Everton vs Southampton

Friday, 13 August, 2021 178comments  |  Jump to last
Match Preview

Everton's 2021-22 Premier League campaign kicks off this weekend with the visit of Southampton as Rafael Benitez takes charge of his first competitive match as the Toffees' boss.

A close season of ever-decreasing Evertonian optimism has yielded just three new signings thus far while a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the futures of James Rodriguez and Moise Kean — players who, if the media narrative is believed, could be two very unsettled squad members if they are still with the club come 1st September.

Kean has seen his dream of a return to Paris Saint-Germain wither over the summer before it was likely extinguished completely by Lionel Messi's arrival at the Parc de Princes this week. And while speculation persists that he could yet return to Italy, he remains an Everton player even if he has reportedly been training alone this week.

James, meanwhile, has been touted around the Continent by his agent, Jorge Mendes, to little effect thus far and, if what has been reported by Marca has any veracity, Benitez has made it quite clear that the Colombian doesn't fit with what he is trying to do at Everton.

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Based on Rodriguez's own comments on his Twitch channel this week, it seems highly unlikely that he will be in the starting XI on Saturday or even in the squad at all. It would have been his first appearance in front of a capacity — or close to it — crowd at Goodison Park but Everton fans, who have waited a year to see James play in the flesh, are set to have hopes of seeing him play live dashed.

If so, the focus shifts to where the creativity will come from in the absence of James. Fitness permitting, both of the Blues' new outfield signings are expected to make their debuts against Saints and they will at least offer width and pace to a side that lacked both, particularly the latter, last season.

Demarai Gray has had more of an impact in pre-season but Andros Townsend brings the greater experience so it's hard to know which is the more likely of the two to be in the line-up… although it's possible that each could start on the flanks behind a strike-force of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Abdoulaye Doucouré and Allan are the favourites to start in a central midfield that could also feature Jean-Philippe Gbamin in what would be his first start for Everton in two years. Failing that, Alex Iwobi could be handed his preferred central creative role.

In defence, Yerry Mina's return from Copa America duty means that Benitez will need to parse two from the Colombian, Ben Godfrey, Michael Keane and Mason Holgate. That is unless he opts for a five-man back line with Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne as wing-backs rather than conventional full-backs.

If Everton's summer has been fairly dispiriting, Southampton come into the new season having made four new acquisitions to go with the permanent signing of Theo Walcott on a free transfer from the Blues after his Goodison contract expired but having lost top scorer Danny Ings and, arguably, their most dominant centre-half in Jannik Vestergaard.

Much will be expected of former Blackburn striker Adam Armstrong and fellow new arrivals, Armando Broja, Dynel Simeu and Tino Livramento from Chelsea as well as Romain Perraud who has come in from Stade Brest in France. Those key departures, along with the loss of Ryan Bertrand's experience, have many fearing that Ralph Hasenhüttl and the Saints face a testing season ahead.

That, combined with Everton's handsome home record against the Saints, bodes well for Benitez getting off to a winning start as Everton boss to keep at bay the opposition that has been voiced over his appointment. It will require a good deal more defensive organisation than was in evidence in the friendly at Old Trafford last weekend but the advantage of a packed Goodison will hopefully help tip the balance in the Toffees' favour.

Predicted line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Allan, Doucouré, Townsend, Iwobi, Richarlison*, Calvert-Lewin

*See clarification below


Reader Comments (178)

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Marc Hints
1 Posted 13/08/2021 at 07:42:04
No Gray in that starting line-up, Lyndon? Surely not?
Mal van Schaick
2 Posted 13/08/2021 at 07:47:00
Barring any defensive blunders, I think we will have enough to beat Southampton in a close game. Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison will cause their defence enough problems for us to win by the odd goal. 2-1 Everton.
Lyndon Lloyd
3 Posted 13/08/2021 at 07:52:40
Marc, I went round and round in my head over Gray. I think he will end up being one of our most important and effective players but if Richarlison is back and starts and with Calvert-Lewin expected to play, I eventually came down on the side of Benitez opting for Townsend's experience just for this one.

Maybe he keeps Richarlison on the bench, in which case Gray will start. Regardless, I expect Gray to quickly prove to be indispensable.

Marc Hints
4 Posted 13/08/2021 at 07:59:49
Fair point, Lyndon, I was thinking more of starting Richarlison but Gray instead Iwobi.

I think you're right though, Gray will become one of our most important players over this season.

David Pearl
5 Posted 13/08/2021 at 08:05:11
Or maybe lwobi will become a very important player as he shines in his preferred role? You never know...
Robert Tressell
6 Posted 13/08/2021 at 08:06:09
However we line up, and there are quite a few variations, I expect us to beat Saints.

I also expect their fans are seriously lamenting the summer window – and not expecting the very young inexperienced replacements for key players to deliver much just yet. It's a transitional season for them – after a very up and down 20-21 season.

One- or two-nil to the Blues.

Shane Corcoran
7 Posted 13/08/2021 at 08:08:29
Lyndon, from the training videos, I'd expect Richarlison to start and Calvert-Lewin to be on the bench.

Other than that, that's exactly how I think we'll lineup with, bizarrely, Iwobi now a starter.

Jay Evans
8 Posted 13/08/2021 at 08:09:59
Here we go!

Strap yourselves in, lads and lasses, this whole season is going to be a bumpy ride and no mistake.

Anyone going tomorrow wanting to boo our new manager (and make no mistake, there will be some) then do so if you want... but ask yourself, "Really, what will it achieve?"

Lord knows we have waited long enough to get back inside the Grand Old Lady so let's give our boys plenty of support – they are going to need it!

I fancy us to nick it by the odd goal with Calvert-Lewin getting off the mark.

Full support …. Onward Evertonians! 💙

Paul Evans
9 Posted 13/08/2021 at 08:25:10
Will be interesting to hear Rafa's press conference, where I hope they ask many questions regarding the current status of James, Moise & André. We need to know what's going on with them and if the club is going to be active in the last week or so of the transfer window. Could be a crazy deadline day scraping about for last-minute additions!
Phil Malone Jnr
10 Posted 13/08/2021 at 08:34:26
Weird part is... if someone said at the start of the season in this window, we were signing Kean and James and they were available for the first game, I'd be buzzin. Richarlison, James, Kean and Calvert-Lewin with Doucouré playing box to box and Allan or Gbamin protecting...
Paul Evans
11 Posted 13/08/2021 at 08:35:15
My predicted line up, given that Calvert-Lewin was training one to one and not with the team -


Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 13/08/2021 at 08:35:38
Now we focus on the pitch and the football! I can't wait.

Tomorrow I will walk the dogs as usual at 6:30am. Leave the house at about 8am for breakfast in the local cafe. I'll catch a train from Euston around 10, maybe 11am. Have a couple of drinks in town on arrival. Still not sure how I'll get to Goodison yet. I don't know whether to go traditional and catch a bus from "the bubbles" (as we once referred to them as) or a train to Kirkdale. Or in line with my current modus operandi, just grab an Uber!!!

After the match, I will meet with my brother somewhere on County Road and then head back to town to meet my cousin in the Northwestern.

Late train back to Euston, arriving about 10pm. Cheeky one for the road in Marylebone before heading home, which should be around midnight.

A long day, circa £250 lighter but happy.

And that's before what the wife tells me what she's spent in London!!

Gary Smith
13 Posted 13/08/2021 at 08:50:06
Would settle for that team Paul@11…..but don’t recon we’ll see Gbamin for another month or two, so I recon Tom will be in next to Allan and hopefully start showing us the player he can be.
Rob Halligan
14 Posted 13/08/2021 at 08:54:01
Thank fuck I won’t have to put up with that miserable Live Forum anymore.
Conor McCourt
15 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:02:44
If Benitez goes with Doucouré and Allan after their preseason performances, this won't be an easy game.

I'd love to know where this confidence comes from that Gray will be one of our most important and effective players, which flies in the face of his whole career. 19 goals from 215 starts suggests otherwise and 8 of those came in a lower league with Birmingham.

He couldn't even make the Leicester squad for the Europa League this season, let alone the Premier League, and never properly applied himself there by all accounts.

Ray Roche
16 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:04:57

Are you banned as well Rob?

Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:11:02
Gave up on the Live Forum many moons ago Rob. I have the odd occasional peak but usually quickly retreat.

Or, as the British Army likes to say, a fighting withdrawal. We never retreat!!

