ToffeeWeb MailBag
Letters from our readers — September 2006


A question of balance

Carsley & Cahill are not a Premiership standard midfield partnership. Carsley, for all his tackling & covering cannot pass a ball with an consistency & Cahill’s all about getting on the end of other people’s chances rather than creating anything for himself.

The two most creative players are stuck on the wings. Osman’s just doesn’t have the pace to be very effective & while Arteta has, he’s simply wasted when he’s not in the middle pulling the strings. Everton should stick to a five-man midfield & if Neville has to play at full back, then put Davies or VdM in. Yes both have their faults, but at it allows the team to keep its shape & balance.

I didn’t think Beattie had a great game, but I didn’t think it was for lack of effort. Quite simply, unless we push the clock back 20+ years & bring in the likes of Thomas, Steven & Sheedy he’s never going to get the service he needs & he isn’t quick enough or skillful enough to create chances for himself. Moyes spent a huge amount of money on Beattie & saw him as the great white hope. I’m afraid he ain’t; I think Moyes should cut his losses in January & sell him if we can get anybody to pay back a reasonable slice of the transfer fee. All managers make bad buys, it's best to admit the mistake & change things ASAP rather than have that mistake lumbering around Goodison for the next 4 years.
Colin Smith, Hopewell, New Jesey, USA  (30/9/06)

Agree with most of that although I think you're being slightly harsh on Carsley's Ray Wilkins-like ability to spray a pass sideways! Arteta, like Osman does not possess the pace (as seen again yesterday) to skin a full back. He was a joy to watch yesterday all the same. In 100% agreement though with your closing thoughts on James Beattie. — Colm

Relegation Form

Three points from nine. We're not keeping enough clean sheets and goalscoring is also been a problem under Moyes — that's relegation form. He got it wrong again. Moyes has done well to make the club stable but he hasn't got what it takes to take the club to the next level. Moyes should have stuck to 4-5-1 — a formation that best suits our players.

Like I said three weeks ago Beatts and AJ doesn't work (all he does is get in AJ's way) Beattie should never have started this game. I also said Moyes's tactics are awful — he doesn't know when to make the subs. This game really showed how clued up Moyes is. How many chances does he want? When will he learn from his mistakes?

We're still fifth, only because all the other results are going for us. The midfield hasn't got the right balance. Arteta and Osman aren't natural wingers and don't provide much width. There's no cutting edge and no pace in midfield. It takes a blind man not to see what's going on. Maybe Moyes is blind and he'll never learn.
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (30/9/06)

Take a look in the mirror, son, and ask yourself if it is not just a bit silly to be talking of relegation form based on three games that are part of a great unbeaten run, our best start for 20 years — especially when we're fifth in the table. But we do seem to be getting the "I told You" so-un-so's reporting in just at the momment... — Michael

Cross my palm with silver

For anyone who bothered to read my recent Fans Comment submission 'Optimistic ?', you may now be under the impression that I have psychic powers of some kind.

I have been fairly consistent in my concern about Moyes's tactical nous and I do believe he has come a long way in this regard. However, today confirmed my recent concerns; Moyes hasn't got a clue about subs and their use. Anichebe came on 20 minutes too late. Arteta was having a great game and it was unfair on both him and Davies to swap the two. However, it was the bringing on of Weir that sealed our fate; not, as has been suggested (by Tony Marsh's mini-me son amongst others) because of the 'time added on' scenario, but because his introduction completely floored Yobo and Lescott. I was unfortunate enough to have a very good view of proceedings at this point and Weir confused the whole defence, as to who should be marking whom. This was not Weir's fault, as it was clearly intended as a move by Moyes to waste time which backfired, because the latter had not given Weir any instructions for either himself or the other defenders and confusion reigned.

To be fair to Moyes and the team we had plenty of the ball and only some excellent goalkeeping stopped us from being 3-0 up with those precious few minutes to go. On another day we'd have got away with it. However, that doesn't make me feel better staring at the League table tonight and seeing Bolton sitting where we should be. Indeed 9 from 9 instead of 3 from 9 over the last three games could have seen us sitting very prettily indeed.

Davie, can I advise a new strategy for substitutions... only make them when a player is injured.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (30/9/06)

MOTD

Just watched MOTD and Moyes says it was his fault and takes responsibility. Although through gritted teeth, could this be the admission that sees a more Moyes/Irving approach rather than the dour Wilkinson coaching handbook over the Wenger free flow? We can but hope...
Ken  Buckley, Buckley  (30/9/06)

Well, that does surprise me... but I am suitably impressed. Well done, Moyesey. Now if only some of your more rabid sycophants had such good graces... — Michael

Radio interviews

I come away from the match today totally frustrated, questions going through my head:

  • Why did we take off our most creative player?
  • And replaced him with our least creative player?
  • Why did we play Cahill in the centre-midfield of a 4-4-2 formation, when Arteta is most suitable in that formation?
So I was eagerly waiting for the interview with our manager on our two local radio stations. And AGAIN the questions that were on everybody's lips, who went to the game, were not asked. Why? Surely the interviewer should be asking the manager the same questions what I and many, many honest loyal supporters are askingz? BUT WHY NOT???
Colin Malone, Wirral  (30/9/06)

Tip

I would just like to pass a tip on to Moyes: instead of making fucking silly substitutions with seconds to go, why don't you just tell the lads to get hold of the ball and knock it round instead of fucking hoofing it up? This would waste time and see the game out.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (30/9/06)

All in all, improvement needed

Well, we have the majority of the game once again; ten sit back and try and defend a 1-0 lead. What happens? Last 5 mins we spend it defending the 18-yard box. Fuck me the kids on the park know better than that.

Once again, that lazy fucker Beattie shows us why he's spent most of the season warming his fat arse on the bench because he's shit. We've got an 18-year-old kid sat on the bench, hungry for the game, and we give him 13 mins. As for Moyes's bad descision to make another substitution in injury time, yes... but at the end of the day we sat back and invited City to throw ball after ball into our box and not one player had the fucking idea to just fucking hoof it down field out of touch and try and defend the half-way line.
Simon Rimmer, Wigan  (30/9/06)

Er... "ten sit back and try and defend a 1-0 lead"??? I think if you watch that game again, you might concede that we spent most of the second half attacking, trying our best to win the game. It was only after Moyes started messing about, as __ says below, that City saw their tactics could unnerve us... and they succeeded. Why, immediatley before their goal, the ball had just been hoofed back beyond the half-way line for the umpteenth time... — Michael

Unbeaten in 7 games...

I was going to write a lengthy defence of Moyes… but I can't be arsed because I’ve realised that you guys only see what you want to see…

But I’ll leave you with one thought… Moyes can pick the team, he can chose the tactics, he can build confidence, he can dictate strategy … what he can't do is stick the ball in the back of the net… and those who missed cast-iron chances a blind dyspraxic one-legged drunk brownie could have put away, get my anger.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (30/9/06)

With the possible exception of that superb cutback from AJ, which Beattie really should have buried, the chances we had were just that — chances. Yes, you can berate the players for not scoring if you must, but you cannot blame them for not trying. The sheer effort from Everton in that second half was incredible, in fact both teams made it an excellent second half (miles better than the first) in terms of entertainment. If pushed, I would have to wonder about Beattie's contribution, and tentatively accept that he probably did get in the way more than contributed... Why couldn't we kill off the game? That's the real puzzle from this one. — Michael

Gutted

I agree that the last substitution was nonsense but it was not the cause of the City comeback. Everton were in complete control for all of the second half and had opportunities to seal the match. Weaver and Dunne made brilliant saves and we were just not sharp enough. With the chances we created we have to get 2 or 3 goals. It's a shame that we have to go into the break gutted, let's hope the lads get over it and bring us the results after the European (yawn) Holiday.
Kingo Kongo, Cucamonga.USA  (30/9/06)

From my seat

Another less-than-convincing performance but one where, of two poor teams, ours was was the better and at that crucial half-time moment took the lead. Time to build in the second half and produce what would have been the killer goal was wasted. As the game went on Everton, were comfortable and City clueless so an unsatisfactory win was one we all could take and argue about the shortcomings over a pint.

Then our manager takes over and makes substitutions even us uneducated fans could see were naff. From my view, I thought a poor Beattie was more of a threat than a fledgling Anichebe in City's eyes and they responded to that. Then when he took off Arteta and Johnson for Davies and Weir, well City thought that would have given succour to the Cypriot playboy and angst to your Dutch and Dodd. With nothing to threaten them for the first time in the whole match, the City players' eyes lit up, they poured everything forward and duly got the leveller as well as hitting a post and in their eyes a win.

After the game, I joined the queue for tickets for the Luton game and to a man the fans present all agreed the Manager cocked up big time. But at no time did I hear any thought of him being replaced — rather one of he should admit publicly he cocked up, learn from it and move on.

I think today's performance will reflect a lot of the games to come as the Manager has not got a lot to juggle with and needs to compliment the few class players we have, which in my opinion are Howard, Neville, Valente and Carsley with Lescott and Johnson being almost there, the rest can do a job in the Prem but it shows the task of both Club and Manager. Boro away next and one for the Manager to ponder and regain his cred. See you there — UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (30/9/06)

Couldn't disagree with much of that, Ken. Except perhaps the exclusion of Yobo, Arteta, Cahill and Osman — all of whom contribute more than just doing a job for us, I think. But no manager will admit to that being a mistake, I'm afraid. I admit that, if you were to look at the stats, goals scored against after a stoppage-time substitution are probably very few and far between. However, to make that change in this game, with City pressing as they were, was clearly a huge mistake. — Michael

Everton 1 - 1 Man City

It's the final moments of the game, City are pushing for an equaliser, so Moyes brings on a defender to waste a few seconds and secure the win. Unfortunately they got the equaliser but that's just bad luck. Every single manager in the Premiership brings on substitutes to waste the final few minutes. Normally, the ref doesn't add on extra seconds for that substitution.

I really don't get the logic of some Everton supporters. Listening to 606, plenty of Aston Villa fans are ringing in saying how much they love this season and they are below us. Bolton fans are having a ball sitting in 2nd place they dont care that their team's football is the most boring in the Premiership. Everton are 5th, their best start for years, four places above Liverpool, scoring on avearge two goals a game, playing a reasonable standard of football, one of two teams still unbeaten and Andy Johnson is the Premiership's top marksmen. If not for an awful linesmen decision against Newcastle and extra-injury time bad luck today Everton would be top of the league.

Don't you see how great this is? Can't you just enjoy this? Sometimes I think the likes of Michael, Luq and Mr Marsh have forgotten the dark times under Wally Smith and Bully-Boy Knox. Have you forgotten how awful it was fighting relegation and debating if maybe it would be a good thing for Everton to get relegated so they could rebuild. That's what it was like till Moyes arrived. It's a sign of how much progress we have made under Moyes that 5th place is now regarded in such a way by some of our supporters.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (30/9/06)

Bad luck? BAD LUCK?? BAD LUCK??? You are such a twatish pillock, Dutch. That was anything but bad luck. It was written in the fucking script, you Dutch fer Brains! Jesus wept!

Why in the name of mother fuck would we want to spend even a nanosecond remembering the dark times under Wally Smith and Bully-Boy Knox? The motto of this club is Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. That means closing out games. It doesn't mean needlessly giving up last-minute goals by giving the referee every opportunity to add on even more stoppage time, FFS!

What is it with you idiot Moyes apologists? Just admit he made a huge fucking mistake and it totally backfired on him. It was lazy inattentive management in the extreme. — Michael

Moyes, the fool

Cahill pushing up with Johnson is working a treat... so Moyes plays the pathetic Beattie. We're under the cosh in the dying minutes of today's game so Moyes takes off Arteta — the one player who can keep the ball for us. Moyes then thinks that bringing on Weir will keep the lead for us when infact it was the defence that needed protecting by the midfield.

Moyes is the fool not people like Tony Marsh! How long has this ridiculous frustration got to go on for?
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (30/9/06)

Totally deflated

Where do I start? The positives:

  • Unbeaten
  • Lescott, Yobo, Arteta, Johnson, Neville and Howard
  • Top six place
  • Above the other lot
The Negatives:
  • Another failure to close out a game
  • Ridiculous high ball tactics against a giant City team (note to Moyes - He is not big Dunc!)
  • Beattie, Davies (what was the point of bringing him on only for him to swan around doing nothing?)
We have the potential to re-establish ourselves as a top-six club but we really need to win games against City and Wigan. Today we were poor, regarding the stupid high- and long-ball tactics. We are a much better team playing along the ground. Who decides that we should play this way? Moyes? I think we are not a million miles away but for goodness sake Davey - play to our strengths not our opponents'.

Two things from today's game: Where has our vocal support gone? City outsung us almost throughout the game. Away from home we are great but our home matches are like a library throughout most of the games.

Finally, to the bloke next to me: Do you really think Beattie will come good and just needs a good run in the team? To get that run he needs to earn it and today he did very little by the way of chasing and closing down. He won nothing in the air and is beggining to look like another expensive Davey Moyes flop. Let's hope this is a temporary blip in our seemingly upward curve.
Robby Kavanagh, Cheshire  (30/9/06)

Rocky Everton

Back from the game and still in state of shock.

  1. For the loosing the game with the last kick.
  2. Beattie was so friggin' bad.
Ossie was poor and the pass executuion was just so poor from the team today. The lack of vision from the middle of the park to open up City was there for all to see. That goal was comming at the end, no doubt after we missed a bag full of chances. AJ and Arteta were class, the rest of the team should frig off for two weeks.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (30/9/06)

Having watched the second half again, it was tremendously competitive, with both teams going at each other with fantastic determination. Beattie definitely lacked the sharpness of mind and body you need to break open big beefy defenses like that, and perhaps it would have been an excellent opportunity for Anichebe to have been given a baptism of fire.

But on reflection, Everton really did everything they could to win the game in the second half. The fact that they couldn't perhaps underlines some deeper issues than those Marshy points to so emphatically. It would be nice to have some balanced assessment of exactly why we were unable to kill the game off, accepting the last-minute substitution was ridiculous (but, however ridiculous it was, that was not what stopped us scoring the second goal we and the players knew we needed). — Michael

Moyes The Golden Nugget

Once again I have to post and say "I told you so". Remember after the Derby, when I refused to get carried away? Remember after the Wigan game when I said it was there for all to see? Today's performance against City is exactly what I expected. This is not just a blip, lads, this is how it will be all season.

Moyes is as clueless as ever. Why start with ten men? — because that's what you do when you play Beattie from the start! This player is nowhere near Premier league standard and you all know it. Slow, fat,and about as much use as an ashtray on a motor bike.

As for Moyes I can't stand this ginger prick's bullshit anymore. Every paper in the country today had an interview by Moyes stating that we are not a one-man team. Davey, you gormless twat — that's exactly what we are! Without AJ in the side, we would be in the bottom three, you gormless prick.

My 7-year-old son said to me today, "Dad, if you bring a sub on in injury time, the ref can add on another minute for time-wasting." For fuck's sake, 7-year-olds are way ahead of our manager tactically.

The last few weeks have been a disaster and I knew it was going to happen. We don't even play the long ball any more — it's more of a high looping ball 50 feet in the air with no distance on it. What the fuck is this shit all about? Where are we going???

Cahill was almost non-existent today. The simple reason being that Moyes had to find a place for Beattie his golden boy. In my book, the biggest disaster since the Titanic went down. Yes, I now we missed a few chances and should of had penalty but so should of Liverpool last month and no one was complaining then. The truth is we have a squad who I believe would do far better without this manager and his schoolboy tactics . Take one look at Aston Villa as an example. Which team do you think will progress more in the next 12 months: Villa or us? Martin Oniell has rejuvenated Villa in just three months while under Moyes's Five Year Plan, we have simply just stagnated.

I can't take much more of this nonsense and the fans who are prepared to put up with this shit are as much to blame as Moyes. Unbeaten all season, OK... but more of a concern is 3 games without a win against crap sides. Please stop defending Moyes and his Jurrasic Park attitude to football. Dinosaurs are exstinct and so should Moyes and Irvine be.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (30/9/06)

I'll give that about a 6 out of 10, Tony. I think you could have really stuck the knife in... — Michael

Fuck up!

No wonder I worry about Moyes! Why was the clever arse pissing about with substitutes in added time when every ref just adds on the time to be played? And what the fuck was Beattie doing in the side? He`s done nothing to merit selection and just got in AJ`s way. I tell you, this manager`s bloody cluless: even when he`s got a winning side, he`ll manage to fuck it up!
Brian  Noble, Ince Blundell  (30/9/06)

Diabolical!

The last two games Everton should of won, but this by far is the worst of the three. Man City were BEGGING for a thrashing, yet Moyes manages to fuck up again and throw away another two points.

Playing Beattie for a start was totally stupid and tactically immature. Moyes underestimated Man City by switching formation when there was no need. Yet, after being unconvincing, Everton take the lead. We should have had more but what did we do after that, sit back and wait for punishment.

And can somebody explain to me why on God's beautiful Earth did Moyes take off AJ and put on the slowest guy since Neil McDonald?! That encouraged City, and it was no surpise when they got level.

Why play Ancinibe today for ten minutes? Why not start him alongside AJ? Because Moyes thought he was cleverer than he actually is and underestimated the opponents, which is totally unacceptable. Moyes is not the man to take us forward and he never was, yet the Pro-Moyes Brigade make his life easy by excusing every fuck-up he does!

And Kenwright the other week on Talksport was spouting more shite saying he and Moyes 'Talk three times daily'. I hope, Kenwright, that you will give him a massive bollocking and remind him that he is replaceable.

Today is out-right bollocks, and it shows the world that when the big-boys in the league are stuttering, Everton are so poor under this management in not making the best of it! The best example of a good manager doing well with an average team is Martin O'Neill. So Moyes has no excuses left, he is shite and there's no mistake!
Luq Yus, London  (30/9/06)

Guess it was only to be expected the anti-Moyes boys would be all over that one! — Michael

Moyes's fault

Why is it that, every time Everton are leading by the odd goal at home, Moyes starts making needless substitutions in stoppage time? I was listening to the match on the radio and I was thinking all that doing this does is make the defending team lose concentration and force the ref to add on even more time than the alloted injury time.

It was alright taking Beattie off for Anichebe with 10 minutes left but he then should have left the players on the pitch to finish the job off. Once he took Johnson off for Weir it gave City the incentive to push everybody up as they knew they wouldn't have Johnson's pace do deal with.

A stupid tactical error by moyes that forced more time to be added on. Three games without a win now and worries about repeating what happened in 1999 when we beat Liverpool in September and never won another league game then until mid-December. We never seem to push on after a great result.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (30/9/06)

Got to agree with you... although I'm sure the Moyes apologists will close ranks behind the Moyestro, claiming credit for remaining unbeaten — despite the loss of six massive points in the last three games. Yes, it's progress on last season, but we still have an awful long way to go. And Marshy has probably gone apoplectic right now... I hate to even imagine the state of his keyboard! — Michael

FreeTV

Jez, What's the fuckin point of free tv on yer laptop if no one's going to show it?
Leahcim Seyah, Wirral  (30/9/06)

Phil McNulty... an Evertonian?

Who came up with that one?

Good job some of us have memories.
Dave Charles, Liverpool  (29/9/06)

One for you, I think, Colm... (He certainly has written about Everton over the years... he may well have written about Liverpool too, but that subject is not something I am interested in, so I wouldn't really know.) — Michael

Everton FC at Anfield

I don't understand why anyone would think that Everton FC moving to Anfield is a good thing. Who wants to play football in a cemetery?
Tony Horne, Kettering  (29/9/06)

Er... so exactly how many dead/cremated bodies are there beneath the hallowed Goodison turf??? Or are you saying they have far more than we do? (Personally, I've aways found this to be a particularly ghoulish expression of one's undying [oops!] allegiance to the club...) — Michael

Good point, Dutch

Michael, I thought you were a tad harsh on Dutch. I don’t usually agree with what he says, but I feel he has made a valid point in his last post, and up until then it’s not something I had considered. I got a mental picture in my head: Our tin-pot shed and their state-of-the-art stadium with bells on. I know the size of Stanley Park, and it’s not that big. Even if it’s built at the Priory Road/ Utting Avenue corner, when you consider the car parks etc you have to agree with cockney boy Dutch — it will be ‘literally be right next door to Goodison’.

ps: Paul Atress = Nutter
Matt Geraghty, Warrington  (29/9/06)

Sorry but I think you are both takling shite. It will be in sight of Goodison Park, obviously, and perhaps marginally closer (although not by much). That does not mean it will ‘literally be right next door to Goodison’.

In order to ‘literally be right next door to Goodison’ the new Liverpool Stadium would have to either (a) occupy the whole of Stanley Park, or (2) be located in the northwest corner of Stanley Park. My understanding is that plans show the new stadium occupying what is currently the car park, the Vernon Sangster sports hall and part of the park up to the tarmaced road which runs through the park from Priory Road to Anfield Road. All at the southeast corner of Stanley Park. As far away from Goodion as you can get while still being in Stanley Park.

This will not by any stretch of the imagination, ‘literally be right next door to Goodison’. It will be 'near' Goodison; it will be located in a park across the road from Goodison, but ‘literally be right next door to Goodison’ — No. Let's retain a sense of proportion here, please, and not give the cockney twit any credit, especially when he is clearly spouting shite once again. — Michael

Moving Back To Anfield

At Everton, we've had Golden Visions, Holy Trinities, Moyesiahs, years in the Wilderness, any number of money-grubbing pharisees & God knows we've been crucified often enough by unbelievers, but just because we were born in a stable why on earth would we move back there???
Paul Daly, New York  (29/9/06)

Born in a stable? I think you are taking the religious analogy a bit too far there, Paul. It started off as St Domingo's but soon became the (distinctly non-religious) Everton Football Club. — Michael

Pressure

Notice that one or two correspondents feel that Andrew Johnson may be feeling the pressure. Whenever I hear of sportsmen being so afflicted, I am reminded of the words of the legendary Aussie cricketer and war-time fighter-pilot, Neil Harvey: "The only pressure I`ve ever felt is having a Messerschmidt up my arse!"

Kind of puts sport into perspective, don`t you think?
David Hall, Taunton  (29/9/06)

Absolutely. The idea that anyone would be concerned about a sportsman under "pressure" to perform is preposterous. That's what they are there for, that's why they do it!!! Whatever next? — will we be fretting over politicians stressed out by the "pressure" of upcoming elections... — Michael

Holding midfielders

Does anyone else wonder why we need TWO holding midfield players? Looking at last week's display against Newcastle, I thought our defence played well; however, we did at times look wide open and left them too exposed. With Neville and Carsley in midfield that shouldn't happen.

It's time to be more positive — especially at home! With Hibbert out it gives us the ideal chance to be more adventurous: put Neville back in to right back and play four accross the middle with BT and AJ up front. Come on, Moyesy, take a chance for once in your life!!!
Kevin Bennett, Chester  (29/9/06)

It is going to be interesting, to say the least, to see what approach Moyesey takes in implementing his desire to win every game. Will he go for 4-4-2, in the knowledge it really hasn't worked as well as it should, especially with Beattie being little more than a passenger? I'd much rather see Anichebe given a real chance alongside AJ instead of Beattie — surely that would be a just and equitable reward for what he did at Portsmouth? But I would be very surprised to see Moyes do that. 4-5-1, if I was a betting man... — Michael

Move to Anfield

Let's get one thing straight about Anfield - it isn't that good a stadium and if it was why would Liverpool be abandoning it?

There are some woeful specs in that ground, the toilets are a joke, and you simply cannot get served at many of the catering outlets throughout the place — in many respects, Goodison Park is far superior. The reason we are leaving Goodison for a new stadium is to rectify the problems outlined above as well as adding areas for corporate hospitality.

Leaving Goodison for Anfield is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire and will not take Everton forward one centimetre. Add to all that, we would be leaving a place we love for a place we hate. All in all, a very bad idea.
Nick Armitage, Merseyside  (29/9/06)

Goodison Park.

Admittedly, I'm a cockney Evertonian, so my knowledge of the area may be wrong but when Liverpool move to Stanley Park won't they literally be right next door to Goodison? How's that going to look, Liverpool's state of the art modern high capacity stadium standing right next to and undoubtedly dwarfing Goodison Park? Won't that make Goodison look like a bike shed? Goodison will look even more dated then it does now, surely we have to move soon, although I hate the Paul Atress idea of moving to Anfield.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (29/9/06)

Oh deary me, Dutch. Have you ever seen Stanley Park? Do you even know on which side of Stanley Park Goodison Park sits?? And where the car park is in relation to Goodison Park??? They'll still be on the otehr side of the park from us, but inside the park instead of outside. — Michael

Interesting Article

Old tradition or success?

An interesting look at tradition vs. success with Everton as an example.
Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (29/9/06)

I see the article is written by Evertonian, Phil McNulty. - Colm

Apology to Ray Robinson

Ray, I apolagise unreservedly re your experience watching the blues full backs over many years. You have obviously seen some wonderful players in that position, however, the mediocre players that have filled those births (outside of those mentioned from better days)is a cause for some concern, especially when people think the current crop of left backs have any class. We will, as you say, have to agree to disagree over Valente.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (29/9/06)

No Charity

"Stuart Pearce's side have lost every away game they have played so far this season and are, you would think, there for the taking"

Having been a supporter for so long, one thing I do know is you take nothing for granted with Everton, whether it's an underfire manager in search of his first win (Christian Gross anyone?) or a striker looking to break his duck (too many to mention).

The only way we will win this game is if we get at them right from the off and don't let them develop any thoughts of "hang about, we can get something from this". Progression can be measured by the ability to dispatch sides like Man City/Wigan just as much as it's about competing with the top sides.

Sticking VdM on from the start is too risky — yes, if we are a few goals to the good. So it looks like Beattie and Valente to come straight back in and either McFadden or Davies (Jeez, Hobson's choice there!). Would love to see Anchibie get a bite of the cherry but the amount to which it would marginalise Beattie makes it not very likely. Fingers crossed...
Martin Hanraty, Brackmills, Northampton  (29/9/06)

.Your fears are valid! The under-pressure Andy Johnson may — or may not! — ease those fears with a bagful of goals! — Colm

AJ must feel the pressure

With AJ already being hailed as the next Lineker, and the fans expecting him to bang the goals in by the handful, is AJ starting to feel the pressure?

For some players, pressure is good and drives them forward; for most, it has the opposite effect, creating anxiety, which affects their play. It's the kind of pressure a player would feel when he steps up in a penalty shoot-out in the World Cup final.

I think it may be sensible for the fans to lower their expectations, and take the pressure off AJ. If he ends up scoring 30+ and breaking Lineker's record, then that would be brilliant. I persnally would be happy if he just netted 15 and put in a good team effort, assisting other players to score.

At the end of the day, we all know that his contribution in the goalscoring department could be the difference between a top-half position or a top-4 position, but we just won't tell him that.

Keeping him relaxed and just scoring for fun is the way to go, and he may just get close to a record tally. Put him under pressure with a burdon of expectation and he may crack and fail at the final hurdle.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (29/9/06)

Pressure? Being paid thousands of pounds, weekly, to go and kick a ball and score as many goals as possible? Pressure??? He's paid, quite simply, to score goals. Lots of 'em. Good luck to the lad! — Colm

Stand Tall, Evertonians

One of the things that sticks out from my childhood is a particular stench that always hung in the air. Even with the smell, we quite liked our humble home, the highlight of our time there was when Dad won his first boxing championship.

Dad was in all the papers holding his belt high above his head outside our front door. Unfortunately for us, the landlord (a rival boxing promoter) saw the pictures and give Dad the ultimatum of joining his stable or a massive rent increase. These were turbulent times for the family; Dad was just starting out in his career, he needed a steady home life.

Lucky for us, Dad was a proud dignified man, who had a burning desire to move his family & career forward in a certain style. He was a cultured man. Lucky for us we ended up in a much loved family home with it's own church. Not many can say that. As for the landlord he carried on with his soleless boxing team, he's now selling our old house and moving to a mansion. The cheeky low life bastard even offered to sell it to me. I don't even have to move, I know I havn't kept the decorating up recently but hey that's easy done.

And if I move it will be to a Palace not a fucking dung heap. My family moves forward, not crawls back. Sleep well Dad. Onward Evertonians
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (29/9/06)

Amen, Brother Gary! Amen! - Colm

Anfield

Here's a thought. The re-development of Goodison might not be doable whilst the team still plays there. Why not move to Anfield for a couple of seasons, allowing Goodison to be transformed into the stadium we all want it to be, and then move back when completed?

Just thought I'd chuck that idea into the mix.
David Flynn, London  (29/9/06)

It's one that's aired from time to time and sounds as ludicrous now as it did back then! ;-) — Colm

In reply....

First off, I love our history, and one of the main parts of our history I love most involves me reminding my red mates (unfortunately which is most of them) the fact that we were winning trophies at that place before they even existed. But it is now tainted. If you went on holiday to a wonderful place a while ago would you go back there now if it had become a rat infested sewer for the past number of years?

As for this ground-share lark, which I am vigorously opposed to, I want us to keep our own identity and not become known as ‘that team who share Liverpool’s ground’. I can see the financial practicality short-term by the fact that the cost of building it would be halved, but wouldn’t that mean that long-term we would lose money? I’m no financial wiz kid, as my school maths reports would testify, but wouldn’t sharing a ground mean we would only receive half of the incoming revenue, especially off field activities, for the next 100 odd years?
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (29/9/06)

Key for me is that we'd be known as "the other club" who shares LIVERPOOL'S ground, whether that's correct or not. Not a nice thought. — Colm

If You Know Your History...

Although not much bigger in capacity, Anfield is a far more modern stadium with facilities much more advanced (have you ever wondered why England never played at Goodison?). It's worth remembering that it was our stadium many years ago, we played there during our early years, so it's not a completely crazy idea to go back home and rename it Goodison Park.

I think it would piss Liverpool supporters off too, that's a bonus. If you know your history a home-coming sounds reasonable.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (29/9/06)

Paul — it is a crazy idea! End of!!! — Colm

Who's following who?

I like many others would not like us to move to Anfield, irrespective of our past history there. However, I do find it slightly amusing that Liverpool want to build their new ground on the Stanley Park car park — which is where our first ground was in the days of St Domingo! Whilst the Everton historians will know this, I wonder how many Kopites do? What's that phrase again? "If you know you history"?
Stephen Flanagan, Liverpool  (29/9/06)

I wonder how many Kopites know that they initially wanted to call themselves Everton Athletic?! — Colm

Anfield Road — You're Havin A Laff

Not so long ago Paul 'lay down on a mattress' Attress thought he was making sense on this website. Now, after his latest pearl of wisdom, I think he needs to take a sabbatical away from his PC. Going to Anfield is the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard in my life. Not that LFC powers that be or their fans would ever allow it of course. It's about as realistic an option as Bin Laden going on a sight seeing trip to New York. What next?

How many Evertonians do you think would turn up Paul? — because I don't know many that would. I haven't been to Anfield for years now and I don't think I am missing much. I cant stand the fucking place. All our lives we have had to live in the shadow of those twats and now you want us to go and play in thier rotting shithole ground. Nah, not me, mate. It's just silly mate.

Anyway, I have heard on the Grapevine that LFC are selling the land to developers to build a refugee center for Norweigen asylum seekers who have been marooned in the city. Thousands of them get lost after Liverpool home games and are stuck here.

By the way, AJ and Anichebe up front on Saturday will do for me.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (29/9/06)

No-one's taken the bait on this history angle. If our history is so important (as is claimed), why isn't that a factor? We used to play there, once upon a time. Doesn't that count for something? If Goodison is our home now, Anfield was our home then.

On the other hand, how does it make any sense to move from one old supposedly landlocked stadium to another? Wouldn't it require a complete rebuild? In which case... why not groundshare in the new stadium. You just know that's where all this is leading... — Michael

Sticking up for Hibbo

Hibbert has been subject of much unfair criticsm. He always creates width by overlapping, often covering 80 yards with no option but to deliver 40-yard crosses to a moving lone target man who is usually surrounded by several defenders. Game after game, it is noticeable that, because our wide midfielders do not provide cover for Hibbert's overlapping runs, he has to race 80 yards at top speed to cut off opponents' breakaways.

Without mentioning names I fear our midfield contains a few fancy Dans who’s trickery conceals the fact that they are useless at reading play, ball-winning and goalscoring. The addition of a midfielder with those attributes would turn hopes of European qualification into reality.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (29/9/06)

Ground move

In responce to Paul Atress, if you were being serious about Everton moving into Anfield, then get real, mate: they are building a new stadium on thier own doorstep and it would be too close for us, we have to move out of Walton now. If you go past their stadium any weekday, as I do, it is always booming with visitors yet our place is nearly always deserted. We need to create our own space elsewere. Just why we had to wait until Liverpool's stadium was sorted before we could make a final decision, I can't make out.
Chuck Hughes, Liverpool  (28/9/06)

I believe it's due to the possibility of Groundshare... something which the club CEO is quite keen on (from a financial perspective...) I hope you are fully prepared for what's coming...!!! — Michael

Move to Anfield? It's not April 1 is it?

Assuming this is a wind-up but if it's not why on Earth would we move into a ground that's not good enough for Liverpool? 4,000 extra capacity would generate only a moderate amount of extra revenue — except that 30,000 fans would probably stop going straight away anyway!

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum but we'll take Liverpool's cast-offs? What an admission of our being second best. No; groundshare maybe... but Anfield? Never!!!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (28/9/06)

Ahww... gowan... it'd be like going home.

In reply to Steve Lyth ....

Glad my post amused you!

I did watch all of those left backs you refer to and more beyond — including Ramon Wilson, the best left back ever to have played for Everton — but to me Valente still looks a class player; sorry we disagree. And as for honesty, yes I know Hibbo has it in spades and I certainly like the lad. It's just that honesty alone does not win you trophies or places in the Champions League — which is where I want Everton to be.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (28/9/06)

Traitor!

I always knew something was up with that Paul Atress but how dare he say that Anfield is a better stadium than Goodison Park! Anfield has no passion, no landmarks, just a tired old feel with a Spanish team playing within it! I would never stand to move there if they did leave, and neither would 99% of the fans, I feel.
Luq Yus, London  (28/9/06)

Calm down!

Your mailbag is full to overflowing with Evertonians singing the praises of Moyes, Johnson, Lescott, Howard, Valente et al and we`ve barely played half a dozen games! OK, we`ve got off to a good start but isn`t that what we`re entitled to expect? Why does everyone get so carried away? Surely, what happenned two years ago should have taught eveyone that even if we`re great until Christmas,we`ll be crap afterwards, so calm down all of yuz!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (28/9/06)

Guess you just can't handle the positive vibes, eh, Brian. Is it any wonder we get such a bad name as a bunch of naysayers. Enjoy it while you can, and don't be so negative! — Michael

Paul Atress....

...is off his fucking head. I would rather set fire to my own bollocks than move into that shit heap.
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (28/9/06)

So all that history (our first League Championship, etc) means nowt to you? — Michael

Anfield Move?

With Liverpool moving to a new stadium in Stanley Park, would it be out of the question for Everton to move into Anfield? Everton used to play at Anfield years ago... It wouldn't be moving into Liverpool's old ground — more moving back home. Anfield is a bigger and better stadium then old lady Goodison.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (28/9/06)

Dutch re: Hibbo

Is Dutch Shaver being serious when he says that Tony Hibbert's passing is no worse than Valente's? I commend him for his support of the former, but I think he's one sarnie short of a picnic if he believes this to be true, as Hibbo couldn't pass the Daddy's at a barbacue.

I have nothing against Hibbert personally, it's just my opinion that he, Naysmith et al, are not good enough at Premiership level, due to their basic inability to pass, or even control a football. Perhaps you could ask Hibbo to pass you the Dutcy next time you see him Dutch, as your obviously on it or in need of it, but don't be too surprised if it goes straight to the guy standing 50 yards behind you.
Paul Cathcart, Liverpool  (28/9/06)

Valente is Class... My Arse!

I read Ray Robinson's comments with some amusement, one of the positions our club has lacked class in for some considerable time is full back. The one thing that you get with Hibbo is honesty; you could cobble Naysmith, Pistone and Valente together and you would never see that trait — what's worse is that you would still not get a left back.

"Valente has Class"!?! — you obviously never watched Pat Van, Hinch, or Pejic, mate. They had both assets in abundance and we have not seen them since.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (28/9/06)

Hibbo Is Good

I think it's a little bit unfair of Jack Johnson to claim I am unable to say anything bad about Everton. I regulary complain that Naysmith is average-at-best, I have now given up hope and agree that Dickie Wright is awful, I'm the only one who complains about Yobo's mistakes — and don't get me started on that tosser Andy Van der Meyde.

Last season I was the only person complaining that Matteo Ferrari was over-rated, I was glad when Moyes got shot of him and now that we have Lescott the memory of Ferrari is very distant. I just think Hibbert is a good defender, certainly good enough for our needs and he's a local lad which should make him more popular with the fans.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (28/9/06)

Mobile Edition

I got off my horse to drink some milk, as one does in these parts, and to check the TW news and views on my web-equipped cellphone. And I discovered to my horror that the stats and other info on your somewhat limited Mobile Edition are well out of date, all referring to last season's exploits. Please fix it for us country folk, will ya?
Wild Bill Hickock, Wamsutter, Wyoming  (27/9/06)

Consider it done, pardner. — Michael

Defenders are just defenders

I'll agree to give Hibbo a break — after all he's a true blue. But how on Earth can Dutch Shaffaer bracket him with Valente? I know it's about opinion but one of them has class... and it's not Hibbo.

For those of you who think defenders are just about defending, then the modern game seems to have passed you by. All footballers — whatever their position — must be comfortable on the ball and have good distribution. That's what makes good teams what they are — able to keep possession.

That has nothing to do with Yobo not scoring goals. It also explains why we have sometimes struggled in recent seasons — we give the ball away too easily.

If you believe in old fashioned stereotypes — ie, the full backs are just there to defend, why not go the whole hog and bring back an old fashioned, bustling centre-forward? Oh come to think of it — we had one of them! Let's join the modern world.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (27/9/06)

Great comments, Ray. Can't argue with any of that! — Michael

Pipe Streams

My only interest in live streaming is watching Everton play live rather than waiting until the last set of highlights on MOTD. My evangelism is borne only out of pragmatism: no votes = no live coverage.

Given that the Arse and Chelski have a relative monopoly on Sky Sports Only Fans, I suspect that my preferred viewing forum will be unavailable anyway.

Any thoughts on what format of Streaming player you reckon is best for the free site? — the quality of encryption using PPStream and TV Ants was woeful
Joel Cliffe, London  (27/9/06)

Slopping Out

Jez, I put that message on purely to tell other Blues who might be interested so why have a pop at me ? £7 a year IS free as far as I'm concerned although it's probably a month's income for you sewing mailbags. As for streams of piss and wankers, you're in the right place.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (27/9/06)

New Stadium

In response to Steve Callum, I think (but don't quote me on this) that Keith Wyness said somthing to the affect tha our new ground would be decided by the end of the year — AFTER the other side's decision on their gound?

Excuse me for being an optimistic bastard but do I see a scenario whereby Council permission has already been granted to give Stanley Park on a 99 year lease for a football stadium and our good enemies fail to find the funds to acheive this and Everton step in and say 'We can'!! And snatch it away??

We can only hope, but I just hope our Board have such a contingency plan in place come Firday!!
Eric Myles, Seoul, Korea  (27/9/06)

So Everton, who couldn't even find a measely £30M from behind the ring-shaped fence when it came to Kings Dock, are set to gazump LFC for Stanley Park?!? I've heard of being optimistic but that one simply doesn't pass the straight-face test. — Michael

Hibbert no worse than Valente???

Dutch, your opinion is not valid as you are unable to see anything negative about our club and the way we play. Your relentlessly painful posts stimulate nobody's mind but your own. You think Hibbert is no worse at holding onto and passing the ball than Valente? What planet are you on, lad? — Do you even watch the game or do you just open your eyes when Moyes is on the screen?

I love Moyesy and think he's great but that doesn't prevent me from being critical of other people/players at the club and even the man himself if he makes fundamental errors.

This is 2006 — full backs are required to do a hell of a lot more than defend these days. They need to be quick, they need to be able to overlap and get forward and they need to have good distribution if they are to be considered a good premiership defender. They also need to be able to tackle. Hibbert can tackle — occasionally — but offers nothing else at this level. Naysmith also.

We'll play better football with Neville and Valente at the back — just you wait and see.
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (27/9/06)

Streams of piss!

Will the two wankers who keep using this site to advertsise their "amazing" streaming site for £7 please piss off. As I've mentioned before, you can get the same service free from: http://footballstreaming.info

It's ran and maintained by fans and no one makes money out of it, but we all get to watch the game. Now piss off or I'll hack your sites and bring them down.
Jez North, HM Prison, Belmarsh  (27/9/06)

I hope that doesn't affect your probabtion...

Give Hibbo A Break

Tony Hibbert's primary duty is to defend. His job is to tackle opposing attackers and stop them from getting in crosses. It's a job he does very very well. Arteta and Osman are supposed to be getting down the flanks and whipping in crosses for AJ.

Hibbert's passing is no worse or better than the other fullbacks, Valente & Naysmith. Admittedly Neville can cross a ball but that's because he's primarily a midfielder. Having a full-back with a good cross is a bonus but it's not essential to the job. It's like having a centre-back who chips in with goals (John Terry), nobody ever complains that Yobo hardly ever gets goals.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (27/9/06)

Agreed! ;-) - Colm

New Stadium

I thought the CEO promised us a decision on the new stadium by the end of the summer. Well I know it's warm but we're definitely into autumn, so what's happening? Any body know?
Steve Callan, Birkenhead  (27/9/06)

Ah yes, but which summer did he say a decision would be reached? 2006? 2007? 2055?! - Colm

Kings Dock

Agree the Kings Dock is a great site and would have raised our profile no end but wasn't it the case EFC were going to be tenants, in fact one of a number of tenants? At the time, I think many people were concerned about the issue of ownership. To me, it's unthinkable that a club of our stature and history wouldn't even own it's own ground. Neither do I want to go to Kirkby. My preference would be to redevelop Goodison and perhaps a lick of paint for The Winslow.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (27/9/06)

Agree on the preferred choice (redevlopment of Goodison) but the fact remains that the current Board of Everton have not the will to pursue this issue, opting instead to wait for Liverpool's stadium saga to reach its conclusion before committing to any action on our own stadium plans. — Colm

Everton vs City - Live on the web

Nice to see that my suggestion seems to be going down well. www.footballon.net, £7 for the season, time to get voting for Everton Vs Man City to be shown ahead of Arsenal or Chelsea. That'll learn 'em.
Joel Cliffe, London  (27/9/06)

Can I ask have you got a vested financial interest in this venture? — Colm

Re: Kings Dock & Billy bollocks

I hear ya, Marshy, it's a shame that 24/7 Bill who sits in swanky London overlooking the Thames, does not. But then Bill can't find an investor anywhere, can he? — despite all the moneymen snapping up Premiership clubs... left, right and centre!
John Cribb, Liverpool  (27/9/06)

He's looking for another character to play the part of Christopher "lifelong follower of Everton" Samuelson! — Colm

Davies and VDM

Luq's letter got me thinking. I would really like to see VdM, Cahill, Arteta, and Davies across the midfield in a 4-4-2. I am convinced that if Moyes gave these boys a chance on the wing then it could pay off. I actually think Arteta is getting hacked off with being stuck out wide.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (27/9/06)

How many chances does one afford Mr Van der Meyde then? I feel for young Osman, overlooked in favour of a guy who's somehow got a reputation of being some sort of brilliant footballer. How many games has Mr Van der Meyde started since joining Everton? I'll give you a clue: less than ten! — Colm

Hibbert

I can't believe people having a go at Hibbert. I don't give a fuck if he can't cross a ball. He is not a winger, he is a solid hard working defender. Also, for some people to say he belongs in the Championship is bollocks.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (26/9/06)

Bring back Paul Holmes says I!!! — Colm

Hibbert: nice lad, true blue, but...

Paul Cathcart's assessment of Hibbert as a player is spot on in my opinion. He can't pass a ball accurately; his crosses wouldn't hurt Dracula; he allows the opposition winger far too much time and space to cross a ball; he is prone to being outjumped at the far post; and he is often caught out of position.

So what are his virtues? — Oh, yes, he can tackle. Well, on the evidence of the Newcastle game, he can't do that very well any more either. Besides, when he does put in a crunching tackle, it's quite often because he's just given the ball away! How the lad has made it through the academy when basic ball control and passing ability are deemed essential to progress is beyond me.

Definitely Championship standard in my opinion, Colm. You need a few more strings to your bow to excel as a full back in the Premiership, I'm afraid. A definite area for improvement in the January window!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (26/9/06)

Agree to disagree, Ray! But I'll offer this: consider how Hibbert missed most of the pre-season (and start of the season) with this mystery bug that knocked him for six. It's going to take Hibbert a while to get back to full match fitness. Agree though that his crossing needs constant practise! — Colm

Hibbert

Paul Cathcart's comments on Hibbert are completely off the mark! Tony Hibbert is amongst the best "defenders" in my opinion in the Premiership, he is reliable, solid and the timing of his tackles are top notch (the majority of the time).

Hibbert will never be a great Premiership defender until he learns how to pass to feet instead of knee caps, cross competently and even get forward more, but to say he is Championship quality at best is ridiculous! He does lack flair yes, but he does do the basic things extremely well.
Fatty Bumbum, Bootle  (26/9/06)

Very much an unsung hero, in my humble... — Colm

On Stream

Just to let everyone know, the streaming via FreePremierLeague.com does actually work. I paid my £7 annual subs and then struggled a bit to set up the stream via Winamp but now it's done. Anyone with good computer skills would find it easier than I did...
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (26/9/06)

Round Pegs

I have read with great interest the comments made about the midfield players. It got me thinking that David Moyes may have to take a look at his man management skills once again. He has the respect of the dressing room; now he has to get those players who are fit and available but not in his current line-up to play to their full potential. Every player in the squad cannot be a Neville or a Cahill who are willing and able to play in a variety of roles. Imagine playing Peter Reid on the wing or Trevor Steven as the holding player — it just wouldn't have worked.

If Moyes saw something in Beattie, Davies and VdM then it is up to Moyes to ensure that their abilities are utilised within the team and therefore alter his tactics to the clubs advantage. If he feels they don't perform the tasks he wants them to then why did he buy them?
John McFarlane, Lancs  (26/9/06)

Only Moyes has the answer to your last question there John! "Polishing the turd" was a somewhat unkind tribute to Moyes's ability during his first full season at Everton and I'm a little concerned that he's at times falling into the trap of believing himself that a number of our current squad players are versatile enough to fulfil various roles in the side if and when necessary - witness his comments recently on Gary Naysmith's wondrous ability to play a more forward role on the left flank (coinciding nicely with Kilbane's departure).

Caught between a rock and a hard place, preferring an attack minded 4-4-2 but acknowledging that a flexible 4-5-1 definitely suits the players he currently has at his disposal, I think we'll continue to see some players being asked to perform a number of roles. Just so long as one of those is not Richard Wright being asked to play in goal! - Colm

Kings Dock

Earlier today, I had to go in to town and my travels took me past the Kings Dock. It's the first time for a while I have been down there and I nearly crashed the car. The shell of the new arena is up and Boy does it look impressive. Not as big as a football ground but still awesome and right on the spot where our new ground was suppossed to be going.

Fuck me, what a wonderful place that would of been to watch the Blues play football. Never mind the new Anfield Shithole this would of been the real deal. In fact, it is such an amazing structure in such an amazing location that I could of burst in to tears right there and then. The thought of the wasted Golden opportunity will haunt every Evertonian every time they pass by this new stadium. Only a minutes walk from the local bars, restaurants, Casinos, China Town, Albert Dock and the world famous Pier Head.

We would have been proudly sitting there alongside the Three Graces on the banks of the Mersey and we would have been a team of somebodies. A team the whole world would know about. I didn't really think about the whole fucked up saga properly until today and only now do I realise how big a mistake it was by Kenwright and Co for fucking the job up. Please if any of you from outside the City get the chance go and take a look at what might of been.

We will never ever get a chance like that again and I for one am totally gutted. Kikby and Speke are a joke compared to what we have missed at the Kings Dock. Goodison Park needs tearing down and rebuilding where it stands now. Leaving to go to one of these out of town places just won't do.

If only Bill.... If only.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (26/9/06)

And to think we had the money nicely ringfenced, eh?! Not... — Colm

Dogs of war or total football?

To be honest, Dick Fearon, I found myself accepting mostly what you said the midfielders role should be. I don't want lame 5-ft dwarfs either but because of the lack of quality in the middle Osman and Arteta are forced to play there.

Imagine if AvdM went teetotal and Davies banged his head and suddenly remembered how to play football... we would have two lethal wingers! But we don't — hence the two stop-gaps (Davies and AvdM) until Moyes pulls his finger out and gets them interested or gets them replaced.

The middle is lob-sided but I must admit Moyes is doing the best in a bad situation regarding quality midfielders. But then after agreeing with you I asked myself, 'What do I want? - Dogs of war or poodles with skill?' And I go for the latter everytime, especially when those poodles are our most creative players who should be allowed a bad day as nobody else is creating anything! And with the dogs, you need a master to pull strings don't you?
Luq Yus, London  (26/9/06)

Agreed on the majority of that. Osman, in particular, so often goes without the praise his performances often merit. — Colm

Naysmith & Hibbert

Agree totally with Jack Johnson in his assessment that Naysmith and Hibbert are Championship footballers at best, as both are technically inept. Can't remember which scribe once said that retention of the ball was paramount in football, because if the opposition don't have it they can't hurt you. I couldn't agree more, yet we still have to witness these two, in particular, give the ball away cheaply every time they have it.

Surely Mr Moyes and his coaching staff must see this; however, they persist in playing them. I acknowledge that we are beginning to take small steps in the right direction but things would move forward a lot quicker if only we could start with players who make the opposition work for the ball, not hoof it hopelessly to them. Over to you, Mr Moyes.
Paul Cathcart, Liverpool  (26/9/06)

Hibbert earns the wrath of many Evertonians for his delivery (or not!) from the wings, in advanced positions. Personally I view him as a defender first, and foremost, and I see one of the better tacklers in the division. To label Hibbert as a Championship — Colm

Arteta and Osman

I am confused by Luq's statement that my mild criticsm of Arteta and Osman was toeing the club line when Moyes and the official Everton site often lavish praise on them. My comparison of them with Emre was based not on the number of games played but what they do when they play. Is the reason Emre has been injured more to do with the fact that he gets into the danger zone more often?

The first priority of all midfielders is to win the ball not drift into space hoping hard pressed team mates can find them. Our two do very little of the first but plenty of the second. Full-blooded tackles are the norm in every minute of every game. When Osman does that, there are gasps of amazement and it's headline news.

