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January 2020 Archive   |   Submit a topic

If I was Manager!

As a sport, I feel the game has changed for the worse these last few years. Cheating has become a big part of the game I used to love. It has unfortunately become accepted that shirt-pulling, feigning injury, time-wasting, and "taking one for the team" are part of the game and you will no doubt be witness to all of the above in every Premier League game.

So.... let’s just say that I have become the new Manager for Everton. This would be my speech the first time I met the players!

"Hi, Lads, welcome to a new phase in Everton Football Club’s history! We are going to go forward as the club that everyone admires, the club with the best attitude in modern football.

“Now, you might think this is madness, but I will assure you, it will be worth it. I want this club to be the one everyone talks about. The club that doesn’t cheat!

“So, from now on, from the start of our very next game, we are going to wind back the clock and bring back football as it should be played. By players that do not cheat!

“You will no longer be allowed to pull-shirts; you will no longer be allowed to roll around as though badly injured when you clearly are not; or throw yourself to ground to get free-kicks and penalties; or time-waste by heading to the corner flag every time you get the ball (Ohate that).

“The crowds do not want to see it anymore — and nor do I. If you do these things, if you want to act like a child in a man’s sport, then you are in the wrong club and I promise you, you will spend more time on the bench than on the pitch.

“I am quite clear over the fact that this may cost us points but, in the long run, there will be dividends; other clubs will follow suit. English football will come home again because, if it continues down this path, the future is bleak indeed."

Yes, I know I would not last 2 weeks in the job, but just think if it actually set standards through the Premier League. How much better it would be to watch football again!

Rant over!
Tony Cheek     Posted 26/01/2020 at 19:50:34

Pickford, the case for removal... or not?

To me, Jordan Pickford is the best goalie we can afford. I also think he's still the best English goalie currently playing, albeit there's now a smidge of meaningful competition. In fact, I also think he's in the top six keepers in the Premier League, regardless of nationality.

That's my case FOR him.

My case against him is that he comes across as a bit thick. This is admittedly a subjective comment on his personality but, if it forms any part of the opinion on the players in front of him during games, it's a big problem for the team, and the fans, and Moshiri. By way of contrast, Neville Southall, a bin-man and hod carrier back in the day, always came across as a the picture of sober excellence, even when he once famously squatted, for bloody good reason as far as I was concerned, throughout half-time, leaning on a goalpost as the rest of the team retreated to the dressing room to discuss another wretched first-half performance.

That said, Pickford is now on the cusp of being 26 years old. I really think he needs to now “get his head together” on and off the field in order to progress to the level we enjoyed with Nev and Nigel Martyn – especially in view of the crap squad he played with – both of them being the same height as him, and both, in their different ways, being peerless 'keepers.

Top teams have top 'keepers, as well as top defenders, midfielders and strikers.

Hopefully Jordan can very soon supply the fantastic base of our next trophy-winning side.

Don Alexander     Posted 24/01/2020 at 23:24:45


Now here is a good one for ToffeeWebbers.

Until last Saturday, Moise Kean held a unique record for Everton.

However, he then lost it but gained another one on Tuesday night.
Phil Roberts     Posted 23/01/2020 at

Player of the season


Anyway, time is ticking along and l am scratching my head. Not just at how we can always seem to shoot ourselves in the foot in the most bizarre ways possible.

Any stand outs? DCL and Holgate for me.
Possibly Richarlison... it’s a very short list. Bernard has his good and bad minutes. The rest... maybe Sidibe in patches and the same goes for Bernard.

On the minus side my biggest disappointment has to be Digne. All season he’s been off the mark, though he has a few assists to his name some of his crossing is awful and saying he misses Bernard can’t be used anymore.

So it’s all to play for. So to speak.
David Pearl     Posted 22/01/2020 at 19:01:13

Win as a team and lose as a team?

One of my favourite coaching comments is “Win as a team and lose as a team”. But, although it is inclusive and sounds good, it is rarely true!

