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Time Of Our Lives

Just came across two great episodes of Sky Sport's Time Of Our Lives with Jeff Stelling. Sheedy, Sharpy and Gray, with Kendall, Harvey and Royle in the other one. Fantastic viewing and stories.



Gary Paul     Posted 19/09/2021 at

The Value of Demarai Gray's goals

In 2014, Sportingintelligence.com ran an article, 'Premier League Goals Worth £915k each last season ...' in which they estimated the financial value of a Premier League goal in financial terms.

The formula totalled all PL central funds and then divided this total by the number of goals scored during the 2013/14 season to gain the £915k per goal average.

Using Planet Football Data, I have applied the same formula for season 2020/21. PL Central Funds provided £2,536 million for the pleasure of watching 1024 goals throughout the whole season! This equates to the value of a goal being worth some £2,476,562 each.

Using last season's figure, Demarai Gray has already earned the club some £7,429,686 in prize money! Indeed Gray and Andros Townsend are already worth close to £10 million or about six times their joint transfer cost to the Blues! Let's hope Rondon can give the same value!

Furthermore, historically, Dixie Dean would have been worth nearly £150 million in today's money or the transfer fee required for an Mbappe or his ilk.


Trevor Powell     Posted 17/09/2021 at

Time to Fight back?

I have often read comments on ToffeeWeb about how Everton FC are being erased from history. I regularly oscillate between fury and amazement and the never-ending slurry of pro-LFC propaganda on the BBC website especially.

While the BBC rigorously censors criticism, other sites are not so harsh. Check out the link to a review I just submitted on Amazon concerning an egregious example:

Customer Review by Larry O'Hara: 1 out of 5 stars. So much for local knowledge!

The more people who like the review, the more prominent it will become….

The book is called: 111 Places in Liverpool That You Shouldn't Miss

There is an important precedent here: if every time a ToffeeWeb contributor comes across a similar distortion or erasure from history of Everton FC, it was posted here, our collective dissent might have some slight positive effect surely?

Even more if the club's PR department (funded by the Arteta money?) took up the cudgels too….

What do you all think?
Larry O’Hara     Posted 05/09/2021 at

Buried treasure

A bit of a diversion for the international break.

Last week, on a holiday in the Cotswolds, the owner of the property was recently having a clear-out of his loft. He discovered a near 50-year-old football programme under a big box of tat. Learning of my footy persuasion, it was kindly passed on to me.

Everton vs Derby County, 29 August 1972, Kick-off 7:30 pm. Competitively priced at 8p.

Everton team: Lawson, Newton, Wright, Kendall, Sargeant, Lyons, Husband, Bernard, Royle, Harvey, Connolly.

Derby are the newly crowned Football League Champions, managed by the young Brian Clough.

Some interesting snippets from the programme.

‘Club Talk’ by our PR manager David Exall... “As far as ground behaviour is concerned, I firmly believe that within the next decade we will be forced to have seating accommodation only.” The article describes there being a lot of trouble and violent behaviour recently.

It talks of Derby’s winning season. Derby had finished on 58 points but, because of the FA Cup Final, Liverpool’s and Leeds's final games was delayed. Either could have beaten Derby to the title with a win; Wolves beat Leeds and Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool to scupper their chances. (Well done, Arsenal!)

The Derby players were in Majorca celebrating. Clough was in the Scillies.

The History section: “Away back in the 1890s, Everton never made a penny from gate money. They procured a new ground on Priory Road and spend all the money on facilities for players and fans. The takings for the first year: £45.

“After six years, they moved to Anfield Road and took £200. Four years later, the gate money amounted to £5,188.”

Up to October 1881, Everton appeared in blue and white stripes. When another team joined up with Everton, the players played in the jersey of their former club. To end this sorry state of affairs and to save money, all the existing jerseys were dyed black and the players also wore a scarlet sash about two inches wide to add a splash of colour.

“Thus the team for a while we’re known as ‘the Black Watch’.” Before the present blue and white was adopted, Everton turned out in salmon jerseys with blue knickers and ruby shirts with blue trimmings and dark blue pants.

“Everyone knows the wages that players earn today!” But one of the greatest wingers Everton have ever signed was on £3 a week. Alec Latta who came from Dumbarton in 1889.

The centre-fold is a resplendent Mick Buckley (taking the knee!)

Advert for Higsons Double Top Brown Ale.

Everton had started the season well (two wins and a draw): 1-1 Norwich away; a 1-0 win over Man City away; and a recent 2-0 home win against Man Utd.

The result?

Everton 1 Derby 0 (Joe Royle)

Attendance: 39,780
Tony  Everan     Posted 03/09/2021 at

Niels Nkounkou & Wayne Rooney

I thought Nkounkou's display on Wednesday was so impressive it deserved its own thread.

Two days later and I am still marvelling and really buzzing at his performance. As the season wears on there will be far bigger challenges for the 19 year old than Fleetwood, but it looks like he has got what it takes in abundance to meet them when he gets his chance.

It was like watching a four litre Mercedes going past a Renault Twingo on his sorties down the left. He just has a way of moving that oozes quality. Composed and strong too, with a turn of pace to give him that split second to send a cross in.

They were not just punted, aimless crosses. Nearly all of them had a great shape to them a bit of pace and accuracy. I am trying my damned hardest not to get too carried away with this player .

"It's too early! Can he actually defend?! There's bigger tests!" will be the cries, but sorry – and I am genuinely sorry because I know we haven't seen anywhere near enough – but it ain’t working. I can't get his performance out of my system. That's why I am writing this article, it's a cathartic exercise to expunge it, so I can sleep properly again.

I remember Wayne Rooney in the Everton youth team leading up to the FA youth cup final 18 or 19 years ago. It was clear to see that the 16 year old was special. To me Nkounkou looks a rare special player too, on that sort of level .

He has an incredible future ahead of him winning trophies and playing Champions League football with Everton FC. (not Man Utd)

Marcel Brands really has found us the elusive, hidden gem.


Tony  Everan     Posted 25/09/2020 at

Transfer Prospects - Centre-Back

As a long-term fan and an avid transfer gossip enthusiast, I think this summer's transfer window has been the most productive in recent memory. The acquisitions of Rodriquez, Allan and Doucouré were swift and seemed to hit the mark in exactly what we are lacking, and are hopefully our new Brand of transfer (see what I did there).

The same action is now needed at centre-back almost immediately. With Holgate’s toe injury and Branthwaite out for extended periods, and only two fit recognised centre-backs in the senior squad.

Yerry Mina's back-peddling and hesitation for West Brom's first goal was not a good sign though the former Barcelona man did improve as the match went on. I don’t think he is a long-term option but, if he or Keane were to go down…

I'll take a look at and summarise the transfer gossip to save you the scrolling, but first:

Matthew Pennington seems to have vanished! He has a year left on his contract and is back from his loan to Hull City last season, yet he has not been mentioned in the Senior or U23s squad lists or the part of the known injuries. Anyone got the gossip?

Jean-Clair Todibo

It just may be Barcelona we call in order to solve our centre-back troubles once again. Jean-Clair Todibo, the French national, has just returned from loan at Schalke but has again found first-team action hard to come by and is seeking an out, temporarily or permanent. Various sites say he is available for loan or for up to €25M.

He could make for a solid transfer, with 8 appearances in the Bundesliga last season alongside none other than our very own Jonjoe Kenny. A temporary fix that could very well work out long-term; however, with 4 other centre-backs in the team, a loan deal would be preferred.

Antonio Rudiger

The German nation has slipped down the pecking order in the Chelsea 5-man centre-back race to be part of Frank Lampard's ever-changing line-up; with formerly loan linked Fikayo Tomori preferred. He came off the bench to have a solid performance in their 2-0 loss to Liverpool on the weekend.

It is reported that Antonio is now keen to leave in order to secure his long-term future for the German national team (despite him recommending Chelsea to German teammate Werner).

A loan deal would make sense for us and Chelsea – they love a loan; however, would 27-year-old Rudiger be happy plugging holes for part of a season? Have we recovered from the Zouma loan where he was ripped away just as he began to flourish?

Why didn’t Ancelotti use his Italian swagger to reel in the big fish, Thiago Silva? – if you haven’t heard the song of the same name it is also a banger:

Is there anyone else you'd like to see come in? … apparently David Alaba wants out of Bayern Munich!

For me, centre-back would be our last target without clearing out some of the dea wood in other positions. A winger or striker would be ideal but our back catalogue carries too many on big wages. For me, one of Walcott or Iwobi need to go, Delph, Tosun, Bolasie, Besic and Ramirez are surplus with most carrying heavy wages.


Jonathan Williams     Posted 22/09/2020 at

Doucoure Chant

Right, so been as Doucouré is a Toffee, we have to come up with a chant... And it would be silly not to do it to the tune of "That's Amore"! What do we think?
Hayden Turner     Posted 20/09/2020 at

Would Arteta have made the same signings?

For those who don't bother to read my oft regarded 'negative' posts, I have to say, right away, that I would much have preferred our Club's leaders to have gone for young Arteta rather than 'Grandad Carlo'.

I had wrongly believed from the mouth of Mr Brands that I had heard the days of the short-term fix were no more. But then, again, I might just have misread a ToffeeWeb throwaway remark. So Ancelotti it was and for the first time since their appointment of Arsene Wenger, Arsenal could be seen as really building for the future rather than that damned 'quick fix' which has brought failure so many times at so many — clubs including ours .

But I have to admit that things have changed , with the last seven days bringing us no less than three top rate signings (The Esk told us the Club was skint, didn't he ?) with the thick end of £100m spent on fees and wages.

And they have changed principally because of that 'wrong' appointment of Ancelotti . Because never in a month of Sundays would Arteta have had the charisma to have attracted players of the ilk of Rodriguez & Co.(Neither, I suggest would Wenger have been given the money even if he'd asked for it.)

And who amongst his Arsenal signings and targets like Willian and Gabriel would Mikel have attracted to Everton? Very few, I think , and it would have been more of ' Brands' Bandits' rather than' Carlo's Commendables.'

Of course, we have yet to see how brightly these stars shine although I have a sneaky feeling (is that an advance on hope ? ) that this time Moshiri may just have struck lucky. My God, we've waited long enough!


Derek Taylor     Posted 09/09/2020 at 11:40:07

The Good, the Bad and the Handsome

If you’ve tuned in to hear about the timeless refulgence of Gomes’s mane, the oiled sculpture of James’s six pack, or the pristine glacial rock pools that are Sigurdsson’s eyes, I’m afraid you will be disappointed.

What interests me is who we offload and who we keep. With Allan, Doucoure and James giving us a quality and stable midfield, players who have been partially written off could flourish and contribute much more than expected.

Four players who we need to think very carefully about before selling:

Bernard – The most talented and gifted footballer at Everton before yesterday. Since he has joined he has shown us all how good a footballer he is. The elephant in the room is that his talent deserves more end product. Playing in a team with a solid foundation and the inspiration from playing in a team with James Rodriguez, Allan and Doucoure could ignite an uplift in his end product, confidence and contribution. I would love nothing more than Bernard to come good with these better players around him.

Gylfi Sigurdsson – What a stinker of a season just gone, a write off. Before that his stats were better, a full on Siggy can play central in a 4231 and score goals around the box. His biggest attribute to me was not his dead balls but his goals from 10-20 yards out, being in the right place at the right time to strike it home. There are one or two signs he is more at it these last two matches, turning down Iceland to focus on us is a good sign as to his focused mindset. In the right formation with our new midfield or as a sub he could well be productive again.

Tom Davies – Our Tommy takes more flak than almost anyone, I like him. He's a brave player, forward thinking and committed to the cause. He is almost always available for duty and is a player we should have in our squad. He can change the dynamic of a game as a sub, he adds a bit of fluidity when he comes on, he makes mistakes but also I think he opens play up a bit. Just what you want a sub to do if we’re trying to make something happen, he gives us an option and a bit more strength in depth. His wages are not high, he is open to some improvement learning from quality midfielders, and we should keep him.

Alex Iwobi – At first I wrote four players we should think about keeping, then changed it to three, then back to four again. So that says it all about Alex Iwobi. Because of his age and the disjointed nature of last season I want him to have more of an opportunity to prove he has got what it takes. There are spells of good play from him, but many more spells of inadequacy. I want him to have another season with us to break out of his shell and go for it. I get the impression he is a confidence player, and his confidence is easily shaken. He needs to have a bit more belief, get a bit more aggressive and attack this season. He could yet come good.

I know trimming wages will be a big factor and if good offers or creative player-plus-cash deals come in that look good on balance for the club then that could sway things.


Tony  Everan     Posted 08/09/2020 at 16:25:25

Time to get your act together!

It's quite a while since I penned an article here, but reading the Sports blog of The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson annoyed me, not because it was a disingenuous perspective on our club, players and owner, but it highlighted for me exactly where we are perceived to be by the rest of the football world.

Can Lost Boy James Rodríguez break the mould at free-spending Everton?

We are thought of as a club where football dinosaurs go to die, here or West Ham. We are the MLS club of the Premier League, always a place for those who never quite made it. This article cements it. Disgracefully, erroneously.

That perception has been the result of not just failed investment of management, but dreadful panic buying and frankly that of a club with no money to spend for too many years. That those purchases were one-offs and not part of a cohesive team-building plan (or one that never got off the table due to the managers getting sacked) left us with a detestable legacy, huge debts, and a squad that needs pruning without killing the tree.

According to this article and the comments attached to it, the club is perceived as also-rans, nothingness, a meaningless club that no-one gives a second thought to outside of Merseyside.

Therein lies a version of the truth that every single one of us already knows. But it's not a fair reflection of the ambition the club has under Ancelotti and Moshiri. The one thing we can be assured of is that there will be a cohesive unit designed to be more competitive and ruthless. We may be trading off young talent for grit and experience in the season ahead but, when the chips are down, we are unlikely to crumble anytime soon.

