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The A to Z of Everton

Whilst contemplating the close season and tired already of the speculation about who is going where I idled away some time picking Everton teams using only one surname letter. I thought it might amuse some of you to try over the break and see which letter yields the best team.

I have started with A which most of you will agree yields a pretty rubbish side but not much choice for this letter. Hopefully people will pick up the thread and take on this challenge

Everton A-Team (4-4-2):

Jim Arnold
Ray Atteveld
Antolin Alcatraz
Graham Allen
Gary Ablett
Niclas Alexandersson
Alan Ainscow
Mikael Arteta
Christian Atsu
Victor Anichebe
Daniel Amokachi

I tried to pick only players I remember seeing, so I have omitted anyone from the really olden days... Some letters will be impossible!

Alun Jones     Posted 31/07/2020 at 04:56:29

Prospects in this Transfer Window

With the news that Højbjerg prefers Tottenham over Everton, I wonder what supporters feel about Everton's prospects in the transfer window?

Of the 10 teams above us, 8 have owners who are richer than Farhad Moshiri, 4 have new grounds (Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal). Both Liverpool and Man Utd have redeveloped their grounds with plans for further development. Leicester and Wolves have done some redevelopment with plans for more improvements, and are building new training facilities.

Everton have a new training ground but an old stadium, with a new one waiting on planning approval and that will take 3 or 4 years to build.

Not all owners are willing to finance large sums for players, due mostly to the rules on Financial Fair Play (FFP). It seems the only advantage Everton may have is the reputation of our manager, Carlo Ancelotti.

We seem to be at a disadvantage when compared with the other clubs and their ability to bring in the quality players we need. If one of the top clubs also want the player we are after, we will be forced to pay higher contract fees on top of exorbitant transfer fees, or we will lose out.

With the financial odds stacked against us, and the financial impacts of Covid-19 seemingly still hanging like the other shoe waiting to drop, what do we as fans think our prospects will be in this transfer window?

Bill Gall     Posted 23/07/2020 at 20:06:23

Our Spongers XI

I've watched us this season, as ever, with increasing disappointment. We are rarely lifted out of our seat by creativity because more often it's anger/frustration that causes such a reaction.

And then, as fans down the years have done, comes the finger-pointing at players who visibly seem to not even try to win a match for us.

I therefore reflect on the huge number of uncommitted spongers we've fielded since the start of the Premier League.

Alex Nyarko is skipper, obviously.

In goal I have Stekelenburg. Okay, he's nearing the end of a moderate career but, ever since he got here, he's never impressed me as a trier.

Right-back is Marc Hottiger and left-back is Alessandro Pistone, perpetually injured until his contract was nearing its end whereupon he looked useful.

Centre backs; Slaven Bilic, who was brilliant for Croatia but rarely fit for us, he said, has to be partnered with Per Kroldrup, a player who achieved modest credibility as a top-league player either side of us signing him, where he was useless. (A centre-back not knowing how to head a ball, we were told, as if!)

In midfield, we have our skipper Nyarko, accompanied by Claus Thomsen for starters. On the wings, I'd have Shandy van der Meyde and Aiden McGeady.

Up front, given their proven abilities before signing for us and their abject failure to measure up for us as and when they didn't claim to be relentlessly injured or deservedly suspended, I have James Beattie and Duncan Ferguson.

Beattie because he seemed on arrival in an already dwindling career to realise that this was his last big contract, so why give a fuck?

And Ferguson because, when he rarely felt like it, he would terrorize any defence, provided he hadn't previously identified something in his personal life that meant more to him than putting a full shift in for us. Whereupon, he engineered a (regular) red card or reported a difficult-to-verify injury (he did this throughout his entire bog-standard career, except for his very rare brilliant matches, almost always against top opposition mind you, if anyone wants to check, hence my disdain of him as a man).

Admittedly choosing a manager for this shower would be difficult had we not had Walker, Smith, Martinez, Koeman, Allardyce and Silva to choose from.

Pick one from six, folks!
Don Alexander     Posted 22/07/2020 at 23:14:50

We the 'fans' are killing this club

We create our own reality. Okay, it is true that we are not a 'fashionable' club, and for some reason most commentators, pundits and referees dislike us; however, we as 'fans' seem to eat whatever 'they' say or even help 'them' when we also turn on our own players, Bill Kenwright, Big Dunc, Sigurdsson, Tom Davies, Pickford, etc...

How on earth is it going to get better when this negative nasty atmosphere is so obvious to all and sundry?

Do we think that any successful clubs have this amount of internal club division? We, the 'fans', are killing this club; we are victims with a victim mentality. Already, Carlo isn't good enough, Bill is cursed, best players are going... Gylfi, Tom, Bernard, Kean, etc... What a surprise then when we reap what we sow.