I included Arteta for similar reasons. He and Osman are not what I call ball-winners but are deep-lying wingers with the job of creating goal-scoring chances or even bagging a goal. That being the case, they are not very productive. If I dare make another comparison, a look across the park sees that, in 5 games, a full back, centre-back and 3 midfielders have scored and not for one minute can anyone say say they shirk their defensive duties.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (26/9/06)

IIt's Tim Howard who's made the difference

Yes, it was a winnable game against the Barcodes on Sunday and we managed a draw against them, courtesy of a dubious decision by the inept officials. But not all is lost. After all, it was an away game and let's face it, we would have all accepted that result before an away game.

We are still unbeaten and to get a point away from home is not exactly a great tragedy. It's the home games that we need to win each time, every time. The 2 - 2 draw against the Pie Eaters a week ago seem more heart-wrenching than the away game against the Skunks because we were playing at Goodison.

But thats not my point. My real reason for writing this is because everyone is going on and on about AJ and his heroics, and how his arrival has made us into a much better outfit. I concur with that reasoning and logic. However, the arrival of Joleon Lescott and moreso of that of Tim Howard in goal has stabilized a team that was completely devoid of solidity at the back. Kudos must be given to Tim Howard who has been a giant behind the sticks. He has given the back four a much-needed boost and confidence. Knowing that there is a solid goalie behind, reassures the whole team.

Please sir, Mr Moyes, sir, please convince Tim Howard to stay and sign on for us at the end of the loan deal. Pay him the money he wants and keep him because the whole team plays much better and with more confidence with him as custodian and please get rid of the stuttering bumbling Richard Wright, who has no place in the new improved Everton side.
Wally Melwani, Singapore  (26/9/06)

Progress

The bulk of postings are all bemoaning lost chances and yes, Cahill & Osman in particular had opportunities to put the bar codes away. Just remember, this time last year we'd have given our right arms for a display like that. In many ways we didn't play well — AJ had his weakest game to date, it's going to happen, better players than AJ have off days.

Yobo & Lescott look great together. When I saw Lescott pre-season in Columbus he looked like a dog, on a par with the totally inept Titus Bramble; it just goes to show what I know! What did Newcastle pay for Bramble? The guy would struggle against Douglas Bader.

Much as I admire Carsley's & Neville’s work in midfield, yesterday showed just how good a buy Parker would have been in Blue shirt, if Moyes had been able to match Newcastle’s cheque book. He can do all the spade work and then add an attacking dimension that Carsley & Neville lack.

It will be interesting to see what Moyes does when Hibbert is serving his suspension. Will he revert to 4-4-2 by putting Neville at right back and bringing Beattie off the bench? I just find it hard to see this working: Beattie needs good crosses coming in; Osman & Arteta aren’t natural wingers; Cahill isn’t a creative midfield player; the blend seems all wrong.

Alternatively, he can bring in Davies for Neville in midfield. Personally, I don’t reckon Davies offers anything at all other nuisance value, mainly to his own players.

Option, 3 give VdM a chance to redeem himself! OK, he did nothing against Peterborough, but there is a good player hidden somewhere in there unless he’s pissed his ability up the wall.

Option 4, my choice, give Anichebe a go. He’s more mobile the BT and his pace and strength could cause defences all sorts of grief and make more space for AJ… but this ain’t going to happen is it?
Colin Smith, Hopewell, New Jersey, USA  (25/9/06)

Standards?

"I'd say we've let the higher standard slip a little in recent games, and that's four winnable points squandered. We've momentarily stopped improving; we need to start improving again. — Michael"
Read that back to yourself mate. Compare it to how we were faring last season. I'm not a Moyes supporter, or basher — like you I just want EFC to be good again. But even you must admit we are showing some positive signs this season...
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (26/9/06)

Read it back; makes perfect sense... but then it would to me — I wrote it! The football against both Spurs and Liverpool was worthy of the high standards I want to see the club aspire to. Against Wigan and Newcastle, those standards slipped a little, and we dropped four very valuable points. It's got nothing to do with last season, which is now ancient history. The bar is set higher this season, as it had to be. We're making progress, but it's two steps forward and three or four sideways at the moment. — Michael

Tactical Masterpiece?

With Naysmith injured and Hibbert suspended, I believe that we will stumble on our best back four for the City game. Great tactics by Moysie eh to get Hibbo sent off and Naysmith injured in a tackle!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (25/9/06)

Hands up!

The game on Sunday is typical of how poor officials are against everyone outside the top four! I bet if the media's darlings Liverpool had that happen, the FA would sack the officials in charge. Everton, ok that's fine. Bastards!

And credit to Moyes in bringing in Lescott ahead of Ferrari, excellent call, Moyes — for once proving me wrong.

And Mr Fearon's waffle about Emre having more effect on games than Arteta and Osman is laughable. Tell me, Dick, how many games has Emre played in his two years at the Toon, let alone played well??? But shouldn't the likes of you toe the club line and support Moyes in sickness and in health!? At least get it right when you decide to convert thy neighbour against him!!!
Luq Yus, London  (25/9/06)

Naysmith and Hibbo: Second Rate

I know you should never be happy to see your players sustain injuries or get sent off — but when the injured player is Naysmith and the suspended player is Hibbert, it begins to look more like a blessing in disguise than anything else. I genuinely believe these two are largely responsible for our inability to keep hold of the ball for any sustained period of time. Both are technically poor — First Division footballers.

To me it seems that they have both managed to forge top flight careers through working hard and perhaps being inspired by Moyesey's team talks. When they get the ball, they are clueless and the amount of silly fouls they give away because they are simply not very good is fucking annoying.

Valente is a classy lad and hopefully now we'll be able to see mine and surely most Evertonians favourite sounding back four: Valente, Yobo, Lescott and Neville. Yes please, Sir, that would be very nice indeed.
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (25/9/06)

Shut up Glenn admit you were lucky!

Sorry, but Glenn Roeder is pissing me off basking in the glory of Ameobi's cheat goal all because of his planning..."We knew how to take advantage of Everton playing the offside trap." .....oh yes Glenn how was that? By bribing the linesman!
Dick Bill, York  (26/9/06)

From my seat

Not the best of games. End to end, yes; both teams could have won it, yes; but neither had the wit, guile or composure to do it. After almost a quarter of an hour of tooing and froing amazingly it was the officials who decided the game needed a goal and duly gave one to the Home team. I thought at that point we would either wallow in self pity or come back roaring at the injustice, we did neither but hit a mid-point.

I thought we were the better footballing side but only put it together in sporadic 30/40 second spells one of which brought an excellent goal and four others sqandered. For the Blues, I thought Howard, Lescott, Neville and Carsley performed very well but the rest didn't have their best days and were inconsistent.

Still, a point away, a good day out with some banter and the knowledge we can play better than that is not to be sniffed at. No two games are the same so I am hoping for better fare when Saturday comes. See you there — UP THE BLUES!
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (25/9/06)

Paddy Boyle & JPK

I have a friend who's a season ticket holder at Norwich and I asked him about our on-loan youngster Paddy Boyle. Apparently, Boyle played the full 90 minutes in their victory over Crystal Palace. 'Decent' was how my friend described Boyle's performance. This weekend Boyle was again in the starting line up but Norwich lost 3-1 to Plymouth and Boyle was substituted after 75 minutes. 'Shit' was how my friend described Boyle's performance.

Like most young players, Boyle appears to be suffering from inconsistancy and it was a great idea by Moyes to send him out on-loan, that way if Boyle impresses we get back a better player but if Boyle is shit it costs Norwich points and not Everton.

Also, I watched England Under-18's play last week and John Paul Kissock was one of the better players but he's so tiny — he makes Osman look like a giant. He's only 16 and still developing but it's hard to imagine he'll ever be big enough to take on the pace and physical difficulties of the Premiership. He's got a Keven Keegan haircut too. Have to hope Moyes can work some magic and develop the lad.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (25/9/06)

A rest for Johnson?

Even as early as this, AJ looks in danger of burn-out. No striker in the Prem is expected to do as much running as he is and his timing has been off in the last two games. Moyes talked about rotation opportunities a few weeks ago but has done nothing of the sort unless you count the wholesale changes at Peterborough. Time, I think to give Beats and Onchie a run and the `wonderkid` a rest!
Graeme Baker, Hough Green  (25/9/06)

Wow! That's a pretty unexpected call. Could be right... but if I was David Moyes, I'd find it very difficult to rest AJ. The real issue is supply, or the lack of it. He, like any striker, needs decent service. I don't think he was getting much on Sunday, and he seemed to be going wide to pick up the ball. — Michael

Great expectations

Everton were far too sloppy in the final third today. Osman, Cahill and AJ frequently missed out on the final touch. Lescott, Yobo and Howard were strong but Hibbert was at sea several times and looked like a liability.

Please explain the point of the 92nd. minute introduction. If Moyes wanted to give Beattie a run, surely he deserves more than 25 seconds. I can only guess that this was done to kill the game off. I was hoping he'd gamble a little earlier and really test the dodgy Toon defense.

Beforehand, I suspect most blues would have taken the tie but we really could have snatched all the points from this one. It's a great sign of the times that we can expect wins away from home and not have to worry about being committed by our loved ones.
Kingo Kongo, Cucamonga, USA  (24/9/06)

Divided we stand?

Like Allan MacGee, I go to all the Everton websites every day - hey comrade, when you're out here in New York and are trying to keep up, it's what you do. Guess it's the same in Windsor, right?

And yes, I was a little glib about the relative positions of the websites and yes, I am aware of the effort and expense that goes into maintaining an active site... but you make my point for me: Everton fans are not some monolithic group led by the nose — we are individuals brought together by our love for our grand old club and we will make our judgements of the club, the team, AND the fansites as free individuals - after all we are Evertonians not Liverpudli... well, you know, them across the park.

I expressed an opinion, a little too off-handedly it seems. To me, Bluekipper seems a little too hand-in-glove with the powers that be at the club, ToffeeWeb a little too suspicious & doubting even for a conspiracy-minded type like me. I suspect every Evertonian who visits those sites and "WSAG" too, will have his or her opinion of their relative merits.

Stating that opinion isn't dividing Evertonians — if Evertonians were truly, fully united in our opinions then we wouldn't need diverse fan sites & we could just go to the official site and leave Maoist-type messages of support no matter how good or bad things were - from People's Club to sham people's club... who'd want that???
Paul Daly, New York & Dublin  (25/9/06)

Time to freshen up a bit?

An entertaining game. Everton tried to play it on the ground, away from home, our breaks from deep where encouraging. Shame we didn't do much with it. We kinda lost it though in the middle for much of the match, hence why we were sat so deep.

Laughably (some may say), I found myself wishing for BT or Anichebe to brought on to hold up the play further up the pitch. Just a few punts to shake up the mix. Equally, shoving BT on for 30 seconds I wouldn't class as one of Moysey's better decisions. It hardly inspires confidence, does it?

Whilst it was an offside goal, a few important decisions went our way. So whilst disappointed that we could have got more from this one, I remember well last year's game. A confident Everton, falling foul of an international break, losing 2-0. We look fitter this time around, and we deserved our point.

2 pts per game average so far, I'll take it for now... but we are improving.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (25/9/06)

I'd say we've let the higher standard slip little in recent games, and that's four winnable points squandered. We've momentarily stopped improving; we need to start improving again. — Michael

Quantity not just quality

Among Blues fans, Osman and Arteta have a huge following... yet, in my opinion, that is because of better technical ability and not their overall contribution to the team effort. For most of the game, an occasional flash of brilliance obscures their obscurity. I feel sorry for our left and right backs that so often are faced by opponents having free runs down the wing.

When Neville or Carsley cover for the defensive deficiency of Osman and Arteta, extra pressure is put down the middle onto our centre backs. Supporting my theory was Emre of Newcastle. The quality of his attacking and defensive play was far better and sustained than that of the combined input of Osman and Arteta.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (25/9/06)

More of the same

A welcome point but frankly a poor performance against possibly the worst defence in the Premier League. I made a number of points in my posting last week and these were reinforced again: lightweight in the middle, can't get hold of the ball, failing to keep possession. Osman was a complete embarrassment, I was critical of his performance last week but today he went AWOL completely. Beattie gets criticised but hell he did more in 30 seconds than Osman managed in all of 90 minutes!

The game was crying out for substitutions. I have no wish to engage in the tedious Moyes debate but if he does have a flaw it has to be his reluctance to change things. Once again, we were totally predictable — Osman, supposedly deployed on the left, gravitates to the centre of midfield, adding to the congestion; consequently we pose no threat at all down the left flank. End result: teams are now finding it all too easy to defend against us.
Gerry Western, London  (25/9/06)

Missed chance

What a game! We didn’t get the 'rub of the green’ and I still feel it like 2 points dropped. The goal decision was very poor, Newcastle players were diving all over the pitch, we didn’t get any decision in our favour, bar last minute foul on Rossi, we had a decent penalty shout waved away, we got a player sent off and we still got a well deserved point if not three.

Hibbert earned himself a stupid second yellow card for a needless challenge in the middle of the park, although the decision was somewhat debatable, when we would have been with a man advantage for almost quarter of an hour. As for Naysmith, maybe his injury will be for the good of Everton, his decision-making was poor against Wigan (the second goal) and it was poor today. He was a second late running from the offside trap and though Ameobi was clearly offside, this may have influenced the linesman. These were the negativities, fortunately the positive things were more.

We played some good stuff but failed with the killer pass, two great opportunities after half-time from Arteta and Cahill were missed because of poor passing, Arteta was not at his best today and that influenced and limited our attacking options. He made a great crioss for the goal but faded in second half, and his set piece services weren’t very good. Newcastle were very vulnerable at the back and we should have scored. However, it seemed that Leon and AJ were making the wrong decisions every time we were in promising positions.

The difference between a good and very good side is how clinical they are in front of goal, the best teams need one or two opportunities per match to score and close the game. We have to learn to kill such games in order to become very good side and be able to challenge the top 4. All the possession and missed chances count for nothing at the end of the day if you don’t win, and sadly that happened today. Nevertheless, it shows signs of progress, we are not grinding out results this season, we are earning our points with a good passing game, we are able to go to Rovers, Spurs and Newcastle and not relying solely on set-pieces and hoping for an odd draw but playing our game and pinning them with their backs to the wall... long may it continue.
Stefan Tosev, Vienna, Austria  (25/9/06)

The organic approach - upward curve

So Osman is suddenly shit? — Forget about his previous few games... I do accept that bringing on a striker to try and win the game may have done the trick but who'd be a manager eh? — Can you imagine the rumpus if we'd dropped the 4-5-1 and lost the game! Oh, and in case you're still perplexed, Mr Marsh, Beattie was brought on with seconds left to waste time.

My personal take on events today was that we weren't good enough to take the 3 points, though we did have chances to nick them, no doubt (but so did they). Another off-day if you like, but remember — this was the type of venue not so long back where a point would have been more than satisfactory. I'm not saying we should be chuffed with the point but let's acknowledge that progress IS being made. Football sometimes doesn't run the way you want it to, the offside goal today and Watford's 'penalty' demonstrating such.

A particularly sluggish start for Everton meant the game could have been put beyond us after that dodgy goal. (Why didn't we come sprinting out of the blocks like in the Derby?) Whatever you say about our wastefulness and lack of cutting edge today, the same can be said for them. As for the quality of personnel on show, Parker & Milner aside, just what have Newcastle got for their money? Their defence is still piss and the likes of Martins, Emre and Co make you glad that we have adopted the organic approach to team-building — patience-stretching on occasions it undoubtedly can be..
Ting Ting, Southport  (24/9/06)

Ah, quit yer moaning, FFS! — Michael

Two holding players

Don't get me wrong, but I think it's a godsend that Tony Hibbert got sent off today. This means that Davey Moyes can still have Phil Neville in the side at right back to the advantage of Everton. The reason I say this is because, in my opinion, we are not positive enough playing with two holding players — Carsley and Neville. I go to every home game and Leon Osman is totally isolated on his own on the right-hand side. We have two midfielders in that holding role who cannot support Osman in an attacking role, which leaves Leon totally isolated and frustrated.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (24/9/06)

That's a really interesting observation. Some have said what a great footballer he is, fantastic first touch, etc. I'd love to see him come good, but it will be hard against these burly Premiership players. However, in the past few games, he has been giving as good as he has gotten, picking up an number of fouls against bigger foes. That shirt-tug today showed savy, yet in many ways we were a bit lucky that our numerous shirt-tugs today didn't lead to more serious punishment... I thought Everton didn't 'do' naughty things like shirt-pulling and diving anyway? What's going on here??? — Michael

Best central defending since...

All I can say after watching today's game is WOW Joleon Lescott... WOW!

Regarding Howard being cup-tied (or not), I would seriously doubt that Man Utd had a say in Howard not playing in the League Cup; however, the point did get me thinking. When Watford played Man Utd a couple of weeks ago, Ben Foster didn't play "as part of the terms of his loan agreement" — surely this will apply to Howard too. Does this mean we will see that knob Wright between the sticks in ourMan Utd fixtures this season? Please, god... NO!
Dick Bill, York  (24/9/06)

Lescott did have a good game, didn't he! Has to go down as a first-class buy by David Moyes. — Michael

Howard's Way

We looked lightweight today but a decent result nevertheless. Lescott was excellent but nobody has mentioned Howard who I thought had a superb game. Wright would have let in 3 goals at least. Moyes should have brought on Beattie for Osman to give us a bit of presence up-front.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (24/9/06)

Cup-Tied Tim?

Did Tim Howard not play against Peterborough because Moyes wanted to give Wright a chance or did Sir Alex lay down the law and tell Moyes that Howard cannot be allowed to get cup-tied? If Man Utd have an injury crises with goalies, can they recall Howard? Would that mean Everton have to play Dickie Wright in all cup games? That could be a problem...
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (24/9/06)

Heartbroken

I was heartbroken for Davey and the boys today as we fully deserved three points. After a start like we`re having, how can ANYONE have doubts about our manager? He`s simply the best and with what he`s had to work on a bloody magician! Give the man his contact for life, I say!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (24/9/06)

Where did this "Contract for Life" nonsense start? Oh yes, need I ask? Our gobby Chairman. On the other hand, it could be a good money-back guarantee of mucho dinero when he does eventually leave — as all managers do. Blue Bill could wind in some serious mullah then in compensation. Might even make up for the 24/7 investment search... Perhaps Bill comes out with this crap because the simple truth is he is seriously sleep-deprived! — Michael

Wasted Chance

We should have got all three points today. Newcastle's defence is wobblier than an MFI coffee table and we really didn't take the opportunity. For me Osman is too lightwieght to be of any real use in the Premier League. He gets caught in possesion too often and is easily knocked off the ball with his lack of strength.

Most half-decent teams will take Newcastle apart this season so it's frustrating to come away with just a point but it's another point towards the magic forty. Yet again I am left wondering what goes on in Moyes's head. Why didn't he give Anichebe a chance to run at that dodgey defence? And what was the point in bringing Beattie on for 30 seconds? Anyone could see an extra forward was the answer but Davey never does the bleeding obvious.

Yes its a lot better start to the season than expected but we really should have taken 6 points from the last two games... What's the story with the Dutch wing wizard? I didn't see him on the bench. He must have got spiked again last night!
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (24/9/06)

Newcastle match

I thought Johnson had his poorest game so far at Newcastle, his decisions when to release the ball were all wrong and he got caught in possession too often, but he is allowed that after the start he has made. I think it was a game we could have won given how poor Newcastle were at the back — it was just the lack of quality in the final third. Yes, a point is a decent result but only if we beat City next week — after all, we blew our last home game and we don't want it to become xx without a win.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (24/9/06)

End Product

Good Point, but I thought we lacked the quality to open up the Barcodes in the last 3rd of the pitch. Cahill, Osman and Arteta were guilty of poor pass execution and link play in and around the box. Two games in a row and I noticed Everton lost a lot of the physical battles across the park. But I expect Everton to beat City next week.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (24/9/06)

Frustrated

A good point today but Newcastle were there for the taking, they really were shit in defence. I stand alone in this thought but Osman really does my head in sometimes. Yes, he can be great like in the Tottenham game but today he really annoyed me. He seemed to dither and dally on the ball instead of running at players and although he won some free kicks he was just too flimsy. His first touch at times was crap as well. Arteta put in a great cross for the goal but he was absent from most of the game and seems out of sorts.

Carsley and Neville did their bit and were OK. AJ looked a bit isolated at times but again made a pest of himself. Valente looked much better than Naysmith in attacking and defending. Finally, although they looked a bit wobbly at the start, I thought the centre backs had a great game, Lescott in particular was awesome. If we had attacked Newcastle with a bit more purpose instead of dithering on the ball, we would have come away with all three points today.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (24/9/06)

Absolutely agree with your comments... but then we were both watching the same set of (at times poorly selected/controlled/produced) TV pictures. I shared the same feelings about Osman and Arteta, who should have won this one for us. No doubt us armchair fans will be slammed for this when the real experts return from the game and provide us with the only valid perspective... — Michael

Good Point

Thought that was a decent point we got today. Really impressed with Ossies hard working, he puts in a hell of an effort any time he plays. Sometimes I wish we had the option of a pacy winger to pass the ball onto who could just motor down the wing, especially on the left hand side. I feel if we played Arteta in the middle with Carsley we'd be more solid and maybe a little more creative.

Special mention to Lescott, another solid performance. Coming on leaps and bounds. Anyway, happy with the point.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (24/9/06)

Newcastle 1 - 1 Everton

Newcastle away is always a difficult fixture so a draw is a good result although Everton will feel cheated because their goal was obviously off-side. That said, it was an end-to-end game with both teams going for the win, a draw was probably fair and Everton retain their unbeaten record.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (24/9/06)

Luton Memories Parts 2 and 3

First one was we lost at home 1-2. Me and a mate decided to go autograph hunting (spontaneously, prior to hitting the usual alehouses in town), and we caught the Luton bus. Got Kingsley Black (goalscorer) and big Mick Harford (who really was big). He actually walked off from the back of the bus just to sign our programmes!

Second was a few years later when Maurice Johnston equalised (I think) a Mark Pembridge effort. Later that night I was at a Chinese restauarant in Crosby celebrating a friend's 21st. MoJo was upstairs celebrating something.. with a bunch of new found friends. One quick chat with him made me realise he didn't give a flying-one about our club.

(Oh, and got Ian Wilson's autograph that first time. Me and my mate Big Stu loved the fact that he was described in The Sun as our 'midfield trickster'. He was genuinely shocked that Blues fans wanted his signature). I will of course donate my signed programme collection to the Everton Museum in due course...
Matt Traynor, Sinagpore  (24/9/06)

Up the Blues

Just leavin for Newcastle, hoping we perform well for the Sky cameras today! Hope Moyes plays five in the midddle, if he does so we will get something. This is a winnable game so we should be going there with confidence and attacking their shakey defence! Fingers crossed! Up the blues!
Ryan Barton, Liverpool  (24/9/06)

Luton Memories

I'm not one for searching the archives or even the memory for past performances against teams we don't play too often. However, the tie against Luton does intrigue me somewhat. I was at Villa Park, sometime in the 80's, when we played them in an FA Cup semi-final. They had a very tricky lad playing for them at the time (dunno if he actually played that day!!) Ricky Hill. They were a half decent side back then, a sort of... er... Oh I dunno... er... Charlton (of the past few seasons).

I remember Derek Mountfield, at the Holt End, where I was, leaping like the preverbial salmon to head in another magnificent goal. I think he ended up on about 13 that season — not bad for a centre half!

On the way back to the coach with me arl man and a mate, I remember a smart arse copper trying to do a cockney accent and saying "Ticket for the game gov?" If ever you hear a Brummie trying to do a 'Suvern' accent, tape it! You will make a fortune! I've had a few shandies while I have had this little reminice but the one thing I do remember above all else. At the time we were THE team of the era.

I have just finished reading the ToffeeWeb link about Mikel Arteta. It is a long time since I have read a more positive outlook from an Everton player. I am not a Moyes fan, I don't think he can actually take us to the next level. I believe he will always be knocking on the door, a bit like Billy Bingham and Gordon Lee. Decent managers but not quite there?...?! Moyes has, however, bought in a superb bunch of players. The jury is out on a couple of signings but in the main his purchases have been excellent. Johnson was never going to let anyone down and his signing has made the headlines. My personal 'special' signing has been Joleon Lescott. We have in Lescott an outstanding defender AND ball-player — something we have not had in many a long year.

Beating Luton took us to Wembley that year (ok we lost to Man Utd) and we were in the middle of our best ever time as a football club. Oxford away started great things for us back in the day... maybe Luton at home can do the same? With the committment of Mikel and his mates (Karaoke or not!!) and the passion of the manager (jury still out) then maybe, just maybe, we can start to be optomistic about the future. One thing is for certain, there will be Blues worldwide hoping and praying...
Mark  Joseph, West Lancs  (23/9/06)

It was 1985. The Complete Record lists the first scorer, somewhat strangely, as "Mountford"! Derek Mountfield scored 14 goals that season. — Michael

Polarisation

Much is made on this site of our manager — those who love him and those who despise him; each camp seems to have the knowledge to back up what they say. I just wonder how many of these posters have the advantage of going to games both home and away and conversing with fellow fans who you probably don't know from Adam but all things Blue are exchanged. You may be surprised to know that, on the whole there is no such thing as the Cypriot playboy group or indeed a Dodd or Dutch contingent, these groupings seem only a figment of the cyberspace that is ToffeeWeb.

The overall feeling you get whilst in conversation at these games is that Moyes is well liked and deemed to be doing a good job whilst no one is holding their breath that he is the Moyesiah or a hopeless case but more of a man who is a Blue and doing his best. The arguments after each game follow a similar pattern depending on the result: if we win, we just celebrate and maybe consider how we could have done it better; if we lose or draw all of us will have our heartfelt reasons for proffering why such a calamity has happened. Everything gets blamed, from the Board to the tea lady, but at no time have I heard any serious rumblings to unseat either Chairman or Manager.

We all seem united in our wish for more investmant in the club and believe in these days of money talks our club is well regarded enough to attract the best if we have the dosh. This post may not be what those of a firmly held view may wish to read but it is one of honesty in what I pick up from my travels. Off for a good night's kip — my turn to drive. UP THE BLUES
Ken  Buckley, Buckley  (23/9/06)

Again the subtle approach to establish a basis for one view to have pre-eminence over all others... This time it's on behalf of those who really can hog the high ground — they go to the games, both home and away. While these fans are definitely among the most devoted, numbers are sadly limited to at best two or three thousand. But we are assured they speak with one voice (somehow, I wonder about that...).

Meanwhile, the vast majority of Evertonians (who go to neither home nor away games, but watch most of them on one form of telly or another), must be forever viewed as second-class in terms of their dubious and varied assessments? Despite the better vantage point they share, the advantage of slo-mo replays, and an access to a collective perspective that is not narrowed by perennial ref-baiting ("We wuz robbed") or confusion over what was really happening at the other end of the pitch.

The real pity is that any group or subset should seek to bolster their views on some basis other than the merit or strength of their arguments. I think that's a pity, but I suppose it's just human nature to make out that your view is better than any one else's. We try to discourage that by publishing the full range of opinions we recieve. But it seems at the moment we're losing that battle! — Michael

What's going on?

Been away from the mailbag for a few days and what the hell has happened? It's suddenly turned into open warfare of pro- and anti-Moyes taking pot shots at each other and trying to justify themselves instead of the matter to hand Everton FC.

I think we should all draw a line under this and get back to posting views and not these slagging matches of each other for not agreeing with each other. Debate is a glorious and valuable thing, name calling should be for the playground for kids that know no better.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (23/9/06)

... and just as we were getting on to much more erudite matters, there you go, dragging us back into the mire. Tsk, tsk. — Michael

Editor, please!

There seems to have been an outbreak of spelling 'naivety' as 'naivity', including in a letter title. Now it may be that correspondents are thinking of the Moyesiah, and are meaning to write 'Nativity' — who knows? Anyway, it's more stylishly written as 'naiveté' [note the acute accent on the final e...]
Brian  Denton, Liverpool  (23/9/06)

Ah, a true Nil Satis pedant in our midst. Good catch; I've been looking at that, trying to convince myself it was right... As for the most elegant form, what about the dipthongy thingy — i mit umlaut: naïveté? — The Editor

'Naivity'

I always enjoy the more balanced views of Moyes critics, they always claim that they know everything, that we are shit, that we are 1-2 games away from the slump, that the more optimistic fans should take their rose-tinted glasses and look at the reality. Moreover, their views and opinions are based on iron-strong logic. Let’s look at another example of this logic in the letter from Brian Noble:

‘Sorry, mate, but Peterborough proved this SQUAD ain`t strong enough to do anymore than tread water, so enjoy your naivity’ Well, according to your logic, Mr Noble, someone may argue that we are worldbeaters as the Liverpool game proved... ;-) I don’t know what you call ‘naivity’ but to judge the team based on only one game, where we made 7 (seven) changes and still won, is something I would call ’naivity’.
Stefan Tosev, Vienna, Austria  (23/9/06)

Streaming

Anyone else tried this streaming malarkey? I paid my £7 and set up the service with some difficulty — ready for tomorrow's game at Newcastle. Got perfect sound but no picture! Any ideas?
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (23/9/06)

Creating divisions

I am responding to Paul Daly of 'New York and Dublin.' I think it would be an error to allow his opinion to divide fans needlessly between websites.

Firstly, I do not recognise his stereotyping of any of the websites he mentions. ToffeeWeb is not 'miserable,' BlueKipper is certainly not 'Pravda' and When Skies Are Grey is not 'middle of the road.'

Nor do I see any evidence anywhere that Keith Wyness has invited anybody in to interview him, the implication being that he controls the interview. In fact he has been interviewed by more than one website and has said he will speak with any group of fans who want to meet him. If some fans (including Paul Daly) don't wish to do that, that is their choice.

In the end fans will visit any site they wish to because that is what suits them. I suspect it has little to do with being intrinsically optimistic or pessimistic. In my case I find they all have something to commend them. It takes a lot of committment and time to keep a website going, to say little of the matter of money.

Since we have now emerged from the first phase of development of fans websites — if you like, the 'Stone Age' thereof — it would help if contributors such as Paul Daly would try to avoid polarising them to suit his own choice of website. Let's move on please in the hope that everyone will grow up soon and start to enjoy football for what it is.
Alan MacGee, Windsor  (23/9/06)

Two man team??

It really is a flawed argument to say we are a two-man team and without AJ and Arteta we would be a mediocre team. The fact is they ARE part of the team, so what is the point in what-ifs? Would Arsenal be as good without Henry? Would Liverpool have won anything without Gerard? Would Argentina have won the World Cup without Maradona, for god's sake! All pointless statements because the fact is they were/are part of the teams as AJ and Mikel are part of ours and it really is pointless to say otherwise. I for one am hoping for another AJ goal tomorrow or who knows, maybe a hat-trick! Anything is possible!
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk, Ireland  (23/9/06)

Getting it both ways

Moyes has not been implicated in the bung scandal. In the eyes of some it is a case of damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. We might have got one or two of our targetted players had the ginger sod been just a tad dishonest. When the brown stuff eventually hits the fan, I don't suppose the usual lot could force themselves to give the man even the slightest of praise for keeping Everton's and his own name out of it.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (29/9/06)

Enjoy!

Re Alex Oakley`s response to my posting, Moyes apologists always overlook that we`ve had one good season in four — and even that was followed by embarassing disaster. It`s taken him all that time to find a decent sriker (so far!)and a promising centre-half!

Don`t get me started on the money he`s wasted on Wright, Beattie, Krøldrup etc or the pathetic tactics fit only for the lower regions. Sorry, mate, but Peterborough proved this SQUAD ain`t strong enough to do anymore than tread water, so enjoy your naivity whilst you can!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (23/9/06)

Defence of this site

I've posted on the 'When Skies are Grey' website and got told to "piss off to ToffeeWeb" when I put forward my opinion on Moyes's tactics last season. I like ToffeeWeb although I don't agree with everything on the site but having read the mailbag, who does? The articles published on this site are informative and I don't feel the tone of the site is "glass half empty" there's just no rose tinted spectacles to look through. Keep up the good work!
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (23/9/06)

Thanks Alan; much appreciated!

Reponse to Mr Yuq

The site must have been down when you checked.... it's up and running now: http://www.fsiteam.info/forums/index.php

With regards to the Cheeky Girls, I prefer a bit of Greek... so send me a bit of Dutch.
Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (23/9/06)

Eeeek!

Arteta

If this tribalfootball article is correct, then Arteta's contract finishes in 2011 not 2010 stated in the profile's page. Better ghet updating. It's nice to see Top quality players wanting to stay. Our unity does not come by luck, it is down to the management of the club.

People critisice Moyes for not getting Bellamy, but I'm glad we didn't sign him. Even one troublemaker can distrupt a team, like a certain team we know. The likes of Yobo, Cahill, Arteta, and Johnson are certainly Moyes 'material' — talented, but also honest, hard-working and plays for the team and gaffer. I can feel we are among the best outside the top 3 right now. Knowing Moyes, he's now searching for a top quality central midfielder we despretely need right now, and with an extra 2 mill from selling Kilbane, Moyes will have the finance to do so. If we can get a top 6 finish this season, i'll be dleighted.
Kevin Boyle, Liverpool  (23/9/06)

Let's see... 2006 minus 1 would be last year: 2005. Then add 5... I don't think I'll be updating that just yet. I've had a totally mad week — what's your excuse? — Michael

Lescott — a good signing

Is it just me, or are Championship central defenders great? Two season ago, Spurs bought in Dawson, and now he's King's first choice partner. West Brom bought Davies, and during sumemr he was a subject of a £10M bid from Arsenal. And now Lescott. Looking at his perfromances, I wonder how far the Yobo-Lescott £10M partnership can really go? Another good signing by Moyes. Good job, Moyesie!

I must admit during pre-season I actually believed 'troll' Marsh when he said we would struggle. 'We only bought two Championship players' he said. Well, look at the impact those 'Championship' players have given us so far, eh Marshie?
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (23/9/06)

A dual mailbag

Damian Killikelly's article has tremendous merit — to whit, segregating the miserable gits from those of us with a more positive attitude. But actually it has already been done - into separate websites...

BlueKipper seems to function as the unofficial Pravda of the supporters - sort of "my Everton right or wrong" and "let's not criticise the club too much or they won't invite us over for those, ahem, hard-hitting MBE interviews."

ToffeeWeb seems to attract (not exclusively) the most miserable of ax-grinding blues, "the glass is half-empty and what's left is bloody Chang" types. You can imagine their Grandads complaining "it's all right Dean scoring 60 league goals, but the bastard never tracks back & defends!!!" It's congenital, you see...

So I go over to "When Skies are Grey" cause the sane center seems to hold there... see Mr Killikelly???? Everything you ask for is on the internet...
Paul Daly, New York & Dublin  (23/9/06)

Building on Marshland

Like many on here, I was initially amused by Mr Marsh's rants, but then felt they became increasingly vitriolic and repetitive as his 'fan base' developed. I do agree with some of his points, but feel that he lacks the perspective (a la Damien Killikelly's missive 'Shades of Grey').

We have made our best start in a long time, and Moyes himself has admitted he tried to sign AJ and Lescott 12 months ago. That's another argument. The point is, all these people complaining about the standard of football, and 'watch the shite performances not the good bits' (WTF?) are living in Dreamland. Very few teams can play open expansive football for 90 minutes. The best footballing teams at the moment are Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea — the latter playing a more direct approach, but still with some quality players. Moyes has to play with what he's got. Until we get investment in (and I don't know whether it's out there or BK is digging in), it's likely that he'll have to stick to one or two 'quality' additions per year, plus some potentials for the future. (No, I don't know why he signed Davies either. AvdM I could forgive him for taking the chance). But remember, Ferguson, Mourihno, Wenger and Benitez have made huge mistakes in the transfer market. Look at the amount Newcastle have spunked down the years.

I do agree that Moyes needs to start showing progress — he can't hide behind the 'learning the trade' mantra anymore. But he is honest - how many other managers openly admit to mistakes? So many blame the referee, the dirty opposition, injuries etc. We have to live within our means for now. If the club is to be believed, the finances are improving and the debt is manageable. (Arsenal have now increased their long-term debt to over £200M - £100M coming from the new stadium. They claim it's manageable...)

So, Tony, whilst I understand your concerns, I think we are going to have to put up with a Davies for every Johnson, an AvdM for every Arteta, for a while yet. After years of neglect, they are trying to build from the bottom up. After all, nothing built on Marshland lasted long!
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (23/9/06)

Oi!

Nice one Jez, send us a VO in the post and I'll pop down with one of the cheeky girls! But one question Mr North: HOW DO YOU REGISTER ON IT, NUMPTY!
Luq Yus, London  (23/9/06)

Moaners — AJ needs the team

"In general terms, this season`s good start is down to Andy Johnson — take him out of the equation (as on Tuesday) and Everton will dish up the same shite we have suffered throughout Moyes's tenure. AJ and Arteta are the only truly outstanding players he has signed in four years so for Gawd`s sake don`t get carried away with a couple of good victories!"

And how is it who had the guts to hold out for the striker for 2 seasons? This annoys me very much. One disillusioned fan bemoaning the fact we wouldn't be where we are without AJ. Of course we wouldn't! Without AJ we would like you say be playing mediocre football, but guess what — one player can transform a mediocre team into a very good team!

Do you expect us to be able to field 11 top calibre players every week? No of course you don't. So be grateful we even have a striker who puts it in the back of the net. We are playing decent football as AJ runs and chases after the ball for us. Is their anyway of pleasing you people? We are able to qualify for Europe this season, and you just sit back and bemoan the team. Yes, it is a problem if AJ is injured, but so far he hasn't been and we do have three more strikers who offer different types of style of play. We don't have the money to sign another AJ so don't complain about it!

I'm too young to remember anything other than the '95 Cup Final. Even then I wasn't old enough to go. I look upon every game as an improvement and hopefully a way of climbing back up the ladder to where we used to be. Every step we take you, however, belittle the team, as though you are angry they aren't getting anywhere quick enough.

It is great to hear peoples opinions on here who are fair and accurate about their views. Never too optimistic or pessimistic. But usually it turns out the older men rule the roost so to speak, and just seem to lay into the team every week. If you expect better things to happen with the club more quickly, why not do something about it rather than sitting here whining? I've kept quiet until now but utterly pathetic comments like this anger me.

Sorry if I've wasted your time moaning like a Tony Marsh Jnr. I just think people need to wake up and not expect great things of us unless we get money in. By all means complain to the club, but complaining here whilst making no sense really doesn't do anyone any good.
Alex Oakley, Ambleside  (22/9/06)

In response to 'Two Man Team'

I disagree entirely with Brian Noble's assertion that Everton are now a two-man team — that without Andy Johnson and Mikel Arteta Everton will be shite. I don't know what experience Mr Noble has had in terms of watching football and also being involved in it at whatever level, but I think he is being a bit unfair and over simplistic, or seems to be basing his assessment purely on the Peterborough game. The eleven players on the pitch against Peterborough hadn't played together before as a team and it showed. Team building takes time. Tinkering with a team is the quickest way to upset teamwork ethics.

As for individual players, I don't think Johnson and Arteta are the only players in the current first team Everton squad who you could call quality players. In fact it would be easier to single out players who are probably not playing as well as expected. For example, Beattie, VdM and Davies are definetly not on the top of their form at the moment. Anybody with half a football brain will know that simply throwing 11 quality players on the pitch does not make a team.

The Everon midfield line-up of Arteta, Cahill, Carsley, Neville and Osman is quality and arguably the best midfield in the Premiership. Johnson definitly wouldn't have scored all of his goals without their help. Equally our defence wouldn't have been so frugal without the tackling back of our midfield. Having Howard in goal is also a big improvement to the Tricky Dickie Wright. So Mr Noble, open your eyes, watch a bit more football, not just the odd televised game. You obviously couldn't have seen Osman in the Spurs and Liverpool games, now that was real quality.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (22/9/06)

Toffees on t'internet

To clarify...

I reckon that any broadband connection is quick enough that it'll stream properly, ideally above 1Mb (that's how quick mine is and it's just dandy on it).

How reliable is it? Reasonably so I would say, it does, periodically, lose the connection, but never for very long and it loads up again pretty quickly.
Joel Cliffe, London  (22/9/06)

Two-man team

Can`t you all see that the pathetic performance against the Peterborogh `no marks` was a direct result of the genius Moyes believing that that was the way you have to play against lower league opposition? After all, he spent his playing career at that level so considers himself an expert!

In general terms, this season`s good start is down to Andy Johnson — take him out of the equation (as on Tuesday) and Everton will dish up the same shite we have suffered throughout Moyes`tenure. AJ and Arteta are the only truly outstanding players he has signed in four years so for Gawd`s sake don`t get carried away with a couple of good victories!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (22/9/06)

Fools!

For the chaps paying a huge £7 for live streaming footy (£7 is four days work stitching sacks in this place!) wake up! The whole point of streaming is that it can be gained free of charge! Try: www.footballstreaming.info it's free. I do expect a visit from some of you guys as a thank you though! My anger management officer says making friends is the first step to recovery.
Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (22/9/06)

Advice

Now I've seen it all in a letter from the Wirral claiming Mr Marsh has a point. The advice from this sage?

"When you lot watch a game remember the shite performances not the good bits."
What fun that will be. Thanks for the tip.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (22/9/06)

I thought that original comment was a particularly pathetic. I'm glad somebody else picked up on it... Why do these people have to tell us how to watch our football!!! — Michael

Moyes Rollercoaster 06-07.....

So the Moyes train has shot out of the station and looks to be in great nick so far... I say "so far" as one of his big time critics becuase we are only five or six games into a new season. Newcastle will be an intresting test; personally I felt that the Wigan result smacked of the same old Everton — up for a couple of weeks and then down the other side of the wave.

I see the Everton PR boys are back out in full force. The season ends in May 07, so it's too early for anybody to be shouting from the rooftops. Let's hope AJ stays fit because it will be back to the season of 05-06.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (21/9/06)

It will never last?

As a member of the glass is mostly half-empty brigade, I feel I must comment on the current situation regarding EFC. In 1983-84 I was willing and able to attend games home and away and I was never convinced that we would win but obviously always hoped that we would. My point is that nobody could see what the next three years would bring, many supporters believing that Kendall could not cut the mustard and that the side did not have the firepower in Sharp, Heath et al.

Likewise in the late 80s and early 90s nobody would believe that the club would sink so low and stay there for almost two decades. What I would reccomend therefore is to enjoy every single success and savour it as it is fleeting. It may last another game, it may last for years... who knows?

I will concede, however, that the team this season (with obvious exceptions) is beginning to look like a proper Everton team and there is hope that they can learn and develop into a regular top-six team , although I think hopes of breaking the Top 4 Monopoly are pretty slim.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (21/9/06)

Live footie

I'll join the live-stream internet ranks Joel Cliffe, but how good is the quaility and what is the ideal Broadband speed to get it running properly? I think if enough of us get voting, it would save some bob travelling to games!!!
Luq Yus, London  (21/9/06)

Better then last

First off, when I originally started writing this post it was gunna be a little rant at Mr "nothing good enough" Marsh but then I thought he probably just posts utter tripe on here to get a rise from people to boost his giant monster ego - Tony if you can't find any positives from the start we have made this season best find another sport kid. Polo or synchronised swimming should keep the blood pressure down. I just hope I am not as bitter and twisted with everything Everton as he when I reach his age.

Anyhow I am not saying I am content with how we are performing right now, just that it is by far miles better than the start we made last season and we are starting/trying to play a little more on the ground as far as I see, recent cup game not included. Improvements are still needed — of course there is always room to improve — but the FACT still remains we have improved from last season as a team. That, my friends, is all you can ask for — to improve and get better, year after year. Long may it continue — bring on the barcodes.
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (21/9/06)

Live Premiership streaming

As a long term follower and fan of Toffeeweb, borne out of an even longer term follower of the blues, I feel obliged to share with all of you a discovery I made yesterday (which many may already have made). For those souls fortunate enough to have discovered Everton but unfortunate enough to live in the South, Saturday afternoon kick off's need no longer be followed on the radio. www.footballon.net provides live streaming of 2 premiership games each week based on a popular vote from it's subscribers.

It only costs £7 for the season, and while not entirely reliable, is a good deal better than no live football at all. Any long distance blues keen to watch Everton on a saturday afternoon need only subscribe and vote each week for the following week's match (to prevent the Chelsea/Arsenal/Man Utd shower from stealing the airwaves still further). Worth a shot? I reckon so.
Joel Cliffe, London  (21/9/06)

AOC

Really Michael and here's me thinking you were a graduate in languages from the University of Gwladys! Millie Maloo got it right but it's not only wine for posh people. In France you can buy in bulk for about €2.80/L, which equates to £1.50 a bottle. Now if Tesco's offered that plus a new stadium they might just go up in my estimation!
Tony Waring, Frogmore  (21/9/06)

Ahhh...the price of a man's soul! — Colm

I'm not that fond of the French stuff, to be honest. — Michael

Revelc citsimotpo sdratsab.

Undefeated and in 4th place yet some of our 'realistic' fans are sounding the alarms and breaking their ankles as they jump off the bandwagon. It's no great secret that we have no depth and will struggle when/if suspensions and injuries hit. Until then, celebrate the results as we get them. Hope our prospects mature rapidly and catastrophies are avoided. And maybe, pray that we can grab a strong holding midfielder at the window.

Oh, if the prayer thing works, put me in for a lotto winner and have Panorama catch Mourinho, Benitez and Ferguson in a three-way 'bung' incident — photos to follow. I would've asked for Dickie and AvdM to regain their form but I'm no frequent flyer so a miracle request seems greedy.
Kingo Kongo, Cucamonga,USA  (20/9/06)

Tony Marsh, Football Genius

Another game, another loss and another post match Tony Marsh diatribe.... wait a minute we won didn't we? But silly me that doesn't seem to matter to Mr Marsh. Record in all competitions this season, played 6 Won 4 Drawn 2 LOSS O!!! Yet the wheels are off, we relied on luck in every game and Moyes should be shown the door. Sure Tony, you "know your football".
Kevin Morris, Sydney, Australia  (21/9/06)

Tony Marsh: Part Right

All those wearing your 2006-07 rose-tinted glasses should really take note of what Tony Marsh says. Watching last night's game was as bad as watching last year's performances. Yes, we are unbeaten in five games, but who have we played of note: Liverpool. Since then their game has fallen off a bit and yes it was due to the changes made but the performance last night was shite. I was screaming for Moyes to get Johnson on to put a hat-trick in the back of the net. Posh's keeper should have had fucking back ache last night from bending down to retrieve the ball not from laughing at our strikers.

When you lot watch a game remember the shite performances not the good bits. Maybe this year will be another good season with Johnson but we need a good season when others come in, including Victor Anichibe who was outstanding. The problem was the team last night wasn't the team that started the season, the likes of the Mancs can bring in several players in a team that is performing well and slot in and be like a first second string (if you know what I mean). I am quite happy to see the team and Moyes doing well, but not just with the first 11, the rest should be able to come in and keep the balance.

I can see where Tony is coming from, some of it is frustration with the likes of AvdM but give him a chance, he's got the potential you can see it. So has Wright, they both need the confidence and it's only the fans that can do that. In fact get behind everyone who plays, stinker or not and back them. If they don't improve after a few games then stick the boot in. You can't expect all players to play perfect even if they are on mega wages. I was frustrated by Naysmith giving the ball away, he was taking over from where Pistone left off. See the performances for what they are without the rose-tinted glasses then judge.
Leahcim Sayah, Wirral  (20/9/06)

Late runs

Don't know if anyone saw the interview recently with David Platt where he talked about how he thrived on Lineker's movement which made space for him to arrive late, and how Lampard was the same with Owen but not with Crouch who is more static. Obviously our formation helps in allowing him license to get forward, but is it coincidental that Cahill is more of a goal threat with a more mobile front man ahead of him ie, Bent and now Johnson? Allowing more space to run into in the box?
Rob Fox, Blackpool  (21/9/06)

Tim Cahill

Whenever I talk football with friends and co-workers, they always make a point of commenting on how good Tim Cahill is. I try to explain to them that he's actually not as good as he appears, he's a bit clumsy in the tackle, limited creatively and losses his effectiveness when playing a 4-4-2 system. Of course, it's hard to prove that point when he keeps making headlines scoring match winning goals. Thats 23 goals now, he's scored in every domestic competition and even bagged a match winning Uefa Cup goal. I think I'll give up trying to convince people he's not as good as they think.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (20/9/06)

This goes into the category of Stuff We Already Know That Dutch Has To Tell Us All About. Fascinating. Thanks for that, Dutch. Very heart-warming. You forgot to mention who signed him for us. — Michael

The Name Game

Just to add to my previous post, I swear on my blue heart, this is copied directly from the website of our Number 7's agents, SFX:

"Dutch international Andy van der Medye signed a four year deal at Goodson on Wednesday after undergoing a thorough medical."
Even his own management don't know who he is! I think he must have been pissed when he signed his contract or something.... Poor bloke, with an identity crisis this bad, no wonder he can't remember he's actually a footballer of sometime international repute. I think he'd better get straight round Peter Fearon's house for a cuddle!
Tom Hadley, Hampshire  (20/9/06)

Beauts!

Fair coments and I retract the "Irish Beauts" statement... But Mr Marsh? You only need to read his latest ravings...
Steve Connor, Liverpool  (20/9/06)

Andy Vandy needs our help

I have been very caustic about certain players in the past; when you look back on comments, you realize some are still spot on months later and some just turned out to be bollocks. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that some athletes have very fragile personas. I understand the impatience with Andy van der Meyde, but I would appeal to fellow Evertonians to give him some empathy.

Obviously a guy who christens his daughter Purple or who has phantom late night encounters with mystery drink-spikers hasn’t got all of his chairs at home and is one taco short of a combination platter, but I feel that he can still make a great creative contribution in partnership with AJ. We know he has a great pedigree and loads of talent. He got totally lost in the maelstrom at Inter, which like much of Italian football, is a minefield of politicking and treachery. He has suffered from debilitating long-term injuries and he has obviously lost all of his confidence. Try taking a couple of years off work injured and see how well you perform in the first few days or so back on the job.

He has clearly had some other personal issues in recent weeks too. I felt terrible for him when he was rightly substituted and went down the tunnel more angry at himself than anyone else. Sometimes it’s easier to shine in the big games against powerful opposition than in the fraught encounters against lowly opponents in shithouse grounds. You want him to succeed? He’s the kind of player who needs to be shown our solid support and encouragement. I’m aching to see this fluid and inventive but deeply insecure player back in the form that made him a potentially world class star.

Maith an fear.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (20/9/06)

Ah... bless! Everton: home for wayward players in need of comfort, loving care, and rehabilitation. Tell that to the curmudgeons in the Lower Bullens! — Michael

From my seat

Through to the next round and valuable playing time under the belts of those on the fringe. Promising full 90 min debuts for Victor and Mark, how they will fair in the Premiership was not clear but I thought both stood up well to a very big and physical side.

Most of the night I thought we were in control except at set pieces where the opposition had height and muscle but it looked to me as though the homework had been done and just one breach occured. Considering the team we had out, I don't think silky football was ever on the agenda but I thought in Neville, Lescott, Valente and Carsley we had the quality and know-how to give us a foundation.

