarmers like Gbamin into these games to gain some fitness (match fitness and general fitness) for fear of them succumbing to another injury that would leave their bench seats vacant next Saturday or (heaven forbid!) expose them as too poor to play any part in a Premier League team.

My final (controversial?) thought on this: Unsworth is one of the worst examples of people stealing a living from this club. No accountability for his results, no pressure to play teams with a specific ethos or structure, and no incentive to improve the first team with player progression.

If you accept this last point but blame it on people higher up the chain, then don't forget Unsworth's complicity in all this and then question the integrity of someone happy to carry on pissing away the club's 'future' on a meaningless vanity project.
Paul Jones     Posted 27/10/2021 at

Defined by who you sign

Well, the wheels certainly fell off yesterday. The question is: Was anyone really surprised? The inquest was not long in coming and not surprisingly, Rafa is copping some stick… but is it fair?

Looking at it objectively, his substitutions yesterday and possibly his team selection can be argued. At this point, it is with hindsight although the selection of Rondon I guess many would have questioned. However, in the cold light of day, I would suggest he has been let down just as much as us the supporters have by the players.

Of this group of players, some are fine but, as a collective, they are only consistent in demonstrating that they will never remotely get us to where we would like to be. Or even close! Our quality, I feel, is Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Gray, Townsend, Doucouré, Pickford and arguably Mina, Digne, and Godfrey. Gordon has not played enough games to form an opinion. This is half a team at best.

Can anyone realistically expect anything much better than average from this collection? Factor in injuries, loss of form, and my question would be: Who could we install as manager to get a tune out of this lot? Indeed, the last manager (supposedly one of best, "world class") decided it was beyond him.

Benítez has walked into an extremely difficult situation with the ground prepared by a succession of poor managers going back to Ronald Koeman and the appalling recruitment of players. How can we not have a new right-back? Have a 32-year-old centre-forward who seems to be past it, and an unbalanced midfield? Josh King was released by Ancelotti but there appears to have been no idea who would replace him. Great!

We are where we are but I feel we should give Rafa breathing space. My instinct is that he is a talented coach and manager but sorting the mess he has inherited will take time. The players must take the bulk of the responsibility.

A former professional player who I was talking to about David Moyes (who was in his early days at Everton and doing well) said to me, “He will be defined by his signings”. Applying this to our current situation, Rafa has had £1.7M to spend and of his major signings, Gray and Townsend are currently two of our better performers; however, Rondon is not cutting it at the moment.

By any footballing estimation, it is going to take time for Rafa or anyone to bring in their own players; and at that point, he can then be judged. We need to be fair and arguably forget the Liverpool connection and be objective about the current situation.

If blame is to be apportioned, then at least train the guns in the right direction. For what it is worth, Benítez would not have been my first choice as manager, but I believe we have certainly got a man of capability. He might even be what the club needs at this time.

Barry Metcalfe     Posted 24/10/2021 at

Everton's placing without VAR

How would Everton be doing in the Premier League table without the intervention of VAR?

ESPN have compiled the VAR Effect Table where they took all 22 VAR decisions in the Premier League so far this season and calculated how they might have changed the outcome of matches.

According to their calculations, which they will update throughout the season, the Blues would currently be sitting in second place behind leaders Chelsea.

ESPN VAR Effect Table
ToffeeWeb      Posted 15/10/2021 at

If only...

We have had some of the greatest players of the last 50 years on our books:

Jennings
Sansom
Gough
Gascoigne
Rooney
Ginola
Hughes
Rooney
Eto'o
James
Whiteside
Who else?

Sadly, they were on the books of other clubs when they were great players. If only we were not their retirement home.
Andy Crooks     Posted 10/10/2021 at

Refereeing decisions that keep you awake at night

Another turgid international break – and it’s only early October. It feels better, though, going into them after a good performance and in a positive mood.

It is a psychological problem, but I often wake up and start thinking about Everton this and Everton that… I need help! Historic referring decisions grate on me years after the event – some more than others. ("Let it go! Move on!" I hear you cry… but it isn’t that easy.)

Also, the reality is that they do probably even themselves out to an extent over time. (Unless it is Liverpool or Man Utd, who seem to have a different set of rules governing them.)

There’s been plenty: some important, some future-changing ones, and some much more influential than this one.

In 2016, Roberto Martinez was manager and we were away at Chelsea. A humdinger of a match that we played very well in – at one of the toughest places. Gerry Deulofeu crossed for Funes Mori in the 90th minute who scored to make it 3-2 to Everton. A big away win was almost in the bag.

Then, 7 minutes of injury time.

Chelsea and their home support were at full tilt for the equaliser. In the 98th minute, John Terry, in a clear-as-day offside position, collects the ball and slots it into the goal. The linesman let it go; the referee didn’t see it; mentally paralysed by the atmosphere, they didn’t want to oppose the ensuing delirium inside Stamford Bridge.

It was a cruel blow to our lads and support on that day to have our superb efforts wiped off by one really poor decision.
Tony Everan     Posted 09/10/2021 at

Andros Townsend for England

Buoyed by my ever-increasing confidence in this Everton side, I found myself contributing to the Andy Goldstein phone-in on TalkSport last Thursday. The discussion was about outside selections for the England team.

Danny Murphy had already damned Jordan Pickford with faint praise by suggesting that, although shaky for his club, he is still a definite starter for his country and (begrudgingly) admitting that he never lets England down. I fully planned to challenge this lazy journalism with the statistics to show his complete turnaround in attitude and application since January, but decided to ease myself in slowly with a suggestion that Andros Townsend should be considered for an England recall.

Murphy was fairly dismissive, as you might expect, and so imagine my delight when Andros scored again on Saturday and I discovered who was a pundit on MotD on Saturday night.

Unfortunately, I wasn't name-checked and given the apology I rightly deserved.

I also wasn't given a right to reply on Thursday when I'd planned to give him both barrels about Pickford.

Listen Again: talkSPORT Drive with Andy Goldstein & Danny Murphy. Thursday, 30 September 2021 (16:00 - 19:00)
Ben Howard     Posted 05/10/2021 at

The Bramley Moore ToffeeWeb get-together

First thing, thanks to Michael and Lyndon. Without this website, I wouldn't have met some of the finest people ever. Also, thanks to Tony Abrahams, top man from a top blue family. I think I had Danny's ticket; cheers, Danny, it's more than I can say.

It all started for me on Friday afternoon at Belfast International Airport with a £9.60 glass of wine which I have already bleated about! There was a huge hen party waiting to board the flight, optimistically thinking they would be able to take huge amounts of alcohol on board. My seat was 17A and I was hoping they would be at the other end of the plane, but... it was not to be.

I will just quote from the flight:

"There's a wee Everton man here, Granny, there's a wee Everton man here."
"Leave him alone."
"Sorry about that, I swear those knickers are clean on today!"
"Take another wee drink!"

It was actually a real good laugh but I was happy to land. I was picked up at John Lennon Airport by the magnificent Derek Knox. A great host, a great friend and a top man. Back to Chester, a bite to eat and then a few pints.

A tour of Chester in the morning and then the train to Lime Street. Bus to the ground and then a meet-up at The Royal Oak.

A few drinks with Derek, Rob Halligan, Steve Vincent, David Pearl, Danny O'Neill then joined by Tony. So sorry that Dave Abrahams couldn't make it – you were sorely missed, Dave. Then to the match.

When I get to a match, I forget critical viewing. I think it is all great. I thought Norwich were truly awful but we did what had to be done. Rondon looked out of shape but that is about as negative as I can be. I thought it was just fucking brilliant. Although the utterly vile abuse given to every player by one loon, for 90 unrelenting minutes, was hard to take.

Anyway, we met up at the Dixie Dean statue and Tony took us in a seven-seater taxi (Ant Hill mob) to The Bramley Moore pub. It really didn't seem too far, but I guess Tony has "the knowledge" of Liverpool. Danny said, on another thread, that it was quite a moment to see it. It was. It was moving and special.

The pub is a cracker. Brilliant staff and as welcoming as it gets. The Brentford - Liverpool game was on the TV and there were a few reds in the bar, so it was lively but funny.

I think over 20 people turned up and it was a cracking night. Dave M, Bill, Bill, Jed and his good lady, Rob, Pete, John R, Derek, Tony, Danny, Steve, then John McFarlane and George McKane. It was special and some good funds were raised for Derek's appeal. If I left anyone out, forgive me.

Taxi back to Lime Street with Derek and George, a drink in The Crown, and back to Chester. Being at the match changes perspectives. Danny was sat in front of me and I could see him totally focused. For me, because it is rare, I take in all the peripheral shite!

What a weekend... thanks to everyone. Best people, best club, best website.

Andy Crooks     Posted 04/10/2021 at

1963 League title special song recorded

Dear Toffeeweb, do any of your readers have any info or memories about the song that the 1963 League winning team recorded at Phillips Sound Recording Service in Kensington, Liverpool?

Percy Phillips recorded team members along with a professional singer, doing 2 songs on a 7-inch single. The songs were, E-V-E-R-T-O-N, which was specially written, and side 2 was a version of 'Men Of Harlech'. The recordings sound great but they're not mentioned in any lists of Everton songs.

This was also the first ever football pop song recorded in the UK, so the Club should be justly proud of it. I have a copy of the disc, which is in a specially printed cover with autographs of the whole squad.

All the best, Peter Phillips.


Peter Phillips     Posted 31/10/2020 at

Double standards and selective memory loss!

I am fed up of reading the ridiculous stuff that’s been in the media this week following the derby.

There have been many false dawns over the last few decades and as a born pessimist, I never get my hopes up too high. I was skeptical about Martinez, Koeman, Silva (who wasn’t skeptical about him?) and even Mr.Ancelotti. We have had glimpses over the years, of the dreams that all of us have as Evertonians – to be great again. Somehow, the dreams never turned into reality and they faded at various stages. However, I see something in the way that we are playing this year which I haven’t seen over the last couple of decades – the skill and grit that we love but also the belief that we are capable of winning every match which we play. We did seem to temporarily forget at the beginning of the derby and looked like deer in the headlights but thankfully that was short-lived. And this confidence is, what I think has really gotten under the skin of our resentful red neighbours and their ex-players in the media. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to see any player get injured; neither our team nor the opposition and I wish VvD a speedy and complete recovery.

I will not, however, just sit here and listen to the vitriol that has been directed at us by the media. In the last few years alone I can think of a long list of horrific tackles made by Liverpool players during derby games. Dirk Kuyt and his martial art kick, Gerrard and the sickening two-footed scything of Naismith are the two that stand out clearest in my memory. It seems like just yesterday when Gerrard and Carragher were standing eye to eye with the ref and convincing him to send off one of our players or award them a penalty. Last year, when Son cynically took down Gomes and broke his leg(I am in the medical professional and that image of Gomes still makes me sick), the media immediately sided with him because he wasn’t that kind of guy…really because you could have fooled me! Going a little further back to when Neil Taylor broke Coleman’s leg on international duty, I didn’t hear that much about him being a raving lunatic. I think you get the point – nasty injuries do happen in contact sports and although we pray that it never happens, the law of averages says that it will happen again and again.

Souness, Bosnich and many others have decided that after years of dishing out the pain (and cocaine in some cases) themselves, they will castigate someone who made a rash but non-malicious tackle. Others in the media (who I will not name and give them any publicity which they crave so desperately) have equated it with assault. I would have had no objection if the referee had decided to book Pickford for the challenge as it was clumsy. We cannot, however, start dishing out penalties based on the extent of injury to the opposing player. It is the intent to harm or maim your opponent that needs to be punished severely and weeded out from the game and this was not in that category at all. Even Richarlison made a rash tackle and was rightly punished for the same. His approach to social media in this case was less than satisfactory and that is an area that he needs to work on, in general (along with his diving and his hair!).

I am not sure how Pickford will respond to all the criticism – he might feed off it or it might be his kryptonite…only time will tell. Either way, we have reasonable back up in the form of Olsen or Lossl but I would be on the lookout for an upcoming young keeper as a long-term replacement pretty soon.

Why the double standards? Why do the media have a selective memory loss when it comes to teams other than us? They are trying to undermine what we building.

My heart hopes that we keep on winning and win the league and a cup but my head says that our squad lacks depth and a few injuries and bad calls (they are coming, just you wait…the “Big 6”will not enjoy watching us play confidently and will look to sabotage us) will prevent us from sailing through the season unscathed. Long may our positive attitude and great football continue… COYB
Santosh Benjamin     Posted 20/10/2020 at

Big Club Mentality

We're a funny old club. Part of the Premier League for the duration of its history, yet very much marginalised. We've seen middling yo-yo clubs overtake us (Chelsea and Man City), whole dynasties built and rebuilt and decline (Man Utd and Arsenal), and the likes of Spurs (a similar sort of club) go up and down in fortunes.

Then you have flash-in-the-pan clubs like Blackburn, Leicester City and Liverpool picking up an isolated league win when circumstances fall in their favour. At the other end of the spectrum, Leeds Utd, Aston Villa, Newcastle Utd, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday have all had their ups and downs. Some have never recovered.

Throughout the entire period, we have clung to top-flight status, then assumed the dreary title 'Best of the Rest', briefly flirted with greatness under Roberto Martinez, and then declined until we picked up Ancelotti. Carlo Ancelotti... a man who is a manager of big clubs. But have we yet realised that is what we are?