Leeds, the Red Shite, Man Utd, Man City, even Bournemouth are 'together'. Can we please give this manager, owner, staff etc our support? Good or bad, it's what we've got.

If you class yourself as a fan, then let's support Everton. Who knows, we could become better than all the rest. The real Dogs of War spirit.

No offence intended, just saying it really is gutting. This sick mentality is contagious. 'We', are doing exactly what the haters want at the moment, in my opinion.
Ricky Oak      Posted 18/07/2020 at

Mason Holgate, Everton Captain

'Where is the captain who sees it going wrong on the pitch and tells the players to change or help?' — A recent question in a post by Christine got me thinking…

How about a change of captain?

Seamus Coleman is a fantastic servant of the club and still doing a job; his desire and effort never falter. No Evertonian can help but admire him. The problem is, he is not really a leader, motivator, or organiser in terms of his personality. He is a bit more of a "keep quiet, try your hardest, and get on with it" type and expects the rest to follow suit.

I would like to see Mason Holgate be given the role of Everton Captain going forward… now is as good a time as any to make the change. He is the one player with the grit and determination and class to deserve it. He is combative and vocal. You can see it, he has that precious 'winning mentality' and there is an edge to him.

Other players will not want to cross Mason by shirking; he will let them have it if they even think it. I think he has these qualities now, but they will get better with experience and maturity.

Captains are basically chief motivators and organisers on the field. They have a presence that is a psychological boost to the team. I always think the central positions are best suited to this.

Mason Holgate is the type of player I think who would embrace and improve upon being given the armband and the responsibility. Other players would respond to it. He has just been given a long contract and is part of Everton Football Club for the long-term. He is one of a few players that the Carlo Ancelotti team will be built around.

Recent setbacks have not totally extinguished my optimism for the future. I am keeping the faith and I support Carlo Ancelotti 100% to make a difference next season.

You'd better believe it; times they are a changin' … and I think this change could be one of the building blocks to a better team. (Along with the crucial summer reinforcements to central midfield.)

Tony Everan     Posted 14/07/2020 at 10:25:46

Last Chance for Marcel Brands

Wolves 3 Everton 0... that’s right: Wolves 3 Everton 0 – could have been 8-0 and it would have been deserved. Two teams a year ago hoping to get onto Europe; Wolves did, we didn’t. Two teams this season hoping to break into the top 4, Wolves nearly are; Everton are nearly bottom 6.

Where’s it gone wrong for Everton? And why is it working for Wolves? It's easy: the answer is quality recruitment by Wolves and appointment of a quality manager who knows how to get the best out of his squad. His purchases are tailor-made for his playing style.

If you compare the last 3 seasons (2017-18, 2018-19 & 2019-20) of recruitment by each club:

Wolves have spent £142M and got quality – Jimenez - £30M, Neto - £9M, Cultrone - £17M. Dendoncker - £12M, Jota - £12M, Neves - £16M, Traore - £18M, Bolly - £10M, Moutinho - £18M. They have recouped £17M on a few sales, none of the above, for a net spend of £125M.

Everton have spent £390M — Gibson - £6M, Gomes - £22M, Kean - £28M, Iwobi - £35M, Gbamin - £25M, Delph - £10M, Mina - £27M, Digne - £18M, Richarlison - £40M, Klaassen - £24M, Pickford - £25M, Sigurdsson - £45M, Keane - £25M, Vlasic - £10M, Walcott - £20M, Tosun - £27M. They have recouped £190M on Lookman, Gueye, Lukaku, Vlasic, Klaassen, Deulofeu, Cleverley and Barkley (half of that on Lukaku!), for a net spend of £200M.

So, Everton have spent nearly double that of Wolves, and of that lot above, the only players certain of playing, week-in & week-out, are Richarlison, Digne, and possibly Pickford, Keane and maybe Gbamin if and when we see him. Most have been an absolute waste of money and will suck us dry still for a few more years.

This obviously is not all the work of Marcel Brands, who came in May 2018, but it’s up to him to sort the mess out. A number of questions need to be raised:

  • Who is finding the so-called talent?
  • What are they looking at?
  • What type of player are they looking for?
  • Where are the grafters, the workers, the runners, the energy lads... and, of course, the odd creative spark?

We seem to buy static, slow, fragile, injury-prone duds – to be brutal. Brands has been responsible for a net spend of £200M and has recouped £190M. So financially he’s okay, but for him finding a quality of player, fit for Premier League duty, he’s been found wanting. He’s taken a gamble with Mina, Kean and Iwobi, the latter two look completely lost whenever they’ve played. It’s a £65M gamble looking very dodgy at the moment.

