Pickford howler sets the tone for friendly embarrassment

Saturday, 7 August, 2021 394comments  |  Jump to last
Man Utd 4 - 0 Everton

With the Premier League season kicking into full gear next weekend, what should have been an intriguing final friendly between two Northwest giants in Everton and Manchester United descended into farce within 7 minutes as Pickford reverted to his most erratic.

James Rodriguez kicked the game off for Everton and Iwobi won an early corner that was swung in brilliantly from Godfrey but De Ghea missed it and fell over and was awarded a free-kick.

The home side responded with some decent attacking f their own but it was =epelled by the Blues defence. But Man Utd continued to dominate possession and forced a stupid error at the back with Pickford fumbling a Digne backpass and Greenwood finished into the empty net on 7 minutes.

Pickford then fumbled another shot, this one from Fernandes. Everton continued to be pinned back, Coleman doing well to defend for a corner but it was an easy header from Maguire for the second goal.

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Everton got forward but proceeded to fart about incessantly, with Iwobi finally messing up the chance at the end of a play where no-one wanted to shoot. Everton would try to attack but surrendered the ball cheaply, allowing Man Utd to surge forward, Fernandes firing over.

Everton continued to concede corners, but Doucoré played a great pass out of defence forward to Gray, that he miscontrolled, allowing Wan-Bissaka to steal the ball.

Rodriguez was playing left-wing, in Richarlison's position, playing in crosses that were not being attacked by a blue shirt. Matic was fouled by Doucouré, Fernandes smashing home as easy as you like for 3-0 and an abysmal display so far from Everton, getting worse by the minute.

Man Utd were clearly enjoying the easy training game while Everton were chasing shadows, unable to do anything of any weight or meaning. Even James Rodriguez could seemingly do nothing.

Digne worked a good ball across to Godfrey but he got well underneath the header, which flew high and wide. But it was probably Everton's first attempt on goal... after 37 minutes.

Iwobi was released by a smart first-time pass from Rodriguez so he could scamper forward but he was soon surrounded and had nothing else to do but give up the ball in his own inimitable fashion. Digne put in another great cross but the player underneath it could do nothing to control it.

There were a number of changes at half-time, with Pickford, Doucouré and Rodriguez stepping down.

Townsend got a shot off but it was straight at De Gea. He then had a glorious chance but overhit it with tremendous power against the crossbar! Iwobi had one of his typical utterly useless shots at goal.

Iwobi fired in a tasty cross that Gray somehow avoided from planting into the goal as it gapped before him. Anthony Gordon tried a shot but it lacked any power. He then tried a clever touch but Dalit watched it all the way and sent the ball behind for a corner.

Everton won a chance from a free-kick but the routine was poor, Holgate unable to control Digne's ball on the overlap. In the last few minutes, Everton moved the ball around with a little more confidence as the hosts relaxed a little... but not enough to give away a goal.

The final Man Utd goal came in added time, and it was a simple clipped header that left Begovic flat-footted after he had done well since coming on. But on the whole a rather unconving display by the boys in Blue — and that is being kind.

Everton: Pickford (46' Begovic), Coleman (60' Kenny), Keane (78' Holgate), Godfrey (77' Mina), Digne, Allan (60' Davies), Doucouré (46' Delph), Iwobi, Gray (78' Dobbin), Townsend (68' Broadhead), Rodriguez (46' Gordon).
Subs: Tyrer, Nkounkou.


Reader Comments (394)

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Luke Welch
1 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:23:20
Not sure what to expect from today's friendly- although I'm hoping to see an attempt at playing with a particular style. A higher work ethic would be good to see and even though it's a friendly a respectable final score would give us a bit of confidence.
Brian Williams
2 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:26:43
Hmmm. Lingard testing positive for Covid could throw a spanner in the works.

Surely if he's been training with the rest of the Utd squad they'd have to self isolate?
What we DON'T want is for half our squad to test positive in a few days time after interacting with their lot.

Paul O'Neill
3 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:45:20
Only half related but has anyone else had terrible trouble purchasing a membership online? They have all my details when I log in, but then it always comes up with errors and says nothing is saved. I put in all my details again and it then says the same thing. I’ve emailed the club and am promised a response in 28 days. Typical Everton that. I’ll keep an eye on the score here I think!
Jay Harris
4 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:45:42
You are up bright and early this morning Lyndon. Good start to the day lets hope we continue with a good performance today and hopefully a decent result that will kick start our campaign.

Brian makes a good point on Lingard but I believe all players are tested before a game so hopefully we will not be contaminated by their lot.

I hope we see a bit more goals today as I feel that will be our challenge this season.

DCL didnt get much game time with England so I am hoping he can stretch his legs today.

Derek Taylor
5 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:46:41
Playing with corvid fire, I suggest. Rafa may protect his 'stars' by playing those players he has no interest in playing when the real fun starts next week. Shop window dressing, eh ?

Prepare to be bored.

Barry Hesketh
6 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:48:11
Reading about the events of Rooney's testimonial at Old Trafford for the last time Everton visited the red half of Manchester for a friendly, shows how quickly time passes and how things haven't quite worked out the way we had all hoped and we're still suffering the consequences of that period, which is the sad part. We have to hope that today's meeting, signals a better five years than the last.

Everton's previous Old Trafford Friendly

Luke Welch
7 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:48:37
Echo saying Dom, Gadmin and Kean are all out. Not sure where the goals will come from.
Gary Smith
8 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:51:09
No Kean at all? No striker on the pitch? Two keepers and Delph on the bench……..I guess there’s some pace in the middle and the hope the young lads get a go, but it’s negative stuff again.
Derek Knox
9 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:51:46
Throw Delph, Iwobi, Gomes and Holgate in for starters, so if they have to self-isolate they will be doing us a favour, and ' taking one for the team ' ! :-)
Luke Welch
10 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:54:18
Let's hope Rafa has a tactical master class in place, because on paper it's a mishmash.
Michael Lynch
11 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:57:14
The OS describes the team selection as having a "fluid front four". Or, alternatively, no striker. I must admit, I'd thought Rafa was building a system that required wide wingers to lash in as many crosses as possible for DCL to nod home. WIthout DCL, that can't be done as there is no back up striker. Except Moise Kean, who doesn't even make the bench.

I guess it will all change when DCL is match fit and Richarlison comes back from the Olympics. Which means there is not much to glean from today's friendly.

Expecting a park-the-bus situation for Rafa to see how the defence is looking.

Tony Everan
12 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:57:35

Iwobi, Rodriguez, Townsend, Gray as our front four, all start

Keane, Godfrey chosen as the CB pairing

Gary Carter
13 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:58:37
Gbamin injured again ? No Kean and no DCL, Iwobi starting !! It’s depressing enough that we have the dinosaur fat Spanish waiter in charge, it’s depressing seeing other clubs snap up European and championship talent whilst we are linked with Salomon rondon, it’s depressing seeing our only attacker with any real quality linked with a move away from the club, but this lineup with Iwobi starting and no striker just about sums up what a miserable season fighting relegation we face 🙁
David Milner
14 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:58:57
Team News:- Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Allan, Doucoure, James, Gray, Townsend, Iwobi,

Subs:- Begovic, Kenny, Delph, Holgate, Mina, Nkounkou, Gordon, Davies, Broadhead, Tyrer, Dobbin.

Read into it what you will.

Paul Birmingham
15 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:59:03
Good point Derek.

I’m hoping for some grit and character today working hard for the team.

Gray and Townsend could be worth an outside bet on scoring today.

Christy Ring
16 Posted 07/08/2021 at 11:59:21
Calvert-Lewin has a toe injury, they don't know how serious it is? Gbamin out, hope it's nothing serious again. Kean out, is he injured or on his way out? Not very encouraging a week before the start of the new season.
Jay Harris
17 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:00:13
Looks like we are in for a defensive masterclass or not as the case may be.

Season starts next week and we are already looking at problems with DCL and Kean, Richarlison at the olympics and a certain missing member of the squad who makes an occasional goalscoring contribution. Never mind we have Nathan Broadhead as a false 9.

Marc Hints
18 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:02:08
Here we go injuries already, DCL, Gbamin and Keane. Only Everton! And where is Gomes?
Steve Shave
19 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:03:29
Interesting - let's hope it's not due to a large Spurs bid for DCL. Conversely let's hope Kean out because of a large offer on the table! Also, very concerned not to see Gbamin in the team, this would have been an excellent chance to test his fitness ahead of the new season, it can only mean some sort of injury surely? No Richy, Kean or DCL = no frickin' strikers, may as well have started Dobbin and have a really good look at him? James as a false nine it is.
Robert Tressell
20 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:03:57
It is only a pre season knock about - so won't tell us a great deal about Benitez' Everton.

However, it does remind us how painfully thin our squad is in attacking positions - and that we've not upgraded the RB slot.

Would be good to see Dobbin and Gordon get minutes.

Wonder if Kean is being preserved for sale.

Tony Everan
21 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:04:33
Any news what is the matter with Jean-Phillipe Gbamin ? Not in the team or on the bench. I was looking forward to see how he is progressing in this match (and hoping he came through it unscathed).
Mike Galley
22 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:05:27
If your having trouble with EvertonTV, the game is apparently on MUTV (I k ow, I know), if you have it on your TV package.
Probably be very slanted towards them, but could be an option if you want to watch the game.
Barry Hesketh
23 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:06:03
Isn't it just typical, the manager buys two players whose prime objective is to service the striker, and what happens he injures his toe in his first week back in training. I think I'll try and find a link to the Brazil match, don't fancy watching the Blues lumping it up the pitch for 90 minutes.
Dave Williams
24 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:09:21
No sign of Tom either! Hopefully DCL is not a serious injury and please no more bad injuries for JP.
Interesting to see young Dobbin on the bench- can he score at this level?
Gary Smith
25 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:11:41
According to Twitter, Gbamin and Kean have had contact with Covid case. No rumours about Gomes being in same boat.

It’s interesting how pre-occupied we all seem to be with “shipping out the deadwood”. We have a squad that’s cost hundreds of millions, and it’s somehow threadbare…….

I’ve been shouting for kids to get a go for a while, I think I’m going to get my wish this season, but it won’t be from deliberate choice. Let’s hope they’re up to it, Dobbin for the winner today from the bench.

Barry Robson
26 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:12:08
JPG and Kean pinged by track and trace apparently. Hence not in squad today.
Alan McMillan
27 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:13:34
I hope JPG isn't injured again. If the Messi to PSG rumours are to be believed, surely FFP will scupper Kean's move there??
Jay Harris
28 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:24:28
Kean's only chance for a move appears to be Inter Milan Alan if Lukaku goes to Chelsea.
Conor McCourt
29 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:34:29
I see it as Grey up top with one of James and Iwobi on the wing and the other as a ten.
Kevin Prytherch
30 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:36:36
Barry, surely they could have named Iwobi as a close contact as well!!!!
Tom Bowers
31 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:38:14
Result of little consequence but performance of the players and fitness is.

Manure have better strength in depth but with both sides chopping and changing during various stages of the game it will be hard to judge.

A chance for newbies to impress for what it is worth.

Dave Williams
32 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:38:54
Sorry- I see Tom is on the bench. I must say I can’t see the sense in playing a team in a friendly who outclassed us in our meetings last season. A bad defeat will hardly instil confidence in the team.
I am very interested to see how James performs- great opportunity for him to show doubters like me what he can do for us.
David McMullen
33 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:41:05
Let's hope we give a good account of ourselves.
Colin Malone
34 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:41:17
Can"t understand why Gomes be mentioned in the same group of Delph and iwobi. The lad has come back from a bad injury. His passing ability from both feet is second to non. I'm sure he will be an important player to the squad this season if he stays. James coming out to a full house at Goodison could be a game changer.
Brian Murray
35 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:46:33
We have nothing new to learn from these players, hope this manager not another anti youth. Dobbin should at least be on the bench to see what level he can be at the moment
Paul Birmingham
36 Posted 07/08/2021 at 12:58:15
Keystone Cops defending part xxx!

Still early days but a week away from the new season, it’s going to be a tough season, I think.

Ray Roche
37 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:03:31
Fuckin shambles
Benjamin Dyke
38 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:08:10
Just lowering our expectations for the season.
Alex Gray
39 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:13:09
Who on earth thought playing Man United would be a smart move a week before the season starts? If we get hammered it will be bad for confidence surely?

I can’t think of a worse pre season in my lifetime. We lose our manager and replace him with an ex red, have no money to spend and a week before the season starts have no strikers available due to covid, injury and let the other go to the olympics whilst receiving no communication with the fans whatsoever.

I saw how Villa’s chairman handled the grealish situation and he spoke to the fans clearly about why they lost him and it hit home how shambolic we are as of late.

I decided to back Rafa despite his past but have never felt so disillusioned with the club currently.

Ciarán McGlone
40 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:14:00
Not sure I could take another season of this.
Ciarán McGlone
41 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:16:29
Adding Richarlison to this team wont suddenly change us from an average dull bunch of plodders.
Ernie Baywood
42 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:18:42
Serious question. Why the hell are we playing this game? Who thought it was a good idea?
Ray Roche
43 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:19:08
This could be 7 or 8.

Playing this shower right before the season starts is stupidity on a level that’s astonishing even for us. If I had a dog I’d take it for a walk

Ciarán McGlone
44 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:22:40
And neither is the addition of a dull defensive manager.
Colin Malone
45 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:23:14
Where is Gomes?
Paul Birmingham
46 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:25:38
I’m turned off the game. Waste of effort but seriously concerning all considering both clubs have had players away at the Euros and Everton look sluggish and accepting there’s no outlet upfront.

This is a sense of foreboding gonna be a hard slog again on this showing, but it’s a friendly but I see the same mistakes at the back as last season.

Let’s hope Delph isn’t brought on, that will give United even more bounce.

No surprise with JP G, and in context this one would be too much for Gomes.

Things can only get better, let’s hope so.

This plus the lousy weather will mean solace in a few beers..

Andrew McLawrence
47 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:31:48
We are going to be in a relegation scrap this season I rather fancy
Paul Gallagher
48 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:32:34
Maybe because I am Irish, but losing to the RS or Manure in any game is a bitter pill to swallow. I decided not to watch the game today, as I have expected a massive spanking from Manure. Maybe Rafa is happy to play Manure to show how poor the current squad is, a cry for help to get in more reinforcements. Or Everton really are screwed with FFP, in that case, this season will be another write off.
Colin Malone
49 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:37:21
FFS. Digne marking Mcguire. got to blame Rafa for that
Michael Lynch
50 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:39:12
Obviously, it's been awful. But we're missing a few players cos they were pinged, and we don't have DCL and RIchie yet.

Nah, I'm clutching at straws. It's not looking good. Pickford looks like he's trying to rack up hilarious errors for his Christmas Blooper show reel.

Simon Dalzell
51 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:40:07
What an appalling line up that is. One week to kick off. Depressing. Linked all summer with exciting players,end up with cast offs. Same old story.
Jeff Armstrong
52 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:43:50
Meanwhile Richie missing a pen and a sitter in the Olympic final.
Colin Malone
53 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:44:00
what does Doucouré do for the team. When his good his good, when his bad his bad. Too much of the latter for me.
Danny Broderick
54 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:44:24
Really bad goals to concede. Pickford howler for the first. Digne marking Maguire for the second. And then Pickford nowhere near the free kick.

With defending this bad, it undermines any positives we were hoping to take.

Ernie Baywood
55 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:48:14
He runs a lot, Colin. And I don't mind that.

I took a fair bit of flak last year for suggesting that he's actually not very good.

Ernie Baywood
56 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:51:45
What really pisses me off is the reason we're playing this game. And we all know it.

Utd wanted a PL standard team, but not someone actually considered a rival. They were after a feelgood last warm up game.

We knew it wasn't great for us, but were just honoured to be invited by the mighty Man Utd.

It's really sad.

Danny Baily
57 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:54:58
Pickford back on form I see.
Benn Chambers
58 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:55:15
Honestly. I can’t take this shit no more. Change the manager and players all you like but it’s engrained in us. We’re fucking embarrassing. It’s painful to watch.

Tell me on what planet does Michael Keane start over Mina???? Keane a fuckin big slow dope. How is he leaving Digne on fucking Harry Maguire? Keane is 6’3 and leaves Harry Maguire on a midget. Fuckin big pussy that lad. Get to go fuck.

There is absolutely no excuse for not playing a centre forward either. Yeah, Richarlison DCL and Keane aren’t available but Lewis Dobbin is and so is Broadhead. Actual strikers. FUCKING PLAY THEM!!!!!!! I’m had my fill of these blaggers just putting 11 players out with no thought or care as to who they are or where they play. As long as there is 11 players, that’ll do. It’s shambolic. You have a young striker on the bench, in a friendly. nah, just play Iwobi instead. An absolute oxygen thief.

Seriously now. I hope this ends up 10 fuckin nil, while it’s only a friendly. Leave the board under no illusions that this team is absolutely shit enough to be in a relegation scrap.

While a yard dog like Keane is getting minutes at the back and Coleman is your rightback, and while Alex Iwobi is making the match day squad, let alone the pitch, you know you’re bang in trouble. If we don’t sign a CB, RB and a midfielder who can actually create something, we’re fucked.

Change a new manager all you want but fuck all else will change until you sign winners. Actual footballers who can play football. The only one that can, Rodriguez, has the gas tank of an OAP who smokes 80 a day. Be arsed watching him jog about on £200k a week. Lazy bastard.

Fuckin sort it out or this will be another season we’re scrapping by the bottom and Rafa will be out on his arse by Christmas. Fuckin help the fella and sign some quality instead of shopping in charity shops!

I don't wanna hear about FFP bollocks, city laughed at it. They got a small fine. Get some players in who can actually play togger and leg that garbage like Keane Iwobi gomes Delph tosun.

Pickford has been a world beater all summer, returns and has Michael Keane in front of him and his a fucking bag of nerves. Say what you want about Mina but he’s a leader and is dominant. Keane is a meak, mute shithouse.

Fuck off Everton you absolute clowns. Club makes me fuckin cringe. I’m embarrassed to say I support them.

Barry Robson
59 Posted 07/08/2021 at 13:57:42
I certainly hope its doesnt fucking end up 10 nil.
Benn Chambers
60 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:03:56
I’ve never seen a more useless flat footed slow lazy sack of shit, than Iwobi. He’s easily the worst player I’ve seen play for us. I can’t think of one good game he had since we wasted £30m on his. It’s criminal. £30m on that when Buendia went for the same money. Whoever decided to sign him, I’d take them to court!

What does he do? He’s clumsy. He’s flat footed. He can’t run. He doesn’t shoot. He doesn’t assist and he certainly doesn’t score. Every single player on that bench is better than him. Every single one. Doesn’t say much but it’s fact. How is he getting picked by numerous different managers? No wonder we go through managers at the rate one 2 a year!

Brian Murray
61 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:04:38
Jeff, bollox that he owes us big time. He shouldn't even be there. Daft club, as per...
Ray Roche
62 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:06:14
Allan subbed, walked straight off, no handshakes for Davies.
Ray Roche
63 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:07:38

It was crap, like.

Benn Chambers
64 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:12:06
Our centre-midfield options are Allan, Doucoure, Davies, Delph and Gbamin who are all the same player and do the same thing, which is fuck-all... then there's Gomes, with Iwobi.

Absolutely fucking terrifying. That's probably the worst midfield options in the entire Premier league. Scary.

Not one of them can thread a pass or score a goal. If Richarlison or Calvert-Lewin don't score, then who's scoring our goals??? There's a reason we were one of the lowest-scoring teams last season. I'm delighted to see that's been addressed.

The club and recruitment is an embarrassment.

Rob Dolby
65 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:13:15
Whoever organised this friendly needs a right bollocking.

We struggle to match them in league games with a fully fit team. Playing without a goal threat at Old Trafford is a humiliation in waiting.

What positives can we take from this at all? Talk about shooting ourselves in the foot. The new manager can't be happy with this choice of opponent.

Craig Harrison
66 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:17:44
Maybe I have a suspicious mind but Calvert-Lewin “injuring” a toe before a game sounds a bit like he's being held out for a sale.
Daniel A Johnson
67 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:19:22
Feels like life under the Walter Smith era.

Bargain buys with fans preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

I'm genuinely fearful this season; anything around 10th to 15th and I will be a relieved man.

Clive Rogers
68 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:21:38
Allan is finished, far too slow, offers nothing.
Daniel A Johnson
69 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:22:46
Moshiri = Randy Lerner

If DCalvert-Lewin and Richarlison go, we will be in a relegation fight.

Exactly what project did Ancelotti sign up for again?

The decline of our squad under the watchful eye of Marcel Brands has been criminal.

Ralph Basnett
70 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:37:41
My analysis of today and for the season ahead: We are fooked!!!!
Michael Lynch
71 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:39:51
Awful. At our best we were average today. New signings are no worse than any of the other average players we have, but nobody in the Premier League will be scared to play us this season on this showing.

