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Mike Walker's 'What if' Moment

Everton came into the game against Norwich caught up in a relegation battle but hoping to build on a win last time out. In the absence of their injured "playmaker", a young English midfielder struggled to make an impression. He was criticized on the Toffeeweb match day review for having "too much hustle and not enough brain... he completely missed ~3 tackles."

The 30-year-old former Arsenal winger was described as "pointless". The young expensive striker signed in the summer failed to make the matchday squad while his replacement was described by some posters on ToffeeWeb as "crap." After the game, the board held a meeting to discuss the future of the manager.

No, I am not talking about last weekend and Gomes being injured, Tom struggling, Walcott doing nothing, Kean being omitted, and Tosun being crap. I am talking about November 1994 and Samways, Parkinson, Limpar, Amokachi, Ferguson… and above all — Mike Walker.

On that occasion, the board decided to sack the manager after the Norwich game. Walker claimed they fired him then as they were afraid that, if he won the upcoming Merseyside derby, he would be "bombproof". Here we are again, only this time the board seem to have decided not to drop a new permanent or interim manager into the hot seat ahead of the derby.

After 25 years of wondering, now we get to see the Mike Walker "what if?" scenario play out. What if Everton win the derby? Does it make Marco "bombproof"? And how long does that status last? I suspect the Mike Walker theory will be blown out of the water — as it would have been if he had stayed. I see no reason to think Everton will turn it around versus Leicester or in the derby. Nonetheless, I find myself praying for a miracle… unlikely as that may seem.

Kieran Kinsella     Posted 29/11/2019 at 15:01:07

Mike Dean

Forgive me if this has already come up in the various threads knocking about, but I heard on the radio the other day that the Premier League have announced Martin Atkinson is set to be the video assistant referee for next month's Merseyside derby. With Mike Dean set to take full command of the meeting between Liverpool and Everton.

Talksport couldn't see any problem with the renowned Tranmere fan taking charge.


Eddie Dunn     Posted 28/11/2019 at 18:52:52

Bad Luck or Bad Brands?

I think most of us thought Brands was a breath of fresh air at the time, what with him replacing Steve Walsh. And whoever took over from his role at Leicester seems to have done an okay job.

We’ve gone from a core set of players to ripping it all up to start again. That never works, never has. When Chelsea and Man City came into money, they were somewhat alone. They had a core to work with and gradually improved their squads. We have come into money and I'm sorry to say Moshiri should have a say but surely not the final say. Silva should never have got the job. He had zero credentials.

Anyway, Brands. Is it just bad luck this season? Look at his signings? Over £100M of them. Gbamin (injured), Gomes (injured), Delph (injured). Then we have Kean, who it’s unfair to judge given he is being asked to play with this mess. And Sidibe (quite an average player, a squad player if you will).

So that’s what £100M has got us. Some bad luck there, you can’t deny it. So far though, what a waste of money!
David Pearl     Posted 25/11/2019 at 19:03:02

The Sack Race

Following our incredibly bad defeat at home to Norwich, I must confess I lost any belief in Silva.

I’ve tried being positive about him with excuses that he inherited an unbalanced squad of players from three previous managers. I also think he had some really poor officialdom against him last season (Millwall, Liverpool, Arsenal, Wolves) and again this time round (Spurs, Brighton) but yesterday none of that mattered.

He fell into the trap of playing Morgan Schneiderlin, thus reducing any vitality or pace we could have in midfield. For me, it is a cardinal sin to play the proven crash-test dummy in this side against the bottom team at home. A midfield with Tom Davies and Iwobi or Sigurdsson playing just in front should have got us further up the pitch and overwhelmed them so the forward line could profit.

But then I read an intriguing article about the three Premier League managers under threat of being sacked. They were, unsurprisingly, Silva, Pellegrini and Emery. It brought some perspective.

One thing that struck me about this trio is that they all stubbornly stick to their way of playing, formation-wise. Then another: they have all been in charge of their respective clubs the same amount of time, all joining them in the summer of 2018. All three are in a difficult second season and struggling to get across their ideas to their players.

A parallel I can draw between Silva at Everton and both of them is that Pellegrini came to West Ham after seasons of unrest with Bilic and Moyes, similar to our own difficulties between 2016 and 2018. Meanwhile, Arsenal are adjusting to life without Wenger. Similarly, we have not been as stable nor as consistent as our long-term manager, the aforementioned Scot, departed.

It gave me some comfort as I realised that other clubs are just as dysfunctional as we are. Both the Gunners and the Hammers have spent a few quid recently and are not seeing the benefits. Like ourselves.

