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Everton linked with wantaway Bergwijn

| Sunday, 05 June 2022 61comments  |  Jump to last

Steven Bergwijn has told Tottenham that he wants to leave the North London club this summer and Ajax and Everton are reportedly in the frame to sign him.

Speaking to AD after the Netherlands' 4-1 drubbing of Belgium on Friday, Dutch winger explained that he needs regular first-team football and that he isn't necessarily determined to join a club offering Champions League football.

Assuming there is interest in Bergwijn from Everton, that would encourage the Blues, although the fact that Spurs are said to have already rejected a £17m bid from Ajax suggests that they might need to spend north of £20m to secure him.

"I just need to go play," the 24-year-old said. "I want to leave Spurs now, that's for sure.

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"Is it important that my new club plays in the Champions League? That's not my top priority. It would be nice, but what's important is that I'm going to play.

"I wasn't allowed to leave Spurs in the winter and then I didn't have any problems. But for the last few months, I was hardly looked after there.

"I want to go and play somewhere weekly. It would be nice if there was clarity soon. My situation now has to be different."

Reader Comments (61)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 05/06/2022 at 17:58:34
Strong, quick, great on the ball, blazing pace.

And -- excepting that last remarkable minute at Leicester -- he generally produces nothing.

At this price, no thanks.

Francis van Lierop
2 Posted 05/06/2022 at 18:31:11
Mike, usually I agree with you. Not this time.

Although he hardly gets any playing time with the Spurs, Louis van Gaal still picks him for the national team. Where he scores almost every match, including the 4-1 thrashing of Roberto Martinez's Belgian side in Brussels last Friday.

Whether we can afford him is another matter.

Minik Hansen
3 Posted 05/06/2022 at 18:41:04
I'll be glad with paying £20M for him for a sensible wage.
Denis Richardson
4 Posted 05/06/2022 at 18:44:00
Can't make up my mind here as I'm not sure he's been given a fair crack as Spurs but seems a decent player.

However, I think we've got a lot more urgent needs elsewhere on the pitch and won't have much money to spend so don't think £20M here would be wise.

We're desperate for a quality central-midfielder- that's the top priority for me, followed by a commanding centre-back who's not made of glass. We're basically entirely missing a reliable spine in the team.

Mike Gaynes
5 Posted 05/06/2022 at 18:46:42
Francis, yes, I saw that game and his goal was brilliant. Absolute rocket. And yes, I know he's got Son ahead of him at Spurs, which is tough.

I don't doubt his talent at all. But he's played more than 80 games there with exactly one minute of real impact. I think his price tag is way out of line for his productivity, whether we could afford it or not.

Ian Bennett
6 Posted 05/06/2022 at 18:58:52
On loan for me with option to buy. He's got pace to burn and could be a decent replacement for Richarlison if he's given a chance.

Scott Montgomery
7 Posted 05/06/2022 at 19:00:18
Years ago, we were the home for Man Utd's castoffs and now it seems we're taking all those not required by Tottenham.

I understand the financial situation, and that sub-optimal footballing decisions will be made because of it, but it's still so immensely galling that we've made absolutely no progress in a decade.

Dennis Stevens
8 Posted 05/06/2022 at 19:11:17
I find it rather curious to see these links to players we'd actually have to pay a transfer fee for. I'm expecting a couple of freebies & loans – if their wages aren't too high!
Michael Burke
9 Posted 05/06/2022 at 19:15:16
It makes an interesting change to hear a player coming out and saying he just wants to play. This suggests something about his attitude (a good one). Something we have been critical of our own players for lacking!

As mentioned before, I'd rather £20M was put towards a quality central midfielder though.

Kevin Molloy
10 Posted 05/06/2022 at 19:22:54
"Mr Levy, Bill Kenwrght.''

Mr Levy: "I'm not here. He's their player now…"

"No, he wants to discuss Bergwijn."

Mr Levy: "You're kidding?!?"

