On a Hiding to Nothing? 2021-22 Season Preview

In many ways, a merely competent first season could be enough for Rafael Benitez to match Carlo Ancelotti's 10th-place finish; a better-than-hoped performance from the Spaniard would yield improvement. But with none of the much-needed quality additions materialising this summer, it's hard to see Everton troubling the top six places in 2021-22

Lyndon Lloyd 11/08/2021 175comments  |  Jump to last

The arrival of Farhad Moshiri and his millions in 2016 heralded so much and the British-Iranian businessman's ownership of Everton may one day deliver. Certainly, the breaking of ground this week at Bramley-Moore Dock to begin construction on a new £500m stadium is a historic milestone that would not have been possible without his investment but, on the pitch, another half a billion pounds in expenditure on incoming players has actually seen the club move backwards.

The Blues approach the 2021-22 season with arguably as few prospects of cracking that frustrating glass ceiling to the top four or ending what is now the longest stretch without silverware in the club's history as ever under Moshiri's stewardship. Indeed, perhaps not since the days of David Moyes in 2004 or those couple of years of austerity under the Scot between 2009 and 2011 has optimism ahead of a new season been so low.

The departure in May of Carlo Ancelotti plunged Everton into yet more managerial uncertainty and whatever search there was for his successor led to Rafael Benitez, maybe the most divisive appointment imaginable outside of Steven Gerrard or the return to Goodison Park of Sam Allardyce. The former Liverpool boss will be the target of disapproval from an intractable section of the crowd when he takes to the dugout for the first time this weekend against Southampton, but even among those willing to give him a chance, few will have been excited by his arrival.

However, it's the worrying lack of business done to date this summer in the transfer market that is, perhaps, the greatest cause of concern among Evertonians. The likes of Theo Walcott, Yannick Bolasie and Muhamed Besic may finally have moved on along with fringe personnel in the form of Beni Baningime and Matthew Pennington but only Bernard's departure for the Middle East has realised anything by way of a transfer fee and that was around £750,000 at best.

Article continues below video content

With the club right up against — or maybe even over — the Premier League's Profit and Sustainability limit, Everton have had to sell before they could buy in any significant fashion over the close season, but a combination of bad luck and unfortunate circumstances have exacerbated the challenge of offloading unwanted players amassed over what has been five years of enormously costly and slipshod recruitment. Cenk Tosun has twice been loaned out with the hope of making a permanent move but suffered serious knee injuries on both occasions while another player is currently suspended indefinitely amid a police inquiry, thereby robbing Benitez of a playing resource or Director of Football, Marcel Brands, of a potentially sellable asset.

It means that the three acquisitions that Brands has managed to complete this summer, for a grand total of £1.7m, will not form the foundation pieces ahead of grander, higher-quality signings but will, as things stand, be the only new players in the squad when the campaign kicks off on Saturday. What happens before the transfer deadline beyond remains to be seen but none of it has set the pulses racing or given Toffees fans much hope that a top-six tilt is on the cards or even possible at all under current circumstances.

While Asmir Begovic, a free transfer from Bournemouth, will provide solid backup and competition for Jordan Pickford, he is not expected to play a significant number of matches this season. Andros Townsend, who also arrived on a free, and Demarai Gray, picked up on the cheap from Bayer Leverkusen, will be heavily involved and, on the evidence of Everton's three pre-season games, they could prove to have been savvy additions.

Townsend brings years of top-flight experience from his time at Crystal Palace and Newcastle as well as an impressive work ethic and positivity to the dressing room. He is also an underrated provider of ammunition from the flanks so his link-up with Dominic Calvert-Lewin is expected to be a fruitful one.

Gray, meanwhile, injects that vital ingredient of pace into what has arguably been one of the most pedestrian sides in the Premier League and that, if nothing else, will offer a valuable attacking outlet for a side that struggled going forward last season. The 25-year-old has yet to fulfil the rich potential that persuaded Leicester City to edge Everton for his signature in 2016 but he is expected to be relied upon heavily this terms so will get plenty of opportunity to prove his worth.

Prior to last Saturday's shambolic friendly defeat at Manchester United, the early indications under Benitez looked encouraging. The Blues looked useful at times against Millonarios and Pumas, matches they won on penalties and 1-0 respectively, with the new boys all putting on positive displays. Gray, in particular, was impressive and did everything to bolster assumptions that he will be in the starting XI when the real action kicks off.

Defensively, the team was caught out badly at a set-piece against the Colombians and were disconcertingly porous against United but Benitez will, at least, be building on one of Everton's strongest facets from Ancelotti's only full season in charge and the return of Yerry Mina following his duties at the Copa America can only help.

Mina's compatriot, meanwhile, is one of the biggest question marks hanging over the team on the eve of 2021-22. Will James Rodriguez still be at the club on 1st September — the assumption at the moment is that he won't but suitors appear to be thin on the ground — and if he is how long will he stay fit and just how motivated will he be? The 30-year-old admits that he only signed for Everton because of Ancelotti, he has a chequered history with Benitez from their brief time together at Real Madrid, and he recently intimated that he wasn't wanted at Everton. If he isn't able to secure a move away before the deadline, how committed a player the club will have on their hands remains to be seen.

Obviously, a fit and “up for it” James, of the kind that started last season, would be a dynamic component to the team and if Benitez can massage his ego and harness that talent, he could end up having a good campaign at Everton and finally experience Goodison at its raucous best. Ultimately, if he does stay, how happy Rodriguez is will probably come down to how well the team is performing as a whole. His demeanour in the pre-season games — he was mostly on the field when things weren't clicking from an attacking perspective — didn't augur well but time will tell.

As is so often the case when the transfer window remains open for two or three weeks into the new season, it's difficult to fully assess Everton's chances given that there may be further activity in the market before the end of the month. Perhaps the most pressing need, that of a long-term successor to Seamus Coleman at right back, remains unfulfilled and there is still no reliable alternative up front to Calvert-Lewin. Moise Kean is still a Blues player but remains unproven in England.

Amid strong links to Norwich's Max Aarons and PSV's Denzel Dumfries, it seemed almost unthinkable that the right-back position could be allowed to fester beyond this summer but it does look as though the soon-to-be 34-year-old Coleman, with Jonjoe Kenny and Mason Holgate as alternatives, will begin the new season in the role.

Even without further additions, the squad that Benitez inherited, with the two outfield additions made since he came on board, is a capable enough outfit, if one still depressingly short on genuine quality and flair. With crowds returning, the Spaniard has very little hope of repeating Ancelotti's feat of 11 away wins but he would be hard pressed to do worse than his predecessor at home.

Ultimately, if he can retain that resilience on the road while significantly lifting the team's results at Goodison, Benitez has a good chance on improving on last season's 10th-place position even if flirting with the top two, as Ancelotti was doing as late in the season as Boxing Day last term, feels a little fanciful. Given the financial shackles placed on Everton by the Premier League and, to a lesser extent, Uefa, incremental improvement would still be progress even if it is a far cry from where Moshiri's ambition and investment was supposed to have got us by this point.

With Aston Villa in the process of wisely spending their proceeds from the sale of Jack Grealish by adding the likes of Emiliano Buendia, Danny Ings and Leon Bailey, a player Brands had scouted extensively over the past two years, it feels very much as though, following the strides forward Leicester have made, the Blues are falling behind yet another club promoted from the Championship within the last seven years.

Benitez would do well to finish above either team while West Ham under Moyes can be expected to be stern competition for the top seven places as well and both Tottenham and Arsenal will be looking to improve on their below-par performance in 2020-21. The top four, where Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have strengthened further, feels so far away as to barely warrant a mention in terms of previewing Everton's season. That,. essentially, is how badly we've screwed things up over the last half-decade and it feels as though given Benitez's position behind the eight ball at the outset of his tenure, he is on a proverbial hiding to nothing in his first year.

Still, football being football, there will be ups, downs, surprises and meltdowns, opportunities and pitfalls for many sides. The key is to avoid being the one that falls apart and, instead, develop an inner strength and siege mentality to ride through the campaign regardless of what is going on around you. That is said to be a Benitez strength so fingers crossed he can get some momentum going, particularly with what is a fairly favourable run of fixtures to start the season, and prove a few people wrong.

Predicted final position: 9th

FA Cup: 5th Round
Carabao Cup: Semi-finals
Top scorer: Calvert-Lewin

Follow @EFCLyndon
Share article:

Reader Comments (175)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Matthew Williams
1 Posted 10/08/2021 at 22:51:40
League Cup Semi-Final?.

Some hope!.

Brent Stephens
2 Posted 10/08/2021 at 22:58:08
Of the pre-season signings (so far), Gray gets me the more expectant. I thought he showed vision, movement, pace and touch against Man Utd. I could see him in the number 10 position being very effective.


Barry Hesketh
3 Posted 10/08/2021 at 23:15:21
There's still that nagging feeling that Dominic will go to Spurs should Man City sign Kane. We'll know what we're dealing with by the time the next International break arrives and having completed 3 fixtures, maybe then we'll have a better idea of what's in store for the new season, at the minute it doesn't look great.
Pekka Harvilahti
4 Posted 10/08/2021 at 23:21:27
It will be tough to be 10th but I think that'sit. All above us are way better. Those behind us are all struggling. If DCL and Richie stay and stay fit they will score goals enough to stay in the league and maybe a little something.
Chris Gordon
5 Posted 10/08/2021 at 23:25:37
How incompetent must the club be to spend nearly half a billion quid on players and have such a poor, pedestrian squad with 1 x decent striker ( the other can't wait to leave), 1 x 34 yr old injury prone right back ( we've known we need a replacement for 3 x years now)
A squad totally devoid of pace and heart.
No left back cover.
2 X bang average wingers bought for 1.5 mil and a free.
No guile and skill in Central midfield.

Hamez will be gone by Oct.
Richie will be gone by this time next year
DCL will be gone in next 2 years if we don't make Europe.

Our director of football is directed by the foolish interfering owner.

We've blown it. The board are utterly useless, the mega rich owner is utterly clueless throwing his cash around like monopoly money and the playing squad are bang average to a man with zero depth.

In last 6 years we've had 8 manager's !!!! We're an utter basket case of a club headed in one direction.

A fool and his money are soon parted, and Mr mosheri is a fool and he's half a billion quid light as a result.

Nick Page
6 Posted 10/08/2021 at 23:37:07
Agreed Chris. We’re like the Michael Carroll of the Premier League - absolutely skint one minute, win the lottery, blow a load of cash on on some old bangers and then absolutely skint again. Brands has done f.all. Baxendale should be nowhere near being a CEO of a prem club, and Moshiri should have cleared the decks from day one. But Blue Billy Bullshitter found his investor and has done quite nicely, thank-you. I’m absolutely done with Everton. Cooked
Jerome Shields
7 Posted 10/08/2021 at 23:41:13
I think it is down to the work, effort and teamwork that the players are prepared to put in. Benitez has been very hands on at Finch Farms. This should improve the teams level of preparation for games.