I’ve read fans on these pages call for Emery or Pellegrini to be our manager in the past but both are in the same peril as the far less experienced Silva.

This is not in support of Marco Silva. As I said, he deserves the sack for persevering with players who don’t deserve his trust. But, there are some players in this squad who are cowards who hide just like in East and North London and, ultimately, do their manager no favours.

If Marco Silva were to go in the coming week, I hope we don’t judge him too harshly. More experienced managers are capable of just the same mistakes and results.

But one thing I am clear about is that this squad must be cleansed of certain players who have been stealing a living for several seasons now. I won’t name them, I won’t have to. They just seem to feature during all of our dire runs of form, put in one half-decent returning performance when we’re back on it, and get undue credit.

These players must be sold on or their contracts bought out. I know that might sound expensive but, while they remain on the books, our chances of winning a trophy, packing out Goodison Park, or rising up the Premier League are unlikely.

Andrew James     Posted 25/11/2019 at 04:33:38

The oasis in the Everton desert that is Finch Farm

Just now various media reports state that even now our players still like Silva and his training methods and so, by simple extension, their own lives.

Now I've long realised that very, very many players these days pay attention to only their agents and none to the fans or even their managers or coaches. Once you've scaled the greasy ladder to a professional contract, especially one in the Premier League, you are, as a player, somewhat made for life as a minimum. In the meantime, and perhaps sadly to some people employed in football, our club, (repeat… “our” club, the fans' club), is deemed by many of us to be a necessity next only to food, drink and family.

Expecting enjoyable food, drink or family for decade after decade may admittedly be a bit weird but to be denied any of it for 25 years, as we Toffees have been in terms of enjoyable football, naturally forces consideration of what's going on where the Everton recipe is supposed to be refined and delivered, namely at Finch Farm.

We know that Mr Usmanov has devoted a certain amount of money into it. We know it's on the outskirts of Halewood… but, those two things aside, what else do we genuinely know about what goes on there?

Fans are completely in the dark as to who precisely does what on the management and coaching staff. There is no visible accountability from anyone except one hapless player paraded out to spout about nonsensical theories whenever we get beaten.

In my view, the place needs to be re-booted pretty much from top to bottom before we can expect anything remotely palatable as fans. Meanwhile, those actually passing through our oasis, drink their fill, as do the indigenous camels, and become fat, lazy and disinclined to ever leave – and why would they, I suppose?
Don Alexander     Posted 25/11/2019 at 00:23:22

We don't need a damaged coach

Most people on this site think that Marco Silva should be sacked and I hope and expect that he will be. I don't have a clue about who is available but I believe there is one essential criterion:

We must not appoint a coach who has seen a team relegated. Our last coach and our current one have form in this regard. It taints them, it damages their vision. It is like a boxer who gets knocked out. There will always be doubt and there will always be an element of fear.

Despite his qualities, which the admirable Steve Ferns has often highlighted, Marco Silva is damaged goods. He demonstrates this time after time with two defensive midfielders. He has fear in his soul. He is finished as a coach at top level.
The same applies to Moyes, Hughes, Benitez and Dyche.

We need someone who still has fire. Someone fearless, someone innovative. Something new.

We are in a crisis and the fact that some people go on and on and on about Kenwright does not mean they are wrong. Moshiri needs to sweep the club clean. Surely there us coach out there who is not tainted and fearful. We need to find him soon...
Andy Crooks     Posted 24/11/2019 at 14:19:11

Is Solari the man to save Everton?

The idea of David Moyes returning to Everton and repeating his aspiration to mediocrity - even for an interim period - fills me with dread and despair. He is just as likely to take us down and take us up the table. Everton need talented and inspirational leadership from a manager who wants to play attacking, attractive, protagonistic football. I believe that man is Santiago Solari.

Before anyone parrots the self-defeating “he’ll never come to the likes of us” mantra, Look at the facts. Solari wants to come to the Premier League. He has said so on a number of occasions. He is a young manager at 43 and still developing his coaching cred. He came through the coaching ranks at Real Madrid until he was pushed into the Big Job when he was probably a little too inexperienced. Still, he was successful for a time.

He is available right now. Nine months after being replaced by Zidane he took a job as club ambassador which means he needed some readies until a real job comes along. He even considered Celta Vigo so don’t tell me he won’t consider Everton.

I believe Santiago Solari could be a great match for Everton. He will bring aggression, innovation, determination and experience at developing young players.
Peter Fearon     Posted 24/11/2019 at 03:09:07

Don't Head the Ball

Those old enough to remember Jeff Astle, how do you feel now that yet another newspaper story is out about the effects of heading the ball?