Excepting the two youngsters, I didn't think the other players fully took their chances. On reflecting after the game, my mind went to games I have seen when Arsenal and Man Utd have made similar changes in early rounds of cup games but they are always recognisable as representing those clubs by playing their way. I hoped that our manager is working toward that goal where all teams from the Academy through to the first team play the Everton way and it is reccognisable. I believe this would also help in making it easier to identify players for the positions deemed to need strenghtening.

Newcastle next and if past seasons are anything to go by — expect anything! See you Sat — UP THE BLUES
Ken  Buckley, Buckley  (20/9/06)

Give Beattie a break

People have been banging on since the season started about how poor Beattie has been. For Christ's sake give the guy a break!!!

Last night was his first full 90 minutes of the season, and considering the lack of real support from a lack-lustre midfield he did very well. He worked hard, running the channels, with very little service from his midfielders, but still managed a few attempts on goal. VDM was just awful and Davies just hogged the ball. The game that Moyes chose to give him a chance wasn't exactly glamourous either, it was against a difficult, turgid Peterborough side who just humped the ball up the park.

Beattie is a different kind of player to Johnson; it's like comparing Sharpe and Heath, or Beardsley and Shearer, and let's not forget that Johnson would be a hard act to follow for any striker in the Premiership, not just an out-of-form Beattie. I like Beattie and I think he still has a lot the offer. Beattie will get his chance, when Johnson picks up an injury or gets banned. By the way, does anyone know what Johnson's past diciplinary record is like? I can't recall him getting into trouble in the past.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (20/9/06)

So your defence of Beattie seems predicated on the fact that you actually like him a lot? Just one glimpse of his movement and body language should be enough to tell you he really has an awful lot left to do, and how he could get into that state during a pre-season under the watchful eye of Mr Moyes is really puzzling. I think most of us know what type of striker he can be: he has let it lapse very badly, and that is why fans are justifiably aggrieved. There is really no excuse for being that unfit, surely? — Michael

Academy Footage - When Skies are Grey

Well I just watched the academy footage on the website, all I could really infer from the video was how many overcast days the North West has seen during the whole process.
Richard Williams, Danbury, USA  (09/20/06)

Uh?

The Marsh Man

As entertaining as it is (and entertaining is ALL it is, because constructive it deffinately isnt!) I am actually beginning to really dislike the remarks of Tony Marsh. Is this man for real?

He rattles on about how bad things are, how we are playing like relegation candidates, and have a team of people who can't play the game. But I think based on the resourses available we are actually doing really well. I wonder if it escaped his short attention span that we are still unbeaten in all competitions this season?

For a team to win every game, play flowing attacking football with the world's best players in the squad, takes time, effort, hard graft and hefty investment. Effort and hard graft I feel we have in abundance, time is on our side (it's only the beginning of the season) and the investment side of things is probably worth covering in a different posting.

I suggest that we keep the faith with what Moyes is doing, because let's face it, its a damn sight better than the dross we have been served for the last decade or so. IMWT
Paul Cooke, Runcorn  (20/9/06)

AOC

AOC = Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée = posh plonk.
Millie Maloo, Singapore  (20/9/06)

Ah... French wine... never mind.

Why do you hate old players?

It never ceases to amaze me that Luq Yus and others continue to support Andy van der Meyde even though we have seen nothing to warrant such loyalty. They are the same people who slag off Davie Weir and Alan Stubbs, despite the players' excellent past records and the fact that they never give less than 100%. I think it's something to do with their age. Stubbs and Weir are always slaughtered because of their advancing years and I find that unfair.

For example everyone is saying how well Mark Hughes played and fair play — the lad had a good game but if Stubbs had played the exact same game everyone would be calling him past-it and saying he was lucky to get away with that tackle which should have been a penalty. Older players clearly take more critism but in my opinion 'good enough, old enough' applys to both young and old players.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (20/9/06)

For God's sake — give us a break!

Just read the usual vitrolic garbage from our Tony. He runs everyone down but Dickie Wright - who was terrible last night against Peterborough. Has obviously lost his confidence and makes the most awful decisions... he was saved last night by good defending on a couple of occasions.

I suggest that we take a whip round from all the contributors to ToffeeWeb who are fed up reading compositions from friend Marsh, and hopefully it will accummulate to enough to send him back to Cyprus — and he can take our Dickie with him!!

I am not conducting a personal vendetta against Tony, its just that he states "Everton will go tits up"... I can see that happening to me if he keeps on!!
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (20/9/06)

Pour me a drink

Personally, I would have to agree with the assesment of Cahill thus far, that he is doing very well. But critism of him in the past has been fair also as he is a player who, if he doesn't score goals, offers little else to he cause. For example when was the last time you saw Cahill passing a defense splitting ball? Or do a 40-yard pass to the toe of Everton player? Then ask yourself when was the last time you saw Cahill foul somebody needlessly? Or put a pass astray? I bet more can remember the negatives rather than the positives.

But Cahill, when he is scoring and winning headers, is an assest and there's no qualms about that! But just like our manager all I ask for is some consistancy! It also put Beattie to shame if Cahill is our only other goal threat barring AJ. Get rid of that waster asap!

And please, for Tumshere's sake, give AvdM a break! That was his first game this season — what esle do you expect??? It's easy to slaughter him, yet leave people who are as gulity as him (Moyes and Co) alone. Very easy!
Luq Yus, London  (20/9/06)

Get a grip, Mr Marsh!

I have read Tony Marsh's recent contributions to the mailbag with total disbelief and with more than a degree of anger at the total dross he contributes. How the fuck can he state that our season has gone 'tits up' following a victory? Apparently 'the signs were there' at the Wigan game. What signs? The signs that we have begun passing the ball in a productive manner, that we look threatening going forward, that we are outplaying teams who deservedly beat us last year? What does the man want?

Surely he realises that we were never going to field a full-strength side last night. Surely he realises we would use the match to try out fringe players. Surely he realises that these players would take time to click. Surely he realises the Posh would get at us in a game that attracted one of the biggest ever attendances at London Road.

We were never going to play them off the park. It is incredibly rare for a Premiership side to field a full-strength team against a lower league side in the early rounds of the Carling Cup and even rarer for a Premiership side to show their class in such matches. Tony Marsh may state that the Posh 'took the piss out of us' (I must have missed those bits because I thought we were in control throughout), but does it matter? We won, get over it! It's all about getting through and we did that. Simple as.

Oh and for everyone who takes so much joy from criticising Andy van der Meyde, just give the lad a chance. I thought Chris Kamara was spot on last night when he stated that Van der Meyde had been 'no better and no worse than anybody else'. He hasn't played for several months and it was unreasonble for anybody to expect him to set the world alight on a Tuesday night in Peterborough.

Anyway, I think Tony's pathetic attitude is summed up when he informs us that there is no point in us playing because we will only get knocked out sooner or later. Total garbage. If everyone shared this attitude we'd never set foot outside our front doors, after all, we'd only have to go back inside again.
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (20/9/06)

You tell him, Sean!

Tiny Tim

Michael, I feel you were a tad unfair on our Tiny in that response to Dick's provocative message! Tim Cahill never gave the impression he was saving himself for his beloved country. I have always had the impression he gives his all every week. We all know he has his weaknesses and Moyes has been the first to point these out, but he has been a crucial player for us since he joined and some of the stick he gets baffles me.

While nobody enjoys hearing vacuous statements about giving 110%, you only need to look at the way Tim talks about the club to know he is as committed as you can be, and I think this shows in his performances, even when he's having an off-day.

His movement on the pitch is outstanding and I don't think we have another player like him. He has played pretty much solidly now for about 3 years or something ridiculous, with his international commitments, which may explain his disappointing season with us last year. I think Moyes is keeping an eye on that and using him 2 or 3 times as a sub definitely makes sense.

Playing with someone who unsettles defenders and tests the keeper as often as Andy Johnson can only benefit Cahill and I can see him reaching double figures this season almost entirely through this relationship.
Paul Foster, London  (20/9/06)

Yes, you caught me being a little counter-provocative there... I think you have given a good analysis, to be honest, and the key could (hopefully) be in the last paragraph. Good call. — Michael

Bungs and EFC Scouts

I've read on here before and heard other Evertonians ask 'What the hell are our scouts looking at?' when we've signed crap like Krøldrup and VdM. It's quite obvious our scouts have been taking bungs off agents to recommend that we sign these crap players!
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (20/9/06)

Z-Carsley

Spot on article by Paul Tran! I for one have been saying for the past three seasons that the team's performances are far better when Lee is in the side. Look at our defensive frailties at home to Wigan on Saturday once he went off. Sometimes you don't know how good someone is 'til they're not there.
Graham Hackney, Cleethorpes  (20/9/06)

Scraped Through?

In a sense, we did scrape through. But it would have been very different if Anichebe's goal had stood. It was a perfectly good strike and guess what... none of the papers I've read this morning even mention it! Some things never change. Sifting through the comments I have to agree that Wright will not make it and Van der Table is definitely not AOC material.
Tony Waring, Frogmore  (20/9/06)

Okay, I got the Van der Table bit... but AOC? Ace of Clubs is the closest I could get, out of far too many to chose from. — Michael

Davies and Confidence

I'm suprised that Davies's confidence is so low; granted, he had a rotten first season and hasn't played much this term, mainly down to our excellent start. But all we heard about in the press etc is that he was our best player in pre-season, looked amazing and was going to be main player this year. Moyes and his staff have constantly talked him up but he is still crap and its all obviously a smokescreen.

At Spurs he looked a top player on the right but injuries have blown that way, I still can't understand my me mainly play him in centre midfield, he looks so lightweight. Sadly it's another classic example of wasted cash and talent: for every Martyn there is a Davies. I really hope he proves me wrong. Then again, I'd love AvdM to prove me wrong and that aint gonna happen!!!
John Audsley, Leeds  (20/9/06)

I wonder

Where are those experts who said he was too crude can't pass, was not good enough and out of his depth. The same experts said he had no class and Moyes should bite the hand of any club making an offer. Is the player in question our second highest scorer and responsible for more goal assists than the combined total of his much more highly praised fellow mid fielders? Having seen no admission of poor judgement by the afforementioned experts I can only assume they are far too busy dreaming up heaps more of their stupid suggestions.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (20/9/06)

He is playing a bit better this season, has far fewer yellow cards, and is getting a few goals — which makes last season's dreadful efforts look even worse! But of course he was saving himself for his beloved country and his stunning two-goal cameo; I presume there are some important international games against Asian minnows coming up and he feels he needs to hone those wayward skills a little more by actually playing better for us??? — Michael

The Good, The Bad, and The Useless

The Good
Victor Anichebe was fantastic last night and is head and shoulders above Beattie and McFadden. Pair Big Victor with Johnson and we would be a real handfull for any defence. Don't wish to say 'I told you so' but I was calling for Victors inclusion 12 months ago only to be shot down on this site. I had seen him a few times in the reserves and the kid has got it.

The Bad
I said after the Wigan game that the signs are there for it to all go tits up and watching that last night I don't think anyone can disagree. They are a bog-standard run-of-the-mill pub-team and they took the piss out of us at times. If or when we get any injuries or suspensions to our main players we will be in serious trouble.

That long ball shit was still being used last night against a team of basketball players. Who gives the orders to play that crap or do the players think it up themselves?

The Useless
Where do we begin on this score?

Andy Babyshambles van der Medye is a total waste of space and should be fucked off as soon as possible. He is more intrested in knocking about with lap dancers and partying than he is in football and he is an insult to our great club.

Davies is a total mystery to me. Whoever told him he could play football and why the fuck did soft lad buy him?

Beattie has done nothing since he arrived to convince me he has any worth at all. Last night he didn't even make third division players look uncomfortable so what good is he in the Premier League?

Micheal, you accused me of waiting for the wheels to come off well I dont think they were ever on properly to begin with. Peterboro are shite and they really should be in the next round this morning. We rely on lady luck to sort our results out for us and last night was no different.

We are through to the next round and some people will say that's all that matters. Playing like that I say 'What's the point? We will get knocked out sooner or later.' Newcastle must be shitting themselves.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (20/9/06)

January Sales

What worries me most about Wright is his apparent lack of ambition. He lost his place to Martyn and now to Howard, he knows therefore that Moyes doesn't rate him. Yet he has never asked for a transfer and given an opprtunity last night he turned in his usual dodgy keeper routine. So can he be moved on in January together with VdM, Davies and maybe even Beattie? I know there is an argument for building up a squad but none of these players were effective last night. Top marks to Hughes and Anichebe for showing the senior players how it's done.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (20/9/06)

So much for all that early season talk about us suddenly having strength in depth! — Michael

Beattie's 'Goal'

Just to confirm: Beattie's header did actually hit the posh defender on the head and rebound into his own net. It was a fortuitous goal. Just to clear that up for Michael.
Jim Smith, London  (20/9/06)

I was listening to the commentary and they were convinced it was a brilliant Beattie goal. Sorry about that... I still haven't seen it; does it really go down as an own-goal then?

Winning Ugly

What did everyone expect from last night's game, an excercise in sweet silky flowing football? I for one knew that Peterborough would try to bring us down to their level at their small ground, and it almost worked.

We did show our class in short spells of passing football, but it was difficult to maintain under the circumstances and with the team Moyes decided to put out. VdM was almost non-existent, apart from a couple of good runs, he was mainly just awful. Has anyone told VdM about tackling back?

You could put the lacklustre approch, except from Victor, down to the lack of match pratcice and the uninspriring opposition in front of them. I wouldn't expect this to be last game that Everton have go out and win ugly. The result was the important thing, not the performance. Well done lads.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (20/9/06)

When are we going to take these games seriously?

You would think that, after our recent tragic history against lower division teams in cup competitions, we would have learned to take these games more seriously. Wright in goal? Exsqueeze me? We should really be making an effort in the two cups because these are competitions we can win. Instead, DM seems to treat them like an unwelcome interruption. Some of the lads played like they'd just been introduced in the tunnel. Maybe some of them had. Next time, I trust we'll have a full side out. That's how you win silverware.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (19/9/06)

AvdM

Last season, people were complaining... 'why doesn't AvdM get in the team', 'Moyes doesn't like flair players thats why AvdM is out'. After tonight's game, the reason Moyes chooses to keep AvdM on the sidelines is clear. The question should not be 'Why doesn't he play him?' — rather it should be 'Why did he bring AVDM to Everton in the first place?' Surely it's not the same player who once lined up for Ajax, Inter and Holland???
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (19/9/06)

Time to reflect

Upon reflection of tonight's game, you have to wonder whether it would be prudent of Moyes to stick Beattie in front of the match reel and tell him to watch and learn from Victor's performance — who surely now is our 2nd striker after AJ; he was immense. Was also left wondering if Davies would actually manage to get into the present Peterborough side — we could always try! Some good performances, some great and some utter shite but at least we're through — but not for long if Dickie is our Cup Keeper ! Made me laugh, though, when they brought on the Branston...
Alan Humphreys, Wirral  (19/9/06)

Peterborough 1 - 2 Everton

It was always going to be a tricky away fixture to a lower-league side with physical players enjoying their 'Cup Final'. Several players had something to prove, here's how they faired, in my opinion:

  • Dickie Wright – 5: Clearly suffering lack of confidence and match practice but you can't excuse Dickie's careless throw or his bad judgement coming to collect. Has blown another chance to impress and will surely be leaving Goodison soon. Howard will surely return on Sunday.
  • Phil Neville – 6: Kept a calm head and did his best to lead his side through a difficult fixture. Neville was never really troubled defensively and delivered a lovely cross for the first goal.
  • Mark Hughes – 6 Moyes gave a surprise debut to the teenager and he did pretty well. Looked solid against their big lads and coped admirable although he made a couple of mistakes which were mostly down to nerves and lack of experience. Encouraging start to his career but looks a little unready for the Premiership just yet. A Championship loan could be what he needs to develop.
  • Joleon Lescott – 7 Awkward night for Lescott. Up against big physical lads with a dodgy keeper behind him and a young debutante alongside him. Was the lynch pin at the back and it's a measure of how far he's come in such a short time. Continues to impress. Only bad mark was being out-muscled for Benjamin's goal.
  • Jorge Nuno Valente – 6 Had a decent enough return to the side. Defensively sound and got forward as much as he could. Had a well struck shot at goal go wide.
  • Gary Naysmith – 5 Played in a more advanced midfield role and saw a lot of the ball but his distribution was awful. Defensively ok but his passing makes Hibbert look like Zidane.
  • Lee Carsley – 7 Becoming more important to the team with every game. Protected the defense and got forward as much as he could. Unlucky not to score with a well struck shot. A couple of misplaced passes but another good game.
  • Simon Davies – 6 Made the most noise before the game about taking his chance but was very avearge. First half Davies was poor but improved in the second. Burst forward into the box and latched onto Beattie's pass but was unlucky not to score. Also did a pretty spectacular turn which deserved a round of applause. That said, he didn't really prove himself worthy of a starting place on Sunday.
  • Andy van der Medye – 4 For me this was his chance to prove his worth. A good performance and a goal could have kickstarted his Everton career but sadly he was bloody awful. Admittedly his quick thinking from the freekick set up Neville to cross for the first goal and there was one glimmer of skill when he left a Peterborough standing but that was his only involvement. Failed to get into the game, failed to get any decent crosses in and never got near to scoring a goal. Moyes hauled him off and Andy went straight down the tunnel, persumably to find the bar.
  • James Beattie – 6 Another player who should have used this game to prove himself but just seemed a little bit too casual. It was his header that caused the own-goal and there was a sublime pass to set up Davies but he just looked too casual. A couple of his shots were poorly struck. Didn't play badly — just looked like he'd rather be elsewhere.
  • Victor Anichebe – 8 A first start for the teenager who was Everton's Man of the Match. Worked hard and his strength caused Peterborough trouble all night. Guilty of a couple of mistakes but, like Hughes, has the excuse of being young and inexperienced. Looks a promising player and took his chance to impress. Something Beattie, Davies and Van der Medye should have done.
David Moyes – 6 Made a bold team selection. Two teenagers making starting debuts and the unpredictable AvdM given a chance to impress. The team performed below par but luckily Peterborough never had the quality to seriously trouble Everton. Moyes will have been disappointed by the senior players given a chance to impress, probably didn't want to have to resort to calling on the big guns (Cahill, Arteta) but Everton are in the next round and the manager will have learned a few things about some of his fringe players, ie, AvdM/Dickie are shit; Naysmith doesn't have the quality to play in midfield; and he's got another couple of youngsters worth developing further.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (19/9/06)

Not a bad set of comments there... Dutch(!?!) — Which makes me wonder why the fuck can't you eliminate the bullshit you contribute and stick to sensible, balanced opionion like that? If we are shit, say so. Don't hide behind this sycophantic nonsense that drives half of us up the wall. It's your last chance with me, because I've had enough of your name-calling (of course I can't speak for that Colm fella — he's Agent Beaut and he's much more lenient... ) — Michael

Davies

I think people are being a bit harsh on Simon. I thought he was really good when sprinting at players and showed flashes of good skill. He did make some bad decisions and clearly has no confidence at all. I think if we can get him into form then he will be a good player. In fact, poor confidence was what I saw in a lot of the players out there: Van der Medye, Davies, and Beattie all looked out of sorts. These guys have enormous talent and, if we can only get them in the right mentality and on top of their game, then we really will have some team.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (19/9/06)

What if...

I've just watched the game and i'm a bit worried about a couple of things:

  • What if Howard gets injured? Will Moyes have the bollocks to put Turner in the side?
  • What if Arteta or Johnson get injured?
I know it's hard to play a side in a lower division but it was grim tonight. Naysmith played like he belonged in the Peterborough side, he was so poor. I can't even explain how absolutely fuckin' rubbish Wright played again.

On the plus side, I thought Hughes had a good game considering he had that useless prick flapping about behind him. Anichebe had a great game and must surely be pushing Moyes to start him before Beattie. I think tonight just goes to prove that Moyes can't mess about with a winning team if he wants to do well.
Jamie Barlow, Manchester  (19/9/06)

Team Selection

Well, it wasn't pretty, and obvioulsy this is much easier with hindsight, but I for one was glad to see Moyesy giving a chance to some of the other players tonight rather than sticking with the 'tried and tested' team we've used so far this season.

Beattie's goal should hopefully keep his confidence going a little bit; good match practice for the lad Anichebe. The only disappointment was AvdM, as I have been gagging to see what this guy can do, if anything, and he hasn't had the chance... Perhpas if the ginge had been playing him earlier on during the season instead of Kilbane the piemean, he might be in better shpae with more match practice. Either way, I hope AvdM gets another run out and manages to give us some sorely needed width. Roll on Sunday: Newcastle 2 - 3 Everton I say!
James Last, London  (19/9/06)

Smells like team spirit?

It was a poor overall performance, but we're through. So, after a collective sigh of relief, it's time to take stock. A good place to start is with some of the players that Moyes brought in...

  • Wright - there was a lot of talk about the crowd being Peterborough's 12th man in this game. Who would have guessed that their 12th man would actually be Wrighty? Made some classic Wright bloopers, including possibly the worst judged attempt to punch a cross in the history of football. Also had my heart in my mouth when he threw the ball out straight to one of their attackers. If we had been playing Prem opposition, both errors would have cost us goals.
  • Hughes - made a couple of errors (including the penalty that wasn't), but overall looked composed and was generally impressive. If he continues to develop we will be spoilt for choice at centre-back (never thought I would ever be able to write that!)
  • Van der Merde - aside from a couple of neat touches he was completely anonymous, and was rightly subbed. I figure Moyes might give him one more chance (probably in the next round unless we draw a Prem team) before putting him back in the shop window in January.
  • Davies - probably didnt do enough to stake a claim for Sunday, but ran tirelessly and harried their midfielders at every opportunity. Unlike VDM, Davies actually looked like he was up for the fight for a first team place tonight.
  • Beattie - better than I have seen him in recent games, but I'm still not convinced his heart is in it anymore. That said, he did go close a couple of times and he is looking fitter with each passing game. Perhaps he has been reading this Mailbag and decided he's had enough of the tit jokes.
  • Anichebe - excellent, and rightly awarded the Man of the Match award (although his brief post-match interview suggests he won't be doing many after-dinner speeches in the near future). Despite being fouled for most of the match, he kept the ball incredibly well and showed fantastic strength. The prospect of an AJ - Anichebe partnership has me excited. The combination of Vic's strength on the ball and AJs pace could be a winning formula.
... have just watched Moyes' post-match interview and had to add a line. Cocky sod felt that we were 'always in control'. Either he was watching a different game, or some of that complacency he's been warning his players about has crept in to old Davey's brain.

Moyes's selection on Sunday should be interesting. The 4-5-1 formation is probably the logical choice, but by the same token young Vic has definitely staked a valid claim for a place. Time will tell...
Neil Humphrey, Oldham  (19/9/06)

I don't make predictions but I will tell you now quite categorically that (barring injuries) Vic will at best be on the bench. Look for at least a full season of the odd 5 mins here and there in real games, although he might get another full outing or two in the Mickey Mouse Cup. — Michael

Get out of Jail

Well, I'm pleased we're still in the Cup. Both the two young lads had good games but, like those around me, I was worried about the possibility of going into extra time and penalties with Dickie Wright between the sticks - he's a joke at this level.

The real shocker though was AvdM. It's been a long time since I've seen a player who has done their shirt less justice. I hope the team dock his wages, because he's paid to play — not wander around the pitch taking in the night air. He was shocking, with no passion or desire. Give him his cards, please!
Mark Wynne, leaving Peterborough at speed  (19/9/06)

Who's that Number 7?

Firstly, well done to Lescott and Anichebe, proper performances tonight that they can be proud of. As to the rest... Jesus, what a shower! That was pretty much on a par with the worst of last season. Does show that we might have numbers but not much quality outside the first XI.

But at least there was one moment that gave me a good laugh. When our Number 7 was subbed in favour of Cahill I noticed his shirt said "Van der Medye"... Genius — he's so anonymous, that after a year at the club, no-one knows what his name is!

Or did we sign the wrong player....
Tom Hadley, Hampshire  (19/9/06)

That's classic. Van der Medye it is then! Moyes knows best!!!

Shallow squad

Well, through by the skin of their teeth, thanks to the late subs of Cahill and Arteta... I'm disappointed but not surprised that our better known fringe players just arent good enough.

Van der Plonk and Davies are utter shite; Dicky Fingers is a piss-poor second-choice 'keeper and Moyes must surely now be thinking that Turner's time has come to take up the second-choice understudy position.

On the plus side, Lescott saved Wright on at least one occasion, Carsley is still worthy of a game despite his advancing years, Anichebe can be used to cause havoc against opposition defences, and Hughes looked decent — one for the future. If you saw the game tonight or watch the lowlights can anyone tell me how Beauty managed that backpass effort straight at the Peterborough keeper?
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (19/9/06)

Not a word of praise for Moyes's stunning game-changing substitutions? I'm sure Dutch will soon be informing us about the brilliantly executed gameplan... — Michael

A touch of the old Gaelic....

Come on Colm - I don't believe that 'Maith an fear' means "you non-match going beaut, you..."

I've called your bluff - and if you don't tell us what it really means, I will write all my future e-mails in Latin.....
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (19/9/06)

Good man, Brian!!! ;-) - Colm

Football Bungs

So, anyone confident of seeing Moyesy on the Panorama teams BBC documentary tonight? :p. In all seriousness, I think Moyes is one of the more honest professional managers in the game. Wouldn't be the first time the Beeb have tired to drag our club's reputation through the mud though...

Hope Van der Meyde, Anichebe and Davies put in a good peformance tonight on the way to a comfortable victory... COYB
Paul Chilli, Liverpool  (19/9/06)

The times they are a-changing?

Just a thought or two about the debate between both "Dutch" and Tony. I'm one of those who had serious doubts about the progress Moyes had made while in charge of Everton. I suppose that, after the turgid years under Wally Smith, frankly anything would have been better. And in the end, we got a promising young manager in the shape of Moyes. The club was in a mess financially, but I supposed, like to a lot of Evertonians, that the future seemed a bit brighter

Wayne Rooney emerged as a talent in the youth system and though “Dutch” talks as though Moyes went into his school, tied the shoelaces on his boots and taught him how to kick a football, he was an immense bonus who came out of nowhere for a club still recovering from the Johnson debacle. The 2004-05 season was amazing in terms of position and results, though I always had my doubts that it would be something we could sustain. After the Rooney transfer, things seemed to go right for us, we won games we would have drawn, and drew some we would have normally lost. Don't get me wrong, we still weren't free-scoring, but with a bit of luck and a system that worked, we were carving out the results. I think the thing that most contributed to that success was an almost total absence of injury to key players.

Fast forward to last season, and we weren't so lucky. It’s then that you expect your manager to show his tactical nous and managerial mettle. You only have to look at Paul Jewell’s Wigan team last weekend to see how shrewd decision-making can turn an injury-ridden squad into a well drilled XI. Moyes hasn’t really shown that. When his back’s to the wall, he shrugs his shoulders and says he hopes we play well.

When it comes to the transfer market he’s not decisive, and where funds are limited he doesn’t always use them to best effect. I doff my cap to him with the signings of both Lescott and Johnson this year, but there are a catalogue of failures that make any true Blue wince every time their names are mentioned.

Despite this, with the return from injury of Carsley, Moyes has the makings of a decent side. He’s finally allowing Joey Yobo a run in the team, though frankly, he’s lucky he didn’t bugger off to Arsenal or somewhere else, as was often mooted, as the manager persisted with Weir and Stubbs as though they were called Maldini and Baresi.

Both Dutch and Tony talk about Harry Redknapp. With all due respect, even when Harry was at West Ham, they suffered less with debt than us, and as a consequence had more money to spend. This is so much more the case today at Portsmouth, where Gaydamak can afford to throw money at the team and Harry can afford to buy a few duff players in the hope of unearthing a gem. All teams with money do that. Mourinho has at Chelsea, both Houillier and Benitez seem to have had a bet to see who can waste more while even Ferguson has had his fair share of lemons at United.

Like teams such as Bolton, Charlton and Wigan, we have to operate on a shoestring. That means we probably won’t be able to afford another AJ-like signing for a couple of years, and though I applaud the team’s recent form, it doesn’t stop me from being unhappy at the lack of honesty that comes from our board, or Moyes’s lack of ability to “do it” when it really matters. That said, I’m off to Peterborough to watch Wright, Davis, Weir, Beattie (and probably bloody Vinny Samways, knowing my luck) tonight and hoping for a decent performance and cup run.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (19/9/06)

I find it very hard to be overly critical of David Moyes (version season 2006-07) thus far, considering we're one of three still unbeaten clubs this season and having already won at White Hart Lane for the first time in 21 years and how can anyone possibly overlook a first 3-0 Goodison derby victory since 1909! Considering all of those... it's pretty hard to be overly harsh on anything Moyes is trying to achieve this year. His team were dreadful to watch more often than not last season but already this season I can honestly say that we look better.

We've a potent threat, at last, through Johnson but our overall football is improving, and will hopefully become better and better as the season progresses. Five games played and the team that could muster only a meagre 34 league goals all last season has already got an average of two goals per game. That's worth a mention amidst all the angst! — Colm

Transfers Debate

For every 20-something player (Beattie/Davies) Mr Marsh says Moyes has paid over the odds for, there's a 20-something player (Arteta/Cahill/Lescott/Yobo/Johnson) who Moyes purchased at a reasonable price and is now worth double. Then of course there's players like Marcus Bent and Kevin Kilbane who were brought in to do a job and then sold for a profit.

I'm not saying Moyes hasn't made mistakes, of course he has — all managers do — but he hasn't done too bad a job regarding transfers certainly not as bad as Mr Marsh and claims.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (19/9/06)

This is as boring as Lendl v Sampras on clay. From the baseline! — Colm

Time to gag Dutch, metinks, until he behaves himself... — Michael

Hypocrite

While I agreed with a lot of Steve Connor's points in his consistency letter I find it odd that a person who says 'The sniping, personal insults and ignorant comments that dominate this site go beyond that' goes on to call people dickheads in the same letter then sends in another post sniping at Beattie. I don't understand why name calling etc is necessary, just use the forum to air your opinion on all things Everton and less of the shit.

I can also confirm that John Lennon Airport was full of us 'non match going beauts' on Saturday night bringing plenty of business on an otherwise very quiet night for them.

See you at Goodison again next Sat... COYBB
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk, Ireland  (19/9/06)

Could not have said it better myself, Séamus! Maith an fear (that's Irish for "you non-match going beaut, you...") - Colm

Humiliation?

Looking forward to the game tonight. Also a bit nervous. There might be some giant-killing. If we loose, no doubt Sky will repeat it over and over again, on national TV. I Don't have too much confidence. Take a look at the players that might be starting tonight: Wright, Weir and Davies... there's not much room for optimism. If we do loose then I might join Mr Marsh's anti-Moyes Brigade. Mr Schaffer needs to realise that this team isn't as great as he thinks it is. So far Moyes hasn't achieved anything. So how do you class Moyes as a great manager?
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (19/9/06)

Tsk, tsk... all this fear and trepidation... You're supposed to fill your mind with only positive thoughts about a brilliant Everton victory. — Michael

Workshy or Workaholic?

Would Mr Tony Marsh answer one question for me please? Do you do any work or do you just sit in front of a computer every day thinking up "wind up" and vitriolic letters? Seems to me you have an awful lot of time on your hands to write all your waffle. Perhaps you are the 96-year-old millionaire with one foot in the grave and one in a wheel chair I have been looking for for the past ten years who, at my age, will think I am a blue dolly bird!!
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (19/9/06)

What?! 96-year-old millionaire? Tony! Invest! Invest! Invest! Everton needs your money NOW! - Colm

Per Krøldrup

When people say we lost £1 million on his sale is this true? We bought him for £5 million and sold him for allegedly (around) £3.6 milion, obviously at least a bit more than £1 million lost on him.

Anyone have any ideas of how much of the deal was appearence-based when we bought him and did Fiorentina give us all the money upfront? The amount of money apparently owed to us by Italian clubs could be enough for a potential new squad member...
Paul Chilli, Liverpool  (19/9/06)

The club didn't disclose the fee at the time - with Ian Ross himself citing "commercial sensitivity" around all enquiries about the fee received. - Colm

Ryan Taylor

Remember when Norwich manager Nigel Worthington announced Everton had signed Tranmere's young fullback Ryan Taylor? Moyes though decided to pass on the player and he eventually signed for Wigan. I remember the claims thar Dithering Dave and Everton had missed out on a future star. Well, 14-months on, Taylor has only started 8 games for Wigan. I guess Moyes was right about not signing that player.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (19/9/06)

That's more starts than Andy van der Meyde Sir!!! - Colm

Immature

What an immature comment for someone to make about James Beattie's 'tits' - pricks like you (Connor) are the reason why Beattie's confidence is being knocked lately. His fitness hasnt been the best recently but at least he gives 100%. Not his fault we paid £6M and don't forget he was our top scorer last year playing up front on his own for most with little service. Tell me the last time an Everton striker scored 11 or 12 goals in a season? Plus we only managed 34 goals, so he scored a third of them and missed most of the beginning of the season.

I'm not saying Beattie should start cos AJ is more suited to being the lone striker but all good teams have big squads so stop knocking him and get behind the team for once!
Tom Jameson, Liverpool  (19/9/06)

BT, BT , BT!

I do agree with Ting Tong, the remarks about Beattie are in very bad taste. I would also like to point out that Beattie was not the inspiration behind the breast feeding sketch in Little Britain... the character can quite clearly be heard to say Bitty not BT.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (19/9/06)

Coat! Now! - Colm

Who is Tony Marsh?

Am I the only one who thinks that Tony Marsh's Moyes-directed vitriol makes him sound very much like our old friend Alan Green?

I enjoy the healthy debate that goes on in the mailbag quite a bit, but I'm afraid Tony Marsh lost any support he may have had with his "Harry Redknapp is a great manager" quote. He's so great he managed to get Southampton relegated!

Oh, and regarding Harry's youth policy being better than ours — hmmm, I wonder what the average age of the Portsmouth squad is? I'm prepared to wager that it is older than ours.
Mark Blair, Liverpool  (19/9/06)

Panorama are prepared to wager on 'Appy 'Arry also! - Colm

Well Done

May I please take this opportunity to praise Dutch. After months and months of pointless, boring, repetative and generally analytical gobshite that we either already knew or simply didn't need to know - he has finally written in with an excellent argument in response to Tony Marsh's rather bold claim regarding Harry Redknapp.

Well done, Dutch, now don't go and ruin it by 'informing' the ToffeeWeb readers that Alan Ball was one of our greatest ever players and Walter was a bag of shite.
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (19/09/06)

Thank you Mr Marsh & Co

It would interesting to see how lively this mailbag would be without the likes of Mr Marsh to wind everybody up. We would only have Everton to discuss which until recently has been fairly heavy going. So thank you Mr Marsh for making this mailbag lively and interesting.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (19/9/06)

Mistakes

Dutch have you been at the Port again old bean. What are you waffling on about? Riberto Song and Titi Camera... it was Houllier who signed them. And he was sacked, but who cares. We know all managers make mistakes in the transfer market even Sir Alex has done it. There's a big difference in the mistakes being made.

Theres the signing of young players from the continent on small fees who may or may not make it over here but unless given the chance you would never know. Then theres the Moyes mistakes: Signing players who are in their late 20s for large fees who have already been proven as shite in the Premier League [Beattie, Davies].

Add to that the resigning of dead wood players who had already been shown the door: Naysmith, Wier, Pistone & Stubbs. Now can you see the difference? We all make mistakes, Dutch, but mistakes on the Beattie scale are mistakes this club can not afford.

Let Liverpool and Man Utd make all the mistakes they want as they can afford them being in the Champions League every year. We nearly made it there once but someone made a mistake and didn't sign any strikers. Which manager was that, Dutch?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (19 9 06)

Song and Camera were also signed by 'Appy 'Arry, when at West Ham. You two should meet up for a pint!!! — Colm

Steve Connor - Tit

Comments like his are a disgrace and should be left in the gutter where they belong.

I personally wish James Beattie all the best with his new arrival and hope he can do the business for us tonight.
Ting Tong, Southport  (19/9/06)

If only...

Had to chuckle at the story about Simon Davies on the TW Homepage "Davies keen on return" maybe it was too early in the morning for me but I was hoping it was a story saying he is keen to return to Peterborough where he bloody belongs.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (19/9/06)

Yer a harsh man, Gavin! — Colm

Young Guns

Mr Marsh really thinks Moyes is that bad at handling youngsters, well let's take a look.

First of all Moyes took a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney and developed him into an England International. OK his head got too big and Moyes was forced to sell him but the record amount was pretty impressive.

Tony Hibbert never got much of a look in under Wally Smith but Moyes has always played him.

Leon Osman was an uncapped 22-year-old player under Walter Smith. A year later Moyes gave him his debut and has since developed him into a regular on the cusp of an England call-up.

Joey Yobo was only 21 when Moyes signed him and developed him into a nearly world-class player who admittedly makes the odd mistake. Similary, Arteta was only 22 when Moyes signed him.

The youngest goalscorer in Premiership history (Rooney) was playing under Moyes and then that record was broken by James Vaughan who was also playing under Moyes.

The most promising youngsers currently at Everton, Ruddy, Boyle, Vidarsson & Spencer were brought into the club by Moyes.

In fact, the only crime Moyes has committed in regard to youngsers is letting go of Chadwick, Wilson, Gerard, Wynne, Seargeant, Hopkins, Symes, O'Hanlon, Schumacher, McLeod & Clarke, because they have really set the lower divisions on fire haven't they?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (18/9/06)

Tell Me, Mr Marsh...

Tell me, Mr Marsh, which manager paid nearly £6 million for Titi Camara & Rigobert Song?

Moyes takes alot of critism over Rooney's transfer but tell me, Mr Marsh, which manager sold Rio Ferdinand to Leeds under similar circumstances?

Tell me, Mr Marsh, which manager's last transfer at West Ham was to let Jimmy Bullard leave on a free transfer to Peterborough?

Tell me, Mr Marsh, which manager paid nearly £2 million for goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi and only played him a dozen times?

Tell me, Mr Marsh, which manager claimed he loved Portsmouth and then signed for their arch rivals Southampton?

Tell me, Mr Marsh, which manager is at the center of Panorama's bung scandal programme?

The answer to all these questions is Harry Redknapp. I'm not saying he's a bad manager but he's made just as many mistakes as David Moyes and the rest of the managers.

Sure, Portsmouth have made a good start... but if you think Redknapp's collection of ageing misfits and journey men fereigners are going to be successful over the long term, you are sadly mistaken, Mr Marsh. For every bad transfer Moyes has made over the last five years, I can name ten Harry's made.

David Moyes is laying foundations and building a team; Harry Redknapp's policy is to purchase a dozen new players every season and hope some of them are good. Next season he'll have to start all over again while Moyes hopefully will be reaping the seads he has sown. I have a Portsmouth fan friend and he complains the shear number of transfers every season makes it impossible for him to get attached to any of the players because chances are they will be gone next season and a new bunch of misfits will be drafted in.

Tell me, Mr Marsh, What would you rather Moyes have done? Purchase Sol Campbell and had a good player for a season, or purchase Joleon Lescott and attempt to develop him into a world-class talent who can play for Everton for the next ten years? Moyes isn't interested in the short term answers he's building a proper team.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (18/9/06)

That was quite good for you, Dutch. Enlightening to see how much interest you take in other teams and their managers... — Michael

Tits

Having read the great news about James Beattie's new arrival, I was just wondering if the child will be breast fed? At least James can share his wife's workload...
Steve Connor, Liverpool  (18/9/06)

So that's how you raise the tone, is it?

'I know my football?'

Tony Marsh may feel the mailbag is against him and that he is some kind of prophet in the wilderness. But alternatively it may be that many fans are pleased with the start we have had, don't think that it is just luck, can see value in Moyes and can also see that Sir Harry is about as much an investment in the future for Portsmouth as Mr Smith was for us. If he had come to us, Mr Marsh would have gone apeshit.

Wise up, lad, and I challenge you to write something positive. You know you're football, after all.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (18/9/06)

Response to Colm

Newcastle haven't won anything for 50 years. They keep coming up with excuses they're in Europe every season and finish higher than us every season. Everton have won more things than all three big teams from the North East. Which includes Middlesborough and Sunderland (if you could call Sunderland big). Even them cheeky mackems were saying they are better than us a few seasons back — When they had Kevin Phillips playing for them. I don't hear them anymore...
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (18/9/06)

I think Colm was doing the rhetorical thing there, Shaka. Even Colm (the peat-bog beaut?) knows how many trophies Newcastle haven't won. ;) Michael

Dont Shoot The Messenger

Wow... are we seeing a new Brigade being formed — the anti-Marsh Brigade?

I am pretty sure that I was just about spot on with my analysis regarding Moyes and his team last season even though it pains me to say it. Okay, we have had a great start this season and I was as ecstatic as anyone when we beat Liverpool 3-0 but, because I won't be fooled by our great start, I am a Dickhead.

The signing of AJ has been the main reason for our recent up-turn in form but why wasn't it done sooner? If Moyes had of done his job properly in 2005 and AJ or some one of his type had been brought in, then maybe the disaster of last season would not of happened.

Every game we have played this season could of gone either way, including the Derby. Saturday was no different and the rest of the season will be the same. That's the point I try to get across. Yes, at the moment things are going along nicely but as soon as our luck changes so will our results. When that happens, and it will, Moyes will once again be lost and relying on a lucky break to sort us out. It's been like that ever since he came here and it will be that way as long as he is stays.

I know Moyes is trying his best for the club but I personally think that the Premier League is poor outside the top three teams and the chance to gatecrash the party is there for the taking. With the money we have spent over the last two years and with a manager who knows the game properly as well as our fanatical support, we could be knocking on the door. Instead, we will be treated to another roller coaster traumafest again... and it could be so different.

Look at Portsmouth since Harry Redknapp went back. He is what I would call a great manager. Gets the best out of players. Has great scope in the market place and best of all brings great players through the ranks: Lampard, Defoe, Ferdinand, Cole, Carrick, etc. Moyes on the other hand shuns the younger players. He sacked Colin Harvey who was doing an excellent job with the youth team. Most of these youngsters we see now are Colin's lads coming through and some of them are fantastic players. Watch what happens to them with Moyes in charge.

I do know my football — that is why I don't have an orgasm every time we win a few matches. I won't be fooled by a Derby win that can happen anytime, anywhere. I want to see some real improvements all round.

Give me a day out at Cardiff, Davey, just like those two giants of the game, Wigan and West Ham had last season. Then maybe we will be getting somewhere.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (18/9/06)

So I was spot on: you just can't wait for the wheels to fall off. If that's your main message it's pretty sad, Tony. And you won't be giving Moyes any credit until he gets us to Cardiff (shouldn't that be Wembley?), despite what he said today regarding how he wants the team to play??? It's a massive step in the right direction, in my opinion, and it's been demonstrated in the last three games. Of course the results can go either way, but that is a very poor and curmudgeonly reason for still refusing to give Moyes any credit for our start to the season. Luck plays a part but there is a lot more involved. If you really knew your football, I think you'd recognize that.

I know it's hard to believe the "Scottish Tart" has changed, but I think one thing we can learn from looking back at the roller-coaster ride we have been on since March 2001 is that Moyes does not stay the same (Smith did, by contrast). He learns, he adapts, he modifies. Maybe not always (not ever?) to your liking, but he does. And that is a sign to me of a potentially good manager. Seems to me he knows he hasn't got it right yet, but he's preprared to do the work to figure out how he can get it right. — Michael

Newcastle

Living in Newcastle, I'm constantly reminded by the Geordies how good they are. So I keep one eye on them (I work with about 500 Geordies). They also claim to be bigger and better than Everton. Every season I hear the same shit from them. How they going to win a trophy.

It's going to be a tough game on Sunday. They're midfield contains Emre, Duff, Parker, Solano, & Milner. They have also got Martins and Ameobie. The Geordies are in decent form and are playing some good football. If Bramble plays then we've got a better chance of winning the game. That guy is a joke and can't defend.

The likes of Dyer, Bramble, Babyaro, Ameobi, Solano, N'zombia and a couple of others are very unprofessional. They're always out clubbing most Friday and Saturday nights till 4 in the morning. Even though they have a game the next day. I've seen them out a good few times. Hopefully they'll be out on Sat and still pissed on the morning of the match.

Everton will have to be on top of their game to win this one. If we loose, then I'll get slaughtered at work.
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (18/9/06)

Without going any further... how the hell can any Geordie claim Newcastle United are a bigger and better club than Everton? What have they won? Is it true that even the likes of Darlington and Hartlepool have won more silverware than Newcastle over the past forty years? Newcastle United, I'd wager, are pretty high up on the list of clubs we like to loathe — for both obvious and perhaps personal reasons! — Colm

Healthy Debate

Why do some people have a problem with a bit of healthy debate? Like Steve Connor, I come on here because this site generally has a higher level of intelligent debate, even though a lot of Evertonians seem to be scared of any debate at all.

Some of us practice the long-forgotten art of going to a match, keeping our eyes open and describing what we see. When it is the shite we were served up last year, we said so. When it is the positive, pacy stuff we have seen this season, we say so. To be honest, that's been my experience in 36 years of watching — yes, watching, Everton. Praise when its due; slaggings off when necessary.

So what's changed? It seems to me that there is a breed of Evertonian who is incapable of hearing any kind of debate that is remotely critical of Moyes. I mean, if Moyes is a genius for two consecutive top 11 finishes, what's he going to be when we have a cup run, or god forbid win a trophy? Too many people have been using too many superlatives far too early — by over-cooking the pot they will have run out of them by the time we are genuinely successful!

Yes, there are people who are vitriolic in their anti-Moyes views, but there are more of us who want a healthy open debate. If you want one, join in, but please don't claim the moral high ground by being just as abusive. And while I'm at it, please stop patronising those of us who no longer live on Merseyside. Some of us have to leg it home after the match and this forum is our pre/post match discussion.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (18/9/06)

I agree with you that there's a number of Blues (good, bad or indifferent!) who refuse totally to believe an alternate viewpoint to their own. There has to be middle ground somewhere!

Straying, if I may, onto the actual football, I too believe, and will continue to do so, that the football we're attempting to play is already infinitely more pleasing on the eye than most of the dross that was served up over the course of last season.

Saturday's game was very frustrating for all Evertonians. Well aware that dropping points after such a wonderful derby win is par for the course, it was still disappointing not to see Everton defeat Wigan. The first half was pretty much standard fare for the Premiership these days — run of the mill garbage — but in the second half we sprayed the ball about with confidence and ease and rightly or wrongly, I'd rather dwell on those positives than the two lapses which resulted in two goals for Scharner. — Colm

And may I add, some excellent comments, there. Paul. What you described is exactly what we are trying to promote, but it depends on fans like you provide it. Thanks! — Michael

Peterborough v Everton

Looking ahead to the Peterborough game, it would be nice to see a few new faces given a chance to impress. It's a difficult decision for Moyes to make: on one hand it would be ideal to give players like Turner, Anichebe, Van der Meyde & Vaughan a start... but at the same time Moyes doesn't want to underesitmate Peterborough and get knocked out fielding a weakened team.

Maybe it would be more sensible to make a couple of changes using ex-first team regulars like Wright, Weir and Beattie. Sky are screening the game live so they must sense a giant-killing...
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (18/9/06)

Sense a giant-killing they might well do but, looking at the other Carling Cup fixtures on the night, it's pretty easy to see why our fixture has attracted the attention of the cameras. Making wholesale changes could possible backfire and I for one do not want to see Everton travelling to a confident Newcastle United — again in front of Sky cameras — next Sunday on the back of yet another cup embarrassment. — Colm

Steve Connor and other issues!

I too would like to thank Steve Connor for his comments. Not because I agree with him, just for presenting a very readable, issues-based opinion. It's very welcome. I doubt many people like reading about blind faith or unmitigated vitriol. I hope the positive response to Steve's post is taken on board by all sides! As Gabriel Garcia Marquez said "If you want to make a political point, write a good book" (and no he doesn't play for River Plate or West Ham).

One other thing I wanted to add: I was unaware until hearing it on the MOTD commentary that James Beattie and his wife have just had a child in the last week or so (and many congratulations to them!). Now, whilst impending fatherhood isn't in itself a reason for being unfit for first-team football, perhaps it is a reason for JB's mind being elsewhere recently. Yes, we expect a perfect attitude from our superstars for their monstrous wages, but they are people and life's other issues do get in the way (see Sol Campbell for details).

With a new addition arrived safely and a first goal of the campaign on Saturday (well taken btw) let's hope the big man will restore our faith in him (or gain it for those of you who have hated him since Minute One). I'm not making excuses for the bloke, just presenting a fact that I hadn't seen shared on here previously!
Tom Hadley, Hampshire  (18/9/06)

Food for thought there, Tom, citing the family situation with Beattie — a definite area most fans (myself included!) often overlook completely. I had a good look at Beattie when he came on against Wigan and, though De Zeeuw won most of the aerial battles with Beattie, I did notice that the few he did win were constantly flicked on into areas where no Everton player was present. Each and every ball he contested he tried to flick on. Looking at Chelsea's Drogba yesterday against our lovable neighbours, his variation of play is something Beattie should be looking to match. A kick up the arse from time to time does the players no harm. Let's hope Beattie replies with a few more goals. — Colm

Right weakness?

A question I had to ask myself after we conceded both of our goals from defensive errors, with both coming from crosses on the right: "Do we have a weakness at Right Back? Is Tony Hibbert match fit?" Did you notice for the second Wigan goal, Cahill was slow to close down Kilbane; was it becuase he was expecting Tony Hibbert to be there?

Personally, I think we look more solid when Phil Neville plays at right back. His vision, distribution and man marking is much beter than that of Tony Hibbert. Hibbert tends to give the ball away more, has questionable distribution, and often gets caught out of position, as with the second Wigan goal. He seemed to do better when Lee Carsley was on the pitch to provide cover. Is right back our last weak link?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (18/9/06)

Is right back our weakest link? Is Phil Neville a better option at right back instead of Tony Hibbert? I guess it's up to Davey Moyes to provide an answer to that one, Brian! — Colm

Everton Crest

Could somebody tell me when this pin was used? It´s written Liverpool FC below, and the Everton crest is above. It´s a bit confusing, because I thought you two would never put your name on one piece of metal together.

The only explanation I could think of, is that this pin was made before 1900?!

Here is a picture of the badge taken from an ebay auction:

Thanks in advance, and best regards from Germany !
Markus Benz, Berlin  (18/9/06)

Markus, I don't know how genuine that may be. I cannot recall Liverpool ever using the Tower as part of their crest. On the other hand the iconic Liver Bird has been used by Everton FC. — Colm

Balance and Perspective

Steve Connor, I salute you. I’m probably a non-match attending beaut as you describe, for the simple reason I now live on the other side of the world. Believe me, when I was in the UK, I followed Everton with a commitment far exceeding my budget…

I do agree with pretty much everything you said in your letter, and this response is in no way aimed at you, or what you said. A writer on another Everton website dismisses such forums as this as being worthless and the plaything of the ignorant. It’s a fact of life that the Internet allows people to express puerile views whilst hiding behind pseudonyms.

