ToffeeWeb MailBag
Letters from our readers — October 2006


How things change

I've just had a nosey at some old ToffeeWeb poll results. My interest was piqued by the club vs country poll. Sorry to say, I'd pick Northern Ireland winning the World Cup over Everton winning the Premier League. Anyway I'll get to the point.

March - April, 2004
Who is the best partner for Mad Dog in central midfield?
Lee Carsley - 8%
Tobias Linderoth - 56%
Alex Nyarko- 19%
Li Tie - 17%


Carsley is now our Makalele.

October 2003
Who should be Everton's first-choice goalkeeper?
Nigel Martyn - 56%
Richard Wright - 44%


I feel for Dickie because he has the ability but something just isn't there for him.

September 2003
Which of the deadline day signings was the best? Francis Jeffers- 36%
Kevin Kilbane - 6%
Nigel Martyn - 2%
James McFadden - 56%


Need I say more?

Mar 2003
Should Everton make Brian McBride's loan move permanent if the price is right?
Yes, valuable squad member - 37%
No, too old - 63%


He's doing pretty good at Fulham while surrounded by lesser players than ours.

Oct 1 - 21, 2002
Which formation should Everton employ primarily at home?
4-4-2 - 67%
4-3-3 - 30%
5-3-2 - 3%


The old 4-5-1 that has been pretty good to us in recent times didn't even get a mention! How times change...
Stuart Beresford-Kelly, Ballymena, Northern Ireland  (31/10/06)

June, 1926

I say, chaps, do you think that big lummox we purchased for 3,000 ginueas from Tranmere Rovers will ever cut the mustard for us, now that he has a steel plate in his head?

  • Yes: 3%
  • No: 72%
  • Don't Know: 25%
Hindsight.. my arse! — Michael

Missing a trick

A few further observations from the match on Saturday:

  • Howard: brilliant throughout but might we he have done better with the goal? Go on shoot me down - just stating something that occurred to me when I watched the replay. Still a 9/10 rating; well done that man.
  • Osman: as skilful as Arteta and one of my favourite players but not in the game at Arsenal. Too lightweight and so slow when tracking back. To be deployed in certain matches only, I'm afraid.
  • Johnson - why doesn't Moyes get him to stand on the halfway line when we're defending a corner? Would take up two defenders and is bugger all use on the edge of the box anyway! Also when he's chasing long balls, have someone (admittedly slower!) following up behind. Several times on Saturday he ran the centre back down who blindly back-headed the ball into the space behind him because he knew there was no other Everton player following up.
  • Arteta: again made several wrong decisions when he could have got the ball over early. The man is a flawed genius.
  • Lescott: the best defender I've seen this year in the Premierdhip
  • Stubbs: slow but what a brain — stepped in to dispossss Henry several times just by reading the game.
Everyone played their part. With a strong enforcer in midfield to protect the likes of Osman and Arteta and another speed-merchant in the side so that we can attack along two fronts, we'd be a very good side. Here's hoping Moyes can oblige in January.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (31/10/06)

Revival

In response to Paul Atress's post, if you take away all the seasons when Everton have been shit, then we would be the best team in the history of the world! From August to May... that's what counts. We might win something if we can string something together between those months... ie: for a FULL SEASON!!!

Creative accounting gets us nowhere! If we add together the back end of 04-05 and the start of 05-06 we would probably be looking forward to a game against Crystal Palace (or similar) on Saturday!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (31/10/06)

Dave, it gladdens my heart to know that there are Evertonians out there who have their heads screwed on right. You, sir, are one of them, and you have nailed this particular piece of nonsense for what it is. Well done, and thank you.

It astounds me (and I'm treading the personal abuse line carefully here) that any Evertonian worth his salt could come out with this kind of arrant nonsense as a basis of anything. This is not simply a difference of opinion: that way of looking at things is quite clearly rubbish, as Dave eloqently points out; to say "ignore when we were bad, and you'll see we've always been brilliant!"... I mean, come, on Paul: even you have to admit that is absolute and total bullshit.

Or a good wind-up! — Michael

Ya ca'nay hav 'im!

All this talk of signing up the big Yank fella in goal... what were the terms of the loan agreement? Does anyone have any inkling if we even have any chance? I guess it's always a possibility, but the better he performs for us, the less likely that red-faced Scottish bastard is to let him go.

Er... better not say that I suppose!
James O'Hanlon, Cheltenham  (10/31/06)

I suspect we won't tie up a permanent deal in January, as a goalkeeper signed there and then is not our major priority. However, I'll wager it won't be too long after the closure of the transfer window that we'll first hear (again!) the whispers of either Arteta or Cahill heading off to Old Trafford, only this time as part of a deal to facilitate the transfer of Howard to Everton! Nowt like a fertile imagination...! - Colm

Matteo Ferrari v Joleon Lescott

I think it's a credit to how well Joleon Lescott has done so far this season that nobody has mentioned Matteo Ferrari. Do you remember Matteo Ferrari? He joined Everton on-loan last season and made a dozen or so appearances. You may not remember him because he spent most of the season injured.

There was a big debate when Moyes decided to send hiim back to Italy, many people on here were calling Moyes all sorts of names because he didn't make Ferrari's move permament. Seeing how good Joleon Lescott is, you can now understand why Ferrari was sent packing. Maybe Moyes knew what he was doing after all?
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (31/10/06)

Meet Paul Atress: the new 'Dutch' Shaffaer... — Michael

Saturday

So we head towards Craven Cottage on Saturday. I live around there and should really get to the game but having been to the same fixture over the same last few years (as with most London games), I dread watching another frustrating loss. Fulham are a limited team which seem to have a bit of a hoodoo over us.

One of the reasons for this, I feel, highlights one of the most glaring weaknesses in our team — a lack of size. Fulham have a bit unit, namely Bapa Dioup who fulfils their Carsley role but also mops up everything in the air. He has a more than reasonable touch, gets the odd shot in and uses his size (he must be 6 ft 4 in) to good effect.

Davey's efforts to buy Sissoko highlight his awareness of the problem we can all see. Namely the lack of gritty midfielders who have some size about them and are strong. Our very tentative links to Nolan would suggest that there is some interest in this kind of player — although Nolan is more of a Cahill than a Dioup — and such a signing is a must for January.

Make no mistake, if we get a big lad in, he still has to be a ball player. But a strong holding player (with all due respect to Carsley) might allow Mickey to play through the centre, and therefore allow our playmaker to see more of the ball.

Then again with the way injuries are going, and our fat Dutch winger's complete disinterest in getting fit, then we probably need to sign two midfielders to maintain momentum. Here's hoping.
John Williams, London  (31/10/06)

Response to the Articles on Earl

I’ve read the articles on here about the change in ownership of the second largest shareholding. Now I’m not going to give my two-pence worth, but merely just point out a few things. As far as I’m concerned I’ll just sit back and keep a close eye on developments and Mr Earl’s intentions.

What made me respond was the lack of clarification of legal points. Now I’m probably not the best person to comment here as there will undoubtedly be better authorities than me who read this site. However, I am a lawyer, but I do not practice criminal or corporate law. However, I did both as part of my degree and legal practice course some five years ago.

As I understand it:

  • Everton FC is a Private Limited Company. You can only buy shares if they are offered to you and in the ways governed by Everton’s Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association. These are the rule books which govern ownership. These rules can state anything they want to as Everton are a private company.
  • Decisions are made at AGMs, and by the Board. The Board vote and make decisions for the day-to-day running of the club. Decisions can by made on a simple show of hands, i.e. Kenwright is chairman but has only one vote and therefore, the Greggs had two, and thus could outvote him.
  • Changes to the rules are done by a shareholder of usually 25%+ standing making a resolution and then a vote, one vote per share, is carried out an the AGM. If 50%+ agree the change is made. Shareholders of 75%+ can call EGMs without the boards consent and pass special resolutions and do what they want.
  • There is no compulsory purchase in private companies. This is for Public companies on the stock market, because they need to get the articles of association changed to be removed from the stock market.
  • Basically, 25%+ of a private company, can give you a veto on stopping major changes. So 75%+ can basically allow you to do whatever you want and there is no real need to get total ownership.
I believe that Kenwright has been blocked in Board decisions by the Greggs. With those shares exchanging hands he has shifted the balance of power in his own favour. Whether that’s a good thing or not remains to be seen. All Earl can do is slowly buy up shares that are offered to him privately for sale. This will take a long time and we’d probability know about it.
Stephen Ferns, Liverpool  (31/10/06)

Story

  1. Tim Cahill is a crap midfielder
  2. But is a damn good goalscorer
  3. So, he's an important player.
  4. Again, he's a crap midfielder.
  5. So, he can't play in midfield.
  6. Thus, he needs to play that free role.
  7. Cahill will then continue to score tons of goals.
  8. Our midfield will also not be weakened by him.
  9. With Johnson, Cahill, Anichebe, McFadden, and Vaughan, we have enough players to play upfront.
  10. Beattie to be sold in January
  11. $$$
  12. Kevin Nolan or Sidwell
  13. Another top 4th place finish.
  14. Tony Marsh and Luq Yussef admit Moyes is good (yeah, right...)

THE END
Tony Colbert, Liverpool  (31/10/06)

Now complacency is our biggest enemy

With the next game against Fulham at Craven Cottage, another one of our bogey London fixtures, we should guard against complacency. We all know playing Fulham will be on the face of it an easier task than Arsenal, but we shouldn't take our foot off the gas and get caught napping.

As Moyes often says, no game is easy, and Fulham will be no exception. The game on Saturday is very winable and we know we are good enough to go there and secure all three points. Johnson is due another goal to end his temporary goal drought. It may be a good phycological tactic to start with Johnson on the bench, with Beattie and Anichebe starting up front, to batter the Fulham defense into submission.

Bringing Johnson on as a sub, may well catch the Fulham defense off guard with the extra injection of pace that Johnson will provide. Playing 4-4-2 would be unexpected. COYB
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (31/10/06)

Your would-be selection, for an away match at a ground where we rarely come away with all three points, baffles me, Brian! Drop Johnson??? For Beattie???!!! — Colm

Short Memories

I have to say that the reaction of the Gooners after the game at the weekend has been nothing short of hilarious.

Trawling many a football website I have read how Everton played negative football, came to put the bus in front of the goal, have destroyed football etc etc. Add to that Henry's claim that he would rather die than give up the "Arsenal way". Mix it up with Van Persie's rant about fans paying to watch football and Wenger's constant moaning and you really start to feel for them.

The problem I have firstly is that Wenger refuses to learn from past mistakes - Bolton, Boro, Villa. Secondly Henry's comments about the Arsenal way. Maybe the Wenger way but not the Arsenal way. Was it not George Graham who moulded a team on a back four of Dixon, Adams, Keown and Winterburn. Grinding and boring their way to 1-0 wins? Was it not Arsenal who parked a bus in front of the goal in the FA Cup Final of 2005 and more recently away at Villareal in the Champions League final?

One Arsenal fan commented that now surely Everton must be bracketed with Sheff Utd and Watford. This isn't even worthy of a response. It seems that the Gooners have had some severe memory loss and believe that football was founded in 1992. It was a fantastic result and let's rub some salt in the wounds by ripping them apart at Goodison a week on wednesday.

As a final point about John Cottee's comments about 'Dutch'. To be honest I won't miss his pre-match doom and gloom about how we've lost before we've even played! If he can't provide his real name then thats his problem. COYB!
Craig Heywood, Leeds  (31/10/06)

Andrew Johnson

Sharing a few hours and some flat ales with Jake Calvert (29/10/06) on Saturday evening was my very first in-depth one-to-one with an Evertonian. (At times it was difficult to concentrate as his companion clearly hadn`t bought a ticket which necessitated his frequent trips to the karzey!) But I digress...

What really blew my mind was Jake`s passion for his club and the intensity of his interest re all things Andrew Johnson. Jake`s resolve to pass on my humble assessment of AJ as he called him, to ToffeeWeb has had me whiling away my working hours on your correpondents` meanderings and thus this post.

What Jake omitted to pass on - and this bit is vital - is that Andrew thrives on long balls played into space ON THE GROUND and requiring only a minimal first touch. In those situations,I would bet on his achieving a goal or penalty decision in at least 70% of instances.

I mention this because the MotD highlights I have seen of Everton indicate that the team favour an `over the top` approach which will soon see the little man lose interest. What we came to accept at Palace was that he ain`t relly a genius, just a very hard-worker who knows where the goal is!

Keep punting balls in the air to him and you will see his other side and your dreams of a twenty-goal season evaporate. Good luck Everton!
Nick Cohen, Aintree  (31/10/06)

I tend to agree with that assessment of Johnson, Nick. I made a comment after we won at White Hart Lane for the first time in twenty years that Johnson possessed an ability to make a bad pass look like a good one — more so if that pass is threaded through, along the ground, as you rightly say.

A fine example of an over-the-top ball not resulting in a goal for Johnson was seen in the last moments of Saturday's game as Simon Davies made a burst through midfield, laying a ball off to Osman who flicked one over the top, out wide right, for Johnson — his first touch at that point of the game wasn't as we hoped it could be! Keep it on the deck, Blues! — Colm

False Names...

Am I missing the point here but this nonsense about the departure of 'Dutch' is beginning to piss me off. I have no bad feeling for the guy as some of his posts were quite funny but let's not turn him into some X-factor type celebrity.

I read the mailbag to see what I call 'Evertonian' type posts about the team we love and support. The fact that a few of the contributors are a little larger than life and have a bit of a following is part of the fun but let's not get carried away.
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (31/10/06)

Conspiracy Theory

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I'd think that Moyes's constant trumpeting of Cahill's 'greatness' might be the build up towards another 'unavoidable' Rooney-type sale in the near future. Thank god I'm free of such cynicism!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (31/10/06)

Tut, tut, Harry...! — Colm

The Mini Revival

Tony Marsh really is something special, he says Everton are currently on a 'mini revival'.

Here's the fact Tony, in 2006 Everton have played 28 games, winning 12, drawing 11 and losing only 5. I'll repeat that because its such a startling statistic, Everton have lost only 5 games in the entire year 2006.

Thats quite a 'mini revival' Tony.

Everton finished 4th during season 04-05, so really the only bad form over the last two and half years has been at the start of 05-06. If you take away the opening 4 months of season 05-06 then Everton's form has consistently been Top 6.

Of course Tony Marsh is looking at the bigger picture, somehow he can look at the last 2½ years and only see that bad start as Everton's true form, the other 2 years or so Everton have consistantly been a Top 6 side is just a 'mini revival'.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (31/10/06)

This is like watching a game of head tennis! ;-) - Colm

In Reply to John Cottee

John — first off, mate, if that soppy twat Dutch can't be arsed to give his proper name in when asked, then fuck him. There, how's that?

As for me wanting to gloat and say "I told you so" if or when Everton self destruct — I dont get it. Do you really think I want us to be shite? Do you really think it has been such a wonderful experience watching Everton play these past few years? Do you honestly believe that any real Evertonian would want his team to fuck up just so they can say, "I told you so"?

Nah, me niether... so stop talking Bollocks, mate. To be honest with you, John, if I had been saying "I told you so" and then been proved wrong, I would be the first to hold my hand up.

The trouble is, most of what I have touched upon over the past two years has mostly been proved right — especially last season's debacle. The way I see it, John, is that there are too many of us [Evertonians] who dont grasp the bigger picture. They are made up with this mini-revival we are on at the moment but too easily forget what's gone on before.

I know that we must enjoy it while it lasts but I don't see it like you. I worry about players like Cahill and Johnson. Do they really want to slog their guts out every week knowing that, in all reality, they will never lift any silverware if they stay at Everton?

Will any gifted youngsters coming through the ranks really want to stick aroung and get the Moyes treatment? Example: McFadden or Beattie being played before Anichebe. What nonesense is that? I would be off if it carried on... There are so many things going on at the club that I don't like... so what should I do? Pretend they are not happening just because we beat Liverpool 3-0?

The way Moyes is getting his team to play at the minute is fantastic but, beleive me, John we can not sustain it with a squad this small. There are too many lightweights and too much deadwood to carry for it to last. The decent players will be burnt out by the new year. Remember the 2004 season? We were knackered at the end.

I really do hope Moyes makes a go of things because I know for a fact he won't be leaving. Just don't ask me to kid myself that it is going to happen. Some things I just won't do.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (31/10/06)

Peicing the jigsaw together

I fully endorse the recent comments from a couple of contributors regarding the lack of guile in our midfield. The players, by and large, have been exceptional this season and given their all, the close unity and strong team bond personified in the brotherly protection shown by Tim Cahill to Mikkel Arteta when confronted by an angry William Gallas. However, the blend of creativity and steel in the engine room appears at times a little blunt with our midfield lacking the physical prowess and stature to compete and out muscle the opposition in every game.

Moyes has assembled the key pieces of the jigsaw during the summer with Howard, Lescott and Johnson adding to the solidity of the side through the middle of the park. In previous seasons, we have bemoaned the lack of both quality and personnel in the defensive and attacking elements of the team, purse strings continuing to dictate the timing of player acquisition at the right price.

I'm hoping that, come January, David Moyes will be given both the funds and freedom to pursue the next piece of the jigsaw — that being a combative midfielder with ability, physical strength and leadership qualities. The game against Man City demonstrated the effect of a player in the mould of Joey Barton can have in galvanising the midfield and linking defence and attack. Without going all Football Manager, I would love to see Everton aim to sign Kevin Nolan come January. He, I believe, has the qualities in strength, height, positional sense and leadership — a player other than being a dye-hard red who ticks all the boxes and could be another piece of the jigsaw in our continued rennaisance.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (31/10/06)

We have been spot on

In every game I've seen us play this year (which has been most of them), I think we have been spot on. The Arsenal game might be viewed as negative, but what else are we supposed to do? Does anyone honestly expect us with a half fit, half unwell team to actually go to Arsenal's ground and take the game to them?

Given our track record away since I can remember, the way we applied ourselves was sound. Now I have been one of Moyes's biggest critics since he took over, given our inconsistency at times, but I salute him so far this season as he has got it all SPOT ON. So get your arses to Goodison and see us play some neat, tidy, attractive football — with the promise of a few goals. Up the blues.
John Nelson, Liverpool  (30/10/06)

Whoops

Unfortunately, David O'Brien, there was an announcement before the game at the Emirates Stadium informing us that smoking is not permitted anywhere within the ground! Ah well.

As for the other point about Howard making great saves, I really don't think he was particularly troubled. The save from Cesc looked good but was routine and the only other save of note he made was from Henry's header.

Despite Arsenal's dominance of possession, we really did restrict them to long range efforts. Considering Arsenal enjoy passing through defences and forming intricate moves, they didn't put anything together around the edge of our box and I attribute this to the quality of the defending and the organisation of all 10 outfield players.

Some of the match reports have been nothing short of offensive and they consistently fail to recognise that preventing a team like Arsenal from scoring in open play is no mean feat. Having said that, ripping through Fulham next week with a bit of finesse would be nice!
Paul Foster, London  (30/10/06)

Boring Boring Everton!

So Everton are now The Boring Team in the Prem? Well, it's going to be interesting to see Liverpool play there soon, because no doubt they will play with three up front and an exciting open pattern of play!

I don't think so, but you can rest assured that the Sunday rags will not be so quick to blind us with match stats. But then again, we did have the cheek to go to one of Sky's love-children grounds and play them at their own game!
Peter O'Callaghan, Liverpool  (30/10/06)

Departed Dutch

I'd like to apologise, I did not want to question the motives behind this wonderful web-site. What worries me is that one of the biggest pro-Moyes voices has now been silenced. I have this awful vision that, a few months from now Everton will have slipped out of the Top 10 and the posters like Tony Marsh will be loving every second of the 'Told You So' gloating.

You could always rely on Dutch to look on the bright side; even after the low points of last season, Dutch always found something to cheer about. With Dutch gone, the depressed masses may take over this forum and that would be such a shame. I don't understand why Dutch just doesn't give you a random realistic false name, that way he could keep on posting? Maybe he's decided to give up the fight?
John Cottee, Romford  (30/10/06)

FFS, He has NOT been silenced! Why are we repeating this bullshit? You can see (I hope) that it's beginning to upset me! The last part of your post is the truth that dare not speak its name... yet 'Dutch' couldn't figure that bit out for himself, but instead had to make a song and dance out of it. The solution is out there, staring him in the mush. It's up to him now... Can that please be the last word! — Michael

Phil Howard's piece

God, I love Everton. Thank you, Phil Howard, for reminding us what Everton means to some people. Everton isn't just a football club; Everton is a family, and even though it's broken my heart more times than not in the recent past, I love this family so much. Phil, your story reminds us all why we love football...
Nathan Round, Berri, South Australia  (30/10/06)

Who cares?

The game against Arsenal was a complete bore, AJ looks like he is starting to get more than a little tired of chasing balls all the time, and we were a little lucky at times with Howard producing some great saves. Apart from that, at the end of the day we got a point — and a good one at that. The Arsenal fans were/are bitter and, apart from the superb acoustics, the ground is good but not superb.

The steps are badly spaced so you can't comfortably walk up one or two at a time and they ran out of pies at halftime! The most annoying thing is the seat numbers being cunningly hidden at the bottom of the seats. On the plus side, there was beer for sale at halftime and you could smoke — well I didn't see any no smoking signs.

We got a point and pissed them off into the bargain, who cares how we played.
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (30/10/06)

Uncut Diamonds

As ever, Doddy`s love of David Moyes sees him going well over the top with his `best ever` claim. However, the signings of Cahill and Lescott from a lower league which the manager knows backwards does illustrate his ability to spot a `good `un`. All the more surprising, therefore, that he has allowed himself to be conned by the agents of Beattie, Davies, Krøldrup and the like when there are so many uncut diamonds in the leagues below.
Lawson Tremelling, Northop  (30/10/06)

School of Science

Amongst the vitriol contained in the Telegraph article by Eddie Johnson was a rare piece of insight. He said:

"It is this attitude, (Everton's defensive approach to the game) which ultimately erects a glass ceiling above Everton. Without the ambition to play football against the best, they will merely remain the most effective of the rest."
Without wishing to detract from a spirited performance and a well-earned point, I have to concede he has a point there. I know we had a weakened team but I suspect the game plan would have been the same had they been fully fit. I hope performances like this are used as a stepping stone back to greatness, in the same way that Arsenal grew out of their success, achieved by strangling other teams' creativity under George Graham.

We have played some good stuff this season, and I hope in time we may return to the ‘School of Science’, but it would be a sad day if we accepted that we will never be able to compete against the top teams again unless we shut them out.

Oh, one more point for Mr Johnson. Our brand of "Dull, boring football" has earned us 16 goals this season, exactly the same as your "Captivating Aesthetes," Arsenal.
Mick Gill, Crewe  (30/12/06)

Graet points, Mick. And it only strengthens the significance of next week's Carling Cup game. The Moyes gameplan for this one is crucial, to my mind. We shall see... — Michael

Pure Gold

I know you, Michael, see it differently but after the tactical masterclass that Moyes gave Wenger on Saturday surely the time has come for his universal acclamation as our all-time best?

I know that Catterick and Kendall won things but the former had access to a veritable treasure chest and subsequent exposure proved the latter to be somewhat lacking when the chips were down. I seriously believe, and I am not alone in this belief, that had either (or for that matter, Ferguson, Mourinho or Wenger) been charged with re-establishing the Everton Moyes inherited, none of them would have fared half as well. What we have is pure gold.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (30/10/06)

Moyes has done a good job finally turning things around, but it has taken him 4½ years to the point were we can hopefully expect a top-half finish. Third in five attempts. Better than average, yes. Pure gold? Still a long, long way to go, Richard.

We have had a good start to the season, by our normal standards, and most people recognize that. Does it make David Moyes the best Everton manager ever? Sounds just a little bit silly when you think about it...

And as for the totally hypotethical rationale you put forward to support this claim, it means absolutely nothing. Catterick and Kendall were the Everton managers at their respective times, and they achieved success. Moyes (not Ferguson, Mourinho or Wenger) is the Everton manager now, and has yet to achieve any meaningful success.

You do raise a good point about Kendall's subsequent efforts, which show that it really is much more than just having a good manager. There are a lot more ingredients that need to come together, and one is being able to craft a team that is greater than the sum of its parts. Moyes has shown signs he can do that when conditions are right (4th); he has also shown that he can get it horribly wrong (17th; Euro-crash & burn).

We could be in a period of improved consistency as he finally consolidates 'his' team. I hope we are, but I'm a bit worried that our goal-scoring burst is showing signs of flagging, and we are simply not winning enough games to stay in the Euro race. There are mitigating circumstances (injuries, illness), but they don't make Moyes a great manager. Sorry. — Michael

Bias

Totally agree with the TW comments re bias of the Sunday Times reporting of the game vs the Gooooooners. Ditto for the Daily Telegraph this morning.

a far more balanced report is written by Mick Dennis in the Express. He basically blames Arsenal's woes on their own inability to shoot, Henry's lack of work ethic (when compared to AJ's) and Everton's tactics... Arsenal are by their own admission not good in the air and want to keep it on the ground; by forcing them wide and into crosses (through congesting the midfield); we played to our strengths in defence, not their's in attack.

On reflection, it is true to say that we should have been more adventurous. My own comments re being pleased with the draw were probably more based on my memories of the last few year's at Highbury. I was in the North Stand squirming when we were annihilated 7-0 and still wake up in cold sweats if reminded of it. If we talk about progression of the side, the performance on Saturday was light years ahead of that dark night; whilst accepting it's still not what we should aspire to see from our team.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (30/10/06)

So Long, 'Dutch'

So long, 'Dutch' or whatever your real name is. Thanks for all your comments even if they were more entertaining then interesting. It's sad to know Arsenal fans can post here but an Evertonian like 'Dutch' can't. Guess his positive attitude was just out of place.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (30/10/06)

It's sad to find Evertonians who twist things around for their own ends. I'll say it again, for the last time: The person who is 'Dutch' is free to post and have his mails published. He needs to use his real name, that's all. Paul, you may have noticed there are plenty of others who have a positive attitude, use their real names, and have their messages posted. It's not that hard. Enough of this silliness, please. — Michael

Stoppage time

David Moyes's banishment for questioning the amount of injury time on Saturday raises the issue of whether football authorities should not follow other sports with time-keeper and a clock display that gives an accurate indication of how much time has been played and how much time is left.

Without going to the extent of basketball, where the clock only runs when the ball is actually in play, surely it ought to be possible for the referee to signal clearly to the timekeeper when the clock needs to be stopped. This would include injuries, substitutions, penalties, and possibly goal celebrations. The referee would signal again for the clock to be restarted. Then when the clock reaches 45 (or 0, if you count down), a horn could sound and everyone would know that the game was over.

Time-wasting tactics could be dealt with during the game with the use of yellow cards, for serious or repeated offending, or with free-kicks in other situations (e.g. delay in taking a free-kick or throw-in). This would eliminate controversy such as that on Saturday, the Man City equaliser, or the infamous Don Hutchison goal in the Derby.
Alan Wilson, Switzerland  (30/10/06)

If you were to stop the clock every time the ball went out of play you'd never get home! How often have you seen a stat indicating something like "ball in play 27 mins 16 seconds", over the course of a 45 minute half? That's the nature of the game.

Though Moyes's frustration with Riley was perfectly understandable (from a blue-tinted glasses perspective!) the fact remains that the referee is perfectly within his right to play what he, and he alone deems suitable - that's why you hear the announcement over the PA System "indicating a MINIMUM of x amount of minutes..." If we were one down with injury time up and on the attack we'd want as much time as possible to level the game! — Colm

The Name Rule

So Michael has finally figured out a way to get rid of his nemesis, Dutch. I didn't always agree with Dutch but his was a big voice who will be missed. Of course Tony Marsh will be claiming victory now that his main opposition is no longer allowed to post.

I have to wonder, was Dutch banned because of his name or because David Moyes was winning his argument? Who is to say whose name is false? I'm guessing Bingo Bongo is a false name, Luq has given himself a last name of Yussef but I seriously doubt that. Is Tony Marsh really a Tony or maybe an Anthony? Steve Guy? Surely Guy is a false name? Andy Unsworth? Using an ex-player's last name, clearly false. Come to think of it my last name is Cottee, better ban me to!

Of course only the people who disagree with agenda of this website will be banned using the new name rule. This post probably won't even be approved because it questions the motives of establishment. Maybe Dutch has the right idea in walking away.
John Cottee, Romford  (30/10/06)

A few comments, if I may, and allow for the fact that Michael's over in the States and probably in the Land of Nod as we speak....

You are wrong to even think that anyone disagreeing with "the agenda" (??????) of this website will be banned. What agenda is that, eh?????

I've lost count of the number of times I've read utter garbage on other forae about the supposed editorial policy on ToffeeWeb. Half the time, those shooting from the hip have got their website's mixed up — citing TW when they mean something like The People's Forum (and as the main Admin over on The People's Forum myself, the person responsible for sorting out access to posting on the site, I can categorically state that 99% of those saying they've been banned, or whatever, from posting on TPF are talking utter bullshit).

In my time since Michael asked me (for time-zone reasoning no doubt!) to help with the running of TW, I have seen minimal editorial sanctioning of mailbag submissions. Most have been processed, unedited, onto the site itself — no matter the viewpoint. In recent times there has been ONE solitary banning — and he won't be named here either, John, — and that for the pure and simple reason that he (the banned) continues to post nothing other than personal abuse, most of it a bit too nasty to be aired in public, so to speak.

My own opinion is that the mailbag is home to a vast array of opinions and one part the Editor must consider is his role to ensure the Mailbag continues to flow, the usual suspects continuing to offer correspondence and also, importantly, getting in new correspondents to the Mailbag. There's times I read Michael's comments and I know he's offering whatever, simply to get people mailing! Ain't that right, Michael?! ;-)

This new ruling not only 'affects' "Dutch", but the others also, who continue to hide behind monikers. As "Dutch" himself offered in e.mail correspondence - who's to say I can't use another false name? And he's right, in saying that. Thing is though, it's not too much to ask that a contributor to the mailbag offers his or her real name instead of allowing the path open for the likes of "Alan Ball's Left Testicle" and "Dixie's Foreskin" to offer their considered opinion on matters!!!!!

Finally, your thoughts on surnames being false etc - my own is similar to "the first footy hooligan", Eddie Cavanagh. Do I now earn a ban????! — Colm

John, to reinforce Colm's excellent pooints. as I said before, 'Dutch' has chosen to ban himself — his choice, by not agreeing to the rules almost everyone else accepts. There is another request we make, and that is for a valid e.mail address. Yours appears to be false. Please provide a valid e.mail so that we can contact you if we need to. All e.mail addresses are secured and are not provided or accessible to any third party, and (of course) are not published. Thanks. — Michael

A job well done, but don't blame the ref.

I watched the game on Football First and on MotD, and it didn't occur to me that the ref was particually biased. He definitely got the Carsley foul wrong for Van Persie's goal and I did notice Moyes complaining about the added time, but I think the ref mostly did OK.

The ten-man defence comment by the press, is always levelled at teams doing the most defending and the game on Saturday was no different. If Arsenal had to defend how many players do you think they would have had behind the ball? Hansen got things dead right on MOTD, when he commented about Arsenal running out of ideas and being restricted to long-range shots.

With Stubbs in the side, we were forced to play deep, because of the pace of the Arsenal fowards. If we had a left back fit then Lescott would have played next to Yobo and we would have played further up the field allowing us to play a more attacking game.

Unfortunately Moyes had to adjust his tactics to fit the players we had available and he got things dead right. He also controlled his urge to tinker with things and make stupid substitutions like he has done in past games. To coin the phrase 'Don't fix it if it's not broken!'

Well done, boys — and well done, Moyes, for a job well done.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (30/10/06)

I think Barry Horne, co-commentating for Radio City on Saturday might disagree with you about Riley. He had it in for Tim Cahill right from the off. Almost every challenge from Cahill resulted in a free kick being awarded to Arsenal. The sheer frustration with Riley's performance got the better of Moyes at the end, as witnessed with his own Ferguson-esque time keeping display! — Colm

The Press

For those of you foaming at the mouth at our treatment by some of the London press, for balance and quality writing by one of the best in the business, read this by David Lacey in the Guardian. He gets it about right on all counts.
Mike Iddon, Marlow  (30/10/06)

Good honest report, that... - Colm

Arsenal match press reports

After watching the match on Saturday, I could not believe my eyes reading the reports in the Sunday Times and Telegraph, it's as if Mr Wenger had drafted them. Why do Wenger and the London press really expect us to go like lambs to the slaughter, as we have in the past? I thought David's game plan was thought out — you sometimes don't agree playing deep especially at home, but at Arsenal, you have to deny Henry the space to attack you around the back.

I have been a critic of Moysey's tactics but on Saturday he got it spot on, and to succeed the players have got to get it right. The whole side were superb in a workman like way, for us fans who have endured three or four torrid performances at Arsenal it was a very welcome tonic, and only for some very poor decisions by the very aptly named OLD MOTHER RILEY, we could have got a better result.

A good friend of mine, an Arsenal fan who I did not manage to see on matchday, rang me Sunday afternoon to say that after dust settled and a couple of pints with other Gunners, he agreed we gave a very polished defensive display. WELL DONE, BOYS!
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (30/10/06)

Amen to all of that, Norman. I wouldn't be overly concerned with the London media's bias towards Arsenal — and seemingly against ourselves. Anyhow, we (Everton) only use the Telegraph to annouce financial matters and musical chairs within our Boardroom! ;-) — Colm

We'll just get the kids to beat you — again

Ouch. If it had been a boxing match, it would have been stopped in the 6th round. Riley still our bete noire... the minute I see that twAT I fear for the worst....and you guys have the cheek to complain? Suppose he improved in the second half but the clown should be put down.

Two points lost maybe, but still a great Gooner performance. Think Rosicky should be nicknamed "Little Beethoven"... far more oomph than anything Mozart ever wrote. In fairness to you, you get 10/10 for "Braveheart". One faintheart there and we could have scored 10.

  • Shots (on Goal) 29(12) 2(2)
  • Fouls 6 21
  • Corner Kicks 16 3
  • Offsides 2 1
  • Time of Possession 70% 30%
  • Yellow Cards 2 3
  • Red Cards 0 0
  • Saves 2 12
Wasn’t it ol’ rednose who said “for every 10 shots you should get at least 1 goal”? Suspect we had similar figures for Villa, City and M’bro... so we’d better start learning to put the ball away:- packed defences doesn't explain 29 shots at goal and 12 on target.
Ian Middleton, South Africa  (30/10/06)

Firstly, keeping it all nice and civil - Ian, nice to welcome an Arsenal fan to ToffeeWeb. I think you'll find most fans of other clubs appreciate the quality Arsenal now have and enjoy watching them — when you're playing well. A fine sight when in full flow. However, I find it disprectful, to a degree, and definitely cringeworthy when hearing present-day Arsenal players, and their manager, deride opponents for daring to arrive at the Emirates Stadium with a game plan that does not match Wenger's desire for open (total?!) football.

The current Everton squad is both short in numbers (due to injury and a bug that's hit us for six) and also does not possess the quality that Mr Wenger has at his disposal. Still, they went to the Emirates and to a man performed heroically, rightly earning a point.

It's not ideal going to Arsenal and, to quote yer man Mourinho, "parking the bus". The stats show you've taken 60 points from a possible 84 against us since Sky invented football and recent history includes multiple examples of Everton getting twatted at Highbury. The least that should be done is an acknowledgement of such factors and appreciate why Moyes set up his team so.

The irony of Arsenal fans bemoaning "negative" football is one of the funniest things you'll ever hear. "One-nil to the Arsenal" an oft-heard cry during the Graham era, the Gunners known more for their defensive qualities, and the ability to shut out sides. More recently, when facing Villarreal last season in the Champions League, did Wenger himself not "park the bus", in order to get the required result on the night? Selective memories down in Norf Laaarndaan methinks...

As for Ol' Mother Riley — to sum him up in one simple sentence: the twat simply hates us, always has and probably always will. — Colm

One player away...

Stephen Sweeney in his post gets to the crux of the matter: we are a "Peter Reid" player (or for my generation, an "Alan Ball") away from something special at Everton. David Moyes has added crucial pieces into the mix in the form of Lescott, Howard & Johnson.

Good for Davie and for his supporters — I'm one, not sure about the ToffeeWeb crew. (Yes, I know you are EVERTON Supporters... but please, we all are). So maybe we should pass the hat around, whip up $25M or so and rescue Gerrard from his exile with the Evil-ones... wouldn't that rattle their bloody cages?
Paul  Daly, New York & Dublin  (30/10/06)

Maybe he too wears a T-shirt that carries the well-known phrase that begins, "Once a Blue..." — Michael

Style versus Substance

Watching the Arsenal game at midnight for me was frustrating but interesting. It was obvious that Moyes's tactic was to stifle the counter-attacking flair of Arsenal. Now from a purists view, this creates a boring game. However, from a tactical point of view this was a great ploy that, apart from a referee's decision, almost paid dividends.

By defending so deeply, Everton virtually took Henry and Van Persie out of the game as they were given absolutely no chance to gain some momentum to run at the defense. I remember saying to my dad that it seemed that Arsenal would not score as most of their chances were from outside the box or under defensive pressure.

Anyone who watches football would surely have watched Chelsea in the Champions League using exactly the same tactics, as well as many times in the Premier League. That is score a goal and then protect it... They won the League!

It seems to me that we have some flair in the team now and can play a nice game to watch (we've scored in every game so far this season). However, we also have the ability to play a protective game when we need to. This is a positive thing for Everton as we can change things for different opponents.

Preservation of points is paramount if we want European football again.
Michael Parrington, Melbourne, Australia  (30/10/06)

Long-ball curse

AJ would agree with JB how difficult it is for a lone striker having to continually chase aerial long balls. Against Le Arse, AJ did little more than JB was forced to do all of last year and with similar lack of success. With no one other than Cahill driving forward from deep, neither AJ nor JB will be able to show to the full their goal scoring ability.

Blackboard diagrams and prattle about 4-5-1s or any other formation are all very well but unless a lone striker, as part of his repertoire, is capable of protecting the ball until assistance arrives, you will never reach the top.

On another subject, what with many references to man tits, breasts and the like, I have come to the conclusion that some contributors have an odd fascination for such things. I believe there are places on the web where strange fancies are discussed but, please, let us have less of it on TW.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (30/10/06)

We could have a third rule, just of Aussies like you, Bruce: No pooftahs! — Michael

The Long Goodbye

Michael, please do me a favour and allow this one last post to go through. This is my final post and if you approve it, I promise I won't bother you again — surely I deserve one last post to say goodbye?

I accept that because of the new name rules I have been banned from commenting and I will not be posting again after this. I just wanted to say that over the last year or so I have really enjoyed reading and contributing on this web-site.

Living down south there aren't many Everton fans I can chat to so the experience of this feedback has been a whole lot of fun for me. I have even enjoyed the verbal swordfights with the likes of Michael, Luq and Mr Marsh. I still don't agree with you but I guess my banishment allows you to claim victory; hopefully David Moyes will prove me right in the end.

Anyway, however the Moyes era turns out, you can rest assured that I will be watching and supporting with the rest of you. I will even check occaisionally to see your comments, I may even once in awhile post, of course that will be under a different fake name.

Anyway ,take care all of you and remember — despite all our differences we are all united as Everton fans. Dutch has left the building.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (29/10/06)

Hahaha... it's all about you, eh 'Dutch'? Well, as ever, you've got it wrong: you haven't been banned. There is only one person who is banned and I'm not giving him the pleasure of seeing his name in lights, as it were.

If you want to contribute, all we ask is that you use your real name. London is a big place; I really don't think anyone is going to track you down and do the dirty on you. If 95% of our existing contributors can manage it, I'm quite sure you can too. — Michael

Cahill: Typical Aussie

Watching Tim Cahill over the last couple of seasons, it's amazing how his individual game is developing both on a personal basis and also as a team player. He is quickly becoming one of the mainstays of this current Everton side. OK, he has his faults, you're never going to see him spray 40-yard passes across the length of the pitch, but goal-scoring midfielders are hard to find nowadays.

Not only that, he has this mental toughness that all great Aussie sportsman have, he simply hates getting beat. Ironically, he seems to thrive on the intensity that sometimes surrounds our football club that clearly affects other 'lesser' players. Lets face it, when the going gets tough, would you want a Cahill or a Pistone in your team? Give me an Aussie over a European any day!

Tim stated when he joined us that it was pure ambition that drove him to British football; let's hope he doesn't have his head turned in the future by certain clubs who can offer him the chance of regular European football. Sure as eggs is eggs, if he bags 12-15 goals this season, the vultures will start circling.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (29/10/06)

Fair cop

I indeed take Michaels and Steve Guy comments on board and I am not beyond admitting I am wrong! So apologies Mr Guy for any personal attack as it is not my intention to cause division within the Evertonian ranks, but I do still believe fans like you should be looking to push this club as far as possible.

Lyndon was hung by a earlier post because he saw the game the same way as many others saw it. I was and still am dissapointed at Everton's lack of flair and intent to 'at least' try and score again. Maybe if we did, Arsenal would have slaughtered us, but if Everton remain negative and unwilling to attempt to 'beat' teams, we will never get back to the dizzy heights of the footballing 'elite'! Yeah Arsenal had success with that economical football, but this is a totally different era now.

My passion for this club and my desire for success is as strong as any Everton fan, so it fraustrates me when fans are chuffed we got a draw like it was three points. But I guess it is a start to achieving long-term success, if only Moyes's side was bloody consistent it may help us stamp our intent to be a top-four club again.

And if any fan in London wants to check my passport and national insurance, please arrange a meet with me as Luq Yussef is my name! I only shorten the surname as a trendy central London work environment thing! Anyway it's up to you guys whether you want to check or not!!! If someone wants to meet then its your shout for lunch (wink)!
Luq Yussef, London  (29/10/06)

Hmmmm.... the Name Police are not entirely convinced... but we'll let you pass this time. — Michael

How Dare He!!

I don't know if it has already been discussed - if it has I'm sorry - but has anyone read the report by Knob Hughes in the Sunday Times today? It's a disgrasefully biased, offensive and incorrect account of yesterday's game and left me seething!

How do these wankers get away with this? The fact is Hansen got it spot on last night on MotD, and the general opinion seems to be that Wenger and his shitehawks ran out of ideas and didn't know what to do. Wenger's a little shithead — I hate him even more than the Penis of Portugal, he's that horrible.

Why do so many journalists dislike our great club and why do so many people wax lyrical about Arsenal? Journalists seem to feel the need to take some sort of moral high ground when talking about the way Arsenal play — as if it's the only way football should be played. This is so stupid and the sad thing is that fans read this shite and decide to go along with it.
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (29/10/06)

I think Lyndon has commented on this... — Michael

From my seat

A very good point away at the mighty Gunners. The early goal gave us something to hold on to and fight for and in my opinion we did it very well. Not the same flowing football as we managed against Luton... but this was Arsenal — regarded by many as the best footballing side in Europe.

We had two monkeys on our back: one was holding a lead; the other the mental thought of seven goals against... I thought the team responded magnificently, especially in terms of concentration. Yes, Arsenal had the lion's share but we defended sensibly and then looked for what might be on offer from the odd break or set-piece when many another team may have buckled. Not a substitution made which I think the eleven battlers out there appreciated and stuck together.

Given that this was the Arsenal side that beat table topping Man Utd on their own turf and the fact that little was seen of both Henry and Fabregas — both regarded as the best in Europe by some — to me shows the sense of purpose and unity required to build upon.

For the Blues, I thought all the players did themselves proud in a good proffesional sense but I would like to pick out Simon Davies who, from my seat, seemed to cover every blade of grass and near the end was doing some of the running for the players running out of steam. I was proud to walk out of that magnificent stadium without some opposition fan saying 'Never mind, you're too good to go down'. Plenty of work to do yet but I would say to those who just can't take either Moyes or Kenwright that progressive shoots are showing: give 'em a chance.

Fulham next and bound to be a different type of game so let's hope we come up with the proffesionalism of Saturday and claim three points. See you at the Cottage -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (29/10/06)

Thanks, Ken!

Credit To Michael...

[ Message not published; please provide your real name.]

Dutch Schaffaer, London  (29/10/06)

Told ya!

Me Not Thick, Yus not Clever

As I have said before, I have more respect for people who use there real names when passing an opinion than those who don't. I still don't understand why The Editor continues to publish mail from persons unknown.

Yet again, anyone (me in this case) not ready to to themselves because we are less than perfect is not entitled to enjoy decent performances and have a bit of fun. On top of everything else, this somehow makes me less intelligent than those who support the nihilist view of Everton.

Well, I'm not stupid, but it's these kind of personal attacks which are. Having a go at fellow Evertonians just because they hold a different perspective to you, ain't big or clever. Reasoned debate is a sign of intelligence, based on expressing differing opinions. Slagging fellow Blues is not.

My opinion of yesterday's performance and result is every bit as relevant and appropriate as any other contributor to this site. It's correct to say that there are two ways to play 4-5-1. Everton this season have played both. To do so defensively yesterday was spot on tactically and got a result which most (including me) considered unlikely before kick off.

By the way 'Luq', It's Joe Royle not Royal.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (29/10/06)

Some points I need to respond to there, Steve:

  • False Names: Asking people to give their real names seems to work for over 95% of our contributors, and we have enough regulars that those who can't manage this will not be missed. So, as long as Colm is reading this and concurs no more false names. Luq and Dutch: take note.
  • Fair point in terms of Luq's desparaging references to the intelligence of others. I should have implemented the only other rule, which is Do not belittle your fellow Evertonians.
Finally, a personal reaction to this shocking tendency I see among supposedly 'postive' contributors like you: why was a draw "unlikely"? As I have stated many times, I cannot understand the mental attitude that pre-assigns the result (and quite obviuosly believes in that assignment) before the game is even played. Imagine the players doing that and hopefully you will see what I'm getting at here. Why the hell are we playing these games if there is not at least the likelihood of a result? — Michael

Bravehearts

The result against Arsenal was a great achievement for the team. Once again, Cahill showed that he is deadly in the box and that this system suites his style. I think Moyes is getting his players to perform to the best of their ability in each and every game. And for someone who has been critical of him, I take my hat of to you, Davey. But (and there is always a 'but'...) some of your players are just not Premiership players.

Osman is skilful but is so weak and just disappears — how many times was he run off the ball and beaten for pace? The same is also true of Davies (maybe he should be looked at as a full back, he couldn’t do any worse). I am sure Moyes is well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of his team and I would love to see a Peter Reid type of player in our midfield but will anyone of that quality be available in the January window?

As for other areas, could Dowie be tempted to swap Bent (not Marcus) for Beattie? Or can Kenwright sweet-talk his mate at the Barcodes to take him for a cut price £5M? In any event, I think Beattie’s days at Goodison are numbered.

Lescott has been outstanding so far and the influence of Phil Neville on the team is very evident, as is the presence of Howard in goal. Is it a coincidence that both of these players have come from a team that wins things? I also think that Stubbs played well on Saturday and used his experience to control the back line; all-in-all, well done, Blues! Other teams will not relish facing Everton while they are playing together like this.
Stephen Sweeney, Prscot  (29/10/26)

Making progress

Just out of interest, our Premier League record in 2006 is as follows:

    P     W     D    L     F   A      Pts   
   28    12    11    5    39  26       47
The defeats were Newcastle (a), Liverpool (a), Spurs (h), Chelsea (a) and Middlesboro (a). Spurs and Chelsea were the only back-to-back defeats. In the cups, it is
    P     W     D    L     F   A
    6     3     2    1    10   7
The defeat was away to Chelsea.

I am the sort of Blue who is generally positive but still gets the shakes before every game, and who feels much calmer — gutted but calm — when we're 3-0 down to the likes of Arsenal, instead of having every nerve stretched to breaking point when we are a goal up against them. For me, this makes pretty good reading and dispels some of the fears that the wheels could fall off at any moment.

Yes, we are a so-called work in progress (isn't every team?) but surely that shows that we are on the right track. I can kind of understand some people criticising every fault, but sometimes you need a bit of perspective. Some people would rather point to the 'luck' we have had in securing some of these results but, if that were true, then it'ssome lucky run we're on!

If you're still not convince, just remember the mess we were in when Moyes arrived. Look at the squad list and compare. Since he arrived, we have spent £47M and recouped £32M (based on ToffeeWeb figures), including £20M for Rooney, a deficit of £15M. The current squad has 25 players who have played competitives game for Everton:

  • Five are the remnants of Smith's squad;
  • Five have come through the ranks;
  • One is on loan;
  • 14 were bought by Moyes, with the average cost of these 14 signings just under £3M. (If we sign Howard permanently, £3M is a likely fee.)
Make of all that what you will; analyze details as much as you want, but if that was the record of a manager of another club it would look pretty decent. We have had ups and downs, but overall all this would seem to show we are moving steadily in the right direction.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum? Damn right, but anyone who thinks we can find a shortcut back to the top is seriously deluded. In the short-term, Moyes's pragmatic approach has a lot to commend it. Of course there is still room for improvement, but we could certainly be a hell of a lot worse off at the moment and, so long as the progress continues, this'll do for me — for now. Let's hope patience will have its reward in the end.
Rob Fox, Blackpool  (29/10/06)

Hello Rob! I should have placed a bet that you wouldn't have been able to write something without reference to 'short-term' and 'patience'... only kidding! ;))

I think by now only a dolt would contend that we have not made some progress under David Moyes; that's not the issue that concerns those who take a different view, aren't as patient as you, and need to look beyond short-term expediency. The question they struggle to answer is "Has he made enough progress?". If it took Moyes four years to dispense with Ferguson and properly bolster the strikeforce, and (on current progress, exprapolated!) six or seven years to get the midfield muscle we need, then progress that actually results in a trophy could take literally years and years and years to achieve. Moyes is inherently conservative and that means we all have to be like you — incredibly patient. The problem is, we're not!

For me, the real test of Moyes 2006 comes in 10 days time against Arsenal in the Carling Cup at home. If, unlike yesterday, we show some intent of actually winning the game, rather than defending en masse, then okay... However, if we play like we did yesterday (and like we capitulated to Chelsea and Man Utd when Moyes has had such previous opportunities to 'kick-on'), then forget it. — Michael

Intelligent fans, and Steve Guy

It is so refreshing to hear the majority of fans abandoning the Moyes circus and touching down on reality. Yesterday result was a decent result, but the tactics employed were negative to the extreme.

We are not a world-class team, or even a good team. We have the makings of a good side, but we are let down by Moyes's limited management and curious tactics. The last manager of Everton to win at Arsenal was Joe Royal, who many rememeber for the 'Dogs of War' in Horne and Parkinson. Yet that team (with less talent than the current crop), played with more attacking intent than Everton yesterday. How can this be?

Being realsitic, I would have bitten the hand that offered me a draw yesterday, but after the game I was left to wonder what a more skilled manager would have done when many toffee fans (and even the Arsenal fans) sensed blood. Yet Moyes's tactic of 'defend at all costs' let the wounded animal regain strength to then go for our throat!

Even though it was a good result, it should have been much better (eg, Johnson's woeful control near the end). But then you have limited-ambition fans like Steve Guy who fool themselves to believe we are world beaters potentially now (if we have our players well, of course). What evidence has this team shown yesterday to lead people such as Steve and like him to believe such bollocks is something I cannot fathom! Its pathetic wishful thinking that keeps Moyes in a job, as they accept mediocrity as there benchmark.

Happily, I am glad to say, these kind of fans are dying out and more people are waking up and realising that, after five years, we are going backwards under this manager and Chairman for that matter! Like my uncle says 'if you aim for the sky you will land on the clouds, if you aim for the street you'll land in the gutter'! Latter part sounds familar doesn't it Mr Moyes/Kenwright/Guy?
Luq Yus, London  (29/10/06)

What did you eat today, Luq? Coz I think you are seriously off your game. Normally, your comments have a fairly good point to them, but that comes across to me as an anti-Moyes, anti-Kenwright moan for the sake of it.

Plenty of people seemed to agree before the season started that this could be make or break for Moyes after five years. Well, we are over one quarter of the way through, in 6th place, with some great results and very promising performances in the bag. We are also going through a very difficult time just now with illness and injuries, so — in my humble opinion — David Moyes is well on course to proving he can elevate our game to where it needs to be to take us forward. Whether this continues, only time will tell, of course. — Michael

No room for the Titman!

Shared a table with a Crystal Palace supporter on the homebound rattler last night and the discussion obviously got quickly to Andrew Johnson — as he insisted in being called down there! `My man` says he`s only effective playing up front on his own and failed to hit it off with half a dozen partners tried by Dowie. (Exit Beattie?)

Inside the box, he has two thoughts,(a) shall I score (b) shall I fall over! As he scored a hatful of goals and won in excess of 20 penalties in 3 years, not a bad philosophy, eh? Apparently gets narked if others capitalise on his gymnastics and slotted home a good 80% of all the spot kicks he took. Prone to longish runs without scoring, usually cured by a couple of games on the bench.

So that`s our AJ; will Moyes handle him well enough to keep the goals flowing? My bet is that The Titman is back alongside him next Saturday... 'Nuff said!
Jake Calvert, Allerton  (29/10/06)

I know we are meant to rave about him 'til the cows come home, but that sounds to me like Andy Andrew in a nutshell. I can see him getting pissed if, as seems to be the case currently, he is not given the job of converting at least his own penalties. And yes, we are surely now in one of those goal-droughts... — Michael

Do we Care?

In response to Ray Mia and his concerns abouthe the Americans getting into our business, Where to From Here and Beyond…, I have to ask: Do we Care? Do we care that our once proud club, a club that was held in high esteem, the pride of the Merseyside, with such golden history, has become a mediocre club delighted to get in the top ten every year? Yes.

Do we care that a control freak has what he wanted? Yes.

Do we care that we live hand to mouth waiting for the hand-me-down players, taking nothing from the players, that if a bidding war began we would have to go begging again? Yes.

Do we care that our young talent is sold to make way for 'older more stable' players? Yes.

Do we care that the Board of Directors hasn't copped on to the fact that this is a business that has to be managed like a business? Yes.

Do we care that the day of a player being loyal is over and that, in general, money talks — regardless of where the heart or boyhood team lies. Yes. It's business no matter which way you look at it and it is down to the fundamentals: do we have enough money to put us back to where we should be? No. Do we need it? Yes.

I would love to see a golf course, casino, hotel, shopping mall, Everton History Museum and stadium — rebranded or otherwise — all together in one area, with the Everton name on it. It would show everyone that we are progressing. The Americans know how to run a business. Their methods are crude and uncompromising but very very effective. And they are not there to make up the numbers either — they are in it to make a profit — as much as the banks or individuals who loan us the money.

We have a Chairman who is officailly a song-and-dance man; like the medicine men of old, he could probably in his own mind sell sand to the Arabs but he is not the man to take us forward into an era of unbridled riches and trophies.

Don't get me wrong: thanks a million to BK for all you have done. Like a primary-school teacher, you have given us the oppurtunity to better ourselves by steering us in the right direction; but, at some stage, the time comes to let go and let the bigger teachers come in and lead us the rest of the way.

I don't own my own company and I don't know much about the five biggest companies in the world but I have lived in the US and I have worked for two US multinationals and they know how to get things done. Bring it on, I say! Bring it on.
Robbie O'Neill, Arklow, Ireland  (29/10/06)

Beckham?

I know its not strictly Everton related but I've just read a rumour on BBC that Spurs are considering making a bid for Beckham. I think that if Spurs want him we should have a go at signing him, albeit he will demand massive wages and will cost a minimum of £10M but I reakon he would be a class addition to our squad. His free kicks would add us a few extra goals but mainly his passing and crossing would be invaluable. He knows a couple of our players well, Neville and Howard, so maybe they could have a word?!
Andy Unsworth, Liverpool  (29/10/06)

Cough... splutter... SPLASH! qwe]r 4vfjrg 'admgdgvj54t3 [That's what happens when I spill coffee all over my keyboard...] — Michael

Goalkeeper Crisis

With the news that EFC are tracking a Belgian keeper, will the penny finally drop for R Wright? Moyes is obviously planning to field a full team of keepers one day and Wright would still be on the bench. Yesterday, I thought Howard was outstanding, a worthy successor to Nigel Martyn. Anyone who hasn't read the Telegraph and Times match reports should do so, just to see how much the London press despise us. A good day at the office in my opinion.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (29/10/06)

You must be delighted...

No pleasure in that, Arthur? Did you go to the game? I went along and left enormously satisfied at a successfully executed game-plan and a promising display of togetherness and heart.

Third division-style exercise? Despite being frustrated, Mr Wenger admitted that Everton "deserve the credit for the way they defended". He also said that it was a "very intelligent" performance, and I can't disagree with that.

Moyes's Everton are incapable of challenging for anything but survival? Excuse me? I know some people don't like referring to anything achieved in the past, but David Moyes's Everton were the fourth best team in English football a couple of seasons ago and are sitting comfortably in European contention at present.

You say you are "so glad" you cancelled your season ticket. Yes, you must be delighted to have missed some of the best football we have played for ten years. You must be delighted to have missed the 3-0 victory over Liverpool. You also must be delighted that only Manchester United and Chelsea have scored more goals than us this season (Chelsea have scored one more, by the way) and that we've hit the back of the net in every single game so far.

We have a lot to be excited about, but soom doom-mongers can't resist complaining at every opportunity. Baffling.
Paul Foster, London  (28/10/06)

We didn't do very well when we had possession of the ball, and normally that would have had me tearing my hair out. But the circumstances of yesterday's game provide a somewhat different context, as most people (below) recognize. We looked very professional and organized in defence, such that Arsenal were forced to shoot mostly from around the edge of the area, and never did get close enough for one of them fancy-Dan goals — you know the ones, where they pass their way into the goal area and stroke the ball nonchalantly into the net. — Michael

Recent performances

Great result yesterday under the circumstances. Cahill does it yet again. The guy is worth his weight in gold. I too find it incredible that he comes in for criticism from some quarters.