With the mess we are in, I’m sure Ancelotti will want Brands to find him two or three experienced players – not 19- to 21-year-old potentials. His choice players will be 26- to 29-year-olds who have seen it, done it, and will not cave in under pressure. They will be fighters to the last cause. Not the type Brands normally has on his radar, but ones Ancelotti already knows, I’m sure.

Marcel – time to put your philosophy away, and deliver to Carlo the assets he needs to drag us away from this perennial mediocrity.

Mike Oates     Posted 13/07/2020 at 22:40:27

In Praise of Richarlison!

I am most likely very biased but is there a better attacking player anywhere in the Premier League than Richarlison?

I would not swap him for Salah, Jesus (comes very close), Auybamiyang, Jimenez or Vardi and Harry Kane. The goal he scored today was in a totally different class from any other goal scorer we have had since the days of Lineker and Sharp.

Richarlison is coming close to being an amazing all-round goalscorer. He has pace, strength, control, lethal in the air and on the ground, and is one tough cookie. He has been kicked all over the place since the Restart but recently looks like the only one who gives a damn.

The biggest problem that Ancelotti, Brands and Moshiri have is hanging onto him until we have enough decent players who can give more scoring chances than the crumbs he is currently feeding off. His goal today will be the highlight of MotD, appear in Goal of the Season, and convince many Champions League clubs that he is the one they need while we cannot even get close to the Europa League.

Dear old Marco Silva came in for some most deserved criticism but, without him being in charge, I don’t think we would have got anywhere near Richarlison. So a big “Thank You” to Marco... and then piss off!

I really hope we get to see Richarlison in an Everton shirt with half-a-dozen decent players around him before he goes — and he will go. So enjoy him while we can and pray that Carlo has some magic up his sleeves when the transfer window opens!

David Cooper     Posted 09/07/2020 at 22:07:50

Do or die

Senior midfield problems that won’t go away:

Sigurdsson – Not a midfielder

Iwobi – Not a midfielder

Bernard – Not influential

Gomes – Slow, no forward drive or dynamism

Walcott – Peripheral

All these players are nice boys; I wouldn’t mind playing against them at all. I’d know no-one was going to tackle me very often and I’d have a safe, nice, friendly game. I would be happy and confident before the game started.

With our senior midfield, there is no fear factor, no aggression, no trepidation from any opposition. They can be dominated, out-tackled and out-fought.

Where is the feistiness, the energy, the dynamism and drive to commit the opposition?

I am deliberately leaving Tom Davies and Anthony Gordon out of this because, with those two, who cost nothing, I can see a desire and they're often forward-thinking. These boys are junior members and deserve better support from their supposed peers. It’s time to blood the very promising Gordon more from now until the season’s end; he should have started against Tottenham.

Carlo already knows, and we already know, we are going nowhere fast until two quality midfielders come in. Last night's match shone a 500-megawatt spotlight on that fact. Other current players can respond very positively to the right quality additions (eg, Bruno Fernandes).

Keep an eye on our midfield transfer dealings... the success or failure of Carlo and the club over the next few seasons depends on them above all else.

The next 6 weeks is do or die time for Marcel Brands.

Tony  Everan     Posted 07/07/2020 at 12:26:21

Sliding Doors

I've just seen that Ralf Rangnick has been appointed as AC Milan's new manager, and it made me remember when he was interviewed for the Everton job in 2013, but how we elected for Roberto Martinez.

At that time, he was an experienced coach from the Bundesliga, but who had spent a couple of years on leave after 'burnout'.

It was around this time that Germany were dominating international football, and German coaches were in high demand, and a certain charismatic German was making his name at Dortmund.

Many Evertonians were excited at the idea, many treated him as some no-mark manager, who was not mentally wasn’t up to top-flight management, who is only interesting some for his nationality.

Everton appoint the young and exciting Martinez and Rangnick ends up at the Red Bull franchise Salzburg and Leipzig. In 2015, he becomes manager of the latter, who are then in the second division in Germany. He wins promotion, before moving to a Director of Football role, then returning as manager in 2018. In that time, RB Leipzig, through wise investment, and innovative tactics, have gone on to become a Champions Leave team with aspirations of pushing the established big teams.

Since stepping down at Leipzig, he's been linked to many top jobs, before finally agreeing with AC Milan.

All the while… well, no need to go over what has happened here again.

Football must be filled with these “Sliding Doors” moments but one wonders, if only...

Fran Mitchell     Posted 07/07/2020 at 11:35:29

Lukaku - Would you have him back?