Mal van Schaick
11 Posted 05/06/2022 at 20:38:20
Agree with #6. We cannot keep repeating the mistakes of the past, by buying players who don’t play or don’t fit in after a few months of signing them. Loan with an option to buy.
Phillip Warrington
12 Posted 05/06/2022 at 20:39:14
Once again linked to cast-offs instead of players we really need.
Robert Tressell
13 Posted 05/06/2022 at 21:05:09
Philip # 11, Henry and Vieira were cast-offs. As long as the player is still on an upward trajectory, I wouldn't worry.

Is he meaningfully better than Gray though? Or Gordon? Or where Dobbin might get to with games?

Even if, as seems likely, Richarlison goes, what we could really do with is a player (ideally left-footed) for the right flank.

Steve Shave
14 Posted 05/06/2022 at 21:21:23
Robert, agree its hard to say what more he could bring than Gordon or Gray. However, we would only be in for him if Richarlison went, £20M for him and the rest to strengthen wouldn't be the worst business in my view.

We would miss Richarlison's work rate though compared to this lad's, that's for sure. Who could replace Richarlison's workrate and end product realistically? Tough call.

Gordon and Gray can both play on either wing, I like it when we can switch it up with wingers.

Tommy Carter
15 Posted 05/06/2022 at 22:22:23
If we can get shut of Gray for £10-£15m then I would pursue this deal. He’s better than Gray. Both are very average but I think Betgwijn has the potential to be better than he is currently. Whereas last season is as good as Demarai Gray gets. 2 or 3 good games every now and then. No consistency. Very little end product. Goes missing within a game if it’s not going his way early doors.
Sam Hoare
16 Posted 05/06/2022 at 23:13:05
I think he’s better than Gray. Or could be. I also think you don’t deal with Levy if you can possibly help it.

He will cost £20m+ and I think for that price there may hopefully be wingers who get goals more consistently.

I like Sinisterra, very hard working and explosive pace with decent end product.

Bernie Quinn
17 Posted 05/06/2022 at 23:16:42
Why do so many posters always think they know more about transferring players than Frank or Kevin? Those two must have the latest information to hand, and know just what the Club require. I know it is just opinions being expressed, but still - egg on the face and all that!
Craig Harrison
18 Posted 05/06/2022 at 23:32:17
Sam… Who was it that crossed a perfect ball for Calvert-Lewin to score the 3rd against Palace?

A name I’ll throw out: Origi? At least he wouldn't score against us.

Dave Hall
19 Posted 06/06/2022 at 00:18:00
Agent bullshit to get Ajax to pay the last couple mil. No way.
Mick Roberts
20 Posted 06/06/2022 at 10:14:52
This situation could arise with Dobbin unless he gets game time — and who could blame him?
Alex Kociuba
21 Posted 06/06/2022 at 11:02:07
Is it xenophobic to suggest avoiding Dutch players at all costs? It often feels like, from my oberservations, that if they're not causing trouble they're disappointing. It just seems like we need the opposite of this type of profile.
Danny O’Neill
22 Posted 06/06/2022 at 12:12:46
We once took a cast-off from Liverpool that went on to be the best player I saw play for Everton. Kevin Sheedy.

Graeme Sharp was a bargain from Dumbarton.

Andy Gray was a dud that hid his medical records and changed the dynamic of Howard Kendall's team.

Cast-offs Tim Howard and Phil Neville didn't do bad service to our club.

Tim Cahill at the time was an uninspiring signing against the backdrop of losing Rooney in the same transfer window.

My point? Let the manager and the coaching staff decide who they want and need to build their own squad in the circumstances they are operating in.

I just follow. I have all my life. I will next season and beyond.

Bramley-Moore Dock. Europe. League Cup. 6th FA Cup and 10th League Title. It's coming. Then the good Lord is welcome to take me.