Doctor studying dementia and football link urges clubs to introduce regular cognitive testing for players and to ban kids heading

Personally, and I grew up in the 80s and 90s (when we had decent footballs and not the ones Jeff Astle and Co used as kids), I was always sceptical about this stuff. I always thought it was driven from America where they are litigation crazy, and thought back to how the likes of Dixie Dean coped. The stories are getting more and more compelling and I find it impossible to dismiss them now.

What about you guys?

Steve Ferns     Posted 20/11/2019 at

You want us to what?

I want to discuss a rather thorny subject. I was going to do it last week, but emotions were a little raw and I thought it best to let things calm down a little. Not because I don't enjoy the virtual fisticuffs and banter, but because I am genuinely interested in cold-light-of-day opinion.

The question I want to ask is: Is it ever okay for an Evertonian to want Everton to lose?

During the Southampton game, I logged on to the Live Forum and read a post from a guy saying he wanted us to lose. He wasn't just sounding off. He meant it and supported his comment, by saying he believed it would hasten the departure of the current manager.

Some posters reacted angrily… but what really caught my attention was a couple of other posters actually agreed. The debate inevitably spilled over to the main forum and again we had a few posters voicing their support.

This is not a new argument to ToffeeWeb. I remember as far back as the semi-final against Manchester Utd when some posters were willing us to lose because an appearance in the FA Cup Final would almost certainly result in a stay of execution for Roberto Martinez. It's a debate that has surfaced briefly ever since.

I personally haven't rated any of our previous four managers. I really despised the fact that our great club was being managed by people who went against everything I hold sacred. Allardyce and Koeman drove me to distraction. I badly wanted them gone... but I could never bring myself to want us to lose. Was I wrong? Did I lack the courage of my convictions? Is there something in my DNA that makes me crave a win – no matter the cost?

Don't get me wrong: I understand the desire some express to see us lose. It's a simple, "short-term pain for long-term gain" philosophy. It's not something I can subscribe to, but I know only too well the inner conflict of wishing failure on a manager and chairman, whilst praying for success of the team they preside over.

I think it's fair to say that the overwhelming majority of Evertonians want our team to win every game – no matter what. We are quite simply programmed that way. We are prepared to put aside our dislike for the manager, coach or chairman and we pray for victory… but does that make us right?

Can defeat ever be for the "greater good"? Is wishing for defeat the cardinal sin? Is it a step too far? Is this where we draw the line? And, if there is a line to be drawn, who among us is qualified, authorised to decide where and when it should be drawn?

Darren Hind     Posted 18/11/2019 at 18:47:03

Steve Walsh — the genius?

Apparently, the much-maligned Steve Walsh had lined up transfers for Harry Maguire, Andy Robertson and current Champions League top-scorer, Erling Braut Håland, only to be shot down by the club.

Does this change any minds about Walsh's record at the Club? And is this just another example of why Everton always will disappoint? Failures to recognize an opportunity when it comes?

Or would all the three above-mentioned players have been on the scrapheap today if they had signed for us? We seem to do that more often than most clubs with promising players we buy. Here's the source at

Everton passed on £3m Haaland & £20m double deal for Maguire & Robertson – Walsh
Paul Olsen     Posted 18/11/2019 at 16:21:08

To Zlat or not to Zlat

A tongue in cheek reply to the Moise Kean post regarding what strikers are available to us presently for 30 million got me thinking

Obviously these days, unfortunately, 30 million in no way could buy us an established, as was mentioned, a 12-20 goal a season striker

We would have to take a punt on an upcoming potential such as Moise Kean or spend it on a mercenary nutter such as the great Zlatan

There is nobody than myself in favour of giving our youngster not only a chance, but our full support

Seeing DCL, Davies and Holgate step out each week is brilliant. I pray for the day they are joined by JJK, Gordon, Adrenien and our two great centre halves

However, short term, are we approaching this right?

Just now should we be looking to keep above water?

Just get through the next 12 months or so.

I jokingly mentioned Big Zlat but in the past we have seen the excitement half wits like Robinho have given City, Jurgen gave Spurs. Both having seen better days but both contributed with a big fillup and also importantly, goals.

So, short term, could a Zlatan help us out?

John Keating     Posted 17/11/2019 at 16:27:20

Our scouting

I've long wondered about the quality of our scouting, before and after (sadly) our acquisition of Marcel Brands.

For instance Liverpool spent £100,000,000 in signing Salah, Firmino and Mane. We spent the same in acquiring Tosun, Walcott, Kean and Bolasie.