Sure, Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison to come back (perhaps), but that's nowhere near enough.

Thoroughly fucking depressing.

Rafa Out!

Clive Rogers
72 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:41:41
Don't panic. Even if we're relegated, Kenwright will still be Chairman.
Justin Doone
73 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:41:42
Back of the sofa time...

Pre-season is meaningless but Man Utd are easily Top 4. We are not.

Fitness and any tactical switches before the Saints march all over us.

I think I prefer preseason these days.

Thomas Roberts
74 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:44:09
Don't worry, we have a waiting list for season tickets. Thank God I live in Texas or I'd be one of the fools paying to watch this joke of a club.
Kunal Desai
75 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:51:18
To be honest, I enjoyed my afternoon switching off away from this club. Far more enjoyable interests in life than asserting your efforts watching this abysmal club.
Christy Ring
76 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:51:50
Delighted to see Iwobi playing the full game; hopefully that's the last we see of him for the season.

Definitely a wake-up call, have to bring in players, not free transfers before next Saturday.

Tom Harvey
77 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:52:28
What worries me most is that we may well lose the player whose name we can't mention at the moment, both Allan and Doucouré were off the pace and looked tired last season, they've had the summer break to find energy and form and both still look like they should be shown the door.

I won't mention James, Delph or Iwobi (what's the point?).

We could also lose Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison this window, most probably one of them. And to be honest, if Richarlison goes, Calvert-Lewin is not good enough to lead the line.

Dispite today's result, we have a reasonable defence, this is the only good thing going for us at the moment.

Part of me is doing a Corporal Jones: "Don't panic!" and the other part, a private Fraser: "We're Doomed! Doomed!"

Steve Brown
78 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:53:14
The line being pedalled was that Benitez knew how to organise the team. Our defensive shape when out of possession was shambolic in the first half.

We only steadied because United made multiple changes. The addition of Davies, Delph, Gordon and Kenny also made us compact. Gray was okay overall.

It played out exactly how I expected it to unfortunately. A lot of work to do ahead of next week.

Steve Brown
79 Posted 07/08/2021 at 14:57:35
Before Iwobi becomes the whipping boy for the crap performances of other team-mates, he was actually one of the only players who was half average today.

That is why he stayed on for the full game.

Clive Rogers
80 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:01:36
The squad is just not good enough. A couple of players look finished and most of the rest are just not good enough. Unless we bring some decent players in, we will be lower bottom half.
Daniel A Johnson
81 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:01:36
Although he who can't be named was a divisive player amongst the fanbase, there is no doubt we miss him in our midfield.

For one of the weakest midfields in the Premier League to now lose a player of that ability for the rest of the season, it has seriously hurt us.

The season hasn't even started and already this club has me feeling miserable.

Might need to take a step back from it all this season as it does at times get me down. :-(

Tony Abrahams
82 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:05:29
Our defensive shape has been out for years, Steve, unless we get eleven men behind the ball.

The middle of the back four and the middle of the park is where I'd spend any money that is coming our way; these are the two positions that need to be massively improved imo, and would make a huge difference to the team. Otherwise, it's gonna be same-old, same-old frustration.

Jim Bennings
83 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:06:04
I don't really post much anymore about Everton because it just feels like I've been saying the same things over and over since the end of Roberto Martinez first season.

We have no identity and have been a nothing club since we finished 5th in 2014.

I feel sorry for any manager who takes the job here now because it wouldn't matter if we got Pep or Klopp; nothing changes at Everton.

New stadium or no new stadium, I think we are just too far gone now as a club.

Kieran Kinsella
84 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:09:24
One poster will be delighted as his sole aim for the last year was to see Carlo gone.

For the rest of us, yes, I see comparisons with the Smith or latter Kendall Mk II eras. One or two “good players” inadequately assisted by has-beens and crap.

Daniel A Johnson
85 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:10:06
Starting to agree Jim [83]

We are so far gone and its clear not even Pep with £200M to spend could turn this around.

Hard to be positive at the moment about anything around EFC.

The whole club just gives off bad vibes at the moment.

The big worry is other teams are strengthening even more and were regressing at a serious pace.

Barry Robson
86 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:14:43
We have players who aren't good enough. Players who aren't interested. Players that don't want to be at the club... and some supporters who want us to lose because they hate the manager.


Raymond Fox
87 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:16:55
Usual measured comments I see!

It was a stupid fixture to play just before the season starts, we are not in Man Utd's class, even before missing some of our better players.

At least Rafa knows what a task he has!

Liam Heffernan
88 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:17:13
This is the first season in nearly 20 years that I really fear for our Premier League survival. This squad is a shambles.

Other so-called inferior teams seem to me to be a lot more organised and compact and our looseness often makes it easier for them to beat us (Fulham, Southampton, Brighton, etc, who have done a number on us).

I don't think we have improved and I have no confidence in our new manager to keep us up. I've actually never been so pessimistic in my 55 years of support for my beloved Everton.

Barry Hesketh
89 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:18:24
Tony @82

Every team relies on the abilities of its midfielders, we have so many in the squad who flit in and out of games, produce little for the forwards and seemingly are unable to defend or tackle. Until that area is addressed, we'll continue to be lacklustre.

Defensive mistakes are also a common theme with this current squad, along with a reluctance by players to have a shot when the opportunity arises. My summer optimism has given way to an admittance that, whatever was missing last season, doesn't look as if it's been found yet.

On the bright side, apparently the last time we were 3-0 down after half-an-hour, in a friendly with United we went on to the lift the FA Cup! Mind you, Dixie was still playing for us back in 1932.

Tony Abrahams
90 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:22:34
Agree Barry, but a team that is always defending on the back foot cannot just be blamed on the midfield players though imo mate.
Minik Hansen
91 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:22:54
I feel ManUtd had home crowd advantage (unlucky for us not to nick a goal in), therefore I hope we see an energized Everton squad at a full Goodison Park and get something out of these chances and a fired-up defense.

That should get us all buzzing, and who knows who we're gonna get as marquee signings. COYB.

Ray Roche
92 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:24:28
So, some Everton fans were singing 'Fat Spanish Waiter' at Benitez. Yeah, that's gonna help, isn't it?

He's here. Get behind him. He's got the same shower of sick, lame and lazy crap that Carlo Cantbearsedo had so... what do they say? Something about a silk purse and a pig's ear?

Daniel A Johnson
93 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:24:59
Well give us some positives then Raymond.

Arguably one of the weakest collection of midfielders in the Premiership in terms of quality and creativity has had a massive hole blown in it by the arrest of one of our main midfielders.

We have injury problems, aging players who have gone on a season too far and a striker who has been swanning around expending energy with Brazil for 3 months. We have players who no longer want to be here and some who have never wanted to be here.

Couple that with a manger who if he gets off to a bad start could lose the fans and the dressing room quite quickly.

Our transfer targets have been non-existent and the calibre of player we are now looking at shows what a shit show it must be behind the scenes financially. Couple that with most of our finances now tied up in a stadium we cant actually afford. Yeah its looking great for this season.

Top 4 here we come.

Dave Abrahams
94 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:25:07
I couldn't get the match in first half so joined the Live Forum. I enjoyed that to a certain extent, then got the game on live for the second half. I really wish I hadn't. Not as bad as I thought it was going to be but not inspiring much confidence for the coming season.

I know it was only a friendly and counts for nothing, but the performance looked the same as last season. We didn't look fit, passing was still woeful and although we had two near misses, we never really upset Man Utd.

One player depressed me (not Iwobi) today, but I won't mention him – just hope he is not as bad as I thought he was today. Roll on next Saturday when it starts in earnest.

Barry Rathbone
95 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:27:55
Bemuses me how people still won't recognise how poor the Allan and Doucouré purchases were. Evertonians seem blinded by CVs.

They are hapless bluffers joining the ranks of Klaassen, Schneiderlin, Gomes, Walcott and of course Ancelotti.

What a dreadful state the playing staff is at this club!

Stuart Sharp
96 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:28:50
I agree, Steve @79

He wasn't as bad as we've seen him before. Much more worrying for me was how poor Allan and Doucouré were in the first half. The game passed them by. And why did Rafa have Digne mark Maguire for two corners after his goal?

Worrying signs everywhere. And quite a toxic atmosphere where I was sitting. It didn't take long for the FSW chants to start.

Daniel A Johnson
97 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:31:11
If the fast Spanish waiter chants have started already, Goodson could be 100% toxic this season.
Tony Twist
98 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:31:50
An excellent wake-up call to everybody. The only other positive is at least we have a manager who will work extremely hard to try and put things right – not Carlo "Go out and play" Ancelotti.

Let's face it, we were away and there was a crowd and we all know how our team just thrives on that sort of thing. Fingers crossed for a start to the season like last years, the hard work starts here.

Steve Brown
99 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:33:32
If Benitez is getting the abusive chants in pre-season friendlies, this is going to get ugly really quickly.

Danny O’Neill
100 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:33:48
Didn't watch it, didn't want to. Been debating all day with my depressed son who did.

I'm enjoying a glass of wine in the sun in Camden.

The season starts next week.

Training match.

I'll discuss with the dogs in the morning!

Brian Murray
101 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:35:31
You're just a portly catering asset. Ray, post 92, is that better? It's up to him to prove he's not just another cosy freeloader who has fallen on his feet with a job close to home.

At least get them fighting fit. Apparently that's what he's renowned for plus organising and being ruthless, No sign of that so far, eg, Richarlison taking the total piss out of the club.

Barry Hesketh
102 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:35:44
The Fast Spanish Waiter? That's a new one, Daniel @97

I'd be disappointed if the away fans are turning on the manager already, that won't help us to improve, in fact, it could prove fatal for the club's ambition to remain in the top division.

Ciarán McGlone
103 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:38:35
If the atmosphere at Goodison is toxic, then club only has itself to blame. Stupidest appointment in the history of appointments.
Mal van Schaick
104 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:42:20
New season…….same old story. We need to sell and replace at least four from midfield and replace them with quality and we need two top strikers, or else mid division or lower again.
Simon Harris
105 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:43:10
So he's seen the squad now, apart from the obvious starters in Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison. What does he do? Iwobi is on a good contract, so is Davies and Gomes. None are good enough for a Top 10 finish.

How do you move the deadwood on and refresh / reset this midfield trio of slow, lightweight softies? That's not saying the others are great but these 3 are simply the first to ship out, but no obvious buyers coming forward.

Darren Hind
106 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:43:45
Not getting too down just yet.

I've seen good pre-seasons turn to shit.

Alan J Thompson
107 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:47:51
The good news is that we had a lot out through injury etc.

The bad news is that it hasn't crossed the manager's mind that this could happen, even during a pandemic.

It's looking like a relegation struggle this season.

Paul Swan
108 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:48:06
Sadly, I think the lid will blow off this thing almost straight away. 18 months of bottled-up energy, anger and frustration could all come to a head next week with Benitez as the main focus if things don't go well immediately on the field.

We have got to give him a chance as there are more guilty individuals who fully deserve the blame, such as our useless Director of Football, who is responsible for some of the worst recruitment ever, and the complete tossers brought in to manage this shambles for too many years.

A big week in the transfer market may blunt the edge a bit but it doesn't look like this will happen.

Michael Lynch
109 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:48:45
The team that started today won't be far off the team that starts next Saturday, I should think. Hopefully Calvert-Lewin will be fit, or at least Kean will be out of isolation, and then we'll have a target man for James, Gray, Townsend and Iwobi to pick out, and Gbamin might add something to our utterly dismal midfield; but otherwise, who can Rafa bring in?

It was a shambles at the back today, our midfield was woeful, but our attack looked lively – though, in the absence of a striker, it was all huff and puff.

If we lose to Southampton, the abuse will be horrendous – for Rafa, and for the players. I'm half looking forward to being back at Goodison, half dreading it.

Brian Murray
110 Posted 07/08/2021 at 15:55:00
Danny post 100, You have a famous mark that has almost everything. Keep an eye out for a pacy right back and a savvy chairman. Have a good night, kidda.
Robert Tressell
111 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:04:47
Completely agree, Jim #83.

In all honesty, the first XI looks a good 4 goals worse than Man Utd's first XI. You can tinker around with tactics, personnel and formations etc but the fact is that the team with better players usually wins.

Benitez has inherited a squad off the back of 12th and 10th place finishes, has probably lost a decent chunk of goals and assists in bizarre and unpleasant circumstances, and has been given £1.5M to spend on new recruits.

I didn't catch the match but did any of the youngsters feature?

Anthony Jones
112 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:05:45
So much for solid but boring.

We need a dynamic, elite centre mid.

Brian Murray
113 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:07:06
Danny post 100 famous market
Richard Nelson
115 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:07:55
..Simon @105...you didn't mention "Slow Coach" Allan & "Bone Idle" Delph..!
Matthew Williams
116 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:17:08
A few questions...

Why no Nkounkou again? Digne has been poor for over a season!

What happened to young Branthwaite?

Why didn't we start with a front pairing of Broadhead and Dobbin,someone to aim crosses at?

Why do we never take pot shots at goal, from distance?

What is it with our obsession with back-passes?

Why are decent Championship players rarely signed by our club? ... they used to be!

Why is our side never balanced throughout? ... and hasn't been for donkey's years?

What is our style of play and identity?

What is the club's blueprint over the next 5 years?

Why is the club's recruitment policy so poor, season after season?

Will the new ground really make much difference to our current malaise?

Dave Williams
117 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:17:31
This is not down to Rafa. He has inherited an almighty mess and needs to absorb what he saw today and then get stuck in to them. He must be given a proper chance but the players are the ones at fault, not a manager who has been here for six weeks.
Peter Mills
118 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:18:53
I was told that both sets of supporters were singing “You’re getting sacked in the morning” to Sr Benitez. Can anyone who was there confirm this, please?
Sean Kelly
119 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:19:41
Oh for fuck's sake, here we go again. If Moshiri and Brands can't get the money to upgrade this team, we are doomed. Expecting these same useless twats to suddenly perform miracles is not going to happen.

The combination of players that don't care, with those that should have been gone some years back, is only going to end in tears. Iwobi with Allan, Davies, Delph, and a half-arsed Rodriguez will not frighten any team in the Premier League. Ask yourselves this question: Which of our rivals would take any of these?

We need Mr Usmanov to come in with some heavy hitters and clear this club out from top to bottom. I fear we may be heading to places like Peterborough, Reading or Barnsley next season unless something dramatic happens. It won't be Rafa's fault either as we have been a shambles for years.

Simon Harris
120 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:26:28
Richard, stop it, I'm depressed enough at that trio, I had forgotten about Delph. Although I think Allan can do a job in the right setup...
Kevin Prytherch
121 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:28:26
Don't worry,

Rafa has obviously told them to play within themselves to lower expectations for the season so we'll blindside everyone when the season actually starts.

They'll never see us coming…

David Hallwood
122 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:29:38
Okay, let's get the excuses in. Pre-season friendly, Pickford rolls back the years to the start of last season, players missing. But the long-term trend is when we go behind, it's game over, we simply cannot win after going behind.

This is why Ancelotti set us up to be hard to beat, and even harder to watch; to quote Bob Dylan, a hard rain's gonna fall.

Derek Knox
123 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:33:45
Forrest Gump said, “My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get'."

I never knew until today (but suspected as much) that he was an Everton supporter!

He also said, “Stupid is as stupid does.” Again confirming that he may have watched the friendly today.

Conor McCourt
124 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:35:28
Simon @120,

"Although I think Allan can do a job in the right set up"

Totally agree, Simon. As already noted on this thread, Rafa isn't as light on his feet these days so perhaps a Brazilian Table Serving Assistant role would see Allan in a much better light.

Danny Broderick
125 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:36:18
Any fans singing derogatory songs about Rafa are absolute scum. They're not even giving him a chance, so they are not giving us a chance!! I didn't want Rafa, but now he is here, we have to at least give him a chance.

These players have downed tools on the last 5 managers. The problem is blatantly not the manager. Getting rid of Rafa would achieve nothing. We've got to give him a chance.

What did anyone expect? He would come in with a magic wand and right all the wrongs from last season before pre-season was over???

For fuck's sake!

Julian Exshaw
126 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:43:03
With the greatest respect to Townsend and Gray, these are the kind of signings Southampton or Newcastle would make (respect to them too while I'm at it).

Yes, this was a friendly... and yes, not all our players were there... but it goes beyond that. The board can't be faulted for Carlo leaving or this cursed FFP but it is responsible for a lack of ambition.

I hope I am wrong and not over-reacting but it looks to me like we are, at best, drifting along. Over to you, Rafa. Let's see what you can do now.

Danny O’Neill
127 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:44:18
My way home from central London on the train either way takes me on the Metropolitan Line through Wembley Park or Marylebone with stops at Wembley Stadium. I'm currently sat outside Marylebone. It's been a good day watching & mixing mostly with Leicester fans having their day out. Slightly envious but it is tame and will be nothing like when we hit the capital next May!!
John McFarlane Snr
128 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:59:20
Hi Danny [125],

I completely endorse your sentiment, and it's not confined to those who abused Benitez at Old Trafford today. This site has a fair percentage who vent their spleen in a way that is less than complimentary.

I have been mocked in the past for expressing this opinion, and called a 'Snowflake' and I imagine that's not a compliment, but I was raised in a 'Manners maketh the man' environment.

Jim Lloyd
129 Posted 07/08/2021 at 16:59:29
If there is any way of getting rid of those players that Sean (119) is referring to, I'm sure we would have taken it. Moshiri has the money, but Paul the Esk made it clear that most of it will be going into the building work for the stadium.

I don't know that there's any way out of the vice of £150 million loss that we'll have posted. Maybe there is but I wouldn't bank on it. From what I understand of Paul's article, £105 million is the absolute limit of losses. He could theoretically put £45-50 million in to clear the excess of the losses, but I read it that the Premier League would not allow further losses to accrue.

All this is accountant and lawyer stuff but it looks to me that we have to jockey the players we've got, who we can keep (if we can keep them), and who can get money for, and finally, who we can send out on loan. As I understand his article, we're stuck with what we have, and the Premier League will be examining our finances very, very closely.

No easy way out by the look of it. Benitez may well be able to get a fitter, more organised team to become harder to beat and to challenge for the ball much more than we do now. But none of that will make Iwobi a better player, although maybe showing him how to pass and shoot might help.

We've got at least two midfielders who are not likely to become any faster, Gomes and Allan seem to be at about as fast as they can go. We have another midfielder who may, or may not be able to play, who is equally slow. Then we have Delph... or are reputed to have him on the books!

We have two forwards, one extremely skilful, but does he want to be bothered? I hope so. And another a member of the Olympic Gold Medal winners, who may not want to stay here.

So, Ancellotti setting us up as hard to beat, only worked away. At home, we were extremely poor against the so-called lower teams.

We'll have to wait and see who can be sold and hope we can bring in good professionals in their place.

Jim Lloyd
130 Posted 07/08/2021 at 17:02:34
Danny Broderick (125) Good post.
Will Mabon
131 Posted 07/08/2021 at 17:04:34
Julian, you're not wrong.

What Rafa "Can do now" if a rumour today is true, is track the likes of Salomon Rondon. Get used to this type of signing.

Our day in the sun of the last quarter century plus, was the first six weeks of last season. Now back on script.

Ed Prytherch
132 Posted 07/08/2021 at 17:04:36
Two former Everton players, Josh Bowler and Shane Lavery, making their debuts for Blackpool combined to rescue a point, deep into injury time, against Bristol City. Lavery was a live wire in the previous game against Man City and carried on where he left off when he came on for the last 10 minutes today.
Darren Hind
133 Posted 07/08/2021 at 17:05:35
Ah now Conor, stop it.

I'm the first to admit to being surprised by the praise heaped upon Allan by some but come on – waiting at tables?

He would be tackling the diners before they had even seen the wine menu.

Conor McCourt
134 Posted 07/08/2021 at 17:18:52
Darren, it would be how late the dinner came out I'd be afraid of, with Rafa shouting across the restaurant "Has anyone seen Allan as these plates are getting cold?"

And staff reporting back "He was here a minute ago, I don't know where he went."

Paul Tran
135 Posted 07/08/2021 at 17:22:36
So, what's worse, losing 4-0 to the Premier League runners-up with our three strikers missing, or beating that Austrian team 20-odd nil?

Today taught us nothing new. Beaten by a better side with players that take far less touches than us to go from one end of the pitch to the other.

I'm expecting a few more 'cut price' signings to fill out the bench and challenge for a start, before the higher profile comings and goings that will happen on deadline day. We have shown in the past few years that a player's price tag often bears little relation to what we see on the pitch, so that doesn't worry me.

Most of our opponents' quality will be somewhere between Man Utd and who we played in Florida. This squad, if reasonably organised, will see us finish 8th to 12th. This season is all about Benitez getting the best from the squad we have when the window shuts.

Danny O’Neill
136 Posted 07/08/2021 at 17:26:49
Based on who we have in the squad, who's your midfield Conor?
Jay Evans
137 Posted 07/08/2021 at 17:28:05
I managed to see the whole game today on MUTV. Unfortunately.