Interesting to read he appears to have fallen out of the reckoning with Man U, and is now looking for another club. Whilst I doubt he would ever consider returning to Everton, would you have him back? He is expected to go for less than we paid for him but thats not the point is it?

He generated much heated discussion when he was here, had a reputation as a "lazy" luxury but he does know where the net is. People have complained bitterly that he has not been replaced and currently going into a third years since he left, he still hasn't.

His ego is the size of a planet but his ration is up there with the best.

Personally for me the answer is no, but we are desperate for a 30 goal a season front man. I doubt he would come, but I doubt we would want him?

Christine Foster     Posted 29/07/2019 at 17:49:18

Who would you choose?

Jump forward a few years and the grass is freshly cut, the pitch markings are drying in the sun, our new riverside stadium is full to bursting with anticipation of what will be, but who would you want to face as opposition to herald in the new era of our magnificent new home......?

You can pick any team, so who would it be to face the Mighty Blues on the Banks of the Royal Blue Mersey?
Simon Smith     Posted 29/07/2019 at 01:18:08

Bye Bye Buy Back

These clauses need more debating as to whether we should be getting involved with them. Whilst they can be a shot of adrenaline, I am concerned that they could hinder our progress in the long-term. As a case study, the Moise Kean reported conditions are as follows:

Moise Kean fee: £36M; Juve will have the option to buy him back for £55M.

So, if he is a resounding success after Marco Silva and his team put their life and soul into improving him... then we are forced to sell him to Juve after a few years when he is 22-23 and at the beginning of his prime years, and make only £19M.

Alternatively, if he fails to make the grade, we lose up to £36M... and Juve lose nothing.

The whole thing is a derivative of a loan deal, where we develop a player for Juventus. The backdrop will feel like a wasted effort for Marco and his team, and may even subconsciously dilute their enthusiasm to offer 100% to him from the off.

Also, the player always has his return to Juve at the back of his mind and does not commit to Everton with 100% heart and soul.

The whole development of his career can then be compromised because of these background issues that won't ever go away. Silently distracting attention and focus away from Everton FC.

I am not comfortable with us entering deals using this model; I think it could harm us long-term if fantastic young players we improve can be lost for the sake of £19M. We would be back to square one again with little or no gain for the club.

Sign great players, but not with these punitive buy-back clauses, it is short-sighted and detrimental to the club in the long term.

Buy Moise Kean outright or walk away.

Tony  Everan     Posted 28/07/2019 at 09:10:20

The Strange case of Yerry Mina

With the announcement today by Frank Lampard that he wants Zouma to remain at Chelsea this season, Everton's chances of signing him on a permanent basis seem's to be slipping away.

A shame really, as he had slowly got better and better as the season neared it's end and he secured a promising partnership with the ever improving Michael Keane.

So, what other options do Everton have with the new season shortly upon us?

Normally, with having spent around £23m just before the start of last season on our promising young centre half from Barca, you would expect him to step straight into the team, or would you?

For my money, he still remains something of an enigma, 12 months on and we have yet to see him put a 'run' together in the team.

Can he ever shake off the stigma of almost always being unavailable for selection through a series of injuries?

Is he just plain unlucky or just not physically up to the rigours of the Premiership.

Also, to my knowledge, he is not back training with the first team squad yet (due I presume to his recent international commitments), when really, he should be busting a gut to stake his claim in the Everton first team.

This means something of a dilemma for Brands and Silva, do they give up on Zouma and cast the net elsewhere, or play a waiting game for Zouma and hope the player informs Chelsea at this stage of his career, he wants first team football, and that is currently available at Everton.

Answers on a postcard please.

Steve Hogan     Posted 19/07/2019 at 16:55:31

Zonal marking and VAR

I was pondering Marco Silva's persistence with zonal marking when defending set pieces last season. In spite of all the stats suggesting it wasn’t working, and in the face of mounting criticism, he fundamentally stuck to this tactic.

I remember being struck by the quantity of VAR penalties given at the 2018 World Cup. Many of these were a result of defenders getting too tight to their opponents, pushing, pulling and in some cases wrestling them to the ground. These were offences that referees were reluctant to punish without VAR but found it easier to give with the VAR replay (England had at least two penalties from this route from memory).

It's clear that VAR will result in lots more penalties next season in the Premier League. However, the type described above become less of a possibility with zonal marking as fundamentally defenders defend space rather than the attacking players. Is it possible that, in sticking with and ultimately successfully implementing a zonal marking system, that Marco Silva was preparing the ground for VAR being introduced this season? Could this perhaps now give Everton a small advantage over opponents who mark man-to-man?

Keith  Dolan     Posted 03/07/2019 at 18:27:47

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