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February 2015 Archive   |   Submit a topic

Now It's Crystal Ball Time

Well it all happened rather quickly in the end. After four or five days of intense speculation, both locally and nationally, I don't think many of us expected the club statement on Saturday afternoon. Now's not the time to be cynical, but I really hope Kenwright has found the 'investor' he has been searching for 24/7, to take the club forward.

When the dust finally settles on the biggest news for Evertonians for probably 30 years or more, we need to see concrete plans to restore the club amongst the frontrunners in the Premier League, and dispel the tag of 'plucky little Everton, punching above their weight'. The two main issues Farhad Moshiri must address are the ground issue and the strength of the playing squad; I'll leave Roberto Martinez until later...

However, those hoping to see the back of Robert Elstone as CEO, will be left 'ringing their hands' I feel; Bill will have ensured that any 'takeover' as such will involve his 'star pupil' who, despite what fans think locally, as Chairman of the club, he rates him very highly.

More interesting will be the new man's take on the ground situation. Having watched at close quarters, the building of the truly magnificent Emirates Stadium, now the best domestic ground in the UK, will he want a scaled-down version in Walton Hall Park? Or, as many fans want, a credible plan to redevelop Goodison Park? My guess is Kenwright and co will push for a new build somewhere in the City. This means of course, resuming a dialogue with Joe Anderson and the City Council, after the recent 'war of words' ended in a PR disaster for the club. There is a few olive branches to be offered there, I think.

Next on the agenda is the retention and improvement of the playing squad. I believe Stones will move on in the Summer, and possibly Lukaku will push for a move, but hopefully the others will see the promise of investment as a sign the club is moving in the right direction. I guess the BIG question is whether Moshiri with his business connections will be able to attract additional investment and purchase additional shares from the current board, and has he been given a promise by Kenwright and Woods (now that Earl is out the way), that this will happen?

Finally, what does the deal mean for the manager? No-one knows what the new guy is really like... I believe the manager will be given another 12 months, probably on the back of Kenwright's assurances, but having paid 200M, Moshiri will want to see real signs of progress, and the right man in place to move the club forward and realise his investment as well as ambition

The next 6-12 months will be really interesting for all Evertonians. Let's give the new guy a chance to put his blueprint into place, in the meanwhile, let's enjoy the ride.

Steve Hogan     Posted 28/02/2016 at 08:12:16

Worst Signings in Everton's History

Perhaps one of the poorest and ill-conceived posts on here recently was one claiming that Tim Howard is "One of the worst signings in Everton's history". But please, no more posts about him.

However, another of our stalwart contributors suggested "Worst signings" is worthy of a thread on it's own. A recurring periodic theme on here but we haven't had one for a while.

Ray Roche suggested a couple to drool over:

Bernie "The Bolt" Wright, named after a piss-poor TV programme;
Per Krøldrup may have been successful elsewhere, but here?
Glen Keelly?
Brett Angell?

It's a dead weekend as far as we're concerned with no Everton game on the ticket, so I've moved a couple of posts over from the Howard thread to get you started.

Michael Kenrick     Posted 26/02/2016 at

The missing link

There have been many an articles and comment on this site berating the lack of leadership on the pitch in this Everton team. Indeed, on a recent thread I added my thoughts about the naivity that we have shown this season in a number of games. Both ring true and as such it has got me thinking how best to sort this problem.

The parallels to the the eighties team are many. We had a young team who lacked confidence and conceded goals. The manager was under extreme pressure and most believe was he was probably twenty minutes from the sack. Yet we had youth and quality in our ranks who needed guidance, confidence, drive and leadership.

Enter Andy Gray. A footballer way past his best whose glory days were surely gone. His body was half broken, his stock was on the wane ( pardon the pun) and his signature was met with mixed feelings in our fan base.

Two and a half years later we had turned into the most exciting, confident and driven team in Europe. Andy Gray brought knowhow, aggression, passion and self belief that rubbed off on all around him. He was a massive missing piece of the jigsaw.

Here we are thirty years later. A youthful team with bags of ability. Confidence is low, especially at home and the ability to get over the line, to have the knowledge and experience of how to win in tight situations is missing. The manager is under pressure and maybe he was a penalty save away from the sack.

Enter Wayne Rooney. A divisive figure certainly (although less and less with each passing visit to goodison). The character that he shows, his passion, his drive and his experience draw many a parallel to Andy Gray. Yes, he too is past his best and yes, he also has a body that is showing the wear and tear of many years at the top. However, the arrival of such a player to join the ranks of our inexperienced youthful and exciting team could just be the catalyst to much bigger and better things for our club.