Rafa out.

Brian Murray
138 Posted 07/08/2021 at 17:30:05
If Moshiri has a diary, Note to self: If I ever spend another £500 million, don't listen to the teary-eyed buffoon and an idiot Director of Football. Hard lesson learned but I doubt even now the penny's sunk in.
Tony Everan
139 Posted 07/08/2021 at 17:34:10
Don't Panic!

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Premier League

It wasn't pretty but we can improve on that. Stupid mistakes must be eliminated for starters. Focus!

Marking danger men from set-pieces needs to be sorted out. We need someone (here or new) to be more vocal and organise the defence at critical times. We are a bit quiet and passive without that leadership, mistakes can be reduced.

We didn't really have a shape to us without a goalscorer on the pitch. We had providers but no-one to provide to. Broadhead or Dobbin should have been given an opportunity from the start. Calvert-Lewin back will make a difference on Saturday.

It was a tough friendly, made tougher from the start by stupidity and lack of focus. We need to start matches much better, we need to get onto the front foot and learn to be the aggressor. We've been dictated to for too long, I've had enough of it, it is not the Everton identity I believe in, it's got to change.

We need to field a team to enable us to do that, because one thing is for sure, we are nowhere near good enough to be carrying passengers. All wins will be hard-fought through 90 minutes of discipline, fitness, endeavour and endurance. Flashes of brilliance will come out of that and will win us matches.

There's no question we need two or three signings in the next few weeks to strengthen us. I am expecting (I may be deluded) that we will look stronger by 1 September.

Andrew McLawrence
140 Posted 07/08/2021 at 17:46:50
Our only goal threat was Pickford.
Mark Howard
141 Posted 07/08/2021 at 17:50:44
I agree with Danny Broderick (125).
Brent Stephens
142 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:06:16
Peter #118 "I was told that both sets of supporters were singing “You're getting sacked in the morning” to Sr Benitez. Can anyone who was there confirm this, please?"

If they did, they whispered it. I was there and heard nothing.

Rob Hooton
144 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:07:50
Glad I didn't watch that as I wasn't even aware there was a game on!

I've recently stopped drinking so not sure I'll be able to watch Everton this season; I usually need a few to stomach it these days.

Fingers crossed they get a kick up the backside and having a striker or two on the pitch improves things. I have no doubt I'll be tuning in next week, hoping for the best.

Terry White
145 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:16:38
I'm with you all the way, John Mc., Sr. Those people on TW about whom you refer, they know who they are. Their words are never pretty.
Brent Stephens
146 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:21:15
Terry #145 - agree also.

And, John Snr, I think you're far from a "snowflake" as the person concerned called you.

Stuart Sharp
147 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:25:23
Peter #118
Brent #142

The away fans near us sang it once, but it didn't catch on. Didn't hear the home fans sing it. Or anything else for that matter. Too busy admiring their new 50-50 scarves.

My young lad felt a bit uncomfortable at times today. He's been to a few away games before, but he's never seen such vile behaviour or so much rage. The guy next to us sneaked his beer in, got caught, then kept threatening the steward with extreme violence. Not just mouthing off... vile abuse.

Some old fart in front of us was threatening kids in the home end. Kids, for fuck's sake! Then the FSW chant started and the lads around us worked themselves up into a frenzy.

Fortunately, it did eventually calm down, but it's amazing how a shit performance and controversial manager can turn people. And that was a friendly.

Brent Stephens
148 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:30:04
Yes, Stuart, some pointless macho posturing. I try to get a seat away from the home fans at all grounds. I was E320 today again, so not near the stuff.
Conor McCourt
149 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:31:45
Danny good question mate!!

Answer is: I can't really answer it because I don't know players' fitness levels etc. It would also depend on the opponent and form. The only two rules I would have:

1) No Allan as the defensive player, though I would use his experience at end of game in a three in his proper position when he had the athleticism to do it.

2) No three slugs together, so ideally have either Gbamin or Doucouré in the line-up or, if you play a two of Davies and Gomes, then have pace all around.

If everybody is fit, on form, and available, I would play 4-4-2 against a bottom team at home with Holgate and Godfrey feeding a midfield two of Gbamin and Gomes who would screen, letting full-backs drive forward. I would play James right, Richarlison left, and Kean and Calvert-Lewin up top. Six attacking with six defending when losing possession.

Away against Man City, I would play a compact four with Gbamin sitting, Doucouré and Gomes either side, and James in the hole, leaving Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin up top.

I wish we could replace Delph and Allan with an upgrade on Gomes (playmaker with goals and assists) and an upgrade on Doucouré (athlete with greater quality) and suddenly our midfield six would look very strong and coherent rather than an unbalanced mess.

Ian Riley
150 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:38:24
My main concern for next season are the fans. Yes, we are lacking in talent but, if fans get onto the manager's back vocally from the off, then confidence in the players will go very quickly. A relegation battle could happen.

We must get behind the team! Rafa cannot be blamed for Everton being average for decades. He has inherited this squad.

If funds are not available to improve the team, then the fans will play a more vital role than ever before. Negativity breeds negativity! Today showed again we need to work harder and concentrate more!

We are all in this together!!

Robert Tressell
151 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:40:32
Conor, what your post highlights is that we have a mediocre squad with lots of midfield options, none of which are that great.

My often unpopular view is that we're stuck in a cycle of buying expensive average established players because we're trying to build better foundations for success. However, all we're doing by adding Allan and Doucoure to Gomes and Delph is perpetuating our mediocrity. We can't afford established players who are better than what we already have.

Stuart Sharp
152 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:44:34
Good point, Brent, though got some of the last tickets and there wasn't much choice. Still, he's glad he went. Poor sod still has that youthful optimism, despite having a season ticket for a few years. He'll learn.

Brent Stephens
153 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:48:15
Stuart, we'll knock that optimism out of him!
Jay Harris
154 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:51:18
The positives:- we played some one-touch passing with more energy and commitment than last season.

The negatives:- Pickford still hasn't got over his calamitous behaviour and Man Utd are light-years ahead of us. In fact, they are everything we are lacking: class, pace, and goal-scoring from all over the team.

Tony Everan
155 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:53:00
Ian 150, good post.

Fans turning against the manager won't damage Benitez, it will damage Everton FC. Moshiri and Usmanov have gone out of their way to appoint him, so Benitez the Blue is here to stay.

The only way forward is to get behind the club and have some unity. Give the manager some breathing space to work.

His fate is intertwined with Brands's ability too; he still needs to move on two or three at least and get some althletic, fast, quality players in.

Dave Williams
156 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:53:15

Absolutely right – and this has been our downfall with FFP.

The way to turn this around has to be promoting from our youth system and buying a few young players who are on their way up the ladder. We then sell one or two at a big profit and the process begins again. Liverpool have done this successfully, so have Leicester City... and Aston Villa seem to be trying it now.

Brands should have a firm grip of this concept and we do have a few players who fit that profile but nowhere near enough and we fall down badly with the supporting cast which today has shown they must be improved.

Barry Hesketh
157 Posted 07/08/2021 at 18:59:17
Hidden in a reply to a question about Tom Davies, the Everton manager said: “The main things I'm asking our players is to have some intensity, some character, some desire, some commitment on the pitch.”

No Everton manager should ever have to ask that question; it should be a given. These guys are earning good money representing the club, and they should be chomping at the bit to do their best, not waiting for the manager to tell them how to approach the game.

Managers are there to guide the players in the team's tactical approach in any given match, not to wet-nurse them through the entire 90 minutes.

Kevin Molloy
158 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:03:34
They do say when you slip in shit, that it's actually lucky. And I think we are very very lucky today. Cos we managed to get rid of the most half-arsed manager we've ever had, who was sitting on a £30M contract, and for a cash strapped side, it didn't cost us anything.

Real Madrid actually head-hunted him. Now that's lucky. He's still left us with a bucket load of shite, mind... along with Marcel Brands, but at least now we have a competent manager. It's gonna be a slow walk back to a decent side.

If I was Benitez, I'd be on the blower now to Brands:

“What's that? Spend the lot on the Dutch right-back you've been tracking, and give him £100k a week? Hmm, let me have a think about that, Marcel, cos we've got a hole as big as the Grand Canyon right in the middle of the field, despite your astute purchases last year!”

Peter Mills
159 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:03:41
Thank you Brent #142 and Stuart #147.

One of the reasons I am dubious about the managerial appointment is that Sr Benitez has no bank of goodwill; the atmosphere could become toxic very quickly if things don't go well on the pitch. We shall see.

Ben Attwood
160 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:16:23
Hopefully this is the kick up the arse the board needs to sign a few quality players asap.

Bargain-basement buys usually end with bargain-basement results.

A very poor transfer strategy has been in place for too long. Band-aid purchases get found out and then there is a panic buy or three late in the day with ridiculous transfer fees highlighting the lack of planning.

Brent Stephens
161 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:17:13
Peter, yes, I think it's important we get off to a good start this season for Benitez's sake (and ours, of course).

I wasn't disappointed about the result today. He's trying out players, tactics. I thought Gray played well, as did Davies when he came on. Delighted to see "hat-trick" Dobbin get game time. Love this lad.

Soren Moyer
162 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:18:03
Another trophy won by "small club" Leicester whilst another season of mediocrity beckons for Top Dog club Everton!
Geoff Williams
163 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:21:27
Little evidence of any improvement over the Summer. Who did Benitez think was going to score the goals? I am at a loss to understand why one of the young strikers wasn't in the starting eleven.
Alex Gray
164 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:25:42
Second what some fans have said. Despite not being a huge admirer, the state of the squad is nothing to do with Benitez.

I’m amazed that Brands doesn’t get any stick to be honest. He was brought in to buy young exciting players that we develop and sell for a profit to reinvest in the squad. Three years later we’re screwed with FFP with no sellable assets that anyone wants.

We could argue that last season we needed some experience and James has a commercial advantage alongside Goddfrey being a good buy but I see Iwobi, Mina, Gomes, Delph, King as major flops all on huge wages.

Richarlison and Kean are the only two players he’s bought that could go for a profit.

Calvert Lewin was our last quality striker purchase bought under Martinez and has only come good last year.

Villa lose Grealish and have invested superbly in Ings, Bailey and Buendia.

Booing Benitez will just mean in a year’s time we will be in the same situation again.

Barry Rathbone
165 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:33:20
Good old Man City choking as soon as someone stands up to them – well in, Foxes.
Rob Young
166 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:34:48
Ian #150,

That's the problem: we are not in this all together.

The club couldn't care less about us, this summer has absolutely proved that.

We don't matter to them; why are we expected to back them no matter what?

It's been enough, we see our club being taken away from us.

Crap players, delusional board an the Red for manager deserve all the abuse that is coming their way.

If that does not help the players of my team... so be it. Let them get the hell out if they care so much about Everton Football Club.

Michael Lynch
167 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:36:15
We can't even dream of being what Leicester are at the moment. Look at their squad compared to ours, their manager compared to ours, their owners compared to ours.

We might be a "bigger" club than them, but so are Sheffield Wednesday.

Marc Hints
168 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:38:45

It really is embarrassing isn't it! We are going to get a few hammerings this season I think. Unless Brands gets a couple of gems for this season, we are in trouble. I really do think we will be in a relegation fight this year.

1) Calvert-Lewin will miss a few easy goals;
2) Richarlison won't get going for a few games after his rest;
3) We will get injuries and have nothing on the bench to replace them;
4) Our midfield lacks any pace and is probably the most defensive and worst in the league;
5) We still have the same players who unfortunately don't want to play for the shirt or simply lack passion: Delph, Gomes;

Did you see Rafa's interview? He was basically saying the same as the previous 5 managers; asked the players for passion and got nothing.

I do think it's that bad and will still take a few transfer windows and money, if we have any.

Colin Glassar
169 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:46:45
Sounds great. I’m glad I missed it. Nothing like being an Evertonian, eh?
Brian Wilkinson
170 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:47:32
Benitez has been left with a pile of shite and no pot to piss in, with previous managers' spending.

He is the best hope we have for the time being, until we can get our FFP situation much better.

No other manager is going to come in and do a better job with what we have.

Like it or not, we have to back Benitez.

Clive Rogers
171 Posted 07/08/2021 at 19:52:45
Our club is a joke and has been ever since Kenwright took over. Now, it looks like he has fixed us up with an owner who hasn't a clue how to run a football club.

We have needed a right-back for several years now and it looked as though we had identified Dumfries as the man for a meagre £15M. But now I am reading that we want him for a year on loan.

This is not going to happen because, after two years of pandemic, all clubs are desperate for cash. We will end up moving someone over who can do half a job.

Michael Burke
172 Posted 07/08/2021 at 20:05:25
It is embarrassing to be a football fan at the moment. The behaviour of England fans at the Euros. Contrast this a week later with Castleford and Saint Helens fans drinking together and enjoying the atmosphere before the Challenge Cup Final.

The vile homophobic, racist trolls on Twitter and at grounds hurling abuse at people they don't know. 'Fans' abusing a manager who has only just joined us. I still don't understand why it matters who he has managed. It is a job for players and managers.

Before we hammer the squad, has anyone thought about how they may have been affected by the alleged behaviour of one our 31-year-old players? It can't be easy for them to process.

Michael Lynch
173 Posted 07/08/2021 at 20:24:17
Michael @ 172 I now have no problem with Rafa taking over at Everton, though I admit it took a while to process, but if you really don't understand why it matters who he has managed, then you must be one of those rare football fans who isn't tribal.

Of course it shouldn't matter, but then nor should anything like that matter. It's football mate. It's nonsense, it's ridiculous, it's childish, it's illogical, it's stupid... but have you only just realised that?

As for racism at grounds, I personally haven't witnessed that at Goodison for many years.

John McFarlane Snr
174 Posted 07/08/2021 at 20:29:58
Hi Terry [145] and Brent [146], thank you for your kind words.

I'm afraid that the football set-up today is not what I grew up with. While there have been some improvements, I consider the formation of the Premier League (and Everton played a significant part in that), was the invitation for the pigs to take their fill from the trough.

I am stuck in a time warp mainly the '50s to the '70s with a brief wonderful period in the '80s. I still attend games, I suppose because I'm programmed, I think it's the 'Once a Blue, always a Blue' syndrome.

Hi Rob [166],

Regarding the Rafa Benitez appointment, give the man a chance. If the Manchester United supporters at the end of the Second World War had the same attitude as fans today, they may well have lost out on a wonderful history because Matt Busby played for both Manchester City and Liverpool.

Pat Kelly
175 Posted 07/08/2021 at 20:32:53
Barry #157, spot on.

Players today are paid a king's ransom every week. If they won't show commitment and desire, bench them and bring in some young eager players.

We won't win anything this season anyway. Just do enough to stay four from the bottom if necessary while teaching the wasters a lesson.

Chris Gordon
176 Posted 07/08/2021 at 20:37:50
I've given up. The club is rotten to the core. Half a billion quid spent on the squad and it's as threadbare and utterly lacking in fight and quality as the Walter Smith era.

The manager is yesterday's man who hasn't won a trophy for years and plays a bland stoic form of football. No wonder Kean, Richarlison and Rodriguez want out.

Good luck, guys, but I'm out. I've much more pressing things to spend my money and time on.

Andrew Brookfield
177 Posted 07/08/2021 at 20:38:09
Don't lose faith before the season has even started, talk of relegation is ridiculous.

Benitez – Carlo managed this team for 18 months, considered by many, including myself, one of the best managers in the world. We looked shit at the end of 18 months. Benitez has had 5 weeks; let's give him a proper chance.

Brands – challenges around where are all his diamond signings, sadly the guy has always had the rug pulled from under him. Carlo spent last year's money on Allan and James. Not bad signings, and players we could only attract because of Carlo, but you can't blame Brands for not unearthing talent when he's not given the money to spend. Nunes and Dumfries appear clear Brands targets but he doesn't have the authority to just go out and sign these players.

Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are a Top 6 striking partnership. Add Kean into that and we are well stocked upfront.

James is a world class player.

Our defence has proven to be solid.

Doucouré, Allan, and Gomes are not bad players. Be it out of form or confidence, these are high-performing Champions League players who need reinvigorating. That's more to work with than players who don't possess the ability (eg, Iwobi).

Why didn't we play Dobbin upfront today? Because we have three brilliant strikers that will be available next week. It's about getting the first team squad fit, not winning a pre-season friendly!

David Hayes
178 Posted 07/08/2021 at 20:45:04
The expression on Rafa's face post-match and all that self-belief evaporated. He looked horrified and stunned. Gone is that wry knowing, slightly patronising air. This one's gone double-quick.
Ian Riley
179 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:04:48
Rob #166,

I support Everton, the board and manager come and go. The board are planning for the new stadium. The owner has spent hundreds of millions, paid debts, backed managers and sacked them at fans' request. Problem is we are no further forward than under David Moyes. That's the frustration. We are the lotto winner and wasted the lot with nothing to show.

I think the club were shocked when Carlo left. Rafa was the best applicant. We are at the mercy of Financial Fair Play regulations and players on big salaries. We have to take stock, not add more average players with big salaries. If, by November, the club are struggling at the bottom, Rafa will go! Allardyce will be riding into Goodison Park on a white horse to save us again!

The players need our support. Vocal frustration benefits no-one and creates a toxic atmosphere. After the last 18 months, let's enjoy normality returning. We are alive and upright and going back to our football club!

Andy Crooks
180 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:07:52
Darren @ 106.

I draw some hope from your comments and you are right. Over the last 20-odd years, I have, as a betting man, looked at pre-season friendlies as a way to get some guidance for the multiple perm bet which I place each season on the four divisions. Pre-season form is staggeringly inaccurate, I mean almost a reverse.

Unfortunately, this is of little account here. Anyone with anything remotely like a brain would have lined up Rafa a series of fixtures against the Girl Guides, the Women's Institute, the Pixies, Top Cat and his gang.

Just build up a little pool of goodwill.

Pete Mills is spot-on. Rafa's goodwill ended today.

Kevin Molloy
181 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:11:48
It can't have been goodwill if it ended before the season starts, Andy!
Drew O’Neall
182 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:14:30
What a shite squad... buckle up for a season of KITATTPO!
Dickie Langley
183 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:20:27
I had the privilege today of taking 2 of my kids to their first live match supporting their teams. One of them Everton, the other Man Utd. The last time I watched Man Utd v Everton it was the reserves back in 1998-99, and Everton lost 7-1, so perhaps only losing 4-0 is an improvement over the past 20 years.

First half we were shocking. Gray, Coleman, and Digne had good moments, and poor James had no-one on his wavelength, like the only piccolo player in a metal ska band.

For a lot of the first half, we played with a massive hole where the centre-forward would normally be.

Second half, we were better. And I'd never thought I'd say this, but Delph didn't look dreadful. Sadly though, he and Davies cannot play in the same team because they both try to be the water-carrier without adding any forward running. No wonder Godfrey ran box-to-box and Holgate was pinging the ball forwards – there were no options in front of them.

1st goal: a cock-up. Can happen in any game, nice to get it out the way in a friendly.
2nd goal: Anyone can concede a headed goal from a corner, but you have to match up the right people.
3rd goal: Silly free kick. Good shot. Keeping not good enough.
4th goal: Clever flicked header over Begovic.

We could have got one back when we hit the bar. We could have got another one when a cross went begging.

But by heck that was troubling. Not a lot I can do about it, but I might just go and change my fantasy football team and take the Everton players out, because I always get a bit too optimistic about them.

We have 3 centre-backs who I think are good in possession (Holgate, Mina, Godfrey). The full-backs are okay. Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are definitely Premier League standard. Gray worried the Man Utd defence.

Oh, and I've always thought Iwobi was unfairly criticised. But I've been watching him on TV. Seeing his performance in person, I was thoroughly unimpressed.

And the youngsters played like youngsters. Enthusiastic, but lacking in guile.

Alan Moss
184 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:22:17
Getting very bored with people on here saying fans should support the manager. A lot of people were vehemently against the appointment before it was made.

When a 4-0 loss is served up in the only meaningful friendly one week before the start of the season, fans are entitled to let their feelings be known.

Indeed, fans haven't been listened to by other means so what other option is there?

Annika Herbert
185 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:25:08
If we are relying on the player who can't be named to improve us then we really have hit rock bottom.

He "creates and scores big chunks of goals" was one comment, if I read it correctly. Slow, ponderous, and lacking creativity is how I remember him. With the odd goal thrown in when he can be bothered to move at all

Winston Williamson
186 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:28:53
It's not a good sign losing by such a margin. Winning breeds confidence and losing sucks it out of players. No way will any of the players have taken anything positive from today.

There are major issues:

1. How have we been allowed to become the richest skint club in the Premier League?
2. Who agreed to spunking hundreds of millions on shite?
3. After all the spending, why do we still have gaping holes in the squad?
4. How have we got ourselves in the position where Rafa Benitez is our manager?
5. Why is Kenwright still involved with Everton Football Club?