Townsend and Gray look good additions improving the pace and hopefully the final third play. As lyndon says additions are needed. I think we do need a right back and a attacking midfielder.

Gbamin staying fit would be a exciting bonus. Alan and Doucoure are key performance wise and hopefully Holgate can get back up to speed. Still think Everton need a professional finisher up front, but I think the emphasis will be on more scoring options instead.

Everton will play similar to the Ancelottis defensive formation. Maybe Benitez will be able to give offensive play a boost and stop a walk through Everton midfield.

This is the season when Everton get Real. Thats my prediction.

Don Alexander
8 Posted 10/08/2021 at 23:51:54
Chris, you hit the nail on the head.

There comes a time in every adult's life when you just have to realise you're being repeatedly shafted by treachery and/or incompetence and simply put false hope aside to for once look in the mirror and ask yourself, "Is this what my life has become?"

Possibly melodramatic admittedly, given we're only talking about a football business, virtually everybody but those in charge thinking of it as an intimately inclusive band-of-brothers/sisters though, but that's where we are - considered muppets by the boardroom, endlessly paying, decade after decade on the face of never realised hope.

Roll on the new season - as if, because aged 66 I've "got" Everton since 1963, but have had to do for the past thirty years under a non-existent rainbow of hope.

Who's the one boardroom incompetent present throughout those thirty years folks?

Might that bugger bear responsibility, whilst we now otherwise muse of the capabilities of DoF's, managers, coaches and players all of whom for decades have been signed under his ownership/chairmanship?

Ben King
9 Posted 10/08/2021 at 00:04:12
Chris #5

Spot on

It’s so sad and so depressing. We are so utterly shite

James Flynn
10 Posted 11/08/2021 at 01:06:36
Chris (5) - You poor, sad boy.

Nick (6) - "I’m absolutely done with Everton. Cooked" You'll be missed. Yet given you're here and on other recent threads, you can't know how much we truly miss you, if you won't FUCKING LEAVE. All the Best, Hugs and Kisses, etc.

Don (8) - 2 notes:

"repeatedly shafted by treachery" made me laugh. Nice phrase. Good stuff.

But this one, "under a non-existent rainbow of hope." Sweet. Cap doffed. Hope that wasn't cribbed, rather it came off the top of your head. A song could be written around that one.

Jerome (7) - Should have responded to yours first, just couldn't pass up the hysterics around your post. Anyway, agree on all of yours.

Derek Thomas
11 Posted 11/08/2021 at 01:46:15
So your basic standard Everton season then.
Don Alexander
13 Posted 11/08/2021 at 02:22:13
James (#10) I wrote it whilst pissed. Pissed people sometimes witness rape and murder, yet their evidence remains credible.
Bill Gienapp
15 Posted 11/08/2021 at 04:31:55
Sometimes there's something to be said for going into a season with lowered expectations. Last year, far and away the most pessimistic fanbase in the league was West Ham's. They'd genuinely chucked in the towel and 100% thought they were getting relegated.

While I don't foresee us being worse than last season, it's hard to see significant improvement, especially when the top half of the league is more competitive than ever. But you never know what might happen.

Brian Murray
16 Posted 11/08/2021 at 05:46:02
Chris / John. Cant argue with what nick says. Jobs still for the boys / girls. Nothing will change while that inept buffoon is still bending Moshiris ear. And he’s still listening. Total poison to our club but I couldn’t walk away. Coyb.
John Zapa
17 Posted 11/08/2021 at 07:09:52
I'm worried the players are not going to be able to adapt to a much more intensive training regime. They have had a very easy and relaxing time previously in training. A combination of downing tools, fatigue, increased injuries could all show their ugly face within a couple months.
I think Benitez has signed players relatively well in the circumstances, but the squad has deteriorated from last year overall while most of the competing teams seem to have signed well and addressed some of their problems, which could only increase the gap.
A top 10 finish would be success in these circumstances.
Mal van Schaick
18 Posted 11/08/2021 at 07:53:24
Where there appears to be problems off the pitch with profit and sustainability rules and an issue with a suspended player, all Benitez can do is keep a good dressing room atmosphere, remind the players of their responsibility to the club and ask them to give their all.

At the moment, we look like a mid table team at best, but virtually the same squad hovered around the top six most of last season, until floundering in the last ten games or so.

The damage has been done by previous managers and their choice of players, some of them moved on now, and some others to be moved on in the future.

What isn’t acceptable to the club and fans, is players downing tools and not trying. They should give their all.

I’m looking forward to this season. Who knows Benitez may bring about some silverware after years of us waiting for some.

scott montgomery
19 Posted 11/08/2021 at 07:59:48
There’s going to be fire sales at a number of clubs over the next few weeks to balance the books after expensive summer additions (Chelsea/PSG etc) Tuchel has categorically stated his 42 first team players is unsustainable and PSG will have to save some of Messis zillion-per-week wages. If Brands can’t get some decent players in on loans from clubs like these to tide us over while FFP has us by the goolies then he has no place as DOF.
Neil Cremin
20 Posted 11/08/2021 at 08:23:10
I also am apprehensive about the new season most of this relates to lack of recruitment of backup for Seamus and a dynamic midfielder and envious of the activity of other clubs.
However on reflection
This time last year all TW posts were optimistic with new additions and proven manager. If memory serves me right I think we still had realistic aspirations of top 4 finish but ultimately lack of stamina/committment led to some very poor home losses.
What’s changed:
Bernard has gone (replaced by 2 better plates (IMO))
Better back up goalkeeper,
Kean back as backup/addition up front
JPG back to full fitness (hopefully)
Overall guile and pace added to squad.
Experienced Manager who is hands on and knew he was taking on a poison chalice and still was up for challenge.
Based on the above we have significantly improved the squad so why was I so apprehensive. Maybe reading too much TW threads
Pat Kelly
21 Posted 11/08/2021 at 08:28:09
Still a chance we'll get Longstaff and Rondon. We are reinventing ourselves to become EverToon. Howay the lads.
Robert Tressell
22 Posted 11/08/2021 at 08:29:14
This feels a bit like the season we sold Rooney and bought Bent.

You don't necessarily need stars but you do need fitness, team spirit and work ethic.

If Benitez can instil those 3 qualities in the very many players coasting their way through an Everton career he will have done very well indeed. Not for next season particularly but for the longer term good of a club that has seriously lost it's way.

Whatever the case, we're a 6th to 12th sort of side, with the likely finishing place being 8th to 10th. Whether we go higher is, sadly, more likely to be down to how few goals we concede rather than how many Rodriguez creates (if he even stays at all).

Mike Allison
23 Posted 11/08/2021 at 08:39:24
Still such focus on the individual parts we have. What really matters are the connections between the parts. That’s why managers are important at all. As we’ve seen, spending big on players guarantees nothing.

Heart, character, work ethic, team spirit and possibly some clever tactics are what’s needed for a successful season and none of us has a clue how those things will pan out. One thing I’d say is that high wages and big transfer fees seem to have a negative effect on them.

What we need is for Benitez to boringly do his job. It lacks excitement, but a return to the Moyes-like days of 6th-8th and quarter-finals would be an improvement on what has happened since he left.

The Moyes teams were not expensively assembled, but they added up to more than the sum of their parts. For the last five years or so, we’ve added up to way less than the sum of our parts and decent players have looked really poor. Nearly every player in our squad can play a lot better than they did last season. If that happens, perhaps things won’t be so depressing.

Either way, positivity will be more useful than negativity.

Laurie Hartley
24 Posted 11/08/2021 at 08:48:31
Time for a bit of poetry:

If you think you’re beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win,
But you think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out in the world you’ll find
Success begins with a fellow’s will,
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or later, the man who wins,
Is the one who thinks he can.
–Walter D. Wintle

Lewis Barclay
25 Posted 11/08/2021 at 08:49:59
Given there’s little difference in the squad it will be interesting to see which one turns up at the beginning of this season; the one that won the first seven games last season or the one that didn’t win any of the last seven last season.
Ray Smith
26 Posted 11/08/2021 at 08:51:12
FFP:- Why are we where we are?
How was this allowed to happen?

Read Don (8), he sums our current situation up very well.

The Chairman has overseen our 30 year demise.

Give Rafa a chance, he’s already got one hand tied behind his back.

Derek Thomas
27 Posted 11/08/2021 at 09:00:35
Lewis @ 25; probably a good a way as any to approach the start of this season.
We are the ultimate footballing box of chocolates - you never know what you are going to get.

One game at a time.

Hugh Jenkins
28 Posted 11/08/2021 at 09:09:01
As I've said before, all we need to do is mainatain our away form from last season and greatly improve our home form.
If we can achieve that, we will finish in the top 6 and possibly be knocking on the door of the top 4.
Danny O’Neill
29 Posted 11/08/2021 at 09:09:45
Well, I've been drinking from the cup of optimism again. Some would say it contains something stronger, but I had a look at last season's league table. Outside of the top 4:

Leicester. Probably still the ones to beat and challenge the top four but for how long?

West Ham. We'll see if they and Moyes can repeat. Both have form of doing an Everton even better than Everton when there is expectation.

Tottenham. Who knows how it will go with Nuno at the helm and talisman Kane on his way out?

Arsenal. Scraped above us late on last season by 2 points. Jury still out on Arteta the manager and back at a fan-half-filled Emirates (even though they always declare full attendances every week when it clearly isn't!!). If we think we can go toxic early, they do it weekly.

Leeds. Second season syndrome? Sheffield United anyone?

Villa. Some good signings and a good team. But lost their talisman in Grealish. And more expectation on their manager now. Previously it was just survival. After last seasons 11th place exploits despite what they've spent, there is much excitement (those who know, know I have family). Another crowd that has big expectation because of history and can go toxic quickly.

So, contrary to the majority and before a ball is kicked, I'm not as pessimistic as some. None of those clubs are dead certs to finish above us. I'm drinking another cup of optimism, but it's all to play for as they say. Roll on Saturday.

Ed Fitzgerald
30 Posted 11/08/2021 at 09:46:26
I admire the positivity and or delusion of some of the posts on this thread. Even Lyndon’s predictions are rose tinted. I’m expecting us to finish between 15th and 10th at best. As for cup competitions that’s harder to predict but I can’t see Benitez giving them any priority whatsoever.

Lots of teams have strengthened or have settled sides who understand the system their manager wants them to play. So as well as the obvious candidates to finish above us I would potentially add Southampton, Brighton and Burnley to that list. I’m not being a doom monger just a realist and would expect us to lose Richy and Kean before the close of the window also. The club is in some kind of fiscal crisis due to its previous profligacy and hence Benitez has been appointed to keep us in the PL until BMD gets built. I can think of no other reason for his appointment unless Moshiri has a perverse desire to piss off a large proportion of the fan base.