I do hope that Moyes does not get carried away by yesterday's result his makeshift defensive line up was fit for purpose but I think we need a much more attacking formation for up and coming games. If he does need to tinker with things at the back I'd prefer to see Davies included at right back with Neville switching to the left. The option of Stubbs forces us to play too deep. I think our greatest challenge lies not in getting results against the likes of Chelsea, Utd and Arsenal but beating teams like Bolton, Spurs, Villa, Liverpool etc. To get results against these teams we need to compete with the physical aspects to their game taking this into account I have to agree with Tony that there is certainly a need to consider the possibility of replacing Osman with Victor who affords us strength, power and an eye for goal however the draw back of course is his lack of experience in that he sometimes chooses the wrong option and needs to more aware of the positioning of his team mates rather than going for the option on goal. The team selection for Fulham should make interesting reading.
Gerry Western, London  (29/10/06)

As one who has criticized Cahill in the past, I think his performances this season are night and day from last season where it seemed the only thing he would do all game is grab and niggle other players until he got a booking. Somebody (David Moyes?) seems to have taught him how to play football in the Premiership. Yesterday was his first yellow card this season and if I recall it was probably undeserved. That's how much better he's been — aside, obviously, from the fantastic goal return. No doubt that makes me a hypocrite... whatever! — Michael

On another day

Someone posted a letter the other day saying we are only two or three players away from having a really good team. That's the point about Moyes: since he's been here, we've always been two or three players away from having a really good team. But he has never had a clue as to what was needed to be done and what the priority signings were:

  • When he signed Jeffers we already had Radzinski and Rooney and the last thing to do was sign 'bad influence' Jeffers.
  • When he signed Beattie, we still had Campbell, Ferguson and Chadwick so he was hardly the priority signing.
The midfield has been short of a commanding player for years (which is the main cause of our problems) yet Moyes has shown no urgency in strengthening this area. He was even stalling on signing Arteta two summers ago and imagine what we'd have been like without him last season.

I was made up with a point yesterday but with the match stats of Arsenal: 29 attempts on goal, Everton: 2, I'm still not going to get carried away. To coin a phrase from the infamous Tony Marsh 'On another day...'
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (29/10/06)

Frustration, with a capital F, comes screaming out of your post there Ged! I'm in that camp that would like to believe we're two or three players away from being a good side, possibly a very good side. It's a thin line, mind you, as we're all aware how poor the same set of players can be on any given day. However, you could say that about most Premiership sides these days.

I'd like to think that our team this season is at least trying to play a better passing game. Results over recent weeks may have been frustrating — two draws at home (Wigan and Man City) when we should have won; a home win against a ten-man Sheffield United that had many Evertonians pulling out their hair, in anguish over the level of performance; a defeat — our first since Easter Monday — against a Middlesbrough side that can beat Chelsea at home and lose to Portsmouth at home!

Thing is, whether you believe in Moyes or not, there is potential in his squad... and I'd like to believe he's good enough a manager to learn from his mistakes. And speaking of mistakes... James Beattie in January must feature highly on the Moyes agenda! Save Dean Ashton from a relegation battle and get dealing with those 'apless 'Ammers! SWAP!!! — Colm

Reality Check

I've read some of the postings and some of the editorial responses throughout the night and can't help but be surprised that anyone would have failed to be pleased with getting a point out of Arsenal yesterday. Hands up how many were going into that game and hoping for more damage limitation than anything else? Especially after Arsenal's almost faultless performance at Reading last week!

We went to one of the best footballing sides in Europe yesterday and got what could be described as a very professional performance out of the team. If the game had been played in European competition, the performance would probably have been described as outstanding. As has been suggested by a number of contributors, we are not afforded some of the most gifted players in Europe such as our opponents yesterday and therefore only an idiot would have expected us to play them off the park, especially at their own ground and especially with the limited numbers available to Moyes at the moment.

In the circumstances I won't be getting carried away with the result of yesterday. I firmly believe though that Moyes will be reminding the players when they have got back in for training on Monday that they have done no more than obtained another point for the season — a very good one at that — but the outcome of that game will count for nothing if we do not better that away to a poor Fulham side next week.

As suggested by Tiny Tim after the game, this team has got a long way to go and most rational blues fans will acknowledge that fact and also acknowledge the fact that we are making slow progress to turning things around.

A dominant midfield enforcer will be high on Moyes's shopping list in January or the summer, I believe, as it is the very obvious 'hole' that requires plugging at the moment to make us an even better team. This will then hopefully take us onto the next level again and improve us further to ensure that a top 6 finish becomes commonplace and that a trip to Arsenal, Man Utd or Chelsea no longer becomes just a damage limitation exercise as it has been during the last 10 years.
Glasgow Blue, Glasgow  (29/10/06)

Am I allowed to say "spot on!" without fear of reprisal from yer man 'in the Congo'?! Another point worth making is that the selected Everton eleven yesterday included in the ranks a few players struck down with this bug that's doing the rounds! Also, Arséne Wenger was able to make wholesale changes for the midweek League Cup game whereas we put out, practically, a full strength side against Luton Town, a match that had all the potential to be a sticky wicket for Everton! I fail to see how we can dwell on the apparent negatives from yesterday's game. As you point out though, the well-won point from yesterday counts for absolutely nothing when we take on Fulham next weekend. — Colm

No pleasure in that

OK,it`s always good to take a point from Arsenal but how anyone could take pleasure from what was essentially a purely defensive, Third Division style exercise is beyond me. The shot count shows we could easily have suffered another humiliation and demonstrated that Moyes's Everton are incapable of challenging for anything but survival. So glad I cancelled my season ticket!
Arthur Morris, Mold  (29/10/06)

Third Division style defending? Sir, with respect, our back line (be that all four, six, eight or even ten — your choice!) defended superbly throughout yesterday. The shot count may indeed "show" Arsenal's dominance throughout but there's an electronic scoreboard in that new Emirates Stadium and it showed another stat worth noting: Arsenal 1 Everton 1. It's the only stat that matters.

We played both Wigan and Manchester City off the pitch, at Goodison, over recent weeks yet earned only one point for each game. The stats, no doubt, for both those games will indicate our own superiority in both games. Try convincing a Wigan or Man City fan that they were blessed to leave Goodison with a point!

Before kick off yesterday, Arsenal had taken a massive 60 points from a possible 84 in Premiership matches against us — and mindful of some dreadful hammerings at Highbury I most certainly will not criticise David Moyes, or his team, for the manner in which they secured a solitary point (in our fight for survival eh?!) and I now hope that they take every last positive from this point and build upon it next weekend at Craven Cottage, another ground where we normally end up beaten. — Colm

Lessons from the Emirates

Fantastic performance yesterday — very few teams will get a point at the Emirates this season. We had a good game plan, and it worked. All the post-match Arsenal whinging just proves it.

What can we learn from the game?

1. Please, no more Beattie! Everton are better with 4-5-1 and either Johnson (or Anichebe if he is not available) alone up front. Not least of course this allows Cahill to be a superb goalscoring midfielder (and, incidentally, I thought Tim was all round tremendous yesterday).

2. We need to sign up Tim Howard as soon as possible. No brainer.

3. We need to buy a strong midfielder in January. Arteta, Osman and Davies were too lightweight for this contest, and, like we were last year, we would be sunk without Carsley (and he can't go on for ever). A Nolan-style enforcer is now our urgent priority. Sell Davies, Beattie, Naysmith and Wright if we need to generate the cash. All have younger and better replacements.

4. Credit where credit is due. Cahill was the Premiership steal two seasons back. The immaculate Lescott is the steal this season. And Moyes can't deal in the transfer market?

Well done, lads! Now let's get over our illnesses and tonk Fulham!
Neil Pearse, London  (29/10/06)

RE: Boring, boring Everton

"I don't care if the London press don't like our style of play as long as we get the result." then AN editor wrote "Spot on, John!"

With no name attached, what a surprise. Certainly one editor has been moaning about not being entertained, and not getting value for money, and about the latin meaning on the crest. Suddenly a draw is good enough?

Sadly you shot yourself in the foot by not adding your name, unlike every other post - if you are going to jump from one side to another then it exposes you as a hypocrite, and undermines your sanctimonious replies.

For me, I'm gutted we didn't win yesterday, another embarrassing refereeing display that again costs us. How much longer can it go on?
Bingo Bongo, in the Congo  (29/10/06)

A poor attempt to wind up Michael I suspect - the editor, presumably, forgetting to place his name, lovingly, after an editorial comment. Such a crime, eh? Almost as bad as hiding behind a moniker of your own, no? For what it's worth, I'd add a "me too" to Michael's reply to John McFarlane's post. — Colm

Very harsh, Lyndon!

A very thorough match report Lyndon, as always! However, I think you are maybe asking a bit too much from our boys in hindsight. To gain a point away at Arsenal should be celebrated for weeks, as we are nowhere near that level of class on a regular basis.

I came home from the game wondering how people would be rating the efforts of Lee Carsley, and again I feel that he has been given a harsh review. Carsley was outstanding, doing the Makelele role brilliantly. His passing wasn't the greatest today but what made up for that was his positioning and ability to hold shape and break up play. We would have struggled without him today, his poor passing should be excused!
Wesley Coles, Melbourne, Australia  (29/10/06)

Yes, I am usually pretty harsh myself, but I was surprised to see Lyndon say we were poor. It was a tremendous team performance, especially under the continuing circumstances of illness and injury — nine players unavailable today: that's about as bad as it usually gets. — Michael

Don't get me, wrong, Wesley. I think the result was great but I was disappointed by the performance. However, as I pointed out in my addendum, with half the team ill, there certainly were mitigating circumstances.

Regarding Lee Carsley, no one has been more pleased with his form so far this season and he has definitely been our unsung hero but I thought he was well below par yesterday in terms of passing and tackling... but, again, he was sick so you have to give him a break.

I suppose the overall thrust of my report (written prior to the knowledge of the contiuning illness among the players) was that if we have top-four aims, we should try and shrug off the mentality that scrapping out a draw at Arsenal with so few goalscoring attempts of our own is something that should be "celebrated for weeks." Nil Satis and all that... — Lyndon

Pride and Predjudice

Yes, at last.. some pride being shown in the old blue shirt. What's the world coming to when Everton are not getting thrashed in London anymore? Well if that Snail Jockey Wenger had anything to do with it that's exactly what would of happened.

I suppose what we should have done is rolled over for them so they could bang another seven past us. Poor old Wenger couldn't enjoy his roast horse last night because naughty Everton didn't read the script. Didn't hear him mention the gift free kick which gave them the equilizer though did you? That bignose twat Riley looks more like a newly hatched chick every week. Must have had a bit of shell in his eye.

When all said and done, a point at Arsenal is very rare and I honestly thought we would get tonked, so it's a job well done.

A great team performance along with some outstanding individual showings — none more so than Tim Howard again. I only hope we sign him up proper in January or Sir Alex will have him back at Old Trafford quicker than Rooney's zip in a brothel.

I thought we should have put Big Victor on for the last 20 mins which would have given us another outlet and put Arsenal on the back foot for a while. As it was, we were getting swamped and Osman looked out of place. The lad's just too small to have any real impact against today's six-foot-plus midfielders.

To much was being asked of AJ and once Arsenal realised he was shattered they just poured forward knowing we had no other attacking threat. Sometimes attack is the best form of defence, as you know, and we should use that ploy sometimes.

Well, still only one win since the Derby and slowly but surely the slow descent down the table is continuing. A mid-table finish and a bit of a cup run... I suppose a lot of you will be happy with that.

Me? I want to go to the Champions League proper and the New Wembley for a cup final. But you don't always get what you want in this game. Someone tell that to baggy-face Wenger.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (29/10/06)

From my earlier post

Looks like it it worked again:

'Tim aims for a space between the back post and central defenders, thus drawing them into a congested zone, creating confusion on who should be the one to take care of him. Often the keeper is blocked by a packed bunch of his own men allowing Tim’s extra ordinary instinct, goal sense and determination to pay dividends. '
My thoughts on the the game: In the second half when an Arsenal goal or two seemed inevitable, Wenger put on an extra attacker; we should have substituted Arteta for another attacker. At that stage it appeared that Mikel had run out of puff.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (29/10/06)

Aussie Passion

I think it's about time a lot of people started to go easy on Cahill. The bloke obviously loves playing for Everton and he does the business. I have just watched the interview on BBC Sport and it was great to hear how much it means to play for this club. I think he's scored 27 goals for us in 2 and a bit seasons. A lot of other players would be heroes if they did that but Cahill seems to get a bit of stick and I think it's bollocks.

Talking of the Interview, did Cahill say £1.5M for Lescott? If he did, Ha Ha Ha! I also think the three signings have been superb and I hope Moyes signs Howard in January. Playing Wright against Man Utd scares me.
Jamie  Barlow, Manchester  (28/10/06)

Phil Howard

Priceless.
Once a Blue, always a Blue.
Dixie and Brian are looking after him now, mate.
God Bless.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (28/10/06)

Top Class

I've just watched the game on Sky and I have to say that the team performance was top class.

The Arse are flying at the moment, but we took the wind out of their sails good style. Never a free kick for their equaliser; Carsley's tackle was superb. Old Mother Riley was itching to give them an opportunity and he ended up as desperate as the Gooooooners to make it happen for them.

I mailed before the game that they were worried; hence Magoo's comments re AJ. This was borne out afterwards with Van Persil's "negativity" crap. This is typical Arse; when they get frustrated they always come out with this bollocks. We should take it as a complement. Luq Yus or Fuq Yus or whatever you call yourself, try to see these comments as frustration on Arsenal's part, not as support for your tiresome views on Everton (I could almost hear your teeth grinding as you complemented a great team performance).

Best laugh was Moyes doing a Ferguson with his timepiece; would Riley have sent the latter to the stand? Doubt it!

Best save from Howard. Great all-round performance. Even got his hand to Persil's freekick / goal. Sign him up permanently NOW.

Tim Cahill... awesome... again! Sign him for life NOW before someone puts an offer in and we realise (as usual) what we had after he's gone. Great link, ToffeeWeb, to the BBC comments from Timmy especially on being a Blue.

Unsung buy of the summer: Joleon Lescott. Ace at centre-half; ace at full back. If we can do this with half the team ill, what's gonna happen when they are fit and well?!
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (28/10/06)

Boring Boring Everton!

Well, Mr Wenger, you had better ask your Chairman if he was bored witless when George Graham was trying to re-establish your club as a major force in football.

Arsenal then, like Everton now, were struggling to keep up with the likes of Liverpool and Everton at the top of English football. Even the Arsenal supporters would agree that, although not entertaining, Graham laid many foundations for Mr Wenger to succeed.

Don't get me wrong: I love the way Arsenal presently play their football and can only hope that EFC will one day play that way too. Until EFC are capable of going to the likes of Stamford Bridge, Emirates and Old Trafford on an equal footing, the best we can hope for is a battling display and a creditable draw.

Come on, Blues: use Mr Wenger's comments next week against another London team to brush aside Fulham. I don't care if the London press don't like our style of play as long as we get the result.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (28/10/06)

Spot on, John!

Two points dropped!

Coming home, some fans were saying that was a dogged performance and Moyes got his tactics spot-on. However, not being content being a mid-table side, I was dissappointed with Everton's attitude after the Cahill goal.

Ok, the Asre only breached us though a set-play, but they were vulnerable in the first half and if Everton attacked a bit more we could have got that killer second. But we never did and the rest of the match turned into practise session — attack versus defense!

The defense was rock solid for me, as well as Carsley in the 'minder' role, but I feel this was a golden chance to win there and we blew it! A draw is a good result, but it came at the cost of decent football. Van Persie said it best: "Everton today, in my opinion were negative. And that was what killed the game as a attractive event for the supporters".

Should we really be happy with such 'negativity'? A contrast would be the Bolton - Man United game. United attacked with venom (away from home), apparently played beautiful procession football, and won 4 - 0. Do you think United would ever swarm ten men behind the ball after taking a lead, in any game?

Raise your standards fellows blues, or things will only get worse! Arsenal, after all, are only eleven players like Everton were! Albeit extremely better players than Everton!
Luq Yus, London  (28/10/06)

Watching the game, admittedly through the limited medium of television, it seemed that defense in depth and getting plenty of men behind the ball was essential. But, for set pieces and other occasions, we did put a decent number of players forward. Arsenal were good defending their goal as well, but the difference as ever going forward was their ability to move the ball up the field swiftly to set up the next attack, whereas it seemed that we would push the ball forward more in hope, and as a means of providing a brief breather to the job of relentlessly defending successive waves of attacks. The shot-count is a bit misleasding because Arsenal were somewhat profligate, but on another day...

There has to be a difference between "defending well" and "being negative". I think we did the former, not the latter. — Michael

The game

I went to the game today but sadly had to sit with the Arsenal fans. It did, however, give me the opportunity to eavesdrop on a few conversations. The consensus from the Arse supporters was that Everton had got it exactly right today. There is a way of playing against Arsenal that annoys the hell out of their fans but is extremely effective. We got it spot on today and the tactics were exactly right.

The statistic on shots is misleading. In truth, Everton prevented Arsenal from getting in behind and Henry was left frustrated. Tim Howard made two real saves all game (one from an Henry header and one from a Rosicky drive, I believe). We all know that Arsenal can rip teams apart and that their tendency to overplay is often their only downfall. They were not given that privilege today and, despite dominating the play, came up with little to trouble us.

It would have been nice to play the way we did against Luton but teams that try to do so against Wenger's side almost invariably get hammered. Considering the illness that has hit the club this week, today's performance was very decent. I hear Van Persie has referred to 10 or 15 good chances that they missed today. Well that is nonsense. Two of the best chances of the day (other than the goals) fell to Johnson (when he was through one-on-one and lost his footing) and Cahill (when he stole in and failed to make contact from a free-kick).

The impressive thing about our current side is that we can adjust accordingly when facing very different sides. Onwards and upwards — far from spectacular but still encouraging stuff.
Paul Foster, London  (28/10/06)

Whinger got a point?

After the match, Arséne Wenger claimed he is becoming bored by Everton's negative football. Wenger said: "Every game we don't win is a massive disappointment. It was very frustrating against a team with zero shots on or off target."

I retort, surely we had one shot on goal, how did we score otherwise? He has probably got a point though, after all the talk in this mailbag it was certainly "Dogs of War" style and nothing more.
Dick Bill, York  (28/10/06)

`umble Pie

More than happy to eat `umble pie tonight — a great point at the Emirates. But can that Dodd bloke be for real? How any woman — even his missus — would trust her kids with him is frightening, particularly after he`s had four pints!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (28/10/06)

Building on good results

While it is a very commendable point away to Arsenal let's just hope we don't do what we did after winning the derby and blow it against lesser quality opposition next week at Fulham. Without being negative, we have now won 4 league games out of 10, which is at best average so a win and an equal performance as today's is required at Fulham.

With successive home games against Villa and Bolton after that, it would give us a decent platform to go into the busy winter months if we could, say, win two out of the next three at least, as draws don't really do a great deal for your league position. I do, however; think that we are a club heading in the right direction on the field and everything usually evolves from there.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (28/10/06)

Nice to read some sensible and well-balanced post-match comments, Colin. It was a great result, but we need wins if we are to make further upward progress. Arsenal were below us until recently, but have now moved past us. And Liverpool are just three points behind... — Michael

Nice tribute

That was a very moving little piece by Philip Howard. I'm sure his dad would be very touched, and very proud to know that the Blue tradition is safe for a few generations more. Some things are beyond Sky's reach, thank goodness.
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (28/10/06)

We are truly blessed!

I collected on no less than SEVEN pints on bets with Evertonians in the Freshy although will have to down the last three tomorrow dinner as baby sitting tonight.

Given that he`s had a paltry net £15M to spend on players, The Mighty Moyes is surely now our most successful REAL FOOTBALL manager (since the league went global, I mean)and is up there with Ferguson, Mourinho and the vanquished Wenger. We are truly blessed!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (28/10/06)

Yea, right, Dickie boy, stop the silly crowing. There's a MASSIVE difference between Moyes and those others you mention: Moyes has not won anything yet. "Vanquished Wenger"??? you don't vanquish people with a draw, you daft sod!

I'm not entirely happy that we were out-shot 29 to 2, as that does not signal any intention to win either, despite the fine words from Moyes during the week. But I haven't seen the game yet, so I will withhold any further comments. — Michael

Good Point; Left-Back Curse

Good point and good solid performance by the lads. I am a proud man today, we stood patiently playing our game, but unfortunetely we could not cope with Theo "I went to the World Cup" Walcott and his pace. The free-kick leading to thier goal looked like a dodgy decision but, in view of their early penalty appeals, I would consider it even. Someone here mentioned of us getting Aliediare. From the last 10 minutes, I thought he was quite good, lively with a bit of pace.

Seeing 17-year-old Patrick Boyle added to the injnury list, it seems to be that really do have a left-back curse. Pistone, Naysmith, Valente and Boyle. There you go! We have 4 players competing for one position, and a centre-back plays there. But talking to a gunner fan, it seems we're not the only one. Arsenal had an amazing 8 players playing left-back throught last season.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (28/10/06)

Excuses, excuses....

Re Moysiah fan Asman`s quotes from Wenger, I`ve just read a piece by our man extolling the virtues of Arsenal. Is this an example of both managers getting their excuses in beforehand? Regret to say it but I don`t think the Frenchman will be needing them somehow!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (28/10/06)

Mr Magoo is nervous

A few mailbaggers have pointed to today's game as being the one by which our progress can be truly measured. If today's quotes from Mr Magoo are anything to go by, then the result is almost secondary in marking said progression.

In the Daily Express (and presumably other papers), Wenger is quoted as saying that AJ makes too much of challenges and that for some of the penalties he gets, 'he makes a bit more of it', but then goes on to say he isn't a cheat (!). This from the man who brought us Van Persie and Bergkamp amongst others, tripping over the odd blade of grass or two.

Wenger is clearly worried by AJ's pace and is clearly trying to influence the referee ahead of today's game. In general terms Wenger only sticks the stilletto knife in when he is up against teams he is nervous about; otherwise he is patronisingly complimentary as he knows the Arse will win anyway.

I'm not trying to over-egg the point and obviously a win or a draw would make the point more forcibly, but I don't think we should underestimate Wenger's concern, if he is prepared to stoop to these tactics.

Moyes should be putting the same point forcibly to his team at 2:55 this afternoon.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (28/10/06)

My thoughts through Arsene Wenger and Pride

Here's is what Arsene Wenger said, echoing what most of us feel:

“Success inside the club is linked with technical stability,”. “It's the dream for a director to have a manager for five, six or seven years leaving him alone with the manager taking on more responsibility.

“For me stability is a very important factor in the success of a club. David Moyes is an example of this. He was very close to going but the Board were strong enough to refuse that. He has done fantastically well. When he started the season last year he was one of the favourites to be out of a job. But he has shown strength to turn it around when it was needed. He has done extremely well and deserves credit.

"Everton are the toughest side to come to Emirates Stadium,” said Wenger. “I could feel in our training sessions that our players are focussed and conscious we are playing against a good side. But we want to show that we are on the way up and we have the strength to handle it. I feel it will be a good game because Everton are physically strong.

“We know they are a big team and this is a big game for us," he concluded. "At the end of the season the title is decided by how you handle these sorts of games.”
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (28/10/06)

Dreamtime?

Desperately wishing I was at Emirates stadium instead of another 2:30am shift in front of the telly. I will be sharing with Blues around the world the highs and hopefully not the lows of the Le Arse match. We face a huge problem with Arsenal but do not forget they also have a few of their own to deal with.

Anyone given the task of tracking and negating a player such as Cahill would know how difficult it is. With his late runs into the box, your tackles must be spot on or risk giving away a penalty. Tim aims for a space between the back post and central defenders, thus drawing them into a congested zone, creating confusion on who should be the one to take care of him. Often the keeper is blocked by a packed bunch of his own men allowing Tim’s extra ordinary instinct, goal sense and determination to pay dividends.

It will be interesting to see if Cole, who I think is vulnerable, can handle AJ and still create his own attacking moves. I could go on about other player match-ups but one thing for sure is that every man in our team has to be ‘on the ball’ for the whole game. We cannot afford sleepers.

I am more than hopeful of a good return from the game but a lot depends on how we deal with one Thiere Henry. None the less, it is a measure of our progress to even dream of making a game of it.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (28/10/06)

To Beat the Arsenal

The hot topic of the moment is how can we beat the Arsenal...

Well, firstly my feeling is still that Arsenal at home should be favourites to win against anyone in the league. Arsene Wenger has done a brilliant job there and deserves all credit. And we can learn a lot from how Arsenal became the team they are, but also balance that with the realisation it will take time.

But what gives us our best chance of walking away from the Emirates with 3 points? Can we even achieve that? The answer is we can (in my opinion), but we are going to have to mix our game between the flowing delights seen against Spurs and Luton with the not-so-pretty football we are more used to seeing. We cannot give them space on the ball, and we have to stop them playing: five in midfield, and defend to our top ability. Not pretty but effective against Arsenal when they are on their travels.

However, we mustn't be affraid to play our football when we have the ball. In fairness, Arsenal's weak point is defensive not offensive. We must get the ball down and show that we can compete on an even playing field, attacking-wise. If we do this, play our best football, both in attack and defense, we have a chance.

I am not saying we are going to win, but not so long back I would have written this off as a home banker for Arsenal. COYB!
Dave Turner, Edinburgh, Scotland  (27/10/06)

Style of Play

I did not attend the Luton game the other night and by all reports we played some good stuff. Judging from the highlights on Everton TV though I would concur with Tony Marsh that our football seemed like the usual punts upfield, one or two bounce balls and then a little piece of good forward play to create a chance.

The second goal build up against Sheffield Utd shows what we can do. I still believe the play to be a real rag-bag mix of long-ball opportunism and set plays with the odd flash of flair thrown in. What this does not make for is fluidity — he thing which Mr Marsh and all Blues would love to see. Our opponents tomorrow are as fluid as it gets and I fear a potential pasting tomorrow.

Even so, it would not be a disaster; Wenger's boys are not far away from potentially the best team in Europe. Chelsea and Liverpool are only marginally more fluid than ourselves. We would still be more than capable of going on another good run and even finishing top 4. Therein lies the rub; we can achieve consistency and probably success of sorts continuing to play this way — do we want it?
Mark  Manns, Acton  (27/10/06)

Positive Thinking... almost. Well, maybe...

Tried the positive thinking malarkey for the last two games but I have been off-line over a week — now and I am using the Library.

Chris Mckenny, I thought the build up up for the two goals against Sheff Utd was of the highest quality and Tim Howard was immense in goal. Sheff Utd are poor at best but still once again we struggled to be convincing most of the game aginst their ten men.

As for the Luton result, well I think it goes a long way to proving what I have been saying for ages now. Moyes is a Championship manager who would do well in that league. The last two results prove it to me — Sheff Utd are not Prem League material either. Playing against inferior opponents when the long ball and the kick and rush pays off is great but don't get to carried away.

We have improved a great deal from last season and sometimes our passing and genral all round game looks excellent buy only in short bursts. Why is that? Are the players sometimes ignoring Moyes's instructions and playing a bit of decent stuff [Spurs away] untill he bollocks them? Or does Moyes want them to play good stuff all the while and they can't do it? It puzzles me and I cant work out what's going on. It's pass and move looking good then all of a sudden its back to sitting deep and launching rockets in to the opponents half.

I was dreamimg of Cardiff like the rest of you as the game finished Tuesday but, once the draw was made and we got Arsenal, that was it for me. Tomorrow will give us all a glimpse of what it's all about playing a top side who are on fire at the moment. I just hope the supreme confidence a lot of you have in Davey Boy hasn't evaporated to much come Saturday night.

Roll on the FA Cup — that's what I say.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (27/10/06)

Now, now, Tony; hasn't that positive thinking taught you anything?! But you are spot on about the good play in bursts. It must be slow progress changing the style of play to this extent, however. Moyes's words today are again encouraging, so give it more time... more time... forever, it's more time needed! — Michael

Everton — The Future

Interesting to hear the various contributions about the prospects in store for our club and the different angles people are putting forward. I personally, have been watching Everton for round about 40 years and have witnessed the highs and the lows during this time. Without doubt, our current standing in the game ain't the same as it was even 20 years ago, but there are a number of mitigating factors for this people choose to ignore.

The whole face of football has changed beyond recognition. Now, unless a club has the financial status to bid for Europe's top players, forget about even challenging for the Premiership. It's quite simple, the top four spenders last year in the Premiership occupied the top four places. End of story.

So why on earth continue to berate Kenwright & Co for failing to find a buyer with similar resources to Abramovich? They simply do not exist. What doesn't help is Everton's geographical location. It's far easier to find a corporate backer when your club is based in London rather than Merseyside. Try telling me Chelsea have enjoyed a better reputation in the game for the last 100 years than Everton?

On the positive side, I am amazed Everton have still been able to attract the sort of attendances over the last 10 years that they have, bearing in mind they share a city with the most successful team in British football. Unpalatable but true, there's certainly no evidence of big club, small club syndrome here.

As for the future, it's absolutely crucial we move to a new stadium pretty soon, simply to safeguard the very existance of EFC. Once the other lot complete their new abode, watch their attendances rocket, and in doing so their subsequent revenues. God forbid we don't compete with them on this level and really do become the poor relation in this city.

For those of you who fear the club 'selling out' to blatant commercialism in the process of moving to Kirkby, or anywhere else for that matter, surely it's important to secure the future of our club for the next generation of Evertonians? Don't jump the gun too early and perhaps read into a situation that might not truely exist. If the recent developments at Board level by our American cousins strengthens the club financially, I can live with that.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (27/10/06)

Beat The Gunners

Michael, do you seriously believe that Everton's players can out football the foriegn playmakers of Arsenal? Arsenal are masters of the beautiful game and nobody can beat them at their own game. The only way to beat them is hard work combined with blood and guts football.
John Cottee, Romford  (27/10/06)

We shall see tomorrow; you might be right... but there is no reason why, on the day, our much improved players cannot take the game to Arsenal when we have possession of the ball. Yes, we must still defend like madmen when they have it but, above all, we must not give the ball away cheaply. We must use it constructively, and that means players creating space off the ball. And it's the one thing you can't really see on telly — you do have to be there to appreciate it. — Michael

Moyes wants attacking football

While I know this might not yet convince many, Moyes has now come out with something I felt long ago.

"The team is playing much closer to the style I want, we want to be playing attacking, exciting football but we want to me mean as well and not concede too many. To get that balance you need really good players and we are getting to that stage now."

I always thought that Moyes puts results and efficiency first. But that doesn't mean he doesn't want us to play good attacking football. For the past 5 years, he has been slowly buying and grooming players who can play attacking football. With Johnson, he has now completed the jigsaw puzzle he has been planning, alongside Yobo, Lescott, Valente, Cahill, Osman, Arteta, Van der Meyde, no one can deny he wants to see flair players.

But as Kevin Keegan has shown, there's no use playing attacking football if you let in 2-3 goals per match. I'm convinced this year is the start of the new chapter. Hopefully, next season, with a proper midfield general, we can play good football as well as compete with the top 4.

IN MOYES I TRUST; Nil satis nisi optimum
Tony Colbert, Liverpool  (26/10/06)

About bloody time too! ;)

Height of ambition

You can hardly disagree with the view that the team`s improvement can best be measured by their performance against Arsenal tomorrow. But,in truth, can we really aspire to their lofty heights? Most of us accept that the limit of ambition these days is to be the `best of the rest` and given our resources and stagnant infrastructure that`s just about right. Therefore, I shall be content to avoid the customary tonking, safe in the knowledge that we`re more than good enough to beat the lesser lights and thus sneak back into European contention.
Alan Instone, Blacon  (27/10/06)

We MUST play Arsenal at their own game

I have been interested in varying opinions on how we should play in order to beat Arsenal tomorrow. A large contingent of people think that playing a passing game would be folly.

I beg to differ. I think the only way to beat them is to outplay them. In all departments. Obviously our tactics when we don't have possesion is to harry and close them down to stiffle their passing game.

But what do we do when WE get possession?? Hump it down the field at the first opportunity? Giving the ball straight back to them? No, I think we should try and pass, as it has proved to be most effective and reaped rewards so far.

It will be no different against Arsenal, but only harder, as they are a very good side. Closing them down and marking the runners is a must when we don't have the ball.

But we should still play our own passing game when we have the ball. Just packing the midfield and stiffling their game and hoping to nick the odd goal, as in past encounters, is very risky, and nearly always fails.

We should just go out and play the game we having natrually started to play this season and that is a passing game. You never know, we may surprise a few people and indeed beat Arsenal at their own game. COYB!
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (27/10/06)

Well said, Brian. I'm with you. — Michael

Earl and Green

Buisnessmen invest in football for two reasons: to make money (Man Utd); or for personal entertainment (Chelsea). But what's the reason for Earl??? We're defintely not making money. and for a Spurs man, he's not here to watch football either. It all smells fishy to me.

And can someone explain me who the fuck is Green, and what is his connection with our club???
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (25/10/06)

Regarding your last question, did you not read the cited article?

Are we really the People's Club?

Just received my weekly email from Everton telling me how much money they require from me this week. Was hoping the Arsenal game was on a Wednesday as I am away on the Tuesday, which gladly it is.

One really annoying thing is they have only upped the price of a ticket to £25.00 from £20.00, pissing me off for yet another season. Is this a ploy to move up a fiver a round? By my reckoning we will be paying £40.00 by the semi's! This is a joke from the so-called People's Club and yet another opportunity for fat buster to wangle another couple of quid out of of us! Shocking, blue boys, shocking!
Garry Lloyd, Liverpool  (27/10/06)

Joe Royle Tactics

Dutch is correct, Arsenal don't like it up them. To get that victory, Everton will have to kick them off the field Dogs Of War style.
John Cottee, Romford  (27/10/06)

Just a point of order: 'Dogs of War' was the title, and they were physically robust. But to my knowledge, they never actually kicked teams off the field. Royle relied on certain key players to make it happen. We have far less physical presence in the team now, which makes it a lot harder for us to do... — Michael

Route 1?

Apologies in advance to the Sky Babies.

Dominic Pitt in his letter of 26/10/06, and Michael's response, got me thinking. Remember the 85 team (with Gray up front alongside Sharpe)? Then think back to how many goals we scored in the first 60 seconds during that season. When we had the kick off, Gray would stand out left, and hare into their box, as the ball was laid back to Steven who would seek him out. If I'm not wrong, we scored at least a half a dozen goals that way...

In an unrelated way, I didn't have the opportunity to watch the Luton game, but even the local press here (Liverpool, Chelsea, and Man Utd biased) used words like 'sublime' to describe our performance. Bloody hell! What's going on! Bring back Walter! (That last bit was a joke!)
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (27/10/06)

ESPN Sports

I've just been watching the Everton v Man Utd game from 1967, which a friend had kindly taped for me. I had no idea there were full surviving Match of the Days from the sixties, and it was interesting to see that there was only one match and there were 45 minutes of highlights. The pace was slower, of course, but the skill level was the equal of today.

What stood out for me most of all was how brilliant Colin Harvey was, but it was heartbreaking to see an Everton team packed with top players of their day. We battered them (Man Utd were reigning champions) with goals from Ball (2) and Alex Young, and I kept urging the cameraman to pan down to where I knew I was standing (a little waif aged 9) in the Goodison Road, halfway between the cage and the Park End. The TV cameras in those days were sited in Goodison Road rather than the Bullens Road side.

As far as the Latin goes, a literal translation is a bit clumsy, and would be far too long for a motto. So how about "Quis vult omnia vincere, periculum nil vicendi habet" ("He who wants to win everything runs the risk of winning nothing")?
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (27/10/06)

Fan Power

Having read the latest offering from the Scaremonger(?), I admit that I, like many Evertonians, have misgivings about the direction the club will take in the coming few years. Tradition is important to many of us — the way we behave, play, act as a club is extremely important — but ask most people and they will tell you they want success. But success costs —especialy in the current climate.

At the time Tevez and his Argentinian friend were signed, some West Ham fans were elated and did not care about how and why they had managed to attract two top International players; they may not be so happy today. If any overseas investment to EFC had been mooted in the 1980s they would in all probability have been shunned and told politely "Thanks, but no thanks". But this is not the 1980s and now we have a new breed of supporter who expects their club to be successful regardless who supplies the financial backing.

Bill Kenwright is portrayed as a bumbling luvvie who has a Blue heart but no business savvy. I think this portrayal suits him because it allows him to carry out his own agenda (whatever that may be) without serious opposition. He is an entrepeneur by trade, he knows the value of bums on seats, and he has managed to get hard-bitten business people to part with their hard-earned cash in order to promote whatever endeveour he has on the table. He may well have sleeping partners in the background who use his public image to protect their identities, who knows?

I will continue to support EFC but will withdraw that support if (and only if) they behave in a way which offends my own particular beliefs. A fan is a fan is a fan; any supporter (no matter how many games they have attended or what stories they can tell) will not gain admission to any stadium unless they have the required entrance fee. That has never changed since the game went professional.

Small shareholders do have a choice but in the end, money talks, loudly and proudly. If there is resistance to potential buy-outs, the shareholders risk seeing their investment lose as the backers seek alternative clubs; if they sell they risk selling their heritage.

I honestly don't know what I would do in that situation, but in this global game the small supporter, shareholder is just that. Even if there was a galvanised boycott by the club's supporters there is still an income stream for the club due to TV and the Web etc.

Everton as a club reminds me of Liverpool as a City. Run down after the Second World War; a few successful periods... but on the whole undervalued and underfunded. Now, with City of Culture etc, investors suddenly see a chance to make a few bob, but what we as Evertonians have to be wary of is the lesson of the Garden Festival site. Once the flagship of the new Liverpool but now just a memory. I don't want that to be the fate of Everton Football Club.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (26/10/06)

Dear Michael

I've just followed your link about the Arab gentleman who is reported to be in talks with Earl about taking a controlling interest in EFC. Whatever comes of that (probably nothing) how do you find out about these things? Do you have an insider informant? I'd be interested to know!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (26/10/06)

Now if was to tell you that, you'd know as much as we do... and before no time you'd be opening up spiffy websites full of all sorts of links t'internet... and the mystique would be gone!

How To Beat Arsenal

It's ironic that Everton have started playing some attractive football because it's not going to be any use against Arsenal this weekend. Moyes should tell the lads to dump the attractive football for this game because Arsenal are masters of the attractive game and will run rings around the Everton lads. The best way of beating Arsenal is physical football, Carsley and Neville in particular must battle away in the middle of field and give their playmakers no time on the ball. Save the beautiful game for other games, it's got to be dogs-of-war against Arsenal.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (26/10/06)

All I can say is Thank God you ain't in charge!

Deux riposte s'il vous plait!

It seems Matt Traynor and I have more in common than I might have thought. Just a query though... of all the Joneses that we should be trying to keep up with, which of THEM has a Casino and a Supermarket attached like a wart to THEIR Stadium? I did say in my original post that I was totally in favour of an IMAGINATIVE new stadium... but we need to be more imaginative than that!!!

As for Dick Fearons's latest post, he may well be right in his pessimism, but he's no fucking poet is he? Plain English mate... that's all we require. Evertonians are intelligent enough to understand it. As for his assessment of Arteta, my O-level Latin (long forgotten for the most part) does not allow me to phrase it any nicer than 'what the fucking hell are you on about?' Mikky is the nearest thing to class (apart from you know who) that we've had in years!

VERITAS VINCIT ET NIL SATIS NISI OPTIMUM. (seeing as we're all speaking Latin now!)
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (26/10/06)

Stop Worrying

I witnessed seeing the greatest player in his position in the world of his time:- Neville Southall. What is reminiscent of him at the present time is that our present keeper would rather bowl the ball out to a blue shirt than launch it with his foot. Every team that has ever been successful had these apparently basic foundations. Pay over the odds for our present cat — that's what I say. Roll on Silverware!
Dominic Pitt, Sunny Fazakerley  (26/10/06)

Absolutely spot on. Going back a little further to the great Gordon West, exactly what he would do. The almightly boot has to be a low-percentage ball... does anyone have the stats? The occasional chance created, even the odd goal, but mostly lost possession is all that results. — Michael

re: Render that one in the old dead languague

You're right — I can't, but ill try... "unus risks amissus in optationis to win to multus." probably all wrong but god loves a trier. Where is Brian our Latin expect when you need him? Come in, Brian!
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (26/10/06)

Lone Ranger

Totally agree that Moyes should stick to AJ as lone striker — the inclusion of Beattie totally fucks up Cahill`s effectiveness. But for people to think that Davies will ever make a full-back is laughable — he had nothing to counter on Tues and I reckon anybody could have filled in just as adequately.
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (26/10/06)

Get Rid

Just a few observations about recent events at Goodison Park. First, having watched the game against Luton, it seems so obvious to me that McFadden will NEVER cut it at Everton. He is one-paced, can't finish, and has no awareness of others around him. It shames David Moyes every time he picks this waste of space ahead of someone like Anichebe, who is raw but so much more threatening than McFadden.

What is so exciting but frustrating at the same time is that Everton have the makings of a really exciting side. Cahill, Arteta, Johnson, Howard and Lescott would walk into 90% of Premiership sides. However, we lack a quality strike-partner for AJ, a decent right-back and fast right-winger. With these players, I honestly believe a top 4 place would be easily attainable.

Ordinarily, we would feel confident that a new multi-millionaire investor would enable us to buy the extra players to progress further, but no. Everton are the only club who hand over a large slab of the club to someone who has no intention of putting any money in. But hey, if it means Bullshit Bill can lay the foundations for a 'Doug Ellis' style occupation of Everton, where he will probably be carried out in a box 30 years hence, then it must all be worth it, mustn't it?

If there is any money available in January then may I humbly suggest that Moyes drags his goggle eyes away from Scottish no-marks north of the border and asks Dario Gradi how much Jon Otsemobor would cost us. This lad looks a fantastic youngster; fast, muscular and with great abilty going forward. Surely he would be an improvement on the likes of Hibbert and Pistone?

If we don't sign a full-back then I think Simon Davies might be the best alternative. Right back might just be his natural position having watched him the other night. As for the Carling Cup, well, having drawn Arsenal next all I can say is that it was nice while it lasted!
Gareth Hughes, Liverpool  (26/10/06)

"Everton are the only club who hand over a large slab of the club to someone who has no intention of putting any money in." — I'think you just missed about a dozen basic points regarding the purchase of shares in a priavtely held company... Everton did not "hand over a large slab of the club".

And this old one about donnations from shareholders... now I know nuffink about other clubs, but (other than Abramovich and that Portsmouth bloke) how many shareholders are actually putting additional money into their football clubs? The objective is to make the club financially liquid so they can take money out of the club. That's what investors do.

Now you could arge that an influx of cash would improve a club's prospects, enhance share values, provide share dividends, and thus produce the much needed RoI. I know that isn't happening at Everton... [Perhaps it could with Al-Waleed bin Talal???] Is it really happening at other clubs? — Michael

Davies return?

I have to give credit where credit is due: Simon Davies was brillant at right-back. I cannot see him wanting to play there forever but I have a soft spot for Davies and I want him to succeed at Everton.

I also have to credit Michael for finally banning Dutch! But I fear the legal loophole may come into effect if Dutch decides to use his real name.
Luq Yus, London  (26/10/06)

Damn... I forgot about that! — Michael

Transfer targets?

I know we it is widely agreed that we need another quality midfielder or two but what about returning to long time target Robbie Keane? A Keane/Johnson partnership with Arteta creating would excite me and Keane is getting very little action this season. Aliadiere by the way was a flop at both west Ham and Celtic when he was asked to play full time. Get your money out Mr Earl!
Dick Bill, York  (26/10/06)

Uh oh... dream time is approaching again!

Response to Mr Noble aka stand in Marsh

So, Brian, if we do suffer a defeat to the Arsenal on Saturday, we are shit in your eyes? Such high expectations... I feel sorry for your missus over Christmas.!

Just say, hypothetically speaking, we then go on to win every other game in the league this season; will we still be shit coz we didn't beat Arsenal? (Far fetched I know but just a thought... and remember: Positive Thinking, Power of Positive Thinking, all together now!)

And it's not that I am getting carried away with the two recent results — it's just that I like to enjoy Everton winning, surprisingly. It's why I go the match — just like I hate it and it hurts when we get beat. Enjoy the good results, I say. Or is your motto "One risks losing in wishing to win too much?"
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (26/10/06)

Bet ya can't render that one in the old dead languague!

Arsenal again

So it's the Wenger boys again. This time hopefully they won't play the kids. I hope that Davey sticks with his strongest team for this one, because let's be honest this is a good opportunity to have a good day out in Cardiff and get into Europe.

Because its a nap that either Chelsea or Man Utd are going to get there so either way it'll be Europe next season.

ps: There's a good chance we'll win it anyway!
peter ocallaghan, liverpool  (26/10/06)

4-4-2, Beattie and all that

I was prompted by one of the earlier posters who made reference to anyone but AJ taking penalties, particularly as his huge season in the Premiership for Palace also included an impressive strike rate when asked to take spot kicks.

Over the last few weeks, where James Beattie has "forced" his way into the starting lineup, whenever penalty duties are required, Beattie gets more than his fair share. Is this about Moyes trying to give an out-of-form striker a bit of confidence in an effort to expand his available options? Or is it likely that Beattie's recall to the side alongside Simon Davies is a cynical attempt to inflate their worth in the hope of a quick sale in January?

Frankly, I haven't seen any sense in either Beattie or Davies starting. Sure, the squad's wafer thin at times but, as the team so often prove, 4-5-1 is our most effective approach at the moment. AJ, unlike any English striker I've seen for some time, seems to thrive in the lone-man role and it also ensures we get the best out of Cahill, who while lacking in midfield discipline but revels in a free role to run forward and score goals.

Beattie certainly doesn't warrant a place and as for Davies, with the likes of Osman on the bench, the guy really ought to be on boot-polishing duty rather than in the first XI.

With the Arsenal game at the weekend, I implore Moyes to go with 4-5-1. Time and time again, Arsenal take apart teams who play open football with space to roam in the midfield. When teams go for the five man midfield, they have struggled. I imagine this (with all due respect to Abramovich's bulging wallet) has had a lot to do with their fall from the Premiership pinnacle.

To go into the game with Beattie and Davies in the side, we'd be as impotent as we were at Boro. Only this time we'll be inviting Thierry Henry to add a few more to his score tally.

For me, the game will be something of a watershed moment. Yes, Arsenal are a great attacking team and we may well lose, but we should at least compete and compete on our terms. Another display like the one against Sheffield Utd will only serve to prove that the indifferent performances of the team since the derby are the norm for this season rather than the exception.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (26/10/06)

Some great comments there, Mark, athough perhaps ignoring the performance Davies gave at right-back. — Michael

Lies, damned lies and statistics

Well done, Michael. We really need to get a few of these doomsayers off the site.

We've got as much chance against Arsenal as we've ever had. Ok they're a good team but so are we, and beating Tottenham away with ten men shows that this team is not about following historic trends.

I for one feel that things are really changing this season and no team out there is better than us on our day. So there. Rant over! COYB
Neil Scott, Southport  (26/10/06)

Nice one, Neil. What makes me less than satisfied is when we perform well below what we are capable of. We can't be fantastic every game, I know that, but we have proved we can play passing football, and we can construct good movement into the box, creating great scoring opportunities, that we can convert a few of. That's the sort of football I want to see!

Are they going to put out a full vid of the Luton game, for me and the thousands that missed it? That's what I want to know. — Michael

Arsenal & Arsenal

Sorry, Michael; I wasn't suggesting Everton will loose to Arsenal in the League Cup. I was just pointing out that its ironic we should get them again and its disappoiting we didn't get easier opposition at this stage of the competition.

That said, Everton are at home and Arsenal will probably field a youth side so I'm optimistic of reaching the next round. I'm not quite so optimistic about Arsenal (a) this weekend but I think the Spurs victory has taught me a lesson and I will try to follow Michael's example remaining positive.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (26/10/06)

Apology accepted ;))

re: Michael Ball on Loan?

Heart says "Yes"; head says "No". Ball shouldn't have been sold but frankly he's done bugger all since he left and I think we should be looking forwards not backwards. We've Valente and young Boyle plus Lescott as cover at left-back. I'm disregarding Naysmith who can't hack it & Pistone (words fail me when it comes to describing that malingering git).

Against Arsenal, 4-1-3-1-1 is the way to go. Right-back could be tricky if Neville isn’t fit, do we stick with Davies or use Yobo? Yobo never looks the part at full back and would Moyes risk young Hughes if Yobo shifted position? unlikely.

Midfield almost picks itself: Carsley, Osman, Arteta, McFadden. McFadden’s capacity for making the wrong decision seemed to be undiminished in the Sheff Utd match, but playing him gives Arteta a chance to run the show from the middle. With Cahill & AJ taking the last two places, I see no reason why we can’t go to Arsenal with a lot of confidence.

Whatever, I’ll be sat in the nearest pub with Setenta at 10:00am Saturday morning waiting for the kick off.
Colin Smith, Hopewell, New Jersey  (27/10/06)

Erm, carried away by two defeats?

Hmmm... Let's see — this season:

  1. We have the best start in decade;
  2. Our player is curently Premiership top Goalscorer;
  3. We only lost once in 9 games;
  4. We have a £10M YOUNG solid partnership centre-back partnership, something all of us have been praying for;
  5. We are currently playing our best football in years, well at least a big improvemnt from last season;
  6. Simon Davies has finally given us two good performances (never thought I'd say that!);
  7. 7. We will have among the best training facilites next season;
  8. 8. We have a postive goal differnce!!!! (+8)
I expect Micheal to condemn one way or another (like every other positive comment), but why can't we be optimistic and slightly satisfied with way things are going? What were you expecting? a 10-point gap from the rest of the teams?

For those who are complaing we don't have strength in depth: apart from the top 4, no other teams have strength in depth. Due to the domination of the top 4 club, how the other 16 teams fare depends solely on injuries. Face the reality, chaps!
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (26/10/06)

Trash? Moi!?

In response to Dave Robert's response to me (if that makes any sense!):

Mate, I couldn't disagree with a lot of what you said. Like you, I was also born very close to Goodison, and my arl fella dragged me to the match from a young age. He's a pensioner now, but still Blue to the core, so I know what I'll be like if I get to his age.

I know our history (and a lot of Kopites don't — I've won countless bets against them about various things). I do think that you're being a tad nostalgic though, albeit understandably. Unfortunately the game has changed a lot since when our arl fellas got us going. Sadly these days the non-football revenue streams are where it's at. Gate revenues for us at the moment will barely cover salaries.

Sad to say but it's a case of trying to keep up with the Joneses. An Ostrich mentality will only see us go the way as such 'big' clubs as Sheffield Wednesday. We're making slow but steady progress both on and off field, compared to the situation we were in 5 years ago. But, in my view, we need to step up that off-field progress if we are ever to be more than a Premiership makeweight, and regain what you and I have been lucky enough to see — a successful Everton team.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (26/10/06)

4th Round

Why worry about Arsenal in the 4th Round? We know they will be thinking of the Champions Leaugue and also be preparing for a home game against Liverpool. I believe we can win this if we go at them and also play to our strengths. This is a great oportunity for us to go on in this competition. Arsenal will not be looking forward to a night match at Goodison.
Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (25/10/06)

Bravo, Micheal!

Okay, we've beaten Arsenal before and yes they looked good on Sunday. But, while I will be happy with a draw on sat, come the cup tie, we must have a chance. I bet they are not looking forward to playing us. Let's have more faith!
Roy Coyne, Liverpool  (25/10/06)

Its time to kick arse

For the first time in ages, Arteta’s fancy footwork had a positive impact and a goal thus pleasing aficionados of the passing game, the School of Science purists, those who dribble over dribblers and harkers after ancient golden years.

While waiting on rare occasions for the little genius to strut his stuff, our not-so-technically-brilliant strikers kept us in with a sniff. Most clubs have at least one maestro, at Arsenal they are ten a penny. In this weekend's game, our main hope rests not on our fickle midfield brilliance but heroic defence and Johnson or Cahill making advantage of what will likely be a rare opportunity.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (26/10/06)

There, I`ve said it!

As Marshy has gone into retirement, I`ll say it for him. You are all getting carried away by two decent results against crap opposition. Only avoiding defeat against Arsenal will convince me we`re a half decent side.
Brian  Noble, Formby  (25/10/06)

Everton v Arsenal in the 4th Round

So the last time Everton reached the 4th round of the League Cup they were knocked out by Arsenal. History repeating it seems. Bugger.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (25/10/06)

There you again, you defeatist twat. You make me sick. Call yerself an Evertonian? Such negativity is abominable. YOU ARE BANNED! — Michael

Curioser and curioser

Everton put 4 past lower league opposition in the Cup rather than losing on penalties; Michal urges Dutch to be more positive... What next - Blair snogging Brown with tongues? Has the world gone mad?
Damian Killikelly, Berks  (25/10/06)

Now please, this is a politics-free zone!

Mr Marsh Where Are You?

All those wondering where Mr Marsh is should relax; Arsenal (A) this weekend — one of the most difficult fixtures in the Premiership calendar... I predict we'll probably be hearing from Mr Marsh again real soon, probably around 5 o'clock on Saterday.

He'll be back to remind us all that the last couple of results and the excellent start to the season have just been a blip. Talking of which, did you know Everton have only suffered back-to-back defeats once during the whole of 2006? Is this good form really a blip Mr Marsh? Do we have to wait until Everton's next defeat before you comment?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (25/10/06)

Shhhh, Dutch — don't disturb him: He's thinking happy thoughts, beautiful thoughts, positive thoughts... Perhaps you should do the same, instead of expecting the usual defeat in ths fixture. — Michael

Sycophantic? Trash!!!

In reply to Matt Traynor's post how can he conclude that it would be 'sycophantic' to call any new stadium something like the "New Goodison"? A sycophant is somebody who sucks arseholes to gain personal advantage.

All I am suggesting is that we need to remember the history of the Club and as we can't call our stadium Anfield anymore we should provide future generations of Evertonians the opportunity to indulge in the knowledge that, for over a century, our history has been made at Goodison. No personal advantage there... the advantage is with all aspects of the Club's history and the supporters opportunities to be a part of that history. He's right about one thing though...it IS our choice whether or not we spend our wages in the Casino or in Tescos....but that's not the point.The point is I don't look forward to a circumstance where as I walk through the approaches to a future stadium I feel as if I am at Blackpools Golden Mile!That is the trash that Everton Football Club (at least for me)does not sit comfortably with. Call me retrograde if you like but my dad was born in the mean streets around Goodison and it is to him that I owe my allegiance to Everton because that was his faith.We have got to move away from those mean streets but that does not mean we have to forget where we came from.If Everton Football club is worth investing in,then so is it's history,and I would advise any prospective investor to bear that in mind unless he (or she,to be politically correct)had no concerns about alienating the fans. As a postcript...Brilliant performance last night.So reminiscent of times gone by albeit against 'inferior 'opposition.How long will we be able to keep Mikky?
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (25/10/06)

Bring on the Arse...

If only we could play that way every week. I know it was only Luton but it was a joy to watch.

Now the real test will be this Saturday against the Arsenal. I am not expecting much from this game but a decent performance is a must, we can't just roll over and take it up the hoop, even if the defence is mighty thin.

Hopefully a home draw against someone shite in the next round as am gagging for a decent cup run, maybe even Cardiff. Nurse! — pills...
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (25/10/06)

From my seat

Great night out — excitement at Goodison. This game was as entertaining as Saturday's was boring. For once, we saw our team emphasise the gulf between Premiership and Championship instead of being dragged down to the lower level. The football we played was a joy to watch and having the confidence to play it was encouraging.

Luton helped the night along by keeping the game open and their fans in raucus mood never let up.(What was that AJ chant all about?) Arteta pulled the strings and had time to showboat but my MotM was Cahill for his lung-bursting industry from start to finish. Davies derserves a mention for his full-back display, full of energy and inventivness with good crossing.

Mark Hughes, on for the unfortunate Weir, wasted only one ball all half and must have done his contract renewal no harm. Big Vic showed his power and pace and scored the goal of the night —if he keeps on developing' we could have a good 'un here.

I thought all the players did very well but I still can't see all this potential that McFadden is supposed to have. In the end, the game could have finished 10-4 it was that pulsating with missed pen, posts rattled and goal line clearances galore.

We will meet much stronger teams 'til season ends but if we play in this manner and style consistently then I will be much happier and our final placing may well reflect it. Gunners next away... now that will be an examination. See you Sat. -- UP THE BLUES!
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (25/10/06)

Nice one, Ken.

What's the verdict Tony Marsh?

Never mind Where's Wally... where's Tony??? I just wanted to know what he thought of the last two match's as he said he was goin to take my advice and "TRY" at least to look to the positives in the up-and-coming games instead of all things negative as per.

Now, six goals and none conceded isn't too bad, albeit against not the best opposition around but you can only beat who's put in front of you.

Come on, surprise us all and say you saw something at least half-positive, obviously more so against Luton but we still did what needed to be done against United. Go on, I'll buy ya a pint if you can force yourself. Or is he waiting 'til Saturday evening to tell us all we've got a long way to go until we're a top 4 team?
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (25/10/06)

Maybe it was Tony's rejection of negativity in favour of positive thinking that actually was the critical factor in this fantastic two-game run. What is it again? The Power of Positve Thinking — Norman Vincent Peale (1952). I must read that one day. I might learn something. Now if only we could all glom together in Borg-like unity and combine the power of our positive thoughts.... we could win every game! — Michael

Response to Rog

Hi Rog, I can only assume you were alluding to me (among others) in your last post. If you and Michael want to read my post again you'll see I make no judgements, compliments or complaints about how the club is run, just a defence of the fans who take an interest. You may be surprised to find we're not actually having an argument.
Simon Amble, Hereford  (25/10/06)

I was struggling to figure out what Rog was responding to; I think you're right Simon.

In response to Iain McWilliam

But won't we have one of THE best training and academy facilties next season???
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (25/10/06)

We'll certainly have one of the newest. It depends how much cost-saving and compromise there has been in the design and construction. But all that is only a part of the Training & Academy set-up: the people and the organization must play a significant role in being the BEST. I hope we will have, and feel confident in saying we should be one of the best. As in everything though, only time will tell. — Michael

Goal drought? FFS!!

Johnson was one-on-one with the goalkeeper against Sheff Utd when that clumsy lumox knocked him over (okay, so there were shades of Limpar) but seeing Beattie rather than AJ soak up the acclaim from the penalty spot was not as satisfactory as a goal to finish a sublime move would have been.