There's more, it's just depressing!

Moshiri really has been screwed over! Kenwright must surely take some blame as the chairman and ‘football man' at a club owned by an accountant??!!

I've had faith in Brands. However, if he can't do his job (due to too many fingers in the transfer pie), and is willing to stay, he's part of the problem!

I'd be very very happy to see the lot of them leave now! Owner, chairman, manager, coaches, players! The fucking lot!

(I might be overreacting… but we've had three decades of utter shit! It's getting harder to support this load of bollocks!)

Richard Nelson
187 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:33:35
I bet ya Moshiri's only hanging on in there for the new Stadium... then he'll bail out!

He's tried (I hope I'm wrong)... but he's "flogging a dead horse"!

Justin Doone
188 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:37:12
Wasn't it Moshiri who wanted Silva. The right football style but the wrong man appointed at the wrong time. He was too inexperienced.

Chat of Rafa being better than Carlo isn't something I can get my head around. But he has greater experience of the Premier League, having managed top clubs and expected relegation fighting teams.

However, the reality is we are an average to good Premier League team because that's the average standard of player.

Rafa has 10 games to establish us as a top 10 team. Anything less and there will be serious questions to ask and actions to be taken.

Good luck all!

Clive Rogers
189 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:47:49
Richard, 187, I am sure Moshiri’s idea was to sort the team out, get us competing in Europe and at the top to ensure the new ground is full. If this season is the disaster I am now expecting, the new ground won’t go ahead as it wouldn’t if we were relegated.
Paul Hewitt
190 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:51:24
Seems some people have given up before the season even starts. Unbelievable.
Andrew Brookfield
191 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:58:41
When Everton finished 4th, we were a crap team that was possibly a bit fitter than most and we won most games in the last 10 minutes.

Last season wasn't great, but one or two more wins and we'd have been in Europe. If those wins had come earlier, we would have been fighting for a Champions League place.

Don't lose the faith. ToffeeWeb posters can be so pessimistic.

Minik Hansen
192 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:58:42
I hope if they stay, the winner in Richarlison and Kean, where the latter made it to the semi-final in the Champions League, added with Calvert-Lewin and one or two good signings, will do wonders to this squad.

How's Southampton doing in preseason? They lost at home to Athletic Bilbao 3-1. At Goodison Park, there's still hope for a good start.

Andrew Keatley
193 Posted 07/08/2021 at 21:59:26
Dave (156),

“The way to turn this around has to be promoting from our youth system and buying a few young players who are on their way up the ladder. We then sell one or two at a big profit and the process begins again. Liverpool have done this successfully, so have Leicester City and Aston Villa seem to be trying it now.”

Are you serious? We are and have been doing this for years, but you cannot guarantee that the players are of the requisite quality to play regularly for the first team.

Who from our youth teams would you have promoted (from the last 10 years) that we overlooked? Where are they now? Most went out on loan somewhere and struggled to assert themselves.

The ones that we have retained (Davies, Kenny, Holgate, Calvert-Lewin, Branthwaite, Gibson) show that your “way of turning this round” is old news, and is far from bulletproof as a system for wholesale success.

Paul Smith
194 Posted 07/08/2021 at 22:06:50
Can we at least wait until the season starts before we all have to be put on suicide watch?

Brent Stephens
195 Posted 07/08/2021 at 22:14:30
Annika #185! He wasn't even in the squad and you're after him again!

Let it go!

Matthew Williams
196 Posted 07/08/2021 at 22:17:57
Some top comments on this thread but Winston nails it as ever!.

I too want our clueless board gone for good, most of the players and so-called coaches and fucking negative gaffers, I'd prefer to stay at Goodison too.

Sadly folks the above would only happen if the unthinkable occurred this season.

We're just making up the numbers... as per usual!

Dave Williams
197 Posted 07/08/2021 at 22:34:11

I did not claim that what I suggested was not old news and neither did I say it was bulletproof. My point (as you do not appear to have grasped it) was that buying players from other clubs who have already peaked is not the way forward.

Promoting younger players (I should have added that they would have to be good enough) and buying younger players who have not yet peaked is better for a club like ours.

I certainly can't think of any who have been overlooked but maybe if we had put more resources into the youth programme, we would have done better. We have had promising lads – Ledson, Walsh, Dowell to name a few – who looked good but dropped off... why so?

We have not spent the proceeds well from our bigger sales because we have gone for experience in most cases and these players have not been good enough in one way or another.

Tony Abrahams
198 Posted 07/08/2021 at 22:40:51
It's unbelievable that Benitez has had to say that, Barry H@157, but it's something Martinez, Koeman, Silva, Allardyce and Ancellotti all could and should have said. It is just a combination of managers recruiting their own players and thinking they are papering over the cracks.

But instead, they have combined to leave us in a very perilous position, with too many players in the squad who are just not good or hungry enough to help the decent players that we have.

Terry White
199 Posted 07/08/2021 at 22:44:34
Goodbye, Chris (#176), you will not be missed.

Enjoy spending your money on something else.

Fran Mitchell
200 Posted 07/08/2021 at 22:48:18
It's a sad indictment of the situation when there is very little if any optimism about the season to come.

Fans back at stadiums after 18 months, the start of our fan base's farewell to our decrepit yet beloved stadium. What should be a period of celebration has become something quite depressing.

Mitigating circumstances: yes, but the malaise we find ourselves goes much deeper than an injured player here and there.

Benitez is here, make no mistake, because of this malaise. The blueprint he set out at Newcastle is the exact one he'll do here.

And this is because the club can't invest, and must ensure our Premier League status; otherwise, our new stadium plans could well sink this club.

Top 6. Europe. 'compete'. Ha. Not a chance. 10th to 13th is what Benitez is here to achieve. Anything more is a bonus.

We are paying dearly for wasting about £500million in transfer fees. We had our chance and we blew it.

We are back to the Moyes days of free transfers and nominal fees. However, in the Moyes days, that was enough to be best of the rest. Now, with Villa, Leeds, Leicester and even West Ham all targeting a Top 6 finish (or even Top 4), added to the 'Big 6'... well, we are well and truly fucked.

Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Brighton – these are the clubs at our level currently. It is with these clubs that we will be 'competing' in the league table.

Shane Corcoran
201 Posted 07/08/2021 at 23:02:33
Harsh, Terry.
Brian Williams
202 Posted 07/08/2021 at 23:03:38
We lost a game, badly, but the woe is me and gnashing of teeth is way over the top.

Get a grip, get behind the team and stop fucking whingeing!

Kenn Crawford
203 Posted 07/08/2021 at 23:10:06
So no Gbamin in the squad – don't tell me he is injured again, the poor sod!

So we lose to Man Utd again. Did anyone think that the manager or any manager would get a tune out of these gutless overpaid wasters?

Christ, it's hard being a blue. At least I am old enough to remember the '60s, '70s and the wonderful '80s. I feel for our younger fans that have grown up watching this crap.

So, to all you blues back in the UK, stay safe and just enjoy the matchday experience.

Brian Williams
204 Posted 07/08/2021 at 23:15:15
But, then again.... we are shit!
Andy Crooks
205 Posted 07/08/2021 at 23:18:20
I bow to no-one in pessimism and glass half-emptiness. Yet,... I have a feeling about this season. I think it may well be worse than I could imagine.

We have quite a few players who are okay. Some who are not. But, as a group, I think they are quite a laid back crew who, if we are threatened by relegation, might well put in a shift now and again. Mostly, though, I suspect that they quite like the Z-Cars stuff, and like the look of themselves in the new shirt.

On a good day, we might see a wee bit of urgency. What they probably don't want is us to sign some annoying fucker who will shout at them and want to win and earn their pay.

Someone who will not be part of the wee gang that Carlo so magnificently nurtured. Some mad bastard who has actually heard of the word 'shame' and sees it not as an abstract concept, but as something that fans actually understand.

Maybe someone who gets the notion that driving to work on a Monday morning in a car that costs more than most of us will earn in 20 years has a duty. Not to be, heaven forbid, a role model – just not to be an entitled, soft, self-satisfied, unthinking, self regarding cunt.

Anyone got any thoughts on who we might sign?

Ray Smith
206 Posted 07/08/2021 at 23:22:44
Before we start pointing fingers! Everybody is predicting doom before the season starts! I'm prepared to see where we are after half a dozen games.

However, nobody seems to hold Brands to account? Why not? What has he done?

Andrew Keatley
207 Posted 07/08/2021 at 23:24:15
Dave (197),

I think I just about managed to grasp your point but, because it was facile, I decided to comment on it the way I did. How do you know if a player has already peaked or not?

What's it like in the future? Do we beat the robot overlords in the end?

Phillip Warrington
208 Posted 07/08/2021 at 23:27:51
This should be the time we promote players from the U23s to inject some pace and hunger into the squad. But once again, different manager but same situation they bring in players who can no longer cut it at their previous clubs. Being a young player at this club must be depressing, no wonder so many players lose their way once they get to the U23 level.
Andrew Keatley
209 Posted 07/08/2021 at 23:32:37
Chris (176) - So an under-par performance with a brand new manager in an away pre-season friendly against Man Utd was the straw that broke the camel’s back? Mind your head on the way out.
Jeff Armstrong
210 Posted 07/08/2021 at 23:36:49
Andy #205,

That player no longer exists, we are at the wrong end of 25 years of over-inflated salaries. There is no desire any more from players who want to earn big reputations and big money that might go with a big mouth. Today's players won't accept being shouted at and called out, they will just point at their wage slip and say, ”Hey, Roy... fuck the fuck off!”

Barry Hesketh
211 Posted 07/08/2021 at 23:43:31
Ray @206,

I think it is a fair point you make regarding Brands; however, due to an interfering owner, a slew of managerial changes, and circumstances beyond his control, he just about gets a pass. I think because the club knew very early this year that the gamble of purchasing the likes of Allan and James hadn't quite worked out, they really couldn't afford to allow Brands to leave at a critical point in Everton's history.

I also think that Carlo became aware that the financial situation wasn't as good as he thought it might be and screwed the club over with his 'get out of jail' clause in his contract.

If we as supporters can get our heads around the fact, that the club faces a treacherous few months and needs our help more than it has done for quite some time, and also realise that battling for Europe isn't the target for Everton this season, but staying in the Premier League is of paramount importance, then we may just lift the players enough to get the necessary points required to buy us another season in the Premier League.

Bringing in Benitez hasn't helped to galvanize the fanbase, but he's the least of our concerns; it's about the team and, if we aren't careful and patient, we could help to bring our worst nightmare to fruition.

The quicker we get to 45 points this season, the happier I'll be. Not what I thought I'd be writing at the start of the season, but I think that's where we find ourselves following some terrible business in the transfer market and a lack of leadership in the boardroom.

Jerome Shields
212 Posted 07/08/2021 at 00:12:44
If the bricks are not good enough, the wall will fall down. If Everton cannot move out players that are not suitable, or purchase players that are, it is inevitable that they will struggle this season.

Fairy Tales. . . Mmmmm. . . not happening in the Premier League.

Don Alexander
213 Posted 08/08/2021 at 00:41:32
Barry (#211),

On the face of it, you make very good points... but only if the issue doesn't include the psyche of the vast majority of players currently stuffing Finch Farm, and also stuffing the expectations of us fans.

The vast majority of them, whether they accept it or not, consistently perform in a manner more than merely suggesting they don't give a shit.

That said, many of them joined us and initially, for a few games only in general, seemed worthy additions to the squad. It's then, though, after just a few weeks, that the vast majority of them see right through the farce that is Finch Farm "coaching", contrasted by the likes of Leeds – they being just one of many other fitter, faster, physically stronger squads.

They then have a natter with their other half or agent, contemplate the fabulous years-long contract we've just given them, and think, "Well, this is as good as I'll ever do – time to put my feet up whilst the Finch Farm shit endures!"

Most sane people might just ponder who in Finch Farm, and beyond, has for decades promulgated this repeatedly failing outcome, to the absolute cost of fans' reasonable expectations for a football club consistently included in the whole world's topmost wealthy clubs.

And yet so many of us go on vilifying managers alone who, until they walked into the Finch Farm that has culled (to their own exorbitant financial advantage of course, to the cost of signing better players) the last five managers. They knew next to nothing beyond the wealth and duration of their contracts, and, I believe, zilch about the inertia that grips everything and everyone at our God-forsaken "Training Ground" – stuffed as it's always been this century with cheap, desperate ex-players and coaches making themselves forever beholden to the tight-arse shithouse who is allowed to still masquerade as our Chairman.

Nicholas Ryan
214 Posted 08/08/2021 at 01:36:48
This result suggests that the opening part of the season will be hard. We need to expect a few 'squeaky bum' moments between now and Christmas.

However, I think that Rafa's coaching and discipline will eventually start to take a grip. I see a much-improved second half to the season and I see us finishing between 6th and 8th. Whether that's good enough, I will leave others to decide.

David Hallwood
215 Posted 08/08/2021 at 01:43:48
Kenn (#203),

The '70s had more than a few dire moments. For Billy Bingham's 90th birthday, there was an article about the 1975 season which reminded me of the pain all over again.

We had our name on the trophy and bottled it by getting turned over by Carlisle 3-0 and drawing with Chelsea; both teams were relegated, in fact Carlisle turned us over at home 3-2.

So suffering as an Evertonian is not new.

Derek Thomas
216 Posted 08/08/2021 at 01:56:47
Winston @ 186; a lot of truth there mate, especially about Brands. How good he was is moot.

What was his remit? Has he been allowed to pursue it? Has his role been interfered with? Or, as seems likely to me, is he now happy to take the money for playing Smithers to Moshiri's Mr Burns... who is running this club in true Mr Burns fashion – on momentary whims and cunning plans.

It's going to be an interesting and possibly fraught season.

Derek Knox
217 Posted 08/08/2021 at 03:29:57
I, like many others, was not in favour of getting Rafa as manager, as I was against Koeman, Allardyce, and Silva; however, I was 'made up' (no lippie tho) when Carlo signed. What a disaster – and an expensive one at that, too – he turned out to be, but possibly did us a favour by jumping ship midstream.

Now that Rafa is here, we sensibly have to back him, or at least give the man a chance to prove what he can achieve. We can't also read too much into a pre-season friendly and, remembering that the window is still open, we may throw caution to the wind even, and breach FFP, and hope that they weigh up the profligacy against the financial outlay.

It's not like we have bought success, in fact, quite the opposite and, like many have said, like Winston W: "How has this been allowed to happen?"

Dire, we are not, as many are making out. I think we are only a couple of additions away from being a serious unit. Not saying we will storm the Premier League, far from it, but we should be able to hold our heads above water, and end up in a respectable position.


Lester Yip
218 Posted 08/08/2021 at 04:57:57
I knew we were without fire-power in this friendly so I didn't expect we would score much. But coughing up four goals is not a good sign.

The first goal is poor communication; okay, I accept Pickford just came back and lacks sharpness. 3rd goal is a worldie from Bruno. 4th goal is lucky, a strange headed flick?

What got me worried is the 2nd goal. A free header for Maguire. It takes us seasons to be able to defend set-pieces. I am worried that this zonal marking addiction in set-piece situations once again cost us dearly.

With no money to spend and we are on the way to ship out our most creative player, I'd expect the team to be in dog-fight mode. Hopefully Benitez can get the fitness up a notch and fix the defensive problems rather quickly.

Nicholas Howard
219 Posted 08/08/2021 at 05:09:47
I got a slight headache when I browsed through the comments here. Folks... for those who wanted to shout "Rafa Out", perhaps get a beer and relax... watch how it goes say after 12 games into the season...?

Reality check: We have problems from owners to players.

Owners see this as a business, that's why the new stadium. Rafa will be here for at least this season, so relax.

Players are all bound by contract... plus FFP shit, so there is something called rules the club has got to follow.

Danny O’Neill
220 Posted 08/08/2021 at 06:21:30
Well, quite a few judging already on the back of a friendly!

It's Sunday morning, the sun is out and the dogs are somewhere out there. They're free spirits and are probably pursuing squirrels or maybe a fox. They'll be back soon as the season starts next week and we need to talk about that. What's not to be happy about?!!

Had to reply to you, Conor (@149). Fair one mate, especially about playing 3 slugs!

I do think Allan and Doucouré remain our best two when fully fit. Assuming it's going to be a 4-2-3-1, yes, James in the Number 10.

Maybe the lad from Leverkusen is going to give us a much-needed outlet of pace for our beleaguered midfield as well as Richarlison. That's actually not a bad side if we sort the right-back out. And personally, a new centre-back. If not, then it's Mina alongside Godfrey for me.

Alan J Thompson
221 Posted 08/08/2021 at 06:55:28
Derek K(#123); There is another similar saying; "Life is like a box of chocolates, it won't last long if you're fat."

As for others asking if I was expecting a manager with a "magic wand"? No, but I was led to believe that we would see a fitter, faster and better organized team.

On the basis of this performance, we failed at the first hurdle, picking something that resembled a team, you know, along the lines of a defence linked by a midfield to winger(s) and strikers with something resembling a game plan. We might have done as well having a coats-down kick around in the pub car park.

Steve Brown
222 Posted 08/08/2021 at 07:04:36
Alan @221,

It is too early to judge Benitez, as you say, but the logic for hiring him was that he can organise the team, set a clear defensive strategy when we didn't have possession, and insert pace into the transition from defence to attack.

He has made some progress on the transition phase, as we saw in the second half yesterday, but the zonal marking at corners was a shambles – I had flashbacks to Silva and Martinez.

Danny O’Neill
223 Posted 08/08/2021 at 07:28:41
Back from walking the dogs. Always my favourite time of day.

A couple of thoughts here. Upfront, I didn't watch the match yesterday and I was "disappointed Danny" when we appointed Benitez.

But let's apply some perspective... well, my perspective, for what it's worth.

1. Manchester United currently are a better team than Everton and have been for a long time.

2. Without looking at the exact dates, their current manager has been with them for about 2 years / 2 seasons now, so there is a degree of stability around the place and within the squad. Take note, Everton.

3. Our manager has had this squad for 4 weeks? Take note, Everton, and do not panic. Ole had his doubters and calls for his head to roll early. Kendall '83 springs to mind. Stick with the plan. In fairness, this one hasn't started yet.

4. Leading on from point 3, it was a pre-season friendly. Had we won 2 - 0 and people had gone positively hysterical, I'd have been telling them to calm down as much as I would advise those today who are calling armageddon this morning.

Season starts next week. Home win against the Saints.

Conor McCourt
224 Posted 08/08/2021 at 07:41:19
Robert @157,

I don't think you are alone in that thought process so don't feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall. Many share your view.

Unfortunately we gave in to Ancelotti's ego rather than putting the good of the club first but things don't need to be as bleak as they seem if there is a will to do it.

Despite my misgivings about Allan as a player, I think he had a really positive effect on Tom's game in terms of aggression and pressing; this may also manifest itself onto Gbamin. If we could get rid of the player now, it may not be as poor a signing as it looks due to his influence on others, despite the deficiencies in his own game.

Robert, while I agree with your sentiment that none of our midfielders are "really great", I feel their talents may be also a little under-appreciated, largely because they are essentially doing the wrong jobs, have fitness issues, or are the same player – meaning we have key deficiencies.

Gbamin looks like he could be a top player but can't be relied upon at this stage.

Davies is a superb young player to have, on a good wage, and someone who can come in and always do a great job, whether from the start or off the bench.

Gomes is still our classiest midfielder and hopefully, in his second season after injury, his consistency and sharpness improves as I feel we play better when he plays. Even if we can sign a player with more end product, he may not control games like André.

Doucouré will also be important because, although he lacks quality on the ball, he has end-product if given more freedom. So, even if we sign an athlete with better quality, he may not be as potent as Doucouré.

The signings of a player like Luiz, Zakaria, Bissouma with a Neves, Van de Beek or Tielemans type would transform a dysfunctional midfield into a potent one, in my opinion. Our problem is that most teams have key midfielders who they can rely on; we don't... and whether we can afford to remedy it is another question.

Bill Rodgers
225 Posted 08/08/2021 at 07:51:27
Fitness. Work. Commitment. Team spirit. A system.

All of that is absent.

Mike Kennedy
226 Posted 08/08/2021 at 08:07:38
I watched the game on MUTV; I was surprised on the balance of the commentary. It was during a long praise of Pickford that we conceded our first goal. Yes, the commentator's curse.

The commentators started the match bigging up Everton but ended the game wishing Man Utd had a stronger test before the start of the season. Their disappointment in Everton was very evident.

Danny O’Neill
227 Posted 08/08/2021 at 08:09:39
That's a good point about Tom Davies, Conor. I think Tom himself called out the effect Allan had on his game. I bore people, but the importance of lining up experience alongside potential.

Another good call by you and a miss by me: Gbamin. Hopefully the (still) young man can come good and avoid injury. Despite many people's criticism of Gomes, in the right midfield and with the right options in front or to the side of him, he is a classy player who can make things happen. His instinct is to keep the ball, not give it away. If he has no options, he is not one to hit Row Z that many would prefer. He will check, wait, and look to see what else is on.