As always I will be cheering the team on (if they ever issue my season ticket). I can’t ever see Benitez being lauded or accepted by the majority of our fans for a whole raft of reasons. I find it curious that some posters seem desperate that ‘we’ welcome him with open arms when 12 months ago they would have viewed his potential appointment with scorn and derision. Ancelotti’s reign was far from perfect but this turn of events feels like going to bed with Sophia Loren only to find she has pissed off and you are waking up with Bella Emberg.

I sincerely hope I am wrong and Benitez succeeds and prove his Evertonian credentials by doing a dance of joy at Anfield to celebrate a win for us, then I remember he is a
Kopite lover and always will be.

Rob Dolby
31 Posted 11/08/2021 at 10:27:38
Hard to find any positives going into the season.

Same squad that threw away a great position and crumbled against hard working teams last year will do the same again without additional character being found.

Uninspiring signings that we are pinning our hopes on that all of a sudden they look like quality players when for years they have been average at best.

Star player allegedly being told that he is surplus to requirements.

Brazilian striker hasn't had a break from footy in about 2 years.

Getting humiliated against United in a pre season game where the goalie looked like a headless chicken and players where beaten after 10 mins.

Purse strings pulled in after 5 years of waste.

New manager that 99% of fans didn't want.

Rival clubs continue to strengthen whilst we don't.

Face masks advised in stadiums.

Despite all of the above can't wait for the season to start!

Mark Dunford
32 Posted 11/08/2021 at 10:35:36
Lowering expectations to a perverse mirror image of last season's start is the position we've reached. If we continue the run from the end of last year and struggle through the benign fixture list at the start of the season then we'll hit real problems in November or December, and Benitez will probably be gone before the January transfer window opens. Worst case. Muddling through for 9th/10th place is quite possibly the best we can hope for and also a realistic expectation if the home form is rescued and we can hold on to elements of last year's away form. Goodison crowd will be rightly sceptical so Benitez doesn't really have much time to win them over.

Hopefully Kean's transfer will release some funds to secure incoming players. Still seem light up front and clearly need a right back and left sided midfield.

Dave Lynch
33 Posted 11/08/2021 at 10:38:53
I'm going to use the old analogy of... transitional season.

Top 8 IMO would be an achievement, we have a manager who actually wanted to manage us. Not a come for the money couldn't give a fuck mercenary.

We need solid battle hardened pros to turn this club around, something that HK realised when he signed Reidy et al.

We missed a trick with Ings IMO, much better finisher than DCL who appears more interested in dressing like a circus clown with his mate TD than football.

Dennis Stevens
34 Posted 11/08/2021 at 10:52:15
My only prediction is that it'll be a long season, already feels like it & they haven't kicked off yet!
Jerome Shields
35 Posted 11/08/2021 at 11:15:49
I think Rodriguez will stay and probably play further forward in the Sigurdsson role. The advantage is his final-third passing ability, which should help Kean, and his superior finishing ability to any of our other forwards.

Some may say that Benitez's influence on Finch Farm allowed the perennial pre-season holiday mode to raise its ugly head during preparation for the Man Utd match. But what the Florida Cup showed was that Benitez's coaching benefits from competitive play. I expect the team to be better when involved in competitive play.

It is good that Benitez got a taste of a lapse at Finch Farm in pre-season and will be on guard during International breaks. The longer he can keep Everton in the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup, the better. Benitez has the advantage of an increase in dependable, less injury-prone players in the dressing room, to counter any turns in loyalty and effort, which previous managers found themselves on the receiving end of. Benitez is not the 'laissez-faire' manager that Ancelotti was, as Lyndon correctly described.

Matt Traynor
36 Posted 11/08/2021 at 11:24:22
Bill #15 and Robert #22 sum it up for me.
It does feel a lot like the 2004/5 season. We'd sold Rooney - on deadline day for an initial £10m so no time to reinvest etc.

Opening day given a hiding at home 1-4 by Arsenal, live on Sky although I was watching from Asia. By the end of that season I'd be watching Everton in the Barclays trophy in Bangkok having finished 4th (I got to see Kroldrup play!).

Looking at the results that season, we went 3rd in the league on 19th September, briefly sat in 2nd (after the Carsley derby) but never dropped lower than 4th despite 1 win in the last 5 games (including the 7-0 hiding at Arsenal when Moyes joked they were still pissed from clinching 4th)...

Of course if there are more significant outgoings than incomings between now and the end of the window, it might be different, but maybe not having high expectations won't be such a bad thing.

Tony Everan
37 Posted 11/08/2021 at 11:25:58
An awful lot can happen in the next 2 or 3 weeks.

The dealings Mr Brands manufactures in this short time frame will go some way to shaping our season especially with regards to making a serious challenge for the top six.

Kean,Rodriguez,Iwobi,Gomes,Delph,Kenny, maybe even Mina may be sold if he wants a move and we have a pacy quality replacement lined up.

If we can do outstanding business in the next 19 days the situation could look completely different. It’s “watch this space” time.

It’s crunch time for Marcel Brands, he has to to really earn his corn. What’s he made of?

Bill Fairfield
38 Posted 11/08/2021 at 11:35:38
Looking forward to the new season. Hopefully there will be new signings before the end of the transfer window. Good luck to the new manager, hope he builds a team rather than the bunch of individuals we've watched the past few seasons. COYB.
Steve Brown
39 Posted 11/08/2021 at 11:37:21
The apathy generated by hiring Benitez has left me feeling comfortably numb.
Mark Taylor
40 Posted 11/08/2021 at 11:37:26
It's easy to say in hindsight but if only Moshiri was buying the club now. Imagine what we could get for several hundred million. Instead he came in at a time of runaway PL inflation so you needed £40m plus to buy a halfway decent player like Siggy and the going wage rate was £100k plus. It was a seller's market.

I wonder if we have reached a commercial peak for football. With most the Spanish and Italian clubs largely in turmoil, there is a big reduction in clubs competing for transfers. Barca can't even afford to keep Messi on half his wage, let alone shell out and buy. It's a near impossible time to do what we are trying to do, offload players to create some income.

As a result, I'm with the consensus of somewhere around 10th. Any better than that and Rafa will have earned his corn. But I think the greater chance is player and fan unrest and somewhere bottom half. Hopefully not too bottom half. Maybe the poster above, who said going into a season with so little hope, at least leaves room for an upside

Peter Gorman
41 Posted 11/08/2021 at 11:38:46
I'm not even drunk and I casually predict that Townsend will be one of our better players if he stays fit.

Can the others take a leaf out of his book and step up from their timid, pedestrian, unimaginative football?

Simon Jones
42 Posted 11/08/2021 at 11:50:41
I can see Benitez making us better organised and harder to play against, but I can't see it being pretty. There'll be some good results, the usual inexplicable losses at home, a point of the season when we'll genuinely have some hope, before it all fizzles out and we'll finish tenth on the last day of the season, again.

On the other hand, I can imagine us winning a trophy under Benitez. He's got form in that regard.

Andrew Bradshaw
43 Posted 11/08/2021 at 12:00:34
Indeed, Leicester's overachievement under Rodgers is even more impressive given their net spend since his appointment stands at just £49.8m. They have managed to crack the elite and they have done it on a budget dwarfed by those of their rivals.

Where we should be, had it not been for idiots spending like the proverbials drinking in a brewery. Interview with Rodgers on SkySports site today. Interesting that he also mentions that quite a few signings he doesn't even see or know about beforehand. Gives a profile to the recruitment guy and hey ho!!! Sound familiar? So why could/can we not manage that? The money we have spent should have set us up for years, if spent wisely. A fool and his comes to mind!

Mark Ryan
44 Posted 11/08/2021 at 12:02:54
Makes me laugh that Ancellotti, a revered and respected Manager ran when he learnt that there was no budget left for this coming season. You simply know that if Moshiri had said to him "I've got buckets of money for you to spunk on players and so fill your boots" he would have stayed and tried to win things doing just that. It was the prospect of having to deal in the bargain basement that made him think " fuck this for a laff, I'll get found out"
I have far more respect for the managers who try to make a silk purse out of a sows ear, the likes of Sean Dyche et al.
If Benitez manages to galvanise this mob hats off to him.
I hope Madrid have a terrible time of it this season coming. Ancelotti needs to go and put his feet up. He showed whilst with us that he is past it.
If we support this team well and give them a chance to gel, who knows
David Hayes
45 Posted 11/08/2021 at 12:06:00
Here we sit once more. Half in dread and half in expection of that elusive magic so often climpised but never fixed. It's going to be different this time, is the lie we tell ourselves, while all along just waiting for the enevertable pain, disappointment and anger. So why do it all? We can't help it, it's in our blood. Like a curse with no cure. There will be highs and ecstasy, all gone like it never really happened at all when the next hope crushing dose of reality, bad luck or injustice knocks you down. COYB
Craig Walker
46 Posted 11/08/2021 at 12:27:17
I base my optimism/negativity on whether I think we’ll score goals and whether I think we’re solid enough at the back. I’m not confident at either end of the pitch.

Like all Blues, I hope JPG is the player we hoped we’d signed but I’ve got a bad feeling that he’ll be another disappointing recruit. Very harsh, based on a few cameo roles, I know, but it ‘s just a gut feeling I have. Hope I’m wrong. I’d equally love Moise Kean to adapt and be like a new signing but, again, there’s been too many false dawns to have any hope there.

I don’t think Josh King or Bernard is a loss or the other one we can’t mention. We must have saved wages from these three.

To not have a right back signed last year was a mistake. To have made no progress on this a full season later is madness.

I looked at the starting XI for the team which lost the final home game of two seasons ago to relegated Bournemouth. Pickford, Keane, Digne, Gomes, Davies, Coleman, Richarlison and Kean all started. Branthwaite, Sig and Walcott were the others. We’re not radically different now to then and that was one of the most woeful performances I can remember.

I hoped to see the back of Holgate. Keane, Gomes, Delph and Iwobi.

Nick Bower
47 Posted 11/08/2021 at 12:43:43
I predict Delph to be leading this season's queue for the sick room. That was too easy...
Derek Moore
48 Posted 11/08/2021 at 13:01:11
From being - on paper at least - fringe champions league contenders with six weeks left of last season to the situation we are in now. Mind boggling.

Absolutely farcical management at all levels of the club. It's compounded by, in typical Everton fashion, winning a derby behind closed doors and then waiting for the fans to return before launching what looks like the most miserable campaign in prospect for well over a decade.
This season won't go very well because it has virtually no prospect of going well. I'm actually not sure that the FSW err incumbent Everton manager could succeed even with tremendous amounts of resources and a long and distraction free pre season here.
Benitez prospects for even modest success after the shitshow of a summer we've had and the players we've (not) signed aren't very high in my view. Scarily, all the profligacy and poor decisions of previous years are really starting to come hometo roost and at a wholly inopportune time. Someone somewhere mentioned us being in the early stages of doing a Sunderland, and I can't really satisfactorily refute any of that either. The parallels are there.

