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June 2020 Archive   |   Submit a topic

Post-Liverpool thoughts

During our enforced break from real football over the past 3 months, I took to scouring Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube to find any football-related programmes. From Sunderland Till I Die to the one about Leeds United, I watched whatever I could find. Of course, totally ignoring the series about Gerrard! One that caught my eye was the one about Brazil, the only problem: it was in a language I could not understand and there were no subtitles.

But I persevered hoping to see glimpses of Richarlison, of which there were a few. In those that I watched, Richarlison scored in nearly every clip along with Jesus from Man City. I thought it was clear from the limited clips plus the fact that I did not understand a word it was saying, that Richarlison and Jesus were superstars in the making.

How lucky I thought we were to have such a young genuine talent with the ability to run with ball, score goals with both feet and head, and work as hard as anyone else on the field. My only negative thought was: For how long would we be able to enjoy him in an Everton shirt?

Now come rumours that he turned down approaches back in the January transfer window. I have a horrible feeling that, once this rump of a season concludes, he might be gone for a very large amount of money, seeking the Champions League. Even if we do the impossible and sneak into the Europa League, I don’t think that will be enough to keep him. I really hope I am wrong!

My next thought is much closer to now and comes after Carlo’s presser earlier today, where he talked about the lack of time between Sunday evening and Wednesday evening for our players to recover. I tried to find a stats site which would say how far individual players ran against Liverpool but I could not find one. But I would hazard an informed guess that several clocked up plus 8 km and Tom Davies, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin may have got closer to 10 km.

Using my limited knowledge of physiology and the science of recovery times, I am sure that our players will be feeling the extra effort that we put in against them when we come against Norwich, who have had two extra days to recover. I hope that we spend more time with the ball and make Norwich run like we did on Sunday.

Also, it seemed that Carlo was reluctant to use his five subs on Sunday and maybe he will be forced into using them against Norwich. Carlo continues to hold the carrot of the Europa League as a motivating force so a win is imperative. We shall see!
David Cooper     Posted 23/06/2020 at 18:22:58

The Italian Job

Man for man, none of our team would replace his equivalent in Liverpool’s team.

I would expect that contention is passed with full agreement.

Faced with such a challenge… what to do?

In the last derby, Klopp frustratingly outwitted Carlo Ancelotti in the FA Cup but it was “early doors” and he was still coming to terms with the squad he had inherited. This time, even given our injuries, I am looking for a tactically savvy display from “El Maestro”.

Even before Carlo's arrival, I was a proponent of 4-4-2, mainly based on our history of “burning” strikers due to the expectations that they plough a furrow on their own, get little support, and never benefit from a partner to exploit our opposition weaknesses.

My hope tomorrow is Carlo serves us a tactical masterclass in good old fashioned Italian “shut-up shop football” – take a point or snatch a 1-0 win.

Even given my 4-4-2 propensity, I would change it tomorrow and play 4-1-4-1. We simply do not have the quality of player to play 4-4-2 against the top 6. The pace and flexibility these teams possess clearly highlights our limitations and we simply get exposed, see Chelsea for the prime example.

Play deep, rigidity in shape, soak up and frustrate and hope for a set-piece opportunity from Sigurdsson. A draw should give us the confidence for the remaining upcoming matches because we need 6 points to be safe. My fear is a kicking will decimate confidence and lead to a downward spiral.

My team would be: Pickford, Digne, Holgate, Keane, Coleman, Richarlison, Davies, Sigurdsson, Gomes, Sidibé, Calvert-Lewin.

Andre Gomes sitting as defensive cover as he’s clearly our most gifted midfielder for retaining possession, leaving Davies and Sigurdsson in centre mid.