The point there is having options. No team in the modern game lines up with the same 11 like we generally did in the 80s. It's all about the squad and using players cleverly in a rotation system.

I'm a traditionalist and would call to play your best players if fit, regardless of who you're playing. But that's not how the modern game works. That's why I fail to understand when people complain we might only get 24 or so games out of Rodriguez. I'll take them thanks!

Tickets still on sale for next week so I'm going to book today.

Brian Murray
228 Posted 08/08/2021 at 08:36:31
Bill @225.

I would've thought that's the very least he would've instilled into them by now. It's one of the manager's strengths, apparently, to get them fit as possible and organised. No cheap set-piece goals for a start.

Joe McMahon
229 Posted 08/08/2021 at 08:39:49
We all have to Remember, the awfull squad and mis-management of the club going back decades is not the fault of Rafa. If he manages Top 14 with this crock of paceless shit, he will have done very well.

Villa will invest the millions from the Grealish sale wisely, they will also be out of reach.

Steve Brown
230 Posted 08/08/2021 at 08:48:58
The propaganda last season was that it wasn't the fault of the players, but rather the manager. Now the line from the same people is that it isn't the fault of the manager, but rather the players. It's quite amusing to read.
Danny O’Neill
231 Posted 08/08/2021 at 08:51:03
That's to be seen, Joe. We spent, but spent badly. Let's see what Villa do – and they are a club who have been mismanaged way more than us over the years.

Very easy to laud a good season. Wolves anyone? Sheffield United?

Seems for many we are doomed before we start.

6th place, European qualification and a trip to Wembley in May. I'm being consistent in my predictions! See you there.

Bob Parrington
232 Posted 08/08/2021 at 08:54:14
For fuck's sake. One futile training game and the doomsayers are out on here already. As in a message, somehow randomly received from Bill Gates: Life isn't fair. Get used to it!

We will improve!

Joe McMahon
233 Posted 08/08/2021 at 08:55:08
Steve, I thought the general feeling it was both. The manager for his trying to hold on to a one goal lead (for his £11 million a year), players not being able to run forwards, pass a ball forwards, and shoot. Not to mention defenders switching off and the negative goal difference.
Danny O’Neill
234 Posted 08/08/2021 at 09:05:36
I was consistent, Steve. We need better players.

Managers are coordinators in any walk of life. They surround themselves with people they hope will deliver.

It's the people on the pitch, in the trenches and on the front line that ultimately deliver results. I say that as someone who has experienced the full spectrum.

Paul Davies
235 Posted 08/08/2021 at 09:07:53
I am afraid there is no light at the end of the tunnel. We are no better off than our abysmal form at the end of the last season. It is all very bleak.
Danny O’Neill
236 Posted 08/08/2021 at 09:13:23
There seems to be many of those placard-wearing "The End is Nigh" types on this thread.

Probably the same types who were calling for the Sheffield United or Brighton manager.

We almost qualified for Europe last season. One of those teams got relegated and one almost did.

Rob Halligan
237 Posted 08/08/2021 at 09:38:12
As a rule, I don't bother with away pre-season friendlies in this country as they are meaningless games that tell you sweet fuck-all, and the result is irrelevant. How can a game where both sides totally change their starting eleven tell you anything? The only point of a pre-season friendly is to build up your fitness.

Yesterday, well I didn't bother going to Old Trafford as it was a meaningless friendly that told me sweet fuck-all and the result was irrelevant!

Like a few, I watched the game on MUTV. Hard to remember us creating any chances in the first half, but in the second we had a couple. Townsend maybe could have scored when he thumped the ball against the crossbar, the chance created down our right and the cross by Iwobi which Demarai Gray just couldn't reach, and I also think we should have had two penalties, the shove by Shaw on Allan, and the foul on Tom Davies, can't remember who by? So as I say, a few chances which the likes of Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison would have buried.

Finally, why do some feel the need to broadcast the fact that “I'm done” or “I've given up”? What do you want, the rest of us or the club to contact you and beg you to stay? If you've had enough then just go, you're not wanted and won't be missed. If this is what a meaningless pre-season friendly that tells us sweet fuck-all, when the result is irrelevant, does for you, then maybe for your own health it's probably better you go and find the nearest monastery and spend the next 9 months in there.

Rob Halligan
238 Posted 08/08/2021 at 09:41:32
By the way, Danny, seeing as walking your dogs is your favourite time of the day, you don't fancy coming up here and walking ours do you? It's absolutely bucketing down here in Liverpool and there's no way I'm walking our dog in this!!
Kevin Dyer
239 Posted 08/08/2021 at 09:44:07
#190 Paul yeah they're showing all that grit and fight they often complain the players are lacking...
Danny O’Neill
240 Posted 08/08/2021 at 09:56:49
We'll never be done or give up, Rob. It's just simply not possible. I can't understand that. Always my Everton and I love them more than my first girlfriend – no matter how much she shat on me!

It's not about the money, but I'm about to spend £200 plus on tickets and trains alone for me and the boy to travel up next week to watch us win. That's before spends and the wife isn't aware. I'll announce it Friday!

I claim to walk the dogs. I have 2 Rhodesian Ridgebacks. It ls more a case of let them off the lead and they will eventually come back!!

They predicted a win next week. I got telling nods. But then cheese was on offer.

Tony Abrahams
241 Posted 08/08/2021 at 10:02:37
If some people were happy when we were said to be punching above our weight (seriously) and had no problem with us being 'plucky little Everton' (unbelievably), then what did they expect the long-term ramifications to become?

I agree with your last paragraph, Rob H. If people have got justification for getting off, then that's fine, but go quietly because, after the anger, most of us realize that we love Everton Football Club, and when times are bad, the only way to survive is to pull together. (Sorry, Mr Editor!)

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
242 Posted 08/08/2021 at 10:15:04
At least you avoided the 'united fanbase' blather, Tony. Well done! Although your claim that 'the only way to survive is to pull together' may well be a cunning ploy to say the same thing without saying it!

Personally, my strong-held feeling is that we will survive with rampant diversity amongst the fanbase. You may not like it but that's just the way it is, Tony. People have different takes on things, as evidenced by the range of comments we get from posters.

Unity it ain't. And long may that prevail!

Dave Williams
243 Posted 08/08/2021 at 10:16:49
Andrew #207,

The people who work in football will generally know if a player has reached his peak. Talk to some of them and you will be surprised at how much more knowledgeable they are compared to us fans (not having a dig at you here – genuine point).

A mate of mine works at Portsmouth and the stuff these people see that the rest of us don't is remarkable. It really is a case of professionals rather than amateurs.

Danny O’Neill
244 Posted 08/08/2021 at 10:16:58
We have to expect. We should expect. I do expect. We are Everton. And we are going to do it again.

"Everton expects success. We've a very good crowd and a very loyal crowd. But of course they pay money and expect us to do well. If we don't do well, something should be done about it. And something will be done about it"

Expectation. Expect to be Everton. Expect success, not survival. Can't wait for next week!!

Michael Kenrick
245 Posted 08/08/2021 at 10:20:05
Love that quote, Danny.

People moan incessantly about us having no identity...

This quote is our identity. (Unless you disagree, of course!)

Jerome Shields
246 Posted 08/08/2021 at 10:22:29
Danny #236,

Posters see the same old signs. I know there were missing players through injuries, but the basis of a structure should be evident and players should look as if they are going forward. The teams that look in shape in the pre-season will make a better account of themselves when the season starts.

Brian Murray
247 Posted 08/08/2021 at 10:24:10
Danny @244.

Was that Moores's quote just before he took the easy (Everton) option and appointed one of the old boys instead of Clough or Robson? Bingham, another waste of space.

Brian Murray
248 Posted 08/08/2021 at 10:25:51
Danny. Sorry not in a good mood. Nothing that a decent full back and some desperate departures won’t cure.
Derek Taylor
249 Posted 08/08/2021 at 10:36:56
Problem is, Danny, for more than 25 years, the club has never been able to come up to our expectations. Probably fair to say that the only Evertonian with anything to shout about is our much revered Chairman, who has filled his socks.

Whilst talking of socks, too many of the players signed have not been fit to fill those of them they replaced. We have become a boring mid-table outfit, flitting from one managerial style to another, and none of them up to the standard we used to expect.

My prediction is that, having walked out of his last two jobs, Benitez will not tarry here. We'll see out the season with the DoF as acting manager and Big Dunc in charge of coaching! As for the future – it's behind us!

Jim Lloyd
250 Posted 08/08/2021 at 10:45:10
Tony, Danny, Rob, good posts from you. I think there are some comments, that come from people who can't wait to justify their view of Rafa Benitez.

Rob Halligan
251 Posted 08/08/2021 at 10:46:22
Keep those expectations high, Danny. It's not so long ago a 5000/1 complete outsider won the Premier League, when most probably had them down as favourites for relegation.
Darren Hind
252 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:04:57

You weren't looking over my shoulder in the betting shop when I was writing out a bet taking 6/1 for Leicester to go down, were you?

Think it'll work if I do the same with us this season?

Ernie Baywood
253 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:07:10
Danny #244, unfortunately that's no longer our club's attitude.

We just accepted a fixture as a fellow Premier League team's confidence-boosting last warm up match.

We just accepted that the only experienced guy we could hire as manager was an ex-red.

I wish Benitez well, but the club's actions speak volumes about their ambition. We can't do any better, he lives near by, so he'll do.

As a club, we willingly accept mediocrity. We're just happy to be part of the big show.

That's mirrored in our players. Happy to be playing in the big league, not really challenged to achieve anything more.

Brian Harrison
254 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:16:15
I didn't watch any of the game, so I can't comment on the performance. But, like many over the decades, usually pre-season games are there to bring players up to matchday fitness. Obviously you are looking for a more positive result than a 4-0 loss, but seeing both our best forwards didn't take any part, it was always going to be a tough game.

I have to say that, for weeks, I have toyed whether to go to the Southampton game, more to do with Covid than anything else, although I have to admit I was and am bitterly disappointed that we hired Benitez.

I think Southampton will miss Danny Ings and Villa are still after Ward-Prowse, so maybe that will be two of their best players not playing next Saturday.

I think the atmosphere next Saturday will be interesting; obviously we want the Blues to win, and I think they will, but there will be many who just don't want Benitez here at any price and that might dampen the atmosphere.

I think the first 6 games will be critical to our season; given that those fixtures could have been a lot harder, then it is imperative we get off to a good start. If we don't get off to a good start, it could be a very tough season, and because of our FFP position, it's highly unlikely we will be able to improve our squad in January if things aren't going well.

I hope we start as well as we did last season and help banish any negative thoughts. I will never be comfortable with Benitez at the helm but I don't want us in a relegation battle. That is the last thing we need with this present bunch of players, as I don't think many will want to roll up their sleeves and fight if we do get into trouble.

Andrew Bentley
255 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:20:58
This isn't a reaction to the result yesterday, but thoughts and comments I've made for years.

It's not just signing a couple of better players that's going to sort us out, it's a bigger, deeper issue than that. We lack leaders on the pitch and at the training ground, and we lack a team mentality.

Seamus has been a great player and a servant of this club and he truly has been a one-of-a-kind signing for us in this modern era. But I don't genuinely think he's a captain that drives everyone to be better.

There seems to be lethargy at this club from top to bottom and so what we need to invest in is people with character who won't accept second-best and not giving their all. We've had too many individual pieces for a long time and not a true team.

The last “team” I can really think of where everyone is aligned and had strong character was probably the early Moyes team when we had Cahill, Carsley, Gravesen and even Bent upfront! They all gave everything that one season for us and I've not seen a bunch of players look like a team since.

Most of the current playing squad don't look like they get on with each other let alone want to fight for each other. Yes, I want quality players but give me players who will fight every match and won't accept others who drop their standards, then that will do me. We need that attitude on the training pitch as much as match day as that's where the mindset gets set.

At the top of the game, all of the players are good players – you don't get to be a professional footballer without being able to play (although I can think of a few that might challenge my comment... :-) ) - so what sets out the top players is mindset and attitude. That's what we need to buy in to the club as well as work on with the youngsters to change this club over time and get rid of the malaise that's been around for years.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum is what should define us and be the standard across the club. Feels anything but that right now...

Raymond Fox
256 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:21:30
With the squad at the moment, we know it's going to be a struggle.

The result yesterday just reinforces the above even though it was meaningless. At least it says to the players and the management, or it should do, that they have to improve dramatically.

There is always some good that comes from bad events.

Tony Everan
257 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:22:44
Shoot me down, but here's a 'glass half-full' post to throw some light into the cave.

Goalkeeper: Pickford, England's No 1, helped England to the Euro Championship Final

Right-back: Coleman, he would run through a brick wall for Everton FC, also strengthening is on its way...

Centre-backs: Godfrey, a wonderful player, great signing, athletic, committed, a talisman. Mina, helped Columbia to the Copa America final

Left-back: Digne, French international, top-class defender.
Midfielders: Allan, Doucouré, Gbamin, Davies, Benitez has been working on the midfielders to be a better unit: two touches, thinking faster and having a forward mindset. The potential is there to gel and to get a winning formula.

Strikers: Gray, a shrewd signing with pace and directness, who wants to prove himself. This lad could have saved us a £20M to £30M outlay.

Richarlison: Olympic gold medalist, wanted by Real Madrid; athletic, strong team player of a forward, adds resilience to the team as well as attacking threat.

Calvert-Lewin: England's No 2 striker, his game has been refocused to goalscoring; still improving, can kick on again and have a realistic target of 20 league goals this season.

More positives: Begovic is a good back-up keeper.

Keane and Holgate give us strength at centre-back. At left-back, Nkounkou is a talent in waiting. At Midfield / Forward, Andres Townsend is another shrewd acquisition of a solid professional who will give the squad essential strength in depth and provide assists to Calvert-Lewin.

If that's not enough, we haven't spent anything yet. Bolaise's Besic's and Bernard's combined £250k per week wages are off the books.

It is inevitable there is strengthening to come. With one or two players who have said they'd prefer a move being sold. This will invigorate us and create a more unified squad.

The new manager is working with the players in detail, putting the hard graft in on the training pitches. It will improve them given some time and breathing space. Top class fitness and sports science professionals have been appointed to leave no stone unturned in raising strength, endurance and fitness to league leading levels.

As I said, it's a 'glass half-full' post... okay, maybe three-quarters-full! It's more of an appeal to give the team, manager, coaches and Brands a chance to operate.

Ultimately, I believe that our fans at Goodison and away really are the 12th man. We have to get behind the team and give them the confidence they will feed off to play to their best. It's what will help produce the cohesive, winning football we all crave.

Rob Halligan
258 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:24:22
Darren, that's certainly not a chance I would take. I've followed some of your bets recently and wisely stayed away from them. Putting that bet on would scare the shit out of me!!
Jim Lloyd
259 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:28:21
I don't think that's the case, Ernie. I agree that I think playing Man Utd in a friendly was a booster for them and the opposite for us. I think whoever arranged it was daft.

But on your other points, I think Benitez was chosen because we have a basketcase of a team/squad and we need someone who can make the best of what's available. I don't think it was a matter of "He'll do".

Only guesswork, I know, but I think Ancelotti left because he knew he couldn't see any way of sorting out the mess.

The mediocrity you mention, I think is more to do with our hands being tied; we cannot just buy our way out of trouble. Also, we have to make do and mend until the Loss situation is resolved.

All the managers we thought about would want big money to spend and we don't appear to be able to use Moshiri's millions.

I don't think it was mediocre to chose Koeman; Moshiri hoped to see him as the 4th of the great managers in Lancashire. Well, he spent millions on players not good enough and ended up in danger of getting us relegated. And the drama continued all the way up to Ancelotti doing a runner.

I think that Benitez has been chosen, not as a cheap option, but as the best available man to get us out of the financial shit for the next couple of seasons... He's a good manager and I don't think Klopp, Conti, Guardiola, or any other top manager would do any better facing the conditions we're in.

Mark Dunford
260 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:30:11
What with the appointment of an unpopular ex-Liverpool manager to succeed a duplicitous chancer who flounced off, the loss of one key player for reasons beyond our control, the failure to recruit to fill in gaping shortcomings in the squad, the inability to move on transparent mercenaries, and the woeful run of home form, we can be excused more pessimism than usual. It comes to something when I feel the threadbare squad would actually be better off without some members in place and the expensive under-performers need to go.

I've no real knowledge of Gray, who strikes me like someone with something to prove, so could easily come good, or Townsend (my Palace-supporting friends had time for him) and who, together, effectively replace Walcott and Bernard. But, for next season, we're clearly shopping in Aldi rather than Waitrose.

We will need to grow our own so we have to bring on young players this season. Too many young players stocked the bench under the last regime.

We also need to keep Richarlison, hope Gbamim is far, far more than a crock (wishful, I know) and find ways to farm out Kean, Delph, Iwobi, etc. James may well go to free the wages as much as anything, but we need a Number 10 and, like many, I was hoping to see such a talented player on the pitch.

Trevor Cotterell
261 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:34:47
Where to start?

Is this forum for supporters or not? Try looking "supporter" up – it's not hard. It means to give support. So I wonder why half the people on here think they're supporters at all?

I've been with this club since a young lad (1964 in fact). We've had ups and downs but I've always kept the faith and tried to find some positives and yes, there are some. Right now, we're in a transition – one of many. A new manager... some are happy with, some are not, some are waiting to see. But right now we have to be supportive.

I doubt many players read the stuff on here but, if they did, how would they feel? Getting slagged off before the season has even started. People demanding commitment etc (that's fine by the way) but not being committed themselves. People telling them they're useless – well that's really going to help them feel wanted and want to commit, isn't it...??? Yes they get paid more in a week than I used to earn in a year; regardless, but I suspect some of that gets through. What worries me is not that it gets said here, but it spills over to the terraces.

I have no problem with constructive debate (and fortunately there's a good bit of that on here) but there's also a lot of what feels like posturing, not thought through, shoutinesss (for want of a better word – and perhaps I've made that up).

So decide, folks: Are you a supporter or not? If not, then perhaps there's other things you'd rather be doing...

Tony Abrahams
262 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:37:18
I enjoyed that post, Michael, it was nice and civil, and it was a true reflection of what life is currently like.

But that last sentence is awful though mate, although you might be talking about what makes this website so popular, whilst I'm thinking about the very important 90 minutes when Everton play every week.

Ed Fitzgerald
263 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:42:02
I'm sure the crowd will get behind the team, that's been the norm at Goodison. There appears to be some desperate imploring on behalf of some posters on here that, unless the crowd become rabid supporters of Benitez, we are doomed to failure and bizarrely that's the fans' fault.

There is more than a scintilla of cognitive dissonance with many of those pro-Benitez posters who, if they were truly honest with themselves, would have been horrified at the thought of his appointment 12 months ago.

We have gone from signing James (a footballer actually worth watching, who Benitez wants out) to people eulogising over the signing of Andros Townsend (nothing against the guy... but he barely featured for Palace last season). Yet somehow people are trying to flip this into a positive.

I don't think we will go down but I would be pleased and surprised if we are any higher than mid-table by the end of this season.

Jim Lloyd
264 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:51:09
Well said Trevor!
Len Hawkins
265 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:57:00
Jim #259,

A bit unfair to baskets there!

Going on the squad to start the season next week, I suggest all wives, husbands and partners of Evertonians should lock all medication away securely. Throw out sharp knives and razor blades. Gather together all rope, washing lines, strong cord – take them in the garden, douse with petrol, and burn them.

I don't think the start of a new season has been dreaded as much as this one: three cheapos in; no deadwood out a manager who a large percentage would gladly swap for an Allardyce with Silva as deputy coaching team.

The only thing coming out of Everton at the moment is the ability to make this once great club an absolute laughing stock. Talk about Les being miserable – he's got nothing on the faithful Evertonians.

Brent Stephens
266 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:57:03
Rob #237 final para! Fully endorsed.
Michael Kenrick
267 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:59:11
Yea, fair enough, Tony; I was thinking more about the diverse opinions posted on here.

If you're talking only about the 90 minutes, then you want to see unity in the crowd at the game. While I can see that as a commendable higher ideal to set for those in attendance, again it's the reality of human nature that I feel you're butting up against.

You only have to count the number of posts we get complaining incessantly about the behaviour of others at the ground during the game. Admittedly these have tapered off somewhat for obvious reasons these last 18 months... But the seeds are already sown with abundant prophecies of doom for when Goodison inevitably goes 'Toxic' this season.

Of course, that only happens when we're playing bad and/or losing. So there's the only real antidote that will bring you the unity you crave: playing well and winning. Just as it should be.

Kevin Prytherch
268 Posted 08/08/2021 at 11:59:54
I've only watched the highlights, but is it not the case that ridding individual errors will make matches like this a lot closer?

The first goal was a lack of communication. I'm not putting the blame on Pickford as he blatantly wasn't expecting Digne to head that and was coming out to collect the ball. The header gave him next to no time to react.