Many Evertonians have sort of written the year off in their head and have sort of placed us tenth or so and playing essentially KITAP1. I'd like to gently point out that might well be midtable hubris at this stage.
In the situation we're in - in terms of financials, the largely unchanged playing group and the alarming lack of managerial continuity - it's not hard to imagine a set of circumstances where things are just instantly not very good and then get a lot worse. Indeed, you can almost see it, anticipate it if you like.

Indeed that's my prediction. I rather suspect things will go badly, and then very badly and will quickly spiral out of Benitez control. And then all bets really will be off. There won't be any more champions league winning managers in the Everton seat for a long time after Benitez goes, put it that way.
If the Benitez card does fail, then I'm really not sure what cards - if any - the present ownership structure would have to play. So this really has to work. But it won't.

Michael Barrett
49 Posted 11/08/2021 at 13:05:03
Chris Gordon 5, that's superb mate couldn't have said it better if I tried, we are a laughing stock in the city were we used to hold our head up high, not any more.
Bob Parrington
50 Posted 11/08/2021 at 13:09:01
I'd hate to be a pessimist! With all the pessimism on this site I would be one of many. Thankfully, I like Monty Python - always look on the bright side of life. It's what has kept me as an Evertonian for nigh on 60 years!


Neil Cremin
51 Posted 11/08/2021 at 13:09:46
Your full of gloom and doom and may I add misinformation.
Where did you get the stat that 99% of fans didn’t want Rafa
You are certainly a glass half empty person and pouring what’s left down the drain.
I’m a glass half full see post #20
As it stands now we are a stronger squad heading into this season compared to last and remember the optimism then.
If Rafa achieves instilling the 3 qualities that Rob identifies which were sadly lacking under Carlo why not be optimistic.
Trevor Powell
52 Posted 11/08/2021 at 13:57:26
I have to say that, in the 60 years since I first went with Dad to watch Everton play Ipswich in 1961, I have never felt so pessimistic about a new season. I find it very difficult to even want to accommodate Benitez as being manager and the club's inability to sort out what seems to be an increasingly fractious team, devoid of guile and spirit!

As I now live in the East Midlands, I will spend my little time and energy on supporting my local club, AFC Rushden & Diamonds, a community owned club in the Southern League!

However, I would enjoy a surprise successful season as when Rooney left!

Dave Evans
53 Posted 11/08/2021 at 14:33:06
Three things would have me dribbling, gaga delirious.

More aggressive, switched on defending.
More line or through balls instead of the breath-taking cut back.
More quick pass and move play in transitions.

I think we'll stay this time - 6th.

John Pickles
54 Posted 11/08/2021 at 14:46:30
Welcome Plucky Little Everton Mk2. It's got to be an improvement on Wasteful Embarrassing Everton, why spend half a billion to achieve nothing when you can do so for a fraction of that?

Even a knife to a gunfight is more useful than a big gun that only fires blanks.

Our FFP ineptitude means that Rafa joins just as it seems that we are about to resume our old 'small club' status. Oh, the irony.

Joe McMahon
55 Posted 11/08/2021 at 15:04:49
Derek @48, the Sunderland comparison is certainly there, the high wages of players past it (Gibson et al) they were relegated with Moyes at the helm.

Jump forward 2 seasons and it may well be Everton in the same scenario under the management combo of Ferguson & Unsworth in the hot seat.

Ernie Baywood
56 Posted 11/08/2021 at 15:06:16
On the face of things, it's all doom and gloom.

But just maybe... It's pretty much the team that started so well last season and then didn't really string a consistent run of games together from about October. Plus Godfrey. And Townsend and Gray, who I think add to the squad. The starting XI this week could be the same as started against Spurs last year.

Coleman is a year older, but then so is Calvert-Lewin, so is Godfrey, so is Davies. Sigurdsson is less available, but Gomes is another year beyond his ankle injury and Gbamin appears to be fit.

So the difference is that we signed an ex-red manager?

I don't like that, but he can't be worse than the last guy?

Jay Harris
57 Posted 11/08/2021 at 15:35:19
Having been part of the majority that didnt want Benitez, I now feel very sorry for the hand he has been dealt and I am rooting for him.

Our big weakness has been a lack of goalscorers throughout the team. I hope the adversity gees the players up, particularly James.

I have a feeling the season will not go as badly as some think and we will end up around 8th.

Alan J Thompson
58 Posted 11/08/2021 at 16:28:27
It doesn't look like anybody expects us to win anything – never mind finish in a prominent Premier League position.

Having improved the squad with a second goalkeeper, a freebie, and another at an astronomical £1.7M, that does appear most likely. I really don't remember the last time when I didn't at least think that the unlikely does sometimes happen.

Mediocrity? Unfortunately, and may be even at best.

David Bromwell
59 Posted 11/08/2021 at 16:46:38
It is almost 70 years since I watched my first game at Goodison Park and the first match of the season was always something special. Sadly I am afraid I have very few positive feelings ahead of the game this week.

For most of last season, Everton were boring to watch and, in my view, were lucky to finish the season where we did. So, largely with the same squad of players, I fear more of the same this season.

My one positive thought concerns the appointment of Benitez, who I think in time will at least bring some much-needed organisation, even though that was sadly missing on Saturday. I would, however, like to offer the manager two simple suggestions:

(1) Please play with three midfielders so that we are not constantly overrun. I would be happy to see Ben Godfrey moved forward.

(2) Please promote young Branthwaite, as soon as he is fit and ready as I am a great believer in having a balanced right- and left-footed centre-back pairing.

Do that, Rafa, and things may look a little better.

Bill Hawker
60 Posted 11/08/2021 at 17:25:22
I'm a typically optimistic supporter but I think top ten might even be a bridge too far this season. I could see us 12th - 14th. I don't think any sort of a relegation dogfight is on the cards but who knows. I just don't see it with this squad.

While I don't think our away form last year will carry over to this season, I'm hopeful that our home form picks up and we take points at home from the teams we should be taking them from (Brighton, Burnley, Brentford, etc...)

Overall, I'm a bit pessimistic about our season.

James Head
61 Posted 11/08/2021 at 18:48:18
Football matches are generally won or lost in midfield. If we can keep Gbamin fit, at last we may have a chance of some more progressive passing and moving in this area.

I'd like to see Doucouré build a solid partnership in there with Gbamin, probably with Gomes. If the backwards and sideways passing starts again this season, I expect the crowd to turn nasty very quickly.

Defence is a major problem: erratic goalkeeper, slow centre-backs, and over-the hill right back. I think I'd prefer Godfrey to partner Mina here as Keane is a liability – I've never seen a professional footballer flap so much with the ball at their feet, also turns like the QE2.

Walter Smith days are here again.

John Pickles
62 Posted 11/08/2021 at 19:13:56
Sky Bet have Porto 1/2 to re-sign James.
Dermot O'Brien
63 Posted 11/08/2021 at 19:18:15
I can't wait for this season to be over.
Roger Helm
64 Posted 11/08/2021 at 19:20:37
It's being so cheerful that keeps us going.
Mike Gaynes
65 Posted 11/08/2021 at 19:27:48
James #61, odd to see you advocating "more progressive passing" and the benching of Keane in the same post. Of our four CBs, he's by far the best long passer out of the back and the best at creating scoring opportunities. Mina is a sharp mid-range passer but rarely looks over the top. Godfrey is easily the best attacker with the ball but he's not a good passer (not yet, anyway), and Holgate is simply awful.

I thought Keane had a generally fine season last year, and I heartily disagree that he's a "liability".

Terry White
66 Posted 11/08/2021 at 19:34:58
John (#62), resign from what?
Justin Doone
67 Posted 11/08/2021 at 19:39:34
If we fast forward 10 month's, finish 10th having the current squad, will that's have been a good season?

Potentially we can judge Gbamin to see if he is the midfield commander we need rather than the injury prone player we know.

I'm expecting a more settled team and formation so we can judge the partnerships, tactics and general game management.

For me this is Pickfords make or break season. Great if he proves himself as a mature commanding presence otherwise he's a gonna.

Godfrey and Holgate prove they are 1st choice or simply squad players.

James and Allan will leave if not already departed. Delph, Siggy likewise.

We may see some youth player's step up but I'm not expecting Rafa to be generous in giving kid's much of a chance.

Other than that we save money by not splashing the cash and stay within financial restrictions.

Or my preference..

We challenge any punishment the league tries to hand out and go for broke bringing in quality players in key areas we desperately need.

RB, CM, CAM / creative forward.

Other player's can still be judged ie Gbamin and Pickford, but in the knowledge we have a better 1st eleven and squad than we currently do so it's less of a rebuilding job.

Staying still is akin to a backwards step. We all know it.

I'm happy with Grey and Townsend. Exactly the position and type of players we have needed for a very long time. Pacey, energetic, attack minded.

I'm hopeful of a few more.

Ted Donnelly
68 Posted 11/08/2021 at 19:47:47
I see Vestergaard from Southampton is in talks with Leicester... he would have done us!!
John McFarlane Snr
69 Posted 11/08/2021 at 19:55:10
Hi Mike [65],

Experience has taught me that every senior player on the books is disliked by someone. I openly admit that there are some players I favour more than others, but I've never vilified an Everton player, nor will I in the future.

I may well show frustration and disappointment but, as long as they're wearing the Royal Blue shirt, I'll do what supporters do, and 'support them'.

Hoping your family are all well during this dreadful period, and I'm looking forward to sharing a bottle of Guinness with you.

Shaun Laycock
70 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:04:56
HI All

Just done this on the BBC website - here is my prediction for the upcoming season:


Alan Corken
71 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:05:45
At the close of the article you project the season unfolding like this:=

Predicted final position: 9th
FA Cup: 5th Round
Carabao Cup: Semi-finals
Top scorer: Calvert-Lewin

Yes!!!!!!! That'll do. Magic! Brilliant!

Brent Stephens
72 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:09:27
You'll like mine, Shaun!
Bill Rodgers
73 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:10:20
What is consistent at Everton? It seems we are dire regardless of the manager, the money we spend, the players we recruit, the teams we put out. We have sufficient high quality recruits to ensure that we finish mid-table (I would guess 12th this coming year), but there will be teams that finish below us – even in relegation spots – who wipe the floor with us.

And that's because the only consistent thing about Everton teams for at least a decade is that we are the least committed team in the Premier League. We lack application, the will to win, a system, and team spirit. Whatever is wrong will not be solved with money – it will be solved by clearing out Finch farm.

Paul Jones
74 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:13:50
The impression I am getting with the appointment of Benitez is that his job, like what he had at Newcastle (not his fault), is Premier League survival on a budget.
Ed Fitzgerald
75 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:23:54
Mike @65,

I couldn't disagree more with your assessment of Michael Keane's performances during his time at Everton.