This morning, I forced myself to watch the last 5 minutes of regular time and then the 6 minutes of added time against Newcastle — although only 4 minutes were held up on the board. So where, Mr Hooper, did those extra 2 minutes come from?

We conceded the first goal at 3 minutes and 30 seconds of added time but Mr Hooper blew his whistle to end the match at close on 6 minutes of added time. The second goes in at 94 mins and 35 seconds. By then, we are 2-2 and suicidal. The game finishes at 95 mins and 57 seconds. But where did these extra 2 minutes come from?

No subs, no injuries and 2 goals. How long did he add on for the 2 goals and why? It must have been a minute per goal. I don’t think Mr Simon Hooper has been around long and took that perennial refs view of “l will see how this attack plays out and then blow my whistle.” Where in the reffing handbook does it say that?

So, having got that off my chest, where or who lost us the match? Or, as the saying goes, did we “lose as a team”? Well, let’s look at Carlo Ancelotti and his substitutions. I can just about accept Tom Davies and Seamus Coleman... but why Oumar Niasse? The way Carlo hugged him as he came on, it felt like he was saying “This is the last time you are going to play for EFC so go and enjoy the occasion!”

Sentimental, good guy, and the fans cheered as Oumar came on. What does this tell us about Carlo? He is a nice guy. The kind of guy you wouldn’t mind as an uncle! He is a little bit arrogant. Well, why not with his track record! But maybe he had forgotten about our track record of seeing out a game.

Okay, who else does my spotlight fall on? It has to be the guy in the banana skin outfit. Yes, England’s #1 keeper well until the next team is picked. There are many adjectives we can all choose to describe him but I will just focus on one - he is too short to be a top goalkeeper. How many times do we have to watch him toss points away? We need a 6'-2" minimum goalkeeper with the ability to deal with high balls into the box. Every team from now on and before is just going to lob the ball into the 6 yard box and see what happens.

Next- Luca Digne. With minutes to play, he takes a well-positioned free-kick and whacks it over the bar. Why not play it into the corner and play out time? Also with Tom he conspires to mess up the clearance which leads to a corner which leads to their first goal. Plus he was captain and should have been telling everyone to get the ball up the field.

The only person apart from Pickford who has a mouth on him is Mason Holgate. No one else says a friggin word. Delph a leader? No way! After conceding the first goal with only seconds left to play, he gets the ball from the kick-off and floats it towards the right-hand touchline where we lose possession. And we all know what happens after then. And I don’t think you can blame Tom for the tackle that leads to the 2nd goal or missing the header with Mason before the 2nd goal.

What about Oumar? 91 mins and 30 secs he charges down-field but cannot run it into the corner.

Maybe we shouldn’t lose sight of the good things that happened in the first 93 minutes. Moise Kean, Calvert-Lewin, Bernard... but why is it always Everton that do this and will Carlo ever learn!
David Cooper     Posted 22/01/2020 at 20:04:32

Why? & How? – What is the Truth?

Everton as a multi-million-pound business are not in a position where they can impart detailed and possibly confidential information to the fans. There are a range of issues that the fans would be interested in but, even if the club wanted to keep us in the loop, it would be unwise to inform us. So the situation offers us many hours of discussion and debate. Occasionally, after time has elapsed, we might even get the chance to say to friends – “I told you so!” A great feeling.

So, a big “why”: Why has Carlo Ancelloti chosen to manage us?

I find it intriguing and am mightily pleased he is here. Surely it is because our owners have genuinely convinced him that he will have all the necessary resources to be successful. A man of his reputation and experience would recognise a con, wouldn’t he?

Is it the massive salary? The challenge at this stage of his career to prove he can restore to the higher echelons the great institution that is Everton Football Club. Is it nostalgia? Going back to his early days in management, when the odds were against him and he was trying to build a reputation. The lure of the Premier League? Has he been promised the money necessary to be successful?

However, he must realise the constraints of the “protectionist racket” that is Financial Fair Play. Does our club have a strategy to circumnavigate this rule? We seem to have made one play with the option of naming rights of our proposed new stadium to the tune of £30 million. Have we the money? If yes, can we spend it? Have the club been truthful with Ancelloti?