It looks as though there is a plan now to structure a real team under Carlo Ancelotti, players to be brought in and players let go. But, whatever the squad make up will be, the message is clear to the football community, the fans, and team alike:

It's time to get your act together!


Christine Foster     Posted 06/09/2020 at 03:10:31

It Was Time to Go Long, Long Ago

I clearly remember the banners in the crowd at any away game and the one behind a plane flying over Goodison Park: “It’s time to go Kenwright and Co” was the message. Well the Co have gone, but the Kenwright lingers on. What year was that, it seems an age ago?

What does the man want or hope to achieve? He is now apparently stripped of all operational responsibilities, as far as I am aware, and appears to be merely a figurehead Chairman. Does he think that, if the new owner manages to eventually turn things around and silverware resides in the trophy room, if it can be located, that he will become the fans’ hero?

I very much doubt it. Several years ago when his face appeared on the screens prior to kick-off, there was a resounding chorus of booing. Since then, he has never featured on the Goodison Park screens. Any success achieved will be rightly credited to Farhad Moshiri and Carlo Ancelloti. It is difficult to fathom what compels him to remain with no real effect on the club’s future and an object of scorn as far as most of the fans are concerned.

The fact is that, in the fans’ eyes, he is associated with 20+ years of stagnation, decline, apathy and lack of funds. Remarkably — or perhaps not so — during our current underperformance, the fans’ attitude towards him appears to have hardened with fans laying the blame at his door. This has been noticeable on the pages of ToffeeWeb, with posts stating “rotten from top to bottom, badly run behind the scenes, full of yes-men, bleary-eyed Bill’s luvvies” and many more.

He is now viewed as a dinosaur from an almost forgotten age of the Boys Pen, travel on the handlebars of uncle’s bike, and tears for stars of the late 50s and 60s. The game has moved on and so have the fans, the grounds and the way the game is viewed and financed. Television and the internet are the kings. Even live radio commentary is fading away.

His clinging on seemingly has no limits. There have been reports that he turned down both Paul Gregg’s offer to save the Kings Dock move and also the Sheiks who went on to buy Manchester City, both of which would have required him to stand down. These two rejections and the fact that he is still Chairman leads me to believe that his retention of the chair must have been part of the deal with Moshiri and probably in writing.

So not only are we fans stuck with him, so is Moshiri. Indeed there have been signs of Moshiri’s lack of faith in him. He no longer seems to have any responsibilities and Moshiri’s comments that when he took over “the place was more like a museum”, “the business side was a shambles”.

The show, however, goes on and Kenwright seems determined to remain where he is. It was widely reported that he would be gone in the summer of 2019, but that has passed without event. He now seems set to remain for some time possibly longer than Doug Ellis of Aston Villa who was still chairman until the age of 82.


Clive Rogers     Posted 02/09/2020 at 19:16:46

Prediction Time?

After a long, long time of watching Everton, I'm trying to be a little philosophical and not normally prone to knee-jerk reactions, but I'm unsure just how the current situation will pan out?

Clearly and quite rightly, many fans are venting their anger on what is turning out to be a dreadful start to the season. After a fairly tepid pre-season programme, in which you could see the squad not only had a problem winning games but also scoring goals against some fairly mediocre opposition to boot.

What we see now is only an escalation of those problems evident in pre-season, but against much better quality opposition, who will punish you – like a fairly ordinary but well organised Sheffield United team did a couple of weeks ago.

The much-vaunted appointment and subsequent promotion to the board of Marcel Brands finally brought to an end the reliance on Kenwright to negotiate, on the club's behalf, all inbound and outbound transfers. The future looked a lot brighter.

So, what's gone wrong.

For me, the buck starts and stops with the manager, I'm afraid. He chooses who plays, and ultimately decides the tactics, and this is where Silva gets me really confused.

I'm not totally convinced he knows or understands what his best first eleven is? The utter farce in the last 15 minutes of the second half against Sheffield United was a little embarrassing as it seemed we had nine forwards on the pitch looking to rescue the game.

We had seen some improvement at Sheffield Wednesday and, despite some good individual displays against Manchester City, we were largely outclassed.

We simply don't create enough goal chances against teams, and a forward line of Messi, Ronaldo and Pele (showing my age) would struggle to score goals in this team.

We are utterly predictable in our build-up play and ponderously slow. Our two centre-backs will pass it several times between themselves before normally releasing the ball to Coleman. By this time, the opposition will have two banks of four and five players protecting the goalkeeper and simply waiting for our attack to break down before hitting us on the break (a la Sheffield United). We must be one of the easiest teams in the Premier League to play against.

Oh for some creativity in the side… but I don't see it arriving anytime soon.

So, do we stick or twist with Silva? I do really wish Moshiri would make some sort of statement about the club's goals and ambitions. Before Christmas, we should expect a formal planning application to be put forward for Bramley-Moore Dock, this will be diluted somewhat if we aren't progressing on the field. I don't propose to know all the answers if the club decide to part company with the manager. The plain fact is there is a real dearth of good managers out there who are prepared to walk out on their present clubs and come to Everton.

We have to face the fact we are no longer seen as a club with real global or even European status, even with a billionaire owner and a shiny new stadium on the horizon.

Changing managers every couple of seasons is clearly not the answer, but how long do we continue to believe the current manager has the ability to 'turn things round' in the next six to eight games?

The top four and even the top six group of clubs, which we were aiming for pre-season, seems an awful long way off.


Steve Hogan     Posted 29/09/2019 at 22:03:55

Morgan Schneiderlin – The Rolls-Royce Player

Firstly, I wish to make it clear that our poor start is down to a number of reasons. The loss of Gueye and Zouma has clearly made a difference and we are trying to assimilate two new players up top. But there seemed to be an inevitability about the loss to Bournemouth once a certain Frenchman was named in the starting line-up.

I put a lot of emphasis on central midfield having played there at amateur level. For me, despite current trends, you should not have to employ one destroyer and a ball-carrying creative type. Both should be able to alternate with the implicit understanding that one might be superior in one way to the other.

What has happened is that the destroyer becomes brilliant in one section of the field but utterly useless in the final third. This does allow the other one to go and roam.

Okay, fine, I thought millionaires should be more multi-talented, but anyway… what we have ended up with, as yet another Koeman era cock-up, is Morgan Schneiderlin — who, for me, is the worst player I have seen in an Everton shirt for many years.

I am a kind person but when I know he’s a millionaire and is such a limited, bang average player, it makes me weep and call him for what he is. A player in the French leagues (think the Championship without PSG) who was elevated beyond his ability once he reached Manchester United and then us. Memories are a funny thing but some think he shone when he joined us…

Well, from my memory, he did play well… but then got injured and did little much else but bicker with Mirallas before being part of the comedy show that was Allardyce a year later. Once he got dropped, oh look, we improved because the replacements actually went forwards and showed some fight.

At Bournemouth, I thought Fabian Delph was the latest example of having to play with him. He was getting frustrated and could have seen red. We saw similar from Gomes last season because Schneiderlin just vanishes. He doesn’t close down quick enough, he doesn’t pass with emphasis on moving the ball forwards, and he doesn’t cut the ball out in the air – despite being quite tall. Marking space ain’t good enough.

And if you want to know who I want instead? Well, it’s always two of Gomes, Davies or Delph. Schneiderlin has failed under Koeman, Allardyce and now Silva. They might have all picked him, but I would suggest he was the kryptonite for two of them. Let's not let it be three times, please.
Andre James     Posted 16/09/2019 at 23:52:03

Accepting mediocrity

Over the last few weeks, I have railed against Evertonians who have accused others of accepting mediocrity. We all accept it because we have no choice. What can I do as an Evertonian to demonstrate my disdain for that utterly abject show today?

At the last Toffeeweb get together, the admirable Keith Berry asked everyone present if they thought that Marco Silva was the man to take our club forward. All, including m, thought he was with only one man expressing doubts. I won't name the dissenter but, Dave Abrahams, you were right.

There is not, in my view, the slightest sign that there is a project that is gradually unfolding. We have a team that is utterly spineless. A group that will never, ever come back from two goals down.

They are a reflection of the coach: nice guys who can accept losing without being hurt to the heart by it, unlike us. We, who have our week ruined by the abject failure of Marco and his team.

The coach has been described as someone who can work with and improve players. Can anyone name one player who has got better under this coach? We have had an easy start and we have been dreadful. Not unlucky, just poor. Losing to Aston Villa, Bournemouth and drawing at Crystal Palace is just inept.

To me, it is time to bite the bullet. I, unfortunately, am compelled to accept mediocrity; Mr Moshiri is not. It is time for him to act. Marco Silva is not fit to be our coach. He is stubborn, intractable, feeble and utterly uninspiring. If I was a player looking to the touchline, I would see only bewilderment. Moshiri must act. Sack him.


Andy Crooks     Posted 15/09/2019 at 20:31:00

Size matters

Having been an Evertonian all my life and attending matches regularly since 1960, I have seen all of our good teams, average teams and poor teams during that period. One thing has always irked me. Why do we always seem to have a small team? That is my recollection anyway.

Even the Holy Trinity, whom I worshiped, were relatively small. All three were of less-than-average height. Even the great team of the 1980s was not particularly big. Ratcliffe was under 6 ft; Reid, Bracewell, Steven, Sheedy in midfield, with “Inchy” up front. I was once in the same room as Andy Gray and was surprised by how much smaller he was in the flesh. Many of the players coming through the ranks who have been touted as the next sensation have been diminutive. I feel some of them have possibly not made the grade because of it.

Until now, that is... when we seem to be bringing in mainly tall players. The two centre backs, Keane and Mina, are 6’-3” and 6’-5” respectively. In midfield, although Delph is of average height, Gomes is 6’-2” and Gbamin 6’-1”. Further up the field, Sigurdsson is 6’-1” while our current front three of Richarlison, Keane and Iwobi are respectively 5’-10”, 6’-0” and 5’-11”. Surely our tallest team for quite some time.

I am not saying a footballer has to be big to succeed. I realise that a balance throughout the team is required, and smaller players are often quicker over short distances and more able to change direction. Personally I am glad that we have brought in some good players that have height and can compete physically.

Clive Rogers     Posted 11/09/2019 at 14:18:25

USM Finch Farm

Looking back at the last England youth campaigns when by memory we had 4 players in the U20s and 4 players in the U18s who were more than successful, I see a lot of the players in those squads are playing in good sides and becoming good players.

By contrast, Our players from USM Finch Farm — once they get to U23 level, and just before they get to, or should be breaking into, the senior team, seem to go backwards.

We get promising players from overseas who seem to lose the talent they had once they hit our youth academy. I know people will say "But the U23s have won two of the last three Premier League 2 titles!" — but my point is: maybe that's just raw talent that has done this.

Now I am not saying David Unsworth is useless, he obviously has some coaching ability, but does he and the rest of the staff have the technical ability to take the players to the next level and keep improving them beyond that?

I have been an Everton fan for 40 years now but unfortunately live in Australia so the only news I get is from this great website and the official site. For the last 3 or 4 years, I have been alarmed at how many youth internationals we have had that their development goes backwards... maybe we should send all our promising youngster to German clubs!
Phillip Warrington     Posted 09/09/2019 at 21:50:19

The Alex Iwobi factor

The signing of Alex Iwobi came out of the blue – I think most of us were surprised, some a bit shocked, and a few deflated after the high-profile pursuit of Zaha.

Over the last 6 weeks, that shock and initial disappointment of signing what was perceived to be a contingency plan, has completely disappeared. Sometimes things happen almost by accident and turn out to be masterstrokes. As a result of the unjustified (and unattainable) asking price Steve Parish placed on Zaha, we have landed a better overall player for the club.

Alex Iwobi is a team player, it is there for all to see on the pitch. He clearly enjoys being a part of our fighting unit. This player needed a home; at Arsenal, he was an outsider and never given a proper chance to establish himself. From Day One, Marco Silva knew he had a player with untapped potential, an athlete and a player with desire. He has made a primary demand to Alex: score more goals.

He was as close as you can get against Aston Villa (hitting the inside of the post), put it on a silver platter for Walcott at Villa too, popped up at Lincoln with an opportunist header at a crucial time, scored an important header against Wolves. Alex has already made an impact. He is already in tune with the manager and his methods. He has hit the ground running, which is never a sure thing.

On top of all this, he is young still; there is further improvement in him and I think he is at the right club at the right time for that to happen.

It is early days, very early days, too early… but I can’t help having a little bit of a gush over this signing. I am unreservedly positive about his future for us. From his interviews, he seems very down-to-earth and appreciative to be at our great club. This demeanour and outlook is good for the squad, for team spirit, and for our progress into the top 6 and winning one of the cups.

All-in-all, I am happy we have got Alex Iwobi instead of Wilfied Zaha.

Tony  Everan     Posted 08/09/2019 at 08:44:06

Wilfried Zaha – should we go back for him in January?

To be honest, I was pretty devastated when we missed out on Deadline Day for Zaha it felt like a massive let down, as I felt we had missed a player of genuine quality and got that typical Everton Deadline Day feeling of the past we all used to feel.

The final insult to injury was the signing of Alex Iwobi, that seemed to just come from absolutely nowhere and after missing out on Zaha it felt like a panic buy. I can't confess to watching Arsenal, week-in & week out, and felt like he was a typical average Everton signing – plus, if he was that good, why did Unai Emery let him go?

But, after seeing him play in two matches and scoring twice no less, he is obviously a quality player – one that has gone very much under the radar. I know it's too soon to say if he will be an Everton great but he looks promising... and now, armed with this fact, do we go back in for Zaha in January?

Despite my initial disappointment, is he an expensive bullet that has been dodged?

Daniel Johnson     Posted 05/09/2019 at 11:39:19

You don't know you're born...