Michael Nisbet
18 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:13:05
I might be pessimistic, but I have absolutely no optimism for the new season whatsoever. I just can't see anything other than a relegation battle all season. I can't see where the goals are coming from in this team. Gray and Townsend *might* have added pace and width, but they also have no end product between them.

Townsend is a one-trick pony, who can't do anything other than cut in on to his left foot. All defenders in the league know this. Gray has bags of potential, but at 25 he should have realised it by now. I can't see him suddenly doing that. He had plenty of chances at Leicester.

I dearly hope I'm wrong, but I am predicting a 0-2 scoreline tomorrow.

I have supported Everton since 1994, but I've never felt more despondent about the team than I do just now.

Rob Halligan
19 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:19:20
Conor, why would Gray even be considered for Leicester's Europa League squad this season when he wasn't their player?

Gray joined Leicester in January 2016, just in time to win the Premier League with them. He played over 133 league games for them, and with his contract running down, he wasn't offered a new one and so joined Leverkusen in January last year. So in four years with Leicester, he averaged 33 league games per season. Not bad for someone who didn't apply himself.

Ray #16, if I took part in the Live Forum during last season, the odds are I would almost certainly have been banned. I've never read such miserable, negative stuff in all my life.

Stuart Sharp
20 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:21:56
Anyone else in a huge phone queue trying to sort their digital ticket on Android? What a joke this club is sometimes.
Ray Roche
21 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:27:33
Rob, you either become enraged at the ludicrous negativity and give both barrels to whichever miserable little shit is casting a cloud over procedures or consider slitting your wrists.

Not a happy place.

Chris Locke
22 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:35:30
Saints are in disarray at the moment. They’ve lost 3 of their 4 best players, with the 4th being chased hard by Villa & Spurs.

They started with Shane Long up front for their last friendly which shows where they are at regarding squad depth.

If we can’t turn these over then I fear the season will be even more painful than already imagined.

Be nice for the team and manager to prove me wrong but nothing I’ve seen pre-season or in the press gives me much hope.

I mean only Everton could be linked with Insigne whilst telling James he has no place in the team.

Stuart Sharp
23 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:41:21
Just in case anyone else is struggling – the issue was that I don't use Google Chrome. The link for your digital season ticket needs to be accessed via Chrome. If the club could mention this in their emails, or online, it would save time for the 90+ people in the phone queue I just left.

Fortunately, my wife checked Twitter, where she found the advice.

Glorious service, as always. Needless to say, I had no such problem accessing the digital ticket for Old Trafford last week.

Conor McCourt
24 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:48:11
He was, Rob, he only joined Leverkusen in January. Rob, there was only one season where he was a regular. The majority of the time he came on late against tired defences to use his pace and directness. You could make the same case for Iwobi in terms of appearances. He is seen by Leicester fans as most Evertonians view Lookman though the latter I believe has more quality.

My issue was not with those who would argue he could surprise us because there is always the possibility that experience, last chance saloon, right manager, right environment, has attributes to suit Everton, ie, pace and directness, could see him becoming a success.

I find his description as being an effective player or important player as a little at odds with his career contribution at this stage; whereas Lookman did well when given a chance at Leipzig, Gray didn't pull up any trees at Leverkusen.

Stuart Sharp
25 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:49:04
Southampton have signed two new strikers, but lost Vestergaard. In theory, they should be unsettled and a bit disorganised. But since when has that kind of logic ever applied at Goodison? If we start Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin or both, I'll be quietly confident. If we set up like we did at Old Trafford, we are toast.
John Pickles
26 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:54:43
It seems we are starting a season with a fully fit squad. Three seem unlikely to be available, but I can't think of anyone on the treatment table. If so, when was the last time that happened?
Rob Halligan
27 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:59:52
Conor, so you meant he wasn't part of the Leicester Europa League squad for last season, not this season? Gotcha!
Pat Kelly
28 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:59:53
James "There is a game on Saturday then, but I don't know, I don't think I'll play."

Kean training alone ?

Predicted line-up above features one new free signing. Not much of a revolution or even evolution so far. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Tony Everan
29 Posted 13/08/2021 at 10:01:31
We are a blunted dagger when Calvert-Lewin is out. It's why we need backup to him if Kean is going. I'm hoping the training alone was precautionary and he will play.

Doucouré has been told by Benitez he is going to have a more attacking midfield role this season. I will be watching out for the formation and Doucouré's role tomorrow. I don't bet much these days but there could well be some real value on having a few £ on Doucouré as 1st goal scorer or anytime scorer in the opening matches. I'm tempted.

Width-wise it could depend upon how sharp and fresh Richarlison is. I think a good strategy will be to give him an hour then introduce the pace of Demarai Gray for the last 30 minutes to cause a tiring Southampton big problems.

Coleman Godfrey Mina Digne
Allan Gbamin
Townsend Doucouré Richarlison

Prediction: Toffees 2, Saints 0

Nicholas Howard
30 Posted 13/08/2021 at 10:11:20

How about a bit of optimism to go into new Premier League season?

Good or bad Everton turn out doesn't matter, at least be loving football back to our daily lives...

Fuck Covid! Fuck Lockdown!!

God bless us all!!!

Colin Malone
31 Posted 13/08/2021 at 10:11:57
Be disappointed if James is not included. Been waiting to see him in front of a house at Goodison. The lads going with their dads will be looking forward to see him. Where's the fucking guile in midfield? Looks like a big Sam-esque line-up.

ps: 97th in the phone queue, fucking joke.

Paul Rimmer
32 Posted 13/08/2021 at 10:22:42
Gonna be a long hard season this. Reckon 1-1 tomorrow as Calvert-Lewin seems unlikely to play. Saints will be candidates for the drop and us Blues in the bottom half.

I think we'll have a busy end to the transfer window with 3 out and 3 in but can't see us spending much money.

Andrew Ellams
33 Posted 13/08/2021 at 10:23:49
Colin, unfortunately I don't think you'll ever see James playing in front of a full house at Goodison. If stories are true him and Kean are on their way out sooner rather than later.
Marc Hints
34 Posted 13/08/2021 at 10:30:09
Looks a good side that, Tony.
Dave Williams
35 Posted 13/08/2021 at 10:33:45
Tony, that's what I'd go for too.

If Calvert-Lewin can train with his toe then he can play too. It looks a decent side and, if squads were limited to say 14 players, we would look decent. It's when we have the need to dig deeper into the squad that we start to struggle.

The defence should be strong once Rafa gets them properly coached and midfield will be very different if Gbamin is and stays fit, releasing Doucouré to play further forward. Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison will score goals but need some backup as Richarlison will need some rest.

We will win this.

Mike Corcoran
36 Posted 13/08/2021 at 10:41:32
I expect us to be more organised all over and speedier in transition as we get further into the season but I worry that we have had a non-entity of a pre-season which will expose a lot of rustiness in the first few games. Everyone else, as usual, seems to have had a more structured pre-season for friendlies.
Mike Corcoran
37 Posted 13/08/2021 at 10:49:18
James would only ever work now as a No 10 in a 4-2-3-1 with everyone else doing his running for him and as long as the wide player on the opposite flank from play pushes inside next to Calvert-Lewin in attack. Gray and Richarlison could pull this off but I'm not holding my breadth.

Kean wasn't looked after as his ma was promised on signing and he's never going to flourish unless he gets to feel the love. Would be surprised if anyone offered either us or either player what they need to move on so I expect they will go on loan and we will end up with loans in return. Not ideal.

Ajay Gopal
38 Posted 13/08/2021 at 10:56:32
The Echo has predicted this starting XI for Southampton:

Walker-Peters Bednarek Salisu Perraud
Armstrong Ward-Prowse Romeu Djenepo
Adams Armstrong

We will also likely see Walcott get some playing time. So, not a bad line-up, but their back-4 would be vulnerable with the exit of Vestergaard. I dislike Walker-Peters – he is a very sneaky kind of player, he got Digne sent off last season. The team needs to be wary of him.

I recall that the past 3 times we played Southampton, we were totally dominated in midfield, so I would like to see a hard-working midfield that can keep the ball. Rafa may play safe and play Davies, and introduce Gbamin off the bench, given his lack of match fitness. Also, Calvert-Lewin may come off the bench given his toe injury. In that case, my starting XI (4-5-1):

Godfrey Mina Keane Digne
Gray Davies Doucouré Allan Townsend

With Iwobi, Gordon, Gbamin, Calvert-Lewin, Delph, Holgate, Coleman, Begovic in the subs bench.