Seems to me like the mindset and expectations is very much 10 years out of date. We're too accepting of Best of the Rest status (which is really just another way of saying 'Second Best'). The awful lows before Moyes and then the realistically managed-down expectations under Moyes have really left their mark.

But we have a very highly decorated manager, some excellent players and (without wanting to tempt fate) a world-class stadium on the horizon. It is time, therefore, to raise the expectations. I do not want to see any Second Best mentality any more.

I want to see:

- Recruitment of excellent players only

- Our players refusing to accept poor or marginal decisions

- Our superb fan site not talking in terms of lucky escapes, VAR etc, but talking in terms of “Blues Stay Top After Fiery Derby”.

We are top! We are still top and unbeaten – yet all the focus is on the controversy. Forget the controversy, let's expect the rub of the green. Let's enjoy being top.

Liverpool were nowhere a few years ago. Rodgers made them play and feel like a big club before they settled for second best for too long under Roy Hodgson. It's not long ago that we were genuinely better than them (as we have been in patches through the Premier League era).

Stop the undue respect. Start raising the expectations. Start behaving like a big club.


Robert  Tressell     Posted 20/10/2020 at

The Hypocrisy of Ignorant Pundits

As the 237th Merseyside derby ends in a 2-2 stalemate, the outcry over the Van Dijk – Jordon Pickford incident is as media-biased as you can find. It is also bizarre (or maybe not) that the idiots who make an easy living talking rubbish as so-called pundits have such a lack of knowledge of the game.

Let's get straight to it: football is a contact sport and, as such, injuries happen. So a bad foul by Jordon Pickford injures Virgil van Dijk... these things happen. Yet, from the garbage spouted by pundits – Sherear, Wright, Souness, Murphy, Bosnic, Cahill, Osman and many more – you would think Pickford actually tried to commit cold-blooded murder.

In the first 2 minutes of the game, Van Dijk flattened James Rodriques twice, acting the hard man. These fouls were premeditated to show that he was the “boss”. Not as serious as Pickford’s foul but premeditated and meant to “leave a bit “ on James.

So, a few minutes later Van Dijk is hurt by, it has to be said, a bad tackle from the Blues goalkeeper. Cue “red card” cries from the pundits who all claim Pickford was endangering an opponent. Let's put these big mouths right: the whistle had already been blown for an offside against Liverpool before the coming together of Pickford and Van Dijk.

So now the referee has to determine if Jordan’s tackle was seriously endangering an opponent or just foul play? It was decided that it was just foul play. This was the right decision, as Pickford had no intention to endanger Van Dijk, he was honestly trying to win or block the ball, so it is foul play, not endangering an opponent.

As Pickford’s foul is not deemed to be endangering an opponent, and as offside had been given before the foul, VAR cannot review the clash. They are the rules, so the nonsense spouted by the pundits can go on and on till the cows come home. They can call for VAR to review the incident and give Pickford a red until the end of time, it cannot be reviewed by VAR, and was not deemed endangering an opponent; end of story.

Now let's contrast this with our friend Son from Tottenham Hotspur. You can watch his supposed tackle on André Gomes last December a thousand times, it is clear that Son has no intention to win the ball – he just hacked down André Gomes from behind.

Yet, on this occasion, our media pundits to a person all came out saying the red card given to Son was not justified. Led by, it has to be said, an exceptional propaganda campaign by Tottenham Hotspur, the media frenzy over "he is not that sort of player" was such that his red card was actually overturned.

It seems that there is one rule for Son and a different one for Pickford, in the mind of the pundits and the tearful kopites who are now all praying at the shrine of their sanctified centre-back for a quick recovery.

We don’t have to go back into the not too distant past of derbies (Gerrard, Kyut etc) to know that, in these games, tensions rise and tackles are hard, which Van Dijk himself made clear to James Rodrigues in the first couple of minutes.

No-one wants any player to have a serious injury, but I don’t lose any sleep when it is one of their players. It is a contact sport, not a sport made to protect the likes of Son and Van Dijk.


Martin O'Connor     Posted 19/10/2020 at

Where are the Sky 6 today?

Well, they are not in the top 3 after 5 games!

Now I know all the sayings – take one game at a time; it’s a marathon, not a sprint... but today they are nowhere to be seen!

After the end of this weekend’s games, they are 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th and 14th. If it hadn’t been for Barkley’s late winner, we would have been 3 points clear.

All us Evertonians are too long in the tooth to get too excited as we have grown up with hope being quickly replaced with despair. I have always wondered how much luck plays in winning. Some might call it skill. If you put the ball in the right place more times than not, you increase your chances of being lucky.

We have had some poor managers who have never been lucky. Now, we have a real manager and things have been going our way. This weekend, we have had the rub of the green with VAR when, last season, we couldn’t buy a favourable result. Also, I think other results have gone our way. For example, Spurs coasting 3-0 and drawing 3-3 with West Ham.

Many refuse to look too far in the future but, if we are still top after the next 3 matches, even without Richarlison and maybe Pickford if the RS media have him hung, drawn and quartered, how will we feel?

More to the point, how will Sky deal with their darling Sky 6? Will they get their own back and make all our matches pay-per-view!
David Cooper     Posted 18/10/2020 at

Why are we Evertonians?

I was pleased, actually, really pleased when Dom scored for England on his debut. Why should that be so? I don't know him. I certainly didn't care when Harry Kane scored his first international goal.

Of course, Dom plays for Everton, my team. So,it was personal. Why should that be so? I live in Ireland: why should what happens to a bunch of lads, who earn more in a week than I will earn in the rest of my life, matter so much?

Why does it matter so much to the many Americans( and by fuck it matters to them) who are on this site.

Everton can make or break my weekend. God knows what it does to the lads who live there. My stomach is already in a knot about the derby.

I know why you scousers support our club. You were born to it, you had no choice. I, and many others had. Why did we do it? How did you become an Evertonian when you could have picked any team in the world?

I know I made the right choice. I guess every club has supporters whose choice was random. In fact, the only man in Ireland who supported Ipswich was a guest at the cup final when they beat , I think, Arsenal. Are we Evertonians?


Andy Crooks     Posted 11/10/2020 at

Pay-per-view for £14.95 per game

There is widespread anger at plans to charge football fans in the UK £14.95 to watch Premier League matches they have been prevented from attending in person.

Fans have reacted angrily after it was confirmed on Friday that 19 out of 20 Premier League clubs voted to ditch the scheme that was in place for the final nine matches of last season and the first four of the current one, where matches not already included in broadcasters domestic schedules were provided free or on existing paid subscription channels.

Instead, fixtures not already chosen for live coverage will be available for fans on a pay-per-view basis at a cost of £14.95 per match.

As it could be another six months before fans can safely return to stadiums, they will now likely have to pay between £150 and £300 or more over the course of the season to legally watch games live, depending on how many games are selected by Sky, BT and Amazon.

There is also a significant risk that the high cost will encourage fans to club together and watch games in groups, thus risking the transmission of infection in any case. It will also encourage fans to seek illegal streams to avoid payment.
ToffeeWeb      Posted 11/10/2020 at

Everton on the radio in the 1960s

I have recently been asked about radio commentaries of domestic and European Everton home fixtures in the early to mid 1960s (in the days before Radio Merseyside and Radio City).

Do any of our more senior ToffeeWeb readers recall if they listened at home or work to radio commentaries from Goodison and, if so, what channel(s) were they on?
Rob Sawyer     Posted 07/10/2020 at

Theo, you're just a poor Aaron Lennon

I'm a man of extremes; there are relatively few things that I think are alright. Theo Walcott seems to have fallen into this category for a lot of fans... they think he's alright.

Well, I don't think he's alright. I think he's the single biggest fraud to have played for Everton.

I'm not saying he was the worst player technically or even that he didn't try, there was always consistent messaging about him being professional in training and a nice lad.

Well, great... but, at the end of the day, he cost £20+ million and was picking up £110k a week, I'm glad he was professional.

Having watched 25 years of Everton from the same seat in the Park End, my view when we're attacking has been right down the line in which Theo spent most of his time. In that period of time, I've never seen a player be such a hinderance to a team than Walcott.

He actively made Seamus a bad player by never offering himself up as a sacrificial lamb in a move, he'd always make the run in behind that made it nigh-on impossible to pick out and we'd give the ball away.

The result always meant that he was out of position; and yes, he always made a cursory effort to track back but we'd be outnumbered and our right-back would be at 6s and 7s. He was a nightmare to play behind, and you saw in Silva's first season the upswing in Seamus's form when the absolute antithesis to Walcott, Richarlison, played there.

I put it to you that Theo Walcott knew he was doing this; he isn't daft, he's just selfish. He makes the effort that doesn't get him hauled up on the stats front so that his sprints are alright and miles covered is of a good level and because the ball did occasionally find him he'd have a great opportunity to score or assist. Except he didn't do that either because cowards like that are bottlers.

To me, this makes him even worse than absolute bags of shite – like I've seen in that position – like Mitch Ward. Because Walcott does have exceptional attributes, he did occasionally chip in with goals and decent performances, weirdly mainly against Spurs.

You can see now, with James on that side, how that improves Seamus, because he's always available in space to play a simple ball to, not running with his back to Seamus with his arm in the air, pretending to be gutted when the ball doesn't arrive.

Great full-backs only look great if what's ahead of them helps out. Baines and Pienaar are the best example of this... truth be told, my favourite ever Everton player was a ghost of himself without the South African ahead of him.

James is fantastic because he is able to take the ball from the full-back in that pocket and use it in whatever way he sees fit: a sprayed switch, a reverse pass inside, a dink over the top to the full-back. You name it, he can do it, and he doesn't give it away. He's a rare and exceptional talent.

Conversely, Aaron Lennon is not that... but he did offer for the ball in intelligent areas which helped his full-back. He made Kyle Walker look like a world beater in 2011-12; although he didn't have the cutting edge James did, he was much braver and much more effective for the team than Walcott ever was.

The Spurs fans' chant about Walcott came to bite them on the arse a few times... but, having watched both, I can confirm that Walcott is not as good as Aaron Lennon.



James Daniels     Posted 07/10/2020 at

Carlo must not be Spraked

To "Sprake". I think it is an old Yorkshire term which means to fool no-one other than the one person it is vital you must fool.

I think it is particular to football and has its origins in the fine but controversial Leeds team of the 1970s. Gary Sprake was the Leeds goalie then. He was a good shot-stopper, as are all top-level goalies; also, he was safe enough on crosses, which some current goalkeepers are not.

However, he was prone to some inexplicable and unfortunately predictable howlers. Often they came at inopportune moments, a cup final for example. The late, great(?), Don Revie had a blind spot about his goalie, though. Loyalty (admirable and perhaps essential to his style) meant a lot to the Don.

Many Leeds supporters... in fact, many people... actually, everyone in the world bar the Don, could see that, despite his qualities, Gary was an utter liability who could stop a good side from becoming a great side.

There are many examples of coaches being "Spraked". Schneiderlin did it with a series of our managers. Everyone could see it bar the man who could do something about it. Carlton Palmer, Andy Carroll, Titus Bramble are just a few examples of how coaches – indeed, international coaches – can be "Spraked".

It may well be happening now at our club with Jordan Pickford.

I know nothing about our goalkeeper off the field... nor nothing about what sort of guy he is. It is mostly irrelevant. What I do see, though, is – in my view – a goalkeeper lacking in anything beyond the basic fundamentals of what skills and qualities a Premier League goalkeeper should have. Being a good shot-stopper should be as fundamental in his skills as being able to kick a ball.

To me, he offers nothing else. He inspires panic and self-doubt among the defence. His punching and clearances are lamentable and he is an error waiting to happen – every minute of every game.

Unlike Sprake, he has yet to throw the ball into his own net, so I guess that is a positive. I believe we are on the verge of something special and I find it exasperating that we do not have another option in goal.

He has been admirably defended on here but I am at a loss to see how anyone can continue with this. Taking a contrarian view is often admirable but not just for the sake of it.

Gareth Southgate is not always right but he is always lacking in options. Carlo has options. We need a new goalkeeper.
Andy Crooks     Posted 03/10/2020 at

Blue Streak Special

Does anyone remember travelling on the Blue Streak InterCity Specials or have any recollections of them?

I used to travel by car or coach, but it would be nice to hear other posters' memories of their days out from Lime Street Station. We also had the ESCLA (Everton Supporters Club London Area) one as well.

Can anyone start the ball rolling with any funny tales?

I came across an article where the trains stopped running due to vandalism, the last to run being our neighbours’ trip to Port Vale. When their supporters returned back, every man and his dog from their special put the blame on Everton, saying it was the Everton fans and we were well behaved and never saw our own fans cause damage to a train. Even back in the seventies, it was not their fault.

Anyway back to the main article, there is a clip on YouTube of fans' and footballers’ families boarding a Wembley special from Lime Street Station for the 1984 FA Cup Final, but I have not managed to find anything on there with clips of the earlier Blue Streak Specials.

So anyone who can add any tales about their days out on them will be most welcome.


Brian Wilkinson     Posted 02/10/2020 at

Shit win over a shit club

As usual, after a dismal win at home against a turgid team we should always be beating, some people think everything is alright. Again. Until the next dreadful performance and result, coming along pretty soon.

Until the real problems at the club are recognised and dealt with, and they truly run deep, the club will stutter along embarrassingly, losing lifetime, die-hard supporters hand over fist, until disaster inevitably arrives.

How people can't see it is beyond me. Where's the next generation of Everton fans coming from? Sitting in a boozer in America?