I personally think David Moyes is the best manager we could aspire to at this time. I also think he’s talented, a guy who will learn from mistakes and continues to develop. You do have to also bear in mind that he has some unenviable records that he’s set since being at our club. Others have frequently mentioned our appalling record in cup competitions under his watch. People have pointed out that he’s young, but the manager of our lovely neighbours is, if memory serves me right, only a year or so older. Yet he’s got some honours to his CV. I’m not being churlish here, managing Villarreal and that lot, on the budgets he’s had, is obviously different. I’m trying to retain some perspective.

Rumours will always abound, about disharmony amongst players etc. But it was the same under Smith, and boy did we play some shite football then. Others have pointed out that this is Moyes’s squad now, and they’re accurate in that statement. But I personally think it’s a far better squad than we had under previous managers, in the last 15 years.

For a multitude of reasons, Moyes will always polarise views. For every Dutch / Dodd, there’s a Marsh / Luq. One thing they all have in common is that they support Everton Football Club. I don’t doubt for one minute that if we lifted any silverware under Moyes, Tony would be dancing on the rooftops of Liverpool / Cyprus. I’m not sure if I could cope with the sycophancy from Dutch and Dodd though!

Balance and perspective. Five games in, we’re unbeaten, and complaining about dropping points against a Wigan side which, although they won’t hit the highs of last season, will still surprise ‘pundits’, aint to bad. Like the demonic editors of this website, I also wish to see attractive free-flowing football, but again as others have pointed out, even the champions of the last two seasons don’t do that.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (18/9/06)

Absolutely

Rarely have I agreed with a letter on this forum quite so much as I did that of Steve Connor. I wrote a letter on here a couple of weeks ago laying down a challenge to the likes of Tony Marsh and others who (if old enough) would have been the types to have been seeking the sacking of Howard Kendall in 1983. The challenge was to suggest a positive way forward — what would they actually do — not what was wrong but what would they do. The silence was deafening.

I think the type of people who moan on here actually hate us winning and doing well. I can only imagine their contorted faces last weekend as they sat on the khazi reading the papers. Essentially these moaners are wannabees. They desperately want to be a part of the club, they want to be in on the decision-making but ultimately that is but a pipe dream for them. So what is left?

Simple. The take out their frustratrations on a fans' message board. They will never really know or understand what goes on at the club so they take out their frustrations on the men in power — ie, Messrs Moyes and Kenwright. Quite honestly I enjoy Mr Marsh's comments if, for nothing else, as he is a superb figure of fun.
Andy Vernon, Wirral  (18/9/06)

Steve Connor's Post

Steve Connor's post was very well written and raised some excellent points, especially the part where he raised the question... 'barring last season's Sept - Dec disastrous start, the Blues under Moyes for the last two years can consider themselves consistent top four performers?' Of course Michael chose to completely ignore this point because it doesn't fit well with the agenda of the Anti-Moyes Brigade. Then in another post he accuses the Pro-Moyes Mob of being completely blind to any Moyes faults which is ironic considering Pro-Moyes Chairmen Dutch Scheffaer has been heavily moaning at Moyes over the Carsley substitution.

Michael at least can give begrunding credit to Moyes sometimes but other Anti-Moyes Brigade members like Tony Marsh and Luq Yus are completely blind to anything positive Moyes may have done to the club. I think we are always going to have these conflicts and maybe the only way to resolve things is to have a 'Fight Club' style meeting.

The Anti-Moyes Brigade vs The Pro-Moyes Mob. It could be pay-per-view on Sky.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (17/9/06)

I think it was Colm who got to that one before I did. And probably a good thing to. I mean, if you are going to write about 'Consistency' and you put in a phrase like "ignoring the Sept-Dec disastrous start"... I mean, come on! What sort of selective thinking is that?

Yes, Moyes has periods of consistency. Hopefully we are in one now... but excuse me if I don't quite hold my breath. If you take a broader view, he also has periods of remarkably consistent inconsistency, with Everton yoyo-ing from 17th to 4th and back down again. I still haven't forgotten the gloriously over-hyped never-happened-before back-to-back top-ten finished we were promised... But that is now ancient history and, along with all the other little dips, can be either forgotten about, or creditted as important lesson-learning spells.

It all depends what perspective you wish to emphasize. Either side in this endless debate can and will find things to back their own perception, thinking they have found some smoking gun to blow the other side away. It is a pity it seems to have become so polarized on here, but part of that is due to the fact that only people with strong views are likely to take the time and trouble to voice them. Judging by our hit rate, a lot of people do like to read these views, if only to consolidate their on preconceived notions. Perhaps it's time for a moratorium? — Michael

Consistent? Bollocks to that...

Just been reading The Observer (yes, middle class I know). They have printed a league table from 1 January 2006 which places Everton fourth having lost only four games. Only the Mancs have lost fewer in the same period.

Given that Everton did not drop out of the top four during the whole of 2004-2005 season, could it be that, barring last season's Sept - Dec disastrous start, the Blues under Moyes for the last two years can consider themselves consistent top-four performers? Or do such FACTS get in the way of clowns like Tony Marsh and his one-eyed analysis?

David Moyes has given this football club some respectability (braced for snide comment re European exit from the Editor) that we had lacked for a long time. If we can get a top-six finish, something this squad is more than capable of, will some begin to accept that Moyes has taken us forward from some of the darkest days in our history to a position from which we can move upwards? I know what you will reply: 'But the football is shit'.

This is written after watching Sky's so-called 'Grand Slam Sunday' involving the teams challenging for the title. None of these played eye-catching or pure school-of-science football yet some Evertonians expect us to play everyone off the park before they acknowledge a victory as being worthwhile. Get real. Football is about winning, or at the very least not losing, something we are currently adapt at, whatever ToffeeWeb and Tony Marsh may say.

I don't see any alternatives to Moyes that do not involve undoing the positive work of the last two years, regardless of the opinions of demented old men from Huyton or non-match going beauts from Ireland.

Moyes has made plenty of mistakes but he is learning on the job. It is obvious that he continues to learn from his mistakes, as this summer's transfer dealings clearly show. If the fools who write in to this website calling for his head were capable of objective analysis instead of ridiculous abuse then they might realise that Moyes lies in the bracket of his British contemporaries such as Allardyce, Pardew, Hughes and McClaren (still unproven) i.e. learning and doing his best with the resources at his disposal.

Presumably for some the alternative is a high-profile foreign manager like Wenger, Benitez or Mourinho. Dream on. Everton Football Club is simply not in a position to attract a big European name to manage our club. Another fact conveniently ignored by dickheads such as Tony Marsh.

I have read the letters page on ToffeeWeb with increasing astonishment over the past few months. Mates have warned me off 'that bunch of moaning bastards'. It might be difficult for you to gauge your standing with match going Evertonians, as opposed to the telly watching masses you seem to cater for, but it is slipping alarmingly. Sadly, the problem for me is at it's best ToffeeWeb is the most intelligent and serious of the Evertonian forums. It would be a real shame if most Evertonians were to come to view it as a platform for a bunch of moaning bastards who simply do not want to accept reality and instead hide behind 'Nil Satis Nisi Optimum' as a response to everything.

Everton FC is moving in the right direction for the first time in years. Yes, we lost Rooney. Yes, the manager makes mistakes. Yes, the football is not on a par with 1985. Yes, we still have some ropey players. Yes, Liverpool won another European Cup.

The world of Evertonia is not perfect and being an Evertonian is still not easy. It never has been and never will be — and those who seek to blame Moyes, only Moyes, and nothing but Moyes, are deluding themselves if they think changing the manager and starting over is going to solve every ill of being an Evertonian.

And this brings me back to my original point - David Moyes is the most consistent manager we have had for twenty years, only missing a cup victory to rank him alongside the best. Most clubs in the Premier League of Everton's standing (i.e. those outside the so called big four) would snap him up tomorrow.

For any manager, analysis and criticism comes with the job. The sniping, personal insults and ignorant comments that dominate this site go beyond that. If ToffeeWeb is to resurrect it's reputation for serious and insightful debate it would do well to bear in mind the facts of Everton under Moyes over the last two years and not pander to the belligerant views of a minority and one of its editors.
Steve  Connor, Liverpool  (17/9/06)

A lot of valid points in there Steve but forgive me for pulling you up on the "non-match going beauts from Ireland" comment. Having flown back from Liverpool late last night (with wife and two kids — having spent a fortune in the megastore, for good measure), I can testify that John Lennon International Airport was overflowing last night with those you incorrectly label "non-match going beauts!" See yer in a fortnight!

Oh, and furthermore, I wonder if our "middle class" friends from The Observer also read ToffeeWeb, taking the data from an article I wrote last week?! — Colm

Let's Stop the Moyes Hating

Would just like to say that I am not a Moyes Lover. Nor am I a Moyes Hater. But I can definitely say that I love our great club and want the best at all times for it, just like everyone on this site.

I'd love us to play a fast, neat, incisive and entertaining game, full of little passing triangles, flicks, backheels and outstanding strikers. Hell, I'd love us just to play passing football on the gound... that would be enough. I'd also love the club to outwit all others in the transfer market and make fantastic signings every year, but our Board, manager and players are not pawns in a Football Manager game. The real world is a lot harder than that.

Call me a Moyes Lover if you must but sometimes I too hate his tactical changes, formations and team selections like the rest of us. All I was saying was get off his back after 5 games in and a decent start. It's not as if we had a start like last season's...
Glen Anderson, Huyton  (17/9/06)

Sorry, Glen; it was that "get off his back" line — which is a staple of the Moyes lovers, and says to me that he is above all criticsm, analysis, evaluation or debate. Perhaps we could all drop the silly labels and just dicuss the issues? But that's part of the problem: there are some who are prepared to discuss the issues... and there are others we think we should have blind faith in everything Moyes does, and that to question him in any way shows up as not "true" supporters. So, even on this issue, we have strong polarization.

It's tempting to add another rule to the TW mailbag: most things get past the ToffeeWeb Blue Pencil, but advocating supression of certian viewpoints or opinions will not. — Michael

Joey Yobo

I agree with people who say Yobo is Everton's best defender (although Lescott might soon take that title if he continues in this form) but I also recognise that Yobo does drop clangers which cost Everton points. Yobo still seems to suffer from a sloppy attitude at times. In fact Yobo seems to play better alongside Weir or Stubbs who clearly keep him in line.

Its a shame you couldn't have a defender with the ability of Yobo crossed with the attitude and consistency of Weir/Stubbs. Maybe Lescott will prove to be that defender? As you can probably tell I'm a big fan of Lescott's although he does run like a player kneecapped by gangsters. I wonder if Tony Marsh feels silly for calling him the new Krøldrup?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (17/9/06)

View from the Park End

So we didn't win. Anyone familiar with the ancient law of Sod could have predicted that. But the point is, we didn't lose either. And again, there were a lot of positives to instil further hope for the rest of the season.

Let's take it player by player first of all:

  • Howard looked solid as usual, couldn't really do anything for either of their goals. Moyes could do a lot worse than sign him on a permanent deal.
  • Hibbert was adequate without really impressing - but he is still recovering from ringworm so he gets a free pass.
  • Naysmith was OK too.
  • Yobo, his error in Wigan's first equaliser notwithstanding, was good. He has enjoyed a much better start to this season than last.
  • Lescott is the real star in defence though. The new signing limelight is inevitably on Johnson, but, each time I see Lescott play, the more convinced I am that we have a major talent in the making. He didn't put a foot wrong all afternoon.
  • Arteta, as usual, was the most skilful player in the side. How he isn't a regular for Spain is beyond me.
  • Osman, on the other side was who I thought was superb. When he first emerged in the first team I thought he was too 'lightweight' a player (physically and in terms of his creative tallents) to cut the mustard, but he continues to impress, and his ability to hold onto the ball under pressure is excellent considering his size.
  • Neville, in the middle, was rather anonymous — not a great game for him.
  • Carsley, on the other hand, was great — I know it's a cliché, but he really is the unsung hero of the squad (and he was sorely missed when he went off INJURED — I've put that in capitals for all the anti-Moyes brigade — this was not a 'poor tactical decision').
  • Cahill was impressive at times, although his tenacity sometimes outweighs his skill on the ball.
  • Johnson did everything we have come to expect from him. He ran tirelessly, chasing every ball, and got his just rewards again.
  • Valente was OK as a sub, but didnt really have much to do.
  • Beattie is my big worry. Yes, he came on and scored, but does anyone else get the feeling from his general demeanour, body language etc that he just can't be arsed? He and AJ don't seem to work very well together, and yesterday he simply trotted around waiting for the full-time whistle. I fear that his status as the 'big name' at the club has been rescinded (and handed over to the thoroughly deserving AJ), leading to an apathy in Beats that may spell a premature exit from Goodison.
So, overall we were OK. Yes, we should have wrapped it up when we had the chance. But I think the key thing here is that, unlike last season, where we lost many of these types of games, we remain unbeaten after 5 games. Hands up if you would have settled for that if it was offered in early August?
Neil Humphrey, Oldham  (17/9/06)

Some good comments there, Neil. But I've got to wonder about this concept that a sequence of results or points total from five games is on offer early in August, or before the new season starts, and it's there for us to take, or not. That's the fifth letter almost in a row now to invoke this disturbing 'logic'. I know it's basically a meaningless colloquialsm at best but it seems to be presented as a pervasive rationale that is put foreward to define a baseline on which we must judge the season so far. It leaves me cold, but am I alone in rejecting such nonsense out of hand?

I guess my reaction is an extension of my personal reluctance to predict results. Football is not a game played on paper or by projecting past form as a predictor of future matches, but a massive business sector has been built on the belief of many that this is exactly what football is all about. To me, that's at best an expensive pastime for amusement or whatever. But it has nothing whatsoever to do with football [Asian-inspired match-fixing nothwithstanding!]. — Michael

Boring Boring Tony

Is it just me or are we all bored of Tony Marsh and his predicable defeatist rants? After the Liverpool result is was all quiet on the Western Front from Mr Marsh, and then suddenly, after the Wigan draw (yes not a defeat but a draw), he can't get his "anti-everything" message in quick enough. It's gotten to the point where I don't have to read the content of the message to know what has been written like, "another Moyes blunder" and "the pro-Moyes camp need to wake up". Change the record man! We're undefeated after five games with three wins, tell me honestly you would not have accepted this at the start of the season?

Sure the Wigan result was a bit dissappointing, but is was hardly the time to crack the whip at Moyes and certain players after the start they have given us. It's a 38-game season the tactics and the performance from the players is not going to be perfect every game. Even when we where dominanting in the 80s, there were dissappointing results and poor player performances; there is now and there will be in the future, what do you expect? Great win over Spurs, always good to beat Liverool, enjoy it man!!! Because from your messages you don't seem to enjoy anything else.

Constant critisim when things go wrong and giving (at best) half-hearted praise when things go right in order to protect your stance on Moyes, isn't enlightening or unique, it's just plain boring.
Kevin Morris, Sydney, Australia  (17/9/06)

Got to agree with that last paragraph, Kevin. Tony was championing some key issues for which Moyes was clearly culpable last season, but so far this season, Mr Marsh is really having trouble showing some much needed balance instead of all the repetitious bile. No doubt he's going to have a field-day, though, when the wheels do fall off, as he is so keen to predict(perhaps yesterday was just part of him 'staying in shape', so to speak!). Surprising he hasn't made more of the fact that we have now slipped down the league table... to fourth. — Michael

Reality Check with Positive Points

Yes, it was a game we should have won. Yes, we need a holding midfielder desparately. Yes, we're not the world-beaters some Evertonians think, but.....

I actually think there are some positives to come out of yesterday. Osman was a revelation, Johnson was a handful again. And... Moyes actually made a positive substitution - Carsley had to come off, but on came a forward to give us an extra push. It initially worked, then the gap in our midfield gave them the initiative.

It didn't work yesterday, but long-term this needs to be encouraged. No doubt the neaderthals who worship the dull, high efficiency football of the last two years were shocked at the entertainment provided in the second half. The more Moyes and the players practice playing positive football, the more they'll get used to it and hopefully, the better they'll get at it.

It's a matter of choice: the short-term approach of pinching a goal and hanging on, or a long-term process that allows footballers to develop and gives us the chance to see some goals and entertainment. The penny appears to have dropped for Moyes: if you focus on not losing you have less chance of actually winning. Easier for Moyes than for his disciples, who have spent the last year telling us that high efficiency is 'the only way'.

So let's enjoy and encourage the entertainment. It's far too early to assess the season so far, but I'm certainly enjoying this positive approach.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (17/9/06)

And after the polarizing extremes of the two letters below, we have the more measured, balanced assessment. Nice job, Paul.

Besotted

On the official website, Moyes is at it again regarding Wonderbra. "He looked lively," said the boss... I should bloody well think so considering his fee and weekly wage. Even I can do 'lively'! Can he do 'effective'? Certainly young Anichebe (who does lively and effective at the same time) never has his cause promoted by Moyes.

As for the penalty, I personally think that Arteta should have chased Beattie when he tried for and achieved an undeserved short cut to the scoring ranks. No doubt if boy wonder reaches another massive goal haul this season of eleven or thereabouts he will be described as justifying his preferential treatment.

Get a grip, Moyes, before you lose Boyle, Anichebe and other promising youngsters like your predecessor. What have we done to deserve two such blinkered Scottish miseries as successive Managers of our great Club?
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (17/9/06)

I guess you'd be one of them there "Moyes Haters", eh? — Michael

Let's Stop the Moyes Hating

Well said, Steve Willis. Moyes may not be up there with the geratest managers in football history and his teams often play unattractive direct football but, on the whole, I firmly believe he is slowly turning our great club around. Granted, last season was a blot on his record, but he's made some progress in fixing his own mistakes with this summer's signings and I hope to see more progress in the form of a strong, ball-winning midfielder to replace / compliment Carsley in January.

Back in the Summer, if I were told that after 5 games in we'd be 3rd in the league and not having too much difficulty scoring goals, with a 3-0 derby win to boot, I would have been a happy man and indeed I am. Come on, fellas, let's get behind the team and the manager a little more. Mike Walker and Walter Smith he ain't!
Glen Anderson, Huyton  (17/9/06)

So speaks a "Moyes Lover" who expects us all to see the world through his eyes... — Michael

Peterborough

I don't like Moyes but he has taken our expectations to another level. That's why yesterday's draw feels like a defeat. It's stupid mistakes that are letting him down. Mistakes that the rest of us can see. So why can't he? Everyone should give him a break. he came with a 5-year plan. So lets wait and see what happens this season.

Against Peterborough, I think he'll make a few changes: Weir for Yobo, Valente for Naysmith, Davis and Van Der Meyde will probably get a run out. Arteta and AJ will be sitting on the bench, playing Poker. I think he'll start with Beattie and Anichebe. My biggest concern is he might start with Richard Wright. Moyes has been saying he will rotate the squad and with his tactical knowledge, we shouldn't be suprised if the line-up is something similar to that. Hopefully Moyes won't fuck this up. We've got a good chance of winning this competition and it's another route to Europe.

Who said play Weir against Newcastle? Weir will get destroyed by Martin's pace. That boy is lightning quick and can do 100 meters in 11 secs. Even Yobo and Lescott might struggle with his pace.
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (17/9/06)

Shut up, you bin man!

What a prick Schaeffer is? First he blames the draw on the realistic fans' opinions, then curses Yobo and lastly calls for Dad's Army to return!

The first thing I highlighted is so stupid I can't even discuss it! Second, you hate Yobo and you always have! During the summer you were begging Moyes to shoot him to Arsenal and collect the profits. You must have cried when Yobo re-signed for four years. Yobo is the best defender at the club and to blame him for trying to play football rather than wack useless long balls is as unintelligent as your postings are! But the extremely limited Naysmith escapes your notice!? Interesting! Yes Yobo made a mistake but it was a collective team error for the first goal.

Then you call for the return of Weir and Stubbs? Slower than your thought process, that pair, Dutchy! Surely a wind-up tool from you as they have nothing to offer except allotment tips and pension stamps. But as I walk around London I look at the big black bins with 'Schaffer' slapped on them, and I remind myself that that's the substance of your views. Bins, like you, should be seen — not heard!
Luq Yus, London  (17/09/06)

Yobo - a clanger?

Fair do's, Yobo's clanger cost us the first goal (well contributed to it) and everyone jumps on the bandwagon and reminds us of the mistake against Man Utd last season. Well, if the lad's prone to mistakes someone remind me of another howler for God's sake! Yes, he maybe is susceptible to the occasional accident but please do not advocate the return of Weir as centre back because I can think of several more occasions when his lack of pace or aggression in the tackle has caused us to concede.

As for Beattie coming on in place of Carsley, well maybe for once Moyes was actually trying to go for a bigger victory than 1-0. A case of damned if you do, damend if you don't? I thought that Beattie should actually have been brought on in the first half for the simple reason that, although we don't want to resort to full-time hoofball again, there was nobody to challenge for the high ball that inevitably has to be played occasionally - i.e. Tim Howard's kicks off the ground.

Aiming high balls at our wind-up merchant, Tim Cahill, is not effective. He needs movement towards the ball to win headers, not having to stand right under them as they travel 50 yards. With Ferguson gone, Beattie not on from the start and now Kilbane sold, who is the aerial outlet? If it's going to be Tim, then expect him to pick up a few red cards this season as he attempts to out-joust guys 3 or 4 inches taller than him...
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (17/9/06)

'Coz I care

Today is a good day to look at the reaction from the likes of Tony Marsh.

As you say, it didn't take him long to use this game to fuel his obsession with Moyes. He must analyse each incident from this obsessive view point and store away perceived Moyes faults. A problem for him has been good games but, hey presto... write them off to luck!

I have watched the cynic and moaner in many aspects of life. They create atmospheres were those who see the positive are branded naive or stupid. The cynic claims insight and to be worldly wise. "In the know." So we have a good start to the season that many clubs would take with both hands and Moyes gets it in the neck again. Let's sack him and be the biggest laughing stocks in Europe? No doubt Tony would defend his obsessive analysis by saying it's "coz I care." Well he has no monopoly on care and I am pleased to suggest the team are playing exciting football, scoring well, making the odd mistake and being led by a manager who has limitations (name one who doesn't) but can create a spirit many teams would dream of.

I can see Tony tapping the side of his nose, making a sly wink and telling me I am not really excited, I am missing what is really happening, I work for the club PR dept, and I don't care enough. But the fact remains - I am enjying this season and would love the team and manager to read this and know it.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (17/9/06)

Boyle & Ruddy

Michael, I agree with you that most of the youngsters who Moyes sends out on loan do eventually end up being shown the door at Goodison but isn't that because the loan spell proves to Moyes that they aren't good enough?

Players like Nick Chadwick, Laurence Wilson, Paul Hopkins, Anthony Gerrard etc... never made an impact while on-loan and haven't exactly done much since leaving permanently. The exception of course is Leon Osman who really impressed Moyes while on-loan at Derby and was drafted back to Everton a much better player.

John Ruddy and Patrick Boyle both played 90 mins yesterday and if they are any good I'm sure Moyes will bring them back to Everton to develop their careers further. If they fail to shine on-loan then you have to wonder how good they really are? Considering Moyes brought both Ruddy and Boyle to the club I expect him to give them both every chance to impress.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (17/9/06)

My take is a little different. These players have done everything they could to earn a place at least on the bench. Ruddy did a great job against Blackburn. His reward: Sander Westerveld in as an emergency keeper! Being farmed out to some no-mark club they aren't even part of is more a way of saying "You can't hack it for us, let's put you in the shop window down in the lower leagues, where you really belong." Osman was an exception, but not for the dubious reason you cited. Dithering Dave couldn't really be bold enough to give him a decent chance... until he turned TWENTY THREE. And only then in the midst of an injury crisis. He scored inside three minutes on his full debut. But it had been 15 months since his sub debut. Is that how long these other kids will have to wait until they get a decent chance? And maybe getting that decent chance is what they need to enable them to step up. Without it, their confidence goes and they never make the grade. — Michael

STILL undecided about Moyes

I've read about the Preston perspective and I've seen similar snipets of it off and on during his tenure. So, what's the truth? The short version may well be somewhere in the middle of the two extremes: Dithering Dave or Moyesiah. It may turn out that, while he mightn't be the best we could have, he is the best we will get, for the next few years anyway.

For lots of reasons, some more contributary than others, the harsh fact is that we missed the boat in the game of finance/Sky/Premier League musical chairs. We aquired a debt, we didn't aquire a sugar daddy, do we even want one? Could our souls, our untarnished People's Club (the Royal Blue Mersey, poor but honest — nobody from the home counties or Scandinavia supports us) souls stand the shame, face somebody plowing in money to 'buy' us the title? Why, Harry Catterick would turn in his grave... "What about John Moores for sugar daddy then, Harry, I seem to remember that you spent up large when it suited..."

Is 4th as good as we can expect then with no BIG money? Will we have to get our heads around the fact that, as Sky pointed out in last weeks intro this was the 28th derby and they, with the help of the clubs in the prem, set the clock back to a Pol Pot-esque Year Zero, so that all the glory that went on 'back in the day' counts for nothing. So what 'if ya knows yer 'istry'? Big boots, leather balls, baggy shorts, centre parts and perms (or mullets for that matter) amount to nought in the modern game. So this is it then, live with it, deal with it. Nobody says I have to like all its aspects though, but whaddaya gonna do? Stop going then?... nah.

Which meanders us back to Moyes: hero or villian? As Harold Wilson nearly said, a week is a long time in football, with the rub of the green, as mentioned by others, last week: 3-0... none this week: 2-2. Oldies will remember the Byrds song Turn Turn Turn 'For every season, turn turn turn'...for every Martyn there is a Wright, trun turn turn...for every Lescott thre is a Krøldrup, turn turn turn... for every Johnson there is a Beattie, turn turn turn... And I'm STILL undecided about Moyes!!
Derek Thomas, Auckland, NZ  (17/9/06)

Yes, Derek, that was... er... very helpful. I never did understand that song... With them being called The Byrds, I always thought it was about the migratory habbits of terns. — Michael

Who is to blame?

Was not at game but watched MotD; surely Moyes cannot be entirely at fault. How many GOOD chances did we have to score? If them chances had been converted, it would have been an easy win. Give the man a break. Last season, we were all baying for his head after a terrible start. This season, we are unbeaten after five games, with some hard fixtures included in that, and we are in top five. And another bonus is we are scoring goals — if I remember right, we were the joke of the whole football world after scoring less goals than anyone else in Europe last season. What short memories we have...
Steve Willis, Bristol  (17/9/06)

Midfield blues

Well, a timely reality check if one were needed. Once again, we are reminded of our failure to capture the signing of a quality holding midfield player. Carsley to some extent has compensated for this — always able to put his foot in, win possession and most importantly do the simple thing, like find a blue shirt with a short pass. Enter Neville, whio is not quite as effective in this role, struggles to gain possession, and all too often is overly ambitious with his attempts to pass the ball, squandering possession.

Defensively we were poor. Yobo is criticised for failing to clear his lines but this is only part-true; the fact is there was ample cover when he gave the ball away and we should have coped with the threat. However, with Yobo out of position, the covering defenders failed totally to cope.

Naysmith is indecisive; he fails to pick men up and when he does it's too late — today, this cost us dearly. Additionally, to play with two upfront requires width: Arteta on the right was outstanding in this respect; however, we were much less effective on the left with Osman preferring a more central role. This doesn't work terribly well with the two up front. Result: our attacks increasingly relied on long hopeful balls and was all too predictable as the game progressed. Let's all hope Carsley makes a speedy recovery.
Gerry Western, London  (17/9/06)

Everton & Wigan

I have to agree that Everton went off the boil when Carsley went off (injured according to the official website), I'm sure Moyes wouldn't have made the change otherwise. Before the season, if I'd been told that a team including Carsley and Neville in midfield would bang the ball around and play some lovely stuff, I wouldn't have believed it.

An attacking midfield role behind AJ looks perfect for Cahill and with the invention of Arteta and Osman; it's a combination most teams will find hard to stop.

The criticism of Moyes is a bit harsh; had he say brought Weir on and played Yobo in midfield he'd have been slaughtered. Maybe VdM could have been used, but I doubt that he's fully fit, this being said Beattie was the obvious choice. Beattie was OK; he won a few balls in the air and was pretty mobile, but I think the only way he can be really be effective is with 2 good wingers, which is something we frankly haven't had for years.

The criticism of Yobo is stupid and suggestions that Weir or Stubbs take his place, even more so. Yes, he cost us a goal, but his pace & positional play got Everton out of several holes that Weir and Stubbs wouldn't have been able to cover. Yobo's the best thing I've seen in the middle of the defence since the Ratcliffe era, and his partnership with Lescott looks very promising.

AJ, who looks like the real thing, missed two comparatively easy chances — one from Osman's through ball, the second from Arteta's free kick. But I've yet to read any posts saying he's bollocks and should be dropped. Had these chances been taken, Wigan would have been dead and buried before Wigan equalized.
Colin Smith, Hopewell, New Jersey, USA  (17/9/06)

Yobo Vs Weir/Stubbs

They may not be young or fashionable but you can bet both Weir and Stubbs would both have blasted that ball into Row Z. Yobo tried to play his way out of danger and it turned out to be a costly mistake. When he was young, Yobo was excused his mistakes because in the words of David Moyes, "young defenders make mistakes".

Last season, Yobo made a couple of blunders which cost Everton points, in particular gifting fat-boy Rooney a goal to gloat over us. When partnered with Lescott, Yobo is the older more experienced player and I was hoping that would bring out the best of him but still those mistakes keep turning up. I really think Yobo is a good player and I guess we are just going to have to accept the occasional mistake because they don't look like going away.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (17/9/06)

What Happened?

I thought we looked a bit tired in the last quarter today but, although disapointed with a point, I am happier with the start to the season. However, some things don't change: I tuned into MOTD awaiting the controversial Kirkland incident and there it wasn't in all it's glory.

I sit behind the goal at Goodison and only saw Kirkland fall over his own defender and the melee that followed. Did Sky show more of the incident? If so, was Cahill involved i.e. did he foul their player? If not then why did they get a free-kick as I would have thought it should have been a penalty and sending off. Can anyone enlighten me please.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (17/9/06)

I think it was just handbags from the Wigan players after Cahill did his usual elegant move on their keeper. The ref gave them a free-kick for Cahill's foul, but gave them both Kirkland and De Zeeuw yellow cards for their OTT reaction. It was all nonsense anyway and hardly worth the comment really, let alone a minute on telly. — Michael

Match fitness time

Sitting in the Lower Bullens today (my first game since March), I could see which players were lacking match fitness. Certainly beattie and Valente both need games and with Van der Meyde also a sub, there were three unfit players on the bench so surely Moyes has got to use the Peterborough game on Tuesday to get these some match practise. We can't afford it in the Premiership as our squad is not big enough, Davies and Aanichebe should also play so we can rest Johnson, Arteta and Cahill.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (16/9/06)

Football Manager, here we go again...

Tempered view

A few points on today's game and not a glowing pro- or anti-Moyes tirade, well a little at the end but tempered.

To answer why Gary Naysmith played over Valente, my assumption can only be why break up a successful squad from the previous week? I have always rated Valente above Naysmith and in pre-season also rated Boyle as head and shoulders above him too but I'm not in the driving seat and Moyes is, Boyle as we know has been farmed out to Norwich to gain first-team experience.

Conceded goals have to be put down to a lapse from Yobo for one goal trying to dribble the ball out having already done the hard work only to be dispossessed and the consequence was a goal. The other simply giving too much space and respect to a team clearly more hungry and more "Bolton-like" in physically challenging for every ball. Similarly those screaming out why Carsley was subbed, it was an injury that Neville was screaming to Moyes about and he ignored the calls for several minutes before finally withdrawing him, I'd rather have a minor injury than playing him longer and losing him for weeks.

Tactics is the one zone where I have to point the finger at Moyes; other than Beattie demanding and scoring the penalty, he did nothing to impress me. Think about how easy scoring a dead-ball situation against a static keeper is compared to open play or against defenders... Seeing a lacklustre Beattie frankly not look at all arsed, has he taken the knock over AJ or injured or is this what we can now expect? January is coming up fast and if he doesn't shape up I'd rather he shipped out. I would rather have Valente introduced and either he or Naysmith as makeshift winger to leave the five-man midfield in place.

Supporters around me in the Park End were calling for Van der Meyde as if he is the golden child — has anyone seen him actually do anything yet? He is another I'd rather ship out come January if all he is going to be is an expensive bench warmer and booze hound.

Not the end of the world tonight as the end of the game we looked more and more likely to concede a third goal and come away with nothing. Still unbeaten and that point is better than none — it's the same old Evertonian curse of wanting the world this morning and only getting half.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (16/9/06)

Yobo's Clanger

If Carsley was injured, that explains why Moyes substituted him but I don't think that's the real reason we dropped points anyway. Joey Yobo dropped a right clanger, that's why Wigan equalised and you cannot blame Moyes for that. Yobo is prone to clangers (remember Rooney's goal last season) and maybe the more consistent Weir or Stubbs should be in contention to partner Lescott against Newcastle?

As for people suggesting Paddy Boyle should be given a chance, well let's see what Norwich make of him, then we'll be able to judge if Moyes should have given him a chance. I think sending Boyle out on loan to gain experience is a good idea, it's a strategy Moyes has use before and it totally worked with Leon Osman who returned a far better player after his time with Derby.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (16/9/06)

What worries me is that most of the players Moyes sends out on loan end up leaving. — Michael

From my seat

Five games in: three wins, two draws, no defeats; ten goals for, four against. I think most Blues would see that as a good start. Today's game was one of those where we had to win the battle before we could play, this I thought we did until Carsley had to leave with a rib injury... then we suffered — we are lacking in midfield. Carsley may not be up there with the best but he is the best we have got and no natural replacement leads me to think both Board and Manager have some thinking to do.

Today saw as many positives as negatives with Lescott shining and Yobo waneing, Neville commanding until the Carsley role was thrown upon him. Cahill threatening until an orthodox midfield role was required. Then, when Beattie was introduced, why did Johnson continue as main striker with Beattie playing off? Shouldn't it have been the other way around considering Wigan's no-nonsense approach?

I just hope all those who have the say in our club take note of today' frailties and understand that beating top-our material is only part of the equasion, beating regular triers is what makes the difference between an okay finish and something to shout about.

C.C. next and the line up will be an education on Moyes's thinking. I hope he goes with lads who should be good enough with a smattering of experience around them and some big guns on the bench just in case. I was never in to cross-country but will manage Tuesday, see you there... — UP THE BLUES!
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (16/9/06)

Carsley

Most of you are saying Carsley might have been injured. Even so, Moyes should have bought on another midfielder and kept the five in midfield. That's the best system to play with the players we've got. That also proves another point. We where crying out for a strong holding midfielder before the transfer window closed but Moyes didn't feel that way.

Beattie and AJ doesn't work. They get in each other's way. When Beattie plays alongside AJ it takes something away from AJ's game.
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (16/9/06)

Average Result

I love it, Everton beat Spurs and Liverpool and nobody hears from Tony Marsh all week. A 'disappointing' result against Wigan and guess who returns.

Personally, I'm reasonable happy with the draw. There was much to be optimistic over: another goal for AJ, our goalscoring drought seems solved, Lescott continues to impress, Osman was easily the best player on the pitch, a goal which will hopefully improve Beattie's confidence, and we are still in 3rd place.

Don't forget this time last year Wigan came to Goodison Park and took all three points.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (16/9/06)

Crash Landing

After today's result against a very limited Wigan side I am asking myself 'What the fuck was Moyes doing?' Once again, Moyes the Master tactian (as he has been called recently) totally lost the plot. Anyone could see that the key to unlocking the Wigan defence was pace yet he brings on that useless Bulldozer, Beattie. Why? It took DM long enough to figure out Kilbane was useless now we are going through it all over again with JB.

Once Beattie came on, we lost our shape and attacking threat and could easily have lost the match. I know we had more chances than them but remember last week before you shout about that fact. Gary Grimsmith was replaced by Valente but why is he even starting matches? Another Moyes blunder.

Under Moyes, our results are always determined by rub-of-the-green performances rather than actually taking teams apart. Last week we got the rub of the green; this week we didn't — without any sort of game plan other than get stuck in, it's alarming! Moyes needs to start learning a little quicker about the needs of his team. This bright new dawn so many of you have been talking about seems a million years away after today's feeble surrender.

Start learning how to put the finishing touches to performances, Davey. Stop relying on lady luck to do your job for you. Stop playing players who are Championship class at best and start giving the youngsters a go.

Schaffer, Dodd and all the rest of you dreamers: reality kicks you in the balls when you least expect it. Don't dust off your passports just yet, boys — Europe is still a distant dream.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (16/9/06)

Boy that didn't take you long, did it? And I see it was that useless Kilbane fella who crossed rather neatly for their first goal... but that was just luck for them, eh? I just don't think winning games in the Premiership is quite as simple as you or Dutch make out.

I have to agree about the youngsters though. Boyle was very impressive and surely ready for his debut based on pre-season. But he's off at Norwich for a month. Anichebe did everything he possibly could to dislodge Beattie from consideration... no joy. — Michael

Substitution

Regarding Harry Hills being subbed. Prior to the sub, one of the players (possibly Neville) indicated to the bench by hand actions: "Give it 4 or 5 (mins) for someone to come off". It could be Carsley was carrying an injury so just maybe the sub was a forced one.
Roy Jordan, St Helens  (16/9/06)

Carsley or Neville

I was amazed moyes brought Carsley off and played 4-4-2. Neville seems to be Moyes's blue-eyed boy — he has passion but he is no way better than Lee Carsley. We are not good enough to play 4-4-2. Some were blaming today on defensive errors — they had no protection from the midfield.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (16/9/06)

Point Proven (Tactical Genius)

Point proven. I said in my post yesterday (see below) that Moyes was tactically very poor. He doesn't know when to make the changes. Well, today he proved me right. We drew the game but could have easily lost it.

Why the hell did he take Carsley off? He should have learnt by now that Carsley provides much needed protection to our defence. Without Carsley we concede more goals. The timing of the subtitution was also bad. We we're winning and in total control of the game. Will Moyes ever learn? Every one will say we didn't loose but it's games like these where we have to pick up points. I don't know about you lot but my expectations are higher. A draw against Wigan just isn't good enough.

If we loose next week against Newcastle. I might just jump on the Anti-Moyes Brigade Volkswagon!!!
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (16/9/06)

And what if Carsley came off because he was injured? — Michael

Glass Half Full

Ok, disappointed, yes, but it has to go down as one of those days. Was quite surprised to see a 4-5-1 against Wigan as I didn't think they required that much closing down in the centre of the park. I suppose the counter argument goes: if not broke, don't fix it.

If Kirkland hadn't intervened a couple of times the 3 points would have been bagged no question. Fair play to us going all out to try and get the 3 points in the second half, we came very close to getting them. Maybe a good wake up call for Yobo (FFS - again???) and the lesson from today: Concentration. Let's not be too downhearted given the results against Spurs and Liverpool. Moreover, the point nicked against Blackburn probably balances this one out - we showed sufficent spirit there to get it as did Wigan here.

Time to regroup, consolidate and look to resume against Newcastle with the small matter of the Posh in-between. We're still unbeaten and now have a striker who gives EVERY supporter real hope. The doom mongers can stay in the woodwork for the moment — you know who you are...
Ting Tong, Southport  (16/9/06)

I told you not to do it!

In a recent posting I cautioned... If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I consider that being 1-0 up at home just after half-time is just such an example of 'it ain't broke'. Why oh why then did our Manager choose to ignore good and well-intentioned advice? The formation that was abandoned (along with a precious two points) had served us adequately against Spurs and Liverpool to the extent that no goals were scored against us whilst Carsley was protecting the back four. Within a minute of Carsley's withdrawal today, Wigan scored.

The two events might not be directly linked but change for the sake of change often disappoints. Carsley's presence in the team serves two purposes: protecting the defence, and freeing Arteta, Cahill and Osman. Yet Moyes has been itching to tinker (and has said so) to accomodate the likes of Wonderbra. The last Manager to pay the ultimate price for snatching defeat from the jaws of a victory was Ranieri but I consider that his tinkering generally had merit.

I am convinced Moyes has bowed to pressure from our esteemed Number Nine who quite frankly has done little in an Everton shirt to earn favours from his boss. There again, the boss in question does not wish to appear to have bought another pup and in my opinion young James is just that. The worst sort of signal has now been sent to the team that victories alone will not guarantee continuity. If that is the case, why bother?
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (16/9/06)

Moyes made a farily adventurous and combative substitution against Liverpool, bringing on Beattie for Osman... Everton go on to win the game in fine style; Moyes is a genius. Next game, Moyes makes similar substitution, the opposition score; Everton go on to sacrifice two vital points and Moyes is in the doghouse. Such are the fine lines of football... Who'd be a bloody manager, eh? — Michael

The Moyes Mistake

Actually, Michael, you could argue that The Anti-Moyes Brigade is in part to blame for that awful substitution. Your rancid ranks are always complaining Moyes doesn't make enough attacking football decisions, well that's what happens when he does. Personally I prefer the hard-fought high-efficiency football that was our cornerstone when we finished 4th. Moyes went for the attacking option (just as you all want him to do) when he should have shut up shop and won the game 1 - 0. As for Yobo, I like him a lot, a good player but for some reason every now and then he gets complacent and decides to gift the opposing team a goal. Luckily it looks like a trait Lescott won't be picking up.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (16/9/06)

That's right, you stupid prat: blame Moyes's critics for his "mistake"... You are unbelievable! — Michael

Back to reality

It was an entertaining game but ultimately the game ended in frustration for the Blues.

I heard it on Fivelive and to be honest it sounded like Wigan were very fortunate, but I did notice how the goals went in at our end when Moyes took Carsley off and put Beattie on. The formation changed and from a comfortable position, Everton were exposed down the areas Carsley's departure opened up and hence the two goals as Jimmy Armfield said. Otherwise Wigan should have been blown away but Kirkland was in fine form.

I ain't too down-hearted and it shows how far Everton have come to be dissapointed with a home draw against a mid-table side. One thing I missed was the reception Kilbane got, how was it?
Luq Yus, London  (16/9/06)

I thought the entertainment value in the second half was fantastic. Rarely do I actually get excited watching them any more, but I started to feel something as we piled the pressure on the Park End goal, and the response with Beattie's penalty was the real high... only for us to be dumped right back down to earth again in classic Moyes roller-coaster fashion.

And did we really switch to hoof-ball after poor passing and hesitant clearances had gifted them the two goals? That's a pity, as we played some great stuff at times in the second half. Ah well... plenty of justification now for Moyes to ring the changes on Tuesday. — Michael

Everton 2 - 2 Wigan

It would be easy to blame this draw on another points-costing mistake by Yobo (surely Stubbs must partner Lescott next game) but I actually blame David Moyes.

When Johnson gave Everton the lead I thought great, we'll close up shop and that's another three points in the bag. Then Moyes went and did something a bit crazy, he took off Carsley and brought on Beattie, an unthinkable attacking substitution. Thirty minutes later Everton had conceded two goals.

I think Moyes got a little bit over-confident because that substitution cost Everton points. Moyes has been superb in the past two games but this 'positive' decision was a mistake. Everton should have made a defensive substitution and ground out the 1-0 victory. Hopefully Moyes will learn from this mistake and next time protect a lead instead of looking for more glory (we are not Man Utd yet).

That said, a draw continues Everton's excellent start to the season and I'm cross with Moyes.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (16/9/06)

Stubbs is injured. Fine to second-guess the substitution after the event, but it did look as if our back-four suffered from a lack of protection that Carsley had been providing. Will your hero admit to that mistake? Or blame the players for poor defending and gifting them two goals? I think I know the answer already... — Michael

Wigan To Win

The Anti-Moyes Brigade have been right all along, our manager is worthless. Everton are going to lose to Wigan, they will walk all over us.

(Once again I dont actually believe this but it worked for Spurs and Liverpool and I have to keep going until this wonderful run ends.)
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (16/9/06)

Child.

Response to Azman

You say Beattie isn't a waste of money. Well for £6M and a record buy at the time I expect more from him. His been here nearly two years. In that time he has hardly ever been fit. Last season he had half a decent season and suddenly he is your hero and becomes an Everton legend. To make matters worse he gets the Number 9 shirt. I could go on about him but I'll stop, otherwise I might be here all day. As for McFadden, is that all he has done in three years??? If any of us produced stats like those two in our jobs. We'd probably be sacked.

It takes more then two decent seasons out of four and a 3-0 win over liverpool to convince us realistic Blues that Moyes is a good manager. The Pro-Moyes Group need to wake up and smell the coffee... Anticipating a huge BACKLASH from the Pro-Moyes Group and secret agent 007 (Colm)...
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (16/9/06)

McFadden

People think he's not good enough. Well, I like to play with facts:

From the 29 appearances he made last season, he scored 7 goals and made 4 assists. So, he was involved in 11 goals from 29 appearances. In other words, McFadden has contributed a goal to the team in every 3 games — not bad for 23-year-old.

I believe that McFadden is the perfect partner for Johnson in a 4-4-1-1 formation, in which McFadden plays deeper behind Johnson, in a half-striker role.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (16/9/06)

Right... I'll be watching for him, then, in the next three games... Michael

Response to Shaka

Moyes makes mistakes in signing players. It makes a bad reading. Sure, we can go on all day about the £1M loss we made on Krøldrup, OR we could talk about how great an impact Lescott made to our team. We can talk about Davies, Van der Meyde, OR we praise the likes of 'bargain' Cahill, Arteta, Neville...

Wright a waste of £3.5M? Well, I'd say £500k for two good seasons from Martyn is absolute steal. For a minimal fee, we also got a top-class keeper for a year. And for Beattie, how can you rate him as a flop, when he was our top goalscorer last season, and probably among the highest in the past decade? This season, he hasn't really taken off, but it's only 1/9th of the season so far... judge him at least in December.

The likes of Sissoko, Emre, Bellamy, Kuyt didn't come not because of Moyes dithering, it just didn't go as planned. Sissoko was always going to pick Liverpool ahead of us; Emre was a wage issue. I'm glad Bellamy didn't came, otherwise we wouldn't have gotten Johnson, and for Kuyt, he said he wanted a Champions League Club. Absolutely nothing to do with Moyes.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (16/9/06)

So your path to a balanced view is to ignore all the failures and talk up the successes? Got it!

Uniformity

Because of the total predictability of pro- and anti-Moyes Brigades, I have stopped reading the text of most letters — finding instead that, by first looking to its author's name, I can save a lot of time. An old photo of my dad in his Boys Brigade uniform made me think there could be some kind of uniform the different Moyes brigades could wear? Perhaps brigade members could put some thought into designing a suitable uniform for the opposing brigade.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (16/9/06)

I guess it's been a quiet week...

Is AJ worth it? You bet!

I found some interesting historical transfers on SkySports. Taking into account inflation and the fact that strikers are generally more expensive, AJ is a complete bargain. Ok, you can pull me up that these are exceptions but what a snip at £8.6M. He'll hopefully easily pay that back in higher league finishes, merchandising and increased TV coverage.

So here they are:

  • Dean Richards (2001) from Southampton to Spurs for £8.1M
  • Kevin Davies (1998) from Saints to Blackburn for £7.5M
  • Carl Cort (2000) from Wimbledon to Newcastle for £7M
Thanks to Moyes/Kenwright for highlighting our rich history, forking out and getting his mate Beattie five bellies to have a word. Watch out for Paul Jewell handing stash of pies over to Beattie whilst he warms the bench tomorrow. C'mon you blue boys.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (15/9/06)

Sorry but what does that prove? I don't know what you're smoking, fella, but it must be some good shit. But yes, let's look for some good stuff this afternoon... Michael

Andy's Song

Just heard the new single from Andy Johnson: "Reina drops keep falling on my head". Best record that I've heard in years.
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (15/9/06)

Anti-Moyes Brigade

Just for the record, I'm not a member of the anti-Moyes Brigade. I just don't like the way he does thing. Like his transfer dealings, and his negative attitude in games. In saying that, I've seen enough of Moyes to suggest he could become a very good manager. He has taken our expectation to higher levels. We alomost got us a taste of Champions League football. He has won the Manager of the Year award twice in three years. We've slowly moved away from the barren nineties, for those old enough to remember.

On the flip side of the coin, I've seen enough to suggest he could also become a very bad manager. Tactically he is poor. He doesn't know how to change a game or when to make the changes. He has no Plan B and one style of football which is long ball, hard work and determination. That only gets you so far. He is still a young manager and he'll learn from his mistakes. If Moyes fails, he'll be the downfall of his own success. He achieved too much too early then fucked it all up.

So for now I'll stick by him. Colm, is it true you're working undercover for the Anti-Moyes Brigade??? Must be hard playing double role. Working overtime...
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (15/9/06)

That's not a bad example of balanced assessment, Shaka, although I think Moyes being "the downfall of his own success" a bit of a stretch. Success is success and should be rcognized as such, and applauded. To say it wais achieved "too early" is nonsense. And since Colm has been "outted", he has suffered a bit of identity crisis, and is currently on sabatical.— Michael

Blind faith

With these arguments and counter auguments flying about from the Moyes faithful and the 'anti-Moyes Brigade', it should be pointed out that traditionally real fans would support the club, players and the manager without question. Discussions about the qualities of our team, club and manager should be held in private, behind closed doors, instead of washing our dirty laundry in public, so we are seen to have a united front. Well, if I believe that then I must be stupid.

But what do we all believe deep down inside? Do we secretly hope that our current manager really is the best thing since sliced bread and he is really the second messiah? Let me let you into a secret: I have blindly supported all of our managers, giving them the benefit of the doubt, right up until the time when they finally leave the club, no matter what.

I must admit I started to think Wally Smith had finally lost it, when he signed David Ginola, but that's another story. Even Mike Walker got my unconditional support, as long as he was managing the Blues, and he was bad. So is being a true blue fan and supporter all about having blind faith? (Yes, I have an album by them as well).
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (15/9/06)

Too much information, thanks, Brian. I really think you should keep a lot of that in private, behind closed doors. Your attempt to claim the moral high ground for the blind faithful is offensive, and lacks merit beyond that of a sycophant who would see this mailbag bulging with obsequious flattery of the manager's every move.

Meanwhile, the rest of us will continue to use our god-given faculties of critical assessment to make judgements as we see fit, knowing that the true nature of support understands the manager's weaknesses as well as strengths, and seeks to see those weakensses rectified for the good of the club, rather than have them brushed under the carpet of blind faith and uncritical support. — Michael

Kilbane Header 1-0!

