ToffeeWeb MailBag
Letters from our readers — August 2006


The Big Secret

Gotcha Gav etc, etc, etc.

Marshy, you can go on about having quality here there and everywhere, and obviously every Blue craves that, but in reality we have not got the kind of money that a total quality squad will cost. (oh those Russians)

So, we have to cut our cloth accordingly, and trust that the manager will have the nous to assemble a squad of players that can carry out his tactical instructions and game plan to the best of their abilities and hope that the tactics and game plan are easy on the eye and achievable.

However, the manager has one thing up his sleeve and that is team spirit. From what I can gather from what the players are saying publicly, there is a real sense of togetherness amongst this squad and there are many of them on record saying the team spirit is the best that they have experienced.

Now I don't know if you have ever played togger yourself at any level, but anyone who has played the game will vouch for the value of this togetherness. It isn't someting that you can buy it's something which can only be nurtured within a squad with mutual trust and respect.

I beleive that Moyes has played a huge part in bringing this about and maybe it's a part of his quality that may have gone unnoticed in some quarters.

I believe that this team spirit will go some to turning some potential defeats into draws and draws into wins. I'm really optimistic for this season. Call me a mad fool but I believe we have quality where it really counts and competence elsewhere. With the intangible element of team spirit, we can surprise a lot of people, including ourseles.

Remember the eighties sides, no superstars there, just a fine blend of 16 or 17 great, good and competent players who were greater than the sum of their parts.

I'm not predicting any sort of success like the eighties but I'm hopeful, no, more than hopeful, quietly (!!) confident, that thare will more joy than despair on the terraces, pubs and workplaces and yes even on this Site! for Blue Boys (and girls) this season. COYBB
Bob  the Pole, Crosby  (31/8/06)

Hard not to disagree that there's a valid air of optimism surrounding the side just now. Hopefully it will continue throughout the season. I'm not quite as optimistic as you, 'Bob', about our side being as good as some suggest but I do believe we'll enjoy rather than endure - partially due to the Premiership being littered with shite teams aplenty! ;-) - Colm

Zinadine Kilbane

I hope Killa does well at Wigan. He was, in my opinion, a player who gave 100% every game. I may have questioned his ability but never his commitment. He ran his legs off for Everton and always considered himself privileged to be playing for us, and for that I thank him. Good luck mate, and when you return to us at Goodison I hope you get the reception you deserve for being a pro.
Sheila  Whyte, South Liverpool  (31/8/06)

Interestingly enough, his return to Goodison Park shall be sooner than most recognise - if selected, he will make his Wigan debut at Goodison in three weeks time! A good honest pro who gave good service to the Club and we wish him well......after his debut! - Colm

Re: Numbers game

Mr Marsh, while I am not either Pro-Moyes nor Anti-Moyes fan, your latest post is simply ridiculous. Critic based on facts is one thing but to write something just to wind up people is foolishness and brings nothing to the discussion. “What Liverpool have done this summer — now that's strengthening your squad”.

Simple glance on sportinglife.com shows that our neighbours have spent £28.7Mon 6 players. May I say that we bought AJ & Lescott for £13.6Mthese were structured deals based on appearances and different add-ons, we are simply short on cash.

Now no-one start going on about money because West Ham have just done a couple of sweet loan deals today and Harry Redknap's been at it all year and look at them now." Now according to the BBC, the pair is not on loan but is signed for undisclosed fee and it’s not £1-2M

About Portsmouth, they have signed in January Pedro Mendes, Sean Davis and Noe Pamarot for £7M plus Benjani for £4.1M. Redknapp has signed 9 new players and spent a substantial portion of the reported £30M which new owner Alexandre Gaydamak made available in the summer. I think that we are not in their financial league either, you can blame BK and KW about that but not Moyes.

As far as I know Moyes wanted to sign Buckley on a season long deal but apparently was told that he has to offload someone for the transfer to happen. He would have been a ready made replacement for Killa (£2M — great deal by the way!!!) but it was a bit too early.

Based on these facts I think that your critics on DM in these case is unjustified.
Stefan  Tosev, Vienna, Austria  (31/8/06)

Team of Internationals?

Just looked in "Everton: A complete Record 1878-1985" and the match Dave Roberts seems to be referring to in an earlier post was Burnley away on 8 April 1969. His memory is excellent but Sandy Brown was at No 3 and Jimmy Husband was No 7. Everton won 2-1 (Ball and Husband).

Now that's when we really did play good football! Funny, though, I don't remember Burnley being a welcoming ground at all with only a rope in the stand separating the hooligans!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (31/8/06)

Oops!

Silly me. Of course, we all know that Howard never played for England don't we!? I slotted him in automatically as I was going through the usual teamsheet in my head. It may have been he wasn't playing in that game, in which case the most likely replacement would have been Jackson who played for Northern Ireland. Maybe that's why everybody on the pitch that day in an Everton shirt had an international pedigree. But that's why I'm asking isn't it? I can't remember and I'd like to be reminded. It won't keep me awake tonight though!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (31/8/06)

Downing!

Bollocks! Maybe the report on TalkSport was that a player was 'Drowning' in Alcohol, and two guesses who that could be!!!

Like somebody said before, I am dissappointed that Malbranque slipped through our fingers, especially when he can play across the middle like Arteta can (given Moyes obsession with versatile players). Still if Downing did sign that would be an excellent signing, given the way we play. But I doubt it unfortunately!!! But we can rely on McFadden to do an excellent job left flank can we!?

And although he was a useless shite, I pay my respects to Kilbane. For what he lacked in skill he made up for in energy and the odd goal. I, for one, will clap him on his return to Goodison. As long as he doesn't celebrate if he scores like some fat bastard did last season.
Luq Yus, London  (31/8/06)

Goodbye, Kevin Kilbane

So the Wigan fans can look forward to Kevin Kilbane running down the wing and crossing it to Emile Heskey. No wonder they prefer rugby.

In fairness, Kilbane was a pretty decent player for Everton over the three years and well worth his £1 million fee (especially if we have now doubled that in selling him). Moyes now has a bit more for the kitty and will undoubtedly look to sign a midfielder in January.

For all those Anti-Moyes brigade members screaming at Moyes to rush and sign somebody today, I advise you to be patient. Last season The Anti-Moyes Brigade were desperate for Moyes to spend his transfer funds on a striker, imagine if Moyes had done just that, paid over-the-odds for someone like Lee Trundle, we'd probably now be watching Andy Johnson score goals for Bolton.

Sometimes its best to take time and wait. Moyes will find a midfielder and doesn't need to panic buy.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (31/8/06)

Hiding behind your own deficiencies

Bob, I post under my real name, it is of Lithuanian descent and I'm proud of it as are many of my other family members in the North West and throughout the world. I suggest you should stop hiding behind your pseudonym however appropriate it may be.

Your interpretation of Moyes's quote fails at the first hurdle in the simple fact that, prior to Kilbane leaving the pitch, the passing game was sadly far from evident with the majority of Everton's "attacks" coming from route one "hoofing" the ball and hoping Andy Johnson got on the end of it.

You are entitled to your point of view but I'll not stand your reprehensible idiotic nonsense about surnames or your inability to accept other's points of view when they differ from your own. I suggest you grow up or go and post on childish sites such as Teamtalk.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (31/8/06)

Can we drop this now, please?

The Killer has gone

I can't believe Moyes not only received nearly £3 million for Marcus Bent but £2 million for Kilbane?! Has the world gone mad? I was saying bite their hands off when Fulham offered £750k...

To be fair, he previously looked ok in what was a very limited side, with a few games where he did very well. Generally I've seen a player with poor close control, the inability to pass and who also squanders abs sitters! That may sound harsh, as well as the fact I put my head in my hands with despair when he was announced as playing against Blackburn. I very rarely rarely see him go past a player on the flanks.

I think you don't realise how limited a player is until you put a better player in their position. How Kilbane has gotten two starts this season is slightly beyond me. Despite his limitations I wish him well with Wigan, he had his moments.
John McCabe, Wavertree  (31/8/06)

Best of luck, Killa

Well Kilbane is off to Wigan. I for one say good luck to the man. He may not be a great player but he always seemed to get stuck in, which is the least you can do. Surely this now means that Davies isn't going anywhere. More importantly does this mean Andy van der Meyde is about to get a shot down the left flank? I for one hope so, he's had a crap time of late but a good run in the team could reap dividends for us. Also, it might ease the creative burden on Arteta and Osman.

With Arteta, Osman, Cahill, Davies, Carsley, Neville and van der Meyde to shuffle in midefield I think we can give a game to anyone. I'm not saying we're going to be favourites against the "big four" but surely we'll give them plenty to think about with those guys in our pack?

For such a cheaply assembled group I think there's a decent amount of flair (Arteta, VDM, Osman) and grit (Cahill, Carsley, Neville). I will confess to being a little disappointed we didn't go for Malbranque but if the money isn't there that's the end of that. Chances are he probably wanted to stay in the capital anyway. I believe we could be good for 3 (perhaps 4) points from Arsenal, 6 from Spurs, 3 from Liverpool. Maybe 2 from Chelsea but sadly I don't see us getting much change from Man Utd.

If we turn Goodison into a fortress and take the odd game against the head away then top 8 and maybe top 6. But if we get European football next season we'll need to bring in a few more lads and hope some youngsters can step up for league rotation and cup runs.
Stuart Beresford-Kelly, Ballymena, Northern Iron  (31/8/06)

Mistake?

Either love him or loathe him, I believe that we have made a mistake in selling Kilbane to Wigan... Why? Well, despite his limitations he always gave his all for the cause and what are we left with:

[1] McFadden who I don't think is effective as a wide player — as a] he can't beat a player and b] still doesn't know when to part with the ball.
[2] Van der Meyde — is he ever likely to be fit and perform for 90 mins.
[3] Arteta — why waste arguably our most creative player in a wide position — he contributed nothing from the wing against Watford.

Unless someone is lined up as a last minute replacement, potentially we have shot ourselves in the foot again. Just changing tack as West Ham have permantely acquired the Argentines possibly for nothing, is there a chance that Wyness/Kenwright may get their fingers out and attract investment before we fall behind the likes of Villa and West Ham and watch the barcodes disappear into the distance if and when they are taken over, or have the board settled for mid table mediocrity once more. NIL SATIS...
Jim Feeney, Liverpool  (31/8/06)

Now Look...

Listen, Marshey lad, give us all a break and just put up and shut up as no amount of ranting on here along the same repetitive & tiresome themes is going to change anything. Christ, I'm picturing your moaning boat now — you don't look like Bellamy do ya?

As another contributor pointed out your missives were humourous to begin with but now you just cast a downer on any ray of light ad-nauseam style — have a break and find something else to do for Gods sake

Ok, we need to strengthen and I'm disappointed that we haven't (I personally wish we'd gone all out for Malbranque. Maybe we didn't because he's just another money grubbing wanker who'll do nowt for team morale. Remind you of anyone?) I'm personally glad that what resources we had during the summer were used to best effect.

Ok, we got jack shit coming in but Kilbane out is a major plus. I only wished Davies followed him. These type of players as I think you pointed out Sir are Championship material at best. For me, the jury IS still out on Moyes, no question but for once and due to recent results treat yourself to happy pill and get on it lad.
Ting Tong, Southport  (31/8/06)

Killer Queen

If Kilbane knew he was leaving, he could have done it properly and lamped one of the Spurs players! Seems a bit bizarre to sell him unless Moyes has something up his sleeve. However, £2M is great business. He did his job like Marcus Bent but also not of sufficient quality. Thanks for putting the effort in over the last few seasons and making us a profit. Best of luck.

For sale:
One shit goalkeeper with England experience. Any takers at £2 million?
Alcoholic midfielder [Now, now — Ed] with fondness for dogs? Will fit in with a warm loving family for £3 million.
Dan Parker, New York, US  (31/8/06)

Knockers' support

Now Kilbane's gone, who will be the next target for the crowd's abuse? There's nobody left with Weir, Wright and Pistone out of the side, Stubbs injured and Naysmith playing well at Spurs. Gosh, maybe the knockers will actually start to support the team!

Good luck to Kilbane by the way. An honest professional who tried his best but unfortunately not good enough.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (31/8/06)

Balance?

Unless there is some deal in the works to replace him, I can't see that selling Kilbane to Wigan is such a great idea. Yes, he's a clogger and only pulls his weight on occasion, but he was the only left-footed player that we had in midfield. I can only presume that Moyes has felt obliged to play him recently merely to give some semblance of balance across the midfield.

On the defensive side of the ball, not having a natural left-footer isn't such a big deal. On attack we will limit ourselves to attacks up the right flank, or if we go up the left since there's no decent left-footed delivery, we aren't going to the byline very often and the opposing right-back will know he has a 85% (or higher) chance of our player cutting inside onto his right-foot.

Only Arteta has the ability to play out on the left — which at least keeps him out of the central 'wars' — but is it really such a great idea to have your most creative player isolated on the left-flank using his weaker foot? I guess we'll see.....
Greg Dawson, Not in Walton anymore  (31/8/06)

It looks as though the reported £2M fee was just too good to pass up and I'm inclined to agree — Lyndon

X Files

This is a bit odd... watch the highlights of Everton vs Newcastle reserves on Everton TV. Notice that after every goal, the cheer is the same one repeated for both teams! Is this to save on buying a microphone? Mad.
Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (31/8/06)

For The Record

Grrrrrrrrrr......!!

Let me get a couple of things straight. Luke, have you ever come across the 'possessive noun' in your studies?.... Perhaps not. Anyway with regard to the use of the apostophe for possesive nouns, and the use of apostophes generally, there are two schools of thought on where the said apostrophe should be situated, i.e before or after the 's'. But that is a purely academic debate.

On the matter of my nom de plume, that was a pure, and in my opinion totally unprofessional journalistic practice, stroke of malice by one of the TW editors to alter my site credentials. No problem. I've been called worse by people with far more imagination and articulation.

But what amazes me most Luke is your attempt to somehow compare my, in your opinion, inappropriate use of an apostrophe to another contributor's attempt at re-writing history!!! It's akin to saying that Lord Dacre's holocaust denial is outrageous on two counts; one that he denied the death of millions of jews and another that he misplaced an apostrophe on page 34. The two errors just don't equate mate. COYBB
Bob the Prick, Crosby  (31/8/06)

Tony Numbers Game

It appears that Tony Marsh will stop at nothing in order to give Moyes a bash. And before we start this pro/anti-Moyes rubbish again, all I want, like Tony (from what he says) is to see the club doing well. At the moment I think Moyes is doing an OK job, not brilliant, but not as bad as some people seem to be making out. But, Tony, it seems that no matter what Moyes does or doesn't do, he'll never get it right in your eyes — a sort of damned if you do/damned if you don't approach.

You state that what Liverpool have done is to strengthen their squad, yet you then say don't start talking about money. I'm sorry Tony, but Liverpool have spent money on strengthening their squad — almost £25M actually — so you can't say "look at Liverpool" in one breath and then say "but don't mention money" in the next.

You then talk of Harry Redknapp and what he's done at Portsmouth — erm, look at the table as Portsmouth have the same number of points as us after three games — oh, and Liverpool are three points behind us as well if you hadn't noticed (although they do have a game in hand), plus we're above Chelsea (but can I mention the money they've spent).

You also mention Tevez at West Ham who arrived today — I take it you've looked into your crystal ball and have seen that Tevez has been brilliant for West Ham? If he's that good, why haven't one of the top Spanish clubs been in for him?

Also, talking of quality as you do. Spurs have quality players, but hang on, where are they in the League — oh yes, 14th and four points less than us. OK, what about Arsenal? Oops, one point from two games and in 17th place.

And finally, I'm interested if you can let me know who these "South American wonderkids" are who are available for 12 months?
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (31/8/06)

Happy Days

It's getting a bit miserable again on 'ere so, in the hope I may cheer a few people up the few posts I've noted about the incredible fact of Everton having two players in the England squad reminded me of something I'd long forgotten. It was 1969 and we were playing Burnley at Turf Moor. It was a freezing cold day not long after Xmas and the game was played in about 4 inches of snow! It was total domination and, while we only won 1-0, it could have been ten. Those were the days when you could safely sit amongst the opposition supporters. Behind my mate and I were a group of Burnley supporters bemoaning their side's ineptitude in the face of the mighty Everton of those days. Then one of them shouted out "What do you fuckin' well expect, they're all internationals!'

My mate and I spent the half-time break checking out the validity of this shout and we found out that while it hadn't occured to us,they were right.The problem is I,m not the kind of Anorak who infallibly saves old Programmes and my memory isn't faultless either and it's annoying me because I'm not absolutely sure of the whole team that day.Is there anybody out there who can improve on this;-? They were not necessarily all current internationals but those who were not had played for their country recently and were still within the England 'scheme of things':

  1. West
  2. Wright
  3. Newton
  4. Kendall
  5. Labone
  6. Hurst
  7. Scott/Husband (if Scott it was Scotland)
  8. Ball
  9. Royle
  10. Harvey
  11. Morrissey?
(I think we included U-21s)
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (31/8/06)

Err... Kendall???

Tickets et al

Yes, I have to agree that booking online is the best way to get a ticket. I'm not sure if I'm an Evertonia member — whatever that is, I've only been supporting since 1948 (in the Boys' Pen for the record attendance) and besides I can never remember my passwords, I've got so many to so many sites! Thanks also to whoever decided that "seniors" now get a £10 reduction.

On another tack, your Worcester correspondent echoes my views that the standards of play in the Premiership are not that good — with a few notable exceptions. For the full range of skills, you have to watch La Liga regularly; even lesser teams than Barca & Real play with some verve. Remember Villarreal?
Tony Waring, Frogmore  (31/8/06)

Numbers Game

I reckon, when the transfer window closes tonight and Everton have failed to add any new players to the squad, it will be another big mistake made by you know who. As far as I am concerned, Moyes did not strengthen the side in the summer with his signings — he merely plugged gaps he had allowed to appear in the squad. What Liverpool have done this summer — now that's strengthening your squad. Already a strong side, they go out and buy pace and quality for all departments.

Now no-one start going on about money because West Ham have just done a couple of sweet loan deals today and Harry Redknap's been at it all year and look at them now. We are very low on numbers and very low on quality so Moyes had better get his head out of his arse and learn from last seasons fiascos in the transfer market.

I know some of you lightweights out there will accuse me once again of being anti-Moyes but all I want is for us to do well and compete — you can't do that if you ain't got enough players. There are plenty of freebies and loan deals out there you just gotta get off your arse and look, Davey Boy. Teves at West Ham on loan shows you what can be done if you try. Go on Davey go and get a couple of South American wonderkids on loan for 12 months. Bet you he doesn't.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (31/8/06)

Loan deals aren't freebies — we'd still have to pay the wages, and Moyes is still constrained in this area, I suspect. But he's signed no out-and-out gambles this time — I'm thinking of players like Plessis, Bosnar, Saeed who never appeared for the first team.

The Bob Debate

Well, Luq, I did point out that I don't agree with a lot of Bob's opinions in my post. It's just that I chuckled at seeing you Moyes-bashers getting a dose of what you hand out to Dutch on a daily basis. And I'm sorry to say it but he is funnier in doing so.

To clarify, there is one point of Bob's I do back and that is his comment about "..your futile point about the aesthetics of pure football." Seems to me that David Moyes is personally slagged off for something that is a general malaise in top-level football. Michael often says the Premier League is a poor standard and he is right. The majority of games are pretty dour these days, even the free-spending champions are.

Why? Because it is the best way to achieve in this league, rightly or wrongly. Yes we beat Spurs playing very pleasingly, but if you try and play expansive stuff with our squead week in, week out there will be more 0-4 results than 4-0 ones!

Moyes is not an exceptional manager, nor is he an abysmal one. Some transfers have worked well, others not, some tactical choices have paid dividends, others leave him looking clueless. Exactly the same as pretty much every other manager in history from Sir Fergie down!

The ultimate irony? Everyone gets what they pay for in football, except the fans. If you can't live with that AND still enjoy supporting Everton Football Club then you're going to end up very bitter!
Tom Hadley, Winchester  (31/8/06)

That doesn't really explain why it is better to hoof the ball forward, with a high risk of losing possession, rather than to play the ball forward by pass-and-move? (Maybe that's where the flaw is: they need to move before they receive the pass!)

Is it because our passing (with 11 men!) is so poor that pass and move will also lead to an unacceptably high level of lost possession? Or is it beacause the danger level is higher when you lose possession in your own half but much less so when it occurs with players tussling for a mortar-ball on the edge of the opposition penalty area? And is this fundamental aspect of the game really the essence of "pure football"? — Michael

Kilbane will have a quick return to GP

Just in case no one has noticed, due to his one match ban, Kilbane's first game for Wigan will be back at Goodiosn Park. I expect he will get a warm welcome.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (31/8/06)

Learning Curve

Regardless of whether Moyes is actually a hero or villain, it's clear that a young manager like him must have learned a lot since joining Everton. As well as picking up various technical tactical things which are beyond me, he will now have learned not to sign an expensive centre back without checking that he can head the ball, and that it's not good to arse about all through the transfer window without signing the striker that you desperately need.

What he might also usefully consider is that, even when you've sensibly done your main shopping early, it's nice for the fans to have a last-minute transfer nugget to think about. Even though we've signed the key players that we needed, I still have a vague feeling of frustration that every mickey-mouse club seems to be signing all kinds of players while we're doing absolutely nothing. Whilst this feeling is probably irrational and unjustified, maybe next time Mr Moyes can keep a couple of million stashed away to pick up a (useful) last-minute bargain buy, and put a smile on the fans' faces as the transfer window closes.

Fingers crossed for January ....
Bill Latimer, Runcorn  (31/8/06)

Or perhaps more to the point... fingers crossed between midnight tonight and January! - Colm

Kilbane off to Wigan

I intended to come up with something profound before I started contributing, but it was obviously not meant to be...

Just stumbled upon thew news that Kilbane is holding a medical at Wigan; if so, best of luck to him. I hope that doesn't mean Arteta will be languishing at left wing and I do hope we'll be seeing more of Van der Meyde.

In an ideal world, Kilbane would have been an great left-back, something along the lines of Fabio Grosso. He is one of those players who has too much skill to be a defender, but not enough to contribute anything meaningful in midfield. I like the guy, but never has anyone else in the team been such a constant source of exasperation.
Pavel Ivanov, Sofia, Bulgaria  (31/8/06)

Oh dear, dear, dear!

Tom Hadley, I understand your post about my (and others') venom against certain supporters and their biased views on Moyes. But agreeing with Bob, who calls himself 'The Prick', will only heighten his fanastyland mind! Bob, come with a real name or piss off you coward!

Back to important news, I just heard that Kilbane is close to signing for Wigan!? Hope there is enough time for Moyes to sign a DECENT replacement! But again I think Moyes missed a trick with Malbranque going to Spurs. He was cheap and good, but I fear Malbranque has too much flair for Moyes (MBs will go mad at such suggestion after ONE good game).

Personally, this window I think Everton are ok to continue as we are until January, but I would love a creative midfield in though. And all the best being rubbish at Celtic, Tommy G!
Luq Yus, London  (31/08/06)

"Come with a real name"!!! You're a fine one...

One-game wonder?

On the back of a splendid performance against Spurs, it has suddenly become passe to criticise David Moyes. It`s as if the shite we have suffered for most of the last four years never happenned! How re-active so many Evertonians have become! One good game and we`re in sight of Europe. Lose the next bugger and Colchester here we come!

OK, like Marshy, I`m anti-Moyes — and I will continue to be so 'til he proves to me CONSISTENTLY that he knows what he`s about. It may no longer be the fashionable stance but I want Everton to sign exciting players — like AJ! — and to go out to win in style. Of course I want us to survive in the Premiership but if Moyes thinks the only way to do that is to play how he was taught at Cambridge and Shrewsbury, he`s not for me the man to lead my Club.

So, to make my position clear, I want more performances like last Sarurday — I`ll even forgive if we lose a few — but I ain`t holding my breath cos I don`t think yer man`s up to it! Never was and never will be!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (31/8/06)

Kilbane to Wigan

Kilbane's going to Wigan — that's an exclusive. Fee is near a million!! Red Nosed Shithouse Jewell has just been mugged!! Tell all your friends.
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (31/8/06)

Sigh! We're now one player less in our, erm, expansive squad. Tick, tock, chaps... replacement incoming later??? — Colm

Which ways he gonna go?

Well, if the news is correct, it seems Wigan and Fulham are going to partake in a bidding war for Kilbane. He must feel so wanted :p
Paul Chilli, Liverpool  (31/8/06)

Good luck to the lad — we've done well out of Kilbane, considering he was brought in as a replacement for the then departing Mark Pembridge. Served us well has Kilbane. — Colm

Comprehension... Hmmmm!

Bob the Prick, please, if you are to insult people about their inability to use the English langauge properly, can you at least get your own use of it right? When talking of a group of minds in the plural sense you don't need the apostrophe at all, it's not minds is it? ....see it's easy!!

Oh and by the way, people with the surname Prick should never insult another person with a bad surname (even if it is Thingio!). People in glass houses and all that!!
Luke Berry, Liverpool  (31/8/06)

Don thy helmet for the incoming fury! - Colm

Re: Wigan Tickets

Just to let Mark Joseph know that I just purchased two tickets for the Wigan game on the Official website and it could not have been more convenient. Much better than that bloody Dial-a-Seat service which costs an absolute fortune to call from outside the UK. I recommend trying again before freaking out!
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk, Ireland  (31/8/06)

I reckon he's not a paid up member of Evertonia. I checked out the ticket availability late last night and tickers *are* available online still. — Colm

When will they see?

Curse you, Mr Moyes! You've made me look a fool again. It was only last week I wrote in the ToffeeWeb Mailbag: "AJ is an overhyped Coca-Cola Championship player, Lescott is a liability and Howard a butter-fingered joke. That's £13M of our cash you've wasted you ginger fool. If you don't buy Kanu, Appiah and Gravesen immediately all on free transfers then we'll be releagated for sure. It's a disgrace!"

And then you go and fluke an away win at Spurs and we end up fourth [er... Third equal, please! — Ed] in the league. Damn you. But don't think you've won, Mr Moyes. Today is transfer deadline day and if you don't sell half our squad and replace them with untested Bulgarian teenagers I'll smite you down with a venomous lashing from my keyboard.

I'm watching your every move, Mr Moyes; I don't go to the match in protest, but I have Sky TV and broadband internet access. Sooner or later you'll fail Mr Moyes — Kevin Kilbane will surely be your undoing — and when you do I'll be there twisting the knife through cyberspace.

I sincerely hope we get relegated and then your disciple Mutch Schafer and those other fools in their blue tinted spectacles will have their illusions shattered for good and finally everyone will see you for what you are Dithering Dave. And then they'll realize that I was right all along. (I win PS2 Championship Manager on a regular basis. I always go Everton. So I know how easy your job really is Mr Moyes.)

True Blue Forever! COYB!
Winston Hale, Little Dunmow, Essex  (31/8/06)

Kids! Just say no to drugs! ;-) - Colm

Hope it Happens!

If it happens, and we all hope it does, when was the last time a full England team was represented by two Everton players.
Frank  Burrage, Northwich  (31/8/06)

Presume you mean current players... can't say I know off the top of my head as I don't particularly follow closely the fortunes of the English national team... but would it be back in 1986 perhaps? Lineker, Reid, Stevens? — Colm

Gavin Thingio

Gav,

I can only assume from your surname that your powers of English comprehesion are limited. When a person says that '... it made us improve our passing game...' he/she is referring to the fact that a passing game was already in place and that the circumstance, Kilbane's sending off, concentrated the mind's of the remaining players to improve the distribution of the ball.

You cannot infer from that quote that DM was deploying the 'Big Hoof' prior to the sending off and then was forced to change the game plan to a passing game.

QED
Bob  the Prick, Crosby  (31/8/06)

Anderson Silva da França

According to an article in the last edition of the Sunday People, the officals of Anderson Silva de França have all the necessary paperwork for him to fianlly play for Everton. Does anybody know WTF is going on?

So far, we have paid a down payment of £700k and signed him on a five-year deal, so he must have impressed Moyes. I also hear he is a hard-tackling defensive midfielder, which means he is an ideal stand-in for Carsley. Anybody know how much the total deal was worth and do we have to pay it as soon as he arrives at GP?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (31/8/06)

I've a feeling we'll see his Everton 'career' languishing upon the same rock as a certain Mr Krøldrup's! — Colm

Old Lag Jez

Going by your address, I'd think twice about offering you a job. Your last one wasn't very successful... NUMPTY
Bob the Prick, Crosby  (31/8/06)

In support of Bob!

Nobody else has piped up about this so maybe I'm in a minority of one, but I'm quite enjoying the recent posts from Phallic Bob. It is certainly true that the balance of postings in the mailbag is more critical than supportive and that may well be a good thing. Personally I prefer posts like Paul Tran's the other day which seem to be able to criticise without me fearing for his blood pressure!

But between Luq, Tony and Harry there is a lot of venom against those who wish to see more positives than negatives. Dutch burbles on constantly but he hardly fights fire with fire! So good on ya, Bob I say, I might not agree with all of your opinions but I like your style!
Tom Hadley, Hampshire  (31/08/06)

Ahh, poor oul' Bob... still thinking Joey Yobo was a captain of a British nation! (Chill, Bob!) :-) — Colm

End of Transfer Window

Do we really want any new players in one of these last-day deals? Obviously relative to the calibre of player our budget constraints can afford. Seems to me that the team is reasonably comfortable and stable and it would be a shame to bring anyone in who might just rock the boat. Or even worse release players who provide backup for injuries.

Probably best to take any new additions in the winter window period..... but only if required. I think we can see some benefits already this season of getting the required transfers done as early as possible.

Dare I say good work Mr. Moyes & Co?
Mick Parrington, Melbourne  (31/8/06)

The nature of the beast is that managers will always want to improve their squad when the chance arises. You can't legislate for injuries to key players at the wrong time of the season. What kind of mess, for example, would we find ourselves in if both Arteta and Johnson were to pick up serious injuries in a few week's time? Such a fine line at times, particularly with the imposition of the transfer window deadline! - Colm

Tim Howard

In answer to the question of whether Tim Howard can play against Man Utd: as far as I am aware in loan deals between Prem clubs the player cannot play against his "main" employer.

Also apologies to Micheal for saying you were part of the "Anti Moyes Brigade" I will re-adjust my entry requirements to it. It is quite a hard thing to work out, anyone fancy writing an article to give some clear lines? :P
Dave Turner, Alsager, Cheshire  (31/8/06)

I believe that it all depends on the terms agreed between the clubs involved not on any hard and fast FA rules — Lyndon

Agree with Colm

Gravesen spent four anonymous years with us playing in a 4-4-2, and had a great 6 months given the freedom in a 4-5-1. And Karl Jones says he's the solution for us to play back to a 4-4-2? Pur-lease...

I agree we need someone of higher quality than Carsley if we are to play 4-4-2 properly, but Grav is not the answer. I'm sure when the money is given, Moyes will spend on a quality holding midfielder.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (31/8/06)

Reply to Bob the Prick

Hello Bob,

If you don't like the site, piss off elsewhere. Simple.

Love Jez x x x
Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (30/8/06)

Nice... wanna job on our (much maligned)Editorial team?

Sycophants

After their wretched contribution to the fiasco of England's World Cup campaign it is sickening to see Sven's most ardent suckholes, aka Gerrard and Lampard, slobbering and brown-nosing over McClaren. The whole lot of 'em should be forced to wear a paper bag over their heads, McClaren included.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (31/8/06)

Celtic's Tommy G

I'm glad David Moyes never moved to re-sign Tommy Gravesen. He's flopped at Real Madrid and is now in his 30s. I think we saw the best of Thomas Gravesen. He could be a great player on his day but far too often he disappeared during games. He would completely run one game and then be largely invisible for the next 3 games.

David Moyes managed to get the best and most consistant form out of him for half a season before his transfer. Arteta was brought in as his replacement and is a far better player. I wish Gravesen all the best at Celtic and trust that Moyes will eventually sign a midfielder with more potential.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (30/8/06)

Wigan Tickets

Just tried to buy a couple of tickets for me and the little fella for the Wigan game. I took the technical approach and went for an e-ticket only to be told "This event is not available online". Just the one question: WHY THE FUCK DO THEY ADVERTISE IT THEN?
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (30/8/06)

Bob the Prick

Bob, only just catching up with the mailbag and your ridiculous rants. To put you straight over the Moyes quote after the Tottenham game yet again, I'll even give the link you gobshite as I posted the quote having watched the ginger one say it.

If even after finding that link you still think its bollocks I think you should pull your head out of your arse.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (30/08/06)

Why no Gravesen??

I feel that Everton's apparent failure to sign the type of midfield player that we have been crying out for since Thomas Gravesen's departure will seriously compromise the type of football we will see this season. We are unable to play a 4-4-2 system effectively as our lightweight midfield is unable to control the game, meaning we surrender a lot of possession (as the opening two fixtures prove).

On Saturday, we looked better when Carsley was just asked to sit in front of the back four as neither he nor Neville have the engine to play as part of a midfield four. It seems the only realistic option is to play the 4-1-4-1 similar to a couple of seasons back when we finished fourth (but this time we will have a much better forward player than Marcus Bent admittedly).

Gravesen would have been just the type of player needed to compliment Arteta and Cahill. What is the point in having a buy-back clause and not using it?
Karl Jones, Woolton  (30/8/06)

I don't believe Gravesen could ever compliment Arteta and Cahill. He simply does not possess the necessary discipline; never did. Think positive - getting a fee for a player into the last six months of his contract - and wanting away anyway, far away hills etc. - and replacing him with Mikel Arteta: we Evertonians should be thankful, not mourning the 'loss' of Gravesen. Let him on! - Colm

Priceless

How true to form. This site's editorial policy is so infantile its untrue. It allows loud mouth couch potatoed bigots to rant off inanely at anybody who's world view does not strictly fall in line with their warped view of how a supporter should react to the current regime in charge of squad building, team selection and tactics. In recent articles this 'rump' have slagged off the manager, his purchases, teams and tactics, and berated fans who had any semblance of faith in what the manager is trying to achieve.

Realising, following recent results and performances, that their position is ridiculous, they choose to divert attention from this with juvenile arguments such as, 'where were you when...', etc, etc. Utter bollox. No one gives a toss about what you did in the dark ages, you fucking neanderthal, the majority of fans contributing to this site are like millions up and down the country, filled with hope and excitement for the season.

Everton fans in particular have plenty to be hopeful about and can do without your depressing, clueless analysis. Every post I've read of yours in the last couple of weeks have proved to be as incisive and accurate as a band of typing monkeys on acid. As well as that they've been filled with vile evil threats and abuse to fellow Blue Boys. Unforgiveable. I'll bet you're one of those loud-mouthed bastards roaring at the telly every week. It wouldn't surprise me if you have learned to cuss in Arabic.

You have issues mate, issues that I am neither qualified to recognise nor understand. I genuinely hope that you can arrange an appointment at a nearby clinic and have those issues investigated. I'll wager psychopathic derangement.

Come on you Blue Boys
Bob The Prick, Crosby  (30/8/06)

You should be thankful for this site's editorial policy, Bob! In reply to the question aired by Richard Dodd querying whether or not David Weir was the first current Everton player to captain a British country since Billy Bingham did you not submit a reply claiming that Yobo had achieved this landmark before Weir?! Should be thankful we didn't publish that one.....last time I looked Nigeria was well south of Cornwall! ;-) - Colm

'Left In Walton'

I'd like to refer to the post on your website by John McCabe entitled 'Left in Walton'.

I thought John's description of the commitment and journey faced by Evertonians was a perfect illustration of the dedication given by our fans to a true peoples club. As a season ticket holder myself I am well aware that there are fans seated by us who travel from Wales to be at every match and John's journey with his dad to watch his beloved EFC illustrates how much efc is a part of the hearts and souls of the fans. Truly they are in our hearts and in our souls.

Having been a fan of the Toffees since I was a nipper (the thought of supporting a team 'coz they win love, you don't want to support Everton they always lose') as I was told, seemed wrong and so I was to become a blue out of pure stubborness for a kopite family attitude. Although I was not to experience my first game until my boyfriend, then friend, introduced me to raw excitement, passion and pure magnetism that is an EFC match.

John captures the pureness of the an Efc match fantastically and with a retrospect that allows us to view the fantastic game (win or lose) through a childs eyes which captures my enjoyment every time! For watching the blues I think we all display the childlike emotions within, the sheer extasy of scoring when your down and the down trodden hollowness when we lose.

I'd like to note that John has captured the very essence that is our beloved efc in an emotional and vivid manner which brought the game home to me, I can almost hear the crowds now, feel the chill in the air as the temperature drops in the Glwadys St and the smell of anticipation as the beat of z cars starts to kick in...what a fantastic memory and capture of an efc scene!
Jen Caine, Liverpool  (30.08.06)

Nice one! - Colm

Double Dutch?

Slightly un-Everton related but linked through Dutch's association with this mailbag. Thought I’d mix it up from the post-Spurs analysis paralysis! The question I have: Is Dutch using his real name? The name of the guy Arnie plays in Predator is called Major Dutch Schaeffer. Is this a mere co-incidence? I’ll be back with regular postings shortly.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (30/8/06)

This has been raised before. 'Dutch' has been coy with any meaningful response. So, other than blacklisting people with silly names, we're stuck with him, I guess... — — Michael

Thank you, Mr Coleman

So Kilbane may be on his way... Ooh I have my fingers firmly crossed. Just think Pembridge, Radz AND Kilbane! THANK YOU, Mr Coleman.
Petie Pete, Lancs  (30/8/06)

Common Sense all Round

Firstly I toast my non-alcoholic drink to Adam Carey and his suggestion, nice to see fans who call for unity of supporting Everton FC (even through Dutch is bloody annoying posting shite every ten seconds).

Secondly, Moyes lad, get shot of that shite Kevin Kilbane, but not for cash! Be smart Moyes and with a bit of bargining, get Steed Malbanque in a swap deal. If Fulham want Killa, and Steed is not wanted at Fulham, its a marriage made in Heaven (sort of)!

Thirdly, that Muhammed Azin — yeah, Everton are doing good now but listen up: "There is a love in my life, which I love so dear. Everytime my love grows, my love kicks me in the rear." That's Everton all over so don't count your chickens mate, especially if they are genetically modified!
Luq Yus, London  (30/8/06)

Who is...Eddie Kavanagh?

His name has popped up on a few recent posts, and not knowing who he was; I Googled him. I got 16660 pages (most of them irrelevent), but it turns out this was the famous pitch invader from the 66 cup final v Sheff Wednesday.

Is he still around? And how did he get the 2 bizzies into Goodison for nowt?
Matt Geraghty, Warrington  (30/08/06)

He was my uncle, Matt. Actually he wasn't! Crikey, I could start a whopper of an internet whisper if spreading that one (I take full responsibility for any appearance of Sharon Corr's name in any list of celebrity Evertonians!). Eddie Cavanagh (note the C) was an absolute legend amongst Evertonians - most famous for his pitch incursion at Wembley during the 1966 FA Cup Final, when Everton overturned a 0-2 defecit to lift the Cup, winning 3-2. Sadly, this Everton legend passed away a number of years back - a true Evertonian character in every sense. Click here to read more about Eddie Cavanagh. - Colm

Honest Appraisal v Irrational Bollocks

The start of the season has brought up a few issues. We seem to have got our fighting spirit back, scrapping for points and coming from behind. For one game at least, we have discovered the art of passing the ball and running with purpose.

And yet some are falling for the old Everton disease of shouting the odds after one good performance, while criticising the media for failing to notice our transformation. Sounds familiar? Think about last year!

In my line of work, I seek feedback from clients - it helps me know what is working and what needs changing. If I act on it I get better at my job. If that's good enough for me, its good enough for obscenely overpaid football players, coaches, managers and directors.

Yes, that's why some of us criticise Moyes, because we want things to get better, or even more better!. Some people come on websites and tell us, inaccurately, what we're saying and thinking because maybe that's easier than having a rational debate based on facts.

People are whinging about the 'lack of recognition' for our win at Spurs. Maybe that's because the rest of the world just doesn't get that impressed about a football team passing the ball and winning a game....once! Now if we did it a few weeks on the trot, everyone would notice.

I want Everton to succeed. I don't care who the manager is, as long as he takes the club forward. I actually think Moyes is a good manager when he's bold. I just think he's been drawn into the mid-table morass of mediocrity that humps it long and tries to avoid defeat. Last Saturday we were bold and it worked. I hope he has the courage to be bold more often, as I think a UEFA place is there for the taking in a poor league. All I've been saying for the past year is that if we keep making excuses for mediocrity and think like a mid-table side we'll be one. What last Saturday brought home is that everyone is happier when we play bold, positive football, so let's have some more of it! We won't win every week, but we'd be more fun to watch and who knows, we might even sell all our tickets again!

Moyes has made a great start to the season, but I want him to prove me wrong regularly, not just once or twice a season.

Anti-Moyes? I am anti- those who call a trophyless manager a genius and those who tell me I'm not a 'real' Evertonian becuase I dare to citicise a manager when he does his job badly. I'm anti those who say we can only play crap football and then turn round and say 'I told you so' when we play well....once.

You don't have to sit on the toilet with a picture of Moyes in one hand and something else in the other. Let's wait until he achieves some consistency, or perhaps even a trophy!

That's why we haven't had any 'recognition' yet. You usually have to do something outstanding.....consistently.

Hopefully last Saturday will prove the turning point we've all been waiting for. If it is, everyone will notice, not just us.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (30/08/06)

"the mid-table morass of mediocrity".....I like that.....and yes, we have become suitably accustomed over recent years! ;-) - Colm

Tony Hibbert

Tony Hibbert played a full game for the reserves last night but I was wondering what impact Phil Neville's improved form at right back will have. Will Hibbert regain his place? Neville has excelled this season but Hibbo was one of Everton's most consistent players last term. Maybe the average-at-best Naysmith could be dropped and Neville moved out to the left to allow Hibbert to regain his place? But would a move to the left rob us of Neville's best form? Tough choice for the manager but he'll get it right. In Moyes I Continue To Trust.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (30/8/06)

Tim Howard

Ben Foster couldn't play against Man Utd at the weekend because of the terms of his loan contract. Does it follow that Tim Howard can't play against Man Utd as well?
Gordon Beattie, Runcorn  (30/8/06)

Kilbane situation

A number of broadsheet newspapers have run a story that Fulham have placed a bid £750k to sign Kevin Kilbane. I have noticed the Everton Official Website has nothing about this, so I am assuming its just gossip, unless someone has heard anything different?

If Moyes did get such an offer, would he sell him? Personally, if it was up to me, I would sell him as I have never rated Kilbane. However, Moyes seems to like him, so I have a feeling he wouldn't sell him, unless the offer was in excess of £1M.

How would selling Kilbane affect the balance of the squad? It wouldn't, if anything the squad will be stronger, as I think Moyes would be forced to involve Van der Meyde more if Kilbane was sold.

Get him sold and let's all move on.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (30/8/06)

Transfers (What Transfers???)

There is currently very little in the way of rumour circulating about incoming transfers to the Blues. (We don’t even warrant a mention on Sky Sports’ homepage!)

Have we finally learned to keep quiet on the transfer front until deals are signed and sealed, or has DM decided that despite his previous indications to the contrary, our excellent start means no new faces are needed?

The last time I posted on this topic, I predicted that our failure to sign a striker would bite us on the arse in terms of performing in Europe. How right I was. My prediction this time is that if we fail to sign creative midfield cover in this window, we could very well see our excellent start negated when injuries and suspensions start to bite.

Let’s hope my pessimism is unfounded. I fear not.
Dave Randles, Ellesmere Port  (30/8/06)

Beating Spurs and heated arguements

Just two quick points:

  1. What a performance by the team at the weekend. Well done guys, but more of the same please. We now know your capable so none of this long-ball shit please. We do have a midfield who can dictate the game!
  2. With a few heated discussions between various contributors to the mailbag, it's been nice to notice that after all has been typed and vented, a pint is always on offer at the next home game. Who says fans can't be civilised!

Adam Carey, Berkshire  (30/8/06)

Confusion? What confusion?

Pace Colin Hughes, I was in no confusion about the Spurs games in 84-85 or 85-86, as my post below makes clear. I didn't think our last win was in 84-85 and correctly identified it as having been in 85-86. As an Everton fan of the lucky generation, I do not need to see the video of the 84-85 midweek game, as I was there in the flesh, being crushed half to death in the away end, and running the gauntlet of disappointed Spurs fans all the way to Northumberland Park rail station! That apart, the game was one of the highlights of that season — to all intents and purposes, it won the title for us.

I really do hope some of the younger generation get to experience that kind of high. It sticks with you for life!
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (30/8/06)

Fast Eddie

Tony Marsh`s mention of that great Evertonian, Eddie Kavanagh, had me thinking back to the days in the seventies when I was very much involved with organising `special trains `to away games. In a somewhat misguided belief that poachers make the best gamekeepers, I appointed Eddie chief steward for a trip to Ipswitch. With ten minutes to go to departure, a breathless Eddie arrived, pursued by two equally breathless bizzies. Apparently, he had got to his bus stop in Huyton to be told that the drivers were on strike and had done no more than high-jack a passing car to get him to Lime Street. I will save you the details of my discussion with the boys in blue but it`s safe to say that from that day until retirement they never paid to get into Goodison!
David Hall, Taunton  (30/8/06)

David, another grreat story... you really need to write a book! — Michael

Gravesen

Looks like TG will go to Celtic — for the money. So much for his attachment to Everton.
Tony Waring, Frogmore  (30/8/06)

No surprise there, surely?

Killa's Gotta Go

Not questioning the bloke's endeavour nor his loyalty, but fair dinkum, Kevin Kilbane is no ball player, he is the weak link at Everton. The way he tries to dribble players and either gets blocked or runs the ball out of play is ridiculous. Distribution is woeful, ability to give n' go is non-existent. No offence to Killa, but if we're REALLY gonna start challenging, he's gotta go. Will be wrapped if Fulham pick him up to join all the other Everton rejects there... he and Radz together again... fantastic for Everton!
Dennis Garlden, Melbourne, Australia  (30/8/06)

D+D, GTF!!!

Oi!! Dodd and Dutch!! Get to fuck!!

No-one wants David Weir as Everton captain apart from you two nutters and most definitely no-one wants Weir as Scotland captain neither... he's only stand-in captain cos Barry Ferguson isn't playing anyway. 'A presentation at the Derby' Behave yourself man!!!
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (30/8/06)

Re: Big Dunc’s Head

Morgan Daniels (28/8/06) asked about the proportion of his Premiership goals that Duncan scored with his head. Well, I remembered that the old man had mailed me the magazine produced after his final game – ‘Big Dunc, His Remarkable Story’ (RRP £3.99, though I think he paid about 50p for it down the market).

His total goals tally for Everton was 72 – 39 of which were headers, 25 shots, and 8 of which were penalties. In the League Cup, he scored 5 goals, all with his feet, 3 of which were penalties. In the FA Cup, he scored 7 goals, 3 with his bonce, and 4 with his feet, 2 of which were penalties. Therefore in the Premiership, he scored 60 goals, 36 (60%) with his head, and 24 (40%) with his feet, of which 3 were penalties.

Some of the descriptions of the goals are dubious in terms of working out whether they were headers or shots, but I think we went 3 seasons without scoring with his head: 2000-01 – 2002-03 inclusive (he didn’t score at all in 02-03).

Want more stats? Duncan scored in 52 league games, of which 6 games yielded a brace, and 1 a treble (all headers v Bolton) totalling 60 league goals. 38 of those goals came at Goodison, with 22 away from home. Of those 52 games he scored in, 25 were wins, 14 draws with 13 defeats.

  • Of the 25 wins, 18 were at home, 7 away
  • Of the 14 draws, 8 were at home, 6 away
  • Of the 13 defeats, 7 were at home, 6 away
Not including games where Everton won comfortably, lost, or drew when he wasn’t the final Blues goalscorer: in 10 of the games he scored in, the goal(s) proved to be the winners. Half of these games were away from home; in 11 of the games he scored in, the goal(s) ultimately secured a point. Most of these – 7 – where at home.

In terms of scoring league goals, his favourite opponent was Man Utd – 6 goals, followed by Bolton (5, 3 of which were in one game). Liverpool, Palace, Leeds and Forest all on 4. He never scored against Villa or Pompey, teams who had been in the Premiership for most or all of his time playing for Everton...
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (30/8/06)

TV or not TV

It amazes me that camera shots of the crowd always result in an eruption of extra enthusiasm. Some must go to the match only for their few seconds of fame on the big screen? On a recent home visit my eyes and concentration were on the field of play and never once on the big screen.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (30/8/06)

Good point, Dick. Never quite figured out the need for those big screens... especially if they are NOT going to show certain things that are "controversial".

English football recedes a metre

Just read that Telegraph bloke's report of the Spurs v Everton match. I'm not English and correct me if I'm wrong but, if England played like Everton did on Saturday i.e. keeping the ball away from a flashy creative team by using accurate passing, wouldn't English football go forward a few metres? Or has the basic premise of football escaped me?

Anyway, we need to be beating the likes of Spurs more often to get and then cement regular top 6 finishes. I think top 8 is realistic this year and I honestly feel, except for a horrible injury crisis, that I'd be disappointed if the lads can't pull it off.

If Fulham wan't Kilbane I'd offer him in exchange for Malbranque and about £1.5M maybe £2M. I think Killer is a solid meat and potatoes sort of player but we need to start moving away from that a bit.
Stuart Beresford-Kelly, Ballymena, Norn Iron  (30/8/06)

Vaughn's Return

Really pleased for young James Vaughan. His reserve team comeback and goal will hopefully give him a boost to get back into the first team. It's not easy coming back from serious injury but if Vaughan needs inspiration he should look no further then Leon Osman.

Osman suffered major injuries when he was in his teens but has battled back to be one of Everton's best players and on the verge of an England call-up.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (29/8/06)

Spurs again!

People seem to be getting a bit mixed up about that last win at Spurs (before saturday). It is easy to forget because our last win in August 85 coincided with a TV cameras ban so the goal from Lineker has never been shown. Yet I have the highligts on tape of our other win there in April 85 which helped us win the title a few weeks later. The attendance at White Hart Lane for that midweek game was 48,108, which was even bigger than they had for their derby against Arsenal that season, and judging from the coverage on the tape there looked like there was about 10,000 blues on the Park Lane end. Hope that jogs a few memories.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (29/8/06)

Squad rotation

Can anyone enlighten me on whether Van der Plonk and Davies are just victims of the rotation system or are they just injured and crap like they were most of last season? To be fair I thought Davies had a decent, energetic game v Watford but hasn't been seen since and Shandy hasn't appeared since Bilbao. I am loving the squad we seem to have for once now, not just 13-14 average players and a few old men in reserve.

My girlfriend came to ireland from London to visit me and by the joys of Arabic TV (I think!) she had the pleasure of watching all 3 of our games so far in a local pub. Even she reckons we're good and she came to watch us play Sunderland at home last season and we were special that day! Let's just hope AJ scores and stays injury free on England duty and Stevie blaggard tears a groin. IMWT
Niall Clinton, dundalk, Ireland  (29/08/06)

The cynics — let's call them optimists :) — like to think, as some rumours in the papers suggest today, that Simon Davies is being kept on the sidelines so he doesn't injure himself and miss out on a possible move from Goodison before the transfer deadline.

AvdM meanwhile is probably being punished for his pre-season shenanigans and also a victim of Moyes's cautious squad selection to start the season. One suspects he may have to wait until injuries or suspension create a vacancy in the squad before getting a chance to prove himself again — Lyndon

Gobshite Bob

Bob the Nob job from Crosby, who the fuck are you mate? Giving people stick over not going the match. I would piss all over you lad in the match-going stakes believe me. You probably go to a couple of away games a year and now you think your Eddie Cavanagh.

Were you standing on the terraces at Chelsea, West Ham and Millwall in the horrible eighties? I doubt it. How about the battles at Old Trafford on them dark winter nights were you at any of them? I doubt it.

Newcastle, Boro, Leeds all bastard places to go in the bad old days. Don't remeber too many dickheads called Bob from Crosby standing toe to toe with the boys when the shit hit the fan. No you were probably glued to Ken Walton and the wrestling getting the latest scores from the teleprinter, Dicky Davies and all. Mick Macmanus, Bert Royal, Johny Saint, Adrian Street — they were your heroes mate.

Going to a few cup games and Derbies doesn't qualify you to give stick out to me or any one else on here, you soft twat. I don't even know what Championship manager is, lad but I know one thing your EASY EASY. Big Daddy style.

See you at Peterborough, Bob.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (29/8/06)

Alrite, the pair of you can put your dicks back in your pants and stop the pissing contest right there. We don't require credentials for being an Evertonian because there are none. Some great names and great memories there all the same, Tony! — Michael

Mystery Quote???

I read in the Mirror today a quote from Thomas Gravesen on his future. He said, 'There may still be a suprise to come. We will wait to see on Tuesday.' Does anybody else think a return to Goodison may be on the cards?
Tom McKay, Liverpool  (29/8/06)

Ask the Wicked Witch! Her mirror might offer more sense than most of the nonsense printed in the Daily Mirror! The sooner Gravesen is paraded outside either St James Park or The Riverside, the better! - Colm

Southern Softy Journo's

Sorry to sound pedantic (that's what doing the stats does for you) but Paul Burns is incorrect with his quote "written by some southern no-mark with a degree in media studies". Trust me, you are more likely to get a journo's job with a degree in history or english, rather than media studies — which probably sums up the reason why they can't seem to see what the rest of us saw against Tottenham.
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (29/8/06)

FFS!

Kin 'el Rob;

"I have it on very very good authority that the plasmas in the Bullens Road side of the ground are the actual cast-offs from Highbury. Arsenal have moved on to the Emirates Stadium and incorporated HD Plasma screens leaving the poor relations — good old Everton — with their cast-offs."
....we've had one of the best results in years and you are crowing about the 'new' TV's. Frankly, Rob, who gives a shit?
Matt Geraghty, Cloud 9  (29/8/06)

The Second Goal

Just read Colm's Magic Johnson piece and was rather surprised he gave credit of the second goal to Arteta and Neville. Personally I thought it was Osman who deserved the most credit. It was Osman who used his strength (not easy considering his size) to hold off a Spurs player and then he had the vision to find Phil Neville who had made an excellent run. Osman has really impressed me this season and his part in the goal was typical of his play. Great piece though, Colm.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (29/8/06)

I wasn't necessarily claiming that either Neville or Arteta deserved more credit for that goal. For what it's worth I've always been a fully paid up member of the Osman fan club - he's one of the best footballers we have at the Club; a player I always enjoy watching. - Colm

Luq Yus

Not a long time ago, you said you couldn't understand why Everton fans are being optimsic. We only signed two championship players and a Man Utd reject, you said. Well, I hope you understand now. It's early days, but we have seen glimpses of a proper goalscorer and a future England star, a pacy centreback to complete a £10 million partnership with Yobo, and a reliable keeper to replace Martyn. Moyes has spent his £14 million very wisely indeed!

I have hopes for a top 5 finish this season, seing how crap Spurs are. COYB!!!!
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (29/8/06)

Anoraks at the ready....

Brian Baker is mistaken - the last time we beat Spurs away was in season 1985-86 (as just about every radio commentary this weekend and Match of the Day repeated ad nauseam). It was Lineker's first league goal for us, I think. I hope it doesn't set an omen - that season we won nothing, finishing runners-up to Liverpool in both League and Cup.
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (29/8/06)

Loving It Right Now!

Has anyone managed to stop smiling yet? I certainly haven't, everytime I think of it I cant help but smile. We finally beat Spurs away. FANTASTIC!!! Riding high in the Premiership, new signings playing well, two players in the England squad, Osman surely close to being the third... This really is a good time for Evertonians, the complete of opposite of this time last year. I really hope this feel good factor continues its been awhile since we beat Liverpool.

A couple of weeks ago Andrew Johnson was experiencing a pre-season goal drought and I made the suggestion that maybe Moyes should consider starting Anichebe & Beattie against Watford because they appeared in better form. All I can say is its a bloody good job Moyes is the manager and not me. Moyes now says AJ is going to get even better!!!
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (29/8/06)

Is Beating Spurs an omen?

The last time we beat Spurs at White Hart Lane was the season 1984-85, which started with us winning the Charity Shield, by beating none other than Liverpool 1-0. Interestingly we lost the reverse fixture against Spurs at Goodison Park 4-1, in the first game of the season, and lost the next game as well, beaten 2-1 by West Brom. Needless to say the season did improve.

After beating Spurs 2-1 at WHL late that season we went on to win the league title, the last time being under Harry Cattick in 1969-70. We also won the European Cup Winners Cup, beating a powerful Bayern Munich in the semis and Rapid Vienna 3-1 in the final. We sadly lost 1-0 the Man Utd in the FA Cup Final, to a single Norman Whiteside goal. Still you can't win everything!

So is the famous victory at WHL this year an omen for things to come?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (28/8/06)

Same old Rubbish

So - apparently the dodgy old Sony TV's in the Bullens Road were replaced by "brand new plasma screens" for the start of the season were they.... No - apparently not.

I have it on very very good authority that the plasmas in the Bullens Road side of the ground are the actual cast-offs from Highbury. Arsenal have moved on to the Emirates Stadium and incorporated HD Plasma screens leaving the poor relations — good old Everton — with their cast-offs. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum my arse !
Rob Beesley, Wigan  (29/8/06)

What's "Nothing But Second Best Will Do" in Latin?! ;-) — Colm

ToffeeWeb Editors

You arrogant shitehawks at the Stalinist ToffeeWeb politbureau don't even go the game anyway so your appreciation of Everton performances are determined by some fat controller in a TV studio. You berate fans who pay good money to watch their beloved Blues and, sometimes blindly, give our manager 100% support, as they do their team. For them to be ridiculed by part-time/armchair supporters is an absolute disgrace.

Yes, argue your futile point about the aesthetics of pure football, by the way, did the Greeks win Euro 2004 playing the Beautiful Game? Get real lad, any fan would rather win playing ugly than be a West Ham supporter. Although you will no doubt disagree, fans who actually go to Goodison and follow the boys around the country have far more credibility than you couch potatoes expecting to watch Brazil on the telly every week. Oh, and Brazil didn't play too much like like the Nike telly gods would have us believe did they?

People like the opinionated Tony 'Fantasy Football Manager' Marsh and your good selves in the Editor's Office, who for journalists, were surprisingly quick to give credance to that bogus remark atrributed to Moyes about the passing game when Kilbane was sent off, have no right whatsoever to denigrate the viewpoint of true supporters with an honest support of their team and coach.

Come on you Blue Boys.
Bob the Prick, Crosby  (29/8/06)

Point number one "Bob the Prick" - get to fuck! ;-)

Point number two - part-time armchair supporters? Please get your facts right before hitting the send button. See you at Goodison, with me kids, for the Wigan game. Fancy a pint?! - Colm

Honour for Weir

What a sad lot your mailbaggers must be! Just one solitary letter of congratulation for David Weir`s appointment as Scotland`s captain! If my old man has got it right, he is the first current Everton player to be so honoured by a British country since Billy Bingham over 40 years ago and I do hope the Club will mark this with a presentation before the Derby game.

Whilst discussions are proceeding about a `contract for life` for King Davey, it seems inappropriate to talk about his successor but if ever the necessity arose what a splendid appointment Weir would be. I understand that he is already doing his coaching badges under Moyes's tutiledge and a staff appointment is being lined up for this great servant on his eventual retirement from playing. Good onya, David!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (29/8/06)

Kevin Ratcliffe never captain Wales then? — Colm

The Sunday Papers

I couldn't believe some of the crap in the papers on Sunday. Osman got a 5 out of 10 in the Mirror, lowest in our team, lower than most Spurs players, summarised by something like "lost on the right, didn't get into the game at all"! As usual, if we win, well it's down to the other team's inadaquacies rather than the way we played: lazy, tired journalism written by some southern no-mark with a degree in media studies who's jumped on the football bandwagon like millions of other morons in the last fifteen years.

God knows we've hammered Everton ourselves when we think its deserved so credit where its due - we were fantastic second half on Saturday and if the parasitical media beauts can't see past their usual darlings (which puzzlingly sometimes include Spurs, winners of a massive two league titles), then fuck them.
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (29/8/06)

Amen to that, Paul! - Colm

Old Chant

A previous writer asked about Everton chantof the fifties. One that comes to mind and 50 years before David Moyes 'Peoples Club'. It went something like this: "Who are the people?" followed with a resounding "We are the people."
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (29/8/06)

Same as it ever was

I went to Tottenham Saturday. I also went back in September 1983 when another unfancied Everton team beat the media darlings of White Hart Lane 2-1, with goals from a has-been (Reid) and an unknown (Sheedy). That day I howled myself hoarse with glee, and I did again yesterday. So to those of you who missed out on, and are sick of hearing about the glory days on 84-87, don’t worry. Beating those smug fancy dan bastards felt just as wonderful twenty odd years on.

I’ll be honest; I don’t know if Moyes is great or mediocre. I have never been able to talk much about football tactics, and these days I take little interest in football if it doesn’t involve the Blues. You see, it’s the sheer screaming idiot grin happiness of days like Saturday that count for me. And 1983 or 2006, that feeling is the same as it’s always been, the one thing in this world that never cloys, never changes, never stales. Everything else in this world – certainly football, and probably Everton, is slowly getting more crap. But every so often real, honest gold shines through the mud, and like a deadbeat prospector long after the goldrush is over, that’s why I carry on. Just in case.
Michael Coffey, London  (28/8/06)

What a great example to set!?

Whilst I can not profess to be always in control of my emotions whilst watching the Blues, I would like to think I control myself a little more when young lads (or ladies!) are present. I would love to think that if I ever took my own son I would not behave in the way one parent in front of me at Spurs on Saturday did. His language was appalling but more worrying was the fact that he thought it was funny to throw a coke bottle top into the Spurs end then turned to his son and laughed.

Now I appreciate that this action may not cause injury but it is hardly the example we should be showing to the next generation of fans (in this case a 7- or 8-year-old). It was shame that my memories of a fantastic display should be soured by one idiot who I'm sure would be condemned by almost every sane thinking fan out there.
Stephen Williams, Halewood  (28/8/06)

Osman for England

I came in from doing from shopping on Saturday at about 4pm and put the TV on to get the half-time scores. When I saw the halftime score line of the Spurs V Everton game (0-0), and heard that Kilbane had been sent, I quickly turned the TV off, fearing the worst in the second half.

I switched the TV back on at 5pm and got a huge surprise, Everton had beaten Spurs at White Hart Lane for the first time in 21 years. If you remember from a previous e.mail, I said I would dance in the street naked if we got anything out of this game. Well I bottled out.

I watched the game about 3 times on football First, going to bed at about 3am in the morning. Osman was a revelation and I am surprised McClaren hadn't included him in the England squad, yet he picked Jenas who was just awful.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (28/8/06)

The residents of Aldershot are particularly relieved to hear that, Brian.

Southern Media

The wording of that Telegraph report reminded me of something Brian Glanville (I think, but my memory may be at fault) wrote in a similar vein. This time we were playing West Ham away in the late seventies/early eighties. Anyway, we failed to give the game to West Ham as we were supposed to do. In one of their few chances, West Ham hit the bar, and apparently "football died a little at that moment".

At around the same time, Villa won the Championship. A very similar club to us in many ways, they never got the credit for the achievement because they were the 'wrong team' as far as the journos were concerned. Let's face it, most journalists are a pretty contemptible bunch so it's no good expecting accuracy or fairness. The best use for this sort of journalism is to spur on the players, and to whip up the kind of rabid anger and siege mentality ("Everybody hates us but we don't care") among the crowd which stands us in such good stead!
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (28/8/06)

Just a thought

How can this site claim to be unbiased when its main contributer, Michael, is clearly a member of the Anti-Moyes Brigade. Colm claims to be a fence-sitter but he's clearly close to getting his membership card for the Anti-Moyes Brigade.

If this site is to remain completely fair it needs a member of the Pro-Moyes Gang to be able to reply to posts just as Michael and Colm do. Its only fair. Instead of having people post and Anti-Moyes Brigade Kingpin Michael shoot down the comments, how about letting Dutch or another member of the Pro-Moyes Gang have a bigger contribution?
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (28/8/06)

Err... We said we were independent (of EFC). No-one ever said nothing about being unbiased. And as I've said, I want Moyes to succeed... does that really make me a member of the Anti-Moyes Brigade???