Last night was meaningless; this team can't win that cup, it will collapse at the first bad draw, you know it and I do.

The club is rotten from top to bottom, a shit cup win against a shit team doesn't paper over the cracks and people who give stick to those like me who won't accept it and can't see past the last result are part of the problem.
Paul Burns     Posted 30/10/2019 at

Holding Out For A Hero

Forgive the obvious pun on the Tina Turner classic (our younger viewers might not have even heard of this song), but I guess the title kind of sums up where we are at, at the minute: someone in the team who can grasp the nettle.

Leaving the VAR debacle at Brighton to one side for a moment, this team lacks 'bottle', and I mean REAL bottle. Going back over 30 years, a young nervous apprehensive Everton team, containing youngsters like Sheedy, Mountfield, Stevens, Sharp etc were going through a wretched spell and as well as losing a considerable number of consecutive games, were regularly being booed unmercifully off the Goodison Park pitch, and fans were calling for Howard Kendall's head.

I even remember a petition asking for him to be sacked doing the rounds.

One abiding memory during this horrible (and it was horrible) period, was the sight of Peter Reid, demanding the ball from Neville Southall and playing from the back, cool as you like.

The easy option for 'Reidy' was simply to turn his back and let Neville boot the ball upfield, rather then run the risk of a volatile Goodison crowd.

I look at the current Everton squad and the way players visibly wilt when the going gets a little tough. The capitulation after the Brighton penalty was bordering on cowardice. This has happened too many times away from home for it to be a single occurrence.

Where were the experienced players when we needed them? Silva only seems to be able to get a tune from them when they're playing in front of a Goodison Park crowd with the sun on their backs.

Where is the dominant centre-half bollocking the 'invisible' midfield when the Brighton forwards were running at will through our desperate defenders with 10 minutes still to go?

Although this is a much younger Everton team we see now, there are at least six players with hundreds of games behind them at various clubs.

Kean, Digne, Gomes, Delph, Sigurdsson, Pickford, Walcott, all quiet as the proverbial church mouse. Silva and his tactics seem to have sucked the life out of them. God forbid, even a half-fit Duncan Ferguson was prepared to put up a fight (quite literally) when the chips were down.

Who can Evertonian's hang their hat on this time around?

Spineless… gutless… if you're going to go down, as least go down with a fight.

They say a team often reflects their manager; if that's the case, the general demeanour of Silva on the touchline doesn't bode well for that future.

Come back, Peter Reid...
Steve Hogan     Posted 27/10/2019 at 20:53:40

The bleedin' obvious

BBC recently published the top 10 teams for Premier League goals (yes, because football was only invented in 1992):

1. Man Utd - 1,999
2. Arsenal - 1,858
3. Liverpool - 1,795
4. Chelsea - 1,789
5. Spurs - 1,562
6. Man City - 1,403
7. Everton - 1,365
8. Newcastle - 1,254
9. Aston Villa - 1,132
10. West Ham - 1,075

With Villa having recently spent a couple of seasons out of the top flight, there are only 6 ever-present Premier League teams, of which we're one. Yet we're seventh, behind a Man City team that went as low as the 3rd tier in 1998, before returning to the top flight in 2002.

Fair enough, Man City have been free-scoring since the Abu Dhabi investment, but Everton are a long way behind the 5th ever-present, Spurs, and this serves to highlight the bleedin' obvious — we don't score enough goals!!!
Matt Traynor     Posted 22/10/2019 at 08:04:48

The Perfect Storm

Can you hear it?

No… neither can I. And you know why we can’t hear anything? It’s because, when you are in the eye of the storm, it’s eerily quiet.

• Zouma doesn’t sign.
• Gueye leaves.
• We don’t sign a proven goalscorer.
• We don’t sign a replacement centre-back in the absence of Zouma.
• Sigurðsson's goal drought.
• Richarlison's goal drought.
• Set-piece fragility returns.
• Gbamin is out for the rest of the season.
• Gbamin's loss (having played 3 iffy games) is seen as a disaster.
• Delph is injury-prone.
• Keane suffers a loss of confidence.
• Kean is an unproven kid in new league.
• Silva never making a sub before 60th minute.
• Silva fixated with 4-3-2-1.
• Silva fixated with zonal marking.
• Silva picking players on reputation not form.
• Squandered arguably the easiest opening fixtures we’ve ever had.
• 8 games played, 6 goals scored, 13 conceded, bottom 3.
• Played only 1 of the “Sky 6”.
• 8 games, one decent performance versus Wolves, one average versus City, six other dismal performances.
• And Liverpool walking away with the title.

Still… it’s too early to panic, isn’t it?

Please, anyone?

ANYONE?
Dave McDowell     Posted 16/10/2019 at 19:26:37

From My Ancient Seat...

From My Ancient Seat – Liverpool 2 Everton 2, 20th October 1979

The derby games of the 1970s were not the best for us, apart from the obvious one in 1978. This one was different, on a few levels.

Back in those days, the TV highlights tended to focus on one main game. Normally the Derby would be an obvious choice, but most games in the mid-to-late 70s were so poor that this time, TV left it alone. Their loss this time.

In those days, the Anfield derby consisted of bunking off school to queue at that place for tickets, getting in to see us lose or hang on for a draw, usually in a desperately dull game. This one was different. A schoolmate of mine had a season ticket for their Main Stand and was going on holiday and let me have his ticket for the day.

After two good years under Gordon Lee, where we had our fair share of bad luck and near-misses, we were having a very poor season. As it happened, they weren’t doing too well either, so we took that as a crumb of comfort before the often-fearful trip to Mordor.

I washed and disinfected myself scrupulously before setting off and entered their Main Stand, quickly noticing that their toilet habits were as discerning as they were on the Kop.

The teams came out and the match started in fairly dull fashion, until 8 minutes in. With neither danger nor Liverpool player in our half, Mick Lyons decided on his regular back-pass to George Wood. Mick’s back-passes were often wayward. This one lofted slowly, painfully, agonisingly over George’s head and under the crossbar. As soon as he hit it, I knew, and all those kopites knew. They went mental, I looked at the ground. When it all calmed down, they were at it, “Look at him, the little get’s a Blue” was the most printable stick I got.

The game livened up and miraculously we got a corner, nodded in by Brian Kidd. This time I went mental. Those sporting Reds said various nasty things but my 15-year-old self didn’t give a Donald.

Half-time came at 1-1. All attempts at conversation were rebuffed, so I carried on hoping.

10 minutes into the second half, they swept down the left and Ray Kennedy scored. I remember it as a pretty good goal, but I wasn’t having them take the mickey, so they got a few "Fuck Off"s back from me. 10 minutes later, Andy King was put through and slotted home. I went full-blown mental and got the expected abuse, "Throw that little Bluenose bastard out", etc. Wonderful.

A few minutes later, it seemed like every player on the pitch was fighting each other – a proper derby dust-up went on for a while until the ref sent off McDermott and Garry Stanley, who were probably the two most innocuous players on a pitch with plenty of hard men. A knowledgeable kopite shouted that only Stanley should have been sent off because “He, he, he, he fuckin should”. As it turned out, McDermott and Stanley were good friends and laughed about it in the tunnel. Minutes later, a naked streaker ran across the pitch, briefly uniting us all in laughter and possibly lust.

It ended 2-2. A cracking game, my favourite non-winning derby ever. Four goals, two comebacks, two sending offs, a streaker and the chance to swear at the kopites face to face in the heat of battle. I went home and had a Dettol bath to take the stench of Mordor away and chatted to my Dad about it all evening, as he never set foot in that place in his whole Blue life.

If anyone has any memories of this game, I’d love to hear about them. It was a great game with no TV coverage, so my memory might be a bit hazy 40 years on!



Paul Tran     Posted 15/10/2019 at 22:27:32

In “Defence” of 4-4-2

“Defenders defend”

“Midfielders create”

“Forwards score”

I have to say I’m sick and tired of 4-2-3-1. Sick of it, sick that we don’t defend, sick that we don’t create and sick that we don’t score. I just want simplicity.

Maybe I’m old fashioned (first Goodison game 1969) but now all I want to see is nothing fancy. I just want simplicity.

I want 4-4-2, I don’t want zonal marking, I don’t want my full backs bombing down the wings, I want clean sheets, centre halves winning headers, full backs stopping crosses. I just want simplicity.

I want 4-4-2, I want my midfield to have a defined shape, give me two wide men (we use to call them wingers you know) one hard tackling mid and one playmaker. I just want simplicity.

I want 4-4-2, give me 2 up top, I know it’s radical but I was brought up on usually “one big’un and one little ‘un” playing off each other, creating mayhem throughout defences. I just want simplicity.

I don’t want my players “profiling” or “trending” on Twitter; Facebook, Snapchat or Tik fucking Tok. I just want simplicity.

I don’t want our manager to be a TV pundit, a radio jock, a community care officer. I want a manager who has the balls to make decisions, pick players on form not transfer fee, holds players accountable and moulds a team greater than the sum of its parts. I just want simplicity.

I want my 11 players to know their jobs, what’s expected of them, carry out instructions, to have tirelessly worked on set pieces in training, run their arses off for 95 minutes and be bloody grateful that they have a job all supporters would die for. I just want simplicity.

I’m just a simple guy who simply wants simplicity.


Dave McDowell     Posted 07/10/2019 at 18:25:31

Frustration

It’s a very over-used quote, but doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is commonly referred to as the definition of insanity. Whilst a number of people have been credited with the quote, Albert Einstein is perhaps the most well known.

If it made sense to Albert, then it’s good enough for me, so I admit I have used it several times in business and in a brave moment with the wife. In reality, it is a flawed statement because there are many times when doing the same thing over and over does actually lead to a different outcome at some stage, but it is often more down to luck than good judgement.

I wonder if Mr Moshiri or the Everton Board have asked themselves the all-important question: Is there another way? Clearly spending very large sums of money on players in successive transfer windows has not worked. I applaud the investment in young talent, but surely there must be a short-term plan of building a winning team supplemented by an injection of young talent to that winning team over time.

Brands has come in to build that future, but how can we continue to start each season with key positions not filled or filled with future talent whose confidence is cruelly damaged from playing in teams that keep losing? Perhaps a new definition of insanity?

Marko Silva is yet to convince me as he has all the makings of a stubborn man determined to do it his way regardless of us probably having the worst spend-to-points ratio in the last few seasons. Noted that started before he arrived, but lessons to be learned surely?

The one caveat to spending is there is little point in spending huge sums on players if there is not a team structure for them to fit into or if there are key positions that are not filled. There is something wrong within the club if the board and management can’t see we lack an experienced striker along with elements of the defence needing replacing or more competition.

I hate the fact that we are discounted for the elusive top 6 after 8 games, but it would take a braver man than me to question this. I hate more the talk that Everton supporters have too high expectations because, frankly, we should be competing for top 4 or 6 based on spending, heritage, and ownership.

The fact that we are already written off smacks of another disastrous transfer window and something else we seem to have lost. The ability to bring in British talent from the lower leagues who know the game, language, and passion to play for the club.

As I said earlier definitions are flawed. Chelsea seem able to win with an infusion of youth, Wolves have a team of imports who have done well, and we have both but linger just above the relegation zone.

I have to blame the management and only they know if that is their fault or Marco’s. No doubt there will be calls for his head and I would put our inability to defend set-pieces as pretty damming reason to part company or employ a defensive coach.

Sadly, changing the manager has become tedious and expensive as one year's big signings are not fancied by the new manager and are replaced with another bunch of big signings and naturally nobody wants to buy the cast-offs so we lose fortunes. I am sure we must be close to the top of the depreciation league when it comes to selling players on.

I do smile when I read about Moyes being thrown into the mix as a possible messiah and the utter hatred that some fans feel toward him.

Maybe you have to be a certain age to remember the years of utter rubbish that proceeded Moyes or the glorious 4th place finish with the world-class Marcus Bent leading the line he delivered. I am joking about being 'world-class', but Bent did have a glorious season, more importantly supported by a midfield and defence who knew that victory starts with one goal and a clean sheet.

Perhaps that something we have to learn again as the basic building block of future success.

Mike Fisher     Posted 06/10/2019 at 15:24:04

Back to Basics… Bring Back David Moyes!

We have had 4 managers in the last 6 years since David Moyes. Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman, Big Sam and now Marco Silva. Fair play to Farhad Moshiri that he has gone in big, spending hundreds of millions to try bring back the glory days of the 80s.

We need to maintain a sense of realism. While we have the cash, we do not have the team sadly. We have a team of pansies and a bunch of unrealistic supporters. Against Burnley, Coleman was trying to drive the team forward and was unfortunate with both bookings. Where was the rest of the team? There is no midfield or attack? Our fullbacks are pressing forward. Why do we need two defensive midfielders?

Most people seem to forget that David Moyes teams were hard to beat. Yes, the quality of football was limited to the personnel. However, in his final season, there were some terrific performances despite the lack of resources. Everton qualified for Europe before Moyes left for Man Utd. It was an opportunity to work at a higher level with more resources to test himself. Yet the same supporters who criticize him would do the exact same thing should such an employment opportunity come their way.

I have been saying the same thing for some time before we hired Big Sam and Silva... Bring Back David Moyes. Give him a short-term deal to see if we can grow together. At least we will see a fighting team out on the pitch. No point having 60-70% possession and losing games. I want teams to know they are going to have a bad day at Goodison and not an easy day when we go to their respective grounds.