Football today is like a teddy bears picnic for the younger generation, all those new stadiums, pre-match entertainment behind the Park End, foot-long hot dogs, various energy drinks and a football pitch immaculate.

Updated scores and near misses reshown on the screen in the stadium, a friendly chat with opposing supporters and an option of countless takeaways and fast-food stores for the journey home.

You lucky, lucky people... you don’t know you're born, (famous quote from our parents).

Well it was not always like that, I can only reflect from the seventies so pretty sure this could turn into the Monty Python Yorkshire sketch from even older generations than myself.

Back then, there was no mingling with rival fans, the goal mouth resembled a ploughed field, Baseball ground was a ploughed field for every inch.

You would find a lovely viewpoint in the ground until 10 mins from kick-off Richard, Osman's Dad, would stand in front of you on arrival and suddenly you're looking at someone’s back; however, a near-miss could give you that advantage of darting through the sway and getting in front of the guy.

For the younger ones, you either took your chance in the Boys Pen, not a good idea, or it was an upside-down milk crate, at the front.

You may recall those foot-long hot dogs I mentioned earlier, well back then, it was a Freddy Boswell cart with hotdogs the size of those small tin ones you get now with stewed onions.

Inside the ground was no better, tea, Bouvril, wagon wheels and some dodgy crisps, nearly always ready salted, that was your choice.

Latest scores came from Mr transistor radio guy in the crowd, with the ht courtesy of an a-z board along Bullens road, with a guy putting numbers next to them, with the back of your programe showing the matches for the A-Z letters, every game was a Saturday 3pm kick -ff back then.

Then you had the toilets, you took your chance trying to get in, others chose a rolled-up Liverpool echo as an easy option.

Now you have stewards, happy to show you the direction of your seat; back then it was Sgt Harris and his cane with a steel tip, police dogs coming within feet of taking a bite.

After the match, back to the coach in time to hear the full-time scores, no toilets on coaches back then either.

Then home in time to enjoy your tea that had been kept warm in the oven, complete with hard baked-on gravy.

Well, that is was how it was like back then.

I did mention the Yorkshire Monty python sketch, at this moment in time, can hear even the older generation saying, coach, we had to walk, oven we dreamed of having an oven to keep our tea warm, Wagon wheels and crisps, we had to take beef dripping sandwiches, with a made-up bottle of cordial.

We did see silverweare though and met some great characters at the game.

So, for the younger generation of today, enjoy the match and be thankful for the luxuries you have today.

Here’s hoping you get to see Everton lift some silverware.

Brian Wilkinson     Posted 04/09/2019 at 00:30:12

Keyboard Warriors

ToffeeWeb should be about opinions and of course those opinions will differ, some of the keyboard warriors even acknowledge that, then go on to contradict that philosophy.

As for criticism, the Players and the Manager and Staff, are extremely well paid, and not doing this as a favour or charity for the good of all things Everton. So if they perform poorly, or the Manager fields weakened teams, and leaves players out when they are match fit, and would suit the opposition better than those selected, then criticism IS justified.

I don't think for one minute, that Marco Silva or anyone else connected with the first-team set-up, checks ToffeeWeb to see what the fans' opinions are, and then takes umbrage by the comments, yet some on here seem take those criticisms as an insult to players and staff.

The one thing I disagree with though is, personal abuse between ToffeeWebers, and I mean the genuine abuse (not the tongue-in-cheek) okay it's back to opinions again, but just because someone disagrees or opposes shouldn't make them the enemy. We are all fighting for the same cause here I hope, so let's keep it civilised and remember that!
Derek Knox      Posted 01/09/2019 at

About to score 7,000 top-flight goals?

I may well have missed this or be wrong as I'm not sure how accurate the all-time table is but I believe that Everton are only 16 goals away from being the first club in world football to score 7,000 league goals.

If this has been missed surely this is a good promotional opportunity for Everton? Who's going to get the 7,000th goal?
Steve Viney     Posted 30/09/2018 at 15:16:54

Loan Watch — #3

Keep tabs on the swarm of Everton players out on loan:

Bolasie (Aston Vill)
Besic (Middlesbrough)
Connolly (Wigan Athletic)
Garbutt (Oxford United)
Martina (Stoke City)
Mirallas (Fiorentina)
Onyekuru (Galatasaray)
Penington (Ipswich Town)
Ramirez (Real Sociedad)
Robinson (Wigan Athletic)
Tarashaj (Grasshopper Zurich)
Vlasic (CSKA Moscow)
A Williams (Stoke City)
J Williams (Bolton Wanderers)

ToffeeWeb      Posted 29/09/2018 at

Pickford?

There have been quite a few articles and comments which have been questionning Pickford's ability in recent weeks, which is surprising as he came home from the World Cup as a bit of a golden boy.

To be honest, Pickford seems the least of our problems when you consider the central defence, the midfield spine of Gueye & Schneiderlin, the very disappointing Sigurdsson and the lacklustre displays of our strikers.

Anyhow, by modern standards, Pickford is a very small keeper; the days of international keepers like Alan Hodgkinson at 5'-8" are long gone and I know that he is around the same height as the greatest of England keepers, Gordon Banks. Nowadays the best keepers are around 6'-6" tall: Cech, Courtois, etc. Yet Pickford looked as good as anyone in the World Cup.

He is an excellent shot-stopper, as was Tim Howard who also had an excellent World Cup in 2014. In International football, keepers are better protected at corners and with VAR this protection was extended. The hustle and bustle of a Premier League penalty area from dead-ball positions is a different matter.

I've been watching Everton for over 60 years. If I could rank our keepers over that time, Southall is obviously our best keeper, possibly one of the greatest six British keepers ever; then for me Gordon West would be number two. His distribution was regarded as revolutionary at the time. Because, despite having a prodigious long kick, he more often threw the ball to Morrissey or Temple on the halfway line with a bowling action. He was the first keeper I saw who did this regularly.

Nigel Martyn would be the third best Everton keeper for me. Even though we only had him at the end of his career. Pickford would be vying for fourth best with George Wood and Jimmy O'Neill.

In other words, he's a better-than-average keeper, but nothing special. My 9-year-old grandson, a young keeper whom Leicester City are watching regularly, adores Jordan, but as I say, to me he's reasonable but not one of our best keepers.

Am I being unfair on the lad? Is he better than I think?


Rick Tarleton     Posted 20/09/2018 at 14:01:05

Ante Up

Owning a Premier League club with aspirations for the top six is like joining an elite high-stakes Poker club, as Moshiri is finding out. Guided by charlatans and investing in 'yesterday's men' (Walcott, Sigurdsson, Bolasie, Williams, Rooney) and players who simply don't cut it (Niasse, Tosun) has and will hurt us hard until the nettle is fully grasped.

I would hope that, after recent games, the following is absolutely beyond doubt: we messed up regally in our transfer spending over the last two years and we must now wipe the slate clean. The process of cleaning up that mess appears to have started in the Summer and needs to continue post-haste. That doesn’t just extend to the players but the management personnel, as Walsh found out.

However, any professional poker player will tell you that angrily chasing losses from previous matches is fraught with doom. We just have to accept we had our pants pulled down on certain occasions (Swansea) and move on; it happens. There is hope in the form of Brands and the players recruited in the Summer but we cannot overlay these onto a team that doesn't match their standards and expect immediate results.

As optimistic as we all were before the Huddersfield & West Ham games, we've had a chastening reminder of the turnaround and scale of job required. You would hope that, after Sunday, the likes of Silva and Brands will be poring over the analysis and saying “not good enough, needs to go”. However, all the analysis in the world will account for nothing if we’ve no plan to put it right.

To take the sobering view when we reflect on the disgustingly ridiculous sums already spent (£45 million here, £30 million there) requires the most hard-faced poker player imaginable with the requisite balls of steel. I can only hope that Moshiri’s silent takeover is all about readying a seat at the table for the sort of player who can brush off the hardships in a heart-beat and has the financial clout necessary to take on the big hitters.

вы должны взломать несколько яиц, чтобы сделать омлет — As they say in Russia!

[To make an omelette, you must break a few eggs...]


Anthony Newell     Posted 19/09/2018 at 08:30:41

Tapped Up!

I've always wondered why Everton were so keen on Marco Silva... he took Hull City down and his Watford team self-destructed last season, so much so that he was sacked. I read in today's "Observer" that Everton could well face a six-figure fine and even a points deduction for trying to sign a manager who was contracted to a club who had refused Everton permission to approach him. Now all clubs tap up players, managers, backroom staff and perhaps Everton were unlucky in being caught.

No, the point I'm worried about is why Everton tapped up this manager who was a failure with his two previous English clubs? Yes, we needed a replacement for Allardyce, but why Silva? One of the things I want in a manager is tactical acumen and today proved once and for all that this man is clueless.

Let's start at the back. You don't play wing backs with a back two unless the back two are really quick or if you have two central defensive midfielders who are quick enough to drop back and support the central defenders. You need a back three. Our two central defenders were caught wide and exposed three times and three goals followed. It's so basic that no other Premier League team lines up with this formation. Mina and Keane need to be either side of Zouma, if you want to play with wing-backs.

In midfield, Gueye works ever so hard, but has anyone ever seen him make a forward pass that gets to an Everton frontman? He gets the ball and passes sideways or backwards, he makes Ray Wilkins look like Colin Harvey. Sigurdsson is one of the great players when you are three up but, when you want someone to take a game by the scruff of the neck and control the midfield, he doesn't cut the mustard. Almost £50 million for a man to take free kicks and corners strikes me as excessive. I know he scored a great header today, the third one of his career, but Dixie Dean, he ain't.

Up front, Tosun is slow and cumbersome, but I feel sorry for him, he is so isolated because the midfield is too slow to move up to give him any support and the widemen stay wide all the time. When a team attacks down the right, the left wide player moves inside to support the central striker and the wingback goes wide. And vice versa when it goes on the other wing. At Everton, the wide men stay wide. This isn't brain surgery or rocket science. Tosun might be good if he had a fast striker alongside him, think Roy Vernon or Tony Cottee; as he is, he is useless as a lone striker, with no support from midfield or from the wide strikers.

Yet this is the formation a manager we "tapped-up" for his ability (allegedly), put out against a team that were without a point prior to meeting us.

Yes, we had injuries and suspensions, but so many players are inadequate and the tactics were frankly rubbish.


Rick Tarleton     Posted 16/09/2018 at 19:31:12

Loan Watch — #2

The number of Everton players on loan stands at 14, with mixed fortunes across the board.
Michael Kenrick     Posted 15/09/2018 at

Marco Silva and Injuries

According to "Physioroom", Everton currently lead the Premier League table in terms of injuries. They have us pegged at 11. I don't know if this is 100% accurate but clearly we have a lot of players missing at the moment.

I seemed to remember hearing that last season that Watford led the Premier League in terms of injuries. I looked at the statistics and indeed that was the case. However, obviously Marco Silva was only there for half of the season so that statistic doesn't necessarily suggest that he is to blame for the injuries. I delved deeper...

The Hertfordshire Mercury ran an article on 10 November 2017 during the latter part of Silva's reign. The title was "Why Watford have been hit the hardest of all Premier League clubs so far this season." Despite that headline, the article failed to even ask – much less answer – that question. Nonetheless, they reported that Watford had lost 408 days to injury during the first three months of the season. The next closest were Crystal Palace with 328. Moreover, despite a fairly easy start to the 2016-17 season, Hull City had a rash of injuries later in the campaign under Silva's watch. They ended in 6th place for total injuries.

Now, obviously, there are many factors that can cause injuries, including bad luck. So I am not stating for a fact that Silva is responsible for these injury records. However, several players, including Coleman, Schneiderlin and Baines, have all described the training as "hard" or "intense"... I am wondering if his intense methods worked in Portugal and Greece, but are too much to endure in England alongside the rigours of the Premier League which is faster and more physical than those other leagues.


Kieran Kinsella     Posted 12/09/2018 at 16:09:20

Is TW a sanctuary for old curmudgeons?

Just a thought that struck me (and I'm an old curmudgeon, in may ways!), but the Official Site has sections for the Ladies and the U23's.

I've found a want more info on the U23's than seems available at the OS. And the female team is representing EFC, as well!

Can we have some sections of the site dealing exclusively with both of these teams? I understand that TW have always been about our First Team, but time DOES move on...

Maybe TW can be a gathering point for all EFC fans? Might be a thing to consider before your pipped to it... :D
Lev Vellene     Posted 05/09/2018 at 19:24:39

What is our best starting team?

We have an unbelievably long injury list at the moment - but hopefully after the international break, we’ll get most of the injured players back.

That posses the question - assuming a fully fit squad - what is our strongest starting XI and bench?

To make it easier - I’ll put a list of our players below:

Goalkeeper: Pickford / Stekelenburg / Virginia

Right Back: Coleman / Kenny

Right Centre Back: Zouma / Holgate / Jagielka

Left Centre Back: Mina / Keane

Left Back: Digne / Baines

Right Centre Mid: Gueye / Davies / McCarthy

Left Centre Mid: Schneiderlin / Gomes / Baningime

Centre Attacking Mid: Sigurdsson / Dowell

Right Wing: Walcott / Bernard

Left Wing: Richarlison / Lookman

Striker: Tosun / Calvert-Lewin / Niasse

Personally - I’d go with the following:

4-2-3-1:

Pickford

Coleman(c) Mina Zouma Digne

Gueye Schneiderlin

Walcott Sigurdsson Richarlison

Tosun

Subs: Stekelenburg, Keane, Baines, Gomes, Bernard, Lookman, Calvert-Lewin

Let me discuss the more difficult selections.

Centre-Back Pair:

I think Zouma has been fantastic in his brief time at Everton. He has the physicality, height, ability on the ball and most importantly the pace. Keane has been very good too, but he just lacks that pace. Mina has to go into the starting line up - although I see him being eased in, rotating with Keane and Holgate. Holgate has been solid, but he’ll have to settle for 2nd choice back up for now.