Tom Bowers
23 Posted 06/06/2022 at 12:17:20
Some may remember a certain Johnny Morrissey who was a real steal from Liverpool and did a great job at Everton, not to mention Alan Harper.
Danny O’Neill
24 Posted 06/06/2022 at 12:25:39
Alex, a nation like Holland has long punched above it's weight in producing top quality players.

The list could go on, but look no further than Johann Cruyff. A player that changed the game. Once in a lifetime a players like him and Maradona come along. Beckenbauer for different reasons.

For a country less than a 3rd of the size of the UK in terms of population, the Netherlands has, over the years, competed and entertained on the field of football above and beyond what we can claim to have done so in my opinion.

Their grass roots, youth and academy system is superior and the model we should all aspire to. Ours is for the few, not the many.

A former Everton player now coaching at Ajax who came through their South African satellite club, then Ajax itself and played for Borussia Dortmund is someone I would have at Finch Farm tomorrow. And bringing with him as many Dutch / Ajax players as he can convince to join the madness that is Everton.

Lester Yip
25 Posted 06/06/2022 at 12:39:47
I guess some of the sentiment is from our recent purchase from Holland didn't work out as we'd have liked. eg, Andy van der Meyde, Royston Drenthe, Davy Klaassen, Anwar El Ghazi.

The ones that worked out alright were: Johnny Heitinga and Van de Beek.

Andrew Clare
26 Posted 06/06/2022 at 13:09:30
It's a waste of time buying players that haven't made it with the Top 6 clubs. All that happens is you wind up building a team that can't make the Top 6.

We must buy young highly rated players from lower leagues in the UK, Europe and South America.

Brian Murray
27 Posted 06/06/2022 at 13:18:25
The silence from our third DoF is deafening. Hope I'm just jumping the gun and he has it all in hand — unlike the other two.
John McFarlane Snr
28 Posted 06/06/2022 at 13:21:18
Hi Bernie [17] I have a similar outlook to yours, and because I have no say in the signing of players, I give my support to the players, that the manager and recruitment team have signed.

Hi Danny [22] I tend to list my favourite players in decades for example, 50s, Peter Farrell, Wally Fielding, and Dave Hickson. 60s, Bobby Collins Tommy Ring, and Alex Young. 70s, Howard Kendall, Colin Harvey and Joe Royle. I think you'll have got the the gist of it by now, but to cut a long story short, every season from then on has provided players who stand out from the crowd, but if I was challenged to name my favourite player overall, it would have to be Alex Young.

Hi Tom [23] Peter Beardsley wasn't too bad either.

Danny O’Neill
29 Posted 06/06/2022 at 13:29:52
I know it's a generational thing, John Senior, so it will always be Sheedy for me. I also always rated Bracewell as a close second and it's a shame he was tainted by injury because I think he could have been special.

You make a good call on Beardsley. I've said many times, a player who was one step ahead of the Everton team he played in. I rarely heard the Everton crowd moan at him, just complain at the players who were not on the same wavelength to get on the end of his vision and passes.

He was doing the right thing. Not enough players he played with at the time could read the game like him unfortunately.

Gary Jones
30 Posted 06/06/2022 at 13:45:06
Whilst appreciating it's never “black and white” and quantitative, it would be interesting to know what our “strategic review” found, and whether it sets out criteria for recruitment.

- Hungry to play (yes)
- Young enough for resell to rise (yes)
- clearly improves prime position (debatable)
- likely to come at good price (not from Levi)
- cultural fit (unlikely based on Klassen et al)
- priority position (no)

Computer says: hang back, look at alternatives, in unlikely event both seller and player get desperate enough, try a low ball at end of window….

Mike Gaynes
31 Posted 06/06/2022 at 14:38:57
Brian #27, that's fine with me. Were you expecting Thelwell to publicly talk about his targets and plans before the window opens?
Kieran Kinsella
32 Posted 06/06/2022 at 15:12:36

I wouldn't argue I know more than Frank or Kevin. I'd argue this is fake news driven by lazy journalists and agents.