I had a really vivid dream last night of a 1-0 loss with a Kevin Kilbane winner (header), except he was playing for Fulham?
Richard Williams, Danbury  (15/9/06)

Approval ratings

This is interesting: David Moyes has the highest fan approval ratings in the entire Premiership at the moment. Wonder what it will be next week... Hopefully above 90% after a thumping win against Wigan!
BSD Lover, Sydney, Australia  (15/9/06)

Looks like you stirred the anti-Moyes Brigade to vote for Al 'n' 'Arry in their droves, pushing our Moyesy down the rankings already... — Michael

Bloody foreigners

In reply to Ray Robinson's request about foreign players, I think Andre Kanchelskis was on his way to greatness. He was much more than a "good" player, as was Limpar. Matterazzi went on to win the World Cup and score in the final. By the way, he's now been reunited with another good player from abroad who we signed at the same time, Olivier Dacourt.

Every team in England has horror stories about foreign players, most well worse than us. Liverpool still have no-marks on top dollar who can't even get in their reserves and long may it continue!
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (15/9/06)

Long may what continue? Us buying Peter Degn Mk 2, Mk 3 etc — or the Reds being stuck with the likes of Diao! — Colm

Common sense

Nice to see Tony Marsh back, and on good form too! I especially liked the 'shoot a kopite' line. I had a kopite scum on the bus with me this morning trying to belittle the derby result, saying we still ain't shite! Stupid shite! Give me a semi-auto loaded with blue paint and that should do the trick.

And I echo David Lynch's point about being anti-Moyes. I don't like the man, but I'll be very happy if we were successful under him! And having come up with the 'Brigade' slogan, shouldn't I get some royalities every time it's mentioned here on ToffeeWeb?
Luq Yus, London  (15/09/06)

Royalities? Didn't Mussolini get shut of them? — Colm ;-)

Moyes in/Moyes out/shake it all about

Just read a quite funny take on the Moyes question at Everton Mince, where he makes the point that Moyes may not be the Messiah, he's not the devil either...
Moira Riddiford, Llandudno  (15/9/06)

A day to remember!

"A view from the armchair" by Kevin Gillen: Great article... it was very similar to my day, one I will remember for years to come. Poll was awful, the Liverpool luck has run out and it is our season. Everton — Champions 08-09 — sounds good to me!
Wayne Price, Cardiff  (15/9/06)

"Nnnnnuuuuuurrrrrrrsssssee!!!!" — Colm

Fix Bayonets!

Nice to have you back Marshy, you sound almost happy… almost.

Re your analogy with Zulu: you’ll find that a small determined force with their backs to the wall beat off an army over 30 times their size. They had three things their enemy didn’t… discipline, fortifications and the Martini-Henry short chambered .45 ‘Boxer’ rifle with fixed bayonet. (Okay admitted, the Zulus had picked up discarded Martini-Henrys and used them against the defenders; but they were as accurate as Liverpool last week… only one shot in 20 anywhere near the target).

The analogy with Everton goes further: as many of our enemies have manpower resources we can only dream of, we are never better than when facing an overwhelming foe. We’re re-occupying ‘fortress’ Goodison, have the discipline to play to our strengths, defend like demons and build hit and run attacks from the rear. Also, I’m beginning to detect little flashes of the flair and arrogance in midfield that any top-four pretender must possess.

As to our Martini-Henry rifle, this is Johnson, who excites me more than any blue forward has for a long time. He reminds me of another striker from long ago who regularly ghosted behind defenders, ran till his ears bled, chased every lost cause with his sizzling pace and had a uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time… that striker was (dare I say it) Ian Rush. Let’s hope that our wonder weapon keeps firing and doesn’t jam.

James Bond was a work of fiction by the way, built from the fertile imagination of the author, and without the author he doesn’t exist, much in the same way as Chelsea, Portsmouth, West Ham… the roubles buy riches beyond our comprehension — but take them away and what will be left?

James Bond the fictional character was also an upper class, privileged, public school educated ‘Rupert’ twit — give me the Martini-Henry with fixed bayonet and good men from the ranks with some guts behind it, any day of the week.

Now let's go and feast ourselves on the Pie Eaters… we owe them one!
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (15/9/06)

So that's two of us Kevin who see Johnson as some sort of modern day Ian Rush. If he proves half as successsful as that git, we'll do okay! — Colm

California Dreaming

Like all Blues, I am hoping that the boys can keep it rolling this week. For the first time in years we look more likely to score one than allow one (excluding Naysmith). All the 'experts' have us labelled as too thin but we look strong 1 through 16. If we can avoid injuries to our key players (AJ, Arteta, Yobo and A Player-to-be-named-later), we should be in for a great ride.
Kingo Kongo, Cucamonga, USA  (15/9/06)

Curiosity begs the question.... who is this mystery Player-to-be-named-later you speak of? For all our sakes let's hope it's not Per Krøldrup as this place might meltdown! — Colm

Krøldrup

Could we all move forward from this transfer accepting that it was finances (or lack of) that prevented him from fully playing for Everton, and not some spin nonsense about him beng unable to head the ball. We bought him with Champions League finances in mind, it didn't happen, we couldn't afford to play him. End of.
David Flynn, London  (15/9/06)

Be nice of the Club though to admit as much, wouldn't it? Instead of the nonsense citing "commercial sensitivity"... — Colm

Reply to Paul Atress

Krøldrup is actually a very good player. I've watched him a few times and was quiet impressed. He can pass the ball, dribble and go past players. Has good technique and yes he can head the ball. He was a flop at Everton 'cause Moyes doesn't like players with flair. Lets take a look at (dithering Dave's) other signings. Parker, Emre, Sissoko, Owen, Kuyt. The list goes on. Get my point??? Let's take a look at his other signings. Wright, McFadden, Kilbane, Beattie, Davies, (Krøldrup) what a waste of money and we're a club in short supply of that. Enough said.
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (15/9/06)

And of course yer man Arteta has absolutely no flair at all, eh?! — Colm

Er...

I'm not specially pro-Moyes or anti-Moyes, or pro or anti ... but a word to the wise for the TW mods. You know that 'Er...' with which you start your reply to everyone you disagree with? You're bloody right, years ago it was an absolute hoot. But now we're all grown up, wouldn't it be better to just explain your point of view?
Hugo Kondratiuk, London  (14/9/06)

Er... How do you know I don't have a speech defect? A bad case of the stutters?? Or serious Davey-style dithering (from too much red wine)???

No, you're right. I'm a creature of habits... most of them bad. I thought of adding real smileys so that Colm could have a bit of colour in his replies, but no dobut they are also passé. - Michael

Bjarni Vidarsson

I was reading your comments on our current squad you said he is "slipping out of the squad". I think you are being very harsh on the lad, he is only 18 so to comment on him also seems like a desperate attempt to put anything as his comment. Could you not be putting something more Optimistic? (as that is the current mood in and around Everton), like "Young Icelandic ace, awaiting his chance".
Jack McKenna, Bristol  (14/9/06)

A couple of things made me think we were likely to see less rather than more of the Young Icelandic ace. (1) His absence from the pre-season jollies, and (2) His failure to appear on the squad list at the official website this season, despite getting a shirt number and even sitting on the bench at one point last season. Hope I'm wrong but I don't know if he is listed as a memeber of the senior squad in the new Matchday Programme — they haven't sent me any yet, despite me forking out a small ransome for priviledge. — Michael

History

In reply to Bayle Jackson's letter michael stated the importance of knowing your history. And Michael if you know your history you'll know we have won the FA Cup five times not four. Sorry to be pedantic but we've had little enough to cheer about in recent years without a Stalinesque rewriting of the record books.
Graham Smith, Great Sutton  (14/9/06)

Yes, you'd think I would know that, eh? I had a brief thought someone would come back with that after I changed "five" to "four"; the context was pre-Premiership, but I suppose I should have said "(excluding 1995, which was achieved miraculously during the barren years of the Premiership)". My bad. — Michael

Credit where credit's due.

I subscribed to Everton TV about 2 weeks ago but to be honest I've not really had a chance to look at it in depth. That is, until tonight. I've got to concur with previous posts about it and admit it is really good! I finished work early today and I've spent about 4 hours looking at highlights of past games, interviews with old personalities (including one which brought tears to my eyes... Brian Labone) and a comprehensive variety of other interviews.

What's going on here? Everton TV is great; the new turnstile system is working like a dream (at least it is for me) and we've just tonked Liverpool 3-0! Is this the millenium? Has God remembersd he's supposed to be an Evertonian?Perhaps we should be prepared to give credit where it's due over the last few weeks and appreciate that the Club is finally doing a decent job in respect to customer relations both on and off the pitch. Oh how I do hope my suspicion is true and that henceforth we can expect a continuance of such efficiency!!!

ps: After reading Ned's (the Kopite) post after he wandered into ToffeeWeb I thought I would reciprocate and see what they had to say about our glorious victory on Saturday and maybe make a contribution myself. However, when you type "SHITE" into the searchbox, nothing comes up despite a promising looking 'Blueshite' website (which is about music)? Does anybody know a way in?
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (14/9/06)

A Blast From The Past.

Its been a great week all round and I am so touched that so many of my ToffeeWeb arch enemies have actually missed me. AAArrr... bless em!

The derby victory was the best for 40-odd years and Boy! — wasn't it sweet? I have managed to watch it twice since and must admit Liverpool are not the side I thought they were. They had more chances and more possesion but they lacked any real fighting spirit. The second half was a bit like Rourke's Drift at times and we gave possesion away far to easily but, hey, we got to see Liverpool players and their so-called fans suffering and that is good enough for me.

One thing will never change though and that is the unrealastic ambitions of some of our lot. No sooner had the ref blew his whistle we were Champions League bound again. When will they ever learn? Yes ,the 3-0 result was fantastic but give the ball away like that in European games and it would be all over before it even started. Just like last time around.

Yes, we have had two historic back-to-back wins already this season but don't for a second think that playing the way we do in Europe would do us any good as we would get slaughtered. Then the Rourkes Drift we witnessed on Saurday would become the Alamo. And at that one the Goodies lost heavily. Even with the help of a leader called Davey.

So what's it to be, Boys and Girls? — John Wayne and Micheal Caine style football. Throwing up the barricades and waiting for help that never comes even though you do get to shoot the odd Kopite. I mean Zulu.

I myself prefer the Sean Connery AKA James Bond approach to the game. Always cool under pressure. Never give nothing away. Always gets to score and most importantly wins every time.

See you Saturday.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (14/9/06)

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Reply to Azman

The point of my posting was the fact that we did crash and burn last season and also in Europe. If you bother to think about what I was saying you may come to a rational conclusion, in that I was hoping Moyes had learnt from his past errors and I was not slagging him off. I am not anti-Moyes: I am pro-Everton and to be honest couldn't give a toss who was the manager as long as we achieve success.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (14/9/06)

Foreign Legion

There has been some debate on here recently about Moyes's buying policy, with Krøldrup often cited as an example of a bad buy. It got me thinking - of all the foreign stars that we have ever signed, has there really been anyone remotely touching greatness in the way that Zola did at Chelsea or Cantona did at Man utd, for instance? Or Henry currently at Arsenal?

I can think of Arteta and Yobo currently, arguably Gravesen, Limpar and Kanchelskis who were good players... but then I'm into Bakayoko, Hottiger, Materazzi, Rehn, Madar, Bilic, Thomsen, Max-Moore, Nyarko territory and can only conclude that, most of the time, buying outside these shores is at best a great risk and more often than not a huge drain.

So good on Moyes for going the British route with Lescott and Johnson.

These are not he musings of a xenophobe by the way. There are many gifted foreign players who have graced the Premiership — it seems that we haven't really had many of them!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (14/9/06)

Genius

William Ralph Dean was born 20 January 1907.
John Anson, Wirral  (14/9/06)

Hmmm... four months for diligent planning and preparation...

Genius

Am I right in thinking that we are soon approaching the centenary of William Ralph Dean's auspicious birth? If so does anyone know whether the club is going to do anything really special (as it should)??
Chris Winslet, Egham  (14/9/06)

Every excuse

What I hate most about the Anti-Moyes Brigade is that they use every excuse to slag off David Moyes. For example, Per Krøldrup is repeatedly used against Moyes. Okay, so he bought a player who turned out to be a flop, get over it. You don't see Liverpool fans forever slagging off Rafael Benitez because Jan Kromkamp was a flop. All managers make mistakes in the transfer market.

Tony Marsh laughably tried to call Lescott another Krøldrup just because Moyes didn't play him in the first game. Another poster called Moyes "Dithering Dave" because we didn't sign some young Welsh player; big deal! Moyes has already signed Ruddy, Turner, Boyle, Vidarsson & Spencer for the future but all that's forgotten because he didn't sign some young Welsh kid.

Even after a good result they still snipe that the football was bad or the ref was in Everton's favour. I just feel that some members of the Anti-Moyes Brigade are so cynical of David Moyes that they can no longer be objective. That's a shame.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (14/9/06)

Erm... aren't you indulging in a bit of sniping yourself? The thing about Krøldrup that concerns me (by the way, you're the one bringing him up) is that the lad was not a flop in Italy. Moyes made him into a flop by not playing him! Why name him as substitute in eight of nine games, and wait until Christmas before giving him his league debut? So he goes back to Italy... where he again plays regularly and for his country. Oh, I forgot: he can't head the ball, can he? Of course, they don't need to do that in Serie A... — Michael

By God, I'm Cheerful

Spot on analysis by Neil Humphrey in his recent post, full of optimism and a good comparisson between the 2004-05 season and this year. Not only have the results been much better in terms of win ratio and quality of football but also the lack of goals conceded. High energy football it may be and the pace and work rate of AJ is proving dividends; couple this with the promising signs of a Yobo / Lescott partnership developing and Cahill scoring from his prefared advanced postion. It would be foolhardy to start predictions at this stage of the season, it is however refreshing to see the positives and the recluse-like hiding of some of the misery arses who revel in doom and gloom.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (14/9/06)

Tony Marsh has been reported to the Missing Persons bureau.

Just a reminder

Win 19 at home, draw all away equals 76 points and a guarantee of european football. There will be ups and downs along the way to next May, but I am certain we are thoroughly prepared to give every team in the league a good game. Stay positive, stay supportive, and who knows which European competition we will be in next season.
Bingo Bongo, Not in the Congo  (14/9/06)

Both you and Bayle imply it's a waivering of support and positive belief that lies at the heart of Everton's lack of success in recent seasons. I'm sure the faithful who have paid out good money to watch the crap served up, and who have kept on coming back nevertheless, in the hope that one day it would improve, may not fully accept that dubious responsibility. It's success on the field that attracts, motivates and energizes supporters — not the other way around — although I suspect that is going to be questioned by the "Power of Positve Thinking" advocates... — Michael

Football Biographies

Given the debate surrounding a certain former player's recent autobiography, readers may wish to take a look at Marina Hyde's sports blog in today's Guardian online edition about Cashley Cole's recent addition to that literary genre. Do they have no shame?
Simon Woolfenden, Winchester  (14/09/06)

One-word answer? No, they don't! ;-) — Colm

Dutch

Dutch isn't Dutch, he's an Aussie!!!!
Bob The Pole, Crosby  (14/9/06)

Reasons to be cheerful

I felt compelled to write after reading some of the reactions to our start to the season. In particular, I'd like to draw people's attention to our start in 2004-05, a season in which we finished in 4th place. Hopefully this will persuade some of the eternal pessimists to have a brief rethink.

Let's start with this season. We started with a 2-1 home win against Watford - nothing to write home about, but a win nonetheless. We then went to Blackburn, a side who qualified for Europe at the end of last season, and got a draw (which could well have been a win if the ref hadn't been Ray Charles). We then went to Spurs, another side who qualified for Europe, and at whose ground we hadn't won for more than 20 years, and won comfortably despite playing with 10 men for a significant period of the game.

In our most recent match we thrashed our local rivals 3-0 - a scoreline we had not achieved for 40 years. After four games we are in a CL spot, have a striker who has grabbed 4 goals in as many games, and have a team whose spirit easily matches that of 2 years ago, but in addition is also more skilful and enjoyable to watch than the 2004-05 team.

Let's rewind to the first four games of 2004-05 for comparison. In our first game we were completely outclassed in a 4-1 home defeat by Arsenal. We bounced back with a 3-1 win against Palace, who were relegated at the end of the season. Next came a 2-1 home win against West Brom, who narrowly escaped relegation (and indeed went down the year after). Finally, we got an impressive 0-0 draw at Man Utd.

What can we make of these two starts? Well, in 2004-05 when we came up againt quality opposition we either buckled (Arsenal) or held out for a draw (Manure) — our two wins were against shite teams. In 2006-07 we have already caned one so-called title contender (Liverpool) and comfortably beaten a so-called CL contender (Spurs). But perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the new season is our goal scoring prowess thus far - in each of our 3 wins we have scored 2 goals or more. Compare that to the series of 1-0s we got in 2004-05 that secured our CL spot. The other difference is in the nature of the victories. Most of the 2004-05 wins were carved out through sheer dogged determination. Already in 2006-07 we have broken that pattern with great team goals (Exhibit A: Cahill's against Liverpool - great build up to a fine goal; Exhibit B - Johnson's against Spurs - wonderful) and positive, attacking play.

So I think there are many reasons to be a little more optimistic than usual. Yes, its a marathon, not a sprint. But Moyes and the boys know that. What they need to do though is keep up the momentum. Wigan on Saturday, followed by Newcastle, City and Sheff Utd. All games we should win, but I think Wigan is the key. If we stuff them I can see us unbeaten by the time we face Arsenal. If they shaft us like they did last season, it might start to unravel. Here's hoping AJ has another stormer, and hell, while I'm feeling generous, Rick Waller (or James Beattie as his parents call him) pops up to score the winner before heading off to the gym. Come on you Blues!!!!
Neil Humphrey, Oldham  (14/9/06)

Pull tight on those reins there Neil! I agree with you - we could win those games you mention, before we travel to face Arsenal... but if there's one thing being an Evertonian you'll have become accustomed to over the years it's that we've regularly flattered to deceive, on the back of a wonderful victory against the neighbours. One game at a time, optimism well merited, but get Wigan out of the way first! — Colm

David Edwards

Does any know anything about this kid Edwards that we've been linked with? I know he plays for Shrewsbury and is a Welsh Under-21 captain. Can someone shed some light on what kind of player he is? Is he any good?
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (14/9/06)

Some truth in it

As far-fetched as Muhammad Amin sounds, he has a point... Moyes is guilty of his own success. By having only £5M net each season, he brought us to 4th and 7th once, which is, if everyone just steps back and compares this to the other Premiership strugglers five seasons ago, is an unbelievable achievement.

By over-achieving, Moyes has taken the fans' expectations way over-limit, hence the birth of the Moyes-Anti Brigade. Being so close to the holy grail of Champions League, but failed, Moyes may have created an unexpected level of expectation. We the fans must put our feet on the ground and see that no other manager could have done what Moyes has in the past 4-5 years with the little money given to him. He has stabalised the club, forced the club to build a revolutionary world-class training ground. Moyes out? And abondon the stability what we are having now? For who? There's no manager out there who is better for Everton right now, that is a fact.

Let's enjoy what we have now. And If our good form starts to wane, I know who to blame. The Anti-Moyes-Brigade, for their lack of trust and support for the team.
Bayle Jackson, Liverpool  (14/9/06)

If you fall into the Sky trap of football being invented 14 years ago, then Everton have certainly made progress since those humble beginnings. A club with a big hole at one end that so nearly slid out of the newly created money mill... etc etc... It's the story we've heard a thousand times.

However, in case you hadn't noticed, the date on the club emblem is not 1992 but 1878. With the depth of history to compare to, and success that brought the club nine league title and four FA Cup wins, Moyes has done nothing special.

So it all depends were your baseline is. If you know your history, the baseline for Everton is pretty high. That's why it feels comfortable now to look at the table and see us occupying a position that is consistent with our long-term history. Wheras you probably feel like a Portsmouth supporter, who still cxan't quite believe the table hasn't been turned upside down. — Michael

In response to 'Beneath-us arrogance'

Didn't someone point out to Rafa that his team also had only 4 shots on target and converted none of them? While he was beating his statistics drum he should have been reminded that his team also had 18 shots that missed the target completely, so maybe its shooting practice they need rather than being less 'nice' to the opposition. Sorry, I needed to get that off my chest.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (14/09/06)

The heart truly bleeds for them, Brian! — Colm

Rugby Is There Sport!

I dont want to spoil the superb feeling we are all enjoying but, after all the great results recently, it would be typical if the Wigan game turned out to be a bannaskin. If our winning run does come to an end, at least it will give amunition to The Anti-Moyes Brigade and Secret Agent Colm to start up their campaign again. But hopefully the Goodison crowd will be so hyped up after the derby win that they propel the team to victory against Wigan.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (13/9/06)

You just like to see your name on the web, don't you, Dutch. Which is odd if it's not even yours. Here's is a quiz for you: they're their there... which one is it you should have used? Why aren't you going all out and predicting another loss, Mr Negativity?

There's only one Arteta

"Gravesen lost possession to Scholes, and he delivered an inviting pass for Saha to steer home."

"Gravesen - who was having a dreadful game - then wasted all Celtic's good work with another awful error to present United with a third seconds after the re-start."

In Moyes We Trust...
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (13/9/06)

That's classic!

Beneath-us arrogance

Picking through the wreckage of Liverpool's 3-0 defeat — their heaviest in a Merseyside derby since the Beatles were promoting A Hard Day's Night — Rafael Benitez remarked that his defenders had been "too nice":

"We knew the type of football Everton like to play and we had a lot of players who were not concentrating on the small details," Benitez said. "You can organise the team, you can decide on players, but in the end they made a lot of mistakes. Everton had four shots on target and scored three, and that will be their best statistic for years."
Dave Tootill, Johannesburg, South Africa  (13/9/06)

That's just High Strike Efficiency, Rafa! — it's our new mantra!

It's only a good start

Let's not get carried away. Looking at the four games so far, there's enough evidence to suggest that we don't have the quality to maintain it. Every team has a bad run at some point in the season and our is yet to come. It's important that we get as many points on the board as we can while we're on a good run. I don't care how we do that, whether it's through good football or the long-ball game. I would like to see us win by playing good football but under Moyes I can't see that happenning too often. Chelsea have spent miilions and still play crap footy but they get resaults. That's what we are doing right now; that's the important thing.

My concern is, if Johnson gets injured, then we are doomed. Beattie doesn't suit the 4-5-1 formation and we don't have the players to play 4-4-2. As the season goes on, injuries, suspension and tiredness could also play a big part on our small squad. All us Evertonians should enjoy the start we've had. You never know: we could loose to Wigan and that could be the start of our downfall.
Trevor Bottomley, Hudds  (13/9/06)

For the benefit of Big Ned

I thought Big Ned's letter made some pretty fair points but... I would also like to point out "the mongs" by Mount Pleasant who, after the derby, decided to hurl abuse at me and my girlfriend out of their car because of our EFC shirts. I can give plenty more examples of that kind of thing... Has he been on 606 on the beeb website to see some of the morons who post in the name of LFC? And EFC for that matter...

I would hope that Big Ned will be more humble than Big Fat Rafa & allow a few "mongs" to dream a wee bit without becoming one of those horrible twats that passed me in the car after the game. Big Ned seems like the kind of Kopite who I respect rather than the kind I despise, just thought someone should fight the "mongs" corner.
John McCabe, Wavertree  (13/9/06)

Return to Normality

After a glorious weekend it hasn't taken long for normality to resume. Dutch is searching out "anti-Moyes" conspiracy (I am sure I read yours and Luq's weekend player ratings Dutchie by the way); people are quoting ages of players at each other; and I'm sure I saw a complaint of "Dithering Davie's" transfer ability somewhere with regards to some paper talk. One thing remains to return and that is our Tony, he must be having a nice break somewhere..

Where is this dithering going? Well, it purely comes down to the fact that, love it or hate it, the internet is a big part of a lot of fans' relationship with their club. Sites such as the official site (and as a new suscriber to EvertonTV, I give it a 10/10, highlights and some great interviews there for less than £4 a month), the newspaper and other gossip sites and indeed dedicated fan sites such as ToffeeWeb. And I for one wouldn't change the way it is, the idle banter, the OTT responces from people at different poles and some from different planets.

It has been a great weekend and the internet has added to that, and for any of you in need of a smile may i recommend http://liverpooldobennyhill.ytmnd.com/ ..

Wigan this weekend and the possiblity of top spot for longer than the two hours. If it happens, Cloud Nine here I come... COYB
Dave Turner, Edinburgh  (13/9/06)

Dave Lynch

I'm very disturbed and ammused by the comments made by Dave Lynch: "Remember two seasons ago when we kept on losing silly games and nearly lost our Champions League place..."

Roll back 2 season, let's look at this situation. We had just finished 17th and lost our best player bute we ended up finishing in a Chmapions League spot, although Moyes then failed to qualify for the Uefa Cup group stages. Yes, Moyes did not capitilise on our 4th place success and the opportunity to join the big boys. But have you ever thought who made that opportunity arise in the first place?

Was it us, the fans that brought us to 4th place??? HELL NO! It was the players under the guidance of DAVID MOYES. If there was one person who deserves to fail then, it was Moyes because it was under him that we finished 4th. You Anti-Moyes Brigade have no right to say that Moyes has failed you ON THAT MOMMENT, becuase it was Moyes who, after spending just £2M brought us that 4th place. NOT YOU LOT!!

Now, I say we go and support our twice Manager of the Season (Who else in the Premiership who won it twice in three years???). Even the over-rated Spurs under Martin Jol failed to finish 4th after occupying the spot for most of last season.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Liverpool  (13/9/06)

So, to paraphrase, "It's okay to crash and burn from a great height in the most embarrassing manner imaginable because it was such a wonderful achievement to get that high IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!"

Well, bollocks to that! [Where's that pesky motto gone when ya need it the most...] — Michael

Wary

Now that the Moyes lovers have finished trying to shove the words of the Moyes pesemists down their throats, I thought it was time to write in. As a past manager once said 'it's a marathon, not a sprint'. And I for one will remain pessimistic down to the wire. Moyes has proved one thing in the past and that's his inability to capitalise on situations — remember two seasons ago when we kept on losing silly games and nearly lost our Champions League place. Time will only tell whether he has learnt from that as well as the embarrassing exit from both European competitions we suffered.

I do want him to be a success, as should every Evertonian, but I just can't help feeling it's all going to go tits up along the way.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (13/9/06)

Is this kind of pessimism just a defence mechanism whereby you steadfastly refuse to get too excited over what has been achieved for fear of what might happen next? I think you fall into the same trap as the optimists who project those same achievements forward on the blind assumption that the good results will continue. Both outcomes are possible; neither are by any means guaranteed. The more likely scenarios are somewhere in between.

But coming after such a great result, I find your fears a bit sad, although they cannot be faulted on the grounds of realism. The ride with Moyes has been a massive rollercoaster. It's unlikely he has become a genius overnight. It would be great if we were to keep up this excellent early-season form for the duration. However, I will contnue to look only as far ahead as the next game and what it might bring... — Michael

''On the phone 24 hours a day''

I chortled to myself when I read your news article describing Bill Kenwright's ability to deliver ''mind-numbing soundbytes'' - the idea that the man can paralyse your brain with just a few words is great.
Matt Doyle, Deva  (13/09/06)

Deeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr........

Another response to Shaka

Facts:

  • 1. Carsley and Valente are 32, Pistone is 31 this year. None of them are 33 or 33+.
  • 2. Valente's contract is up next season. (This is according to ToffeeWeb's profile page)
Judging from Carsley's and Valente's performances (last season), neither of them are 'past thier sell-by date'. In fact, I rate Valente to be on of our top performers last seasons. And we also have Patrick Boyle who was fantastic in pre-season.

We don't need another striker. We just need to have a fit Beattie and we'll be okay. We have Vaughan, McFadden and Anichebe who can do a job. I'd rather see money be spent on a midfielder, rather on a striker.
Eitan McFadden, Liverpool  (13/9/06)

Squad rotation: A concept

It's been interesting watching how some managers over recent seasons, including this one, have decided to employ an element of squad rotation in order to maximise player fitness across the squad. It's a concept that was tried out initially at Chelsea some years ago under the management of Ruud Gullit and at the time came under some critisism as it appeared to dramatically affect results.

If you think about how a club's squad is made up — a collection of players with different skills and levels of quality — there will always be eleven players who will constitute the strongest team. It was true then and it is true now. So, for important games, you would think that a manager will always play his strongest XI, and I think most managers in the Premiership will for all Permiership games. Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger obviously have other ideas.

Moyes on the other hand will play his strongest team, which he may adjust from match to match for tactical reasons. He will never rest players unless they really need to be rested or if they are not match fit. Even for matches like the Peterborough game next week, I believe Moyes will field his strongest XI, as all cup games are important. Even with 'bigger fish' to fry like a CL game, is it more important than an EPL game? I don't think so. The next game is always the most important.

Squad rotation is an intresting concept, but that's all it should be, a concept. History dictates that managers should always field their strongest XI or suffer the consequences.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (13/9/06)

Well, we have certainly suffered the consequences in the early League Cup games, where Moyes has always found it hard not to tinker with the squad, and usually rotates at least three or four players. And when you're playing two games a week on many occasions, and have a big squad of expensive players to keep motivated, squad rotation surely is essential.

I remain unconvinced by this "Best XI" idea to be honest. It's a fan thing from the days when I would engrave the names of the hallowed XI on the lid of my leather school satchel. Management is about picking the eleven players for whatever reasons — whether it's the strongest team or not depends on a myriad of factors, not least of which is who you ask! — Michael

Andy Oldknow

As you may or may not know Andy Oldknow, the Ex-Everton Marketing Manager has resurfaced at Southampton FC as our new Commercial Director.

From what I know he hasn't had the greatest track record in football at either Fulham or Everton. His job history seems to be shrouded in secrecy, so I was wondering if you could shed some light on Mr Oldknow and why he got fired from Everton FC. Any info would be very helpful. Good luck for the rest of the season.
Paul Lemon, Southampton  (13/9/06)

I think the term "bullshit baffles brains" sits easy upon Mr. Oldknow's broad shoulders. Came to Everton, promised the Earth and when it was obvious he wasn't going to deliver, the problems mounting, he and the Club went seperate ways. - Colm

It just gets better

Since Saturday, I have waited patiently to greet my red nose neighbour who is always ready for banter... well, he was last season. I got up early today and there he was sneaking past, head down. His wife said later he's going in early to avoid Evertonians. Also should the Man City nut be writting here? He'd be better off taking self- defence lessons in case he bumps into Ben Thatcher...
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (13/9/06)

Response to Eitan Mcfadden

Carsley, Pistone and Valente are all 33+ years of age. The other two are past their sell-by date. I thought Moyes was trying to build a young team?? Don't get me wrong: these guys have been great servants for the club. We'll need another striker in similar mold to AJ. He is the key to Moyes's 4-5-1 formation. That's £20M that we need to spend next summer.

If AJ gets injured, we wont be finishing 6th — we'll be in a similar situation as last season. I wouldn't rely on the TV money just yet. AJ is the key to any success we have this season. Unless we have a succesful season, I can't see Blue Bill finding that sort of cash a third year running. We seriousley need some investment.
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (12/9/06)

A grand day out

I wrote before that I took some red noses into the stand with me. They all had a very good day, unlike the West Country Blues bus on the way home. The red noses thoroughly approved of draught Chang and the "family" pie. Arf arf.

I have a 1000 memories from that day which I will treasure. I thought we edged the game despite a sub-standard referee. I would echo Tony Cottee's words: it's how well we played, not how poorly they did.

No one has made much fuss of how much the tosser gave the posssesion to them in midfield through nothing challenges in midfield. The result will always stay as 3-0, I could argue that me might have had more (smile).

We had some right laughs that day — including some young Evertonian skinhead in the next seat hugging my brother in law who is a rednose after every goal! Much merryment by the third goal. But the journey home for an hour and an half with my Z-Cars ringtone going off every few seconds was delicious. Too all the blues singing in the tunnels, staircases and streets, just simply a perfect day. ps: My Sister (her first ever match) said "are you always like this"? Yes, sometimes quieter. Well, a small white one doesn't hurt now and again!
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (12/9/06)

Actim index

This reads well! Actim Index
Ben Patchesa, York  (12/9/06)

Miserable minging twebbies

Hahahaha! Same old predictable shite from the pathetic twebbies Micky, Linda and Colon. We beat the redshite 3-0 and all blues are ecstatic and what do you whinging whining twebbies do?

Find time to go moaning about something Kenwright said. The man was as made up as everyone else and that's the way it should be, but you could do nothing better than slag him off. The only thing mind-numbing about it was how predictable you whining twats are. You just HAD to find something else after your campaign against Moyes blew up in your bitter faces.

Just fuck off will you and take your pathetic wannabee tabloid faces with you. YOU'RE NOT EVERTONIANS AND YOU'RE NOT WANTED. Do one, mingers. All Evertonains know what a bunch of miserable pricks you are.
Phil Edwards, Liverpool  (12/9/06)

Dear oh dear oh dear. - Colm

I think poor Phil has been drinking his own piss, 24 hours a day... — Michael

Holiday Blues

I've just got back from a week in Benidorm which was a good holiday made great by events on Saturday. Prior to then, there were numerous sightings of strange people wearing Carlsberg shirts (I'm a Chang man myself). Whilst watching the game in a typical Brit bar, I and other Evertonians were amused at the antics of one particular individual wearing one of these Carlsberg tops with Gerrard 8 on the back. He was jumping up and down everytime Gerrard had the ball. It was clear he and his friends knew nothing about football which I guess is typical of them. A proud day to be a blue. There were far fewer sightings of Carlsberg after Saturday for some reason.
John Scott, Edinburgh  (12/9/06)

Probably! - Colm

All things considered

I've enjoyed the euphoria as has every Blue but it has to be tempered with some perspective. I do not accept we were lucky — the victory was hard earned but deserved. We triumphed for two reasons:

  • We had a real cutting edge to our attack unlike the opposition.
  • Our defending for much of the game was largely rock-solid — contrast that with the calamitous defending of our neighbours, and there you have the real reasons for success.

Frankly, I've grown tired of hearing how lucky we were. All teams enjoy a degree of luck in victory. We've had to listen to the pundits offer all sorts of explanations: internationals had taken their toll; we played a weakened side as Bellamy was left out (I for one was overjoyed on hearing the news we'd not made a bid) etc. The failure of these pundits to at least question as to whether or not the opposition are really up to their billing leaves much to be desired or is there a blind assumption that, if you spend shedloads of money, you're guaranteed success. I'm not sure they're all they're cracked up to be. Their relative success in last season's league campaign owed much to defending deep and winning by narrow margins — not too dissimilar to our own success in the previous season.

My point is this, we have taken three points against one of those teams likely to be challenging for a third, fourth or even fifth place. Of course the derby is a special game and the winning margin was all the sweeter, however there is a long way to go and we'll face much sterner tests against stronger opposition.
Gerry Western, London  (12/9/06)

Absolutely 100% spot on. Cap doffed! - Colm

Response to ''A View from teh Armchair''

I read Kev Gillen’s article, “A View From the Armchair”, with a large smile on my face and a warm feeling inside. I too am an exiled Evertonian (living in deepest Essex) and in fact attended Blues matches as a boy with Steve McDermott, as mentioned in Kev’s article and Kev himself.

I watched the game in the Metropolitan Police Social Club, in Chigwell. No, I am not one of those loveable boys in blue; I was invited there for a barbeque and one look at my wife’s face told me I was going to attend! However, five minutes into proceedings, I managed to grab a burger, say hello to the host and hostess and then head for the TV lounge.

Once ensconced, I noticed the lounge was populated by “Essex reds” and boy oh boy did they moan! “Everton are the worst side in the Premiership”, “all they can do is kick anything that moves”, “they just hoof it anywhere”. Naturally all delivered in a broad Essex accent. I thought of engaging them in witty banter but they probably wouldn’t have understood and simply got me thrown out for not being a member. So instead, I watched and enjoyed.

The “reds” got quieter and quieter as he game progressed. The second half seemed endless. Why is it, and this was also my thought at Tottenham a couple of weeks ago, that even when we’re 2-0 up and the opposition fans are leaving in their droves, do we Evertonians still fret? I took my 11-year-old son to his first away game at Spurs two weeks ago and he couldn’t understand why I wasn’t elated to be 2-0 up with 10 minutes to go, like lots of Blues around us. “You’ll learn, son”, I thought.

When the third goal went in, my daughter had just come up to me and asked, more in hope than expectation, if she could have an ice cream. I shocked her by giving her a fiver and telling her she could have anything she wanted. This was said as I danced up and down with her in front of the TV screen (and the by now very pissed off Essex reds).

After having called my Evertonian mates to find someone who understood how I felt, I then walked back to the barbeque with a huge grin on my face. A couple of people asked me what was making me so happy, in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. I didn’t bother to explain. You have to have been through the misery and pain of Monday morning, after yet another derby match humiliation, in the Liverpool Collegiate in the seventies, to understand why I am still grinning even now.

Thank you, Andrew Johnson.


Jeff Downey, Epping  (12/9/06)

The Agenda Of The Anti-Moyes Brigade.

The ToffeeWeb moderators do have an agenda and they are more inclined to print anti-Moyes comments. Michael is President of The Anti-Moyes Brigade and Colm is a secret agent who pretends he's not enrolled but secretly he is. Anti-Moyes comments are treated with far more respect; say anthing positive and you normally get a vicious insult.

I don't mind; it's their website and they can run it anyway they want, if I didn't like it I would look elsewhere. I am a bit annoyed my ratings for the Liverpool game never made it into print though.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (12/9/06)

Oh look... the fingers behind the Dutch Schaffaer moniker in talking more bollocks shock! Evenin', Dutch... - Colm

Luck be the lady....

Come off it, Michael, sometimes we can be negative because it's gotten to be a habit! So we rode our luck... eh? Luck is part and parcel of the game. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn't. So Liverpool should have had a penalty... shouldn't we have had one when Carragher pushed AJ over in the box in the first few minutes? So Gerrard hit the post did he? He should learn to be as accurate as AJ and Cahill!

Gerrard wasn't unlucky... he missed! So on another day it could have been a 6-0 victory to Liverpool eh! Well, on another day the new fangled electronic turnstiles might have given up the ghost and the game adjourned to another date. Or there might have been an earthquake and the Stadium destroyed. So what?

It wasn't another day...it was Saturday and on Saturday we turned three of our chances into goals, which Liverpool couldn't do, and that by itself made us worthy winners. As for the fouls during the build-up to the first two goals, there's hardly a goal been scored in the history of football that you can't dissect to a point where it could be construed that it should never have been allowed! In any case, while I agree that Cahill's headlock might have been a foul, there's no way that Osman's tumble was. By that time their defenders were chucking themselves all over the place in a panic.

We have a weakness in midfield which I have already posted about, but that aside it was a magnificent performance on Saturday and rather than thanking Lady Luck for it we should congratulate the lads on the pitch for annihilating a team that was not only so arrogant that it thought it only had to turn up in order to gain the customary victory but was also ungracious in defeat if the attitude of Rafael Benitez is anything to go by.

Well done Blues...and long may Lady Luck be effectively ridden (in the best possible taste of course!) if that is what we really believe gave us the victory. I don't.

By the way Pat, I was there in the Winslow,under the picture of Alan Ball; where were you?! Couldn't get a carnation though... they'd all been snaffled to make the wreaths to be laid outside Anfield in memory of their unbeaten run!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (12/9/06)

Agree on the remark that long may lady luck shine favourably upon us. Personally I find it all the more satisfying that, for once, we did enjoy a few deserved breaks on Saturday — some of those affording our kopite neighbours the opportunity of a good whinge. Let 'em on! How often in the past have we bemoaned decisions that went against us in derby fixtures, only to have kopites force home the reality that it's the final score that matters alone. Everton 3 Liverpool 0. End of debate! - Colm

Formation?

Now that we have had a few days of ecstatic celebrations over Saturday's result, we can look forward to Wigan on Saturday. Does anybody else think we should revert to 4-4-2 as 4-5-1 is alright against the top sides? Surely we should take the game to Wigan and play with width and two strikers — after all, they will not have Gerrard, Sissoko and Alonso in midfield.

We are at home so we must get possession of the football and play the game in their half, not just let them have it and try to nulify Wigan's attacks. Johnson and Beattie up front with Carsley making way... that would be for me. Finally, let's fill the ground; if we can't after that result, it's pointless building a bigger stadium.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (12/9/06)

From Reuters

Liverpool Football Club, England, have approached Uefa' s Concept's Committee with a view to changing how football matches are decided. They propose a system similar to Australian Rules football for any game in which they are defeated by scoring less goals than the opposition. If they have lost in this "traditional" sense but believe themselves to have "dominated" a game by continually missing the main target area (currently this is counter to the aim of football, viz. hitting the target area, but, as Liverpool are a member of the G14 Group and, in addition, have previously won the Champions League on penalties, this aim is now under review) they propose:

  1. If they get the ball over the opposition touchline but within 10 ft of the crossbar or either post, 0.25 points;
  2. If they hit the crossbar, the goalkeeper or either post, 0.5 points;
  3. If the sum of these points (rounded up to next highest integer) falls below the number of goals scored by their opponents, they are deemed to have won the game and are awarded 3 points (and the opponent's points are zeroised) as Liverpool are a member of the G14 Group and, in addition, have previously won the Champions League on penalties.

They have asked that all fair-minded fans in England support them, in pursuit of which the Daily Mail is to launch a campaign.
Phil Bellis, L8  (12/9/06)

Anyone got Herr Blatter's addy?! — Colm

The Bigger Club.

Of course Man City are a bigger club, you should come take the tour of our stadium, it will blow your mind. If there's any doubt which club is bigger, ask yourself this, was wanted by Everton but as soon as he learned of our interest there was only one club he was signing for.

Face it, City are a bigger club and we should have David Moyes and Andy Johnson, they are the only things you have worthy of our club.
Reginald Bottem, Manchester  (12/9/06)

Belated congratulations on your 1976 League Cup success... what else have you won? ù Colm

And who the fuck is Georgios Samaras? Am I supposed to be impressed? Keep on dreaming fella... but just fuck off back to Rusholme. We are not interested. — Michael

Respones to Shaka

Erm... There's this thing clubs do in the players in the almost-out-of-contract situation. It's called 'renewing a contract'. Just like we did with Yobo, the club can renew the contracts of Carsley, Pistone and Valente. For centre-back, Nevillea & Pistone can also play there, so I think just another centre-back will do to replace Stubbs and Wier.

And just for the record, we only got £20 million from Rooney, and yet we've spent almost £40 million since he left. Kenwright may have made mistakes, but give him credit for signing Lescott and Johnson, not forgetting Beattie. I think Kenwright's abilty to sign Howard, Lescott and Johnson quickly could prove to be crucial. I mean if we can finish in the top 6 this season, a lot of TV / place money and the possiblilty of Europe could generate more income for Moyes to spend next season. I see us signing another defender (£3-5M), a keeper (£3M), and probably two more midfielders (£6-7M) next summer. So we probably need something like £15M, a figure that we've been spending annually for the past two season. I'm an open-minded person, and I see Kenwright as someone who has improved us. Yes, he has made mistakes, just like we all do, but it was him who brought Moyes and Wyness to the club. Without him, we might not be where we are now.

A stable midtable club with YOUNG quality players, challenging for a top 6 spot. If not for Kenwright, we would still be fighting for relegation.
Eiten Mcfadden, Liverpool  (12/9/06)

Colm!!! Tell him he's blowing smoke...

My glass half-full, Harry!

Harry Meek does right to plead for caution after Saturday`s fabulous result. After all, we`ve seen too many false dawns during Moyes's tenure. However, I do think there is cause for optimism as the essential ingredient — a lightening striker who actually scores goals — is now in place for the manager's favoured 4-5-1 (or is it 4-1-4-1?) game plan.

To me, Neville has all the attributes of Gravesen — and more — and with Cahill now free to go forward more and central defenders who are at least mobile, I see this side as more than the equal of the one that brought success two years ago. Of course, we`re not going to win every game — Saturday will probably prove that! — but providing we all keep a sense of perspective (impossible, I know!), I have a feeling we'll have more good days than bad this season.
David Hall, Taunton  (12/9/06)

Indeed, we should anticipate a more enjoyable season than last — with goals aplenty? — Colm

Lucky my backside

I have seen a few posts on here saying that we rode our luck on Saturday and that the result could have been so much different. Turn it in will yer! Yes, Gerrard would probably have scored one or two of his chances on another day. Yes, they should have had a penalty second half and yes, maybe on another day one or two of our goals may have been disallowed. We had chances as well, remember, and in the second half every foul, by a blue or red, resulted in a Liverpool free-kick.

The thing is, though, when you win big Derby games there are times during the match when your back is against the wall and you just have to try and somehow ride it out. There are times in Derby games when you need big decisions to go your way. Over the last few years, we have lost Derbies we could so easily and probably should have won for one reason or another — Hutchinson’s goal being disallowed and Rooney smashing the bar at Anfield with five minutes to go to name two.

Football swings in round-a-bouts so they say. So, if we were lucky, it’s about fucking time that round-a-bout swung towards us! I thought we were superb on Saturday, fully deserved our win and every player deserves a massive pat on the back.
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (12/9/06)

So... er... we did somewhat ride our luck then? — Michael

Great Article

I don't always think Tony Cottee has Everton in his heart but who could question that after reading this wonderful article in the Daily Post. He hits the nail well and truly on the head. Well done, TC; I'll never question your loyalties again.
Jon Wilson, London  (12/9/06)

Two Pauls but no Dick!

Hmmmmmmm! It seems that the usual suspects are out again spouting their hatred and nonsensical rubbish towards anything realistic regarding Everton, and in particular anything said by me. Dick Fearon must still be upset about the sad passing of Aussie treasure Steve Erwin, so I'll put his bizarre comments down to that! Otherwise go on see your local doctor, dick!

Paul Foster, on the otherhand, has pure resentment towards me, and it makes me chuckle! Your level on maturity is as much as your level of sense in each of your postings (which ain't much). The term 'Scottish Tart', was colloquialism on my part as I call some of my mates 'tarts', out of endearment! Not saying I'm endeared to Moyes, unlike yourself Paul, but it's funny how my praise of Moyes goes unnoticed? Polltricks me thinks!!! Were you responsible for the dodgy dossier on WMD's? As any fool can manipulate things to their advantage, but it takes a real man to accept the truth and his own short-comings! Which you do neither!

And as for your other pathetic attempt to criticize me concerning Moyes's appearence on MotD2, I deem Moyes and Kenwright to be in the same paddle, ie, quick to throw themselves to the fans when it's goods times, and play hide-and-seek when the poo hits the fan! So what if he was scheduled to appear, ever heard of 'cancelling'?!

The sad thing is, what will you do, Paul, when Moyes decides to leave Everton? Support where Moyes goes to? Even Dutch Schaffaer loves the club, not just exclusively Moyes! Go to a dark room and have think about life son, it may do you some good! For your own sake of course (wink)!
Luq Yus, London  (12/09/06)

Right peope. That''s quite enough of the personal nonsense. Take it elsewhere if you want to continue... The Forum, perhaps? — Michael

Dithering Dave

I see the Mancs are about to beat us to the signature of Welsh Under-21 captain, David Edwards. Dithering Dave has gone and done it again. The liitle Evertonian jumping up and down with joy further down your mailbag, Moyes would struggle to sign him for the baby team.

I've seen your link with Kenwright coming out of hiding with his usual nonsense, when the teams doing well. We have a very small squad; I'd like to see what he is going to do next season when the team is evan smaller.... Weir and Stubbs will probably retire, which will leave us short at the back. Pistone's and Valente's contracts will expire which will leave us short at left back. Carsley's contract also expires at the end of the season so we'd have to find a replacement for him. Van der Holic will probably be gone as well.

I think we will have to spend another £15 to £20 million to replace those players and find additional cover. So common Kenwright tell me where your going to get that kind of money from? May be you can sell AJ for £20 to £30 million just like you did with Rooney. Just a thought!!!!
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (12/9/06)

Calm down

Let's not get carried away over the weekend's result until we prove ourselves against one of the top teams.
Mick Gill, Crewe  (12/9/06)

Nice!

Derek

Can anyone supply me with a link to the tossers pre-match comments? I have seen his apology in the Mirror and also on The Everton site but would like to read the bitter prick's comments!
Garry Lloyd, Jersey  (12/09/06)

Can't find the link (probably deleted) but he wrote the following:

Bookies are generally offering around 5-2 that there will be a red card in today's Mersey derby — in its own right a decent bet because in the last seven Scouse set-tos there have seen seven sendings-off, the majority for dirty Evertonian gits. But Gamebookers are out on a limb by offering 10-1 for a red card for Rafa Benitez's (above) Liverpool, and 10-1 for an Everton one.

Back them both and you are in effect getting 9-2 for a red card in the game. That's the good news. The better news is that on Betfair you can get 2-5 that there is NO sending-off. Let me explain what that means for the hard of understanding (Evertonians). By taking 9-2 that there is a red card and 2-5 that there is not, you cannot fail to make a profit, unless you're an imbecile (Evertonian).
I didn't take his advice. I backed Everton at 5/2 instead, thank you very much! - Colm

Results don't lie, or do they?

Are we doing better than results suggest? If you analyse the results so far from the current top 4 clubs, Everton have played and beaten two teams that were 'fancied' for champions league places, with both wins being deserved.

Man Utd have also beaten Spurs, but they were at home and they were very fortunate to come away with a 1-0 win. The rest of their games have been against opposition you would expect them to beat. Man Utd face Arsenal this Sunday, which should be interesting.

All Chelsea's games have so far been against mid-table opposition, which they were expected to beat, but failed against 'Boro. Their first real test (allegedly) comes this Sunday against Liverpool.

Portsmouth have beaten Blackburn at home, who were fancied for a Uefa Cup place, but they were at home and Blackburn have been surprisingly poor so far.

We beat Spurs easily 2-0 and at WHL. We have also beaten Liverpool and deserved to. As long we secure 3 pts against Wigan on Saturday and Pompeii drop points at Charlton, I can see us going top after this weekend. Everton top, that will raise even more eyebrows.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (12/9/06)

That's the plan anyway, for the weekend! - Colm

Well done, pity about the mongs

Well done on your derby win blue noses, we played crap and didn't deserve anything whilst you took your chances, although it was never a 3-0.

Anyway, rather than hide away and pretend it didn't happen, I've decided to face it head on, and most of my blue-nose mates have been ok about it (after the initial euphoria). I wandered onto this site to see what kind of reaction you lot have had, and I must say, most of the letters in the Mail Bag have been ok - jubilant but realistic, with the odd exception. Yes, you beat us, but it was only one game afterall, and as has been pointed out, it could have been different on another day.

However, then I had a little look at the ToffeWeb Forum, and found some very amusing stuff. Obviously there's the completely OTT gloating, but I've seen posts claiming how Everton are about to return to their 'rightful place as kings of European football', how 'not one LFC player would get into Everton's team', and other such outlandish claims. Now I don't know whether these people were on a wind up, and I know we all get our fair share of idiot fans, but it seems everyone on the messageboard was the same, ie. completely OTT in their praise of Everton, and totally deluded with regards to your standing in the game (this is not a dig, just a realistic observation not influenced by a couple of games).