The second goal was bad marking. Digne was looking at the Man Utd players rather than the ball, and was marking the biggest threat. Ridiculous decision.

The third was a world-class free-kick, he'll probably only score one or two of them all season.

The fourth was poor, lethargic challenging for the ball by a team that had given up.

Digne also made a couple more errors that led to decent chances, a poor clearance that passed straight to them, and being completely out of position for another.

We also had a couple of decent chances.

If we get rid of individual errors, we go into half-time competitive.

Danny O’Neill
269 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:07:59
I've got a ticket for the Upper Bullens next week. As I've gotten older, I've always enjoyed watching from there in comparison to my younger days in the Lower Gwladys. Just need to book my train, but at least I've got a Forces Veteran Rail Card now!

Barry, yes it was an old boys appointment, but I guess different times.

Agree on the full-back, Brian. Please make the Dumfries thing happen.

I do agree, Michael. We should have expectation. And high expectation.

See you all in the Brick next week. Even if you don't know who I am!

Phil Wood
270 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:16:26
Danny 244 wasn't that Sir John Moores quote?

Also as above 237 Rob fully agree.

Jim Lloyd
271 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:18:41
What were the words sung, Ed? "Sam Alladyce, Fuck off out of our club" Very supportive and I'm sure it spurred the team onto Olympian Heights.

As for James. I'd love to see him. His record, however, isn't very good, is it. If he can fit into the team pattern, and doesn't want to move, then I'd be made up to see him; and so would very many more. It's a big 'if' though.

As for the desperate imploring to become rabid supporters of Benitez, forgive me if I think you've missed the point. After yesterday and the reported song from Everton supporters, re Benitez (hope that reporting was wrong), then it becomes a problem for Everton, not Benitez. He's getting loads of cash to get us through the next two seasons.

I can well understand the posts calling for getting behind the club if yesterday's report of the singing is true. It looks like you've already made your mind up about Benitez. As for eulogising over Townsend and Gray, I think that's a slight exaggeration. They are surprisingly good squad players. And comparing them to several in the first team, they don't look like just squad players.

I'm certainly not imploring you to worship Benitez. I don't think anyone else is either. He's a good manager, as far as I'm concerned. Others might think differently. The fact that he managed Liverpool, nearly won the league with them, won the Champions League with them, seems to indicate that he is a good manager. As he did with other clubs. I think what posters who you reckon are imploring us to like him, are not. They are saying "Back the club", which includes the manager.

Paul Tran
272 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:19:46
According to Bet 365 (others available!), we are 25/1 to be relegated, 1/100 not to be relegated. I'd say the latter is better value. Not as good as the 4/5 I got after Southampton thrashed us under Unsworth.

Fill yer boots if you're brave enough, you miserable doom-mongers!

Mark Andrews
273 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:19:53
"Northwest giants", who are we trying to fool?

We're an expensively assembled, bang average, disappointment of a club; we have been for decades. This season will be no different.

I should apologise to my son for inflicting Everton on him.

Andrew Keatley
274 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:23:15
Dave (243) - I'm sorry but I just don't understand your argument.

Knowing when a player has peaked, and the rate of drop-off from that peak, is not something anyone truly knows ahead of time. Yes, we can all make projections, and some people are going to make more accurate projections than others, but not signing anyone who is perceived by the powers that be to be past their peak is just so lacking in nuance.

Some players are able to maintain a level of ability, fitness, athleticism, pace and application well into their mid-30s - while others are a shadow of their former selves by the time they are in their late 20s. Decline in performance levels varies so greatly from individual to individual, with injuries and off-pitch distractions playing a huge part; for some the drop off is spectacular, while for others it is slow and gradual and can see them continue to perform at a very high level for years (only slightly off their previous peak) to the extent that the difference is negligible.

Some players go through several peaks and troughs during their careers. So I reckon just saying the equivalent of “anyone past their peak should be a no-go for us” is just way too simplistic a response to the very complicated issue of recruitment.

Jim Lloyd
275 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:26:42
Danny, Glad you got tickets for the Upper Bullens, a classy stand. I'm up there just in line with our penalty area. We drink in the old supporters club on City Road. Don't know what we're going to do when we move down to the Bramley-Moore.

Have a great time in the Brick, if you can get in. :)

Trevor Cotterell
276 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:26:50
I'd love to see us get to the Top 4 this season. Even Top 6 would be great... but the reality is we're going to have to accept that we need a bit (well, quite a bit) of rebuilding and realistically mid-table is going to be as far as we'll get.

Rafa wouldn't have been my first choice but, given the options available, and given the task ahead, I'd rather have someone with a proven track record at the helm, wherever he's come from.

Again, in reality we've had a lot of players eating up the cash for the last few years whilst giving very little. Some just sat on their backsides, perhaps not even bothered about even getting game time. All attempts to get rid of them have failed. Slowly, we're getting them off the wage bill and, with a bit of luck, and within the FFP rules, we're starting to get room to manouvre.

My biggest disappointment with Carlo was that he didn't do enough to bring through or try out some of our homegrown talent – the exception being Tom Davies who I think is the one person we absolutely need to nurture and bring on. He's come on leaps and bounds already – not perfect yet (very few are) but he seems eager to learn and I agree with those above who have said he's learning a lot from Allan. He could be a leader for us in the future.

Getting the balance of youth and experience is something we've not been great at recently; we need both, and we have to accept that youth will make mistakes while they learn and the experienced may not always be quite what they were but still offer a lot if you look at the bigger picture.

Was playing Man Utd a good call? Yes, in my view. We could have played Accrington Stanley reserves and won 3-0 – what does that tell the new manager? He probably found out more in those 90 minutes than in the previous (very few, let's be honest) weeks. And let's also not forget we were without some key players – has Rafa even seen Richarlison yet? (I can't remember when...)

I suspect it won't be a repeat of last year's blistering start. There's still a lot of unknowns and it may be that the Christmas window will be when he knows enough to decide who is with us (in spirit, not just in contract) and who isn't, and who to buy. On that basis, I'm happy with an okay start and gradually wind things up – the tortoise can beat the hare! It'll take til the following season before we can really start moving forward and the key to that is some stability, especially at the top; something we've not had since Moyes. Look at most of the great managers over the years – how many succeeded in Year 1?

Andy Crooks
277 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:36:33
Trevor @261.

I have never once criticised or booed (what a great word) a player or the team at a game. Totally confidence-sapping and demoralising in my view. Nor do I resent players earning loads of money. What I expect is that defeat hurts them as much as it hurts us, supporters.

I think that this forum is the very place to raise such issues. To suggest that some players might be hiding, or trotting around without too much urgency. We were out-played and out-fought too many times at home last season by teams we should be capable of beating or, at the very least, matching for effort.

None of our players can match Ronaldo's ability but they should match his work ethic every time they wear our shirt. I hope Rafa can get them to do that but there is little sanction available if they choose not to.

Anyway, I think it would be a dull site if one had to base one's comments on the likelihood of them hurting a player's feelings. However, my use of the C-word with regard to our squad in my post last night was over the top and regrettable. I don't tend to pick out individual players and abuse them personally. It's usually collective abuse!!

I just think that, under the circumstances, yesterday's result disappointed me more than a pre-season friendly normally would.

I have decided, though, that I am a supporter, despite sometimes taking a negative view online.

Ed Fitzgerald
278 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:37:02
I wasn't aware of any chanting at the Man Utd game, Jim - until Brent Stephen's posted on here that he didn't hear any (he attended the game).

Football is all about opinions and my opinion of Benitez is that he produces teams that adopt sterile negative tactics. Since he left Liverpool, it's not exactly a glittering CV, is it? Perhaps you think otherwise?

I will always go the game and support the team but being a fan of Everton doesn't mean I have to slavishly follow the line that Benitez is the right man to lead our football club.

Paul Tran
279 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:41:41
My mind's going back to those far-off days when Rafa was across the park and Mourinho was in his pomp at Chelsea. A journalist made a reference to the RS finishing the season strongly for the second consecutive year. Jose fired straight back on the lines of, 'That's the difference, he does nothing for three quarters of the season and looks good the last quarter. If I did that, I'd be sacked!'

I suspect I'll be reminding myself of that quote this season...

John Boon
280 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:48:50
Michael @242.

You stated the obvious but much-needed analysis. On any "Fan Page" for any club anywhere in the world, there will always be diversity and disagreements and agreements. If it wasn't the case, then there wouldn't be any point in fans stating their own point of view.

Despite the expected differences, there are many who just cannot understand those who do not agree with them... Tough! We all differ to the point that there are wars all around the World because of different beliefs and attitudes.

If anyone thinks that is not the case with football, just go to a pub after a game and there you can witness vicious arguments and even physical encounters. And that is often supporters of the same team. One extra factor is that scousers like to argue.

Returning to Everton. Trevor (261), An excellent post. Again that is my point of view on the topic of being a so-called "Supporter". I have 16 years on you as being a supporter and I will be an Everton Supporter for as long as I walk on this earth. I really do not have any choice. Probably lacking common sense, I look forward to a new season with hope.

A ridiculous pre-season game, one week before a new season started, was ludicrous. I give it scant regard. We were lousy and that requires scorn, knee-jerk reactions and promises to find another team or give up football. That particular over-the-top reaction is understandable but, as an Everton supporter, you just have to expect everything, even if you end up with nothing. If you get really depressed, just go down on your knees and say ten times, "What if I supported Sunderland?"

Andy Crooks
281 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:49:54
Trevor @276,

It can all change on such tiny margins. Some player suddenly hits form. The players start to like each other, we get a bit of luck with injury. Then 6th place doesn't look quite so mad.

Jim Lloyd
282 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:50:55
Trevor (276),

A lot of good points. I thought it was daft to play Man Utd, though you've made a good point about what the manager learnt during a near as dammit Premier League match. So not so daft after all!

I rate your point regarding some of the younger players being given a chance. I hope Ellis Simms is able to show what he can do in one or two early rounds of the cup games.

Len (265) :)

Brent Stephens
283 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:52:43
Ed #278 I need to say that I didn't get into the ground until about 10 minutes before kick-off so there possibly could have been some anti-Benitez chants before then - though I doubt it as most people are still tanking up downstairs before that.

In fact it was a quiet afternoon fan-wise. A few behind me tried to get a chant going a couple of time but gave up - much to the amusement of all around.

Steve Cotton
284 Posted 08/08/2021 at 12:54:47
Just a point about VAR, it was brought in because twats like Atkinson would be unlikely to give penalties against the big boys. If it had been a league game, we would have got them and the score wouldn't have looked that bad with no first-team strikers available... so get a grip!

As it turned out Atkinson bottled it again. We had 3 other guilt-edged chances too so, if it's this bad at Xmas, then we can complain.

Trevor Cotterell
285 Posted 08/08/2021 at 13:08:16
Andy [277] - Yes, actually I'm with you on that! :)
Tony Abrahams
286 Posted 08/08/2021 at 13:10:54
Duncan Ferguson won only once, Michael, but he got the team doing everything that Barry H said Benitez brought into a conversation yesterday, and most people were very happy with this. I don't expect to see much improvement points-wise this season, but I think if the players don't start working harder, then I fear it's going to be a terrible season.

I said before Ancelotti left Everton, that I think there is a cancer within our football club, and unless Benitez is given a bit of money, considering he's joining a team which had relegation form over the last third of the previous season, then I think unity is going to be the most important thing this season. But as you say, Michael, getting it isn't going to be easy, which could mean very worrying times.

Jim Lloyd
287 Posted 08/08/2021 at 13:18:52
Ed, Fair post. I don't know. I read Brent's post about not hearing any, and I'd be made up if it was just paper talk. Opinions differ and on here, they are interesting but not destructive. At the match though, it's not opinions that count, it's atmosphere.

You're right about his later CV. If we were a club threatening to shatter the Slimy Six's belief that they have a divine right to be the only clubs in contention for the glory, then I would look to see some of the best managers in Europe being interviewed and the best chosen.

But we seem to have a number of problems, both with very well paid players not being good enough, and we're unable to shift them, and a financial straight jacket by the looks of it. Then the choice of Benitez or Ancelotti?

Well, I'll just say, I'm made up Ancelotti did a runner and glad we got Benitez. I think you would, quite rightly, love to see a free-flowing attacking side, and I can remember the 1962-63 season when Alex Young and Roy Vernon scored getting on for 50 goals between them. Everton scoring 88 goals to 40-odd goals against. Loved it, and loved the mid-80s team too.

I think though, it's a bit like Charles Dickens classics: Hoping for Great Expectation but we're in Hard Times for now. Hopefully, more of the former in the not-too-distant future. Be glad to meet you in the pub and chunner away about the Blues.

John Boon, Excellent post!

Paul Birmingham
288 Posted 08/08/2021 at 13:23:05
Time to rally and believe in the Everton cause, it's uncanny in football how a team's tempo can change just like the UK weather.

But the concern of how Everton started 2021 calendar year and how they finished the season is a concern.

The last manager didn't have the guts for a long fight but the players, apart from a couple, don't seem to have the heart and desire.

Yep, it's a feeling of Groundhog Day again for the last 7 years..

I don't blame Rafa, for yesterday, he's taken on a very tough job but let's hope, come next week, Everton can put Southampton away.

A week is a long time in football but let's see who starts and if a packed partisan Goodison Park can help the players to a win.

Will there be any transfer activity? It's hard to see but the usual media hype prevails.

A new centre-back, right-back and centre-forward, even on loan deals... let's see, but are Everton in the deep shit for FFP?

Derek Knox
289 Posted 08/08/2021 at 13:25:11
Danny O @231,

"6th place, European qualification and a trip to Wembley in May. I'm being consistent in my predictions! See you there."

So those Magic Mushrooms do work after all. Can I place a TW Bulk Order? :-)

No-one can accuse you of being pessimistic, Danny, keep it up mate!

Paul Birmingham
290 Posted 08/08/2021 at 13:25:33
Great analogy Jim@ 287.
Gary Smith
291 Posted 08/08/2021 at 13:41:31
It's been hard living with the rollercoaster of emotions under Moshiri. The optimism his investment brought has been tempered with 2-3 flirts with the wrong end of the table, and some horrendous appointments in the manager's seat too.

The well known saying “It's the hope that kills you” certainly rings true. We've had more bubbles burst than the average West Ham home game.

This is the first year since he joined where I've lost that hope (albeit it was shaken under fat Sam!). The lack of a new right-back (needed since months before Sidibé forgot his socks) is a clear indication we are in the shit. We are very poorly run, and we have no money to paper over the cracks.

As Andy@281 says above, it can all change on tiny margins. Kean deciding to stay and fight; Richarlison being so grateful for the gold medal, he works his arse off for us; Townsend and Calvert-Lewin hitting it off like Sigurdsson once did with Llorente at Swansea; a load of kids smashing into the first team, like they once did for Alex Ferguson; etc.

So, I'm still going to hope. I'm still going the game and singing my lungs out… but, I'm expecting a mid table finish, and for Rafa to end like Koeman and Allardyce before the year is out. 40 points, that's what we need. Anything above that will be a bonus I'll be grateful for.

Ian Riley
292 Posted 08/08/2021 at 13:50:03
Every season, I go through a grieving process supporting this club. Anger at the lack of world class players. Bargaining with Sky Sports we will buy top players and about to announce it. Dispair reading these posts and lack of signings. Then acceptance that I love the club, watch a dreadful performance and spend £200 in the club shop on merchandise.

It's my club and, if we were in the Conference, it would still be my club! My coffin will be blue and still going through the same process on the other side!! It's what makes us Evertonians! Life would be boring without you all!

See you Saturday!!!! Can't wait!!!

Jim Lloyd
293 Posted 08/08/2021 at 14:02:44
Nice ones, Ian, Gary and Paul!!

Paul, if you look at Paul the Esk's article, then it isn't just the FFP that's holding us down. It's to do with the loss we're running. Paul's pointed out that we show a current loss of £150 million. The Premier League limit is £105 million. Mr Moshiri can give a legally binding pledge to put £50 million into the club and bring us down to £105 Million.

However, the Premier League can, and probably will, examine our accounts. There are punishments available to the Premier League, including fines, or even worse, taking points off us. Hence the problems the club have in being able to spend big amounts on players.

That's as near as I can understand it, but it's worth looking at the article... What was I saying about Hard Times!

Allen Rodgers
294 Posted 08/08/2021 at 14:03:01
I'm with you, Ian @292, apart from the £200 spend in the club shop. I'm not hard up but I will not spend £60 on a shirt. Any Everton clobber I buy is from the Heritage Society upstairs at St Luke's. Wonder if that will be open this season?
Danny O’Neill
295 Posted 08/08/2021 at 14:13:13
I guess they do Derek!!

And see you next month!!

Dave Abrahams
296 Posted 08/08/2021 at 14:16:56
For the first time in my life, I can't make my mind up on going to see the Blues on Saturday.

Absolutely nothing to do with the form of the team, never have to think about that... just this bleedin' virus. If it was just me, there would be no problem, but I have to think of my wife and the consequences of going to the game. See what happens near the end of the week and let my wife be my guide.

Whether I go or not, my mind will be on the game once it gets to 3:00 pm next Saturday, and I think most Bluenoses feel like that.

John McFarlane Snr
297 Posted 08/08/2021 at 14:26:50
Hi Allen [294],

I'm not a skinflint but I don't need to be, because my family buy me a shirt now and then, for birthday or Christmas. I don't wear the colours for every game, as people who know me know I'm an Evertonian, and people who don't know me are unlikely to be interested.

Christy Ring
298 Posted 08/08/2021 at 14:43:38
I still hope Rafa can buy a few players this week. He has only spent £1.5M, and I find it strange that he would take the job if he was told he had no money to spend.

Iwobi and Delph, in my opinion, aren't even good enough for the bench. A winger, full-back, attacking midfielder, as we are without one player in the squad, and we don't know what's happening with Kean?

With Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison still to come back, and a few recruitments, let's be optimistic for the season.

Robert Tressell
299 Posted 08/08/2021 at 14:47:06
Jim, I'd understood much the same from Paul's article too.

In some respects you could resent FFP (and Premier League rules) and say why shouldn't our rich owner keep spending. It's not our money after all.

But I do worry. The club's finances are in a very poor state. If we keep spending and running up even bigger losses the club's existence could be under threat.

Someone may correct me but I think Paul's article suggests we're in uncharted territory so far as losses are concerned for a Premier League club. That seems very alarming.

So, in some respects, FFP and Premier League rules seems to have forced the club and owner to accept some home truths and tighten our belts. Footballing prospects are probably not great for a few seasons as a result.

Ray Robinson
300 Posted 08/08/2021 at 15:07:04
Dave #296, you echo my own feelings and situation but I've decided to go. I'll be wearing an FFP2 mask – and no, that's got nothing to do with Financial Fair Play.
Raymond Fox
301 Posted 08/08/2021 at 15:07:31
Looking at the teams in the Premier League, where do you reckon we will finish?

There are 6 teams:- Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham who have more top player pulling power than us and usually start with stronger, better squads than us.

Then we have Leicester City who, I think it's fair to say, are a notch above where we are at the moment.

Next come West Ham Utd and Aston Villa who may or may not do better than us this season.

I suppose 7th is possible but probably unlikely, my guess is we will finish a respectable 9th... maybe 8th.

Derek Thomas
302 Posted 08/08/2021 at 15:20:08
Raymond @ 301; it might be realistic, but it's a bit sad that 8th or 9th is 'Respectable'. Moyes's old 7th-ish trophy used to be a thing to be scorned at and used as stick to beat him with.
Pat Kelly
303 Posted 08/08/2021 at 15:24:17

I reckon West Ham Utd, Aston Villa and Leeds Utd will definitely finish above us. Given the state of the squad, I think we'll finish around 15th. The Club is in decline unfortunately and nothing has happened since the end of the season which I can see halting that. If we made another 2 or 3 signings, we could maybe make top half.

Ian Bennett
304 Posted 08/08/2021 at 15:34:29
Can't agree more.

Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd, Leicester City, Spurs, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Leeds Utd, West Ham Utd will all finish above us without a complete overhaul of a piss poor squad despite spending a shedload and paying some of the highest wages in Europe.

Rafa has a major job in his hands. A poor start with an easier start could slam us into a relegation battle come early December.

Tony Everan
305 Posted 08/08/2021 at 15:39:11
Ray, The bookies and spreads where money talks have us firmly anchored in the 8th to 11th place bracket.

That's the consensus expected outcome for our team. A marker of progress will be finishing 7th or higher. Failure and regression will be 12th and lower. Like some of us, my heart says we recruit well, that some spark ignites the team and we ‘click' and make Europe, win a cup.

My head says the bookies are right and we will be 8th at best, 11th at worst.

Raymond Fox
306 Posted 08/08/2021 at 15:58:41
At the moment, it's anybody's guess where we will finish. Will we lose one or two of our best players, or will we keep them and add well to the squad? Who knows?