And then there is Usmanov. Is he now fully with Everton and prepared to pump money into the club in terms of buying players and in building the new ground? Is he only interested in making money out of us? Is he genuine and going to be one of us? Is it a combination of these reasons? Is he in the background due to Financial Fair Play?

Certainly I find his presence intriguing because he is a genuine “big hitter” and is unlikely to be involved in anything unless he can be successful. Does he share our dreams?

Does the club really believe we can reach the Champions League by the scouting and buying of the next generation of talent before our competitors realise their potential? Leicester City managed to do this to a degree – could we replicate this success? Is Ancelotti onboard with this vision?

Many many questions, what is the truth and how are we going to progress? Can Bramley-Moore Dock really be the catalyst to propel us upward? We will have a stadium of 52,000 while several of our competitors have 60,000 plus...

Tomorrow night I will be in the pub and some of these questions will form part of the evening's debate.
Barry Metcalfe     Posted 22/01/2020 at 19:03:04

The Curious Case of Oumar Niasse

Think back to the outcry as a result of Oumar Niasse on Saturday 18 November 2017 versus Crystal Palace (Away).

Niasse sparked controversy in the match by appearing to dive to win Everton a penalty, which was converted by Leighton Baines to make the score 1–1 in the first half. He subsequently became the first Premier League player to be charged with "successful deception of a match official" under The Football Association's new regulations and received a two-match suspension.

My first thoughts were the FA were looking for a scapegoat for the increase in players diving or going down to the ground with the slightest touch. After the decision with Walcott versus Brighton, would Walcott have committed a similar offence if he had actually gone down?

We are now over two years past Niasse's "deception" but we keep seeing players committing fraudulent falls with hardly a yellow card being brandished let alone a deception charge being brought afterwards. Perhaps, after the FA exonerated Michael Keane at Brighton, Aaron Connolly the Brighton player should have been charged with deception!

We have seen no further "deceptions" being punished after the media onslaught against Niasse. Why have the FA gone quiet?

A few years ago, Kuyt of Liverpool launched a nasty two-footed tackle against Phil Neville and failed! However, the referee Clattenberg failed to apply the law of intent to Kuyt's actions.

So are we to believe only successful deception and on-field violence are to be punished? Any donkey going down to claim a penalty is not guilty of any offence unless it would win an Oscar award for acting. Perhaps, Oumar Niasse should receive a Bafta award for his so-called acting skills. It seems clear that the logic suggests that not one player since has set out to deceive a referee again!
Trevor Powell     Posted 13/01/2020 at 20:31:10

What would it take for Europe?

What would it take for us to get into Europe?

I tend to be a fan who asks "What if?" ... What if Baines had taken the first penalty versus Leicester; what if we hadn't had terrible VAR decisions; what if...

Okay, put aside the reality of the season so far and let's look at what it would take to qualify for Europe next season by any means, which seems to be an aim that is gaining traction. This is more a little fun exercise. Let's hear thoughts on how many points we would need and what people think we could actually get to achieve this.

If you look at recent seasons, 7th has seen qualification if all the stars align with FA Cup Winners etc... To achieve this, 57 & 54 points have got you into the qualifying stages of the Europa League. Prior to this, it was us at 61 points and there or thereabouts in previous seasons.

So, looking at best-case scenario, we would need another 26 points from the remaining 48 available for us to hit 54. Using my blue-tinted spectacles, I tally 24; however, if we improve as we have done, then, using our recent form as a guide, 14 points from 7 games, with 16 games to go could see us hit the giddy heights of another 32 points. That would give us 60 — which still wouldn't guarantee anything above 7th, though if you go back to the beginning of December, I'm sure most would be happy to take 40 points.

In my mind, for what it's worth, I have us winning 24 points with tops of 32, so see us getting 28, putting us at 56; that puts us there or thereabouts for a Europa League place.