Keane can't tackle (he is far too nice), panics in possession, reads the game poorly, can't carry the ball out of defence, and has got to be one of the slowest defenders I've ever seen. However, on the plus side, he is good in the air and has a smart haircut. Godfrey should be made captain now and installed at centre-half with AN Other (but not Mason Holgate!).

Eugene Ruane
76 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:33:52
Bill #73 - "What is consistent at EFC? It seems we are dire regardless of the manager, the money we spend, the players we recruit, the teams we put out."

Well I can't think of anythi...oh wait..


Paul Birmingham
77 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:35:49
Let’s see for a positive reaction on Saturday.
For me a diehard Captain, verbal who kicks arses on the pitch is needed in any football team.
Rafa knows he’s got a very tough ask, this season but let’s not write off the season yet.
Mentality is key but so is game management.

I’m positive that this season Everton will work harder as a team with and with out the ball.

But what they do in terms of shooting and working the goal keeper will be a concern as in my book Everton the last few seasons are guilty of overplaying in the box and miss opportunities.

But being potentially written off before the season starts and it will be a tough season, as it always is, will be too early.

Hope eternal.

Barry Rathbone
78 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:35:51
Other than Martinez's first season, we never do anything innovative and inspiring. The tepid preparation for this season is the same as previous incarnations except cheaper.

We need to lobby for a trophy for being mid-table and binned early from the cups – what an end of season that would be!

Bill Watson
79 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:42:57

If I wasn't already feeling pessimistic enough, this thread has made me totally depressed.

Andy Crooks
80 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:46:00
Ed, agree about Keane's tackling ability but otherwise, I'm with Mike. I noticed throughout last season that he began to look more comfortable on the ball and grew in confidence. He certainly is, in my view, a very good passer out of defence. For a side defending deep he is essential.

Now you can well argue that defending deep is absolutely essential when Keane is in the side; he is by no means quick. However, we played that way many times last season and I thought he was excellent.

I expect, hope, our tactics will be flexible, maybe even innovative, this season. I doubt we will play a high line against Man City or Man Utd or actually against many teams, so, Keane defending deep and hitting Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin with half-decent passes will come as quite a relief.

Certainly easier on the nerves than our lamentable knocking it round our own half, passing it back to Jordan who lumps it up field to start a new attack for our opponents.

Dan Nulty
81 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:48:54
Going to be a tough watch this season. Got to stay patient. Fortunately there will be far worse sides than us.

I'm absolutely shocked given the money they have now that Burnley haven't improved their squad.

Raymond Fox
82 Posted 11/08/2021 at 20:51:23
We haven't a clue what our squad will look like after the transfer window ends but, as of yet, things don't look too exciting. It was in the scoring department where we failed last season and it's looking like we will no better this.

If you don't score, you can't win; if the opposition scored first, we were always struggling.

It's shaping up to be a 'stay in the Premier League' type of season, in which I fancy Benitez to ring the most out of what he's been dealt. He might not be flavour of the year but I think he's a good manager.

Rob Dolby
83 Posted 11/08/2021 at 21:02:46
Neil 51. I'd like to think that most of the time I see the positives with the blues but Ancelotti leaving, the purse strings being pulled and appointing a manager that the vast majority of fans didn't want has left me deflated.

Mark 44. Ancelotti leaving pulled the rug from everyone. We have all been misled on 'the project'. I honestly thought that we had a genuine chance of closing the gap with Ancelotti in charge. If Benitez closes the gap without money he will be a miracle worker.


Eugene Ruane
84 Posted 11/08/2021 at 21:09:34
Just wondering if they'll keep things low-key on Saturday or will it be a full on..



I mean I wouldn't dream of booing or anything but I can't see myself responding with any real passion.

'YEAH COME ON ON RAFA LAD!!" would just sound odd coming out of my mouth.

Actually I had a look round the Everton 2 shop in the week and asked an assistant "are there any Benitez t-shirts?"


Tony Abrahams
85 Posted 11/08/2021 at 21:09:55
Defending deep is essential when Keane is in the team imo Andy, and this middle area of the pitch needs fixing, because it’s been the route of our problems for years, again imo mate.

Just as we began to get it sorted, we lost Gueye and Zouma, and I don’t believe Everton have been able to really play on the front foot sine then, except maybe for the first few games of last season, and then it was play ugly, defend deep, and scrape a draw or a win, but even the poor teams had to much for us, if we even thought about opening up.

Ian Riley
86 Posted 11/08/2021 at 21:27:54
Don't have expectations? We have had years of waiting for success. Actually we came tenth last season and were challenging top 4 for a while. This squad has at least £250 million worth of talent in it! Why can't we challenge for top 6? Why shouldn't we have expectations?

Rafa will improve the players, he has to. Boom and bust every season needs to stop! I believe 3 more signings will be made before the transfer window closes. Players will go as well which is right!

The fans will be key this season. We can make goodison a fortress with an atmosphere that is positive and gives the players belief! no booing at matches at our players! Don't come negative!! Rafa is a top manager, get behind him! No expectations, my backside, top 7 in the league and semi final in the FA cup!!!

Neil Copeland
87 Posted 11/08/2021 at 21:36:18
Ian #86, well said. Too right we have expectations, there is no point in supporting Everton without at least some hope,


Alex Gray
88 Posted 11/08/2021 at 21:42:33
I honestly don't believe we can compete until we have goals throughout the team. Calvert-Lewin, James and Richarlison will both win us games but nobody else scores consistently. He who shall not be named usually gets between 5 and 10.

Allan, Iwobi, Davies, Doucouré, Gomes, Gordon and even the defenders don't chip in with enough goals where the teams above can score from pretty much anywhere on the pitch. The game plan is get the ball to Calvert-Lewin but, as last season showed, when teams man-marked him out the game, we had no Plan B or focal point and looked like headless chickens.

Our squad may have cost £250M+ but the value of it is nowhere near... which is why literally nobody is buying the players we're desperately trying to shift. It's a squad with little end product with players that fit different systems but don't work well together.

Philip Bunting
89 Posted 11/08/2021 at 21:53:59
Alex...nail on head. I have been saying the same for years. Even Coleman who could chip in with 6 plus goals a season cannot anymore. By relying on 2 to 3 players is dangerous especially if loss of form, injury etc. In years gone by Bainsy, Jags, osman, gravesen, Carsley to name but a few regular chipped in with goals. We need more attacking balance to the side, sometimes I wonder is it tactics, desire or just poor recruitment.
Rob Halligan
90 Posted 11/08/2021 at 22:12:38
Meanwhile, we've drawn Huddersfield away in the carabao cup second round.
Jamie Sweet
91 Posted 11/08/2021 at 22:16:26
I would be surprised if we don't at least get a cheeky loan deal or two sorted before deadline.

You know, like the good old days when we would pull a last minute rabbit out of the hat with the likes of Segundo Castillo, Philippe Senderos and Denis Stracqualursi.

Seb Niemand
92 Posted 11/08/2021 at 22:19:16
I can't ever remember caring less about the start of a season in 50 years. There's just not single positive to cling on to or overwhelming dread to hope against. How did we let ourselves come to this?
Mike Gaynes
93 Posted 11/08/2021 at 22:23:32
From today's Fiver:

"Royal Antwerp right-back Aurélio Buta is wanted by Celtic, whose hopes of luring him to Glasgow have been dealt what can only be described as “a blow” by reported interest from Everton. The Angola-born former Portugal youth international is reported to be available for less than £5m and is apparently viewed by Everton scouts as an upgrade on Jonjoe Kenny, who is currently first in line to Seamus Coleman’s right-back throne."

The Fiver has been uncommonly accurate in the rumors it has reported, so this might be worth some weight.

Mike Gaynes
94 Posted 11/08/2021 at 22:33:29
Alex #88, good post and a key point -- to me the lack of goals is most glaring not from the midfield (I expect few) but from the back. Some of our best seasons have come when our CBs consistently scored from set pieces -- Jags bagged 6 in 2017, and of course we all remember Lescott's 10 in 2008.

Mina has given us 6 in three seasons, Keane 8 in 4, Holgate 2 in 5, Godfrey zero.

Life would be so much easier if we could count on just one goal every three or four games from a corner. We have GOT to do better in that particular area.

Jamie #91, the Strac is still gettable. He's playing third division in Argentina right now. Somebody should call Brands.

Laurie Hartley
95 Posted 11/08/2021 at 23:29:43
Ian Riley # 86 - “ The fans will be key this season. We can make Goodison a fortress with an atmosphere that is positive and gives the players belief!”

That was what the Leicester fans did when their team were in dire straights not so long ago.

Ian Riley
96 Posted 11/08/2021 at 23:40:00
Blimey, Seb #92,

Just booked meself in for therapy after your post!!

We had hope last season and nothing!! Football has that way of surprising us! Strange most of you will be telling ya mates "couldn't care less", "no good".

Well, all of us will be watching Saturday from the ground, getting up middle of the night to watch or listen to the radio around the world, sneaky look at ya phone shopping with ya families at the score!!

We can moan all we like but we are stuck with them till we die!! Too late now!! Just cheer the lads on, goals will come, players will come good!! They need us more than ever!! Give a thought to those who won't be returning back to their seats on Saturday! RIP fellow Evertonians!! How lucky we are!!

Brian Wilkinson
97 Posted 12/08/2021 at 00:30:22
After what punishment the dirty dozen received, I would have struck, while the iron was hot, and brought in six top quality players and chanced our arm,

However, Everton being Everton, have let every man and his dog know we are close to the wind, with our FFP. It reminds me of the Warriors film, when the girl in the subway says, "Those over there," where he replies, "I know they are there, but now they know I know."

A bit like what Everton have done, letting the Premier League know, instead of blagging our way to signings, and acting all innocent, after the event.

Derek Thomas
98 Posted 12/08/2021 at 01:27:11
Laurie @ 95; Then again it didn't work for Rangers, recently they've lost 3 out of 4 - one game Vs 10 men.
Don't forget last season, just the mere of thought of being at home, even without a crowd, was enough to put our snowflakes off their stroke.

We're the ultimate footballing box of chocolates - so who knows what we will get Vs Southampton and how the crowd will react to it.

I'll be getting my spec early, bus fare home in my shoe, in the digital Boys Pen, aka, The Live Forum.

Strange days indeed.

Don Alexander
99 Posted 12/08/2021 at 01:34:47
Seb (#92), genuine respect mate given the length of your allegiance to us, but you deserve a VC for eventually stating your dismay at what's in prospect for us this season.

I genuinely admire stoicism and you seem to exhibit it in spades. However, the boardroom is stuffed with people now only bothered with appeasing the psuedo-football-"intellect" of the world's least successful major club owner, whilst creaming him to the max on their exorbitant contracts.

Without wanting to seem condescending at all, I respect your sentiments.