Okay, so he was bit casual when hitting the post against Sheff Utd, but 'goal drought'? Come off it!
John  McCabe, West Derby, Liverpool  (25/10/06)

He had been scoring in every game at Goodison up until them... Now it's two blanks! Oooer... — Michael

We have a new right back!

Play him right wing: rubbish. Play him central midfield: awful. Play him left wing: we may as well have ten men. But stick Simon Davies at right back and he is fucking brilliant! In my opinion he stopped just short of getting Man of the Match last night, which for me went to Mikel Arteta. Speaking of which, is there a finer sight on a football field than seeing our Number 6’s twinkle toes twinkling?
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (25/10/06)

It's great to see Arteta taking a stronger role again. I think he is a beautiful player. Such a pity he didn't wellie that penalty last night... We would have had the magic FIVE GOALS I've been waiting for! — Michael

Beattie

I just read a letter on here stating that Beattie just isn't interested? Well, I was at the game last night and when he came on saw him regularly chasing over 50 yds to help the defence out. While I admit that's not what he's paid for, at least he was interested enough to chase back.

I can't see us selling him in January but have to agree with the square-peg story so far. Unless we change our style and get to the by-line more I think he has to go for his sake as much as ours. With the emergence of Big Vic, who's looking better every game, things ain't looking too bad?

ps: Where has VdM gone again? Does any one know or even care by now???
Big Dunc  Bluey , Stoke  (25/10/06)

Last week, Andy van der Meyde sustained yet another injury in training — this time to his ankle — and he is expected to be out for some time. You've got to feel sorry for him, haven't you? — Michael

Damn Freedom of Contract

Have seen a few comments from others asking 'Why we don’t improve our scouting?' an 'Why don’t we get the good players?'

Well, it’s the same reason why Shevchenko or Ballack won’t sign for us. Despite the lack of big money transfers at the youth level (although Chelsea and Liverpool do their best to get around these rules), the best ‘kids’ still usually end up signing for the same clubs because they have the most money, the best coaches, the best training grounds and the most kudos.

From the 60s onwards I think Everton had a very good youth setup, and, at the time, one of the best training grounds in the country. Obviously this isn’t the case now, so how people expect us to attract the best of the world's young talent is beyond me. Even if we do setup coaching schools in Asia and Australia and we find some good talent I still don’t think we’d be able to hang onto them when the agents come along. Dario Gradi at Crewe has a good reputation for developing youngsters but I doubt if many of the top youngsters put them high on their list of places to go.

I’m no expert but I would have thought it's better to improve with what little you have got and concentrate on getting the most out of the talent we do manage to get signed up than sprouting up random coaching centres across the world. At present I don’t think we do have the best youth coaches, but that’s down to us not having the best training ground, and that’s down to us not having much money, and that’s down to us not winning much lately… and the beat goes on…
Iain McWilliam, Hounslow  (25/10/06)

Good Indicators

Everton's triumph over Luton and their very positive goal difference are two excellent signs that on the pitch they are getting it right. The ability of good teams to overcome lower division opposition and a healthy goal difference are sure indicators of Everton's progress this season.

My main concerns on the playing side remain the reliance on certain players (Arteta, Lescott, Yobo) for quality and the lack of depth in the squad.

I'm also disturbed that Kenwright's grip on the club appears to have been strengthened by recent events. I regard him as a complete charlatan in his role as Chairman of the Board of the club. I cannot see Everton inviting real investment into the club while he remains in charge.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (25/10/06)

Trash Arse!

Apologies for upsetting people with my comment about the need for Everton to be run as a business, I'm sorry to tell you but Father Christmas doesnt exist either!! It's interesting that no-one commented on how the hell they expect money to be put into the club otherwise unless we move into commercial marketing... Still maybe the tooth fairy will leave couple of hundred million under Bills pillow!! Good Win last Night: Good Football and Goals!!
Rog Walker, Manc  (25/10/06)

I don't think Mr Keith Wyness and the rest of the commercial side would disagree... unless you are implying that the club is not already run as a business. — Michael

We should go for Alideare!!!

Some here suggested we should buy Alideare, and I totally agree. This kid is class. He'll never make it with Henry, Van Persie and Adebayor ahead of him. We should make a move for him in January. Check out this video
Brack Eccleston, London  (25/10/06)

Michael Ball on Loan?

Given Naysmith & Pistone don't cut the mustard the above sounds like a good idea in January. Let the lad prove he still has the skills & the fitness with a view to a permanent transfer. He left the club because he wanted a new contract with a modicum of a payrise, he also wanted the captaincy — Smith never liked him so he was out the door. The lad has blue blood running through his veins. Anybody remember how he took Hasslebaink out the game against Chelsea? Get him in!!!
Ting Tong, Southport  (25/10/06)

Arsenal youngsters

I was watching Arsenal's Carling Cup game with my Gunner friend yesterday and I was impressed. Walcott stole the show. A French lad called Alideare who scored both goals was also impressive, someone who is lot better than Beattie.

Thier midfield looked far more talented than ours and watching the game, most of thier youngsters — nevermind the senior team — would probably walk straight into our first eleven.

I was even told that most of thier other youngsters are on-loan. Looking at how good Bentley, Sidwell, Upson and Pennant are, we should at least check out these Arsenal younsgters that didn't make it.

You do wonder how Wenger gets these players... Did you know thier back 5 last season, the holders of nine consecutive clean sheats in the Champions League, cost just £8M. Blimey! And Febregas was signed on a free transfer! We should learn a thing a two from their scouting system.
Esttanio Fibricalllio, London  (25/10/06)

Arsenal analysis

Arsenal away will be our toughest opponents yet. It is humungous task for the team to even get a point from Arsenal on current form.

There seems to be a diference between Arsene's 3rd generation and the previous two. They frequently play 4-1-4-1 this season( the formation enginereed by Moyes himself, which is quite different from Mourinho's 4-3-3 or diamond). Gilberto plays the Carsley role, while Rosicky, Hleb, Van Persie, and Febregas combine and interchange very very well. And another difference is that they now have a Plan B. Adebayor is excellent target man and against Man Utd he performed the lone role very well.

They also have an excellent back five, the only weakness they have right now is that neither of thier attacking overlapping full-backs, Clichy and Eboue, are available and they probably lack a bit of width.

The only chance of us getting anything is to play 4-1-4-1 and play tight football. Our players are a lot more intelligent than Reading in closing down technical oppenents. Our only hope is to hit them on the break or on set-pieces.

The Gunners are probably on a high right now, with 6 wins from 7. But, suprisingly, I feel Moyes can gatecrash the gunner's party. COME ON YOU BLUES!
Tony Colbert, Liverpool  (25/10/06)

Everton in Asia….?

Paul Kish raised a good point, which is: Why is Everton not marketing in Australia as well as Asia?

As someone who occasionally gets involved in the Sports Marketing business, I was invited to a conference in Singapore last year called ‘Commercial Opportunities for Sports Marketing in Asia’. It’s not my job, but my company gave me the green light to attend as the conference organiser was paying for me to go.

I went along just keen to listen and say nothing. Fat chance. Some senior guy from Fifa came out with the line akin to Premier League clubs are only interested in Asia because of merchandising. I pointed out that our revenue stream from Asia at that moment was approximately Zero. All the merchandising he spoke about is counterfeit.

We were about to play in the ill-advised Chang tournament in Bangkok, which I went along to. I bought the good lady an Everton shirt in Chatchuchak market in Bangkok. A snip at a quid. Bought meself an away one too, I’m ashamed to admit. But there were tons of Thais supporting us (although the Thai Under-23 team was their priority, understandably). I got stopped in the street for wearing the shirt — everyone in Bangkok knows Everton now, even if they don’t support the club.

There is EU and US action being taken against Asian countries that ‘don’t discourage’ bootlegging. It will change — particularly as some Asian nations are getting rich quick (in very general terms). Therefore, for Everton to be in this market now is a smart move. Aside from potential investment, theirs a massive fan-base potential.

There’s obviously a lot of Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal and (recently) Chelsea supporters out here. But those of us out here who select, berate and cajole people into following the Blues choose carefully — believe me — some of these guys are as passionate about the Toffees as the best of us. Their life’s dream is to visit Goodison (or wherever we end up, but most want to visit Goodison because of the history). Don’t underestimate the support these people have for us — they aren’t fair-weather (haven’t seen a Liverpool shirt for a while).

Going back to Paul’s original point, given the recent emergence of Aussie players in Europe, maybe we should have a scouting network there. For all I know, we might have?
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (25/10/06)

The New Investor / New Stadium

Without getting into the nuances of who owns the club — fans or shareholders — I do think that we need a little more pragmatism as supporters if we want to see our beloved club progress.

No doubt some fans believe the issue has been fudged, such that a move away is the only option. I think that the club did look at the option of redevelopment, but coupled with land acquisition costs, plus reduced capacities for several seasons, dismissed it as uneconomical.

I won’t dwell on the King’s Dock issue, as it’s been well debated before. But I believe that if Everton is to move on and compete with the bigger teams, we need to open up more revenue streams. Those Corporate Boxes do contribute a lot. And even the likes of Southampton in their new stadium, which is called the Friends Provident Stadium — not the New Dell — have far more than us. Other teams we would never compare ourselves to on fanbase and history earn more per annum — accept it.

I don’t want us to move to Kirkby as I’d much prefer the Central Dock site as a (much) lesser alternative to KD. As Tony Marsh referred to recently, I also saw that puny ‘amphitheatre’ being constructed when I was back in June, and my heart sank. But move on we must. If it does end up being in Kirkby (and I’ve nothing against Knowsley), then it won’t stop any of us following the club, will it?

But lastly, on to naming rights and casinos and restaurants... my twopenneth on this is naming it ‘New Goodison’ would be sycophantic at best. If some new sponsor (or even our existing sponsor) is willing to stump up the cash for naming rights — let them do it. Look at how much Arsenal’s deal with Emirates is worth: £15M a year. If we could secure a third of that, we’d be much better off financially, and the manager would be able to compete for the players he wants.

And if you don’t want to eat in the restaurants, or try your luck in the casinos — don’t. Your call. If all of this keeps your match day ticket or season ticket affordable — don’t complain!
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (25/10/06)

Good win, Blues

I think everyone who left that stadium tonight knew we should have won by a lot more. Luton were not shite and gave a spirited performance, despite every goal that went against them.

It's easy after a match to say "hey-ho, this one is an easy fixture", but the truth was it wasn't. What we did show in abundance was the quality we do have AND importantly it will get better. Leon needs to sharpen up quick beacuse he was well off the boil... is he still carrying that hip injury?

I still question our finishing; when you create chances in the top league you have to finish and I still see that we are not doing that well enough. Arteta was by a mile the best player on the pitch. Well done the young players. Iain, Mark and Victor.

Best youngster for me was Mark Hughes. Well done, lad on your Goodison debut. I don't know what sparked that performance, it's what I have been waiting for since pre season. But what ever lit the fire under their arses has worked. Roll on, Arsenal — the blues are coming to your shiny new stadium!!!
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (25/10/06)

Get Pardew

Seem to recall from an earlier post from Tony Marsh him singing the praises of Alan Pardew, and Mike Newell as up-and-coming managers. Both tipped by Marsh as showing more guile and tactical nous than David Moyes... Meanwhile, a 4-0 reversal for Luton and Pardew's losing streak extending to eight games with the demise at Chesterfield... does Tony still feel the same way?

There is always Martin O'Neill, but he hasn't won a game for weeks, still unbeaten but form negated by too many draws and uninspired insipid football to boot. Hombre Benitez is also having a mare — isn't he also a tatical genius? The point I'm trying to make is that football is a fickle game, unless you are Ferguson, Wenger or Mourinho (what would he be like without an open cheque-book), then a football manager's life can be a perilous one. A bad turn of form and the vultures begin to circle; word has it that Moyes offered his resignation following the debacle in Bucharest. Players are undoubtedly responsible for losing games, the manager is there to motivate so takes collective responsibility.

I for one questioned Moyes's ability to lead us out of last season's slump. I'm probably also fickle but changing the manager when the going gets tough very rarely solves the underlying problems. I'm hoping that Pardew can turn things around — last season's success is all to easily forgotten. Onwards Evertonians....
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (24/10/06)

Tony Marsh has been remarkably quiet since the Moyes Boys hit their latest winning streak... People will begin to suspect we are muffling him for increased effect... Michael

Future plans

I am suprised at the fans expecting answers from the Board. I first started attending games in 1957 and in all that time cannot recall any Board at our club treating us, the punters, as anything but proverbial mushrooms. The only inkling of something in the pipeline is when articles appear in the Echo to sway opinion before the announcement. I am open-minded about Mr Earl as he can't be worse than the man hes replaced. I just wish we carried the same sort of non-reporting until a deal was done when buying players — it would save a lot of embarrassment.
Roy Coyne, Liverpool  (25/10/06)

I think it certainly reflects a sea change in the last couple of years — interstingly, since a party of well-respected Evertonians went and had a good old moan about anti-Everton bias and negative stories about the Club being published in the local press. Sometimes you get what you wish for...

Now, the rest of us have to suffer what passes for penetrating investigative journalism from sycophants like Dominic King and Ian Doyle. It's the sort of stuff I imagine Dutch would be writting if he was a journalist... wait a minute! — Michael

Tonight's performance

This might sound mad but I came out of Goodison tonight a little dissapointed as our finishing was awful. Whilst the important thing is we got through, we really should have hit ten, and that's no exaggeration.

I still think McFadden couldn't hit a barn door even though he scored (I could have tapped that in!). Beattie didn't look interested when he came on and Johnson was just too cocky at times tonight instead of just pulling the trigger when he had the chance. I would have loved to have humiliated them after all the 80s sagas with them, what with plastic pitches and banning away fans just to give them a home advantage.

All said and done, it was great entertainment tonight, real school of science football at times.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (24/10/06)

Danm.. I missed it. Where's my EvertonTV password gone? — Michael

TRASH!

If sitting next to a decomposing movie star watching a match where the home team and the game itself is no longer the priority (being displaced by the need to send adequate profits back to the Good Old USA) and with the prospect of either losing your wages in the Casino or in Tescos after the game is Rog Walker's vision of football in the 21st Century then bring back St.Domingo's!

I'm not a Luddite and I'm not against a fair return on investment but we (and it is OUR club) shouldn't be prepared to sell our soul for it. I am totally in favour of an imaginative new Stadium as long as it is called THE NEW GOODISON or something of that ilk. THE PLANET TESCO STADIUM will just not do. Everton Football Club is more important than that...or at least it is to me!!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (24/10/06)

Johnson (pen)

Not bitching at all after tonight`s display but why do Everton overlook Johnson as the specialist penalty taker? He scored 17 out of 20 at Palace. Then again, his finishing in the last two games has been abysmal...
Alan Woodhead, Childwall  (24/10/06)

Everton 4 - 0 Luton

I know Luton aren't exactly a great side but they could have proved difficult and beating them by such a margin is impressive. A clean sheet for Turner and a confidence-boosting goal for McFadden. Anichebe gets another goal and worryingly AJ's goal drought continues.

It's weird how Michael was only recently complaining about the lack of high scoring victories, does this count?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (24/10/06)

Sorry, Dutch but it doesn't count (based on the rule I established years ago when I did the original research for that Big Scores page). Five goals... so Damn that missed peno tonight. It could have been eight, apparently.

You could always petition ToffeeWeb Towers for the bar to be lowered, in consideration of modern-day 'high-efficiency' football, and a tacit recognition that a negative goal difference is not such a bad thing really. I think I know what you'll get, however: Short shrift. [What the hell is the original meaning of that phrase? — No conferring with the dictionary/internet!]

When was the last time we got this far in this competition? It must be wonderful to have such a selective memory like yours, Dutch: Arsenal v Everton in the 4th Round? Tuesday 9 Nov 2004; 7:45pm?? Ring any bells??? Men against boys:

In the face of a young Arsenal Reserves side, a fairly strong line-up was put forward by David Moyes, for whom squad rotation is but a fleeting dream...

I'll leave you to find the rest of our match report. — Michael

Silent Witness

Where's Mr Marsh who said we would be dumped out tonight? Sorry, but it's 4-0 and some good football to boot.
Ting Tong, Southport  (24/10/06)

Baring his arse down a (hopefully) darkened alley somehwere in Liverpool!

Damn... I missed it. — Michael

Tinker Man

Last week there was a debate here on TW about who could/should replace Moyes if he was to be sacked!? After thinking in an Atress-like dark room, I really believe Claudio Ranieri is the man to lead us to better days. Ranieri's teams are attacking, attractive sides. And he has the rep in Europe to attract big names to the club. Discuss people!!!

And I don't give a toss who brought out Greggs shares, as long they are willing to provide extra funds to the Club — that is my only concern.
Luq Yus, London  (24/10/06)

I would really like to know the answer to this question: Who was the last Director or Shareholder willing to provide extra funds to the Club? — Michael

I care

Have to take issue with Rog Walker's mail. While his passion for the team and realism for the times are obviously to be saluted, I don't agree that forever questioning what is going on at the club, and wanting to have some transparency, constitutes being on a 'high horse'.

Michael, your responses in this department are somewhat baffling. If we indulge in endless debate over who manages the team, why would we not take an interest in who manages the club? It may be "theirs" in a literal, litigious sense, but it's "ours" too. I don't think many fans of any team would agree that they don't feel some 'ownership' of a team, even if that ownership amounts to no more than a feeling.

Why slap down correspondents who take a concern in investors with such a "whatever" attitude? You know as well as anyone that fans, en masse, can affect change at clubs in extreme circumstances. Luckily we're not in such a state (as far as we know) but that's not to say such topics don't merit discussion.
Simon Amble, Hereford  (24/10/06)

If I have baffled you then I may have given the wrong impression in my responses to Ray Mia. I'm not against debate per se. And I understand the 'need' of the average fan to have transparency, to have a 2/5/10-year plan for success laid on a plate in front of them. I just don't think it will happen, that's all.

With the benefit of past history definitely being used here as an indicator of future performance, it is painfully obvious to me that openness and transparencey is the last item on the EFC Board Meeting agenda, after AOB and a Vote of Thanks to the cleaning staff... it just ain't gonna happen.

As an object lesson in how the Club heirarchy thinks about such things, imagine you were tasked to write the official website announcement regarding the sale of Gregg's shares and their resignation from the Board. Would it be enough to say they were sold to BCR Sports? What the hell was all that about? Why hide the identity of Robert Earl? For he, as we now know, is the poawer and the money behind BCR Sports. In fact, once the cat was out of the bag, all the later stories from the official website conspiciuously neglected to mention anything about BCR Sports.

Openness and transparency? You're 'avin a laff. And in case you still think I'm full of shit, it may be instructive to read this Crisis Meeting report I came across while trawling the ToffeeWeb Archives — Michael

Investment

Robert Earl may or may not be the saviour that we've been waiting for but until a mystery billionaire comes out of the wings to flush his assets into Goodison what other choice do we have? Some people seem to think that we automatically deserve a super-rich moneybags, and that by not securing such investment Kenwright has somehow failed us. I think any investment that allows Moyes to strengthen in key areas is welcome at this time and we must accept that this doesn't just happen by nature of an altruistic act. The man will have his own agenda, as others have in the past, but if that projects us to the next level, I'm all for it.
Ben Howard, London  (24/10/06)

Rog Arse!

Rog Walker (who?) says he doesn't care where the investment comes from, but who said there was to be any investment? There may be a business expansion, not necessarily investment in the team, which is what we all want.

If Rog is so happy about spending his money in his 'local' casino, it would be quicker if he just donated the money straight to the blues, as anyone who has been to Vegas will tell you, you've more chance of picking up 20 Regal with an old fiver wrapped round it than winning in a casino. BTW - Danny Magee - nice try, kid but I defo asked for spare Arsenal tickets first. If I get more than two, I'll send them your way though. Cheers. skowz99@yahoo.co.uk
Marc Rogers, Liverpool  (24/10/06)

Crisis? .......what crisis?

I am surprised that no one has mentioned our situation regarding full backs. As all of them except young Patrick Boyle are injured, do we have a crisis in the making?

Moyes seems to have glossed over the fact, and only mentioned in passing how well Lescott has done filling in at left-back. It's a good job we still don't have Kilbane to fill in at right-back as I am sure Moyes would have played him there by now.

I am just wandering whether Moyes made the right descision to hang on to the injury-prone Pistone. Maybe he should have sold him at the start of the season, while he was still fit to play? If you remember, he origonally sold Pistone the summer before mainly because we was injury-prone.

Should we be looking for two full-backs on a loan basis in January? Or maybe start trusting young Patrick Boyle to fill the role? I am sure he will give him a run out tonight and hopefully, if Boyle produces the goods, he may risk him on Saturday. That will let Lescott return to his more natural position at centre-back to help mark the dangerous Thiery Henry.

A good win tonight will create good spirits for the big game on Saturday. COYB!
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (24/10/06)

Davie Weir

Yes, Sam Smithard, you are alone in your opinion on Davie Weir's value to Everton. Weir's performance on Saturday only confirmed my dismay when he was handed a one-year contract. Every time he had posession of the ball, he booted it aimlessly up the field. Couple this with the fact that he has no pace and no leadership qualities — despite being captain.

I do not understand why he was made captain on Saturday when Phil Neville has been captain all season. Davie Weir has been a great servant to Everton Football Club as well as an outstanding performer but he should have been moved out in the summer. God help us if he keeps his place against Arsenal on Saturday. Moyes has made a rod for his own back — can you drop a winning captain???
Jamie Skeoch, Preston  (24/10/06)

Bring on the Trash!!

Give me a break! Supporters bitch and moan about lack of investment then have the nerve to complain about a potential for creating that investment with merchandising, casinos, supermarkets... How the hell do they think we will get the money otherwise?

I'm sorry but Roman Abramovichs are one-offs... You don't find many billionaires around desperate to invest in a British Football Club. I'm glad we have a new investor, if that's what he turns out to be, and I'm glad that they are thinking about expansion.

Do I care whether I have to pop into Tescos after the match, or maybe spend my hard earned cash in the local Casino? NO I DON'T!!! I don't really care whether they sell the name of the stadium as long as it generates finances to invest in the team and put the Blues where they need to be. Get off your high horses and Welcome to the 21st Century!!!
Rog Walker, Manchester  (24/10/06)

Arsenal tickets

If anyone is selling Arsenal tickets, could you please e.mail me. Me and my mate have got ours but we need two for my uncle and his mate, they would pay full wack. Thanks! dannymagee17@hotmail.co.uk
Danny  Magee, liverpool  (24/10/06)

Value of Weir

Am I alone in believing that on current form our best central defensive pairing is Weir and Lescott? Although it is traditional on this site to slag off the Scotsman, he is still a very assured and competent defender and it would benefit the younger man no end to play alongside him.
Sam  Smithard, Ainsdale  (24/10/06)

Shame on you!

Sorry to see you tearing Ray Mia to pieces. I for one, DO want the answers to all the questions Ray poses and I am sure I am not alone. Destruction jobs like your`s — implying we should all be quiet and let the big boys get on with their game, playing with OUR club`s future — do absolutely nothing for open debate which your site purports to promote. Shame on you, Michael!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (24/10/06)

Sniping at me will do nothing to change the fact that it is not OUR club: it belongs to the shareholders and they are the ones to whom the decision-makers are (supposedly) responsible (unless they happen to be the biggest shareholders). Debate it all you like; it ain't gonna change any time soon. — Michael

Cunning Plan

I think I know what the new shareholding is all about: Davie Moyes has been watching "Escape to Victory" and saw old Sly Stallone in goal. Long-term replacement for Tim Howard?
Dan Parker, New York, US  (23/10/06)

A downunder perspective

Being a long-time junior football coach and administrator, on a recent trip home I was keen to compare the junior scene in Liverpool with that here in Oz and hoping to discover what was needed to bring Australian standards up to those in heart of football. I was surprised to find there was nothing to learn; my overall impression was that our ‘Australian’ administration of the sport was at least equal while our level of coaching and playing standards were better.

In Liverpool, I attended numerous junior training sessions plus games and in many conversations it was revealed not one junior coach among the many with whom I talked had any kind of coaching certificate. Their style of training was identical to what I experienced as a child almost 60 years ago. I also found there was no repetitive training before age 10. By that time the average Aussie kid under accredited coaches would have had at least 5 years experience and understood, if not already mastered, basic technique.

In Liverpool, a boy who was a ‘natural’ at a particular technique got no training to develop that talent or correct flaws. Skill or lack of it was ‘one of those things’ with no attempt at improvement. Don't get me wrong: this is not a criticsm of those who gives their time to help kids — I greatly admire them, but they need some kind of centralised long-term support with clear targets beyond the next game.

Was I in the wrong area of Liverpool or is the above a fair description?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (24/10/06)

Stop or me mar will shoot!

Just read the article about Robbie Earl (not that crap pundit?) and agree that Kenwright should tell fans what plans he now has for the club — only please do it quietly in the Echo, not the telly, you fool.

I for one would be disgusted to hear that we are really planning a super-duper casino / burger bar / supermarket / errr.. soccer extravaganza nightmare in deepest Kirkby. Besides being a staunch believer in redevelopment of Goodison, I would seriously doubt the long-term prospects of any club willing to sell out its traditions for the opportunity to squeeze even more money out of fans. What if fans don't buy into it? Surely the current Toffee Lotto / Grab a Grand and myriad of gambling adverts on the official site provide enough opportunity for people to gamble their spare cash in the name of 'helping the club'? Do we really need to rape more and more cash from fans? Is it really the only way forward in 'modern football'? (..more so the modern world eh? If ever money reform was needed it is now!)

It's obvious no matter how much the club pushes for increased revenue, we will never be as rich as clubs with:

  1. A wealthy owner
  2. Millions of fans
As both of these are unlikely anytime soon, I would prefer the club to sit tight at the moment, stay in the Prem and hope for a decent cup run or two, a lucky shot at Europe or even the odd game where we play some decent football.

Of course we can look at continued re-development of the team, stadium and yes, business, but never at the price of becoming some Disney joke club with extortionate celebrity gangster owners — I would rather they just fucked it all off!

Well now that's off my chest...

While I agree it has been a good season so far, I just can't seem to get excited about the prospects for finishing in our current league position (6th). You may have noticed that the 9 games we have played so far were all against teams in the bottom half of the prem, and on average, the results have probably been... average.

I'm praying Arsenal have an off-day Saturday, and if anyone has spare tickets I would love to buy them off you! Email: skowz99@yahoo.co.uk.
Cheers.
Marc Rogers, Liverpool  (23/10/06)

Think you speak for a lot of fans with your concerns about the risks of trashy commercialism... however, that's the point: you are seeking as a fan. They are thinking like businessmen. No prizes for guessing who is in control and who makes all the decisions... Michael

Cheap at the price

I cannot understand why Dutch Schaffaer is upset because our new Shareholder is treating fading Hollywood star 'Sly' to chicken in the basket and a bottle of house plonk. Show some generosity of spirit to our Anglo-American, Dutch, and the trail of American cousins he will attract to the Club. There is method in the madness and it is likely to produce some positive outcomes for someone.

I am more concerned that, nearly two years ago, the major Shareholder invited a fading footballer(?) to Goodison Park and we are paying that fraud circa £40k per week to take the odd penalty or two...

Not to worry! We will all benefit soon when Bill makes a few bob producing 'Rambo on Ice' or 'Rocky... the Musical'. As a recent contributor said, it is no longer about football! Sit back and enjoy the spectacle!
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (23/10/06)

What Can Stallone Do For Everton?

New shareholder Robert Earl has promised to bring Sylvester Stallone to Goodison Park.The fading movie star will no doubt get a complimentary ticket to a match with all the hospitality Goodison has to offer. All paid for by the Everton fans, no doubt. Is this supposed to be good news?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (23/10/06)

Everton Marketing

I agree with the letter below about the boy who got the Cahill "1" shirt. When I bought the home top with "Lescott" on the back, the girl asked "Does he play for Everton?" and the girl doing the printing asked how it was spelt! Now it can't be hard to train your staff to at least be competent and know their job. The marketing of EFC is crap and needs some serious looking into. Hopefully Robbie Earl can do the business and pull some fingers out of tight arseholes!
Duvet Boy, Portsmouth  (23/10/06)

Bogey Grounds

Hope this helps to see which grounds are becoming our Bogey venues.

Current Premier Teams: League Results since 1946

		PLD	Last Win
WIGAN     	1	
FULHAM		16	20-Aug-66
SHEFF UTD		21	21-Oct-72
MAN UTD		56	19-Aug-92
CHELSEA		48	26-Nov-94
ARSENAL		57	20-Jan-96
LIVERPOOL		49	27-Sep-99
WATFORD	 	7	18-Dec-99
NEWCASTLE 	42	21-Oct-00
CHARLTON 		19	18-Aug-01
WEST HAM 		40	27-Oct-02
MAN CITY		43	11-Sep-04
A VILLA		47	26-Feb-05
BOLTON 		24	21-Aug-05
BLACKBURN		23	03-Dec-05
PORTSMOUTH	14	14-Jan-06
M'BROUGH		26	29-Apr-06
TOTTENHAM		53	26-Aug-06
*Reading Not yet played

John McFarlane, Lancs  (23/10/06)

Paul Traill

Can I just sycophantically say how much I enjoy Paul Traill's match reports. No offence to Michael and Lyndon (whose reports are good too) but they - reasonably - take a more journalistic slant. For someone who can't get to the games that often, Paul really puts you in the picture. Keep em up Paul!
Simon Amble, Hereford  (23/10/06)

Yes, he does a great job, doesn't he? — Michael

Bogie Teams

I have been thinking about this one (without looking up the stats). I bet we haven't won at Arsenal for years. It used to be Villa Park too but we had a good win there a couple of seasons ago. Mmmm where else/who else? I can't remember a Chelsea win for a while, apart from that I feel like we are doing ok. I am sure you can tell me otherwise though, Michael.
Dick Bill, York  (23/10/06)

Sadly not; I really have no idea. However, there is this page Lyndon had been developing over the years, but it has grown too wide for the new format, so you'll have to scroll down to see it. And unfortunately (like rather a lot of pages on this here website) it hasn't been updated for a while... Michael

Yellow Kits

How nice to go to work today and find a bunch of shite supporters blaming everyone and everything for their totally shite season so far. The best one was that Rafa dosn't know what is his best kit to wear! I hope that you believe the above because it is all true.
Peter O'Callaghan, Liverpool  (23/10/06)

Tim Cahill — what number?

With reference to Paul Kish's letter, I was in the Megastore last week and a young lad, buying a new shirt, asked for Cahill on the back. "But what number do you want?" asked the girl on the till. She asked him twice before in disbelief he had to tell her 17.

About 10 minutes later she came back telling him they had run out of 7s but she had put a 1 on the back and could he come back in three weeks. Now what kid wants to go round with Cahill and a 1 on his back! It would appear that, rather than expanding in Asia, we need to put our own house in order first. Bring on Planet Hollywood!

ps: They seem to have a lot of number 9s left!
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (23/10/06)

Must have been all the AvdM fans doing a run on the Megastore... Michael

Re: The New Straits Times

I quote from Elstone's recent interview:

Q: Have these community programmes, including the setting-up of the centre of excellence, churned out new talents in other countries?

A: We started this programme in Thailand last year and discovered three potential youth players. They had short stints in our academy in Liverpool and the panel of coaches was impressed with one of them. At present, we are working out details to allow this 15-year-old boy, known as "Sham", to train fulltime in Everton. The coaches feel he has the potential to wear Everton’s colours one day.
Surely even for Everton a player called Sham is too much? I don't understand why we don't look closer to home. Surely, the majority of the best players in the Premier League are European? We should be looking in Holland, France and Belgium. I hear Belgium has some great young kids. If it works for Wenger...
Thomas Tank, Earlsfield  (23/10/06)

Coming to a screen near you soon...


Welcome to Goodiwood

Still at least Andy van der Meyde would be doing something....


Chad Schofield, Cirencester  (23/10/06)

Another Another Place

I avoided the 'biggest game in calender' {copyright Sky Sports) yesterday by having a bracing walk along the banks of the Royal Blue (appeared distinctly brown] Mersey. The tide was either on it's way in or out lapping around Anthony Gormley's surreal artwork which evoked one of them 'Is this a bad hangover?' or 'Amsterdam weekend flashback' feelings.

Then, later last night, I had an evenmore surreal experience watching MotD2 Anthony Gormley's artwork or at least several of them appeared to be to be on screen in front of my middle-aged myopic eyes but clad in hideous yellow.

Yours Hallucinogenically,
Dominic Pitt, Liverpool  (23/10/06)

Maybe they'll blame that kit, like the other lot blamed their grey kit a few years back. Although I thought the excuse then was they couldn't see eachother!

A win is a win.....

A win is a win is a win.... and you get three points for it even if both goals you score came about through the generosity of an ageing ref who had fallen for the bribe of a souvenir shirt! Garner enough of these wins — by any means available — and you get to finish high up the league (higher than Liverpool anyway!). That brings cheer to the fans and lots of lovely lolly to waste on big titted lummoxes like Beattie. Who said being an Evertonian was no fun these days?
Nick Lawson, Birkenhead  (23/10/06)

Asian Expansion

This isn't a major issue but it is one which, as an Aussie-supporting Toffee's fan, baffles me. Everton Football Club wants to promote itself more in Asia because:

"We feel Asia, which is the most populous continent in the world, offers a larger scale of untapped talent. Many potential players in Asia go unheard of until their retirement due to limited opportunities to play abroad. We hope to develop their skills and help them ply their trade in the English Premiership."
While I know the Club is talking about player development and business and coaching expertise, surely it should be looking at developing its Australian market more?

Tim Cahill is arguably the most popular and recognisable football player in Australia at the moment. He's easily eclipsed Harry Kewell. But try and find anything Everton in a sports shop here and you're struggling. There'd be thousands of kids here who'd wear Everton shirts with "Cahill 17" on them.

At the same time, why not send TC back here during the off-season to conduct a few coaching clinics? Or even send the squad here for an end-of-season or pre-season tour? It would add to the Club's reputation, recognition and revenue. It may even lead to the club gaining a talented player or two. Talk about a missed opportunity...

But it wouldn't be the first time the club has blown a chance to progress, now — would it, fellow Blues?
Paul Kish, Maylands, Australia  (23/10/06)

Disagree

While I agree it matters not how any of the so-called big four perform, it's our own performaces and tactics that matter. Nevertheless, it was nice walking into my local in Liverpool and see desparate rednoses trying to discuss our penalty to deflect from their own problems...
Roy Coyne, Liverpool  (23/10/06)

Virus

Just heard few of the players were actually down with a virus, but still played. Can't we just take the win, accept the poor performace due to some kind of illness, and move on to the next game.

By the way, excellent article by Ray Mia. Just like to add that we are currently in the process building world-class training/academy facilties.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Liverpool  (23/10/06)

Planet Hollywood....coming to a town near you

Having read Ray Mia's excellent synopsis on the recent share acquisition by Robert Earl and the role of Bill Kenwright in brokering the deal, it brings home the realisation of the magnitude on which the future of Everton Football Club is about to embark upon. It is evident that the BCR acquisition will not be about silent investment; entertainment moguls such as Earl do not acquire a 23% stake in a business without a plan to ensure that they realise a profitable return in the most commercial way possible.

Many commentators have speculated about our future prospects, a Club clearly caught in a time-warp, presided over by a maverick theatre luvvie in Kenwright who — although he has little in the way of a personal fortune — seems to be connected to some seriously wealthy individuals (Philip Green et al). With an adviser in the wings in the form of Sir Terry Leahy, who has transformed Tesco's commercial success into total dominance of the retail sector, I would speculate that Robert Earl has acquired his 23% stake at a steal.

The future direction of the Club may appear uncertain; however, it has the makings of a true conversion — from being seen as a 'victor value' tatty operation, to the super-fit retail operative that is Tesco. The process of transition and transformation will have its sacrifices, the grand old lady and the traditional values that it brings with it being one. Being successful in the fiercely competitive world of the Premiership cannot be sustained by fans continuing to spend money away from the ground: Cue the Tesco bowl in Kirkby with its retail park, super casino, hotels, fast-food eateries and plastic themed bars.

Anyone who has been to Disneyland will know that the whole operation is designed to extract cash from the punter at every stage of the 'experience'. To be successful on the pitch undoubtedly requires success in every corner off it, the reality being that any success will have to come at a cost and that cost will be a sea-change in the whole match-day experience, ethos and expectation of the punter that is you and I. What is the alternative? — Old-fashioned values, a decrepid ground, and a future that is without sustainable progress?
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (23/10/06)

No More Facts

So it's been more then five years since Everton scored five goals in a single game? And the facts tell us that we have never won by that margin under David Moyes.

Well what do the facts tell us about winning at White Hart Lane or how about finishing 4th in the Premiership??? There are facts to support every argument.
John  Cottee, Romford  (23/10/06)

The facts tell us we won at White Hart Lane. And we finished 4th... 18 months ago. [But I think you knew that already.] Since then, we finished 11th, just missing a much-vaunted back-to-back top ten finish for the first teme ever. Was that another 'achievement' we're supposed to be proud of? What was your argument again?

Here's one for you: Now that we've won recently at Spurs and (not so recently) at Leeds, who are our current bogie teams? — Michael

Michael, You're Doing it Again!

Why do you wilfully fail to see how what Liverpool do DOES matter to most Evertonians, certainly those living in the city? Your refusal to see that (as an example) for Everton-supporting schoolkids it matters like hell if they are being mocked by Red classmates. You may float loftily above such things, but for most Evertonians the result — the right result — of the Man Utd-Liverpool game today was more important than any of the other games played today. Your holier-than-thou attitude towards the city rivalry is frankly very silly.
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (22/10/06)

The point I was trying to make was that I don't rely on comparissons to any of the so-called top-four in defining what I want to see from Everton. It is clearly defined by our own standards and expectations, by our history, by our place in the game. People who come back with x, y or z being good enough for Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd, or Liverpool... could I give a fuck? You see, there's this motto... Ah forget it; it seems everybody else has already. — Michael

Quit the moaning Michael

2-0, positive goal differnce, three players playing with a virus, a stretched defence line through injuries. When Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal or Liverpool close out matches, do we have problems with this? No.

We did enough there yesterday to win by quite a few but we are still not finding our scoring boots. We have scored in every game so far, we are doing okay... next week is a real good test.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (22/02/06)

I'm an Evertonian. I have absolutely no interest in those other teams you mention. None. What do they have to do with us, other than the fact that we play them a couple of times each year? That said, one of the ways those teams score goals is accurate forward passing at speed. We did it against Spurs, brilliantly for AJ's goal. We've tried to reproduce that formula and yesterday's goals were a case in point. But then we switch off. Why? Whatever the answer, it's not a good sign. Yes, next week's game will be a very interesting test... — Michael

Busty Beattie

I loved Beattie's penalty, it was really well taken. I also loved the arrogance as he just stood with a smug look on his face, it suggests he's not as short on confidence as we thought. They also highlighted on Sky Sports how none of the other Everton players attempted to run in for a rebound. It was almost as if they were so confident Beattie would score they couldn't be bothered.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (22/10/06)

This is how it was reported by ToffeeWeb yesterday:

James Beattie once again grasped the moment firmly and executed the penalty with style, skill, panache, and supreme arrogance, belting an unstoppable drive high into the inside of the side netting in front of a very appreciative Gwladys Street End.
As you can see, I enjoyed that too! — Michael

Whipping boys?

I have found some of the reactions to yesterday's performance quite staggering! Luq claims Sheffield United are the league's whipping boys. Having drawn with Liverpool, drawn with Blackburn, beat Middlesbrough and drawn with City, they're hardly whipping boys. Yes, they're a fairly poor Premiership side, but only Arsenal have scored 3 against them this season. You can only beat the team put in front of you and we comfortably did so yesterday, despite several players feeling unwell.

Our first goal was a cracker and the move leading to the penalty for the second was fantastic football. Add to this the fact that Chelsea are the only other team in the league to have scored in every game this season and you really have to wonder what these moaners are looking for. Chelsea frequently beat sides like Sheffield United with performances like the one we put in, and you won't hear as many moans from their fans as you do from the Blues in this mailbag.

Michael wants us to slaughter poor teams. We'd all like that, as would fans of every team in the league. The fact is, it very rarely happens and Arsenal are the only side that really have the capacity to do so on a regular basis.

As we saw in our performance against Tottenham, being reduced to 10 men galvanises sides (even more so with managers like Warnock, whose entire management style is based around being the underdog). Inevitably, Sheffield United stepped it up when they had nothing to lose, but still came up with little to threaten us, despite our decimated defence.

We're improving all the time, are keeping clean sheets and are scoring some good goals. Try enjoying it.
John Richardson, London  (22/10/06)

That's the point: I really enjoyed our start to the game, for the reasons you cite (read my report). But what happened after that? The lack of ideas going forward was painful and embarrassing. There are no valid excuses for not retaining possession. Why were we so inept going forward? I am desperate to see us slaughter just one bad team — not on a regular basis: just once would do it for me.

Years ago, I set up a page on this website to celebrate 'Big Scores' by Everton — scoring five or more goals in a senior match. Do you know when the last entry was? Have a guess. Can you remember when we last scored five goals? Can you remember David Moyes rejoicing in such a result?

Well, if ya know yer history — for that's how long ago it was... more than five years!!! 29 September 2001. Needless to say, it was not under Moyes — it has never happened under Moyes! Not something you want contaminating the lofty ideals of 'high-efficiency football'...

This is one win out five — we all know, and Moyes and Neville have said as much, that it should have been a fifth successive win. If we are ever to become half-way decent, we have to be winning the winnable games, not drawing or losing them. And we have to take the chances to boost our goal difference when we can.

Oh, how silly of me to talk about goal difference! Moyes must pride himself on that incredible record: not once in five season finishes under David Moyes have we managed to finish with a positive goal difference. That is not something I have any enjoyment in saying, but perhaps this will be the season... Michael

Re: Fortress Goodison

Have to agree with Ged about Goodison's lack of atmosphere. I accept that the crowd do react to what is happening on the field of play and Blackburn last season was the most enjoyable game I was at in years as a result of the team reacting when they had their backs to the wall but do we really need some controversy to get us going? It seems the only time there is any atmosphere is when we feel the ref is against us or we are playing Liverpool (and even then we just sing the same shite over and over again).

We have unbelievable support away from home whether the team are playing well or not so why can't we bring that to Goodison?? Some of the home games this season have been fuckin dead (particularly Watford, Wigan and Sheffield Utd). I know Jez and Co will come on with the usual bullshit answers about singing being for Songs of Praise but can anyone honestly say they do not enjoy a game more when the crowd are in full voice and Goodison is rocking?? I doubt it.

See you Tuesday and lets try and raise the decibels a little! COYBB
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk, Ireland  (22/10/06)

The big difference to my mind is that the fantastic away support is composed of two or three thousand of our most ardent fans. So where are they at Goodison?

They are there... but they are sat all over the place, miles away from each other. The nucleus of (suitably lubricated) fans needed to get good chants going just doesn't exist, other than a few kids down in the Gwlady.

So it has to come from the players on the field. Not the referee making stupid decisions against us, but from our lot putting together some great passing moves and having a few good goes at scoring. That's what the game is about and there is nothing more exciting to watch, or to get the crowd animated, than good attacking football. — Michael

New ground?

Noticed this interview in the New Strait Times (Malyasia) from our Chief Operating Officer. Last answer is quite interesting...
Mike Percival, Kuala Lumpur  (22/10/06)

... and quite wrong, according to the Club. We have been told that Robert Elstone has been misquoted, as the incorrect assertion about David Weir demonstrates. — Michael

Good

In today's News of the World, an article on the bloke who bought Gregg's shares gives me confidence that our slow but sure progress will be maintained. At the same time, his praise of BK immediately created for himself a swag of enemies among the perpetually moaning nit-pickers that infest this mailbag. How long before that mobs daggers are drawn? My bet is the first of them will be in his back before this reaches TW.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (22/10/06)

So help me out here: Paul Gregg became a hate figure for many Evertonians when he fell out with Bill Kenwright (over Kings Dock?), coz he was not an Evertonain, didn't attend games, didn't invest beyond his shareholding, and wanted to make more money hand over fist on a new ground for the club and its fans.

After a two-year Boardroom war, Gregg is finally bought out, and the person replacing him, who sounds remakably similar in many ways except for his desire not to be involved in the day-to-day running of the club (and is a Tottenham fan), is destined to become a hate figure because of his support for BK? Now I am totally confused... — Michael

Fortress Goodison

I cannot afford to go to many matches so yesterday was one of my rare visits to Goodison. Christ, it's a morgue these days. 38,000 moaners who sit there with the attitude of London theatre critics.

I know you'll say why should we sing and support the team if they pay badly. Well this is football — not the bleedin' opera. The Sheffield United fans made us look like a bunch of apathetic snobs who sit there looking down our noses and winge when players lose confidence or don't seem hungry for the ball.

And that's at Goodison. A new stadium would be like a library on yesterday's evidence. Fortress Goodison, my arse. (Go on tell me... all the other games I cannot get to are diferent and the roar can be heard in Cumbria).

ZZZzzzzz
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (22/10/06)

You can doubt it if you like, but my conviction is that the atmosphere is created by the fans in response to what happens on the field, and this game is a case in point. Compare yesterday with the Blackburn game last season, when one of the teams was somewhat unfairly reduced to 10 men. When the team responded to that injustice by going for it, the crowd response to them was fantastic.

That's exactly what the Sheffield United players did yesterday, and their fans responded accordingly. In stark contrast, after the sending off, Evertonians had nothing to shout about — but plenty to moan about. So they moaned. They go there and pay their money to be entertained. They have every right to moan at what was served up after that second goal went in. — Michael

Really?

Michael, you wrote in your reply to Dutch:

“Beacuse (sic) of Bill Kenwright, we lost Kings Dock. Is there anything more you need to know? —“

I’d like to know how you reached this half-baked conclusion. I’m not a paid up member of the Kenwright Fan club; but try not to re-write history to suit your own prejudices.

You conveniently ignore the dithering of 'Liverpool Vision'; the complete inaction of various public sector partners; the Janus face of Liverpool City Council; the Machiavellian nature of Paul Gregg’s £30 Million reverse mortgage scheme; and the role of ‘Houston Securities’ (Paul Gregg) in gaining and losing ‘preferred bidder’ status between July 2001 and December 2002.

It wasn’t Bill Kenwight alone who cost us ‘Kings Dock’ (although, he was a major player) and to suggest that it was entirely his fault is both disingenuous and misleading.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (22/10/06)

"He was a major player." Yes, I can say that instead if you like. As the guy ultimately in charge of the whole fiasco, he was definitely the major player. As the one who spearheaded the rejection of Gregg's reverse mortgage, he made sure Kings Dock would never happen for us. Funny how, despite all those other machinations you mention, it is now happening for someone else (albeit at a smaller scale). — Michael

Bill Kenwright: Not fit for Purpose 2

"I do want to stress my involvement with Everton is to support. It's an endorsement of Bill Kenwright, an endorsement of David Moyes — it is not a takeover." I want to bring Fame!

As I said before, the purpose of bringing this clown on board is nothing more than to secure Bill's position. If Everton as a team don't deliver, the fans will put the bullseye on Bill after Moyes goes by the wayside.

Bill Kenwright knows that other EPL clubs are letting the money men come in with big pots of money. So he is trying to head off the questions by bringing in someone who has money by name but no intentions of investing further in Everton. This way, Bill continues to sit on the the throne at Everton.

It stinks and it's been stinking for a very long time in the boardroom. I am sick of it!
John Cribb, Liverpool  (22/10/06)

I'm no fan of Bill Kenwright and his luvvy bullshit, but if the club is making progress, it can hardly be in spite of the Boardroom, can it, John? In most businesses, the guy with the power seeks to consolidate and expand that power to run the business as he sees fit. Kenwright has been confronted with questions from the fans many times in AGMs and EGMs and has successfully deflected them, so I don't think 'questions' hold any fear for him, to be honest. And we always knew he would sit on the throne as long as he wants to. This makes his position more secure, and should threfore be of benefit to Everton in terms of Boardroom stability. — Michael

Satisfied?

I can't remember the last time we won when I've felt such a hollow feeling. We played OK until the second goal and then were a total embarassment in front of a world-wide audience.

Still 3 points are 3 points and all that... but why does he persist with Beattie? He scores a well taken penalty, just like hundreds of Sunday league players will have done today, and then stands there like Eric Cantona!! What a complete tit he really is. He was his usual complete waste of space, no touch, pace or aggression, no skill whatsoever and he lost his man at that corner when they should have scored.

Davies is another complete waste of space, another Mike Milligan but even worse. Surely the only reason they're getting a game is to 'shop window' them, pray they have a good game or even a decent moment that we can highlight as a means to shift them in January.

Trouble is, who would want them?... particularly on their inflated joke salaries. I'd be amazed if we could get 25% of the fee we paid, so all those out there who think we can sell those two wasters for good money in order to bring in a midfield enforcer should really think again... unless we use the money to bring Mike Milligan back!
Mike Price, Vancouver, BC, Canada  (22/10/06)

Everton's form

It sometimes amazes me that people always bring up league positions this early in the season. So what we are currently fifth (that will change tomorrow when Arsenal or Reading win) — what really matters is points. We currently have 16 so we need another 24 to really be sure of avoiding relegation, then we can start thinking about positions and where we can finish.

What concerned me about today is we played an hour against arguably one of the worst sides in the Premiership, who only had 10 men, and we didn't look any better than them. With two difficult away games in London coming up and then rejuvinated Villa at Goodison, I think vast improvement is needed... or that 5th could soon have a 1 in front of it!
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (21/10/06)

I don't quite understand your opening gambit, there, Colin. I think we all know that current positions after 9 games are just that, and are likely to change somewhat by the end of the season — which you go on to illustrate. But what's wrong with tracking the current position after each game through the season? Hell, we even plot it on a graph: League Progress. [Doh! Scroll down to see the League Progress chart — I forgot that file is still fucked up after the site redesign, and needs some reformating that I can't seem to figure out!] — Michael

Great Win - Our future sees no Beattie

Like Yus has stated, I'm beginning to feel that Beattie holds no value for us. In fact, there are rumours that Moyes only bought Beattie so that he can use his friendship to bring Johnson here...

Anyway, here's are my reason why we should sell Beattie:

  1. 4-5-1, and Cahill
    I simply believe that Cahill offers almost nothing in 4-4-2. He is not creative, has no positional sense. But he is a great player, nevertheless, and the Balon d'Or nomination is a testament of that. We must use him in his best position, as a striker. In the other words, play him as a striker or don't play him at all. He's our second-best player right now and he needs to play upfront. Consequently, no place for Beattie!

  2. McFadden, Anichebe and Vaughan
    When we do buy a midfield general, hopefully this January, we can start to switch around from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2, which probably sacrifices Cahill. But with Anichebe, McFadden and Vaughan, we have enough strikers who can do a job:
    • Anichebe can do anything Beattie does, perhaps a lot better, and still offers a lot more goal threat. He's also a proper target man (unlike Beattie) and he can act as Johnson foil really well.
    • McFadden should be our first-choice partner for Beattie. He reminds of a poor Van Persie, but still being young he shows that glimpse of creativity in the final third that we clearly lack.
    • Vaughan (when fit) is, in my opinion, more than ready back-up for Johnson.

Johnson, Vaughan, McFadden and Beattie is an excellent strikeforce, we should sell Beattie to buy that elusive final piece of our jigsaw: A midfield general or at least a box-to-box midfielder.

IN ROBERT EARL WE TRUST!
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (21/10/06)

Er... he's just a shareholder, FFS!

From my seat

2-0 win and three points seem's a good afternoon's work... unless you were a fan who had paid good money for the priviledge of sitting through it. A bore draw is a cliche well understood but this was a bore win.

The starting line up bore witness to our injury problems but, with the manager assuring us that there is competition for all positions and certain players are more than adaptable, no worry was envisaged. What we got was less-than acceptable in terms of even standard fare in Premiership football terms.

Against a woeful Sheffield side, we managed no more than five meaningful openings produced by good play, we managed to score twice from these and secure the points but taking into account playing ten men for an hour — during which they managed about six good chances — left me relieved we were not playing a more competent side. Was it just a bad day or are there some warning signs evident?

Beattie was quite rightly hauled off but to my eyes neither McFaddon or Anichebe were any better although in Vic's case he is young, had a short time on, and showed a willingness if little else. Fans all around me seemed bored with proceedings, especially in the second half, and the crowd as a whole seemed to have little enthusiasm to bother to compete with a good turn out of Blades. I don't care what spin is put on this game by the manager and spokespersons — I thought they should all acknowledge they let a sizeable crowd down by providing very little entertainment. They won — yes... BUT!!!

See you Tuesday -- UP THE BLUES
Ken  Buckley, Buckley  (21/10/06)

Wow, coming from you, Ken, that is strong criticsm. And fully justified from my distant view of the proceedings. — Michael

Scottish rooney? MY ARSE

As a season ticket holder, I see these headlines proclaiming the Scottish Rooney, re McFadden. I've never seen a more frustrating player in my life. Where is this Scottish passion? He came on for Beattie today and just stood up-front, with a big six-footer behind him, expecting to do the target-man role, when he should have been dragging his marker wide to let an attacking midfieder through. But just stood as a centre-forward with no hieght. Let's get shut in January.

Furthermore we have got to get back to the five-man midfield, it's the way every successful team play. Arsenal: Henry with midfielder Lungberg and others supporting; Man Utd: Dutch horse-face with Rooney and others supporting; Everton: Johnson with Cahill at his best supporting.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (21/10/06)

Dutch horse-face??? Er... Oh, never mind...

Update

Thought it a bit of an odd team selection today and thought this would fall into the hands of those who seem almost to WANT Mr Moyes to fail. We should have done better.

Cahill and Beattie get a lot of stick on here. I often feel it's too harsh and was heartened to hear Mr Moyes on local radio confirm that there has been a virus at the Club this week and both players are continuing to suffer.

Doubting thier commitment is a bit unfair in the circumstances and I hope that all wish the players well and a speedy recovery.

Mr Moyes also confirmed he wanted a win and a clean sheet. Job done. We all want the best but at this time in the Season things are looking half-full rather than half-empty.
Ian Smitham, Wilmslow  (21/10/06)

Half-full of shit? Yes, I'd agree. We seem to be getting really good at the excuses. Would they have been enough to excuse a loss in a must-win game? If Beattie's excuse is that he has been suffering from a virus, then it must be something he's been suffering from all season. After all, today was no different than his previous displays. — Michael

Standard practice

To be honest nothing but a win was good enough today. Even though there were serious injury problems (again showing the lack of quality cover), Everton's performance against whipping boys Sheffield United was average.

We won and we are 5th, and? United are poor and Everton are still playing the no creative game, wacking long balls to a clearly dis-interested Beattie. I expected a lot more adventure today, but maybe with Kenwriight firmly in charge that was too much to expect!

I think Darren Bent would be an excellent addition to the squad, with Beats going the opposite way! As surely Moyes can not put up with his lazy displays, or was that exclusive punishment to Marcus Bent only?
Luq Yus, London  (21/10/06)

What the feck do you want?

Up to FIFTH in the PREMIER and still they-and you-moan! What the feck do you want? We did a great job in what is always a difficult situation against ten men. Fab goal from Artie followed by as clinical a penalty as you will ever see from Beats. Without both our full-backs, the defence kept a clean sheet and we never looked in serious danger. As I said in the Freshy on my way home from the game, to be an Evertonian these days is to be a constant moaner! Good result, Davey!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (21/10/06)

I want us to play better football than that — don't you?
I want us to slaughter poor teams — don't you?
I want us to be the best, not just scrape by at home to one of the poorest teams in the Premiership — don't you?
Don't worry, I know the answer. — Michael

Bye Bye, Beattie

I think it's obvious he's already given up. You can see it in his body language that he knows deep down he's not made it at Everton and I think Moyes knows it too. Expect us to take a cut price and wave ta ta in January. Then it'll be 'I wasn't given the chance etc.' 'Johnson was his favourite' etc. You had your chance James, you never cut it.
Craig McManus, Mold  (21/10/06)

A great penalty take, and he did cover back well on occasions... but for an attacker, that was embarassing to watch. He seemed to show no desire at times, and looked like he was just going through he motions. — Michael

BBC

Brian Hill and Tony Horne raise questions on the BBC's coverage of Everton. I remember when we beat Liverpool and went top for a few hours I kept clicking on and off the league table to see us in our lofty position — who knows when it will happen again.

I didn't see it though cos the table wasn't updated till 5pm — by which time, Portsmouth were top. I thought, "Oh well, maybe they don't update it for the morning games" or something. But I've noticed every single week since that the 12.45 match is added to the table on the BBcc website and teletext as soon as it finishes.
Tom Farley, Liverpool  (21/10/06)

Fancy that

Mmmm, we're 2-0 up (somewhat fortunately), the opposition who haven't scored on their travels all season are down to ten men, then we spend the rest of the game as second best and it turns out that our goalkeeper has been our best player. Does anybody else feel particularly good about that performance? Sure, there's always the result, but come on, anyone who believes we're having a great season needs their head checking.

Even with the starting XI I had my doubts. Moyes has proved time and time again that 4-4-2 with those players and his tactics never really quite works. Beattie is well below par (maybe the club need to have him on a "Big Mac per goal" contract) and Cahill disappears in anonymity when given midfield responsibilities. Despite that, we still got the lead today, but the team then sat back, and if anyone was likely to score, it wasn't us.

The tactical changes made by Moyes were sound enough (despite his starting lineup), but WAY too late in my opinion. Beattie was replaced way past his sell by date, and the introduction of Anichebe to capitalise on the one-man advantage seemed ridiculous with only 12 minutes remaining and the manager having seemed content to see our midfield swamped for the previous hour.

Despite our "lofty" position, I think a luckier side than Sheffield Utd (note I don't say better) will at least expose the tactical naievity shown by Moyes. Whether we can achieve a respectable position is yet to be seen but, on this performance, don't count your chickens.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (21/10/06)

The result was fantastic — just what the doctor ordered. A "must-win" that we won. Moyes and the Boys delivered... And I should stop right there, because anything else I write about this 'game' will only get me into trouble... — Michael

Gregg goes — at last!