Decent options on the bench, but if Gomes, James and Kean are off as rumoured, it would be good to have Insigne (rumoured), Buta (right-back) and a striker (maybe Dike, the big American lad who played for Barnsley last season) to strengthen the squad immensely.

Steve Brown
39 Posted 13/08/2021 at 10:57:37
Let's see if this much fabled organisation exhibits itself on the pitch against Southampton. The defensive shape of the team against Man Utd was shambolic.
Andrew Clare
40 Posted 13/08/2021 at 11:00:57
I am in Milan for the next few days, which is great, but I know where I would rather be tomorrow – Goodison Park watching my beloved Blues.

What a stadium, what a place. My first ever match was the opening game of the season in August '63 – what a team, what a feeling.

Mark Tanton
41 Posted 13/08/2021 at 11:14:13
Not an original thought, I acknowledge, but I'd like to know why we're unable to do anything with Kean, who clearly knows where the net is and who we spent a small fortune on?

I am sad to echo the thoughts of so many others that I have no optimism for the season ahead. Coleman starting a right-back is a high problem for a start.

Rennie Smith
42 Posted 13/08/2021 at 11:23:40
Mark @41, not sure which Kean you've been watching but if this net you're referring to that Kean knows of is in Row Z of the Gwladys Street Stand, then I'll agree with you.
Mark Tanton
43 Posted 13/08/2021 at 11:34:37
So why did we buy him? What did we plan to do with him? How was he ever going to develop?
Jerome Shields
44 Posted 13/08/2021 at 12:04:26
I expect it is difficult to predict the line-up. The formation will be defensive with a hopefully solider midfield. I think that Iowbi will play in the Sigurdsson role and Gray will get first call, with Richarlison coming of the bench. Same back four as against United.
Justin Doone
45 Posted 13/08/2021 at 12:35:17
The Saint's are a weaker team than last season having lost ings their striker and defender Vestergaard.

But I like their manager, they have some good young players and are capable of playing excellent football.

They started last season very well but so did we. This is a winnable game. At home, fans back in the stadium, new player's and manager looking to impress.

But.. I'm not confident. I think who ever wins could go on a good run. Despite losing players, the Saints have consistency and good football on their side.

We have a lot more unknowns and changes trying to be implemented. This game probably sums up our season. There will be ups, downs, differences of opinion on performances and needs.

It's not easy, we are where we are and the only thing we can do now is show our positive support to the players, management and each other.

That nervous excitement is back, fans are back, football is back.

Enjoy the ride, remember it's a season long marathon not a first game sprint.

Liam Heffernan
46 Posted 13/08/2021 at 12:36:56
I’ve just seen BBC website that Gbamin has a knee jury and will be out for the Southampton game, so another blow to our under performing midfield. Hate to be so negative but am very worried for this season. I hope against hope this team can allay my fears. Fingers, legs and everything else crossed.
Tony Everan
47 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:01:09
Liam, I've read today he “will be assessed for a minor injury”. Very disappointed if he's out again. If so Tom Davies could be handed an opportunity to stake his claim, he did well against Man Utd when he came on.
Andrew Flanagan
48 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:02:46
100s and 100s of millions net spend and we end up like this with that team. What a mess.
Liam Heffernan
49 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:03:41
Tony, I’ll take any positive on offer to try to settle my Everton nerves before this opener.
Justin Doone
50 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:08:11
I want to be positive and what I'm always positive about is the inability for an athlete to perform at the highest level having been out injured for the prior 2 years.

Gana Gueye may not want to return and I can’t blame him bit he's worth a try. Even on loan. This is a key position that we need to bring in cover for.

Wish Gbamin well but we need to move on. If he can contribute then great, but we can’t build a team around player's that can't play. We've tried that many times.

Remember midfielders McCarthy, Besic, Gibson, Parkinson never the same again. There's many more examples too.

John Boon
51 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:19:30
Before we get into the new season, could someone enlighten me as to the "Live Forum" and also is there some type of censorship regarding what may be considered to be unacceptable posts?

I had noticed in a previous article that a number of posts just seemed to disappear. Certainly not a criticism of TW but just interested in whether there have been any changes in what is likely to be published in upcoming posts???

For Saturday COYB!!!

Steve Shave
52 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:20:44
I would play a similar team to that but shoe-horn in James (who I know might not be allowed so he doesn't get injured but screw it, it's my team choice!). I would therefore go 4-4-1-1 with Richarlison on left, Townsend on the right (two very hard working wingers) and James in a free role behind Calvert-Lewin. Gray to make an impact from the bench and free up Richarlison to go up front maybe.
Jerome Shields
53 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:23:19
Gbamin injured isn't good.

Rodridguez and Kean training separately and apparently not available for selection. .

It is all very far from being real in terms of competing in the Premier League.

Andy Duff
54 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:34:00
5 players isolating with Covid, James one of them. With another player also missing for other reasons, that's 6 first team players out for the start of the season.
Clive Rogers
55 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:35:08
Allan seems to be everyone's choice in midfield, but he was poor at the end of last season and against Mn Utd. He's way past his best.
Rob Halligan
56 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:37:16
Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison both available to play tomorrow. No mention of any player being injured, including Gbamin, though there are some in self-isolation. Maybe Gbamin is one of them, but he's not injured as far as I can see.
Clive Rogers
57 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:37:17
If James and Kean are training separately, Rafa wants them gone.
James Marshall
58 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:38:43
So James is isolating along with 4 others, plus we have one unnamed 31-year-old player suspended pending blah blah blah.

That leaves us looking a bit short ahead of tomorrow, doesn't it?

James Stewart
59 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:40:05
James in isolation... my arse.
Matthew Williams
60 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:40:33
I am sure a Saints fan couldn't call this one, never mind a fellow Blue.

All that I do know is the faithful are owed a decent home performance for once.

Please deliver, eh, Blue Boys!

James Marshall
61 Posted 13/08/2021 at 13:45:49
James @59

Are you suggesting Benitez wasn't telling the full truth? Well, there's a thing...

Of course he isn't isolating, but y'know, Rafa knows how to play the game and James will be off somewhere sunny soon as he can.

Mike Corcoran
62 Posted 13/08/2021 at 14:07:22
James and Kean out tomorrow? Was anyone expecting them?

Sod it, we'll batter Saints anyway COYB. Hopefully a positive noisy Old Lady tomorrow.

Tom Richards
63 Posted 13/08/2021 at 14:08:49
It would appear the rumours that Rafa had told James he was not in his plans have substance.

Martin Nicholls
64 Posted 13/08/2021 at 14:13:44
Five missing tomorrow due to covid protocols is a problem but would be different from Monday if the Club were to demand double jabbing for the players as they are hypocritically doing with fans. Why will they not do this?

ps: Anyone know what arrangements the club is making for fans who have to quarantine or self-isolate tomorrow? For example, can their ticket be passed to a friend or will stewards insist that the name on the double-vaxx certificate must match that on the ticket? Guidance seems to be silent about this.

Barry Hesketh
65 Posted 13/08/2021 at 14:15:06
Whether it is the manager's choice or not, we all knew that James wouldn't be in the squad for tomorrow, same as Kean; it's unfortunate but that's modern football for you. I don't want any player in the team who is half-hearted about playing for the club, regardless of ability or importance.

We'll have a better chance of winning tomorrow if the chosen players can give 100% in front of a packed Goodison Park.

John Raftery
66 Posted 13/08/2021 at 14:15:49
Just as winning the first game does not necessarily herald a successful season so losing the first game does not necessarily herald a poor one. Against these opponents however and in the context of the appointment of our new manager it feels really important the team delivers a win tomorrow. I imagine Benitez and his staff have been trying to get message that through to the squad this week.

As the man several rows behind me is wont to shout, “C'mon Blues, these are shite!”

Shane Corcoran
67 Posted 13/08/2021 at 14:22:46
If James was isolating rather than being isolated, he wouldn’t have said he wasn’t sure if he’d be involved on social media.
Marc Hints
68 Posted 13/08/2021 at 14:30:41
How can Gbamin be isolating? He was on the training video yesterday, surely that would affect all players from yesterday too?
John McFarlane Snr
69 Posted 13/08/2021 at 14:35:12
Hi John [66],

He sounds like a lad who sat behind me in the days of Paul Gerrard and Earl Barrett, he went through the entire squad from goalkeeper to outside left over the course of a season. I'm generally a mild sort, but I'm afraid that I eventually ran out of patience, turning around I said, "You must be some fucking player."