David Moyes did not get the funds the first time round… let's give him the funds this time round. He'll get rid of the deadwood and the pansies and give us a fighting team. Who knows that this might just be the tonic we need to make the improvements towards becoming a title contender in the next 3 years.
Arnez Desmond George Fernandez     Posted 06/10/2019 at 12:03:16

Give Dominic Calvert-Lewin a new long-term contract

It won't be universally popular talking about improving contracts when we are 15th on the back of three defeats.

Regardless, I think the club needs to back Dominic Calvert-Lewin now with an improved longer-term deal. I think he has stepped up a gear. He looks stronger to me, more aggressive. I think he is at the very start of his time as a top striker. His heading and finishing is improving. His long-ball winning and fighting off defenders is improving. His determination through a troubled period has never diminished. This shows great mental strength – an attribute that will ultimately override other areas that he is tirelessly working to improve.

Towards the end of last season, when he had a run of games at No 9 in a stable team, we were looking balanced and strong. I know there were other massive factors but we looked like a better team for it against Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City. If he keeps working at it and keeps getting the support, from both the manager and fans, I am confident Dominic is going to be a great player for us long-term.

Timing is everything with regards to contracts. The board should be looking at giving Calvert-Lewin a new long-term one. He deserves parity with Moise Kean and these two and Richarlison should be backed to the hilt to be part of the current and future Everton strikeforce.

Tony  Everan     Posted 01/10/2019 at 11:39:10

Who's missing from the 2018-19 Squad Photo?

I now have (very little) love / (lotsa) hate relationship with the increasingly maddening NewsNow Everton feed that I used to rely on for the latest news about Everton.

Now it's a hell-hole of click-bait. And I should know better but, of course, I clicked on one:

Future of Everton midfielder in doubt after official first team snub

Gosh... what? Who could that be?? How could they snub a future Everton midfielder??? This is the end of the world as we know it!!! Turns out Beni Baningime — who has not played a second of football this season, has been left off the first-team squad photo. Shock, horror. That's it. The lad's done for. Bye-bye Beni.

But the awful story from that awful website "This is Futbol" goes on to say that Tyias Browning is in there — even though he is clearly not part of the first-team squad, only appearing in Under-23 matches so far this season.

As I tried to compare it with the 27-man first-team squad we list on ToffeeWeb, I realised there is someone else from that list who is missing. Can you see who it is?


Michael Kenrick     Posted 13/10/2018 at

Formula X: The Interchangeables

Marco Silva’s first away win of the Season at Leicester City came with two great goals. It was also the best version of a Marco Silva team we have seen so far. The future for the Blues is taking shape, it will take time, but it is increasingly looking bright.

The one thing which, more than any other, points to how Silva wants the team to play, is the attacking formation he set up with at Leicester. Although Richarlison has been the teams best player out on the left so far this season, the argument for playing him down the middle (which increased with his appearances for Brazil in that position in September) had become increasingly louder among Evertonians. Tosun and Calvert-Lewin, although working hard have not been finding the net regularly since the start of the season.

At Leicester, Silva set the team up in a quick counter attacking 4-2-1-3 formation with Gylfi Sigurdsson playing just behind the attacking trident of Bernard on the left, Walcott on the right and Richarlison chosen to play through the middle:

Pickford
Kenny Keane Zouma Digne
Davies Gana
Sigurdsson
Walcott Richarlison Bernard

This formation had Everton on the front foot with an attacking quartet. It also allowed for the work rate of Sigurdsson when he had to drop further back. Gana and Davies were never isolated or out-numbered in midfield, as the team were able to quickly morph into a 4-3-3 with Sigurdsson making it a midfield three when Leicester were on the attack.

With Bernard, Richarlison, and Walcott acting as the first line of defence (although Walcott in my eyes is a weak link in this respect), the team was a dangerous counter-attacking unit.

Silva likes his wide players to be able to cut inside and play along the front line. This was how he set his team up at Watford, and how he played Richarlison while manager of the hornets. The attacking front three we deployed at Leicester have the ability to play these interchangeable roles along the front line.

Richarlison and Walcott have both played down the middle in the past and on opposite wings, while Bernard can, and has played as a number ten behind the striker in the past. It was noticeable at Leicester that Richarlison, especially, would drift out wide on a number of occasions, while Bernard moved into the Sigurdsson position when Tom Davies was substituted, with Sigurdsson dropping further back. What this formation allows for, is interchangeable roles between the front three, were they can change positions along the front line.

With such a fluid attack, the opposition find it hard to pick up the ever changing attacking trident and are dragged around the pitch, freeing up space for Sigurdsson playing just behind the three to exploit. Although not perfect as yet, Bernard and Walcott stuck mainly to the wings at Leicester; this formation worked with Richarlison and Sigurdsson netting the goals in the 2-1 win.

With this 4-2-1-3 formation, Everton now have a fluid attack, which can cause headaches for the opposition. We also have the option of changing formation to 4-3-3 with a more traditional centre forward with Tosun or Calvert-Lewin and two out-and-out wide men. The way the team set up at Leicester was an insight into what we can look forward to at the top end of the pitch in the future, and the fast attacking style Marco Silva is bringing to Goodison Park.


Martin O'Connor     Posted 09/10/2018 at 14:58:04

Nostalgic nineties theme not the answer?

Oh shit. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

Rhino’s permanent contract was to be confirmed shortly. His ‘on the front foot’ style with wide men and goals was supposed to thrill (but if not, at least win some games).

Sunday’s game at Leicester was to be a lovely, punch-the-air occasion – a proper 1990s Super Sunday accompanied by the first dark night of the winter, floodlights, and Unsy banging his chest to salute the victorious Blues. I’d got the real ales in and some logs for the fire, all to intensify the general feeling of loveliness that a return to Everton winning games would bring.

With the Gallagher brothers flying high in the charts again and hope of a new Labour government in the air, Everton were about to recapture the nineties vibe that so intoxicated my generation of Evertonians. I was 14 when Big Joe took the reigns. You’re only 14 once. And, apparently, you only get to see Everton win a trophy at Wembley once.

Suddenly football was so simple again. Why’d we spent 20 years messing about employing outsiders who didn’t ‘get us’? Unsy, Ebbrell, Ferguson, Royle: Everton men.

And our new man at the helm hadn’t wasted time with his ‘front foot’ proclamation – sure, he may as well have declared us the ‘Dogs of War’. He’d dropped the silky summer signing in the manner of Royle dropping Samways and he’d put faith in wingers, like Big Joe did with Anders Limpar. Things were getting exciting – in a retro kind of way.

Crucially perhaps, Unsy wasn’t gifted a big home game to get the ball rolling. Had the Chelsea game been under the lights at Goodison last Wednesday, the place would have been bouncing. A Super Sunday at home to Leicester would have had the Old Lady roaring, if not quite in the manner it did on that famous derby night for Ferguson and Rideout, at least to the point it would have awakened the new recruits as to how big a club we are.

Anyway, you can’t go blaming the fixture list – that’s clutching at straws, I guess. But it still wasn’t meant to be like this.

Three points on Sunday were to be followed up by an expansive and freer performance against Lyon. Then, finally, back at the bear pit, Unsy would experience Goodison rocking, earn us a blood-and-thunder type three points and send us all into the international break clamouring for his permanent signature.

Is it too late for that? Not necessarily. Could we beat Lyon and Watford this week? Perhaps. But after that performance, there’s some huge questions to consider, like:

1. How does he reconcile showing faith in wide men when they were the first to get the hook yesterday?
2. Who’s scoring the goals if Rideout and Ferguson aren’t? (They’re definitely not)
3. If he wanted to go full ‘Dogs of War’, who an earth in the squad is equipped with that skill set?
4. Where’s the belief coming from?
5. And when all is said and done, do these players, some of whom where pictured smirking and giggling on the bench yesterday, actually give a shit? Hell – they probably weren’t even born in 1994.

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

And if things don’t change – like, right now – who the hell is going to come in and get something out of these players?

Things can only get better?

I bloody hope so.
Jon Sellick     Posted 30/10/2017 at 11:51:35

Going Down? You betcha!

I have seen it all since my first game at Goodison, the record gate against Liverpool all those years ago. I am 81 now and never thought I would be writing a headline like that!

I read all your comments over many years, and have contributed occasionally myself. Loads of negativity and the odd optimistic view.

This has been coming for a long, long time now, and if something is not done immediately, I will see that headline come true. Bill Kenwright and Mr Moshiri are just sitting, watching and waiting but doing nothing.

Rooney should never have been allowed within 30 miles of the Old Lady, Koeman should have gone weeks ago... and what a total waste of money on rubbish we bought in the close season.

In my opinion, no matter who we bring in to manage or coach now, it's to late. In my opinion, the players do not want to know.

Can anybody see a way out of this BIG, BIG TROUBLE that my beloved Everton are in? Cut your losses, Mr Moshiri, and ditch the dross, buy big, and pay the money other successful clubs pay... or else; you have been warned!!!
Teddy Draper     Posted 30/10/2017 at 10:50:00

One Direction?

A quarter of the way through the 2017-18 season and the good ship Everton FC finds itself in extremely choppy waters. First and foremost, the results achieved thus far in the season have been disappointing to say the least, but the performances have for the most part regrettably matched those results. An ageing defence, a muddled midfield, and the lack of an out-and-out experienced striker has meant that the team has been dysfunctional and confidence has seeped away as each fixture has been completed.

It was of little surprise to most Evertonians that Ronald Koeman received his marching orders and for the interim period was replaced by David Unsworth. This may or not result in better performances or more importantly putting Premier League points on the board, but it was a decision that needed to be made, when it was made.

What direction the club takes in the next few weeks and months isn't very clear as, on the one hand, the owner Mr Moshiri according to some would like a 'big name' manager to put his project back on track, whilst Mr Kenwright would appear to prefer giving the job to a trusted and able Evertonian, namely David Unsworth. The Director of Football, Steve Walsh, it is said wants to reunite former England partners Sam Allardyce and Craig Shakespeare as the men to take Everton FC forward.

As fans, we can argue which person or combination would be best for the club but ultimately we'll have to take what we are given. The owner and board have an unenviable task in appointing the next boss of Everton FC as it will be a far reaching and critical decision for the future of the club.

Personally I would lean towards leaving David Unsworth in post for the rest of this season, or at least for the rest of this calendar year. The advantage would be two-fold, a mostly positive set of supporters who would get behind one of their own and a settled environment albeit relatively short-term, which would surely help the players to perform to their full potential and thereby help them to gain those very important Premier League points. It would also give the club's leadership time to ponder and evaluate what it is they want from their manager and who they think would best meet their collective aims.

This is the area where I am most concerned about the future of Everton FC, who is it that decides on which person(s) should be hired to manage the club long-term? Is it the owner as it's his club due to his financial commitment? Is it the Chairman's as he is charged with day-to-day decision making along with his board or does Steve Walsh – a newcomer whose role isn't exactly clear – have more say in the process than we as fans may appreciate.

Whichever individual is responsible for the hiring and firing the manager of the team, it is important nay crucial that the decision is made in the best interest of the football club and its supporters, it is not a decision to be taken lightly or to help stroke the ego of the person who makes it. If the owner insists on having a high-profile person to take the club forward for purely footballing reasons, I would support that decision... as I would support the Chairman if he believed that it is more important to have somebody in charge that lives and breathes Everton FC.

A clear direction of travel from those in charge of the club is imperative at this juncture and until they can agree on that, the appointment of the new manager will be fraught with the same issues that surrounded the appointments of Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman.


Lawrence Green     Posted 29/10/2017 at 13:17:14

January priorities

Let's suppose David Unsworth stays as manager. I believe he will always give his U23s a chance if our so-called first teamers fail to shine.

He knows what we missed out on in the close season and who we need in the next window, hopefully he'll get them. But who would you get?

Unfortunately Baines is finished so for me Kieran Tierney from Celtic. They will have already sewn the league up so nothing to play for.

Left-sided centre-half, Gibson from Middlesboro, can also play left back. Another season down there so maybe they'd sell.

Two forwards... well now there's a problem. What club is going to sell their on-form strikers mid-season? Obviously there's a wish list but realistically who we could land, if anyone, is anyone's guess.

I think we'd have to make do with the rest but could we bin anyone? Williams? Schneiderlin? Klaassen? McCarthy?
John Keating     Posted 27/10/2017 at 08:11:17

Joachim Löw

A name I wanted to throw out there, who hasn’t been mentioned in the media at all and see what fellow Evertonians thoughts were, whether good or bad, would be a possible approach for Joachim Löw as our next Manager.

A long shot maybe, but would you be happy with him taking over the Goodison hot seat after the 2018 World Cup? We could retain David Unsworth for the remainder of this season with a view to Löw taking over the reins once Germany’s campaign has finished.

An immediate downside may well be that he won’t have a full pre-season with the players but Chelsea had the same issue with Conte and that didn’t turn out too bad. He has been away from club management for around 10 years, he is a proven winner, a top coach, and a world-renowned name who would gain instant respect from the players. He would also be a major asset for us when trying to attract highly sort-after players in the transfer market and have the pulling power, with all due respect, that Unsworth won’t have.

For all we know, after 10 years managing his National side, he may well be looking very soon to get back into club management; we could steal a march on our rivals with an early approach before the Premier League manager merry-go-round kicks in later in the season.

