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Talking Points

September 2015 Archive   |   Submit a topic

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 don’t need both Kone and Naismith. I’d 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

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