Andrew Keatley
70 Posted 13/08/2021 at 14:44:04
Perhaps I am being overly-cynical but, if there are five players who are indeed “self-isolating”, then I fully expect them to include James, Kean and our player who is currently the subject of a police investigation.
Pat Kelly
71 Posted 13/08/2021 at 14:45:24
We don't have the squad to cope with isolations due to Covid, disgruntled players looking to leave (yes those two) and long-term injuries like Delph, Tosun and Gbamin (is he injured again, as suggested above, or still not fit?). And that's before the usual crop of injuries which arise.

Even with possibly a couple of late stopgap "bargain" signings, it's going to be a makeshift season ahead. A good start tomorrow is essential for confidence, without that we're a mess as we've seen too often.

Jay Harris
72 Posted 13/08/2021 at 15:09:38
I can understand the anxiety but, when those 11 trot out at a full Goodison Park, they should be totally motivated to do their best. Whether that is good enough remains to be seen but whoever is on the pitch should be expected to perform.

No team is a pushover in the Premier League but I anticipate a physicality and determination not shown by the players before and a good 3 points.

Call me an optimist or delusional but let's get behind this club and be the 12th man and cut out all the depressing negativity.

John Gorham
73 Posted 13/08/2021 at 15:40:48
Well said, Jay Evans, #8.

The difference this season could be the support. I just hope the fans can see the big picture and understand they are a vast part of the overall team performance.

Mike Dolan
74 Posted 13/08/2021 at 15:58:29
The thing I took from Rafa's press conference is that the window is still open and this team will be improved by the end of it. But, in the meantime, Southampton tomorrow will be a challenge... but we should scrape through.

The team's depth is going to be challenged in the first game of the season. It's usually fun to pick your starting 11 but tomorrow picking the subs might be more of a challenge. 2-0 Blues.

John Gorham
75 Posted 13/08/2021 at 15:59:51
Also, I think Davies could play a big role this season. I am interested to see how Gray, Townsend interact with Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
76 Posted 13/08/2021 at 16:34:39
Hi John @51,

The Live Forum is an instant messaging facility for signed-up members of ToffeeWeb that we provide access to during Everton matches. Look out for blue links that will appear near the top of the page and below the Match Preview thread.

The posts are generally not moderated but we do ask people to follow our Conditions of Use when posting. Most do; some don't.

It is true that some users appear to be in a competition to be as negative about proceedings as is humanly possible. This causes friction with more positive posters but has not as yet been interdicted by our Conditions of Use. A facility is provided for offending posts to be reported. If they are deemed offensive, they may be removed.

The entire kit and caboodle of posts to the Live Forum are deleted and cleaned out shortly after the match. So, if you are deeply offended by a post, make sure you take a copy of it.

Hope this helps.

Brian Williams
77 Posted 13/08/2021 at 16:46:40
So, if you are deeply offended by a post, make sure you take a copy of it.

I hope John's got fast fingers! ;-)

Dale Self
79 Posted 13/08/2021 at 17:03:47
One of the frequently asked questions about the live forum is: What the f***?!?
Brian Murray
80 Posted 13/08/2021 at 17:06:21
Pat post 71lets makeshift all the way to Wembley ( twice ) four pints from the Derby’s. Pride back. Is that too much !
Brian Murray
81 Posted 13/08/2021 at 17:18:26
Michael. If in doubt ask frank ward. He sings like a canary and can copy and paste as quick as Clint in a spaghetti western. 😁😂
Gary Smith
82 Posted 13/08/2021 at 17:24:08
If it were me (and lots of assumptions who’s actually available):

Coleman Mina Godfrey Digne
Allan Davies
Gray Doucoure Richie

9 subs I believe:

Paul Swan
83 Posted 13/08/2021 at 17:24:26
Made a point of watching Benitez’s press conference today - I didn’t bother with many of the previous managers who seemed to talk collective bollocks. It seems very apparent that there are certain players ‘regardless of the number of followers they have on social media’ who he can’t or won’t rely on to fight for the club on the pitch. Very careful with his choice of words on that point but circled back a few times to discussing agents etc. very obvious who he was talking about and he obviously wants him and Kean gone. Sick of it now and if these decisions have been made then ship them out put his best team out and let’s get on with the season
Brian Murray
84 Posted 13/08/2021 at 17:32:19
Meant to say four points from the Derby’s but pints a given anyway
Darren Hind
85 Posted 13/08/2021 at 18:11:30

That was your priorities surfacing Brian

Tony Abrahams
86 Posted 13/08/2021 at 18:16:44
I watched a little clip of Benitez, myself today Paul S, and was genuinely surprised by his smile. It must have been me and the fact that I’ve never liked any Liverpool manager, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him laugh before, although it might be because if he doesn’t laugh, he will probably cry, when you look at our recruitment so far.
Colin Glassar
87 Posted 13/08/2021 at 18:19:59
I’m dreading tomorrow. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.
Mark McDonald
88 Posted 13/08/2021 at 18:43:08
Well here we go again. Hard to say how this season will pan out. Obviously hoping like all Blues that things will finally work out.

Just a wee footnote that I see Bielsa has just signed his usual one season contract with Leeds. That's good for the board to keep in mind should we require/be looking for a new manager.

Dale Self
89 Posted 13/08/2021 at 18:44:52
Forgive this as it may just be some Yankee drivel. And yes this is yet another Retarded American (English) Football friend offering.

In the National Hockey League there have been a couple of teams that have come together after some real struggles while being together for some time. The St. Louis Blues and Montreal Canadiens both came into form and no one really understands why but when they did the release from earlier frustrated chemistry offered a lot of upside and a resurgent team character. Both rode that to the Stanley Cup Finals against bigger payrolls and one of them conquered all.

Barry Hesketh
90 Posted 13/08/2021 at 18:48:40
I'd be dreading tomorrow if we had to win to stave off relegation, but as it's the opening game of a new season, I'm not at all dreading it, I'm looking forward to being back inside Goodison with a full-house in attendance.

We may not win the match, we may win it handsomely but there's plenty of time for the hysterical outpourings to be used between now and May.

At least all of the trepidation about tomorrow and the season, shows that people still care about what happens to Everton, when that stops being the case, I'll start to properly worry

Santosh Benjamin
91 Posted 13/08/2021 at 18:52:16
Despite all the gloom surrounding the departure of our previous manager, the unpopular new manager, the lack of funds, the lack of new faces in positions that have needed replacements years ago I find myself excited about the new season. Its something that I just cannot change and I am not sure that I ever want to as well, after following Everton for 34 years.

The new season heralds new hope and that is just it...hope ("What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life!" - Emil Brunner). I start each season hoping that things will get better at our beloved club. My apologies for rambling on - there is a point to all this.

1. What areas are we lacking?
a)Right back - looked like we have Max Aarons/Denzel Dumfries sorted out months ago and yet...we start the season with the same two RBs as last year. I love Coleman as a person and I still see glimpses of his past glory, but we need more speed and consistency on the right side. For a long time I believed that JJK was the right heir to that position but, over time that confidence in him has reduced.
b)Ball-playing/attacking midfielder - After Arteta, we have never had a player in that position and I truly believe that it is costing us dearly. James could possibly have filled that role in my mind but Mr.Benitez (maybe via the club admin who need the money) feels otherwise. Allan provides the DM but to be honest, I am not sure he has the legs to be a Gueye/Carsley. Doucoure is good but his role often leaves me confused.
c) Striker - So many names linked with us as always but none seen yet at Finch Farm. We need to add some quality up front to help and compliment the work of DCL.

2. What about our new signings?
I like our new signings - Gray, Townsend and Begovic all add quality to our squad without breaking the bank. We need to add more quality over the next few weeks.

3. What about the youngsters trying to establish themselves?
I think Branthwaite, Nkounkou, Gordon, Broadhead, Simms and Dobbin are ready for regular places on the bench.