Just a thought…


Paul Thomas     Posted 26/10/2017 at

The Candidates

David Unsworth has been handed the reins on a temporary basis and could yet earn the gig on a permanent basis if he sparks an instant turnaround in Everton's fortunes but the media will crack on with speculation over the Blues' new boss regardless.

Here is a list of the candidates already mentioned or who are listed by oddsmakers as potential choices. What are your thoughts? Who would you like to see approached and why? And who do you think should definitely not be considered and why not? Any more names we've left out?

  • Sam Allardyce
  • Carlo Ancelotti
  • Mikel Arteta
  • Rafael Benitez
  • Steve Clarke
  • Chris Coleman
  • Frank de Boer
  • Sean Dyche
  • Lucien Favre
  • Paulo Fonseca
  • Ryan Giggs
  • Guus Hiddink
  • Eddie Howe
  • Chris Hughton
  • Roberto Mancini
  • Gary Monk
  • David Moyes
  • Phil Neville
  • Martin O'Neill
  • Manuel Pellegrini
  • Claudio Ranieri
  • Gary Rowett
  • Nuno Espirito Santo
  • Marco Silva
  • Thomas Tuchel
  • Louis van Gaal
  • David Wagner

ToffeeWeb      Posted 24/10/2017 at

#BringBackBarkley

I know he's injured and he (apparently) wants out, and I don't know how much Koeman has to do with it... but anyone remember how Thomas Gravesen stepped up when he was looking for a transfer?

I don't know about the rest of you but I'd at this put I'd rather have Ross over Sig or Klaassen (wast of money if you ask me!)

Cue: Discussion

Also - Koeman.. Play with some bloody wingers will ya!! (Real wingers not makeshift No.10 or midfielders in wide areas)
Gaz Smith     Posted 22/10/2017 at 22:20:18

Has there ever been a worse time to be an Evertonian?

Back in 1998, Colin Shindler, a Man. City fan , wrote a brilliant book entitled “Manchester United ruined my life.” Right now, I really wish I could publish the same about Everton, except I won’t be blaming another team, I would just be directing all my ire at Everton.
Here’s my catalogue of reasons why I think now is the worst time ever to have been an Everton fan.

  1. Bill Kenwright. He has been the owner since 1999. Many considered him to have gone when the Fairy Godmother Moshiri arrived on the scene last year. As we now know, Moshiri was only ever brought in to prolong Kenwright’s stay. Everton won’t win anything until Kenwright leaves and he probably won’t leave until he’s in a box.
  2. Ronald Koeman – he may well have finally been sacked by the time this article is published. An awful manager with a bad track record but our owners clearly don’t believe in due diligence. As the previous appointment also proved.
  3. Steve Walsh – what does he do? Answers on a postcard. When was the last time the club bought a player who represented value for money? Tim Cahill?
  4. Funny business- the club seem to exercise great sway over the media. For the last two seasons, the media, last summer it was the Daily Express and this year, the Mail, have run stories about Everton having a £100m warchest. Why do the media constantly put out stories about Everton’s £150m spending spree, when what was meant to happen very clearly was that the books were meant to have been balanced?
  5. Ok , we know that Lukaku was always going to be sold but why does the club continue to sell off all of the assets? Deulofeu is good enough to play for Barca but not us- how? Why was Koeman desperate to sell Barkley? I know for a fact that the player didn’t want to go got Chelsea.
  6. Finally, only in the realm of PR and spin do the club excel themselves. The club have convinced the media that we have a new ground on the way. Precedence suggests that there is no new ground. I feel a bit like one of the first people to realise the earth is around. Everyone else will catch on eventually.

There is nothing good about the club. In the dark days of being in the Second Division, the fans could dream of promotion. We have nothing. In the next few days the club will fire Koeman and probably replace him with Sam Allardyce. Why? Because the only thing that the Kenwrights care about is money and Allardyce’s track record will probably ensure we stay up. And so, the cycle continues. Sadly, at the age of 58, and over 50 years since my first visit to Goodison, I have given up. Everton haven’t quite ruined my life but they have done me no favours.


Jonathan Tasker     Posted 22/10/2017 at 20:58:14

Merseyside v North London

Having watched both the games and I thoroughly enjoyed the second game, let me spell out the difference between Liverpool's problems and ours. Let's ignore one huge point, they have attacking talent and we don't. Let's just concentrate on the way we are prepared for our games, the formations we adopt and the way we react to problems on the pitch.

First of all, we keep repeating the tactical formation of 3-5-1-1. To keep repeating the same formation and expecting the result to be different is a definition of football madness. To play three at the back you need fast mobile players. Cahill can play in the middle , but he's flanked by Luiz and Azpilicueta who have pace. Not three centre backs, two of whom are way past their sell-by-date and who never had pace, and one whose confidence is fast being destroyed by being asked to play in a system that manifestly does not work.

Secondly we have a midfield in which Gueye is terrific at winning the ball and he plays in the same way all the time. If , as today, he gets booked early on, he is incapable of changing his game to ensure he stays on the pitch. A good manager would have taken him off before the second card arrived, but we'll leave that point. the rest of the midfield are not game masters. They can't control a midfield and spray passes to front runners (I know we haven't got any,but I'll come to that). Schneiderlin repeats Gueye's role, but is less effective, Rooney is not a midfielder and never will be, Sigurdsson, a fifty million pound player is peripheral to the midfield and wants to play just behind a strong striker. Klaassen is not a Premier League player, he's neat and totally lightweight. Davies in the right midfield would be one hell of an asset, but is too young and inexperienced to run the midfield.Vlasic is like Davies promising, but not yet able to run a midfield. We do have Ross Barkley , a true jewel, but he's unwilling to play under a manager who has denigrated everything he has ever done.

As for wide players we got rid of Deulofeu for reasons that I don't understand, we signed Lookman and rarely give him game time, Bolasie is injured for ever and Mirallas is another whom the manager does not seem to like.

Up front as we conspiculously failed to sign any kind of replacement for Lukaku, we have Calvert Lewin who has potential, but is as yet incapable of playing as a lone centre forward , Niasse whose role is to come on for twenty minutes and score a consolation goal and Ramirez who tries like mad, but whose skill level is rather of the level of Brett Angel.

I've ignored the wing backs. Baines is a shadow of the player we had three seasons ago. Galloway's been sent away, Garbutt has mysteriously not been registered to play. Kenny is picked rarely to placate the fans Martina couldn't get near teh Southampton team but is deemed good enough for us.

This group of players have been assembled by this clown of a manager in order that we can push on from last season to finish in the top four. Moyes was dour and risk-averse, Martinez, a cock-eyed optimist, but compared to Koeman , they were tactically astute.

I'm old enough to have seen Everton when they were in the second division, I've seen some terrible teams in the fifties, mid-seventies, early eighties, ninetoies and noughties, but this is even more depressing, This squad assembled without planning, consists of old men and inexperienced kids. It has five number tens as we now call them. Koeman refused to buy a striker or a second central defender. He refuses to play a wide player and certain players, particularly Barkley, are alienated and ostracised.

This man is ideally suited to manage the Dutch national team. With the compensation he'll receive when he forces the Board to sack him. I believe that no manager could be this incompetent, I believe he is cynically attempting to manipulate his dismissal with full compensation.

As for Liverpool this afternoon, I don't give a damn, but I'd far rather be in their position with their attacking talent and their committed manager. We have Ronald McDonald and it's not funny.
Rick Tarleton     Posted 22/10/2017 at 18:32:21

Summer Madness

I am, like thousands of Everton fans elsewhere, totally aghast at the dire fare we have to put up with at the moment. You can use as many words as you want to try and describe the team at the moment – shapeless, rudderless, tactically inept, characterless, static, serious lack of pace, serious lack of goals – while, as is usual, the manager takes the blame and, in this case, it’s probably 70% correct. Why 70%?

I think the summer transfer window turned from initially being one which enthralled all of us, with very early captures of Pickford and Keane, both quality internationals and young men. What happened next was I believe where the window started to turn against us.

Going back to February / March, we were obviously looking to take Sigurdsson off Swansea’s hands when they were heading straight down to the Championship. He was destined to be our No 10, our midfield creator, our guaranteed 10 goals a season man. But then Swansea recovered, stayed in the Premier League and were determined to keep Sigurdsson at all costs – no way were they going to sell him.

Koeman, not Walsh, then switched his target to Klaassen – he knew him well, he knew we’d get him at a price and he also thought he would be our No 10, capable of creating and scoring, but let’s give Koeman some due: Klaassen’s success was never going to be instant, it so rarely is with imports.

So far so good, but then Rooney came into focus. It looked early doors that he would go to China, then he wasn’t, then we wanted a loan, but Mourinho wouldn’t agree, then finally the swap of Lukaku and Rooney took place. It’s fair to say that Rooney’s experience, his stature in the game, his "done it all before" know-how, would be a huge bonus for Everton and in particular the young players we had.

So we had two No 10’s, Rooney won’t last 38+ games and Klaassen will grow into the Premier League. Then we got the “bargain of the year” in the shape of Sandro Ramirez, the 21-goal La Liga man, the ex-Barcelona man, and to be fair he still might come good.

At this stage, credit due, Koeman stated publicly on numerous occasions he still needed a left sided defender, a centre-forward and a wide man. But then it became absolutely apparent that Sigurdsson wanted to join us and rebelled at Swansea. I suspect that Koeman couldn’t resist the move, it was the player he always wanted, his “creativity” and rather than Walsh, Kenwright or even Moshiri raise objections to the in-balance in his squad, they kept quiet and got Koeman his prized asset. Now we had three No 10s!!!

Once again Koeman stated as loud as possible he still needed 3 players. The crime, either Walsh’s, Kenwright's or Moshiri's was that we only got Vlasic as the wide man, and failed miserably, naively, as Giroud and his missus declared as most thought, they were staying in London’s bright lights. Any Plan B (Benteke?), Plan C (Llorente?), Plan D (King, Long) was non-existent. Our left-sided defender didn’t even reach the drawing board for some unknown reason and we are now in this mess.

We keep hearing from disgruntled fans about using Mirallas, Lookman, Kenny, or Garbutt, but realistically other than Kenny the rest have failed miserably whenever tried. Mirallas, on numerous occasions, over the years.

Lookman looked like a 16-year old novice when played against Hajduk Split away. He went missing time and time again, lost countless balls and was pulled off at half time. He has so much to learn about the quality required to play in the Premier League.

Garbutt is great going forward but like Galloway he can’t defend at all, both have been given loans and failed.

So here we stand, a squad with 8 or 9 new players, a number of who will want 6 months to bed in, a side lacking the 2-3 players who can run at pace, a side with too many players who want to direct/control play, a side with 3 defenders well over 30, and a side lacking the pre-requisite 20-goals-a-season forward.

Whose fault, Koeman, Walsh, probably parts of the Board, but as usual Koeman has been given the jigsaw to manage with key parts missing. Hopefully Coleman and possibly Bolasie will be able to return, though again it will be 4 to 6 games before they will be firing on all cylinders. January is the first opportunity to get the new parts, but then realistically they’ll require 4 months to bed in.

So let’s be prepared for a long, long season with, I suspect, early Cup exits and relegation a permanent threat. Will Koeman be shown the door, I don’t think so. I’m not certain; if things go really belly up, then maybe mid-season, but if it’s a mid-table type season, then perhaps not until the season's end, if at all. This has been a collective disaster from top to bottom and I think Koeman will be given a chance to show he can manage it.
Mike Oates     Posted 16/10/2017 at 21:52:04

Lukaku, Stones, Barkley and the betrayal of Everton

I suggest that many Evertonians think we need the following:

A 20-goal-a-season striker, a creative midfielder with guile, and a footballing central defender who can pass. We had all three... three players who are as good as any, in my view, that we have had in 15 years. Two have gone the other likely will follow them.

I know some will say: "What could we do? They wanted away." Well, I do not believe Liverpool would have sold Lukaku to Manchester United for £90 million, Stones to City for £47½ million, or sent Barkley to Chelsea for a medical... Never in a million years. Why not?

Because, whether Liverpool are a big club or not, they act like one. We act like a non-league club who drew Man Utd away in the FA Cup Third Round... Humble, grateful subservient, knowing of our place.

The relationship with Man Utd has stunk for years. They steal Rooney off us and hand him back when he is almost done. We get Howard, Gibson, Blomqvist, Neville, Saha, Cleverley, Schneiderlin... they get Lukaku and Fellaini.

The custodians of our club have a small-time mentality. In my view, they are self-serving and devoid of backbone, ambition, imagination and aspiration. The utterings of Mr Moshiri and his use of Jim White are toe-curling. Something is wrong, badly wrong.

We had an opportunity, we had the spine of a great team. To me, Lukaku, Stones and Barkley will be world class players. It should have been with us. We have small-minded men running our club. They aspire to Premier League status and the rewards that go with it. Profit and gain.

Koeman would not have been my first choice as manager but I thought it was an okay appointment. I think he was brought in as a safe pair of hands. Sadly, our self-serving guardians aren't even good at that.


Andy Crooks     Posted 10/10/2017 at 19:58:34

Realistically, who's in the frame?

The vast majority of Blues want to see Koeman replaced. Hopefully, the Board are sounding out potential replacements, as we can all see where this is heading.

Who can we get? In no particular order, here's a quick rundown of names who could possibly step into the hot seat once the inevitable happens:

1. Thomas Tuchel.
2. Sam Allardyce.
3. Sean Dyche.
4. Chris Coleman.
5. David Unsworth.
6. David Moyes Mk II
7. Brendan Rodgers.
8. Walter Mazzarri.