So my question is this, how is there such a contrast between the contributors in your rational and level-headed Mail Bag, and the completely irrational and living-in-a-blue-tinted-fantasy-world contributors on your Message Board? Is that where you put all the mongs?
Big Ned, Liverpool  (12/09/06)

Hahahaha!!! No comment on your last point, Ned!!! You can understand the post-match euphoria, which leads to grandiose claims of impending greatness (once we overcome Peterborough!). A little 'feel-good factor' every so often, even if slightly delusional, is allowed from time to time. Sure didn't Monsieur Houllier often claim his side were around the corner from greatness — unfortunately taking too many corners in quick succession (in a maze) left him back at square one!

You've got a decent manager in Benitez but gracious he most certainly is not in defeat. Saturday was a wonderful day for us Blues — and it will rightly be celebrated. I know it's only three points but you'll concede it feels much greater than that. The image of that little kid jumping for joy (further down the mailbag) sums up what Evertonians, from 6 to 60 and beyond) all felt.

Anyway, nice to believe that this season could see a repeat of the entertainment provided two seasons ago as we both chased Champions League places (subject to rule changes to suit G14 members who failed to qualify through proper means!!!). ;-) — Colm

Maturity?

Luq shows maturity? Michael, you're quick to shout down any Evertonian who goes over the top in his or her support of Moyes, but be fair and acknowledge that Luq is an immature ranter with an anger management problem and a slightly disturbing personal hatred of Moyes. He attacks him personally for no apparent reason (often to do with being ginger, FFS!!), while the Scottish tart comment is just ridiculous, given the circumstances.

Oh, and as the MOTD2 presenter pointed out, Moyes was booked for the pundit slot weeks in advance of the show, so Luq, you don't have a leg to stand on in having a dig about turning up when we win and all that nonsense.
Paul Foster, London  (12/9/06)

I read somewhere that Moyes headed south after the derby win to attend a wedding, thus being available for MOTD2 on Sunday night. Presumably! — Colm

Are you listening, Yuq?

It really does pain me to have a go at a fellow Blue but my flabber was ghasted by your pettiness. To pick bones out of Saturday's individual performances or tactics demonstrates a lack of football nous.

Your criticism of our full-backs exemplifies my previous statement. Both backs played an important part in two of our goals plus many other attacking moves. They cannot be expected to support strikers at every opportunity without sometimes being caught out of position. It was not by pure luck that our defensive tactics covered for such eventualities.

At times, the other lot had a free run on the wings but, when their wide men cut inside, Everton’s full-backs shut them down, hence the missed chances. Had Naysmith and Hibbert been stranded out wide, would they have been able, when it mattered most, to apply that kind of pressure?

Were Neville’s two bad passes his fault or due to lack of anticipation by a team-mate? Did you also count bad passes made by each and every outfield player or is Neville your current bone to chew? In any case, it is ludicrous to highlight two bad passes in such a good team effort.

Your pathetic, immature, abusive comment about David Moyes is unworthy of comment. Should the Rooney affair go to court or if, beforehand, Rooney apologises, your conspiracy theory will be blown out of the water as will the last vestige of your sinking credibility.

C’mon Luq, lift your game, you are a vital part of our armoury, clear the cobwebs of past glories. Accept the reality that our Everton is battling against the odds in a cutthroat environment where our main opponents have the backing of foreign billionaires. We have nothing to offer but blood sweat, tears, unity and a few bob.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (12/9/06)

My inclination is to defend Luq's analysis against this tirade. Luq shows great maturity and wisdom in identifying the limitations despite the euphoria of the result that has blinded so many to any meaningful analysis of the game. Bad passes cost us possession and lead inevitably to chances for the other side. Liverpool had plenty of chances to score, irrespective of what you think was some fantatsic defense by our full-backs. On any other day, plenty of those would have gone in, and I think you know it, Dick. — Michael

Response to John Middleton

Gerrard had a quiet game. But he had couple of chances which came from our left, where Naysmith was the defending. First of all he let Garcia cut inside onto his favorite left foot and get a shot in, which Howard saved, and Gerrard hit the post. He should have showed him on the outside onto his weaker foot and away from the box.

In the second half, when Gerrard hit the post again Naysmith was nowhere near him. The marking was poor. On another day Gerrard would have scored. I also said in my earlier post he played well but isn't good enough. It's mistakes like that which could have cost us the game. I'm not here to argue; let Colm or Micheal give their opinion on Naysmith. Great site lads keep up the good work. I'd be lost without it.
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (11/9/06)

Hawhey, Shaka. Gerrard had at least four shots on goal... and you call that a quiet game??? If he had scored with any (or all!) of those, which, let's face it, he usually does, would you still be saying he had a "quiet game"???

It's all smiles

Great Mailbag, Trevor — I haven't stopped smiling since Saturday after seeing that kid. It was just a perfect Saturday for me. I even smiled all through Match of the Day while those two pricks made out how bad Liverpool were and gave the littlest praise possible to Everton. I loved how gutted they were.
Jamie Barlow, Manchester  (11/9/06)

Manager Swap

You guys don't fancy swapping managers do you? David Moyes has turned Everton into a very good side while our manager Psycho Pearce has failed to improve City in any way. We are a bigger club than you and we should have David Moyes.
Reginald Bottem, Manchester  (11/9/09)

Hahaha... you stupid pillock. "Bigger club"? By what metric? Local council gave you a bigger ground? How nice. So when did you last win anything? Joe Mercer? He learnt his footie with us. So did Joe Royle. Piss of back to Platt Fields, ya daft Manc twat.

Still lacking

Okay, so we win the derby and have bragging rights for the next few months at least... but is it just me or are we still lacking that cutting edge in midfield? Arteta can't do it all and what happens when Johnson picks up a knock? We get stuck with bitch-tits Beattie whose tits seem to be getting bigger each week...
Simon Rimmer, Wigan  (11/9/06)

England duty

Re Phil Neville and Andy Johnson both appearing (briefly) on the pitch against Macedonia. Can anyone tell me the last time we had two players in the same England team? I think we might have to go back to the Reid, Steven, Stephens, Lineker era?
John Hoggarth, Liverpool  (11/9/06)

I thought we'd had this question already? And the answer... somewhere down below...

AJ for England... no, thanks!

I don't know about anyone else but I would be happy for AJ to kept on the sidelines for the national team. Don't get me wrong: he is worthy of a place in the starting line-up but we have been bitten too many times building up the profile of a player only for them to leave us later on down the line.

If AJ reads this page... well, I am sorry, mate, but us Blues can be quite cynical bunch: refer to the "Once a Blue, always a Blue" scenario!! I think we'd love to see him be successful at the national level but I just get a jittery that someone, somewhere, at sometime in the not-too-distant future might come and take our prize asset for a profit. I know... but sod profit: we want some more days like the one we had on Saturday....

Maybe, if those days do come, AJ might break the mould of the player of this generation and want to stay with us.... You can see I am trying to convince myself in my writing but at the back of my mind is past history with the Kid and Barmby.
Paul Kellett, Parbold  (11/9/06)

Rent-a-quote

I see Bill Kenwright is doing his normal fairweather quotes... when things are bad, he's nowhere to be seen, but when we've done well, it's all his own work! It's amazing how quick he comes out of the woodwork when the team actually do what they're meant to, and that's win football games.
James Welford, Cloud 9 still  (11/9/06)

Response to Shaka

Another lambasting poor Naysmith who has actually played quite well the last two games. Quite ironic though, Shaka, how you call him the weakest link but go on to say that Gerrard 'wasn't allowed to play'.

As he was playing right wing, who would that be marking him out of the game then according to your thoughts...???
John Middleton, Dublin, Ireland  (11/9/06)

We don't care what the...

First of all, would just like to say, well done you Blue boys... you really made my son's and my day. Couldn't stop singing "Uh, uh, uh, uh... Andy Johnson" for ages!!!

Our supporters were something to be proud of — they got behind the team all afternoon, well before the first goal, but did anyone notice the complete lack of support from Liverpool supporters for their team or did we just drown them out, or do they only sing when they are winning?

Looked hard, but didn't see any Blue carnations about though!!!
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (11/9/06)

Priceless

Great win against 12 men. Poll did everything he could to bring Liverpool back into the game. Thought we could have played slightly better football and kept the ball better.

After the 3rd goal, When the sky cameras switched to the fans watching that kopite sitting amongst Evertonians with his head in his hands. He looked liked he was going to have a nervous break down. Also in front of him was litlle kid who could barely see over the wall jumping up and down with arms in the air. PRICELESS!

Welcome to our world little man. Great memories in years to come.
Trevor Birtles, Huddersfield  (11/9/06)

I believe this is the young Blue in question? Oh joy of joys...

- Colm

Response to Harry Meek

I agree with your comments but against the so called better teams we have to play this way to get a result. If we don't then we'll simply be taken to the cleaners. This is the best start to a season for 28 years and gives us room to be optimistic. If Moyes fucks up this time around, I think he'll be sacked. Only if Van der Meyde can get fit he will add another dimension to our game. He has excellent technical ability and can go past players with skill and flair. That's something this current teams lacks.

I'm not a big Moyes fan but he has shown signs of being a very good manager and is still working under financial restrictions. Moyes has also bought some stability to our great club, which we've lacked for years. I also blame Moyes for the way we got knocked out of the Champions League. Tactically he got it wrong, that was our best chance to get back in with the big boys. Never mind; he has given us two great seasons and just maybe a third one is on it's way.
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (11/9/06)

On Reflection

Now, even though I got a smile like the one the Krays ripped into some poor sod, Harry Meek's points have made me a little uneasy about our fine hour on Saturday.

On another day, we could easily have been turned over, but that performance was a positive, dare I say even attacking one! But around the 60 minute mark, Liverpool pinned us back for the remainder of the game and we only had four attacks after that point. I fully understand that on another day, if Everton are in that same situation as we were on Saturday against a Cheslea, we probably would get turned over. We were weak at the full-back positions, leaving the excellent Yobo-Lescott pairing exposed! And though Carsley played out of his skin and Neville did alright, the ball mainly by-passed our central midfield. And on my match ratings I explained that Neville needed to retain the ball better — much better — as he gave it away twice and they almost scored twice. But that's for Moyes to sort out!

And did you see Moyes on MotD2 last night? I thought let's see if you will appear on TV when we get a tonking one day!? But I won't snipe at him too much as he showed some bottle and tactical awareness on Saturday, and I salute him for that. NOW SHOW IT CONSISTENTLY, YOU SCOTTISH TART!!!
Luq Yus, London  (11/9/06)

Uh oh... reality starting to set in?

This calls for a song!!!

Three goals against Liverpool deserves a song; how about this one(To the tune of Top Cat):

Tiiim Cahill — the most original,
Cahill, who's indispensable,
CLOSE FRIENDS GET TO CALL HIM TC,
'Coz his name just happens to be,
Tiiim Cahill, the indisputable slayer of the Reds.
He's the man, he's the kid but everything he's the most top Tim Cahill.

Martin Cornforth, Bootle  (11/9/06)

Ah bless... that's lovely... but how do you sing "Tiiim Cahill" in two beats?

Over-priced and over-rated

What a win on Saturday. I've still got a hangover. I thought we were brilliant. Only got one criticism: Naysmith was our weakest link, he played well but isn't good enough, All of Liverpool's chances came from his side and on another day they might have scored a couple of goals.

Liverpool are a one-man team: when Gerrard plays well, they normally win. But on Saturday he wasnt't allowed to play. Take Gerrard out of their team and Liverpool are a average team with expensive flops and overated by all the pundits. They don't look like a Championship-winning team.

We're a couple players short of being a very good team. I think we need a right winger and then Arteta could move back into the middle and be our playmaker. We also need Van der Meyde to get his act together. Carsley is doing a great job and is a unsung hero — how we missed him last season. Overall, a great start to the season... Bring on the pie-eaters and their kopite manager, the fat twat.
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (11/9/06)

Three - nil!

Not wanting to state the obvious but that scoreline is all that matters. The first and second goals not allowed due to fouls...? They weren't! The third a gift from a goalies cockup, it still went in! If the reds over the park want to talk about luck then they might want to look a bit closer to home in that respect. On Saturday our team had a job to do and they did it very well. The classified result says 3-0 and that is what matters in this game. Four games in and i'm still on a bloody high. Get in there!
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (11/9/06)

Result

Great result, Saturday. Just sobering up. where have all the anti-Neville/Carsley/Cahill fans gone? It was only a few weeks ago they wanted all three gone.

On a more serious note, I've banged the drum about Beattie for a long time but there must come a time when you have to sit down and find out what (if anything?) actually motivates this guy? If he isn't a bit jealous of the adoration that AJ is getting, then there must be something wrong somewhere. He has the ability but just seems not bothered. If he has to go then so be it... but wouldn't it be nice to swop him for Scot Parker (oops — CM moment!).
Big Dunc Bluey, Stoke  (11/9/06)

Smells like team spirit

Following the euphoria that followed Saturday's result and the wane of the ensuing hangover, I thought I would reflect on how such a result was made possible. It has been well documented about the team spirit and bond that exists within the squad and never was this demonstrated more than on Saturday. Abiding memories will be the whole ground rocking to D-D-D... Andy Johnson and the eerie quiet of disbelief in a couple of the ale-houses on County road just after the match until the result sunk in and was replaced by a stupor of jubilation.

The derby result has proven that, to maintain success this season, we must play to our strengths, there is a solidity to the spine of the side that was so missing last year. 4-5-1 suits both Cahill and Johnson, Lescott and Yobo look mustard together, Carsley and Neville provide the steel and grit to compliment Arteta and Osman. Onwards Evertonians...
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (11/9/06)

Do they really watch?

Here's another great article on Saturday's game in The Times. Great praise for the Blues and the ratings compared to Liverpool make such a beautiful sight I think I'll print it into a poster. Only downside is it looks as if he made it all up in the bar. How else could Kevin Kilbane have received such a high rating???
Mark Stevenson, London  (11/9/06)

Red Shite

After resisting slapping up a newspaper cutout at work of Johnson signalling "3-0" I've just been down to the canteen and the first thing I hear is "Well, we should have had 3 penalties shouldn't we?" What a sorry bunch of wankers they really are, I couldn't even be arsed to respond. I would suggest that, after fat Green's assertion that this game meant more to us than it did to them, we simply pass this off now as a run-of-the-mill three points against an expensively assembled shit side who think they are Premiership contenders — my arsehole!

Good to see Moyes give a sensible and measured reaction on MotD2 last night. Let's now get down to the business of Wigan next Saturday. If we can generate enough momentum as we did a season or two ago, it will help us stay in the upper regions of the table and shake off a few disappointments along the way. Ged in!!!
Ting Tong, Southport  (11/9/06)

Are you more Optimistic?

Hands up if you are now nore optimistic about the rest of the seasona after Saturday's derby victory? I for one was greatly encouraged by what I witnessed on Saturday. The £8 I paid Sky to watch it live on PremPlus was well worth the money.

For two games running now, our midfield gelled together like a well-tuned engine. They worked for each other and supported both our defense and our attack and did it in numbers. They all seemed to get stuck-in tackling tanaciously, running off the ball, passing fluently and getting forward to help our lone striker. It reminded me of performances from our great midfield lineups of the past. Like: Harvey, Ball, Kendall; or Reid, Sheedy, Steven and Bracewell

I have the feeling that we haven't seen anything yet. The best is yet to come. Do you think the we can surpass our past two performances? I think we can. The sky is the limit! COYB
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (11/9/06)

Calm down, lad. Calm down... As Harry says below, there is still the Moyes rollercoaster factor... or have you so easily forgotten? It's a long way to go; take it one game at a time. Enjoy the result to the maximum but please let's avoid wild extrapolation. — Michael

If Marshy won`t say it, I will!

Don`t get me wrong, I`m as chuffed as the next Evertonian about the fabulous RESULT on Saturday. But... I think we are all in danger of getting carried away. In truth, the overall performance wasn`t that good and on another day with less of a `homer` in charge than Graham Poll, we would have got turned over. Two of our goals were dubious in the extreme and I saw clearly two stonewall penalties which, if they had been our shout, would have led to riots.

By all means let`s glory in our moment of triumph but, in truth, we still ain`t that great... and just remember, we`ve still got Moyes to fuck it all up at the first opportunity!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (11/9/06)

Oh dear...

A Grand Old Team

It’s hard to believe what happened on Saturday, really. Yes, we rode our luck at times and on another day it might have been so different, and in many ways the same old story. But for a change I felt we were always going to win the match after the first goal went in, even if they had managed to come back. At the moment we just seem to exude that intangible aura of a team that finds a way to win (or at least not to lose).

And it looked as though the players felt this too, as they never once looked sheepish, even when the Reds dominated the second half and in all honesty should have scored and should have had a penalty. But, as so many postings have quite correctly pointed out, it has generally been our lot to moan about bad luck and referees, so in the final analysis we deserved to win, and even they should acknowledge that. Every player contributed. It was a real team effort but there were some outstanding performances:

  • Howard — Great to see a keeper who looked assured. Made some good stops and gathered crosses with authority
  • Lescott — Calm, assured and decisive when required. Made a few errors but by in large a hugely impressive performance from a derby debutante
  • Neville — One of our most important players. Must be feeling good now about his decision to come to Everton. Bet he never experienced this at MU!!!!
  • Carsley — Adds the controlled aggression that every good midfield needs. No coincidence he starred in our last derby victory
  • Johnson — A legend in the making. With him in the team we have the potential to go on and have a super season. Must stay fit!
It wasn’t pretty, but these games never are, and the tactics were perfect on the day. There was, however, some good stuff at times — particularly in the build up to Carsley’s shot that led to the third goal. We can play good football; if we continue to accumulate points, the confidence that will give to the team will lead to more attractive play. I’m sure the manager realises this and will select his teams and tactics according to the situation and will encourage a more adventurous approach when appropriate.

I used to hate Liverpool FC. Back in the seventies in the days of such odious characters as Tommy Smith, Jimmy Case and that savage, Souness, I couldn’t stand them, probably partially because they were even more successful than they are now. But after we rose above them in the eighties the dislike dissipated and ever since the awful events at Hillsborough as well as sympathy I began to feel a certain empathy with them and could actually watch them winning (except against us) without feeling sick. Nevertheless there is no greater feeling than when we win the derby, and yesterday was probably the best ever. Only 1978 when Andy King ended 7 years of anguish compares.

Of course we shouldn’t get carried away as there are only four games out of 38 gone, but it’s hard not to dream of glory after this historic victory and the excellent start to season. Yes: It’s a grand old team to support!
Martin Downey, Belfast  (10/9/06)

Prick from betfair

I had an apology from that Betfair guy in the Sunday Mirror. I wrote:

Idiots, eh? - Well this idiot wont be buying this paper again or betting with Betfair. Who's the idiot now? I suggest next time you wait a while and don't let your kopite emotions get the better of you.
He said: Yeah, I made a right 'knobhead' of myself. Well done on the result. All the best, Del.
Blue Fella, Deeside  (11/9/06)

Whine, whine, whine

I was bored so I listened to today's Koptalk.com podcast. Yes, bad me, but I was bored. They seemed to think Liverpool should have won 3-1! They didn't say it outright but they strongly implied it, and they call us bitter. Apparently they should've had three penalties and two of our goals were bogus.
Stuart Beresford-Kelly, Ballymena  (10/9/06)

Four Five One

If you look at our best seasons out of the last four, we were more successful with a 4-5-1 formation. It's got to be the way forward as long as you have a good holding player, we sure missed Carsley in that role in last season's derby.

Teams who have won things have played 4-5-1: Arsenal, with henry alone up front and attacking midfielders supporting. The same goes with the Mancs. Even Liverpool in Istanbul, Hamman come on in the second half as the holding player and the rest was misery. So I think we should stick with this formation. There will be times when we will have to change it when things are not going our way, Van the Mam and Beattie on and play the wings... Lesscott and Howard: great buys.
Colin  Malone, Wirral  (10/9/06)

Hoof

Possession football and measured approach play versus kick and rush, hoof the ball up to the monstrous grock up front. Except this year, it's not us whacking hopeful balls up to the biggun — it's them.

I must admit being slightly confused when I saw Neville and Carsley in the midfield lineup, but it worked quite well. Carsley provides the steel and Neville is good at holding and distributing the ball.

With the latest additions to the squad I think we have one of the better first elevens outside of the top five big-spending clubs. Our main concern is lack of squad depth, but if we're lucky with suspensions and injuries then we should do well this season.
Winston  Hale, London  (10/9/06)

Pissed off (well only a little)

I'm quite annoyed at the rejection of my match ratings!!! I wrote them on a Spurs man's laptop, and with a red squealing with every word I wrote sat right next to me. I thought it would be nice to inform others (who were not fortunate enough to witness such a joyous day in the flesh), how the boys performed! Especially as TW seem not to do the match ratings anymore.

Well, since I can't moan about the game, I have to have a go about something (wink).

BUT Naysmith deserves the stick Mike Price give him. Need I remind us that it was Naysmith's flank that Gerrard, the cocky shite, raped and pillaged down! The sonner Valente comes back the better. And can Everton cut their loses on Beattie and sell that model for women's sports bras!

Its gone quiet over the red side of the Mersey!!! I hate Liverpool with no remorse and shall enjoy this until Febuary!
Luq Yus, London  (10/9/06)

Uh? Wha?? Ratings??? Where? I still can't find 'em...

Redshite — Real Shite

After the elation of the match yesterday, The West Country Blues coach — along with the extremely happy 50 members on board — made the elementary mistake of starting the long journey to Bristol and Taunton via Oakfield Road and past Anfield as we do after every home match. As we passed the Oakfield Pub, we noticed a crowd of about 40 or 50 redshites drinking outside the pub, dressed in the devil's own red shirts et al.

The traffic was heavy and our coach had to stop in a traffic jam outside the pub. This seemed to rile up the redshite mob who started to go mad and to throw glasses and full bottles at the coach - breaking one of the windows and trying to climb onto the bus via the fire exit which they were able to open from the outside. A free-for-all developed with our guys trying to keep them out whilst they battled to get in; all the time the coach could not move on because of the jam. Some of them managed to steal some of our possesions which were on the floor of the coach by the fire exit door. Eventually we managed to get the door shut and were able to move off with the by-now moving traffic.

We were able to stop about half a mile away near Newsham Park and phoned the police who duly arrived to take statements etc and to inform us that further police colleagues had just been called to the same pub as a stabbing had been reported there in a separate incident to our own. Anyway, after all the statemnents and condolances had taken place, we were able to move off on our long journey south with the smashed window and the thoughts that the match result had not been altered in any way by the inane behavour of our friendly red neighbours from across the park, despite their satanic attempts to the contrary. This incident really happenned after yesterdays's game and a full explanatory letter will be sent this week to both football clubs informing them of same.

Once a redshite — always a real shite.
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (10/9/06)

Where's Tony?

Have you guys stopped printing letters from Mr Marsh? As the eternal optimist, I was actually looking forward to having a laugh at how he would be able to write something negative about the derby... Please, if he has sent something in, post on here — not even Tony can stop us from cheering about this one!!!
Paul Cooke, Runcorn  (10/9/06)

I think he's having trouble connectiong his brain to the computer via his keyboard... the words of praise for Moyes and his boys are giving him seizures. Trust me, he's been very quiet... but he may be one of our weekday posters, so give him time to recover his usual composure! — Michael

Can't wipe the smile off my face

For two or three days prior to yesterday's game, I hardly got a proper night's kip, I was so wound up. Needless to say, I am high with exhaustion and elation now.

I thought Lescott and Yobo were immense, as was Howard, and Johnson will become an Everton great — he's on another level to many players who've worn the blue shirt. Neville lead well, and Cahill wound up Liverpool's players something chronic. Osman was tidy but brave, Arteta had his usual excellent game.

People talk about the lack of passing but you shouldn't underestimate the edginess that enters your play when the referee gives virtually all decisions to your opponents — it's hard to ever find a rythem.

Looking across the Glwadys Street was breathtaking and exhilerating at times. And what of our nearest and dearest (Not!) across the park? I thought that maybe in order to raise funds for you know who, they'd organised a sponsored silence! Only sing when your winning indeed.

Oh, I thought you couldn't take the smile off Lineker's face on MotD and, to give him his due, Hansen was fair in his praise. Plenty of papers have given us praise where it's due so let's not let paranoia cloud what is one of the best days of my adult life! Alan Green is a fat fuck that is best ignored. End of.

We wanted it more and we got it! COYB!!!
John McCabe, Wavertree  (10/9/06)

Keep it real!

I hate Liverpool with a passion that is actually quite irrational really and so my delight at the events of yeserday is off the scale. It was fantastic to see that level of desire — especially after last years 'spineless' derby. For the first time I can remember against them, we actually got the run of the ball, things broke for us, and we took full advantage of it.

We have to be realistic however and if the luck had been a shade the other way... That's why it's so laughable that the Moyes boys feel that he's a genius again. It took him 5 years to sign a pacy goalscorer when everyone with half a brain could see the need well before he broke our transfer record for a fat buffoon... hardly a genius.

He is learning, but painfully slowly so he does deserve some credit for that and for re-generating some team spirit. However; I'm far from convinced by him and his 'style' of football, and talk of a job for life scares me. If he could get rid of Beattie and get some pacy cover/help for Johnson, maybe we can push on a bit.

Oh and Colm are you having a larf about Naysmith? He's played alright... for him.. in the last two games, but is so far out of his depth it's a joke. Nearly all their chances came from his side, he always stands too far off players — the Garcia curler being a good example; the sooner Valente or even Pistone are back the better.

I think that's enough realism for now. I'm off to revel in the 3-0 against the redshite feeling for as long as I can milk it. Fucking get in there!!!
Mike Price, Thailand  (10/9/06)

I tend to agree with the realism you advocate, Mike, especially when it comes to analysing the chances Gerrard in particular missed, and how (in a parallel universe) he would have had four goals in a 6-0 rout — our first two goals being disallowed/called back for fouls that would have previously gone against us with 90% certainty (Osman's take-down of Finnan just before the first and the clash bewteen Cahill and Alonso at the start of the move for the second would normally both have resulted in free kicks against us). The margins really are that slim between ecstatic elation and unmitigated anguish... but what a fantastic result!!!

Oh, and I do take exception to the vitriol against Naysmith. He may not be your cup of tea but if the player puts in decent performances, why should he not be selected? It's all very well saying he doesn't have the quality, but he is part of our squad and the key for Everton being susccessful is doing it as a team in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Lay off him! — Michael

Leadership

It was great to see Phil Neville take up the captain's job in the manner that he did yesterday. I thought he led by example for the whole 90 minutes, and I wouldn't be surprised if he steps his play up to another level due to the added responsibility of being captain. I was never a fan of Weir wearing the armband, but now that it's been passed to the right person, this can only be a good thing for Everton.

I have to congratulate Moyes on his summer purchases and the great start, even though I was one who would have happily seen him out last year. I just hope we don't spoil it next week against Wigan, but use the confidence from the good start as a springboard. A bit of consitency will make this season much more enjoyable — and hopefully successful!

Jesus, I can't wait to see those kopites in work tomorrow!!! COYB!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (10/9/06)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

I am a little concerned that the Manager considers that we have a squad of sufficient size or quality for him to start making pronouncements about squad rotation in the future. Was his recent comment the result of the euphoria after the derby game causing him to become delusional? We have stumbled upon a formation and team that looks capable of producing results and some good football. Why would anyone want to change things? My advice to Mr Moyes is to leave well enough alone. Do not tamper until you are forced to by injuries or suspensions. For example, do not fool about against Peterborough.

Some questions that I would want the Manager to answer are:

  • Who does he intend to rotate with Yobo/Lescott?
  • Who rotates with Johnson?
  • Why should Osman, Arteta, Cahill, Carsley, Neville fear for their places?
  • Will we be entertained by the amazing, shrinking goalie that is Wright?
In my opinion, he should concentrate on who fills the bench and not who fills the team. Personally I would have Turner, Valente, Stubbs, and then rotate (McFadden/Anichebe/Beattie) and (Davies/Van der Meyde) for the two remaining bench places. I really do hope that sense will prevail and that Moyes's second derby victory does not seriously affect his judgement.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (10/9/06)

I can understand the (partially superstitious?) rationale for retaining a winning team. However, this begs the question how much Moyes's tactical approach should be tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of the next opponents. We have in the past criticised Moyes for playing his favourites, which perhaps has the same logic as re-selecting a winning team.

Talking of which, is Davies injured or what? Didn't he just play for Wales midweek? Same logic for Weir... And yet both Neville and Naysmith played full international games as well... Let's face it, this isn't Football Manager — there are many other real world factors that affect team selection, few of which we as fans are privy to.

Does team selection alone win games? A quick review of yesterday's highlights shows that luck — so often against us in derby fixtures — played a massive part in our fantastic win. — Michael

Credit where credit's due

We asked for a good keeper — he got one; We asked for a young centre half — he got one. We pleaded for a pacy striker who knows where the goal is — he got one.

It was wonderful to see an Everton side with young players with a bit of pace mix it with the other lot. This is the sort of game where battling is more important than the pretty stuff and yet we still ended up with three goals. When was the last time the other lot came away from a derby moaning about bad luck and the referee?

The obvious difference is Johnson and his pace, which scares opponents and inspires confidence in colleagues, who now have something of substance in front of them. An even better signing than I initially thought! Please wrap him in cotton wool between games!

The main thing I noticed yesterday was a bit of discipline — only one booking and we kept our shape and stuck to the task well. So credit where credit's due. Moyes has learned from the madness of last year. He's bought well and has re-discovered the spirit that had gone missing. Let's hope he keeps that spirit and positive attitude that's spreading through the club.

An increasingly great start — let's spend the week milking this win for all it's worth, then keep our feet on the ground and concentrate on consistency. Nowhere near a genius yet, but Moyes is finally going the right way!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (10/9/06)

Nice to dwell on positives for a change! — Colm

Can't buy me love

OK, I pinched that title from the Guardian's excellent piece but it's worth repeating that Moyes got more passion out of his team than did our Spanish friend. The look on Moyes's face at full time spoke volumes. Just two negatives on an otherwise perfect day - firstly, the BBC were so disappointed that Gerrard didn't get his customary goal and, secondly, what the hell is Naysmith doing in this team? Bring back Nuno Valente ASAP!
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (10/9/06)

Bit harsh there on Naysmith as he's done well in the last couple of games. — Colm

Derby reflection

Spirited performance which owed much to rock solid defending by our new central defensive pairing. Lescott in particular was very impressive. Arteta was immense on the right and Johnson yet again a constant thorn in the side of the opposition.

Cahill on the score sheet yet again but he is more than a player who pops up in the box to grab the odd goal. He is quite a clever player taking Alonso completely out of the game in the build up to the second goal and generally getting under the skin of opponents.

We did much better than in recent derbies in competing in the midfield however, we were still second best failing to get hold of the ball and conceding possession all too often but all things aside a terrific result and great tactics from Moyes. At last we are able to get players arriving in support of the lone striker.

Great to see Kilbane at the game alongside Stubbs. Often criticized but a great servant I do hope the fans give him a good reception when he next returns.
Gerry Western, London  (10/9/06)

Spot on. — Colm

Bellamy's Absence

Rumour has it the absence of Bellamy is down to him going toe to toe with another player at their training ground and Rafa dropping him as punishment. I do hope this is true and his Newcastle moodiness and tantrums are back, maybe it is true that only Mark Hughes could calm the spotty beast?
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (10/9/06)

To quote Catherine Tate: "Are we bovvered?!" — Colm

What Bias?

Just been watching `Goals On Sunday` to learn that Liverpool should have had three penalties and two of our goals disallowed for fouls off the ball. The third goal, of course,was a gift! Who was it said Sky are biased against The Blues — or are they just pro-Reds?
Martin Watts, Mold  (10/9/06)

Ah... Goals on Sunday... presented by a fist-waving kopite loon who had an ex-Liverpool player (Jewell) sitting on the sofa opposite. Ignore 'em! The one stat that remains is as follows: Everton 3 Liverpool 0Colm

Three nil

You'll never walk alone? Their players left that pitch alone yesterday. Get in you blues!!!
James Smith, Maghull  (10/9/06)

....and without hope in their hearts. Bless! — Colm

Reina — a moment to go down in Derby history

Great result yesterday! We caught Liverpool on a good day and things went for us for a change. Not that I have the slightest sympathy for the Reds! Just like the Sandy Brown og in the 1969-70 season, that Reina howler will be repeated over and over again on "What happens next?" programmes and that will only serve to remind us of our famous win.

I'm old enough to remember the previous highest win - a 4-0 win at Anfield when Derek Temple scored after 54 seconds. My father, who is a Red, came home with a ball signed by the Liverpool team because he'd been one second off winning the Golden Goal — and I promptly went out and played with the ball, wiping all the signatures off in the process!

Well here's hoping my Evertonian son doesn't have to wait that long again to see such a comprehensive win over the red half!

Now bring on the pie eaters!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (10/9/06)

09/09

At Last!
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (10/09/06)

Care to expand on that point, Tony? ;-) - Colm

Passion

Just wanted to mention how passionate Phil Neville appears to be, playing for us. When one of our goals went in he had everyone in together celebrating. He might be one of our more important signings for the next few years. That tackle he hit Fowler with said it all. It's great to see the players sticking in together, putting in 100% effort. Full marks to Lescott as well, thought he was excellent apart from a couple little mistakes. Great feeling just now, hope it continues.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (10/09/06)

The last two games will have done Lescott's confidence no harm whatsoever, as he grows into the position, so to speak! — Colm

Who isn't wearing a 6-inch grin now?

Now I hope all of those annoying Kopites will crawl back in their holes, keep very quiet, stop banging on about what a class side they have, and that they are going to win the title. All you have to do now is walk around Liverpool and see who is grinning from ear to ear. Bragging rights 'til February... the next few months will be heaven! COYB
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (10/9/06)

Derby day win

It was my first derby match yesterday, I've been waiting all my life to be at Goodison on derby day, so yesterday's win was special. The passion shown by the team from the second it kicked off was awesome, they played with pride, commitment and most importantly as a team. The attacking play at times was quality, slick passing and incisive runs and we defended brilliantly.

My player ratings (out of 10)

  • Howard: 9 - Brilliant performance, made some outstanding saves and bossed his area.
  • Hibbert: 8 - Made some good crunching tackles and blocked a certain goal (with his hand?!) got forward well.
  • Yobo:8 - Marshalled the defence and formed a good understanding with Lescott. His pace was a real asset when Liverpool played the ball over the top.
  • Lescott: 9 - Was solid. Kuyt never got a look in when he came on, Lescott had him in his pocket.
  • Naysmith: 8 - Did well to keep Gerrard quiet. Had some good involvement going forward, unlucky not to score!
  • Carsley: 8 - Solid. Never shirked a challenge and enjoyed himself. He was brave at times and took a whack near the end.
  • Neville: 10 - Outstanding display. He opitimised our team performance and inspired it with his leadership skills. He covered every blade of grass and was involved in attack and defence.
  • Arteta: 9 - He had another brilliant game. He used the ball superbly and was always available for a pass. He caused havoc in the packed midfield.
  • Cahill: 9 - Loves the derby and had a stormer. Got the first goal and put in some fierce tackles. Great display.
  • Osman: 8 - Was very tricky down the right and Liverpool had trouble keeping tracks on him. Some good crosses which could have resulted in a goal.
  • Johnson: 10 - Awesome derby debut for AJ. Caused havoc in Liverpools defence and could have had a hat-trick. His pace and movement won us the game.
  • Beattie: 6 - Came on with 10 minutes left and did ok. He ran hard and chased everything but the game was nearly over.
  • Valente: 6 - Came on with minutes to go. Had a few good touches.

We don't care what the redshite say...
Andy Unsworth, Liverpool  (10/9/06)

That's a first derby you'll never ever forget! — Colm

Carried Away

Great result but just watch Moyes fuck it up next week with stupid team selection and/or tactics! Four years under this bugger has taught me not to get carried away!
Tony Senter, Rainhill  (10/9/06)

Curmudgeon of the week contender!!! — Colm

Saint David`s Day

As the Moyesiah gives Evertonians their gratest Derby day for 42 years and establishes himself as the best manager we have had since football `got serious`, our revered Chairman rightfully seeks to tie him to what amounts to a contract for life.

In an effort to convince him to sign, should not all Evertonians demonstrate our support by lobbying the Government to change St David`s Day to September 9th? After all, most Welshmen of my aquaintance support the currently second most successful side on Merseyside!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (10/9/06)

You are Alistair Campbell and I claim my fiver! ;-) — Colm

'Up for it'

I've been watching since the late seventies and I've NEVER seen an Everton side so 'up for it'. Shall we give Mr Moyes a bit of credit Michael?
Craig McManus, Mold  (10/9/06)

Can't speak for Michael but I'm sure he does indeed offer credit where due. — Colm

It Was Easy!

Yes it was so easy playing one up front at home... an managing 3 goals! It was so easy! D DRDDD ANDY JOHNSON! Already, he has eclipsed that shrek face you know who! Hopefully this win will take us up a level and we can do what we did two seasons ago... remain in the top 4 until the end of the season!
Robbie Muldoon, Huyton  (10/9/06)

Dreamland

I hate Derby games — always have. Watched loads at both Goodison and Anfield, and cannot say I enjoyed any. Too much tension.

So it was with some delight that I watched yesterday's game. Thought about staying in to watch it, but relented and was joined in the pub by another dozen or so fanatical Singaporean Evertonians — none of whom has been to the UK, let alone a game. That's their dream.

Anyway, as someone who has criticised Moyes's tactics previously, he was spot on last night. Some players put in impressive displays — Cahill not the least of them. We didn't dominate the game, and they dictated the play for long periods — that was inevitable. And Michael — when was the last time you saw open, free-flowing football in a Derby?

Anyway, we partied till the small hours. Guys and Galls, go into work with your head held high and ram it down their throats. This is our time. Long may it continue!
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (10/09/06)

All well and good... but have you a cure for the massive banging head that I've had all morning?! — Colm

Match ratings

Hey editor, what happened to my match ratings? I spent 20 mins on the laptop doing that before celebrating with the fans after. So....?
Luq Yus, London  (10/9/06)

I think he's saving them for a rainy day! ;-) — Colm

The last laugh

I hope this Dirk Kuyt learns next time to keep his big mouth shut. I was reading all over the net the way he prefered the Reds over the Blues and couldn't wait to score in front of a hostile Everton cowd. Serves the new kid on the block with the big mouth right for opening his mouth before a derby clash.
Robert Chanman, Melbourne  (10/9/06)

Dirk who?! — Colm

Moyes's Joy

Watching David Moyes celebrate that victory so passionately proves how much he loves our club. These must be very dark days for the members of The Anti-Moyes Brigade.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (10/9/06)

Everton's form

Great result today and let's enjoy it as it was our biggest win over them since 1964. But let's not undo the good work against Wigan next week as thier kopite manager will be eager to put one over us after today.

I remember 1993 when we beat Liverpool 2-0 (Ward and Cottee), it could have been four or five, and the following Saturday we got stuffed 5-1 at home to Norwich with a red shite called Efan Ekuku scoring four. It could be a classic case of "after the Lord Mayor's show" so it is up to the boss to make sure they are just as motivated next week.

Phil Neville was Everton's Man of the Match for me, his passing and positional play was excellent.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (9/9/06)

Not My Words but oh How I Love Them

Thirty-three years I've waited for this! Every loose ball and 50-50 challenge was won by an Everton player as the home side delivered a clear signal of their intentions and Phil Neville's bone-crunching tackle on Robbie Fowler in the second minute summed up the desire within the Everton team. Emotion was seeping out of every blue shirt and Liverpool struggled to match that passion.

By the way our red friends it's no use winning many things unless you learn how to accept defeat. COYB WDCWTRSS
John McFarlane, Lancs  (9/9/06)

Hmmm... I thought we actually lost an awful lot of the midfield battles and 50/50 balls... but defended to the death and took our chances very well. — Michael

Mr Moyes

Note the happy tone of the support for the club and all those asociated with it, which is great; our best win against Liverpool since 1909!!!

It is with great pleasure we must note our position now including: the best squad for at least 15 years, some sort of financail control at the club, and further discussion on the massive decision regarding a ground move.

Today we saw the best centre-back combination we have had for years. Tiny Tim has shown his detractors what a versatile player he is. Who wants to play against a Carsley or Neville — lead midfielders tommorrow.

4-5-1 for the doubters was against the team that won the Champions League last year. Though he was not at his best I think you have to at least respect Gerrard and i would not fancy tackling Sissoko. Thanks for leaving Bellamy out. We mixed it in the middle. Our centre-backs are top quality. Naysmith was at the end of the day stretched but, up against Gerrard, Carsley Phil and Tim are horrible and AJ a nightmare.

We have a good side and a squad that is not as threadbare as we have had. The board have supported a Manager who identified where we need to improve. They have (within the confines of the budget) supported the Manager and for now all is well. Enjoy our start and (unless you have a self publishing agenda) suppport the Club, the Manager, and the Team.

Lastly the stats: How did we do so many fouls but get so few bookings. Or was it a...
Wilmslow Boy, Wilmslow  (9/9/06)

Well, I did what I could, editorially... but that was a bit incoherent, Wilm. Best not to try for rational thought when you are pie-eyed, eh? Did you just fall off yer barstool at the end or what? — Michael

Brilliant — simply brilliant

It doesn't get much better than this! Watching the match from the Upper Bullens, glancing to my left at the hordes of glum-faced kopites and then casting an eye at the scorecboard proudly displaying Everton 3 - Liverpool 0!

Today every player did their bit. In particular, Howard commanded his area well and always looked in control. I though Lescott (in only his third match) looked like he'd been playing in the Premiership all his life — very composed. As for Johnson - he never stopped running and genuinely put the fear of god into the Liverpool defence. Finally, Moyes got his tactics spot on, with a formation that clearly suited what he has at his disposal.

A day to be proud of... 'the Mighty Blues'!!!
Andrew Wilson, Chester  (9/9/06)

Excellent result

Well done, the lads; I must admit I became a bit sick of all the pre-match talk from the players during the week... But that was tremendous, even Naysmith was looking a good player (never thought I'd say that!). It's great to see we have someone who can be relied upon to bang the goals in as well... how long have we waited for that? Let's hope he stays fit.
James Newcombe, Wantage, Oxfordshire  (9/9/06)

Daily Mirror

Did anyone else read the comments made by the bookmakers in the above newspaper? This tosser was giving the odds on Everton getting a player sent off and referred to its fans an imbeciles and hard of understanding! Clearly a kopite from Yeovil or somewhere trying to get a rise! Prick!

I went to the game today with me daa who is a red, when that third went in his face was priceless! The kopites left earlier than expected; yes, we saw them sneaking out! Every player for us did themselves proud! Lescott a rock, Arteta sublime and AJ's movement was immense. Well done, Everton, Moyes tactics were spot on!
Mike Mulhall, Aintree  (9/9/06)

We Won!

Moyes's tactics were wrong, far too negative, I cursed when I heard the line up. But forget the semantics... we beat them and I've so enjoyed phoning all my red mates and relatives. This time I haven't had to be magnanimous. I could listen and hear their magnanimity or otherwise and feel so bloody good. Please do this again and again over the next few seasons. By the way Andy Johnson has now joined my list alongside Yobo and Arteta as a proven great player and Lescott is very close to joining that list. Don't even think of bringing back the geriatrics.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (9/9/06)

From my seat

Ecstatic, I have waited a long time to see a derby like this. The men against the boys usually referred to them but today WE were the men. I thought our manager out-thought theirs both tactically and motivationaly. We stuck to a game plan that saw us two up at the break and also one that left the opposition reeling with a mountain to climb.

As expected by us fans, they came out all guns blazing second half but the boys were ready for it and not only defended well but almost expected to ride a little bit of luck on the odd occasion which I put down to the Managers words of half-time wisdom. All over the field were good performances:

  • Lescott, after a shaky start, responded to the crowds encouragement and put in a very promising shift which augers well for the coming games.
  • Yobo seemed to relish being the senior partner and gelled well with his back four.
  • Tony Hibbert made a good return which freed up Neville to aid Carsley in giving us some much needed muscle in the middle of the park.
  • Naysmith seemed to respond to being fully fit and put in a good performance and spoiled the Gerrard-down-the-right ploy from functioning.
  • Johnson's appetite to chase lost causes all day clearly unsettled both centre backs and brought about two of the goals and his first was striking at its best.
I thought it was these small areas that allowed the team as a whole to gel. To win the derby in any fashion is more than acceptable but to win as we did today was the icing on the cake — didn't we make them look ordinary and desperate?

Maybe not a lot of passing due to the need to win from both sides but on occasion I thought I saw what we might be capable of in less rarified atmospheres. Their loyal(??) fans left as one with still 10 mins to go and we respectfully bade them goodbye. At the whistle, Tim Howard hurled his shirt into the Street End, Phil gave thanks to the Bullens Road, and fans and players alike lingered to soak up our achievment.

Back at our alehouse and the car park served as overspill for the singing Blue hordes. A great day, a great result and (if the word consistancy can be utilised) then perhaps a great season. One game at a time though, eh? See you Saturday — UP THE BLUES!!!
Ken  Buckley, Buckley  (9/9/06)

Magic Johnson

The boys were supreme this afternoon — solid allround and took their chances. Brown should watch it — AJ may just be a better choice for PM next year!!! Spare a thought for Moyes, though — he also deserves a large part of the credit for a fine win today. However, every man in a blue shirt today at Goodison played their hearts out and it fills me with pride knowing that we achieved such a great result. AJ and Cahill found the key to Everton hearts — it was at the back of the net... Keep on rolling you Blues!
Alan Khan, Durban, South Africa  (9/9/06)

''Heartache around the corner'' — Bollocks to that

Nice to hear AJ say that we mustn't get ahead of ourselves. This will count for nothing if we don't get 3 points against the piemen next Saturday. Newcastle is looking like a winnable fixture too now with their last-minute collapse and our in form striker. Let's go on a fucking roll now and postpone Mr Marsh's "heartache around the corner" bollocks for as long as possible. Nice to see Mr Moyes with a smile back on his face, long may it continue.
Ting Tong, Southport  (9/9/06)

Middle-aged thoughts

In my lifetime, I have never seen the like. Today went some way towards healing the following: Mike Lyon's disallowed header early 70s, Clive Thomas, Hansen's handball in the Milk Cup Final, 80s FA Cup finals, Glen Keeley, Don Hutcison's goal. The most importnat thing, though was the memory of countless derbies when we have dominated and lost out to clinical finishing - finally, today, we reversed that. What made it most sweet were the Hibbert penalty shout and others — welcome to our world!

I have never been prouder, also man enough to admit crying like a baby. I don't think it gets better than this!
Paul Cullen, Nottingham  (9/9/06)

Moyes

Brilliant result, shoul keep all you silly Moyes haters quiet for another month. Just a young man doing a good job. He makes mistakes... but don't we all? Have a glass of wine tonight, Davey lad, you deserve it!
Gary Norman, Asager, Stoke on Trent  (9/9/06)

A minor point...

"The last time Everton were above Liverpool going into a derby match was in 2004 when Everton held a 9-point lead on Liverpool, which was raised to 12 points following Lee Carsley's winner at Goodison Park." - Everton v Liverpool Match Preview.
Wtihout trying to score points, I believe that Everton were also ahead of Liverpool in the Premiership going into the Anfield derby later in same season, which they lost 2-1.
Tom Swanson, Litherland  (9/9/06)

You are correct — good catch. I'd normally provide a link to the relevant post-match table after the preceeding fixture... but there's a fault in the file. — Michael

Sweet

Fantastic result today made all the merrier by the way it was clinically delivered to our nemesis. I was expecting Poll to ruin the game and wasn't disappointed with some seriously stupid decisions and his aiding at least two of their players to their feet from their own stupidity, are you watching, FA???

What else can I say other than Rafa, you cheered us up no end by dropping that spotty Welsh gimp Bellamy, saving us any sort of pace to deal with... But all credit to the team, they played like men for 90 minutes and, what's more important, played for each other — a great weekend to be a Blue.

Oh and Dutch can you please post before every game this season saying we will get beaten. It's strange but seems to be working.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (9/9/06)

You got it!

Yup, I was barred. Apart from my mad celebrations, the entire place was quiet. Sweet... so sweet!!!!!
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (9/9/06)

Alan Green ha ha ha

Great victory and well deserved today. I was forced by circumstances to listen to the commentary on 5 Live. What a joy it was to hear that biased Kopite bastard Alan Green forcing the words "Everton 3, Liverpool 0" through clenched teeth! I am convinced Kevin Ratcliffe co-commentating bedide him was setting him up. "Phil Neville is having a briiliant game" says Ratters, "YESSS!" replies Green, sounding as though he was trying to shit a rather large brick without success. Can't wait to hear how he handles the fallout on 606. Sweet! Well done you Blues!!!
Tom Edwards, York  (09/09/06)

Fantastic!

Now I can die happy... Over to you, Mr Marsh?
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (9/9/6)

Can you imagine what poor Tony Marsh was babbling to himself when Moyes took off a midfielder and brought on James Beattie 10 mins from the end? We'll never hear the end of it! — Michael

Get In!

Well, what can I say? Went out and got hammered for my Birthday; lying in bed this morning feeling terrible. Decided to turn on the TV, which goes to Fox Soccer Channel by default, of course. By pure chance, it's starting to show a 3 minute highlights of the derby: 1-0 to Everton... 2-0 to Everon... 3-0 to Everton!!! Well, I leapt out of bed, yelled several expletives and suddenly felt better.

What a day! 3-0, who'd have thought it? Not even the most optimistic of fans would have gone for that, especially after the Tottenham performance. Well done, Everton — let's enjoy this and look forward to the next game!

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum, we are the People's Club, and the red horde are SHITE!!
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (9/9/06)

Tears of joy!

Today is the finest hour to be an Evertonian! Absolute joy beyond my expectations, today I have no qualms or argumements — I am one with all involved with Everton and the happiness of thrashing Liverpool once and for all is overwhelming! Moyes, you were spot on with your selections and tactics. AJ — world class! The team — excellent! Await my ratings for individual players.

But the fing Alan Green is a wank-stain. And Mr Poll? Your Liverpool bias is sicknening. I hope you cry in your beer with the rest of the Kop-shite herd tonight! Today is a day of celebration to everyone on ToffeeWeb and beyond!!!
Luq Yus, London  (9/9/06)

If only it were "for all"... Be nice to do the double over them, though. — Michael

Amazing

Everton, amazing! So proud to be a blue today, the atmosphere was fantasic, staying behind after the game, singing our heads off, it was brilliant. Admitedly we pretty much played the kopites on a good day but we were brilliant, so proud of boys!!!
Paul McGlone, Liverpool  (9/9/06)

The boys are back in town

Just back from the game what a fantastic result Everton 3 Liverpool 0 (I am so going to enjoy work on Monday as most of my work mates support the dark side). What a great performance from the whole of the team with a special mention for our very own Spanish Wizard — let's hope the boys can keep it up. As for Andy Johnson, so worth every penny — and then some!