Ya know, your suggestion stinks to me of "regime change", and the imposition of unwanted (democratic?) "fairness" on a small population of vociferous web operatives whose rhetoric you don't particularly like. Well, sorry, Paul, but you'll have to get your mates Blair & Bush involved before we contemplate handing over the keys of ToffeeWeb Towers to the likes of Dutch Schaffaer... — Michael

One thing that irks me about the Net sometimes is that if you read the same thing over and over again....people will believe it to be true, even when it's patently not the case at all. I read comments - made by others - that I am anti-David Moyes. Based on what? Where have I said I want Moyes out? Can criticism of shite football not be offered without it being deemed a personal assault on the manager? Last season, lest we forget, was a most forgettable season on many fronts. I'm struggling to recall any glorious performances in the second half of the season assault on climbing the table and rescuing a season lost in the opening weeks. 34 league goals over the course of the season is one sorry stat. Yet, here's another stat: we took more points over the second part of the season than Champions Chelsea. You'd not think it with the football we played - and the criticism of our style, by myself and many others. I could offer that there's nothing more I'd dearly love to see than David Moyes being a successful Everton manager, somewhere down the line giving Howard Kendall a good run for his money. I doubt some readers would believe that as they like to pigeon hole opinion on here into various categories - into farcial pro- and anti- camps. Do we not all want to see Everton oncemore living up to the (high) standards we once set for the rest of English football? I caught a glimpse of a better Everton last Saturday and I unashamedly want more of the same. - Colm

New Scotland Captain

Talk about bad match reviews, I read two reviews in the Sunday papers and they both consisted of 80% speculation over Spurs bid for Stuart Downing. I think only the final paragraph mentioned Everton actually beating Spurs. I wonder if Spurs released the Downing rumours to try and deflect from the bad defeat they suffered?

On another subject, its good to see Davie Weir named as Scotland Captain. Moyes took some shit when he named Weir as Everton Captain but the player must have some leadership qualities to be named national Captain as well.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (28/8/06)

TV Coverage

Actually, Michael, we're very lucky out here as we pretty much get to see every game either live or on tape-delay. The coverage of the Premier League is exceptional out here, with all sorts of programmes during the week examining the league. A lot of ex pros are out here as pundits — the latest being Steve McMahon who's on a year's contract here.

They also have a lot of shows where they get fans into the studio to talk about their team - I've made a few appearances on the show, and ESPN distribute the shows all over Asia from India to Indonesia. So in some respects, I probably see more of Everton than I did when I lived in the UK, although obviously it's no substitute for going to the games themselves. I've tried watching the football over here, but to be honest, it's pretty much conference standard, with attendances and atmosphere to match.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (28/8/06)

The Facts that have emerged

More and more postings seem to be prefaced by declarations of pro- or anti-Moyes positions on the part of the writer. In my opinion, this serves little purpose other than to create the impression of a house divided. Surely all of us want to see a successful Everton playing the sort of football that surfaced in the later stages of the Blackburn game and post-Kilbane in the Spurs game. What divides us is our perception of whether Moyes is likely to learn from some of the obvious signs as to what has brought about this improvement. We will all have opinions as to the correct tactics to be adopted against different types of opposition but surely we all can see (and I include the Manager) that the following facts have emerged:

  1. The Yobo and Lescott pairing has allowed the team to defend higher up the pitch and this has resulted in the team trying to play a shorter passing game as opposed to the long, meaningless hoof up the field.
  2. The absence of Beattie has also resulted in the team trying to keep the ball on the ground more. Quite why McFadden and Anichebe are not considered ahead of the fat man is a puzzle unless it has something to do with Manager pride.
  3. Osman has been excellent and should be considered a permanent fixture in the midfield from now on (despite being inherited and not bought by the present Manager).
  4. Playing Kilbane is like taking to the field with 10 men. Unfortunately the Dutchman appears to have gone AWOL and we could do worse than try Valente on the left wing and tuck Arteta inside where he will be more involved and do more damage.
  5. If Valente is pushed further forward the left back position could/should be filled by Boyle.
  6. 6. Neville looks a better right back than Hibbert on the evidence of his cross to Johnson.
We could do worse than to regularly set up the team in a 4-1-3-1-1 or a 4-1-4-1 formation using the folowing players:
Howard,
Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Boyle,
Carsley,
Osman, Cahill, Arteta, Valente,
Johnson
I cannot see this happening but I live in hope.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (28/8/06)

In defence of the indefensible

Having read through most of the mails on the topic of our fantastic result against Tottenham, herewith, a few thoughts to (hopefully, fingers crossed) offer a counter to the question of why it's taken Moyes five years to produce a performance like this:

Andy Johnson: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that Andy Johnson adds an extra dimension to a previously goal- and/or movement-shy Everton. It is a simple fact, but a compelling argument for the difference between our current performance and the many arduous ones under Moyes.

The development of Arteta, Cahill and Osman: The performance of these three has been key to our upturn in performances, but they have been showing glimpses of it throughout the past few seasons. The difference is that they now have a very viable attacking outlet in AJ, who is willing to run down the channels and create havoc. And unlike Marcus Bent, he can actually hit a cow's arse with a banjo.

Look at the mess Moyes inherited when he took over the reins. It was a Houdini act of note to not only avoid relegation with our team of four years ago but to take them to the Champions League. Not only did he achieve it (granted, not with the panache required by some on here), but given the limited resources at his disposal, he managed to take us into the Champions League (prematurely, albeit) and within a whisker of qualifying for the group stages, eventually losing to a team who ended up in the semis.

Now before I am painted as a most ardent disciple of the Moyesiah, allow me to acknowledge that he has made his share of gaffes. Per Krøldrup anyone? However, his record in the transfer market more than compares with many, if not all his contemporaries. No one gets everything right, all the time, and Moyes is certainly no exception. He asked for time when he got the job, realising full well the gargantuan nature of the task that lay before him, which was surely driven home when, when it all wents tits up in the debacle that was last season, the expectation levels of the fans were illustrated by those now distant "Moyes out" calls. Moyes knew that without a limitless chequebook, and the bright lights of some more fashionable clubs, he would have to make gradual progress, and that is exactly what he has delivered. It has taken him the best part of five years to get it right, and for my money, he should be judged at the zenith of this years Premiership. Not before, nor after.

But we stuck to our man. He seems to have learnt from his mistakes, and that was illustrated by his swift dealings in the transfer market this year, and by all accounts thus far, Howard, Lescott and Johnson have settled in well and are noticeably adding a new dimension to our play. We are nowhere near the perfect team yet, and I suspect that finally Moyes has the personnel to play the kind of football we played against Spurs. To suggest that the players decided to play the way they played with no credit for Moyes whatsoever, is simply daft. Finally Moyes has had the time he pleaded for at the beginning of his tenure, and this season will be the one to judge the team that David Moyes built. So far, so good. Now why can't we all just revel in that fact, resist handing out unwanted pro- and anti-Moyes tags, and walk around with our collective chests swelled, proud of the footballing lesson we taught Spurs at the weekend, and hope for more of the same.

We are all hoping it continues, but granted, being Evertonians we are also all too familiar with (and this is another of the stigmas justly attached to Moyes's tenure) the domino-like nature of things under Moyes. However, I have seen enough to know that I am more optimistic than at any other time during the Moyes years. Roll on September 9th!!!
David Gallant, Cape Town, South Africa  (28/8/06)

Kevin Kilbane

Kevin Kilbane has always been a player of limited ability but made up for it with a hard work and commitment. I remember when Everton first signed him. That day we signed four players Jeffers, McFadden, Kilbane, & Martyn. I remember being very exited about the return of Jeffers and the 'Scotish Rooney' McFaddden but in truth it was Martyn and Kilbane who proved the better transfers. The Sunderland fans laughed that we had paid £1 million for Kilbane but that season he was superb, proving a steal for that price.

On the whole he has been a good player for Everton over the years easily justifying the price we paid but lately he seems to have gotten a little disinterested. He just doesn't seem as motivated as he did when he was trying to prove himself. The same thing happened to his Sunderland career. I get the feeling that he needs a new challenge and I would bet he would be superb for a new club (for a couple of years at least and then he'd start to get disinterested again). It would complete a perfect month if Moyes could sort a deal which would see a midfielder brought in. Maybe Kilbane could be used as part-exchange?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (28/8/06)

New goalie on his way

A press realease from Vard Haugesund confirms that talks are at an advanced stage regarding 16-year-old goalkeeper Lars Stubhaug. According to the Vard coach he has already said his good-byes to his teammates. I don't know anything about him, except that he is an U-16 Norwegian international and had a trial with Man Utd last year. This summer he had a trial at Everton.
Jens Hansen, Norway  (28/8/06)

Nice scoop there, Jens!

Lazy Journo Hacks Strikes Again

Anyone got an e.mail address for the Sports Editor/Desk of The Telegraph? Even better, an address for David "Myopic" Miller. This crap, following on from the Observer Mascot Extortion Scandal, has got right up my goat, as the saying should be. Time, methinks, to fight back and, at least, inconvenience the lazy bastards. (Doesn't take away the warm glow fron Sat, though...bliss!)
Phil Bellis, Liverpool 8  (28/08/06)

Genius Moyes

No Moyes knockers now, eh? Even old Marshy is giving credit where credit`s due! After giving the rest of the Premiership a masterclass in transfer dealings over the summer, our hero shows he is also a master tactician with his rapid appraisal of what was needed when we lost Kilbane on Saturday. No doubt the talk of a new, long term,`handcuffs` contract will soon be turned into reality by our Chairman who knows a genius when he`s got one. Ten years would not be too long, eh, Tony?
Richard Dodd, Formby  (28/8/06)

Now, now... don't be winding him up!

Moyes Quote

For christ's sake the quote came from his immediately after match interview shown on Sky Sports news and no doubt others and I quote:

"I thought we did well with 11 and then it was how to get through to half time, but when we went down to 10 if anything we got better, it made us pass better, more accurately and cleverer"

So for those who don't understand it basically means better for Kilbane to have gone and PASSING the ball, I hope he has learnt the lesson and makes his team do more of the same with 10 or 11 players.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (28/8/06)

Cruel! - Colm

Those Tory Swines

Tory Bastards at The Telegraph, why should Evertonians care what they think anyway? The reason I've never bought that paper — and I'm sure many Evertonians are the same — is because I know I'm bigger and better than those right-wing monkeys and always will be. If a football team could ever sum up a newspaper or vice versa, surely Tottenham Hotspur and the Daily Telegraph are a match made in heaven. Wankers the lot of them.
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (28/8/06)

I'd hate to think what "newspaper" properly reflects us Evertonians then? The Buy & Sell?! ;-) - Colm

Don`t you believe it!

So Naysmith`s a world-beater, Yobo and Lescott a parnership made in heaven, and Johnson nailed on for a 30-goal season. Don`t you believe it! We`ve seen these fabulous one-off performances before — remember Norwich, Charlton, Villa — only to see Moyes return to his beloved `up and under` tactics for the very next match.

This time it`s the Derby coming up next so he will have the excuse that we have to negate the opposition`s superior skills. By the time we get to play Wigan on 16 September, the Spurs performance will be but a distant memory! Sorry to be negative (the very thing I hate about Moyes!) but only a string of `new-look` performances will convince me that our manager `has seen the light.`
Harry Meek, Worcester  (28/8/06)

The Derby

It has been a while since I have looked forward to an upcoming derby! Playing Liverpool at home after one of the best results of my time supporting the Blues is an exciting prospect. I definitely think they are there for the taking, they don't look like they have gelled yet, look a little out of shape, and Johnson and fatty fatty bum bum will cause their back four a lot of trouble. The best thing to come out of Saturday is Killa will defo not play in the derby! Get in! I really dont think there is a better time to play them.

Whatever the moans of our standard of play, Moyes has changed the club from persistent strugglers in the Premiership to probably a top 8 team. Other than the top four, would you say many teams have a better midfield (bar Killa)? There have been some negatives along the way (lowest points haul, etc), but the fella has done well on the other end of the scale. I feel confident the team now has the firepower to lead us on a good cup run.

Is this the first time we have actually had a "squad" in the Premiership?
Duvet Boy, A City Far, Far Away  (28/8/06)

Re 'Stifling Tactics'

The Observer (sic) had a similar match report on Sunday... hardly a jot of praise for an absolutely outstanding Everton and plenty of belly-button contemplation regarding the woes of Spurs. Whilst the ever-reliable BBC Football (sic) repeated on MotD2 Sunday night the half-truth that the most expensive club to be a match day mascot is at Everton... No explanation that this only applies to the corporate mascot or that the mascot drawn from the fan base by lottery gets it for nowt and free tickets for his/her family. The largely London-based media outlets don't seem to like us... the pertinent question is to ask ourselves "Why?

Personally, I put it down to a combination of our traditional poor PR dept (which is admittedly getting a little better) and lazy journalists who would rather rely on platitudes, prejudice and rhetoric than any attempt at analysing what it is they have actually witnessed. (A bit like a certain ‘Moyes Hater’ on here… you know who you are!) I’d also be happy to see a caveat added to the final sentence of any match report “Fred Bloggs is in fact a Liverpool/Manchester United/Spurs/Arsenal supporter” (delete where appropriate).

Finally, well done to the team and the manager and to the supporters who made the trip to North London… you did all of us doubters, cynics, dreamers, hopers and schemers proud. Let’s all hope our ascent can continue and our youthful ‘David’ can slay the odious ‘Goliath’ from across the park.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (28/8/06)

A little bit of perspective, please

First of all, let's acknowledge and congratulate the team and management for an excellent result. History, form and past performances did not fill many (myself included), with high expectations before the match and the players put many of those fears to bed — for the present. However, let's put a bit of perspective on the result and from a member of the "School of Science' for over 40 years ,I hope I am somewhat qualified to do so.

The sychophantic eulogising of Dutch and the morose negativity of Tony are both unhelpful and wide of the mark and as is often the case the truth often lies somewhere between those two extremes. In respect of Saturdays match can I make the following observations:

  1. The result was excellent but for the first 50 mins or so the match was pretty ordinary with Everton defending well and Spurs showing absolutley nothing at all. How much that was down to 'you're only as good as the opposition lets you' is debatable. We were not commanding just willing to graft and work harder because of circumstances.
  2. From around the time of the first goal onwards, we did seem to show a greater degree of confidence and controlled the game outright. Spurs were not at the races and we looked composed and confident - a potentially very good sign for the future!
  3. [Now some honesty!!]
  4. The team was set up very negatively with absolutely no intention other than stopping Spurs play, going for a 0-0 and hoping against hope for a breakaway goal.
  5. I've said it before and in some ways this proved it, what does Kilbane contribute to this team? His absence made absolutely no difference to the way we played. Going down to 10 men does up the work rate but with him missing there were players who could pass the ball to each other and, when the penny dropped, no one to lump it to on the edge of the box. What does DM see that around 40,000 of us can't see?
  6. How many shots and attempts on target did we have in the entire match? Less than 6 I would suggest. Sorry, that's just not good enough and no better than against either Watford or Blackburn. We do not go out to win games we go out not to lose them and I don't believe that is what football at Everton is about.

As many a pundit will say 'the table does not lie' and we're sitting pretty but its only 3 games, and yes I'd rather be there than in Blackburn's shoes... but come on!! The result may be a watershed and DM may realise that players (and supporters) inherently want to attack and score goals, but can he move from his basic defensive attitude to a more expansive one? Does he have the confidence in the players to play a more open game and will he pick the ones to do it? Is he brave enough to lose a few games when those attacking players don't click or is he just too damn dour? Time will tell and his next selection, when we've set off well, will be a real indication of his attitude.

Is he going to go for them or will he be happy not to lose against them? This is really going to be a selection for which he will earn his corn and whilst this will be herasy to Tony (and many other), if he picks an attacking team that plays well but does not get the right result I will be marginally happier than a negative dour team that is equally likely not to get the right result. I want to win the war not one battle and see us genuinely make sustained long term progress.

Is the result Oxford revisited or just 'we caught them on an off day'?. I know which one I want it to be, but I need a lot more evidence before I start crowing about us. A very good result against probably one our challengers for a top 6 spot - yes, I am expectant but its tempered with a degree of reality and perspective. However, I am looking at the next game with a little more confidence than expectation more so than after Watford!!!
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (28/8/06)

Big Dunc's Head

I've only just come across your site, and have spent a good hour trawling the various sections. One page I found particularly useful was the Duncan Ferguson profile.

I was wondering, though, whether or not you could help me with a question I've been asked about 'Big Dunc':

Are you able to tell me what percentage of his Premiership goals were scored with his head? If you are able to tell me the answer, or if you can point me in the right direction, I would be eternally grateful.
Morgan Daniels, Huntingdon  (28/8/06)

I've no doubt someone out there will have the exact figures you so desire! - Colm

They've done it again!

Dunno if anyone else saw MotD2 tonight - when Kevin Day was at Watford with the Mascot. The comment about Everton charging £3000 for a mascot is total bollocks... it's a story that was around last year and for some reason The Observer and 5Live decided to hash it up again last weekend.

I heard the original broadcast last weekend on 5Live - and the retraction they made yesterday morning... so why on earth MotD2 re-broadcast it again today I've no idea.

Anyway, I was so incensed that I made an official complaint to the BBC on their website...

If you want to do the same, here's the link

and here's the text of my complaint...

Hi, I've just watched tonight's Match of the Day 2 which featured an article where Kevin Day accompanied the mascot at the Watford vs Man Utd game played on Saturday 26th August.. Mr Day interviewed various people from the crowd, asking how much they thought it was worth paying to be the mascot at one of their team's games. For some unfathomable reason, Mr Day decided to again quote the totally incorrect "fact" that Everton charge £3000 per mascot - a false story that the BBC and the Observer had been broadcasting last weekend. This is despite the fact that both the Observer and the BBC Radio 5Live Saturday Breakfast Show had been forced to broadcast an apology for the totally incorrect storyline before the game took place. Now I understand that Mr Day may not have seen or heard the retraction - but why did the MotD2 production team see fit to knowingly broadcast this fabrication when the Corporation had already admitted in public that their facts were totally wrong. I would like to see MotD2 broadcast an apology to Everton Football Club, as did Radio 5Live and the Observer when they next broadcast the program in 2 weeks time. This totally false story can only do harm to the many satisfied children who have been - and will continue to be - mascots at Goodison for NO CHARGE in the future. Yours Sincerely, Jonathan Martin Everton Season Ticket Holder.

OK, so the bit about the "Season Ticket Holder" is stretching it a little... maybe it should have read "extremely fair-weather supporter" but I thought it sounded better!!!

Right, I'll go lie down in a dark room now...
Jonathan Martin, Solihul  (28/8/06)

I believe the Club have already taken the proper course of action on this matter. Not for the first time! - Colm

Early songs and chants

I'm trying to find any Everton songs or chants from the 1950s or before. Would you know of any, or know anyone who does?
Peter Avillhao, Chester  (28/8/06)

Over to the Elders on here! ;-) Dig out those 78rpm vinyls... - Colm

Putting the Ghost to Bed

As an unashamed critic of David Moyes, and his brand of football, I would like to say a huge thank you for what the team achieved on Saturday. Living in Singapore means that some people marginalise me and that I'm not qualified to comment. My answer to that is unprintable on a wholesome family website such as this, but I digress...

I've seen Everton snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at White Hart Lane. To say they are (were?) a bogey team is an understatement. In a bizarre Guinness-fuelled moment, I actually declared to the pub I was watching the game in that I thought we would win. Then when 'Zinedine' (purrlease) was sent packing, I still thought we improved!

It was a fantastic victory, and I certainly never believed we'd get 4 points from our two opening away games... I've got a real sense of two years ago — I know that's ludicrously optimistic, but it just feels the same... Let's hope it lasts, bring on the Kopites!
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (28/8/06)

I guess us requiring a location for our contributors could be viewed in that negative light, Matt, but I think it may be unfair. I don't know about Singapore but in many places outside the UK, you can watch the entire Everton game televised every week. While it's not the same as being there, it gives you a good basis for making comparative analyses of things such as 'progress' and our development of hoofball to as-yet unseen heights. So don't knock it. This is the 21st Century. We armchair Evertonians who watch the games on TV now constitute the vast majority!!! — Michael

What is life

‘Change what can be changed, accept what cannot’ allows me to swim uncaring through an ocean of pro and anti Moyes sharks. My advice, for what its worth, Life would be simpler yet no less stimulating by concentrating all our immediate thoughts on how best to ‘do’ those unmentionables from across the park.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (28/8/06)

Err.. I think that's Moyes's job, init? Let's see what he comes up with... I can't wait, as they say. Although I'll have to. Nearly two bloody weeks. I HATE International breaks. — Michael

Accident or design?

Michael, fair play re your comments arising after the Spurs win — I agree that you want Moyes to succeed, but can't stomach the hoof game for much longer.

Re Moyes's comments on how the game, I've seen a lot of his post-match interviews, including on EvertonTV, but at no point have I heard him suggest the passing game was a result of Kilbane's red card. Instead he has said that what's most pleasing of all from the match was that it was won in style, with a passing game that showed what he has felt is that case since pre-season — that this bunch CAN play it around.

He also said that he wants the team to continue playing like this as the season progresses. Does that suggest that he has wanted them to play like that all along, but for whatever reason it hadn't happened? I hope so. Here's to it continuing.
David Flynn, London  (27/8/06)

Thanks for that, David. I was relying on a mail sent in byu someone on here. Guess I'm wrong then. But I hope it continues too. — Michael

Rumours

I hope one of the rumours on the Rumour MIll comes off. I wouldn't mind Malbranque for Davies, or £750k for Kilbane. The bloke doesn't look interested to me. You can see why the Sunderland fans lost all patience with him. LAZY ,LAZY, LAZY. I hope Ossie carries on in this form and Arteta manages to find some. Can't fault Johnson at the moment and with Lescott and Howard looking pretty sound I'm quite enjoying my football. I'm just a bit pissed off at the timing of the England game. It would have been a good time to play Liverpool. Maybe Neville could do a number on Gerrard and Crouch, you know, just enough to keep them out for the next few games. Just a couple of mis-timed challenges in training. Third in the Prem League after three games, we can only take one game at a time and I'm quite happy at the way its going at the moment.
Jamie  Barlow, Manchester  (27/8/06)

Err... we're not third. We are joint second with Aston Villa. — Michael

Who cares about quality?

How many actual Everton fans are there in the world? Impossible to say for sure but I would guess at least a million. How many of those million actually go to a game every week? A small percentage. So its fair to say the vast majority of Everton fans stay at home and watch highlights and read about the games.

What the Anti-Moyes Brigade fail to realise is that the vast majority of fans don't go to games and therefore dont give a shit about the type of football played. Myself and the vast majority might just care more about winning three points. I want to read a Sunday paper and see that Everton won, screw the beautiful game and the fantasy ideals of the Anti-Moyes Brigade.

If the Anti-Moyes Brigade want to watch beautiful football, let them watch the floundering Arsenal who would rather pointlessly pass then actually take a shot. I prefer the Moyes approach of using average players to squeeze every single point out of the game. Nobody complained when Joe Royle did something similar with The Dogs Of War.
Pro Moyes, UK  (27/8/06)

Not surprising you don't give your name, claiming to speak for the vast majority of Evertonians who don't actually go to the game. Well, Pro, I'm one of those million (half-million would be closer, methinks). I haven't been since a certain match against Arsenal in October 2004, when we won thanks to a stunning late goal.

Let me explain something to you. Even though I don't go to the game, this season I expect to watch something like 80% of our games on my telly. That's not just the highlights you lot get. We get the entire game, live or tape-delayed. And how we play is of paramount importance to me. Many a time I have torn out what little hair I have left watching the utter shite Moyes requires of his players. Yesterday was totally different and it was an absolute pleasure to watch. And no, I don't want to watch Arsenal: I want to watch Everton play decent football.

As I've said many times before (and likewise, you Pros simply can't read, I must conclude), how Everton play is very important to me. And I suspect that that is the case for many other absentee Evertonians across the world who also enjoy a similar level of TV coverage. Does one exception prove the rule? (Never did quite understand that saying...) — Michael

Derby date

I hate to piss on the party but with our next game against the neighbours across the park, there is little doubt this will be a much tougher game than Tottenham, a team who do not rely so much on the physical aspect of the their game. Unlike our next opponents I fear a repetition of our fist half performance yesterday where I think it's fair to say some of the fancy footwork players lacked the appetite for at least the occasional stiff challenge. I do think Cahill and certainly Carsley will be up for the battle but I suspect some of our other midfielders may not be so keen.

It's not doom and gloom either assuming of course that Stubbs does not recover from his groin strain. Defensively we look stronger than we have done for years and I think Johnson will prove a to be a real handful for their defence. The key to the game for me will lie in the midfield battle. Sadly it's fair to say the opposition have dominated this area in recent proceedings. I think Moyes will have a tough call on who to leave in and who to leave out but it's absolutely crucial he gets it right. It will be interesting to see if Osman is in the starting line up or starts on the bench. He is technically very good but, if there is a flaw to his game, it is his tendency to go AWOL on occasions when the going gets tough. He will need to show the desire and determination on display yesterday in his second-half performance.

Whist I have nothing but praise for the performance yesterday, I still feel we need a quality holding player in the middle, ideally in place before the derby — it may prove to be a very necessary contingency.
Gerry Western, London  (27/8/06)

But...

But ultimately, Michael, you have the last say on every comment in here. By consistently rejecting or ridiculing one particular argument/opinion, you can direct the MailBag however you like. While you aren't rejecting letters, you're stance informs the nature of the discussion and I think it means that certain angles and perspectives are given no room to breathe in here. I take your point though, my last post contributed very little indeed!
Paul Foster, London  (27/8/06)

We publish pretty much everything, Paul — even your e.mails! The only thing that doesn't get through is mindless abuse and incompetent illiteracy (sometimes masquerading as txtspeke). I think the breadth of our regular contributors reflects a pretty broad spectrum of Evertionian thought and opinions. Yes, there are some who think we are the devil incarnate, and don't contribute because of that determination, but more fool them. Honestly, I don't think they would add much if they did contribute, judging by what is written in certain forums.

Dutch is probably the most diametrically opposite from where I stand, yet you can see his views get enough oxygen to hyperventilate! And he sometimes even skates by without a response from me (if I know what he's saying is daft enough to be picked up by someone else!). But feel free to espouse an alternative wisdom, if you feel so inclined. We'll try to give it the air it deserves... — Michael

MailBag

Isn't the MailBag an opportunity for a range of opinions to be posted? And doesn't this website profess to be independent? It just seems odd that the editor can claim that 'Moyes Apologists have proven ... time and again to be a little slow on the uptake'.

How about, they just have a different and, more often than not, equally valid opinion? While the Moyes apologists can be tiresome, I'd argue that they aren't half as tiresome as the acerbic ranters who will search high and low to find evidence that Everton's performance on Saturday had nothing to do with the manager.

Not liking Moyes is one thing, but the rants are getting increasingly personal and desperate, and it's not contributing to a particularly intelligent discussion!
Paul Foster, London  (27/8/06)

Paul, I think it is letters like yours that fail to contribute anything of value to the dicussion. Just to clarify: we are Independent of Everton FC (as if that wasn't pretty bloody obvious!) but that does not mean we are independent of all of the myriad of views posted here about everything to do with Everton. Lyndon, Colm and myself — we have our opinons, and as you can see they don't fully coincide.

We comment on letters across the specturm, and one thing that has come through from most of the Pro-Moyes lot is that they don't really want to look too closely at the facts, prefering to take either an "optimistic" or an apologistic view of everything Blue. The Anti-Moyes brigarde can indeed be tiresome but they clearly have a much better grasp of reality and are not swayed by rubbish they might read on the Offical Website or at the new club sponsor's Sport Media site — icliverpool.com. So it is a little bit more than just a different but equally valid opinion.

Personally, I side with the anti-Moyes brigade (even though I am personally pro-Moyes, in that I want him to succeed! Confusing, eh?) in their stated desire to see Moyes having his Everton teams playing better football — not making increasingly pathetic and now provenly meaningless excuses about why his charges must forever play hoof-ball and concede possession at every opportunity... Or that classic: that we can't play passing football because we are no longer a big rich club. What utter tosh. And yesterday's fantastic performance proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Yet still they come... — Michael

Pro-Moyes Gang v Anti-Moyes Brigade!

LOL, Tony Marsh claims Dutch jumped aboard the bandwagon after one good win. Are you crazy Tony? That Dutch dude never shuts up about how great Everton are. I think Dutch is a knob but I'll give him credit for being the most positive and passionate Everton fan I have met. He defended the team even though they were shit last season. At times I felt sorry for him trying to defend such tosh but he never lost faith. He hasn't jumped on the bandwagon, Tony, he is the fucking bandwagon.

Tony, just admit you were wrong to try and use Lescott against Moyes. I dont understand Evertonians sometimes, we have the best win and performance for a number of years and what do the fans do? Split into two groups, The Pro-Moyes Gang & The Anti-Moyes Brigade, and continue to rip shit out of each other. Just enjoy the fucking win!!!!

Surely a win like this should unite the two factions? I don't normally post but you have even got me involved now and I hate that.
Leo Miller, Liverpool  (27/8/06)

Hehe... fishy, fishy... Debate is healthy, Leo, and it turns out there is plenty to debate about how yesterday's fantastic win came about, with the Pro Gang claiming it was all part of a Grand Moyes Plan, while the Anti Brigrade have Moyes's own words as evidence that it was probably more of an accident we played like we did. Is it any wonder the debate continues... — Michael

Live and Let... Live

It seems to me that there are two very vocal camps surrounding Everton at the moment. Being the pro- and anti-Moyes "Brigades". I do wonder, however, how much of the Everton support falls into these two sides. On this site I would suggest Michael falls firmly into the latter and has every right to, if he doesn't like Moyes fair cop. And contributers such as Dutch form the say for the former.

I would like to suggest, however, that the majority of Everton supporters are somewhere in the middle. We agree that the football is dire far too often. That tactically we can be far too one-dimensional and hard on the eye. Yet on the other hand we also give credit that Moyes has taken us up the league into more secure pastures.

Personally, I would not see Moyes sacked. I think he has talent as a young manager if only he takes the plunge and starts to use it in a more productive manner. Surely now he has a squad that are "his" players, maybe he would like to buy one or two more but he is in a great position now after being at the helm a number of years.

This season is the season he has to produce on the field and so far so good in terms of points. The big question will come now in that will are quality of football similarly improve. Itis early days but there are signs in the recent Spurs game (yes — I am still grinning from ear to ear about that one).

Davey for me needs to start allowing the team to show its abilities, maybe in some games against far superior teams (Man Utd, Arsenal Chelsea) he can turn to his more defensive options. But surely against the rest we can compete playing passing penetrating football.

I would suggest that if the quality of football continues to be dire, with the odd glimpse of what might have been, the anti-Moyes brigade will be able to add a few regiments to its numbers by the end of the season, but in saying that, an improvement in quality will see the same movement the other way.

Both camps are right to say what they feel, and I agree a lot with both; Moyes has done well, but the football must improve.

Finally, despite popular oppinion, I very much doubt ToffeeWeb itself falls into any catagory over Moyes, it merely puts forward the many views held by the fans and long may it continue.
Dave Turner, Alsager, Cheshire  (27/8/06)

Good comments, Dave. I think you are quite right about Moyes with one exception: I'm not anti-Moyes (That would be Luq and Tony, who have both have said they want him gone!) — I'm more in the middle and I want him to succeed. I really do.

I may be one of his biggest critics (and this is what the pro-Moyes apologists continually fail to understand about the so-called anti-Moyes brigade) but I will give him the credit if he really is going to change his ways, have us playing better football, and using the skills his players possess. Yesterday, it happened, but Moyes himself led us to believe it was almost by accident rather than by design. I hope that wasn't true, and I don't expect things to change overnight. But the Goodison derby in a couple of weeks looks set to be a very interesting game... — Michael

Un-burrrrr- lievable!!

It seems you either hate Moyes, or you like him. If you're one of the former, I confidently predict he could take us to the domestic treble, and Champions league title, and it will still be serendipity! I used to think Inspector Clouseau managed the other shite, but we must have him in charge here. There will always be a reason, it seems, why it will never really be down to him, and if it was, why didn't he do it sooner FFS!

Micheal, your applause in the matchday report for Moyes and his team, then questioning how much it actually had to do with moyes was breath-taking. Likewise Tony Marsh's about turn on Lescott. This new fashion 'see we were right all along, he has the players to play football, but doesn't; even winning shows how shit he is' is wafer thin.

I've heard a few times now, how he was lucky Kilbane went off and forced a situation upon him, the reason being that otherwise, if it was left to his tactics, we would have 3 points less on the board. Don't you think just maybe, his tactics were still actually followed to the letter?

It doesn't take a genius to take a team to Spurs, keep it tight and quiet for the first half, then try and open them up with counter-attacking football. The more subtle tactical nuances aren't so clear, if someone else could clear up exactly what this train of thought is about I'm all ears. It seems he's damned if he does, and he's damned if he doesn't.

Whilst I can understand some of the long-standing complaints about our style of play, why you cannot afford him the occasional victory is beyond me.
John Prior, Liverpool  (27/8/06)

Since repetition is obviously needed, and you Moyes Apologists have proven yourselves time and again to be a little slow on the uptake, we'll do it again from the top.

I watched the entire game and I was as happy with the brilliant performance and fantastic result as any other Evertonian you care to name. I gave instant recognition to Moyes for the role he must have played on the established basis that, if we play shite, then it is his fault and if we play well then he gets the credit. Simple as that.

Then it transpired that Moyes said or implied (I still can't find a reliable quote... maybe it is in his Everton TV interview?) that Kilbane going off forced a change to a passing game. That, if true, astounded me. And it put the credit I had given him in serious doubt. The reasoning is surely obvious in that it places a question mark over the tactics and discipline that was the foundation for the win. You start playing passing football because your worst player is red-carded?

Get to fuck... what the hell would that say to you about Moyes and his tactical nous??? But I wouldn't have thought this had it not come from Moyes himself!!! To be honest, I'm still struggling with it. But if you seem comfortable with that kind of tactical switch from our manager, then so be it.

He's damned for poor tactics and having us play shite football when we could be playing football like we did yesterday... apparently by accident and not by design. It takes all sorts... — Michael

The heart of the matter

Dutch Schaeffer and the 'I'm in love with a male ginger head' T-shirt wearers read CAREFULLY what I am going to say:

Say we had the history of a club like Real Madrid, for example. We are successful, rich, play attractive sexy football, etc. If then for two or three seasons we (the imaginary pseudo Everton) fail to win a cup or title, then what would we the fans moan about? Eh... not winning cups as regularly as we would be used too.

Now that would be reasonable if we had a history like Madrid, but we don't! We are Everton!!! And what the realistic fans moan about is the dire football, poor tactics coupled with shite signings on occassion which waste money we ain't got. We do not expect to win the league, we do not expect to even get into Europe or win a cup each year. We want and expect is a team to play good football and to use the players to the best of their abilities! Yesterday is the perfect example.

That was the best performance in five years of Moyes's career at Everton. But why has it taken five years to play like that? If Moyes got this team to play like that every week or so, we (realistic fans) would not be calling for Moyes's blood. Nay! We would respect him and pay homage when deserved. But we don't play like that every week, in fact we won't play like that again I fear! And that's the annoying thing! We can clearly do it as provern yesterday but have not done for many years!

Dutch said Moyes deserves credit for the performance, then it is logical that Moyes gets stick when Everton fail to perform! It's that simple! Moyes sets out to play that dire type of football, high-energy — low-quality shite. That's his ethos, and if it isn't then why does he get the players to play like that? Smith had some nasty stick about the dire football, but honestly sometimes sitting there I can see no difference between Smith's and Moyes's style of play!!!

So, this is why I dislike Moyes and why many others feel the same way. If Moyes can alter his tactics and have the team play like yesterday, I'll wear the loving Moyes T-shirt myself! But he won't, and I'll continue giving stick until he does so or leaves! It is that simple!
Luq Yus, London  (27/8/06)

I just don't think they get it, Luq. But good job telling them! — Michael

From my seat

A good three points against a moneybags club and at a venue where we have hardly got a cup of tea for 21 years — and to do it with ten men for two-thirds of the game made the hairs stand up on your neck.

For a lot of the game I thought Spurs dominated only to founder on the rocks that were the blues defence. When Kilbane got red I feared it may only be a matter of time before we shipped one but some good defending from most of the players saw us 0-0 at the break.

In that second half, I some pass and move play that I have been waiting a long time to witness. I got the feeling that the players thought that if they played like that it would take some of the weight off the back four and with a frontman who was always willing to give the option the players realised that they may nick all 3 points. It wasn't so much as nicking the win in the end — it was a reward for excellent play. Oh why can't that be our regular pattern of play?

The goals came from sheer quality, the first fashioned by a textbook free-kick that just asked to be turned in and the fact that it was a Spurs foot made no matter. The second was a triumph for teamwork, persistence and a quality finish from a quality striker, it made me feel good just to know he was in a blue shirt.

That display must give all concerned confidence that we can make a good start to the season. I believe if we can add a dominant midfielder so that we can have a good mid- and end-season then I may have to remember where it was that I threw my passport twelve months ago.

One game can't win you anything but it can give the confidence and knowledge that you're capable of it, which — if taken into future games — may lead to that much sought-after football that is good to watch and produces. Next up the team that fertilise our pitch. See you there.---UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (27/8/06)

Famous Victory

A great win and Moyes obviously resisted the temptation to shut up shop at 1-0 — perhaps because we now have a lone striker with pace. We got 11 minutes on MotD — are we becoming media darlings like our red friends ?
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (27/8/06)

Benchmark Performance

Let's tell it like it is... After a good solid start, playing workmanlike football with the addition of a real-deal striker, Moyes and the team capped a great week with a wonderful passing display and a great win.

I've criticised Moyes and some fellow Evertonians for poor football and the misguided belief that the best we could hope for was slow, dull, dour football with no skills and no goals. Wasn't it great to see Moyes and the team prove them wrong with a display of quality passing and finishing?

Wouldn't it be even better if this could be a benchmark performance for the season? Now we know these guys can play proper football, let's have them do it all the time, instead of talking about this display as a one-off in a year's time. That's the acid test. So thank you David Moyes and the players. Tactics, spirit and attitude have been spot on!

For all of you who called me and others doom mongers for consistently asking for fast, passing winning football over the past year - there you go, that's the kind of pie in the sky nonsense we used to watch all those years ago. Better than watching 'super athletes' wellying the ball to the moon and back, isn't it? Let's make this the standard. More of the same, please.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (27/8/06)

Can I Join The Anti-Moyes Brigade?

The first month of the new season has past and not only are Everton not top but after Villa's win today we have slipped from 2nd to 3rd. Simply not good enough. David Moyes out, I say.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (27/8/06)

Err... not quite true, but then that recognition of realism has always been a problem fro the pro-Moyes brigade ;). Everton currently lie joint second with Aston Villa: same points, same goal difference, same goals for. — Michael

Shifty Schaffer

So Butch Wafer is on his high horse having a pop at me, is he? Well, Mate, just checked your posting from Friday and who is it predicting Everton to lose at Spurs... Oh, it's you. What a tool you really are. I cringe every time I read one of your arse licking posts but to predict defeat then come on here singing Moyess praises shows what a tit you are.

Yes, I gave Moyes stick over not playing Lesscott and his display yesterday proves me right Dickhead. If you are going to spend £5 million on a defender then I think I am correct to ask why he isn't playing, Dumbarse. Wier's finished; Stubbs is almost gone and we sign a guy for big money... I want him on the pitch.

I reckon you need to think your gormless postings through a bit and stop making a prick of yourself. You are the typical bandwagon merchant who jumps back aboard after one good win. Do me a favour Dutch and predict us to lose the Derby as well, mate.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (27/8/06)

Spurs win

At last! We've played some proper football. Notable absences being Beattie, Stubbs, Kilbane (for the most part), Davies & Weir! Hope Moyes sees a pattern emerging. Talk about putting your best foot forward!

I've heard people deride Osman but I think he's an excellent player when others are on his wavelength. Johnson being one such person. I thought Lescott looked solid and works well with Yobo, and let's face, had Davenport not bagged into his own net Yobo would have done. The point is that both central defenders also posed a theat in the opponent's penalty box as they can go up for a header with purpose and have the faith in their own pace to get back. The fact that both Lescott and Yobo like to pass it out of defence and play high up the pitch shouldn't be underestimated.

The last word has to be with Johnson, our Number 8, the last prolific striker we had wore 8 all those 21 years ago. Maybe it should be the Famous Number 8, unless you believe Duncan served the Number 9 with absolute distinction... Nope, still the Famous Number 9, just give it to Johnson next season!
John McCabe, Wavertree  (27/8/06)

Hmm... What number did Alan Ball wear...???? — Michael

Lescott's Debut

When he didn't start against Watford, Tony Marsh was quick to write Lescott off as another flop defender Moyes spent big on but never played — Krøldrup II. The fact that Mr Marsh was so quick to make that assumption just because Lescott didn't start the first game shows how his hatred of Moyes has impaired his ability to offer a valid opinion.

Mr Marsh like a few others will use any small detail they can find to slaughter David Moyes. Unfortunately for him in the case of Lescott Mr Marsh may have spoken too soon. I thought Lescott was very good yesterday. I am a supporter of Alan Stubbs but even I have to admit that his days may be numbered if Lescott continues to develop to the standards set yesterday.

Already Lescott's Everton career has surpassed that of Krøldrup's and I hope Mr Marsh and the other members of the anti-Moyes brigade will now give the player a chance and not be so quick to use him as fuel for the Moyes bonfire they are building.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (27/8/06)

Well done, Everton

A great day for Everton, a fantastic performance and a fantastic result. A sad day for the Moyes-Out brigade that is ToffeeWeb though.
Ronnie Mukherjee, Merseyside  (27/8/06)

Listen, mistaken one. First off, it's a very happy day for ToffeeWeb. Why? because we finally got to see proper football from a team managed by David Moyes.

We openly (and in a few case vehemently)critcised Moyes beacuse the football he served up was shite. Yesterday, for the first time under David Moyes, an Everton team played football worthy of our long forsaken motto. It was exactly what Moyes's biggest critics had been clamouring for. And it proved that such football is possible from the players he has. That makes me very happy because it confirms everything we have been saying about Moyes and all his faults. I hope he has learned a lot from this game, I really do. — Michael

The Way Forward

Yesterdays result at Spurs was absolutely AMAZING. I couldnt believe I was watching Davey Moyes's Everton... or was I? I have to say that was our biggest and best result since the 1995 FA Cup semi-final at Elland road also against Spurs but I don't for one minute think it was Moyes inspired.

I honestly believe that yesterday the players took it upon themselves to get that result. No one can really believe that Moyes said to the lads go out there and attack Spurs the way we did. No way.

Kilbane was harshly treated but what the fuck was he doing out there anyway? If he had stayed on, we would not of had the same outcome — that's for sure. Maybe now Moyes will see the error of his ways and loosen the reigns a liitle bit.

Johnson is looking an absolute steal at the minute so credit to Moyes on that score. Please let this be the start of a new approach to the way we play the game. It's so much better when we go out there with a purpose. All in all a weekend to remember — let's not fuck up in our next game against you know who.

Come on Davey prove me wrong and let's start going at teams the way we did yesterday. You never know — I might become a convert.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (27/8/06)

Now that we've seen that this unit of players can live and compete with supposedly superior squads of players, let's hope it continues. Aye, we'll lose a few games along the way, but with a better brand of football on offer you'll find an air of positivity across the fanbase if yesterday's performance is anything to go by. Hands up who's still smiling?! - Colm

If not Moyes, then who?

I find it hard to believe the stick Moyes gets on these pages. OK, I know we don't play like Brazil but the sad FACT is that we are not the big rich club we once were. We can't compete with the 'Big 4' financially or otherwise. It chokes me to say it but we are a selling club now.

If anyone doubts this just ask yourself would any of the 'Big 4' have sold the fat boy? No of course not, and if you want further proof just wait and see what happens if Arteta keeps playing the way he has. Someone will wave a cheque book and that will be that. So back to Moyes, sack him then what? Ask Walter Smith back?

Moyes is doing a very good job with one hand tied behind his back and in my opinion he's the best a mid-table selling club can hope for.
Craig McManus, Mold, Flintshire  (27/8/06)

Yellow card for airing the suggestion that we'd want Walter Smith back! Oh. My. Gawd! ;-) - Colm

You're about 18 months behind the times, daft lad. If we were still a selling club, Arteta, Cahill and Yobo would have gone this past summer. But that's not really the issue. Moyes gets stick because Everton play shite.

Yesterday's magnificent performance proved what a lot of us thought — that shite football is not a requirement for mid-table survival, or something that can only be played by a 'rich club'. It has got nothing to do with us supposedly not being a big rich club anymore (and I think Mr Wyness might have something to say on that point). When will the rest of you Moyes Apologist muppets get the message?

And the real question remains with Moyes: if he is responsible for the motivation, organization, and whatever that created yesterday's fantastic performance, then why has it taken FIVE YEARS to produce? And will we now start seeing it on a regular basis? Sadly, having ridden the Moyes rollercoaster for the past five years, I know the answer to the last question is by no means certain. But I hope he does, I really do.

Yesterday was a wonderful perfomance and I want to see more of it. I want to give the credit to Moyes if he can show he was the architect of it — by doing it aginst at least a few more times this season. — Michael

2nd In The Premiership.

We are not the first team to play better when reduced to 10 men. What impressed me most was that every single player seemed to know exactly what he was doing. The team were completely organised and 100% motivated. Moyes got the tactics right from the start and he adapted perfectly when Kilbane was sent off.

At half-time Moyes clearly didn't tell them to hang on and defend a point, he sent them out to win. When the players are that organised and motivated the confidence rises and quality of their football undoubtedly improved. It's not an easy task to beat Spurs at White Hart Lane with 10 men but the lads did it and I refuse to accept the view that they more of less managed themselves while ignoring Moyes tactics.

We have had some good wins under Moyes, the Carsley Derby game, Big Dunc's Man Utd game, but I feel this is his best result as Everton manager. I understand that one result isn't enough to change the anti-Moyes brigade's opinions but surely the they can begrudingly admit that this result owed a lot to Moyes's tactics, organisation skills and motivation.

Michael, Colm, Luq & Tony Marsh you don't have to start liking Moyes but give him this result at least.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (27/8/06)

Whoah! Hold the horses there a sec', Dutch. I might be critical of Moyes's tactics from time to time but I don't think I've been as critical as the others you mention - and furthermore, I believe some of their criticism has merit.

Whether by design or by luck, I've now viewed Everton playing decent, on the ground, passing football for the last 115 odd minutes. We finished strongly at Blackburn and, though riding our luck at times early on at White Hart Lane yesterday, we ended up looking a very pleasing on the eye side - passing that ball about, a side oozing confidence. I'd much rather see that week-in, week-out, instead of some of the dross that's been served up in Everton's name this past year or so. Sometimes the way we play does matter, irrespective of the result. Yesterday was a wonderful achievement for the players and the manager. Long may it continue. - Colm

The day football came back!

Write down the date 27 August 06 everyone! The day Everton played football again. What a performance it was. Not just with ten men, not because we won away from home and not because it was Spurs on the recieving end (after all these years). Oh no... what really warmed us was the way we did it. Not just with sweat and the dogs of war way. This game was played with artistry, thought and confidence. How many times have we said that the last ten (?) years.

Of course we still have our fighters: Carsley, Neville and Klumsy Kev, but maybe we`ve found the right balance at last. Osman, Arteta and Cahill were magnificent, with AJ leading the line superbly and Yobo and Lescott winning everything at the back. I think McLaren might need a season ticket at Goodison this year. Not just AJ went down in the note book after this game. Leon Osman must be a candidate soon (if he learns to shoot). And just think Beattie , Valente and VdM are still on the bench. Where are those sunglasses!
Tony Cheek, Haugesund, Norway  (27/8/06)

I'd rather write down yesterday's date - 26 August 06! ;-) - Colm

Will the club get the message?

Great result against Spurs, yet hundreds of empty seats in the Everton section and what do the club say about it? They threaten us by stating they'll buy less seats for away games??!! (See the Everton website for the article...)

Do they not realise how expensive a game is nowadays? Do they not live in the real world? Everton's away support is seen by even Liverpool as one of the best in the country (considering our lack of recent success, probably the best)!

Yet what do the club do... moan and castigate the fans instead of offering a subsidy on the match ticket or travel. BTW, does the club organise coach travel any longer?

I think it's time for a supporters website to start flexing its muscles with the club and give it to em straight about the costs etc of following our club!

Whaat think yee, ToffeeWeb?
Tommy Garibaldi, somewhere over the rainbow  (27/8/06)

It does seem daft that they would react like that but it is all about money under the sharp business eye of Mr Wyness. We recognize that the club is a business and needs to be run like a business. Hand-outs to fans for their loyalty just is not something the club is going to do (except when there is a cock-up). So we're not the ones for campaigns like that, I'm afraid, Tommy. — Michael

Let's build on this

A 21-year hoodoo ends emphatically! Kudos to all involved who've made this possible. I thought at times in the second half we were fluid in movement and purposeful in intent. Everyone was involved in the build up and no one was shying from the ball.

Looking at this, I began to believe more and more that Osman should start regularly from now. He held his own against Davids, and made very good runs. Carsley protects everything in front and behind, Cahill was everywhere, and Arteta was patient and intelligent in his overall play.

The key to winning games, I think, is AJ obviously. He is creditable as a lone striker if, and only if, the midfield supports him on passing and not just hoofing the ball over his head and making him do the running. AJ was dropping back, getting the ball, so the likes of Cahill, Arteta and Osman could support the attack. This is a new side to Everton's game that I am looking forward to seeing. With all these guys involved, we can do some real damage.

I thought Lescott and Yobo were excellent. Solid and dependable (not to mention quick feet as well) and both are a handful at set pieces, which we saw pay dividends for the first goal.

So where does all this leave Beattie? on the bench, I suspect, working on his fitness (or attitude) until he can be an asset again. Moyes seem to use him as Ferguson, winning all the high balls, but Beattie is not really that type of player. I suspect he thrives on good crosses or getting himself into good positions through AJ's movement. I still think the two of them can play well together, but I have yet to see the best of Beattie.

So, in all, a wonderful game, performance, and a massive three points. I would like though, to add, that while we played really well, Spurs were piss-poor. Let's build on this and take on teams by the scruff instead of letting them dictate to us!!!
Mikhail Ridhian, Singapore  (27/8/06)

Finest Hour

After witnessing Everton's finest hour at the Lane, these are my Player Ratings:

  • Howard: 8 Doesn't come off his line but is a huge presence in the box and has excellent handling. Please, the Allmighty, let Everton sign him on a long-term permenant contract.
  • Neville: 9 Perhaps Neville's finest hour and also his best position. Even his passing was good today!!! Did what all world-class full-backs do and that is defend well, while providing good service and support to the strikeforce. A giant today!
  • Yobo: 8 Classic Yobo, defend well while looking confident on the ball.
  • Lescott: 8 Should of scored with the own goal but I was happy that he adjusted to life in the Premiership and linked up well with Yobo to keep the Spurs attack out. More of that, Lescott, son.
  • Naysmith: 7 Maybe his best display in an Everton shirt but still looked weak against Lennon and Young-Pou. He hoofed it when needed and wasn't as undecided as normal. Decent cover for Valente today, without ever really going forward like Neville.
  • Osman: 8 I really like Osman as a player and the little genius was pulling strings again today in that midfield. Ran his socks off and showed great strength to set up the second goal.
  • Kilbane: 3 Was shite before he got sent off and like Ben Thatcher, should never wear a blue shirt again!
  • Carsley: 9 He was simply brillant today! I thought he would never domanate a game like he did today again. As good as he was against Liverpool two years ago when he scored the only goal. But can/will he play like that for another 35 games this season?
  • Arteta: 7 My favourite player but suffered playing left wing again. Was neat and tidy and played a part in both goals. But he tended to drift out of the game in the second half. Still, he was and is Everton's brain in midfield.
  • Cahill: 6 Worked hard but he lack of control and direction is annoying at the best of times. But I would have him in my line up each week as he can score goals. More than I can say for Beattie!
  • Johnson: 10 Listen, AJ; forgive me for worrying about you not scoring in pre-season!!! He was the man of the match with his tireless running, intelligent passing and sheer quaility in front of goal. Maybe the 4-5-1 formation is the way to go away from home with this world-class striker on board.
  • Weir: 6 He didn't fuck up! Thats enough for me.
  • Moyes: 7 Although many fans think because of today he is the second coming, if Kilbane stayed on Everton would have stuck to lumping it down field and defending for 90 minutes. After his dismal sending off, Everton thought 'now let's play football'. Something Moyes should install in his team BEFORE each match, rather than a desperate Plan B. But well done sir, for what it's worth.

Luq Yus, London  (26/8/06)

Let it go ...

Come on Michael, swallow your pride mate. Your refusal to pay any credit to Moyes for today's performance is nothing short of ludicrous.

'[The players] could surely see the lofted balls to Johnson were a total waste, and perhaps did fewer of them,' you say.

To merely speculate in this way is just irresponsible! Why is it that when things don't go so well, it's because of Moyes's ineptitude, yet when they do go well it's the players simply ignoring his instructions?

Whenever anyone mentions Moyes's role in Everton finishing 4th a couple of seasons back, you rightly point out that, by the same token, you can't ignore the role he played when Everton finished 12th last year. I couldn't agree more with you. But at least apply the same rules to your own commentary. Everton won convincingly today and the gameplan was spot on. After Killer was sent off I saw Moyes send at least a dozen messages to players and the impact was telling.

Nobody minds you having a dig when Everton get the tactics wrong or bad substitutions are made, but it's absolutely crazy to pretend Moyes was just a passive bystander as his players ignored everything they practice in training, everything he said as the game went on and everything he said at half-time.

While you admit that 'we'll never know' just how important Moyes was, to even raise the question just seems crazy. We won, we won well and we won as a team. That team is trained, prepared and motivated by David Moyes.
Paul Foster, London  (27/8/06)

Sheesh.... I was initially all in the Moyes credit camp, if you read the end of my match summary. But when someone said it took Kilbane's departure to force a passing game, that made me wonder where the decision came from, whether it was Moyes or the players, and whether it was actually just a forced reaction, rather than a real gameplan.

Let's go with you and say it is all down to Moyes. It still seems bizzare to me that Moyes, who must know what his players are capable of, would instruct them to play shite hoofball crap and lose possession continously. Because that's what they were doing. As you say, the team is trained, prepared and motivated by David Moyes. Not just for today's woderful performance but for the years of dismal dross that preceeded them. Why?

Why does he make the team play like that when he could make them play like they did today? — Michael

A solid basis to build on...

I watched today's match with a great deal of pleasure. Some of the swift, sharp passing in very tight positions was very good to see. First class in fact.

Last year, when I was bitching about the Toffees style of play, someone smarter than me told me that success or failure in the Premier League is a matter of fine lines. Last year we were often on the wrong side of that line. This year I am thinking that we may be on the right side more often than not.

There is still room for improvement. I think we are covered in defense and our attack as well (as long as AJ remains uninjured!). It is the midfield where we most need more cover. Two more midfielders to replace Killer and Davies are needed. Both Killer and Davies can remain as squad cover.

Why should Spurs have all the transfer fun... why don't we go for the likes of Downing for left midfield, or is that the role that AvdM is supposed to fill? Maybe AvdM will regain some motivation seeing Everton a place behind Man Utd at the top of the table.

Anyway, I am very pleased with the result and the way that the team played today. Well done to all who played a part.
Andrew Gaule, Ft Simpson, Canada  (26/8/06)

Credit where its due

Just watched the highlights on Football First and I wanted to quickly congratulate our manager David Moyes. I find myself in between the two camps not quite sure he's the marvel manager Dutch says he is and not yet ready to write him off as the hapless dufferer Michael/Luq label him.

But today Moyes is a giant. The tactics were absolutely perfect. The team was motivated from the start and every single player seemed to know his job. Moyes must have given some inspiring team talk at half time because the 2nd half they were superb.

Moyes deserves full credit for today's victory. Even his biggest critics must admit today he earned his money and then some.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (26/8/06)

Er... see below. — Michael

Well said Michael.....

"I have been one of the biggest critics of David Moyes's awful football. He has astounded me with that display. Everton were superb, majestic, phenomenal in playing with ten men against a very strong and talented team, but coming away with a brilliant 2-0. FANTASTIC!"

Well said, that man! Anyone who has had to endure my ramblings on Toffeenet knows I have a hard on for our red haired gaffer, glad he has finally cheered someone else up!! If we beat the shite on the 9th... the mind boggles!!
Ian Taylor, Stockhom, Sweden  (27/8/06)

I'm now a little unsure, Ian, just how much credit to give Moyes. I think Mike Price's comments below are highly pertinent. Different circumstances and it could just as easily have been same-old, same-old... Moyes at least didn't mess about with stupid subs, and he deserves a lot of credit for that. If Moyes changed his instructions and orchestrated the superb second-half, then likewise.

But I suspect it was more down to the players, who didn't really alter the pattern of the game drastically at any point. They started well and built on that confidence. They could surely see the lofted balls to Johnson were a total waste, and perhaps did fewer of them (mostly it was Howard's huge kicks that were wasted). They started passing the ball around, and sometimes ran down blind alleys, but the growing confidence was almost palpable. Just how much was Moyes really responsible? I guess we'll never know. — Michael

Some remember 10-4, & also Highway Patrol

It's only a game, or rather it's only one game. Shouldn't a brilliant result also be analysed for significant player improvements, because without that, it's just up & down, no trend?

Osman's best ever game? Back four that now find someone on the end of a clearance? As for all, the 10 men have the courage so there's no need for traditional 70th minute substitutions, and Lescott's injury can be handled and there's flexibility for 90th minute changes to waste time, but not needed.
Dave Tootill, Johannesburg, South Africa  (26/8/06)

Moyes Out!?

Great performance and result finally gives us something to be proud of. Thankfully, Kilbane went off — otherwise, that wouldn't have happened; and so all those hailing Moyes as a tactical genius are simply talking crap.

At long, long last we have a striker worthy of the name; many of us have been screaming for pace for years and finally Moyes has shelled out for it... bsolute genius! Just think what could happen if we had two strikers that carried a threat! Hopefully Moyes can admit his mistake and ship out the ridiculous 'white elephant'; if he could ditch Davies, Kilbane and Naysmith too, that would help his credibility.

Lescott and Yobo were our bedrock today — another piece of genius by the Moyestro... or was it forced on him by Stubbs's abscence. Another lucky but welcome break, along with the loss of height today that forced us to change the manager's game plan and actually pass the ball to each other!

All-in-all, a great day to be a Blue, fantastic perfomances from the 10, but I think Moyes was lucky and if he can't sort out fatboy and some of his other joke signings, performances like that one will be the exception not the rule.
Mike Price, Songkhla, Thailand  (26/8/06)

Oh dear... the cold hard reality of your analysis will not be well received, I fear. — Michael

Carsley, Neville & Osman

Luq Yus, when have I ever critised Carsley, Neville or Osman??? They are three of my favourite players. Only this week I was praising Carsley's steel and Osman ability. The only Everton players I have critised are Naysmith (very average), Andy van der Meyde (contributed nothing) and Matteo Ferrari (injury-prone & over-rated plus not nearly as good as Lescott). I have always rated Carsley, Osman and Neville as really good players.

I kept faith in David Moyes all through last season's disappointments and so far this season I feel my faith in the manager is being repaid. But it's early days and I won't say I told you so just yet. I'll save that for the end of the season when we qualify for Europe again.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (26/8/06)

Fan-bloody-tastic!!!!!!!!

So David Moyes has acheived something Colin Harvey, Mike Walker, Howard Kendall (2 & 3), Joe Royle and Walter Smith found impossible, no I'm not talking about finishing 4th, I'm talking about at long last winning at White Hart Lane.

I will admit I never thought it would happen. Especially when I heard the team selection. "Great!" I thought "Not only are Everton going to lose but the anti-Moyes brigade will slaughter him for reverting back to a 4-5-1." I should have had more trust in Moyes the genius.

I simply cannot explain how happy I am at this result. The best Spurs team for years, Everton only have 10 men and we win 2-0. Michael and Colm my hat is off to you, serious respect. I never thought they could beat Spurs but you two did and I hope you really enjoy this result because you deserve it for your faith.

Although I wish we saw more faith like that and less of the Moyes bashing (Tony Marsh calling Lescott another Krøldrup etc..). I'm a big enough man to hold my hands up and admit I was wrong about this result but are some of you man enough to admit that maybe just maybe Everton are heading in the right direction under Moyes?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (26/8/06)

Okay, Dutch: fair play to you for that; I appologize for my earlier comments. I think it is debatable, however, just how much credit Moyes can take for this, and how much the players deserve for doing their jobs individually and collectively. I imagine Moyes sent them out with the Smithesque approach of defending the point, and his heart will have sunk when Kilbane had to go.

But just who changed the approach at that point? Was it Moyes or the players? And what would have happened if Kilbane had stayed on? Would Moyes or the players have done anything other than grind out a draw, snatch a lucky win, or suffer an unlucky loss? Football's a funny thing, and no mistake. I want to see them play like that again, but from the start of the match, and with enough self-belief to carry it through. Will Moyes allow that? — Michael

One man champion is another man's goat!

What stupidity is Paul Atress is talking about?

"He's stuck by the team and David Moyes thoughout all the shit the likes of Michael, Luq and Tony Marsh have thrown."
This statement shows how silly you and the Moyes Brigade are. I amd Michael hae given credit when it is relevant, and flack when it is relevant. Today is a good day for the toffees but by no means does it mean we will rule the world now, or Moyes is the man for glory! Stop being reactionary MB's, as if we lose the derby you same fans will ask where it has gone wrong, or will blame the players while Moyes will be above a slaughtering!

Get you head out of your arses and your cocks out of eachothers bum cheeks! As for your champion 'Dutch', he critised Carsley, Neville and Osman. All three were outstanding today. Amazing how that is forgotten as Dutch supports your ideology now! Pathetic!
Luq Yus, London  (26/8/06)

A game to remember

Just arrived back from White Hart Lane. Simply indescribable second-half performance. Yobo and Lescott as a central defensive partnership where simply awesome throughout the 90 minutes. If we're looking for a captain then Yobo certainly delivered a captain's performance today. Andy Johnson £8.5M? double that, then add some: simply brilliant.

This one is sure to wrankle with some or even many, the much maligned Kevin Kilbane I believe was the catalyst for our second half display his sending off served only to galvanise the squad. Having had to listen to an idiot behind me castigate his every move from the kick-off. I really do feel at times this is totally unwarranted. Yes, the challenge that led to his dismissal was foolish. However, prior to his sending off he had covered just about every blade of grass rarely misplaced a pass and showed the tenancity and commitment that has been missing in the middle of the park. Indeed it was his wiilingness to support others who up to that point lacked the heart to make any kind of challenge at all that led to him being cauight out of position. His cause wasn't helped either by the hesitancy of Naysmith.

Credit also to Moyes. Down to ten men, he got the tactics spot on with Jonhson always available as an outlet; the team maintained their discipline, keeping possession and not allowing themselves to get over-stretched. For me however, the key to our success today has to be our new defensive pairing and, whilst Moyes deserves a great deal of credit, I'm left to wonder what might have been had Stubbs been available for selection. I suspect it may have been a very different result.
Gerry Western, London  (26/8/06)

All Together Now...

Only caught the last ten minutes of the game but what an AWESOME result!! Well done Moyes and the players. We beat a very talented upcoming side on their home soil managed by the excellent Martin Jol.

Also have to salute the fans who travel down to London to watch what is normally a defeat. I've suffered for years at the hands of gloating Spurs fans — of course they received the reciprocal call from me at 90 minutes + 3.

We've started the season in excellent form and have a solid base to move on and consolidate at the right end of the table. If we manage to beat Liverpool in the next match, I'll be on Cloud 9.