I personally don't see Ancelotti even considering us, and there is no way Benitez will upset the red side of the City by coming to us. The same could be said for Rodgers, but he will want to get back into the Premier League.

It's not exactly an inspirational list of candidates, but we have to start somewhere!


Kevin Tully     Posted 10/10/2017 at 11:18:03

Be bold. Try this out

I've been a Toffee fan since the 1970s and I dare say this current team has got talent. The problem with people nowadays is we expect instant results. 11 players assembled in less than 2 months are expected to play like Barcelona – fluid soccer with perfect understanding.

And look at our fixtures! Someone out there is trying to sabotage Koeman with such horrendous fixtures. And the next few games aren't any better. Go take a good look.

Give Koeman more time, I say. Even one full season if we must. Have faith in this man who, given a full 100 percent no injury squad, will unleash the best Everton team.

Let's forget about getting a main striker for now. Let's support the team in this difficult moments. They know they have to produce results. Booing them doesn't help at all.

Laugh if you must at my first 11 choice. Based on a jam pack midfield crew, I will go for this formation and players to play. 1-2-3-3-1 formation. Last man- Keane, the 2 in front of him, Gueye and Schneiderlin, the next 3 being Baines, Sigurdsson and Davies, the next 3 being Lookman, Calvert-Lewin and Rooney, and striker Oumar. Based on current form, goalkeeper Pickford.

I can't imagine if we have a full squad with zero injuries. And please keep Barkley if we can. Koeman, try this out!
Nizam Darwish     Posted 06/10/2017 at 00:29:15

Can the class of '92 be repeated with the Everton U20 World cup winners?

Mark Twain once said in a quote that history does not repeat itself but it often rhymes. So if this is true then why can't Everton build a team around the five youngsters that won the U20 World Cup?

Dowell, Davies, Lookman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Kenny, like Manchester United did with Beckham, Butt, Giggs, Scholes, Gary Neville and Phil Neville. [I include Davies, who would have gone to the U20WC if permitted by Everton, and not Connolly as he was mainly a substitute.]

Don't forget that the likes of Beckam went on loan to Preston, and our own Kieren Dowell is getting rave reviews at Forest. The team spirit between the five Everton lads is strong with three local lads, so this must be the recipe that United used.

Will Ronald Koeman take a chance and use the class of '92 model or would David Unsworth in partnership with, say, Joe Royle work better.

Everton have got a chance here to build something special, but will the club and the fans have patience to let it develop?
Paul Holmes     Posted 05/10/2017 at 12:59:22

It was never the players!

The only crumb of comfort I have from this horrific mess Koeman has put us in (and it is horrific and so unnecessary) is that players like Jagielka, Coleman, McCarthy, Barry, Barkley, Mirallas, Kone (probably the most derided), McGeady, who have all been cited in the recent past as either finished, will never make it or just not good enough are now nowhere near our first team and not involved in the current fiasco.

Apparently, we needed a clear-out and a host of new signings so we could challenge for a top 4 place.

Well, actually, I wish we had the aforementioned players available right now, underachieving maybe (because of the manager), but they would be doing a damn sight better than the present lot. Although, if you added Pickford, Baines and Keane to those eight players, that's not a bad side. Plenty of pace and width. Bloody hell, it's revolutionary!

It's all about having a good manager who does the right things, picks a balanced team and doesn't keep making unnecessary changes.

Continuity is key.

Add Deulofeu, McAleny, Galloway, Garbutt, Browning, Holgate, Davies, Kenny and others and you can see that our potential is getting destroyed by this manager. Fancy not wanting to keep a player like Barkley at Everton. Why would you replace him with a player who is just the same but with no pace? Any decent manager worth his salt would love to have Barkley and get the best out of him. That's why Chelsea wanted him and Spurs will probably get him.

Koeman is the one who is not good enough and needs to be dropped, dismissed, booted out! The buck stops with the manager, no one else.

FFS what are the board waiting for. Get rid now!
Jim Wilson     Posted 03/10/2017 at 16:57:22

Hostile and partisan

An interview with Howard Webb from last month provides an interesting insight into the clubs, managers and fans he found most troublesome whilst officiating in the Premier League.

He will have won no new fans amongst Blues by naming Everton and Stoke as the two sets of fans as partisan and hostile. By coupling us with the lovable Potters fans he has surely delivered the greatest possible insult!

Interesting that he names David Moyes as the manager with whom he had the most fractious interactions.

Everton were a great club behind the scenes and I liked Everton a lot but some of their fans were so partisan. You know, the most clear situation that you would penalise would be greeted with howls of derision.

That touchline on the far side from the Main Stand was the hardest place for the Assistants to run. They would certainly feel the pressure from the fans behind.

The Article can be found on Mirror Football.
Gavin Fennessy     Posted 08/11/2016 at Tue, 08 Nov 2016 22:31:37 +0000

Gay and Royal Blue

Are Everton FC and Evertonians brave enough to break the ice and openly support ANY professional footballer who comes out as gay?

I believe that beyond supporting players, WE as a club should do so, now. Our history of innovation within our sport has always been aimed at societal involvement. From even before 1878 to EitC, this supremely fine club has only ever had PEOPLE as its prime consideration. Other clubs can never compare.

Surely then Everton FC would (once again), by declaring openly their willingness, openness and support for gay people, continue our record as innovators ?

The present debate regarding players who are gay having the bravado to "come out", is based upon a single, brave, individual having the guts to stand alone. Big ask... Wrong.

Everton state that we are an equality organisation. So, let's just say "Everton Football Club Employs Gay People". Then, let's get on with being Everton?

IF Everton OPENLY do this, then every Football Club on this planet MUST follow.

Fear must NOT be argued as a factor. Following bullies is NOT brave. PLEASE, Everton, break the ice!

For the record, I'm not gay. I DID agonise whether my disclosure would aid or hinder. Doing NOTHING in the face of vile prejudice is the only thing that permits harm! I'm straightforward, as ALL Evertonians are aware.

"Those who know, need no explanation..." May "The Holy Trinity" be your guiding lights.
Tony Draper     Posted 26/10/2016 at 161026

Why have an Academy?!?

Is it really worth us having an Academy? And the same can be probably be said for the Top 6 rich clubs or so, in the Premier League. Are the kids actually given a chance to show what they can do? Will they ever be given the chance or is it just too risky?

I was brought up when the likes of Brian Labone. Jimmy Husband, Colin Harvey, Gary Stevens, Joe Royle, Francis Jeffers, Michael Ball, with loads more to forget in the '60s to the '90s, and more recently since 2003 — Wayne Rooney, Jack Rodwell and Ross Barkley were given extended runs in the 1st team to show they could make it.

Today, I don’t think the likes of Mourinho, Klopp, Guardiola, Wenger, Pochettino, Koeman will offer any 18- to 20-year-old coming through the academy, the 6 to 10 senior games he needs to see if he can make it at that level. It’s just too risky.

It’s easier to spend £5-15M on an 20- to 22-year-old who has shown at other clubs – be it in the UK or abroad – he can physically meet what’s required, that he has the 20- to 40-game experience required to convince the managers he is worth the risk. Why has Koeman let Cleverley play instead of Tom Davies? Why has he allowed Deulofeu to play as a creative player instead of using Dowell or Walsh? Why has he allowed Galloway to go on loan and instead play Oviedo?

It was interesting to hear a Podcast today when the Echo’s Everton reporters touched on the problem Liam Walsh faces — an excellent footballer, physically maybe too small, but he won’t get a chance to play. One of the reasons they cited was that today’s top managers only get at most 2-3 years to prove they are worth their £4-6m a year and there is no way they are going to throw an untried youngster into the fray and give him sufficient game time.

Look at Everton’s latest young players who might be called successful at breaking through – Stones bought at 18 from Barnsley after playing a season with them; same for Holgate; same for Galloway with MK Dons, and I bet the next guy given a chance will be Dominc Calvert-Lewin who has played for Sheffield United and Northampton Town 1st teams. The financial rewards for success are so great for club and staff that any possible short-term problems or issues will be avoided even if it could potentially benefit the club in the long term.

Will we consider playing anyone of our own? Davies, Dowell, Kenny, Walsh, Dyson, etc etc – I think not! So why have an Academy? And what do Unsworth and Sheedy think about it all?
Mike Oates     Posted 21/10/2016 at 22:09:08

Alex Witsel

Watched the Dundalk v Zenit St Petersburg on TV3 tonight. Full professional team of Zenit just about got away with a 1-2 win against the part-timers of Dundalk.

My particular focus was on the performance of Alex Witsel, with whom we were linked earlier this year. Suffice to say he was distinctly unimpressive. Anything but a game changer. Not saying he was bad. Just not particularly imposing.

Think we avoided a bullet there...
Declan Martin     Posted 20/10/2016 at 161020

Raising the bar from last season

I have just watched the "Final word" of the Derby last season before the cup semi-final, and I remembered what every one of us have forced out of our minds.

We were totally unfit as a team, no dicipline shown from any of the players but Gareth Barry.

If you go and watch that particular Toffee TV clip after losing the Derby in a humiliating way, you are reminded of where we were as a team, then it becomes clear how hard Koeman has had to work to get BASIC dicipline and fitness back into this team.

We are in my opinion starting a clear out of the old utter lazy mindsets of the first team players, and I can see that certain players still have not been able to change as much as Koeman wants.

If I am being honest I think players like Barkley, Mirallas, Deulofeu, Lukaku, Coleman and McCarthy have not given their all to elevate themselves, whether it is a lack of full effort or just a refusal to give up that primadonna attitude from last season I do not know.

Basically I think the new fitness regime is taking a toll on players not being used to working hard for a long time.

I also think as I said above that certain players have still not adapted mentally from last season, and I am concerned that this season will be an average season because of players playing catch up both physichally and mentally.

The biggest question is this: How long will it take for the team as a whole will have learned the hard way as they say?

Koeman for me is having to spend time on basic fitness still into the season because we as team are behind schedual in that area.

So I am letting every single Evertonian know where we ACTUALLY are, not where we should be.

Go and check out the "Final word" on ToffeeTV of the 4-0 defeat last season and it will all come back to you how truly dismal we were fitness wise and attitude wise.

I feel very secure about my view on this, and again I urge us as fans to be more grounded to the cold hard facts and then we can all be as one and go forward as one, because the mood should be that we are all fully behind what Koeman is doing.

That will improve the feeling towards the club and where we are going, all I want is for everyone to get behind the team at Goodison and roar them forwards because I can see they really need our "12th player" to carry them through this adjustment period!


Jimmy-Aage Soerheim     Posted 11/10/2016 at 21:20:09

Bill Bryson at Goodison Park

I was browsing in a bookshop and came across a passage in Bill Bryson's latest book about his travels round Britain. I turned to the chapter about the North and was interested to read about his visit to Goodison Park.

He went with his son-in-law and his children who are mad Evertonians even though they live hundreds of miles away, and can never attend games – which must be familiar to many ToffeeWebers. Anyway, Bryson bought them tickets as a treat. He gave a potted history of the club, explaining for his readers where Everton the district is, and what it is like. He wasn't complimentary about the environs of the stadium.

They met in the city centre with the family all in Royal Blue and replica shirts. They were the only ones so dressed; it seems to Bryson that Everton remains a secret even in its own city. However, around the ground there were thousands in replica shirts, even though most were the larger sizes, and many wearers had tattoos on their necks.

He described Goodison Park and its venerable history, being the first purpose-built soccer stadium; which sounds charming, until he considered that places like Liberia and Burkina Faso have better facilities for watching soccer. He squeezed himself into a tiny wooden seat (perhaps he was sitting near me in the Upper Bullens) and when numbness had replaced the pain in both buttocks, he could look around and take in what was happening.

Not for the first time at an English soccer match, he found that he was the only one enjoying the experience. All around him spectators were anxious, angry or depressed. Someone behind him seemed obsessed with the German philosopher 'Kant'... When Manchester City scored, the gloomy silence deepened. There was a bright moment when Everton equalised, but his son-in-law was not impressed – Everton had plenty of chances to win but naturally missed them all.

I thought it was all very interesting, not least because Bryson is a good writer and always entertaining. I have just returned from a visit to the United States, and I marked the contrast with their football and baseball stadiums, with their fantastic (though very expensive) fan facilities and their relentlessly positive fans, albeit without any humorous songs or chants.

It is also valuable, I think, to discover what outsiders think about us. As the great Robbie Burns wrote:

"O wad some pow'r the giftie gi'e us
to see oursel's as others see us"


Roger Helm     Posted 11/10/2016 at 20:29:38

Plans for road improvements near Bramley Moore dock

The plot thickens with regard to Everton moving to Bramley Moore Dock.

I see an article has been published today in the Echo stating that Liverpool Council have issued notice of their intention to buy land alongside the Great Howard Street and Regent Road areas for the purposes of an upgrade to the roads (to dual carriageway). If you are not familiar with the area, these are the two roads that run parallel to Bramley Moore dock.

The plan is to complete the work by 2019 and the council have said that, if necessary, compulsory purchase orders will be issued.

Surely this is yet another indication of the enabling work that must be undertaken to make the dockside stadium come to fruition.
Joe  Wilcox     Posted 06/10/2016 at 161006

Everton takeover?

Hello, fellow Blues.

I am a Hackney driver in the city. Last Thursday Liverpool played Rubin Kazan and that afternoon a Russian guy got in my taxi at Lime St station.