My ideal team for tomorrow
Coleman, Keane/Mina, Godfrey, Digne
Allan, Gbamin/Davies
Townsend Doucoure Richarlison

** I do not want Iwobi to start and I do not want Delph on the bench. Watch me get it wrong with both!

I am so excited about the new season. I am thrilled that fellow TWers will be at the games, cheering on the lads and helping us analyse their performances better. To those who have the privilege of going to the season opener tomorrow - give the lads an extra cheer from all us who are unable to make it...COYB

John McFarlane Snr
92 Posted 13/08/2021 at 18:55:29
Michael Kenrick [76] I see that you took advantage of my closing remark in post [69] of, "Insert your own expletive". I take it that Dale Self [79] didn't extend the same offer, if he did, some may claim that you are guilty of favouritism.
Dale Self
93 Posted 13/08/2021 at 19:10:29
Did I do something wrong there? I actually prefer the f-bomb but noticed that it gets ***'d on the front page. UT*T!!!
Brian Harrison
94 Posted 13/08/2021 at 19:17:26
Seems strange that Southampton have sold their main striker Ings and their main defender in Vestergaard in this window. Hopefully this will help us in securing all 3 points, and Ward Prowse has only just returned this week from injury, just have to be watchful if they get a free kick around the box.
John McFarlane Snr
95 Posted 13/08/2021 at 19:18:10
Hi Dale [93] you did absolutely nothing wrong, it appears to have been posted exactly as you wrote it, in my opinion that's all we can ask for, it's certainly all I ask for.
Dale Self
96 Posted 13/08/2021 at 19:18:49
Brian, that's their model and they always have someone coming up from their academy it seems.

And good thing John, I usually set the bar really low so that was unusual for me to star it off. Just wait until the Live Forum!

Kim Vivian
97 Posted 13/08/2021 at 19:28:37
On a brighter note - I've changed my mind and I quite like the third kit.

2-0 Everton tomorrow and Digne back to scoring from free kicks now our designated dead ball taker is incarcerated.

John McFarlane Snr
98 Posted 13/08/2021 at 19:32:48
Hi again, Dale [96],

I'm afraid that I can't wait for the 'Live Forum', because I'll either be at the home games, or listening to the away games and, from what I gather from some other posters, it would be far too hot for an old 'Snowflake' like me.

Jamie Crowley
99 Posted 13/08/2021 at 19:34:15
We need to get out of the gates quickly. Our starting fixtures are all winnable and we need to maximize points.

I think Gray will be a spark plug. I really hope he starts.

I'd also like to see Gbamin in the lineup. When I watched him in Florida he, Godfrey, and Gray were, by far in my opinion, our best players.

We'll finish somewhere between 7th and 10th this season is my guess. I'm hoping simply for some footy that gets me off my ass, and not a typical Rafa snooze fest, defensive first approach. We'll see.


Jamie Crowley
100 Posted 13/08/2021 at 19:39:47
John Boon @51-

The Live Forum is, in my opinion, TW's best feature. It allows you to react in real time with fellow TWers / fans as to what's occurring on the field.

It is not for the feint of heart. If you offer an opinion, be prepared to back it up. It's generally very civil, full of hilarity, full of puns, and real entertainment. It can "go south" sometimes, but I'd argue it rarely crosses a line if you're a big boy and can handle some criticism.

Cheers. Check it out. And my only advice is don't sing the praises of Iwobi on the Live Forum. 😂😜

Dale Self
101 Posted 13/08/2021 at 19:45:51
John Sr, if anyone came at you with some ill-advised aggression in the Live Forum, you can count on the ugly Yanks to come to your defence. Not sure that would help but you can count on that.
Raymond Fox
102 Posted 13/08/2021 at 19:46:33
I'm not concerned about our defence, its creating and taking chances I have doubts about.
Cant say I'm confident we will win- they are offering evens, which is saying even though we are at home were no certs.
I think we may scrape together a win nevertheless, I hope so.
Darren Hind
103 Posted 13/08/2021 at 19:54:45
Oh Crowley

You promised a full report on your blue night in Florida which I've been looking out for

Lets be 'avin it

Brent Stephens
104 Posted 13/08/2021 at 20:04:46
Jamie "my only advice is don't sing the praises of Iwobi on the Live Forum".

Can I sing his praises here?!

Your boys ok, Jamie? Give them my regards.

Christy Ring
105 Posted 13/08/2021 at 20:09:02
Five players in isolation, Rafa only mentioned James and Kean? There was speculation Gomes, Gbamin and Kean missed the Utd game because of it. One thing I found very interesting in his press conference, Rafa said the players are training hard and a lot fitter now, Does that say they weren't full fit under Carlo?
Darren Hind
106 Posted 13/08/2021 at 20:11:42
The gift that just keeps on giving
Tom Harvey
107 Posted 13/08/2021 at 20:17:29
I absolutely did not want Benitez when he first came and probably still don't.

I have to admit though he's doing all the right things, by the look of things he's forcing out the crap and those who aren't commited. He's trying to play fast one touch football, this is all good.

As for the players he's brought in? For what we payed for them they look like absolute bargains considering the budget he's got. If we sell Kean or Richarlison and get James, Iwobi or Gomes gone, he might be able to buy a decent forward.

I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but If I see fight and determination to the end, then I'll continue to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Tony Everan
108 Posted 13/08/2021 at 20:30:18
John Snr # 98, Change the r to an f ? The Live Forum is friendly and hilarious, as plenty of posters have a wicked sense of humour. Most negativity is just steam being let off when things are going pear-shaped. Hope you have a great time at the match tomorrow watching our blue boys get off to a winning start.
Simon Dalzell
109 Posted 13/08/2021 at 20:34:39
Lyndon. Did you really mean to put Iwobi in youre predicted line up. The worst player (pound for pound ) in Everton's entire history. Please no no no no . The biggest embarrassment ever to sully the shirt.
Brian Murray
110 Posted 13/08/2021 at 20:38:54
Dale post 101. Bob Hoskins in the film long good Friday while in a meeting with the yanks ( mafia ). We have a bit about us. Dunkirk spirit. What are you famous for ? A fckin hot dog. Nothing personal just getting warmed up for tomorrow and the live forum 😁😂
Brian Murray
111 Posted 13/08/2021 at 20:46:18
Simon post 109. Il take your iwobi and raise you Jim Pearson or Bernie the bolt.
Stuart Sharp
112 Posted 13/08/2021 at 20:58:43
Worst player in Everton's history? I've been very critical of Iwobi but that's quite some claim. I mean, the list of potentials is long. I still have nightmares about Brett Angell, for example. Iwobi is absolute trousers but gets the blame for everything. Last Sat was a case in point- the crowd were giving him pelters but he was one of the least cack players in the team.
Colin Glassar
113 Posted 13/08/2021 at 21:22:06
Simon 109, I’m with you mate. Iwobi is an embarrassment to football. I don’t know if he’s the worst Everton player of all time but he’s in my top 1 worst Everton player of all time.

Nah, just kidding. Top 3 along with Angell and John McLaughlin.

Jamie Crowley
114 Posted 13/08/2021 at 21:25:13
Darren -

I've been swamped at work. I really shouldn't have even taken time to attend the game in Orlando! We are busiest when back-to-school occurs, and school starts Monday here. I've had no time to pen anything. If I get to it, it will be belated.

Brent -

Boys are great, thanks for asking. Family is healthy, happy, and waiting for tomorrow's kickoff! You can sing Iwobe's praises all you want in threads! In fact, you can sing Iwobe's praises anywhere! After seeing him live and in the flesh in Orlando, I'd contend you're certifiably nuts to sing his praises anywhere! Nice man I'm sure, but good Lord his footballing ability lacks, bless him.

Cheers to all. COYB let's take 3 points tomorrow!

Ian Horan
115 Posted 13/08/2021 at 21:41:17
The new season is upon us, so far I have seen Rafa has ruined it for all the kids to see James!, Rafa didn't say Everton until 9 minutes 40 in to his presser!!! FFS give the man a chance!. I don't care if he needs therapy to help him say Everton, Rafa is prejudge. The kids can watch James on YouTube or even be him on xbox or play station. Rafa has one objective tomorrow win the game. Shite on those not selected its about the blue shirt 100% comment and effort and running your blood to piss for the shirt... I support Everton not the manager not a individual player but Everton... UTFT
Jay Evans
116 Posted 13/08/2021 at 21:51:35
Tommy Johnson, John Spencer, Alex Nyarko, Mitch Ward, Claus Thomsen, Carl Tiler, Mick Madar, David Burrows, Tony Thomas, Marc Hottiger, Stefan Rehn ….. all better than Iwobi.
Colin Glassar
117 Posted 13/08/2021 at 21:58:23
I would say so, jay.
Tom Bowers
118 Posted 13/08/2021 at 22:01:35
Soton are crap but Everton were also crap in many games last season so I wouldn't put money on the result tomorrow unless it's worth going for a 0-0 draw.

Everton got an unexpected result in last season's first game so anything can happen.

Saints have a different look and their new guys will be out to impress so it may be tough to grind win unless Everton come out flying and score early. Let's hope so !