We need to be careful not to get too wrapped up in this single result, however. Whilst it bodes well for the rest of the season, we have to continue hammering out performances and grinding 3 points from each game if we'll have any chance of success. We couldn't have started the season much better but we have to remember that there are a lot of games ahead. [BTW - those who were moaning at AJ's goal drought in pre-season are a joke.]
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (26/8/06)

Yobo and Lescott the Foundation

Very happy indeed to be proved wrong about Everton not playing a passing game (well done, Davey). We passed Spurs off the park.

The big difference today was at last having two speedy central defenders who let us play further up the pitch, and who can both pass the ball. And playing Cahill in his best spot (well up the field as almost an auxiliary striker). And of course Johnson, who must be the hardest-working striker in the Premiership.

Moyes seems to have found the formation (4-1-3-1-1?) that best suits the players he has. A fantastic performance!
Neil Pearse, London, England  (26/8/06)

The crazy thing, though, is that Moyes is saying we only reverted to a passing game because we lost Kilbane!!! So the doom-mongerers can justifiably look for normal service to be resumed against Liverpool... and hope for an early sending off! — Michael

Doom Mongers

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha... hope you dopes can now come down from your ridiculously high horses and give credit. Alan Bailey indeed... and if you know yer history... you'll find it was Alan Biley. COYBB... Whoaaaaaaaaaaa!
Bob the Pole, Crosby  (26/8/06)

Double Standards

I don't particulary agree with everything Dutch says but he is the most positive Everton supporter going. He's stuck by the team and David Moyes thoughout all the shit the likes of Michael, Luq and Tony Marsh have thrown.

Dutch thought Everton would lose to Spurs (we all did) but after all the shit Michael has thrown at the team and Moyes where does he get the balls to have a go at Dutch for not being positive??? That's funny.

Just because Everton are good again the shit-throwers are changing their tune but its the people who stuck by the team and Moyes though the difficult times who deserve this victory.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (26/8/06)

Paul, Get your head out of your arse. Dutch said repeatedly that Everton would lose to Spurs (how fucking "positive" is that, you daft sod?). I took him to task on it BEFORE the game. I said it was a disgrace and I was serious. If you can't see that, and since you also expected us to lose, then you go in the same boat of shithouses as him.

"(we all did)" — Oh no, Paul. Only the shithouses expected us to lose. That's the true 'Double Standard' here. There are some Evertonians for whom playing the game is still important, and predicting the result is for muppets. — Michael

How Humbling

Good on you Michael, it pleases me to know that you're able to hold your hand up and say well done to the lads today. As for the MOYES OUT sarcasm - would it still have been seen as sarcasm if we had of been stuffed today? And as for me claiming I would never pay attention to anything you say ever again, well, I guess I already have!
Mark Hansen, St Asaph  (26/8/06)

Mark, I go by the performance. The result is what it is. We win some, we draw some, we lose some for whatever reason. But the way we PLAYED the game today was the massive highlight to me. Spurs didn't even get a sniff. And we PASSED the ball (incredibly BECAUSE our tall forward threat went off!!! Moyes still puzzles me deeply...) We could have played like that and still lost (it would have been hugely unfair, of course, but anything is possible in football). I think I would still have given them (and Moyes) the credit they were due. It was an absolutely top-notch performance. And it reinforces EVRYTHING we have been clamouring for. Far from being humbled, I feel fully vindicated — and very very happy with the win! — Michael

Let's not come our pants just yet!

Firstly, I doff my cap towards David Moyes and the lads for an very surprising victory, against all odds at the Lane! The same Lane where Everton have not won for the last 21 years. I am so happy I could kiss Dutch Schaffaer!

BUT! Lets not get to carried away people. Kilbane and Naysmith were shite and looked out of depth. And the disappearance of a certain AvdM still baffles me. But the team were well organised and for once played good football — for once, I might add. The second goal in particular was a goal of the highest quality, which I haven't seen from a Moyes side since he first arrived! So well done Everton for giving us, the fans, some confidence back in you.

Do I feel silly for wanting Moyes out? No, of course not! Out of the three games we played, today was our best performance. All the MBs will sing Moyes name with a beer in one hand and their cock in the other (muff if your female). While the rest of the 'realistic' fans will only hope this isn't another false dawn, and there have been plenty of them down the years!

Roll on the red shite and their 'Houiller' Mark II manager!!!
Luq Yus, London  (26/8/06)

Lessons to be learned

Great team performance today and certainly a few lessons that should be remembered. I was very scared when I heard the team sheet; the thought of Kilbane and Naysmith to shackle Lennon didn't fill me with much confidence. On a plus side Moyes had finally decided to drop Beattie to the bench.

Well, first the Kilbane scenario: it was always going to be a hard days work and the first yellow card was a shocker given the never reliable so-called professional referees these days missing a hospitalisation shot at the Man City game. Kilbane was getting increasingly fleeced by a so-so Young Pyo but still made the dreadful decision to tackle from behind and I think the ref got that one right.

Moyes admits after the match that losing a midfielder forced the players into passing the ball instead of launching it — congratulations Mr Moyes has the penny dropped? Osman was having a great game as was Arteta and our midfield was showing what happens when the ball is kept in possession and passed properly.

Andy Johnson, I really hope that your mate Beattie watched your tireless efforts and teamwork today and feels pig-sick jealous as that's exactly what I and no doubt many others want to see from our strikers; a striker doing his job and scaring the living daylights out of the opposition.

So, to cap the post not a slagging off of Moyes merely, he should now acknowledge possession, dominance and passing can turn a game into something worth watching and make it easily winnable. The second is that Beattie should now know what the fans expect from a striker, even if he doesn't score, you can bet he will give his all and try to get the ball in the back of the net either off him or his team mates.

Anyway got to end, have a load of yid mates just waiting for a barrage of deserved texts and e.mails tonight...
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (26/8/06)

That quote by Moyes is just astounding. I cannnot get my head around that. I'm stunned. — Michael

Unsung Hero

Well done Lee Carsley, just like the season before last, it shows how important you are in the holding role.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (26/8/06)

That game illustrates how important it is to have a solid defense and a commanding midfielder. Lee Carsley really stuffed his naysayers with that perfomance. And kudos to Moyes for having the faith in him... just watch out for Real Madrid before Thursday!!! — Michael

C'mon Dutch!

Answer my question from earlier in the week - "what if we win at White Hart Lane!" ;-)
Colm Kavanagh, Arklow Co. Wicklow Ireland  (26/8/06)

He is a total shithouse and no mistake. Nothing sickens me more than to read supposedly staunch Evertonians predicting that we will lose. I just hate that. Dutch would do best to run away and hide, becuase if he dares show his knobhead self on here, I shall be unmerciless. — Michael

Superb!

Fantastic performance by the sounds of it and a fantastic result too. Further proof that those who continue to criticize Moyes really don't know what they're talking about. Very few teams in the Premier League would have been able to do what we did today. Moyes's ability to inspire the lads after such an early setback was surely instrumental in the result.

It's early days of course but what pleases me most is how stupid all those Moyes haters must be feeling. MOYES OUT you say Michael, remind me never to pay attention to anything you say ever again!! The naivety all you pessimists have shown by jumping on his back when things temporarily don't go our way simply astounds me.

Well done lads but most importantly - Well done Moyes, I'm a very happy blue.
Mark Hansen, St Asaph  (26/8/06)

Perhaps it was only Colm that caught the sacrasm behind that little barb... The context was Harry Meek's claim that our players were under strict instructions not to pass inside the Everton half. Sounded a bit daft to me, but I hadn't seen a full match so far, and was unable to deny it.

But I watched the entire performance today, and (as I suspected), the "No Passing" rule is entirely bollucks. Our players outpassed Spurs superbly in our own half today, and Moyes indeed did a fine job in all areas: team selection, motivation, discipline, tactics, organization, not allowing hjeads to drop at the setback, and some superb football as well. Watch and weep. Why can't we do this every week? — Michael

Every blue sky...

...must have a cloud somewhere. So let's hear it, come on, let's have it, let's hear some negative, some pessimistic shite out of the usual suspects.

For all it's worth, well fought today' lads, brilliant result, an away win at a place that has been a tough place to go, and against a young quality side that won't lose often this season. Well done all the side, and well done Mr Moyes - credit where its due - 7 points from 3 games. Roll on the derby.
Bingo Bongo, under blue skys in the Congo  (26/8/06)

If we were any good we would've scored at least three today...... ;-) — Colm

Tremendous

Outstanding performance today, it genuinely was a joy to behold. We looked as confident and motivated as I've seen an Everton side for a while. Our midfielders utterly outclassed them in the second half — great stuff. Well done Moyesey and the boys ... you got it spot on today.

Moyes out?! Hmmm
Paul Foster, London  (26/8/06)

I believe our Editor's sarcasm has been taken a little too literally by some! ;-) — Colm

Why we ain't playing good football.

Before I have a good laugh at the idiot doom mongers here (Luq Yus especially), I'd like to come forward with my theory on why we ain't playing good football.

The most important position in playing good football is the holding midfielder. The player who plays this position determine the team's style of play. The holding midfielder must be able intercept, tackle, has good positional sence, and able to pass start moves. Therefore, you can't have a shit playing there, and expect exciting football, even if you have Henry or Ronaldinho. You need someone specialised with supreme quality in performing that role.

Moyes knows this, and that is why he has been trying to splash the cast to sign, Essien, Parker and Sissoko, both who could have raised our game to a new level, but failed. After failing, he finally settled for Neville, someone who he does not rate as long-term solution. So, without the quality holding midfielder, Moyes has no choice but to play long-ball, as playing a passing game with Carsley in the team would mean conceading many goals.

But have no fear, having signed a goalscorer, a partner for Yobo this summer, the signing of that important holding midfielder will be the top of Moyes priority when the opportunity arises. And then we will see 'Arsenal-style' football we are craving to the already exciting squad Moyes is building.

I know it's still early days, but 7 out of 9 ain't bad. Add to our new training ground and new stadium, the sky is certainly clearing for us Evertonians.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (26/8/06)

I'm sorry, lad, but what a load of absolute rubbish. If you watched today, Everton (minus Essien!) passed the ball all over the place. Carsley, the much maliggned, was magnificent. Neville played as an overlapping full-back, not a midfielder, and had perhaps his best game for Everton. It's about making the players you have play football. Today, David Moyes did just that. — Michael

Reality Check 2

I accept the fact that we don't play the most flowing football (understatement!) and ride our luck at times but, after today's 10 men, 2-0 victory at Spurs (first since 1985) surely 'Marsh the Moan' and his unhappy band will at least temporarily stop to applaud a deserved victory at White Hart Lane! Also, does anyone realistically think if we'd gone there looking to take the game to them big time that we would have acheived the objective? (three points!)

7 points from 9, with two games away from home against quality sides. Averaging just shy of two goals a game, conceeding less than one a game and second in the League. Far too early to get too excited and read too much into it, but at least we can be sure of the run being extended with another home banker up next!!.....

Bring on the shite!

COYBBs!
Pete Moore, Singapore  (26/8/06)

The objective, I'm sure, was one point. Which would have been well deserved. Three points was just a massive reward from some excellent work by Moyes and his Boys after yet another bad refereeing decision. — Michael

At Last!

Nuff said!!!!!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (26/8/06)

Moaners

Look forward to reading Marsh's et al comments after today's performance or will they just crawl away, let's hope so.
George Carroll, Bramhall  (28/8/06)

Great win today — of that there's no doubt! Get in! — Colm

Dear Pat.......

Hi Pat,it's Dave.

You sound like my kind a' gal! You're not much older than me as it happens and I share the same kind of memories as you.... except my dad was just a bit quicker off the mark than yours. He took me to the Grand old Lady the first time when I was five! (All I remember is somebody standing on my foot... me crying... and me being lifted over the wall by a St John's ambulanceman and watching the rest of the game sitting next to him on a bench with my dad's hand on top of my head!) Isn't it amazing how things have changed?

Tell you what, forget about Tony and Tesco's, call in the Winslow before the Derby and we can have a good reminisce. I'll be in the corner under the picture of Alan Ball. I'll wear a blue carnation! So will the wife!!!
Dave roberts, Runcorn  (26/08/06)

Only 172 days till Valentine's Day 'n all.... — Colm

Meek's Sussed It!

Thanks, Harry Meek, for summing up the appallingly crude and negative football which we have come to with our man Moyes. This also presents a big problem for our new man Lescott. I was sitting just above the dugouts when Lescott came on against Watford. The first few times he got the ball, he instinctively attempted to pass it to a player in a blue shirt (usually the admirable Arteta). The dugout told him in highly vocal and no uncertain terms to stop this and welly it up the field (usually to the hopeless Beattie). So we have come to the point of stopping even those players who can pass from the ball from doing so. School of Science anyone? (Sack Moyes, bring back Krøldrup!)
Neil Pearse, London, England  (26/8/06)

Well, I've just finished watching the Spurs game, and nothing could be further from the truth. When I watch it again, I'll count the passes we made in our own half... and most of them actually went to a blue shirt. It was fundemental to our hugely impressive victory, and it was simply fantastic to watch. The impelementation of everything we've been asking for. Oh, and Dutch Schaffaer,, get to fuck, you know-nothing yelllow-bellied shithouse. Lose to Spurs...? WE WON! — Michael

It's academic

At local amateur level, I played under a coach who used a blackboard to determine every pass and shot from start to finish. In that hour before the actual kick off we scored at least 20 goals and played fantastic football. Meticulous preparation went pear-shaped once the real game started and against all our plans opponents got the ball.

I am reminded of our weird coach when I see 4-5-1, 4-4-2 and other formats bandied about. The real game is not scribbles on a blackboard. Rigidly sticking to a format is a recipe for disaster and makes for unimaginative predictable football.

It's all very well starting off with a basic format but the flow and pace of the game dictates what is best for any situation. At such moments a good team will quickly adapt and may never again use its original plan. If professional footballers do not have the nous or ability to adapt, get rid of them. If the coach will not allow much needed changes, get rid of him.

Good teams do not require a half-time lecture before problems are sorted.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (26/8/06)

Well done, Michael!

I would like to echo Michael's plea of 'Moyes Out'! Moyes has not delivered his five-year promise and it's time he buggered off! But while his mentor Kenwright is in charge, he ain't going nowhere! While the inept Moyes lingers around like a foul smell, at least admit your mistake and swap that useless shite Davies for Malbranqe. I feel even the MB's will agree to that!

I am not looking forward to another Spurs beating tomorrow! Boys, prove me wrong.
Luq Yus, London  (25/8/06)

Where is it?

Can anyone tell me how this Malbranque for Davies link was revealed as it does not appear to be on the Sky Sports website!
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (25/8/06)

Could it be that the webmasters actually have a little more integrity than that obnoxious shower of sensation seekers in the studio? — Michael

Well done, AJ !

Well done to AJ for his recall to the England squad. Any chance this might act as a wake-up call to his lardarse mate? If, as expected, the Scottish Rooney gets a start at Spurs, do you think the cogs will start turning? Will he take Pizza Hut off his speed dial? Wake up BT, you fat flop!
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (25/08/06)

Encouraging, motivational, inspiring... who dares say ToffeeWeb contributors are negative? — Michael

The secret of Moyes

Having studied videos of our two games to date almost `reel by reel`(what a sad old bugger I`ve become!), I think I`ve cracked the Moyes philosophy on football tactics!

The instruction appears to centre on not even attemping a pass inside our own half. In the two matches only a handful were made - most by new man Lescott, who is just learning the ropes. Once the ball`s over the half-way line then try to string some passes together, but before that woe betide anyone who doesn`t welly it!

Could I have last found the reason why so many of our players seem schizo footballwise?
Harry Meek, Worcester  (25/8/06)

I think you've got something there, Harry. It's the Per Krøldrup Syndrome. Perhaps expert proponents of this 'ere modern game can explain why the risks of passing inside your own half outweigh the risks of lossing possesion by lofting it forward aimlessley, World War I mortar-bomb style? You Moyes Apologists talk of our negativity, but you cannot get much more negative with your footballing prospects than that.

MOYES OUT!Michael

AJ & Phil

Andy Johnson recalled to England and Phil Neville retains his place. When was the last time Everton had two players in an England squad?

It's good news for the club and shows that things continue to move in the right direction. There's a bit of a buzz starting this season and once we get past the annual Spurs defeat hopefully the season will really catch fire.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (25/8/06)

There ya go again with that defeatest talk. Disgraceful. — Michael

Golden Oldies

All this talk of me and Patrica Beesley having a date down at Tesco's in Wales is getting a bit silly now.... Anyone who knows me will tell I only date over 75s and 66 is way too young for me. What do you think I am, Pat — a cradle snatcher? I hear Davey Wier is available; give him a call — he is more your age group.

Anyway, with all this sex talk, it brings me to Mister Titties himself: James Beattie. I reckon that JB is the worst frontline striker Everton have had since I started going to the match. Now I am not talking about the grade B strikers that teams always have on there books as stand- ins — I am talking primary goalscorers here. Let's forget the Jim Pearsons, Alan Baileys and Peter Eastoes and concentrate on the main men. I'm starting at 1970 and working my way through to the present day:

  • Joe Royle
  • Bob Latchford
  • Graeme Sharp
  • Andy Gray
  • Gary Lineker
  • Tony Cottee
  • Duncan Ferguson
  • Nicky 'Scumbag' Barmby
  • Big Dunc (Again!)
  • James Beattie
  • Andy Johnson
That's the way I remember it being (along with a few who have been left out because they were never main men: Clarke, Angel, Madar etc). Now out of my list I would put Beattie absolute bottom, no questions asked. That leaves me with a question to ask: What did Moyes see in him that no one else can see???

Great managers sign great players or make great players out of ordinary players. Moyes does niether.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (25/8/06)

Come on, now, Tony. On behalf of the Moyes Apologists, I would like to name:

  • Mikel Arteta
  • Leon Osman
  • err...
Well that's about it. But one exception proves the rule. And I have to agree regarding Big Tits Beattie. The EFCTV highlites showed him warming up at Blackburn, jiggling about like atart. Put me right off my tea and crumpets. — Michael

Call to Arms

Call to arms, I'll bleedin' go to arms with the sods who wrote that. This is a Club who, at times, couldn't run a bath and they have the nerve to say we more-or-less aren't supporting them enough?!?

Can't believe the cheeky gets - "...700 tickets remaining and clearly this will represent a substantial loss to the football club." Yeah, still less than what pecker Beattie earns in a week. Don't hear them saying he "represents a substantial loss to the football club" as well!

"This may also influence our away ticket purchasing policy in the future blah, blah, blah..." Yeah, and sky (TV) high prices influence my ticket purchasing policy, pal!

So in short, I'll be saving for other rip-off games where there's less of a chance we'll get webbed out of site.

Come on you Blue Boys!
Ed Andrew, London  (25/8/06)

Cloud 9 or Cuckoo Land?

A lot has been said recently regarding the style of play we are currently 'enjoying' from our start to this season's football-fest in the Premiership. I for one do not enjoy the direct style we seem to employ which usually means bypassing midfield to some extent (though, going offtrack, if we are sending long balls for the forwards to chase, why can't Beattie get match fit?), but in this day and age it seems the destination is more important than the journey.

Chelsea hardly set the world allight on a weekly basis but have won back-to-back championships. I would love to see good football played for as much of the match as possible (which we have shown we can do allbeit in short bursts). I remember the last time I finished watching a game and thinking 'wow' was against Villa the season before last.

However, we have 4 points from 6 and for that I am in good spirits. That doesn't mean I, or I'm sure many other Evertonians, are happy to put up with shite as some people in this mailbag seem to beleive but that we have come to the realisation that this is the status quo and you have to enjoy the little victories that you get. Only the teams with the endless overdrafts can employ the players to carry out the total football we would all love to see, and like it or hate it, that is modern football.
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (25/8/06)

Having seen we can play it, the question has to be: why not more of it? — as is asked below. Not total football or setting the Premiership alight, but just playing football the proper way that leads to goals, as it did in the second half on Wednesday. Is that really too much of an ask? — Michael

Forget 4-5-1.... try 4-1-3-2.

With everyone worrying about Moyes adopting his favoured 4-5-1 line-up for away games and splitting potential new striking partnerships, they needn't have worried. For the last two games Moyes, has adpopted a 4-1-3-2 line-up, which involves playing a diamond shaped mid-field four. For anyone that doesn't know, a diamond midfield involves playing a defensive midfielder, a central midfielder and two wide midfielders on each flank.

This line-up lets us play with two strikers, for which we have a number of possible combinations. BT & AJ, AJ & JM, BT & JM, VA & BT, VA & AJ, Etc. if you bring in Vaughan as well the possible combinations are endless... Luxury! Just to put this in perspective, at the start of last season we had the choice of Bent & Ferguson or Ferguson & Bent, as BT was injured.

Moyes knows that our wealth of quality strikers is a strength, which is why he is persisting with the 4-1-3-2 line-up. Very astute. It is also the line-up McClaren will be adopting for England... does someone have a conspiracy theory?

I will be proved right by the team he picks tomorow. I think he will start with the XI that left the pitch on Wednesday:

Howard
Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Naysmith
Carsley
Arteta Osman
Cahill
Johnson McFadden

Subs: Wright, Valente, Beattie, Davies, Anichbe

Brian Baker, Aldershot  (25/8/06)

Cahill to Liverpool!

Just had a phone call from me Dad in Australia who was almost in tears. Apparently the news in Sydney is that Cahill is going to Liverpool!! I told him I haven't heard of anything and there's nowt on the news here, but I know there's a few Aussie blues who visit this mailbag — heard of anything lads?

£14.5M apparently — bite their gobby hands off, Bill!!
Jack  Johnson (No, not him!), Knotty Ash  (25/8/06)

Nurse! - Colm

Davies Swap Deal

Sky sport news says Everton could go for Malbranque in a swap deal with Simon Davies. I thought Moyes liked Davies and was full of praise during the pre-season?
Leahcim Seyah, Wirral  (25/8/06)

Didn't Moyes also say "Per will get his chance soon"? Take it all with a pinch of salt! - Colm

Boy in Blue

Anyone see that photo of the copper advertising on some contact site with his bobbie's helmet between his legs in yesterday's Daily Mirror? Looks like he was also wearing an Everton t-shirt. Any chance of another look on this site?
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (25/8/06)

Am I missing something whilst in my cell?

'Recent history has provided some high-scoring encounters, courtesy of Spurs's tradition for open, attacking football and the similarly entertaining philosophy of David Moyes.'

Whoever was responsible for the above paragraph either hasn't watched Everton play since the mid-80s or needs locking up in a cell next to me.... I could do with some company. Free The Toffeeweb One!
Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (25/8/06)

I'll show them footage of a 10-4 defeat at the hands of Spurs! And that was when we truly were a decent playing side! — Colm

Sky

Just heard Everton have entered the race to sign Malbranque but are only interested in a swop deal involving Davies??? Does this mean Moyes has finally seen the light? Or has all this talk about Davies been a ploy to offload him??

If Moyes is willing to let him go then if we don't get Malbranque then surely there are other players we can swop him for?? But having said that, Moyes ain't too clever at having a Plan B.
Big Dunc Stokey, Stoke  (25/8/06)

I once read a story about Freddie Starr supposedly eating hamsters. It was front page news on a red top so it must've been true. Just because Sky Sports News are reporting something do not wholly believe the nonsense they 'exclusively' spout! — Colm

The Midfield

I'm pleased we've got four points from our first two games, but the midfield is worrying me. A year ago I wrote an article called Those Anonymous Men and to be honest I can't see what's changed.

We still do not have a balanced midfield. In 2004-05, Moyes had watched Denmark in the Eurpean Championship, and at last it clicked that Gravesen wasn't the poor man's Roy Keane, but a continental playmaker and that he needed Carsley to provide the midfield bite. For half a season it worked gloriously.

Now we have in our midfield one of the best midfield playmakers in the game, a player fit to be mentioned alongside our great midfielders I've watched from Bobby Collins on. But he's wasted. He was played on the left flank in one game. This man is getting towards Riquelme for class, no doubt soon a big club will click as to how good he is. But Arteta is being asked to do, as Gravesen was prior to 2004, to be a ball-winner as well as a play-maker. We have umpteen characters in search of a role.

As Michael pointed out, Cahill has limitations, as does Osman, Kilbane and Davies are nice lads, but poor footballers, Carsley's whole-hearted, but past his sell-by date and Neville is needed at full-back. We need a midfield minder, someone to give Arteta the chance to ply his skill. We need someone like Sissoko who we tried to buy, not a ball-user , nor a scorer, but who wins it and shoves it sideways.

If this problem is not addressed, we'll continue to use the long ball, or big boot as it should be known because we've no alternative and Johnson, and Beattie (who is unfit and that needs the manager's attention) will continue to live on scraps.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (25/8/06)

I had a curious moment during the Blackburn game where I dared wonder what addition to our side a player like Robbie Savage would make! No doubt it's a situation that needs dealing with. — Colm

Good football

Just to put my two cents regarding the question of the type of football Everton should be playing.

There appear to be people who think that playing good football is anathema to getting results — the types who say that they would tolerate unattractive football if it gets points. This is misguided. Good football is what gets top teams results, besides being eminently more watchable than the other brand. It is understandable to play a high percentage game, ie, hoof the damn thing into the opposition half at every opportunity, if your team consists of a skill-bereft bunch of plodders.

Since Everton is supposed to be a top six Premiership side, with ambitions to be much more, and have assembled supposedly the best quality team, in the last fifteen years or so, why don't they start to play like it? If Moyes really thinks he can get away with the brand of football he produced last year, I fear for Everton, and he should fear for his job. Against Watford (who are a rugby team in disguise) or Blackburn, this type of thing of thing works. It will not work, Moyes, against any good team. He should get that into his thick skull.

And for God's sake man, get rid, sell, if you can't sell, give away, whatever, the Scottish pensioners, still hanging around the place, and being given a spot on the team.
Bram Oliver, Gaborone  (25/8/06)

Nail... Whack!

Pistols at dawn?

Dave Roberts is obviously concerned about myself and Tony Marsh and shouldn't take it so seriously. Half the time I am only having a laugh although there are times I could cheerfully put arsenic in his tea!!

Don't worry, Dave, there will not be a case of "pistols at dawn", I am just trying to wind him up as he does so often to others. I don't think Tony would be interested in meeting me at Tesco's in Carmarthen as I am usually there at 6am on a Friday morning to do my weekly shop before "hot footing" it to the office job.

As I am a Grandma of 66 [we Scouse girls wear well!!], I don't think there would be much incentive for him to make the journey to Carmathen. Yes, I am a staunch Evertonian... yes I do view my team through rose-tinted glasses and, yes, I would like them to do a hell of a lot better preferring not to have great anticipation at 3pm and feeling deflated, on many occasions, at 5.50pm.

I have followed Everton since I was 6 [having been taken to my first game at that age at that tender age by an equally staunch Evertonian father and I now go with my equally staunch Evertonian son]. I have seen such highlights as Jimmy Greaves making his debut for Chelsea at Goodison in 1956 when we thrashed them 3-0. I have seen great players and not-so-great players but I have never faltered in being anything other than a Blue.

I will continue to hope and dream, until the day I die, as many Evertonians do.
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (25/8/06)

And.... over to you, Mr Marsh! - Colm

After the dust settles

After the dust settles, I feel it is time to reflect on the Blackburn performance. I agree totally that we were abysmal up until they scored, the question is why? Like many others (who perhaps think like me), the answer is not rocket science, its down to team selection and tactics.

What that means for me is that DM's initial tactic is to avoid defeat and he sets out his team to do this. The selection is based around closing down, stopping the opposition play, and very fundamentally getting behind the ball. At no stage does it enter his thinking before a game to be expansive and have a go at the opposition, hence the inclusion of the likes of Kilbane and Carsley.

At Blackburn, two things happened — Stubbs went off and we went a goal down; here's how they are linked. Many might have missed it but, 5 or so minutes after Stubbs's departure, Yobo began organising the back 4 and started shouting and pushing them up calling for a line that was just inside our half, a clear 10 - 15 yards further up the field. After the goal we were still defending much higher up the pitch and the result was that our midfield were in touch with theirs and closer to our forwards. The back four in pushing up had brought the team closer and the short passing began to have an effect, even Carsley was able to give 15-yard passes to colleagues and not hoof the ball forward.

We began to dominate and I'm convinced that had the game gone on for another 5 mins we would have pinched another goal (which in reality we didn't deserve). So what should be the lessons for our tactical genius?

  • Put defenders in the team who will push the opposition away from our goal and have the pace to work the system — do not put ageing defenders in who have to defend in their own box.
  • Select midfield players who can pass a ball to each other, not runners and chasers who contribute little or nothing other than a few tackles here or there.
Have the confidence in the players to take games to the opposition and set teams up accordingly — yes, we will come up against better sides who will pass us to death, but the general quality in the Premiership is so poor that I think only three teams might do that - Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd — so revert to a different system for these games and go for your 'do not get beat' approach (but when we go a goal down we are done for!). So, on reflection, has DM stumbled on a more successful system, much like he did two seasons ago when injuries and limited numbers forced him into the system we used? Well, if he has, is he brave enough to use it? Only time will tell but what I do know is that, injuries aside, if he continues with the likes of Kilabane, Stubbs and Carsley, we will struggle and I for one will get more and more vocal about my lack of faith in him and his management.
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (25/8/06)

Jim, good analysis and some astute observations (in my humble). Fancy a job down Goodison Road?! ;-) - Colm

Don't rise to the bait!

Michael, Mr Dodd is obviously a troll. There can be no other rational explanation for his contribution on the Blackburn game!
John Davies, London  (25/8/06)

Indeed... but are you one of the 95% floating on Doddy's cloud nine?! - Colm

Rotation, why?

The idea of squad rotation has some merit for clubs engaged in a heavy schedule of FA Cup and European games or when swapping like with like for match experience. Another reason is to blood youngsters. None of those things apply to Everton and it is pure indulgence particularly at this stage of the season to have rotation just for the sake of it.

It could it be that Moyes and Irvine see something in certain players that eludes most observers or could it simply be a case of whoever is selected could not possibly be worse than the last one. Or is it a desperate attempt to showcase those he wants rid of.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (25/8/06)

I think the train of thought amongst the management team was that three games over the opening eight days of the season demanded some sort of rotation, in order to remain as fresh as possible (one, if not two eyes on Spurs and Liverpool looming on the horizon!). - Colm

On Cloud Nine

Thought I would hold my water for a day or so before commenting on the Blackburn game. As usual — and in spite of two excellent results —your columns are a sea of negativity but what cannot be denied is that Everton have made a cracking start to the season.

We now have a playing staff of such quality and experience that Davey feels comfortable enough to indulge in sensible rotation and thus give full scope to his tactical brilliance. Both games so far have brought results following shrewd substitutions and a tweak in playing style. In general our football has been of high quality.

Of course, well orchestrated by your goodselves, some will find cause to carp but I can assure you that 95% of our following are on cloud nine!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (25/8/06)

"Cracking"? .. "CRACKING"??? You are definitely cracked, lad. We scraped a lucky win against beefy muggers from Watford, and went to sleep at Blackburn until the second half. And I fell asleep watching the laughlingly mislabelled "highlights".

"Tactical brilliance"??? Hahahahahahahahaha.... you are a sadly deluded.

"In general our football has been of high quality." That proves it: you are a complete headcase! How do you explain that we only have ~23% of our correspondents even mildy enthused by the distinctly lacklustre displays so far, and you being the only one to claim he is on Cloud Nine? — Michael

I smell a wind up! - Colm

How did he get away with that?

I know it has nothing to do with Everton or anything associated with the club, but I'd like to ask what you thought of the "TACKLE" by Ben Thatcher. When I saw the footage last night, I got the same feeling I always get when I occasionally see video footage of some twat hitting another bloke for no apparrent reason. Even more annoying is that the FA can't do anything about it because the referee saw it and only gave a yellow card. If it was up to me, he wouldn't play again this season.

Other than that, I'm quite pleased about the second half of last night's game (excluding the obvious). I thought McFadden played alright, I don't know if he is any better than Beattie but at least he looks like he gives a fuck when he gets a game, and Cahill should always be in the team before Kilbane. Scandalous.
Jamie Barlow, Manchester  (24/8/06)

Didn't see it, mate. Not really interested in anything that is not Everton-related, to be honest. Sorry. — Michael

Support to be proud of?

Considering the crap that was served up most of last season and this season already (another 70 minutes of it at Blackburn), I'm amazed that we took 5,000-6,000 to Blackburn on Wednesday night at £36 a head. It's great to be amongst the celebrating blues fans when we score away but does an up until then dire performance really warrant the type of personal invective that I heard constantly directed at Kilbane during the match?

A sample I heard was "Fuckin' hell, Kilbane, I hope your fuckin' mother gets the fuckin' clap" Admittedky, I wouldn't even have Kilbane on the bench, but is that support to be proud of, I ask myself?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (24/8/06)

Delightful! That must be the famous cutting scouse wit in action...

Now the season starts

Thanks to Everton TV for an 'enjoyable' 30 mins from Ewood Park — why was it only 10 mins from the Goodison game by the way?

I hope our manager has learned a thing or two from the first two games... because it seems to me that there are a few members of our beloved first-team squad who are in need of a long earned rest after such a hectic programme (Beattie — are you listening ?). Others then should only be used when absolutely necessary (Kilbane, Naysmith, Stubbs).

What we are left with has the makings of a half-decent side that could go to Spurs and come away with something... IF... If we go for it! Let's face it, we have nothing to lose because everyone seems to expect it — so give it the Full Monty! Give us McFadden! Give us Van der Meyde! Give us hope!

And if we get whacked 4-1 — well all least we went down fighting — and it was expected after all. By the way — do we have any options at left back for Saturday?
Lorcan Walsh, Copenhagen  (24/08/06)

If only, Lord Lorcan, if only...

The Cahill Dilema!

Tim Cahill is world class at popping up in the box and putting the ball in the back of the net. If he were a striker, that would be ideal but he's a midfielder and, unfortunately, goalscoring aside there's not a lot more to his game. Every team needs a midfielder who can score goals but the primary task of a midfielder is to either provide support to the defence or provide creativity to feed the strikers. Cahill is very average at both tasks.

When Everton play 4-5-1, there is a clear role for Cahill where he can help out in midfield and support the lone striker. Its a role he loves and has worked well in the past. But, now that Everton have Johnson to partner Beattie, things have changed with Moyes more inclined to play 4-4-2 which is a problem for Cahill. A 4-4-2 position means Cahill cannot get forward as much and that more of less neutralises the best part of his game. But Carsley is a far better defensive midfielder and Osman is the better choice creatively.

I do feel sorry for Cahill but he cannot compete with Carsley's steel or Osman's ability so there is no place for him in a 4-4-2 formation. That said I'm sure Moyes will revert to a 4-5-1 at some stage this season and Cahill will be involved.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (24/8/06)

Dutch, you might try to correlate 4-4-2 vs 4-5-1 and Cahill's scoring record to see which way it tilts... You'll find all the information you need in our archived Match Reports. I await your analysis with interest! — Michael

A time for quiet reflection?

What with holidays and the pressures of work et al, I've not been around much recently and so consequently I'm tending to catch up with the mailbag postings in great big job-lots. I've read the contributions over the last few days and one of the conclusions I've come to is that, if Tony Marsh wants to go shopping with anybody, he should go with Pat Beesley and, furthermore she should invite him! I suggest this because I'm sure they would find they actually had a lot in common.

Pat and Tony are looking at the same problem from two different directions. Pat wants to emphasise the positives and make the most of what little progress has been made but at the cost of placing optimism before reality. Tony is precisely the opposite. He cannot see any progress at all despite the fact that he must realise that the goal AJ scored against Watford on Saturday would not have been possible with the forwards we had last year. There was simply nobody around who could do what AJ did for that goal. That's progress... not a lot... but progress nevertheless.

I partly agree with Tony when it comes to David Moyes. He is a manager with limited football nous who could make things worse now he thinks he has a squad he can 'rotate'. God forbid he should get into that business! Replacing Henry with Van Persie for the odd game is fine for Arsenal but we need to find the best combination we can and play it as much as we can given what we have got.

On the other hand I'm sure Pat would be inclined to agree with me when I suggest that, however good or bad we think David Moyes is, he has had to work with limited resources and yet, despite this, we are no longer automatic relegation battlers. It was a bit scary for a while last year but overall his record in this regard hasn't been bad.

So come on Pat and Tony... get together in Tesco's and see if we can all start singing from the same songsheet because what we all need to be shouting as loud as we can is something Michael implied in one of his replies.... WHY ARE EVERTON SO AFRAID TO PLAY FOOTBALL? The last 20 minutes last night; the first 20 minutes against Watford; the away game at West Ham last season; the first half hour against West Ham at home; Fulham?

Decent football is not a total stranger to Everton, but why is it so infrequent a visitor? Find the answer to that and it would be progress!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (24/8/06)

As a newsagent/shopkeeper myself, Dave - I'd rather see Tony and Pat supporting a local business instead of congregating in that dastardly multi-national! Support local industry! Or go to Cyprus... ;-) - Colm

Negativity, pessimism or reality?

It does seem that anyone who dares to criticise Moyes on here faces a backlash from Everton fans who still hold this man to be the Moyessiah. I am seriously worried about us. I would like to think that Moyes should be given a chance for the new season but as so many other people have pointed out absoloutely nothing has changed from last season. We continue to play negative crap football.

Has anyone who thinks we're doing okay so far actually watched us? We're a bloody shambles in midfield and we must have one of the fattest centre-forwards playing for us. And why is Beattie so out of shape? He's got no injury problems, he's had a full pre-season and yet he still seems to be taking on the appearance of Ian Marshall.

I think we're already seeing the shape of things to come and I'll be posting in November again to say I told you so. Moyes is clueless and I know it's too much to expect him to go now but any optimism I had is slipping away. I'm just glad I'm on my honeymoon when we play Liverpool so I don't have to endure another embarrassment!
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (24/8/06)

I know it's impossible to call the season after a mere two games but I'd not be surprised if we're to experience a season with each and every game resembling what we've witnessed to date. The overall standard of football in the Premiership is appalling, compared to previous times. With money, and Premiership survival, now the paramount reason for existence for most clubs — ourselves included — is it really any wonder that managers err on the side of caution every single time?

Why chase the dream... more often than not ending up with egg on your chin, when instead you can offer a mundane lacklustre 'brand' of football that will see the team claw their way ever further away from trouble and, come early spring, the first posts will appear in the mailbag enquiring about Intertoto Cup applications! You might say... same shite, different year! ;-) - Colm

Osman

How people can castigate Leon Osman after last night is beyond belief. Apart from Joey, he was head and shoulders above the rest. Where do some of these people learn their football?
Terry  Innigan, California, USA  (24/8/06)

Where do they learn their football? Where else but Sky Sports News and Soccer AM! ;-) - Colm

In Defence of Stubbs

I read that some young lady was a bit miffed by being ignored by Alan Stubbs. I also read a reply berating the fella. This takes me somewhat by surprise as, up until a couple of seasons ago, one of his kids was a player in the Skem Junior Football League and Stubbsy was there every Sunday (match permitting) to watch. He would always say hello to anyone who talked to him, child or adult, and he was always a gentleman. (John Parrot's kid played in the same league and he was equally a gentleman).

We all have our off days (me more than most at the moment)!! Maybe Stubbsy was having one of his. He is but a human after all...
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (24/8/06)

Dutch Schaffaer!!!

Oh my God... What on earth was that last comment about? (re: Spurs and Miss peters) It was that type of comment that you would normally apply to a sad man with no social conscience. GET A LIFE!

Spurs at the weekend, ah well, I suppose 4/9 points ain't too bad, oh, hang on, Liverpool after that at Goodison.... Could the next two games shape Everton's and more interestingly, Moyes's season?
jamie carroll, Ireland  (24/8/06)

Worry about Liverpool once Spurs is done and dusted — and christ do we owe those smug Londoners a good beating. No time like the present! — Colm

Support

There is an old saying which goes 'I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.' Or words to that effect.

Tony Marsh is right in an awful lot of what he is saying regards the way we play the game; it seems Moyes has learnt little in the past couple of years and continually subjects us to mind-boggling tactics and formations. The rose-tinted spectacle brigade should look at the wider picture and realise that top-half league placings are not progress and it does not mean we have had a successful season if we finish in the top half.

I, like Tony, want attractive football, not dross which I have continually seen for a couple of seasons bar a few games. So carry on, Tony, write what you feel about our once great club and under no circumstances accept the drivel that is being served up at present.
Dave  Lynch, Merseyside  (24/8/06)

And not one single word of that do I disagree with! - Colm

Choices

After watching both games this season, I've decided we either play shite football and end up mid-table or try playing good football after going a goal down and run the risk of a relegation battle.

As they say, the choice is David's...
Big Dunc Stokey, Stoke  (24/8/06)

I think most Blues desire seeing Everton "giving it a go" this season. Putting a positive spin on the fare viewed this season so far — our goal ratio is up, up, up!!! - Colm

Midfield merry-go-round

Well, it was all change again last night. Kilbane back in, Arteta playing a cental role, Osman back in a wide position. Cahill on from the bench and Davies overlooked. So what exactly did we learn?

Kilbane was largely ineffective down the flank; however, made some telling challenges when he ventured into the middle of the park. Arteta contributed little until moved out to a wide position. Osman was anonymous for much of the game but suddenly sprung to life when he got the opportunity to cut inside into his favoured central midfield position. Not forgetting Cahill's timely contribution arriving into the box proving yet again what a quality attacking midfielder he is.

Lessons learned? Well nothing really as we seen it all before. However, Moyes hopefully will have noted the improvement on the introduction of Lescott — his pace and strength allowed us to push up on the opposition and once again Stubbs looked totally out of sorts with his lack of pace cruelly exposed.

As for Naysmith, I shudder to think what will happen at Tottenham if we have to rely on him containing Lennon...
Gerry Western, London  (24/8/06)

Tack

For my last post I was severely admonished by our very own king of despair - Michael - for trying to encourage a more positive slant from the mailbaggers. Admittedly, I couldn't resist having a dig at the misery arses that seem to have overtaken the once light-hearted discussion that used to take place on this board and for that I offer my unreserved apologies.

So in a change of tack I've decided to take a more constructive approach in my seemingly vain efforts to raise the tone of the pit of anguish which is the ToffeeWeb mailbag.

Taking the positives from last night's game: Cahill is a player who leads by example and fires up the rest of the team; we could do with a few more players like him. McFadden has come back from the summer holidays looking stronger and fitter; he actually outpaced the defence a couple of times last night, which is a first. If he keeps on improving he'll be a real top class player. Osman, though lost in the first half, started to show what a player he is when we eventually got the ball down and started playing football. While Johnson gives us a totally new dimension up front. At the back Yobo was a colossus and Howard looks like he's made of velcro.

The negatives (shamelessly playing to the gallery here): Kilbane and Naysmith were poor and our left side looked weak, fortunately we have ready-made replacements for both of these players. Our set plays were woeful, but this should come right as the season progresses. Beattie looks very unsure of himself. He doesn't seem to understand what his role is in the new formation yet and he seems content to let AJ do all the running, which just isn't on.

I doubt we'll play the 4-1-3-2 system at Spurs as it still needs a bit more work. We'll probably revert to 4-1-4-1 with Beattie dropping to the bench, but don't be surprised to see him pushed straight back into the firing line for our next home game.
Winston Hale, London  (24/8/06)

Beattie doesn't understand his role? Oh....I thought it was ... hands on the hips, on the front post, chew some gum, look cool... and expire... heavily! — Colm

Lame I may be but blind I am not, Michael

Michael, just for the record, mate, I was not having a pop at you, I think Tony gets a lot of unfair critique on this site.

Far from being negative, it's quite obvious he cares a great deal about our beloved club and no, I don't know him. If people think the club are doing well under Moyes's stewardship so be it. Personally last season was a mare for me and it does not look to be shaping up any better this year.

I posted last year after the first two games and said we would be mediocre mid-table, so it proved to be, and I think Tony posted along the same lines. If we can avoid the customary thrashings we have had to endure under Moyes this year, that will be an improvement for me. Somehow I can't see it though and Tottenham are looming - not least Boxing Day!!! I hope he is gone before then, I really do... Christmas might become normal again.

If you were referring to my Clown comments I will take that on the chin, they were lame and I really wanted to be more like Tony and describe Moyes using cutting vernacular. However, I am not and I not going to try to be. I think Tony tells it like it is and with a good deal of scouse wit, so get to fuck all you blinkered Moyes supporters.
Stephen Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (24/8/06)

Hehe.. nice response. I'm much closer to you and Tony than to the Moyes camp, but his vitriolic bile is sometimes a little too rich to stomach. With him, it's now personal! — Michael

From my seat

It has been well documented on here how this game panned out; however, I thought the injury to Stubbs was a pivitol point because, for a good ten minutes when Lescott came on, our marking and positional sense went haywire and it was the cause of McCarthy having a clear sight of goal which he took well. Perhaps our manager should send the subs on with written instructions for his partners, a la Jose.

As for the midfield reconstruction on the hour mark, did it really take the Tim Cahill chorus to achieve this? I hope not. The fact that our whole attitude changed after this adjustment leads me to believe that, in the absence of any funding for a central midfielder of the type required, then the manager has got his work cut out in coming up with a pattern of play that can make the most of what is a lightweight combination but in my view, of good players in need of a plan they feel most comforable with.

Although I am not a McFadden fan as of yet, I thought Johnson looked much more at ease with him than he has done with Beattie. All this may well prove that I am better employed as a fan than a manager but that's the way I saw it.

See you Sat. --- UP THE BLUES
Ken  Buckley, Buckley  (24/8/06)

Michael's comments

Michael: Interesting... "I am sometimes a little disillusioned by the negativity or stupidity of some of the comments I read." — and yet your comments and observations on the game back up exactly what they've been saying... or where you only talking about Dutch and his belief that we would lose the three games after Watford? In which case, I withdraw my comment! — Michael

Apologies for the confusion but that was my point. After the game vs Rovers I have officially joined the "we're crap and we know we are" brigade!

And with re: to Dutch im convinced this Dutch character is an alias created by one of your staff members having a laugh and spicing things up, because surely nobody is that stupid... or maybe they are... who knows...?
Pete Berry, Lancs  (24/8/06)

I'll allow Michael to add his own comments here Peter but I can confirm it as fact that no one at ToffeeWeb has 'created' our friend Dutch! - Colm

My bad, Pete, for missing that subtlety. And welcome to the curmudgeon's brigade. As Colm says so well down below, we actually played decent fotball, retained possession, and scored last night. But only after we had gone behind. WHY? — Michael

ps: Re your last question, we now know Dutch is also a bit of a perv...

Stubbs

I just wanted to add to Kayleigh's comments re: Stubbs being rude to her. Whilst I can understand that players get frustrated by supporters constantly hassling them or wanting to say hello, there was no need for Stubbs to be rude.

At the end of the day, it is us supporters that pay their wages — I mean would you blank your boss in work? I have had a similar experience of Stubbs blanking me in town.

Why is it you never got this attitude with Gravesen, Ferguson, Watson or Cahill today? These guys were always happy to spare you a moment or two. Stubbs is supposed to be an actual Evertonian himself and should know that the supporters would be happy to see him more so then the previous players mentioned.

Aside from that, we should never have brought Stubbs back. Apart from him being past it now and slagging the club off when he left (re: clause about cancer), he continually defended Rooney for leaving the club and that he had done nothing wrong in leaving. What Stubbs refused to mention in his regular defense of Rooney was the fact that he too has the same agent, a Mr Paul Stretford. Coincidence?

Wake up Stubbs and remember how fortunate you are to have played and still be playing Everton.
Brian Lawler, Liverpool  (24/8/06)

Not only did he have the same agent as Rooney but he also had a vested financial interest in that very same company. Alongside other Everton officials, from the then CEO, down through the senior playing staff to staff at the Academy. Marvellous! — Colm

Spurs & Miss Peters!

"But what if we win at Spurs"

Good one Colm, you should be on the stage doing stand-up or presenting the Friday Night Project.

ps: Is anyone else wondering what 19-year-old Everton fan Kaylee Peters looks like?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (24/8/06)

???????? - Colm

Why so scared?

Last night proved one thing and it is that, in general, we are scared to push forward until we go behind. All last season it was the same and we even saw it in some home games. The blame for this must lie with the manager as it is surely his job to make the players believe they can win a game from the off and give them the tactics and confidence to do so.

This also reflects itself in the fans who always wait quietly for something to happen, when we go in front everyone quietly expects a walkover, but when we go behind or get pegged back the fans come out in voice and this drives the players to get stuck in. I don't know what all this means, its just an observation.

Finally I would like to point out to the club that it is a FUCKING DISGRACE that my season ticket from last year does not allow me to get a derby ticket, while fans who attended 8 home games are taking all the decent seats. Another reward for loyalty although this season I could not afford another increase!
Paul Davies, Liverpool  (24/8/06)

When you see how we passed the ball about over the last 20 minutes it begs the question WHY can't we do the same from the off? We looked comfortable, as a team, at 0-1 down, chasing the game. Why can't we start like that? As you rightly state — the blame, if any, lies with the management and their tactics. As for derby tickets — the club(s) make a packet flogging these tickets to the corporate sector. People's Club? Aye! — Colm

Squad Rotation

Before I start, I am firmly in the Pro Moyes camp. That's not to say the guy is perfect but he is as honest and hard-working as they come and he seems to have the club at heart. However, for the first time last night I actually questioned his thinking on team selection.

We are not Chelsea, Man Utd or Arsenal; we cannot afford to rest our better players for tough away fixtures such as Blackburn. I cannot help but think that we threw 2 points away last night. As soon as a couple of our better players came on, we dominated Blackburn.

Now come on, everybody knows that no matter which team we play on Saturday, we are gonna lose to Spurs so why not save the rotation policy until then, it would have left us with 6 points out of 9 instead of 4...
Rob Beesley, Wigan  (24/8/06)

I remember an old adage oft used in football in years gone by: never change a winning team... - Colm

Moyes is an inept Manager

I could not agree more with Tony Marsh's comments and Michael, you were well off beam with your reply to him. As you stated you were not at the game but surely you were there against Watford and last season?? The man is totally inept as is our style of play. We will get hammered by the flair teams again this season make no mistake. Our midfield is unproductive and lightweight (a bit like the manager).

The word on the street is that the players do not respect him because he talks to them like shit... rumour or not I think it shows in our play. Beattie and Johnson hardly recieved any service at all last night and McCarthy and Roberts were made to look far better players by comparison. The man has made some incredible mistakes in the transfer market and as Tony states, we are torturous to watch.

If Bill Kenwright had any balls, Martin O'Neill would be sitting in the Manager's Office today; the sooner people realise Moyes's limited ability, the better for us all. I pray to god this happens early in the season. I would sooner have Mark Hughes managing our side (and, given his comments re our fans in recent games, he would come) than this daft jock.

Moyes: Get out now — before you spend any more of our money on average players that don't even fit in. You're a red-headed clown and Goodison's become a circus.
Stephen Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (24/8/06)

Stephen, I had to smile at that the cutting wit of that lame parting shot. You really do have some way to go before you are in Tony's league — but keep trying! — Michael

Early morning blues

After getting up at 4:45am only to seeing the selected team, I couldn't believe my tired eyes. Kilbane, no VdM or Anichebe on the bench - what was he thinking? Then, to add insult to injury, he drops Cahill as well. The game was rubbish until the last 20 minutes. McFadden made a big difference which is hopeful. I dread the next match already.

Why hasn't Moyes got rid of Kilbane? Surely the South African he had on trial was better but no money, I see. Ah well my unitial optimism as always is dashed, where is the stylish football we used to play in years gone by. I hope Moyes has a brain seizure and comes to his senses. Always the optimist I suppose.
Geoff Wells, Sunshine Coast Australia  (22/08/2006)

Buckley's agent intimated that Everton were keen on signing Delron Buckley - but the move was subject to two outgoing transfers necessary to free some funds for Moyes. Neither (Naysmith and Carsley?) happened so Buckley went elsewhere. - Colm

Time, gentleman, please!

As a slightly exiled Blue, I rely on ToffeeWeb for all up-to-date news on the Blues as well as the Official Website. I still get to about 5/6 games a year but as I was a season ticket holder for a long time and that's hard to take.

I, like many, have called into question Moyes's tactics on a number of occasions and DO long for the day when we play sexy attractive football, where we kill teams off at will - let's face it we do have decent players, Cahill, Arteta, Yobo, Johnson etc! But every week, rain or shine, hammering or success, I am at the pub watching the Blues or taking my monthly BMI-baby back for the weekend, making sure Goodison is on my priority list.

However, reading this mailbag... well, honestly just one man in particular, I struggle to understand why these lads bother at all. Step forward MR TONY MARSH. This man should be a scriptwriter for funerals! I can honestly say I have never ever met a man with so much negativity in his body! I mean we have all hated someone/thing but he takes it to a new level. Have you ever stopped to think he is just doing it to wind us up? Thus this letter being a success for him. But I really could not stop myself, its pathetic! Tony as a blue, born and bred in Kirkby I can say with all honesty - GO FUCKING SHOPPING! Infact if your Mrs needs a hand we will have a wip round in The Winslow for you next time I'm home.

Rant over. With regard to last night, I was slightly bemused by tactics and starting XI but I would have taken a point away from home. After all, some balloon head once said, Win all your home games and draw away and you will win the league - well we have done bout 2% of this...
Garry Lloyd, Jersey  (24/8/06)

... more like 5%... or 100% of the games played so far!

Get strict and hard with players

Get that lazy fat knacker Beattie booked into the local fat fighters and play his lazy ass in the reserves, get him training every day until both his attitude and fitness improve. Never been a great fan of McFadden but both he and Cahill made such a difference over the lazy Beattie and squad player Kilbane. Bring on McFadden or Anichebe as first choice over Beattie until he gets his fat arse and attitude sorted.

Rennie should also be driven to Specsavers, footage clearly showing the ever shite Andy Todd shove Johnson to the floor. Having already had one of his red cards overturned, let's see if the (do) FA use video evidence to give him the red card back. Just desert only came when ready for the straight red and penalty that the hack Friedel made on McFadden resulted in Cahill slamming the ball into an empty net.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (24/8/06)

4 points

Quite happy with 4 points from our first two games but agree our performances have been very average. Hope that Moyes starts against Spur the team that finished last night, with Beattie on the bench and Kilbane in the stands.

Think you should be less harsh on Dutch Schaffaer, yes he sometimes talks rubbish but the fact that he keeps on making comments is because he is a true Evertonian and in making these comments keeps you lot in a job.
Pistol Pete, Windsor  (24/8/06)

We had this "job" long before Dutch Schaffaer apperared, and this "job" involves a lot more (believe it or not) than responding to his inane comments. But thanks for your concern! — Michael

We all hate Tottenham.

Just as the season begins to build up some steam, Everton have to travel to London for their unavoidable routine Spurs defeat. Everton have never won at Spurs in my lifetime. Can Moyes guide Everton to that long-awaited victory and do something Harvey, Kendall (2 & 3), Walker, Royle & Smith never managed?

Records are made to be broken but it's hard to imagine anything other then the usual defeat.
Leo Miller, Liverpool  (24/8/06)

What an inspiring team coach you would make. Why do they bother with that kind of attitude from the fans? What's the point of playing the game if the result has already been decided? — Michael

It's a football not a hand grenade

Without wanting to play to the tune of the misery arses (you know who you are) as four points from two games at this stage of the season is a fairly good return, we seem to be plaugued with a consistent problem of being unable to retain possession throughout the middle. Without the signing of a combative midfielder so far, the hangover effect from last season has continued. We appear uncomfortable on the ball, unable to pass and retain in fluid movement, and pressed backwards as a result. It is evident that James Beattie is unable to fill the target-man mould and the long ball rarely seems to stick — when it does, there is little in the way of forthcoming midfield support.

With the transfer kitty exhausted and the priority acquisitions already recruited I am sure that David Moyes would love to have at his disposal the £5-6M required to bring in a midfielder who can win the ball, keep it simple and direct play accordingly. In recent seasons Moyes has tried to recruit in this area with both Sissoko and Carrick springing to mind.

At the end of last season, a contributor highlighted the Opta statistic that Everton had the lowest ratio in terms of possession which coincided with our lowest goals return and some depressingly negative football. After watching our performance against Watford ,this again persisted with a friend shouting at the square ball merchant, Davies "Its a fucking ball not a hand grenade" which really summed it up for me.

Without going into CM mode, I would really love Everton to have both the resource and ambition to go after somebody like Kevin Nolan who though may be a poor man's Steven Gerrard would really provide the missing link through the midfield. Andy Johnson would be one player for sure who would thrive off the extra possession that Nolan would bring and its this type of player that we really need — not a Gravesen-esque showboater.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (24/8/06)

TM for Manager!!

Am I the only one fed up with the rantings of Tony Marsh? I can't honestly believe you call yourself an Evertonian. Quite frnakly Tony you not only probably get on Beattie's tits, you also get on mine (which are ample I might add!!). Interesting that you have a "bird" you intend to go shopping with - does she ever get a word in edgeways?

By the way, don't I remember you berating Moyes because he didn't sign Delron Buckley or was that some other moron? Anyway, as a matter of interest, Buckley signed for Dortmund in June 2005 and failed to score in 28 games... good signing that would have been.

As for last night's game: okay, I agree the first half was a bit dismal and I too was dismayed to see Killer Kilbane and Naysmith playing but Moyes turned it around and, you might recall, we should have had two penalties which dear Uriah didn't give us and which had they been successfully scored, would have given us a win. We had a penalty on Saturday that we didn't deserve so its a case of win some, lose some and I expect your hoping that we do lose quite a few so your self-righteousness can proclaim that you are always right. Sorry this is not a vendetta against you personally, you just give me the pip.
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (24/8/06)

Another long seaon

I went to the game last night and have to say our support was fantastic — I think we embarrassed the Rovers fans!

I read this mail bag every few days and have to say I am sometimes a little disillusioned by the negativity or stupidity of some of the comments I read. You know who you are! But after 60 minutes last night, the only thing worth cheering for was the final whistle. Both teams in my opinion were shocking and distinctly average.

AJ was a good runner. Beattie looks like the player from the start of last season: fat, lazy and basically garbage. Arteta to me doesn’t look strong enough to command the midfield, though is still our best midfielder by some considerable distance. I still think he is better out wide, crossing the ball. Naysmith and Kilbane, what can I say. Are these footballers? Honestly, I would pay someone to take them off our hands. As for Rovers, they didn’t offer owt more. McCarthy looks a good player, we should have got him. That’s it.

So, two teams tipped for Europe??? I doubt it. And seriously I felt like we were playing with Dunc up front with the amount of long balls we hoofed up to BT. We looked far better when Faddy, Cahill, Lescott came on, started passing, got some urgency...

For me BT has to be dropped, and anyone else see him having a go at AJ just before he got subbed, he didn’t give him a chance with all his head on’s or crap balls he tried to play.. AJ looked good again other than the miss; I'm happy with that performance. And now... Spurs next — that will be fun. It will be a long season!

Oh nearly forgot, Stubbs: WTF??? he got done a few times by Roberts. Hopefully Lescott has proved he is a better defender and DM will give him and Yobo a go together. COYB
Pete Berry, Lancashire  (24/8/06)

Interesting... "I am sometimes a little disillusioned by the negativity or stupidity of some of the comments I read." — and yet your comments and observations on the game back up exactly what they've been saying... or where you only talking about Dutch and his belief that we would lose the three games after Watford? In which case, I withdraw my comment! — Michael

A well earned point... or was it?

I was sat in my armchair last night, with my headphones half-on, listening the commentary on Everton TV/radio, while also watching Gilette Soccer Special on Sky, listening to Tony Cottee's reports as well. One of my cats kept on attacking the headphone cable, which was stretched across the room from my laptop to where I was sitting and managed to yank the plug out every now and again. My wife insisted on trying to talk to me as well, with my Mum also ringing me to ask me to do an odd-job at the weekend.

Don't these people understand?!

Through all of that, I managed to listen to most of the game, and then stayed up and watched the highlights on Football First. The visual highlights on Football First game me a totally different picture to the one painted by the comentators, one of whom was Dave Watson, on Everton TV/radio.

On balance I do think 1-1 was a fair result and a well-earned point. I thougt Leon Osman was outstanding (I hope Steve McClaren was making notes), Johnson continued to show menace although he was hampered by the continued thuggery of Todd, which Rennie largely overlooked.

I thought in the first half most of the team were still in the dressing room, with Osman and Arteta creating only occasional openings. It was only when Moyes replaced Beattie with McFadden and Kilbane with Cahill that Everton came alive. In the last 20 minutes we were all over Blackburn like a rash, with a Johnson and McFadden partnership looking a much more dangerous proposition.

I thought Johnson's penalty appeal, late in the second half, was a good one as Todd hauled him to the ground with the subtlety of a Sumo wrestler. Cahill's late equaliser was probably less than we deserved in the end, after a spirted fightback. I think we should start as we finished for the Spurs game on Saturday. COYB.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (24/8/06)

AJ and Penalties

Andy Johnson has a reputation for winning penalties, and from last night's shout he seems to earn them fairly. I didn't see many of his games for Palace so I could be wrong though. But Does anyone feel that we could lose out on a few penalties this season because of AJ's rep? Until last night I had never seen such a blatant penalty not given. Was it due to an inept refereeing team or the fact it was AJ who was bowled over?
Steve Crookes, Hampshire  (24/8/06)

Repeat Prescription

Oh Dear... Tony Marsh seems to have forgotten to pick up his Happy Pills again. Despite what Tom Cruise may feel about these things, they did Tony a power of good over the summer. All was fine with the world then and he even got so far as to hallucinating that he was in Cyprus having the time of his life! Whoever was nipping round to Boots for him can you get back on the case please. Even if they don't give him the same ecstatic highs as before they might just give him the dose of realism that should help keep him out the shops when the footy is on.

Champagne and caviar is a refined taste and unlikely to be the bill of fare with the Carsleys, Nevilles, Cahills and even Johnsons of this world. What we need is a bit more class about the place first. That Rooney at Manchester United seems quite promising...
Tony Horne, Kettering  (24/8/06)

Encouraging Start

So far, it's been an encouraging start to the season. A good win against Watford and a hard-fought draw at Blackburn and we find ourselves above Chelsea. It's not been the stellar start to the season some fans have demanded but it's been encouraging and certainly there's potential that we might be in for a decent season.

Ignoring the annual White Hart Lane defeat, Liverpool is a massive game and if we can score a win it could give us the confidence to really ignite the season.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (24/8/06)

But what if we win at Spurs and then lose the derby? Same points as you're intimating! But without the ignition of confidence?! — Colm

Yes, we know ...

Right, we get the point Tony — you don't like Moyes. Now pipe down unless you have something interesting to say. It's the same vitriolic nonsense everyday!

Did you even attend last night's match? As Chelsea fans wallow in the ignominy of being beaten by Boro (again), what is it you expect from our team? Blackburn were one of the toughest sides in the division last year and finished 6th, and after surprisingly losing to Portsmouth they were always going to put on a performance last night.

As it is, I quite enjoyed our second-half display and two great substitutions from Moyes brought us a deserved equaliser. I get the impression you composed your inane rant before the game even kicked off last night. COYB - another result at Spurs would be lovely!
Paul Foster, London  (24/8/06)

Refereeing

Its amazing that no one has had a whinge about the absolutely SHOCKING refereeing that I witnessed during the part of the game I saw. I might as well start.

Andy Johnson wasn't pushed/nudged/ankle tapped, he was WRESTLED down the ground by Andy Todd. He should have seen RED and we should have had a penalty.

Yobo was pushed blatantly during a corner. Another straight red? What does the ref do? He awards Blackburn a free kick ...

Even during our goal (which incidentally was set up off a long ball, where McFadden left the defender dead for pace) McFadden was pushed by Friedel. Had Cahill not scored from that play, somehow I dont think the ref would have awarded a penalty. Friedel didn't even get booked for that incident.

How can the ref get so many wrong? Where were the linesmen? Could this ref be thinking about the fortunate decision we got last week?
BSD Lover, Sydney, Australia  (24/8/06)

Rennie's performance gave me indigestion. — Colm

Beattie Concern

Having built myself up for the opener against Watford on Saturday, I left somewhat downbeat, despite 3 points. The thought of Johnson and Beattie up front together gave us all real hope. Johnson was fantastic. A great debut from a player full of pace and a real work ethic that will surely bring us goals.