This article is not intended to be a detailed analysis, more a bit of fun. Maybe we can revisit this at the end of the season and see who is closest? What if we get to 54 points?

Len Gowing     Posted 12/01/2020 at 18:50:33

So, what next?

Having read hundreds of posts and contributed one myself, it's pretty clear that the vast majority of us do not wish to see particular players wear the shirt again. Some call for a huge, wholesale cull; some want to see some of the youngsters given a chance. Lots — if not most — myself included, bemoan the lack of fight, spirit, guts or whatever.

Serious question now: how would the fans of bringing the kids in to replace the blatantly obvious shirkers and mercenaries feel if Ancelloti did just that, failed miserably and got us relegated? How would the fans of 'hungry' players with a point to prove feel if they were brought in with the same result?

Do we as Everton fans expect too much due to our 'istory? Yeah, I know, more than one question, but how do others feel?

I think that, especially since Moshiri appeared with his money, we have collectively expected too much too soon.

A lot of people on here very similar age-wise to me (62) remember the good old days when even some of the most awful players ever to pull on an Everton shirt did at least attempt to cover their respective inadequacies with plenty of effort. This is what I miss most from the majority of players over the last 5 to 10 years.

Would we get, and or accept, lots of effort with just the odd occasional high point if it meant the big R from the Premier League? On reflection, I think I probably would. The club is so far behind the best sides, it's laughable to think that, under the present regime, with all its shortcomings, we can ever bridge the gap.

I don't include Ancelloti in this, he has a winning mentality that already seems to be creating friction with some of our senior players. If, as I sincerely hope, Carlo can begin to turn this wayward club around, all well and good. But, if he can't and the wasters who have already burned through three or four managers get their way, we could be in big, big trouble. Or does he get shut of said wasters, throw in some academy kids with a sprinkling of lower-league hungry players?

Jim Bailey     Posted 08/01/2020 at 16:19:21

Ancelotti and Ferguson

Can someone please explain to me why Big Dunc is the right-hand man? Two completely different approaches to playing.

Alongside Koeman, Allardyce and Silva, Ferguson never seemed to do anything except throw the ball for headers during the warm-up. When he took charge for a few games, he got more effort and better results doing it his way. Now he's back sitting alongside a manager who likes to play out from the back and more on the ground.

I think Ancelotti only kept him on because he believes that's what the fans want. I believe the club made the wrong decision bringing Ancelotti in so soon. They should have left Ferguson in charge for longer.

I'm not saying he was the manager for the long-term but now what can his style bring for Ancelotti? It's confusing me so what's it doing for the players? Why is Ferguson still there?
Anton Walsh     Posted 08/01/2020 at 13:43:10

Morgan Schneiderlin

Have we ever had a bigger waster at our club? Pound for pound the worst player we've had the misfortune to see in a Blue shirt. Him feigning injury in the derby allowing the Liverpool player to shoot unmarked when he should've been closing him down shows what a complete gutless wonder he is.

Getting sent home from training because of his stinking attitude. Getting sent off (many say deliberately) when we getting battered by Lyon in Europe plus half-arsed performance after half-arsed performance just about sums up his career here.

He just doesn't care and doesn't even hide it too. And we are paying this bloke a reported £120,000 a week for the 'pleasure'.

At this club, it's not even hard to get the fans onside. We can forgive lack of talent as long as you are prepared to sweat blood for the Blue shirt. Names like Denis Stracqualursi and Omar Niasse spring to mind in recent years.

As far as I'm concerned, Schneiderlin was finished at this club the moment he came on as sub against Palace a couple of years ago to a crescendo of booing, something I've never seen towards one of our own players in all the years I've been going to Goodison.

We should've dumped him years ago but after his pathetic 'efforts' at Anfield, he should never have the privilege of playing for our club again.

Ste Traverse     Posted 08/01/2020 at 12:27:51

Do we really have an Academy?

Whilst we all angry as hell following that non-performance, just take a minute out to wonder why we are continuing to have to play the likes of Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin, Coleman, Walcott, etc. Why aren’t they looking over their shoulders at new talent coming through – but, wait, what talent ?