Sad to see this giant figure leaving the Board so I think we should have a bit of a whip round in recognition of the contribution of Paul Gregg. Let me itemise his massive contribution to the club:

  1. regular attendance at matches
  2. investment in facilities
  3. investment in players
  4. business planning
On second thoughts - fuck him and the horse he rode in on!
Ray Said, Liverpool  (21/10/06)

Brian Hill Log On Quick.....

...and read the BBC's extensive coverage of the Everton boardroom bombshell. Can you see it? Look closely, it's the link following these earth shattering bulletins:-

  • Mijailovic denies McCarthy racism
  • Hibs vacancy could interest Black
  • Owls approach for Cotterill fails
  • Paatelainen to leave Cowdenbeath

Tony Horne, Kettering  (21.10.06)

Bill Kenwright: Not fit for Purpose

Bill has made moves to secure his position in case Moyes tanks this season. The man is only interested in sitting on the throne while the kingdom goes to the fucking dogs. Well, history tells us kings are removed and usally it is started and finished by the people.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (21/10/06)

You're crazy. What in the world has Moyes got to do with the Boardroom machinations? And what interest does Kenwright have in seeing his personal investment (borrowed or not) lose value? You may not like Kenwright, but stop being silly. — Michael

Gawd help us!

So the new joint owner will leave Chairman Bill `to get on with running the club in his own way`. Gawd help us!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (21/10/06)

Prime Suspect — The Final Act

This is one of the reasons I love being an Evertonian — nothing is ever straightforward under Bill Kenwright. Love him or hate him, you have to admire Bill's passion and love for Everton and now his intense stickability.

Business is often about egos at the very top and let's face it, Bill was never going to lose the "The Final Act" with his Prime Suspect, Paul Gregg. There is only one thing for it: Jane Tennison, aka Helen Mirren, is going into retirement this Sunday (if they don't kill her off) — why not bring her on to the Board (it must be a lonely place now that everyone has left) to sort out the mysteries that are "Everton Business Dealings"

I suppose it was only a matter of time before Bill played the USA card. We've been on a world tour of potential suitors: mysterious Russians, Far fetched Middle Eastern Fortress Funds, Uk clothing magnates — the list goes on.

I fear we are all missing the real point: I can't wait for Bill's Autobiography to come out (is this when we will truly find out?). I'm ordering my advanced copy now?

Come to the Cabaret, my friends; it has to be Bill Kenwright who is the real Prime Suspect.
Keith Gibson, Ponsonby, Cumbria  (21/10/06)

Hail King Billy!

What absolutely marvellous news. The opposition to all the plans our revered Chairman has for the Club has now been removed and they can now be bought to fruition without the constant carping of Mr and Mrs Gregg! If it had been up to them, Davey Moyes would have been sacked before the victorious 2004-05 season and just what an error would that have been?

Chairman Bill has shown once again that he has all the right contacts — on an international scale — and we should all commend him for his perspicacity in his choice of partner to take our great club to new levels of achievement.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (21/10/06)

Hahaha. You are funny, Dickie. Remind me again, who was opposed to us getting Kings Dock? — Michael

Is there a strategy?

Does blue Bill actually have a strategy for the future? With Robert Earl, Sir Terry Leahy and Sir Phillip Green on board, we might actually now be going somewhere! Interesting to note Bill seems to be about attracting support but keeping his hands tightly on the reins of power!
Chris Davies, London  (21/10/06)

BBC & Everton pt 94....

There is no mention whatsoever (yet) on the BBC site of this huge investment story relating to Everton. However, I was very pleased to learn that Cattermole has signed a new deal at Boro and that West Ham might move to a new stadium in six years time.
Brian Hill, Cape Town, RSA  (21/10/06)

Answers to Zimmerman

Obviously the answer to the questions is Moyes. There's no denying the fact that during Moyes's 5 year tenure, we have endured one horrible season, a season hopefully we will never witness again, but when you see that we have finished 7th, 4th and 11th, you know that 17th is only a blip.

I also have a friend who is also convinced that the Toffeeweb Mailbag is starting to show signs of ageism.

Q: Which manager has won the highest number of the 'Manager of the Year' awards in the past 4 years???

Q: Which manager has taken us to a top 4 finish in the Premiership, something that 14 clubs have tasted, despite most of them spending more than us??

It must be taken into consideration that Moyes has only been given £3 million net per season to spend. What he has done so far is remarkable using thise low amount of funds.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (21/10/06)

Meaning of the word Support _er

Those of you who turn up tomorrow and acclaim our former warrior David Unsworth might like to reflect upon the abuse that was hurled at him periodically while he was an Everton player.

Rhino had the character though to play through the abuse without it significantly affecting his form (personally I thought he was never much better than an average player, although I loved his attitude and commitment), whereas some other players with a higher level of skill might let the abuse undermine their confidence and thus their playing ability.

Moral of the story: you might never know how good a player is until you offer him consistent support. Guess which player(s) I'm alluding to. Clue, he was mustard at finishing in the warm-up at the Riverside but failed to shine in the actual match.

Prediction for tomorrow 3-0. COYB!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (20/10/06)

Kenwright v Gregg

Sorry I dont quite understand why people are supporting the Gregg's? What did the Gregg's ever do to deserve such support? How much money did they plough into Everton? All they ever seemed to do was cause unrest on the Board.

Some say Gregg had more ambition and drive than Kenwright but I ask who won the battle for Everton? Gregg has been pushed out of the club while Kenwright now sits victorious and soley in charge.

Don't hold Gregg up as some kind of driven business genius, he lost the battle to Kenwright and we only want winners at Everton.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (20/10/06)

Dutch, here are some pertinent facts for you:

  1. Kenwright could not have taken over the club from Agent Johnson without the help and the money provided by the Greggs.
  2. Gregg suppoerted Kenwright in that takeover, so surely he deserves the support of every Evertonian who wanted the club rid of Agent Johnson?
  3. Gregg's "crime" (I still can't understand what was so wrong with this) was to try to get Everton into the Kings Dock — a £300M stadium for £30M. When Everton couldn't come up with the money, he offered to still make it work with a reverse mortage. But the idea was laughed out of court by the Kenwright Klan, and fans like you.
And just look at us now... Kirkby, anyone? Or groundsharing? Do the maths!

Beacuse of Bill Kenwright, we lost Kings Dock. Is there anything more you need to know? — Michael

BCR

Just a silly one:
BCR Sports = take your pick!
Bay City Rollers
Bills Complete Reliability
some newspaper in Illinois USA
Banks Cancel Repayments
Blues cane Reds

That's enough for now!
John McFarlane, Lancs  (20/10/06)

What Happens Next?

Well I'm gob-smacked, not so much the fact that the Greggs have left the club. But in the surprise way that it has been announced. I suppose it puts Bill Kenwright more in the firing line as he now it would seem, to have the final say on decisions made.

Although we don't know what or who is behind the people that the Greggs have sold their shares to, the manager is probably even more securely in place than he was this morning. What effect all this has on Ground Moves etc. only time will tell. I was wondering where Wydness was this week ... I'm still wondering.

Let's hope it is a watershed moment that sees some real improvement in the coming months. As I said, the pressure is really now on Bill and the Manager in the coming weeks and months.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (20/10/06)

I don't see that it really changes anything, to be honest. If anything, surely it relieves the pressure (if there was any) on Bill, rather than increasing it. Bill was in charge before; he's still in charge (perhaps just a bit more so). Nothing will have changed, other than two people less for the prawn sarnies once every three months. — Michael

BCR Sports

BCR Sports sounds suspiciously like something Blue Bill dreamt up after a night on the booze with the luvvies. "Bill Cen Right Sports" — sounds like a good name. A pay off to Gregg — is this why Moysie has run so quickly out of transfer funds? I'm an old cynic and I know it.
Keith Gibson, Ponsonby  (20/10/06)

All will be revealed soon enough... or not... — Lyndon

Who has the distinction?

I am seeking to help a friend obtain answers to Everton-related questions. My friend prefers to remain anonymous but he answers to the nickname of Zimmerman. He is wary of asking the questions himself as he is becoming delusional and is convinced that the Toffeeweb Mailbag is starting to show signs of ageism. He does not wish to be ridiculed by smart young guns who might seek to qualify the answers with modern theories on cause and effect that Newton and others never considered.

Undeterred by such considerations, I have agreed to ask the questions on his behalf.

Q. Which Manager presided over the Everton team that produced the lowest goals for total in a season and what season was it?

Q. Which Manager presided over the Everton team that obtained the lowest total of points (or, more fairly, points per game) in a season and what season was it?
Thank you, in anticipation of your answers. I am confident the results will make at least one elderly gentleman very happy.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (20/10/06)

Thanks for that, Brian, but I think those dead horses have been beaten to within an inch of their sad and sorry lives... if that confused metaphor makes any sense! — Michael

Kenwright wins again!

When two honest people like Paul and Anita Gregg sell their shares, you would think the shite is about to hit the fan!

Paul Gregg in particular was one of the few directors who showed drive and ambition for this club. That lazy, arrogant thespian has held this club back for so long, yet, like Moyes, has shown no ambition and no sign of quiting either.

This breaking news makes me sick, as it signals a long road of despair for all concerned with Everton!
Luq Yus, London  (20/10/06)

Time will tell. It was certainly a bolt from the blue! We can only conclude that Bill has consodicated his control of the trainset, apparently making sure that the party buying the shares would not be rocking his little boat any time soon. You may dislike the reign of Kenwright, and people believe he is huge factor holding the club back, yet claiming that he has shown no ambition is a bit questionable, I believe. He is obviously ambitious for Everton to suceed, but only with him in control. That's not quite teh same as "showing no ambition". And why oh why do you have to bring Moyes into it? — Michael

Wanting Better

I am not anti-Moyes, as I have stated before, I am pro-Everton and could not give a toss who manages the club as long as we achieve some success. Some of you will remember back in the eighties when it was not a matter of would we win, but a matter of how many we would win by. And this is my point, I was never satisfied with winning the title, I wanted the double and then the treble and then I wanted to go all season unbeaten and then I wanted to go all season without conceding a goal.

Totally unrealistic, I know, but you always want better for your team no matter how well they are doing, and I honestly think that that is all Marsh and Yus want. But they are just going about it a different way. Some may call it stupidity — I prefer to call it passion and that's why i will always be in their camp. I love this club with a passion, but we are all individuals who express ourselves in different ways.

Moyes to my mind has proved nothing whilst being at Everton, except that he is either a slow learner or the job is to big for him. Either way, only time will tell.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (20/10/06)

Can the real Yus, please stand up.

Tired, grumpy and uptight! No not Moyes after another embrassing defeat tomorrow, it is me!

I thought I'll come home from work and enjoy some TW, when I saw a letter, apprently from me talking about the youth and stuff??? Unless I sleep write, I did not write that!

It is clear that the Moyes Boys are so impressed with our battles, one of them wants to be me!? Oh well, there are worst things in life I guess!
Luq Yus, London  (20/10/06)

I thought it didn't sound like you... Guess we'll have to turn on the e.mail validation software to confirm people are who they say they are... only this service does not sadly extend to those using false names. — Michael

More than just 3 points

I think Saturday represents an ideal opportunity for David Moyes to get some of the misfit players firing and build up some momentum. We face a Sheff Utd team yet to score away from home. Couple this with 8 goals in 4 home games and the blues are strong favourites. That's why I think Moyes should start Beattie, Davies and Van der Meyde and tell them to prove their worth to the team and the fans. At some stage Moyes has to give VdM a chance this season and this represents the best time to do it. It would also allow Arteta to move into the middle. From a deep position he can dictate play and control the game which I think he could do easily.

Heres hoping for another 3 points tomorrow. COYB!
Craig Heywood, Leeds  (20/10/06)

Our Youth Uprising

Anyone here notices that we seems to actually producing some young talents over the years??

Osman, Hibbert are now first team players, and now we have quality youngsters in Vaughan, Kissock, Anichebe waiting on the wings.

The future is bright, the future is blue... (er, that doesn't fit well, does it? Oh well..)
Luq Yus, Liverpool  (20/10/06)

Er... Is that you, Dutch?

Gallacher

There's no law against being dim but if there were, Liam would be a fugitive. In a TV special on Oasis, Noel described how Liam refused to believe him when he told his sibling that This is Spinal Tap wasn't a documentary.
Simon Amble, Hereford  (20/10/06)

A win not vital but......

Whilst I agree that tomorrow`s game is by no means make or break, I do see a win as indicative as to whether or not we are to be seen as serious challengers for `a European place`. Like most people, I have been encouraged by the start the team made and disappointed by a return of only 3 points from the last four matches.

Analysing the overall improvement over last season, clearly the contribution of Johnson has been a key factor, as has the reversion to 4-4-1-1, which has released Cahill to support the main striker. In defence, Howard has been competent, Lescott shown early promise. But he is by no means the finished article and I fully expect to see Weir or Stubbs re-introduced temporarily - possibly to play alongside him.

On the negative side, the team is still light(physically) and lacking in creativity in midfield, and the enforced use of Neville at full-back will exacerbate this situation.

Tactically, I do not believe we have the players to allow a reversion to the more attractive 4-4-2 formation. At Palace, Johnson failed to thrive in a dual role — once going 17 games with only 4 penalties to show for his eforts — and nothing I have seen of Beattie leads me to believe he can be a foil for the smaller man. The manager`s caution in introducing Anichebe or Vaughan is predictable and it will be to McFadden he will turn if the lone-stiker ploy begins to stall.

So, to return to the thread, the Sheffield game is not vital but may well set the pattern for the manager`s thinking for the rest of the season. Based on his performance to date, only a fool would bet either way on his getting it right!
Terry Newton, Higher Kineton  (20/10/06)

Some interesting comments there, Terry. I think you call it about right. — Michael

Not suited

Brian in response to your question, "Why did Moyes buy them if they weren't suited?"

The first thing I said was that I believe Moyes's tactical ability to be one of his weaknesses. Obviously Moyes bought the players believing they would be a success. However I don't think the tactics of last season — Beattie as a lone forward — and this season to some extent, lumping balls forward to Beattie, have helped the players.

Some blame does lie with the players - Beattie's fitness, Van Der Meyde's extra curricular activities... As I said in my last post, this is where Moyes has to start getting it right. Team selection and matchday tactics.

This could be the difference between mid table mediocrity and top 6.
Craig Heywood, Leeds  (20/10/06)

Just to clarify...

I recall that Gary Steven's was nicknamed 'Shagger' not 'Shaggy' by most of the fans.

Mr Finnigan, the shareholder I knew, was my next door neighbour on the Riverside Gardens estate at the bottom of Dingle Lane, where she lived with her mother. Her mother used to feed my two cats when I worked away from home.

She allegedly had a secret affair with a member of the Everton staff at that time. I recall him picking her up in his Jaguar on more than one occasion while dating her. He was always careful not get out of his car and he always wore dark glasses, even though most of the neighbours knew what was going on.

He left the club when Peter Johnson came on the scene, after which the flow of inside information stopped.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (20/10/06)

Plenty of tackles outside the box with the odd offside, eh?! — Colm

Oasis - Best Band in.... Manchester?

I have to congratulate you (or whoever was the spotter) for that link to Liam Gallacher's rant about Australia, and about Cahill in particular.

When luminaries such as Liam speak up about football, one has to sit up and take notice. This is afterall the man who left the playoff final for his own team against Gillingham when they were 2-0 down, with a few minutes left. Sadly for him they scored 2 late goals and went on to win on pens... Great fan.

I actually had the opportunity to see Oasis live in Singapore in February. (At least they turned up — Robbie Williams was 'too tired' allegedly and cancelled). I witnessed loads of people leaving early, as they were absolute wank. The worst $100 I ever spent. A week later I watched Franz Ferdinand — a band that apparently the knowledgeable Mr Gallacher has dismissed. They absolutely rocked the place.

Most Man City fans I've met are cool, and we have a lot in common (relating to neighbours who are media darlings and have had more than the occasionally flukey trophy). Most of them can also accept their team is a consistent let-down. Yeah, you've got a nice stadium, but you didn't have to pay for it, and it was built for you.

Last point on this — does anyone actually listen to what he says anymore? One of the funniest things I watched back in the UK was the Sunday show, when 'Pop Tart' Jenny walked into the famous record shop in Manchester and asked 'for a load of old Beatles records and overnight success please'.

Nuff said.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (20/10/06)

Did Tony Marsh Drop His Trousers?

So Dutch was right Moyes really has only cost Everton £15 million on transfers during his reign as Everton manager?

That's pretty amazing. We have a really good squad now, excellent rebuilding for £3 million per season. Now that he's got the squad, let's see if Moyes can get the best out of them on a regular basis.
John Cottee, Romford  (20/10/06)

Apparently that's voodoo economics.... although I still can't quite see why... It's basic add-ups and take-aways — although no-one has mentioned the unreliability factor regarding (a) undsclosed fees (2) payments based on appearances, and (iii) gawd knows what else, that could all skew the figures by an unknown amount (let's say £3M) each season. Maybe Moyes has performed this miracle based on nothing at all.... he truely is the Moyesiah! — Michael

EFC Hospitality

I was just perusing through the Hospitality Packages on the official website. Not that I am feeling flush of course, but just working out a birthday treat for the little fella.

Games A & B are non-starters in the 1878 and the Marquee so Games C is the preferred option. Next thing to do is choose a game. Charlton? Fulham? Bolton? Reading? Sunderland? OOOOH decisions, decisions.

Whoa!! hang on a minute! Sunderland? Isn't some geezer from Cork running them? and more to the point, isn't he running them in the Championship?

Dear Mr Everton Corporate Hospitality Geezer or Geezeress,
Please try and keep your finger on the pulse! Did your school report at any stage mention the word scatterbrain? No wonder we can't attract any soddin' cash!

Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (20/10/06)

Pigs are cleared for take off

What with Arteta about to hit his straps and Leon promising an avalanche of goals, Tiny and AJ won’t get a look in.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (20/10/06)

Shaggy

Much the same as Neville Goode, I always thought Gary was nicknamed as such for the shaggy hair and weasel 'tache that made him look like Scooby's mate.

Reading the recent mails reminded me of my childhood hero. Not the most likely in that great team, I know, but coming from Gary's hometown (Barrow) and playing right-back can bias your choices at an impressionable age.

Since the late eighties, I have been let down by the legend that was. Firstly, he leaves (crushing to a lad of 11). Secondly, my teacher, who also taught Gary, informs me that Gary wasn't much of a player but a great athlete. Thirdly, it turns out he was called shaggy for disreputable reasons.

I suppose it relates to how disapponted we have all been for more than 15 years by the club we love. However, I have never been as excited, since the eighties, as I am by the prospects of this current squad. Whether Moyes is the right man to take them to the 'next step', I don't know. But all will be revealed in time and in the meantime I'm enjoying the wait.
Paul Ryder, London  (19/10/06)

Stop indulging in voodoo economics

This concept of subtracting the income raised from transfers-out from the expenditure on transfers-in and then drawing value judgements based on the size of the remainder is one of the phoniest statistics in football. It tells you absolutely nothing. Nada. There is no valid conclusion of any kind to be drawn, except by an accountant.

Are we to suppose that, if you buy a really crap striker for £6M, but sell two good players for a total of £5M, then that really crap striker has only cost you 1 million and is therefore not as crap as you thought he was for a 1 million pound striker? That’s nonsense. You have just spent £6M on a crap player when you might well have spent it on a good one. This is the kind of statistical voodoo miss-analysis that Walter Smith’s fans (some of whom are regulars here) used to come up with to show that he was really a brilliant manager because when you did the sums he had actually only spent 50p on players the entire time he was here. “Well what do you expect,” otherwise intelligent fans would say, “he’s only had 50p to spend this whole time!”

I can’t think of any manager who is judged in this way and there’s no reason to apply it to David Moyes. You have to look at the cost of players, the contribution they make — and maybe — their resale value if any. David Moyes has done some good business (Cahill, Lescott Johnson) and some bad business (Krøldrup Beattie, Davies) while he’s been here. But if you are going to judge him, there are only two valid methods. Your own gut when you watch us play, and the league table. By those standards we are improving all the time.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (19/10/06)

I didn't think anyone was actually saying that. But whatever... — Michael

Perhaps not in direct terms but that seemed to be the overall point of the debate. I think Peter is spot on — Lyndon

Money spent

Okay, Moyes has had £15 million net to spend but how much has a Mr Wenger spent net at Arsenal? Not a lot more I expect after his brilliant record in the transfer market.
Martin Bones, Wales  (19/10/06)

Not suited

I think Rufus Thingey makes some good points. As far as Craig`s reply is concerned, if Beattie, Davies and Van der Useless don`t fit into the pattern of play Moyes favours, why the hell did he sign them?
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (19/10/06)

Sheff Utd Must Win

I totally agree with Tim Howard, this weekend's game against Sheff Utd is absolutely must win.

If Everton fail to win (and I have a sneaking suspicion it could prove a banana-skin draw) then I may find myself agreeing with those who suggest that the season is going down the shitter. Hopefully that's not the case and a good win will put Everton back on course. Come on the Blues.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (19/10/06)

What does "Must Win" really mean, Dutch? It's not really "Must win" in the sense that the world will end or some other dreadful catastrophe will befall us... is it? Yes, it would be bad not to win, but couldn't we make that up at some stage if we still have a few more bad games before this poor spell is through? Even Moyes seems to now accept that we can't win every game, which is a pity, I think.

"Must win"... bit of a meaningless statement of desparation, don't you think? Or just another meaningless football cliché that doesn't stand up to the burden of analysis? — Michael

Moyes again

When I read this site, I often get a feel that nonsense is being being talked. Egos that have to have their say, and argue it until they feel their point is hammered home. Is it a vain hope that people will agree with them? They are the sole voice of reason and sensibilty?

The fact is you will never please all of us, even if we where likely to win the league we would still find ways to criticise the players and the manager. We are football fans after all. Like religion, it creates its own debate.

When comparing Managers and statistics, remember something: football is always XI v XI, statistics don't lie but they are very often abused to prove a point. How you interpret statistics is up to how they are presented! So when people compare Harvey to Moyes, I have a little chuckle to myself. The XI that Harvey put forward against teams of the day is not the same as what DM has to do in today's environment.

I believe I sit in the middle ground as far as the Moyes debate goes, I can see the progress but also see the mistakes. As an older blue I see how opinion is getting polarised through the age gap. Older blues, it may still be a while before we see success again, but being oppressively negative does not achieve anything. Us older fella's know what NSNO means but should use our wisdom to understand the difficult nature that Everton faces today.

I don't see enough of the older blues doing that. They may have lost the plot! I would say though, the young uns are right to support Moyes because in their lifetimes he has regenerated Everton. That's where our hopes lie. The bloke is committed and has given us a decent start.

I am quite happy to judge "his team" at the end of this season rather than get naffed off by one loss and IF's. I think he has earned the right to be judged by this season's performance.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (19/10/06)

So you won't say nuffink until the end of the season? That may be okay for you, Eamonn, but I don't think that's going to work for everyone. It's like the difference between an end-of-term exam versus continuous assessment in the form of a weekly test, then we'll add up the scores at the end. I know how it was done in the old farts' day, and so I'm sure the young 'uns are now fully accepting of continuous assessment. — Michael

Positive Opinion On Davey

Following on from the idea of Tony Marsh to be positive about David Moyes, I too decided I would be. He would definitely be a good manager if:

  1. He brought in a specialist assistant to spot all good players available.
  2. Also someone who knew what players we actually needed.
  3. Also someone who would be able to bring them to Goodison.
  4. Someone who could select the best team out of the players available.
  5. 5omeone who could work out the right tactics for each match.
  6. Someone who knew how to change tactics if necessary.
  7. Someone who knew that you don't keep playing players out of position.
  8. Someone who had the guts to get rid of Beattie.
  9. Someone who knew how to get the team to play good football.
  10. Someone who knew something about man- management.
  11. And someone who would actually watch the game for the 90 minutes instead of turning his back all the time to complain to the fourth official or chat with Irvine.
Davey could then be left to celebrate famous wins by running on the pitch in the style of a ten-year-old, which I have to say he does really well. I am sure the Moyes fan club will appreciate that I have tried to be constructive.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (19/10/06)

Cough... splutter... gafaw... Sorry, Ged, but I honestly can't see your 'constructive' critique raising the level of the debate. — Michael

Colin Harvey: last word (honest) but incomplete

I have to admit that I have never knowingly lived next door to an Everton Shareholder — in the Dingle or elsewhere — but still feel able to respond again to Mr Baker (Aldershot).

I am intrigued by this shareholding neighbour who was supplying Mr Baker with hot gossip from inside the Club circa 1987-1990. Today, most small shareholders know nothing of the politics within the Club and I doubt if Dingle Throat knew much more than the average fan but if Mr Baker feels that this claim adds weight to his argument then so be it.

Firstly, let's deal with Gary Stevens. He has been described as a bit of a lad and this upset puritan Harvey and he was banished beyond Hadrian's Wall for his extra-curricular antics. I think that you will find that the rumour of those days was that he turned extra-curricular into intra-curricular activities and it was this that helped ruin team morale and attracted Harvey's censure. I am surprised that Dingle Throat was not aware of this rumour!

We are then asked (to ask ourselves), 'Why was Harvey sacked after only 3 years?' Obviously Mr aker and his neighbour with the share(s) have come to the conclusion that it was because Harvey (whose record I have compared favourably with Catterick, Present Incumbent, et al.) was not up to the job. I have an alternative theory... i you will permit.

During Harvey's three years in charge, the Heysel Amnesiacs finished 1st, 2nd (beaten to the title by Arsenal on goals scored) and 1st. This alone would have created inordinate pressure for any Everton Manager to withstand and make any Everton Board Member twitchy. These external forces were beyond Harvey's control and he paid the price. In addition, Kendall's return to English Management in December 1989 made him 'available' and the Board chose to create their own version of the second coming during season 1990-1991 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Mr Baker's last sentence is weird and disturbing. If Harvey was better than the Present Incumbent (TRUE) and eggs are eggs (TRUE) then we are now playing in the Championship (FALSE up to now.) However, but with Luvvie upstairs, and the guy auditioning for the Brian Glover part in a remake of 'Kes' on the bench, I am concerned that we could soon end up with 3 TRUES and in this game that does not qualify for a prize.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (19/10/06)

Moyes's Transfer Record

I think that David Moyes deserves praise in this particular area. Although he does have limitations in tactical ability and decision-making, I think his transfer record is very good.

The figure of £3M net is quite surprising. When you look at the good players he has bought in: Cahill, Arteta, Martyn, Lescott, Johnson, Neville — I think he has bought well. Admittedly not all of his transfers have worked out but neither have those of Ferguson, Benitez, Mourinho and Wenger. Some times you have to take a chance on players - Krøldrup, Beattie, Davies, Van der Meyde. I personally think the last three can still have an impact. I also don't think that the team shape and style has always benefited these players.

Overall, I don't think we can be too unhappy with the players Moyes has brought in. I personally think this is the strongest squad we've had in the last 10 years or so. What Moyes has to do now for me is realise the potential of this squad and that is where the jury is still out.
Craig Heywood, Leeds  (19/10/06)

Good comments, Craig.

Netto

The net £15M (if the figure really is that low!) takes into account the genius' sale of our crown jewel which makes up in excess of 95% of the money he`s brought in!

Figures can be made to mean anything - all I will say is that, for every Johnson or Arteta there`s a Wright, Beattie, Davies, Krøldrup, Van der Meyde waiting to cancel out their net value to the team. So let`s get real, shall we?

Oh, I forgot, according to Shafter and Colbert we`ve got to give Beattie and Davies the time to settle in. What a load of bollocks!
Rufus Masingbird, West Kirby  (19/10/06)

Sounds like a classic denial of the facts to suit your ingrained opinion, Rufus! The figures can't be made to mean anything: thay are what they are. It's the net amount Moyes has spent over his tenure — and it's a lot less than one might expect. Given the horrendous mistakes, which are to some extent inevitable, the balance has to go down on the credit side for Moyes. — Michael

The Real Me

Michael, what's going on with this Tony Marsh Mk 2 character? I noticed he first appeared in the summer and disappeared again. Is it against the rules to have a Doppleganger on your website? I get enough stick on here with out taking the blame for someone else's counterfiet posts. From now on, I shall be known as TRTM. THE REAL TONY MARSH.

Seeing as the site has reached critical mass the past week or two and is ready to explode, I have made a decision: This Saturday I will do as one of the posts suggests and ignore all the bad bits of the game and try to focus on the positives for a change. No Moyes baiting or slagging off his tactics — I am really going to give this a go and see what I can come up with. I want to feel what it's like to be a real Evertonian and never see the negative side of things. I can't wait for my fellow Bluenoses to embrace the new me.

Mckenny, Attress, Beesley and myself all on the ale together very soon in the near future. We might even convince Luq to come on board. Pricey and Matty could come over from the Far East and we could all have a right old knees up.

This is going to be fantastic and I can't wait. Roll on Saturday!
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (19/10/06)

But how do we know this is the real you? It certainly doesn't sound like you... But wait, you got the e.mail addy right (well, close enough) — It must be you! — Michael

Songs...

I've made this point before and I'll make it again... Everton fans on the whole come to WATCH a game of football. If you want to sing, go and watch Songs of Praise. We've got a few traditional songs that we all know and love... why turn into that shower of shite who must actually sit at home and practise new songs with their mates!!!

I got sent this link a while ago from a red friend of mine, who's embarrased of the tossers... Red and White Kop

That's one of the better ones.

WHAT'S OUR NAME???
Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (19/10/06)

No excuses this time pal

With Hibbo out for months it looks like Mr Davies will get his place back in the 4-5-1 formation. I dont think a player has been talked up more than Si so I really dont believe he will have many excuses if he doesn't perform by Xmas/New Year.

I hope he plays wide right and shows us what made him a class player at Spurs, all those years ago. All this talk about people like Sheedy, Steven etc has made we wish we did play with at least one wide man. Okay, they never were the best at going past people (Sheedy might have been the slowest player we ever had) but their delivery was first class.

On a side issue, why do certain people use psuedonyms on this site??? Do they think that if others don't agree with there views we will all pile over to where they live for a fight!!! Not really likely is it???
John Audsley, Rothwell, Leeds  (19/10/06)

The ball, as they say, is now most definitely in Davies' court! — Colm

Colin Harvey - the last word (honest)

Firstly let me apologise Mr Finnigan for spelling your name wrong. Next, I just wanted to try and get across the failure of Colin Harvey as a manager, which is contarary to what statistics may suggest. Applogies for my reference to a Chimpanzee, as I was only trying illustrate that Harvey's job was reletively easy when he started.

I for one was a season ticket holder during Harvey's reign and also lived next door to an Everton shareholder in the Dingle so I had first hand experience of the full wrath of the fans, the slatings in the press, while also getting hot gossip from inside the club from my neighbour.

You have to remember that expectations were a lot higher than they are now after three seasons of finishing 1st, 2nd and 1st under the brilliant Kendall and Harvey as coach. So finishing 4th, 8th and 6th was considered a failure by the fans, the media, the Board and also the players. You have to ask yourself why he was sacked after only three years?

I for one couldn't wait for him to leave as he was bringing the club down, with relegation as a serious option if he had stayed.

Next, why did Gary Stevens leave? The offical line was to play European football. If that was the case then why didn't he and other players leave in droves as soon as the European ban came into force?

It was after Kendall left the club and Harvey took over that the mass exodus started. The European ban came into force in 85-86 after the Heysel disaster, so why did the Everton stars stick around for another 2 years? The answer was to win more league titles under Kendall. I rememder a press article were Harvey had stated that Stevens was more interested in shagging than playing football. The real reason Stevens left was to get away from Harvey and his sinking ship — European football was just an excuse.

If Harvey was better than Moyes, then I am sure as eggs are eggs that we would languishing in the Championship by now.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (19/10/06)

Money is required for Success

I have checked ToffeeWeb's transfer page, and suprisingly Dutch is correct. Moyes has been given only £15 million net in the past 4½ seasons. I thought Moyes had been given a lot of money to spend, but he has been given ONLY £3-5 million net per season.

£3 million is the sort of amount a promoted a club spends, so basically every season we survive relegation should considered as a succeess. But Moyes has taken us futher than that. We have finished in the top 7 twice. Compared to teams like Middlesboro, Newcastle and Spurs who spend millions of pounds each year, this is remarkable achivement for Moyes.

Remember, before you critise Moyes, look at how much he has spent comparatively with other managers. You'll see that he has done a good job.

In Moyes I trust
Tony Colbert, Liverpool  (19/10/06)

The sad thing is Tony — for those who hold firm the belief that Everton, and Evertonians, should not see 7th, 10th, or whatever, as relative success is not what floats out boat, so to speak! Everton FC — a club to the forefront throughout the years; a source of great pride for Blues throughout the years.

Thing is, you are right, as is Dutch, to use our relative lack of real investment as a source of support for the job Moyes has done to date. I certainly wouldn't argue with that. If nothing, those figures — no matter what side of the ditch you lie on regarding the manager etc — should see most of us pointing more of a finger towards the Board, and not the manager. Having said that, question the Board for their supposed lack of support and you'll hear Moyes coming out and defending them against those allegations! — Colm

Gary Stevens

Heh, I remember coming home from a match with my dad (we had just thumped Norwich 4-0 or 5-2 on our way to the title) and innocently saying to my mum that Shaggy played well (thinking the nickname was something to do with the way he ran; kinda reminded me of Shaggy on Scooby Doo).

My dad has never been one for swearing and he blew a gasket when he heard me say that. So in answer to Michael Moon's question: our Gary liked his extra-curricular activities!
Neville Goode, UK  (19/10/06)

Programmes Wanted

Hi from NZ! I love Everton and I love collecting Everton programmes. I am looking for the following:

  • Jan 1980, League: Everton v Stoke (postponed)
  • Feb 1970, League: Sunderland v Everton (postponed)
Do you know anyone who can help me? Thanks for your time, Cheers
Pete Healing, Christchurch, New Zealand  (19/10/06)

Peter - your best bet of securing this programme is to go here, and hopefully they'll be in a position to get you a copy. — Colm

Couple of Issues

A couple of things popped up in the Mailbag that I'd like to reply to. One was about Harvey vs Moyes. In my opinion, Colin Harvey was the reluctant manager of EFC. He's pretty much said so himself. It was a 'PR' move by the Board to appoint him after Howard upped sticks.

Again, IMHO, Howard left because Carter sold Lineker to Barcelona. People claim Lineker 'forgot' his time at EFC. Bullshit. I met him once, and asked him about this, and his answer was that no-one ever asks him about his time. He also said that if Everton hadn't accepted the Barca bid, he would have been happy to stay.

Don't always believe the 'popular press'. The truth is usally somewhere in the middle.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (19/10/06)

I thought Lineker recently made mention of his Everton credentials on MotD? Shows how easily people forget, and sink back into the "lazy journalism" mode... — Michael

Singing the Blues

I've been reading the mailbag with interest over the last few weeks, and as ever it demonstrates that us Blues will always have our opinions, and we'll never agree.

For what it's worth, I think Mr Marsh is a committed Evertonian. As unpalatable as it is, I agree with a lot of his sentiments. I also believe that Dutch (use your real name please!) and Dodd are also committed Evertonians, but I'll admit sometimes I think they should be committed...

As someone in my mid-30s, I've seen some good Everton teams, and also witnessed the shite we played under the likes of Walter. (Anyone remember the 6 consecutive games at Goodison without a goal from us?)

I think Moyes has his faults, and there's only so much time you can give someone who's 'learning the game'. But I do think he's probably our only choice. (Thanks, Bill!) If some of you want to bitch about the state of the club, look closer at our Chairman. As a former employee of the club, I can vouch that he is a committed Bluenose, like all of us, but that's his only saving grace.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (19/10/06)

Apart from the odd sleight, Bill generally hasn't got much flak from here, which is usually the case when things are going well. There are fewer obvious targets, without the likes of Dunford, and even Paul Gregg has been remarkably quiet. Maybe they are all at it, 24/7 behind the scenes, searching in vain for the next big investor... — Michael

Thank you, gentlemen

After having a bad day, I thought a glance at the letters might cheer me up. May I say the thought of Mr Marsh or Mr Schaffer being polite to each other is awe-inspiring for Colm and co. Their next task is to get those nasty chaps across the park to send their regrets for all the foul language they have shouted at us over the years. Then perhaps they could get Mr Kenwright to explain in complete honesty why he can't get any financial backing. Oh and maybe the odd photo of Gary Stevens in his naughty nights.
Roy Coyne, Liverpool  (19/10/06)

Beattie Bashers

Well he may have been an under-achiever but before you slate him to High Heaven consider a Bob Latchford without a Dave Thomas or a Ronnie Goodlass.

The bloke is not an Andrew Johnson speed-merchant. Cut him some slack and judge him when we get a decent winger or when Arteta and the like decide to put an early ball in at pace instead of doubling back all the time.

Accommodate him or else get shut in the January window because we've decided to go down a different route tactically. Don't necessarily slag him off because he can't do a Linford Christie.

His underachievement is as much down to the balance of the team and tactics as lack of effort.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (19/10/06)

Talk about bias

Down here we have Robbie Slater, ex-Hammers, as one of our main TV football pundits. When talking about our Red neighbours he almost wets his pant and babbled on about 'Us' 'We'. Recently he was admonished by the anchor man for going over the top with his one-sided enthusiasm.

At least we knew where Robbie's loyalties lie. Like others of his ilk he now wears a false face of impartiality and like them he makes a bad job of it.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (19/10/06)

Insults & Abuse

Talk about abuse and insults, Michael is the biggest offender, he has called Dutch some really awful things.

As far as I can remember Dutch has never insulted anyone but Michael has called him all kinds of names including foul language.

People in glass houses, Michael.
John Cottee, Romford  (18/10/06)

Fair cop, Guv! Then again, Michael's an 'Onorary Life President (Glass bowls optional) of the Evertonian Curmudgeon's Society... — Colm

Song for Europe?

What do you want songs for? That's for the prawn sandwich eaters.

It's all about the gutteral caveman-style roar experienced at Goodison rather than singing "by far the greatest team, the world has ever seen".

Don't mind 'der der der, der der der der der, der der der, der der der der' along to Z-Cars as the players run on the pitch though.
Dan Parker, New York, US  (18/10/06)

I'm not an arl fart by any means but if pushed, asked for a definitive song — a song that was simply in one word, Everton, I would always ALWAYS plump for the timeless "We Shall Not Be Moved", finishing with "What's Our Name?". 1966.... jumpers for goalposts... FA Cup Final.... Eddie Cavanagh.... Mike Trebilcock... Evertonians swaying side to side, jumping up and down, in unison:

WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED! — Colm

Just For The Record

Couldn't agree more about new songs/chants being needed, but I'm afraid you might have to look elsewhere for inspiration as Lionel Bart kicked the bucket some years ago...
Steve Hogan, Chester  (18/10/06)

...which is why I made a reference to contact from beyond the grave in that earlier post, Sir! C'mon, keep up Steve! — Colm

The new rules

No personal abuse.
Don't talk about "pro-Moyes".
Talk about Everton.
Don't talk about "anti-Moyes".
Don't talk anout Tony or Dutch.
Contribute something — Don't just say x or y is full of shit.

That's the mailbag fucked then.

Let's not make it some kind of agreement central like most of the ultra dull everton message boards which appear to be frequented by touchers from Belgium who don't know their football from their anus and just want to look down on you and tell you how wonderfully educated they are and how everyone else is scum.

Keep up the good work, mailbag contributors.
Rupert Cholmondley, Clerkenwell  (18/10/06)

Plenty of room for healthy debate and banter on here without the need to resort to personal insults. There's many ways of getting a point across without abuse. — Colm

Gary Stevens

Why did Gary Stevens leave us then? Sorry to come across like a inquisitive teenager but the line "Gary Stevens left for reasons that can't be printed in a family website" really attracted my attention! I may have had me head stuck in the clouds for the past 20 years but go on give us a clue what that means. Nice one!
Michael Moon, Fazakerley  (18/10/06)

He was caught sharing an unpaid-for Lucozade bottle with Gary Speed... - Colm

Songs, Gentlemen, Please!

Come on, boys, we have to think of some new songs, I am fed up with Ev-er-ton, Ev-er-ton, and "If you know our history". The songs have all died, we are boring...

Let's make up some new ones and print them on the message board, let's have a laugh. This one is to the tune of Mary Poppins and A spoonful of Sugar:

Just one look at Everton makes The Red Shite look Crap,
The Red Shite look Crap,
The Red Shite look Crap,
Just one look at Everton makes The Red Shite look Crap,
The Red Shite look Crap,
And you will support the two

Joseph Walsh, Woking  (18/10/06)

What!? That is shite, and the last line makes no sense. Can you really imagine a bunch of even knobhead drunk Evertonians singing that? [Can you tell I'm already starting to miss the personal abuse...] — Michael

Perhaps our showbiz loving chairman can have a word from beyond the grave and get Lionel Bart to pen something more suitable?! - Colm

Last post for Mr Baker

Once again (but for the last time) I have to respond to Brian Baker regarding Colin Harvey.

I think that Mr Baker is confusing the 1986-87 team with the 1984-85 team. The team that Colin Harvey inherited were League Champions and therefore the best team in England but they could not be compared in quality to the team from two years earlier and were certainly not thought of as arguably the best team in Europe.

To then say that a trained chimpanzee could almost have achieved 4th place in the following year is a gross insult to Harvey. It was not Harvey who caused Steven to leave... it was a desire to play European Football. The departure of Gary Stevens is a different matter altogether and the reasons for it not suitable for a family website.

In the three years following the 1962-63 Championship, Catterick did less well (1.55 points per game in finishing 3rd, 4th and 11th) than Harvey in his three full years following the 1986-87 Championship (1.58 points per game in finishing 4th, 8th and 6th). Catterick did a dreadful job (1.14 points per game in finishing 14th, 15th and 17th) in the three years following the 1969-70 Championship but I make allowances here for his ill health during the latter part of those three years. He has never been likened to a trained Chimpanzee.

In October 1990 (after more than three years in charge) Harvey stood down as Manager and Gabriel was in charge for a single game if memory serves. The Club had finished 6th the previous year and yet by October of the following season Harvey is said (by you) to be taking Everton to the jaws of relegation... in October?

After Gabriel's caretaking stint, Harvey was First Team Coach under Kendall Mk II (hardly banished to Hades for his incompetence). You describe Harvey as a good training-ground coach... I think you will find that the players who were coached by him are more generous with their adjectives regarding his ability.

Where is your evidence that the present manager is a better tactician than Harvey? Sadly, I have seen little evidence that the present Manager is a better tactician than a trained Chimpanzee...

Finally, regarding the merits (as managers) of Harvey and the present incumbent, it really comes down to a matter of taste. Harvey was in many ways similar to Johnny Carey... too nice a guy to be ruthless with his players; preferring example to bombast. You reckoned he failed as a Manager... I reckon he succeeded as a person. The present Manager reminds me of the PE Teacher in the film 'Kes' — and one scene in that film reminds me of his oft-confrontational attitude to the Boy from Croxteth.

Your final comment is wrong. The present Manager is not the best Manager since Kendall (Mk )... hat distinction belongs to Colin Harvey and I have the statistics to prove it.

ps: name is Finnigan not Finnegan!
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (18/10/06)

I was thinking of choking off his thread, but that was so well argued and put together, Brian. Nice job. — Michael

Blues Bad Coverage

I have to agree wholeheartedly with Steve Guy's comments regarding the coverage of the Blues by a publicly funded organisation. I can understand Granada's bias as they are stakeholders in LFC.

Who or what EFC have offended at the BBC is something we can only guess at. On Saturday I switched on the TV at 5:50pm and went to Ceefax to find out how the Blues had got on and there it was "Boro End Blues unbeaten run"! I then unmuted the TV and the presenter on no less than 3 occasions said the game at the Riverside was still ongoing. I was puzzled and confused.

As Steve says it would appear that only Bad news for Eveton is headlined as today when the main highlightd Ceefax page says Everton charged by FA only to later change it to both clubs to be charged.

I can choose not to watch Granada Reports, I can choose not to subscribe to Sky but I like everyone else cannot (without committing a criminal offence) choose to pay for a TV licence.

I think the BBC has too many LFC supporters in their ranks. Remember in 1985-86 when due to a strike there was no MOTD just coinciding with us being champions.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (18/10/06)

Talk about being paranoid!!! No Match of the Day back in 1985-86 (just as well as we lost our Goodison derby 2-3, eh?!) the fault of a red-influenced Beeb?! - Colm

Re: Nick Armitage — Yes or No

Nick, 500 words to pretend to sit on the fence when instead you mean "Yes".

That Moyes plan is 5 years old and is signed off by Billy every year. It's a pity that plan doesn't have quantifiable measurable goals which they could share with US the fans and hold themseleves accountable to the fans and shareholders for failure.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (18/10/06)

Paranoid?

Lunch time and I surf the web for all things Blue. When it's BBC Sport's turn, I am presented with the famous EFC crest. Good Grief! What could have happened? A management buyout ousts BK? News of the impending move from Goodison? Major injury to a player? News of a signing?

No, none of the above. Instead, the news that we are to be charged for the melee at the mini-derby!

Don't get me wrong, I don't condone that sort of thing (although it's kinda fun to watch handbags flying), but this is exactly the reason I hate the BBC's football coverage. The only two stories they have covered recently are Davies claiming (and then not) that he is off, and this.... at a reserve game, for God's sake!

Always negative. We get Alan Green on Five Live slagging us even when we play well, Lineker continually trying to hide the fact that he once played for us, and guaranteed last on the MotD highlights; unless we are playing Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal or the Darkside (which is why I don't bother to watch anymore).

I drive around the country as part of my job and now play a little game with myself as to which of the 'Big Four' will be the lead story on 5Dead (as John Gaunt of Talksport has nicknamed it). I occassionally lose, when they throw a spanner by mentioning good old Harry (bungs? not me!) Rednapp or the barcodes (cos they're a 'massive' club). For a quango we all pay taxes to fund, football is possibly the only area of their broadcasting where 'balance' goes out the window.

Can I suggest that TW uses it's clout to start a campaign for better balance at this national disgrace to broadcasting?
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (18/10/06)

Surely that's a job for Everton's Public Relations department, no? — Colm

Censorship Is Bad

So we can't talk about the Anti-Moyes Brigade or the Pro-Moyes Mob, we can't comment on the posts of Tony Marsh or Dutch and our posts will only be approved if Michael thinks them worthy?

I thought Germany lost the war but clearly the Nazi's are in charge of this web-site. I don't believe in censorship, people should be able to express their opinions, if others dont like it don't read the messageboard. Who are you to tell me what I can and can't express. I don't want no dictator here.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (18/10/06)

I think you'll find it was more of a plea to cut out the personal insults being volleyed across tired bows... — Colm

New Problem! — Just Ask Clive

Arsene Wenger commented on Henry's disallowed goal last night thus:
" Now we have something new - they cancel goals because they saw things which did not exist. That's a problem".

Funny that, I thought it had been rife in the game since April 1977.
Steve  Green, Southampton  (18/10/06)

Ignore the facts at your peril.

Why would Brendan McLoughlin claim that Moyes is a better manager than Harvey when the facts prove otherwise? I urge every fair-minded reader to consider the facts I presented and decide the relative merits themselves.

As for Harvey taking a Championship-winning side and allowing it to slip to 4th in the following season... that certainly compares favourably with Catterick's feat of taking a Championship winning side to 14th in the following season. Are we now to argue that Moyes, who has turned a 7th into a 17th, is a better Manager than Catterick?
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (18/10/06)

This thread is starting to get silly...

Big Dunc

Totally agree with Martin Ward about the treatment of Ferguson. The club should immediately nominate the next reserve game at Halton (or wherever the stiffs play these days) as his testimonial. Big Dunc could make an emotional re-appearance from the bench after 70 mins to rabbit punch, headbutt or merely elbow an opponent to earn a token sending off and remind us all of what we are missing this season!

Oh, and shouldn`t we be doing something for David Ginola whose acting career has stalled somewhat since he played a cameo role as a footballer at Goodison Park?
Tony  Thompson, Puddington  (18/10/06)

Colin Harvey v David Moyes

Sorry, I just had to reply to Brian Finnegan on his assertion that Colin Harvey was a better manager than Moyes.

Brian, thank you for your post in which you made some valid points, but statistics sometimes don't give the true picture. If you you look at the cirmcumstances of the club on the occasion when Harvey took over and when Moyes took over you will see that things couldn't have been more different.

Harvey took over when Everton were Champions and had the best team in England and arguably in Europe. So with money in the transfer pot, finishing in the top four with that team could have almost been acheived by a trained chimpanzee. With a lot of respect for Harvey as a player, he was a good training-ground coach, but a poor manager and players started to feel unsettled, with players like Gary Stevens and Trevor Steven leaving to join Glasgow Rangers

Being a long-standing supporter, I had to watch Harvey take a team who were Champions to the jaws of relegation in the space of under 3 years — totally decimating a Championship-winning side — when, in October 1990, the Board were forced to sack him and allow caretaker manager Jimmy Gabriel to run things.

Moyes on the other hand took over a team who were battling for relegation year after year. With little or no money in the transfer pot and low team morale, he turned things round. From a team who were regarded as relegation candidates, Moyes has taken us to being regarded as a team who are competing for a place in Europe.

So in a nutshell, Moyes is a better tactician, and a better team manager than Harvey, but arguably not a better training-ground coach. So I stand by my post earlier this week that Moyes is the best manager since Howard Kendall.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (18/10/06)

'Billy Idle'

Rick Tarleton’s well-written and nicely conceived recent piece raises some excellent points regarding James Beattie. I’m too young to remember some of the players he cites from the late 1950s and early 1960s (just!) but I do remember the greats from the 1970s and 1980s. The game has changed and out-and-out wingers a la Dave Thomas are now sadly as scarce as smiles on Tony Marsh’s face after a derby win (Sorry ed, I’ll be a good boy from now on).

I’m puzzled as to why this is the case, especially since gradual changes in the offside law over the years seem to favour centre-forwards running into the box in anticipation of a parallel running winger lobbing a well directed ball on to his head.

My main gripe with Beattie is this low morale, lazy, unfit, aspect of his personality which shines through his game like a golden shaft of shite. The guy is playing for Everton Football Club… I’ll repeat that… EVERTON Football Club, and that alone should be motivation enough to raise his moral, curb his lazy ways and get him fit.

My brother, who was a very good footballer (until I broke his leg… sorry Shaun) once wrote a letter to the sainted HK stating that, given the chance to play for the Blues, he’d need to be carried off the field on a stretcher after the final whistle as he’d give every ounce of energy for the Everton cause — Howard offered him a trial, stating that this was the sort of attitude he looked for in players. I wish Beattie possessed a tenth of this attitude. (I wish my brother would have had half of the skill Beattie possess but rarely displays… he’d have made it!)

Now, I’m not saying that Beattie doesn’t try as he clearly does. What I am saying is that his apparent negative mindset and lack of razor-sharp reflexes that all good strikers need — which are probably dulled by his questionable fitness and all round sulky demeanour — restrict the effectiveness of his efforts.

One day, in the not too distant future, when the £30k a week has dried up and he’s sitting in an alehouse and everyone is ignoring him, he might just reflect upon the chance that he once had to be a football great… “if only… if only I’d really tried” might be the one regretful thought to cross his mind.

If I’ve one sentence of advice to give to Beattie it is this: "You’ve not made it yet, son; cash and fame are temporary, they only last as long as your career — glory lasts forever don’t blow your chance to achieve it by fostering an idle mindset."

Finally, in the spirit of the new ToffeeWeb mailbag, I forgive all those who have trespassed against me — Tony, Luq, Dutch… I feel your pain… lets all join hands… group hug! ‘Come Bah Yah me lord Come Bah Yah’... Nah… I’d rather you were calling me a twat any day of the week!!!
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (18/10/06)

A crying shame

I echo some of the frustration shown by readers of the mailbag in recent times. I've seen Michael add comments to numerous postings over the years to the effect of "If a comment doesn't concern Everton FC it has no place on this site". Quite right.

Unfortunately the Toffeeweb mailbag no longer has any place on this site!

It's great to read the opinions of Ken Buckley, Steve Guy and others but these posts are now buried in a torrent of personal vendettas and slanging matches. I genuinely ask everyone on here to apply our club motto to themselves. Doesn't mean we can't be critical or even angry but please let's try and stick to football matters on here.

Most of all I implore Michael to take action: you're the only one who can actually effect any change. If personal attacks are not published, the writers of them will soon give up. I'm not happy about the team's continual squandering of points in the last few weeks, or certain player's lack of contribution or some of the manager's methods. But if you disagree with me, you don't stand a chance of making me come around to your way of thinking unless you actually make a reasoned argument!
Tom Hadley, Hampshire  (18/10/06)

Great contribution, Tom; I've been thinking it was time to clamp down on the personal bullshit, and perhaps I was waiting for a message like this to reflect my feeling that things had gone too far. So here are the rules:

  • No personal abuse.
  • Don't talk about "pro-Moyes".
  • Talk about Everton.
  • Don't talk about "anti-Moyes".
  • Don't talk anout Tony or Dutch.
  • Contribute something — Don't just s.ay x or y is full of shit.
Sadly, Tom; it's not just down to me; Colm! Are you reading this!!!! — Michael

Good or Bad

Confusing mailbag this week so far:

  • The anti-Moyes lobby want the Manager out and also about half of the squad shipped out in January. Not the best of reasoning without any thought of how we might deal with this situation if it ever arose.
  • The pro-Moyes lobby seem to think that all in the garden is rosy and we are progressing a-pace. The games played so far dont back that claim up very well.
I just think we are doing okay with what we have got under our present circumstances but nowhere near enough to satisfy our motto. So, instead of two entrenched camps slagging off each other, could we have a serious debate on what Toffee Webbers think is the best strategy for the club in its present form to move us to where we ALL really want to be? UP THE BLUES.
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (17/10/06)

I don't want to be the one to push this back into the bear-pit (honest!) but isn't that the underlying concern that causes some on here to wonder if we have the right manager to take us forward? While others take umbrage at the question itself. — Michael

Sorry, Mr Finnegan: YOU are sooooo wrong

Regarding the recent Moyes v Harvey debate. The reality is that Harvey took a team that had just won the league, bought the most exciting centre-forward of the time (Tony Cottee) and still managed to fuck it up. Moyes inherited a load of shite and — ok the jury's still out — but, despite the statistics, to suggest that Harvey's record is better than Moyes's is a joke.
Brendan  McLaughlin, Emerald Isle  (17/10/06)

You could always threaten to expose yourself. Apparently it strengthens one's arguement...

Good Gaawwwd!!!

So then, Tony Marsh is prepared to drop his trousers — and Dutch is trying to get us to rally round and make this happen? Then what will happen next!!!!??? This site is getting odder by the day...

Am I right in thinking the word Moyes divides Evertonians more than any other in our history??? Personally I think he is an average Premiership manager with average results, the stats prove that. He ain't a genius but he's no fuckwit either.

The question is, is he good enough for Everton??? For those of us who remember our history and saw lots of the good times (I'm one of them) he probably isn't, but for the fans purely brought up on relegation dog-fights year on year (which is a large group of fans) he is the dogs bollocks.

So looks like yer either for or against, fair enough but PLEASE let's not see Tony's arse — or Dutch drooling over the prospect. It ain't got anything to do with football!!!!!
John Audsley, Rothwell, Leeds  (17/10/06)

Jeez... you spoil all our fun!

More than just a problem of service...

I agree broadly with Rick Tarleton in his analysis of Beattie’s problems (except that bit about Ferguson being a better header of the ball than Royle: no way!). I assume Andy vdM was supposed to provide the service to Beattie that he says is lacking. But I have watched a tape of Beattie at Middlesbrough over and over and I have to say there were several excellent crosses for Beattie that he just didn’t get anywhere near.

Arteta, Neville, Carsley and others can all cross. The fact is that the man disappeared for most of his time on the field. It’s all very well saying that the structure of the team doesn’t suit him. I refuse to believe that Everton couldn’t make use of a powerfully built striker with devastating heading ability — if he was performing.

The bottom line with Beattie is and always has been that he’s essentially an opportunist, which is Serbo-Croat for lazy. He’ll score all day if you put the ball firmly on his forehead or his laces. But don’t ask him to do something that requires real effort. If he is going to be a success at Everton he needs to lose 20 pounds, rack up the fitness level another 20 per cent and totally change his attitude. I doubt this can be done.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (17/10/06)

Marshey the comic

Ah, I see Tony. Silly me, I missed the subtle humour in your bitter rant.

"You can't understand a bit of leg-pulling so how the fuck you will ever understand the complexities of football is beyond me."

Ah yes, there it is again, your endearing jovial side! I'm not alone in barely smelling a whif of humour in your posts in here. They're consistently aggressive and unpleasant and barely even flirt with the truth. You dislike Moyes and spend your days telling us about it. It's simple and very boring.

Oh, and Dutch was right about the statistics. Indeed, I can't remember too many better Everton signings in the last 10 or 15 years than Arteta, Cahill, Johnson and potentially Lescott.
John Richardson, London  (17/10/06)

What a disgrace!

What a disgrace! One of the most charismatic figures ever to grace an Everton shirt has to go all the way to Australia to earn a crust in his retirement. Can somebody tell me why the `People`s Club` saw fit to turn down a Testimonial request for such a People`s Icon?
Martin Ward, Great Altcar  (17/10/06)

What's the emoticon for "tongue in cheek"? I'm hoping you'd have used it if it existed.

Golden Balls 2

Your comments are of course erudite, Mr. Ed(itor). I was trying for a bit of balance as a stranger to TW would suspect Everton were bottom of the League given the contents from the recent mailbaggers instead of only just incurring our first defeat of the season in mid-October.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (17/10/06)

Mr Marsh

Will somebody please back me up about my statistics.

  • Players Purchased: £52 Million
  • Players Sold: £3 7 Million
I took the stats from the transfer page of this website. If the facts are correct (which they are to about a million either way), Mr Marsh has promised to drop his trousers and admit Moyes is a good manager.

Please someone double check my calculations so we can enjoy Mr Marsh admitting Moyes is great.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (17/10/06)

John Richardson's Missing Brain

John regarding my last post aimed at Chris Mckenny:

Are you so dumb as that you can't see I was taking the piss with the bit about Smith signings? For fuck's sake, I even say as much in the post. You know, the that bit that says, "if you want to get even more silly..." well that's the bit.