I read all summer about how Beattie can't wait to get going, and the impact he and AJ will have. When will Beattie start showing this???? Two seasons have been and gone and we're lucky if we've had two months of decent performances out of him. Having not been at Ewood last night I can only comment on what I witnessed Saturday but he should be ashamed to wear the Number 9 shirt.

He seems uninterested and poses little or no goal threat. I firmly beleive the time has come to drop this primadona and give him the rocket up his overpayed arse he needs. I and other Evertonians would gladly play for nothing for our great club. Someone should mention this to Beattie. He's been getting fit for two years now. Come on Moyes, get this man sorted or ship him out.
Chris Humble, Newcastle  (24/8/06)

The word primadona sticks out like a sore thumb in your mail, Chris. I cringed when I saw Beattie scoring before the Park End faithful last season and immediately cupping his ear, as though it was proof he'd proven the doubters wrong. Doing it week-in, week-out, is the way to "prove" doubters wrong! — Colm

McFadden

I thought our 'Scottish Rooney' did well today. Some neat touches, and a couple good chances inluding one that almost went it, but unfortunately hit the bar. I think our No 9 need some arse-kicking, and McFadden is certainly a better partner for Johnson. McFadden needs to play against those over-rated Spurs. McFadden is Spurs' bogeyman, I think he has scored in 40% of his games against Spurs... COYB!!!
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (24/8/06)

TV Coverage

"Just think what all those little subscriptions from each of 500,000 dispersed Everton fans could do for the club ... That's £20M right there!"

That was exactly my point to the EvertonTV Billing people who told me they can't accept a Debit Card (which also saves them the 3%+ fee to the Credit Card company). When I had a UK account my debit card had a Visa symbol on it but now it's moved offshore there's only the Maestro symbol.

For Ting Tong of Southport, you can get live feeds of a Saturday game on VTV3 at It's always one of the Sky matches. Quality of broadcast is bad though and commentary is in Vietnamese.

Also on Soccernet they have live gamecasts of all the matches being played whereby you can read a live commentary.
Eric Myles, Seoul, Korea  (24/8/06)

Give it up, Davey, Give it up

Well, after another horror showing last night at Blackburn, the alarm bells must now be starting to ring for Evertonians. Forget the away point, this season is starting to pan out the way many of us said it would. Even our old friend Killbane is back on the scene along with his mucker down the left, Gary Grimsmith. Oh how you laughed last week when I said these two would be playing a big part in Moyes's plans. They are now in our starting XI rather than in Division Two where they belong.

As for Beattie, two years into his 'getting fit' period and he looks more like Bernard Manning's body double. Only Beattie's routine is a lot more comical than Bernard's. The first defeat we suffer will see the confidence drain away from this side and Moyes will be once again at his clueless best. I can't take it anymore it makes me sick to my stomach watching this feeble attempt at playing football. God only knows what the players must think of his crap tactics and outrageous team selections. Is there nothing or no one who can save us from this Scottish Nightmare?

It's now becoming so pointless watching this crap that I reckon I am going to take up Saturday shopping with my bird and knock this caper on the head. Five hours milling around Top Shop, Lewis's and Miss Selfridge sounds a lot better than 90 mins in Davey's torture chamber. Being an Evertonian is hard enough without having to put up with Moyes on top of it.

What happened to sexy football? What happened to mouth watering football? You know the type of football you could describe as Caviar and Champagne style — not this Crabsticks and Skol footy we are being served.

Get a grip, Moyes — or get out. If it's too big a job for you, TOUGH! Give some one else a crack.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (24/8/06)

"Crabsticks and Skol" !!! Worth the susbscription fee, that, Tony! But I think your latest rant is a hiding to nothing. A point away from home is top-class form. And it sounded like, after a dreadful first half, we did actually take the game to them after we went behind, and got a result. I would save your bile 'til we lose one... — Michael

Players should aknowledge the supporters!

I am a 19-year-old girl who goes all the Everton matches. Following the blues is my passion. A few weeks ago, I was in town and saw Alan Stubbs. I said "Hello Stubbs" and he completly blanked me and looked the other way. I found this very rude and embarrassing as I am always there to support him and the rest of the team — he could at least said hello back. After all we are meant to be "The People's Club".
Kaylee Peters, Liverpool  (23/8/06)

Hello, Kaylee. That's an unfortunate experience and I can see why you're upset. On the other hand, I do have some sympathy for the players. Their job is to play football. He had no idea who you were, no idea who you supported (you could just as easily have been an abusive kopite for all he knew) and to address him as "Hello Stubbs" may not have been the best opening move.

Personally, if they play to the best of their ability, that's good enough for me. Social intercourse(!) is not necessary. — Michael

The first 60 minutes

To have only seen the last 20 minutes makes you one fortunate bloke. Here in West Oz the game was at 3am and, forsaking a warm bed, I caught the the lot. Prior to the start, my optimism was deflated seeing Naismith, Kilbane and Osman in the starting XI. With rarely more than two passes strung together, Everton’s first hour was woeful. Neither Osman or Kilbane provided any width and seemed out of their depth. Hopeful long punts were order of the day.

With lots of endeavour, AJ and JB were forced to chase hopeless balls. The pair of them looked second rate and certainly not as good as Benni McCarthy. Adding to our lack of width, Naysmith nor Neville made a single overlap. I can only guess they were under strict orders not to cross the halfway line. The only plusses were good work by Yobo in particular, Howard and Stubbs. Blackburn should have had the game sewn up by half-time.

Playing Arteta on the left in place of Kilbane greatly improved our style. We were then able to stretch Blackburn’s defence and create space in the middle. Arteta as centre-mid will work only if we have good players to his right and left. Osman nor Kilbane are anywhere near good enough. In summary, a valuable hard-earned yet fortunate away point.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (24/08/06)

Cahill to the rescue

Unless I'm mistaken, and I often can be, prior to and during the World Cup there were a lot of people on here clamouring for Tim Cahill to be shipped out of the club. Many thought he was overated and average.

Tonight, there's condemnation of Moyes for not playing him from the start and praise for TC for sparing Everton's blushes. Interesting.

Another word also comes to mind: fickle.
Paul Kish, Australia  (24/08/06)

It's easy to over-simplify. The truth is that Cahill's game is very limited, and Moyes I think recognizes this (see his comments re Cahill pre-Blackburn). Cahill brings one thing, and only one thing to Everton's game: and that is a powerful goal-theat by virtue of his uncanny ability to be in the right part of the penalty area at the right time when the ball is swung in on goal. If he is NOT played in a forward position, he is worse than useless. Perhaps as an Aussie, you have trouble recognizing this. Those so-caled 'fickle' ones among the rest of us don't. Hope this helps! — Michael

Last 20 mins?

Is BSD Lover's comment on tonight's game supposed to be ironic/sarcastic?
Chris Odedun, Southport  (24/8/06)

Guess you'll have to ask him. It sounded pretty genuine to me, but I'm afraid I missed the game completely. Perhaps you could be more specific with you issues? — Michael

Lescott & Stubbs

I always smile when people include Lescott in Everton's best XI. Why would you say Lescott is better then Stubbs?

  • Lescott has potential and will hopefully develop into a great player but at this time he has hardly any Premiership experience.
  • Stubbs is a proven Premiership player who has performed at a high level his whole Everton career. Last season,k the team noticibly improved when Stubbs rejoined.

At this time I would say Stubbs is a better player but hopefully over the course of the season we will see Lescott develop and eventually replace him. There's no rush. Stubbs can still do a job and Moyes has the time he needs to develop Lescott gradually rather then chucking him into the deep end.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (23/8/06)

Though being no great admirer of Stubbs, particularly through his association with our favourite agent, I would have to concede that without him we look fragile in central defence. Yet having said that, I thought Yobo was immense tonight at Blackburn — our man of the match. There'll come a day when Moyes will have no other choice but to blood Lescott and hope that he and Yobo can, over a series of games, forge a partnership we can rely on over many seasons to come. - Colm

Moyes out!

I do not care about the Moyes Brigade reaction - this man needs to go! Yes the results ain't bad (for our standards) but the style of football and the tactics are bollocks.

Case one: Kevin Kilbane. Totally anonymous! The commentator said when he came off 'I forgot he was even on'! Worse still, Moyes played him in centre midfield!???

Case two: James Beattie. Benni McCarthy (who Moyes could have signed this summer but chose to stick with McFadden) outshone the fat tart all night. Slow, unfit and uninterested, he must be sold before the deadline. Why drop Cahill and keep this shite in the side?

Case three: Arteta. What the fuck is he doing on the left wing???

Case four: Style of play. Everton were pinned back for 75 mins. They looked poor when in procession, and clueless in front of goal. Again, aimless punts to Beattie to knock down and Johnson chase is not Premiership football standard. Cahill's effort was Everton ONLY effort on target, bar a McFadden shot off the post.

Many fans will be blinded by the fact that we have not lost yet but any idiot can see that the way we play will NEVER get us any success. Blackburn were there for the taking, yet Moyes's uselessness has seen another fortunate result go our way. This man Moyes is toilet, and it's about time Kenwright flushed the chain.

Moyes out!
Luq Yus, London  (23/8/06)

Agree that the quality of performance falls a long long way short of what most Blues desire. Or expect. To answer your case points:-

Case One: Squad rotation - three games in eight days.

Case Two: Beattie definitely looks unfit. He needs a rocket up the arse. Perhaps sitting on the bench from the off next Saturday might do the trick?

Case Three: Why is Arteta left wing? Probably due to his Basque origins... not overly keen on the Madrid government! ;-)

Case Four: Everton looked poor when in procession? What's that? A march to glory?!

I'll get me coat... - Colm

Give him his due

Moyes changed it and we reaped the rewards. Five more minutes in the game or a competent referee and we would have breezed past Blackburn. So, before all the neurotic pantyhose-wearing moaners start, be aware that Moyes changed it around, and we got an away point.

  • 19 home wins = 57 points 19 away draws = 19 points
  • total = 76 points, and european football guaranteed.

Bingo Bongo, The Congo  (23/8/06)

19 home wins???? Keep taking them, Bingo! One thing though - you credit the manager for making the decisive changes (minutes after the travelling army of Evertonians were all in unison singing for Cahill to come off the bench). I've one rather simple question: why couldn't we have played the football we did towards the end at the start of the game? That first half performance was turgid to say the least. - Colm

Robbed? Unlucky?

Just caught the last 20 minutes of the game (it started at 5 am out here in Australia). This was my first glimpse of the team this season.

Tell you what, I was very happy with what I saw! Great fighting spirit, dominating football and wonderful travelling fans, at times I couldn't tell that we were actually playing "away"...

Another thing I saw was the potential in what this team can do. Had the ref been a little fairer and Johnson's radar a bit more accurate, we would have had 4 goals not 1. Again, I am only talking about the last 20 minutes!

Johnson was great. Top buy, gives us a whole new dimension with his speed (and great work rate too). Pretty much everyone was great, except maybe Naysmith. All the new buys look good. Howard was assured between the posts and Lescott did all right considering it was his first "real" game with Everton.

One thing we lacked was any form of attack via the flanks. Understandable because we didn't really have any wingers on the pitch. Hope the others fill me in for the rest of the 70 minutes. The commentator mentioned that we were crap earlier on.
BSD Lover, Sydney, Australia  (24/8/06)

Benni McCarthy

Long-time Everton transfer target Benni McCarthy scores against us. Now there is a surprise no-one saw coming. It's about as surprising as Spurs beating us at White Hart Lane.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (23/8/06)

Maybe YOU didn't see it coming... just like YOU had us down for a loss tonight. As an Everton supporter, Dutch, YOU are a disgrace.

As an Evertonian, I pefer to believe that the game at White Hart Lane is worth playing, that the score at the kick-off is 0-0, and that the game is there for the better team, the one who wants it more, the one that is prepared better, the one who plays better, could win. I hope it's Everton. Clearly YOU don't. — Michael

Not Happy

I'm not happy. Every time I watch or listen to Everton, it seems to me that they are the only team in the Premiership that can't string more than four passes together. What's the panic? Every time they get the ball they launch it or just absolutely shit themselves. The biggest weakness in the team has got to be the left side. Naysmith to Kilbane, you're having a laugh; more like Naysmith smacks it up field and Kilbane just can't be arsed to chase it.

I gave Moyes the benefit of the doubt after the Watford game but he seems to have got it all wrong tonight. He has got to play Faddy on the left and maybe pull Beattie out and play Johnson on his own. I am writing this at half time and I really hope they prove me wrong, but I doubt it very very much. I'm trying to keep the faith but it's hard. I like Moyes but I'm getting increasingly pissed off.
Jamie Barlow, Manchester England  (23/8/06)

Ah, well, you really should let 'em play 90 minutes before ripping 'em to shreds. After all, Moyesey likes to hold back in the first 45 minutes away from home — Lyndon

Team Selection

Am I the only one irritated by the gaffer's team selections? Blackburn is a Premiership game which means we put out the best XI.:

Howard; Neville, Lescott, Yobo, Pistone (as no Valente); VDM (where is he?), Cahill, Arteta, Osman; Beattie, Johnson
I put £16 on us winning today so I hope you have got it right Davey.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (23/8/06)

In actual fact, that clogger, Kilbane, was preferred to Cahill in the end. I'm glad that Tiny Tim sent a message by scoring the equaliser. Moyes will defend his selection policy on the dubious grounds of some weak squad rotation plan but I agree that if you're as lacking in quality as Everton are, you play your best IX every game. After all, wasn't fitness the No 1 focus pre-season? We should be able to handle three games in seven days. — Lyndon

I'm with Brian Finnegan

Walton Hall Park sits nicely where we want. Everton FC should put pressure on this council for the park. Rick Parry must have offered something to get Stanley Park. When this council gave up Stanley Park rather easily, it showed that every park in this city has it's price. I would like the board just to ask and see what happens. You never know...
Dave Charles, Liverpool  (23/8/06)

Box Office Anarchy

I'm at a complete loss. Has anyone else had a complete nightmare with the afore-mentioned box office? After having been sent the wrong season card, I have spent in total two hours and twenty minutes trying to solve THEIR problem. The soddin' phone bill cost more than the ticket!

But still none the wiser! E-mail, hand written letters and endless phone calls and still nothing. To my horror, I found myself complaining to the one and only Graeme Sharp. Has it really come to this when I have to berate an all time Everton legend? It turns out that he is the only viable access into the shambles we call our box office.

"Our" Graeme is getting things moving. Cheers, Sharpy.
Harvey Shearer, Poulton-le-Fylde  (23/8/06)

Sugar-Coated Reality

Okay, I have been out of order, for constantly having a go at Davey and the way we play football. In fact, we are an excellent side to watch with creativity and pace throughout the squad. In the last two seasons, Moyes has made wonderful additions to his already free scoring team.

I think this season we can build on our 4th place finish 2 years ago and push for a European place and possibly pick up one of the cups along the way. Beattie will come good soon when he is fit. I mean give the lad a chance he has only had two years to prove himself and that's just not long enough — a striker needs time to bed in.

Yes I now admit that Moyes is a genius and I have been made to look a fool. Take last season, and the way we nearly got into the top ten after being bottom for so long — nothing short of a miracle. Football at Goodison is sexy again; it is a joy to watch. I just can't wait for my first visit to the new Wembley stadium so the whole world can see how far we have come these past 5 years.

So my apologies any one who I may have offended with my negativity. I just apologize that it's taken me this long to realise what a wonderful experience going to Everton Games really is these days. Come on you Blues!!! — We're gonna win the League.

Is that better.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (23/8/06)

Come off it Tony! You're taking the piss here!! Do you seriously believe James Beattie will ever look fit?! - Colm

Goodison

Talking of Goodison Park being torn down, didn't Brazil build a replica after being impressed training there during the 66 world cup? Is it still around? Was it just Bellefied?
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (23/8/06)

Doom and Gloom?

Not been on here for a while and I see there's no change in the level of the above! I really don't think the performance against Watford was that bad. I didn't see the Everton TV highlights (can anyone confirm if its worth getting?) as I was at the game. We started brightly but creative football was never really on the agenda considering Watford's direct style. Never in all the Premier League have I seen such a direct team, it's hard to play pretty football when they launch the ball in the air at every opportunity. Surely we, of all teams, should know that. Or should we be able to combat this by plucking the ball out of the air at 50 feet high and get it on the deck? I imagine the doom and gloom mongerers would say yes.

Alan Stubbs looked dead on his feet by the end of the game but was always in the right place at the right time, his experience made up for the complete lack of pace. Carsley won many a ball in the middle and I was impressed with Simon Davies. I thought Beattie and Cahill were well below average, and felt a bit for Lescott, he certainly doesn't have a left foot! But when he was on the ball he was composed and also won every header he attempted. He'll be fine as a central defender.

With the fear of repeating the other posters, the next 3 games will give an indication of where we are at, in particular Spurs. I think it would mean more to me to beat them than Liverpool as we never bloody beat Spurs!
Dennis Marshall, London  (23/8/06)

Some wonderous misconceptions there, Dennis. Those of us who want to see Everton playing football aren't so stupid to expect that it will happen when the other team is in possessiion and lauching a long-range bombardment. But we do expect Everton to show at least some of the basics WHEN THEY ARE IN POSSESSION. So, forget what the other team does with the ball. I maintain that has nothing to do how Everton play WHEN THEY HAVE THE BALL.

But that's the problem. What do we do when we have the ball? Do we pass it to another blue shirt who is running off his marker into space? Or do we hoof it over midfield in the vain hope that it might get nodded down or flicked on? That has nothing to do with how the other team plays when they are in possession. — Michael

Unequal treatment

Liverpool City Council have belatedly offered Everton two brownfield sites as possible locations for their new stadium. Contrast that with the generosity shown by the same Council to the other lot who are being encouraged to despoil a Grade II listed Victorian Park. This distinction cannot be because the Council has run out of Victorian Parkland (I can think of some on the East Lancs Road very close to Goodison) but more to do with the perception that Everton and their supporters are a bunch of mugs who will put up with anything. I would suggest that the Club tell this Council what to do with their offer and demand a more even-handed approach in the future. Any more insults and the Club should pack their bags and head for Knowsley where it will be welcomed with open arms.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (23/8/06)

Optimistic or Pessimistic

Some of the views expressed in this mailbag seem to be either pie in the sky or absoloute rubbish. For example, painting doom and gloom about our next 3 games. We might as well just forfeit the 9 points and get on with the rest of the games. Or views expressed about how rosy things are. I think the truth lies somewhere in between.

Last season, I lost my patience with David Moyes. A combination of poor performances, embarrassing results and tactical naievety. I decided that he deserved one more season. That season is this. This is now David Moyes's team and there are no excuses. Signs of progress have to be seen...

What is progress? To me it would be on the park with the football being played. I want to come away from Goodison Park on a Saturday and be proud of the team (even if we've lost). I think we have a capable squad and we should be aiming high — we're Everton; only the best and all that. For the time being, Moyes has my support but more performances like last year and that will dissappear. For the time being, lets get behind the team and be positive about what lies ahead. COYB!!!
Craig Heywood, Leeds  (23/8/06)

The next three games: A tough test

Blackburn away, Spurs away and Liverpool at home are our next three games and all will be tough. I would approach all three games like we have nothing to lose and play 4-4-2 with two strikers, because no one expects us to get anything from any of these games.

Its only the Blackburn game tonight that I can see a glimmer of hope, from which we may even nick all three points, although a draw is what I think it may be.

As for Spurs, we never win at Spurs, and I would dance naked in the street if we came away with anything.

Derby games are always tough, but Liverpool are starting to string passes together after their unconvincing start against the Blades, and again I would be surprised if we get anything out of that game.

So we may just pick up a few meagre scraps from the next three games, but what I will be looking for is a battling performance for all three to draw comfort for the rest of the season.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (23/8/06)

Next: Should we remove Nil Satis Nisi Optimum from the crest?! — Colm

The Vibe Around Goodison.

The attendance of 39,619 was the biggest first match attendance recorded by the Blues since the visit of Tottenham in 2002. I guess all the people who posted here claiming they weren't going to renew their season ticket and would be joined in their protest by many others were wrong. Clearly the vast majority are still very much behind the team.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (23/8/06)

So that explains the empty Academy box and seats and not forgetting those two empty corporate boxes behind the dugouts! Everton — shunned by the corporate sector once more! — Colm

One In, One Out

If I was in David Moyes's shoes I would try my best to offload Beattie before the August tramsfer deadline and replace him with Nugent from Preston. I would also try to find a reasonable midfielder in the mould of Gravesen — perhaps Murphy or Barton — as we have lacked bite in midfield since his departure. I don't dislike Beattie; I just believe that he never has been or ever will be a target man and I'm sure that he is as unhappy with his role as we are in seeing him play it.

I, like most, found the performance on Saturday less than satisfactory and cannot see us gaining many points or goals away from Goodison Park with the players we have at the moment.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (23/8/06)

Agree with Dutch Schaffaer

I agree with Dutch Schaffaer's response to Tony Marsh. Just because Lescott didn't start, doesn't mean he is a flop yet. Remember, he hasn't tasted any Premiership expereince before, so it's important to slowly introduce it to him.

If Curtis Davies and Micheal Dawson have proven anything, it's the fact that championshsip central defenders can make the grade in the Premiership. And however hillarious the Krøldrup situation was, it is important to acknoledge that, because of Moyes's insistence of buying youth, Krøldrup still had a high resale value, and thus we only made a £1 million loss. So, it's not that a big deal, aye?
Alan Dixson, Liverpool  (23/8/06)

Oh that's alrite then. Just a £1 million loss... for nothing. Sometimes I really do wonder... — Michael

In dire need of a midfielder

I know Colm doesn't like me saying this, but we are one player away from a top 6 team. We are desperately calling for a central midfielder who can tackle and pass. It goes back to the England situation. Unless you have got the holding midfielder situation settled, you won't see the best of the other three.

Cahill, Arteta, Davies, VdM, Osman need to know they have some behind them who can win the ball and give it to them. I'm not blaming anyone. If Moyes spashed the cash on a central midfielder, we would be still complaining about the central defence or a goalscorer. and can you blame the board when they have spent an enourmous £37 million in the past two season on players.

We have quality in every department except this position.... Can Silva save us all?
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (23/8/06)

Midfield mind games

With Moyes slamming the door on recent speculation linking us with Malbranque, my expectations for this season are now decidedly bleak with respect to any meaningful improvement in the absence of a Plan B. He acknowledges that the midfield situation is his deepest concern and suggests he may have to change things around. I must be missing something as I am unaware of any significant signings in this department. Given that the personnel are largely the same as last season with the exception of Carsley's return from injury it seems he is no clearer in his thinking than he was this time last year.

Sadly I've come to the conclusion he's running out of ideas and the season has barely begun. The current personnel and formations simply haven't worked. The idea that Neville could replace Gravesen borders on the ridiculous as he simply is not a midfield player. Which begs the question as to why he was ever signed, the guy simply cannot find a blue shirt with a pass. Added to this the fact that his other midfield signings are attacking players surely one has to question the judgement of Moyes in this area. It is increasingly difficult to see how this situation can be addressed with the transfer window about to close and the transfer budget spent.
Gerry Western, London  (22/8/06)

Oh dear... That's not how it works on FM is it? Or does FM now stop you from trading players after the window shuts? — Michael

Problems with Forum access

There seems to be an issue with accessing the ToffeeWeb Forum, the link is directly beneath the 'Opinions' header in the box on the left of the page. It says 'This Account Has Been Suspended' and ' Please contact the billing/support department as soon as possible.'

Any ideas guys?
Fredo Corleone, Sicily  (22/8/06)

Looks as though someone's not paid their bill for hosting? — Colm

Our Garry's made off with the Membership subs morelike! — Michael

Aj's Profile on TW

"After not scoring in pre-season, Andy Johnson delivered the goods when it mattered, with a nice goal 156 mins into his debut against Watford."

Lads, I know the game was shit, and time did drag - but surely it wasn't 156 mins into the game before Aj scored his 1st (of many to come) goals!
Welsh Wayne, Bangor  (22/8/06)

I suspect that error has the grubby typo ridden fingers of the TW Editor responsible. Shudda gon to Specsavers! ;-) - Colm

Wah-hay, Tony Marsh!

Yep, so we were pushed by the mighty Watford, and now that means we're going to be in a relegation dogfight!! Hmmm...

Seeing as we were the only team to actually defeat a promoted side, it seems a bit tenous to say the least. Can I just repeat for Tony's sake, in case he hasn't accepted it yet, we won! We had to scrap, and didn't play a lot of football, not many teams will against the promoted sides.

Let's wait and see how we fare against a competent established Premier team who are willing to trade punches. If we scrap another three points off Blackburn, I suppose that further proves we are in trouble? I'm more interested to see how we do against Tottenham to assess our credentials. Did he want us to play them off the park, like Liverpool did Sheffield United?(sarcasm) Are they now likely to be our relegation rivals now that they were also outplayed for large parts of the game against a promoted team?

He was humorous last season, in a village idiot kind of way, but he is getting soooooo tiresome. Micheal, Lyndon, Colm etc did he send an opinion when we were mauled by Arsenal on the opening day the season before last, if so can you re-print for the amusement of myself and similiar thinking fans!
John Prior, Liverpool  (22/8/06)

No... but I do remember my reaction to that game at the time, which makes interesting reading considering what went on to happen by the end of that season, and all the things that went wrong again last season. [This is also for the twat — and you know exactly who you are, "Everton Blue" — who wrote in some abusive shite I instantly binned. I dare YOU to read it!] — Michael

One step at a time

As a lifelong Blue from Dublin — only twice to Goodison unfortunately, back in late 70s (plus once in Dublin in the ultimately successful Cup Winners Cup campaign), I eagerly tuned in at 0100 yesterday morning to see the highlights courtesy of my newly purchased Everton TV subscription.

A quick word on Everton TV - I turned the sound down - who is that guy? Honestly...

As for the game, 3 points are very welcome. But we still have some work to do. It was alarming to see how many times Watford strikers had time to collect, turn, advance and strike... on another day they could have had 4! Why do we back off so??

As for us going forward, we need a spark of creativity — Osman might fit the bill here. As a striker, Beattie is not too convincing - when will he ever be fit? Johnson looks like a scorcher — I look forward to seeing him versus Hyppia and Carragher/Agger...

All in all, 6/10 (because we got the 3 points) It could so easily have been worse. But let's try and play our own game in the way that we like it — get the most out of Johnson. If I were Moyes, I'd pencil Beattie in for some extra attention — get him sharp! Come on the Blues!
Lorcan Walsh, Copenhagen  (22/8/06)

I wonder if Beattie has a Duncan-like complaint (don't laff!) that inhibits his playing style? — Michael

Tony Marsh Comment

Tony Marsh claims: "Two seasons on the trot now Moyes has spent big bucks on a centre-half and not used them." That has to be the most ridiculous comment I have read all year. Just because Lescott didn't start the first game of the season doesn't mean he's another Krøldrup. Talk about jumping the gun.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (22/8/06)

Worried

What worried me about Saturday’s game was that it was just the same. Just the same old indecisive outcome we’ve become increasingly used to. What should have been an exhilarating start to a new era instead served up the same type of turgid game and display we have seen all too often before.

Watford, with all due respect (and they did themselves proud) must be favourites for the drop and therefore one of the easiest games we will have all season. And what happened? We got a deflected (though well worked) goal, but instead of going on to dominate and score again we were pushed back and hanging on for most of the second half. Watford should have equalised, were denied a blatant penalty and then we were awarded one when it was clear it was not. That turned out to be the winner, as Watford got a deserved (once again deflected) consolation goal. Not the stuff of heroes I’m afraid.

The TV highlights available at Everton TV on the official website provide probably the best summary of the game available (if you weren’t at the match). For me, there were some disturbing aspects of our play:

  • Alan Stubbs, usually so dependable, had a nightmare from what I could see, with the number of times he was beaten in aerial challenges or simply became disorientated to the ball, and of course his blatant hand ball — what was he thinking?
  • Tim Howard looked jittery and that is not what we need after Wright’s panicky performances last season (oh for a Southall!)
  • The defence generally was unsure with players almost knocking each other over and at times standing watching like disinterested spectators
  • The midfield were no better than Watford’s, who dominated the second half by winning the battle in this area
At the end of the match when Sky showed the players milling around after the final whistle you would have thought we had lost with the looks on the faces of Arteta and Johnson and they had both scored! And, whatever positive spin was put on the game by the manager and players, it was clear for all to see that this was not a good performance.

On the positive side, Johnson looked dangerous every time he got the ball or any time he was involved and he should score goals. We got off to a winning start. We have a big squad of decent players and should not be in any danger! But we want and deserve more and a big improvement is needed if we are not to endure more of the same again this season.

Early season games can sometimes be a bit misleading. Let’s hope this was the case on Saturday and we are not as dull as we looked! Two away games at Blackburn and Tottenham over the next few days will tell us more. For me optimism has been replaced by prayer!
Martin Downey, Belfast  (22/8/06)

Thanks for those comments, Martin. Although the overall theme is the same as most others who took time to comment on the match itself (and not the response of other fans), you noted some new things there. If we can get anything out of the next two games, we will be doing very well. — Michael

Mascots

I was unaware of the different types of mascot and I am pleased to note the position with regard to non-corporate mascots. A case of not always believing what you read in which case I should properly be raising the issue with the Observer — a paper I have taken for many years on the basis of its reputation for honest reporting.
Simon Woolfenden, Winchester  (22/8/06)

A pity they have besmirched our good name; my paper of choice too... it only takes one journalist to be a little bit lazy. Apparently, Mr Ian Ross has taken up the issue with them. As a once-time Guradian journalist, perhaps he may sway them into an appology? Although the damage has been done. — Michael

Retail Partners

After reading an earlier letter, I had a look in the shop window of our 'Retail Partners' in Clayton Square. The previous letter was spot on — it makes us look pathetic. The main window display contains a large cardboard cut-out of Steven Gerrard, side by side with a Liverpool shirt. An Everton scarf and bobble have been placed like an embarrassing old aunt in the corner.

WTF is meant by 'Retail Partnership' anyway? Seems like just another way of making us look small. What sort of 'Partner' promotes your greatest business rival? The only justification would be if the JD Sports shop was seriously undercutting the Liverpoool FC shop next door so that it went bust. But it ain't.

Why is our club so clueless?
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (22/8/06)

Blue Issues

People are talking about formations; reading between the lines I feel that Beattie will be dropped tommorow in favour of McFadden in a 4-5-1 formation, with McFadden being part midfielder part attacker. If he has a good game, McFadden can spin off players and move across the forward line.

The real weapon is Johnson, as when the ball went to his feet on saturday he either retained possession or turned his man, and for that reason I think he'll work up front on his own as he has variety, furthermore, any attempts to link will be on the deck and anything OTT will be to set him down the flanks or behind Blackburn's defence.

As for the piece in the Observer, I often find that broadsheet coverage of games outside of the elite Premiership clubs can be a bit lazy sometimes but generally veers far closer to the truth than the tabloids because of the lack of a need to sensationalise, but there are the odd exceptions...

This particular piece was really lazy, especially considering the demographics involved (we're hardly the prawn sandwich brigade now are we?!) with EFC. That's not to say I'm necessarily part of that demographic (or any) but I do know that a lot of Everton fans struggle with match prices as it is, so charging the earth for the priveledge of being a mascot would be appealing to a very elite or desperate band of Evertonians to say the least! If that were the case then I'm sure the People's Paper (Hhhmmm! Sorry, the Liverpool Echo) would have staged a campaign against The People's Club for their scandalous treatment of the people of Merseyside (or some such thing), then the journalist working for the Observer wouldn't have need to research us at all... Oh shit, he didn't anyway. I wonder if Ian Ross has been on the blower to the Observer demanding they change their piece or apologise? Or has he just put something on the website and in the local press? We'll see...

Anyway, here's to hoping Unsworth is right about the Blackburn game. I'd rather have Rhino doing an article than Andy Gray. Although Gray was a far better player, I can't get that SKY HD advert with his Champions League commentary from the Liverpool vs Olympiakos CL game (Kop in chorus in the background — bit like the nails down the blackboard thing) out of my head. Not only do I have to struggle for the remote to turn over but I can't get over the sheer ecstacey on display! Would rather read the thoughts of Rhino, who took an opportunity to sit in the Street End during a recent derby, although we had sold him. Limited player but obviously a good bloke.

Anyway, my two pence worth, off to work! COYB!!
John McCabe, Wavertree  (22/8/06)

Bosnar...

Regarding Bosnar signing for the Dutch premier league side... he said he never got the chance to shine in the Premier League due to injuries? Well after he was released by Everton he was at trial at Norwegian side Valerenga - and they said he wasn't good enough for them either, so he must be World Class!!
Anders Iversen, Norway  (22/8/06)

As we saw with Francis Jeffers, a player's view of themselves and a manager's view don't necessarilly coincide! — Michael

Going, going, gone for a Cyprus pound!!

Well, it didn't take long did it? We all knew that Tony Marsh would raise his ugly head for a good old moan before long, although I must admit, I expected it on Saturday night!! Give the lads a chance Tony. You never know you might enjoy being optimistic, you pessimistic old sod. I'll make a deal with you... if the lads do well this season you give them some grudging praise. If they don't, I'll join your gang of moaners and we will all sod off to Cyprus — although I prefer the Greek Islands myself.
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (22/8/06)

I'm feeling very depressed

I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed. Tony Marsh, why do you have to write such depressing shite. I'm going to have to call you Marvin after the depressed robot from Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy.

"Oh what's the point in supporting Everton, I mean we are only going to be relegated." — Really, Tony I think you should write something more constructive before ToffeeWeb loses its readers in a mass suicide.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (22/8/06)

Everton Games Live

I read with interest from your TV coverage link that Everton games are screened live on certain foreign channels. Could someone please advise on the easiest/cheapest way of doing this? I'm not keen on buying expensive satellite kit so wondered if live feeds were an option on the PC? (if so, how? from whom?)
Ting Tong, Southport  (21/8/06)

Beattie or Johnson

For the game against Blackburn, I suspect Moyes will revert to his favoured 4-5-1 for away games. If so, he would have to leave out Beattie or Johnson, but who would it be? Unless he plays Johnson as a wide midfielder with Beattie as a lone striker. If I had to choose, I would leave Beattie on the bench and play Johnson as the lone striker due to his electric pace. Given a real preference, I would play 4-4-2 and play them both, but I don't think Moyes will do that.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (22/8/06)

Commentary

Has anybody a web-radio commentary link that works for those of us out of the UK? Toffeeweb used to publish one last season. Any help would be appreciated.
Kevin Kerwin, Bulgaria  (22/8/06)

I think you will find the system has now changed. You need to subscribe to Everton TV. Sorry... but just think what all those little subscriptions from each of 500,000 dispersed Everton fans could do for the club... That's £20M right there! — Michael

Mascots

I was disturbed to read in last Sunday's Observer the prices charged by Everton for kids to be mascots (normal games over £1,500 with games against Liverpool, Man Utd costing over £3,500). How can Everton claim to be the ''People's Club'' given such charges?
Simon Woolfenden, Winchester  (22/8/06)

How tiresome. We've been through all this before and now this distorted nonsense gets to a national newspaper and everyone is up in arms agian. The problem is it's true... but it's also not true. Here are the facts:

  1. Everton DO NOT CHARGE for the normal matchday mascot, who is an under-16 drawn from the season-ticket holders/Evertonia
  2. Everton DO CHARGE for the so-called Corporate Mascot, and they charge a lot.
In a perfect demonstration of lazy journalism this Observer article went to great pains with (2) above and completely failed to report (1). Go figure. — Michael

There May Be Trouble Ahead

Well, after Saturday's poor showing against a very limited Watford side, it ain't looking good. Like I have been saying all summer, nothing has changed and won't change because Moyes can't change.

Although I am thankful for the three points that will be very much needed in our relegation dogfight later this year, Watford didn't deserve to lose and that's a fact. All of last season's bad traits were on show again and at times it was painfull to watch. Watford didn't even get automatic promotion to the top flight yet at times they looked the side that has been there all these years.

If we get any points from our next three games it will be a miracle. All you dreamers out there get ready for a relegation traumafest and forget all about European places being up for grabs. If you can't see the direction we are heading then you are daffter than I thought. By the way, six players out of a possible ten I mentioned got to play Saturday and like I said there would be no Yobo, Lesscott partnership.

Two seasons on the trot now Moyes has spent big bucks on a centre half and not used them. What the fuck is the man playing at? I know one thing he isn't playing at and that's decent football. If Dicky Dodd is happy with that sort of showing then he really is a grade A gobshite. It was Awful.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (22/8/06)

Oi! Stop calling people names on here, or your entertaining wind-ups will not get published, no matter how much I might personally agree with the general trust!

TV coverage

After trying and failing to sign up to Everton TV 'cos they only accept credit cards (which I don't have) as payment, not debit cards (which I do have, another missed marketing opportunity?) I'm going to have to settle for seeing Everton only 6 times a year on local Korean telly.

Here they only broadcast matches that involve Korean players so thankfully this year with the addition of Reading to the Premiership I've 6 chances to see Everton as opposed to the 4 of last season.

Of course the commentary is in Korean but it's better than nothing — unless Davie can be persuaded to sign a Korean midfielder before the transfer window closes and make me a happy man.
Eric Myles, Seoul, Korea  (22/8/06)

Err.. My debit cards are both Visa cards and will work just like credit cards as far as the purveyor of goods and services is concerned... In fact, I use one to pay for my Everton TV subscription. Hope this helps! — Michael

Paper talk??

So long as the story is to be believed, it would be great to see Moyes successfully sue Rooney for the comments made in his biography. For Rooney to blame his Everton misgivings on a man who protected him so wonderfully and bravely for the two years he spent in the first team is quite simply incredibly disrespectful.

Sadly, one can only assume Rooney has been ill advised yet again, encouraged to blame Moyes in the hope that Evertonians would feel sympathy, making it easier for Rooney to spend more time in the city we all know he dearly loves.

I for one remember Rooney celebrating and acknowledging Moyes after scoring at Goodison on more than the odd occasion. When scoring infront of thousands you often seek the reaction of those you respect or love, whether it be the fans, family or the manager. Moyes regularly spoke warmly and sometimes even lovingly of Rooney, a player he clearly admired not only for his talent, but for his work ethic also.

Which is why Rooney's comments come as such surprise not only to myself but clearly to David Moyes too. David Moyes is not a bitter man, neither is he jealous or twisted. If he was, surely many others would have left in equally turbulant circumstances, but they have not. His long term plans for Everton remain more than possible, but a high profile court case may also wait in the wings for a manager many Evertonians — including myself — still firmly believe in.
Mark Hansen, St Asaph  (21/8/06)

Colm!?!

Christ! *MUST* I go through this every single time the subject is aired?! ;-) - Colm

The Clock's Ticking.....

Sitting watching Everton on Saturday, it dawned on me pretty quickly that not an awful lot had changed in the close season. New personnel, one with genuine pace and and eye for goal, but sadly no real change in playing style and a real inability to simply keep possesion of the ball.

Ironically, Moyes has put together a number of talented individuls: Howard, Yobo, Cahill, Johnson, Arteta, and yes Beattie given the right service! But that's just it: they play like individuls with no semblance of balance or cohesion. With another 37 league games to play, I hate to say it, but the writing looks to be on the wall. Whilst Everton looked distinctly second best in the second half against Watford, we were simply unable to weather the physical approach of a willing but very limited Watford side. Instead, we looked hapless in mid-field, with players constantly changing position looking for the magic formulae. I'm sorry but good sides HAVE to keep possesion to try and dominate their opponents and give their own defence a breather from time to time. I really wonder whether Moyes has the technical competance needed to instruct his side to play that way. On the subject of Beattie, clearly a number of Evertonian's have already made their mind up about him, but you try and play as an out and out centre forward in this Moyes side where the distinct lack of crosses or incisive wing play is hardly in evidence. Most of the time he plays with his back to goal as the ball is humped up by the full-backs as was the case on Saturday where he was simply out-muscled by the giant Watford centre backs. So what of the future for Everton this season? It would take a massive change in tatics and playing style for Everton to be effective utilising the current players who are available. The lack of a physical presence in mid-field means we will be struggling in many games to simply compete and in turn, few chances for our forwrds who will become more and more isolated. Will Davey look to carry on next season, I doubt it, in his own words this is now 'his team' and there can be no excuses. Over to you Mr Moyes.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (21/8/06)

Unfinished Spine

We all read so much about Moyes's buys giving strength to the spine of the team: Howard, Lescott, Johnson... I believe they will significantly improve the team in time, but the one missing piece of the jigsaw is the centre-midfield position. Players such as Osman, Davies, Van der Meyde, Arteta, and even Cahill to some extent need the ball to be given to them — they are not ball-winners or leaders and cannot turn games for you when you're under the cosh.

We have two ball winners — Carsley and Neville, who both are excellent at getting the ball but very poor at giving it to a blue shirt, and don't have the will to drive us forward. We need someone who wins, distributes and commands the team — they don't grow on trees. I only know one who's around and seems to be available at the moment and that's Hargreaves who's United bound.

Chelsea have Makele/Essen; Arsenal have Gilberto/Fabrecas; Man Utd have Hargreaves/Carrick; Liverpool have Gerrard — all of these get it and give it to the flair players. What could Arteta, Osman etc do with with any of these players behind them? Any one any ideas on who the missing jig-saw piece should be?

In the meantime, thank god we seem to have a player who will at least turn the upfield punt into some possible goal scoring attempt.
Mike Oates, West Sussex  (21/8/06)

Saturday

Honest to God - I really do wonder why most of you bother to go the game. If you can watch a match we won and only take the negatives there must be very little joy in your lives.

Yes, we weren't great, yes the midfield was poor but let's focus on the good stuff - AJ was good, Stubbs played really well, Yobo didn't give a goal away, Howard was assured and made saves when asked, and Simon Davies is starting to look like the player Moyes believes he is.

If all you want to do is moan your arse off then I suggest you try spending your weekends trying to get to Heathrow airport. Now that's fuckin' shite.
Andy Fearns, Kirkby  (21/8/06)

Moyes due some little credit?

Stubbs finished? Not yet! Stubbs slow? Definitely.

Maybe Moyes is due some little credit for selecting Stubbs on Saturday. With Watford's direct style it was obvious that Watford were going to go Route One — even their goalkeeper was launching it!

So do you let fast forwards get round the back of you or do you sit deep? Well, it's not an enjoyable watch but we're actually quite reasonable at defending deep (Blackburn last year, springs to mind). So go for an ugly win or risk an attractive defeat on the opening day of the season? I know what I wanted.

The good football can come later on and yes, hopefully, Lescott will replace Stubbs in due course.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (21/8/06)

Reality Check

Having watched the game v Watford 'live' on tele, the following seemed obvious to me:

  • We started the game relatively slowly and lacking confidence, in the face of Watford's muscular, aggressive and fired up approach.
  • After the initial exchanges, we settled down more and started to outclass Watford and expose them for the 'Wimbledon on speed' freaks they are.
  • AJ's strike at the end of an incisive and quality move was the beakthrough we deserved and settled us down further where we entered a purple patch of about 20 mins when, on another day, we would have bagged three and put the game to bed.
  • As is symptomatic of a team that is playing it's first competitive game of the season and seeking to build confidence, having not got the second, we attempted to protect what we had.
  • We suffered from the blow of losing Valante (which would not normally have been such a problem where it not for Neville, Pistone being unavailable to fill in), which further unbalanced the team as Lescott is not a full back.
  • Stubbs looked off the pace (and lacking pace) and we sit too deep because of this, stopping us from pressing teams further up the pitch. This will not be a problem once Lescott beds in and forms a partnership with Yobo.
  • Moyes would also doubtless love to have a Parker or Sissoko (as he tried to sign them) and it seems obvious that such a player would improve us. However, EFC is not a money tree and our greatest need was a quality striker (now secured) and therefore we need to be realistic about what we can afford just now.
  • As Osman and Van der Meyde were not available for Saturday, but are on the way back soon, there are more creative resources available in future as required.
  • With Neville and Carsley not too long in the tooth yet (and dedicated professionals that have looked after themselves) we do have holding midfielder options that are not too shabby.
  • With like likes of Anichebe, Johnson and Beattie (not to mention lesser lights McFadden and Vaughan) there is plenty to suggest there are more goals in us.
  • Goals breed confidence and confidence breeds quality football.
In the light of all this, it is not beyond reality to expect a relatively sustainable uptick in both results and performances. Accordingly, I say the glass is more half full than half empty!
Pete Moore, Singapore  (21/8/06)

Daft Expectations

After the money spent pre-season, I'd have liked to think that a top-eight finish and semi-finals in at least one of the cups would have been enough to keep me happy this season. A cup would be brilliant.

But from what I've seen in highlights and read on TW, it seems that nothing has changed since last season. Yes, only one game has been played but from what I've read here we might as well get used to shit football and hopes of scraping out 1-0 wins all season again.

Hope this changes - someone get a hold of Moyes and tell him to have a look on here! Everyone who was at the game has said the same thing, why he can't see what's wrong is beyond me.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (21/8/06)

Big Ben

After watching Blackburn's inept performance at the weekend I have to say I'm pretty confident of us taking at least a point from Ewood park.

One player I will be watching out for with a keen interest is Benni McCarthy, a player we almost signed a year or two back. Looking at his role in Blackburn's defeat, he looked a bit elusive although, as with all foreign players, maybe it will take him a bit of time to adjust to the English league's "unique" style (he'll have to be quick mind, as he's around 30 already).

I remember being disapointed when I first heard FC Porto had pulled the plug last minute as he was, at the time, a pacey, Champions League scoring player (a la Radzinski). Looking retroactively though, it may have been a blessing in disguise and saved us a few precious millions. He looks nowhere near a worthy replacement to Bellamy and I'd rather have AJ without a second thought. Just hope I'm not eating my words if he plays a blinder on Wednesday...
Paul Chilli, Liverpool  (21/8/06)

It's gonna be a long hard season

Firstly, kudos for Everton for getting three points on the first game of the season. But my word they were poor in the second half!

As for claims that Stubbs is finished, I feel that's a little harsh. What he lacks in pace, he makes up for in his head (reading the game). If anyone is finished it's Lescott! I warned people that Ferrari was the better option and now it has come to pass that I was indeed right. Centre or middle, he looks very dodgy.

Overall, the game on Saturday has shown that not much has changed since last season. Aimless long balls, Cahill is simply brainless in midfield, Davies is useless, Beattie fat and unfit and Neville couldn't pass water. I'm happy we beat those Watford scum but I fear its going to be a long season ahead.
Luq Yus, London  (21/8/06)

Everton on the counter attack

With Johnson now giving us real pace up front, we will be a dangerous side for hitting teams on the counter attack. One occasion on Satuday had Johnson scampering down the wing at a rapid rate of knots on the counter, with the Watford defenders struggling to keep up. To my delight his cross was almost met by a blue boot, as Everton midfielders and Beattie had streamed out in his support and were in the box to meet his cross. Tactics for Wednesday night maybe? By the way, are Neil and Todd banned for Wednesday night?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (21/8/06)

I believ they should be: suspensions are now from the next game...

Stop your crying

I can't believe some of the comments in the mail bag after the Watford game. We could have gone the same way as Middlesborough or Liverpool but we came through a hard game with all three points. All this doom and gloom is doing my head in.

Why do we feel the need to moan and moan about the way we played? It was our first game of the season in front of our own fans. The players would have been nervous and just settling in. Don't go on about friendlies being the time to settle in because it's nowhere near the same thing. If we play as bad as that for the next three or four games, then you can start crying and getting on their backs. We all want to see attractive football but let's give them some time.

I think there were quite a few plus points on Saturday that we can look forward to seeing more of but the game was crying out for Osman to take the piss a bit. Here's looking to the rest of the season with a bit of optimism. Lets get behind them and stop all this moaning. COME ON THE TOFFEES.
Jamie Barlow, Manchester England  (21/8/06)

Ah quit moanin' yerself, FFS! We scraped through a bad game against tough/poor opposition very luckily. Either you can see that or you can't. Next game is on Wednesday... — Michael

Watford

Ok, not a great performance, in fact it was generally disappointing, but my main concern was the apparent lack of fitness of the team, rather than the ability of the players.

But on the plus side, Andy Johnson looked good, the players will get fitter, the new players will start to gell with the rest of the team with each passing game, and we created a few decent chances before we decided we'd won it so we could sit back and keep a clean sheet (D'oh!).

So, whilst I'm not ecstatic, I'm still hopeful of improvement over the season, and hopefully of a trip around Europe next season (although preferably longer than our last campaign).

Yes, it was only Watford... but last season we were turned over by "Only Wigan". Keep ya chins up ToffeeWeb, you never know, we might just get better.
Sack The Juggler, Douglas, IOM  (21/8/06)

That's what this is really all about, Sack: seeing us get better. If you accept the current as good enough, then where is the need for us to get any better! — Michael

Saturday revisited

Saturaday's game allowed us to see both the good and bad in Everton. The first half performance was, I felt, very encouraging and we produced some good, attacking football. Johnson and Beattie looked good and the defence looked pretty steady, as did Tim Howard in goal (and to whoever said Howard was indecisive when Stubbs gave away a needless corner, he wasn't indecisive, he just decided not to come for it, there is a difference).

However, the second half was pretty dire and seemed to bypass our entire midfield. I'm not yet sure whether to blame this on the fact that Watford spent the whole second half thumping the ball over our midfield (where have I seen those tactics before?) or whether to blame the lack of quality in our midfield. Davies and Carsley should be nowhere near our first team as they have little effect on games and, to be honest, are just not good enough and never will be. Arteta and Cahill are great players but cannot do the job of four men between them. The sooner Hibbert is back and Neville is restored to midfield the better.

Another thing that I noticed was that the loss of Nuno Valente seemed to change the game and our whole team seemed to lose its shape. This is nothing new with Everton and is a worry. In all of Moyes's seasons in charge of Everton, the majority of our points have been accrued in 'mini-runs', i.e. the first half of 04-05 and the run from January to March last season. In most of these instances the team and tactics have remained constant; however, as soon as we lose a player or a team counteracts our tactics, we become clueless and it seems to take us far too long to regroup, or to think of a Plan B. This is exactly what happened on Saturday and is why many fans approach any temporary success with much reservation.

Nonetheless, we did win the game and that is all that matters, for now. I would gladly take another 37 games like that if it meant us emulating our success of two years ago. As the old cliché goes, 'it's not how, but how many'. I think it is perfectly reasonable to accept that we need to learn to win before we learn to win pretty, though I do think our full-strength first team would be capable of some entertaing fare. My personal first team line up would be:

Howard
Hibbert, Yobo, Lescott, Valente
Arteta, Cahill, Neville, Van der Meyde
Beattie, Johnson
Roll on Wednesday and another hard-fought 3 points!
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (21/8/06)

Thanks for those good comments on the game, Sean!

London Drubings

Spurs have always beaten Everton at White Hart Lane. Its got nothing to do with how the team plays under David Moyes. You have to go back over 20 years for Everton's last victory there. I am expecting Everton to stay true to form and lose most of the London games. I don't know why that is, maybe the players get intimated knowing they are down south amongst us tough-as-nails southerners?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (21/8/06)

Your Old Kit Bag

I haven't bothered with the mailbag since the marvellously absurd discussion: "Who are the best Evertonians? Old or Young? You Decide!" I figured our early summer successes in the transfer market had left the usual tittle-tattle merchants bereft of any believable gossip to peddle and their resulting boredom would be the fuel for further surrealistic journeys into meaningless, loosely Everton related, waffle - best avoided by those wishing to stay sane.

So this morning, it was with some eagerness that I delved into the bulging sack of opinions, keen to hear from fellow blues, hoping that a goal from our new hero and some good fortune for a change would have put a bright and positive outlook on the usually sour faces of the ToffeeWeb mailbaggers; but oh dear, how wrong I was.

I was soon disavowed of any fanciful notion that Evertonians may be allowed a little smile after avoiding an opening day defeat for the first time in five years. And not only did we avoid defeat we actually won and scored two (yes two!) goals in one match and hit the woodwork twice.

No smiles here unfortunately. Instead of breezy blue sky tales of hope and happiness I was treated to dour bitterness: Davies is shit; Stubbs is shit; Moyes is shit; Howard's shit; they’re all fuckin shit!

For God's sake people - give it a rest. Give the team a chance. It's the first day of the season for crying out loud. What will it take to make you guys happy? Last year all we needed was a pacey striker who scored goals for fun. We've got one now. Is that good enough? No. Now, it seems, we need better midfielders, better defenders, a better stadium, better sponsors, better TVs, meatier half-time pies and wives and girlfriends with bigger breasts and slimmer arses. The reality is we're not going to get these things and even if we did they still wouldn't be good enough.

In reality, the best we can hope for is to come to work on a Monday morning looking down on the shite below. And that's what we have. So enjoy it whilst it lasts. It won't be long until even this little ray of blue sunshine is cruelly snatched away from us.
Winston Hale, London  (21/8/06)

It's funny how all the people you berate spent their time talking about the game and how we played, whereas you spent your entire effort berating them for sharing their peceptions of the game. Thanks for that, Winston. — Michael

Enjoy It!

I am trying to enjoy the win against Watford as much as possible because next we a have difficult away game to Blackburn and then the dreaded White Hart Lane drubbing against Spurs (our bogey team). And after that it's Liverpool.

I fear we won't get much (if anything) out of those games. Might as well enjoy the Watford win as much as possible because it could be a while before the next victory.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (21/8/06)

Is this your form of realism, Dutch? Predicting the results and then reacting to your own predictions??? The game is played on the field, not in your head, not in the form books, not in the history records. The point of playing each game is to try to score, to try to get a result, to try to win. Even your own hero Moyes says he wants to win every game. Wouldn't it be nice if even some of his most ardent supporters believed that too, instead of leaving it to us 'pessimists'? Or may be you've finally figured out that the way we play our football limits our likelihood of doing those three key things. What's the next logical step then, Dutch? Think about it... — Michael

Formation

I've been reading about all the weaknesses of Everton's midfield and what they can and can't do. After watching Saturday's match, I think Moyes has to change something. I think the best formation would be three at the back (Yobo, Lescott, Valente) with a five-man midfield (Arteta, Carsley, Neville, Osman, Davies), Johnson and Beattie up front. This would allow us to have two holding midfielders but also allow Cahill and the likes to go forward. Just an observation on what would serve the midfield best and also provide the service to the strikers.
Big Dunc Stokey, Stoke  (21/8/06)

Can't see how this provides any better service, to be honest. Did someone say that Davies was better playing inside than on the wing? — Michael

A Win Is A Win

Last season it was November before Everton recorded a home victory. This term we win on the opening day and still Michael and his pesimistic gang aren't satisfied. A win is a win. They always say the mark of a good side is when you can play badly and win.

If this is how you react when Everton win I don't think I'll visit these pages after a loss. Stop moaning and try to enjoy the feeling of Everton winning.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (21/8/06)

Paul, everyone is overjoyed that we won. But for some of us, there's more to football than just winning. We will always talk about the way we played. It's important to us. Sorry, but that's how we were brought up. — Michael

The trouble with Lescott

Believe you me, Everton have a big problem with Lescott! Down here, he's told eveyone who will listen that after two years under Hoddle of being told to play it short and move up to supplement the midfield, he's now having to re-learn the art of 'clearing his lines' and 'staying well back'.

We all know this is Moyes's style but why does he keep signing defenders of a different predilection?
Danny Whiting, Stourbridge  (21/8/06)

Finished

Is it me or does Alan Stubbs look completely finished?
Bobby Dempster , Huyton  (21/8/06)

He's not looked the same since missing a penalty against Club América! ;-) - Colm

The Sueing Game

When I first read the serialisation about Rooney's life (sic), I expected some sort of reaction from Moyes or Everton FC. It has been a while in coming but, in my opinion, something that had to come. If there was no rebuttal to the accsations about Moyes's hand in Rooney's departure, then most, if not all of those reading the article would assume that Moyes was complicit. I wait, with baited breath, the outcome of this saga.

It will all, in the end, come down to lawyers and the truth will still be somewhere between here and there. I just hope that when Moyes gets his winning cheque, he spends it wisely (if he wins at all)!!
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (21/8/06)

Where's Colm when ya need him the most!

What a beautiful morning...

in a continuous frantic effort to keep up with the football world and particularly my beloved Everton, the routine of this household is late evening and god awful early hours, Computer, TV, back to computer then TV again. When the Sheffield United game ended, was it a Kookaburra laugh or a another poor soul of an Evertonian out in the desert or was it me?

Whoops of joy at our result scattered a mob of Roos from the bottom paddock. At 5.30am to catch up on much needed sleep I head to bed. Today I go about my chores, with a warm fuzzy feeling and the world is a better place. I could only be happier had our team won with style... yet a win is a win and far better than a loss. That may upset our football purists but frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn. I like this warm fuzzy feeling and if it's brought about by brilliant play, hard slog, get-stuck-in stuff or jammy results — so be it.

Blackburn is next in line for the mincer. GO LADS!
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (21/8/06)

Singing at the game

Watford fans can go fuck themselves. If they want to hear singing, then go home and watch X-Factor. I can't stand people who moan about us not singing... what do they want, a fucking rendition of "Don't go breaking my heart"?! Fuck off back to your bum-burgling chairman, and he'll give you a song.

I go the game to watch by beloved Everton play a bit of football. Sure: I'll sing with the crowd if I'm in the mood to, not because some arse heads from down south tell me to. I'll guarantee you this, they'll be singing all the way back to The Championship... wankers.
Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (20/8/06)

I thought Elton had severed all ties...? And do they really let you out to watch the games? — Michael

Everton 2 - 1 Watford

Considering newly promoted Reading beat Boro and newly promoted Sheff Utd got a draw with Liverpool, I would suggest Everton beating newly promoted Watford was a fairly decent result. Johnson off the mark, the team scored two goals in the same game, hit the post, hit the crossbar. Three points on the board.

That will do for me.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (20/8/06)

Let's see.. Redaing and Sheffielcd United were at home; Watford playing away... but never mind, eh Dutch. As long as you're happy — and not a word about how it was achieved? Thanks, Dutch, for sparing us the inevitable excuses. — Michael

Lescott?

If Lescott is deemed not ready yet for the Premiership why did he not yesterday? Yes, it was a Premiership game but did Moyes forget who we were playing? Newly promoted Watford! A perfect opportunity to start Yobo and Lescott together was missed!
Danny Hall, York  (20/8/06)

I guess Moyes just doesn't think like you! Hope this helps... — Michael

Tim Howard

Just reading through the last few posts, everyone seems to be slagging off Tim Howard. I thought he had a good game. He was steady, unlike Wright, who is a bag of nerves every game, and made some decent saves. He could do nothing about the Watford goal and I think he'll do OK for us this season.
Rob McFawn, Widnes  (20/8/06)

We all see a different game

Firstly, fair play to Moyes for having the nads to admit to the telly that it wasnt a pen. That's about all I can praise him for, though. For me, Carsley was dreadful, as was Stubbs. Neville found a blue shirt twice all game, and Cahill was still on the beach. Davies tried hard, as did Valente and Yobo. Arteta was everything that I have come to expect of him; we need to keep hold of this lad. Beattie looked OK for the first half-hour and then looked to run out of steam — how come he isn't fit? Howard looked like a very competent keeper, and Johnson showed lots of quality.

What worried me was an apparent lack of fitness compared to a Watford side that were big and aggressive. If they had a striker of note, I fear we could have been embarrassed — if the ball goes across our six-yard area as many times in our next home game we won't be so lucky.

Still, it's three points towards the initial forty, and a home win — but why did such a poor side have us on the back foot so much? And why did we not press on, but sit back on our one-goal lead again???
Adam Baig, Merseyside  (20/8/06)

Sounds like you saw the same game as everyone else! — Michael

We need a ball-winner

After yesterday's performance, I think it's clear we are despertate for a ball-winner in the centre of the park who will put his foot on it and give us some direction. On the plus-side, AJ looked razor-sharp but, to get the best out of him, the likes of Neville need to get over their phobia of playing the ball along the deck.

Oh, and I think moyes played 4-3-3 against Spurs in his first full season in charge with Rooney, Campbell and Rdzinski, back in the day when I actually looked forward to his interviews instead of last seasons 'you can't fault their effort' shite.
Ian Aspinall, South Shields  (20/8/06)

When is a win not a win?

I cannot believe the negativity coming from these pages. We're one game in to the new season, we have three points, and everybody seems down-heartened.

Yes, we wern't great but when were we in the opening day of the season in recent years? Fact is we won — not prettily and not easily — but we won. 100% record so far this season.

Going on previous seasons we usually make an uneasy start but this time we won. Better will come so sit back and enjoy the win for a change.
Steve Coppel, Hampshire  (20/8/06)

We won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won... Happy now? — Michael

Novice Moyes

Hard to believe that Moyes has learned so little about the Premiership since his appointment FOUR seasons ago! Heard him say on Sky that, just like Boothroyd, he still felt a novice in the top division and then read in the Mail that his primary ambition is `to keep Everton in the Premiership`!

I bloody ask you, this man is taking the piss and OUR money big time. Yesterday`s team looked just like all the others he has sent out — lower league, totally devoid of flair and tactical awareness. AJ will soon get pissed off with chasing long punts and if Lescott is no improvement on Stubbs, as with Krøldrup, Moyes has wasted another big wedge.

As for Howard, EVERY Man Utd fan will tell you he`s a flapping fool out of the same mould as Wright. How ANYONE could see optimism in exactly the same shite we have been watching under Moyes defeats me-but perhaps at 28 I`ve become an `old` too soon!
Andrew  Robinson, Golborne  (20/8/06)

Three strikers?

Davies has got good distribution, but he's more in the Beckham mould than the Lennon mould. He doesn't run at defenders or try to get down to the touchline.

We could accommodate this by playing three strikers: Beattie as the main target man, and Johnson and Anichebe peeling off to the right and left with little breaks to give us extra width. On Saturday's performance, Johnson would be perfect in this role, and he could swap flanks with no trouble at all.

So (discounting injuries) the team could look something like this:

Howard
Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Valente
Carsley
Davies, Arteta
Anichebe, Johnson
Beattie
As a rule, I enjoy seeing teams play with traditional wide men, and I would like to see Osman back as soon as possible, but this looks to me like a line-up that could give some defences nightmares.
Nick Wall, New Brighton  (20/8/06)

Well, at least that's a constructive idea... far too abventurous for our Mr Moyes, I fear. Has he EVER played three attackers? Not from the start of a game, I'm sure, although there have been rare occasions when we have been chasing the game... — Michael

Micheal's opinion.

As all the rest of us are knitwits, fools blighted by blind optimism, while you are the only one intelligent and right*, can we know what the Great Sir Micheal thinks of yesterday's match and what is our best midfield should be? Arteta should be on the wings or in the middle?

*Sarcasm intended

Malcolm McDonald, Liverpool  (20/8/06)

I didn't even go, mate. And to be honest, I'm actually glad I didn't. From the reports below, same old indeed, and I would have been tearing my hair out, result notwithstanding. — Michael

Same old

I didn't re-new my season ticket this year but, with the new signings we've made, curiosity got the better of me and I bought a match ticket for yesterday’s game against Watford.

Generally, I thought it was a poor game and a poor performance from Everton. With the exception of AJ, Neville and to some extent Beattie and Carsley; it was the same dour brand of football that Moyes served up last season. There were flashes of good play in the first half, in particular the first goal and the build up to it; however, this was outweighed by us being camped in our own half for most of the 90 mins.

On this showing, I think we are desperate for an aggressive midfielder who can pass (who isn’t?). Cahill was missing for most of the game and Arteta is wasted on the wing.
Matt Geraghty, Warrington  (20/8/06)

Song anyone?

Just home from the game and delighted to have finally got three points on the first day. But, sitting in the Park End yesterday, I couldn't help feel slightly embarrased as the Watford fans taunted us for a song while we all sat on our hands even thiugh we were winning. A snippet of what was sang at us:

  • "You're supposed to be at home"
  • "Shall we sing a song for you?"
  • "You only sing when you're winning" (and we barely did)
  • "Ssshhhh"
  • "Your support is fucking shit"
  • "One song,we only want one song"
I have to say it was pretty embarrassing. I understand as Evertonians we are not just content, as Watford are, to be in the Premiership and would have liked to see some better football than the drivel we were treated to in the second half... But for fuck's sake can we try to get behind the team and create a bit of atmosphere???