Left-Back:

I think Digne just offers more than Baines - only just. His defense is very good, which I like a lot. He has the pace and ability going forward, and has already got two assists from crosses. Baines to be used in rotation, very solid back up and will offer experience off the bench and when called upon.

Centre-Mid Pairing:

Gueye is an ever-present for me - he offers so much energy, both up and down the pitch. Schneiderlin has started decently and is good on the ball, the most solid Centre Mid pairing for me, enough energy, physicality and creativity, with Siggy helping out too. Gomes off the bench is perfect - he’ll add that extra creativity and ability going forward. I wonder how good his defensive ability is - time will tell, whether he can replace Schneiderlin in the starting line up. Davies has struggled, and must work hard to get back into the team. Baningime, who I rate very very highly, could easily slot in for either of the central midfielders. Hopefully he’s back from injury soon.

Wings:

I think it’s pretty clear who our first choice wingers are - they have been very good going forward, and their defensive work rate has been very impressive too. Lookman is very close, if any of them start struggling for form, he should come in. Bernard off the bench, either on the wing or at Centre Attacking Mid (potentially alongside Sigurdsson) offers something different, tricky and threat. Calvert-Lewin can do a job, but I’d prefer him up-top, either in a 2 with Niasse (pace up top), or by himself.

Striker:

I’d go with Tosun as first choice - his hold-up play, pressing and finishing ability are very good. He brings the wings into the game and draws defenders. I don’t doubt his finishing ability at all, we just need to make more chances for him. Calvert-Lewin is breathing down his neck, with his recent performances - he offers a lot more pace, agility, and his heading ability is fantastic. I would have no problem in rotating Tosun and Calvert-Lewin up top. Or if we want to go 2 up top - then Calvert-Lewin and Niasse, for that extra pace and willingness to run. Tosun lacks the pace to be very effective at making runs.

Others:

That leaves the likes of Jagielka, Holgate, Kenny, Davies, Baningime, McCarthy (when back), Dowell and Niasse pushing for a spot in the team. The majority of which are youngsters and can play in the u23’s if not needed. Jags is a great squad player and is very important in the dressing room. Niasse is a nuisance and will always trouble defenses with his work rate and attitude. McCarthy could be a very good addition when he’s fit. Kenny is very unlucky to miss out, but with definitely play his part. Holgate too, still learning, but very good to have in the squad. Baningime is very solid, and will no doubt be in and around the team when fit. Davies really needs to refocus and develop his game a bit, he’s struggled for a while now - but I have faith he’ll get back to top form and push for a spot and fill in when needed.

What are your thoughts?

What would your best starting line up be?


Gareth Clark     Posted 02/09/2018 at 14:10:21

Decision Time

It seems years ago now, but can you believe it was only January this year, Mr Moshiri stood up at the Everton AGM to outline his ambitions for the club?

"It is not enough to say 'We are special',” he explained. “We don’t want to be a museum. We need to be competitive and we need to win. The gold standard is the Premier League. The league is where our competitive edge will be measured.

"We have a window to establish ourselves and we will do everything we can. Bill (Kenwright) over the last 20 years, through his sheer dedication, has kept the Club close to the elite."

For the first time in a generation, Blues everywhere started to believe we could take our rightful place back amongst the elite of English football – back to where we belonged, after years of having any expectations and hope extinguished before we could get out of our seats.

The question is, are you really ambitious, Farhad? Or do you just like to 'talk the talk' like the guy who was sitting next to you?

Will you let Koeman suck the blood out of the club, players and fans alike, anymore? Will you let the rot carry on until 2018, when we will be looking at a terrible 4th season on the trot unfold? One away win since January 2017, setting his teams up like non-league outfits, marginalising players, making us the worst team to watch in the Premier League, the list goes on. Do you think he's value for £6m a year?

It's time to act, Mr Moshiri. Or are the words above just empty rhetoric?


Kevin Tully     Posted 30/09/2017 at 17:45:47

Tips for Mr Koeman

Dear Mr Koeman,

Following on from your various after-match summaries over the past month, it would appear that the problem with the team not only stems from a lack of confidence or a lack of fight, but it could be from what I have seen to be a lack of fooball basics. May I suggest you possibly consider implementing some of the following new ideas before the next match?

  1. Show all players what an Everton Shirt looks like and explain that the other members of the team will all be wearing a similar one.
  2. Spend a few minutes during the pre match team talk to introduce the players to each other so that they know who their team mates are.
  3. Give each player a little map showing them in what direction they are meant to be going.
  4. Remember to reverse this map at half time.
  5. Possibly let them know that if they occasionally run a bit they can get to the ball before the opposition, if they want to.
  6. At half time when they meet with you, it's meant to be a motivational moment to inspire them for the whole of the second half, not just the last five minutes... or is it that it takes them 40 minutes to understand whatever it is you told them?

    I hope these revolutionary ideas assist you in the rebuilding of a once great club.


    Derek Neerkin     Posted 29/09/2017 at 14:21:58

Carlo Ancelotti

Ok, ToffeeWebbers, simple question: would you take Mr Ancelotti at our great club?

Here's a man that simply wins them shiny things that we all crave at L4. With a great European pedigree, having worked for some of the elite clubs around Europe, and he knows the Premier League due to his time at Chelsea.

Personally, for me, I'd have him in a heartbeat. Koeman has showed very little at this point and the "project" doesn't look good, does it? Let's get him in before someone else snaps up this fantastic manager. Over to you, Mr Moshiri!
Peter Larkin     Posted 28/09/2017 at 16:54:48

A voice from afar...

After the recent 'lynch mob' vs 'apologists' wrestling match it was reassuring to come across an interview with Blues legend Kevin Sheedy, now working in Saudi Arabia. He explains that he left the Blues on very good terms, had not fallen out with anybody but just wanted to experience life abroad which he had never done as a player.

He also made the following statement throwing his support behind Everton boss Ronald Koeman and his squad to bounce back from a tricky few weeks that has included some heavy defeats and criticism from the club’s supporters.

“It is still very early in the season and you cannot make judgements after a handful of games,” Sheedy stressed. “Everton may have sold a great player in Romelu Lukaku this summer, but I look at the overall squad now and it is the best Everton have had for a long time.

“They have strength in depth in every position and a great manager in Ronald Koeman, who is hugely ambitious and will push the club forward.

“It will not be easy to break into the top six, but I believe Everton have the right manager in place to get to that next level.

“You will get periods where results go against you, but this is a manager with a good track record and, from what I saw working at Everton last season, he will get our club to where we want to be.”

For someone with top-level experience who has worked inside the club for a number of years, that is good enough for me. If we can get some enthusiasm behind the manager and the team over the next few weeks, it will go a long way to rebuilding the confidence and status of the club.


Jay Harris     Posted 21/09/2017 at 17:36:13

What’s changed for Ginger Ron?

I am happy to admit that when we appointed Ronald Koeman, a man linked with ‘bigger things’ as far as the media were concerned, I felt we’d done well and got a decent manager. I say 'decent' because I thought he would take us forward for two main reasons. Firstly, he was a renowned world class player and you don’t achieve that status without a winning mentality, something I feel we greatly miss throughout our first-team squad. Secondly, I felt he’d done well at Southampton having been forced to sell some very good players, he had in my mind recruited superbly to replace them at a club where you could argue it’s not easy to attract major talent.

My confidence in Koeman was increased more so when in one of his first games away at West Brom and 1-0 down he acted quickly and decisively in the first half by dragging James McCarthy off and replacing him with Lukaku who had been on the bench due to a heel problem. Koeman appeared to be a man that could recognise a system not working, a man capable of swallowing his pride and making a change without the need to wait for half-time. Finally, I thought, someone that looks at the bigger picture.

So what happened to that man? He appears to have been replaced by a man so stubborn in the system that he wants to play and the players he wants to select that he is blind to the obvious flaws in his approach. And they are obvious, aren’t they? Nobody can fail to understand that if you line up with 5 defenders and 2 holding midfielders, that leaves you with just 3 players to create and take chances, to apply pressure to the opposition and to generate periods of relief for the defence. Simple maths tells you this won’t work and that’s before you throw into the mix that those 3 players are not varied in their positional play, passing and shooting ability, strength, or speed.

If this system was an attempt to park the bus then, whilst I hate to see Everton playing that way, I could understand the logic but again, the flaws are clear. In order to successfully park the bus don’t you need either a big target man that can hold the ball up, or a super-fast runner that can chase down the hoofs? It’s not parking the bus if you leave 3 men up none of whom can run, harass or hold the ball up. That’s like parking the bus and being down to 8-men. Like I said, it all seems a little bit obvious.

The other major issue with this system is that it leaves giant holes in key areas of the pitch. Firstly, the centre of the park where quality midfielders have the time and space to spray inch-perfect passes in front of our back 7, and behind our front 3. Where do those passes go? Out wide of course because we’re playing with no wingers. Again, seems obvious.

This week, I read with interest another post on ToffeeWeb about Koeman’s days at Valencia. I have to admit that this was news to me and scary news at that. I sincerely hope this isn’t where we are headed.

So where do we go from here? Unless Mr Moshiri can completely change the ethos and culture that defines how Everton has been run for the last 20-years then we are going to be sticking with Ginger Ron until the rot is deep. Quick-thinking decisiveness has never been an attribute of our board.

So the question is, can Koeman wipe his white board clean and go back to his approach in the very early days where we appeared to have balance and definition to our starting 11 as well as the mindset to change things if it’s not working? For what it’s worth, my current starting team would look like this:

4-4-2 (imagine that!)

Pickford
Kenny, Keane, Jagielka, Baines
Mirallas, Sigurdsson, Davies, Lookman
Sandro, Rooney

Subs: Calvert-Lewin, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Niasse, Klaassen, Holgate, Williams.


Scott Hall     Posted 20/09/2017 at 10:59:52

All I am saying, is give homegrown a chance....

This is my first time posting an article on Toffeeweb, but I’d like to suggest an entirely new way forward for the club as a talking point. I think this will be a ground breaking approach in the current era and could transform the team to the winning one we all want with no outlay in transfer fees whatsoever.

Sounds far too good to be true? Well, let’s see...

The starting point is our amazing academy. We all know the players it’s produced and the prospects it continues to produce, most of which are out on loan at the moment. Currently the academy is made up of local players and ones bought from other clubs. And this is where my first point comes in – don’t buy young players from other clubs. Let those clubs develop their own local talent and we can develop ours. The talent is there, I’m convinced of it.

We then use the academy as a basis for the first team, and, over time, we replace ALL of the first team with local players trained and schooled in the academy. During this time, experience is developed by some local lads, eventually leading to a team with a good blend of youth and experience, all local. There’s no need to buy any players in, why do we need to?

We’ve signed so many players that leave you feeling rather empty; is what’s available out there really any better than what we can develop ourselves?

I’d like to point out that I am not from the area (Somerset, actually), so this is not some mission to promote a community I know. I have supported Everton for well over 30 years, watched a few games over the years, and am truly fanatical about the club. I just believe a local club needs local players, and lots of them (I realise this might seem hypocritical, so I’ll take any criticism on that).

The thing that annoys me most, by far, is when we sell our homegrown talent to ‘bigger’ clubs. This is especially true of Wayne Rooney. I am in the ‘don’t go back’ camp, so I’m not happy to see him back in a blue shirt. Again, I can see how this seems hypocritical, but my point is he should never have left. I know there are reasons why he did (mainly financial and because he wanted to), but what if he’d stayed, along with the likes of Franny Jeffers and Michael Ball and built a core of great Evertonians playing for Everton?

It could have been immense. Players the fans can relate too, truly get behind, players who truly love and support the club. Homegrown in the truest sense. At no transfer cost whatsoever.

Case for the defence: Tom Davies. I’m so excited about him, I just hope he is allowed to play, mature and flourish, I think he could be one of our best ever players. (I see a lot more in him than I ever have in Ross, though I think he could still be a good player for us too.)

This obviously is a long-term plan and requires the right manager, the right attitude and backing from the board and most importantly the fans. And of course it is a huge risk, but then where has our current approach got us? Why can’t we unearth our own Kane, Bale and Ronaldo? Why would the talent not be there? I think it is and it just needs to be nurtured and given a chance, long term.

And lastly, think of the money the club could save and spend on the new stadium, keeping ticket prices affordable, community projects, expanding the academy! I know we’ll miss out on the excitement of the big money signings, but honestly, if everyone is as bored of the transfer window and especially deadline day as me, then we can probably live happily without all the speculation. I’d rather speculate on who had a great game for the U23s and is ready to step up.

So what do you think, fellow blues? Crazy talk or a blueprint for the future?


Stuart Bellamy     Posted 19/09/2017 at 19:37:13

The One-Man Wrecking Ball

Before anyone talks about giving Koeman more time, it's worth remembering that a heck of a lot of Saints fans were happy to see the back of him. But let's also remember what happened to Valencia under Koeman's leadership. I know I'm repeating much of what some already know, but here goes, and this is a short version of what took place there.

Koeman first admitted he was losing control if the team then went to extreme lengths to try to correct (his) mistakes. He told three key players, Canizares, Albelda and Anglo they would no longer feature in his plans and they could look for different clubs, (sounding familiar so far?).

Santiago Canizares, a world - class goalkeeper said he would consider retirement if Koeman stood by his decision to leave him out of the team for the rest of the season. Barcelona immediately registered an interest in him.

David Albelda took legal action against the club to get his contract terminated after calling a press conference to announce his frustration with the management (Koeman), stating that he deserved better than public humiliation.

Angulo also spoke to the press, saying that the club's veterans were being treated with little or no respect by Koeman.

After Athletic Bilbao, who hadn't scored more than twice at home all season, hit five against Koeman's Valencia, Raul Albiol of Valencia said, "The dressing room is like a funeral," and the funeral was Koeman's. The fans and players couldn't wait to get rid of him.