I was amazed Spurs bought him as he's not that good and for the money spent I couldn't see how he'd fit in at Spurs. He hasn't. Therefore I'd be even more surprised if we used our meagre budget to snap him up.

John McFarlane Snr
33 Posted 06/06/2022 at 15:39:36
Hi Danny [29],

The 1993-94 season was a particularly poor season for Everton, low attendances and 9 home defeats. I remember saying at the time, that the only players with the right to come off the pitch with their heads held high, were Neville Southall and Peter Beardsley.

At the end of that season, we finished in 17th position, 2 points clear of Sheffield United, who finished 20th and were relegated along with Oldham Athletic, and Swindon Town.

You have to go back to the 1950-51 relegation season to find 9 home defeats, although I think it might have been equalled during the 'Covid 19' lockdown.

Brian Hennessy
34 Posted 06/06/2022 at 17:00:31
Totally off topic, but my son was playing FIFA 2014 today and I have to admit I was shocked and depressed at how good our team and squad looked in comparison with what we have now.

A back 4 that included Baines and Coleman in their prime, along with Stones, Jagielka or DIstin.
Midfield option of McCarthy, Barry, Pienaar, Osman, Barkley, Gibson, Oveido.
And a strike force that included Lukaku, Mirallas and Naismith.

I'd safely say only Richarlison and maybe Pickford from our current players would get in the 2014-15 team. Shows what a load of rubbish Lampard has inherited and what a big rebuilding job we have on our hands.

Robert Tressell
35 Posted 06/06/2022 at 20:29:52
Sobering, really Brian, #34 just what a good side we assembled largely on the cheap.

The quality of the playing squad has deteriorated markedly since Martinez. As you say, only Richarlison and Pickford would get in the 2014 side.

And look where those players came from:

- lower leagues

- relegated clubs

- free transfers

- cheap markets like Greece, Ireland and Denmark

- big 6 reserves

As soon as we got money, we forgot all of the sound principles of building a squad we learned when we were skint.

Danny O’Neill
36 Posted 06/06/2022 at 21:06:23
Brian, Robert, it is sobering. It is as sobering as the worrying attitude of some of our down trodden supporters. That isn't a criticism and I feel so much for them; the lost generation as I often refer to. My brother's generation. It's been beaten into them.

Thank goodness for those youngsters who took us over the line this season with their unrivalled passion and dedication. It was easy for me in the 80s. The passion of those young fans I witnessed this season was a joy to behold and witness. Special. Unbelievable.

But at the same time and being reflective of this post and the comments, I had my frustrations with where Everton were at that time referred to. On the back of what we've all just been through, we may take 2014 right now. But I watched the twice champions of England who should have been champions of Europe had they been given the right to be so.

So 2014 was not for me. I expect better and that has been the problem with our club for decades. Low expectation and declaring a decent outing as success.

Those players mentioned where fine servants and some of my brothers idols. But 2014 is not where I wanted Everton to be or want them to be.

We need to aim higher and believe in our potential as a club.

Manchester City dropped to the 3rd tier of English football but never gave up hope or belief.

Chelsea where a yo-yo club but believed in a plan.

"They" dropped to averageness but never gave up hope or belief.

Never stop believing Everton. Never give up the hope because those days are coming back. If we believe. Never stop believing.

I'm never going to stop. There is nothing wrong with expectation when you are one of England's biggest clubs even though you have been mismanaged for decades. It can happen. It will happen.

Our day will come. Our day is coming. And I'm going to be there with every one of you.

I apologise in advance!

Barry Rathbone
37 Posted 06/06/2022 at 21:12:14
Just watched his highlights and he's a proper footballer.

Unless he's a mentalist of some kind, we need to get this lad pronto and a few more like him.

Robert Tressell
38 Posted 06/06/2022 at 21:22:27
Danny, I expect better too but I would take a 2014 standards as a good start and step in the right direction.

I would like to see us stabilise as a club competing for European places and cup trophies (including Europa League).

From there, we can begin to dream bigger.