It goes to show how some of you who think you know what you are talking about are completley in the dark, really. You can't understand a bit of leg-pulling so how the fuck you will ever understand the complexities of football is beyond me.

I tell you what, finish off reading your Dandy and Beano annuals and if you get the jokes in there you might be ready for grown up stuff. John, honestly, mate, taking the piss must be a dying art down there in that London. Up here its called Scouse Humour.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (17/10/06)

And it's something that comes across t'internet like an electronic lead balloon ... or should that be "balon de plumb"?

Golden Balls in a cup half full (still)

Just as a reality check on this 'crap' team of ours.

We have a contender for the Ballon D'or for the first time in 18 years in Tim Cahill. We have the next England centre-forward in Andy Johnson. We have one of the most skilful players in the Premier League in Mikel Arteta. We finally have a 'spine' to the team (Howard through to Johnson). We are enjoying one of our best starts for many a year. We are trying to play passing forrball. We have recorded one of our best ever scorelines against the Darkside and beaten Spurs at White Hart Lane for the first time in 20 odd years.

Just thought I'd mention it.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (17/10/06)

... and we haven't managed to win any of the last four games, despite apparently deserving to. Just thought I'd mention that, as you seem to think people are somehow not aware of the facts. It's all a question of which facts you chose to emphasize. — Michael

Yeah right

Dutch, I don't know where you get your stats from. If what you say is correct, then Moyes has only been on £3 million net per season. If that's true (which it is not), then I'll pull my trousers down and admit that Dithering Moyes is a good Manager.

Moyes has been given a lot more momey than that, I can assure you. And most of it has been going down the drain with signings like Beattie, Davies and Wright. When are you lot gonna realise that Moyes is wasting our time???
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (17/10/06)

Passing football

What game was that then Brian? I must have blinked and missed it.
Paul Cathcart, Liverpool  (17/10/06)

Well, I'm with Brian: we are trying to play a lot more passing football this season than at any time previously under Moyes. (I will refrain from mentioning any other managers, some of whom may have been Scottish too...) — Michael

Tony Marsh again...

Tony, what exactly was the point of your letter, about Smith??? Other than to highlight how Moyes took a team flirting with relegation, into 4th place, then dress it up as some sort of slight against Moyes!! You start your ramblings off by complaining how people keep raking over Walter Smith's tenure, like it has no worth, only to then go on to do the same. Bizarre!!

The most laughable thing is you make it sound like Moyes has been given a war chest to spend every season, when it hasn't quite been like that, has it, Tony? It seems lately, the cheap insulting tirades at 'fellow' blues have gone up a notch — that can only mean Davey's not doing too bad at the minute. You should show people like Chris Mckenny more respect.
John Prior, Liverpool  (17/10/06)

Marshland

I tend to bite my tongue after reading Tony's rants because I feel it is cruel to encourage a madman, but his last one has prompted me to break my silence.

Having slated his fellow fans for referring to Walter Smith, he spends the rest of his post talking about... Walter Smith!

"Pistone, Wier, Stubbs, Gravesen, Carsley, Naysmith, Ferguson, Osman, Hibbert, all played a big part that year [Champions League qualification year] and Moyes had nothing to do with signing any of them," he says.

Well you've done a fairly good job there of defending Moyes. You're absolutely right, all of those players were involved under Smith when we struggled at the bottom of the Premiership and played the most woeful football in the club's history. Moyes took a bunch of players who had forgotten how to win and achieved Champsions League qualification. Not bad eh?

And while we're on the subject, it's ridiculous to say Moyes's reign stands out from Walter's because Moyes has been given money. I remember Wally splashing the cash on the likes of Alexandersson, Nyarko, Bakayoko among others, all of whom brought thousands of Evertonians to the brink of despair.

You don't like Moyes; it's okay, we don't mind. What is offensive is your means of communication, which is inevitably full of bile, aggressive and disrespectful. Just get a punchbag or something, because it's just depressing reading your endless, meaningless rants.
John Richardson, London  (17/10/06)

Major Funding?

Mr Marsh claims Moyes has had major funding. Here are the stats taken from this very website:-

  • Players Purchased: £52 Million
  • Players Sold: £37 Million

So you can argue that Moyes has only cost Everton £15 Million in transfers since he took the job. Turning Everton from regular relegation contenders into a mid-table side for only £15 milion. Good job I say. I know it's been a case of two steps forward one step back but we are heading in the right direction.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (17/10/06)

Sorry, Brian Baker — you are so wrong!

Despite being given an abrupt deadline to respond to his nonesense, I feel obliged to challenge Brian Baker's assertion that 'he (Moyes) is better than Colin Harvey'. The facts just do not support such a ludicrous claim.

Colin Harvey had three full seasons as Manager and this resulted in us finishing 4th, 8th and 6th. In each of those seasons, we had a positive goal difference; scoring (in total) 42 goals more than we conceded. Of the 116 games played (under Harvey), we won 50, drew 33 and lost 33. We averaged 1.58 points per game, 1.4 goals for and 1.02 goals against. Under Harvey we won one Charity Shield and were losing FA Cup Finalists.

By contrast, during Moyes's four completed seasons, Everton finished 7th, 17th, 4th and 11th. In each of these seasons we had a negative goal difference; scoring (in total) 29 goals less than we conceded. Of the 152 games played (under Moyes), we won 58, drew 35 and lost 59. We averaged 1.375 points per game, 1.13 goals for and 1.32 goals against.

We have not won a trophy or appeared in a Final under the present Manager, who has had significantly longer than Harvey to achieve something. It also needs to be said that Everton's greatest period (under Kendall Mk 1) was achieved when Colin Harvey was the First Team Coach.

Now tell me, Mr Baker, why you (and a lot of the Moyes apologists) make statements about your hero that are just not supported by the facts? If you are going to make outlandish assertions about Moyes, make sure that the evidence is available before you challenge other supporters to speak up now or forever be silent. I trust that you will do your research in future. I am half expecting one of the deluded followers to describe their man as the best thing to come out of Celtic since Jock Stein. Face facts! Up to now the chosen one is pretty ordinary.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (17/10/06)

The defence rests, M'Lud! - Colm

Next Flight To Sydney

Given Tiny Tim's performance on Saturday, perhaps we could send Beats and VdM to Australia tonight and fly them back Friday... It might just work!

As for the post which says that Moyes is doing a better job than Joe and Colin, I beg to disagree. Joe was working under more pressure and boardroom wrangling than DM and in my opinion Joe Royle should never have left Everton.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (17/10/06)

Well said, John. Joe was one of our greatest servants and achieved a miracle as manager. — Michael

Miracles happen

I heard a rumour that big Dunc was coming to Perth Glory, my local team. By Australian standards, 200 miles is practically next door. If he does come ,it would be a bit like the mountain coming to Mohammed; Hey Dunc, I am the one wearing a Chang shirt and Everton cap. A word of warning though, don't take any of your prized pigeons to the Wheat belt because they will be shot.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (17/10/06)

Nowt like swelling the pension... ;-) — Colm

Wally Smith Again!

Why is it that that every time one of the Moyes Brigade rush to defend thier hero they find it immpossible not to mention Walter Smith? Chris Mckenny, you are a prime example of it yet again. What the fuck has Smith got to do with anything 5 years down the line?

People keep making comparisions with Walter and Davey and its fucking ridiculous. It just goes to prove to me that the Mckennys of this world haven't got a clue. Yes, Smith's time here was awful but Everton were at there most unstable both financially and at boardroom level. Given the money Moyes has had to squander, who knows what Smith might of achieved?

I keep hearing this other bullshit: "Look how Moyes has made us a mid-table team and not fighting relegation every season. like under Smith." I should fucking think so with the money Moyes has had to spend — and we were bottom for a very long time last season, or have you all conveniently forgot about that? Moyes has had such a different working environment than the one Smith had to endure that it is quite simply Fucking Idiotic to compare them both.

If you want to get even more silly how about this: The one really good season Moyes had when we finished 4th was achieved by a side mostly made up of Walter's signings and players who where already here. Pistone, Wier, Stubbs, Gravesen, Carsley, Naysmith, Ferguson, Osman, Hibbert — all played a big part that year and Moyes had nothing to do with signing any of them. See, Chris; you talk a load of bollocks, mate. The one season you all bleat on about was mostly down to Wally's signings and that's a fact.

So do some thinking before making any more stupid comments Chris. Smith wasn't much to shout about but without the funding Moyes would have taken us down by now, believe me.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (17/10/06)

Beattie

Have to agree with Rick Tarleton's piece on Beattie. He is a centre-forward who likes to attack crosses from wingers — but we ain't got any wingers. He would probably do well for someone like Spurs, so if you're reading, Mr Jol, put a bid of around £6M in and I'm sure he'll be yours. We'd probably give you one of your countrymen as well, in a buy-one-get-one-free offer if you like.

Midfield is our priority in January, and possibly a direct replacement for Richard Wright, who I feel should not even be on the bench. Knowing our leader, though, we'll probably sell Beattie and buy two wingers with the money!
Adam Baig, Merseyside  (17/10/06)

Moyes and the beautiful game

I admit that Moyes is probably not the best football tactician in the world. He has made some poor tactical errors in the past, made the wrong substitutions, but on other days he has got tactics dead right. Overall I think David Moyes is the best manager we have had since the first coming of Howard Kendall. He is better than Walter Smith, he is better than Mike Walker, he is potentially better than Joe Royle and he is better than Colin Harvey. If you disagree with me, speak now or forever hold your peace.

For all of the Moyes doubters, have they noticed any difference in the way we are playing football now? No? Are we still playing Route One football, humping the ball up to big Dunc? I for one, who have been watching Everton for 38 years, including the turgid 90's have noticed a difference: Everton are playing passing football!

We have played largely passing football since the start of the season. Call that progress if you want. Admittedly the ball does occasionly get humped, Route One style, up the pitch by the likes of Hibbert who isn't renowned for his passing skills. But our playing style is mostly one of passing.

Cahill's goal on Saturday was after some slick passing. Our passing game gave the impression that we were the better side — and we were! Passing football, i.e. the beautiful game, is the way to go. Moyes has got this one right!
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (17/10/06)

Some just don't get it

Oh dear... Being an Everton fanatic, in many ways I share empathy with our friend Dutch yet I draw the line at his comments about Tiny. For Dutch’s sake and all others who seem to prefer non-scoring fancy Dans, here is Lesson Number One on the game of football.

Pay attention everyone! Stop daydreaming about beautiful games, skills, tactics, techniques, the colour of the managers hair or the boards shortcomings. Dutch, go to the blackboard and write 100 times....
THE AIM OF THE GAME IS TO SCORE MORE GOALS THAN YOUR OPPONENT.

That is the beginning and end of the lesson; everything else is peripheral.

Tiny may not be our most skilful player yet he is involved in and wins more tackles than the fancy Dans, thereby helping prevent opponents from scoring more goals than us. At the same time he scores and assists with vital goals. To date he shares billing as the top scoring midfielder in the Premier League. Should he be transferred, I would rate him as Everton’s second highest-priced player

It seems those who compiled the list of top 50 players have a better understanding of the aim of the game than an awful lot of our mailbaggers.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (17/10/06)

Garry?

Who the heck is Garry? That's a new name isn't it? Where does his loyalty lay? With The Anti-Moyes Brigade or The Pro-Moyes Mob?
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (17/10/06)

Sigh! Welcome to Groundhog Day folks! — Colm

I've been one of the editors on ToffeeWeb for over a year mate! And my loyalties lie with Everton and whatever is in their best interests at the time. At the moment that's Moyes. — Garry

World Player

The last Blue to be nominated for this award was Neville Southall. I reckon they just wanted someone from Australia so FIFA could build on the fanbase from the World Cup. Tim has one good game in four for us.
Kevin  Tully, Liverpool  (17/11/06)

Tut, tut....such unfounded cynicism!!! ;-) — Colm

And pay attention — it's not the Fifa award. — Michael

So predictable Mr Marsh

"Why don't we all just pop on the rose-tinted spectacles and sugar-coat the whole fucking mess that is EFC at the present time?"

Say what? Yeah we are going backwards under this current leadership aren't we, fighting relegation every single season? Bring back Wally Smith as he's a top managers — he beat the French... FUCK OFF!!!

So we have not moved forward and Everton are in a bigger mess then when he took over? Bollocks! Yes, he has his faults but it's reassuring that he sees these and has said as much after certain games this season. However, to say that we are in a mess is a little harsh, Mr Marsh.

I am not self-delusional regarding our performances and playing staff, I know for a fact we can improve and I want us to improve yet I am certainly not a miserable sod like yourself. Ttry next game, just for a laugh, to pick the positives out of a game and try to enjoy it instead of picking out all the faults, going on and moaning all the time. As it does get very tiresome. Go on, I dare ya.

Last thought Tony, how come we don't hear that much from you when we win?
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (17/10/06)

Answer to the last question... his broadband connection gets temporarily disconnected! (Joking, Tony!) — Colm

Tiny Tim

I can't believe people are knocking Tim Cahill. Okay he's not the best midfielder but he bangs in the goals, he gets noticed, he's a winner. We need a few more like him.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (17/10/06)

Tiny

Congratulations to Tim, great effort. Cahill, for whatever reasons, gets a fair bit of stick from fans in this forum, but I for one believe he has made a fantastic contribution in the last couple of years. He gives absolutely everything (true Australian mentality) and never hides when his performances slip. He has scored crucial goals and has lifted the side with his energy, spirit and attitude.

His performances this season (in response to being dropped) have been outstanding and playing the way he did against Boro after a flight back from Australia and a midweek game was a credit to him. Well done Tim, fully deserved.
Paul Foster, London  (17/10/06)

Well said. — Colm

Goalscoring Machine

Tim Cahill amongst the 50 best players in the world? He's not even one of the 50 best players at Everton.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (17/10/06)

How was your spell at Ashworth? - Garry

Worth the gamble?

I am beginning to think and before anyone says, I already have a bit of a headache, anyhow, we should not expect nor depend solely on Johnson and Cahill to find the net. We could try Beattie in the midfield. He would add much needed size, strength and possibly a couple of goals. I would appreciate the view of others.

By the way Luq, I am a Everton fanatic not a Moyes one. I cannot see anyone on the horizon who could do better.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (17/10/06)

Beattie in midfield...? Now I've heard everything!

I'll do it!

When Moyes eventually, thankfully, mercifully leaves Everton and returns to his rightfull level, up in the Scottish leagues or maybe Widnes 6th form college, then I will apply to takeover the reigns.

I promise you all I will only sign players with pace, power and skill. I promise that I will never sign fat players that never get fit even though they are paid a fortune to train every day and eat right. I also promise that I won't spend a years worth of season ticket revenues to sign a fat useless waster that no-one else any good even seriously rated or wanted. Pace and power allied to skill will be my motto; I'll treat the players like adults but will be ruthless if they disobey club rules. I'll always back players up in public in post-match interviews even if I rip into them in private.

I promise not to play hoofball whenever we go 1-0 up, inviting lesser teams to gain momentum and take points off us when we should really be destroying them and winning 2- or 3-nil. I won't make nonsensical substitutions, play too deep or too high, oh and I will drop a player even if he's done OK if a vastly superior player is fit again... thereby giving us a better chance of winning the next game.

I'll do it for less money than the present manager even though I was a better player than him, am cleverer than him, have more management experience than him, am better looking (not hard to be honest!), and am an Evertonian.
Mike Price, Songkhla, Thailand  (16/10/06)

Err... Don't call us, we'll put your name on the list.

You're having a laugh — is he having a laugh!!

Just seen that Tim Cahill has been nominated for the prestigous Ballon d'Or award. It just goes to show what the pundits see. Not only has Cahill had an average season for us (past months goal-scoring exploits aside) I personally don't think he is worthy of an Everton first-eleven spot when we play four men in midfield. He has an unbelievable knack of scoring goals but in terms of passing and dribbling he's probably not in the top five at Everton.

That said, at least an Everton player is being talked about in these terms and that, together with having two players on the edge of the first eleven for England, demonstrates that the current squad's ability has improved greatly since the Walter Smith days!!!
Robert Pullan, Manchester  (16/10/06)

Cahill's World Player Nomination!

Tim Cahill has been nominated for the World Player of the Year Award alongside the likes of Gerrard, Henry, Rooney, Zidane and Ronaldinho. Congratulations to Tim and a pat on the back to David Moyes. Many managers looked at Cahill but only Moyes had the balls to be brave enough to take a chance on him.

When was the last time Everton had a player nominated for World Player? Did Rooney get nominated while at Everton? Is it possible that Everton have had two players nominated for World Player during the David Moyes era? A sign of how far we have come.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (16/10/06)

I don't underrstand... they showed the nominations five nights ago on Fox and there was no TC listed. Did they decide to ditch Zinadine Zidane or what?

The Wizard from Oz

To lift the doldrums slightly on the place just thought I'd let you guys know Tim Cahills on the shortlist (of 30 iirc) for Player of the Year. Wonder who was the last Everton player to make that... Andrew Johnson for next year...
Paul Chilli, Liverpool  (16/10/06)

What's that then...? Aussie Player of the Year? Does he have competion from Mark Viduka?

re You're just as bad as Dutch

A good reasoned response thanks, I totally agree. The reason I wrote the post was that I think we need to keep hold of perspective. Everyone can manipulate stats to serve their purpose, what we need to stop is the knee-jerk statements we get from the main protagonists on here.
Jay Wilson, London  (16/10/06)

The thing is, it comes down to personal perspective at the end of the day. You'd think there was something definitive about Everton's current form that could be defined and agreed upon by all. But no matter what measure you come up with, there are those who will use that to reinforce their own perceptions. You call it manipulating "statistics", but it makes you wonder if there are not some definitive, judgement-neutral meassures of progress and performance out there that we could use?

Over the weekend I thought about Dutch's claim that we had made progress toward mediocrity after languishing in the doldrums for a decade before Moyes came... I came up with a statistical method that might provide a test of what he was talking about. Answering the question: "Have we really progressed since that dreadful decade?" If I get some time tonight, I might juet write it up as a feature article... — Michael

Looking Backwards

Being an Everton supporter for the best part of my 50 years, I have seen the good times come and I have seen them go. I have also seen any number of false dawns. Being a true blue and ever the optimist, I still like to think the good times are just around the corner. Though admittedly, we do seem to have more corners than Brands Hatch.

On the subject of managers and the style of football seen played at Goodison, I have also seen the good, the bad, and the inept. Then in a league all on his own comes Gordon Lee. Under his leadership we played the classic "hoof" style of play. "Hoof" the ball into Row Z, and the player lnto Row G. Thrilling stuff, watched by all 17,000 of us...

One cartoonist in "LFC Echo" during the riots had a man holding a placard proclaiming "Bring back Gordon Lee, he can disperse the crowds". It was the "Twilight Zone" for Everton supporters of the time, a nightmare that I hope will never be repeated. The moral of this story being, "don't wish away a Moyes for a Gordon Lee".
Jimmy Fazackerley, Worcester  (16/10/06)

How to help Beattie

In all seriousness, I would like to suggest that Everton send Beattie out on an extended loan to Chester, Tranmere or Southport. He will get the games he needs and still be available for home baby-sitting chores. Anichebe might get some overdue consideration from the Manager and might even be considered as a starter or substitute in future first-team games. Apparently he was spared duty at Middlesborough in order to be fresh for tonight's Reserve team outing. Moyes must be a Anthony Newley fan... forever humming "What kind of fool am I?"
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (16/10/06)

Anthonyt Newley!?!! That'll have them young 'uns scrambling for the downloads...

Is mediocrity genius?

I can handle us being an average team playing better football than last year, managed by an average manager who after five years and pots of money is still 'learning the job' and follows seasons of progression with equally speedy regression. I can just about handle us having an inept Board of Directors seemingly unable to attract investment. I can just stomach us having a Chairman whose idea of leadership is to hide in his bunker until we put in a good performance and then tell everyone how wonderful things are.

The one thing I really can't deal with is people telling me that mediocrity is genius, that no cup runs and boom-and-bust league positions is success. In any walk of life, I've never come across anyone genuinely successful for being not as bad as his predecessor.

It's not a case of being pro- or anti-Moyes. Once we all start realising that he is neither a genius nor shite, this great club might get some perspective and we might start looking at what's really happening rather than cutting and pasting events to suit personal agendas!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (16/10/06)

Old and Young

Im 26 years old now and cannot really remember true success at Everton FC. The other day I listened to the commentary on EvertonFC.com of the game we won the championship in 1987. It felt surreal to hear Clive Tildsley call Everton "Champions" and hear "Everton are top of English fotball!"

Now for the older Evertonians it must be painful to have seen Everton's demise over the last few years. I do think that you must be realistic in your expectations. No, surival, mid-table is not acceptable but in today's modern game it is REALISTIC. Every fan in the leauge wants their team to be top dog but it isn't going to happen. Other clubs once were Champions but where are they now? M

Since the Premier Leauge was created no-one other than Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Blackburn has won it. We all know this is because these clubs (except Blackburn) got it right when the big money came into the game. So as an Evertonian I really want my team to win the league, but my expectations are that we progress each season. Finishing top six is this season's expectation, and then from there on we become the first club to challenge the big three.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (16/10/06)

You're as bad as Dutch

How you can have the cheek to criticise Dutch when you come up with the following sweeping statement '... Carry on like that for a season and we would have just 30 points!' what sort of negative bollocks is that? If we keep on having 8 game spells like we've just had we'll end up with 62 points and a possible European place. We can all make the stats back up our point of view.
Jay Wilson, London  (16/10/06)

We've hit a bit of a bump after a good start, I'm sure you'd agree. Where we go from here depends not on past results or current form, but on the results of the games we still have to play. Everyone knows that. Sometimes, doing the math helps to put it into some kind of perspective... and in this case, it's a perspective none of us likes.

"Current form" is arguably defined by the results of the last five games, which would project to something like 48 points over a full season. Someone who had suggested we were currently enjoying "relegation form" was loudly shouted down on here, so it was just a little poke in the eye really, suggesting that our failure to win any of the last four games is starting to take on the appearance of a bit of a slump. Saturday becomes yet another "must-win" game (in the words of the team captain), yet all it would do statistically is maintain that current level of form. Psychologically, however, it would be a tremendous boost because it would get us back on the winning track. — Michael

Keeping the dream alive

So survival IS success and Everton can be the best of the also-rans! Gawd, what has being an Evertonian come to?

Some may say us older fans place our expectation levels too high but accepting mediocrity is surely the pathway to disaster. The last four matches have shown up the limitations of our `much improved` side and also the tactical bankruptcy of `our very greatest manager who I speak to six times a day`. Yes, we may have to put up with being ordinanary and unexciting but we don`t have to ACCEPT it as our inevitable fate. Please, someone, say something to keep the dream alive!
Carl Pitcher, Pulford  (16/10/06)

Sorry, Carl. As ever, the old and infirm, set in their ways, must give way to the new thinking of the young. A dismal, grimy, washed-out grey is the new Royal Blue. — Michael

New Icelandic youngster

Apparently, Moyes is keeping tabs on 18-year-old Birkir Bjarnason playing for Viking Stavanger in Norway. He has made 4 starts and 9 substitutions this season: Link [in Norwegian]
Jens Hansen, Norway  (16/10/06)

Impatient Blues!

I have just finished reading Joanne Lewis's piece and I can't believe she thinks that the Blues fans are not known for their patience. Would the followers of those other clubs (who have similar trophy hauls to Everton), have displayed as much patience?

I doubt they would or could endure a record of no major semi-final or final appearances in over ten years, one top 4 place in the entire history of the Premier League, regular droughts of goalscoring and a tendency to under-perform and even flirt with the dreaded drop.

Add to this the failure of the clubs leadership to access funds, a ground that is well past its sell by date and all this when those other clubs have moved ahead with ground development and sponsorship etc — making the gulf even wideer.

Blues fans may be accused of many things, ambitious expectation and voicing concerns about the general direction of the Club and or team, but to call them impatient is like calling the FA a well-oiled, efficient organisation.

Remember, when your club has been the best in the land on a fairly regular basis, it is only right and proper that you want them to match and surpass those achievements. History is a benchmark to judge where you are now, not a fairy-tale to be dismissed due to contemporary failings.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (16/10/06)

How true is that last line? Good post, John.

Penalty count

I was bemused in the comments made by Moyes after the game, that he only mentioned two penalty appeals. One, when Johnson was bundled over amd the other when Cahill was blatantly manhandled. He failed to mention the other two appeals, both involving Beattie, the first where he was pulled over backwards by Huth and the other when he was shoved in the back when going for a free header on goal.

Lescott's handball was also very harsh as the referee suddenly acquired super vision to enable him to spot it. As TV replays only just managed to show that he did indeed handball it, but it was an obvious case of 'ball to hand', rather than 'hand to ball'.

I have no argument over Boro's first penalty as it was clear-cut. Howard should have maybe stayed on his line instead of charging out like a bull in a china shop.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (16/10/06)

A wild deflection charged down... and it was Howard's fault that he was quickest to react? I'd blame Neville for it rather than Howard, who was doing his job — trying to deny the opposition a clear scoring chance. Although Neville had no control over the direction of the charge-down, he must have known the risk, and should have taken evasive action rather than trying to wellie it through the bloke. — Michael

Help for the Chimp

If we do get the PG Tips Chimp as our next manager (as Tony Marsh suggests) could we get the Smash Robots as the backroom staff??? Maybe the Hofmeister Bear??

On a serious note, everyone is getting very heated at the mo, Ken B is keeping his head but the rest are very unhappy with each other. Everyone has a view point but please stop telling fellow fans to Fuck Off or calling each other knobheads (unless yer 12 years old) if you don't agree with each other.

Please ty to be constructive... Who am I kidding!!!!!!!!
John Audsley, Rothwell, Leeds  (16/10/06)

It has got a bit out of hand and some abuse has got through that I normally would filter out, so time for the Blue Pencil again, methinks... — Michael

Abuse

Instead of abusing Tony Marsh et al, Mr Edwards, why not accept that some of what they say is actually true?

Watching ESPN the other week was fantastuic because it helped jog my memory what a great team we had and that there was once an exciting brand of attacking football played at Goodison. The current manager has had far more time than he would be allowed at other similar clubs, and he has been tolerated longer than Big Joe and others in the past.

The fact is that, after a great start we are now stagnating. I do not know why but would hazard a guess that the up-and-under tactics we favour could be an answer. The likes of Southgate know that if they can keep Johnson and Cahill quiet then we won't play or score.

It would be great if the likes of yourself and others (both pro- and anti-Moyes) would tolerate what others say becasue as has been said, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Reginald Kavanagh, cheshire  (16/10/06)

God comments; I don't usually allow the kind of bile Mr Edwards writes to reach the mailbag on my watch, but he seems to have figured out when Colm's on duty and manages to slip one in there. To be fair, I think the players are really trying to cut out the up-and-under stuff, but the alternative of playing it forward on the ground is sometimes not so easy, as was demonstrated on Saturday. — Michael

Moyes v Smith

I think that the biggest difference between David Moyes and Walter Smith is that improvement has been made under Moyes. Wally Smith took over a struggling relegation threatened side and when he was eventually sacked Everton were in exactly the same position. Moyes took over a struggling relegation threatened side and has undeniably improved them to mid-table also-rans. Maybe the progress has been slow for some (although don't forget we have tasted European football) but at least there has been progress.

Smith also appeared to run out of ideas and resorted to purchasing old players (Gazza, Ginola, Hughes) while Moyes continues to build a young side. I can accept that maybe Moyes has gone as far as he can, I hope that's not the case and I will give him a couple more years to prove it's not but I refuse to accept that Everton haven't already come a long way under Moyes.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (16/10/06)

Knobhead

So I am a knobhead according to Jack Johnson for giving three names who I stated would be realistic management material. That was the question posed by Gary Norman. Do you really think the likes of Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho are going to step up to the plate and take us on? Maybe you would prefer Frank Rijkard from Barcelone instead or maybe Big Phil Scholari will do it?

When the inevietable happens and Moyes finally gets the bullet, do you honestly think that we are going to attract one of the football world's big names? No, I didnt think so. So our next manager will have to come from a list of names not to dissimilar from the ones I mentioned.

By the way Jack, Steve Coppell and Paul Jewell both achieved promotion to the Premier League with small clubs — something Moyes never managed to do. Wigan even made a cup final appearance last year. Did we?

As for Curbishley he kept a small-time Mickey Mouse outfit like Charlton afloat for years on nothing. Look at them now without him. Every season without fail they gave Davey Moyes's Everton a side good hiding home and away playing football we can only dream of. You know the stuff where you actually pass it to one of your own players.

I would sooner have any of the three managers I mentioned at Everton before Moyes any day. In fact I would sooner have the PG Tips chimp instead of Moyes. The truth is we should bring in Graham Taylor for a 5 year stint. I mean what's the point in having a Taylor clone when you can have the real thing?

The trouble is, Jack, we are not going to be left in a very good state after the Moyes era has gone and maybe the likes of Jewell and Co wouldn't even touch us. Then what? — another Jock from the lower leagues. Give God a call then, Jack.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (16/10/06)

Tony — personally I hope there comes a day when Moyes proves you to be very wrong. If so, I've no doubt you'd hold your hand up and gleefully admit you were, eventually, wrong about Moyes. However, like it or not, there's been many examples where your opinion has been validated by what's occured on the pitch.

Bottom line: we all want to see a successful Everton. I'm guessing that David Moyes is to you what Walter Smith was to me. Christ, I couldn't stand watching that shite he oversaw during his tenure, labelled as "football — the Everton way."

To defend Moyes here, I'm one of those who believes we are playing a better brand of football this season — and yes, that's in spite of recent results adding to our growing frustration. We could and possibly should be up there at the top of the League right now. If that's so, then Moyes surely deserves a plaudit or two, no?

The importance of Andy Johnson to this team cannot be understated. Lose him and we lose our edge, possibly turning a decent looking side into a turgid one. 'Tis a small line between good and bad sometimes!

It's been argued in the past that "dithering" Davey has cost us progress with his reluctance to part with the shillings. I'd venture right here and now that getting shut of Andy van der Meyde and James Beattie is a must this coming January. Easier said than done, particularly when you've got to find able replacements. All part and parcel of Moyes's well-paid job I suppose — therefore he's a valid target for your criticisms! We're not that far off being a decent side... Colm

30 points - you`re joking!

So the scaremongering prediction of your lead piece this morning would have us finishing on a mere 30 points. Can I be the first to say that is ridiculous! Whilst I never believed that we were good enough to maintain the start we had, I am sure we can average a point a game from now until the end of the season. By my reckoning that would give us at least 43 points — more than enough to meet Moyes' first priority of maintaining Premier status.

As someone who was only six when the Premiership started, survival to me IS success and like many others of my age I shall be eternally grateful to Moyes for generally keeping us well clear of the spectre of relegation. To be able to tell my kids — when I have them — that I was around to once see Everton qualify for a Champions League spot is something I will always cherish and I know that is also the feeling of the majority of young Evertonians.

So lay off the gloom and doom — we're safe already and get behind The Moyesiah, the manager who keeps our great club afloat.
Elton Edwards, Peasley Cross  (16/10/06)

Re-reading that front page editorial comment I firmly believe the Ed's tongue was firmly in cheek. Particularly considering his long-held stance against those who like to predict the outcome of games yet to be played, Football Manager-style! — Colm

Enough is Enough

I have been reading the Mailbag for a long time, a couple years I think, contributing twice or so. I have seen a lot in my time, and not said anything, but I cannot just sit back anymore and watch this absurdity.

Tony Marsh — How long did it take you to respond after that fantastic derby performance? Four or five days if I remember correctly. Then just seconds after the Wigan and Boro 'disasters', your disgustingly morbid chants of 'Moyes out' are already posted on the mailbag.

How can anyone deny that Moyes has stabilized the club and is pushing us forward? Before he was in charge we were relegation scrapping each and every year. Granted, the 17th place finish was an ugly blemish, and the 4th place was just a one-off but they were just steps on the path to reaching our equilibrium, which it seems we are at. Mid-table. Now that we no longer have to look down to make sure we don't sucked into relegation zone each season, we can look up; improve our squad one player at a time.

Moyes has made a few mistakes (Krøldrup, for example), but that is expected of young managers. He has shown a lot of potential, professionalism, and maturity beyond his relatively young years. His mistakes have diminished quite a bit, although his tactics often leave much to be desired, but the truth is that without a lot of money, it is difficult to both play beautiful football and win games while doing so.

Maybe I'm just stating the obvious, but this reminds me of American politics (forgive me), where you have two radical minorities getting all the headlines. The majority of Evertonians are not extremely and stubbornly 'anti-Moyes' nor are they 'Moyes-lovers'. They have seen the ups and downs, and can see that Moyes has done a lot for this club, the players respect him, and he has made European football a real possibility. Older Evertonians — you have to realize we are not the world power we once were, and the 'School of Science' has no more students.

Now I want my old Mailbag back: no more bashing other Evertonians, no more submissions about other posters, and PLEASE be reasonable for Christ's sake. Tony Marsh — admit when Moyes has done something good, don't just look at the negatives. Dutch seems more moderate now, anyway.

Or maybe my opinion isn't valid because I'm not a regular 'match-goer' or because I'm a Yank, or because I'm using a fake name... but I think I speak for most Mailbag-readers with my thing above. Rant over. Peace.
Jimmy Crack, Phoenix, USA  (16/10/06)

Oi... No fake names! And stop bashing other posters!! In fact, stop making submissions about other posters!!! Three strikes... YER OUT!

Dandy & Beano

After due consideration I'm convinced Dutch & Tony only write their dire tribe to amuse us. My humble advice to them is write for the above comics or even take Prentice's place at the Echo you'll get paid for talking shite and the rest of us, be it Moyes boys or anti-Moyes, can at least have a reasonable debate...
Roy Coyne, Liverpool  (16/10/06)

... which is exactly what you are not doing. "Dire tribe" indeed. FFS!

Smoggies

Middlesbrough – How I hate this place; it’s Royston Vasey without the fun. It has an atmosphere of gloomy desperation and enough multi-coloured dog shit to fill a small landfill, (believe me, it’s everywhere) ‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here’ is the town motto and even the fluorescent jackets on the joyless Neanderthal-looking Riverside stewards seem dull. I’ve been coming here since Craig Johnstone was headless chickening up front for them (and always scored against us – or so it seemed)

I was at this particular game with a couple of lads from work, both Newcastle United supporters, both delusional as to the status of their chosen team but in a self-effacing manner.

“Sleepin' giaants” is one of the chosen descriptions of their club; “Thas kna better suportaas in tha land than the Toon army” is another one of their aphorisms.

I hate to remind them that they are a one-club city and apart from the inevitable soulless multitude of out-of-town Manchester United supporters, there isn’t much competition for support (Strangely enough though, there are a hell of a lot of Geordie born Liverpool supporters up here — I was in a pub full of them during the last derby; what fucking bliss — it seems years ago now). Both of the lads I was with love the game of football, and I’d persuaded them to come to the Riverside and we’d watch the Everton game together — or at least that was the plan.

I approached a steward inside the ground. “Where do I sit mate?” “I kanna let you ga doon there son ya’ll get mordered” he jobsworthed.

And so I was deprived of my ticket despite my protests that I was capable of keeping out of bother and hustled into the away support contingent.

I’m glad in a way and although I missed the company of my Geordie mates, I met up with a few lads from Huyton I’d not seen since Tony Cottee was banging them in for us. (BTW Tony Mac, you still owe me £20 from our trip to Villa in '85 when you got me nicked for falling over a copper).

As to the football, at the moment Everton remind me of my first girlfriend — pretty at times, looks on the verge of ‘delivering the goods’ but never does, but teases you with glimpses of what you might get if you’re lucky, very temperamental and you never know which version will turn up. I’ve a feeling that one day soon all of the gears will fall into place at the right place and at the right time and we’ll hit someone for six — equally, I feel anyone is capable of disrupting our flow and killing off our goalscoring chances.

I lost count yesterday of how many times we took the wrong option in midfield and we were out-muscled whilst dwelling on possibilities that just weren’t there. The referee, who was a blatant homer, didn’t help matters and I was dismayed with the very physical and sometimes illegal buffeting that Johnson was given by the big lads at the heart of the Boro defence — I’m also quite sure that Johnson is carrying an injury, his running style seemed very laboured at times, compared to his usual gazelle like bursts of acceleration. — Ah Moyes… where did it all go wrong with Beattie? To me he was more than half a yard off the pace and at times looked like a lost dog in the desert wandering round in ever decreasing circles, trying in vain to find a tree to empty his distended bladder. To sum up his game — first touch negligible; pace negligible; guile negligible; skill negligible: effort… negligible. I don’t like singling out players for condemnation as it’s a team game but we do need to get shut and soon, for our sake and for his. All things considered this was a game we could have won if we’d used a little more thought and a lot less frantic Corporal Jones like ‘don’t panic don’t panic’ final balls into the box we would have been too good for them.

I’ve been called a ‘Moyes Lover’ by some, not guilty your honour. There are certain characteristics of the man I admire — there are others I wonder about. I believe in giving credit where credit is due and basing my arguments on evidence and not prejudice.

However, on the evidence of what I saw on Saturday the 14th of October I’d strongly criticise Moyes for two things. Why play Beattie when Anichebe — a hungry young man and natural, bustling, physical, handful of centre forward if I’ve ever seen one — is chomping at the bit and would have scared the shit out of the Boro defence if given the chance? Why play into the oppositions hands by constantly signalling the team to come deep when on the evidence of the first 20 minutes Boro were there for the taking?

The big test will be the next game when we play Sheffield United (they are all big tests). If we don’t beat them I fear freefall. No doubt our very own ‘Middlesbrough’ tendency (gloomy and full of shit) will be happy with this as it will give them the opportunity to revel in our disappointment. I hope not, if I have to read one more ‘I told you so’ letter I’m moving back to ‘Blue Kipper’ — now that is despair!
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (16/10/06)

Football Manager indeed...

  • Curbishley? In ten years (ish) with Charlton he achieved nothing more than stabilising them in the Premiership.
  • Jewell?? Wasn't he the one who took Bradford down and into oblivion??
  • Coppell??? The man is always one game away from a nervous breakdown — ask Man City!!!
Tony, you need to do better than this. The only managers who will deliver on what you aspire to (trophies every season accompanied by football from Brazil) are unlikely to see Everton as a real prospect; sad to say — but true. O'Neill might have taken us on, but the timing wasn't right (by which I mean Moyes hasn't used up all his lives yet with Bill Kenwright). The only other managers in the Premier League worth a punt are Wenger and err... that's it — no chance!

Managers from abroad worth their salt want oodles of cash to spend, usually on dodgy imports. We've had a few, I know, but nothing to compare with some (see Beneathus for one and Houllier for another). The only place you will get a significant improvement on Moyes is if you play 'Football Manager' and I don't.

You want us all to deal in 'reality' so please, Tony, try some yourself. If your prediction is right and we have another relegation fight this season, then you may get your wish: to see Moyes removed. However, don't expect much to change until Billy K steps out of the way and the Board get as aspirational as the fans, but with the money to make it happen.

Your ire is misdirected, as the frailities of the manager are a symptom of our ills — not the cause.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (15/10/06)

Hahaha!

Curbishley, Jewell or Coppell?!! Tony Marsh, you really are a knobhead. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (15/10/06)

I can't believe he took the bait...

How Good Are We?

I was chatting to a mate in the pub the other day who I hadn't seen for a while. We, as you do, started to chat about footy and he commented I must be delighted with Everton's start. I sat back and thought, "Yeah, I am!" Lescott has settled in well, and Johnson's been doing the biz. Cahill's back to his best.... and then I considered the season more.

First we had a couple of great wins over Spurs and the Reds, we were very lucky gainst Watford and have dropped too many points recently. Overall, we have underachieved so far and I feel we could do better. We have had an easy start so far and have not taken advantage of that.

I believe we can finish in the top 6 this year, but won't. We still miss something under Moyes.
Chris Wright, Chester  (15/10/06)

We Are Finally Mediocre?

Lately I have tried to ignore the posts of the Anti-Moyes Brigade but something Mr Marsh said has really struck a cord with me:-

'We need a complete change in attitude and personnel if we are to escape the clutches of mediocrity.'
That got me thinking; we really have become a mediocre team. How great is that!!! I mean, after a decade of fighting relegation and generally being considered one of the worst teams in the Premiership, Everton have now become a very average and mediorce team.

!!!FANTASTIC PROGRESS!!!

Of course this is just a start; Moyes has already taken Everton up a step from poor to mediocre and the question is now: "Can he take Everton up a further step from mediocre to decent?" Some fans are being impatient but personally after a decade of being shit, I am quite content to be mediocre for a couple of years.

How long do we give Moyes to take another step up? Well, if by the start of 2008-09 Everton are still mediocre then I will agree Moyes has taken them as far as he can and a new manager is required. Progress has undeniably been made and the first part of Moyes's job has been completed; the second part is proving more difficult but I believe we owe Moyes some time.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (15/10/06)

Mediocrity? I think you might be playing right into their hands... Michael

Reply to Gary Norman

Who would I have as our manager instead of Moyes?

Where do I begin. Without mentioning any foriegn names: Curbishley, Coppell, Jewell, are quite realistic but we could play silly buggers all day couldn't we. As for who would want it, I think most managers in the country to be honest.

Nice peice, Paul Cathcart.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (16/10/06)

Aldo Deuscher

Just read todays Daily Star and I was reading a article about Aldo Deuscher. Apparently Deportivo are allowing him to leave in January for free. Surely we must be interested. He is exactly what we need: a solid central midfielder. This man was linked with Man Utd so surely he is good enough to play for us. Up the blues!!!
John  Brumley, Liverpool  (15/10/06)

Quick, someone: Send Davey an e.mail!

Priorities

".........more importantly still above Liverpool"!!!!!!! What the fuck are we doing compering ourselves with what that shite are up to?

Is that how sad some have us have become, worrying about what someone else is doing? What next? "... more importantly still above Wigan? Tranmere? Chester?" Leave the shite to stew in their shite and think about what WE, US, EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB are doing and while we are at it Fuck everyone else too! Jeeeez!
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (15/10/06)

Glad you picked up on that one, Mark. I nearly said something but I probably say too much as it is — esepcially at the weekends, when I have a bit more time for this malarkey! — Michael

Must we go on like this forever?

Having watched Everton for the best part of 30 years, the last five under the managership of David Moyes, I have come to the conclusion, that if you are happy with finishing anywhere between 5th and 17th, playing unattractive, Route One football, then Moyes is your man. If like me, you harbour greater ambition for your club, then dare I suggest we replace Moyes sooner rather than later.

You will no doubt have those (Dutch et al) arguing that Moyes is doing a wonderful job... well, is he? Okay, we somehow managed to finish 4th a few seasons back, but that was followed by one of the worst seasons in this great club's history. They will argue that he hasn't been given either the time or money, well he's had nearly 5 years of unprecedented support from his chairman, and hasn't even come close to winning anything, and has had twice as much to spend than any of his recent predecessors.

They will no doubt also argue that he has bought gems such as Martyn, Cahill and AJ, but hasn't he also bought duds such as Wright, Davies and Beattie? Facts don't lie. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see these words rammed back down my throat, but sadly it ain't going happen under Moyes's stewardship. If we as a club still harbour the thought of once again becoming a major force in English football, we now need to grab the bull by the horns and bring in a manager and backroom team with the acumen to make it happen. You don't need an Abromovich — just look at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger — you just need someone with the vision and tactical know-how.

Watching the football served up under this current manager makes me both sad and angry, and unfortunately it shows no sign of abating. Our history demands that we play football with style and panache, and that nothing but the best will do. Well, if you think humping a ball up in the air or passing it cheaply to an opponent is the way forward, then perhaps Moyes is the best man for the job after all. I, for one, think not.
Paul Cathcart, Liverpool  (15/10/06)

Know your game?

Sometimes in football you need a little Luq or you'll end up on Marshy ground... Enjoy your football, lads!
Bob Patterson, Liverpool  (15/10/06)

Question

Just one question for Tony Marsh: "Who would you like to see as Everton Manager who realistically would come to us?"
Gary Norman, Alsager, Stoke on Trent  (15/10/06)

Oh gawd... here we go with the Football Manager nonsense. What is the point of this question? It always, always comes up as some kind of lame defence of the incumbent manager, who cannot be replacedd becasue there is no realistic alternative. That's bollocks, as Everton and indeed every club proves whenever they do finally decide it's time to call for the taxi... There is always a replacement, and he's the only name that matters — not anyone any of the fans may come up with. Not Tony; not anyone.

But that's not the issue. The issue Tony raises — and it's not entirely without merit — is that David Moyes has taken us as far as he can; that the football he has his team play is never going to get much better; that the fourth-place finish he ground out in 2005 will be the peak of his achievements with us; and that a cup run is always going to be well out of his reach. Unfortuantely, everything we have seen so far points to this analysis being more likely rather than less likely to pan out.

Meanwhile, we (and I include myself in this) hope (against hope???) that David Moyes will somehow make it happen for us. Tony's thoughts present a strong challenge that is hard to face down, which is why he generates so much angst and anger from those who cannot bring themselves to contemplate the horror that Moyes may not actually be The One.

Of course, for many, such thinking is abject heresey. For them, the way forward is to always think positive thoughts and to not allow such negative thinking to undo the good work Moyes has slowly been achieving. It's an emotional issue, and it creates strong emotional responses. Neither can claim to be right (although that doesn't stop them) because, as the cliché goes, only time will tell... But some (as it seems) want to silence such talk; perhaps the best we could all do is just start praying for future success, rather than wasting our time talking about it? — Michael

Expectations!

It seems to me that the fundamental difference between the lovers and the haters of the ginger PE teacher is their expectations. Some people are easily pleased and happy with not very much so they must be the ones who think the 'progress' we have made in the last five years is acceptable.

It is screamingly obvious that we play a generally poor standard of football... neutrals hate us because we are shite entertainment. The manager is a dour former hoof-it-out centre-back, and that is clearly reflected in his style of play and tactical nous.

I would hope that all Evertonians want the same thing: a succesful, attractive team... top 6 with the occasional cup run and threat on the top 4 is a realistic target. Five years and a fortune spent, much of it wasted on the farcical James Beattie and Simon Davies, and I think Moyes has reached his limit; he is out of his depth and we are going nowhere.

We all support the team but, if we get towards the end of this season and we are stuck with a safe mid-table position and the usual dirge-like football, then I will start hoping it gets worse and worse to hopefully force the manager out. He will never bring the type of football or relative success that some of us expect... the people that Tony Marsh has a go at seem alright with that.
Mike Price, Songhkla, Thailand  (15/10/06)

School-boys!

I agree with Mr Marsh that I refuse to live in a Moyes Utopia land that some fans are only too comfortable to reside in. It is also sad about some of the school-boy notions that are thrown around by the Moyes Brigade.

Laurie Sanchez said before the Northern Island game last weekend, that since they lost to Iceland 3-0, and Sovakia beat Iceland 4-0, Northern Island should lose 7-0 by virture of school-time equations. Now let's equate that to Paul Atress's silly suggestion that because Chelsea lost to Boro, it's ok for Everton to lose there also. Paul, CHELSEA ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF ENGLAND, any team will play them as if it is their cup final. Everton are hardly even Uefa challengers, so what relevance is it who they beat at home previously? To lose there in the manor they did was nothing short of surrender!

I have noticed a split happening in the Moyes Brigade camp! Fans like Dick Fearon and Kevin Sparke are pro-Moyes, yet have the common sense to analyse things a little when Everton play crap now (good comments today, Dick). However, then you have the zealots who blindly cling on to their dying Cesar, like Dutch, Atress and now Cottee. Cottee, if you do not want to read my post then don't, but at least contribute something with substance, not blanks — like your name-sake's last two years at Everton.

These fans are beginning to see through the media spin... hold-on lads — there are more waking up with you!
Luq Yus, London  (15/10/06)

Good Season So Far

Oddly enough, the first defeat this season wasn't as hurtful as I was expecting. Everton are still 7th in the Premiership and more importantly still above Liverpool. So far, I've really enjoyed this season — especially the fantastic results against Spurs & Liverpool. Is this all too good to be true? Let's hope not, I think Everton fans deserve more seasons like this after all those dark years under Walter Smith.

To all those people moaning about the posts of Luq and Tony Marsh — don't waste your breath. They are only posting for attention. Every post is the same, in fact I would bet Marsh and Luq are actually the same person, just the same old boring defeatism, I don't bother to even read anything that has their names attached to it.
Billy Adler, Liverpool  (15/10/06)

Nothing quite like a free and fair exchange of views, eh, Billy? Personally, I read everything on here... but then I guess that's my job! But I think it's a bit childish of you to pull that "attention" nonsense. What you ought to do is actually read what they are writing and then ask yourself (putting aside if you can their admittedly one-dimensional attitude for a moment): Is anything they are saying actually wrong?

While I don't personally agree with the depth of their pessimism, I know where they are coming from, and I can't call them on much of what they are actually saying about the team, the manager, the players, the football we play. After all, personalities aside, that's why I'm reading this stuff... Why are you? — Michael

From my seat

Jetlagged and hamstrung — and I thought that was just three of them — not the entire team! A bad day at the office with few players actually playing. In my view, only Carsley and Arteta were near Premiership standard with Cahill pulling his tripe out despite the jetlag.

We played some delightful stuff in the middle third — but only in the middle third. The defensive third was shambolic, especially first-half, with marginal improvement second-half. In turn, all of the back four (or five) displayed the form of the Sunday League but to be fair to Lescott he was more caught up in it than being responsible for it.

The attacking third was bereft of any co-ordinated build-up or killer pass and hardly a chance created in the 90 mins despite having a dozen or more corners. Even the goal was an individual effort, takes some doing, that!

Overall, I thought we looked a better outfit than them but on the day they defended much much better than us and didn't have to win the midfield battle as any long ball over the top caused mahem within our ranks. It is often said you learn more in defeat than in victory, I hope to hell our manager and players come into that catagory.

Warnock's Warriors next up; it should be required viewing... See you Saturday. — UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (15/10/06)

No punches pulled there, Ken! Thanks for your keen perceptions, as ever. — Michael

Really?

So, following my earlier posting, I want to ask Tony and Luq a couple of questions which I think we would all appreciate answers to:

  1. Do you really think we have a worse squad and a worse style of play than last year? (i.e. that no progress is being made?)
  2. Do you really think that our current squad and style of play are below the mid-point in the Premiership in terms of quality?
If yes, then I guess you really do live in a different universe from the rest of us. Or if all you really think is that we are nowhere near as good as Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd — then can we all just agree, rejoin the real world, and get on supporting the team please?
Neil Pearse, Liverpool  (15/10/06)

The Truth Hurts

Once again, after another dismal showing by David Moyes's Everton, we have the same old voices from the mailbag calling me and Luq 'negative'. What kind of wanker must you be if you really believe I want Everton to lose?

I give my opinion on what I see and what I believe. Why don't we all just pop on the rose-tinted spectacles and sugar-coat the whole fucking mess that is EFC at the present time? That way we can all be happy and not have to face up to the facts.

Atress, Cottee, Steven Smith et al — go and bury your fucking heads in the sand if you must. Live off a Derby win all season if you want to. Defend the Ginger Genius and his pathetic footballing brain all you like. Just don't expect other supporters like me and Luq to follow you on your self-delusional journey.

If being loyal to the point of ignorance is what you are all about, that's fine. If you can't see the bigger picture (other than being top of the league for half an hour) that's also fine... but don't think we are all as easily fooled as you lot. We play shite football for a clueless manager and at times it's so embarrasing it should be banned under the Trade Descriptions Act.

I think you would all be better off following a basketball team if you like the ball in the air all game. Go and get a job on a battery farm if you like headless chickens so much. It's the year 2006 and the long-ball game is about as much use as a James Beattie fitness video — yet Moyes continues with this idiotic ploy. WHY?

We need a complete change in attitude and personal if we are to escape the clutches of mediocrity. Moyes is no better or no worse than any other Championship manager — and that's where he belongs in the Championship. He is definitely not good enough for my vision of Everton FC and where I want us to be. Tranmere Rovers would be an ideal place to learn your trade — not a multi-million pound operation in the Premier League.

Keep on lying to yourselves, boys — that way, you don't have to face up to how shit we really are. Luq and myself, well we will continue to call it as we see it.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (16/10/06)

OK, so we lost!

OK, so we lost... do any of the miserable buggers who make up this MailBag realise it was for the first time this season... and it`s the middle of October for crissake? As Davey says, we did more than enough to gain a point and suffered... yet again... at the hands of a dud ref.

So the defence had an off-day, no doubt caused by the disruption of losing Hibbert and having to change formation but that can be addressed for the next game by re-introducing the steadying influence of Weir for a while. Personally, I felt we missed the width that Killa used to provide on the left as well as the continuous help he provided for his full-back. When Nayce is fit it will be interesting to see if Davey askes him to take the Killa role — I hope so.

Now off to the Freshfield to take up the defence of the lads against the inevitable doom merchants who pervade our ranks. Sadly.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (15/10/06)

"So the defence had an off-day" ... but it was the ref's fault? I think it goes a lot deeper than that. I had done no research on what the Boro team would look like, but what was Davey's excuse? We don't seem to know how to play against teams that take the overly physical approach, and I'll concede that losing Kilbane could be a factor there.

We seemed to be seriously lacking a physical presence on the pitch. We tried to use skill to combat it but too many times we ran into a cul-de-sac and play the ball back into our own half, only for someone to boot it aimlessly forward and inevitably lose possession. It's that link play going forward that needs the work, and it's an area that is probably foriegn to Moyesy as a player. Why do so many of our players receive a forward pass and then turn to pass it back? Is there really no option in front of them so they can keep the momentum of the attack going? — Michael

This is a crisis??

For God's sake everyone, can we just calm down a little? One loss and everyone is going to pieces. Let me tell you what we learnt from yesterday.

  • First, that Everton are still playing some better on-the-ground football than for most of last year (thank God Dunc has gone). This is good.
  • Also in the good column from yesterday is Carsley is back and doing a fine job.
  • Cahill has rediscovered his goalscoring form (how many other clubs have midfielders who can score a dozen-plus goals a year?).
  • And Howard — despite some wobbles yesterday — is the best keeper we have had for some time.
However - yesterday taught us mostly what we already know, or could have easily predicted:
  • Beattie and Davies are not going to do it for us and have to go. (Fortunately we have Anichebe, Vaughan, McFadden, and Osman — all looking more promising than last year.)
  • Arteta is not unfortunately as sharp as he was last year (although still very good in patches).
  • The Yobo / Lescott partnership is promising, but still bedding down (anybody see two more promising young centre backs around in the Premiership?).
  • And clever managers such as Southgate are learning how to reduce the threat of AJ (hardly surprising — but we can do better).
This hardly looks like a full scale crisis to me — and hardly suggests relegation form (a bit of fairness from the ref yesterday and we would have had a point).

In fact, it looks like clear progress over last year, with obviously further to go. A Scott Parker style tough midfielder and a quick winger (VdM is surely not going to make it) in January, and we would have our best squad for over a decade. So can we all calm down a little please?
Neil Pearse, Liverpool  (15/10/06)

That's a good reply to Alan Clarke's claim, certainly. It's understandable that everyone feels down after we lose to a team that we usually beat, but to somehow decide that beacuse of this, the good football we saw earlier in the season was some sort of a myth is plain wrong. — Michael

Arteta's Decision-Making

Out-muscled and out-thought at the Riverside with Johnson never getting a sniff of a chance behind a defence that never tried to spring an off-side trap, I'd like to offer another reason why we don't always create as many chances as we should.

Now this theory involves our beloved Arteta who, I must admit, infurates me sometimes in his decision-making. He, more often than not, doubles back when he could put in a first time cross and he rarely shoots when he should — but then does so when there are better options.

Five minutes from time when we win a free kick on the right with everyone piling forward for a cross, he plays a short interchange with Neville, we lose the ball and never regain possession in the last 5 minutes. A grandstand finish blown away by a bad decision.

I'm not saying that this is the whole reason why we sometimes create very little, lack of pace in key areas (Johnson excepted) being the main one, but it's a contributory factor and one Moyes and Arteta should be working on.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (15/10/06)

I was pleased to see how much involved Arteta was yesterday but, since the end result, as you point out, was so limited, you do have to wonder. He did some lovely touches and one outrageous piece of skill out on the left to take the ball past someone; he really is a pleasure to watch so perhaps I am guilty of allowing that to beguile me. How many corners did he take? Not that they were all that bad, and Boro did have those two brutes in there, but we created very little from them. I think you might have a point; I'll watch for that in future. — Michael

Arse licker — who, me?

As one of Moyes's arse lickers, as Mr Tony Marsh eloquently describes us, I am glad to see from the letters on ToffeeWeb that I am not alone in getting fed up [to put it in a lady-like fashion!!] of Mr Marsh's sarcasm, caustic remarks and his negativity. Tell me, does he personally have a vendetta against people with red hair? Obviously so, as he insultingly always calls David Moyes "the ginger one". Whether you think he is a good Manager or not, and you certainly don't, he does deserve a little respect.

Okay, Everton did not play particularly well yesterday... perhaps it was a blip caused by international duty, except amazingly in the case of Tiny Tim, but tell me how many players had Middlesborough had on international duty? Out of 8 games we have lost only 1, but this isn't good enough is it, Mr Marsh? It's early days yet and perhaps Everton will fall by the wayside, who knows? And I am sure you will be delighted if they do, but for God's sake, give them a chance and try getting behind them instead of "in their face" all the time — and quit calling me your little Welsh daffodil!!!
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (15/10/06)

Ouch... that little crush didn't last long!