Stuart Sharp
119 Posted 13/08/2021 at 22:05:32
Had forgotten about Nyarko. Ouch. They were the days. But Madar better than Iwobi? Harsh.

Why the hell am I defending Iwobi after all the stick I've given him? Must have had too much to drink.

Paul Birmingham
120 Posted 13/08/2021 at 22:23:16
Colin, add Mick Bernard - lol!
Neil Copeland
121 Posted 13/08/2021 at 22:23:57
Not sure if Iwobi is worse than Glen Keely was
Christy Ring
122 Posted 13/08/2021 at 22:34:15
Have to say the best quote, I think I read it in Big Nev's book, Brett's 2nd touch was a tackle! Classic
Tony Abrahams
123 Posted 13/08/2021 at 22:35:13
Glenn Keely was well better Neil, because we only had to put up with him for 30 minutes, even though he scarred me for life!
Danny O’Neill
124 Posted 13/08/2021 at 22:39:08
Glenn Keely. All I can hear is Derek Hatton.

On a serious note, it even took our most successful manager time to find the right blend. And he made mistakes along the way.

Glenn Keely and that Derby. That opens up old wounds.

Mike Corcoran
125 Posted 13/08/2021 at 22:49:43
Jeez, Danny, that was a painful afternoon. I was in the Street end stand instead of the terrace for a treat. Was 30 years before I could back up there. 😂
John McFarlane Snr
126 Posted 13/08/2021 at 22:58:20
Hi Neil [121],

I made a great mistake in doubting the ability of Roy Vernon when he played his first game for Everton, a 2-0 home defeat against Wolves, but that was after 90 minutes. To make a decision on Glen Keeley after only 32 minutes is a bit harsh and makes my mistake more acceptable.

I can think of one or two who were inferior to Keeley but, having learned from my grave mistake with Vernon, I now base my opinion of players on more than 90 minutes, and certainly a lot more than 32 minutes.

Tony Abrahams
127 Posted 13/08/2021 at 23:02:05
I've just read a very honest and professional article that has popped up on the Guardian website, with Benitez explaining the current situation at Everton.

He's basically having to tell players to fuck off, which is still going to be very difficult, because a few of them seem to like money a lot more than they like playing football!

Brian Williams
128 Posted 13/08/2021 at 23:14:41
Iwobi again? Well, the lad certainly provides us with plenty to talk about.

Personally, I believe he does have some skills and talent. Unfortunately, I also believe he doesn't have the heart, the courage, or the out-and-out determination to use them, and that I find unforgivable.

From someone who would give up the rest of my life to play just 90 minutes at Goodison, I'd like to kick him up the arse, à la Bishop Brennan, and shame him into having some fucking bottle!

John Boon
129 Posted 13/08/2021 at 23:38:20
Michael (76).

Thanks for your clarification. I got the impression that the live forum was possibly not going to continue. I was obviously wrong and according to those who take part I am really missing something. Probably right but I have enough problems just trying to following the game. Due to my Canadian residence (emigrated in 1963 after we won the league), I have not been able to watch live games as much as I would like to. I genuinely envy all those with season tickets. Nothing like being at the game.

However, I am still very able to yell my opinions at the TV screen. I always have fellow Evertonians plus family for all games so the banter, insults etc etc are always part of the 90 plus minutes.

While I may be surprised by some of the posts on TW and very disappointed by the negativity, I am never offended in the slightest. I have been told to Fuck Off enough times in my life to let things just pass. Probably there were times when such vitriol was deserved. Mind you, there are followers of any team who should never follow Football.

Over-the-top personal criticism of individual players can sometimes go too far. Their frustrations border on insanity and the comments lack any sense of reasonable logic. Unfortunately, one post is not enough and the offenders must feel that they must multi-post in order to get their point across.

However, free speech should be considered as the right of everyone. In the eyes of every poster, they are "right" and everybody has the right to agree or disagree. Following the discussions that ensue from the daily articles is both entertaining, amusing and frustrating.

My daily dose of Toffee Web is an essential and if I am able to please or annoy by a post, so be it. I have yet to be offended enough to make me stop posting. I also enjoy reading the responses of those who have the nerve to question my "brilliant" observations about my favourite subject... "Everton"!!

Laurie Hartley
130 Posted 13/08/2021 at 23:48:39
Jay # 116 - you missed Bernie the Bolt Wright.

On the subject of the “F” bomb - I posted some years ago that “anyone who wants Lukaku back can “Fuck Off”. I regretted that so I would like to take the beginning of a new season as an opportunity to apologise to those concerned – Jay Woods and Mike Gaynes spring to mind. But I still don't want him back.😉

Now more than ever, we need players 110% committed to the shirt. Richarlison is one of them in my opinion – first hat-trick for the Blues tomorrow.

Up the Blues!!!

Don Alexander
131 Posted 13/08/2021 at 00:19:00
l really recommend anyone still hoping for a modestly successful season to watch a recently broadcast Al Jazeera documentary entitled "The Men Who Sell Football" - https://youtu.be/ldgTCXpDEgk. Nobody in the UK will broadcast it on account of the revenue the broadcast media pour into the Premier League.

It's a litany of immoral/illegal goings-on in present-day football and, guess what, our club "led" by Kenwright features significantly in it.

Had it not been for the principled conduct of unnamed senior Everton whistle-blower employees, who paid a price for their conduct, we could have been ruined.

So right now Benitez faffs about with selection and tactics, Brands faffs about with whatever everyone posing as being actually in charge allows him to faff about with, and the boardroom and Moshiri faff about with whoever is pulling their strings.

In the meantime most of us limit our comments to the best centre-back pairing and suchlike.

That must be music to the ears of our present boardroom and apparent (and the Al Jazeera documentary fully explains the word "apparent") owner.

Derek Thomas
132 Posted 14/08/2021 at 00:49:42
Don @ 131; I've downloaded it for later, its a busy Sat morning here just now.

Anything to do with Mr Birch's short tenure or is it later dealings?

Mike Jones
133 Posted 14/08/2021 at 00:51:26
I’ve no idea if anyone has commented Snods chose us over the Red Shite back in ‘87 and is still so involved in the Club. And he’s a Yorkshire man. Loved him on NorthWest Tonight on Friday. Loves the Blues and felt sick mentioning the Shite. I’ve loads of time for Proper Evertonians. UTFT.
Ernie Baywood
134 Posted 14/08/2021 at 00:59:30
Weighing into the Iwobi debate, I'm not sure we've had many footballers who didn't know how to strike a ball.

Once you've seen it, you can't unsee it. He lacks the most fundamental technique there is in football. I don't think he could even drop down a level and perform with that gaping flaw.

Darren Hind
135 Posted 14/08/2021 at 07:05:59
Fair enough, Jamie.

Colin Glassar
136 Posted 14/08/2021 at 07:06:07
Ernie 134, he can’t strike the ball because his feet seem to be made out of feathers!
Chris Williams
137 Posted 14/08/2021 at 07:33:22

There’s a thread on the Al Jazeera expose, elsewhere on this site already. Food for thought.

Sam Hoare
138 Posted 14/08/2021 at 08:06:47
Struggling to find much optimism for this season for the first time in a while. My expectation is somewhere between 8th and 13th with no glut of goals and mostly workmanlike performances. But low expectations seem to bring the best out of Everton so who knows.

Southampton will be decent, a fit Salisu is a good replacement for Vestegaard and Perraud is a great signing I reckon at left back. Che Adam’s and Adam Armstrong will keep running up front and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a mistake or a set piece settle this one. Hopefully Ward-Prowse is not fit.

Barry Hesketh
139 Posted 14/08/2021 at 08:32:47
Random Memories Everton v Southampton August 1995, from the Daily Mail:

Everton gave the long-awaited Andrei Kanchelskis a tumultuous welcome but by the end they were hailing unsettled Nigerian Daniel Amokachi. Kanchelskis, who finally signed on Friday after five weeks of complex dealings with Manchester United, occasionally showed his shooting power but had a quiet debut after starting his first match since surgery in March.

But Amokachi, in the side only because of a late injury to Duncan Ferguson, had the crowd on their feet with his surging runs and powerful presence in the box and was rewarded with the crucial second goal when he headed over the advancing keeper Dave Beasant.

Everton's other foreign star, Anders Limpar, also played a key role in his side's first victory of the season with a superb opening goal after 35 minutes. Kanchelskis dribbled across field, left the ball for Limpar and the little Swede exchanged passes with Paul Rideout and then unleashed a 25-yard left-foot drive that gave Beasant no chance.