I don’t want pretty, we can’t do pretty. I do want frustration, any organised team can frustrate, I will take 0-0 now.
Dave McDowell     Posted 20/06/2020 at 08:40:41

Taking the Mrs to the Match

My first game as a young boy, taken by my Dad, was to see Everton beat Ipswich Town at Goodison Park early in the season of 1961-62. Ipswich had just reached the First Division for the first time and my Mum was an Ipswich lass now living in Huyton. Everton with Young and Vernon cruised through to a 5-2 win, lost 2-4 in the return as Alf Ramsey's debutants won the league! She came several times to games but I can remember her being more interested in knitting in the Upper Bullens stands than the activity on the pitch!

In 1975, I was teaching on the south coast near Brighton. I took my soon-to-be wife, Carole, to her first game at Goodison Park. To be fair to her, I think she only went to the game through young love and loyalty. It was the opening game of the season at home to Coventry City and I assured her that this game was a walkover in the making and then the Sky Blues won 4-1!

As the years rolled by, she was happy for me to go off to games in the south. In 1978, we went back home for Christmas and my hometown mate got four tickets for Man Utd at home on Boxing Day. Colin and I were on the Gwadlys Street terrace, and Carole and Colin's fiancee were high up in the Goodison Road stand. Man Utd were in the doldrums and the Blues were in a title chase with Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest. Yet another home banker until we found ourselves 0-5 down at half-time, stunned and disbelieving like the Brazil fans against Germany! The second half was marginally better after Man Utd went 6-0 up, but two late goals were sarcastically cheered by the reds in the Stanley Park end.

Now, she had seen two home games with a total aggregate score of 10-3 against. We arrived at my family's Boxing Day evening party. My dad and two uncles had got home from the game earlier having been on the Prescot BICC Social Club coach! As she walked in, My Uncle Harry lifted a Dickensian index finger forbidding me to ever take her again. Needless to say, Carole took it all in her stride and gratefully never came again!

Forward into the eighties, and I was a member of ESCLA and went to many games with another Blue, Richard! Ahead of the 1986 FA Cup Final, I realised that I had never seen the Blues lose when I wore an old woollen jumper. My younger brother was working in Finchley and I went up to stay with him on the Friday. On the match day, we strolled out for a cooked breakfast, then came back to get ready for Wembley. Imagine my shock and horror on seeing that I forgot to pack my jumper. I phoned Carole at home in the vain hope that the sweater could be got to me in time. Off we went, and having bossed the first 60 minutes, managed to lose to Liverpool.

Distraught when I got back to the south coast, it was compounded exponentially when "Mrs 10-3" revealed that she thought if she wore the sweater during the game…? All of its power evaporated. It was her that done it, not the skill of Liverpool!

In the 'Noughties', Carole and I decided to go our separate ways and divorced. I met up with an old college friend and it was a terrific omen that I married Lynne in Pembrokeshire in the afternoon, after watching the Blues destroy Liverpool 3-0 at Goodison on 9 September 2006! When we walked into the hotel for our reception, a group of workman from the LPG pipeline construction congratulated us! Even more so as they were all true-blue scousers revelling in the antics of Andy Johnson, Tim Cahill and of course Pepe Reina!

My two daughters attended both the main Mancunian Universities at different times, so I often went up to visit one of them and tied it into home games at Goodison Park. Unlike their mother, they were really keen and loved the noise and atmosphere. More importantly, at a time when results could have been indifferent, neither of them has yet to see the Blues lose over more than 20 games.

In September 2003, Lynne came to her first game at Goodison Park. She had never seen a professional football match and was taken aback by the noise as Z-Cars rang out over the ground! Everton had a young Wayne Rooney in the line-up who had yet to score, but goals from Gary Naismith and others put the Blues 3-0 up in the first 20 minutes against Fulham. We were sitting in the Upper Bullens/Park End in seats reserved for away supporters!

Suddenly, there was a clash of heads in the penalty area in front of us, trainers and paramedics were straight on and the game was stopped for at least 5 minutes. At this point, Lynne decided to make her first comment. Shouting as loud as she could so that I would hear, the crowd quietened, for the epic observation: "Fulham have got nicer shirts than Everton because of the Yin and Yang logo on their shirts!" Consternation at the inane comment was confirmed when heads swung around with looks of "Keep her quiet, mate!"