So, is Wayne Rooney the missing link?

Phil Williams     Posted 21/02/2016 at 10:02:24

Howard is still a keeper!

Tim Howard has been a fantastic servant to our club! The man has single-handedly won us football matches time after time over the years and yet we ridicule him for a substandard performance this season?

Trust me, being a goalkeeper myself I question his performances the last couple of seasons. Lest we forget though, he did manage to salvage us a draw at Manchester City earlier in the season, so is he past it or is this just a matter of form? Personally I believe the former. However, now that we have all got our wish that big Joel Robles get his chance, and now that he has taken it with two open arms, why do we as Evertonians still feel the need to take our frustration out on Tim Howard?

Martinez showed true faith in him even though we begged for Robles to get his chance, myself included. Personally looking back now, I think he earnt his right to keep his place in the team or at least fight for his position just a little bit longer than what was expected. I agree that Robles's opportunity was well over due, but let me put it to you this way... For a good part of a decade, Tim Howard is the reason why our defence was so fantastic in the Moyes era. It happens in every player's career that, at some stage, he has to step aside and let the young blood take over, but let's not be too harsh on Howard.

Let's celebrate his career at the Toffees and thank him for his terrific service to the club. Should he move on in the summer, let's wish him the best of luck and make him feel welcome whenever he wishes to visit The Grand Old Lady, because that is the Everton Way!

I'm calling out to all Evertonians to drop the whole social media epidemic of ridiculing the man who defended our goal with such passion for so many years. We have got our wish, Robles is now the Number 1 choice, so let's show the quality that we are as supporters and get behind one of our greats.

I would like to praise our away support once again at Bournemouth yesterday. Absolutely fantastic! Poor first-half performance rescued by a fantastic penalty save by Robles. Second-half performance was different class. A special mention to big Rom and our Diamond Ross for the two goals.

Vaughan Sheward     Posted 21/02/2016 at 01:24:04

Winning formula

The first thing I noticed that surprised me about Roberto Martinez was his loan strategy.

Our problem has always been having a lack of options in all positions, and the three amazing loans in his first season was a formula that I really liked. It allowed us to fill holes in certain areas without spending for spending's sake.

Taking Lukaku and Deulofeu as an example, they were exciting young players with great potential; to have them come and play for a whole season allowed them to form a good impression with the club, so that, if they performed well enough, it would be much easier getting a player that already knows how great this club is.

Sadly, Martinez has abandoned that strategy which, in my view, was his only "Wow" factor that separated him from Moyes. I truly believe that Martinez must re-start that strategy in the summer if we are to have any chance building a top 4 squad quick enough.

Ever since he stopped that strategy, we have fallen backwards, and I think we need to do everything in our power to compete with the top 4 clubs – that includes a wise loan strategy, on top of the regular transfers.

If Martinez can get back to how he operated the first season (like getting a new defensive coach to replace David Weir) then I still think he is able to build this club towards being a top-4 club. The problem is, I think he left that strategy behind because of all the media criticism, and we have suffered badly because of it.

JImmy-Åge Sørheim     Posted 19/02/2016 at 22:52:14

A discourse on luck

For my sins, I teach a Theory of Coaching course at the University of Toronto. We cover all the expected topics but one of my favourite discussions is about "Luck".

The oft quoted "It is often said that a lucky coach is better than a good coach" is our starting place. It is not a theory of football coaching course but a general coaching course and, occasionally, the subject turns to football (soccer!)

Is it unlucky when Ross Barkley produces a wonderful controlled shot that hits the post and goes in or does not? The moment the ball hits the post, the difference between going in or staying out is probably less than inch. If Ross shoots from 20 yards, his accuracy limit revolves around that inch. Compare this to Barney the dart slinger, if he misses from 8 feet by an inch, he is having a bad day.

Not being a darts player, I watched the recent World Darts Championship with fascination at how players accurately hit tiny areas with amazing consistency. Yes, the distance is small, the dart tip is minute, and target is minimal but by consistent practice these guys rarely miss. So, is darts or snooker a game where luck is minimized? Both are what sport psychologists refer to as "closed skills" meaning the object does not change, neither does the environment. All that does change is the shot required to get the double or pot the ball.

Research is often quoted that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve perfection. Not sure many of us can afford that time. My take on "Luck" is that the more times you put the ball or dart or whatever into the right area at the right time, the more chances you have of eliminating luck. Luck obviously plays a huge part in winning most football games or losing them, as Bobby tells us all too regularly. There is no legislating against that twat Atkinson for being such a shithole ref...