Saints had earlier dominated but a clearance off the line from David Unsworth denied Matt Le Tissier, playing in a central role, from adding to his tally.

Danny O’Neill
140 Posted 14/08/2021 at 08:39:06
Feeling positive. On the train on my way and currently at a stop at Wembley Stadium station thinking next spring or May I'll be getting off here!
Andy Crooks
141 Posted 14/08/2021 at 08:57:52
Danny, have a brilliant day. Bring some luck with you.

To every blue going today, let this be a magnificent return. Enjoy every second. A new dawn, a victory.

Tony Abrahams
142 Posted 14/08/2021 at 09:01:54
Next spring, or hope springs eternal!! You will do for me Danny, I've just spent 5 minutes thinking how beautiful it would be to see Everton finally winning a cup again, singing "We Shall Not Be Moved!"
Jim Lloyd
143 Posted 14/08/2021 at 09:47:42
Don (131) Thanks for alerting us to that Al Jazeera report "The Men who sell football. I've just watched the first 10 minutes of it and a name cropped up which seems very familiar. Chris Samuelson!

Isn't he the man who Kenwright was getting involved with? Saying he was a Blue and the "Money was in the Bank" when Kenwright was opposing Paul Gregg's bid to take control? I'll watch the rest after the match, thanks again. Then I'll try and find the thread that Chris Williams mentions.

As for this season, it's the first morning of the first match, and hope springs eternal! Meet the mates in the old EFC supporters club for the first time in a year or more, walk along to the ground and let the memories flood in.

Alex Young, Bobby Collins, Roy Vernon, seeing the Blues win the League in 62-63, again in the Blueboys winning it twice in the Eighties, Barry Horne's belter that saved us from relegation, loads, Bayern Munich Night, Davie Hickson running round with that bandage on his head, many more nostalgic memories.

This season, so much doom and gloom and a ball ain't been kicked! I'm just glad that we can all go again and watch the season unfurl (Covid permitting) and then start wondering about where we'll end up.

A number are beaten before they start. This is our club, we've supported it all our lives, I'm chuffed to bits to be going. The result? Let's just see how we get on.

Neil Copeland
144 Posted 14/08/2021 at 10:06:15
Tony #123, it was the 60 minutes that followed his sending off. Hall of fame stuff

Danny #124, still gives me nightmares if I think about that game.

John Mc #126, I hope you are well. My comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek really although and you are right of course but his red card played a big part in total humiliation.

Kim Vivian
145 Posted 14/08/2021 at 10:16:11
Just watched that Al Jazeera report on Youtube. Samuelson and co...really, what a septic pisspot football has become. Well worth a watch. We don't come out of it stinking too bad tbh.

Still looking forward 2-0 the Blues this afternoon.

Chris Williams
146 Posted 14/08/2021 at 10:20:04

You’ll find it under General Forum/Messages. Samuelson is indeed the same bloke you recall. Paul Gregg is also interviewed.

Darren Hind
147 Posted 14/08/2021 at 10:20:25
Just drove past the ground and there was a No Entrance barrier at the corner of Goodison Road. I couldn't resist having a nose and decided to weave around it. What mug thing to do! I went past the gate and there was about a dozen bizzies being briefed – all staring at me. Luckily enough, they just shook their heads.

Thought for a minute, that I was going to be the oldest footy arrest of the season before a ball was even kicked

Tony Abrahams
148 Posted 14/08/2021 at 10:22:12
I got to school on the Monday morning Neil, and someone had already drew a little line on the door to change push into Rush, and that was before I’d even got in the building. It gave me thick skin, and also scarred me for life, because I was in the ground early that day, and have found it impossible to be at my seat early ever since.

I might get in early today though, just to see if Iwobi can do something good in the warm up, but have to agree with Brian W, whilst thinking if Alex had a bit more heart and desire, he might just be able to surprise us!

Tony Abrahams
149 Posted 14/08/2021 at 10:26:13
As soon as I saw Samuelson introduced to the Evertonianscat an AGM meeting before Kenwright banned them, I genuinely thought he was an extra from Emmerdale farm who Bill had drafted in for the show!
Darren Hind
150 Posted 14/08/2021 at 10:37:52
Last season may have been miserable to watch, but it was very lucrative for blues who liked a punt. Take the generous odds on offer for away games and avoid the skinny odds for home games like the plague. Many blues saw a pattern developing early and kept sticking it to the bookies. The amazing thing (unheard of really) was the bookies kept on offering the generous odds.

Can't see that happening this season, but for those interested. You can still get better than evens (11/10) for a home win today.

George McKane
151 Posted 14/08/2021 at 10:44:55
“Blue's the colour of the sky-y,
In the morning, when we rise,
In the morning, when we rise.
That's the time, that's the time,
I love the best.
Mellow is the feeling that I get,
When I see her, m-hmm,
When I see her, oh yeah.
That's the time, that's the time,
I love the best.”

Morning Blues - - exactly 1 year ago today - - this day then I was rushed to hospital and entered The Tibetan Book of the Dead - - through wonderous help from all NHS staff, Blue friends and TWers and my own strength I left 7 weeks later and became You, The Living (An amazing film by Roy Andersson) - - now here I am sitting on the top floor of my House in The Costa Del New Brighton - - in my writing room - - surrounded by posters and art and poetry and listening to music - - getting ready for a visit to my Spiritual Blue Homes - - The Dark house and Goodison - - Wowwwww - - can you imagine how that feels - - absolutely wonderful - - full to the brimsicals - - “aint no one nor anything gonna stop me having a Bluetiful Day”

“I’m dancing with two wooden spoons and the girl in my arms is you”

This day I will see all my friends - - some I haven’t seen for nearly 18 months or more - - we will meet in The Dark House and walk together as Blue Brothers and Sisters up to the Hallowed Ground - - our hearts will be full - - our minds excited and dancing with excitement - - our talk will be absolute gibberish - - but we will be Together - - Tied By A Blue Ribbon - - invisible to mere mortals - - tied around our chests - - binding each of us together - - streaming and floating on the breeze behind us - - whirling in the afternoon air - - words and poetry - - song and little dances of joy - - steps treading as if we were on the Road To Oz - - The Blue Brick Road - - as if sound and perfume swirled in the afternoon air - - I will be leaving New Brighton around 11.30 - - my wife will bring the Golden Chariot to The Door - - I shall Drive My Chariot Down Your Street and Shout Hey Its Me I’m Dynamite and I Don’t Know Why - - we will drive under The River - - like Dante in Search Of Beatrice - - out onto Dear Scottie - - St. Anthony’s - - long by Boundary Street - - Bob’s Newsagents Still there in my nostalgic eye - - earning my matchday money as the paperboy - - further onto to Smith Street - -The Brit - - St.Alphonus - - Hanson’s dairy - - an “udder” way to get my match money as a Milk Boy - - all gone now but still there to touch my heart and without and doubt whatsoever bring a Bluetiful Tear to my Eye and a shiver of love and affection for all those years' and family and friends tied together by being Blue - - passing Whittle Street - -33 (That Magical Mystical Number) bus every morning with Lenny Mc Cluskey, Pat Clarke, Pob Mack, Mickey Curran, Jimmy Kennedy - - upstairs on The Dockers Bus hardly able to see each other through the smoke - - along Wessie Road - - passing the Baths - - first in on Saturday morning - - and “thar she blows” - - shimmering and shivering - - The Dark House - - The Only Cathedral in The World that has the Gargoyles on the inside - - and beyond on the Blue Horizon - - - yes it’s Goodison - - The Home Of Memories - -
“ And we'll walk down the avenue again
And we'll sing all the songs from way back when, yeah
And we'll walk down the avenue again and the healing has begun”

Now listen - - just listening On The Road Again - - Canned heat (all good Evertonians) - - so just going to give you a quick blast on my harmonica - - here you go:

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that's all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause (Benitez And) the banners, they are flown in the next war”

There is nothing in the world that is going to stop me feeling chocked up and clap on My Team - - there is nothing on Earth that can stop my heart beating a bit faster - - my chest and stomach getting “that” feeling - - don’t care who is in “charge” - - they are just Minders for a Time - - We Are In Charge - - We Are the People - - This Is Our Club - - Made By Us and Ours - - Grafted and Crafted By Our Passions, Desires, Sweat and Blood and Tears - - Shaped in the Likeness of our Love for the Club and our Friends that we Have Stood and Sat by Over the Years - - and those who cannot be there today but are still in our hearts our memories our soul:

“And I wanna rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
Then magnificently we will float
Into the mystic”

OK gang - - got to go pretty soon - - meeting my daughters and going up early - - excited and absolutely delighted to be going - - we don’t need to enjoy things when they have been taken away from us - - There Is Only Now - - enjoy it all and love it - - it’s all marvellous:

Rave on The Holy Trinity
Rave on The Golden Vision
Rave on Through The Ages
Rave On Dixie Dean
And Alex and Royston too
And Joe and little Alan Ball
Big Nev
Rave On You Evertonians
Rave On You Holy Fools
Rave on through a Pandemic
Rave on to Brighter Blue Future
Rave on Blue Boys
(Whisper as you read):
Rave On
Rave On
Rave On
Rave On

Finished with a final blow on my Harmonica - - there you go:

Buckets of rain
Buckets of tears
Got all them buckets comin' out of my ears
Buckets of moonbeams in my hand
Life is sad
Life is a bust
All ya can do is do what you must
You do what you must do and ya do it well
I'll do it for you
Honey baby, can't you tell?