Simon Dalzell
100 Posted 12/08/2021 at 03:26:17
I'm with you Don. (99) I also admire Stoicism. He must be Bulgaria's finest ever.
Alan J Thompson
101 Posted 12/08/2021 at 05:00:53
Actually laughed out loud at Ian Riley's(#86), "No expectations my arse, 7th and a semi-final!".
Does that mean we are just behind the "Big 6" or in "The last four"? This really is today's Everton; Nil Satis Nisi VII.
Kunal Desai
102 Posted 12/08/2021 at 07:59:18
It's groundhog day every season. Short on numbers in the starting eleven and squad depth. How stupid must the people who run this club be to find themselves in a position to be hindered by FFP. Did they not see this coming from prior seasons. Total mismanagement of those at the helm and a club which is abysmally run.

11th-14th place finish. Watch this space, exciting times.

Eddie Dunn
103 Posted 12/08/2021 at 08:50:29
As our squad is almost the same but with a new manager there is no reason why we should not get the same points tally as last season. Our splendid away form will be hard to replicate but surely a reasonable improvement at Goodison will make up for any drop-off in away results.
The points tally would usually have got us into the Europa League spots.
David Pearl
104 Posted 12/08/2021 at 09:02:30
Eddie, thats true. The difference maybe to start this season could be confidence, which goes a long way.
Mike Kehoe
105 Posted 12/08/2021 at 09:08:32
It is hard to be positive given the profile of our signings so far, although they do add some pace which has been missing for a while, but hopefully Benitez can get the most out of the squad and change the apathetic mindset that has been by far the worst feature of Everton over the last 5 or 6 years.
I worry that not signing a replacement for Coleman threatens to undermine the balance of the team, in much the same way that having no back up for Baines warped the entire approach and made us vulnerable at the back and limited going forward.
I never wanted Benitez and feel his appointment is a measure of the industrial strength incompetence this club has endured for a very long time. The only positive I can take is that he is not Allardyce or Gerrard. So long as he is not an idiot of the magnitude of Silva, Koeman or Allardyce he can only be an improvement: the safe hands required to maintain premier league status.
To reflect on the turbulence of the last few years is troubling and I constantly make the mistake of comparing the world of football with the real world. I can only imagine the signing of Iwobi as similar to delivering a bowed movement to my boss’s drivers seat and being thanked for my efforts.
Liam Mogan
106 Posted 12/08/2021 at 10:25:46
Has anyone managed to get this digital season ticket thing to actually work?

2 hours trying to get it into the Google Pay app without success

170 in queue on phones

Email query will be 'replied in 28 days'

Utter carnage on Saturday trying to get in.

Dave Williams
107 Posted 12/08/2021 at 10:34:50
I wonder what the tone of this thread would be if we had drawn with Man Utd? That game is an unreliable barometer because we played without a striker. All of our preparation would have been geared to playing with a striker and this, together with gifting them a goal so early on, gave us an insurmountable task.

I expect at least a couple of loan signings shortly. If we can't find a buyer for Kean, I think he will go on loan as he doesn't seem fussed about staying here. That will reduce our wage bill hopefully enough to bring in a loan player or two. One of the other players might also go on loan to allow us to bring in a striker and a right-back. I'd love to see an attacking midfielder come in but that might require James to depart which seems unlikely given his wages.

The squad is not that bad albeit there are a lot of “ifs” against players' names. If Pickford performs like he did for England, he will be an asset.

We need a right-back and will be weak on that flank if we don't get one. Digne is as good as most and Nkounkou will hopefully be given more time by Rafa. Our centre-backs are decent and I just hope Rafa settles on a pair rather than constantly rotating like Ancelotti did.

Midfield depends a lot on Gbamin. If he stays fit, he will be a huge plus for us as he looks a really good player to me. Doucouré and Allan need to get up to speed and it will be interesting to see if Davies continues to progress in that deep-lying role. The boy has plenty of critics but, with a settled team around him and with Gbamin to help, he could become a very good player who cares about the club.

Richarlison needs to up his game from last season and I think he will with Gray around as he will cause trouble for defences and open up gaps. Calvert-Lewin will score 20+ again and Townsend could be the bargain of the season if we can give him enough of the ball.

James?? I'm not a fan because of his apparent attitude to hard work and showing some desire and guts but, if he can play like he wants to prove he still can, then he transforms the whole team.

We have a few youngsters – Dobbin, Simms, Nkounkou, Onyango, Whittaker, Branthwaite – who might just break through this season and I hope Rafa gives some of them a chance.

We have a better and more committed manager than last season who will be desperate to do well. Most important will be us! We can help the team to win tight games if we make an unholy racket and cheer our team. Booing, negative chants, anti-Rafa crap will only make the players buckle and then we will be in trouble. Positive support and very noisy might even get James to play.

Reading what I have typed, it is full of “if” and “ might”. Hope springs eternal and all that but you just never know!

Mick O'Malley
108 Posted 12/08/2021 at 10:50:31
Liam@ 106 No can’t make head nor tail of it, very confusing
Pete Clarke
109 Posted 12/08/2021 at 10:55:32
Dermot#63 spot on mate. This is too scary so it would be nice if we could fast forward it to the end of the season.
My thoughts are also with the lack of goals because we are going to ship some for sure.
I know Reid and Bracewell hardly scored but they allowed the others to flourish because of their hard work, skill and intelligence. We have very little to offer in the middle or out wide. 😟
Richarlison will burn out given the amount of footy he has played and DCL will be feeding off scraps again I think. Big season for him because he also has to be better in the one on one situations and also learn to put his foot through the ball when the chances come.
My biggest concern of all is with Moshiri. This guy may have a few bob but he knows absolutely zero about football. He may well be the one who gets us the new stadium but I feel he is responsible for the mess we are in.
I would have a lot more respect for him if he kicked Kenwright out but the fact that the teary one is still around fills me with fear that Moshiri is not getting better at his new job.
Liam Mogan
110 Posted 12/08/2021 at 10:55:32
Not just me then Mick!

Given the delayed issue of these tickets, I suspect that there is a background issue. How very everton.

Liam Mogan
111 Posted 12/08/2021 at 11:00:49
Just had email response on tickets

'We are aware of an install issue for Android users when attempting to download their Season Ticket into Google Pay. The cause of the issue has been identified and all users affected will receive new links via email today.'

Honestly, I remember they sent everyone someone else's season tickets a few years back and now this. The lack of attention to detail is shocking.

Andy Crooks
112 Posted 12/08/2021 at 11:06:35
Dave Williams @107, thank you. As a natural miserable, gloomy old sod, I am sustained and temporarily uplifted by posts like that.
Rennie Smith
113 Posted 12/08/2021 at 11:12:31
Liam@111, one of the only times I'm thankful I have an iPhone, it went into the wallet no bother.

Less than 2 days before a sell-out match and they still have thousands that can't access their tickets. Absolutely ridiculous. It will be chaos on Saturday, I'll be getting there early!

Brent Stephens
114 Posted 12/08/2021 at 11:35:47
Dave #107 - excellent post. Full of positivity (are you sure you're on the right fans forum?!).
Danny O’Neill
115 Posted 12/08/2021 at 11:50:11
Dave Williams. As per the 1980s Accrington Stanley milk advert; exactly.

Despite our once fabled nickname, football is not a science and full of ifs, buts, maybes and thank gods interspersed with moments of magic.

It's why we love it and will all be there on Saturday, be that in person, in spirit from afar and, for those who have passed, in soul.

I'm up for this season. I think the manager is from what I've seen. I hope the players are.

That's the other one. A game of eternal hope!!

Ed Fitzgerald
116 Posted 12/08/2021 at 12:16:45
Dave Williams

You’re not that positive!

No doubt you have found fault with Alex Young and Kevin Sheedy for not bombing around for 90 minutes as well. Any manager with an iota of intelligence would be ensuring James wanted to stay as he is quality footballer and was one of the few reasons worth watching us last season.

Dave Abrahams
117 Posted 12/08/2021 at 12:21:42
Dave (107),

Good post, better to look on the bright side of life, especially since a ball hasn't been kicked in earnest yet. it seems the only problem will be getting into the ground to see anything of what we've waited 18 months or more for!!

Obviously Kenwright's and Little Miss Dynamite's fault!!

Steve Brown
118 Posted 12/08/2021 at 12:24:49
Ed @ 75, Keane played some lovely long diagonal passes last season from defence - far better in that aspect than our other centre backs. Given Benitez wants quicker transitions from defence to attack, Keane may be an important part of his plans.

I also noticed he has got more comfortable playing the ball out of defence against a higher press.

Dave Williams
119 Posted 12/08/2021 at 12:28:54

In some games he was very good but in others he clearly didn't enjoy it. I understand the comparison with Young and Sheedy but they played in sides which were good enough to support them – indeed Kendall bought Pat van den Hauwe to shore up the left flank so that Sheedy could do his best work without exposing the defence.

I would be happy to see James to just play a positive role but not disappear for an hour or wimp out of the physical stuff. It could be that if (that word again) GBamin stays fit, it could be just what James needs.

David Pearl
120 Posted 12/08/2021 at 12:46:02
I see Milan have agreed a fee of £12M + add ons. Pretty depressing

Wonder if James will be given a start on Saturday. If he does and plays behind Calvert-Lewin will he stay there or keep dropping deep?
Richarlison and Gray either side. Allan and Gbamin behind. And l would also play both Mina and Keane. Had enough of hearing they are not fast enough. Didn't hurt ltaly playing 2 slower players.

Starting the season with lower expectations. Whether that suits or not is anyone's guess.

Tony Everan
121 Posted 12/08/2021 at 12:46:34
An interesting article about Doucouré being used in a more attacking midfield role this season.


The stats when he played last season were played 29 won 15 drawn four. I think there is room for improvement with Doucouré, playing more advanced will see him more effective for us.

Formation wise does that make a 4-2-3-1 a certainty?

Coleman Godfrey Mina Digne
Allan Gbamin
Gray Doucouré Richarlison

Jim Bennings
122 Posted 12/08/2021 at 12:51:00
What else can we do other than just support the team?

I feel Benitez is on a hiding to nothing anyway.

He's inherited a quite lazy average group of players that for many now have failed under several managers but we are told they are class players.

No for me now we've had too many managerially changes for the problem to be the manager, the problem lies with the players.

We can spend any money and unless we offload wastes of space like Moise Kean, Mason Holgate, Cenk Tosun, Fabian Delph, Andre Gomes to name a few and take in a good amount of money, then our new managers hands are already securely tied.

Regardless whether it was Ancelotti or Rafa starting this season, it's a team that looks like it's going to struggle badly for goals again.

All we can do is get behind them, after so many years now of mundanity supporting Everton, it is hard yes but it's either support them or get a new interest in life isn't it?

Shane Corcoran
123 Posted 12/08/2021 at 12:55:12
David, do you mean Inter for Dumfries?
Steve Brown
124 Posted 12/08/2021 at 12:58:46
Removing James and The Nameless One from the squad removes 12 goals and 10 assists from a team that totalled 47 league goals all season.