I have been rabbiting on all last season and most of this in trying to get to the bottom of why we aren’t producing our own talent. What’s happening at the Academy, the U18s, U23s? Where is the homegrown talent, and when are the 16- or 17-year-old purchases also coming through. Where are our equivalents to :

(i) Liverpool - Alexander Arnold , Gomes, Jones, Philips

(ii) Man Utd – Rashford, Lingard, Greenwood, McTominay,

(iii) Spurs - Rose, Kane, Wicks, Alli

(iv) Chelsea – Abrahams, Hudson –Odoi, Mount,

(v) Arsenal – Maitland Miles, Martinelli, Saka, Willcott

We’ve got Calvert-Lewin, Holgate and on the fringe Davies, and to name a few more just about to come through according to Unsworth – Gibson, Gordon, Adeniran. Of that lot, only Davies and if he ever comes through Gordon, have come through the Academy, not a lot over last 4-5 years. The rest were bought, not for peanuts either. We buy Brendan Galloway from MK Dons, and at same time Spurs buy Alli; one plays for England, one can’t find a club.

People will say Unsworth has won the PL2 for 2 out of last 3 seasons, they have but if you’ve watched it, it's absolute dire defensive football, with NO talent at all being brought through. The likes of Dowell, Robinson, Connolly, Evans, Williams, have all gone out on loan and can’t get game time anywhere, even at Div 1 or 2 level. It’s just not good enough. We have as normal given our ex-pro’s jobs they don’t deserve — Jeffers, Unsworth, Ebbrell, etc.

Brands has to have a massive Academy, U18, U23 clear out – it ain’t working at all!

Mike Oates     Posted 06/01/2020 at 20:44:52

Everton FC - self inflicted football subjugation?

The pain is lifelong and the worst fears realised, as we’d feared yesterday afternoon.

Hows and whys, more questions and all break down to common answers.

For such a massive game and opportunity why did the players fail to show, and in the second half surrendered, with out fight? La Guarde Recule!

Why was this allowed, and will there be repercussions, long and short term?

Yesterday’s defeat is now folklore and legend, and any professional football team, if they’d trained and prepared properly wouldn’t have lost against a youth team whom were kids, bar one or two first team players.

It’s to me as if the last 30 years the club has designed its own downfall in terms of the football team, and raises serious questions about a Finch Farm and what happens there., and the ethos of the board room. Mediocrity and abject gutless failure is deemed acceptable.

The hard work ethic doesn’t exist, that was clear and the fight to the last man, belief has not been there since the days of Howard Kendal.

Yesterday the club was embarrassed and humiliated and unless we get 5 years of consecutive victories over the RS, which history suggest won’t happen, this pain will never go away.

Onwards and somewhere, that’s our lot at the moment but , for me by nature of the defeat , the darkest day in Everton’s , own annal of playing disasters.

Now to get behind the club and Carlo, who needs all of us now more than ever to stick together, through this latest humiliation, and regroup and rebuild.

Aspirations for the season, are to try and improve and filter out the dross and get as much as we can in a firewood sale.

Where FFP will impact, remains to be seen.

Typical Everton, and we always know , that the good times for us, are in context just moments in our life times, such is the demeanour of Everton Football Club.

Paul Birmingham     Posted 06/01/2020 at 15:54:39


As a lifelong Everton supporter living in Canada, I have spent the last two winters in the UK with my wife in her hometown of Birkenhead. The main attraction, apart from family, is my love of my team, the Toffees.

I watched last night’s game with confidence, when Mr.Klopp decided to field his reserve team. My thoughts were, who gives a hoot, a win for us regardless of who Klopp puts on the field would get us into the third round of the FA cup, a competition I love.

Well, during the first half I was totally convinced we would come out of the game victorious. Two lucky saves from the opposition’s goalkeeper were all that kept us from going on to a convincing win. Nil-nil at halftime didn’t dampen my hopes.