The other often quoted line is that luck balances itself out over the season! No real research or evidence for that! Any offers to watch every Blues match in the Premier League and log the number of lucky and unlucky instances? I will be happy to write up the thesis!

So, what do I tell my students or players that I now coach? Put the ball in the best possible place depending on the state of the game as many times as possible so that it is skill that determines the outcome and minimizes "Luck"? If I have a bad run of results, then (like RM) I can resort to "bad luck" as my excuse to stop me getting the sack!

Having said all that, I am still going to wear my lucky shirt, won't move if we score, and keep everything crossed on Saturday.

David Cooper     Posted 18/02/2016 at 22:51:13

Small Steps when we needed Giant Strides

Following on from my previous article (The Fine Balance, 17th November 2015) we have made progress in the last 14 games compared to the same fixtures in 2014-5 but no where near enough.

We are now 8 points better off than the performance last season, gaining 6 points more in the last 14 games than the equivalent fixtures last year. This has taken us to a projected 55 points and 8th place in the league. We are actually the 4th most improved team in terms of points this season and 3rd most improved in terms of the middle third of the season. Progress? Somehow if a projection of 55 points is considered progress, it is more a mark of how low we had sunk last season.

This table takes the results of last season for the remaining 12 fixtures and adds them to the results so far this season. As simple as that.

The battle for the top 4, both on projections and current status does seem now settled. It is just the order with City having a very noticeable dip in the last 3 months (down 13 points).

Europa League places are also seeming to go to the Sky 3 who have lost their way so that should be fun on Thursday nights. The question is will one of the chasing pack really move up a gear and catch one of them. I would possible risk a fiver on Chelsea being in the top 7.

Then we have 8 clubs, including us, who will be thankful of the money, not seeming to be in any danger of relegation and not making the Europa League with the associated costs in terms of squad numbers. Southampton dipped over Christmas but have improved by 5 points in the last 5 games so have more than arrested the slide. All of these clubs are showing improvement, albeit only marginally apart from Swansea who also have picked up recently after a brief flirtation with a projection of under 40 points.

And so who is going down? Villa and Barcodes look certain. Or do they? Newcastle took just 3 points last year from the remaining 12 fixtures. Tough fixtures or they were just lousy last year as well as this? Bournemouth (playing as Hull) took just 6 points. The ones who will probably not improve are Norwich (QPR took 13 points), Villa took 12 and Sunderland with 9 and so we could see the 3 promoted sides stay up, but I suspect one will not make it.

So back to our grand team. 12 fixtures to go. 5 at home. Wins over Norwich, Saints and West Ham and draws with Arsenal and Bournemouth? 7 away. Wins at Watford and Palace, draws at Liverpool, Leicester and Sunderland and defeats at Villa and United? 55 Points? So Bruce, Higher or Lower?

Phil Roberts     Posted 17/02/2016 at 22:22:56

Atkinson to ref the Bournemouth cuptie

I've just heard that Mr Atkinson is to take charge of the FA Cup game at Bournemouth on Saturday as if things weren't bad enough...

Patrick Murphy     Posted 16/02/2016 at

Roberto – Asset or Liability?

The answer to the question raised is going to be heavily in favour of Liability given these past two seasons of frustration.

The majority of Evertonians will point to his lack of defensive coaching; set pieces; goalkeeper selection; selection generally over the season of square pegs in round holes; substitutions, both in terms of personnel and timing (I still shudder with embarrassment with regards to Rodriguez's 30- second debut).

Then we have listened to his phenomenal after-match interviews; interviews in general where he expounds about having the best young players in Europe whilst he drags them towards the depths of the Premier League. The column marked Liability contains a list which makes this article a simple one sided discussion.

However, what about the other side of the coin? The investor side of the coin?

If I was an investor, whether I am American, Chinese or a rich man in a Manchester bed-sit, it matters not what matters is my investment.

Roberto knows how to sell himself; knows what to say about the Chairman to the media, wishing he could live for another 100 years (put in a good word for me to the new investors Boss). He knows when to jump ship (Wigan when relegated and how to move out without a sniff of resentment from the supporters, at least at the time of his departure). He knows how to put a positive spin on bad results and performances. He is mystified when we batter a team and lose 1-0 to another set piece. He makes last ditch acquisitions on the final day of the transfer window so he comes out holding the high ground.

To an investor he sees the young, invaluable players he has brought to the first team and one cannot argue with the development of Barkley; Stones; Galloway; Lukaku; the acquisition of Deulofeu; the free signing of Cleverly. There are more in the pipeline of talent yet to be fully fledged.