See you all at the next one. God, doesn't it feel good to be Blue? Long may it last.
Dwayne Perkins, Wirral  (9/9/06)

Magnificent! But.....

I don't want to take anything of the shine off today's performance, it was magnificent, with every player on the pitch in a Blue shirt pulling his tripe out, which as Evertonians, is all we ask. But we are still nondescript in midfield and how we are crying out for a 'Roy Keane' or a 'Peter Reid' — somebody who can win it, hold it and play simple passes to somebody in space. However, enough of the negatives... what about the positives? Andy Johnson was awesome today, not just his goals — that's only half the story — he ran his legs off all day and even made a few defensive contributions.

Nevertheless, despite this, AJ wasn't the star of the show. For me, it was Yobo and Lescott. The defence in general were excellent, considering they get virtually no protection from midfield, but these two are a match made in heaven. It should be patently obvious to David Moyes now what this team is lacking and I hope that the Kilbane cash is sitting in the bank waiting for the next transfer window.

ps: I don't entirely agree with Michael, although I know what he means. We (mainly Arteta) started taking the piss near the end with flicks and little triangles. It's not enough but it does show we can do it if only we had the confidence.(by 'we' of course I mean Everton...I'm feeling particularly inclusive today!) Well done Blues... I'm proud of you.
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (9/9/06)

Everton 3 - 0 Liverpool

How fantastic is this result? I'm loving this season. Winning at White Hart Lane for the first time in 20-something years, scoring 3 against Liverpool and top of the league. I really hope the lads can continue this season and aim for another Top 6 finish.

Huge Credit to Moyes for sticking with his 4-5-1 formation, it really worked and was the best decision our manager has made since informing Kenwright that a certain Andrew Johnson would be a great purchase.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (9/9/06)

Boycott Betfair

Still delirious after the game today but also still fuming about Derek McGovern's comments about Evertonians in todays Mirror (p68, betting tips). He calls Evrtonians "imbeciles" and "hard of understanding".

I call on all Evertonians to e.mail him at betsguru@aol.com to let him know what you think and to boycott both the Mirrorand the sponsors of his column, Betfair.
David Whitehill, East Sussex  (9/9/06)

Magnificent!

The best result for a very long time. I am absolutley delighted... well done Everton —Champions of the Premiership beckons. We have the best striker in the Premiership! This result will boost everyone — let's now build on this result. Remember, success breeds success!!!
Andrew Fairfoull, Warrington  (9/9/06)

BBC = Wankers

Unfortunately couldn't watch but listened on Five Live with that cunt Green commentating. I'm not sure what gave more pleasure, his squirming or the goals going in. His preamble to the game kicking off was an utter disgrace. By the way who was the Northern Irish tit who shouted "come on you mighty reds" at the end of the radio programme before?

The twats at the BBC still haven't updated the table and doubt they will till after 5pm ("BBC are Liverpool supporters with Liverpool supporters badges") Either way, I'm cockahaoop and can't find my batman suit. Sounded like Neville had a commanding performance and Lescott and Howard did their jobs admirably. Johnson — thank god we have someone at long last who knows where the onion bag is — absolute class. Last time I thought similar was when Cottee got a hat-trick on his debut.

Not bothered about the passing game today and anyone who doesn't take 100% pleasure in this result should really have a word with themselves. I've shouted myself hoarse and am now off to get bolloxed!!!
Ting Tong, Southport  (9/9/06)

You couldn't let it lie!!

Fantastic win and a great performance that was tactically spot on. But Michael, did you have to chip in with "no passing football from Everton, but it doesn't matter"? You're damn right it doesn't matter, which is why I find it strange that you felt the need to make the point in the first place!

We can play football, we saw that a couple of weeks back, but what excites me about the team Moyes has put together is that every player knows how to approach every game in the right way. We got it spot on again and silenced all of their big threats. And to be fair, I didn't see much passing football from the reds either!

I just noticed Alan Green's assessment of today's game: "Liverpool have not been good enough in the second half," he announced on Five Live. When will the BBC do the honourable thing and put that man down? He is disgraceful and has never once given any credit to Everton for anything they've ever achieved. He's about as impartial as Graham "Anfield is my home" Poll.

Just one special mention for Phil Neville - I thought he was top class again today and is really leading by example. He has been a fantastic influence on the side and he makes players around him feel confident. Keep it up boys, you're on to something pretty special.
Duncan Fagioli, Liverpool  (9/9/06)

Poll axed?

Somebody should check Carragher and Reina's bank accounts. I think Bill Kenwright must've slipped them a few bob! The kopites will be whining about Hibbert's handball, but who cares? We've got the bragging rights for a change.

Alan Green's whingeing was music to my ears. Any harping about tired legs from them is bullshit cos Neville played a blinder. Liverpool and Everton both got what they deserved today. Lineker and Co are gonna be solemn tonight. MotD better have us on first with extended highlights.
Stuart Beresford-Kelly, Ballymena, Northern Ireland  (9/9/06)

Happiness from downunder!

I was dubious about staying up and watching this game after watching the last few on the net... but damn fine result. Top of the league and beat Liverpool 3-0!!! Johnson on for at least 34 goals this season the way he is playing. Off to bed now — it's 2am here... COYB
Lee Howard, Napier, New Zealand  (9/9/06)

A Nice Birthday Present

Was depressed today as it is my birthday and everything I had planned fizzled out (typically!). The last chance for some birthday cheer was the derby and I am esctatic to say Everton did not dissapoint me. A great performance by our boys in blue to beat the reds. 3-0 though they did have a few scares in the second half. Top o' the league!!!
M Hassanudin Salehin, Singapore  (9/9/06)

Marshey Marshey, give us wave

Not only jumping off the wardrobes but the fucking roof mate!
Ting Tong, Southport  (9/9/06)

Fantastic result, great spirit, no passing football from Everton, but it doesn't matter. — Michael

Equality

"We dont care what the red shite say, what the heck* do we care, cos we only know that there's going to be a show when the Everton boys are there." One of 19 other clubs you say?

As for my 'stupid' pseudonym, I'm looking into changing it by deed poll... if only it was that easy to change referees.
Bingo Bongo, Coventry  (9/9/06)

We Will Win

Everton to win 2-0, Poll breaks his leg running onto the pitch, the sub ref is a diehard blue who sends Gerrard off for moaning about losing the toss... Fuck, woke up!

Why do Everton not complain about Poll? This fucker should not referee an Everton game. Anyway I still think we will win 2-0, Arteta 1st goal (pen) and Johnson.
Steve Swe, Prescot  (9/9/06)

I'd say Cahill first goal (although it might as well have been a penalty!) and then Johnson. Good call!

ITVN

Just to let everyone know that I received my ITVN magic box and it works great! If anyone wants to order it, if you use promotional code 101096, you'll get free shipping :) You're welcome! Cheers
Soccer Boy, Montreal, Canada  (9/9/06)

Derby on Setanta

I read this article with great interest, but are you sure the Derby is on broadband? According to the Setanta Broadband schedule it's not on. It's only on Setanta Sports via DirecTV.
Paul McArdle, Los Angles  (9/9/06)

I guess I should have made it clear — this is the Setanta Sports USA TV channel, delivered to my TV set (not my computer) via a set-top box that connects to my cable modem via an ethernet cable. The signal is not from Setanta's website. This is not about Braodband via the Setanta.com website. It is delivered from ITVN using RTSPT — Real-Time Streaming Protocol via TCP. The derby is defintely on this channel.— Michael

ITVN

Just wanted to say thanks for the heads up on the availability of Sentana Sports via ITVN. I had given up getting to see the game in Boston as nowhere with Direct TV access was going to be open in the morning (Eastern Time) — so anyhow thanks again!
David in, Boston, MA, USA  (8/9/06)

Er... It took a week to get the magic box... I can't see you'll have it hooked up in time. But the Wigan game is on next week and I feel sure they will carry many more Everton games that are not featured on Fox Soccer Channel. — Michael

Like the rising of the sun

We know that, a few hours from now, depending on the derby result certain scribes will either be silenced or the vitriol will be in full spate. As for dreams, last night I dreamt of a game wherein the object was to toss slices of bread at coathangers. The winner got most of his slices to stick. The prize was a loaf of bread.

You may well ask the bearing of my dream on the derby game. The answer is "bugger all"... yet it has the same relevance as the dreams of others. Thanks to satellite TV, at 9pm tonight, my entire focus will be centred on a screen, my thoughts will be with all our supporters at Goodison. Having been there many times, I know what incredible tension you will be under. I assure you that the tension in our house will be no less. Let's hear it for the Blues.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (9/9/06)

Nice choice

Why splash their crest on our ToffeeWeb homepage. Bad choice in my opinion.

All Evertonians need to ask themself the following question: When Man Utd play Liverpool, which side do you want to see win? Win — not draw, remember. The two great evils of the 'modern' game — consider your answer carefully.
Bingo Bongo, Pissed off in the Congo  (8/9/06)

Firstly, we always feature the club crest with our link to the match preview. For every club. No exceptions. (Remember, they're nothing special: just another Premiership club — just one of 19 others we compete with.) And we call them by their proper name, just like we do with every other club, because that is all they are: just another club. So stop being childish... or, if you want to continue with that silly nonsense, I'm sure there are plenty of other websites that will cater very well for our needs.

And as for your second question, more childish nonsense. Who gives a shit? This is an Everton website. It's no wonder you log in with a stupid pseudonym if this is the best you can come up with. — Michael

Fingers crossed

Well, I'll be doing the customary tomorrow, supporting whoever Everton's manager chooses to wear the blue shirt in the derby. I'll be going with the other half (a red) to watch the game in the pub bizarrely surrounded by people wanting Liverpool to win. There will be the odd MU Rowdies fan, who forgot the Sky schedule before heading out for for a pint, but apart from that, they'll be almost to a man wanting the kopites to win. I have no idea why.

I moved out here to Suffolk, so despite not being able to point out Merseyside on the map, those Reds fans there will have chosen to support them while at school in the 70s and 80s because "everyone wants to be associated with a winner". The neutrals seem to want them to win too. Is it for the same reason I wonder?

Anyway, I'll be there regardless. If we get beaten, I'll be the one, pointed at and ridiculed (as per usual). If we win, nobody will say anything, and if I cheer too much I'll be barred from my local because I'll be winding up the majority.

Oh fuck it. I hope we stuff them. I'll cheer about it and probably get barred. I can always find myself another pub. I can't however find myself another football team to support, no matter how bad it gets at times.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (8/9/06)

The Derby

I am a first-generation Blue by choice. I have three older sisters, all of whom appear to be reds. My father got put off football because of his first match in the UK. It was an old firm game. As he said to me "Jesus, they where prepared to stab each other over football!" He never took me to a match. I became an Evertonian through my mother. She used to work in a New Brighton children's home so I got to see a few matches.

My sister came to see me recently, she is 50 this year and, because she was so good to me as a kid when my mum died of cancer, I wanted to do something special for her. I would like to see England or Liverpool play. No mean task given the restrictions on getting tickets this year. They became reds through their son, who played a lot of footy in the south; that was his team. They are from merseyside.

So with patience I managed to buy the tickets, to give my sister a 50th birthday to remember, which is tomorrow! So for all those who say that kopites should not be in our stands I would remind you that families support football in Liverpool — and please behave yourselves.

Happy 50th, Sis!
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (8/9/06)

There seem to be a few efforts this time to try and reverse the trend away from factional and back to the days of the Freindly Derby. Good luck, Eamonn! — Michael

The FA are worth FA!

Matt Geraghty's 'to the point' e.mail inspired me to have a whinge to the FA myself (the forums were quiet!). I tried to make some pertinent points, and linked them to some forums blue and red, so it didn't just sound like sour grapes! For anyone who's interested, here is the uninterested, blah-de-blah reply!

Dear John,

Thank you for your e.mail.

Please be assured that Premier League referees undergo rigorous coaching both pre-season and throughout and are at all times, highly professional and impartial. They are selected on a performance-based criteria and are chosen for matches on a weekly basis in order to ensure that those officials who are in form, referee the highest profile matches.

The performance of the referee, together with all performances by the Select Group Referees, are reviewed with him in detail in a number of different ways. There is constant monitoring of referees’ performances, with a view to improving their performance from week to week. Referees are given positive feedback and are appropriately criticised if it is felt that decisions were wrong.

There are a range of tools available to help referees, including coaching, fortnightly feedback sessions and technology. In addition, the Select Group of Referees meet on a fortnightly basis, giving all the referees an opportunity to communicate and discuss issues of concern and ensure a greater consistency of performance.

Thank you for taking the time to make us aware of your views.

Kind regards,
It seems to just be stock media friendly gibberish, which I guess I expected.
John Prior, Liverpool  (8/9/06)

And whatever they are doing, it ain't working. They are getting worse, and worse, and worse! — Michael

Van der Meyde

After hearing about McFadden's injury, which rules him out of the derby, I hope Moyes starts with Andy van der Meyde on the left. What better way to win over the Everton fans than to put in a decent performance against Liverpool? He has a lot to make up for after his last derby appearance...
John Davies, Liverpool  (8/9/06)

Nothing else matters!

Bart Allman`s right — nothing matters tomorrow but the result! Like most Evertonians, I won`t give a tuppenny fuck about team selection, tactics, bookings, sending-offs etc as long as we beat those bastards. COYB!
Alan Whitehead, Toxteth  (8/9/06)

Derby diligence

It's going to be difficult for all the Everton players tomorrow to play in competitive spirit and at the same time try to avoid picking up silly bookings. With Poll keeping both the yellow and red cards warm in his pocket, our players need to be diligent and avoid rash tackles and any other slips of indecipline. Even over celebrating the scoring of a goal can mean a yellow card: apparently Johnson should have been yellow carded for lifting his shirt after scoring his goal at Spurs.

Remember that Poll can be very harsh and even get things wrong, so all it takes is a silly moment of indicipline coupled with a wrong decision from Poll and you are off. In the heat of a Merseyside Derby, emotions can run high, so I think Moyes should be preaching to his players a little bit of Derby diligence. A game is easier if you have all 11 players on the pitch for a full 90 minutes.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (7/9/06)

I had a dream last night. Mikel Arteta, free kick, Gwladys Street end, 64 minutes on the clock, it finishes one-nil. Nurse! Tablets! - Colm

Alamo tomorrow

Hope Moyes will plump for experience on Saturday with Stubbs and Weir at the centre of our defence. Otherwise, I think he should keep the line-up he started with at Spurs with AJ ploughing a lone furrow up front. Bollox to fancy passing football — if we defend like the Alamo for 89 minutes but grab the winner, Moyes can have the freedom of the City for me!
Bart Alman, Whiston  (8/9/06)

Call me old-fashioned but I believe in the theory of not changing a winning team. Those in possession of the shirt etc... — Colm

Duncan: End of an Era

After reading Lyndon's very fair assessment of Duncan Ferguson's Everton career, I was suprised to find that Lyndon had not checked the match details for the epic Man Utd game of the 2003-04 season. Duncan's goal was in the second half — not the first, as was stated.
Graham Sullivan, Conwy  (8/9/06)

No flies on you!

I Don't Like This Talk

Here is a quote from Davey Moyes taken from the interview for the LMA website, which ToffeeWeb provided a link to;

"But when it comes to Saturday we’ll hopefully go out there and give them as good a game as we possibly can.”
Hang on a minute, we will go an give them as good a game as possible!? Who the fuck are we, Prescot an Cables or suttin!? We will go out there and do EVERYTHING we possibly can do to WIN! I don't like this kind of talk; hopefully you can see where I am coming from here!
Robbie Muldoon, Huyton  (8/9/06)

No. That's about as passionate as it gets from our Moyesy. As I say, it's just another game. Leave him be. (It will be nice if we win, though...) — Michael

Wouldn't touch him with a ten-foot Poll

I agree with Matt from Warrington that some feedback to the Premier League regarding the joke appointment of Graham Poll for Saturday's derby is required (although in a more eloquent fashion!). These people treat football fans, especially us blues, with contempt. I mean who was responsible for appointing Mike Reilly for the Howard Kendall testimonial? The first thing the players heard coming out of the tunnel was a reign of boos and "Fuck off, Reilly!" chants. After the antics of Poll in the World Cup finals, the Premier League apparently need to be made aware that three weeks in the lower leagues does not make him a top referee again.
Karl Jones, Woolton  (7/9/06)

No Nonsense

Will that embarassing minority of bitter nobheads stay at home this coming derby day? Or will they consign those idiculous 'murderers' and '39 Italians can't be wrong' chants to history? Enough's enough.
Will Mitchell, London  (7/9/06)

Big Heart

Leon Osman might be small but, against Spurs, he was the one to hold the ball when ravaged by the pitbull Davids, and pass the ball for the goal. Having a big heart is more important!
Chung Mung Hung, Singapore  (7/9/06)

I remember whaen Jeffers was a lad playing for the Academy and he had some heart condition that caused the size of his organ to increase... does that count too? — Michael

Re: Stop the Beattie bashing

Re: Stop the Beattie bashing There is only one person that can curb the Beattie bashing (as you put it) and that is — yes you guessed it: Mr James (me no fit) Beattie. Come on, now, be honest with yourself: I don't think any Evertonian is pleased with what they have seen from the Beats this season... That said, the minority of his time at Everton we have seen odd glimpses of the player we hope he is. Basically, it is not good enough. I want him to perform consistently — don't you? Are you satisfied with his overall performances in a blue shirt?

I know its early days regarding the partnership with AJ — that's not the point. The point is he's got a full pre-season under his belt and is not fit. Why? Your guess is as good as mine but he needs to pull his finger out in my book. Don't get me wrong: am not just slagging him off for the sake of it — I want him to succeed with us and start banging them in... but he is just not doing it at the moment and you can't say otherwise.

Hopefully being left on the bench last game will sort him out. Come on, James lad, prove a lot of people wrong and start producing the goods.

Roll on Saturday... shit — Poll... Doh!!!
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (7/9/06)

You got that dead right, Chris, in every way. Good post. — Michael

Wait

I dislike Poll's refereeing style and had hoped his whopping blunder and subsequent blubbering at the World Cup would have lent him some longer-term humility. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, which would suggest that he is in line to conform with predictions for Saturday and have his usual stinker. However, some of the mails are leaning towards blaming the ref for our losing before a ball has even been kicked. Let's wait until after the game to see if either Poll loses the plot or we lose the game, eh?

Although I would love us to stick one over on the red shower, I am not overly optimistic. But it needn't be the 'be-all and end-all' of our season either (although defeat at the time feels like it!) — which is where Tim Cahill's comments about it being our Champions League Final left me distinctly underwhelmed. Surely he must understand the ammo he is giving their supporters with ill-thought out comments such as that?
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (7/9/06)

Underwhelmed? I was personally shocked that he could come out with such a howler. I am amazed more fuss hasn't been made of the comment but I guess that would be construed as turning on our own at a crucial time... which kinda ironically confirms the underlying truth in what he is saying for many whose main concern is "bragging rights" because, for them, this really is our "biggest game of the season". I just don't grant Liverpool that much kudos. They are another Prem team that we need to beat. Anything more, and as you say, it plays right into their hands. — Michael

The bigger they are etc — hopefully...

My main concern about the derby is how our lightweight midfield performs against bigger more powerful opponents. I am reminded of last year when McFadden, Arteta, Tiny Tim and even Tinier Leon were crunched by the unmentionables' mobile brick dunnies. Should Naysmith play in Kilbane’s position, the size and power difference is even greater.

Those attributes do not a superior midfield make but we have to admit, grudgingly perhaps, in those areas the unmentionables are not entirely lacking in skill. Thinking once again about last year, late in the game we rattled them but only when we had two up front. For this game, the way to go is two strikers feeding off quick low forward passes. High balls down the middle are Hypia's bread and butter. I would include Besttie with Anichebe as backup.

On another point, I wonder if anyone remembers ex-Everton ex Crim Jimmy Gauld? Jimmy and AJ are not facially similar but they are very much the same in build and style. Stocky, strong, exceptionally quick and very hard to knock off the ball. Both had/have one thing in mind, to get into the box as fast as possible. Their unusually low centre of gravity enabled dribbles and runs at top speed. One can almost sense the panic of defenders facing such lightning strikes. In hindsight and certainly not similar to AJ you never knew if Jimmy was in it to win or to lose.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (7/9/06)

Derby Day

After are good start so far, here's hoping we can 'Smite The Shite' this Saturday! But, like others have posted, with that biased get Poll being in charge, I do worry about the outcome. I for one am sick of Liverpool getting the decisions and jammy goals etc! BUT, if WE (by some miracle) get the benefit, you watch the RedShites whinge! Yeah, like they NEVER get nothin do they?!? Can't wait to watch MotD if we do win... otherwise, avoid it like the plague!!! COYB!
Steve Johno, Nottingham  (7/9/06)

Squad size

Now that McFadden is out of the reckoning for a few weeks, how wise does the decision to sell Kilbane seem? I was no fan of his but at least he was a squad member. Selling him without a replacement seems foolhardy at best. Given our tendency to let more players go than we bring in,I do not want to hear the words "but we only have a small squad" being used as an excuse when it has clearly been allowed to happen.

When others on this site (or those with a more positive outlook than mine at least) have mentioned our squad size, they tend to include a relatively long list of academy/youngsters. I, for one, have seen no real evidence that David Moyes has any intention of playing these youngsters. His preference for playing the woefully inadequate Naysmith, when Bolyle seems at least worth a try, demonstrates that. This season, I believe, gives him a real chance to show me I'm wrong, but I'm not holding my breath.
Rob Williamson, Sheffield  (7/9/06)

The thoughts of Eddie C.

Mark Joseph's posting about turning down the chance of Derby tickets reminded me of another gem from my Eddie Cavanagh memories. Eddie was always proud to tell everyone that he NEVER missed a game at Goodison apart from the Derbies. "Can`t stand to see Red Shite on out pitch," he used to say, "I always exclude THEM matches in assessing how well Everton are doing - we should refuse to play the buggers!"

Bigotted, I'll say, but like a lot of others, I never argued with him about his reasoning!
David Hall, Taunton  (7/9/06)

No tomatoes in his house then I guess?! - Colm

Setanta Broadband

Michael,

I fear you have paid too much money for Setanta through ITVN. If you subscribe directly through Setanta using http://play.www.setanta.servecast.net then you will see it is only $11.99 a month or $119 annually. I know it is only a few bucks but "A penny saved is a penny earned" yada-yada.
Dylan DeLoretta, Honolulu, Hawaii  (7/9/06)

According to soccertv.com, the monthly subscription fee for Setanta Sports USA will rise to $14.99 in September. — Michael

Liverpool 0, Everton 1 - October 1984

Watched the MotD replay on ESPN last night — what a goal from Sharpie — were you watching AJ and BT? What a sitter Reidy missed as well.

Lots of hard tackling, very competetive and I can't remember seeing one booking. If the same game was played today, there would be players falling down all over the place and yellow and red cards galore. And I never saw anybody jump up with their elbow raised. They were tougher in those days and they hadn't learnt the continental art of cheating. Interesting hair cuts as well!
Alan Rooney, Lingfield  (7/9/06)

Those were the days, indeed... — Colm

Real thought Gravesen was Carlsley

After all the humoristic remarks on forums and in some articles regarding Gravesen's move to Real Madrid, indicating that they were mixing up him & Carlsley thinking that the man was everywhere... The largest newspaper in Sweden, Aftonbladet writes in an interview with Gravesen where he indicates that this may have been the case.

Gravesen is quoted saying (my translation, the link is in Swedish): "Buying my was definitely a mistake. I don't know what they saw me as, but I am not someone who cleans up in the defence. At least, that's not how I see myself. They should have bought Lee Carlsley instead, who played behind me in Everton," the football player says in an interview with the Danish TV3

Even though this link is in Swedish, I thought the news might be of some interest for you at ToffeeWeb. With regards and keep up the excellent work (Toffeeweb is my startpage) // Johannes Rodén
Johannes  Rodén, Umeå, Sweden  (7/9/06)

Yea, nice one, Johannes. Although at one level it seemed crazy, you could easily believe there was more than a hint of truth in that. — Michael

Derby Tickets

It's not often that you hear of Derby tickets going on general sale. I don't think it is all down to the telly being there either. I was offered tickets by virtue of being a season ticket holder last year, yet still I wouldn't go. I wouldn't go if I was a season ticket holder this season either. My reason? Well, I don't want either myself or my young son being in the middle of what is turning out to be a war between the two sets of supporters.

The last two seasons, especially, have seen mayhem both inside the ground and around the ground. Fighting in the Top Balcony??? What the hell is all that about? Kicking off on County Road? Chairs and tables being launched through the ale house windows? The friendly Derby? Yeh right!

I would urge all responsible websites, like your own, to contact the lot across the parks' sites and demand an end to the nonesense — from both sides — and get back to some sense of normality for these games, before someone gets really hurt.
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (7/9/06)

Scoreline

I'm no prophet, but I dreamt we won 2-1 last nite... I hope it's not some cruel joke...
Nathan Round, Berri, Australia  (7/9/06)

Were we playing last nite???

Tim Cahill

Hi, I just want to send a message to Tim Cahill: Thank you, Tim — my son Samuel is a 12-year-old fanatic soccer fan and player. You gave him your time when playing against Iraq in Syd and he also treasures his photo taken with you at that game. In fact, it sits beside his bed and he can not wait to see you play in Syd this Oct against Bahrain really hope we will see you there. We think you are pretty great and love your style of play especially during the World Cup. Thanks for being a great role model to my son and others.

On behalf of the Ogg Family...
Corinne Ogg, Lithgow, New South Wales  (6/9/06)

Ahhh... that's great. But I have to say I'm not so enam with Cah's style of play. I'm just para that, with Gra Po as ref for the big game against Liv on Sat, it will only take a couple of those clumsy tackles from Tiny Tim to see his name enter the little black book and we will be down to ten men again. Still, that was a trem insp for the boys at Tot, so let's hope we see some hist rep. STHWLART WTTAITM AWFFF WAOM FTLITRBJ!!!!!!!! — Michael

Bashing BT

Brian from Aldershot — there is no defence for Beattie. He hasn't played much this season because he keeps being subbed for being crap! I hope the England recall for AJ bucks him up and gets some goals out of him but I'm not holding my breath.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (6/9/06)

COYBB

Out on day release to watch the derby... come on boys, please don't let that shower of shite turn us over in our own back yard. Give me something to smile about back in my cell.

On another note... I've heard a rumour that there are less than 100 people in the Kop with a postcode beginning with L. Not sure it is true, but I'll claim it as yet another reason why we're the best.
Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (6/9/06)

Own Goal

I agree, the content of the e.mail may not get the message across. However, apart from going down and speaking to Keith Barnwell (I think that's his name) what other suggestions do you have?

"Excuse me Mr Poll, would you mind not being so biased and one-sided when you ref Everton games. You're being awfully un-sporting to the blue side of the city, old bean. In turn, this creates tension between ourselves and our neighbours across the park that frankly, we could do without."
Matt Geraghty, Warrington  (6/9/06)

4-5-1

I've never said this sentence before but, I agree with Ting Tong, in that the 4-5-1 formation is the way to go. I know this setup has its faults, particulary if we go a goal down and can be unattractive to watch, but for me it's all about utilising the current resoures we have to obtain their best.

Surely we can't ignore that this was basically the formation we used to come 4th two years back, and we used it sparingly last season and finished 11th. But the bonus now is that we have back-up firepower in Beattie and McFadden if we go a goal down, and can easily revert to a 4-4-2 formation if needed.

If we start with a 4-4-2, it means either Carsley, Cahill or Arteta will have to play out of position or be dropped, and I for one would not substitute any of them so far this season for another striker to be played along side Johnson. With the 4-5-1 formation we can utilise these three players, in their best postion, and still have the likes of Osman and McFadden to support Johnson. As you can see the Spurs victory has made me optimistic for this season, and has me waiting with baited breath for the new Football Manager to be released. Let's not kid ourselves — the most important game of the season is coming up. COME ON YOU BLUE BOYS!!!
Kevin Morris, Sydney, Australia  (6/9/06)

Poll

I think the Premier League should get some feedback re: Poll. I sent them an e.mail to contactus@premierleague.com. It simply said: Poll = Cunt. It might help get the message across if a few other's do the same. COYB!!!
Matt Geraghty, Warrington  (6/9/06)

You'll achieve nothing airing your views like that! Own Goal! — Colm

Stop this Beattie bashing

I would like to start off by expressing my disappointment in all the Beattie bashing that has been going on recently. The guy has only played one and a half games this season and people are already judging him. You know the kind of comments I mean: Beattie is lazy, too fat, too slow, has man breasts, eats too many pies, is too ugly, is too pretty and surplus to requirements; for crist sake give the guy a break!!!

As soon as Johnson comes on the scene and starts banging in the goals, all of the anti-Beattie brigade start popping up calling for his head.

Let's face it, Johnson is a hard act to follow, and will make any player in the Premiership look slow. But people must stop comparing the two players as if they are from the same mould. Beattie and Johnson are different kinds of player; granted they are both strikers, but have strengths in different areas. Beattie is tall, good in the air, a hard working target man, with a keen eye for goal. Johnson is a compact, pacey, front-runner, who will run the channels, spin off markers, also with a keen eye for goal.

Going on past successful partnerships, for example: Sharpe and Heath; Toshack and Keagan; Beardsley and Shearer, BT & AJ should complement other. Just give Beattie time and I am sure he will come good.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (6/9/06)

Hope you're right on that last point but Beattie's physical 'state' after pre-season leaves a lot to be desired. He should be fighting fit and ready for action. Can you honestly say he's looked in peak condition? Perhaps his demotion to the bench for the Spurs game may motivate him, getting himself into proper shape and doing what he's supposed to do - score goals. Three on Saturday will suffice! ;-) — Colm

A missed opportunity

Without wanting to re-ignite the whole relocation debate and the thorny issue of a prefered site, either within or outside of the City boundary, having today passed the site of the construction of the arena at the Kings Dock, it emphasises the missed opportunity regarding the stadium fiasco and inept mismanagement in the affair by Kenwright, Gregg and Co.

The latest statement from Cllr Bradley via wannabe mayor elect Liam Fogarty regarding the lukewarm support from the City council for retaining Everton within the city further supports the notion that we will be relocated in Kirkby. This decision will be based purely on economic and fiscal policy as the regeneration of Kirkby is of paramount interest to Knowsley council, the acquisition of prime and untapped retail space sought by Tesco as it rapidly diminishes around the country and its meteoric growth begins to bottom out. Football clubs have rarely considered the fans in any decision-making process, we are mere cogs within the wheel of a profit making business.

A soulless bowl on the periphery of the city will all we will be left with if the fans are not consulted in the decision-making process, some might call it progress but in 5 years it will be both myopic and regrettable and a millstone that has to be carried for 50+ years. Goodison Park is without doubt past its sell-by date, reconstruction is out of the question but a club devoid of both its birth-right and heritage should be in Liverpool, or will such a decision once again proved to be a dreadful missed opportunity?
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (6/9/06)

Agree on most points Peter, bar the claim that Goodison Park cannot be reconstructed (redeveloped). It can. But, for that to happen, it needs the will of the Board — and that is apparently not the case. There appears to be little or no desire to even consider redevelopment of Goodison Park. Moving further away from the City centre could (who knows?!) have long term serious effects on the well-being of Everton FC. This one will run and run and run... — Colm

On the banks of the royal blue Mersey

Why not move the stadium to Ellesmere Port? It has terrific motorway links and good access for our massive Welsh contingent and even better — we could put the stadium on the banks of the royal blue Mersey, right next to Ellesmere Port's world famous Boat Museum. It has the added attraction of the Designer Outlet Village and Megabowl entertainment complex, so after the match you can take the wife and kids for a tasty yet reasonably priced spicy chicken dish courtesy of Nandos and then on to watch a blockbuster movie.

So come on, Scousers, pack in the whining, you've had the privilege of Everton in your city for over a century — it's time to spread the fun around.
Steve Coppel, Ellesmere Port  (6/9/06)

Nothing quite like a Red attempting "yummer"... — Colm

Poll-ing Day

Oh dear, Mr Poll gets selected to referee another Derby game. Well it don't suprise me after all our neighbours like to have a homer on board when it comes to their main games. Think Poll, think Liverpool, FAC semi-finals, dubious free-kick, disallowed goal.

Oh to be in Italy.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (6/9/06)

Everton v Liverpool

We are definitely going to lose against Liverpool. They will walk all over us. The result is a forgone conclusion. (I dont really believe this but it worked for the Spurs game).
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (6/8/06)

Poll axed

So that's the Derby fucked then. I expect AJ to get a two-footed special and a disallowed goal. Cahill and/or Neville will be sent off. I also fully expect a Liverpool player to rape someone in the eye socket and have it conveniently missed/overlooked. What's more we'll have to hear all about it from Lawro and Hansen. I'm usually an optimist but with this cunt in charge we'd have to knock in 6.

If Liverpool win it'll lead MotD, if we win it'll get 1 minute and no additional words from Lineker and Co. Doubtless that ball sack Green will be commentating on Five Live. Just keep the telly and radio off on Saturday folks, it's not worth the raised blood pressure.
Stuart Beresford-Kelly, Ballymena, Northern Ireland  (6/9/06)

The appointment of Poll certainly raises an eyebrow, or three. Who knows, maybe, he owes us one! ;-) — Colm

You think that is bad

As the ball broke past him, he ushered Stevie 'kopshite filth' Gerrard on with his left hand to have a go on goal. The replay from the Park End shows Poll actually encourage shit bag Gerrard to have a go. The linesman who has supposedly reported this misdemeanour should be hauled in front of a court and either he or preferably the wanker Poll should never be involved with football anywhere ever again.

I hate Graham Poll an iota less than I hate filthy kopite scum.
Bingo Bongo, Congo  (6/9/06)

Good old fashioned "arms across the park" sentiment! - Colm

Poll

He should never have been allowed to ref another game between Everton and Liverpool until he admitted he was wrong to disallow Don Hutchison's "winner" in the 2000 derby. The twat knew time wasn't up and so did Westerveld, that's why he tried to take a quick goal kick and pinch one for the Redshite in stoppage time.

If Poll loses us the derby on Saturday, I will be banned from Goodison for life!
Col Hughes, Liverpool  (5/9/06)

Are you kiddin'?

My eyes aint what they used to be but distance lends enchantment to the view. My Grammar is in de ozzy yet my devotion to the cause is as strong as ever. My wife, three sons three grandsons and two great-grandsons share a blue blood line. Jeez, even my labradors are Evertonians.

New-fangled technology and time difference puts me eight hours ahead of England. In the case of our American friends, make that 24 hours. My material needs are few and only the absolute pleasure of a win over the unmentionables could make life better. In a roundabout way you could say this is my resume for the post you offered. Or were you merely taking the Mickey out of Dicky?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (6/9/06)

Bell end Poll

I just want to bring it to everyone's attention that remember the article a few weeks back in a Sunday paper, where a linesman came out and said that Poll basically picks the games he wants to referee? So is it no coincidence that he seems to referee the one of the derbies EVERY FUCKING SEASON and always seems to fuck us over? Also isn't Poll the cunt who celebrated when them tramps scored a goal in front of the Kop a few years back?

Something is definately not right and I'm suprised that no-one at Everton has questioned why that prick is always refereeing this game.
John Nelson, Liverpool  (5/9/06)

What About Joe?

All this reminiscing about players past seems to have forgotten poor old Joe Harper. I can understand him being left out of most peoples "best ever" sides but he surely meritted a mention in the recent and ongoing overweight-debate.
Tony Horne, Kettering  (5/9/06)

The Thing from Tring's vital statistics

So Tring's Thing has got the derby. No doubt as soon as the news was announced a good proportion of Evertonians who thought we had a chance on Saturday saw their optimism plummet. But is Mr Poll as bad as that when it comes to Everton matches? I delved into the archives and have come up with the following figures:

Mr Poll has refereed 22 matches involving Everton that I know of. In those 22, he has given us 33 yellow cards and our opponents 30 - so it seems that he is fair; however, let's have a look at the red cards shall we? In 22 matches we have 5 Everton red cards and our opponents? Well, try a big fat zero!

But surely it's not just his card count, let's see a few more example of Mr Poll's "fairness" shall we? Remember last season's Goodison derby when we had two men sent off? Or how about missing Steven Gerrard's lunge on Gary Naysmith? For which Gerrard received a three-match ban based on video evidence. What was it Gerrard said later? "I was trying to pull out"! If that was his idea of pulling out then his missus had better book an appointment at the maternity clinic.

Or how about the infamous "I blew for full time" debacle in order to try and get himself out of jail — aka The Hutchison Derby. But is it just against Liverpool (or should that be Liverpoll)? Well, remember Jamie Redknapp's lunge at Tim Cahill in 2004 when the Everton man was lucky not to have his leg broken following Jamie's karate kick at his knee? Yes? No? If not, then here is a taste of what the match report said:

"Redknapp, who had been an obvious target for the fans all afternoon, got everyone screaming after he came down hard with his studs on Cahill's leg, ending the midfielder's lively contribution to the proceedings right there and then. Red card, of course? Don't be silly."

Well, guess who was the referee that day? Stand up, Mr Poll! Although the majority of Evertonians will be wishing you weren't standing up at Goodison this Saturday.
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (5/9/06)

Bugger

I was looking at the fixtures last night talking to the other half, saying that with the Kopites playing us, PSV and Chelsea in quick succession that a bit of squad rotation on their part would give us the best chance in some years to leave them with egg on their faces.

With the news that Graham 'Three strikes and you're out' Poll taking charge of the game, they'll probably put out half their fifth team, then teh jammy bastards will nick a couple against the run of play, and we'll finish the game with eight men. I could dream of an AJ hat-trick leaving Gerrard and co in tears though.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (5/9/06)

EFC in L4: The End?

On February 14th, the Leader of Liverpool City Council told the Liverpool Daily Post "I will be fighting to keep Everton FC within the city boundary."

On May 31st, Cllr Warren Bradley declared he would "fight tooth and nail" to persuade the club not to move to a site in Knowsley. Now it seems his fighting spirit has deserted him. Today (Sept 5th) he told Daily Post readers "At the end of the day, it is important Everton FC have a new stadium somewhere within the city region. If it happens to be in Knowsley, the benefits will be shared among all of us." Tell that to the cafe owners, shopkeepers and publicans of North Liverpool and to many thousands of True Blues.

Everton FC has every right to decide where it plays its football. But the people of the city of Liverpool have every right to expect their civic leaders to defend and advance the City's interests. They'd also appreciate some consistency and leadership. Neither commodity has been much in evidence during this sorry saga.

Chair, A Mayor For Liverpool
Liam Fogarty  (5/9/06)

Nurse!

So Mr Graham Poll from Tring, the referee who blew his whistle for full time when Don Hutchison scored even though there was still a minute left and the man who thinks a Steven Gerrard two-footed stamp does not constitute a red card, will officiate the Derby this Saturday. That’s us fucked then, may as well not bother turning up with that prick in charge.
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (5/9/06)

Oh I'm sure we'll afford The Thing from Tring his customary warm Goodison welcome! The twat!!! ;-) — Colm

Formation for Saturday

Sat here pontificating over who should play in the Derby, I come to the inescapable conclusion that we should go with 4-5-1: Johnson up front with Cahill & McFadden joining the attack as and when. I know McFadden isn't best at this wing role but given he's in form I think it's safer than risking a 4-4-2 with the currently ponderous Beattie (what went on pre-season?)

I also believe 4-5-1 allows us to pack the midfield to nullify Liverpool's strength and hit them with the pace of Johnson — he's shown he has the work rate and commitment to make this work. Cahill and McFadden should be able to create some disarray in a defence that’s less than watertight. If it's not working then we should bring on Beattie who you would hope will want to make a point.

This brings me onto the last: For once, let's be progressive/dynamic and alter things quickly if needs be to try and win the game. The last one was up for grabs and we blew it for not changing the formation/making subs quickly enough. I also think its stating the obvious that Lescott needs that starting berth over Stubbs. Let's go for it, Moyes!!!
Ting Tong, Southport  (5/9/06)

The success of a 4-5-1 at White Hart Lane, against a perceived better midfield than our own draws me to the conclusion that we'll see the same again on Saturday. Leaving Mr Beattie to twiddle his thumbs on the sideline? - Colm

Left midfield dilemma

With Kilbane now gone, who will fill the void in the left-midfield position? Ideally it should be someone who is natrually left-footed... or should it?

Osman, Davies and VdM are all naturally right-footed, but could play on the left (like Joe Cole does for England). In fact Davies and Osman have both played in that postion quite successfully. So whats the problem? I personally think Davies is a better choice for that position, but can he deliver a cross? I believe Osman is better playing in a central midfield role alongside Cahill, as in the Spurs game. So does that just leave Davies or VdM?

What about playing Nuno Valente at lefrt midfield, who is naturally left-footed? He has filled-in at that position at his previous club and for Portugal, so that may also be an option. It looks to me that Moyes needs to go to the transfer market in January and a acquire a quality left-midfielder. It'll just have to be makeshift until then.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (5/9/06)

Oh for a modern day Dave Thomas down that left flank! — Colm

ESPN Classics

Watched the Everton v Leeds game from 1974 on ESPN CLassic last night — great stuff! I thought I had been at the game but only clearly remembered when I saw Lyons's diving header. Some good memories though; boys pen, why we hated Leeds, dodgy players (Connolly, Seargeant, Clements ect) and what was Pearson doing in the 9 shirt & not Bob!!!

Looking forward to the victories over Liverpool in the next two nights in anticipation of Saturday — by the way, shut up Tim — you've done nothing yet.

The other thing that I noticed last night was Stewart Imlach coming on as trainer to treat Big Bob; if you haven't read "My Father and other Working Class Football Heroes" by Gary Imlach who is Stewart's son I really recommend it. There is a large section recalled by Gary covering his dad's time at Everton as trainer/coach to first Catterick and then Bingham who sacked him. A good, different perspective on the club from those times plus an exceptionally well-written memoir of other clubs and a player from a bygone time by his son who sadly, never saw him play. One of the best footy books you will have read.

Good memories all round, now for Saturday.......
Mike Iddon, Marlow  (5/9/06)

Great to watch those games again. Ahhh... different times. Some of the terrace chants were, erm, tasty enough. Kids draped over the perimeter with the silkies...

Great shout on Gary Imlach's book — a very worthwhile read for any Evertonian. I heard him interviewed some months back, recalling his Dad's time at Everton; interesting indeed! — Colm

The Duncan Debate

Well done, Lyndon, for a well written review of Dunc's career. It is indeed true to say the guy polarises the opinions of Everton fans. His goalscoring record of about 1 in 3 wasn't that bad for a target man — and I think it compares with the ratio that Graeme Sharp had. The problem was he didn't play enough due to suspensions and (largely) injury. Whether this was down to his perceived lax approach to training, probably only the physios who treated him would know.

I think he never fulfilled his potential. He probably doesn't give a shit. I think his biggest problem was his lack of love for the game. He loved Everton though, because the fans (largely) loved him. He played for us for almost 10 years during a time when we had an average team at best. If he'd played in a team with the kind of players we had in the mid-80s I doubt very much he'd have had the same cult status.

But he was always a pleasure to meet. Would never turn down a request for an autograph, whether it was from a cheeky kid or one of the 'arl arses who attended Goodison. A stark contrast to some of the over-paid media whores in the game these days.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (5/9/06)

His lack of genuine love for the game was something that Jim McLean, his old boss from the early Dundee United days, used to stress quite frequently. From an early age, Duncan discovered that earnings from football paid the way for his one true love: pigeons! I believe he wasn't far off the mark, even at that stage. It doesn't mean to say that Duncan, upon coming south of Hadrian's Wall, didn't fall in love with life down Goodison Road... — Colm

Flat Back Four

Stuck here in the back blocks away from the day-to-day frenzy of football madness and being retired and with time to spare, my thoughts often circulate around Everton matters. While mulling over the best post-war teams of various contributors, I remembered a very important factor that was in my opinion the catalyst of our most successful years. Perhaps contemporary scribes would care to agree or disagree when I say that our success was based not only on brilliant midfielders but also on a flat four backline that played further upfield than is normal. That method needs an exceptionally quick backline and ours in my opinion was the fastest in England.

With Yobo, Lescott and Hibbert, Moyes may be thinking along similar lines. If that’s the case all that is needed is a fast left back. I recall that when Naysmith was signed and before Gerrard almost cut him in half he carried a reputation of being very quick. Could he be the answer?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (5/9/06)

We should find something productive for you to do in your spare time... There's lots of loose ends need tidying up in the archives at ToffeeWeb Towers... There's a Confidentiality Agreement you'd have to sign, of course... and then the thorny issue of "Commercial Sensitivity" it address. Pay is nowt to write home about but there's job satisfaction a-plenty... although we're waiting for Colm to pull a 'Gallas' on us, and that could seriously jeopardise our fragile pay structure! — Michael

Room for one more?

I would not quibble over any of the players nominated for best post-war teams. My only problem is who to leave out for Peter Farrell, the most charismatic and best of all captains. I also think it is Ray Wilson who was referred to in an earlier post. Ray could have run a master class on how to play left full-back. He also was the only player in Alf Ramsey's World Cup winning team not to have played his entire adult career up to that point with one club. I can't remember his first club but as a youth and before coming to Everton, Alan Ball had a free transfer to Blackpool where his dad was coach.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (5/9/06)

Ray Wilson joined Everton from Huddersfield Town in July 1964. — Michael

Latch the Snatch

I notice that nobody is putting Big Bob Latchford in their top 10 legendary players. Now I know that a cultured player he was not and if he ever had two touches of the ball he would fall over his feet, but I think he'd be in my top 15 at least. Just goes to show sometimes that there's more to this legendary status thing than most of us realise - it's not always just about skill.

Another contender for legendary status nobody's mentioned - Gordon West!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (5/9/06)

Keeping up with the Joneses

Agreeing with the view that Everton players should do their talking on the pitch next Saturday, I went to the Echo website and, sure enough, not a word from the Darkside as yet.

However, I did read the article which focussed on the re-generation plans they have and the impending approval which will allow work to start next year on a new stadium on Stanley Park. I hate this idea, as I used to live in Neston Street and the Park was the only bit of greenery I saw as a kid; those who live there now will be deprived of even this historic piece of parkland.

It also puts our own plans back in the forefront of issues we should be focussing on. The Club must now adhere to their well publicised timescales for a decision, if we are not to lose more ground ('scuse the pun) to the hated ones. If the article is correct they will have succeeded in obtaining £40M in local and EU funding. We can only hope that the pot will not now be empty when we make our own application.

On a lighter note, they will apparently lease the parkland for 999 years. In my opinion it's a big assumption to believe they'll still be around to see that one out!
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (5/9/06)

Ball 2!

On behalf of Alan Ball and all sensible Evertonians, I happily accept Rick's thinly disguised apology exemplified by his attempt to get away with rewriting what he actually said! It didn't get past Michael and it wouldn't have got past me. But may I pick him up on one point before we put this matter to bed? It wasn't Alan Ball's efforts in Mexico that put paid to his career at the club he didn't want to leave but precisely the same scenario that led to the sale of Wayne Rooney! A BIG FAT PROFIT AND FUCK THE FANS... after all what do they know and why should we refer to them!?

There were differences of course, primarily around the level of maturity and interpretation of the concept of loyalty of the respective players. But one thing was unchanged... the Board of Everton FC will always consider selling your birthright if it will make a few bob.

Sorry — I've had a bad day at work!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (5/9/06)

Vernon et al

Further to my previous note, I was reading on the web somewhere that Brian Labone's greatest ever Everton team was (from memory): Southall, Parker, (Ray) Wilsom, Kendall, TG Jones, Kay, Ball, Collins, Dean, Vernon, Harvey. Quite a combination.

My own team would be Southall, Parker, Wilson, Labone, Ratcliffe, Ball, Collins, Kay, Harvey, Vernon, Young (those last two greater than the sum of the parts) Subs would be West, Wright, Sheedy, Latchford, Kanchelskis.

Of the players in the last 15 or so years, I really liked Beardsley and now Arteta and Yobo, and (hopefully) Johnson. Martyn was pobably one of the top three keepers I've seen playing for the Blues. Can't think of too many recent others to warm the cockles of my aging heart though...
Chris Williams, Little Neston  (5/9/06)

Tim — On The Pitch Please

Why do our players do it? From Lyons onwards, we make out that there are more than three points at stake in the derby. Well there ain't! It's bad enough having our Red neighbours go on about 34 trophies in 33 years without our players stoking up the fires. Do your talking on the pitch, Tim and Co — and not just in this game but for the rest of the season.

Our recent history is littered with good runs, followed by a bad defeat againts the reds, followed by a slump, so please lads leave the speculation to the hacks and concentrate on your own game. Good luck Saturday Blues!
John McFarlane, Lancs  (4/9/06)

Absolutely! Couldn't agree more, John. But it's probably all part of the new sponsorship deal with Sport Media and their icLiverpool.com web outlet, fed potted PR stories from the Communications Department. — Michael

Which Wilson?

I hope Chris Williams is referring to Ramon 'Ray' Wilson in his players top ten — as opposed to Ian Wilson from the very late-eighties/early-nineties!!
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (4/9/06)

Roy Vernon

I'm with Chris Williams, Vernon was fantastic, the best striker at Goodison and I'm with his ten. I'd perhaps consider Alex Parker and Kevin Ratcliffe, but I'd go with that ten in a different order. I'd start Harvey, Collins, Young, Vernon and Ball would be Number 10.
Rick  Tarleton, Rutland  (4/9/06)

I thought Bally always played Number 8? And how come you now keep picking him for your fave teams after asking us to believe he was over-rated? — Michael

Now you've started something!

All this nostalgia has got to me! It's a change from to pro-Moyes/anti-Moyes,"my dad is bigger than yours" stuff. But it shows just how seriously we still take any perceived slight on one of our own, even 40 years down the line.

Ball was great, world class and recognised as such by his contemporaries all over the world. But in my view he wasn't the best player in that team - that was Harvey. He was brilliant. Incidentally, Arteta reminds me of Harvey more than anyone I've ever seen, but without the steel and the tackle.

But Harvey wasn't even the greatest player I've seen playing for Everton. That was Thomas Royston Vernon who was quite simply a genius. Up there in his time with Law and Greaves, capable of breathtaking skill, arrogance, audacity and artistry. Because of injury, he was pretty well finished at the top level when he was 26, but he was the first post-war player to score over 100 goals despite not being a "goal hanger" and less than 10 stone in weight. For some reason, he's never quite got the recognition that others have — no lounge or stand or bar. Maybe when we go non-smoking we should have the Roy Vernon Smoking Area, because he loved a smoke (even in the shower according to Brian Labone).

For what it's worth my all time favourite 10 players are;- Vernon, Harvey, Ball, Young, Kay, Collins, Labone, Southall, Sheedy, Wilson. Kendall was a marvellous player, but probably a class below his fellow Trinity colleagues and not as good as Kay who probably have been a World Cup winner in 66 but for m'learned friends...
Chris Williams, Little Neston  (4/9/06)

I'm too young to have appreciated the skills of Vernon but I've always felt he has never been afforded the recognition his talent deserved. Name a smoking area after the great Welshman? Himself and Tony Kay lighting up, and raising a toast to such an idea! - Colm

Eeee Aye...We've got Alan Ball....