When he took over from the sacked Sanchez-Florescent, Valencia were four points off the top of La Liga. They then took only 18 out of a possible 66 points, and were 35 points off the top and had won only four games, and sat two points above the relegation zone.

He presided over a divided dressing room who (surprise, surprise), found themselves totally at a loss with his tactics, with Joaquin saying Koeman's tactics had them running around like headless chickens (again, sound familiar?) and the only reason they eventually escaped relegation was that the players got together and dumped his tactics and played it their way. The final nail in his coffin.

Now, if anyone can't see the similarities between then and now, they have to be deaf, dumb and blind. What the hell was Moshiri doing when he appointed Koeman? Did he not read the man's record? Didn't he pick up any of the vibes coming out of Southampton?

At least Valencia eventually took action to get rid of this awful man before he got them relegated. Has Moshiri got the guts to admit his mistake and do the right thing to save us from similar humiliation?

When you consider he could have gone for Premier League winner Pellegrini, or Europa League winner Emery at the time, it does raise a question or two about how much in-depth football knowledge Mr. Moshiri really possesses.

Everything in Koeman's past spells out DISASTER in capital letters. He almost destroyed Valencia, a club with a long and proud history (sound familiar again). For God's sake don't let him do the same to us. If it takes fan protests a la Valencia then let's do it, let the club know how we feel.

Start an online petition, anything, something, but we need to get this one-man wrecking ball out of our beloved Everton.
Brian Porter       Posted 18/09/2017 at

Fresh start?

Firstly, I'm not going slate the manager, players, board or anyone connected with Everton regarding our recent "displays" – that's been done to death by me and by many others now.

Sometimes, a manager – for whatever reason – just doesn't fit a certain club. They could have great reputation, a great CV, or a great record at winning them shinny things that seem to elude every manager at our club since 1995. But sometimes, it just does not work.

When I think back over the years of being an Everton fan, two things spring to mind. We were always very hard to beat and very well organised. That always sticks out for me; that is what Everton is about – we roll over for no one!!!! Basics, the very simple basics is what we are lacking at the minute. We have to be hard to beat, we have to be in your face, aggressive, passionate. That's the basics. And the rest will follow. So the point of this is a fresh start; back to basics.

So when Koeman's gone, the fresh start begins. Who's the gaffer that will "at least" offer the above? For me, it's Unsworth to the end of the season. Further down the line... maybe a Dyche or big Sam. Bear in mind this is short term, a steady-the-ship, back-to-basics appointment.


Peter Larkin     Posted 14/09/2017 at 21:31:13

Passing and Shooting

A match between Newtown and Everton Combination was played in Newtown in November 1895. The Montgomeryshire County Times reported on the game. The following is an extract from that report from which I trust that the present Everton management will take careful note of the passing and shooting element.

The way they [Everton] passed and made tracks for goal was a great treat. Every man seemed to be in his proper place and few of the passes failed in their purpose. The half-backs did not kick hard. They kept their eyes well on the forwards and fed them to a nicety. The backs were never in doubt as to what they should do and Hiles in goal was as cool as possible. This old Chirk and Oswestry player has developed into a rare goalkeeper and is a first rate under-study for Hillman. One good lesson the Everton men taught the Newtown players and that was to shoot at every favourable opportunity. They did not fiddle and pass backwards and forwards across goal as some teams do too much but let fly at the mark and it was surprising how this game paid.

David Peate     Posted 12/09/2017 at 08:53:50

Reconsidering

This post is not a reaction to today's game – I was going to write it yesterday. I have grave concerns about our team. We have invested a huge amount in the Koeman project. He is vastly paid. It will take time... but I expect signs of improvement; there are none.

Our football is one-dimensional, we lack width, pace, guile, imagination and inspiration. Also, our coach seems utterly lacking in any type of man-management skills.

We had an opportunity to step forward; I absolutely believed we had appointed the right man. I have defended him, believed in him and argued that he should have more time. However, I expected more, perhaps a change in tactics, some belief, some confidence in our players. In my view, it has not happened. We have, it seems to me, a coach who is working on a CV and who doesn't want a thumping on it.

I hate humble pie but I think I am ready for a helping of it. I now believe we have made a dreadful mistake. I believe have wasted a lot of money and I am gutted.


Andy Crooks     Posted 09/09/2017 at 18:50:30

Jack Charlton talking 25 years ago

This struck me, especially 10 minutes in how Jack talks about footballers and the money. Twenty-five years later, goodness me. Agents weren't even about at this time:

"I think we were delighted just to be players. We were delighted to get retained ay the end of the season so we could be a footballer for another year.

"You didn't have any ambitions to be charging off an making money because there was no financial reward in being transferred."


Gary Russell     Posted 30/09/2016 at 15:53:22

Are Everton squeaky clean?

After the latest scandals to tarnish English football, here is a food for thought.

Time and again Everton have missed out to players signing for other clubs, or simply turning Everton down; how many times have we said, "Typical Everton... Bill this, Elstone that"?

But what if the agents have tried to get a sweetener from Everton... cough, cough... Brown paper bag. Everton have done it above board and said No; could there be a slightest chance that some of the players that signed for another club not in the Champions League simply because some played ball with agents, to get their player.

I can understand missing some targets but it seems it has happened too often at Everton... players in talks, then, out of the Blue, another club have signed the player.

It could be Everton dithering, not being attractive, or it could be that Everton are not playing ball with agents, and keeping our club squeaky clean from allegations.

Worth thinking about? Over to you, fellow Evertonians.
Brian Wilkinson     Posted 29/09/2016 at 14:55:27

What we need to do

Okay, people, we lost today. Oh, and we lost at home in midweek.

We, as Everton fans need to get real, and pretty bloody quickly. We are not top 4 contenders, in my opinion we are not top 6 contenders either. We are nowhere near that level and we will never be whilst we continue with the likes of Deulofeu, Mirallas and Barkley.

All three are patently not good enough to carry our club forward. To that list I would add Lukaku whose attitude stinks. Wasn't it a grand gesture on his behalf to give us another season?

There are lots of players on EFC'S books that need to be got rid of if we are to become genuine challengers for trophies. The afore-mentioned, plus Niasse, Kone and Gibson.

We as supporters have had a reality check over the last two games, against Norwich at home and Bournemouth away, we didn't register a single goal. Doesn't auger well does it?.

This is a work in progress and we need to be realistic (for example, is a 1-0 loss under Koeman better than a 3-3 draw under Martinez?).

Wait until we play the big hitters, I think there will be tears before bedtime.
Trevor Bailey     Posted 24/09/2016 at 17:37:41

Remember the name?

This has definitely been done before, but in the light of Man Utd getting pasted yet again, the reaction and scrutiny of Crocky's finest has reached for me, a point of peculiar interest.

Wayne Rooney's performance against Watford was heavily castigated; resulting in a national newspaper, traditionally obsequious towards him, highlighting – rather cruelly I thought – in just 13-points, exactly how bad he was yesterday.

This was backed up by merciless social media sledging at the hands of his own so-called supporters – yes the ones who, with no sense of irony, routinely trot-out the "You Scouse Bastard," chant, whilst simultaneously expecting their (Scouse) Captain to run his bollocks off for their over-indulged cause. Whilst they film it on their iPhones.

[On a side note, the Mancs could have bought Idrissa Gueye TWELVE times over for all the money they wasted on Pogba. Just saying...]

It's also glaringly-obvious that the sparkle has definitely now gone from The Special One and I do think he'll have a series of (comical) hissy-fits, fall out with Rooney, and possibly scapegoat him for HIS own inability to polish the damaged turd he inherited from LVG and Morag's knife-carrying other half.

Plus, we were supposedly seeking a number 10 last summer, with Juan Mata rumoured to be just one of our (gazillion) targets and given the frankly absurd notion of Rooney playing as a deep-lying playmaker, my by-now obvious question revolves around the possible/ fabled return of the boyhood Blue.

Playing just behind the striker, and still young enough to make a meaningful impact, if it would ever come to pass, then the sooner the better. Could a January move, a hefty pay-cut, and a bold move by Moshiri be of benefit to our club? Would Koeman be interested and would he even think it possible? If prompted, would 'Wazza,' even countenance the notion?

Brief and boring stats: 179 goals for the Red Devils, England's all-time leading scorer, and more pertinently, 2nd in Premier League History for assists, apparently.

Or is Tom Cleverley the answer?

The thought of a 35 year old slightly-bloating Rooney making a sentimental return clearly wouldn't make sense, would not fit with our projected trajectory, or our style of play, etc, but could he be effective now?

Thoughts will be mixed on this, I know, but I would just love another Scouse Evertonian in the squad, partly for parochial reasons, but also because right now, I do think he would fit the puzzle, help develop Barkley's game, and no question he'd passionately fight our corner.

Once a Manc, always a Blue.
Kevin Hudson     Posted 19/09/2016 at 09:26:10

Thirteen decent players and precious little else?

I admit to a soft spot for Paul Merson. A flawed human being, like the rest of us, he has managed to turn his life around. He has other qualities: he tells it as he sees it; he has interesting insights into players; he gives reasons for his views; he has no side to him; he can laugh at himself; he admits when his judgements are awry; and not least, he once scored a great solo goal again Liverpool.

On Saturday, he said that he thought Everton were dark horses. But he added that our squad basically had 13 players who cut the mustard, and implied we had little else beyond these. Our fate depended on keeping these 13 players fit.

This sparked two thoughts: (1) the identities of his 13 players: and (2) whether he is correct.

I suspect his 13 are yesterday’s starters (Stekelenberg, Coleman, Jagielka, Williams, Baines, Gueye, Barry, Mirallas, Barkley, Bolasie, Lukaku) plus Deulofeu and one other (maybe Lennon?) If this is right, this means he does not see us as currently having a decent back-up: in goal; in defence; as a defensive midfielder; or to replace Lukaku.

I would be interested in others’ views. Is our squad really as weak as Merson suggests?


Tony McNulty     Posted 18/09/2016 at 18:17:34

Dodged a bullet?

While watching PSG/Arsenal game today the PSG manager seemed familiar. Then I remembered; hadn't Unai Emery been rumoured to get the Everton Manager's job but PSG got him?

If so we might have missed a bullet not getting him. In today's Guardian two paragraphs tell a familiar story.

“During a bristling performance at his pre-match press conference on Monday, in which he reverted to speaking in his native Spanish, Emery asked for patience. “I’m the coach. So, when we win matches, there are positive press and when we lose there is criticism,” he said. “That is always the case. I’m also very self-critical and learn a lot as well from this process of self-criticism. That’s always been the case. I focus on the work I have to do in terms of patience and precision in my work.”

“PSG have laboured over recent weeks, the players apparently unconvinced by Unai Emery’s approach and the team diminished by the departure of David Luiz and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They have been hampered by niggling injuries and have dropped points owing to sloppy defending that was rare last season.”

It seems the announcement of the PSG’s manager’s name before the kick-off provoked grumbling among the fans.

Hello! Haven't we heard that 10 million pound story before?
Eric Owen     Posted 13/09/2016 at 23:07:15

Net Spend and Other Misnomers of the Transfer Window

Greetings fellow Blues,

Throughout the transfer window saga we've all suffered through, I've noticed dozens of comments decrying Everton's "net spend" and references to the mythological £100 million transfer "war chest".

While it is convenient for the media and fans to only look at incoming and outgoing transfer fees when considering the money clubs spend on player personnel, it simply doesn't reflect reality.

Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe the "Arteta money" jokes are hilarious and will never get old. However, I have stumbled across a couple of articles that I hope my fellow Blues will enjoy that bust some of the myths surrounding transfers and club finances.

The Guardian: Transfer window: exposing the widely held myths about how clubs sign players

ESPN FC: How much Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, N'Golo Kante actually cost
Nick McGregor     Posted 06/09/2016 at 160906

Moshiri – nothing has changed

Being old, 57 , and very cynical, I find it easy to predict how things will go at Everton – I expect the worst and am never disappointed. My view was always that Moshiri was only brought in to prop up the Kenwright regime. The clue is in the 49.9% share purchase.

Looking at the recent past, I didn't believe the £100m transfer kitty story. That was made up for the papers. I wasn't surprised that we were one of the few clubs to make a net profit in the transfer window.

Moshiri's contact with Jim White about us not being serious about Sissoko has damaged Moshiri's credibility – sorry but I just don't believe his version of events.

The most recent Secret Footballer book talks of clubs that don't want to succeed. His reasoning is that success will trigger increases in salaries to current players and transfer targets – this is where Everton are at now – programmed for mediocrity. Our transfer window showed the club's intent – which is to be happy to be mediocre.

I believe that Koeman knew what he was buying into. Being the Everton manager is an implicit agreement to keep Everton in the Premier League but to expect to win nothing. Whilst Kenwright clings on, nothing will change. Get used to it... I have.
Jonathan Tasker     Posted 05/09/2016 at 13:13:24

The kids are alright

There's a change happening at Everton. Something I haven't felt since the mid-80s, a promise, hope, a new dawn. Ahh... but we're all Evertonians, let me refrain, cause we've had so many false dawns.

There's something about this side that reminds me of Manchester United in the early nineties; yes, Beckham, Scholes, Neville et al... They're young but there's a character about them, three times this season, we've come back from deficits to win. That kind of youthful exuberance, defiance... Kinda like the first time you get punched in the schoolyard. It's unexpected, then you say, alright you wanna go. Then you show them who's boss.

I think Martinez saw this in his first season and that's why he's been so adamant to forge the team again from two years ago. I think his vision and realistically considering the restraints he has to operate in, is the best chance for success. Get the brightest and best from an early age and forge them into a team. Not to dissimilar to Ferguson at Man Utd. Ferguson persisted when very few thought he was on the right track.