Discuss please. I await enlightenment.

Don Alexander     Posted 17/11/2019 at 00:07:15

The Forgotten Kieran Dowell

Irrespective of whether you see Kieran Dowell as a long-term project at Everton, I am becoming increasingly alarmed at his lack of game time at Derby County. I checked his stats, currently standing at 7 appearances, of which 6 were in August!

Checking recently, Derby are using him as a non-participating substitute and it's not that Derby are tearing up the Championship. Has Philip Cocu decided that he is not his sort of player? He does not appear to be suffering from injuries.

So why is he there? Especially with demand for his loan services in the summer window. If he is not playing, get him back and make a decision on what he needs to be doing. Bench-warming is no good for this young lad!

Trevor Powell     Posted 10/11/2019 at 13:32:29

Will it always be game over at 1-0 down?

The Shocking injury to André Gomes prompted a few discussions about Everton with my colleagues at work this week.

One stat about Everton they seemed keen to discuss was the inability for the team under Marco Silva to overturn a goal deficit into a match-winning performance. They were quite shocked at this stat and acknowledged that, if a team scored first against us, then we are pretty much done and dusted and may as well get back on the team bus. They didn't realise we were "such a soft touch".

Two teams at the weekend, Man City and Liverpool, came back from a goal down to win at the death, also Liverpool again did it in the Carabao Cup to win on penalties. Then tonight we had Chelsea coming back from 4-1 down to draw 4-4.

Actually thinking about it, for the life of me I can't actually remember when our last big comeback win was… Have we ever had any significant comeback wins?

I’d be interested to know people's thoughts on why we currently seem incapable of digging in and fighting back yet other teams seem to be able to do it?

Daniel Johnson     Posted 05/11/2019 at 23:35:54

Is Jack Rodwell worth a punt?

Jack Rodwell is gainfully unemployed but good enough to have trials at Roma and Parma. He's a bluenose who can play central midfield and centre-half.

Okay, his record post-Everton is poor but, as a utility man on a 9-month deal to tide us over? We could do worse. He is no stranger to the Premier League or the club.

Brands hates January shopping and I doubt we will spend big money knowing the injury crisis will pass.

So... is Jack Rodwell worth a punt?
Kieran Kinsella     Posted 05/11/2019 at 01:30:30

Plenty of blame to go around after Gomes nightmare

I am absolutely outraged by the rush to try to absolve Son Heung-Min and Serge Aurier from any responsibility for the potentially career-ending injury to Andre Gomes.

First, the commentary team minimized Son’s intent and ignored Aurier’s role. Then Pochettino claimed the tackle was not a red card offense, and of course the likes of Jamie Carragher gave Son a high-five for the tackle.

The fact is that both Son and Aurier should have been sent off. There is no point claiming that there was no intent. Intent, “follows the bullet” meaning that, when you commit a reckless act, you are responsible for the consequences – even if you didn’t intend every detail of those consequences. You can’t fire a gun in a crowded street and claim you didn’t intend to hit a child.

The referee also bears some responsibility for what happened. If Son had been booked, as he should have been, for diving earlier in the game, he would never have felt free to make a tackle of that level of reckless irresponsibility. Atkinson was letting Spurs get away with murder throughout the match.

I am sure Son’s distress at seeing Gomes’s foot being kept on by his sock and a couple of muscle strands was authentic but that doesn’t mean he should be let off the hook. Can you imagine the outcry if an Everton player did that to one of the curly-haired darlings of the Premier League’s Favored Five? There wouldn’t be any “There was no intent to hurt anybody” then.

Neil Taylor got a two-match ban for his horrific tackle on Seamus Coleman’s leg – one for each break. If he had spat at the referee, he would have been banned for six matches. Players play too low a price for incidents like the one that has put Gomes on crutches for months to come.
Peter Fearon     Posted 04/11/2019 at 02:01:40

Is Richarlison 'Everton'?

After a game that failed to raise the pulses (until the sight of Andreé Gomes reeling in agony), one could be forgiven for thinking this game was another case of huffing and puffing, with no breath.

For me (and my father) watching in our local, our blood pressure was already pulsing throughout the game, at the sight of Richarlison, wincing in agony, like he'd broken his leg.

There is no doubt that Richalison offers an attacking threat. There is no doubt Richarlison is talented, and there is no doubt that I have walked away from a game, singing the song of the Brazilian, on several occasions.

However, the time has come for all of us to question, for all his productivity: is the constant diving worth it? Is Richarlison just a pain in the ass and is his petulance “Everton”?

Conor Skelly     Posted 03/11/2019 at 22:56:41

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