That is the makings of a plan (or at least a few key milestones).

Since we lack vast riches we can't skip any of these stages. It's unrealistic.

Even Newcastle (the richest club in the world?) will find it hard to break into an established and (apart from Man Utd) currently well managed Rich 6.

I believe it can be done but it will take better strategic planning than those with more money – in recruitment, in the academy etc.

Peter Carpenter
39 Posted 06/06/2022 at 21:42:20
No more cast-offs from Top 6 clubs, please. We need Richarlison-type signings. But not our signing of him from Watford, I mean Watford's signing of him from Fluminense. Identify good young players with potential who look like they can handle the Premier League.
Danny O’Neill
40 Posted 06/06/2022 at 21:48:54
It's why I apologised at the end, Robert.

As much as I am an emotional Evertonian fool and optimist, I am also a realist at heart.

I lived through the '70s and waited for that Andy King derby winning goal. I lived through the Gordon Lee years and my Dad's ranting on them not being good enough despite Duncan McKenzie. The early part of Howard's reign that took us to a very low ebb – only to go on to the ecstasy that followed.

Then into what followed as the club failed to capitalise on its position in English football's hierarchy and suffer decades of decline. The '90s. The nothing years. Without sounding controversial, even that FA Cup win in 1995 was more like the Coventry 1988 one.

As much as I enjoyed and celebrated, we were the plucky underdogs who surprised everyone. When Man Utd and Norman Whiteside done us in 1985, it was they who stole the headlines for beating the favourites. Everton.

I agree with you though. The realism has to kick in amongst my sentimental over-opitmism. That's why I cited Chelsea and Man City. It took years and a stepping-stone approach. But there was a plan and a strategy.

It's up to the club to implement that. Meanwhile, I will just continue to live in blind hope and faith.

True story, in the winter of 1983, 12-year-old Danny looked to the sky and asked the great Evertonian in the sky to look down on Everton and bless them. 5 months later, I had been to Wembley twice and seen us lift a trophy.

I'm very spiritual and a person of belief. God will look down on us. I've just asked him to. Again.

I've already apologised. Here's my second one. I'm actually still raw from last season and looking at flights to Baltimore.

I told you I am a fool.

Jamie Crowley
41 Posted 06/06/2022 at 21:49:39
Brian, Robert, and Danny,

Two of my sons and I were chatting about that 2014 team just the other day. It was so good, and that season we were just a blast to watch.

That team, and I've said it so many times I'm sorry for repeating myself, was the best Everton team I've seen (born 2007). By a country mile the best team.

Oh for a team like that again. C'mon Frank and Thelwell, get us there!

Robert Tressell
42 Posted 06/06/2022 at 21:57:38
Peter, it's a good point – and despite our lack of funds we consistently overlook the cheapest best value markets like Brazil.

Strange approach, since it's not exactly a secret that Brazil produces a high volume of good quality players.

Danny O’Neill
43 Posted 06/06/2022 at 22:38:54
I think we have similar views, Robert.

Look beyond the over-inflated value of the English / British market otherwise you end up paying £30 million for a worryingly average overly rated central defender. People talk about Manchester United rejects. Well there was an expensive second-hand one that we overpaid for.

My rant aside, the point is, you get ripped off for buying British or Premier League experience. There is much more value to be had if you cast the net further.

I always thought, and for understandable cultural reasons, that the Spanish and Portuguese leagues had the monopoly on the South American players. But if we can tap into that market then great. Richarlison and Mina are fantastic characters who have really taken to the UK and Everton.

Richarlison, having been subbed, racing across the pitch to celebrate when Iwobi scored against Newcastle. His emotionally drained face-plant against Palace in front of the Gwladys Street. Mina's reaction after the match, even though he's not playing.

I'm a bit more inclined to tap into the continental scene. Germany, Belgium, Holland and Denmark. As well as the Scandics.

And I'd also like us to set up satellite clubs in the US. I think there is a lot of potential out there.