Interesting call, given all the other midfielders combined scored 4 goals between them (I've included Gray and Townsend in that number based on their stats last season). There must be a term for that strategy, but I am struggling to think of one that isn't rude.

Shane Corcoran
125 Posted 12/08/2021 at 13:01:26
No sign of James on the OS training gallery or at the welcoming for Richarlison.
David Israel
126 Posted 12/08/2021 at 13:08:03
One has to try and give oneself some hope, otherwise the season will be a wretched experience even before it starts. Therefore, I have been looking back a great deal at 2004. After an awful end to the previous campaign, we were all steeling ourselves for a long winter and a relegation dog fight. And we finished 4th.

If only...

David Pearl
127 Posted 12/08/2021 at 13:32:34
Shane, yes l meant lnter. Not a bad deal is it.

Maybe if Rafa plays 3 at the back we could try for Hudson Odoi on loan.

Colin Malone
128 Posted 12/08/2021 at 13:49:19
Its Thursday before the match on Saturday and I'm still waiting for my season ticket card. Been phoning the club. Yesterday I was 31st in the queue by 5pm, then it closed. Today I'm 80th in the queue. Other clubs have had trial runs with friendlies at home. Cant see it running smoothly getting into the ground on Saturday.
Richard Mason
129 Posted 12/08/2021 at 14:17:22
Just watched the latest Everton training, no Virginia (who is tipped to go on loan) but also no sign of James, Kean or Gomes. I wonder if something is happening behind the scenes.

Delph is still training away, Richarlson looks to give the squad a massive boost with his presence. DCL looked to be training by himself

Christopher Timmins
130 Posted 12/08/2021 at 14:23:55
Well the big kick off is only two days away. I know there is a lot of doom and gloom on the forum but we have a manager who knows that he is not popular with the masses but is hungry to succeed and he has a squad which under performed last year.

Rafa finds himself in a similar position to that of Moyes when he got the West Ham job for the first time. I am absolutely certain that he will get more out of this squad than Carlo did, indeed, I am pretty sure that Carlo gave up the ghost on the current squad well before the final game of last season. His CV never suggested that he could improve the players he was working with having spent most of his recent managerial career in Madrid and Munich.

So lets get behind the manager and the team over the coming months and come next May, hopefully, we will have made progress and be in a position to say goodbye to more of the awful signings whose contracts have expired.

To those who say that they are done with or had it with Everton FC, all I can say to you is "once a blue always a blue"

So, 60 points and a top 8 finish.

Barry Hesketh
131 Posted 12/08/2021 at 14:24:54
Colin @128
Is it the physical card you are awaiting or the digital download to your phone? I would think the physical cards have all been sent out by now.

Apparently only 1 in 3 fans opted for the digital type season ticket with the rest paying the extra fiver for a physical card.

This either tells us that the age of the average visitor to GP is pretty high, or we have the most sceptical fan base on the planet - I paid the fiver by the way!

Everton reassurance

Barry Hesketh
132 Posted 12/08/2021 at 14:28:18
Christopher @ 130
I have a not so cunning plan, Everton to beat everybody home and away not including the sickly six or Leicester City and we'll end up with 72 points - Simples!
Shane Corcoran
133 Posted 12/08/2021 at 14:40:32
Richard 129, just watched it.

Certainly looks like Richarlison will start and DCL won’t. James, Kean and maybe Gomes being discarded perhaps.

Richard Mason
134 Posted 12/08/2021 at 14:47:42
Shane, certainly looks that way. Hopefully fees for the 3 lads and then bring in that RB, Striker and winger.
John McFarlane Snr
135 Posted 12/08/2021 at 14:49:26
Hi David [128] in answer to those who are predicting failure and in some cases relegation, I would refer them to season 1958/59 when Everton lost the first 6 games, scoring 4 goals and conceding 20. Although I was a couple of thousand miles way [in Cyprus] serving Queen and Country, I felt the pain as much as anyone. Everton finished that season in 16th place on 38 points, when there were 22 teams in the League, 8 points [4 games] clear of relegation.

Another instance to illustrate my point that anything can happen in football, is the 1984/85 season when we lost the first 2 games and won the League by 13 points which = 6 wins and 1 draw. I suggest that relegation talk should be put on hold until a little bit later in the season.

Martin Mason
136 Posted 12/08/2021 at 14:54:54
Dave@107. Unfortunately and, as Ian Dury pointed out, the hope that springs eternal, springs right up your behind.
Difficult to see where we are significantly any better than last year so I predict a similar position perhaps 8th with the new manager effect.
Ajay Gopal
137 Posted 12/08/2021 at 15:20:27
I am quite sure that we haven't seen the last of the transfers at Everton. I suspect that there will be some fire sales, and Brands is, I believe (and hope), just being patient and circling the hurting clubs to pick up some cheap deals (like the Demarai Gray signing). Of course, it hurts to see the big boys still splurging cash - Sancho, Grealish, Lukaku, Ben White, and perhaps, Kane. But that just shows that the gulf between the haves and have-nots continues to be as wide as ever, if not more.

Tony (121), that is a very good starting XI, with the option of Gomes, Davies, Kean (if he stays), Townsend and Gordon to come off the bench. However, the glaring weakness is Coleman, IMO. We all love the guy, but he was past his prime and no longer a top quality RB 2 seasons ago. No way should we be relying on him this season. That Buta lad looks very promising on YouTube, and he is cheap!

Colin Malone
138 Posted 12/08/2021 at 15:30:06
Barry # 131
It's the season ticket card. It never came in the post, so went to Goodison Park ticket office. Supporters queuing for 4 hours, apparently the system is down, according to supporters in front of me, the system was down yesterday. Not worth emailing the club, they don't reply. Friday tomorrow and supporters are in no mans land. I'll have to go again tomorrow.
Barry Hesketh
140 Posted 12/08/2021 at 15:35:30
Colin @ 138
I could understand having teething issues with the new system, but it's unbelievable that they are struggling to get the cards out to fans, they really need an overhaul of how they do things.

Unable to buy merchandise where it's wanted, unable to stream games to folk, and worst of all messing about the fans who fork out good money for season tickets. Oh and we still await to sign Coleman's replacement three years after we realised we needed to.

Clive Rogers
141 Posted 12/08/2021 at 15:39:43
I recommend all ToffeeWebers go a little earlier on Saturday as there could be a shambles. I remember when they first went manless on the turnstiles. I got there 25 minutes before kick off and missed the first ten minutes. The top balcony turnstile was so slow that they had to eventually open the exit gate and let us in showing our season ticket.
This is potentially worse.
John Boon
142 Posted 12/08/2021 at 15:46:42
I am one of those fans that has spent wasted time reflecting on past glories. The past is gone and will not come back. The days have gone when Everton could afford to break transfer records with new signings such as Alan Ball, Tony Cottee and Gary Lineker. Teams like Chelsea and Man City were envious of our spending ability. The shoes are now firmly on the other foot.

I just have to accept the present reality or every season will prove to be very frustrating. As much a we would like to we just cannot have the same expectations such as winning the Premiership. However it is realistic to expect the team to provide "GOOD" football. Other than the early part of last season we played the worst and most boring football imagineable.

At the least I honestly have hopes for an interesting season where we provide the fans with exciting football. It is fair to expect much improved "Home"results, hopefully not too many boring 1-0's. It is fair to expect a couple of good cup runs. It is fair to expect that we beat some of the so called top teams. For me it would be more than fair to expect us to beat the RS twice.

Yes I would be extatic if we won any trophy, but realistically we are not financially equipped to do so. Perhaps in the not too distant future we may be backed by an influx of cash. Unfortunately it is an indictment of the present football system that "MONEY" is such a major factor. I just have to accept such a fact.

My fellow Evertonians have to realise and accept that the present Premier League will never again be won by a team that does not have "MEGA" money. Personally I just want to have a season where we win more games than we lose and play football that is pleasing on the eye. Perhaps I am being pessimistic. Up to the last ten years I have always had the highest expectations and winning the Prem was a realistic goal. Now my inner self says "GET REAL".I just want to beat Burnley, Brentford, Palace and Newcastle etc etc. OH and of course Liverpool.

Colin Malone
143 Posted 12/08/2021 at 16:02:49
If they don't sort it, it's going to be chaos on Saturday.
Will the phone lines stay open till its sorted?
Will the ticket office stay open till its sorted?
No way. 5 pm, CLOSED.
Big club with small club administrators.
Kunal Desai
144 Posted 12/08/2021 at 16:08:09
Embarrassing isn't it. They can't even get basics right on the ticketing front. Who exactly is overseeing the operations and the implementation of the new digital service.

They have had the best part of three months to carry out a dry run and test the process.

Shouldn't really be a surprise, no planning, no contingencies whatsoever.

In any corporate world, people would be held liable. Not EFC do as you please, no respect for fans and treat them with utter contempt.

Clive Rogers
146 Posted 12/08/2021 at 17:14:05
They’ve had a dummy run today for digital ticket fans in the Bullens road, but not sure any fans knew about it in time to get there. So Everton.
Clive Rogers
147 Posted 12/08/2021 at 17:15:42
Apparently it’s android phones that have a problem. I’m alright Jack, iPhone.
Clive Rogers
148 Posted 12/08/2021 at 17:17:29
Get there early. About 1400 Friday should just be good enough.
Neil Copeland
149 Posted 12/08/2021 at 17:56:59
Clive #148, already on my way with a sleeping bag.
Rob Halligan
150 Posted 12/08/2021 at 17:59:13
Kunal, Liverpool are all digital, and they've had two pre season friendlies to try it out, with carnage at both games, causing the kick off to be delayed on both occasions. Their fans are going absolutely nuts about it. Don't know what the attendance was for both games, but just imagine their first home game, when about 52K fans are all stuck in the same boat.

I don't think they had any trials before their games either, though I suppose a pre season friendly could count as a trial. It's a new system which no doubt is bound to encounter a few hiccups, but yeah, let's all knock the club for implementing it.

Peter Neilson
151 Posted 12/08/2021 at 17:59:36
I think there was a trial run of the digital tickets earlier today.
Wonder how that went? The RS had to delay their two recent friendlies by 30 min and 15 min to allow supporters in using the digital tickets but then again they haven't given an option of physical cards so it's 100% smart phone entry. Like many others I've stuck with a card, what could possibly go wrong with that!
Rob Halligan
152 Posted 12/08/2021 at 18:03:37
Peter, you lose it!!
Peter Neilson
153 Posted 12/08/2021 at 18:07:59
Rob, yep you're right but I'm guessing I can get a replacement to get in easier than if I have a problem with my phone? Done it before and still got into the game. How will this be done when a phone is lost/dead? A brave new world. All adds to the excitement.
Rob Halligan
154 Posted 12/08/2021 at 18:20:33
Peter, I suppose anyone who forgets, loses or has their phones battery run flat, can just as easily get a replacement paper ticket for a match. If anyone loses their phone though, they will have to be pretty quick in obtaining a new one, particularly if we have two consecutive home games.