I think we might do better playing-wise than we expect because, let's face it, we are not expecting fireworks.

Thats the way I'm appoaching the season, with a glass half-full, because, as far as the club in general goes, it's all hands on deck!

Jim Lloyd
307 Posted 08/08/2021 at 16:05:36
Robert, You're right that the Premier League didn't want to see clubs get out of their depth financially and see players go without wages, and clubs go out of existence. I see that's how Paul's article puts us, as well. In uncharted territory.

That's why Paul is making it clear that the club's finances are harder to put right than just Mr Moshiri paying in £50 million or so to get us down to a mere £105 million in the red. He goes on to say that the Premier League will be examining Everton's books very closely (my words, not his, but that's how I understand it).

It seems like the club has spent a fortune trying to compete at the top end of the league, but bought badly and we have to make do within very tight constrictions. My thoughts are that's why Ancelotti went and dunnarunna. He saw the magnitude of the task ahead and didn't fancy it.

I could well understand top managers not being interested in us when they can go on the Magic Merry-Go-Round, like the Special One has done.

Hope I'm wrong but, when there are calls to say we need several top class players bringing in, I think it's going to be a while before this club can do much of that.

We might have to or hope to sell some players to allow us to buy some; but we'd be trying to sell in a buyer's market. I think we've got a manager in specifically to make the best out of what we've got until we can get out of the mess.

John McFarlane Snr
308 Posted 08/08/2021 at 16:11:23
HI, Dave [296],

Like yourself, I too was undecided on whether to go to the game on Saturday, for exactly the same reason as you. But my 'Young Lady' and the family have given me permission to go. I must say that it was a problem that I struggled to come to terms with, but getting clearance from those who really matter makes me feel a bit better.

Hi all who predict where Everton will finish in the League, you are spoiling things for those like myself, who attend games with an open mind. It rather takes the fun out of sitting on a freezing November day, looking forward to a trophy celebration in May.

Robert Tressell
309 Posted 08/08/2021 at 16:22:50
In some respects Jim, I think that Benitez (not someone I like) is possibly doing something quite honourable – keeping us afloat on a shoestring. As you say, Ancelotti obviously didn't fancy it – and maybe no-one else did.

8th to 12th looks our likeliest finishing zone as others have said.If he achieves that, he will probably be despised, regarded as an utter failure and an RS agent.

I look forward to comments to the effect that games lost this coming season were there for the taking if only Benitez had played Nkounkou, played Gomes instead of Allan (or vice versa), or kept Bernard instead of Iwobi.

Clive Rogers
310 Posted 08/08/2021 at 16:27:44
Moshiri must be rueing the day he met Kenwright and even more so the day he listened to him. The way things are going for him, he's going to end up on Universal Credit.
Paul Tran
311 Posted 08/08/2021 at 16:27:54
Last season we finished 10th, apparently we under-achieved, 30 points above relagation. We've let go of a non-achieving player, replaced him with two others at lower cost. Only other difference is the manager. A manager many on here will be glad to lose.

And we're getting relegated?

Cheers me up no end, coming on here...

Jim Lloyd
312 Posted 08/08/2021 at 16:38:50
I wouldn't argue with any of what you've said, Robert!
Jay Harris
314 Posted 08/08/2021 at 16:40:51
There is no doubt yesterdays result was a major blow but the performance at times was a big improvement over last season with the honourable exception of Pickford and James who were both worse than poor and rightly subbed at half-time, even though that was not planned.

Bearing in mind we had no Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, or he who shall not be named, I thought it looked like a normal game against Man Utd away, ably assisted by Martin Atkinson's obvious bias.

My major concern is that we have a squad of players that do not find the net with enough regularity, which means we struggle to stay in the game against the top teams and we fail to put the lesser teams to bed.

Unless and until we put that one to rest, we will only ever be midtable at best.

Although I did not want Benitez, I do feel sorry for the hand he has been dealt and hope help comes from somewhere. Maybe Dobbin or Simms can become the new Alan Whittle and surprise us all.

Paul Tran
315 Posted 08/08/2021 at 16:42:24
Clive #310, I'd suggest Moshiri regrets believing Kenwright's line that we were a well-run club that just needed 'money'. Bet he wishes he took a firm grip on the club as soon as he got Koeman.
Alan McGuffog
316 Posted 08/08/2021 at 16:42:56
Pre-season, 69-70. Did we not go down 4-3 at Rochdale?

It's looking good.

Jim Lloyd
317 Posted 08/08/2021 at 16:55:51
Spot on, Jay. I think we had the poorest goal difference by far, in the whole top half of the Premier League. I think we started off well because no-one had any experience of what James could do to split defences. And I don't think other teams had worked out the route to goal via the left-wing and Calvert-Lewin.

I don't know the number of goals that Calvert-Lewin scored in the first half of the season, compared to the second, but I wouldn't be surprised that the goals dried up in the second. I don't think we were able to use Richarlison anywhere near enough as a goalscorer, we just seemed disjointed.

Don't know how many the midfield contributed... but we don't seem able to spread the efforts on goal around, so we're snuffed out too often.

I'm hoping too, that Dobbin and Simms can break into the first-team squad.

Bill Gall
318 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:00:22
It's ironic that, a number of weeks ago, names of players we were looking to sign were greeted with, "Great player, just what we need," and suggestions of who we should have signed, and suddenly boom, reality sets in and the realization of the financial situation sets in.

It may seem like doom and gloom but my own opinion is, we were fighting for the Top 4 or a place in Europe near the end of last season and still have most of the same players we had last season in the squad plus a number of promising young players who may get a better chance under this new manager than previous managers.

There are still a number of weeks left in the transfer window and we may be able to lose a couple of players and gain a couple more. Every season is different and this one will be the same. Despite the upheaval in the club, I still believe we will be in place near the end of the season for a position in Europe or challenging for a cup.

This has been my belief at the start of every season since I started supporting Everton in 1954 and even through mostly bad times intertwined with joy, I still get tingles when I see the players trot out for the first game, even if it is just watching it on TV.

Once it is in your blood, there is no getting out, no matter who the manager is or the players, it is just seeing the royal blue with that iconic badge that gets you back on your feet.

John McFarlane Snr
319 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:02:05
Hi Alan [316],

You're correct, the Everton goals were scored by Sandy Brown, Jimmy Husband, and Johnny Morrissey. We could do with someone of their calibre now.

Brian Wilkinson
320 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:12:32
Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin will almost certainly miss the first game of the season. Depending on when Kean and Gbamin got pinged, we could have those two missing as well.

Could be squeaky bum time until we we get a final update later in the week.

Paul Swan
321 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:14:49
Off topic but I hear Liverpool's friendly today was delayed due to big queues caused by their new e-ticket system.

Since they appear to have an IT system similar to ours which is obviously derived from a Fisher-Price speak and spell, not feeling too confident that my e-ticket (assuming they send it this week) will actually work

Bill Gall
322 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:20:23
John #319 someone of their calibre now, can you imagine the howls if we not only sign an ex-Liverpool manager, we also sign an ex-Liverpool player? You would need a tin hat on for a season.
Nick Page
323 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:21:23
We’ll be rock bottom after ten games. Absolutely no doubt. Terrible squad with an even worse attitude - something stinks at Everton.
Ron Sear
324 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:31:00
This year, Everton won a cup in the States, they beat Liverpool at Anfield, one of the players got a gold medal in the Olympics.

All together now:

"Always look on the bright side of life, ,br>Some things in life are bad...
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best!"

Jim Lloyd
325 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:32:59
Observant post, Bill (318); lots of ifs.

If James stays, we could have someone who can open up defences no bother. Does he want to go, though?

If Richarlison stays, he could offer a lot more threat on goal... but is he wanting away?

I think if we can keep players like those, then why shouldn't we look as good as the first half of last season, and a lot better this season at home than last?

Maybe we will get one or two more good players in and I think we've already improved the squad with Gray and Townsend, who are both fast attacking players. I also think Begovic is a good sub for our own goalie, so yes, the squad is already an improvement on last season.

Let's see what happens in the next few weeks, and there's likely more chance of the youngsters getting into the squad.

Terry White
326 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:33:36
Great to see a positive attitude, Nick (#323). Typical of your posts.
Pat Kelly
327 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:33:57
He who can't be named is unlikely to be back anytime soon, if at all. Bernard is also gone. Won't be missed but they made up the numbers. Gbamin is back... or is he? Two in who nobody would have clamoured for. So not a huge difference.

Coleman on his last legs and no replacement. James pining for the sun on his back and keeping the jet on standby. Rafa has his work cut out. Thankfully Iwobi is still with us. And I almost forgot Moise Kean... I wonder why.

Jim Lloyd
328 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:35:21
Haha, thankfully for who, Pat?
Mark Taylor
329 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:43:06
I may be a 'glass half-full' person but I do fear for this season. Last year, we had a good start and there was real optimism pre-season. But that didn't last long and, in the second half, we played appallingly most of the time and finished where we deserved.

This year, the signs are not so good. We have much the same squad, including the time-wasters, the sense that more than a few – Kean, Richarlison, James – are not that keen to be here, no money in the kitty, a lot of players who are literally impossible to move on, some kind of scandal emerging with a player suspended, and a manager whose provenance means patience could wear thin very quickly.

Right now, somewhere between 8th and 10th would be solid. Other than blind hope, I can't see any rationale for being capable of much more than that. But my fear is that it could very quickly disintegrate. The first six games are relatively 'easy' but, if we do our trick of losing to the type of teams we face in those first matches, we are in for a long, hard depressing season. I hope it doesn't come to this but a relegation scrap is something I could easily envisage and the current group are not who I would rely on to save us from that.

Alan McGuffog
330 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:55:21
John Mac.

Sandy Brown was a great servant and sadly remembered for that own-goal.

I wish we had eleven with his guts and pride.

Paul Tran
331 Posted 08/08/2021 at 17:57:08
Yes Pat, not a lot of difference, except the difference in cost that will enable us to buy again. Kean will be sold and replaced. And who knows who else will arrive in the next three weeks?
Danny O’Neill
332 Posted 08/08/2021 at 18:05:30
Saturday will be an "in & out" trip to Liverpool for me. Up on an early train from Euston in the morning, back on the latest one I can catch back. Stopping overnight for Norwich on the 25th to hit the Bramley-Moore.

Not the most glamorous, but outside of Goodison next week, I'll camp in the Northwestern at Lime Street as I usually do. A fine building amongst many in our wonderful city. Not a great claim, but one of the best Wetherspoons in the country!! I've travelled and been to many places, but you'll never take Speke out of the boy I guess. And most definitely never take Everton from me.

2-0 Everton. Can't wait!!

Alan J Thompson
333 Posted 08/08/2021 at 18:18:31
To those who are criticizing those who saw fault in yesterday's performance and asking for a few players to be signed before the transfer window closes, may I remind them that any player coming in now will barely be here in time for Saturday's kick-off.

One day to agree terms with his club, then another for his agents, a day for his medical if he can get to Finch Farm, transport and accommodation, and if he has a vaccination certificate, he might just make it in time to shake Bill's hand a la Joe Yobo or do a Fernandes.

A Big Toe and a Gold Medalist's holiday permitting, we might just catch Southampton in a sense of false security but I am rather hoping for something more.

Danny O’Neill
334 Posted 08/08/2021 at 18:24:30
Alan & John Senior, let's not forget August 1984 when we were trounced 1 - 4 at home to Tottenham on the first day followed by an away defeat to Weat Brom.

That season didn't pan out too badly!!

Mark Taylor
335 Posted 08/08/2021 at 18:26:42
Paul @331,

If I understand Paul the Esk's numerous article on finances, any transfer for Kean must deduct his book net worth, which I would estimate to be around £16M or so. If he goes for £4M – and PSG don't seem to be biting at that level – that gives us £26M to play with. That assumes we didn't give any sell-on clauses to Inter. That's a handy sum but not much of a re-build budget.

It is pretty clear that the only way we could generate serious funds would be to sell one of our most valuable assets. Richarlison should fetch a lot more than Kean but his book value is probably lower while Calvert-Lewin would probably net a similar amount, given his book value is minimal. Of course, finding a club with that sort of cash in these Covid times is hard and I think will depend on other strikers going for even bigger sums, like Kane, Haaland or Lukaku, in which case, a market is created.

My hunch is that Benitez would settle for that £26M plus easing at least one high wage off the books, ideally James, and maybe the suspended international if the club could get away with that. The ones we'd like to get rid of – Iwobi, Delph, Tosun – are simply not going to give up their mega wages.

John Kavanagh
336 Posted 08/08/2021 at 18:28:31
I am glad we've no money left to waste on spineless has-beens, headless chickens, and ne'er-do-wells. For once, our own youngsters might now get a proper chance to prove themselves rather than be expected to make an impression in a few minutes, often playing out of position.

Calvert-Lewin only got his chance through other big buys being unavailable or outright useless. I'm hoping that the likes of Gordon, Broadhead, Simms, Dobbin and Co are given their chance and grab it with both hands. We've wasted hundreds of millions on crap that has taken us backwards and giving Plan B a go shouldn't do us significant harm.

If we can keep out of the bottom 6 and show some progress, I'll be happy with that instead of giving the usual suspects yet another 'final' chance to show how much money we've wasted.

Paul Tran
337 Posted 08/08/2021 at 18:34:28
Mark #335, you're right, not enough for a massive rebuild, but possibly enough for a bit of squad filler until contracts run out.

I suspect Kean will be sold in the last days of the window and it will be a matter of who comes in to replace him. Otherwise it will be a case of finding ways to get the higher-earning non-achievers off the wage bill.

Given our record of spending big money on ineffective players, it might not be too much harm to do a bit of bargain-hunting!

Barry Hesketh
338 Posted 08/08/2021 at 18:58:23
I know that the references to pre-season defeats from past eras are mostly tongue-in-cheek fun, but the sides referred to were pretty good teams, so an odd defeat here and there wasn't so catastrophic for them. This current mob needs as much confidence building as is possible and any reverse will drain their confidence very quickly.

Going into the opening game with the fans back in the ground, but more importantly, potentially taking to the pitch without Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin in the team, is a big ask, particularly as, outside of those two, there are very few goals in the squad, never mind the team.

A good or even a steady start to the season is required by this team, but things are never as simple for Everton as they should be. As for this constant refrain of 'easy' fixtures, how so?

Southampton at Goodison is usually a good fixture for Everton, but the lack of strikers makes it eminently more difficult. Leeds and Brighton away from home, not quite as easy visiting those two at the beginning of the season as it might be later in the campaign; and Burnley at Goodison is always a pain, no matter when we play them. If we're sat above 10th in the Premier League with around 9 points from the first half-dozen fixtures, I'll be delighted.

On another site, a few fans are complaining that Benitez is getting an easy ride and somehow the club is trying to defuse the dissatisfaction of the fans by putting out expectation management tweets, posts, etc via social media and the actual media.

I can categorically say that isn't the case with my posts; I've been an Evertonian long enough to spot the signs that things may prove to be tougher than expected at the start of the season, than many may expect it to be.

Michael Burke
339 Posted 08/08/2021 at 18:58:44
On a slightly different note. I know many on here are desperate for a new right-back. I was at the Barcodes game vs Norwich yesterday. Norwich will finish bottom if they play like that all season. They were woeful. I'd be very worried if I supported them.

I was keeping a keen eye Aarons. It was hard to judge his abilities as they never gave him the ball. He was often the highest up the pitch in acres of space, but none of their midfield played with their heads up. Defensively he did well against Joelinton and Almiron in the first half.

Saint-Maximin tore him a new one in the second half, but I have a feeling he'll do that to many defenders this season. Newcastle could well go down if he isn't playing regularly. A bit of a talisman for them.

Clive Rogers
340 Posted 08/08/2021 at 19:07:46
Paul, 337, for most clubs, bargain hunting should be a part of every pre-season. The problem with this one for us, is that it appears to be enforced and the only option at present.

Also it comes at a time when, with two creative mids probably not going to be available, we need ready made replacements.

Benitez has been trying Allaen further forward to fill this gap, but no way is this going to work. He doesn't do goals or assists having only scored 11 goals in his entire career. He was shocking at the end of last season and looks finished to me.

Anthony Hawkins
341 Posted 08/08/2021 at 19:12:27
I'm not seeing much more than a higher than 12th finish for next season. It's not looking great right now – and that's purely down to player options, not the manager.
Jim Lloyd
342 Posted 08/08/2021 at 19:18:21
The problem is, PSG know he wants to go to them and we want to sell him. They may well say, we'll have him on loan again. If they know we don't want him, they can just play the waiting game and get him for nothing. They've got the players that mean PSG aren't that bothered by waiting. Kean might well be a useful player for us, if we have to keep him.

The problem with us. Most clubs can wait and maybe offer us smaller sums than a player we feel is worth. Take Richarlison, he cost us around £35 million and I feel we'd not get that much, or if we did, it would not leave us with that sum to spend.

James Rodriquez, is he supposed to be on £200k a week? If so, no wonder he won't go back to Real Madrid, they're skint! So we might not be able to other than use him the best we can, same with Richarlison.

I think Gomes might be a more effective player in a more organised team; but maybe he wont! So I don't see us getting much for any of the players we have, except those we would have real difficulty replacing with whatever funds we get for them.

Maybe they will suit us better to stay?

Soren Moyer
343 Posted 08/08/2021 at 19:19:51
If Messi signs for PSG, we'll be stuck with Kean for at least a year. Also, if we want to scam some club to go for Iwobi, we shouldn't play him at all! The more he plays, the less are our chances to get rid of him!
Clive Rogers
344 Posted 08/08/2021 at 19:37:03
Jim @342,

We are in a right mess then. We can't sign the players we want and can't get rid of the ones we don't want. Who would pay cash for James when he misses half the games and is on £200k a week?

If PSG won't stump up for Kean, who will? It looks like Moshiri has had enough of stumping up also. I thought it was a bad omen when Kenwright called him “the gift that keeps on giving”.

Kenwright is like Smithy from The Bash Street Kids... gets everything wrong.

Kristian Boyce
345 Posted 08/08/2021 at 19:40:26
With Inter losing their 2 main strikers within a few days of each other for £150M+, I could see them coming in for Kean as a relatively cheap replacement for £35M (as well as snapping up Dumfries).
Danny O’Neill
346 Posted 08/08/2021 at 19:42:53
What's all this talk of 12th and 16th?

6th. Europe. Wembley.

Jim Lloyd
347 Posted 08/08/2021 at 19:55:49
Haha! Clive (344),

The Beano was one of my favourites... and Kenwright's by the look of it! That looks like the situation we're in. I saw Kristian's post (@345) regarding the cash they've got after selling a couple of players. Maybe they'll pay top dollar for Kean. Let's hope so.

Derek Taylor
348 Posted 08/08/2021 at 19:56:10
Let's forget all this nonsense about Europe and Top 4 or Top 6. Benitez will have done a bloody good job if he can steer us into the new stadium as a Premier League Club.

Not asking much but we will need better players than we have at present to achieve ceven that ambition. For sure, it's going to be a bumpy road!

Gary Smith
349 Posted 08/08/2021 at 19:57:29
“Stuck with Kean for another year”.

He's a decent young striker with plenty of promise still, and should be putting pressure on Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison to be in the front two. He absolutely needs to perform this season if he wants to be part of the Italy team in Qatar in 2022.

Whilst appreciating it's what many online fans love to do, I'm not sure running players out of the club is what we need right now. It's a long season and the squad is already threadbare.

PSG just aren't paying big money for him, so unless Inter fancy him for some of the Lukaku dough, then let's get behind him and hope that him, Gbamin, Gordon, John, Onyango, Whitaker (what a goal!) et al can step up and plug the gap left by no transfers.

Danny O’Neill
350 Posted 08/08/2021 at 20:05:49
When has Everton ever been a smooth ride, Derek? If there is one word that defines turbulence, it is Everton!

He's only 21, Gary, and still full of potential. I for one will not be disappointed if he is challenging or partnering Calvert-Lewin this coming season.

6th Derek. Aim high, then we'll be disappointed with 8th but compensated with Wembley!!

John McFarlane Snr
351 Posted 08/08/2021 at 20:17:29
Hi Bill [322], you're probably right, but it shouldn't matter who a player formerly played for, the important thing is how good he is.

Hi Alan [331], I remember Sandy Brown for his versatility, including playing in goal. Anyone can score an own goal but giving 100% in various positions is another thing.

Hi Danny [334], I use that as an example whenever people take a negative approach. We won the League that season by 9 points when it was 2 points for a win, 9 points = 4 wins and a draw.

Derek Knox
352 Posted 08/08/2021 at 20:47:55
Paul @ 337,

Great to see you on here, mate, it seems ages now since we last 'spoke', looking forward to the new season starting amid all the speculation and counter speculation. I still believe there will be a few more dealings and hopefully welcome surprises too in that equation.

John McF, I do hope I see you at Bramley-Moore 25th September. Andy Crooks is coming over and I have managed to get accommodation for him in Chester. Unbelievably a lot cheaper than Liverpool, and not too much hassle to jump the train (Mersey Loopline) straight in to Lime Street via Helsby, Frodsham, Runcorn, and Liverpool Parkway. Take care, John, best regards.