As an investor, what do I care about? The TV bounty is on its way with more to come. Roberto has developed talented but, importantly, invaluable young players to sell at the drop of a hat to cover any expenditure to which I might over-expose myself. As long as EFC stays in the Premier League, as long as Roberto keeps delivering this young talent to the first team, surely he is an asset I cannot afford to lose? Why fix what is not broken?

Yes, it would be a bonus if we can get into Europe; win a cup or two Roberto only has to fix the defence and the investor has a match made in heaven. As an investor I cant understand what these Evertonians are complaining about. Such a nice man, nice shoes, nice dance moves, Chairman thinks he is wonderful, everything is phenomenal, so what is there not to like? It is not as though the club have been winning trophies for the past 20 years or so but we will see what Roberto has to say about that defence and if it all sounds good, give him a new contract.

Of course the investors might not give a darn about anything but finding a manager who can take us to the top of the league; recognising that Europes top competition is where the real money can be found. Just maybe they will see the Liabilities outstrip the Assets but it depends on why you are investing in the first place.

Ian Burns     Posted 16/02/2016 at 10:40:22

Gamblore on the Top Four

Only Simpsons fans will appreciate the title of this, my first article on ToffeeWeb.

Remember that easy run of games from around October up to the Spurs game at the turn of the year? Well we're in the middle of the reverse of those fixtures and this time we're winning.

If we beat West Bromwich Albion on Saturday then we will be either nine or ten points off fourth place.

Now I'm as pessimistic as your average ToffeeWebber but with an upcoming fixture list of Aston Villa (A), West Ham Utd (H), and Sunderland (A), dare we dream of finally sneaking into the top four this season?

Arsenal at home is the next game on the list (leaving out the pending derby game for the minute). Seems like déjà vu from last season where us beating them set up a race for 4th place in the Premier League.

Bear in mind that, by the time we play them, they'll have just encountered Leicester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the league not to mention their probable annual exit at the last 16 stage of the Champions League.

This article sounds like the type of one that I throw my eyes up at but, at 50/1 to finish in the top four, I'm going to allow the aforementioned gambling monster to enslave me and chance at least a Euro on it happening.
Shane Corcoran     Posted 11/02/2016 at 17:20:14

Ticket prices

Last weekend Liverpool fans walked out in protest at the proposed 77 ticket prices, and fair play to them, for once didnt have me viewing their flag waving banner clad karaoke Kop with nausea and disgust.

Earlier this week, despite their ability to argue at great volume even when agreeing with one another, Mark Saggers and Stan Collymore on talkSport covered the pricing of tickets in the Premier League against the vast increase of money coming to cubs next season (not the first massive rise in recent years) and clubs will see their coffers swell multiple times above the level of income from gate receipts, that make the turnstiles as beneficial as programme sales. And yet prices in the Premier League will go up.

There has been much discourse about how the relationship with the fan and the players has changed within the Premier League this season. For those with bums on seats are waiting for the players to provide the impetuous to rouse their support rather than the other way round, or at least an equal responsibility. But as the fan are the only people in the stadium poorer at the end of 90 minutes, by some considerable amount, this is entirely predictable and I would say, warranted.

But no one wants the game to be this way, and with prices to make a Chelsea fan blush it was hats off to the Liverpool fans streaming out on 77 minutes when a tipping point was reached.

Saggers and Stan informed the listener that you can watch Barcelona or Bayern Munich with a season ticket that costs only a couple of hundred pounds, and yet very much under reported only a few, lead by our own club, couldnt stop Premier League chairman voting to refuse capping away tickets at 30.

If the Premier League continues to follow the American path of pricing tickets, our stadia will continue to be full, but not by the hard core fan but those who visit four to five times a season and willing to pay the price of a Barbra Streisand ticket. That is the American way.

One final stat from talkSport, the most expensive ticket at Arsenal 20 years ago, adjusted for inflation, would be 20 in todays money. And we are about to be taken over by venture capitalists from United States.

Are we about to see unity from fans across the country, as what divides us is not as great as what unites us? If I could afford to go to the game Id also walk out on 77 minutes.
Nick Entwistle     Posted 10/02/2016 at 13:51:07

Bugger! We missed 2 goals!

I really must find something better to do with my time!

Again, putting aside any natural disinterest in all teams wearing red and who play their home games in the Liverpool area, I listened with mild interest to the 77th minute shenanigans across the park.

It's pricing us Norwegians out the game!(Ok, I made that quote up...sorry!)