But I also want to see us take the initiative in growing local grassroots football. Sponsor local teams. Coach them, develop them and make them feeders into the academy but leave them to be in their natural environment and play football in natural surroundings.

Brian Hennessy
44 Posted 06/06/2022 at 22:40:13
All good comments, Robert, Danny and Jamie.

Having been born in 1975, naturally I reflect on the '80s success as to what Everton should be aspiring to and I won't be happy until we are back where we should be.

As Robert pointed out, it's not all about money when you see what that 2014 squad was assembled from. Better scouting, better negotiating, better coaching and better management – that's what we need over the coming years.

Andrew Keatley
45 Posted 06/06/2022 at 22:59:44
Can someone somewhere please crunch the data on Premier League recruitment over the last 20 years – focusing on players signed from foreign leagues – and tracking their transfer fee, wage, age, and then their minutes played per game and subsequent departure transfer fee?

If such a model exists somewhere, then please feel free to direct me towards it; I'd be fascinated to see whether that data indicates if there are any markets or leagues that have a markedly better track record than others.

My guess at this stage is that it all sort of levels out but it would be interesting to find out.

David Hallwood
46 Posted 06/06/2022 at 23:01:56
This won't happen because:

a) We haven't got a pot to piss in.

b) It's not a priority area to strengthen, so what money we generate surely goes on midfielders and strikers.

c) If we do get all the players we've been liked with, Finch Farm will look like a scene from Ben Hur or Sparticus, the proverbial cast of thousands.

Ignore until they, whoever they turn out to be, is pictured with the scarf and shirt.

Robert Tressell
47 Posted 06/06/2022 at 23:23:00
That's a lot of work, Andrew! I guess we can all speculate until someone comes up with the goods.

One observation though: if it all evens out, then you'd fairly expect us to have done much better since 2014. Over a period of time, you'd get the squad quality (and success that goes with it) that you paid for.

We on the other hand have consistently overpaid and underachieved since 2014.

So I think there's definitely something to be said for shopping in the right markets (and my guess is the most reliable cost-effective one is the Championship).

But in many respects I hope I'm wrong because if it really does all even out, we're in for a hell of a cost effective summer transfer window this year.

Peter Carpenter
48 Posted 06/06/2022 at 23:25:44
Robert (42), not just Brazil but other places too.

Brighton, Wolves and Crystal Palace have all identified good young talent that is relatively unknown, not expensive and proves to be well-suited to the Premier League; Bissouma, Trossard and Neves are good examples. And in the case of Palace, Eze and Olise were great buys from lower leagues in this country.

We have been wasting our money elsewhere. Hope this changes.

Andrew Keatley
49 Posted 06/06/2022 at 00:31:23
Robert (47),

But surely someone somewhere has made that model? I imagine most Premier League clubs have. The data exists, and if it shows any patterns – say that goalkeepers who have graduated from academy football in the UK have shown a greater propensity toward a successful Premier League career than goalkeepers signed from foreign clubs – then that would be worth knowing.

Obviously no data is bulletproof, and exceptions will always exist, but if there are advantages to establishing patterns and allowing the data to inform decisions, then I would hope a club the size of Everton would be running all sorts of models like this. And I suspect they are.

The fact that every club seems to shop in every market tells me that there is considered to be value and potential everywhere. And then when you factor in other motivations, like trying to sign players who will increase fan-base share in foreign territories, things become more and more complicated.

As a side-note, I used to work in the gambling industry and the market-makers and modellers would always be using available data to try to gain any perceived advantage.

And in an era where more and more statistics are measured and recorded, creating the sort of model I am talking about is not something that I would consider a particularly big or difficult job.

Bernie Quinn
50 Posted 07/06/2022 at 01:24:02
John @ 28,

Sorry, late back as usual; I concur with your comments and looking back through the mists of time and memory, re players I enjoyed through the decades, I agree with your choices, but would add in:

The 1950s – Cyril Lello, T G Jones, T E Jones; and the 1960s – Alex Parker and Jimmy Gabriel. There's lots more I know, and I feel sorry for the young fellas like Danny and the rest, for never having seen the teams of this period.