Michael Boardman
355 Posted 08/08/2021 at 21:58:43
Jim, clap, clap (not the bad type). We were knackered under Koeman and couldn't see where a win was coming from. I was more concerned then than Wimbledon back in the day (ohhhhhhh Horne)
Rob Birks
356 Posted 08/08/2021 at 22:14:41
If it's true that Richarlison expects a holiday break after his Olympic excursion and Calvert-Lewin is absent injured, then I know what I'd tell him!!

Everton pay your wages. Earn them, fella!

Paul Tran
357 Posted 08/08/2021 at 22:18:09
Cheers Derek #352. Everyone will know we are in trouble with FFP, so I suspect our business will be done on deadline day.

If I was buying or selling to Everton, I'd play hardball and wait for them to blink first. We normally do.

Two managers have been desperate to not play Kean, he clearly wants to leave, so he'll be off at the end of August. If the manager wants to play his replacement, that'll be a step in the right direction.

Jim Lloyd
358 Posted 08/08/2021 at 22:18:54
Michael (358),

I agree, mate. Koeman's second season was a bit of a nightmare indeed. Couldn't get in for that game, the crowd was unbelievable. Nearly every pub on County Road was bursting at the seams with Blues listening to the radio. We were in the Iron Lung and went crackers when Barry hit his bolt!

Mike Galley
359 Posted 08/08/2021 at 23:17:10
I don't think I've been this worried about a coming season since Walter Smith was the manger. That's not a slight on Walter, who I felt took over the club at a terrible time. It's also not a view on Benitez.

I just feel we have, in general, a squad full of players (there are one or two exceptions) who I call coasters. They're in good money, and don't really mind if they play, and when they do, win or lose. Hopefully, we have enough individual quality to keep us out of trouble, but I fear that's about as good as it will be.

Jim Lloyd
360 Posted 08/08/2021 at 23:24:29
Soren (357),

Just had a look at that report. It'll be interesting to see what effect that might have regarding out ability to buy players this window. Might give us a bit of elbow room.

Kieran Kinsella
361 Posted 08/08/2021 at 23:55:01
Jim @365,

I believe the issue now is we spent too much over the prior three years. So the club don't want to spend now as a sign of good faith, also to lower our net spend over the next 3-year rolling period.

Bill Watson
362 Posted 08/08/2021 at 00:33:46
Barry #338

I seem to remember us being beaten 4-3, by Rochdale, in a 1969 pre season game.

If there'd been social media, or fan sites, I'm sure some would have been calling for a taxi for Catterick! It may surprise some younger (than me) fans that, despite creating a great footballing side, Harry was not that popular.

Bill Gall
363 Posted 09/08/2021 at 01:18:22
Bill @370,

No, Catterick was not that popular with people as he seemed very abrupt mostly with the media. He was not a tracksuit manager as he seemed to explain his tactics to the players on a chalkboard and left the coaches to work on the training pitch.

I did read somewhere that the only time he put a tracksuit on was for a photo op. However, I met him twice when he presented trophies out at the Grafton for the Liverpool & District Sunday Football League and was surprised at the second meeting he remembered me.

He was easy to talk to and did not move away from you when introduced, but just carried on with a conversation. Other people may not have liked him but I found him easy to carry on a conversation with.

Derek Thomas
364 Posted 09/08/2021 at 01:40:15
Barry @ 369; I didnt get past the first page of the first link - the red echo, (say no more.) they list...

Rooney; plain as a pike staff, Kenwrights tear stained hands all over it.

Sigurdssen; pure Koeman. Swansea played a blinder to nearly double the fee.

Schneiderlin; again Koeman, he went public in the press more or less blackmailing Moshiri - said he Had to have him.

Bolasie; Koeman yet again, he said in the press this was a favk ur to Lukaku to get one more season out of him.
Walsh was only the hapless go between, who got severely rinsed on fees - Koeman was on the golf course, while his brother was taking the training.

Anyway Walsh and Brands; neither have covered themselves in glory. Brands is lucky to still have a job.
But seems happy to play Smithers to Moshiri's Mr Burns - who is the real cause, both directly and indirectly, of most of the problems on the footballing side.

Rumour I know, but Moshiri is said to have been a big mover in the Walcott, Tosun and Iwobi purchases too.

Full credit for the ground though, when it gets here, eventually, (IF.)

I know of at least 2 ex-player/manager biographies that had a chapter titled..."The Average Directors Knowledge of Football" - and a blank page underneath.
Shankly said much the same...just there to sign the cheques.

Winston Williamson @ 186;...Come on down.

Kieran Kinsella
365 Posted 09/08/2021 at 02:50:47
Bill Gall

It's funny how the game has changed. I remember Dalglish was very unpopular with the media due to his monosyllabic answers and seeming contempt for them.

The likes of Fergie and Mourinho developed the art of camping up that hostility and almost become like pantomime villains in pressers.

I can't imagine these days having an old school aloof/grump/disinterested however you want to characterize it manager. The clubs and their PR people wouldn't allow it.

Annika Herbert
366 Posted 09/08/2021 at 04:17:23
Brent @ 195, I was replying to various other posts mentioning the same player, so no, I won't let it go. Why did you not respond the same way about the many Iwobi criticisms, by the way?

Like all other posters, I am entitled to my opinion and I repeat what I have already said many times previously: if you don't like it, don't read it.

Paul Ward
367 Posted 09/08/2021 at 05:58:05
Annika Herbert @375, You are, entitled to your opinion, but every reader on ToffeeWeb knows what you think of the nameless one.
Danny O’Neill
368 Posted 09/08/2021 at 06:20:18
Morning everyone. About to go and get wet with the dogs, so thanks for the cheery messages to set me on my way. Most fearful since Walter Smith? I'll go and ponder that one as I trudge around the park on my own with the hounds nowhere in sight!!

Bill & Bill. That sums up what I heard and read about Catterick. And the comment about 2nd Bill meeting him just shows, the professional person can be very different to the personal one. People often forget that. Work is not a popularity contest.

Dalglish was prickly with the media Kieran. I'll be honest, I used to like his interviews. Always nice to see the media squirming and on the back foot.

Train just booked for Saturday. That's £120 already before I even get to Euston and hit the Northwestern at Lime Street!

Alan J Thompson
369 Posted 09/08/2021 at 06:30:08
On the matter of prickly interviewees, a story I've mentioned before but always makes me smile.

Gordon Strachan who strongly disliked the media, was doorstopped by a journalist and asked if he could have a quick word.

Strachan replied "Velocity" and quickly moved on.

John Keating
370 Posted 09/08/2021 at 07:49:41
Dave 355
Far too sensible a post for TW
Jim Harrison
371 Posted 09/08/2021 at 07:54:51
I mean, I know I tend to see the positive in things, but I can't be alone in thinking a team who finished 10th, 30 plus points above the relegation cut off and only 8 points off 4th are not an obvious candidate to be favourites for the drop or a relegation battle!

Whilst hardly in the league of signing Kane or Lukaku, Gray and Townsend are upgraded squad players on Walcott and Bernard.

And if players are not brought in before the first match it is not a disaster. It has only been recent season where the transfer window did not overlap with the season.

Got pumped in a friendly by a team that could quite easily pump us in the league. It means absolutely nothing.

Dave Abrahams
372 Posted 09/08/2021 at 09:08:07
Bill (371), I never met Harry Catterick, wrote him a couple of letters, one about Cup Final tickets, got decent civilised replies each time. I never cared about personalities in a manager, how they performed was the key.

Harry Catterick was the best manager Everton have ever had, as far as I am concerned. I loved him, he gave himself completely to Everton and lost his health doing it.

Andrew Bentley
373 Posted 09/08/2021 at 09:13:42
Jim @381, can’t speak for everyone else but my pessimism is based on how we ended last season and with what’s been happening over the off season. We are hardly a team with momentum right now.

Of our last 10 games we won 3, lost 4 and drew 4. In what looked like a decent run in to the end of the season but included some woeful performances (Sheff Utd for example).

That would average us out at around 1.3 points a game so more than enough for the magic 40 mark and well over what we needed vs. last season. However my concern is we bring that form into the season and start badly and then player confidence gets sapped.

Stark change from how we started last season and felt going into 2020-21

Chris James
374 Posted 09/08/2021 at 09:22:16
The doom and gloom on TW is of course no surprise, and there are definitely reasons to be concerned. However, a pre-season defeat to a pretty full-strength United when we had no striker present is not one of them.

Ideal? Absolutely not - can't really understand why so many PL teams are playing each other immediately pre-season (I guess it's because the tours are off and keeping it close for covid) - but it's pre-season fitness test not a serious match. When we played for a trophy in America against half-decent teams we did okay tbh.

Key issues for me: New right back (Dumfries), someone creative in central mids (who wants to actually be here - so not James or I suspect our disgraced Icelander) and another striking option (or a run-out for Kean and the youth if DCL and Richarlison are going to be out for a few weeks).

Otherwise we have a decent-defence and holding midfielders and have added some pace on the wings.

Ray Roche
375 Posted 09/08/2021 at 09:37:46
Derek @372

I think that the correct quote was “The Average Chairman's Knowledge Of Football“ above a blank page, not the average Directors. And I'm assuming here that you're referring to a DOF not a Board Director. If not, then apologies.

Didn't Clough do that in his book? Whatever, it's a good way of getting the point across!!

George Cumiskey
376 Posted 09/08/2021 at 09:38:19
Well said, Annika, keep it up.
Brent Stephens
377 Posted 09/08/2021 at 10:14:51
Annika, I do like it! Makes me smile every time!
John McFarlane Snr
378 Posted 09/08/2021 at 10:22:05
Hi Derek [372] and Ray [386] this subject has come up once or twice oh this site.

It was actually Len Shackleton who wrote that and it read "The average Directors knowledge of football"... followed by a blank page.

Derek Thomas
379 Posted 09/08/2021 at 11:02:06
John @ 390; Ray @ 386; Shackleton eh, I had Coughie but wasn't sure the other was Carter or Mannion so left it blank.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
380 Posted 09/08/2021 at 11:36:30
One of the themes that has developed on this thread has been picked up in a Talking Points piece, so I'm moving some of the more recent posts over to there...
Derek Thomas
381 Posted 09/08/2021 at 11:43:56
Paul @ 315; Moshiri Did take a firm grip...and in doing so hired the wrong people. He seems not to be able to do right for doing wrong, he couldn't pick his nose when it came to managers. He zigs when he should zag.

But he pays the piper and he's called some 'kin awful tunes, he couldn't carry a song in a bucket.

Anyway, metaphors...or is it similes? whatever, thus exhausted.
His hearts in the right place bless him, but he should stick to his day job and get the stadium built.

I've no time for the whole DoF thing or rs in general (with a couple of notable exceptions) but if Brands and Benitez can work together and first stop the headlong dive into our potential Sunderlandisation...cue sound of plane screaming in steep dive...
and get us a single digit league finish, decent cup runs a bonus.

Then they can start on the even harder job of improving us Next season...but thats all long-term wishful thinking.

What we have to do is - One. Game. At. A. Time.

No fannying around with Zonal 'kin Marking.
No kin Rotation for the sake of it, there are 3 International Breaks - one a month and not many of our players will be looking for their passports. Yes, you Richo! we pay your wages and we bent over backwards for you recently - time to pay it back
Photo copied sicknote if required - no more mister nice guy.

Attitude and Intensity and we might just get through this shit show in a better state than we think.

But only If the players buy into it.

And there peeps, is the key point.


John McFarlane Snr
382 Posted 09/08/2021 at 11:49:09
Hi Dave [382],

I suppose that some may find it strange that, despite the successes of Harry Catterick and Howard Kendall, my favourite manager was Johnny Carey. When I went into the Army in August 1956, Cliff Britton was in charge. Ian Buchan took over from him, but by that time I was serving in Cyprus and can only read of his time at Goodison.

The reason I regard Carey as my favourite is because, on my return to Civvy Street in 1959, he had introduced a style of play that fans of our generation had never witnessed, and had laid the foundations for the success that followed.

You can't beat a bit of nostalgia, can you?

Ray Roche
383 Posted 09/08/2021 at 12:18:06
John @836,

That's right, John! The Clown Prince, wasn't he called?

John McFarlane Snr
384 Posted 09/08/2021 at 12:39:21
Hi Ray, [391],

Yes, I'll just give you an insight into his character from a book that I have. It reads "The 'Clown Prince of Soccer', Shackleton was a live entertainer whose total belief in enjoyment on the field, interrupted what would have been a long international future."

I can only remember him playing for Sunderland, but he was transferred from Bradford Park Avenue to Newcastle United in 1946 and scored six goals on his debut. They don't make them like him anymore.

Ray Roche
385 Posted 09/08/2021 at 12:48:11
Thanks John,

Another entertainer from a slightly later era was Jim Baxter from Rangers who loved to play to the crowd. Great to watch!

Danny O’Neill
386 Posted 09/08/2021 at 12:59:51
Memories John Senior.

Different times but I bet the Cyprus pitches were the same. Rock hard and what little Irrigation they did get was usually mixed with the contents of a sheep or goats arse to fertilise it and try to make it look green!! I picked up a few nasty infections on the back of the odd tackle or two out there. Loved the football though.

My abiding Everton memory of Cyprus is sadly of Mike Walker being appointed and that Wimbledon match.

My poor wife has endured some tough times & worry with my long absences in far flung places over the years. But that day, only 18 months into our marriage, I feel is the closest I came to getting the boot! She seemed genuinely concerned at what she had married seeing me carried home that day!

Paul Tran
387 Posted 09/08/2021 at 13:34:06
Derek #381, that's a fair point - I was thinking slightly differently.

Moshiri hired who he wanted and then let the two of them, Kenwright (and himself?) pull the transfer 'strategy' in different directions. We ended up with an imbalanced team that lacked the 'pivot' striker and strong centre mid Koeman said he wanted.

I bet he wishes he'd been more hands on more quickly that summer. He's been like a mug punter throwing good money after bad ever since.

John McFarlane Snr
388 Posted 09/08/2021 at 13:54:07
Hi Ray [385] another snippet from the same book, "Slim Jim" as he was often called, because of his pencil slim build. Baxter was one of the most brilliant players to come over the border, and that he never really settled is now history. One of the most talked about personalities of the game.

Hi Danny [386] the pitch we played on didn't have a blade of grass on it, which was true of all the pitches around the island. Our REME unit was only 168 strong but we managed to reach the Minor Unit's Cup Final, we drew 2-2 against a unit in Nicosia, and 2-2 in the replay. I was fortunate enough to score a goal in each game, but we were forced to share the trophy because the games were staged in June and it was considered too hot to continue. We were presented with a miniature trophy, which has long since disappeared but the memory remains.

Dave Abrahams
389 Posted 09/08/2021 at 14:07:32
John (382),

Yes, I can understand you liking Johnny Carey to a certain extent, definitely Carey the man, not so sure about Carey the manager. In John Moores's eye, Johnny was too soft with the players, thought they could have been fitter, and one season the away form was atrocious.

Yes, he did sign some outstanding players, the artists Young, Vernon and Ring, Gabriel with style and a bite to go with it. Bobby Collins was already there, as was Labone, Brian Harris and Mick Meagan.

Harry brought in Gordon West, Tony Kay, Johnny Morrissey as well as swapping my favourite, Bobby Collins, for Dennis Stevens, who all added that extra bit of hardness to go with the style.

Harry Catterick, for me, was a much better manager than Johnny Carey and gave the team a polish and a style that was admired for quite a few years, adding good players to keep the club up with every other club in the country.

He wasn't replaced by another top manager before his health declined, and apart from Howard Kendall's great four seasons, here we are today, just hoping for another great manager to come and get us up there again.

Bill Watson
390 Posted 09/08/2021 at 14:47:29
Dave #389

Yes, Carey's side played great football at home but often disappeared away. One result that sticks in my memory is an 8-2 reverse at Newcastle.

As you say, Catterick added the steel and bite. I always thought the late 1960s side was much better than the 1963 one and, of course, they raced to the 1970 title with games to spare. I think it was one of the youngest side to ever win the League and the tragedy is the side didn't go on to dominate the early '70s.

John McFarlane Snr
391 Posted 09/08/2021 at 15:16:39
Hi Dave [389] I can't argue regarding the personnel that Catterick brought in, but I maintain that the building blocks were in place, in the players you have mentioned Brian Labone etc. plus Tommy Ring, Roy Vernon, Mickey Lill, and Jimmy Gabriel who were all purchased in a four or five week period.
Hi Bill [390] Everton went about eighteen months without an away win, and I was lucky enough to witness the 4-1 win at Blackpool which ended that bleak period. The 8-2 defeat you mention was on the day that Dave Hickson scored Two goals on his debut for Liverpool against Aston Villa.
Lee Robinson
392 Posted 09/08/2021 at 15:42:09
I was at the game, it was very worrying to be honest. Man Utd played in first gear and strolled it.

The elephant in the room which no-one wants to mention is Allan is completely out of his depth, as he was last season. He can't run, he always looks completely knackered, he gives the ball away constantly or makes fouls.

Put him next to Doucouré who can run around but can't pass to another Everton player. This is where our biggest problem area is; we need a link between defence and attack, and someone who can always be available.

James has zero options half the time, whenever he does get it; no wonder he always looks for Digne.

Dave Abrahams
393 Posted 10/08/2021 at 09:25:36
John (391),Jimmy Gabriel and Roy Vernon were the only building blocks that became part of Catterick’s title winning team, Tommy Ring, a great player, broke his leg at Chelsea,unfortunately, and never played for the first team again, MickeyLill was another who suffered with injuries and moved on.

The style was good under Carey but no where ruthless enough, especially in away games, and Harry toughened them up and still kept that good to watch style, in fact they were more impressive, to me, under Catterick.

Harry Catterick was poached from Sheffield Wed, where he had created a very good team and only the great Spurs team of the early sixties stopped them from winning the title. Harry was an ordinary footballer, a decent at best, centre forward for the Blues, but as a manager he was excellent but much underrated by many football fans and the media didn’t have much time for him, most probably because Harry had little time for them, he didn’t want the glory and praise he just wanted Everton to be top dogs, which they became.

Chris Williams
394 Posted 10/08/2021 at 09:53:09
Alex Young, didn’t do too bad Dave! Catterick didn’t like him though, according to Leslie Edwards at the time.

I agree with your comments about Carey and Catterick, although I remember a lot of talk about him winning the league with Carey’s team.

Dave Abrahams
395 Posted 10/08/2021 at 10:02:28
Chris (394), yes Alex Young !! How could me and John forget about him?

I doubt very much that Catterick would have signed Young if he had been manager at the time, what a loss that would have been Chris. I think Fred Pickering, who Harry later signed, was the type of centre forward Harry liked.

Chris Williams
396 Posted 10/08/2021 at 10:19:33

I liked Big Fred as well, but yes that was Harry’s style, although Fred had skill on the floor and a hell of a shot on him. Hard bugger too. I remember him flattening Talbot, who was horrible, at Turf Moor, when the ref wasn’t looking.

Joe Royle too, of course.

The Echo ran a story, way before Harry came that Wednesday had turned down an approach from another first division club. I think the Echo was ‘in the know’ then, in a way they never are now.

Leslie Edwards in the Echo, said Harry let it be know that he didn’t much fancy Alex, before he arrived.

Proper old school journalists then.

Derek Thomas
397 Posted 10/08/2021 at 10:39:35
It's been mentioned before that all the usual Manager 'Names' got the publicity. But in the 60s Harry got more points than any of them.

On the downside, he could and did (or appeared to) bear a grudge against anybody who:
a) He didn't sign.
b) had the nerve to disagree with him and spoke their mind.
c) if he thought they were coming towards the end of their, in his opinion, productive football life.
Collins...very bad mistake, Young and Gabriel are just the more well know examples.

Oh for a Harry now.

Edit; probably wouldn't do any good though, no Carey to lay the ground work...in fact, just the opposite.

John McFarlane Snr
398 Posted 10/08/2021 at 11:46:02
Hi Dave [395],

I could claim that Alex Young was included in the Brian Labone etc. [post 391] but I have to maintain my reputation of "Honest John". I overlooked Alex Young, together with Alex Parker.

Out of curiosity, I've checked the appearances of players in that season, and discovered that Mick Meagan played 32 games, Brian Harris 24, Billy Bingham 23, George Thomson 19, and of course Albert Dunlop featuring in the last 4 games in place of the injured Gordon West.

Dave Abrahams
399 Posted 10/08/2021 at 18:07:31
John (398),

Well done – honesty is the best policy. Derek Temple also played four times that season, if I'm not mistaken, with Ray Veall and Johnny Morrissey filling the left-wing spot on the other occasions. Two cheap signings by Harry with the Morrissey deal one of the best deals ever done by the Blues, as well as nearly driving Shankly crackers!!

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