We've got the derby coming up and I've been round enough to know that, even though we may be favorites, I've seen enough of these games to know they could go either way, instead I'm going to take the long view, irrespective of what happens on Sunday. I'm putting my neck out and saying, perhaps we are on the verge of witnessing a very special Everton side and at the very least, fortunate enough to see the emergence and blossoming of some truly world class talent.


Jack Mason     Posted 30/09/2015 at 09:22:38

Perfect Balance?

Since the closing of the transfer window and our relatively decent start to the season, it is apparent we are starting to build more depth in the squad. Usually, we have around 12 to 14 players capable of stepping into the first team without diminishing the overall standard of the team.

However, the squad appears very unbalanced with an excess in certain positions and no depth in others.

Goalkeeper
Howard
Robles

Right Back
Coleman
Hibbert

Left Back
Baines
Garbutt
Oviedo

Centre Half
Jagielka
Stones
Funes Mori
Browning
Galloway

Central Midfield
McCarthy
Barry
Cleverley
Besic
Gibson

Right Winger
McGeady
Mirallas
Lennon
Deulofeu

Left Winger
Pienaar

Attacking Midfielder
Kone
Naismith
Barkley
Osman

Striker
Lukaku
Rodriguez


To create more balance we need to move on the following players:

McGeady
Pienaar
Gibson
Osman
Hibbert
Oviedo

I think Mirallas should be moved upfront as a striker.

I would also instruct Besic to learn as much from Barry as possible to be his long-term successor.

Hibbert and Osman should be pulled from first-team duties at the end of the season and offered coaching roles.

We would then require:

1 Right back
2 Left wingers

In my opinion, we dont need both Kone and Naismith. Id sell one or the other and look to bring in the mystery No 10.

Perfect balance?
Winston Williamson     Posted 23/09/2015 at 16:29:13

Three at the back

It would appear that Roberto Martinez has decided that it is time to mix it up tonight, the gaffer has rung the changes and has made 6 changes from the weekend. Five of these are personnel, it is the sixth that might prove the most interesting, possible at our cost.

The last change is the decision to start with three centre backs, with Deulofeu and Lennon looking likely to star on the flanks. I may be proved wrong , but I think this could be a viable option for us, we can struggle to come up with a way to unlock teams that park the proverbial bus, and many Evertonians, and a sizeable portion of Toffeewebbers have bemoaned the lack of a plan B.

I imagine Funes Mori will line up on the left of the trio , jags at the centre , and stones on the right. I am hopeful it will work, and as we have Another two wingers , well, one and Aidan McGeedy , at our disposal if someone is having an off day, plus Coleman and Barnes to come back in this could be plan B.

Reading have started well this season after a bit of a stinker last year (sound familiar?) and are no mugs, turning us over in the cup last time we encountered them. So, three at the back then eh?..... Discuss.
Dominic Tonge     Posted 22/09/2015 at 19:08:52

When Lady Luck is missing

I teach a sport coaching course at the University of Toronto and spend most of the course time talking about all the topics you would expect to cover in a coaching course.

We examine planning, making good decisions, different event coaching styles and stuff like nutrition. What I don't spend much time is talking about "luck".
Watching the Blues not score from anyone of 5 good chances and then just watching Spurs score against Palace with a shot that went through the goalie, made me realize the difference between success and failure in real matches often has more to do with luck than skill!

There are all those well known phrases that the football pundits trot out "if you don't buy a ticket then you can't win the raffle" being the most often quoted. We did "buy lots of tickets" yesterday but for one reason or another we didn't win 1st prize!

The one chance that stood out for me was Naisy sliding in at the back post and just missing Delboy's cross by the proverbial "coat a paint". Last week, I am certain that Nais would have scored... but today he didn't.
Yes football or any sport cannot and should not be reduced to "who has the most luck".

Some weeks, like last week, everything that you try goes in and we have a magical win. Yesterday, different day, different outcome and we get a draw against a very good Swansea team.

I am confident that we have a team that will continue to create multiple choices in every game. As long as we take some of them, we will win more games than we don't and compete for a place at the top. Just saw we are 6th after Spurs win. Given the fixtures we have been dealt, not bad eh?

So at some stage in my coaching course, we talk about "As a coach, is it better to be lucky, than good?" The big question is, which do we think Roberto is?

David Cooper     Posted 20/09/2015 at 15:10:43

Everton Supporter's Trust (Away Day Feedback)

One of the key themes of Everton Supporter's Trust (EST1878) is to canvass feedback from our fan base regarding their away day visits, from a cost and experience perspective (off the field) as opposed to the matches themselves. If you could please support and provide your feedback on this thread or privately we would appreciate it.


If you went to the Swansea game today, Everton Supporter's Trust (EST 1878) would appreciate your comments and feedback on the day (not the match itself please).

We are canvassing feedback on the following information please:

1. How were you treated in Swansea, pubs, shops?
2. How did you travel to Swansea, what was the journey like?
3. How were the police & stewards at the game?
4. What were your seats like?
5. How much was your ticket?
6. How much did you spend on the day?
7. Any other comments about your match day routine that you would like to add?

We are looking for all comments whether they be positive or constructive as these will be of great help in future for EST1878 and fellow Blues fans.

You can either send your comments privately to georgeest1878@gmail.com or post them on the thread below.

We will be asking these questions for each away game throughout the season.

Thank you in advance of this and should you have any questions please as always just ask.

Andy
Andy Craven     Posted 19/09/2015 at 22:35:32

Football kit and marginal advantages

I watched the England vs Fiji game in the Rugby Woerld Cup earlier, and want to talk about their shirts. Some few years ago, and certainly in the distant past when I played a little rugby, shirts were loose and easy to snatch.

They aren't now... so, I wonder: would similarly tight-fitting shirts help to prevent some of the shirt-grabbing that goes on in football? If Everton did it first, would it give us an advantage?

The shirts also have thin strips of plastic on them to help in holding the ball against the player's chest. Any use for this on footy shirts, do you think? Goalkeepers?
Peter Lee     Posted 19/09/2015 at 00:09:55

ToffeeWeb

A friend of mine is working on a guide to fan sites. As you may imagine it involves a good deal of research. I have helped a bit and would urge anyone on this site to check out the competition.

Some of the better stuff is in the lower divisions where there is a passion that is truly admirable, where content triumphs over format. What is amazing, though, is just how poor some of the fan sites of the Premier League are. Not up to date, difficult to negotiate and very user unfriendly.

This is by no means an advert for Lyndon and Michael, it is the view of someone who has looked at fifty supporter sites over a period of a year. Honestly, this one, in clarity, being right up to date and easiness to use is ahead by some distance.

In addition it has the best contributors and the wittiest most pertinent stuff around. I hope I don't sound like a ToffeeWeb plant but check out some of the others and be glad of this forum.
Andy Crooks     Posted 16/09/2015 at 00:05:48

Scissors Cut Deep

Soccer... er... football...

It's a physical sport. I detest the rolling on the floor, the diving, the "I forgot I'm a man" reactions to simple fouls where you could easily just jump up off the deck and get on with it. I grew up playing (ice) hockey and to me the physicality of a sport is part of the beauty.

Here it comes... BUT...

Is it just me or have I noticed an increase in the amount of "scissor challenges"?

A tackle, executed correctly, is a sublime thing to witness. But it seems recently really the first five games of this season – I've noticed a lot of horrific challenges. Leg-breakers that have one thing in mind and that is if the ball isn't won, I'm taking this opponent out – violently with no regard for the health or RESPECT of the man.

I'm all for "taking a guy out" as well. It's part of the game and chopping an opponent down has it's time and place and can be an strategic thing to do.

But when you tackle through a man, and purposely go through him with the trailing leg behind and subsequently shot forward through the opponent's legs in that dreaded "scissor motion", it's just evil and nasty. The result of this can only be injury, and every player putting this challenge in knows this. It's filthy, and shows no respect whatsoever to the opponent and the individual's career.

Spurs did it at least three times, and we saw Cleverley injured and now out multiple months. Danny Rose did it (can't remember to who, matters not) and didn't even receive a card. I've seen it occur in many other games not involving Everton and my reaction is the same – a cheating, dirty attempt to maim a player.

This type of tackle must be eradicated from football. Every player on earth putting in this type of challenge knows it's dirty. It has to stop.

Even in a tackle where you win the ball a scissor challenge should result in a straight red.

I'm convinced Pocchetino coaches his squad to do this. And others are putting in this type of challenge across the Prem and it's going unpunished.

By all means please keep the full blooded challenge in football.

But when a man leaves the trailing leg back, then rips it forward in a cutting motion meant to chop an opponent's leg in half, please football refs and authorities recognize this for what it is – a deliberate attempt to injure an opponent worthy of a straight red card and expulsion.

How many Cleverley injuries do we need to witness before someone uses the brain God gave them and stops this nonsense?

Tackle hard, tackle often. But stop trying to break legs.

Please.


Jamie Crowley     Posted 13/09/2015 at 22:00:17

Young guns who have mis-fired

Having woken up early in Canada to watch the last cricket ODI, I ended up watching Sunderland vs Spurs. Jack Rodwell came on as a late sub and hit the crossbar with Sunderland losing 1-0.

With all the outrageous media and Mourinho pressure, it made me think of all the previous "young guns" who have been tempted by the thought that the "grass is greener elsewhere". With exception of our now favourite son, Wayne, there are have been more than a few who have found that "money can't buy you football fame".

Rodwell is the most recent case. Selected by England while still wearing the EFC shirt, he was drawn to Manchester City by money and the thought better things. Then suffering a series of injuries and never getting a regular starting place in a team loaded with internationals, he now gets the last 10 minutes playing for a desperately poor Sunderland side.

Given his time again, would he choose to stay at EFC? Probably financially secure for life at the age when most young people are finding how hard life can be, he might take comfort in that. But unless we have a new breed of young footballers, isn't the first thing they want to do is to play at least 90 minutes every week?

I know it is many moons since I played, I remember feeling unless I had played 2 matches every week on Saturday and Wednesday, I was missing out. In fact I can remember playing 3 matches some weekends and loving it!

Going back a few years, we have the very sad case of the Fanny "The Fox in the Box" Jeffers, who gave up the chance of being a Blue hero to become a Gooner. I know Walter Smith got rid of Michael Ball when he realized he had a much brighter career in the West End so we can't really blame him!

So here we are with another crop of outrageously brilliant Blue youngsters! Maybe someone could mention despite everything EFC is a truly great place to grow up as a footballer and person?


David Cooper     Posted 13/09/2015 at 15:10:24

Controlling the narrative

"Minority... vocal minority... minority group... hostile minority, minority activist..."

Bear with me; I promise this has to do with Everton.

"Conspiracy theory, conspiracy theorist... tin-foil hat... crackpot... hair-brained... kool-aid drinker..." etc...

I could go on with this, but you get the picture. Ok, let's ask a question. hands up who wants to be associated with the wonderful names above... Now, let's add a quote, it's attributed to Gandhi but it appears in print from the trade unionist, Nicholas Klein, in 1918.

"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you..."

I love history, it really is amazing how often people from the past, say or warn about things, which turn up to be really prescient today. And then are promptly ignored and forgotten. Here's two more phrases that we should get to know.

Manufacturing consent and Plausible deniability. If you're still with me and I know the majority of you will be, because let's face it, us Evertonians are a bright bunch. See what I did there, you're now part of the smart group, the majority, feels great doesn't it? To nod along with the established view, comforted by the notion that many concur with the group think.

There's been an awful lot of articles in the media recently about Everton, there's the conventional wisdom, that states Everton are, given the circumstances, a well-run club, which punch above their weight. plucky little Everton, the Peoples Club. And we are most definitely not a "selling" club. It's true because the Chairmen told us it was.

You see, I remember a time when we were viewed slightly differently and surprisingly enough, it's backed by history. We're still the fourth most successful club in England's foremost league. I really should say "Premier" shouldn't I, because as we all know football, really didn't exist before then and history and tradition count for nothing before 1992, at least that's what the current narrative would have you believe.

And Everton's story begins after that date. As the underdogs or "dogs of war" battling against the "Big Clubs", overcoming against all odds, to beat the mighty Manchester United to win our only trophy in 95. Funny, I remember hammering them 5-0 at home, standing in the Enclosure, in the early eighties they'd only been promoted less than ten years earlier. And Chelsea, perennial relegation strugglers, well we'd play them as they yo-yo'd between divisions, same with City too. But that was before, cue staggeringly loud voice-over, "Before the Premier League".

It's all about managing expectations isn't it? Everton are a small club, and the big, BIG four, are BIG clubs. That nail gets hammered a lot doesn't it. Keep the message simple and keep hammering at it, until it becomes accepted. And anyone who dares to disagree with the narrative is... see above. Now that does sound familiar, I'm sure I've heard that before.

Jack Mason     Posted 11/09/2015 at 16:35:01

When the Sky falls in

Notwithstanding the flack that Bill Kenwright is getting about all and sundry is it just coincidence that these questions are being re-address now?

Fingers are being pointed at the lack of investment in a) new players, b) ground improvements, c) syphoning of funds.

These factors have been aired for years but it appears that the massive hike in Sky monies has thrown the whole debate under the microscope with TW threads now running into hundreds of comments and in the main all focusing upon the Board of Directors' 'main man'.

I am not a shareholder and, having given up my season ticket, I am able to take a more relaxed view of matters on and off the field of play.

I am however an Evertonian and concerned about the future of this great club. In a prior life I was involved with businesses' financial affairs and know too well the need for entrepreneurial ability, for prudence and strong balance sheets.

Balancing those requirements are not easy and coming up with the right formula can sometimes prove very difficult if not impossible.

Sometimes a relatively small concern can land a big order and go all out to capitalise on the opportunity they bring in new machinery, more staff and add to their overheads in the hope that the new order will be their salvation. They become dependent on that big order.