Last season, one of the few games we actually got behind the team and created an atmosphere was the Blackburn game and the team ground out a great result that day. It seemed everyone in the place wanted to sing but no-one wanted to start it. Something needs to be done to bring some athmosphere back to Goodison as year on year its getting worse. COYB.
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk, Ireland  (20/8/06)

We have this one pop up now and again. I think the key issue is your refernce to the Blacknurn game, when events ON THE FIELD agitated and then inspired the crowd, and that was at least in part reflected back to the team in terms of the atmosphere. It has to start there... and even AJ's goal didn't seem enough. The rest of the game sounded so awful, I can fully understand why we didn't want to sing. Mr Moyes, however, thought the fans and the atmosphere were great:

The Everton chief was pleased with the victory over Watford and has paid tribute to the Goodison fans for providing such vehement backing in a game which the manager admitted was below par.

He added: "There was a great atmosphere inside Goodison, there was a real sense of belief and that the fans think we have got a chance this year. That was great to see and the supporters stayed with us because it wasn't the best of games at times but getting the points was important and we did that. We are pleased with how things have gone and we will keep at it."
Perhaps it all depends where you sit? — Michael

Arteta wasted

In a four-man midfield, Mikel should be our playmaker in the centre, with Carsley in a holding position breaking things up, as he was against Watford. Sorry, but Cahill is not suited in the centre-midfield position. We need someone with the vision to set up the the front runners (ie, Johnson) and there is no one better than Mikel Arteta in that role. As for Cahill, maybe him or Osman for the right side of midfield...
Colin Malone, Wirral  (20/8/06)

Boo boys

Michael. I respect your right to let a player know that he hasn't played well but feel that the vitriol that regularly gets directed at certain Everton players cannot improve confidence and therefore performance. I remember Kevin Sheedy's early days when he used to get terrible abuse from the Enclosure — merely because he came from the dark side. Thank God, his class shone through in the end otherwise our history might have been somewhat different.

The point I was trying to make is that I don't see how such abuse can ever help. The dividing line between winning and losing a match in the Premiership quite often hinges on confidence. By all means, let a player know if he didn't chase a ball, close a player down or pulled out of a tackle but if he's not playing well, yet clearly trying, give him some encouragement.

I know I'm not going to change the majority EFC crowd who adhere to the principle that I've paid my money, so I've every right to hurl abuse if I want to. But if Davies is dropped and Weir, Wright, Pistone and Kilbane are not in the team, who'll be the next target? Howard for being "indecisive", based on one incident yesterday?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (20/8/06)

The long, and even longer ball

I watched in astonishment, from the upper Gwladys Street stand, as Everton pumped long ball after long ball up to our forwards. After 10 minutes, it was obvious that this tactic wasn't working. Yet we still persisted with it for the entire 90 minutes. The Watford centre backs lapped it up, and Beattie never got a look in.

Question is, if I can see it , why can't Moyes? Maybe he needs to sit in Street end, instead of the dugout.
Jimmy Fazackerley, Worcester  (20/8/06)

Why indeed? Limited tactical nous? Is that any excuse??? — Michael

Progress of sorts

Gauging from the highlights of the game last night, early indications suggest that Johnson will be a major threat and clearly gives us a cutting edge.

In contrast to last season, where we had much of the possession without really troubling the opposition, we now have the situation where we appear unable to get hold of the ball — hence the desperate need to bring in a holding midfield player. Our all round performance would benefit hugely. We have a good crop of midfield players currently; however, they all like to get forward and there is simply no one holding it together, hence there is no flow to our game in the middle of the park.

Davies and Cahill are the main casualties of the current system as both appear to be sharing this role which suits neither. I fear we will not progress to the next level until we resolve the problem in the middle. Speculation linking us with Malbranque appears to be gaining momentum. If we could secure his signature, we really would be in contention for a European place. However, should we fail to address this overriding issue, I fear the monies invested thus far will fail to translate into meaningful improvement in our league position — a case of so near and yet so far...
Gerry Western, London  (20/8/06)

Some excellent posts today, lads. Direct, perceptive and realistic. Worrying in a sense that they do blow away a lot of the optimism, but I'd rather know what's what before I read Dominic King's pile of gushing bollocks on Monday. Now, if our Moyes appologists could actually provide this level of analysis, perhaps I'd be more inclined to trust them... — Michael

Gravesen

Three points in the bag but not a convincing win by any means. Defence was ok; up-front we will score goals. The ball is punted up for Beattie to head down — it's like ferguson is still in there — but the midfield was awful. Cahill only touched the ball a half-dozen times; Arteta, who was the best out of them, was too wide; and Davies and Carsley ran around like headless chickens. Bring back Gravesen! He is exactly what we need in the middle; with him in there, a team like Watford wouldn`t be able to play through us like they did.
Paul Sathers, Kelsall  (20/8/06)

A Different Game?

Football, like many subjects, is a matter of opinion. I sat in my spec in the Glwadys Street yesterday, and for what its worth I'll give my opinions.

I felt that our most senior pro, Stubbs, was awful yesterday. To begin with, many refs would have sent him off for a two-footed lunge he made early on. His lack of pace against opponents who seemed to have it by the hatful meant he always looked stretched and meant we were defending a lot deeper than necessary. It's like an optical illusion when Weir and Stubbs play, we play/lie deep due to their lack of pace but they get all of the glory tackles that are made out of desperation! Also, I really don't think Yobo seems happy playing Stubbs or Weir either, when he'd the chance to play with Ferrari last year he seemed a lot more assured instead of sitting deep so as not to expose the lack of pace of his defencive partner.

I thought Cahill had an off day and gets caught in possession because he's basically not that good with a ball at his feet, although every time he made a decent tackle the awful referee gave Watford a free kick, which took the wind out of Cahills sails.

As for Davies... I could swear he pulls out of tackles, and as for his technical ability I didn't see him pick out too many defence-splitting passes for our uber-quick striker.

Beattie was woeful, hardly won a header and the ball never stuck, I felt we looked instantly more dangerous once Anichebe and McFadden came on.

Lets not forget we could have had the game wrapped up by half time: Johnson looked the part and was through on goal when he was brought down in the first half. Where there was a 50-50, the ref gave us sweet FA, it was as if he gave us the big decisions (very unfairly) to compensate for all the little ones he gave Watford.

Finally, the fact that Watford's very scruffy goal came down our left cannot be ignored when Valente, who was looking solid, was pole-axed by a very cynical challenge, which was highly indicative of Watford's approach, as we seemed to be getting penalised for far less...

All in all, a poor performance but happy with the 3 points and a new hero in the making with AJ — just hope the little chant we've blatantly ripped off from Boro fans, who equally unimaginatively took it from their tannoy announcer when they score at the Riverside, doesn't catch on! I'm sure we can think of something better, maybe along the lines of the Paul Rideout chants of the mid-nineties.

Bring on Wednesday night. COYB!!
John McCabe, Wavertree  (20/8/06)

Opinions

We all know that football is about opinions and we all have different views on players/matches, but the recent comments about Stubbs 'holding the line' and general praise for Moyes and his tactics leave me a little spellbound.

Firstly, to set off at home — against Watford!!! — with Carsley and Cahill in the centre of midfield when neither can 'trap a bag of cement' let alone pass and control a match, for me is clear evidence of a manager with little or no tactical nous. How can you genuinely expect to influence and control a game with two players who are patently 'huffers and puffers' and little else? Yes, Cahill will get on the end of a few crosses and score some goals, but who has the ability to get the ball wide for these crosses to come in? The two of them have neither vision nor guile for such a crucial position.

And why is Carsley there anyway? I would argue it is because he's scared of Stubbs being exposed for a complete lack of pace and needs extra protection. Watford dominated the start of the second half for two reasons:

  • Firstly, because our midfield, and particularly in the centre, could not put their foot on the ball and in very basic terms pass to each other. Hence Watford kept collecting the ball and coming on to us.
  • Secondly, beacuse of Stubbs's cronic lack of pace and Carsley's need to sit in front of him, we went further and further back and too often resorted to clearances that became long hoofs bypassing midfield. When we did pass, we looked moderately threatening but sadly it was far too infrequently.
Stubbs for me was woeful; the number of times balls skimmed off his head instead of firm headers is a sure sign of an aging player who no longer has the ability to leap and head a ball. For those who disagree, watch the next match carefully and compare his jumps and clearnaces to the rest of the back four. As the game progressed, and particularly in the last 25 mins, how many times was he left for dead by a simple side-step or a change of pace?

For the bloke who critised Howard — for not clearing the ball when Stubbs was running back to goal, he was directly in line with any chance of a clearance — has never played football. The responsibilty always lies with the defender to clear his lines and then debate it afterwards. Stubbs was panicing that the forward was going to get past him and was looking for a scapegoat.

Why has Moyes spent millions on a centre-half if he has doubts about his ability to cope in the Premiership? Is this dithering David again showing his real lack of football sense? How many other managers in the Premiership have bought established players and then not played them because of doubts about their ability to cope? Sure lots of players are 'rested' or compete for places but I don't know of others who managers have doubts about players having acquired them (deja vu: Krøldrup, Ferrari!!!)

Finally, it was a win and I am grateful for that, and I actually think that the quality of the Premiership is so poor that we will do OK this season. But will I enjoy the games? Will I see inventive attacking football? Will I come away entertained? Probably not — and I think with David Moyes at the helm that it will never change.

The man has reached his level, he can't take us any further but I don't know who's out there who can move us further forward, so I will carry on watching and supporting, but I won't be conned by the drivel thats in front of me. I know what good football is and Sky will not brainwash me into believing that the footballers and mangers earning vast sums of money and predomintaley aren't journey men on a very lucrative gravy train.
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (20/8/06)

Wow, Jim, plenty to chew on there. You seem to hit all the concerns that have been building over time, and that last paragraph probably says it all. Off course, we'll hear the counterpoints from others, but I appreciate you taking the time to write that assessment. Cheers! — Michael

Early Reflections

Surely even Dotty Dodd must agree then with the early reactions that it was more of the same from last season?

Some positives from the game - Stubbs held the back line together, and didn't deserve the OG at the death.

Johnson looked a good player, and with his pace and positioning, will get goals. It will be interesting to see if we do get the penalties out of him that Palace got, although maybe I'm just being a paranoid Blue! A good goal, although it was deflected, but I don't think the Dubious Goals Panel (WTF?) would take that away from him.

Arteta was his usual solid self, but wasted on the wings, and Phyllis proved he's a far better full back than holding midfielder — nothing most of us didn't know already.

On the negative side, I think Moyes has just swapped one indecisive keeper for another. The hapless Wright was famed for charging off his line needlessly, now Tourette Tim looks like he's stuck on a leash. Stubbs gave him a real blast in the second half when a corner was given because of his indecisiveness. I'm sure he will cost us goals this season (more so than any keeper does during the normal course of a season).

Davies and Cahill — anonymous.

But Beattie — is he still match fit? There was one first-half moment when Johnson nodded a (long) ball from the wing straight into the middle, and Beattie was 20 yards off the pace — he may have been defending, but for me he should be fit after 1½ years under Moyes's famed regime.

Typically, Everton sat back more and more in the second half trying to hold on to what they had. Watford had a lot of clear strikes on goal — most of them straight down Howard's throat. I don't think an Henry, Shevchenko etc. will be as profligate, and I can't stand this obsession from Moyes of holding on (it has to come from him).

All in all, 3 points is what we needed — as stunningly pointed out earlier, the first time in 10 years we've managed that on opening day! Ultimately we were assisted by a shocking referee, who had been truly abysmal to us for most of the game. Nice to see this era of professional referees is reaping the benefits promised...

I'll take the points, but we'll have to improve if it's not to be another lower-mid table disappointment. I know it's early days, but for once, Moyes brought his players in early, so there are few excuses.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (20/8/06)

Targets for abuse

Listened to the post-match phone-in on City tonight and was amazed at the number of people slagging Davies off. Yes, I know he's hardly set the world alight but he was certainly no worse than Cahill today. Why do the Everton crowd love to have a player they hate? Recently, it's been Pistone, Weir, Kilbane and now Davies.

Yes, they've been poor but I only slag a player off if I think he's not trying. If they're not good enough it's the manager's fault for buying / playing them.

This negativity and open hostlity towards our own players is self-defeating and one facet of the Everton crowd "support" that I cannot stand. It's fine to have an opinion on a website chatroom but open abuse from the crowd has never got anybody to play better.

Thought Stubbs was immense today, Howard safe, Johnson pacey and willing. The rest not on song. But hey, 3 points. Roll on Blackburn!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (19/8/06)

So the issue would be: do you raise and hope to address the issues regarding players in a Blue shirt who do not (or are perceived not to) perform? Or do you quitely accept their inadequacies, mumbling that these are the best players a mid-table side like us can afford, and we'd better just "get behind the manager and the team" and give them all the support we can, because at least that WILL make them play better?

Yea, it would be nice of they played better. And at the end of the day, that is, of course, what we all want. But I'm in the camp that believes if you don't let them know they played badly, then there's a good chance they may think their performances were okay... and then they definitely will NOT get any better. At the end of the day, you're not going to change other people's behaviour, so you might as well figure out your own way of dealing with it. — Michael

From my seat

Three points on the opening day at home for 10 years. A striker who can strike and above the dark side in the league. On the face of it, not a bad day's work.

My take was that we repelled a direct and very big set of opponents who were intent of making a mark in uncharted waters. As it was the first game in a set of 38, it is difficuclt to come to any meaningful conclusions. As a snapshot, I thought the midfield lacked power and bite which didn't help some promising signs both up-front and in defence.

Cahill didn't seem at the races, Davies flatterd to decieve, and Arteta suffered from that, which left Carsley to mop up that which he was unable to deliver because of the foregoing. Our back four was well marshalled by Stubbs who some people may have preffered to see dropped but in my mind — for all of the talk of Yobo and Lesscot — Weir and Stubbs may still be the answer until such time as the younger two come to terms with the harsh realities of the EPL. Up-front I would go with the Johnson/Beattie pairing until Victor has matured and McFadden ceases to give a master class in How to Lose the Ball in Promising Positions, and leaving his teamates out of position.

These are just thoughts from the first game and no meaningful analysis can be realistically offered; however, as it's a continuation of 38 games from last season, I would urge the Board and Manager before Deadline Day to look into the possibility of signing a midfielder of the type that can meet brawn with brawn and skill with skill... and then, who knows???

See you Wednesday... UP THE BLUES!
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (19/8/06)

Pot and Kettle, Davey?

It was interesting to read Moysey's post match comments regarding Watford's direct approach...

"We knew exactly what we were getting," he said. "I have played in a team that plays that way and I knew exactly what we needed to do to cope with it."
Did he mean "I have played in a team that plays that way" or "I currently manage a team that plays that way!"
Richard Williams, Danbury  (19/8/06)

Simply Magnificent

What a magnificent start to the season! All our new boys played out of their skins to demonstate what a shrewd mover Davey is in the transfer market. Hardly a weakness in the team and well on the way to a European place. Even the Marshes and Meeks will be silent this weekend!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (19/8/06)

Er... where you at the same game as the commentators? Everton pushed back and under pressure for most of the match, escape a bad result thanks to a highly dubuious penalty award from a useless referee. Magnificent indeed! We'll see if you're still quite so in-yer-face after the next two games. If we win both of those, then by all means you can have a fine boast. But on the basis of that display, it's a bit premature, Dickie boy. — Michael

Off to a flier?

Well we won, 3 points in the bag, but problems from last season still persist. Everton were quite decent in the first half, woeful in the second. Again, long pumping balls HIGH up in the air for Beattie to NOT connect with. Laboured, misplaced passing seems to be the norm.

Stubbs is NOT the go-to guy to spray passes like a quarter-back. And I still cannot see the appeal of Davies. AJ scored nonetheless, and he looks the part, but isn't pulled into the game more. Arteta has to be in the middle. He must be the fulcrum. On the wing, he is quiet.

Referee had a bad game; I thought he gave away cheap decisions against us numerous times, but made up for it with ONE, ONE, ONE HUGE mistake for the penalty. It's not ball-to-hand or hand-to-ball, it's the head. Watford have every right to be agrieved.

And yet, still with this kind of advantage, we couldn't keep a clean sheet.

We have to definitely improve against Blackburn and Spurs. I think Arteta has to be in the middle, with Carsley/Neville protecting. Try AJ in a withdrawn attacking role down the right. He can create havoc there. Come on Moyes, let's be a little adventurous here!
Mikhail Ridhuan, Singapore  (19/8/06)

Quarter-back? WTF??? Otherwise, some good comments there, Mikhail. — Michael

Essence of Being an Evertonian

Having seen Karl Jones's letter, I felt the need to respond. I noticed the shop window in JJB — quite depressing but not surprising — it might just be that the manager is a red? I do think that if we were managed or marketed with a bit more imagination then we could make more dosh than any JJB deal would give us...

If Karl seems a little paranoid I know how he feels. The pre-match CD, which they still haven't changed, just symbolises to me a laziness and lack of imagination that seems inherent in the club.

I noticed that in WSAG they have a play list, what if we all put forward play lists then vote on a fav for each home game. Ok-ok, I know it's not that important but it's just one example where with a bit of flair it might enhance the experience a bit.

The shop we did have in town was very claustrophobic, poorly laid out, poorly stocked, with very little enthusiasm from a very bored looking staff. The only good point about that shop was the level of human traffic that went past it. I went in once and there were issues of the Evertonian that were two weeks out of date! I could go to the guy in the news stand in Liverpool Central and get an up to date one but not our city centre store! Has anyone else noticed a nice unused building by the taxi rank in Williamson Square? Or is that too close to a JJB store and our nearest and dearest across the park?

Ultimately I care much more about our results on the pitch but in terms of new investors they would come here and see only one club with a commercial presence and it aint us.

Karl Jones's letter basically led me to thinking how much those who run EFC are out of touch with its supporters, no matter how much they profess to be "The Peoples Club". They either really underestimate us or have very little imagination themselves.

Oh, one last thing, is the Golden Goals anouncer at Goodison a Kopite?! He seems a wee bit over enthused when we concede a goal.
John McCabe, Wavertree  (19/8/06)

Moyes out

Out of the closet surely, if he loves Davies so much. I'll eat my signed everton shirt that I'll win off Michael if anyone honestly rates Davies higher than 5 out of 10 after today.

Today's Moyes line up:

Howard Neville, Yobo, Stubbs, Valente DAVIES!!, Cahill, Carsley, Arteta Johnson, Beattie.
(You watch the bastard score a hat-trick now!)
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (19/8/06)

Told ya! — Michael

Signed EFC shirt

Oh well Michael, if you are going to offer a signed EFC shirt for the right line up, here is my effort:

Howard
Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Valente
Davies, Carsley, Cahill, Arteta
Beattie, Johnson
If I win it, is there any chance of getting it signed by yourself, Tony Marsh and Dutch? Here's hoping...
Danny Broderick, London  (18/8/06)

I wouldn't want to spoil your chances of selling it to the David France Collection... — Michael

The essence of being an Evertonian

Does anybody within the stucture of Everton FC realise what it means to be an Evertonian at street level?

A certain sports shop in Williamson Square proudly proclaims to be "The retail partner of Everton FC", and displays the club crest on a big blue banner. Yet the windows are full of Liverpool paraphernalia — not an Everton shirt or sock to be seen — and this right next door to the shop from hell.

On the Everton Website, we are encouraged to get into the ground early as the Sheffield Utd v Liverpool game will be broadcast, for the interest of Evertonians who presumably want to watch another team of premiership no-hopers getting stuffed.

So... Are there any? With the club shop now gone in the city centre, maybe we are being slowly brainwashed into accepting a move away from the Liverpool confines.
Karl Jones, Woolton  (18/8/06)

What's the odds?

On there being mayhem outside the ground tomorrow as the Stadium Access cards fail to work properly? What are the odds on a delayed kick off? — This is Everton, you know!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (18/8/06)

Full LineUp and Subs - School of Science (fiction)

Michael, Seeing as how you have actively encouraged the picking of the team for Saturday I'll plump for the following:

Howard
Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Valente
Carsley
Arteta, Cahill, McFadden
Johnson, Beattie
As for your challenge - I'll go for Beattie off - Anichebe on after 64 minutes, and McFadden off for Andy van der Meyde on 78 mins.

As for the score, well, I'm thinking that Faddy'll drive down the left, jink inside past one, past two, and chip it over their defence into Johnson who'll nod into the net at the Park end for the winner...

Oh, and Moyse (bless his heart) will have on a suit and a tie (blue and yellow stripes) and will have eaten kedgeree for brekkie.

If you want to know what the weather is like on my planet then give me a call...
Rupert Sullivan, Reading  (18/8/06)

I relaized the error of my ways when I woke up this morning... but thankfully, not too many people responded. I like yours though. I think I have a nice signed Everton shirt somewhere I can offer the winner. ... Oh my God... What am I saying??? — Michael

Davies

Why does everyone have this pile of crap in the team? I remember him getting booed off the pitch in his last game. I didn't boo but I did hope that he would never play again for us.

Now it seems everyone has him in their starting XI. I hope he never kicks a ball for us again. I'd rather see Van der Drunk on or play with 10 men than play Scott Gemmill's less-talented brother. Come on Osman!
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (18/8/06)

Hahaha... the ghost of Gemmill. Love it! But seriouslyu, I think it's just tacit recognition that Moyesy loves this bloke, for his 'technical' quality, and some other indiscernible qualities. He's probably the first name on the teamsheet. And Moyesey thinks he's had a smashing pre-season. So, let's face it, the likelihood of him not starting tomorrow is about zero. — Michael

COME ON YOU BLUES!!!!!!!

Let's kick all this moaning in the head, 'coz tomorrow, 3pm, the Blues are back at Goodison Park! So let Z-Cars fire up, whip out the chang, buy yourself a Big Boy and shout for the Blues... We're gonna win the league!
Jez North, HM Prison Walton  (18/8/06)

What do they put in your tea, Jez? Or shouldn't I ask??? — Michael

An attacking home advantage

As most teams that visit GP will play a lone striker, how about playing a 3-4-3 formation?

Howard;
Neville, Yobo, Lescott;
Arteta, Cahill, Davies, Osman;
McFadden, Beattie, Johnson
Subs: Nuno Valente, Weir, Anichebe, Carsley, VDM, Wrong
This will scare the living daylights out of their back 4.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (18/8/06)

That's a brilliant idea, Brian. Only it wouldn't do much for poor Davey's sanity. I don't think he could cope to be honest. And assuming Wrong = Wright (?!), the FA might have something to say about you naming six subs! — Michael

Have a little faith!!

Are Tony Marsh, Harry Meeks and Mike Price related? No, of course not, they are just tarred with the same pessimistic miserabl- sod brush!

Why not give David Moyes and the lads a chance to prove what they can do before running them down or do the three of you just want to revel in them falling flat on their asses!! Yes, I think that is what this is all about.

Why not give us all a shock and get behind the Manager and team and then if they do turn out as bad as you are all hoping, then I will join you in slagging them off.
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (18/8/06)

So forget the past disasters, the lack of any meaingful positives from a laboured pre-season, the knowledge that old Dalamation Davey doesn't change his spots that easily — just give 'em all a clean sheet and the benefit of any and every lingering doubt we may still have... Yea sure, Pat. Easy peazy...

That's the second "get behind the manager/team" admonition we've had today. You've been at Goodison: you know how it works. The place is a morgue unless and until the team on the field give the crowd a reason to get behind them. The initiative comes from them. They neeed to play up and provide us fans with a reason to give them that support. I know in an ideal world (or another stadium!?) it would be the other way around... but it isn't and it doesn't happen that way.

And you know, I think that's as it should be. They are there to enteratain us, to score goals... and to win games. They need to start doing it. Then, I'm sure, all the old curmdgeons will respond... POSITIVELY! — Michael

Predictions

  • Top 6 in order:
    1. Arsenal
    2. Liverpool
    3. Chelsea
    4. Man Utd
    5. Blackburn Rovers
    6. Aston Villa
  • Bottom 3. Reading , Bolton , Charlton.
  • FA Cup Final: Villa v Portsmouth
  • League Cup Final: Liverpool v Leeds Utd
  • Everton:
    • 14th scoring a wopping 43 goals;
    • FA Cup: 4th Round;
    • League Cup: Quarter-finals.
    • O'leary in charge by Easter 2007.
Don't put all or any of your money on it — just a bit of fun.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (18/8/06)

Okay, now before we go all CM/FM... let's knock this stuff on the head before it goes nuts. — Michael

Pride and predudice

The offering of odds on team selection brought to mind an analogy wherein Everton carrying surplus baggage is an outsider in the Grand National. We must successfully get over 30 plus obstacles in a race wherein even the short-priced favourite needs an element of luck. If our little battler falls, it will most likely be the jockey and not the horse sent to the knackers yard, if indeed as some would demand, he is not shot on the spot.

Then I remembered when I cleaned up on another outsider, the smallest horse ever to claim victory in that great race. His name was Team Spirit. Despite there being little team spirit around this place of late, I put a couple of bob On the Blues and didn’t bother with a namby pamby Each Way cop-out.

Its backs to the wall time lads and, as the great man said, ‘You are either with us or against us’.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (18/8/06)

Choices!

Weir or not? (preferably not); Stubbs, Yobo or Lescott? Davies on the right or maybe Osman or Arteta? Beattie, Johnson, Anichebe or McFadden up front. Neville at right back or Hibbert once he's over his illness?

I won't go into any of these arguments but I just want to say how great it is to have some choice for the first time in donkey's years. Variety is the spice of Life, as some say, and at last we have some. Bring on Watford and lets get behind the boys and make our presence felt! "COYB"
Allan Price, Shropshire  (18/8/06)

Marsh conspiracy?

First and foremost, I would like to say that most of the people here, especially Micheal, are passionate about Everton. They demand that Everton succeed and play attractive football, and aren't prepared to accept anything less.

But I don't understand people like Tony Marsh and his posts. Clearly, he is a troll, looking for responses and poeple to enraged. Or can it be, Tony Marsh is a part of Toffeeweb's conspiracy to get more hits for thier ads?

ps: If this post isn't posted, I clearly know the answer.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (18/8/06)

I'm not really that passionate to be honest... but I might be posting it just to confuse you. Didn't think of that, did ya??? — Michael

The Solution

The solution to the quest for Saturday will be:

Howard, Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Valente, Carsley, Cahill, Arteta, Davies, Beattie, Johnson.
Subs: Wright, Naysmith, Anichebe, Stubbs, McFadden
Following a summer when the Manager has acted strongly and quickly, buying players where he felt we needed to strenghthen, and within the confines of the budgets set by a Board who are trying to maintain some form of Financial improvement, I hope that the Season turns out well.

I am sure that if everyone gets behind the team and Manager then we will all prosper as I am sure that we would all want unless we have our own agendas. My first post and I hope you all enjoy it. I can't go on Saturday as I am off to Corfu but will be watching in a Bar somewhere for how the result turns out.

To finish, we will play a flat back-four Carsley holding, Middle three with two up front (4-1-3-2); we will win 2-0; Beattie and Johnson will score and the crowd will be 38,899; Cahill and Carsley will be booked.
Wilmslow Boy2, Wilmslow  (18/8/06)

Welcome! Since you're new, I'll let it through, but sensible names please!

Damn, I forgot the crowd and the bookings... — Michael

Same old Davey

Everton will show little improvement this season as the manager has failed to address the need for an influential midfielder and will continue with lower-league tactics. Someone needs to tell him that success in the Premiership requires the ability to keep hold of the ball and be patient — mantras neither he espouces nor the players seem cabable of!

For what it`s worth, I think he will start with:-

Howard;
Neville, Yobo, Stubbs, Nuno Valente;
Davies, Arteta, Cahill, Osman;
Beattie and Johnson.
Subs:- Wright, Lescott, Carsley, McFadden and Kilbane.
Our Davey is a creature of habit and he ain`t about to take chances on `boys` like Anichebe right now!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (18/8/06)

Why I always open the mail bag everyday

I seldom contribute anything in the mailbag unless I really can't help it. But this is why I think it's special:

  1. This mailbag is so open and free that everybody is slagging each other in a controlled manner (execised by Michael and Colm).
  2. Now I believe what it means by the 80/20 rule: 80% of the contributions are coming from the same old 20% of people — and only 20% of those contributions make sense... Oopps!
  3. It gives me perspective and information about EFC.. Sometimes it's good to be optimistic and it is not that bad to be a pessimist. Guys, take it as info; don't be too personal. You don't know what Dutch and Tony faced during their childhood... give 'em a break.
  4. Err... Michael... I enjoy your perspective, or rant, shall I say. I think you need a bit of a rest. You're too stressed up, me thinks... cheer up!!
  5. Guys like Tony and Dutch are hard to find... Are you guys being paid by ToffeeWeb to stir things up? Ohh, nevermind.... :)
I wish I could be at Goodison tomorrow at 3pm. It's been 7 years since the last game I went to. We hammered West Ham 7 something in 1999... remember? A high scoring game... at least we won! COYB!!!
Khairul Yusuf, Kuala Nerang, Malaysia  (18/8/06)

Colm actually writes most of the letters, and I have to correct his horrible spelling. It's really his Blog but we wanted to do things just a little bit different. Other than that, you're bang on the money, Khairul. — Michael

Gutted!

Absolutely choked that the incredibly average, one-paced McFadden has stuck his nose firmly in the Everton trough for the next 3 years. Oh what joy it must be to find yourself signed by the Moyestro! Scottish, crap and not wanted on a tenth of the wages by any other team. Christmas cards for life to the ginger one methinks!

Why do we continually add to our liabilities by signing rubbish that we cant sell —ie, not assets! We must have one of the most unsaleable squads in the Premiership... especially considering the initial outlays and now the salary levels. Isn't that part of the ginger genius's job? Just another area where he shows almost unbeleivable ineptitude.
Mike Price, Songkhla, Thailand  (18/8/06)

Starting XI

Is it worth starting with McFadden on the left? Might be his only chance to get a starting berth these days. Also I thought Hibbert had some parasitic disease and is out for Saturday, have things changed?
Richard Williams, Danbury  (18/8/06)

He's out for a month... but don't tell these lads. Spoils the whole fun of this predicting lark. — Michael

I bet you like The Smiths

Tony Marsh, what are you going on about? You mention with great glee how you posted a tongue-in-cheek news-flash on this site at the end of May giving the team news for opening game of 2006-07. and say it won't be far from the team he will play.

David Moyes is never going to pick that team. Five players in that team will not play. So you could say he has strengthened nearly half of the team. Stop being so fuckin miserable and start to look forward to 3 o'clock on Saturday. You never know, you might even enjoy yourself.
Jamie Barlow, Manchester  (18/8/06)

So let me see... Max points would be 33 (for Tony), but you say at least five will not play... so that's 18 points for Tony (maybe 21 if they are on the bench as unused subs). [God, this is making my head hurt now... I really should lie down in a dark corner!] So if Tony get's more than 20, you get the square-root of his score, minus the first number I thought of. Is that fair?

Anyone else wanna try? Full starting line-up and subs. 10 points extra for each correct substitution (X replaced by Y); 100 points if you get the time of a substitution right, and 1,000 bonus points each for the correct score, scorers and time of goal. Let's see how smart you buggers really are!!! — Michael

Likely line-ups

On Sky they have Everton likely strongest line-up for season as Howard; Hibbert, Yobo, Lescott, Neville; Davies, Arteta, Cahill, Osman, Beattie and Johnson.

Personally, I think that line up is average, but even the experts on Sky can recognize that Davies's best postion is wide right! Lescott for me is too raw and likely to make mistakes and Osman isn't a left-winger. My two pence best line-up would be:

Howard; Hibbert, Stubbs, Yobo, Valente, Osman, Arteta, Cahill, Andy Van Der Meyde, Beattie (if fit) and Johnson. I know some saddo's will say where are your subs, so they'll be; Turner, Lescott, Neville, Davies and Anchibe. I think the majority would agree with that?!

Getting nervous about Saturday! Everton haven't won an opening day for so long... hopefully the tide will turn. Come on you blue bastards!!!
Luq Yus, London  (17/08/06)

I suppose you want the same points scheme as Tony? Well you need at least a seven-point deduction (Johnson-3, Howard-3, Lescott-1), but same accolades apply. — Michael

Good football

Just read the piece on Good Football and it certainly covered a lot of ground. It brought to mind a thought I have had on leaving many a ground over the last years, which is that invariably we give the ball away cheaply whilst building attacks and so leaving ourselves open to quick counters, let alone passing up promising opportunities. If this could be eradicated somewhat then I believe the goals scored and overall spectacle would improve ten-fold. Hopefully this is being worked on as we speak... Might be seen as good football in some eyes. UP THE BLUES!
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (18/8/06)

Carsley is wrong!

If Carsley has learnt anything from watching England recently, it is that his role is more important than ever.

You have two of the best midfielders in thw world flopped by playing alongside each other. But in the recent 4-0 Greece trashing, playing Hargreaves allows both Gerrad and Lampard to flourish. As Mclaren has said, the holding midfielder role is very crucial in giving a side vital balance.

As Hargreaves (and Gilberto for Arsenal) have demonstrated, you can play the role in a 4-4-2, or more prominently a 4-1-3-2 formation. Whether Carsley is adequate enough to perform that role in a 4-4-2 remains to be seen but — without a doubt — playing without a holding midfielder is no longer an option in modern football. I'd like to see us play with Carsley given a chance to play that role this Saturday, alongside Arteta, with Davies and VDM on the wings.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (18/8/06)

... and let's see how many points YOU get ... — Michael

ps: How do you get from Malaysisa to Liverpool and back again so quick???

Wanna Bet?

So my tongue-in-cheek team sheet for Saturdays home game is ridicoulos is it. You wait and see then. I guarantee at least seven maybe eight of those players will take some part in the game. I think Wright, Pistone and McFadden are the only definete non-starters with Killbane coming on for his usual 30 mins and McFadden replacing Beattie at some stage. It suddenly doesn't look that silly.

The rest of the places are up for grabs so don't collapse in disbelief if you see Stubbs and Wier at centre-half. Do you really expect safety-first Davey to play Yobo and Lesscott together? Get real! So why is it ridiculous? Just wait until Saturday when all your gobs hit the deck.

Never under-estimate how silly Moyes could make you all sound....

Bets, any one.
Tony  Marsh, Liverpool  (17 Aug)

Okay, let's do this: You get three points for a player you named who is in the starting line-up; two points if they appear as a sub; one point if they are on the bench:

  • 30 Points: Tony Marsh is a divvy genius;
  • 25 Points: means nothing either way;
  • 20 Points or less: All credibility lost; humble pie for a week and a sworn statement: "I will not send stupid e.mails to the ToffeeWeb Mailbag any more", signed: TM
As if.... — Michael

I hate Moyes

As one who has relinquished my season ticket and chosen to `pick my games` this season, I shall not be at the Watford match. I see little cause for optimism in the new season as Moyes is still manager and his vision of what constitutes a successful Everton is certainly not mine. Unlike many of my fellow Evertonians,I happen to believe that the team`s shortcomings are down to something much more fundamental than last season`s lack of a goalscorer — and that, my friends, is the manager`s complete lack of vision and tactical nouse!

In truth, James Beattie ain`t a bad player but the inability to provide any kind of service from midfield and the requirement for him to play as an additional defender half the time has totally negated his natural flair. Just how long it will take to wear Johnson out with the same tactics? We shall see...

I do so hope that we can get off to a winning start but, if we don`t, the pain will be lessened by the five hundred notes still in my pocket!
Don Tucker, Penwortham  (17/8/06)

We should do a sweep for the attendance on Saturday. 3,000 tickets left, says Wyness. I'm sticking my neck out: no more than 35,000... — Michael

Legend

Michael, piss off Greame Sharp was a Scotish legend completely worthy of the title and David Moyes is well on his way to joining him.

The likes of Spurs, Man City, Aston Villa & Boro would dearly love to finish 4th but they never have and probably never will.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (17/8/06)

Hahahaha! Touché... ya got me good. I'm definitely gonna lie down now! — Michael

RE: McBride? Yobo? Arteta? Ferrari? Krøldrup?

Michael, I think you have helped me make my point there by naming these players. I think McBride is a very average player, as for Ferrari and Krøldrup who knows if they could have been great players for Everton, but I agree with you that Arteta and Yobo are excellent players. But even if you think all 5 players have been good signings do you think 5 players in 4 years is enough ? Chelsea and Arsenal sign that amount every year and it’s not down to money. Moyes or Everton's scouting system or probably both just aren’t up to the job of finding these players far more often. Instead we see British player panic purchases.
Tommy Coleman, London  (17/8/06)

Davey seems to have wavered to and from quailty foreign goods to basic home-groen merchandise... and back... and forth. You win some; you lose some; and you send some packing back to Serie A where they can play as top-class defenders for top-class European teams, while completely incappable of heading the ball...

I think I'm gonna go lie down in a dark corner somewher for a while now, too. — Michael

Holiday Blues

I retururned from two weeks in sunny Cyprus, to more doom and gloom about Everton. Nothing changes: team sellection, the manager, the Board... All are a constant source for heated debate.

I wouldn't miss it for the world, roll on Saturday. I think I'll go and lay down in a dark room now.
Jimmy Fazackerley, Worcester  (17/8/06)

I Love David Moyes

David Moyes has nothing to prove this season. We finished 4th. We were playing Champions League qualifiers. I never thought I'd ever get to see Everton do that. If he never does anything else Moyes will always be special to me.

David Moyes = Legend.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (17/8/06)

Kinda reminds me of another Scottish "legend"; he was never really worthy of the title either... — Michael

Optimism

I agree with Garry Lloyd's first 11 with the exception of Stubbs for Lescott until he finds his feet. On paper, this is a stronger team than previous seasons and with all the protaganists playing to their strengths and a bit of luck a European spot should be well within reach. The squad has had time to settle, Davies and Cahill seem to have developed an understanding and ALL the players have something to prove.

This brings me to the manager. Moyes has the players (to a certain extent) that he wants. He must also know that this is his pivotal season, another mediocre campaign would almost certainly see his ties broken with the club. He has talked of flexibility in the squad and spent some time in Germany learning about new systems and formations, hopefully a sign of instilling attractive POSITIVE football.

The man appears more optimistic than ever. Has he learnt all the lessons of his previous campaigns? I think he has; we just have to wait and see...
Damian Waite, Blackpool  (17/8/06)

Midfield

We cannot play 4-4-2 with our present midfield; we have no-one who can win the ball. Carsley was our best midfielder before he was injured, you remember, it was when Tommy Gravesen got all the plaudits. So, in a nutshell, we need Carsley in the holding role; otherwise teams are going to walk right through us. Davies or Carsley? NO CONTEST!
Colin Malone, Wirral  (17/8/06)

Killing the goose?

I suppose this question should be directed at the club really, but can anyone understand the logic of the club introducing a 16 to 21 age group for season ticket holders but the charging this same age group full price for individual matches?

As for the cost of away matches, which admittedly Evarton have little control over, I'm taking my 17-year-old lad to both Blackburn and Spurs. That's costing £36 and £32 respectively. As for Chelsea, last year they were askibg £48 for the Everton match! I refused to go on principle.

Is football killing the goose? And shouldn't Everton be doing more to attract the 16- to 21-year-olds whose fathers can't necessarily afford season tickets? These are the future diehards!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (17/8/06)

Reverse thinking

My daily pursuit for something, anything, to support my at times stretched optimism has lately become more and more desperate. In a strange way, our more pessimistic scribes give crumbs for comfort but only on the premise that surely we can’t be THAT bad. Other clubs may sign all kinds of potential stars yet, based on my earlier premise, a glimmer of optimism is rekindled with news that Faddy has re-signed.

If he was half as good as he thinks he is, why did not one club make any enquiries as to his availability? I suppose the same could be said about a bunch of his team mates. Oh well, it all comes down to my original premise and once again optimism is revived.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (17/8/06)

That's lovely for you, Dick. I hope your optimism is rewarded fulsomely. I really do. No I do. Honest. Really and truly. Why, as the Big Kick-Off approaches, I'm even starting to get a little tingle of excitement... NURSE! — Michael

Michael

So sorry to upset you, the point I am making is Bill Kenwright has been a Director of our club foe a long time now. He owns the club with Paul Gregg — that is a mess in itself: no-one will invest money in the club as you have stated until Kenwright and Gregg finish with each other and the debt is lowered.

You look at the transfer dealings over the past (not the present). Everton have had to balance the books between transfers in and out. Only the Rooney sale as helped the club a lot. Maybe running the theatre and Everton is too much for him, I don't know... I do know he needs a big backer.

He will always look after Everton, I thank him for that from one supporter to another. Its just I have had this dream for 10 years of Everton competing with the big boys — I don't want to wait another 10!

I called Mr Kenwright "Championship Bill" because that's where he belongs — running a champioship side, not top Premiership team. (He can, but only the hard way). So I guess it's back to 10 more yrs of Dreaming... Love the site, keep up the good work!
Joseph Walsh, Woking  (17/8/06)

Sorry I barked at you, Joseph. I do know where you are coming from regarding Kenwright; these issues have been aired on here plenty of times, to the point that that, a few seasons back, some felt we were conducting an active campaign against him as Chairman.

Well, I think things have changed a fair bit since those dark days. Kenwright is much more circumspect in the nonsense he spouts and, since the arrival of Keith Wyness (love him or not), there appears to have been a significnat improvement in the Club's finances. [I'm not fully convinced myself, post-Enron, as that episode confirmed what I'd always suspected about the role of account auditors...]

Only a part of Everton's financial improvement is down to the Rooney money, since (and including) his sale, the approximate value of our Transfers In has exceeded that of our Transfers Out by around £10M. [Or perhaps "You don't need £5M to buy a £5M player"...!!!]

Credit for that must go somewhere: either it's Bill Kemwright or it's the Board of Directors (one and the same in your eyes). I think Moyes is being a bit more than just a lapdog when he points to the improved stability at Board level and the support he has received over the past two years. We all dream fo this Big Backer, but I think we know that's all it is — a dream.

That's why the focus of my concern now is with Moyes and what he does with what he has. If Moyes comes good finally this season — which I still stubbornly believe he is capabale of despite my sympathy for the issues raised by those who continue to slam him — it could be a lot less than 10 more years of dreaming! Thanks for you kind words. — Michael

Tony the negative!

Tony - not wide of the mark? I'd say you're about as wide away from the mark, you can barely see it. The team will be roughly: Howard; Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Valente; Davies, Cahill, Arteta, Osman; Beattie and Johnson, with a back-up of VdM, Anichebe, Kilbane, Stubbs and McFadden. I'm sure you could spin anything Moyesey did to become negative. Don't get me wrong — I don't have my head buried in the sand. This is a defining season for Moyes; this is now his team, he built it, time to play good football or replace him. But Jesus Christ mate you make Victor Meldrew sound like Zebedee!
Garry Lloyd, Jersey  (17/8/06)

Tony really did cook his own goose with that stupid team list. A case of giving him enough rope to hang himself! — Michael

In response to Tony Marsh

Wright; Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Hibbert; Kilbane, Cahill, Neville, Arteta; Beattie, McFadden

'won't be that wide of the mark after all'???

I don't who you are, but you either stupid or ignorant. Howard will be first choice, Valente is likely to play left back, Yobo and Lescott are propbably first choice and Johnson will partner Beattie. A fit VDM, Davies or Osman will likely to be given the nod ahead of Hibbert. So, that's almost a whole different team.

We all agree that we are bored seeing negative football and Moyes must adress that this season. However, it is unfair to say that he hasn't built a decent side. Apart from one holding midfielder, I see our first X1 is as strong as any team, the top 4 aside, even Spurs. In fact I've seen many football sites predciting us a top 6 finish. We do have quality, it's up to Moyes to show his coaching skills and give us winning entertaining football. COYB!!!!
Muhammad Amin Azman, Liverpool  (17/8/06)

Hmmmm... and how any times in the recent past have the so-called pundits picked us for relegation? Food for thought indeed! — Michael

Good Luck Blues

Just wishing all Evertonians a realy good season with a better quality of football all round and better competition for places. Let's have no more talk of . Remember the likes of Wigan, Pompey, Villa etc; Check the Reading website and see they are all oumped up and raring to get at us. Treat every team as you would Chelsea...

Anyway, Good Luck, Davey and the lads. All The Best. Wish I could be there.
Gerry Killen, Brisbane,Australia  (17/8/06)

What? I think evolution in Australia must running off in its own unique direction.

... WTF?

Do you mean The Easybeats? I must have blinked again... And what am I supposed to remember about Wigan, Pompey, Villa?? Whoosh!

"Treat every team as you would Chelsea..." What? Roll over and die? I must be missing something...

Positivity, anyone?

There is far too much negativity surrounding Everton on these pages at the moment and quite frankly, for the first time in a few years, I can't see why. Sure, we aren't going to win the league, but the signings we made are definite progress; improvement on last season is a very realistic aim, along with a top 8 finish.

Kenwright has limited money, but he's certainly done his best and until we find someone to back the club with a few (hundred!) million then this is the way it's going to be, so we may as well get behind the manager and the team and accept it. Yes, you talk about the optimism of youth, but remember people like myself have only ever seen Everton win one major trophy and perhaps will never see Everton win the league again.

However, to make comparisons between now and 20 years ago is daft, money rules the game now and unless we get some, let's be happy we have a relatively sensible Board and a manager who does seem to have learned from the mistakes that cost us so dear last year and has built the team to be stronger.
Lionel Hutz, Springfield, MO, USA  (17/8/06)

This bollocks about you young bucks having never seen anything better keeps getting recycled as an excuse for accepting mediocrity — or worse — from Moyes and his increasingly moribund management style. I'm sorry but there is a lot of progress to be made this season, and it hasn't even started yet. As to whether the team is stronger or not, the jury is still out. Saturday is unlikey to provide any answers... which could still be a long time coming. Say Hi to Homer... — Michael

Attendances

I think it must have been the Blacburn cup game. I was very young at time and cannot quite remember butI was at games against Blackpool, Burnley, Liverpool — all over 70,000 — and Man Utd (69,000) between 1960 and 1964
Peter Knight, Vancouver, Canada  (16/8/06)

The clock's ticking, Davey

A couple of weeks ago I read a quote from David Moyes it was along the lines of:

We are looking at players all the time and I am sure there will be one or two more new faces before kick off comes.
So, with less than 72 hours to go until the 6-pointer against Watford, where are they. Now either BK has had enough of Davey Boy wasting his dosh on shite or Moyes was talking bollocks. Either way, the only player we are hearing any news about is Alcopop Blame De Driver and his missing dog. That just about sums us up doesn't it.

What I don't understand is why any one would make such comments weeks ago and now nothing. Maybe the new contract just offered to the Scottish Rooney — you know him: the Scottish Rooney that no team in Scotland wanted — is sort of like a new signing.

I posted a tongue-in-cheek news-flash on this site at the end of May giving the team news for opening game of 2006-07. It read:

Wright; Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Hibbert; Kilbane, Cahill, Neville, Arteta; Beattie, McFadden
Fuck me, it was only a joke but it won't be that wide of the mark after all. Great job you're doing there, Davey!
Tony Marsh, Barbados Upon Tyne  (17/8/06)

To be fair to Moyes, he said it would be "before the deadline." But I still don't think there'll be any new faces before the end of the month, either... unless we tank in the first three games! — Lyndon

Weir Captaincy

With all the controversy about Weir getting the armband for the season, I can't see it being the problem everyone is making it out to be. There is a big difference between a club captain and team captain. A senior player of Weir's stature is a great ambassador for the club as the club captain. But, as many people have said, they can't see him getting many matches as there are younger legs ahead of him in the pecking order.

Dave Watson was a great club captain, but how many games did he play in the his last couple of seasons? He was replaced by a number of players during the season as team captains. Neville will do a good job as vice captain and most probably team captain. If he's not playing, I can see Yobo getting the armband during matches.
Kristian Boyce, WI, USA  (16/8/06)

Alrite, that's quite enough on the captaincy thing, Thank You! — Michael

High-efficiency football

Thirty 1-0 wins, eight 0-0 draws, totals 98 points, a sum of points that is ALMOST a guarantee of Premiership title-winning success. It sounds like we have another impasse: those who like Gravesen, those who don't; stay at Goodison, move on from Goodison...

If Everton boring me out of my skull but at the same time lifting the Premiership trophy whilst scoring our lowest-ever goals tally was an option, I would take it. Sorry if you cannot understand that, readers, but entertaining football only goes so far — at the end of the season, you still have no silverware and have to accept other teams taking the trophies home.

Personally, I would love to rub a Premiership trophy victory in certain kopite faces, closely followed by some Man Utd faces. In 4 or 8 years time and beyond, will anyone remember how poor this summer's World Cup was, or will it be a case of looking to the history books to confirm that Italy won the World Cup again.

Yes, it is possible for winning football to be entertaining, but how many sides (domestic or international) turn up flawlessly every game?
Bingo Bongo, Congo  (16/8/06)

Tony Marsh

Tony Marsh, I remember you when we used to climb out of the Boys' Pen. You have always been an avid supporter through and through, I can vouch for that. Anyway, just letting everyone know Tony is highly respected in the local community and discreetly generous to local charites. Contact me!
Mick Saron, USA  (16/8/06)

Empty yer bladders, fells!!!

Against my better judgement, I decide to attend the Kendall Testimonial, paying tribute to a great Evertonian and probably topping up his drinks cabinet in the process. For the first time in a couple of years, I sat in the Park End, taking advantage of the unreserved seating. However, my experience was utterly ruined by all the people who literally got up to go the toilet every fifteen minutes during the match. Clearly these blokes, almost exclusively in their twenties and thirties, had been boozing beforehand effectively binge drinking as much as possible to last them through the match.

Admittedly, watching Everton is often made less painless with a little alcohol passing throught the bloodstream but all these people, forcing me and others who don't have such a reliance on alcohol, to stand up so often, were just a complete pain in the arse.

Looking across to the other sides of the ground, I noticed that far more people stayed sat in their seats during the game. It seems that the Park End has gradually become the home of the 'thirty-something' Evertonian, often booze-fuelled, and more likely to be aggressive and a general pain in the arse puerile talking shit, if the idiots I was forced to listen are typical.

In future I will stay confined to the Bullens Road. The view and legroom might be worse, but the company is infinitely more preferable.

As for Tony Marsh's criticism of the sanity of some Evertonians opinions (just because they don't agree with him, presumably), it seems a bit rich coming from someone who proudly says that he has spent the summer getting off his tits every night in that well known cultural hotbed of Ayia Napa. Tony, I'm sure no-one is impressed by your laddish boasting, but many of us probably now understand why so much of what you write is such utter shite.
Gareth Hughes, Liverpool  (16/8/06)

Oooo.. he won't like that. Neither will all those stout young blokes in teh Park End. "How to win friends and influence people"... — Michael

Jimmy McFadden

You have to question the ambition of Jimmy McFadden. He must realise that he his behind Andrew Johnson, James Beattie and probably also Victor Anichbe in the striker pecking order. So he's either really ambitious thinking he can fight his way into contention or he's quite content to take the money and sit on the bench.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (16/8/06)

I don't get it, Dutch. Here is a player that your hero, Moyes, brought in as some unknown prospect... the "Scottish Rooney" (*cough, splutter*). He chooses to accept a new contract from Moyes with your favourite team... and you slag him for lack of ambition! I'm gobsmacked! — Michael

Re: What is good football?

Kevin, we have tried crap football for four years under Moyes and have won nothing; it clearly isn’t working so let's give good football a try.

Chelsea and the Italians play good football anyway, I agree it's not Barcelona (very successful with their attacking style) but they are still entertaining most of the time with the technical abilties they have. Look at all the trophy winners over the years, virtually all of them have played a high standard of technical attacking football.

You do not need to be a rich club to attract good players. Over the years there, have been teams like Valencia and Villarreal who a spent little money yet attracted extremely good players and broke into the top tiers of their leagues. Look what Wenger did to Arsenal. I can include many of these examples, using lack of money as the excuse for being unsuccessful is just a cover for people accepting mediocrity.

The reason Everton play poor football is because Moyes has mainly bought poor players; we are arguably the worst side in the Premier League to watch. Moyes is unable to find unknown good cheap players from abroad; instead, he spends all our money on inflated technically inferior British players — that’s his major limitation. He doesn't have enough knowledge abroad to bring in great players before anyone else knows about them.

Under Moyes we will forever be where we are now, at best a 4th - 8th side, he's a decent manager but not good enough for what Everton really want, and that’s a title-winning side playing good football.
Tommy Coleman, London  (16/08/06)

"...using lack of money as the excuse for being unsuccessful is just a cover for people accepting mediocrity." You got my attention there, Tommy... but then you lost it... "Moyes is unable to find unknown good cheap players from abroad." What about McBride? Yobo? Arteta? Ferrari? Krøldrup? However, I have to agree with your last point, sadly. — Michael

Thoughts on the Captaincy

Hope this isn't going over old ground but just a few thought's on the Captaincy (and leadership in general), there are a few things that you do need:

  • Consistency: Whoever is going to be Captain should be Captain both on and off the pitch and he should be Captain on the pitch most weeks. If he is replaced, it should be through injury or temporary loss of form. For there to be two people doing the job weakens the position of both.
  • Leadership: He should be selected as the best leader, not the best player.
  • A consistent style: Leadership does not necessarily mean shouting the most (I can't imagine Brian Labone was a'shouter' but he did seem to lead) but it does mean communicating (David Weir seems suprisingly quiet for a leader).
  • Communication with both the management and the team: David Moyes is going to have to work with him but at the same time he will have to be someone with the respect of the team.
It's not a balance that is easy to achieve but I do think it is wrong to go with (potentially) two people in position.
Steven May, Bracknell  (16/8/06)

[Bracknell? I used to live there...] I can't be arsed to check when this started, but Everton have done this "Club Captain" and "Team Captain" thing before — it's nothing new. Perhaps the best way to look at it is to recognize that "Club Captain" is more of an honouray title that recognizes past contributions but means little in the present context... a bit like the "Lifetime President" of whom we have heard nothing (thank god) since he was appointed. — Michael

What is Good Football - Response

Kevin's article makes a lot of sense but against the idea that a team outside of the top four can't play attractive, winning football I'd like to cite Villarreal. Although I don't follow La Liga, they seemed to come from out of nowhere and played us, and others on their CL run, off the park.
Ravo Stanley, Liverpool  (16/8/06)

Re: What is good football?

Very briefly, good football is generally played by us when the team is high on confidence. This confidence comes from goals and knowing you are capable of scoring — not something we saw last season. A perfect example of this is a goal from David Unsworth v Fulham at Goodison a few seasons ago. That is good football, it can be done.
Stephen Burton, Belfast  (16/8/06)

... and it doesn't need a team of superstars. Good point, Stephen. — Michael

80,000+ gates

Haven't got the records at hand, but I have a feeling the game against Blackburn mentioned was one I read about recently in which over 70,000 paid but several gates were knocked down allowing many thousands more in. Estimates at the time all took this crowd above 80k making it our real record attendance. If Everton and Liverpool had not been in Div 2 between us from 51-62 (but not at the same time), there would've been many more 70k+ attendances.
Tom  Hughes, Liverpool  (16/8/06)

In response to 'What is Good Football' by Kevin Sp

I have to say that I disagreed entirely with Kevin Sparke's conclusion in what constitutes a quality player. His article was based on the fact that only the so-called top four clubs have 'quality' players in the EPL. Anybody with half a football brain will know that this is completely wrong.

I for one have been involed in football both as a player and a manager / coach at a 'grass roots' level, when I ran a Sunday morning football team. Added to that, I have watched and supported Everton for over 30 years, including being a season ticket holder for 11 years.

Who decides which players are good, which players are not so good, and which have special talent? Is it just those scouts, coaches, managers, etc. associated with the top four? Of course it isn't! Just because Chelsea buys a player, everyone assumes he must be a world-class player. Real Madrid bought Graveson from us, but would you call him a world-class player? I certainly wouldn't.

There a thousands of affiliated clubs in England alone, and millions of registered players... do scouts from the top four visit them all? No, traditionally news about talent from the lower leagues travels mainly by word of mouth. A coach at a club in a minor league will recommend players to bigger clubs who will then give those players a trial and eventually the outstanding players will end up with a Premiership club.

The process of farming young talent is now being by-passed by clubs with big money, who just poach talent from 'smaller' clubs by offering them big money. Rooney is a prime example. The bigger clubs are largely ignoring their own acadamies when it comes to bolstering their first-team squads. Arsenal may be the exception.

So, going back to my original point, the top four do not have a monopoly on quality players. Very few Premiership clubs have no quality players, they all have at least one or two, some have more.

I believe Everton have several quality players who would easily hold their own playing for Man Utd or Chelsea. Cahill, Arteta or Osman would easily compliment a Man Utd midfield. Beattie of Johnson would score goals up front for Chelsea.

It is just geograhpy and money that seems to matter on the surface, but truthfully there is not really such a huge gulf between the worst Premiership players and the best, we are just led to believe there is by pundits and a media who all think they are experts.

The main ingredient for success, and always will be, is teamwork. Eleven quality players does not mean you have a good team. The best TEAM will usually prevail and win trophies.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (8/16/06)

Championship Bill

I totally agree with what Steev Sweeny said about Our Great Club! All the penny-pinching and penny-dealing has to be the fault of Championship Bill. I call him that because, in the Championship he is a big fish in shallow water. He could buy 10 players for £5 million, that's his league. I think everybody forgets this is the same Board of Directors that was there when Mr Johnson was in charge.

I'm sorry, Bill, you have been at the club too long as a Director for any more dreaming. I doubt if you will go soon as the big picture is around the corner (new stadium and all...). Sell it all off in one go — BINGO! — you will be Big Bill. Until then, just keep raiding the piggy bank.
Joseph Walsh, Woking  (16/8/06)

Fella, I'm no Bill-lover... but what in the name of Blue Murder are you babbling about? Penny-pinching??? Everton were the second-highest spenders this summer. Championship Bill? WTF is that supposed to mean? It is categorically NOT the same Board of Directors that was there when Johnson was in charge. Gregg & Gregg have replaced Carter, Abercromby, Tamlin and Lord Grantchester since then! If Bill was to sell now, it is questionable whether he would actually make any money at all, given the £27M Bear Stearns loan. No-one in their right mind is likely to "invest" in that little millstone... And exactly what piggy bank is he raiding? Astounding! — Michael

Anichebe or Beattie?

Continuing the debate as to whether Anichebe should start ahead of Beattie, I would say that if you're playing well, looking sharp, strong and scoring goals, age should not come into it. Beattie has been with us for 1½ seasons and probably only played six games or so where he has looked anything other than an average forward. Anyone who has seen the pre-season or the tail-end of last season, can see that his attitude and effort mean he just isn't worthy of inclusion at the moment. Maybe the realisation that a young player can be picked ahead of him will give him the jolt he needs to seriously start pursuing his England dream.

Anichebe has a great quality of unpredictability in his game, and also the ability to create chances for himself, which we will need due to the limited ability of our midfield. If, after six or seven games, he is finding the going tough, that is the time to take him out, but I don't believe the fans will start giving him a hard time as he is a lad who always gives it everything. We should always be picking players on merit — not inflated reputations.
Karl Jones, Woolton  (16/8/06)

I'm pretty confident in saying Mr Moyes does not see it that way at all, sadly! — Michael

Twisted logic

So Sparkie is happy to put up with crap football as long as the team are winning. Well, on the first score he`s unlikely to be disappointed as long as Moyes is in charge! The winning bit is a is a little harder as, in the long run, teams who can`t play lose more than they win — that`s a fact — so he shouldn`t be misled by `the magnificent fourth` the season before last.
Alan Whitefield, Swinton  (16/8/06)

Football... What Football?!

I've been reading with interest the current debate about Everton's lack of winning style and what needs to happen to fix it. Couple of observations:-

  1. The footballing spectacular, the Fifa World Cup, in general was crap, poor games poor tactics and unwatchable.
  2. The only team in the Premiership that plays consistent flowing football is Arsenal... and then usually only at home.
  3. I watched Chelsea a few times last season and they were grinding out results, a lot of it wasn't pretty.
So my conclusion is that this isn't an Everton problem. Everton and other sides have found a way to play that competes with the likes of Arsenal etc — see our home game with them last year. The style we are adopting is designed to get points not please the crowds.

We are also suffering from the European malaise where, due to the sheer amount of foreign imports, we are seeing the typical English game getting bogged down in to this careful back-passing bore!!

Having a go at Moyes — although he is accountable for some 'strange' decisions — is only part of the problem here. The supporters in general of Premiership clubs need to vote with their feet. If the article being served up on the field doesn't 'entertain' them, then don't attend. As soon as we get to crowds below 20k, the message will get through.

Having said that, I'll still be there... what does that say about me, I ask!!! Maybe the points are more important than the style... or maybe it's the Chang!
Rog Walker, Manchester  (16/8/06)

I guess that, sadly, I have to agree with you, Rog; that's about right. But I'm refusing to attend any more games... — Michael

Damn the Weir?

This topic has probably run it's course, but I can't see what all the fuss is about following Davie Weir's reappointment as Club Captain. A CLUB captain is quite a different role to a TEAM captain - it's ambassorial more than anything. Also, to quote the Echo:

"But even though Weir not be guaranteed an automatic starting place any longer, Moyes has no absolutely no intention of relieving one of the club's most respected and dedicated professionals of his position."
That clearly implies that Weir will NOT be a regular starter this season in the centre of the defence. Yes, Moyes's track record would inidcate that Weir will start but the above quote seems to show that's no longer the case.

Given Moyes was interviewed for the article one can (safely?) assume DM was the source of that information. So why are people so agitated about this?

Let's just wait and see what happens come the weekend. (I'll be the first to stick my hand up and say I was wrong if Davie starts more games than not this season). The quote from the Echo does raise one interesting question for me.

It says Weir "will no longer be guaranteed an automatic starting place" Does that mean he had a guaranteed starting place prior to this season? If so...why?
Paul Kish, Adelaide, Australia  (16/8/06)

Errr... because he was Captain? Sorry, sorry... I'll go to bed now, honest.

But with 40 starts and only 2 sub appearances, I'd say he was definitely an automatic starter. He was an unused sub for three games (that Everton failed to win) and missed only one game all season — our ignominious 4-0 defeat at Villa.

Michael

Capacity in the 60's

There was a 73,000+ gate for the Derby match of 1963, so the capacity could not have been reduced to 65k in 1960. I think there were a few crowds over 65k up to the mid-60s.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (15/8/06)

Yes, I should have spotted that. My mistake. Do you think that fella was mistaken on the year? Maybe it was that FA Cup tie with Blackburn in 1958? — Michael

Andy van der Meyde

Woof Woof Woof. Ok, it was me who spiked his drink and let the burglars in. But am I that bad, he's been taking the club for a ride for the past season.
Mac Dogue de Bordeaux,, High Bebington  (15/8/06)

Arf, arf....

On the contrary.....

Status and League position are ... [sorry, Tom: you put that in the Title and it gets truncated in the database].

Man Utd are the biggest club but they didn't win the league last year or the 2 before that, and indeed didn't for a 20-odd yr period during which they were even relegated. Throughout that period they were probably still the biggest club in the League. Likewise in 1984 in terms of status, in terms of buying power, stadium, fanbase, honours list and the fact that there were probably only 2 or three squads more expensively assembled than ours.... we certainly werent 6-8th. Even if we rarely lived upto it. How many of those catagories do we still satisfy top 3-4 status? Like I said.... There really isn't the comparison.
Tom  Hughes, Liverpool  (15/8/06)

Come off it, Tom. What a load of nonsense. If you say Top 3 or 4, that means only one thing in the context we were discussing: finishing in the league in those positions. The point was that Kendall was able to do what Moyes has not done, and Moyes has been given plenty of time to do it, and a lot more money. Your latest diversion proves the fallacy of such comparsions. That was then and this is now. My expectations are based on today and on the current Everton and the players we have. Not Manchester United 20 years ago. Enough already! — Michael

Too soon for Anichebe?

Now, while I'm not going so far as to say that Anichebe should not start at times this season, it does concern me that some Evertonians see him as a ready-made alternative to Beattie. Competition, sure. The player to stir things up by coming off the bench, sure. But regular Premiership player, certainly not yet!

Evertonians seem all too willing to pin their hopes on certain players. Last year it was VdM who was going to haul us out of trouble. This year, it seems to be Anichebe people seem to be pinning their hopes on.