Be realistic, Michael

My point is we played well in the derby and that was our only decent performance at home this season. Just to refresh your memory:

  • Watford: we were very lucky with the penalty and played crap.
  • Wigan: we drew 2-2 with a very poor side and Moyes was tactically wrong by replacing Carsley with Beattie.
  • Man City: another poor performance, which didn't indicate anything has changed from last season; we go a goal up then defend with our lives the one-goal lead.
The away form has been just as bad except for one good performance against Tottenham. I've seen enough evidence this season to know not much has changed and an 11th place finish is on the cards.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (15/10/06)

That's funny, I thought we played quite well against Wigan and Man City. We deserved to win those games. I thought City was the game in which we created loads of chances, only for Moyes to make some serious errors with his subs that handed them the baton in the last 10 mins, forcing us to defend. But I wasn't there, so I was probably watching a different game, as you say. — Michael

Dave Roberts

We are both the same yet somehow different in our views. I agree with most of what he says yet he would have to agree that most of the players he named were not Catterick signings and they disappeared from the first team pretty quickly after he came. In any case, one could hardly describe the players Dave named as lightweight little uns. Bobby Collins, the smallest in stature, was built like a pocket battleship.

The point I was trying yet seemingly failed to make was actually strengthened by Dave. Our current mob of lightweight midfielders do not bear comparison in skill or body strength or influence on a game's result than Dave’s examples. Tim Cahill's eye for goal is the only one with a chance of making a first team with some of Dave’s lot. Arteta, Davies and Osman have lots of skill but that attribute alone is not good enough for Championship hopefuls. I strongly believe when we breed or buy a good big un for the midfield, only then will many see what has been badly lacking.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (15/10/06)

The Art of Entertainment!

Reading Tony Marsh's comments, he would have us believe that EFC are a game away from relegation, but if you were to listen to Dutch you would think we were on the brink of Premiership glory. I think the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes.

The Premiership was always going to be a difficult place this season as the rewards for those who manage to attain safety in the next two seasons are virtually guaranteed survival for the next four seasons whilst those who fail to escape the clutches of the drop could face extinction. Given those stark realities, it is little wonder that the beautiful game is not the first item on any manager's agenda. Indeed it will lead to a greater amount of functional football from a greater number of teams this season and beyond.

Witness Scotland: an ordinary collection of players with a less-than-outstanding manager. They occasionally get a good result (e.g. against France) but fail in most other matches, such as Romania. Football in general is becoming more competitive but less appealling — regardless of which team you support. How many games involving Everton in the last 10 years could you say have been memmorable for pure football reasons? Man Utd 3-4; Leeds 4-4 at Goodison, and a few gutsy single-goal wins. But our fans (like most supporters have come in their droves regardless of the ENTERTAINMENT on offer and I think for a few reasons now the gloss has lost its shine.

As many fans realise that the costs — both financially and in the use of quality time — are not worth the effort... (This may explain the rush to subscribe to Everton TV and such like.) ...especially for some of those players and clubs who fail to understand that football is not merely a product for consumption. If an Artist, Actor or Director produces rubbish or predictable work on a regular basis, then the general public would soon grow tired and switch their allegiances to those who produced interesting and varied work.

Society has changed in recent years and so has the game; people are demanding more from those who are paid to entertain; those who entertain are demanding more from the those who fund the game, namely the fans. Something has to give, especially when an average player such as Joseph Barton, has the gaul to use the relatively minor incident at Goodison to show how much he has worked on his self-control, whilst at the same time a public service broadcaster who has the longest item relating to EFC in the last few years provides Mr Barton with a platform to chastise those fans who have the temerity to verbally abuse his humanity.

I do not condone any offensive behaviour; however, I honestly think that if I was paid in a week what I now earn in a year, I may be able to tolerate a substantial amount of abuse and a little bit more. Every shop worker, publican or any one else who deals with the public face to face, will tell you: abuse and violence are very much part and parcel of the modern world. Could this rise in aggressive behaviour be due in any small part to a lack of willingness of those who are paid to entertain failing to do so?

After all, some of the media would have you believe that, as long as your team wins it doesn't really matter how it was achieved. Don't miss the Coin-Tossing World Cup! Coming to a stadium near you soon! Buy now to avoid Dissapointment. You never get sick of watching Tossers!
John McFarlane, Lancs  (14/10/06)

Hmmmm?

No wins in 4... Hmmmm?
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (14/10/06)

Hmmm???

Crazy

After all the negative shit Luq and Tony Marsh write, it's poor old Dutch who Michael attacks for being negative. It always amazes me that, no matter how much Luq and Tony Marsh run down our beloved manager and players, Michael supports them. I get fucking sick reading their posts and if I see their names first I don't bother to even read them.
John Cottee, Romford  (14/10/06)

Suit yerself. Unfortunately, Luq and Tony are not that far away from the truth, despite their negativity, whereas Dutch lives in his own little world where unreality and meaningless platitudes reign. I know what I'd rather read...

And rather than just going on about the critical assessments of Luq and Tony, why don't you write something uplifting to counter their position, something that we can all agree on and get behind? I think you know why, don't you, John. — Michael

The Land That Time Forgot

Just got back from Boro, this was my third trip to what must be classed as one of the worst and most depressing towns/cities in the UK. Having travelled the length and breadth of Britain in my job over the last 20 years I can honestly say that this place is bereft of anything remotely resembling humanity. The ¾-mile-long thoroughfare masquerading as a town centre is full of 1960s-style flat-roof architecture in varying shades of black and grey smattered with hints of brown just to brighten things up. The walk from the nearby town centre to the Riverside was punctuated by a solitary McDonalds (god forbid) a short distance from the ground, but if you're thinking 'typical new-ground scenario' with ajoining retail park, forget it. The Riverside is situated in the middle of what seems like a post-nuclear holocaust zone, with a solitary petrochemical site at one end and the remains of an overhead crane gantry at the other — and that's it! It's like the planners have said: "You wanted a new ground... and thats yer lot!"

As for the match, well Everton played in fits and starts and were largely undone by Boro's more physical approach. Can we have some steel in midfield, please Mr Moyes, to go with our silky approach of messers Arteta who had the Boro defenders back peddling for most of the game?

Alas,the recent chorus of boyo's from the valleys to include Simon Davies must be choking on their leeks after another absolutely anonymous display from our Welsh wizard who let the game largely pass him by as well as surely moving towards the inevitable end of his brief career at Everton.

Everton's vulnerability down both flanks caused us endless problems throughout the game as we simply did not have an answer to the speed and threat of Downing who I thought gave both Hibbert before he departed injured, and Neville a chasing. It's frustrating watching Everton at the moment because you feel the team is 'close but not close enough' to being a very good side. Certainly Howard, Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Cahill, Arteta and Johnson are class acts, but the rest are simply not good enough or capable of winning tight games on a regular basis.

And finally, once again, the Everton away support was magnificent, with (unlike their home counterparts) no rows and rows of empty seats around the stadium.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (14/10/06)

Good report, Steve; many thanks!

Well done, Moyes

Well done, Moyes, for being out-foxed by a completely novice manager today. I've just read his post match comments and he said he can't fault the players' effort. Who's at fault then? This is now Moyes's squad and his style of play and I'm getting sick of it. I was out of the country during the derby win so have yet to see a performance that has made me think anything has changed this season.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (14/10/06)

So, to paraphrase, if the team plays well but you weren't there to witness it, then it doesn't count? How fucking stupid is that??? Today was a poor performance defensively — an area where we have generally been strong. For a few games either side of the derby (that you missed, but many of us didn't — I'm sure you could still watch a lot of it on EvertonTV if you made the effort), we had been playing better football. We just played three draws, each of which we should have won. But I don't think anyone will argue we should have won today. It will be a pity if it signals that our early season form was just a blip. Let's hope not. — Michael

Boro Defeat

Luq is right: losing to Boro away is an extremely poor result. Surely all teams should beat Boro away. It's not like Chelsea went there and lost is it?

I hate how Luq and Tony Marsh seem to delight when Everton lose. It's like saying 'I told you so' is more important to them than the loss.

Personally I'm hurting from that loss as I'm sure others (David Moyes included) are. I'm sick that Tony and Luq are delighting in it. TWATS.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (14/10/06)

While there is undeniably an element of 'I told you so' in their contributions (and to be fair, they did warn us all we were not doing as well as many people believed), I think you are making the wrong call when you claim that any Evertonian delights in seeing us lose. Some fans unleash on the team and the management when we lose; others unload on their fellow fans. I'll leave it to you to figure out which one actually makes more sense... Take a while to think about it, if you need to. Michael

Negative Everton fans

So Everton lose their first game of the season and it didn't take long for the negativity to begin! Tony Marsh, I find your comments absolutely amazing and really wonder if you have a bloody clue about football at all! You have obviously been watching a completely different Everton to the one I have — or is it just that I actually enjoy supporting my team? The way you carry on, it sounds as though you thrive on us playing shit just so you can come on ToffeeWeb to gob off with your waste of space letters!!!

It would make a change to come on this site and actually read letters from Evertonians that actually had something positive to say about the team. Five years of treading water, eh, Mr Marsh? Well, I think qualifying for the Champions League was a little better than treading water!!!!
Steven Smith, Ipswich  (14/10/06)

Hahaha... Qualifying for the Champions League??? When was that then? All we qualified for was a chance to qualify for the Champions League... and we failed. I'm sorry, Steve, but I think you picked the wrong day to start bleating about negative Everton fans (unless you are talking about that prick, Dutch) we lost today, in case you didn't notice. And we are talking about today — not eighteen fucking months ago! — Michael

Relegation Form

So the unbeaten run is over and we are now in a mini crisis. No wins since the Derby; points being thrown away at home to poor sides and now a defeat to the worst Boro side since they left Ayresome Park. I suppose the dreamers out there who continue to back The Ditherer will be saying we are doing better than last season, blah blah blah...

If this is progress, you can stick it. Can one of you Moyes arse-lickers tell me why, after 3 seasons, the Gormless Ginger Genius still hasn't figured out that Beattie is a usless waste of space? If Moyes can't see it then he should not be in the Everton job.

I did warn you weeks ago that we were going nowhere but you wouldn't have it. What do you think about this rich vien of relegation form then? We are all led to believe that Moyes will be in charge for the next couple of seasons... PLEASE — NO MORE!!!

Its is now 5 years of treading water under Moyes and the football has not improved one bit. What's the point in continuing will this hopeless, clueless, disaterous blend of poor leadership, pathetic tactics, horrible kick-and-rush football and a totall refusal to boot out the crap players we have in our squad?

I can't take much more of this utter shite we are being served up and I can't take much more of the blind fools who think it's a wonderful\ job Moyes is doing. Most of the money has been spunked, the football is as bad as ever to watch, and we are still struggling to find any sort of pattern to our play.

Five wonderful years? I don't think so, lads. I think it has been five wasted years and more misery to come. With Moyes in charge, if we finish in the top half of the league it will be a miracle. Get him out now before his Stone Age way of doing things drags us in to another scrap at the bottom — because that's where we are heading. What's the odds on Luton making things even worse next week in the Carling Cup?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (14/10/06)

Pheww... [sigh of relief]. After fearing the absolute worst, that wasn't too bad for you, Tony. I was really worried the mixture of alcohol and anti-depressants wouldn't be sufficient and I would be grasping for the shotgun to finally end it all. I was so convinced you were going to remove from us every tettering pillar left supporting the edifice that is Everton. Instead, I feel it was a fairly mild rebuke; perhaps all is not lost and we can live to fight another day? — Michael

Stunned!!!

A few weeks ago, I was told by the Moyes Bum Brigade that being unbeaten is enough to be happy about, regarding the season efforts thus far. Well, after more tactical blunders and inept displays of quality and creativity, this team is the same team two weeks ago I was telling those jokers not to get over-excited about!

Today I got my wish and Davies played wide right. And after another pathetic display, he should piss off tomorrow and I'm very embrassed to have defended him earlier this week. Beattie is another who should try and fit his useless frame through the exit door. Lastly Moyes himself should fuck off, as he has taken this team as far as he can. It is not his fault — he is completely limited in his management ability, so oust him now before this season goes by the way-side. Again!

To lose to Middlesbrough is an extremely poor result, and anyone who tries to defend today is as non-functional as that free internet streaming lark. Back to middle-table obscurity, which is certain with Moyes in charge!
Luq Yus, London  (14/10/06)

Poor Pass Execution and Poor Everton

The back four were a shambles today and nothing has changed upfront. BT and AJ have no link-up play, no support from midfield for the front two, and a crap midfield to boot against a poor boro team.

So the party is over and it's back to the sorry reality of the crap hoof it up football of the last 5 years. Cheers, Billy!
John Cribb, Liverpool  (14/10/06)

Our slide down the table from the momentary post-derby heights of being top (for all of two hours) continues... Hair shirts and self-flaggelation are the order of the day as we prepare for the inevitable Marsh Mauling... — Michael

Boro 2 - 1 Everton

I'd forgotten how much it sucks when Everton lose. I suppose we had to lose sooner or later and at least it sounds like Everton played a good game and had some chances.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (14/10/06)

No doubt your hero David Moyes did a wonderful job, Dutch, but it sounded to me like our defence was poor and at times all over the place. And the perennial problem with not getting balls forward accurately meant that AJ never even had a sniff. We didn't "have to lose sooner or later" — what sort of negative bollocks is that? — Michael

Football Packages

I am currently looking at trying to get down to see us playing Villa, Bolton or West Ham. Obviously living in Scotland and playing football on a Saturday I rarely get the chance to even contemplate making the trip down.

I have looked on the ATP Sports Event's website for tickets and accomodation, I was wondering if anyone else knew from previous experience of any good sites I could use to book my tickets and accomodation.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (14/10/06)

Andy Johnson

Firstly, very well done, AJ, for your POTM award. Justly deserved and very magnanamous of you to dedicate it to the whole team. Secondly, well done to whoever it was that decided AJ had 'a hamstring injury'. It's bad enough to lose Phil Neville to a warm-up, let alone suffer the after-effects of the two games on McFadden and Cahill et al, but to have lost AJ's services to the international curse would have been too much. I will admit I was a bit doubtful of his ability to cut it at the top level, but I have been proved wrong. When you consider the outlay on Beattie, AJ is a snip. Well done.
Tom Edwards, York  (13/10/06)

Re Mr Callen

What has the ground move got to do with fans not liking travelling fans? I have never met anyone at a match who is the slightest bothered where his fellow blues come from; however, I have spent a lot of time at relatives in Newcastle and any one moving there should be the last to call anyone fuck wits. I think you've had too much Newc Brown and as you don't live here the move won't bother you but it does me. Oh and incidentally, I turned down a promotion at work rather than move to the northeast.
Roy Coyne, Liverpool  (13/10/06)

How else can we have a pop at Moyes?

My son was at the Academy for 5 months about 3 years ago, during which time I had plenty of opportunity to observe the coaching of the Academy players under the then tutelage of Gary Ablett and Alan Harper. At no time was the direct style of football encouraged. Quite the contrary, it was a "pass it to death" philosophy that made me wonder when the lads sould ever shoot.

I think some people are looking for ever more ways to have a go at Moyes. Admittedly, he does have a tendency to a direct approach (particularly when Dunc was still there) but I very much doubt he has that great an influence on the Academy lads. Isn't this just a case of Moyes bashing for the hell of it?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (13/10/06)

Er.... some salient points that have obviously escaped you: 1) Ablett has gone... and appears to have taken his passing game to Liverpool (see his comments, after their mini-derby defeat). Surely that says it all? He explictly moaned about Everton's long-ball game, and their own lack of success playing it on the ground.

Furthermore, it could well have taken the last three years for the Moyes Philosphy of Hoofball to percolate down to the Academy. Moyes needs to prove to us fans that it is not his style of play... or we need to accept that it is. We've come close to playing it oin the ground on a couple of occasions this season, only to revert back when things start getting tough — which is not unreasonable... but it ain't very attractive either. — Michael

Congrats

Well done to Andrew Johnson on his PotM award and great to see him dedicate it to his team mates. Increasingly he comes across as a 'Top Bloke'. In his radio interview he came across as a well balanced individual with his feet well and truly planted on terra firma. Another 15 or more to add to his current haul will do very nicely!

On a separate note, tomorrow will be the first game without Phil Neville featuring this season. I've said elsewhere that I think he has been as pivotal as anyone to our great start and I expect him to be sorely missed tomorrow. Hope I'm wrong...
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (13/10/06)

Yobo and the game

After what seems like a whirlwind world tour for half of the Blues side, I was feeling slighty apprehensive about the Boro game. But then I read Joseph Yobo`s comments about Lescott and about how Yakubu should be more wary of Yobo than vice versa.

It was good to read such positivity for a change rather than the usual fawning bullshit about how you respect the opposition. We may not be world-beaters but we are hard to beat. Let`s go and get the three points, boys!
Mark Manns, Acton  (13/10/06)

Systems et al

All I can say in response to Dick Fearon's post is that while I do remember Bernie the Bolt I also remember Harry Catterick's two title winning teams. Playing cute balls over the top for Alex Young to nod on for Roy Vernon is NOT necessarily Route One football! I also remember the Holy Trinity tearing defences apart by passing the ball! Where they Big-uns? Bollocks!Was that direct football? Was it hell!

Yeah, Harry may have used direct football in times of paucity like most clubs do, but that wasn't his or the Club's philosophy at the time. As for that boring mantra.. well.. there's another one: 'If you're good enough you're big enough' and I don't recall many giants getting the better of Bobby Collins, Tony Kay, Brian Harris, Jimmy Gabriel, Alan Ball, Howard Kendall or Colin Harvey.

That's the problem with football these days, there are still too many people (including those who have influence) who believe that this beautiful game is all about brawn. If it's brawn you want, go and watch Rugby. The beautiful game is at it's most beautiful when the brain is employed. If you doubt that, watch your tape of the 1970 World Cup Final. If you haven't got one, go and buy it. That's what our Club should aspire to and not the 'direct' version of the game I watched the reseves play last Tuesday. Trying to tell me that that is how it has always been just doesn't wash because it's not true.
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (13/10/06)

Great response, Dave. Top notch. I could not relate in any way to what Dick was saying. — Michael

Streaming (Everton) Games

I come across this gem of a site www.freelivesport.co.uk/forums/ a few months back, so it would only be fair if I shared it with the rest of yuz ;). How it all works is explained in the forums. If you give yourself the time to read them, they are pretty straight-forward. If you find yourself confused, remember all you have to do is ask but remember to read the FAQ first! Since this site is FREE they would probably appreciate a donation to help towards the running and service costs. Enjoy!
Paul Chilli, Liverpool  (13/10/06)

Watch Football for Free — yes you can

I found this site the other week: livefooty.doctor-serv.com

It has links to the day's games, and is dead easy. Just click on the game you want to watch - download the appropriate program (if needs be) and then watch on their website. All you need to do is download the appropriate streaming program (which they kindly provides links to) and install it. No need to open it or anything else.

And don't you worry about firewalls and all that stuff. I've got all the Norton Anti-virus, Spam, Internet Security stuff and didn't have to turn any firewalls or that off which you usually have to do. Also, the stream sare quite good (i.e. not that much stop-starting) as well.
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (13/10/06)

Thanks, Steve. I may try that tomorrow. — Michael

"Terrific"

Is it just me or is this word getting on other people's tits? It seems to crop up in every article where someone speaks at Goodison Park. Can't the players be a bit more individual instead of copying the manager all the time?
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (13/10/06)

That's a terrific question... oh ... Sorry!

Streaming

I've been on forum.freefootball and I can't find where it's free on there. As for this streaming shite, is there only me who thinks all the bollocks you have to go through makes it a right pain? — unless I'm thick and there's an easier way.
Big Dunc Bluey, Stoke  (13/10/06)

That was my conclusion too... er, not the thick bit!

Brains vs Brawn

I remind Gary Prothero that ‘direct’ football was a mantra of Harry Catterick, arguably our most successful post-war manager. There were few lightweight fancy dans in Harry’s outfits. In the era prior to his arrival, Everton was known as a good football side that won nothing and went nowhere.

To an old but true saying, a good bigg un’ will always beat a good little un’ I add that in lots of cases a less-than-good bigg un’ will beat a good little un’.

Many times I have seen a bloody awful big un’ beat a good little un’ but never have I seen a poor little un’ beat a good bigg un’. Over the years we had outstanding national success with our youth or what is now called ‘Academy’ teams. Sadly and largely due to their inability to cope with the physical side of the professional game our hopes for those future stars turned to dust.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (13/10/06)

Idiots

I would like to say that I drive all the way from Newcastle to watch Everton as I moved up here 6 years ago for work. I have a season ticket in the St End. Those of you who don't like this fact can fuck off as far as I am concerned.

What fuckin' difference does it make where we come from to support our club? I would travel even further than I already do, as I love our club. People who think like that are idiots. They are probably the fuck-wits who moan about the prospect of Everton 'moving' to Knowsley and having a stadium called something like the Tesco Arena. You can't stand in the way of progress.

Oh, and about Davies — the reason Moyes had fucked him off is because he is shite. Simple as that. If he was any good our bong-smoking friend from White Hart Lane wouldn't have sold him — they replaced him with Jenas. Says a lot to me that. Up the Toffeemen...
Andy Callan, North Shields  (13/10/06)

Don`t waste your time

I can spare Dave Roberts his trip to the Academy. As one whose step-son had two years in the system, I can tell you that 'direct' football is the mantra that runs throughout the club. There's no place under Moyes and Co for anyone who doesn't conform — particularly if they ain't built like a brick outhouse!
Gary Prothero, Childwall  (13/10/06)

Streaming Toffees

For anyone wishing to watch the blues free of charge. everything you could possibly need is here; For anyone wishing to watch the blues free of charge. everything you could possibly need is here; www.footballstreaming.info

Or here: forum.freefootball.org

If you still need assistance log onto the ToffeeWeb Forums and start a thread requesting help.

Its as simple as selecting a p2p programme and installing it. Then you go back to the site just before kick-off and get a 'link' to click on, which will open up your p2p client and stream the game automatically.
John Prior, Liverpool  (13/10/06)

Thanks, John.

Davies

I've never been a fan of Davies and he was terrible for most of last season. To be fair, though, he hasn't really had any game-time this year and, as far as I can recall, has played less than two games for us. One of these was the crummy performance against Peterborough where nobody played particularly well.

I don't think it's fair to judge him from Welsh internationals either, it's not too easy to shine in a team that gets hammered 5-1 by Slovakia. So I can feel for him a bit in that he's been frozen out without really having had a decent chance this season. But it's just too difficult to look past last season and perhaps this is some of the reason why Moyes is leaving him out.

The reality at the moment is that the squad has improved and playing Davies would just be plain stupid unless there is nobody else available. I never had the chance to see him carving them up at Spurs 4 or 5 years ago (as they say he did), and I feel that's not really relevent at this stage. Beattie used to carve them up at Southampton but looking at him now! — leaves one wondering just how he managed it.

In the end, Davies has probably played only a small handful of reasonable matches for us since he signed, and has been totally unconvincing the rest of the time. It's difficult to accept how much he cost us and how little the return has been. Training hard but not performing on the pitch just doessn't cut it. Is it possible that he is close to some sort of match appearance 'limit' that will trigger extra payments to Spurs? Maybe that will be the clincher...
Simon Potter, France  (13/10/06)

Out-of-town fans

Some interesting letters from fans who don't come from Liverpool, particularly Irish-based... I remember a few seasons back sitting next to an Irish fella in the Paddock(I'm not a season ticket holder) and once I realised there was no suspect packages under the seat, I found him to be very friendly and knowledgable about the Blues, so I have no problem with where fans come from. As long as they are as passionate as I am about Everton, they have every right to go the match and feel safe among our people.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (12/10/06)

That's really gracious of you, Colin. And some nice, er, 'profiling' there for good measure... Michael

Systems

I noticed a recent post which entioned 'systems' and how one-dimensional they are (sic) under Moyes. Brothers... it could be worse than that! I went to the mini-Derby on Tuesday and while it was great to beat our neighbours from across (soon to be ON) the park, I found it scary. While Liverpool weaved admittedly ineffective patterns of passing all over the pitch, our gameplan was to punt (admittedly effective on the night) long hopeful balls up to Anichebe and Vaughan. Have we seen that 'system' somewhere before?

It's been years since I watched the reserves so I had no real expectations but next Saturday morning I'm going to pop along to the Academy and if I find the toddlers playing the same way I will just have to conclude that this 'system' pervades and is a club philosophy. What's the point of having a midfield if all we do is punt long balls over it? Please God let me be wrong in my suspicions. Please let me be wrong in my calculation that our success so far this season is no more than AJ providing a more potent outcome to the Route One philosophy.

I know, to be fair, we've done a little better than that so far this season and we have played some decent stuff here and there but there were KIDS out there on Tuesday night lofting balls down the pitch. Shouldn't we have, as a Club, more ambition than that?
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (12/10/06)

I am with you totally on this, Dave. Great letter. — Michael

Watching the Toffee boys for free on t'internet

I'm hoping that somebody can help me here. I seem to recall recently that somebody put a link on the mailbag which meant that you could watch live Premiership matches on the internet for free. Hopefully, if that person is reading this they can maybe put the link back on again, it would be much appreciated. Unfortunately I can't get over to as many matches as I would like to, so this would be a good way to follow the boys in blue.
Simon Boyd, Bangor  (12/10/06)

I guess if this 'er website was any good, it would already have a page dedicated to such links. To be honest, of the couple I have looked at, I don't have the patience for the rigamaroll you have to go through, registering, figuring out the right 'forum', downloading the right software, voting for 'Our' game...

Now, if someone is more into this than me, and is prepared to write a user's guides with links and advice, I'll gladly make up that missing page for the likes of poor Simon — and give full credit for authourship (Your Name int'nternet lights!!!!) — Michael

Are we fickle or nosy?

Just a quick question - on looking at the official site, I discovered we still have plenty of tickets available for Boro on Saturday... well, enough to go on General Sale anyway. Yet we are sold out for the Arseanl game in three weeks? Why?

Surely we do not save our pennies to visit the bigger clubs? I have noticed at our home games the atmosphere against the lesser fancied teams is poor — maybe we are taking this to away games too and getting psyched up for the big 'uns?

I hope I am wrong, maybe we get less of an allocation for Arsenal (doubt it) but maybe the travelling boys are going to be able to write to ToffeeWeb and explain how great the stadium at The Emirates is and how the need for change is "necessary".
Garry Jersey, Liverpool  (12/10/06)

I will offer this: there are far, far more Evertonians domiciled Thameside than Teesside. I believe the Evertonian attendance at all London games probably maxes out the 3,000 ticket allocation (it may be more like 5,000 or 6,000 at The Emirates, depending on what allocation EFC actually ordered). I would say at a guess there are far fewer intrepid souls interested in making the long trek to the Riverside... Michael

I love Tiny Tim

I'm trying to get in contact with Tim Cahill's PR person who can organise a postal address where I can send my socceroos (Australian) jersey and have Tim personally autograph it for me. I'm a big fan of Tim's, but I missed out on the opportunity of having him sign it during the last Aussie fixture in Sydney. Any assistance will be much appreciated.
Con Alveras, Goolagong, Australia  (12/10/06)

Have you tried:

Tiny Tim,
Socceroos,
Austrailia.

One swallow doesn't make a summer

So Jonathon Creek plays one good game for Wales and suddenly becomes a possible wing saviour? From what I have seen at his time with Everton he simply can't stay put when put on the wing and constantly moves inside thus "going missing".

He has had plenty of time to prove his worth and has failed upon more occasions than not. The "not had a chance to prove themselves" quotes fail to impress me as players are also allowed to impress at Bellfield and during reserve games, neither of which I can remember making the headlines. Simon's pre-season "quality" from what I saw at Preston was as shite as the majority of his first team games. In the same category as Van der Plink Plink Fizz, I don't want to be subsidising a player who is not going to deliver the goods.

There are players out there of superior quality at the same price we paid — eg, Greening.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (12/10/06)

Arsenal Tickets

Due to a breakdown in communications, we have missed out on tickets for the Arsenal away game. I would be grateful if you could forward my contact details to any relevant Everton Supporters Clubs that you think may have any spare tickets.

My details,

  • HOME 01516456461,
  • WORK 01516411573,
  • MOB 07913938647.
Kind Regards,
Neil Charters, Wirral  (12/10/06)

You`re havin` a laugh!

Don`t these Welshmen make you laugh! One good game against a team who`d be stuggling to take Southport the distance and Davies is a wonderboyo! Play him on the right they say — for crissake don`t they know that`s what Moyes tried to do last season and gave himself tonsilitis screaming at him to stop wandering inside?

Let`s face it, Davies is yet another of the totally useless twats this manager has signed because he don`t do his homework properly. Sell him cheap to Cardiff, I say, then Cenric can watch the dazzling bugger every week. Please!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (12/10/06)

Were you watching, Mr Moyes?

I know that many of you will find it hard to believe but Simon Davies was absolutely superb tonight in the Welsh victory over Cyprus. David Moyes needs to speak to Toshack to find out what he has been feeding him since Saturday’s disgraceful annihilation at the hands of Slovakia. He seemed a different player right from the kick off. He was confident, wanting the ball all the time. When he passed he immediately moved into space providing options all the time.

Wales again played 3-5-2 with Simon Davies on the right side of the three central midfielders. However, he was far more positive in his play and switched on a few occasions to the left hand side as well. His passing was far better (again I know many of you will not believe this). His link-up play with Bellamy was fantastic and he often seemed to be playing just off the front two of Bellamy and Earnshaw. If only he could combine in the same way with AJ. He constantly ran at the Cypriot defence and often got through by whatever means he could (forcing his way through if necessary).

I mentioned his pace being lacking in the previous game; tonight it was evident in abundance. His tackling was fantastic, there didn’t seem to be any lost causes as he chased tirelessly. Again, there was nothing wrong with his crosses or his corners. Two of his crosses were met by Koumas and Bellamy for 2 out of Wales’s 3 goals.

For me, Davies was simply outstanding tonight and was my Man of the Match. He played with all the passion and fire that I have seen of him in the past. He is clearly a talented player. I expect some of you will point to the standard of the opposition which is fair, but in response he was up for it right from the kick off. He provided the leadership you would expect from him amidst a very young side.

He has clearly not produced the goods at Everton but if he leaves in January then I will be disappointed because I do believe that he really can and should have delivered. I hope that Mr Moyes did set his video for this one and again, Mr Moyes, I implore you: please play him on the right!
Cenric Clement-Evans, Cardiff  (11/10/06)

Davies debate

As I heard Simon Davies make a fine run and cross for Earnshaw to score, it got me wishing he would do it in a blue shirt! But why has Davies failed at Everton?

Firstly, Moyes has never really gave Simon a run in his natural position, which is wide right. Moyes saw something in him which nobody esle saw, and stuck him in centre midfield. Davies clearly suffered in this role, losing confidence and form. For this, Moyes, as well as Davies, must shoulder the blame of failing!

Secondly, he never has been fit for more than ten games. With other players like Pistone and AvdM, this is excusable.

And lastly, Everton tactics: last season, Everton never fully used the wide players effectively, relying too heavily on long balls and knock-downs for Beattie and Cahill. Too many times the midfield was by-passed, excluding Arteta. This only damaged the ball-players like Davies and Osman, even Arteta to an extent. Again, Moyes takes the blame as he employs the tactics!

So over-all Davies should be given a chance in his natural role before Everton decide to cash on him! Because, if he clicks, he will only supply more goals for AJ!!! If he fails again, see yer!
Luq Yus, London  (11/10/06)

Davies and The System

I've got to agree with Audsley posting re Sinon Davies. I really thought he had a chance of staking a claim in the side this season but when he has had the opportunity he has failed to shine. He clearly lacks confidence in his ability and is a shadow of the neat passing wide man of years gone by. The system is not designed with him in mind and his inability to adapt shows he has no future at the club. I hope he proves me wrong.

This brings me to my concern regarding systems. Moyes intimated that there would be more than one way to win a football match with a variety of 'systems' in his mind for the season. As things stand, it would appear the only successful one so far is AJ spearheading the line with Cahill slightly behind. A fully fit McFadden may share the responsibility with Cahill but, without Johnson, we would be reduced to a Beattie/McFadden frontline, which is eneffective at best. This is probably treading over old ground but an injury or loss of form to Johnson would be catastrophic to the team.

How can the problem can be solved? I have totally lost faith in Beattie, McFadden is totally unpredictable and Cahill is limited. Anichebe and Vaughan are raw but promising... although I doubt they could lead the line effectively at this early stage in their careers. Hopefully Moyes and Irvine have forseen these worries I have in attack — after all, that's what they're paid for.
Damian Waite, Blackpool  (11/10/06)

Some good comments there, Damian, particularly the reminder about Moyes's 'systems', which are becoming as one-dimensional as ever. I'm not wholly convinced, however, that they are paid to forsee your worries; just I don't think that's how it works... Michael

Ambition or managed expectations

Continuing on the the theme of players who are ambitious and players who are not. Just because a player doesn't threaten to leave the club, doesn't mean he is not ambitious. VdM is probably being ambitious if he expects to be warming the bench come February 2007, and expects to continue picking up £30k a week for the privledge.

Players like Weir, Stubbs and Carsley, who are getting towards the end of their careers, have their expectations carefully managed, so they expect to be on the bench for most of the season. Players who are not quite good enough, but just think they are, will prove slighty more difficult to manage. Being told that you are not in the team because you are not good enough would not prove to be good man management. A reason of tactics is probably the excuse Moyes will peddle to Beattie, Mcfadden and Anichebe, although tactics will be slightly harder to use an excuse for Davies.

I'd be interested to hear what motivating line Moyes spins to Dickie Wright, who is wearing the No 1 shirt, but is left out in preference for a loan player, week after week. Maybe Davy just says it as it is, "Sorry you not in the team because you are crap". Mmmmmm.... maybe not.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (11/10/06)

Language

Surely you mean "Feck 'Em Colm? :-)
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (11/10/06)

Editor! Ban this vile racist! Feck off!!! ;-) - Colm

Davies Drive

Say what you will about his quality but at least Simon Davies is ambitious enough to seek a move if he doesn't get regular first team football. Davies's motivation not to be a bit-part player is encouraging even if sadly he lacks the talent to be a part of Everton's bright future. I wish players like Dickie Wright and Andy van der Meyde had that sort of drive but sadly they seem content to laze around in the reserves and take the money. It's fine for the likes of Vaughan and Anichebe to be back-up for the first team because they are youngsters with time. Similarly, Stubbs and Weir will be content to support the squad because they are at the end of their careers and have nothing else to prove but Dickie and the Drunken Dutchman are in their prime, they should be demanding first team football just like Davies.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (11/10/06)

Ambition? Dutch, your head is so far up your arse it beggars belief. Since when does frustration — borne out of an inability to compete for a place on the field — equal ambition??? — Michael

January Sale

This week, although relatively quiet on the playing front, has been all but quiet with the recent statements and events concerning the long-term (or I should say short-term?) future of several Everton players.

David Moyes undoubtedly has some serious decisions ahead of him in terms of the future of Simon Davies, Andy van der Meyde and James Beattie maybe to a lesser extent. Beattie, along with Carsley, will probably receive a reprieve until next summer, with the aformentioned AvdM and Davies shown the door come January.

The funny thing is that recent events haven't required the psychological turning of the screws by David Moyes, Simon Davies's apparent frustration at both a lack of first team opportunities, lack of form, and criticism both prior to and following Wales's weekend debacle.

Andy van der Meyde's obvious ongoing lifestyle problems, culminating in his omission from the reserve derby, seem to have been exacerbated during his time on Merseyside... Things really couldn't have turned out much worse - everything from spiked drinks to house burgalaries — and that is apparently just the tip of the iceberg.

Both players have made Moyes's probable decision much easier: he bought them and I'm sure he will accept that these are two signings he got wrong. Every manager makes mistakes, and — with transfers these days particularly concerning Everton are largely on the drip and related to games played — overall losses should not be all that significant. Moyes has made bad signings: Wright, VdM, Krøldrup, Davies, Beattie... but also some good: Johnson, Cahill, Arteta, Lescott, Neville; and others that have been mediocre but have made a profit: Kilbane, Bent.

The situation regarding Beattie seems to be getting more worrying for him by the week, with the return from injury of McFadden, Anichebe's continuing development, and the welcome return from long-term injury of James Vaughan. The omens for Beattie aren't looking great: lack of first team action, a system that he cannot play effectively in a 4-5-1, and the youngsters knocking on the door... he looks likely to be a casualty.

Moyes has the nucleus of a decent side, no doubt; the continued development of key players and the behaviour and form of others is beginning to make his job a whole lot easier. Come the January sale, we should hopefully be a bit lighter of the deadwood — and that should surely please Tony Marsh.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (10/10/06)

If, as expected, we see the exit in January of the three players named above, we'd hopefully raise a few quid here and there - and then spend it on players who will actually add something to what we currently possess. Van der Meyde remains the most expensive waste of space with both Davies and Beattie now having a lot to prove if they're to remain at Everton over the coming seasons. — Colm

Exit door

Bye, Simon, make sure you close the door on your way out — and take Schaffer and Atress with you!

All the best at Leyton Orient!
Luq Yus, London  (10/10/06)

Mr Davies

Some times you have to face facts. It's a sad case when a world-class player wants to leave but I believe it's only fair to let him go. Simon has been an exceptional talent and...... HOLD ON

Just had my "Stop talking utter shite pills"

That's better; right, Mr SD is total pap. I had high hopes when he signed but he is a shadow of the Spurs player we saw 4/5 years ago. I have no idea what he offers the team apart from half-time drinks, I wonder if he sits in Moyes's office like Barry in "Extras"...

Just think: we paid £3.5M for him; we'd be lucky to get £1M now. Still he had "a crackin pre-season" and works hard in training so, maybe when the other players get crocked, he will take his chance and show what he can do... Who am I kiddin? Anyway, if yer short on work, Si, come round to mine — I'm converting a house amd need someone to hold the ladder!
John Audsley, Rothwell, Leeds  (10/10/06)

Perhaps you could employ Richard Wright when insulating your loft? :-) — Colm

Quaking in his boots

Yes, Moyes (like the rest of us) must be quaking in his boots at the thought that Simple Simon thinks he might need to move on if he doesn't nail a regular first-team slot. You have to wonder what goes on in this fella's head; he couldn't even impress against Peterborough.

What in fact he has done is let Moyes off the hook. Having paid £4.5M for him two seasons ago, Moyes was losing face on this one big style; with Davies's consistently ineffective performances lending credence to those who have criticised his transfer strategies. He will now be able to offload in January with face duly saved and responsibility for the move down to the player.

The only loser is the Club, as there is no chance we will recoup even half the figure we paid; although Davies should watch out, as the track record of players leaving Goodison for pastures new is not good.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (10/10/06)

Tell you what... our track record when buying players from Spurs is absolutely abysmal! — Colm

The Outsider

Michael and Colm,

Just a quick note to say well done re your attitude on non-Liverpool dwelling supporters. I was born in Liverpool, with me and my brother supporting the blues from an early age (my Dad's side is red, but nobody's perfect). However, my family moved down south over 20 years ago when I was 9, and thanks to the schools I ended up going to, I now am a "posh bastard" — as someone referred to me when I was last at Goodison before swearing and saying I had a nerve to come to the club.

It hasn't put me off going to watch the Blues in action, but whenever I go to an away game in London I now keep my mouth shut— singing along to "if you know your history" in a posh accent would get me lynched. Which is a real fucker as half the fun going to a game is singing your heart out in support.

Anyway, that's my two penneth for the debate.
David Flynn, London  (10/10/06)

Everton, like every other club, has more than its fair share of locally based neanderthals who fail to appreciate the love and support we all have for Everton — race, colour or creed does not come into it. Like yourself I too was born in Liverpool, not a million miles from Goodison to be precise. I too became a tourist in the city of my birth one day many years back (the day Paul Wilkinson secured a third 1-0 victory over Liverpool in one season!) when asking a nice little lady about the bus routes out to Walton and Fazakerley and receiving a sharp "yer wha'?!" in reply, a complete failure to understand my accent! I'd offer that you're worse to feel threatened when wanting to sing and support YOUR club. In plain and simple Irish... fuck 'em! — Colm

Johnson may not be fit

We may have to accept that Andy Johnson may not be fit for Saturday, and also may have to face the possibility of Moyes playing Biffa as a lone striker. Out of the four strikers available, Vaughan and McFadden are the quickest, and I would be inclined to give McFadden a run. Anichebe and Biffa are similar, but I have an awful feeling Moyes will play Biffa in the absense of Johnson.

He also may play Davies as Cahill will be knackered after a 24-hr flight back from Aussie. We could be in for one of those turgid 1-0 wins. But 3 pts is the priority, as you get 0 pts for style. COYB.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (10/10/06)

I'll be very surprised if Andy Johnson does not start after his recent enforced bout of RyanGiggsitis — a condition which often prevents the inflicted from gaining international recognition! ;-) — Colm

Irish fans!

Hi Colm, I know all about pre-Munich etc, I was just wanting to know from local fans as it is their club. I feel every defeat and savour every victory as much as anyone but the bottom line is I'm not from Liverpool. Do they realise how passionate we are and how we are not following them for the glory like all the Sky Sports fans over here? I seen MOTD2 when they showed the Newcastle fan getting the train at 7am in London and arriving home at 11pm and thought I'm not far behind him. Cheers for the reply and I might see you at the Winslow some day for a beevy!
Anthony  Fitzpatrick, Eire  (10/10/06)

Speaking as 'not-Colm', there is an element in footballing support that is strongly tribal, for want of a better term. And young supporters, growing up steeped in their local banter and camaraderie, at some point have to come to terms with the fact that "outsiders" support "their" team. Be they from Skelmersdale, Southport, North Wales, Ireland or Singapore, the "outsider" presents a challenge to some of the assumed tenents on which the locals' fanatical support is based. So it is perhaps not surprising that, if you are a young local, you start with a feeling of superiority to an outsider.

I imagine the great strengthening of regional identities in England over the past 10 to 15 years has played a role in extending this from the playground into more strongly held beliefs for some. But a more mature attitude for the worldly wise would surely show it for what it is: a load of bollocks! We do not encourage any such discrimination at ToffeeWeb, as testified by the many and diverse locations listed in this mailbag. — Michael

Capital of Ireland

As the old song goes "If you're Irish, come into the parlour [stadium!!], there's a welcome there for you".... why on earth would any Scouser object to the Irish visiting these shores and supporting Everton? After all, most true Scousers have a bit of the Irish in the family, [myself included being first generation Scouse from a Belfast family] and Liverpool is known as the Capital of Ireland!! The more supporters the merrier, I say.

What's wrong with friend Tony? Has he forgotten to take his happy pills — thought his letter on the Toffee Web was very subdued this morning — most unlike him.
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (10/10/06)

Maybe he needs some Irish influence in his life to cheer him up, Patricia! ;-) — Colm

Irish fans!

I've been supporting the Blues for 20 years and at a couple of recent games a friend of mine was subjected to a bit of abuse regarding where he comes from. I've never experienced it myself in all the years I've been coming over so I'd like to ask a question to ToffeeWeb readers. Does it bother you that Irish fans travel over and support the Blues or is it the case of the more the merrier?
Anthony  Fitzpatrick, Eire  (10/10/06)

Hi Anthony - well speaking as a fellow Irish Evertonian who knows his history of Everton FC, it's with pride that we can genuinely say that EFC has always ALWAYS enjoyed great support from this side of the water (Ireland) down through the years. Pre-Munich air disaster I would argue that Everton were the best supported English club throughout Ireland.

No doubt the support has waned over the years, with the rise of United and our bastard offspring who called themselves Everton Athletic before changing their name to Liverpool! Ignore those who question your loyalty to Everton Football Club — we've had a few on here expressing their ignorance with cheap jibes at the Irish support enjoyed by Everton. Keep spreading the faith! — Colm

Davies, exit stage right?

Great news (in my opinion) from the BBC: Davies considers Everton future. Now we have to find someone who will buy him.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (10/10/06)

Please let it be so

Best article in the Echo for weeks Frustrated Davies may move. Please let it be true and happen!
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (10/10/06)

Response to Tony

Thanks for that hilarious despatch Tony. One small thing — us dykes would not be interested in AvdM any more than we would be in you. It doesn't have to be PC but try and make it funny, eh?
Moira Riddiford, Llandudno  (10/10/06)

No comment!!! — Colm

Andy van der Meyde

Mr Marsh asked why Andy van der Meyde is still at Everton; well the answer is simple, which club is going to be stupid enough to pay money for him?

Last season many of the Anti-Moyes Brigade were championing AvdM and calling on Moyes to play him. 'Moyes doesn't like flair players' was the main claim but now we can see why Moyes has left AvdM out. I'm afraid I have to blame Moyes for bringing AvdM to Everton, Johnson and Lescott were genius but AvdM was a big cock up by our beloved manager.

I fear sooner or later we may have to accept that AvdM has to go on a free transfer.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (10/09/06)

Dutch - you've been pretty quick at times to label myself as one of these "anti-Moyes" brigade... yet I don't ever recall championing Van der Meyde. I would've cut our losses, sacking him after his late night jolly around the Albert Dock. Total waste of space. And wages... Colm

The Van der Meyde Mysteries

So the plod are at Alka Seltzer Andy's door again, I hear. Well, with the crowd he is knocking about with, it's no wonder. Don't be suprised if you see Holland's answer to to Charlie Drake on Crimewatch or Police File very soon. He will almost definetly get robbed, battered or kidnapped in the very near future.

How this joker is allowed to swan around getting strippers up the duff and bevying all night while at a Premier League club is beyond me. Add to that his very mysterious spiking in a city-center wine bar and it leaves me questioning Moyes's managment skills once again. Why is this useless tub of lard and lager is still at our club? Well only Moyes can answer that one...

This clown is on £30k a week and for what because its definitely not for playing football. I will say one thing for the lad though: he has got the cleanest boots in the Premier League with out a shadow of a doubt. The last time he kicked a ball there was a lace through it. I have seen better players on a Subbuteo table. He doesn't even need to get a shower after a game, he's that fucking lazy. Although we have improved this season we still seem to be a club who are a dumping ground for other clubs' cast-offs — why is that?

Surely someone must of spotted AvdM'S horrible games-a-season ratio while he was at his previous clubs? Let's just hope that Davie doesn't dither in January and sends Randy Andy packing to his country of origin. There's plenty of graft over there for him. He could sell some weed in Amsterdam or work in a clogg-mending factory in Rotterdam. How about the Tulip game they are always looking for good pickers. He might as well pick flowers bcause he can't pick a man out. He could even get to work on some dykes — now that is a job worth doing.

Whatever the lad does, it has to be better than pretending to be a footballer, don't you think? While he is over there, he could send for Beattie and Davies to join him. Now that would make a great start to the New Year, wouldn't it?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (10/10/06)

Selection connundrum

This weekend's fixture away at Middlesborough will bring a welcome return to Premiership action following the dissapointment of Man City and the recent international side-show. The internationals have been useful in that McFadden has a been given chance to regain his fitness and competitive edge, has shown Davies as the useless willow the wisp [sic] we have come to expect, and proven that Rooney is a washed up has-been (sic).

With the return from suspension of Hibbert, Naysmith's omission due to injury, and McFadden's likely inclusion, Davie Moyes has a welcome selection headache. Hopefully AJ will shake off his hamstring injury and Cahill will return not too jet-lagged, this throws up the questions: "Do we revert to 4-5-1?" — and "What players best suit this system?"

Middlesborough have had a ropey start to the season. Southgate is a fledgling in managerial terms and is on a steep learning curve and Woodgate looks to have reverted to type and is unlikely to be fit to face the toffees. Our recent stuttering form apart, we remain unbeaten, confidence is high in the camp and competition for places evident. Saturday I feel will prove to be a real acid test in terms of our progress and sustainability, it will also offer the chance to develop the system further and afford Moyes the opportunity to select the players he feels are most comfortable in a competitive 4-5-1 system. My starting XI would be: Howard; Hibbert, Yobo, Lescott, Valente; Neville, Arteta, McFadden, Osman, Cahill; Johnson. Saturday's game is certainly winnable, Onwards Evertonians!
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (9/10/06)

Black marias... now Will o' the Wisp (not "willow the wisp", surely?) ... And what's this??? No Carsley! For shame, sir! But if you are going to play that silly game, you have to name the five subs as well... come on! — Michael

Exit Dodd!

Whilst it`s easy to dismiss Doddy as a wind-up specialist, he actually started singing the praises of the Wally at our Sunday dinner-time `school` in the Freshy yesterday. To say he got hooted down would be an understatement but somebody really upset him by suggesting we should have stuck with Smith to save us from his would be lover, Moyes! Exit Dodd!
Alan Oakman, Freshfield  (9/10/06)

Naughty Boy

I live in Bebington, Wirral. Last night there were three police cars and black marias outside Andy van der Meyde's house... ...What's he done now?
Peter Piper, Wirral  (9/10/06)

Black mairas? Do they still have such things???

In praise of Walter

Walter Smith is today hailed as a Scottish genius after masterminding his country`s greatest ever victory. Should not we Evertonians re-apraise the part he played in establishing our club as a major Premiership force?

Although much maligned, Walter kept us in the top flight in spite of the severest financial restrictions ever placed on an Everton manager; signed some outstanding players viz: Ferguson, Campbell, Weir, Gough, Naysmith; gave youth its chance and finally recommended the great David Moyes as his successor. I think it`s about time we gave credit where credit is due and a Kendall-like Testimonial against Rangers would be a great way to show our eternal gratitude.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (9/10/06)

Oh for god's sake, Richard... nice wind-up all the same. — Michael

In days of yore

Everton and Liverpool players were never seen to mingle in public. I thought that was only a show to keep the fans happy. Then I moved to Maghull where both clubs housed their players and found there really was bad blood between them. They simply would not mix and it was definitely not for show.

After hours in the close season, fans and players of both clubs had impromptu kick abouts on a patch of grass opposite the Swan pub. The players were gentle when tackling fans but when tackling each other the boots arms and elbows were flying and would have earned a dozen red cards in the professional game.

In a local betting shop just prior to a derby, the tension was enormous tangible as players traded insults. It took the whole shop to stop giants Pickering and Yeats from strangling each other. I wonder if things are still the same or are players so ultra-professional their attachment to a club goes only as deep as the ink on contracts.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (9/10/06)

Dave Hickson... legend

Just found this: Mint Guide. Dave Hickson is a brilliant ambassador for our club. I for one will shed a tear when this old hero joins Dixie and Labby.
Jez North, HM Prison, Belmarsh  (8/10/06)

Ah, that's nice... something for you to look forward to when you get out. My tour was led by some spotty oiks from the Academy... do I get a refund??? — Michael

Simon Davies: Not Outstanding

I had the misfortune to be at the Millennium Stadium to see a poor Wales side hammered by an ordinary Slovakia. I have noted all the mailbag correspondence regarding Simon Davies and have been surprised at his failure at Everton.

I have seen him many times for Wales not least when Wales beat Italy in 2002 and Davies scored. That night he tore into the Italians! He has always played with passion and pride for his country, (even doing well at right back when asked to do so by Mark Hughes) so it has been disappointing that this has been absent with Everton.

I therefore watched him carefully yesterday. He was NOT outstanding! He seemed to lack confidence and fire. Also his former pace was missing. Toshack’s 3-5-2 system did not help, and he played on the right of the three central midfielders. (His best games have been wide on the right, using the width of the Millennium Stadium either in a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1.) He seemed to stand off the opposition much of the time apart from one cracking tackle. He frequently gave the ball away or passed it like a hot potato like a lot of his colleagues. He had one decent effort over the bar from just outside the box and a header which he should have got on target but didn’t, wasting a good scoring opportunity.

Generally, I would have expected a lot more from a player who is pretty much a senior in a very young and inexperienced Welsh side and who should be showing leadership qualities. However, at 1-5 down (when we were well and truly buried) he seemed to change and started run at players and link up better, especially with Bellamy. He also played two Beckhamesque 40-yard passes from deep right to far left. Perhaps he realised at that this stage that he had nothing to lose.

He went off with 2 minutes to go to great applause (well, there hadn’t been much to cheer) at which he seemed surprised! Hopefully that last 20 minutes will be the start to his footballing recovery as I still feel that he has a lot more to offer than has been seen so far for Everton. I believe that it is very much a loss of confidence with him but whether he regains it remains to be seen. But, Mr Moyes, please play him on the right!
Cenric Clement-Evans, Cardiff  (8/10/06)

Thanks for that report, Cenric. — Michael

History — what history?

Because of the International break, there has been much chatter about who was the better: Collins or Arteta? Catterick or Kendall? ... and so on. All good stuff... but I`ve gradually come to accept that a huge swathe of very good and regular Evertonians don`t know what we`re talking about — and what`s more, don`t give a stuff for what happened in our illustrious past.

At the Wigan game — and I swear this is true — I casually remarked that Beattie would never make another William Ralph if he played till he was fifty. My neighbour, who never misses a game —home or away — just as casually enquired, “Who the fuck does he play for?” Only after an intensive debate did one of the tribe around him (all like me, 20-somethings) come up with, “I think he`s on about that Dixie bloke back in the stone age!”

Nuff said, I think!
Zac Portman, Skelmersdale  (8/10/06)

Why five in the middle?

Because we need five players at 80% to do the jobs of four players who are 100%. The game is won and lost in the midfield, with a little overlap from the back four and a little drop-back help from the forwards.

Make a list of players in the mid-field positions, going back as far as you like, back to Bobby Collins... back to when they were sometimes called half-backs and inside-forwards, and grade them to pick your all-time top four.

Here's some for starters: Collins, Gabriel, Stevens, Kay, Young (in his later years) Harvey, Ball, Kendall, Jackson, Morrissey, Husband, Whittle... Dobson. Steven, Ried, Bracewell, Sheedy, Heath. McCall, Beardsly, Kilbane, Davies, AvdM, Arteta, Gravesen, Tie, Linderoth, Carsley, Neville, Cahill, Osman.

Come on, hand on heart, how many of the present bunch get in your top four? ... QED
Derek Thomas, Auckland, NZ  (8/10/06)

Okay, Derek, that's quite enough, thanks. You're starting to do the broken record thing, reeling off names of players back to the year dot. I thought you only ever needed three anyway? — Michael

Early onset of alzhiemers?

Yeah, I have to hold my hands up to that tiny mistake, but in mitigation I will put into the mix another I forgot but this time in the plus column: John Hurst.

As greatest managers go, it's between Harry and Howard. I've seen both, like many of us have. It will come down to a photofinish: Harry's overall higher finishes, two titles (with different teams) and over FA Cup over 10 years, versus Howard's same trophy haul and the Cup Winners Cup. Great men both and worthy of having a stand named for them in the new ground, if we ever sell our soul out for half a hundred corporate boxes and do move.

I couldn't begin to seperate them but I'm sure some statto/trainspotter out there will come back with the complete W-D-L percentage ratio thingy. But Kendall was lucky — not that I would've have missed those few brief years for anything:

  1. He never had even a sniff of improvement in his other two spells; yes, I know there were all sorts of other factors, but there was never any even a hint.
  2. Reid, Sheedy, Gray — ALL injury-prone, yet he got a whole season out of all of them..
  3. The 86 Cup Final: due to many factors he went into that game with 2 injured players, Mountfield and Bracewell (Bracewell was injured in January vs Newcastle(?)... he played the whole 90 mins and never kicked a ball for two years after. Same with Mountfield... he played the whole game and never turned out until about October and was soon on his way.
I can't actually bring myself to come down one way or the other. Still, an interseting diversity of opinions.
Derek  Thomas, Auckland, NZ  (8/10/06)

Err... I think your brain is definitely addled. Check the Complete Record before spouting these "facts", fella. And I thought we lost the 1986 Cup Final... how does that contribute to Howard being lucky? You'd better get back on the Sanatogen, methinks... Michael

Jimmy...

Jimmiiiiii, whoa Jimmy Mack, when are you coming back?

Just watched Scotland on MotD: McFadden looked brilliant, seems to be really enthusiastic, and caused France plenty of trouble even though he was on his own up front. If AJ isn't fit in time for 'Boro, maybe Moyes should consider him as a lone forward as we all know that, unfortunately, Beatts doesn't perform in that role. If McFadden doesn't grab that opportunity with both hands then he may as well be off, this season must surely be a 'now or never' situation for him at Everton.

When's Football Manager 2007 out?? :)
James Newcombe, Oxford  (7/10/06)

Scotland 1 - 0 France

Congrats to Davie Weir who helped Scotland keep a clean sheet and claim a famous win over France. Some people have the logic that because Weir is old he must be rubbish but I personally have always rated him. He can still do a good job for Everton and is great back up for Lescott/Yobo. His experience and attitude off the field make him the perfect club Captain too.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (7/10/06)

Hmmm... good enough for top-class International football and a defeat of the World Cup Silver Medalists... but not good enough for Davie Moyes and his Everton team? Same goes for his mate Jimmy... Makes ya wonder, eh, Dutch? — Michael

Another revisionist

Sorry to keep refuting statements made by fellow Evertonians but Derek Thomas (Auckland) should know that Jimmy Gabriel was signed by Johnny Carey in March 1960. That should put to bed the false belief that Carey did not recognise the need for a little steel in a team. If you know your history.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (7/10/06)

Simon Davies

I'm currently watching the Wales International and as the commentators just said "Simon Davies has been outstanding so far". Admittedly, Wales aren't blessed with too many good players and Slovakia are pretty poor so you would hope Davies would be one of the better players.

So far in his Everton career, Davies has really disappointed. He's never found a position and made it his own but I remain hopeful that he still possibly could. Injuries have played a big part in his Everton career. He had a good pre-season and Moyes really talked him up but since then Davies has found himself on the edge of the first team. You have to wonder if Moyes was bigging-up Davies pre-season to get him transferred?

When at Spurs, Davies was once linked to a £10 million transfer to Man Utd, he was that highly rated. Personally I think he could be a decent player for Everton, if Moyes can get the best out of him. Maybe Moyes could move Arteta inside and let Davies take a position on the wing? I really hope the supporters don't get on his back; Davies needs support — not hecklers.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (7/10/06)

Simon Davies outstanding; Wales lose 1-5 at home... enough said. — Michael

Agree with the Beattie article

I've never been a fan of Beattie but I had given him the benefit of the doubt and silenced myself for a little while. However, he has done sod all to earn any respect from me as a paying customer. I watched him in the pre-season game at Preston and his appearances since, which have been utter uninterested shite. Oh wow, he scored a penalty — demanding the ball like some spoilt five-year-old at the time.

In my opinion, he still appears uninterested and off the pace. Unless the ball drops to his feet or within a few feet, he is not even willing to chase and challenge. Yes, in the Man City game he made two defensive challenges but what the hell is a centre-forward having to do that for? And his half-arsed attempts at winning headers are a disgrace. Anichebe is twice the player already and still learning the game — that just about sums up James Beattie.