We have a similar thing happening today in the Premier League and with Everton in particular. Manna has started falling from heaven all of a sudden, we are becoming rich past our greatest expectations and all we have to do is spend on new players, a bigger ground to get more bums on seats and sell more pies and shirts. We can't go wrong; why can't these mugs in the boardroom see the opportunities that the cash cow has bestowed on us? This is our lucky day. This is our time!!

Or is it?

What if??

There's an old saying that what goes up must come down. I was always reminded of the Southsea Bubble, the DotCom crash, and even now the great Chinese Dragon is feeling the heat.

For those unlucky enough to have been affected by those downturns, it was not a happy time - people jumped off skyscrapers, people lost millions and ordinary Chinese who lived the dream invested in stocks that only went one way up. Then a correction started and the whole game turned on its head.

What has this got to do with Everton? At the moment, very little... but, when the Sky falls in and the TV money dries up, those skills that I hope the board are adopting will pay dividends because we will not have overspent but lived prudently by good entrepreneurial skill and adopting a strong balance sheet to the benefit of future Evertonians


Brin Williams     Posted 11/09/2015 at 15:01:17

EST 1878 – Join Now!

I have just returned home after attending the inaugural meeting on the new Everton Supporters Trust. I would urge all Blues, no matter where you are in the world, to join this fledgling trust and, judging by the people already involved, it will no doubt become one the most productive of all the supporters trusts that currently exist.

It is currently being chaired by passionate Evertoninas, who want the hear from every Blue who joins, about the issues THEY want addressing. A completely democratic body that will give a voice to the ordinary fan.

I would like to pass on my personal thanks to the people who have given their time for nothing, to give fans the chance to join such a fantastic organisation.

They are on on Twitter, Facebook and are directly contactable by e-mail. It will be the best tenner you've ever spent!
Kevin Tully     Posted 05/09/2015 at 14:59:07

Playing the 3-5-2 formation

During a conversation recently, the idea was presented to me of a 3-5-2 formation; I doubted its capability to bring results. When we played it in the past, I felt it nullified rather than enhanced the threat of our fullbacks... plus I didn't think we played well.

I was shocked to discover I may have it all wrong and 3-5-2 might be the way forward with our squad. There are some major changes to personnel but it looks exciting.

A new keeper was suggested... but who? Answers on a postcard for that one for the time being but he must be able to command his six-yard box.

The back three consists of Browning, Mori and Galloway. No more running down the wings, our defenders are there to defend first and foremost. Most teams only play with one up front.

Stones plays in centre-midfield, 'Calm in the eye of the storm' was the quote. He's always good on the ball and he's got a forward pass; it would be welcome in our midfield.

Lennon, Barkley, Stones, Besic/Cleverley, Mirallas

The Besic/Cleverley debate is my own doing; the originator chose Besic, he reasoned Besic is a forward-thinking player and a run of ten games would let us get to know what he's got.

Deulofeu as the second striker. I had to have the reasoning explained to me: he runs into too many blind alleys out wide whereas in the middle he'll bring danger.

Kone was picked ahead of Lukaku as he can hold the ball and bring others into play.

So... no Coleman, Jagielka, Baines, McCarthy or Lukaku? It's almost incomprehensible how we could start without them in the team.

There's no game for a while; what players and formations would you like to see used?
Michael Winstanley     Posted 03/09/2015 at 21:30:35

The pragmatic Roberto

A quirky manager and it is a ridiculous term would have gone to Anfield all guns blazing. It didn't happen. The line-up, with Besic in midfield, looked like keep-it-tight-and-nick-one. Now, that might seem like harking back to the old days but to me it looked like a manager who knew exactly what was needed today: a clean sheet.

We would have had one but for a dubious free-kick award and a flapping effort from Tim Howard. It didn't look Wiganesque at all. For me, that was a significant turning point. Roberto did what had to be done.

I believe that this game is a confidence-building turning point We can play the expansive game knowing that a result can be dug out when required. Oviedo and Pienaar back will provide significant options. We haven't looked sharp this season but I think it is coming back.

We have in Lukaku (who I think did fine today), Stones and Barkley, young players who will get better and better. I have felt quite pessimistic over the last couple of weeks but I believe it has been all down to confidence.

The Leicester and Arsenal games must have been morale-sapping; drawn games we should have won, Today, a drawn game we could have lost is the turning point. I think we now have a captain right back on his game. That goal will kick start our season. I'm optimistic again.


Andy Crooks     Posted 28/09/2014 at 01:05:53

Left back playing right back?

Just looking at our defence, and the terrible start we have had this season, I personally believe that developing Stones and Jagielka is the answer, just as another poster has done in an article recently.

But the biggest problem, and I don't think has been highlighted enough, is Coleman being injured. This in turn brings Stones to right back, because Roberto doesn't rate Hibbert, and breaks up that partnership in the centre.

So the long term answer in January would be to bring in decent cover for Coleman, but I wonder in the short term, couldn't Oviedo play right back? Or even Baines?

I get the issue of being wrong-footed in the defensive positions in your side, but surely it's better than playing Hibbert? Arguably one of the best right backs in the world, Philip Lahm, has played a lot at left back. At Chelsea, Azpilicueta has kept Filipe Luis, a really good Brazilian left back, out the team, despite being right-footed. Clichy has played right back a few times as cover for City, again being left-footed.

I just wonder if Roberto has the same thinking, because I know I'd rather Oviedo than Hibbert or Stones play right back at the moment. I know he's not completely fit but it's something to consider in the next few weeks.


Ben Jones     Posted 25/09/2014 at 22:18:29

'Football on Merseyside' by Percy M Young

There are many things from our past that, once gone, are lost forever. Perhaps that is why when very occasionally we rediscover something almost forgotten the joy is so great. When I was about 12 years old, a welcome Christmas stocking-filler from my dad was the book Football on Merseyside by Percy M Young, first published in 1963. Thanks to the all-pervading power of the internet, I recently re-acquired the book Ive no idea what happened to the original and the pleasure it has given me second time around is wholly undiminished.

Young wrote a number of books on football, including histories of Manchester United, Wolves, Bolton and Football in Sheffield. However, his main interest was music and he published some fifty books which included biographies of Vaughan Williams, Handel and Elgar. A busy man, in addition to his literary output and his day job as an organist, musicologist and teacher, he found time to serve as a Labour councillor in Wolverhampton.

First thing to say about this is that I think it is one of the best written works on football Ive come across. A fluent and intelligent writer, Young created a work which would stand up to any scrutiny as an academically sound piece of history whilst sustaining its readability. The early chapters on the formation of Everton and the subsequent schism which produced Liverpool are utterly compelling, the individual characters who shaped the club we love so much brought out of the anonymity of the past quite magnificently. We sing and if you know your history but how many of us are familiar with such as George Mahon, James Clement Baxter, John Houlding and others who were central to the birth and healthy growth of our beloved Blues? Youngs book provides a marvellous blow-by-blow account of these early years.

From those early days right through to the 4-1 win against Fulham which clinched the 1962-63 league title for Everton, Young picks out the key matches, the dominant administrators and, of course, the star players who shaped our heritage. Yes, you will also be introduced to the history of the Reds but that is small price to pay for a really classic piece of football literature. You can pick this up for not too much on the likes of Amazon and I heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to sing about our history from the basis of really knowing what they are on about.


Alan Burnham     Posted 25/09/2014 at 19:23:03

No room for sentiment

Tony Hibbert has been a great servant to Everton over the years and should rightly be rewarded working with Everton's youth. However, it surely must be apparent to Mr Martinez by now that his first team days are over.

He was cruelly exposed pre-season against Celta Vigo and again last night against Swansea. Why humiliate the man further by playing him? He is a complete liability.

Another local boy, Scott Dan, illustrated for Crystal Palace, just how effective an orthodox centre-half can be. Everton have recently released Duffy, an Irish international, similar in style, arguably without giving the boy a real chance to prove himself in the first team.

Could it be that these type of players do not meet the 'passing defender' criteria demanded by Mr Martinez? If that is the case then may I use the example of John Terry, so effective yet hardly Franz Beckanbauer! Indeed our own Derek Mountfield wasn't the greatest footballer, but helped Everton to some of our greatest achievements.

Clearly things are amiss at the back. It could well be that we need a tactical re-think to put things right. Total football is an admiral concept, but it is folly to attempt it with inadequate players.

Lower your purist sights, Roberto, and play to the strengths of the players that are at your disposal... before it's too late!
Phil Lewis     Posted 24/09/2014 at 17:26:33

Things need to change

I've been supporting Everton for 50 years now and during these years they have been brilliant, great, average, poor and at times very frustrating!! This season its very frustrating again (just like the '70s)!

I believe we have the best squad of players since the late '80s but our play at times baffles me? The team sometime puts together some sublime football one touch, quick movement, brilliant passing, with great pressing play on the opposition - and then for some reason we switch to custard and start to try and pass the ball around at the back in dangerous areas with poor movement, poor passing and with players seemingly not wanting to move the ball forward! This obviously brings the opposition into our half of the field and they start to press us, the opposition are not playing great but this starts to cause our team to make mistakes, and Bob's your uncle, we concede!!

Now at this point, I must point out I support Everton Football Club and, for me, managers, like players, come and go. I think we have had over the years some brilliant managers and some I would not give a second thought. Our current manager, however, baffles me. He knows his football inside out, a very likable chap who never criticises any of his players and on occasions sets the team up brilliantly... But then, when you look at our pre-season (I thought it was a shambles and got criticised for saying so) and our results thus far this season, especially his use of substitutions, makes you ask "Does he know what he is doing?"

Defensively as a team Everton sit too far back in my opinion plus when we have the ball we are not giving our defenders options to move the ball forward in midfield thus we end up playing the ball around at the back not the only issues, I know, but as I have already said we have the players capable (they dont become poor defenders overnight!). For me, its the system we are trying to play thats not right! I believe it can be put right but it needs to be sorted now before the players start to lose that important factor confidence!


Kevin Dale     Posted 24/09/2014 at 12:36:00

Freshening up... it's messing up!

Roberto Martinez is getting one thing badly wrong. Resting players does not freshen up the team it is messing them up!

Time and time again it has been tried and it fails. A fundamental thing in football is that an unchanged team gets better with every game. Changing a team disrupts things.

Making changes at the back invariably leads to mistakes. The only change yesterday should have been Hibbert for Coleman, if Coleman wasnt fit.

The so-called freshening up cost us 4th place last season with the constant dropping of Mirallas and Barkley for Osman and Deulofeu.

Roberto apparently didnt remember what happened last season when he rested the in-form Barkley for Osman for the Sunderland home game or when he made several changes for last season's Palace game. It beggars belief that he thought he could do it again.

Next week he has to play the strongest team available and I hope he realises we will not get away with passing the ball around at the back in a derby game at Anfield. Too risky, and we will be hustled out of possession, as in the last derby game. We need more variation.

And please, no more Osman. He has never been good enough, he is only effective in the opponent's box, and is a liability in our half of the pitch. And no more Stones at right back. If you dont think Hibbert is good enough, bring someone else in when Coleman is injured.

Strongest team possible in every league game until the end of the season please!
Ged Dwyer     Posted 22/09/2014 at 15:12:02

A Chicken Fancier?

Allow me to start this short piece by apologizing should any of the points already have been done to death. Though I nip on to ToffeeWeb fairly frequently, its generally just to glean the latest headlines before moving on.

Ive been watching the Blues since 1962. In the years that have followed, I have come to believe that one of the things that distinguish us from certain other supporters in the city is that we tend to take a slightly more balanced view of the club and have less of an arrogant sense of entitlement. It is, however, the case that like very many others, we tend to focus on the immediate crisis or triumph and skirt round the pattern.

Currently, it strikes me that some are behaving like the chicken fancier who, on discovering the foul murder of the object of his devotion, stands motionless before the corpse, wringing his hands and counting its wounds, rather than looking round the enclosure and checking the fences, let alone identifying Mr Fox as the perpetrator rather than cruel fate.

Dont get me wrong. By no means do I have the full answer to our current woe. I would like to offer the following points, though, and see if they can lead to more enlightened examination of the situation.

It isnt a question of bad luck when something happens repeatedly. To think so is to be a little more delusional than Carl the Kopite believing that Lambert can fill the Suarez void.

We are one of the Elastoplast clubs. Each summer and January, our very limited resources allow us to fix the most immediate problem and keep fingers crossed that no other gaping wound will appear before the next window opens. We are constantly, as it were, sticking fingers in a dam well past its use-by date.

We have now have a squad which is better than it has been for some time on the surface but the exciting names disguise, for some, the underlying reality that we have far too many old men and young kids. If you have six guys on the pitch who are either in or approaching their mid-thirties, then you must be a supreme optimist to believe that the team can press the opposition for any length of time. By the time the kids mature, the older guys will be on their way out and another band-aid job will commence. Getting that nice balance between experience, youth and players in their prime is simply beyond our means.

If, after the considerable time he has had to eradicate his brain farts, Tim Howard still hasnt, then the chances hes going to put in a series of good, consistent seasons is zero. Too late now, of course, but Cardiff City could have been raided for the excellent Marshall. It didnt happen the cash wasnt there for him or any other better goalkeeper.

Others will say we need a good playmaker; a speedy winger; a more tenacious defensive midfielder, stronger more mobile centre-backs. Well, next year well get one of these and the following year, another. Why so slow? yes, of course youve guessed it: there isnt the dosh.

And so well continue to potter along making a little incremental progress but never attaining the consistency and in-depth strength we need to become one of the leading clubs. The pattern is there for all to see: RM is as much a victim of our financial restraints as was OFM.

On reflection, Ill close with a personal gripe. Clubs assure their status through their strength in the league in my view the old saying about it being our bread and butter. I really do hope that RMs attraction to the Europa League with its incalculable effect on league performances is more to do with the clubs coefficient than on any subconscious desire to impress potential future employers on the continent.