He wanted to go to the Hilton to meet his friends who owned Kazan. He asked if I was a Kopite and I said, no I'm a Blue.

He then told me that Everton would be sold in 3 weeks.
John Powell     Posted 28/10/2015 at 13:19:01

Are two DMs really the problem?

A lot has been made of the McCarthy/Barry axis being a problem for the team and the style of play it necessitates.

While I am not in complete contradiction of that view I look at the top sides and they nearly all have 2 defensive midfielders.

The major difference being they get up the pitch more in support. One goes the other covers and they are capable of contributing goals.

I have long since been lamenting the loss of Fellaini who not only pestered the life out of the opposition but weighed in with a good contribution of goals.

I feel the problem with our two is they are short in certain areas.

Gareth Barry is now slower and cant cover as much ground as he used to andin addition to being late in the tackle(i.e. free kick and yellow card) doesnt contribute any goal threat.

McCarthy cover plenty of ground but gets goosepimples if he goes over the halfway line and also doesnt contribute any goal threat.

For now (until we get that coveted playmaker) I would push Barry much further up the pitch (I know some of you would push him off the pitch) where his ability to link up play and spot a pass will improve us and it will take the team further up the pitch and support Lukaku more..
Jay Harris     Posted 26/10/2015 at 16:36:52

Meet the new boss; same as the old boss

Get used to it, lads; we've come full circle... nothing is going to change. Better get used to it, baring one of four miracles, two of which are of a dubious "be careful what you wish for" type. Martinez is here for as long as he wants:

1) New owner.

2) A Walker-esque meltdown. We dipped our toe in that pool last winter, so don't discount it.

3) A fairy godmother "Moyes to United" move; we won't get lucky twice.

4) Somebody pulls a Suarez out of the hat.

Let's face it, #1 or #2 are more likely, well less unlikely really.

If you laid the fingerprint of Moyes's, all too numerous to mention but well documented (done to death in fact), failures, mistakes, blind spots etc over one of Martinez, you would get enough points of commonality for this juror to say "Guilty!"

Going to the match in 13-14 was by-&-large a decent day out football-wise. There were the exceptions but, on the whole... OK.

Now, as it was in the post-2006 Moyes years (with the odd exception), we have Dross, Zombie Football. Most games, the ground is a graveyard. Yes, we upset the odd decent team at home and even they recently turned big City away a few times before they got their act together.

What we have now is Groundhog, game, result, season, manager 2.0.

The "pass them to death" has been (easily) countered. All the poor-to-average teams know not to try to take it to us... "Two banks of four, lads, keep it tight, these are shite."

With the added bonus of, if you have somebody who hasn't scored for a long time, stick him up front he's nailed on to get given a freebie or two.

The really good teams, unless they are in Chelsea mode, won't worry much home or away.

So this is it for the foresee-able future. Have an afternoon or evening out; see your family and or friends as you do every game, have a few beers before or after... just don't bank on too much decent football from this Everton.
Derek Thomas     Posted 20/10/2015 at 01:41:36

Specialist Subject on Mastermind

Not sure if you all already know this, but tonight (Friday, 16 October on BBC2 at 8pm) one of the contestants on Mastermind is answering questions on the specialist subject of Everton FC.

I'm sure some of you would do rather well...
Les Green     Posted 16/10/2015 at 16:41:37

Tough start - well and truly

Little bit of maths and fun for you all while the boring International games take place.

The first 10 fixtures as we all knew at the beginning of the season were rather cruel to Everton, with 8 out those fixtures against the Top 10 finishers last season. On an equally boring rainy day I did some good old arithmetic and looked to see just how tough a set we got vs other teams. I gave 1 to Chelsea for finishing 1st last season and down to 20 to Norwich for getting promoted in last position from Championship.

After 8 games to date, poor Newcastle have been given the more difficult start by some margin from us , with Chelsea just behind us. But looking at the first 10 games we shoot into the lead by an enormous amount with Utd in 2nd place and Newcastle 3rd.

For interest Ive put the 5 teams for hardest fixture in games 1-8 , and the easiest 1 -8 and did likewise for first 10 games.

Games 1-8


Hardest Easiest
Newcastle 56 Bournemouth 113
Everton 61 Leicester 100
Chelsea 69 Sunderland 98
Arsenal 71 Stoke 96
Spurs 74 Liverpool 94

Games 1 10


Hardest Easiest
Everton 68 Sunderland 126
Man Utd 90 Stoke 123
Newcastle 92 Bournemouth 120
Watford 96 Norwich 120
Chelsea 98 Leicester 117

So looking at these we have been dealt a huge disadvantage particularly after 10 games, so hopefully things should get better but I might just repeat the exercise for the 10 - 20 fixtures taking into account this years league placing after first 10 games.

Whatever way you look at it if we do well in next 2 games , Man Utd and Arsenal it should set us up for a great season hopefully, fingers crossed, salt over the shoulder, and any other wish charm you may want to use.


Mike Oates     Posted 08/10/2015 at 17:39:10

Going down, going down, going down...

Having got your interest, may I assure you I am not referring to Everton`s end-of-season fate but the price at which the Club will now have to be marketed if Kenwright & Co are to attract a buyer.

An old chestnut, I know, but my interest was re-awakened by a report on TalkSport that Aston Villa could now be snapped up for the paltry sum of just.....100 million.

Now here is a club with a state-of-the-art stadium, a massive potential fanbase and a history which, although illustrious, like Everton, owes much more to times past than very recent.

The significance of that being a TalkSport valuation is that the last time anyone publically valued our club, it was none other than that station's Stan Collymore and he hit upon 125M.

All of which moves me to ask whether Everton could attract anything like that amount in the present market and, in any event, if ToffeeWebers would still plump for a sale given the tragedies which have befallen the likes of Leeds and Newcastle?

So, as I say, going down, going down. Either way, sell or stick, it seems BK may have missed the boat!


Phil Walling     Posted 29/10/2014 at 18:46:41

Robles and loaning

I was looking at the BBC coverage for the FA Cup First Round draw earlier and saw a picture from Wigan's memorable Wembley triumph with a very happy Joel Robles... not something we have seen a lot of.

Anyway, it got me thinking, here is a young keeper who was highly rated (on par with De Gea in his early days) who has won a cup and yet is nowhere near our first team. He has looked a bit terrified every time he has played for us but then that's hardly a surprise when he gets so little game time, is it?

I'm not really sure how much he can be expected to improve sat on the bench watching Tim Howard nervously prowling his area. It would seem with the Carling Cup gone he's not gonna get a game any time soon unless perhaps we have a dead rubber in Europe. Surely it would be far more productive for Joel to be out at a Championship club where he could be playing every week and learning his trade whilst building his confidence? Would it not be possible to do this with a recall clause should Howard get injured?

The same can be said for our better/older youth players. The likes of Garbutt and Browning are no longer going to get much from playing U21s. In my opinion, they should be at Championship clubs, hopefully starting every week and honing their skills in proper match conditions. Put recall clauses in the loan deals in case the likes of Baines/Coleman get injured and then you have a match fit and sharp youngster ready to step in.

Perhaps the recall clause is the issue. Perhaps Championship clubs don't want to integrate someone who might be recalled at any time. I don't know. But I'd hope that some of our talented youngsters on the cusp will get some more game time somewhere soon as they need it to take the next steps.

Was this what Joe Royle was brought in to do? I think so. Perhaps we will see more loans in the second half of the season. I think I remember Unsworth saying so... I hope so, so long as they are playing. I notice that Hallam Hope and Matt Kennedy are struggling for game time at Sheffield Wednesday and Hibernian, respectively, but I guess it's a good experience either way.


Sam Hoare     Posted 27/10/2014 at 22:36:16

Rob Sawyer's Harry Catterick biography

As someone whose introduction to all things Everton co-incided with Harry Catterick's reign as manager, his massive contribution to our history has always held a special place in my heart and memory.

Rob Sawyer's long-overdue tribute lays bare the man as well as the manager and recounts 'the untold story' warts and all.

As a kid, I thought little and cared less about the background trivia that so occupies us these days on ToffeeWeb all I wanted to concern myself with was how My Team was doing. That the manager was a complex and testy character who hated the Press and the fans more mattered not one iota.

What really mattered was that, for many years, his Everton teams 'purred' like few have done since. Perhaps that was appropriate for a man known everwhere as... "The Cat"!

For anyone who had the privilege of living during those years or just wants to get 'a taste of perfection' I commend Rob's studiously researched tome as an absolute must.

Harry Catterick The untold story of an Everton great by Rob Sawyer. Published by De Coubertin Books. Available via Amazon.


Phil Walling     Posted 24/10/2014 at 20:41:27

5 Players on Evertons Winter Shopping List

Roberto Martinezs side got off to a slow start this season but the return of Ross Barkley from injury and a successful foray in the transfer market should propel the Toffees into the top six or even higher by the end of the campaign. Here are five players who could improve the squad by making the switch to Goodison in January.

Mousa Dembele Tottenham Hotspur

Everton are among the outsiders with Betfair to finish in the Champions League places but strengthening the squad in the centre of the park could improve their chances. 27 year-old Spurs midfielder Dembele has found his first team opportunities marginalized since the arrival of Mauricio Pochettino as coach and could be on his way out of the North London club, if a suitable offer is made.

With over 100 Premier League appearances under his belt and 59 caps for Belgium, Dembele is proven at the top level and could slot straight into first team at Everton. The Belgian could provide cover for the injured Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar while he may even be considered an upgrade on Leon Osman.

However, the price tag could prove a stumbling block as Spurs would look to recoup the 15m they gave Fulham for Dembeles services in 2012.

Kwadwo Asamoah - Juventus

The versatile Juventus midfielder has emerged as a shock target for Everton in the January transfer window as the 25 year-old Ghanaian has fallen out of favour in Turin.

The player has spent the last six years in Serie A with Udinese and now at Juventus but a host of Premier League clubs look set to make the Old Lady a loan offer in January. Asamoah is a left sided player but has found his chances limited after the arrival of Patrice Evra - although he can also play central midfield and looks tailor made for the Premier League.

Everton, however, will need to move quick as Southampton are lurking in the shadows and may prove to be a more attractive proposition if they can maintain their positive start to the season.

Andre Ayew - Marseille

The Marseille number 10 could be available on a free transfer in the summer and news of Ayew running his contract down has put a host of Premier League clubs, including Everton, on red alert. However, Marseille could look to cash in during the January window rather than lose the player for nothing six months later.

Ayew primarily plays as a winger but can also play a more central role and has amassed 36 goals in 139 games for Marseille whilst also netting eight in 56 appearances for Ghana.

The 24 year old shot to prominence in 2011 after being named the African Footballer of the year and was a pivotal member of the Ghana U20 side that won the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2009.

Fabian Delph Aston Villa

The recently capped England International finds himself in a similar situation to Ayew after failing to commit his future to Aston Villa. The 24 year-old looks to have finally found his feet in the Premier League after a string of impressive performances and could prove a welcome addition to Roberto Martinezs side.

Despite Aston Villa offering Delph a bumper contract he has yet to put pen to paper, with Everton and Arsenal the front-runners in the race for his signature.

With Gareth Barry in the twilight of his career, Delph has the talent and ability to be the long-term replacement for the 33 year-old defensive midfielder should he make the switch to Merseyside.

James Milner Manchester City

The Manchester City utility man has more than proven his worth to the Premier League champions but could, however, end up playing in the blue shirt of Everton.

Milner burst onto the scene as a winger for Leeds United as a 16 year-old but has grown into an assured midfield presence and has a reputation as one of the most dependable players in the business.

Manuel Pellegrini has made no secret of his desire to sign Ross Barkley from Everton and its been suggested that the Toffees would want James Milner as part of the deal. In all fairness, the chances of the transfer happening in January look remote but stranger things have happened.


      Posted 23/10/2014 at

Goodison Park, quiet please!!

Is Goodison finally becoming a total morgue?? I know its been bad for a few years, but the last two homes games have been unbearable.

The Palace fans were constantly laughing at us... and against Villa, well, that was just a total piss take their fans seemed to sing more as we scored more.

I read the Distin must fight for his place thread and one comment that seems to be overlooked is the fact that we, the home crowd the very fans that are supposed to bring out the best in the players when the best is required are becoming nothing more than seat fillers. Ive seen Distin and other Everton players raise their arms to the home support, trying to get us going but fuck-all seems to happen... Nothing!!

We were two-nil up against Arsenal, cruising in fact, then I noticed fellow blues leaving: 'Job done', they thought... Fuck me, we had 15 minutes to go and Arsenal were bounding to our goal at will. No singing from fellow Blues, no taking the piss out the Arsenal away support.

And as soon as they scored their first goal well, you just knew what was coming. The Arsenal support sang like hell, we sat their begging for the final whistle with the odd blue screaming at any Everton player for giving the ball away, not making a tackle or just screaming at the players anyway. Osman, poor bugger must have thought he was Arsenal player!!! In my opinion, we were lucky to get two-all as, given another 5 minutes, Arsenal would have scored again.

When Arsenal scored their first, Distin, in fucking anger, looked at the Park End crowd in disbelief; he raised his arms and screamed some shit, probably in a vain hope to get us going. But nothing: all you could hear were the Arsenal support and once they scored again well, it was game over! There was only one team who were going to score a third goal and it was not Everton.

What is happening at Goodison Park!?


Mike Gwyer     Posted 22/10/2014 at 12:38:14

Pros and cons of Martinez

I retain faith in the manager and the sweeping changes he has made at our club.