I am now eagerly awaiting another article to deliver an equally concise and telling tale of Simon Davies who has not performed since leaving Peterborough several years ago. He will never be anything other than a mediocre squad player at best and to call him a winger is a joke. It would take the mounting of a railing into the ground and him being physically chained to it to keep the useless bugger on the wing, his vanishing excursion acts into empty central midfield positions are as infuriating to watch as his get-shut-quick routine whenever he gets the ball. Kilbane was never a great player but at least he gave something back in the time he was an Everton winger — something I suspect Davies will never do as one of our players.

I know it's just my opinion but James and Simon are shite and we should get shut in January or the summer and look to replace them. I don't worry about Weir and other players now past it as Moyes has surprised me in his use of Lescott and Yobo. But I suspect our squad will lose more players next summer through retirement.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (7/10/06)

Oh yes it is!

Michael, re the 'Sack Cattrick' (sic) photo... that IS Tony Marsh; he was in the old "C" Division stationed at Cheapside and arrested by me on two occasions.
Phil Bellis, Liverpool 8  (7/10/06)

Hahaha!

Just So We Know

Can you run that obituary again so that we can get it clear in our own minds why it is OK for Scousers to moon at Sheffield Wednesday fans at Wembley but not at each other at Goodison Park.
Tony Horne, Kettering  (7/10/06)

Don't crit the Cat

Kevin Latham... you are spot on. Johnny Carey was at the far end of the skill — skill at all cost — skill spectrum, while at the other end we had Gordon Lee. Harry Catterick was the first of our managers to know that, as in most things, it's a matter of balance.

If memory serves, one of The Cat's first signings was Dennis Stevens, to give, as he said in his own biography, a bit of steel to the team so as to let the others blossom. In fact, I am hard put to think of a player he signed that didn't have the steel to go with the skill: Kay, Gabriel, Brown, Kendall, Ball, Morrissey... Well, apart from Jimmy Husband, who was never the same after Dave Mackay dealt with him.

Add to that, The Cat was no Dithering Davie in the transfer market; the first thing you knew of a transfer was the picture of the player in the paper, signing on the dotted line. Yes, he signed a few clunkers — front and centre: Bernie 'the bolt' Wright — but that 'failure' was at least 70% the young guy's own fault, he later said so himself.

Catterick had the knack of pulling "cheap rabbits" out of the hat, who later would prove crucial to winning trophies. Mike Trebilcock... everybody remembers him; Sandy Brown and Johnny Morrisey were bought for buttons, but some forget Tommy Jackson. Ball, Kendall, & Harvey only played together 28 games out of 42 and who filled in so well for all the injuries and suspensions?

Only two players he let go went on to do anything major, so he knew when to upgrade: George Heslop, with Manchester City ...and Bobby Collins, to Leeds. Looking back, Collins could have been Harry's biggest mistake, but age was against him and there are only 11 places in the team and in those days, at over 30 it was over and out. I think Collins was the first case of a players that improved over 30.

Catterick wasn't afraid to give home-grown players a chance: Rankin, Wright, Harvey, Royle, Husband. Only Scottish Sandy Brown failed to make the Alf Ramsey's Christmas 1969-70 pre-World Cup short list... 10 out of 11 — not a bad testament to his judgement.

Why then did his title winning teams not go on to build on their title-winning promise? Well, one reason is it's ALWAYS harder to retain a title, not as easy then as it is now. If you don't think so, look at the number of 'doubles' pre-1970 to those after. Television and TV money have made the rich clubs richer but Harry was against too much TV — he thought it would be the worse for the game and in some cases it was and still is.

So when we do, as seems inevitable, sadly leave Goodison to sell our souls for the corporate cash cow, the new ground should be called The William Ralph Dean Stadium (he hated the neme 'Dixie'), New Goodison Park. And as it is in all probability, going to be a greenfield site, there won't be streets to name the stands after. One, of course will STILL (I hope) be called 'The Gwladys St Stand'... but there has just got to be one called 'The Harry Catterick Stand'. Stop critting The Cat!!
Derek Thomas, Auckland  (7/10/06)

Response to Alan Clarke

I was refering to the few Evertonians that complained and not all. I'm not sure which part of my mail you didn't understand? Most blues where more concerned about the result and not Barton's rear end.
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (7/10/06)

Economical with the truth

I do not wish to repeat my earlier eulogy for Johnny Carey but I do wish to correct Kevin Latham (Liverpool) for his misleading opening sentence: "If you cast your mind back many years, we were in grave danger of reverting to football nonentities, before he (Catterick) came, we were a club going nowhere." I beg to differ.

In the season 1960-61, prior to Catterick's arrival, Carey took Everton to their highest Division One placing (5th) since the Second World War. This can hardly be described as a club going nowhere. In fact, it was Carey who changed Everton from the football nonentities that they had been post-war and I will not allow Catterick to take the credit for the start of the rise of Everton in the Sixties. That accolade belongs to Carey. If you know your history!
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (6/10/06)

Progress?

Many a post opines on whether we are progressing under Moyes. Whilst I both criticise and praise on a game-by-game basis and, on the same game-by-game basis, I am both encouraged and discouraged with our progress on the field in equal measure. The International break gives time to look at what some call the bigger picture.

I don't think the whole issue lies in whether we have progressed under Moyes — rather, "Are we progressing as a club?" I am seeing signs that we are... in the fact that, since the appointment of the CEO, avenues are being explored to significantly raise turnover and manage debt. Add this to the Sky money and our transfer strategy becomes clearer. A budget is set for the manager and the club appear, within the strategy, to be giving him as much as is possible; this I believe is for two main reasons. Firstly, to secure a squad to secure Premiership status, season on season, because — in the not to distant future — Mr Blatter will get his way and the Premiership will be reduced to 18 teams. The season that happens, five teams will be relegated — and we don't want to be one of those!

An improved squad will also get to the required points to ensure Premiership football for the following season quite early and that is important in our case because it allows the club to access the Sky money at that point if it so wishes.

The second reason I believe is that part of the Board's regeneration strategy sees success on the pitch significantly help fund-raising in many other areas. Within this approach, I see no significant signing in the January window but I expect funds in the region of this season's to be made available in the summer for maybe two quality signings.

This approach may not be quick enough for some but I am encouraged that I can see building blocks being put in place to further us in a controlled and sensible manner — and the importance of the new traing complex should not be overlooked. After many years of head-shaking at just where our club was headed, with no apparent discernable direction to ponder, I can at last see a strategy being attempted. I also believe the Chairman will give both CEO and Manager the time to progress us on and off the pitch. Are they the right people?. I don't know but time will tell.

I do, however, believe what we have at this time is worth persevering with and those trying to bring it about deserve some encouragement. UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (6/10/06)

All very disappointing...

I see the Echo is already re-writing history and trying, for reasons hard to fathom, to rehabilitate the reputation of Walter Smith – as is Smith himself on the League Managers Association website. I hope no Evertonians are taken in by the latest bit of propaganda suggesting that, far from dragging us through the Slough of Despond and near-relegation, his strategic mastery, innovative brilliance and qualities of leadership saved us from the drop when no else could.

I think our almost immediate quantum improvement under David Moyes and our progress since lends the lie to that one. And as far as Scotland is concerned, their turning to Smith to manage them is a measure of the depths to which Scottish football has sunk, not his great qualities as a manager. For the record, with the possible exception of Ian Buchan, Walter Smith was the worst manager in Everton's history. Don't let his apologists tell you any different.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (6/10/06)

Ouch... "They shall not pass"!

Site for new ground?

Can someone tell me why the area around Speke is never considered for the site of the new ground? Cheap land, apparently; qualifies for all sorts of grants as part of the regeneration programme for the area; motorway network nearby; solid blue hinterland (Widnes and Runcorn); within the city boundary (just); near the airport; and the Mersey (symbolic importance). And, as far as I know, hasn't got a Tesco! Of course, we'd all love to stay at Goodison Park but if we've got to move, why not Speke?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (6/10/06)

Shaka Calm

Living in Manchester and reading some of the local press here and also the national press it seems that just because a few fans complain about Barton's arse, Evertonians are now a bunch of idiots with no sense of humour. It's a load of rubbish, the Evertonians I know seem to hold the same opinion that they're not arsed by his arse and good for him for having a go back.

So, Shaka Islam, get some perspective before coming on here and having a go.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (6/10/06)

Is Barton's arse really worthy of all this ridiculous attention?

Cat with The Cream

I can't believe that there is even a debate about Harry Catterick 'Was he or wasn't he a great manager'? We're talking about our most successful manager after HK Mk 1 here, lads.

If you cast your mind back many years, we were in grave danger of reverting to football nonentities before he came, we were a club going nowhere. Granted, he didn't sign Young and Vernon, but he did sign Howard Kendall and the incomparable Bally, as well as giving Colin Harvey his debut. He signed the odd turkey — then again so did Busby, Nicholson, Shankly etc — but he also polished a few gems. Nearly every player in the great 1970 side was an English international. Christ, four of them played in the 1970 World Cup, and it would have been five if Westy's wife had let him!

Catterick made us a dominant force in the 60s, he crafted the Holy Trinity and made us the class footballing team of the decade, even above Spurs — who dipped after the early 60s — in my opinion. In fact, many people believe that the 'School of Science' description came under the Catterick years (although it actually came many years before), so he must have done something right. Aided and abetted in no small way by the great Sir John Moores, of course.

In fact, the Cat didn't achieve much less silverwhere than Shankly did, and look at the hype he gets! And while I'm on the subject, when people trot out the usual managerial "greats", let's remember that The Cat did more than Don Revie did, but he's always left out. (And where is the Leeds 'dynasty' that Revie established now, by the way?)

Sure, Catterick could be a sour man and his faults are well documented. In my view, the biggest one was breaking up the 1970 title side, probably the best side we've ever had and a side that was admired (and feared) throughout the game. By the way, maybe Busby, Nicholson, Shankly and the others had their faults too, but none of their supporters seem to want to remember them in a bad light.

Harry Catterick made me and a generation of Evertonians proud. He made us into one of the genuine golden teams of the decade, a team noted for its class. He made us believe that Nil Satis Nisi Optimum was a prerequisite of wearing the Royal Blue shirt and he put Everton back into our rightful place as football royalty. And he made Everton a club that many players would choose to sign for before any other. If he'd only been more media-friendly he'd have cracked the whole thing. But you can't have everything as a manager — unless your name is Busby, Nicholson, Shankly or Revie, apparently.

Another thought — had Catterick never been here, then Kendall wouldn't have either, so what success would we have had in living memory? Who would we have followed then — Newcastle?

It's easy to rubbish our past success, and we Evertonians do that better than most, we seem to prefer pointing to faults rather than attributes sometimes. But my own opinion is that Catterick's achievements are legendary at Goodison, and I believe we should regard them that way.

I hope this doesn't come across as a 'here we go again with one of the arl arse Evertonians' rant, but just because it was a long time ago doesn't devalue what Catterick did. And if we're going to sing about knowing our history, then maybe arl arses like me have a part to play, as we can remember the game before Sky invented it!
Kevin Latham, Liverpool  (6/10/06)

Good stuff, Kevin. Personally, I rate Catterick's achievements well above Kendall's, for a lot of the reasons you state. But he'll never get the recognition he deserves. The time for that is long gone, and a huge slice of it is down to his obstinate and unfriendly personality — Michael

Good Manager... but at what level?

I don`t think anybody doubts that Moyes is honest, hardworking, and has the Club at heart. But since when were those qualities alone enough to make you good at your job?

Until last summer, he showed absolutely no nouse in the transfer market, signing and re-signing a string of sub-standard performers, and virtually everyone agrees his tactical awareness is stuck at Third Division level. I do think Moyes will make a good living from his chosen career but in the long term it will be at the Tranmere level rather than the (for him) giddy heights of Goodison Park!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (6/10/06)

I sincerly hope he proves you wrong... but, as people have said, this may be his last season in which to do it. Of course, it may take a lot longer than one crucial season if it is left to Blue Bill to pull the plug... but that is so far away at the moment, it really doesn't merit much thought.

I was pleased to hear Davey Moyes express his disapointment at the result of the Man City match, and the fact that his team should be even higher in the table than they are — it reflects what the more critical fans on here have been saying and firmly puts in their place those Moyes apologists who clearly got it wrong this time. Moyes is not making any excuses, and knows we should be doing better than we are. — Michael

Barton's Cheeks

For those sad Evertonians who complained about Barton, you lot need to get a life. What Barton did was just a little fun and there was no harm intended. After all the abuse he got during the game, he could have done a lot worse, like a two-finger gesture or evan spat at you lot. Would you lot have reacted the same way if City hadn't scored that goal in the last minute? I don't think so. I certainly hope the FA don't suspend him... Where's your sense of humour???
Shaka Islam, Newcastle  (6/10/06)

Banter at the match is one thing... it just shows how some people get sucked in and then come over all hypocritical when the goaded player reacts. Quite pathetic really. — Michael

He did!

The great Ray Wilson did play under Bill Shankly! He began his career at Huddersfield, along with Denis Law and their manager was Bill Shankly.

I wrote an article for ToffeWeb last December [Harry Catterick: The Forgotten Man] about Harry Catterick and his tremendous achievements and in which I said he had no interest in appealing to the media (or the football press as they were then known) and was in fact very hostile, because of the Kay affair and because the people claimed Everton were using "pep pills". What an age away it all was! I also pointed out that few of his players ever spoke in warm terms about the man, though they did respect his ability.

I tend to agree with those correspondents who emphasise John Carey's footballing pedigree and his acumen in signing great footballers. But I do think Denis Stevens was a marvellous teamplayer and I remember Brian Labone telling us at the Collegiate, where he came to do a little coaching, that he regarded Denis Stevens as the most valuable player in the team.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (6/10/06)

A Player's Perspective

Just to add fuel to the current debate on the merits of Harry Catterick's reign at Everton.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to spend the entire evening sitting next to Ray Wilson at a charity dinner in Liverpool. Apart from being great company and ultra modest about his achievements in football, including his World Cup campaign (take note, the fabulously rich journeymen players of the Premiership), he also offered the opinion that he would have liked the opportunity of playing for Bill Shankly as he believed he was a better motivator than Catterick and would possibly have improved his own game even further! Hard to stomach I know, but I appreciated his honesty.

Allow me if I may to offer my two pence worth on the great Moyes debate. I am constantly asking myself, "Have we moved forward as a club during his tenure over five years?" The answer is "Yes", although at times we seem to have taken two steps forward and three back. Undoubtably, the current squad has some talented individuals brought in by himself, but equally he has bought some right turkeys as well. I am still trying to determine why we paid top dollar for Simon Davies and his subsequent role in the team: he cannot tackle, he's not blessed with electic pace, and he seems like a poor man's Mickey Thomas. When the team is crying out for a dominant ball-winning midfielder in the Sissoko role, it was an absolute waste of money that could have been utilised elsewhere.

However, in mitigation, the Premiership is littered with players who have failed to live up to expectation — just look across the park at our neighbours who are still left with the after-effects of Mons Houllier's obsession with all things French. Salif Diao on loan, anyone?

However, for me, Davey's biggest failing is his lack of technical nouse. Over the period of time he has been at Goodison, the brand of football played by his teams has been pretty poor. The 'high pressure' brand of football stinks of short-termism and the long-ball stratagy played up to the big centre-forward (mostly big Dunc when he was fit) shows no real understanding of the modern game. And before anyone tells me that a manager can only work with the tools he has, I remember watching Charlton play at Goodison a few years ago and pass Everton to death!

Finally, I hope Moyes has some measure of success at Everton, however long he has left here, simply because he is passionate about our club and his overall commitment cannot be in doubt. But I believe if we fall away later in the season and do not qualify for Europe, he will fall on his own sword and walk away in May or June next year.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (6/10/06)

Good post, Steve. - Colm

Tim Cahill's chest or Joey Barton's buttocks?

It's a difficult choice and probably one for the ladies, but this is not what it's all about. One (Cahill) was in breach of FA rules, but NOT indecent exposure, the other (Barton) was also in breach of FA rules but was also guilty of indecent exposure.

So in theory Barton should recieve at least the same punishment as Cahill if the FA want to stay consistent. One yellow card. But I applaud the FA for recognising that Barton's act was also indecent exposure, causing an embarrassing row, which is why he is being hit with the disrepute charge.

I hope he is found guilty, suspended for at least one game, and hit with an appropriate fine. If he gets away with it, then it will send out all of the wrong signals, to other players and the youngsters in the game.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (6/10/06)

Mother of GAWD!!! Let's remove all emotion from the game while we're at it, Brian! It's nonsense, full stop. — Colm

Not Wilde about Yus

Luq, thanks for the response to my mail. I think you need to try a bit harder at understanding the final quote re pessimism. I'm also concerned that because someone is a drug-taking homosexual you dismiss them; that'll be the non-drinking / non-smoking homophobic Mr Yus then, no doubt?

Luq, I would have a lot more time for your comments and quotes if you were brave enough to use your real name. (Ed: Thought you had rules about this ?) As you only came back to slag off both me and one of the literary greats, I take it you agreed with my comments about Moyes in the same e-mail?
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (6/10/06)

Steve, I tend to agree with you that the usage of a real name instead of a moniker adds to whatever opinions are being made. — Colm

Tommy Ring

Tommy Ring and the Golden Vision! — what memories those guys bring. I remember people saying Tommy was a bit old when we signed him. I was a kid at the time but we have not had a more skillful winger since. Harry's teams were more about winning — could you imagine Dennis Stevens getting many games under Johnny Carey?
Roy Coyne, Liverpool  (6/10/06)

Is this the way?

An AFL (Aussie rules) game does not have offside decisions to worry about yet it does have two timekeepers who use a siren to signal start and end of play. It has four referee assistants, three referees, a fourth official, and two goal line judges. There is talk about adding two more goal line judges and goal line technology.

As in the Premier League, a panel of video experts retrospectively scrutinises all games, penalises foul play and based on indisputable evidence can change the result of a game. All those officials and technology is the result of spectators and clubs demanding a fair contest.

Perhaps Australians take their sport a bit more seriously than the Brits. Another bit of news for Evertonians thinking of coming down under for the Ashes. It has been officially announced that Pom can be used to describe an English gentleman. Should you be called a Pommy Bastard that is even better because that is a sure sign of endearment and acceptance.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (6/10/06)

Rather Marsh than Wilde!

For the record, Oscar Wilde was a drug-taking homosexual, who often wondered around the town square looking for a man for the night! Now if Oscar had the same vision as Neville/Cahill in finding his fellow men, no wonder he had all that time to write novels and poems!

As for Tony Marsh, he wanders around the Mersey cursing Moyes and chasing some welsh skirt (Ms Beesley perhaps?). I know hands down who I would want to be, if i really had to choose between two evils of course, Mr Guy.

Oh yeah, Steve here's another saying you should think about: 'In the land of dirt, the pure ones are rejected'. Ring a bell, or two!?
Luq Yus, London  (6/10/06)

Nigerian guy...?

Does anyone know who this Nigerian guys is...?

[I thought I would ask a football related question rather than slag off Moyes or say how great he is.] Nice to look at the league at the moment though... COYB
Lee Howard, Napier, New Zealand  (6/10/06)

I'm presuming you're referring to the striker John Utaka — supposedly being linked with a move to Goodison? - Colm

Fond memories of The Cat?

I recall the story of Catterick remarking at half-time one day that there would be no need to provide a clean shirt for Alex Young because "he never gets his kit dirty!" It was his idea of a put-down but was, in fact, a compliment to the Golden Vision, who — even in the days of muddy pitches and hatchet-men opponents — used guile and balance to achieve his alchemy.

The comment also illustrates one of the major differences between Catterick and Carey. Catterick was a journeyman footballer wherease Carey was a class full-back and Captain of men. Catterick would never have bought an Alex Young or a Tommy Ring but Carey did and that speaks volumes about Carey's love of pure football.

I don't deny Catterick's success in 1962-1963 (with Carey's team) and the creation of the 1969-1970 team. However, I do criticise the seven-year gap between 1st Division titles and the failure to take the 1970 team to further achievements.

Carey was a visionary who was given insufficient time by Moores and remains, for me, the one that opened my eyes to how beautiful the game of football can be.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (5/10/06)

Pity it also came just before televised football became a weekly event with the original MotD in 1964. So there is little from that era that is available for viewing now. But Catterick was never fond of the cameras and Everton were one of the clubs to ban TV coverage around 1965. — Michael

Hamstrung

The recent hamstring injury for Andy Johnson, a common recurring problem it seems for players who rely heavily on lightning pace, demonstrates a clear indication of our over-reliance on the ball into the channels for Johnson to chase. This ploy has both tatical acumen and plays to his strengths, he either beats the opposing defender hands down or manages to either hold it up or work a foul. Many of his goals for Palace where credited as penalties, but astutely his actions and direct play won the penalty in the first place. The 4-1-4-1 system gives Johnson the responsibility to make the runs, it probably also brings out Tim Cahill's best qualities because in a flat midfield he is useless. However an over-reliance on Johnson will result in wear and tear, hamstrings being overworked and a player unable to fire on all cylinders.

For Johnson to remain productive, durable and fresh, a whole different approach is going to be needed: less of the hoofed long balls from Howard, more consistent build-up play, creativity and retainment of possession in midfield. Lescott looks comfortable on the ball in defence and Arteta can and does make things happen in midfield.

The key question is: "Do we have the quality in Osman, Carsley and others to sustain the upward trajectory of improvement?" Goals from midfield are needed — either that or our most potent weapon in Johnson may see our season being frustrantingly hamstrung
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (5/10/06)

I like the idea that there is a good reason for us to keep the ball on the deck and play better football. Fear of injury is ever-present in football, and it's novel to think that we could change our playing style to achieve increased protection, rather just accepting, as we do now, it seems, that injury is somehow an inevitable risk we can do little about. Maybe this is another opportunity to excercise the Power of Positve Thinking??? — Michael

Making our own luck

I would love to believe that there is a plot by Premiership referees against Everton and that I could agree with David Moyes that “we’ve been harshly done by” over the last two games. In reality, we got what we deserved. Luck is one of the major factors in a football match. There will always be poor referees’ decisions that go against us (or any other team for that matter) and whinging to the press won’t stop them from happening. But we can mitigate their impact by trying to play in the opponent’s half when they occur. Making sure that that happens is the manager’s responsibility. And if David Moyes doesn’t understand it then I hope that Phil Neville will put him right.
Alan Rooney, Lingfield  (5/10/06)

Oscar Oscar

Yesterday, I had to look up a quote from Oscar Wilde for a colleague (don’t ask why!). As part of the search for the right one (“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing”), I came across the following gem from the 19th century gay oddball and thespian:

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes”
As well as being appropriate to each and every one of us in our own lives, it most certainly applies to our Manager. If ever there was a man gaining experience from his mistakes, it is our Davie. Unlike us, he has to do it in the full glare of the public. So when he apologises (as he did on MOTD) for his mistakes we need to see this as the mark of a big man. Moreover, a man who will take those lessons on board and gain from them.

I can already hear the howls of anger welling up from amongst those who are determined to see no positives in Moyes, but please don’t take the above as an attempt at eulogising said Davie. Rather, it is a continuing attempt on my part to maintain a sense of balance and perspective with regard to the man and what he brings to Everton.

I have recently criticised Moyes myself (as have others), for his seeming inability to use substitutes well; to the point where I recommended that he only uses them when a player gets injured! However, on further reflection, this part of the experience curve is probably the hardest one to get right consistently (when using subs for anything other than replacements for an injured player). He’s not going to get it right everytime (no manager does) and to get it right most of the time is a real art.

Moyes got his subs right against Peterborough and wrong against Man City. However, in the latter case, we now know that he was sensible to take Johnson off; although the substitution of Arteta still baffles. We also know the ref played more injury time than was indicated (but they do say it’s the minimum to be played).

So I am hoping that on balance, Moyes is turning a corner in this key area of his potential skill set. Time will tell. It is also too early in the season to assess whether our excellent start can be sustained. I think in this regard the game against Arsenal will be the next milestone. Although I would understand an argument that said, we should expect maximum points from our next two games as just as much of a marker, our results away to the Gooners leave much to be desired in recent seasons and I would hope to see a team display that further shows Moyes’s experience levels continue on an upward curve based on the mistakes made there in the past.

By the way, another quote from Oscar for Tony, Luq et al…

“Definition of a Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both”

Steve Guy, Harrogate  (5/10/06)

Little Leon Osman

Is it me or has it been a really long time since Osman scored a goal? I like him as a player but I wonder if he has the ability to develop from being a good player to being great? We have seen glimpses of greatness and I really hope we see more.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (5/10/06)

Dutch's Thought for the Day... He last scored v Sunderland on 1 April 2006. — Michael

May Day for Moyes

In my view, if Moyes does not get it right this season — and that means getting into Europe — he will be OUT. Moyes has been given enough time and money (5 yrs and £50M) to turn this boat around; it’s down to results now and nothing more.

Forget the mailbag, Keep your eye on the table, Either we're in Europe or Moyes is OUT!
John Cribb, Liverpool  (5/10/06)

"Forget the mailbag" — What heresy is this? If it weren't for teh mailbag, your provocative views my not get much of an airing... Michael

Engerland and world peace

Now you must forgive me... this isn't about our manager Dutch Marsh. What I'd like to say is International games get up my nose. I have no interest in the state teams and they get in the way of what most people in the game follow — ie, their clubs. I mean, who cares what England do? Even if they won a World Cup, it would only be of interest to Essex and the media.

I'd like to just see one virtual international tournament every 8 years where the winners came from a computer selection. Those feeling a bit insecure could still put a flag in their car and the rest of us could look elsewhere. This may also be a good idea as a way to replace the Unted Nations whilst I think about it...
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (5/10/06)

Marking Time

I have thought for a while now that time-keeping in the professional game should be taken out of the hands of the Ref. Having just read Moyes' statement following the added time on Saturday confirms my belief that Football should follow Rughby League's lead and have an official timekeeper or a well defined means of ending each half. It's not a massive change and at least players and fans would know where they stood.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (5/10/06)

Whiter than white

My recent assertion that the FA, Lord Stevens et al were only paying lip service to the bungs scandal was brought into focus this morning with the news that `the seven charges against the high profile Paul Stretford relating to his aquisition of Wayne Rooney remain unheard 16 months after they were issued`. I am led to believe that the lack of progress is as much due to Everton`s reluctance to get involved as it is to Stretford`s non co-operation. However, with the Chairman`s recent statement that he `had never, ever, even smelt a bung`, we,at least, can rest easy that OUR club is whiter than white!
David Hall, Taunton  (5/10/06)

Cough... splutter... Coffee over the keyboard... Thanks for that one, David! — Michael

Response to Sparkey

No moaning, Kevin — a good article and shows how easy it is to change your mind/opinion when the public glare is not upon you. Very easy for some to take a different stance when it suits them...

Actually I will moan about something and disagree with you on one point... I do not want a former Man Utd midget full back as our midfield lynchpin.
John Middleton, Ireland  (5/10/06)

Twebbies' natural instincts

Evertonians long ago identified the Twebbies as the website run by the worst moaners to be found anywhere on the internet. Why be surprised when nutters like Tony Marsh surface out of the sewer and post their shite every time the team so much as stumbles?

You can't blame lunatics like Marsh when the website is run by bitter people like Micky in America, Lynda in wherever she is and Colon in some God forsaken part of Paddyland. Marsh has to drop his turds somewhere. It might as well be with the rest of them.

Happy joint whinges lads. You deserve each other.
Phil Edwards, Liverpool  (5/10/06)

Phil, I really hate to say it but you come across as one hell of a bitter prick — and I'm sure you're not. If you hate ToffeeWeb, as appears apparent, then why read it? Get a life. All your "contributions" to this mailbag revolve around personal insults... - Colm

He's a pussycat really!!

Damn it!! Due to my previous comments, I've blown my chance of a date with the great Tony Marsh. I must point out that I'm a Lancashire rose and not a Welsh daffodil/taff, being an exiled Litherland girl.

Keep up the good work Tony. Fair play, you have a good sense of humour and it's all a bit of fun, on my part anyway. I've got to admit I would miss you if you stopped sending in your caustic comments but I do sincerely hope that at the end of the season, I can say to you "I told you so". You know, mate, it is hope that keeps us going and, for god's sake, Michael, don't give him my e-mail address!!
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (5/10/06)

Tony — only four months now till Valentine's!!! - Colm

Gentlemen.....please!

Can we stick to football debate instead of slagging each other off? It's like listening to a bunch of old tarts! [I just wanted to get that off my chest.]
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (5/10/06)

Have I done it?

There has been no reply since I enquired if Dutch had a Norweigian e.mail address! Did I hit a nerve or has Jez and some of his boyz lifted him and carted him off to Hornby Road?? :-)
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (5/10/06)

I wish... But please, sleeping dogs and all that. Maybe we can have a nice quiet week or ten days... — Michael

Where are they now?

Not those superficial hero’s of stage, screen and field but a bunch of lads with whom I travelled the length and breadth in the old Division Two days, supporting our beloved Everton. Compared to those days, modern football with its high-tech entertainment, super stadiums and wealth is a bit like fantasyland.

For Evertonians it seems that time has stood still for us. All those years ago there were rumblings about managers, tactics, boardroom shenanigans and nostalgia for earlier successes. We lived under the enormous shadow of the great Dixie just as fans these days yearn for the Golden Vision era.

Over the years a thousand and one problems have plagued our club and everyone had their own solutions. Over a pint or two, if only it were possible, my old mates and I would raise our glass to all who contributed to the fact that despite everything, our club still survives with some success in the toughest league on the planet.

We would most likely agree that our long term survival lies with a new stadium and not with managers, tactics, players, boardrooms or even the current fanbase.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (5/10/06)

Moaning about the moaners moaning about moaners

I’m fed up with moaners moaning about moaners who want to use this site for a moan. It’s got so that I’m becoming depressed reading about those who are getting depressed, reading letters from manic depressives who are already depressed. Well, I’m sick and tired about reading letters from people who are sick and tired of reading letters from people who are sick and tired about David Moyes and our current unbeaten/poor form.

Enough, I say: desist!

I have made one pertinent observation, though. Reading over the pro-Moyes and the anti-Moyes letters from the last few weeks, I was struck by how many of the anti-Moyes crowd seem to be almost willing Everton’s unbeaten run to end. Now call me Naive (or a cynical bastard)… but I thought the essence of supporting a club is actually wanting them to win and celebrating when they do… I guess I’ll never get the hang of this footy lark.

I’ve also noted that the pro-Moyes/neutral group’s contributions (with one or two obvious exceptions) seem to rant less and tend to base their arguments on observation and reason and less on superstition and clairvoyance. (Martin O’Neil could very well make a good manager of Everton – he might well make a shite one, we’ll probably never know. I reckon that Brian Clough is the man for the job myself — well, why not — you fucking started it?)

By the way, one of your prolific anti-Moyes contributors is not only a deluded knee-jerk attention seeking Jonah but a fucking hypocrite as well. I won’t name names, but it is on record that said person called Moyes a dithering idiot for missing out on Bellamy:

“…Who has scored goals whoever he has played for… but took one look at our Davy and went to Blackburn… we’ve missed out…”
His latest contribution…
“If Moyes had of got his way, we would have had that useless midget Emre here as well the Grinch Craig Bellamy. Imagine that”
For Christ’s sake lad, you’ve less consistency than a Vesta Curry. My own perspective is we had a very real chance to have a 100% league record and blew it, because people make mistakes, Moyes has made mistakes. We’re still playing functional football as opposed to flair football — though, at times I’ve seen flashes of very exciting stuff. I’m quite sure that with the inclusion of a Paul Parker style player in midfield we’d be a very difficult outfit to beat and it would free-up Arteta to be a little more mobile and Cahill to maraud inside the box. I’ve a feeling after the way the Manchester City game panned out that we’re going to see quite a bit more 4-5-1 in the coming weeks

Ah well, we’ve only faced mid-table teams so far (Liverpool inclusive). The real test will come when we play some of the ‘big guns’ I think the real measure of our progress will come when we face Manchester United and Chelsea – Bring ‘em on I say –we’ll either beat them or we won’t.

Whatever happens, the usual suspects will moan, and people will moan about the usual suspects moaning and I’ll moan about the people who moan about the usual suspects moaning – I hope nobody moans at me.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (4/10/06)

I'm losing the will to live...

Talk about selective memory...

I just want to counter this myth about John Carey. He was manager from 1958 to 1961 and despite having money to spend we never rose beyond about 5th in the table, which is why he was fired. While it is true that we played some great football under Carey, he just never had the killer instinct.

Mick Wrende makes Catterick sound like a stodgy tactician flying on Carey’s coat tails, which is what Catterick’s detractors always claim. But under Catterick Everton played some of the most attractive and most successful football we have ever played — and in an era when football in general was at its most defensive and negative.

Carey may have created the partnership of Roy Vernon and Alex Young, but that partnership flourished under Catterick. The midfield of Harvey, Kendall and Ball was entirely Catterick’s, not Carey’s. No-one who actually watched The Holy Trinity take a defence apart, or Alec Scott fly down a wing to cross to Alex Young, could ever justify the phrase “grinding out results.”

Catterick entered Everton folklore. John Carey went on to be the ‘nearly’ man of English football. He took Leyton Orient to promotion — they were relegated the following season — and Nottingham Forest only as far as the runners up spot. If you know your history…
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (4/10/06)

Stop Moaning At The Moaners

Pat Beesley, my little Welsh Daffodil, to think I used to fancy you. To think I was on the verge of asking you out... Is your latest posting regarding myself any way to treat a would-be fancy fella?

Believe me, Patsy, I am not a moaner all of the time — just some of the time. Usually when it concerns Everton. I know you have heard the saying, "Never judge a book by its cover"... Well how about: "Never judge a moaner by his dislike for a Ginger Jock's tactics"? You see, Pat (and the rest of you out there who call me a Moyes hater) its just not true.

I dont hate Moyes. Hate is too strong a word to use because I don't know the man. In fact I don't hate anybody really... well, except for Kopites and Liverpool players, past and present... oh and the Tories. Oh yes, and Mancs. Traffic Wardens... well, I do hate them. Women drivers? — now don't get me started on them!

Then there's Big Brother contestants as well and all those Z-listers on them reality TV shows I cant stand them. Do you know what, Pat: you might be right — I am a moaning bastard.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (4/10/06)

Tony Marsh's Dull Comments

The problem with Tony Marsh is that he looks for any excuse to build a case against David Moyes. Every single detail is twisted to suit his relentless crusade against Everton's manager.

For example, Lescott didn't start the first couple of games and Tony Marsh immediately built a case that Moyes had purchased another Krøldrup. Tony Marsh also had a moan that no youth was getting through and demanded Paddy Boyle be given a start; apparently Boyle is currently struggling to impress at Championship club Norwich.

At least the other members of The Anti-Moyes Brigade (Michael, Luq, etc..) can be objective and because of that I take their comments far more seriously. Michael may be Anti-Moyes but at least I know he still wants Everton to do well and I know it hurts him when they fail.

Tony Marsh keeps telling us that the wheels are coming off, the season is destined to fail, it almost sounds as if he wants this to happen — I get the impression that he would love for Everton to start struggling so he could smugly proclaim "I told you so".
John Cottee, Romford  (4/10/06)

And you are not alone...

Selective Memory?

Peter Fearon has a selective memory of events long ago. Harry Catterick was not a popular appointment — Johnny Carey had Everton playing fast free flowing football and was a big favourite of the fans. Catterick was much more of a system man, grinding out results. If it is only league position you are interested in then Catterick was your man.

But it is true there were a number of Evertonians in those days who wanted to go to Goodison and watch some decent football so indeed they did call for Catterick to go. Not far removed do you think from our current situation but at least Catterick did win things.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (4/10/06)

David Moyes as a latter-day Harry Catterick? The jury probably hasn't even been given its instructions yet on that one! — Michael

Good call

I have to say, as a Blue for all my life, I have to agree with Pete Fearon. This is a wonderful club, we have a heart here, I just wish some of the people would stop being so negative. Even when we were 2-0 down to Wimbledon, I believed...
Will Bruce, London  (4/10/06)

Ah... the darkest days...

Sack ______. We want ______ [fill in the blanks]

We should put some of this Moyes-bashing into perspective. I am old enough to remember Harry Catterick, now elevated to Legend status for having won two League Championships, an FA Cup, a losing Cup Final appearance and an unbroken series of European campaigns over several years. I don’t think we were out of the top six for most of his tenure, which we now know as the era of the School of Science. At the time, Harry Catterick could not have been more reviled by a certain section of fans. As they saw it, he deserved all of the responsibility when we lost and virtually none of the credit when we won.

There was no Internet then, no ToffeeWeb and no blogs, but there would be regular calls for his immediate dismissal in the letters page of the Footy Echo, “Sack Catterick” banners would appear in the crowd in Gwladys Street on match days and there were similar sentiments written in huge graffiti on the walls of Walton Cemetery and Arnot Street School. And then there was the famous incident after a bleak game against Blackpool when he was kicked to the ground by Evertonians angry at him for fielding an untried teenaged striker named Joe Royle in place of the iconic Golden Vision, Alex Young.

My point is that, if – when (hopefully) — David Moyes has achieved everything Harry Carry achieved and more, certain fans will still bash him for what he has and hasn’t done. David Moyes will always inspire some and infuriate others.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (4/10/06)

Nice one, Peter! — Michael

Just to show how Evertonians expressed themselves in the days before ToffeeWeb......and for the record, can I state that this is not Tony Marsh!!! - Colm

Tunnel of love

Sitting in the Paddock on Saturday, I overheard one Evertonion encouraging "Beats" to "get down the wing". "Down the wing" his mate replied,"he should be down the tunnel".
Jimmy  Fazackerley, Worcester  (4/10/06)

Damn those Double Entendrés

Logged on this morning to read "police drop Barton Butt Probe" and was almost foaming with excitment. Clearly a soapy wrestle between plod, Barton and a 13" dildo was not what the article was about... How disappointing.
Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (4/10/06)

Sorry about that, Jez, but I'm sure you have a few juicy URLs in your Favourites list already. Or does the Prison library limit your access to such provocative things? Time for more bromide in yer tea, methinks... Michael

A moan at the moaners

Suppose some people always need something to moan about but it's just getting a little tiresome in my eyes, especially Ged Dywer's post which I have recently read regarding looking at Moyes's tranfers and us crying out for a midfielder being his main area to attack.

Yes, we could do with a quality midfielder like most other teams but where is this money coming from? Are you gunna be plucking some trees shortly with crisp clean $50 dollar bills on? Methinks not.

The priority in the summer with the money we had was a 'keeper as Nigel Martyn had to retire due to injury and Wright is, well, basically shite; a young defender, as we had two aging defenders in the team and a loan signing (who albeit looked decent but was far too injury-prone to sign) going back; and obviously a goalscorer as the desperate lack of goals last season was shocking. All three complete!!

But no, this is not good enough. I am sure if we had more money to spend Moyes would have brought someone in for the midfield but the funds just were not there after bringing in our main targets. So get over it and enjoy the good start to the season, if at all possible...

Oh but wait, it's all gunna go to shit soon so we shouldn't enjoy it, should we? We should just watch every game thinking this will be the one where we start to fuck up. Excellent, can't wait for the next game.

As for the signing, I wish Moyes had brought a midfielder in as the three he did bring in have done fuck all for us so far this season!!!
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (4/10/06)

Whingers and Optimists

In answer to John Cottee, I am not bored by Tony Marsh — I just think he is one of the most whingeing football pessimists I have ever come across. Before I have read two lines of a letter on ToffeeWeb, I can tell its author is Tony just by the content. He really is a moaner and if he's like this about football, he is probably like it in all aspects of his life — pity his poor wife and work colleagues!!

But then it wouldn't do if we were all the same and I prefer to be an optimist and hopefully congratulate the Manager and the team at the end of the 2006-07 season on a good year, rather than pray every night, as I am sure Mr Marsh does, that he will be able to say "I told you so!!" Let's hope he gets his eye wiped!!
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (4/10/06)

I can understand someone having doubts about the course we may currently be on, and questioning the degree of progress actually achieved. To me that's reasonable curiosity and inquisitiveness. But Tony is definitely on another plane. He has adopted the zeal of a religious bigot in his constant and unending dislike of Moyes. I guess people (me included) went that way in the last couple of years of the dreadful Smith era, and were strongly castigated at the time by the "Get behind the team / club / manager" Brigade, so it becomes more a question of 'when' rather than 'if'. Personally, I too would like to see the Ascent of Moyes continue a good while longer... Michael

Poll — just say No!

'Do the comments of Tony Marsh really bore the rest of you?' asks Mr Cottee.

In answer to this - no. His comments on occasions go too far but in the main he has hit the nail on the head and is consistent in his views. Do you want to know what is really boring? The lap-dog like devotion of a number of Evertonians to Moyes who in their eyes can do no wrong. The fact is he has no better record than Gordon Lee who lasted far less time than the current incumbent.

One more thing: IMHO the great team of the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s would have beaten any of the current crop of Premiership teams. Despite what a certain correspondent says, British can be best. Just think of how many European trophies were won in the 1970s and 1980s against multi-national continental teams.
Robbie Kavanagh, Cheshire  (4/10/06)

Keep up the good work

I am an avid reader and occasional contributor to the mailbag and would just like to thank all concerned for the wonderful entertainment on these pages. A particular mention must go to the comic genius that is Tony Marsh. His mock hatred of David Moyes never fails to dissapoint. Keep up the good work, Tony.
Dave Jeanrenaud, Liverpool  (4/10/06)

Yawn

Do the comments of Tony Marsh really bore the rest of you?
John Cottee, Romford  (4/10/06)

Oh... I almost feel a poll coming on! ;-) — Colm

Reality Check

I usually read the mailbox with interest but feel compeled to write as I am amazed by the general sense of pessimism. Do none of you remember the relegation battles under Walker, Kendall (Mk II and III) and Smith? Do you remember the depths that the School of Science descended to?

Sure, there are concerns at the moment — a general lack of size in the team, a lack of width, and the need to sign a replacement for Carsley and A N Other creative midfielder. But we are now fifth, competing for Europe, with a squad that has "re-sale" value, has youth, promise and the ability to play passing football.

We are a couple of signings short of a good squad. Compare this to when Davey took over. Relegation fodder, an aged squad on huge salaries, absolutely no sell-able assets, and boring football. Even our famous debt is smaller (and better managed) than most of our rivals - as far as we can discern at any rate.

To complete our upwards trajectory we need further investment, a new stadium and consistency in the league (a cup run wouldn't be amiss either). I just cannot understand Davey's detractors. I understand their frustration at Everton not taking its rightful place as League Champions since the 80s but a reality check is in order. We are getting there, frustratingly slowly but we are getting there.
Joihn Williams, London  (4/10/06)

That's a right head scratcher of a post there John! We had absolutely no saleable assets when Moyesy took over then? Wayne Rooney???? Comparing our squad now, to when he replaced the turgid Smith — agreed we're a better all-round squad now but you might be surprised to learn that six of the players who faced Fulham in Moyes's first match in charge (Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Carsley - with Naysmith on the bench) are still very much at Goodison! Agreed though that at present we've more positives to dwell on rather than the negatives... Colm

Criticism

All this Moyes bashing is absolutely crazy, I personally believe the man has done wonders at Goodison. I understand that we as a group of supporters demand success that has been drastically lacking over the last 20 years, but surely to call for a manager who is clearly moving us in the right direction to be sacked, or to criticise a manager who has us unbeaten in October is ludicrous.

Although Moyes has the negative records of lowest goals tally in a season, and lowest points total, on the positives we are no longer fighting relegation every season, the club has gained its respect back, we look like we can challenge, we even know we can challenge to be in Europe — only Joe Royle of recent history gave us that, and that was only for a couple of seasons. People who call for Moyes to be sacked are unrealistic, uneducated and clearly don't understand modern football.

The old school of our fans need to get out of the 80s timewarp and realise that EFC is on its way back. We need to back Moyes, as a coach he has faults, but each year we see him learn and make wrongs right. It is no wonder we have a long line of managerial flops with all the pressure of the 80s and unrealistic ambitions of a set of fans. I feel he is on the verge of producing the goods, just lay off him. Surely I am not the only one annoyed by this stupidy of wanting him sacked!
Duvet Boy, in bed  (4/10/06)

It's all in the timing! This time last year and as Christmas approached the shout for Moyes to take a hike was a fair and valid call by those choosing to do so. You pays your way so you're entitled to an opinion, one way or the other. But now, sitting high in the League, unbeaten in League football since Easter Monday last season and in possession of the League's top scorer... well, all shouts for his removal look pretty doomed. And nonsensical! — Colm

Progress under Moyes

There are too many people who will judge a manager purely on his teams achievements without paying too much attention to the bigger picture. If you look at our finishing positions in the Premiership for the past two seasons, people immediately think we have gone backwards from 2004-05 where we finished 4th to 2005-06 where we finished 11th.

But, looking at the two seasons in terms of the first team squad, the club's finances and the overall spirit in the club, we have made progress in leaps and bounds. The squad has slowly been strenghtened, the club is now making a profit and people are generally happier with things.

Starting from the doldrums in the summer of 2004 when Mr Rooney changed his spots, we were looking more and more like relagation candidates, with the 'Moyes Out' brigade having many a field day. But with that treadbare squad we battled through and amazingly finished 4th. Looking back at the lack of quality we had at our disposal then, I would say we were punching well above our expected weight, which is why our attempts to get a foothold in Europe failed so miserably. We had big Dunc as our primary striker, for god's sake, so what do you expect?

Up until the start of this season, Moyes has never had 11 quality players at his disposal before. This season, he has more than 11. Past seasons he has had to make do with the tools at hand. The quality we have in our squad is now starting to show on the field. The days of the turgid 1-0 wins are in the past. We are actually playing attacking, passing and entertaining — YES, entertaining — football and that is purely down to the quality of our squad.

Okay some of the games haven't gone exactly to plan so far, but as a famous sportsman once said 'You can't win everything'. But progress is definitely being made (take note Mr Marsh), I am actually enjoying watching us play again. Looking at how all the teams have played so far in the Premiership, we could end up anywhere between 1st and 6th by the end of the season, with the closest contested premiership for years ahead of us. — COYB!
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (04/10/06)

Reasonable comment aplenty there Brian but you cite having Duncan Ferguson alone up front as one reason why we never gained a foothold in Europe. I'd instead point a finger at the manager, and more so at the Board, for not investing at that time and securing a decent and regular goalscorer. Evertonians, not paid to manage the Club, were screaming for such a player that pre-season. We got no one. We went on to score a whopping 34 goals over the entire season.

Moyes, this past summer, has rectified that glaring error by signing Andy Johnson, and better still, signing him before the World Cup thus avoiding a possible auction for his services. With only seven League games played we've already scored more than one third of last season's, erm, 'haul'... — Colm

Blue Moon

Dear Michael,

Below is an extract from an item in Monday's Guardian... clearly some Evertonian's are very fair minded and appreciate that, with all the stick Joey Barton had to endure from us during the match, which he never responded to... it was a highly amusing and witty response, when City equalised with the last kick of the game, virtually, that he should then have the last laugh, and his response was perfectly legitimate and justified. A mooning from the Blue mooners, what else!

I have e-mailed City to express my support for Barton and will do the same to the stupid FA.

Barton set for FA charge over buttock-baring

Daniel Taylor Tuesday October 3, 2006 The Guardian

City have also received several emails from Everton fans playing down the incident and asking the club not to take any internal action. One person apologised for the fact that one of his fellow supporters had made a complaint to the police given that Barton had been barracked throughout the match.

David Kenrick, Stockport  (4/10/06)

It seems to be all quite silly really, dear brother David, with the complaints coming originally from other match-going Evertonians who were (supposedly) shocked and apalled by the sight of a grown man's buttocks. Although it seems no-one is now willing to own up. We've had this before, with Ronaldo spitting and Jeffers or someone taking the piss. Pretty sad really. — Michael

A question of balance & no more Ray Wilkins

Enough of Wilkins & no matter we both seem to think Carsley's a vital cog in a 5-man midfield. I'm not sure how old he is 32-33? maybe & he's maybe got a couple of top level seasons left in him, but a replacement is needed.

This is clearly something Moyes recognized when he was chasing Sissoko & Parker. I've no idea who's out there, who would fit the bill. Is this young Icelandic kid Vidarsson worth a go or alternatively how about converting our "round peg" into a midfield player in the same vein as Norman Whiteside? After all, he does share some of Norman's attributes!
Colin Smith, Hopewell, New Jesey, USA  (4/10/06)

Snakes and Ladders

Micheal, in your reply to Mike Price you stated that we are 5th in the table and therefore are not having a bad season. How much of your hard earned will you be staking on us staying there? Will anyone else join you in the rush to the bookies? Will any of you be backing us to lift a cup this season? I think no is the answer to that one.

I agree with Mike Price that we will forever be up and down while Moyes is in charge. I have said it before and I will say it again: The type of football Moyes makes his team play is not sustainable for a full season without disaster striking. Constantly, giving away possesion with the big hoof forward and constantly running around like headless chickens trying to get it back just doesn't work.

Andy Jonnson is a great signing but how long do you think we will be able to keep him if he keeps up this current strike rate? Would he even want to stay, running his bollocks off every week just so we can tread water?

People keep posting saying this is the most stable the club has been for years and its all down to Moyes. Bullshit. Any half-decent manager could have done what Moyes has done with the finances he has been given these past few years. Moyes has been backed up to the hilt with money for players and he has managed to piss most of it up the wall. If Moyes had of got his way, we would have had that useless midget Emre here as well the Grinch Craig Bellamy. Imagine that...

Most Evertonians understand that we will probably never win the League title again. I don't think we will ever make a cup final again in my lifetime. So all I ask for is that when we go out on to the pitch we try to play decent football. It should be our prime objective. Fuck all this Howard Wilkinson bullshit: get it down and play. The sad truth is that we will never do this with Davey in charge because he doesn't know how.

So, yes, enjoy being in the top six while we are there... but remember: Once you have been near the summit and failed to reach it, the journey back down is twice as hard.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (3/10/06)

Tony, I've re-read that twice now, looking for something meanigful to respond to, and I can't find much. It's the usual semi-predictive lament that boils down to something like "Whatever might be going well now, it won't be for long... so gird up your loins... blah, blah, blah."

Were you perhaps related to that bloke with the placard who would (years ago?) wander slowly among the throng on Goodison Road? It said: "The End is Nigh". We're still here... Michael

Jim Hourigan

Re: Jim Hourigan's article on David Moyes and One Step Beyond.

Ungrateful and unrealistic. We are 5th. The squad and team are evolving every season. If it continues to evolve year on year under Moyes as it has then we will continue to be in excellent shape. Moaning bastard.
Carl Jackson, Liverpool  (3/10/06)

Calling people 'moaning bastards' really doesn't contribute anything to the discussion, Carl. With a little maturity, you should be able to step back and assess whether we are really seeing steady progress and 'evolution' or just another upswing that precedes the next dreaded downswing. Far too many downswings under Moyes, in my opinion, and the heights have still to be scaled... Michael

Van der Meyde

The guy supposedly had a good game in the reserve match tonight; maybe there's still hope?
Paul Chilli, Liverpool  (3/10/06)

Sounded impressive... but he semes to flash hot and cold. Getting him to focus for the right consecutive 90 minutes might be the real challenge... — Michael

Improvement?

Some are saying what a major improvement from a year ago... well, it would be hard not to improve on rock bottom, European humiliation, and James Beattie as a lone striker!

Seems to me that the new signings are sound but they were expensive so we got what we paid for. It has taken Moyes way too long to realise that pace is the key for a striker and, if he still rates Beattie, then — for that alone — he should be sacked. My only hope in him playing such a ridiculous player is that he's hoping to somehow get him a goal or two before January so we can unload him. Trouble is (as I said before he actually signed for us) he's crap, he's slow and he's on a ludicrous contract that's a liability not an asset. I'd give him away for free just to release his salary money. Ditto Simon Davies.

Moyes is still a tactical dinasoaur, a PE teacher who's snuck into the big time and who's still managing to bluff way too many Evertonians. The style of football we play will always reflect him, and so until he goes we may as well get used to poor quality with the occasional burst of sunshine and hope, followed by the turgid reality that is David Moyes.

Having said all that, he did sign Andy Johnson and let's be honest, without him there would be zero difference from last year. Trouble is, anyone with any clue would have signed him or his type years ago, and would never have signed Beattie!
Mike Price, Songkhla, Thailand  (3/10/06)

Thanks for that uplifting piece, Mike. Nice to be told how so many of us are being bluffed into a false hope that Moyesey finally will come good for Everton, while you (one of the few?) are blessed with the knowledege that he is only a jumped-up PE teacher...

I'm no doubt considered to be a fairly harsh Moyes critic, but I can put my hand up and say he is having a pretty good season so far. He certainly seems to have learnt a number of key lessons over his years as the Goodison PE teacher, and has put them into practice during 2006 (early transfers, and pre-season US team-building, to name but two). Quite good for a PE teacher.

Yes, Beattie is a bit of a problem, and I do kind of agree with you there, I suppose... but Beattie is a mistake: hardly a sacking offence. Ditto Simon Davies. In fact, regarding Davies, Moyes has obviously decided to be harder on him in terms of no more automatic selection — and I can only assume that the glowing pre-season talking-up was a shop-window ploy that failed. Still a cunning ploy for a PE teacher.

Regarding the Moyes style of football, while I understand that it is very hard for a leopard to change its spots, Moyes (to his great credit) has at least this season demonstrated both on the field and in his words that he wants to see his team playing more proper football. I beleive him when he says that, and the Man City game showed how hard it can be to achieve such a laudable ideal, no matter how hard you try in the competitive cut and thrust of the Premiership. City did a good job of breaking up the game and running us off the ball, but we went at them with some degree of strength and invention in the second half, and really should have had the game sown up. Getting the lads to do that would probably require something a little beyond an advanced Certificate of Education (PE) Diploma, in my humble estimation.

I think your out-of-hand rejection of our current manager is poor form — especially while we ride high in a very respectable 5th place in the Premiership. Yes, it's very clever to be one of the early ones to call for his head and then say, years down the road, "See, I told you so". But I'm sorry, overall, your analysis does not impress me. It would best go in the "damned if he dithers, damned if he doesn't" pile... — Michael

O'Neill Obsession

Why are so many fans intent on bringing Martin O'Neill into every discussion? He has never been strongly linked with the Goodison hotseat and has nothing to do with the club in any way. Why compare him to Moyes more than any other manager that has nothing to do with our club?

O'Neill has acheived nothing remarkable in his career. He has won the Carling Cup and won the Scottish League with Celtic — neither of these is a remarkable acheivement, particularly the latter. O'Neill's magnificent managerial ability is a total myth and in my opinion he is grossly over-rated. I cannot see how anybody could say he would have acheived more than Moyes has as Everton manager.
Sean Rothwelll, Liverpool  (3/10/06)

O'Neill has never been strongly linked with the Goodison hotseat, Sean? Not so! Everton sent "someone" out to the France '98 World Cup, where O'Neill was working for the BBC, the sole reason for the trip to secure the services of one Mr Martin O'Neill. FACT.

As for speculating what O'Neill would or wouldn't do at Everton and somehow comparing them with Moyes's achievements at Everton — yeah, I can't see much logic in it either, though I'll strongly disagree with you when you say he's totally overrated. — Colm

Stop the bungs? — Don`t make me laugh!

I was as amused by Dean Paton`s posting on 'bungs' as I was by the surprising naivety of Lord Stevens at yesterday`s press conference. Truth to tell, there is just no way of detecting most of the malpractice in the global financial market in which football now exists.

Consider this common scenario. Club A wishes to unload a player and would be happy to receive £3M. They contact a trusted agent to get things moving, telling him that anything he can get over their bottom line figure he can keep (legal and common practice). Agent makes contact with manager of Club B, hikes price to £5M and quietly agrees to split the extra £2M. Deal is completed by Chairmen or Chief Executives and all paper work is in order (Lord Stevens totally happy!).

Six to twelve months afterwards, £1M finds its way from agent into offshore investment company of which, through a private trust, manager of Club B is a shareholder. Subsequently, trust buys exotic holiday home in Dubai!

No examination of manager's or agent's bank accounts can expose such a trail and all live happily ever after! Believe me, its happenned — and not too far away either!
David Hall, Taunton  (3/10/06)

And the sooner ordinary fans wake the fuck up and realise that it's more widespread throughout the game and without a shadow of doubt one of the main reasons why your season ticket and price of "goin' the match" continues to rise and rise and rise... Do not for one minute even believe that our own club is squeaky clean!

As for Lord Stevens' Report, I can only hope that it's a further step on the road to eradicating malpractice throughout the game. — Colm

In reply

In reply to Michael. I just meant Martin O'Neill has the ability to make Everton great, Moyes hasn't.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (3/10/06)

Playing Devil's Advocate, Ged, from where I'm sitting I reckon there's more chance of Moyes achieving such glory at Everton than O'Neill... he's the manager of Aston Villa!!! ;-) — Colm

Tony Marsh and Luq Yus

Let's get one thing straight. When people like Tony Marsh and Luq Yus criticise Moyes they do it for only one reason: they care about Everton Football Club.

When Moyes plays Beattie on Saturday, instead of sticking with the proven Johnson and Cahill formula, it's because he's hoping it will come off to save his own reputation as a manager and not in the interests of Everton Football Club. We pay the price as we see our team squander two more precious points.

You can pick holes in Moyes in so many areas but here's just one other. He's had four years to build a midfield and look at it. We've got one class midfield player and he keeps getting played out of position either wide left or wide right. So when any team applies a bit of pressure we suddenly look awful and can't keep the ball to save our lives.

Just like Walter Smith, if Moyes walks away from this club with a big fat compensation wedge he won't think twice but we'll be still here paying our £500 each season and caring about what should be the greatest club in the land. Something that Martin O'Neill would have ensured.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (3/10/06)

I don't quite grasp the Martin O'Neill bit at the end there, Ged. You seem to be implying that O'Neill's prime interest would have been bringing greatness to our club, whereas Moyes is only interested in bringing greatness to himself...??? Talk about being anti-Moyes — where the hell did that come from???