However, again she has never seen the Blues lose as well! Three out of four is pretty good, though!
Trevor Powell     Posted 18/06/2020 at 23:53:47

My Everton Poem

My father once told me about a special day,
The day I was born when the skies were grey,
How mother and he both wept with joy,
To hold for the first time their new baby boy.

How I cried and cried and wouldn't stop,
Till an old lady nurse came over to the cot,
"It's the blanket," she said, "It's red, trust me,
For this baby was born a Blue, you see!"

Off came the red and she changed it to blue,
Then the crying stopped, not even a boo,
For the Mersey Blue runs strong in my veins,
And, even now that I'm old, it still remains.

My love for our history and what's to come as well,
When I hear the mighty Z-Cars, my heart begins to swell,
For I'm an Evertonian through and through,
And if you're reading this, my friend, then so are you.

We've all been born under the blue crescent moon,
We could never be Reds or support The Toon,
For I'm an Evertonian, a Toffee you see,
There can only ever be one team for me.

Now raise your glass and shout to the sky,
Everton's my team from birth till I die.
Wayne Dinkelman     Posted 18/06/2020 at 09:02:16

Spot the Player!

With no live Everton games to watch for 3 months, the 5-minute highlights of our inter-squad game at Goodison Park on Saturday was gold dust!

Having watched it 18 times now, trying to get back into the swing of watching a full game, I started playing “Spot the Player” and hoped I could glean some much-desired insight into Carlo’s restart philosophy.

My initial thoughts were that the game was played at a very fast pace or I had set my iPad to fast forward! Apart from that, I struggled to work out if we were playing 3-4-3, 4-1-4-1, 1-2-3-4 or 3-3-3-1. Where are our tactical experts when you need them?

So, going back to the title of this epistle, who did you spot? I guess I have been spending too much time doing online quizzes! But naming the players without stopping the play is a good challenge.

These are who I spotted in both blue and yellow. I started naming the players in each team but got the impression that some may have swapped shirts. The more eagled eyed of you will correct me!

Schneiderlin (in track bottoms!)
Sigurdsson (I think cos I heard his name called out but didn’t actually see him do much. Nothing changes!)
Keane (great headed goal to finish but why wasn’t he marking himself?)
Niasse (looked the sharpest, fastest, keenest but still could not hit the target)
Richarison for some of the game

I think that leaves me a few short. Digne and Kean must have been there? Obviously the following are already injured and did not appear:


Reminds me of taking attendance for my PE classes many years ago “Where are those 4?” “They are all absent sir!”

Well, that’s my attempt at playing Spot the Player! Can anyone beat 20 and fill in the missing 2. Answers on a postcard please!
David Cooper     Posted 14/06/2020 at 16:57:54

John Giles selects his all-time Everton XI

Former Leeds and Republic of Ireland midfielder, John Giles, has been selecting all-time XIs for several clubs and international sides during the recent break, for Irish radio station Newstalk's Off The Ball show.

This week, it was the turn of Everton, with Giles selecting his all-time XI from the 1960s to now, which unfortunately ruled out (among others) Dixie Dean.

Giles opted for a 3-4-3 formation but did mention that, if he had to select two full-backs, he would have gone for Seamus Coleman (right-back) and Ray Wilson (left-back).

Some of the names shortlisted for each position and his final selections will certainly raise a few eyebrows among Evertonians as will his recollection of an incident at Goodison between himself and Sandy Brown where Giles believes he was an innocent party! It is nonetheless certainly worth a listen:

The John Giles all-time Everton XI is as follows:

Neville Southall
Kevin Ratcliffe
Derek Mountfield
Brian Labone 
Howard Kendall
Alan Ball
Colin Harvey
Trevor Steven
Bob Latchford
Alex Young 
Andy Gray

Brian Hennessy     Posted 12/06/2020 at 15:03:42

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