Robert Tressell
51 Posted 07/06/2022 at 07:06:36
It's a big job for me, Andrew! Agree clubs will have all sorts of models like this. Whether they pay attention to the output is another matter.
Danny O’Neill
52 Posted 07/06/2022 at 07:35:13
I don't feel so young these days, Bernie, especially after last season's traumatic turbulent ride. I'm still hyper-ventilating.

As I've said, I grew up on the stories of the Angel, Brian Labone, Alex Young, Kendall, Ball and Harvey.

I saw Bob Latchford. I saw Andy King's goal and sang that we all agreed Duncan McKenzie is magic. I was fortunate to witness my own heroes and watch Kevin Sheedy orchestrate the football pitch like the conductor he was.

Data is useful, but can also be used and weighted towards a particular view or to support a certain argument. I live and work in a data-driven decision making environment, so I know how that can work.

Particularly with the uncertainty that is the beautiful game, I go with instinct and keep it simple.

In that sense, there was a time when English clubs ruled Europe with predominantly British players. They then went through a period of not doing so but are getting back there with a lot of foreign imports. The English teams that have had success are hardly English.

Some cite the problem as being English / British players aren't being given the opportunity. I always counter that. If they were good enough, clubs wouldn't go and seek better talent and better value for money elsewhere.

Fix the grassroots. I would love to see Everton take the initiative here.


Bernie Quinn
53 Posted 07/06/2022 at 08:26:24
Danny, I've sussed you out! You never mentioned what Regiment you joined back in the day, and from all your travelling and reading this post, you either joined The Pay Corps - or perhaps you were a spy! But because you are a more fervent Evertonian than me, I will always look up to you!!!
Danny O’Neill
54 Posted 07/06/2022 at 09:36:03
You've rumbled me Bernie.

I was Royal Signals for 28 years. I joined on 30 August 1988 and left on 30 August 2016.

But in a niche area that saw me spend a career in military intelligence, not communications. And in some specialist areas both militarily and nationally. Multi-national as it happens; I spent a lot of time in the US. Personally and professionally, I've been to 30 of the 50 States.

I joined as an apprentice aged 16 years old. I've been fortunate enough to have lived in Germany, Cyprus, Italy and Northern Ireland. I served on multiple operational tours in Northern Ireland (pre-cease fire & South Armagh), the former Yugoslavia, the Middle East and Afghanistan. I never gave it a second thought but, when my son, who has followed the family tradition, was away earlier this year, I was worried sick. Along with Everton, I had more than a few restless nights.

As I'm sure most will appreciate, the outlook in Liverpool wasn't great in 1988 so it was an obvious choice for me, especially with my family's military background, even though my mother wanted me to go to college as she thought I was bright. I went to join the Irish Rangers, but they had other ideas for me. I wasn't sure at the time, but I wouldn't change a thing. It's set me up well.

But wherever I've been, Everton were always there, just as they are for you, no matter how far away you are. It doesn't matter where you are or, sometimes, the situations you are in. Everton's result is at the forefront of the mind. Believe me, I've thought about Everton at times when it should really have been the last thing on my mind.

I'm now back in a position where I have the privilege of going to see them more often again. Just like I did as a youngster who used my paper round money to buy my season ticket and travel away whenever I could. Daily papers in the morning, Echo in the afternoon. Doing my Uncle Jim's garden for extra money. Gratefully assisted by my mother who did struggle bringing up 5 children with a dysfunctional husband and my grandfather's donations. As well as him and his Liverpool-supporting wife hosting me and my mates after the match at their flat at 14 Arkles Lane. Happy Days – sorry for the nostalgia.

And believe me, I am still a 50-year-old kid once I go through that turnstile. I always will be and will be next season.