Cosmic Blue Grooves and “Posso” Waves sent Right out there onto The Astral - - enjoy Being and Blue wherever you are and however you support and watch Our Team.

With a Firm Handshake - - George William Anthony

Darren Hind
152 Posted 14/08/2021 at 10:55:48
George pens the beautiful stuff.

Now we know it's show time again.

Tony Abrahams
153 Posted 14/08/2021 at 10:57:09
Bluetiful George, absolutely Bluetiful mate👏👏
Brian Harrison
154 Posted 14/08/2021 at 10:59:08

I know you weren't a fan of Ancelotti but at least you won a few bob backing Everton away from home last season; let's hope you have the same good fortune this season.

Today, I start my 66th season of following Everton, and I feel more apprehensive about this one than I did with all the others, largely down to my feelings towards the manager who I just can't take to at all.

I was deliberating about not going today but my Grandson, who is also a season ticket holder, said "Everton has been your life, so don't stop going>" So I will be going today.

Also, it will seem strange that I will be in amongst a crowd again for the first time in practically 18 months and I am a bit unsure how I will find that experience.

For all my misgivings about the manager, I think we will win today, as I think Southampton are far weaker this season than they were last season with the sale of Ings and Vestergaard.

George @151, I am sure we have all missed your musings pre-match and it seems that, unlike me, you have lost none of your enthusiasm, well done!

Barry Robson
155 Posted 14/08/2021 at 11:16:17
See you in the Dark House George. UTFT!!!!!
Christine Foster
156 Posted 14/08/2021 at 11:18:44
Whatever misgivings I have over Benitez or the team, it's the day to cheer the boys in blue and help them off to a brilliant start.
George, captured the day, the feeling and excitement of what it is to be a blue, fabulous just bursting with pride.

I shall still be awake at 2am here watching, my scarf on and ready to shout and cheer, just as well the nearest place is a couple of hundred yards away! Come on you blues! Show us what you can do!

Danny O’Neill
157 Posted 14/08/2021 at 11:20:23
They're still your Everton Brian. Our Everton. Always have been and always will be.

George, beautifully crafted as always. I confess to having an early one on the train, but that brought a tear to my eye as well as a genuine smile to my face.

Just at Stafford, a place which can sober the mind, but knowing I'm only an hour away is getting the anticipation and expectationg flowing.

Off for a second trip to Coach C and the shop!

Brent Stephens
158 Posted 14/08/2021 at 11:24:04
Jamie (Crowley), just got your link re Florida and DeSantis speech. Sounds encouraging. Thanks. Keep safe ya all.

George #151, great stuff as usual.

Steve Shave
159 Posted 14/08/2021 at 11:26:12
Well done George for capturing the blues spirit and raising our hopes. You too Christine, couldn't agree more with your comments. Yes the pre-season has been an absolute shocker. Yes we would prefer some quality new signings, yes we would have preferred not to have an ex Red as manager and yes the club is in disarray. All the more REASON for us to do our job, get behind our team and push them forward. Once more over the breach dear boy an all that. COYB!
Jim Lloyd
160 Posted 14/08/2021 at 11:46:09
Don,(131) Wow, Kenwright eh!!!
Barry Rathbone
161 Posted 14/08/2021 at 11:57:23
Can't get sentimental about Everton anymore the bone idle scruffs need to start proving themselves perennial failings against any sort of challenge leaves me cold.

Let's see how they do today before eulogising and resurrecting ghosts of eras past.

Bill Griffiths
162 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:17:22
Can't believe I'm going to a game again. Reading George's post shows it's truly a match day.
Am in Waterstones having a cuppa after travelling over by train from Nth Wales.
City centre pretty much packed just like ore- Covid.
Don't like getting to ground too early but think I better had today given Everton's previous history in fucking up ticketing foul ups.
Gary Smith
163 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:25:09
Another 364 days to be negative if you want, but for today it’s time to blow the roof off. It’s been too long, and for all we know it’ll be taken away again. For today let’s sing, shout, and roar the blue boys onto the first 3 points. Coyfb!!
Jim Lloyd
164 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:36:45
Barry, you do what you want; and allow us to do what we want today. There's a lot to celebrate, not least being able to go the match at last.
Danny O’Neill
165 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:37:51
Well, the Eagle has landed at Lime Street. If my good lady was with me, she would disown me. Danny aged 49 is feeling like Danny aged 12. A bottle of pop waiting to explode!!
Jim Lloyd
166 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:39:46
ps: Bill Griffiths, Hope you had a pleasant journey mate, and a top way to spend an hour or so.
Barry Rathbone
167 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:45:40
Jim 164

Thanks, I will.

Hope you feel better for getting that off your chest

Laurie Hartley
168 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:45:45
George Mck - I am very happy for you and happy to hear from you. Have a great day.
Jim Lloyd
169 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:46:25
PPS, Thanks Chris.
Jim Lloyd
170 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:47:49
Barry, I do,
Bill Griffiths
171 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:48:54
Thanks Jim (166), In will do. Today is the nearest I've felt to being normal since Covid started.
John Burns
172 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:54:12
Just popped in to see if George had posted. So happy for you George and brilliant cosmic post.
Rob Hooton
173 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:55:20
Danny, 17, I thought the phrase was “About turn and advance!” Have a fab day today, I'm stuck in London.

I had been quite pessimistic over the close season but anything can happen. I still picked Calvert-Lewin as my fantasy football team captain yesterday, so hope springs eternal!

I fancy us edging this 2-1, hope all those attending make it a great atmosphere and have a real good time.

David Pearl
174 Posted 14/08/2021 at 12:56:21
Danny, have a good time and 3 points! Interesting times.
Billy Roberts
175 Posted 14/08/2021 at 13:02:35
George @151

A brilliant ode to the magic of being an Evertonian and going to Goodison with music (in my head) by Van Morrison and the Who amongst others.

I don't know how you do it, but you do.

Dave Abrahams
177 Posted 14/08/2021 at 13:30:46
George (151) starting the season well there George, decided to get me self moving and get there with my ticket and virus certificate and join the queue to get in, hope it’s quick.

Once I’m in I’m focused on a victory and how Mr. Benitez is getting them into a decent shape but conscious that it is their first game, so allowing them time and some mistakes.

You must have been posh, George William Anthony, three bleedin’ Christian names and coming from Scotty!! Get in there lah.

Andy Crooks
178 Posted 14/08/2021 at 13:39:00
Danny @169, how about putting up an article tomorrow describing your day out. It's the sort of stuff that many of us who can't get to the game enjoy. Omit no detail. Paul Trail has done some great stuff like this but I may have read that he is a bit disillusioned at the moment(hope I'm wrong, Paul)
Anyway, have a cracking day, Danny, and report back on a win tomorrow.
Jamie Gentry
179 Posted 14/08/2021 at 13:47:45
I am hopeful as always for a good season and perhaps a European place at the close but I am more hopeful today that the fans of our magnificent club, by far the best fans in my humble opinion, will get behind not only the players but the manager too, let’s show Rafa who the best support is on Merseyside and in fact the Premier League. Our home form, with the support we have will be a total contrast of last season, of that, I have no doubt because our fans are worth an extra two men when we are up for it. COYB!
John Skelly
180 Posted 14/08/2021 at 13:57:04
George 151 loved your line the invisible blue ribbon so very very true.

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