The lad is still a kid. He is not a Rooney and has yet to learn his trade. I've seen too many young homegrown strikers fail at Everton (Wakenshaw, Cadermateri, Branch, Jevons, Chadwick) to want to see the lad fail because of too much pressure being heaped on them prematurely. Besides, the demanding nature of the Goodison crowd whose instinct, after an initial honeymoon period, always seems to be to hurl abuse at players when they're going through a bad patch, could completely destroy his confidence.

Use him sparingly, tellingly and sensibly and we could yet have a gem on our hands but don't expect too much this season.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (15/8/06)

Unfair comparisons.........

I agree it is possible to make a big impression with a relatively cheap squad. In many ways HK did indeed achieve this (possibly more so with the 87 side). However, I'd say the class of 85 contained some of the best talent about at that time as their respective cap collection would prove. Apart from the absolute steals that were Nev, Reidy, Sheedy and Gray, who were top-drawer in many respects, Inchy and Steven were relatively big buys at a time when we could still just about compete with any other club in transfer funds.

That is nothing like the picture now, we missed the gravy train a while ago. I'm hopeful that Moyes can find a balance within the constraints, but don't think the comparison is fair. EFC 1984 were still top Top 3 or 4, what are we now? 6th to 8th if we're lucky.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (15/8/06)

Howard Kendall arrived as manager in May 1981, when Everton had finished 15th (sound familar?). In his next three seasons (through 1984), Everton finished 8th, 7th and 7th. Hardly "Top 3 or 4", I think you'll agree. In fact, very much "6th to 8th". Anything but an unfair comparison.

Hoisted by your own petard, I believe!!! — Michael

Re: 70,000+ Attendances

I was looking at the attendances over 70,000 and I noticed there was a game that I was at — I think it was in 1960 against Blackburn Rovers, and Bryan Douglas was playing. It was at Easter time and I think the attendance was over 74,000. This was not on the list you showed. I remember clearly kids being carried out and fans spilling onto the pitch as it was so full. Does anyone else remember this?
Peter Knight, Vancouver, Canada  (15/8/06)

I'm not sure of the dates or the circumstances, but I think that by 1960 the capacity of Goodison Park had been reduced to around 65,000. I'm at work right now, but I'll check myy data sources when I get haome and see if I can identify which game that was — and the recorded attendance. Of course, there is always that uncertain relationship to consider between the actual attendance and the recorded attendance for tax purposes... (*cough, cough*) — Michael

Choices

I take it Steve Sweeney is not going to the Watford game then!

Come to think of it... are all these Aussies going to the Watford game on Saturday? There will be at least one seat available if Sweeney means what he says! Don't bring any hand luggage though...
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (15/8/06)

Errr... Satellite TV?

Shut up will yer!!!

For fuck's sake, will all you doomsayers give it a rest. All I read on this webpage everyday is 90 percent pessmism.

Boo hoo! Moyes has kept David Weir on as Captain... get a fucking grip will you! The man has given us years of service and is obviously respected as one of the senior members of the squad. At least he didn't piss off to Sunderland when he was only given a year's extension.

People whining about not signing a new midfielder, who do expect Davey to sign for peanuts? Because I'm pretty sure the cupboard is now bare. Last season Moyes was chastised for not signing a striker — now its all about a midfielder, you people are never happy.

And please God can we at least wait until a few games into the season before we start chastising the players and coaching staff. I find it ridiculous that people are already sharpening their axes before a ball has been kicked. I'm only 21 but if I'm as miserable as the likes of Tony, Michael and Luq when I'm their age I think I'll jump out of friggin window. Cheer up and try to see some good for a change, you never know what might happen this season. COYB!!!
Ryan Jones, Preston  (15/8/06)

Ah... the idealism of youth. 'Tis a wonderful thing... Enjoy it while you can, lad. But don't make the mistake of assuming that a critical eye equates with being miserable. That could not be farther from the truth... but it may take you a while yet to figure it out. The difference is we give credit for good where good really exists — not where it's manaufactured in advance from facile predictions and vacuous promises. — Michael

Beware the Wagyl

Hey, Michael, You have dangled your bait in the crystal blue waters of the Antipodes a few times without raising a nibble. Your latest offering is irresistible and despite knowing in advance that I will be well and truly hooked I cannot help but rise to it. Your latest jibe insinuated that this land down under is the arsehole of the world yet I remind you that it is what passes through it from the Podes that stinks.

Lately there has been a veritable flood of the brown stuff heading our way but I put that down to the proximity of the season and people not knowing what orifice to use when spouting rubbish. As for yourself, young feller me lad, I am sorely tempted to get my Abo mate to point the bone in your direction.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (15/8/06)

Hahaha! Nice riposte!

Misled by Moyes

After some of the optimism that accompanied some our new signings, Johnson, Lescott, emergence of Anichebe, and thinking that this signalled a new approach to the dour shite of last season, it appears we have been misled. Keeping the old guard, and there is no-one more old guard than Weir, keeping him as captain says quite a lot about what we can expect.

It means that he gets to play — puzzling considering he just extended Yobo's contract, and signed a central defender. Where is the space for Weir, who was past it two seasons ago?

I think many of us hoped that with Big Dunc, gone, the injection of pace up front, provided by Johnson and Arteta as playmaker in the middle, Everton would actually become watchable. Have we been duped?
Bram Oliver, Gabs  (15/8/06)

Missed Opportunity on Captaincy

While there is nothing 'wrong' with leaving Weir as club captain, Moyes has missed a big opportunity not to use the appointment to really galvanise another player. Alex Ferguson (with Cantona and Keane) has used the captaincy to great effect, as has Wenger (Vieira and Henry). The obvious appintments to get players to 'focus and step up' would have been Yobo, Cahill or even Beattie. Moyes has again gone for the safe option.
Neil Pearse, London  (15/8/06)

Reality Check Please

I have often suspected for some time now that a lot of Evertonians on this site are not quite the Full Shilling. I know that supporting Everton takes a lot out of a man mentaly but some of the characters on here are pure whoppers.

How can you go from discussing the merits of Moyes and his so-called team one minute to arguing with some divy by a lake about holiday destinations? The fact remains — no matter what lake, pool, or fucking river you are sitting next to — Everton have got problems in the Football Department.

Wether you are a working-class lad like myself and thousands of others or a Two Bob Tory like Mark Hansen, who gives a toss. This is about Football — end of story.

As much as I cant stand Liverpudlians, I have to admit that their fans understand football and what's required a lot more than some of our crowd. Ged Houllier was out the door and gone after one bad season there — with 5 trophies under his belt — because their fans and board want and expect the best. Now look at what some of you fans at our club are happy to put up with. It's a fucking joke.

So, please, by all means have a go at me if it makes you feel better about yourself, but please don't insult my intelligence with your "Moyes is a good manager" bollocks because it won't wash.

Oh, by the way, Mr Hansen, I have been to Lake Garda also. It reminds me a bit of watching Everton under Moyes. Mostly boring, never exciting... and very little to report.
Tony Marsh, Sunny Cyprus  (15/8/06)

History

Good to see Mr Wyness has made a commitment that the David France Collection will be purchased by the trust to keep it in the club's hands. He has said failure is not an option.

Our history is incredibly important. It is vital to know where we come from and how we got there. Young blues should be required to know about St Domingo's Church, Dean, Lawton et al — as well as the less glamorous phases in our history, the early 1950s for example. The collection is a tangible slice of that impressive history. Tat to some... but it should be cherished by all Blues.

On another point, without wanting to sound like an add little but criticise everything poster, some of the regular contributors have lost their freshness recently. There is no point engaging in the Moyes is a muppet / Moyes is the messiah debate. He is here to stay so let's take each game as it come. Endless diatribes and eulogies on the same subject get so tiresome after a while.
Ben Greenwood, Chester  (15/8/06)

Good points, Ben. I'm very glad the club has finally decided to do the right thing about the David France Collection. Begging from the fans was never going to work. — Michael

Soft Touch

Weir being made captain just shows how much of a soft touch Moyes is. Scared to make a hard decision, he backs out of it and makes Weir captain whilst saying Neville and Stubbs can 'help out'. What the fuck is that??? If our manager can't be ruthless enough to tell his old mate that he's no longer captain and make a decision that's good for the club, then what should we expect from the players he's managing?

This decision personifies one of many reasons why the fans are pesimistic towards this season already. It's the same sort of managing decision that will make sure Anichebe stays sat on the bench 90% of the season as well.

We want a ruthless winner who will take no shit, not this middle-of-road coward. It's not going to change though is it? Which begs the question of who the real soft touch is.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (15/8/06)

Wow, that cut straight to the heart of the matter, Ross. Must be that clear Scottish air... — Michael

Captaincy

I don't seem to see the problem. Wier is club captain, he is the leader on and off the pitch. With Wier now 4th choice, he will be providing most of leadership qualities off the pitch, mainly on the during ground, still an important aspect. Neville will now be the captain 'on the pitch' of team from the right-back position.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Liverpool  (15/08/06)

I think the fear is that Weir is NOT fourth choice but first choice. We shall see on Saturday... — Michael

Putting things in perspective

After reading all of the letters posted by fans, I have found that it is very easy for people to talk about last season's performance in very general terms. Last season we crashed out of both European competitions in unspectacular fashion and finished a disappointing 11th in the league.

If you analyse our performances while taking into account the players who were available in the first half of the season then you can see a partern emerging. Last season we were blighted with injuries, with key players being injured at various times, with times during the season where we had no cover for certian positions. As a result we had games where Big Dunc was the only striker, or Wright was the only GK, or Kilbane was playing LB, or Weir was the only CB.

Remember Beattie missed about 10 games through injury, Carsley, Naysmith, Pistone and Ferrari were all injured for long periods. Krøldrup was next to useless and VdM only played about 6 games. Due to injuries, we could not get any consistency and you can almost blame our poor early showing last season for that very reason. In contrast to the previous season, we had no injuries and consequently a settled squad, and funnily enough we finished 4th.

This season I hold out a lot of optimism, because as well as having a much stronger squad we have no injuries so the squad is more settled, and therefore should be a lot more consistent. I think a top six place should be a realistic aim and a flying start can only help.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (15/8/06)

I keep meaning to do some analysis on that whole injury issue. I have all the data going back about five seasons, and was thinking of a Player Availability / Injury / Illness / Whatever kind of matrix that might quantify the impact injuries have. Watch this space! — Michael

''We should be better than we are''

You keep saying this Michael... but why? We are now an average-sized Premiership club, who despite what you say about Moyes's outlay this summer (which we surely cannot judge yet) have consistently been one of the lowest spenders in recent years. Please explain why you think the majority of this lot or any combination thereof SHOULD be better than they are.

  • Li Wei Feng: On-loan
  • Joseph Yobo: £1 million, but could rise to £5
  • Francis Jeffers: Loan
  • Nigel Martyn: Nominal
  • James McFadden: £1.25M
  • Kevin Kilbane: £750k rising to £1M
  • Ibrahim Said: On Loan
  • Brian McBride: On Loan
  • Espen Baardsen: N/A
  • Richard Wright: £3.5M rising
  • Rodrigo: £1.25M
  • Li Tie: On Loan
  • Mikel Arteta: £2 million
  • Per Krøldrup: £5 milion
  • Simon Davies: £3.5M rising to £4M
  • John Ruddy: £250k rising on appearances
  • Guillaume Plessis: Free
  • James Beattie: £6M
  • Eddy Bosnar: Free
  • Tim Cahill: Undisclosed
  • Marcus Bent: £450k
  • Tim Howard: Loan
  • Joleon Lescott: Undisclosed
  • Andrew Johnson: £8.6M
  • Scott Spencer: Undisclosed
  • Sander Westerveld: Loan
  • Alan Stubbs: Free
  • Andy Van der Meyde: Undisclosed
  • Nuno Valente: Undisclosed
  • Matteo Ferrari: Loan
  • Phil Neville: Undisclosed
Pinched that off the People's Forum so appologies for any inaccuracies. The majority are very average players, and even the relatively expensive ones wouldn't get a game for the big three. They were pretty much all we could afford as any funds have become available. That's where we're at, and that's our current status. Getting a collection of the cheaper end of that illustrious selection to 4th place is bordering on miraculous, regardless of the quality of the footy. (Let's face it, even Chelsea are hardly great to watch half the time.)

By the way remind me to vet who I rent my villa out to next time ;)
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (15/08/06)

Tom, you're an old arse, aren't you? Do you not have any recollection of what Howard Kendall (Mk I) had to work with? And the results he obtained. It can be done. It is the sign of a really good manager. Personally, I believe some other things have to fall into place as well, and perhaps it's these intangibles that Moyes is missing. — Michael

Planet Reality

I cannot believe that an Evertonian would compare this club to Fulham!!! Fulham are even worse shite than Everton... WHAT PLANET ARE YOU ON? At the moment, entertaining football and Everton do not go together. OK, we did get some good results but, apart from 3 or 4 games when we beat relegation fodder, when did we score or look to score more than 3 times a game? Face facts: this team has no flair. Yes, I agree Ateta looks a class act but Osman and Van der Myde??

Let’s take Osman, yes a skilful player but he has not developed physically to play week-in, week-out in the Premiership, in the big games hetends to hide or go missing, lacks vision and does not seem to be able to recognise when to part with the ball. Can score goals but not on a regular basis — similar to Mcfadden. And he is not a Premiership player either. Van der Meyde is a disgrace to football and as has been said on this site before someone should take the blame for signing him – but not Moyes it wasn’t his fault... I truly hope Everton do well and that the football they play is acceptable to you, but I am afraid I have watched enough of the big hoof to last me a lifetime. I also believe that it is not the fault of Moyes either, he is simply not capable at this moment in his managerial career to produce a style of football that is exciting to watch. I really do hope though that something clicks in his head and Everton start winning in style.

I still can’t believe that we are being compared to fucking Fulham. Doesn’t that say how low we have sunk? I think I will stay with my memories of Ball, Kendall, Harvey; the wing play of Dave Thomas, and Big Bob(who by the way was as big if not bigger than Beatie but who knew how to put the ball in the back of the net). In the 80’s we had Tricky Trev, Sharpe, Heath, Bracewell, Sheedy etc.

No, it's not all the fault of Moyes; this club and its fans seem to have accepted mediocrity and the fault for that lies in the Boardroom. Until Kenwright gets his 30 pieces of silver and goes, you will all have to put up with it. But sorry, I cannot watch it anymore.
Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (15/8/06)

I'm sorry...

... but how did anyone expect Weir not to be captain?! If we reinstated Stubbs as captain, there would have been complaints. Given the negative comments about Neville, if Phil had been handed the armband it would have caused a fuss and basically been saying that Wier was not actually going to be playing a part this season - which begs the question why re-sign him (but that's an entirely different question). As soon as we kept him on, it seemed (at least to me) inevitable that he would retain the captaincy.

Some people claim Yobo should have had a chance to show we're moving forward... but he may well not be starting and, though he has (not sure if still does) captained Nigeria, for Everton he has consistently made clumsy errors.

I'm not saying Weir is a rock — far from it — his lack of pace is very apparent. But as Dutch says, the captaincy is there as an ambassador to the club... and he is a great professional and that's where rather than perhaps not on the field where he will lead.

A lot of players have to prove themselves this season, along with the manager, Weir is in his last season so let's get behind them and hope it's an exciting season for the right reasons!
Chad Schofield, Cirencester, Glos  (15/8/06)

I've sat back a bit from this reaction to the Weir captancy, coz it didn't really annoy me that much to be honest (apart from Dutch's Man Utd analogy!). And I think you summed up the reasons why, Chad. He's not the greatest captain on the field, but I just don't see Yobo, Neville being that much better. Stubbs would be my choice over Weir as he has that local connection like Watson, but they are both at the tail-end of their careers. Not an easy decision. — Michael

Poor sod / stupid sods / Scottish sod!!!

I truly feel for Andy van der Meyde. He gets rat-arsed Sunday night, his drink spiked, hospitalised then fined, crucified by certain fans (MB'S), a public bollocking from Moyes, MotM on Saturday, then returns home to find his gaff has been broken into. Poor sod, he should have had big Dunc to house-sit while he was away! But I'm glad he played well because we need every drop of quality we can get in this squad.

I don't give a flying toss if McFadden signs! I think we missed a trick not off-loading him and Naysmith to Celtic. Now we can look forward to more runs into blind alleys, poor passing and turning himself inside-out. Are they here because they are Scottish? Is Weir retaining the club armband a Scottish thing, because it can't be based on performance? Stupid sods!

And why is Moyes quick to bollock AvdM and quicker to praise Weir, Davies, Kilbane, McFadden and the likes for being shite? AvdM needed a warning, but it smacks of favouritism the fore-mentioned players are above a slating! When 40,000 can see Moyes's favorites are just toilet. And what angers us realistic fans is when Moyes praises them for inept displays?! Moyes's faith in them are as blind as the MB's faith in Moyes!

Moyes's latest madness is saying he is glad Johnson hasn't scored yet, saying he is saving it for the Premiership?! What a load of haggis! Sorry bullshite! The overwhelming opinion is clear in yesterday's mailbag; Moyes either steers us into Europe/cup win whilst playing good football, or he pisses off promto! Scottish sod!
Luq Yus, London  (15/8/06)

Just on the point of what Moyes says these days... compare that to some of the great quotes he gave us during the first couple of years he was our manager. He used to nail it every time, didn't he? Maybe the change has been a part of that whole 'learning process'... — Michael

P- P- P- P- Pessimism

My word. You're an optimistic lot aren't you! I think we'll do well this season. The squad is bigger. More competition for places. OK, Moyes has given Weir the captain's armband. Doesn't mean he has to keep it all season. If he plays GASH then I'm sure he wont be picked and someone else will pick up the captaincy. VdM could come good. Davies could find some form and the team could gel as could the Beattie/Johnson partnership and we could be on for another top 6 finish.

Lots of 'COULD's in there but look at the other teams around us. It was only the last few weeks of last season that really killed us off and put us out of contention for a top 6 place. The season hasn't even started yet. Come 1 January 2007, I think people will be singing to a different tune. Or maybe not. Even if we were top of the league come January, people would still be slating the management and the team. After all, we're Everton, aren't we. Love the club but just have NO FAITH! In anyone.

I for one would give up a top 6 finish and even (dare I say this) settle for bottom half of the league if it meant winning the League Cup or getting to the final of the FA Cup! Really I would.

Chin up. Head high. The future's bright.
Reuben Leach, Wellingborough  (15/8/06)

Armband Issues

On the captain's armband issue, I must concur with the majority in having an impending sense of doom around an ageing and slow David Weir retaining his position. In my experience of team sports, the captain's name is always first on the teamsheet, and with young fast central defenders like Yobo and Lescott it should be the old guard, not them, challenging for a position.

Once again Moyes has shown a distinct Scottish loyalty bordering on parachial bias in favour of at best a very average player clearly in his twilight years. Yobo is captain of his country and to my mind is the obvious choice for Everton team captain. A sneaky thought - despite the club's very publicy visible anti-racism stance, could it be that there are some lingering vestiges of this outdated mentality in the corridors of power?
John Ballinger, Heswall  (15/8/06)

The Beautiful Game

Michael's argument seems to be that Everton play poor football under David Moyes. Personally, I don't care about the beautiful game — I just want results. They can boot it up the field all day so long as they get three points at the end of the game.

Playing attractive football would be a bonus but I don't give a shit so long as they keep grinding out results and stay away from that relegation scrap. Everton not fighting relegation anymore is a sure sign of progress under David Moyes. It's not pretty but it works.
Todd Barker, Lancaster  (15/8/06)

Weir we go again

So, David Weir has been named as club captain? In my opinion, the wrong move for a side that has great expectation. Surely a captain needs to be playing week-in, week-out, barring injury or suspension? So, does that imply that Weir will play alongside Yobo, Stubbs and Lescott on rotation? Surely Moyes must be suffering from delayed jetlag? Yobo or Neville should have been named captain instead. I wouldn't even name Weir in my starting XI if I were choosing the team.

Anyway, I'll try to remain as positive as possible under the circumstances and focus on watching the lads grab all three points against Watford this weekend.
Alan Khan, Durban, South Africa  (15/8/06)

A Reminder

Do we all need reminding which defensive partnership was Everton's best last season? Stubbs & Weir. We conceded less goals and the win ratio was higher.

It's funny everyone talks about Weir being slow and past it but when I think of defensive howlers last season they all seem to revolve around Yobo. Have you all forgotten Yobo's misplaced passes that cost Everton points?

Everyones so quick to slag off Weir but Yobo was a bigger liability last season and no one says a word against him.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (15/8/06)

Good point, Paul. Yobo is definitely given a very easy ride. — Michael

The definitive word

There you go again with the definitive word. Negative is realistic, positive is pious, no middle ground no issues to discuss... that's it. I agree that Dominic King is beyond a joke; that isn't what I want — I just want balance.

As for the main thrust of my letter, the role of the Club Captain in defence of Dutch, that wasn't positive or pious... just true.
Jay Wilson, London  (15/8/06)

Moyes`s Moulding

There seems to be a great deal of negativity from both ToffeeWeb and other sites and yet I find it very hard to fathom. To address a few recent points:

Captain: David Weir is not going to be a first XI selection so it doesn`t matter if he is the club captain. As for our captain on the pitch, Phil Neville has over 50 England caps and many club trophies to boot. Surely it's better to have such a player with vast experience and success to be our captain. Who else is there other than Cahill and Arteta? These players don't have anywhere near Neville`s experience.

Goalkeeper: Some are wondering why we have signed Tim Howard on loan rather than on a permanent deal. It seems to me that Moyes is preparing to bring both Ruddy and Turner through.

Defence: Several people have complained about Weir(again), Stubbs, Naysmith and Pistone being in the squad. However, these players are reserves and furthermore we must keep them on for a further year to allow our younger players such as Paddy Boyle, John Irving and Mark Hughes to develop. Personally, I believe we have a strong and relatively young ¾ of our defence in Hibbert,Yobo and Lescott with Valente, at 32 years old, a good fullback for another season.

Midfield: This area is rather a quandary to us all. Of course we would all like to see flair players such as Arteta, VdM, Osman, Cahill playing every week in a very `Keegan-esque` attacking line-up, but how to achieve defensive balance? Obviously we lack a Vieira-type defensive midfielder though we do have Neville and Carsley who could play a holding role, although of course each has his faults. Carsley cannot play in a four-man midfield and Neville has little passing skill. I think we shall see Davies competing for a starting place along with young Scott Phelan who in time would hopefully perform the defensive midfield role. Also I don't think too many other teams will be happy playing against VdM, Arteta or Cahill.

Attack: We have a forward line to rival most other teams outside the top 4. AJ and Anichebe seem to be very fast and direct goalscorers while McFadden and Beattie offer different skills.

David Moyes: Whilst many have knocked our style of play and the lack of passing football, it is apparent that players with great passing quality such as Arteta are costing £6.8M and above (Rosicky for Arsenal) and even then are untried in the Premiership.

I believe the main players in our team/squad in 2007-08 season will look something like this:

Turner/Ruddy;
Hibbert/Irving, Yobo/Hughes, Lescott/Stubbs, Valente/Boyle;
Neville/Phelan, Davies/Osman, Cahill/Vidarsson, Arteta/VDM;
Johnson/Anichebe,Beattie/McFadden
Along with any new signings which we may make we would have decent cover from both our youngsters and also established players. This seems like a very strong young team which David Moyes seems to be moulding together.
Mark Cassin, Tokyo, Japan  (15/8/06)

Great expectations

Long time reader, first-time poster, life-long Blue. I felt compelled to write after reading the Mailbag posts that followed the announcement of Weir's club captaincy. Quite frankly, the chronic pessimism of the majority of fans amazes and baffles me. No matter what Moyes does, it seems to be wrong. You all (rightly) slagged him off for failing to sign a striker last season. So what does he do? He signs a proven goalscorer. You all slagged him off because of his reliance on an aging central defensive partnership. So what does he do? He signs one of the most talented young defenders in the UK. No reliable keeper now that Martyn has hung up his boots? He signs Tim Howard (albeit on loan). Dithering in the transfer market? See the above.

So, looking forward to the season ahead, what can we expect? I think a top-six finish is not above us (all you nay-sayers can get stuffed - most of the papers and pundits agree). For the first time in many years, we actually have competition for places (especially up front - with Johnson, Beattie, Anichebe, McFadden and possibly Vaughan all vying for a place). The oft mentioned 'spirit' that drove us to fourth in 04/05 seems to be back. Some of the deadweights (*cough* Ferguson *cough*) have been shipped. Our rivals (and I'm thinking Bolton, Blackburn etc. here, NOT Liverpool, Man Utd etc. - we are no longer their rivals and haven't been for years) have been suprisingly inactive/inept in the transfer market (eg, Blackburn signed McCarthy, but shipped Bellamy).

Returning to the topic that motivated this first post on TW, I have to side with those who say that Weir as club captain implies nothing about who will start alongside Yobo. The evidence to support this assertion is already there in other posts. Nay-sayers, it's time to stop moaning and start acknowledging that things are on the up (please God don't prove me wrong on Saturday).

ps: I notice Rooney has recently professed his love for Manure and said he wants to stay there forever. I wonder what odds I'd get at Ladbrokes that he signs for Real Madrid before the transfer deadline?
Neil Humphrey, Oldham  (15/8/06)

Same old — again!

Believe or noy but I am a lifelong "Geordie" Evertonian. My Father and I travel down to Goodison regularly with the Cumberland Supporters Club. Being from the North East we have to put up with the bullshit that comes out of the Newcastle fans mouths about how "We're a massive club... This is the season we'll finally get some siverware" and all the usual bollocks which normally results in exceuses for yet another dismal season by Xmas.

Having seen the signings made by Moyes over the summer, I was filled with hope for the coming season. We finally buy a direct goalscoring centre-forward who will surely get us goals. We buy a young quick centre-half to partner the young quick Yobo, and we buy Howard to replace the retiring Martyn. Finally something to get excited about. A season with two centre-halves able to compete with the quickest strikers in the Premiership and a striker of our own that fits into that category.

THEN, I read on the website yesterday that Moyes has, once again made Weir captain. I'm not saying that guarantees him a place, but 9 times out of 10, the captain starts a game. Is Moyes having a laugh with us fans??? Weir was a joke last season, often to blame for goals we conceded. He can't run and is frequently shown up for this week on week. His leadership qualities, in my opinion are also very limited.

Any netral coming to Goodison would surely assume Neville was captain. Although I don't want to get on a downer before a ball is even kicked, could this be the Krøldrup situaltion all over again??? Is Moyes simply buying a player who'll be happy to sit on the bench until Weir finally retires? Surely we can't go into a new season with Weir being allowed to play against the likes of Shevchenko, Henry, Bellamy and Rooney. God help us if we do.
Chris Humble, Newcastle  (15/8/06)

Club Captain

Dave Watson never figured in many first team games in his last spell as club captain... (wish he was 25 again).

Holiday wars is it...

I went to Trinidad and Tobago, Paraguay, Sweden, Portugal, USA, Italy, Brazil and Japan... and Germany.

Does that make me top of the turds?
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (15/8/06)

Weir as Captain???

What is this Weir being Captain?? I thought it was a joke! — I also thought that we were going to get rid of all the "OLDIES" at the end of last season? Let's just hope that Weir has one last season left in thoes slow legs of his.
Sam Kernaghan, Broken Hill, Australia  (15/8/06)

Are results the be and end all?

I wish for TW to form a table in which mailbaggers according to their predictions are initially placed. After each month's results we could see who moves up or down the table. On second thoughts such a table could not settle argument. As example, if at any point Everton were league leaders some would rejoice while others moan that Moyes style of football was shite etc, etc.

Most championship-winning teams would agree that top-class football alone did not earn all their points. Some vital victories would have resulted from hard work, slices of luck and referee interpretations. Hands up those who, despite wishing for brilliant performances, would be happy if a successful season was based mainly on sheer hard grind.

I suppose that begs the question, is it best to be a top turd in the cesspool or one of the lesser ones?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (15/8/06)

Didn't we have that recently when we finished a fabulous fourth? Mostly wrought through workmanlike displays... critics said we were punching above our weight... and the following season they were proved so right, to our eternal embarrassment. Top turd in the cesspoool; there's definitely some kind of magical imagery there, Dick. I put it down to your earthy proximity to the essence of our being... That, or long sojourns with the Aboes in that hot dry desert... — Michael

Made in his own image

First of all, Weir should NOT be bloody captain! His performances last season highlighted his increasing lack of pace and inability to anything other than hump the ball up the pitch. There’s no wonder that Yobo delayed on renewing his contract when Moyes insists on playing a couple of old codgers ahead of him. In fact, if I were him, I don’t think I’d have signed a new contract!

The decision to stick by Weir is symptomatic of the deficiencies of our manager. Certain players fit into the ‘Moyes mould’ and are therefore favoured, whilst those who do not are not. The problem is the Moyes mould consists chiefly of being no-nonsense, direct, consistent, and hard working. While these are not bad traits it means we end up with a bunch of players who are all too similar when, to play good football, you really need a mix of different types of players.

At the back Weir, Stubbs, and Hibbert all fit the Moyes mould. Their first instinct is to defend and play it safe. "If in doubt, Hoof it!" is their mentality. Yobo, and the departed Krøldrup like to play their way out of trouble, and that’s not the Moyes way.

In midfield, Cahill, Kilbane, Neville & Carsley all like to get stuck in and look to play it sideways or get it up to the strikers quick, instead of trying to run at the opposition or thread a pass through. Arteta and Osman offer something different to this approach with neat one-two’s, dribbling and the like, and while Arteta seems favoured, Osman is often left out after one bad game, whilst the likes of Kilbane can do nothing for several games and still be picked.

Up front, the same applies. Beattie and Johnson are all about directness, power and pace. We lack a player who can drop off the front and link up play. The last one we had was a young lad named Wayne, and Moyes never really wanted him to have that more creative role.

Our team consists of players who are mostly the same type of player, when we desperately need to mix it up a bit to put some spark into the sheer dullness that was present on the pitch last season. Moyes needs to allow for the individuality of players, rather than trying to mould them all into carbon copies of himself.
Logan Shave, Rainford  (15/8/06)

That is so on the money, Logan (great name!), and yes, it qualifies as "negative"... but who with half a brain could fault one iota of your analysis? Can Moyes not see the reality of this? Does he not want to do something to change this old and broken record?

Sadly, the answer must be "No". What we see on the field is a true outgrowth of his character and personality... and that's the worrying thing! He is managing Everton like the second class Scottish/lower-league defender. And it is truly horrible to watch. — Michael

Spot on, Ken Buckley

Ken, you guessed it right, mate. I am in fact an International Playboy millionaire with a very expensive satellite dish and an Everton TV subscription. I did manage to get home a couple of times in the last few months so I have not been here every single minute. I will be back shortly, Ken, so maybe you could pop over to Marsh Manor for a spot of shooting. Maybe you could bring some of our squad with you while your at it. As for buying out Kenwright and Co, I think a whip round in the Wilmslow should just about cover that, Ken. Sad to hear your spying days are over mate. The iron curtain must seem like an age ago. Give that Roman Abramovich a call. I hear he is always on the look out for good men...
Tony Marsh, Sunny Cyprus  (15/8/06)

Oh C'mon

Seriously, Steve, what is wrong with you? You've supported Everton for how long, yet you criticise them all the time? C'mon, what would you prefer? Everton finishing at the top 6 playing decent-ish football or Everton finishing at the bottom 10 playing entertaining football. I can give an example, Fulham. They played brilliant football but finished 12th!! Their squad is decent, Osman, Van der Meyde and Arteta can provide the flair we need, and Everton do play entertaining football. Jesus, I don't know what planet you're on.
Ben Jones, Anglesey  (14/8/06)

"Everton do play entertaining football." So good I had to read it twice! — Michael

Unbelievable

I really feel I must defend Dutch. It seems to me that you as an editor only respond to positive posts about this club, putting them straight and giving posters your definitive word and yet negative comments go by without so much as a word from the site.

David Weir is "CLUB Captain, that means an ambassador for the club, an influence on younger players off the pitch, and a voice of experience on it. He has served this club well and while he is still here, why strip him of it? Dutch brought up United's treatment of Robson, Southampton did the same Jason Dodds and no doubt countless other clubs do it. They hardly ever played for the first team but still retained the title of Club Captain.

I never post usually but felt compelled as I can’t bare injustice and I felt your response to Dutch’s post was just that.
Jay Wilson, London  (14/8/06)

Perhaps, Jay, it's because the positive stuff is based on little more than pious hope and wishful thinking, whereas what you call 'negative' is actually a realistic assessment of where we ought to be and clearly are not. It's no longer simply a matter of opinion: the facts are clearly laid out in the highs and lows of David Moyes's record as manager. If you want to read 'positive' tripe about Everton, Dominic King at the icLiverpool website is your man. He's the one who is "unbelieveable". Enjoy! — Michael

Tony Marsh

Clearly I'm going to have to agree to disagree with Tony March and yourself, Michael. Whatever you or I want to say about Moyes, the fact is our performances and results this season will tell us all we need to know. So far we've had two good seasons and two not so good so let's see what happens.

Tony Marsh - I'm too old to get into arguments about anything but football with fellow Evertonians. But just so you know - I'm currently the Marketing Director in Britain of one of the world's biggest soft drink firms and this summer I'll be spending three weeks at my holiday home overlooking Lake Garda with my wife and kids.

I do hope you are having fun with your shandy boy mates drinking bitch piss in one of the dirtiest holiday resorts in the entire world — keep on living the dream mate!!
Mark Hansen, St Asaph  (14/8/06)

Uh oh!!! I declare Holiday Wars well and truly open! Give it your best shot, lads and lasses! Personally, we had a wonderful time back in February at this gorgeous villa on St Marten.

Just outstanding! — Michael

No Change

I nearly relented last week and bought my season ticket, my seat was still available in the Park End. Good seat, too, but I listened to the sports news on Merseyside and quickly drove away. Well Mr Wyness how are sales going?

Yes I am very pissed off with Everton; I have had a season ticket since 1979 and have followed The Blues since my first game in the 60’s. This team built by Moyes is shite — utter shite.

Dutch: YES, WE WANT A TOP 6 FINISH, NEVER MIND TOP 10!

I am sick of the lack of flair and skill in this team. How the fuck can Weir be given the captaincy, does this mean he will play every week? The guy should have been fucked off last season. Pisshead from Holland should be shown the door. These 'players' (and isn’t that a joke?) are just taking the piss and going on it.

Moyes may well get some results but the football is crap and I for one have voted and will not return until I know I am going to be entertained and also watch players who care about the club. Not one of our players has been targeted by any other club — is that cos they are unavailable or just plain fucking crap?

I wish Andy Johnson good look as I think he really believes in the club but as others have stated a lot of the players are dire. A lot of young fans think Kilbane’s first name is Fuck off — how does this useless twat even get a squad number? I could go on but believe me there are more people out here who think the same as Mr Marsh but cannot put it as eloquently We will one day I am sure turn the corner but not under Moyes.
Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (14/8/06)

Captain Blues

Just when you think it can't get any worse... it does! Weir to continue as captain and if that isn't enough to wreck a season's hopes then surely the prospect of Neville as the stand-in has to be the icing on the cake. Neville, who runs around like a headless chicken, and Weir who can't run at all, priceless!

To top it all, the one area in most need of strengthening — midfield — we've failed to sign anyone. Surely we could have shipped out Van der Meyde and Neville, assuming of course anyone would have been interested in the latter, and brought in someone of the calibre of Malbranque.
Gerry Western, London  (14/8/06)

Weir as Captain

Whats the problem with Weir being Club Captain? Weir is experienced and respected. He will set a fine example to our young squad of how to conduct yourself off the field. Phil Neville will no doubt Captain the side during the games Weir is not involved in. Which will probably be most games. Didn't Man Utd do something similar with Bryan Robson being Club Captain while Steve Bruce Captained the side on the field?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (14/8/06)

Who gives a rat's arse about fucking Manchester United and what they did? Honestly, Dutch, sometimes I just want to throw the entire computer, monitor, keyboard and mouse at you! — Michael

Michael, Just a Thought.

Michael, you say normally a manager is given 3 years to produce the goods and I agree with you but I have to ask what do you consider 'the goods' to be? Because if your expecting Everton to challenge for the Premiership again, well I hate to break it to you but its never going to happen. Modern football is all about money and Everton simply cannot compete with Chelsea or the other three big clubs.

I would suggest in Everton's case 'The Goods' would be to produce a solid squad, a good mix of youth and experience, capable of playing a high standard of football, establish them as a Top 10 side and then try and develop into a side that challenges for a European place. A bonus would be a cup run.

Be honest, Michael, can we realistically expect anything more then that? Now I know that the standard of football needs to be worked on and we are owed a cup run but basically I would suggest Moyes has pretty much produced everything else.

I know some of you will disagree but as I've said before I started supporting Everton at the beginning of the 1990's and one FA Cup win aside, all my memories revolve around relegation scraps. Those of you who can remember better times will no doubt not be satisfied with this current situation but after some many dark days I'm glad of even a glimmer of sun.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (14/8/06)

You are going around in circles again with the same old sad bollocks, Dutch. Lack of money does not force us to play the dire football that is on display. Lack of money does not cause players to welly the ball forward aimlessly. Lack of money does not force them to be static zombies at throw-ins. Lack of money does not require them to engage in facile bouts of head-tennis.

And anyway, I just read something below that says we are the second-biggest spenders behind Chelsea, so that blows a great big hole right through your latest lame appology for the Moyes mantra. So please, Dutch, contemplate inwardly next time you have another thought... — Michael

Hibbert / Putin

Yes, Alan, I've noticed the similarity too! However, Hibbert's a right back and Putin's a left winger!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (14/8/06)

Boom Boom!!!

Expectations, grim acceptance... reality?

I often used to think that a club like Everton should expect to be in Europe, and challenging for the title. No actually, I used to just expect Everton to achieve this I didn't care who else did what. Tradition seemed to point to the notion of some divine right. However, years of mediocrity and even flirtation with relegation on more than one occasion put paid to that.

I dont expect anything now, find it spares the nerves somewhat. Our descent down the league's pecking order probably started 20 years before Moyes even uttered the words "People's Club". So let's take a dose of reality and stop burdoning people with expectations that, until Moyes got here, were as unrealistic as expecting Sunderland to stay up.

"Blind acceptance???".... 'Fraid so! Isn't supporting a footy club blind faith anyway? There are absolutely no assurances. In any other market place we would all be considered insane for investing our hard-earned in a product that has been consistently second best in this city for the past 35 years... We all have an option, the other place is only a few hundred yards away, and then EFC would have been long gone.

Keep the faith and stop going all Man City, and you never know, one day! Honest to god, its no big deal, we're just not as big as we used to be... accept it!!
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (14/8/06)

Is Tony Hibbert the son of the Vladimir Putin?

Am I the only one to notice the resemblance to our right back and the President of Russia?
Alan Rooney, Lingfield  (14/8/06)

I think that one's been aired previously, Alan.

Who is Tony Marsh

I enjoy the many and varied opinions that appear in the mailbag as it shows what a great cross section of opinion exists out there in Blue heaven.

I have been quite perplexed by the offerings of Tony as by his own hand he appears to be able to exist without working as he spends the whole summer in Cyprus and parties every night yet still is able to see pre-season friendlies which suggests one hell of an expensive sattelite system out there. He also informs us he is a lounge member and goes to all home and away matches which in itself is one expensive business.

Is he an international playboy? I have never come across the name in any gossip column or OK mag and the like. Does he shun the limelight save for his daily offerings to TW? If he is a multi-millionaire playboy then surly he would be able to oust both Kenwright and Moyes and put his own people in.

Who is this superstar out there? Is Tony Marsh a psudonym for someone very famous in our midst? I am not jealous or anything as every year I have a week in 'Talaker' North Wales... but just very curious. UP THE BLUES!
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (14/8/06)

Not a good move

In support of John Mcarlanes's point earlier about a particular geographical region only being able to support one major team, I have at times thought exactly the same. Regrettably, Liverpool seem to be winning Cups without really having a particularly good team and this continues to rake in the sponsorship and even more silverware - eg, the Community Shield. As an Evertonian, I feel part of an underground movement sometimes, fighting to stem a tide as more and more neutrals jump on the instant success bandwagon.

Anyway, the point I want to make is that I feel a move to a new stadium outside the city might be the final nail in the coffin. With Liverpool (as a city) on the up — Capital of Culture 2008 etc — and with considerable inward investment going on, I believe that the only way that we will ever be able to complete with Liverpool is to become part of the fabric — maybe even part of the skyline.

While Liverpool re-develop their car park, we should be looking to build somewhere near the water front and certainly within the city boundaries. What's wrong with Speke? Relatively cheap land and good motorway access? Don't they need a new Tesco out there?

I know my argument is possibly naive because of the levels of investment required and so on, but moving out to Kirkby (no disrespect) is just going to lower the club's profile and dilute our essential links with the city, no matter what the new stadium eventually looks like.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (14/8/06)

200 per cent

Andy,

You can't give 200% mate. It impossible - ask any mathematician. Just shut up and do what you’re paid for on the park. Or go elsewhere. Tit.

Also, “…you are going to see the best of me again." That would imply that we have already seen the best of you. I hope not. I really hope not……
Wayne Francis, Bangor, N Wales  (14/8/06)

Spike speaks

"From now on, I'm going to try 200%"

Ordinary strength alcohol obviously not strong enough then?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (14/8/06)

ALL GREEK TO ME

Tony,your idea of what watching FOOTBALL is all about,is like a SERVEE-E-TES (greek)bleedin awful
Bob Patterson, Liverpool  (14/8/06)

Stop Complaining?

To all the sycophantic lickspittles still basking in their rose-tinted glasses at their omnipotent Moyes, can you please answer how and why the slowest and oldest centre half in the Premier League, a player who has deteriorated faster than he can run, is made captain again?

Dutch, can you manage some of your usual concocted crap about Moyes and youth to explain this? Richard Dodd, can you give lipservice to this masterstroke of genius? Can anyone of the Moyes Brigade hold up your hand and say "Yes, this is the best choice for the captain's armband over any other player in the squad" after his uselessness in the same role last season? What does this say about Moyes's loyalty to his Dad's Army selection at the back? What does this say to Yobo and Lescott?

Complaining? — Yes; Well founded? — Yes; roll on a few more tonkings thanks to Moyes's stubborn reliance on players constantly ripped apart last season and his inability to change where change is desperately needed.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (14/8/06)

Buy one, Get one free

What annoys me most about our ginger leader is his blind loyalty to players who should have been shipped out. Not only that, given half a chance he'll sign them again (eg, Pistone). Even Moyes knows that Wright is crap but he keeps him in the loop together with the likes of Weir, Kilbane, Naysmith, McFadden and Davies. I would almost include Beattie but I'll give him till Xmas. Can't we get rid of this deadwood?
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (14/8/06)

Just when we are supposedly building the squad to a critical mass where there is finally competition for places across the roster, and you want to bin half of them! — Michael

4-5-1 please

Having witnessed the final pre-season game on Saturday, I have come to the inevitable conclusion that Everton must adopt a 4-5-1 formation this season, at least until James Beattie stops resembling a sumo wrestler rather than a proper athlete.

My preferred way of playing would be to employ Carsley in a holding role with Van der Meyde on the right and Arteta on the left. Both Cahill and Davies, who looks noticeably sharper this season, would then have license to get forward and support Andy Johnson.

This formation would play to the strengths of more of Everton's players. The fear is that Moyes will play Beattie simply to accomodate an expensive signing even though it unbalances the side overall.
Idwal Hughes, Liverpool  (14/8/06)

Dutch

Dutch is demanding a top 10 finish this season. So, Dutch, are you saying you would be happy with us finishing 10th? Would you call that progress? You would probalby say "Yes", because it would be a place higher than last season!! Moyes is a half-decent manager who should not be managing us. The football we have to endure from him is painful to watch and won't change this season either, going by the pre-season games. One last thing, Dutch: you should pay more attention to what Tony Marsh writes because he sees it as I (and a lot of other Evertonians I know, see it.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (14/8/06)

Weir captain.....

I have resisted the will to post my opinion on here for a good couple of years now, as I have tried to remain optimistic, and hope — like some of your commentators — to maybe see some decent football at Goodison every week.

The thing is, he has to go and quash any semblance of optimism I could have by naming Weir as captain. This is someone who has had his time as an Everton player, and — frankly — last season he was an embarrassment, and to give him it tells all you need to know about how next season is going to pan out.

Moyes will stick with the same old faces, tactics(sic), unfathomable substitutions (or lack of them), tedious football and excuses we have had to endure during his tenure.

Does he do it purposely to wind the fans up, because if the "entertainment" continues as it has been recently, I for one will have to evaluate whether £500 per season represents value for money.
Adam Baig, Merseyside  (14/8/06)

The Moyesiah

I genuinely think this is a make-or-break season for David Moyes. Some things I see in him suggest he can become a top manager but other things suggest an air of cluelessness and being out of his depth. I, like most fans, care about two things: Everton winning and Everton winning with style. On the former thing I care about Moyes occasionally delivers, on the latter very rarely so.

The one trait that Moyes may yet die by is his stubborness, which could be a recipe for disaster. Although I am by nature a dreamer and an optimist (you have to be supporting the Blues) I have to agree with Tony Marsh when he points out the embarrasing rubbish Moyes spouts, it's as if he enjoys talking up rubbish players. If I see Weir being introduced because Lescott or Yobo have half a bad game, I'll cry. To my mind Weir's lack of pace cost us a good few points last season, especially West Ham at home and the Goodison Derby. And what of Kilbane? Is this guy not a Championship player masquarading as a Premiership player — the sight of him coming off the bench is depressing as hell. And don't get me started on Davies... Or Neville...

On the plus side, I was impressed with Lescott when I saw him, as well as Johnson, who I believe will score goals from limited service, which is pretty much what he had to do in Palace's team & we're certainly a lot better than that. Arteta will be a star player too and I expect Anichebe to emerge as a star this year, if he can dislodge Beattie from the team (hmm, me smells the pungent whiff of Moyes's stubborness again!)

As many have said already of Moyes, it's make or break this season, but I suspect he has a job for life.
John McCabe, Wavertree  (14/08/2006)

Good characterization there, John. I fully agree. — Michael

Stop Complaining, Tony Marsh!

Have we improved under David Moyes? Put it this way: some of us are demanding a Top 10 finish this season. That's something we would never have dreamed of under Wally Smith.

Moyes has gotten Everton a couple of Top 10 finishes already — something Wally Smith failed to do even once. I would have laughed in your face if you had suggested Wally Smith could get Everton to finish 4th.

Sure we got our butts kicked in Europe but your forgetting the point, EVERTON WERE IN EUROPE!!! During the dark days under Wally Smith, European football was a complete fantasy. I would call that progress.

You can argue that the progress has slowed, you can suggest the progress has stopped, but you simply cannot despute the fact that Everton have been a more successful side under Moyes.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (14/08/06)

But not as successful as they should have been. And forget Walter Smith — it's not about him. It's about our current manager, David Moyes, and his limitations. This is expected to be his fifth full season in charge. Normally a manger would be given three seasons to produce the goods, and finishing 4th in 2005 gave Davey the chance to show progress. But last season was not "progress" by any definition. And that's what we've had all along from Moyes: up and down... a rollercoaster. He needs to do better... a hell of a lot better. — Michael

In Reply Mark Hansen

Mark, as much as I respect your opinions regarding Moyes and the wonderful job you think he is doing, the truth is we play shite Footy. Sugar-coat it all you like, mate, but the way Davey Moyes runs his side is a joke.

Okay we finished 4th two seasons ago with Gravesen (by the way when he left it all fell apart nearly), but he failed to build on it and in the end it became one of the saddest chapters in the History of Everton Football Club. Humiliation in Europe was quickly followed by more of the same back home. Not content with allowing Romanian peg sellers to stick 5 goals past us, we had teams the calibre of West Brom and Aston Villa doing the same — all live on TV. How good did finishing 4th feel then, Mark? Add to that the pathetic goals tally Davey's toothless tigers managed last season (worst ever!) and your arguement just doesn't stand up.

All I am saying is that, from what I have seen this pre-season, nothing seams to have changed from last and it's worrying for all concerned. This year again Moyes has failed to address the problem midfield but he did buy another defender and goalkeeper. Okay, he signed Johnston but the lad will struggle as would any striker playing the way we do.

Get a grip, lad, and stop dreaming your life away. We aint going nowwhere under Moyes regardless of who he signs or how much he spends. Listening to the endless stream of bullshit that comes from his mouth is starting to really annoy me: Beattie and Wright for England, Davies and AvdM will come good, more goals from Killbane, blah blah blah. For fucks sake, man, can't you see him for what he is?

Oh, and by the way, as for me being a miserable boring old man, I have been living in Cyprus all summer partying every night in Ayia Napa. What have you been up to?
Tony Marsh, Sunny Cyprus  (14/8/06)

Are we History?

Are Everton in real danger of falling further down the pecking order in English Football?

This is a question I ask not from the perspective of current players / management etc. but more from the point of view that the climate which began following the advent of the Premier League has witnessed a shrinkage of local rivalries and led to a geographical domination by one club or another.

It appears that each region / city apart from London can only support one major club. I know Man City, Birmingham and some of the other North West clubs would argue with this statement. However, the facts would seem to bear out my proposition, that Arsenal / Chelsea and perhaps Tottenham in London along with Newcastle in the North East, Aston Villa (now that they have new money) in the Midlands, Man United in the Greater Manchester area, Liverpool in the Merseyside and North Wales region are very much the dominant clubs both commercially and footballing wise and indeed have been for some time.

Given my argument, the only regions still to establish a major single power are Yorkshire, South-Coast, East Anglia and Wales, where Leeds / Sheffield, Portsmouth / Southampton, Ipswich / Norwich and possibly Cardiff / Swansea are vying for domination of a particular football region.

I know that footballing purists won’t like these ideas but it seems to me common sense that football should follow the trends of society i.e. superstores replacing corner shops. I’m not saying that the Evertons, Manchester Cities etc are at death’s door. I’m just arguing that the opportunities, for those clubs are dwindling with each passing moment. They are clubs who have a limited appeal, much like the specialist shops that survive the onslaught of large organisations. Whereas those clubs who have mass appeal are already in a relatively unassailable position having got the sponsorship and commercial deals in place much earlier.

The main thrust of my argument is that the idea of Everton attracting major investment from outside is probably fanciful to say the least. This may be why we have had to struggle on with the people who have lead the club over the past few years. If the Everton’s and Manchester City’s had not seen their attendances remain healthy in the last ten years then the consequences could indeed have been dire. I know not what the future holds but it would seem that an Abromovich type although required is unlikely to materialise and so it is up to US the supporters to continue to maintain our weird obsession with the Blues in order for Everton to survive.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (14/8/06)

I think if we're all honest, we'd all embrace a utopian vision whereby Everton FC would actually become a True People's Club — possibly along the lines of what we see over in Spain, with clubs like Barcelona, where the "man in the street" can have a say in the affairs of his (or hers) club. Here, at Everton, you could attend every single match, home and away, over the course of a season and live and breath EFC 24/7 - but you still have no say unless you've a shareholder in "The Company". — Colm

Club Captain

I do not understand the decision to keep Weir as club captain. Although the club has made it clear he is back-up for the season - I strongly feel that Stubbs should have got it, with Neville as vice-captain. But it seems Moyes is becoming more stubborn with his decisions, which I don't think is right, especially when things haven't gone so well last season.

And I am sick of these MBs (Moyes Brigaders). Everton are a massive club and what eats me is these fools who live in awe of a man who has done well in parts, but has also taken Everton to very low depths. We may not win the league, but getting into Europe and a cup run is what any decent club should demand and expect each season. And supporting a man so blindly, who plays dour football and players out of position and often out of their depth, is nothing short of studpidity!

Roll on Saturday!!!
Luq Yus, London  (14/8/06)

Bring back Billy Bingham! ;-) - Colm

Good-bye, good football

Football, like many sports, institutions, companies, structures etc. is constantly changing. It’s wonderful to see the enthusiasm sport and especially footie can generate within a club or country. Not wanting to get into a barrage of discussions on what good football is, or defining terms – GOOD FOOTBALL IS GONE (or to quote Colm: 'Fooked').

Take this years World Cup as one example….. Were there any outstanding games? NO! Any outstanding teams? NO!! Any outstanding players? A few individuals…yes. Is this the future of world football? The best of the best? Sepp Blatter called it the ‘best world cup ever. Possibly in terms of organisation, good fun and atmosphere etc… ok… that’s nice… But what about Football? It was crap. One or two teams played one or two good games: Spain, Czech Republic, Ghana, Argentina… but then faded out and were sent home.

Next example: Greece (who?) - European Champions 2004… never even qualified for Germany! Desperate defending and negative tactics won them the title in 2004. Look at the ‘top teams’: Brazil, England (embarrassing if I was English), Holland, France — who made it to the final, scored about 3 goals on the way — and about the same amount in the qualifying group: boring as hell. What about Germany I hear you ask? Home turf – lots of motivation can bring you a long way but not all the way. Bit like the Toffees two years ago...

What has gone wrong with Football? Money? TV? Too much of it (money, tv and football). Top European teams look totally drained: look at Real Madrid. A player like Ronaldo who ran about 3 yards in one WC game. I’m sorry guys.

Everton to play positive football and do well? When I say good football is gone, I mean good HONEST Football — not bought titles, doping, lobbying, politics, scummy agents etc… Yes, I am a romantic, a dreamer of days gone, but at this stage, a bit like Ronaldo and Co, I’m drained and about as motivated for the upcoming season as a hedgehog.

Don’t tell me to feck off and stop being negative – this is a MAJOR Problem in world sport / Football and I know I’m not the only victim. If I had the time I’d go more into the issues surrounding the reasons for this situation – but I don’t – and some of them have been touched on by the ToffeeWeb team.

So guys, if the Toffees play good football this season, applaud (even if they lose). I will continue to watch (whenever I can) because, after all, football is an addiction – no matter how much it hurts.
Joe Sobe, Munich, Germany  (14/8/06)

A lot of merit in your post there Joe......but is anyone running the game truly listening to the ever-growing band of fans who deplore the direction of the game and the rank apathy that exists even before one ball is kicked (in sponsored anger!). - Colm

Micheal

While I agree with some of the things said about Moyes (eg, the type of footy he plays), I still think he is a half-decent manager.

It's ok for you and certain people on this site to keep slagging him off everytime something goes wrong but could you or your allies [Tony Marsh and co] name anyone else we could get as manager or who would be even interested in coming here to replace him if he did go?

None of the big-name managers or even lower league managers were exactly falling over themselves to offer their services before Moyes came.
Big Dunc Stokey, Stoke  (14/8/06)

Yaaaawwwnnnnnn.... Heard it all before, mate, and it's a fatuous rationale for accepting a manger's performance that is way below the best. Personally, I want Moyes to succeed, I want him to step up. I don't want any other manger. I want Moyes to be a good manager. Surely you do too? — Michael

No-Welly Lescott

In spite of the fine words Moyes has to say about Lescott, I`m betting that the new signing will not get a start come Saturday.

As a Moyes watcher,I could hardly miss his annoyance at the centre-half`s failure to get length on a couple of his clearances on Saturday and that alone will see Stubbs partnering Yobo against Watford.

Come Christmas,the coaches will either have taught Lescott to welly it or he`ll be on his bike!
Will Spires, Walton  (14/8/06)

No Money, My Arse

Anyone else see in The Observer the preview of the season? Within the centre pages, it compared the net spend of all the Premiership clubs. Guess what, Everton came second highest, miles ahead of anyone other than Chelsea. It's great that the money's being spent, though I think it's significant that we get little or no money for the players we sell.

On a positive note, The Observer predicted that we'll finish 6th, on top of the Racing Post recommendation that we should be backed each way to finish top apart from the top four at 14/1!

Please don't let it be said that Moyes has had 'no money'. More fiction from those who seem to spend their lives finding 'facts' that make this man look good! Let's judge him from the results his spending and tactics bring from Saturday
Paul Tran, Kendal  (14/8/06)

Andy Van Der Meyde

Andy Van Der Meyde has vowed to give 200% from now on. Doesn't he know that its impossible to try harder then 100%? The maths wont allow it. He must have been drunk when he made that promise.

Instead of promising mathmatical impossibilities I would be rather AvdM just tried to play in a few more games this season and maybe scored a goal or two. Instead of promising 200% effort, how about he just promises to stop drinking and getting wankered every weekend?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (14/8/06)

Faddy

Don't know about you fellas but I wouldn't bother offering Faddy a new 3-year deal. The guy hasn't got the pace for the Premiership, is not strong enough, and — more importantly —always runs himself into trouble...

The midfield looked a bit at sea in the second half gainst Bilbao. Davies has never been a central midfielder and we couldn't hold on to the ball... Here's hoping Shandy stays ale- and injury-free as he does look like he can offer us a bit more than Osman or Davies on the right.
Joe King, Chester  (14/8/06)

Easily pleased!

Mark Hansen and the many others of his ilk must be very easy to please. Still, if your standards are set embarassingly low then you can totter along in your little dreamworld with a smile on your face.

Personally I would have hoped Evertonians had higher standards. I know that the last 10 years with Smith and the just-as-bad Moyes have set the bar at a very low level but surely people can see dross for dross! Moyes a good manager... what a total joke; he is an out-of-is-epth PE teacher. There' a handfull of players in our squad that would be wanted by ANY other Premiership side. He has signed or re-signed rubbish for big money and big wages. He plays a style of football hated throughout the world, dull, boring, negative... all words that reflect his character.

Pre-season has shown us that nothing has changed. We will survive, we'll get a handfull of decent, fighting performances, we'll rarely see any skillful intelligent football and until Moyes goes it just won't change.

Tony Marsh is generally spot on with his take on Moyes and we all get to see he's right week after disappointing week. He and all the other Evertonians with standards, who expect to occasionally be entertained, don't deserve this rubbish, but there are others out there who support this fool of a manager, that maybe do!
Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (14/8/06)

Talking rubbish, mate

I'll give you one big example of Moyes being a good manager, Michael. Rooney and Gravesen leave and Moyes takes us to 4th, not one to dwell on the past but that's what happened and that's just one example of Moyes showing what a good manager he is.

Cahill, Arteta, Yobo, Valente, Martyn etc — That's good management too.

Just some examples — I'm sure you'll remind me of what happened in the Champions League etc but how you can suggest Moyes has not shown himself to be a good manager is beyond me.
Mark Hansen, Kirkby  (13/8/06)

All you have shown is that he has a few pluses... (you forgot to mention Manager of the Year... TWICE!) and everyone knows there are a helluvalot of minuses that more than tip balance on the downward (yes, negative) side. It's really simple, Mark: a good manager would have us playing good football, not mind-numbing shite — or has that sufficiently numbed your mind that you can't tell good from bad! Ah-ha! Who's talking rubbish now, eh? — Michael

Oh do Shut Up, Mr Marsh!

Tony Marsh, will you shut up, you boring miserable old man! I get so sick of your negative shite, there's only one person serving up drivel on a regular basis and that's you. You're boring, you only ever have one argument and you constantly remind us of it. Anyone who doesn't agree with your bollocks is an 'idiot'.

I talk to Evertonians all the time who back Moyes because he's a good manager — you're in a minority who thinks he hasn't got a clue. Sadly some blues on this mailbag seem to jump on your depressing bandwagon.

I can't believe it's taken you only ONE pre-season game to give us your boring false assessment of the coming season, which I for one am very much looking forward too.
Mark Hansen, Kirkby  (13/8/06)

Hmmm... "...back Moyes because he's a good manager..." No; 'fraid you lost me there. I've seen glimpses that suggest he could become a good manager — even a great manager. Where exactly is the evidence that he is a good manager already? Certainly not on the field from the Everton teams he manages. He's fair to middling at best, and prone to incredible lapses that see us fail repeated in all cup competitions and fall like a stone to the bottom of the Premiership — and, worst of all, play mind-numbingly dreadful football. His fifth year in charge and still he has an awful lot to prove.

And since you seem to have trouble counting, we've played EIGHT pre-season games, not just ONE. Apparently we played well against Preston, Port Vale, Club América and Aberdeen. Should we still be focussing on them? Or the game that was played yesterday??? — Michael

Midfield Balance

I've just read Lyndon's article with great interest and I think he sums up our chances pretty well. Everybody is now focusing on our team's major flaw — the midfield. After watching the Charity Shield highlights earlier, I cannot help but feel frustrated that we weren't able to seal the Sissoko deal. Last season, I thought he was awesome and, even though we bought Neville to play the same role, his distribution lets him down. If we were to get a player of that ilk I think it would address half of the problems highlighted in the mailbag recently. For example Arteta scoring more because he can push on further and also to negate some of Cahill's clumsy work.

When I think of Everton teams in the past, one guy comes to mind and that is Joe Parkinson — argubly the player who allowed the mid-nineties team to achieve moderate success. Every successful team has this sort of player and it's another area that unbalances our midfield currently.
Rob Pullan, Manchester  (13/8/06)

Bilbao Bore

Well, nothing to get too excited about after yesterday's boring 1-0 defeat at home to Bilbao. A few observations:-

  • Moyes, please stop playing Davies in the middle, he is much better out wide running at players; in the middle hs is shit.
  • Also, play Arteta in the middle pulling the strings; he is wasted out wide (particularly on the left).
  • What is wrong with Leon Osman? He has not looked at the races this pre-season and surely will not start next week.
  • Still not sure about Lescott; I'd start with Stubbs and Yobo next week.
  • At least Johnson looked sharp!/li>
  • We had no balance at all and it was sad to watch.... particularly when you think of the great balance Howard Kendall's greatest team had!!
All in all, a poor performance which shows we are going to be no better than mediocre again...
Richard Williams, Danbury  (13/8/06)

Utter Garbage

Come off it, Micheal — how can you say yesterday's testimonial meant nothing when all week on this site it was all anyone spoke about?I understand it was a game not too many fans wanted but the worrying signs of last season are all too evident again. Friendlies or not, the lack of goals is a major concern and so is this negative shit football Moyes loves so much.

People are parting with their hard-earned money again this year to watch this fucking drivel. They would be better off coming over here and pissing it up the wall. You can clearly see that the style of play will not change at all from the dross served up last season. When will this Manager realise he has a duty to the fans to provide some entertainment from time to time? The only highlight from last season I can remember is ten men hanging on against Blackburn at Goodison and winning 1-0. Not a lot really, is it?

I know Moyes is not going anywhere but that doesn't make it any easier when you get the idiots who think Moyes is doing a great job. Do they watch the same team as me or what? How can any sane football supporter be happy watching shite like we play? Supporting your team is one thing but putting up with this nonsense is a fucking joke.

Before a ball is kicked, I want Moyes out. If not, it's one hell of a long season.
Tony Marsh, Sunny Cyprus  (13/8/06)

Ah, Tony... I see you are warming up nicely in the Mediteranean sun, well in advance of next weekend's serious return to hostilities! And you know, other than your first puzzlement about testimoanials, I really do agree with pretty much everything you say. My worst fear is that it well be just as bad as ever, and you are right in saying that all we have seen so far simply confirms that it will be.

The optimism placed on the signing of three players who all need to step up from where they have been simply to comepte in the Premiership — never mind set it alight — was always insane, but Evertonians do love to do this to themselves. The rubber hits the road on Saturday, however, and I still maintain that the games we have seen so far mean nothing. The fact that we have spent time talking about them is just a reflection of what little of interest is going on right now; it doesn't convey to these games any more importance than they have — which is NONE!

So get yer arse back over to the UK and be ready to provide your incisive analysis for the stuff that really matters! — Michael

Vanishing optimism?

Where's the optimism gone? A few decent signings and I detected a real mood swing amonst Evertonians. One defeat to Bilbao and we're all on a downer again.

I do admit the midfield is a problem — Arteta apart, no creativity. But in a way, Arteta is part of our problem — he should be scoring more goals for someone with his ability.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (13/8/06)

Well, that's something new, Ray. I don't think he plays close enough to goal to do much more that he already does from free kicks. The rest of the time he is way too busy being the primary supply route for everyone else. It would be great to see, I agree, but has he ever scored for us from anything other than a free kick? — Michael

Wear the fox hat

Michael, was that you who responded to my ‘Place Your Bets’ letter? If so I am mildly surprised, instead of advising me to use my didgeridoo for something it was never intended your response caused me to reflect on old values that have been sacrificed on the altar of success. My mind went back to the all too brief Johnnie Carey time when Everton played such magnificent stuff that, regardless of result, we were proud of our team. One had the feeling that success was just around the corner and achieveable with top class football. In the back seat of a taxi, Johnnie’s tenure came to a premature end and with it a dream.