Well, was I ever brought down to earth. The most pathetic display from a team of losers who are sleeping well at night knowing that their big paycheques will still be deposited into their fat bank accounts. I know that most of my fellow Evertonians will probably disagree, but say what you life about Cenk Tosun, the lad runs his ass off when he gets a chance to play and shows that he wants to play for us.

Also our young 19 year old Moise Kean, given minutes in most games and expected to perform miracles. This kid is a diamond in the rough and if he is managed properly and given the opportunity to play will become a great player for us. Cameo appearances is not enough to develop this young lad.

Well, after the second half of last nights 3rd round tie against our arch rivals, I have to say that my decision to come here again for this winter is now squarely based on the fact that I have family here, because my beloved Blues were a disgrace last night. Ancellotti and Brands, please listen to our pleas and DO SOMETHING POSITIVE about our situation.

Bernard Halligan     Posted 06/01/2020 at 09:41:00

Changing our minds

To hell with the natural order.

All this 4 to 5 year project , so be patient , I don't fully buy in to. If Carlo Ancelotti gets backed in the transfer market to buy one or two quality players , then go for it. Top four is possible sooner rather than later, Leicester are proving it, even after selling Maguire ,their linchpin defender. With one or two quality signings and the coup of signing our top class manager, most of our current players can and should match what Leicester are doing.

Is Brendan Rodgers at Leicester on a 5 year project to get them into the top 4? Are Chelsea on a 5 year project, Arsenal, Tottenham, Man Utd ? No, they will be fighting for it now and next season, starting in August. Why not us ?

I am all for incremental progress and long term aspirations, it’s important to have a plan, but it must not be used as a perennial excuse and a crutch for unacceptable mediocrity. The whole mindset of the club needs to change and Carlo Ancelotti is the best man available to do it. Aligned with Duncan Ferguson who also has that unyielding mindset gives us the best opportunity we have for fundamentally changing this club right now for a great many years. Otherwise in 4 or 5 years time when this 'project' cycle comes to an end we will be back where we started.

Belief and a winning mentality are two critical ingredients that Ancelotti will bring to the table. To hell with the natural order of things, we should be going after each game to win it, full-blooded , against anyone.

Under Ancelotti and Ferguson we will have no fear and never any acknowledgement that any team is better than us when we walk onto the pitch. That desperately required and long awaited psychological shift can start now.
Tony  Everan     Posted 03/01/2020 at 11:09:32

Possession Football

In watching today's match, we were informed that we had possession of the ball for a third of it. I thought we once again afforded Man City, a top team, far too much respect. A large part of the third of the game where we had possession was to me spent passing the ball across our own back-line or fruitlessly across the pitch on the halfway line. City were comfortable in spades with this, they barely broke sweat. Only in the last few minutes did they get pressured by us anywhere near their back-line and, hey presto, our goal was created.

Now I know the City bench was awesome and I know that, on a good day, they can tear anyone a new one but might it just have been possible to give them something to actually worry about in and around their area if we'd played forwards during the third of the game we had the ball? Had we done so, they may have had to break sweat, they may have made an error (as they did for our goal), and they may have not had mastery of the ball in our half to the extent that they did.

If McManaman is right in saying Ancelotti was doing his nut on this issue in the first half, so much the better. Possession football was expounded as the Holy Grail by Martinez, for Christ's sake, and some still at the club said they had to reluctantly endure his nonsense, so why on earth are they, and newer younger signings, still doing the same thing?

It seems to me that possession of the football is somewhat meaningless in itself unless you have an extravagantly talented team, such as the Iniesta, Xavi, Messi Barca team of recent times. They did it for minutes on end in and around their opponents' penalty area, usually winning it back in a trice. No disrespect to our squad but that's dream-world at the moment.

We need to play to our strengths, as You-Know-Who play to theirs, and get the ball forward quickly in a bid to avoid the current ignominy of entering the second half of the season with another negative goal difference. Even a moderately good team doesn't do that.
Don Alexander     Posted 01/01/2020 at 21:28:22

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