I brought the previous seasons season ticket to a game once (don't ask me how!!) and had to pay the full price for a paper ticket. I did get a refund when I went and produced the correct season ticket card to the box office.

Billy Bradshaw
155 Posted 12/08/2021 at 18:22:02
Went to Goodison and tested my android phone season ticket on my way home from work. All went okay getting through turnstile, roll on Saturday.
Tom Bowers
156 Posted 12/08/2021 at 18:29:11
I guess it all comes down to being a pessimist or an optimist.

It's understandable to be pessimistic given the weird events of last season and also what has happened since.

All most of us understand is that, despite a fairly good start to last season, everything started to crumble somewhat on the back of some pretty mediocre performances, particularly at Goodison, and Ancelotti just couldn't get things on track.

The question is, why are many fans already writing off the this coming season just because Rafa is now in charge?

A little bit of cautious optimism is normally the order of the day until at least 7-10 games in to see if he can change the mentality of some of these players and get a more solid defensive strategy, especially the closing down in front of the back line which was so weak under Ancelotti.

The infusion of Gray, Townsend and Gbamin may help out especially with James, Delph and Sigurdsson arguably having uncertain futures.

I am worried, however, that any injuries to Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison may cause a lack of serious offense unless Kean can do the necessary under the new gaffer.

Peter Warren
157 Posted 12/08/2021 at 18:49:44
Big season for us. We will pull together. Nice new faces and a big fuck you to Ancelotti. COYB
Danny O’Neill
158 Posted 12/08/2021 at 18:59:16
I can see my e-ticket on my phone. I have a print out. Do I have faith it will go smoothly? We'll see. I always like to be pleasantly surprised!

Regardless, I will be in my home city for the day, see my brother and cousins, go to the Goodison Supper Bar and worse case, sneak in for the last 20 minutes when the open the exit gates!!

And then travel back home on the back of a 2 - 0 win!!

Barry Hesketh
159 Posted 12/08/2021 at 18:59:39
Seamus giving his opinion on last season and what is expected in the new season.

Coleman said: “In terms of setting long-term targets, we’ve done it before. I personally would like us to come in every day, give 100%, make sure we’re doing all the right things on a daily basis whether that’s coming in on time, little things like that we need to do to make sure we work hard weekly.

Seamus:Massive Disappointment

Romelu Lukaku is apparently officially a Chelsea player again.

James Flynn
160 Posted 12/08/2021 at 18:59:41
Relegation? Jesus Christ, we finished on 59 points last season.

To glass-half-full and pessimistic, we need to add hysterical bleating.

Barry Hesketh
161 Posted 12/08/2021 at 19:03:09
I believe there are some mask-wearing sheep doing that (bleating) on one thread James @ 160
Brent Stephens
163 Posted 12/08/2021 at 19:11:56
Danny #158 it's worth paying the £5 extra to get it tattoed on your arm as well.
Clive Rogers
164 Posted 12/08/2021 at 19:19:52
Neil, #149, you’re going soft. Don’t need a sleeping bag. 50C from Italy is on the way up.
Neil Copeland
165 Posted 12/08/2021 at 19:29:48
Clive #164, budgie smugglers and string vest it is then!
James Flynn
166 Posted 12/08/2021 at 19:30:14
Barry (161) - I'm believe the phrase was, "vaccinated sheep singing into a mask" I laughed again just now typing it.

The fellow who wrote that post needs to be medicated. But this one piece of it was brilliant. What a description!

Why I always say, "Read the threads."

Barry Hesketh
167 Posted 12/08/2021 at 19:34:45
James @166
You've made me laugh too, I'd forgotten how it was phrased.
David Hayes
168 Posted 12/08/2021 at 19:54:08
Not once in all 160 odd posts, have I read anything about the progress of lack off of any of the other premiership teams. We have to play them remember. It's not just this club that has wasted ( in hindsight) multiple millions, all the others have likewise andin many respects wasted equal amounts along the way. Why do you think this is a unique to Everton problem? The real question is can we in our current setup compete ? or have we been left behind. Can the latest tweaked version actually attain a higher level of high performance consistently than last season against what progress has happened to the rest of the premier League Unfortunately Rafa looks beaten before a balls been kicked, all that self belief appears after 5 weeks to have evoparated.
I don't like the feel of it all, and fear a mighty backlash sooner rather than later.
Raymond Fox
169 Posted 12/08/2021 at 20:35:47
David why would you say Rafa looks beaten already.
Fans booing the manager and players is a sure way for us to have a poor season, its not Benitez fault the squad looks lacking or even the players themselves for most of them not being top 6 class.
If anyones to blame its some of the previous managers and others who have been recruiting the players.
Looking at the strength of the team now, we are a probable 9th-10th finisher, I cant see us finishing higher. Sure I'd like us to but we have too many weaknesses in the make up of the squad.
David Hayes
170 Posted 12/08/2021 at 20:57:34
Raymond#169. We have all watched the daily you tube/ Facebook output since Rafa took the job. From the start the professional spiel, the affable charm. The clichés, do I have to repeat them. After the Utd friendly, post match interview, he looked shocked, drained and unsure. Since then, the "We need to improve" unconvincingly trotted out, oh god how many times and from how many managers / players has that been the stock response to not having an idea or strategy to correct and fix the short fall in performance. Rafa's already at that point, before a ball been kicked

Hugh Jenkins
171 Posted 12/08/2021 at 21:46:11
Peter (151). - Don't be down hearted by the RS experience with digital tickets.

All clubs have their share of idiot supporters, but from what we have seen over the years of the majority of RS support, it is the phoens that are smart, not the supporters.

I expect an intelligent group like the EFC supporters on here, using smart phone apps, to glide through the turnstyles, without a hitch.

Frank Thomas
172 Posted 13/08/2021 at 01:10:08
Bad news first. The last time we left it to the very last moment to buy a 'name' we bought Iwobi. He has done more harm than good.
How did he impress Ancelotti during training? The clue is the tactics employed last season. 1st 10 games play like a team then pass it to DCL. next 10 games pass it to DCL but keep possession at all costs. Hence the turning back to our half and passing back which teams quickly picked up and we start losing with 60%+ possession. Then came injuries and a third change Richy and other strikers try and score more goals but keep possession and keep your positions for the defenders.
Personally I blame a lot on Ancelotti for bad tactics and lack of options due to sending players out for 'experience' thus leaving only Iwobi left to play in that position. DO NOT PLAY IWOBI his passing, crossing and lack of control spread defeat, doom and pessimism throughout out all the team.

The good news. Rafa is putting players who don't want to be there or who are not fighting on the sidelines. This is important, loaning players out is not the solution it is part of the problem.

The solution is obvious any one not playing well and wanting to stay for their massive salaries from the motherlode needs to be kept away from other teams then they will realise if they don't take a paycut they could end up being the 'forgotten men.

LFC did this with Brendon Rogers (BR) when he was sacked he was NOT offered the remainder of his full salary he was given 2 choice one off payment less than he would have earned or his yearly salary while still tied to the club. Eventually after 1 year BR resigned and took the Celtic job, LFC saved £2M.

If Tosun was still at finch farm unseen by other clubs do you think he would staying to the end of his contract - no way.

Keans way out of EFC is either take a salary cut NOT a transfer fee cut OR play really well for us. Wake up Kean, PSG cannot afford you after Messi, Inter will want you for peanuts and Roma have no money just the ability to stir up unrest in our squad. The same applies to Richy.

So where will we end up this season. Rafa was not my first choice but he has sound tactics. Defence starts at their goal line. He wants fast unpredictable play and determination. He has so far being trying to build a team the DANGER is that if you have too many new players nothing works. The EFC players apart from one (Iwobi) are technically sound and fit but they need new and better tactics. If Rafa avoids the mistake Moyes made when he had a massive clear out and the baby went out with the bathwater and we had to rely on reserve players (Osmond) only staying in the top flight by goal difference on the last day of the season. So don't sell Kenny for £5M UNLESS you have another back up for Coleman.

Final position 7/8

Derek Cowell
173 Posted 13/08/2021 at 01:23:26
Frank at 172. I must have missed the season we survived on goal difference under Moyes with Donny Osmond in the team!
Frank Thomas
174 Posted 13/08/2021 at 11:07:32
Thanks Derek that will teach me to post late at night when I am nearly asleep.

It was Osman I was talking about and the season was 2003/4. We finished 17th but up until the last 2 or 3 games we were in deep trouble and it was Osman (who I am told does sing very well) who scored most of the goals that got us out of trouble.

David Nicholls
175 Posted 13/08/2021 at 11:15:48
Frank @ 174
My recollection of the 2004 season is that we were mathematically safe by March. Moyes then told the players running out of contract that they would not be renewed and our form dropped dramatically culminating in a 5-0 thumping at City and a 17th place finish.

I do recall a young Osman being the one bright spot during the run in.

Frank Thomas
176 Posted 13/08/2021 at 14:55:04
Hello, David,

If you look at the match report from the April Newcastle game (click on the link below) you will see we were deep in the relegation zone and we gained 13 points from January (midpoint of the season) to the end of the season, out of a possible 38.

That season was the only time in 50 years that I really feared for our top-flight existence.


Newcastle 4 - 2 Everton

Derek Cowell
177 Posted 13/08/2021 at 21:24:15
I don't recall us surviving on goal difference though, more like about 5 points I think. We were safe going into that City game. The closest we came to the drop was the last gasp Coventry game and a 1-1 draw when I think we did do it on GD and of course the Wimbledon game. In fact I think the Coventry one relied on a goal in about the 88th minute somewhere else which relegated Bolton possibly. I'm sure someone will supply the exact facts as I couldn't be arsed doing any research and this is all from the fading memory box.
Danny O’Neill
178 Posted 15/08/2021 at 08:39:06
Don't forget Derek, during the "Coventry" season, we also got away with a reverse "Geoff Hurst" moment earlier in the season, because Bolton actually scored against us. It wasn't even close; the ball was about 2 foot over the line but the ref and linesman never gave it. Had VAR or goal line technology been around then, it would have justifiably been given.
Matt Traynor
179 Posted 15/08/2021 at 08:50:45
Danny #178, yes that's true, but in the build up to the goal there was a clear and obvious foul by, if memory serves, Gerry Taggart so you would hope that VAR would've ruled it out.

Either way they were dark times.

Danny O’Neill
180 Posted 15/08/2021 at 08:58:35
They were, Matt. Randomly, you've now started me on the Gary McAllister derby moment, Matt!

We should have had a free-kick. They get one moments later. Then they rolled the ball forward and least 10 yards from where the alleged foul took place.

And to cap it off, our keeper, Coco the Clown, fails to keep out a pretty harmless strike from distance.

I'm positive. I had a great day yesterday!!

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads

© ToffeeWeb