Subsequently, by playing a ‘whatever it takes’ brand of football we had periods of success. Those successes brought bragging rights yet did little to nurture the soul. Backed by unlimited cash, the rise of Chelsea and Italy’s dour yet uninspiring WC victory shows that ‘whatever it takes’ is still the dominant factor. While on the road to Wagga Wagga your response regenerated my old vision of what makes our game so great. Henceforth, I will judge success not only on the end result but also on the manner it was achieved. God bless you, Michael?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (13/8/06)

Dick, I think you might have gone walkabout once too often! [ps: Some of the best red wine in Wahsington State comes from Walla Walla... any relation?] — Michael

Load of Bollocks

We go on about being this proud club, how great our supporters are and how we stick by our club through all the shite. Where the fuck was everyone today? What a load of bollocks. Just over 17,000 of us could be arsed to go and watch a game of football that was being played by OUR team and to thank Howard Kendall for putting together the greatest football team of the 80's. Pathetic!
Jamie Barlow, Manchester  (12/8/06)

I think the game itself was justification enough for all those who stayed away. It was bollocks, Jamie. Our club finds it hard enough to play decent footy when it matters... Testimoanials are basically an embarrassment allround. They should be termintated. There, I've said it.— Michael

Today's Display

I was neither overly impressed nor surprised at today's friendly v Athetic Bilbao. I watched the game with my brother and his two kids in the Gladwys Street End.

I thought the first half performance was adequate but nothing to write home about with few exceptions: Johnson very unlucky — you know he will score a bagload once the first one goes in. Naysmith was useless as ever letting the attacking player he should have been tackling move closer and closer to goal before delivering the cross for the game's only goal. Beattie showed very little skill beyond standing still again on too many occasions waiting for the ball to come to him instead of meeting it, then kicking lumps out of a Spanish player after he handballed in the area and Mike Riley not surprisingly gave nothing; if the ref or assistants don't blow then it's never going to happen and booting a player in the league will earn a red card and ban — dickhead move.

For the first 30 mins or so, our invisible Welsh winger was playing central midfield and as anonymous as usual; when he finally moved to the right wing he actually played a few (but only a few) semi-decent touches. The same pillock played each corner very wastefully, what is it with the useless short going nowhere corners? Is this the new trick at Bellefield???

Moyes then had a brainwave for the second half, bring off Beattie for McFadden, thus losing any height we had up front but still play "Let's hoof the ball high and long to.... no-one!" Also, Carsley for Osman, thus moving to a defensive formation a goal down — thanks Mr Negative — and Stubbs for Yobo: no idea on that one but not the end of the world as it went.

Later substitutions equally as baffling with Pistone for Naysmith being the only one that made sense, the others being Kilbane for Arteta, thus losing the only flair player on pitch, and Johnson for Anichebe; Anichebe should have come on for Beattie.

Humour was lifted with the introduction of Van der Plink Plink Fizz for Davies though who earned a new nickname from the Gladwys Street end of Spike. He actually delivered one decent cross; unfortunately, no-one was there to meet it.

With Anichebe coming on, Moyes realised hoofing the ball might have finally had a player tall enough to win a header but by that time we had just reverted to kick and hope with Victor seeing little support or anything remotely like a decent pass.

And I'm waiting the barrage from fuckwits like Dutch and Richard Dodd or others saying it was only a friendly blah blah blah... but it's the new season just next week; surely it doesn't take a fucking brain-surgeon to say "" The substitutions were baffling and made the second half boring and pointless.

Moyes's plan B today: Hmmmm... let's put our head in the sand and just throw players on willy-nilly, not good — and certainly not worth the money — even if it was for a good cause.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (12/8/06)

I think you're looking for far too much there, Gavin, and that guarantees disappointment in the circumstances. Moyes in effect said beforehand (but perhaps you weren't listening) this was still a training game — not "Find the best squad for that game and give them as much gametime together as possible." And he was true to his word. And yes, the subs were thrown on to give them playing time — not to implement some grand tactical plan. [Maybe this fits with the earlier discussion about poor attendances at testimoanials...]

If next week's performance is of the same ilk then by all means have a go, but this was just another meaningless public pre-season training session that meant next to nothing. — Michael

The lightweight midfield

Having watched today's game and other pre-season games closely, one thing stands out even more than our continued lack of threat in front of goal... Our midfield is just so lightweight. Davies, Cahill, Osman and Arteta are constantly by-passed with ease and lack any sort of strength to tackle or intercept passes. They are frequently caught in possession, and lack the vision to provide the penetrating pass required to give the likes of Johnson the openings required at Premiership level.

We desperately need a leader who can run with the ball. We go into the season with a similar forward line to Campbell/Radzinski, but the real problem is still the midfield and things can't improve until this is sorted. Also, surely Mr Moyes can see that Anichebe has got to be included before Beattie. He has more enthusiasm and effort than any of our other forwards. I hope I'm wrong but I can't see us finishing above mid-table.
Karl Jones, Woolton  (12/8/06)

We should do a sweep on (a) how many starts Victor will get this season, and (b) when will be his first. I say five and our first game in the Carling Cup. — Michael

Here we go

The pre-season training matches are done, the Chairman has sanctioned funds and the manager has used them as he saw fit. How will we do? In spending the money the manager has gone for what all were crying for — a striker, and he probably got the best within our price range. He stiffened what was an ageing central defence with a punt on a Championship player regarded by many as one able to make the step up.

His third addition puzzled me a little, not in the quality of aquisition, but the fact it was a loan deal, with the keeper position being pivitol to the organisation of the back four and with the back four being strengthened it didn't appear to me to be a building block for the future.

However, for this season we seem to have a defence capable of resisting most Premiership attacks and a strike force that looks to have goals in it, which leaves us with the thorny problem of how do we marry the two to enable us to play joined-up football... THE MIDFIELD!!! This is my worry for the coming season as it is the midfield that both gives the defence a breather and supplies the ammo to our strike force.

With no additions, I can only draw on my experience from last season and opine that, apart from Arteta with his obvious quality and technical ability playing wide, we have little in the way of that dominating, muscular, quality presence that is needed in the rest of the midfield to make the best of what has been strengthened in attack and defence. This I feel will determine how we fare for this season. We will need big performances from, in my view, limited central midfielders, game on game, to achieve a shot at a European competition or any success in a domestic cup competition.

The biggest performance needed may not be on the field itself but one from the manager in coming up with a formation and associated tactics that allows us to get the best from what we have got. I am not one for predictions, prefering to comment on what I see unfold game on game, and am quite prepared to wait until I take my first serious look at the league table at end of November beginning of December, as I have noticed over the years that that is the time you know what part of the league you will be competing in, before I take a pop at anyone. Am I optimistic for this season? You bet I am, for I am willing those things that I think may let us down - don't!!

On a lighter note ,I went to today's game and took a group of children who otherwise don't get to see games. We followed the hype and got there early to see the legends take on the accadamy K.O.1-30-- Gates opened 1-35!! Only Everton, eh! See you Saturday -- UP THE BLUES!
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (12/8/06)

Hmmm... End of November... A quick check on the last ten seasons shows a remarkable 78% correlation coefficent between our position then and our position at the end of the season. I used to believe the die was cast by the second game of the season but that shows a really pathetic correlation coefficient of less that 5% with our final position (despite it being bang on the money last season!). I guess you have more wisdom than I took you for, Ken! — Michael

The Ship Sails down the Alley Alley Oh!

I, like many Evertonians — including Tony Marsh — do have many concerns regarding the coming season. But three is only so much we can do and say without boring the pants off ourselves.

The Club has spent money in the last couple of years and has achieved a level of stability — but we have also played the type of football that does nothing to entertain our most ardent supporters and unfortunately I don't see any reason for the style to alter dramatically in the coming season.

This lack of entertainment I would argue is the reason that David Moyes tenure as manager is under the microscope and why in my opinion he has only six games left to prove himself as a manager with Everton.

I don't know how many season tickets have been sold , but I suspect that they are down on previous years, despite the addition of a `proven` goalscorer... who has yet to score!

I, like most Evertonians, would much prefer to be talking about how many goals and points we are going to get in the coming months, but I am acutely aware that we are far away from being a consistently good team.

So there you have it , put it in your diary 30 September 2006 — it may well be a significant date in Everton's recent history.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (12/8/06)

I can understand the concerns if nothing really has changed but I dunno where you came up with six games... Bill Kenwright has made it clear he believes Davey is here for the long term; given what happened last season, six games is nothing. Rock bottom by Christmas and perhaps something would happen. Otherwise, it's sameold sameold... — Michael

Same Old Everton

Not much to get excited about this afternoon. `Same old Everton` was the verdict of most fans as they left the ground. Moyes has done nothing to make us more penetrative in midfield and Johnson and Lescott hardly looked an improvement on what we had already. To the guy looking for a forecast, I`d say we`ll do well to stick at eleventh.
Jack Randle, Hightown  (12/8/06)

Chimbonda spotted

Chimbonda spotted with Moyes at Heydock. just what we need: a goalscoring rightback. Let's hope its true.
Matty Loveless, Bulford Camp  (12/8/06)

Perhaps they are just gambling mates?

Misplaced Concern

Seven days to go before the big kick off and this site is full of fans waffling on about testimonials. Who gives a fuck? What about our midfield? Surely you lot can't be happy starting a new season with the same midfield as last year?

I suppose some one will come on and tell us not to worry: we are in safe hands with Davey. Well I don't see much evidence of Moyes getting his head out of his arse. Just like last year, when he neglected the strike force, he is doing the same this pre-season with the midfield being left as it was.

I hope Howard gets a nice turn out but there are bigger concerns to address than Howard's pension fund. Like is it worth coming home to watch a game next week which will be 1-0 either way and be about as exciting as a knitting competition?
Tony Marsh, Sunny Cyprus  (12/8/06)

Place your bets

It's getting close to the time when wise men cover their bets. As one of the wildly optimistic I go first by lowering my target and say from 4th to 7th place will be a step in the right direction for Moyes. Less than that will be a let-down.

I look forward to some of our more outspoken writers nailing their colours to the mast. What place in their opinion would constitute a good or bad season?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (12/8/06)

To be honest, Dick, I'm far more interested in how they are going to play than in the finishing position. As someone said, three wins can make a huge difference in the Premiership. —

Testimonials

I`m one of the thousands who avoid testimonials like the plague. Today`s effort is for an ex-manager who legged it to Spain at the first opportunity and whose subsequent spells were a total disaster. Don`t give me the holy trinity crap — all that was before most of us was born and I bet even you weren`t around Michael!

With Moyes saying the game has no significance to the season proper, he`s given us all another good reason to spend the affy in the alehouse.
Barton Dobie, Altcar  (12/8/06)

That`s yer lot!

In answer to Daniel Ford, my information from a source close to Old Trafford is that the Rooney slate has been wiped clean with the transfer of Neville and the loan of Howard whose wages the Mancs are continuing to pay. I suspect the £20M was all Everton actually received with the above deals accounting for another £5M or so.
Ed Phillips, Mere  (12/8/06)

Dean's Testimonial

Knew I read it somewhere, taken from: http://www.bluekipper.com/dixie/legend.htm

"Then Mr Moores, the Everton chairman at the time, gave Dixie the call to come back to his real home on Merseyside and gave him a security job at Littlewoods. He did this for several years until he retired at 65 on a pension. The seemingly wrong doings of leaving Everton without a golden handshake was put right with a testimonial match held at Goodison in 1964 a game between the English players and Scottish players from the reds and Everton teams. Would anyone remember him that much to turn up? Well over forty thousand turned up for a player who last played for his team 26 years ago, what a tribute to the man. Over £10,000 (a tidy sum then) raised and put in trust for our special number nine."

Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (12/8/06)

Loyal Fans

I wonder if more people would attend Everton testimonials if the fans were rewarded for their loyalty?

My friends and I have clocked up over 120 years of watching EFC between the four of us and travelled thousands of miles doing so yet I don't see EFC or any other club for that matter having special events to celebrate that fact. No special offers on season tickets for our loyalty, heartache and hard-earned cash.

I don't begrudge Howard Kendall his day in the sun , but let's be honest his real day in the sun came during the 1984-85 season and no matter how many turn out tomorrow that is what he and the fans will remember for as long as we live and beyond.

Good luck, Howard; have a great day, but please can we think of someway to reward the durability and loyalty of the supporters, even if it was only a token gesture.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (11/8/06)

Testimonials

I remember the Mark Higgings game. A Merseyside XI versus a Manchester XI. I also remember Higgins playing for Man Utd against Everton months later.

Maybe that's why Everton fans don't turn up in the thousands. I don't go to them anymore simply because I believe they have been well paid by this club for many years now. If they waste their money on booze and gambling, tough. There are many who work in one place for forty years and don't earn the money the game of football brings to players and managers.

Well done to people who will attend but, after buying four season tickets, I'm a bit short on cash myself.
Dave Charle, Liverpool  (11/8/06)

I think as benefit games for the Everton Former Players' Foundation, that the cause is admirable as it would be helping older ex-players who really didn't benefit from the cash-rich junket the game has become. I assumed that this season they were linking it to Howard Kendall in an effort to elevate the profile of the game by giving it a clearly identifiable label. However, that doesn't seem to be the case, and judging from the EFPF website, they appear to have no involvement in this. In any event, I'll be really surprised if the crowd tops 20,000 — especially as they will be streaming the whole thing on Everton TV. — Michael

Testimonials – The Real Reason?

Have you ever thought we Evertonians don't turn up in thousands for testimonials because we feel that the players have been paid wages way over the odds over the years and have earned enough off our backs by way of ticket sales, no matter how great a player they have been for the Club, and why should we line their pockets even more? Anyway, they are not "real" games are they? We're not fighting for points or Premiership survival so perhaps that's another reason.
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (11/8/06)

I guess when we are compared with full houses for the likes of Roger Hunt and Roy Keane, that just confirms we really are Bitter Blues... — Michael

RE; Hibbert sidelined by Parasite

When I saw the headline I immediately assumed the Tony had fallen into the clutches of the odious Stretford. I must just have a bad mind...
Chris Williams, Wirral  (11/8/06)

More Money?

Not that I really want to bring up Rooney again as such, but wanted to ask a question. Do we not get another windfall if he signs a new contract? He is apparently in talks with Man Utd so what, if any, fiancial reward will we recieve?
Daniel Ford, Newcastle Upon Tyne  (11/8/06)

The answer is somewhere on this website but d'ya know what? I really can't be arsed. Sorry. — Michael

Testimonials – further thoughts

I certainly don't remember a testimonial at Goodison fetching 40,000 but if Tom Hughes says so, I'm prepared to believe him.

I'm thinking of the Mike Lyons, Andy King, Mark Higgins, Dave Unsworth, Colin Harvey and even the Brian Labone testimonial. I'm sure the great man himself only got 25,000 or so despite having been virtually deified since. Compare that with Roger Hunt whose testimonial was a 56,000 lockout.

I'm not saying that we Blues are any less loyal than other teams supporters — far from it! It just mystifies me why we don't turn up in greater numbers. Is there something in the Everton psyche that dismisses these events as not important to the club itself? Or is it — like me — about saving my pennies for the Blackburn and Spurs away trips?

And another thought: why did we never get involved in that inane (but fun) craze of sporting inflatables at matches? They say Everton fans are unique. I believe they are!

A final thought - how many do you think would turn out for a Duncan Ferguson testimonial?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (11/8/06)

Steed Malbranque

Just read on the Sky Sports website that Chris Coleman is ready to cancel Steed Malbranque's contract. If this happens and Moyes does not go in for him he needs sacking. He is a creative midfielder who scores goals and his presence would take a bit of pressure off Mikel Arteta.
Brad Jones, Liverpool  (11/8/06)

Oh yea, right. Moyes should buy another crock:

"But a groin injury is holding up a transfer as Coleman claims the player is digging his heels in over a quick-fix operation. "The op that would keep him out for just a few weeks wouldn't jeopardise a move," said Coleman. "The other would keep him out for three months, so clubs are not going to buy him."
Michael

Links

When I click on some of the links from ToffeeWeb e.g. The Liverpool Echo etc my head is getting totally battered by a "pop-up" from someone called Moviepass. I have a pop-up stopper but this effin thing keeps getting through! Any ideas hoe to stop it before this PC gets volleyed out of the window??
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (11/8/06)

I don't get the pop-up but a bar appears and advizes me that "This Web Page could be a scam. Proceed with caution." How true... — Michael

Testimonials

We have had some reasonable attendances for these matches. I believe Dixie had over 40,000 and that was nearly 30 years after he last played for Everton. Alex Young got nearly 20,000 over 30 years after he played.

People seem to be refering to Colin Harvey's turnout which really wasn't helped by the 2-hr delay. Most of my mates had spent their entry in the alehouse. Only 2 of our group of 11 actually made it through the turnstile, I wonder how many more did similar, and again this was 30 years after he last played.

There are hordes of Liverpool fans who don't go anymore after being pushed out by the tourists and these are the only games they can get to. In the days when they didn't have this massive support not all their testimonials were full houses by any means. I attended the Stevie Heighway one, and there were only 17,000 there I think, and many of them were blues, and he had only just stopped playing.

Howard is a very worthy cause though, and hopefully there will be a very respectable turnout.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (11/8/06)

Six of the best with a feather duster

Apart from the fact that he of all people was on the booze during a crucial period of pre-season fitness training, Van der Meyde’s sordid escapade dragged the good name of Everton through the gutter press of national and international tabloids.

Ah... but the lad says he’s sorry so that’s all right then. Whack him with a fine that probably means naff all to someone on £20,000 plus per week and forget all about it. What a marvellous example for other squad members. If that is the sum total of club discipline why bother with rules of any kind.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (11/8/06)

Club discipline? Code of conduct religiously adhered to? Rules? For footballers???? That'll be the day! — Colm

I thought I read somewhere that it is typically written into their contract the maximum fine is two weeks' pay. That could be PFA thing also... — Michael

Everton's Game

Got a under-12 team and I'm gonna force them to wear Everton jerseys (100% fake from Thailand since original's are non-existent) for a game this Saturday. These kids only know names of top La Liga and EPL players... yes they are all over United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona, Madrid.

My Midfield player idolise Stevie G. Think I'll drop the this kid and put in my son cos he just loves Mikel Arteta. Wish me luck..Oh and my son plays like crap.
Sankar Vasu, Penang  (11/8/06)

Hmmmmmmmm??

Kendall's Clarion Call

With regard to the fact we don't have great numbers at Testimonials (21,000 for Big Nev in 1995 & half of those were Celtic fans) is something that saddens me but as long as we get the numbers for the games that matter as we can't all afford to fork out for friendlies.

But the testimonial of Howard Kendall is a wee bit different I feel. If you look at what he has achieved with Everton FC as a player & manager he is unparalelled. If Dixie Dean is worth a statue then so is Howard Kendall, it's that simple. If history had not determined otherwise, we could well be celebrating our only European Cup-Winning manager let alone our only European trophy-winning manager...

Not only should he be respected for his achievements but for also taking the reigns at Goodison Park a third time when it seemed like no-one else would. Admittedly I read some of the things he says in the Echo and they baffle me (his love of all things Kilbane for instance) but I respect him because he laid down a marker that every self-respecting Evertonian should still aspire to.

I for one think that's worth remembering and will be at Goodison to do so on Saturday. Thanks for everything, Howard. COYB!
John McCabe, Wavertree  (10/8/06)

Testimonials

In reply to why Everton fans don't turn up for testimonials, well it's obvious that we're not the gullible, football tourist woolybacks who go to the other two mentioned teams. That and the fact that we always seem to play Athletic Bilbao, Sociedad or some other boring Spanish also-ran. I'll be going on Saturday as an excuse to go on the ale down County Road.
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (10/8/06)

Where's Wally

Just a quick one to Luq regarding the age issue, I took you on your word and was trying to ask the young players such as Peter Clarke, Steven Schumacher, Nick Chadwick about Moyes squeezing them out of Everton but for some reason Real Madrid, Milan & Dortmund don't seem to have heard of these players.

What league are they plying their football in again? From what you say, I presume they've made it big time and Moyes failed us by letting them go. Damn you Moyes!
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (10/8/06)

Quality young players

I have to say, Luq, I never thought I'd be told to get a sense of humour from you, given the number of bitter, humourless rants I've read from you over the months!

But I have to challenge one point. You have a go at Moyes for failing to play Peter Clarke, Steven Schumacher and Nick Chadwick...

Despite the big billing he gets in the ToffeeWb Past Players posting, Peter Clarke can currently be found at Southend, having consistently disappointed everywhere he has been. Steven Schumacher, although I have been impressed when I've seen him, plays for Bradford, while Chadwick can be found at Plymouth. None have done anything of any note and you won't find many Premiership clubs clambering to sign them.

While, admittedly, there have been times when it would have been nice to see Moyes play a few of the younger boys, you can't criticise him for failing to play people who simply aren't up to the job.

And finally, when it comes to Martyn and Valente, I'd say quality is more important than age. As for Lee Carsley, wasn't he signed a month before David Moyes took the job, by our friend Walter Smith?
Paul Foster, London  (10/8/06)

Reasons for optimism?

I vaguely remember that lots of people used to write into ToffeeWeb with the immortal phrase "results this calendar year". These were of course the people who wanted Moyes out and used that catchphrase to justify their opinion. Those same people are now asking "Why is everyone so bloody optimistic about the new season?" Of course you can already tell where this is going...

Our form this calendar year (30 points from 18 games) extrapolated out over an entire season (As the "Moyes Out" people loved to do last year) would give us 63.3 points and a 6th-place finish. We have now bought the striker, which they all said we needed; we have got a replacement for Weir, which they also said we needed, and of course a replacement for the retired Martyn. If we assume that Johnson's goals may turn a couple of draws into wins, and Lescott's defence may turn a couple of defeats into draws, these signings would be enough to lift us into 4th place (based on last season's table).

Of course, seasons aren't played over calendar years, but if the "Moyes Out" brigade can keep bringing it up one year, then surely the rest of us can use the same argument the next year. Or is it as I suspect, only a valid argument when it is in your favour?
Alisdair Denny, Perth, Australia  (10/8/06)

Err... it's months since anyone mentioned the dreadful 2005 record, so thanks for bringing that up, Alisdair. Just what we needed reminding of... Not that there was anything unreasonable about pointing out the unfortunate record that, had it been for the seaosn, would have got us relegated.

And it's brilliant that you are now so confident Johnson and Lescott will bring home the bacon. I'll look forward to congratulating you come 30 December 2006 when we can all celebrate that wonderful achievement! — Michael

Luq & The Age Issue

How can Luq have a pop at David Moyes over the rumored interest in Sibierski? Firstly, there is no confirmation that David Moyes is even interested in Sibierski, and secondly it's silly to suggest that 32 is the prime age of David Moyes's transfer targets. This summer Moyes has signed Spencer (17), Lescott (24), Howard (27) & Johnson (25).

Everton's best 11 would probably look something like Howard (27), Hibbert (25), Yobo (25), Lescott (24), Valente (31), Neville (29), Arteta (24), Osman (25), Cahill (26), Johnson (25) and Beattie (28). Average Age - 26. It will be even younger if Victor Anichebe (18) continues his form and forces his way in.

I would suggest the age of the team is just about what we would want and I value the experience Stubbs and Weir bring to even things out. The age of the squad is of no concern: it's the quality that's questionable. They have a lot to prove this season.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (9/8/06)

Where d'ja get that last bit from, Dutch? Are you feeling alrite? I can't believe a smidgeon of doubt could be creeping in... Surely another back-to-back top-fifteen finish will be proof enough that progress is being made? — Micael

Testimonials

I'm proud of the loyalty of Everton fans but why don't we turn up in numbers for testimonials? I know that the concept is a bit dated with modern-day players routinely earning £30k per week and so in no need of testimonials. But why will (I estimate) tops 25,000 turn up on Saturday for Howard's testimonial? It's no reflection on Howard but Blues fans just don't seem to bother with testimonials.

60,000 Man Utd fans turned up for Roy Keane's junket at the end of last season and Liverpool have often got 40,000 plus for testimonials but we usually get between 10,000 and 25,000 even though we're as passionate and loyal as any set of fans that I know. Are we all financially embarrassed or do we just save ourselves for the games that matter?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (9/8/06)

It's a great question, Ray, and one that has puzzled me (although I have never gone to a testimonial in my life!). I think 25,000 will be a little optimistic for Howie's swansong — hell, even the club ain't too convinced — they've closed the Top Balacony, FFS! But I do have it on my list to prepare a ToffeeWeb feature for this weekend's fabulous international encounter with Athletic Bilbao. — Michael

Perspectives

Mr Foster, your point is valid but your attack was not. Moyes signed the likes of Martyn, Stubbs, Ferguson, Carsley, Pistone (re-signed), Valente and McBride in his time with Everton (maybe more). All over 30 at the time of signing. My point of 32 being Moyes's prime age was tongue-in-cheek, but because of your acidic attack I had to reply to your ramblings.

And of Moyes signing/using young players, ask Peter Clarke, Steven Schumacher, Nick Chadwick, etc about their careers under Moyes. Squeezed out while Moyes sticks rigidly to players who weren't doing the business at the time. So please, Paul, have a sense of humour and don't assume my every post is an Moyes attack!
Luq Yus, London  (9/8/06)

Decision-Time Davey

The first big decision Moyes will have to make this season will be who should partner AJ against Watford — Beattie or Anichebe. What's the bet Moyes bottles it and plays an out-of-form and out-of-shape lard-arse before a young up-and-coming goal-machine?

Every Evertonian I have spoken to in the past few weeks wants Victor to start ahead of Beattie but will it ever happen? I doubt it. "If they are good enough they are old enough" I think is the saying, so let's not fuck about: get the kid in!

Every defender in the country knows what to expect from Fatso, which is not much, so let the lad at them. I know who I would prefer to see running out first game and it's not a 15-stone big-time Charlie.

What worries me is that Moyes will bottle it like he did last season in the FA Cup against Chelsea. He will go safety-first as usual and won't be man enough to drop his golden boy. Anyway, let's hope I am wrong and we get two new faces leading the attack.

By the way I have had to come back out to Cyprus to escape this new Tony Marsh character. Surely your site can't handle two of us.
Tony Marsh, Sunny Cyprus  (9/8/06)

I would say one of you is a dastardly imposter... — Michael

Victor Manorbaby

Strong, fast and clearly able to stick the ball in the back of the net. I for one am very excited about our latest pridigy. Time will tell if this lad's a man or a baby. Does anyone know if Moyes brought him to the club or if he was alrady there?
Mark Hansen, Kirkby  (9/8/06)

In a rare moment of weakness, the Official Site of years past used to publish lists of the Academy Players that I would filch.... So if you scan down this list from 2001-02 you can see Victor listed among the Under-14s — along with James Vaughan! I believe he's been with the club since he was a kid, and I'm certain he preceeded the arrival of David Moyes. — Michael

Dear oh dear

Luq, I can't get over some of the nonsense you send to this MailBag — you're becoming more tedious than Dutch. You pick out Sibierski, a player Moyes has never even mentioned, have a go at Moyes for expressing and interest before saying, at the age of 32, this player is a typical Moyes signing. I'm presuming Yobo, Arteta, McFadden, Lescott, Andy Johnson and Spencer just look young for their age then?
Paul Foster, London  (9/8/06)

Praise and pressure!

Moyes's tactic of praising Arteta to the hilt I feel is counter-productive to our hopes this season. Yes, most teams will be aware that he is our most creative player, but singling him out so many times may put too much pressure on Arteta. Look, black is black; He is our main hope of success this season. So why mention something which every Evertonian knows anyway?

Nice to see Moyes going for such quality in Siber-what's his face. At 32 he marks Moyes's prime age-range. What is Moyes's addiction with versatile players? Neville and Davies were brought in for their versatility, yet really serve no purpose in 'other' positions Moyes puts them in. This clearly shows Moyes is still unsure, after five years, what is his best formation/team. And you don't have to hate Moyes to see that.
Luq Yus, London  (9/8/06)

I don't genuinely believe Moyes is in for Sibierski. Reckon it's more to do with his shyster of an agent, Willie McKay using Moyes's name to tout the player around the clubs — Colm

Any Chance??

Any chance of the match report Douche Bags?
Tony  Marsh, Liverpool  (9/8/06)

After you, Sir! ;-) - Colm

Victor von Anchovy

I agree with Dutch that Victor von Anchovy should play against Watford. At the very least he should be given 20 mins as a sub. He could very well end up being this season's super-sub now that Duncan has departed.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (9/8/06)

Move it, son!

Ray Robinson`s tactical teach-in is very pertinent. Failure to maintain possession has been the main reason why so much of Everton`s football under Moyes has been stilted and lacking penetration.

'Move it,son' may well be the recipe for success in the lower leagues but in the Premier League possession is everything. The `get rid quick` credo did for Krøldrup last year and has to some extent seen off Arteta in a central midfield role. Only on the wings can he get away with holding and running with the ball.

When battle starts in earnest, just count the number of times Everton players 'pass' to the opposition. Whilst playing Bolton, Fulham or Middlesbrough it matters not a lot as their approach is very similar but is the biggest single reason we are annually taken to the cleaners by the likes of Arsenal.

However, whoever Moyes signs, we will continue in the doldrums as long as we play `Third Division` football!
Guy Samson, Roby  (9/8/06)

Nail, Head. BANG!

Saviola

Have to agree with James Morley about Javier Saviola, a fantastic player at times and surely a good squad option.

Also agree with the post on Tony Hibbert. I think right-back's been a problem position for us for years and unbalances the side.

Maybe Moyes should get up in the stand. The view from pitch level is shocking as anyone who sits in the first rows of the Paddock and Enclosure can testify.
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (9/8/06)

Get in there, Leon and Killa

Make me eat my past words. Show you can mix it with the big boys. When the going gets tough don't pull your disapearing trick. Rise to the occasion. You have the passion and ability yet, so far, have been unable to maintain it for game after game. Prove me wrong and your army of supporters right.

If you do, I would be more than happy to eat humble pie. Get in there lads, this is your make or break season.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (9/8/06)

I'm beginning to worry about heavy metal contamination from all those mining operations out there, cobber! — Michael

Aberdeen 2 - 3 Everton

Andy Johnson's goal drought continues but Victor Anichebe looks very good. He's already scored his Premiership debut goal and this pre-season he has made the more senior stikers (Beattie, Johnson, McFadden) look very poor. Maybe Moyes should consider starting with a Beattie/Anichebe partnership against Watford?

Anichebe is the form striker.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (8/8/06)

I'm not a gambling man, Dutch, but I would lay good money on Victor NOT being in the starting XI come the 19th (expect perhaps due to injuries!). Goaworrn, Davie: prove me wrong, why don't ya!

The merits of Hibbert

I've had this debate with some people at work, so forgive me anyone recognises me, it's a pet subject of mine — apologies in advance.

I've watched several times the Academy players in training and the one key thing that all youngsters are taught is "pass and move". The emphasis really is on posession and patience waiting for an opening to develop (unlike the hoofball played at first-team level last season whenever Ferguson was on the pitch).

My point is how did Tony Hibbert ever get through the ranks when his ball control and passing are so poor? Granted his workrate, dedication, tacking and enthusiasm are first class and I would never call the guy during a match — even when he blasts an intended centre into the Gwladys Street / Park End.

But just how can some Blues see this guy as England potential when ball retention is so vital in international football? And does anyone agree that this is a key area that we ought to be looking to improve? We've made a stab at solving the goalscoring problem, addressed the geriatric centre-back pairing... now, how about looking for a genuine full-back who can pass a ball straight more than 5 yards and can actually produce a half-decent centre in support of the attack?

Personally, I think that if Hibbert hasn't got the touch by now, he never will. He's an Evertonian through and through but this is an area we need to address if we want to compete in the upper half of the league / in Europe.

Right, I'll get off my pedestal now. Thoughts anyone?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (8/8/06)

Moyes's tactics

I don't get to see the team live anymore, so take this in that light. When Moyes first arrived, I thought we were on to a winner with the talk about his being a student of the game, going to World Cups at his own expense to study tactics etc. I must say that I have been disappointed with his approach to the game since then. He is ultra cautious these days, and that may just be because of what he feels he has at his disposal — silk purse/sow's ear!

However, it is the apparent lack of flexibility in his tactics that I find most irritating. He goes out not to concede, then, if we do, he seems at a loss to make quick changes. When he first arrived and the lack of flexibility in his approach became apparent, I questioned why he never watched the game (or had someone watching and in contact with him) from the stands. He always stands at ground level, where it is very difficult to see the pattern of the game clearly, and from where he could make possible changes. Does he not do this because he has only one plan, and so it wouldn't matter what he saw from the stands? Any views on this out there?
Terence  Finnigan, California, USA  (8/8/06)

Well, it's a debateable point, Terence, but I doubt it would affect the way Moyes makes his decisions. Big Sam does it, I know, but I'm sure it's really a matter of personal preference or simply what they have always done as coaches/managers. Like teaching an old dog to suck eggs, perhaps? — Michael

More Signings

I hope that David Moyes gets rid of Van der Meyde now that this incident has occured. Rumours have it that Italian side Torino are willing to offer £3 million for him. I would snap their hands off.

Also, I would like to see Moyes bring back Tommy Gravesen. Another player I would like to see come in is Javier Saviola. He is a fantastic player and we could probably get him on a season-long loan. He would provide competition for AJ and JB.
James Morley, Liverpool  (8/8/06)

Since it's a quiet day, I'll let that one through with a CM/FM yellow card... — Michael

Benefit of the Doubt?

I just wonder, had that been Tony Hibbert or Leon Osman who had their 'drink spiked', would we be giving them the benefit of the doubt?? I think so. The fact that VdM has barely played a game since signing will surely be a good enough reason for us to get shot as quick as possible. He'd do worse than getting himself to Tony Adams's clinic and getting himself sorted out.

Hopefully, the next time we sign someone from abroad we'll have someone at the club who can check out that sort of info about them first.

Deary me... first it was Lescott's kneecapping, now this! Hopefully in a couple of weeks it'll be on-pitch activities we can be smiling about. I won't hold my breath.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (8/8/06)

All Down to Attitude and Intent

So, you need stacks of money to buy good players and play good football? No, it's all down to attitude and intent.

Like the attitude a certain Premiership manager had when he inherited a side marooned at the bottom of the table, kept it up and won the FA Cup into the bargain. Having done that playing tough, aggressive football, he then produced a side playing fast, attractive football where the team were a pleasure to watch. They just missed out on a Uefa Cup spot.

Yes, the team was Everton. No-one knows if Joe Royle could have sustained that progress, but I bet he wishes he had received the support Moyes has got.

The West Ham game last season is a case in point. We didn't quite beat them, but it was the only game I saw last season where we played fast, passing football that was entertaining. No need to make allowances or excuses, we were great that day. But it was the only one like it, that's why it stands out. Tell me, why do the same players only play that way once or twice a season?

West Ham were used as an example because their manager stated his intention of playing good football. So his team did, getting a Uefa Cup spot and a Cup Final appearance. Ditto Germany in the World Cup, with ther 'young' manager and average players.

If you want to play good football, you will. It's not just money. The money brings success if you have a coach who buys quality players and then knows how to get them playing well.

This coming season we have a better squad on paper. We just need the desire for them to play in attractive way. Money can't buy that.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (8/8/06)

Excellent points, Paul... I think you are on the right track, although I have to believe it is down to more than intent and desire, which all teams might claim to possess. Good training, tactical invention, and the ability to form a team that is greater than its parts must surely all play a role, but something special is needed at the end of the day to elevate then above their natural position. — Michael

Andy dan der — serial transgressor

No surprise here to see `our man` has once again fallen short of the standard expected from a professional sportsman. This is a guy with great talent who has repeatedly `thrown it away` by his delinquent behaviour.

I do not know who your representative is in The Netherlands but surely he would have given you information on Van der Meyde`s chequered background and the happenings which led to his leaving Ajax. In short, the man has — and is — a long-term problem.
Johannes Bockholt, Amsterdam  (8/8/06)

You're right in pointing out that someone at the Club would have had the responsibility of either not adequately researching his background when they should have done, or (if they did) giving him the benefit of doubt when they obviously shouldn't have done. — Michael

Cyprus-bound

What a chip on his shoulder Tony Marsh must have, and what a long memory!! He has obviously remembered some comment I made about him in the past.

Sorry to disappoint you, Tony, but I am not going to defend AvdM just to please you, but fair play you actually got the spelling of my surname right (most people spell it Beasley). Perhaps you made a note of it for future digs at this poor Litherland girl exiled in Wales.
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (8/8/06)

Kevin Sparke — 'Health Warning'

Dear ToffeeWeb Editorial team:

Please can you include a warning before letters such as Mr Sparke's missive 'What my Optimism is based upon'. Working in an open-plan office and spraying my coffee all over the monitor is NOT good for career prospects or image.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (7/8/06)

Sorry about that, Matt. We really should do a better job ensuring that any opinions stated on here are mild in temeperament and guaranteed not to cause undue excitment or untold distress. Rest asssured, we're working 24/7 on a new protocol... — Michael

re Van der Pisshead

While I have defended Moyes because of lack of funding, I now have to admit, after Krølgate last season and pisshead Andy, could anyone tell me who checks these people out? Is there no looking into off-field behavior? And if the cash is as scarce as a kopite with a brain, is it not more important to look into all aspects? Either Moyes or BK should be bollocked.
Roy Coyne, Liverpool  (7/8/06)

Accountability? Why you jest, Sir! — Michael

Arsehole van der Waster

So its finally offical: AvdM is a gobshite after all. And to think not so long ago some of you were defending this clown and having ago at me for slagging him off.

As for Moyes its another black day in his miserable Everton career. Moyes is totally to blame (again!) for this latest fiasco as he signed the bloated cripple in the first place. Let's see Tom Hughes, Seb from Harrogate,and Pat Beesley from Wales sweep this one under the rug.

So how much is off-loading Freddy Star going to cost the club this time guys? I mean, Davey done a bundle last pre-season on Koldrup and Simon Davies; now this. This club is an absolute shambles at the best of times but with Moyes in charge it has become an International laughing stock.

I am dreading this season like no other. We haven't kicked a ball yet and already we are a disgrace. Get the fucking waster on the next ferry to Holland and let him get off his Barnet over there.

Some one called me a Moyes hater on this site the other day. Well, do you know what: I am! I can't stand the fella...
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (7/8/06)

AvdM = SHIT

Only Michael could use AvdM's drinking as an excuse to slag off David Moyes. I remember it was the fans who were shouting for Everton to sign AvdM. nI also remember many fans supporting him at the end of the season even though he's hardly played, just because they heard he had flair.

Moyes couldn't have known about this drink problem. I just hope we now see some Moyes steel as he runs AvdM out of Everton.
Pedro Ipposical, UK  (7/8/06)

I think a previous correspondent proves you wrong in that he claims to have found plenty of evidence of prior indescretions on the part of one AvdM. But sure, if Moyes gets credit for siging good players but can avoid any criticsm for signing the likes of AvdM, then so be it. I'm wrong again... — Michael

Vin de Merde

I think we should lay off AvdM (A very drunk Man) for a bit. He didn't know the barman was gonna put lemonade in that drink of his.
Neil Scott, Southport  (7/8/06)

Arf, arf.

A True Blue Excitied On Catching The Blues

I am a Malaysian working in Singapore and I will be in the UK and it is my dream to catch an Everton match at Goodison. I need help on:

  1. How can I purchase a ticket (cheapest) to watch the 16 Sept match against Wigan?
  2. What is the best way to get to the Goodison Park? (Avoiding the traffic and etc.)
Help is much appreciated. Many thanks.
Phee Lip Sim, Singapore  (7/8/06)

Van der Plonk

I had kept faith in the guy until now. Any top athlete shouldn't be getting completely shit-faced a couple of weeks before their major events kick off. He has the privilege of playing in the Premiership that all us regular joes can only dream of. After his poor first season, he was expected to put the effort in to prove his worth. Spike or no spike, the guy was obviously getting completely shitted ahead of a new season.

I highly doubt that a top footballer would get his drinks spiked. It's a lame excuse for drinking too many champagne redbulls.

What a Vin der Plonker.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (7/8/06)

Van Der Dude

What a great way to fail your next drugs test.. ."But I was spiked I tell ya!" Very clever, Mr Meyde...
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (7/8/06)

To the lions!

I think the stick Andy ver der Meyde has/will get is a little harsh. Ok, he was boozing (again) in the Kings Dock but he cannot be held accountable for his drink being drugged! What fans can point to is his lack of first-team matches and obvious lack of fitness. But he could have been seriously hurt by some evil git, so at least offer him a speedy recovery, people. At least!

And Kevin Sparke, I'm sure my name is more real than your hard luck story. But rejoice Kevin, at least if you do go to hospital for a check-up, you can lay on top of a table. Which I fear is something beyond Everton this season. Get well soon, matey!
Luq Yus, London  (7/8/06)

Midfield dilemma

As the clock ticks on the current transfer window, it looks increasingly likely that perennial problem of lack of quality and depth in key areas will again plague the forthcoming campaign. For two seasons, we had to endure the farcical situation concerning a lack of strikers; this season, the problem seems to be developing in midfield.

With the versatility of Phil Neville and the liklehood that he will again be expected to cover a variety of positions, the issue of Carsley's ongoing commitment to the Club, his age and fitness also being factors, and the flexible role of Mikkel Arteta, then the equilibrium of midfield must be questioned. Even before the latest controversy surrounding Van der Meyde, the midfield issue was probably the most pressing and burning question for Evertonians. David Moyes has indicated that the pot is now empty and that there are no new signings imminent; any possible deals are likely to be loans with the hirsute one Gravesen seemingly attracted to the lure of money on offer at Newcastle.

It feels as though it's going to end up as round pegs in square holes again next season, particularly in midfield, and with the usual scenario of injuries and suspensions that every team encounters, we are likely to see players being used out of position. The squad is crying out for a Kevin Nolan or Steed Malbranque, a player just to provide some much-needed balance. Let's hope that Moyes is able to pull off a loan move for an untapped overseas talent or it's going to be another roller-coaster ride.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (7/8/06)

Goah, where did all that optimism go suddenly? — Michael

AvdM

His drink may well have been spiked but what sort of professional athlete goes out drinking into the early hours on a Sunday night??? Especially when he's missing pre-season games due to injury. Get rid of this useless git. A disgrace to the name Everton.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (7/8/06)

Hmmm... I wonder who the manager was who signed this guy... and what does that say about him? — Michael

Maybe it was maybe it wasn't

Until Van der Meyde's lucrative contract runs out, we are stuck with him and his excuses. The club should cut its losses and pay him out with this one proviso, should any club wish to sign him, Everton gets back what it cost to get rid of him.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (7/8/06)

Bogus arguments and big signings

Michael, can I just ask: how do you think Moyes received Manager of the Year, and do you think it was undeserved? Where have I said I want us to emulate Newcastle, or that all I want is big signings? My argument was simply that you intimated that for what Moyes has spent we should be much better than we are. I'm not sure who would have done better with the restraints he's had to work within, and the poor starting point.

He hasn't until recently had the opportunity to significantly increase the quality or strength of the squad, so I feel that he is still in credit in terms of the outcomes to date. Am I overjoyed with last year's performances...? Of course not, but I saw enough previously to think that he can make the most of our limited resources precisely so that we won't have to do a Newcastle!!

I agree that judgement day is nearing, but given the nature of the job he took on, and the relative success/improvements since taking over I'm prepared to cut a bit more slack than I would otherwise normally do. Like I said, maybe I'm a bit longer in the tooth and more patient than you!
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (7/8/06)

Let's just say I disagree and leave it at that. — Michael

Get rid... bring back the hero

It's going to be the first of many... but PLEASE can we just get rid of Van der Meyde? The guy is an absolute jinx... spike or no spike!!! I would love to see Tommy Gravesen back on a loan deal... not sure it will happen... surely he must want around £60k a week now.
Ian Robb, Sheffield  (7/8/06)

Van der Plonk

Everton FC need to get shut of this complete and utter waste of space. Having done a little bit of web browsing, every "new" story on this waster seems to be another episode in the life of a lazy ignorant piss-take merchant. He seems quite happy ripping the arse out of the Everton cash cow to fuel him staying at home or, more often than not, going out on the town, getting pissed up, giving it large — something he appears to have done at every single club he has played (sic) for.

I'm not saying he should be teatotal but he shouldnt be taking the piss either, surely getting fit for his "give me another chance" plea doesn't include going out on the razzle.

He has given absolutely fuck all in return for the investment and wages, not going to switch to FM or CM mode but I'm sure there are numerous alternatives both in this country and Europe that would offer better value for money. Maybe at his original price he was worth a gamble but it hasn't paid off, now Moyes needs to be a man admit it and get shut.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (7/8/06)

He's our very own "Dutch Gold", eh?! — Colm

Finished where?

Don't mean to be picky - actually, sod it I do! But just wanted to alert his Lordship, Byron, to the fact Everton finished 11th last season, not 12th. That's an extra half million pounds in the bank right there!
Paul Kish, Australia  (7/8/06)

What my optimism is based upon

I hate my job and in two days time, I’ve a ‘clear the air’ meeting with my boss re some work I should have carried out but didn’t (World Cup got in the way).

My mortgage has gone through the roof as have my gas, electricity and water bills. My dog is on her way out and keeps crapping on the stair carpet. The ex-missus is screwing me for every penny she can get, the new missus has gone from a size 10 to size 16 in 12 months and shows no sign of slowing down her inflation and is developing the worrying practice of spending money on shite we don’t need to a fine art.

My new next-door neighbour turns out to be a Kopite (from Belfast who has ‘Been to Anfield once’… twat). I’m on a NHS waiting list for a heart operation and I'm not allowed to drink anymore. A good season from Everton represents the only hope I’ve got left! Fuck me… I am doomed!

Still... it could be worse - I could be Tony Marsh or that other ghoul with the made up name (Luq Useless?). Then I would be fucked.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (7/8/06)

Look on the bright side, Kevin... yer in better nick than Andy van der Meyde! ;-) — Colm

Let`s get real!

Sorry to piss on the parade but I can`t for the life of me see what all this bloody optimism is based on. For most of last season we were crap and the only additions are a dodgy goalie on loan and two average players from second-tier clubs. Is everybody supposing that Howard is an improvement on Martyn or that Lescott will be an automatic success in the Premiership?

As for Johnson, it will be a miracle if he gets into double figures with the service he can expect from our midfield. Let`s get real, a repeat of last season`s twelfth is about as much as we can sensibly expect.
Byron Close, Freshfield  (6/8/06)

Hopefully nobody thinks I write these things myself... I mean, I'm sure I would have got our finishing position right at least! 12th!?!??

Less than two weeks

During a bout of insomnia, I came across Everton's exhibition match v Columbus and I must admit that, as a Watford fan, the game left me pretty elated! It was very apparent that fitness levels amongst your first team are way behind a normal schedule and, as a hornet, I'm very optomistic as to where our first points are coming from. It's your misfortune that Watford's preparation so far has been immaculate and therefore your opening fixture against what was last season's fittest Championship side will be anything but the cakewalk that so many of your fans expect.

However I wish EFC success for every other fixture this coming season except those involving us.
Brian Corlett, St Albans  (6/8/06)

Hold that thought for a couple of weeks, Brian, and check back in afterwards, then we'll see what's what... — Michael

Gravesen so overrated

So Gravesen wants to play for an ambitious club? The guy wanted out big time when he left and if he goes to Newcastle then it shows what he really thinks of EFC. He staggered on the issue of a contract in the hope someone else would come along then got his wish.

Personally, I think he may do well alongside Scott Parker but he's not so good that he deserves people writing letters to the Liverpool Echo saying that EFC are the People's Club, the people have spoken and they want Tommy G back! Obviously not "people" that I know! Why the adoration for someone who seems like he couldn't have left us quick enough? When we probably needed him most? Who wasn't that good anyway?
John  McCabe, Wavertree, Liverpool  (6/8/06)

Beats me, John. There's nowt as queer as folk... — Michael

Sod him and his blood sucking agent!

Thomas Gravesen will not come back to Everton, as his agent of doom said today; "Thomas knows that Newcastle are a big club and we are only interested in talking to ambitious clubs," said Sivebaek. So let's put this one to bed chaps shall we! And if the Big Yin decides to play on then please do not play for that kopite Paul Jewell!
Luq Yus, London  (6/8/06)

We do have home grown players

Compared to other teams in Premiership, we may have the most home-grown players in the squad coming from the Academy. With Cole gone, Arsenal have none; Chelsea only have Terry; Manchester Utd only have Neville and Giggs; Spurs only have King. We have Hibbert, Osman and Anichebe and Vaughan. Looks like the huge investment is worth it after all.
Issac Bissock, Liverpool  (6/8/06)

Don't be too hard on Moyes

If Everton go down, they will spiral out of control... even worse... Survival in this world is everything. Good football will come.
Andrew Cunningham, Australia  (6/8/06)

Ah yes, relegation battles are all we can expect, but we should keep on hoping that one day a Moyes team WILL play some good football? Thanks for that, Andrew. Very encouraging. — Michael

Small additions....

Michael, I think you answered your own point there..... add up the cost of all the names you mentioned for the first 3 years. I think you'll find they are "small additions" in anyone's book.

There are a couple of little gems in there, and they have demonstrated that as a unit they can be effective, but big money signings they are not. BTW I don't do CM, much too long in the tooth for all that.

Meanwhile, still undecided on whether you're the discerning football fan you like to portray, or just the fella who prefers a profound moan.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (6/8/06)

Oh he's fond of a "profound moan" alright! Curmudgeon with a capital C! I'll let him edit this when he gets his frame out of his bed... ;-) - Colm

Tom, Moyes has made signings in each of the last five years. And each group includes players who are now part of his team. I'm not calling them small or large... (well, with the exception of Beattie!). Yobo? Cahill? Are they automatically lesser buys than Johnson or Lescott? I'm sorry but I think your point is bogus.

And this craving after big signings is fraught with danger. It's Newcastle all over. I thought we were better than that. It's much more important to put the right players together, play them in their right positions, and train them to play right! I see you're not responding to that point at all! — Michael

Beattie's BMI

I've just checked Beattie's BMI. His wieght of 84 kg gives him a BMI score of 24.8, which is still in the 'normal wieght' category, so I don't know what the recent fuss was all about. And according to a health site, the BMI does has its limitation:

"It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build."

Anichebe, McFadden, Johnson and Beattie may be the strongest strikeforce we ever have in the last decade. Let's hope the competition will fire us into europe.
Joey  Mcctyre, Liverpool  (6/8/06)

Top notch youngsters

What does it need to complete a 10 million pounds world-class academy? Quality youngsters.

Can't wait for Scott Phelan, Scott Spencer, John Paul Kissock and Bjarni Vidarsson to make the backbone of our team.
Eamonn Byrne, Liverpool  (6/8/06)

Very rarely, if ever, happens that way. If the Academy can produce even one player per season coming through the ranks and into the senior squad then it's job done. More often than not, over the past decade or so, we've seen players come through the ranks and then sold for great profit. — Colm

This is Our Time

This time two years ago, Kevin Campbell famously declared that our aim for that season was to finish 17th. Funnily enough Campbell did go on to finish 17th - but for another club. At the time, I was enraged that my team was reduced to such a lack of optimism and ambition.

Now, however, I suddenly find myself approaching a season with more optimism and ambition than I've felt for the better part of 20 years. When I look at our squad, I don't see perfect individuals — but what I do see is a genuinely formidable team that is playing with confidence, skill and commitment. And I can't help but feel that This is Our Time.

Off the pitch as well - with progress being made on a new training ground, and a potential new stadium - everything seems finally to be coming together. We've been gone a long time, but Everton are back! The club that virtually invented the game is preparing to reclaim it.

You only have to look at our great history of sustained achievement generation after generation to see that no other club can touch us. So many others have had golden eras, but no-one — simply no-one — can match Everton for well over a century of success. When it's come to the history of the game it's simple - EFC is the ABC of the football. It begun with us and it'll end with us. The 20th Century was ours, and now we're preparing an attempt on the 21st Century too.

In years to come they'll talk about this team and this time. And we'll all have be part part of it. Blue is still, and always, the colour — so wear it with pride.
Sammy Baloo, Manchester  (6/8/06)

More good reading

I was interested to see several people on here recommend some good football books to read. I know you probably don't want to draw this out too much in terms of a debate but I just wanted to add a few myself, if you'll indulge me.

Football Against the Enemy by Simon Kuiper and All played Out by Pete Davies. Puskas on Puskas by the legendary Hungarian star Ference Puskas is also worth a glance. Sadly, I can't think of too many Everton books that make the grade.

Meanwhile, I agree with those who say let's judge Everton when the real stuff starts, not now. I know, as a very average player, my goal in pre-season was to get fit, not play out of my skin. Results build confidence but they didn't really matter — it was more about being ready for when the league kicked off.
Paul Kish, Australia  (6/8/06)

Dotty Dodd

Trust Dotty Dodd to use something as obscure as O`Neill`s arrival at Villa as a peg on which to hang his sycophantic support of Moyes! If, for some reason, his hero had ceased to be manager of Everton at the end of last season and O`Neill had been appointed to succeed him I bet 95% of our fans would be feeling a damn sight more optimistic than they are at present. I know that they are all better managers `on the box` than on the bench but Moyes`s charm and charisma and tactical nouse didn`t even get him that far!
Vic Demster, Homer Green  (5/8/06)

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly about ToffeeWeb

The Good

The good is that they can publish Andy Lea’s points about judging the year ahead; I have much support for what he wrote but then I know he is a doctor in sports nutritional science and regularly meets with Premiership players. He more than most has a good insight into what it takes to make an athlete. I am sorry, Andy, if I am revealing secrets here. Your viewpoint is welcomed here, or indeed on other forums.

Whilst I might disagree with your midfield selection, there are several points you have hit on the head. This is the season to judge David Moyes and all the politics should be removed and should be absent from these discussions as you indicated. All the doom merchants, whatever your reasons maybe, Andy Lea nails it because we have the best XI for many a year, it wasn’t perfect in the mid 80’s, but that’s a different story. Michael, I feel confident you will disagree.

The Bad

The bad and the ugly merge into one as far as I am concerned. ToffeeWeb is the “independent” Everton Website, but in very simple terms this is as incongruous as The Sun is for freedom of speech. How can you be Independent if you are shareholders of Everton? It smacks in the face of anything democratic because you have a financial interest in Everton. I notice the acclaim you're giving Paul Gregg.

I am not a shareholder, just a simple Evertonian. Even tonight, Michael, is ripping into Moyes over his signings but Andy Lea nails it. So does Mickey Blue Eyes come that… he looses me at times. But Malbranque I agree on.

I recently engaged with Colm on a forum (I am the one you offered the sandpaper to). He is not dissimilar to me: both of Irish background, of similar age, and both have a love of Everton. We obviously disagree on a young chap who has left the club. Hopefully, Lord Mawhinney's recommendations can be fully implemented to eradicate wrong doings of agents, players and clubs forever. Indeed, protect the new ones coming through. I think they call it progress.

The Ugly

What struck home to me was Nick Armitage's recent piece about Tesco. It was ugly that my mail post was removed and even Nick actually agreed with me (after my post had been removed). It was also ugly while I was engaging Colm on the website and people where basically ignorant and abusive to him and that to me ain’t fair.

So, in short, as Andy Lea pointed out, forget the politics and let's concentrate on the footy this year. Can the editorial staff at ToffeeWeb do that for one season? I hope so.

And finally can we please move on from Wayne Rooney? I have seen enough of player power to last me a lifetime.

COYBs
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (5/8/06)

Hi Eamonn... I'll tackle what you label "The Good" first — a concurrence of what you believe to be true. So often in the past, particularly on other web forums, we read shite portraying ToffeeWeb as being "x,y and z" when it's patently obvious that ToffeeWeb is not — instead it being a website/forum for a varying degree of Evertonian opinion. As long as I've known both Michael and Lyndon, they have been flexible in allowing different opinions to be aired on here, no matter what garbage about ToffeeWeb was posted elsewhere.

I will take issue with you, Eamonn, though on the point made about "us" being shareholders, that, for your own reasoning, making "us" anything but independent. I also take issue with your portrayal of this website being in Paul Gregg's arse pocket — you couldn't be any further from the truth — moreso if you read the consistent editorial comments from Michael!

I won't comment on Mickey Blue Eyes, as he's nowadays so far up our Chairman's you know what... but as a shareholder, deemed to have a vested "financial" interest in Everton FC... give us a break!!! I couldn't give a shit if my "investment" in Everton was reduced in value... not interested whatsoever in the financial returns at all.

On a personal level, your final point, about Rooney... if our PR department play nice and refrain from complying with the regional press when sticking the boot into Rooney, conveniently rewriting history, then perhaps we can do what everyone suggests by "moving on..." — Colm

Youth!

One of the biggest changes between The Smith era and under the Moyes regime, is the chance given to youth.

No longer young players had gone as quickly as they appeared (Cademarteri), but now we have Hibbert, Osman, Vaughan, and recently Anichebe from own acedemy making first-team apperances. Moyes is great in handling young players onto the scene, a factor why Rooney is now among the best players in the world.

There's also an emphasis on youth when it comes to signings: Yobo, Johnson, Arteta, Lescott, Cahill, and McFadden are quality players who are yet to peak. If signings go bad, it's easier to recoup the value, as in the case of Krøldrup as he is still young. I'm conident under this bright young manager with young hungry players, we can challenge for honours sooner than later.
Tony Marsh (a different Mr. Marsh!), Liverpool  (5/8/06)

In response to Tony Marsh

"If West Ham and Spurs fans demand their sides play with style then why shouldn't we?"

The thing is, Moyes hasn't been given as much as them, has he? Really, if calculate properly, he hasn't spent as nearly as much as other managers.

It's simple. Money buys you good players. Good players play good football. Moyes hasn't got much to dally on, so he has make sure we get the results first. What's the use if you're playing good football if you're going down?

Spurs and even West Ham have spent more than us, average per season. If you want us to play good football, be a billionare, buy everton and go sign ronaldinho for us....
James Collony, Liverpool  (5/8/06)

I truely believe that is a misconception (although a popular one, I have to admit), as I said below. A good manager gets the players he has to play as a team. Playing decent football may not always bring the results, but it has to be better than last season's dross. — Michael

Good post by Tom Hughes

I must admit, Tom Hughes's post has given an alternative view of our current situation.

  1. If it took Ferguson seven years to win his trophy, then Moyes should be given the same amount. You also have to take account that Moyes inherited a weaker squad.
  2. Moyes has been a 'success' in the sense that he has taken us from a club battling for relegation into a top 10 club competing for a European spot.
  3. Moyes has only been given £6M net per season. Moyes may not (yet) have given us free-flowing attactive football and challenging for top honours every season, not even Arsene Wenger can better Moyes if given the same ammount.
  4. He has bought the club massive assets in young quality players like Yobo, Lescott, Beattie, Johnson, Arteta.
But I have to agree with Michael. This is a make-or-break season. A top 8 is a minumum. UP THE BLUES
Joey Mcctyre, Liverpool  (5/8/06)

Why is Ferguson the role model? Why not Benitez? Or Houllier? Just how hard is it put together a decent cup run?

A top 10 club that finished 11th last season. Give me few minutes and I might be able to figure that one out... Nope. Can't get my head around that, I'm afraid. And if we really were competing for a European place last season, then just as surely (sitting in bottom place for a month) were we not battling to avoid relegation?

I don't believe the football Moyes has his teams play has anything to do with the players he buys or how much he has to spend. It has everything to do with how ALL the players he has at his disposal are trained. That's the problem — not the lack of other players who aren't ours. You know my attitude to CM/FM and all that nonsense. Let's stay focussed on the issues here.

Yes, he is building a younger squad... but how will they play? Hoof it forward? Hoof it into Row Z? Will they be played in the wrong positions? Like Tony Marsh, I won't believe it until I see it, I'm afraid. But if Moyes does get them to play some decent football, I shall give him full credit for that... when it happens, but not before. — Michael

Tony Marsh the Hammer

You can only play with what you have got. Would you rather be cavalier and go down like your faves West Ham...... Again 5yrs? Didn't we outplay and beat them at their own place? Can't remember the final score... What manager would've done any better given a team that was diving out the Prem, and also having to put up with losing your two best players along the way? We've all seen the terminal ranters before...... Kendall out!!! Get a grip, and wait and see.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (5/8/06)

The answer to that irritating question "What other manager...?" is simple: David Moyes. He is the manager; no-one else. He should have done a better job than he has. That's what this is all about — not Chamionship Manager bollocks about who else we should have had. Moyes has been the manager, still is, but he has made plenty of mistakes that negate a lot of the good work you are keen to talk up.

Not sure if you should really dwell on the "losing his two best players" (who he inherited from that 'dreadful' Smith set-up, rather than transferred in as his own...). The team is now his own — it was last season as he could have got rid of the likes of Naysmith, Weir and Stubbs; they are, I believe, the last of that 'dreadful' inheritance. So please, no more lame excuses. Time to deliver! — Michael

Andy Lea on target

I think Andy Lea is spot on with his preview of the coming season. This season will be the acid test of the Moyes era. I was an immediate Moyes convert upon his arrival, when we seemed to play with passion and belief in stark contrast to the dire end of Walter's reign, but support has gradually eroded over the last season and a half when in the main we have been average at best.

Like Andy, I see the best squad we've had in a long time at Goodison, and for the first time in ages I'm quiety optimistic of our prospects. Could this be the season that sees us established back among the top teams where we belong? Only time will tell... but if Moyes can get the best out of the squad he has developed and us fans really unite and get behind the team, I think we could see an upturn in fortunes that has the potential to be sustained beyond one season. Cheers for a well-written article, Andy!
Sam Hart, Lower Didsbury  (8/5/06)

Tesco Park

Re the latest article featuring the CEO of Tesco, although I don't live in Liverpool and Kirkby would be easier for me to get to, I want Everton to stay in the city. Coming to Liverpool is part of my day out, I don't want to go to somewhere like the Reebok, I want to go in the Winslow not Pizza Hut. But I wouldn't miss searching for a parking place in Walton and that U-turn on County Road after the match...
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (5/8/06)

Everton Captain

All the talk about holding midfield problems... in Phil Neville I think we have a quality player in this role. Just ask Patrik Viera from their Manchester-Arsenal battles in which Neville bossed midfield on several meetings.
Leigh Hyman, Chesterfield  (5/8/06)

... which he did in exactly how many games for Everton last season? Yea, I'm struggling too. Perhaps you could explain to me slowly (coz I must be really stoopid) just what relevance that has to us now, today, going forward? — Michael

No platitudes intended!!!

I'm sure he feels the pressure acutely, but how's it been 5 years? 4 full seasons, and for the first 18 months barely a penny to spend, inheriting one of the weakest teams in our history. So the achievements in that period in comparison to his predecessors do deserve credit, relegation certainties IMO to 7th.

I believe the success of every team in the mid-table mini-league is on a knife edge. One bad decision regarding transfers/tactics and you can slip behind dramatically. Several have dropped out the Prem having previously looked like challengers — that's how fragile it is for us poor relations.

For his first 2½ seasons Moyes had nothing to play with, no spare cash and an aging predominently poor squad. He has had to find the best way to secure points as opposed to play the attractive footy we would all like to see. Last year in parts we demonstrated for the first time in years some ability to at least play possession footy. Lack of pace throughout, particularly up front nulified any benefit though, but I think the percentage possession showed in our favour more than not last year, and that hasn't been the case for years.

Only in the last 2 seasons has Moyes been in any kind of position to make changes to his squad. Even then he has only been able to make small additions, so again it's a bit unfair to judge yet. He's had one or two throws of the dice each time. It took Ferguson seven seasons at one of the richest clubs in the world, and at a much stronger starting point.