MIke McLean     Posted 22/09/2014 at 08:50:01

Away Ticket Prices

Despite the continued tough financial times faced by football fans, it is clear that some clubs are trying their best to deter away fans from attending. How can they justify an increase of between 8 to 10% on last season's prices? Look at these:

● Liverpool (A) 50!!!
● Manchester Utd (A) 55!!!

Perhaps our club should enter into a reciprocal arrangement and charge their fans what they are charging us. The reciprocal arrangement we have agreed with Villa, Newcastle and Swansea for 20 tickets is a step in the right direction and Everton should be applauded for this.

Away fans add to the atmosphere at matches in this country yet certain clubs continue to treat away fans in a disgraceful manner. Personally I am fed up with being treated as a potential terrorist or criminal as I follow Everton away. An occasional smoke bomb is no justification for an across-the-board over reaction. Subjected to a full pat down and a sniffer dog search just to get in to watch a football match that I have paid over 50 for (hopefully) 90 minutes entertainment. Does anyone going to the theatre get similar treatment of course not.

I am sure that some spin doctor employed by Man Utd or Liverpool will trot out some garbage let's face it, they are not going to admit that they would prefer more tourists to sell tickets to in place of away fans, are they?


Paul Joy     Posted 20/09/2014 at 14:31:45

The Everton 'Chimp'

It was widely reported that Dr Steve Peters, a sports psychologist, had spent half-an-hour with every England player before their 2-0 win over Switzerland.

In case you didn't know, he was also employed by England before the World Cup, and he has 'treated' many sportsmen to try and gain some advantage by removing their 'inner chimp.' His book, 'The Chimp Paradox' is a 'mind management programme.'

Do Blues think we could should follow this route? I mean, you can't tell me we haven't had a massive inferiority complex over the past 15 years or so, especially visiting Anfield, or Old Trafford. We have basically had a huge, hairy fucking Gorilla telling us we couldn't beat these sides away from home, never mind a little chimp!

I know Martinez is trying to instill a 'Sin Miedo' psychology into the team, but are some of our older players past saving? Will Pienaar, Osman, Jagielka and Distin play without fear at Anfield? I am not saying these players are to blame in any way, it's just that they don't seem to have the inner belief of Lukaku, Mirallas, or even Stones and Barkley.

If it means we can finally win a pot or two, or go to certain grounds and play the way we can at Goodison, I say go for it. We all remember the Cup Final against Chelsea, or the Semi-Final against Liverpool. A 1-0 lead turned into that 'chimp,' and we all know what happened next!


Kevin  Tully     Posted 14/09/2014 at 15:28:39

Walton Hall Park

With an announcement of the new ground imminent, will this be popular with the fan base?

It's not the Kings Dock, but it's not Kirkby either!

Will we fill a 50k-seater stadium?

If there is decent private investment, then I can see this development being popular.
Kieran Riding     Posted 14/09/2014 at 00:39:59

Half Full or Half Empty?

I just want to know what my fellow Blues think regarding where Everton are at the moment? I have just watched us away at the Hawthorns and I personally am of the opinion that we were never in any danger of losing the game.

I was surprised by some of the opinions regarding the game, and whilst I will admit it was not a scintillating game, it was not "alehouse" football by any stretch.

I thought I would ask, in an Occam's razor-type straw poll: without all the whys and wherefores, where do we all stand regarding our beloved Blues? Is your glass half-empty, or half-full?

Mine: half-full!


Dominic  Tonge     Posted 13/09/2014 at 20:58:21

In Search of Duncan Ferguson

I know he's at Finch Farm these days coaching, but I am actually talking about the book, In Search of Duncan Ferguson (The Life and Crimes of a Footballing Enigma) about to released on the 11th September 2014!

I wish the title had said "Times" and not "Crimes" of a Footballing Enigma, I know he had an assault charge & a DWI as a younger man, but football wise, the headbutt incident with McStay was the only so-called crime! (For the first time in Scottish legal history, the Procurator Fiscal prosecuted a player for assault on the field of play; one year later, Duncan was sentenced to 44 days in Barlinnie Prison.) I'm sure Dunc might have a word or two with the author if there are any disparaging remarks......

In those dark days of the 1990s, Duncan was one of the few lights to shine at Everton FC (FA Cup win in '95 apart). He was a legend to most Toffee fans, I believe me being one of them. Yes, he did have his detractors, but he was and still is an Evertonian! I still get goosebumps with 'those' goals against Liverpool and Man Utd at Goodison!

I hadn't seen much about the book until recently & this is the same book that got halted just before its release date back in 2009. (Due to deadlines?) Anyway the author is Alan Pattullo (not familiar with the name) and I believe Duncan has no connection with the book, regarding autobiographical, ghost writing, or rights etc?

I've got the book ordered and I will be looking forward to reading it, I just hope the author does a good job with it, if not... perhaps relocation might be a good idea Mr Pattullo?!?
Tommy Davis     Posted 10/09/2014 at 06:50:55

TV Funding and Player Contracts

A week or so ago, some senior exec at BT Sport was basically mouthing off about how Sky is screwed if it wants to remain the dominant player in UK domestic EPL broadcast market.

Basically BT Sport only has 39 games a season, (26 and 13 over two packages) and only the smaller package is "first pick".

I cant remember the exact figures off hand, but Sky pay in the order of 6.1M per game shown, and BTs figure is about 800k higher. The likes of ESPN seems to have exited the market when they sold their interest in what was Setanta to BT. Al Jazeera since being acquired by BeIN Sports is focusing on MENA region (so the overseas broadcast packages) and may not bid in the next round for UK domestic anyway.

With BT already taking Champions League and Europa away from Sky (and ITV) from next season, it poses an interesting dilemma for Sky. BT has hinted it will go for Formula 1 when those rights are next up (and will probably see the Beeb losing even the 50% of race broadcasts it has now so much for protecting the "Crown Jewels".

Skys stance is always that BT has over-paid for EPL and CL/Europa, whereas BT claim it has got a good deal. Actually, they can both be right in this case. Sky has also invested a lot into content-production, not simply buying in from US, for non-sports stuff.

What does this have to do with Everton? I think it could affect players' contracts

The EPL were not expecting BT to be so aggressive in the last round of bidding Scudamore pretty much admitting they were expecting the revenue to go down, not up. Sky is posturing that it wont compete if BT wants to throw silly money at sports rights. The next round of tenders go out in a couple of months if Im not wrong, and the "winners" will be known at the end of this season. The overseas deals will take longer, as theres more of them etc but basically by the start of next season (2015-16, last of the existing TV deals) clubs should be able to forecast broadcast revenues for 2016-17 through to 2018-19.

In a nutshell, if theres a big drop in domestic broadcast revenues if Sky call their bluff, then Everton will be absolutely in the shite.

All clubs will feel the pain of course, but those with bigger stadium revenues, better commercial deals, or a lower debt position will be able to swallow the pill more easily. Some players may accept reduced terms but I seriously wouldnt bank on it with their slimy agents eyeing another payday.

So if, as Sky would call it, we have "Oh Fuck Friday" when the deals are published (I dont know if it will be a Friday) we can look forward to a fire sale of players on fat salaries that we cant sustain.

Or we can hope the Overseas TV deals can bail us out. Theres limited growth laterally as pretty much all markets have blanket coverage. The only hope is the contested markets like USA but theres not enough of them most are done by direct negotiation with a single bidder.

We could focus on improving our commercial performance, particularly in the overseas markets. Well, chances are if weve done nothing in the last few years, we arent gonna suddenly go out and be proactive now (or others will have the same idea).

So a player getting 70k/week is roughly 3.5M/year, and 17.5M over the contract life. Before signing on fees/agent fees etc. etc. And thats just one player.

If I was Bill, Id be hoping for a buyer before the end of this season. Fark, Id even consider lowering the asking price so sacrificing some of the exorbitant return for fook all investment down the years if my buddies who have no interest other than financial in EFC would let me.

If I was a buyer, Id wait till the new broadcast deal is announced. Sure I may miss the boat if it goes well, but if it doesnt, therell be a lot of clubs in the same boat, and it wont just be the Barkleys, Lukakus and McCarthys being frantically traded.

At least well still have Ossie!


Matt Traynor     Posted 07/09/2014 at

Everton bring people in

I live just by the Etihad Stadium in Manchester and today there was some Soccerex 2014 thing going on. I walked down to see what it was about and, for the first hour or so I was there, some corporations were putting on exhibitions about something or other. Not many people around,

Then a group from Wrexham who were half decent Artic Mondays wannabes came on and there were about 10 people there.

Next up was the Everton in the Community team and 10 players with mental health problems. I kid you not the place got packed. All of a sudden, about 100 more people turned up. A family of 3 adults and 2 young boys sat in front of me and the youngest, William, told me he likes Everton. I told him I have as well from about the same age he is now and that's it's great.

At half-time in the match between the Everton players, they asked for volunteers for a crossbar challenge and young William stepped up but not before taking his coat off and proudly revealing his new home kit, with Lukaka on the back.

Sadly William didn't hit the bar but it was a great effort and he was given high fives by everyone on the pitch, I gave him one when he came back to his seat.

I think this shows EitC do a great job, Everton fans will always show up wherever or whatever we are doing and fans like young William are born not manufactured.


Paul Mitchell     Posted 06/09/2014 at 22:56:16

The Solution: Start Gibson

Has everybody forgotten about Darron Gibson? Prior to his injury, he was such an invaluable asset to the team, yet he dosen't seem to get a mention in these worrying days of defensive errors and ragged play.

The Chelsea game came as no surprise, when you consider how Celta Vigo cruelly exposed us at Prenton Park pre-season. It was only when Gibson was introduced at half-time that his presence settled Everton and they looked more composed. I believe playing him in front of the back four could prove to be the answer to the current defensive problems, as well as providing that essential link to the forward players.

If Stones is to develop his potential, he should be in the starting eleven now. On current form, Jagielka ought to be the player to make way for him. Against teams such as Chelsea, we can only afford the luxury of playing one winger. I would have played Gibson in front of the back four, instead of McGeady. Our full backs would have had more cover to get forward and there is no way they would have put 6 goals past us!

There were many positives from the game, not least Eto'o's performance. Overall, I believe that it's fair to expect great things from this squad. Hopefully the Chelsea game is a lesson learned.


Phil Lewis     Posted 03/09/2014 at 01:01:08

The case for optimism

I'm just an American supporter recently adopted as an Evertonian, so maybe this post is going to be naïve. But I want to offer some positive thoughts in the wake of our slow start, leaky defense, and lack of activity on deadline day.

It is disappointing to have only 2 points, but we've only played three matches, and two of them were against teams in the top 4 last season. Only Leicester have faced a similar strength of opposition. Speaking of Leicester, their draw versus Arsenal puts our draw with them into better perspective. They were not a weak opponent.

Playing Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Man Utd in the first seven matches is a tough challenge to begin the season. But, in the end, every team in the league plays every other team in the league twice. We will have 12 matches versus fellow teams in the top 7, and 26 matches against the rest of the league. After 5 October, 23 of our remaining 31 matches will be against the rest of the league.

Our centre-backs may be ageing and declining from last season, but I am confident Roberto Martinez will re-organize our defence well enough to beat West Ham, QPR, Southampton, WBA, Sunderland, Hull, Crystal Palace, Villa, Newcastle, and Burnley in a large majority of matches. If we can also perform reasonably well versus Swansea, Stoke, Leicester, win the Derby, and grab a couple games from Man Utd and Spurs, that will get us to 70 points (say 20-10-8). If we step our play up a couple gears, 78 points is not out of the question (say 23-9-6).

All-in-all, if our attack is 10-15 goals better and our defence is 10-15 goals worse this season, that will increase our points total because a win and a loss are worth more than two draws. And our attack looks fantastic! A few weeks ago, we were worried about where our goals would come from with Barkley injured. We're not worrying about that now. It is much easier to fix a leaky defence than to conjure up an attack where it's lacking.

Well, this is the optimistic perspective. I've seen plenty of the pessimistic perspective lately and I want to share my feeling that things will not be as bad as they seem right now. COYB IRWT


Geoffrey Caveney     Posted 02/09/2014 at 23:03:53

Bottom of the spending league again

I have been made aware of two "facts" in the last couple of days. The first was that the Lukaku deal is payable over 5 years. Secondly it has been in the press that Premier League clubs have spent in total around 840M in this transfer window. This is 42M per club on average.

As we appear to have parted with about 10M, I am sure this puts us close to the bottom of the nett spend league. This in itself is not too disastrous, but the fact that it happens every year since Bill Kenwright took over disturbs me and is most worrying.

The commitment of the Everton Board is questionable. The biggest battle any Everton manager faces is the one for funds, before the challenge from other opponents begins.
Clive Rogers     Posted 02/09/2014 at 16:54:24

Where Do We Go Now?

After Saturday's abysmal defensive performance, plus the two previous games where our defence was found wanting, what steps can be made to improve this situation?

Like all other supporters, I was watching for someone to come in on the last day of the transfer window to help and was astonished to find the club's efforts leaned towards bringing in another midfielder to go with the six to eight midfielders we presently have. We have two central defenders past their prime and one up-and-coming young defender, with a ex-Wigan defender who seems injury prone and, going on his previous outings, not a Premier League player.

The problem is: How can the club improve the defence at this time with who is available? My own feelings are, if we bring Stones in, he has to have either Jagielka or Distin in to help him; with him being more comfortable on the right side, he would replace Jags.

The other thing I firmly believe in is that Everton should bring in a defensive coach to assist the Manager to help him provide the type of play he wants without jeopardizing their defensive duties. Looking at other European leagues, an Italian coach could be suitable as we all are aware of the defensive qualities in the Italian league. Stating that, the defence's performance was uncharacteristic and we should get back to basics is only glossing over the problem.

Plus not thinking we do not have a serious problem, as the transfer window showed, can see us staying near the bottom half of the league and out of Europe pretty quick. The time to act is now.
Bill Gall     Posted 01/09/2014 at 22:48:36

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