Tony Everan
55 Posted 07/06/2022 at 10:32:47
Frank has been talking about improvements for next season. A key area is making the players “fitter and more robust”.

“Our injury record when I came in and what we've had is one that affects you. Two big centre halves out for a big period of time, Dominic - so each individual case when you look at it is not easy to analyse.”

"I came in in January, and there's not things you can always do when you're playing every few days. But it has to be more planned. We have to be strong and robust. It's Everton, we're not a tika-taka team, we have to be strong."

It’s what I want to hear, and tells me that Frank understands the issues, means business and is on the right track. He’s going to turn us into a tougher, fitter more aggressive side that can win the physical battles and fight for control of games. The confidence this breeds will lead to us playing better football too at the business end of the pitch.

The trick is doing it on a limited budget, but there will be some shrewd buys and quality coming in from the proceeds of sales. I’m optimistic we can make good incremental progress next season.

Jamie Crowley
56 Posted 07/06/2022 at 12:58:51
Danny @ 54 -

That's an impressive career.

As a citizen of your country's strongest ally, and a man who had a brother in Iraq Pt. 1, a brother-in-law who graduated from West Point and went on to serve in Europe, and a Grandfather who was a Marine Drill Sergeant, Thank You for your service.

Nice to know some good dudes were and are on Team Democracy. Despite that whole Monarchy dynamic you fine folks have. ;0). Cheers.

Tony Abrahams
57 Posted 07/06/2022 at 13:42:48
I'm glad your son got home safely, Danny. I instinctively knew that his work was affecting you more than your own job had ever affected you, mate.

I'm not sure about democracy, Jamie, because everyone has different rules in this life, with the strongest often using that famous “flag of democracy” as the perfect cover, imo, mate!

Mike Gaynes
58 Posted 07/06/2022 at 13:53:20
Danny #54, I knew you'd had a career, but I had no idea how extensive. I salute you, sir. Never served myself, but my grandfather and great-uncle were both decorated medical heroes in WWII. The former was the first American to set foot on the Japanese mainland after the surrender (a mercy mission).

You do realize, of course, that the 30 states you have visited are about 20 more than the average American.

Brian Williams
59 Posted 07/06/2022 at 13:59:57
Jamie #56.

All us Brits tend to be "on team democracy" as we happen to live in one mate.

The monarchy has no bearing on that! :-)

Bernie Quinn
60 Posted 07/06/2022 at 21:31:43
Oh hell Danny - I'm sorry' I was only joking when I mentioned your Army Service. After all not all of us are fortunate to serve in The Guards. I would have stayed in for the full term, except my future wife didn't fancy being an Army Wife - hence my career change to the Police/ My Dad served as a regular in the Royal Signals and in the phony war he was serving in Belgium. He formed a football team comprised of Everton Supporters, contacted Everton (as he was a part-time player with them) and they sent out two sets of complete kit - including footballs. The Signal won 9 out of 9 games and had a photo and article in the Liverpool Evening Express. Then the War started in earnest, and Dad (a Sergeant) and his men spent 3 days on the beaches of Dunkirk. Nearly all his football team were killed and Dad wad badly wounded, which end his sporting life. In my case. my claim to fame was here in NZ Police as I joined the VIP Protection Squad, travelling around the South Island with many Dignitaries. The Queen recognised my Regimental Tie and chatted to me for about 10 minutes about my time in the Micks, whilst Prince Philip gave me an Irish Whiskey! I met Pope John Paul 2 as well who blessed me and my Rosary Beads. Met lots of other Royals as well so in my old age I have many memories. SDorry Danny - didn't mean to bore you.
Arild Andersen
61 Posted 11/06/2022 at 16:36:19
Initials SB? I'd rather look at Sander Berge. Premier League experience for Sheffield Utd, was out with injury most of the season they got relegated... definitely on his way back.

I've seen his three matches for the national team this week, and he's been great in all of them. Still young, strong, big lad who is comfortable with the ball at his feet.

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