Do you honsetly believe that there would be any difference at the end of the day between Moyes leaving on a massive wedge of compensation, and O'Neill leaving on a massive wedge of compensation? Come off it, Ged. — Michael

Johnson's injury

I think you are being harsh on Dutch, he does have a point. Too many people pre-judge Moyes for being negative when he subbed Johnson, when in fact he was injured. Dutch is right to say that all those people who made early conclusion without knowing fuck all about the real situation, is wrong.
Boyle Dixon, Liverpool  (3/10/06)

There was no mention of the injury until Monday at the earliest. Johnson was subbed as an obvious and well established effort at time-wasting, with less than 30 seconds of stoppage time left. Johnson ambled slowly off the pitch (there — hamstring injury!). The referee rightly added on 30 seconds for the sub and something like another minute for what he saw as time-wasting by Johnson. AJ could easily have remained on the pitch another 30 seconds, injured or not. It's the stupidity of the stoppage-time substitutions that drive me to despaair. They always have, and Saturday backfired in teh most horrible way imaginable. Moyes admitted his responsibility for it. — Michael

New manager... not just yet

It is pointless talking about a new manager after the start we have had this year. However, in response to Dave Roberts and other contributors out there who come out with the same argument every year (that we would not find an alternative) — surely O'Neill and Villa puts this to rest. There are plenty out there who have achieved or are promising who would relish the opportunity to manage the Blues? So please don't make the rash argument that there isn't. We have NEVER failed to attract a manager to this great club of ours.
Robbie Kavanagh, Cheshire  (3/10/06)

Beattie

I read with interest the article on IC Liverpool by Dave Prentice on James Beattie. I have to disagree with his statement about the minority of whingers regarding our £6 million pound man. He did very little on Saturday to suggest he deserves a starting place in the line-up. He is devoid of pace and has little confidence. I counted him winning the ball in the air on only two occasions. His only positive contributions to the game were two defensive clearances. The rest of the time he looked lost and often impeded AJ in attacking situations.

Regarding his alleged inability to play with AJ - didn't he have a fruitful relationship with a similar sort in Kevin Phillips? The question must be why is he incapable of producing the same form for the Blues. I believe that the answer might be that his injury has lessend his pace and his legendary predilection for a great nightlife has dulled his desire. In answer to Mr Prentice - 'How do we solve a problem like James Beattie?' The simple, stark answer is to sell him in January and get somebody who is hungry and has the promise and ability Beattie once showed.

Regarding Anichebe, only time will tell. He had little time to make an impact but looked very promising against Peterborough. He is no Rooney but could certainly do a good job for us if he develops enough.
Robbie Kavanagh, Cheshire  (3/10/06)

Lord Stevens' Enquiry

It will be interesting to see the outcome of the Lord Stevens' enquiry, and whether our neighbours have had any dodgy dealings. They had a hell of a lot of awful players costing them huge sums under the Houllier era, who disappeared back to Europe a season later.

As for us, I have a gut feeling that Mr Moyes seems a straight chap, and can't see us being caught up in it all. I'd put my money on: Redknapp, Allardyce, Houllier, O'Leary and Souness. Not exactly Everton talk, but football-related and highly interesting: particularly after the high-profile casualties of the Italian match-fixing...
Dean Paton, Birkenhead  (3/10/06)

You've overlooked Manchester United there, Dean: the Saha transfer, the massive payment to Van Nistelrooij's agent for simply renewing a deal and, of course, the departure of one Wayne Rooney, from our own club, to theirs.

Laughable, to say the least, that the man who is now chairman of Everton FC, the man who says he has a "good working relationship with Paul (Stretford)" had the temerity to claim he'd never met an unscrupulous agent! This is the same Paul Stretford who committed perjury in a high profile court case! Selective memory there, Mr Chairman! Bit like your mate, Samuelson! — Colm

Can't really complain...

Well, my first contribution of the season. Pleased we have not lost so far, made up that we snotted the Reds obviously. Johnson and Lescott are looking good but not a lot else has changed really. Still the same type of functionary football.

I think the signing of Johnson proves that, if you play with 5 in midfield, you need someone pacey up front to spread the game out (as we are nowhere near skilful enough to play through the opposition) and that also Cahill is really a forward who can tackle a bit rather than a midfielder that can score a bit. I think he is in the David Platt mould, in that he’s not a natural footballer but he knows how to score (and wind other players up). He’s not in the traditions of Everton midfield greats but in this day and age he does the business…and that’s all that seems to matter these days, unfortunately, so I don’t see the point in a lot of the criticisms he gets.

I hope the run continues, I think the league this year is full of quite a few average teams (I just wish we would stop dropping points against them!) so a top-10 finish is possible again. Realistically it’s the minimum that Moyes should achieve each year — if he doesn’t then Kenwright should stop saying how wonderful Moyes is and start demanding a bit more if he wants another £8million investment. I’m in the minority and think Kenwright has done alright (he was after all the bloke that employed Moyes and whether you like him or not he’s done better than Smith did) considering he isn’t the richest chairman in the Premier League but if he continues to allow Moyes to think that mediocrity is okay for this club then he should consider stepping down himself.

ps: Anyone else think that, if we move our ground out of Liverpool (where the vast majority of our fans are from) and Liverpool move into the new Stanley Park home, then we will lose our fanbase even quicker than we are now?
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (3/10/06)

And not a bad first post of the season, Sir! Agreed that we need a minimum top-ten finish this season, anything less is abject failure. I'd argue, due to the lack of quality throughout the League, that a top-eight finish should be our basic aim for the season, and hope to better that over the course of the season. — Colm

A Poll (Not Graham)

Make Dutch an editor, there needs to be a Pro-Moyes voice on your staff. How about a new poll, Do you consider yourself... A. The Anti-Moyes Brigade, B. The Pro-Moyes Mob or C. Neither. It wont tell us how the majority of Everton fans feel but at least it would give us an indication of how the fans on this web-site feel.
John Cottee, Romford  (3/10/06)

John, that's utter nonsense. — Colm

Response to 'One Step Beyond'

This is so classic Evertonian. Finally Moyesy has a good off-season — no 'dithering'; good signings (great signings!). Then, we win at Spurs, we beat Liverpool 3-0 and then we have three draws in a row and get sucker-punched by City. The result: Out with Moyes; the "club" is bigger than the manager! Love it.
John Tilly, San Francisco, CA, USA  (3/10/06)

Dour or Practical Scotsman

The theme currently underpinning most of the mailbag at the moment appears to be whether or not Moyes is the right man to make us a regular top-six team. In his defence, I would cite the lack of funds, the obvious wage-cap, and a Board who seem happy to have a points total which exceeds the bottom three. I also think he is a genuine guy who is probably performing to the best of his abilities and gets every ounce of sweat and effort from his staff and players.

Unfortunatley these attributes alone seldom make 'winners' as the records of managers such as Gregory, Wilkinson, Allardyce et al. will testify. In fact if anyone cares to look at those managers' records they are remarkably similar to Moyes's time at Everton. Another mitigating factor against Moyes is that, in modern football NO Everton FC manager who has not played for the club has been successful in putting silverware in the trophy cabinet.

I'm not advocating that David should be removed from his job as some may wish but there is little doubt in my mind that, after four full seasons in the hot-seat, we are still not convinced about the players' ability to win games on a regular basis. I realise that if David Moyes was to manage Arsenal or United, where ambitions are higher and the funds are available, he may indeed be able to fashion a team to be reckoned with. But there's the rub: he MAY succeed, which is not the same thing as saying he would definately be a winner.

I honestly would like nothing better than David Moyes to lead Everton to Cup Finals and regular trips to Europe but I always have a nagging doubt that he will manage to do so, especially if things at the executive level of the club do not change in the forseeable future.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (3/10/06)

Past, present, future

If, for any reason, Moyes left Everton, such is his status among his peers that, within minutes, his phone would be running hot with offers. Few of his detractors would be so highly regarded in their own field. When he came to Goodison, there were huge problems on and off the field. The club was technically bankrupt and recent boardroom upheavals had not helped. Moyes was saddled with a squad of under-achievers on long contracts and, sooner rather than later, relegation was inevitable.

Despite all his critics Kenwright, brought stability in the boardroom and brought in a young dynamic manager. With limited resources, Moyes started from the ground up by revitalising the youth policy. He removed coaches plus an entire generation of youngsters. Should any of those lads go on to make a name for themselves, Moyes would be open for criticism; so far none have.

As senior players' contracts came up for renewal, they were either on reduced terms or shown the door. Some of his signings did not come up to expectations while others were excellent. The relegation bogeyman is no longer a concern; with one or two additions — particularly in midfield — the current squad will match it with the best of ’em.

More than most managers, Moyes must have been tempted to play any youngster with a scintilla of talent; that he did not is a credit to him. There are far too many 20-year-old burnt-out ‘super stars’. More than most, Moyes recognises his players' abilities; to get the best team balance for particular opponents, his tactics are tailored to suit. It may not be pretty but is probably correct at this stage of our development.

The entire club performance is showing steady improvement yet there is and always will be much to do. We may or may not be on the cusp of greatness but the lights are beginning to glimmer.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (3/10/06)

Ossiemania... or not?

Which one will it be, Leon? He beats one man, beats the second, around the third and what a finish by Leon Osman!! One day we will see this young man cap off a Gazza-esque run with a sublime finish (not a weak shot wide or straight at the keeper) and from that day on he will exude confidence and dominate the english game with his superb touch and skill.

Or, Leon Osman was today sold to Championship side Ipswich Town for £950k, Everton manager Moyes said "Leon's quality is obvious for all to see; however, he has struggled with the physical demands of the Premiership and lacked an end-product to his play at times. We wish him well in the Championship with Ipswich and thank him for his long term service to the club."

I wonder...
Dick Bill, York  (2/10/06)

Two Steps Backward?

Jim Hourigan's article looks okay on the surface but talk about sacking a manager whose team (which cost a fraction compared to others) is 5th is surely nonsensical. What other manager would be attracted to come in, and what standard would he be? Get real, Jim. It's a long road back to the top — financially, as well as on the pitch. More time needed.
Dave Roberts, Wirral  (2/10/06)

This may be semantics, but I didn't think Jim actually went so far as to call for him to be sacked. He raises the issue others have touched on before: "Is David Moyes the one to carry us onward to ever greater heights on the long and arduous path back to the top?" Yes, it's hard to even approach that question at this time of the season, when we are doing pretty well in the league, and still have something to play for in the League Cup. — Michael

The Osman debate

I have read the contributions of others and accept there is some credence to the view that on a good day he is a terrific asset to the club. But, in fairness, on a bad day we may as well turn up with 10 men. I do agree in part that Moyes has much to answer for in this respect.

I posed the question as to his current role on the pitch in recent games. Leaving aside his performances be they good, bad or indifferent. Personally, I believe he simply cannot cut it in a wide position hence his tendency to drift inside toward his favoured position where he feels he can make a contribution. However, this is not the role he is selected to play.

I think he will always do well against teams who play football in the purist sense as these games are often less physical. Unfortunately, the majority of teams are not blessed with this ability. Not surprisingly, his form has dipped in recent games against the less gifted sides who rely more on their phsical attributes. He could be a wonderful talent surrounded by a physically strong midfield but unfortunately we do not have those qualities and I fear he is a luxury we simply cannot afford.

I'm afraid Moyes cannot have his cake and eat it on this one. The current arrangement is simply not working. It's a simple choice: either play him in the middle or leave him out.
Gerry Western, London  (2/10/06)

Dutch

Colm & Michael, as two of the editors of this fine site, you would have access to the originators e-mail address for each posting, yes? Could you tell me... Is the dutch chap using a Norweigian e.mail address? The reason I ask is that he talks as much shite as any other kopite I've ever heard.
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (2/10/06)

Now then... While that may well be true, I don't think you should be casting such aspersions on the entire populace of Norway. And let's not be doing the oh-so-childish "you're a kopite" stuff, please... unless you are still in the playground. — Michael

Bad Luck & Beattie

Against Wigan, an injury forced Moyes to substitute Carsley and that allowed them back into the game. Then ,against Man City it now appears that another injury forced Moyes to substitute Johnson and that forced extra-injury time which ultimately allowed City time to equalise. Moyes has had some bad luck with substitutes in recent games.

As for James Beattie, don't be so harsh in writing him off, try to remember that last season he was Everton's highest goalscorer and he played so well that many papers were suggesting an England recall.

Sure he looks slugish and unfit at the moment but what he needs is a run of games to get back his fitness and confidence. There's no rush to start playing Victor Anichebe, he's only just 18 and at that age it's better to protect him and ease him in, otherwise you run the risk of burn-out, something which has ruined the career of Michael Owen and now appears to be taking its toll on Wayne Rooney.
John Cottee, Romford  (2/10/06)

Ah... right... now I get it. — Michael

A question of balance & Ray Wilkins

I must protest!!

I'm being unfair to Carsley? To compare him with Wilkins is like calling him a follicly challenged Gareth Farrelly. I'd put Carsley on a par with Joe Royle's Dogs of War 3.

Wilkins was the most over-rated player ever to wear a white England shirt — he wasn't worth 8 caps for the Faroe Islands, let alone 80 for England. His one worthwhile contribution came in the '86 world cup when he got his talentless ass sent off & gave Peter Reid a chance to come in & give the England midfield some bollocks.

Moving on, I agree with the comments that a Scott Parker type of player is required. Just as importantly we need a left winger & then we can leave Arteta in the middle where he can do the most damage. Let's hope the scouting network is uncovering a left footed Lennon as I type!
Colin Smith, Hopewell, New Jesey, USA  (2/10/06)

My comparison with Wilkins was made with recollections of Carsley winning a lot of ball on Saturday and immediately spraying it either wide right or left, and occasionally backwards! I'd be doing both players a disservice if I said they were alike in general playing style. My initial comment was based on your own belief that Carsley is unable to pass a ball. I do believe though that his position is one we must look at over the next twelve months or so. — Colm

Internationalist

Whilst I can understand the view that not having players on International duty may benefit Everton in the short term, I want Everton to have a squad of fully fledged top international players.

A) It would mean that those players were playing well at club level and were deserving of winning caps.

B) It would mean we had a better quality of player who would also bring different ideas from their international experiences.

C) The profile of our great club would be enhanced by having players who regularly played top internationals.

Other clubs have provided plenty of examples of having a string of international players without it having a detrimental effect.

As they say a change is as good as a rest.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (2/10/06)

I think most Evertonians have become paranoid over the years with players being called up for international duty — particularly with England and the side show that often envelopes England duty! — Colm

Apology

I sincerely apologise for the use of the term 'cancer'. What I intended by the comment and what some people derived from was two different things.

Cancer is a serious affliction which can change people's lives forever, and with hindsight I should have choosen a better word. So for that I truly apologise, as life is way more important than football. But not for the intended meaning of it!

Anyway, I totally agree with the bias against clubs like Everton. Against Newcastle we were bumped, yet not a whisper from the FA. As soon as it is Liverpool, the FA fall about themselves like the Key Stone Cops. And Mr Sparke, you only honour yourself with your last post!
Luq Yus, London  (2/10/06)

Law of Averages

Hi, this is my first post (though I do read the Mailbag a lot). It was sad and annoying to see another 2 points lost. We should definitely have had another 4 points and be on the top of the league!!!

So is Moyes wrong with the last minute substitutions? Yes, maybe, in fact he must be!!! But then after all they are not crimes, more like stupid "human" mistakes we all make from time to time, but does that absolve Moyes of all blame? Surely not, he has to prove it to us (Everton fans) by stopping this shit of last-second substitutions from the next game and winning again.

But all said and done another unbeaten match! Seven in all, and the good thing is an increased hunger from both the manager and the team, they all seem genuinely dissapointed by the latest results And as Mr Mourinho had once said during a 'run' of bad results at Chelsea when they had lost 4 points in 2 games, that all teams slip up from time to time — let's hope our time is done now!
Varun Rajwade, Pune, India  (2/10/06)

Indeed, onwards and upwards... - Colm

Club before Country

I don't know how everyone else feels, but I'm kind of glad that AJ is injured. He'll be out for just over a week, free from international duty, and having a long well earned rest. I suppose my reasons are purely selfish but I think Andy having a couple of weeks off will be beneficial to Everton.
Ryan Jones, Preston  (2/10/06)

I have to agree... unless he responds to a lay-off like his mate Beattie, and comes back all stiff, unable to run, lacking the basic ability to control the ball... God forbid! — Michael

RE: One step beyond

Once again, things didn't go our way, so it's all David Moyes's fault. I agree that taking Arteta off did seem a bit strange. However, the other two were fully justified.

  • Beattie for Victor: If he had not done this then there would have been an equal number of comments about him not giving the lad chance.
  • Johnson for Weir: He was injured. Given that he is our best player by some distance we had more lose by keeping him on and potentially making it worse.
Anyway it is by no means certain that these substitutions affected the outcome of the game. I think looking back at the game then we should be looking at the chances we missed rather than the substitutions. Beattie scuffing his shot; Johnson shot blocked by Dunne from 3 yards; Cahill's free header.

If David Moyes is at fault for anything then I would say it was his starting formation: 4-5-1 is not negative when we play it well. I think that people get hung up on the fact that playing one up front at home is big 'no no'. If it gets us results, why not? Would you rather win ugly or draw / lose and feel good about it.

I know which one I prefer.
Phil Johnson, Liverpool  (2/10/06)

So which part of "I am the manager and I take responsibility" didn't you quite catch? Moyes, to give him his due, acknowledged the mistake. Let's just hope he learns from it. — Michael

Crystal Balls

Cancer is it? I’m pretty offended by the usually even-tempered, placid and mild-mannered Mr Yus condemning the attitude of his fellow blue noses as a “Cancer on the Club”.

I’ll have you know, Luq, that I’m a Scorpio and I feel very unhappy that my star sign is being used so detrimentally to condemn me. By your frequent posts I’d guess you are a Gemini (Twins… or Split personality?). Putting on my Russel Grant persona for a moment and reading your star chart, I can see:

“The full moon (courtesy of Joey Barton) is in the first quadrant of Taurus the Bull (Bill Kenwright’s latest pronouncement perhaps? — incidentally, his ‘no bent agents’ remark reminds me of the gay bloke who is in denial insisting that he most definitely wasn’t a homosexual… but on the balance of probability his boyfriend might be)… and your sun is rising in the second house of Aries (Stadium move?)”

Translated into layman speak, this means: beware of the men in white coats, Luq… you’re not paranoid, son — they are coming to get you.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (2/10/06)

Media Bias

Just read Alan Hansen's pathetic lamenting of the referee's decision to rule that Reina had handled outside the box, cue to Gary Speed's opener. What the biased redshite fails to say is that the result didn't hinge on a single goal, unlike the offside decision for Ameobi's goal against Newcastle.

The FA Premier League are likely to demand that the assistant referee be dropped following his decision on Reina, who by the way has a tendency to handle very close to the edge of the box. Any mention about the myopic official at Newcastle? - was there shite. It's often trotted out that these decisions balance themselves over a season but I beg to disagree, with the media bias that exists with pundits, the vested interest of Sky to both broadcast and influence the outcome of fixtures to favour the elite, equity in the game doesn't exist.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (2/10/06)

Whatever happened to "We don't care what the red shite say"? — Michael

Johnson injury

When did AJ get injured? He seemed OK right up to the final whistle. There is nothing on the Everton OS either, so what's the news? Is it serious?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (2/10/06)

Sorry

Sorry about that, Colm, but that letter made my blood boil. I am not one for bad language or personal insults but I just lost it whilst typing my reply. I do take your point.
Dave Lynch, merseyside  (2/10/06)

Better publish this one, in view of the previous post about editorial policy! (Michael can delete later!!!) - Colm

I think I already applied the Blue Pencil and toned it down a bit. I try keep most of the abuse off the page (unless I happen to be responding to Dutch spouting his usual shite), but even he can go too far sometimes. It's our Editorial Policy, but you can call it a double standard if you like... ;) — Michael

Editor's Notes

Michael, I agree with some (not all) of what Luq says though I don't like the use of the word 'cancer' either. However, I think it's pretty poor form not to print Dutch's contributions. They can be simplistic and inane, but he's still a fan is he not? I'm sure I've seen plenty of staunch defenses of the editorial policy in the past saying how everyone gets to say their piece. Is that no longer the case?
Simon Amble, Hereford  (2/10/06)

I can't speak for Michael (he can do that for himself!) but 99% of what is submitted to the mailbag is published. — Colm

Too easily offended?

I really do think some Evertonians have lost their sense of humour! We hear and read that Merseyside Police have been inundated with calls of complaint since the prat Barton flashed his backside on Saturday. Most people by me laughed, said it proved he was an arsehole and went on to give him even more of the approbrium they had been pouring on him all afternoon.

Surely if the act is so offensive the Met will be crawling all over Ulrika Johnson for bearing her left cheek to the paps of every paper in Europe last week!
Dave Farndon, Grassendale  (2/10/06)

It's pathetic, and incredibly smalltime, for any Evertonian to cry foul and demand police action after Barton's reaction on Saturday. Barton was verbally abused from first to last minute, and beyond, on Saturday. If you're going to dish it out, you have to expect to take it in return. A sad sign of the times though... - Colm

AJ Out Of England Squad

The Anti-Moyes Brigade have been blasting Moyes because he substituted Johnson in the final minutes against Man City. But Johnson has now pulled out of the England squad because of an injury he sustained in the final few minutes of that game. So after all the debating and critising it turns out the substitution was enforced on Moyes.
Dutch Schaffaer, London  (2/10/06)

Dutch, is your sole reason for living a desire to wind up those with an opposing opinion to your own? I ask as I read the above and feel you're simply trying to antagonise the 'usual suspects' into replying, therefore cluttering up further this mailbag into a farcical anti-this/pro-that turgid debate! For what little it's worth, Johnson didn't look too troubled when coming off on Saturday and there's a bit of a divil in me head thinking it's Moyes withdrawing the player from international duty and ensuring he gets a bit of a breather before our next Premiership game. If so, cap doffed in Moyes's direction, play to the cameras, give them what they want to hear but the most important thing, from an Evertonian viewpoint, is ensuring Johnson remains fit to play for EVERTON! — Colm

Defense of a lead

When I was growing up and playing fooball (a long time ago, now), common belief was that the best form of defense was attack. It certainly still makes sense to me to defend in your opponents' half rather than your own. Obviously, when we had two QEIIs as our central defenders, we had to defend in our own penalty area. With the current incumbents, this is no longer necessary nor advisable. Will Dave take this to heart? At least Nev could see the problem from his comments. Let's hope this is acted upon for future games.
Terry Finnigan, California, USA  (2/10/06)

Reply to Dodd

Dodd, how dare you dismiss the history of this football club just because you weren't around to witness it. Every supporter in the land, no matter what club they support, should be proud of their club's achievements, past and present. It is tossers like you and your attitude that rots the very fabric of society: "If it doesn't or didn't affect me then it is of no consequence".

How far shall we take that attitude, Dodd? Let's start with Flanders Fields shall we? I mean we wern't around to witness the First World War so what's the point in remembering its dead. Dodd, you should be ashamed of dismissing this club's history because it does nor suit your throwaway society brainwashed-by-Sky way of thinking.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (2/10/06)

Dave - there are ways and means of correcting a viewpoint without abuse, Sir! Just a thought... — Colm

After the lord mayor's parade

Following the victory over Liverpool and the subsequent dulling of the post-match celebrations and hangover, I had the same sickly feeling as that which followed the win over our most bitter rivals in December 2004. The feeling that was turning my gut was the over-expectation that follows such a result, a feeling of grandiose and mass donning of rose-tinted spectacles in the world of Evertonians.

We have previously been accused by the dark-side of treating the Derby as a Cup Final, and although such wins have become a rarity in recent years, the jubilation of a win over them will always be quite rightly savoured. I'm not sure whether the ensuing high expectations have been as a result of such a confidence-boosting win, or the morale that is generated by our league position and unbeaten run.

The pinnacle of the 2004-05 season was probably the derby result, and confirming 4th position at home against Newcastle; however, it felt like the wheels came off big-time post-Christmas / post-Gravesen.

Hopefully, this season will be different in that we are able to sustain good form over a longer period, with a top-four finish not out of the question but highly unlikely. The recent home matches against Wigan and Man City were winnable: in the grand scheme of things, to be in front on both occassions and then squander all three points is tantamount to commiting suicide in terms of final league placing. It may be over-expectation on the fans' part, it may be complacency on the part of the players — angst on the pitch breeds angst in the stands and vica versa.

Frustration is both part and parcel of football, the win against Liverpool negated against the dissapointment of Wigan and Man City. It is evident on current form that the season will be one of twists and turns, lack of strength in depth and quality in key areas proving to be ourr archilles heel. The solidity of the side through the middle is clearly showing, with excellent form shown to date by the three summer signings; it remains the periphery of the side that continues to provide frustration.

The jigsaw approach to team building will continue given the current financial restrictions. I'm hoping that, come January or next summer, midfield is seen by Moyes as a priority for strengthening. Both Parker and Barton bossed the midfield in recent games; add a Nolan type player into the equation and we may be able to compete. Let's hope we can get back on track to winning ways, we remain unbeaten but equally frustrating, two weeks is a long time for a game after Saturday.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (2/10/06)

Good post, Peter. - Colm

Where's Mike Walker when you need him???

Sack the manager, sack the board, prepare for relegation, we're doomed, doomed I tell thee!!!

Sound familiar? By some of the posts on here that's what some folks really think. I am as disappointed with the previous three games as the next Blue as I feel we should have won them all but to jump on the bandwagon and say the season's going to pot is a little far-fetched. We are scoring goals & are slowly progressing under Moyes and I for one am not ready YET to throw him overboard. His admission on MOTD that it was his mistake we conceded shows us he can see his own mistakes and will hopefully learn from them. Obviously only time will tell but I wouldn't press the panic button just yet.
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (2/10/06)

Yellow card (I hate red!) for suggesting we need Mike Walker back!!! - Colm

One Step Beyond

I do find this article a little sad. It seems to me that the point of view of many fans on this site is that this current side is doing well in spite of Moyes which in my opinion is absolute rubbish. I am neither pro- nor anti-Moyes but feel at the moment he is doing a good job. Yes, he made a mistake at the weekend, but you can bet anything that if he hadn't brought on Weir in injury time and they'd have still gone on to equalize that the same hand ringers and doom sayers would have been on here criticising him for his inaction, for not running down the clock etc.

I think one thing that Saturday has shown is that 4-5-1 is the formation that will get the best out of the players we have. The point made in the article mentioned above that this formation is negative again has flaws: how can it be negative when the two most attacking players in that formation have 9 goals between them? It is a formation that suits us both defensively and offensively, has us playing better football than at any time under Moyes (or under Smith, Royle, Walker or Kendall Mark 2 and 3 for that matter) and should in my opinion be celebrated.

Like it or not, Moyes is slowly but surely building a side we can be proud of (because of financial restraints as much as anything). Last year we were crying out for a fast and mobile forward but in Moyes's eyes none that were good enough were available so he waited. Imagine what would have happened if he’d spent the Johnson money on Samaras or Earnshaw — would we be in this position now? I think his patience is to be applauded.

The same consideration and patience will be applied in his pursuit of a holding midfield player; had he managed to sign Sissoko or Parker then his search would be over but we didn’t and no one else of their calibre is available so we will have to wait. I just think a lot of the time us fans need to apply some perspective.

Finally, I’d just like to say that I love this site, I come to it every day and find most of the articles to be well thought out and informative. But the tone of the site is getting to be a bit reactionary for me, mostly in its editorial stance and it is getting to the point where coming to the site after a game like Saturday's is proving less and less appealing.
Jay Wilson, London  (2/10/06)

I find there's a bit of a stigma attached to the supposedly rigid 4-5-1 formation. It automatically conveys an image of negativity in the eyes of most. With our current squad, the usage of a 4-5-1 starting XI sees both Osman and Cahill, in particular, turning that 4-5-1 into a flexible 4-3-3.

Much is made of Carsley's key role within the 4-5-1 formation — and that's a fair comment - but, with players like Arteta, Osman and Cahill forever eager to get into the box, it is not true to suggest a 4-5-1 starting XI sees Moyes opting for a more cautious approach.

Allowing for some facts to get in the way, we've got the leading scorer in our side and only Manchester United have scored more goals than us this season — and, considering our woeful return of goals over the entire 2005-06 season, it is patently clear that our 4-5-1 formation this season is proving fruitful. So, stick with it Moyesy!

As for the site becoming too reactionary on a Saturday night after a match: you're always going to get that I suppose! Great when we win a big match, frustrating when we chuck away points... — Colm

Boyle

Thanks very much for lending us Boyle. He's bloody useless but at least his bad play contributed to Nigel Worthington finally getting the sack. You can have him back now though, please.
Norwich Fan, Norwich  (2/10/06)

Utter nonsense! C'mon, let's be 'aaaaaaaavin' yer! Any manager who places his faith in Gary Docherty as captain of the side and is relying on Dion Dublin for goals is asking for trouble. Young Paddy O'Boyle looked impressive on our summer pre-season tour of the States and gaining experience out on loan with a lower league club will do the lad no harm. Maybe a switch to a club not in crisis, and relying on the mercurial talent of Mr Docherty, will benefit the lad. As a parting shot, I'd love to see Mike Walker return to Carrow Road! Love it, absolutely love it! ;-) — Colm

Unfair

Just managed to catch up with the mailbag this morning and I've noticed at least a couple of mentions criticising Leon Osman. Yes, he may not have the skill of Giggs or the flair of Van Persie, but what he has in bucket loads is commitment. The guy doesn't give in, and you definitely get the impression he's proud to wear that shirt. Yes I agree, he's not the sort of player who will set the Premiership alight, but he's hard working and has forced his way past supposedly more skillful players, eg, Van der Meths & Simon Davies.

I've sat through Saturday's game twice now, and though Weir can be put at fault for the goal, to be honest it's always a risk tempting the ref and his pocket-watch by subbing for the sake of time wasting. Moyes would have done better working on getting the team to pull together under what was an obvious onslaught from City's forwards rather than try to change the shape, put on an ageing centre-back, and hope the team adjust to the reorganisation.

Rather than point the finger at Beattie, Osman or whoever you like, the obvious culprit is Moyes. He needs to get his coaching schedule sorted, his tactics straightened out, and plan for most eventualities during a game, eg, injuries, sendings off, chasing the game or holding the opposition.

I really try not to criticise Moyes based on which way the wind is blowing, but after three relatively poor league performances (and don't forget the Peterborough game), — particularly the City game — his tactical shortcomings are being laid bare. You can forgive occasional mistakes, but after eight years in management you'd think he'd have addressed the more basic ones.

I really can't put into words how gutted I was and still am about Saturday's result. A lot of Luq's comments really rang true with me, although I wouldn't go as far as using words like "cancer", I understand the sentiment. On another side, I don't understand the constant obsession with where fans are from, whether they can attend home games or not, ultimately it is about following Everton, however you do it. It doesn't make one better than another.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (2/10/06)

Firstly, Mr Moyes was quick to hold his hand up and admit he'd cocked up in fine style, his decision-making contributing to three points being whittled down to just one.

As for Ossie — I'm like yourself, I reckon, I see a footballer who, when on his game, is a joy to watch. Yes, I readily acknowledge he can sometimes be easily muscled off the ball by a stronger player, such as Distin on Saturday down by the Gwladys Street, but some people simply fail to see what he brings to the team.

On Saturday, with Beattie playing up front alongside Johnson, I believe Osman suffered in being unable to create as he can do and more often than not we saw him involved in getting back, closing down, and in general being one of many to try to break up City attacks. He most certainly came off the pitch knowing he'd been in a battle and for anyone to doubt his commitment is well off the mark. On another day he could've scored two goals... - Colm

Imagination?

Am I making it up? Is it just a case of me grasping at straws to excuse David Moyes's latest lash-up of tactical decisions? But I'm sure I saw Richard Dunne use both hands to stop Johnson's shot.

No mention in the papers or elsewhere for that matter, I'm starting to think it never happened and Carling is stronger than I realised. Or else I'm being driven round the bend trying to understand how we couldn't manage to win a game that was already won!!?
Steve Alderson, Jersey  (2/10/06)

I'm afraid you're grasping at straws, Steve. Fair play to Dunne for somehow denying Johnson a second goal, the ball hitting him somewhere between the 'nether regions' and chest! MoTD, on Saturday night, clearly showed how Dunne saved without handling. — Colm

Fairness?

So you won't post a comment by Dutch because he says some people aren't supporters but you will post a comment by Luq who called some supporters a cancer. That's really fair.

I'm happy and content that Everton are 5th and I don't consider myself a cancer.
John Cottee, Romford  (2/10/06)

You've lost me there, John! Michael? - Colm

Reflections

Yesterday's game offered few surprises with the exception of the inclusion of Beattie in the starting line-up, an enforced change no doubt. We certainly created more chances than of late. His presence offered us a more physical edge which was needed. However, his performances will only improve if the support is forthcoming from our midfield which continues to disappoint largely due to a total lack of balance. Surely this must be evident to Moyes, it is to just about everyone else.

Having watched and re-watched the highlights, I can scarcely recall a single attack mounted down the left of the park. Central midfield players are continually pressured to seek an outlet down the right as Arteta is at least prepared to take people on — little wonder he gets subbed although I thought this was possibly Moyes's biggest mistake.

I lost count of the number of throw-ins and passes initiated down the right and yet can barely recall a throw-in or cross from the left, the other side of the half-way line. What the hell is Osman's role in the team? He insists on coming inside at every opportunity to the extent that he is almost a fixture in the middle so we end up with three players looking to pass to Arteta. Little wonder City raised their game in the closing stages; with Arteta gone, there was no outlet whatsoever.

McFadden's return can't come soon enough: he is not an orthodox winger, I accept, but at least he would afford us an alternative to Osman and of course has a greater physical presence which sad to say is lacking in Osman. As for the introduction of Weir, what on earth was he thinking? I can still recall the effects of his late introduction at Tottenham with the enforced substitution of Lescott. A defence which was resolute for 85 minutes was suddenly riddled with hesitancy and uncertainty and experienced more than a few anxious moments in seeing out the game. When will he learn?
Gerry Western, London  (1/10/06)

No bite with Beatts

I agree with everything said about David Moyes's substitutions — they rarely if ever make any sense. They are almost always too late and hardly ever have a positive impact on the game. If you are under so much pressure at the back, put on someone who'll draw a defender or someone with pace to launch a counter-attack.

Beattie should have come off for Anichebe at half time or at the latest on the hour. It was clear to all but one man at Goodison that he was never going to get on the sheet if he played 'til midnight. We really should have pressed home the advantage against what is after all a mediocre Man City team. A better side would have beaten us in the second half. We have to have more creativity in midfield and more ruthlessness up front.

James Beattie and Simon Davies really should go to a Championship side where they belong, but as Moyes has so much of his reputation tied up in those transfers, we should admire the fact that he has at least had the awareness to keep these losers on the bench so much.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (1/10/06)

Beattie for midfield

Let's try something new with the man 'cos nobody is gonna pay anywhere near £6 million for the fella so put him in the middle of the park to free up Cahill for a more forward role as his aerial abilities are better and his goals-per-game ratio is a lot better. I have previously called the man myself but at the end of the day ain't we meant to be getting behind everyone of those players in a Royal Blue Jersey, not on their back?
Simon Rimmer, Wigan  (1/10/06)

Have you been drinking again, Simon?

All History Is Bunk

I cannot understand the Sky generation's total lack of respect for the history of football. Dean, Lawton, Mercer, Catterick, Kendall et al are history and therefore have no importance to modern football? "It's not where you came from —it is where you are that is important"? How do you know where you are if you don't know where you came from?

So, in the eyes of Evertonians who adopt this revisionist history Everton, have never won the League and only have one major trophy to their name: the FA Cup 1995. Our top scorer is not the legendary W R Dean but Tony Cottee or Andre Kanchelskis with less than 20 goals in a season.

Having looked at the respective records of Messrs Lee and Moyes, I have noticed that DM has only played 26 major cup games with 10 wins 5 draws and 11 defeats compared with Glee's 46 games 20 wins 11 draws and 15 defeats.

Whilst the league records reads:

Manager   Pl  W  D   L  GF  GA  Pts
Moyes    168 65 40 63 202 230 235
Lee        188 69 62 57 257 218 269
So in my humble opinion there is not a great deal of difference between the two and rherefore supports the argument that our development is OK but not earth-shattering.

Another thing to remember when comparing the two is the expectations of the supporters throughout Lee's tenure was probably detrimental as his every move was compared to Catterick and the standards he had set.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (1/10/06)

Pathetic

How can you castigate him for making substitutions? Yes, they didn't work out and may have contributed indirectly to the equaliser, but the kid Richards made a magnificent strike that AJ would have been proud of. By the way, there were arguments today that suggested offside, but swings and roundabouts.

No-one claims that Moyes is a Messiah, but there is no doubt that, taking into account the back end of last season, the close-season signings, and the start we have made now, the situation is miles better than this time last year.

There is no way in this league that any side is gonna dominate the other for 90 minutes — no matter what the difference is in class or league position. City got lucky, they probably deserved a goal by never giving up. Well done, Pearce; well done, Richards... but on another day we would have held out.

With the resources at his disposal, David Moyes has built a side with remarkable team spirit and every player gives their all for him. Doesn't that tell you something? He has done well with the assets available, and although I still think we may be punching a bit above our weight on paper, the incalculable effect that team spirit produces keeps me optimistic. The team is more than the sum of its parts. This is directly down to the manager and his backroom staff.

Come on you Blue Boys!
Bob The Pole, Crosby  (1/10/06)

"On another day, we would have held out." Pha! What use or value are pathetic platitudes like that? We're talking about yesterday and the fact that we didn't hold out. Of course the situation now is miles better than it was this time last year — only a total idiot would claim it wasn't — that's not the issue.

The real issue, as identified by none other than the captain of the side, is that we have thrown away six vital points over the course of three eminently winnable games. I care about that; Phil Neville cares about that. If you don't, fine! So be it... but don't come the high and mighty 'coz you can rationalize it away with ridiculous and meaningless comparisons. Moyes has done pretty well so far this season, but yesterday shows there is still an awful lot left to be done. — Michael

Lacking Ambition

Those people who believe the fans should rejoice and behold Everton being 5th in the league, despite the real fact that Everton could have been 2nd, truly lack ambition, and are a cancer to this club.

I read the bile the usual Moyes lovers post and it makes me sick. I want Everton to return to the elite of English, then European football. Yet to be disappointed about throwing away 'three' winnable games makes me crazy and unreasonable. I don't give a shite about the Smith era so stop reminding us. That is the past, but what you fools don't realise is that not much has changed since then, so why quote something which you lot cannot learn from!!!

What makes me crazy is Moyes being sacrosanct with the Pro-Plus gang. Playing Beattie, putting on Weir (who was at fault for the goal) is Moyes's fault and nobody else's. Even he admitted he messed up, and credit to him. But it doesn't remove the fact that he is tactically inept. How many times have Everton hung on in games after taking the lead? I say ever since Moyes arrived here. Is that great management to pack ten men behind the ball? Is it that hard to coach your team to keep the frigging ball, rather than playing high-efficiency football with low results?

Since some people can't learn from history, let me remind people of some. Everton were always a better team with a pacey or prolific striker, wingers, and a passing midfield. Moyes has all of those at his disposal, yet manages not to utilise them and consantly hovers around average.

I want a successful team, a team that should steam-roller Man City, Newcastle and Wigan. Being 5th now is immaterial, it's where we will finish which will be important. And those lost points may haunt us, but why should you lot care because we are 5th!? And ultimately the legacy Moyes will be remembered for is what matters. I bet you the same dodos quoting the dark Smith years will be doing the same to Moyes once he is gone! I bet you.
Luq Yus, London  (1/10/06)

Powerful stuff, Luq. And it comes from the gut. Either you feel like that (and I must say, I find myself agreeing with pretty much all of it), or you come up with all this twaddle about how we need to be enjoying what brief and frankly debatable glimpses of "success" we are currently experiencing.

Very much two camps of supporters, I think. The pity as ever, it seems, is that one camp (yes, Dutch, I refused to post your latest shite) believe the others are not true supporters. And Luq, that's where I would part company: no matter what, you cannot call them a cancer on the club. I know you want to and I understand the heartfelt emotion, but you cannot do it. It's plain wrong. — Michael

Give beatts a chance

I am ashamed and, yes, annoyed to read some of the comments about James Beattie. There was even a mention of man-boobs for chrissakes! Can't people give the lad credit for his brave fight against the eating disorder, bulimia? True, he hasn't worked out yet that you are supposed to spew everything up after stuffing your fat yap but hey... his brave battle which obviously involves intravenous Trex washed down by Guiness is a example to all image-conscious youngsters.

And okay, we are never likely to win silver for our efforts on the pitch but, if there was ever going to be a Mr Wet Chang shirt competition when the rainy days set in, JB is a cert. Worryingly arousing image, don't you think, mes enfants?
Alan McGuffog, Nantwich  (1/10/06)

Zute alors! Quelle dommage... Je ne fait rein... Your powers of subtle irony are indeed provocative. I think I need a lie down... — Michael

DDD... more... more...

Where on earth would we be without Richard Dodd?No man on earth could possibly love his club, its manager and its chairman like dear old Richard! The fact that he talks total bollocks, knows bugger all about the game and is so obviously a complete prat is as nothing against the mirth he provokes in me every time he posts. Sundays would just not be the same without Doddy`s dotty diatribes! More... more...!!!
Alan Whittaker, Hawarden  (1/10/06)

Count Dracula Revisited? Give 'em Time!

As the season goes on, I feel as though I'm being transported back to the Lee era. We look like we're one of the best of a bunch of mediocre sides. We're capable of good football and just as capable of throwing games away. We have a good striker who gets us out of jail every week. Part of me thinks we're a couple of players away from being a decent side; part of me thinks I'm kidding myself. I want to believe the manager will lead us to glory, but the more I look at him and the more I hear from him, I'm just not sure. All that's missing is a few cup runs.

Whatever happened to Lee? He got sacked cos' 3rd, 4th a few semi-finals wasn't good enough. Hmmm...

Seriously, let's get some perspective. After 5 years, Moyes has learned that if you buy and play two centre-halves comfortable with a football and you buy a striker who knows his job, you can climb up a poor league. This team is learning how to play properly at last, so let's give 'em a bit of time to get used to it. Jesus, even Moyes admitted he was wrong yesterday!

I'm enjoying the entertinment this year, but I'd really enjoy Richard Dodd expanding on his theory about Moyes being the best Everton manager ever! Go on, Doddy, give us another laugh!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (1/10/06)

He does that by casually redefining 'ever'. See below. — Michael

When `ever` began

In reponse to your reponse, Colm, like most pre-pension Evertonians `ever` began for me with the birth of the Premier League in 1992. What happenned before then is irrelevant in the context of the modern game. Teams were almost always made up entirely of British players so the old 1st Division was but a local league whereas now it is widely regarded as the strongest in the world.

Were, by some misfortune, teams to be restricted to British players now, the quality in the Premiership would again plunge to that of the present Football League Division 1 at best. On that basis, I stand by my assertion that David Moyes has no competition for the title of Best Everton Manager and that he would almost certainly rate in the top three of ALL managers in the modern British game.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (1/10/06)

Richard, I can clearly see from such rampant revisionism why it is so difficult for me to understand the viewpoints you espouse. You redefine the world around you to conform with the tennets of your own perceptions, and then berate people for not following along. A classic case of moving the goalposts... — Michael

This is great! I've gone from being a "non-match going beaut from Ireland" to being labelled a pensioner in a matter of a fortnight on here. Now....I like Moyesy...want dearly to see him do well.....don't always agree with his tactics...sometimes despair when it goes wrong.....but to say he's a better manager than Catterick, Kendall or even Joe Royle - all managers who achieved success - is stretching it beyond the ridiculous. And if teams were restricted to playing British players alone I reckon you'd fine the likes of Manchester United etc. would secure the cream of the crop, leaving us to produce our own, or avail of others' cast offs. - Colm

Editorial nonsense

I can't believe that you gave Dutch such a hard time over his posting, which as far as I'm concerned gave some much needed perspective to the debate. Look, the City goal was simply bad luck, we contributed to our downfall by not keeping possession better, etc. But Dutch's point is still valid. The goal was NOT inevitable. On another day we'd have held on to claim the 3 points that our overall play deserved, and second place in the table.

Dutch is right. We've got the longest unbeaten run in the Premiership, having rarely looked like losing any of our games this season, and while there's still room for improvement we're playing plenty of good football - certainly as much as Chelsea and Bolton. Now is not the time to have a go at Moyes. Let's celebrate being the No 1 team in Merseyside and look forward to what promises to be one of our best seasons in years.
Nick Wall, New Brighton  (1/10/06)

In my book, and in Moyes's book, apparently, when a manager makes one of the few decisions he canduring a game, and that decision directly affects the result of the game in a serious negative fashion, it is a 'mistake' and cannot be simply dismissed as 'bad luck'. — Michael

Not 5th from bottom

I have been reading the comments and I must say I agree with the person who said that the unbeaten statistic is not all that important, neither is the goalscoring exploits of Andrew Johnson. The only statistic that interests me is that Everton currently sit in 5th position in the Premiership. That's pretty amazing and I simply cannot complain about anything. You may not like his methods or his style but David Moyes has Everton in 5th place and that's fine by me. Keep up the good work.
John Cottee, Romford  (1/10/06)

John, you'll never stop Evertonians from agreeing to disagree on a widespread range of topics: be it the quality of pie in the Top Balcony to the tactics employed by the manager. Often dammed if he does and definitely dammed if he doesn't, I sometimes can't help but begin to wonder if Moyes is a modern day version of Gordon Lee! Lee used to cop some flak for the way we played at times yet hindsight, perhaps, paints Lee's time at Everton in a better light than many felt at the time. Then again, during his tenure being fifth was nothing to write home about... 'Nil satis nisi...'... ah, forget it! — Colm

Enjoy it

The Anti-Moyes Brigade really should try and enjoy this great start to the season. In the not too distance future we will eventually lose a game and we may even drop out of the Top 6. They are going to regret not enjoying this while it lasted. Unbeaten, Top 6, high goalscoring, AJ on fire, Liverpool below us... my advice: enjoy it while you can. Dutch is right, things like this never happened under Wally Smith. Back then it was a team of old has-beens, dour performances and an annual relegation scrap.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (1/10/06)

Maybe we'll get back to winning ways, Paul, once we move "back home" eh? ;-) — Colm

A bit of a moan.....

I know this may sound petty, but this really fucking annoys me... The pies in the Top Balcony were all gone 10 minutes BEFORE half-time with literally hundreds of people wanting hot food. Why the fuck don't they get more in? It's typical Everton, can't do nothing right.

Moan over.
Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (1/10/06)

Jez, sorry I missed your day release from Hornby Road. If it's any consolation, we were beneath you in the Family Enclosure and for the third game running (due to pressure from offspring!) I managed to miss an Everton goal, having been sent packing to the catering delights for sausage rolls. I got the roll, you got the goal!!! - Colm

When, oh when....

Will the lummox Moyes accept that a four-man midfield of Arteta, Carsley, Cahill and Osman is not physically up to the job of countering a five-man set-up, especially if it contains giants like Richards? Also, playing Beattie completely negates the threat of Cahill as an attacking danger as the hulk's presence blocks off the runs Tim likes to make. All this has been exposed time and time again — and is hardly rocket science. But Moyes is a tactical illiterate and will fuck up any situation — even a winning one.
George Ramsey, Gresford  (1/10/06)

If ever (yet again!) we needed confirmation that, with the present squad of players, a 4-5-1 formation is infinitely more beneficial than the traditional 4-4-2 — it was yesterday. Beattie's a square peg in a round hole... — Colm

Playing down time

All managers bring on subs in the last few minutes. It's a tried and tested ploy to take the sting out of the game and waste the final few tense moments, 95% of the time it works.

We are all disappointed they scored but most of us are able to deal with it because things like that are what football is all about.
Jasper Cottenfoot, Doncaster  (1/10/06)

I'd say that it was at leat 99% of teh time it works to be honest. But Moyes himself admits it was a mistake and yesterday it clearly was a mistake... Does that change anything for you, Jasper? — Michael

Lost patience with beattie

When Beattie joined Everton, I was made up thinking we had a 15-goal-a-season striker... but that is not the case. I have stuck by Beatts since he has been here until yesterday. It was a disgraceful performace; he missed a sitter and all he does is jump up for headers, which most of the time he does not win. Honestly the only way I can see Beattie scoring is a penalty.

If I was the gaffer, I would give him 'til January to prove himself and, if he doesen't, let him go. If I was Beattie, I would really take a good look in the mirror and get myself fit. Look at the legends who have had the Number 9 shirt — I really can't see him fulfilling their boots.

Also there is better quality around than him in the Premiership — look at Samaras who played yesterday: City payed £6 million for him, Beattie does not look a patch on him and Henri Camara is another one who has pace, strong and score's goals.

SO, BEATTIE, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!!!
Danny Roberts, Liverpool  (1/10/06)

For Beattie to be anything resembling effective he needs delivery from wide positions. Some are vainly hanging onto the (dis)illusion that whatshisname, Van der Meyde (the man with 8 starts to his name in two seasons) is the answer. He is painfully not. Crikey, what I'd give for West Ham to swap Ashton for Beattie! And yes, I'd take even an injured Ashton!!! — Colm

Cash injection needed

There is a distinct smell of idiot about: just last month it was "wonderful Moyes, this fantastic Moyes", now we drop points and it's "get him out — he's no good". Yeah he made a couple of tactical errors but he's the same manager who went out in the summer and spent wisely and bought Lescott and Johnson, selling Kilbane for far more than what we paid for him. In the January transfer window his hands will be tied again with the Board releasing pennies instead of pounds to strengthen the squad.

Get off Moyes's back and jump on Kenwright's - a man trying to run a football club on a childhood dream. Time for new money to come into the club so we can go even futher forward and bring back the good old glory days of old.
Simon Rimmer, Wigan  (1/10/06)

Just to add, we made a profit on the sale of Kilbane! — Colm

Everton , school of managers?

Anti-Moyes know-alls, having crawled out of the woodwork, are in the wrong job. Instead of white-anting the bloke their all round knowledge, man-management skills and football experience would make them prime candidates for a managerial position in football.

There must be any number of clubs desperate to replace the likes of Wenger, Sir Alex, Big Sam and just about all other managers who when winning by a single goal made substitutions in injury time. On the other hand, perhaps the know-alls might just for a moment, remove their biased glasses, take a look at the league table and recognise the fact that for the first time in a great many years it is pretty good to be an Evertonian.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (1/09/06)

Nah, Dick, we're doooooooomed! ;-) — Colm

Is there anybody there?

Has anyone thought of a use for a Kenwright? I gather we have one hanging around Goodison on match days... I thought he may have had something to do with fixing our big screens — you know, that thing in the corner that could't show AJ's goal against City. Apparently he is in charge of our club and has been for some time... he got this job as he is a massive Evertonian, seemingly.

We had a chairman who presided over our last trophy win, who re-developed the Park End and at least tried to establish a feeder club link at Home Farm in Ireland. But he wasn't a massive Evertonian and so he quite rightly had to go. Good job too because he would have made a right horlicks of our new stadium bid... not like our massive Evertonian, Mr Kenwright.

Enough of the irony already. This man and his cohorts should do the decent thing and slink away back to the luvvies in the West End. There was one chance for this club to get back to the top table and that was with the now moribund Kings Dock plan. I don't claim to know why this failed but it did and our massive Evertonian was in charge.

The following scenario is as predictable as the last ten minutes yesterday: Liverpool will get their lovely new arena, complete with Shankly Gates etc. Not only this but it will be right in their heartland and their supporters can arrive from Oslo safe in the knowledge that they can still go for their glass of Pimms in the Arkles etc.

Meanahile, WE will re-locate to some windswept plain where we can attend the Sayers Stadium and drink frothy Chang and watch cheerleaders etc. It will be as good as Pride Park or the Riverside even. But don't rage against the Almighty or claim that Liverpool are in league with Satan. They will have their new ground because they are a proper club, and — much as I detest them — they show our Board / leadership up for what it is... a complete joke.

Nil Satis? Read and weep.
Alan McGuff, Nantwich  (1/10/06)

Amidst the angst, the very thought of Everton moving out to some breeze block stadium, away from the City, forever sends a shudder down my spine... — Colm

Unbeaten?

'Unbeaten' seems to be the excuse everyone is using to justify our current position in the table. The four teams above us have all been beaten. The only other unbeaten team is just below us, so the term 'unbeaten' is totally irrelevant. I would much rather we were beaten once and had won two of the last three drawn games. That would leave us in second place instead of fifth.

As for Moyes, the only way he will go is if Kenwright sells the club to some foreign billionaire. So we are stuck with 'dithering Davey' for a while. Moyes will be reluctant to admit his failings regarding Beattie so we are stuck with him for the rest of the season at least. I believe we have the makings of a top-four team, but under Moyes we will be lucky to make the top-ten. As for replacing Moyes, why bother? Even without a manager we could do much better than with Moyes.

Finally, Moyes has made two good signings for the club in Johnson & Lescott so I guess he's not completely useless. But no matter how Everton fare this season, I just can't bring myself to like the guy. Those eyes are scary.
Barry Johnson, Colwyn Bay  (1/10/06)

Ah, yes, Dithering Davey... whether enforced or not, he makes a switch from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2. Forever accused of not making substitutions when we need them, he makes three yesterday...

How many have screamed for Anichebe to be given a chance? Well, yesterday he came on and aside from parking his backside into his opponent, back to goal, I saw very little from Victor. One of those days...

Arteta's substitution is the one that surprised me. I thought he was superb — again — yesterday and Simon Davies, in my opinion, would offer little else at that stage of the game. The arrival of Weir — well, it's one of those isn't it? We'd bricked it in the closing minutes, inviting trouble as only Everton can do. Samaras hitting a post and Sinclair blazing over... you are the manager with little or no time left: what do you do? He opted to chuck on an extra defender.

As it transpired, and fair play to Moyes in his post match comments, he holds his hands up for the end result yesterday — a game where we Evertonians are frustratingly lamenting the loss of two points, when instead we should be reflecting on a relatively decent performance and a temporary second position. It's a thin line, sometimes... — Colm

And another thing...

Forgot to add to my last post - to the person (I think it was Shaka again) who lamented the problem of goalscoring under Moyes.... take a look at the table sunshine. We are joint top scorers with Chelsea and Man Utd. I for one don't see that as a goalscoring problem.
Neil Humphrey, Oldham  (1/10/06)

Without the efforts of Messrs Weaver and Dunne yesterday, we could've been cruising 3-0. Ah yes... "could've been" and "if"... — Colm

Lessons learned...?

First off, I'd like to thank Shaka Islam for giving me the biggest laugh of the season so far with his talk of 'relegation form'. Sir, we are 5th in the Prem, unbeaten so far, having conceded only 6 goals (and having scored double that), and have the most in-form goalscorer in the league in our side. I'm fairly sure that most other teams would love to also be in such 'relegation form'. Whatever it is you've been smoking/drinking, can you get me some?

Anyway, back to yesterday's game. I always look for the positives first, so here they are. Another goal for AJ. We created a lot of chances (yes, I know that we didn't take them, but it's a step up from last season where we didn't seem to know how to get the ball into the opposition half). And, errmm... well, thats about it.

Negatives: obviously, two points dropped against a side who were dire in the extreme is the most problematic aspect of the game. But there were also individual performances that were particularly worrying. Beattie showed yet again why he should be shipped out in January. Him and AJ doesn't work, plain and simple. Get shut and play AJ on his own, with Anichebe, McFadden, and Vaughan as cover.

The midfield was also poor, but I blame these performances on Moyes's tactics. Cahill was pulled out of the position where he has clocked up more goals than many strikers this season and as a result was completely ineffective. Arteta was good, but a winger he ain't. Same goes for Ossie (there seems to be a pattern emerging here — a winger is definitely on my Christmas list). Defensively we dealt with pretty much everything they threw at us (which wasn't much until the last 5 minutes), but the distribution (particularly from Yobo and Neville) was AWFUL.

The last few games have seen a slightly worrying trend emerging, with us only drawing against inferior teams in games we should have had sewn up after an hour. A cursory glance at the fixture list shows that we face two more such teams (Boro and Sheff Utd) in the near future. I think we can reasonably expect to be unbeaten by the time we play Arsenal, but Moyes is going to have to do a lot more work (and, indeed, learn from the mistakes that were made yesterday) if we are to take maximum points.
Neil Humphrey, Oldham, UK  (1/10/06)

A good and fair summary of yesterday's match, Neil — and I shared a similar frustrating view from the Family Enclosure. What happened at the death totally overshadowed matters previous. I thought our football, though not as effective as wished for, was pleasing to watch, particularly with Arteta plucking the strings. We'll play better this season and lose - and conversely we'll pick up three points when undeserved. Such is football! — Colm

Never satisfied

God, you lot make my blood boil. Not happy with being unbeaten after eight matches, being fifth in the League and having the country`s leading goalscorer, you castigate the best manager we`ve ever had for making late substitutions when every other bugger runs the clock down in the same way.

Most of you don`t deserve to support a successful club like ours has become under Bill and Davey. Bah!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (1/10/06)

Richard, purely for clarity in future, when submitting a mail to the Mailbag — can you please not make such sweeping generalisations when lumping everyone who submits their thoughts via this medium as being "you lot" — ie. anti-Moyes/Bill/EFC/whoever.

Now, I'm all on for dishing out praise and plaudits when earned and equally criticising him when deserved, but you're seriously calling Moyes our best manager EVER???? — Colm

Same Shitt — Different Season!

I couldn't see anything in our pattern of play or tactics that was different from last season. Why does Moyes persist with Beattie? You could pay me a lot less than his wages to run around the pitch out of breath, not heading the ball and kicking it out of play at the expense of an attack. By playing 'man boobs' it totally nullified Cahill who is our other in-form player. Moyes totally messed it up yesterday; City, who are a poor side, were well worthy of a draw.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (1/10/06)


ToffeeWeb Letters from September 2006
MailBag Archives
Season 2006-07
Season 2005-06
Season 2004-05


Recent News

Recent Articles

Talking Points, Messages & The Game

Everton in the Community

About these ads