I believe the style of football he has introduced will only get better and quicker the more games we play. A few of our playing squad are not totally suited to the style of play; I believe over the next two windows he will bring players in who are.

It is fair to say he divides opinion, although not a 50/50 divide.

In your opinion, what are his pros and his cons?
Paul Andrews     Posted 17/10/2014 at 13:45:38

Martinez slipping behind the times...

"I loathe all that passing for the sake of it, all that tiki-taka. It's so much rubbish and serves no purpose. You have to pass the ball with a clear intention, with the aim of making it into the opposition goal. It's not about passing for the sake of it. Pointless!"

So speaks the great Pep Guardiola, the man on whom Roberto Martinez is said to have modelled his style and who, it must be said, is credited with 'inventing' that style of play.

But in his new book, Pep Confidential, he appears to have moved on from the concept and is advocating a much more direct approach towards winning games.

Martinez would do well to note his guru's comments. Having already turned our most effective defenders into hesitant hackers goalkeeper Howard now looks like a novice we are now suffering uncertainties throughout the rest of the team; our man is in need of therapy.

I suggests he starts by logging into Amazon and 'putting some New Pep' into our team in the very near future...


Phil Walling     Posted 16/10/2014 at 10:08:53

Lille away - Sold out

So today we sold out our full allocation of tickets for the Lille away game.

Over 5000 will be in the official Everton tiers on October 23rd.

I know that there thousands more Blues going over to watch the game and the atmosphere should be fantastic.

Let's hope we continue to take this competition seriously, as the interest of our fans in winning the thing, cannot now seriously be questioned.

Over to you Roberto!

Lille tickets thread
Kieran Riding     Posted 13/10/2014 at 20:59:38

Injuries.... So what?

We have important players out through injury. Well, we're not alone there. Unless you are Chelsea or Man City, it's life. Every club has got them and we'll get more. We can lament the causes of them and look to apportion blame but Roberto didn't cause them and we must make do and get on with it.

We have better players than Aston Villa and we will field a stronger team than them. It's about confidence, and Roberto must, and will, instill it.

Howard
Coleman
Baines
Jagielka
Alcaraz
McGeady
Barry
McCarthy
Oviedo
Naismith
Lukaku

There will be some good players on the bench and that should be enough. Around the foot of the table, fear sets in and good players make mistakes. Avoiding that fear is what Roberto gets paid for. He will do it... and when our bad luck gets worse he will do it again.

There is no grand day coming when all will be fit and we will suddenly take off. We do it now when times are shit because our resources suggest they will be shit pretty often. This is it, and we are ready for it. As ready as we can be. Back-to-back wins is all it needs.


Andy Crooks     Posted 13/10/2014 at 01:26:23

Ruthless at the top

The most successful managers are the ones who know when to tell players, "Thank you for your time but it's time to move on," just as their performances start to drop.

Currently you have Mourinho deciding to replace Cech who is still world class with a better keeper in Courtois. Before him was Kendall replacing Andy Gray with Lineker. These Managers won titles by looking ahead.

When I look at the deals Everton have done, giving the likes of Gareth Barry and Tim Howard such long contracts taking into consideration their age, then I have to say I think it is bad business. I know there were a lot of clubs after Barry but I personally would have offered a 1-year contract with the option of a further year depending on the number of appearances he plays this season.

As for Tim Howard, 'keepers at 35 start losing their agility (remember Big Nev?) and his better days are behind him. Martinez has got these deals wrong and money could have been spent bringing in younger players who can bring energy and are hungry to succeed.
Steve Gaskell     Posted 11/10/2014 at 17:38:14

Is The Honeymoon Over For Roberto?

I made my annual trip to Old Trafford last Sunday, courtesy of a good friends two United season tickets. I sat just two rows behind the Directors Box and watched the anonymous figure of long-time Everton Director, Jon Woods, take his seat next to Robert Elstone. Ten minutes into the game, Bill Kenwright took his seat... must have been held up? I watched a tepid first-half performance from Everton, in stark contrast to that chilly night in December last year when Evertons confident swashbuckling approach finally ended our long Old Trafford hoodoo.

I desperately want Roberto to succeed at Everton, he is genuinely a nice guy, with true football ethics on how the game should be played, but I fear his football judgment has taken something of a pasting of late. I watched Gareth Barry flounder in midfield on Sunday and questioned the decision to play a 33-year-old midfielder three times in seven days? Everybody and his dog could see he needed resting for at least ONE of those games...

The decision to bring back a clearly unfit Stephen Pienaar also backfired spectacularly when he was easily dispossessed and left lying on the ground for one of Manchester Uniteds goals. It ended up in complete farce when, after another non-tackle, the player was calling for himself to be substituted. I know Robertos options were limited on the day, but why bring back an ageing injury-prone player into a game of that magnitude?

At first, Robertos press conferences were a joy to behold: no more knives to a gunfight' scenarios so much the prerogative of the Ginger One. But for once, I just wish he would tell it like it is. Phenomenal, Incredible and Inspirational are fine if you're five points clear at the top of the Premier League with two games to play, but could he please ask our goalkeeper why he is underperforming on a regular basis? And does the manager plan to replace him any time soon?

The loss of key players is clearly having a profound effect on us at the moment, and brings into question two of Robertos earlier signings. Many people seem to have forgotten that Kone alone cost the club 6m, and we bought him when he was already carrying a serious injury. I dont think we will ever see Kone make a lasting contribution to the Everton cause, simply because I dont know of many 30+ centre-forwards having spent 14 months out the game, come back to the physicality of the Premier League. I hope Im proved wrong...

Similarly, Alcaraz has largely been a waste of money in wages alone; even Roberto realises he is a liability judging by the number of outings he has made lately, another long-term sicknote straight out of an episode of Casualty. What is it with managers of former players? A kind of benevolent blindness seems to overcome then.

Roberto has yet to feel the wrath of the Everton crowd, but there is a growing feeling of unrest with his team selections of late; we all knew this season was going to be much harder, particularly with the added distraction of the Europa League. I genuinely hope he can rescue the season.

In the meantime, the honeymoon period is certainly at an end.


Steve Hogan     Posted 09/10/2014 at 23:27:35

In the middle

Specifically Leighton Baines. There was talk last year of putting Leighton in the middle from Roberto and I for one would be very curious to see it put into practice.

There has been a lot of talk this season about things in midfield not quite working and I think the reason for this is a lack of creativity and mobility (looking at you, Gareth) in the centre of the park. In my mind, Leighton is one of our best passers of the ball and possesses great vision. He rarely misplaces short passes and is often able to spot a pass through midfield into the feet of Lukaku or Naismith. Mobility-wise he is relatively fast and has a great engine. I think if the opportunity arose he is more able to beat a man than the likes of McCarthy and certainly Barry and has decent pace to recover should needs be.

In short, I feel that Leighton could come into our central midfield and add a great deal of intensity and penetration with the ball whilst not losing a huge amount defensively hopefully so long as he is well coached in the role and picks it up quickly (I feel intuitively he is an intelligent footballer who would).

At the moment our standard midfield pair of Barry and McCarthy are not offering enough with the ball whilst also not providing the protection they did last season. I think Baines is one of if not our best players on the ball and as such should be put where he will see most of it. In the middle.

Probably the biggest reason not to do this would be losing his fantastic service from the left. However, it is no coincidence that Luke Garbutt has been called up to train with the senior England squad apparently. This kid really has it and would do a great job I think while the Baines experiment was at least tried; he has a brilliant left foot and can cross almost as well as Leighton himself. If not, then we have the ever-loved Bryan Oviedo to fill in. A rare embarrassment of riches at Left Back.

I would very much like to see a Baines - McCarthy partnership given a go or even a Baines - Besic central pair. Perhaps now when confidence is low is not the time to tinker or perhaps it is. I definitely feel we could do more with the ball in the middle and feel confident that Leighton would not let anyone down if given a go there.


Sam Hoare     Posted 07/10/2014 at 18:18:45

The solution to our goalkeeping problem

Like myself, I know a lot of ToffeewWebbers are quickly losing faith in our goalkeeper, Tim Howard.

I've always liked Howard, and have defended him during the past few seasons. He has proven to be pretty reliable; I could forgive him for the odd mistake because it was never a regular occurrence. However, my thoughts towards him have drastically changed during the last few weeks.

Howard's performances this season have been nothing short of woeful. The amount of goals, and subsequent games, he has cost us this season is ridiculous. He doesn't have the ability and intelligence of a modern goalkeeper, and he is on a rapid decline. Yes, he was good during the World Cup, but after closer inspection, a majority of shots the Belgians sprayed at him in the Round of 16 were directly at him! The decision to give him a new contract until 2018 (when he will be 39) was just plain insanity!

We need a replacement quickly. While I think Joel Robles will prove to be a good keeper in the long-term, he is too raw and needs a few years out on loan before he can get close to our starting 11. We are also no longer in the transfer window, so how can we replace him soon? The answer: Victor Valdes.

500 games for Barcelona, 20 for Spain, and 21 major titles (six La Liga's and three Champions League's). It seems too good to be true. But is it?

Valdes is currently a free agent after deciding to leave Barcelona last season. At 32, I think he would fit in perfectly. He has the experience of playing in a side that likes to control the game and build from the back, and more importantly, is an excellent shot-stopper.

He is currently returning from injuring his ACL, so that could possibly bring his wages down. Liverpool apparently want him, but I think if we tried to get him, we would have a better chance. We have a fellow Spaniard at the helm, an ex-teammate who won the Champions League with him (twice), and we can guarantee him first-team football.

Realistically, we could get another two average seasons out of Howard. But why should we, when we can go for Valdes, who we can get 3-5 seasons of top quality out of? Roberto has always talked about continuity, and the fact is, we will never enter the elite while Howard is still our first choice. This would be a 'phenomenal, phenomenal' signing, a keeper with a 'real know-how' and 'incredible' ability.

Make it happen, Roberto!


Ryan Rosenberg     Posted 07/10/2014 at 07:33:20

I'm only asking...

As a general rule I am not a panicking kind of bloke... so, when Distin worries about avoiding that kind of terror in the ranks, I am sure he cannot be referring to me.

Over the past decade, whenever our team has hit a bad patch, some ToffeeWebbers may worry about the R-word... but not me. I was able to look at a huge mob of hopeless cases far below us in the league and think of them as a kind of safety net.

This time, we are only one place outside the dreaded R-zone and despite playing some great joined-up stuff, many of our few paltry total of points resulted from a slice of luck. As recent as the past week, there has been no sign that our situation has improved or even that it is likely to.

I got to wondering.... At what point while heading toward the Championship did Wigan fans begin to feel that Roberto's absolute concentration on joined-up stuff was not going to save them?

Not panicking just yet... but the finger is trembling.


Dick Fearon     Posted 04/10/2014 at 23:20:38

Mystery after Everton Mystery

As an Everton supporter of over 40 years, there are a few things Id like to get off my chest. Im totally baffled by several events which have happened and are still happening.

I think the majority of us would agree that we spent a lot more for Lukaku than he was actually worth maybe by up to 10M, Id say... This left us woefully short of money to make any more quality signings. So, this brings me to my first point: Lacina Traore.

This guy was signed from Monaco last January on loan, he made one appearance and was injured, out for the rest of the season in fact. It was mentioned briefly in the press that Martinez liked him and we would be re-signing him for this season, then... nothing!!!

Its as if he never existed, never to be mentioned again, played one game then sat back earning a small fortune, getting the benefit of our medical staff and expertise, all for no benefit to the Club whatsoever... Very strange.

This brings me onto my next point: Everton's medical team. Would somebody please tell us what exactly is wrong with Arouna Kone? Signed for 6M, plays a handful of games and is injured. One year later, hes still injured. The last time I saw him, he was pictured having a high old time on our ill-fated pre- season tour of the Far East. (I wont talk about the embarrassing defeat by Leicester.) What on earth is going on with this guy? if hes injured, why is he with the squad on tour? Boy, did Dave Whelan see us coming a mile off...

Next up: the mystery of David Henen. We bring this kid over from Anderlecht on trial with a view to signing.... After an interminably long wait, we find out that we have in fact signed him, but not from Anderlecht! Hes signed for Olympiakos and weve got him back on loan from them!!! Who is it at Everton that masterminds all this stuff? The place seems to be run like Billy Smart's Circus.

Another strange one: Joe Royle, a hero of mine from the '70s, a thoroughly decent guy who is Everton through and through. In the Summer, we hear that big Joe is on his way back to the Club in an advisory capacity what a great move, I thought. Then... nothing. (Weve been here before!) The next news is hes joined Norwich!!! I ask you why?!? He has a job at Everton, his boyhood club, then changes his mind to go to Norwich, 250 miles away, why would he do that?

Then we hear how pleased Neil Adams is to have Joe on board and how pleased Joe is to be there. You couldnt make it up, because a week later hes rejoined Everton. Somebody please explain that one to me, maybe our Communications Officer can.

Hmmm yes, onto our Communications Officer. I seem to remember Alan Myers rejoining us not too long ago to great fanfare, the lifelong Evertonian has returned to his dream job at Everton.

What happens next? A few weeks later, he resigns and guess where hes off to ? Blackburn Rovers. Yes, he left us for Blackburn Rovers without a word of explanation.

Its one thing after another! Id love know whats going on... one mystery after another.


Steve Sumner     Posted 01/10/2014 at 15:53:50

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