Taxi-talk is so Gordon Lee!!! I suppose you were one of the fellas shouting for Howard Kendall's head too, or giving the Cat a good kicking. Sometimes you have got to go with the flow... Evertonians should know that, we're not Man City yet!!
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (5/8/06)

What is this crap about "small additions"? Let 's look at the last five years:

2002: Yobo, Wright, Li Tie
2003: McBride, Martyn, McFadden, Kilbane
2004: Bent, Cahill
2005: Beattie, Arteta, Davies, Neville, Ferrari, Valente, Van der Meyde
2006: Howard, Johnson, Lescott

I see that as a fairly steady pattern of building his own team. Are we there yet? No manager has the prviledge of wholesale changes but one season was skewed by something... oh yes, the loss of our best player prospect ever!

It's ridiculous to say "it's a bit unfair to judge yet" How long does he get? It's make or break this season. — Michael

Lucky Everton

Watching and reading of the euphoria generated by Villa`s appointment of Martin O`Neill, I can`t help thinking how lucky we were that the Irishman chose Celtic over Everton when supposedly offered the job five years ago. Had O`Neill come to Goodison, his tenure would have by now been interrupted by his well-documented family crisis and we should have been deprived of the marvellous start made by David Moyes.

When Davey moved into Goodison, he made it clear that he was here for the long haul and, with hand on heart, all but the most bitter critics regard his first five years as a period of solid improvement and can have nothing but optimism for our future.

Whilst you, Michael, are still starry-eyed for the flowing football made possible by the joke defences of a long ago era, most Evertonians glow with pride at the progress made under Moyes and now look forward to another five years which will see us back among the leaders on a permanent basis.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (5/8/06)

Pass and move. Is that too much to ask? Isn't that what those World Cup johnnies were doing? Except England, of course... who played remarkably like... EVERTON! I rest my case. — Michael

Proof of The Pudding

So my latest posting has all the usual suspects outraged by my audacity to slag off their beloved Davey. Let me simplify matters then, shall I.

Watching Everton play football last season was as much fun as going bald before you are 21. It was horrible and there's no denying it. If you are happy to see the team that goes by the name Everton playing in a manner that only Graham Taylor and Howard Wilkonson would admire then you are bigger fools than I thought.

If you think progress is being better than the Wally Smith era then we are in serious trouble. Forget Smith — his time has well gone — this is the Moyes era. All I am asking for is that we try to play a little bit of entertaining football. I don't expect anything silly like trophies but I do want a bit more value for my money.

But if you think playing football is all about the Club spending money then you haven't got a clue about the game. West Ham are a pleasure to watch; so are Spurs... don't tell me their managers have spent more than Moyes. Even a small-time outfit like Wigan with a rookie manager shamed us last season.

Why is it that, this time last year, the "Wait until the season starts" brigade were saying the same thing as this pre-season? Have they simply forgotten what a shambles last season really was? Yet still they beg for more of the same.

My message to you all is this:

If Davey Moyes can't get a team playing properly after 5 years and millions spent then he should not be in the job. Simple as that. If West Ham and Spurs fans demand their sides play with style then why shouldn't we?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (5/8/06)

Right on, Tony Marsh! The rubber meets the road... — Michael

Other good books

If they are still on the shelves. Willie Meisl's Football Revolution was my bible for over 40 years of coaching and Eamon Dunphy's Diary Of A Professional Footballer. A down to earth record of life in a less glamourous club.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (5/8/06)

Response to 'Moyes haters' letter

I think too many people forget too quickly the position we were in prior to Moyes. The transformation post-Smith was truly amazing since I felt certain that we were destined for the drop, and seriously couldn't see where the next point was coming from. Ok, fresh manager syndrome maybe, but to then lift us to an unlucky 7th was remarkable.

At this point he really had no significant funds to play with, he just shuffled what he had. Any major injury problems have just had to be absorbed, to then eventually claim 4th in the Prem is better than any previous manager and deserves great credit considering the size and cost of that squad.

Even an average second half to that season would have yielded 3rd, but we tailed off quite dramatically. The size of the squad meant that any weaknesses could be exposed by the simple loss of one key player. The team's limitations were obvious as we were pretty much one-dimensional and were gradually found out; however, it was Moyes who got the most out of the players and this system. He knew the limitations and the transformation to 4-4-2 since has been painful and difficult.

The gamble on Beattie has not yet paid off, and all the pieces were obviously not in place last season. He has had the luxury of some cash during the post-Rooney era, but no manager has 100% success in the transfer market. For some reason, some people expect us to be up amongst the top 3, but if you compare the cost of each squad it is entirely unrealistic. Indeed, we were so far behind pre-Moyes, I think it is only reasonable to expect some backward steps during any overall progress because there has been so little quality with which to consolidate any gains. He has had to change things incrimentally without too much leaway.

I'm not for one minute saying I was happy with last season, but I'm more than prepared to wait and see what next season brings. To even consider us as potential top six material pre-Moyes would have been laughable, now most of us will be disapointed if we don't aspire to it or thereabouts, that alone is some measure of progress surely.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (4/8/06)

But, Tom, it's taken FIVE YEARS! And we could just as likely finish 7th as 17th under Moyes. In fact, the mid-table zone has become something of a lottery for us. Where Moyes has made no real progress is getting his players to play decent football, retain possession, play up the field... oh I'm sick of repeating it.

And I'm sick of reading the apologies about why he should be given credit for what at the end of the day is very little achieved. You think we are now potential top-six material but last season proved that we are not. We spent a month at the bottom of the league, for Christ's sake! What sort of progress is that? Oh yes, I know the answer: it's the same "progress" that took us from 4th to 11th and "almost" gave us our much over-hyped first-ever back-to-back top-10 finishes in the Prem. Only it didn't.

As long as Moyes continues to hear these platitudes of progress, he will continue in the same fundamentally useless vein. He needs to be put under pressure to perform this season and bring home some bacon. That, or it's time for the taxi. — Michael

A footnote to Michael's response: the return of Martin O'Neill to the Premiership should, presumably, inject some sort of life into that other 'sleeping giant', Aston Villa. If he does achieve a rapid turnaround in fortunes for Villa then you can bet your last pound that Evertonians, if we're treated to the same old same old this time around, will ask some very telling questions about our own management. Hopefully the return of O'Neill to the Premiership might inspire other managers to better efforts themselves - including our own Moyesy! - Colm

Moyes of Magnesia

Tony Marsh, if that sick feeling in your throat still won't go away, can I suggest you see a doctor, it's probably heartburn.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (4/8/06)

Leading by example

No way should Joseph Yobo be made captain as Andy Lea suggests. You need to lead by example and Yobo loses focus and makes too many stupid mistakes: "Here, Wayne, old son, have a free shot."

Mr Lea is so passionate in defending James Beattie from any syllable of a suggestion of a scintilla of criticism, maybe his hard-drinking overweight friend should get the captaincy.
Steven Hero, Liverpool  (4/8/06)

Prozac for Marsh

Having just read the well-written piece by Andy Lea 'A season to be judged on' and agreeing with the salient observations made, I could not believe the latest diatribe and negativity written by Tony Marsh.

The mailbag on ToffeeWeb is a great indicator of the Everton public's perception on proceedings and offers a huge variation of largely democratic opinion, polarized at times by the extreme views of contributors. However the latest attack on David Moyes and the side's aspirations for next season borders on the persecuted. Tony Marsh's acid wit and sense of timing often provide much needed amusment in times of despair, however to write off the forthcoming campaign and tip Watford as a good bet on the opening day is both cynical and warped.

The comparrison between Moyes and Sven is also way off the mark, since when has David Moyes had at his disposal the calibre of player that represented England so abysmally at the World Cup? Although I would agree we lacked a Plan B for much of last season, Moyes has secured the signing of Andy Johnson who with pace should hopefully be able to create more runs, score more goals and take the pressure off the midfield and defence.

I personally do not sit in either the In Moyes We Trust or the Moyes Out camp. It is my desire to see Everton play well, entertain and bring success; however, negativity and spite will do little to promote these objectives if a season is written off before it has even begun.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (4/8/06)

The only one optimistic?

I am the only one here feeling optimstic about the season ahead? Three seasons ago, after a 17th-place finish, people said we were going to be relegated, yet Moyes proved his critics wrong by finishing an amazing 4th.

Last season, people said we were certain to be relegated when we were at the bottom of the league, Moyes once again proved his critics wrong by finishing 11th.

This season, people say we are no way near top-10 material, but I'm confident Moyes will prove his critics wrong again by bringing us a tast of European football once more.

IN MOYES I TRUST!
Josesh Franco Estanio, Manchester  (4/8/06)

Moyes Haters?

Why is everyone who questions Moyes called a Moyes-hater?

7th, 17th, 4th, 11th

Take a look at those bare figures, which suggest, at best, inconsistency. The 7th and 4th places show success, yet if the methods are there, how do you explain them being followed up with 17th and 11th?

I've got nothing against Moyes. I think he's an honest, hard-working coach who does his best. I just haven't seen any evidence to suggest that he has methods that can bring the consistent improvement that we all want and that his spending really ought to bring.

I'll keep questioning his methods until Moyes or any of his disciples come up with evidence to the contrary. Not because I hate him, but because I'm desparate for Everton to be successful.

There's quite a few Premiership managers who have had one 'successful' season without building on it. My question is, after four years, how much longer will it take Moyes to show that he has the methods to reach a level of consistent improvement?
Paul Tran, Kendal  (4/8/06)

Spot on, Paul. I want to see some real signs this season that Moyes understands the type and quality of football we crave, and he puts together teams that have been trained to produce it. Apart from a brief daliance with it in his first few games five years... FIVE YEARS!!! ago, we have seen nothing. — Michael

4-1-3-2?

I don't know why, but somehow I'm a little bit excited over our new formation. The combination of three attacking midfielders who can create things and interchange between positions, with a holding midfielder behind...

But, as Ste Fawkes has higlighted, our full-backs must be put extra emphasis on going forward. I think Valente and Hibbert/Neville can be excellent attacking fullbacks.
Robbie Columbus, Liverpool  (4/8/06)

Dave Goran Erikson

What ever side of the Moyes debate you are on you can not deny that our Davey is the Scottish version of Sven Gormless Erikson. It's there for all to see:

  • The bewildering team selections along with the nonsensicle tactics.
  • The no Plan B syndrome.
  • The aimless and predictable football.
  • Not being able to drop the so called stars when they are stinking the place out.
  • Not having a clue what to do when going behind in a game other than look gormless.
I don't know if I should laugh or cry when I read some of these postings praising Moyes. Picked the paper up this morning and Martin O'Neill is Villa-bound... now that's a manager! What's the betting that within 18 months Villa are up there pushing for Europe and going to cup finals? Yet, after 5 years of the Moyesiah, the closest we ever came to Cardiff was a friendly with Wrexham.

Please Davey do the whole club a favour and sell that useless sack of LARD Beattie to who ever wants him. Why you ever paid £6.5 million for a slow unfit 28-year-old is way beyond my comprehension but do us all a favour and cash him in now.

As for this season, well with Dave here for the next 50 years it's more of the same I am afraid. A top-15 finish will be just about our ambition with another pathetic goals tally. Johnson will wish he stayed at Palace once he's had a taste of Davey's tactics. And as for cup runs... HA HA HA! Have we ever had one with Moyes?

Please people stop dreaming about some kind of miracle transformation this season it ain't gonner happen. First game: Watford 7 to 1 away win. Looks juicy to me... get on!
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (4/8/06)

Attacking full backs

Watching the World Cup this summer, the two players who impressed me the most were the Italians Zambrotta & Grosso. They proved that, even though a team has no natural width in midfield, it is possible to be successful if your full backs are as comfortable going forward as they are defensively.

Having watched our recent friendlies, it seems we are going to be playing a fairly narrow 4-1-3-2 formation this season, so it was quite heartening to read that Alan Irvine has instructed young Paddy Boyle to watch and learn from the Italian full backs. However, what I can't understand is why the same message wasn't passed on to Hibbert, Neville, Valente & Pistone — all of whom tend to freeze if they pass the half-way line.

If Everton are to avoid yet another mediocre season, it's imperative that our full backs start to contribute in the attacking third of the pitch. Signing a quality, non-injury-prone winger would also be nice!
Ste Fawkes, Barrow-in-Furness  (4/8/06)

Delron deal

It sounds like someone has had a Luq at the deal for Mr Buckley, perhaps the wages or the length of contract are what is holding it up, I don't know as I haven't had a Luq.

Alternatively, this is yet another rabid attack on Moyes based on absolutely fuck all, in a close-season that saw Moyes sign three players within a month of season-end — how is he still a ditherer? A dallier?? Or otherwise???

As for having a go at Gravesen, remember when he was in a settled side, doing JUST HIS job, in the middle of the park with Tie? I recall 7th place, and I recall that feat achieved with a much worse side than we have now.

I'm not knocking Arteta, he is a much more skillful player, with better passing and vision, but give Gravesen his due, he could put his foot on the ball, drive forward and take a challenge as well as putting a fierce challenge in.

We are going to find the season very difficult with a light-weight midfield lacking height.
Bingo Bongo, North of the Congo  (4/8/06)

In response to Luq Yus

Clearly you are a Moyes-hater. Although Moyes isn't exactly perfect, he's not the only manager who takes a player on trial and is still undecided after a few weeks. Many other managers like Arsene Wenger do that all the time.

We condemn him when he make a mistake, but we also condemn him for taking his time in making a decision so that he won't make a mistake?

And you can't really say he is a joke in signings players and tactics. He made mistakes with Krøldrup (but recouped 75% of the money) and Wright, but who can deny he made good signings in Arteta, Cahill, Kilbane, Yobo, Valente, Neville (an excellent versatile defender), Beattie, hopefully Lescott and Johnson.

And it was his mastermind that created the 4-1-4-1 formation that proved to be so successfull. and hopefully Moyes's 4-1-3-2 this season will prove to be as successful.

UP THE BLUES!
Nick Carvatage, Liverpool  (4/8/06)

Football Books

Totally agree with Kevin re: football books. The vast majority of them are utter dross. Might I add one more to the list of must reads: Only a Game? by Eamon Dunphy. It must be about 30 years old now but it's still the best football book I've ever read. As any Irish toffee will testify, he may be an opinionated old git but he didn’t half nail the mindset of the average professional footballer.

I don’t think we will have to worry about Gravesen coming back. He’ll follow the smell of money in the northeast I would have thought. Though I don’t think anybody can deny that whatever about our toothless forwards, the real problem with Everton at the moment is the complete lack of balance in midfield. Whatever about Gravesen returning, we definitely need a proper passer/enforcer to complement the attacking instincts of Cahill and Arteta. In the absence of this, as well as a change in mindset from our ultra-conservative manager and a bit more pace at the centre of the back four (who else thinks that the “dream partnership”, such as it is, of Yobo and Lescott will not be given a chance this year because of Moyes’s love affair with Stubbsy and Davie?), I fear more of the same this season…
Jer Sweetnam, Cork  (4/8/06)

Knew someone would give ol' Eamon Grumpy's book a mensh! - Colm

Wot? No Dixie

In all the talk about books I can’t believe neither Kevin Sparke nor yourself, Colm, mentioned Dixie Dean: The Inside Story of a Football Icon by John Keith.

Like most of today’s blues fans, I’m a bit too young to have seen the great man play, but I couldn’t put the book down until I’d finished it. OK it’s a bit Roy of the Rovers but it’s all true stuff without the slagging off of managers and fellow players.

It's a biography and not an autobiography but the book is made up of numerous interviews with Dixie himself and fellow players of the same era. How this man's story has never reached the big screen is beyond me. When Wayne has finished the Ladybird range of books he should try reading this one.
Dilbert Mulberry, Liverpool  (4/8/06)

An excellent book indeed — and a worthy addition to anyone's book collection. — Colm

Moyes is a fool!

How can anyone in a management capacity take on a player for two weeks, train him and watch him play, then at the end of those weeks still dilly-dally about whether to sign him or not! Moyes is a joke when it comes to signing players and tactics.

Second rant! Those second set of John Lennon wannabes fans saying Arteta and Gravesen are samilar? Whatever you lot are smoking? Pass it on because you must be tripping!!! Arteta has done more for the team in a year and a half than Tommy G did in five! Why else did we call him 'Gemini' in the stands? Remember folks in 2002 he said 'being at Everton is like an empty existance'! So sod him and move on to better players — and topics for that matter!
Luq Yus, London  (4/8/06)

What's he like then?

Visiting the folks in Jan 2005 and taking in the Pompey game, I had a pint in The Chepstow. The mates asked me what the score was with the new signing, James Beattie. All I could say to them was anyone who gets out into town (Southampton) sees and knows what Beattie is like.

Of course I was hoping the challenge of representing our great club might bring about a change of approach.... harsh Andy Lea, unfair Andy Lea... well you know best.

Just one thing: Your man presided over EFC's lowest goal scoring season on record. He's got to show a bit more... is he up to it?
Steve Green, Southampton  (4/8/06)

Gravesen v Arteta

This little debate is quite amusing.

So are people actually saying they'd rather see this cocksure, wannabe Roy Keane in midfield who would cost us red cards and no doubt goals with his attempts at diving in recklessly on opponents? Not to mention what he thinks is a briliant passing range which would enivitably end up in losing us the ball.

Arteta CAN actually pick out a team mate with a pass or cross, he CAN make tackles when he has to without trying to break an opponent's legs and he's a danger at set pieces every time.

Arteta is what Gravesen thinks he is. Has anyone actually seen him playing for Real Madrid since he left us? Running about with his chest stuck out thinking he's the bollocks unable to make a decent pass or tackle without falling over. He's way out of his depth. I for one DEFINITELY wouldn't welcome him back.

We're better looking to the future than we are employing those who once did well for us and left us in the lurch.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (4/8/06)

Absolutely!

Just another crap football book

I feel I should take issue with Paul Coleman’s assessment of Wayne Rooney’s autobiography (Hunter Davis’ hagiography?) My Story-So Far as a ‘brilliant read’ – it is not; it is a run-of-the-mill, ghost-written, cliché-bound account of an unremarkable individual, who just happens to be in possession of very remarkable footballing skills.

As part of my job (Lecturer) I am obliged to read these ‘biographies’ and for the most part, they all follow the same tired narrative structure:

‘Young kid joins big club… in awe of senior pro’s etc… makes his debut… falls foul of authority (manager/ref/captain)… wins some games… gets injured… wins some more games/medals… loves/hates the fans… refers to some drunken incident the press has picked up on and tells ‘the truth’… dishes some dirt on senior pro’s/manager (nothing you haven’t already read in the tabloids/fan sites)… and if it is a book written at the end of his career, he would like to thank people who helped him beat the booze, birds, betting etc.’

I’ve just finished Frank Lampard’s book Totally Frank and in all honesty you could swap the pictures of Lampard and Rooney on the front covers of the respective books and you’d not really know the difference between the two. Honourable exceptions to the ‘crap’ football biography are:

  • Keeper of Dreams: The Incredible Story of a Goalkeeper, by Ronald Reng (2003)
  • Who Ate All the Pies?: The Life and Times of Mick Quinn, by Mick Quinn and Oliver Harvey (2003)
Other good reads for students of the literary side of the game:
  • Power, Corruption and Pies: A Decade of the Best Football Writing from When Saturday Comes, edited by Doug Cheeseman, Andy Lyons and Mike Ticher (1997)
  • McIlvanney on Football, by Hugh McIlvanney (1999)

Anyhow, far be it from me to foster a culture of literary elitism on this site, but we are supposed to be the ‘School of Science’ and not ‘Grange Hill Comp’.

PS Gravesen — NOOOOOO!!!
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (4/8/06)

Wot? No David Conn in your recommended collection?! — Colm

The Gravesen / Arteta Debate

I am with both Gerry Western and Dutch Schaffaer. Before I illustrate my point, I'd like to give an example.

Patrick Vieira is a tough-tackling midfielder, but he is an 'attacking' tough-tackling midfielder, in which I mean he spends most of the time in an attacking position. That is why he needs a Petit, a Gilberto, a Makelele, an Emerson alongside him. Anyone can tell you that Fabregas is totally different player from Veira, but both play in that 'attacking' role. Many times Wenger tried playing them together and it didn't work, and thus, Vieira had to leave.

Back to Everton: Arteta and Gravesen are both attacking, but different type of players, one is keeps possesion, while the other attacks more directly. Both of them cannot play together in the middle. But with Arteta more often on the wings, it would be great to see Gravesen back providing the direct creative output from the middle.

But the question whether Gravesen is disciplined enough to play in a 4-4-2 in the Premiership is still yet to be answered... His first three years with us indicates that would be a "No".
Joey Mcctyre, Liverpool  (4/8/06)

Alan Ball

Fellow blues,

Just wondering if anyone knows of any Alan Ball videos/DVD's on the market as I can't seem to find any!! Me Dad's 50th coming up and Bally was his hero as im sure he was to many Old School Toffees. If anyone could let me know, it would be kindly appreciated.

By the way, Michael - Arteta in a different league to Tommy?? Come on mate think about it, Tommy Gravesen was class in his last three seasons at Goodison and has proved he's got the ability to control international games as well as domestic ones. Arteta is a great looking player but until he takes games by the scruff of the neck on a regular basis like Tommy did and until he proves his quality on an international level I'm afraid HE will never be in the same LEAGUE as our Tommy.

Bring back the Mad Dog.
Patrick Marks, London  (3/8/06)

Michael... here's another one on "Fruit Loops"! Arteta's an absolute pleasure to watch. Gravesen? Aye, has the talent, but not the brains — and he totally refuses to adhere to a manager's gameplan. Class over his last three seasons you say? I reckon it was more his last three months... playing for a tidy new pay packet elsewhere. When he moves to someone like Newcastle and fails to ignite, breathe a massive sigh of relief! — Colm

Couldn't have even come close to that, Sir. An excellent response! — Michael

Dan Parker

Dan,

Wayne Rooney is over us mate and has been since the day he left. It is us the fans that keep harping on about him!

Wayne has kept his mouth shut about us except in 'My Story So Far' which I guess the font size would have had to have been even bigger had he not spoken about his 8 years or so at Everton. The book is an excellent read by the way!
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (3/8/06)

I concur with your opinion on "that book". Wouldn't go so far as to call it an excellent read but, in the main, it does appear to be a genuine account on his behalf and even though his relationship with Moyes deteriorated there are more than enough examples where the lad praises the efforts of Moyes, and acknowledges his own mistakes along the way. I noticed how those occasions were conveniently overlooked in the local and national media last week! Agree about the font size 'n all......"this is Peter, this is Jane, Pat is the dog..." ;-) - Colm

Tommy Graveson

Have to admit Dutch is correct, Arteta and Gravesen are very similar. Gravesen is often compared to Carsley because they look like twins but in truth his style of play is nearer to Arteta. Personally, I think Arteta is a better player though.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (3/8/06)

Yea... just watch those vids below, and see how his silky Latin skills compare with the dashingly handsome Spanish one who caresses the ball with such subtlety and panache....

You and Dutch must be consuuming the same Fruit Loops. Arteta is in a totally different LEAGUE! — Michael

Not the first time....

On this evidence from YouTube, it is not the first time Gravesen has fallen out with his Real teammates... Woodgate will be next if he doesn't watch it...

Oh boy, Tommy does make me laugh... wears his heart on his sleeve though and, persoanly, I believe would be a trememdous assest to us second time around. He is clearly a cult hero with the Real fans... they have never seen anything like him before... More Tommy vidoes here if you want to reminiss...
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (3/8/06)

BT to Barcodes?

I'm not a fan of Beattie and will be the first to admit that I think he is a one-trick pony — using his weight to bash through players when (and only when) he can be arsed to do so — and often waiting for the ball to land at his feet rather than winning a ball then going round defenders and smacking in a barnstorming goal.

Anyhow, getting away from the point, I'd be glad to be shut of him but can't see it happening. Now for the CM bit: I'd look to replace him with Darren Bent or Marlon Harewood, two players with more skill and ability than BT but (as said over and over again) thanks to not playing for one of the glamour tarts clubs, neither got a look in for the World Cup over Plug from the Bash Street kids that plys his trade over the park.

As already reported, neither player is going anywhere fast so it looks like we will be stuck with BT for now, I just hope that Moyes gets his arse in gear and makes him earn the Number 9 shirt and puts him in direct competition with Victor Anichebe who is a similar player but with fire in his belly and hunger for the game.

Young Vaughan, if he ever gets well enough to play, appears similar to AJ in stature and speed so hopefully we will have duelling pairs for both strikers.

Apologies for another CM finishing touch but if Jonathan Creek Davies can't or won't play on the right then get shut and look at someone like Greening who runs his arse off down the wing, can go around players and has a tasty cross.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (3/8/06)

FM... CM... Enough already!

What are we waiting for???

Since Everton signed Beattie, I have often wondered how long it would take for Moyes to admit he made a mistake, and how on earth he could recoup any of the overpriced transfer fee paid... here is our chance! Snap it up! If Newcastle want to sign yet another flop, let them. Victor looks ready and I am sure Buckley is a better option than that "big fairy" Beattie! Besides, the money could go on several available players. Tommy being one. Is Darren Bent still available?
David Barlow, Denver, CO, USA  (3/8/06)

Er... verging (or should I say lurching) dangerously towards a Football Manager award there, David. I cannot see David Moyes getting shut of Beattie, and he is clearly dithering on Delron. As for the others, I don't think so... "There is nothing imminent" to quote the great man. — Michael

Duncan returning?

Regarding the bloke who knows an insider at the club... Allegedly the Big Man turned up in the States to speak with Moyesy... Are we not forgetting that the Big Yin was refused entry to the USA last summer because of his criminal record?

Well, if pigs fly then Duncan has also had his criminal record wiped according to this rumour!
Nick Tierney, Liverpool  (3/8/06)

In response to Ed Bottomley

Just read Ed Bottomley's article. Also living in New York, I watched the fat bloke on Hell's Kitchen this week — can't see the comparison personally (good show though)! Equally, I neither love nor hate Wayne Rooney.

Without sounding like a broken record, I have no respect for the guy for the manner in which he has bad-mouthed Everton since leaving. It's unprofessional to air your laundary in public irrespective of whether he's an Everton fan. If the Everton Board treated him badly, take it like a man and keep it to yourself.

I remember his goal against Arsenal and staggering back through the streets of London singing 'there's only one Rayne Wooney' at two in the morning. It was such an exciting prospect that perhaps Everton could return to the sort of football we played in the 80s. Alas, it was not to be but we have progressed a long way since then. No longer does the upcoming season bring massive reservations about our continuation in the Premier League.

In hindsight, Wayne never performed at the top of his game for a whole season. He would be awesome in front of the Sky cameras or against top-class sides, but could be found wanting against the likes of West Brom.

I have no regrets from the Wayne Rooney saga. He bought us some real highs during his time and provided a massive injection of cash into a flagging club. Best of luck Wayne, I hope your career goes well. All I ask is that you stop talking about Everton. You no longer play for us, get over it. And so should the rest of us!
Dan Parker, New York, US  (3/8/06)

Top class Beattie?

I have seen virtually every game Beattie has played in since he signed: England quality he is not. Too slow, slow reactions, and a goal record of not even close to 1 in 3.

Being exiled on the South Coast, I know many Southampton fans who can't believe they got £6M for him. He was renowned for being cocky and turning it on only when he wants to — even Jeffers had one good season. How long does it take a professional athlete to get fit?

Some of his performances have been embarrassing, he has to produce this season as the young strikers we have already seem a better bet.
Stu Jeffries, Fareham  (3/8/06)

Grave for the Grav

I think that it is time that everybody forgot about Tommy and put a nail in the coffin of this ongoing rumour-mongering. Yes, he was something of a cult hero, I thought that he was the answer to many of our problems in midfield, but the truth is he had one good consistent half-season for us.

Remember, the man orchestrated his own move away from the Club, the player got too big for Everton. He was our top man and he knew his trip to Madrid would probably end in his agent pulling splinters from his hole. Yet he was undetered, he was sold before his contract was allowed to run out. Why would we want to take him back? I thought we were looking to have a young squad proud to play for the People's Club... he is touching 30 and will soon be on the downward spiral.

I am sick of getting crap from everyone about being Dad's Army of football; the summer signings have brought a more youthful outlook to the team and hopefully a much needed injection of pace. Should the policy still not be to bring in younger players say around the 25-year-old mark to continue the trend?

There is a fellow countryman of mine that you never hear about but I think that such a signing would be tremendous - namely Steve Davis of the Villa, he was tremendous last season for club and country. Is this not the type of player we should be hoping to see coming into our club rather than going back in time.

Put the Tommy story in the Grave and lets hope that more of the brighter young talent can be brought on board.
Gary Knox, Northern Ireland  (3/8/06)

Regarding young Davis at Villa - I too, Gary, have been a long time admirer of the player and have also made a few shouts for ourselves to "take him off their hands". For me, he would be everything we wouldn't get from that twat Gravesen. A valid point aired also about the fact that he chose to leave when he did (his agent Jon Sivebaek working for our mate Stretford by the way!) — amazing how many Evertonians see absolutely no wrong, ever, in this Danish windmill, elevating him upon some sort of pedestal reserved for the Legends. If he was a local lad, leaving as he did, I've no doubt he would've been crucified! — Colm

Midfield

Am I alone in thinking that Arteta is a must for a central midfield role? In too many games last season, I watched him being wasted playing either on the left or right and only be involved in the games in spasms.

Surely with his passing ability he would be best used in the centre where he could be involved a lot more, either play Davies on the right which he was bought for [or get shot of him] and either VdM or Kilbane on the left [or even Buckley] but let's see Arteta in the middle? Any one think Anichebe is close to taking Beattie's place???
Big Dunc Stokey, Stoke  (3/8/06)

Your premise is presumably that we are to play more exciting attacking football, and perhaps even try to score some goals? Sadly, that has yet to be proven or demonstrated. — Michael

Oh BT

Roeder fancies Beattie? I thought we were supposed to concentrate on Everton and not the sexual preference of the Newcastle Manager!!

Seriously though, they can fuck right off.
Dan Parker, New York, US  (3/8/06)

Arteta / Gravesen

As ever, the Devil is in the detail. They do appear similar on paper, but from watching them live there are differences. Arteta is often the victim of fouls (or cleverly earns us free kicks), he rarely wastes a pass, plays the pass when it needs to be made, takes a decent corner, and decent free kicks; furthermore, he can play right across midfield. Due to a chronic lack of pace up front. we didn't really see Arteta at his best, but still he was our best player by far.

Gravesen can be creative, but often spent too long on the ball, didn't find his intended target with a lot of his passes, takes rubbish corners and few decent free kicks, of which he gives a few away. As a neutral friend of mine who attended a few games in the half a season that "Mad Dog" was in his pomp observed, Gravesen thinks he's a lot better than he is. Hence, attempts to score goals from free kicks that are virtually by the corner flag.

In Gravesen's defence, he is a lot more willfull than Arteta around the 18-yard box, as it would be nice to see Mikel have a pop from the edge of the box every now & then.
John McCabe, Wavertree, Liverpool  (3/8/06)

Gerry Western!

Gerry Western says that Arteta and Graveson are totally different players but I disagree. Gravesen looks like a tough tackling hardman but in fact he's a much more creative midfielder.

Tommy liked to get on the ball and pass it he was our most creative player at the time with his range of short and long passes. Tommy also liked a tough tackle when the opportunity presented itself.

Arteta is much the same: creative, good passing, powerful shot and an occasisional tough tackle. I wouldn't say Arteta and Gravesen are totally different I would suggest they are very similar.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (3/8/06)

Anyone else struggle trying to make sense of that?! Black is black until it becomes the new white! ;-) - Colm

Versatility and Total Football

Versatility? Ask the Dutch if their greatest ever side was versatile, they will tell you about Total Football, free-flowing attacking football. Each player capable in multiple roles, meaning the opposition couldn't clamp down on their playmaker and suffocate them.

Football can be played in a whole manner of ways, it doesn't always have to be rigid formations and individual performances.
Bingo Bongo, South of the Congo  (3/8/06)

I see our neighbours have taken to mimicking Total Football in their pre-season campaign... goalkeeper playing in midfield... — Colm

4-1-3-2 is the answer

With plenty of stikers on board, I think we'll continue playing two upfront like last season. The only thing I could see changing is playing a 4-1-3-2 instead of 4-4-2, in which Carsley plays the holding midfielder, and Osman, Arteta, Davies, Cahill, Van der Mayde, and Kilbane compete for the three remaining spots.

I think this can only suit us, as we don't really have any wingers, but more of attacking midfielders who can easily interchange within the the three positions. The only problem is whether Carsley is good enough for the holding midfielder position? It would be nice if we have someone like Owen Hargreaves to play the role.

UP THE BLUES!
Joey Mctyre, Liverpool  (3/8/06)

Guess who you might see sat on the reserve bench!

Good morning my fellow ToffeeWeb readers. Hope all is well! I would just like to share something with you that will either excite you or make you cry (probably the latter).

I am best mates with an inside man at Everton and received a phone call from him last week in America to say that a certain Mr Ferguson had arrived and wanted to chat with Davie. Apparently they had a big heart-to-heart and Fergie said he was lost without Everton and that he wanted to come back. He even has offered to play for free. So my dear friends do not be surprised to see him sitting on the bench in the not so distant future!!!
Tommy Taylor, Jersey  (3/8/06)

Is that Mick Ferguson or Duncan Ferguson?! ;-) — Colm

Youth Midfielders

The youth set-up appears to be good at producing young strikers. Anichebe, Kissock, Spencer and Vaughan are looking impressive. In defence we have have Paddy Boyle coming through and Mark Hughes. Phelan and Molyneux also looking promising.

But for some reason the youth system seems to have a problem developing midfielders. Bjarni Vidarsson is the only young midfielder I can name and I don't think there's much chance of him making it. Leon Osman is the only midfielder to come through the ranks since Tony Grant.

Why is the youth set up struggling to find midfielders? Where's our Steven Gerrard?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (3/8/06)

We could always buy back Gavin McCann! — Colm

Thick

When, oh when, oh when will people realise that Gravesen is not a holding player or a ball-winner — and never has been???!!!!

Just because he's bald and looks a bit scary, it doesn't mean he's an enforcer. Carsley fulfilled this role two seasons ago, but is past his best now. Yes, we do need cover for this role, but suggesting Gravesen is as good as suggesting buying Carlo Cudiccini to play there... it's simply not his position.

I'm not sure if this was what the elusive Da Silva was bought for, but I'd like to see a youngster brought it to take over this role from Carsley in the next few years, not a baldy Skeletor impersonator.
Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (3/8/06)

You see through those iron bars with remarkable clarity! — Michael

Versatility is not the answer

All this talk about bringing Gravesen back is concerning me. If we did bring him back, where exactly is he supposed to ‘fit’ in to the midfield scheme? He was never the one to play with any positional discipline (which created huge holes for the opposition midfielders to exploit) and, as is well documented, often went mentally AWOL. We don’t need MORE confusion in our midfield, we have enough as it is. We have a collection of decent players that don’t quite seem to fit together regardless of what formation you want to play. Yes, they can get the job done and, yes, we’ve seen that when things are going well and they are having a good day — then we do OK — but having versatile, decent players can only be considered a temporary solution to a bigger problem.

We have had numerous players play in the right-midfield slot and none of them have made it their own (no, I don’t mean just winning the Echo man-of-the-match award every now and again, I mean really nailing it down and being the no-brainer option on the team sheet), mainly because, other than Arteta, none of them can beat someone and put over a decent cross. The player we bought specifically for this task (Davies) is consistently played in other positions and he can’t cross the ball either. The AvdM option was worth a try but is a failed experiment.

On the left, the situation is getting ludicrous; the only left-sided player we have (Kilbane) hasn’t shown the desire and ability to take the ball past a right-back in years. His only purpose in the side is seemingly to challenge for headers and hack the opposition down. When we brought Buckley in for a trial, my hopes were that he was going to fill the left-side midfield slot, but then he’s played as an out-and-out striker. Fair enough, if the lad is a striker, then fine, but then why bring him in at all (haven’t we got enough forwards already)?

Our ‘holding” midfielder is supposedly Neville or Carsley (according to a recent Moyes interview). The best game I saw Neville play was at right-back (and he was great) not in midfield. Even if Mr Carsley is staying he’s not going to be around much longer, and please don’t put Joseph Yobo there. Most of our midfielders are best described as attacking midfielders (Arteta, Osman, Cahill) and yet we habitually play them out of position. The consequences are a side crammed with too many ‘versatile’ players who don’t own a specific role, and the result will be inconsistent performances.

I can’t help but think that Moyes is just trying to get us through this season as best we can and then hopefully our next buys will be midfielders to fill the left-side berth and the ball-winning dynamo position. Does anyone know who the next Stuart Downing and Scott Parker are? At least the ones that we can afford and who are willing to come and play for us?
Greg Dawson, Not in Walton anymore  (2/8/06)

Some excellent analytical thinking there, Greg. Some of the best comments I think I've read about our players and what it is we may be/should be trying to do in a long time. Good stuff. — Michael

Panorama

Just finished watching the true extent of hooliganism in the World Cup. Makes you proud to be English doesn't it (NOT), with those idiots surrounding the game.

Noticed that the only "hooligan" associated with a Premiership club was some idiot who either used to support EFC or was an "Evertonian" who used to be a thug. Yet the building bridges campaign was given the musical background of YNWA anthem of our friends accross the park.

The lack of coverage of these events at the time show the power of the media and also pose the question that if an Italian-style problem was evident in the English game would we be informed about it?

ps: No return of the Carsley twin thanks, we would be much better off getiing Danny Murphy.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (2/8/06)

Panorama – Hooligan Special

BBC 1 9pm Wednesday 2 August 2006

The first Hooligan actually interviewed, a certain Mr Nicholls, "former Everton hooligan." Considering this was a special on England and the recent World Cup in Germany, how is it that Everton are even mentioned, surely these people are "England/English hooligans" former or otherwise.

Then it was Stoke's turn to have a "former stoke hooligan" interviewed and highlighted, a Mr Mark Chester. Chelsea, Huddersfield and Millwall got mentions along with undercover footage of said perpetrators. No mention of anyone else, Am I being over sensitive? Where were the shit bags from Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds? How come our fuzzy cuddly neighbours didn't get a look in?

As it was, the program said very little, some new footage of hooliganism, not confined to England 'fans' only, and some laid back criticism of the policing in germany. Ah well, the BBC has managed to associate EVERTON with hooliganism. Somebody somewhere made that decision, and so the steady erosion of the reputation of Everton fans continues.
Bingo Bongo, Still in the Congo  (2/8/06)

Well, I think you are being over-sensitive. A certain Andy Nicholls wrote the book on the subject: Scally. And being as it was Everton that he fought for, it would be rather remiss of them not to mention the fact. Either you can pretend it didn't/doesn't exist, or you can bring it out in the open and hope to shame it out of existence. Not sure either approach will actually work, and one would hope it is something from a bygone era that is no longer relevant. Perhaps they could all take up blogging? — Michael

Gravesen debate

Whilst I have always had concerns about players and managers returning to previous clubs, I do think Tommy might prove me wrong. Fact is, we have never managed to replace him. Please do not point to Arteta as they are totally different types of players.

Much is made of his past performances but many forget the vast bulk of his time at the club was spent under Walter Smith who sucked the life and creativity from the squad. Tommy excelled under Moyes who gave him the freedom to express himself and to benefit from the presence of quality players. Tommy showed us all how good he really can be. No doubt in my mind I'd welcome him back tomorrow. He is without doubt the missing link.
Gerry Western, London  (2/8/06)

Hmmm... what a surprise... we seem to have the Yeas and the Nayes. Somehow I don't think everyone is going to be happy, whatever the outcome. — Michael

Tommy G

If Tommy Graveson returns to Everton, that means his agent John Sivebaek will once again be associated with our club. I don't know if I could stand that. And don't forget, Tommy was very much a hit-and-miss player for Everton. On his day he could destroy opposition but all to often he would disappear from games.

Moyes eventually figured out a way to get the best out of Tommy but the player soon ran off to what he thought was better things. Also, Tommy's age is catching up with him as well. I vote we make Moyes look for a younger player with potential.

Find us another Arteta or the new Michael Carrick please, David Moyes.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (2/8/06)

Of course, you know who Sivebaek works for?????!! - Colm

Season tickets

I'm a bit worried about season ticket sales. Does anyone know how many we've sold this year so far.
Blue Fella, Deeside  (2/8/06)

Yes: Keith Wyness does. Didn't he say sales were at record levels and that we are well on track to becoming one of the richest clubs in the entire world? Surely he says something about thsi in his latest CEO speak on the Official Everton FC Website? (Not that I've read it....) — Michael

Nil satis nisi optimum

In Michael's response to my earlier comment, he says that the devil is in the details. The thing is striving to be the best isn't every club's goal, some clubs are content with commercial success or just being in the the Premiership. If Moyes agrees with our motto then he fits right in at Everton. Jim Collins (.com), the famous business academic, says that core values are the starting point for success.
Marmeduke Cornforth, Bootle  (2/8/06)

Err... whatever. Actually, I don't think Davie talks much about our hallowed motto. But don't get me started on pithy quotes as the foundation of good business... please, let's just not go there. — Michael

Headless Chicken

Gravesen can't even get on the bench at Real Madrid and they are probably still wondering why they signed him. Plus, he left us in the lurch in his one good season. No thanks, Tommy.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (2/8/06)

Not on your life

No way should we bring back Tommy G back! Far too many people look back on his time at Everton with rose-tinted glasses.

He played his best football for us in the first half of his last season as we where playing 4-5-1 with Tommy having the freedom to roam. For the other four years or so, he was a liability and very inconsistent. We need to be looking forward not reminiscing about the half-decent half-season he had.
Christoffeeson Mckenny, Huyton  (2/8/06)

Re: Bring back Tommy

Don't want to piss on anyones bonfire, but he is going to City.

I don't believe we need him, and I don't believe in going back either. I was hugely dissapointed with Simon Davies last season, but I do think that, when fit, he is a quality player, so I would hope that he does the business this season. I also hope that Arteta is either given a freer role, or at least brought inside to add a bit more flair to the whole attack and not just the right-hand side.
Dom Bolger, Bolton  (2/8/06)

Man-tits

Who gives a fuck if Beatts has man-tits?! It's goals that count and if he's banging them in for fun with AJ (goals!) then I don't care if he's got big saucer nipples and a Jack and Danny to boot!
Pete Moore, Singapore  (2/8/06)

Errrr.....!!!

Mad Dog & BT

The windmill !! I like that one Colm, I can think of many more direct expletives about our friend Tommy G unfortunately quality footballer aint one of them, let the bar codes have him they would suit one another.

As for our friend Mr overweight BT, give him a chance lads he needs to be ready in 3 weeks, and will be.

I would like to thank all the fitness analysts on this mail bag, after all these years they have made me realise that there is nothing wrong with my weight its just that I am about a foot too small.
Kevin Bennett, Chester  (2/8/06)

A foot too small you say? Mr. K. Dodd (Knotty Ash) might have some part-time work on offer Sir! ;-) - Colm

It's all about how you play it

First off, let me just say "Great job, people!" — this is one of the better Everton sites I have come across, and being a regular ToffeeWeb reader, I thought I'd pop my cherry & throw my two pence in... be gentle, folks!

Both sides of the ever tedious hate-Moyes/love-Moyes debate have been well published on this site yet one thing all us fans without question must agree on is the type of football currently on show at the "great" Goodison Park is, for want of a better word, "shocking" at times, to say the least.

Question: didn't Moyes bring some attacking football to Goodison when he first took over to steer us away from relegation? Isn't that one of the reason's fort the "People's club" also, as so many people took to him so quickly? Or was just anyone welcome after the Smith era? Or was it just a "Throw caution to the wind, avoid relegation at all costs" approach? If so... BRING SOME OF IT BACK, DAVIE!!!

Now Moyes is going nowhere any time soon, I acknowledge this, so I am just hoping with the recent signings that something miraculous will transform us into a team that plays some attacking football. Please, for the love of god or at least my sanity, let this happen.

I don't really care who the manger of our great club is as long as we are playing some exciting easy-on-the-eye football... oh, and winning (not asking a lot, I know!) which we currently are not and to be honest have never done in my years as a season-ticket holder — this is not saying there have not been some fantastic moments along the way.

Yet one thing most of us fans will agree on is, on paper at least, our team is miles better than when Moyes first took over but we are still playing some dire football bar one or two games per season. This has to change and soon otherwise the small minority of fans turning on Moyes will no doubt increase beyond return. This season could be make or break for Moyes, something has to give.

I for one am looking forward to it and not even all the doom merchants can take that away. Please let it get better.

COYB
Christoffeeson Mckenny, Huyton  (2/7/06)

Well, we've been campaigning long and hard about the quality of football, Chris, and it's something that so-called "true" fans insist is tantamount to heresey and treason for an Everton supporters website. Welcome, and please post again. But try to make it more short and snappy, alright? — Michael

Bring back Tommy G

Yes we should bring back Tommy G, we don't have a midfielder who is able to hold onto the ball & carry it forward, take the preasure off the defence. We have people who can kick it up the field (Arteta excluded!!).

But more quality is needed in there, 1 quality/skilful man can't make a team!! A central midfield of Neville holding, Gravesen roaming all over the pitch, arteta on the left & either cahill/osman on the right. Unbeatable!!!!
Allan Barratt, Durham  (2/8/06)

With windmill Gravesen "roaming" all over the pitch would there not be a gaping hole in this unbeatable midfield? And where's Andy van der Meyde? Bringing back Gravesen would be a mistake and a half! - Colm

Tommy G

I hope Real sell TG for an inflated amount. Didn't we have a fairly hefty percentage of any deal as part of the sale to Madrid? Can't see him slotting in well with Arteta — don't think we need him right now. Wouldn't say no if he cost hardly anything though.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (2/8/06)

Bring Back MAD DOG

Just read a quote saying Tommy Gravesen wants to come back to England. Does anyone else feel we have lacked something ever since he departed for his "dream move"?

Do we not have first option on the Gravedigger? Come on Davie, bring back Tommy and ditch the dead wood (Davies, Kila, McFadden, Fat Dutch Twat to name a few!)

Keep up the good work, lads.
Paul Dalton, Northern Ireland  (2/8/06)

Gravy train

Following the training-ground bust-up between Thomas Mad-Dog Gravesen and the beast Robinho, it looks certain that Tommy will be seeking a move back to the Premier League. It was stated that Everton had first refusal from Madrid should he subsequently become surplus to requirements, which became evident last season due to the lack of appearances he made in La Liga.

Gravesen is mercurial at best, compared by many as a headless chicken, equally able to both thrill and frustrate and never really able to impose himself on a game against superior oppostion. Everton's most capped overseas player and a manic inspiration at times during the dire years of Walter Smith.

In looking at his goals return, which was pretty poor, and his positional play, which was often lacking, what did he really provide in terms of the final product? With his doppleganger Carsley he had an undoubted influence on our pre christmas form in the 2004-05 season prior to his departure and was mistakingly portrayed by the football media as a ball-winning defensive midfielder with many Evertonians even suggesting that Madrid must have been watching Carsley!

Question is:

  • do we need him?
  • can we afford his wage demands and any inflated transfer fee that Madrid may demand?
  • going back never works.
For a player who flattered to deceive, these are all factors that probably negate any possible deal, although the number 16 shirt in our squad is still spare and something tells you that he would be a much better player in the current team. Will we ever see that manic expression in a blue shirt again and the Street End sing "Oh Tommy, Tommy" when he kicks a corner into Row Z after getting excited at the the attention? What do others feel?
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (2/8/06)

More dithering

Hands up, those of you who just knew that the Delron loan deal would end in muddled indecision.

What’s the problem? He's either good enough or not, and DM has had him for three games and countless training sessions to establish that. He's even on a free for God's sake.

No, we are told that despite being interested in him, 'He is not something we are sure we need at the moment', or some such waffle.

If we were not sure we even needed a player of his type (obviously we have a plethora of quick, wide, midfielders/strikers), then why on earth give him a trial in the first place?

Typical Moyes prevarication, it drives me crazy!
Mick Gill, Crewe  (2/8/06)

Weight problems?

I don't understand this weight-ratio thing. I'm about 5'10" and just over 13 stone and most people say I'm skinny.

I don't think that 13½ stone means someone 6'1" tall is overweight, especially a forward who has to battle with yard dogs like John Terry and Sammi "hippo hips" Hyppia.
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (2/8/06)

Attempting to Create a Bad Atmosphere

I despair, I really do.

A lot of people on here sound like customers rather than Evertonians and are your memories really that short that you can't remember the previous regime's legacy that has left David Moyes with one hell of a job to do?

Beattie obese? When fit, look at his goal against Arsenal and tell me a fatty could do that against the super-fit athletes that Arsene Wenger spawns.

As for Rooney, why waste your time talking about that repulsive human being? Brothel visits, the SUN (!!!!!) and selling out to a club that revels in anti-scouse sentiment culminating in songs celebrating Hillsborough doesn't make some poor little misguided boy. Anyone would think one of Colm's friends knew the family and Colm didn't want to upset them!

Finally, opinions on the club coming from Singapore etc, who are you people trying to kid ?
Happy Soul, Toxteth  (2/8/06)

Oh dear. On the point where you incorrectly assume I'm afraid of upsetting a family friend of the Rooney — get real please! As for the absurd opinion that someone resident in Singapore has no right to comment on all matters Evertonian... well, comment on that I'll leave to others. — Colm

Beattie

Just wanted to add on the whole Beattie debate that using BMI to state whether someone is over weight is ridiculus. Johnny Wilkinson is 5ft 10in and is over 13.5 stone, does anyone think he borders on obesity?

I think Beattie showed last season that when the team are playing well and he's seeing the ball he can be a real danger, his goal against Arsenal was exactly what I'd expect from an Everton Number 9.
Chris March, London  (2/8/06)

Response to 'Beatting a Dead Horse?'

Peter Fearon has every right to express his view, but his take that Beattie had just endured an uninspiring season is bit of a shock, really.

  1. Beattie had no or little service.
  2. He only played in 33 games last season
  3. Yet he was able to become our top goalscorer with 11 goals, only 2 goals behind 16-million pound Drogba.
  4. Which means an acceptable ratio of a goal in 3 games.
  5. He has also provided 3 assists, which mean he was involved in 15 goals, an equilavent of 45% of our goals.
Hmmm... not exactly uninspiring is it?
Joey Mctyre, Liverpool  (2/8/06)

Well, he didn't really inspire me, if that helps... — Michael

Response to Peter Fearon

Peter, while a nutrition expert may confirm the raw data you have presented, they will also tell you that BMI on its own is not a valid measurement of someones physique. Perhaps you should also tell us his WHR, % body fat, "Apple vs Pear" etc as these are just as reliable if not more so.

Out of interest, Alan Stubbs BMI is 26, yet we don't hear fans getting on his back for being a fat bastard. Or to use your data "Obese".

Perhaps this is a case of someone having an axe to grind and using very selective data to back it up. (Surely you must have realised there would be at least one person on this website who has studied nutrition at a teriary level?)

If you don't like Beattie — fair enough, that's your opinion and you are entitled to it, but don't go using pseudo-science to try and back up your claims. It weakens your argument, not strengthens it.
Alisdair Denny, Perth, Australia  (2/8/06)

That's, erm, food for thought..... ;-) - Colm

Beattie better than most

Last season, besides Arteta, who in the Everton team had a better season than James Beattie? I cant think of anyone.

There's no doubting he had a bad start to his Everton career, but eventually he got his head down and realised he had to put more effort in, which he has done. He scored 11 league goals last season out of an embarrassing 34! He barely had any service whatsoever and every game ran his socks off and tried to make something happen himself. Not to mention he was out for most of the first quarter of the season.

He played the lone role upfront, chasing wasteful hoofs ,but now he has a partner in AJ which will take some pressure off him. Get off his back — it's only pre-season! Judge his fitness an performances 10 games in. As Gordon Strachen said 'You will not get anywere near the best out of James until he is 100% fit' and is he or anyone in our squad a 100% fit at the minute... I don't think so!
Ryan Barton, Liverpool  (1/8/06)

Are they ever? (At least he didn't say "110% fit".... whatever that would mean...) — Michael

Weight Just a Minute

I realize I already had a lot of space for this, but I would like to respond to Mick Millane's claim that my statements about Beattie's weight are wrong. At 13 st 6 lbs and 6 ft 1 in he would have a Body Mass Index of 24.84. 24.9 would be widely regarded as unhealthy and obese begins at 25. Any nutrition expert will confirm that.

But, BMI apart, the ideal weight of someone 6 ft 1 in is a little over 12 stone. My point was that he was 13 stone 6 pounds in his most successful season. I think he's even heavier than that today. Why not ask the club what his weight is now?
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (1/8/06)

Uh uh... this one is really getting technical...

In support of Beattie & Mick Millane

Don't worry, Mick, I believe Peter Fearon has really embarrased himself with his analysis on James Beattie. This website is equally as bad for not only uploading it, but making it a featured article. Pathetic.
Steven Astley, Wigan  (1/8/06)

You're the one who's pathetic, Steven, for attempting to limit reasoned and intelligent debate based on your own narrow-minded opinions. I see we have published a number of your letters in the past. Please don't assume you will be accorded the same degree of respect in the future. — Michael

Response to 'Beatting a Dead Horse'

I read with great dismay the article by Peter Fearon on James Beattie. I hope that Peter has not fallen into the trap of believing what other writers have written based on half-arsed observations.

It is easy to look at Beattie’s goal tally for Everton and dismiss it. One needs to bear in mind several factors. Beattie is an old-fashioned, dare I say it, Everton-type of Number 9. He’s a big powerful battering ram of a player. To me he’s got all the plusses that Ferguson or Campbell used to have. Big, strong, good in the air, can hold the bal up well. Whilst perhaps he may be behind Big Dunc in terms of heading ability when the big fella was in his prime, I don’t think there is a better striker in the air in this division than our Beatts. Added to that, Beattie is not slow. Do not listen to your kopite friends, he’s not overweight either.

Back in the 'remarkable season' Beattie was a similar shape and size as he is now. Just look at him. Beattie’s the type of lad that couldn’t be thin if he did not eat for a year. He just has one of those physiques. If you really look closely, you’ll notice that he had tits back then too. The difference being Saints wore a baggier style of shirt than we do. Beattie is not the only athlete who suffers from excess fat on his chest, it is a problem some males have to live with, and no amount of exercise will shift. I know a body builder mate who had a 'breast reduction'...

Peter referred to Beattie being ‘hard-working,’ ‘tireless’, ‘committed,’ ‘outstanding,’ ‘brilliant’ ‘fantastic’ and ‘selfless’. I would say that all of those superlatives still apply. Beattie works harder for the team than anyone in a blue shirt and I do not know one season-ticket holder who would disagree. I have watched him countless times chase all the way back from the front line to make a tackle in his own box and then get straight back up front for another attack.

One aspect of Beattie’s game that disappoints me is his touch. At times I’ve seen him control the ball on the touch line when it was heading straight out of play like perhaps only Arteta or Gravesen could, but then other times he seems to have all the control or touch of an elephant. Perhaps this suggests that he is a confidence player or that he lacks concentration.

Beattie is a big lad, with at times a great touch, he’s deceptively fast, and has a good eye for goal and can score from anywhere. He is a great asset to the club, our first real Number 9 since Sharp, and I’m hopeful that Johnson and Beattie can be similar to Sharp and Lineker. I think that he is so much better with a second (and faster) striker supporting him and that was why he went on a bit of a goal spurt when McFadden was in support, getting 7 goals in 11 games last season.
Stephen Ferns, Liverpool  (1/8/06)

Nil satis nisi optimum

This motto rings hollow to a lot of Evertonians because we aren't the best and they want to be satisfied. Maybe they'd prefer to be Villa fans so they can be mediocre and satisfied. As for me I'm an Evertonian and I won't be satisfied until my club are the best. No one associated with EFC should be satisfied until we're winning trophies year-in, year-out. You only go into a game aiming to win, no one aims to lose, therefore at this point in the season we are aiming to win the league because this will happen if we win every game. I'm not saying I think we'll win the league just that I won't be satisfied with less.
Marmaduke Cornforth, Bootle  (1/8/06)

Winning every game is a luadable goal, and something that resonates with David Moyes and everything he says. The devil, as they say, is in the detail. How do you play, how do you train, what formation do you pick, what players do you buy, what philosophy of attacking football do you adopt to ensure that you can get that winning record... — Michael

Response to 'Beatting a Dead Horse?'

Peter Fearon, in his Fan's Comment "Beatting a Dead Horse?", incorrectly states that James Beattie was overweight at 13 stone 6 pounds. According to the 'Body Mass Index' (BMI), he has a score of '24.8' which puts him within the normal weight range. Moreover, taking into account he is a professional athlete this would in theory lower his BMI even further.

Having watched Beattie at Goodison Park a number of times last season, his physical build does not appear to be a hinderance to his high work rate, ability to hold off defenders on the ball and his pace off the ball, say in quickly closing down defenders.

Any striker needs good service to tally up the goals over a season. This let him down last year. His physique is ideal for his forward role giving him additional strength particularly in the box. I believe this season, with a fit James Beattie and Johnson or McFadden beside him, the goals will follow naturally.
Mick Millane, Dublin, Ireland  (1/8/2006)

In Moyes We Have To Trust

I think Peter Laing may be slightly disappointed — as may we all — if he expects us to play Anichebe or Vaughn as key replacements for AJ and Beattie.

The likelihood after seeing the interview with Moyes before the Celtic game is that Mc Fadden will still be in there as first reserve — although that may just have been for the cameras north of the border or a ploy to keep his value up for any potential buyers.

As with everything else this season — we'll just have to wait and see. As for predictions I can see us being fairly hard to beat this season, I just hope we're not 'hard to watch' at the same time.

COYB.
Neil Scott, Southport  (1/8/06)

The Greggs

I've seen people mention Gregg's involvement with Everton FC in terms of it being some kind of cash cow. At the end of the day, he is a businessman & businesses have to make money, to call something a cash cow hints that it is possibly stagnant and therefore hardly worth the investment. Everton FC was largely a cash cow but the Kings Dock made it an investment with a future.

The Kings Dock was a real opportunity missed for Everton FC, but it's no crime that it was the reason for the Greggs involvement. If I were Paul & Anita Gregg I'd be scratching my head after largely rescuing the club from the cluthches of Peter Johnson on the back of promises from Kenwright, to find that the principle driver in your investment is not going to come to fruition anyway and you're being depicted as some evil other because you're not an Evertonian!

Paul Gregg had reservations about David Moyes (hmmm! sound familiar anyone?), then Moyes got us to 4th after Kenwright backed him to the hilt. Gregg does seem to know what he is doing too, which is never an impression I get from Kenwright. Kenwright did have the wisdom to bring Keith Wyness on board, and although many people might disagree with this I think he has been good for the club despite his ability for spin. The only person's word that we had for Gregg not stumping up credible investors was Kenwright! And we all know what came from his consortium... In short the jury's out on Bill but to say that he's better than Johnson isn't enough — Ronald McDonald would be better than Johnson!

Currently, I think the team on the pitch is still one or two players short (creative midfielder & a right back to compete for a place with Hibbert), but I do reminisce about the heady days of Gareth Farrelly, John O'Kane, John Collins, Stephen Hughes, Thomas Radzinski etc.. They were horrible and we have actually stabilised & improved as a club. I'm hoping that there will be plenty to cheer from my spec in the Glwadys Street this year and that Johnson proves to be the hero he wants to be. Oh, and that we maybe pour some of the adoration that used to be given to Gravesen on Mikel Arteta, as he's twice the player!

COYB.
John  McCabe, Wavertree, Liverpool  (01/8/06)

The beatt goes on

As the most senior striker at the club and in his second full season, the weight of expectation and responsibility to lead the line fall's squarely on James Beattie's shoulders. Anichebe and Vaughan are obviously inexperienced and raw when it comes to the Premier League; however, it is so refreshing to know that they will be ready and willing to impress given any opportunity that comes their way.

Andy Johnson will have a big season ahead of him with that lofty price tag hanging around his neck — hopefully not as a millstone, but he will be able to cite this and the impact of joining such a 'big club' should things not go according to plan.

I would hazard a guess that the strength, guile and physical presence of Anichebe will actually put immense pressure on the automatic choice of Beattie. It has been a long time since we had a forward line that could offer real competition and this factor combined with the exuberance of youth makes the options next season much more appetising.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (1/8/06)

No more Rooney

Re Colm Kavanagh's article on our ex-employee - can we not move on and talk about something (anything) else? I, and I'm sure many others are fed up with constant speculation, and that's all it will ever be, on the reasons why WR left the club. He's gone, get over it. Roll on 19th August, I predict a 6th place finish and a cup run!
Roger Townley, Northampton  (01/8/06)

Indeed we can move on... but if the local chief hack is gonna play ball and rewrite history to suit a certain agenda (to the amusement of most Blues who've taken the bait — hook, line and sinker) then I for one feel determined enough to challenge those words — and in particular the complete absence of comment on the "ex-employee's" other comments about his latter days at Everton.

Roll on 19th August, I predict the same old shite, different season... some good days, some bad days, and a hopeful sniff at Europe with ne'er a look at the wrong end of the table! — Colm

Cup Runs

I completeley agree with Kevin that it's about time we had a good cup run. It will be almost 12 years next May that Everton reached a major final, our record under David Moyes is disgraceful.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think we went out in every major cup at our first hurdle last season, other than the FA Cup, the second match of which we lost to Chelsea.

I'm sure a lot of fellow Evertonians would agree that a top-10 finish and a Carling Cup win would be a great achievement next season. It would be a brilliant day out, having all us Evertonians back at a cup final for the first time in 12 years, we would also be in Europe and would be able to get back at the Kopites that tiny little bit if we win in the final (especially if they dont win anything, fingers crossed).

I have never been a big fan of Moyes; whether he achieved Champions League qualification or not, he never bought the players to make us that once great club again when he had the chance. I've never forgiven him for this or the 7-0 disgrace against Arsenal that season. But with a good solid cup run, hopefully ending in a win, and a top 10 finish, I will begin to like Moyes and forgive him for what he's angered me for.

Hpwever, another two appalling Cup runs and another bottom-half finish, and it would be about time Moyes went. In that case, Kenwright should see that Moyes has done what he can with the club and he should do what's best for Everton FC by telling him to move on.
Stewart Ince, Bootle  (01/8/06)

The League Cup (no matter what branding it lives under) is the one cup competition I'd dearly love to see Everton lift, just to complete the domestic set. A Cup Final appearance would hopefully work wonders for the Club, like an adrenalin shot throughout the Club from top to bottom. - Colm

Beatting a dead horse response

I think that it's reasonable to say that we can not really judge Beattie fairly until he's had a decent strike partner to play along side him. Last season he was either given a lone-striker's role or a second-rate wasteful strike-partner. Not to mention a midfield set up by the manager to be defensive.

This year he should have a strike decoy in either Johnson or Anichebe, which should open up some extra space for him to get some of those shots in. Also it should help a decent player like Johnson get into position while Beattie holds the ball up (which he's good at).

I don't think he's a 20+ goal-a-season player, but if Johnson and him can get 15+ each then we'll have the makings of a good season.

Hopefully he will be a good player when he's playing next to a complementary good striker, otherwise we'll be back in the market, next year, for another tall striker.
Michael Parrington, Melbourne, Australia  (01/8/06)

Good points all.... now all that's missing is a fit Van der Meyde whipping in quality balls... — Colm

Imagine

"Imagine all the Blues, living life in peace, yoohoooooooo". Couldnt resist.

Right, let's make my stance clear on this. I do agree with the comments made about certain players to an extent. yes I've berated Davies last season, Christ, I've given most of them stick when they haven't pulled their weight, and Moyes has got it when he's failed to make subs and had the full backs lashing long balls in to Beattie.

However, Beattie started to come good last season and in pre-season Davies has looked ok. What I'm saying is, it's a new season, let's give everyone a clean slate and let's see what they can do as the football at the moment looks pretty good.

Come September, if they're still shite then we can hand the grief out. Aye, I also agree that Moyes has to take some responsibility for players out of position and it's my pet hate to see players used out of position and then given shit for playing badly.

As for Buckley, if he's showing any sign of playing well, Moyes should take a one-year option on him as we've all seen players impress during trials and then drop off when contracts are signed. We do need numbers and there arent many cheap options. He could be a Kanchelskis, he could be a Preki / Mitch Ward... Oh dear!
Ste Boileau, Walton  (01/8/06)

Tremendous

Anybody else noticed the regularity with which Everton players and staff use the word 'tremendous'?
Paul Foster, London  (01/8/06)

In the golden days of HK it was "superb".... - Colm


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