Just a few points on the recent Alan Ball discussion: I thought he was the bee's knees while he was still at Blackpool. I remember him taking the piss out of Alex Scott at Bloomfield Rd and the whole Liverpool team at Anfield. I saw his debut game (and goal) at Fulham and will never forget the FA Cup derby in 67.

Kopites hated him. I felt he was one of us (and still is) and was devastated when he was sold for club profit. It took Everton 14 years to recover.

Re the midfield: don't forget the 4th man, Johnny Morrissey, the unsung hero in the midfield "trio" and the hardest winger of the modern era? These four would have given the 80s midfield a match.
Phil Bellis, Liverpool 8  (4/9/06)

Great Midfields

Despite my worries about the reading skills of one or two people who have commented on my aside, it was not the main point of the letter, about Alan Ball who was a great player and that I did not deny. What I said was that he was not perfect, not even Alex Young was perfect, check out his Derby Match goals. Yeats and Smith were not to his liking, but I still see him gliding past Mel Charles and heading that goal against Spurs.

Anyhow, I think Ray Robinson has a point about the great midfield of the 80s team. I've seen three great midfields in my 50+ years of Everton support. First the one that is usually under-rated, the early 60s midfield of Gabriel, Kay, (Harris) and the vastly under-rated Denis Stevens. The most physically powerful and imposing of our midfields; then Ball, Kendall and Harvey and finally, the great 80s one, Steven, Bracewell (what an unsung hero), Reid and Sheedy.

When in the early hours I'm picking my greatest Everton team of that fifty years, my midfield consists of Trevor Steven, Bobby Collins, Harvey and Sheedy. Other players I consider for a place are Kay, Bracewell, the elegant Martin Dobson and Alan Ball. All are great players, but we all have to admit that every player has weaknesses and to pretend that because we liked them or because they wear a blue shirt. In my favoured fantasy midfield, I'd pull off Sheedy very quickly and send on Kay if the going got a little rough. Yet on balance just, I'd start with Sheedy.

Incidentally I see two marvellous players in the present team: Arteta and Yobo. They have faults, but they are superb players, maybe Johnson will join them, he's certainly started well.
Rick  Tarleton, Rutland  (4/9/06)

Rick, you didn't say he was not perfect. What you said was "believe me, Ball was overrated". One of the stupidest comments I think I've ever read on here (well... notwithstanding the Dutch drivel). Don't try to justify it with this "he wasn't perfect" stuff or questioning our reading skills. And don't be surprised that people jumped all over you. Try this instead: "Yes, I'm sorry, I don't know what I was thinking. How could I possibly have called Alan Ball over-rated?" Then, I think we might be able to forgive you. — Michael

Any more and I'm outa here!

Enough already, I beg you run two mailbags. One for regular fans, t'other for one for those with track minds spouting maddening boring repetitive anti-Moyes bile. A second mailbag would not last long because the aforementioned moaning groaning mob would soon bore the shit out of each other as it already has done to me.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (4/9/06)

Mornin' Dick! Honest — there's only one mailbag! — Colm

Anderson Silva

I am sorry to bang on about this, but what is the problem with this guy and his paper work? Other teams are signing foriegn players by the dozen and they are getting permits with no problem? Is there something about Anderson Silva's application for work that is different to other foriegn players coming to the UK? Am I missing something? Why don't they tell us what the problem is?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (4/9/06)

I think most of us have given up the will to live, trying to 'solve' this one! - Colm

Midfields

I was lucky enough to see Alan Ball and cannot for one moment accept that he was in any way "overrated" but I do see the point that perhaps Harvey's role was understated because of his quieter personality. Thinking back to that wonderful midfield trio including Howard Kendall made me contemplate whether or not it was the greatest Everton midfield that I've ever seen. In my opinion, the 80's midfield of Reid, Bracewell, Sheedy and Steven ran them close or even equalled them. Opinions from any other old farts?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (4/9/06)

Good times!

When possibbly, or maybe proabably The Best Player in the World says your third choice striker is a top-class player, you know you are going in the right direction.

"The other thing is they have two or three top-class young players I know well from the Premiership — like Darren Fletcher and James McFadden — and they will have the belief after their convincing win..." — Thierry Henry on Scotland.

I have huge belief that Johnson will score 20+ goals this season, but I also feel Moyes will get the best from Beattie, back to his last year's form that made him top goalscorer, and also McFadden who will be magnifecent for us as that elusive creative-half striker.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Liverpool  (4/9/06)

Ah.. the power of positive thinking!

Everton Kit

I was astonished to find JJB Sports in Aldershot now stocking Everton kit alongside Chelsea, Arsenal, ManU and England kits. That's not bad... only a year late! It was roughly a year ago that the agreement between Everton and JJB was made for JJB to distribute Everton kit. Is this the sign of progress?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (4/9/06)

Debate

Instead of having this pointless debate about Moyes and who he should have signed, can we talk about the starting XI? There is a great debate about a number of positions, not least of all right back, to my mind Phil is better than Tony... let's get with the season and stop this 'should he' crap!
John Gorham, USA  (3/9/06)

And to what purpose? Moyes chooses the starting XI (in reality the XVI). Over the season, you'll see a range of formations and line-ups. The 'best' is always constrained by injury and availability. Is it the best for all games? Should the line-up actually vary with opponent and venue? What you really need is... FOOTBALL MANAGER!!! — Michael

Bally & Toffeeweb's Michael

1st off, that Rick fella who said Bally was no good (well, that's how it read): I saw him in his prime so I also know how great he was, and so do many others at Goodison...

Do you remember on his first outing at Goodison for Southampton the rapturous applause for Bally... he said himself it took him 20 mins to get into the game because he was so taken aback. The point being, years after he left, the supporters knew what he had done for us and never forgot. We still don't forget to this day, you got this one totally wrong Rick!!..

Now, as for Michael... in your reply to Rick, you showed once again that Toffeeweb editors despise our history and give no credence to those like Rick who point out that we have been part of the elite in all eras since the inception of league football.. your answer re being bottom of Division Two, what was it supposed to signify?

We have only been out of the elite for 4 seasons since 1888, nobody can match that record! And it's something to be proud of... do your editorial bit Michael, but for chrissakes leave our fine history alone!
Tommy Grate, Everywhere  (4/9/06)

The point, Tommy, was that there is an era when we certainly were not part of the elite, even if we were in the top division, and that was the post-war era. We also plunged pretty badly in the 1990s... or have your forgotten that already? If ya know yer 'istory, eh? — Michael

Sanctions

I too have seen the lads from the fifties to the present; some great players like Alex Young, Roy Vernon etc. I also remember Laverick and Bernie Wright... least said the better. But I have never seen a more committed player than Alan Ball - his talent was awesome to see and I can't believe anyone calling him overrated. May I suggest this person is not allowed to post again until he produces a doctor's note to confirm his sanity!
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (4/9/06)

Alan Ball

Overrated??? You must be blind. When Everton signed Bally, he was the final piece and the fulcrum that made that team into Champions. Not too many players made a fool out of crater face [er.. Tommy Smith?] but I remember Bally sitting on the ball and beckoning him to try and get it. Ball was one of the top players of his generation and a true Everton Legend. He really did not want to leave. If he had been sold today, this website would be overloaded and fans would be hunting Kenwright to string him up.

Alan Ball has given great memories to those who were lucky enough to watch him play I remember with total clarity the day he was sold to Arsenal for another record transfer fee and that sale ultimately cost Catterick his job as the team disintergrated. I watched the 1970 England V Brazil game and I suggest that you watch it. Ball covered every blade of grass was always available to recieve a pass and looked the great player he was. Overrated your'e havin a laugh.
Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (3/9/06)

Diego Tristan

I hope the rumour posted on the Rumour Mill about Diego Tristan is true. He would be a fantastic signing for us. His goalscoring record speaks for its self and he would provide the competition for Beattie to start pulling his weight. After all, we would not even be spending any money to get him as he is on a free transfer. Go for it Moyes!
Bob  McCaffrey, Liverpool  (3/9/06)

Just a small question of the wages we have to pay them. $40k/wk = $2M each year. — Michael

An apology

May I please make the point that I did not say that Alan Ball was a poor player, all I reckoned was that the mythologising process has perhaps over-emphasised his quality.

He, Kendall and Harvey were all great players. Ball had commitment and — as Lyndon Lloyd in his excellent appraisal of Duncan Ferguson points out — Evertonians, like all fans, love commitment above all other virtues. In those days I saw nearly all home games and quite a few away games. Ball had commitment, he was excellent in support of Royle etc but he was an inefficient tackler, gave away a lot of silly fouls, he ran forty yards to make a five yard pass, whereas Harvey ran five yards to make a forty yard pass. Like Kendall, he was a box to box player, but I felt rightly or wrongly that Harvey was the brains, the subtlety in that absolutely wonderful mid-field trio. I just feel that at times Ball's role, because of his extovert personality has been exaggerated to the detriment of the other two members of that great midfield.

Incidentally Ball's commitment was what cost him his place at Everton. In the Mexico World Cup of 1970, he ran and ran in England's cause after a great season at Everton and the result was the disaster that was 1970-71 and led to Catterick's ridiculous decision to sell Ball. In those days there were no squads and Tommy Jackson was a good honest player, but no Ball, the signing of Henry Newton did not work out and so Ball and the other 1970 World Cup men — Labone, Newton and less so Tommy Wright — had a disappointing season.

I'm glad that there are at least two Socialists reading and writing to this site.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (3/9/06)

Leaving home

I have noted of recent weeks the subject of a new stadium croping up and thought I would venture my opinion. I have been a Blues fan for about 30 years but, to my shame, have not got to as many matches as I would have hoped due to life getting in the way. I love going to Goodison Park, and the fact I grew up only a couple of miles away never diminished the thrill of the first time you catch a glimpse of the ground on match days. However something happened this weekend which changed all that.

I attended my first England game down the motorway; the difference in stadia was tremendous. I want that for Everton. Not only was the view un-restricted (no dodging around support pillars) but the facilities outside the ground made for an enjoyable day out. There is a shopping complex, restaurants, hotels — all within half a mile, and easy access via motorways. What do we have? A couple of pubs and County Road. It's no wonder those yanks invested their money where they did.

If we are to re claim our status as one of the major teams in the Premiership, we need a new stadium. It's taken me this far to realise this. I appreciate this may be unpopular with some people but unitl we are in a position to offer a ground with better facilities both inside and outside we will be starved of investment and revenue and will always struggle to fulfil our destiny.
David Strain, Hull  (3/9/06)

BALLS!

I didn't know whether to laugh hysterically or just laugh when I read Rick's comment that Alan Ball was overrated! He's entitled to his opinion of course but I really would like to hear his reasoning. This lad was the man of the match for me in the World Cup Final of 1966 and I had no axe to grind then because he was still a Blackpool player at that time. Imagine my delight, then, when we signed him a few months later. I remember it well. It was announced as a 'News Report' between programmes on the TV and at that time I had just married into a family of Liverpool supporters and was living with the in-laws as was customary in those days, until we found our own place. They were sick as parrots. So was Bill Shankly as I recall as Bally was their priority target at the time, as he was for Manchester United.

I was at Bally's first game for Everton, away at Fulham and we won 1-0 thanks to an Alan Ball goal. This lad turned a 'nearly' team into a winning team, a team that gave me the privilege of watching the best football I have ever seen from an English Club side for three seasons between 1967 and 1970, win or lose. And that includes the incredible exploits of the eighties side.

I could sit at my desktop waxing lyrical all day long describing particular memories of Alan Ball's contribution to Everton Football Club but I will restrict myself to one. Imagine if you can, Rick... ball rolled out by West to defender on the left... ball passed forward down the Bullens line to Morrissey who takes it just into the opposition half and he punts it towards the Park End/Main Stand corner flag. There was nothing down for it... the ball was going out, it was too high for Bally who was running down the right towards it. Then Bally launched himself at it and caught it on the volley and sent a precision cross over to Big Joe who nodded it in!

Nobody admires Colin Harvey or Howard Kendall more than I do and I have no intention of arguing the toss about who made the greatest contribution to the best midfield I have ever seen. They were all unique and complemented each other and they all had their roles to play but it was Bally who usually did the unexpected. It was Bally who moved all over the pitch dragging defenders all over the place and it was Bally who made significant contributions to the goals tally, always in the high teens as I recall.

I said it then and I repeat it now, I wouldn't have swapped him for Georgie Best because his value to Everton was greater than even Georgie's would have been. So come on Rick, tell us why you think Alan Ball was overrated. I suspect, if you do, it will tell us more about your own deficiencies as a judge of football values and effectiveness than it will about Alan Ball!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (3/9/06)

Supporting The Everton Cause

Now that the Moyes sycophancy has reached hot new heights with the suggestion that we should contribute to a rich, overpaid football manager's legal action against a rich, immature, overpaid footballer, here's a positive suggestion:

Instead of spending thouusands of pounds on legal costs, Moyes could donate a similar sum in the shape of matchday tickets to those unable to afford the extortionate prices. This would give Everton some positive publicity, it would not increase sales of an autobiograpthy, it may help to fill Goodison with new fans and it may give the term People's Club some actual meaning, rather than the sad, empty soundbite it has become.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (3/9/06)

What an absurd idea! Next you'll be suggesting the re-introduction of the Dads 'n Lads scheme for home Carling Cup matches on nights when stadiums are half empty! — Colm

White boots... black heart?

The honourable Doctor Tarlton needs to proof read his thesis a little more carefully and check for contradictory arguments; I quote:

“Because of our past, it is incumbent on our Board and Manager to lead us back to our position of pre-eminence. Kenwright and Moyes cannot do that. Incidentally it was good to see an England team with two Everton players in it today”

Perhaps I’m being over critical but as Chaucer put it:

“The first virtue, sone, if thou wilt lerne, Is to restreyne and kepen wel thy tonge”

I remember Ball, but I was only a kid of 10 when the ‘Holy Trinity’ were at their peak, so perhaps I was too young to form an accurate opinion – for what it’s worth I thought Ball was an exceptional player. It is interesting though, Rick, that I’ve heard another fantastic Evertonian who’s seen most of the Everton Greats from 1946 onwards describe Ball as “doing more harm than good” in the Everton cause and he lauds Harvey as the focal point of the greatness of the sainted trio.

At 46 I’m hardly a ‘Sky Babe’ and in any case my socialist principles preclude me from owning a Sky dish and supporting the Murdoch empire, which has the pleasurable consequence that I watch most of my ‘satellite soccer’ at the ‘local’ (socialism stops at the pub door and if the manager wishes to corrupt himself – that’s his business).

By the way, I’m not knocking Mr Marsh’s language skills — I’m attacking his style of delivery, which denigrates those who do not hold his cast iron opinions; is based upon negativity in such a way that he actively seeks a negative spin on ALL and everything; is insulting in his tone which seeks to divide opinion along the lines of Haters/Lovers. Those who hate Moyes are enlightened, those who love Moyes are dickheads… this is certainly not the case with the greater majority of Everton supporters and I resent this implication. I happen to agree with the essence of much of Tony’s ranting… but I also like to credit our manager and team when credit is due.

For what it is worth, I believe that Everton since 1968 have only ever had one bad manager – I’ll leave you to work out who this is. I’d argue that Everton have had two great managers and some good managers who made some bad decisions now and again; I’d put Moyes in the latter category.

Finally, I firmly believe that Moyes will stand or fall this season and our success failure very much depends upon injury or the lack of. Anything less than top six I will regard as regressive. Will Kenwright give Moyes the bullet if we finish top half? — I doubt it, I think Moyes will walk before he is pushed.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (3/9/06)

Good post, Kevin. The quote - "The first virtue, sone, if thou wilt lerne, Is to restreyne and kepen wel thy tonge" - is just like it was back in the early to mid 70s reading the Liverpool Echo, the greatest paper ever for typos! - Colm

Moyes's Sentimentality.....

Whilst not as vitriolic as Tony Marsh in his postings, I do have to hold my hand up and say I agree with Tony, Harry and Luq several times, even Kevin Sparke raises a smile when he sticks to the football debate and not a one-on-one with Tony.

Just putting my tuppence worth in after Muhammed's posting about the squad not being the fault of the Board or Moyes. Actually, as I see it the spending of £30m or so including the needed defender has included Krøldrup which was a Moyes mistake and the still required midfield has included the purchase of Davies and Van der Meyde, plus the retention of players beyond their sell-by dates in Naysmith and Weir, I cautiously saw Pistone and Boyle as superior cover for Valente.

Allowing the general rule of thumb, win some lose some, the signings do sometimes cancel each other out with Lescott hopefully cancelling Krøldrop and Neville, Arteta and Cahill cancelling Davies and Van der Meyde. Before a barrage of slate, it's a generalism as I know Cahill isn't a tackling midfielder and Neville is far better at right back.

I was never a fan of Kilbane but did rate him as a squad player and think his sale without replacement is a potentially huge mistake given our lack of fit or competent wingers, leaving Moyes no option but to play seriously negative holding football if injuries leave him without wing cover.

All managers make mistakes, it just hurts more for an Evertonian to see more mistakes from our manager, we don't give a toss if other managers balls up, if you remember the good sides of yesteryear as well as the canker we and the sky generation have been subjected to for the last few years.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (3/9/06)

Well said. - Colm

Oversea Investor vs proper management

Am I the only one here who doesn't want us to join the bandwagon and have an overseas investor, who knows nothing about football, to get control of our club???

There are two ways for a club to achieve success right now. Either you get an Ambramovich or you do an 'Arsene Wenger' style revolution. And I want Everton to go the second route. Look at what Wenger did to Arsenal with the backing of Dein and how they have managed over the last 10 years. From mid-table, to 9 top 2 finishes, and twice double, and twice European Cup finalist. And that goes down to proper management, building a world-class training facility, trust in youth.

Can you imagine any other club in the world building a £390 million stadium like Arsenal did without having a sugar daddy and still being able to be a CL finalist and being able to sign Baptista and Gallas??? No, I can't. Even our neighbours seems to have problems building a cheap £100 million stadium.

With a new world-class training facility in place at the start of next season, if we continue this season's success in buying 2-3 top quality players each season, we'll be the next Arsenal surely.
Joe Baxton, Liverpool  (3/9/06)

We can but dream! - Colm

Investment

They were chatting on Football Focus today about how most of the current top six have all had overseas investment. I had almost forgot that we were a poor club, with all the on-field success and big spending. Clearly there are overseas investors out there who are (in my opinion) investiging in less attractive clubs. So that leads me nicely onto where is our overseas investor? I think this is finally proof that Bill Kenwright will never give up this club until the wheels well and truely fall off the Everton bandwagon.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (3/9/06)

"Overseas investment in Everton?" Get in! Must be a reference to foreign based Evertonians who've a share certificate placed lovingly above the fireplace! - Colm

Van der Blob

I think it is time to sit this fella down and ask him does he really want to be a professional footballer. He is completely invisible at Goodison Park and has been ever since he signed. Perhaps Moyes has already done so but I would be telling him that he has until January to put an solid run in the first team or he is out the door even if it's on a free. It's like any of us lot not going into work because we have a hangover or just can't be arsed. We would be sacked in an instant and so should this fat Dutch waste of space.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (3/9/06)

Colm's article

Wow, Colm. I've read your article and I was very very suprised. You defended Moyes a couple of times and you were actually postive!!

"Moyes, like all managers, will be judged on results on the pitch..."
Not the Colm I know, but that's probably before you were part-time-anti-moyes-brigade-member, aye? And to Tony 'Troll' Marsh, I don't understand what you are complaining about? Yes, we are lacking in depth in midfield? But, whose fault is that? It can't the Board's... not when they've spent almost £30M over 2 years. Not Moyes's fault when the priority was to sign a defender and goalscorer, and mind you, those two players will be colossul for us.

The only thing was the problem is money. You have to accept that in reality we are not a Chelsea.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (3/9/06)

Firstly, commending the Board for spending £30m over two years - wonder where the bulk of that money came from, eh? As for being labelled by yet another Mailbag reader as being anti-Moyes (part-time or otherwise)....if that's your opinion then so be it. - Colm

My mate Alan

As a young man, I was an Everton fanatic (despite living in the south) and when they came down south to play, I was always there to support my heros. I well remember when I was 13 I traveled 200 miles to The Dell and Everton were brilliant beating the Saints by 5 goals to 2. After the match, I was walking past the changing rooms (which were situated outside the ground in those days) and there at the window was my superstar hero Alan Ball, so I aproached the window all smiles and dressed in blue clapping my hands and said to Alan well played you were great, he looked at me and said, "Clear off!" and slammed the window down. Still dont know what I done wrong to this day... but I did get a smile out of Harry catterick the manager...
Pat  Flynn, Kent  (2/9/06)

Marsh is Right!

For God's sake, I apologise to all born again Christians, fundamental Catholics and practitioners of all monotheist faiths, but Tony Marsh speaks sense. He's lacking in couth, his language skills are very limited and he's rather fond of Anglo-Saxon language and I speak as one whose first degree included a year's study of Old English (Anglo-Saxon to the uncouth).

Everton are uncreative, they are owned by a mono-maniac ex-actor and a negative, uncreative manager. They lack creativity, apart from the wonderful Arteta, and they are unable to string a series of passes together. They have spirit and they generally fight. But that's about it. I remember Everton of the fifties, they were equally awful, but that led to Young, the wonderful Roy Vernon, (Andy, are you related?) and Kendall and Harvey (believe me, Ball was overrated) and then McKenzie and the great team of Kendall's first era.

Tony Marsh, Harry Meek, David Hall and I seem to remember our past and our tradition, most of your correspondents are Sky babes and believe that it began in 1992, not 1888. WE are the only team who have been great and a permanent member of the elite in all the eras of the sport of Association Football.

Marsh, not Dodds, certainly not Dutch and all the others who can't even be bothered to look at the relevant websites (I daren't mention the many BOOKS) about our wonderful past. Because of our past, it is incumbent on our Board and Manager to lead us back to our position of pre-eminence. Kenwright and Moyes cannot do that.

Incidentally it was good to see an England team with two Everton players in it today.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (2/9/06)

"Ball was overrated". I stopped reading at that point. Thankfully I don't have to believe you because I saw him and I know how wrong you are. And were we really "members of the elite" as we languished in post-war ignominy at the bottom of the Second Division? Or has your rather selective memory forgotten that bit? I guess this is what happens during International breaks... — Michael

One man champion is another man's goat!

Why are all these poodles having a go at Tony Marsh? Kevin Sparke, Paul Atress, Dutch Schaffer and the small number who follow them should be ashamed of themselves! Wasn't it the MB's who called for a difference of opinion and blah blah. But when you get a strong, yet mainly valid one you lot start bitching and hitching up your knickers! Yes sometimes he is boring but he is as passionate as any fan of our beloved club! And he doesn't toe the icLiverpool line of loving Moyes blindly, which some of you do!

Anyway, why isn't Johnson playing ahead of the woeful Defoe? And Pip is playing well at right for England, I really think Hibbert is gonna have to be content on the Everton bench as Moyes has found Pip's best position. Well done, Moyes!
Luq Yus, London  (2/9/06)

Moyes and the croccy mouth

I was in Houston a couple of years ago, chatting to the agent who fixed the the tour to Texas 04 (whose name escapes me). He said, and I quote, "David Moyes is one of only a handful of Premiership managers who do not take bungs! The guy is as straight talking as they come." So keep that in mind when the Rooney saga really kicks off!

Moyes may frustrate you with his tactics and selections sometimes, but he is a man of integrity. Maybe you don't like his management style, but you should all stand by him as a man who has never disgraced himself or the club.
Tommy Gravel, Can't remember  (2/9/06)

Woe! Woe! ...

... and thrice woe! Them that die'll be the lucky ones! Doomed, I tell ye, doooomed! Mr Marsh, I've chuckled in the past at your rants and taken note of any sensible issues you raise. However, these salient points have diminished lately, any that remain are being lost in your increasingly paranoid and vindictive ravings. It seems you have taken all Everton's ills of the past 19 years and stuck the blame for them on Moyes; he may be part of our problems, not the sole cause of them; it really appears to be personal, now.

I, too, pine for the days of the Golden Vision, Holy Trinity and World Team of the Year but what keeps me going is the irrational belief that, if not me, my children will see us back up there, one day. Channel your understandable anger into something more constructive, for your own sanity.

I can only presume you were the lad in the Leazes End in Feb 67 who took the two Newkie Brown bottles on the bonce after they bounced off me and Freddie Armstrong. I can assure you, however, it wasn't Moyes who threw them. All the Best!
Phil Bellis, L8  (2/9/06)

'Trust in Tony'

The 6th of September 2007 marks the inaugural meeting of a collective of disaffected Evertonians. The group are to be called the ‘Trust in Tony’ group otherwise known as TIT and a vote will be taken to elect a head. To join this group Evertonians you should be in possession of the following characteristics:

  1. The ability to disregard inconvenient facts in support of your spurious assertions.
  2. The tendency to foam at the mouth at the suggestion that we just might be making some progress.
  3. The ability to turn justified criticism into personal invective lacking in observation, substance and rational argument. (And about as amusing as an angry wasp crawling up your strides)
  4. A persecution complex.
  5. Complete lack of coherent critical thought, replaced by dull repetitive character assassination based more upon personal prejudice rather than analysis and reflection.
  6. Make repeated claims stating that you ‘never miss a game’ using this assertion as qualification for your flimsy ill-thought-out arguments. (My dog never misses a walk, but I’d not ask him his opinion on hiking through the Cheviots).
  7. The capacity to rant incoherently at all the things that David Moyes has done, is doing, or will do, despite any contrary evidence to suggest that some of them might have been positive and moved Everton forward.
  8. The ability to denigrate other opinions and opinion holders as ‘not true Everton supporters’ and attacking them personally and not the arguments they hold. (Time for some payback Mr Marsh)
I believe that we already have a head of TIT and suggest that Tony Marsh is the natural choice of TIT head, in fact I’d go further and suggest that based upon his style of argument he is the most complete TIThead I’ve never met.

Vote Tony for TIThead
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (2/6/09)

Very amusing ... but let's put a stop to the personal abuse now, please. And Tony, no response is needed, thanks. — Michael

Weirisome Weir

Just been listening to Davey Weir`s inspiring comments ahead of today`s international. All I can say is he must have been in charge of our Scottish army at Culloden! How anybody — even The Wally — could see him as a leader of men defeats me. Daffy Dodd suggested in the week that Weir might be the next Everton manager. If that should ever happen, I swear I`ll become a Liverpudlian!
Don Cameron, Penrith  (2/09/06)

Just three games

Love the way Tony Marsh states that my comment on us being above Arsenal after only 3 games was stupid. So let me get this straight Tony - my comment is stupid, but one of your original comments says that we should look at Harry Redknapp because of what Portsmouth are doing AFTER JUST THREE GAMES!!! That sounds slightly hypocritical to me Tony. You must surely be a wind up merchant.
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (2/9/06)

Liverpool-Everton England partnership

Wouldn't Rooney and Owen be the last Liverpool-Everton strike partnership playing for England?
Adam Fenlon, Perth, Australia  (2/9/06)

Surely that should read Everton-Liverpool strike partnership?! To answer your question... haven't a clue! Over to others... - Colm

Former Evertonian helps make history downunder.

I am in no way a scouser, in fact I'm a Kiwi, but have been a Everton supporter since the mid-80s when I watched my first live football game on TV: Everton vs Liverpool, FA Cup Final, and I don't need to remind anyone what happened. "Why did I pick Everton?" you ask. Cause they are blue and red is for girls (sorry ladies, that was my opinion at the time, when I was 11 years old).

I did manage to get to Liverpool back in Nov 2003 and went to check out Goodison and go for a pint at the Winslow. It was a Monday and Everton were playing in Blackburn that night, and after downing a few pints and talking to a few locals I was on the bus going to my first game. I yarned to some great people and had a fantastic time, and thanks to all those I met along the way. Unfortunately it was a 2-1 loss and I was getting beer at the time Radzinski scored.

Anyway the reason I am writing now, is because I have just come back from watching the New Zealand Knights play Adelaide United (this is part of the A-league, where Dwight Yorke was playing for Sydney FC up until about 1 day ago, at the time of writing, and transfered to Sunderland) and for the first time ever, the NZ knights have won at home (they had 1 win away last season, and also the A-league is just into it's 2nd season), with alot of thanks going to Scot Gemmill!

Thats it! That is why I'm writing! A former Evertonian helped the Knights win, and the fact I've had a belly full of the brown liquid and overly excited.
Todd Kip, New Zealand  (2/9/06)

Give me a break

I see Bill Kenwright has been at it big time today with his Bullshit PR stories on the club website to distract from the missed chances to sure up our midfield. So Moyes wanted IN more players and Billy Liar chose to run a soft story PR Scoop to distract attention from the clubs chance to match the marker laid down by the other clubs. As the Spanish lad said "Yes, we have signed players but the other teams have have done the same and have raised the bar again." Jesus, why don't we wake up and see the PR boys employed by Bill who plague this board and stop you from shooting the fecker. God I am tired of pointing the same old same every bloody other week. Vote Marsh
John Cribb, Liverpool  (2/9/06)

Lack of quality

I agree with the letter from Tony Marsh. We have done sod all in the transfer market this summer compared to some lesser clubs than Everton. As soon as Johnson gets injured (and all players with pace do, look at Owen) we will be up the creek. Lescott, a potential good buy but can offer nothing attack-wise. And Howard is a goalie. We could have got Hasselbaink on a free, forget his age, he knows where the net is.

We could have had Hamann on a free, he would have been a shrewd aquisition as he does a job in central midfield. For me, Cahill offers little unless he scores and nobody knows the best position of any of our other midfielders. As for Kilbane, he was sold to make up for the lost revenue in the shortfall in season ticket sales. Notice how late he was sold so there was no time to spend the cash. Tight bastards.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (1/9/06)

While I agree that we are short on squad depth and I fear a long-term injury to Johnson or Arteta, you can hardly say that Everto have done "sod all" in comparison to lesser clubs. We were among the top spenders in the close season despite not being able to match the nouveau riche cash available to the likes of Portsmouth, and the capture of Johnson alone could be the difference between success and mediocrity this season.

Lescott offers nothing attack-wise? Would you have said that had he got a firmer header at Spurs last week and scored instead of Davenport?

Howard may be just a goalie, but his presence in the side relieves us of the weekly nail-biting waiting for Wright to cock up.

And regarding Kilbane, that's a nice conspiracy theory but I suspect it was as simple as Wigan identifying a need late in the game and paying what was required — Lyndon

Negativity

A question for Tony Marsh and all the rest of the negative clique on this website; were you the ones handing out leaflets calling for "Kendall and Carter Out" back in November 1983?

The reason I ask is that on ToffeeWeb I see an awful lot of negativity and I don't really like it. My guess is that a manager like David Moyes (2 out of 3 years Manager of the Year - elected by his peers) knows an awful lot more about running a football club than you. Of course you are entitled to an opinion but rather than wailing like a latterday soothsayer why don't you tell us what you would do differently.

Anyone can be negative about anything. It is dead easy to do that and quite frankly a cop out. So, for instance, instead of saying that Everton are boring and Moyes must go because of it, tell us what you would do instead. Which manager would you bring in and which players would you bring in to play the exciting brand of football we all desire.

That would have been an interesting exercise in 1983. Those peddling their Kendall Out leaflets would probably have been calling for Big Ron Atkinson or, heaven help us, Terry Venables as a replacement. Sheedy would have been sold because he was lazy (I remember this being said regularly at the time) similarly exit Sharp as he "couldn't hit a barn door" and as for those old crocks Reid and Gray....

Come on being negative is a simplistic cop out and will drag you down into a depression. Say something positive, please.
Andy Vernon, Wirral  (1/9/06)

Why do we have to go through this nonsense time and again? What a lot of the so-called "negative" people are advocating is that Moyes should have his team play better football. How much more positive can that be? And the ssuggestions are rife — starting with (1) retain possession by passing the ball to another Everton player, not hoofing it up the field. So Andy, can you think of a recent game were that catually happened? Can you remember the result?

It's not about which manager we would bring in or which players we would bring in — that foolishness is for Football Manager and Championship Mangaer mentalities. We have the manger, we have the players, we just want them to play better football. Everyone no knows they are capable of it — they showed they can do it against Spurs... I sincerely hope they do it again! — Michael

Colm's new name

Dutch described Colm as a part-time-anti-moyes-brigade-member. That's an impressive title, Colm, and I have to admit it made me chuckle, good one Dutch.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (1/9/06)

Glad you like that title, Paul. Here - before you have your next chuckle, feast your eyes upon this and then tell me I'm 'anti-Moyes'! - Colm

In response to Phil Burkert

What has VdM contributed [likely to contribute]? I'd rather have someone put in a good shift up and down the line than last 45 mins and be taken off for a blow as they are never match fit. Yes, £2M is a good price but Naysmith as a replacement option quoted by Moyes? Don't make me laugh.

You have your opinion and no doubt believe Moyes is a good manager. I on the other hand don't and that number is growing. I hope you will be happy with another pathetic mid-table finish - shows no ambition, just like the Everton Board.
Jim Feeney, Liverpool  (1/9/06)

Kilbane's departure

Pavel Ivanov was spot on with his assessment of the dubious merits of the departed Kevin Kilbane. Yes, he has to be the most exasperating player to watch when he’s playing for your team. Nine times out of ten he will lose the ball or pass it away wastefully and generally when receiving possession in good attacking situations.

Pavel is fortunate, however, in that he has only had to endure Kilbane’s Everton contributions, while I have also had to witness his often damaging effect on the Republic of Ireland’s endeavours since he first appeared on the international scene. And, yes, why did no one ever think to try him out in a more defensive position where he would not be required to create? In the Republic of Ireland’s game against Saudi Arabia in the 2002 World Cup, Mick McCarthy was forced to play him in a more withdrawn role and he had an absolute blinder of a game with not one misplaced pass!

In the next match against Spain he returned to his normal post and had a nightmare, culminating in the slashing of Ian Harte’s rebounded penalty kick over to the corner flag from six yards out in the centre of the goalmouth! I will never forget that ghastly miss! And he has missed a few sitters for us as well.

When he signed for Everton I was not too pleased, but in fairness to him, he did better than I imagined, particularly in our successful 2004-05 campaign. But it has been a source of amazement to me how he seems to be rated by successive mangers both at international and club level when it is patently clear to any discerning observer that he is neither an international nor a Premiership class player. It seems Paul Jewell has fallen into this category and if we got £2M for him that was an excellent piece of business. Sometimes you think a player looks good when he’s on the other team and it’s only when he’s playing for you that you realise just how shite he is. Kevin Kilbane seems to be the perfect example of this theory.

In finishing however I would have to say that he is a genuinely decent and likeable guy who despite his shortcomings always tries his heart out, did relatively well for us and was good value for money in this vulgar era of over-inflated transfer fees and wage demands. We should all afford him our best wishes, except between 3pm and 5pm on 16th of this month!
Martin Doney, Belfast  (1/9/06)

Happy pills

Sometimes I wonder what Everton FC have done to deserve some of the fans we have got. Maybe they lost something in translation but both Ting Tong from Southport and Sven Tosser from Austria in Germany are missing the point. For a football team to function correctly for an entire season you must have a well balanced squad. We don't. 15 left backs and 1 right back for starters. 1 midfielder who actually wants to play in the middle [Carsley].

Cahill, Osman are more forward thinking players, Arteta is no use in the central role and 3 so called wingers - Davies [shite], Dutch Block of Lard [shite] and McFadden who is a winger who thinks he is a striker. Now can you see why I asked for more bodies to be brought in by Moyes. Who will do the spade work in the middle all season. Who is the ball winner? Our midfield is lighter than Wayne Rooney's brain but you jokers can't see it.

I wish I was on a happy pill buzz lads but David Moyes is duller than an Alabanian light bulb and just doesn't get me up enough. As for Steve Eddie Flanagan, what a comedian he is. I hope you are still crowing about us being above Arsenal in January lad I really do. What a stupid comment that was mate after only 3 fucking games. Still the Moyes Brigade are enjoying that tremendous win over Spurs as though that's job done for the season.

Let me tell you there is plenty of heartache waiting for us this season, just you mark my words. I hope you're still jumping off the wardrobes in Batman suits after the Derby lads.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (1/9/06)

Rooney's dad

I happened to speak to Rooney's cousin at the time of transfer to Man Utd. He was playing in Macclesfield Town's reserves at the time. He said the whole family were disgusted with Wayne for leaving Everton and at the time of the transfer Wayne was not on speaking terms with his dad.

I am sure now that Wayne's pay cheques have eased the tension but I don't think it's fair to have a go at his dad who it seems would have much preferred him to stay at Everton.
Alan Clarke, manchester  (1/9/06)

Too right — it's bang out of order having a (cheap) pop at Wayne Senior and questioning his Everton credentials. - Colm

I'd like to see a full apology from Paul Burns as what he said was completly unacceptable in my book. Please, let's not publish shit from idiots who have this tendency to question the credentials of other Evertonians. It does my head in. — Michael

Seekers of truth and justice

By taking legal action against Rooney, our Davey has once again demonstrated his total integrity. However, such proceedings are likely to prove financially prohibitive long before they get to a final judgement. Presuming that Davey`s brief, Mel Goldburg, is not working on a "no win no pay" basis, shouldn't ToffeeWeb be launching a Moyes fighting fund to ensure that the manager gets proper vindication? £10 a letter published on this site would be a cheap price for correspondents to pay to see justice done. Then we`d see how much the Meeks and Marshes really supported the Everton cause.

How about it, Editor?
Richard Dodd, Formby  (1/9/06)

Nice to see scouse humour alive and well and, erm, thriving out in Formby! - Colm

Rooney's arl feller

If Rooney's arl feller was a true Evertonian, he wouldn't have even entertained the little cunt going to Man Utd. My whole family would have kicked me to pieces for even thinking about it, something I know would not have happened.
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (1/9/06)

Pathetic. And so out of touch with the reality of the situation back in the summer of 2004. - Colm

Friends

Dear Colm and TW editors, please stop being hard on Dutch. Despite his pathetic attempts at analysing every decision Moyes makes and his purile verbal bullshit attempts at asking rhetorical questions, I think you are his only mates. Cybermates to be exact... let's face it —would you go for a pint with him?
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (1/9/06)

I'd go for a pint with Dutch, no probs! - Colm

Youngsters

Colm, I mentioned four players: Stubhaug, Ruddy, Vidarsson & Spencer, only two of them are goalkeepers not three. Even a part-time Anti-Moyes-Brigade member like you has to admit that the future is looking rosy. The four players above and then add to them Anichebe, Vaughn, Kissock, Boyle and Molineux. I'm not dumb enough to suggest they will all definitely become great players but its encouraging you have to admit? Moyes has already developed Hibbert, Osman and Rooney into Premiership players. Much better then Wally Smith who sold Gavin McCann prematurely and then bullied Ball, Jeffers and Dunne out of the club.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (1/9/06)

Feck off Dutch! I'm tired this lunch time, getting the count wrong in your earlier post! Nice labelling of me there all the same! ;-) — Colm

In response to Jim Feeney (Kevin Kilbane)

Jim, I cannot understand your, or everybody else's for that matter, opinion of Kevin Kilbane. "We have shot ourselves in the foot" is a very strong claim when you consider who you are talking about. Personally, I would rather play with 10 men!

He has contributed nothing in my eyes. He is never a Premiership player and never has been... whether that be in red and white stripes or Royal blue. I am glad he has gone as he was draining to watch. Unskillful, Slow, defensively naive and deluded in attack. I believe you should possess one of the above if you are to make an impact in the Premiership.

The other 3 "alternatives you mentioned.. VDM, Arteta and even McFadden all have something to offer that sadly, Kevin did not. I am glad we got £2M for him...." David, two million pounds —deal or no deal". "FUCKING DEAL.!"
Phil Burkert, Liverpool  (1/9/06)

Ouch! - Colm

Bubbles Blown?

This little snippet was taken from the BBC gossip page re the recent West Ham "coup".

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap?

West Ham are now set for a takeover bid from Iranian investor Kia Joorabchian, the president of MSI, the company that sold the Hammers Tevez and Mascherano. (Independent)
Tony Horne, Kettering  (1/9/06)

Erm, Everton "content"??? - Colm

I'm sure Tony was posting in the context of the earlier question of how West Ham managed to land the two players in the first place — Lyndon

Andy van der Meyde?

I haven't heard anything at all about VdM for ages. The Official Site hasn't mentioned anything about him for a few weeks. Does anyone know what his situation is? Is he injured, unfit, dog-sitting, out of favour or what? With Kilbane's sudden departure, I hope we will see him involved more. It seems like he is a wasted talent.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (1/9/06)

Some dodgy rumours going around about poor old Andy van der Meyde. Someone said they once saw him playing football... - Colm

The Echo mentioned earlier this week that he had picked up another training ground injury, with someone else suggesting it was only a slight thigh injury — Lyndon

The Future of EFC

Everton have confirmed the signing of 16-year-old goalkeeper Lars Stubhaug. He will join John Ruddy, Bjarni Vidarsson & Scott Spencer as part of Everton's youth system. Moyes is definitely building for the future, fantastic, you wouldn't get that with Harry Redknapp and his buy 12-players-hoping-2-of-them-are-good policy.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (1/9/06)

Ah indeed, Dutch, you arl chancer you! Three kid goalkeepers from the four you mention. Building for the future... with the manager showing signs of a keeper fetish, how many keepers are we going to be allowed play?! - Colm

Prince and the Pinky

Just a quick one if anyone knows the answer.

When was the last time an England strike duo was from Everton & Liverpool? With AJ surely having some part to play on Saturday, he's likely to be partnering the Big Freak from over the park. I'm too young to remember, but I'm sure some of you old gits might know ;)
Ryan Jones, Preston  (1/9/06)

Old gits... ah, you'll have to wait for the Editor to get out of bed! ;-) — Colm

Rooney

Having read Rooney's book — I didn't buy it, my sister works for the publishers — I can see why Moyes wants to even things up. I am by no means Moyes's biggest fan, but Rooney's book is like a child's "what I did in the summer holidays" essay. The only thing missing from this book is a stick drawing by Rooney of himself scoring against "nasty Everton, and the wicked Mr Moyes".

The lad gets a dig wherever he can, but I have to say I feel sorry for his father, as the book portrays him as a proper Evertonian. To have his son write (obviously through Hunter Davies) such shite must surely break his heart. Maybe some more "truth" will come out as this action continues.
Adam Baig, Merseyside  (1/9/06)

The book is very much "this is Peter, this is Jane" territory, and I'd imagine most of it was vetted by Stretford and his legal eagles before allowing it to be published. Perhaps Moyes may be making a rod for his own back by taking this course of action, particularly if it ends up settled privately. Open the tin of worms and, to quote Delia Smith, "let's be 'avin' you!" - Colm

It would be nice — but it won't happen

You can’t be absolutely certain, but I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that the Rooney Libel Case will be settled out of court.

I also believe that, judging by his willingness to sue, Moyes has revealed that he is a man of some integrity. Nevertheless, I’m quite sure that there are many characters in the sordid episode of the Rooney transfer who have a vested interest in the dirty linen being washed strictly behind closed doors — including some in positions of power within the Everton community.

It’s a great shame, as a court case would cast some light on the murky world of agents and boardrooms — forget it lads; it won’t happen. Looking at the wider picture and some well documented transfers to an East London club in the last 24 hours — the stink of dirty money and muddy dealings within the game gets fouler by the minute.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (1/9/06)

Amen, Brother Sparke! ;-) - Colm

Response to Tony Waring

Tony, take this with whatever size pinch of salt you wish, but I'm lead to believe by a Pinkie that Abramovich has links with Corinthians and it is illegal for players to be bought and sold between two clubs that a person has an interest in. Therefore it is expected that you will see a year/18 months of the two Argentinian boys bedding into English football via the Irons and then moving across London soon after. That's what the conspiratists are saying across the Park anyway.
Glasgow Blue, Glasgow  (1/9/06)

Such wonderful "commercial sensitivity" (hi Ian!) permeating the 'game' these days. This deal has one helluva stench about it. Allegedly Y'Honour! ;-) - Colm

Sue you sir

Following the recent accusations by Wayne Rooney concerning his relationship with David Moyes and subsequent departure, with quotes of 'he forced me out', the news that Moyes is about to issue a writ shows both integrity and determination on Moyes's part. The one defining feature that is apparent in Rooney's flawed character is the need to constantly find a scapegoat for his failings and misdeamours. The blame culture and lack of responsibility is personified in Rooney's arrogance, a spoilt little brat whose every whim and need following demand is 'massaged' by the leeches that surround him.

Every time the issue of Rooney's transfer raises its ugly head then there will undoubtedly be media interest and a flurry of postings concerning it, the whole business is very murky but it will be interesting to hear David Moyes point.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (1/9/06)

It will indeed! Some day I sincerely hope young Rooney wakes up and realises what kind of man he has representing him. Rooney is Stretford's cash cow, not the other way around... as Rooney, inconceivably, seems to believe. — Colm

Correction to first article about Big Dunc

Whilst I appreciate the amount of effort that goes into publishing the content on this site, I was a little surprised to read that Duncan Ferguson missed the 1995 FA Cup Final through injury! I was there and saw him come on as substitute for Rideout early in the second half!
Paul Quinn, London  (1/9/06)

All in the wording! Comment now rephrased. ;-) — Colm

Legal wranglings

I heard Moyes's lawyer on Five Live this morning confirming that legal proceedings have begun against Rooney, his agent, and the Daily Mail. So, the question is, ToffeeaWeb have often said (rightly) that we would probably never know the full truth about what happened. However, for Moyes to win the libel case, he has to prove that what Rooney has said was wrong, and therefore possibly bringing to light exactly what happened. Time for Billy Kenwright to start worrying?
David Flynn, London  (1/9/06)

I don't want to jump the gun here but I believe you've hit the nail on the head there David! - Colm

Big Fat Rooney

Way to go David Moyes, don't take no shit from Rooney. The only reason Wayne left Everton was cold hard cash. Sue his fat arse.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (1/9/06)

Exactly... although I must stress that on last viewing I didn't notice young master Rooney in possession of a fat arse. (Cue incoming mail re. Coleen!) I've stated all along that the comments in Rooney's book claiming it was Moyes who leaked those stories was incorrect. The source in fact coming from within ProActive. If this goes to court we might get to see some truth emerging. And not before bloody time. — Colm

Tevez

I know we should be discussing matters Blue but can someone explain to me how West Ham can persuade and even afford to get Carlos Tevez? Is this the same guy who had a pretty decent World Cup for the Argies? Weren't Man Utd in the hunt?

What's wrong with Everton? Does this South American really prefer jellied eels to Satterthwaites pork pies? Maybe the lure of East End glamour is stronger than South Road!!!
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (1/9/06)

Team of Internationals

In response to earlier letters, Everton are currently able to put out a full team of internationals

  • Howard
  • Valente
  • Yobo
  • Weir
  • Neville
  • Naysmith
  • Carsley
  • Cahill
  • Davies
  • Johnson
  • McFadden

I admit that putting Carsley in is stretching it a bit, but according to the TW front page he has spoken to Staunton about coming out of retirement.

It's not the best team in the world, but nevertheless it is 11 international players
Alisdair Denny, Perth, Australia  (1/9/06)

Transfer Window Closed

The transfer window has closed and we are effectively stuck with whoever’s listed on the current team list. What we have basically is a rather decent first eleven team that can effectively kick the balls of almost the entire Premiership.

That however, is the end of the good news. The team just does not have enough cover in the event of any injury or suspension. What happens when Andy Johnson injures his crotch while attempting to latch onto Arteta’s thru ball?? (Or even Man-Tits falling off the table while stretching for the last burger??) Who’s left?? McFadden & Anichebe?? — and this is only the striking department...

Moyes must be praying real hard that the team will be unscathed throughout the whole of this season (or maybe till Jan '07). Season 04-05 we were pretty fortunate (maybe moyes was a good boy then.) Season 05-06 was bad with injuries to players. So what’s in it for Season 06-07??
Matthew Lim, Singapore  (1/9/06)

Knock it off!!

OK, so Kilbane has gone. Good riddance! Honestly! OK, he tried hard but he was never really good enough. I have to say well done to Moyes for off-loading him. I personally believe Moyes is a good manager and I think he has done a good job in off-loading Kilbane. But what is really getting to me is all these people saying what a great player he was when sitting around Goodison all you can hear is Kill the Game, not Zinedine Kilbane. What a load of bollocks! Well done David Moyes! Get rid of the crap and let the new boys shine. I'm sure they will as we have already seen. Please, just leave the sentimental bullshit out of it!
Tris Allerton, Cornwall  (1/9/06)

I don't think many are saying he was a "great player" as much as they are merely rrecognising the effort he put in even if he wasn't the most talented of players. He did a job for us when things were tight and it looks like we made a tidy profit to boot. Why not wish him well as he takes a step down to join Wigan, eh? — Lyndon

What a difference a week makes

What a difference a week makes in football. Following the Watford game, it looked like we were in for another season of inertia and maybe we still are, but that performance at Tottenham has at least given hope. Let us pray that the manager appreciates the irony of his remarks about the players being forced into a passing game after Kilbane’s oafish dismissal (if that’s what he implied), and has the nerve to try something more positive in similar games to come this season.

I’m trying not to get too carried away with the euphoria felt by all Evertonians after the tremendous result at Tottenham. And yes, it was the manner of it that pleased most! And that prat in The Telegraph you’ve all been giving off about deserves another swipe. According to this pompous hack we employed the sort of ‘stifling’ tactics that will send English football back into the Dark Ages? What a load of shite! I admit it wasn’t like watching Brazil. It was, however, like watching Italy – resolute defending from players who were prepared to pass the ball away from danger; players breaking with purpose and determined to make the most of any opportunity that fell to them, sensing instinctively when something was on; a diminutive striker snapping at morsels like a rattlesnake on speed.

How many times have you watched Italy win matches like this? Christ, they’ve won four World Cups playing like this. And maybe if the English football team had played like Everton played last Saturday, they might have actually won the bloody World Cup instead of making complete dicks of themselves. But back to the match at Spurs, where the performance of certain players should not be underestimated:

  • Carsley: Hardly noticed. Says everything.
  • Neville: Consumate professional with childish enthusiasm. Immense.
  • Arteta: Slave to creativity. His daring started the move for the second goal.
  • Lescott: Premier League novice gave impressive defensive and all round display. Spilled blood in defence of the cause!
  • Osman: Underrated player who can still improve. Wonderful persistence in creating the second goal. Yobo: Thank God he stayed.
  • Johnson: Simply the difference between us being an average team and one that might just do something great.
Could we, just could we possibly have the makings of a good team? If we win our next game, against a side many have tipped to challenge for the title this season, I may just start to believe.
Martin Downey, Belfast  (1/9/06)


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