The thing is, will a club like them (Boooo!....stop it!) be able to sell the seats? Answer: Yes. We have to assume it is not a random finger-in-the-air price? Let us assume a marketing company has done the work for them.

Now the capacity will be somewhere around 54,000 morons (apologies...couldn't help myself). There is a joke in there about which way the new stand is facing, but let it go people.
This capacity is a long way from that of Hades Trafford so they probably are confident that where United charge from 40 to 55 for a seat, the greater demand for a seat in (our discarded old ground, dammit!... another cheap jibe. Again, sorry) will allow them to charge more. This, I believe, is a very simplistic price-versus-demand thing?

Now, the owners are looking at a very simple business model, loadsa money equals greater success. They could be looking at money in their pockets OR buying better players (I don't particularly care), but again let us assume it's to buy more expensive players. Better players, more wins, more success.

So we get to the point of this talking point. Where do your priorities lie?

  1. Everton win at all costs (game or trophies)
  2. Everton win but we must play like Brian, Howie, Alan and Colin
  3. Everton try and do a Leicester/Nottingham Forest

My preference is the number 2 please forgive me, I'm an oldie but even that is not the cheap option of number 3.

And therein lies the dilemma we all want success and let us be honest, the players and agents are black holes to money. If we get taken over by foreign investors we may get the glory back, but what is the cost? The board across the park are looking to maximise profit to achieve success. Is that wrong? If the trophies roll in, do the fans then complain? We need to understand that the fans do not figure in the plans of these men of riches. If they know someone will buy the seat, the shirt or the scarf, they care not who that fan is.

I think we are lucky (so far). We are a big club, we fill our beautiful (and she is beautiful even if I know she must go) ground, we have a mass of octopus tentacles stretching through local communities (far more than the other lot). The club has a soul and I, like you, love her to bits.

But when the money comes (fingers crossed) will we be walking out at 89 minutes? (I'm not suggesting 89 for a seat in a new ground in Kirkby but buggered if I'm leaving at 70 minutes I sodding paid for 90!)

My point: I appreciate the fans making a statement, but I doubt anyone was listening.

Ian Robert     Posted 07/02/2016 at 17:47:48

On Paper?

Just for a bit of boredom relief I started looking at games left and a possible end-of-season points tally for our beloved Toffees.

We all have our own opinion on the outcome of any given game. Some people just look at the team on the fixture list and say we should beat them, even if they are above us, just because we traditionally finish above that same team.

Some people look at statistics and try and reason the result, but we know footy is a bugger for letting yer down!

Some of our fellow Blues just see red literally for some games and demand a win regardless.

Now I concluded a 53-point tally but everyone that knows me looks for the black cloud above my head and puts up a brolly when talking to me!

I then thought, don't look at the fixture, forget the stats, just look at all the teams and think who is the best on paper (before any wannabe Boardmans come back with the we play on grass routine, please don't). Again it is all down to personal opinions, and I know we all can say well if we dropped him, or hadn't sold him, etc...but clear that from your minds.

Forget earlier results. Forget bogey teams. Forget how teams have performed. Forget how good the manager is. Just look at first elevens at the start of the season.

Teams I believe (that is I, me, nobody else) we are better than on paper: Villa, Sunderland, Newcastle, Norwich, Swansea, Bournemouth, WBA, Palace, Stoke, Watford, Southampton, Westham, Leicester. Ok, so that should mean we finish at least 7th (if there's 13 listed there... maths was never my strong point).

Now I also believe we are better than the chaps across the park....just my opinion and not based on any seething hatred. That puts us 6th.

The rest are probably as good if not far better than our boys. Again, on paper: Chelsea, Man U, Man City, Arsenal, Spurs.

So I would be happy for us to finish 6th, anything higher would be a great achievement, anything less is a disappointment.

Of course teams have injuries and some have Kone :)) but over the season I think it evens out. So was I right to expect a top 7 finish? Can we still obtain a top 7 finish?

If we do, I for one, won't be complaining.

Ian Robert     Posted 05/02/2016 at 10:42:38

Crowd trouble and double standards

Let's just start by saying I am not racist and would like to congratulate the Carlisle staff and police for tracking down the idiot who abused our players on Sunday. Great work, guys.

Okay, why has the same logic not been applied to the Man City game where a disabled fan was abused and there's video showing a fan being repeatedly struck by City fans in front of the stewards who are then allowed back to their seats to enjoy the rest of the evening and celebrate City winning and qualifying for Wembley?

The Everton supporter was removed from the ground. If this had been deemed racial, would the Steward be identified and sacked now and the culprit arrested?
Raymond Halsall     Posted 03/02/2016 at 15:38:03

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